Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sample Sunday

Yikes! What happened? Is it possible that all that Christmas shopping, cooking, trips to the kids' school 4 times a day, etc. made me neglect this poor little blog?

Nah, that couldn't be it.

Now laziness . . . yep, that would be it.

To make up for this total lack in commitment to this little site, I'm going to share a little bit of my newest WIP, The Sidekick. There's not much, and this will probably change considerably (as in, be totally rewritten several times, cut from the manuscript completely or some other such hideous fate), so read at your own risk and laugh if you feel the need!

Here it goes:

Donal. The name means “World Leader.” Figures. Know what my name, Cairne, means? “Pile of rocks.” Yeah, you read it right. Guess our parents had us pegged at birth.
No one believes we're twins, either. Hell, I don't even believe it. Distant cousins, twice removed, maybe. Brothers – doubtful. Twins? Nope. Just not plausible. My writing teacher, Ms. Beechwood, would tell me to stop right there. Suspending belief is one thing, but you have to make it sound good. Or at least almost believable.
Now get this. You're going to think I'm totally stoned with this one. You're going to roll your eyes and give me that sure-you're-just-another-emo-liar look, but I swear it's true.
Donal has super powers.
For one thing, he's super strong. I'm not talking bench-350-in-the-gym strong, either. He's more like pick-up-that-full-sized-Ford 350-and-toss-it strong. Only he's not supposed to let anyone know that part. Not unless he's wearing his mask.
That's right. Mask. He's got a spandex suit, too.
It's okay. I completely understand. Why should you believe me?
Hear that? Sounds like you're going to get a rare, front-row seat. Better hang on. This is totally going to blow your mind.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And the Winner is . . .

Dawn Judd!

Dawn suggested the name Gemini Falls, and I just love it. It works with the idea of the twins, and it sounds just right to my ear . . .

Thank you, Dawn!

But, I'm so thankful for everyone who participated, that I decided to expand the contest rules just a bit. In addition to the $15 Amazon Gift Certificate (and the honor of having her city-name-suggestion used in my book) that Dawn will receive, I also wrote the names of everyone who suggested a name on a piece of paper and drew two out of a bowl (sorry, no hats available).

These lucky people will each receive a $10 Gift Certificate: Elizabeth Penney and Daniel Pyle.

So, Dawn, Elizabeth and Daniel, please send me an email at debilf at hotmail dot com, and I'll get those GC's out to you!

Thank you, everyone, for playing along with me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wacky Weekend -- Confession

For this week's Wacky Weekend, I thought I'd make a wacky confession -- a guilty pleasure.

I love nice pens.

Okay, so this isn't Earth-shattering or anything, but it's true. I adore handmade pens, and my absolute favorites come from here:


I found my first one on ebay way back before I wrote Summoning, and fell in love. In fact, I wrote the entire first draft (literally) with that pen. The weight, the balance, the way the ink flowed . . . all perfect. So, over the years, I've acquired a couple more.

Never disappointed, either!

In fact, just today, I spent a bit of time on my latest WIP using one of my D'Court pens.

Okay, enough of my wacky confessions -- what guilty pleasure do you have?

Oh, and don't forget to add your suggestions for the name of the city in my new WIP! You only have until midnight Monday to win you chance at a $15 Amazon Gift Certificate! Name My City contest.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three on Thursday -- The Dutch Language

For today's post, I thought it would be fun to share a few necessary phrases for Americans visiting the Netherlands.

Okay, I admit that my Dutch-speaking skills are limited at best (though I understand -- usually -- what people are trying to say to me), but I'll do my best here not to misspell every other word.

1. Spreekt u Engels? (This, of course, means "Do you speak English?" This will be your most-used phrase of all. Remember it.)

2. Ik wil frietjes zonder mayo. (This means "I'd like fries without mayonnaise." This is very important, because if you don't happen to like your french fries smothered in mayo, you have to specify that right up front!)

3. Waar is de WC? (This means "Where is your bathroom?" Be careful not to ask for an actual "badkamer" (bathroom), because that would mean the room where the bathtub/shower is located. There may not be a toilet in that room at all. And keep in mind that WC is pronounced Vay-Say.)

If you happen to have children with you while you're traveling in the Netherlands, you will need a few more phrases, of course.

1. Op de stoep! (This means "Stay on the sidewalk!" This is useful as there are not only the sidewalks where people can walk, but bike paths (usually barely distinguishable from the sidewalk) and the streets. In the cities and dorpjes -- villages -- these are all brick. Sometimes the bricks are slightly different colors. Sometimes not.)

2. Niet springen op de bank! (This means "No jumping on the couch!" Self explanatory.)

3. Wil je een snoepje? (This means "Would you like a piece of candy?" For some reason, complete strangers have no qualms about offering (often unwrapped) candy to your children. The good part is, you can accept the offer without worry.)

So, there is your Nederlands 101 lesson in necessary phrases. Now you're ready to visit!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


It's that time of year again -- time to start Christmas shopping (or other various holidays of your choice, of course). This year, my gift-giving list is longer than it's ever been, because I've decided to include all of you, too!

I've just lowered the price for Summoning to 99 cents on -- yes, that's right. Ninety-nine cents.

Now you can afford to buy copies for all of your friends and relatives and still be able to afford one for yourself (I know, I know . . . how generous of me . . .).

Really, though, treat yourself. And let me know if you like the book.

Summoning at Amazon

And don't forget, you still have until November 15th to suggest a name for the city in my newest work. There's a possible prize involved!

Name my City

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving Contest

First of all, let's get the apology for not blogging for way too long out of the way . . . Sorry. Now that life is returning to normal (read: the kids are back in school), the blog should return to a normal schedule.

Now, on to the exciting news! I'm writing a new book. (Yes, I know you're excited.) It's different from anything I've written before, and there are parts of it that are causing me headaches. (This just keeps getting more exciting, doesn't it?) The biggest headache at the moment is that I need a city where my twin superheroes can fight crime and attend high school.

Ideally, I'd like this to be a large metropolitan area, but have a small-town feel to it. And it has to be fictitious. Think of Gotham City or Metropolis.

This is where the contest comes in. I want you to help me name this city. The winner will receive a $15 gift certificate to! (I know, I know . . . finally the excitement begins!)

Here are the rules:
1. Come up with a cool name for my fictitious city.
2. Post it in the comments below on or before November 15th.
3. Post as many times as you like.
4. On November 16th, I'll announce the winner who will receive a $15 gift certificate to just in time for the Holidays!
5. The most exciting part of all? I use the winning entry as the name of my city in my newest Work In Progress (wip)!

So what are you waiting for? Give me some ideas!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

YIKES! It's vacation week for the girls, and there's a party involved

Sorry to be absent for so long -- my girls are on vacation, and the youngest turns 6 on Thursday! These are both good things, but they involve lots of hands-on mommy time and a birthday party in the making.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), 15 little girls between the ages of 6 and 11 will descend upon my house to play games, knustel (that would be "arts & crafts") crowns and bracelets and eat  . . . something (yes, I'm still working on that detail) in celebration of said birthday. I'm going just a little bit crazy. Tomorrow, the brain should be on total shutdown mode.

It's all good, though, and I'll be back!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday -- Life as an Expat

First things first ...  drum roll please ...  the winner of the $15 gift certificate is Dianne! Huzzah!  (and there is much rejoicing)

Email me at debi faulkner (at) yahoo (dot) com (without the spaces, of course), and I'll send the certificate to you via email.


Okay, now, onto life as an expat. Usually, it's pretty darn good. It's nice to experience other cultures up-close and personal. Of course, there are downfalls, too.

One such downfall is that absolutely everything works differently. Everything. This is not exaggeration, either. Even flushing a toilet can be quite the adventure. In fact, here's a story from a fellow expat. Let's call her Anne.

It was Anne's first day in the Netherlands. She'd been invited to come for a visit by an online friend and stepped out of the taxi excited and just a bit nervous. She rang the doorbell.


Then Anne noticed a small piece of paper tucked into the door jamb. "The door is open. I had an appointment, but will be back within the hour."

Anne pushed on the door, and it was indeed open. The hallway was bright, clean, inviting. Leaving her luggage by the door, she opened the door to the living room and sat down on the modern, leather sofa. The bright white tiled floor gleamed in the light of the huge front windows. There were few knick knacks, and little furniture. The room could have been a photo shoot from IKEA.

After traveling for the past several hours, and being a woman in her mid-50's, a sudden and urgent need pushed her up and off of the couch and back into the hallway. There were several closed doors and the stairway heading up. The first door opened into a kitchen, the second into a pantry lined with canned goods. The third door was the answer to her quickly whispered prayers -- a WC.

Having taken care of her urgent visit, Anne turned to finish the transaction, but ran into a bit of a problem. There was no handle to flush. With the exception of the toilet, the room was totally bare. Surely the Dutch flush their toilets? Then she spied the cord hanging from the wall near the ceiling. A pull-chain flush! How quaint!

Unfortunately, pulling the chain did nothing. Then there was the business of a sink. There wasn't one of those either.

Closing the lid of the toilet (some things would have to be left for later), Anne went in search of a sink and some handsoap. Fortunately, the kitchen had both.

As she rinsed and dried her hands and began the search for a wastepaper basket to dispose of the paper toweling (What are these Dutch people thinking?), a sharp knock came to the door.


Did that man just say he was the police?

And that was it -- the police and the fire department stood at this woman's door, demanding to be let in (speaking Dutch the whole time) while this middle-aged American woman, shaking in her shoes, tried to explain that nothing was wrong and that she was only trying to flush the toilet . . .

Yes, living in a foreign country can be a very eye-opening experience.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

RSC : The Othello Rap

Just take a look at this BRILLIANT version of Shakespeare's Othello!

Dianne, I have just found the answer to Cliff's Notes! Boy, teens today have it so easy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two Things that Made My Day and One that May Make Yours

The first item on my list of Three on Thursday, and this one really made my day, is a wonderful note I received from a school friend (Thanks, Dianne!) on my Facebook today. It's the first feedback I've had (other than from crit partners, close friends and family) on my novel, Summoning.

OMG, Debi, I just finished "Summoning." Truly amazing! I couldn't stop reading! Every minute I could steal today to read it, I did! That's all I want to say because I don't want to be a "spoiler." Well, except, the acknowledgments...Nadine Dyer, almost brought tears to my eyes. Do you know anything about, well, to be blunt, is she still around? And if so, how is she? I can't wait for your next novel!

This leads into my second thing that made my day. Those of you who did not attend Redford Union High School *mumblemumble* years ago may be wondering who Mrs. Dyer is. She was my English teacher. But she was almost much, much more than that. She was my original inspiration. That woman told me I had the soul of a poet before I even knew what she meant. Mrs. Dyer introduced me to the likes of T. S. Eliot, Dante, Nietzsche, Satre, and so many more. It was because of her that I became a writer in the first place. Thank you, Mrs. Dyer . . .  wherever you are.

Now those are the two things that made my day today. Hearing that someone liked my book and that she also loved Mrs. Dyer like I did, was a great way to start my day.

So, since I'm in such a good mood, I thought I'd try to do something to make someone else's day. And what could possibly be more fun than a contest?

Here are the rules:

1. Comment here about a teacher who changed your life for the better.
2. While you're here, browse around and read through my other posts . . . (okay, that's not a requirement, just a recommendation). 
3. All comments to this post on or before Sunday, October 17th will be eligible to win. On Monday, October 18th, I'll write down all the names on slips of paper and have one of my daughters pull one from a hat. (Or, in the absence of a hat, some other random choosing method.)

And why should you bother with all of this posting nonsense? What's in it for you, you ask?

Well, first prize will be a $15 gift certificate to Second and third prizes you ask? How about my undying gratitude for playing along?

So what are you waiting for? Tell my about your life-changing teacher!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Available on Amazon, too!

Somehow, Miscellaneous Monday has morphed into Tuesday . . . Sorry about that!

But I do have some very good news. Summoning is now available on Just follow this link:

And because I haven't really mentioned what this book is all about, I thought you'd like the "blurb":

Seven-year-old Meredith Pennyfather is determined to save her family's home by going to work at Raedwald Castle. Despite her efforts, her parents are evicted a year later. During the years that follow, two thoughts haunt her: the whereabouts of her parents and the safety of her own soul. Meredith learns early on that her employer, the Vicar, once a merciless witch hunter, is not above using the dark art to fulfill his own evil desires when she witnesses him summoning the devil, Legion. The Vicar pays for the demon's help with his tarnished soul and the promise of an innocent: Meredith. Realizing Legion's sinister powers could easily find her parents, Meredith sets about learning the craft, though she is reluctant to use her knowledge - at first.

After fulfilling her seven-year contract with the vicar, fifteen-year-old Meredith leaves Raedwald, penniless and homeless, for a position at Strathclyde Manor. No longer an indentured servant, she is desperate to be reunited with her parents, if only she knew where to find them. She turns to what she sees as her only option: black magic. Caught in the act, Meredith is imprisoned for witchcraft, found guilty and sentenced to death. She has only one remaining ally - Jonas - but his devotion threatens his life, too. Meredith fears seeking Legion's help again - she knows the price will be her soul. But the truth is, there is just one way to save her friend: one last SUMMONING.

The stories of Meredith's life at Raedwald and her attempt to begin again at Strathclyde are woven together in alternating chapters. Mirroring the Vicar's path, she follows a trail of evil, betrayal and pain. But while the Vicar's greed draws him ever closer to darkness, Meredith fights to choose a brighter path.

So, anyone interested?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Confession Time

Okay, here it is: I can't buy Christmas present early (or birthday presents or any other kind of present), because I just can't wait to give them to the people. That's it -- I just can't WAIT!

You know where this is heading, right?

I couldn't wait until Halloween! It's all of three weeks away! Who could possibly wait that long?

So, don you scary clothing

and head over to where you can purchase and download an e-copy of my new book Summoning!

(It will also be available on in a couple of days . . .) 

And don't worry if you don't have an e-reader -- you can download the PC version of the Amazon Kindle (from for free. You also have the choice of purchasing the book in other formats that you can read from your computer (so if you're reading this blog, you can read my book).

Then, pour yourself a glass of champagne (or any other beverage of choice) and celebrate with me!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Big Reveal

Yes, yes, yes, I know it's Three on a Thursday, but I have just one that is SO BIG! that it's probably worth more than three all on it's own.

And here it is . . . drum roll please . . .

The cover to my new novel, Summoning

So what do you think?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Doin' It Myself -- a Surprise Wednesday Post

I've never been much of a DIY'er -- never had the right tools or the know-how. Whatever. But I'm changing all that.

This is the year I stop waiting for the right time, or enough money, or emotional support from others. I'm going for it. I'm going to practice DIY.

Part of that plan is this wonderful idea of a DIY MFA. I've always wanted to go back to school (in fact, I wanted to go for the MFA before I even managed the BA). Of course, money, time and family have been factors in that decision to wait, but no more. I'm doing it myself.

Well, not entirely by myself. There's a wonderful community over here:

Gabi had this wonderful idea that writers can study, learn, practice craft and earn a DIY MFA. She provided tips, information, motivation and, most importantly, community. Now there's no reason to wait. No excuse for not taking the next step. And I don't have to do it alone.

Thank you, Gabi!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Following the Dream

Today's Miscellaneous Monday is about Reaching the Dream – the “Dream,” of course, being a published book.

That's my dream. It has been for years. Even back when I wrote poetry, I dreamed of seeing my books of poems alongside Philip Levine, Edward Hirsch and M.L. Leibler as successful Detroit-area poets (granted, a couple of those names are no longer in Detroit). Now that I've transitioned to prose, I dream of seeing my books on shelves with Melissa Marr, Maggie Stiefvater and that other Faulkner.

The problem is this, though. No matter how hard I work and how good my books are, there's no guarantee that I'll ever reach that dream. There are just too many writers, writing too many books. That's just the plain and simple truth. Traditional publishing is just not able to put out every good book they see. Not even every great book they see. There are just too many great manuscripts out there.

Sure, we can look through the stacks at the local bookstores or through the pages of, and see that not everything that is published is great – or even good. But somewhere, someone thought those books were worth the effort. Someone decided those writers would be published authors.

So what happens when a manuscript doesn't get chosen. What if it's good, maybe even great, but for whatever reason, it's not picked up by the traditional system? Maybe it's timing. Maybe it's “not right for us.” Maybe that particular house (or particular agent) just took on another manuscript with a similar theme (despite being very different in every other way)? Does that make the passed-over manuscript bad? Does that mean that writer is doomed to stay unpublished?

My answer is “no.”

I don't believe there is just one path to reaching the dream. I'm choosing one that is less traveled – or at least, less traveled by traditionalists.

To be perfectly honest, though, I am a bit of a literary snob. I've always believed that any book good enough to be read will be picked up by a traditional house. Then I bought my Kindle and started reading some of the independent authors out there. I've been amazed by what I've seen so far. There are some GREAT books, written and published by indy-authors. Why are these books not available at Barnes and Noble or Borders? Why didn't Penguin pick up these books? Why didn't editors at Hyperion snatch up these manuscripts?

Who knows. Maybe the authors tried these routes; maybe they didn't.

I, personally, have been looking for an agent since late 2007. I've had a couple very, very close calls, but in the end, everyone passed. I haven't even tried going directly to publishers, though I've heard that it's sometimes easier to find an editor than an agent.

Instead, I've decided to go the indy-route. I'm making my young-adult novel, Summoning, available for the Kindle through and for other e-readers via My goal is to have an online virtual launch on Halloween. I hope you'll all be there for my big day.

I'm reaching out and grabbing my dream!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wacky Weekend!

I just love cats, and this is one of my favorite cat characters.

Click on the title to take you to Simon's Cat. Look around while you're there -- lots of funny stuff.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Three on Thursday

Notice the nifty title? Well, that's all part of my new self-imposed blog Schedule of Wonder. Basically, here's how it will work:

1. Each week, I'm going to try to post at least three times. There will be Miscellaneous Monday (where things will be of a scattered and random nature), Three on Thursday (where I will give you three, well,
scattered and random things) and Wacky Weekend (where I will post scattered and random things that have tickled my fancy during the week).

2. Work on Summoning is progressing nicely. I'm working on a cover, but having absolutely no graphic arts experience is showing. I may be asking for help. Soon. Maybe I'll have a contest to help my choose? Hmm . . . note to self . . .

3. Work on the current work in progress (to be known as WIP from this point forward) is slow moving, but a lot of fun. No, it's not a "fun" story, but I like the twisted aspects of it, and . . . well, the rest is secret. For now. But to give you just a hint, here's a idea of what I've been thinking about lately:

Druids and Wolves and the Northern Lights

Interested yet?

That's it. Three on Thursday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New and shiny! (with a teaser of great things to come)

In order to celebrate my shiny, new blog, I thought it would be fun to post a preview for you lovely readers. This is the first chapter from my new YA novel, Summoning. Enjoy!

21st June
Meredith’s 15th year
The smooth iron band felt cold – nothing like the heat it would summon. My hands shook as I placed it on my head. I held my breath.
All those years. All those lies. Now this was the only way. 
My shadow flickered across the chalk outline on the stone floor as I stepped into the center of the circle. I turned to the north and faced the bank of candles set up against the wall. My shadow lay behind me. 
With my right hand, I fanned out nine feathers plucked from the black rooster’s tail. I lifted
them over my head from west to east in defiance of the sun. With my left hand, I unlocked the iron-bound book and found Psalm 51. I prayed the words would protect me:
Cast me not from Thy presence . . .
The words hung in the air.
. . . Deliver me from bloodguilt . . .
I closed my eyes and recited the rest from memory.
. . . then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering,
the whole burnt offering . . .
The pages crackled when I turned to Revelation 9:19. Placing one finger at the end, I read in reverse:
Harm they them in and, heads having, serpents to like be them of tails the for; them of mouth the in is horses the of power the for
Sweat slipped over the ridge of my lip. The feathers in my hand trembled.
I counted my heartbeats . . . twenty-one, twenty-two . . .  
Hot breath on the back of my neck sent chills down my spine, through my arms to my fingertips. I wanted to run, but the circle surrounding me and the iron crown on my head bound me. I held my eyes wide open.
Legion,” I acknowledged the shadow growing by my side.
Why, Meredith Pennyfather. Is that you?” The voice echoed in my ears.
My voice cracked, but I managed the first question, “Where are they?”
What would your mother say if she heard you speaking in so rude a manner?”
I wanted to strike out at him for mentioning her, but continued staring at the candles.
"Where are they?” I asked again – my second question – through clenched teeth.
There is an etiquette to this process. I know you paid attention to his lessons. First, we agree on my fee, and only then may you ask your questions. You have only one left, you know.”
My eyes burned with the effort of not blinking. The stench of sulfur stuck to the back of my throat and in my nose. The candles blazed in front of me. Yes, I understood the rules. 
Where are they?” I managed the question for the third time.
Ah, I see. You listened to what he failed to say. You learned what he failed to teach.”
The voice moved beside me. His breath hit my cheek, but I concentrated on the stone wall behind the candles now burning their images into my eyes.
You with your silence hiding in the shadows, watching while the old man tricked me. You with your cold eyes watching while he made his mistakes. You paid attention. But you have missed the obvious, my dear Meredith. You already have the answer to your question. You and
your gifts have always held the answer.”
He stood in front of me, his blue cloak skimming the floor. The hood kept all but his chin in darkness. I tried not to look at the cloak or its slippery movements.
So this was all he would offer?
My eyes felt as if they were dust and fire. My voice crackled as I threw three  feathers at him.
“I bid you return whence you came!”
The cloak and the man wavered around the edges. I threw three more feathers.
I bid you return whence you came!”
The candles behind the man glowed through him. He smirked. I threw the last three feathers. “I bid you return whence you came!”
He dissolved in smoke, and I choked on the lingering mist. I would have cried, but I had no tears. 
My eyelids scratched over my eyes as I finally closed them –  shadow-candles flickered there. My knees hit the stone floor hard, but without breaking the bounds of the circle.
What did he mean I already had the answer?
Where were they?