Thursday, December 18, 2014

November Update

Sometimes other things dictate what we do... So, by that sentence can you tell how NaNoRe-WriMo went? I don't know if I've shared about it here, but I am a freelance Content Editor. Being the time of year it is and all that is going on, when a job comes, I take it. I need the money. I had a few jobs come in and accepted them. When the opportunity comes knocking, you can't pass it up. And I don't want too.

I did get time in with re-writes and added a nice portion to the story. But then I stopped to clear things off my desk and do my job. I was able to get some re-reading and new words in over lunch hours, but this takes longer as I don't always get a whole section done or get to add them on the computer at night. But they are written!

I don't regret it one bit. This is not a loss for me. I knew going into NaNoWriMo I would not hit the 50k word count. I look at this as a new mountain I'm climbing, and the heart is thumping with adrenaline to do so. I'm excited to see where this path leads me.

I actually learn a lot about what to keep an eye on in my writing with content editing as well.

So, looking at the hard numbers, where do I stand?
Re-writes:  6,234 words added
(This is the hard number of words added including deducts for deletions. Not bad!)
The total number of words read and pondered over:  5,466
(Sounds unbalanced. lol. I added more than I read!)

Now for the goal. I want to finish this stories re-read by the end of the year. Yes, it's going to be a lot to ask for, but I want to get it done. Then I will read it to tweak, add small items, and for phrasing. I hope to get it to a few friends by the end of February. And I will start re-reading my Christmas story I wrote over last Christmas into 2014. That one I hope to have done and ready for Christmas.... it's a tall order, but I can wish - it is the holiday's after all. ;)


Considering I'm taking this creative writing class, you'd think my numbers would be sky-rocketing. The sad fact is, with taking two courses, working, and all the other stuff life throws at you, I can't even seem to find time for simple re-writes on my short stories. I think I'm in much the same boat as Melissa with other things dictating my time. I must admit, I'm feeling the pressure and I think it's being counter-productive to the flow of creative juices, Either that or my muse has up and left on an indefinite vacation.

Here's what my month looked like:
Short story: 1958
In class writing: 400 (-ish)

That brings my sad total to 2358 words. I'll be off school for most of December, so I'm hoping the much-needed rest will encourage the ideas to start surfacing again but as of now, it isn't looking promising. I  have a research short due my first week back to class, so besides the usual holiday chaos, I'll be trying to research a topic and write about it through December.

For the research story, the professor has asked that instead of just looking up topic-related elements in books (or on the internet, I would imagine), she wants us to get out and actively find information. We need to keep a research log to show how we go about gathering the details. We've also been asked to get outside our comfort zones. All this is great advice but the issue I'm struggling with is finding a starting point...and the ability to interview people or find a place that might be potential setting for the story, etc. I think I'd like more time with this one, especially because of the holidays smack dab in the middle of it all but I think it will be a great asset to learn how to do this for future work. She did give us a list of examples of the types of journals writers can benefit from, which I will post separately. Now just to put it all in motion...

In the mean time, if any of you have seen a stray muse out in the world, it's probably mine. Can you ask her to come back my way, please?

Hope you all have a productive month ahead :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Writing Update - October

*peeks around corner* Don't throw anything at me...K... Please...

I failed at anything and everything in October. I seem to be terrible at juggling my time these days. I hope November brings this back into focus a bit.

The one awesome thing of the month... My Workshop on a story at The Roundtable Podcast. If you are curious as to how I divided the hosts on my topic, please stop over and check it out. And please let me know what you think.

The few words I got in on project:
Um...well... looking through my records it appears I did nothing in October toward the project. Oops.

I did do Flash Fictions: (yes three as I made up for the one I missed last month.)
FF 1:  550
FF 2:  739
FF 3:  657

What are my plans for November in NaNoWriMo?

Well, I'm feeling a bit down on myself. I've not truly completed anything and I hate that feeling. I'm going to do my own Nano with a twist - NaNo-Re-WriMo. Yes, RE-WRIte MOnth. I'm working on projects I just can't get through to a rough ground-zero draft.

As much as I love the rush of NaNoWriMo, I need to take a step back and complete something. It's needed. I have great ideas in the works and great ideas to come, but I need to stop the new stuff and finish what I have, or I'll never get anything out of this dead form it's in.

Another obstacle I'm struggling with is seeing the speed at which others work... I know, I know. Don't pay attention to that. I get it. Everyone works at different speeds and rates, but still, it's hard not to. And I know authors work, and have families, and, and, and all sorts of things going on. But... *sigh* It still is a weight on my mind.

So I'm going to be a bit quiet, even for NaNoWriMo. I'm not going to be around to socialize as I HAVE to get somewhere and understand what I'm working towards in these stories. I'm probably going to skip out on the sprints and wonderful camaraderie between all the people participating. It all ends up being a distraction from what I want to do.


I had to go back to make sure I didn't make any wild promises in the last update for what I would get done this month. Thankfully, I didn't :)

Plugging away at an essay for school took up most of my month along with the reading that needs to be done for the same class. I had another short story that was due for the beginning of November and I thought I had a great idea. The thing with me is if I don't do it right away and if I don't allow for an organic flow (ie. typing the narrative out as I want it to appear,) I can't seem to make a story bend to my will.

The additional issue was that this story needed to be created around the idea of form equaling the content. It took me a while to figure out what the concept even meant and when I did, I thought I had the perfect plan to make it happen. The ideas seemed good and I even found a way to not end the story on a sad note, like I always tend to do when not working on genre fiction. By the end of the month, I had the 1300-ish words as noted below but nothing complete. (What I handed in was a last minute thing that will show up in the November count.) So, here's what my month looked like:

FF 1: 976
FF 2: 790
Abandoned short: 1362
Misc. in-class writing:750
Total   3878

(If it counts, I wrote an essay, which amounted to 2551 words and would bring my total to 6429)

It's more workshopping in November then nothing due until January, so will probably only have in-class writing and flashes to account for over the next month. Then again, you never know what will happen. For sure, NaNo is out though.

In the mean time, if I can squeeze in time for a post here and there, I would like to explain the form equals content style of story writing and maybe even some other valuable lessons that have popped up in my creative writing class. Between my two classes, I think I'm amassing a fair amount of knowledge on how to make my work more original and more complete.  I'd like to share at least some of that with you.

Here's hoping you all have a productive November, whatever you choose to do with it :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Flash Fiction (13)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.
By:  Melissa Hayden

The elders would be wearing their robes of green splashed with the rust and reds of the autumn leaves, found outside now, and trimmed in gold for the ceremony. Aonya took slow equal steps down the hall, listening to the clicking of her golden armor ring through the bare halls. Her attire showed her stature and matched the accenting colors of her elders for she was to be the one everyone's eyes were on. The ceremony room was full, everyone awaiting for her formal entrance.

She paused looking out the window and took a breath of the fresh air, wishing to feel the cooling breeze slip through her long brown hair. She lifted a long finger, pushing her hair behind her ear, then thinking better of her natural habit and hooked her finger around her hair pulling it to curl down her face. Her maid had spent hours to get it curled like this, even through she never wore her hair down. She was to look the young lady she was, and the warrior as well.

Aonya closed her eyes, feeling the power of her sun on her face and took a deep breath. She's known everyone in that room all her fifty years, even though she looked no more than a human's twenty years of age. She needed to get to the hall before she ended in terrible trouble with the elders and her father.

She made her way to the ceremony, nodding to the guard and acolyte waiting for her. The acolyte slipped behind the dark forest green curtain, then moments later she heard her father call the room to order. At hearing the words she was instructed to wait for, she pulled her shoulders back as the guard pulled the curtain to the side.

The room stood and bowed to her as she entered. She took her place by her father after she bowed to him and the elders.

"All rise." The king called and all in the room returned to standing. "Please join me in prayer as we honor Aonya this day, her power calling day."

The elders surrounded her, holding hands and joining their magics as they called to Aonya and the spirits within the world. Her father stood before her with the sword made of the strongest alloy known to the land, one only the elite guard and royal family were given on their power calling day. His baritone voice joined the elders in their chanting as the song grew with the voices of the hall. It sounded like music with the highs and lows of different voices blending and mixing together. Aonya felt her body start to sway and she closed her eyes, being drawn into the powers that swam across her skin.

Aonya was drawn into the tone and song, not hearing the words themselves but feeling the emotion in them. Aonya felt her body weave to the floor and her eyes flew open. The song had stopped. Before her, her father held the sword that glowed in a burning bright light from hilt to tip. She went to reach for it, then paused, looking to her father. He nodded his agreement with a small, pleased smile.

Aonya took the sword in her hands, slowly taking in the vine pummel and the care and detail of the blade. She held it, watching as the light grew brighter at her touch. The light traveled up her arm and down her body as she watched. She felt a warmth grown in her stomach and out through her body. She had known since she was young what her power was, but it wasn't a given until this day. Now everyone knew what she'd known for so long.

She smiled to the small stained glass at the top of the room as the sun took it's spot in the sky and shone it's approval at having her as his vessel in the world.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Flash Fiction (12)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.
By:  Melissa Hayden

I lie here growing weaker and weaker from the wound at my neck. I clutch my ears trying to stop the pain of the running water roaring in my ears. I don't ever remember the sounds of the river being this terrible. I use to love boating up and down the river. But today... my head and body throb.

Pulling my mind from the pain I remember the last feel of Seth's warm hands as he placed me in this small wooden boat and pushed me into the river. I peered over the edge seeing the sadness in his eyes and then fear as the monsters pounced on him like cats of the night. I listened to his screams as the water pulled me away. I wanted to go back but I hurt too much, and felt ill. I couldn't move far from the spot I was in. The ache of the wound from the one that tackled me from behind burned down my body.

I turned my eyes to the full moon. The bats swirling and diving were easy to see in the dark sky highlighted by the moon. I squint at the brightness, an attempt to forget the screams of my village as it fell to a distance.

I groan, curling into a ball. My stomach is turning with the rocking of the water. The few bites of dinner I had before the village was attacked find their way to the bottom of the boat. A strong metallic taste hits my tongue. I remember the taste hitting my mouth when I was running through the town. The air was thick with the slaughter of my friends and family. I try to relax and maybe rest, as this is all I can do. But I can't.

The pain hits me like a wave of rocks again causing my body to shake. The physical pain compacted with the horrors of what happened to my home, my friends and family I whimper but no tears fall. I feel drained. It's all I can do to crawl to the back of the long boat, away from my stomachs rejected contents that I can't stand the smell of.

The swish of the water at the side of the boat drains the energy from my body. When will the pain end?

Just when I can't take it anymore the boat thumps to the shore. I'm too weak to rise from the boat. The fight and now small journey has drained me. But the hunger that ravishes me is growing. I'll try to rest and rise in a bit to find some food. A fresh venison sounds nice, raw and juicy.


"Oh my heavens! Ryan, there's a woman in that boat. Come lift her out. I don't know if she's alive. Oh... the blood." A woman's fear filled words fill my ears. I can smell her switch from worry to fear. But she smells so delicious.

"Step back dear. Let me get her on land and you can look at her." A man, Ryan, says. I can smell his pride and strength as he approaches me.

My teeth ache with the hunger I feel. How long have I been lying here? I don't feel the sun. It has to still be night.

"Oh, so much for our alone time tonight. We have to get her to someone for help." The woman spoke.

"We will. Don't worry." He was closer.

I can hear his steps in the water. The boat tips as he puts his hands on the edge, and leans in swooping me up in his arms.

My jaw drops as my eyes open. He jerks back, stumbling in the thigh high water. But it's too late. He has me in his arms with my head on his shoulder. And now I'm on top of him with the moist ground at his back. I snatch his head and pull him near me. My teeth slide through his skin finding the sweet spot as the thick lush liquid hits my tongue. I groan at the delight of his taste, until I hear the woman scream. I release my grip on his neck laying him down at the edge of the river. Her eyes are wide and I can smell her fear and urine. She's frozen watching me, and I smile showing off my teeth. I will feast like a queen tonight and move on.

Flash Fiction (11)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

By:  Melissa Hayden

I jumped. I didn't even hear my feet slapping the metal floor over the alarm beeping as I woke from my daydream. I starred at the lights lit on the panel before me. It was impossible, or so the few of us left had thought.

We lost many of us that were left when we returned to the dead planet our ancestors once called home. My parents were part of the many we lost when they went out in search of any long lost survivors. When the scouts did return, it was always with the same news. No sign of life.

I tapped a few buttons on the panel before me to zero in on which beacon was picking up a life force. The screen was fuzzy but there it was. Someone, or thing, on two legs walking across the sands. The dry winds blowing the cape it wore behind it and the hood from it's head. A gas mask covered their face so I couldn't tell if it was a man or woman let alone if it was human. Lieing in the sandy ground behind it was a large sphere it must have used as transportation to get here. But from where?

Drat. I was going to be in trouble for not paying attention to the monitors, but who would have thought after these long ten years someone would show up?

I left my seat spinning as I darted for the door. I had to let the others know. I jumped on the elevator that took me down the antenna building I was in. I hustled down the moving steps, their speed to slow for this news, of our spiral metal surveillance center that petruded out of the rock cliff we lived in. I crossed the threshold into the rock mountain we lived in.

"Heeme!" I saw her at the end of the rock hall as I came running. She turned to me, "Get the others! You're never going to believe this. There is someone walking toward us!"

I raced down the hall to gather the elders before Heeme could ask a question.

Panting as I hit the override on the door to enter I stepped into the room, "Geeno! Are you here? You have to come to the meeting room. Immediately!"

"I'm here child. Calm down." Geeno walked into the room drying his hands. "What..."

"There is someone outside. Walking!" I blurted.

Geeno eyed me, "Are you sure you weren't daydreaming again? Maybe all the stories we passed down to you children are too much. There is no way someone can be out there."

"No, Geeno. Sir. I mean, I was daydreaming, but there is no mistaking those alarms. I saw a humanoid walking toward us. I did." I was breathing heavy from the run and adrenaline spike.

Geeno must have seen the truth in my eyes as he picked up the pace, put on his vest, and answered, "Very well. Lets get to the meeting room and see what's going on."

"I told Heeme to find the others." And the door slid shut behind us.

I was curious what news this being could be bringing us, and from where. But how would the elders handle this new being and information? We'd been stranded here for so long.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Writing Update - September

And another month bites the dust. I made a huge promise last month, to get through the story I was working on. I'm slightly disappointed to say, it didn't happen. But! Only slightly. Between being sick for a few weeks and only sleeping and ending the month at a funeral, I just didn't do much. I didn't even get to do much with Flash Fiction this month. Now you know that's bad if I don't get my Flash Fictions up.

However, I did get an amazing opportunity I could NOT turn down. A brainstorming session at The Roundtable Podcast with three AMAZING!! authors - Michael R. Underwood, Janet Morris, and Chris Morris. And the amazing host Dave Robison. So I might have been fretting and panicking over the pitch I was to give. I think I rewrote the thing... I don't even know how many times. I don't think I've been that nervous and stressed over anything since high school. Really!

The session came and went so fast. It was amazing! I left the brainstorming with amazing notes and twists I can easily implement in the story to smooth the holes that were there. Sometimes you need that extra brain, or four, to help you along. I will share the link here when the podcast session goes live.

This is something I haven't taken advantage of before - the help of throwing ideas at someone to curve them. I need to do this more often and not try all on my own. I know this but haven't taken that step. I need to do this.

I did get some new words in rewrites at the beginning of the month:
  With writing and deleting:  823 words
  Flash Fiction:  510 words

I didn't get to the second flash fiction as life took over and I was planning for the brainstorming session.

So what does October hold? Goodness, I hope more time. lol. I want to get back to the story I want finished and to prepare for NaNo of the story I brainstormed with four amazing people. A lot to do and October doesn't seem to want to give me more hours. Bummer.


I can't wait to hear the podcast to see how the whole process worked! Getting the ideas to unfold enough to work with is definitely something I struggle with, so I think Melissa's recent venture would be something all writers would benefit from :)

I suppose that's kind of what's happening with me right now also, as I've delved back into the scholastic side of writing. I'm taking the intermediate prose workshop this year as well as a course that analyzes prose narrative from across the ages and different continents. I'm hoping this will help me hone my work further (and not send me off on tangents with everything cool that I read :p )

For Creative Writing, the focus is on short stories, including Flash Fictions, but also MicroFictions and Postcard Fictions, which all just fit into different word count maximums really. Between in-class work and assignments, I've actually accomplished quite a bit this month.

Here are what my totals look like:

Flash Fiction #10     824
Flash Fiction #11     440
In-class writing      1276 (includes an approximate for hand written stuff too)
1st Assignment        254
Short Story             2203
Total                       4997

Heading into October, the CW class will be reading everyone's work and offering critiques. I'm definitely looking forward to getting input from my fellow writers on how to make that final short story on the list better. I have another short due for the beginning of November, so I'll be working on that as well as weekly in-class stuff and the revisions that need to be done too. I know right now I'm struggling with coming up with unique ideas and attempting to elevate my language in my work so those are the areas I'll be working to improve most over the next few months.

What does October hold for you?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Flash Fiction (10)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

By:  Melissa Hayden

Gavin broke the spell of mesmerization he was under at the sight of the massive tree before him. How had he missed this beauty of color in the pitch of black the world had become? He had crossed paths with little tree folk on their pilgrimage to find a forest, or a few trees left standing to live in, told him to 'wade in the colors of life, and the doorway you seek will appear'. Never did he think this would be the view before him.

The vibrant tree before him, moments ago was deep purple, now is a brilliant red. When he paused in his traipsing through the water the colors stopped changing. But now, the red is dulling to its next shade. Gavin couldn't take his eyes from the leaves. He feared the browns and then dulling to the point of black - if it went that far. He sure hoped it didn't and took another step drawing red from the leaves.

An ornate door, appeared in the ripples of the massive trunk as his eyes trailed down the tree. It reminded him of the doors to the church the lords of the land, that's now black from the raging fires, had worshiped their one god in. Yet there was something different to the scrolled design. He could see the detail better with each step.

His thighs were chilled, and looking down he realized he was now walking up a slope toward the tree. Out of the warm water. He prayed to the gods of life and death that this would be the answer he was searching for. The way back to the way things were. He wanted to rest with his Sarah and Johnny but he needed to right the world first. That was the least he could do for the wrong he'd put into place.

The water of the river he walked through to get here had soaked him to the bone. Gavin didn't even move to wipe the tear pooling on his beard. It wasn't worth the effort. And was it a tear or the water sprays from his steps?

He would talk to the wise man of mystics and magics that lived here. He would know how to care for the world now. The statues standing to each side of the tree were faceless, but held their hands as if welcoming him, or condemning him. He wasn't sure. The trees around the Great Tree of Life had a darkness to them as they reached up to the branches and leaves of the Great Tree, like fire looking to lick at the life they possessed.

Gavin heard the crack of the wooden door opening as he plodded forward. Gavin turned to look over the great river he traveled and back to the open door. He took a deep breath with a quick prayer and walked into the dark interior. What he didn't see was the coal colored dragon hiding behind the full branches of the great tree and the darkness that settled over the tree.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Writing Update - August

Well, August kicked my ass.

*turns to Jackie* Can I say that here? Is it okay?

Back on track. Writing stuff. *sigh* The last month and a half have been non-stop. So much so that I don't know where August went. As I mentioned in the July update, I knew that I wouldn't find words this month with kiddo's sports schedule and readying to send kiddo back to school. And I was right. Heck, even getting the short flash fictions in was a workout that I was sweating over!

August has flown by with a speed I can't imagine. Well, they do say the older you get, the faster time goes. I guess that is starting to become true. But I really wish it would slow just a tad for me.

Yes, I did previously mention I made a few small word counts this month for Flash Fictions. There are two of them:
Flash Fiction 1:  451
Flash Fiction 2:  521

Now school is back in session. We do have games to go to twice a week but we are going to start getting on a schedule here. Kiddo has to do homework. I need to get caught up on my blog, write, and read. Oh and how can I forget I have, HAVE, to get some exercising in. Exercise will help me keep going for all I have planned. So, here's to finding a schedule in September!

Swear away. In fact, you might be ready to kick my ass when I kind of break a promise I'd made a mere few weeks ago....I'll get to that in a minute though. First let's talk about August.

I had big plans for August. I wanted to sit down most days and at least get something going that would give me words to report here, and get me towards a draft copy that I could start querying out in the big, scary world. Well, besides flash fictions, it didn't happen. I did, however, decorate my office finally. I have a few touches still to add, but for the most part, I now have a functional room in which to work. I want to say that's half the battle and all that but, really, it's just another mode I found to procrastinate the business of writing. I'm mentally working on changing this, truly. I just need to find a groove to get me unstuck from the idea that anything else I'm doing should come before the writing. This thinking is dragging me further away from what I really want. It won't happen if I don't do it, right?

Anyway, totals for the month look like this:

Flash 1: 573
Flash 2: 974

I probably could've written more for the second Flash but these posts are meant to be short. It kind of felt like maybe the beginning of something bigger. Perhaps I'll revisit it for NaNo?

As for looks like I will be doing some classes this year, including Creative Writing (if space is still available,) so I'll definitely be working on writing. Just maybe not what I *should* be working on to finally finish up the one project. I'm not sure how this will work out in future months, especially November. I'll have a better idea in a week or two. Until then, I'll be working on keeping my head in the game and getting something down on paper.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flash Fiction (9)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

Ocean's Deep to the Stars
By:  Melissa Hayden

Turning his attention to the side window he sighed. Whatever he thought he say shimmering was gone now. George turned back to watch where the spot light of the submersible combed the ocean floor. He was determined to find the lost city, positive it was here. But after five days of searching George's confidence in his research started to wan. The ancient tablet found in the ocean showed water movements of the time it was from. George had been convinced from the first moment he gazed upon the tablet, seeing the elegant script written on it, that it was from the long lost water faring people - the Atlanteans. They lived off the ocean for sustenance and power. He tracked the changes of the currents science had recorded over the last decades, and related it to what he read in the elegant script of the tablet he found. It lead him here.

It should be here.

George turned his head, cursing under his breath as he rubbed his neck from the heated cramp in his neck from the quick movement. He swore he saw steps out of the corner of his eye. The dark water was playing tricks on him along with his over excited mind.

George turned the submersive to head that direction. At this point what was the harm in checking? he thought. Looking down, he saw it. Lifting his head with disbelief he saw it stretch in front of him.

Pearl stairs shinning in the depths of the dark deep curving as it reached to a swirl of stars above. Stars? Sun didn't even reach here, how was he seeing stars? A bright light flashed and a tall person stepped to the top of the stairs. Slowly the person descended.

George was dumbfounded that a person appeared in what was space and is now walking down steps in the ocean. He's walking, not floating, and definitely not drowning. He must have pulled a muscle in his neck harder than he realized, causing sparks and flashes of light in his eyes. Maybe the oxygen level is low.

The jerk of the vessel brought him around to look at the gauges. He'd ran into the reef. He cursed, thankful his crawler didn't move fast, but feared there would still be damage. Damage he couldn't afford at this level of the ocean, or above as he'd sunk all his money into this expedition. He had to get back to the boat, but to leave this sight...

The person was closer now, having an elegance to his steps that was beyond that of the most balanced dancer he'd seen on television. Now, he could see it was a man... George squinted. The man was dressed in a toga with gold glittering around his head, waist, and arms. The shoes, if that was what they were, laced up his calves. The outfit made him look longer. Almost like he was stretched.

The man was framed with the dark ocean around him, yet he shone with brilliance. He reached the bottom of the stairwell and reached to George. Then George felt the submersive shake.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Writing Update - July

I started the month out strong....then life took over. I worked on re-writes and felt I was making headway. I had a small section I had to enter, which then changed things in the ripple affect of events and what the characters say. But this is good! It's what was needed and wanted. Maybe even draw the two closer together that I needed to bring closer.

Also, getting further into the story I'm finding there are things I have in place in the beginning that I can tie in better or use for what I have going on later in the book. *fist pump* Yes! I love that. I can see it all falling into place and all of it is useful and used. *happy dance* This is a huge thing for me. I was always afraid that I dropped things in that would never be seen again. I'm sure there are a few, but at this point I'm happy. :)

I am even formulating the next story in my mind so there are things I need to drop in this story to explain the next one. Crazy how that happens. ;)

Words added to story (By RoTaNoWriMo which includes the formula for reading words plus added words along with Flash Fiction count):

Actual increase in number (with adding and deleting):

Flash Fiction pieces:
    1st - 655 words
    2nd - 894 words

So, actual words written:  6,783

As for going into August... er, um.... I'm going to have to keep on this writing break, even though it's going to eat me away inside. Kiddo has crazy hours for football practice, and family always comes first. I enjoy watching him practice, and he wants us to watch him practice. So my time will be there. What I'm hoping is once school starts I can get back on a schedule and get this story punched out to a first rough draft that I can ask for help on.

Like Melissa, I started out July strong...though mine was more about being in the right mindset. I had big ideas, I made notes, and seemed to be heading in the right direction...until it came time to implement these into what I already have written. And then it all fell apart.

The project was, and is, never far from my mind but I just couldn't seem to get into the rhythm I needed to keep working. I've thought a lot about why this is and have decided that because what was written was all completely pants'ed during NaNo, it isn't near where I want it to be to start, never mind simply adding into it. The whole thing needs to be stripped down and re-done. So that's how I'll be approaching it from now on. The issue could also have something to do with my reluctance to actually sit and work on it, but I'd rather it was more a result of the first scenario...

I do have some scenes that were successfully written or re-written and also have the Flash Fiction numbers to add in for the month, but the total works out to much less than even 100 words per day for the month. Because of this, I need to push myself further to make sure I sit down and write at least something...a minimum of 500 words, say....everyday most days. Otherwise, I'll be left regretting that I didn't even try.

The totals for the month look like this:
   Flash 1 - 873
   Flash 2 - 261
   WIP  -  1203
For a grand total of 2337.

The only promise I'll make for August is that I will beat July's word count, hopefully a significant increase, but, you know, summer and all that ;)

Here's hoping August is productive for everyone, at least as much as it can be while the weather is still warm and the kids are at home :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Flash Fiction (8)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

By:  Melissa Hayden

She felt the whimper in the back of her dry throat. Her hands and feet twitched as she grazed over the ground, running as fast as they would take her. She twitched her nose as the tall grass slapped her muzzle.

She wasn't fast enough. There was a whine beside her and she tensed her muscles more, hoping they will give her more speed. The dark gray cloud descended around her. Disoriented she tried to run out, turning to get out of the blinding air. Fearing there would be a tree or rock in front of her or get caught, she dropped to the dirt - her stomach and face flat on the moist dirt.

She inhaled the moist smell of earth. It must have rained recently. She savored the smell, having missed it in that prison of tortures. The gray floated around her with a snapping and sizzling. Then it reached tentacles of smoke to her nose and mouth.

Her eyes flew open but she didn't move. Her body felt wrong. The whine was here, beside her. She held her breath. Something weighed on her legs and arms. Warmth. Fuzzy. Her sisters. Her sisters were here with her, protecting her in her new and fragile form. She reached and ran her fingers over the fur of her sisters. The girls had left the skulk to find her. And find her they did. They didn't even shun her for the form she was now forced to take. The witch had cursed her. Now she was on the run escaping the experiments of the witch. She missed having four legs.

She savored the warmth and moment of false safety as she watched the rising sun curled up with her sisters. A twig cracked. At least she kept her fox senses even in this two legged form. She turned her head, her sisters ears all perked.

She didn't want to give away her location, if she hadn't been found. But she turned as her sisters crept off her with their orange fur raised. Her long red hair caught on the bark of the tree at her back. She kept from yelping at the sharp pull on her head. She looked over the large log after she pulled her hair free as her sisters looked through the gap under it.

A person stalked out of the woods, and her eyes caught what hung at his hip. Her sisters started to growl and hiss. She patted their heads and she shushed them. They might be safe for now, but the dark gray cloud that seeped from the woods told her it was time to go.

Serry turned and crawled to the brush with her sisters.

Jackie's preview:

The House on the Bluffs, an original short story by Jackie Lester

       The spot by the river where the fallen tree spanned across the water was always her favourite place to read. It was especially good because, the way the huge limbs had landed, they’d created a natural nook, like the cradle of a mother’s arms, perfect for leaning against and daydreaming. Ryan planned to take full advantage of these things, having nothing better to do at the moment.
      She leaned into the curve of the tree, not even worried how the small bits of bark might become uncomfortable. Ryan didn’t care at all. She just smiled at the pleasure a beautiful summer day like this can bring.

Click here to keep reading.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flash Fiction (7)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

By:  Melissa Hayden

Sarie looked over her shoulder. She was able to keep her wings still now, as she walked through the dark forest far from the village. Everyone thought she was always hyper on fairy dust with the constant movement of her wings, ever so slight even but it was movement. Movement so they didn't see what the shades of blue, purple, and black drew when still. Her mother knew, and she was the only one.

The fairies of the earth would have thought her evil and kicked her from their band if they saw her wings still. Everything here is about living, and Sarie was scrapping by on duties by helping with small things. She was good at making paths of dirt or bare stones to sit on. She could even create benches of old wood. However, she couldn't make the beautiful flowers that shone bright in the sun like the other girls. The few flowers Sarie did make were not of vibrant colors, they were dull and dark of a death essence to them. But she couldn't bring herself to share this with the others. The strange part of it all for her was her flowers only formed from the flowers that had died and moved on to make rich soil for the next flower.

Sarie looked over her shoulder as she crept to the other side of the lake. She made this journey many times in the last ten years. Ever since she passed on Sarie's tenth birthday she'd come on the anniversary of her passing and Sarie's own birthday. She'd always sworn to Sarie she'd be there for her. Sarie needed her as she was the only one that knew what Sarie was. Sarie also made this journey every time one of the fairies passed on to be one with the land they loved. The pull from the dead was to much and she had to dispense of it somehow.

The twigs faintly shifted under her steps. The branches of the bush wilted away from her, granting her access to her spot at the lake. Sarie knelt at the lake side. She felt the thorny vine tattoos shift on her arms, swirling down her arms as she reached for the water's surface.

"Hello, mother." Sarie whispered. She didn't need to whisper but it felt...normal that way.

"Sarie dear. It's happened again?" The voice was like the wind in Sarie's ear. "I wish I could hug you, my child." The skeleton floated to the surface as the thorn tattoos swirled faster.

"It's okay mother. Coming to you and doing this is what helps make the draw subside until the spirit has passed into the earth." Sarie smiled. It was true, yet she wished her mother could hug her again too.

"There are to many passing to soon." Her mother paused then went on, "Has anyone ever seen--" Her mother started to ask.

"No mother. I've kept the skull secret. They haven't seen or figured it out. But I don't know how much longer I can keep it from them. They are expecting much more from me. More of things I can't give, like the rest." Sarie knew if she couldn't pull her own weight she wouldn't be much help to her cousins and fellow fairies.

Her mother knew her thoughts. "They will never ask you to leave for not being strong enough."

"I know mother." Sarie rushed out, "But I want to give like they give to me."

"Sarie dear, it is time." There was silence as they both were afraid to talk about it. Finally her mother went on, "My sweet bearer, you are as important as those who bring life. We haven't had one of your affiliation in far to long and they have forgotten how important you are. Your powers call upon you when one passes to the earth as you are to help guide that soul to it's next life. They will look in the ancient records, and they will find the truth. The time has come child."

"Mother, I don't know if I can. I've lived in secret for so long."

"I know. But from the whispers I'm hearing, they are going to need your calling to help them all. There are evils unlike any they've seen in the past brewing in the distance. And they are coming this way."

"I'll try mother." Sarie wiggled her fingers on the waters surface, remembering the feel of her mothers long lost soft skin.

"You need to tell them dear. And if you are shunned, don't go far. They will be calling you back soon." Sarie felt the wind curl around her in a hug fashion and curled her shoulders with it.

"Thank you mother. I should head back before I'm missed."

"Safe travels my dear." Her mother said as the skeleton slipped into the murky water of night.

Sarie stood there for a moment longer before she left. The thorn tattoos had gone still on her shoulders once again. The village had always thought her mother left to travel the world, not that she had passed on from the vibrant living. She had always hoped to become strong enough to bring her mother back from the dead, but hadn't yet come to that level. Besides, what good was it to be a necromancer fairy in the world of living?


My story is a bit shorter this week. Here's the preview and link to continue reading:

<i><b>The Darkness</b></i>, an original short story by Jackie Lester

&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;As I lay in the dark room, I thought about all of the possibilities.
&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;What if magic was real? Maybe I could grow a pair of wings. Great, diaphanous ones that could take me far away from here. They would be in shades of purple, my favourite colour, and would sparkle in the light like they&rsquo;d been constructed from some material only found on the moon. They would be beautiful and powerful and see me safely through any situation.

The rest can be read by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flash Fiction (6)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

By:  Melissa Hayden

Miamee picked up her pace. The frantic fast walk grew into a jog as she rushed through the shadows of the streets. They were following her. Always following her. The people here thought her crazy, but it wasn't possible for her to be crazy.

She slipped her hand over her short wet hair. The moisture in the air was heavy, leaving an oily condensation on her. Her breath heaved and the puffs of moisture escaped around her as she ran through the alley.

The world quickly shifted around her as she left the city behind and entered the graveyard of her kind. The kind no one knew she was. She had to face the nightmares and visions she had or be driven to this scrap yard like others before her. There was something there in those memories, she knew it. Her creator needed her or someone needed her. And she needed to find out who and why.

The air felt thinner on her sensor enhanced skin outside the city walls. Out here it was harder for her to breathe . She reached down, flipping a compartment open at her waist, and turned the knob. The air breathers would adjust to take what they needed. Miamee found on her first visit outside the city that the air was not lacking in oxygen as the city was. The city has conditioners on street corners where people huddle to inhale pure air. Miamee didn't need oxygen as people did. She still needed it, but she needed it for the steam powered heart - using less of it than the living did. She was created for that purpose and to run the errands through town that her own could not.

Miamee stepped over the wreckage of wires and metal parts. It took Miamee time to figure it out, but there is a path to follow. The analytical mind saw the path, foot step holes in the scrap that appeared to be tossed away. There were even wires outlining a direction, if you looked close enough in the design of the scattered mass of wires. Miamee smiled, knowing there was something here. She simply had to find it.

Looking down at the path Miamee didn't see it. She raised her eyes and jumped back a step, slipping on the muddy metal falling to the ground with a clatter of metal pieces around her. A head blocked her path. Miamee paused. The world grew quiet again as the scraps fell to rest once again. The head hung in the night before her it's eyes glowed red, which was new. Miamee tilted her head left then right. Kali. Miamee crept to her knees, eyes on Kali. She stood, watching Kali. Kali never moved or spoke. His head hung in the air with the night as a canvas.

Miamee's hand was before her, inches from the mask of a face that could easily bite through her treasured skin. But she reached anyway. Her fingers slipped over the smooth metal of his forehead. Down the bridge of his nose to his cheek. His cheek was cracked. Had someone hit him with something harder than his metal frame? Miamee felt the moisture escape her eyes, something her creator saw fit to allow her body to do to fit in with the humans she would be around.

Miamee's other hand came up, seeing he was harmless, to his jaw. With a click under the jaw his mouth swung open with a scream of metal on metal, causing Miamee to flinch. Her hand slipped to the jaw joint on the other side and a click of a button, hidden from view, was pressed.

Miamee didn't know how she knew what to do, but she did. Her body moved without her command. With a click from Kali's head, the tongue popped open on the tip and a note slid out. What did Kali have to share with her?


Preview of (untitled), an original short by Jackie:

Maire walked through the woods, careful where she stepped in case anything was tucked under the loose leaves that covered the ground. The patrols had been through here earlier and had given her crew the all clear but there was just so much crap all over the place. This would be slow going.
She pulled the rolling cart along behind her, the wood creaking as it bounced over unseen roots. Her scanner detected nothing in the vicinity and she grumbled in frustration, wishing she could go faster but tied down by the bulky equipment she needed for the clean up

To continue reading, click here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Writing Update - June

We all have goals each month. Mostly realistic goals. But! We have that one dream goal. You know, the one that you know you most likely are not going to accomplish, but damn wouldn't it be nice if you did. Yeah, that one. I had one for this month. And I feel a little bummed I didn't reach it. Realistically, I knew I wouldn't but I so wanted to surprise myself.

What was it? To get through a full first reading of my novella story and have changes done and to a ground-zero draft. Haha. I laugh now as I might be about half way through the story now, maybe slightly over that. I knew I could reach that goal, but I really would have felt great if I had.

But I will wear the tall, proud feeling for what I did accomplish in June.

Through the month I've been working real hard to keep my nose to the page and the lead scribbling. Now, does that mean the marks are any more than scribbles? Heaven's I hope so. lol.

I've been trying a different tactic with the re-writes with this novella story (still nameless - I'm terrible at these things). I print a section or two, which range from 700 words to slightly over 2,000, then read through it with a pencil in hand. It might take one night or two to get through the section then the next night I sit down at the computer and add in the changes. Sometimes while doing this I make a few more changes as the whole section is fresh in my mind too.

What I'm finding is that many of the shorter sections I can add a few hundred words to. No not much, but a hundred or two hundred words, hey it helps. I knew when writing this, as a Camp NaNo project, that I was missing lots of great moments between characters. I *hopefully* am smoothing out those moments that were choppy and dropped. Oh, don't get me wrong, there are still TONS of missed opportunities. This is only to get me to a rough, rough first draft. But I'm doing it. I feel I'm getting there. That's what's important.

By the count at my Facebook page RoTaNoWriMo (which includes words from a formula for reading in re-writes and Flash Fiction counts) I came out with a total word count for the month of:  5,350

Going by the Novella size, what I've actually added in words:  2,977
Also we had Flash Fictions totaling:
   2 Flash Fictions: 1st at 633 words
                             2nd at 780 words.

Onward I go into July with high hopes and lots of writing to add. I know there is a whole scene I wanted to add that I didn't think of until after I finished this novella. And, with thinking about more stories here I think the ending has to change drastically. Yes, there is lots to do here in the last half of the book, it might even be more time consuming than the first half. ;)

Well, I had big hopes last month for a massive word count addition by the end of June, 10k to be exact. Aaaand, I came nowhere close. Much of the problem is that re-writes are definitely slow going. It didn't help that I didn't work on it a little bit each night as I should have. Things were looking promising for a bit when I sat down one night and, from the beginning, added over 500 words into the first page and a half alone. It just didn't happen frequently enough and stalled as a result.

I do have my Flash works for the month to count in, so not a total failure, but still, I know I can do better and will strive to make that happen. (As I write this, I realize I've just spent a whole weekend NOT writing. I'm hanging my head in shame...)

Final tally:
WIP:      570
Flash 4:  922
Flash 5:  797
Total    2289

Meh, not what I'd hoped. I do understand though that unless I'm working on the re-writes constantly (which is hard to do when working full-time and other life stuff), it will be slow going. I've reconciled my thoughts to that but also given myself the stern talk about working more often, even if it works out to only a 1/2 hour each day. Every little bit will help.

And on the note of talking to myself (that happens a lot, don't tell anyone), I want to mention that I've taken to reading my work out loud to make sure I'm maintaining the tone I want. From writing essays at school etc., it's easy to slip into more formal vernacular. This results in a very boring read, I tell ya. I knew someone that could only read while saying the words out loud. I thought this was sheer crazy talk but now totally understand the value in it. Give it a try and you'll see what I mean :)

For July, I hope to get through a chapter or two of re-writes. I don't think I'll commit to a particular word count but target more a percentage of the overall document. I think at the moment there are 40 chapters in my story, so that would mean 5% re-written. If I get more great, if not, at least I'm still working on it.

Hope your month goes well and you get to write like crazy too!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flash Fiction (5)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

Blood Tears
By:  Melissa Hayden

Ira left her helmet somewhere on the battlefield. Her hastily chopped hair plastered to her head with sweat and blood. She felt the sickly sweet smelling wetness ooze down her face and neck as she stormed through the mud and blood trodden field. She had to get away, leave this all behind before... She pulled and gripped at the buckles and ties of her armor, removing the armor on her arms then her chest plate.

She looked down at her men and the monsters. Her heart ached, as did her body, at the thought of them all sharing the same graveyard. They fought for their lands, their people, but never did they think their spirits would reside in the same home of those they hated so deeply. No one would listen to her when she told them. The goddess had spoken but they didn't want to believe a young girl.

The goddess drew them here. Saturating their very fiber, their blood, with seething. Ira tried to warn them, tell them of the lady they would feed. None listened. All the men felt was the boiling desire to attack. No fair beauty would stop them. They responded with joy and pride to fight for her and to save all the fair ladies of their land.

The once beautiful and fruitful field is now graced, with now delicacy, with blood and gore. The men were cut and mangled by teeth and claws, some even by bastard swords and stones. The dead beasts lay surrounded by bodies of men, but all the blood mingled all the same. As will the spirits until the end of time.

Ira pulled at the strings of her leg armor, kicking it from her. She weeped as she stumbled over an arm, or leg, at this point she couldn't tell anymore. She slipped on the soggy ground, landing face first in an open abdomen. She rolled and wretched, but all that came up was yellow then red. There wasn't anything left to extract. Goddess love her, there wasn't anything in there to start with. She couldn't eat knowing what was coming.

She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand seeing the bright red of fresh blood when she pulled it away. She touched her eyes with her fingers, drawing them back to see the same liquid there.

"Noooo." She wailed to the silent sky.

The Goddess emerged from a white cloud. She approached Ira, and Ira watched the striking woman. Ira dropped her eyes, not wanting to offend the goddess, but she felt the goddess's eyes never looked from Ira. Never look to the brutal deaths around them.

The goddess put a gentle hand to Ira's head, her hair sticky with blood - of her own or others she did not know - grew to the long locks she had before she joined the army. The goddess gently brushed the long hair from Ira's eyes.

"My dear child. You were chosen by me. This could have ended in two ways. They chose this ending. You were in this battle and survived this tragedy for a reason." She paused and Ira waited. "To be my vessel and carry my word."

"But," Ira felt her voice hoarse from yelling through the battle, "but they won't listen to me. You saw..."

Ira looked up to see the goddess smile. A smile that stopped Ira in mid thought, and scared her.

"That, my child, is why you will be the blood child. You saw and fought here. You are the sole survivor and now carry in you my power of blood magic."

The goddess drew her hand to Ira and as it neared, Ira saw the crown of red weeping roses she held.

"You carry the power of my will. You will be worshiped by all in my honor. You will work my deeds among the people." The voice echoed through the dead air of the land.

Ira tilted her head and gasped from the sharp pain of thorns embedding themselves, and the rose crown, into her skull. She was now one with the death goddess. This was her reward and punishment, all in one. She failed yet succeeded. Terrible the tricks of the gods.

Ira opened her eyes, feeling the thick tears that were coming heavy at first now slow. She turned to see the dead soldiers and beasts alike on their knee around her as she stood. She was in command now, for her patron goddess.

She felt the hot tears roll down her cheeks again, as well as the dripping from her head. She and her rose crown weep the blood of her soldiers.

She always would.


Preview of The Runaway, an original short by Jackie Lester

They might as well have left the thorns on the roses they'd used to form the circlet that held Abhi's veil. Though slight, its meaning seemed to weigh the headdress down painfully on her head, like it was creating a million tiny cuts, blood seeping from each wound. Looking in the mirror, she struggled to reconcile the reflection that revealed the simple, delicate ring of white roses. Instead of blood, it was only the glistening of tears that stained her cheeks.

To keep reading, click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flash Fiction (4)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

Bright Light and Dark Swirls
By:  Melissa

The light reflected off her colorless eyes. He watched from the brush, returning his attention to her cupped hands as she created a butterfly out of the glowing light. She didn't know he was here or she wouldn't be using her magic. He knew when he first saw her that he couldn't do what he was sent to do, and hadn't returned to the Lord in a week. He'd be beheaded for not finishing the job.

His first view of her was of her cloaks hood hanging low, nothing but shadows visible underneath it. There were the dark veins curling over her hand and arm as she held it out. He notched his arrow and readied for the shot, then he paused as she reached for a blacked flower. He knew she had done that, was positive from what he'd heard of this hag of a witch that lived in the forest.

Stories raced through the town of the children she'd stolen, cooked, and eaten. The spells she put on their crops and animals, spoiling all so the town starved. Yet he paused when she bent. Strands of bright blonde hair slipped from the shadows of the cloak. He watched the section of hair. It was the color and movement of hair belonging to a young woman.

In that stalled moment of time he watched with intensity, as if he was caught in a spell, as she cupped her hands and light bloomed. The magic didn't surprise him, but what did was the flower grew into a vibrant lavender blossom, tall and strong. A squirrel came to sit beside her, along with rabbits and other small animals of the forest. He knew in that moment she was not the culprit of what was ailing his home town. The forest would not react to a being as so, not if it wished death upon it.

When she sat, she pushed her dark hood back. He dropped the bow and covered his mouth to keep from gasping. She was stunning. Her petite nose and thin lips accented her fragile structure. Her eyes are what he couldn't look away from, as pale as the blue sky on a clear summers day, almost of a pearl white. She smiled as the animals rubbed against her, and she petted them as they were her own companions.

Over the last week he's watched her nurture the soil and animals around her. Today, he watched the newly formed butterfly flutter from her hands and around her head, drawing a smile to her delicate face. He couldn't do what he was hired to do and he couldn't return home either. That would be certain death and disgrace to his family. Better they thought he died in the forest. Would she accept him here in the forest? He'd seen her each day for a week and couldn't bring himself to approach her. Surely she wouldn't turn him away, not from what he'd seen of her interactions with the forest.

"Come. I'm tired of waiting for you." She spoke softly.

He narrowed his eyes on her. Was she talking to him? She didn't look up from the rabbit she was petting.

"Yes. I'm talking to you. You've wasted a week in that brush. You think I wouldn't know? The forest tells me much." Her voice was felt like the breeze in his face, forward yet warming.

Now her pale eyes were on him. He was buried in the brush, she couldn't have known exactly where he was. Yet her eyes met his without searching. He birthed from the brush and walked to her, seen anew with her eyes.

The girl grinned. He had forgotten about the marks on her arm, until he saw the dark swirls curving up her wrist over her hand.

Jackie's sneak peek:

(untitled), an original short story by Jackie Lester

Sleep lifted from me at an infuriatingly slow place. I was aware of an intense heat around me though I still couldn’t quite manage to open my eyes yet. I struggled to pull at whatever was tied around my neck, making breathing seem impossible but my fingers failed me. There was nothing to grasp. I pushed hard against my eyelids, praying they would open and I could see where I was and what was going on around me.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Writing Update - May


Well, it was a tough go this month. My time has become divided among a few projects I was working on, and not all are WIPs. I started a content editing page where I advertise my content reading services to authors. Then I was preparing for Balticon, where I was a panelist on five different panels (and can't wait for next year to do it all over again!). To end the month I found a local literary festival I wanted to attend, many local authors and it was free to get in. Had to go! lol.

As for my journey with words this month... er, *looks to the side and floor* I'm guilty as charged. I wasn't as productive this month.

In all of this I found that Jayda's story and world were to in depth for me to try to grow and workout with everything else I had going. I want to get through her story and make it happen, but I think I need a time where I can sit down and do nothing other than her story. Maybe when I'm on vacation in July?

So I ventured to another little piece I have, a Steampunk Romance of a fairy tale remix of sorts. The story has taken on a feel of it's own, away from the fairy tale I was using as a base for it and I'm excited for that.

Another thing I'm excited to be working at again, Flash Fiction shorts with Jackie and Blodeuedd. *sigh* These are fun and make me curious for what I could expand on. We did two this month, one had a science fiction flare to it as the second was more of an urban fantasy.

As for words... According to RoTaJanNoWriMo (which includes 10% of words read in re-writes) I got out 3,047 words. That's not much. But it is re-writes and they take me FOREVER.

The actual numbers my projects increased by, 2,761 words:
Steampunk Romance:  1664 words
Flash Fiction 2:  468 words
Flash Fiction 3:  629 words


Unlike Melissa, I didn't have a whole lot going on during the month of May. Naturally, that should've meant so much extra time to work on my writing. Turns out, not so much. Most of me free time was used planting my garden and finally enjoying any nice weather that came my way. I caught up on reading as well, using these as research (that's how I justified it anyway) in what to do or not and maybe ideas of how to improve my work. The good thing is that the more I read great writing, the more I'm convinced to keep trying...not to say what I have or will have is great, but that's the goal eventually (one can hope ;).

I totally agree with Melissa about her struggles with Jayda. I have the same issue and really, it's just that I have no idea where to go from here. More needs to be added but I feel I need to absorb my first draft, wear it like a second skin, so I know it all inside and out as I try to expand and alter what I already have to make it even slightly palatable. It's intimidating as hell, hence the constant procrastination.

In the mean time, I did write the two Flash Fictions, as Melissa mentioned. Also, I woke up one morning after an incredibly vivid dream and started making notes for a new project, potentially a YA one. If I can get a bit of world-building done, this might be a fun one to work on. Lastly, I actually did some research for the WIP that I most want completed as well as a few notes. Here's my tally:

Flash #2       467
Flash #3     1190
YA outline   757
WIP            450
Grand total 2864

I would be happier with that number if it was a weekly total but at least it's something anyway.


Okay Jackie. After seeing the month we had, I'm going to set a goal. June is going to be a month of setting new habits (or attempting to). I'm going to exercise and re-write alternating days during the week, Sunday through Thursday. I'm hoping to get at least half way through this story. Now remember, this story is just shy of 40,000 words so shouldn't be to bad. I would like to say I'll get through the whole thing, but there is loads to grow so at least half way is my starting goal. But I'm going to push for more.


I'm going to try to work on the same kind of every-other-day schedule as Melissa, providing I can keep it consistent around real life events too. Of huge note for me is an event featuring Diana Gabaldon on the 20th, which should be amazing :)  For the writing, I would like to see at least 10k added to my work in progress and then maybe a 2 or 3k extra words from Flashes and other notes I make along the way. I've been lax in actually getting the work done so if I can meet this goal I'll be happy; if I can beat it, crazy happy dancing will ensue ;)

Have a great June all!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Flash Fiction (3)

Jackie, Blodeuedd, and I are back to working up some Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal and Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

Enjoy our quick glimpses into worlds of the unknown.

Rooftop Angel
By:  Melissa Hayden

Adon leaned forward as he placed his hand on the smooth weather rounded edge of the roof top. Running his fingers through the warm flakes and over the sleek perfect surface of the stone, even as the world fell apart around him. It was one of the oldest structures on the city. He remembered when it was built and how time had changed around it. The solid building held together through hundreds of years as the weather beat on it, rounding the edges to give way for nature.

Leaning forward Adon was to the point of gliding from the top of the building to help the few remaining on the streets. He was stopped by a strong hand on his shoulder, pulling him back to the flat walkway of their temple.

“It’s for the best.” The deep baritone voice said.

Adon couldn’t take his eyes from the crumbling world below him. “Is it? How do you know?”

“The world has done this before. It cleanses itself and starts anew.” The calm in the deep voice started to rattle Adon’s thoughts.

It couldn’t be okay, to watch as this happened. It felt wrong. After all the years with these creatures his heart knew a love for them, even if they weren’t perfect. But that was the draw. They weren’t perfect. Not like his kind. Not created in perfection and when they didn’t live up to that impossible expectation, to simply be tossed away. The only reason his kind still lived was in their creation they were born to immortality. A flaw their creature made sure not to repeat. The powers that discarded them to this land know of ways to kill the Fallen. Hunters had been sent over the years to eliminate his kind from existence forcing them to live in hiding while trying to help the world as best they could.

Adon shook the warm ashes from his hair and wings as he turned on the balls of his feet to face the tall brilliant man behind him. “And this is it? This way?” Adon could feel the anger rising in his voice with his heart beats.

“You are young, Adon. You did all you could to help them.” It was acceptance in the deep voice. Acceptance for what they were doing to flesh and bone of mankind.

“It wasn’t enough!” Adon’s temper broke from the cage he was containing it in.

The last hundred years had been his time. He was to help the mere mortals through the changes, to not let them get away from themselves. And he couldn’t do it. Not alone anyway. And Apyon, his father, wouldn’t help. He’d given up on the race after Adon was born, his sweet love dying of the drugs humans gave to their own kind behind barred windows in the place where those that speak of ‘what’s not real’ end up calling home.

Adon turned to look over the edge again, working to his long memory the world when it was at its prime. The gray fluffy flakes thinned as the wind blew up to the sky allowing Adon the view of a woman staggering against the wall stories below him. She coughed as the fires raged through buildings and the streets. Adon felt the earth quake and saw it rip open. He watched as the hungry earth awakened into a predatory monster as its gapping maw grew, reaching to swallow her.

If he had a soul, he was sure what it would tell him to do. The mortals he loves are now dying before his eyes.

This was the last leap of faith for him.

He heard his father call after him as he descended to her. He had to try, even if the hunters saw him fly.


The Stone Guard, an original short story by Jackie Lester

    He looked down from his vantage point. It was dark now, allowing the light from the penthouse apartment to shine brilliantly. It was made that much more spectacular by the falling snow. The floor to ceiling windows were still uncovered and he watched as the woman moved from her kitchen, cradling a steaming cup in her hands, to drop herself into the plush red sofa in the sitting area.
    Raven tried to pull himself away, knowing it was time for him to rest. He also knew the woman would be safe now that she’d been returned to her home. Returned by him.

Click here to continue reading.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flash Fiction (2)

Jackie, Blodeuedd and I are back to working up Flash Fiction fun. We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. We are starting today with the first Flash Fiction. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live JournalBlodeuedd will be posting on her blog.

By:  Melissa Hayden

Meesha dropped her chin a touch, raising the inside of her eyebrows knowing it gave her brown eyes a wide-eyed look. Her eyes roamed the dark street as she hobbled down the metal sidewalk. Meesha redirected her hand from rubbing at her sore thigh to weaving through the air with the growing volume of music. Good thing she found the decorative gold band in the dressing room with this outfit. The stocking and band will hold it together, hopefully long enough for her to get back.

She looked over her shoulder. Meesha cursed herself. That was a rookie response, but with her leg losing feeling with each step, she couldn’t chance he find or follow her.

Almost there. Just to the end of the block. The street was filling with others, men and women of all creations for the nightly bazaar. She leaned forward, picking up her pace. Step, slid, step, slid. She could do it. The attire she found in the dressing room will let her blend in. Everything was revealing in this heated world, and she looked at her amounting exposed skin. She thought she was lucky that one of the dancers had a lover on the side that liked to grace her with the gold and metals plentiful in this station. She should blend right in, even if she wasn’t used to this dress.

The buzz of a scooter hit her ears causing her to stumble. Don’t look. Keep moving. Act normal. Another coming to the bazaar. She kept telling herself as the scooter hovered at her back.

She turned at the tall door, reaching for the scanner as she was yanked back onto the scooter by hard hands. One clasped over her mouth, the other around her waist. In this costume she had nothing to fight with. No secreted knives, no blasters. With this much skin showing, she was lucky to have the sheer material draped at her back to put the minimal protection between her skin and the sticky seat she landed on.

“Now I have you.” The stench of death from his meal breezed through the man’s mask turned Meesha’s stomach as his hoarse voice went on. “You thought you could get away with it. It’s mine and you are too.”

He was an off-worlder, maybe a Theadian from the size of his hands. But what would he want with the wand? It didn’t matter; the magic in it was desired by many on this side of the galaxy, probably from the other side too.

“Go.” He roughly called to the driver. “I have what I came for. Get to the ship and off this station.”

When he looked down at her, Meesha saw his eyes blink. Twice - once down, once across. Definitely a Theadian and she’s in his fierce grasp.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Writing Update - April


**Beginning of April:
So, I'm working on re-writes. Skyla Dawn Cameron has pushed me out of my comfort zone and wants me to share some writing with her. *deep breath* This is something I struggle with. I don't share. I have no faith in what I write, and reading what I have...I believe it's justified (at this stage). I'm struggling. I have no idea what method works best as this is the first time for me to do hard core re-writes. But, I'll get there. I will get some of this done and share it with Skyla. That's my first step in improving and facing my fears. My goal, by April 15th to have something to send her - no matter how small.

In the beginning I decided I didn't like Jayda's story anymore. It's a disaster and I don't know what the definite rules were again. Then I decided to dig in and tear it apart. I'm keeping the concept of everything but rearranging when things are shared - moving to what I think at this time is the appropriate scenes. Haha, funny. I realized I was doing a major info dump at the beginning, and that wouldn't work. I need to gradually come to it all, not smack the reader in the head. And that's what I'm trying to do.

I've used colored stickies with coordinated colored pencils. I've marked the different sections with different colors; what is to move to where and world info that I need to work in with what everyone does to explain why. Will it all work out in the end? We will see. I'm sure my method will change a number of times as I go through the story.

**End of April: got complicated. I know, it's not an excuse but it did take from my me time. I spent loads of hours going over the first 3,000 words of the story. Probably too much time. I ended up taking what I had and re-wrote it all. Added, deleted, adjusted, and flat out re-did it. So that's started and I need to get on to the next section. I still have notes on the side that I want to add in, whether in this section or later I'm not sure.

I did, however, give up on the colored pencil thing. I do have stickie notes with things to add along with scrap papers everywhere with ideas to add in. *sigh*

I've been tracking my word count two different ways. The count I'm going to list below is actual adjust to original count. On my tracking for RaToJanNoWriMo group I've been tracking the reading and changes. They calculation is:
     (words edited before changes) x 10% = Y
     Y + (changes, whether - or +, make +) = count

I still didn't have a great count at the end. I think only 3,500 words total. This re-writing is the part I don't know how to do it. I try to not spend too much time as the draft I have is horrid! But to get a story to a point that it's useful. I know I'm going to have to do many edits to get it to anything reasonable, but... Oh well. Onward I go.

I will mention...I have been getting an urge to write shorts again. I miss doing the Flash Fiction Fridays and when I see some of those images at Pinterest, well I want to write a short few thousand words. I think I'm going to have to do so for a month, create a bunch of different stories as the mood strikes me. Maybe after I get through Jayda's story once.

Also, you may have seen the first post, but my Flash Fiction buddies are back at it! Blodeuedd, Jackie, and I have been wanting to get back to these and finally have. I'll post my shorts here with a teaser and link to Jackie's post. We'll also link Blodeuedd's site if you'd like to visit her as well.

My Final Counts for April:  2,131
Total actual additional words:   1,729
Short story:  402

It's nothing to call home about, but it's a start. Being it's my first time going back through a story and trying to make something of the mess I have, it's a good start. For me anyway.

May is a big month of events for me, school picnic and BALTICON!!! lol. I'll work my best at getting through more sections, and getting the first...6k? to Skyla to laugh at.


I was going to start my part here with a lament about not getting anything done because of illness, end of school stuff, and whatever other excuses I had. That is, until I realized that I'd actually done the Flash while it was still April! So I have a word count!:

Flash short: 723 words

The sad part was that I was trying very hard to keep it within the 250-500 word range. Oh well, maybe on the next one, right? The important thing was that I wrote and published (as much as LiveJournal can be considered publishing) something. I will take it!

In other news, I finished up my courses at school for the 2013-14 Fall/Winter term. I managed to squeeze out an A in my Creative Writing course and was told by the professor that my short story was the strongest of all my work. It gives me a little extra confidence building which will hopefully stick with me in an encouraging fashion, outside of the school format, to keep up with my writing. The shorts mentioned above will hopefully aid in stirring up the creative juices. Meanwhile, the novels I'm reading now (I'm trying to make up for lost time) are intended for a little de-stressing as well as further research in what to do (and not to do) throughout a large project. I'm excited to get back to edits and have another complete draft done in the foreseeable future.

With respect to my "reading for research" notion (it isn't really mine and it's definitely not original, it's just that I'm more aware now,) I want to mention the use of metaphor and imagery in the books I read in the latter half of April: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and Proven Guilty & White Night by Jim Butcher. I enjoyed the Galbraith book for its simple mystery (though she took over 400 pages to break it down.) When it came to metaphor, I found my eyes going a bit crossed at times, particularly when a muddy puddle was used to describe the state of the case at one point. The beginning idea seemed to fall apart the more it was being explained. In contrast, Butcher can write the heck out of metaphors, making them surprising, culturally relevant, and just plain fun at times. I haven't been big on the use of these writers' tools but I will be paying close attention to other books to see if I can learn from them and improve this facet of my own work.

Going into May, my plan is to write the Flash shorts, work on edits, and read as much as possible to expand my horizons. I'll add pom-pom shaking to the list, to keep Melissa working as best she can to meet her goals :) Let's see what happens from here...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Flash Fiction (1)

Blodeuedd, Jackie, and I were big fans of Flash Fiction Friday a while back. We participated in these every week, having a new short story to share every Friday. Then life happened. We got busy with so much going on. Along with the image protection of artists that slowed us in getting images to inspire. (Note: we are fans of artists getting recognition. We love their images and feel inspired ourselves from them.)

Now fast forward months, maybe even a year. We miss it. We want to do Flash Fiction again and we came about to doing it.

We will do flash fiction posts every two weeks, give or take due to holiday's and such. We are starting today with the first Flash Fiction. I will post my complete story here. Jackie will add the beginning and a link to her flash fiction on her Live Journal. Blodeuedd will be posting on her blog.


The Ax's Call
By:  Melissa L. Hayden

As the moon drifted behind clouds and the gaseous fog thickened, Ax tilted her head back causing the heavy hood to slide from her pale face, granting Ax a wider view of the dark street. She flexed her fingers, keeping the irritation of waiting from tightening her grip on her specially crafted crossbows.

Ax blinked three times. Knowing she should lower her hood, she didn't. She needed to put the call out. The towns people weren't her worry. If anyone saw her eyes from their barred windows they'd think they were glow stones at their neighbors, or some poor soul lost to the gases. The humans stayed in at night due to the thick fogs, it was safest, but once in a while there were those that lost their minds to the gases.

She hadn't heard of any lost to the gases here, but she'd not gone looking for those tales. The rumors of this town's horrors hit her ears three days prior and she wasted no time arriving, then out to hunting.

Ax turned, her metal crafted crossbows at the ready, to the sound of nails scraping on metal and stone. He was close and on the move.

Ax moved with her back to the wall, grateful she oiled the hinges in her armor after last night's fruitless search. Even though it didn't come to her last night, she'd left a trail for it. And it was baited. She needn't move far, it'd come to her. Ax felt her lips stretch across her teeth, she lived for these moments. This is what she was created for.

She saw the shine of her eyes flaring brighter off the swirling gases. Ax then noted the sudden shift of the mist. She steered the even weight of her crossbows into the mist moving toward her. Squeezing the trigger of one bow while coiling tension tightened in her other trigger finger, as the next spiced arrow of the first bow slipped into place.

Ax felt her heart jump at the wail of the beast. She widened her eyes, looking into the mist, drawing the evil to her, calling it with her glowing eyes.

The scrapping of nails and pounding of its feet answered her call. They always came to the glowing eyes of a potential mate. It would find no mate here. A fight for dominance, yes. But Ax would win, for she is the ax.


Bird's Eye
by Jackie Lester

Kara stood with her back to the gate. Her senses were already heightened, now even more so since initiating the connection with Breen, her crow. Her normally hazel coloured eyes blazed with a light so bright, it blocked everything in front of her. It was always a little disorienting at first but she quickly adjusted to her new vantage point, looking over the town through the eyes of her bird.

To keep reading, click here: Bird's Eye

Monday, April 21, 2014

Writing Update - March


Well, I had a goal of 20,000 words for the month. That seems to be my normal goal these days. The month started off slow for me. I didn't get to really sit down and write until Saturday 15th. And when I did I started off with over 5,000 words. Then Sunday I added another 1,700 words. The weekend was just shy of 7,000 words by 72. Shame. I should have sat down to get those 72 words. But that got me on a roll as I'm coming down the pike to the end of Christmas Spirit.

It's like an adrenaline rush when you are coming down those last words, even if it is about 22k. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it feels damn proud to be approaching it. All that work, hell ya! I'm sprinting toward it. I want to see those two little words typed on the page. The End.

The month closed with me totaling out words at.... 20,001!
Yes, I broke the 20k I wanted, barely. lol. The sweet thing, I got to write The End. However, the bad news, it was about 5k short of the 70k I wanted. It's okay. I know. It'll add up when I get to re-writes, but I was sort of hoping, and looking forward too, seeing 70k. But, it's done and shelved. I'll go back to it later and see how I feel about it.

I picked up Jayda's story. Ga! Is that a mess. I didn't realize how bad it was until now. But, started tearing it apart. I'm re-writing things to different areas. Important to remember, SHOW, not Tell. And I'm trying to fix that now.

Total words for March:  20,001
   Christmas Spirit:  17,871
   Jayda's story:  2,130


For me, March was about wrapping up my Creative Writing course and finally doing the re-writes as suggested by the teacher. I had gotten decent grades throughout the term, so I didn't want to mess with them too much. The last assignment was a portfolio to be handed in, worth 40% of my final mark but a second copy was needed to apply for entrance into the Creative Writing major or minor program. I've applied to add the CW minor to my degree but won't find out until late May/ early June if I'm accepted. Either way, I'm glad I actually applied. It forced another big step in the process of showing my work to others. All applicants are assessed by the members of the CW department, so it means more people seeing what I wrote and determining its worth. I have to admit, that's kind of scary. Whatever happens, at least I tried, right?

In pulling the portfolio together, it meant looking for any possible themes in my work or perhaps a recurring tone, etc. This was a bit eye opening for me because I mostly enjoy writing with a bit of humour but noticed that my school work tended to hit on human emotions and experiences. In fact, I think it all was a bit sad in the end though I believe the work wasn't totally without hope either. Still, I felt it wasn't a true reflection of what I'm capable of, particularly in light of my larger NaNo drafts, so I did manage to add in a couple of pieces that lightened the overall mood of my portfolio and added the levity I prefer to write with. It will be interesting to see what comments I receive back on these works and the portfolio as a whole, but I have to wait until the and of April. Cue the nail biting...

Now, it's time for me to get back to those first drafts I have and see if all that I've learned can make them into finished works worth sending out for query. That's my plan, at least where to start, going into April. Hopefully I can join Melissa in a word count celebration by the end of next month :)