All posts by Sandra Hults

Every path I make, every road leads back

Current listening:  How Far I’ll Go – Auli’i Cravallho

Current Reading: The Other Boleyn Girl – Phillipa Gregory

So, long time no write. Things have been busy here in life.  Work is crazy. Home life is crazy and I’m just squeaking in time to do revisions.  Still no breathing room save for an occasional snippet here and there.

So the song above got me thinking about a particular character and a thread I want to follow.  This picks up with Tanya after she’s spoken with Christi.  Check out the post before last if you would like to catch up.

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Light above, how did she end up babysitting her cousin in such affairs? Tatiyana though with a scowl.   Christiana summoned her to the capital from her home in the North to such an end.  She too had felt the force of Alexandra’s arrival.   In truth, the Queen indicate the twins might be the only people capable of either talking to or beating sense into either one of them.   Sion and Tanya agreed to a plan of attack and executed it with a frightful fluency.  That plan of attack started here at Jade Manor where Marc was more or less licking his wounds.

“Up cousin.“   Tanya growled and jerked the coverlet from her still sleeping cousin.  Her life with Dominic had her awake at odd hours.  At the moment the night was well underway and rain battered the house.   The rain reflected her annoyance at this particular task. Once, years ago,  she sought to correct Marc’s behavior.  The beating she had given him then should have been enough.   She scowled. “Get up or I drag you up,  Marcus.  I do not care.  You are going back to the capital if I have to drag you unconscious. You’ve hurt enough people with your behavior.”

He felt her presence and her magic just before entered his chambers.  Her magic tested the Manor’s wards.  When she jerked the covers away,  he  muttered an oath dark enough to blister the most desensitized ears.  She could not have known he slept sans clothing.  Tanya had been in multiple camps with soldiers.  His comment did not offend her.  “Hurt enough people, you say?” Marc muttered and sat up.  He shot Tanya a dark look. “Did anyone bother to take stock of the hurts deal to me in the entire affair?  Or did no one bother to fill you in about why I left?”   His arrogance hid a wealth of hurt and anger at the current state of affairs.  Light damn it, he missed Lily but he could not risk her for the sake of his sister’s secrets.

“We all have our roles to play, Marcus.  You know that.  Fate does what she will. You know that too.”  Tanya murmured and sat on the edge of the bed.  She failed to notice her cousins state of dishabille and spoke on gentle tones that he was unaccustomed to.   “You both are much like your element.  So much potential to destroy and yet containing the warmth to encourage life.  Perhaps the understanding comes more easily to me because I am fluid like mine.  Go home Marc.  Your sister misses you.  Lily’s pissed as hell at you and Ariana is looking for your help to ease her heartbreak.  Would you choose to nurse your own wounds in favor of leaving theirs to fester?”

Her question brought a scowl to his lips but before he could respond, she continued.  “What is here for you but the lonely halls of hurt and regret?  What is here for you but your anger and an empty home?”  Tanya finally looked at him and flushed to the roots of her hair.   How could she have not noticed his lack of clothing!  “Forgive me. I will be downstairs once you’re dressed, Marcus.”   Her quick, embarrassed exit from the chamber was followed by a warm wave of his laughter.

A few minutes ticked by as Tanya willed her cheeks to cool.   Soon enough Marcus joined her downstairs.  Without a word he said nothing and pulled her into a tight embrace.  “Thank you for not skewering me on sight, cousin.  You’re the calmest presence I’ve had in this house in days. I apologize for your embarrassment.”   He felt Tanya bristle at the contact and thank the Light again that she had not drawn Hope in response.   Marc set her back with a gentle smile.  “I know you mean well and you’re right,  I have some wounds to heal and forgiveness to seek but this is a two-fold problem.  Christi sent for you did she not?”

When she nodded he guided her to the couch and sat down,  indicating that she should join him.  When she sat he willed the fire to  life before them.   “I cannot deny our Queen’s direct order.  That is flirting with treason and I am not that but I refuse to go back before I repair this rift with my sister.  Lily will take time. I know that.”  Marc explained. When he first arrived here weeks ago,  he  was so angry he could not see straight.  He was still angry.  This was uncommon in him.  Like his element, his temper usually burned out fast and forgiveness came just as easily.

Tanya chuckled.  “I somehow thought you would fight harder, dear boy.”   His laughter perked a brow in her.   “But I see you are not the man you were years ago.  You know Fate does what she will and your sister did what she felt was best.   Not right but best to maintain the illusion  and fool our adversaries into a sense of security.   She needed you to believe.”

As she spoke, Marc nodded.  “Perhaps.  That is a matter I will discuss with her in due time.  Do you intend to stay the night?  I would be delighted to have you at least until tomorrow night so you can return to your home well rested and reputation for kicking my ass intact.”   Tanya agreed with a laugh and the pair spent the night talking.   Just after dawn,  Marc put Tanya to bed in the guest room and meandered back to his own chambers. They agreed that her twin would send Alexandra to him once his end of their mission was complete.

Quotes and thoughts

Current Listening:  Spectrum of Sky – Break of Reality

Current Reading:  The Constant Princess – Philippa Gregory  (Great read if you love historical fiction)

So my favorite hostess got me thinking with this week’s prompt.  I had to think about this one and put it in some kind of context of the insanity we are smack dab in the middle of today.   For those of you that consider what is happening today in our country a “return to normalcy”,  you’re part of the problem.   There is nothing normal about what is happening in our country today.  Blame people, blame the opposition, blame politics, blame whatever suits our little fancy but calling it “normal’ is like trying to convince a fussy toddler to take a nap.  Good luck with that.

Moving on,  this week our hostess gave us the following quote:

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~Roald Dahl

So  I had to think about this one a bit to decide what I wanted to say.  I could go the easy route.  I mean, hell, I write fantasy so that isn’t too much of a stretch, right? Today, in light of the current state of affairs,  I decided to go off the rails.  If you don’t care to read anything more about the political/social climate in this nation, stop reading here.  If you want to know this writer’s thoughts on the matter, keep going.   Is there magic left in the world or are we all to jaded to appreciate the simple beauty of living?    If you do see magic in the world still,  where do you see it?  Humor me in the comments if you do.    I see it in the laughter of good companionship.   I see magic in a child’s laughter.  I see magic in music that goes for the gut.  I see magic in the power that words have to challenge our way of thinking.

Challenge is a hell of a word right now.  From a political standpoint,  we have a hell of a challenge before us.  To the people that are stating “let it go, he won”,  enough already.   This country is built on the freedom to speak up when we disagree.  Civil discourse and debate are woven into the fabric of our nation.  This has nothing to do with anyone being liberal or a sore loser.  This has to do with people standing for what they believe is right and guarding what they believe their personal ideologies are.   People standing for a right that people have lived, bled and died for.  I do not mean our soldiers though I have the utmost respect and love for them because of the decisions they are faced with.  Many things they are required to do by their very nature I cannot fathom.  I mean people who have protested, marched and given their lives to see what is wrong with our country righted.

I am a middle aged woman and I have seen my share of justice and injustice in the world.  I have criticized and been criticized like most of us have.  I have debated and argued and left things at agree to disagree.   If you want to see what true non-violent civil discourse looks like,  go look up some of the news footage from the civil rights movement.   (Check out CNN’s special on the 60s.  There’s an entire episode dedicated to the civil rights movement with news footage and interviews with many civil rights activists at the time. People who stood up for this came from all walks of life. I personally learned a great deal from it. If anyone has any other great references on the topic, drop me a line. I’m listening.)

For those of you that think these problems do not exist today,  you have your head buried in the sands of complacency. The problems never went away.  Ask an African American.   Ask a beautiful woman what happens when she walks down the street.  Or any woman when she talks to a mechanic for that matter.  (Personal experience on that.)  People have a right to protest what they disagree with.   People have a right to that civil discourse on either side of the aisle.  This is how change happens in our nation regardless of what you believe or think,  whether you are liberal or conservative.   The labels do not matter.   To believe otherwise is to betray the foundation of our nation.   If you want change, get involved in your local communities.  Stay informed.  Ignorance of the problem will not give anyone a resolution.

That, my friends, is the magic of our country.  Other countries would kill to have our freedoms.  People have traveled from all over the world to live here.  Speak up. Make a difference.  The words “I do not agree” are not offensive.  The words “I stand for (insert issue here)”  are not offensive.  Do not be afraid to use them. If you think about it,  those same sentiments birthed our nation.

I think I am going to leave you with a quote from a man that has always impacted me in his words and thoughts about our nation and where we need to go as a people. The first quote is often shortened but the entire quote seems more relevant today than any words I can personally think of.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   (1963)

One more…

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, 1964

What do you guys think?  Inbox is open, comments are open.  Track me down on Twitter if you want,  I’m always up for a lively discussion.  Attackers though,  will be deleted or ignored so keep it civil gang.

 

 

And we’re back…

Inspired by:   Master of Tides – Lindsey Stirling

Brought to you by:  The Figment

Hello friends!

So tonight I have a few things to post about.   For newcomers to the blog, welcome.  For old hands,  I hope the world is well with you.   For my writer friends I have an interesting proposition that has come to my attention.   I’ve blogged before about the magazine Holl & Lane.  I still cannot say enough good things about these  amazing people and what they do.  They are hosting a writing competition called  the Heart & Soul Book Awards.  Check it out here.    I know I will be participating.  Keep an eye on the time if you want to do it! The deadline is June 15.

I am getting started on edits for  Shadow’s Journey.  Prologue and Chapter 1 are done but need keyed.  January is such a crazy month for me. My full time makes for lots of overtime and business need. So the job that pays the bills takes priority for now.   And,  in two  and a half weeks is my five year wedding anniversary.  Ten years together, married for five is astounding to me.   So suffice to say the early part of the year is busy for reasons not related to writing.

February 1 is also right around the corner which means…you guessed it. The February edition of the Maeseloria Monthly!  For those readers that have been keeping up, I have added a new feature titled 3 Questions.  I will take submissions for this feature as well as Sandra’s Corner.  Your questions and character may appear in the next issue or subsequent issues of the newsletter.  You can contact me with questions or submissions at sjhults@bex.net  .  I look forward to hearing from you!

With that being said, I want to announce the return of The Figment and the weekly writing prompt.  This week’s prompt is Lindsey Stirling’s Master of Tides. Check it out in the link above and please, enjoy the little snippet below.

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She hated the rain.  Lily  Eisen scowled as she moved through the night in search of some sort of peace.  Life as of late was not easy nor fair.  She was struggling.  Her left hand was bare again and,  once again, Fate dealt her a losing hand.  The irritation that flashed in her emerald eyes was far from minor.   She promised Isabelle she would return with the dawn but even now she felt her promise flounder.   Travel in the North during their rainy season was a challenge to say the least.    The damp made her method of travel difficult.  Limbs and rain soaked earth would cause lesser trackers to slide or reveal their position but she trained in all weather.  Her favorite Shadow had seen to it.  He helped her survive the night.  For a short time, she felt the warmth of Light and love.  Now, she wondered if that brief stretch was simply a fallacy.

Challenges rose and love failed her.  Lily shook the thought away and focused on her mission.   Christiana sent her with specific instructions.   Find holes in their defense.  She was nearing the edge of their stronghold.   The Queen had equipped her with enough gems to hide her mental presence from the adepts around her.    This was now her duty to maintain her physical silence.   Her eyes skimmed the shadows as she moved closer to the castle.  The gardens  spread across her line of sight.   The Queen specifically mentioned this area as a weak point.

The pin-prick of a blade at her shoulder set her cursing and her opponent laughing.  The feminine warmth behind the tones told her who her captor was.  “I will do you the courtesy of assuming you are not here to do harm, dear girl.”   Tatiyana Jade spoke and nudged her  forward into the gardens.  She, Dominic and Sion had addressed the security issues within their portion of the realm after the war ended.   When they stepped into the gardens, she sheathed Hope then chuckled.  “No movement gave you away. Your humanity did.”   At Lily’s puzzled look the little warrior explained.  “When one has a Kindred in residence it usually tends to help locate people new to our little corner of the world.”

Lily shook her head.   “I see. Then I cannot be faulted.” She shot back cheekily as she sheathed her own weapons.  “I come with a message.  You and your brother’s presence is required at the capital.  Her majesty needs your help with your cousins.”   At Tanya’s puzzled expression Lily simply shrugged.  “Your guess is as good as mine, my Lady. I am only the messenger. “

“Very well then.  Let us see to what the Queen requires of us.”   Without further word, Tatiyana proceeded to the sprawling house that seemed to loom before them.  A slack-jawed Lily watched as Sion Jade ambled from the shadows with that same irritating mix of elegance and arrogance that all Jade men seemed to wield.   “Even in times of peace, I am rarely without some level of protection.”  Tanya’s tones were absent and sarcastic as Sion just laughed.  “Go see  to a room and a warm fire, brother mine.  Do so before I make you eat your arrogance again.”

“You are quite welcome to try again, sister.”  He teased her and ducked her incoming wallop with such a speedy accuracy that Lily was dumbfounded.  “I will see to our guest as you’ve requested. “  The grin that tugged at the corners of Sion Jade’s mouth was far from what was often seen when he and his sister were in residence at the palace.

At Lily’s surprise,  Tanya just smiled.  “You’ve never seen my cousins spar?”   When Lily shook her head,  the tiny woman steered her through the garden and into their home so she could dry off.   “I suspect that is what summons you have come to deliver. The whole realm felt that level of magic.  She seeks to draw our adversary.”  Lily’s expression confirmed Tanya’s suspicion and when the woman handed over a message sealed with the Queen’s emblem,   the tiny Sorceress did not seem surprised.   “He never was one to take duty well when such matters impact him personally.  Walked out on everyone did he?” Lily did not give a verbal response but merely held up her bare left hand.   “I see.  Very well. Return home at dawn if it pleases you. Sion and I will see to them as the Queen as requested. “

More to come soon!

Destiny

Brought to you by: The Figment

No music in the cards today gang. Also, no current reading.  This came to me during a class I was taking. This week’s figment prompt was one word: destiny.  What do you view as your destiny? Are we bound by fate or God or just extraordinary circumstance?

Just a random idea that might develop. Then again, it might not.  The blog will be on hiatus until after the first of the year so I can enjoy the holiday season with my family. I encourage you all to the same.  Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays if you do not celebrate Christmas.  Take care everyone.   Here goes. Enjoy!

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Frost glittered across the window pane. Emma Jacobs muttered a soft curse and blew on her numb fingertips.  She rubbed her hands together to warm them before she tossed another log on the fire.  Here on the outer edges of the realm, far to the northwest, she could hide from her heritage and from the other royals.  More importantly, she could hide from her twin.

Edward was on a path she knew she could not and would not follow.  The Light called her as sure as the dawn.  She wanted her books; her quiet; her writing.   Emma wanted no part in the horrors of war or the civil unrest that plagued the kingdom at large. Even here, she heard the debate about Christiana Morningstar’s right to the throne.

Propaganda slandering their Queen was spread far and wide.  In spite of the Queen’s retrieval of a holy weapon, people still questions.  As of late, rumors ran rampant that she arranged her twin’s demise and that of the late Lady Jade in order to secure her throne.

This situation brewed tyrants.  Kings and Queens of the past silenced these rumors with executions.  The Queen’s own grandfather resolved unrest in this manner.   In other ages, acts like these were the seeds of bloody revolution.  The thought troubled her but in the same vein the trouble was not hers.  In recent months, she had enough of her own.

Emma’s self-imposed exile was her doing. She would not allow Edward’s darkness to taint her. Her dreams were frightful things as of late.  Light and shadow haunted her.  The winds of change blew through her dreams like a hurricane and she did not understand why.   Her vibrant hazel eyes skimmed the room around her.  The sight of this library comforted her in a manner that few things could.   Books were constant and steady. People were not.

Her grandmother erected this home when her generation was exiled.  At the time of exile, Sarina Starson could barely summon enough holy to heal a paper cut.   Emma had only fleeting memories of her grandmother.  She may not have been able to summon but, Fate above could that woman teach.  Grandmother taught her mother and passed on the Starson lineage to herself and Edward.  How her brother twisted those teachings.  Her lips thinned to a line.  Or he allowed his employer to twist them.  She could not be certain.

She too had heard whispers of the realm’s grand cleric.  Tessa Starson would have been her cousin had the woman even been aware they existed. The two had never met and Emma made certain never to draw enough power to entertain such an existence.  She wanted to be left in peace, nothing more.

Emma knew from her last encounter with her brother that she could not allow him to find her.  Edward would use her. Her blood was powerful enough to pursue his descent into madness.  She was no fool.  Their grandmother had spoken of the books of holy and shadow.  If Edward had what she suspected he did…what her senses told her he did when she opened the door between them, she needed to maintain utter secrecy.  “Where you go, I cannot follow.” She remembered her last words to him.  Emma could feel the darkness pulsing in the South as surely as she could feel the light pulsing in the North when she opened her senses.

With absent violence, she grabbed the poker and tried to stir the fire with a dark look.  Her hair was a richer red than what her cousin’s was rumored to be.  Her hazel eyes flashed gold a moment as power mixed with her frustration.   A knock at the door startled her.  The hour was quite late.  Moonlight had long since chased the sun away.  Snowfall littered the ground.  The white lent an innocence to the world she struggled to acknowledge.  Who the devil would be calling on her at this hour?

“Damned inconvenience.”  Emma growled. Her voice was a rich, warm honey that even in annoyance could be considered endearing.  She tightened the sash on her robe and moved to answer the door.  What stood before her was a man covered in snow.  The figure stood a shade taller than her five foot eight frame.  His ash-blonde hair was dotted with snowflakes while his green eyes sparkled with a mix of boyish humor and curiosity.  “Please forgive the intrusion; I saw a light in the dark.”

Emma flushed to the roots of her hair. The cherry in her cheeks matched the richness of the waves framing her delicate features.  Her snow covered guest skimmed her over with a practiced eye.  Without a word, she stepped aside to grant him entrance.  She could have turned him away but there was no shelter beyond her home for miles.

With a grateful smile, he stepped into the house.  Since his sister’s disappearance, he kept his senses open for the slightest hint of her presence.  The experience was both painful and humbling. Anytime he reached inward for a place she should have been, he found an emptiness he could not describe.  At each sunrise he looked for her presence in hope that some slip on her part would lead him to her. Six months of searching led to this house.  What was going on in the capital or with state affairs he could not be certain.   Finding his sister was paramount to both his continued existence and the realm’s survival.

His senses identified that flare of skill with his cousin more than his sister.   Tessa would have skimmed this girl over and determined her origins in a heartbeat.  With a minute flex of his will, he stirred the hearth to life.  As he did this, he watched the young lady’s face.  The subtle flicker and widening of her eyes almost made him laugh.  “Jason Burke.”  He introduced himself. Marc knew quite well his name would send this woman running like a frightened hare. He also found this level of secrecy necessary to continue his search.

Why was this girl going to such great lengths to hide what she was?  Marc could tell she was formidable by the wards on her lands and within her head.   This was quite a puzzle.  Marc proceeded towards what was now a roaring hearth.  The blank spot in his head where Alex should be was a severe distraction and put him at a sorry disadvantage when dealing with other magic users.  His presence and ability felt muted.  The thought made him wonder if she knew what was ahead when she blocked him the first time he sparred with Lily.

“Emma Jacobs.”  The girl responded then scowled as the fire flared again. Was he goading her?  The man was dangerous.  She felt him tug the fire to life. The pull was no stronger than a mild breeze. His actions were deliberate. Even with her walls up, she sensed that tug. His finesse was impressive.  In response, her defenses were on full alert.  This man was no mundane.  He was leaving his power out like a trail for her to follow to find his true identity.  Emma decided she was not playing that game.

Marc felt her panic rise as if she were at the other end of a hallway and chuckled. Truly he hated this.   “As it stands, I will not press you about your identity provided you do not press me about mine. I have a hunch we will revisit this discussion another time.”  His tone was intended to ease her.  “And since we have dispensed with the pleasantries of a sort.”  Marc loosened his grip on his skills a little and poured the energy into the hearth. Soon enough the blaze was enough to dry him.  

Fate above he missed Lily, he thought.  He had to make her promise now to shadow him.  Even then, he could not be certain she kept that vow.  If his Lily did not want to be found, she would not be.  Her engagement ring allowed her to hide from his senses.  He drew his attention back to the woman that now sat across from him. “Have you sensed anyone like me or has anyone tried to test your wards?”   His tone remained conversational as he warmed his hands.

Emma watched this casual use of talent in utter shock. He was going to get her caught!  If his last name was Burke, she would eat the Starson crest she kept buried in her jewel case.   “No. No one has. I would appreciate you not displaying such talents in my home.”  

To be continued…

Radio silence and other news

Inspired by:  Promises to Keep – Trans Siberian Orchestra ;   Where Are You Christmas? – Faith Hill

Current Reading:  Taking Suggestions

So, please forgive me for the hiatus.  For those of you that are unware,  November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short),  and the goal of this free program is to inspire writers to produce a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days.  I participated in this event for the first time last year and was quite pleased with the result.  The rough story for Light’s Guide was written in 22 days. The revisions took longer than normal but to me, the work produced a better story.

So,  I met this goal on November 23,  2016 but,  this year the story was not told.  I wanted to go out in style this month.  So,  I finished the book 5 manuscript on the 27th.   Maeseloria: Shadow’s Journey is ready for revisions–at 55,000 words.  With that being said,  I decided it was time to pull my head out of the shadows and say hello.

My November was a busy month.   I had my first author event ever and my first book signing.  Both events were an amazing experience and my warmest thank you to anyone who stopped out to purchase a book or just for a chat.   And to the lovely person who brought me coffee at my book signing,  you are a goddess.    Lastly,  a sincere thank you to Denise at Gathering Volumes for being such a huge support and allowing me to have my signing in your shop.  To my fellow bloggers and authors,  if you have an indy book shop in your area–support them.  Shop in their store.  They will be your biggest advocate.

The events were nerve wracking but I learned a lot.  I managed to learn how to talk to people about my book without stammering and blushing.  There’s room for improvement but I learned.   I also realized how many dear friends came out to see me–one of whom I had not seen in a number of years.   Here are some pictures from both events:

 

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I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday and are looking as forward to Christmas as I am.  Christmas is my holiday at our house.   The good will of the season is a huge deal to me.  I try to do right by people at all times—even when I have been wronged by them—but at Christmas time it always seems that much more important.    I had that kind of wonder as a child and I do not know if I have ever really let it go.  There’s something magical about the season to me. What is your favorite part about the Christmas holiday? Or are you a Grinch?

The two songs listed above kind of emphasize that wonder for me.  I love TSO in general but Christmas Eve and Other Stories has to be my favorite album of theirs.    Promises to Keep highlights that childlike wonder that,  for me, comes with the season. .  The second song I heard at a time in my  life when I was struggling,  or maybe transitioning might be a better word.  I was looking for me and, for that reason,  the song will always remain special to me.  It struck a nerve.    So,  with that being said,  I have a gift for you.  A short synopsis from Maeseloria:  Shadows Journey:

Peace in service to the Light…

Peace was an illusion, Jaylor Vincenzo thought.    In his line of work,  peace was harder to maintain than war.   With the wars end, the political structure of Maeseloria was tenuous at best.  Factions birthed in the South would be problematic.  Could he protect them all?   He served his Queen as her shadow, her brother and her friend.  The fate of the realm was often decided at dagger point and his hand.   Was this all Fate would ever require him to be?

Where was his peace?

He stood between Light and Shadow.   His duty was eternal. Would he ever have more?

 For those  subscribed to the Maeseloria Monthly,  the newsletter will be back January 1, 2017.  I look forward to sharing more of  The Guardian’s Fall.    Until then, stay tuned readers.  The Figment weekly writing prompts will return this Thursday.   Let’s see what our hostess can throw at us, shall we?

Take care guys,  stay out of trouble.

 

 

 

Nerves and Nanowrimo

Current listening:  Lost Stars – Adam Levine 

Brought to you by: The Figment

So, the first week of Nanowrimo is nearly over  and it’s super exciting to me.  I have a few new characters I’m introducing  in this book and new storylines and intrigues and just…fun.   I will do my best to keep going on the blog but I make no promises.  I have super tunnel vision when I’m working on a new book—especially during this time of the year.  I’m 16000 words into Shadow’s Journey and I don’t show any signs of slowing down.    If you want to make sure I’m still breathing, stalk me on Twitter and Facebook.

This week’s prompt is the song listed above.  It’s funny the things you learn from experience.  To me this song is about youth and trying to find your place in the world.  Everyone, I think, deserves a learning curve.  God knows I needed one.  I’m happy where I am and have been for almost a decade now.  I  keep pushing and working at this dream of mine.  The dream is to be published.  I got that back in 2012.  Then I met Becky Robinson and the amazing folks at Hometown Reads and that’s challenged me to be better.  I learned to market a little and approach my work from an avenue other than “the girl who tells stories”.

Next Sunday I have my first event as an author.  First…ever.    I have to figure out how to be comfortable in front of people and talking about my work.  I’ll work it out.  I’m too stubborn not to.  Also,  I have a huge aversion to sounding like an ass in front of people who have just met me.  I never realized until this week exactly how much goes into putting an event together.  I’m sitting here planning table layout,  to do lists,  creating email sign-up sheets,  fixing newsletter sheets so I can have something interesting for people to take home.  The good news is I’m just about settled on the planning.

I am trying so hard not to spaz about it.  I can’t even begin to explain but I will say this.  This is where I wanted to be,  what I wanted to do.  I wanted to share my stories with people and this is the next logical progression.  As terrifying as it is,  it’s where I need to be.   Another scary step forward I suppose.     What’s the most terrifying thing you’ve ever had to do to push yourself forward?   What’s the scariest dream you’ve ever pursued?  This is it for me.  Just getting up and talking about what I love to do.  So if you show up for me on the 13th,  thank you for the support and please be kind to the very flustered author.

 

 

Spooksville

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No music today, just well wishes for a very scary Halloween.  Halloween is a big deal in my family.  It falls three days after my husband’s birthday and everyone in my family loves to get dressed up, carve pumpkins and decorate my parent’s house (pics later, gang).  One year, the fright was bad enough that neighborhood kids ran screaming down the street.  That year was a little over the top but still fun.  I’m leaving in a few here to go get the house decor  started.  Again, pics later.

What are your Halloween traditions?  Do you enjoy a good scare?  A good horror flick?   Now,  I leave you with the following quote…I need to go hide some glow in the dark spiders in my teenager’s dresser.

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By the by, fellow bloggers…who’s doing nanowrimo this year?  Have a great day everyone! Stay safe!

Disappointment and other things

Inspired by: Ludovico Einaudi -Elements

Current reading:  (Uh, nil at the moment. #amwriting and behind #reading)

Brought to you by: The Figment Writers

Oy with the thought provoking questions, hostess.  This week’s prompt is “What is something that has disappointed you?”  Happy Writing, she says.  So I looked at it Thursday and thought to myself “where the hell do I begin with that?”   I had nothin’, she stumped me again.  Until today.  I was scrolling through Twitter doing my usual author checkup and check in and came across this quote:

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Now let me preface this by saying that The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite classics.  I love this book but I have not read it in a number of years.  The quote got me thinking about that and disappointment.  Now I could go down this big dark depressing rabbit hole of disappointment but hell, we’ve all been down that particular rabbit hole.  I think if you’ve never been disappointed by something in your adult life then you have not really lived beyond your comfort zone. Disappointment is a natural part of life.  We have a choice to learn from it or let it devour us. I choose to learn from disappointment and failure.  I keep going.   A friend said I was “resilient like that.”   I think it’s what you do when life leaves you no other option. I did not like the other option so I chose to learn and grow.  Was it an easy path? Uh. No.  I am not the kind of person that takes the easy way though.  When I was young I learned the hard way that easy was not always better.  Easy might be comfortable for a minute but for long term happiness, the challenge is usually better.  You learn more. Just my thought though.  So yes, I have had my disappointments in my professional life, my writer’s life, and my relationships.  Did I learn from them? Why yes, yes I did.  The biggest disappointment that comes to mind immediately was when a well-meaning friend looked at my books and said to me “There is nothing here that would make me want to buy this if I did not know you.”

Talk about a blow!  My first reaction was immediate defense in response to that but; said friend was coming from a place of love even though she will just tell you she’s a bitch.  That stopped my defensive reaction and disappointment and gave me the opportunity to learn and look hard at the product I had produced.  I had to look at my work as more than the person who created the story.  I had to look at the way people view the product and that too took a lot of thinking.   So, when faced with that, I challenged myself to be better.  This was how the new cover designs were born, by the way.  I had to put me out there.  Yes. Me.  That itself is difficult because I struggle with that kind of exposure.  I like my privacy. Some folks can do it without hesitation.  I have to work for it.

So don’t be afraid to work for it.  Challenge yourself to be better.  Challenge your friends to be better.  The people closest to me have always been that lightning rod for change.  Sometimes the strike is subtle.  Other times, the strike knocks me on my ass but either way they get me thinking and get my attention.  To those people, thank you.

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On to news!  Maeseloria: Light’s Guide is now released.  It is available through Amazon and, just recently, all of my books are available through Barnes and Noble.  However, my friends, if you are a Toledo or surrounding area native?  I encourage you to purchase my books at Gathering Volumes.  They are the only independent book store in the area and they actually have signed copies in house.   If you wait until November 20, however, you will get to meet me and have your book signed in person I’ll be there from 2pm-5pm.  Stop out and see me would you?

 

 

Hidden

Inspired by:  Lindsey Stirling – Beyond the Veil

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

Hello!  October  17 is the release date for Maeseloria: Light’s Guide.  I cannot be more excited to share Christi’s story with you.   On Monday,  I will be hosting a Facebook Live event at 8 pm EST.  Please stop in and say hi,  the big reveal for this book will be at 8 sharp so don’t be late!      Let’s see…news news.   We are less than a month from the local author fair.  If you are a local person,  the Local Author Fair is at Way Public Library in Perrysburg from 1:30-3.   Hope to see you there!

There will also be a signing/release event for Maeseloria:  Light’s Guide at Gathering Volumes in Perrysburg.  I will be there from 2-5 with some pretty awesome giveaways planned.  Make sure you stop in.  We will have all four books available for both purchase and the author’s signature.  I look forward to seeing you!

Now, on to the business at hand…this week’s writing prompt.   This week, our beloved hostess with the mostest gave us a single word prompt,  hidden.   For this,  a new character outside the realm came to mind.  This is an amazing realm created by my friend and editor.  Let’s see if we can do it justice.

Adrienne Morgan crept from the castle just after dawn.  Princess Terra would be asleep for a few hours more.   Even the realm’s best diplomat needed a moment to herself beyond the pressures of station and realm.  She snuck from the castle in a pair of black pants, coat and blouse.  This morning,  Adrienne was dressed for the morning’s chill rather than society’s dictates.  Her strawberry shaded hair was tied in a loose knot at the nape of her neck.    Her bow rested against her shoulder like an extension of herself and the quiver of arrows that joined it felt like home.

Home was not a place she had seen in sometime.   Her parents left their country manor nearly two years before with the intention of finding a suitable mate worthy of their only daughter.   Adrienne was paraded and presented to every noble from not only her clan but many neighboring clans,  including the Marei.  At this juncture,  she resigned herself to being a maid.  Two years and no one offered for her hand.  Two years of negotiating and hopes resulted in nothing.  The very idea that she was unwanted galled her.  Her family connections alone should have brought at least one offer for her hand.   The idea of her remaining in the unmarried state concerned her parents.

That concern prompted them to seek out the princess and offer her as a lady in waiting.  Adrienne thought as she reached the archery yards.   Their desperate act led to a friendship she would trade for nothing.  Terra was the sister she had always longed for.  The princess’ tenacity impressed her.  Though her patience and short temper often led to difficult situations,  Adrienne would have served no other.   Beneath those difficulties, she found her friend compassionate and loving.

A smile crept across her lips as she knocked her first arrow,  drew and let it fly.   The smile faded to a murderous look when she saw her arrows struck far to the left of the bullseye.  Truthfully, she was out of practice.  Her duties kept her from the yards and the thought saddened her.   In truth, if she married her husband would not likely approve of a wife who handled a bow and could hunt as well as he.   Ladies were expected to fawn over the men during the course of the hunt, not outshine their counterparts.

Like lightning,  she knocked a second arrow and fired.   The second shot struck home.  “Much better.”  She murmured as daylight grew before her.  How long could she stay hidden among society’s doves before they whispered she was long past her prime and relegated her to the spinster category?  The thought bothered her.  At some point in her life,  she wanted a husband and family.   Right now,  she would settle for her dawns on the archery yards and serving her princess as faithfully as she could.

A grin crept across her lips.  Perhaps she could convince Terra to go on a hunt with her before winter was upon them.  With Terra, at least, she suspected she did not have to hide.

 

 

 

 

 

My Shot

Inspired by:   “My Shot”  Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton

Current reading:  Three Sisters,  Three Queens – Philippa Gregory

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

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The above quote was our weekly prompt  from my friends at The Figment.  The quote was provided by yours truly because the wording struck me.   I am a dreamer. I always have been.  I used to wish as a child and, I suppose like any other child,  I wanted those wishes to come true no matter how  outlandish the wish in question.  Life has a tendency to beat the dreamers.    Maybe that’s just reality setting in or maybe that beating is the question as to whether you can stay in that fight.  Staying in the fight can sometimes be a victory in and of itself.

Honestly,  I had to learn to fight.  I had to learn to be willing to chase that dream down, grab it by its heels and beat the bastard into submission.  We have to take our shot.  That’s how I interpret that quote.   We have to face our destiny unafraid and once we decide that destiny we have to be willing to fight  to win.     Ten years ago I decided to move forward and learn to do what was necessary for my happiness.  I burned bridges.  I lost friends.  I lost track of a lot of people.

Along the way I learned a lot.  The people that matter in your life,  they respect your space and give you the time to process what you need to.  Others kick,  claw and push their way in to stay even when you’re at your worst.  You know who you are,  sir.    Some people are in your life for a season,  others for a reason and I think hardship really teaches that lesson more thoroughly than anything else could.

I never imagined how hard I would have to work to get where I am.  To write, to tell my stories has been more work than I could ever have imagined.   In a way it’s my raison d’etre.  If you know what that means, more power to you.    I do not function right if I cannot write or have time to put thoughts to page.    I’m just not me.  The thing is,  this gift was in me the whole time.  I had to find it and fight for it.

So work for it if you want it.  Be patient.  Good things come to those who work hard and have patience.

In other news,   Maeseloria: Light’s Guide  is a little over a week away from publication!  I  am so very excited by this!  Also,  I scheduled my first book signing…like ever…this week.   See? Still learning. Still fighting.

Keep at it guys.

Stay out of trouble.