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.

 

 

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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…

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.

 

In the silence…

Inspired by:  The Sounds of Silence – Disturbed

Current Reading:  The Borgia’s – GJ Meyer

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

Gee,  my dear hostess,  you really know how to throw a curve ball to the sick author.  This was out of left field so my response is very loosely tied to the image.   So this was our prompt this week:

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The curve was not as far out of left field as I thought but we are back to fiction this week.  This ties into book 5,  The Shadow’s Journey,  but I have not yet figured out how.  I do think this story line may be very important in light of things to come for Maeseloria.  As soon as I saw this image,  I knew who wanted to talk. Hope you enjoy!


 

No man need know Fate’s design before his designated time.  In spite of his beloved’s sufferings, he had his own issues to address.  The words rattled around his head like a dead litany and left him adrift at sea.  Nicholas once spoke those words to a beloved sibling.   He wrestled with what he knew Fate would call not only him to do but what simply must be.  Neither brother knew what legacy his sister left them.  His daughter could not be given the Taltos heritage.  She was a royal and would be called to the Light like her mother before her. Thus,  his dark inheritance could never be Kira’s.  Nicholas scowled as he stared out into the night.

The sun had long since set on the capital.  In a way, he was as comfortable with the night as a Kindred.  Nicholas walked the line between light and dark so often that the thought never concerned him as it once did.  Once, ages ago,  he thought his Faith deserted him in that dark cell. He was secure that his soul belonged to the Light. Why else would Fate have shouldered him with this responsibility?  In truth,  he was more secure now than he once was.  Yet, if he was so confident in Fate’s design,  why did he hesitate to bring the truth to light for the Redwynd brothers?

His travels brought him to, of all places, the cathedral.  The hour was late and he expected the holy place to be empty.  Nicholas’ strides brought him through the doors and to an empty pew before he could give it conscious thought. What drew him to this holy place?  Nicholas drew a deep breath and released it.  “You do not wish to disturb the lives they’ve built, brother mine.”  The voice shook him.  Had it really been almost a century since that dulcet voice touched his ears?  His sister’s rich, earthy tones touched his ears.

“Bri…I…”  Nicholas started as the world began to blur.  The specter before him shook her head and silenced him with a raised hand.  This gesture was common signal between them.  Time was short.  These moments would not allow for the way his heart fractured at her face before him. He nodded and locked his jaw to keep that flash of raw pain in.  The wound never healed.  Time did not afford him the luxury of goodbye.  In a sea of loss, this one pained him the most.  Family meant as much to his clan as the one his sister married.

“I know.  I’ve watched. As much as you wish it love, you cannot keep this secret.  You know Fate will call them as it will.  All you can do is protect my boys along the way.”  Brianna’s tones as gentle in death as they were in life.  His sister had fire, to be sure, but she softened that temperament with a gentle grace he had never seen in another until Alexandra.  “Teach them as only you can. Know that I loved you and missed you until the day I died.”  His sister’s dark hair curled in the same mess he remembered in life.  Her amber eyes were the only thing that differed from the classic Taltos looks.

In spectral form, she settled into the pew beside him.  “This was the only place I could break through.  The blessing was strong enough to reach you.  The cleric you trained brought the blessing back.”  His sister’s voice was filled with an awe he never heard before.  “I prayed for this. Wherever you were, whatever you have done, your actions were to this end, Nic. What Jamison destroyed, you brought home.”

“What good did it do you at the time, Brianna?”  Nicholas scowled.  The point brought rage he thought he had long since put to rest. True, he saw her point but Nicholas resented their separation more than most could have understood.  Her chiding look brought a rush of color to his cheeks.  Brianna, he swore, could reduce a man to a child with that look.  “I logically understand.  Truly, I do but this does not mean heart accepts it.  I do not want this for them.  Specifically, I do not want this for the younger one.  You know what heartache this has brought me.  Even now, the secrets keep a wall between me and mine.”

“As they have for generations before us, Nicholas, do not be ignorant. Fate will give them these burdens whether you want to or not.”  Brianna’s matter-of-fact tones, though brutal, were correct.   In life she may have resented the burden her brother carried alone.  In death, she understood their legacy was a larger part of Fates design.  “Teach them. Prepare them, brother mine.  Thank you for putting me to rest with the family.”  Then, with whispered words of love, his sister was gone.  Nicholas sat alone in the cathedral well into the night.  Could he burden the youngest Redwynd with the family legacy?  How long would Fate allow him to leave them to their happiness?

That question battered around his head when his beloved Alexandra interrupted his thoughts. Beloved, would you care to explain this?  She reached for him and replayed her dream’s image.  The string of curses that answered the images indicated to her that the dreams had some relevance.  Fate answered his questions before he was ready to address them.  If you do not speak to Jaylor I will.


 

As always gang, feedback is welcome.  I hope those of you on the mailing list enjoyed the October newsletter and the second installment of The Guardian’s Fall.   Two weeks until The Light’s Guide release.  I can’t wait to get that book in my hands to see how the physical copy turned out!  I will share with you all as soon as I have it.   Until then,  stay out of trouble, gang!

I see you..

cake-775426_640

Inspired by:  I See You – Idina Menzel

Current Reading:  The Borgias – G. J. Meyer

Brought to you by: The Figment Writers

So this week’s “a piece of cake”.   Right.  The image above is not meant to taunt those watching what they eat. Cake is good once in a while, after all.

So I’m going to follow this lovely image with a quote that makes me think.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
— Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings)

Most people cut this quote off at the first sentence but I think the entirety is more powerful that just that first sentence.  Particularly in light of the number of people that want progress without the struggle.  I think anyone that has not had to struggle in life—be those struggles internal or otherwise—has not really lived.  They tend to be going through the motions or hiding.  I hid for a longer time than I care to think about.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”  How do you interpret this?  I think that he means you have to fight to move forward.  If you want something, you have to go fight for it and that if you are willing to brave the thunder and lightning, brave that awful roar and are willing to disturb the natural order, you will succeed.  You have to go after what you want without hesitation.  In simpler terms and in terms a dear friend said to me just this afternoon.  “Fuck you, I’m doing this.”   In that same breath she told me that she was proud of me for putting me out there and going after my passion.  I had to boot my hesitation in the ass but I got there. Her words really touched me because if she sees it,  my daughter sees it as an example.

If I had not, I never would have been happy or satisfied.  That restlessness that sat within me for years would never have settled.  So there is bravery in that story, I think.   I participated in a project sponsored by my friends at Holl & Lane on Instagram.  They asked that you post a picture and tell part of your story.  The project got me thinking.  By nature, I tell stories, I use them to teach and I have a lot of different tacks to take with this project.

This time I decided to share my experience, or evolution into the author I am now.  In a word? Terrifying.  When I was a girl I wrote little stories, did the high school newspaper gig and then, for a while I put it away. No particular reason, just life got in the way.  I did not pick it up again seriously writing until maybe 2001-2002.  I did not recognize that creating was a need until after my divorce in 2007.  For me, to not create, to not write is a death of the spirit.  I do not say this to exaggerate.  If I do not have my writing time, or even just an hour or so to visit with ye olde blog, I get exceptionally cranky and unfocused. I -have- to write.  My husband will attest to this,  I get hard to live with if I do not.

It was 2012 when I decided to go for it.  Imagine that, ten years of writing before I made a decision. I just did not consider all it could be.  I never took the time to dream of something bigger than just storytelling.  In a way,  I still don’t.  In the marketing crazy,  the layouts, the cover design,  I do not think about what it could grow to be. I just enjoy the ride.  That too is important.   Part of me wishes I had seen it sooner and another, perhaps wiser part, realizes that things happened exactly as it should.

At any rate, if you’re interested in sharing your story, go to Instagram, post a picture and share your story—what makes you you?  Tag #mystoryispowerful and @hollandlane in your story.  Ladies, we have a lot of beautiful things to say if we’re brave enough to put ourselves out there and be honest.  If you’re interested in the magazine, go here.

In book related news,  I got my first stock order of my books yesterday. Check out these beauties:  20160926_194454.jpg

This was the first time I was able to hold book 2 in my hands since the cover redesign.  Can I just say that this never stops being awesome?   Three weeks until Light’s Guide release! How exciting is that?

In closing,  enjoy your cake.  Especially if you’ve worked your ass to get it.

As always, stay out of trouble, guys.  Take care.

 

 

Peace of Mind

Inspired by :  Peace of Mind – The Jezabels ,   Undone – FFH

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

So another shout out to the hostess because the song title got me thinking and the second one got me creating.  These lyrics stick with me:

We all want love
We all want honour
But nobody wants to pay the asking price

I’ve written the last three-four pages of The Guardian’s Fall to this song.  So I’m trying to find some peace here where my favorite tortured soul isn’t harassing me.  So far no luck.  This makes me think about how everyone wants love and to be honored by those who care for us but no one really wants to put  the work in.  Real love is hard.  Real love is still there even when you’re hard to love. Not everyone wants to pay that price or be that brave. Friends. Lovers. Spouses. Even family.  So maybe that’s why not only this song but Nicholas and Alex’s love story appeals to me. So does the conflict between Marcus and Tanya.  Some of my favorite relationships have conflict.  Outside of my own writing,  I love the relationship between the ka-tet in the Dark Tower series.  (PS if you have not read this series DO IT)

If you have read through to the fourth book, you understand their struggle.  The asking price, at first, was more than Nicholas was willing to pay.  None of the other characters I have written together have struggled as much as Alexandra and Nicholas.  Their story is special not only to me but to my readers.  I have gotten more feedback about the two of them than I have for any other couple within the realm.  I am proud of the two of them.  She started the whole story and he came along to challenge her.  I don’t know that either one of them would be the characters they are without the other’s creation.  I think they challenge each other to be better people.

In a  way,  I think all good relationships are like that.  There is a price you have to pay to truly love someone.  That price, to me, is your vulnerability.  Being completely honest with both yourself and someone else is truly frightening.  On the other hand, it’s also the most fulfilling and completing act.  Good relationships challenge each other to be better.  They grow together instead of apart. Even if time gets in the way and distance interferes.   That is a lesson I learned the hard way and, thus Alex and Nicholas  had to learn through hardship and loss.   I figure you can only create from what you know and, frankly,  what I know makes rather interesting fiction.  At least, that’s how I feel.

So I leave you guys this question….what characters do you love/hate as readers?  What kind of elements make the way two characters relate interesting to you?  Do you like conflict and growth? Easy companionship?  Let me know.  If you are familiar with the Maes universe,  who are your favorites and why?

 

 

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