Phobias

Inspired by:  Lost Girls – Lindsey Stirling

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

So, at the request of our hostess, I will answer this week’s writing prompt in two ways—both fact and fiction.  This week’s prompt:

Write about a phobia that you have.

Right. So, very few of you know me in person. (Those of you that do; this is not an invitation to put the author in a box.)  But my biggest phobia:

I am very claustrophobic.  Enclosed, crowded spaces cause panic attacks. So there you go. A quick announcement: The Facebook Live event on Wednesday has been moved to 8 pm.  I apologize!  A work conflict with my 9-5 arose.   On to the fiction.

 

His beloved was frightened of the gift that ran through her blood.  That blood mingled with the realm’s lifeblood for generations.  Nicholas knew where she was and who accompanied her.  He sent Dominic himself after he explained Alexandra’s situation.  Dominic assured him he could help.  Could he teach her to be comfortable in her own skin again?  Nicholas feared he would lose her to this. Fate had come between them too many times before.

He sat in their chambers and eavesdropped on her conversation with Dominic.  His Alexandra would have expected him to be a silent specter in her head.  His presence was allowed, he understood that.  Her trust in him radiated from that single action.  Marcus was the only other presence she allowed in her head on a regular basis.

His frustration was clear as he felt her struggle.  Dominic could be more brutal than he in terms of teaching.  Dominic did not have a lifetime of teachers at his disposal as Nicholas did.   The Deveraux were never called to educate, to guide.  He almost interceded until her laughter touched his ears.  When was the last time he heard her laugh?  Nicholas’ lips thinned to a thoughtful line.

His gaze drifted to the little form huddled beneath a pile of blankets in their bed.  She came in not long after her mother left. A ghost of a smile that echoed his beloved’s crossed his features.  Kira was one of the few beautiful legacies he would leave.  Their child was bright, apt and he swore before Fate he would do what he must to give her a more peaceful world than the one she was born into. Though they never told her, he suspected she knew her father.  Both he and Alexandra agreed to keep his identity quiet until Kira was old enough to understand both his sins and his redemption.  The child never questioned his presence in her mother’s chambers.

Nicholas straightened when he felt Alexandra pull on her element.  His gaze was locked on the hearth as he felt her emotions swell. He felt her heart and mind panic. Nicholas feared for her as he did each morning she attempted this exercise.  Light damn it! He felt so helpless. Shock rippled across his features as he felt her terror subside and the draw continued.  Hope blossomed in his heart as he felt that draw strengthen and Dominic’s words drifted through his head. When Fate presents you with a challenge, you survive and overcome.  That is your nature, Alexandra Jade. That is your gift.”

Nicholas smiled and murmured. “Thank you, my friend.”   A soft chuckle crossed his lips his best friend’s response.  It’s nice to be the teacher for a change.  Nicholas felt the tone change in Dominic’s next thoughts. Without her there would be no Light. You brought her home. I can teach her to survive what Fate chose for her.  With that, Dominic silenced and focused on his charge.   Another glance at the bed told Nicholas Kira was as much a bed hog as her mother.

Nicholas mentally pulled the blankets up over his daughter and settled in for a long night by the fire.  She would come home, indeed.

 

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Happenings

Too many irons on the fire make Sandra something-something grumpy…This grumpiness can be solved by coffee and chocolate. Ha!

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With that being said, things have been extremely crazy as of late so I thought I send you all an open letter with an update! Let’s see if we can get through all that is going on. Recap!

  • Final edits are progressing for The Light’s Guide.  I hope to post the Prologue here the week before the book releases October 17.  A huge shout out to fellow Figgy Mia and The Figment Writers for steering me towards the Hemingway App for help with the editing process.  Also, if you guys are looking for help with writer’s block,  check out an app called Trello.  It takes my post it idea to the next level. Or, head over to the Figment Writers and join our Facebook group.
  • Also, if you have not had the opportunity to pick up Hope’s Child,  stay tuned for a special deal with the October issue of the Maeseloria Monthly.  If you missed the inaugural edition,  you can check it out here   If you didn’t get a chance to subscribe, you can click the button on the left hand corner of the newsletter to do so.
  • Let’s see…what else. OH,  if you have not hit up my Facebook page,  you will miss a special event on September 14 at 7 pm EST. I will be on Facebook live answering questions about the books, writing process.  It will be fun and interactive and I would love the chance to meet the folks that follow this blog. Come check it out!
  • There has been an update to the contact information on my site. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience. My contact email, going forward,  will be sjhults@bex.net. Please submit any questions, concerns, feedback about my work to this address or, if you really like what you’ve read, leave me a review on Amazon.
  • The deadline for questions for Sandra’s Corner and the October newsletter is right around the corner! I need your questions by September 15 for them to be in the newsletter. Sorry for the typo!
  • Lastly,  for those of you in my local area, I will be participating in my first author fair on November 13.  If you want the information as far as dates/time/place, inbox me, hit me up on Facebook.

I sincerely hope my excitement translates.  I’ve got so much going on that I can’t seem to wrap my head around it all.  Promotions and book 5 is knocking on the back of my head.

In the meantime,  stay out of trouble guys.  🙂

Holl & Lane

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Holl & Lane, Issue 9

So. About a year or so ago,  a coworker came to me and said “My daughter is starting a magazine.”  Now,  I’m not going to front, I’m not a magazine reader by any stretch of the imagination.  Though I am a bookworm,  I’ve just never really got into magazines.  So I took her request to check it out with a grain of salt. I figured I’d lose interest.   Most magazines do not provide anything I can relate to.

I like to be wrong every now and then.

Their website states this:

“We are more than a magazine.  We are starting a movement for more honest media.

Life isn’t always perfect, and we’re okay with that.  We’re focused on providing stories from real women about real life – the triumphs and the hardships.  We want to show you that you have a voice and a story.  We’re starting the conversations that need to be had.  The mission behind our magazine is simple: each time you open up and share your story, you help someone else feel less alone.”

I find many things in the magazine–new reads, new music.  The staff at Holl & Lane are nearly as eclectic as I am and I love it.  They’ve written articles about abuse survivors,  cancer survivors, battling addiction.  On the flip side they also write about easy, budget friendly ways to decorate your home.  They have a section for recipes that more healthy than decedent and I love that.  Their DIY section is AMAZING.  I am always finding one new thing or another to play around with or dog-ear for when we have a house.  I cannot go on enough about this. I read every issue cover to cover.

So, a year later I am a happy subscriber and supporter.  They do support their mission statement. The honest integrity I find there keeps me coming back. If you want to see what they’re about,  check out their blog here. Everyone has a story and their willingness to share those everyday stories makes the world, I think, a little less lonely. Check out the links to their site, Facebook page and Twitter.

Holl & Lane

Facebook

Twitter

VCRs and other things

Inspired by:  Awake and Alive – Skillet

VCR

Yes. That really is a VCR. If you don’t know what one is/have never used it, I don’t know if we can be friends.  And yes, that really is our writing prompt for the week.  To the Figgies, who looked at this and said “really, Mia?”   I will admit,  I was among them and said as much to our hostess with the mostest.

But then I got to thinking…

And that thinking generated a discussion. There is a magazine that I am a fan of called Holl & Lane.  They right honest, kick you in the face stories about life, travel-I’ll get more into it and how you can get involved next post.  (You guys get a two-fer today.)  At any rate, they wrote an article about a charity called The Mend Project.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

The article was about the charity’s founder. She was a survivor of not only childhood sexual abuse but a long-term emotionally abusive marriage.  Oddly enough she was married exactly  as long as I was and suffered through many of the same issues I did. I am an abuse survivor.  Like the founder of The Mend Project, when I divorced I alienated friends and family because people did not believe me. There were no physical signs.  The blog is not a place to get into details.  They’re not stories I share openly  but I will tell you this. If a survivor comes to you and is brave enough to tell you what they went through?

Believe them.

With time the days got better and I became a little more sure of myself. I grew and learned but I would not wish that sense of loneliness on anyone. The Mend Project was created to help survivors by a survivor.

Do me a favor, guys,  click the links above, go look into that charity.  Donate if you can.

Next post…happy news. Promise.

 

 

Unsaid

Inspired by:  Lost Stars – Adam Levine  Something Wild – Lindsey Stirling

Brought to you by: The Figment Writers

“When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.” ~Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

The things we don’t say. Wow.  I’m at a loss where to start this but here we go but a break from Alexandra’s story is in order.

Confession time.   I’m not the greatest communicator.  In fact, I suck at it sometimes.  I’m more demonstrative than verbal.  I believe this is likely because I spent a long time with someone who was big on saying the right things and big on appearances rather than reality.  Believe me when I say this is the absolute nicest thing I can say about that situation.  In many ways, that situation impacted me in ways that still anger me.

Lost Stars has a lyric that gets me thinking about the above quote…

Searching for meaning, but are we all lost stars
Trying to light up the dark?

I am not sure what the author’s intent was with these lyrics but I know what it feels like to be that lost start trying to find her way in the dark.  The road was not easy. In fact, that road was absolute shit. I had to do a lot of work on myself to get from where I was to where I am.  I had to find that light and push through the heartache and pain.  I had to push through the girl I was and into the woman I am—scars and all.  I had to find my footing in this whole writing gig because this called to me. This was my passion. That passion turned into a dream and then reality about my first book publication in 2012. Funny part, that manuscript was done for the better part of eight years before my husband nudged me and said “Go do the thing you want.”   So I try to be better about not leaving things unsaid or without a measure of resolution.

I’m not a great talker.  I swear. I get flustered.  I drop f-bombs at in appropriate times but I don’t know that I would have me any other way.  I observe more than participate when situations make me uncomfortable or I am trying to get a feel for the room so to speak. If I don’t like the feel or I am intimidated I tend to withdraw into a shell of sarcasm, cool politeness and trivial conversation.  Anyone that knows me well has seen me do it a thousand and one times.  How do you deal with those situations?  What impacts you to respond that way in social situations? Do you leave things unsaid in your silence? I do. In some cases its better that unsaid thing remain in my head bouncing off a filter.  In others, I miss opportunities. After meetings, I have a series of things that occur to me.  “Shit, why didn’t I ask that?”

So my advice to you, don’t leave it unsaid.   Try not to miss the opportunities—especially the ones staring you in the face. Take a chance.  Be brave.  Manage the fallout as best you can.  In the end, you will be more satisfied with the outcome than if you’d played the “what if” game with yourself after the fact.  Get a good support system that will help you sort out the facts from your insecurities.

The Maeseloria Monthly launches in THREE days.  If you have not signed up, click subscribe on the right and make sure you confirm your subscription or you won’t show up on the mailing list.  I really am proud of what I’ve put together even though it makes me nervous as hell.  This newsletter is step out of the proverbial box for me. So I guess it’s my turn to be brave right?

Be good, guys…or at the very least, don’t get caught.

 

 

 

Stumbling through the wreckage

Inspired by:  Best I’ll Ever Be – Sister Hazel

Courtesy of:  The Figment Writers

So…regular readers, how often do you see this song in the “Inspired by” section of my blog?  This song was introduced to me by a friend a few years ago.  The song is a lyrical kick in the ass.  I have written many shattering scenes to this song because I get this visual of a person standing in the rain over a grave. He’s trying to cope,  trying to understand why his life was so drastically changed by a single moment. Will things get better?  Here are the lyrics to this if anyone is curious.  To me the song is a powerful statement about grief and the cycles of loss.   So the following bit of fiction is birthed from that.  If the writings surrounding this storyline seem disjointed or not connected;  that is completely intentional on my part.  Please enjoy.

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The graves were echoes of the past.  Alexandra mused.  How many years had passed since she returned to their little manor just past the realm’s border? Though the building and gardens were in working order,  Kira was but a babe when she last saw this place.  The graves that lay before her were well tended and no more than place markers of her past.   Graves were the best she and Marc could do when their adoptive parents were killed.  There were no bodies to bury but the act gave them solace. “We were so foolish and young.” She murmured to the empty night air.   Three weeks had passed since Nicholas returned her skills to her.  Stubborn was the best way to describe her current state of mind, she mused. Each morning,  she worked to touch her skills.  Failure was not a state of affairs she accepted well.

Each morning was a test of power versus her sheer will.  This morning, she could maintain her skills for five minutes before panic threatened to overtake her.  Though Nicholas explained that she would need her shelter when she struggled, no one could manage her powers but her and she refused to allow others to control them on her behalf.  Her magic was wild,  she knew.   Fire itself was a wild element that only the strongest willed could bend.  The only more difficult element, she suspected, was earth.  How skilled would one have to be to wrest the earth form her Fated course?

That elemental wildness called her here. The palace was home but this place called to her heart too.  She was raised here, after all, and spent a portion of her life in blissful ignorance about her true history.   “We all suffer from foolish youth.”  The voice made Alexandra whirl and begin to draw on her skills.  “Most of us outgrow it eventually.”   Dominic Devereaux stepped from the shadows.  “Light above woman,  put those hands down before you ash me!” His jovial tone disarmed her immediate reaction.

Truth be told, she did not leave Maeselorian lands without escort in the form of Nicholas or Marcus. That she could be here alone was certainly a sign of changing times,  Dominic decided.   Nicholas came to him two nights ago and asked for his help.  The man had more than a flirting familiarity with what lengths Dominic went to just to survive in the dark.  After all, he was a child of Light just like the rest of them.

“Well if we are to be honest, which I prefer since I know how you Jades abhor liars.”  Dominic teased a smile before he continued. “I was sent by more than one party to look after you.  They all decided I was the least likely to trigger stress in you or pressure you. I believe a word or two was mentioned about being stubborn enough to try when everyone else was out of harm’s way.”  Dominic gentled his next words as much as Fate would allow him.  “Those dear to you requested my help.”

She was hardly dressed for court formality.  A loose pair of black pants and blouse covered her tiny frame and her platinum locks were plaited back in a wrist-thick braid that bounced against her bottom.  His words prompted a brow to perk with curious amusement.  “And who were the parties involved in this decision? I feel I may have to address the issue with them directly.”  A good natured calm radiated from the man and,  though they were not close, Alexandra valued him for the love he bore her cousin Tanya.  For the first time in days a smile that was not forced to prevent others from worrying curled her lips. At mention of his assistance, her curiosity grew. “What sort of help could you provide, Dominic?”

“A gentleman does not name names,  Lady Jade.”  Her pert nose wrinkle at mention of her title prompted his laughter to drift through the night.  “You dislike your title as much as another warrior I know. Walk with me a bit?”  He offered an arm as was appropriate for a social interaction.  When her fingertips rested on his sleeve, Dominic smiled.  He knew the lady in question would leave little room for misunderstanding with his beloved.  He led her through the rather splendid gardens of the manor.  Alexandra’s wards would keep him from the house but the grounds were safe enough. He disregarded her latter question for now.  “When did you lay the wards on the house?”

“No, he does not but I suspect my cousin was involved. Perhaps she and Nicholas decided you were the least threatening.”  Alexandra indulged in a bit of her own teasing and allowed him to steer  her through paths she knew by heart.  “When I was a girl not old enough to understand who I am,  or what it meant to be a child of Light.”  Her answer was quiet, thoughtful as they wandered.  She smiled.  “We were fighting  your former employer, dear boy.”  In the next few minutes, Alexandra explained the night her brother was returned to her. By pure chance, she laid wards on the house strong enough to deter any Kindred.  The wards, Dominic noted, were renewed recently.

Dominic scowled at her choice of words then chuckled.  “I heard stories of his rantings after you escaped his dungeon and he somehow failed to retrieve you.  I never knew why for the old demon would never say. He only muttered about how you should not have been able to do what you did. You and that brother of yours have a history of that or so I have come to understand.”   He patted her hand as they came to a crossroad in the garden.  He looked to the woman beside him and was reassured when she laughed and gestured to their left.  “That was the purpose of my visit.  You and Marcus are an unknown entity to the realm.”

He steered her to a bench and settled himself next to her.  Here at least the blasted wards would not interfere with his skills.   “Before you argue with me ,  allow me the courtesy of finishing my thought.”  The chiding brought color to her cheeks, Dominic noted with approval.   At least she understood he was not going to preach to her about what she and her brother were fated to be. “Blah blah, prophesied children of Light…restore Light to the realm.”   The gesture that accompanied his words made her laugh. “That’s not what I mean.  I mean that I have seen people driven mad by war and power. I have seen minds which never recover from that level of power and death.   We have all felt your strength of will at one point or another.  If anyone can beat this, it is you. None of my brethren ever could.”

Dominic admitted, much to his shame and sadness. “I watched them go mad as war and destruction progressed.  Every one of us that were original exiles had to be put down like rabid dogs.  I alone survived.  Most that you destroyed during the war were third,  fourth generation Devereaux. The methods they used to maintain the family cycle was disturbing to say the least.  I could not help them but I can help you.”  Dominic’s gaze flicked up and met hers.  “And I do not mean by running from the problem or putting your skills on hold until you’re ready.”  Dominic paused to consider his next words.

“Until you’re ready is for cowards and fools, Lexi.  You are neither.”  The nickname, often used by her cousin, felt foreign from is lips.  That, coupled with his forceful words prompted her to straighten and scowl.  This time, Dominic had no gentle teasing in his voice or intent to soothe her. He had her attention and that goal was what he sought.  “ What you are doing now,  a little every day will help until you can cope with the memories.   But again, humor me. Summon a fireball.”

Dominic held her gaze with a steady will that matched her own.  How could he know?  Alexandra wondered.  When she began to close her eyes,  he shook his head.  “Keep them open.  Summon your element. Closing your eyes at first leaves you in the dark and at the mercy of memory.”  His directive was blunt and more brutal than Nicholas’ teachings.  “I’m not as gentle as he is when I teach.  Time altered that in me. Forgive me.”

With a soft snicker,  Alexandra humored him and summoned a fireball in the palm of her hand.  Her hand trembled as she felt those emotions surface.  “Watch me. Right here Alex.” Dominic directed her focus towards him and not was bubbled up inside her.  With that easy gesture, the panic eased.  “You are afraid.  I understand. I acknowledge your fear because I have lived through it.  Like you, I am no innocent when it comes to destruction and power but I decided long ago not to be victim to it or allow it to suck me into the past. You are not helpless. You are as in control today as you were the day of the final battle. Keep breathing, Alex. “

Alexandra felt her heartbeat quicken as the elements heat began to build within her palm.  Both the paced breathing  and  Dominic’s words kept her focus on the here and now rather than allowing the past to suck her under.  Minutes ticked by as she focused and the intensity of the flame in her palm grew.  His words touched her spirit.   “You were the most magnificent warrior I have ever seen. Your actions were necessary to not just your survival but the survival of the realm.”

Dominic repeated as he felt her focus begin to waiver.  “Keep breathing Alex.”  When the memories threatened he told her to breathe to refocus her attention.  She was here, in this moment. At times, this very exercise saved Dominic’s sanity over the years.  The missions his elders sent him on were often brutal and unkind. They tried to sap his sanity,  his reason.  Their direction often threatened to get him killed.  His little warrior did not understand what he meant when he told her she saved him but he would spend whatever time the Light granted them showing Tanya just that.

“Our Queen would not be on her throne and my beloved dead were it not for your actions that day.”  Dominic held her focus. Not once did she look away from the force behind his words. Truthfully, they were words he waited some months to express to her.  His gratitude to her had little limit.  If not for her intervention, after all, he likely would be skewered on the end of her brother’s sword.   “Never discount what you have accomplished.  When Fate presents you with a challenge, you survive and overcome.  That is your nature, Alexandra Jade. That is your gift.”

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A few notes for you, readers.

The Maeseloria Monthly drops in a little under two weeks. To anyone that may have had issues with signing up via the popup form,  I apologize.  I was unaware that the information was not displaying correctly.  So thank you Mr. Galvin for letting me know :).  This issue has been resolved.  Just click the Subscribe link off to the right and a form will pop up for you to use.   Don’t miss out on The Guardian’s Fall and upcoming events! I have a few entertaining items planned for the month ahead.  Please join me! I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Reflections

Inspired by:  Crystallize – Lindsey Stirling

Courtesy of:  The Figment Writers

Author’s note:  This is a follow up to a previous blog I wrote concerning Alex.  If you wish to read the what happened prior, check out this blog post before you continue reading. Also, if you have not read Hope’s Child, read on at your own risk. 

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Reflections….

I feel the lack of you. Alexandra watched the tide roll in as Marc’s words returned to her.  His words prompted her to look long and hard at the actions of her loved ones since the war’s end.  This was often her place of solace. The tide soothed her spirit when it was aflame with whatever stress or worry troubled her.  Her dreams began all those years ago with this very shore line.  After all this time, was she bitter that her dreams did not bring what she felt she was promised?  Perhaps. The road was so much harder than she could have imagined in her youth.  Yet, when she paused to reflect, Alexandra Jade wondered if she would have all the blessings that surrounded her now without the hardship and loss.

“The answer, beloved, would likely be no.”  His words prompted a warm smile to drift across her lips. Since her implosion,  the nightmares were becoming less frequent.  Nearly a week passed since they warded her skills.  The panic attacks slowed and for the first time in months she could rest.  “You know Fate chooses the path before us—both the blessings and what feel like curses at the time.”  Nicholas Taltos looked her over from the top   of her platinum hair to the tips of her toes.  His life was forever altered by her presence.  He would trade none of his past heartache for this moment.  Of that, he could be certain.  He lowered himself beside her and slid an arm around her.  She leaned against him as though she were born to be there.  At times, he wondered if that was precisely Fate’s design.

“Wishful thinking.”  Her lips thinned to a line as she rested against him.  The conclusion she was coming to was not pleasant but needed discussed with the one person who may be able to advise her in some capacity.  “Things have been easier since you both sealed my powers for a time.”  The truth was the seal remained on her powers only because she allowed it and both men knew that.  She could remove their protections at any time with her own hand and, truth be told, she was afraid that the panic and fear and nightmares would return full force if she allowed a return to normalcy.

“You have allowed yourself to feel more.”  Nicholas explained on quiet, compassionate tones.   “Due to the nature of your skills,  you contain your emotions as much as you can so you do not burn the palace down around our ears.”  A small smile tugged at the corners of is mouth as he hugged her again.  “We appreciate that more than you know,  Alexandra.”  The teasing brought another smile he would trade his existence for.  For a few minutes,  he was thoughtful.  Nicholas had debated for days how to address this issue with her. He had a suspicion and it was not a good one.  His father’s old records spoke of warriors who returned to normal life with scars of the mind.  Magic users were often the hardest hit due the nature of their skills and Fate’s blessings.  “I am going to remove the bonds, Alexandra.”

With force, she pushed away from him and he noted with approval the emerald shine that shot into her sea shaded eyes.  He saw the fear that came with her anger.  Before she could rush off in a splendid display of temper, Nicholas held his hands up in an offering of peace.  “Hear me, little one, please.”  The term of endearment got her attention as it was one that he never used in anger against her.  “These terrors, these dreams,  I believe they are tied to your skills. My father wrote at some length about war survivors and you are that, my love.  This too shall pass if you trust the people that love you.”

“If that is your wish,  Nicholas, I will see to the matter myself.” Alexandra shot back and a moment later her skills came flowing back into her body.  With it came the images of that final battle, that push of her will and all the dead.  The color left her face and she nearly fainted with the emotional force those images brought.   “Light damn it.”   If she were standing,  her legs would not have held her weight.  The world felt as though it fell upon her dainty shoulders.  Fire’s heat poured through her veins as the wall between her skills and her carefully controlled emotions collapsed. The heat radiating from her spread south into the sand beneath her feet.

Her breath came in short, panicked gasps as her element came to life within her.  The images subsided leaving her alone with her body and the fire that burned within her.   “Damn you Taltos, why did you need to know?!” She hissed as she tried to slow her pounding heartbeat before the temperature beneath them became too much for either one of them to stand.  Light knew she could turn every grain of sand to glass beneath them but the fires involved would kill them both.  Did he not understand that her skills could destroy the realm at large?  The world was starting to spin before her eyes.  How much could she stand before she begged them to take her skills from her? To remove all that Fate blessed her with?

“Calm, my love. “  His soothing voice gained her attention.  Steady fingers grasped her chin and tilted her face up until their eyes met.   “Breath with me Alexandra.”  Nicholas held her gaze to bring her mind back to the present and the now.  He took slow deep breaths until her breathing mirrored his own.  Fate could only hope his father’s writings were accurate.  This was the only hope he had for not only her but them.  “Slowly. You’re here. Not there.  The past cannot hurt you.”  As he spoke, he felt the fires within her recede to embers.   The reaction was as he expected.  He had waited until she was near enough to the discovery herself to bring it to light. “We will fight this together,  I promise you.”

Raindrops on Roses…

Inspired by:  Distant Worlds – Music from the Final Fantasy Series.

Brought to you by:  The Figment’s Weekly Writing Prompt

Though there was no stumping this week, our hostess with the mostest got me thinking again.  This week’s prompt:  “Three things.”   So, she got the gears going about what three things I could choose to elaborate on.  I opted to take a tack that may interest some and may bore others.  Here goes, three things about your friendly neighborhood fantasy author.

One

I love games.  I do.  I am picky as hell about them.  The first video game I ever fell in love with was Final Fantasy 6. (That would be Final Fantasy III here in the states,   on the SNES).  My pickiness tends to lean towards games with great story and not overly complicated mechanics.  I’m not going to front, I cannot manage overly complicated game mechanics because I get pissed and turn it off. Give me a great storyline and easy mechanics and I’m your girl.   My games of choice are Final Fantasy 6, 7 and 10 among the favorites. Outside of that series, give me Tales of Symphonia; Abyss; Vesperia or Xillia.  I love strong characterizations and a plot that leaves you wondering.   Aeris’ death in Final Fantasy 7 is still hands down the biggest game kick in the ass I’ve ever experienced.  I was so pissed I turned the game off for a week before completing it. I have a goal to beat every Final Fantasy title released in the US.  So far I am two or three titles from that goal and I am currently stuck on Final Fantasy V.  (DAMN you Ex-Death!)

Also, my scope of gaming interest I find is not limited to the controller.  I also enjoy board gaming.  Our visit to GenCon was more entertaining than I could possibly put into words and will become a Hults family tradition.  I enjoy games like Ticket to Ride, King of Tokyo,   Coup and many more than I can put into a single blog post.  I have also found my footing in Dungeons and Dragons.  I played my first campaign with my husband and daughter this past weekend at GenCon and just…wow.  It is definitely a game that gets the imagination going. In a more traditional card game sense—I kick ass at Euchre and Gin Rummy.  Just sayin.  If you’re a gamer, what do you love? What do you hate?  Please share!

Two

My first venture into Fantasy fiction was C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  I was eleven when I first read it. I thought it was an okay book at the time but grew to love it and the series later.  The first book I read cover to cover until it fell apart was Stephen King’s It.  I got my first copy of that book when I was fifteen and read it so many times the pages fell out.   I still pull it out from time to time for a good read.   As a reader I love strong characterizations; as an author I try to create relatable characters.  When you read It, your heart hurts for Beverly Marsh, Bill Denbrough and the rest of the Losers Club.   Since those days, my reading horizons have broadened.  I read horror, fantasy, romance, historical fiction just to list a few genres.   Again, I am never picky about the genre but I need a strong character base and driving story line.   (If you like Stephen King and you’ve never read It or The Stand,  I am not sure you can call yourself a fan of his work given the amount of blood, sweat and tears that I’m certain went into creating those stories.)

Right now, I picked up some new reads and GenCon that I’m itching to start.  Anyone familiar with Robin Hobb? I picked up one of her books at the convention and I am eager to get underway.  Reading for me is always a new adventure.  In many aspects writing is the same way.  Readers often ask how many books or what is going to happen next with the Maeseloria series.  The truth is that I couldn’t tell you because I don’t know!  My characters talk to me when they talk to me and tell me their stories.  At times, my heart hurts for them and at others I look at them like “Really? I don’t think this is going to end well for you but here goes.”      Another book I am excited to get my mitts on is Philippa Gregory’s Three Sisters, Three Queens.  I absolutely love her historical fiction.   If you love Tudor England and the Cousins’ War, start with The Lady of Rivers and read through the above title. You will not be sorry!  The Constant Princess is one of my all-time favorite books.   I have read Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.  Gryffindor FTW and, honestly, Annabeth Chase is another strong, smart character I can relate to.   What are your favorite reads?  Books you can read until the covers fall off?

Three

Music is an obsession for me.  In fact, I get really bored with no new musical influence and my creativity will, on occasion, come to a grinding, irritating halt.  I will give anything a spin once…maybe twice.  Leading my creative playlists though are artists such as Lindsey Stirling;   Nobuo Umetsu (Sound off in the comments if you know him guys.  Favorite track?) ;  Brunuhville but on the other hand I also rock out to Linkin Park or My Chemical Romance.  Just depends on the song and my mood.   Right now, Nobuo Umetsu is flat out doing it for me.   I am extremely excited for Lindsey Stirling’s new album net week.  If you are familiar with her work and haven’t had time, check out Something Wild and The Arena from her new album.  It drops on the 19th.  Picture me running around like a crazy fangirl and you have the picture.  Certain albums speak to my spirit; I was a musician in high school.  I sang, I played a little piano and still do—all self-taught.

Musicals are another passion for me and yes,  I am currently on the Hamilton fangirl train but I also love shows like Phantom of the Opera,  Finding Neverland, Aida,  Wicked and Rent to name a few.  Again, driving storylines and great characters make the musical for me.

What was the first album that just touched your soul?  You love it so much you listen to every track and know every nuance.  Me?  Two albums off the top of my head still speak to me and both are from my youth.  Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing and Hootie and the Blowfish‘s   Cracked Rear View.  I can listen to them end to end and be touched by those lyrics.  The albums were released in a time when I was in desperate need of something to relate to.   I found my footing in Black and White and Not Even the Trees.  If you don’t know these albums and love strong lyrics, check them out.   What music resonates with you?  If you write, what pushes your creativity?  Email me leave a comment with questions, I’ll feature them in my first newsletter.   Three weeks until drop date!  Don’t miss out on the short story The Guardian’s Fall. 

Hope to hear from you soon guys! Thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

 

On the Road Again

Like the song says…hitting the road in t-minus 3ish hours.  Headed to GenCon and four marvelous days of gaming and, possibly,  some promotional work for my books.  For those of you that may be in attendance;  look for me.  I’ll be the one reeling my dorky husband in. Or, look for my Harley Quinn backpack. This backpack:  (I think it’s pretty epic.)

In other news,  I’m excited to meet a few longtime friends face to face and play my first D&D campaign.  The game seems complex or I am overthinking it.  We shall see.  My first character is a Sorceress and a soldier.  (Go figure, right?)  From what I understand;  the event is an amazing experience and I cannot wait.  If you are attending, love my work and want to meet up,  message me @SandraHults on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at maeseloria@gmail.com.  Smartphones are wonderful things.  🙂

By the way,  tick-tock the clocks ticking until the first issue of the Maeseloria Monthly.  If you have not signed up; for the love of Light, what are you waiting for?  It’s free! You can’t beat free?  Also, stay tuned for special offers via the newsletters possibly another giveaway!  For those of you that took advantage of the free digital download of Birth of Light;   inbox me for a limited time discount on Duty’s Song. You know…maeseloria@gmail.com.  Talk to me people! Ask questions! I don’t bite, honest.

Stay safe gang.  Take care.  See you next week.

 

 

 

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