Friday, December 28, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-December 28, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

We had a wonderful Christmas here. The kids loved their gifts, and we got to spend some good quality time with family. We had no snow on the ground for Christmas, which is unusual for where we live. I didn't mind, though. It made for safer driving conditions than we've had in the past, which was nice.

I had an ultrasound the day after Christmas, and I'm excited to announce that I'm having a baby girl! That means I'll have two boys and two girls. I'll have a full house in 2019, won't I?

As far as writing goes, I'm feeling pretty positive at the moment. Writers often have ups and downs. We may be surging in confidence one month, only to be plagued with doubt the next. Since I'm currently in a positive place, I plan to take advantage of that and get some good work done.

Lastly, I can't believe it's the last Friday of 2018! The year has flown by for me. I'm looking forward to 2019, though. I hope it'll be a good year.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, December 21, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-December 21, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I'm celebrating the fact that my son Lyle got student of the month for his class, and he got to be honored at a high school basketball game last night. Both he and Jude were excited to watch the game, and Zoe kept following the tiger mascot around the school so she could hug him. All in all, it was a good night.

Editing on my novel WIP is going slow, but I'm happy with the progress I've made so far. I plan to keep working on it as much as I can over the next week, though I'm certainly going to be busy with other things, too. We'll see how it goes.

To all of you out there who celebrate, I'd like to say Merry Christmas! My kids are definitely excited. I absolutely love watching them get out of bed on Christmas morning and rush to the tree to open their presents.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-December 14, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

My boys had a school Christmas concert last night. They always enjoy being on stage. Jude's class was part of a short musical that made up the last half of the concert, and he had some lines to memorize. He worked so hard on them and was so excited about learning his part.

I finished writing and editing a short story this week. I submitted it on Wednesday. Whether it ends up being accepted or not, it always feels good to submit my work.

I also pulled out a novel draft that's mostly written. Right now it's sitting at about 88,000 words. The ending tripped me up, so I put it down for a little while. I plan to start reading through it, making some notes, and coming up with some idea of how to end it. Then I can hopefully start editing it!

Also, I'm excited to announce that my short story "A Meal for Dragons" has been published in the newly release Young Explorer's Adventure Guide, Volume 5. This was such a fun story to write! You can find the book for sale on Amazon. You can also add it on Goodreads!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things-December 7, 2018

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I'd like to start this celebration by announcing that, as of yesterday, I have a new nephew! The kids are excited about having a new cousin in the family.

I'm also celebrating the fact that we're essentially done with Christmas shopping. We still have to pick up a few stocking stuffers, but the majority of the work is done. This is the earliest we've ever finished with our shopping, and I'm pretty happy about that. It makes life far less stressful.

I'm also nearly done with the rough draft of a short story. I plan to finish it in the next couple of days, then edit and submit it. Regardless of whether submission goes well, I'm always happy to have finished a story.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: December 2018

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means! Let's convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group! Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has gathered another bunch of co-hosting minions for this month: J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker, Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey.

Don't forget to check out the IWSG website for great articles and resources!

The optional question for this month is: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

This is an excellent question. Every writer has their must-have writing items. Here are mine.

1. Laptop
     This is an indispensable item for obvious reasons. Without it, I can't type. I can also use my laptop to listen to music while I work, and this helps inspire and motivate me. Unfortunately, the internet access it offers often leads to distraction, but I can hardly blame the computer for that.

2. Coffee mug
     The mug is often filled with coffee, sometimes with tea. These beverages help me get into the zone in terms of writing. They're also delicious, so that certainly helps with their appeal.

3. Water bottle
     This is a must. Sometimes I need a good sip of water, and I don't want to get up in the middle of a scene if I can help it. Having this close at hand helps minimize distractions and keeps me working.
4. Stack of notebooks
     When I'm out and about, I can't always have my laptop handy. I try to always keep a notebook with me, though, because ideas don't care whether I'm near my laptop or not.
5. Lamp
     I need plenty of light to write by, especially since I do most of my writing at night after my kids have gone to bed. Without a good lamp, it would be a lot harder for me to get my work done.

What five things could we expect to find in your writing space?

Saturday, December 1, 2018

WEP/IWSG December Challenge-Ribbons and Candles

Is it December already? I honestly don't know where the year has gone. It's already time for another WEP/IWSG challenge! The theme for this month is Ribbons and Candles. There's so much room for interpretation with this one.

I intended to write a happier story than the one I ended up writing. I don't know why my mind tends to go dark with these prompts. Maybe that's just the kind of person that I am.

Now on to the story!

Tied With a Bow

Terra’s mother spent an hour meticulously brushing her long black hair and weaving silky red ribbons into her braids. Those patient hands finished the task by patting them gently into place and resting there for a long moment.

The dress Terra wore was the same shade of red as her ribbons and shone softly in the dim light of her bedroom. The candles on her bedside table cast flickering shadows on the walls. When she was little, she used to imagine those shadows were monsters creeping in the night. At age fifteen, she was too old for that kind of nonsense. There were monsters in the world, but they didn’t lurk in the shadows. They looked you right in the eye and told you how they intended to take your life away.

Now that the preparations were done, Terra’s mother sat in a chair in the corner of the room. Her face was entirely bathed in shadow, but her eyes reflected just enough of the light to remain visible. They remained fixed on her, gaze unwavering. Terra imagined her mother was trying to burn these last moments with her into her mind so she could remember every detail. Or perhaps her mother would end her life soon after the carriage left, and she wanted to have these last moments to reflect on her decision. She wouldn’t be the first parent to have taken this escape route from her grief, after all.

A soft sob came from the other end of the room. The twins Gabby and Danielle huddled together on the bottom bunk of the bed they shared. They too were wearing fine dresses, Gabby in emerald green and Danielle in powder blue. Their blond hair, however, showed a distinct lack of care, the ribbons not so painstakingly done. They were orphaned when they were five, so a woman named Dahlia had to do it for them. Unfortunately, there was much work to be done, so Dahlia didn’t have time to strive for perfection.

Terra lost her own father at the same time the twins lost their parents, and the memories of him grew fainter with each passing year. She sat on the edge of her bed, gathering her threadbare blanket in her hands for the final time, and wondered what he would think of all this. Would he have been horrified? Would he have understood the necessity of it all? Terra didn’t dare ask her mother. Even now, a decade after losing him, the very mention of her deceased husband brought her to tears. Terra preferred to fantasize that he’d have stepped in to stop it, that maybe he’d have gathered his family and led them to safety under the cover of night.

It was a silly fantasy, though. Disappearing into the night without a large group or weapons was far too dangerous. Only a crazy few attempted to go outside the bounds of established communities.

When the graves spilled forth their dead ten years prior, it seemed the entire world had ended. Death was an inescapable fact, and all would turn. Unlike fiction that existed prior to the apocalypse, destroying the brain wasn’t enough. Bodies had to be burned to ash to prevent the unholy resurrections from taking place. This made ridding the countryside of the lurching dead particularly difficult.

Safety and survival became the ultimate goal, and many were willing to pay any price to achieve that for themselves. The most violent of the survivors banded together and offered other communities their protection, but at a high cost. Of course, those in charge were never left to pick up the tab for that security. They fancied themselves too important for that. Terra imagined one of those creepy old decision-makers being forced to weave ribbons in their hair and be presented as gifts to their violent overlords. It would never happen, of course, but it made for a more pleasing fantasy than most.

A soft knock on the door interrupted Terra’s troubled thoughts. A moment later, Dahlia leaned inside and spoke. “The caravan has arrived. You need to come downstairs now.”

Terra’s mother let out a choked sob. She longed to comfort her, but she feared if she wrapped her arms around her mother’s frail frame, she’d never let go. Terra stepped forward, her chin held high. Gabby and Danielle fell into step behind her, though their tears continued to fall. Terra felt the urge to cry bubbling beneath the surface, but she forced it down. She refused to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her break down.

Word Count: 974