Gearing Up For Camp NaNo

The Evil Day Job and writing don’t always mix nicely, especially when you work in soul-sucking retail. Sometimes it seems impossible to be able to unplug from work and find time, or energy, to write once you make it home — hopefully in one piece. And other times…it really is impossible.

I am going to hate myself for saying this, but I have begun to associate this work week as a third Christmas. (Easter is the second Christmas when it comes to retail, and actually Back to School could be the third mini Christmas instead, so maybe this is like my fourth Christmas.) Essentially this week is Hell Week when my boss decided it’s a great time to take an eight day vacation — for what I swear is the third time in only a couple months, throw myself and the two other managers under the bus more than once, and leave all of us to pick up her slack the final week before the biggest boss visit of our store’s life.

Thanks, bitch! NOT! I don’t care what’s going on in your life right now, you should definitely be here for this.

I do not get paid enough for this amount of stress, frustration, and responsibility now sitting on my shoulders. I should also not be going into overtime this week, but guess what? All three of us managers left to deal with this bullshit are probably going into overtime, even when we’re technically not allowed.

You know it’s time to find a new job when you’ve got to the point that you really just don’t care anymore. You do what you get done and the rest… “Well, fuck it. It is what is anymore. I don’t care.”

I get it though. You’re the general manager and you’ve adopted an “I can do whatever the hell I want” attitude because of it. Whatever though. I don’t care anymore. I’ll look for a new job unless things start shaping up as fair again, or I’ll leave and laugh while I watch you scramble to fill an already shorthanded position.

Well no wonder I’m going into overtime then when I’m not supposed to!

*Rolls eyes* Idiot…

I shall forego a longer rant about work though and move onto writing. If there’s one thing overtime kills, it’s free time at home and the energy to do anything once you get home. It also doesn’t help when you work so many messed up shifts that you have to choose between eating, sleeping, or getting things done once you finally do get home.

The bad thing about all this happening right now is that it’s the week before Camp NaNo starts for me. By the time Saturday rolls around I’m going to be so fed up and exhausted that I’m going to need all of Saturday just to recover some sanity and motivation — maybe longer than that at this rate, which means I only have Sunday left in my request off days to get a head start on Camp.

I should have taken the first three days of July off for Camp, but then again, even if I did, my boss would be taking away the approved third day just like she took away one of my approved days — approved in FEBRUARY — this week because her life took precedent over mine.

I did not do it for you, bitch, I did it for the two other managers getting stuck with your bullshit too. Don’t you dare thank me for it, or I might just have the balls to finally say to your face I didn’t do it for you. (The other two managers know straight up I did it for them.)

Despite how much hell this week is going to be I did manage to start my Camp NaNo  project on Sunday. For the first time in two months I finally picked up some of my writing and got to work. Since I’m using Camp to work on the concordance and some minor editing of Fated to Darkness, I wanted to get a head start so I could play around with the best way to go about this project.

I’m glad I did get a head start because I spent a good hour and a half just organizing pages in my concordance and figuring out what sections/categories needed added yet, and making lists for what to include in certain categories (like character sheets, and chapter summary information for easy access to arranging plot lines, and so forth).

By the time I did call it quits Sunday night since I had to be at work early Monday morning, I had a better basis for how to do things, started a rough note notebook to keep track of things for said pages above, had managed to get through the Prologue of my story with the minor editing, and created a reference and question Word doc I can consult and use when I begin the major editing.

My hope is by making this Word doc I’ll better be able to organize the notes I left myself in my rough draft. I’ll be able to use it to answer questions of past events or miscellaneous things, or note that I need a character name, or a chapter title, or that this section needs more editing, or that I need to watch my “telling words” in this section, or this scene needs more description, etc. etc. etc.. By transferring and noting where those references and questions are in my rough draft, I should be able to eliminate lots of unnecessary words and some pages so I’m not printing — or paying — as much when I start paper editing the book. (I plan to put the Word doc on a flash drive and take it to an office supply store to print it instead of using all my own paper and ink.)

I think it’s going to work based on how things started out for me, and my hope is to get up to at least Chapter 11, which is about 146 pages, by the end of July. If I want to stick to my original goal of getting through the whole book by November, that gives me four months, and there’s about 40 some chapters in this book. Roughly ten chapters a month, not too bad — I don’t think. By doing it this way I can use the minimal free time of November and December to organize the rough notes I’m putting in the notebook into my concordance, and also print my reference Word doc and the actual book.

(Wait, what free time in November? That’s NaNoWriMo! And the start of the holiday!)

The more I think about this, the scarier it is to see how far I’ve really come. At the same time it’s exciting. It’s hard to believe I’ve really come this far.

Now if only I can figure out how to regain energy and motivation in the face of work’s hell to keep pushing forward this week — I would like to get through Chapter 1 before Camp starts — and in the future at this rate… Music only helps so much sometimes. I need another way. Like maybe taping the logo of my company — or maybe my boss’ face — on my target and practice shooting my bow at it. Bet you I’d hit a bull’s eye…

How do you unplug from work to shake off it’s exhaustion and frustration to be able to focus on writing and/or editing once you’re home?

The Benefits of Guest Posting for Authors

Hello and welcome to my first post in the new system I am trying out for this blog, A Writer’s Guide. I hope to make things more informative and thoughtful than just my simple ramblings of the journey that is writing for me.

To start, this is not an actual guest post from someone else. Yet. This time I am simply going to discuss what could be some benefits to having guest posts, as well as the many ways in which you can use guest posting.

As I’ve been brainstorming for topics to use in these posts, I stumbled across the thought of guest posts. I realized it was something I considered doing before, but for different reasons than I am considering it now. With that realization I began to wonder a few things:

What all can guest posting do for you, or fellow bloggers/authors? Can it be helpful in growing your online following by expanding to others as well, which in turn might bring new readers that could potentially become new followers? What kind of guest posts can you feature?

These questions began to tumble about my head, exploring one avenue of thought before branching off to another. The more I tinker and debate over the idea, the more I see the possibilities within guest posting. Let me break it down a little bit in regards to the questions I had about it.

What all can guest posting do for you, or fellow bloggers/authors?

Obviously to have guest posts all the time defeats the purpose of running your own blog, but it can be beneficial to spread your wings a little bit and include others once and awhile. Of course it may require some more work than simply sitting down at your computer and typing out a post from your own thoughts. You’d have to coordinate with the person you wish to feature for the post, figure out what you would like them to write for you or talk about. Then you have to go through the process of creating the post with them and getting it scheduled and completed with enough time before your date of posting.

Yes, that is a bit more work, but it could also be great fun to chat with fellow bloggers and authors to co-write a post. You get to possibly learn something new about them or about the topic you are discussing, have a laugh or two even. Plus it changes things up a little for your current followers, and who knows? Perhaps your followers could become their followers because they like what they see in your guest post. You could not only be helping yourself by trying something new, but you could be helping them as well.

This possibility goes hand in hand with the next question I presented.

Can it be helpful in growing your online following by expanding to others as well, which in turn might bring new readers that could potentially become new followers?

The answer, plain and simple, is yes! It can definitely be beneficial in expanding your online following. If you host a guest post, then not only does that post get sent out to your followers, but it is highly likely your guest will share the post with their followers as well. Therefore you get double the eyes on your post, and as I stated above, perhaps some of those followers will become both of your followers because they like what they see.

It could even go further from there. Perhaps a follower of your guest likes them so much and what they posted with you that even they share the post. Now you’ve got triple the eyes viewing your post perhaps. It could go on and on from there.

If you show you’re friendly and talkative with other bloggers and authors, you’re giving yourself a boost in which others might just come to you to see what you’re all about. A bit of advice I was given is that you have to go out and sort of reel your followers in by being active with others, guest posting is a great way to do that. Who knows? Maybe someone could even like your idea of guest posting so much that they contact you to see if they could share a guest post with you, or invite you to write one for their blog.

The possibilities in the extra number of eyes you could reach are almost endless by guest posting with others.

What kind of guest posts can you feature?

And speaking of almost endless possibilities, there are various ways in which you can feature guest posts in such a wide range of topics depending on what your blog is about, what they’re about, and so forth.

Last year in October when I got my debut publication, one of the things my publisher did for promotional benefits was feature an author interview guest post on their blog, Once Upon A Word. In it I got to share a little bit about myself, give insight into where and how I came up with the idea for the short story I wrote, share an excerpt of said story to gain some interest for my work, and answer a few other questions in regards to the topic and theme of my story and the anthalogy I was published in.

I was suprised to be asked to do an author interview for the blog, for I hadn’t expected it, but the more time has passed, the more I’ve come to realize it is a great promotional benefit without much fuss or grandstanding so to say. And every author out there knows promoting can be a royal pain in the arse, so if someone asks you to guest post an interview, why ever would you turn it down? It’s essentially free pubilicity for you! A win win all around!

So, naturally, an author interview is a great way to feature a guest post, but it doesn’t just stop there.

Guest posts could range as far as simply asking someone to share their secrets to writing (if they dare give them up), or to share their wisdom and tricks of the trade. Perhaps you could even feature a guest post as a part of someone’s research into a certain aspect of writing or publishing, create a poll or survey with another. You could simply discuss the ins and outs of this industry with someone more experienced and get more insight, in turn helping yourself and anyone else who follows you. Instead of an author interview, you could create a book review and then ask the author for them to host a character interview for you just for fun.

The ways in which you can feature a guest post are almost limitless. If it can be fun, informative, promotional, or helpful in any sense, and involves another author/blogger — even a friend — you can probably find a way to create a guest post out of just about any idea you may have.

Overall, should you venture into the world of guesting posting then?

That answer is ultimately up to you as a fellow blogger or author. I, however, do believe that guest posting can have many benefits to you and your fellow guest poster. It’s a great way to draw new eyes toward you by featuring someone else. It can be loads of fun to share a post with someone else. It gives you something to fill your post requirements when your creative juices are completely blanking on what you can write about thanks to the soul sucking Evil Day Job. You can use it for promotional reasons as an author. You can not only help yourself grow, but support someone else you care about, which in turn helps to get your name out there just a little bit further just like theirs.

There are many more benefits to guest posting, and while I’m sure there are some downsides — the extra work to creating the post and coordinating with someone, and the possibility that things may not follow through as you had wished them to — I believe that the benefits in this case outweigh the downsides.

So does that mean I’m going to start featuring some guest posts?

Probably. I’ve already had a couple ideas as to what guest posts I can feature and with who. Of course those posts won’t come right away, and I’ll have to see if they’ll accept a guest post on my blog first, then work with them to create the post. Sometime in the future though I’m rather sure there will start to be guest posts popping up within this blog. Perhaps I can make it a once a month thing, or an every other month thing.

Whichever way it comes to pass, there is one thing I have learned:

authors success

And that is especially true for authors and writers. Supporting their success by celebrating and sharing it with them not only brightens their days and relieves some of the burden on their promotional shoulders if you guest post with them, but it may just be returned to you one day later in life. You know what they say, what goes around, comes around.

So support your fellow authors like you support the celebrities you don’t even know, and share a guest post with them. After all, word of mouth is our greatest tool in the writing industry.


(Footnote: To anyone, author/blogger/writer/reader/so forth, who has other ideas or topics they would like to see me cover or talk about, please follow the first hyperlink above and drop me your ideas in the comment section. I look forward to hearing your interest.)

Finding Topics

summer solstice

Blessed Summer Solstice, folks!

It seems like just yesterday it was the start of spring and here we are already at the longest day of the year. I hope many of you get to enjoy the beautiful weather and extended light, I unfortunately have work. It sucks to think the days are going to start getting shorter already. Didn’t the nice weather just start?

Solstice aside, I didn’t get a chance to write and post my first helpful post last Friday. Lots of things got in the way and I lost track of time, and at that point after finally deciding what I’m going to go forward doing from this point on, Morgana struggled to come up with a topic to babble about.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it though. I’ve started a list of topics that I can use for those posts — including things like the benefits of Camp NaNo and NaNoWriMo, where to find inspiration, brainstorming and outlining and world building — and whenever something strikes me that I can use I add it on. It’s not a long list yet, but it’s growing slowly.

Other than my brainstorming for topics, I have failed to be productive at all this past week. I’ve had the want to be productive, but not the will and motivation it seems. I suppose the want to be productive is a good start though considering my past weeks. If only I can get myself moving on the actual act of being productive now that’d be great.

I do seem to have decided what I’m doing about Camp NaNoWriMo in July though, and it’s not going to be my normal kind of decision. (I believe I’ll explain more next week about it.) We’ll see how this decision works out because I want to be able to start the project before Camp starts just to get a feel for how it will go, and if I can manage to make it work. Hopefully I’ll be able to have a chance to start before Camp, but at the same time… The rest of this month is a giant clusterfuck of things going on. If I’m not working, days off will consist of not being home to get any work done. Go figure, right?

(I’m mostly blaming the Evil Day Job because I’m about fed up to my eyeballs with all the bullshit going on there.)

As long as I have some opening shifts next week I should be able to manage it, but, you know, for whatever reason I’m getting the short stick for the past month or so and only getting closing shifts which leaves me NO time to get anything done at home, so who knows what I’ll really end up with.

For now I will do what I can I suppose, and try not to throttle anybody in the process. I should have the time to write and schedule a post for Friday this week now that I have some topics to use. I’m undecided about writing a Shard this week so I’m not sure if there will be a Wednesday post just yet. If the prompt gives me an idea by the end of the night perhaps I will write something for it and post again, but in the meantime I do have a question for my dear readers.

Whether you’re an author, a publisher, a writer as a hobby, a journalist, or a reader, or anything at all; when it comes to stories, writing, and everything in between, what kind of topics do you want to hear about, and maybe learn something about? What kind of suggestions can you give me for a topic to write about that’s a little more informative than just my rambling? It can be anything from involving characters to involving publishing to involving a certain genre or research or more. What do you, as my followers, want to see me post about from this field?

Changes Coming

It has been a month since I have posted anything. I am neither apologizing for that or explaining why I have been absent this time. This year has been a trying roller coaster in many forms, most of which have been downhill drops. Not the fun kind of downhill drop either.

A lot changed for me toward the end of last year. I became a published author and began to follow that dream further. It’s amazing how quickly the high of an accomplishment such as that can die, and it’s also amazing just how quickly it can all go up in smoke. A lot changed last year, but this year even more has changed again, and still must change.

For that reason I am switching things up on this blog now, and I plan to finally redo a lot of the pages as I had wanted to in the beginning of 2017.

Originally, I had created this blog two years ago as an author platform to help get my name out there, to be able to log my journey and look back one day to see how far I’ve come. As I’ve gone along though I’ve realized it’s hardly been what I had hoped it would be, just like Wattpad.

Every author out there envisions this sudden huge following and fan group flocking to their work whenever they join something new like a website/blog, or a writing site, or a Facebook page, but very seldom does that actually seem to happen.

Maybe some people just get lucky, while others continually struggle to build that following — though not for lack of trying. To the people who grow and grow beyond imagination day after day and year after year, gaining a fan base of readers who actually interact with them, kudos to you. I wish I knew your damn secret.

I, however, have not been one of those lucky ones. I have never been a lucky one for anything in life, no matter how hard I work.

Since my lack of luck has hardly gotten me anywhere in two years of WordPress, and four years of Wattpad, I am changing the way I do posts here.

This blog will no longer be a straight diary-like journey of my writing and dream. I will not stop sharing my journey so that I can one day look back on it, but posts will be less about me, and maybe more about writing. As of now the idea in my head is to make one of my posts (either Tuesday or Friday) about what’s going on, and the other something more…informative or helpful. My hope is it will draw in some more readers, and maybe more interaction, but it doesn’t mean there will always be a post. Sometimes I may just not have anything to say anymore.

For now I am also forgoing Sunday Snippets. With the completion of the first draft of Fated to Darkness, as well as not much else in the works, or shareable in my eyes, at the moment, I have decided I am stepping away from it. It wasn’t like I was getting very much support from the group anyways, despite the fact I was a supporter of everyone’s snippet at one point, regardless of the fact they visited my blog or not. Maybe that’s selfish or bitter of me, but I’m tired of not feeling good enough and forgotten. No one’s even noticed I’m gone. Perhaps I will go back to it one day when I feel I have something again to share, or if I feel like trying again to see if anyone cares, but for now I am done with Sunday Snippets.

Lastly in regards to my posts, I am undecided if I will continue my Shards on Wednesday’s from P.T. Wyant’s Wednesday Word prompts. A part of me wants to because flash fiction is a good writing excercise and some of them are really fun. The other part of me though is a bit worn out worrying about getting one written and posted when I never know what that day is going to bring thanks to my job. Not to mention, again, they hardly ever garner any kind of feedback or interest, even on Wattpad. Perhaps they will pop up here and there, or maybe I’ll write some whenever I have time and those posts may be sporadic little treats instead — probably not considering I’m a tad OCD, but I am undecided if I will truly continue them or not.

For these reasons, I will be changing how I use Wattpad too, and my author page on Facebook. I have no idea where I am really headed now concerning my dream, this blog, or anything else, but I do hope those of you who follow me will stick around to find out with me.

Heartstone Voids (Wednesday Words 5.10.17)

Welcome to a piece of Wednesday Word’s flash fiction on Darkling Dreams!

A good friend of mine, P.T. Wyant, is doing a blog post every Wednesday called Wednesday Words with a new prompt for a bit of flash fiction writing, just to get in the habit of writing something, anything. (Even if said flash fiction is complete garbage at the time. Garbage is better than nothing though, right?) If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself or just something to aimlessly write, then go check out her blog for this week’s prompt!

With that being said, I am going to share what I came up with for this week’s flash fiction Shard based off a photo prompt. So here is my very rough around the edges minute of inspiration based off her prompt. I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!

(Please excuse any errors you may see, I said it was rough around the edges.)

This tale is also a continuation of Dragonstone from 3.15.17.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Heartstone Voids

Innin’s bellows echoed off the high stone ceilings. The sounds of distress carried through the maze of passages linking Flamer hideouts to their winged mounts’ dwellings, disturbing those that were trying to rest in the mountain. She didn’t pay mind to the responding screeches and yells from them trying to get her to quiet down. She was too agitated to care.

Smoke filled the space around her, flowing freely from her snout with each distressed huff. The sound of raking claws on stone only furthered her agitation as she paced around and around, wings flaring.

He should have been back by now! Foolish rider! Why did he have to go off on his own?!

The sun had nearly set below the horizon and still there was no sign of Fenian. He had left that morning to try to track down the dragonstone and should have been back by now. He should have been back hours ago, or at the very least have gotten within range to reach out and say he needed her now.

Can’t trap a leprechaun while trying to hide a dragon. She snorted. I could have been out of range while he hunted the leech. He didn’t have to go alone!

Another roar of worried frustration shook the cavern, sprinkling dust down over her shimmering emerald scales. The prickling of dread seeping through her veins with each passing moment was making her antsy. The bond was trying to tell her something, she knew it, but she couldn’t figure out what it was trying to say.

Was Fenian in trouble? Had he bit off more than he could chew without her? Or had he just been delayed in finding the leprechaun and was on his way back now?

Her tail flicked against the stone as she rounded and stomped to the mouth of the cave, staring out over the dwindling landscape below. She could see the forests, the lakes, the towns and kingdoms from here; almost as well as she could see them from the skies. With eyes like a hawk she caught the flurry of movement along the mountainside. She snaked her head out further and looked down to find a female elf hurrying up the carved staircase set into the cliffs. One rickety line of wood railing kept them from plunging to their death. Worthless railing if anyone asked her.

The setting sun glistened off the elf’s hair. Red hair, petite… Is that…? Innin flared her nostrils, trying to catch the elf’s scent on the breeze. Alenia!

Innin rushed out of the cave and pushed off the rocks, flinging her wings open to ride the wind currents down to her. The passing of her great shadow caused the elf below to pause and look up, then retreat a few steps backwards when she landed hard on the mountainside, digging her claws into the rock to hold herself. Pebbles and dust rained down onto the stairwell. She left her wings open for balance and turned her head toward Alenia.

:Alenia!: she shouted telepathically, catching the elf off guard by the booming voice in her head. To her credit, dragons didn’t normally mind speak with anyone other than their Flamer or other dragons. :Have you seen Fenian?: she demanded.

The elf shook her head and blinked before focusing on Innin’s words. “I…” She floundered out of breath. “I… No, I haven’t seen Fenian. I was…actually coming here in hopes of finding him. He said we would meet at the tavern tonight for dinner but he never showed and I haven’t heard from him.” Her brow creased worriedly. “Is he…not here?”

Innin reared her head back and shot flames upward over the rock with a guttural growl, scorching them. Her scales rattled when her body quivered.

“Innin!” Alenia exclaimed. “Innin, what’s wrong?! Where is Fenian?”

:I don’t know!: she snapped, fangs clicking together as she cut off the flames. Smoke poured from her snout with each heavy breath. :He said he went hunting to find the leprechaun that stole the dragonstone, and he didn’t want me to come because a dragon is easily spotted. He left this morning. He should have been back by now! But I have not heard or seen heads or tails of him since. Something is wrong.:

“Have…you tried reaching him with the heartstone?” she asked timidly. “Have you felt anything through the bond?”

:It is blank! An abyssal void! I cannot feel or sense anything even when I should, I can’t even sense HIM!:

Alenia flinched at the senseless fury and worry in her tone, giving her head a shake. “Did Fenian say where he was going?”

Another billow of smoke wafted from her nostrils, curling her head toward the elf with blazing eyes of fire. :He mentioned the Enchanted Forest, that was all.:

“Then let’s go and look for him.”

:It’s almost dark!:

“I know…” she replied, trying to sound soothing. It was kind of hard to be soothing toward an enraged dragon though. “But we can still look. If he did run into trouble then we can’t wait till next sunrise. You go on and fly ahead, I will race back and get a horse and a few scouts to help, then I will meet you out there.”

Innin stared at her, trying in vain to calm her racing heart and all the unspeakable thoughts darting through her head. Leprechauns were not a friendly bunch, and their people had never gotten along with those thieves and murderers. She feared for what could be happening to Fenian if he had run into trouble with them. She whipped her tail back and forth.

:No. Send a hawk with a message for scouts to meet us there. I can’t waste any more time. You’re flying with me.:

Alenia’s eyes widened and some of the color drained from her face. “Wha-?”

She broke off in a squeal when Innin wrapped her tail around her waist and raised her wings. She pushed off the mountainside and beat hard to raise higher in the air. Only once she was level in the sky and hovering did she wind her tail to her back to set Alenia down between two of her dark green spikes. The elf clung to the spike in a bear hug for dear life.

“Innin,” she squeaked. “I don’t like the idea of-”

:Oh just hold on and you won’t fall off. I’ll catch you in my claw if you do.: She heard Alenia gulp, then she shot forward in the sky, taking off for the Enchanted Forest. :Now hang tight, I have a rider to find and flay to a crisp after saving.:

“But I haven’t sent a hawk!” she exclaimed, voice nearly lost on the wind.


Now you can find this flash fiction work and others on my profile on Wattpad! Click here for my profile and go dive into a sea of Shards of Imagination!

Shards of Imagination Cover Final

Now What?

On Sunday I finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness and since then…I have felt like a lost puppy. I’ve sat on my desk chair spinning in a circle because I haven’t known what to work on. I’m so used to working on FtD for so long now that it feels weird to not be working on it, to not be pushing for that end scene yet.

I feel so lost.

There’s still a very palpable sense of grappling for straws on the reality of completing this novel right now. The “now what?” feeling as I try to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s been five days since I finished the novel, but I’m still staring somewhat dumbfounded at the binder that holds my concordance for FtD and at my other WiPs with an “aaaaahhhh….” kind of expression. I could almost just flip a coin to try to figure out what I’m doing.

Granted, there are many, many things I could be doing now.

For starters I could get back to working on Clockwork Heart like I wanted to use part of Camp for. I could use the rest of the year, or however long it takes, to work on that novella/novel. Or I could go back to the very first novel I ever started writing, Breaking Point, and continue that. (The more I look at that novel though the more I need to do some outlining and brainstorming and probably a title change too. To what though I have no idea…sort of.) I could even start outlining Shapeshifter Wings and start work on that. Then there’s the option of starting one of the plentiful, new novel ideas kicking around in my head — like Alice in Court, or Book 2 to The Dark Heir series, or the horse ranch storyline that’s been kicking around up there since I was little that actually has a title and subtitle already.

Or, I could forgo novel work for the time being and start on some short stories. I could write the sequel to The Black Lake, or redo that story altogether to make it better then do the sequel. Or expand and fix up The Beast. I could also poke around at Seductress and see if it leads me anywhere beyond the vague storyline and grand ball scene it has.

On the other hand, I could refocus my efforts to editing instead of writing. I don’t mean editing Fated to Darkness. No no. That is going to sit and wait until I can come back with fresher eyes. I mean that I could take this time now and focus on re-editing, polishing, and maybe expanding Rivers of Black more. The thought has crossed my mind to try to publish the story, but I’m not going to explore that spurt of consciousness any further yet. I don’t want to think about publishing right now…

The fact I have finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness doesn’t mean it’s not going to be touched at all until I’m ready to edit though. I won’t let it collect dust for a couple months. I still have a binder concordance I need to flesh out and finish, and there are multiple notes within my book that I need to find a way to organize and put together in a notebook or something so that as I go along and edit and answer the questions I left myself I’ll be able to avoid plot holes or errors.

There’s still quite a lot of work to do on FtD before I get to the true editing phase. So while I spend the rest of the year — I’m hoping to be done before December, because…holiday — finishing the concordance and finding a way to organize those notes and questions to myself, I am going to be working on something else as well. I would like an entire month of letting FtD sit completely ready for edits before I do dive into full on scrutiny paper edits, but until then there’s lots left to do.

My tentative plan right now as I start to get the ball rolling again is to get working on the concordance and an organization technique for the notes/questions I left. In doing that, I will be reading through my entire novel, which also means that while I’m reading I can minimally fix light edits. Say a missed word, or the wrong version of a word, missing quotation marks, and so forth. The things that won’t require me stopping for an hour on one paragraph to make it sound the best it can possibly be. Doing this will make the paper edits a little less daunting in red marks.

That’s the plan for Fated to Darkness from here till December. *Prays I can be ready by then*

Because I don’t want to lose the next six or seven months with no writing to show for it — well, that wouldn’t have happened anyways because of July’s Camp NaNo and November’s NaNo — I am going to work on something alongside the next stage of FtD. I believe that “now what?” feeling is going to be geared toward writing Clockwork Heart and trying to finish that story this year, as well as re-editing Rivers of Black.

Actually, my original goal of May was to re-edit Rivers of Black finally since I kind of failed on that one last year. Perhaps that will actually happen now that FtD is done. Then again, I had expected Clockwork Heart to only be a short story and already be done by this time too, but…

Yeah, the universe hasn’t been kind to me this year in more ways than one.

But that’s the plan for now. I guess I’ll see how it works out, though I don’t have many expectations for it. I’ve learned better at this point. The hardest part I think is going to be finding a balance between these three projects now when my life is already so screwy and unpredictable.

Or, maybe, the hardest part is going to be finding the heart that says it’s worth it again…

A Life Too Short (Wednesday Words 5.3.17)

Welcome to a piece of Wednesday Word’s flash fiction on Darkling Dreams!

A good friend of mine, P.T. Wyant, is doing a blog post every Wednesday called Wednesday Words with a new prompt for a bit of flash fiction writing, just to get in the habit of writing something, anything. (Even if said flash fiction is complete garbage at the time. Garbage is better than nothing though, right?) If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself or just something to aimlessly write, then go check out her blog for this week’s prompt!

With that being said, I am going to share what I came up with for this week’s flash fiction Shard based off a three word combination prompt. So here is my very rough around the edges minute of inspiration based off her prompt. I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!

(Please excuse any errors you may see, I said it was rough around the edges.)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A Life Too Short

In Loving Memory of a Dear Classmate

One of my classmates died yesterday. Unexpectedly; just like every other tragedy that occurs. The sun is shining and birds are singing on this picture perfect day outside, but the beauty is lost on so many today. To us it is overcast by shadow and storm clouds of a different kind. Our worlds have come to a standstill, but life around us hasn’t slowed or stopped to mourn with us.

It keeps on turning, blissfully ignorant to the pain in our hearts.

The clock continues to tick away the agonizing seconds, minutes, hours, transforming them into days and weeks. They say time heals wounds of the heart, but that isn’t always true. Sometimes time only makes the pain worse. It makes days likes this, perfect days, become mockery to our suffering.

Doesn’t the world care?

Of course it doesn’t. At least not all of it. The world as a large whole is unaffected by this tragedy, just like so many others that happen every day, but so many individual lives around me are now grieving and trying to process a loss that is incomprehensible.

How do you deal with the unexpected tragedy of a life so bright, and so full of heart, snatched from a world that was better off with her in it?

The answer is I don’t know.

Maybe you sit and stare blankly at a wall, unable to feel, unable to cry just yet because it still feels surreal. Part of you believes the phone next to you is going to light up and start ringing with a call from your friend, daughter, cousin, sister… But it doesn’t.

No matter how much you will it to not be real it unfortunately is.

Or perhaps the reality slams into you so fast and so hard that you want to find some place secluded where you can scream at the world at the top of your lungs for this injustice. The middle of the woods, a garden shed, sitting in your car, anywhere available where you can let it out. Where you can curl up and cry until you have no tears left, and scream until your lungs give out.

I don’t know how you grieve, how you may cope. Everyone is different. Maybe one day time will scar the wound we now bear, but that day is not today. For when our hearts freeze like an unexpected snowstorm in May, I do know one thing for sure…

The world lost a beautiful soul yesterday. A kind, caring, selfless individual who always smiled and always welcomed everyone around her with open arms. She could light up the room with her presence. I had never met another person so devoted to their family, with such a bright future and a good head on their shoulders. A young woman who touched and changed so many lives with her own. The memories and photos left on her wall speak of a life that was worth every moment of it, and it is a shame it was cut so short at just twenty-two years.

I guess it’s true when they say the good ones are always taken first.

I saw a quote a friend of hers shared yesterday: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

How lucky we were indeed.

Tonight I choose not to mourn anymore, but to celebrate the bright life she lived instead. Tonight I light a candle in her honor. She may be gone but she will never be forgotten for the joy she spread and the lives she forever changed. The world may not have stopped to mourn with us, but know we would have stopped the world for you.

Rest easy now, and fly high, angel.

not to die


Now you can find this flash fiction work and others on my profile on Wattpad! Click here for my profile and go dive into a sea of Shards of Imagination!

Shards of Imagination Cover Final

Declaring A Win And A Completion

Camp NaNo 2017 Winner

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2017 WINNER!!!

That’s right. I managed to pull off the win on the very last day of Camp. As predicted, after the long work week I had, I totally blew getting anything done on Saturday. So come Sunday I was up and writing from the moment I woke up to get that final 5,669 words I needed. Come to think of it, I didn’t even stop to eat until I had validated, which by that point was definitely dinner time. Whoops…

But I pulled off the win! Hooray! *Throws confetti*

30 days, 30,058 words (30,053 after validating), 65 pages, and 4.5 chapters plus a blurb.

It may not have been a pretty win this month, but it’s a win. And guess what else?

That’s right, baby.

Fated to Darkness is FINISHED!!!

SQUUEEEEE!!!

Excuse me while I scream, cry, laugh, and essentially freak out internally for a little bit again.

I can’t believe I’m finally typing those words. I’m in shock. It’s a dream come true. (Or, well, the beginning of a dream come true.) I actually did it. I actually finished my first full length novel after almost three years of working on it with NaNoWriMo’s and spare time.

And this isn’t just any novel to me. This is the first book of the series that is my heart and soul. The storyline that has been kicking around in my head since I was a little girl. The characters that have literally grown up with me in my head. They’ve been waiting for this to happen for as long as I’ve been waiting for it to happen.

I finally did it.

Book 1 of The Dark Heir chronicles is complete.

I’m still in shock, and I’m definitely still freaking out internally. *Happy dances*

This whole month, this whole book, has been a roller coaster. I started out this Camp with the intentions of having Fated to Darkness finished within the first week so I could spend the rest of the month working on Clockwork Heart. (Obviously I didn’t get to work on Clockwork Heart at all.) But I was both excited and scared out of my mind to finish this novel.

I struggled to get through the end of this book for many reasons ranging from frustration to hesitance, but I made it and I managed to type these words for the first time in my life:

end book 1

When I got to those words — which I’m not going to leave them in come edits, I just wanted to be able to write them, lol — I had to stop and just stare at my Word doc while I tried to process the fact that I actually did it.

It was quite an interesting day of writing on Sunday to get to that point. Because I was so frustrated with Chapter 41, I left it off with my lengthy ranting note to redo the chapter. I didn’t try to pick up from where I had stopped, but I did jump ahead just a little to the end of the chapter where I knew how it was going to go down to the smallest detail.

Once I got to that part the words just started flowing again full force. The end of Chapter 41 went down without a hitch — though it could use a bit more bang — and I went onto writing the Epilogue. (That was another word I had to stare at whenever I typed it because I couldn’t believe I was seeing it.) I thought the Epilogue was going to be a bit difficult to write because I have to be very careful in what I reveal in it. (No I’m not going to tell you why. Mwahaha!) Surprisingly it didn’t give me the issues I thought it was going to, and it even ended up setting up the Prologue for Book 2!

Of course once I got to writing the words “End Book 1” I realized I was about 150 words short of hitting goal for Camp.

Go. Figure.

I was not going to write a 150 words of something new or another WiP, and I realized the blurb I made years ago for Fated to Darkness needed some tweaking and kind of sucked. So you know what I did? Yep, I took that final little spurt of words and wrote another blurb!

Gods I hate blurbs…

This one wasn’t that bad to write though, shockingly.

It got me to the NaNo win so that’s all I cared about. I just can’t believe I’m going to be setting this novel aside now for awhile so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. I miss my characters already. I miss Kailyn, and Matt, and Gods…I even miss Ciara, the evil bitch. It feels really weird to not be working on their novel. I feel lost.

Granted, I’m not putting it away completely yet, there’s still a few things I need to do with it before I’m ready to begin editing — which I plan to be the start of next year — but I still miss them already.

But alas, the explanation of that headache stuff I need to do, as well as my next plans, can wait a couple days. After all, I’m still celebrating my win and the completion of my first full length novel.

Camp may not have gone the way I had planned for it to go last month, but it will definitely be one that goes down in my history books. I did it, baby! Now excuse me while I go celebrate some more and squeal in happiness.

The Word ‘Miss’ – Part 2 (Snippet Sunday 4.30.17)

Welcome to Snippet Sunday on Darkling Dreams!

Where writers come together to share a few sentences (8-10) of their current project — whether it’s a recently released novel, a WIP (work in progress), or an older manuscript that’s being revived. Intended to hook readers, gather feedback and build an author’s fan base, Snippet Sunday is the FB group that does all three.

snippet sunday

The madness that is the first Camp NaNoWriMo of 2017 is over, and this author is proud to say she made the win! Not only that, but after three years of working on this novel I can officially say I have FINISHED the first draft of Fated to Darkness! Ahhh! I can’t believe I’m finally saying that! Now it’s time to work on the concordance so I can start editing next year. Squee! In the meantime I’m going to work on Clockwork Heart and Rivers of Black. Since I’m hitting a point in FtD that I don’t really want to share from it anymore, I’m going to jump back to sharing from Clockwork Heart this month. Part of my motivation to finish the short story/novella/whatever it ends up being. This story is a steampunk, fantasy, modern-cross kind of genre. It’s still a WiP and I only have the first chapter completed – so far – so please excuse an errors and suggestions are welcome.

This week’s excerpt picks up right where I left off in last week’s snippet. Eric had just finished up with this line: “Yes, I did already miss her. The word ‘miss’ can have more than one meaning though. It can describe an action, but it can also describe an emotion or feeling.”

And now for the seventh peek at Chapter 1…

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Lavinia blinked slowly. “How?”

“Think of it like this…” His lips pursed and he held up the flower, waiting for the next breeze to catch it and carry it away. As it skittered off in the air, Eric tried to reach out and snatch it back, but missed. “That is the action of missing something. I tried to grab the flower back but my hand missed and caught nothing but air. The emotion of missing is more like loneliness, or a deep ache in your heart. When someone dies or goes away, you miss seeing them and talking to them, you miss their constant presence and everything about them that used to fill a spot of your heart, because now you are without them. It’s not a physical motion, but an internal emotion in that sense.

“I miss seeing her every day and talking to her. I miss laughing with her and helping her in all the ways she would let me when it came to her Traveler’s duties. I miss her cooking, her kindness, her determination and fierceness. Most of all, I simply miss my mom like a knife to the heart. Does that make sense?”

She thought about it for a moment. “It is like loneliness?”

“Yes. In a sense.” He waved his hand whenever she looked at him for explanation. “I would probably end up making it harder to understand if I described what I meant.”

~*~*~*~

Well she was understanding… Darn English language.


Due to the fact this is a new WiP, I do not have a cover or blurb yet, neither is it posted to Wattpad at this time. So there will be no “if you wish to read more…”

However! If you wish to read anything else that I have out for free, you can hop on over to  my profile on Wattpad and check out what I have to offer. Or if you wish to read my debut release, Embermyst, you can find out more about that in the tabs above. I love to hear any and all feedback on my work as well. Comments are greatly appreciated, as are the reads. You can also find me on my Facebook author page to keep up to date with all that’s going on in my writing.

And if you’re looking for some other great snippets of fellow authors,
hop on over to Facebook and check out Snippet Sunday!

Final Days and Final Chapters

This is it.

In more ways than one.

The final days of Camp NaNo are here. Only three days left to write to get the win. Now is the time to push hard and commit yourself to losing sleep if you still have a long way to go. (I’m not the only one who does that, right?) Now is definitely the time to panic and make a mad dash for the finish line as you curse to yourself for procrastinating so much earlier in the month.

My brain to me: If you hadn’t procrastinated so much and stuck to your self-imposed day off work goals, do you realize how many words you could have had by this time? Do you realize how far you’d be in Clockwork Heart too?

*Dead stare* Unfortunately my brain has a point. I really did slack this month on Camp. If I had stuck to my self-imposed 5k word goal days on the days I have off work, I would have had 60k alone just from those days already, 70k by the 30th. And that wouldn’t be including my word sprint days or any words I wrote on work days.

Sixty thousand words! If I had just held myself more accountable throughout the month, and stopped hesitating and being so unsure about finishing the novel. But no, I essentially screwed myself this month.

The funny thing is… Okay, maybe it’s not funny, but more like a distant sobbing moment of yelling at myself. Anywho, I’ve said throughout this month I had hoped for a repeat of last year’s Camp NaNo in April where I did 61k in a month. My Facebook “On this day blah-blah years ago…” throwback post ended up showing me my win status from last year’s Camp NaNo in April today, when I did that 61k.

I looked at it and just started sobbing internally, wishing I could have done that again. I validated two days early last year, with that 61k, and somehow managed 128 pages and completed six and a half chapters, plus starting a new one.

I’m nowhere close to that this year.

I wonder if part of my reluctance this month to write was not just because I was going to finish the novel and that both scared and excited me, but also because I hate splitting my NaNo project into two separate novels. It’s weird to me to do that. I don’t know why, I’m just strange like that, and a bit of an OCD nit picker.

Even though I didn’t get to up my goal at all this month, I’m more than likely still going to run into the issue of needing a thousand to two thousand words of…something to hit goal.

Maybe…

I don’t know for sure. Right now the only thing I know for sure is I want to rip my hair out on this final chapter. It’s…ugh. I don’t even have words anymore except a fluent, colorful string of curses and some screaming.

The chapter is worse than sucking now.

It still feels fake and forced, and there’s still no bang to it or tension like I envisioned. The scene in my head is not flowing out through the fingertips in the slightest. It’s maddening, it’s infuriating. I’m so damn frustrated over this chapter that I was inches away from deleting it to start over Wednesday night.

And I don’t do that. I don’t delete to start over. That’s what editing is for.

Believe it or not on top of the this total hell week of work — no it has not gotten any better at all, let’s just say that by Wednesday I had more hours on the clock than my boss, and I’ve still got one more shift tonight — I did manage to do some writing Wednesday night with a friend, about a thousand words I think. And…

Well, the writing went something like this:

-*Is writing*
-*On the final chapter of Book 1*
-*Nothing is going according to plan or how I can see it in my head*
-*Mentally starts to throttle both my main characters*
-*Whole chapter feels forced, fake, and non-directional; hate every bit of what I’m writing*
-*Keeps writing anyways because that’s what you do*
-*Starts to think I’m finding the groove finally and getting on track*

Five minutes later….

-*One main character says something they shouldn’t, and AREN’T, supposed to make known*
-*Starts swearing like a sailor*
-*Bashes head off wall*
-*Throttles characters even more*
-*Stops writing and leaves lengthy ranting note to rewrite the whole damn thing because I give up on this chapter because it royally sucks monkey balls*

Yeah…

I’m that frustrated with Chapter 41.

Never before have I been this fed up and frustrated with a chapter. Never before have I wanted to delete something so badly and start over with it. Never before have I said I’m skipping the chapter and moving on to the next one because I don’t do that.

But guess what?

That’s exactly what I’m doing for the first time.

I don’t know why this chapter is so hard to write, but it is driving me insane. Is it because it’s the final chapter of the book? The big cliffhanger ending and the final show down? Is it because I know if the ending is no good then no one will want to read Book 2? Is it because I need it to be perfect because it’s the end of the first book?

Whatever the reason is for this chapter being so damn hard I am still ripping my hair out and screaming over it. It’s a miracle I didn’t throw something (like my laptop) Wednesday night when I got to the point of giving up on it. I was ranting up a storm.

One friend offered to take a look at the chapter and give me any pointers or opinions, and surprisingly — after a lot of hesitating — I finally agreed. I mean, I’ve never showed a whole chapter of Fated to Darkness to anyone before. This story is my heart and soul, this series is my heart and soul of writing. I was terrified out of my mind to show it to someone, especially completely unedited, and especially because it sucks monkey balls in my eyes.

But perhaps that was part of my problem. I’m so close to it and in knowing what it should be, that I can’t see what it really is. So eventually I agreed and sent the chapter to her for a fresh set of eyes. To my complete and utter dumbfounded shock, they actually liked it. That for a first draft they found it pretty good, and with coherent thought.

I was…speechless.

Hell, I’m still speechless over that.

Granted, they didn’t know the full context of the rest of the book since this was the very end, so it’s hard to give more specific pointers or opinions, but just the fact that they said they liked it and it was pretty good for a very first draft with no editing yet blew me away. I will admit it lessened my frustration and doubt a little. It lifted my confidence just enough that I debated on continuing to write the chapter as it was with my character’s blunder to see where it went, but I haven’t. I’m reluctant to let that train continue because I know she was not supposed to let known what she did.

It can’t happen. Just can’t.

So that leaves me back at square one on wondering what to do about the chapter.

Another friend suggested two things: Either keep writing and see where it leads me, or stop and write another version of it where the screw up moment doesn’t happen.

Writing a second version of a chapter is something I’ve never done before. I’ve always been reluctant too because I think that makes for a double headache in the editing phase, and I also believe that if your second version happens in the middle of the book, it can royally mess with details all throughout the rest of the book. That was a maze of confusion and editing nightmares that I did not want.

If I end up rewriting and changing some things in edits later, fine, I’ll deal with the out of place or missing details then, but I’ve never wanted the hair pulling of multiple options to edit with.

However, for the fact this is the final chapter of the novel and a second version wouldn’t affect anything more than the Epilogue perhaps, I’m toying with the idea of writing a second version just to see what happens. There’s a chance the second version and first version could both have the parts I need combined to be what I’m looking for. I think I’m starting to lean toward writing a second version just to see where it takes me.

Even if it’s complete and utter shit too at least it’s words written for Camp and provides me with more options or ideas for when I come back to it in edits. I mean, once I finish the chapter it will sit for a long time before I reach it again, and by then I might have fresh eyes on the crap I wrote and not find it as big a pile of crap as I think it is now.

Who knows, and I won’t know until I get to that point.

She also gave me another piece of advice that I think I need to print and frame and hang where I can see it every day:

BoCFoK!

Butt on Chair, Fingers on Keyboard.

(Read the link, it’s like a mini pep talk. Which is exactly why I need to print and frame it. Thank you, P.T.)

Right now though I still need 5,669 words to hit goal for Camp, with only three days left and one more work shift to go. So I better put my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard as soon as I can. I’m hoping that final 5.7k of words will entail only Fated to Darkness, but I’m not sure the characters will manage that, and I don’t want to be dragging things out just to make that happen. On the other hand, I still don’t know what I can finish with if I need more words because I’m reluctant to do a thousand or so of Clockwork Heart this late in the month.

I think what I’m going to do is skip forward and write the Epilogue to see how that goes, and to put some distance between myself and Chapter 41. Depending how many words are left at that point I’ll go back and try to write a second version of that last chapter. At the very least I’ll skip the hard part of the chapter right now and write the very end of it, because I know exactly how that part goes down. I’ve known how those final pages end since the very beginning of this novel. I can at least write that part without issue I know, and then find a way to tie it all together in edits.

But as soon as I finish the Epilogue and that little bit, I have officially finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness, Book 1 of The Dark Heir chronicles.

I’m oh so close…

Now I’m just praying the Epilogue doesn’t give me as much trouble as Chapter 41 has, because I know it’s going to be a bit tricky to write as well. Cross your fingers for me and wish me luck for smooth sailing on the Epilogue because this is it.

This is the final days of NaNo, and this is the final chapters of Fated to Darkness. If my next post isn’t a declaration of a win and the completion of this novel, then my dear followers, do smack me.