Be A Good Little Heir (Snippet Sunday 1.22.17)

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

Happy New Year, folks! 2017 is upon us which means its time for a new set of resolutions and new set of writing goals. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish Fated to Darkness as I had hoped to in December but I’m still plugging away at it. Since I’m not quite sure of my writing goals for the new year just yet, I’m going to continue sharing from Fated to Darkness this month. In February I believe I will be switching to something else brand spanking new. (This is still unedited, other than the look over editing I do before hitting post. Please excuse some errors, and suggestions are welcome.)

This week’s excerpt picks up a few pages after last week’s snippet. Heather openly defied Ciara in doing what was wanted of her — torturing the girl in front of her. For that, we all know Ciara is about to teach her a lesson.

~*~*~*~

“Fine,” she hissed, her voice slithering against Heather’s ears like death’s cold fingers. “You wish not to harm such a weakling? Then you will learn the next set of consequences for defiance. You wish to lose something precious to you?”

Heather actually glared defiantly yet, but that last question struck a chord in her that both scared her and made her glare waver. Her heartbeat quickened. What did she mean by “lose something precious to her”? She absolutely did not want to find out, but she had a bad gut feeling in her again that she was going to find out after all.

Out of nowhere her mind felt like it was splitting open again and she gasped, curling over on herself. Her hands flew to her head, pressing against her temples in a vain attempt to hold together what she was sure was being ripped to shreds. Her vision started to sway, darkness creeping in and she thought for sure she was going to pass out from the intense pressure building in her head. Moments after it became unbearable it burst and gave way to a flurry of images, before finally settling on one single scene.

Her body stilled, frozen in time. She was trapped within her own head at Ciara’s mercy, forced to watch the scene play out in her mind’s eye like a vivid dream. Wide eyes stared blankly ahead from what she was being shown, no longer seeing her surroundings, mouth agape slightly in fear and shock.

The images started to move like a flip book gaining speed until they were a flawless movie in front of her eyes. She thought it was real, watching it. She could have sworn it was happening right in front of her for all the senses slamming into her. A warm breeze caressing her skin, grass and cool earth squishing between her bare toes, sun shining down on her, the scent of fresh clipped grass tickling her nose, and the sound of singing birds filling the air. 

Tangible terror and horror sprang up in her though, clashing with the serene peace to the scene as she followed her dog running around their backyard, barking and chasing a squirrel up a tree.

She could do nothing more than watch as her dog tumbled along before planting front paws on the tree trunk and barking up its limbs where the squirrel disappeared within. Then she suddenly froze and whined in distress, tail tucking and backing away.

Magic. Heather felt prickling magic trailing across her skin with an icy finger, suffocating the area and snuffing out the serenity.

Jazy began to cry in panic. The sound tore at Heather’s ears, causing her heart to skip and she found herself trying to plead with Ciara but no words came out. She tried to move, to reach toward her dog when her screams and yelps of pain made Jazy wither and fall to the ground. She convulsed for a moment before her eyes rolled back in her head and she jerked harshly, taking her last breath and going still, tongue lolling out of her mouth.

Heather tried to scream from the sight in front of her, but only painful silence met her eyes. Hot tears fell down her cheeks. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t speak, she couldn’t stop what she was seeing! She was a prisoner to it. Her breathing came quicker, shallower now in hyperventilation.

“Jazy…” she whispered, finally hearing herself speak the name out loud though it echoed as if down a long tunnel.

“That is what will happen if you continue to defy me, Heir. All those you know and care for will suffer your consequences too. They will die one by one unless you be a good little Heir and do as I say. Is that what you really wish?”

~*~*~*~

Now that is one vivid dream-like image I would never wish to see or experience. I will be sharing one more excerpt from FtD next week and then moving onto something brand-spanking new for February!

Fated to Darkness Cover Final

Blurb:
Three year old Heather Fraeis is like every other normal toddler. With a loving family, a family dog, and a little bit spoiled.

But fate can be a twisted and cruel friend.

Kidnapped on the night of her fourth birthday by a woman clad in black, Heather is whisked away to a realm that has never been known to exist. Forced into a life she doesn’t want as her kidnapper’s Heir, she comes to find that monsters do in fact exist, nightmares are more than bad dreams, and magic is more than just the thing of fairy tales.

Lies, fear, secrets, and pain await her around every corner. Swallowed whole by the dark path laid out before her, she is forced to fall with no light at the end of the tunnel to give her hope. Until she meets a young boy that may change everything once more for her…

Can Heather defy all the odds and overcome who is she forced to become? Or will it be too late for her to rise above the fate laid before her?


This story is not yet on Wattpad because it is my baby that I hope to publish one day, and if no one will publish me, I am self publishing. But it’s also not on Wattpad because it’s in first draft phases yet. 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’m working on the tabs, bare with me.) 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!

Pranks Vs. Harassment

(Warning: Some strong language ahead.)

Everyone loves a good prank, right? They can be quite a laugh sometimes and all in good fun. I mean, that’s what April Fool’s is all about! (Well, other than the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the sneaky leprechaun you can try to catch.)

But when does a prank go too far? When does a prank constitute as harassment?

That was my issue today, and it’s been one hell of a day.

I’m sure the majority of you have done a prank call at least once in your life. Maybe it was to someone you knew or maybe it was just a random call asking someone if their refrigerator was running and that they should go catch it. All in good fun then, right?

For the most part.

But what about when it interferes with someone’s job? What about when you waste their time by acting as a disgruntled and angry customer, before ending on brash questions that are a slap in the face?

That I consider harassment.

So it was fun to you. You thought it’d be a good laugh to call my place of work and fabricate stories regarding my product that had me repeating myself for five minutes on policy and possibly solutions, scream at me for “not listening” to the point I can’t even understand you, demand to speak to the manager when I have told you six times I am the manager on duty, laugh hysterically in the background with your little group of teenage girl friends because I’m trying to appease who I believe is a disgruntled customer that I don’t want giving us a complaint because that is part of my job, and then decide the game is up once I realize it’s a prank call by asking me “do you like dicks?”.

You know what, fuck you. You just wasted ten minutes of my time when I was supposed to be clocking out and ending my shift.

So you’re proud of yourself for tripping me up that long, well good for you. But you know what else? In the end, your little group of friends was nothing more than a bunch of little bitches who obviously aren’t going anywhere in life. You are part of the problem of every generation coming after me, a world where no one respects anything or anyone. And it disgusts me.

So go right ahead at the expense of me and give yourself a high five with your friends. Go ahead and laugh over the clueless manager you fooled and upset. But I don’t care now, I’m letting it roll off me, and you know why? Because in the end I realized you don’t matter, you little attention seeking twat, and I was the adult. I didn’t scream back at you, I didn’t curse, I stayed level headed even if I was mentally throttling you, and I didn’t hang up like I had wanted to a couple minutes into the so-called conversation until you blatantly asked your rude question.

I only have a few words for you now: Grow up, get a life, and actually strive to achieve something. Learn to be the bigger person for once instead of the bully, because the day you find the shoe on the other foot, I will be the one laughing while you are sorely surprised to find you’re on your own and the world is cruel. The jokes on you in the end.

Just remember, next time the person you prank may not be as strong and dismissive of your hurtful nature. And don’t forget, we can get your number and call the police on you for harassment.

So to whichever group of dumb teenage girls that decided to prank call my place of work today… *Sweet smile* Have a nice life, bitches. Karma is an even bigger bitch in the end, and I’m done being a victim because of your insecurities. You aren’t tearing me down this time.

A Moonlit Find (Wednesday Words 1.18.17)

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.)

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

A Moonlit Find

Justin sat within the only patch of moonlight flitting down through the high windows, legs pulled up Indian style underneath him upon the hard wooden chair he sat on. Various notebooks and old, dusty textbooks were strewn about the table he leaned over. Shadows cast long and eerie depictions over everything by the moonlight.

He tapped the nub of his pencil on his open notebook, one hand propping his head up as he stared down at the musty smelling history book. A yawn threatened to pull him further into the throes of exhaustion but he stifled it. Hours had gone by with almost nothing to show for it but more scratched out notes than helpful ones written down.

It was late into the early hours of the night’s prime and he was ready to call it quits.

With a weary sigh he dropped his pencil and sank back in the chair heavily, rubbing at his face. “This is impossible,” he muttered. The sound of his hands slapping his thighs rang out in the still silence of the archives when he dropped his arms. “No textbook is going to give me the answers to finding some ancient rift from colonial times that sealed up and blocked off the damned of the supernatural from infesting our world hundreds upon hundreds of years ago. I’m looking for something that probably doesn’t even exist and was but mere myth.”

Even as he said it he knew he was wrong. His eyes drifted lazily to the brass talisman sitting on the table. Or, at least he was half wrong. Such a rift existed, or did at one point. He had the proof of it in his possession, along with the journal of a three-hundred year old vampire bent on preserving the race deemed evil and needing eradicated.

It was fascinating in a way, to read of supernatural races living right alongside humans for so long and no one ever having noticed. Of course, some did notice when the it came to the formation of myths, legends, and unexplainable instances, but most never had any idea the person walking down the street next to them could be a werewolf, or a vampire, or even a banshee.

Justin knew it was going to be a long shot to find anything regarding that rift in regular old history books. That was why he traveled from archive to archive of the some of the oldest, most prominent supernatural cities in the world, searching for answers.

He had spent months, years, tracking down dead ends, new leads, bits of facts that weren’t always fact. It was a whole new level of a treasure hunt, one that wasn’t turning up much gold and jewels.

With another sigh he decided to call it a night and started gathering up his materials. Perhaps a fresh start in the morning after some sleep and a cup of coffee would freshen up his mind to find the answers he sought, most of which always happened to be well hidden within the words of the text like a code he had to break. As he was putting his things away exhaustion made him slip and drop one of the history books. It fell open onto the floor with a dull resounding thud.

A curse slipped from his lips as he bent over to pick it up, one hand extended. Then he paused, his eyes catching upon a yellowed envelope falling out of its pages. With a new spark of adrenaline and excitement, he scooped it all up and set it back on the table, abandoning the rest of his things to pull out the envelope.

In the shaft of a full moon’s light he examined the envelope, fragile with age. Careful hands turned it over and over, holding it up to try to look through the thinning parchment to see what lay inside it. He could just barely make out scrawled writing inside. When he finally looked to see if there was an address to the envelope he found two sets of words that sent a thrill of excitement down his spine.

The words were in Latin but he understood them perfectly, and recognized them as the same set of words written within the vampire’s journal. A set of words that were the key to creating and maintaining the rift. With careful quickness, he unsealed the wax symbol using the tip of a pocket knife, then fished out the letter that lay within to read it.

Justin unfolded the weathered parchment on the table, eyes scanning over the words and not even reading full sentences just yet. His lips began to part the further he skimmed the text, eyes widening fraction at a time. Finally he began to re-read it, slowly, carefully this time while he picked apart its meaning.

This was it. This was every answer he was ever looking for.

He had found his gold and jewels.


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

Searching Her Soul (Snippet Sunday 1.15.17)

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

Happy New Year, folks! 2017 is upon us which means its time for a new set of resolutions and new set of writing goals. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish Fated to Darkness as I had hoped to in December but I’m still plugging away at it. Since I’m not quite sure of my writing goals for the new year just yet, I’m going to continue sharing from Fated to Darkness this month. In February I believe I will be switching to something else brand spanking new. (This is still unedited, other than the look over editing I do before hitting post. Please excuse some errors.)

I’m skipping ahead a bit from last week’s snippet. For any that actually read last week to see Ciara’s ominous final words, it turned out the Dark One wanted Heather to pick up where she left off with the prisoner. This week picks up right at the start of that.

~*~*~*~

Tears brimmed her eyes and her hand shook as she lifted the knife, holding it in an awkward fist. Her arm raised higher to bring it down upon the prisoner in a slash, not knowing how else to torture the girl. Yes, she hadn’t been able to tear her eyes away from how Ciara went about harming her at first, but that didn’t mean she took note of any technique to know what to do. She hadn’t wanted to take note of it, and she certainly didn’t want to hurt her now. It wasn’t as if she even knew how to begin to physically harm somewhere with a weapon, therefore causing her movements to be unsure and clumsy.

The prickling of her magic was stirring at the prospect, temptation luring her ever so slightly toward the first action of the deed, but she couldn’t even think straight to fall to that dark, wicked lure. The only things running through her mind were her own pains and horrors in the form of memories, and the echoing screams of the beaten girl in front of her from just moments ago.

The girl slowly picked her head up to look at her. Pale blue-grey eyes full of defeat and acceptance that she would never make it out of here alive met Heather’s wavering bright green ones. Their gazes locked and Heather’s world froze in place.

It was almost like the girl was pleading with her to either end her quickly, or to take the chance to run from Ciara while she still could. To not give up fighting against this evil woman like she was about to by following Ciara’s demand. Despite the fear glimmering over them, Heather found peace in those blue-grey eyes. A peace to know it that one day it would all end, that it couldn’t go on forever no matter how bad it got. Nothing lasted forever, right?

She felt like those eyes were searching her soul, sensing the innocence that still laid within her, though tarnished slightly. Perhaps seeing the purity in her that could still be saved if only action was taken quickly enough.

Those eyes saw everything about her in that single instant they shared. Her fears, joys, hopes, dreams, worries…

All of it.

“You can still run,” the girl whispered hoarsely, her voice cracking under all the screaming she had been doing. Blood stained her pale features, fragile frame shaking under all the pain that still racked her battered form. “Run and don’t look back, little girl. Far and fast from here, from that woman. Don’t let her destroy you too.”

~*~*~*~

Do you think she’ll take her advice and try to run? Only one way to find out: stop back next week. I do have one other serious question, unrelated to the snippet in a sense. What makes you decide if you’re going to leave a comment in regards to the snippet? Or why don’t you leave a comment if you read?

Fated to Darkness Cover Final

Blurb:
Three year old Heather Fraeis is like every other normal toddler. With a loving family, a family dog, and a little bit spoiled.

But fate can be a twisted and cruel friend.

Kidnapped on the night of her fourth birthday by a woman clad in black, Heather is whisked away to a realm that has never been known to exist. Forced into a life she doesn’t want as her kidnapper’s Heir, she comes to find that monsters do in fact exist, nightmares are more than bad dreams, and magic is more than just the thing of fairy tales.

Lies, fear, secrets, and pain await her around every corner. Swallowed whole by the dark path laid out before her, she is forced to fall with no light at the end of the tunnel to give her hope. Until she meets a young boy that may change everything once more for her…

Can Heather defy all the odds and overcome who is she forced to become? Or will it be too late for her to rise above the fate laid before her?


This story is not yet on Wattpad because it is my baby that I hope to publish one day, and if no one will publish me, I am self publishing. But it’s also not on Wattpad because it’s in first draft phases yet. 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’m working on the tabs, bare with me.) 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!

Patterns, Sanity, and an Author’s Mind

So, guess who forgot that they needed a blog post until an hour before midnight again?

*Raises hand*

Yep, me. I’m such a ditz when it comes to remembering these things anymore. Or, rather, I remember I need a post for all of five minutes and then POOF! Suddenly the thought is gone and the next thing I know I’ve either missed it or I’m scrambling to get one in on time.

Didn’t I say “later” was a word I wanted to stop using, too?

Part of my problem is work, of course. The other part of the forgetfulness is the fact I hardly ever know what the hell I’m writing about until it becomes another rambling post, such as this one is turning out to be, because I’m running out of time to think of something concrete to talk about.

Are you seeing a pattern in this? Because I am.

Hmm… Patterns…

Maybe that’s my issue, and also my solution.

Perhaps my problem of never knowing what to write about stems from the fact I have no patterns to work off of. And by patterns I mean the struggle of getting myself moving on the things I want to do so I can create a habit or pattern. If I was more consistent in my work and writing and all that good stuff, I bet I would be stumbling across all sorts of topics I could talk about and I wouldn’t have this issue.

So perhaps my problem — a lack of patterns — is also my solution:

Finding a pattern that works for me and sticking to it.

Easier said than done, I know, but hey, it’s a start at least.

In other news, I did get my butt moving some more the past two days and managed to write. I think I’ve added about 1.8k to Clockwork Heart over the last two days. I was hoping for a LOT more — considering I was off yesterday — but I just kept getting really distracted in completely odd ways.

(I’m quite sure on a scale of 1 to 10 in hyperness — 1 being completely meh and 10 being a puppy on speed — I was probably a 20. I’m also quite sure my friends thought I was a lunatic yesterday for the fact I was laughing hysterically over saying one simple word, or one simple thought, or even just one simple look, or even over nothing. Hell, I was seriously questioning my own sanity for a good couple hours, and I’m an author! I know I have very little sanity to begin with!)

So I didn’t manage to get to the end of Chapter 2 on the story like I had hoped for, and I’m not even done with Chapter 1 — though I’m close. On the bright side, I had two little bits of scenes yesterday that had me laughing my ass off for a good five minutes each. (I hope they weren’t just funny because I was cuckoo crazy off life at the time.)

Picture this: a character who can’t feel or understand any kind of emotion and who is pretty much just robotic in the terms of living because they aren’t human trying to explain the “death” of their kind like it is simply taking a walk in the park.

It came out both eerily disturbing and completely hilarious in my opinion. I’m not going to spoil how though, and I’m not going to spoil the other bit that had me laughing. Wait, the other two bits that had me laughing. I forgot about one.

I’m thinking this story is going to shape up quite interestingly, and it’s turning into a lot of fun, which makes me want to write more. And more. Then work gets in the way, and GAH!

I’ll figure it out, as long as I can fend off the new idea jumping around my head from a description a Sleepy Hollow character gave me tonight.

Seriously, is there ever an off switch for the writer’s mind?

Semper Fi (Wednesday Words 1.11.17)

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 story is dedicated to each and every man and woman who has ever served, is serving, or will serve our country. You have given more for our country than many of us ever will, and you will never be forgotten in our hearts for your sacrifices. Our world may be backwards and shitty in some aspects, but there are still many out there who will have a hand on your back and a presence at your side. There are still those out there who support you wholeheartedly, for we owe you much.

Semper Fi

In the wee early hours of dawn, winter’s breath was frigid and blustering through the park, ruffling drifts of snow in twirling ballerina dances. The wooden bench underneath him was rough and worn, and hardly comfortable to lay on. Another gust of cold air had him reaching shivering hands for the edges of a tattered, dirty wool blanket to pull it closer over his huddled frame. It was nearly impossible to stay even remotely warm in the midst of January’s squall, like it was every year.

When sleep would no longer grace his mind with peaceful ignorance to the world around him a weary sigh escaped him. Shifting around on the bench he sat up, shivering more and pulling the blanket tighter. Grey gloves covered dry, cracked hands as he reached for the paper bag that held a five dollar bottle of whiskey, the fingertips of almost every finger frayed and missing from years of use.

Lifting the bottle to his lips for a quick swig he found nothing left. It was empty. Irritation creased his face, wrinkles becoming more prominent. With a huff and sneer he tossed the bag and bottle behind him into the snow, grumbling as he huddled down. His shoulders pulled forward, back hunching up.

Displeased, angry eyes swept over his surroundings, coming to rest on a snowman across the path. He remembered the children who had spent the afternoon running around flinging snowballs at each other and building the lopsided thing yesterday. Parents had stood stomping their feet, hands shoved in pockets, and hoods up trying to stay warm while the munchkins ran around like a pack of wild dogs.

For a moment his eyes softened slightly as he thought back on them. He had watched them play, having nothing else to do to occupy his time. One small girl had accidentally thrown a snowball that went wide and had smacked into his shoulder. Poor thing had been nearly horrified at her mistake, had come rushing over to apologize.

“Mister, mister,” she had said in a rush, cheeks flushed with play and cold. “I’m so sorry. Daddy has always tried to teach me aim, for softball, but I cannot get it.”

She had shaken her head, looking at him with such innocence and shame that he hadn’t been able to stop the tiny smile quirking at his lips. Even now he couldn’t stop that smile. He had brushed the snow off himself and assured her it was no worry. He had even given her a few pointers on follow through to help learn her aim. As he was telling and showing her though — well aware of the mother’s eyes resting on them and thoroughly surprised she didn’t pull her daughter away — the little girl had seen something glinting in a rare patch of sunshine within the folds of his coat.

“What’s that?” she had asked, pointing to the pendant pinned over his chest.

And he had paused, following her gaze and motion to rest weary, grey eyes upon a medal of honor. A small stripe of purple ribbon with white trim, and an elongated heart-shaped gold pendant with a purple center. The face of George Washington himself sitting center in it with the coat of arms.

He had become solemn the moment he laid eyes on it, eyes go distant and body stilling. Even now a mistiness tickled at his eyes as he looked down at the medal, recalling so many memories. Some pleasant, but most horrific and unspeakable. But he had forced on a smile for the small girl, and unclipped the medal from his coat for her to see.

Then he had told her, “that there, little lady, is simply a token of appreciation from a fellow friend. I helped pull some buddies out of some tough spots as we made a run for it in life and that was Sam’s way of saying thank you to me. It was some…trying times.”

By then the mother had come to stand on the walkway, watching them with a saddened gaze, a touch of respect deep within. Her daughter was admiring the Purple Heart in her hands before she looked up at him and handed it back, then said, “sounds like quite the story, mister.”

“Lissa,” her mother had said softly, calling her back. “Let’s not disturb the gentleman now.”

The disappointed look that had crossed her face had nearly crushed his heart. She had looked from her mother to him and asked, “maybe sometime you can tell me that story, mister? I’d really like to hear it.”

His heart throbbed double time as he recalled her words, both in a lingering ache from the words of yesterday and a new stab of guilt. She was but a child, and war stories were not bedtime tales for small children. Perhaps though, if she ever returned, he could make up some gallant tale of dragons and knights in shining armor as a disguise.

“Ay,” he had replied though, clearing his throat against the rising lump that choked him even now upon remembrance. “Perhaps sometime I can.” Then he had pinned the medal back to his coat and told her to run along and play with her friends once more, and to keep up practicing her aim.

She had made him a full hearted promise to do just that then skipped off back to her friends to play. His eyes had remained innocently on her for a moment with a deep regret and longing, for he had lost his family some time ago. It wasn’t until he had realized the mother of the child had stepped up to him that he had looked away from her happy, glowing face so full of life and potential.

To his surprise, the mother had reached out and taken his hand, pressing a fifty dollar bill into his palm and closing his fingers over it. “Thank you,” she had said with tears in her eyes. They were two simple words, but held a heavy weight, loaded full of emotion and laced in more than one meaning. It had nearly brought him to tears as well. She had given his hand a squeeze and then gone off to join her waiting friends.

He reached into his coat pocket, feeling the crumbled fifty dollar bill as if making sure the act of kindness hadn’t been a dream. He had yet to use it on anything. Despair and depression had darkened him the rest of the day after the encounter, knowing he would never again have a life like they did, and would probably die on the streets. For that was the thanks his country gave him for his service. The loss of his family, his home, the lack of treatment and medication he desperately needed for his sacrifices.

The ache that chipped away at his left leg seemed to intensify just by thinking about it. Shrapnel from an IED was never a thing to joke about. He rubbed at the aching soreness and looked back to the snowman smiling warmly at him with pebbled teeth.

His mind wandered back to the family he had watched, the little girl. Then back to his own family, wondering where they were now, what they were doing. If they were warm and happy without him. His heart throbbed and cracked in his chest, eyes tearing up until the saltiness slid down dirty cheeks, nearly freezing upon his skin in the frigid temperatures.

Snow crunched next to him and he gazed up, expecting a light shining in his eyes and another police officer to tell him he couldn’t squat here. At least if he was taken into holding he would have a warm place to stay for a few hours.

To his utter surprise it wasn’t a uniform of blue he looked up to though, it was a family. The small girl from yesterday smiled warmly to him and held out another blanket. “Mister?” she said kindly. “Mommy and daddy told me more, about what that token of yours means, and I…” She looked up to her parents than back to him. “I wanted to help. No one deserves to live like this. Will you…let us help you get back on your feet?”

At first he could form no words, staring in disbelief. He was touched beyond the ability to function. Finally he tore his eyes from the girl’s face to look at the parents. They wore the same brand of kindness and desire to help him upon their features. A lump caught in his throat, hardly noticing the fresh set of tears slipping down his cheeks.

“You…really mean that?” he had to ask, voice catching and cracking.

The father nodded, putting one arm around his wife’s waist and the other on his daughter’s shoulder. “I have connections through friends to housing projects committed to helping homeless veterans reclaim their lives. I can get you into one, help you get settled in. What do you say?”

He sniffled, a light laugh of pure relief spilling from chapped lips. “I think…your daughter’s aim was my saving grace.” She shrunk a little in embarrassment and it nearly made him chortle in amusement, but he nodded. “Yes, I… I cannot repay you though…”

The girl’s father stepped forward, holding out a hand to shake. “Sir, you have no reason to repay us for a simple act of kindness. You have already repaid that debt a thousand times over to this whole country.”

He clasped hands with the father at the wrists, looking up to meet his eyes with a somber gaze as he unsteadily was helped to his feet. The father never let go while he gained his balance and suddenly he realized something. “You’ve served to, haven’t you?”

One stiff nod was his answer before he stood to attention and gave him a salute. “Welcome home, soldier. Semper fi.”


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

Rough Starts, Outlining, and a Cackling Plot Bunny

I can’t believe it’s already the 10th of January. Time is already flying by, which is a scary thought for the rest of year, and for all my plans.

The first week of January was pretty brutal on me. Mentally and emotionally at least. With my history, that combination is a rather large detriment to accomplishing goals and staying on top of my plans. If my mindset just isn’t there and I can’t shake something, I go nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. That was my entire first week for the most part, which is not a great start for my attempt to reclaim my life this year.

I think I made it through the first four days of the New Leaf 30 Day Meditation Challenge before I gave up under everything going on. I haven’t sat down to meditate for probably about a week now. My will to either work out or do yoga once a day has also gone down the crapper pretty quick. I think I managed to do it twice so far this year, and that was really only because I got lucky enough to have the house to myself so I could use the living room.

As expected, I’m beating myself up over letting them both slip so quickly as well. I’m trying to tell myself “you had a rough week, now turn your chin up and push forward to try again” but that’s not always the easiest thing to do. I may not be good at practicing positive thinking, but when I can manage it, I do see the difference it makes.

Which, now that I’m thinking of it, I do have a serious question for anyone and everyone willing to answer. I could use all the insight provided.

How do you keep yourself motivated and hold yourself accountable to the things you wish to accomplish? How do you get yourself moving on goals or to-do lists or even daily tasks? How do you keep yourself from wasting time away and saying “I’ll do it later”?

Any answer is a great answer to me, for I just simply need to find something that works for me that will keep me going. The more ideas I get, the better chance I have at finding something that works for me.

I know for starters my goal of working out in some form every day will become easier when the weather warms up and I’m able to go outside to do any kind of work out, but until then it’s going to continue to be a struggle on me. I’d almost be better off getting a gym membership, but I do not have the want to be going somewhere almost every day. I would rather be able to do it in the comfort of my home and on my own whacky time schedule. What would be really great to have would be a treadmill, but…unfortunately I don’t have that. Yet.

So, yeah, so far 2017 has pretty much tanked, but it’s starting to look up a little bit again.

After hitting rock bottom at the end of the week (part of the reason there was never a Friday blog post) I’m beginning to claw my way back out of the darkness. Things have been worked out and a shred of motivation is starting to return. Yesterday I managed to straighten up my room and get caught up on a lot of things. Today I kept that momentum rolling and got the Sunday Snippet blog hop out of the way and continued catching up to the things I ended up neglecting last week.

It’s not much yet, but it’s a start. There’s only two things I need to finish to be back to where I had wished to be.

Okay, wait, maybe three.

I need to get at least two Sunday Snippet posts scheduled for the rest of the month since my next two weeks after this one will be nightmares with inventory. (I might as well do all three for the rest of January.) I need to finish writing out my goals in my secondary planner and update that for this week. And lastly I need to finish outlining Clockwork Heart so I can hit writing hard on it.

The first two are easy enough to finish, it is the outlining that may take a bit of work.

But wait!

In all the darkness that was the first week of January for me, I did manage to have a brief spot of light Wednesday night!

With a couple of friends we revamped our version of NaNoWriMo without the NaNo and had our first virtual sit-in writing session. And do you know what I used that writing time for?

Yep, you guessed it! (I think.) I used that time to begin the outlining for Clockwork Heart and so far it’s coming along nicely.

Normally I don’t outline very far or at all, but since this is a short story and because I have a deadline and word limit on it, I decided I needed to do some sort of planning so I would  both be finished on time and remain within the word limit allowed. If I just let myself run with this one I might have ended up rambling on for too long, or I would end up leaving myself way too many notes that would require way too much editing. Keeping this story below 20k might be a challenge even with my outlining, however.

We’ll see how it goes though.

I’m about half way done with the outlining and I plan to do some more work on it tonight. Last night as I finally laid down for bed my brain became a live wire and start rapid firing answers to questions I had for the story and a lot more. Needless to say I was up and down hurriedly grabbing my phone to jot things down before I could forget for a good fifteen minutes or so.

Speaking of outlining and planning, earlier last night my brain decided to spring another plot bunny on me out of nowhere. I was putting away decorations from Samhain finally — I know, way overdue on that one, blame the holiday season in retail — and I suddenly had the thought “what if Halloween decorations came alive for one night out of the year?” Then…

BAM!

Suddenly this new, shiny, little black plot bunny was hopping around my head, cackling away madly. At that point I could do nothing but sit down on my bed and follow the little bastard around my head until I found out where the idea was leading me, as well as swearing at it and banging my head off the bedpost because I didn’t need the little sucker. You can bet your arse I wrote down the idea though and have filed it away for my next Halloween short story.

It’s quite amazing where ideas can come from when you think about it. I mean, all I was doing was putting away decorations and staring at a black, glittery plastic spider! But alas, that’s all it takes for an author it seems.

I’m thinking perhaps once I get Clockwork Heart finished and submitted, and I finish writing Fated to Darkness, if I have words left to be written in April’s Camp NaNo I’ll work on the Halloween story because, for a reason I still have yet to determine, it’s nagging at me to be another VTP entry just like Embermyst, and Clockwork Heart.

Really, brain? You do realize I have a novel, a series I’m trying to work on and finish, right?

*Sighs*

It doesn’t listen to me, just like my characters don’t listen to me. Although, the new addition of plot bunnies and ideas reminds me of something I saw on Facebook yesterday that I’m not even going to try to lie my way out of. It went something like this…

novels-and-ideas

Here’s my question to that though: Do fictional friends count? Like, the ones in our stories? If so then I might be able to dispute this one with a straight face. LOL. Ah, oh well, we all know I’m an introvert anyways. I guess I better just head back to the drafting board and create some new characters to go along with those new ideas.

May It Be Your Time (Snippet Sunday 1.8.17)

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

Happy New Year, folks! 2017 is upon us which means its time for a new set of resolutions and new set of writing goals. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish Fated to Darkness as I had hoped to in December but I’m still plugging away at it. Since I’m not quite sure of my writing goals for the new year just yet, I’m going to continue sharing from Fated to Darkness this month. In February I believe I will be switching to something else brand spanking new. (This is still unedited, other than the look over editing I do before hitting post. Please excuse some errors.)

This week’s teaser picks up a couple pages after last week’s snippet. Ciara had taken charge and had begun to torture the prisoner, making Heather watch the entire time. We pick up toward the end of the torment when Heather can finally bear no more.

Now for the sixth peek at Chapter 8: Shifting Fear…

~*~*~*~

“S-Stop!” she cried out, tears slipping down her cheeks. “Pl-Please… Stop…”

Ciara must have cut the curse off on the girl at her plea for she faintly registered the screaming choke off into great gasps for air.

“What did you just say?” Her dark voice slithered through the space between them like a snake ready to strike. She didn’t need to have her eyes open to be able to feel the cold gaze upon her. The shiver down her spine was enough of a tell.

Despite having her ears covered she heard her mentor’s question loud and clear in the echoing silence left in torment’s wake. With shaking hands she uncovered her ears, heart still hammering in her chest. She couldn’t bring herself to look though. “M-Make it stop…” she blubbered, “p-please… Can’t…”

The Dark One was upon her before Heather could react to the swishing sound of her cloak signaling movement. She gagged as she was grabbed around the throat and thrown back harshly into the wall. Sharp nails that dug into soft flesh held her there with tiptoes barely scuffling the floor. Her eyes finally shot open in surprise and fear, grappling at Ciara’s hands in a pitiful attempt to pry her mentor away and clear her airway from being crushed. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the girl look up toward them before she hung her head slightly in defeat.

“You are supposed to watch, Heir. Not turn away like a coward. It’s pathetic, it’s weakness,” Ciara spat hatefully. “My Heir will not be soft!”

Heather flinched from the tone, but was more focused on the fact she could hardly breathe. Her face was turning red from the lack of air. Ciara glared at her a moment longer before dropping her to the ground in a heap. Heather rubbed at her throat as she was released, wheezing large gulps of air back into her lungs. Each breath was a painful stab at first until the dizziness passed. Silent tears rolled down her cheeks.

“If you will not watch, then may it be your time to prove yourself worthy as my Heir.”

~*~*~*~

This is going to get ugly quick, isn’t it?

Fated to Darkness Cover Final

Blurb:
Three year old Heather Fraeis is like every other normal toddler. With a loving family, a family dog, and a little bit spoiled.

But fate can be a twisted and cruel friend.

Kidnapped on the night of her fourth birthday by a woman clad in black, Heather is whisked away to a realm that has never been known to exist. Forced into a life she doesn’t want as her kidnapper’s Heir, she comes to find that monsters do in fact exist, nightmares are more than bad dreams, and magic is more than just the thing of fairy tales.

Lies, fear, secrets, and pain await her around every corner. Swallowed whole by the dark path laid out before her, she is forced to fall with no light at the end of the tunnel to give her hope. Until she meets a young boy that may change everything once more for her…

Can Heather defy all the odds and overcome who is she forced to become? Or will it be too late for her to rise above the fate laid before her?


This story is not yet on Wattpad because it is my baby that I hope to publish one day, and if no one will publish me, I am self publishing. But it’s also not on Wattpad because it’s in first draft phases yet. 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’m working on the tabs, bare with me.) 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!

Call On Me (Wednesday Words 1.4.17)

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.)

For your own experience, if you’d like to hear the song that helped fuel this response, click here. I do not own the song.

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Call On Me

Pebbles crunch underfoot as I trudge down this desolate path of life with a heavy heart, seeing only bleakness in place of new beginnings. My vision is blurred by salty mist. The serene silence of nature surrounding me is roaring in my ears, screaming a reminder of loneliness that won’t leave my bones. It suffocates me, crushing the air out of my lungs, squeezing my heart in a vice grip.

But I cannot scream no matter how badly I wish to.

My lip may tremble and the tears may stain my cheeks quietly, but no sound leaves my tattered and scarred body. Though I jerk and shudder under the agonizing pain, I utter not a syllable. The shreds of light that fought so long and so hard to stay flickering inside me are dying out one by one. The darkness is spreading further, faster and deeper as it threatens to drown me in its despair.

Why?

Why is all I ask.

Why me? Why am I always the one forgotten? Why am I always the one left behind or cast aside? Why do I never seem to matter?

My heart is slowly dying under the weight. A tainted mind is spinning at the endless, degrading, negative responses to those internal questions screaming away inside the confines of chaos in my head. They are cruel beasts. Monsters as mean and as sharp as wicked-edged daggers that cut deeper than any blade ever could.

Am I needy? Am I too much to handle? Am I a bad friend? Am I cursed to be an attraction for never-ending pain and suffering? Is there something wrong with me? Do I scare them all off because of the darkness that lies within me?

Is it all because of me? Is it something I’m doing?

For that is the only conclusion I have ever come about. I am the only factor in all scenarios, in every situation where history has repeated. Me. I am always the only repeating factor for the nail being driven through a cracked, fragile heart that had been broken too many times.

That means it must be me, right?

Like flies they’ve come and gone.

At first the fear of rejection and of the cycle repeating holds me at bay, keeps my heart and hope locked away behind layers upon layers of steel bars. But then they wear down each carefully constructed layer with hours upon hours of gentle lock picking until the gates swing open a fraction at a time. Before I can even slam the last lonely gate shut again it is too late, for I have realized I have once more laid myself out for crucifixion all over again. I am too exposed and I must be careful, but even the most experienced egg shell walkers slip up now and then. Until now and then becomes quite often, and quite often becomes no longer caring to crush the egg shells.

Like you never thought you’d do again, you find yourself hoping, and you find yourself remotely happy because you’re laughing, you’re having a good time, and you found someone again who will listen and not walk away no matter how bad the skeletons in your closet are. You find yourself hoping that this time you won’t scare them away when they see your depth. The spots of light inside you are growing and snuffing out the never-ending darkness finally.

Then everything crashes.

In a matter of a moment all that progress and hope comes crashing and shattering like a broken mirror at your feet. The reflection of happiness you saw in its shards has crumbled away, leaving the real monstrous image lying underneath. It’s mocking your happy image with frazzled hair and maddened eyes full of years of pain, cackling and laughing as it points its finger at your bleeding heart, at the scars lining your arms you suddenly find being sliced back open. It’s the dark, desolate side of you that had been lurking and waiting to come back out, because deep in your mind you knew it would happen.

It always happens.

“It’s not the end of the world.”

“You’ll still see them.”

“It’s not going to change anything between us.”

Lies. Lies. LIES!

You know it’s all lies. Those words have been uttered too many times and promises broken too often to ever believe such fallacy again. You know that’s how it always starts. It creeps along bit by bit until the friend you made scarcely talks to you anymore because they’re too busy or they’ve made new friends on their adventures. The snake with venomous fangs slithers closer and closer until the day it strikes and releases the truth inside you that screeches your miniscule hope you couldn’t bear to let go to a jarring halt. It poisons you with whispers that you no longer recognize them as you used to.

And suddenly that’s it.

“It’s not the end of the world.”

No… Perhaps it isn’t the end of the world, but it is the end of the world to you. It is the final drive of the nail into your heart, the final blow that leaves you shattered in a million sharp-edged pieces. Your expectations wane once more and you retreat to try to soften the pain.

The light in your mind fades until you find yourself standing back in the center of bleak darkness. The figures of every loved one and friend surround you, but every single one of them are fading farther and farther away out of your reach. And finally, the one who had been closest starts to fade into the darkness too until you can hardly see them. You reach out, try to grab their hand to pull them back, to beg on hands and knees not to leave you too, but then you stop halfway and pull back slowly with regret.

Why? Let me ask you why. Do you ever show the agony raging havoc inside you? Do you ever show the selfish need inside you to numb the pain before it destroys you again and again?

No… You don’t. Because that wouldn’t be fair to them, because you know better as a decent human being. The world does not revolve around you and you know that. So you let them go, you understand and you back off, no matter how badly it hurts inside to do so. Because that is what friends are supposed to do, they are supposed to support one another in what is best for each of them.

You would never expect someone to throw their life, full of potential and promise, on hold just for your own sake, would you?

Maybe you would, but I cannot. I’ve been down that road before on the opposite lane. I know what’s it like to give and give and give for another, until the key to your life lies in their hands and you have nothing left of yourself. I know what that’s like, I know how it can destroy a person. Mentally, emotionally, physically even.

Why would I ever be selfish enough to do that to another simply because I am hurting?

Like all cycles the wheel turns another round. The despair of winter gives way to the blooming trees of spring shielding you overhead down your path. You wonder if by some miracle this time will be different, but you know you cannot hope it will be. If you did, the cycle would just keep repeating and the pain would never stop. Deep down, you know it never will stop regardless. Sadness will threaten to drown you, loneliness will become the only friend you can waltz with in the dead of night so no one will see your tears. You will have nowhere left to turn again, because that’s how it always works.

All you have now are wisps of memories to cling to, no matter the ache they bring inside. All you have now is wishful thinking, and the same sense of abandonment to fill you up even though that is not truly the case of what happened and you know it.

But should you call on me, I will still be here to fall back on when everything is over. For maybe I care too much, maybe I care too deeply, but I will always still be here. Now I can only pray that should I call on you one day, you will still be there too.


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

Planning A Year

happy-new-year

It’s officially 2017. I hope everyone’s New Year so far is shaping up as they had hoped. I’m sure there’s lots of new goals and resolutions and hope out there. Whatever you’re aiming to better or do this year, good for you; and if you have no resolutions, well, then, good for you too.

After talking about my accomplishments, half accomplishments, and failures of last year’s goals on Friday, I spent the last couple days thinking over goals and resolutions and trying to organize myself for the new year. Normally I don’t do resolutions, I just do goals, but this year I seem to have written a few things off as resolutions.

Which brings me to something interesting I saw. The other day I was searching Google images for something relating to goals and resolutions. In a lot of images I found they were crossing out the word “resolutions” and replacing it with “goals”. Or they were simply saying “goals, not resolutions”. That took me a little be surprise and I wondered, “why?” Why do they say goals not resolutions?

Naturally, I looked into it a bit and found that the meaning behind those images were to set goals that you could physically work toward, a plan, not a resolution that you don’t know how to go about. Think about it…

Say your resolution this year was to get fit. Okay, great. You want to get fit. Now if I were to ask you how are you going to do that, would you have an answer for me right away? Would you have a plan? Maybe some of you do, but when you list something so vague and broad, it can leave you fumbling.

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That’s why they say make goals, not resolutions. Goals can be specific, goals can have a path you can follow toward. Goals can make you plan how to go about achieving it in tiny steps so it doesn’t look so daunting a monster to conquer. I’ve learned that over the past year, and now I’m really starting to see why it’s so much easier that way. Even so, it can be easy to overbook yourself on goals if you feed them too many growth hormones. Never forget though that goals can be broken down. Even the most humungous and fiercest of them all can be broken down into tiny little pieces, limb by limb, stage by stage until the monster you built can be seen as tiny little monsterlings that are more easily conquerable.  And each monsterling you conquer you can put back into place, now tamed, and watch how your goal is shaping up and building until you are so close to achieving it and becoming the master.

mistake-goal

That gives you motivation. To watch it grow, to watch yourself actually achieving the steps toward that monster of a goal. No matter your goal, it can be the same process, you only have to be careful you make the goal realistic in the time frame you set yourself for it, otherwise your monster will become too scary and seem to grow bigger and bigger day by day until he crushes you instead of you taming him.

And that brings me to the goals I’ve been putzing over the past couple days. I found myself labeling some things as resolutions, but only because they are something I want to make habit in a sense. They are still goals in a way that I have a plan on how to go about them, but for the sake of organization I labeled them as resolutions because they aren’t a one-and-done type of goal. They are constant.

Once I finally had my goals listed out and I had begun to shape out my planner, I tried to work out a timeframe that I could work with for each one. To do that I grabbed notecards — one for each month, and one simply for daily things — and started mapping things out.

While I may have a rough time frame worked out now, I still do not have a detailed, written plan of every goal. That was today’s plan, because it is much easier to type it out as I think in a post and then copy it down to my secondary planner, then it is to write it once on paper — in pen — and be perfect. I work it out in head here and then I’ll be good to copy it all to paper and get to work on achieving things.

So here we go. Down the rabbit hole for a look into the way my mind thinks. Hopefully you don’t get scared off by the monsters that are my goals.

RESOLUTIONS

As I said above, I am simply labeling daily things I wish to make more habit in my life as resolutions, but they are still goals I can work toward and achieve in order to make them habit.

Meditate
This is something I began to try my hand at last year and it never really worked out. That was partly due to the fact I wasn’t entirely sure on what I was doing. I had always believed that in meditation my mind was supposed to be utterly quiet, not a single wisp of thought. In just three days alone since this new year began I learned that isn’t quite true, and it’s already begun to help, because now I’m not so frustrated that I’m yelling at my mind to be quiet and I’m actually getting somewhere. (Yelling at yourself in mediation doesn’t exactly help you relax.)

So this is something I wish to become a daily habit, even if it’s only for a couple minutes a day. It certainly helps to have someone doing it with you, too, both for support and for making sure you did it. It also helps to follow a 30 day challenge to get yourself some instruction — if you’re a bit of a beginner like myself — or to simply remember to do it.

Do Yoga/Workout Once a Day
Another thing I wish to make a daily habit. Once again, I started doing both yoga and small workouts last year but it’s hard to have any free or alone time in my home to be able to do it. The only open enough space I have to work out is in the living room, and with a constant hovering patron of this house, it’s extra hard to get any alone time to simply do this. If I get lucky enough to score the house to myself, great! Either yoga or a small workout session is the first thing I’ll go to downstairs. If not, then I might be waiting until midnight to have the chance to be alone downstairs.

Granted, I can do some minor things that don’t require space in my own room, but it isn’t much I can do. Also, once the weather turns to spring, I can easily go outside to get away to complete this daily. I think the best thing about this one is I’m giving myself some leeway with it. Perhaps one day I’ll get to do some yoga and the next two or so I won’t be able to due to space constraints, but I’ll still be able to do some easier workouts that don’t require the same space. Or perhaps once it warms up I’ll count my workout as going for a walk, or a run. It won’t always be the same, and that’ll give me flexibility so I don’t get bored with it or tired of it quickly.

I won’t need to join a gym or spend a ton of money to do this either. I could grab a couple things from where I work that I can workout at home with, and there’s always YouTube to look up any kind of workout video imaginable. It’s not the same as a gym, but it’s still better than nothing and easier to fit into an ever-changing work schedule.

Be Awake By 11am
Everyone knows I’m a major night owl. In the past month or so I started to really, really sleep in late. My day wouldn’t really start until one or two in the afternoon because I wasn’t getting up until noon or later. I partly blame that on work and just being exhausted over the holiday season, but it’s also cutting into the ability to manage my time.

To help that, I’m trying to make myself be in bed, lights out, by or at 3am. That way even if I need to be up around eight or nine for work I’m still getting five to six hours of sleep, instead of my two or three I did a lot last year, and the year before. The reasoning behind this is to hopefully have somewhere between six to seven hours a night and still be able to get things done as I hope to since I’m most active at night. That’s the hope at least, we’ll see how it works out, especially if I start getting the ungodly shift of 5am again.

Better Time Management
I royally sucked at this last year and let a lot of things slide until last minute that left a lot of scrambling, a lot of stress, and a lot of weight on my shoulders. I hope to change that this year.

At one point I asked a friend last year how she did it. Her response was a simple one, but it stuck with me.

“It’s easier to stay caught up than to play catch up.”

Alright, so that may not be the exact words of months ago, but that’s the concept. It’s never left my mind, and I’ve realized just how right she is. It’s much easier to simply stay on track than to be running to catch up, especially when you have so much going on.

So this year I am going to try to manage my time better. Part of that ties in with being up a little earlier. As things come, I’m going to try to complete them. For instance… The Snippet Sunday blog hop always happens on Sunday (though it technically starts Saturday with a couple), so by Monday night I want to have gone through all the blogs so I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the week. If I work the long afternoon to close shift on a blog post day, I want to try to complete that post before I go to bed, or at least have a draft of it so I’m not scrambling the next day to write a half-assed one. As mail comes in, junk or otherwise, I want to have it gone through, paid, replied to, pitched and/or filed away within a day or two. If I shop at all, I want to put things away in a timely fashion instead of leaving them sit in the corner of my room as I started doing. Keeping my desk clear is going to be the same concept. Scheduling my Sunday Snippet posts will be something I take one or two at a time, so that doing four or five at a time doesn’t take so long.

In all I just need to keep on top of things instead of simply shrugging them off for later. “Later” is a word I want to stop using this year.

Use My Planner
This is what’s going to help with my time management. I started using a simple, kind of stupid planner last year. After the first two months maybe I just kind of stopped looking at it. This year I bought a new one, a better one, and the hope is to keep at this year.

The best things about this one are I can actually flip to a certain month via tabs, and it has both a monthly calendar and pages of day by day to write things in. The calendar itself will allow me to write down events, birthdays, mercury’s retrogrades, deadlines, what days need posts, and so forth. The day to day pages will help me plan out my week with everything else.

I used to keep a simple lined notebook that I would write down “Week of January 1st” at the top and then list the things I wanted to do that week. I never broke it down further though. Now, since I still use that notebook to help organize myself — and that’s actually the notebook I will copy these goals down into — I can organize even further by breaking that week page down into daily by writing them into my planner.

Now so long as I stick to that and actually open both my planner and notebook, I should be good.

Write Consistently
This was a goal I held last year as well, and pretty much failed on. This year I’m going to try once more to hold myself accountable to writing at least something each week, even if it’s simply a 100 words a day, even if it’s fifty words a day. I don’t care if it ends up being a 100 words a week, I just need to stop letting myself fall off the wagon during non-NaNo months.

This year, I hope that the support of friends will help hold me accountable to doing this. If they are expecting a snippet of something I wrote that week then I have to deliver every week for the group to see my proof of creativity, or be pestered until there is a fire lit under my ass. Even just working with them to make us all write should make it that much more manageable and easy to accomplish.

The goal of this group is to take the NaNo out of NaNoWriMo. That way every month simply becomes a Writing Month, even if the word count isn’t as huge as actual NaNo months. Just so long as I am doing something every week toward my goals of writing and publishing, whether it be writing or editing. And if we can make it more interactive with each other like NaNo then there’s motivation.

The only problem in this is that we all have to make the commitment to not slack off on each other, and then actually stick to the commitment, no matter how hectic life gets.

GOALS

So while all my resolutions are goals in a way, they are not the one-and-done type of goals as the rest of these are.

Read Two Books A Month
Alright, so this technically could have counted as a resolution to simply read more. However, as I talked of, the goal to simply read more is vague. Which is why I came up with the goal of reading two books a month, at least.

Ever since I started working and writing more the time for me to read dwindled further and further. As an author, reading is a must no matter what you think. This goal will help me get back into reading. It doesn’t matter what the book is, how long it is, what it’s about, as long as I am reading something. For instance, my first choice of this month was a book called Meditation For Beginners.

I did, however, give myself a little bit of leeway again in this goal. During the three NaNo months, I let myself slide on only needing to read one book that month.

The easiest way I’m going to accomplish this goal is if I set aside a specific time to read. I came to the conclusion that best time would be at night. If my goal is to be in bed, lights out, by 3am, then by 2:30am I need to be off my computer, phone, whatever I’m working on so that I can sit in bed for half an hour and read. Doing this might even help me sleep, it’s been proven that reading can help you sleep.

Revamp Blog Layout/Info
This is something I should have done last year. I want to go back through my pages and update any information in the About pages so that it is current and reflecting of me. Since, you know, I haven’t changed any of that since I first made this blog…two years ago now I believe. (Wow… Doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.)

I also want to rework the pages that hold information on my stories and books. Instead of being one long list of books on the page, I want to turn each book into a tab under the page. On top of that, I wanted to create a separate page (and hopefully one day more tabs) for anything that is physically published and available for purchase, not my freebies on Wattpad.

I plan to have this completed by the end of January, so if you start seeing things changing a bit, that’s why.

Finish and Submit Clockwork Heart
This is one of my bigger ones that I’ve broken up into two parts. The first part is to simply outline and write the story; the second part is to edit it and submit it with all necessary information.

I have until February 20th to do this.

If the title Clockwork Heart rings a bell that’s because it was the title of one of my Wednesday Words last month. Just like with Embermyst, the story sprung into a full on plot bunny and I’m going to be submitting this to VTP’s Spring Anthology for another chance at publication. That deadline is obviously February 2oth.

By working out a timeline on how to go about this, if I can outline and write it — including a dreaded blurb — by the end of January, that will give me about two and a half weeks to edit and polish it before sending it in. I plan to have it outlined and begin writing by the end of this week.

Complete 2016 Camping Journal Entries
This goal looks very familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because, like the year before, I failed miserably at staying on top of those entries during the camping season. So once more, I have six entries to write before May, and I think maybe one or two sets of notes to complete in order to do so again as well.

Since I have Clockwork Heart to focus on right now, I’m not going to plan to start these until the week of February 19th. Like last year, I will do one a week and I will complete them just in time for the start of April’s Camp NaNo.

The other side to this goal is when the 2017 season starts I need to stay on top of them this year so this goal doesn’t become something that happens every year. I believe I’ve figured out how I can do that too. The last few years I’ve only taken off work the days of the trip, this year I am going to take off the day after each trip as well. That extra day will allow me to catch up on lost sleep, get organized, and also sit down to write the entry while it’s fresh in my mind, as well as loading any pictures I took of that week to my Facebook. If I can do that, I won’t be scrambling at the last moment to write or finish an entry before the next trip rolls around right quick when they are normally only two weeks apart.

Obtain Driver’s License
Alright… This one was on last year’s list as well. To my credit I got half way to it last year, I got my permit. I just never got out much to practice due to circumstances beyond my control.

It’s nearly certain I will not get that dumb little plastic card by the time my permit runs out, so once more I have myself listed to re-acquire my permit once this one runs out of time. Just like last year, I hope to have gotten my license sometime before the snow falls. Say maybe by the end of October.

Providing schedules can work out better this year, I can hope that this goal will be achieved this year.

Re-edit Rivers of Black
This goal is also quite familiar if you recall my last post. Re-editing this story was a goal I set myself last year and I just never quite started to edit it. I’m going to try again this year and I plan to use the month of May to edit it and re-release it on the Wattpad world.

I figured May would be a good time because it’s coming off a maddened induced month of writing for Camp NaNo and will be a little bit of a break from writing. Granted, I’ll still try to hold myself accountable to writing, but my focus will be on editing that month.

Finish Fated to Darkness
Yes, this was another goal I held last year as well. I got close to completing part of this goal last year, but my lack of follow through in non-NaNo months is what became my downfall on the goal.

Now that I’m only about six chapters away from the end of this book, I can definitely finish it this year. If I don’t, there’s something wrong with me. However, it is more than just completing the first draft that I want to accomplish with this novel this year. I also want to have the concordance completed so that I have something to look over in editing to help keep me straight. Lastly, I want to have this rough draft printed and in a binder by the end of the year to be able to begin editing next year. That print out may also include a print out of a list of notes and questions I left myself within the Word doc for when editing comes along. I haven’t decided if I want to simply print them or copy them to a notebook to have handy. Printing might be easier.

To do all this, I planned to have completed writing the book by the end of May. Honestly, if I don’t finish it by the end of April with Camp NaNo or even before that I’m going to kick myself. The more time I have to work on the concordance and print outs, the better. Because, you know, I only have 500 some pages to read through to make notes of and stuff.

If I finish writing hopefully by the end of April, then I will focus on completing the concordance by the end of October, before the holiday madness begins. That gives me time to worry about nothing else but NaNo in November and then gifts and work for the rest of the year. Printing everything will also be easy to do when I’m already out running errands during that time of year.

That’s the detailed goal, now I only need to stick to it again. I’m itching to get to work on it, but Clockwork Heart is going to take precedence right now with a looming deadline.

Get Rid of Yard Sale Items
This goal is the result of one of my goals last year. I had cleaned out my entire room and held a yard sale to sell what I no longer wanted or use. Unfortunately, the yard sale was less than successful and it left me with more than half the stuff I wanted to get rid of sitting around here with no time to do anything with it.

The goal this year is to simply get rid of it all. Whether it be by donating it, craigslist to try to sell more, a Facebook group to sell it, throwing some stuff out, or trying a thrift shop. This will be a good thing to do in June when camping will start to take up some of my time. Simple and easy, as long as I don’t start cleaning something else out in this house. Like the spare room.

Meet a Friend
I only have this listed as a goal because I have a couple online friends I have never actually met face to face. Well, one I have half met face to face thanks to a lovely thing called webcams and Skype, but I still have yet to meet the other.

It doesn’t help when both of you are such introverts that you talk of making plans to meet but then just never follow through on it. I’m totally guilty of that.

So to put it simply, I just want to finally make that meeting happen sometime during this year. Maybe after the snow stops flying though.

END RESOLUTIONS/GOALS

That’s it then. That’s my year in a nutshell. 365 days of planning down to one rather long, detailed blog post. Now I can be held accountable to these goals. They are officially written down in some form. All that’s left to do is copy them to my notebook and start getting to work.

Although, I have one last parting thought. If you were to consider one word as your attainable goal this year, what would you pick? What would you strive for? If I had to choose, my word would be creativity. Simply because it can cover such a wide variety of my goals in writing. Or it would be time management, since that is what I need to work on.

If I accomplish even half of these goals, I will be happy with myself. If I make nearly all of them happen, I will be ecstatic. If by some chance I am able to check off every single goal at the end of this year, and will proudly be able to say I didn’t give up on yoga, reading, meditation, writing, and working out, I will be without words. My hope is that this year I finally begin to take my life back in my own hands after years on end of struggling, and that in making new daily habits I will no longer be sitting around lazily or scrolling through my phone because I’m bored.

Here’s to a better year than 2016, and a brighter, better, happier me.