I am not endorsing this company... the one posted at the top of the picture.... not because I do not like them, I just have not yet looked into them, or know whether they are still even in business, You are welcome to take a look into them and if they are good then,.,, there you go. I just loved the entire image and had to post it. I just did a post on this blog that touched upon getting organized briefly, but I wanted to point out one more time just how important organization when you are writing it is. It is actually critical to the story. You have to keep track of settings, plot and story continuity, not to mention the characters and many settings including buildings, roads, homes, caves,enchanted forests, and other various details,and other details that I guarantee you will forget. My point is that if you want to have a great story... If you want to have a story be readable, and make sense at all.... let alone be great... get yourself organized. I promise it will help you. Thanks for checking in. More soon.
Friday, April 22, 2016
Why do I write fairy tales? Well... a fairy tale with a sinister undertones like story (as it has been described) might be a better question. I do it because there are no restraints when you write a fantasy. Now, I realize that not everyone believes that they can do a fairy tale, or fantasy story, but I wonder if you have really tried.
Reasons why I love the fantasy genre are just about as endless as the things you that you can create when you start delving into the world.
First, and I guess the most important reason why I love this genre is that I love the absolute, no holds barred, exciting freedom that comes with it. Imagine, you are only limited by the stretch, strength, and extent of your imagination. You can create anyone.... ANYONE! You can create any world you can dream up. You can create monsters, creatures, animals, anything. You can create any environment... magical, enchanted, natural, rural, urban, complex, and simple. The sky can be purple, pink, blue, or even any color you would like to dream up. The clouds can swirl and swim like penguins underwater. Whales could fly, and birds would have no end of possibility from the grotesque to the majestic. Anything is possible. Truly anything is possible.However, here is the glitch in this idea. With fantasy comes pressure.... lot's of pressure. If your first book is amazing... then you have to top it with the next book. I believe that that is true of all types of writing, but it can be hard if you make something so magical, that more is expected. I understand why at the end of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling ended the book with an air tight ending. Writing fantasy can be exhilarating an exhausting all at the same time.
There is another problem that I have found also though. It is a problem that I am sure most authors have, but is especially difficult for me, is that I have so many fantastic, magical, original and complex characters and elaborate descriptions that it is sometimes crucial that I keep notes an refer to them often. I have a friend, (who my friend... who was my editor, but suddenly went through a divorce an had to let me go on my own) taught me the importance of keeping track of everything in a chart. I am a fan of organizing, but struggle to make it work for me. I'm working on that. Lol. Keeping your writing organized can make all the difference in your writing,even if you are not all that good at doing it at any other part of your life, it is very important. It can make it fun too. Sometimes all I need to keep me writing is the simple reminder of what I am able to do. I am not conceited, but I do feel a spark of pride every now and then when I find a early character that I had created earlier and forgot the full details and how I described them. Sometimes it is fun. It can be a renewed discovery.
The point that I am trying to instill in you is that fantasy writing is... well frankly... AWESOME! Heck... getting your voice out there is awesome too. Sadly, being organized is a must. Even if it is done in a lowly notebook. Do whatever works for you, but most of all...TRY! Don't assume that you can't do something before you try. Don't listen to the past voices of bullies. Don't listen to a hurtful loved one who made it their mission to make you miserable. Don't let those people who never saw your potential, never saw your beauty, never saw your heart, and incredibly creative mind stop you. Nothing has the right to stop you. Freedom of speech is protected by our government and was
protected by every member of our glorious military men and women, some giving their lives for it. I want you to think about that for a moment though.... just as the thought strikes me... think before you put that pencil, or pen to paper, push that key and make that mark, or press that button and put into motion a single word, or thought until you have considered whether your words will be sending a message that will show respect for the lives of those who have come before us. Are you sharing your personality? Are you sharing your voice? Are you sharing something that matters to you? Are you telling a story. that you can be proud of? Are you sharing your creative bones,and your creative soul? Are you sharing your self? When I write... I hope that it will reflect the best of me. I hope that you will pass on those things about yourself that are the best parts of you. Good luck, and write with a purpose that in the end... will make you proud.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Okay, so this is my problem. I have become so caught up in checking on other peoples lives that I have completely neglected my own. I have especially lost myself lately in the whole YouTube world. I am watching people live their lives, while I sit around in my pajamas, or at least my most comfortable clothes. I watch Casey Neistat, the king of productivity, bike, skateboard, run, and function with all due diligence, while I lay here watching him do it. I watch makeup tutorials, just because I think that I will learn something I don't already know. I watch organizational videos in the hopes of becoming more organized. I watch Good Mythical morning, because it is entertaining. I watch all sorts of documentaries, because I love to learn. I watch artists and art tutorials to try to get inspired and learn how to draw better. I watch inspirational video's from my church, because I want to continue to learn how to have faith, be a better person, and stay encouraged and motivated. I watch writing tutorials to learn how to write better. I listen to music and watch the videos that go with them. I do everything, but what I am supposed to do...
LIVE MY OWN LIFE!
I should say at this point that I am currently awaiting back surgery to have a spine stimulator implanted to help me with my chronic pain caused by scoliosis, spinal stenosis, bulging discs in my neck, pinched SI joints, and hip dysplasia. I am doing all that I am capable of in physical therapy, but the rest of my life is consumed with pain relievers (4-6 hour and 12 hour), muscle relaxers, and other treatments I can come up with like heating pads, and ice packs. I just had bilateral injections into my SI joints yesterday. Now, I have injection pain too. I also use much of my day to homeschool one of my 3 children (my 21 year old helps another one, between work) and my husband helps my son. So this sort of gives me an excuse for procrastination, but I am trying very, very hard to stop that.
I have made a goal to try to write in my blog every day to every other day. I am trying to use what I have experienced and been through to pass on a lesson learned. This is not my only blog. My other one is (myonceuponatimejourney.blogspot.com). But to me... it still feels like procrastination.
It sucks. I believe that I have amazing writing that deserves my attention, my effort, and my corrections, but for some reason... it feels bigger than my abilities.
So I guess I just have to make up my mind. Is my dream important enough to chase after? That is the big question. The one we all have to ask ourselves. Is a dream worth fighting for? I think it is. I want so badly to get my work out there for others to enjoy, to escape with, to have fun with, and to dream with. So why is this so hard?
Well, I don't know... but I am making a promise to myself right now. Tomorrow... after physical therapy... I am going to pull up my file, and start reading my novel again. That always helps me get motivated to try again. So if there is something your heart desires. That dream you believe is worth fulfilling, then I want you to not find... but make some time, and do it...okay? Like the
Nike ad says...JUST DO IT!
I know that we can do it... if only we try. Make a small doable goal. Tomorrow I am going to read my first page, and see where it will take me. Then tomorrow... I will make a goal to read some more the next day, and so on. That's sometimes all that it takes. I you have a dream and believe that you can do it, then just do it. If you have something to say... then say it. I know you can do it. If you lack inspiration... look for it. If it helps you to write down your goal... so that you can see it then make a vision board, write it in a diary or your daily planner, even your calender would be a start. Just make it a goal that you know you can do. Something it would be so simple that it would be stupid if you could did not do it. Anything that gets you going. We are all different... so look for ideas if you don't have any.... discover something new.... read something someone else wrote.... anything as long as it has the potential to inspire you. I wish you luck, and I know that if we put in the effort, it will pay off. Our dreams are not out of reach. Whether it is poetry, comedy, tragedy, romance, horror, inspirational, your life story, history, or how too....just get started.
Good luck you guys. I made my goal... let's see how this goes. Baby steps my friends. There are so many beautiful thoughts in the world, and stories for us to tell, so much inspiration to share, and words that if put into a good structure can change the world. Have you ever had your mind opened up by something you read? Have you ever found something that made you more aware? Do you have something worth sharing? Start at the beginning, and before you know it... you will find your ending. We can do it. Just try.
Saturday, January 16, 2016
First of all... Dr. Suess is the best.WRITING CHALLENGE: Okay I had an idea for a writing challenge from my last post. I thought this was a really fun, accidental idea for a writing challenge based on the fact that because of my bad back, because of degenerative disc disease, (among other problems). I am stuck in bed (except for doctor's appointments, therapy, physical therapy, and going to the potty when absolutely necessary) until I can get surgery to get an implant. It is a pain stimulator to relieve some of my chronic and constant pain. However that is another story for a later time.
SO... during my struggle to keep myself busy, entertained, and always learning...I thought of a great idea for a writing challenge.
The challenge is... I want you to: WRITE A NONSENSE POEM ABOUT HOW BORED YOU ARE!
This could be so fun. The only thing I ask is to please keep it clean... thanks.
I'm going to try to do this too, and I will then post it.
I'm going to try to do this too, and I will then post it.
If you want me to post yours email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to read what you come up with.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
I am so happy to have this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year!
I don't really go in for all those resolutions though. I think those kinds of goals put way to much pressure on you. I think real change has to come from making small... achievable goals. Change has to come from replacing bad habits with the good ones. What was that definition of insanity?
You have got to make some changes. You have got to find your happiness (whether that is done through therapy... like mine)... or through hobbies, writing, drawing, getting quiet time from your life. Take a break from the routine, or the chaos... whatever your situation is. Some people like to exercise to relieve their stress and clear their minds (it's not my favorite thing to do, but there you go). Sometimes by having friends and family around you they can inspire you with something they say, something they tell you, or maybe their mannerisms will inspire you. We writers tend to be observers, that alone can be very inspiring.
I know that for me... I love being in nature. Strangely enough I live in Arizona and it has been a great opportunity to see a new world. Coming from the east coast I thought that Arizona (or Bizona as my littles daughter used to say) was a waste land. Just a desert and no more. However, when we got here I found it to be a wonderful surprise. Of course, some of the time it is too hot to be outside, and other times like now (because it is winter) it is too dang cold. But most of the year it is really glorious. We have humming birds, lizards, gorgeous trees, and cactus and other heat loving plants that really surprised me as the year changed and they bloomed. We also have roadrunners that are the most wonderful birds to watch. When we first moved here our littlest daughter saw one and said, "Look... look. There's a wild chicken!" We laughed so hard. They have retained their nickname in our family. However, we have glorious sun rises and sun sets, not to mention the random, and very cool sand storms. Such as the Haboob that we had the first year we were here. We had never seen anything like it, and I guarantee that a single dust devil (like a thin, tan tornado) will inspire lots of writing.
My point is that if you want it to find some new inspirations for the new year, you've got to get out and find it. Sometimes it will be something close by that inspires you, but sometimes you have to get out and search for some fresh ideas. You have to experience life, people watch (not the creepy kind), nature watch, or take a break. You will find your muse.
So even though my year has carried over from the last for me with bed rest, a groin pull, physical therapy and the soon to be scheduled back surgery I am not giving up. It is amazing what you can do for yourself while stuck in bed. I am working on my writing, my art, my hobbies, board games and visits with my kids and husband, I listen to music, I take my medicine and then a nap... It's all go over here. So even though I have some good reasons to whine, or complain... (which I am trying to save up for my therapy sessions)... I am still finding my happiness. I miss participating in life, but I sure am going to let it get me down, or stop me. So I guess my one goal, the only one I have really been able to stick too, is the promise I made to myself not to shrivel up and die. I promised that I would find a way to keep growing. I watch YouTube for my daily feast of makeup tutorials (so I can take better care of myself), I watch inspirational (emotionally) video's from my church. I watch "How To" video's on improving my art and drawing skills, and finding my art style (which I might start posting... I don't know yet), and I listen to great music (dance, relaxing, or just for fun kind). I write. I try to write... even if it is a post... it is all practice, and most of all... I just try to believe that one day I will be able to walk (more than 10 feet) someday. I am not giving up. So I hope if you are struggling... you won't give up either.
As for resolutions... just find your happiness... take your time.... make achievable goals, take baby steps, and just keep writing... even if it is only a crazy nonsense poem about how board you are. You never know where you will end up. Good luck my friends and keep writing.
Friday, December 25, 2015
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Okay, I was looking through the quotes, images, etc... that I tend to find inspiration in. I found this one... a long, long time ago. I just read it with my husband and after my chills calmed down I decided that this might make a fun challenge for us... would be writers...
Here it is... tell a horror story in two sentences or less...
Crazy I know, but what a challenge. I would not have considered the possibilities before reading this. It is awesome.
Give it a whirl, even if only for yourself. You might be surprised what you are capable of doing. If you email it to me, let me know if I can post it, or if you would prefer not.
Good luck all you writers out there. I hope you can read this.. I made it as big as possible. Thanks.
Monday, July 13, 2015
I love Agatha Christie novels. They are brilliant. They are thinkers. They make me want to keep reading, and they want me to keep writing. She inspires me. She is also impressive. When writing was considered a fools errand, especially for women who were not encouraged to think for themselves, let alone publish those thoughts, but she did it, and she was admired and revered for it. She is someone I look up to, for sure.
I also find that the knowledge that she struggled to write, or had days that she simply did not feel like it brings me some comfort. Today I am feeling down, sorrowful, and dejected. In other words, I do not feel like writing... so here I am... writing. I am trying to encourage myself that even if I do not feel that I have anything to say, or that I do not want to say anything at all... I can find a way to do it. It is much to easy to just allow myself to quit. Let's be honest... it is easier. However, is that going to get me to my goal? Is it going to help me to improve? Is it going to help me follow and realize my dream... no.
So despite my mood, I am trying to plug away. That is the unfortunate thing about being a writer... we don't really get the opportunity to quit, not if we want to be successful that is. If we want to improve... we must write. If we want to succeed... we must write. If we want to be a writer... we must write. It is not something we can assign someone as a chore. We cannot ask someone to do it for us. We cannot just stop doing it, because if we do...we will stay right where we are.
If we had any other career could we just expect to be paid if all we do is take days off? Could we expect to be recognized for our achievements if we just didn't try? I think not.
Does it all have to be brilliant? Does it all have to be profound? Does it all have to be note worthy? It can't. You are going to write rubbish once in a while. Not everything is going to make sense. Not everything is going to be worth showing to others, but does that change its value in what it can teach you? Does that change the impact that an idea that springs from that scratching can have? It doesn't have to.
When I started with my seed of an idea for a book, it was going to be set as a children's picture book. I started writing it with my young child in mind, but before I really understood what happened, it grew into the form it now takes as a novel. I think a writers mind is astonishing. We never really know what we are capable of until we try.
Now. I freely admit that I am not a scholar. I am terrible at punctuation, and understanding all of the in's and out's of grammar. I don't know why. I have tried to learn it... it just does not stick. However, I think I can tell a good story. I have a huge imagination... when it comes to writing. I dream of seeing my book in print, but is it easy? Heck no. I won't quit trying though, and neither should you.
So here is your challenge. If you do not feel like writing today... that is okay..., but you are going to have to go write something, anything. Go and write a nonsense poem. Go write a little in your journal. Go write down, "I don't feel like writing today," and see what happens. You never know where your mind will take you. That might be enough to start a fire in your mind. Go on... give it a try... what do you have to lose?
I did it, and now I have a blog post. I debate whether it is good or not, but here it is. Good luck and just go write something down.
If all else fails and you just really, really can't do it... then go read something... it is far better than nothing... isn't it?
Monday, July 6, 2015
I am always struggling to find inspiration. I am always looking for new ways to improve my skills. Unfortunately, there are no magic wands, or genies, fairy godmother's, or magic spells that will make you better. Now writing about magic wands, genies, fairy godmother's and magic spells is fun, but it is not always easy.
So here's a few questions: What do you find interesting? What inspires you? What tickles you? What is your passion? What is your life experiences? What have you seen that stood out to you today?
That is a great place to start. Ask yourself those things. Another thing that helps is brainstorming. Sometimes just a word can trigger an avalanche. Sometimes a phrase can make you think... then if you start to write about what you think... well there you go. It is a place to start. I love the google option to look up quotes... on any subject, literally any topic you can think of. It is a wonderful place to find inspiration.
I started this, and my other blog, because I don't speak as well as I write... for one thing... for another... I have a passion for writing, but I got into a rut. Writer's block is painful... especially when the desire to write is there, but nothing comes out.
However, I realized that the answer was so simple that it seemed almost unlikely to be true. The answer is exactly what this quote says. You have to write... write... and write some more. I also got this advice from every author I have ever looked up, or listened to... if I want to become a better writer, I have to write. I also have to read as much as I can, and then I have to write some more. It's like wash, rinse, and repeat. You have to write and then write some more.
Since I started doing this... I have found a little more confidence, and I believe that I might be improving. At least I hope I am anyway.
I have a novel that I am working very hard on, and have been for some time. Only I have had a problem circumstances seem to distract me, fear overwhelmed me, and each has kept me from accomplishing my goals. It is also hard to put your creation out there for the world to see, critique, judge, and either love and enjoy, or spit back at you. I am riddled with fear. Besides, I never took a class. I was never good in school. I struggled with so many other things that I stopped believing that I could do it. I am trying very hard to change that now, but I still struggle every day.
When I started this blog it was done to promote my novel, (unpublished so far), but I found that in the mean time, if I could, I would like try to inspire someone. Anyone. That would make this worth it.
Okay, so I want to throw something out there, I wrote a poem called, "The Storyteller". I will post it in my pages.
I wrote it when I had a thought about what it means to be a writer. What sort of roles does a story teller play? It was an interesting exercise. I came up with what I think are good words to describe a storyteller, and I am sure that anyone could do the same thing with a thousand other words, but it was still really fun to do. Challenge yourself. Come up with something you would ask someone else to do (if you had someone to challenge). I had a friend who gave me the challenge of writing a poem. I haven't done that in quite some time. Maybe you can even ask a friend to give you a challenge. You might be surprised what it inspires you.
So the best tip I have learned is that you have to write every day whether it be in a journal, in a daily blog, in a notebook you keep handy, on your computer, or really wherever you like to write. Find your spot. Make time in your day. If write best in the mornings then do it right when you wake up, before you start your day. If you write better at night, do the same thing (only before bed, or in bed, whatever). If you get a free moment in your day... write for a few minutes. Just a word, a phrase, a thought, or gibberish. If it triggers you... write it. What could you lose?
I saw a quote that said something to the effect of, the worst thing you write today is better than nothing at all. I'm not sure if that is exactly what it said, but I think you get the point.
Writing nothing all day is far worse than writing complete crap. You really have nothing to lose.
I did a writing challenge a couple of posts ago. Now, I really did not expect responses, and I did not get any, but it was good for me to think about one (a challenge). It got my thoughts shifting.
So if nothing else today either read, or write a little something. It doesn't have to be right, or perfect, or grammatically correct. It just has to be something. Just something. That is all. If you can do that once a day... I think you will be amazed at how far it will take you. I was really struggling before I put this into practice... but now I find that I want to write... something everyday. I want to make a difference. I want to get better as a writer. I want to fulfill my dream, and like I said, if I can encourage you along my way... that makes it all worth it.
I study. I research. I write as much as I can. I read a ton, and I listen to the advice of other authors and teachers, and even though I am not a professional yet... if we are on this journey together maybe I can encourage you while I try to encourage myself.
I guess that is kind of crazy... I know they say that those who can't succeed in the industry usually end up teaching... I hope that is not how my story will go, but I personally always find inspiration in others. I hope I can do that for someone too.
Sorry If I am repeating myself in these posts. I will try to mix it up from now on. Sorry. Thanks for reading. I really do appreciate it.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Alright! I am so very excited! I am going to shamelessly promote the new drawing book that my big brother illustrated. My brother did a how to draw with a very nice guy named Ernie Harker (author), "Monster Factory: Draw Cute and Cool Cartoon Monsters" paperback book. I personally think you should help your siblings out any time you can... if you believe in them. I believe in him. He has been drawing, doodling and creating since we were children. I have always thought he was uniquely talented and now he is getting a chance to shine. I am so happy for him. This book is available on Amazon.com and at Barnes and Noble. Please check it out especially if you, a child you have, or a child you know loves to draw and learn how to draw they will love this. I have no doubt that this one will be worth it! How fun. Go Ken...! Thanks for checking this out.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Finish this: The thunder rolled through the sky like a stampeding herd of wild stallions, as lightening shattered the darkness caused by the gathering gray clouds that hung overhead like...
Alright... let's see what you can come up with. I love a good thunderstorm, which we rarely get here in Arizona. I miss them. So paint me a picture with your words. Go on... Give it a try... just try it. I would love to see what you come up with.
You can post your entry in the comments below, or email them to me at email@example.com
Can't wait to read what you come up with. Good luck.
I love that quote. There are so many purposes for writing. We can teach. We can learn. We can dream all through a good book. Writing can offer hope in so many ways, through so many characters, and so many scenes. I want to do that with my writing. I hope that I can inspire someone to believe that they can overcome anything, whether it is slaying your own personal dragons, or just helping you believe that nothing is so difficult that you cannot survive it. If nothing else... I want to entertain. I love a good book that can take you on a journey. For instance, fairy tales. Fairy tales are born of courage, imagination, and magic. Characters are christened by their pass through fire (literally or figuratively). The scenes and locations are endless. The magic is well... magical. There are morals to learn, lessons to grow from, experiences to tickle you and moments that make you hold your breath. I believe that is why people throughout time have loved fairy tales, (among other genre's).
Stories can change your life, your thinking, and your mind. I grow in my understanding of others has grown greatly through stories. How well do you truly know the people around you? Fairy tales are a classic staple in many of the diets of some readers. Why? People who truly love reading can use stories as an escape. I love to get lost in stories. When you escape in them, because they give me a chance to focus on the lives of others and forget mine for a while. For me... the more magical... the better. Sometimes life sucks, and I just need a few moments outside of myself.
Reading can also be handy if you like self-help sort of books, there is probably something written about every topic or question you might have you, kind of like YouTube. You can find a video tutorial for just about any question you might have. Self-help books let you get more information though, the kind that cannot be covered it a few minutes. Sometimes we all need a little advice and guidance. Books are a great place to find it.
There are books for those of you who love learning about historical events. I was not good in school, and I sometimes find myself playing catch up, but it feels great to learn about our history... we don't want to be destined to repeat it... do we? Not necessarily. I also find biographies to be inspiring. There have been great men and women in our world who alone inspired nations. I love learning from their failures an their successes. Sometimes I am reminded that my problems might not be the hardest that ever were, or I might relate to a situation they had been in and learn how they overcame it. Inspiring... no?
A good mystery, like Agatha Christy, though set in an other time period, are still excellent reads. Not to mention that women were not exactly encouraged to be thinkers, and to voice their opinions was even more frowned upon. Like children they were meant to be seen and not heard, but she did it. There are examples like that everywhere.
Reading is also powerful in it's influence that it can have upon you. It can take us through the gambit of emotions and situations. Words can cause us to find joy and laughter, sorrow and fear, horror and relief, so many emotions. Through reading we can even discover a lot about ourselves also. Have you ever had an ah...ha moment? Have you ever done that while reading? Have you ever found yourself laughing out loud, or crying? Have you ever found yourself getting so engrossed that you forget to eat, sleep, or move from that perfect spot? I am happy to say that I have.
I have learned a lot about myself when I have read. I learned that I love a good thinker, but nothing that makes it so hard you need to look up words in the dictionary to understand their meaning. I love romance, but not romance novels... squirm. I love adventure and have a traveling spirit, despite my geographic limitations. I have learned that I love to laugh, but I need a good cry every now and then. I have realized that I love unusual names, but hate when a writer creates or uses names that you have to pause and sound out a few times before giving up and moving on. That stops me cold in a story and I loose interest. I love a great mystery. I love post apocalyptic stories, but I hate vulgarity and gratuitous moments written just for their shock value. I am not a fan of swearing either... not because I am a prude (I have used them all myself "once upon a time"... I have just come to hate the sound of it all. Finally, I love being surprised by a story that I did not expect to like. That is always fun. That is why I love suggestions and am always looking for them. I have also found that there never seems to be enough time in the day. You know what I mean?
As for my own writing... which I hope to get published one day... and I have said this in other posts... my writing has been described as a fairy tale with sinister undertones. I really do love that. Fairy tales are my all time favorite genre. I read them as a child, read them to my children, and now read them for fun, and I'm trying to follow the advise of so many other authors that have said, "If you want to be a good writer... you have to read... a lot within that genre that you intend to write. It will make you a better writer. I have taken that into practice. I just hope it is helping.
However, I struggle sometimes to let my creativity expand and flow. Most days I have to force myself to write. Blogging is helping, but it also helps sometimes if I look for something to inspires me. Like the quote I pasted onto this particular post. That helps tremendously to find something that triggers a thought. Thank heaven for the internet. There is a lot of inspiration to be had there. Brain storming is a good way too trigger something too. Just take a moment to look for it, talk to someone, or watch a video on becoming a better writer. YouTube is soaked with them. When you find something that triggers a thought... just start writing.
Writing can be difficult. It comes with its own set of unique challenges, even for the best of us, but it can also be an adventure, whatever genre you work in. If you are writing self-help, historical realism, fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, whatever it is, if you are passionate about what you are writing you can find joy in the process. I personally feel like I have found my niche in YA fiction, and so happy that that is what I enjoy writing the most. I think fiction offers a freedom that some genre's do not give so freely. Within the parameters of fiction, which are few, I can create anything, anywhere, during any time period, with as many creatures, and scenes as my mind can concoct. How cool is that? Others may find that hard to do, but for me... well it makes me feel alive.
There is so much you can explore when writing. You can create hope, or drama. You can make people think and smile. You can inspire, cause great sorrow, or inflame anger. You can show humor, and joy, and you can do that in any setting you can think of. I feel blessed to be able to do that. Who doesn't love a good talking donkey... lol... wink... wink.
Finally, when can you read? Anywhere, and at any time... as long as it is appropriate to do so. Like you wouldn't whip out your favorite book during a funeral, or church service, during a theatrical performance, or a movie, but just about anywhere else you can... and that is awesome. How many devices are out there that let you take a good book on the go? To many to count.
Quick question... because I have gotten to this point recently. Have you ever gotten to the point when T.V. just becomes noise? I hate that. When it does I really do love to pick up a book, read a favorite all over again, or look up suggestions for new ones. The possibilities and list of genres are endless.
So... my question for the day is... like some YouTubers do.... is what is your favorite genre, and what is a favorite book you love to escape into? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Okay, so I was looking for good quotes and who else would you naturally go to? Well, I thought of Stephen King. I love this quote. It gave me a lot to think about. I realize that he is probably (and I am speculating here) saying that he wants you to fall for the seeming innocence of his character before he lets lose their crazy insides, and the reality of who they are, but I had some other thoughts that were inspired by this quote as well.
First, what I thought about was creating characters. When doing this, you want to infuse them with characteristics that make them someone your reader can relate to, or visualize. If you cannot see him/her in your own mind how can anyone else? If you cannot see them yourself they probably won't work in your story. However, you might just need to rethink them, not necessarily throw them out all together. If you are having trouble creating a character, try to think of someone you have met and what it is about them that you remember, whether good or bad. This might help you decide what to instill in your character, unless you have a purpose in their being forgotten. Such as in a mystery where you might want an unassuming character to play a bigger part in the reveal. It might be an interesting thought to have that character give you an "Oh crap" moment, or you might provide your reader with a, "I suspected there was something off about them, but I did not expect that" moment of realization. To me that is fun. You should have fun with your characters. I love it when I find myself laughing out loud because of something a character did, or said. I also love it when I am surprised by a characters willingness to do something I might personally never be capable of. Those moments are brilliant. Let your characters be surprising, unique, quirky, odd, creepy, inspiring, humorous, twisted, whatever you like. You can, but might not go wrong. Have purpose in your design.
For me, when I write, I can see each character in my head as if I am watching the scenes, like a movie. However, I never know where the story is going to go until I get there. I can see moment to moment, but I simply do not know where the story will end. For me the journey is just as new as it is to my reader.
I know immediately if a story line will not work though, because I sort of stop on the path. My thought process is halted. I cannot make it work, but instead of forcing it, which might be the inclination, I try to rethink it or discuss it with my family (my husband for example). Try the scene from a different point of view. Not everything is a dead throw out, at least not always.
In the quote above, when Mr. King says, "turn the monsters loose", I get chills. Let your character tell you where they want to go, what they want to do, where their personalities will take them, and what choices they would make when given the freedom. I love that. If you create a character that is believable they will be your guide. Open yourself up to the possibilities. You can usually figure out logically where someone's thought processes and quirks, limitations, and mannerisms will take them. Think about what you know. As writers we tend to be a bit more observant than most. We are people watchers. We see what some others might miss. Think about it. How else could you write a story? Writing is all about creating, and showing. It is all about guiding, and following, revealing and solving. We set the stage for everything that will happen and where it will take place.
"Let the monsters loose," is just awesome. It seems that Mr. King does just that. He lets the character tell him where the next moment of madness will go. He lets the character dictate his inspiration. If you have a madman stalking the streets, you know he is not going to be walking right down the center of the path in broad daylight. He might slink in the shadows, watch with an air of malice, creep and not stroll. This is what I mean. Now, I cannot speak and would not presume to speak for Mr. King, but I think that he likes to let the characteristics of the character decide their behavior, whatever that ends up meaning.
Let your monster's loose, and see where they take you. If you are not sure about any of these ideas, do as every author I have listened too (in lectures, interviews, etc... even Stephen King) and read. Read all you can in the genre in which you want to write in. Read everything. Observe people around you too. List what you remember about people you have met, or know and why you remember them. Compile a list of mannerisms and behaviors that your character might have based on their personality. Just think about it and let it come. Don't force it, but take your time. You cannot make a great story happen. You have to consider those details that can make the story more believable. Let your characters be your guide and maybe even ask... what would I do in that situation? It might just inspire you.
Remember, read as much as you can. You will find inspiration everywhere. Writing in a rush is a temptation, but you will do better if you take your time, consider your characters and what they would do in the situations you put them in. You might have to think outside of the box.
One last thought. Gaining inspiration from the work of others is always going to happen, but instead of copying (which would be wrong) think about what it is that inspired you in the first place and find a new way of putting it. Writers cannot help but pull from all aspects of their lives, things we see, hear, smell, and experiences, but we can make it our own. Find your own voice. Find your own way of putting it. Find that thing that makes your point of view unique. What makes you who you are? What have you experienced and what did you take from it. Use what you know and what you are comfortable with. For instance, I have dealt with loss and death personally and up close and the pain that comes with it. When I wrote the death of a character, I found that that particular segment was very raw and real. It played out very dramatically, because I was able to pull from my experiences. Lastly, when in doubt, brain storm with someone whose opinion you respect and value. It might yield some wonderful results. Whatever else you do, change it, shift it, play with it, but don't give up. You can do this.
Good luck my friends.
Monday, June 8, 2015
I have included dragons in my writing. I love to write about them, through them, all of it. I admire their strength, and majesty. I admire their lore and their beginnings. I also love the mystery of it all. I think that they are my favorite characters to write about. Yes I said characters. I have found a voice for my dragons. I don't want to give anything away, but I have found them to have a wealth of mystery in which to pull from, toward my stories. I guess that is the thing that I love about fantasy/adventure writing. You are only as limited as your own imagination. I have found that if you, strangely enough, don't think about it too hard, and allow yourself to view the characters in your stories from another point of view you might be surprised at what they can do, and where it can take you and your story. Even in the case of dragons. They don't have to just be monsters, or animals.
Dragons, just the word is awesome. They inspire so much. I have found that through my dragons I can invoke all sorts of emotions, everything from fear, aggression, and danger, to compassion, sympathy, sorrow, and even wisdom. Dragons are powerful and majestic, but I also think they are misunderstood.
As with any characters that you write with... you only limit yourself.
I recently read and heard that if you want to be a good writer, and improve as a writer you have to be a great reader. I live for a good fairy tale, but I have been moved by amazing adventures too. My writing has been described as a fairy tale with sinister undertones. I absolutely love that. However, I want to be a better writer. So, even though I love a good fairy tale, I also love a good adventure, a good story, a good mystery, and even (once in a while) a good romance. I have developed an eclectic taste in almost all aspects of my life, in my music, in the art I like, and in movies that I love to watch. I think that opening myself up to that wide range of views, characters, and plot lines has made me enjoy writing and inventing characters and story lines all that much more.
My thoughts are... even though fairy tales tend NOT to have dragons involved in them... I don't think it has to be the last word in it. Open yourself to the ideas of dragons... open yourself up to everything. You might surprise yourself.
Friday, May 22, 2015
I have. All the time in fact. It is one of the most frustrating things to doubt yourself and your abilities.
I have these stories and images in my head, but I struggle to get them to come out.
I still remember the first time I sat down to write, and how the story seemed to pour out of me. It felt so liberating, but then came that dreaded moment. The one when you realize that you have to go over what you just wrote. You have to analyze it to see if what made so much sense in your head sounds as spectacular as you hope it will.
The first time someone said to me..., "You have a great start, but I think you should write it again", well, that just about broke my heart. I was convinced that that person was a jerk. I told myself that I would never ask for their help again. However, once I pulled my tail out from between my legs, stopped crying, and punching my pillows long enough to stop and think about why they said such a horrible thing to me... I got it. He was right. He knew better, and more than that... he believed in me, and he believed that I could do it better.
Admitting that everything we put our blood, sweat, and tears into might need to be looked at from another view is sometimes one of the HARDEST things we as writers have to do. I don't like it. It does not feel good. It suddenly feels like you are pulling your feet through mud, not to mention that it just plain sucks.
I describe it as one of those moments when you hear someone in the room screaming, and then it is that horrible realization that it was you. You might even suddenly hate this journey that you have found yourself on, but that does not mean that you should give up.
Think about it... how many times did J.R.R. Tolkien write and rewrite the Lord of the Rings? He didn't get published until he was about 65 years old. My point is... that he did not give up. He did not give up on his dream of telling a sort of history that he always felt was missing. Maybe people thought him crazy. Maybe they thought him a fool. Maybe they thought he had no chance. It didn't matter. He did it anyway, and he inspires me.
J.K. Rowling received an insane amount of rejection notices. That is nuts. But she did not give up. Just look at what happened... many of us can label a huge chunk of our personal histories as the years we grew up with Harry Potter, the years we suffered with him on his journey to figure himself out, and just survive. There were many reasons we struggled to survive growing up also, but at least we did not have to do it alone. How brilliant is that?
I'm struggling to make my dream come true, but honestly, I don't regret the journey. I want to be on this path. I have wanted it for as long as I can remember. Do I want to quit sometimes... of course. Do I wish a good fairy would come down and make it easier... sure. Do I wish a wizard, wand and all, would come to me and gift me with a perfect, eloquent mind? Abso-freakin-lutely, but will that happen? No... If it could that be cool, but it is not going to happen, so I have to keep going.
So what do I do? What is my game plan? Well, I set aside time in the day to write, and maybe stare at the wall for an hour. I tap my pencil a few times (sorry I tend to be old school, at least for part of it). I gaze longingly out the window at the beautiful day I wish that I was doing... anything other than this in, and I tell the kids one more time to just give me just a few more minutes, and I do my best. I pull my feet through the mud. I bang my head on my desk. I cry for a little while, and then I start all over again until something comes to mind and makes sense.
Writing is not an easy process, and I don't think that ANY author would say that it was, even the ones that make it look effortless. So, I will just keep plugging away, writing and rewriting over and over until it all makes sense. I will slave over my laptop and try very hard not to drive myself absolutely crazy. I will continue to dream, and no matter how long it takes... I'll keep trying.
I just want to encourage you not to give up. It is is not an easy journey that we are on, but it is a good journey, one worth taking.
I would love to hear how you are doing? Write me... get it... write me. That is lame, but I would love to hear how you all are doing. Really.
Good luck my friends. May your muse be with you. (Sorry, I could not resist.)
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I liked this quote because I found it to be true. I cannot help but see my life and my experiences in my work. The names may have been changed. The circumstances and obviously different, but my heart and soul goes into each line. I even find that at times I write something then go back and read it and think... who did that? It is bewildering to say the least. I love it though, even if sometimes pulling out a thought can be be like pulling out a tooth, and editing can be like pulling your feet through mud.
What would I do without it though? It is who I am. It is what I have to do. It is my passion and my dream.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Do you flow, or do you flounder?
Do you need inspiration, or does it just come?
Do you find yourself at the beginning of a fantastic plot line, or do you find yourself in lost among the waves of the writers ocean?
Are you a wash in a breeze of words, or are you dried up, buried in the sprays of the rolling sands?
Sometimes I feel all of these things.
Sometimes I want to scream.
Sometimes I want to quit.
Sometimes there is not enough time in the day, or speed in my fingers to get it all out.
Sometimes I just stare, and sigh, wishing it would come.
Today... I just stare.
Today... I just sigh.
Today... I wish.
Today... I wish.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
We are in the edit phase of my manuscript still, but my hope is that someone might benefit from my experiences.
I am finding that writing is not something you can force yourself to do, well technically I think you can, but I know for me... I need to be in the mood to write. I need to be inspired. I love watching the behind the scenes features from my favorite movies. I don't know why, but my thinking is that the process of being creative really helps me to find my own. If I really want to be triggered... I find that any of the "Harry Potter" movies or "Lord of the Rings", or the "Hobbit" really get me going. I guess because of the fact that they are in my genre range, but nothing does it for me better.
I'm always curious about what makes other writers write. It used to be that I wrote the best stuff while laying on the floor of my children's room as they slept. I would write by nightlight. Crazy, but true. Getting time away for that sort of moment seems so impossible now though. I know I need to make time, but it is hard to justify taking time from my family. I guess I just need to make time, if I want to be any kind of writer.
I illustrate too, and I have so many pictures that I thought it might be fun to write children's poetry to go with them, but again... time. Uh... this isn't easy. I love it, but it is not easy. I also have a sequel to my first novel, and another novel I started, with a female lead, very supernatural and magical. I am excited about it. I have to find time.
I don't know if any of you deal with physical pain, but I do and it is chronic. Anyway, I take A LOT of medications. I clouds my head and sometimes makes it hard to concentrate. It is a struggle. So I write for my blogs and I try to keep up some of my skills.
I dream of one day having a real office... like one of those converted sheds that look like something out of a fairy tale. I would love that. I dare not do it while we are in Arizona though. Imagine 115 degree weather and your stuck up in a shed. Not my idea of a good time. Maybe one day.
I make a vow right now though that I will get back to my writing, as soon as possible. I know I have good ideas, and stories to tell, at least I am trying to convince myself that I do. I've had good feedback so far. So anyway... Wish me luck! I wish it for you. Later.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
I'm still in the editing phase of my manuscript preparation process. Sometimes it feels like I am pulling my feet through mud. I don't know if you have gone through that process, but it is not easy especially if you have read, reread, and read again while writing the manuscript in the first place. The thing that also makes it difficult is that my editor lives in another state. We have to do everything over the internet and via emails. I hope that one day, maybe this spring, we will be done, but I am not holding my breath. I tend to be optimistic about life, but when it comes to the book, it comes a little harder.
I wonder how many other authors go through that. I know I can't be the only one, only I struggle a little more because I had to work a little harder than most. I barely graduated high school, and although I did graduate, I really struggled with English class and grammar. You may be asking why or how I might have become an author, but it has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, before I even knew what the alphabet was, I was scribbling out line after line of what was a story in my head.
It has taken me years to complete this first manuscript, mostly because I was a stay at home mom and along with my four healthy children I cared for and lost three of my seven children to a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. Needless to say, I had some setbacks and moments that left me without thoughts of my own, or left me too tired and sorrowful to continue. However, here we are. I am in the editing process, and I am so excited to see what my friend does with it. She is very "in my head" as it is. I am blessed to have her help, and I understand that we will get there one day soon.
I want to encourage everyone that is trying to become a writer, whatever that means to you, I encourage you not to give up. Keep going and don't be discouraged by advice and critiques. Seriously, if you want to get better, you have to ask for help, advice, and opinions. You don't have to accept them all, but you should listen at least. I was so angry the first time I had someone tell me that it was good, and I really had something, but that I should re-write it. I was ticked off, but eventually I calmed down and realized that they were right. Once I did that I was able to grow. I have also re-written it many, many, many, sigh... many times, and every time was worth it.
So all I can say is, keep going and don't give up. If you really believe that you have a voice, go for it. I will keep going too and let you know when I am done. Until then, I will just keep posting. Later my friend.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Norman Rockwell was not a writer, but like the old saying goes, "A picture can say a thousand words." I have always found that to be true with his art. Nothing can evoke a poem, a thought, a writing, a story, or memory like he can with the images that he has created. What a gift he had. I only wish that I could pass on, through words, the way that the holiday season makes me feel.
As I have gotten older I find myself becoming aware of so much more that I can be grateful for. Despite the fact that there is so much sorrow, pain, concern, frustration, struggle, and fight that goes on in our lives that it can be difficult to remember. It may be hard to see the joys, find the moments of laughter, the moments of love, or the moments of kindness that happen everyday around us.
We rush past the holidays, buying each others affections with that one great deal, or sale that comes only once a year, but why? Why don't we celebrate the small victories? Why don't we celebrate those who love us? Why don't we see that something good happened today... even if it was just a small, seemingly insignificant thing? There is so much to be grateful for. Answered prayers, and even the unanswered ones, the laughter you shared, the sun shining, a cool breeze blowing across your face and through your hair, or a hug from a loved one, or a friend, an accomplishment that has been accomplished, another day that you stuck to your diet, or a choice you made that was hard, but was right. Those are the things that we should remember, and make a point to see. The traditions we have shared in the past, or can create can help us to find the joy that should be felt at this time of year.
I have sorrow, just like anyone. I am far from home and loved ones, I have three children who are no longer with me in this life, I have worries and concerns that plague my mind and clutter my thoughts, I have chronic and never ending pain, but yet I still have joy. I heard my daughters catching laughter today and it made me giggle, even from two rooms over. I saw my son do something for my other daughter (an act of kindness) without being asked. I saw my husband playing on the floor with one of our new puppies, and his joy was contagious. I watched an old movie, that always makes me smile, and I felt like I had escaped for a little while. The sun was shining making the cold fall breeze more bearable, but I also got to where one of my favorite slouchy sweaters, a rare treat for Arizona. I broke my diet with one of my favorite treats today. Not an accomplishment, but a delight all the same, especially because I know that I can forgive myself, and do better tomorrow. I am going to appreciate that my kids did the dishes without being asked, and the house though slightly disheveled, is not bad enough to be embarrassed about if someone knocked at the door unexpectedly. These are the things that I am going to be grateful for today... and tomorrow I will have to watch out for other blessings and I might have to remind myself that not everything sucks all the time, but I will do my best.
The only thing that I ask of anyone at this time of year is... Please don't hurry past Thanksgiving Day, instead find something that you are happy about, grateful for, or made you feel relieved, and share that with someone you love. Slow down and find your smile, and if you are a writer, write about it. Don't let life pass you by... not yet... there is still so much joy to be had.
I hope that you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, October 25, 2013
Does anyone else ever get so many ideas that you have a hard time keeping them organized?
I see my stories like movies in my head and I just can't type fast enough... So frustrating!
I'm not going to give up though. My goal is to stop playing facebook games so much and find time to meditate, and organize my thoughts. I know it won't be easy, but I am going to give it my best effort.
Do you all have things you do to find inspiration? I am always open to suggestions. I love watching interviews with other writers. It triggers something in me that makes me want to write. It is just like behind the scenes parts of DVD's. So cool. It just flips my switch.
I actually have three novels in the works at once. When I get mental working on the same novel...AGAIN... I start on my other one. That is probably a writers no, no, but I can't help it that is how it works for me.
I heard someone say that you cannot start a story with once upon a time and not have a great story to follow. I hope that is true. I did not start mine that way, but I dream of writing a fairy tale one day. I dream big, but we will see what happens.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
I am beginning the editing process. I just hired an editor, a wonderful woman who seems to be right in my head. She is awesome and I can't wait to hear her advice. I am nervous of course and I have to have an open mind, but I know that it will be worth it. I think one of the hardest part of writing was getting over my pride. I had to learn that I did NOT know everything, and I could grow from advice or critiques given to me with the best intentions, although I realize that once the public gets a hold of my novels, they may not all have kind critiques to give. You cannot please everyone, though I will give it a try.
I will confess though that I had taken a break from my manuscript for a while, because I had gotten to the point where I had worked on it so hard and for so long that I just could not look at it again. I love my story and I believe that it has value as a book, but it is like trying to fix an essay question on a school test. It begins to wear you out.
I am happy to find though that after a long hietus I am ready to get back to it. Only when the opprotunity finally came, to pay for and hire an editor, I had to get over a wave of fear that overtook me. It had been so long since I had written and I was scared that I would not be able to do it again. Luckily, it seems to be much like riding a bike. After a few days of soul searching, and reasurance from my husband and children, I found that I could do it, and it felt quite natural. I am very excited to get started again.
I guess that is the key... you have to believe in yourself, practice, be willing to work hard, and take advice. It is difficult to get over the initial shock that you are not as brilliant as you hoped, but once you get over yourself, magic can happen.
I have listened to a lot of interviews of various authors, because I think that we can learn a lot from each other, and each of our experiences, and all of them have said this, "If you want to be a great writer, you have to read a lot, and you also have to write, daily..." I admit that I have struggled with that one, but I am working on improving my habits. I also want to add my advice to thiers, TAKE ADVICE, be open minded and listen to those around you. If you look to those people who have your best interests at heart, and truly support you. That will help... at least it has helped me.
I will admit that I am still a bit nervous, but I am also VERY excited. I believe in my story. I know that I have worked hard to get to where I am, and to learn as much as I can. I believe that I have not dreamed my whole life for this for nothing. I feel like I may have a talent (though I may need to refine it for the entirity of my life), and I believe that God has a plan for me and my life. Yes, I said God. I trust in him, I believe in him, and I need him in my life. If you do not believe, I do not hold it against you, however, for my sake I need Him. I know that without Him nothing is possible, and that I feel like He believes in me too.
My faith aside, I hope that if you are a writer, you will find yourself able to reach out to someone you trust to give you advice on your work. Writers can be brilliant, but it you are humble, you may find your work blessed by those who also believe in you. I wish you luck and success. Truly I do. Put in the effort and it will pay off.
P.S. I will keep you up to date on my progress.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Okay, so is anyone else finding it impossible to get anything done with Facebook, and Pintrest keeping the distractions coming? Aaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!
I cannot get anything done! Is this the pain caused by addiction?
I don't like it, but I can't force myself to stop.
I am a writer with SEVERE writers block. There is nothing more difficult than feeling like you can't get your thoughts straight, or keep them coming long enough to have purpose. I am frustrated. There is plenty of time in the day, but my priorities are totally miss placed right now. I have tried meditation, and sitting down with a notebook, then my computer, but then the temptations were too much. I feel like such a waste of skin right now. The new year is not going as smoothly as I thought it would. Uh... I want to do great things, but there are just to many days when I don't push myself hard enough. Maybe I can blame it on the winter blues. I should get some sunshine. I live in Arizona after all. Anyway... wish me luck. I am going to try again.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
“Writers don't make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don't work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck's book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man's stupid words. And for this, as I said, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more.”
― Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
― Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
Saturday, April 21, 2012
In a world where hero's become legends, and Dragons roam the skies, a young boy will narrowly escape an abduction that separates him from the only family he knows, his parents. To free them from unimaginable evil, Aeron will be sent on a fated journey back through time, where he must cross the many kingdoms, and face countless dangers that can only exist in an enchanted world such as his. Will he survive, or will he be yet another in a long line of victims lost to the horror that resides deep in the Spirilian Caves?
One brisk autumn evening, the fatigued travelers and farmhands of the neighboring villages gathered at the local tavern, a seedy place with plenty of rough edged character, for their nightly ritual of drinking away their troubles, discussing their day, and purging their frustration with a lively, yet sometimes brutal game of cards. This usually brought some comfort to their aching bones and weary spirits. However, something would happen on this particular night that would make this evening different.
The sun was just beginning to fade in the west, when a slender, frightened woman, plainly dressed in a pale blue cotton gown and faded, yellowed bonnet, burst through the door with her young, sandy-haired son in tow. Upon entering the dimly lit room, they were immediately met by the overwhelming smell of musty, swirling pipe smoke, and the pungent odor of warm ale. As she looked around, the boisterous, overlapping conversations, scraping of forks on metal plates and clunking of mugs being smacked down on the table were gone in an instant.
With a quick glance, she assessed the blank expressions on the faces of the patrons in the room. Cold, lifeless eyes, set deeply into hardened, sunbaked faces stared back at her and caused her to instinctively pull her son closer to her, briefly rethinking her choice of action. A tavern was not a proper place for a humble farmer’s wife, but her need for help out weighed her need for propriety.
Mustering her courage she pleaded, and anxious catch in her throat, “Please, I need help!”
Upon hearing her plea, almost all of the patrons looked away. A few even shrunk down in their seats and averted their gaze, reluctant to get involved; others simply did not care one way or another, and coldly refused to pay her further notice, returning instead to their games, discussions, and meals.
Looking down at her son, still too young to understand her concern, she rushed toward the nearest man to her. He was sitting at one of the square, wooden dining tables. He was tall and lanky, with long fingers wrapped around a large mug of cider. He looked up at her with a staggered, anxious expression, his eyes pleading for her not to speak to him.
“Please… I need your help,” she pleaded, but he looked away, sipped from his mug, and turned her back toward her.
She could see that he was not willing to come to her aid, so she looked around for anyone else that she should plead her case too. She hurried to another man sitting nearby. He was stocky, unshaved and disheveled, and smelled of body odor. He glared at her with his one good eye in a way that spoke volumes as to his unwillingness to even hear what she had to say. She wanted to approach a man who seemed to be cowering in a corner, a small man, with a kind face, even if he was a Montique (part man, and part mouse). His kind was known for their big-heartedness, but this man seemed to be a whimpering shell, emotionally damaged, as well as physically. There was a large chunk taken from his left ear. Out of pity she looked for someone else, though he was the friendlies face in the tavern.
Turning away, she approached a portly man sitting just to her left. He held a half-eaten turkey leg in his hand. Again, she reconsidered, for he shook his head slightly, his eyes wide and pleading. Her eyes found the tavern keeper. He was a stout man with a scar on his cheek, the neglected scruff of whiskers on his chin, and a worn soiled apron covering his potbelly. He stared from behind the bar, taking notice of her humble appearance and panicked expression, but made no gesture to show her any willingness to come to her aid. His wary gaze pinned her in place as he spit into the bottom of a glass mug, which he proceeded to wipe with a cloth that he had tucked in his apron.
She wavered a moment, fearful, and unsure, but decided that even if he was indifferent that she would have to get someone’s attention.
She launched into an explanation, “Please. I need help. Someone has taken my husband! Some…men took him off the main road, large men… sort of!” She hesitated, looked down at her son, too young to really understand what was happening and then began again, “Some men took him! He is gone and I just don’t know what to do. No one in town will help me. I’m frightened and I don’t know where to turn.”
With her words unleashed she lost her composure and sobbed into her handkerchief. At her side, her young, brown-haired son stood fiddling with a bit of her skirt, his grey eyes wide with fear.
“Huh…,” the tavern keeper grunted. His voice was cold. “What would you like me to do about it?”
Horror stopped her tears. She could not believe she had heard him correctly.
The tavern keeper continued, his voice sounding hollow, “There is trouble all around, after all. I can’t run to check on everyone.” He resumed his work behind the bar.
Just then a shadowed figure hulking near the tavern’s hearth roared with an animal growl, “Palen!”
Everyone in the room turned to look in his direction. His bulky, fur covered body was silhouetted by the fire burning in the hearth just behind him, and the soft light from candles, which hung from the ceiling on a wagon wheel, reflected in his solid black eyes. The tavern keeper took a shamed step backward and lowered his gaze.
The woman looked up hopefully. The ancient-looking figure who watched her had charcoal grey gone white at the temples and twisted into long, tight braids that hung down his back. He wore a deep green cloak with velvet trim and traces of dirt at the hem. He stood and his robe, which flowed down to the floor, cascaded down. He tightened the rope belt around his stout, furry body, and grunted as he patted his extended belly. After adjusting the wire-framed glasses on his broad snout, his pointed ears shifted, as he looked over the woman and her son. With a slight limp in his stride, he approached the woman and took her hand gently between his clawed paws, and escorted her to a chair near the hearth.
“Lily?” He beckoned to the barmaid. “Will you please get this woman some water?”
“Of course Grandier,” Lily replied as she rushed to do as he asked, leaving behind a pungent trail of honeysuckle perfume.
Grateful, the woman looked up into Grandier’s solid black eyes. When the barmaid returned, the woman took the mug and drank deeply. While she did, Grandier asked Lily to take the boy to get a slice of pie while he spoke to his mother.
Lily nodded and stretched out her hand to the boy.
“Come along, sweetheart. It will be okay. Would you like a treat?” She smiled to coax the shy boy away from his mother, but he fiddled with his fingers, twisting them in his mothers’ skirt.
“I’ll be right her,” his mother reassured him. “Go and enjoy some pie with the lady.” She tried to hide her fear briefly with a small grin.
The boy looked up with brighter eyes, took the barmaid’s hand, and eagerly followed her to a distant table.
“Now, why don’t you tell me what happened?” Grandier’s gruff voice was compassionate, his expression concerned.
Still, it took a moment for the farm wife to compose herself and gather the hazy details of the event into a coherent tale. She wiped her nose with a handkerchief, pulled from her pocket, and then began.
“It was my husband. We were going to the market down the road, to get some supplies, and a man approached us, asking my husband some information.”
“Can you tell me what the man looked like?” he asked her.
She thought hard for a moment, but shook her head slightly. “It is so difficult to remember. I was just so frightened.”
Grandier’s voice was patient. “Just think a moment. Was there anything unusual about him?”
The woman looked at him with a surprised expression and replied urgently, “Everything about him was unusual. I have never seen his like before.” She shuddered. “He was a rough-looking man, with dark eyes and stringy black hair, and his face, he very odd features.”
“What do you mean?” He leaned forward, curious.
“Well, he had mud brown eyes, but they were deep and dead. And he was big, very big- but not just tall. He was wide. His face was strange, with the features of a wild warthog, and he had short tusks on either side of his crooked mouth. He smelled like the black mushroom roots in the Muskin Fields, dirt, and sweat. Leery of the stranger, my husband asked me to wait inside the grain shop with our son. I was reluctant to leave him, but I did as he asked.”
Grandier looked at her with a stern furrow in his thick brow, but he waited quietly for her to continue.
She paused to think again, and then she said, “It was strange. I noticed as he approached that he had a mark on his hand. It was some kind of birthmark or something.”
“How do you mean?” Grandier asked.
“Well, it looked like a misshapen red spider,” she replied innocently.
The barmaid gasped from where she stood beside the boy, who was hungrily eating a generous slice of mixed berry pie.
The woman looked back at her in surprise. Her anxiety deepening, she asked, “Does that mean something?”
Grandier’s reply was casual. “To some.” However, he cast the barmaid a disapproving look and then added, “It has long been believed that the mark of the spider is borne by those who should never be trusted, and in fact avoided. The beings that bear it usually practice the dark arts and use malicious tactics to get what they want. But please, I need to know more. Go on. What happened next?”
She took a deep breath and began again. “I went inside, but I kept an eye on them, watching them through the thick, wavy glass in the storefront. It was difficult to make out the details, but seemed to be having a normal conversation, but then, quite suddenly, it seemed to change.” She sniffed into her handkerchief. “My husband’s demeanor became aggressive. He began to argue with the man as if he had insulted him, but then as the man began to step toward him, my husband suddenly seemed to notice something behind him. My husband struggled with the stranger, and as he backed up, he was lost from my view. I rushed to the window, but I could not see him. I asked my son to wait inside till I got back. I ran out to the street but could find my husband. I looked around, and even called to him, but there was no sign of him. Then I saw the creature who had been talking to my husband a moment before, hurrying out of a nearby alley. He rode away with two other men, of his kind. They charged away from the town, all three on horseback.
“One of them held a large sack over his lap. That made me suspicious, but I became even more frantic when the thing in the sack struggled. I saw Argus’s shoe and legs sticking out from the bottom of the sack. They had my husband!” She broke down again, sobbing into her hands.
When she collected herself, she continued, her voice rough with suppressed tears. “I ran after them, but their horses were too quick. I called after them. I pleaded for help, but everyone else there on the street just threw me frightened looks and hurried into the closest place of business. I yelled, and yelled, but no one would come. I ran here when no one else would help me…”
She unleashed her tears again as she took her by the arm and helped her to steady herself, and he called to the boy to come with them. Together the three of them left the tavern, but not before Grandier turned and glared at the other patrons. He shook his head with disapproval and followed the woman out the door. The farm wife took Grandier to the market, briefly pointing out where the incident had occurred. After interviewing the clerk, Grandier escorted the woman and her son to the guardhouse where she again explained what had happened.
Grandier stayed with her until she had told her tale. He reassured her that all would be well, but as the door closed behind him and he looked out into the darkening street, the moss roofed and faded grey, wooden building disappearing in shadow, as the lamplighter was lighting the torches along the dirt main road he wondered to himself if it would. Nothing he had heard of the growing number of missing person reports made any sense. There had even been stories of conflicts arising between the rulers of kingdoms that had until recently been peaceful allies. Grandier knew that he had to do something. He would have to speak to Zimm.