Sunday, October 30, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/30

Another weak check-in for me.  But, first off, I just want to say I am happy to see so many taking part in ROW80.  Very nice turn out for this round.  Second, I went against nature.  I've started to outline.  I've always been a pantser when it come to writing.  This is odd because I am incredibly, if not painfully, scheduled and structured in every aspect of my life.  I found the trick with setting up an outline.  Notebook.  I have notebooks stashed all over the house and in my Jeep for quick ideas.  I pulled out one and sat down with it to outline.  It worked.  Something about longhand and no blinking cursor staring at me.  I've always said I would never take my writing to bed.  It has its places and my bedroom is not one of them.  I'm weird, I know.  But the notebook came to bed with me last night.  With the help of the blaring iPod, I was able to sketch out something that resembles an outline.  Then fell asleep with it.  Hubby said it's safe to say I am officially a writer.  He still doesn't read my work, but he is a little more supportive of it.  That helps a lot.

As for the word count.  Not so hot this time around.  Things are still rough and the situation with Gram is constantly changing.  The muse has been less than active as of late.

26th - 1553
27th - 1087
28th -644
29th - 0

I'm not a fan of the falling word count.  Hoping I can concentrate a bit more come the start of NaNo.  I'm still not very optimistic about it this time around, but I'm going to try.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Story of the Day - Shattered Remnants (chp 1 scene 2)

The chirping of crickets and locust accompanied Dea and Zacairus as they walked the trail back to their camp.  A warm breeze stirred the full trees and added to the summer song around them.  The two friends walked quietly, welcoming the calm night.

Dea kept up with Zacairus' longer strides.  She smiled at the thought of how he used to slow with a sigh when she would fall behind.  Her small frame and lacking in height made her the minority.  In her time with the Fortis, she learned to keep up with her much taller comrades.

As they neared the encampment, the sound of a passing messenger rushed toward them.  They stepped aside to make way for the horse and rider.  The messenger never slowed.  The rhythm of his mount's hooves and clinking hardware of his tack sang in unison as he sped by.  His blue uniform matched their own.

"I will bet the first round with Cathal that is another notice to piece together a village," Zacairus said.

Dea smiled.  He was reading her mind.  "Would you rather work your parents' field or patch a villager's roof?"

"I will patch roofs all day long if it meant never setting foot in a field again."

She chuckled with him.  Zacairus came from a political family.  His father was Tabor, an Official of the Northern Districts.  Even though the man was wholly dedicated to his office, he also owned and managed one of the District's largest farms.  His wheat was of the best in all of Baldorah.

The trail forked as it came to the encampment.  They remained on the central path that would lead them to the heart of their station.  A round at the mess hall would conclude their night.

As they neared the Captain's tent, the front panel was swept aside as Alton showed a guest out.  "I will let you know if I learn anything more of it in the morning."

Dea slowed her pace when she saw Zeke, her mentor, step out with Alton.  The two could pass as brothers.  Both had equally mature yet powerful builds and dark brown hair.  Only Alton kept his trimmed short while Zeke's was longer and curly.

"Thank you," Zeke said with a nod.  "I will not keep you.  I know you are busy."

Alton bid him a farewell.  Dea and Zacairus stood in attention as their Captain looked to them.  "At ease," he said before turning back to Zeke.

"Stay safe," Zeke said.

"Stay safe," Alton answered.

The Captain returned to his tent when Zeke went to greet Dea.  Her mentor's familiar smile lit up his already bright eyes.  As an accomplished Healer, he was marked by his power.  The unmistakeable gleam added to his brilliant green eyes.

"Good evening, Dea," he said.  The long riding coat over his tan tunic and trousers told her he just arrived from Alistad, the capitol of Baldorah.  "You have simplified my task greatly by finding me.  When I did not find you in your quarters, I should have known you would be out with Zacairus."  He gave an acknowledging nod to the young Validius beside her.

Zacairus returned the gesture.  "Good evening, sir."

"I trust you two have finished training for the evening."

"Yes, sir," they answered simultaneously.

"Good," he said.  "Dea, I need to have a word with you."

"Yes, sir."

Zacairus gave a shrug when she looked to him.  "I will let you make it up to me tomorrow evening," he said with a smirk.

"You are too kind," she answered with a sarcastic glare.  He gave her a playful pat on the back and turned away.  "Until next time," she called after him.

"Until next time."  He bowed his head to Zeke, "Stay safe, sir."

"Stay safe, Zacairus."

Zeke offered his arm to Dea.  She took it and let him lead her in the direction of her tent.  She had not seen him for several days.  His unannounced visit either meant he brought news from home or Alton informed him of her latest misconduct.

"Good news from home?" Dea asked in an innocent tone.

Her mentor chuckled.  "News," he said.  "Your mother sends a letter, but that is all.  I am afraid my visit was cut short before I could speak with your father."

"Oh."

"Do you have news for me?" Zeke posed.

"No, sir," she answered.  "Nothing new to report."

"We will discuss that later.  First, I need to make certain you are ready for your next assignment."

She looked to him.  "Assignment?"  Her surprise bled into her voice.

"Is that not what you have been waiting for?"

"Yes, sir," Dea answered.  "I was not expecting it.  I assumed…"  She caught herself before she finished her thought.

Zeke was not one to let thoughts go unfinished.  "You assumed what?"

She took her time to find the right words.  She believed the company was overlooked because of her presence.  Her father would do all he could to keep her within reach.  The thought was one she voiced once before.  It earned her a lecture from her mentor.  She hoped to avoid a repeat of the lesson.

"I know there have been changes in the way the Fortis is responding to Darien's threats.  Our company seems to have served as reserves as of late, and I assumed that was to be our purpose for the remainder of the season."

"Did you?" he said with a knowing smile.  "Then you will not be disappointed.  You will remain as such."

Dea kept her relief to herself.  The assignment was not what she dreaded.  Zeke's continued cheer made up for the letdown of knowing her company would remain idle.

"I am not at liberty to tell you where your company will be going.  Captain Alton will inform you and the others in the morning.  I suggest you take your rest tonight so you will be ready for what you might face."

"But I will not need to rest for another three nights," Dea said.  Part of training with the Fortis meant adapting to their sleep cycle.  One could operate day and night for upwards of four or five days before needing rest.  It would take two full days and nights to recharge for another cycle, but it was worth it.  Baldorians were known for their stamina.

"Take your rest while you can," Zeke said.  "It might be awhile before you get another chance."

She studied him.  Judging by what he was telling her, the company was not going on their usual assignment.  If they would not be granted rest for an extended period of time, they would either be traveling a great distance or heading to the front lines.

"I will not be able to travel with you," Zeke went on.  "But I have persuaded Alton to allow you to carry a Star Tear with you.  You will have to keep it to yourself.  They are not readily permitted without the presence of a Healer, but he is willing to consent to this one as long as no one else knows of it."

Star Tears were a concoction made by the Healers to hurry the healing process.  "We are going to battle, are we not?"

"Dea," he paused and turned to her.  He suddenly appeared tired.  Something was bothering him.  "You wanted to be a part of this.  Your father agreed to allow it as long as you were safe.  You know that is why I am here.  But as a Healer, I cannot go where you will be traveling tomorrow."

She knew the point he was making.  Healers were hunted by Darien's forces.  Because they were the reason Baldorians were able to stand against the colossal army, their limited numbers could not be risked.

Dea was not yet marked by her power, but she was also a Healer.  Her Source was still unstable since she did not practice her powers enough to control them.  Most Healers are marked by her age.  It was only a matter of time before the gleam would appear in her eyes and she would be banned from the Fortis.

"I understand," she answered.  "I will be careful."

"This could be dangerous."

"Is Father asking me to return to Alistad?"

Zeke gave a sympathetic frown.  "He is always asking you to return.  He is not yet demanding it.  He knows this is what you want.  He will respect that to a point.  Dea, if you are captured…"

"I understand, Zeke," she broke in quietly.  "I know."

It seemed her secrets would always haunt her.  The two titles she carried would likely mean her death if she were to be discovered by the enemy.  If she were found out as a Healer, they would take her prisoner as they did with Healers in the past.  The following torture would not end until she either used her power to aide Darien or died resisting him.

If her lineage became known, Darien himself would cut out her heart.  As the only daughter of King Aien and Queen Belwyn, she was the future of Baldorah.  Few knew of her true identity.  It was for her own safety.  She was to remain veiled until the time came for her to rule the land, as was her mother before her.  Such was the way of Baldorah.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/26

Hey, it's Wednesday.  Didn't see that one coming.  It has been another so-so week.  I meant to get some outlining done these past couple nights and even set some time aside this morning for it.  Of course, it didn't happen.  I think I need to throw out all my clocks.  They lie to me.

Quisling received most of my attention this time around.
23rd-1500
24th-448
25th-1411

I think I'm going to focus on my daily story today.  Nothing against my other WIPs,  but it has been neglected and I really want to post a few more times before NaNo finishes me off.  Yes, I still plan on signing up.  Wait, I've already signed up.  But if next month is anything like this past month, I will not reach the 50k in time.  I will try.  I want to try.

The big "no fair" is three books will be coming out this week and next that I really, really want to read.  They are all finales to series I've enjoyed.  But I am limiting myself to only one until the completion of NaNo.  I read her other books in less than two days, so I don't see the harm in sneaking in some reading time.  Everyone needs a break sometime.  She is taking part in NaNo, so I'll have to let her know how far behind I get from getting sucked into her wonderful work.  Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where to Belong Soundtrack

I've been threatening for some time now to fill you in on the music that goes with Where to Belong.  The list is a bit lengthy, maybe thirty plus songs on it, so I've slimmed it down a bit to the ones that were on repeat for much of the time I was working on the story.  The real list is broken down by chapters, even scenes.  This is more of the mood of Where to Belong.  Most of it I picked up from Pandora Radio.  Others have been in my music collection since I could afford to buy my own CDs.  To be honest, a few where even from the cassette days.  But those stayed on the long list.  Anywho, the soundtrack to Where to Belong:

Hey Lady - Thriving Ivory
Drops of Jupiter - Train
Lost - Michael Buble
Near to You - a Fine Frenzy
Flowers for a Ghost - Thriving Ivory
Breathe - Ryan Star
Gravity - Sara Bareilles
Almost Lover - A Fine Frenzy
Breath - Breaking Benjamin
Savior - Rise Against
Whipping Boy - Train
Every Breath - Boyce Avenue
Where We Belong - Thriving Ivory

Monday, October 24, 2011

Story of the Day - Shattered Remnants (chp 1 scene 1)

Chapter One: Growing Storm - Scene One

The coolness of the grass beside the training ring was a even better than Dea expected as she slowly sat down.  The welt across her shoulder stung, but she was relieved to reach an end to the match.  She probably could have lasted long enough to wear the young Officer down, but her head wasn't in it.  She granted an opening, and he took it to gain his third point in the match and break the tie.  Now Zacairus was bounding into the ring with a vigor she envied.

"You are keeping track of the points, Dea?" he asked as he gave his sword a testing swing.

"Of course," she said. 

Cathal bowed his head in greeting to his new opponent.  "Zacairus, son of Tabor, we meet again."

Zacairus paced along the edge of the ring with a proud smirk.  His long, black hair was pulled back with a leather tie at the nape of his neck.  It stood out in stark contrast against his white tunic.  "Formalities.  Don't waste my time.  Ready for another bruising?"

The Officer answered with a brandish of his sword as he took a readied stance.  Zacairus halted his pacing.  He took a more relaxed stance, inviting Cathal to make the first move.

Dea only watched for the first few exchanges, then laid back in the grass.  She stared up at the starry heavens and listened to the clashing blades as she waited out the pounding of her heart.  Cathal always proved to be a good challenge in the ring.  He and Zacairus rarely went easy on her, and she appreciated that.  Foes on the field would not, so why should her comrades?

She wiped away the cerise hair that clung to her face and tried to work it back into a the tattered braid.  A gentle breeze stirred the night air.  She breathed it in.

"Point!" Zacairus sang out.

"Don't get cocky," Cathal said in return.

Sitting up, Dea placed a smooth pebble beside Zacairus' coat.  "Point."

She gazed around for the water skin and found it where Zacairus had been sitting.  Reluctant to move anymore than absolutely necessary, she reached for it with her staff, hooked the strap, and brought it closer.

The water was lukewarm, but refreshing.  After a few swallows, she corked it and set it aside.

Laying the staff across her lap, she studied the few markings on its iron body.  Its history was worn along its length.  She had each engraving and scuff memorized.  The weapon had been passed down through her family, but she was of the few to use it as a primary choice.  The last to wield it habitually was her mother's great-grandfather, King Arcaius of Baldorah.

Her full name was Lady Deatrah, the Veiled Heiress of Baldorah.  Her parents were Queen Belwyn and King Aien of the Land of Baldorah.  For the past five seasons, though, she had gone by Dea of Alistad, the title of a Decoy.  She served as a Calvary Validius in the King's Fortis.  Her plan was to defend her people first hand from the armies of Darien.  She worked hard to earn a place among the specialized ranks.  The training was unceasing.  But thus far, she felt the reward was minimal.  Her company had only seen about a dozen battles.

While other companies saw action on nearly a daily basis, the one she was assigned to seemed to be held as reserves.  Alton, the captain she served under, was known for his fearless approach to perilous missions.  She knew the Fortis as a whole had been stretched thin as of late.  Thus, she could not help but wonder why her company was rarely deployed, and when they were, they came onto the scene in time to pick up the pieces of yet another ravaged village.

"Point!" Zacairus called again.

Dea shifted forward and set a second pebble by his coat.

"Are you watching, Dea?  You could be picking up some pointers."

"Only because I wore him out for you," she said with a smile.

Cathal laughed out.  "Whose side are you on?  Point!"

"I think not," Zacairus said, his voice telling of his irritation.

Dea tossed a pebble beside Cathal's coat.  "It was a point."

She watched as Zacairus finally grew serious about the match.  His dark blue eyes turned dangerous as he pressed in on Cathal and set him up for a flawless exchange.  She'd seen him do it many times before.  She counted the movements from the placement of each foot, to the shifts of the hilt, right on up to the concluding pass where he brought the broad side of his blade to Cathal's upper chest.  "Point," he said quietly.

The young Officer didn't argue.  He gave a consenting nod, and took a step back. "Good match."  Cathal sheathed his sword.  "Both of you."

Zacairus bowed his head.  "Good match."

"Unless you want another round, Dea."

She shook her head and got to her feet.  "Next time."

The two men left the ring to collect their coats.  Zacairus handed the water skin to Cathal, who took one long drink from it before passing it back.  "Again tomorrow evening?" Zacairus asked.

Cathal shook his head.  "I have a watch shift.  How about the next?"

"I will reserve the ring," Zacairus said.

The Officer gave a nod and turned for the trail.  "I will see you then."

Dea picked up her coat and brushed off collected blades of grass from the blue fabric.  After pulling it to her shoulders, she fastened the buttons and turned to get her staff.  She paused when she found Zacairus with it at his side.  He had an odd look about him.

"Where have you been?" he asked as he held the staff out for her to take.

She took it slowly and tried to follow his meaning.  "I was right here."

"In body, but your heart was elsewhere.  You let him win.  Where did you go?"

Dea eyed the staff.  He knew her too well.  "I do not know.  Nowhere useful."

He chuckled and gestured for the trail.  "Are you getting homesick?"

"No," she answered quickly, then moved to change the subject.  "Has anything more been said about your promotion?"

"I have not mentioned it again to Alton.  He will promote me when he thinks I am ready."  He slowed as he fastened his sword belt to his leather placard.  "I will have to keep waiting."

Dea watched up the trail and waited for him before going on.  "The next assignment will earn you a new coat."

When he didn't make a reply, she looked back at him.  He didn't appear convinced.  She turned and hoped to encourage him.  "You may not have as much experience as Cathal or the others, but you are just as qualified as they are, if not more so.  The only reason you have not yet been promoted is because you have not been given the chance to prove your worth as often as they have.  If we are ever called from this camp for something other than cleaning duty, you will be promoted to Officer."

He gave a smirk and glance around their surroundings.  "Be careful who you say that around, you will end up with another round of kitchen duty."

She cringed to keep from laughing at his teasing.  He was right, her habit of voicing her opinion as of late had landed her in several evenings of cleaning dishes.  She did not mean to be disrespectful.  Her frustrations had simply gotten the best of her.  And Alton's hearing was just as sharp as his sword.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Story of the Day - Shattered Remnants (Prologue)

 Originally posted 10/21

Prologue

The wind stirred the trees overhead as Corbin followed the makeshift path through the forest.  Only his family and a few visitors used the trail, but not often enough to keep it from disappearing into the undergrowth.  It was maybe his fifth time since the start of the season.  His father's workshop had been too busy to permit the long walk to the nearest village of Bellfield.  After countless days and nights working the forge, the fresh air and sunlight were welcomed.  He breathed in the sweet scent of the dew kissed grass as countless birds sung out their songs.

It was still early in the summer.  There was a bit of a chill in the air before the sun broke through the clouds.  It was a perfect morning to have breakfast in the field with Arabella.

She stopped by about midday the day prior.  Corbin didn't know how long she had been there.  She always tiptoed into the shop when he was working and would watch silently until he stepped back from the furnace for a break.  He wasn't at the furnace this time, but neither did her hear her come in.  His mind was elsewhere as he studied the dagger he finally finished.  The dark blade took longer to forge than he expected.  Now that it was done, and the black stones set in the hilt, he wondered if he wasted all that time.  A soft kiss on the back of his neck startled him.  He didn't flinch.  He immediately knew it was her.

She hadn't visited lately, and he missed her.  Even his father mentioned the shortage of fresh pie.  Arabella brought one each time she came by.  She joked that it was payment to the smithy for letting her snatch Corbin away.  She brought two pies that day.  One to make up for her absence.  The second was an advance for the next morning, her planned picnic for breakfast.

Corbin played it off as if he couldn't spare a moment away, but she never slowed.  She was ordering his company.  No excuses.  She reasoned that he had not left the shop for weeks and that they needed to discuss wedding details.  He knew she had the entire event planned along with a village full of women to help, so his input would be minimal.  He waited until she gave him that look with those big brown eyes, then readily caved.  Why couldn't the summer pass more quickly and usher in the autumn so he could stare into those eyes everyday?

 The field was still a ways away, but he could already feel her presence.  He smiled at the thought of hearing her laugh as she would tell about the recent happenings in Bellfield.  She would make a point to try to straighten his hair.  He would act as if it pestered him while secretly savoring the touch of her fingers as she combed it into place.  It would not stay, and he wondered if she had caught on by now and it was just as much of a game to her as was is to him.  The picnic would not last long enough.  He would want to spend the entire day hiding with her in the field.  And he knew he could not.

Arabella brought a peace to him that he had not known for some time.  Since his mother died three winters ago, then his brother disappeared last spring, it was just Corbin and his father, Jamison.  The forge became his refuge.  He and Jamison didn't talk much, but they understood each other's busyness, and respected it.  Days would pass between conversations, and those mainly consisted of pending orders and discussing supplies.  But Arabella's coming was a distraction, one he had grown fond of.  He still didn't talk much.  He didn't have to.  She didn't seem to mind his quiet nature, and he could listen to her all day.  He didn't know why she took an interest in him two winters ago, but he was grateful for it.  She saved him.

As he came to the edge of the forest, he could see the tall bell tower standing atop the hill across the field.  His great-grandfather made it long ago when the village was settled, before the Elves set off to find a new land to call home.  His father replaced the weathered bell with a new one when the neighboring king declared war on Baldorah two decades ago.  It only sounded twice that he could remember.  Arabella mentioned her want to have it rung for their wedding like the old one did for happy occasions.  He doubted it would happen.  It was now reserved for warning of threats against the village.  The Officials were not likely to make an exception.

His eyes scanned the field.  All his thoughts quietened when he spied her in the middle.  He chuckled to himself.  She wasn't going to give him a chance to sneak up on her.  Arabella had a blanket laid out and was sitting on one side of it with her basket nestled in the middle.  He stepped out of the forest.  She waved, jumped to her feet, and ran to meet him.

Arabella stopped a short distance from him and held open her arms.  Corbin let out a laugh at her usual antics and went along with it.  He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off the ground, spinning her around for one full turn.  When he set her back down, she looked up at him with the smile that could melt his most sour moods and ran her fingers through his hair.

"Did you even try fixing it today?" she asked.

He shook his head.

"What am I going to do with you?" she said.

He closed his eyes and faked a sigh, bowing his head as she fussed at his blond hair.  When she finished, she planted a kiss on his cheek.  "Good morning," he said as he looked to her.

She let him pull her close again.  "Good morning.  Are you hungry?"

Corbin returned her kiss and twirled a lock of her brown hair around his finger.  "Starved."

With a laugh, she took him by the hand and led the way.  "It's a beautiful morning," she said after a few steps.  "I couldn't be any more perfect."

He meant to agree with her when she looked up at him, but something caught his eye.  A young boy appeared on top the hill and dashed to the bell tower.  Corbin paused and peered at him.  He felt Arabella go still at his side.

The bell sounded out clear and shattered the peacefulness of the new day.  There was nothing else to be heard over its ring.

Corbin held tight to Arabella's hand as they hurried up the hill.  It seemed bigger than he knew it to be from all the times he played on it as a child.  Finally reaching the top, he gazed down at the village stretched out below.  Villagers ran frantically through the streets as they searched for cover.  Arabella gasped and hugged herself to his side under the protection of his arm.

Corbin looked to the far side of the settlement and immediately saw what caused the alarm.  An army of horsemen poured out of the eastern forest.  Their armor glinted in the early morning sunlight.  They formed a intimidating row as they stood side by side in a line that could easily swallow the width of Bellfield.

"What do they want?" Arabella asked in a trembling voice.

He didn't answer.  His eyes were locked on the red banners the horsemen carried.  They were from the neighboring kingdom, the realm of King Darien, the enemy.

#Row80 Check-In 10/23

I've managed to stay incredibly focused on my writing as of late.  The run down of the daily word count goals is this:

After checking-in on the 19th - 1008
The 20th was a little more difficult - 502
The 21st consisted of two writing sessions, but I only tracked one - 1053
The 22nd was also two sessions, but I reached the goal early in the day - 1059

I have (if you didn't see the prior post) decided to try my hand at sharing a story daily.  This will be separate from Row and NaNo.  It is something I think that will help me grow as a writer.  Had a bit of a breakthrough this week.  It's nice to know there are so many out there who are in it for the readers.  You have renewed my respect for the field of writing.  I've always admired those writers who regularly make themselves accessible to their readers, and the ones who go that extra mile to share their amazing work with such followers.  I might me biting off more than I can chew, but I'm going to give it a shot.   Maybe somewhere between Row and NaNo and Daily Story, I might become something of a writer.

And thank you to everyone who has been so supportive during the recent bout of family health problems.  I'm not able to post much about updates on Gram, but I really appreciate all of your kind words.  It has helped tremendously.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Change of Pace

I've been a bit a of bum over the past few days.  It hasn't been any one thing that has been bugging me.  Bad news accrued and worry combined to turn into a little raincloud I surrendered to.  My writing has slowed, but my ideas have not taken a break.  I seem to have more ideas than I have time or energy to entertain them.  Once again, I've found myself doubting what I do.  I tried to push through, but let the uncertainty weigh on me for too long.  I know I'm not the only one by a long shot.  But the world of writing can be very lonely and scary at times.  It is constantly changing.  What is a rule one day is adjusted the next.  What is hot one day cools off and moves aside when something bigger and hotter begins to take shape.  Constant motion.  Constant tweaking.  As a writer, one has to adapt their ideas and techniques to an extent to keep up with this turbulent trade.  When it works, it is breathtaking.  When it falls, it is painful.  It's easy to become a pessimist in this field.

I have a point, somewhere.  I guess I've let set backs, both past and present, build up to this point.  I've always been reclusive about my work.  I make myself sick worrying about who reads it, whether they like it, was it ready to let go of, and will it stand on its own.  But I have also learned that once I do let go and take a step back, there is more good than harm by it.  Yes, the negative happens.  It is expected.  Not everyone can come to an understanding of my work.  That goes for any work.  There are so many titles I've pined over and put upon a pedestal only to be dumbfounded when I hear a less than impressed review of it.  Taste ranges drastically.  Then there are the ones who do agree.  The ones who see what I see.  The ones who believe what I believe.  The ones who appreciate my work.  Those are the ones that have convinced me to make some changes of my own.

I know I have my share of growing to do still as a writer and I am eager to do so.  The writing community has given me much to ponder as of late.  I am very appreciative of the advise and kind words offered by those in this field.  Again, the helping hands have outnumbered the naysayers.  And with their kind assistance and the encouragement of those who have voiced their admiration of my shared stories I have decided to open up more of my writings.

Why I write.  That was a topic that surfaced on Twitter.  I don't usually pay much attention to those trends, but this one caught my eye.  So many writers are in the same boat as I am.  We are all looking for ways to share our stories.  We are all looking for the ones who open their hearts and minds to the character we have created.  And when they are found, it is indescribable.

Nothing in the world of writing is guaranteed.  One has to find their own niche along the way.  Even with all the support one can gain in the trade, they still have to make the final decision about their work.  Why they write.

I've reevaluated my own reasons.  I've been ignorant of many of them.  So I am going to try something a little different.  I enjoy sharing my work.  At the same time, I am terrified to do so.  But I know there is only one way to let others see my work.  I have to give it to them.  The very first story line I ever started has been with me for over a decade.  It is the one I am most protective of.  It is also the one that I get the most interest in.  While I kept Where to Belong under wraps for most of it's development,  this other story I shared more frequently.  First, I sent pieces to people I always exchange books with.  I didn't tell them it was my work.  I simply sent it and stepped back.  Everyone asked for more.  I'm not aiming to brag on it, don't get me wrong, it's the fact that I've left those people hanging.  I've left the story unfinished.  That is not fair.

While I am enrolled with Row80 and NaNo in the upcoming months, it will be a little more difficult to follow through with this.  But I'm going to try.  A big "Thank you" to Michelle Franklin.  She gave me the push I needed.  It's why we write.  We share our stories.  It isn't the name, or the publisher who picks us up, or the agent who holds our hand.  It's the readers.  They matter most.  I am very much unknown and new to this trade, but I am having a blast.  I love writing.  So my big change that I've rambled on for far too long is this:

I will begin sharing The Shattered Remnants series on this blog.  I don't know how often I will post, but I hope to keep it regular.  It is a rather long story line.  It can easily exceed three novels.  I've rewritten it too many times to keep track.  It is my firstborn.  And no offense to my other WIPs, but it is my favorite.  The genre is different.  So I will be breaking one of the "rules".  It is fantasy.  While I have released my general fiction work under W.J. Smith, I have not yet decided on a pen name.  I plan to eventually stick with one genre and one pen name, but like I said, I'm still growing.

I'll adjust the tabs shortly and begin the story.  The first installment is called The Veiled Heiress.  What better place to start than in the beginning?

-Stay tuned

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#Row80 Check-in 10/19

Another slow check-in.
The 16th after checking in resulted in 441 words.
The 17th was a flop with a 0.
The 18th ended with 1037.

I would love to up my daily goal to 2500 words, but that will be insane at this point.  I'm wanting to build this WIP lots so I have something to come back to after NaNoWriMo.  But I did manage to goof up my wrist last night.  It's an old work related injury that I insulted by using my left wrist to break my fall.  I'm trying to be nice to it now, but it's really annoying.  Almost wishing my Mac had the android swype.  But knowing how irritating it is with short text messages and emails, I can't imagine writing an entire novel with it.  I'd probably give up and go long hand.  Go figure, I survive playing with spelunking gear to hurt myself tripping over a power cord.  Rope burns and wrist braces are not the writer's best friend.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/16

Not so good this check-in.  I can't seem to concentrate on either WIP.  Last I left off Oneiros, I made the mistake of stopping after ending a chapter.  It's also kind of a lull point.  That makes it harder for me to dive in and take off with it.  But Quisling is in the middle of an action sequence.  I can usually pick up from there and roll with it.  I'm guessing everything here at home is finally beginning to sink in.  But anyway, here is the run down since last check-in.

After checking-in on the 12th - 1522
The 13 was a big fat 0
14th ended at 1551
The 15, another 0

So, there it is.  When I get one open and going, it's great.  But sitting down and opening it is the difficult part.  And a big "Thank you" to everyone's kind words as of late.  It's been a great help.  I haven't left my house in three days, and that isn't a good thing.  But I'm heading out once this is posted to see what I can get into.  Hubby and friends have picked up new spelunking gear and I am very tempted to see if any of it fits me.  I am miserably claustrophobic, so I doubt I will actually venture into a tight cave, but fresh air always helps.

Hope everyone is still doing well.  I'll try to get around to more blogs this week.  See you around.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Now Or Never

I mentioned (on Twitter) awhile back that I wanted to do another giveaway.  Well, I'm out of paperbacks.  I will, however, giveaway some e-books if anyone wants to enter.  Just leave a comment that you want to win a copy, and I'll do the old fashioned way of drawing names out of a hat.  And it was mentioned that blogger was preventing people from commenting last time.  If it does, send a Tweet and I'll put your name in the hat.  I've been wanting to do this and everything happened except the giveaway.  It's about to go down hill here, quick style, so I want to go ahead and do this while I'm still thinking straight.

Now Or Never Continued

I didn't want to add this in with the giveaway, but here is an update on the family:

As of last post, my dad's mom is doing much better.  She is home and has a few more tests and so forth to go through, but looking really good.  My mom's mom, not so much.  Mom is flying to NY tomorrow to be with her.  Gram took the news really, really hard and seems to have given up.  It sucks, and that's putting it nicely.  It still hasn't kicked in for me yet, but I can feel it coming.  My Mom, Dad, and sister have already had their breakdowns.  I'm weird like that.  I take too long.  My brother has stayed busy and has been very good at checking-in with everyone.  He also gets my odd humor and that has helped so much.  Anyway, Gram's daughters are all congregating this weekend in NY to help settle everything with her estate and so forth.  They don't think she is stable enough to move to Florida, so they are (so far) planning to stay in NY until everything is done.  Then Mom will probably then go to Florida with her sisters and help each other through this.

One of the issues they have to square away is all of Gram's pets.  She never turns away a stray.  She is an animal lover to the core, so there's quite a few critters that will be needing homes.  The only one they had left that no one wanted was her Bearded Dragon.  She's a fully grown, well mannered lizard.  I have always liked her.  They laugh at me when I say she's beautiful.  Gram and I are the only ones who were willing to take care of her.  So that means Joanna will be coming to Texas.  I've already looked into getting her here.  It's kind of pricy, but it needs to be done.  There is a company who specializes in transporting reptiles.  I think I will go with them.  I just know that if I haven't cried for Gram by then, I will probably fall apart in front of the delivery guy.  To add to that, I know all our usual delivery people, so whoever ends up working with the reptile people will get to see yet another side of me.  But that's ok, we have good guys.  They'll understand.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/12

It's been a roller-coaster week.  I was on fire when it came to the WIP.  I even dabbled in the one from the last round.  Both have been begging for attention.  But we have received news that, when I first heard, I dove into my WIP and stayed.  But as soon as I came up for air, reality and life kicked in, and more bad news.  The word count suffered.  The muse is still kicking, but I can't focus.  But I did pick up Mireille Chester's Crossover.  I'm almost finished with it.  It has been the perfect distraction.  I'll probably get back to one of the WIPs once I'm done.  I'm reading it on the Kindle, so I don't know what page I'm on.  The bar says I have 10% to go.  I think I'll finish it today.

Word count this time around:
Sunday the 9th: 519.  Our friends stayed late into Monday, so I did not get back to the WIP.
Monday the 10th : 1095.  I was wanting more, but I was also falling asleep at the keyboard by the end of the day.
Tuesday the 11th: 0

Monday morning my dad stopped by for a visit.  This was a surprise.  He was laid off the day after they returned from NY.  That I knew, but he has kept busy with everything else and I haven't seen much of him.  But he stopped by.  I had trouble getting a hold of my mom Sunday.  She planned on coming over for lunch and a drive to look at a house my sister wants to buy.  She never showed.  She didn't answer her phone.  She texted, but only short "yes, no" messages.  I didn't think much of it.  She probably got roped into helping out at a friends house.  She can't say no.  Anyway, Dad stopped by Monday and let me know why Mom was out of touch.  She was on her way here when she got a call from her sister in NY.  Her mom had been taken to the hospital for suspected gall bladder issues.  Turned out, that was fine.  But she had two massive lumps that the doctor found.  He sent her for a few tests, and she has been diagnosed with two different types of cancer.  They are both terminal.

It was quite a blow.  Gram has been battling another ailment.  It has really taken a toll.  This diagnosis left her numb.  She isn't too optimistic.  I know she has been dealing with lots of health issues lately, but she is a trooper.  I'm hoping more tests will bring more answers, and maybe she'll come around with time.  But poor Mom took it really, really hard.  Again, I understand why, but that isn't how she operates.  It's all just too much at once.  So Mom is heading back to NY this week.  She will go with Gram to the doctor appts.  She will also help Gram to go ahead and move to Florida like they had already planned.  But instead of getting her own place, she will be staying with one of my aunts.  More family is down there to help out.  And she doesn't need to deal with another NY winter alone.  My sister will be flying out at the end of the month to help her get around in Florida.  My aunts will all be working the same shift for a few weeks, so they need an extra person to help out.

It's still early in the diagnosis.  We didn't see this one coming, and it is a bit of a shock.  Time will tell.

Then Monday evening my dad's mom is taken to the local hospital here for signs of stroke.  They kept her overnight.  She had her share of tests Tuesday.  Turns out, she didn't have a stroke.  Thank goodness.  But I can't recall what they said it was.  Something she will have to take meds for and continue treatment until it is managed. 

So one grandma is home and recuperating.  The other is across the country and not doing so hot.  I've only be able to help out a little bit.  Phone calls mainly.  Feeling pretty useless.  But that is nothing compared to what everyone else is feeling.

Like I said, it's still early.  We don't know much of what can be done or what to expect.  We'll see.  So right now is mainly family.  Funny how priorities shift so quickly.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/9

Still going.  I missed writing on Thursday, but I doubled my word count for Friday.  So the count for this check-in stands at:
6th - missed
7th - 2078
8th - 1260

Today has been another nonstop day here at the house.  So I haven't opened the WIP yet.  I'm hoping to get a few minutes after this check-in.  We have friends over tonight, so I need to sneak in some time while I can.

I only got around to a few other check-ins this week.  I plan to do better about that.  But from the looks of it, everyone seems to have jumped in fully charged and ready to go.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/5

So far, so good.  I had to rush yesterday to hit my 1k word mark.  I started the day late and never really caught up.  So today has extra happenings.  I already have more ideas to add to the newest WIP.  I'm planning to grab some lunch and open the writings.

Monday the 3rd saw 2256 words.
Tuesday the 4th reached 1164.
I'm going to take out a chunk of what I wrote yesterday and rewrite it this afternoon.  The dialog didn't fit the character, and I need to change that up.

Several of you asked on the last post how I can juggle two WIPs.  It keeps me busy.  I easily get distracted if I block on my writing.  When I have two going, I can set the one aside and jump right into the other.  Especially if I stop in the middle of a paragraph or sentence.  Then I'm not wondering where to pick up.  It just keeps on going as if I clicked play.  But, when it is all said and done, I have to admit that one WIP received more love and attention than the other.

Hope everyone is doing great thus far.  It's nice to have the group back together again.  And don't forget to stop by the #Row80 party on Twitter.  Those are always fun.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

#Row80 Round 4

Wow, it starts tomorrow.  Shame on me for losing track of the days!  I'm looking forward to this next round.  It will be super busy.  I have 2 WIPs going at the moment and am loving it.  But I will go nuts in November because I'm signing up for NaNo again.  I'm an addict.  And my niece's teacher is interested in signing her class up for NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program.  I'm hoping to get them going on that here soon.

Anyway, Row80.  Goals:
I'm going to stick with the 1000+ words for each day.  I really like that number.  I've smashed it these past few days.  It would be nice if this momentum keeps up.  If possible, I would really like to write "The End" on at least one of my WIPs.

Like I said, super excited about getting back with the group.  I've missed all the chatter.  Yes, I'm bad about keeping in touch.  Maybe I should make that another goal, stay in touch with everyone.