See what I did there? See it? I am so proud of myself. Hi. My name is Krysteen. I’m a writeaholic and I sometimes make bad jokes. It’s been 30 days since my last meeting and I…
Seriously though. Genre is the base, well part of the base, of writing. If you don’t know what category your piece of gloriously crafted fiction falls under, then how the hell are you going to market it? How do you expect anyone to find, buy, read, and pass on your clever and brightly colored Cthulhu fanfic if you don’t know to label it as horror? No one. That’s who. And you will die penniless.
To be fair, even if you’re the next Rowling and your genres are on point, you could still die penniless. Look at Poe. Poor bastard had no idea we all would love him so much. *sigh*
But are genres the be all and end all of fiction? Do you need to know that your future manuscript is going to fall under fantasy romance adventure before you’re even done with the outline? Even when your done, are you going to know exactly which categories best suits what you’ve create?
Not necessarily. Genre is important and can sometimes be the difference between low sales and best sellers, but they aren’t needed in the very early stages of your writing, so don’t stress it too much. You’ve got time and you have options. For example, when I first started envisioning Bugs and outlining it, I thought it was going to be pure horror and nothing else. But now that I’m halfway through it and I completely redid the outline, I’m not so sure. It’s still horror, but it’s also a thriller, a suspense, and some might even say paranormal but I will probably never label it as such.
Ok. So picking my genre isn’t important if I’m still starting out, but what if I still can’t pick just one when it’s all done? Well, writing a novel takes quite a bit of time to do and I’m not even talking about all the rewrites, the beta reading, editing, and finding a publisher (if you go traditional), so you still have a lot of time to figure it all out. But if you can’t, refer to your beta readers. A simple ‘do you feel that this is a romance or do you think it’s more of a mystery?’ will work. And they may surprise you, it may be both! If you have written a murder mystery that needs to be solved by a duo that happen to fall in love, or already were in love, then you very well may have written a romantic mystery. A mixture of genres can actually help you when it comes to being discovered.
You could also have the complete opposite problem where your plot is a mixture of several genres and then you have a few subplots that bring their own baggage. First off, drop the subplot genres. They’re not the focus of the story so they shouldn’t be the focus of your marketing. So that leaves your plot. If it falls under, romance, mystery, thriller, suspense, and a little bit of horror, you kind of need to narrow it down. No one wants to surf through the horror genre and end up with something that has more face kissing than blood dripping. Focus on your main plot points and decide which ones reign over the others. If you have trouble with this, again, refer to your beta readers. They can, and will, help you out a lot. Critique partners are good to have too.
Now the big[gish] question. If my first MS is horror, am I stuck to that genre forever? I’ve personally been struggling with this one. The short answer to this is, no. The long answer is, it’s a little more complicated than no. Here’s how I feel about it, and I doubt I’m the only one. My first MS, Bugs, is horror. But I also have plans for more horror, fantasy, and some that I can’t even pick genres for. Some of these non horror plans I’m actually pretty excited for and I can’t wait to write them. But I’ve been marketing as horror, because that’s what I’m currently writing. What if I’m creating a following of just horror lovers? Do I need to start over when I write the fantasy? I sure hope not. I know that several authors write in several genres and do it successfully, but it still worries me. Nora Roberts is well known for her romances, but she also writes mystery under the pen name J.D. Robb. Sure a pen name would work and certainly help make it distinguishable for my readers, but that’s also a lot more work. That seems to me to be double the work, new social media accounts, different websites, different followers, different everything. Plus, I don’t want to have a pen name. I guess with this, I’ll just have to find out for myself what will work best.
Do you have problems with picking a genre either because you have too many options or not enough? Do you have experience with writing in several genres and the marketing problems that come with it? Let me know in the comments!
I’m just going to outright state, I freaking love the Wonderland universe. Every single aspect of it. It’s all amazing and nonsensical. And that is one reason why I chose the Jabberwock as the monster for this Monster Monday. I know I didn’t do my mythical creature last Monday. The Friday before, I found out that I had an interview the following Wednesday for a promotion I had applied for and I spent my entire three days off preparing for it. So, no blog post.
Origin: The Jabberwock came from the brilliant (though slightly twisted) mind of Lewis Carroll, or the man who wrote Alice in Wonderland, though that was not where if first appeared. The first stanza of the poem was written in 1855 when Carroll was still a child; he published it in a periodical of his own making for his family. The rest of the poem was written while he was staying with some relatives in Whitburn (near Sunderland on the coast of North East England). This, of course, was later included in his sequel to Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.
Appearance: The Jabberwock isn’t ever really physically described in the poem, his terrific level of fearsome is described. But he does have a look. The illustration of The Jabberwock was the work of John Tenniel. It is believed that his illustration reflects the Victorian times’ obsessive focus on natural history, paleontology, and geology; both of the later were making giant leaps of progress in the sciences at that time.
So why The Jabberwock? To this I say, why NOT The Jabberwock. Look at him. He’s large (far larger than any young girl according to the illustration), he has claws for feet and hands, he has a long tail (while not really purposeful, it’s still impressive), I highly doubt his skin is soft, his teeth are large and something to avoid, a long ass neck, bulging eyes, and little bit of ugly looking hair/fur. And on top of all that, the fucker flies. You can’t even outrun him. Oh, and by the way, you have to use the vorpal sword to kill him. Good luck finding that in your adventures in a land that makes no sense.
I mentioned that I love the Wonderland Universe in the begging, so it only makes sense that I list some of my favorite Wonderland books. I do need to say I’m quite picky when it comes to these because they tend to fall into the YA category. I’m not adverse to the genre itself, but I do tread carefully because I could care less about characters with empty heads who are only concerned about themselves and which boy to love (Twilight, I’m looking at you). Click on any of the pictures to go to the book’s listing on amazon.com (yes, they’re affiliate links).
This is the 1st book in the Splintered series. I have read all three full sized novels in the series, but I have not had the chance to read the companion novel yet. I know that I said that I don’t like love triangles, and I meant it, but this series does have one. The only reason I found it tolerable is because Alyssa (a descendant of Alice) never wavers in her opinion on which man she loves, but she does have a responsibility to Wonderland and the other main guy is more like a ‘have-to’ than a ‘want-to’, although it could be argued that he falls under both. Either way, I love how Howard wraps up this little love complication in the last book. You’ll have to read it yourself, seriously, READ IT. I loved this series from start to finish. Plus, she creates artwork with the dead bodies of insects and her own blood. She’s only a little messed up.
Also a series. Now, I have to admit, I have not read this…. yet. But I did just buy it yesterday; halfway because of the cover (isn’t it pretty?!). So instead of posting my opinion on it, because I don’t have one, I’ll post the publisher’s summary. (Pssst, Oakes did a Peter Pan book on Wendy too!)
The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains—the Queen of Hearts.
This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.
Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.
*I don’t care for the fact that the MC’s name is Dinah; Dinah was the cat in the movie, you can’t do that. *angry glare*
This is the first book a series as well (almost every book these days has a place in a series). And I haven’t read this one either, though it’s been on my TBR list since I first read Splintered. Summary!
After accidentally killing everyone in a bus accident, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum in Oxford. No one doubts her insanity. All but a hookah-smoking professor who believes otherwise.
Professor Carter Pillar believes he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and finding Wonderland’s real location. He persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals.
In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford University student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that ‘nonsense’ is an actual science.
References for The Jabberwock:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabberwocky There is some pretty awesome stuff said by Carroll in here
http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/jabber/jabberwocky.html This is the poem
So this story isn’t really about Halloween. It’s not even stated that it’s set in that time of year. But I have called it this because of when I was written and “published”. So when I started high school at the ripe age of 13 (my high school started with 8th grade), I decided to join the school newspaper called 20/40. For the Halloween/October issue, I wrote a scary story called “Who’s Following Me?”. Now, to age myself a little bit, I either wrote this before the invention of flash drives or when they had just started coming out and were so expensive only CEO’s could afford them. Either way, I didn’t have a digital copy of it anywhere, so I had to type it out. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO NOT EDIT SOMETHING SO BAD? Very difficult…. in case you didn’t know that (I did zero editing or rewriting). So, for this weeks post, I am going to show everyone just how bad I was 14 years ago. Spoiler alert: the only horror in this story is the grammar, structure, plot, character depth, and word choices.
*Interesting fact, according to a poll also published in this issue, in my school in 2002, Haunted Hill was the most popular scary movie followed closely by The Ring. Fatal Attraction got one vote by the principal.
Who’s Following Me?
Sarah-Marie hurried to get her house keys.
“Where are they!?” She looked in her purse, again. Not there. She ran upstairs, knowing that the bus had just turned on the block. She ran in her room and started looking frantically. Nowhere. Where could they be? She thought as she heard the bus honk hurriedly out front. Oh yeah. Now I remember. They’re in the key cupboard. She thought angrily to herself. How can I be so stupid?!
She quickly poked her head out front and yelled out to the bus, “I’m coming1 Just let me lock the doors.” She ran back to the door, pushed it aside, and grabbed the keys from the hook. She grabbed her school things and dashed to the front door. She hurriedly tried to lock the door which she could have done if she was patient. She calmed down and locked the door, but just as she turned around she thought she heard a creak on the porch just behind her. She turned around hoping she hadn’t accidentally let out her cat Fifi. Weird, she thought. She had started to think what could have made such a sound when somewhere in the distance in the back of her head came the sound of the school bus honking loudly. She turned around slowly. Then she ran to the bus as quick as a flash when she had gotten back to her senses. She sat with her friend Jane on the bus.
“What took you so long?” Jane asked Sarah-Marie awkwardly. “I couldn’t find the keys.” Sarah replied. Jane went on as though why her friend couldn’t find her keys was so important to hold up the entire bus.
“Oh. Well anyways…”
“Sarah-Marie will you pay attention!” Snapped Sarah’s English teacher. Sarah had been busy day dreaming about the ford she was going to get in just two weeks. “Now as I was saying,” droned on her teacher. “Your essay is to be exactly four pages long. You can type it if you want, but the font can’t be any bigger than 12 and it has to be double-spaced.”
The class groaned at the very thought. How in the world could she get her paper done if its 12 font and four pages long?!
“Sarah hurry up!” Urged her boyfriend, Allen.
“Ok… done!” Replied Sarah after a moments second or two. Ding, ding, ding. The Riverside High School bell rang. Sarah and Allen walked out of the school talking about the car Sarah was going to get in just a couple weeks.
“Blue or red?” Allen asked Sarah.
“Uh… blue.” Replied Sarah. They got into Rick’s, Allen’s brother, car.
“Bye Sarah. See you tomorrow.” Allen gave his girlfriend a kiss on the cheek.
“Boy I can’t wait until you get over your cold!” groaned Sarah. “Well, bye.” She slowly got out of the car hoping her boyfriend would pull her back in, but he didn’t.
As she walked to the house, she fumbled for her keys in her bag. She looked to see if there were any messages on the answering machine. When she pushed the play button, all it said was “No messages.”
Why are all the clocks flashing? Sarah thought mysteriously. The power must have gone out. She headed for the kitchen. Was that a creak I heard? She thought to herself. She entered the dark, clustered kitchen. Are those footsteps in the hall? Sarah thought as she spun around to see if her parents were home. No one. She shrugged as she sat down in her chair at the bar.
She had just started her math homework when she felt a chill run down her back. She looked at the window. It’s not even open! She started to panic. She shook her head and told herself to get real and to get working on her homework. Just as she got to number 5 on her math homework, her cat Fifi, leaped in her lap and started rubbing her back against Sarah’s stomach. “Hey Fifi!” Her cat purred as she rubbed Fifi’s belly with her forefingers. She finished her homework, then ran upstairs to call Jane.
“But Jane it was weird!” Sarah said to her friend frantically.
“I know Sarah, but you could have imagined it!” Jane yelled back to her friend.
“Do YOU think I’m going crazy?” Sarah had barely gotten the words out of her mouth when she heard a creak loud enough for the neighbors could have heard it. And if they could hear it then her friend most certainly would. “Did you hear that?!” shrieked Sarah.
“No,” Jane replied slowly.
Later on, when Sarah was lying in her bed, she kept on hearing the loud creak that she had heard when she was on the phone with Jane, and the curious response when she asked Jane if she had heard it. She got out of bed in her overlarge T-shirt and her flannel pajama bottoms. Sarah quietly crept down the stairs and went into the kitchen for some water and crackers. As she sat down into one of the spindly chairs she heard a whisper in her ear. It was as cold as ice and it chilled her body as though she had stepped into a large freezer. She ran out of the kitchen. She ran out of the house knowing that the culprit was right behind her. She had had enough. She was going to the police and see if he followed, and if he didn’t, she would just tell them that someone wouldn’t leave her alone.
Sarah decided to take a shortcut though the alley, and turned left. In case he doesn’t follow, I need to see his face so I can describe him to them. She turned around as she thought this. No one was there. She slowed down until she stopped. Then what made her run again frightened her so much she couldn’t move for a moments flash. She heard footsteps pounding loudly on the concrete, but didn’t hear two sets of them. She turned her head for a second to manage to get a glimpse of him. Still no one. She had finally gotten to the police station.
“May we help you?” asked the officer behind the desk.
“Someone….. keeps…. Following….. me,” Sarah replied, only able to get one word out of her pale lips with every breath she took.
“Who?” asked the officer, looking around her to see whom.
“I don’t know, but someone.” Sarah explained to him like she couldn’t understand why he didn’t believe her.
“Look kid, it’s not funny to make it look and sound like someone’s following you.” he told her furiously in his southern accent.
“But there is someone!” she replied angrily at the officer, shaking her head.
“Hey maybe I can give you a ride home,” the officer said, with a look of sympathy in his eyes.
Sarah thought about it. “Ok,” she said after a while.
“So no one was following you?” Jane asked her the next day at school.
“That’s what he said.” Sarah replied, satisfied.
Just as when she was going to get onto her bus, she heard a voice.
Her stomach grumbled at her as she walked through the haunted wood. The snow fell softly on the treetops before landing on the ground with a hush. It had been three days since her beloved Robert had left her to find some food. The wildlife had always been sparse, but this winter had been particularly barren. They hadn’t even seen any owls flying overhead during the frozen nights. It had been three long cold nights without him. Three excruciating hungry nights.
With every step she took in the heavy snow, she mentally kicked herself for not following him that night. She could have walked in his footprints then. Now she wouldn’t know it if she was going in circles or not. Pulling her cloak tighter around herself, she wrapped her arms around her middle. Her hand clutched her only weapon, a spear, and wished for it the ache to end. She pulled her head down and watched her drenched skirt push through the sparkling snow.
The shadows of the trees seemed to loom over here, from protection or as a threat she knew not. The moon was almost invisible that night, the small spurts of light called for aid from the pure white snow.
Without warning, her skin pimpled, her hair stood up, and her shoulders tightened. She halted and snapped her head up. A sudden fear of something sinister came over her. The shadows stretched their fingers into the darkness until everything blurred together. Her breath caught in her chest, a small frozen cloud wrapping around the last puff. She was tense and afraid, but knew she needed to turn around. With caution, she spun in a circle.
Nothing. Her eyes met more snow and darkness. The emptiness did nothing to calm her down. Her ears perked, her breathing quickened. Her eyes darted around, looking for anything that might be there. She still saw nothing, but her gaze kept going back to the far spot in the dark where the emptiness seemed greatest. She stared at it for an eternity.
She was certain something was there.
She was certain she was being watched.
Her foot hesitated forward. Her fearful curiosity seemed to be getting a firm hold on her. Before she could complete the step, a small emaciated rabbit darted in front of her, his wild eyes not seeing her. With the skill of a long time huntress, she hurled her spear and struck him dead through one of his twitching ears.
Forgetting herself for a moment, she grabbed the rabbit by the middle, and tore her teeth into his fur, vigorously ripping tufts of it off before getting to the small amount of meat he had to offer.
Tossing the carcass aside, she continued on her original path, licking her fingers clean. She continued to lick her lips as she once again wrapped her arms around her waist, her spear now bloody. The shadows seemed to go on for forever, stretching far ahead of her, almost as if they were leading her in a certain direction.
Her stomach grumbled again, louder this time. The rabbit may not have had much meat on it, but it did nothing to appease her hunger. It even seemed worse. Tears began to streak down her face. She was just so hungry. Her thoughts no longer dwelt on her missing husband, she only cared about finding food.
She kept her eyes searching the dark as she trudged on, looking for anything else to eat. Berries. Another rabbit. She even briefly wished for another human to just appear. She needed to eat before the snow buried her own corpse.
She walked on into the far reaching shadows, the fear on her back getting closer. The snow had stopped falling now but the silence that came with it became deafening. She could hardly bear it.
She hated it. The nothingness that pounded her ears. The frozen tips of her fingers and toes. The hunger in her stomach. Her knees began to buckle. Moans escaped from somewhere deep inside her.
She needed to eat now.
Far off to her left she heard it.
It was only small at first, but her ears picked it up right away.
It was a glorious sound. Curious, but glorious. It sounded to her like something was being eaten. She could hear the small grind of tooth on tooth. She could faintly smell the blood of a fresh kill. She could taste it all on her tongue.
Forcing herself to her feet, she ignored everything that had been driving her forward and headed toward the curiosity. She stumbled over hidden roots and her hunger pains, though not taking notice of her struggles. She could only hear the chewing. She could only imagine the feast. She only cared about eating.
She soon entered a tiny clearing directly under the moonlight’s path. She froze in her tracks, hardly daring to believe what she was witnessing.
A creature. One she had only heard about from the natives.
He stood an easy ten, maybe fifteen, feet high. She could easily count every single one of his bones through his deathly skin. He had antlers like the devil himself coming out of his head. She watched him as his long claw-like fingers tore into the limbs of an unfortunate wanderer. She watched as he feasted on the succulent meat.
Cautiously, not wanting to anger him, she crouched down and approached him. As she drew level with him, he turned his head slowly to peer at her, his mouth still dripping scarlet blood. She gazed back into his glowing eyes and felt her fear vanish.
They stood there looking at the other, not recognizing each other in appearance, but knowing each other in spirit. Without a word, he turned his attention back to his meal. She followed suit and tore into a meaty forearm with her teeth. She groaned as she eagerly ground the flesh with her teeth and tongue. Her skin prickled with renewed warmth as satisfaction overcame her. It was by far the most tender meat she had ever had.
A small part of her nudged her memory as she glanced at the wanderer’s face. Regret never crossed her mind. She was hungry and he was already dead. Every bite brought her bliss, but it still did not appease her hunger.
She never stopped. After the arm was part of the stomach. Then a thigh. Toes provided little meat. As she ate, a pain developed in her head.
Her hair shifted as they began to push through her skull.
Her skin cooled down and began to fade to a deathly shade.
Her body seemed to stretch taller.
Her vision became brighter.
Her fingers lengthened as they became sharp.
She ate and ate until there were only bones and rags left. She turned to her companion, licking her fingers clean, and found that she was now at eye level. None of this seemed strange to her.
Reaching out, she wove her fingers in his, and together they set off into the long shadows, using their noses and their stomachs as a guide. She was hungry again.
So I’m going to try something new. Monster Mondays! Well, every other Monday will be Monster Monday, the other Mondays will be Mythical Creature Monday. That doesn’t flow as much, but there are creatures that I would like to talk about that might not necessarily fall in the category of monsters (but lets face it, Sirens can be pretty scary under the right context).
Alternate names: Wiindigoo, Wendigo, Weendigo, Windego, Wiindgoo, Windgo, Weendigo, Wiindigoo, Windago, Windiga, Wendego, Windagoo, Widjigo, Wiijigoo, Wijigo, Weejigo, Widjigo, Wintigo, Wentigo, Wehndigo, Wentiko, Windgoe, Windgo, and Wintsigo. (whew)
Location: Northern United States and Canada, namely the Great Lake Region. Quite a few sources I found listed mostly (or only) Minnesota, but it seems that this legend originated with the Algonquian Native American tribes which span across many states including my home state, New York.
Appearance: This varies greatly in details, but it seems to be agreed on that the Wendigo is very tall, taller than any man. The skin varies from yellow to the gray of death. The body frame is described from as large as ’emaciated’ to invisible when viewed from the side. Glowing eyes, a long tongue, and thin bleeding lips.
The legend of the Wendigo originates in Native American folklore and quickly passed through the white man at some point in history. This tale is told in the regions where survival was quite hard. The Wendigo is a creature that likes to consume people…. cannibalism folks. The Wendigo is created out of greed, cannibalism, and starvation. It is said that when a person resorts to eating their fellow companions just to survive, they turn into the infamous Wendigo. In fact, many were so afraid of turning monstrous that when faced with starving death, they would die instead of eating each other.
The act of a person craving human flesh quickly became known as Wendigo psychosis and was generally quickly dealt with a curing attempt by traditional native healers or death, if the first failed to cure them.
During the winter of 1878, a Plains Cree trapper from Alberta named Swift Runner was living with his family, excluding his oldest son who had died, and they were all starving. Despite the fact that they were a mere (maybe not so mere in 1878) 25 miles from the nearest food supplies available to them, Swift Runner murdered his wife and their five children and ate them. It was believed that he was afflicted with Wendigo psychosis rather than an acting as a man trying to avoid starvation due to how near food was. He was later executed by authorities at Fort Saskatchewan.
Jack Fiddler was an Oji-Cree chief and medicine man known for eliminating Wendigos in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Together with his brother (son?) Joseph, they killed 14 ‘Wendigos’ and were convicted of murder of the last victim in 1907. Jack committed suicide, but his brother was sentenced to life. Eventually his was granted a pardon but died three days before he even received the happy news.
If you want to see some Wendigo action on TV, you can catch them on Supernatural, Charmed, and Teen Wolf. If you would rather read about them, it is most popular in Algernon Blackwood’s story “The Wendigo” or in Stephan King’s Pet Semetary.
Over on my Tumblr, I have created a story prompt. Head on over there if you’re interested and just tag it with #WendigoWritingPrompt. Tag it on Twitter too!
Sorry I forgot to do this at the beginning of this month. I was able to purchase my first house halfway through June and I am honestly still not completely unpacked. And, almost as soon as I began to move, ants invaded my space; I honestly feel like they were there before me and I can’t find the stupid anthill… I know it’s out there somewhere.
So before I list my new goals for this quarter, I need to go over the goals I had for the last quarter and see how I did. Are you as worried as I am?
Goals I had set for the second quarter:
- Instagram challenge – I definitely did not do this. In fact I did not do this so much that last quarter I didn’t even know what it was or would entail…. and I still don’t. Oops.
- Finish new draft – I feel like this just showcases how naive I am in the art of novel writing. I didn’t finish it, but I am working on it…. slowly. Between my full time job, my full time plus overtime parenting job, and my new house, I am finding it extremely hard to find any time (or energy, let’s be real) to write. Not to mention (this part is fun), half of the electric in my house doesn’t work and I don’t have internet yet. It’s like I’m in the 90’s again.
- Research Bookbub promotion – I did this! Mostly. I researched into it enough to know I’m definitely not even close to this point, but enough to know that I am definitely going to be doing this. Nothing to lose in this case, although real experience could change that opinion real fast.
- Research Editors – I did do this a little, but it got me no closer than it did while I was researching for them months ago. I am having the hardest time trying to find one that feels like a good fit. At least I’m not putting this one off until the last minute, considering how much trouble I’m having.
- Pay off all my debt – I’m still at the point I was then. It’s still on my mind (all the time), but I’ve decided to watch it for now. I’ve been getting small hints that this last one is in the process of being sold to someone else, but I’m not sure. That and how I just bought a house put that on the back burner because now I’m broke.
- Get a mortgage and a house – I halfway did this. I have a house. But it’s more of a rent to own kind of situation than a mortgage situation. Which works well for me. For now at least.
Three out of six ain’t bad (…. I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you…). If you don’t know Meatloaf, we can’t be friends.
Third quarter goals! (I’ll admit, I did zero planning on this)
- FINISH NEW ROUGH DRAFT. I have to sit down and come up with some strategies to get this nonsense done. Period.
- Find and join some writing communities. I need writer friends. I fee like a lone wolf if my current group of friends and family. I need someone who can slap me silly when I cry about how awful I am at making words work. That and I would really like a critique partner (wink, wink).
- Join Patreon. I only found out about this site less than a month ago. But I feel it’s worth a shot. In case you have no idea what it is, it’s a crowdfunding type site but instead of funding for one goal, patrons can donate a set amount (set by them) to donate every month for something/someone that they wish to support. And like other crowdfunding sites, these patrons [can] get something in return. I guess the rewards aren’t required, but out of the dozens of profiles I looked at, none of them offered zero rewards. I plan on doing rewards, I just don’t know what they’re going to be yet. I am going to sign up for this though and I will let all of you know the instant I do.
- Find an editor. I’m starting to think that the best course for me to take is to look for a freelancing editor. I don’t have any extraordinary editing or photoshop skills so I can’t do any skill trading or bargaining, but I still want to get a freelancer. I think I’ll take a look at Mark Coker’s (Smashwords) list of people he recommends for those kinds of this.
- Create a book club on Goodreads. I don’t plan on this club being super active, I’m thinking only one book a month, but I think it would be fun. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
I believe that’s all I’ll do for this quarter. I don’t feel confident I’ll have the time to do more than that. Especially right now my priority is ant extermination and getting my electric fixed. Til next time!
Edward hurried as fast as he could; being late meant he wouldn’t get a chance to voice his opinion. Not that it mattered much. He wouldn’t have known about it at all if Bernice hadn’t told him first. He huffed. Just because he was old didn’t mean his voice didn’t count. Age should have nothing to do with it and these young ones just couldn’t figure that out.
“Sorry!” In his haste he hadn’t seen someone coming towards him and he almost knocked him over.
He reached the group a little late, but only missed the preliminaries.
“…. that will only anger her more, my dear Baron. Surely you know that.” Edward heard enough to know that they needed him. Badly.
“Why wasn’t I informed of this meeting?” He glared at each one in turn, ending on the Archduke Henry Bishop III. He liked him the least of all. These past six years working with him had been hell. “And why is it being held here instead of in the council room?”
“This meeting was called in haste and upon an emergency. I’m sure you have noticed the recent killings?” the Archduke peered down at him, his nose held slightly in the air.
“Of course I have. Only a dunce wouldn’t have noticed. Everyone is in a panic. Order has completely left our civilization.”
“We were discussing what should be done about it all. The Baron over here was just suggesting we gather all of our forces, recruit the younger ones, and attack tonight while they sleep. Would you like to explain your idea, Baron?”
“Absolutely.” The sound of his voice grated against Edward’s ears. “Due to the circumstances, it has been highly agreed that we are in the midst of an attack on our home front. War, dear Grand Duke. In true fashion of war, I think it would be best to gather as much strength as we can and drive them out by sheer force.” Edward could only stare. We would have to completely recruit at least three colonies to have even a chance. The Queen herself would have to fight.
“Impossible. We don’t have enough power to successfully accomplish that. Not even close.” He saw a few eye rolls. He pursed his lips. If he wanted them to take him seriously, he would have to choose his battles very carefully. He could tell that this one was absurd enough that no comment from him was necessary.
“Well I think it would work.”
“Don’t be silly Baron. Edward, unfortunately, is correct. We couldn’t possibly ever do that and be fortuitous. Our entire existence would be executed. We really just need to decide if it would be in our best interests to stay and hide or flee to a new location. Any thoughts?” The Archduke looked around to everyone, including Edward.
For a few minutes, no one said anything. Then the Count cleared his throat.
“I think we should flee. If we can’t fight, then why stay?”
“Hear, hear.” The Viscount and his wife both nodded their heads while the present Knights shook theirs, they were no doubt in agreeance with the Baron.
“If we flee, then where do we go?”
“Simple,” He had decided that it was time he spoke up. We go East. We travel East for a few days, two, maybe three, and settle there. We won’t travel too far, or at least not so far that we wear the Queen out, but it’s far enough away that I believe our current enemy will leave us be.” He didn’t dare mention the rest of his idea, he knew none of them would want to hear it.
“That’s too far. I don’t like the idea of fleeing at all. You know the Queen is expecting any day now. She cannot be moved for at least another week.”
Angry murmurs broke out after this. Edward listened intently. They seemed to be divided equally in half, with just the Baron and the two Knights wanting to fight. The ones who wanted to stay didn’t want to move the Queen or anyone else. They loved their home and couldn’t fathom moving for any reason at all, not even imminent death. The ones who wanted to leave, knew the dangers of moving, but also knew that certain death awaited them hear. The enemy only grew angrier the longer they stayed.
Edward watched the Archduke listen to every side that was given. He was curious as to what his decision would be. The Archduke stepped forward slightly and cleared his throat, he was ready to speak.
“I think it’s best to flee, just as the Grand Duke suggested. And I agree that we must do it now and to the East.”
“This is preposterous! What would he know about our current situation? In my opinion, he’s too old to be making these decisions and it has been well past his time to retire. If we follow any of his suggestions, then he will surely die.” Silence followed the Baron’s speech. The Archduke looked to Edward to see how he would react. Edward stared back at him, amused by the frown on his face.
“My dear Baron. It does not matter what decision we make, there is a very large chance I will die. I no longer can move as fast as any of the others and I am resigned to the possibility of my death. However, do not let my twelve years of age to deter you. I have been making very sound decisions for the entire ten years I have served under our precious Queen. Moving now saves lives. Staying for any length of time will bring upon the death of most, if not all, of our people. Even our Queen. If we fall, who will protect her.” The Baron stayed silent and looked down to examine his feet. Edward looked to the Archduke and gave him a small nod. He nodded back before turning to the rest of the crowd.
“It is decided then. We will take the proposal to the Queen, though I doubt she will argue much. She is a great Queen and knows the dangers we are facing. Although, I don’t think our Grand Duke is not finished with what is on his mind, is he?” All eyes turned to Edward. He cleared his throat with anxiety.
“Sacrifices.” Before he could even get anything else out, uproar broke out in the gathering. “Now hear me out,” Edward raised is voice above the rest. “I am not talking about everyone. Not even the majority. I’m only talking about a few of us. Volunteers. Then the volunteers attack as a diversion. The goal is to make it look like we’re fighting back while everyone else escapes safely.”
“Yes. Volunteers. Like me.” Edward raised his head proudly. Twelve years was a good life. A life well spent. The Archduke looked at him.
“And me.” Edward snapped his head to him, surprise surely showing on his face.
“I’ve lived a good life. I don’t feel right letting you go this alone. I shall stay behind with you.” Edward gently bowed his head is thankfulness. As they continued to discuss who would stay and how many others they would need, Edward noticed faint screaming coming from the distance and getting louder. He turned around as the screams suddenly became deafening. Big booms began to sound in the air.
From his spot on the corner of the wall, he saw her. The brat child was nowhere to be seen, thankfully, but her mother was worse. Fear ripped through his body as everyone else, except the Archduke, fled the scene, scurrying up the wall to the small hole as fast as they could. He held his ground with the Archduke by his side. They watched in horror together as others rushed past them, deafening screams in their ears. They watched as she grew nearer, an angry look of hatred upon her face. The ground trembled under them from the force of hundreds of their fellow ants fleeing. Edward turned to the Archduke one last time.
“I just wanted to say, even though we don’t usually see eye to eye on many things, I am happy I served under the Queen with you. Our disagreements have made me feel young and alive again.”
“I feel the same. Had we not come upon this predicament, I would have been very happy to serve out the rest of our time on Earth here with you.” They nodded to each other and as one unified body, moved rapidly towards the enemy. The mother, her expression clearly showing her feelings about them, pulled up a blue can with a black top.
“FOR FREEDOM!” Edward shouted out as tears ran down his bulbous face.
The mother sprayed the ants, killing first both the Grand Duke and his friend, the Archduke, then traveled the can up until she reached the hole where they were all coming in. When she had finished, she put the can down, grabbed her tube of caulk, filled the hole and smoothed it out.
Nodding her approval at the massacre, she grabbed her tools and walked off.
I bought my new home a few weeks ago. This past weeks ants have moved in. While I stood there watching them and plotting their death, this picture happened. They looked like they were in a meeting so I wrote this. Silver linings, right?
So last week I bought my first house (yay!) and moved (yuck). Since then, I have had no time for anything other than moving stuff, work, and sleep. I also don’t have Internet yet because I’m still price shopping. So, until further notice I won’t be posting anything new and I’ll probably be a little quiet on Tumblr and twitter too.
I have a treat for you today! Today, I present the very first chapter on the book I am currently working on, Bugs. Please remember, because I am still working on the book, the final copy of this chapter will most likely be different, but I am confident it will mostly remain the same. Plus, I edited it myself, and it’s been nine years since I took an English class so I’m positive there are mistakes in here.
Lily sat on a bench on the other side of the road, ogling him from a safe distance. She ran her fingers through her honey blonde hair, feeling nervous that he would look up and over at her. Her heart continued in a steady pattern of quick heartbeats. She had sat at the bus stop every day for four months now, waiting for her bus home from her job. And every school day for the past four months, she watched his movements from the school to his car. She watched the elites of the school flood him as he carried his football gear over his shoulder. Everything he did came with a smoldering grin on his face. He was the most handsome boy she had ever seen in her life.
She was chewing on her fingernails when he looked up at her. Their eyes connected for a brief moment before she looked down at her backpack between her legs. Her heart dropped in despair as her eyes fell on her grease stains on her work pants. Tears began to prick her eyes as she continued to avoid his fleeting attention. She would never get a guy like him if his first impression was her in her fast food uniform. Though,to be honest, her every day clothes weren’t much better.
Lily looked back up to where he had been, and saw with a further fall of her heart that he was no longer there. She slumped on the bench and was about to give in to tears when she saw his black Mercedes pull up to the curb in front of her. His window rolled down and revealed his perfect face, a smile stretched from ear to ear.
“Hey. Do you need a ride anywhere?” Lily felt her stomach flip and flutter as he addressed her.
“No, thank you. I think I’ll be okay.” Her cheeks blushed from his attention.
“I insist. You’re always alone here, waiting for a bus I assume. Come on, hop in the passenger seat.” He winked at her, his smile growing ever larger. Her stomach flopped again as she hopped up from her spot and tried not to run to the passenger door. She gripped the handle and plunged herself inside. She buckled up as he pulled away from the curb, trying to avoid his gaze, her cheeks still a deep crimson.
“So, where do you need to go?” He asked her, looking more at her than the road.
“You can just drop me off at the Shell station.” She replied, still not looking at him.
“At a gas station? You don’t want me to take you home?” He veered into the far left lane and turned his blinker on, coming to a halt at the red light.
“No, the gas station is fine.”
“Okay, then.” They fell into a mutual silence as he headed towards the gas station three blocks down. Lily kept her eyes forward, but her mind was still on him. He looked even more perfect up close, and that made her timid, too nervous to look at him.
As the car pulled into the parking space in front of the doors, Lily prepared herself to bolt. She was afraid he would have too much of a chance to take in her cheap and dirty appearance. He put it in park and spoke before she could open the door to blissful freedom.
“You know, the bus doesn’t stop here. And you could have walked here from the bus stop. Where were you going to go?” He turned in his seat to take a good look at her, one eyebrow expertly arched. He had to have known that his tight designer button down was taut in all the right places on his toned chest. She forced herself to look at his face and tried to sound convincing, but was taken aback by the muscles bulging through his shirt.
“Oh, nowhere important. I hadn’t exactly decided yet.” She tried to sound calm and cool, but feared she failed miserably. He sat there for a moment, chewing on his lip as he thought.
“I’m Ryan, by the way.” He finally said, holding out his hand for her to shake. Feeling unsure, she reached hers out and shook his hand.
“My name is Lillian, but everyone calls me Lily,” His smile returned to his face.
“That’s a lovely name. And fitting, too, considering you’re as pretty as one.” She blushed again at his charming words. “Do you want to go to a party with me, Lily?” She hesitated at his question.
“I don’t know if I should.”
“Why? Will your parents get mad?” Lily looked down at his words and began to examine her fingers.
“My parents are dead. I live with my Aunt and Uncle.” He nodded in response as a new heavy silence fell on them.
“So, would they get mad if you stay out late and have some fun with me?” Lily looked up as his words penetrated her mind.
“No,” she drew the word out as she evaluated, “I guess not.”
“Do you want to go to a party with me?” He repeated his question when she failed to give a definitive answer. “It’s Friday night. No school tomorrow so we can stay out as late as we want.” Lily looked at him, excitement replacing the nervousness in her stomach. She had never been invited to a party before. She knew she shouldn’t, she would most likely get in trouble. But her Aunt hated having her around her perfect children and her Uncle didn’t even seem to know that she still lived there.
“Okay. I’ll go. But I need to change my clothes first.” She grinned as he broke out another one of his dazzling smiles.
“Fabulous.” He turned forward facing again and reached to pull the car back in drive.
“Where do you live?”
“Actually, I have some clothes with me. I’ll just run inside here real quick and change in the bathroom.” She looped her arm through one of the straps on her backpack and reached for the door handle once more.
“Even more fabulous.” Ryan put the car back in park and turned the engine off. Lily climbed out of the car and turned her head when she heard Ryan do the same. She looked at him questioningly, wondering in her head what he was doing. “I’m just going to get us some drinks. Do you like Coke?”
“I don’t need anything. Thank you though.” She replied, feeling awkward about him buying her things. She rushed in the building, Ryan not far behind her, and headed straight for the bathroom. She dressed in the dingy coldness, trying her best not to let her clean old clothes touch the dirty floor.
Lily walked back into the main part of the store and looked around for Ryan. Her heart began to hammer when she didn’t see him anywhere. She walked out the door, the bell jingling as it moved, and looked to where he had parked. Her heart fell into the acid abyss of her stomach and her eyes began to fill when she saw that the only thing in the spot was an oil stain. She turned away from the spot, hiked her bag on her shoulders, and began to walk to her home.
A sudden car honk brought her to an abrupt stop and she spun around in the direction it came from. She smiled when she saw that he had pulled up to a pump and was standing next to the hose sticking out of the back of his car. She rushed over to where he was, both of their faces displaying large grins.
“Didn’t think I left, did you?” He asked her, his smile never leaving his face. Lily didn’t immediately respond. Instead, her eyes took in the sight of him leaning against his sleek car, his arms crossed in front of his chest. His muscles bulged even more through his tight shirt as the soft wind blew his hair. She swallowed the saliva that had gathered in her mouth and forced her eyes to meet his.
“Of course I didn’t.” She tried her best to appear as if his absence hadn’t caused any due stress. They stared at each other as the pump continued to eat away his dollars. The handle clicked and the pump stilled. Ryan pushed himself off away from his car and pulled the nozzle out before recapping his tank. Lily walked around to the other side and dropped back in the front seat. Ryan slid into his seat as she closed her door and eyed her backpack on her lap. Without saying a word, he reached over, plucked it from her legs, and tossed it in the back.
“That’s better, right?” She laughed at him, but her eyes followed her bag all the way back. She was still eyeing her bag, wishing it was back on her lap, when she heard a click followed by a hiss. She turned back around and found an opened Coke held out to her. All at once, she felt like she hadn’t had anything to drink in days. Without a second thought, she accepted the drink and began to down it. Ryan smiled at her compliance as he fiddled with some garbage in the front pocket of his jeans. He watched her as she chugged half the bottle down before pausing to take a breath. Laughing, he strapped his seat belt on and ignited the quiet engine.
Ryan pulled away from the pump, turning right out of the exit, and headed for the highway. They talked the entire way. Ryan led most of the conversation and locked his eyes with her more often than he kept them on the road. Lily grasped just enough of what he was saying to keep up, but was more distracted by his appearance. She could feel her heart falling for him. She soon began to feel drowsy and it wasn’t long before she lost the ability to focus on the conversation she was able to understand before. Ryan looked over at her when she didn’t answer his question and saw that she was slumped in her sleep with her forehead pressed to the window.
“Are you alright? Do I need to pull over for you?” He asked her, a look of concern on his face.
“No, I think I’ll be alright. I’m just tired all a sudden. And my head feels a little fuzzy. I must have stayed up too late last night.” She slurred. Closing her eyes, she didn’t see the faint smile of triumph on Ryan’s face. She had no idea that he was taking her far away from the life she knew.
When Lily woke up again, she realized two things in an instant. One, that they were somewhere she had never been before. They were parked in front of a large house with an expansive lawn all around it. If being somewhere new wasn’t confusing enough, the scenery was even worse. They were definitely not in the city anymore and no matter where she looked, she only saw trees. The second thing she realized was that it was now dark. This confused her even more. They had left the gas station no later than five in the afternoon, and now it appeared almost midnight. She sat up in her seat, an odd staleness on her tongue, and rubbed her messed up hair with one of her hands. She was looking at the house when Ryan’s voice came from the driver’s seat, making her jump out of her skin.
“Good morning, sleepy head. Did you sleep well?” He laughed, his hands still on the ignition key he had just turned off. Lily looked around to him and her brain became foggier, a headache formed from trying to think too fast.
“I guess. How long was I out?” A note of panic escaped her lips as she spoke, causing a hint of a blush to creep on her cheeks.
“About six hours. You didn’t miss much. I was only driving us here.” He told her, shrugging his shoulders as if this was a normal occurrence in his daily life.
“Where is here?” Again, she looked at the house.
“This is my buddy Tony’s house. He’s having a party while his folks are out of town. Although that part doesn’t matter much, they let him throw parties when they are home. It just comforts other people when they’re not here.” He opened up his door, letting in a blast of cold night air, chilling Lily to her bones. She instinctively folded her arms around herself and slumped back in her seat to escape the chill. Ryan leaned back down to look in the car, smiling his most charming smile at her.
“Are you coming silly? Or did you come all this way to fall back asleep?” He laughed and closed the door on her, cutting off the howling wind. Determined to not appear like a child, she opened up her door, bracing herself for the second cold blast. She grabbed her coke, jumped out, and sprinted over to him at the top of the porch steps. He laughed at her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders as she took a large swig of her drink. Without bothering to knock, Ryan opened the door and ushered her in the large entryway. She was engulfed in the welcomed warmth as he shut the door. A teenage boy emerged from another room where loud laughter and music was coming from.
“Hey, man! You made it!” The boy walked over and slapped Ryan’s back before looking at Lily.
“Lily, this is Tony. Tony, this is Lily.”
“I’m charmed to meet you, Lily. Welcome to my humble abode.” With a flourish, Tony swept into a bow and kissed the top of her extended hand. She giggled at his behavior and immediately felt welcomed.
“Are you two thirsty? We have beer and some hard liquor.” Tony asked, straightening back up.
“We’re fine. We both had some coke on the way here.” Tony nodded in understanding as another teenage boy came down the stairs.
“Hey! About time asshole.” He too slapped Ryan on the back as a way of greeting.
“Erick, Lily. Lily, Erick.” Lily smiled at him, barely suppressing a giggle.
“Before I forget, Ryan. There’s something I wanted to show to you upstairs.” Tony remembered as he headed to the second floor. Ryan looked down at Lily, his arm wrapped once more around her shoulders.
“Let’s follow him. I’m sure it’s something good.” Lily nodded, a giggle escaping her lips. Her brain felt fuzzy again, but this time she couldn’t help but find everything funny. She allowed him to steer her up the steps and down the dark hallway to a large bedroom off to the side. Erick followed close behind them and shut the door, cutting off the only light source to the hallway. It took her drowsy eyes a moment to adjust to the sudden light change. A lamp near the bed provided the light in the room, not quite reaching all corners of the dark blue walls. Lily looked around her in a haze, her head spinning circles now. She stumbled over to the bed and sat down, holding her head in both hands, trying to steady her spinning world. She looked at Ryan’s face as he bent over in front of her. A look of concern was on his face as his lips formed words that she could no longer hear. With one final spin, she blacked out and fell back on the bed.
Ryan heard his two buddies laughing behind him as he studied her. She wasn’t any prettier than the girls at his school, but she had something about her that made her stand out. Her body was slender but toned and her blonde hair fell in beautiful natural curls around her pretty face. Her green eyes had been what stood out the most for him. They were the color of the greenest grass on an Irish hill in the springtime. They were the green of emeralds. A green he wanted all for himself.
“Hey, are we going to do this or what?” He heard Tony ask him. He didn’t turn around immediately, still staring at her body splayed on the bed. He looked at Erick holding a lighter under a metal spoon and Tony tightening a rubber tube around his upper arm. Ryan gazed back at Lily, still passed out, and finally answered Tony’s question.
“Yeah. We’re still doing this. Pass me a tube.” He held out his hand behind him and felt someone place it in his grip.
“Is she a virgin?” Erick asked.
“Most likely.” Ryan tied the tube on her left arm, not caring how rough he was. “Definitely not a druggie. I don’t think she even drinks. She has no problem taking off with strangers though.” The boys snickered. “Tonight will change all that though.” A smile crept on his face. His handsome features darkened, as he turned completely around to face his buddies.
“Pass the needle. And tonight, I’m first.” Erick complied with his request, his empty needle still in his hand. Ryan turned back around, his left hand fiddling with the button on his pants as he climbed on the bed. Ominous muffled noises filled the house, replacing all laughter. The house stood dark and still as the tape of party noises continued to play in the empty living room down the stairs and across the hall.