And he’s back in the game!

I took a long, long break from writing. I wrote here and there, but it was never anything substantial. Between joining a more traditional 9 to 5 job and working on my mental health, writing took a backseat.

During this time, I learned a few things about myself:

  • Therapy does wonders for me.
  • I need writing in my life at the end of the day.
  • In order to write, I need to read.
  • I may have a lot of interests, but they help make me a more well-rounded person.

Getting back into writing more regularly will be challenging, but I know I’m up for it. Expect two posts per week; some combination of a blog post, new story, or a review.

It’s good to be back.

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Last Week Tonight (sort of): Happy Monday!

Last week caught me out of nowhere. I couldn’t write or do much of anything. That’s why I didn’t share any reviews or blog posts. I guess something like this has happened before, but I never really recognized it. Not sure what it is, but I’m working on that.

This weekend, however, I managed to bounce back. I stayed off social media and took stock of where I’m at, personally and professionally. I’m not doing too bad, to be honest, but I’ve got a long way to go.

That’s why this week’s update is pretty short. There wasn’t much that happened the past week or two, but I know if I write, even just a little bit, I’ll make one more step towards ramping up for NaNoWriMo and finishing edit 3 of Elements. Maybe then I can start searching for a professional editor or maybe even an agent. Who knows?

As I let my mind wander, I gravatated back to my travels. This is one of the less impressive, but more historical photos.

 

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Petroglyphs in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It’s not the most well known park out there, but you can walk through geologic and Native American history. I highly recommend visiting it when you get a chance.

I’ll have to write more about my travels at some point.

 

 

Moving Fun and Sprained Feet: Happy October!

I’m thinking about doing weekly updates every Monday, just so I can get in the habit of blogging more regularly. Thoughts?

This past week I moved to a new place and had tons of work related issues going on. Hence, an abscence from reviews. I’ll be putting up two this week to make up for it.

The moving aspect of things was pretty fantastic, simply because I was more active than I’d been in two weeks. I sprained my foot in the middle of September, which meant that all the physical activities I love, from climbing to running, were out of the question. I could bike sometimes, but the weather didn’t always cooperate.

The good news is: my foot’s healed! Climbing awaits once again!

Despite the craziness, I still found time to write! I’m polishing a short exercise I did last week, so keeep an eye out for that in the next few days (it’s less than 300 words, I promise it’s a fast read!).

Prep for NaNoWriMo is in full swing. I’ll go into more details in a couple weeks, but I’ll be doing everything I can to keep myself accountable during November to finish this time around. All I have so far is the setting, a couple characters, and a title: Uncommon Eyes.

That’s all I’ve got for now. My life’s fairly quiet at the moment, which I’m perfectly content with.

 

No Review This Week

Life gets in the way sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done some writing and gotten some terrific feedback on Elements, but writing around a day job with highly varied workflow makes for an interesting challenge.

In the interest of planning my NaNoWriMo book, I’ve decided to skip the review for this week and focus more on developing one of my characters. I may even share it here at some point, who knows?

I’ll be back to regular reviews next week with another of Neil Gaiman’s works. Enjoy your weekend, y’all!

Homecoming: An Exercise on Perspective (and a Challenge)

Scenario: A soldier returns home to surprise his daughter at school.

Exercise: Write about this scene from three different points of view.

Challenge (if you dare): Post the results in the comments section or on your own platform, be it social media or a website.

I

I saw him stride into the commons, wearing his uniform as if it was something to be proud of. That’s what they drill into their heads, isn’t it: be proud to kill for your country, die for your country. That’s what they want you to believe. But each soldier is just a pawn on the battlefield. All that noble crap is a ruse to keep them fighting. Man, I should stop thinking like that. People could hurt me for it.

His green fatigues were crisp; they had just been cleaned for his return home. I wonder how much foreign blood and dirt had stained his sleeves only days ago. What I didn’t get was why he was here. High school recruiters had come by weeks ago. Heh, the dean nearly suspended me for spitting in a marine’s face. I’d spit in this guy’s face, too, but he wasn’t worth the effort to stand up and abandon my lunch.

Suddenly, a scream erupted from the far side of the commons, and the place turned absolutely silent. A girl in my history class leapt out of her seat and dashed towards the man. He spread his arms wide and they embraced. Every single person in the room felt compelled to applaud this act; quite a few people stood up. I, of course, abstained. A couple people around me shot the dirtiest look I had ever seen in my direction. I didn’t expect them to understand how I felt right now, how jealous I was of this moment. At least this girl’s father returned home from war.

 

II

             The soldier walked in, and I hoped for a second that it was him, coming to surprise me just like I’ve dreamed for six months. I only caught a glance of him before noise erupted from the east side of the commons. A group of kids were raising their voices, standing up. They managed to distract me from the soldier. I didn’t want the distraction. I wanted to think about him, to be held in his arms again.

I risked a glance back towards the soldier, in full uniform. They all look the same from afar. I hoped it was him. The kids were raising their voices, inadvertently demanding my attention, though they couldn’t hope to fully claim it in that moment.

When the girl screamed, I turned away from the food fight about to break out and saw a girl from one of my Freshman English classes last year sprinting towards a soldier in the commons. The tears in both their eyes brought tears to my eyes. I brushed my left hand across my face to catch the tears, and the ring brushed across my cheek.

My husband’s been in Afghanistan. He’s a captain of a special infantry unit. Every day after I watch the six o’clock news, I can’t help but call him, hoping he’ll pick up, that nothing’s happened to him. The constant worry, the tension in my stomach, it makes me sick. I want him home. I want him to whisper into my ear like he did the night before he left.

The two embraced, and the room erupted in applause. I swore I could hear one of them faintly whispering “I missed you.” I didn’t try to hold tears back that time. There was no chance.

 

III

He came into the front office an hour before the school day officially started, just like he’d planned. I had no idea it was happening. The teacher who planned it all filled me in on the details later. He’d been home for a week already, but he really wanted to surprise his daughter. He’d been deployed for twenty-four months, and now that he was home he was retiring from active service. It reminds me of my homecoming years ago.

I was in Iraq during the first Gulf War. Just a lowly Private shipped out after basic training. I wasn’t there for long; they sent me all over the world (I won’t recount all the details) but I was gone for fifteen months. I had a girl back home, too, and letters sometimes took weeks to reach their destination. I was never in one place long enough to use one reliable phone number. The more we wrote, the closer we grew together. I knew about three months into my deployment what I wanted to do. The moment I stepped onto U.S. soil and saw Kathleen, I got down on one knee and asked her. We’ve been together ever since.

I wish I could have been there for the reunion itself. As principal of the school, I had other matters to attend to. I was in meetings all morning, but around lunch I heard the applause. In the minutes between my lunch and a budget meeting, I stepped into the commons to a standing ovation for the soldier and his daughter, reunited at last. It was moments like these that I was proud to have served my country.

New Story Coming Soon!

Elements is in the editing process, which is slow but worth it. There’s all these little kinks and questions you don’t anticipate when you revisit a story you’ve worked on for a long time. It’s all in the effort to make a more satisfying story, though! I plan to have a second draft prepared for beta readers by the end of this month, so if you’re interested in this, let me know.

On a slightly different note, I’ve been working on a new story for the past month or so to help me explore the full world I’ve created in my first book. Felix takes place about eight years before Elements and will lead up to the events of that book. A brief premise:

Felix has always been fascinated by the world around him and unafraid to try new things. Ever since he read about the rise and fall of the Elementals, however, he hasn’t been able to think about anything else. 

I’m excited about this story and can’t wait to share it with y’all. Keep an eye out for the debut within the next couple weeks!

9th

My short story, Overnight Success, took 9th place in the Becoming Writer Anniversary Contest! Again, I’m quite surprised that my story has been so well received, and I’m grateful for all the support that I’ve gotten as I keep writing.

There’s still a few days left to vote for the Reader’s Choice Award, so any support you could give would be huge. Click on the link to find my story. Thanks!

http://shortfictionbreak.com/2016/01/31/the-becoming-writer-contest-winners/