29 Days Without Contact

I’ve found it’s best to keep moving. By myself, I’m an easy target—a coward’s ideal prey. My odds are much better if come across someone alone and desperate. I can handle that—I have in the past, many times. I’m scared of those that I follow, that I watch. Whether they are on to me yet or not are thoughts that keep sleep from coming.

I am just one person. I can’t take on the hundreds that guard Peter. I need to know as much as I can and then sneak in. I’m learning to become one of the shadows so that I’m noticed as such, or not at all.

I’m scared. It has to be soon.

I take a quick right into an alley. The large buildings on either side cast a blanket of shadows over the graffiti-covered brick and garbage-lined ground.

Life doesn’t thrive anymore.

We are dying out.

Glass shatters behind me. I stop.

“Are you one of them?” The familiar sweetness of his voice punches me in the stomach.

I turn around.

Nothing. Emptiness swells around my heart.

I keep hearing his voice. It’s in my head, I know this, but I still feel like it’s a sign that Peter is breathing. He has to still be breathing.

Tonight. I can’t wait any longer.
Shards of glass are at my feet.

22 Days Without Contact

Something smells off—ammonia with a mix of gasoline. My eyes are welled up and scratchy. Whatever this is, it’s meant to kill me.

The rapid fire of different tactics being thrown at me is leading me to believe that eventually they will win. Someday, I’m going to be defeated.

The number branded along my wrist lights up. If only I could figure out to remove them or deactivate it somehow, maybe I could stop running. Peter and I could find a suite meant for celebrities, one that isn’t too torn up from the raids. We could be happy in one of those places for awhile. We could pretend our world is rational and safe. We could maybe even find happiness.r

My stomach twists. Tears fill my eyes.

I can’t panic.

I will find him.

19 Days Without Contact

I slow down to a walk. My heart pounds in my chest. Pins and needles pulse in the soles of my feet. I press my back against the wall of an abandoned storefront. Rain pounds down on the cracked pavement and forgotten cars. None of the shadows moves.

Relief floods in. My eyes close for a moment—a rare treat. I didn’t think I was going to lose them. There were so many hunters this time. I’m in danger even more now that they have Peter because I have to save him.

A rustle of leaves draws my attention to a dumpster on the far end of the road. My eyes narrow into focus. A rat.

What does one person have over an army?

Realistic Expectations and The Proper Tools

“Staring at the screen and talking to my dogs isn’t writing books,” I say to myself with my head in my hands.

“No it isn’t, but enjoying life is important too,” I say back to myself.

Now that my kids are in school full time, I’m starting to take on more and more projects…and my mind was been wondering extra. For so long, my primary time to work has been at night after the kids go down. More time to dedicate towards work has been what I’ve been waiting for, what my career has been waiting for, for a few years now. I can finally carry on regular working hours. Or, that has been at least what I have been romanizing. It has not been quite like that, so far, at all. Juggling work-life balance consistently continues, even while the kids are in school. There is still a house, three dogs, and my mind that need dealing with. There isn’t a magic window of time where there are no distractions.

I came to an epiphany, yesterday, and it is this: to be aware of where I am in the process is essential. Sure, this may sound easier than it is. But, so far today and yesterday, it’s working.
I currently have a novel that is set to release at the end of October. I’m fleshing out scenes and tightening up the outline of the second in that series (The Ruby Dawson Saga). Also, I have officially started to break ground on the new project, a Young Adult book that’s separate from the series I mentioned above. Juggling at the different stages can be disorienting I’m finding. It’s key that I stay aware of where I in each process. (This can probably be translated to a good life rule of thumb, but that’s a different post.)

For the new project, I’m in the early stages, so a lot of time is spent building ideas and concepts. Word count isn’t a priory for this project. With the second in the urban fantasy series, word count is something I need to pay attention to—there my focus is growing the story. It is very easy to get frustrated and feel like all my effort has amounted to anything. Every part of the process matters. The stark difference of the phases of book creation can be shocking, that’s why it is so important to be aware of where I am in the process of each project. Realistic expectations and positivity are things that also go a long way. Writing for a living can be an isolating existence if I let it, so taking breaks, allowing ideas to ruminate is a big part of getting things done. I love to write, and I always have. Writing for a living has been my dream since I was in third grade. I wanted to make people feel how Katherine Paterson made me feel when I read Bridge to Terabithia. Since I am exactly where I want to be, I’ll choose to appreciate it.

The first step: allow the ideas to flow, edit them later.

Talking to the Shadows

“I’ve been thinking about perspective quite a bit,” she said looking to the night sky.

“Be aware,” he whispered. His shadow danced on the brick wall beside her.

“Of what, in particular should I be aware of?” The girl asks, her voice only a whisper.

“The spiraling effect of ripples,” he says.

“Ripples are caused by everything.”

“Stone throwing should never be don’t without care.”

“What if I kick one in by accident?” She says this, then kicks a loose pebble by her foot.

“Then, there will be accidental ripples.” He responds plainly.

The wind rushed passed her face. Everything went dark for moment, then she could see the rough outline of the mysterious being again. She wasn’t quite sure how long they had been talking for but she was certain nothing of any good was happening.

Clocks and all the Ticking (my obsession with time)

I am completely obsessed with the concept of time. I spend a considerable amount of time pondering about it. I’m blown away when I reflect on how time has passed. I’m constanstly worried about what time it is.

Interesting asides: I don’t wear a watch and time often eludes me.

I would lay in the grass and just think about time for hours, if I had the time. (I couldn’t resist the obvious play on words.) I’m not entirely sure where my obsession with time comes from. It could be a symptom of my control issues (hedging my bet on that one). Regardless of why, the fascination is real and passionate.

I saw Alice in Wonderland when I was around six or seven. It blew my mind. I loved it. That movie was my jam. Then the book became it when I got older.

This quote is one I think of at least once a day…I’ve tweeted it more than once.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The change that time brings.

A Break Up Without A Beginning (using dialogue to work out character voice and plots)

I have been trying to get a deeper feel for the backstory of my two main characters for this YA project I’m in the early stages of. I was tinkering will different tones by replaying a scene that happened in Molly’s past. I had fun with this exercise.

“I can’t with you anymore. Get back to your party,” he says with a flat tone. Kyle starts walking to his car. My heart sinks down to my feet.

“Don’t just walk away, Kyle.” I say this in tears. My arms hang at my sides in defeat.

He stopped but didn’t turn around. Kyle shrugged his shoulders as he began to walk again.

I said nothing else for there wasn’t nothing else to say. He was done. I wouldn’t beg, certainly not for something I was uncertain I even wanted. Pride was a real thing. I was mad at him for being fed up with me. Anger that he turned out to be a jerk boiled in my veins. When I was mad it took over my whole being. I wasn’t just finding it out then of course. This was something I had known for a good three months before that night at Tanner’s party.

Tears built up quickly in my eyes. I mean, of course they did. I stood their (feeling a little helpless) and watched him leave. I didn’t say, “Don’t go. I want to make this work. You mean a lot to me.”

Nope. I said nothing. I was hurt and angry.

When his obnoxious muffler roared down the street I took a seat on the front steps of my house. The chorus of drunken laughter fades further into the background. I wasn’t ready to go inside and face questions and opinions. I needed to stew in my sadness.

There are few feelings like being dumped by someone I was instantly crazy about. Sure, I learned things. We weren’t really a fit, not really. But, that didn’t matter. No, at that moment my world was crumbled and crack. He just walked away from me. I wished I did a million things I didn’t do.