words to ink

Mind going crazy. Million different directions. Six notebooks circle me. I’m hungry. The words can’t come fast enough. Obsessive, frantic scrawling, then I flip the page or swap the journal.

A wish to fly. A hope to nurture.

Doubt and self-sabotage are shelved, though calling out the way cookies do after the house has fallen quiet.

The right music. The chosen journal. A thirst. A fear. A thousand. A battle of fiction and reality.

The more words that flow the further I get. Away. Nowhere. Anywhere.

When the pen is in motion, the worry, the doubt, the mocking of silence falls away. A cherished moment. The ink is dry. The words gone, served their purpose. The rest only lasts seconds till it begins to fade.

on an upswing

I’ve been in a whirlwind, a fictional ocean of ideas. In other words, I haven’t been blogging much recently. My head has been caught up in various fiction projects and getting the podcast organized—which it is now, so that’s nice. Whew! That was intense. As I produce a backlog of episodes in preparation for time off and then a fictional sprint, I thought I’d pop in.

How’s it going?

I’m on a bit of an upswing, I gotta say, and it’s nice. My anxiety is mild lately, in part because I’ve been paying attention to the present, and in part, for reasons I am not aware of—anyway you cut it, it’s nice. I’m still having trouble falling asleep but I’ve been staying asleep recently, and that has made a big difference. I think peace finds a way in when self-expectance enters the picture. Have you ever had the feeling like you’ve matured somehow over night?

As I parent, I noticed different phases and developmental milestones, but I hardly take note of my own. It’s certainly not because they aren’t happening, just for whatever reason, I am not always able to notice a change in myself. There is a time release involve with noting the self-change. It’s weird, but I think it’s a thing.

I’ve been making a lot of things happen recently in the background. (Hustling and word-slinging) As I learn to adjust and when to notice a project to grab, the closer I feel to sane. Do you know what I mean? I’m just feeling more comfortable somehow with all of it. I’m learning and progressing in a way that I feel good about, and I do believe that is part of why I’m more peaceful. Exercise certainly helps, as exhausting of an idea it is sometimes, regular exercise makes such a difference.

I’m gonna go tinker with the short story for Creative Alchemy INC’s new magical realism anthology, before flipping on Game of Thrones. (I’m only on season 4)

Check out the most recent episode of Too Many Words with Sarah Fader! 

Also, you can read some very personal pieces I’m proud of on Feminine Collective!

She deserves a novel.

Do you ever get a nagging an idea that not only refuses to go away but grows and grows until it’s impossible to ignore it?

I have those all the time.

Elliot Granger and The Clueless Brigade was definitely one of those ideas. I was knee deep in rewriting Not Without Sunshine, and I kept picturing a teenage girl with turquoise hair and a picture taking habit. Elliot started as a series of blog posts, then turned into a weekly fictional podcast. It gave me a solid outlet for Elliot and her friends without diving into another novel, because then just wasn’t the time.

As I plan Chapter Seventeen, the whispers that have been trying to get through for over a month are hard to ignore. Elliot and her world started as a passion project, but now it’s something more.

The deeper into the story I get, the more it becomes obvious to me that Elliot Granger and her clueless brigade need to be in a book and get proper manuscript treatment and devotion. The weekly installments will come to an end, but Elliot and her upside world will return better than ever, and in the format it deserves. I will keep you updated with her new home, and on release dates as I know more.

The podcast will be available until August 31st.

It’s sometimes hard to make these decisions, at least it is for me. But I’m excited about Elliot’s future.

 

Chapter Sixteen: Wandering The Unfamiliar

Listen to Chapter 16 on iTunes  and Google Play!

promo ch 16.jpgWe stepped into a tile floored hallway that broke away into a large open living room and kitchen that looks nice enough for Taylor Swift to use. The walls were white and lined with stainless-steel counters. The house was decorated with simple modern furniture. Not a single picture hung on the white and yellow walls. It was hard to ignore that every piece of furniture matched as it were taken from a showroom as is.
“We are sitting ducks,” Malachi groaned dropping his bag next to his feet. “We need a plan B.”
“Why is that?” I crossed my arms tightly around myself as I took in the inside of a house I would normally only drive by. Pete trotted up the stairs with his guitar case hanging loosely off his shoulder. He felt like a million miles away.
“I’m in love,” Molly cooed. Her large green eyes glistened as she looked at the shit we just stepped in. The pink streaks in her hair glowed under the bright lights hanging from the high ceilings.
“Something doesn’t feel right,” Malachi said, his eyes set only on Lincoln, who did seem at all impressed by the house. “I was expecting a shoe box with roaches.
Lincoln shrugged, “They are good speakers,” as he finished his sentence his lips curled into a smirk.
“I’m sure,” Malachi tossed his hand to the side dismissing Lincoln, “Where is my room?”
“Rooms are upstairs, and they are all huge,” Pete’s voice traveled down from an open loft overhead.
“Well, I guess I’m heading upstairs,” Malachi walked toward the wooden staircase keeping his eyes on Molly. Concern etched into every inch of his tired face.
Molly’s smile was suddenly gone. The spark disappeared from her eyes. She rubbed her stomach with a frown.
“You okay?” I asked her as I hitched my bag up on my shoulder.
“I just need some water,” Molly whined, walking toward the kitchen.
“Let’s not do this tonight,” Malachi’s voice tightened but clearly from concern and not frustration.
“You can do whatever you want.” Molly’s voice was indifferent, which wasn’t a tone from her I’d heard yet.
Malachi pushed out a massive sigh giving me the feeling there something I wasn’t catching, some hidden line of communication I wasn’t privy to. Malachi hissed a “Whatever,” as he climbed the stairs.
Suddenly I was the only one still standing in the foyer. I was in another world. Malachi was right, as nice as the house was, an ominous feeling hung in the air. A hole in my stomach was growing and filling with doubt. I was completely uncomfortable and restless in my own skin at that moment. Without a better idea as to what to do, I also meandered up the stairs.
Lincoln sat on a twin bed in the first room off the hallway. He was taking stacks of comics out of his green messenger back. As he grabbed a bunch of Spiderman, his eyes found me like he knew I was looking at him the whole time. His dark hair fell in front of his eyes. It seemed that every time it did that my heart melted into a pathetic puddle. As usual, I had no idea what he was thinking.
“You worried like Malachi?” His voice revealed more self-doubt then I’ve ever caught before. Lincoln is so mysterious about everything it comes across as confidence but in reality it really wasn’t.
“I guess a little.” I stepped into the room.
“Don’t you trust me?”
“I don’t really know you,” I smiled nervously. My words had come out colder than I intended but the truth I suppose often does. I added, “I definitely don’t this Rex guy.”
“I get it,” he mumbled.
I was frustrated that he wasn’t saying more. I wanted him to make me feel better somehow, assure me that I hadn’t just made a terrible mistake. But, he couldn’t because he didn’t know much more than I did. I realized that he was possibly even more lost than I was.
“Did I hurt your feelings, because I didn’t mean to.” I let my crossed arms flop helplessly to my sides. “I’m just…overwhelmed, I guess.”
“Me too,” Lincoln patted the spot next to him on the bed, and my heart twisted to its side.
The moment I sat down next to him I picked up an issue of Spiderman, nervous of the sudden tension screaming between us. I was in fact in over of my head. “I haven’t read this one yet.”
“What about Spiderman do you like so much, you hardly touch the other comics.”
“I like that’s he an underdog.”
“You like underdogs?”
“I am an underdog,” I glanced up from a panel solely focused on the web, to find his dark eyes on me.
I made a weird noise and looked back at the page.
“I make you nervous.”
“That’s an understatement,” I mumbled into my sleeve.
He laughed.
“Do I make you nervous?” I squeaked the words out like an award mouse.
“Nope,” he said leaning in. He pressed his lips hard against mine. I swear I could feel all his panic and self-doubt through that kiss. His hungry desperation wasn’t for me; it was for general escape.
Was that all this was?
The cruel thoughts whirled around in my head.
The distant, frantic strum of Pete’s guitar cut our very intense moment with a hint of gravity, at least for me. I pulled back, but his hand found my hair and pulled me back into him. My heart raced as uneasiness sunk into my knees.
Lincoln’s hands were everywhere. My chest was about to implode. Without any thought, I stood up. Flashes of something I didn’t want to think about found an entry into my mind.
“What’s up?” Lincoln frowned, his voice ragged and out of breath.
“We aren’t gonna do it tonight. We are still getting to know each other.”
“Can’t we do that better if we are sharing a room?” Lincoln grabbed my hand attempting to pull me closer.
“I’m gonna be in my own room,” I smiled a little annoyed with his attitude. Just because he found us, a place didn’t mean we were gonna shack up, did it?
“Is it cuz good boy Pete is here?” Lincoln’s face transformed into one continuous frown, his eyes even seemed a shade or two darker.
“No, it’s because I’m not ready to move fast. Everything feels like it’s moving too fast.”
“Whatever,” Lincoln’s voice was very curt. He turned to an issue of Captin America, “See ya in the morning,” he mumbled.
I was confused and stood there for a minute unclear how things got so weird so fast. The distance from my mom scared me. Her smile and guidance felt lightyears away. I was looking for an escape, but now I didn’t recognize anything.
I backed out of the room. At first, I just stood in the hallway for a moment unsure of what to do. I rubbed my hands on my thighs trying to hear my mom’s voice. Brain poured into my head. Was he okay? I was hit with a powerful desire to find a corner, curl up, and cry. My world was spinning out of control. In a house full of people I felt completely alone. Was it too late to fix everything?
The sound of puking came from a crack in a mostly closed door. I glanced in without really intending to as I made my way down the oversized and strange hallway. Even the doorknobs looked like they cost a fortune. Molly hurtled over the toilet with fingers stuck down her throat. It hit me what the secret dialogue between her and Malachi meant—all the comments he made in the car made sense. I didn’t know what to do, so I just kept walking even though that it didn’t feel like the right thing. Instead, I followed the sound of Pete’s guitar.
I came to a large room at the end of the hallway. Of course, Pete would grab the master suite first. He sat perched on the window sill. His whole body curled around the guitar making it seem like they were one. His crystal blue eyes drawn to the cords as his fingers plucked each one.
He looked up startled to see me. He stopped playing as a sweet smile formed on his dimpled face. “Done with lover boy already?”
I crossed my arms and looked down at my feet.
“Trouble already?” Pete leaned his sticker-covered acoustic against the wall.
“I want to take things slower than lightning speed.” I knew that sentence was all I needed. After all, Pete knew everything about me.
His eyes grew dim. He stood up and walked over to me. Pete folded me in a giant bear hug, “You might want to tell him about that night. Ya know, if you are serious about that clown,” Pete mumbled the words into my head. I heard them, but at the moment all I wanted was to be there in his arms because it’s the closest I felt to home in a while.

Wouldn’t mind being the mother of dragons.

Okay, so I didn’t get a post up last night. I happily passed out on the sofa watching Game of Thrones. Since I am late adapter to the show, I have the benefit of being able to do some of the best binge watching on record. It’s been a week full of long days and nights. Part of juggling multiple projects means there really isn’t enough time in the day. It’s all good, though. I actually love holding up in my room, laying in bed at night working. It mixes it up from being in my office. Really, if I’m writing, I’m usually happy.

At some point, I got too caught up with goals. I wouldn’t say I lost sight of the what I was writing. I’m just saying I have been artificially stressing myself out. When I actually let myself relax, I write my best, and I’m rather happy doing it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what draws me to a fictional character. It’s the imperfect and tortured characters that usually pull me in. I want someone to root for and someone to cry with. I am far from perfect, as are the majority us, and I like finding shared oddities, even if it’s with a fictional character. I’ve been (as you know) working on a wide variety of short stories for multiple projects at the moment, all fantasy but lots of subgenres, which means I’m hoping in and out of magnificence worlds. As I write all these very different stories, there is one thing they all share in common, at least one very flawed character.

I am always reading. As I go through books, I gradually add to my list of characters I’ll always remember. Most recently, Finch from All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven got on the list. Amazing book. Brilliant character depth. Since it’s summer and most of the shows I like are on break, and I’ve recently allowed myself to discover the fantastic world of Game of Thrones, that’s pretty much making up what I’m watching. The show is overflowing with complex characters and stellar, intriguing, and sometimes disturbing subplots. I’m continuously wowed and inspired.

Life is people. Stories need strong characters. I realize I’m saying a lot of what you already know. But one thing I’m finding oddly funny lately is how one can understand a meaning but without allowing it to fully sink in. We are all in a rush, ya know? But, seriously just spending a few moments and thinking about the endless possibilities of what can add complexity to a person is a worthy exercise. Small things can accumulate over time and transform the people entirely, but it takes years to see the other. There are some moments where the crash and bang of it all is suddenly drastic and life-altering. The truth is everyone is complex, again this we all know, but, it’s how one becomes complex that’s the story.

The world and the people in it.

You can listen to my most recent episode of Too Many Words with guest Antony Johnston  on iTunes and Google Play
Have a good night, and enjoy the Elliot that’s posting tomorrow.
-J

Balls to the wall.

I’m kinda kicking ass. Which is strange because if I were to have written this earlier in the day I would have probably told you nothing was going right. I was sleepy and low energy all day. A typical human reaction to working too late the night before…and apparently I’m doing it again.

Oh well.

Tinkering with the tone in the wizard story I’m working on while listening to Coldplay most of the night has been a delight. I’m going over each line and strengthening where I need to. This story has definitely turned out slightly different than my initial thought, but the characters naturally went this way, so instead of fighting, I leaned into it.

Let’s not forget this writing thing should be fun. It’s never fun beating your head against an artificial wall.

I recorded a fun talk with Kendall Ashley earlier today. We talked about the articles she writes for Geek & Sundry and Nerdist, zombies ( of course), and shows we love. That episode will air on August 4th.

Update: Starting the last week in July Too Many Words goes from Mondays and Thursdays to just Thursday for right now. Unfortuenly I haven’t yet figured out how to clone myself or have developed any device that added hours to the day. (Which, I feel like someone should.) I have my hands in all sorts of exciting new writing projects, opportunities I wanted to be sure to grab. This meant that I needed to rearrange my schedule, which was making me nervous but a theme I keep going back to is, adjusting isn’t something to fear, it’s just life.

That’s a good note to leave off on, I think.

Till tomorrow night

-J