Lost in Fiction: writing months away

I’ve been lost in a hole. Not a dark, unforgiving one. Something more along the lines of a rabbit hole. I wasn’t in Wonderland. A dark, dystopian world of my creation has had me wandering around. I’ve lost a few months in the best kinda of way. Parts have been pieces I’ve been writing for years, that haven’t quite worked and parts are concepts I’ve always longed for when I reach for something in the dystopian genre. I’m really excited about it.

If you write or are plagued with a need to create in any way you might know what I mean when I say, “Ideas are priceless. The loss of them is terrifying.” There is nothing like getting a burst of inspiration. A clear picture. I love those random moments where I’m vacuuming or showering and an idea that feels like I’ve been waiting my whole life for appears. Crystal clear images. Pieces of me and pieces of something I’ve never known. There is a beauty in it that I love, something I crave. Perhaps even at times, my obsession with getting and growing concepts gets unhealthy. Maybe that fact that it’s something always on my mind, makes me impractical or selfish. Selfish, now I’ve hit on a note. I feel so selfish sometimes. One of my favorite things in the world to do is spend endless hours writing away while I listen to music too loud. It’s amazing, but it’s just for me. Sure, someday people will read it and hopefully get something from it, but I do it just for me. I do it because I have to.

Getting lost in a story is something I’ve always clung to, something that made it possible to survive my dysfunctional childhood. Magic friends in cupboards. The fountain of youth. A beautiful friendship with a sad ending. Magical creatures that teach very needed lessons. Antiheroes on the road to redemption. Heroes in books are something that has gotten me through so much. Creating them is something I must do, so I do. I’m so thankful for my partner in life and our child that support me as I chase my dreams, while I’m distracted, while I’m unworthy. They say they don’t see it, but it’s hard not to feel bad when I’ve done nothing for hours but create made up stories. It’s my job, it’s what I’m hanging my hat on, but it feels strange.

I’m so close to something I’ve been working so hard on for so long. I can’t wait and I can. I comb over lines searching for ways to make each word be the best it can. I feel sick and alive and hungry.

As my novel enters the editing phase, I have a moment to look around at my surroundings. Halloween has passed. Thanksgiving and family will be here any minute. Add more explanation. Bring the emotion forward as I best I can. Being close to something can make the want of it so loud it’s deafening.

I must look away and just keep my head down. I’m almost there. Names in a line. Eyes waiting. I feel different this time. Writing this draft felt like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Maybe I sound like a naive, lovesick teenager. Perhaps, it’s just like that. Each one is a little better. A passion transforms into a solid concept and then, we have something worth it.

There is something about chance that ignites curiosity in me and sparks a crippling fear. Simultaneously these things come together and bring sharp, angled tracks to the ride that is building a writing career. Part of me wants just to be at a spot that I can feel like I’ve achieved what I’ve wanted to, but I am cynical and practical enough to know that once I get to that point, I will be focused on the next thing.

Ivy covered doors. A castle in the clouds. The rolling hills of The Shire. Simple recognition.

Worlds to find. Places to seek. Hearts to break. I’ve been lost in a world in a way I’ve never been. I listened to myself differently that I have in the past. I wasn’t concerned with creating a certain event or trying to find the killer angle. It was the characters that lead me and the world they lived in.

In all honesty, I haven’t done much in the last few months than writing this story. Reality didn’t get as much attention as it should of. Other projects were on hold. As you know, my blog collected dust. But, here I am peeking from the pile of notebooks and many versions of Pages documents. I feel different. A little strange. Ready to pitch. It’s time to close.

this is where I beg

I tweeted yesterday, “Riding a fine line between delusions of grandeur and crippling self-doubt is part of my process.” It’s so true. Especially recently. Making a big jump to make my dreams come true leaves me unsettled. Probably because it makes me vulnerable. As some of you may know fantasy author, Rebecca Clark and I have entered our novel ‘The Shadow Bearers’ into the Geek and Sundry contest. My stomach is in knots and my hopes are high.

 

will

I want it so bad. The thing I am realizing is producing good content I can do, but selling units I have a lot to learn. It’s all part of it. I got so close with several agents with the YA contemporary I have been shopping. They have all come back and said contemporary isn’t selling the way it was. People want to see more fantasy. I’m glad I love writing and consuming fantasy but the realization Not Without Sunshine is farther from finding a home is difficult to swallow. Part of my makeup in romanticizing and dreaming big. Sometimes it is hard not to bend, to feel frustrated.
gg
I feel weird asking people to support my work, but it’s something I have to do to help my dreams come true.
We need a hand. Geek & Sundry pick the top three books and publish them, distribute them to bookstores, and shop the book around for other media possibilities as well.
We are making a big push to get 50 pre-orders by 50 new readers by the weekend. That puts us in the top ten, on the front page of the contest, and is a great way to reach our goals.
Here is the link to The Shadow Bearer Page https://www.inkshares.com/books/the-shadow-bearers
Rebecca and I are having a blast writing this together. Thank you for your help!
thank you
 
 
I included the prologue of The Shadow Bearers. I’d love to hear what you think. Chapter one and two are on Inkshares and Chapter three and four will be posted next week.
Athea brought the tips of her fingers to her mouth. She spoke the words, -Vine to vane. Ash to spine.- 1.jpg
Prologue

Chrysthe swallowed the urge to cry out as she dropped to her knees. The bodies of their tribe members’ lifeless spirits were strewn throughout the center of the village. “The darkness took it all while we were hunting, Emon. We need to run!” The urgency in her voice surprised her. They knew this day was coming why now the attempt at salvation?

Neilos wanted more power. Needed more power. Neilos’s hunger to be a legend led him into the arms of Kala, The Goddess of the Cipher Land. When he abandoned his people the Dagee, he sacrificed their lives. His thirst to rule all Hudtira far outweighed what he had right in front of him. His followers one of the many costs. His own sister, Chrysthe, left to fend for herself.

Emon pulled Chrysthe off the ground and cradled her face between his warm hands. “Unfortunately, my love, there is nowhere we can go. The Darkness will find us. We were all warned years ago.” Emon sighed heavily with the realization this could have been avoided.

“I don’t want to give up Emon.” Chrysthe pulled away from his grasp. She headed for the trail leading to the mountain’s summit. Emon knew she might find comfort in a place they’ve cherished through the years. The only place they could truly be together. Pine needle covered branches reached out to them as they hurried away from the settlement. A hollow sensation followed close behind. An emptiness so vast they could almost smell the cipher edging closer.

Both were silent as they tread up the mountain one last time. The undeniable realization sunk into Chrysthe’s gut as they ascended. Nothing could spare their lives.  Blood dripped from her balled up fists. She realized she was digging her nails into her palms soft skin as they reached the trail’s end. Defeat encased her bones.

Chrysthe leaned against the mountain’s vertical slate peak admiring the view of the land. Her head turned toward the river. She joined her fingertips. A blueish hue glowed in the space between her hands, “Vine to vane. Ash to spine.”

“I wasn’t aware that you cared enough about the Nari to protect them,” Emon stated. “After all they’re half the reason we’ve lost our tribe.”

“Yes, but our tribe is the other half of the reason. We started this too.” Chrysthe let out an exaggerated sigh. “No one should have to lose everything. It may be too late but any help I can grant is better than nothing.” Chrysthe’s cheeks burned as her palms tingled. The chant cast.

Emon paced back and forth debating what to do next. “I don’t foresee a way out of this, do you?”

“No. Not now. It’s not time.”

A flash of movement appeared in the corner of her eye.

“It’s too late for us, Emon.”

The Darkness hurtled toward them on the mountain top. Nowhere left to go.

“I love you with all of me, Chrysthe.” A single tear rolled down his face.

“Me, too.” Emon pulled Chrysthe toward him and held her.

This was their end.

They both knew it was pointless to fight the shadows, no one was ready for the change necessary to restore the peace. Without a sound the Darkness rolled in. When the shadows subsided both Emon and Chrysthe were gone.

Beneath the fallen dominion of the Dagee, Neilos stood in his chambers. His stretched hands folded at the waist.  Ferena, once a vibrant and prosperous nation is nothing but crumbled buildings cast in the purple clouds. The perimeter of the enchantment guarded by shadows—a benefit of following Kala’s orders. Bulging veins the color of wild violets weaved up his neck like vines strangling a green giant. A deep shadow resembling a human stood beside him—something only few could see. Neilos focused his stare on the mist rising from a stone pillar standing in the center of his rock-walled cavern. The only light source was the glow from his powers and a candle resting on the bone alter.

“Pascentium vitia, spiritus et carbones,” Neilos spoke in a melodic song. His long

chestnut hair shaved to the skin. An outline of a spider reached to each ear, then trailed down his neck. He hasn’t yet earned the right to mark his back.

“Send them back, not further,” an icy gust thrashed past his drawn face.

“They aren’t finished,” he snapped before reconsidering his audience. “They should do more before returning to their hosts.”

“What took thousands of years to build costs more than a week’s work,” the voice sounded closer to a woman’s. The blurry outlines grew more defined. The tip of a pointed nose quickly followed her flushed cheeks. He waited for more details of her to reveal themselves though Neilios never saw her lips. Her brief clarity faded back to an obscurity.  

“More can be done.” His voice rushed and frustrated.

“You need rest. Creatures will always have fear and hate. There is no concern of loss here.”  Each word the shadow spoke grew louder. Then just like a breeze past the flame of a candle, the voice went out. Nelios now stood alone in his tomb of worship. He nodded at the carved stone reaching from the ground to the curved planchement.

He pressed his fingertips together. “Quaerere nihil magis, sequor domum.”  

The purple light coursed from his hands surrounding the stone. His eyes rolled back into his head leaving only vast white orbs framing his nose. The small room’s air grew thinner. Neilos lungs gasped before the air became thin again. Silence filled his mind. He extinguished the candle’s flame with one heavy breath.

Everything grew quiet.

The whispers of failure nagged at the corners of his desperate mind. He chose to focus on the smell of muck permeating from the slop between the stone walls. His mind slowed as he began to pick at each detail of the smell. The lands he stole weighed heavier in the quiet.

A new month.

I’m writing this before I pass out. It’s been a long, busy day. Today is my official first day back from nine days off. I was nervous about taking the time but I organized myself and made it work. I had no idea how badly I needed the time off until I took it. My sister-in-law who rocks and my almost seventeen -year-old nephew whom I adore were in town. My husband and I both took off the entire time. This was the first time ever in the history of our marriage we both took that much time off at the same time. Crazy right? It was great spending time with family and unwinding. As much I love the hustle it’s nice to cool down the jets and just drink a crazy amount of wine and go on adventures. Good stuff.

It’s funny how often it’s overlooked (at least in my case) but spending time with myself without goals and crazy schedules really helps me to learn about myself. I got to know myself just as a person over the last few days in a different way. Which fortunately for me means that I have unlocked some pretty killers ideas that I had been searching for over the last few weeks. Score.

Now that I can clearly see my month of August I am really glad I took the time because I am going to be crazy (and I mean crazy) busy. I’m excited about all the projects I have on the docket. Starting at the end of the week stay tuned for updates. A lot is happening and changing. I’m a littler nervous about a couple of things. I continue to wait to hear about final decisions regarding the YA contemporary I’ve been shopping around though I’m a lot closer to where I want to be with it.

There is something unsettling about starting new projects. I would compare it similarly to getting on a roller coaster. The fact I’m strapping in for a series of intensities is clear but what it’s going to feel like isn’t. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I think it does. There is a fine line between excited and nervous. I ride it often. Honestly, I think I enjoy it. Part of the fun is the hustle.

I have a fun show lined up this week. I will have both Kate Hackett and Rebecca Weimer on this week’s episode of Too Many Words. It’s fun. Look forward to it.

That’s it for now. I’m tired and my eyes are starting to glaze over important words. Time to unwind.

-J

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.

 

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