Scripting the Truth – Virtual Book Tour

Monday is the universally hated day of the week, mostly because the things we look forward to tend to happen during the weekend. But I am here to present you with something that will make your day better! I have the honor of hosting the first stop on T. A. Henry’s Virtual Book Tour. As their first novel is about to be launched, you’ll have the chance to read excerpts from the novel itself and the opportunity to get to know the author. Additional info available by visiting their blog – don’t be shy and stop by!

For now, please enjoy an excerpt of their novel titled Scripting the Truth, followed by an interview with T. A. Henry herself!

Scripting the Truth Front cover finalStriding quickly across the house I located my mother in her sun room with a copy of Vogue newly sent airmail from across the pond. “I’m heading back to London by the eleven fifteen.”
Her slight startle revealed how absorbed by the new fashions she was. “Already, darling? You just came down by the four forty yesterday.”
I started to reply but she continued before I could decide on my defensive strategy.
“Your father and I wanted to talk to you.” Her voice held a plaintive note.
“Yes, I know. We discussed things this morning.”
“Don’t take on so. We just want to see you settled. Married perhaps?”
I kept my tone light. “Not a man on the horizon I’m afraid.”
“There could be if you weren’t so flighty. Stay down here. The hunting season will be starting soon. All the eligible bachelors of proper station will be spending huge swaths of time in the neighborhood.”
I ground my teeth to keep from telling her what I thought of men of a proper station. “I’ll come back down. You let me know when the situation is promising.” I smiled and hoped this would be enough to get me out the door.
Her excitement immediately went up a notch. “That is a wonderful idea. Why don’t I arrange a weekend shooting party? When shall we?”
I wanted to put the brakes on this out of control disaster but she was moving forward at a spitfire pace.
Swinging her legs off the edge of the fainting couch she strode across to her writing desk to consult the calendar there. “Three weeks you think? Or maybe four? I think four weeks to make sure I can really guarantee a good attendance. I’ll pencil that in.”
I swallowed hard. How to tell my mother this was not at all what I had meant. It was beyond impossible. Brigadier General Wingate always said we could do the impossible in a day but miracles took a bit longer. And this needed a miracle. It was time for me to bow out quickly. I could take my time in London to work out the details of my permanent escape from the safety of distance. “I must dash to make the train. Charles is waiting with the car.”
My mother crossed quickly to me and placed a kiss on my cheek. I allowed the embrace and briefly hugged her back, if one could call it a hug when you placed your hands on someone’s arms and mentally restrained yourself from shoving them bodily away from you.
I breathed a big sigh of relief as I slid into the back of the Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. “Drive Charles and be quick about it. I can’t miss this train.”
“Yes milady.” Charles nodded his understanding.
As we rolled out the gates I felt tension start to ebb from my shoulders. I would have liked to imagine my mother meant well. But I knew what was best for me was the last thing on her mind. She was only acting according to what she knew, to the dictates of her world. Marry off your daughter and marry her off well. I was her only daughter. My war service had been a huge strain on her, so far was it from her idea of appropriate behavior for someone of my status. My brothers went at the first sign of trouble and although she cried she was proud. I couldn’t understand why I should be any different. We just lived in different worlds, with rules as far apart as the Sun and Moon. By the time I finished these musings we were pulling up to the station in Portsmouth. I would catch the London express here.

  • Give us a short introduction of who you are.

I am a Pacific Northwest transplant who loves it here. I am a stay at home mom who home schools her only kiddo. I hike, crochet, and yoga with all my spare time. LOL. I like to think I am funny. I hear I am a good friend. I think the secret to that is I have very little judgement.

  • Do you remember when you first started writing, and why?
The first thing I remember writing was a poem on environmental concerns for a poetry contest when I was in third or fourth grade maybe. It was not a positive experience. They hung up all the works in the local public library with what ribbon: first, second, third, or honorable mention. I was the only one without a ribbon of some sort on my poem. I cried for days.
  • Some authors have their own habits and rituals, others like waiting for creativity to pay them a visit. What’s your writing process?
I usually wait for creativity to hit. But I write down every little idea that flies by me. So then when I need a topic for Nanowrimo I flip through  my idea book and see what attacks me. Then I go to the library and get books, lots of books. I read everything I can about the idea, anything that might possibly apply. I think that’s the crux of my process, research. Probably more than is reasonable but having so many little bits of information available when I am writing gives me options. It makes it harder to write myself into a corner.
  • Do you read a lot? What do you look for in a book?
I read as much as I can. I do make an effort to get through as many as I can, as I post a book review every week and I try not to review books I haven’t read immediately before reviewing, it feels unfair to the work. I mostly read non fiction with a smattering of brain pudding books, ie fluffy fiction that requires no effort to get through – slides down like vanilla pudding.
  • A book of course is a collection of many elements – settings, plot, characters, conflicts, etc. Which one would you say is the strongest suit of your book?
wow. Um. LOL. Ok so I think what I bring to the table is a combination of characters and dialogue. I have great dialogue. There’s always a touch of humor sprinkling through. I like life to be an adventure. I try to make my books feel a bit like that.
  • How much of a challenge was completing this novel?
This novel was cake. Total cake. I loved it. It practically wrote itself. I know it sounds like total malarkey but it’s true. Now my spy novel on the other hand is like a root canal with no Novocaine while having broken bones set by a mortician. Yeah.
  • Any fun facts or interesting anecdotes about the novel or its creation that you can share?
I wrote Scripting the Truth during Nanowrimo, my third one, and it was the first time I ever won.
  • Now that this novel is ready, what are you keeping busy with? Can we expect other novels in the future?
Right now I am working out all my marketing and trying to prepare for this year’s Nanowrimo. I will be writing a murder mystery. I am super excited to kill some people off and have it not be a huge dramatic thing. LOL.
  • Is there any advice you want to give to aspiring authors?
Do not listen to any voice that tells you, you can’t. Whether it’s your own voice or someone else’s.

Thank you, T. A. Henry for this opportunity and for your time. Hope the launch goes smoothly and there’s lots more to come after Scripting the Truth!

30 Days of NaNoWriMo

As I mentioned in the Camp NaNoWriMo Winner post, I’m still missing the last 8 days in my 30 days writing adventure (see 7 Days, 14 Days, and 22 Days of NaNoWriMo for the previous days). Well, here they are!

  • Day #23: If you pretend you’ve just started writing, would it become easier?

The main issue with WriMo, at least for myself, is how the whole thing become excruciating the longer you’re doing. The start is easier because you’re excited, you have an idea you feel great about, it feels like sunshine and rainbows. But as you dwell deeper and deeper into the story and spend more and more time writing, you feel the need to put it aside. Yet the whole point is not to do that, so whatcha gonna do?

  • Day #24: Just 1 week left… Which sounds like torture, considering I’ve been doing this for 3 weeks.

It. Does. Not. Get. Better. You’d think being near the end and reaching your goal should give you the mythical boost you so need right about now. Maybe you’re too far away from the end? Yeah, last-minute boosts are more like your thing, but you can’t really complete the 30K words on the last day.

  • Day #25: Mercy, mercy! Just shoot me already.

Chinese water torture has nothing on monthly writing months. I feel like Dolores Umbridge’s sitting next to me, chuckling at the sight of horror I’m in while attempting to catch up with my word count. Except the word count’s not my issue, but the inability to move beyond some plot points. The failure to continue writing the story I wanted to tell.

  • Day #26: What was I supposed to be writing about?

By now my brain has probably gone into retirement and I’m more zombie than human. I can’t think, I can’t function, but we’ve got just a few days left and somehow I’m still typing. I say typing because I’m not sure the stuff that’s coming up on the screen can be considered writing.

  • Day #27: If no one wants to shoot me, I’ll just start breaking stuff.

If you believe I’m joking, that’s some serious wishful thinking. When you spend a month doing heavy writing you start feeling like the Hulk. Enraged, full with strength you want to throw around at any chance you find. Starting from the not-so-lovely place you used for writing in the first place.

  • Day #28: Don’t stop the music writing. 

Maybe if you drink another bucket of coffee and stay up all night you’ll get ahead of your goal in a single day. Or maybe you’ll put yourself in a coma and sleep through next year’s writing months. Both options sound appealing so you give it a go.


Since validation can ultimately be done on the last day at latest, the 30th is never that important for me. My goal is being prepared for that day, so that I’m not frantically trying to come up with crap just to finish the whole event before the last minute clocks out. It also lets me enjoy that last day with joy and gratitude while looking back at what I’ve accomplished in the previous days. However, it also means that I’m one day short in the month and that my 29th day is always a witch with a B. The only way to get through such a day, is to remain hopeful and keep yourself motivated.

  • Day #30: Best month ever!

[Yes, I’m using an Obama gif for this] IT’S OOOOOVER!! Okay that thought makes me sad about it, but I can just glance at what I’ve written and it puts a smile on my face (that’s when I’m reading stuff from the early days, the writing from the last couple days make me want to hug the desk with my face). If I wasn’t tired I’d be jumping up and down with joy the whole day. It’s profound happiness, makes you wonder what other accomplishments feel like this.

As I said in a previous post, congrats to both those who did and didn’t manage to complete their Camp NaNoWriMo goals. Just remember that once you recharge the batteries you should tie yourself to the chair once again (for writing, not for kinky business).Strike while the iron is hot, don’t make your writing any harder by letting the idea fly away.

Camp NaNoWriMo Winner

Camp NaNo Winner Banner

I guess this is where a photo of my writing pens in flexing pose would go. Or a photo of my keyboard flexing, or whatever the equivalent of a writer’s biceps flexing would be. But maybe that lovely banner up there is just enough to get the point across. My goal for 2015’s Camp NaNoWriMo was 30,000 words. Understandably that might not feel like a big deal and it’s obviously almost half of what the traditional NaNoWriMo is. Yet, for anyone who has been following my weekly updates on the matter (7 Days, 14 Days, 22 Days, and a recap of the last week will probably follow tomorrow when hopefully my brain is more cooperative), it should be fairly clear that April is a ridiculously busy month for me.

Not only are there a lot of holidays (which contrary to what one might expect, take away your free time instead of giving you more), there’s a also my birthday, my volunteering as moderator at four different places, some job hunting, and a lot more I’m unable to list at the moment (mostly because my brain is trying to erase any knowledge of them so I’ll never think about them). On top of all that there might have been traces of a social life. That’s mainly why I went for 30K instead of 50K, which I knew wasn’t going to happen. And I’m not using that as an excuse, it’s more of a clarifier.

Everyone who has attempted NaNoWriMo of any form does not need excuses for how bad they’ve done. It’s not a job and it’s not for anyone else but yourself. It’s a personal project based on a hobby and when all is said and done the only thing that matters is that one is satisfied with their own final result. That being said, I’m ecstatic about my own results. Not solely because I’ve managed to write the freaking 30K I promised myself I’ll reach by the end of the month, but because I’m impressed with the story so far. Yep, so far, it’s not actually done yet. In fact, t might be a long while before it’s completed. While I’ve managed to write roughly 1000 words every day for 30 days, I cannot keep up that pace throughout the whole year — while I may act like it at times, I’m not a robot. Though that’d be pretty cool.

Anyway, it’s been a long day for me and I feel I’ve had enough of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs for now. I should get a proper rest and probably do some catching up with the TV shows I follow. I do hope all of you are enjoying your week, and for everyone else who manages to hit their Camp NaNoWriMo target, congratulations (and late congrats to all those who did so in the past several days)! To those who attempted but didn’t quite hit the mark, even bigger congratulations! You’ve done your best, tested the waters, explored the grounds, yada yada — it should help you accomplish your goal on your next run. Merlin knows we all fail, definitely more frequently than we win, so don’t let that discourage you and keep working. Rome wasn’t built in a day, even though you’re certainly free to try.

I’m off to do a victory dance and cuddle with my bed.

Mine’s not as good but you get the point.

Short Story Sunday: Letters to No One

SSS Banner

The old black teapot was fuming, signaling it’s had enough of that heat and wants to get off the stove right now. Mr. Blinchley on the other hand was in no rush, he lived alone and rarely had company so he enjoyed any sound that broke off the monotone silence, even if it came from a teapot. Plus he felt cold, despite the fireplace going, and a cup of hot tea would help with that more than a barely warm one. It was April, the week of Easter, but it appeared that the weather missed the memo. The temperature was dropping with each passing day instead of rising as it should, so Mr. Blinchley penned it a winter in disguise in his letters.

Maybe it wasn’t just the weather though, Arthur Blinchley was about to enter his ninetieth year of life and age certainly makes some adjustments to the weather forecast. It makes the winds feel heavier, the rain louder, and the sun weaker. Mostly it makes the cold feel colder, and puts a man a season or so behind in attire. For everything beyond that, he decided it’s all a matter of personal choice. We ourselves choose when we give up, when not to get out of bed, and when we stop doing the things we love. The answer Mr. Blinchley was aiming to leave as an example for everyone else was never. That’s why on his work desk where his favorite chair was situated, lied a pile of letters.

Letters were like a piece of magic for him. And since magic strayed from the ordinary and mundane, he never sent any letters around Christmas anymore. He preferred waiting till the Easter holidays. The few months between the two holidays gave him just about the right time he needed to read several times the letters he received, and then to come up with just the right responses they deserved. The longer he was with them the more special they felt. He had set on a mission to live his days alone, and for better or worse he found he excelled at the task. Yet every now and then he felt the loneliness creep in behind his mind and give him distant memories, enchant his dreams with company, force him to wake up with a craving for friendship. The letters helped him with that. They reassured him he still has all that even though nowadays he rarely sees anyone but the milkman, the newspaper boy, and the employees in the shop across the street.

With the cup of tea in his hands to warm the old bones, Mr. Blinchley sat down at his desk, admiring the handwriting he’s mastered over the years. If those letters did not include personal details and told the dreary tale of his life, they might have been considered a piece of art. At least he wanted to think so. Just as he often thought of the excitement these letters might give to his carefully selected recipients. Yet he knew the truth, especially with this new age and technology, is that most of them were likely uncomfortable or ashamed to be receiving and sending written letters.

Arthur Blinchley also pondered why the letters have not been sent yet. You see, they were already written, signed, placed in lovely light yellow envelopes, unpleasantly licked and carefully closed. Now they were simply sitting as a pile, gathering dust and reminding him that one of these cold days he need to put on an extra sweater and head down to drop them off in the closest main box. But for a reason he could not quite perceive, he did everything but that. He even managed to do some household chores he was so diligently putting off as if he had hoped one day when he wakes up they’d all be done in some mysterious way. And while Arthur still found the thought of magic endearing, he didn’t quite fancy mysteries, he just really wished the housekeeping would get done on its own for once.

Not today, he told himself. In his ninety years of life, that was one of the easiest phrases he could tell himself. It appeared simple and short, clean and sweet, even though deep inside it was the root of all things evil and lazy. Might be that’s the plans of villains never go as planned, they always tell themselves not today whenever it comes to executing them. Heroes don’t do that, heroes act. But Arthur had no trouble chewing on that thought, he hadn’t been a hero his whole life so why would he seek that now? Plus heroes were never old either, if they could not save the world at the age of ninety, how could anyone expect Mr. Blinchley to do the things he did in his prime?

Between spinning thoughts during his time at the desk and watching an episode of whatever that was on the TV that he couldn’t recognize, Arthur forgot to have a look at the clock. “Funny thing, time. We stop doing things on its account, but it never stops for us”, Mr. Blinchley thought to himself as he moved to get to his bed. He had what might have been one of the best nights of sleep, even though he might have said that the night before, and the night before that. It was a common occurrence for him to enjoy his sleep.

Yet, as he moved across his apartment, Arthur fell a heavy weight fall on top of him. He extended his arms and leaned toward his favorite chair for support, but failed and made things worse. By pushing the chair down he hurt his left arm when he fell with it on top of the chair. The whole event rumbled the place and the pile of letters fell on top of him. Lying there on the ground, next to his favorite chair and among some of his prized possessions, the letters he wrote to his friends, Mr. Blinchley pondered once again why he didn’t send the letter sooner. Was he too old for such a task? Or did the procrastination delay the thoughts that yet another year of his life had passed? Was it fear kept him back?

In his final moments, Arthur felt maybe it is better that the letters didn’t reach anyone. Maybe it will be a better form of goodbye than any note or words he may have sent them. Sure, his handwriting looked beautiful even though his hand shook when he wrote, but maybe the letters he wrote weren’t worthy of being his last words to his friends. Funny, he thought to himself, we rarely look at it what way and hardly ever accept it, but time does stop on our account.

Lists & Liebsters

A while ago I got tagged for a Liebster award by Story and Somnomancy. The scope of it is you give a shout out to newer bloggers or older bloggers who seem to be flying under the radar, as a way of promoting them and bringing bloggers together. I intended on doing this sooner but I got distracted. Then I was reminded about it when I won the Rafflecopter Giveaway hosted at Story and Somnomancy of the 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide. It’s an anthology of middle grade science fiction which features a story of her own. “Robot Sister Number Phi” tells the tale of a girl trying to replace her own sister with a robot.

Now, I know some bloggers don’t do these type of awards. We all know the best blog award one can ask for are readers and visitors, and I agree with that, but this one features lists and I have a weakness for lists. So, let’s give this a go!



1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.

2. Give your readers 11 random facts about yourself.

3. Answer the 11 questions from the blog who nominated you.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.

5. Come up with 11 questions for your nominees.

The Random Facts

1. No matter the type of coffee I’m drinking, I prefer it with a few drops of milk.

2. Even though I love both reading and writing, sitting down to do either of the two is always hard.

3. I used to love sugar and used it with everything, but recently (read: the past year or so) I’ve been avoiding it. Which doesn’t mean I don’t use it, but for example instead of using 2 teaspoons of sugar with my coffee I now use just a fragment of a teaspoon, if I use any at all.

4. I hate sorting music files. I hate it so much that even though I have my music on the cell and the computer, I tend to just play a radio instead of playing my music (which is clearly outdated and could use some spring cleaning).

5. I’m very easily distracted no matter what I’m doing.

6. I hate crowds in general, which also means that I do not particularly enjoy holidays and family gatherings. Thank goodness there’s food and drinks to get me through those.

7. I enjoy swimming and I like watching basketball, handball, and volleyball; but otherwise I’m not a huge sports fan (read: I don’t mind watching sports, just in most cases I’d rather watch a tv series as things tend to happen there).

8. I try to use clothes as long as possible, mostly because I hate shopping and I hate changing appearances. If a piece of attire is in a good state, still fits on me, and it’s good for the weather outside, why the hell do I need to waste money on buying a new one?

9. I’ve always been rather short and skinny for a guy from my generation, till 2014 when I got somewhat chubby. Which resulted in a huge self-esteem drop because apparently a guy with a tummy and moobs is the perfect start for a joke.

10. I always try to do things on my own, even if it means consulting with Youtube tutorials more than with actual other people.

11. A few years back I had a temporary allergy or skin issue of some kind. Whenever I’d be exposed to the sun too long or I’d do some exercise and I’d start sweating, I’d get a ridiculous red rash over my chest. Never got around to testing what exactly caused it. But eventually it stopped so yeah.

The Answers

1. If you can assign a theme song to your favorite book, what would the theme song be?

My favorite book tends to change just as much as my mood, and currently that would be George Orwell’s 1984. I think Gary Jules’s and Michael Andrews’ cover of Mad World would be a fitting theme for it.

2. What was the most recent book that’s made you grin like a giddy schoolgirl/boy?

That would The Thing on the Doorstep by H. P. Lovecraft, but mostly because I had been hoping to read it for a while and it finally ended up in my hands.

3. What types of books do you normally read?

I’m in love with horror as a genre, but most books I read tend to lean toward fantasy. Anything that goes beyond this ordinary world, but preferably something that avoids common themes (love triangles, the funny friend, the friend love interest, etc.). I like when my books surprise me, when it features something I wouldn’t have expected. There’s little enjoyment about reading the third page if I know what will be there after I’ve read the first page.

4. What author do you get excited over when a new release has been announced?

I’ll be ridiculously excited when I hear George RR Martin’s release of a new book has been announced, but in general I’m mostly excited about new releases by Neil Gaiman.

5. If you hosted a tea party, which book characters would you like to have sitting at your table?

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, it’s a tea party so there’s no one better for it. But also Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, maybe Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. I’ll leave it at that because as mentioned previously I’m that big about crowds.

6. Any books that have made you angry lately?

Not that I remember.

7. Do you fully read book reviews before or after you’ve finished the book?

I like skimming reviews beforehand, especially if I’m not sure which book to read next. Sometimes I read whole reviews after I’ve finished a book, but usually not before so I can avoid spoilers.

8. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m currently in between books, but I have the following books lined up for next: Premium Harmony by Stephen King, Aesop’s Fables translated by George Tyler Townsend, and Alone (part of the The Girl in the Box series) by Robert J. Crane.

9. What book would you like to see adapted in a different medium (graphic novel, game, movie, anime, TV series, etc.)?

I would love to see various series, such as A Song of Ice and Fire and even Harry Potter, turned into anime.

10. Do you have any other geeky hobbies besides reading?

Would playing video games be considered geeky? I do some amateur writing, that’s quite geeky. I enjoying taking photos but I haven’t had the tools to do that in a while so I’ve grown distant to it. Nowadays I prefer editing images digitally.

11. Zombies or unicorns?

Zombies. I love unicorns, but not as much as I love me a good old dead no-brain human. Plus zombies keep others away so I could put a few in my yard. Can’t do that with unicorns, it would draw too much attention and would bring everyone and their mother to my garden.

The Nominees

So it shouldn’t be a secret but I haven’t been around that much lately so I’m sadly at a lack of folks to nominate here. It was one of the reasons I delayed posting this. Thus if anyone wants to do this, leave a comment and I’ll add a link to your blog up here. Otherwise I’m nominating whoever reads this!

An Adventure in NaNoWriMo

The Book Review Directory

Eric Schlehlein

Write Me a Book, John!


Daily (w)rite

Poems & Poemes



Sidekick Reviews

The Questions

1. How do you pick what book you” be reading next?

2. Do you have any books that have surprised you — whether you were expecting them to be good and they weren’t, or you were expecting them to be bad and they weren’t?

3. Are there any movies or TV series you’ve seen merely because you enjoyed the books the story is based on?

4. Do you have a least favorite or a favorite book-to-other-medium adaptation?

5. You need to pick yourself a partner and a best friend from the pool of fiction characters. Who will they be?

6. What’s the one thing that stands out to you the most when browsing books (covers, titles, description, etc.)?

7. A new system’s being put in place that ensures every person reads at least one book in their lifetime. You get to make the book choice, which one will it be?

8. What’s the last book you read in a single sitting?

9. What do you like doing when you’re not reading?

10. If you could adapt one book into a different medium, what book would that be and in what medium?

11. A Harpy or a Gorgon?

22 Days of NaNoWriMo

What comes after 7 Days of NaNoWriMo and 14 Days of NaNoWriMo? Well of course, 21 days! Except apparently I can’t math and just now I realized 4×7=28 while I’m aiming at 30, so I’ll be doing 8 days for the last two weeks. I do sincerely hope that anyone else attempting Camp NaNoWriMo is making great progress and their story is getting along well!

  • Day #15: We’re JUST HALFWAY through the month?!

Usually you’d be the first person to look on the bright say and think “hey you’ve made it through half of it!” but you’re so tired all you can think is “ugh I have to do this for the same amount of time I’ve been doing it till now” and that’s a painful thought.

  • Day #16: Remain calm, don’t panic, and keep writing. Okay, maybe panic a little but definitely keep writing.

Pushing yourself to do something every single day, no matter what it is, is going to be troublesome. And the best way to get through any problem is to keep your head cold and keep trying.

  • Day #17: The weekend starts today, you can do this if you put your mind to it, right?

Just think of the wonderful feeling once you’re done, that majestic sensation should keep you motivated! There’s still time even if you’ve fallen behind. No plan was ever straightforward, they all have their setbacks so you just have to go beyond yours.

  • Day #18: Who am I kidding, if I was using my brain I wasn’t even going to start this in the first place.

At this point you realize you’re fighting against every little atom in your whole body whenever you attempt to sit down and write. Any motivation and hope you gave yourself the previous day have already left the premises before you woke up. It’s like there’s an evil Santa visiting you every night and stealing all your positive thoughts so you’re forced to regain them on your own every morning. Or is this all just a game and you’re always restarted to the first level?

  • Day #19: Argh where did my weekend go?!

Does the whole world turn against you whenever you decide to do this? Because it sure feels that way. At this point you’re not even sad, more like frustrated and angry and you want to go set things on fire (but not really).

  • Day #20: Another freaking Monday… I’ve had it with this thing.

The more you try to push yourself away from it, the harder it hits you when you finally come back to it. No matter what you’ve started writing, you’ll have to finish it.

  • Day #21: Okay, ten more days and you’re done. Kind of… Just keep writing dammit.

If a head could fall from one’s shoulders due to stress and frustration, you’re fairly sure yours would be rolling on the floor right now. But thankfully that could only happen in fiction. Which reminds you… What are you doing and why aren’t you freaking writing?!

  • Day #22: Just 1 week left! Okay, almost. But almost is good enough, right? Right?!

You’re nowhere near as smug as Matthew McConaughey, but you feel you should be. Both because of what you’ve written so far and because you’re almost close to the finish line. Give yourself some credit, because others likely won’t do that. The best way to reassure yourself you can make it through this month is if you look back at what you’ve managed to do so far.

The Noble Order of Time

                  Art by VirginIron on DeviantArt

At a round table sit three highly skilled knights,

Their weapons, although different, are often intertwined.

The first knight carries a heavy broad axe,

With a slow swing but extraordinarily strong.

The second knight carries a longsword,

He has a lighter swing but his reach is quite long.

The third knight carries a fencing sword,

Which has a pointy sharp end that can do no wrong.

Sometimes their hits are as high as they can go,

Other times they deal the lowest possible blow.

When the weapons clash with each other,

You can see parries, or blocks if you’d rather.

Yet no matter the striking they do among themselves,

The mighty knights are just people’s hard-working elves.

Night and day we make them fight as slaves,

As they count the time to our inescapable graves.

It’s not all that dark, black and sad, though,

Their battle brings as much lightness as there is in snow.

For when their battle keeps going on all the time,

We try to do some goodness for all the past crime.

Yet in a peculiar way the biggest crime in all of this,

Is by watching their battle, everything else we miss.

14 Days of NaNoWriMo

About a week ago I did a 7 Days of NaNoWriMo post, covering the beginnings of an attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo. The extraordinary National Novel Writing Month takes place in November, but the Camp is a smaller sibling project that takes place during April and it gives authors more freedom in comparison to the first. Yet, despite providing you with choices, some flexibility in what you write, how you write, and at what pace, do not delude yourself that it’s any less of a difficult or demanding task.

Writing in its self, no matter the form and purpose it takes is  an excruciating and agonizing assignment lead by an exhausting process of brainstorming, planning, and organizing plots which you’ll then spend day and night splattering with ink over paper, only to wake up in your sleep and burn out all the nonsense you realize you’ve written. But pain, misery, agony, and all the tragedy in life produce emotions, they stir our imagination and once those vanish, you’ll have in your hands the impeccable fruits of hard labor. Whether a short story, a group of poems, or the start of a novella, you’ll have at least the foundation for a written piece of work that speaks this is brilliant and must have taken effort or talent. Or maybe that’s just something I tell myself to help me sleep at night?

Either way, grab a pair of goggles as we’re flying off with a steampunk hot air balloon to revisit day 8-14 of Camp NaNoWriMo.

  • Day #8: Ugh, my Wednesday is a Monday?!

The strong victory feelings you had the day before seem faint and distant, as if they were a million light years ago. Any remote sense of accomplishment evaporated with the realization that another heavy seven days are ahead of you. Begrudgingly you push everything and everyone aside and attempt to turn the table and be productive.

  • Day #9: What do you mean it’s my birthday tomorrow and this is the Easter weekend?!

Not only are you behind with your word count, but with this coming avalanche of events in the next couple of days you’re well aware you’ll be buried under deep snow and your word count will remain as frozen as the Antarctica. Will you ever recover? Will you be able to dig your way up to see the sun again? Are you capable of rising from the ashes like a Phoenix? No one knows, especially not yourself, but this seems like the perfect time to start panicking.

  • Day #10: Time to pretend I’m interested in festivities and non-writing things.

Stuff such as socializing, small talk, long conversations with people you barely know are so low on the list of things you wish you were doing at this very moment, one is quite certain that even breaking things, running around naked on the streets, and murdering anyone nearby, rank higher. Yet when there are celebrations there’s usually fancy delicious food, various selections of drinks, and hopefully a cake big enough for one to drown in it. You can never say no to all wonders that feed your soul and you’re certainly not saying no to cake. In some ways this helps you survive and put on a manic laughing face as you’re internally screaming to sit down and write.

  • Day #11: Wishing it was a lazy Saturday and that you had a few less drinks the previous day.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, wash down your thoughts in alcohol and hope they never reappear again. But those little demons turn out quite the swimmers, and while you’re trying to get your head straight they decide to punch you like a boxing bag, repeatedly. You’re so swamped you’re contemplating the idea of saying screw it and taking a nap. Resistance is usually futile, but you try your best not to give in on the temptation.

  • Day #12: Stop the holidays, stop the celebrations, for goodness sake stop the people!!

You feel holidays is the name given to some supernatural beings sent on planet Earth to beat you up, devour all your energy, creativity, and leave you exhausted, bloated, unable to do anything remotely productive. Doesn’t look like you’ll be doing any writing today.

  • Day #13: Please shoot me and make sure you don’t miss.

The holidays keep going, which can’t really be said about your word count. More food, drinks, too many people and conversations for your taste, no sign of that glorious cake you recently had, and for all you know your brain has left the station. It may not have reached its new destination but it has definitely started the journey of leaving your head.

  • Day #14: Remind me why I do this to myself every year?

The festivities might finally be over, but they’ve left you feeling like you spent the last few days running marathons, yet it doesn’t appear that you’ve won any of them as you see no trophies nearby. All you see is the obvious lack of writing, a plethora of plot points you have yet to plan out and write, while your mind says go to bed and don’t wake up till the end of April. Apparently, the weather finally left its Winter mood and embraced the Spring temperatures, but you’ve been so busy typing you haven’t even had the time to look outside.

You tell yourself to keep going, you’re already halfway there — you can definitely survive another two weeks of this, right? Somehow you’re not really sure, but you’re dead set on trying and you go grab another cup of coffee.

7 Days of NaNoWriMo

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, lately I’ve been slacking somewhat (for example I didn’t get to do a Short Story this past Sunday). However, as far as excuses go I have the second best one — I’m attempting to do Camp NaNoWriMo. Which is the evil twice-removed cousin of NaNoWriMo, which would then be the stepmom or mother of evil and the very best possible excuse for slacking. If you’ve never tried either of the two, the best way for me to describe them to you is as monthly tortures composed of coffee, stress, self-loathing, coffee, random tantrums, mood swings, coffee, keyboard bashing, self-bribing with cake, and did I mention coffee? But if you do get through all of that, you’ll probably have the joy of owning a written piece of a decent length and very crappy quality. That’s why usually we take a short break to replenish our batteries, after which we continue the torture but now by editing instead of writing.

If you’re extremely fortunate you’ll have an amazing product to be proud of that you can show off to others who’ll look at you with awe. If you’re less fortunate you’ll find comfort in the fact that you’ve done the impossible — you’ve produced a novel in a month’s time. Sure, it may be something that you’ll hide in the most secluded corner of your computer forevermore because it doesn’t deserve to see the light of day ever again, but you’ve had fun and experience and those always come in handy. I’m getting off-topic though, the idea of this post is to illustrate how usually the first week (which I’ve now survived, woo!) tends to go.

  • Day #1: Like stealing candy from a baby.

It starts as in the fables, this new land you’re discovering is gorgeous in every way and as peaceful as it can be. There is no sign of trouble anywhere and it’s a beautiful day so you even do your writing with as much leisure as possible. You’ve been preparing mentally for this for a while now and you’re quite sure in your capabilities and the plot you’re going for.

  • Day #2: Everything is great and whimsical.

Another day of productive work, you haven’t come across any issues yet and you feel this is your year. This is the year when you out-write all your friends and produce the best story humanity has ever seen.

  • Day #3: A few bumps on the road can’t stop me.

It can’t all be that pretty, you must have some rough patches and at least they make for a good story. You reassure yourself you can make it through this and a small drawback isn’t stopping you.

  • Day #4: When I set my mind to it, I’m unstoppable.

You’re ready to move beyond yesterday’s trouble, you sit yourself down with a bucket of coffee by your side and you do some quality catching up. Heck, you even get ahead so you have less to write tomorrow!

  • Day #5: Okay, maybe I lied a bit yesterday.

You already start feeling the weight on your shoulders fingers. It’s day 5 and you want to keep going strong but you desperately need a break so you attempt writing what you can without pushing your limits. You’ve earned some comfort and you can always catch up the next day, right?

  • Day #6: Why is this happening to me.

I’ll catch up tomorrow is the most basic mistake, yet somehow you manage to throw yourself under that same bus every year. You even fall for that multiple times in the same month. You’re tired, you have other things to do, your mind is blocked, you feel like the whole world is on fire, and you start regretting you decided to do this.

  • Day #7: How am I doing this, and can I please keep doing it for another 3 weeks?

You have no idea how you managed it or where you found the will from, but you sit down and catch up for the whole week. Was it the fact that you hate losing this early? Was it because you’re competitive and you wanted to show your friends you’re not a loser? Or was it simply because you promised yourself a whole big pile of awesome pizza which you’ll eat all by yourself? Doesn’t matter, so as long as the job gets done.

I guess it also doesn’t matter that by the end of the first week you’ll already be suffering from typing disease, where you’re prone to do some ‘typing‘ no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

Short Story Sunday: Tranquility (Equiroth)

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[I’m late again! This is part three of “Equiroth“, a story set in a fantasy world. Part one of the story can be found at SSS: Betrayal and part two can be found at SSS: Journey. Keep in mind that while the stories are related, they’re not necessarily continuous.]

The journey felt long and exhausting, their supplies dwindling each day and leaving them with barely anything to fill their stomachs with by the sixth day. If we’re lucky enough we will reach our destination today, thought Bryoth the horn-blower. He was riding alongside Kolsyn, the captain of the army, and three mounted soldiers followed behind them. Despite the lack of food and the exhaustion, Bryoth thought things went well, they didn’t have any unpleasant encounters and the weather served them well for the most part. There was a day or so of rain, but it was a very light rain.

“Look up ahead!” shouted one of the soldiers. Just beyond the trees, up high in the air one could see the top of the high stone doors that marked the entrance to the central elven cities. The group urged their horses forward to complete their mission sooner and hoping their journey will end with a hot bowl of broth and a soft bed.

They reached the gate soon enough, but crossing it wasn’t going to be that easy. The area outside the gates was completely swamped with elves from all cities close and far. There were lines and lines of them waiting to enter, and quite a number of traders had set caravans or tents up as an attempt to profit from the situation. It almost looked as if a whole elven city has been moved to the location. Bryoth and Kolsyn left their horses with the soldiers, it was clear that moving with a mount would be next to impossible, and they slowly started making their way through the crowd.

“You two, not a step further!” They had almost reached the gate when someone got in their way. The man was wearing clothes identical to all those serving in the elven army, but for a weapon he had a glaive, a long polearm from dark wood inscribed with decorations on top of which a sharp sword was located. The glaive signified that he was part of the royal guard whose purpose defending the king and keeping watch on the famous elven doors. This poor fella had obviously gotten the shorter end of that stick so Bryoth could understand why he was in a foul mood. “Do you not see the formed lines around you? Get in there and wait your turn.”

Bryoth thought of telling the guard of their mission. “We need to see someone from the royal family.”

The guy gave him a good look, as if he trying to remember if he had seen Bryoth before. “Well I haven’t been notified that they need to see you so it appears the feeling isn’t mutual. Now get in line!”

“I’m afraid you don’t understand,” Kolsyn tried to explain the situation, “We’re here on an important mission under Lord Marioth’s orders, we have news we need to deliver in the capitol.”

“It seems to me you don’t understand you have to get in line and wait.”

“It’s okay,” another elf stepped toward them, “I’ll handle this.” He was wearing fully brown attire, trousers and a woolen tunic with a shirt underneath, while behind him flapped a silk cloak of the same brown color. He was a servant, but one who works for the royal family as given away by the cloak. The guard made some grunting sound and walked away.

“I heard you mention Lord Marioth. Would that be Marioth from the city of Briswift?”

Feeling slightly irritated by the whole situation, Kolsyn replied with a simple “Yes.”

“I apologize I haven’t presented myself, my name is Faoth and I’m one of his grace’s personal servants.”

“I’m Kolsyn, captain of the Briswift army, and this is Bryoth..” he pondered on the title for a bit, “who does quite a bit. Look, we need –“ Marioth’s waving hand interrupted his talk.

“I’m well aware of your mission. Some of your men arrived from the east a few days ago.”

Bryoth cheered up at the thought. “So Marioth has already met with his grace?”

The servant opened his mouth, but no words came out. He looked to the ground for a moment as if searching for his lost words. “I’m afraid not everything has gone according to your plans. I do not have all the details as I’m going on based on a letter, but come, follow me to our encampment, I’ll explain everything on the way there and we’ll use one of our caravans to go meet the rest of your party.”

Bryoth would later realize that Faoth should have probably stared at the ground some more as apparently he hadn’t found quite the right words. The rest of the party meant four remaining elves from the group of forty-seven which departed toward the gate on the east. Two of them uninjured, the third was hit with an arrow in his left arm, and the fourth was barely alive. Faoth told them that it was their leader Marioth who was battling for his life. His whole body had been burnt badly, every inch of skin turned a shade of black and red.

“How is he still alive?” A puzzled Bryoth had asked in a rush, which earned him a clout on the head from Kolsyn. Faoth answered that it’s had to say but based on what was said by the healer who was taking care of Marioth, it’s likely there was an enchantment which forced the fire to burn only the outer layers of their skin. He told them while they’re hopeful that he will survive this, it will be many moons before he can move any part of his body and he would never truly recover from the injuries.

They reached the encampment and got on a very large caravan lead by six Elphorses, large but slim horse-like creatures with long tusks and a very thick mane. Due to its size, the caravan provided a lot of comfort and space for movement, but with the news they had gotten Bryoth and Kolsyn felt they would have preferred a different type of comfort. The worrying news didn’t end there; they learned that Rhissa was the one who attacked their leader’s group, and they learned that most of the elven doors that lead to the capitol have been closed off because there have been repeated attacks over the last few weeks. But worst of all, they learned that the royal family is not here and neither Marioth’s group neither they can deliver the warning message to his grace.

It was a specific time of the year, a festival which lasts almost as long as a whole moon cycle and during that period the whole royal family along with their guards and most of the capitol’s army visit the moon pillars. They are in fact stones which looked like pillars, all of them having specific sizes and arranged in a specific manner in such a way that when one looks through them he or she can see they perfectly match the moon’s progress on the sky during the course of a whole year. No one truly knows how the stones were constructed but there is no record of their construct while they’ve existed as long as any elf can remember. With all that had happened they had forgotten about their race’s culture traditions.

Bryoth concluded that this was the reason why most of the heavy stone doors had been shut off — there were not enough guards and soldiers to arm and defend all of the locations. The elven capitol has never been weak and no type of petty attacks would force them to close those doors, but this was different. The capitol was hosting feasts every day till the royal family returns, and at a time like this it was important for them to regulate who goes out and who goes in. It wasn’t just about protecting the entrances; it was about ensuring no one finds their way inside unnoticed.

Yet Bryoth found the whole thing to be quite disturbing. Rhissa’s betrayal, her attack on Marioth, the royal family being away, and some random attacks on the capitol gates all happening at once. He thought either it was all a scary coincidence or a frightening ploy where all of these things are part of someone’s plan. But what could they hope to achieve? It doesn’t make sense to have the doors closed, it only strengthens the capitol’s defenses till his grace returns. Is this part of Rhissa’s plan and a way to prevent us from warning the royal family? His mind went on and on, running every thought in all possible directions. While he was racking his brain trying to connect all the things and figure everything out, they had arrived at their destination.

Faoth pointed to the house in front of them. “You will find your friends inside. I’ll be a bit behind as I need to take some things from the caravan.” They didn’t need to be told twice, they run off inside. The house had no rooms with the exception of a bathroom, the rest of it was all put together with no walls or doors to separate any parts of the house. Thus, as soon as they were inside they could see their four fellows, three of them sitting on chairs around a fireplace, while Marioth was laid in a very low pool of water at the other side of the room. In the middle of the room was a table where an elf was mixing some herbs.

“We’ve been expecting you.” She gave them a small smile, and the three soldiers stood up but could not bring themselves to say anything. They didn’t have to, you could read all the horror on their grim faces.

Bryoth and Kolsyn went next to the pool to see what had become of their leader. His flesh looked like something from a nightmare, weirdly painted black and red, uneven with apparent burned dead tissue on the surface. It wasn’t a sight one wants to see, and Bryoth figured maybe that’s why the soldiers are sitting over there and not here.

“I’ve managed to clean most of the burned clothing which had melted into his skin,” the healer went on, “he can even open his eyelids pretty quickly now and we managed to feed him today. However, he still has trouble with moving the rest of his body but hopefully the healing water with help him recover more quickly.”

Just about then Bryoth noticed that Marioth, who was wide awake at the moment, appeared to be trying to move his lips. It was a poor attempt which produced an undistinguishable whispering sound, but he was persistently trying to do it even though it clearly pained him as his eyes were red and watery. “Can you understand what he’s trying to say?” He looked at Kolsyn, hoping he was better at that task.

“I can’t be sure, but I think he’s trying to say Stupid.” As Marioth’s lips movement stopped right about then the two men smiled to each other. His body may be scorched but his spirit’s as strong as ever.