Thursday, March 31, 2016

Other Projects

Any of you getting tired of hearing about The Victor's Blade all the time? (Or, uh, if you actually want more, let me know that, too.)

Although TVB is my current big project (and I've learned the hard way to focus on one project at a time), I have a ton of ideas for future projects. Here's a sneak peak of just a few:


Vega Trilogy
Set in the world of The Victor's Blade, journey to Amboron's past and the time of the ancient Star Faer Kingdom, when good and evil clashed. Follow Stergon, the Rebel, as he overcomes his pride and learns to fight for what is right, even if it means breaking out of the tradition of what his people have said is right. Discover with Raenden the Blessed that pursuing righteousness and truth can meet with severe persecution and betrayal, and whether the right choice is worth it or not. And journey with Ethane, the Exile, as he seeks to protect the princess Nova Luna... all while seeking his own identity. Is he the hero he wishes to be or the monster the world fears him to be?


The Kingdom of Realms Series
Discover a brand-new world locked in a medieval era and filled with knights, princesses, and political intrigue. This series includes stories like the legendary adventures of Líon Haerte, who rises from life as a nameless orphan to rescuer of the queen and the kingdom. Or Leo, secret descendant of Líon Haerte and a headstrong but courageous boy. When Leo's home is attacked, he finds himself the leader of a band of refugee children who must find their way to the capital to warn the king of impending invasion.


Elemental [Working Title]
A world without death still holds its own dangers. For in a world without death, corrupt powers find far more cruel and creative ways to bring the world under their heel. Like every other citizen of the twelve elemental citystates, Attali lives under this oppressive fear.

But even law-abiding citizens like herself can accidentally fall prey to the wrath of the powers that be. When Attali suddenly finds herself thrust from terrified fugitive to kidnapped "member" of a rogue band of youths, she must decide whether to remain a powerless cog or discover if she has the courage to defy every authority and find a life outside the cities.


...Among many, many other ideas.

Which of these are you most excited for?

I'll post an excerpt from whichever story gets the most votes! Vote in the poll or by commenting with your choice down below!

**Poll is now closed. Check here for the winner!** 

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Wanna check out more of my projects in progress?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Excerpt - TVB: A Glimpse into an Antagonist's Mind

Not sure if I'll be including this in the actual book, but here's an excerpt I wrote of a monologue by Maddokar, the antagonist of The Victor's Blade. Enjoy!

---


I am among the first-born. The strongest. The closest to our source. I am only four generations removed from the Great Ruler, Mordreth.

A hand reached through the darkness. Even in the dim, flickering light, the hand was still clearly etched in cracks and scars--as if it had split and healed and split open again, a dark affliction.

The power of our sires was unmatched, so my people thought. But our strength has only grown with time. Time to grow. Time to rage.

The cracked fingertips tapped against the smooth stone wall. The wounded palm slid thoughtfully across the stone's carved surface.

They do not know, the Wraionai, because they do not understand. They refuse to take hold of the power we were born with. They fear it, because they are weak. And they are weak because they fear it. They unravel themselves.

Because of hesitation.

Black nails suddenly gleamed in the low light, lunging at the stone wall. The hand pulled away.

The strike had etched cracks into the solid rock.

Yes, hesitation is their fatal flaw. But my people fall to their own flaw, time and again--premature action. Panic and prideful overreach.

Rather than building their own strength, they spread themselves thin. They must infuse new generations with their power, reproduce like beasts as the other “races” of the world do. Ha! They flare their power out like beacons, but dim the original flame.

They know nothing.

The key to our race is waiting. Watching. Not quenching our essence by pouring it onto younger flames, but tending our own until it licks the sphere of heaven. And then, carefully, to let its warmth and heat spread—slow, controlled, careful. Only with proper respect can a flame neither burn out nor engulf the world.

Only with watching and waiting and THEN the timely action can we bring light to this darkened, foolish world.

The hand reached up, stroking a powerful jaw equally covered in cracked scars. "Fetch my General," came the smooth baritone voice, echoing softly through the stone room.

A hooded servant bowed, then backed away with ceremonial reverence, never once turning their back to their liege.

The King of the Vádigóns lowered his hand. He clasped his wrists behind his back as he gazed into the crimson flame that lit his chamber. He nodded. "There is great work yet to be done."

---
[Excerpt from The Victor's Blade; all content subject to change.]

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Types of Dreams

I've been having dreams almost every night for the past half week. Or, at least, remembering that I dreamed. Makes me wonder, what are your dreams like? And I know that everybody has a mix of dreams. But what type of dream do you have the most often?

Are you one of those people who mostly dreams about everyday, regular stuff in your life? You dream about going to work or doing housework. Are your dreams so realistic you think it was something that really happened until someone later in the day corrects you? "You mean... we didn't actually talk about mint chocolate chip ice cream?"

Are you one of the deja vu dreamers? You dream about something that actually happens later in the day. (How freaky!)

Are you one of those surreal dreamers? Your dreams don't make much sense. They might have some elements of the previous day you can pinpoint, but it's all a random string of events and purple bunnies and WWII helmets and everyone's walking on their hands and trying to get you to do it, too.

Are you one of the unfortunate ones whose dreams are emotionally-supercharged? You know, the dreams that leave you actually feeling those feelings long after you wake up--the stress of not getting to your class on time, or the anger at your sibling for saying those mean things to you in the dream, or the terror after having a nightmare.

Or, are you like me and seem to have the lion's share of dreams in which you're the hero of an adventure and have to save the day? I'll admit, I hadn't had those as often as I'd like... up until this past week. Now I've had so many, I'm about ready to admit I've stumbled into the realm of Ted Dekker's Circle Trilogy, and I'm a new Tom Hunter jumping between two worlds every time I fall unconscious, working to save them both.

Dreams are exhausting! At least, they are for me when I've been dreaming all night. Don't they say your deep sleep comes after the dream phase? Guess I haven't been getting much REM lately. No wonder I feel worn-out!

All the same, I think I'll keep my dreams. Especially because the adventure dreams give me great ideas for stories...


What are some dreams you've had?

---
Photo by Dlee. Originally posted on Pixabay.com.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reverse Butterfly Effect

 So I've been working on more plot holes lately.

When I'm working on plot holes, I usually try to focus on one question at a time. "Okay, if it doesn't make sense for Jaranin to make this choice, then what can I change about his circumstances to make that choice work?" I look at the surrounding context of the scene, the characters involved, what each character knows and how they react in different situations. Then I try to devise ways to make the plot work better. Sometimes that means changing what choice Jaranin makes, sometimes it means adjusting when Jaranin obtains a key piece of information that almost makes his choice inevitable.

Ordinarily, making these kinds of changes causes that nasty Butterfly Effect I've mentioned before--and another plot hole somewhere down the line.

So pretty, and yet so deadly for this writer.

For those of you who haven't read that post, the summary is that while working on The Victor's Blade, I've come across many spots where the current plans just don't make sense. "Why wouldn't this character just do this instead? Why would things work out this way? Why wouldn't they realize such-and-such?" I've been doing my best to fix these issues, buuuut then the Butterfly Effect shows up: in fixing one plot hole, I tend to accidentally cause issues in an entirely different plot arc.

It gets frustrating, because it seems like I'm in a constant state of one-step-forward, one-step-back. Some days, I feel like I'm not really getting anywhere at all.

BUT!--joy of joys--the Butterfly Effect has actually working in my favor for once! (So... maybe not so much "Reverse Butterfly Effect" as... Positive Butterfly Effect?)

Over the past couple of weeks, there's been two specific plot lines I've had serious issues with--major plot lines with very problematic questions attached. But as I've been looking at my mess of notes--

(Again, they look like this.)

--I get an epiphany.

For example, lemme tell you about what happened yesterday.

I'd been struggling for a while to figure out how the history of Jaranin's ancestors (which is key to the story) could have been lost over the years--especially since it was so vital. Strangely enough, the answer actually came from addressing a question I had about the antagonist's abilities. And, also funny enough, the answer for that was already in my notes.

I needed to figure out how long this particular ability of Maddokar's would take to activate. I looked at the timeline, realizing this particular ability had to require a certain amount of time based on elements of the plot I already had planned. "Okay, so that answers my question about how long that ability takes..." Knowing that, I went to change some notes further down the timeline to reflect that discovery.

"So Maddokar would use that ability again at about... this time."

As I eyed the rough date, it triggered a thought.

"Wait... which of Jaranin's ancestors would be around at this time? How old would they be? What's happening at that point?"

I scrambled for my notes on Jaranin's ancestry. This particular year I'd been staring at happened to be a year after one of Jaranin's ancestors, Aaron, was born.

I already had a point in my notes where a group of dragons, secretly sent by Maddokar, attack the ancestors' village--but this was a few generations after Aaron. It only required a few adjustments to change it so that Maddokar's vengeful attack on the family now occurred when Aaron was just an infant, to line up with when he'd activate his ability.

This meant that Aaron's family could have been killed in the attack. And that a neighbor could have rescued poor little Aaron, raising them as their own. And that because of this, Aaron could have little to no knowledge of his ancestry. Meaning he could never pass down the very important information about his family's history that Jaranin would have to find out on his own, centuries later.

And suddenly, an entire plot arc fit into place perfectly.

I LOVE THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT!

---
Oh, also, quick update: a lot of you have probably already noticed, but I've been updating the blog on Tuesday/Thursdays rather than M/W/F like I initially planned. For now, this is gonna be the new normal. So check back every T/Th for new posts!

---
Photos (in order of appearance):

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Beauty

Man. Wow. I feel like besides my spring post Tuesday, all my latest slice-of-life blogs have been real downers. Think I'll focus on the bright side of life for a bit. That should be good for both of us, eh?

You want to know something that puts a spark back into my heart? That a place like this exists for real on earth:


This is Saltee Island Great in Ireland. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I really can't stop staring at this photo. It literally took my breath away for a second when I stumbled on it.

It reminds me of how John and Stasi Eldredge describe beauty in their book Captivating: how beauty isn't just something "nice" to enjoy now and then, but how it is vital--not even in a drudgework, practical way ("I need X, Y, and Z today"), but in a way that breathes life back into our souls.

"Think of what it is like to be caught in traffic for more than an hour. Horns blaring, people shouting obscenities. Exhaust pouring in your windows, suffocating you. Then remember what it's like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or a meadow..." (or Saltee Island Great) "There is room for your soul...

"[T]his is what it's like to be with a woman at rest... In her presence your heart stops holding its breath." (Eldredge, 38)

Beauty--especially natural beauty--takes my breath for a second. And then, suddenly, it feels like my soul can breathe normally again. I feel lighter, like someone's taken a fifteen-pound weight off my heart. I remember that, like Samwise Gamgee says at the end of Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Two Towers: "That there's some good in this world... And it's worth fightin' for."

And then I remember that, in everything I do and every story I create, I want to display that kind of beauty. I want to be the kind of person people want to be with because people can breathe again when they're around me. I want to create stories that, despite containing plenty of darkness and danger and fear, will ultimately show the truth: that there is hope and victory and good things in this life, too.

I love the first ending theme of the anime Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin): I've been told its title translates to "Beautiful Cruel World." In it, the female protagonist Mikasa laments the dangers and harshness of reality. A Youtuber I love who goes by the username Adrisaurus once posted her English translation/interpretation of the lyrics. The video has since been removed, but the words still stay with me:

"How can anybody live in a world that's so cruel and beautiful--
Always fighting to survive the day,
Losing all we have to keep death at bay..."

This is the theme of Mikasa's life. She's seen the worst life has to offer--death, destruction, and almost-constant pain. She knows this is a truth of life.

But...

She also knows that, despite all the cruelty of reality, there is also beauty that is just as real.

"And it's worth fightin' for."

 ---
Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet. Originally posted on Unsplash.com.

Oh, also, if you're interested in the book Captivating (which I highly recommend--I'm not a big "EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK" person, but... EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK IT'S SO GOOD), you can also get it for wayyy cheaper on Amazon, here. I just included the link to B&N because they have such a lovely little description of the book~

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Blog Updates and News - Including Spring


News time!

First off, about the poll: I've heard the poll has been doing some weird things (logging the incorrect option, not working on mobile at all). I'll be looking into these issues to figure out what's going on with that widget. I'm not the most tech-savvy person, so I may just have to take that doodad down if I can't figure out what's going on. :(

I'm still fiddling with the blog layout and stuff, so you can expect to see a lot of experimental things like the poll pop up (or pop... down?).

Keep letting me know what works and what doesn't! I love your feedback. :) Or, of course, if you have any suggestions for things you'd like to see, let me know that, too. I get the sense Blogger is rather flexible, so I'd like to really be able to make this place our own.

In other news, spring is coming!

Remember these? Wow, I can't wait for flowers.

Or, for the lucky ones down south, it's already here.

I'll admit, it's taken me a lot longer than my sister to get hyped about spring coming. I actually kind of like the winter chill and snow (please don't stone me), and since I didn't get to see much of it this year, it took me a while to let it go.

But man, after today, I am totally ready for spring.

I thank God for sunny days. There is just something about sun that perks up my spirits at least a little, even if I've been having a really rough couple of days. And if you add warm temperatures and a nice breeze to the sun? Perfection. Heaven on earth, I say.

Plus, sunny days means you can enjoy things like this:


...And this:


And these:


...I love spring.
---
Reporters photo by Alexas_Fotos. Sunset flower photo by hesnikof. Originally posted on Pixabay.com.
Tree photo by reza shayestehpour. Robin's eggs by Ian Baldwin. Additional flowers by Arvee Marie and Tim Gouw. Originally posted on Unsplash.com (Which is amaaaaziiiing you should go check it out. Right now. C'mon, I gave you the link and everything.)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cracked and Broken

Trying to test out a stream-of-conscious post today. We'll see how that goes. Right now, today, my consciousness feels sort of like this:


I didn't get enough sleep last night. Mostly my fault--stayed up wayyyy too late. So that never helps. See the egg picture again for how I feel when I don't get enough sleep. Pretty sure if I could poke my brain, it'd be the same consistency as that egg yolk.

Though I do wonder if part of my problem lately is if I have depression. I know next to nil about it, so I can't exactly self-diagnose; but I know that for a long time now I have not felt like myself.

I just know that I'm sick of feeling lousy 97% of the time, you know? (Even on the nights I don't go to bed too late.)

I also wonder how much of how I'm feeling is spiritual. It just seems like what I've been going through is so much more than just feeling stuck in life. It's feeling beaten up--some days brutalized--by the messages I keep feeling like I'm receiving. I'm definitely tuned into the "Let's rip Jeannette apart" frequency. I should probably turn to a different radio station.

(Coincidental metaphor, since I've been listening to Christian radio for hours at a time the past two-three days. I think my subconscious is trying to use it to drown out the negative messages.)

Yesterday I was trying to really get back into relentlessly pursuing the jobs I had applied for (there's a lot of them). I'd been taking kind of a break due to all my emotional baggage, but yesterday was going to be the day the break stopped. I was going to follow up harder than before. I was going to be persistent. I was going to really talk myself up (which I hate doing, by the way).

Over the course of two days, I discovered I'd been passed over for three different jobs I'd applied for.

Maybe that's pretty common. I'm not familiar with other peoples' experience finding and applying for work. But this has been crushing for me. I hate the job application process enough as it is: it requires me to do things that are completely out of my comfort zone (doing things I don't do frequently, doggedly hunting down opportunities, preaching myself up, going out of my way to make phone calls and send business-related e-mails). It drains me. It makes me feel like a cog in a machine, not a person. And to continually get rejections, one after the other, makes me feel like I'm not even a working, needed part in the machine. Like I'm just a broken piece of junk that's not useful to anybody.

Oh, there are those negative whispers again.

The "no's" yesterday didn't just get me feeling down, though. Two of the three cases actually got me angry--and anyone who knows me well will tell you, getting me actually angry takes some doing.

I felt I'd done everything I could to get an interview with these two jobs. I'd spent hours filling out applications and trimming my resume and crafting my cover letters. I called one of the jobs consistently, just asking if I could follow up (the other one of the two requested no phone calls, so I respectfully just sent a couple e-mails asking if I could speak to their Human Resources department. I even asked in one of them if they discourage following up. Didn't want to bother them if they didn't want to be bothered)

A month and a half went by. I never heard anything from either one of those two jobs. Never got a return to my phone call. Never got a return e-mail. Not so much as a single message to say, "Sorry, we picked someone else."

I didn't get either job.

Isn't a "Hey, sorry, we picked someone else" message just common courtesy? Is that so much to ask, just to let me know I don't need to use my valuable time pursuing you? Am I wrong?

I've learned recently that time is incredibly important to me. So for my time to be literally wasted by what I considered to be an incredibly rude gesture--ignoring me not once (and in the case of the one job), not twice, but three times--

Can you tell I'm livid?

So... anger, bad news, and wasted time, on top of feeling like a loser, do not a good combination make.

I'm just... gonna be over here, listening to my Christian radio. Lemme just turn up the volume a little bit more. I really need Danny Gokey to "Tell Your Heart to Beast Again" today.

You, too? Here, I'll scoot over. We'll listen together.

---
Photo by Stevepb. Originally posted on Pixabay.com.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Something Different - Excerpt NOT from The Victor's Blade

Well, I really wanted to throw down an excerpt starring Emarella, but I realized her entire introduction in the book needs to be redone. Sooo, instead, you get to see her in a very different setting!

The following excerpt comes from a project I never finished, a work of (yes) fanfiction set in the sci-fi universe of Warhammer 40,000. No, there's no objectionable content that a lot of fanfiction is infamous for having. But it did come from an idea I had that went something like, "What if there was a pair of star-crossed lovers in the grimdark universe of 40K?"

So I took Zaelor and Emarella, two of my favorite characters from my books, and I threw them into the setting. Zaelor here is a stoic and intensely proud Space Marine--think Goliath in plate armor--who was injured during a mission gone bad on this foreign planet, the sole survivor among his group of Battle-brothers. Emarella, by contrast, is a military officer and native to the planet. Her people are tribal and primitive in Zaelor's prejudiced (well, racist really--anti-alien) eyes; to Emarella, Zaelor is a symbol of the brutish Sky Warriors who ruthlessly slaughter her people and have caused them to go into hiding.

Prior to this scene, Zaelor had finally awoken after Emarella's people had rescued him from certain death on the battlefield. And he proceeded to attempt to kill one of her soldiers. They didn't like that much.

Regular Beauty and the Beast, eh? Or maybe more like John Smith and Pocahontas... Now I want to watch a Disney movie. Uh, but read this first!

---
            He stared up at the ceiling and thought. Usually he did so with his eyes closed. He could only stare at the hideous women warriors for so long. They reminded him too much of Eldar. It made him ill.

            They were human, he had decided. They looked like xenos. They attempted to act like xenos. But the way they moved… The way they spoke, their gestures as they babbled to one another. Human.
            He was alive. That was what lingered most in his mind. Somehow, he had survived.
            I should not have.
            He could not shut out the images. Faces of his Battle-brothers. The look on the face of his Watch Captain and Chaplain, as they had tried so hard to reform their battle-lines. The dead eyes that met his as he and Cedrus stumbled away.
            Coward… an iced voice hissed in his mind, and he agreed. He had allowed Cedrus to take him away. He should have stood his ground. Fought back. Died alongside his brethren. His time had come, and now it was gone. But he remained alive.
            And utterly dishonored.
            “Well. Behold, the noble Sky Warrior.”
            Zaelor looked up from his reclined position. He could not rise due to the guards. Four guards they had posted permanently at his bedside now, two to each flank. They were tense, stock-still and ready to strike if he attempted to attack them again.
            The woman who had addressed him as “Sky Warrior,” their captain, swept into the room. She was accompanied by her translator from yesterday. It was pathetic, hearing the captain’s powerful, commanding voice siphoned through her translator’s small one. “Are you pleased with your childish outburst yesterday?”
            Zaelor didn’t satisfy either woman with a response. He stared at the captain blankly.
            I will not play your games.
            He watched as the captain skirted his cot. She slid into a chair beside him and leaned over its arm rest, staring. That impish smile of hers remained. He watched her lips move, heard her smooth tones. Then the delay before her translator’s voice came. “Ah, so this is how the revered Sky Warriors thank those who rescue them. Killing and maiming them. Clearly, this is the greatest act of honor—!”
            “You healed me,” Zaelor murmured at last. It must have been them; not even his powers of regeneration could have helped the grievous wounds he had taken. It was them. They were the reason he was still alive, how he had cheated death and judgment.
            But to hear the translator say it—“rescue”—as though what they had done was some supreme good…
            The captain’s eyes narrowed. More words he did not understand. Again, her translator’s tiny voice: “We did, yes.”
           “You should not have.” Zaelor stared directly into the captain’s brown eyes. He let his emotions flow. Let her see the hatred. Let her see the anger, the unquenchable rage, the seething pain. She had stolen him from the embrace of death, the seat of honor he had fought so hard to obtain.
            He felt knife points pricking into his back. He maintained his stare, but spoke without passion now. “Kill me. You will gain no information. Leaving me alive will waste your time and mine.”
            He was finished with the conversation. He closed his eyes.
            But the captain was apparently not finished with him. He heard her voice right beside his ear. Then, “You think this is a game? Very well, I will play too,” came the translation.
            He did not bother opening his eyes. What would he see beyond that garish war paint that marred her face? He certainly did not yearn to see her impish little smirk. He could nearly feel her eyes searing into him. She was searching, hunting. He cared not; he had a stinging gaze to match, if he chose to use it. She would learn nothing from studying him. No one could. He had a reputation even among his Chapter as being a particularly stoic, unreadable soldier.
            The captain’s voice was still right at his ear. The translator expressed her determination, “You will give us the information we want. You will do what we say, when we say so. You will do this because you have no choice.”
            He isolated the captain’s tone from the little voice of her translator. The captain’s voice was deep for a woman’s voice, but smooth and hard like stone. Her tones grew steadily heavier as she spoke until it almost had an edge to it, like a blade… Was that anger?
            “You Sky Warriors are so bold. You come here on your ships as if the planet is yours. You massacre my people as though they are beasts. But…”
            Zaelor kept his eyes closed, not willing to give her the satisfaction of believing she was in control. But he did not need his eyes to hear the shift in her voice.
            “Now? Now you, friend, are the prey. You will dance for us, if we command. Because if you do not—”
            The captain must have leaned even closer, right in his face. Her dreadlocks brushed against his face. He could feel and smell the puff of her breath. But when he heard her speak next, it was no longer in her strange tongue. No, this time she hissed venomously in broken High Gothic: “You alone. Die here. No songs. No tale. No honor. Forgotten.” She snapped her fingers. He swore he could still feel her gaze upon him, even with his eyes closed. “Greatest dishonor,” she finished.
            She said something to her companions, once again in their foreign tongue. The translator delivered her concluding statement, “Touch my warriors again, and I will run you through.”
            He heard footsteps, then the clicking of a door. And then Zaelor resumed his prison of tension and silence.

---
Got some questions about this scene, the characters, the setting, or something else? Want to see more of this or some of my other projects? Lemme know down below.

Space Marines, Deathwatch, Battle-brothers, and all other Warhammer 40K terminology copyright Games Workshop Limited and NOT MINE.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Perseverence

Keep going, even when it feels like you can't.

I feel like that right now, at this point in my life. I feel like I have to keep shuffling my foot forward, one step at a time, even though I have no energy to move. Ever felt that way before? Yeah. Let's shuffle ahead together, one step at a time.


Trying to find "real work" sucks. I'm under no delusions that I'll be that one-in-a-million writer who makes it big with their book. And hey, I'm totally okay with just us having our time together. I like it better this way. Feels more like we're conspirators, hiding in a good book together and relishing it in a way the masses never knew. Cozy! I love cozy.

But if you're not going to be making bank off your book, you've got to do something else to put bread on the table--or, in my case, casseroles on the table.

The problem is, I had this whole scheme while I was going to college: I was going to finish my English degree, get a job at a publishing company, and work with books while writing my books. It was the perfect plan. Untiiiiil it all fell apart.

I never got a job at a publishing company. I tried over and over and over again. But even at the places where I thought for sure I had an in--I knew someone who had worked there before, and I knew he'd put in a good word for me--all I met with was rejection. Rejection sucks, too.

I'd put all my hopes on that one plan. I didn't have a Plan B. And honestly, I feel like I don't really have any other skills to offer the "real jobs" out there. I go through job description after job description, and I don't have the skills needed for them. I don't know APA style formatting. I don't know Marketing or Journalism practices. I didn't want to learn them. That wasn't what made my life come alive. Writing does. Books do. Stories do. That's all I wanted out of life.

No Plan B.

So... I feel a little lost in this sea of people called "life." It's crowded and loud and cacophonous. I'm packed in so close in this hustling bustle that it's getting hard to breathe.

But I know I can't give up. I have to keep shuffling forward. I've got to shove my way through the crowd and follow the path God wants for me.

All I can do is look up, take a deep breath, and keep pushing ahead however I know how.

And maybe reach out and shout to a friend now and then when I really can't move another inch.

---
Photo by SplitShire. Originally posted on Pixabay.com.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

An Interview with Elun



Welcome aboard, Elun. It’s great to have you here today!

A’course! Any mate of Jaranin’s is a mate o’ mine. Say, that promise of victuals after all this hullabaloo still stands, aye?

As much scoff as you can scoff. Writer’s honor. Just settle in and we’ll get started.

Don’t mind if’n I do! A’right. Whatcha got for me, Miss Writership?

First thing’s first: what’s your full name, age, and race?

Elun Elvinbard, fifteen full-summers, an’ proud-to-be elf. Next!

Describe how you look for the readers--hair, eye color, height, body type--all that sort of stuff.

Red, green, tall, n’ thin as a whip. Nnnnext!

Tall?

Well… I may not be as tall as Jaranin, but he’s gone through all his growth-spurts faster’n me, so that’s not quite a fair comparison, aye? Watch n’ see, I’ll tower over him in no time! Like an oak! (Spreads hands wide)

If you say so… So, Elun, where are you from?

Wilyan, to start off. But my Pap got tired of the bustle and hustle an’ settled down smack-dab between that an’ Sinoa--outskirts of Wilyan, I guess ya could say.

I’m guessing your “Pap” is your dad?

Pap, Da, Pop, Father—I can’t pick a favorite title, so I just use ‘em all. Wonder if that ever gets him confused… But he knows who he is, aye?

Oh! An’ other than us two, there’s Mum, an’ Ollie, an’ Pipwick, an’ Donny, an’ the twins are Susie an’ Tillie, an’ then there’s Chrissie an’ Gilbert an’ Little Allen. (Counts on fingers) Yep. Think I got ‘em all…

Are those all your brothers and sisters? I counted eight!

Oh, did you? Good, so I did get ‘em all, after all. Next!

All right, all right. (Laughs) We’ll move on, then. Other than that big family of yours, what sort of things make you happy, Elun?

Those afore-promised victuals, for starters. How many more questions ya got?

Family, food… You’re a pretty simple elf to please. Anything else?

Oh, well, anything at the festivals, really. Ever been to a Sinoan festival before? Fantabulous stuff. Streamers n’ girls in pretty dresses n’ dancing until ya can’t stand any more. Then ya’ve got the races an’ the tournies—but don’t bother with the archery. Isalaina’s won more years in a row than I can shake a stick at. Right Queen of the Bow, she is.

Does anything ever get you down?

Me? Down? Naw.

What about angry?

When Gilbert steals my breakfast scoff! You’d be angry too if you saw the little bugger swipe it, right out from under your nose! Gets away with it half the time, too, ‘cause Mum doesn’t want scraps at the table. Except table scraps. Those are a’right.

How would you say other people view you? What kind of a person would they say you are?

Well that’s a funny question. Why not just ask other people, then?

(Laughs) Then I guess you don’t really care what other people think of you.

Never thought about it, to tell the truth. Should I?

I think you’re doing just fine the way you are.

Well then, no worries, aye! Next question!

Last one. Do you have any secrets?

Secrets? Seeeeecrets… (Strokes chin) Secrets. Hm. Well, unless ya count the scones I’ve pinched off Jaranin’s windowsill, I can’t think of any. Oh. Or the time I took Ollie’s favorite toy and buried it behind the house. Orrrr I suppose there was that time I told Jaranin to poke that bee’s hive ‘cause I wanted honey, an’ he got stung, an’ when all the grown-ups asked us who’d told him ta do it, he never ratted me out.

…Hm. Well I s’ppose they’re not secrets any more, are they? Well, then, nope, I’ve got none!

(Laughs) Thanks again, Elun. Now let’s go grab some lunch.

Supping time’s my favorite time! Off we go!

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