Category Archives: Personal Updates

[I Am] Untitled: Action and Apathy

Welcome to my UNTITLED series, where I get overly personal, melodramatic, and attempt to rage my way into self growth.

Well, I started this post a few days ago feeling fired up to actually do something instead of just talking about it. I’ve been much clearer headed and settled since coming back from Costa Rica, probably due to vacationing and feeling inspired and what I talked about in my last post.

That being said, I’m afraid I’m starting to fall into a familiar feeling: apathy. It’s usually the beginning of a mental health cycle for me, one involving depression and everything else. There’s probably no real reason for it besides yay mental health, though perhaps it’s in reaction to going back to normal life.

Since I’m trying to spin everything in a positive light, I’ve decided to look at this as practice accomplishing goals when I just feel like a numb zombie. It might even help, as I tend to be hyper-logical when I’m apathetic (even if my logic is often flawed). Apathy is usually the step before my negative-spirals, so it will be interesting when that hits.

ANYWAY. Let’s get into my three idea/ideals I talked about before and how I’m going to implement them. In case you need a reminder, they are:

  • At the end of my life I want to leave something that will benefit those who come after me in a way that’s healing, joyful, and constructive.
  • Take responsibility and find meaning in my place in the ecosystem.
  • Always be learning.

Also, I think I’ve whittled down the main barriers in the way of accomplishing these: paralysis, depression, and direction. Or maybe the third one there is the tool for how to get over the first two.

So, thinking about direction. What’s that saying about how each journey starts with one step? I think I need to start small. Not only because I get overwhelmed and paralyzed, but so that I can start building a foundation and get an idea of where tf I’m trying to go.

So. I had one idea basically fall in my lap. A coworker of mine sent me a class on Regenerative Agriculture, which basically fits into all of my Idea/Ideals: I’d be learning about ecological repair. And with my paralysis issues, I often need a kick in the pants to keep up something, which is why I love taking classes.

Unfortunately I just checked and classes have already started. Whelp. Guess I’ll be doing that one sometime later down the line…

In the same subject vein, I found an environmentally-focused podcast called “Sustainable World Radio.” I actually stumbled upon the first episode (How Mushrooms Can Save the World) a while ago and it was fantastic. It’s apparently been running since 2008, and still putting out episodes (as of Dec. 2019 anyway).

I originally started listening to podcasts because of [peer pressure and] Print Run Podcast (if you’re a writer and don’t listen to PRP, you should. Erik and Laura are funny, snarky, intelligent, and I leave every episode feeling like I’m more knowledgeable, know what’s going on with the publishing world, and how to apply it all to my writing). Sustainable World Radio came to me by way of googling environmental podcasts in one of hyper-focused moods about a year ago.

Just looking over episode titles, there’s a ton to learn (and it’s free, so, yeah). My work often has me sitting and doing mindless tasks for hours at a time, which is perfect podcast time (and I don’t lose my sanity, so bonus). That being said, I definitely have to be in a particular mind-set to be able to listen and absorb. My brain also has a habit of just deleting motivation or my ability to focus; that’s when externally-driven structure and goals are really helpful.

But I’m going to work to listen to this podcast more. There is too much free, fascinating information for me not to be taking advantage of it, even outside the world of environmentalism.

It’s a start.

I’d also like to pair this with something actionable, something I’m physically doing. This one will be more difficult for as I’m really good at sitting by myself absorbing information, not so much the applying it part. We’ll get there.

But anyway, I think this means volunteering. I talked a little bit about my all-or-nothing brain in my last post, and I’ve fallen into a similar trap here. I’ve always been so (probably selfishly) focused on getting a job in some environmentally-focused manner that all I do is apply for jobs (and, if you know anything about the PNW, everybody wants that, so, yeah). But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do anything. And if I eventually want to do something like run a nonprofit or clean up the world or whatever, I have to actually get experience in, you know, doing that. It can’t just be academic stuff in ma brain.

I am very easily exhausted and need a lot of down-time or get burned out, so I haven’t really volunteered since I was in college. I really, really don’t want to burn myself out; it’ll then be back to square one with all of this. So I’ll need to be really intentional about recovery time.

(Guh. I’m so tired of managing myself already. Why can’t I just do things without physical/mental consequences. Actually I’ll probably get more into that in a later post. ANYWAY.)

Since I am a super introvert who is connected to no one and nothing, this will require a lot of Googling to find volunteer opportunities in the area.

So far I’ve found a politically-focused environmental group of some sort, a park-building project, and a local watershed advisory council. I’m sure there are a ton that are into the city as well, but I think I’d rather stay very local first.

Anyway, I’ve reached out to all of these now to see about volunteering or projects or meetings that they have. There’s my small step for now. We’ll see how this goes.

Til next time —


[I Am] Untitled: Travel

Welcome to my UNTITLED series, where I get overly personal, melodramatic, and attempt to rage my way into self growth.

I want to address something I don’t think I fully fleshed out in my previous post. As I’ve mentioned, if I’m just a big ball o’ restless energy desiring adventure and to smash myself into a new person — why don’t I just travel for like a year or something?

Ignoring how privileged that is for a moment —

Traveling — the escape, the exposure to new things, the adventure, the opportunity to meet new people and experience new cultures — is something I’ve craved since I can remember. It’s not just something I want to do; I think adventure might be a core part of my makeup (which is funny, considering I’m so often paralyzed from even making an impromptu trip to the grocery store).

Yet I’ve always held myself back from doing something really big — like the one-way ticket to anywhere I mentioned, or signing up for AmeriCorps, or whatever. Some of this is my weird paralysis, some situational, some is trauma-related.

But now, in this moment, I tell myself I have a horde of four-legged children. I have a partner who’s attached enough to his job that he can’t/won’t drop it just because. We have familial obligations and financial concerns and things that might fall apart and —

The reality is, all of that is fear talking. All of this could be figured out, if the adventure was worth the sacrifice of stability and actually making money and whatever else.

But then, I feel like I’ve gotten past the stage of socially accepted fuck-off-and-travel age though. Like I’ve somehow wasted my early 20s being responsible and restless and going in circles. That’s a lie too; it’s never too late to travel and do whatever you want. And it is a heck of lot easier now than it’d be after owning our own house or something that would fundamentally tie us to one place. Even if it’s the wrong move, I can figure it out, and then I’d know.

I just got back from Costa Rica, and had an absolutely incredible time. We’ll be paying off the credit card for a while, but it was worth it. That country is filled with such an intensity of wildlife and color; I even enjoyed the temperature and humidity (and I am not a heat person). Being there… was a little like feeding my soul.

It struck me, that as I looked up at the stars in Costa Rica one night, the same stars I look at in the Pacific NW, how content I felt. Was it just because I was on vacation? Was it because I had the ability to stop and breathe? Was it because I’d been exploring national forests and bio-luminescent lagoons and another culture?

I still dealt with my black-hole brain and other issues while I was there, and I definitely needed recovery when I got back. But it felt like some part of me was being ‘fed.’ Like I was breathing into a space in myself I didn’t normally get to breathe into. As if a frantic space in my head finally relaxed.

Which kind of makes it sound like the answer is to my issues is travel, doesn’t it?

I’m not independently wealthy, so it’s not like it’s feasible to travel all the time, though there alternate ways of traveling. I could do what 1Bike1World does and just cycle through the continent with a cat. I could make it work, somehow, I do think that.

But I want to interrogate this idea a little more.

My desire to fling myself off a cliff is because of gnawing restlessness; adventuring and traveling seems to suit that need. But I don’t think it solves the actual problem.

I think the contentment I felt looking at the stars in Costa Rica was because I was doing something interesting. I was learning. Experiencing. Enjoying. Something I’m missing desperately in all of my life-crap. And because I feel deprived of it, it’s that much more impactful.

I think the learning and experiencing was the core of it, not wanderlust itself.

I think a big part of this acute restlessness is just my ill-content with myself and what I’m doing. Traveling may help ease the symptoms, but will it solve the actual issue? I want to try to get the core of it, not just run away.

Furthermore. There’s that saying about traveling — the one about how you leave home to find it. And I think I recognized looking at the stars in Costa Rica that I haven’t found it. I’ve found people who are home and things I like; but I want to belong to a place. I don’t think I’ve ever made a place my home before. I want… I don’t know, roots, I suppose. I want to belong somewhere and have somewhere belong to me.

I’ve always felt pulled in two directions. Half of me wants to throw off all bonds of constraint and wander and explore till I fall off the earth. But the other half of me wants this belonging.

All that being said. Now I’m going to sound like I’m reversing my position here and say that I think travel is going to be instrumental for me figuring myself out. But I don’t think it’s the answer. I need to be more intentional about it. It seems silly, but I think my head got stuck in a paralysis loop of “well if I can’t do The Big Adventure then I’m just stuck and whatever.” I got into the all-or-nothing head-space. And that’s not how it goes.

Even though part of me hates the idea that adventure has to be planned, that I have to organize around responsibilities, so really I’m walking through life dependent on other people’s whims instead of my own.

(Yeesh, all of this sounds so self-centered. I’m just getting melodramatic, as I warned you all, trying to deep dive into my f e e l i n g s.)

ANYWAY.

So travel can be a tool. Especially as it helps break through my paralysis problems. But the answer, I think, is to figure out how to craft myself and my life around things that will be fulfilling long term. Which I suppose that’s a duh, we’re all looking for fulfillment. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get to that understanding. Or maybe I knew it and just had to talk myself there.

And hey, traveling fits into my Learning Idea/Ideal I talked about in my last post. (Though, traveling via airplane or car isn’t exactly environmentally sound, which I’ve been thinking about lately.)

All right, if you’ve made it through this rambling mess a post, I congratulate you! This one kinda of stumbled around, and I’m not entirely sure I made a coherent point.

Now I’m gearing up to actually do something with all this rambling about myself. Not that I think the rambling will stop, since I overthink everything. But I’m going to try to turn the overthinking into … you know, actually doing something.

Anyway, whatever. Have some Costa Rica pictures, because it’s beautiful and wonderful there.

(You can see the full story on my Instagram if you’re interested.)

At the Manuel Antonio National Park

Some other highlights.


[I Am] Untitled: Cliffs

Welcome to my UNTITLED series, where I get overly personal, melodramatic, and attempt to rage my way into self growth.

I’m forcing myself into publishing this post, because I promised myself I would. That being said, I pretty much want to panic-delete everything I’ve written as this feels incredibly self-centered and overdramatic when there are real issues and problems in the world. But anyway. Here we go.

I want to jump off a cliff and smash myself into a different shape.

I’m starting to understand all those books like where someone decides to blow up their entire life and buy a one way ticket to literally anywhere. I feel like I’m going to come out of my skin, and for fuck’s sake, my life is fine. I even like parts of my life and my self.

I’m privileged. I have a great partner and parents. I’m thoughtful. I’m compassionate. I’m not as smart as I’d like and I wish my memory didn’t suck and

Okay, we’re getting into negatives again. I’m doing the avoiding negatives thing. *clears throat *

I had a further rant about adventure and wanting to travel (which is true, mind you) but I think there’s an underlying problem that’s more poignant: I think I want to jump off a cliff because I’m too good at making Safe Decisions. I listen when the world tells me to accept reality and learn to dream smaller. Being Safe is my default; I adapt to make myself and everyone around me the most comfortable. It’s not just a habit at this point, but a compulsion. And I think it’s slowly suffocating me.

My hope is that I don’t actually have to jump off a cliff or blow up my life to figure out how to change. (I think my partner would definitely appreciate that, and I’d rather hang on to him.) In this sense, something came up in conversation the other day that I think I can use, for my maybe-or-maybe-not cliff-jumping. The concept was:

Extroverts find adventure through people. Introverts find adventure through ideas.

I don’t know if this is wholly accurate, and honestly it doesn’t matter, because this has been stuck in my head, and this is my self-journey, damn it, I’ll discard it later if I don’t like it. Plus, this is my big Fuck You to the seeming-endless paralysis inside of me. I’ve got to start somewhere, to somehow figure out this screaming restless, so I can actually do something productive.

So. We’re going to start with: Introverts find adventure through ideas.

I’ve always been a kid who wanted to do Great Big Things, and none of what I’m doing feels big or great or even working towards that. This is not to say that I don’t take pleasure in simple things. Or that somehow it’s bad if someone isn’t “reaching for the stars.” Honestly, I have a sneaking suspicion more goddamn walks in nature might ease some of my issues. But there’s just… there’s this restless mania that I have to channel into something, and it’s not going to be “being good at office work.”

Sidebar: Maybe all of this is the dying throes of my childhood self, learning that I really can’t just save the world because I want to. Maybe I’m just a tiny, insignificant cog in the wheel of capitalist civilization, the loneliest society there is. But I think that reality might kill me.

What’s the phrase? Keep writing so reality does not destroy you?

Anyway. Let’s get back to finding adventure through living by ideas.

I want to try to break this down into something digestible, something I can try to utilize (since I am trying to make changes and not just complain my life away). I tend to overthink everything to the point of paralysis, and as mentioned in my previous post, have completely forgotten how to believe or trust in myself, so I’m really going to try not to overthink this. I am giving myself permission not to know all the answers right now.

So, I’m going to list ideas (or ideals) that I think are my core being that I actually like (or if we’re being pessimistic, three ideas that I want to represent and grow in myself) which I can use as a driving force. Then I can start to set goals or steps or I don’t even know, to try to create some sort of purposefulness in myself.

This has been noodling around in my brain somewhat, so this was actually easier than I thought to come up with some things that felt true. Despite the fact that even as I write this I’m doubting everything and I’m doing this wrong and what do I even

Hooo-kay, here we go.

Idea Numero Uno:

At the end of my life I want to be leaving something that will benefit those who come after me. In a way that’s healing, joyful, constructive.

Idea Numero Dos: (I don’t know why I’m writing in Spanglish)

Western Civilization has the notion that humanity is somehow separate and disconnected from our local and global ecosystem. Our environment has been showing us otherwise. I want to take responsibility for my place in the ecosystem.

(That means… well, it means a lot of huge things, which touch on environmentalism, sociology, politics, racism and socioeconomic issues — just to name a few. Not going to get into all of this here.)

Idea Number Three:

Never stop learning. I think stagnation — mental and otherwise — comes from a lack of learning. Knowledge can give the world. It keeps you humble and curious and alive.

Sooo. Yeah. We’ll start there, with those three. Those three big, giant… I have no idea what to do with them now… concepts. And I am absolutely not being overwhelmed, or spiraling into ‘what does this even mean,’ or wondering how this could even help me turn myself into a being that I can appreciate.

Now I just need to think on how I’m going to break up these big ideas into little goals I can actually enact. And then… somehow make myself do them. I will start working through that in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, I’m going to stare at the ceiling a while to see where it gets me.

Also, my brain has been barfing up other frustrations and randomness, all of which I’ll go into, because, as I mentioned in my previous post, I am learning to acknowledge and respect all my thoughts and feelings again, and this is how I’m doing it. By vomiting up them all in public.

Haaaaa, I’m doing it anyway, because I’m not letting myself be paralyzed by things like fear and how self-centered this is and if anyone is actually listening and the right way to run an online presence and —

Yup. Time to sign off.

Till next week everyone. Stay safe, practice compassion, do something daring.


[I am] Untitled

I’m not even sure how to start this one.

Not just because it’s been… oh, I don’t know, 9 months since I blogged last. My inspiration to share my thoughts and write in this manner just… dried up. I didn’t even feel guilty about not blogging, really. I felt like I should, and I wished I was, but I just…

Didn’t have anything to say. It didn’t even bother me that much — as much as it should. Which is the second reason I’m not sure how to start this post. Somewhere in the last year I forgot to care about my own thoughts.

I’m melodramatic; I spiral into negativity at the drop of a hat; I battle intrusive thoughts. Add in the fact that I’m working to deconstruct any -ist thinking, and it’s frightening how much of my own self I cannot trust. In trying so hard not to blow around in some emotional storm, I think I’ve caused the slow death of any kind of self-belief.

Why would my thoughts matter? Especially in a world of endless noise. Even now, I’m sneering at myself.

Most of what I do is done in rote. I write fantasy characters in screwed up situations, because I always have, and there are faint glimmers of myself in there. I edit, because that’s what I’m supposed to do next, and there’s a kind of dim pleasure in seeing things come together. I go to work, because I’m supposed do, the job isn’t hard, and making money is the only way to do anything in this world.

And then.

Recently, I had two poignant conversations that helped bring to light how well I’ve been shoving myself into a smaller and smaller box. It’s not like I’ve ever been a particularly self-confident person, but in my doubt of everything, all I’ve done is make safe decisions that make me hate myself. And I’ve got to do something to change.

I’m restless. I don’t know how to fix it.

I’m sad. I don’t know why.

I’m angry. I’m pretty sure I know that reason, but I don’t know how to release it productively.

I’m tired. I don’t know where to find energy anymore.

I’m twenty-seven-goddamn-years-old and I feel like I’m twelve and a hundred all at once. I’m paralyzed, sticking to the same elements that have made up my life so far, instead of trying to pinpoint the nebulous restlessness I can’t seem to get over. The world is f*cking on fire, and I can barely step outside the door in the morning.

So I’m making a decision. A decision I will have to make over and over and over again if I’m going to change this. I’m going to start small. I’m going start caring about my thoughts again. I’m going to be melodramatic, and vent my feelings. I’m going to be selfish, and give a shit about myself. I’m going to take time, and figure out what is wrong with me, so I can stop spiraling this slow death. I’m spending too much time keeping my pieces together to actually live.

Because at the end of this damn thing called life, I want to look back and be satisfied.

I want to know I made something better, and I didn’t just waste oxygen.

I want to build or leave or heal something wonderful, something that will help bring healing or joy or happiness to those who come after me.

Melodramatic? Sure. But maybe if I accept it, I can do something with it.

For anyone reading this and wondering what the hell to expect in this blog… well, 2020 is going to be the year I rage until I figure out how to finally take a step forward — in my dreams, my health, and my sanity. It will have to be a decision I make over and over again. And maybe you can find some comfort or truth in my stumbling attempts to figure out this bullshit.


Manuscript Update

Hello all! It’s been a while. These past several months have been an kaleidoscope of working, sickness, holidays, recovery, and writing. I am not nearly as far as I want to be for the manuscript revision/rewrite (see last blog post), but I’ve made great progress and I’m equal parts fascinated and terrified on how this story is reforming. It’s different, yet somehow more true to the original story, but really different.

And wow, that was a total lie when I said I’d be blogging more the end of 2018. Guess I fibbed that in my last post! To be honest, I rather holed up in my brain the past couple months. Not just over this project, but also due to a few health issues that arose and am now solving. Then there was the holidays… which is always way busier and less downtime than you think.

THAT BEING SAID – immediate family, partner, and I disappeared to the beach over New Years for several days. There was no cell phone service, and limited Wi-Fi — disconnecting from the world was just what the doctor ordered. I forget sometimes how much social media weighs on the brain. I’ve let it become a constant barrage of information, my go-to task when I’m not doing something, and I think it’s made my mind tired. I’m not sure exactly how to fix that problem as a writer needs to have an active social media presence — but alas.

Anyway, I’m getting off track — let’s get back to writing.

This rewrite is much darker and deeper than the manuscript before. Looking at it now, the original manuscript almost seems… shallow, in parts. Not all of that was bad, and some of it inevitable considering my writing skill at the time. But I am greatly enjoying the depth and complexity that is forming through this revision, even as I worry that it’s getting a little too heavy.

It’s equal parts weird — because this is not technically a first draft. But also incredible — because I’m finding ways to fall back in love with this story by re-imagining areas that had started to feel stale. I guess that’s why they call it a ‘revision.’

(Ha. Re-vision. I don’t think I’d thought about how accurate that word is in this moment. I am, in a lot of senses, adjusting my vision of this story. Anyway moving on — )

I’m going to write a post soon about the actual process of this rewrite, as I’ve discovered a few things I think might be interesting to y’all (particularly, writing using Google Docs, and on my phone!? I never thought I would say I’d done that). It’s coming along much slower than I would have liked (surprise, surprise), and I will definitely need to do a heavy edit once this manuscript is put back together. I’m aiming to have the big parts done by the end of January, heavy edits by February, and fine-tuning by the end of March. Which means it’ll actually be done sometime in May, but let’s not talk about that.

Then! BETA READING, MY FRIENDS!

This is something I think I lacked for the first time around with this manuscript. I had a few readers and input, but I didn’t have the sample size or input that I really should have — and needed. I’m really looking forward to getting critiques (as much as the idea of criticism makes me want to crawl into a hole) especially from from fellow writing peers and friends.

Buuut I’ve got to get this manuscript done first.

On that note, I should head back to the writing trenches. I’ve managed to do a little bit every day, and though the incremental progress is driving me crazy, it is very satisfying to see it slowly-but-surely coming together.

That’s the update, folks. Tune in soon, where I’ll talk about some interesting writing process tricks and how that’s fitting into this big ol’ messy manuscript revision.


The Frustration of Changing Writing Habits

when writing habits change.png

I’m pretty sure it’s a solid fact of humanity that we’re not very good with change. Sure, there are the exceptions. But from changes at work to changes in our own selves and relationships — especially if we’re not expecting it — change tends to make us all react in bizarre and unhelpful ways.

Writers are particularly finicky. Hell, we can broaden that statement to artists in general. A lot of us have particular elements or situations we need in order to write (like needing silence or white noise or a cup of tea handy or a particular kind of music playing). Changing or not getting a particular element can throw a writer off, terribly.

But what happens when the routine itself… changes? What happens when the tried and true methods no longer work?

I used to be able to write in almost any scenario; music always helped, and I liked to shift positions and sit weirdly all the time. But the only consistent element in my writing routine was that I worked best during late morning and late evening. I could write other times, but it was only when those particular times hit that I really got on a roll.

I’m sure you can guess my next statement.

My writing routine is changing. Heck, it’s changed. In the evenings I’m usually too exhausted to form coherent sentences, and during the late morning I’m at work, so that doesn’t work. But even before I started working full time I was noticing a shift.

I’m not sure how to pinpoint the causes. Working full time is an obvious one for part of this (equaling lack of time and exhaustion), but even going to college full time and working, I made writing happen in the snippets and furious late night sessions.

What is it about now that’s messing up everything?

Maybe this is combined with plain ol’ growing older. I’m almost 26. My brain is officially shedding any functions I don’t use often, my body is setting into a shape with a much lower metabolism, no one is really interested in my hopes and dreams so much as where I’m working and what I’m doing with my life. I have responsibilities. I can’t skip work because I don’t feel well or because I’m feeling particularly inspired by a story. I’m managing to handle my migraines and my health. I’m working on saving enough for my own place.

I’m no longer a driven, mature kid – I’m an adult and the behavior is expected of me.

It’s not exactly the thing the sparks the imagination. Between everything – pressure and responsibilities and mental issues – it’s so very easy to fall into a rut of… nothing. Daily actions repeated for necessity but no desire.

Why is being an adult so busy?

In my last Behind the Scenes in Publishing post, I touched upon how my approach to writing is shifting because of the business side of being an author has been taking up a lot of brain space lately. I think that has a part to play in my whole writing routine being messed up, too.

Struggling or being unable to write seems to be a common complaint among my fellow debute-ers. Between marketing and exposing your heart to the world with a book baby and exciti-waiting for this book thing to happen… can we really be surprised that energy level and creativity might be a little shaky?

The other day I realized I haven’t finish writing for almost three years. Besides the commission from my publisher of writing Pridem (the prequel to my Obsidian Divide series that will now be my debut), which was different because it’s short and I already knew the story. I haven’t finished anything since I signed my publishing contract, in fact, which I talk about more in depth in the above blog post I mentioned.

I’ve written quite a bit, and almost finished a few projects… almost. That scares me. I’d been consistently writing at least one book a year before that. Between focusing on learning all this marketing and working full time and various other stressors (starting with mental health and ending with plain ol’ ridiculous life situations), it feels like my writing escape is starting to become… just another stress.

A stress I highly enjoy, mind you. But the BUSINESS part of being an author has taken over my head, and it’s leaving me terrified I’ll never write a book again because I’ve always written from a place of hidden-in-my-own-world. That doesn’t really exist anymore. Maybe it can be at an idea’s inception. But at some point I have to think about selling the thing so I can keep writing. Writing isn’t just escape and satisfaction when my brain is on fire. Writing is now… creativity making a world people can escape to and maybe learn from that holds a piece of my soul.

Which means, really, that my way of approaching writing has shifted. So maybe it’s no wonder that my routine is up in the air.

I did have a bit of an epiphany the other day. And it’s a silly, simple thing, that we often hear as writing advice but I didn’t really understand until this moment.

I’ve got to figure out how to get back to writing for myself. That’s how I wrote all of my other stories. Maybe some people can, but I can’t seem to write without the passion for it. It just falls flat, boring. It also feels like pulling myself through molasses to get anything on the page.

And yeah, that ‘business’ side of writing is constantly in my head. But, as I read in an article that I now can’t find, that’s what editing is for.

I’ve got to banish thinking about genre and craft and market and character arc and just write. And then when the whole damn messy thing is out on pages, I can turn it into something that I can actually use as Professional Author.

It’s bizarre, this uneasy marriage between creativity and business. I’ve always heard of it but never realized how crippling it can be to learn how to balance it.

Anyway, I’ve somehow wandered off my original subject, writing habits — but the vomit of words above seems to have a lot to do with it. The point is, I’ve somehow got to get back to my well of creativity, and I think fostering new writing habits is key. My old writing habits have to change, for obvious practical adult-life reasons, and because I think it can nurture my creativity.

I guess my point of all of this is, maybe don’t be afraid of writing habits changing. As humans, we’re creatures of adaptation and change, our lives by very definition cannot stay the same. Maybe our writing — the content, the style, and the way we go about it — is meant to change, perhaps with each era of our lives. Be willing to try new ways of doing something.

Now… off to build new habits, inspire creativity, and make something great.


Omens of the Moon — FINAL CHAPTER of the StorySwap Adventure with KristaLyn A. Vetovich!

Fellow Glass House Press author KristaLyn A. Vetovich and I have been embarking on a story swap journey lately, both of us alternating writing sections of the same story each week. It’s been a riot, playing off of each other’s segments as we built towards the ultimate conclusion.

This idea was inspired by the full moon on January 31st: as a full moon, a blue moon, a supermoon, and a lunar eclipse, we decided our imaginations couldn’t handle all the delight. We had to write a story about it.

Now, today, we’ve finally reached the conclusion. We both decided that it would be the most fun if we each wrote our own sections — concluding this journey in our own ways and getting to see what the other envisioned in it!

If you’ve missed the previous segments, please catch up on them right here:

Part One: Gasp! The beginning! The start! The liftoff!

Part Two: Intrigue begins… mwahahahah. (Also, annoying siblings.)

Part Three: Should we believe it? Can we believe it? Do we want to believe it?

Part Four: There’s… a party? And women doctors everywhere? A blood-red moon?

And now, here, you’ll find the conclusion — but only the one I wrote. You’ll have to jump to Kristalyn’s blog to be able to see her alternate ending (I’m so excited to read it oh my god!)!

 

22

        Trevor woke up and managed to peel back his eyelids to stare at the ceiling. The sun shone through the window he’d forgotten to shut last night; it looked to be pretty late in the morning already.

        There was a thunk, followed by muttering voices. That’s what had woken him, he thought.

        He squeezed the bridge of his nose, trying to release the tension behind his eyelids. He wasn’t hungover, but he’d slept like crap. Vivid dreams he could barely remember.

        Last night, they’d watched the eclipse, seen the moon turn red… then it’d slowly started turning white again. There was a pretty sizeable chunk of white visible by the time people started heading home or crashing on Sophia’s small living room floor. Trevor didn’t really remember going to bed. He’d been pretty exhausted.

        Outside the small guest room he heard the front door open and close, then soft padding feet back to Sophia’s room – probably his sister herself.

        He felt funny. Desperately needing water, for one.

        With a groan, he rolled out of the bed and grimaced through a dizzy spell. Maybe he had drank too much…?

        He cracked open the door and stared down the hall. There was some rustling. Nervous about accidentally stumbling upon someone trying to change clothes or something, he headed to the bathroom instead and drank from the faucet.

        Wow, he was really thirsty. It seemed to take forever, and he only stopped because he wasn’t sure he could swallow more without becoming ill.

        After rinsing his face in the sink, he looked into the mirror and paused.

        His face looked different… gaunt, or something. Shaking his head, he left the bathroom, glancing down to see Sophia’s bedroom door open. He could see the bed through opening; his sister was lying on her back, arm thrown over her face.

        He padded down the hallway. “You okay?”

        “Yeah. Just feel like shit. You?”

        Sophia lifted her arm and looked at him. She frowned, just as Trevor did the same, alarmed — her cheeks seemed sunken, the dark circles under eyes stark. Just like he did, in the mirror…

        “We look like crap.”

        Sophia nodded minutely. Something passed between them; a tingle that spread down Trevor’s spine. Something was wrong.

        The feeling of wrongness only increased as time crept into afternoon. Sophia’s friends who’d slept at her place had left back to their own homes. All looking sick and much too tired. Trevor and Sophia spent the morning cleaning again, almost silently, finally collapsing on the couch.

         “Netflix?” Trevor asked.

        Sophia pursed her lips, then nodded. It took a few moments for Trevor to convince his legs to work and find the controller to start up Netflix on his sister’s PS3. It was his old one; all she really did on it was binge Netflix and maybe replay epic fantasy games she never finished.

        It was hard to concentrate. Which was bizarre, because his brain felt like mush and it should’ve been easy. Instead he kept getting up from the couch with no idea why… pacing randomly… and then sitting down again.

        It didn’t help Sophia was doing the same thing.

        “You don’t have work today?”

        “No, not till tomorrow.”

        Trevor attempted to stop drumming his fingers against the armrest. “I’m going to get my phone,” he muttered.

        “Oh, get mine too.”

        Sighing loudly, he did as she asked, bringing back both devices. Sophia’s was fully charged, but Trevor had forgotten to plug his in last night and it was completely dead. He frowned at that. He was pretty sure he’d been at least half-charge before he’d gone to sleep.

        “Think my phone is going shot.”

        Sophia was frowning at hers. “Look at this…”

        Trevor leaned over to see Sophia’s phone had dozens of messages on them.

        “Popular.” He rolled his eyes.

        “No, look.” She stabbed her finger on the date at the top of the phone.

        It took a second for Trevor to comprehend what she was going on about. March 2nd, the phone read. Her messages were from her friends, alerting her of that fact.

        “Isn’t it February 1st? What’s wrong with your phone?”

        Trevor’s buzzed, alerting him it was turning back on. He waited patiently, unable to help but glance at the date on his phone too.

        March 2nd

        “It must be a cell tower screw up.”

        Sophia didn’t answer. She was scrolling through her messages. The furrow between her brows deepened as she scrolled.

        “Has something happened?”

        Sophia pulled up her news app, and clicked on the latest broadcast. Trevor’s eyebrows went up at the title: “A month passes while we sleep.”

        “Huh?”

        The news broadcaster’s voice erupted out of Sophia’s phone: “Scientists across the globe are now confirming that the planet has shifted forward an entire month’s time, leaving us all to wonder: what happened while we slept?”

        Trevor snorted. “Wow, the news has really gone downhill.”

        A new face appeared on screen, with astronomer’s credentials scrolling underneath his head: “We all noticed that the sun rose earlier and the weather seemed different, but we didn’t really put together what was going on until we noticed the stars. Their positions were completely off from the night before. We started looking at data, trying to figure out what happened… and it doesn’t make sense, but our telescopes have catalogued an entire month’s worth of data in a night.”

        The news broadcaster appeared back on screen. Trevor noticed, with a shiver down his spine, that he looked a bit haggard too, even under all that makeup. “Astronomers aren’t the only ones noticing this phenomenon. Computer programmers and modelers at MIT left their machines on last night, and came back this morning to find an entire month’s worth of data had been processed and completed.”

        “What the crap…” Trevor muttered.

        Sophia abruptly locked her phone and set it down. She stared at the opposite wall while Trevor watched, seemingly without moving. Then she took a breath and seemed to relax.

        “Yeah. There’s no way a month has passed, because we’d all be dead: the body cannot survive without food or water for that long. And our muscles would have started to atrophy.”

        “You weren’t actually considering…”

        “This is like some War of the Worlds crap. It’s a hoax.”

        Trevor rolled his eyes. “Trust you to reference a ‘30s radio broadcast.”

        Sophia smirked.

        “But what are we really thinkin’? Fairies?” Trevor made a dramatic show of leaning back against the couch and staring at his sister as if he was serious. But her expression didn’t change, and Trevor felt a pit grow in his stomach.

        “What did you see at the ocean yesterday?”

        Sophia was apparently reading his mind, now.

        “Something,” he hedged. She scowled at him.

        “It was like… a finned… humanoid… fish-person.”

        Her eyebrows rose. “Like a mermaid?”

        He winced. “Yeah, but kinda scary, and no red hair or seashell bras.”

        “So, like a water fae.” His sister’s voice was flat.

        “That’s… not… no.” Trevor shook his head, smacking his fist down on the couch. “We’ve got to stop this, this is how the witch hunts began – because people just didn’t know the science behind what they thought was magical.”

        “And because politics,” Sophia muttered.

        They both sat there in silence. Trevor made himself stop drumming his fingers when he realized that he was mimicking his sister – even her posture.

         “Let’s get dressed and go to the ocean,” Trevor said.

        “Yeah.” By her tone, she paralleling what he was thinking, too. “Let’s go.”

 

        The ocean looked like it did every day. Maybe a little grey, as it was drizzling on this… March… day.

        Sophia had almost her entire face tucked in her coat, her eyes scanning the ocean and piers as they slowly walked. It was almost entirely vacant today; Trevor only saw a group of high schoolers out here kicking at rocks. Apparently school was out.  

        They went back to the pier… the pier. Trevor stared down at the water, seeing shadows in the water and the waves. They were quiet for a long while, until Trevor swallowed any sense of embarrassment and crouched down.

        “Hey,” he said to the water. “We’re here again. Can you talk?”

        Sophia snickered. He shot her a look. After howling at the moon last night she had no room to talk.  

        Sophia suddenly jolted, and Trevor almost had a panic attack.

        “Phone is ringing,” she muttered as she pulled it out of her pocket. “Crap, it’s the hospital.”

        What followed was a conversation Trevor had heard many times before: Sophia was needed at the hospital.

        “Come on,” she muttered.

        “I might stay. It’s not a far walk back to your apartment.”

        She frowned at him.

        “I need the air,” he said.

        He could tell Sophia didn’t want to leave him, but she finally did. More because she had to leave more than actually acquiescing to his desire. He watched her little car pull away, and then turned back to the water.

        “Okay, she’s gone. Now will you come out?”

        Trevor half expected something to happen. He waited fifteen minutes, staring down at the place he’d seen the… sea-creature, before, just to prove it to himself. Nothing showed up.

        Satisfied, his shoulders finally relaxing, he took a deep breath. And smiled a little.

        He had no idea what just happened with the moon and a month passing in a night and all the rest; he should have been more freaked by this. Something was badly wrong, even his gut was telling him so. But maybe he’d try to figure it out. Maybe he’d become a scientist, or an astronomer, or a climatologist…

        Trevor almost leapt out of his skin as someone walked right next to him. It was a young man, probably same age as him, and stood uncomfortably close. He stood and stared down at the water too. Trevor felt the trepidation crawl into his stomach again.

        “Uh, hi?”

        The boy – maybe he was younger than Trevor – flashed him a shy smile. “Hi. I’ve seen you here before.”

        What the hell? “Oh?”

        Another, shyer, smile. But the vivid green and blue eyes of the boy met Trevor’s for a second, and it jolted from his head to his stomach… and lower.

        “Maybe I shouldn’t say. I’m not good at etiquette yet. I’m not sure what offends… or comes across as bad.”

        There was something so incredibly earnest and vulnerable in everything about this boy that it almost cancelled out of the alarm blaring in the back of Trevor’s head. Almost.

        “Who are you?”

        “Tim… moth… ee? Yes, Tim-moth-ee That’s my name.”

        It took Trevor a second. “Timothy?”

        The boy’s face lit up. “Yes. That one. Thank you for the correct pronunciation.”

        Good Christ. Trevor needed to get out of here.

        “Okay, well. It’s great to meet you but I’ve got to go, uh. Goodbye.” He started backwards.

        The boy’s face fell. “I have frightened you. I am sorry.” He hunched, stared back down at the water, the picture of dejection.

        Trevor hesitated. Damn it, he should just leave. He felt a little better, now that he was a few steps away and the boy – Timothy – wasn’t in his personal space.

        “How did you see me here before, uh… you live around here?”

        A shy nod. “Yes, though… recently moved a little closer.”

        Alright, new kid. That might explain some of it. Maybe he just didn’t know ‘social norms’ like everybody else yet. Trevor started feeling bad. He stepped back up to the end of the pier next to him, ignoring the alien-ness that seemed to be wafting out of the boy. I’m a jerk, he thought. Just because he seemed a little different…  

        “So, what school are you attending then?” Wow, awkward conversation starter of the year goes to…

        “Oh, none yet.” The words spilled out of him, Timothy. “I need to be better at… fitting in, first.”

        Trevor’s gut cramped. “Alright, I get that. I don’t fit well myself.” What on earth possessed him to say that? Sure, he was the loner of his high school, but he just blurted it out.

        “I know. It’s why I… it’s why I wanted to talk to you.” It was spoken soften, like in a confessional. “Maybe you’d… talk to me back.”

        Okay, he didn’t know how Timothy knew that, and it was a bit creepy. Instead he just shrugged.

        “Well, here I am.”

        Timothy seemed to shake himself, or straighten – it was hard to tell really out of the corner of Trevor’s sight.

        “Will you take me places? I mean – can we be friends? I’d like to learn… I need to learn how to fit in better, and you’re talking to me. I-I’ll repay you how I can, I mean.”

        Trevor turned and looked at Timothy, trying to gauge the kid. “You don’t have to repay me. I don’t know how well I’ll help you fit in though.”

        ‘Smile’ wasn’t the right word to describe what overtook Timothy’s face – it was more like every part of him lit up.

        “I may ask silly questions. I’m bound to, really.”

        Trevor shrugged again. “Okay.”

        “Can you… promise me something?”

        Trevor frowned. “Uh, well. Tell me it first.”

        Timothy stepped closer again – uncomfortably close, again.

        “Can you promise me that if I do or say something weird you’ll tell me? And explain why?”

        Trevor opened his mouth to response flippantly but made himself stop. He thought about it seriously for a moment before nodding. “Yeah, I can do that.”

        Timothy wrinkled his nose and practically squirmed in place. It was… cute. “Thank you. You don’t know how happy that makes me.”

        “Okay, well. What do you want to do first?”

        “Explain to me how to express gratitude.”

        Okay, Trevor understood how he got there, but still… “Uhm.”

        Timothy smiled widely, almost obscenely so. Before Trevor could really react, Timothy leaned forward and kissed him fully on the mouth, his lips soft but firm before he pulled away. Trevor could have sworn he was straight… but that half-second kissing this strange boy made him doubt it.

        Timothy settled back down onto his heels, his green-blue eyes bright as he continued to grin. “Can we see the town first maybe? I haven’t had time to really look around.”   

        “Uh. Sure…wait. What?” Trevor’s head began to spin and he could feel color rising in his face. “Did… did you just… ”

        The obscene smile made a reappearance on Timothy’s face, a little less wide this time. The smile slowly faded into worry as Trevor’s blank look held the awkward silence.

        “That was not gratitude, was it?”

        Trevor exhaled, fully realizing the harsh heat that had taken over his face.

        “It was. I mean, is. I mean…” he stopped. The quizzical, almost crushed look in the face looking at him was…

Trevor had to explain. Somehow.

        “Just don’t do that to strangers. Only people you’re really really close to. Like, not someone you just met on the beach.”

        Timothy nodded, very seriously.

        God, Trevor wasn’t sure he was up to this. “I can… show you — the town, I mean. The town.” What was he getting himself into?

        Timothy practically bounced in place. “Where to first?”

        Trevor tried to think about what to actually do around here, feeling woefully inadequate. “There’s not much to do… ”

        Small beach town… beside tourist crap stuff, it was mostly what you made of it.

        Timothy nodded eagerly. “Whatever you think is best, yes.”

        Trevor awkwardly turned, thinking about what Sophia might have to say about this… but started walking anyway, Timothy practically tripping on his heels. He watched the strange boy out of the corner of his eye, who skipped really more than walked.

        Trevor turned looked at him fully. Timothy turned as well, the movement seeming more like instinct than intent, and a gleam of gold seemed to wash over his eyes, disappearing into the blue-green. Trevor swallowed, hard. He didn’t even have to think about it: how close that color was to the eyes of the creature he’d seen in the ocean. That gold color was the exact same as the creature he’d seen in the water.

        Trevor turned away and stared ahead, sightlessly. He wasn’t even surprised, he realized. He’d known. He knew.

        “I’m not going to find myself stuck in some time warp, am I?” he asked, half-terrified and half-joking, thinking about fairy hills and the myths of being stuck dancing for centuries.

        “Oh, no. I won’t do that to you. You’re being so kind. Besides, that part is over. It was only meant to make sure we had time to get settled.”

        Trevor shut his eyes, longer than a blink. “Oh.” His voice was strangled. “Just that then.”

“Yes, just that,” Timothy said, relieved-sounding. “We just needed time. We have to help, you know. To start teaching you… to save all of us.”

        Trevor met the green-blue-gold eyes of figure who walked beside him, feeling like he couldn’t really breathe. They were serious, those eyes.

        “You see me, yes? I knew you would.” 

Trevor swallowed, hard.

“We’re all going to help each other. You’ll see. I want to show you. You’ll see.” Timothy sounded so earnest, so worried.

The sound of their footsteps changed as they moved from pier onto the asphalt of the road leading into town, muffled against the different material. Timothy just kept watching him with wide eyes that were so very, very vivid.

Trevor had never seen eyes the color of the boy walking beside him.

Even then, with stark clarity, Trevor knew he had no idea what he was getting into. It didn’t slow down how headlong he fell into everything that came after.

 

Well then… there we are. I really hope you enjoyed this journey with KristaLyn and I! It was a lot of fun to write, to be honest. And I’m already thinking about how I might include Trevor and Sophia in future writing journeys. 

Please head over to KristaLyn’s blog and show her some love!

And if you liked any of our writing, we both have novels coming out this Fall through Glass House Press! You can best keep up with my updates through my newsletter here, and KristaLyn has a fantastic newsletter as well. 

Thank you again for reading our moon-magic adventure! 


Omens of the Moon – A Story Swap with KristaLyn A. Vetovich – Part 2: “26 Hours Until”

As I mentioned last Wednesday, fellow Glass House Press author KristaLyn A. Vetovich and I have decided to engage upon a storyswap! We were inspired by the moon on the 31st of this month — it’s not only a full moon and a blue moon, but a super moon and a lunar eclipse as well. Our imaginations went a little wild and we decided it was a little too good to pass up as a story.

The lovely KristaLyn was so kind as to start us out on this writing adventure, the first segment of which can be found here. I’ve taken inspiration from her beginning and continued below…

22.png

Trevor stood on the boardwalk, throwing bits of lint from his pocket into the water, long after his fingers and toes turned numb with cold. Most everyone else had cleared out of the biting weather, with nothing much of interest out here besides the creaking metal and rhythmic waves. Trevor looked up again into the gaze of the waxing moon, deceptively full-looking, until another set of clouds shifted and covered the view. He took a deep breath of the biting air —

And saw her a second before she spoke, barely managing not to jump out of his skin.

“I still don’t know why you come out here.”

Trevor rolled his eyes to cover up the adrenaline surge, refusing to show she got the jump on him. “I still don’t know why you follow me out here.”

“I didn’t follow. I made an educated guess.”

Trevor’s big sister slowly came into view, bundled in a green coat over her bright pink scrubs from work. Their parents continually insisted that she’d been taken more seriously as a doctor if she wore blue scrubs like everyone else, to which she always wrinkled her nose and with eyes like steel said, ‘They’ll only make that mistaken once, not taking me seriously because of a color.’ Her hair was a mess and she looked exhausted, but she grinned when he looked at her.

“You look like crap,” he muttered. “How was the hospital?”

“The usual approaching a full moon. The ER is swamped. They sent all the interns home so we can be fresh for tomorrow, when it’ll be worse.” She reached him, gazing up into the sky like he had been. “Did you know that’s where the word ‘lunatic’ came from? Luna-tic, moon-crazy. The full moon has been making people erratic since forever.”

“I’m not being erratic,” Trevor muttered.

His sister side-eyed him. “I wasn’t saying you were. Though nice defensiveness there.”

Trevor drug a hand through his hair with a jerk. He couldn’t tell by looking at her how much she’d heard from their parent. She was always so good at being impossibly, always, upbeat. Which was misleading, really, because she also had the most perverse sense of humor of anyone he’d known.

Sophia turned back to the sky; some of the clouds had shifted a little and a part of the moon was visible again. “I asked the nurses if the super moon will be worse than a normal full moon, but I got varying answers on that.” She glanced at him, and he stayed mute. She continued: “I also found out today that a true blue moon isn’t actually a second moon in a month; that’s more common than a traditional blue moon, which is the fourth moon in a season. Which is a lot rarer.”

Trevor sighed reluctantly. At least she wasn’t asking about what had happened a few hours ago. “So is this a true blue moon or not?”

“I don’t think it is.”

Trevor smirked. Ha, he thought. It wasn’t even a real blue moon. The ‘doomsday-ers’ were even more wrong.

Sophia walked out onto the pier that was closest to them, and with a groan of effort, sat down with her feet dangling over the water. He made a face and followed.

“Isn’t that cold?”

“Better than standing. My feet are dying.”

“Don’t you have a car you could be sitting in?”

Sophia paused for a beat before shifting back on her hands and staring up into the sky again. “So, traditionally, the full moon was the time that the ‘good people’ came out to enact revenge on us mortals. What mischief do you think they’ll enact tomorrow?”

Trevor huffed. “’Good people’?”

Sophia grinned wickedly. “Fairies. That’s how you don’t offend them, you know. Call them ‘good people.’”

Trevor rolled his eyes again. “You’re ridiculous.”

She suddenly brightened. “Or, maybe the full moon will kidnap someone.”

“What?”

“Supposedly she’s done that before, to people who displease her.”

Trevor wracked his brain, trying to remember any folklore he’d heard about that, but came up empty. The only thing he could remember about the full moon was stuff about werewolves.

“Then again, tomorrow is an eclipse, which is a whole new barrel of fish. Gods will battle, the moon will be swallowed, and we’ll have to scare the monsters away by being as loud as we can.”

Trevor submitted to defeat, sighing heavily as he dropped next to her. Damn, the wood was freezing. And the water licked at his boots, as his legs were longer than hers. It seemed more turbulent than usual right underneath them both, breaking against the wooden legs of the pier in violent crashes. The moon did pull harder on the tides during a super moon…

Sophia smiled sweetly at him when he sat, and Trevor scowled.

“For someone into science, you sure know a lot about ‘magic,’” he quipped.

“I’m multi-faceted, what can I say.”

Trevor hunched against the cold, shivering again. “You didn’t have to come out here.”

Sophia leaned her head against his shoulder. “Yeah I did.”

“You should go.”

She let out a yawn, snuggling up against his side. “I’m good.”

Trevor stared down at the churning water, feeling guilty. He should go home, apologize, make up with his parents, smooth everything over. Sophia wouldn’t go home until he did. She was 8 years older than him, in the middle of her intern year, and swamped with work. But she was always by his side at the drop of a hat.

Trevor’s throat swelled. He kissed the top of her head before he knew what he was doing, and Sophia’s head turned, her eyes wide.

“Did I just get affection out of you?”

“Shut up.”

“You did! I’m so proud of you!” She practically squealed, her arms suddenly around him like a vice.

“Jesus Christ, get off…” Trevor half-heartedly shoved at her, turning his face away to hide the smile.

Before they could react, the water bulged upwards with a rush, soaking them to their knees and nearly spilling onto the pier itself.

Trevor and Sophia bolted to their feet with shrieks. Trevor looked up and down the boardwalk: all along the shore, the water was retreating back from the sudden surge. Panting, his skin prickled, his legs frozen into icicles.

“What the…”

“Good god that’s cold…”

The waves were perfectly calm now, lapping idly around the pier. The legs of Sophia’s pink scrubs were dark, almost maroon, sticking to her legs. Trevor stepped forward a few steps, scanning the water and now shaking with cold.

“Do you think – ”

Sophia’s words stopped with a gasp; Trevor lurched backwards: something moved around the legs of the pier. A long, sheer fin broke the surface, weaved between the pier posts, before disappearing below again.

“What was that?” she breathed, and crouched to peer down into the depths. “An eel? Was that an – holy crap, I think that’s a jellyfish!”

Trevor didn’t know how he’d missed it before — a gigantic jellyfish floated just beyond the reach of the pier, almost glowing faintly in the darkness. Its head was almost as big as a dinner plate, dozens of tentacles disappearing downwards, it’s body a myriad of white, blue, pink, and clear. His mouth almost dropped open. He’d never seen one so big and alive before. He moved forward instinctively, grasping Sophia’s shoulder, ready to pull her back.

The water shuddered … ripples fanned outwards from the bank… across the water, and disappearing against the usual incoming waves. Trevor’s breath froze in his lungs as a series of glowing shapes pulsed in the dark depths, like a response.

Trevor jerked Sophia back, the hair on his body standing on end. “We should go.”

“Yeah, humans who mess with fairies don’t usually end up on the right side of history,” Sophia said, her voice shaking.

“That’s not funny.”

They backed up slowly, holding onto each other, staring out in the dark. Once they reached the edge of pier, off the boardwalk, with land solidly beneath their feet, they both collectively stopped. Both Trevor and Sophia’s breathing was quiet as they stared out, gazes flicking over the dark waves.

Trevor felt his shoulders slowly relax a little as time ticked by. The ocean’s normal grace had returned: saltwater roar, rhythmic ebbing and flowing of the waves.

“There’s marine life that glows,” Sophia muttered, breaking the quiet. “But this close to the shore?”

“Is there supposed to be a storm? Pushing anything inland?” Bizarre things washed up on shore sometimes, but that was usually after a storm.

“Maybe…”

Trevor and Sophia slowly let go of each other. Sophia looked up at him, solemn now. “We should go home.”

The heaviness from the fight with his parents returned with a crash. Trevor clenched his teeth and stuffed his hands into his pockets. “I don’t know if I can – ”

“Come home with me. You can sleep on my couch.”

Trevor’s head came up, his heart leaping with relief for a second. “I couldn’t ask you that.”

Sophia glanced towards the ocean, and trepidation prickled up Trevor’s spine again. Sophia took his arm, pulling him towards the parking lot. Her little car was parked not far away.

“You haven’t heard my conditions yet.”

Trevor narrowed his eyes.

Sophia smiled a little evilly. “I never have time to do anything around my apartment, so this is perfect. In trade for staying, you clean my place from top to bottom. I want it spotless when I get home tomorrow. You’ll have the whole day, because I probably won’t get home until the wee morning hours.”

Trevor groaned, dragging his feet.

She made a little skipping movement. “It’ll be perfect! I’ll get back in time for us to watch the eclipse together! We can both be sleep deprived for the end of the world.”

Trevor made a sound that couldn’t decide if it was a laugh or a snort.

“And, if the world doesn’t end, we’ll work something out until you get your feet under you. You can stay as long as you want, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting a free ride.”

“Mom and dad – ”

“Can deal. You turned 18, you didn’t suddenly develop adulting superpowers.” There was steel in her voice, but Trevor didn’t really think it was directed at him. “You’re allowed to not know what you’re doing, but you can’t just do nothing.”

They reached her car, and Trevor slipped into her car and away from the ocean wind in relief. Sophia was quiet as she started up the engine, her gaze scanning across the water in front of them before she twisted to watch as she backed up.

Trevor was quiet too, stuffing down a different relief that he didn’t have to go ‘home’ tonight. Sophia’s little car picked up speed down the road, and he gazed out the window, eyes drawn to the water. It dawned on him then that the ocean was in sight the entire way to her apartment. It suddenly seemed ominous.

He mentally shook himself. The ridiculous newspaper and far-fetched theories had obviously gotten to him; there was a perfectly rational explanation for what had just happened. Trevor just needed to figure out what it was. His eyes remained fixed to the ocean, annoyed yet unable to stop watching for those glowing lights.

 

… enjoy this segment, curious to see what happens next? Head over to KristaLyn’s blog and give ‘er a follow for the next part this coming Wednesday!


New Year, New Launch

A New Year... A New Launch

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018.

This can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For me, ’18 doesn’t exactly look like it’s going to be much better in terms of my country devolving into a Tyrannical State, but there’s something about a new year that gives hope anyway. It may not reflect reality; it may be a false sense of positive change. Yet we all need reset times to take a breath and settle ourselves.

So, to everyone out there wishing and feeling hope for a better year, you got it. I believe in you. I hope this is the reset you need to accomplish your goals and dreams, and that you are able to forge a better world, because we’re going to need you, your voice, your power.

2018 is also different and special for me because my debut novel is set to be published in Fall. It’s the first in an alternate-history fantasy, following a headstrong and a little bit broken girl as she searches for secrets and truth. (A bit more about it here.) Because of this, several things are happening.

To begin with, I’m launching a new blog series of author interviews. I’m a part of a group of those who debut this year, and we’re all trying to support and boost each other. It will be called “Debut Authors ’18 Interviews” and will detail all sorts of talented writers and fascinating stories. (By the way, know someone awesome debuting this year, particularly in my genre or age group? I would love to host them!) So you’ll be seeing a lot more posts from me with author interviews, alongside my normal posts and less-often series, Behind The Scenes of Being Published, which has been detailing my publishing journey so far.

On this first day of 2018 I also sow the seeds of another new launch. My newsletter is officially starting up. With my debut coming, it’s time I start teasing you all with exclusive first-looks at the upcoming cover, sneak-peaks into the characters and world, and extra content that doesn’t make it into the book but is too good not to share.

All of that will be accessed through my newsletter, where I will keep you all entertained with my writing and behind-the-scenes stories of my author adventures.

If you’re not familiar with my writing, you can get a taste through a few short stories I’ve posted. Here, you can find a story of yanking someone back from the brink of death. Here, you can read a story of two civilizations meeting. Both are myth and magic, and both are a little dark (all like me). My debut takes place in the same world as that first story; the main character you’ll end up meeting soon in the series as well.

SO. Like my writing, think my debut series sounds interesting, want an exclusive first-look at my upcoming cover?

 

Here is the sign-up form for my newsletter.

 

I hope your 2018 is starting off well, and I wish you all the best health, happiness, and success as the year moves forward. 


ICARUNITE; a short story

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A few weeks ago I was invited by the amazing Nicole Evans to write a short story for Muse in Pocket, Pen in Hand, a talented collection of writers chasing their muses and finding their voices through writing short stories inspired by prompts.

The short story that arose was published last Friday, inspired by the prompt “The Last Entry in an Explorer’s Journal.”

My first thought was to write a short story within my Obsidian Divide series, because, well, there’s a lot going on in that world and it would be fun. But in the first two days I realized that wasn’t going to work… and completely changed over to write within another series I’m working on.

This other series I’m struggling with, because it has many themes, tropes, and ideas that are pretty big concepts. Just dealing with one of the issues I address is work enough. But within the story I’m dealing environmentalism, how it intersects with race, the relationship between “developed” and “developing” civilizations, how this fits together, and what a relationship across those divides really should mean. Then add in the fact that it’s New Adult, which means the series is about a character learning how she fits into the world, which is always hard. Oh, and as stories do, other issues are appearing out of the ether, such as white saviorism, how perspectives change across generations, and what the slow build of societal change really looks like.

It’s all very complicated. Which is why, in a weird way, I was so grateful to be invited to write for Muses — beyond just the honor of being asked to write for them. Within the short story I was able to delve into a critical point of backstory, and realized that part of my frustration with this series stems from vagueness. Writing this short story forced me to ask questions I hadn’t thought to ask, bringing clarity and further structure to the world (even within issues that don’t directly come up in the short story itself).

It was a struggle to avoid typical colonialism tropes (you’ll see why), and build a story  fueled with wonder and optimism without falling into exoticism or unreality. I’m not sure I entirely accomplished it, though I’m sure everyone will have a differing opinion on the matter.

ANYWAY. Without further ado, go check out what I wrote. And hey, if you feel up to it, let me know what you think…

P.S. Also, thank you to Jared for helping me figure out the name of ‘The Mineral’ 😉