Soundtrack: Creep – Radiohead
Current Reading: The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty– GJ Meyer
Our amazing admin has done it again with our weekly writing prompt. So this week she tagged one of my favorite and very personal songs. Granted, this was completely unknowing on her part but still…let me see if I can translate this message to all of you. Today’s response brought to you by the Figment will not be fiction or a slice of life post from characters my readers know and love but rather…a very different take on my blog.
Being highly creative can add so many things to your life but; in the same vein; it can also prove to challenging to keep and maintain friendships. In a way, it makes you feel like an outcast and so often misunderstood. Creativity by its very nature causes you to see the world with the creator’s own, unique spin. That spin is hard for people to follow sometimes. I spent a great deal of time feeling like I did not really belong anywhere. Part of that feeling was maturity, part still trying to understand what this spark, this drive was inside me. I honestly don’t believe I truly understood it until I was in my late twenties.
A creative drive is difficult for partners, friends, or family to understand if they don’t have one or if theirs beats to a different drum than your own. And, for those of us that are creative, the challenge lies in showing our loved ones that without feeling like we’re being attacked for whatever our journey or process may be or the struggle to find the words to describe something that just is. We try to justify our raison d’etre if I remember my French right.
Creativity is hard to define. If you’re someone who is constantly in creative motion, like I am, that explanation is even more difficult because you feel like you’re constantly on the move from one idea to the next. There really is not a way for me to turn it off or to stop writing. I once told someone that I spent too many years waiting for someone to give me permission to be me. That is more true than I can ever express in this blog or anywhere for that matter.
Stopping the train so to speak is akin to not breathing for me. I have to create. I have to write or I’m unhappy. I have to check out from the world for a little while and into the world I’ve created. It’s necessary to me. That lesson took a long time and weeding through a lot of people who didn’t fit me to learn. For me, the ideas never really seem to stop slowing down; I can and do pull things out of absolutely nowhere. I get inspired by a song, an image, a snapshot. Do I get writer’s block? Sure, but usually not for too long. Usually another little muse hops her happy self up and says “Did you think about this?”
Personally, I’m often cautioned to slow down. One of my previous blog posts talked about taking the time to savor the triumph of the moment. Celebrating that now is always a pain in th ass for me because, well, that next big idea is around the corner knocking. In my life I have only come across one person that truly understands that drive for me to move from one idea to the next and, surprisingly, that person is not my spouse. Don’t misunderstand me, I think if I married someone who mirrored my drive to create and tell stories, we would drive each other crazy. My husband is absolutely amazing about understanding this need I have to fulfill. In fact, Birth of Light would not have seen the light of day without his gentle prodding and confidence in me.
Lately, with Light’s Guide on the horizon for publication, I’ve been thinking about the next book, doing a little side writing with the man who “loves to watch the process” (His words, not mine.) and doing my writing for The Figment. This keeps me happy but I know the saga of Maeseloria is going to continue. The ride is far from over yet. For series writers that might catch this, does anyone else get the inevitable “how many books is it going to be” question?
What inspires you? Do your ideas ever give it a rest? Do you find yourself in constant motion and waiting for everyone else to keep up? Do you feel like you leave other people in the dust? If you do, hey, you aren’t alone and time will bring people to you that either a) get it or b) are patient enough to understand you and give you the space you need to spin your world.
So, with that being said, discussion is totally welcome and another warm thanks to our hostess with the mostest at The Figment.
Soundtrack Provided by: Master of Tides – Lindsey Stirling
Current Reading: The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty– GJ Meyer
Hello everyone! This week’s post is brought to you by the lovely folks at The Figment. This week’s prompt was the following image:
Can I just say how awesome it is to be challenged to think outside the creative box? So I kept looking and looking at this photo and tried to figure out where it put my head. Here goes….
The tides of darkness had receded in the North. Her arrival brought not only Hope but a will that seemed stronger than steel. With winter’s thaw, joy returned to her little corner of the realm. Tatiyana Jade watched the revelers with a small smile. The Adryn season was upon them and this celebration in Lochton was the first of its kind in nearly a century. As the reigning noble female of the North, the townspeople insisted that she be crowned Queen of the Festival. In their eyes, it was she that brought the Light back to the North. By these people, she was accepted in ways she never had been in the capital.
Tanya felt that at five foot two; she hardly held any regal bearing and certainly none of the grace Christiana Morningstar seemed to be blessed with. Among her family, she often felt like the outsider due to not only her stature but her frank way of handling her affairs. Surprisingly, Tanya was not upset but that development in her life. In a way, her distance from the capital, the very heartbeat of their realm, was soothing to her. For her, the realm’s heartbeat was in the mountains where she grew up, these foothills and the port town of Lochton. Tanya gave a polite smile and waved another reveler intent on dancing with her away.
So lost in her own thoughts, she did not see one of the revelers break away from the crowd and come to her side. “I have not danced at an Adryn festival in more than a century. Please humor me…” Her masked admirer begged. An ash blonde brow quirked as Tanya met his eyes. With the amused expression, a challenging sparkle came to her eyes. She too was masked and crowned as queen of the fete. The man behind the mask was not unknown to her, after all. The amusement in his emerald eyes brought a smile to hers.
“Now why would I humor you, beloved?” She teased him. As was typical of her, the holy blade Hope was strapped her hip. She was clothed in a snug pair of black pants and an auburn blouse. Her ash to gold shaded hair was pulled up in a loose topknot that left a few tendrils framing her delicate features. Once, not long ago, a well-meaning member of nobility compared her to a tiny doll because her features and stature were so fine-boned. Tanya did not take the comment as a compliment. Though she was tiny and doll-like she had a warrior’s pride, after all.
“Because you can deny me nothing, my little warrior.” His voice pitched low enough to draw a shiver from her. Dominic Devereaux smiled at her. The smile hid his fangs but did not hide the warmth he felt when he saw her. He could hear the thoughts rambling through her head as if they were his own because of the bond Nicholas Taltos had been able to bless them with. And because you look too blasted breathtaking tonight…if one more towns person offers to abscond with you…I may not be responsible for my actions.
Her laughter was music to his ears and with a smile, she surrendered to his request. Dominic steered her into the gathering crowd and fell easily into a step he thought he had forgotten years ago. “Follow me.” He whispered and danced with her. The dance was lively and joyous. “I will draw you out of that mood yet.” Dominic flashed a warm smile as they moved down the row of revelers arm in arm. “You will be enough for them, I promise you.”
He addressed her concerns long before she could voice them. This was rather typical of their bond. Dominic understood her and her motivations better than anyone except perhaps her twin, Sion. With a smile, he chided her. “Relax, enjoy yourself for once. Let yourself live beyond the next fight.” He knew what her life was before the war and during. Her whole life had been a battle, from childhood until now. “All we have before us is time.”
“I feel like this is the calm before the storm that will swallow us whole.” Tanya said suddenly and missed a step in the dance. Her family ran strong in clairvoyance. At times, they could not determine when their vision would become truth and others they knew precisely when. Her cousin, Alexandra, saw more clearly than she did. Tanya shook as Dominic steered her from the dance.
“Do not be disturbed by the things which you cannot control or predict, Tati.” Dominic hugged her close and kissed the top of her head. “You will never find any peace that way. I love you. Enjoy the moment.” He felt her mind relax before her body settled against his like a glove. They were made from each other—two pieces from the same puzzle.
“Very well Dominic.” She agreed and absorbed the warmth of his embrace. Though he was right, Tatiyana could not help the nagging tickle at the back of her mind that the realm was not settled with the war’s end.
Current reading: Nothing—requesting recommendations for good historical fiction…aside from Philippa Gregory
So our glorious, fearless leader at The Figment Writers gave us this single word prompt this week and for most of the week I busted my brain to try and figure out some kind of inspiration for the word. This prompt also came up in the middle of me being neck deep in Light’s Guide revisions. So I tabled the word and focused on the daunting task in front of me. Something would come to me later, I knew.
The task was daunting because as of last Wednesday I still had 5 chapters to edit and my goal was to finish before I returned to the full time desk job after the holiday. So that word was tabled and I lost myself in the visual/structural aspects of Christi’s story. And, dear readers, YES, this is Christi’s book.
So the days go by and I forget all about it because I’m so absorbed in this process and for my fellow writers, you all know how rough the revision process is. The “Does this make sense” comes up often because, as a creator, I write in the heat of the moment and pull it into some semblance of order after the story gives me what it wants to say. Suffice to say, that the revision process is more tedious because of my creative process. In the same vein, I don’t think I’d trade this process for the world because—to me, at least—that heat and emotional rawness translates the way I want it to. The few readers I have connect with my characters and that, at the end of the day, is my ultimate goal.
So Monday night I’m wrapping up the Epilogue and it hits me; this writing prompt I had tabled came back and smacked me square in the nose! Sunny can mean a number of things to different people. It can be a disposition, weather, a description of someone…so many possibilities. To me, with this book’s end, the sun came out for the realm I’ve created. I completed another story and that’s pretty damn sunny to me. For Christi, the sun comes out. For me, I get to put her story to bed with a sunny sense of accomplishment. Now…to enjoy this June sunshine and savor this accomplishment before I start layout and cover design.
Stay tuned, everyone. Maesloria: Light’s Guide is coming in the fall. Details to come.
Today’s blog is brought to you by our friends at The Figment. As always, a shout out to the hostess with the mostest, Mia Sutton. Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂 On with the show:
“I have not seen clearly, my Queen, but the Morningstar line does not end with you.” Alexandra’s words returned to her long after the ride had concluded. What the path ahead held, Light could only know. Days later, Christiana Morningstar puzzled over those very words. Her friend’s messages were often ambiguous at best. Christiana hardly resent the Sorceress for such things. Fate blessed where it would. The thought of children brought both joy and terror to her.
Though she knew her station required her to produce an heir she was in no particular hurry to fulfil that expectation. All was not right with her realm at this time. A child’s pattering feet around the palace halls could be a catastrophe that she did not need. At this very moment, Christiana Morningstar sat before petitioners. Her realm was her primary concern. All the same, Alexandra’s words made her wonder what lay ahead.
Most days, the realm’s Reconstruction occupied her days. Today was no exception. Her people brought the realm’s needs to her attention. She was dressed in a rich royal blue satin gown embroidered with pearls. On another woman, the creation would have seemed ostentatious but on Christiana the attire sang with understated regality. Her auburn hair was pinned in a loose chignon that was secured by the crown resting atop her head.
The capital, the central focus of Maeseloria, was nearly complete. Public works were organized and run by the grand cleric, Tessa Starson. Christiana was still in awe of how fast the woman took the realm’s spiritual matters in hand. Tessa worked with unparalleled enthusiasm to rebuild schools, libraries, and clinics for the sick. The cleric stood before her now explaining a new plan to revive what once was a thriving scholastic community. “My Queen, did you hear a word I just said?”
Tessa’s amused words broke into Christi’s errant thoughts. “Forgive me, my friend.” The distracted monarch flushed to the roots of her hair. “I appear to have a great deal on my mind lately.” When Tessa gave a nod of acknowledgement, Christiana sighed. “Please go see Evelyn regarding the funding for this project. I know you will do as you see fit for the betterment of our realm.” Tessa dipped a curtsey and disappeared from her chambers. Quite literally, the cleric was there one moment and gone the next. Much like the Jades, the cleric had a talent for teleportation.
“Usually you aren’t this distracted, Sunspot.” A companionable voice spoke at her elbow. A gasp would have brought other guards running. If not for that nickname, she would have summoned help in a heartbeat. Jaylor had a habit of showing up in the oddest places. “My advice not work out?” He questioned.
“Darkness take you, Jaylor!” Christi hissed on words well beneath the hearing of anyone else in the receiving chamber. “Your advice worked precisely as you intended. She got me thinking. Her words stuck with me in a way you likely expected.” Very nearly, she saw Jaylor crow with delight. He started to ask what the Sorceress had told her but; soon enough, another petitioner entered the hall. His curiosity would just have to wait…
Soundtrack: Best I’ll Ever Be (Acoustic) , Sister Hazel
Today is brought to you by a writing prompt courtesy of our friends at The Figment. They just opened a brand spanking new website with a link to the forums. Join us for some creative fun! Also a brief shout out to Mia Sutton, foundess extraordinaire, you can check out her blog at The Chronicles of Chaos. You rock socks Mia, thank you for all that you do…annd with that being said, on with the show!
“He would be proud of you, you know.” Alexandra Jade spoke on gentle tones. Dawn was flirting with the horizon when Christiana presented herself at the Sorceress’ chamber door. By the disheveled appearance and the tired look in their Queen’s eyes, Alexandra suspected they would have a great deal to talk about when she noted the arrival was with the Queen dressed for a morning ride.
Christiana Morningstar was more comfortable on horseback than anywhere else. When the woman arrived, Alexandra took note of the weathered pants and coat that framed Christiana’s figure. She made short work of dressing for the occasion and, soon enough, the women were on their way. As they traveled, Christiana relayed the nightmares she was experiencing. “Two hands reaching for me out of the darkness….in the course of the dream I am both afraid and reassured. The nightmares have been recurring every night since we returned from the south.”
The explanation brought them to the current moment and the very words Alexandra provided in response. “I would dearly love to tell you that I had a clear response for you, Christi but the truth is I do not. I can only guess.” Her lips thinned to a thoughtful line as she thought of what to say. “I think they may be cause by the stress of the throne and what you fear most about ruling.” Alexandra understood the pressures of the throne better than perhaps anyone within the palace.
When Christiana slowed her horse, Midnight, she wheeled to look at her friend. “Devin.” As Alexandra nodded, she cursed. Her brother, through marriage to the woman riding beside her, was intended for the throne. A poison no one could understand or combat took his life and left Christiana to rule in his stead. Many of the realm’s nobles whispered about her competence. The whispers were enough to shake the most confident ruler. Twins in their realm were rare. Twins among the royal houses were more so. All their lives she and her brother occupied each other’s minds with a bond gifted to twins by Fate.
Even now, Christiana reached for him out of habit. When she hit the wall where his presence once existed, it was an aching, painful reminder of what she had lost. “Christi.” Alexandra interrupted her thoughts on patient tones. The ebb and flow of the woman’s emotions were understandable. “The answer is never as easy as it seems. Forgive yourself.” At the Queen’s puzzled expression, Alexandra smiled and continued. “You are alive. You are achieving the dreams he would have wanted. You have nothing to be afraid of. You have not failed him now, or ever. We could not save him.” Alexandra reached across and grasped Christiana’s gloved hand.
“Have you forgiven yourself, Alexandra?” Pain flashed in Christi’s azure eyes as she shot the question back. In a way, the Sorceress’ serenity piqued her anger. “How did you learn to let go of his expectations? Of losing him?” That anger brought tears and when Alexandra grasped her hand, Christiana’s tightened on the reins. Long ago, Christiana though she had laid to rest this mutual pain but now, the feelings surfaced.
“I have. I fight to live out the dream he would have wanted for our realm. So have you.” The anger struck Alexandra as harshly as a physical blow. Thank the Light two layers of leather lay between them. Direct contact with Christiana would be far more forceful. The touch also encouraged the natural clairvoyance that was a part of her family heritage. “I learned with time. Your blow was so close, so fresh. Forgive yourself for surviving, my Queen. Devin would have long ago. You have long since lived up to and surpassed his dreams. The court’s whispers be damned.” Alex felt the tension leave her friend as she spoke and was saddened to see the tears dripping from Christi’s lashes. When Devin Morningstar was killed, Alexandra lost a loved one but Christi lost a lifetime companion. A sibling she had warred with, laughed with and grown with. “Come on, let’s walk.”
The two women slid from the saddle and led their horses. Rain would be on them soon but perhaps a good soaking was what they both needed. “You have accomplished what he only dreamed of Christi. You brought us together. You taught us through your patience and grace what it was to lead. Those hands in the dark want to forgive you, pushing you to move forward. That is what you fear.”
Heartache choked Christi’s throat as she responded. “And what if I forget him?” Alexandra’s laughter, though warm and not unkind, snapped Christi’s head up to look at her friend.
“Never, my dearest. Not in this life or any other will you forget one so beloved. The Light would never allow such an atrocity. You will always see him in your memories….in your children’s faces. Believe me.” Alexandra shook her head and chuckled again when the woman’s auburn brow perked at mention of children. “I have not seen clearly, my Queen, but the Morningstar line does not end with you.” Thunder cut their conversation short and, soon enough both women mounted their horses and began the journey back to the palace. Alexandra only hoped her consolation was enough to soothe the woman’s worries.
Soundtrack provided by: Lindsey Stirling, Beyond the Veil, Lifehouse, Unknown
Today’s inspiration brought to you by this week’s writing prompt on The Figment. If you’re a writer in search of the occasional outburst of inspiration, check it out. My last blog post was inspired by these amazing folks. For folks that know these characters, this will be a treat. For those that don’t, please enjoy the writing.
Whose hands reached for her in the troubled darkness? Were those hands beloved echoes of the past, the present or her future?
Just before dawn, Christiana Morningstar woke with a startled gasp. Early morning birdsong greeted her ears yet, for the first few moments, she did not acknowledge their existence. Darkness shadowed the daylight shining through her windows. “Just a dream…” She murmured as she sat up in her bed. The palace would soon be abuzz with activity, she knew. The Queen of Maeseloria rose from her bed and donned a robe over her nightgown in haste. She would miss her morning ride if she did not hurry.
After a few minutes seated before her vanity, her breathing slowed and the shell-shocked look began to fade from her sky-shaded eyes. Running her brush through her sleep tousled auburn locks eased her rushed mind. As she calmed, she began to reflect on the options her dreams presented. A hand appeared out of the darkness. Whether the gesture offered comfort or chaos, she could not determine. She did not know if it offered harm or help yet she instinctively understood the decision would require a leap of faith from her. A leap of faith she was not certain she could take.
“You know, Sunspot…” A well-loved and familiar voice intruded on her inner reflections and, for the second time within an hour, Christiana Morningstar stifled a scream that would have brought her guards running. “Those heavy dreams aren’t meaningless.” Jaylor Vincenzo swung in off the balcony with an ease that had Christi shaking her head. Years ago, the man stepped into fill her murdered brother’s shoes. In essence the once-assassin and occasional thief saved her life. “And you should not be sleeping with your balcony doors open. Even in times of peace, people want your lovely head on a platter.”
Christi sighed as she began to plait her hair for the morning. Her glare reflected in the mirror as he approached and flopped into the chair by her vanity with that same uncanny grace that seemed to course through his veins. He was her dearest friend and ally. The realm as they knew it would not exist without him. “Based on your reports, the better question would be who doesn’t?” Her dreams were her business and she had no intention of sharing.
Jay gave her a hard look. “Stop leaving the doors open, please.” The man asked for little from the realm to which he sacrificed so much. When she nodded her agreement, his smile returned. “Do you want to talk about it?” He sighed in response to her negative answer. “Fine, talk to Alex about them. See if she can help you interpret them.” This was not the first or the fifth time he returned to check on her and found her in a scattered state. “For me.”
Christiana’s lips thinned to a line. “Very well. I will.” Before he left her, they spoke of his last covert mission to the South. Her cousins were mobilizing and he also mentioned he would need to speak to their resident sorceress about another matter before she sent him on another mission. Jaylor Vincenzo was the driving force behind the realm’s covert operations unit. Many lives were saved by the information he provided. In the same vein, he acted as her blade to remove opposition. At times, she worried for the blood on his hands.
After he departed, she began to dress for her morning ride. Perhaps daylight would offer clarity. Would that touch be her salvation or damnation?
Soundtrack provided by: Heather Small, Proud, Sara Bareilles, Brave
Current Reading: The Millenium Series, Stieg Larsson
So I am starting a new addition to the blog, above each blog post will be the “soundtrack provided by” that influenced the idea and whatever I may be sticking my nose in at the time. I am an avid reader and if you have any questions about the books I’m reading or are curious to track them down yourself, please leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I’m delighted to discuss.
In the last couple weeks, I have found myself inspired by a group of writers I more or less fell into thanks to a coworker. The group is a bunch of writers, bloggers, and poets who are extremely passionate about what they do. That passion sparks me. So, to start today’s blog, I’d love to give a shout-out to The Figment Writers and the group’s amazing creator, Mia. This group has been an absolute blessing and I recommend it to any writer who would love to network and get to know some highly creative, awesome people.
With that being said, the group has a weekly writing prompt that have gotten my creative juices going in a variety of ways. The first week was an Oscar Wilde quote that had got my brain going and this week, the prompt was a simple word. Triumph.
So this got me thinking. People make a pretty big deal about my published work. I’ve never signed with a publishing company and have basically stayed self-published. I made this choice for a variety of reasons—the first and foremost being that I just don’t have the time to devote. I realize that more now that I have met writers who treat their writing as their profession. I applaud those that that can dedicate themselves. I just don’t know if I will ever be at a point in my life where I can do that and provide for my family. Time only knows what the cards hold. God knows I’m still figuring it out sometimes.
At any rate, back to Triumph.
Feelings of triumph are difficult for me because I take so very many things in stride. I never take the time to absorb those triumphs or value the accomplishment itself. In fact, my spouse occasionally has to force me to take time off.
Flashback four years.
I published my first book, Maeseloria: Birth of Light through CreateSpace in 2012. My celebration was diving into the next story and continuing my next body of work. The funny part about this is that I just didn’t see it as that big of a deal. Writing is something I love, something I do, so the natural transition to me was just to keep telling the story.
And then I told someone I did it and promptly watched their face light up and proceed to lose their mind about the whole affair. For the record, nothing embarrasses me faster than getting excited about my accomplishments to my face. Mind you, this person then also went out on our company people page and announced to the company what I had done. The next month was a series of red-faced, stammering explanations to the question I am never quite comfortable answering: “What do you write about?”
Three books later, I’m better about that . I have felt elated, nervous, terrified, giddy and overjoyed about finishing a piece, publishing my work but triumph was never in my wheelhouse of emotions about my books. The prompt got me thinking. Well, why the hell shouldn’t I feel triumphant? Between the four books, I’m looking at almost 1100 pages of words and a world that I created. I should, to quote my best friend, own that shit. In the last four years I have accomplished things other writers only dream of.
Will I ever be a millionaire like most people perceive successful writers to be? No, probably not. Other people’s perception of success has never been my driving force and probably never will be.
To me, that’s not the triumph of writing. The triumph is bringing your ideas to life. The triumph to me is seeing your message, your characters touch people. To me the triumph is when a reader gets mad at me over an event in the book. To me, the triumph is writing a scene that brings a reader to tears because it touched them. (True story, the crier in question was my own mother to boot.)
I don’t know if I’ll ever be what society deems a “successful writer” to be. I don’t care. I get to tell my stories. I get to put to paper a world I have only ever dreamed about. That’s triumph. That’s what makes me proud.
What are your triumphs?