Progress(ish)

I’m still alive.

I’m still editing.

I’m still in training at my new job.

Of course, things were slowed the last couple of weeks as sickness struck. No worries, it wasn’t THE FLU, but it was a bad enough head cold that I developed an earache and went on antibiotics, which might have a second round coming up. Apparently I’ve been suffering from a massive sinus infection, which probably accounts for the trouble my ear has been giving me over the last couple of months. I’ll find out tomorrow if it’s cleared up at all. I probably should have gone in to see a doctor sooner, but I really am loath to see them. It isn’t a phobia, but it’s certainly on my list of least favorite things.

Otherwise things are moving forward. I’m working on draft 2 of my WIP, and waiting on some feedback from a friend to decide on some very big changes that could happen within the story. Not sure which way it’ll go, but I should find out soon enough.

I’m also going to go see Disney on Ice today with my mom. Sure we’re both adults and not bringing any children with us, but honestly I think it’s healthy to do something whimsical every now and then. The last time I went to one of these sorts of shows I was in the single digits, so it’ll be interesting to see how enjoyable it is after growing up.

At any rate, felt like it was time for an update. Hopefully I’ll finish my second draft within this next month or so and I can write another short story.

Until then, stay awesome!

 

It’s been a while…

I haven’t updated in some time, and that was for a variety of reasons. I’ll start from the top and most obvious reason: holidays! Ugh, what a wonderful and stressful time of year. From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years Eve to the fact that I left the country for a couple of weeks – this was just a horrible time for me to log in and update. I know, I know; I should have make some posts ahead of time and timed them to publish during that period, but… well I am just not that organized or ahead of the game yet. Maybe next holiday season.

BUT, things are mostly back to normal now. Mostly. My job situation has very recently changed as well, so that too is a shift in my usual normalcy. Hopefully this change won’t be too life altering. One job went away but a new one popped up at just the right time. I’m not really a believer in fate and all that, however it did seem a little ‘meant to be’. I’m looking forward to the opportunity and challenges this new position will bring, so fingers crossed!

Back to more relevant things though: I did manage to finish my WIP rough draft just before my trip to Germany. That was in around the second week of December. Not in time to qualify as a win for NaNoWriMo, though I did still make my own deadline, which was to finish before I left. I didn’t get much done in edits while I was away, but since my return on December 31st, I’ve been making good progress. I’m about 2/3s the way through my initial mark up.

I printed the whole thing out: 290 pages, and around 54k words. Why’d I print it out? Well, I find marking up my work by hand is more helpful. I can see the entire book better, and it’s just easier in my opinion. I do hate wasting the paper, but to combat that I print out 4 sheets per page, so it really cuts down the amount of paper I use.

So yeah, that’s all the stuff that has happened since November. I finished a book; traveled to Germany, saw some movies, and started a new job. What a way to start 2018!

I hope everyone else had a great start to the new year, and hopefully we all see good things coming our way.

Finally an update!

So National Novel Writing Month has passed, and though I’m sad that I didn’t ‘win,’ I still got pretty damn far. I’m about 10,000 or less words away from finishing this rough draft, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I expect to be finished in the next week or two, but definitely before Christmas chaos and travel begins.

I’ve also seen the new Thor movie between my last update and now, and yes, I absolutely loved it! The Hulk and Loki are probably my favorite marvel characters from the MCU (but let’s not talk about Hulk’s stand alone movies cause… just no), so seeing them together again really brought joy to my heart.

I figured I’d throw up a quick update now because I have travel coming up very soon, so I likely won’t get another chance to make a post until 2018. Fingers crossed that the new year brings us all better tidings, eh?

But back to the WIP stuff, my book has really taken me for a bunch of turns I never expected, and I am super excited to finish it, let it rest, then jump right into revisions. I’m still not sure whether or not it’ll fall in an upper middle-grade or younger young-adult category, but I’ll just fix it up as best I can and get some second opinions.

I hope everyone who might come across this has a wonderful December and a lovely holiday no matter what you might celebrate. Enjoy the winter, enjoy the countdown to New Years Eve, and just enjoy being you.

Happy holidays everyone, and I’ll see you in the new year!

Crap, it’s #NaNoWriMo, I swear!

Bah! I absolutely, totally and completely forgot to post. I blame it on National Novel Writing Month!! I’ve been trying to remain an active participant, so it’s probably safe to say my posts may be spotty until the new year, because after November there’s xmas and a trip to see family.

That said, NaNoWriMo is going well so far and I’m 15k words in. It’s for the WIP I’ve been working on, but after some serious though I had to make some large, critical changes that have taken some time. I’m nearly caught up with where I stopped however, so soon it’ll be new words until I hit the end.

Can I get it done by the end of November? No clue – but I’m sure as shit gonna try.

Monday it is then; it was a Strange weekend

Right. Well since this seems to be becoming a bit of a bad habit, I guess Monday is the new blog day (officially unofficially). Unlike last weekend though, I do have some slightly good excuses for why I’m late on this post. I’ll list first, and then get into some details. I’m late because:

  1. I spent six hours in a car on Saturday to go get shoes for somebody else.
  2. Somebody I care about was roofied on Saturday evening.
  3. I spent all of Sunday binge watching Stranger Things 2.

And that was my weekend.

So the shoe thing wasn’t a big deal. It took forever, but overall wasn’t that bad. I don’t want to get into details about item number two, but needless to say as scary as the event was, nothing else awful happened after the fact. It just goes to show however that you should NEVER leave your drink unattended, even if you’ve been chatting with the person beside you for hours. DO. NOT. LEAVE. YOUR. DRINK. Not ever.

After this happened I heard stories from other people in my life having similar experience with equally fortunate outcomes. It just highlights how scary life can be sometimes, whether you are a man or a woman. When somebody wants to take advantage of you, it doesn’t matter how big or strong you are, once you’ve been drugged the odds are not in your favor. I’m just thankful that the person I care about made it home safely with no injuries to body or pocketbook.

At any rate, on Sunday I decided to hammer out season 2 of Stranger Things because I was tired of avoiding all social media in my quest to keep away from all spoilers. I didn’t even watch the trailer cause I’d rather go in blind when it’s something I love and already intend to watch. I won’t go into spoiler territory, but while the second season was pretty different from the first, I still enjoyed it thoroughly nonetheless. Acting was great; some very emotional scenes, and as before, the story itself was very exciting. They closed the season up nicely and left openings for the next season – and this is JUST how I like it.

Nothing sucks more than a season ending on a HUGE cliffhanger. Doubly so if they end it that way and then the fucking show gets cancelled. So thank you Netflix, you did good. Keep it up and for god’s sake keep those writers and directors happy and healthy.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to November. I’m going to try my hardest at participating in NaNoWriMo, so hopefully by the end of next month I’ll have a finished rough draft. This latest Stranger Things season has made me consider a few things for my own WIP, so I’m excited to jump into that.

Next week’s post will fall in November, so I should have an update at that point with regards to my progress.

Happy Halloween!

Please stay safe!

A Day Late!!

Bah! I totally meant to post this yesterday, but a Saturday Halloween party more or less threw off my whole weekend, and I didn’t get home until Sunday afternoon. Needless to say I feel bad about being late, so instead of a Short Story Sunday, this will be a Short Story Monday. My bad….

At any rate, I’m trying to challenge myself more, especially on weeks where I’m just find spending a lot of time on my main WIP. As both a ‘punishment’ and a way to keep writing, I’d like to pump out a short story for those weeks. Nothing over 5,000 words, but always over 1,000, and for inspiration I’ve made a sort of ‘prompt’ sheet.

The prompt sheet as 4 categories/columns: person, action, location, object. Using an online dice roller I’ll pick one randomly from each category and use the four of those to create a story. Today I’ll share the first attempt with this method, and hopefully it’s entertaining.

Here are the words for this short story:

Astronaut | Sing | Jungle | Shovel

     Marty felt the stress of his morning melt away as he opened the door ahead of him with the press of a button. The corridors behind him were an endless stretch of gray metals and white plastics, but across this threshold was a living, breathing mass of every green shade imaginable; a perfect man-made jungle created to save the world. He stepped through, and the door slid shut with a quiet whoosh of air behind him. Humidity wrapped around him, and for the next minute he just stood there and listened. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath of warm air.

     Insects and camouflaged AL-Amazona chirped and sang, their tinny voices filling the space with a song never heard before on Earth. It was a fusion of nature and the unnatural, something all too familiar and yet strangely alien. He smiled, and a moment later their noises were drowned out by the sudden mechanical rumble of thunder, one of the hidden speakers crackling with a burst of static as its broken parts shook.

     Marty sighed and opened his eyes. He grabbed one of the ponchos hanging by the door and slipped it on just as another rumble filled the room. The soft patter of water against leaves quickly followed. The drizzle fast turned into a deluge, and with a growing smile, Marty grabbed a shovel from the nearby tool rack. He pulled his hood up and headed into the downpour, the jungle foliage enveloping him with a whispering rustle.

     With a spring in his step and the sweet smell of damp earth and decaying vegetation filling his every inhalation, he felt the sudden urge to sing. His smile grew into a grin and he lifted the shovel, holding the handle near to his mouth as he waved his imaginary audience to silence.

“You’re just too good to be true,” he spoke softly at first, only the slightest hint of a musical lilt to his words. “Can’t take my eyes off of you—”

     He caressed the space around the handle of his shovel as if it were the back of a lover’s head, his voice steadily getting louder and more rhythmic.

“You feel like heaven to touch.” He bopped the handle on its imaginary nose. “I want to hold you so much. At long last love has arrived, and I thank God I’m alive. You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you—”

     Marty spun the shovel in a circle then continued his trek forward at a faster pace as he sang more loudly than before.

“Pardon the way that I stare. There’s nothing else to compare. The sight of you makes me weak. There are no words left to speak. But if you feel like a feel, please let me know that it’s real. You’re just too good to be true; can’t take my eyes off of you.”

     As he reached the chorus, Marty jumped on top of a large root that stuck up from the soft ground, his arms spread wide as if to embrace the jungle in return. As loud as he could, he sang the words out to the trees with all the passion he could muster.

“I love you baby! And if it’s quite all right, I need you baby, to warm the lonely nights. I love you baby, trust in me when I say—” he stretched the last word out, but before he could continue further a voice called out to him.

“Jesus Christ Marty, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

     The voice appeared out from behind some underbrush, and Marty grinned at Jim before jumping down from the root. He shrugged, giving the man a quick once over. Jim’s fingers and uniform were dirty, but otherwise there was nothing else to note.

“Just felt like singing is all.”

“Yeah well, you know damn well that extra noise is gonna piss Marie off when she checks through the video later. She—wait, wasn’t she supposed to be on shift with you? Where is she?”

     Marty’s grin damped a little, and he shrugged again.

“She wasn’t feeling well. I told her I’d handle everything. Where’s Kate?”

“She’s just packing up the samples.”

“Well let’s not keep her waiting.” He motioned for his colleague to lead the way. “I’ll help.”

     Jim nodded and turned, and when he took a single step forward Marty’s grin bounced back onto his face. Before his friend could take one more stride he lifted the shovel and swung it forward as hard as he could.

     Metal smashed into the back of Jim’s skull with a sickening crack, and the man fell forward before he even knew what had happened. His face landed into wet soil, and Marty pulled the shovel close to his mouth again.

“Oh pretty baby, don’t bring me down I pray. Oh pretty baby, now that I’ve found you stay—” he walked forward as he sang softly, stepping across Jim’s back as he headed towards Kate. “And let me love you, baby; let me love you…”

     Marty hummed the next bit as he closed in on the woman. Her back was turned to him, and her hands were buried in a box as she sorted small biological samples. When his feet crunched against a branch she looked over her shoulder. Kate gave him a quick acknowledging nod before facing her work again.

“Heard you howling from all the way over here,” she commented as glass clinked at her fingertips, a small piece of tarp supported on poles keeping her hands, and the samples, dry. “I’m surprised Marie didn’t tackle you down and shove a ball-gag right in.”

“Oh,” Marty stepped up behind her and lifted the shovel to rest against his shoulder, his grin so large and constant it was beginning to hurt his cheeks. “Marie didn’t come with. She’s in bed right now; wasn’t feeling too good.”

“She’ll be giving you hell later then. Better get ready for it.”

“I don’t think she’ll mind so much,” He argued, bursting back into song a second later. “And I love you baby—!”

     Kate jumped and turned in surprise at the sudden outburst, but she only managed to open her eyes wide in surprise just before the shovel slammed across the side of her head. The metallic thunk rang out in time with her grunt of pain, but unlike Jim she didn’t fall. In shock, Kate stumbled to the side and grabbed her head as a line of blood appeared on her brow, the rain quickly washing it down the side of her face in a steady pink stream. She swayed and looked up at Marty in horror, but he merely sang and walked closer.

“—and if it’s quite all right, I need you baby—” he swung again.

     Kate’s hand was quick to block him, but as he made contact with her fingers they folded backwards and a strained shriek escaped her mouth. She staggered backwards and clutched her broken hand to her chest, her head shaking in furious denial as she blinked rain and tears and blood from her eyes.

“Marty, no—please, no—what are you—”

“—to warm the lonely nights. I love you baby—”

     He sang over her words and pulled the shovel handle to his mouth again as winked at her.

“—Trust in me when I say—”

“You crazy son of a bitch!” Kate looked up to the cameras on the ceiling as she continued to backtrack. “Fucking help me goddamn it!”

“—Oh pretty baby—!” Marty rushed her then, leaping forward as he stabbed the shovel straight at her chest.

     The tool’s head sunk into her torso with a wet crunch, and his song stopped as abruptly as her pleas. Kate’s head dropped to stare at him in surprise. Mouth gaping, her unbroken hand lifted to feel the new wound as if she couldn’t’ believe it was real. They stared at one another, the clink of rain on metal louder than the wheezing that escaped with Kate’s every labored breath.

“B—B—I—Why?” It was the only full word she managed, her tears disappearing into the reddened rainwater on her cheeks.

     Marty’s grin wavered, and he licked his lips. Why indeed, he thought. He looked up at the cameras, then back down and past Kate’s tortured face, out to the beautiful green that surrounded them on every side. He sighed.

“They just don’t deserve this.” He answered, thinking of the dying planet below them.

     Kate tried to speak again, but as her mouth worked wordlessly, Marty decided that he was done with the conversation. He still had work to do. His grin returned, and as he held the shovel tightly, he planted a boot against his colleague’s stomach and pushed. Her body fell into the mud their feet had trampled up, and with his weapon free, he held the handle back at his mouth and sang softly.

“Oh pretty baby, don’t bring me down I pray. Oh pretty baby, now that I’ve found you stay. And let me love you, baby; let me love you…”

     Kate let out her last gurgling breath, and once again Marty was alone with the beautiful sound of rain and the quiet lull of insects and their aluminum hunters. All he had left to do now was head for the airlock. He didn’t deserve anything either, and with the entire crew of the space station resting peacefully, his work would finally be finished.

     Marty smiled and headed for the door, humming all the way.

Short Story: The Monster

Since I absolutely can’t think of anything to write today, I decided to just share another short story.

See my writing group has held quite a few short story competitions between group members, and I figured I’d share some of mine. They aren’t anything near publishable (all first drafts), but they were all fun to write, and hopefully fun to read. We allow a period of one week for the stories to be written, and it must be between 1 and 5 thousand words. Our competitions are based on a prompt given by another member, and the prompt for this one was:

Someone has been following me for a long time. Now I’m finally going to do something about it.

So, here is my take on that prompt.

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