Monday, December 29, 2014

Oh, 2014.

2014 was a thing that happened. Honestly, I don’t even know how to begin to describe the year, but I think I’m in a good enough place to give it a try.
So, here’s my try.

The beginning of the year meant the end of my father. I found out that he passed away on January 1, 2014, and I didn’t know what to do with that information. You see, I hadn’t seen my father since I was eight. My last, most vivid memory of him (there aren’t many memories of him) was when he managed to track us down to our new house. My mom called the police on him as soon as he showed up, and he was a hurricane of anger and alcohol. That was probably the best way to describe the man: anger and alcohol.

What he was angry about and drank away, I’m still not sure. I never got the chance to ask him.

Whatever the reason, he was these things a lot. Not that I remember too much about him – or my childhood. I repressed everything that had to do with him. I have no memories of anything that happened while we lived with him, and I have no interest in getting them back.
I thought I was ready for the day he’d die. I spent all sixteen years he was gone preparing for it like it was an Olympic Event. I was going to get the gold medal in coping with your absentee father’s death. 

But when the day came, when it was time to show the world what I had, I fell apart.

I didn’t know why I fell apart. Death is difficult (understatement) but, for all intents and purposes, the man had been dead to me for sixteen years already. I owed him nothing, he owed my family (and me) everything. He owed child support, so much child support, to my mother who had to work multiple jobs to keep us afloat. He owed me all the memories he robbed me of, and all of the time I spent watching my younger brother while my mom worked, and worked, and worked. He owed my brother an explanation as to why he wasn’t there, because he’d ask nearly every single day. After a while, he stopped asking because he stopped caring.

But all the walls and safeguards I’d built up for sixteen years crashed down when I learned that I also had two half-sisters. Before my father married my mother, he was married to another lady. I had sisters.

And it was weird then, because things clicked into place somehow. It’s weird to explain, but I’d gone through life feeling like there was this missing part. A hole that I couldn’t fill. But I figured it was just me being super philosophical, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then this happens and it’s cool and terrifying all at once. My family had known about them all these years and kept my brother and me in the dark. Once I realized that, the good outweighed the bad. It was rough enough to be betrayed by my father – now I could add my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and my hard-working mother to the list.

All I wanted was an explanation. Why were these people kept from me? When I couldn’t get one, I got even more frustrated.

My father’s death left me filled with grief, though only a small bit of it was over him. Instead, I grieved for the life I could’ve had, if only I’d known I had sisters while I was growing up. How I could’ve had people who knew exactly what I’d gone through with my father, because he was just as terrible with them.

I ended January with a broken heart. My heart would break a lot, though I didn’t know it yet.

My brother broke my heart in March. He’s struggled with depression for almost ten years now, and one night he called me, saying things that smashed whatever was left of my heart. I flew down to Virginia to show that he wasn’t alone, and that I really would be there if he needed me. I was already emotionally drained, and everything else I had went to making sure my brother would be safe when I left him.

Due to various circumstances, I wound up planning my father’s funeral. Since he was cremated, we waited until June to have the service. While I planned his service, every person I spoke to about it offered their condolences (I was tired of hearing that) and some (the Priest, definitely the Priest) were supremely unhelpful and even went so far as to ask me why I was the one planning the funeral. My answer as always that it didn’t matter why I was the one planning it. I just needed it planned.

But it kind of did matter. I planned it more for me than I did for him. I hadn’t seen the man in sixteen years. I couldn’t tell you what his voice sounded like, or his laugh, or even what color his eyes were. I planned it because that was a way for me to get closure. It was a way for me to know that this was final. I also planned it because no one else would.

No one else – not his siblings, or my mother – wanted to plan his funeral.

How sad is that?

My father was terrible, yes. Drunk, abusive, continuously unemployed – but he was still a person. Throughout this whole thing, I’d been trying to find something positive. Some glimmer of the person he was, because he couldn’t have always been this monster that haunted me.

I found the glimmer at a very odd time in my life. I was visiting one of my half-sisters, and our father came up. She told me about how they used to have dinner at his mother’s house, and how his father was worse than he was. His father would berate my grandmother, yelling at her about dinner and then refusing to let her sit at the table while everyone was eating. His father also couldn’t hold down a job, and when he did manage to get money, he spent it all on alcohol, instead of on his wife and kids, or the home they had. He was abusive, too, and terrible, too.

And my father was like me. He picked up the pieces. He was the oldest, the responsible one by virtue of birth order. He held down jobs, watched his siblings, did everything I did, but decades earlier.

All my life, I’d been terrified that I would turn into my father. But I’d already become him. Well, the good parts anyway.

For the first time in my life, I was able to sympathize with the monster.
I decided to take the good parts, whatever I could salvage, and ditch the bad. I couldn’t carry the fear around anymore – I wasn’t my father, and I wouldn’t make the same choices he did. I knew better, I could do better.

I’ll be better.


By the end of the year, I was crying on my kitchen floor at the end of every day. Depression had claimed me, as I struggled to reconcile my father’s death, my new family, my brother’s depression (he broke my heart several more times this year), and my family losing a very large sum of money that we didn’t have in the first place. Work had also been especially difficult over the summer and fall semester, so that added to my stress.

It didn’t help that I refused to acknowledge that I was depressed. Dishes piled up in my sink, sitting there for weeks – but I wasn’t depressed. My apartment got messier with each day, and I had no motivation to clean it – but I wasn’t depressed. I hadn’t written anything new since February, and couldn’t, just couldn’t, because everything I touched was worthless – but I wasn’t depressed. I cried on the floor for one, two, three, four, five days straight for no reason in particular – but I wasn’t depressed. I felt like I was terrible at my job, I couldn’t do anything right, I was a horrible person – but I wasn’t depressed.

And it’s weird, really weird, but the thing that helped me admit it was a horror movie. My friend got me to watch this Australian movie called The Babadook (which is a really awesome movie and you should watch it if you haven’t yet). I don’t want to spoil the movie, but it made me realize that I’d had more than my fair share of bad days, and I was, indeed, depressed.
I held everyone together while I was falling apart. I helped everyone find their way while I lost who I was.

And I fell, and fell, without realizing it.

The good news is, I’ve stopped falling.

The good news is, I was selected to participate in Pitch Wars this year, which was an amazing writing contest and the lifeline I so desperately needed – even though I didn’t know it. Pitch Wars made me focus back on writing, as I had to revise one of my books. I reconnected to something I loved, to who I used to be, and my heart stopped breaking. It pulled itself back together, very slowly.

It’s still trying to re-assemble, and will be doing so for a very long time.


For the first time in a while, I have hope. Although cynicism and sarcasm are quite natural to me, at my core I’m an obnoxiously annoying optimist.


This year leeched all of the optimism out of me. I walked around like a zombie, not feeling, or caring, or thinking. I was on auto-pilot, I was in despair, I was lost, confused, and locked away somewhere.

I’m not sure how the optimism came back. It just hit me one day, like the universe remembered it borrowed it and gave it back, apologizing for keeping it so long.

The good news is, I’m really looking forward to 2015. 2014 was a rough year – and not just for me. All of my friends had something terrible happen to them or the people they love this year. And that’s not counting everything that’s happening in the country and the world right now. But I’ve got a good feeling about 2015, because I think this year will be about change.

The world is changing, for better or worse (hopefully it’s for the better). I’m determined to change – to let go of things that are out of my control, and all the anger and resentment I’d carried around because of my father. I don’t want to walk around thinking he owes me anything anymore. I want to let the guy rest. Maybe he’ll find more peace wherever he is (if he’s anywhere) than he did in this life.

The beginning of the year marked the end of my father. So, it’s kind of fitting that the end of the year marks the beginning of whatever I choose to become. There are a lot of options out there, and I have no idea how this is going to go.


Despite whatever happens, I’ll be better. Which was the whole point of 2014, I suppose.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

What I'm Thankful For...

I am thankful for my generation. No, seriously. For all the crap we get about being lazy and self-centered (selfies, by the way, are nothing more than digital self-portraits which people used to do; only they stood in the same pose for months on end to capture their image during the old painting days), I'm thankful that, for the most part, my generation is mad.

But we're much more than that. We want to see change, because things cannot stay the way they are. We want to bring a little more balance to a skewed world. We want more, we expect more, and the fact that it's still out of reach - that it's still being held from us - makes us mad. So I'm thankful for my selfish, sloth-like generation who stares at their computers all day, doing absolutely nothing. One day, people will see how wrong those labels are, and I can't wait.
I am thankful that I have people who will support me, no matter what. And, that if times get difficult, I'll always have a place to stay. Not everyone can say that, and my life is filled by people who have helped me through what can best be summed up as the worst year of my life. I know it sounds dramatic, but trust me, it was pretty bad.I am thankful that I can express myself through writing. Sometimes I forget how truly awesome it is to be able to say that I've written a book, and will continue to write. But, even better than being able to say that I've written a book is being able to say that people have read my book and enjoyed it. That will forever and always blow my mind. I still have so many stories to tell, issues to explore, and things to do that I'm truly excited for what the future brings.
I'm thankful for the students I get to work with everyday. My Resident Assistants, Academic Mentors, and Desk Receptionists are all amazing, and it saddens me that people don't give them enough credit sometimes. I've never met a more compassionate, aware, and active group of students. They are the future, our future, and I fully believe that they will change things for the better. 
I am thankful for rage, sadness, joy, excitement, fear, happiness, and every other emotion out there. It's what makes us human, the good and the bad. 
And finally, I am thankful for you, whoever you are, reading this post about being thankful. I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to stop by, and hope you have an awesome day! 
Since I would be remiss to not address the negative things associated with today, I'll leave you with this quote. Let us not forget that America was built upon and hasn't yet broken down a heinous system of oppression.

"Throughout history, the subjugated have always had to be nobler. That is a hell of a thing, to expect nobility in the face of disgrace." - Roxane Gay

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Not-So-Random Whose Line Reference

Okay, it's not so much a reference as a hint, I guess! I'm about to watch a lot of these (and unearth my copy of Double Indemnity) as I write my post Pitch Wars book!

A real blog post will happen sometime soon, as I've watched Nightcrawler and Interstellar and have thoughts to form on both of these films!

Enjoy the clip!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pitch Wars, Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, and I'm baaaaaaaaaaack!


It's been the longest of whiles since I did anything with the blog. There are lots of long stories to go along with why I've been radio silent for so long, but I'm very happy to say that I'm back for reals!

So many things happened while my blog was silent, but the real highlight has been Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars! In September, I found my name in the Alternate List and walked around skipping/casually not freaking out (or actually freaking out) because the wonderful, gracious, Zombieland-loving N.K. Traver decided to make me a part of #TeamTallahassee!

Based on Nat's feedback, I started to revise my YA Horror - which was easy some days and something close to the part of the action movie where the heroes destroy a major city while trying to defeat the villain on others. But I wound up adding a lot, like A LOT A LOT to my word count, and my story is so much stronger now because of this contest, Nat's advice, my awesome teammate Marisa's feedback (she got NINE REQUESTS in the contest, by the way, so hell yeah best team ever!!!!), and my CPs, who had to read like 50 billion versions of my story and never complained! You all are awesome, and I <3 you to the end of the universe and back!

But to fully appreciate the beauty of my new first page, I think it would be kind of cool to go back to my first first page of this story. You see, it started two years ago as my NaNoWriMo endeavor. While I managed to win NaNo with this story, it was very much a hot mess of like 53,000 words. It had it's creepy moments, yeah, but it was also really different. It started out following a group of teens who lived in a boarding school - and were also participating in a reality TV show. I wanted to deconstruct reality TV and have ghosts running around, and it...well, like I said, it was a hot mess. The characters were also rehearsing a certain Shakesperean show, which was going to be cool once I figured out how to tie the cameras and fake reality show things in, I swear.

Anyway, the first page of that...

I don’t know what I’m saying.  That’s the problem with Shakespeare, I guess.  He finds just about every way of saying something without actually saying it.

Oh, God.  I’m starting to sound like him.  Cam laughs – it’s a high melody – kind of like a bird chirping or something.  Huh, there’s a thought – maybe Kate can sing along to Cam’s laughter.  

“Miss Thomas!”  Our theater teacher’s voice scratches out my name like nails on a chalkboard.  Thankfully, we don’t have a chalkboard in the auditorium.

“Yeah, Mrs. Jones?”  I ask, squinting into the light.  She’s standing off-camera, directly behind the blinding light coming from the top of that stupid recording device.  Excellent. I don’t suppose I’ll get used to being watched like this anytime soon.

“Get back to the play, please.”

“Ah, yes, it is the thing,” I mumble.  Cam laughs again and I shoot her a look.  She shakes her head, swinging her white-blond hair everywhere.  She’s so pale and fragile looking that she makes perfect sense as a witch.  Me…not so much.

But, whatever, I need this theater credit.

Mrs. Jones drums her long fingernails on her clipboard. “Miss Thomas, if you would start reciting lines from this play, perhaps we wouldn’t have to stop rehearsals every two minutes.”

“Hey, I could’ve been a great Hamlet- ”

Mrs. Jones rolls her eyes and waves a dismissive hand in my face.  “Spare us the jokes, Quinn.  Just get on with the scene.”

I dramatically hold the script in front of me.  Well, it’s not really a script.  It’s the Spark Note’s “No Fear Shakespeare” version of Macbeth.  Spark Notes totally had the right idea with this “translation anyone can understand” thing.  I’m still not sure why we’re using this version – it’s not like Prufrock Prep can’t afford actual Shakespeare scripts.


So that was a thing that happened. A few months after NaNo, I was still tearing my hair out and trying to make the story work, and it wouldn't cooperate. Then one day I figured out that I had the whole thing wrong. Like way, way wrong. I decided that, while I loved my MC, she wasn't really in the right story. So I took her out of it, away from the prep school drama and the Shakespeare rehearsals, and threw her into the world of Colonial Williamsburg, urban legends, and missing relatives. Oh, and I decided to make it mimic a found-footage movie, because I got it like that.

If I wanted to make it super found footage-y, though, I knew I had to start it with something a little creepy. Though I deliberated for a long time about who should start the story, I ultimately landed on Quinn's cousin, Eli, who disappears along with her friends while hunting an urban legend for a reality TV show.

Which means my first page looked like this:

This is the part where they disappear

June 21, 2013 (Summer Solstice)
8:00 PM
Outside of Williamsburg, VA
Battery Level: 89%

We shouldn’t be here. Despite all the signs, and how much we want to help, going into the White Woods this close to sunset is a stupid idea.

“When’s it supposed to get dark again?” Josh asks. If he’s joking, I’m gonna punch him.

“Not for a few more hours. It’s the longest day of the year, remember?” Alanna stands behind me, leaning on my shoulder as she stares into the camera’s display screen. She’s wearing her usual overly floral perfume – which is kind of ridiculous, since cryptids don’t really care how she smells. Well, that Wendigo in Oregon kind of did, but that was the only time. If it even was a Wendigo. I still think it was an overzealous bear.

But Alanna didn’t become a Wendigo-meal, or a bear-meal, so I guess it worked out.

She laughs as she moves next to me, keeping her eyes on Josh. “I think you’re gaining weight, Banks.”

Josh sticks his tongue out at us as Jira laughs. “I think she’s right,” Jira says, poking him in the shoulder. “Maybe you should stop eating so many cheeseburgers.”

“As fun as it is to point out Josh’s obsession with Big Macs,” I say, panning the camera across the open field. “We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover before the sun goes down.”

Josh laughs, walking over and clapping me on the shoulder. “Eliza, you need to stop worrying. Cameramen are supposed to be fearless, remember?”

The camera’s light mysteriously shines right in his face. Josh’s hands go up in front of his eyes as he staggers back.

“What the hell was that for, Chen?”

I shrug. “I’m a camerawoman, not a cameraman.”


Which is all right, I suppose. It stayed like that for a little while...until PitchWars made me re-evaluate my life choices. After much toil and trouble (see what I did there?) I wound up submitting that and thennnnnnnnn the work began! Fast forward two months, and my first page now looks like this:

This is the part where they disappear.

The Wailing Wanderer
 Season 2, Episode 1
Day 6

Cameraperson: Eliza Chen 

June 21, 2013 (Summer Solstice)
8:00 PM
Outside of Williamsburg, VA
Battery Level: 89%

We shouldn’t be here. Despite all the signs, and how much we want to help, going into the White Woods this close to sunset is a stupid idea.

Josh throws an overly dramatic hand on his forehead. “Can we speed this up? I’m too pretty to risk being stuck in these woods for forever.”

Oh, good. If he keeps this up, I’ll punch him right where that embroidered eagle sits on his preppy polo. I swear, if we get trapped in these woods because we listened to someone who marks time by when the next J. Crew sale’s about to go down, instead of all the warnings – well. Let’s just say there aren’t enough words in the English language that can describe what I’ll do to him.

 “It won’t get dark for a few more hours. It’s the longest day of the year, remember?” Alanna stands behind me, leaning on my shoulder as she stares into the camera’s display screen.

She’s wearing her usual floral perfume – which is kind of ridiculous, since cryptids don’t really care how she smells. Well, that Wendigo in Oregon did, but that was the only time. If it even was a Wendigo. I still think it was an overzealous bear.

But Alanna didn’t become a WendigoMeal™, or a BearMeal™, so I guess it worked out.

She laughs as she moves next to me. “Either the camera really does add ten pounds, or Josh needs to lay off the cheeseburgers.” She tosses her dark hair back, waiting for whatever smartass comment he’ll shoot her way.


It's been really cool to see how much this book has changed over the past two years, and I'm really excited about what it's become. Although there have been times where I've cursed it's name, it's turned out to be better than I ever thought it would be, and there really isn't a good way to express how happy I am with it!

I've learned a lot, and am really grateful for being chosen and having such an awesome opportunity! I snagged quite a few requests, and I will now and forever Snoopy Dance around my apartment because my ghost/Japanese demon/Tarot Card/authentic Colonial Williamsburg story is pretty kick-ass...and slightly terrifying ;D

And now I'm on to the next story while I wait. It's also going to be a YA Horror, so get ready :D

Until next time!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

That's What It's All About...

I promise I'm going back to normal blogging soon. For now, though, here are my thoughts on a day that will always mean so many things.

I was lucky enough to attend Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University if you want to be really fancy about it) for four years. Last week, I was lucky enough to return to my undergraduate institution (which shall herein be referred to as my home), and spend some time reflecting on what Virginia Tech means to me.

Whenever I visit my home, I spend a lot of time at the April 16th Memorial. It's a nice place to sit and think, and I've definitely done my fair share of sitting and thinking there. On my last night of sitting and thinking, I was caught off-guard by a student who happened to walk by. He was caught off-guard by me, too, because he stopped mid-walk, took his head phones out, and spoke to me.

"Are you okay?" He asked.
"I'm fine." I smiled, somewhat apologetically. "It's just a nice place to sit and think."
He considered this for a moment, and then smiled back. "I'd join you, but I have a quiz in ten minutes."
"I'll be all right. Thank you for checking on me, though. Oh, and good luck on your quiz!"
"Thanks!" He put his headphones back in. "Good luck sitting and thinking." He walked away, off to test his knowledge.

I really hope he got an A on that quiz.

It's kind of funny how a random encounter can shift your perspective. Until that student stopped to talk to me, I'd been somewhat moody, brooding over tough decisions and letting the weight of various things press down on me. I was at a pivotal moment where I knew I made the right decisions, but needed reassurance that the things I'd done would work out in a good way.

He was the sign I needed. It was that small act of kindness that completely turned things around for me. Just by stopping to talk to me, this student reminded me that, no matter how much bad there is in the world, there will always be good to counter it.

Admittedly, I burst into tears after he left, because I wasn't expecting that to happen. There I was, sitting alone at our memorial, looking out at the Drillfield, one of the most iconic things about my campus. And there he was, on his way to a quiz, taking time out of his day to make sure that I was all right. This stranger would've sat with me in silence, watching people walk home from classes or club meetings, if not for his quiz.

And that's when it hit me. He wasn't a stranger. He was, and is, part of my family.

You see, that is what I love about my home. Virginia Tech is filled with people just like that student - selfless, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate. Our school's motto is Ut Prosim, which means "That I May Serve." And oh, how we love that motto. We try to live that motto out every day, in many different ways. That student lived the motto out just by making sure I was all right. Our student body literally embodies that motto when they participate in The Big Event, or raise an absurd amount of money for Relay for Life. Our dedication and service doesn't just extend to our fellow Hokies and the community that surrounds us - if someone is in need somewhere and a Hokie is around to help, we will jump in head-first and do what needs to be done.

That intense level of selflessness is something that I learned while I attended Virginia Tech - but I didn't figure out until I went back there last week.

I also learned a lot about resiliency and strength. There had always been something so special about my home, though I often had a hard time articulating exactly what that was. As I walked around campus last week, I finally figured it out. My home had been through a lot. That's an understatement. Let me rephrase.

My home went through hell and back. My home was torn apart, my home was attacked, my home was wounded, and confused, and scared, and angry, and lost. My home was sad. Sad for days, months, years. My home mourned, my home was forever changed. My home was scarred.

My home was all of these things when I moved in. But that's not everything that my home had to offer.

My home, and my family, found hope through despair. My home found a way to heal. It wasn't a perfect way - I don't think there is such a thing when it comes to healing. But my home figured it out. It was painful, and probably won't ever be quite finished, but my home kept going. Despite everything, the Hokie Nation kept going. Through the pain and the heartache, through the unspeakable sadness, my family leaned on each other and pushed forward. We moved on because that's what we needed to do, but we never forgot. And we never will. Forgetting isn't in our nature - and neither is giving up.

We persevered by finding a strength we never knew we had. And I can attest to this, as someone who witnessed said strength first-hand. That's how I learned what true strength was. True strength wasn't stating that everything was all right when it wasn't. True strength was standing on the Drillfield with thousands of people, crying as 32 names are read out. True strength was comforting the person next to you, even though you'd never spoken to them before. True strength was acknowledging that things weren't all right and allowing that pain to take over - but only for a little while. Dwelling in pain isn't useful or healthy, but finding ways to create something good from something terrible is a mark of true strength.

I'd like to think that I gave a little bit of that strength back as I spent more time there and fully understood what my home meant to me. I'd also like to think that I can keep giving a bit of that strength back as I move farther and farther away from a place I love. My home, my family, has taught me that terrible things happen and that it's fine to feel lost for a little while. But there are always people who will be around to help and heal with you, because there's more to life than just pain.

My home taught me many things, though I didn't realize it while I was there. I will forever be thankful for discovering what it means to truly be selfless, compassionate, kind, loving, a good friend, supportive, strong, resilient, brave, creative, innovative, kick-ass, hilarious, and everything else I'm at a loss to explain.

So, since I'm at a loss to explain it, I'll just let Nikki Giovanni go ahead and break it down. She does it quite well.

I love my home. I'll always love my home. I hope I can make it proud every day, because it's an amazing place full of amazing people and it's time everyone saw that. We are so much more than our tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech, and we will neVer forgeT <3

Monday, March 10, 2014

I think this post's mostly filler...

There's a real blog post coming soon, but until then, here's another excerpt from my YA High Fantasy :) My narrator is in the middle of a fight. But it's not a fight to the death or anything, so don't worry.

You were worried, weren't you?


Our giant wooden sticks, which were, quite frankly, a bit silly and a little suggestive, clashed against each other as we countered the other’s strikes. We were only inches from each other, and pretty evenly matched. So I did the only thing I could think of.

I cheated.

I let go of the staff and landed a punch square on his jaw. He recoiled back as pain flared in my hand. That wasn’t the best plan, but it bought me the time I needed. And hey, maybe cheated is a strong word. If the only rule in the whole match is don’t kill the other person, and the objective is to win, I think punching is a fine way to achieve said objective.

The only problem was, I hadn’t quite punched him right. That’s why my hand hurt more than it should. I tried to shake it off as he staggered toward me, laughing.

“Seriously?” He asked, only loud enough that I could hear.

“Er, sorry?” I wasn’t really sure what else to say. “I guess—”

Whatever I was going to say was lost as soon as the first scream tore through the air. My opponent, whose name I still didn’t know, tensed as he turned toward the crowd.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Right, so I've managed to get a bit of writing time in during this long weekend! YAY! I'm really excited to get back to making things up, and got a few research books today that I'll have to pour through to get my world-building stuff right! I'm basing a lot of my high-fantasy off of ancient China and Japan, and I really can't wait to incorporate both of those cultures into the world my characters are trying to figure out.

I made it to 17K today, and am really hoping to get to 20K by the end of the week! I also have a lot of things to beta (sorry, CPs, for being the worst writing friend on the planet these past few months) and a ton of pubbed things to read! I think one of the reasons I went on a mostly-accidental writing hiatus is that I had a difficult time finding balance between a time-consuming, but pretty rewarding job, giving my brain time to rest each day after said job, and whatever other curveballs life decided to throw my way. But I've got a semester of experience behind me now, and I'm totally ready to do this thing!

So, in honor of me actually posting more than one thing on this blog in a month, and me getting back to writing, here's an excerpt of the YA high-fantasy I'm working on (shameless plug? Maybe...)

Be on the lookout for more posts this week! (HINT: One will probably be about Frozen, and only 60% of them will be as self-serving as this one haha)

I used to be afraid of thunder. It doesn’t make a lot of sense now, of course. Lightning was the more logical thing to be scared of. It was flashy, unpredictable, could kill you if it hit you – but I couldn’t find it in me to be frightened when it struck. It’s not like I thought lightning was beautiful, or divine, or fascinating. Lightning just was, and I didn’t care that it existed.
Thunder, however, was terrifying. It was loud, and invisible, and could wrap around you, completely engulfing you, if you let it.
I thought I’d grown out of my fear, but as I stood in the middle of the field, waiting for my opponent to come out of his hiding place, it was like standing in the middle of a million storms. I was six again, and afraid, so afraid, that the thunder was coming to get me. Never mind that the thunder was only the cheering crowd. It wasn’t even troubling that, for the most part, they weren’t cheering for me.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

And now I'm back...from outer space!

By "outer space" I totally mean whatever long-term-accidental hiatus happened these last few months. Well, it's been more than a few months, but I don't think that's the point.

So hello! It's been a long, long time and I'm really very sorry that I've been so M.I.A. I'm hoping that'll be over soon as I'm finally learning how to balance my big-kid job with actually having a life outside of said job. And part of that outside life is getting back to writing! I think my break from everything writing-related was nice, because I remembered why I started to come up with stories and characters in the first place.

This past year has been quite the roller coaster and I think I lost sight of a lot of things that are important to me. Thankfully life has a way of smacking you in the face and reminding you about what matters most.


I'm going to focus a bit more on the two stories I've started. One is a YA High Fantasy that has a pretty epic unreliable narrator and will require an Ocean's 11-esque amount of planning, if you catch my drift. ;D

The other is...hmm, how do I describe this? I suppose it's a YA Contemp with quite a bit of magical realism. I'll just leave the first page at the bottom of this post and let you draw your own conclusions about what's happening (10 points to your Hogwarts House if you get it right!).

2014 has been a challenging year so far, but it's also let me learn a lot about myself. I can't wait to see what else happens, and to tackle this undoubtedly eventful year with some awesome people (and hey, if you're reading this, you count as one of them!).

Happy 2014, y'all! Let's do this thing!

First page time what what?!?
I’ve gotta be dead.  Or in hell.  That’s the only reasonable explanation for why I’m listening to this perpetual blonde stereotype drone on and on about how her Dad started her stupid pill addiction.
Well, I guess that’s not fair.  Her addiction isn’t stupid.  She is.
If I have to sit through five more minutes of, “My Dad was a psycho, he locked me up in the attic, and the only other thing in there was an exercise bike,” I swear, I’m gonna set this whole place on fire.
So what if I actually end up in Juvie this time?  It’ll be a whole lot better than this pathetic excuse for a school.  And this damn “sharing group.”
The blonde nightmare bites her lower lip again, shaking in her seat.  “And I didn’t have anything else to do, so most of the day I just used the exercise bike.  And, it’s like, no matter how fast I pedaled, I just couldn’t get away—”
“Because those bikes are stationary,” I spit out. 
“Mal,” our bottle-of-sunshine group therapist chides, “you’ll have your turn in a few moments.  Right now it’s Rory’s time.”
Rory, Little Miss Exercise Bike herself, gives me what might be her version of a death glare.  I slide farther down into my chair.  “Sorry, princess.  Go ahead,” I say, while mimicking a very strange sit-bow.
Ms. Therapist shoots me a look, but I’m not apologizing for calling Rory a princess.  She sure as hell acts like one all the time.