What’s Up, December 2015

Nano winnerFirst of all, congratulations to all my fellow writers who took the plunge into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and came out winning on the other side. Whether you wrote 50,000 words or not, tackling the challenge is still something to be proud of and I hope you had fun along the way.

Obviously, NaNoWriMo is one of those challenges I can’t resist because 2015 marks my eight year signing on and my seventh year winning. I now have a 50,000 word “paranormal romance” currently titled Blood Moon. This mess, err, I mean book, will undergo extensive rewrites during the month of December and with a bit of luck, will be ready to submit to publishers sometime early in the new year.

My zombie story is on hold. It stands at just under 10,000 words. Hoping to jump back into that story as soon as the dust settles from my previous writing frenzy.

Rise of the Angerroots is also still waiting in the wings. I have high hopes to submit this one to the Amazon Scout Program in early 2016 and/or simply self-publish. More on that soon.

As the year ends, I look ahead to my goals for a new year of writing. I am happy to have settled into a regular routine and I am excited about having stories to share in the near future, both long and short.

For starters, I have entered the 2016 Short Story Writing Competition. Round one begins on January 22nd. This is my first time participating in this type of challenge and my stomach is in knots.  Stay tuned for details on how you can cheer me on.

I also have a short story in the works for hopeful submission to a horror anthology. I will be carving out some time to get that finished and polished in the coming weeks. There are few other potential anthology submissions I have pegged with deadlines coming up throughout 2016. It’s my goal to submit to at least three of them by the end of 2016.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for fun in #1lineWed and the #DecWritingChallenge and keep your eyes on the blog for weekly snippets of my works-in-progress via Weekend Writing Warriors.

And… most of all, have a happy December! 🙂

 

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The Bridge

Bridge in moonlightI rubbed the scratchy stubble on my chin as I leaned my elbows on the wooden railing of the old bridge. I couldn’t remember what prompted me to stop here. I vaguely remembered playing in these woods as a child but that felt like a lifetime ago. Below me the expanse of river reflected the engorged moon as the water moved almost soundlessly over the rocks. It wasn’t the first time I contemplated jumping.

Exhausted, I bent my head and massaged my aching temple. I tried to think about all the clues that might have added up to this night, all the ways I’d gone wrong that had led to my broken heart. In my pocket still rested the ring box. I’d been planning to propose to Amber but I didn’t get up the nerve and then before I had the chance, it was all over.

On the soft breeze, I heard a whisper that sounded like my name. I looked up but of course, I was alone. After two in the morning in a rural town like mine, I’d be lucky to see a car pass even if I spent the next several hours standing on the bridge.

Maybe it was the fact that she’d never liked my job. I wasn’t ambitious enough, she’d told me once. I liked my job though. It didn’t make me rich. What I could afford was humble in contrast to what she was accustomed to receiving but I thought we could find a way to make it work. I thought she loved me for the person I was on the inside. Isn’t that the way that love is supposed to work?

Amber had accused me of messing around with some girl I didn’t even know. She told me she had proof of it, that others had admitted to seeing us together but I shook my head sadly to the night, acknowledging the conspiracy that had been set up against me. None of her friends had ever liked me. Was I destined to be alone forever, I wondered?

The breeze wrapped around me and I shivered. The seasons were changing so quickly now. At this rate, winter would settle over us before we knew it. I pulled my leather jacket tighter around me to try to keep the chill from settling into my bones but it was no use.

A scratching sound distracted my ruminations and I quickly looked behind me, not sure what I was expecting to find, but the bridge was still void of any sign of life, except for my own. My heart sank and I looked down at my cell phone at the last text message I’d received from Amber asking me to never contact her again. I contemplated responding, asking her what happened, asking for some sense of closure. She owed me that much at least, didn’t she? It wasn’t fair to leave me like this. No matter how many times I went over the past six months in my memory, I couldn’t put the pieces together to come to a conclusion for why she might have turned so cold. I deserved to know the truth.

My fingers hesitated over the keys as I remembered the look in her eyes. Ordinarily her eyes were a bright blue but the sadness had dimmed them to a murky gray as the tears threatened to spill. She hadn’t wanted to say goodbye. I was convinced of it, but yet she had insisted, and after all the arguments, there was nothing left to say to try to change her mind.

For better or for worse, my relationship with Amber was over.

I reached into my pocket and fished out the ring. It wasn’t anything special but it had taken me several paychecks to finally be able to afford it. I’d picked the beautiful blue Sapphire to match her eyes. I couldn’t imagine anyone else wearing the ring other than Amber so although it may have seemed crazy, I pulled back my arm and pitched the ring as far down the river as I could manage. It fell with a plop that almost seemed to echo through the quiet night.

I dug my hands into my pockets and stepped back from the edge, giving one last look over the river before turning my back and moving toward my beat up old car waiting for me at the side of the road. As I shuffled along, I could have sworn I heard the sound of a woman crying in the distance. I stopped and double backed, listening intently for the sound again. At first it didn’t come. Even the lonely crickets had given up and returned to wherever it is that crickets go when summer has ended and fall begins. Around me was only silence.

That’s it, I told myself, turning back toward the car. But something didn’t want to let me go, some strange nagging tugged at me, urging me to look closer.

Under the bridge, the wind whispered in my ear. I shuddered involuntarily. It would be a dangerous climb down the steep hillside in thick underbrush to reach the overgrown woods under the bridge. It was unlikely I would find anyone there. But then I heard it again, this time more distinct and without reservation I knew, it was the sound of a woman crying.

…. to be continued

Happy Six Years Reconstruction

MagicianAccording to wordpress, today is my blog’s 6th anniversary. Yes, believe it or not, this blog has been in existence for six whole years! I know, as the blog’s owner, I should be the least surprised by this revelation but since we all know that I do not post very often, I guess it’s easy for me to forget just how long I’ve been doing this writing thing.

Six years…

Wow. Time flies. Although it may appear as though I haven’t been doing much of anything in the past year, that’s actually far from true. I’m happy to say that I’ve been rather successful and I’ve learned a heck of a lot. I took the time away to experiment with a different genre under a pen name. I liked it. A lot.

That being said, you’re probably wondering why I’m back now? A couple of times along the way I considered giving up ever writing as Stephanie again, choosing to adopt my new identity wholeheartedly and run with it. If you measure success in writing by how much money you make then this is clearly the logical option. However, I happen to believe that it’s not just about the money.

But like I said, I learned a lot. I plan to put to good use what I learned, continue to write what I love, and hopefully marry the two worlds I created into one successful career that I can be proud to say is mine. I’m not giving up on the other stuff by far. I simply intend to scale back a bit in order to carve out time for Stephanie’s stories.

First things first… I’m making updates. I’m brushing away the cobwebs on this blog, I’m reestablishing connections on social media, and most importantly, I’m writing again! My first story is in the works and with the kids back to school, I have no excuses not to sit down and get things done. So, here we go.

Let the magic begin!

Oh, and did I mention my new work-in-progress features a magician? 🙂

My Summer Weekend Freebie

cover imageLast weekend I offered the kindle version of my first novel titled THE BETWEEN WORLD for free and I hope that everyone who snagged a copy gets a chance to read and enjoy it over the summer.

This weekend, I’m giving away the kindle version of my second novel, GHOSTS DON’T WEAR SILK STOCKINGS, for free now through Sunday. If you don’t have a kindle, you can download a kindle app so there are no excuses.

Admittedly, I have trouble giving this one away. I’m not sure what it is that makes readers so reluctant to give the story a chance. Is it the title? The cover? The story blurb? All of the above? If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them because as I’ve mentioned in past posts, I’m planning to revisit my stories and find ways to improve them. I’m all for change.

And if you happen to read the book and have suggestions on how I can improve the story as well, I’m all ears.

In the meantime, Happy Summer Solstice! It’s official. Summer is here and it is hot, hot, hot. Time to pick up your kindle and head to the pool for a little relaxation. Happy Reading! summersun