How Much of Me Is in My Writing #MFRWAuthor

Do we write in order to fulfill fantasies and experience what we will never face in reality? Do we write to make sense of past problems or heal old wounds? Or do we simply enjoy the idea of playing God and watching the characters we create become a better version of themselves?

Me?… Well, I have had a pretty amazing life up to this point so there aren’t many scars to mend and the few crazy encounters I’ve had, I prefer to forget. So, that’s not why I write.

Fantasy fulfillment? A chance to play God? Well… maybe.

Why ask these questions in a blog post about how much of ME I put into my writing? Because how much of me exists within my characters and story worlds kind of depends on why I put them there, to begin with, doesn’t it? And for me, I believe it comes down to the pure joy of putting something to paper that previously only existed in imagination. It’s reminiscent of playtime as a kid. (But let’s not forget kids play to learn and make sense of their world…)

There is always a piece of me in everything I write but just like my kids are not ME simply because I am their mother, my characters and stories are not autobiographical either.  Other factors in my life help to influence, shape and create what ends up on the page, sprinkled with a lifelong interest in psychology and astrology. (Odd mix, I know.)

Inevitably, I know myself best so I will take quirks, hobbies, experiences from my own life and sprinkle them into my story. For example, headaches are a big thing for me. I started getting migraines when I was in elementary school with intense pain and vomiting. That sort of experience is not only uncomfortable but interferes significantly with daily life. My main character in the novel, The Between World, suffers from this same infliction but in her case, it is an unfortunate side effect of psychic abilities. (If only I could say the same…) It was an experience I felt I could write even if the reasons for it differed.

I like to think of my characters as friends I’ve never met. When I sit down to write I ask myself who is this person living in the story world I’ve established and why would she do what I’m asking her to do? Will her personality resemble mine? Probably. Would I do the same in her situation? Not necessarily.

If the character doesn’t interest me or I don’t care about the world in which she lives, I have no reason to follow her. I’m human and let’s face it, as humans, we tend to be drawn to others who share something in common with us. Shared experience is often the foundation of new friendships.

So yes, I suppose you will find ME in varying degrees in every story I write. I hope that’s a good thing. 🙂

Thanks for checking out my post in this week’s challenge. Hop over to the MFRW52 Challenge page or click on the Linky Tools below for the complete list of participating authors.

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The Price of Immortality – A Short Story Based on a Prompt #amwriting #asmsg

Happy Hump Day! For today’s post, I have decided to play with a story prompt. I have chosen the first one from an article on the blog Hobby Lark, in a post contributed by Moe Wood.

My little story is quick and rough but I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on it so please share! Who knows, perhaps with your suggestions, I could turn it into a longer story?

**Doug stuck his hand in the box and immediately pulled it out. “Ow,” he said. He licked the side of his index finger as if it had honey on it…**

After nearly a decade of searching, he never expected his treasure would be quite like this. The box was smaller than he’d hoped but didn’t Cora always say the best gifts come in small packages? His frown deepened at the memory. She had said it just before he disappointed her with a box of chocolates for Christmas when she’d been hinting at an engagement ring.

He shrugged off the memory, rubbed his finger against his thigh, and carefully replaced the lid on the box. He’d made so many sacrifices to reach this goal. He knew it would be part of the price he’d pay so there was no sense in getting all sentimental over lost love. Besides, once he returned to Cora with the good news of his victory, she would surely forgive him. She, of all people, understood what was at stake which was precisely why he’d been so baffled by her reaction.

A single drop of water dripped from the roof of the cave. Doug watched it splash next to the ground, transfixed by its delicate beauty in the candlelight. He felt as if in his haste, he’d missed some important piece of the puzzle but he couldn’t imagine what? Perhaps it was the hollowness he felt at knowing Cora should be at his side sharing this moment?

With trembling arms, he picked up the box and began carrying it down the dimly lit corridor. Fatigue filled his body but he wasn’t in any hurry. Not any longer.

Now, in his hands, he possessed the secret ingredient to grant him eternal life. He’d slain dragons to obtain it. The only thing that remained was to deliver his prize intact to the witch in order to convert its energy to his gift.

Suddenly, a foul stench filled his nostrils and his belly threatened to empty. He sensed the presence of the demon before he saw it and he knew it was too late to shrink into the shadows unseen. The figure emerged from the darkness, its glowing red eyes the only hint at its inhumanity.

“What do you have in the box?” the demon said in a deep voice which bounced off the cave walls. Doug took a careful step back.

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?” He raised an eyebrow. “Such careful attention for nothing.”

“My… girlfriend requested this token, a symbol of my devotion…” Doug choked. Cora had always teased him for being a terrible liar so why did he believe he had any hope of fooling a demon? His chances were better of defeating the vile thing by more physical means except he couldn’t seem to muster the energy.

“Your girlfriend doesn’t seek immortality.”

Doug felt as if his body temperature dropped. His hands trembled so fiercely he could barely hold the box. Was it his imagination or had it become much heavier since his unwelcome companion approached? He considered the path ahead and wondered if he dared such a bold move, could he outrun the demon? Even though the entity appeared passive, almost bored, Doug wasn’t fooled.

The demon moved closer and Doug held his ground as he clutched the treasure close to his racing heart. With a long, lazy finger the demon stroked the edge of the lid in thoughtful contemplation.

“A mortal must work exceedingly hard to uncover the secrets we bury deep in the caves of the Cartid Mountains. The fact that you have managed such a feat gives me a reason to reflect on your worthiness of such a prize.”

“I… believe I am… worthy.”

The demon held up a hand and it was as if Doug’s legs lost the ability to hold him. He fell with a thud to the ground and watched in horror as the box toppled from his grasp, falling end over end until it finally settled at the demon’s feet.

He’d worked too hard and had come too far to give up now. He closed his eyes, gritted his teeth, and attempted to summon the power within him to block the dark magic but it was no use. His hands quivered in exhaustion and dropped in defeat. Instead, he reached out to grab the box but the demon was already one step ahead of him and he planted a large black boot on his hand, mashing it into the floor of the cave. Doug sucked in his breath as the bones crunched under the demon’s weight.

“Writhing, sniveling snake in the mud,” the demon taunted, “Have you no brains in that head of yours? You cannot overpower me.”

“What do you want?” As soon as the weight lifted from his hand, he clutched it to his chest and fought to hold back tears. Immortality would bring the absence of pain. Until then, he must remain strong and resilient.

“What do I want?” The demon considered this as if it hadn’t occurred to him before that he should want anything at all. “What are you prepared to offer?”

“Anything…”

“Even the one thing you hold dearest to your heart?”

Doug didn’t answer. His breath came out in hollow rasps. He was fighting a losing battle. White spots filled his vision and with his good hand, he swiped at beads of sweat on his brow.

His life he’d lived simply with just one goal – uncover the secrets to gain eternal life. Because of this, he prided himself on a detachment to material possessions. Truly anything he owned, even of value, he could do without. This must be some trick. The dark figure loomed over him, waiting for a response.

“Anything in my possession to give you, it is yours. Take all of it,” Doug said. It was a fair trade for this precious gift of life when he’d have a dozen lifetimes to secure whatever he needed. He’d already paid his greatest price.

The demon snickered. “Very well then.” He kicked the box carelessly toward Doug who scooped it delicately into his arms, no longer concerned with his broken hand.

Spreading his arms wide, the demon muttered an incantation and vanished.

For a full five minutes, Doug did not dare to move. When he was finally sure the demon would not return, disappointed that Doug had nothing of value to trade, he mustered the strength to pull himself to his feet and complete his journey.

**

Doug could barely believe his fortune. By the next full moon, he’d secured his goal with the help of the witch and could barely contain his excitement in sharing his prize with his beloved. In haste, he journeyed to the old village he once called home and rapped eagerly at her door, impatient for an answer. In his pocket, he carried a small, velvet box containing the ring he’d carefully selected for this occasion.

No matter how many demons or dragons he’d faced, nothing prepared him for this moment and the agony he would endure in anticipation of Cora’s response. In order not to prolong the suffering, he fell to one knee the moment the door slowly opened. Except, he didn’t realize until he looked up that it wasn’t Cora who had answered. An elderly woman stood staring at him with wide, curious eyes. Sadness darkened her features and Doug wondered if he should remember the old woman from his past.

“Is Cora here?” He got up and brushed off his slacks, feeling a little embarrassed for rushing into his proposal.

“Cora? She no longer lives here.”

“Oh…” He felt it then. The heat surrounding him, the scratching at the back of his mind. If he listened closely, did he hear the demon’s laughter? “Where might I find her?”

“She’s gone,” the old woman said sadly.

Doug felt his throat begin to close, his heart racing. This couldn’t be true.

“Gone where?”

The old woman shrugged. “Simply vanished one day into thin air.”

He had so many questions but the old woman wasn’t interested in answering them. She closed the door and left him standing, broken and beaten.

Gone.

To his left, he caught a glimpse of movement. A dark figure disappeared from view just as he turned to face it.

The demon had taken her, he was certain of it. Anger raged inside him. Cora wasn’t a possession. He wasn’t free to trade her life for the box. The deal was unfair and Doug refused to accept it.

“Damn you,” he said raising a fist to the air, “I will find you and you will pay!”

Again, he heard the faintest of laughter in the distance. Taking to his horse in a hurry, he set off in the direction of its sound determined to free his beloved.

**

Author Feature – Fantasy Island by Y.M. Sheree

“Forgive my fingers for when they find your body they will lose themselves.”
          – Tyler Knott Gregson

If you were given the opportunity to fulfill all of your fantasies, would you take a chance of a lifetime? Are you in need of a spark of excitement in your life again? With the possibility of winning a trip to Fantasy Island you realize that there is more to this island than just its name. Four unsuspecting winners of the contest are about to embark on an adventurous journey that will forever change their lives.
Meet the Contest Winners: Melody Edwards, Johanna Michaels, Makayla Washington, and Jacob Winters. Melody is a wife of three years who has found herself having self-image issues. Johanna, is cursed with not being able to sustain relationships. Makayla is the soon to be wife, yet she never seems to be satisfied with her life. Jacob, is the widower who longs for love again but unsure if anyone would be able to fill that void. Although, their reasons may vary they all have one goal in common: escaping reality. Can this luxurious island fulfill all of their desires or will it leave them craving for more? Fantasy Island is full of twists, turns, and sensual moments to keep you on edge….

Get your copy of the book today by visiting the links below:

Amazon Ebook     Amazon Paperback     Barnes and Noble Ebook     Barnes and Noble Paperback     Books A Million

Let’s get to know a little about our featured author, Y.M. Sheree…

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I think I would to live in another country. I was stationed in Germany for two years and it was beautiful. Maybe Greece or Rome.

What would you sing at Karaoke night?

I usually do Prince songs because I am a huge fan. I have sung Kiss, Darling Nikki, and When Doves Cry.

Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not?

I love surprises because I feel the person took out enough time to think about me to go to all the trouble to do so.

Tell us a little about your favorite scene from your most recent novel.

My favorite scene from my latest book Fantasy Island would be between Makayla and her partner. He shows up at the bridal shop with food to show her support as her friend and her partner on the job.

If you could offer any advice for an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Something I had to learn is that not everyone is going to enjoy what you write. That is okay because you should write because you of all people love to. Also do your own research on everything as far as publishing, cover artists, how to perfect your craft, editors and etc. I have numerous people who contact me on Facebook asking me questions and I try to help always. If I don’t know the answer I always find I for them. With that being said, when you get a team surround yourself with like minded people in this industry.

How did you come up with the idea to write Fantasy Island?

I came up with the idea of this book from watching the old tv show Fantasy Island but I put an erotic twist on my story. When I write erotica I try to touch on subjects that the world may think are taboo but deep down some individuals may want to try. I let them live vicariously through my characters.

**

Y. M. Sheree is an Army veteran who currently resides in Portsmouth, Virginia. She is a proud mother of two daughters, one a CNA and currently in College and the other is serving in the U.S. Army. A graduate of Colorado Technical University she has received two MBAs, one in Business Administration and the other in Project Management. While in High School a short story written about, King Author gained attention of the librarians. She switched her knight to a female and the damsel had been a male. Her best friend co-authored a book when they attended High School together.
While stationed in Germany, she tried her hand at poetry that she sent to a publishing company that turned her down stating her writing was journal entries and not poetry in 2009. Her spirit crushed she put her pen down and stopped writing until 2015. Mary B. Morrison challenged aspiring writers to write a book in ninety days on Facebook. Y.M. Sheree took the challenge as a hobby to pass her time not knowing that later on that year her first published work Purple Haze would release in October 2015. She now has three published books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, Purple Haze, Purple Haze 2, The Switch Up, and Fantasy Island.
In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, playing video games on her Xbox one, and she is a diehard Baltimore Ravens fan and Golden State Warriors. Known for writing Erotica she plans on being versatile and write in different genres.

Connect with Y.M. at the following links:

Y.M. Sheree’s Website    Goodreads     Pinterest     Instagram     Twitter     Author Go     Email     Facebook Page 1     Facebook Page 2     Facebook Group

**

Thank you, Y.M. Sheree for being my Friday Author Feature!

Curious who is up next? Please refer to the Upcoming Events to the right. 🙂

If you are an author interested in featuring a new book, feel free to fill out the contact form HERE.

#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Destined to the Dragon

Layla struggled against the binds as the enormous beast loomed over her. She’d nearly managed to free her left hand. If only she had a little more time she might be able to escape, but she feared that it was already too late. The large, red dragon circled overhead once more. There was no doubt that it was aware of her presence. She’d stifled a shriek as a third pass brought it’s long, sharp talons down to snag the blue gown she’d been forced to dress in during the preparation ceremony. The talons had come dangerously close to ripping into her skin and left a gaping hole in her dress for the cold rush of night air to brush up against her pale skin, prickling her skin with the impending storm.

Golden Dragon

Fruitlessly, she pulled and struggled against the rope holding her in place. The men who had brought her here had been thorough in their attempts to keep her in place. At one time in her life, she might have called them neighbors or even friends, but as they’d prepared her for her death, not one had been willing to meet her eye or hear her plea, not even Kyrad.

Hot air washed over her with the putrid stink of the dragon’s breath as it settled just a few feet from where she lay on the platform of the high mountain. She could scream but no one would help her. They had purposely left her here to die, a sacrifice to the hungry dragon in return for peace amongst the village, a scheme which all seemed entirely too convenient in her opinion. She’d seen the way the others looked at her.

“Die gracefully,” they had told her when the calling had been made. “It is, after all, a great honor to be the chosen one.”

Layla sucked in her breath as she watched wide eyed as the dragon paced along the edge of its high perch. Just a few more wriggles and her left hand would be free.

The dragon let out a loud, bellowing roar that shook the mountain and echoed far into the distance. Layla wondered how many people down below in the village looked up, cowering in fear, as they held fast onto each other for comfort. They were waiting for the dragon to claim his meal so that the sacrifice would be complete. Layla closed her eyes and held back the hot tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks. No, she wouldn’t face death as a coward. There had to be another way. She continued to strain against the binds as determination filled her. In the name of her parents, she would prove them all wrong.

In the distance, thunder cracked in response to the dragon’s roar, a deep sound that shook their world. Dark clouds swirled above, moving closer at a rapid speed. The first fat drops of rain began to spill down on them as the dragon turned to focus back on Layla. He sniffed tentatively and his arrow tipped tongue tasted the air as he approached her. Even though she had nowhere to go, she sank back into the rock as though she wished the mountain would split wide and swallow her into its depths. The dragon spread his wings wide as he arched his back and shot a plume of smoke and fire into the night almost as if he were thanking the gods in triumph. Rising on his hind legs, he was easily four times the height of a grown man. Nevertheless, Layla held steadfast onto the only thing she had left – hope.

Red bead eyes regarded her with curiosity. She’d managed to free her left hand finally but she didn’t dare to move while she was under such close scrutiny. She held her breath, biding her time, waiting for the dragon to make a move.

The dragon ambled forward until its snout was pressed against her nose. Layla squeezed her eyes shut and said a silent prayer to the gods and then as the dragon lifted its head and opened its jaws wide to snap down over her, she quickly flung her weight to the right where she still dangled helplessly by the hand still tightly bound. She watched in horror as the dragon’s razor sharp teeth clamped down over the brush and rock. It recovered, snorting steam from its nostrils as it took two steps back, preparing for the next attack.

By some miracle, Layla managed to free her right hand. She scrambled into the bushes before the dragon’s teeth could catch her. The dragon roared as flames shot from its jaws and ignited the bushes where Layla sought protection. She squealed and ran, barely escaping the snapping jaws. The two went back and forth this way for a while, the dragon insistent on catching its prey and Layla determined to escape. She needed to get to the other side of the platform where she knew there was a way over the mountain, to the safety of the village below.

But as the dragon nipped at her feet and tore at the bottom of her gown, she realized with a heavy heart, even if she managed to escape, where would she go? The village was no longer her home and her friends were no longer her friends. If she returned from the mountain, she would not be considered a hero, but rather a coward that sacrificed the village for the sake of her own life. This left her with only one option, she couldn’t simply escape from the dragon’s clutches, she needed a way to kill it.

Rather than make a break for the path when she had the opportunity, Layla grabbed a large rock and flung it as hard as she could, aiming for the dragon’s eyes. It hit with a satisfactory thunk right between the eyes. She hunched over, trying to catch her breath, while the dragon, stunned by the retaliation, took off to the sky and began circling overhead again. This gave Layla a moment to try to clear her head and think.

The rain fell faster around them and soaked the dress until it clung uncomfortably to her body. Layla scrambled, desperate to find anything that she could fashion into a weapon before the dragon returned to its perch. Her hand clutched the pendant that still dangled around her neck on a golden chain. It had been a gift from her parents on her eleventh birthday during a time when her life was still filled with so much promise for the future. Angry, she ripped it free allowing the chain to drop in a heap to the ground. She picked it up and used it to fasten a rock quickly to the end of the longest stick that she could find. She’d only just finished her makeshift weapon when the dragon’s talons touched down just a couple of feet from where she worked.

She squealed, sinking back into the shadows and nearly losing the stick in the meantime. The dragon roared, rearing its ugly head and shooting flames in every direction. This time, it meant to have its meal, the initial curiosity replaced with a ferocity that she didn’t believe she had the strength to match. Who was she to slay a dragon, after all? If it were such an easy feat then any of the large men from her village would have surely completed the task by now instead of cowering in fear anytime she proposed such an idea. Layla cowered, her heart hammering wildly in her chest, biding her time until the dragon’s next strike.

The dragon scratched the ground with its sharp talons much like a bull paws the ground before it charges. She watched as tendrils of smoke rose into the air from its nostrils, the heat turning to steam as the rain cooled the fire. Layla shivered as fear and dampness crept along her spine. Every moment stretched into an eternity before finally, the dragon made its move, running at top speed from one end of the landing to the space where Layla laid in wait. It was now or never, she knew, so once again she said a silent prayer to the gods who listened and raised her weapon just as the dragon towered over her. Its large body shook as the beast howled into the night. And then, much to her horror, its full weight sink down over her.

This isn’t how I want to die.

Burning filled her nostrils and made her head throb. Barely able to catch her breath, she heaved again attempting to lighten the burden of the beast that lay over her. Finally, she managed to drag her body out from under the heap of dragon. It’s breathing had ceased but still, Layla looked over it in awe. She had listened to a story once as a child that her father had told her about a knight that slay a dragon with a diamond to the heart but she had never regarded it as anything more than a fictional story, another of the many her father made up to amuse her. But by some grace, it had actually worked.

The rain poured down in a heavy stream but she didn’t notice the chill that soaked her to the core. She only stood and watched the dragon, weary that she had come so close to being its meal and instead, championed over it. Her hands shook by her sides, both proud and devastated to have brought the end of life to a fellow creature of her world, no matter how fierce it had been.

Tears of remorse poured down over her cheeks. Moving slowly to the edge of the mountain, she peered down through the dark to the few lights that burned in the village below. Always someone kept watch. Tonight, they could sleep peaceful, she thought. The dragon would no longer be a concern. Tonight she did not become the sacrifice that the village had hoped for. In her heart, she felt reborn, destined for something greater than she could comprehend. With much effort, she turned the dragon to his side so that she could pull the long stick from its chest and marvel at the blood-soaked pendant. She wiped it with her dress, took a deep breath, and then considered her return to the village.

**

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me. 🙂 Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday – Dark Journey to the Witch

weekendwriting

Here by the skin of my teeth this week thanks to wireless issues! Eeks! Happy Sunday! Welcome to my post on the Weekend Writing Warriors – a place for authors to come together to share 8 to 10 sentences of their current WIP. Check out http://www.wewriwa.com for a list of all the participants and the details on how you can get on next week’s list!

The past handful of weeks I shared snippets from my newly finished first draft of Rise of the Angerroots. I would love to say that rewrites are coming along wonderfully but that would be a lie. I’ve managed to add it to scrivener and that’s about as far as I got. It’s going to be slow going. In the meantime, I’ve hit the rewind button to start work on the prequel which will help to introduce my story world. It seems only fair that I begin share the snippets from this new project.

Meet Serena…

**

Woman harvesting magical flower in the forestThe shadows cut deep into the forest. Serena kept her cloak over her head to conceal her identity as she moved swiftly along the dark forest path, never daring to look around lest she meet the eye of one who might recognize her. Eventually she stopped outside a worn down old cabin with a broken window and hesitated before taking the crooked steps leading to the front door. Serena considered her mother’s warnings but these were desperate times, she decided, and her fate was already chosen. An old woman peered out the window before letting the curtains fall back into place and Serena felt chills travel down her spine. She could turn and go but she had already come so far. She might as well hear the old woman out.

Before she could knock, the door swung slowly open and Serena found herself face to face with a short, not entirely unattractive woman with jet black hair and crystal blue eyes.
“Raven?” Serena asked, even though there was no mistaking the woman’s identity.

**

That’s it… I look forward to your thoughts on my snippet. Next week I will share another peek into this novella and hopefully better news regarding my rewrite progress. As always, thanks for reading! See you next time. 🙂