Impetuous Teenager

“I’m done with you ignoring me,” the girl says, jutting out her chin and glaring at me through half-closed eyes.

I can’t help but smile. She’s adorable when she’s angry. Her wild, earthy brown hair falls in tangled waves around her shoulders. Her pale blue eyes have too much innocence in them to throw much venom in my direction.

“I’ve been busy, Tari,” I reply slowly. Patiently.

“At the rate you’re going, I will be thirteen forever,” she whines, flopping down on the couch next to me. Such a drama queen.

I reach over and stroke her hair, gently trying to pry the tangles apart. “I don’t want to hurry through this. I want to do it right.”

Tari rolls her eyes and tugs her hair out of my hand. When she turns to look at me, a tear is falling from each eye. Still so fragile. She could render me powerless if she wanted to, she just doesn’t know it yet. So much power and influence, all wrapped up in a cute little package. In a few years, I might not be able to stand up against her in any argument. Best to earn her respect now, while I still can. I can’t have my main character taking over her books. Especially when that main character is an impetuous teenager.

“I know it’s hard to wait. You want to have all the adventures, the excitement, the-“

“Romance? Is there romance?” She grins at me, tears still dripping onto her dusty brown tunic.

I laugh and give her hand a squeeze. “More romance than you can handle right now.”

She sighs, resting her head on my shoulder. Still my little girl, at least sometimes. “Can you tell me about it? Please?”

My chest tightens. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to finish her story. She’s at this beautiful place in-between. Not really a child anymore, but far from being a woman. She is on the brink of a whirlwind of growing up, and some of it will be painful. A lot of it will be painful. Her world is about to be changed forever, and there will be no return to this innocence. A happy ending, yes, but this moment in time will be lost forever.

I turn and kiss her on the top of her head. “One more day, Tari. Just be my little girl for one more day. Tomorrow, I will open up the file and write you into an adventure. Today, I want you to live in this moment, and treasure it.”

Tari snuggles closer to me, but makes no reply. Not even an eye roll. She understands. Even now, she is maturing beyond her years.

I smile to myself. She’ll be all right. She’s ready for this adventure of growing up.

 

 

What Is This Magic?

I have not been a writer of overwhelming inspiration these past few years. In 2009, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time (Or was is 2010? Sheesh, I don’t remember now.) and hammered out the rough draft of my current WIP. It was so rough. So, so SO rough. It was still a triumph because my writing had gone by the wayside for a long time. It was only at the encouragement of a new writer friend that I was able to run with the silly idea for a fantasy series that I had.

I was successful in that year of NaNo, finishing my book on November 29 with 52,000 words. I have not been able to complete a NaNo project since, but that year served as a shove in the right direction. Since then, my novel has gone through three different outlines and partial rewrites. It went from a two-part series, to a trilogy, and now I’m pretty sure it’s going to be four books. How awkward. If I can find the time to sit down and actually write it, I think it’s going to get done. I feel a lot more clear on where I am going right now.

But I digress. My point in writing this was to talk about the weirdness of a sudden burst of inspiration I’ve been having. As I mentioned, pretty much any time I’ve had for writing has been poured into this series. I haven’t really had any new ideas. The other night, I was lying in bed, trying to shut off my brain, when it happened. I got an idea, and it began to take shape. There was just one problem…it was for a romance novel!!! I don’t do romance. I have never written a normal, contemporary romance story. Ever. I pretty much always stick with Fantasy. Still, the idea is fairly complete in my mind, and I think it might be a fun project.

Then, two days ago, I was in my car, and ANOTHER idea popped into my head, and it was so exciting and brilliant, I thought for SURE someone would have already done it. If they have, I can’t find it anywhere. So, after I have written this…quadrilogy? Quadruped? Quadrillion? Whatever it is, after I have written it, I will have have another series, a romance novel, and the inkling for a huge 12-book series to write someday when I have time for massive amounts of historical research. This is just unheard-of for me. However, it does push me to want to finish this. 🙂

My Body… : An Exercise (Or Lack Thereof)

A strange prompt, but one that stuck out to me. Just some musings. Now that I’ve finished writing it, I’m not sure I like the confusing verb tense / flashback I chose to use. Borrowed from writingforward.com.

My body mocks me from the glossy photograph. The offensive photo was taken last week at a family barbecue. I remember taking the time to put on makeup, to tame my wild hair, even adding a cute little braid to get my long bangs out of my face. Sure, the sage green sundress had felt a little tight when I zipped it up, but at the time, I was pretty sure it was supposed to fit like that. Besides, it was totally my best color.

Now, I can’t stop staring. I am smiling in the photograph, completely unaware of how unflattering I am going to look later on. The dress doesn’t hang quite right. It hitches up on one side, creases awkwardly on the other. The bodice is too big (as always), so one of the wide straps is falling off my shoulder. The worst part of all is that the dress’ cut creates a perfect little pocket for my tummy to rest in. And it is taking full advantage of the situation.

Congratulations, I think to myself. You officially have a Mom Body. I close the laptop lid to hide the proof.

I’m not sure when this happened. Yes, yes, I had two kids, but I distinctly remember losing the baby weight. They tell you that you will gain weight when you’re pregnant. What they don’t tell you is that toddlers will make you even fatter.

Maybe it’s because it is more difficult to squeeze in an hour (or even ten minutes) of exercise, because the only time you’re alone is when they are sleeping. And when they are sleeping, you will do anything to ensure that they stay that way as long as possible. Exercising when they’re awake is OUT, because they laugh at you. No, really.

Maybe it’s because toddlers have terrible eating habits, and, well, if they aren’t going to eat their crust, why shouldn’t you? Waste not!

Maybe you picked up some bad habits when they were newborns. During those 2am feedings, you had to find some way to stay awake, and you discovered Pinterest! Projects galore for a time when you have more time. Someday. Maybe.

Regardless of the reason, I am still in shock. My body has never been something I was overly worried about. I was an active kid, borderline “skinny” at times. I never had body issues. I don’t even know how to respond to the thirty pounds that seem to have taken over my body. I don’t feel fat. I do want to exercise more, but I don’t have time to be a gym woman. I do want to eat better, but I don’t want to deprive myself of my favorite comfort foods.

I open the laptop lid to take another look. I am reminded of a quote that I see on Pinterest a lot. “Real men love curves.” I’ve always thought that was a little bit mean-spirited. Come on, ladies, skinny girls aren’t skinny just to spite you. I laugh to myself now. I’m not even curvy.

I am smiling in the photo, accentuating the roundness in my pink cheeks. I remember I had been on the brink of laughter, because my husband was flirting with me from behind the photographer.

All the angles are soft. Soft arms, soft tummy, soft legs. I look cuddly. I smile to myself. Maybe I am. Maybe that’s okay. Just this morning, my husband’s alarm went off, but he stayed in bed. He pulled me into his arms, just to hold me. Just for comfort. “I love waking up next to you,” he’d said. I may not have a bikini model’s body anymore, but my husband’s eyes still light up when I walk past him in my underwear.

I think about the way my kids run to me for snuggles. My youngest likes to bury his face in my tummy when he’s tired or not feeling well. My oldest likes to snuggle in close when we read a story.

I realize that these are the things I treasure the most. These three people would do those things no matter what shape my body was in, because they love me. Love has a way of smoothing the wrinkles, of finding joy in the imperfections, of ignoring the unflattering sundress.

Love also has a way of making me smile all the way into my chubby cheeks, making me pose for a picture because I want to remember this day, and making me walk around in my underwear just to see that look on my husband’s face. My life is beautiful because of the people in it. I am beautiful because they love me. While that doesn’t mean I won’t ever try to be in better shape, I’m not going to live in a dissatisfied place because the scale doesn’t say what I wish it said. I’m going to live in THIS day, and find the beauty in it, and in myself.

I will also go shopping and buy a sundress that fits. 🙂

 

 

Exercise in characterization

Borrowed from writingprompts.tumblr.com

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This is an interesting concept to me, so I thought I’d take a stab at it. From my own point of view, I think I am one part Fairy Diplomat, one part Brutally Honest Grandmother, and one part Reclusive Hermit Woman Who Talks to Cats.

I think I am a Fairy Diplomat because I don’t quite follow the rules of humanity, though I do try to fit in and to make people happy. I can’t always hide the magic in my imagination, and this has made me a bit of an outcast. A little weird. However, being brought up a Royal, I have excellent manners, and I am also able to recognize my own kin hiding amongst the humans.

Brutally Honest Grandmother: Sometimes I just have to put on the bright red lipstick and tell it like it is. Sometimes that bitchy little Early Twenties Who Thinks She Knows Everything needs to be put in her place. If someone never learned to respect their elders, well then, I’m happy to give them a lesson when they’re thirty. Better late than never. Fortunately or unfortunately, this personality is mostly in my head because I’m also a Reclusive Hermit Woman Who Talks to Cats.

Sometimes, I just can’t handle the real world. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to people, and I want to escape to my little cabin in the woods. No address, no driveway, no phone. This is really just a fantasy, however, because my Diplomatic responsibilities would never allow it.

I Solemnly Swear…

So, after much thought, I think that I have figured out why all my blog attempts have failed in the past. I’ve always been told, “Write what you know”. When I blog, I write about work, family, chores, hobbies, projects, pets…whatever’s on my mind at the time. Half the time, I wouldn’t even post what I wrote. The other half of the time, I’d post it, re-read it, and think to myself, “This is boring,” or, “I don’t want anyone to read this.”

Writing is a privilege for me. I’m not one of those people with the talent of being able to write while doing other things. When I get to write, it’s in the quiet of the morning, or some stolen hours alone on a weekend. In other words, it doesn’t happen very often. 😛 When it does happen, why in the world would I want to write about all the things I’ve been doing when I wasn’t writing?

So, this is why, despite it being in the forefront of my mind, I am NOT going to write about anything like that. I’m not going to write about what I do for a living. I’m not going to give cute anecdotes about my kids or my husband (although I love reading that stuff!). I might write about my cat, but only because she is the coolest. I think I want to use this as an exercise to help me transition more easily into my own “writing world”. Ha. I suppose we’ll see what happens.

Drabble Day!

Some of the authors at Red Adept Publishing came together for a Drabble project, and I joined in the fun. A “drabble” is a piece of writing exactly 100 words long. I found the idea of creating an entire story in 100 words a little intimidating, but I had a lot of fun. It was good exercise. 🙂 We all came together with the theme, “Payback”, and it was fun to see what everyone did with that. Here’s mine.

Drabble: Payback

Lucy Clarke pressed her back against the wall, pulse drumming. Had he seen her? Clutching her rifle, she inched her way to the corner and risked a quick glance.

The teenager’s back faced her. He inspected his own rifle, cursing.

Lucy grinned. Unarmed.

Stepping out, she leveled the gun, getting him in her sights. Holding it steady, she shouted, “Damien!”

The boy turned, his frustrated expression melting into one of terror. “Ms. Clarke, no!”

“Payback,” she muttered, and pulled the trigger three times.

Damien’s white-clad chest exploded in lime green paint.

Lucy turned and strode off the field. “Little jerk.”

Lots of fun! Here are links to the other RAP drabbles.

Stephen Kozeniewski

Erica Lucke Dean

Harvey Chute

Edward Lorn

Kimberly G. Giarratano

J. Leigh

Cassie Cox

Thanks for reading!

First Post

Well, here it is. No promises. This is my…fourth? Maybe fifth attempt at blogging regularly. Hopefully this one will stick.

I am a writer, but the writing part of my life tends to be pushed into the background most days. I have been working on one novel for almost four years, which has got to be some kind of personal record. I usually delete it much sooner than that. I am determined to at least finish the thing to a point where I wouldn’t be embarrassed to let someone read it.

I also need to simply be in the habit of writing, and I think that’s where this blog will help. You can expect general musings, short stories, character development exercises, and the occasional promotion of books I like.

I am super lucky to be on staff with Red Adept Publishing, which gives me the opportunity to work with some amazing authors and editors. It is inspirational for me, and I love connecting with others who share this passion. RAP has published some excellent works, and there is always something new on the way!