Fourteen years ago a great many people lost their lives. Those that lived lost their loves, families, friends, and coworkers. We as a country lost our innocence and sat for days with hearts broken staring at scenes no one could ever have imagined.
It was a day of massive loss and personal loss. A day they closed the mall early but not the schools. They kept the kids late because no one was sure if there would be anyone to pick them up. A day spent trying to find the words to explain to ourselves what happened, and failing. A day of heroes who lived and died trying their best to save as many as they could.
It was a day that needs remembering in the hopes that it will never be repeated. A day to weep and stand proud. A day to hug your kids and kiss your lovers, and pray for those who can’t. A day to remember what really matters and the day we will never forget.
Title image by autumn2may.
It’s been almost a year since I posted last. I blame…um…aliens? I don’t know. I guess I’m not the best blogger in the world. C’est la vie.
I could post about how I’m going to try to be better in the future, but I think me posting anything at all says that better than I could write on purpose. Anyway, enough about me not writing, let’s move on to more important things:
Did I ever tell you I’m writing a book series? If you’ve been following me forever or know me outside this website the answer is probably yes. In fact I created this website specifically to be about writing, hence the title. How am I progressing? Well let me give you an update:
Last month I finished editing the millionth draft of my first book. This month I finished a read-through/edit of the bits of book two that are already written. Yesterday I finished the sub-plot timeline so I know what I need to add to book two to finish it. Today I started writing new scenes for the first time in well over a year.
I am so happy that I’m writing again! I mean I write and edit all the time. But these are new scenes in book two. With each scene I’m that much closer to finishing it and moving on to book three and completing the series!
It felt so good to get those words on paper, or I guess, into the computer. It feels so good to be moving forward. Don’t get me wrong I love editing, but creating something new is one of my favorite things about being a writer.
I’ve also put up an excerpt from book one, Mark of the Essence, which you can read here.
And while I love my book series I have also spent some time here and there writing short stories. Okay they are very short stories, probably more like flash fiction. And I thought maybe since right now they are just sitting in my writing folder I should put them up on here. So starting today I’ll post a new story once a week or so until I run out. At which point maybe I’ll write a new story every week? I guess we’ll see.
I already have two stories posted on the site: “First Light” and “The First Mark”. Both of those were written as part of the Fantasy-Faction monthly writing contest. Today’s story is much shorter and rather than talk about it, I’ll let you read it for yourself. Enjoy!
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“The Scent of Spring”
by Jennie Ivins
The first thing she noticed upon waking wasn’t the songbirds singing in the trees above, or the way the tall green grass tickled the exposed skin of her neck and face. Even the unevenness of the ground and the way her dew covered clothes clung to her body weren’t the obvious senses that roused her tired mind. It was the smell of damp earth, rich and full of promise, mixed with the copper of fresh blood that finally shook her from her sleep.
Her eyes shot open but her body remained still. How long had she been asleep?
The sky through the spring green leaves above her was spotted with puffy white clouds rolling lazily along in a breeze too high up to rustle the grass she lay in. The sun was behind her, making its way up to the center of the sky, taking its time as it shifted the shadows of the forest off patch of clover to her left and onto the dead man at her feet.
She sat up and backed quickly into a tree trunk. She hit her already tender head and cursed under her breath as she got a better look at her surroundings.
The meadow rolled along down a short hill and ended in a brook that was close enough to see, but too far away to hear. The forest behind her was light and airy with deer paths leading through budding underbrush. Most likely it lined a road or a farmer’s field. The edge closest to the clearing was littered with broken braches and scraps of cloth and hair. It was rather obvious which direction the pair had come from.
Her eyes again came to rest on the corpse. Flies were already circling its gore stained clothes, which the song birds in turn were swooping down to snap in their hungry beaks. What would she do with the body?
A short gust of wind blew a blood caked curl in front of her eyes. It brought with it the not unpleasant smell of a farm freshly tilled and animals at pasture. She didn’t remember passing a farm, but it had been dark the night before. Dark and cold and quiet.
The sound of birds and insects buzzing all around her hurt her head. It was too beautiful, too perfect. There was too much life in this place, too much spring in the air for the death that surrounded her.
She stood, using the tree to keep her balance. Her leg hurt. Her head hurt. The smell of blood and whatever else pooled around the man was making her sick.
She hobbled down the soft hill towards the babbling brook. Everything about this place made her angry. All she could feel was pain and fear. But all around here was nothing but warmth and new life. She fell on her knees in the sand by rivers edge and washed herself of all the stickiness she could. She cupped her hands and poured the cold waters on her face and head.
The cold felt better. She closed her eyes surrendering to the chill and darkness. The sound of the water was preferable to the sound of singing. When she’d washed as much as she could, she lay back on the bank, hidden from the sun by the canopy above. Where would she go now?
The wet seeped into her bones and her body started to shake. It longed for the warmth of the hillside and the softness of the grass. She didn’t deserve it. She never had.
Maybe she should stay there by the brook and let the cold take her. She could become one with the leafy shadows and lend her song to the water against the rocks. Bones and rocks were very similar. Hard and smooth. One held up the earth, the other men. But all men’s bones returned to the earth eventually. Maybe it was her time now.
A pit in her stomach bubbled to the surface. She couldn’t stay there. She didn’t want to die. If she had wanted death it could have been hers the night before. Maybe not quick or painless, but hers none the less.
She sat up, sand sticking to her clothes and arms. The farm then. They would help her. They would give her hot food and new clothes. They would shower her with pity and freshen up the guest room. While they weren’t looking she would nick supplies. They would tell her to stay as long as she wanted, but she would only stay the night and be gone before anyone could miss her.
Before the farmer’s wife picked through the holes in her story. Before the famer’s children noticed all the scars on her arms and legs. Before the farmer found the body in the tall grass, where the songbirds sang, under sunny spring skies.
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You can find my other stories by clicking on the drop down menu at the top of the page marked Short Stories or you can click the links below. If you’d like more information on my stories or book series you can find my contact information on my About Me page. Happy Writing! :)
Title image by mkendall.
The sky this morning was incredible. In the north it was azure – the color of a Caribbean sea. In the south thick heavy clouds were pasted above the trees. They looked disapprovingly at the clear patches as if they were considering engulfing them in one smooth sweep. But in the end the clouds relented and blew off to the south to drop their rain on a more worthy area.
The sky, so pleased with its victory turned an even deeper blue, so pure it almost hurt to look at. Around its edges the remnants of the impotent storm framed the last September morning with feathery white lace.
“The last September morning.” Sounds like an old folk song doesn’t it? You know what else it sounds like? Panic. Because if today is the last day of September, that means it’s only one month until NaNoWriMo starts!
For those of you not familiar with NaNo, here’s a bit about it. The summary is you have 30 days to write 50,000 words. Yes 50K. 5 with four 0s after it. It’s hard, don’t get me wrong, but it’s actually what got me started writing as more than a thing I did sometimes and never finished. I wrote 80,000 in my first NaNo, which turned into about 1-1/4 books of my series. Even if you don’t win NaNo, it’s a great way to get in the habit of writing every day.
Now technically you’re supposed to start something brand new, and only work on it for the whole month. I’ve not done that since the first year. Usually what I do is work on something I’ve started instead. I’m not sure what I’m working on this year, but I’m going to do my best to win. I’ll update you all once I figure it out. At the moment it will either be rewrites of my first book or continuing a YA story about a boy that finds dragons.
Anyone else doing NaNo this year? What will you be working on? Whatever it is, I wish you good luck and happy writing!
Title image by Eric Flexyourhead.
I never should have mentioned how nice the weather has been for my walks. I should know better by now.
Today the relative humidity was probably around 98%. And that’s being generous. Just getting the kids ready for school this morning made me breakout in a sweat. If there hadn’t been a breeze, I would have been drench by the time I got home from my walk. On the plus side my legs didn’t hurt when I finished, so I think my body is starting to get the hang of this. Yay!
In more exciting news (to me anyway) I caught a huge caterpillar on Friday afternoon! And when I say huge, I mean I saw it crawling across my driveway when I went to get a drink from the kitchen! It turned out to be an imperial moth caterpillar. I kept it in a box on my desk till my kids got home, and then we released it on the lawn.
This type of caterpillar doesn’t make a cocoon; instead it burrows into the ground and changes there in the spring. Almost as soon as we released him, he found a nice spot in the grass and dug a little hole to hide in. My kids decided to name him Pointy Leaf William, which I think is the greatest caterpillar name ever.
While we were watching him disappear into the grass, my youngest caught a butterfly. It was a very exciting afternoon! At least if you like bugs.
It’s amazing what you can see if you take the time to look around. There could be a whole world of wonders right outside your front door. :)
In the words of the immortal Dr. Seuss:
From there to here,
From here to there,
Funny things are everywhere.
See you tomorrow!
Title image by Erina68.
I’m bad at blogging regularly.
Wait, let me rephrase. I’m terrible at blogging regularly.
At least until now, that is. I’ve decided I need to spend more time writing. And while in a perfect world that writing would always be related to my books, any writing is better than no writing. And since right now I’m working on plotting out an outline and reorg-ing the entire beginning of the book, I thought doing a daily blog post would be a good way to keep my writing skills sharp. It also ties into something else I’ve just started doing: walking.
I am not the healthiest person at present. I’ve never been big into exercise and while I know the proper way to eat, I’m not great at it. So last week I decided I would walk a mile every morning after the kids went to school. It’s been working really well! But since I’m out of shape, I need a cool down period when I get home. And what better way to cool down my body than to spend some time sharpening my mind.
Every week day, I’m going to try to write a post. It’s probably going to deal with what’s going on in my life and writing, and maybe even about random thoughts I have while walking. The weekends are currently “off” days, since the kids are home and I usually get walking in Saturday with my cousin Amber. Granted it’s in craft stores or the mall, but I figure that counts. Sundays, I’ve decided should be actual off days. At least until I’m more used to walking. My feet and calves were really sore at the beginning of the week. The day off on Sunday made a big difference. That may be temporary though. We’ll see.
Hopefully it will be interesting, but I can’t promise anything. So here we go. Day nine of walking. Day one of writing. Enjoy!
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Today the sun was warm, the breeze was cool, and the leaves all made a satisfying crunch when stepped on. This is my second week of walking in the morning. Every day I’ve gone has been beautiful – the perfect day for a walk. And out of the nine days I’ve been walking, I’ve only missed one. Not because it rained, as I would have loved to hear the drops drumming on my umbrella, but because the kids had a day off from school. Taking three boys walking in the rain, while fun, would not have been as peaceful or relaxing in any way shape or form.
My walks this week have been dedicated to working out how I’m going to rewrite the beginning of my book. I’m shifting the focus from one character to another, but that involves me knowing a lot of backstory I didn’t think I needed to get into quite yet. Wednesday I figured out how to start the chapter. Today I figured out all the events that led up to it. My plan is to write a rough outline either this afternoon before the kids get home or tonight after everyone’s in bed.
After having the kids home for the summer (well part of the summer) it’s nice to have some quiet time to just think. The walks have been great for this. We’ll see how I feel about it when the weather starts getting cold. But I plan on sticking with this as long as I can. Hopefully blogging about it will give me that extra push I need to stay on track with my health and my story.
Until Monday everyone! Happy writing!
Title image by EmeraldCut.