Writing Lost and Found

lost in a daydream by mkendall (detail)

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! 🙂

“First Light”
“The First Mark”

Title image by mkendall.

Adventures

Orange Jellyfish by favillephoto

Life is full of adventures. When I was little we would drive from New Jersey to Vermont to visit my mom’s family (or when we lived in Vermont, down to New Jersey to visit my dad’s family). Being in the dark ages, before GPS, we got lost a lot trying to avoid traffic through New York and Connecticut. And we loved it.

Being lost was part of the fun of traveling. We saw things we would never have seen otherwise and got to spend time as a family just goofing around in a place where nothing else could distract us. It’s harder to get lost on purpose now, but it is just as easy to have adventures.

We took the kids to the aquarium today. It was a blast! We saw giant fish and tiny fish. We got to pet sharks and stingrays. Kid #3 got to see at least ten different kinds of turtles (his favorite animal at that moment). And all three of them got their picture taken with a live 14-foot-long alligator.

The alligator’s name was Big Mike. Big Mike was behind glass standing statue still in the water, just chillin’. The kids all sat down in front of him so we could get a picture. Of course, as soon as they did, Big Mike moved.

Kid #1 wisely decided he didn’t want to sit next to Big Mike anymore and that we should go see the fish again instead. His brothers heartily agreed.

I don’t normally post pics of my boys online, but this picture is too good not to share.

Big Mike and the Boys

Kid #1 is the one on the left. 😄

Aside from adventures of the undersea kind, I’m starting out on my own adventure. An adventure into short story writing. I’m currently 900 words into a story that is set in the world of my Fading Marks series, but not involving any of the characters in the series. It was harder than I thought it would be to switch to another story after working on my novels for so long. It took me two weeks just to come up with an idea. But now that the idea is there, it’s shaping up to be a really interesting and unexpected addition to my story’s universe.

I’ve also been working my way through my portion of the Entry Plus critiques for the Fantasy Faction Anthology contest. That has been an adventure in and of itself. At first I was a little nervous giving out critiques for writers I’d never met, but the responses I’ve gotten have been great. It’s so rewarding to be able to help people with their writing, and critiquing other people’s work is helping me have a more critical eye for my own work. It’s an adventure that’s win-win in the best possible way.

Speaking of which, I should get back to work. 😉

Happy Writing!

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” – Dr. Seuss. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Title image by favillephoto.