#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

weeklywritables

It’s time to reveal the word for this week’s #WeeklyWritables!

I’m on a mission this week to keep my Thursday’s submission much shorter than I’ve been doing so far. Last week’s results took me deep into my old ‘story idea’ archives and churned out a much longer excerpt than I’d been planning for, but I suppose finding inspiration and motivation to write is the whole idea of this challenge! 😀 For those interested in how it works, here are the guidelines again, followed by a screenshot of the random word.

Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! Feel free to grab the badge/banner above for your posts, if you’d like. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

The #WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Frightening

randomword_ss

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

weeklywritables

It’s time for week two of the new writing challenge, #WeeklyWritables, hosted by yours truly. Last week was a huge success for me, because I ended up with a bonus scene I’d never planned on writing for my new semi-psycho-taboo-thriller WIP (I have no clue what the genre really is, but that sums it up). Anyway, I should have done this last week, but didn’t think of it – so this week I’m including a screenshot of the random word generator just so y’all know the word really is random! LOL

First, here’s a recap on what this challenge is all about:

Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! You’re free to use the graphic I’ve created for my posts or you can create your own. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

#WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Noise

randomword_ss

 

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Deal With the Devil

weeklywritables

Deal With the Devil

Twilight didn’t fall in the city. It crept up from the gutters, hovering just below the streetlamps long before it touched the sky. Perpetuated by the shadows of looming buildings hungry for everyone’s personal space. Dahlia had always dreamed of rising above them, to see the monster in its entirety. Preferably through the window of a plane whisking her off to some tropical destination. In her fantasies, there was a distant land filled with women just like her and men who loved them freely, not as a vice or fetish. Women who’d been born as men, trying to survive their lot in this sadist’s wet dream called life.

That fantasy was all that remained of her whimsical side. Disenchantment was a slow poison snuffing out hope with such stealth, its death went unnoticed. For the most part, Dahlia had already come to terms with her fate. Learned to embrace the prickly city that tolerated her for its own gain; squeezing all the blood and money out of her in exchange for a few scraps of joy and something making a mockery of love. Everyone did the best with what they had, right? But, it wasn’t about acceptance, anymore. The stigma would follow her, no matter where she went. It was all about survival now.

Through the window of a cab, she watched the crowded sidewalks perform their slow striptease. Layers of business attire peeled away to reveal the sexed-up desperation underneath. Modesty fell by the wayside, as pretty feens clamored for the attention they’d spent all day craving in denial. And the scum snaked out of the inkwells to intersperse themselves among the commoners, seeking the thrill of the game. They were all there to hustle. Thieves and denizens, alike. Men and women poached each other to fill some kind of void, while con-artists relieved them of all their hard-earned cash.

Dahlia had never been guiltless of running cons, but she was hustling big tonight. Stuck her damn neck out for it, too, with all the determination of getting her prize at the end. Her whimsical side might be halfway to the grave, but her reality-check light was still functioning at full capacity and the truth was: she wasn’t getting any younger or relevant. The novelty of her was wearing thin. Newer, more exotic options flooded into the streets daily, siphoning revenue from the Bosses. It made Dahlia expendable and she needed to move on, before they decided to prove it. Leaving just wasn’t an option when your ass was owned. It was something you had to make happen. Sacrifice it all to create a diversion, then run like hell and pray no one noticed.

Too quickly, she arrived at her destination and spotted her diversion sitting alone in the farthest, gloomiest corner the second she walked in. He wore a dark coat and hat, shrouding his masculine features in more mystery than his reputation already secured. As instructed, she went to the bar first and ordered a drink she didn’t even want. Bourbon was poured neat, while she ignored the inevitable gawking with the ease of expertise and a spine of solid diva. It didn’t matter that most of it was forced and left her feeling hollow. They bought that shit, so fuck ’em.

Her hand shook when it wrapped around the glass, because she was nearing that point of no return. Once she set her plan into motion, there would be no going back. No way to stop or reverse it. Oh hell, who was she kidding? It was already too late. The devil had her name. Dahlia turned, just in time to catch the man’s deliberate glance, as he walked right out the back door. Foreboding cut down her spine like a cleaver, her heart slamming against her chest to avoid the blade. Suddenly, the drink made perfect sense and she downed it without tasting a single drop. No burn, no effect. Nothing could quell her nerves.

With every step toward the back door, she tormented herself with vivid memories she’d just as soon forget. It was the fuel needed to sustain her conviction. The reminder of why she’d contacted the devil, himself, to ask for a favor. And she’d known then what she knew now, that it had all the potential of freeing her from everything. Permanently.

The single fixture mounted above the door was meant only to illuminate the dumpsters directly across the alley, it seemed. Of course, that wasn’t where he waited for her. Theirs was not destined to be a friendly chat. Dahlia inhaled a steadying breath, released the door and left the false sense of security to enter the darkness. The man leaned a shoulder against the wall halfway between the door and the next street. She’d be dead before anyone spotted them, even if he wasn’t as lethal as everyone claimed.

It was the most damning moment of hindsight when she stopped in front of him, only to discover she’d been the one getting hustled all along. There wasn’t a single sound to warn her of the tremendously imposing presence that crept up right behind her. And there was no stopping the chill of dread when she watched the man before her silently defer to the devil at her backside.

“Hello, Dahlia.” Hot, cinnamon breath caressed her neck and cheek, he was so close. Self-preservation had her head turning before her body followed.

She stared into the face of the most notorious monster of their time, that no one beyond their sick, depraved world even knew existed, and finally understood the meaning of beautiful death. Her body heated and withered in terror simultaneously; some primal instinct recognizing the cold predator through the mouthwatering façade. His eyes were two pools of undiluted malevolence, beckoning her to dive in with the power of self-destructive urges. The way you sometimes wanted to squeeze a glass so hard it broke. Not from anger, just to feel it happen.

“So much prettier than I expected, given everything I’ve learned,” he remarked. “Guess it’s true what they say about scars only being soul deep.”

No one said that. It was too true for comfort. Dahlia’s heart hammered in every corner of her body. The city lost all its power over her, unable to compete with him. It was no surprise that he’d dug into her real identity before agreeing to meet, or that he’d find her as they all did; something to judge and dismiss in one, careless motion.

He made the quietest sound of amusement, and it was–hands down–the most terrifying thing she’d ever heard. He crowded her without touching, pulling the toothpick from between his lips and waving it under her nose, revealing the source of cinnamon. Her head jerked back out of reflexive fear, but he grabbed the back of her head to keep her in place.

“This is going to burn no matter where I insert it, but I imagine, particularly in the tip of that little prick between your legs.”

Dahlia nearly choked on the glob of terror clogging in her throat. “I’m allergic to cinnamon,” she rushed out, despising herself for giving him the exact means to kill her, just by trying to stop it from happening.

“Imagine that,” he mused, sticking the toothpick back into his mouth. The pure menace in his tone revealed he’d already had that information prior to arriving and her chest felt like it was going to cave in. “Tell me, Dahlia, what would make a woman like you crawl all over the dark-web looking for a man like me?”

“I didn’t do it for me–”

His chuckle was quiet, which only made it worse. “Yes, you did.”

“I want out,” she confessed. “Alive. I want out alive.”

“Mm. Well, I want the girl,” he deadpanned, all humor gone. “Can you do that? Are you willing to trade her life for yours?”

There was no question, but that didn’t make it any easier to bear. To know she was completely willing to trade the life of a friend in exchange for her own freedom, her own life.

“Yes.”

With another laugh, he backed her into the wall, caging her head between his hands and leaning in so close she was afraid to breathe.

“Yes, she says. So cold. So ruthless.” His words were deliberate slaps at what humanity she had left. “I’d say we seal our deal with a kiss, but I’ve always been a man of business over pleasure. I am curious, though. If you had to choose between the ugliness in your mind and having the surgery, which would it be?”

The toothpick moved between his lips when he spoke, coming within a hair of her own. He might as well have been brandishing a knife in her face for all the cold sweat breaking out along her brow. His sharp perception pierced right into her soul, exposing her deepest shame. That she’d rather keep the horrific memories than lose the parts she’d been born with. She’d never wanted surgery, the consultation he’d obviously found in her medical records had simply been another cruelty dealt by the one man who was supposed to love her more than anyone else.

“Ugliness, it is.” His smile was sinister, reveling in all the turmoil and conflict he bred.

“How am I supposed to get you the girl?” she forced out, more than ready to conclude their meeting, despite what her body thought.

“Beautiful Dahlia, all you need to worry about is doing exactly what I tell you to do,” he answered. “No deviation, no looking out for number one or growing a conscience when shit starts getting real. You’re going to do this like a fucking pro, because if you don’t…well, I’m sure you’ve heard how that story ends.”

“She really is the one who wanted you, not me,” Dahlia stated, needing it on record to ease her guilt. Was she supposed to risk her life without finding some way to save it in the process? She wasn’t an opportunist, damn it, she was a survivor!

Once more, his quiet laugh molested the murky shadows, conjuring the very basis of every nightmare known to man.

“And now she’s going to get me,” he replied. “You’re the one standing here, begging to live with that.”

###

 ©A.C. Melody 2019_Untitled WIP

 WOW, this was completely unexpected and not at all what I had planned for this challenge. This scene was never meant to exist, let alone get completely fleshed out like this – because, Dahlia is not my main character. She’s a sub-character with a minor – yet extremely vital – role and apparently, she wanted us all to know exactly what she had to go through to pull her part off! LOL What do you even call the process of putting your characters through hell after the fact? O_o

When the book’s done, I’m going to have to add this as bonus material, it’s too gorgeous – sometimes, it pays to have demanding characters. (I said sometimes!)

#WeeklyWritables Challenge

weeklywritables

Good morning, writers, readers, bloggers & all around mischief makers!

One of my biggest goals for 2019 is to get back into the habit of blogging more regularly, but after being on WP since 2013, finding fresh and original content can be quite difficult. I used to participate in the Daily Prompt hosted by WP, but I’m no longer in the position to do that. I need to schedule my post in advance by at least 24 hours. I know I can’t be alone in this, so I’ve come up with an idea that I hope will eventually catch on:

I’m launching a weekly writing challenge called #WeeklyWritables starting today. Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! You’re free to use the graphic I’ve created for my posts or you can create your own. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

The #WeeklyWritables word for this Thursday is: Hustle

Thief of Dragons ♥ Episode 19

WardenTsaoShin

image source: TsaoShin @ Deviantart.com

Gentlemanly

Arcylaen paused across the threshold of his study. Flicking the light on at last, he gave his brother a dubious look.

“This is a new tactic,” he remarked, hanging his suit jacket up, while Brejeir sipped from the diamond cut snifter in his hand.

“Yeah well, desperate times and all,” Brej replied. “Since your latest strategy is largely cowardice, avoiding anyone and everything that might have any kind of contact with your own Ward.”

“Brother–”

“No, Cylaen,” Brejeir cut him off, downing the rest of his whiskey and rising. “You weren’t here to deliver the bad news, or to see how well that went over. She’s beyond upset, and with every right to be so.”

“What would you have me do?” Arcylaen demanded. “Let her be the Ward of Haraj or Gwyn? Let them have complete control over her, and command her to do things against her will? Should I just let her roam freely about the city unprotected, so she can be captured and used against me as a pawn, just because her Echelonite chose me?! Is that what I should do, brother?”

“No, Cyl. You should be here when she needs you,” Brej stated firmly. “Not burying yourself in work just to avoid her.”

“I’m not–”

“Oh, bullshit,” Brej waved his hand in frustration. “You haven’t seen or spoken a single word to her all day, which is an extreme change from stalking her, I might add.”

Cylaen rolled his eyes at his brother’s exaggeration, no matter how slight it was. “You don’t understand, Brej. I feel her all of the time. I am constantly aware of where she is. You don’t know how difficult it is to concentrate on anything else, when she’s always right there in the peripheral of my consciousness. I don’t even trust myself to be in the same room with her. I can’t risk saying something the wrong way again.”

“What do you mean ‘again’?” Brej narrowed his eyes.

Releasing a heavy sigh, Cylaen helped himself to a drink he desperately needed. “Last night, I just… I told her to go to bed. They were just words, Brej. Something anyone might have said, but she couldn’t stop herself from following through the motions, as if she had no control over her own actions. I had to order her to stop undressing in front of me!”

Brejeir stared at him with parted lips and wide eyes. “Holy…wow.”

“Yeah, that about covers it,” Arcylaen nodded grimly. “Talex was right. I’m no better than the Black Dogs of Cayen.”

“Now, you just hold on a goddamn minute. You don’t get to talk about my brother that way–”

“This isn’t a joke, Brejeir,” Cylaen leveled him with a dark scowl. “I used my position, my power and influence to persuade the Council to side with me, to rush Leandra through the Warden Rites. How does that make me any better than them? How does that make me a good leader, that I would use those things to get my way?”

“For her protection, Cyl!” His brother countered. “After what you just told me could happen, simply by the way you worded something so mundane, I believe that more than ever before, how can you not? No, you did the right thing, brother. You know for a fact Haraj, at least, would take full advantage of his control over her.”

The dark, vile rage that swam through Arcylaen confirmed that his brother was right, but that didn’t make their circumstances any less volatile. They were traversing through landmines now. “It doesn’t matter. That is how they are treating the situation. Haraj said as much this morning, Brej, you heard him with your own ears. They’re calling for my position to be revoked and once the other Houses get wind of Leadra’s Echelonite’s choice, they’ll side with the Griffin and push for my removal as the Dragon’s Head. This isn’t about her guilt or innocence anymore, brother, this is a struggle for power, which puts us all in danger.”

“Then fight it, Cylaen. Run for office, get voted in and start making changes to these ridiculous laws!”

“That could take up to a year, and you know it. The elections are still two months away, and laws don’t get changed overnight, even when it appears that way. It takes months of planning, drafting and getting them passed through all of the right channels first,” Arcylaen shook his head, put the snifter to his lips and stilled.

His entire mind filled with Leandra’s presence. It shivered down his spine to ignite his lust and touch on all his concerns about their predicament. Even Jesper stirred on his shoulder, aware and confused.

“I can feel her,” he exhaled.

“You already said that,” Brej huffed.

“No, right now, I can feel her… everywhere,” Arcylaen stated, whipping his head around, as if he might see her there. “It’s like she’s in a hundred different places at once.”

Half expecting to see Leandra standing outside of his study, Arcylaen stared in confusion at the empty hallway, then kept going. He headed back into the foyer and took the grand staircase two steps at a time, with Brejeir right on his heels. It felt like he was chasing receding shadows that were always a step ahead of him, until they became one concentrated presence beyond the door to her room.

It didn’t make a lick of sense!

“Leandra?” He knocked on her door, but no answer came.

Trying the knob, he was a little relieved to find it unlocked. He gestured for his brother to wait in the hall, then stepped into the dark room. More relief filled him, when he saw the distinct shape of her tucked under the covers in the middle of the bed. He approached the side of it, and leaned down to brush the dark locks from her peaceful face. Her Echelonite was nowhere to be seen, but that was normal for them in sleep. Their symbiotic companions tended to slip into an unconscious stasis while their host’s slumbered, rendering them invisible to the naked eye.

“Arcylaen?” she stirred.

Her eyes blinked open, even as her black panther appeared on the pillow beside her head with a big yawn.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.” He straightened quickly, glancing at the open doorway to see Brejeir walking away with a pleased smirk on his face.

Ugh. Brothers.

“What are you doing in here?” she asked in sleepy confusion, sitting up while hugging the blankets closer to her chest.

“I felt…” How to explain? “I don’t know what I felt, exactly. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

Stifling a yawn, she pushed her silky hair back from her beautiful face and studied him for a moment. “I’d have felt a lot better if I didn’t have to hear how the Council session went from Brejeir, instead of you.”

Sighing, Arcylaen sat down on the side of the bed and lifted her fingers with his. “I know,” he admitted. “What happened last night…it worried me, Leandra and it angers me. What if the next time, it’s something dangerous? What if I say the wrong thing while we’re in public? I’m second guessing every little word before I speak now, and the worst of it is, when it comes to my desires for you, kitten, I want to tell you what to do. I want to tell you to kiss me, strip for me, to do so many things and I can’t. Because, I want you to do them of your own free will, not by the force of some ancient Rite.”

Could she understand his frustrations and concerns? Was it a man’s ego, alone, driving his anger or a man’s desire, alone, that craved those moments of her yielding to him willingly? Leandra appeared surprised by his confession, but not put off, thank the Divine.

“You could always suggest it,” she finally said.

“Suggest what?”

“That I kiss you, rather than commanding it,” she elaborated. “If you’re already trying to be cautious about how you word everything else, then why not do the same for your desires?”

Because, in the heat of the moment, who in the hell was thinking clearly? Still, it might be worth a shot. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled slowly. He rephrased what he wanted about five different times in his head, before choosing his least favorite, merely because it felt the safest.

“Why don’t you kiss me?”

“No,” she answered, then beamed at him. “See? It worked!”

Arcylaen arched a brow at her. “That’s a matter of opinion.”

Still smiling, she straightened her shoulders. “Okay, ask me again, but this time try wording it more how you want to. I think as long as you keep it in the form of a question, it will work.”

Giving her an option defeated the purpose, couldn’t she see that? Even though he wanted her to give into him willingly, didn’t mean he wanted to pose it as a damn choice.

“Why don’t you give me a kiss, right now?” he suggested on a low growl, his frustration increasing.

“Okay,” she replied, holding his gaze. “But, only because I want to, not because it didn’t work.”

Leaning forward, Leandra pressed her mouth to his before her words even registered all the way. Liquid heat poured down Arcylaen’s throat from the contact, his lust rising recklessly, because he couldn’t separate it from all his other emotions. There was a startling possessiveness, stemming from having faced off with two other men that wanted complete control over her. It had taken a lot more willpower than he’d been prepared for not to threaten their very lives, if they ever came within a hundred feet of Leandra.

The mere thought of it had him pulling her into his arms, banding them tighter around her, as if they could always keep her safe. Keep her his. When her arms slid around his neck, accepting and wanting, his entire chest filled with pride. His desire was like molten gold, shimmering through his veins and he knew if they didn’t stop soon, he wouldn’t be able to at all.

“Leandra,” he exhaled, trying and failing to break away from her delectable mouth. The feel of her soft lips and the delicious heat of her tongue.

“More,” she begged, tightening her hold around his neck. “Please, more.”

“Leandra,” Arcylaen moaned, when she rose higher, squishing her breasts into his chest and kissing him deeper. There were no mixed signals, her desires were being broadcast loud and clear. It was just too dangerous. “Leandra, we need to stop.”

His body hated those words. He hated those words, which meant it had to be the right thing to do. Shivers of lust ignited through his muscles, when her hand dove into his hair and pulled his head back so she could peer into his face.

“Arcylaen, stop trying to be a gentleman when we both know you’re not,” she advised with a sultry smirk. “Is this really the sum of your intentions? Just kissing?”

Stunned, Arcylaen laughed, but it was just as naughty as her words made him feel. Hell no. Kissing was far from being the sum of his intentions, and the little minx knew exactly how to goad him with that challenge, using his own words against him. Was it any wonder he was so attracted to her?

“You’re not ready to know the sum of my intentions, Leandra,” he vowed, a warning served with a smile. “Nor am I settled enough at the moment to prove that to you.”

He saw the determination darken the desire in her yes, before she pressed into him further, her fingers curling around his collar when she attempted to capture his mouth again. It killed him to stop her, when every fiber of his being was aching to lunge.

“Don’t,” he began, gently cuffing her wrist to pull her hand from his shirt. Swallowing the rest of that command, he took a deep breath and tried again. “Please, don’t push at my restraints when they’re already close to snapping, Leandra. I’m angry. I don’t want that anywhere near you, near us, especially our first time together.”

Her features softened with understanding, but there was still a deep well of determination she wasn’t even trying to hide. It only made Arcylaen burn hotter for her.

“Will you stay here with me, then, for just a little while?” she asked.

“That is something I’d never say no to,” he conceded. Despite the further strain it put on his lust, it helped slake some of his possessiveness, at least. When Leandra made to pull the covers aside for him, Arcylaen quickly placed his hand on them to stop her and shook his head. “I’ll be okay on top of the blankets.”

With a heavy sigh, she waited for him to toe off his shoes and stretch out beside her with the barrier of clothing and bedding between their bodies. Snuggling into his arms as close as she could get, his little kitty cat just couldn’t stop herself from expressing her unhappiness. Something he found just as mesmerizing as the rest of her, because it was refreshingly honest.

“I don’t think I like your gentlemanly side, Dragon.”

Pulling her into him even closer, Arcylaen inhaled the exotic perfume of her hair and smiled wickedly into the darkness. “A temporary setback, kitten, I assure you. Very temporary.”

Thank you for reading! If you’re just tuning in, you can find all previous episodes of Thief of Dragons under The Wicked Web link on the menu above. Up next, Episode 20.

p.s. I normally don’t publish twice in one day, unless someone is in need of an Arcylaen-fix. 😉  Hope this did the trick!

Save

To My Beloved Characters Redux+

I couldn't find one of characters shoving each other and demanding they were next... so this is a poor representation of how it really works. Blame Google images.

I couldn’t find one of characters shoving each other, name-calling and making death threats while demanding attention and declaring that their story was more important… so this is like the G rated version of how the R rated version really works. Blame Google images.

To My Beloved Characters,

Know this…

I hold the pen.  I will have you offed.  It will hurt like hell.  It will be bloody and long.  It will incorporate all of your worst fears and darkest nightmares, because I know what they are.  I am the Overlord of your Darkside, you little twit, so stop harassing me or forever will you remain in the realm of The Unfinished.

I can only write one story at a time.  Wait your turn.

Sincerely,

Your Landlady/Creator/Channeler/Fate Wielder

p.s. Your rent is WAY overdue

~ Originally posted 6 Nov 2013

~****~

Has any other writer ever felt this way?  I’m not crazy, right? Don’t answer that.

I know I confessed yesterday to going through a bout of writer’s block, but that foggy haze of reconnection has begun again and while I’m trying to take some measure of control over its direction, I can feel the other characters in my head waking up and taking notice.  Right now, I’m in a good spot.  I’m forcing my focus to be on the sequel to The Zen Lounge, but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up the fight.

“Gryphon, move your ass!”

Jeez, lazy hardheaded stubborn, friggin’ cops…  Wish me luck!

There’s No Going Back

no_going_back

Say it, like a mantra, and keep charging forward.  Everything is a choice.  Today, I’d like to talk about certain choices I’m determined to change, in order to continue reaching my goals.  I’ve crossed that line from dream to reality and there’s no going back; because I don’t want to.  But, there’s one thing I had as an aspiring writer that I no longer have as a published author:

TIME

No, I’m not whining. I’m attempting to rewire my bad old habits.  You know the ones that would allow me to sit on an unfinished novel for years, until a sudden spark of inspiration renewed my creative interest in it?  I no longer have that luxury.  Not if I plan to continue on with my ultimate dream of being a best selling author when I grow up. You thought I was going to say take over the world, didn’t you? Ha-ha, it’s okay, I know I give off that whole “evil mastermind” vibe…

So, how do you reprogram the creative side of your brain, when it’s so temperamental, completely unreliable and about as flighty as a six-winged bumblebee drunk on ambrosia-nectar?  You don’t want your readers to lose interest while waiting for your next book to come out.  They’ll just find another author they love, because there are 9,768,453, 210.62 ½ plenty to choose from!  No, in order to keep the readers you have (the ones that actually like what you write) and hopefully gain more, you should probably keep a steady stream of new material entering the marketplace.  Speaking of marketplace, I now have a ‘marketing budget.’  I never had that as an aspiring writer!  Okay, it’s actually more of a marketing ‘expense’, the term ‘budget’ is just tossed in there to confuse the enemy…kind of like Federal Reserve.

time

The pressure to hurry up and write/submit is new and intense…albeit, mostly self-imposed.  I know now, from start to finish, exactly how long it takes for one book to actually hit the retail shelf.  About 18 months(!!!) give or take. In hindsight, I wish I would have submitted more books to my editor while The Zen Lounge was still in the earlier stages of its publication process, so I could have new books coming out every few months.  As it stands, my next book won’t be for sale until about Mid-Winter 2016 (if I’m lucky, at the tail end of 2015).   Once a year novels are great… if you’re J.K. Rowling – or the author of any other major series that has scores of people lining up worldwide just to pre-order a book you’re still writing!

The problem is that the pressure is causing my creativity to short-circuit.  Kind of how stage fright might cause an actor to forget their lines, even though they’ve been rehearsing for months.  I feel the time crunch squeezing in on me, suffocating the flow I’m already used to, every artsy brain cell defying against these changes I’m trying to impose.  I know they’re for the best.  I know that my writing habits haven’t been the greatest and that I’ve always let it ebb and flow naturally – but time’s short now.  It’s precious and fleeting, so my creativity just needs to put her big girl panties on and suck it up!

Oh, hey, there’s a surprise…she’s not listening.  Looks like there’s only one way we can get this done.  Bribery – uh, I mean with some good ol’ fashioned elbow-grease and a healthy dose of habit-reconditioning! (Ixnay on the elfsay-isciplineday, change never happens when one realizes they actually have to work at it!) Oy.

FeelingThePressure