Thursday, December 12, 2019

Write Edit Publish December 2019 Footprints #WEP

 I love WEP, but I haven't participated in a bit. I hit a fizzle moment with Captain Wrath, so I won't be returning to that story cycle at the moment, but this prompt just kept speaking to me. I tried a few different things for it and wasn't really satisfied.

I'm still not satisfied, but here is an attempt at a poetic retelling of King Wenceslas (who was actually a very young king murdered by his brother in his twenties - despite all the depictions of him as an old, St. Nicholas figure).
At 449 words:

Footprints in the Snow

In a land far away and long ago,
a man followed footprints in the snow:

By his cozy hearth window, he had seen
A family laboring in the harsh cold
Bringing wood in stacks tall and clean
To Noble house hearths and stoves.

As the day waned and darkness fell,
The wood-cutter family walked home.
Their arms were empty, but they rang a bell,
Singing Christmas carols to praise the Son.

The King marveled at their joy so replete.
In his wondering he gazed at his empty luxury,
And with a sudden shout, he leapt to his feet.
With a hurried dash, he called out to me.

And together, we packed a full leftover feast,
including candles, dishware, presents, and all
For a celebration fit for Wise Kings from the East.
Then I followed him out into the cold snow fall.

We followed the family into the night.
Following deep footprints in the snow.
My young king laughed with joy and might
He hardly seemed to feel the freezing cold.

His purpose clear as he knocked on their door.
They answered but bowed exceedingly low.
But instead, he knelt down on their dirt floor,
Presenting himself as their servant now.

My king served them every morsel sweet,
He even cleaned every spoon and dish.
No one, not even I, could stop his feet.
As he danced about, as was his wish.

His song and laughter rang through the dark
and in the early morning, as the family slept,
My king and I, we woke with the morning lark
To leave the presents on the hearth he'd swept.

Back in his castle and his royal-filled life,
Nothing seemed to sate the Nobles greed.
My King had to deal with much Noble strife.
But they caught him looking to his servants' need.

Time passed, plots made, the passing of a year.
As winter's chill grew in the castle yard,
My king went out to pray with his brother dear.
But his brother's heart had become tarred.

The deed was done, my king was brought low
In bloody, muddy footprints in the snow.

The nobles wanted a puppet on the throne,
But the truth pierces the darkest of hearts,
So the light has ever, ever shone,
and the king's brother fell to love's darts.

He repented his sin, his murderous deed.
From that day forward, he ruled as his brother,
And now, with my help he has decreed,
On Christmas, we give to one another.

No one is to live in greed,
but all are to give to those in need.

For once, on a chill winter's night long ago,
My King followed footsteps in the snow.

And I, I follow my King.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

IWSG December

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting and managing this awesome and encouraging blog hop for writers! The hop has grown and become so much more due to the efforts of Alex and the whole administration team. To find out more, go here: IWSG Website.
Co-hosts for December: 
Beverly Stowe McClure  
and me

Optional Question: Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream?  Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

I decided to tackle this with a letter containing what I hope things will be like:

Dear Future Writer Self,
I imagine you are in a cozy space with a cup of hot tea by your side, books lovingly placed on book shelves throughout your house, a journal and a laptop on a desk in front of you. On your walls, you have family pictures and photographs you've taken of your travels and adventures. I also imagine you've managed to tackle all of your projects - from poetry chapbooks and short story collections to novels who have reached readers all over the world, with a handful of graphic novels and some music lyrics written, too. You could retire, but you won't, because writing is your passion. Ideas are everywhere. You also take time to teach writing classes in a Story Arts Studio, a business of your own creation. If you are, like I imagine, close to that retirement age, you're considering who you could mentor to take over that Story Arts Studio, but you aren't ready yet. Or, maybe you already have a business partner who will take over when you're ready to step away. But again, you aren't ready yet. There's so much to do, so many adventures to still have - both in real life and on the page. And, you love encouraging other writers almost as much as writing itself.
I know the journey to where you are is a long road. I know there are many small steps ahead to get there and some mountains to climb, one small step at a time. But I know you're beckoning me onward, and so I will take those steps and climb those mountains, one word and one adventure at a time.
See you soon,
Current Writer Self

That's the kind of life I hope for as a writer - a life of confident creativity and adventure with some dreams fulfilled and some yet to be written. Right now, I feel like I'm still on the first bit of foothills before the real climb.

And now, I just want TO CONGRATULATE all of the 
The Third Ghost – Yvonne Ventresca
A World of Trouble – Rebecca M. Douglass
Winter Days - Katharina Gerlach
Feathered Fire – Roland Clarke
The Ghosts of Pompeii – Sherry Ellis
The Blind Ship – Bish Denham
Return to Cahokia – L.T. Ward
Dare Double Dare – Louise M. Barbour
Simon Grey and the Yamamba - Charles Kowalski
The Orchard - Beth Anderson Schuck

These writers wrote an submitted Middle Grade (ages 9-12) stories for the IWSG MG Anthology Contest and won a spot in the anthology!

If you wrote but didn't win, I hope you submit your stories to another contest, anthology, or magazine. You can find a place for your work!
As someone who has received rejections on my stories, poems, and novels, I know it's hard, but you can keep going. You can find publication.
Keep writing! 
Keep sending out your work!

IWSG Updates:
In January, we will post on the second Wednesday because the first Wednesday is New Year's Day.

For the Goodreads IWSG Reading Group, the book for December/January is On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. 

On Instagram, we mainly have today's post celebration, a note on the WEP contest, and per usual, some writing tips from the website, and some encouraging quotes to keep you writing!

For WEP in December:

A few brief updates from me:
1. The last few months have included some unexpected life stress which will not be named (it felt that dark), but I kept on writing. I attended a comic con, and I read my work out loud at an open mic night. I went to a critique group, went to several write-ins with an ongoing write-in group, and I won NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words of a jumbled, partial novel which will take much revision to be the novel it's meant to be.

2. I decided to participate in Dressember to help fight human trafficking with awareness and fundraising. To know more about Dressember, go HERE. If you want to help me fund raise, go to A Dress with Comfortable Shoes.
Dressember's vision: A World Without Slavery.

3. I had the honor of having two previously published poems republished in this new anthology by Z Publishing: Washington's Best Emerging Poets

How are all of you doing, IWSG? Any news? 
What does your future writer self look like?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

#TheIWSG and #NaNoWriMo: Here Be Dragon Slayers

Sorry for posting late, I had this partially prepped and then forgot to schedule it. 

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome founder of this hop is Alex J. Cavanaugh and his co-hosts today are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

OPTIONAL QUESTION FOR NOVEMBER: What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story? 
I ended up not using it (yet) but I researched the haka, a Maori dance, for my superhero-novel-series-project-that-may-never-get-finished. My main character is part-Maori, part-Scottish-American with some alien DNA. I've also researched habitable planets in the Milky Way for that project (there are none what we know of, but I can still "dream" right?).

For my current WIP, one odd thing I have researched: maps which feature the notation "Here Be Dragons." It turns out, there's only one and it's a small globe. The rest of the ancient maps just have drawings of dragons, mermaids, and rhinos (?!).

NaNoWriMo: Here Be Dragon Slayers
I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo 2019, the 20th year edition of NaNoWriMo. I really appreciate the end of the year, kick in the pants I get from NaNoWriMo. Whether I win or lose, I learn from the process of writing and plotting, and thinking about noveling in an intense way all month long.

I am writing about a traditional fantasy trope: dragon slayers.
Unlike the traditional dragon slayers, I decided to hang out with my favorite dragon slayer whose name is Mel aka Melisan Winter, an orphaned young woman who kills dragons with a variety of weapons but never with a sword, and her business partner and sidekick, Gavin Summer, also an orphan. If you think they are in a romantic relationship, think again. They are best friends, business partners, and they both have their eyes out for others ... (so, romance will happen, but not with each other).

Mel and Gavin will probably meet up with another dragon slayer by the name of Mad Maud, a character from a previous short story "Of Words and Swords" which can be found in the 2017 IWSG Fantasy Anthology: Mysteries of Death and Life. However, this is not Maud's main story. I haven't quite decided where he's going to land yet, other than as a reluctant mentor to these two.

A few fantasy tropes will be used, twisted, and re-imagined. There is a "chosen one" but it's not who you think. Dragon slaying will occur, but not quite on purpose every time, and well, it gets more complicated when a particular character comes on the stage. Not every dragon looks like a dragon and not every dragon is a dragon ...

I am actually plotting and pants-ing as I go. I have plot points. I am following them like guidelines and sign posts. I am following Save the Cat Writes a Novel ... mostly.