Hi all, if you also follow me on twitter you know I’m super jazzed up about having started a new WIP!
I finally wrapped my edits on And They Called Her Stormbringer and sent out my first big batch of query’s second week of March. I debated about doing another editing pass on Draft 2 of One Half A Dead Witch but I gotta be honest I am burnt out on editing. The thought of having to hack 10-15k out of that MS just about killed me.
I started formally plotting out a book idea I’ve had simmering on the back burner for a few years, tentatively titled Gator 911. (Thank you @IndieHorrorWri1 for the suggestion, it was so much snappier than what I was going to go with!)
Gator 911 is a contemporary medical drama set in a rural hospital in East Texas that follows a doctor and nurse that are sisters struggling to keep their family and their hospital from collapsing.
Key players include:
Dr. Grace Salinas (39), ER Physician, newly un-engaged and returned or exiled, depending on your perspective, to her hometown of Salt’s Bayou as of 6 months ago.
Aricela Salinas (34), ER nurse and serial monogamist back in a rocky relationship with her on again off again boyfriend, a local cop, who’s been holding the family together in her sister’s absence.
Also, Salt’s Bayou local town legend and source of many mishaps, Big Salty (50+?), a very large, blind in one eye, gator that people claim is really a 20 ft long saltwater crocodile.
I started actually writing early this week and am about 5k in and I gotta say after nearly a year in revisions on various WIPs I am euphoric to be writing new material for a brand new story. I am so excited to watch this world flesh out beneath my fingertips.
Big Goals for this weekend are as follows:
Get at least to 15k.
Develop the character of Grace’s Ex- Fiance (NAME?? JOB?? Any distinguishing characteristics other than Betrayer and destroyer of worlds)
Hello all, so based on feedback from a few awesome readers, I have sharpened up my novel synopsis, shown below. Please know that any comments are greatly appreciated. I can’t tell you how helpful any feedback is.
The temple was quick to call it a gift of prophesy, while such a gift was useful. Llani discovers that her ability is much less of a blessing when she’s spouting omens of death and destruction on the head of the high priest, Isak Tornin. Charged with blasphemy and named a false prophet, Llani discovers that the Goddess Jordaine is not done blessing her yet. With the Empire of Braeth facing a united army of the Western Hill Tribes for the first time in generations, many people are looking for favor in the eyes of the Goddess of War.
Does this seem more direct? Cleaner? I feel like someone without background could easily become lost in the paragraph’s details before.
It is my belief that progress happens when you hold yourself accountable to someone. Hello several virtual someones to whom I am now making a report on my progress.
Fleshing out my main villain- Isak- was the task I set for myself last update. This was a task that absolutely could not be put off and needed to happen before any further work was done.
In early versions I thought it was more unsettling if Llani didn’t know what he was doing so she and the reader got blindsided by his plans, however after reflection- Llani can still get blindsided, its actually more engaging and suspenseful if the audience watches the trap unfolding. In my opinion it’s going well. With more background on our baddie it is becoming clearer that he isn’t deranged and hateful just to be deranged and hateful.
He truly and wholeheartedly believes that Llani wants to bring lasting harm to the temple and the people of the city.
He believes that all sin must be expunged, in the old testament sense of things- If the right hand sins better to cut it off and all that.
He believes this for good reason. Sin that humans do not deal with tends to be smitten (smote?), by any god or gods who get peeved enough. Gods don’t have very accurate aim. It is directly conducive to living a long lifespan in a city that doesn’t get wiped off the map by the next natural disaster or conquering army, to ensure evil does not become large enough for one of the five gods to notice, get irritated with, and smite. This is particularly true when one serves the Goddess of war, who is incidentally known for deciding and meting out Heaven’s Justice.
D) Other, significantly less fanatical people agree with him for similar and different reasons and view Llani and what she represents with distrust and see the necessity of working to contain her influence.
In the midst of all this, I discovered a yawning hole in the plot that focuses on his first attempt to kill Llani.
I had decided that he would be partially successful, one of Llani’s closest allies- Cedes would be killed. And since she was going to die I sorta had her lie down and die. That was it, if she fought her death the audience didn’t see it. Her family was even accepting of the fact that Cedes was going to be sacrificed. The one to save the many.
Upon further reflection that is absolute bullshit for the character as an individual and the family as a group. Instead they are going to wreck shit up. It shall be glorious. Vendettas and hatred to last ten generations, and a mother figure’s decision that if no one will lift a finger to save her child she will watch the whole world burn and lay the ashes on Cede’s grave so her soul may rest easy. And striking the match. And stepping back. And staring into the eyes of the one who betrayed her loyalty, as every network of support he ever built on her and her families loyalty goes up like paper in a bonfire.
Yes. It shall be wonderful.
Stay tuned, my focus for the next update will be
Making the mother figure- Brenna more visibly vital, so her defection hurts more
Giving Cedes more screen time so the reader doesn’t want her to die
Making clearer that although the Prince’s foremost trait is Honor. (He always believes himself in the right, because technically he is. His every action is to uphold the Empire’s Justice.) His actions are still wrong, and a betrayal to those whom he owes loyalty, and there are consequences for betrayal.
8:10 AM is seared into my eyelids by my phone screen.
I’m clocking 3 hours of sleep for the fourth night in a row and I feel like it.
Because Finals Week isn’t depressing enough, my phone pipes up with a very cheering reminder that it is in fact Friday the Thirteenth
Bad Things happen today, so I wear my lucky testing necklace, and I dress to kill, red lipstick, hair up.
Failure hurts less when you look good.
The hollow pounding in my skull is probably what’s left of my analytical reasoning trying its damnedest to squeeze out of my head through my eye sockets. Lunch is a haze of leaning on someone’s shoulder, nodding my head at the appropriate points in the conversation while trying to simultaneously keep my eyes open and eat a decent meal before I walk home to my apartment.
Rain… it is raining. Everything is cold and damp and I am entirely apathetic toward the situation. The apartment is dark and empty, but in the bed is a welcoming cocoon of blankets. No sooner am I face down, I am asleep.
The ring of my phone is like a jolt of electricity straight to the heart and reflex has it at my ear before I register I am in fact awake.
The silence on the other end is broken by a few choked breaths, and I can feel my throat closing. Nononononono…
“It’s grandpa… he passed away this morning.”
I hold my breath, waiting for it to start to hurt…but it doesn’t…I just feel numb.
Mama is sobbing on the line and I can’t think of a thing to say. My heart is in my throat. I want to deny it. He can’t be! I was there just last weekend!
“It’s alright though… the Alzheimer’s never got as bad as it could have. He was happy… at the end.”
I know! I was there! He remembered who I was and he asked me how my engineering classes were, and he sang karaoke after thanksgiving dinner, and he was so happy. He can’t be dead. A person can’t just die like that.
“The memorial service is Wednesday. I want you to concentrate on you finals. Don’t worry about this. Do good, and then come home.”
It’s hard to find something to say, “Alright mama, I will. I love you. I’ll be there soon. Bye,” it sounds so meaningless I almost wish I hadn’t said anything.
I can almost see her, red faced from crying, dark circles under her eyes, “OK, Baby, I love you, Bye.”
The line goes dead and I stare at it for a long while. Slowly, I crawl back under the covers and close my eyes.
What do you do, when someone you’ve lived with for nine years is dead? Should I put a picture of him on Facebook “RIP Grandpa P. I will always—”
That seems to be what everyone else in the family has done.
Is there something wrong with me? I don’t want anybody else to know. I don’t want the page of single sentence blurbs, “Our prayers go out to—”
If I can just keep it quiet, where no one but me knows, no one will ask. If no one asks, I will not cry, and it won’t really be real. If I don’t cry none of it’s real and I can just be. numb.
I’ve realized I don’t want to go home. If I go home everyone will be crying and sobbing and grieving… I am afraid I will stand there, dry eyed, face tingling, everything far far away, like I am now, and then they will know something is wrong with me.
I feel so strange, like I’m stuffed full of cotton balls, and all I want to do is sleep, but I can’t , there are finals and papers, and I can’t just shut down.
So I won’t and I don’t… but nothing seems real real.
Wednesday 1: 17 pm
The memorial service is like watching a funeral on television for a character who’s name you know but whose face you can’t recall. It’s not real. It really isn’t, until a slideshow starts to play and Dr. Antonio Penaloza’s voice, cracked with age, begins to sing. His voice fills up the tiny church as he belts out To God be the Glory, and I Will Always Love You at the top of his lungs. My eyes, dry till now are suddenly overrun with tears, too much to blink back though I try, slowly deep achy sobs drag themselves out of my chest, and I clutch my mother’s hand as my aunt presses tissues into my hand so I can contribute to the small mountain that is forming between the three of us.
In memory of my Grandfather Dr. Antonio Penaloza who passed away on December 15th 2013. Loss is hard, we all deal with it in our own ways. Rest in peace grandpa. We miss you every day.
The last thirty minutes of a six hour drive is always the longest. Every pothole looks familiar. You know how to drive these roads at night, in the rain, with headlights shining in your face, half asleep or half drunk. This is so close to home you can taste it. Your mind is already leaps and bounds ahead, and it’s like no time has passed at all.
You’ll pull in the drive and tumble out into the cold, and tell everyone all about school and the friends and the guy you just met, but he seems so nice…
And that’s when it hurts. It’s sudden, like a fist to the gut, like all the air’s been sucked out of the car and replaced with bleach. You can’t miss people constantly that would be crippling. So you don’t. You forget. You pretend that home is exactly like it was when you lived there every day… except it’s not.
The house that looks so familiar will be cold and empty and full of stale air, most of the innards that made it home, pictures, dirty clothes, things that indicate the presence of people are gone, packed into neat little boxes stacked in unused rooms, or brought with them halfway around the world. Most of the pets have been given away to friends and neighbors, who can care for them better while the family is abroad.
It’s so…so stupid that for a minute you let yourself think you were going HOME. Because you’re not, it’s not home anymore. Home is family. Home is the smell of Dad’s cooking, the cat petting himself on your shins, and everyone’s shoes spread out in a blast pattern from the back door. All those things have picked up and moved across the Atlantic. You’re really just driving to a particularly familiar storage closet that holds your winter clothing. You shouldn’t have let yourself get excited for that.
It’s hard to go home when you know nothing will be the same