Flash Fiction Challenge: EPIC GAME OF ASPECTS REDUX!

That title needed CAPSLOCK hardcore.

Okay, so over at Terribleminds.com, like every week, there’s a flash fiction challenge. And there’s a prize involved.

Here’s my entry. The aspects, chosen randomly were: Alien Invasion/Revenge/Sea Monster.

By far the weirdest thing I’ve ever written.

Continue reading “Flash Fiction Challenge: EPIC GAME OF ASPECTS REDUX!”

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A Tiny Update and Not So Tiny Excerpt (BEASTS: Chapter One)

I’m facing an interesting dilemma.

I feel good. I feel great.  I’m no longer alone. I’m living in a wonderful home with a loving family. Everything’s fantastic!

And I’m hardly getting any writing done because of it.

I’ve read it before how comfort can be deadly. I’m seeing first hand how that can be true. I’m also realizing just how much visualizing and fantasying your dream coming true is also dangerous.

Because feeling like I already have everything I wanted means I don’t feel any urge to do anything to get it, because in my head I already have it. Tricky, eh?

That said, I’m not giving in without a fight. I may have missed a week of blog posts, but I finally finished the first draft of the first chapter of my YA novel, BEASTS, which I’ve been working on since early February.

Needless to say, this is a cause for celebration.

So since today is Monday and that means Excerpt day, in order to make up for my unannounced absence, here is the entire chapter in all its flawed glory.

Who knows how much it’ll change when I finally send it off to agents (hopefully within a decade), but I’m not going to touch it again until the rest of the book is written.

Meanwhile, I’m going to contemplate about the actual benefits of suffering.

At least some amount of suffering. I finished reading War of Art by Steven Pressfield, which was amazing and related to what I’m talking about  so there’s a post in me on what I’ve learned from that book as well.

Until then…

Here is Chapter One of my YA Fantasy novel: BEASTS.

 

Warning: The following is over 3k words long. So take a bathroom break, get your mug of hot coffee and a cookie, sit back, relax and enjoy.

 

Continue reading “A Tiny Update and Not So Tiny Excerpt (BEASTS: Chapter One)”

Short Break

Goodbye, Puerto Rico

 

 

I’m moving to Georgia on Tuesday and I have lots of stuff to do, so I’ll be on a short break till July 22nd while I finish last minute touches here and get situated over there.

Today I had planned a post about What Avatar The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra Taught Me about  storytelling, but it was long and messy and I want to do it right, but ran out of time.

So instead I share you other blogs and articles that are awesome!

 

This article shows how its actually true that being in the moment and enjoying the journey is much beneficial than focusing on the destination:  How Goals and Good Intentions Can Hold Us Back

Everything at Terribleminds.com is just pure awesomeness and today it’s interview day with Lisa Cron, author for Wired For Story which teaches storytelling using science! Lisa Cron: The Terribleminds Interview

Also, everything at The Art of Non-Conformity is great too. Here’s a blog post about taking responsibility for making decisions about your life. This blog and his books started me on my path of really taking my life into my own hands: How to Make Decisions

 

There. Go. Read. Play.

See you next week!

Fixing Mistakes

 

I read a lot about how we need to learn to say No, especially in the form of advice for writers. Not so much to writing job opportunities (especially in the beginning), but more to family and friends and commitments that don’t benefit us and cut into our writing time.

We need to say No to others and Yes to ourselves more often.

I believe this is great advice, especially for women.

It’s almost like it’s more okay for men to be selfish jerks than it is for women, mostly because girls often find that attractive. I don’t know why. It must be some sort of defect in our reproductive hormones.

But for a woman, it’s important to be self sacrificing, selfless, kind, and polite. And once a man is married and has children, then he is also expected to be self sacrificing, selfless, kind and polite. A selfish deadbeat dad is NOT attractive in the least.

The problem is, we take it too far. Soon, a lot of women and married men don’t say Yes to their own needs at all. It’s all for others, their families and friends and the company they work for, even if it costs them personally.

While I understand some sacrifices are necessary, usually there’s a balance. Sacrifice this, and you enjoy the happiness of your family and satisfaction of a doing a good, fulfilling job at work.

But what I’m talking about are situations that hurt you and your involvement isn’t absolutely necessary to begin with. Or rather, it’s not your problem.

Like when you know that giving that loan to a friend that you care about, but know in the past that he’s bad paying back money, is a bad idea and you give him money anyways. Or when you really need time for yourself without your spouse and children, but feel guilty so you stay at home. Or the girlfriend who’s dream job is in another city, but turns it down so she doesn’t lose her boyfriend.

Some sacrifices are damaging to the soul.

We shouldn’t have to give in to the pressure of always being the polite one, the kind one, the generous one.

Or rather be those things, be kind and generous, but not at the expense of being mean and cheap with yourself.

Treat others as you would treat yourself, and likewise, treat yourself as you would treat others.

But there’s something even more difficult than saying No, which is the true topic of this post.

Saying No when it’s beneficial to yourself (but denies another what they want) is one thing and can be challenging.

What’s even harder is going back and fixing the mistake.

Of saying, “I’m sorry I agreed to do this, but I can’t. It was a mistake and I need to take it back.”

That’s much scarier.

I know cause I’m faced with that situation right now.

A part of me just wants to live with my consequences and just suffer and let it go. But I know that is just me willingly and unnecessarily creating suffering for myself when I can just solve it by confronting the issue.

Rather than worry and experience pain in the future for my mistake, I can take action and resolve it now…even if it might piss someone off, someone I really don’t want to piss off.

I keep thinking, “If only I had been stronger back then and said No.”

I can be stronger NOW and take back my Yes, despite how scary it is.

I have a responsibility to my own well-being to listen to my gut when it tells me (painfully clear for once) I’m doing something wrong and need to make it right.

This goes for everyone else out there faced with this scenario. In the end, it’s probably better for both parties. They become more self reliant and you become stronger and healthier too. It’s the first step in learning from mistakes and not repeating them.

I’m off to fix my mistake and become a stronger person.

How about you?

Anyone else done anything they regret in the past week? Is there any way you can fix it?

One More Reminder

 

As I grew up, a big problem I faced (though didn’t realize till much later) was that almost all my goals weren’t mine. They were my mother’s. I just wanted to do whatever she wanted me to do. True, I had hobbies, but I didn’t even consider them as a career option till my mother mentioned it, and even then I still ended up enlisted in the Air Force.

But still, I was lucky.

I always knew I wanted to tell stories and more specifically, make or write movies. I loved them and wanted to be part of that world, even if I ignored and neglected that desire.

For others, it’s not that easy. I had friends who had no clue what they wanted to do or be. Even my brother still doesn’t know what he wants to do for a living and has little to no hobbies.

It has become a challenge for some people to discern what their true personal desires are and what their family or society desire for them.

When choosing a goal to accomplish, a new life to create, it’s always better to listen to the gut rather than the brain.

How does it make you feel rather than what is the more logical choice. Because even if a choice may give you money and safety and security, it won’t matter if you’re not happy and worried that you will lose said money and safety and security, or if you even don’t want it anymore because you’re so miserable with the way things are.

Balance is always the aim, but if I had choose between being rich, unhappy and frustrated, and being penniless, happy and fulfilled, I’d chose happiness.

But I suppose people are rarely happy and fulfilled while being penniless. So indeed, balance is the goal.

This isn’t really anything new. We’ve all seen the desktop wallpapers, the bookmarks, the motivational posters, etc. But how many actually follow the advice? Who actually dares to live a life of non-conformity and passion rather than a life of safety and comfort zones?

Not many.

Maybe it just takes one more time. One more message. One more reminder to live your life on your own terms, and never give in to fear. That you can. That it’s possible, despite how scary that seems.

It’s good practice to discover and follow your dreams.

Never believe or act otherwise.

What’s your dream? What are you doing today that will take you closer to its fulfillment?

 

Excerpt Day: BEASTS

 

These last few days I been advocating the need for action towards ones goals. One of the reasons I disappeared for three months is because I wanted to finish a chapter for my YA novel and post that as the next post. That never happened cause I never finished it. But I didn’t want to post something else because I was starting to feel like I was all bark, no bite.

I didn’t just want to talk about what I loved to do or wanted to do.

I actually wanted to do it.

I still haven’t finished that chapter, but it’s nearly done. I have a few things in the works.

A nonfiction book based on everything I talked about last week. My YA Shapeshifter novel. And Savior, my superhero noir story that may become a comic.

So today is excerpt day. Proof to myself that I am doing the work and following the dream, not just talking a great deal.

Funny enough, it’s been nearly a year since I’ve shared an excerpt of a WIP.

Perhaps July is just the month of sharing.

Enjoy.

 

 

~~~~

Chapter One

Stars twinkled above Nicolai when he opened his eyes and he was struck with a painful longing for the Antarctic sky. The image of a dark carpet of colorful light stretched across the heavens was clear as day in his mind. Then it was gone, back into the abyss with the rest of his lost memories.

So desperate to cling to his forgotten past, Nicolai remained on his back for several more minutes, trying to reimagine the picture. But it was useless. It may as well been a dream for all he knew.

With a heavy sigh, he sat up in the darkness. Sniffing the air, he figured he was sitting in a dank alleyway and that a cat passed by recently and marked his territory on the dumpster he’d been sleeping against.

“Yuck!”

Nicolai climbed to his feet, rubbing his face and grabbing his green knapsack.  Plunging his hand inside, he pulled out a water bottle and dumped the small amount of liquid inside on his face. That woke him up—though he hadn’t been tired to begin with. He couldn’t remember where he was or how he got there. He stood in the darkness for a moment, straining his memory. The last thing he could remember was reaching the Capitol on foot around midday, but that could have been days ago.

He glanced at the sky. It was late. Probably midnight judging by the moon and past curfew. At the far end of the alley, he could make out the faint glow of streetlights. On the other side of the dumpster was a solid brick wall. Great place for a nap…if you can call “randomly blacking out” a nap. He wanted to at least stay off the streets when night fell. Find an abandoned building or something. The last thing he needed was to run into the cops first day in the Capitol. The street would leave him expose. Catching sight of a fire escape just above him, he repacked his water bottle and reached for the ladder.

“Good evening.”

Nicolai froze. He sniffed again. Cat pee – a great cover for an actual cat. His eyes followed the voice and fell on a male figure crouched on the top of the brick wall. The stranger grinned widely, like a Cheshire cat, the moonlight reflecting off a row of sharpened white teeth and large amber eyes with almond shaped pupils.  Nicolai estimated him to be at least a few centuries old.

An Alpha.

“I take it you’re new around here, eh?” The Alpha cocked his head to the side, like a cat eyeing a mouse. “Shall I welcome you to the neighborhood?”

Nicolai didn’t move, but tensed his muscles, ready to bolt.  He inhaled deeply. Was this one alone? No. Alpha’s didn’t hunt alone. Where was his pack? And what species was he? Definitely not a house cat.

“What is it? Cat got your tongue?” The Alpha laughed, revealing even more of his sharp teeth. “Oh, not yet, I hope. That’s the most succulent part.”

Nicolai turned his gaze to the tops of the buildings. At least six stood on the edge of the roofs on either side. All male, blond and muscular. One silently jumped down to a fire escape a few floors above him to watch, hands gripping the railing as if to jump.

The Alpha’s amber eyes narrowed as his Cheshire grin changed – less amused, more sinister.

“You’re not welcome here.”

“I’m not hurting anyone.” Nicolai slid one foot back, trying to make the movement as unnoticeable as possible.

The Alpha wrinkled his nose, the grin vanished and his entire face plunged into shadow. “Your stench is hurting my nostrils.”

Sweat slid down the back of Nicolai’s neck. He moved his foot further, watching the approaching cat above him out of the corner of his eye. “Sorry. Can’t really do anything about that.”

“Oh but you can.” The Alpha’s teeth flashed again. “You can die.”

His amber eyes flicked up to the others. Nicolai grabbed the corner of the dumpster.

“Get him!”

The cat above him leaped onto the dumpster’s lid, his boots leaving a dent. Nicolai wrenched the dumpster forward the moment he landed and the entire thing came crashing down. The cat stumbled and smashed face first into the opposite building. The Alpha jumped from the wall, snarling, his clawed hands reaching for Nicolai’s neck.

He ducked to the floor and the Alpha flew over him. The other five cats were scrambling down the buildings. Nicolai quickly jumped onto the dumpster and over the brick wall.

The snarls behind him grew louder, feral and inhuman. Nicolai could guess what was happening, but he wasn’t about to wait and find out. There was no way he could outrun real cats unless he put some serious distance between them, so he ran.

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