Mood Setting Music

When I write I prefer to do so in silence. I’ve heard that a lot of authors like to listen to certain music when they’re writing but I can’t do it. It’s far to distracting. I don’t even listen to classical. I do love music and sometimes a certain song will ring true to a story I’m writing.

That was true at the time that I was writing “Soul Conquest The Ultimate Trial.” Two songs really seemed to fit the mood of the book. The first is from the group Creed, and the song is “One Last Breath.” The other song that fit my book was “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” by Green Day. I usually listen to the radio versions though, which takes out the cussing.

My general taste in music is top 40 songs that aren’t explicit or openly sexual in nature. Some of the groups I listen to are; One Republic, Imagine Dragons, and Coldplay. I also like most 80’s music. I like a lot of other music as well but don’t pay attention to the group or the song title.

If you’ve read my book check out the music and lyrics to both songs and tell me what you think. Also if you write, do you listen to music?

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The Choosing

I love to write fiction. One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with a blank screen and start typing with no idea what I’m going to write before hand. Those ideas often spring into fun amazing stories. Creating something from nothing is invigorating. It’s one of the wonderful parts of writing.

The rest of the writing process and marketing is not so much fun. I’m also very lousy at it. For a long time after I published my first book I only told close family and friends. When word spread a little farther, people would call me an author and I, sadly, would tell them that I was not. Fortunately I have changed that view and have come to love the different perspectives people have in regards to my stories. I love to hear what they think of the characters and their struggles. It has given me a greater desire to better improve my writing, and learn more of how to market and share my talent.

Today I thought I would share the beginning of a story that I started a couple of years ago. I hope to write more of it by the end of this year.

The Choosing

Gracen stood in the alley preparing himself for the heist. He was nervous and wasn’t sure why. This wasn’t the first time he’d stolen something. He had been stealing since he was twelve. This would be the most expensive item he’d ever lifted though. I can do this, he told himself. The owners knew him because he’d bought a couple of inexpensive items from them before and had browsed in the store several times. He knew they had come to trust him.

He took a deep breath and walked out of the alley and down the streets of China Town. When he got to the store front he walked in with a carefree ease that he’d done many times before. He nodded to the storeowner that was behind the counter reading a book. The man nodded to him and then went back to what he was reading.

Gracen walked lazily around the store and smoothly grabbed the expensive antique without breaking his casual stride. He continued to act bored and milled around the store for a couple more minutes as he made his way to the door. A sense of accomplishment and relief flooded him as his hand reached the doorknob. This piece would make it possible to get his mom and sister off the streets of New York.

The door squeaked as Gracen took his first step out of the store but that was as far as he got before he felt something hit the side of his head. Gracen fell to the ground stunned and in pain. Unsure of what just happened he tried to stand but someone kicked him in the gut, knocking the air out of him and causing the broken clay shards of the priceless antique to cut into his skin.

“Why, you’re a stinking thief!” The man said in surprise, when he saw the antique pieces drop from under his coat.

Gracen didn’t understand the storeowner’s surprise. Isn’t that why he attacked me, he thought as he tried to scramble for the door. The man grabbed him and lifted him up by his shirt and shoved him against the wall. Devin was surprised at the strength of the middle-aged storeowner. As much pain as Gracen was in at the moment he knew if he didn’t get away he’d be sent to Jail. Since he was only months from turning eighteen they would probably try him as an adult. With determination he started fighting and kicking to get away.

The storeowner pulled him away from the wall and smoothly torqued his right arm behind his back in such away that made him cry out and lean forward to try and relieve the pain. The Chinaman used his other arm to put Gracen in a headlock.

“After two hundred years this is who they choose to change. A lousy thief,” a feminine voice said.

A woman moved in front of him. She must be the storeowner’s daughter, Gracen thought as he struggled against the storeowner.

“Don’t even think of kicking her or I’ll break your wrist.” The man said in his ear.

Helpless to do anything Gracen watched as she held a large syringe in her hand and moved it toward his chest right over his heart.

Fear gripped him. What was in the syringe and what did she mean when she said ‘change’? Despite the pain Gracen struggled desperately to get away from the woman.

The sudden pain of the needle entering his chest was nothing compared to the burning he felt when she plunged the contents into his heart. He cried out in pain and the man let go of him. He fell to the floor and curled into a fetal position. The pain was quickly spreading throughout his body. Tears flowed unbidden from his eyes.

“Quick, we must get him into the back room before anyone sees.” The woman said. The two of them grabbed his arms and dragged him into the back.

****

Gracen woke up on a bed in a small room. I must’ve blacked out, he thought. He tried to sit up but was surprised when his body didn’t want to cooperate. After a couple of tries he could no longer keep his eyes open and drifted back into a dreamless sleep.

The sound of voices woke him, but this time he couldn’t manage the strength to open his eyes and quickly fell back into the black abyss. He got close to consciousness several more times but wasn’t able to pull himself fully awake. Finally he was able to open his eyes. An old Chinese women was sitting next to him. She put a hand under his head and lifted it enough so that he could sip from a cup. Immediately he felt a thirst that he hadn’t realized was there. He eagerly put his lips to the cup and swallowed.

He was so surprised by the unexpected bitter taste that he sputtered and coughed most of it into the old woman’s face. She calmly wiped the liquid from her wrinkled skin and then refilled the glass.

“You must drink. It will help you get your strength back,” she said as she tipped the glass toward his lips again.

This time he swallowed the bitter liquid. She gently laid his head back on the pillow. Gracen realized that he didn’t have the ability to lift it on his own.

“What did you . . . do to me?” Gracen asked, with a raspy voice.

‘There will be time to explain all of that later. Right now you need to rest.” She said as she got up to leave the room.

Gracen had never felt so helpless, not even when his dad had left them destitute. He wasn’t being restrained, yet he was completely helpless, void of any energy. I can’t even stay awake long enough to find out what they‘ve done to me, he thought as he felt himself begin to drift off to sleep again.

Hunger drove him awake this time. When he opened his eyes the storeowner was sitting next to him. He tried to sit up but only managed to lift his head.

“Good, you’re beginning to get some strength back.” He lifted a cup to his lips. “Drink it all. It has many things your body needs to recover.”

Gracen glared at the man, but did as he was told, to hungry to refuse. The china man refilled the cup twice more. Satisfied Gracen’s anger returned. “What did you do to me?”

“I’m a guardian, as was my father before me and his father. For centuries we have guarded a sacred solution. We were told to give it to the one chosen to protect this world.”

“Are you crazy.” Gracen said trying to sit up without success. “I’m as you said a thief and a 17 year old kid. I’m not up to saving the world. I can’t even help my mom and sister.”

“Look I don’t know why you were chosen nor do I agree with their choice, but you are without a doubt the man they wanted.

Interests

My love of writing is only a small part of what makes me who I am. Actually if you consider the number of years I’ve been alive it’s rather a recent development. I have heard the saying “a Jack of all trades is a master of none.” I however love my multiple interests in life. It’s helped me relate and understand a multitude of people and circumstances. I also believe it has helped widen my imagination.

But as a result I do struggle to focus on just one thing, especially during the spring, summer and fall when the love of the outdoors sucks me out of my house and away from my computer. I decided that I wanted to be a successful author and that calls for deadlines and lots of work. So I’m learning to better balance all of my interests and responsibilities. I believe I will learn and grow as I better manage my time as a mother, wife, farmer, homesteader, author, etc. and fulfill personal goals that currently show little reward.

Today I thought I would post some pictures of what my day consisted of. Well a small glimpse anyway. No one wants to know about the laundry, dishes etc.

My son’s soccer game—

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I took my writing just in case I had a moment . . . I did not. But my daughter appreciated the opportunity to doodle on it while she watched her brother’s game.

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New chicks that I will be taking up to our property and the house we will be building soon. Aren’t they cute, well at least for another week or so before they get into the awkward teenage stage.

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Hope you enjoyed a moment in my life.

Mountain Treasure

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My daughter just found a hood ornament to a 1926-1928 Buick. We were up in the mountains and there was a piece of metal sticking out of the ground and she dug around it and pulled it out. I told her it looked like an old hood ornament. The funny thing is there is no car up there. We did find a rusted fender or something along those lines as well but that was it. No sign of a road or the rest of the car. It makes me curious to know how it got there. Now the rest of the kids want to go treasure hunting.

I love finding old things because it causes us to wonder about the past. Everyone starts to imagine different scenarios of what happened to the car. I happen to love the
imagination and am glad whenever something sparks it.

Current scenarios: The car crashed against a tree and then was left there and the whole thing rusted. Age 8

The car was left somewhere else, but bears and raccoons moved the pieces all over the forest. Also my 8 year old

The car bumped into a tree knocking the fender off and the hood ornament and then drove away. 18 year old.

What’s your idea?

Writing on the Go

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I have a sister that loves to organize. She amazes me at her ability to see a way to store stuff so neatly. I appreciate organization but am not natural about finding the right things to make it happen. As an author I do a lot of writing and revising when I am not at home. Up until now I’ve just grabbed an armful of things and take them with me when I leave the house. For a time I had a bag I just dropped everything into but it was inconvenient as well.

Fortunately for me, I have my sister who showed me this bag the other day. It’s perfect. I can put my pens in the pockets and store my small notepads, my writing helps and my binders and computer in a clean, organized way. I’m very excited to try it out. Hopefully it will make it much easier to just grab my bag as I’m rushing out of the house. That way when I’m at the school waiting to pick up my kids and learn that the coach decided to keep them a half hour longer, I can just grab stuff out of my bag and happily write while I’m waiting.

Editor

I just received some feedback from my editor for a short story I’ve written and am eager to publish. The writing process can be arduous but one of my favorite parts is learning how I can improve my writing. The first time I had my work edited, I didn’t know what to expect. What I discovered, was that my skills could jump to a new level by listening to the feedback given.

This time I haven’t had time to put into practice the things my editor suggested because I’m on vacation. Instead I find myself daydreaming the story changes in my head. Hopefully I’ll remember what those ideas are when I sit down to make the changes when I get home.

 

A Wizard’s Doom

I decided to do something a little different today. I’ve been working on a new story for a while and thought I’d post the prologue for fun. It’s in it’s raw form. I haven’t started editing this story yet but hope you enjoy it, errors and all.

 

King Custis walked the castles dark hallways, nodding to the guards as he passed. There was too much unrest in the kingdom for him to sleep soundly. The recent droughts had left his kingdom crippled. The people were grasping for someone to save them. I’ve done everything I can to help them, he thought. Yet they’re not satisfied. They think a wizard has the power to do anything. They don’t understand that even my abilities have limits.

He paused and walked out onto one of the many balconies that overlooked his gardens. He sighed. It saddened him to look at his brown and withered plants. The droughts were a result of the conflict among the people. Qusan had always been a planet sensitive to its people. They had lived too many years in wealth and ease to remember the history of their world. Instead they considered it legend or old religion depending on who you talked too. Custis knew different. The archives were clear and the stories from his ancestors could not be ignored.

When evil flourished Qusan would withdraw deep inside herself. She couldn’t bear it. The result was always the same. Rain stopped falling, lakes dried up, plants died and with it the animals and then the people. Why couldn’t they see that it was their wickedness that drove her away? My magic can’t restore that, he thought. Only the magic in my people, can bring Qusan back from hiding deep in her core.

They were two hardened to listen to him though. In search for a way to help his people he had called for the magic of a seer. It was her visit now that kept him up. He had hoped for help . . . instead he was told of horrors that would begin with his death, and continue for another four hundred years.

Custis rubbed his eyes. I’m so tired, maybe I’ll try to sleep again, he thought as he headed back to his room. He noticed his messy bed upon entering, evidence of his internal struggle. He climbed into bed and tried to quiet his thoughts.

A sudden pain woke him from sleep. King Custis stared at the sword that was thrust through his chest trying to make sense of how it got there. He looked up at his guard full of questions and pain as darkness began to envelope him.