Camp NaNo Time!

Hello once again, Readers!!! Tomorrow is the start of NaNo! Woohoo! Can you feel the excitement!? I don’t know if I want to do a cart-wheel of joy or hurl…

I am going to do my best to complete the 50K in the alloted timeframe, while continuing to write, From the Embers. Because of this, I have decided to schedule my posts to one a week…most likely on Mondays. The writing will be my main focus, plus my edits will be back within the next couple of weeks from the editor, so basically I will be overloaded. Oh, and another Craft Fair…

But any who. I have plenty of Red Bull and music to help me through this adventure. I love adventures. Especially the kind that scare the living S$!& out of you!

Okay, maybe not. I digress.

The original girl: photo credit: torpore via photopin cc

Like that?? I made it for my WIP I am attempting for NaNo. They had a spot where you can upload an image for the novel so I figured WTH.

It was just for kicks, nothing serious. To be honest, I really just wanted to play around with the editing site to see what all it can do, which I think it came out pretty darn good. I used Pixlr which is the same site I used for my book button. I found the image of the girl on Photopin and then overlayed a picture of a galaxy (also from photopin) and made it a little translucent so you could still see the girl, but get the sparklies.

This is my first NaNo attempt…to say I am nervous is an understatement though I don’t know why. I’ve already written two novels and am 1/4 into a third. I guess it’s the pressure that I know I will apply on myself. I can’t fail.

That being said, I have three posts started to take care of three weeks worth of blogs. Talk about being prepared! Helpful how to’s and another giveaway. No procrastination here! Muhahaha.

Oh, I forgot to tell you…

photo credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc

Eww I hate spiders. Worse than the dark I think and that’s saying a lot because I hate the dark too. Put them together and you have a passed-out Candace.

I digress. Stay safe Trick-or-Treaters! I will be taking my Red Ninja (Logan) and Fairy (Scarlett) tonight and hopefully score some good candy! I’ll probaby need it. I wish you all the spookiest, fun night!

For the question: What are you dressing up as?

Echelon out ♥

Excerpt From Born in Flames

Hello once again Readers!! How was your night? Mine was full of tossing and turning…in a good way though. I was so pumped full of excitement and hope.

But I’ve got my Red Bull on hand and the Phillip Phillips CD from the last season of American Idol blaring (thank you bestie).

But I digress.

The next thing on my agenda as a newly published author (eek!) is to post an excerpt from my novel, Born in Flames. I chose to go with the second chapter since the first is already available for viewing as a sample.

Hope you enjoy!

Excerpt from Chapter 2

We took the local bus to and from everywhere in town. It was the perfect means of transportation for us. A car would have been nice, but we were fostered, working on minimum wage and living in a small town. We couldn’t really hold our expectations too high. The town was small enough that the commute only lasted between twenty and thirty minutes.

It beat walking.

We reached the bus stop underneath the clear morning sky and I slumped into the far end of the bench, trying to ignore the fidgety man waiting next to me. He clutched an old faded denim backpack to his chest in a death grip. Sheesh, I thought. I pulled my tattered baseball cap out of my purse and pushed my hair inside it. I liked to keep my hair tucked away when I was in the general public since it was ruby red and stood out against my pale skin. It helped lessen the curious stares.

I noticed the man next to me, side-eyeing me through my peripheral vision. He had blotchy skin, and smelled of rubbing alcohol. A tuft of milky-white hair sat atop his head and swayed in the breeze. I wondered if the breeze picked up, would the feathery tuft float away like the seeds of a dandelion?

Fenn looked back at the two of us. He shook his head, suppressing a chuckle as he watched the fidgety man squirm next to me. Strange things always seemed to occur around me. This creep was proof of that.

The guy cleared his throat and straightened his back, tightening his grip on the pack, knuckles paling from skin stretched thin. There must be something important inside there.

Fenn casually backed up a couple of steps to be closer to me, whistling and keeping his hands in his pocket, ever the silent protector. It was a job he had always done well. Living on this island, the locals found it hard to adjust to the trouble I unintentionally brought.

I’ve kind of been responsible for a few accidental fires (started by my thoughts though I never told anyone except Fenn). The fires have only started when I felt angry, but things have definitely exploded into flames around me—things like a bookshelf in a library that took a while to douse out.

Now the town simply looked at me as a freak of sorts, some religious people even crossing themselves because they believed I could actually hurt them.

So yeah, Fenn was always there to defend me. Just in case.

I glanced at my watch, thinking the bus should be here any minute and that I’d be glad to get away from this freak next to me. His constant squirming didn’t sit well with me.

Then I heard the awful screeching of the brakes as the bus came barreling into view a few seconds later. The front wheel plowed over the curb before it came to a thud on the street. The exhaust made a wheezy sound, probably fatigued from the driver’s mistreatment, and the hinges squealed as the old doors swung open, inviting us in.

I have told the driver many times that he should probably get the brakes changed, but he always just looked at me and laughed in an idiotic way. Sort of a mix between a cackling witch and a hyena. Visions of sticking my foot in his mouth always came to mind. If only I could set this bus on fire, but then I guess I’d be out of transportation.

“Hit any tourists today?” I asked casually as I stepped onto the bus. His usual smirk instantly pointed south. I kept moving, not giving him a chance to respond, as I pulled my hat down as low as it could go and took my seat near the back. The creepy guy from the bench took a seat directly across from me, continuing to side-eye me.

“Great,” I mumbled.

Fenn slid in next to me, and the doors swung shut. The driver pulled out, never checking traffic to ensure the road was clear. All I can say is that we haven’t been in an accident yet… and I stress the yet.

We rode in silence for a while as the powerful hum of the engine sang a poor man’s lullaby. I could still feel the creepy guy’s burning gaze on the side of my face. What is with this guy, I thought. I was tempted to say something, but a large pothole stopped me.

Everything went flying, including Fenn’s coffee. Of course it decided to find a dry place to land on, like my shirt. Agitated chatter began as everyone reached for the items that had flown from their laps into the aisle.

“Dang it,” I groaned, trying to blot the lukewarm wetness off my white shirt now stained coffee brown. I’d have to change into a new shirt when I got to work. Another small dent in my paycheck.

“Sorry,” Fenn said, picking his music player up off the floor. “He’s such a douche. When you gonna learn to stop egging him on? You know he did that on purpose.” The bus driver’s demonic smile peered at me through the rear view mirror. I exhaled sharply, glaring back at him.

A sparkle caught the corner of my eye. In the aisle sat a pendant, right next to the creepy guy’s bookbag. He was rubbing his head, probably from smacking it against the window, not paying attention. I leaned over to grab it, arousing his awareness.

Our heads collided on the way down, but my hands were the quickest of the pair. As my fingers touched the pendant, an instantaneous flash of a clearing under an unusually large full moon ran through my mind along with a haunting pair of glowing blue eyes. Then a rush of power, tingling like electricity, spiked up my arm, throwing me backwards and into Fenn’s lap with a blast of light. The pendant was seared into my grip, the energy still coursing up my arm and throughout my body.

“Rory, are you okay?” Fenn asked immediately, his worried hands running all over me, checking for any sign of damage.

I looked up at him and said, “Fenn, I’m fi–,” but was cut off by the frightened look upon his face. “What?” I asked hesitantly.

“Your eyes, Rory…wait…is that blood?” he asked, panicked. His thumbs pulled at my lower lids as his eyes widened in horror.

“Wha-what?” I stammered, feeling my own panic rise as I pulled my phone out of my pocket and held it up to my face to see my reflection.

My irises were ruby red like my hair. They glistened as they caught the sun’s light. I moved to touch them but felt a foreign hand on my shoulder stop me.

“The pendant, girl, give me the pendant,” said the creepy man, loud enough for only me to hear.

A low growl built deep within, the pendant warming in my hand as if awakening something in me that had always been there.

“Why do YOU have this?” I gritted through clenched teeth. Something foreign stirred inside me, overtaking my reasoning. Something powerful that longed to break free.

He yanked the pendant from my hand and then placed his hand and face mere inches from my own, a white glow radiating from his palm.

“Silly girl, the bus is no place for your change,” he said in a whisper as the blinding glow encompassed my face. I felt the heat kiss my eyes and then it all disappeared.

“Stop it,” Fenn commanded, pulling me into him as he shoved the creepy guy off. I shook my head, dizzy from the cloudiness that instantly fogged my brain. Fenn squeezed my shoulder.

“Your eyes…they’re, they’re normal, but how?” Fenn’s concerned face made me turn towards the man who was still staring directly at me, etching this weird moment deep inside my brain. “What did he just do?” whispered Fenn.

My cheeks ran red as I held my gaze with the creep, ignoring the onlookers and their curious stares, and asked, “What did you mean by ‘change’?”

The answer never came. He continued to stare a minute more until the screeching brakes told us we had made it to the next stop. Still staring at me, he grabbed his bag and shoved the pendant inside it, once again clutching it to his chest. He headed off the bus, the white glow on his hand touching each of the passengers as he walked by. Their heads slumped over as the white glow enshrouded them, and then they each shook their heads, dazed, as if trying to remember where they were.

“Did that really just happen?” Fenn asked, muddled.

I blinked, my mind going blank. I wish I could have answered him, but I had no idea what had just happened. My head was still foggy and aching.

“Maybe it was just another strange occurrence?” I suggested, skeptical. I faced him with a forced smile.

“What’d he whisper to you?” His hands were still bracing my shoulders.

“Something about a change…I don’t know…it was hard to make out because he was talking so low. Weird, right?”

“Weird is definitely right.” His eyebrows knit together, forming a perfect V. “I should follow him and demand an answer.” Anger flashed in his eyes. I felt him move like he was about to follow through with that plan so I placed my hand on his chest.

“No, it won’t do any good now. He’ll be long gone. Let’s just forget it, okay? Pretend it never happened and focus on finding my parents.” I searched his eyes, waiting for his usual give.

He sighed heavily. “Yeah, you’re right. I’m just glad you’re okay,” he replied, putting his earphones back in and then after a brief smile, turning back to the window.

We still had three more stops to go. Three more chances for me to get a grip on myself before I had to face a restaurant full of curious faces. I sighed and leaned back, putting in my own earphones. I closed my eyes and tried to let what just happened slip away. No use trying to decipher it, I would get nowhere like always. I just knew that finding my birth parents would resolve so many questions. Unfortunately, the beginning of that search was still paychecks away from happening.

 

And scene.

So the obvious question I will leave you with is: What’d ya think?

That being said, Echelon out ♥

 

Is the sky really the limit?

Hello once again Readers! How have you been? I’ve been busy editing my second novel (the same thing I do every day). I always love doing the first round of editing. For me, I always find new things inside the story that I hadn’t thought of when writing the first draft. More description, added fight scenes, deeper connections to the plot, even new characters. The story really becomes a story as you re-read and add to it. But that’s not what I wanted to blog about, so I digress.

Lately I’ve found myself thinking a lot about my dreams and aspirations. I’m 25. Time is not moving any slower for me. I’ve been thinking a lot about how it’s said that you have to go through the dark to find the light. I know that I’ve been through these times when it comes to becoming a published author. After receiving enough rejection letters to wallpaper my bathroom, I had hit the plateau of depression. You know, that moment where you feel your dream slipping through your tear-stained fingers? I remember bawling my eyes out, repeating the words, “I want this so bad,” over and over again, hoping for someone to give me a shot. To believe in me. To see the potential. And then BAM! The next day is when I received the email from my publisher offering me a contract. Had my deep yearning shaken something open for me in the universe?

Which leads me to my point. You know the saying, “The sky’s the limit”? I think that is the silliest saying ever. The sky is not the limit. You are the limit. You are the only thing holding you back from your dreams. If you believe that it can happen and you work hard enough for it, then it is bound to happen! It has to! Maybe it won’t happen right away, but it will eventually as long as you don’t give up on yourself. You have to believe in yourself in order for others to. You have to want it bad enough and then go after it like a mad person. At least that’s what I believe.

I’m not really sure where this blog is coming from, but lately I’ve been yearning for more. For greatness. I want it so badly that I can’t keep my fingers from twitching for the need to pour my soul out onto the word document of my current WIP. Crazy right? Do you ever feel this way? Do you ever feel like you’re on the edge of your dream, dangling by your last strain of hope? The dream is just in sight, but you still have that last hill to climb? If so, don’t give up. It’s right around the corner. Anchor your confidence deep down inside of you and don’t let it go. You CAN do it!

That being said, Echelon out.

Oh! And one more thing! I went to Epcot the other day with my bestie and look what I found!!!

What a restless mind can do.

Hello Readers!!!

Last night I tossed and turned for hours because I couldn’t stop thinking about writing. I started out thinking about the many stories swarming through my mind and which project I should dive into next. Should I enter writing contests with them or remain focused on my second novel? Should I go back to school? Could I handle it right now with my two kids, writing, and my business I’m trying to jump-start with my bestie? The thoughts plagued my mind as tossed from left to right, opening my eyes every so often to find that another 15 minutes had passed. What was my deal?! 

Then my thoughts formed into an image.

What was it that I saw behind my closed lids? A blank page. How would this appease my restless mind? Well…so much can be done with a blank page! A new story, a sketch, a painted picture, a grocery list, a list of chores that I so need to do. The possibilities are endless! What’s my point? My point is, I love the thrill of starting fresh. I love blank pages, blank walls, a blank canvas. I love pushing myself to branch out creatively in ways that I thought I couldn’t. The unknown doesn’t scare me, it compels me. I tackle my novels with the same thinking. I have a smidgen of an idea of where I want to go with it and then I sit down behind my laptop, fingers itching to glide across the keys. It always starts out the same. One word, two words, pause, a few more words, pause, and then BOOM! An avalanche of words pour out of me as my fingers race to keep up with the sentences forming inside my head. It’s almost guaranteed that I will have spelling errors and grammatical errors due to the fact that I don’t stop until it’s all out. I don’t want to lose a good thought due to trying to be perfect. That’s what drafting is all about. Edits come after the words are spilled onto the paper.

How will this affect your daily life? It won’t, at least I don’t think it will. I try to make sure that every blog I write has some sort of meaning to writing, or at least some sort of advice or encouragement to be a better you. This one, I feel, is more of a journal entry. Something I would write in my personal journal. But last night as I laid in bed, trying so very hard to fall asleep, this was all I could think about. I almost got up, just to write this out, but stopped myself because I knew once I was up I would never fall asleep. So if I am to scrounge up any sort of advice to make this an inspiring blog, it would be to not be afraid of the unknown. If you are an artist…JUMP! Always jump for what you hesitate on because sitting back and wondering what if will drive you mad. Practice makes perfect with a side of patience (something I’m still working on.) And if you aren’t an artist, I would say to you: Why aren’t you one? Doodling is art. Painting a wall in your livingroom is art. Clipping coupons is art. Raising children is art. Art is all around us and inside of us. Once you realize that, you will be unstoppable! So rather than leaving you with a question, how about you list the things you are good at below. Share your art with me!

Okay, I’ve babbled on enough lol. Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Until next time, Echelon out ♥

Finding inspiration when your Muse takes a vacation…

Hello once again fellow readers!!!!

 So for those of you that don’t know, I’m a sucker for inspiring quotes. Especially quotes that pertain to bettering yourself. I have a hoard of them taped in various places on my desk…things that make me smile when the flames are roaring high in Purgatory. 

And I don’t know why, but somehow total strangers seem to have the ability to sum up exactly what I’m feeling or longing for in two sentences or less. This ability to sit back and observe outside the box is one I try to live by day after day.

I digress –so I wanted to share a quote with you this week that totally hit home with the fork in the road I took a few years back. The fork to my inner artist. Drum roll please…….

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot (real name Mary Anne Evans).

I know right.

It’s inspiring for so many reasons. One being the fact that he is really a she. And in the 1800’s she chose to pursue her dream of becoming an author despite the stereotype women harbored. And two being the simple fact that there are so many people out there that don’t realize that it’s never too late!!

In my case, I didn’t go to college. I just wasn’t ready for it. Freedom flew beneath my wings and I found it hard to be bogged down by more schooling. Instead I chose to build a family. I’m one of those that when I want something, I simply go for it. But as I said in my previous blog, I was still missing something.  After battling with the initial lack of self-esteem most people hide deep down I thought, why can’t I do it?

I couldn’t think of any reasons. At least any that weren’t really just excuses. Nothing in life happens without taking risks or chances and putting in hard work. So I went for it and I wrote. And that was the day I chose to go left instead of right. So what does this have to do with inspiration?

We’ve all felt it one time or another whether you’ve noticed it or not. It’s in the crisp, starry night air twinkling above you as you walk hand in hand with a lover, or the golden-orange colors that seem to ignite the horizon at dawn as the sun begins to rise. It’s in the serenity that comes with the toss of your favorite fishing pole into the crystal blue waters that hold the promise of your next catch. Or even the excitement of bringing life into this ever-changing world.

The fact is, inspiration is all around us. And inspiration can do so much for you. It can change your outlook on life-make you appreciate the everyday. It can help mold you into a better person. It can push you to pursue what you thought was no longer possible. It’s what drives us forward.

So I ask you…take a moment to stand still and just listen. Whether you’re in a bustling kitchen or on the couch at home. Close your eyes and breathe. Think about what it is you love. What your heart wants. Step outside and look up. Find the brightest star in the sky and make a wish. Then make that wish happen. You can do what you set out to do. As I tell my bestie, “Pain is beauty.” Not in a superficial sense, but in real life. You always seem to find yourself inside the deepest pit of pain. And with finding yourself comes surety in who you are and what you are capable of.

With that being said…What inspires you?

Echelon out ♥