Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Eight Days to Rooglewood announcement!!!

In only 8 days, we will find out the topic for the next Rooglewood contest!!!
I will be participating in the cover reveal so... Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sleep-Deprivation and Planetary Origins

     Forty-six.  That's how many hours I had just gone without sleep in the past two days.  I was surprised I was still standing.
     Two births, back to back, had the team exhausted.  Now we were done -- free to go home as soon as we put clean sheets on the bed. Ruth, with her blonde hair and modest, white headcovering stood across from me, helping me spread the sheet over the bed.  Tiana, with her fun "hey, you know, whatever it is, I can take it" attitude, was beside me, stuffing pillows into fresh cases.
     Conversation, naturally drifted to the two things most on all of our minds: food and sleep.
     "I get very angry at everybody when I haven't eaten," Ruth closes her eyes into little fake-angry slits and pretends to glare at imaginary figures.
     "Oh, yeah, I'm totally like that, too," Tiana confirms, smacking a bit of fluff into submission with one decisive blow.
     "My husband, on the other hand, is surprised that food and sleep are so important to me," I begin.
     Ruth huffs in exasperation.  "I know people like that!  I always look at them and say..." (she picks me as substitute target, raises her eyebrows at me, and clearly and pointedly enunciates each next word) "...'You were born on Uranus.'"
     I instantly understand that she is accusing them of coming from a different planet.  And my mind praises her for picking a more unique and remote planet than Mars.
     ...At least...I THOUGHT she was talking about a planet.  Oh, my!  What if she wasn't talking about a planet?  Does she have any idea what she just said?!
     I cast a glance over at Tianna and see the uncertain look on her face.  She's thinking the exact same thing I am.
     Ruth sees our expressions.  "What?  What's the matter?  Did I say something...OHHHHHHHH!"  Her face turns bright red.
     It's too much for me.  I haven't slept in days.  I spin around and keel into the wall, unable to breathe for laughing. Ruth and Tianna do the same thing.  Somehow the fact that such a phrase accidentally came out of Ruth's mouth makes it even funnier.  And I'm just thinking about what would happen if we actually repeated this elsewhere.
      Soon, Ruth and I are howling with laughter, tears pouring down our faces. 
     Tianna, by this time, has recovered from the initial humor and has settled into just an amused look on her face.  To be honest, the fact that Ruth and I have lost control of ourselves has probably surpassed the humor of the planets.  From the other room, I hear our senior midwife calling out "You girls are punchy!  You need to finish up and get some sleep!"
      "I didn't even think of how that would sound," Ruth gasped through her laughter.  "I was just trying to think of a cool planet."
      "Uranus is not even a planet." Tianna says.
      "Yes it is!" Ruth protests.
      "It's not a cool planet."
      "Yes, it is!"
      ", Saturn is a cool planet.  Saturn has rings.  What does Uranus have?" Tianna says.
      I lose it again.
       Tianna throws a glare at me.  "Don't answer that."
       I recover from my latest outbreak and shake my head in wonder.  "You mean you just randomly thought of a planet in this very minute and popped out with this one?"
      She looks sheepish.  "Yes."  She still can't believe she said something so easily taken the wrong way.  She's still laughing, and she presses a hand into her abdomen.  "I think I just grew two new abs with all that laughing."
       I gasp and shove a thumb into my side.  "Yeah, me, too."
       We look at each other and shake our heads.  I still have tears running down my cheeks from laughing so hard.  "We really need to go to bed."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Less Than One Month to Contest Announcement

    On June 1st, the Rooglewood Contest will be announced.  I am definitely looking forward to this!

    These past 5 months have been so full for me that I haven't had time to fret over how slow time passes or to work much on story ideas.  But the contest has been there, lingering around the back of my mind, adding a little bit of excitement to daily life.

     Today, I had a little bit of time to work on a story.  I have an idea for Little Red Riding Hood and another for The Little Mermaid.  Today, I worked on the Little Mermaid story.

      My Little Mermaid story is about the other woman -- the one the prince was falling in love with instead of the Little Mermaid.  You see, the Little Mermaid rescued the prince from a shipwreck, carried him across the sea, and floated him into the shallows.  But there was a woman on the shore who saw him and helped to nurse him back to health.  Since he was unconscious during the Mermaids rescue, he thinks of the shore woman as his rescuer -- the one who pulled him from the sea.  This, of course, complicates the Little Mermaids hopes and dreams, and she hates this other woman with a passion.
     However, there is some strange connection between the Little Mermaid and the Shore Woman.  The Shore Woman dreams scenes out of the Little Mermaid's life.  And when the Little Mermaid loses her voice, the Shore Woman is the only one who can hear her thoughts.
     Such a connection might be the best chance the Little Mermaid has for a friend, so far from her home.  But it's a little hard to make friends with the ultimate rival for the man of your dreams.

      What do you think? 
      And how are your stories coming?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Reason They Came

      Her gnarled fingers shook as she tapped the photograph.  "I remember this day!"  The wrinkles around her eyes deepened with pleasure and she patted her mouth with an unsteady hand.
      "This little girl?  That was you?" The investigating high-schooler leaned forward, her curly brown hair falling over her shoulder in eagerness, though her voice was gentle and patient.  "You were adorable.  I'm surprised the soldiers didn't pick you up and take you home with them!"  A little bit of teasing crept into her voice.
      "I think they almost did."  The old woman chuckled.  Then her face grew serious.  "My mama..." She stroked the edge of the photo.  " mama was so frightened.  But she was so afraid of EVERYTHING.  She was afraid when Hitler came to power.  She was afraid when the Nazi's invaded.  She was afraid when the laws started changing and people started disappearing.  She was afraid when the Allied Forces arrived.  When we heard the trucks and friendly soldiers marching, she made me sit in the dark and be quiet.  Then she pulled a blanket over her head."
       "Why was your mother afraid of the good guys?"
       "I didn't understand it then, either.  I wanted to see who was coming.  My papa always said I was the fearless one."  She cocked her head at the picture and shook her head.  "I trembled in my little boots, though, even as I crept across the floor to look out the door.  What if my mama was right to hide this time?" 
     "But you kept going."
      "Aye." Her eyes widened, "and then three of them saw me!"
      "What did you do?"
     "I froze! It was too late to run. I hoped they would walk on and ignore me. But they didn't. They walked right over to my house." She tilted her head as if listening. "Their voices were strange. They spoke words I didn't understand. But I liked it...There was no anger or bitterness in it. I remember I ducked my head so my hair covered my face, but I peered sideways so I could watch them."
     "Didn't they speak your language?"
     She tapped the photograph, pointing at the man squatting in front of her. "This one did. He knelt down to talk to me." Her face softened with a faraway look. "His eyes were kind and brown like my papa's."
     "What did he say?"
     "Oh, bits of this and that. The beautiful day. My pretty hair. His little girls who were my age. And then I asked him the question I had been wondering since I first heard the big trucks rolling in."
     The high schooler swept her pen across her notebook, cautious to not lose even one piece of the story. "And what was that?"
      "I wanted to know why they came. Do you know what they said?" The old lady's chin quivered. "They came for me! For me and for all little girls like me."
       "Then what happened."
       She straightened up, leaving the memory world and returning to the business of the story. "I saw tears in this one's eyes." She tapped the photograph again -- this time indicating the standing soldier. "But then​ he laughed and shook his tears away and offered me a piece of candy. And the third man stepped back to take a picture." She lifted the photograph to her lips and kissed it. "But I don't need a picture to remember. Till the day I die, I will never forget those soldiers or the reason they came."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Time Traveler Letter from 2016

       I think it is kind of interesting the way a blog morphs over the course of it's existence.  Do you ever look back over your blog and remember the way you felt when you first started writing it?  Maybe it's just me, because I attach memories to things.  But I pull up my early, early blog posts and I remember how excited and apprehensive I was -- so full of ideas and plans for what my blog would become and at the same time nervous that it wouldn't succeed or that it would fall into the category of "boring" for all my readers.  And there's more emotions that I remember -- ones that I haven't really learned to put into words yet.

     Why am I reminiscing today?  Because today, for me, is actually May 3rd, 2016.  That's right -- 2016.  This is another one of my time traveler letters.  I write a post and then arrange for it to be published a year later.  You should try it -- it's kind of a fun exercise. ;)

     One of the things that has been bugging me for the last year or so is my own difficulty in putting things into words.  The Penslayer unwittingly pointed this out to me because she wrote things that called out thoughts and emotions from deep, deep inside of me.  And the fact that she could put my most hidden feelings into words was thrilling.  But, at the same time, it was also frustrating.  Am I not a writer?  Are not words -- and the ability to use them to call out the deep parts of people -- part of my chosen vocation?  Then why could I not find the words to express myself?  Why could she speak my own thoughts better than I could?

      But I've built some deeper relationships lately, with people -- one in particular.  And he makes me think.  He makes me take the time to actually look deep inside myself and stumblingly put those soul-swellings into words.  He asks and asks and asks again -- questions like "what are you thinking?" and "what's going on inside your head right now?"  And, as I try to communicate with him, I begin to notice a difference in my writing.

       Eh, it's too soon to tell.  But, just maybe, this is the beginning of being able to write those deep things so that my writing calls out to the deep part of other people.  Maybe you, reading this a year later, can attest to that.  We'll see, right?

      In my own writing, I'm mostly stomping around in the world of ToP, trying to get to know it well enough to tell the world about my adventures there.  

     Below are the stats updates on my blog.  I don't know that such information is really interesting to my readers, and I'm not remotely offended if you skip this part.  But I do like being able to look back on it, myself, and this is a good place to store the info.  So, if you will permit me, I will list out a few here:
Pageviews all-time history: 18,814 
Highest viewed month to-date: November 2015 (1,527 views)
Lowest viewed month to-date: still January 2015 (158 views) because I'm not counting that first half-a-month when I started my blog in October 2013.
Number of published posts: 534
Five most popular posts of all time:
     Rooglewood Contest Countdown: 14 days
     The Countdown: 8 days
     Short Story: Becoming a Daddy
     I Done Told You
     Guest Post by Emily!
Number of Published Comments: 871 
Number of Followers: 24

     Ideally, I should write about my greatest weaknesses and my greatest improvements and my goals for this coming year.  But, honestly, my goal for the coming year is simply to write.  To write well and to write the deep things without fear.  And with that, I don't feel the need to fret over weaknesses and improvements.  Ladies and gentlemen, I am just going to write for all I am worth.  Even if that means that I don't further my writing career at all this year.  I am ready to take a breather and pour my heart out through my fingertips.  And we'll see where it takes us.'s to another year of blogging, online friendships, and writing comradery.  May your writing be full of Light and point people to our God and Savior.