Blog

My First Award Nomination

It’s a beautiful surprise when someone takes time out of their day to recognize your blog. It’s easy to feel like we’re shouting into a void and wonder why we do this at all, then something like this happens.

Bushra, I’m deeply touched and I want to take a moment to say how grateful I am that you nominated me and how fortunate I feel to have connected with you. You’re truly a ray of sunshine and I enjoy your blog posts and the supportive comments you leave on mine.

So, let’s hope I’m doing this right since I’m a noob.

Rules

verstile
This beautiful graphic came courtesy of Bushra’s blog

1) Thank the person who nominated you

Thank you so much, Bushra! You are such a kind and supportive person. I appreciate you taking the time to think of me and nominate me for this award. You’re amazing.

2) Include a link to their blog in your post

Friends, you’re seriously going to want to check out Bushra’s blog. Click here to visit!  She has a gift for creating beauty in this world, whether it’s through her creations or her uplifting words. You’ll be better for having discovered her.

3) Share 7 facts about yourself

1- I still have my writing journal from third grade 😂

2- I took karate for 1 week in the first grade and have been convinced ever since that I’m a total badass because of it.

3- I find funny people irresistible. I want to be around them all the time. It really is my favorite quality in a friend.

4- I have an optic nerve drusen in my left eye and I’m terrified that I will go blind in that eye and be unable to drive and lose my independence.

5- Craft beer is a BIG part of my life (bigger than I ever expected)

6- I have 3 rescue dogs and I love them to pieces.

7- I love living in small towns. People are kind and there are more green spaces.

4) Nominate 15 bloggers of your choice to keep spreading the love

Here’s my list of nominees…

  1. K E Garland | Inspirational quotes, stories and images
  2. Give It A Spin
  3. Frugal Husband
  4. H.A. Callum
  5. Writing Block 
  6. Relatable Thoughts
  7. Seeking Divine Perspective
  8. Saving Joyfully 
  9. randieri.com
  10. Fractured Faith Blog
  11. Peatmore News
  12. brokenanvil29325 
  13. Writings By Ender
  14. Christina Anne Hawthorne
  15. Melanie at Home

None of the nominees should feel obligated to accept or do a post. I just wanted to recognize your blogs. I think you’re great!

Blog

The sound of silence.

Hello friends,

Well, I gave Wattpad and Chapterbuzz a try and while I was getting some reads and buzz I totally wore myself out. I was so busy trying to write new chapters, edit old ones, read others’ work, comment, and uploading new stuff I burst my bubble.

I haven’t written anything new in over a week. I hate when I get in this space but I know that I have to let the dry spell happen.

But you should write every day!

Yeah, that’s what people say. But I know if I force it, I’ll just be writing crap. And does it matter what I write? Does this blog post count? Do my tweets count? Does it matter if I paint, read, doodle, or think instead? Those are all creative things. I’m going to adjust that old advice to suite my creative style. I’m going to create every day.

The muse is mad.

Don’t tell him/her I said this but my muse is moody and needy. *Looks around worried they heard* The muse wants my full attention and I wasn’t giving it. Now I’m going to have to play hard to get and work on other creative outlets until s/he decides to forgive me or that s/he can’t live without me either and starts telling me the story again.

There’s no need to despair.

This has happened to me before. I thought I’d never write again. And like an oncoming fever, the urge to write takes hold and I can’t stop writing. I’m wiser now. I know I can relax and wait for it to happen because it will.

What about those stories you were sharing?

If you were following along on Chapterbuzz or Wattpad, no worries. I’ll still be posting some work on my Sneak Peeks tab. This way, I’ll be keeping all the follower growth on my blog instead of spreading it out in all different websites/platforms. If there’s a story you want more of, let me know and I’ll add to that story (as the muse allows. As they’re not speaking to me at the moment, I have time).

Creators, what do you do when the muse isn’t talking to you?

Readers, are there any of my stories you’d like to see more of?

Allie

Blog · Distant Spring · Sneak Peeks

Distant Spring

Chapter One

 

Lottie Stephens was running late. She despised running late. Always chronically early, her armpits were drenched and her hands shook as she searched for her keys. Why didn’t she hang them on the hook when she came in last night? 

 But she knew why she hadn’t. She was drunk. And angry. And, hmm, had she tossed them against the wall? Suddenly ducking under the hallway table, she searched. Ugh, they’re not there. Her flickering memory was hinting that that’s where they’d be. Twisting her head under the table she turned to see them dangling, stuck between the back of the table and the wall. Also, wedged between the back of the drawer and table back a bent photograph hung out. She grabbed the corner and tugged it free. The breath pulled from her body as she glanced at it. 

David. 

As she shoved the picture into her pocket, Lottie hit her head on the table as she stood. She clutched it and pulled the table away from the wall enough to let the keys drop. She scooped them off the floor, scuttled through the kitchen and into the garage, swiping her purse off the arm of the couch, and flew into the garage. 

Lottie hopped in her car, momentarily fantasizing about the cup of coffee she never got the chance to make, and hit the door button, cursing it for raising so slowly. While she waited she slid her hand into her pocket and pulled out the picture of David, sighing before curling it into the cupholder. She backed down the driveway and headed off to her dental appointment, seemingly hitting every single red light along the way. 

A blue pickup joined her about a quarter of her way along and followed her, riding her ass. Fire grew inside her. “It’s not like I can go any faster!” She screamed to the silhouette in the rearview mirror. “What do you expect me to do? There’s cars in front of me.” Lottie wished she had the guts to jump out of her car at the next light, open the truck’s door, pull the man-shaped silhouette out, and beat the living shit out of him. But, as it was a him, it was not very likely that she would be the one giving the beating and what if it was some sort of psycho who would have no trouble fighting a woman. And the way he drove, it seemed more likely than not that he’d be just that kind of man. Instead, she opted to throw her middle finger up as she took off from the last light before turning into the dental office parking lot. 

Panic swept through her as the blue pickup followed her into the parking lot. Uh-oh, what if this was the kind of psycho who would follow a woman to her destination and pummel her for throwing the bird. She whipped into the closest space she could find and threw the car in park. She grabbed her purse and scurried to the office door. She kept a spying eye on the truck. It pulled into a space. She saw the drivers-side door open as she ducked into the safety of the dental office. 

Side-eying the entrance, she removed her coat, and flung it on the hanger. It slid off immediately and fell in a crinkled heap on the closet floor. She wasn’t going to take the time to try to rehang it. The psycho could come in at any moment. She scuttled over to the front window to check in. The hair on the back of her neck rose as she heard the jingle of the doorbell, the hanging of a coat, and the patter of footsteps walking across the carpet behind her. He was standing behind her. Oh why wouldn’t the lady at the front desk look at her already. 

Quit looking at that computer screen and check me in, god dammit.

As though reading her thoughts, the women with blue rimmed glasses looked up. “Hello there.”

She leaned in and whispered, “Charlotte Stephens. I have a nine-thirty appointment.”

“You’re all set.” The woman smiled. 

“Thank you.” Lottie twisted and rolled around the man standing behind her. 

She tucked herself back in the security of a corner seat near the front of the office by a large ficus plant. 

Wait, is this a real ficus?

 She rubbed a leaf between her thumb and forefinger. 

Wow. Real. 

Lottie allowed her eyes to drift up to the man standing at the window. That was definitely the one she’d given the finger to. She could tell from the shape of his silhouette—the way his hair was lightly spiking upwards in the front and his shoulders were very broad. 

Grant Ryan. She heard him say. She quickly scooped a magazine off the counter and shoved her nose inside. There was no way she was going to make eye contact. Her stomach swirled. 

Why did I have to throw him the bird? This is just my kind of luck. I’m going to have to get a new dentist now. Ugh, but I really like coming here. No! He’s the one that was wrong. He can get a new dentist. 

Once again perturbed at the thought that he was the asshole driver and now he was going to push her out of the best dentist office she’d ever been to. He took a seat catty-corner to her. She chanced an angry glance at his direction but her eyes quickly shot away from his as they met. He’d been looking directly at her. His eyes darting away as quickly as hers had. Her heart pounded in her chest. 

He knows I know he was staring at me. He didn’t look angry, though. God, and he’s cute, too. Just my luck, he’d also be really cute.

“Hey, Lottie. I’m ready for you now.” Kay, her regular hygienist for the last three years, smiled and motioned her back. 

Lottie hopped up and scampered toward her. 

“Oh, don’t forget your purse.” Kay pointed toward Lottie’s bag sitting by the side of the chair.

“Oops.” Lottie’s face flushed red as she spun to grab it, careful not to look in his direction. 

The morning is complete, now you look like an idiot in all regards.”

“We’re going in room four.” Kay motioned Lottie to the room and followed quickly behind her. “You can set your things on that chair.” 

Lottie plopped her purse where she was directed and climbed into the dental chair as Kay donned her mask. “How’ve you been?” 

“I’m not having the best morning but up until now, I’ve been okay.”

“Yes,” Kay pulled down her mask and put a hand on Lottie’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry, honey. We got the request for David’s records to be sent on to Hickam Air Force Base.”

Lottie’s stomach dropped. Yes, the last time she came, David and her were still trying to work things out. “Thanks, Kay. It’s for the best this way. I’m really alright with things now. I’m happy teaching at the school still. You know I love my students and this town.”

“And we love having you here. You know, my granddaughter still goes on about how you are her favorite teacher. And she had you, what? Two years ago?”

“That’s right. Sarah was in my first class. She’s such a sweet girl.”

“Thanks. She really is sweet. I’m worried you might not think the same when you get my grandson, Todd, next year.” Kay laughed and picked up a scaler. 

Lottie opened her mouth as Kay began her work. 

“Todd’s a sweet boy but he can’t sit still for a second. I swear, my daughter had no idea what she was in for with Todd. Sarah was such an easy child and Todd is still giving her a run for her money. It’s like she was a first time mom with her second. Ah, I’m sure you’ll be able to handle him in class. He’s got a good heart. Just can’t sit still, is all.” 

Lottie smiled around the dental tool scraping her teeth. Kay worked away. Scraping and polishing. Silently and quickly. That’s what Lottie loved about Kay. Cleanings with her were always quick, painless, and never filled with questions expected to be answered around a mouth full of metal scalers, mirrors, and curettes. 

After finishing, Kay raised the chair. “Would you like to schedule your next appointment?”

“Sure. I’ll be here.” 

“How’s October 14? Same time?”

“That’ll work for me.”

“Okay, see you in six months. I put your appointment card in with your new toothbrush and sample paste.”

“Thanks, Kay.”

Kay handed Lottie her dental prize bag as the dentist swooped in. 

“And how does everything look today?” The dentists washed her hands, tipped the chair back, and looked into Lottie’s waiting mouth.

“She was squeaky clean as always.” Kay winked at Lottie.

Just as fast as she swept into the room, the dentist sat back, pulled her gloves off, and smiled at Lottie. “Everything looks great. No cavities today.  Keep up the good work.”

“Thank you.” Lottie wiped some spit that had swept across her chin.

Kay removed the bib from Lottie as the doctor waved and scuttled out of the room, ducking into the room next door. “Hey Grant, and how are you doing today?” Her words cutting off as she disappeared inside.

Lottie waved to Kay as she scooped her purse of the chair and left the room. With the dentists hands in his mouth, there he was, the cute guy she’d given the finger to in the next room. She froze for a moment while pulling her purse over her shoulder. His eyes connected with hers before she quickly averted them and hurried to the front desk. 

“Am I all set?”

“You’re good to go, Charlotte. See you next time.” The receptionist waved and quickly went back to her computer. 

Lottie grabbed her coat from the hanger—someone had hung it for her—before bursting through the door and half-running to her car. His mouth was full of dentist fingers but for some reason she was worried he’d soon be behind her if she didn’t hurry. As she bustled out to her car, she glanced over at his blue pickup. A bone-shaped magnet was stuck on the tail-gate that read “I ❤︎ my rescue.” Her mind drifted momentarily—as she pressed the unlock button on her bobble—wondering what type of dog he might have. A lab? Or maybe he looked like a German Shepherd man. Although, she knew pit bulls were the dogs that filled most shelters. Yeah, she could picture him with a gray pitty riding next to him in that old blue pickup. She shook her head and climbed into her car. No, he’s a tailgating jerk, not some sweet guy who rescues pitties. 

Why are you always trying to give jerks good qualities and imagine them to be anything other than they are? 

Lottie buckled, took a quick glance in the rearview to make sure he wasn’t coming out yet, backed out of the space, and headed off towards the school, wishing she’d taken the whole day off. 

After a morning like this, school was the last place she wanted to go. Her energy levels already felt completely zapped. She turned onto Falcon and headed straight for the White Buffalo Coffee Bar, fumbling in her purse for her wallet as she neared. Grabbing it, she sighed as she looked inside, only spying repeats of Alexander Hamilton’s handsome face. She hated to part with her tens. Why couldn’t there be an Abe or Andrew instead? 

Great timing, there was only one car in front of her. Unlike whenever she’d try to swing by before school and hit the morning rush. Once it was her turn, she pulled up and ordered a large white buffalo mocha and a small espresso. She took the hot drinks, carefully placing them in her cupholder, and handed the barista the ten. 

“Keep the change.” Lottie smiled, pulled off, and headed for the school. Before pulling out of the parking lot of the White Buffalo, she peeled off the lid of the espresso and sipped out the hottest little bit before turning the AC on full blast and pointing it at the open cup. She carefully pulled out onto the road, praying she’d sipped enough coffee out to avoid a spill, and headed towards the base. 

She slowed and rolled down her window at the gate, handing the guard her ID, “Good morning.”

“Morning, ma’am.” The guard handed her ID back. She shoved it in her purse, rolled up her window, and drove by the “Welcome to Altus AFB” sign like she did every weekday morning, headed to Rivers Elementary School. Pulling into the parking lot, she was relieved to see an empty spot waiting for her. Until she realized there was a motorcycle hiding in the spot. 

“Dammit! You really gotta take up a whole space with that thing, buddy?” Lottie picked up her espresso as she rolled through the lot looking for another space and took a big gulp. Ah-ha, another spot. A small spot, but her little, silver honda fit could squeeze into a space half that size. She pulled in and unbuckled before downing the rest of her only slightly too-hot espresso. Purse in one hand, her white buffalo mocha in the other, she headed in to the office. 

“Lottie, you’re back. I wasn’t expecting you for another half hour.” Maura pressed her glasses to her face and smiled before picking up the phone the moment it rang. “Good morning, Rivers Elementary. How can I help you?”

“I’ll be in the teachers’ lounge.” Lottie mouthed as she waltzed by taking a small sip of her mocha. She walked down the hall and stopped short when she saw streamers, balloons, and a sign hanging up in the teachers’ lounge which read, “Sayonara, Melissa! We’ll miss you.”  

“Fuck.” Lottie closed her eyes. She’d forgotten Melissa’s goodbye party was today. She sunk down into a chair and sipped her coffee staring at the line-up of good-bye presents covering one of the lounge tables. So much for not writing things down. She kicked herself. She knew she forgot any and everything if she didn’t write it down and set a reminder in her phone. 

The bell rang just a few moments after she finished the last sip of her coffee and missed the trashcan when she tossed her cup at it. “Of course.” Bending over as soon as she rose from the chair, she waddled over to pick it up. Lottie squealed and jumped when she got a firm smack to her butt. 

“Hey hot stuff, make me work for it.” Beth waggled her eyebrows at Lottie.

“Shut up and keep your hands to yourself, ya old pervert.” 

“Never, you know I can’t resist that sweet ass. Especially when you’re presenting for me.” Beth peered into the trash. “What Mr. Cooley’s trash lounge coffee not good enough for you this morning?”

“I needed something stronger. I’ve had the shittiest morning and to top it all off, I forgot about Melissa’s going away.”

“I knew you would. I put your name on the card of my gift.” Beth winked. 

“Oh, you’re the best, Ms. Grimes.” Lottie threw her ams around her. 

“Ah, you’re welcome, sweetie. I knew you’d forget when I told you to write it down and you didn’t. You really need to start listening to me.” Beth rubbed Lotties back before pulling away. “So did you hear? They finally hired a long-term-sub to finish out Melissa’s class for the school year. He’s supposed to stop by the going away party. Melissa invited him.”

“Nothing like waiting until the last minute to hire someone.” 

“I know right, but that’s the way they roll around here. Better get to class or we’ll get sent to the principal’s office.” Beth stuck out her tongue and headed off down the hallway. 

Lottie stuck hers out and headed to her class, curious about who the new teacher would be. 

Blog

Finding support along your writing journey

 

Hello friends,

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about the bumpy road that I’ve traveled along during my writing journey. Sometimes, it feels like I’m just spinning my wheels in the mud and I really need to turn and look back at where I began.

Reality will surprise you.

Let me just start by saying that I’ve been lucky, I’ve had quite a few people who supported and encouraged me from the start. But I was surprised that some of the people I initially thought would support me most haven’t. Their words saying one thing, their actions showing quite another. I’ve talked to other writers along my way who don’t have any family or friends supporting them. It’s incredible how many people think writing is just a hobby. I don’t fault them. When I was in third grade, I never thought I could be a writer when I grew up. So, I wrote in my free time while working a “real job” for the entertainment of my work friends and my family, never thinking I could share my work beyond my small circle. Imagine where I could be now if I took my writing more seriously way back when. But wondering about that is a whole other blog post, and I’ve tried to train myself to stop doing it.

Back to my point…to the writers who are just starting out, don’t stop if you find you’re not getting the support you long for. Just write and connect with people through your blog (if you have one) on social media. You might find people you barely kept in contact with from long ago will suddenly be the ones lifting you up. You may find people you don’t even know will be the biggest fans of your words.

You’ll find your people.

Don’t get discouraged if some of the people closest to you that claim to love you and support your work don’t show that support. They don’t follow your blog or read your blog posts (let alone an entire novel), they don’t share anything on social media, they definitely won’t buy your book or write a review. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you, but they just don’t understand how hard a writer’s journey is and how much encouragement matters.

In the beginning, they may be all you have, and when you don’t feel supported, it can make it hard to continue. So, to any writer starting out, I just want to remind you that you need to try your best to keep putting words down even if you have no one who wants to read them at the moment.

Keep pushing. Keep moving forward and don’t let that discourage you.

You may just find that strangers or people you barely know will be the ones to encourage you and read every word you write. Take the time to make connections on social media. Get to know these strangers because, before long, you might find that they aren’t strangers anymore but friends.

Someone I barely knew on Twitter, but who I found funny as hell, enjoyed my tweets as well. And now she’s one of my besties, and we chat every single day. She’s one of my biggest supporters, and she more than makes up for the lack of encouragement I found from others, and she makes me believe in my talent.

Shout out to Billie Jean! You’re amazing, and I love the poop out of you!

I also found others who have supported me. People I barely know. And I didn’t do this by posting and shouting about my writing/book all day. On my blog, I write from my heart–including ups and downs. I spend most of my time on the social media platform I enjoyed most (Twitter). I play games. I goof around. I interact with other posts and tweets. I don’t censor myself. None of this is challenging because I have fun. This should be fun, after all. Sure, you’ll still get discouraged from time to time, but now you’ll have people behind you who will lift you up and make you laugh.

Don’t let anyone make you feel foolish.

I’ve had people in real life squash me and make me feel like my usage of social media is stupid and a waste of time. They made fun of how much I tweet. Yeah, I tweet a lot, but I’m spending time with the people who support me. How can that ever be a waste of time?

Boo to the people that bring you down! Some people who will claim to support you but may secretly want to see you fail because they’re jealous that you dare to follow your heart.

At the end of the day, you need to concentrate on the ones who want you to succeed, for real, no matter how you met them or where you met them.

If you’re a new writer and you don’t have support, I’m here, and I understand. Feel free to comment or email me kalicecompeau@outlook.com.

 

Blog

Just Be Yourself

Hello friends,

I’ve been thinking lately about all the blogging/branding advice I’ve been reading lately. There’s so much of it, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Following the usual advice has sometimes done me some good but I found the one thing that has worked best for me is…

Being myself.

The dork. The nerd. The clown. The sometimes potty-mouthed and dirty-minded weirdo that I am. Sometimes vulnerable. Sometimes sad. Determined. The failure. Struggling writer. True.

The true me–is the me that people connect with.

Lesson –Just be yourself!

The you that you truly are–no matter what that looks like–is bound to be better than anything artificial you try to portray.

Did you know that I had another blog and also a different Twitter account that I up and deleted one day? It’s true. I wiped everything clean and started new.

I wasn’t having any fun at all portraying myself as a serious person. And although I am serious about working hard to improve my writing and creating quality books, I am–at heart–a big, goofball weirdo freak. I think my freakery shows up in my writing. So why should I pretend to be someone else and shock people when they read my writing where a woman discusses her friend’s sascrotch? They are likely to get confused, or worse, put off. Best to be honest about who I am from the start, don’t you think? (I promise there is nothing dirty, or inappropriate in my children’s books–unless farting disgusts you.)

Yes, I’m a writer. But does that mean I have to put my (computer, not prescription) glasses in the corner of my mouth and say, “mmm, yes,” as I ponder the symbolism built into my serious literary work?

Pllllllttttttt! I take my work seriously but not myself.

On Friday, I felt the need for a break from my work-in-progess and tweeted this out…

IMG_7336.jpg

As you can see, it got quite a good response. 😂 😂 I’ve been drawing like crazy, especially that first day. I didn’t write. I didn’t do much tweeting of anything else.

But you know why I kept drawing and drawing? Because it was fun. And it’s still creative. Which I believe has a positive impact on my writing. Some of my drawings gave me the giggles so hard I thought my ribs might crack. Unbelievably, (especially for Twitter–you users know this) there has been no trolling on the entire thread and only one person tried to bring politics into it (insert eye roll) and isn’t that fantastic?!?! The best part has been that more than one person has said that reading the thread brightened their whole day.

True, it didn’t bring in book sales (not completely true, one person who discovered me did buy one) but I made people laugh and smile. And this thread kinda is me telling a story, isn’t it? And that’s what I love to do anyway. I’m showing my personality. –telling a little mini picture story about who I am.

Making money is nice but the saying is true, the best things in life are free. I love that I’ve connected with people. And with the nasty, hate-flinging tweets I see day after day, I’m happy that I may have been a ray of sunshine cracking through the muck for someone.

Here are a just a few of the doodles I did…

IMG_1015IMG_2735IMG_4077IMG_4678IMG_4694IMG_5524IMG_7239

If you’d like to look through the whole thread, you can find it here.

I did get my editing in this morning and I’m hoping to do some writing but I’m also going to be drawing more because, believe it or not, more people are waiting and I don’t want to let them down. I want to keep sending smiles (and maybe some giggles) out into this cranky world.

I am going to take a moment to request that if you enjoy my blog that you give me a follow. Also, if you’d like to buy one of my books, the link to my amazon page is here.

If you have read either of my books. I’d also like to kindly ask you to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews go a long way in helping indie authors like me find new readers.

I’m also posting my adult works on Chapterbuzz. You can find the link to that here.  I’d be thrilled to get more “buzzes” and feedback there. (Those works are in progress and haven’t been fully edited.) You can find some of them on this blog under the tab, “Sneak Peeks.”

Please and thank you! I appreciate all the love you’ve shown me and my work more than you can imagine.

Until next Sunday, keep smiling!

Allie 💕

 

Blog

The importance of a good working title

The importance of a good working title

A hard lesson learned AGAIN.

Hello friends,

Yesterday was THE PITS for me. One of the worst parts of it is that this whole scenario has happened to me before…like the most sinking, miserable case of deja vu.

A long, absent muse returned to me, banging on the back of my head until I gave in and decided to return to an abandoned manuscript.

I opened my computer and searched for the file.

Gone.

I plugged in my backup hard drive.

Gone.

Searching. Searching. Searching.

Desperation and dread battled for the biggest space in my gut.

Thoughts of “well, maybe I…” dashed and darted in and out of my head.

Searching. Searching. Searching.

Tears welling.

Emptiness.

Gone.

My words are gone.

The muse was disappointed in me but refused to leave. The story must be written, and I have to start over. All I can do is tell myself that I’ve grown as a writer and it’s going to be  even better this time.

The words are lost, but the story is not.

I know this is true because the first time this happened to me I replaced every word and finished the entire novel–a novel I love.

But how did this happen? Twice?

I hate thinking of titles. It’s miserable. I rarely know what to call a novel once it’s finished, let alone when it’s only just begun.

This time, I had two books dealing with Aliens (both happened to be the ones I lost at different points,) but I think I called them both some variation of “Alien _____.”

Draft after draft after beta read and critique partnered drafts exist on my computer. I save them and end up with too many to keep straight. “Alien novel,” “Alien novel final draft,” Alien novel final final,” “Alien novel final–this is the one.”

Eventually, various drafts get deleted. And given that their titles are so similar, I believe I completely trashed the first draft of one novel along with a million drafts of the other.

How do I stop this from happening again? What’s the plan?

I’m going to give my novels a complete and unique working title even if I know it’s not going to stick around. No more “untitled romance” or “Alien novel.” Now, my current works are “Burnished Path,” “Cleansed with Blood,” “Distant Spring,” “Homer,” and “Haunted Heart.”

I’m going to go in and find everything I started, even if it’s only one paragraph or one line and name it.

I know these may not be good titles and probably aren’t the ones that will remain but at least they aren’t confusing. When I’m cleaning out revisions of “Burnished Path,” “Distant Spring” isn’t likely to be thrown out with the bathwater.

I’m also going to make sure a copy of each gets added to my backup hard drive and emailed to myself.

My heart is still veiled in black and mourning the lost words, but this time I’m going to ensure that I learn from my loss.

Homer · Sneak Peeks

Homer

I would like to point out that I’m not the author of the following journal, merely its translator. I have opted to do a communicative translation rather than a word for word translation in an effort to relay the exact contextual meaning of the original in a way that the language and content are both easily comprehended in English. Admittedly, however, as Chimpanzee is not my first language and I do not have any peers with which I can confer, mistakes most assuredly exist. To be true to Homer, I have taken painstaking efforts to be as accurate as my skills allow.
First, I feel I must tell you how it is that I came upon Homer’s journal, to begin with. I was working at the Après-Captive Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center researching chimpanzee language when I received a letter in the mail. The envelope looked dirty, beaten, and battered like it had been on an incredible journey even before reaching my fingertips. The return address simply said, “Звёздный городо́к, Россия,” having started out my career in the U.S. Air Force as a Russian linguist, I knew this letter had come from “Star City, Russia.” I had no idea why someone from Russia would be writing to me. I opened up the letter and read a most peculiar request. The person writing me had requested that I come to Russia to translate a document which had remained hidden for decades. The writer of the letter believed the document to be written in Chimpanzee and having heard of my work in the field of Chimpanzee linguistics decided to write me. Not a great deal of detail was given, but it was too intriguing to leave my curiosity unscathed.
I booked a flight to Moscow and then a train to Star City. Upon arriving in the city, I called a cell phone number given to me in the letter. The person on the other end directed me to a tea house. I promptly took a cab to the tea house, got a table, ordered some tea, sipped anxiously, hoping that the fact that my eyes were constantly darting from side to side was not too noticeable. I had waited for approximately one hour when a young man arrived and sat down across from me. He asked me, in Russian, if I was Clementine Porter, to which I answered affirmatively. He paid for my tea and asked me to follow him. I got into his car, and we drove to the outskirts of Star City to a charming little dacha nestled back in a grove of pine trees.
Inside the dacha, I met with a woman, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions from the Russian government or other entities within the country. She told me that her father had been a janitor at one of the Soviet Union’s Space Program center in Star City. She said she was just eleven years old in 1963. This was when her father brought home the lifeless body of a chimpanzee.
Her father told her that he overheard that NASA had launched a capsule into space and lost it, or thought they lost. In an effort to learn more about the technologies that NASA was using for its space program, the capsule was both lost and recovered by the Soviets as the result of a top-secret insider spy space program. Someone at NASA was working for the Soviets and deliberately “lost the capsule” for them. While her father had to have a security clearance to work at the space center, he was not privy to detail of any real consequence.
The capsule was left in space for over a month, as not to arouse suspicions of the also-spying Americans. A fake Soviet capsule launch was orchestrated so that the Americans would believe the Soviets were recovering their own capsule. Once recovered, the capsule was brought inside the hanger of the center. Her father was summoned to dispose of a chimpanzee body that was found inside. The body was in a wheelbarrow, they told her father to strip the body of the space suit, search it, and burn it. Then he was to toss the body into the dumpster. Even though the body was not human, her father couldn’t bear to treat it with such disrespect. He tore the patches off of the space suit and set them ablaze in the burn bin.
When he got the body home, they dug a hole and prepared to bury the body with dignity. Just as they were about to lower the body into the hole, they saw something sticking out of the bottom hem of the spacesuit on the chimp’s thigh. Her father pulled it out to discover a journal. Inside was a script of characters they did not recognize. Her father researched for years trying to find the language contained in the journal. He was not successful before he died from a heart attack in 1975. The journal was then buried in a box in the backyard garden where it remained until the woman’s grandson had come home from school and told her about a film he saw discussing my work in chimpanzee linguistics. That is when she decided to write me the letter.
And that is how I came into possession of Homer’s journal. Translating this journal has taken me years. The story which emerged has since shattered my heart into millions of pieces. I knew it would not have a chance of becoming whole again until I made sure that Homer’s story was told…and heard.

***This is a very early draft of one of those unfinished works I started years ago but never finished.***

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It’s good to take a break.

Hello friends,

I didn’t post on my blog last week because I needed a break. I may be spreading myself a bit thin with posting 5 works on Wattpad and Chapterbuzz, writing a weekly post for this blog, plus all the other things I have going on in my life. I’m not going to stop doing any of these things, though, because I realized that while I might need a break from bits of it at times, I’m capable of doing it.

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The hardest part for me in keeping up with writing in this blog and posting my works-in-progress on Wattpad and Chapterbuzz is how vulnerable it makes me feel. This blog reveals feelings that I have always tried to mask. It’s not easy to share my struggles and admit that I walk around feeling like a failure who has no idea what in the hell she’s doing. But when someone reaches out and lets me know that they connect with a post, it makes it all worth it.

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Sharing my works-in-progress on Wattpad and Chapterbuzz really kicks me outside my comfort zone. I have one complete novel up and I’m still in the process of writing all the others. I’m finding it challenging to write new chapters and give them, at least, a second edit before putting them up. Usually, my books go through multiple edits (my first book probably went through around 30 rounds plus a 3 professional edits) before sharing. Talk about showing your warts! I’m not perfect, no matter how hard I wish I was. Opening up and putting my process on display feels horrible in many ways but I think it’s been good for me. I love getting feedback and I greatly appreciate those of you who have checked out my chapters.

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One thing I’ve learned along my writing journey (and I guess in life, in general) is that I have to sometimes do something that is so uncomfortable for me and ask for the things I want. So, I’m going to give that a whirl again… If you’re reading along on Chapterbuzz, would you become a “fan,” “buzz” my chapters, and comment occasionally.  If you are following along on Wattpad, would you please “follow” me, “view” and “vote” for the chapters you enjoy, and leave comments, please. Believe it or not, I love feedback and it doesn’t have to be all positive. If you notice errors, point them out. I’m sharing, not only because I want to find readers, but I want to improve. I can tell when someone is trying to be helpful and when someone is being a troll, so if you aren’t a troll, don’t worry about hurting my feelings. Please and thank you.

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Phew! That was hard and I feel a swirling cloud of discomfort in my gut but it will be worth it if someone who didn’t know I want those things, does them. It really means a lot to me to connect with readers. This is why I do this. I love telling stories but it’s not as much fun to tell them to myself.

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I’ve blabbered on long enough with this post. It’s a beautiful (but chilly) day. I’d like to get out and go for a walk to enjoy it. I also need to edit and post (hopefully 🤞🏻) four chapters.

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Be My Horton

Hello friends,

Look! It’s me on that little speck.

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I am here! I am here! I am here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my last blog post, I talked about the challenge to find readers. It’s so hard. I feel like a little a who down in Whoville shouting on a speck at a world that’s too big to hear me. But it’s okay. If you’re reading this, you’ve heard me. You are my darling, Horton, and I appreciate it.

While I wait for the rest of the world to notice my tiny, insignificant voice, I’ve got to find a way to keep myself going when my writing can seem so pointless.

So, I’ve invented a way to play with myself (uh, err. Should I scratch and rephrase?)

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Ahh! The floor is lava!

At this point, I have approximately five manuscripts that I haven’t finished, so I’m going to start sharing them on Wattpad and Chapterbuzz…the one that gets the most love is the one that I’m going to concentrate on writing for that week. It will kind of be like American Idol, The Voice, or America’s got talent (which I stopped watching when The Regurgitator lost–he got robbed) but with my manuscripts.

They are early drafts, so they’re not perfect, but the good thing about Wattpad and Chapterbuzz is that I can get feedback from readers on how to improve the chapters as I go. Then, most likely, I will publish them through my publishing company, WhistlePig Publishing. Of course, that will be after multiple drafts, professional editing, and a professional cover artist has designed a proper cover. For now, I’ve made quick covers for Wattpad and Chapterbuzz purposes (so please don’t judge these books by their covers 😂) and given them a working title.

If new readers discover me along the way, that’s only ever going to be a good thing. True, it could just be more crickets, and there won’t be many views, votes, or comments on either site but finding just one more reader–one more Horton–would be incredible. If you’d like to read the chapters of my works in progress here is the link to my Wattpad profile and here is the link to my Chapterbuzz profile.

To my manuscripts…

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