Monday, December 20, 2021

Motivation Monday...

 It's Monday and we all need motivation to get through the week once in a while. I need to be motivated.

It's the Monday before Christmas and I do want to wish you all a happy holiday! I know many who are either alone or don't celebrate, and that's quite all right. But be safe, because of those who do celebrate. A bit too much.

Okay, motivate, motivate...

Something my sister-in-law, aka my bestest friend in the whole wide world, told me when we were both overwhelmed.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

No, I'm not eating a real elephant.

However, I do have to look at the big picture of things, all the projects I have going on and just take things a little bit at a time. It's not a race, not a competition. Mainly it's writing, doing crafts and making sure my house is clean.

I try to figure out what I'm in the mood for, for the day, then I attempt to break things down into manageable chunks. Take about an hour to work on a craft. If I feel like continuing, I do.

Take some time to write, either X amount of words or set a timer. I like to set a timer more than designate a word count goal. Sometimes a word count goal freaks me out if it isn't for NaNoWriMo. I don't know why, lol!

My housecleaning is viewed in the same capacity. I have two bathrooms to clean, so one day, it's sinks, next is toilets. Then just keep doing what I need to do until it is done. Laundry, a load a day if needed. Things of that nature.

So, if you're feeling overwhelmed, just stop, take a deep breath and take one bite at a time. You'll get there if the pace is slow and steady or fast and crazy.

Good luck!

How do you manage time? What motivates you to keep going? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Musings Part of This Blog...

 It's been a while since I've posted. So let me update:

Didn't win NaNoWriMo, but it's okay. The fact I even entered this year is what counts. I have yet to continue with the story just because things have been hectic.

Holidays ... well, Thanksgiving was good, now I just have to get through Christmas and the New Year. I've been waiting on my dentures for almost a year now and it's getting closer to the finish line. I'm excited, I can't wait!

Here is where I need to rant a little. Several days ago, went to go "big shopping" AKA out of town shopping for groceries and Christmas items. We, as in myself and my sister-in-law, had to drive through a mountain pass that was getting snowy and a little slick.

We came upon a vehicle flipped over. As we were stopping to see if we could help, another car came from the opposite direction and JUST KEPT GOING.

This was a very recent crash as there was smoke coming from the engine, and there were other signs. So while my SIL called 911, I went to see if I could see anyone in the vehicle. While we were doing this, a snow plow driver came by, and he continued on, but came back to say he had called it in and he stayed with us, but didn't want to go near the car.


The car had gone off the road, hit a tree, flipped up to crush the roof and then rolled. One person was in the vehicle and trapped. The way the vehicle hit, the driver was pinned by the steering wheel and roof. The person was conscious enough to tell me their name, begged for help. I told them help was on the way.

Help took 40 minutes to arrive and five minutes prior to their arrival, the driver passed away.

All I and my SIL could do was hold their hand so they weren't alone. My SIL prayed over them and when I went to hold their hand, it was cooler than before and I checked twice for a pulse and found none.

What bothers me are two things: That no one else stopped. (And there were several more vehicles that came by and reported it, we were told) The other thing, that it took 40 MINUTES for someone to show! We were 1 MILE outside of our county and into another and apparently, this was a sore point as both counties BICKERED OVER WHO WOULD BE DISPATCHED! Someone was dispatched 30 MINUTES AFTER we called. (Insert expletives here.)

And when authorities did arrive, one of the troopers came walking up with a goofy smile and said, "How's it going?" My SIL informed him of the pinned driver and that's when the smile left and he figured he needed his gloves.


This is the second accident on remote roads we have come across. First one where the victim died. It took me several days to get over it. But I still think about it, it's going to stick with me for a long time.

I understand not everyone has the capacity to stop and help. I do. I get it. But no one stopped to see if we needed help, if we were all right, whatever. But the biggest irritation is the authorities. I just don't understand how they could know someone was pinned, fighting for their life and they're over there arguing about which county gets dispatched.

Okay, my rant is done. I am sad about the situation, I feel for the family and have spoken to them. Nothing more to do, now.

Thank you all for letting me vent on my blog. I needed to write it down, but have been putting it off. I've debated putting it online at all, but I don't know. I'm just... I just don't get it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IWSG Blog Hop...

 It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means you better have your Christmas shopping almost done!

Just kidding.

It means that it's Insecure Writer's Support Group day! Woohoo!

Man, I have missed this. There are days I just need that support group to listen to me whine. A lot.

This month's question is...

In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

Hmm... stress comes, for me, from not being able to get past a scene block. I got caught up on such a block during NaNoWriMo.

The thing is, the scene would direct where the story would go after that. Yes, I do try to be a Plotter, but end up being a Pantser more often than not. So, if I cannot plot my way through it, or pants my way through, I get stuck. And that stresses me and the voices come in and call me an imposter, that I'm not a true writer, things of that nature and it becomes stressful.

I don't listen to those voices, not anymore. It happens and I do try to write every single day. Sometimes, it just doesn't seem to go that way.

But what delights me?

Oooh my characters delight me. When I hit that roll and can't stop writing, that delights me. Seeing the story unfold in my mind, that delights me and gives me hope. The ideas I can come up with, that delights me as well. Honestly, I have more positives about writing than negatives and I could go on for hours. However, this is a blog hop day and you better believe there are more writers out there who need support! So go forth, my fearless follower and read on!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Writing Wednesday Pre-Turkey Day...

 Hey all! Hope you are all having a good week so far and are ready for the Thanksgiving feasts to begin. It's near the end of NaNoWriMo and I'm sitting at 22K+ words. Not sure if I will make it to the goal, but I am still going to give it my best effort!

How about you? Did you win NaNo?

This year, much like the previous couple of years, our gathering is going to be small. Which... it's okay. Sort of. I miss the big family dinners and things of that nature. But we're keeping it small, mostly due to lack of funds for travel or anything of that nature.

That's okay, though, because we'll be gearing up for Christmas.

Typically, we draw names at Thanksgiving to see who we're going to buy a gift for, but this year's tradition was done on Halloween, so we could have that extra month to shop and if deliveries are running late, no one has to wait until February to get their gift. Plan ahead!

So tell me your traditions, tell me about NaNoWriMo and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Writing Wednesday...

 No short stories, this time around. Today's post is about writing, of course, and NaNoWriMo.

I'm a week in and by last Saturday, I had just over 12,000 words. You can see my little progress bar up here on the left.

That's with skipping a day due to feeling horrendously crappy. I've been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Ankylosing Spondylitis, what a word! Both of which cause over all body pain. But this last week I've had pain from head to toe, literally. The bottom of my feet hurt and my joints are so stiff and hurt when I stand or sit or move. Moving helps for a little while, then my muscles retaliate.

But I'm not here to complain, I'm here to state that all but one day in the first week of NaNo, I wrote.

It's a lesson for me, as well as anyone else out there struggling with their writing and feeling like they aren't pushing themselves enough. It didn't matter HOW MANY words I wrote. What mattered is that I WROTE.

For instance, on Saturday, I just wasn't feeling up to it, but I plugged out 944 words anyway. I used to be a pantser (still am) and now I'm becoming a plotter, but I think I like the term I found on Twitter of being a Plantser.

Suits me just fine. I know where I want my story to go, have a lot mapped out. Just have to fill in the void.

But every word I write makes that final total just a smidge larger, and over all, that is what I'm looking for. For the overall story to be written.

If you're doing NaNo, tell me how it goes! I'll cheer you on. If you're not doing NaNo, what are you currently working on?

Monday, November 8, 2021

Motivation Monday...

 Hopefully, today's post will motivate you.

Recently, I had a few things happen and it's helped me focus on things more and try to keep a positive spin on it all. It's so easy to drop into the negative state of things and wallow in self pity, but that isn't productive or healthy.

I have come a long way in my writing and in my marketing of it all, and yet I still have more to learn. We all do. We don't stop learning, we keep hewing away at the imperfections of our craft to make it smooth and perfect.

I'm not the most successful of authors. Would I like to be? Yes. However, I'm damn proud of what I have accomplished in my career. I'm moving forward, I'm branching out. I honestly do not spend all my time promoting others like I used to. And that's okay.

I found myself getting burned out promoting my work as well as others. I felt as if the reciprocation was non-existent. Who knows? I don't mind supporting my fellow authors.

These days, my approach to things is much different, possibly even selfish. I don't think I will do so much promoting of others work unless I know for sure they'll help me out as well. But I am just happy getting my stuff out there and even one or two sales will make me feel good. As far as being a success goes, I consider myself lucky if I've connected with just one reader.

Leave me a comment! Are you proud of what you've accomplished in the writing world?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Insecure Writers Support Group...

 Holy cow! Can you believe it is the first Wednesday of the month? Not only that, NaNoWriMo has kicked off!

You'll see to the left of this post, I have a counter to show my progress. Here's to hitting 50K words!

But on to IWSG. This month's question is:

What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

Man. I am torn on this one. To be honest, I had an easier time naming my children. Sometimes, the book title just presents itself before I even have a story idea. It'll pop into my head and I'll be like, "Okay. Nice, but what is this about?"

Sometimes the title comes to me after I begin writing the story. Sometimes, not at all and then I'm scrambling to ask friends for a book title.

But the BLURB! O..M...G... I absolutely DESPISE having to sum up my story in a few short paragraphs that will make it interesting enough for someone to pick up. Honestly. I'd rather go have my teeth pulled again.

I know people say to pretend you have 30 seconds or less to pitch your book, what would you say? Okay, first of all, I'm becoming more socially awkward in my old age, so I'd be all over the place. I'd be telling them about the book, but then go, "Oh! Wait, I forgot! Before that happens, THIS has to happen! Oh, but so and so does such and such to get there, and then ... wait, no. That came after. Sorry!"

To pare it down, I'd be a hot mess.

A blubbering mass of confusion.

Okay, so the blurb is harder. I had to work through that, I suppose.

All right, enough about me! Go on to read more from other IWSG bloggers! You can find the list here.

Have a great rest of your week!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Writing Wednesday: NaNoWriMo 2021...

 Hey all! I don't know how many of you are going to participate in National Novel Writing Month this November, but I signed up. What better way to get back into my writing and other things of that nature?

If you are participating, you can be my buddy here.

Otherwise, just feel free to cheer me on here in the comments or on Twitter: @MelMcC7

I have a few people who are looking for buddies and I would like to connect so we can support one another.

It's been quite a while since I've ever participated in NaNoWriMo. Best thing about this time around is, I'm not terrified like I was before. I got this. Easy peasy, right? Right!

I'm hoping my blog posts won't suffer too much, but if they do, at least you'll know it's for a good reason this time, rather than me dropping off the face of the planet.

Have a great rest of your week!

Drop a comment below, are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo?

Monday, October 25, 2021

Motivation Monday...

 Since I've been back on Twitter with a new account, (@MelMcC7) I have met quite a few new authors; both Indie and Traditional. I've met published and unpublished. I've also directed a few to the IWSG pages, because, let's face it, we ALL need that!

I've seen a lot of questions brought up about things, but one stuck with me:

Should you only write in one genre? If so, how do you choose?

My response was short and sweet. It is Twitter, after all. I said, "Write what you want".

The long answer would have been:

There is no rule that you have to stick to one genre if you like to write in more than one genre. However, you may find that you are particularly attracted to only one genre. How do you choose? You write in all genres until you find one you click with very well.

Initially, for me, I was in love with fantasy and writing it felt like I had found my perfect niche. I would love to continue it, but I realize that I need to work on my description of things. While my first two books in my trilogy are pretty good, I know they can be better and a lot more descriptive about the world I created. But, in my defense, I was brand new to writing and didn't really expand my horizons much.

Several years ago I was approached by a friend because I was dabbling in writing a paranormal witch story and after a while, I jumped right into paranormal without hesitation. Then I wrote a horror piece. And now I love both. I'm working on a whole new series by myself and have been looking to query agents.

Had I not been dabbling in that paranormal story, I don't think I would have made the jump myself into any other type of genre. I was pretty focused on fantasy.

If you don't try anything else, you won't know what you like. Kinda like food, or music or style. Try it all out, find what you love. If you like it all, write it all! There's no rules and nothing is stopping you but you.

Now get out there and write!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Writing Wednesday ~ Walk The Night Pt 2...

Welcome to another Writing Wednesday! Let's continue on, shall we?

All stories posted on this blog are ©Mel Chesley, 2021 and may not be copied elsewhere unless express written permission is given by Mel Chesley. Thank you.  

As Brielle continued to walk her neighborhood sidewalk, she spoke to several sex workers that she knew. As Brielle passed by a dark alley, she glanced down, mostly out of habit, but also because she thought she heard something.

Usually, Everleigh would hang out in this particular spot and wait for the unwary passerby to rob them. Perhaps it was still early for her to be out. But when Brielle checked her watch, she frowned, noting that the girl should be here. Deciding to wait, she positioned herself next to the alley and waited to see if her friend showed up.

Like her, Everleigh was an outcast. A Dagrun with nowhere to go in large cities in this day and age. With so much technology taking over the world, it was difficult to hide. Especially if you were sporting the horns of a goat on your head. It was easier for Brielle, being a Blood Witch, she didn't have to worry about not blending in, but she was always tempted to use her powers, even if it freaked out the mundane humans. After all, it was in her blood, it was her birthright and she shouldn't have to hide her skills. When she found out she was adopted and where she truly came from, Brielle felt it was best she leave. At sixteen, she didn't have a plan, but at her age, who did?

A noise from the alley brought her attention back to present and she leaned around the corner.

"Everleigh?" Brielle whispered.

"Yeah," came a muffled reply. Brielle glanced around before ducking into the darkness.

"You all right?" Brielle asked when she saw her friend crouched down, hood pulled up over her head.

"I will be. Just got into it with a fighter. It's just money, they can't take it with them when they die, what do they care?" Everleigh sniffled in the shadows.

"Are you hurt?"

"More of a bruised ego. He clipped my jaw pretty good and then ran away screaming like a little girl when he saw me." Everleigh gave a slight chuckle and stood, leaning against the damp wall of the alley.

"I've got a salve if you need it. Heals bruises up pretty quick. Maybe not egos, though," Brielle dug into her shoulder bag and pulled out a small, silver tin. "You're welcome to it." When Everleigh gave her the side eye, she grinned. "No charge."

"Thanks," Everleigh nodded and held out her hand. She pulled back her hood and began to apply it to her bruised jaw. Her horns were very pretty in the dim light. A slight shimmer gave them an even more ethereal look. If they didn't stick out so far, they could blend in with her dark hair rather well.

"Why don't you wear your hair in ponytails?" Brielle asked, musing.

"Because I'm not five?" Everleigh said, sounding a bit unsure. 

"I mean, you could blend your horns in with your hair," Brielle offered, giving a half shrug. "You'd look like a Draenai."

"A what?"

"Never mind. My geek is showing. You good? You need anything?"

"Nah, I'm doing all right. By the way, there's someone scoping out the neighborhood. Says he's trying to help and knows what we are. He even mentioned you by name. Kinda tall, dark hair, dark eyes. Watch your back, okay?"

"Thanks, I will," Brielle gave a quick wave and left the alley. Knowing someone was out there, looking for her, she felt especially exposed. She pulled up the hood of her hoodie, stuffed her hands in her pockets and continued on her way.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Motivation Monday...

 All right, another Motivation Monday!

My last little bit of what motivates authors to write series, this last one is:

To achieve a goal.

What goal are you trying to achieve with your writing? Are you trying to put out a certain amount of books in so many years? Because one of the keys of success to writing is getting your books out there and in a timely manner. (Maybe I need to read this again, take my own advice...)

Are you looking to achieve a certain monetary amount so you can stop your day job and be a full time writer?

Personally, my motivation in this department is to just connect with readers. Even if it is just one, I would like to know my characters made a connection and helped someone.

If your motivation is books per year, how many would make you feel successful in a certain amount of time?

I do know someone who feels they are on a personal deadline due to health issues and feels that they have to be a writing machine in order to put money away so when they're gone, they're still taking care of their family. However, that can sometimes back fire on a person. You can lose sight of things rather quickly if you are just cranking out book after book and not paying attention to anything else.

A reasonable goal for authors would be up to three books a year, but even one a year would be great. A good, steady progress so you are able to take the time to polish your book up and get it out there to sell.

If you have a monetary goal, what is it? Are you looking to become a full time author? Or just enough to have money in the bank for when you retire? Either way, the same still rings true, don't rush it just to get it out there. Take the time to perfect your book, your craft and don't cut corners. Readers appreciate an author who takes the time to envelop them in their world.

Do you have any advice on this topic? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Writing Wednesday ~ Walk The Night...

Hey all, here is a short for this wonderful 13th day of October. Enjoy!

All stories posted on this blog are ©Mel Chesley, 2021 and may not be copied elsewhere unless express written permission is given by Mel Chesley. Thank you. 

Times had been pretty rough, lately, even more so for people like Brielle. She stomped on another cockroach before heading out the door to meet with a few of her friends. She pulled the creaking door shut behind her and used several keys to lock it, then added her security for an added precaution.

"Sigiliu," she whispered towards the door, twisting her index and forefinger as if turning a lock. There was a soft click, and she looked over her shoulder to make sure no one else was around. She grabbed onto the thick straps of her shoulder bag and, head down, walked down the long hallway with flickering lights. At the end of the hall, she pushed open the door to the staircase and quickly went down.

Out on the street, she breathed a sigh of relief, having skipped by the manager of the motel again. Hopefully tonight, she could make some money and get her late rent paid. Very few people were out in the late hour, which is exactly how she liked it; no one to bother her. However, that also meant other types of people were out, ones who didn't want to deal with crowds of people, either.

She walked past several adult book stores and shops, a few boarded-up buildings, and came up to the bodega. She popped inside and grabbed a package of Twinkies and Monster. For the briefest of moments, she smirked at the irony of her drink choice. She put her items up on the counter and pulled out a few wadded-up bills. She tried her best to straighten them out before handing them over to Ramone, her favorite cashier.

"Hey, did you get a chance to, you know, get me that thing I asked for last week?" Ramone asked behind the bullet-proof glass cage. His voice was slightly distorted from the microphone.

"Oh, yeah, I got it right here. You have the cash?" she asked, glancing around.

Ramone put a small wad of bills down in the tray used to transfer money. He held onto the lever until she finished rummaging around in her bag. She pulled out two vials containing different colored liquids.

"What about that other thing?" he asked, frowning.

"Right, sorry," Brielle apologized. She unwrapped a small bundle showing a small square of silver with a perfectly etched rune in the center. "Make sure you wear this against your skin. It won't work if it isn't making contact with you. Got it?"

"Got it," Ramone said, pushing the cash to her. She dropped in his items and grabbed the money. "Thanks, chica!"

"You got it. I hope that helps Sylvia with her morning sickness." Brielle gave a quick wave, cracked open the Monster, and took a drink. With her other hand, she stuffed the money and Twinkies into her bag.

Back out on the street, Brielle glanced up and down, noticing a few of the girls were out at their usual places. She walked over to one of them with a quick wave.

"Hey, girl," the woman said. "Don't you be hanging out here too long, I got bills to pay."

"Don't worry, Kara, I won't be too long. Are you good with what I gave you?" Brielle kept her distance, trying not to look like she was hanging around.

"I'm good, but I will need more. I have a regular in a couple of nights, and that last hex you gave me was perfect. I'll get you some cash. Can I get two this time?"

"I'll see what I can do, I gotta go shopping for some ingredients and they're not cheap."

"I hear ya, girl. By the way, Tiffany could use one as well. I also told Beverly what you do. She'll hit you up in the next day or two."

"Thanks," Brielle said, finishing her drink. "I appreciate you helping me out."

"We have to stick together around here," Kara said. She gave Brielle a quick hug and shooed her on her way. "And stop drinking those things! They're bad for you."

Brielle chuckled as she made her way down the sidewalk. Might be a good night after all.

Monday, October 11, 2021

My Motivation Monday...

 Hey all! It's October 11, and today, is my birthday!


No, I won't tell you how old I am. I'm older than the internet, that's all you need to know.

So on this Motivation Monday, I would like to ask for donations to Suicide Prevention. This is a topic near and dear to me. I have severe depression and anxiety, I go to therapy and I fight every day.

This isn't a pity post, I'm not asking for your sympathy, but I am asking for your support and compassion. This is something so many people face every single day of their lives. Veterans who return from war who need help and are ignored. Teenagers who are beaten or bullied and feel there is no other way out except death. People who suffer abuse, PTSD, they fight every single day.

I don't care if you donate a $1 or more. All I am asking is that you donate.

And, if you feel like no one out there is listening or able to help you, please know that there are tons of people who care! 

Call the hotline:


There is always someone willing to listen. You aren't done yet.

Thank you everyone, in advance, for your donations. Thank you for your compassion and caring.

It means more than you realize.

Have a great rest of your week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Insecure Writer's Support Group...

 Wow, guys! It's October already!! Where has the year gone? Well, if you're reading this, today is the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means!

Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop!

This month's topic:

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

I tell you what, I'm kind of a no-holds-barred kind of girl. I don't sugarcoat the truth (which doesn't make many friends) and I tell it like it is.

I know there are a lot of taboo topics out there, mainly politics and religion. The two things that should end wars, but actually starts them instead. But I wouldn't touch on topics I know nothing about. I do see people putting a lot of topics into their writing that is more personal opinion, as if trying to change the minds of readers, but I won't do that.

If I don't know everything about a topic, I won't write on it. But if I know quite a bit about it and have the actual references to back up my words, I'll write about it. But if it isn't pertinent to the story, I'll leave it alone. I write about bullies, I write about abused women. Topics I am familiar with. But I also write about how to stand up or get away. To become stronger.

I once had a beta reader for my "Blood of my Sisters" story who had to stop reading because the bully triggered her. She didn't blame me for it, and I didn't feel a need to put a warning in there, but she just couldn't continue. She loved the story, but couldn't get past that character.

Will I stop putting in those scenes? Nope. I'm hoping it will connect with someone and they can see how they can stand up for themselves and not be bullied. Or maybe they're reading it and they are a bully, and can't stand the character. Who knows what I'll trigger or help with.

I do draw the line at sex scenes, rape scenes and things of that nature. If it is a sex scene, you'll get the idea well enough without me going into graphic detail. I'm not a prude, but I just feel that isn't appropriate in stories in order to tell the story. (Yeah, I'm going to get hate mail from romance authors.)

As far as language goes? I'm pretty flexible with it. Profanity, no matter who you are, will come out in certain situations. That's life. I know a lot of people who don't like to swear or read books with any curse words in there. But, if my characters are going to be true to life, I throw it in. However, I go along the same guideline of sex scenes, it isn't always appropriate in the story to tell the story. So I do limit it, even though in real life I could make a trucker blush.

All right, now it's your turn! Let's hop on to the next blog and see what that author thinks! Have a good rest of your week!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Activate Motivation Monday...

 Sorry for skipping a Monday, things happen.

However, continuing on with what motivates authors to write, let's get to this Monday Motivation post!

A lot of authors out there are motivated by the thought of entertaining the readers. Because, let's be honest, if the readers are not entertained, the book gets put down and never picked up again, right?

So how do you make your story entertaining when a lot of the plot ideas have been done over and over again?

It's how you write it, it's your voice. Yes, there are stories out there that have been retold a million times over, but perhaps this time, it will be entertaining because of your voice, your style.

I've been on a Bailey Sarian kick these past few months. (You can thank me later.) Her Murder, Mystery and Makeup channel on YouTube is awesome! She tells a story as she does her makeup (because she doesn't know what to do with her hands. Her words, not mine!) and it might be one you've heard quite a bit about, but there's something in the way she tells it. Her voice is pretty soothing. I mean, you have people on there, young and old, male and female who aren't interested in the makeup aspect (but it is awesome). They're there to hear her tell it.

And it's the same thing with authors. You can find some pretty amazing stories out there that are a bit redundant, but it's the way they tell it. Their voice, their style.

There is always a way to make a story entertaining with action and adventure. Dialogue and witty characters. Be entertaining and you'll get your readers!

Have a great rest of your week and go check out the link above. I promise, if you love murder and mystery, you'll love her channel!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Writing Wednesday...

 My sister-in-law texted me and said, "Hey! Give me a writing prompt!" So I thought about it a bit and gave her this one:

You own a thrift store and one day someone leaves a strange package at your door.

So here's my take on my own prompt:

The bell at my back door rang, alerting me that someone had left a donation during business hours. It was a little damp outside from the rain the night before, so I decided to go get it while there weren't any customers in my little hole-in-the-wall thrift shop.

I unlocked the door and looked around, but the person was already gone. After a moment of glancing around, looking for either a large box or several overstuffed trash bags, I spotted the small package at my feet.

"Well, that's weird," I muttered to myself. I picked it up and examined it, noting that it was expertly wrapped, fit into the palm of my hand and had a tiny tag attached to it.

"Handle With Care", the tag read. Those words had stopped me from giving the box a quick shake. Good thing, too, if it was fragile. I hate breaking things. With it wrapped up the way it was, I didn't want to open it. Was it a gift or a donation?

I checked the security camera footage to see who had dropped it off. Someone barely walked into frame, kept their head down and rang the bell. No car pulled up, so no help there, either. So the little box sat on my counter.

The rain had began to fall again, and having been in this business for a while now, I knew I wouldn't get very many customers with this weather. It gave me an opportunity to sort through some new items, price them and get them on the floor. Every so often, I'd walk by the counter and eye the strange little box resting there. I had a few brave stragglers come into the shop and help them. As they paid for their items, they would comment on the box.

"I don't know," I'd say. "It just showed up." Each one asked to be updated on it the next time they came by and I agreed.

I had locked the door, flipped the sign to "Closed" and retreated back to the counter to take care of the register for the day. All was quiet, except the music I piped in from my iTunes. After I finished counting the change, the little box shook. I stopped what I was doing and stared at it a moment. Did I bump the counter? No, because it shook again.

"Whoa," I said as I stepped back, dropping the change back into the drawer. Now the package shook a little more and flipped itself over. "What the heck?" I moved towards it carefully, wondering if there was a small animal in there. And if so, who the heck would leave that? And where were the air holes for it to breathe? Now I was more concerned than scared, because I didn't want to cause harm to a helpless living creature. I grabbed the box and quickly tore off the beautiful wrapping, the tiny tag fluttered to the floor in my haste.

Underneath the careful wrapping, a small box that could hold some sort of jewelry remained in my hand. I carefully lifted the lid, cupping my hands around it in case something jumped out. But it didn't jump, it flew! It scared me so badly, I dropped the box on the counter and stepped back as shimmering, glittery particles filled the air. Whatever it was, it  moved so fast I couldn't track it as it flew around my shop. All I could manage was to follow the trail of whatever was falling off of it as it went. It kept this up for a full ten minutes before finally landing back next to the box it had escaped from.

I moved in for a closer view and watched as it began to preen the most beautiful dragonfly wings I had ever seen.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monday Means Motivation...

 I'm continuing the blog posts of what motivates authors to write. We've talked about it being a way to express yourself. Writing what's meaningful. (And yes, I'm working off a list I Googled.)

Now, let's discuss how our writing can help others.

I'm not talking about JUST writing self help books. Or cookbooks, or step by step manuals to help you rebuild a transmission. All of those types of books are excellent examples of how our writing can help others.

However, fiction writing helps in a lot of ways as well. How? Well, first of all, characters you can relate with. I love reading books where I have a lot in common with the characters. 

If they were teased in high school for wearing hand-me-downs, or being a goofy "reject". I can relate.

If the characters are badass, and stand their ground when push comes to shove, I can relate.

If the characters have been abused, or broken. I can relate.

And I watch how the characters deal with it, how they react and grow from it. And I can relate.

Our stories can help people. Not only show them how to rise above certain situations, but how to do it with sass and style. Our stories give readers an escape, a way to dream about getting out there, either to just get away or to travel or whatever. Our stories help people.

Romance is a big, big writing business. Why? Because people just want to be loved and be treated with respect. (And sex sells.) There's lots of lonely people out there. Either single or in relationships.

Thrillers help readers escape the dull, boring, day after day routines. Murder mysteries make you think and use your brain.

Horror... well, horror just helps you realize that you DON'T. RUN. INTO. THE. HOUSE. And it also teaches you some great escape tactics and trickery.

Whatever it is that you write, somewhere, somehow it will help someone and I can't think of a better motivation to write then that. What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment and have a great week!

Friday, September 17, 2021

What We Do...

 I have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure my writing out. Well, to be fair, figuring sh!t out.

I'm moving forward. I had some issues in the past, issues with group writing and collaboration and I'm done. However, I continue to hold the rights to my written work. I won't go back and edit what I've written and already published (which is huge for me, because, well.... I want it to be good!). Instead, maybe people will stick with me when they read my books and come to see my overall progress. And it is progress. Over time, you either learn to hone your craft and become a better writer, or you become stagnant and frustrated. I'm tired of being stagnant and frustrated and I have improved my craft. So, moving forward it is!

What does this all mean?

Honestly, I was so ticked off with my collaboration efforts and losing control that I was handed, I was just done. I didn't want to write ever again. But after not writing for almost two years, I can't help it, I need to write! That's my thing.

I'm currently re-branding myself, re-working things that were done for those collaborations and making them my own. However, my older stuff is still good. I had taken it all down in a fit of self pity, but today... 

I put it all back.

My fantasy books are here:

Adversarius: click here to view/purchase.

Veritas: click here to view/purchase.

My Paranormal books are here:

Prey to the Order: click here to view/purchase.

Other authors include: Midge Cline, John H Howard & David Rex Bonnewell.

Blood of my Sisters: click here to view/purchase.

I also have short stories in a few anthologies: Ladies and Gentlemen of Fantasy 2014,  Ladies and Gentlemen of Fantasy 2021, and The She Wolf Was Here. All proceeds from these three anthologies listed go to the American Cancer Society as a donation in Jennifer L. Miller's name.

Do with it what you will. I think the only thing that will change here shortly, will be the covers to my fantasy books and eventually, book three of the trilogy will be released.

In the meantime, I'm currently working on paranormal and paranormal/horror stories. So, stay tuned! And as always, thanks for listening to my rumblings.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Motivate Me, Monday!...

 When you think about what motivates us as writers, we all have certain things that push us. How things all started. But writing is definitely an art. We, as writers, want to be able to do something meaningful. To create a timeless piece of work that helps to leave your mark on the world.

In other words, our writing, if compelling enough, could make us immortal. Look at all those who have gone before us: Chaucer, Tolkien, Eyre, Lewis... just to name a few. Their stories are legendary in their own respects. Those authors will be remembered down through the ages, people still talk about them as if they were alive. And in a sense, they are.

Everyone wants to leave their mark on this planet in some way shape or form. People want to feel as if their life mattered somehow and that they'll be remembered when they're gone. Artists, singers, writers, we all want our marks to be meaningful.

So how would you make your mark? What is meaningful to you? How would you want people to remember you from your writing?

I've always loved high fantasy and my earlier fantasy stories were once given the compliment of being Tolkien-esque. Now, mind you, at the time, I hadn't read a single book from Tolkien. I heard of "The Hobbit" and of Smaug. I'm a fantasy RPG'er, that never read Tolkien all these years back. When the Lord of the Rings movie came out, I went to see it with a group of friends. They had all read the books.

I was hooked and then to realize the praise I had been given of my own writing from some random stranger... I was floored. And then I felt the pressure of having to live up to that. It took me a bit to get myself back into it. I think I kinda panicked. Ok, no "kinda" about it. I flat out panicked.

I read every book before the second movie came out, thanks to my mother-in-law who bought me the whole series. I felt, and still kind of feel, like I could leave my mark in that manner. Of writing a book that is as good as Tolkien's, but that added more pressure.

In the end, I just have to write books that are meaningful to me. Although, if they ever were to be compared to Tolkien... I'd have no problem with that.

What's meaningful to you? Novels? Poetry? Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Writing Wednesday: Don't Fear the Reaper...

 I died. I freaking heart-stopped-stared-sightless-at-the-sky died. One minute, I'm playing beer pong on the deck at my buddy's house, the next thing I know, it collapses. There were screams for a second or two and now here I am; in some void of inky blackness.

I can see "The Light", but it isn't close. It's a pretty fair distance away. It's the only light in the place, but there are no shadows. Just black.

"Hello," a voice says close to my ear out of nowhere and I jump back with a girlish scream.

"What the hell!?" I yell and grab my chest.

"No, not Hell," the voice says. I turn around, looking for the source and a figure pulls from the surrounding blackness. "Just the point in between."

"Who are you?" I ask, looking the person up and down.

"I'm Death, Jessie. Nice to meet you."

"Death?" I look the person over. Maybe about five foot five, shoulder length brown hair. Can't make the features out as to determine if they are male or female. "I thought Death was -" They place up a hand to stop me.

"I am not skeletal, nor am I of a towering height with a black cloak and scythe. I am simply, Death."

At that moment, something snaked around my ankle and I let out yet another girlish scream. I tried to jump out of the way, but it tugged hard on my leg and I fell face first in front of Death. Death raised a hand and a glowing orb of light shot out of their palm and whatever was holding on to me screamed and let go.

"What was that?" I hollered, getting up to my feet. I jumped to stand behind Death, hoping they could protect me.

"That was something that wanted you to stay here. That's why I'm here. To guide you to where you're supposed to be. Do you see anything?"

"Well, yes," I stammered a bit. "The Light."

"Ah, very good. Well, let's get you there, shall we?" Death held out their hand and I stared at it a moment. Nothing scary, no bones protruding from a rotting sleeve. I took Death's hand and we started to walk towards the Light. I felt better, holding Death's hand. I wasn't alone, nothing was trying to eat me and the Light was getting closer. I felt good.

"So why do people think you're so bad?" I asked.

"Because everyone fears Death."

Monday, September 6, 2021

Monday, Monday Motivation...

 Writing is a process. We all know it by now. But what motivates writers?

Personally, I feel I have always had a better voice in my writing. Even at a young age. Now, what I'm about to tell you is not to gain sympathy, it's just what happened in my life that made writing a more effective communication for me.

When I was a kid, my parents got divorced. Up until that  moment, I was a chatter box. (I still can be, ask anyone!) But after the divorce, I stopped speaking for awhile. I think I felt like my talking too much drove them apart. You know how kids will always blame themselves for certain things. Who knows. But not communicating verbally became a thing. I didn't always speak my mind because I felt that either no one would listen or someone would get mad.

It wasn't until I was in therapy that I learned HOW to communicate verbally by writing down what I wanted to say. In moments of anger or stress, I shut down. My brain couldn't come up with the right words and I would say the wrong thing, get more frustrated and give up, going into deep silence. However, by writing it down and reading off what I wrote, I was able to convey my thoughts and feelings more accurately.

I'm not much of a journaling kind of person, but I did begin writing in a journal a little bit. It wasn't until I began playing a text based online role playing game that I got really good at writing. I've talked about that game before, and how you had to create a story for your character if you were going to be gone for a long period of time. You also got to post up any role playing you did with other people. Most people would just copy and paste the log, but a lot of us would write out the whole thing and add to the stories of the other characters.

By that time, I was hooked into writing because I felt it was the best way to convey everything in my mind and communicate with the written word, rather than verbal. I had tried writing a story prior to playing this game, but it didn't come out much like I wanted, but it was definitely a first time effort. It was good enough to keep me going. That's when I went onto and opened up an account and began to share my stories there and learning how to take the criticism and the praise. That thickened up my skin quite a bit.

So writing is definitely a way to express ourselves as writers and to motivate us. A way to convey our feelings, our ideas. The written word can be very powerful, especially when you have a delete button to edit your conversations.

Have a great rest of your week! Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Insecure Writers Support Group...

 First of all, can I just say... Holy cow! I love how big IWSG got! I've been out of it for a few years, but have kept up with it on the sidelines. But now it has SWAG! Woohoo!

Okay, so it is the first Wednesday of the month and it's time to post our insecurities or offer up help. This month's question is:

How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Okay, so to make a long story short, I used to be the monetary weasel and watch my sales like a hawk, then get depressed when no one bought my books. However, I learned several things from that experience.

One, it was damn hard work marketing my books! I mean, seriously. I don't think anyone ever really gets just how much work you'll have to put into it. I spent more time marketing than writing and that began to depress the hell out of me. I was (and still am) very happy to help market books by my fellow authors. But again, work, work, work and no creating made Mel a very grumpy girl. *Snarls*

Two, I'm at the point these days where I feel it is much more gratifying to just be able to hold my book in my hands. Yes, the money is a bonus, but *I* feel more successful having a book out in the world. And, if you read my Monday post, you'd know, I want my stories to connect with just one person at least.

If you're the kind of writer that wants to make a certain amount of income on your books, I wish you all the success in the world. Because we all just want to quit our day jobs, you know? But don't make that your heart and soul of why you write, because eventually, it will come out in your work. It will get to you. Don't let yourself get burned out on marketing your book. Enjoy the creativity!

All right, guys. On to the next IWSG post! Leave me a comment, I always respond!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Motivation Monday...

 We, as writers, are inspired by a lot of things, motivated by more. What are things that motivate you to write? Are you pushing a deadline? Are you competing with a writer friend/rival?

One of the things that motivates me is my muse. I can go for a long time without writing, obviously, but even when I am writing, I roll things around in my head. I like to have most of it planned out in my brain before putting it to paper or computer file.

But when I'm inspired to write, what really motivates me is wanting to get my story out into the hands of just one person. One person who will get it, like it or love it. Just one person to connect with my character.

I may write fiction, but there's a lot going on in this world these days. If someone can connect and relate with any of my characters and help them somehow, in some way, then I feel that is an accomplishment.

I no longer want my stories to sit in a dark corner, untouched and unread, anymore. I want them out there for people to enjoy. I've had a difficult time over the last decade, trying to figure out where my niche was, where I fit in and please, PLEASE, let me make some good money off my books. But now, I realize that isn't important anymore.

So readers. That is what motivates me. Getting my books out there and letting people read and connect with my characters.

Drop a comment below and tell me what motivates you! I would love to hear from you.

Friday, August 27, 2021

It's Not Easy Building Back Up...

 I have to say, I took a week off a couple weeks ago to help my mom recover after surgery. So, I didn't have much in the way of scheduled posts, because I didn't think about it. I honestly thought I'd have a moment or two to get something up.

But that's all right. In the past, I would have been stressing about "how I've let my blog readers down!!!" but that's not the case today. Life happens, things get in the way and all the careful planning you have laid out more often than not will get screwed up. 

Meh. It happens.

But I made the decision to stop writing a while ago and now I've made the decision to get back to it. And that, my friends, is going to be a lot of work. Work I am willing to do, I don't mind. I have a much different perspective these days, which is helping me a lot.

So, when I stopped writing, I'll be honest, it had a lot to do with projects I was involved in that I hoped like mad were going to help me and a few others hit the motherlode. Not so much. There's a reason why writers work solo. When you get a good group of creative minds, there's always that one. And I hit that particular jackpot twice.

Hindsight is 20/20, however. It has taken me a couple years to extricate myself from those projects and make the stories I wrote back into my own. Sadly, a couple have been lost, but I am trying to move forward.

When something like that happens, though, you have to realize that you are going to endure a period of grief. You're going to mourn the loss of your work like you'd mourn a loved one, because that story or stories, were your babies. You put your heart and soul, blood, sweat and tears into that work. Trusted it in the hands of those you thought would be kind to it. But most people are out for money and glory and they'll take anything they can get, damn the consequences of their actions. So be careful who you work with.

Personally, I have no hard feelings with most of my colleagues, just a couple in particular that put a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to working on collaborative materials.

I'm patient and confident these days that I will build my reader base back up and I will get my books back out there for the world.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Writing Wednesday...

 As I get back into the swing of things, I'm trying to come up with blog posts for days of the week. At the moment, two days a week for me is good, I'll be able to add more later. Mondays, I'll try to stick to motivational things.

Wednesdays are for writing prompts and flexing my writing skills again. So here we go, I got this prompt off of Twitter from @dsuzzette:

"The streets were deserted..."

I gently parted the curtain from my second story apartment window, peering down onto the deserted street. I kept the lights off, made minimal movement to avoid being detected. It was going on sundown, and the street lights were still off, but in the distance, you could still hear the noise.

It was a strange sound, part screaming, part grinding metal. Loud screeches would accompany it every so often as well as explosions. Cars, buildings, who knew? I just decided I didn't want to know and would stand my ground for as long as possible. My friends used to tease me for being a "prepper", but it's entirely possible I'm getting the last laugh today.

Two days ago, around one in the morning, something flashed in the sky. Me, being a night owl and part-time insomniac, I watched it hit our atmosphere, begin to burn and then explode like something out of a cinematic sci-fi movie. The impact hit the surrounding buildings and high rises, followed a few seconds later with the most intense rumble and bang I've ever experienced. I could see glass shattering out of windows blocks away, then came the blast of hot air and debris. My windows remained somewhat intact, but they got rattled like a witch doctor shaking the bones.

The streets were filled, after that. People running and screaming, fleeing the city. Some cars, windows broken out, tried to inch along the crowded streets, but now sat abandoned. Most of their batteries died a few hours ago, so there was no more light. I moved away from the window and went back to checking my supplies to make sure I had enough if I had to bug out. A map took up most of my table and I had several different routes planned out in red Sharpie. Cell phone service was gone, but at least I still had a use for it and a way to charge it should an emergency arise or service became available again. There was no news on the television, just eerie silence, so it was impossible to know if it was just my city, or worldwide. I'm not the praying type, but I prayed for the former.

Something detonated outside, really close, and I paused, holding my breath. New, strange sounds were coming from the street. I moved back over to the window, noticing the sun was down now, the streets were dark. Streetlights weren't lit, so no power. I squinted through the dirty glass, watching something move down the street. One became three, then several. Crouched low, moving slowly, weaving in and out of the abandoned cars. Another explosion, a flash of orange light and whatever it was down there paused, but the light reflected off metal. A shape, an outline of something that looked like an animal with a very long tail briefly came into view. I had to let my eyes adjust to the darkness again.

As I watched, I wondered - do I stay? Do I run? Definitely have to wait to see where these things go before I just step out into the street. Movement across the way caught my eye and I saw someone moving in the building, flashlight bobbing around. I wasn't the only one who saw it, and soon, those things were circling in the street. In a flash, two of them were up the side of the building and crashing through the window with the light. I covered my ears to avoid hearing the screams, but that light moved frantically before finally flickering out.

Yep, not going to stay. I'll take my chances in the street. In the morning.

Okay, guys, that's my take on the prompt! Show me yours!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Motivation Monday...

 Coffee. I don't know about you, but I absolutely need coffee to get started on any day of the week, but especially Monday.

Yeah, I can skip a cup here or there, I don't have an IV of it in my arm, but that is a good idea. Hmm... something to ponder.

I also have to wake up my brain in the mornings, mostly I play silly games on my phone or iPad. I often feel like if I didn't waste that time playing games, I would get more done, but honestly, I stay at home, just about everything gets done.

Since Covid hit, (don't get me started on the politics of it...) staying home has been what we do. I live in a pretty rural area, so we're social distancing champions. Our entire county has only had 7 Covid related deaths since it began. I digress, though. My days blur, so staying motivated is something of a chore. It's difficult to maintain. Things that motivate me, though, are:



Just getting off my butt and doing it. Whatever "it" happens to be for the day.

I have been taking a painting class and I'm hoping to have the opportunity to teach a basic writing class. Those things motivate me to craft and write.

What motivates you? Leave me a comment and let me know! Have a great Monday and a wonderful rest of your week!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Flexing My Writing Muscles...

 I'm sure you all remember English class in high school. The days where you had to write in a journal for the first 15-20 minutes of class.

No? Just my high school? Okie dokie...

Anyway, one of my classes, the teacher posted writing prompts on the board. The one that caught my attention was "Describe a forest fire". So I did. And today I'm going to do it again.

Describe a forest fire:

The first thing you noticed was the smell of smoke. Like a campfire, but on a much larger scale. If it was just a mild odor, it would bring memories of camping on a lake or beach, in a forest or maybe just in your backyard. However, when it was so much that it made the air hazy, casting an odd color to the quality, it sent warning signals.

Depending on your view, you could see the flames licking up the trees; the leaves swirling in the waves of heat that rose from the ground, making it seem the trees are in a panic. Flocks of birds rise high into the sky, trying to stay ahead of the flames and smoke, some dropping from their flight from either sheer exhaustion or overwhelmed by the toxic air.

Animals of all kinds flee the flames that crackle at their heels, chasing them from their homes, from the lush feeding grounds and cool streams. Some made it out unscathed, others were either scorched or  devoured by the hungry fire.

Hours, maybe days, would go by before the fire was extinguished, either by human aid or just Mother Nature, casting a cooling rain down on the ravaged land. Smoke could still be seen curling up into the sky and the scent of it went back to campfire status, but the images of the charred trees and animals assured that the memory of the inferno would remain embedded in our minds. Never trust fire, never let it gain control. While fire will ravage and burn, it makes room for new growth, but at a very high cost. Always respect fire.

Okay, there we go. I'm not looking for critics, but they are welcome. I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Many Stops & Starts...

 Well, the last post I listed was back in 2019. We can all safely say that 2020 was not kind, and 2021 was about the same.

I have had many things happen over the course of the year +, as I'm sure you all did as well.

My writing has been on hiatus.

I got Covid and survived.

I became my mother's caregiver.

I've battled severe depression.

I've struggled with anxiety.

And now I feel as if I have come back full circle to try and revive my blog and my writing.

Several things have changed in the blog format: I removed the BlogLovin' link, because I don't even know what's going to happen. I've kept the author links to the ISWG Guide to Publishing & Beyond as well as updated all of the Ladies & Gentlemen of Horror and Fantasy links I could.

You'll see a Remembrance Anthology for Jenna Miller, who passed a few years ago. Not going to lie, that's one of the biggest reasons I feel my writing has lapsed. She was a friend and mentor to me. I still feel her loss deeply.

I have the opportunity to teach a basic writing class, which is why I have begun thinking, once again, about my writing and where I want to go with it. I miss it greatly. I mean, miss it like a part of me has died, miss it. So if you're still out there, if you're still interested in what is going on in my world, writing or otherwise, I'm here. I'm trying to come back.

I have a new Twitter account: @MelMcC7. I'm still on Facebook, but have no page to list. I figure I'll take this one step at a time and see what happens.

Missed all y'all. See you soon.