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!