I’m Still Here and Still Writing

Hello, all! So, I haven’t written a blog since September of 2019. Oops. My bad. I can’t blame it all on the Covid19 pandemic, obviously, but a lot of other stuff was going on before the world fell to pot. The Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance where I work retired at the end of September. I had been acting director for the organization since March when she went on extended medical leave, but I officially became the Executive Director in November. Since then, life has been busier than usual. I’m now in charge of two employees, a core of amazing volunteers, and at least five historic buildings and thousands of artifacts and documents. We had all these plans going into 2020, but then I was met with a challenge that no leader is prepared for, no matter how long they’ve been in charge. Life handed us all a pandemic. Needless to say, plans have changed.

In addition, right before the pandemic really made its presence known locally, my mom fell and broke her arm right below the shoulder. (Because we do everything extra around here.) I’ve been living at my parents since the first of March, helping take care of my mom and making sure my parents don’t have to go to the grocery store during these scary times. I’m happy to report that my mother is doing very well and on track for a full recovery.

So, what have I been up to writing wise these past few months? Well, Mountain Gap Books has pushed back the release of Flying Upon One Wing, my mid grades fantasy fiction all about dragons. It’s for the best, there’s a lot of editing work I need to do on the book. (This is what happens when you write the first draft when you’re 12.) I love the book, though. It was the first one I ever wrote. It’s my baby. I look forward to spending more time with the story and getting it out there for a 2021 release.

 

Flying Upon One Wing Cover WORKING

 

In the meantime, enjoy this working cover art featuring illustrations by my wonderful and talented friend Lauren Anderson. I can’t wait for you all to see more of her beautiful art inside the book!

So, have I been working on editing my dragon book? Well . . . Yeah, I know I need to get on it, but I have been writing. Last summer, I completed a ghost story set in the Stranger Things universe. I started a sequel for that story earlier this year, but then it went on hiatus when my mom broke her arm and the pandemic shut everything down, including my office and museums. I plan on getting back to it now, though.

In case you’re interested in getting caught up, here’s a link to Stranger Things: A Ghost Story and here’s a link to the sequel in progress “Somewhere Between Life and Death You’ll Find the Perfect Medium.”

I have been binge watching some great shows during this trying time with the rest of the country. My spouse and I recently finished Lucifer, and I was enthralled with the characters and the world. So, naturally I wrote a piece of fanfiction set in that universe. To check out my Lucifer story “Joy To You and Me,” click on the title. Obviously, I own none of the characters in any of my fanfictions, I just enjoy being inspired by them and the ability to share the work via Archive of Our Own. Writing these little stories, even though they’ll never be published in another format, makes me happy and eases my stress for a little while.

Okay, so what about original work? Well, I have being doing a lot of scripting for the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum’s YouTube page. Our museums may be closed to the public, but my WONDERFUL staff has been hard at work creating digital content with our historical resources. We’ve launched several video series, including Social Distancing with the Victorians, Amateur at Home Museum Theatre, and Homecooked History. Follow our YouTube channel and come along on our silly, historical adventures. We promise education and hilarity.

I’m also considering submitting some Haikus to the McKinney Center’s Haiku writing challenge. I haven’t written a Haiku in a hot minute or two. If I actually get it together, I’ll post them here next week. To learn more about the challenge, visit the McKinney Center’s website and look them up on Facebook! The Haikus, and you can submit up to three, are due by May 6.

Also, there’s a really exciting submission opportunity with Mountain Gap Books! Like everyone else in this world, Mountain Gap’s plans for the year have changed. Book releases have been postponed and festivals have been canceled. But, out of the darkness comes new opportunity. Submit now to Shelved: Appalachian Resilience During Covid19. To learn more about the process, visit Mountain Gap Books’ website. Submissions are due by June 14, so get to writing! (I know I need to.)

 

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Be well, stay safe, and write/read on!

#writingupdate #FlyingUponOneWing #originalworks #fanfiction #ArhciveOfOurOwn #Covid19 #historyathome #Shelved #MountainGapBooks

Featured image Photo by Michel Porro on Unsplash

#WIPpet Wednesday Number 10 Flying Upon One Wing

Happy May Day! I can’t believe it’s May already. It seems like time moves faster every year. Today would have been our sweet Aldonza’s 15th birthday. Sadly, she left us in March, but we celebrated in her memory. We know she’s having fun where she is now.

On an exciting note, one of my dearest friends Cassandra Snow celebrates the publication of her first book today. Get your copy of Queering the Tarot today! You can buy on IndieBound, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

This week (5/01/2019) I’m sharing the first paragraph of Chapter Five in Flying Upon One Wing, my middle grades fantasy fiction. Things in Ezklick’s life are not going as expected. The young dragon finds himself in a strange place surrounded by strange creatures. To catch up, take a gander at my WIPpet two weeks ago where Ezklick met the grumpy gryphon Gordo. (Points to myself for alliteration.)

#WIPpet Wednesday Number 9 Flying Upon One Wing

 

Ezklick was awake again. Day had fallen into night. Strange shadows danced across the floor and across his paws. The young dragon jerked his head up quickly. He did not recognize this place. His panicked eyes took the room in three times before his memory began to catch up with him. He was hurt. Some large bird creature had brought him here. “It’s not home,” he lamented. “But you’re safe,” his mind suggested. Yes, he was safe, but he was not in the safety of his caretaker’s wings. That was the only safety he was willing to accept wholeheartedly.

 

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that. 

#FlyingUponOneWing #editing #midgradesfiction #dragons

Photo by Zak Boca on Unsplash

#WIPpet Wednesday Number 9 Flying Upon One Wing

Somehow, I missed last week’s WIPpet. But I’m back on track this week.

This week we return to Chapter Four in Flying Upon One Wing, my middle grades fantasy fiction. Things in young Ezklick’s life have taken a turn for the different, and possibly worse.

This week, I’m sharing 21 sentences from Chapter Four for 04/17/2019. (4+17=21) I’ve shared a bit from two weeks ago at the top to get us back into it.

Ezklick watched as a creature, the likes of which he’d never seen, stepped into view. The creature walked on two legs. It had neither claws, nor wings, nor scales. Many long strands of something goldish white fell from its head and stopped where its legs began. For covering, it wore something brown and long that moved with the creature as it moved.

The creature smiled sweetly at Ezklick.

It didn’t seem threatening. Ezklick didn’t shy away when this new creature bent down before him and spoke in a comforting voice. “I’m sorry Gordo scared you. He was only curious.” The creature nodded its head back at the large bird. Gordo squawked quietly, as if suggesting he was more vexed than curious.

Ezklick took a closer look at the black bird and realized it really wasn’t a bird at all. Gordo had the head of a bird. He even had wings like a bird, but his body was more like a dragons. He had four paws and a tail, but he wasn’t covered in scales.

“You were lucky he found you,” a new voice remarked. A Golden Scaled King emerged from the shadows. He was a tall dragon, and he filled the space. A silver chain ran around the scales on his neck, and a tiny brown bag dangled from the end of the chain. Ezklick had only seen a Golden Scaled King from afar. They tended to live away from the Red Evening Skies and the Brown Scalers. He had never been this close to one. They were said to be the wisest of all dragons.

“Yes, I find him, bring him here, and you give him my bed,” the gryphon lamented in his own tongue. “I should have eaten him instead.” The Golden Scaled King gave Gordo a sharp look. Gryphon tongue, while foreign to most, was perfectly understood by his ears.

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that. 

Featured image is not Gordo, but it is an awesome free image of a gryphon I found by FerianMoon on DevianArt.

#FlyingUponOneWing #editing #midgradesfiction #dragons

#WIPpet Wednesday Number 8 Flying Upon One Wing

Spring has sprung in Northeast Tennessee. This week I’m skipping ahead to Chapter Four in Flying Upon One Wing, my middle grades fantasy fiction. Things are very different for Ezklick from where he left him last week at the end of Chapter One.

This week, I’m sharing 22 sentences from Chapter Four for 04/03/2019.

   Ezklick was falling, falling down a never-ending hole. He was screaming as loud as his lungs would allow; but no one was listening. Wait, no, someone had to be listening. Ezklick could hear another sound in the darkness, like some type of bird. The further he fell, the louder the squawking noise became. Ezklick thought he would be falling forever. The instant this thought entered his head, he hit bottom.

Ezklick’s eyes opened slowly. Suddenly aware of terrible pain in his left wing, he tried to move, to lift it, but it was pinned down. Ezklick grimaced and looked around, trying to identify the blurry figures around him. There was that terrible squawking noise again! Ezklick blinked twice, bringing the world around him into focus. To his surprise, a giant black bird was standing not two feet away from him, squawking directly in his face. Ezklick yelped in fright. He tried to get up, tried to run; but the pain shooting down his back kept him firmly in place.

“Gordo, leave the poor thing alone,” a gentle voice reprimanded.

Ezklick watched as a creature, the likes of which he’d never seen, stepped into view. The creature walked on two legs. It had neither claws, nor wings, nor scales. Many long strands of something goldish white fell from its head and stopped where its legs began. For covering, it wore something brown and long that moved with the creature as it moved.

The creature smiled sweetly at Ezklick.

What has happened to the young dragon to put him in this predicament? Who and what are these strange creatures he’s found himself surrounded by?

*WIPpet Wednesday (link temporarily broken) is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that. 

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

#FlyingUponOneWing #editing #midgradesfiction #dragons

#WIPpet Wednesday Number 7 Flying Upon One Wing

So, I last posted at the end of January, and even though that was less than two months ago, it seems like two years has passed. I apologize for my absence, and I’ll try to do better the rest of this year. Some good things and not so good things have transpired since last I blogged. In the good news department, my family went to Greece! The country was beautiful, the people were charming, and the history was amazing. It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

 

 

On a not so good note, our sweet kitty Aldonza passed away last week. She had stopped eating again. The tumor was back, and she was tired. We didn’t want her to suffer, so we made the decision to help her on her journey. Now we are adjusting to a life without her, a house without her. She was the talkative one out of our group, and the house is too quiet. We were able to recount her many adventures before she passed, and there will most certainly be Aldonza books in the coming future.

 

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In my authorly world, Flying Upon One Wing is off to my editors and beta readers. I’m also working with a very talented illustrator, and I’m excited about the prospects.

This week, I’m sharing more from the first chapter. I’ve got 41 sentences for 03/26/2019. (3+26+2+1+9) I’ve included a little bit (in red) from my last WIPpet post to help ease you into this week’s selection, especially since it’s been too long.

 

Morning’s breath entered the cave, scattering bits of shell about, blowing a piece out of the cave and onto the ledge. Ezklick followed it. He waited until it stopped, then he dropped down close to the stone and began to stalk the shell. Walking on silent paws, Ezklick crept closer and closer. Shangalaya watched with amusement as he prepared to lunge. Ezklick jumped forward and struck his target directly on the mark. The shell crumbled into pieces. Giving his opponent one last crunch, Ezklick stepped aside so his mother could see his victory.

Shangalaya smiled and stepped fully out onto the ledge.

She walked to the center and sat down on it. Ezklick remained near the front. He looked up at the sky and blinked. The entire forest spread out before him, the many pine trees wet with morning dew. The air was warmer in the mornings now. The days were getting longer, and summer was well on its way. A bird shot out of one tree and disappeared into another. Somewhere nearby, a dragon roared a morning yawn. Ezklick roared in return but did not receive an answer.

Ezklick turned to his caretaker, a smile upon his snout. She smiled back, her soft brown eyes staring into his. He walked to her, and she closed her eyes as he clawed his way up over her snout and onto her back. He looked down into her eyes as they reopened.

“What was my other caretaker like?” he asked her. It was his usual question of the morning. “Did he look strong, like me?”

“Oh, no, he was never as strong looking as you,” she assured him.

“Tell me again what he said about the stars.” Ezklick settled himself at the top of her head.

“Every night he would fly toward the heavens. He always said he was going to pluck a star out of the sky. And when he did, he would bring it to me.” Shangalaya sighed. She’d told and retold this story several times, but it always made her sad to speak of it.

“Did you ever get a star?”

Shangalaya looked at the sky. The last few, visible stars were fading away into the dawn. “No, he never picked one.”

“Why did he leave us?” Ezklick asked. Everyday he saw other dragons his age with both their caretakers.

“I don’t think he was ready to be a caretaker to eight dragons. When I told him about you all, he flew off to be alone for a while. There was an accident, though, and he fell.” Shangalaya rested her head on her paws.

“Did he love you?”

“Very much, and he would have loved all of you.”

Ezklick could see the tears in Shangalaya’s eyes. He rubbed his scales against hers affectionately. “I’ll get you a star,” he assured her. “I’ll bring you the biggest, brightest star in the sky.”

Shangalaya smiled. “I’m sure you will, Ezklick; I’m sure you will.”

 

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.  

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

#FlyingUponOneWing #editing #midgradesfiction #dragons
Continue reading “#WIPpet Wednesday Number 7 Flying Upon One Wing”

#WIPpet Wednesday Number 6 Flying Upon One Wing

It’s quite cold here in Northeast Tennessee. I’m wishing I had a dragon of my own to keep me warm. Fortunately, Aldonza is doing well and improving every day. Her stitches and feeding tube are out and she’s getting back to herself. I enjoyed sitting on the bed earlier today with all my furbabies. The time we have together is so very precious.

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Here’s my Big Three.

This week, I’m sharing more from the first chapter of Flying Upon One Wing as Ezklick continues his journey past his siblings to the front of his cave. Sometimes the most arduous journey is the one you take every morning. I’ve got 30 sentences for 01/30/2019. I’ve included a little bit (in red) from my last WIPpet post to help ease you into this week’s selection.

 

Sarahia blinked her eyes, and they quickly grew wide with concern. “Move, you’re standing on Shing!” Ezklick looked confused. He was standing in an empty spot, but Sarahia continued. “You’re standing on Shing!  Move!  Move!”

Ezklick backed away quickly and bumped into Frickus. “Hey,” Frickus moaned as he opened his eyes.

“What’s going on?” Gallant asked as he sat up with a yawn.

“Ezklick, do you always have to get up so early?” Geneva whined.

“Geneva, do you always have to whine?” Frickus fired back at her.

The entire cave was awake, and Ezklick found himself in the middle of it. He looked up and his eyes met those of his mother. She was awake. “Come on, Ezklick,” she assured.  Somewhat sheepishly, Ezklick finished his journey to the front of the cave. “It’s all right.  Go back to sleep,” Shangalaya instructed the rest of her young. There were a few more rumblings and complaints, but most of Ezklick’s nest mates did as they were told. None of them really wanted to be awake that early. As Ezklick passed, Shangalaya nudged him forward playfully with her snout. Ezklick perked up as she did so. She wasn’t angry with him. Ezklick had always been an early riser.

Morning’s breath entered the cave, scattering bits of shell about, blowing a piece out of the cave and onto the ledge. Ezklick followed it. He waited until it stopped, then he dropped down close to the stone and began to stalk the shell. Walking on silent paws, Ezklick crept closer and closer. Shangalaya watched with amusement as he prepared to lunge. Ezklick jumped forward and struck his target directly on the mark. The shell crumbled into pieces. Giving his opponent one last crunch, Ezklick stepped aside so his mother could see his victory.

Shangalaya smiled and stepped fully out onto the ledge.

 

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.  

Photo by Tyssul Patel on Unsplash

#FlyingUponOneWing #editing #midgradesfiction #dragons

#WIPpet Wednesday Number 5 Flying Upon One Wing

Hello, all! Life has been anything but simple as of late. (Is it ever?) Our oldest cat Aldonza had to have surgery to remove tumors from her abdomen. And yes, I did name her after one of my favorite characters ever written. Points if you can name the piece of literature she’s from. This is our sweet baby.

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She’s doing a little bit better every day, and we’re hoping for a full recovery. We know it’s not a permanent fix. We’ve only borrowed time, but we’ll enjoy every moment we have.

My spouse is currently in two plays, and we don’t see much of each other, and this past Monday our septic tank backed up into our house. So, nothing short of exciting. I thought with the significant other’s show schedule I’d have plenty of time to read, edit, and write, but that has not been the case thus far. I’m slowly getting back into it after life had other things to say.

Last time, which was many weeks ago, I shared from the first chapter of Flying Upon One Wing. This week I’ve got 23 sentences from Chapter One for 01/23/2019. I’ve included a little bit (in red) from my last WIPpet post to help ease you into this selection.

Ezklick stood and stretched.  Like all good stretches, it was accompanied by a yawn.  After the yawn came the challenge he faced each morning.  Ezklick picked up a front paw and placed it gently across his brother Gallant.  Carefully, and quietly, he did the same with his other front paw.  Ezklick continued the process until all four paws, and tail, were safely across.  The young dragon breathed a sigh of relief.  He’d crossed the first barrier with success.

CRUNCH. Ezklick looked down at the broken eggshell beneath his paw. Broken eggshells cluttered the cave’s floor. It had been a year and a half since they had all hatched. Shangalaya kept the pieces of their eggs, though. They served as a reminder, perhaps, of a time when the cave was not so crowded. Ezklick looked around to make sure no one was disturbed by the crunch. Satisfied with his stealth, he knocked the pieces out of his way and continued. Carefully, he stepped over his sister Annersten. Next, he hurtled the mountain known as Percy. His tail tapped Frickus on the shoulder as he passed. Ezklick kept his eyes on Frickus, hoping his brother would not wake. His right paw bumped into Sarahia as he continued to back up, his eyes still fixed on Frickus.

“Ow.” Sarahia opened her eyes.

“Sorry, Sarahia,” Ezklick whispered as he looked down at his sister.

Sarahia blinked her eyes, and they quickly grew wide with concern. “Move, you’re standing on Shing!” Ezklick looked confused. He was standing in an empty spot, but Sarahia continued. “You’re standing on Shing!  Move!  Move!”

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.  

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

#FlyingUponOneWing #editing #midgradesfiction #dragons

#WIPpet Wednesday Number 4 Flying Upon One Wing

Sorry I’ve been out of the blogging game for a bit. I went to the beach and then I committed myself fully to the Holiday madness. But now it’s time to do some serious editing on Flying Upon One Wing. Gotta get my edits on, and then I get to have a fun conversation about illustrations with one of the best artists I know. Exciting times!

This week I’ve got four paragraphs from Chapter One for 01/02/2019. Reminder, they’re dragons who live in a land called the Pine Forests and they’ve been at war with one another for a long time.

“The sky broke its morning blessing upon the Pine Forests.  As the stars faded into memory, a young dragon awoke and grew restless.  It was hard for a young Red Evening Skies to lie still for long. Time moved too slowly and the entire day waited outside.  The tiny cave seemed crowded and dull.

Ezklick lifted his head and looked around.  Shangalaya, his mother and caretaker, slept peacefully at the entrance of the cave.  The mother and father always slept at the entrance to the cave.  That way, if something should happen during the night, the caretakers would be the first to know and first to respond.  In Ezklick’s cave, though, there was no father at the front.  There was only Shangalaya., whose red scales glistened in the little light filtering in around her.  Her face bore an expression of peace and contentment.  Sleep was one of the few times she could get some peace.  Ezklick’s seven nest mates were scattered about him, and he would need to wind his way around them to get to the front of the cave.

Ezklick stood and stretched.  Like all good stretches, it was accompanied by a yawn.  After the yawn came the challenge he faced each morning.  Ezklick picked up a front paw and placed it gently across his brother Gallant.  Carefully, and quietly, he did the same with his other front paw.  Ezklick continued the process until all four paws, and tail, were safely across.  The young dragon breathed a sigh of relief.  He’d crossed the first barrier with success.”

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.  

#FlyingUponOneWing #editing #midgradesfiction #dragons

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 2018 was quite the ride. My first novel The Summer Between was released on October 1, 2018. I’ve been extremely pleased with its reception. Check out some reviews here and order a copy through Amazon today!

Play wise, my full length play With These Hands had its second performance, this time hosted inside at the McKinney Center. Also, my cemetery play A Spot On the Hill celebrated its fifth year and continued to raise money for cemetery preservation and museum programming.

I look forward to 2019, to continuing to share history through various mediums and to publishing the first novel I ever wrote, Flying Upon One Wing!

Summer Between Cover

SUMMER BETWEEN FLYER ROUGH

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My book release at the Corner Cup in Jonesborough! I have the great fortune of living in the most supportive community.

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A family business. We started Mountain Gap Books this year! Showing off some of our titles at Fine Art in the Park.

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The cast of A Spot On the Hill sporting our serious faces.

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The cast of With These Hands prepares for the last show.

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Sharing The Summer Between and some writing exercises with the teen group at the Bristol Public Library. This was one of my favorite moments of the year.

Here’s to 2019! Thanks for following along on this journey with me!

#HappyNewYear #yafiction #TheSummerBetween #FlyingUponOneWing #WritingGoals

(Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash)

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