Friday, February 22, 2013

My Apologies

I'm Sorry!

I've been away from home for long stretches of time (giving the ex-boyfriend some space, though he doesn't believe he needs it), haven't written a thing in over a week (stress tends to do that to me), and we just got over a foot of snow where I am and my car is having issues. 

Anyway! I am getting back to writing, hopefully, getting my car fixed (it's at the shop now), and going down to Texas this weekend... to see my mother. So... I'm sorry I haven't been around, real life has gotten in the way of everything here lately. 

I promise I'm back and will have a post up tomorrow and another snippet on sunday as well. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Death of a Soldier

I had many different ideas for this post and many different titles to go with it. At first, I was going to write "On Grief", and take a closer look at the way different people express and cope with it. But I thought that sounded too formal and too sterile. "In Living/Loving Memory" was considered, but I thought that sounded a tad cliche. Another idea was titled "The Death of a Mentor", and would probably have focused simply on my feelings and coping mechanisms. But that wasn't right either. I feel that "The Death of a Soldier" fits, and I hope you will read on to see why.

His name was Jeff "Sarge" Regan. He was a Marine and a Vietnam veteran (he was sent 3 times). He worked for years at Wal-Mart, working his way from the bottom of the totem pole until he finally reached Support Manager position. In the time that I have worked with him, I came to care for him, as one does when they spend nine hours a day four-five nights a week with another.

He was funny. He was smart. And he never really seemed to be that old. He worked hard (probably harder than he should have, honestly) and worked long (I don't know how he managed not to go over 40 hours a week), but he always had a smile and a kind word. Along with a rapier sharp wit. I thought- we all thought, he would be around for years yet.

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013 during the daily meeting before work, we were all informed by the Shift Manager (Steve) that he had been contacted by Sarge's wife and that he was in the hospital. He'd had a heart attack. At that time, that was all that was known. Steve was going to try to see him/get more information in the morning, I assume after our shift. (Over nights 10pm-7am normally.) It came out of nowhere. We were worried, yes, but we went about our work as normal (minus Sarge). I think I was perhaps the least worried, as my grandfather, a man probably older than Sarge and definitely more frail, had a heart attack 2-3 years ago and is still kicking. In fact, my grandfather had three in a day. I believe he needed triple by-pass surgery. But I digress. I wasn't all that worried.

The night went by fairly quickly. Not ten minutes after I got back on the clock after lunch (around 4:15am), Steve called over the PA system, "All associates to GM receiving". It's the only place big enough in the back room that could hold all of us. I was confused. That has never happened. NEVER. While we waited, I heard a woman on my right (I don't recall who) mention she thought she knew what it was about. I had no clue. I didn't ask. Someone else did, though. She said she thought Sarge had passed. It was an aside, and no one else heard. I'd heard, though. I didn't want to think it was true. I prayed to God that it wasn't.

Once we were all assembled (minus two to watch the registers up front and a couple people who refused to come during their lunch break) Steve, now obviously unsettled, took a deep breath. He'd gotten a call from someone (I don't remember who, I think he said it was Sarge's daughter). He had passed away at about 2am. Reactions were varied. Sandy in Produce, who has worked with Sarge the entire time he'd been there, walked out. The door slammed behind her. Nobody else had yet to move. Many were crying, mostly silently. Steve told us that if anyone needed to talk... I quit listening. I was trying, and failing, not to cry.

I was more concerned with Terry. Sarge was like a father to him. They'd been friends for years. He took it the hardest of us all, and I don't blame him. He was the focal point of most peoples condolences and pity. I remember the way he sounded when he told somebody to pinch him and that it couldn't be real. I will never forget that in my life. It's not a feeling that can be put into words. He received countless hugs. Steve opened the bay door so the few of us that stayed behind with Terry could get some fresh air. More hugs. I can't count the number of times I heard somebody say "It's alright" or "You're alright", and I don't know how many times I said the same.

I told Terry I would take him home if he needed it. He was worried about his attendance, as he couldn't afford to miss anymore work. Or he could have been fired. Steve called me aside a little while later and let me know he was taking Terry home. Terry didn't come into work on the 13th either. Steve told him it wouldn't count against his attendance.

Here, I must say I was trying to put a positive spin on things. I wonder what all the customers had to have been thinking, three quarters of the associates walking around either crying or had been crying. The rest of that night had to have been the worst customer service in awhile. I guarantee you few associates greeted customers and even fewer managed a smile. I tried when I passed them, but I'm fairly certain it was more of a grimace.

The funeral services are to be on the morning of the 18th. I've never had anyone close to me die before. I'm lucky, all my family is fairly healthy. The closest that came was a friend of mine's older brother passed away some years ago. But I'd never met him.

I think Brandie had it right. She said, no matter how harsh it sounds, that at least he went quickly. Sarge didn't suffer through everything that heart patients do. No numerous surgery's. No days full of nothing but pain. He didn't suffer at all. And it's the way he would have wanted to go. He was a soldier. Here is what I add to that. It hurts. It always does. I don't think that pain will ever be gone completely. I hope it won't. But time does dull it. And we have to move on. So that night and every night on, we will continue cracking jokes, laughing at each others expense, and making fun of each other because that's what he would want.

We will never forget.

Rest In Peace, Jeff "Sarge" Regan.
Semper Fi.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How would you describe life?

While this quite technically has nothing to do with writing, or any sort of craft, I came across this idea whilst drawing, and thought I might turn it into a little challenge. What if you were asked to define life in one simple word? What would it be? Could you even describe it with just one word?

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Life is a journey, not a destination." To some, this very well might mean nothing at all, but if you take the time to think it out, I believe that you can find your own meaning to it.

So here is my challenge, how would you describe life in one word? Based on that one word, could you write out why you find that word fits you? It doesn't have to be extremely writer-ly or anything, but you can make it so if you see fit.


This life is all that I know, all that I have ever known. In it, I have grown to see many things, I have loved and I have hated. I regret nothing, and I wouldn't change a bit of it.
Many times I have been unable to see the road ahead of me and even thought that I had reached the end. Through countless trials, I have found that the most obvious path has never been the best, nor the most exciting. In learning this, I was able to begin picking my own path, essentially making this life my own. This is just the beginning of my voyage, and I plan to continue living it to the best of my ability.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Selecting Books

I realized that, as an off and on writer, I have almost nothing to say about writing right now! I'm in one of those more so off-writing periods. However, I find that books seem to be a big part of my life right now. Not necessarily that I am reading a ton of them(I most certainly wish I was), but instead I am reading some really insightful ones, which amuses me.

Currently, my favorite is An Anatomy of Thought, The Origin and Machinery of the Mind, by Ian Glynn. Now, I am absolutely in love with this book, but I find that I can only read it whilst I am extremely relaxed. I just suck up more of it when I am.

The only reason that I find this to be so amusing is the fact that just a few years back I was still craving reading all of those vampire-related and teenage angst-seeming books -don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a good ol' vampy book still.- My tastes have just changed so much! Used to be, I would have seen "An Anatomy of--" and walked away. Now...I'll be the first one running to grab it before anyone can snatch it up first.

Well, that was just a little glimpse into the craziness that forms my thought processes. Namely because I'm trying to stay awake! Teehee.

Short Snippet Sunday - Mortality (1)

Okay! Here we go, back on schedule!

I will apologize once more for the lack of posts the other couple days, I was tired, lazy, and watching Doctor Who. As I said, I have no regrets.

Anyway, this is my replacement for Six Sentences Sunday. If you would like to join me in Short Snippet Sunday'ing, you can give me a link in the comments or send me a tweet or an email and I can link to your blog/post at the bottom of my post every Sunday.

So, my Snippet. This is from the end of the first (rewritten) scene of Mortality. I feel these characters are rather well defined.

“That damned mortal killed six of us. Six. Within a mortals lifespan, he devised a way to do so. What could these abominations do with limitless time? There is nothing to be gained by letting them live and everything to lose.” 

He took a step towards the ‘failed’ Roen and Diagania put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him. 
“I won’t let you do this.” Her voice had dropped to a bare whisper. 

“So stop me.” 

So what do you guys think?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

No Regrets

Okay, so, every body has those days where they want to lay around and do nothing, right?

Well, this past two days have been those kinda days.

I've watched... two and a half seasons of Doctor Who during this time.


Tomorrow I will have a Short Snippet Sunday up, I promise.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Optional Title: Cliches Aren't All Bad.

Alright, so we're going to be talking about cliches today. What prompted this is simple. I began rereading Eragon, by Christopher Paolini.

This book is rife with Cliches. Let's list them, shall we?

These are in no way by order of importance or the order in which they happen, just the order that I recall them.

Cliche #1. Eragon is a poor farm boy.

Cliche #2. He has a background even he doesn't know.

Cliche #3. The wise old man. Brom. He knows all about Eragon, but won't tell him.

Cliche #4. Description due to looking at oneself in the mirror. Granted, it wasn't at the beginning.

Cliche #5. Everything comes easy. Eragon is a 'quick learner'.

Those are what I can remember from the first two hundred pages.

Oh wait! One more.

Cliche #6. Prophecy.


My point in this is, I love the Inheritance Saga. (I haven't yet read the last one, but I just started rereading Eragon so I can read them all the way through from the beginning.) Cliche's aren't all bad. So long as you use them correctly.

If you have an interesting story otherwise, cliches are great. Just don't try to hide them. Try to disguise them as something else and SOMEONE will call you on it. Own the cliche.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Be True To You

This is a bit of a jolt from my regular blog posts in that it has little to do with writing. Indeed, what prompted this had nothing at all to do with writing, or reading. Instead, it is about life. Just life.

An old friend texted me out of the blue the other day. Basically he told me he wanted to get his life together and figure things out. Well good for him, I thought. I believe he is soon to graduate highschool, or perhaps he may already have graduated, being homeschooled, I'm not sure.

I feel a tad hypocritical giving out advice on life, as I don't have my own life under control or understood yet, but I did my best. My advice to him was to focus on the concrete things, like saving money to buy a car, first and foremost. My reason for this, I told him, was because 'figuring out who you are' is such a nebulous, almost impossible task. I still am not sure who I am, but I feel I am closer every day to that realization.

I asked him why he wanted to change, and what he wanted to change about himself. He quoted be a "shut-in" and having "social issues" as things to change. That struck me as a bit odd.

I will tell you what I told him. Don't worry about being a "good person", as everyone's definition of "good" is different. Instead, focus on being a person YOU like. Be a person you can stand to look at in the mirror every morning. And most importantly, be a person you would like to be friends with. If you don't like you, how on earth can you expect other people to like you?

I guess there is a way I can tie this into writing.

Write What You Love

Whether you are just starting out or have multiple drafts under your belt, there's one piece of advice that can't be said enough. 

Write the book you want to read. Don't worry about trends, don't worry about fads, chances are by the time to get it finished and published, the trends will have changed. Vampires will be out of style, and choose your own adventure books will be the way to go. Don't worry about it. Don't fret. And most of all don't feel pressured to write anything that you are not in love with. 

If you like your book, readers can sense that, and your writing will be all the better for it. If you don't like your book, or the characters, readers pick up on that even faster. They will be less likely to care about your story and what is happening and if they don't care they won't read it. It's that simple. 

I read somewhere (I don't remember where) that you feel something like 10x more emotion for your characters and what is happening than the readers ever will. This is due to the fact that much is lost in the translation from your mind to paper. You will never get it said or shown exactly the way you see it. That's just a fact that all writers have to live with. But you HAVE to care. If you don't care, your readers will care even less. 

~C.R. Trumbo

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Writing Goals

Optional Title: Keep Your But In The Chair

Deadline's can be seen as a dirty word. Almost as dirty as a four letter. But that's what I'm here to talk about today. So, if you don't like the word 'deadline' let's call them 'goals'.

I was speaking with Katy-Rose yesterday and she made the comment about not liking having a 78k book and an 80k one. And we got to talking about goals.

NaNoWriMo is great for writers. It gives you a Word Count goal (50k) and a Deadline (November 30). Combine those two, and it's the kick in the rear most people need to keep going. The community attitude about NaNoWriMo helps as well. You've got other writers not only doing the same thing and aiming for the same thing, but they are also their to hold you accountable.

Any WriMo does this.

But what if you don't participate in a WriMo? Or are writing outside of the boundary of a WriMo? That's okay! Set yourself a personal goal. Is that not enough? Talk to other writers, you can find them by the dozen on twitter, or troll the NaNoWriMo forum at practically any time of the year.

Talk to them, and find an accountability partner. Katy-Rose and I are keeping each other writing, because after edits we are going to exchange books and be each others first readers. I really want her to finish because I want to read it and vise-versa.

A family member is a good choice, if you have a mother such as mine. But I'm guessing few of you do. If you have someone in your family that likes to read, and they like to read what you write, tell them a bit about your book. Not all of it, mind you, just a little bit. Get them interested. And then tell them what date you would like to finish by. Normally, they will bug you and bug you and bug you about it. That's good. But I wouldn't go to a family member for a beta reader. More on that in another post.

Also! In case you haven't already seen it, I have a gadget up at the top right hand corner of my blog where I'm keeping track of my editing scene by scene. Watch as I trudge along, and don't hesitate to post a comment bugging me about it if you don't see it change often enough! You an ALL be my accountability partners!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Editing and Non-Writers

Since finishing the first draft of my novel, and letting people know, I've figured something out.

There is a big misconception about the editing process. And I think it's not just non-writers, but possibly for new writers as well. We need to clear this up RIGHT now. Whether you are just planning your novel, are currently writing it, or are already finished.

To show you what I mean, here's how quite a few conversations have gone.

Me: I finished my novel!

Them: Oh yay! Now all you have to do is proof read and-

Me: Bahahaha! No. At least the first half of my story needs a complete overhaul.

Or, alternatively.

Me: I finished my novel!

Them: Oh yay! Now all you have to do is go through, fixing small mistakes and-

Me: Bahahaha! No. I'm not even worried about spelling or grammar right now.

Get the picture?

I think this misconception can be blamed on the public school system. Yes. The public school system. In school, "editing" a paper WAS just reading through, catching small grammatical errors and spelling errors. That is what people define editing is. It's not. That, my friends, is proofreading, or line reading. However you want to define it.

Editing, especially the first few rounds of editing, is for CONTENT. Does the story progress smoothly? Does it make sense? Are there any extraneous characters? Plots? Red herrings that are never followed?

Though, don't get me wrong, editing for content isn't the ONLY means of editing, but if this is your first draft, it's the only one you should be worried about.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Six Sentences Sunday Seven

Okay, so last week, I found out where Six Sentences originated from and apparently last week was the last. So, well that doesn't really affect me, does it?

Just know that this is an unofficial Six Sentences and is in no way connected to I am not trying to rip off their idea or anything, I am merely using it as a means to share snippets of my work.

However, I have no ideas what else to call it. Perhaps Short Snippet Sunday? Beginning next week, I shall call it that. Perhaps.

Anywho! The snippet this week is from my (now finished) Mortality. Fight scene!

“What? Don’t you want to win? Why aren’t you taking this-” Damon dodged another swipe, but he didn’t get far enough, Damien grabbed him by the shirt and slammed him against the wall. “-seriously?” 
Damon heard a roaring in his ears and a pounding in his head. It wasn’t being thrown into the wall that caused it, either. Damon saw red, pain and heat spread from his center to the ends of his fingers and toes, and rational thought ceased. 

That's a nice little piece, isn't it?

Happy Sunday All!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The End of the Night, a Short Story

Okay, I was going to do a second introduction post of Amaya, but I think she handled that rather well on her own, as well as already having an About Her page set up, so I don't need to.

But I didn't really have a post set up and ready for today. As I thought, I remembered a short story I wrote last years for a writing/critique group I was a part of down in Texas. Yes, I worked in fast food at the time, and no, I never imagined doing the following to any customer. I'm a complete angel. *malicious grin* *evil hand rub*

The title of this short story, as you have quite probably gathered, is The End of the Night.

It's nearly midnight. The end of my shift and this tub of lard in front of me has changed his mind for the third time. It's hard to refrain myself from telling him to just order all three, because he's eating himself into an early grave anyway. But I don't. Management tends to frown on that.  
He's changing his mind again, and the last of patience has gone out the window. I finger the pen in my pocket and examine the walking heart attack standing there. He has no idea the wrath he's about to incur. Taking the pen out of my pocket, it's surprisingly easy to pretend about his changing order.  
Wait, that's not right, either. He's changing it again. That's it. Lunging across the counter, the pen sinks into the fleshy part of his neck like a fork through jell-o. The carotid artery is severed and the spray of blood covers my chest, face, and arms. I take a deep breath and stand. 
Everyone is staring. No one has moved or said anything, though. There is no reaction at all. Wiping my hands on my pants, I walk calmly around the counter, clock out, and leave. My car starts smoothly for once. Every light is green as I pass. Tonight's a good night. Gathering my stuff from the trunk, I head around the back of this beaten up duplex and kick the back door open because my hands are full.  
A chorus of voices greets me as I step into the poorly it basement. As we pull out our papers and prepare to pick up the game from where we left off last wee, Alex looks at me.  
"How was work?" 
I look down briefly at my unstained hands and clean conscience.  
"Oh, you know. Same old."

Written by: C.R. Trumbo
302 words

Just Another Beginning

This may come off a bit writer-ish, but it's just my style sometimes. Teehee.

We all start things, all the time. And I believe this is just another beginning for me, one that I plan to pursue.

This time, I have decided to begin on creating new things and seeing how far I can stretch my imagination, within my ability, of course. This led me to the idea of beadwork. While I have yet to find it quite as captivating and expressive as drawing, I believe that I can find a way to capture one's own personality into the art, and then be able to hand them that captured work.

Most jewelry and other accessories are just something we see and think is neat. Sure, a lot of it can have some meaning, but personally I would love to have something that can actually express what I believe in, what I feel.

Cultured to your specific taste, I can make you nearly anything that you can come up with. I've taken it on as my own sort of mission, to create for you something that clearly expresses the person that you are.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The End of a Journey

I begin this post by apologizing for the past two non post days.

Yesterday I woke up feeling sick and light headed to the point every time I stood I felt as though I would fall right back over again, and barely had the strength to hold my head up for long periods of time. I was awake for about two hours before I told a coworker I would not make it in to work. There was no way I could do manual labor in that state.

The day before yesterday, which would be the 30, I meant to write up a blog post for the 31, but I was eyeball deep in writing. Which brings me to the purpose of this post.

*deep breath* I. Finished. Mortality.

It's only draft one, but I finally did it. I've been working on Mortality on and off for ten years, and that is WAY too long to be working on something like that. I know that now, and it will never take me that long to finish something again.

But give me some credit, I was around the age of nine or ten when I first hatched upon the idea and started writing. I stuck with it for that long, it's kind of sad to see the end come.

However, whether it's the first draft of your first novel, or the first draft of your tenth, it's only the end of the beginning. After the first draft, comes editing.

I was going to begin my own editing yesterday after I finished changing my (flat) tire, but I decided after my shower that I was too tired to stand, much less look critically at my book. I went to bed. And woke up sick as mentioned above.

Now, however, I am feeling somewhat better, meaning I don't feel as though I am going to pass out any time soon. I plan on diving right into editing after only a days rest from it merely because I can't stand to wait!

This is a good feeling, one I hope every writer will persevere until they finally feel it as well.

I now can call myself an author, and not just a writer.