New Excerpt from Crown of Ice – NaNoWriMo

Early on Mina had been cursed with a fierce curiosity. Her nursemaid Millie told her so many times one day being a Princess would not be enough to get her out of the trouble she seemed to always pull herself into from sticking her nose where it didn’t belong. She was not mean-spirited she just wanted to know everything. Literally, everything. Where did that winding road lead to? Why was that commoner crying? Had her husband gone off to war and not made it home? Was she not able to feed her small children clinging to her muddy skirts? Sometimes she would go as far as asking. Some commoners appreciated her interest in their lives, others thought her too cavalier.

One sunny afternoon in the market she had asked the wrong man about the dirty bandage around his head. She asked if he had made a gallant effort to save his love from a burning house or had he been in war? The man spit at her feet and began screaming obscenities to her. Her guards immediately intervened and pushed her behind them. She found out later that Damon had had the man beaten publically for public indecency. Indecent in the sense that he was dirty and unseemly to passerbys. His two small children had been forced to stand back and watch with no compassion from anyone around for fear of Damon and her father’s wrath.

Since then she tried to behave a bit more tactfully but sometimes her inquisitiveness got the better of her.

Walking down the abandoned corridor she had found, Mina listened intently to the giggling she had heard early that morning. She wasn’t aware that she was sharing her wing with anyone else. None of the servants had told her of other visitors to the Palace and the Queen had not introduced her to anyone since she arrived.

The incessant giggling grew louder and louder the farther south she walked. All of these living quarters looked empty with the doors open and not so much as the wind blowing through the window and outside trees could be heard. Ordinarily she would have been worried about intruding but with her curiosity propelling her forward and no friends to investigate with she plowed onward.

Reaching a set of closed double doors Mina pressed her right ear to the door, careful not to scrape her gold earing on the cherrywood. The giggling was coming from a female voice and a male. Who would possibly be staying down here in the South wing of the castle? Allowing her curiosity to get the better of her she kneeled down in her burgundy silk and taffeta gown and pressed her right eye to the keyhole. At first she saw no one, only hearing the soft giggles and acquiesces of the female in the room. All she could tell was the female sounded young, around her age or maybe a few years older.

After crouching down for a good while a slim, ebony haired beauty sashayed by in her undergarments. She may have been one of the most exotically beautiful girls Mina had ever seen. The gold in her corset bringing out her dark, tanned skin. Mina was not overly self-conscience. She was comfortable in her skin. Her wheat colored hair fell in ringlets down her back when she left it down and had a sprinkling of freckles across her nose and cheeks. One would assume her eyes were blue from far away but she had inherited her mother’s grey irises and up close they looked like a dark steel color.

But this girl made her feel inadequate. Mina did not feel exotic or tall. She felt small and plain next to the raven haired beauty.

After giggling and prancing around to show off her slim figure, a taller man joined her in front of the keyhole. He was also taller, and broad. Very broad. He was paler than the girls but had corded muscles running from his arms to his back, where she was slender. Mina wondered who the couple was and why they were hiding out.

She wondered no more when the man turned toward the window. She recognized his straight nose and side grin. She could see the dark brown color of his eyes, reflecting gold from her hiding spot. She gasped and fell backwards, ungracefully, on her bottom. Knowing she had made too much noise already she quickly gathered her skirts and tried to hoist herself up quickly before the young couples could make it across the room to the doors. As she was gathering her skirts in fistfuls to make a quick getaway when the door was flung open. The man had thrown his undershirt on and did not look pleased, until he realized who had interrupted his ren de vous.

“Mina?” he asked clearly confused and maybe a little amused at Mina’s haggard state.

“Castian.” Mina choked out. She felt her cheeks flush a violent red and as if the gods hated her the raven haired beauty came to the doorway and frowned down upon her. Mina lifted her head in an attempt to come off more confident than she felt and muttered an excuse about being lost and trying to find the stables so that she could see the palace grounds.

The girl decided to answer for Castian and said, not without disdain “Those would be outside Princess, not in the castle.”  After saying so she tugged at the Prince’s shirt tail persuading him to close the door on his betrothed and to join her again in their hideout.

“Straight down the way you came, down the stairs and out the side doors of the castle. You should remember that. Or you can take the passageway hidden behind the tapestry in your quarters. You remember.” With that he winked and closed the door.

 

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NaNoWriMo

I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. Or as much as teaching will allow me. Some nights I just have to come home and shut off my brain. I’ve already entered in the NaNoWriMo website and created a page for the novel I will be working on. Maybe we should call it a short story. My goal is to actually be able to finish this story out. I’ve started lots of stories. I started a YA story two years ago, this one a couple of months ago, and a children’s book in my college creative writing class. But I have never actually finished any of them.

This one started out as fanfiction based off the TV show Reign but recently I went back and changed quite a bit of it. It’s kind of taken on it’s own life now. I didn’t get a whole lot written today but I did get some. I’ve ben trying to get a head start since I know there will be some nights in November I am too tired after work to write. And because we will be going to the East Coast at some point next month to visit my husbands family so I will probably be busy then too.

But I thought I would try out the beginning of my story on here to see if I get any feedback. And let me tell you, it truly is a rough draft. Like I haven’t poured hours editing it or letting anyone read it yet because up until this point it’s just been for fun.

NaNoWriMo Story

Thomasina focused on her foot steps. Each step drowning out the uproar of the crowd that had gathered around the palace, each breath more labored than the last, and each step from the carriage pulling her further from the life she knew. She was not weak. Though she could not look up, not from the gut-wrenching fear she felt. But from the sorrow of leaving her past behind her.

“Be brave”, Millie, her nursemaid had whispered to her as she closed the carriage door. Millie had been her only support since her mother had died from an unknown illness 3 years ago. Mina was a grown woman in her own right, 16 but had learned to be brave, and independent at age 13 when her mother left her. Her father had always been a cruel and indifferent man. Her mother told her he had not always been that way, that it had been gradual.

Be brave, those words resonated within her over and over from the carriage ride, to the ship sailing roughly overseas to here… the Malendaez Palace.

This foreign land should feel like home away from home. She had spent many a summer here as a child with her mother. Malendaez had always been a refuge for her and Queen Tessa, far away from her father. Instead it felt like a frozen prison in a faraway land. The friends she thought she would find in this distant place would no longer be here. Many of the young girls she played with as a child were visitors to Malendaez in the summer months as well or they had already been married off to neighboring lords and dukes. Only ghosts. Ghosts of childhood, memory, and maybe a few ghosts of a happier time lingered here.

Father had not even fought for her. Had not even tried to keep her at Smithehaven. He had merely signed the agreement document his chancellor had laid before him, not a trace of grief on his face. Not an ounce of remorse for shipping off his one and only child, his daughter,  to her future husband that she had not seen since she was nine years old. Eight years without communication is a long time. A person can change, life can change.

Chancellor Damon had always disliked Mina. He attended to the king as an errand boy when he was young and worked his way up the ladder over the years. In more ways than one, he was more of a child to King Laraby than Mina. He had spent almost every waking moment with the King since he was a child. So of course Damon jumped at the opportunity to get rid of his opponent without a second thought. Mina would officially be out of sight, out of mind now.

To say Mina was apprehensive about this marriage alliance would be no understatement. No she had nothing against the prince but you cannot love something you do not know. The two had grown up together merely because of chance and their mothers friendship. Not out of choice. From what Mina remembered, Castian had been a silent child. Afraid even of merchants in town to look his direction, lest he be forced into a situation where he had to speak to someone or make eye contact. This was not a characteristic King Albert envisioned for his. In the kings mind, a prince, or king to be should be proud and charismatic.

Writing Niches

I saw an article the other day with pictures of different authors writing desks and offices. I had never even thought about the writing niche as a sacred place. We don’t even have a dining room table in my apartment so when I’m at home most of my writing takes place on the floor at my coffee table.

But I’ve been seeing more and more articles about how the writing niche is important. I don’t think it’s necessary to have a full on desk cluttered with staplers and paperclips and sticky notes like what most people assume about writers desks. I think everyone is different. Sometimes I just want to get out of my house so I go to Corner Bakery or the Starbucks in my local Target to write. I can’t write when it’s really loud and there’s a lot going on around me. However, my best friend works best in multitasking situations. She will write while she’s watching CSI on Netflix or listening to all of Taylor Swift’s albums on iTunes. She is more easily distracted when it’s quiet. She says she gets bored so she starts checking Facebook or her mind starts wandering to other things. To each his own!

I know on author Libba Brays website she use to (and may still) post the soundtracks and albums she listened to while she wrote each book. She says it helps set the mood. I on the other hand, can’t focus like that. I’m a horrible multitasker.

My boyfriend likes his desk very business like. He wants it cleaned off, with cubbies, shelves, and desk organizers. The business/professional atmosphere helps him stay on task and get things done.

Where is your writing niche and what does it look like? Does it say a lot about your personality?

Finally Started Writing

I went to Corner Bakery the other day to catch up on some reading and homework. Instead of doing that, I ordered a latte and started writing. I had had a dream several times and I think I’ve managed to turn it into my latest writing project. So far I only have four pages. I’ve had to fit in some homework here and there. Thankfully, this is my last week for homework and I will have a month to focus on writing before I start my student teaching. I hope I can figure out my new schedule and time management pretty quickly when I start that. I want to have time to improve my short story. Who knows, maybe I can make it more than a short story. So far it’s a YA action novel. At least that’s where I’m planning on going with it.

I had my boyfriend read what I have so far the other night (and he can be brutally honest) and another friend. They both really liked it! 🙂 That definitely gave me a confidence boost and is keeping me motivated.

I always thought I would be more of a planner with my writing. Like outlining and brainstorming before I put the pen to paper but it’s like once I start I just keep going and all these ideas start hitting me as I write. Does anyone else do that? I’m going to try to work on a few pages today after work.

I’ve also been perusing the internet for fun creative writing activities and I actually stumbled across a Pen Pal project. It’s a blog where different people submit their photo and email or website and they can connect to other people and become pen pals be it email, snail mail, whatever! There we’re people from all over the world on it! Sri Lanka, the US, Ireland, Australia, etc. I thought this sounded really interesting. I didn’t know people still got into that. I’m thinking about doing it myself. I would want to do snail mail but I think before I commit I would want to get a PO Box. I don’t think it’s a good idea to just throw out your home address anymore. Maybe I’ve been watching too much ID or Catfish! Does anyone else on here participate in The Pen Pal Project?

Day 2 of Learning about the YA Lit World of Writing and Authorship

I’m writing 2 posts today. I feel kind of guilty about not posting everyday. I am in 2 graduate summer classes right now that last 5 weeks and the homework is killing me. I probably should have spaced them out a little better.

However! I have been taking study breaks to read my YA Fiction for Dummies book and The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. (It’s been good to read a YA book while I’m learning about the process of writing a YA story. I have been using it for examples.) I have always seen the “For Dummies” books at Barnes & Noble while perusing the shelves and I was always under the assumption that they were an easy way for the author to take your money. But it’s proven very interesting and useful! I have just never been one for self-help books. I know, I know! You should never judge a book by it’s cover! Lesson learned 🙂

I have also been reading author/blogger advice tips from various people on how to get writing or to get past writers block. The most useful tidbit of information I think I have come across is to write 10 bad ideas a day, by James Altucher. That way if you’re not confident in your ideas you will still be exercising your imagination and eventually you will improve. Practice makes perfect!

I think it is important to remember not to compare your imagination to other people. Don’t get discouraged and doubt yourself if you’re not amazing at first! Nobody is. I have struggled with this in the past and it has held me back from a lot of opportunities. It’s the number one thing I am trying to work on as a writer.

Day 1… Pick Up That Pen and Give Me A Page!

So today I finally picked up the pen again and started writing. I started a short story, teen fiction. From the time I was 8 I have had a journal but I slowed down on the journal writing when I was in college. I did start a few short stories in college and had them saved on my computer. Sadly, my hard drive decided to die on me around December and I had to replace it, losing all of the stories I had been working on. Yeah yeah! I know I should have had them saved to Dropbox or something. Lesson learned. 

I still have my old hard drive sitting in a junk drawer next to a bazillion Chinese takeout menus because it makes me sad to think of throwing it away. Kind of silly, I know. I’m shaking my head at myself too. 

Anyhow, I’m still feeling pretty inspired from the book signing and I hope I can eventually finish a story and be comfortable with other people seeing it. I guess the fear of rejection holds me back. I need to put my big girl panties on and just deal with it. Rome wasn’t built in a day! And J.K. Rowling was rejected a good number of times before an agent took on Harry Potter. I even went to the lengths of buying myself a Writing YA for Dummies book online this afternoon. (Please don’t judge too harshly!) 

This blog will be my new journal of venting through this book/story writing process. I need an outlet and hopefully there are some likeminded people out there who will understand.