Endless Horizons

 

The horizon stretched on

No end in sight

No pause for rest

Endlessly expanding

Tirelessly discovering

Moving quickly over ground just covered

In search of new ground to conquer and claim

*

On and on

Into the distance it reached

And on and on

It continued to grasp

*

I wished that it would stop

Just for a moment

In peaceful stillness

*

But instead, the horizon

Keeps moving

It won’t be still

It won’t be content


Written for Weekend Writing Prompt #93 – Horizon | Word Count: 74

I’ve seen other writers turn their prose into poems but this is the first time I’ve tried it myself, and must say, not only was it a fun and interesting exercise, I don’t think the poem is half bad either – for a first attempt 😉  I will be certainly trying this again.

The original piece of prose, Horizon, a 120 word flash fiction, was published on this site in April 2016 and can be found here.

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Wool-Gathering with the Seven of Cups

She was never here.  Never present.  Always lost in daydreams, a far-off look in her eye.

She had so much, but couldn’t see it.  She was too attached to her illusions.

Without them, she was nothing…


Written for Weekend Writing Prompt # 92 – Wool-Gathering | Word count: 36

Note: The Seven of Cups from the Tarot is often associated with daydreams and having unrealistic expectations from life, and corresponds perfectly with the word, “wool-gathering”, I think 🙂

A Little Exciting News…

A random, sort of spooky photo…

A few months ago, I entered a Tudor Ghost Story Contest hosted by authors Natalie Grueninger, who runs the wonderful website, On The Tudor Trail, the Talking Tudors podcast and is the author of a number of Tudor history books, and Wendy J Dunn, author of a number of books of Tudor fiction.

Last week the results were announced, and I’m excited to share that I placed joint second!  On Christmas Eve, the winner and the second and third place getters’ stories were published on On The Tudor Trail.  You can read the post announcing the winners by the judge of the competition here, where you will also find links to the first, second and third place stories.  The direct link to my own story, The Thorns of A Tudor Rose, can be found here.

The Thorns of a Tudor Rose is a story of Anne Boleyn being visited by the ghost of Katherine of Aragon during the days leading up to her downfall…only she doesn’t yet know it.  If you do have a read of it, please let me know what you think!

UPDATE: The first, second and third placed stories have also been included in a sample copy of Tudor Life Magazine, the monthly magazine of The Tudor Society!

Excavating the Archives At Midwinter

I’ve been looking through the archives to find something wintry to repost to mark Midwinter, and I’ve noticed that I really love to write about this season, meaning there was a lot to choose from.  Here are some of my favourites…

Midwinter – A Poem

Today is the shortest day

Tonight the longest night

Tomorrow’s sunrise the turning point

That marks the returning light

*

In the very heart of winter

There’s a special vigil to keep

As we wait patiently in the dark

For the sun to wake from sleep

*

Soon the world will be brighter

It will be the darkness’ turn to wane

It won’t be long until spring is here

When The Wheel will turn again

(from 21 Decemeber 2017)

 

Winter Morning (a haiku)

A frosty breath mists

Words frozen, left unspoken

Cold winter morning

(from 28 November 2017)

Silver Frost

Breath mists in frigid air

Cold hands, warm heart

Wintry kisses melt icy lips

Beneath mistletoe boughs

In silver frost.

(from 13 December 2018)

 

If you’re looking for more winter-themed reading, why not check out:

  • Winter Magic / Winter Wishes – a couple of anthologies filled to the brim with all sorts of wintry goodness from writers around the world.  Both are free to read via Wattpad.
  • Jingle Spells – an anthology of winter, witches and the paranormal, from CyberWitch Press.  My short story, A Midwinter Manifestation, can be found in it.  Free to download a digital copy from most, if not all, online retailers.
  • O Horrid Night – another winter-themed anthology, this time from FunDead Publications.  This one is more gothic and ghostly in theme / style.  Not free to read, but a great addition to any bookshelf.  Can be found on Amazon.  My short story, A Midwinter Haunting was included in it.
  • I would add One Turn of The Wheel to this list of recommendations, as it has a chapter dedicated to Winter, but as it’s only available in print, it will probably be the new year before it arrives from Lulu.

Dream-Weaving

This is Part 5 of an on-going serial I’m writing called, “Lyr the Enchanter”.  To read the story from the beginning, you can find the story index, here.  In this instalment we learn a little more about what it means to be an enchanter…


I was dreaming. Of a time before. Of a time of after. I couldn’t yet tell…

The world was shiny, like the metallic gloss of a bird’s feather. Shimmering. Glimmering. Glistening.

Dreams were magic. They held power. As an Enchanter, I knew that. Knew how to read them, manipulate them. Weave magic into and out of them, through them and around them. The dream held the spell, the spell held my will, and the world changed, transformed by my intention.

No wonder so many people feared Enchanters. The innate power they – we – possessed was terrifying.

But this didn’t feel like one of my dreams. Who did it belong to? It was the wrong question. “What” always came before “Who”.

Metal…lots of metal…a workshop, maybe? Magic was worked in the forge: iron was bent, remoulded, reshaped, to the metalsmith’s will.

Then I understood. I was the iron.  I was being used. Someone was trying to influence me; bend me to their will. But why? And for what purpose?


Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge #5 – I’ve gone a little over the 150 word limit this week.  Oops!

Looking Back at NaNoWriMo 2018

A week has passed since the end of November, giving me a few days to think and reflect on this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge.  I didn’t win, but I got a lot more done than I thought possible, which is no doubt due to me being a NaNo Rebel this time around, meaning I could focus on anything I wanted…the theme this year was a multitude of little projects…

Let’s Look At The Numbers

  • 39376 words in total
  • 4 short stories completed
  • 382 notes left on phone
  • 6 book reviews written
  • 5207 words written on One Christmas novella
  • 2572 words written / edited for Oath Broken
  • Creative Writing spreadsheet updated
What I Did v’s What I Hoped I’d Do

Naturally, I’d hoped to reach the 50,000 word target, even though I knew before November started it was going to require a monumental effort.  Realistically, it was never going to happen, especially when I picked up a cold at the beginning of the month.  That being said, I’m happy that I hit 39,000 – and this included 9 “no writing” days.

On my NaNo list, I aimed to complete 4 unfinished stories from my (ever-growing) list of incomplete projects, one a week.  I managed to do this.  Yay!  And I did manage to lavish some attention on another 3 short stories (but didn’t finish them), edit a small collection of flash fiction / short stories and write a detailed plan of another story.

And, in the spirit of trying to finish unfinished stories, I also came across a novella I had started writing a few years ago.  It’s not the sort of story I typically write, but I’m having fun with it and I think it’s sometimes worth writing outside of your comfort zone, just to see what happens.  Anyway, for those interested, it’s called “One Christmas”  and is a contemporary romance, with a bit of humour and (hopefully) suspense thrown in for good measure, and you can read it here, via Wattpad, as I write it.  I’ll post more about it at a later date…

I had wanted to reduce the number of creative writing notes (including scenes, chapters, short stories, flash fiction and poetry) on my phone to between the 125 – 150 mark.  I failed at this, epically.  Although I began with 526, there are still 382 notes waiting to be written somewhere I can’t easily delete / lose them.

I had started November seriously behind my book reviews over on my book review blog, Sammi Loves Books.  So, I thought it would be a great idea if I added this to my list of organisational tasks to complete in the month, as motivation to get back up-to-date.  I wrote and posted 6 book reviews; I had hoped to clear it completely before I added anymore books to the pile, but I didn’t.  There were still four books left over, plus the books I’ve finished since then.

Oath Broken, the story of Oathbreaker told from a different character’s POV, was supposed to be one of my main focuses for November.  In reality, I didn’t get much done on it at all, only 2500 words, a quarter of what I had hoped.  So, I am a little disappointed with this, if I’m honest, but the story feels like it’s in a good place now so I shouldn’t grumble too much…

I got just under 3900 words written for what I’ve been calling Novel #3 on my WIP list (Oath Broken is Novel #2).  I didn’t manage any words at all on Novel #1, which again is a little disappointing.  One chapter would have been nice…

Another task on my list of organisational projects was updating my Creative Writing Tracker, a 20 page spreadsheet that helps me keep a track of all and everything to do with my writing.  I started it back in 2015 and after a few years it needed a little bit of TLC.  Things needed moving around, layouts needed changing, sheets needed updating / deleting / replacing.  So, I gave it a bit of a makeover – it might be a spreadsheet, but it can still look interesting as well as being functional!  I am pleased to say, this task was also completed as part of my NaNo gaols 2018 – although it only earned me a nominal 1000 words towards my total word count.

The idea of the NaNo journal was good one, and I enjoyed keeping it for about a week…*Sigh*  But with feeling unwell, exhausted and trying to find time to write, this probably wasn’t the right year to try and implement it, at least, not in terms of daily entries.  If I do have another go at it next year, I will try may be twice a week.

So that’s the rundown of my NaNoWriMo 2018.  In no time at all, April 2019 will roll round and with it Camp NaNo.  😉

NaNoWriMo 2018

To NaNo or not to NaNo…that is the question…for today’s post…

Questions about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) always hit me with bouts of indecision at this time of year.  And it’s usually the same two questions: 1) Should I participate? and, 2) If I do, what should I focus on?

This year, these two questions are giving me a lot to think about, though I hasten to add, the first question has always been answered in the past with a “yes”.  That being said, I’m going to bore you anyway with this year’s deliberations…

Today’s random photos are all inspired by the element of water…

Should I Participate in NaNoWriMo 2018?

As I’ve already mentioned, in the past I have always answered this question with a “yes”.  I’ve joined in the yearly writing challenge for the last six years and learned a lot about how I write and what works for me.  Last year’s lesson was tailored writing sprints, but I digress.

This year, I’m suffering from exhaustion.  It’s been an issue I’ve had all year long, but instead of resting like any sane person would, I pushed myself harder in an attempt to work through it / ignore it.  I’ve now got to the point where that is no longer an option, and I’ve started to close down many of the projects I’ve been working on to create the time and space I need to recuperate.  This in itself, would be a sensible reason not to do NaNo this year.

However, even if everything stopped tomorrow, I would still be writing.  I, like most writers, write every single day.  So whether or not I sign up to NaNo, I will be writing.

NaNo has become an important part of my writing year, and I think I would be quite disappointed if I skipped it, even once.  This means I think I will be participating again this year, unless I find closer to November 1st, I’m really not up to it.  For now, I’m full of positive thoughts – always look on the bright side of life, and all that…so to the next question…

What should I focus on for NaNoWriMo 2018?

This is the question that stumps me every year; I think hard about it for two weeks, pick a project, plan it for a week and then change my mind the following week, only to pick something else on the 1st November. I’m so very indecisive.  I have so many ideas for stories that I want to write them all right now. But, I hope to avoid these shenanigans this year with a little prep and planning.  Whatever I pick, I’m going to stick with it, because an over-active, over-anxious mind equals exhaustion.

Last month I completed my latest novel, Oathbreaker (if you didn’t already know!).  75,000 words over 38 writing days produced the best first draft I have ever written.  It helped, I think, that I completed it from start to finish – hell, it helped that I actually completed it at all.  I have dozens of novels on my computer, in various stages, but only a handful can be described as complete – and it’s not just novels, but novellas and short stories too!

Anyway, back to Oathbreaker.  When I sat down and started writing it, it was supposed to be a standalone short novel, but as the story unfolded, it became clear that was never going to happen.  Now it’s a novel trilogy, and I’ve already had people interested enough in it to ask when will they be able to start reading book 2!  Not a bad result from a first draft!

It makes sense then that my next project should be book 2.  The problem is, I’m just about to make a start on it but NaNo doesn’t begin for another 27 days.  My project could be the Oathbreaker trilogy; I start book 2 now and finish what’s left of it in November, and should I need more words, I could start book 3.

But there is part of me that says pick a different project for NaNo and let Oathbreaker take care of itself (book 1 will also need editing at some point…).  Surely it will be simpler that way.  So what else could I work on for NaNo?  Earlier in the year I was working on two unfinished novels.  They each need 20-30,000 words to complete the first draft.  There are also a load of half-finished short stories awaiting some attention.

So I guess my options are:

  • 50,000 words on the Oathbreaker trilogy
  • 50,000 words split between the Oathbreaker trilogy and a few smaller writing projects
  • 50,000 words split between unfinished novels
  • 50,000 words split between unfinished novels and short writing projects
  • Or start a  completely new project

It looks like I’ve got a lot to think about.

Wow.  That was a long post.  If you’re still reading, I’m both surprised and thankful 🙂

So what are your thoughts?  Any wise words or suggestions to impart to this indecisive writer?  Are you joining in with NaNo this year?  Do you know what you are focusing on?  Let me know in the comments.

And, should you wish to add me as a NaNo writing buddy, you can find me over on the NaNoWriMo website by searching “Sammi Cox”…