A Quote from my Dad Who Quoted It From Somewhere Else (And No, I’m Not Ashamed of This Very Extremely Long Title.) 

So I know I don’t usually post twice in one day, but I had to relate this incident from a Chick-fil-A dining table.
My brain had a rabbit trail leading from a random stabbing pain in my head to a character having to reset his broken nose to that character’s death scene. I had read said death scene out loud to my grandmother last summer. I had grown very, very attached  to this particular character, and when I read this passage out loud (my first time reading through it, what’s more), I sobbed my heart out. I was trying and trying to read this portion to  Grammy, but partway into it, I was crying so hard I couldn’t even see the page. Meanwhile, Grammy was sitting there passing me tissues, and even just recounting the incident!

Then Daddy stepped in with this lovely quote:


Oh, and if you’re wondering who the culprit is:

 

Thank you so much, Nadine! (Don’t worry, I still love ya anyway! (I’m just really looking forward to whenever you read Guardian, muahahahaha! 😈))

Anyway.  Just thought you lot might like to join in my reader my sorrows.

Tally ho! ~Natasha.

When April Comes…

I can hardly believe it.

Come April 1, I will have been officially working on Guardian for an entire year.

I began this novel last year as my project for my first-ever Camp NaNoWriMo.  Going into it, I seriously doubted whether I could do it, if I could keep up with the demands of my perfectionist, overachieving self.

Then I found my original word goal of thirty-five thousand to be too low, and made NaNoWriMo’s standard fifty-thousand word goal.

Since then, I’ve been working on it somewhat sporadically throughout the year.  And goodness, how much it’s changed!  It’s grown alongside me, developing as I grow as a person.  The plot and characters have reshaped themselves so many times that it’s scarcely recognizable as the same story I began with.  What began as a story about a figment of a child’s imagination has turned into the story of a little girl and her father who were pulled into happenings set in motion centuries before either of them were born.  It’s kept me up at night.  It’s driven me crazy.  It’s been so stubborn that I’ve occasionally wanted to hurl my computer across the room.

Yet, in spite of nagging thoughts telling me I should have been done with this project months ago, I’m not anywhere close to giving up.  Yes, there are days when I get fed up with it, but the promise of something beautiful coming out of it is too much for me to push aside.  Now more than ever I see the potential hidden in it, just waiting for everything to click so it can explode into its full glory.

I’ve poured myself more into this project than I ever did into the stories I worked on when I was younger, the ones that got pushed aside.  Even those, though, weren’t a waste of time, because when I look back at them, I see recurring themes weaving their way throughout my writing career, culminating in Guardian.  Seeing those stories bind together in one novel is more exciting than I can say.  Even if it’s another year before I finish, I’m not giving up.  I’m just going to keep writing until my fingers bleed and fall off, and hope that by the time that happens, I’ll have something concrete to show for it.

Now, I know that at least some of those reading this post are in a similar place as me, having worked on their novel for such a long time that they feel like it ought to have been done ages ago. If you’re in that place, please don’t give up.  I know feeling like your writing is going nowhere is discouraging, but it’s not stationary, and neither are you.  It’s called a “labor of love” for a reason — you love it, but it can be ridiculously hard sometimes.

So for those of you dealing with this, please know you’re not alone.  Surround yourself with other writers and get a support system going.  And above all, pray about it.  I can tell you honestly that prayer has been one of the most important parts of this journey for me.  I would’ve given up a long time ago without it.

What are some of the issues you’ve dealt with or are dealing with as a writer?  How did you get past those?  Don’t be afraid to comment!

Tally ho! ~Natasha.
P.S. I’m considering starting my own Cabin this year.  If you’re interested, please let me know!

Cherishing Time

FriendsSo sorry I didn’t post last Friday, my readers!  I really meant to, but last week was so crazy I hardly had the chance to work on Guardian, let alone write a blog post!  Now that some of the craziness has passed, though, I thought that I would say a bit about my weekend excursion.

I had an amazing visit with some friends I hadn’t seen since last July.  It was meant to be a surprise, but an accidentally-seen text on Mom’s phone tipped me off.  (I wasn’t snooping on purpose, I promise!)  Even though I knew I would be seeing them, I was in a bit of shock.  It had been so long since I had seen them, since I had really spent time with people my age, that I didn’t know what I was supposed to say or do.

Then we just started talking, and things were like they were before I moved, when we got to see each other all the time. We caught up on each other’s lives and went from there, chatting and laughing and poking and prodding and chatting and laughing some more.  We stayed up late and “kept my parents up.”  That, in context, means that they willingly chose to stay up and had just about as much fun as Blondie and me.  (Her real name is Rachael, and “Blondie” is a friendly nickname with us, I promise.)

At some point during dinner, we then “decided it best” that she get to meet one of my internet friends.  This, in context, means she stole my phone and talked with him, and then Daddy stole my phone and talked with him, and I got my phone back for a brief moment before Blondie stole it again and talked some more with him.  Somewhere in the mix, Mom stole it multiple times as well.  A good time was had by all, including my friend on the other end of the messaging.

The next morning, I got to spend more time with them before we had to leave.  Our departure was somewhat sad for me, but I got to thinking afterwards about how glad I was to have that time.  I never really know how long it will be until I see them again, though I’m hoping it’ll be within the next couple months.

All that being said, it made me value all the more the time I get to spend with family and friends, be they over the internet or no.  The time I get to spend with them is precious and not to be taken for granted.  None of us know how long we have, or if circumstances will prevent us from spending time with those we care about.  That’s why we’ve got to cherish what time we have with them.

Clearly, I’m no master at this.  A lot of times, I wind up hurrying through my day, bustling through the various things I need to accomplish, and forget to take the time for those around me.  It’s not easy.  It even seems counterintuitive in the light of culture’s emphasis on being busy all the time.  In spite of that, though, it’s one of the most rewarding, important things we can do.

There are lots of ways to do this.  Limitless, really.  Sometimes it’s big things, like being the shoulder your hurting friend can cry on, but it doesn’t always have to be that.  Sometimes it’s just shooting a friend an encouraging message, taking out the trash so your mom doesn’t have to, or putting down your phone long enough to have a conversation.  (If you’re cringing at that last one, believe me, I am too.  It’s harder than it sounds!)

So in the way of appreciating my family and friends a bit more, I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s spent time with me, encouraged me, and stuck with me through my rough days.  You guys are awesome.  🙂

Any thoughts about what it might look like to cherish our time with family and friends?  I love to hear from you!

Tally ho! ~Natasha.

“Hourglasses”

It’s that time again!  I’m participating in another round of Rachael Ritchey’s #BlogBattle!  This time I’m working out of a storyworld I’ve been working on for a while now.  Once again, it’s fantasy, though set in our century.

I hope you enjoy “Hourglasses”!

Hourglasses by Natasha Roxby

Seldom is it that a person can pass by my house without shuddering. At times, they don’t notice cold fingers creeping down their spine, the hairs rising on the back of their neck. Oh, they can dismiss that inevitable chill as merely being a stray gust of cold air. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to give a second thought, even though the sun is high in the sky, keeping the world at a balmy eighty-two degrees.

But deep down, they know. Once the thought that something unnatural lurks behind my door, that intuitive part of them that knows it beyond the shadow of a doubt, will not let them rest until they are far away.

In the end, it’s just as well that that they never come near enough to learn what lies within these walls. It’s just as well that they never come to my door, never peer through the windows. Even if they did, what could they learn? What would they see but the inside of a dusty mansion inhabited by a lone, eccentric hag?

What would they see but hourglasses coating floors, tables, walls – every square inch of space that isn’t a walkway?

These hourglasses… They are my life. Everything I am, everything I could become in the few years I have remaining in this world, is wrapped up in them. I have protected them, cared for them. I have laid them to rest when their sand runs out, and cared for the new ones that take their place. Mine has been one of the most vigilant watches my order has ever seen, and not even my master can deny it.

That, at least, was what I thought.

Then their hourglasses started falling from the shelves.

I can’t explain it. I’ve searched every nook and cranny of this mansion, searched until my dim eyes ached with the strain, but can find no explanation for it. There’s never so much as a breath of wind in this place, no living creature in it except me. How can they fall from their places and shatter of their own accord?

Even now I kneel before the shattered remains of the hourglasses. Tears blur my vision as panic claws its way up my throat. I cup a glass shard in my hand, sand clinging to my fingers. These hourglasses… They were so beautiful. Each of them was subtly different in their make, each imbued with a magic not even the oldest fey can imagine. It would have been bad enough if these hourglasses had belonged to humans, but these… These had belonged to young fey.

They had belonged to the children of my masters.

A sob catches in my throat. This was my fault. Protecting these hourglasses and the lives bound to them had been my job, and I failed. Their blood is on my hands, and there is nothing that will wash this guilt away.

What will my masters do when they find out that the deaths of their children is my fault? Will they kill me? I don’t know which hourglass belongs to me. It could be close to empty even now. One of the fey could be on their way here, coming with some strange punishment I cannot imagine. Whatever the punishment may be, even if it isn’t a death penalty in their world, I can be sure that an old woman won’t survive it.

A knock sounds at the door.

My heart lurches into my throat. How could they have found out so soon? How do they know it’s because of me that their children are dying? I want to believe that, no, it isn’t them. This is just my overwrought nerves acting up, making me hear things that aren’t there, or making me read more into the sound than there actually is.

But I can’t fool myself so easily. A fey man stands outside my door, waiting with my punishment.

Pain shoots through my joints as I pull myself up and weave a meandering path through the hordes of hourglasses covering my floor. I place a trembling hand on the cool brass knob and crack the door open.

An old black man stands on my doorstep. Dirt cakes his faded jeans and baggy t-shirt. I squint to get a better look at him, but no such luck. My eyesight is too poor to make out his face, though my mind remembers clearly enough the balding head, the grizzled beard, the heavy brow, and drawn mouth. From what little I can see, he hasn’t aged a day.

I bow my head and pull the door more fully open, keeping it as a shield between me and him. “Master,” I murmur.

He nods. “Hepzibah.”

He brushes past me; he’s taller than he used to be. More likely that I’ve gotten shorter. I ease the door shut, and it latches with a dull “click.” I stare at the door knob as though it might hold the answer to my predicament. How unfortunate I don’t know what that predicament is.

My voice quavers as I speak. “Is… Is there something I can get you, Master? Some tea? Coffee? Something to eat, perhaps?” I curse myself for my foolishness. Since when do the fey eat human food?

He ignores my bumbling. “Where are the hourglasses, Hepzibah?”

I duck my head and shuffle past him. “They’re this way, Master.”

I lead him to where the shattered hourglasses lay. He squats next to them, scanning them with his eyes. He doesn’t move for a long time, and I begin to wonder if he’s turned to stone.

At last, he breaks the silence. “How many times has this happened?”

“This is the fourth time, Master,” I whisper.

He nods, again falling silent. Then he stands and walks to the door.

Is that it? He just comes, takes a look at the broken glasses, and then leaves? No punishment? No orders? I almost call after him, demand some explanation, but hold my tongue. I know better than that. He is my master. I don’t speak unless spoken to.

He stops at the door as though he can hear my unspoken questions. Maybe he can. “You still have that library, Hepzibah?”

My brow furrows, but I don’t question him. “Yes, Master.”

“And in it are still the documents specifying the location of the Fey Glass?”

I blink. “I… Yes, Master, I believe it is. Shall I find it and bring it to you?”

His eyes flash, and for the first time since I’ve known him, he raises his voice. “No!” He strides to me in three long steps, eyes burning. I shrink before him, fearing that this is the moment when my punishment comes.

He speaks in a low hiss. “You listen to me, Hepzibah, and you listen to me very closely. By no means are you to bring me that document, me or any other fey. The moment I leave this house, you stoke up every fireplace and furnace in this house, and you burn every last book and scrap of paper in this place. The Fey Glass must never be found. My people cannot be allowed to renew their time. Do you understand me?”

I nod quickly, my heart hammering too hard for me to speak.

He nods, satisfied. “Good.”

He presses something into my hand. For a moment, my fingers are too weak to grasp it, my brain too muddled to make out what it is, but when I can muster enough strength to hold onto it, I realize what it is.

A lighter.

I stare at the little cylinder as he leaves, slamming the door shut behind him. I am left alone.

Alone with the hourglasses, a lighter, and a library to burn.

30 Song Challenge

Hello, my readers!  The lovely Victoria from “A Gathering of Dreams” nominated me for the 30 Song Challenge!  (In case that wasn’t evident from the title. 😛 )  And really, I think this will be a challenge, because I don’t think I’ll be able to come up with an answer for all of these, but I’ll do my best!  Oh, and a couple of them will have more than one answer, because sometimes I just can’t pick. 😛

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1. Your favorite song

By Your Side,” by Tenth Avenue North

2. Your least favorite song

The Hormel Pepperona commercial.  This song is the bane of my existence.  (If you value your sanity, don’t click that link.)

3. A song that makes you happy

Good Morning,” by Mandisa. *loves this song*

4. A song that makes you sad

My Immortal,” by Evanescence, because it makes me think of one of my characters.  That and “The Last Goodbye,” by Billy Boyd, and “Into The West,” by Annie Lennox.  …  Yeah.  I have a lot of sad songs to make me cry while I write. :/

5. A song that reminds you of someone

The Hanging Tree,” by Jennifer Lawrence.  It makes me think of my Mom, because we sing it ENDLESSLY.  I know.  We’ve got weird taste in songs to sing endlessly.  I promise, it’s not as morbid as it sounds.  😛

6. A song that reminds you of somewhere

Stronger, by Kelly Clarkson.  It makes me think of the gym.  They played it all the time. 😛

7. A song that reminds you of a certain event

Beautiful Things,” by Gungor.

8. A song you know all the words to

I Will Lift My Eyes,” by Bebo Norman.

9. A song that you can dance to

That all depends on your definition of “dance”…  I can balter quite effectively to “Shake It Off,” by Taylor Swift.

10. A song that makes you fall asleep

Well…  I’ll take that as meaning relaxing.  “Nuvole Bianche,” by Ludovico Einaudi.  It’s a little melancholy, too, but I like melancholy songs. 🙂

11. A song from your favorite band

My Lighthouse,” by Rend Collective. ❤

12. A song from a band you hate

I generally try to avoid songs from bands I hate…

13. A song that is a guilty pleasure

Blank Space,” by Taylor Swift.

14. A song that no one would expect you to love

“Sexy and I Know It.”  Not including a link for that one.  Apparently it’s really bad.  (Please note that the only reason I like it is because Mom and I used to zumba to it, and it was fun to dance to.)

15. A song that describes you

I’m For You,” by TobyMac

16. A song that you used to love but now hate

Well, I wouldn’t say “hate” exactly, but after I had “The Wrinkled Ladies” stuck in my head for several months on end…  Yeah.  It got kind of old. 😛

17. A song you often hear on the radio

Backseat Driver,” by TobyMac

18. A song you wish you heard on the radio

Boldly I Approach,” by Rend Collective.

19. A song from your favorite album

Simplicity,” by Rend Collective.

20. A song you listen to when you’re angry

… I don’t get angry very often.  Usually I just go straight to sad. 😛

21. A song you listen to when you’re happy

Alone,” by Hollyn. (Not as sad as it sounds. 😛 )

22. A song you listen to when you’re sad

By Your Side,” by Tenth Avenue North.

23. A song you want to play at your wedding

I’ll probably walk down the aisle to “Canon,” by Pachebel.  And then I’ll have “Cinderella,” by Steven Curtis Chapman, as one of the songs at the reception.

24. A song you want to play at your funeral

I would like “Thunderstruck” and “Wake Me Up,” as performed by 2CELLOS, and they have to be played with the videos.  They are EPIC!!! 😀

25. A song that makes you laugh

Jesus Freak,” by DC Talk.  Just part of the first verse that makes me giggle, but still. 😛

26. A song you can play on an instrument

Hah.  That’s funny.  Nope.

27. A song you wish you could play

Experience,” by Ludovico Einaudi.  It’s never going to happen, but I like the song, so I’m putting it down here anyway. 😛

28. A song in a foreign language that you like

Bi Thusa Mo Shuile.”  In English, “Be Thou My Vision.”

29. A song from your childhood

The Cheeseburger Song,” from Veggie Tales.  I still sing it sometimes. 😛

30. Your favorite song this time last year

o.o Uhm…  *rifles through mental files* *turns to Spotify for help* Aha!  “Lord I’m Ready Now,” by Plum. 😀

Whew!  I made it!  Coming up with questions for all of those was hard!  😛  And now I think I’ll tag Katie GraceFaith SongHannahCarolineHopeMickaylaRawls, and anyone else who wants to do it!  Have fun, all of you!  I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

So what are some of your favorite songs?  Any comments on my rather eclectic selection of music?  See you in the comments!

Tally ho! ~Natasha.