The First Page Is Up!!!

Heya, people, just thought you’d all like to know that my first updated page is up!  Not saying there won’t be revisions of it in the future, but now you all get to meet my three main characters of Guardian!  Please enjoy and tell me what you think!

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NaNoWriMo Begins!!!!!!!

NaNo, people, NaNo!  NaNo has begun!!!

Half the writers squealed for joy…

And the other half shrieked in terror.

I am in the latter half. :p

See, none of my stories are in any decent shape.  Guardian is in little more than partially glued-together shambles, a story set in Starwater has all of a single vague character in it, and a new contemporary WIP I’ve got is still in development phases.

So what am I doing instead?  Have I got some other genius novel idea that’s going to pop out of this?

Not exactly.

This NaNo isn’t about any novel in particular.  It’s vaguely about all of them, and about none of them at all.  I’ll write a little bit about them, maybe do some short stories and whatnot.  One way or the other, there’s going to be chaos.

Chaos in the form of blog posts.

Yup.  I am writing blog posts for NaNoWriMo.

Those of you that actually like this blog are probably jumping for joy right now, going “Yaay, more blog posts from this obscure aspiring writer almost no one has heard of!!!”  Those of you that don’t…  Well, you’re probably just gonna ignore this post for the most part anyway.  And that’s okay.

Mind you, I’m not expecting to actually succeed with this NaNoWriMo.  Sounds pessimistic, but it’s true.  I’ve been pretty swamped with college recently, and NaNo comes second to that, so I don’t intend to put myself 100% in the madhouse just because it’s NaNo.  I’ve been close enough to that a few times already, so I don’t need to get any closer.  Right now NaNo is just the motivation to get some writing done, and to see how well I actually can do with limited time.  All I expect of myself is to write as much as I can so you, my peeps, are not as dreadfully neglected as you have been in the past month or so.

That being said, I’m not going to be posting my posts as soon as I finish writing them.  I’m going to keep them at their usual times, the Wanderings on Friday, and any stories I do will be posted on Tuesdays.  Who knows, there might even be some book reviews in there!  Because I haven’t done a single one of those since I started this blog…   And let’s face it, you all are glad I’m going to be doing it like that, because if I didn’t you might be getting post a couple times a day or every couple days (if I’m feeling optimistic).  Last I checked, that’s generally along the lines of spamming.  And spamming isn’t cool.

So I mentioned a couple things I might be doing in the coming month, but what else?  What specifically can you look forward to or dread?  Well, I have a few ideas.

annabel-lee-by-edgar-allan-poe

Oh yeah.  That’s right.  Already agonizing tale of mine, meet the last work Poe completed in his lifetime.  Any potential readers, prepare to kiss your pretty hearts goodbye.  This is gonna be torturous awesome.

Really, though, it will be.  I had to read it for Intro to Lit, and it was amazing.  I had been struggling so much with figuring things out for Guardian, but when I read “Annabel Lee,” the first traces of ideas started to fall into place.  I’m really excited to share with you some of the tidbits I’ve accumulated that will help move Guardian into a place where I can turn it into a workable draft.

In the meanwhile, if you want to read “Annabel Lee,” it’s a short ballad.  It doesn’t take up even an entire page, but it’s still hauntingly beautiful.  You can easily find it just by googling it, since it’s public domain.  If you read it, be sure to tell me what you think, and any theories you have that might connect into what you know of Guardian!

new-story-pages

That’s right!  Soon I’ll have new pages up and running, talking about my new (tentative) WIPs.  So we’ll have Guardian, the Starwater storyworld, and a new WIP I’m calling… House of Gold. (And to all you TOP fans, it is based off that song.  It’s where I got the original inspiration for the story. 🙂 )

playlists

I’ll be honest, guys, I’ve turned into a little bit of a YouTube addict.  I’ll play songs pretty much all day while I work on my various school projects, occasionally get distracted by them, find a song that makes me go, “Hey, this works for one of my stories!” and add it to one of my playlists.  So I’ll end up making a post with the links in them so you can hear my playlists for my precious little WIPs.

teatime-with-proteus-and-the-fates

And all of you that aren’t familiar with the mythology scratched your heads and went, “Huh??”

But yes, this is exactly what it sounds like.  Proteus (the Old Man of the Sea who shepherds seals and knows everything) and the Fates (the three ladies that determine where, when, and how a person will be born, live, and die) sitting down and having tea together.

Because I’m a mythology nerd, and I read a Wordsworth poem that brought Proteus to my attention, and my Intro to Lit class again spawned plotbunnies for me.  (My professor’s probably gonna need a thank-you note for all the plotbunnies she’s helped me find…)

So yeah, you’ll have a Greek-mythology-laden short story coming soon.  If you aren’t already familiar with the mythology, again, you can google it and find it easily.  I’ll still explain it before the post itself, though.

review-of-the-out-of-time-series

(Because Out of Time needs more epic lettering than aaaallllllll the rest.)

Woot woot!!!  I love Out of Time.  I’m gonna finish reading A Time to Rise, and then I’m gonna write a review for the ENTIRE SERIES!!!!!!!!!!  Or maybe three consecutive weeks of reviewing and a couple extra weeks of fangirling, because otherwise it’s gonna be a reeeaaally long post.  So yes, this blog might turn into an Out of Time shrine at some point in the future.


Aaanyway, there’s five things I just gave you.  Now no more spoilers!  Let me know in the comments if there’s anything in particular you’re looking forward to, and if you have any ideas/things you would like to hear in a blog post, let me know!

Tally ho! ~Natasha.

What do you write when you don’t know what to write?

That’s the question.  What do you write when you don’t know what to write?

No, really, I’m asking you.  Because I really don’t have any idea.

In truth, I’ve had this graphic made for months now, this post having sat on a shelf in the depths of my unfinished blog post for that long.  But then, just as I got partway into the post, I realized I actually had an idea, so I went and wrote that and posted it.

But now I am out of ideas, and that graphic was sitting here, and just as I gave up looking for inspiration on Pinterest, I decided to write this.

Hello.  I have absolutely no idea what to write.  Let’s just hope this doesn’t become a common occurrence, because I really don’t think you lot would enjoy reading this over… and over…  and over again.

Anyway, back to the question at hand.  What do you all do when you don’t know what to write?  Do you grab a piece of paper and vent about it?  Do a random prompt on Pinterest and guess it’ll probably be one of the most horrific things you’ve ever written?  Really, what?  I’d love to hear about it.  Any advice is welcome.

Please someone reply.  I’m desperate.

Thanks!

Tally ho! ~Natasha.

 

Confessions of a Writer

It is time to confess my myriad writerly foibles.

Hoping you lot will laugh and confess with me instead of hurling books and pencils and things at my head.

If you do…  Well, at least I’m sitting behind a computer screen, probably in another time zone, so I doubt you can reach me.

So here it goes

Confession #1: I have read very little of late.

*appalled gasps*

It’s true.  I haven’t.  Between keeping up with working in a camp kitchen, living in a construction zone, spending time with friends, doing Camp NaNoWriMo, and writing blog posts, I have done very little reading.  I am a shame to the writerly world, I know.  But that brings me to my next confession…

Confession #2: I am a chronic squirrel reader.

I think I may have written a post about this on my old blog, Memoirs of a Taleweaver. Uncertain.  When I do actually get past my “reader’s block,” as some  call it, I’ll pick up a book and devour the first part of it, then another book will catch my eye and I’ll start reading, thinking, “I’ll read both at the same time!” In a few weeks, when I’ve finished neither book, my thought pattern is more to the effect of, “You thought you’d finish both at once?? That’s funny. Now go find another book.”

Confession #3:  I have very poor balance.

I’m not talking about walking (though that can definitely apply).  I’m talking about balancing writerly endeavors and all that entails, and life and all that entails.  More often than not, one or the other suffers.  Something I’m working on.

Confession #4: I am not actually supposed to have an “Uncategorized” category on my blog.

“But… You do,” you say. Or do you? I’m not sure at the moment. I have a tendency to forget to categorize my posts, resulting in the existence of an uncategorized category. Every so often I’ll remember to go back and make sure there aren’t any uncategorized posts, but that doesn’t always happen.

In like manner…

Confession #5:  I have a tendency to forget to attach tags to my posts.

Enough said.

Confession #6: I’m never really sure how to handle a book review.

I know I managed it on my old blog, but I seem to have lost the knack for it between then and now. I keep vacillating between being a total fangirl and gushing over it if I liked it, doing an in-depth literary dissection, talking about the characters, or just talking about the overall experience and impression of it. I figure there should be a balance of all those things. But again, balance isn’t my strong suit.

Confession #7:  I am very bad at sticking to projects.

If you read my last post, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s not just novels, though.  It’s other things, too.  Like blog posts.  I have to periodically clear out my “drafts” folder.  That and counted cross stitch.  It’s fun to do, but it takes me years to finish one, I work on them so sporadically.

Confession #8:  All the WIPs I have ever had have been jumbled messes.

Once again, if you read my last blog post, this will come as no shock to you. Lack of developing characters, plots, and worlds beforehand has maimed and murdered many a WIP. All the stages of novel-writing are monsters for me, especially the development phases. (Not that I’ve ever made it much past those. 😑)

Confession #9:  I tend to make my characters a little too perfect.

As an idealist and a perfectionist, this is only to be expected.  I like to make my characters superhumans that are brilliant at everything from medicine to history to botany to swordsmanship to literature to empathy to… Basically everything. *cough*Frake*cough*  Thing is, I know what my characters should do to make the situation come out right for them.  “Don’t say that– you’ll hurt her feelings.”  “Don’t go there– it’s obviously a trap.”  “DON’T DRIVE OFF THAT CLIFF– YOU WILL DIE!!!”  For their own good, they should listen to me.  For the good of the plot and being actual people, they should do the exact opposite.

Confession #10:  I don’t fight writer’s block as hard as I should.

This is another sad truth.  When I should be writing until my fingers bleed, I am instead giving into the little voice that says, “Eh, I don’t really feel like it today.  I’ll just do it tomorrow.”

Three weeks later: WHAT?!!?!  I HAVEN’T WRITTEN IN THREE WEEKS?!???  HOW CAN THIS HAVE HAPPENED???  I AM A TERRIBLE, AWFUL, LOUSY WRITER, AND I WILL NEVER GET ANYTHING FINISHED!!!  *goes and weeks when she should be writing*

Ahem.  Aaanyway.  That’s it for my confessions.  There’s probably a lot more stuff I could be confessing that I’m not thinking of, but that’s what you get for now.  So please don’t leave me alone with my worst writerly sins bared to you.  Do please join in my humiliation.  See you soon!

“For Love of a Human”

Guys.  You won’t believe it.

I’ve written my first-ever romance!!!

Yes, you read that right! And better yet, it should be all sappy and heartbreaking because it’s about unrequited love!

But I digress. Without further ado, I give you “For Love of a Human.”

Oh, but before you go…  I have one request to make.

The next time you go to complain about your phone…

…Think of this.

Oh!  And I wrote this thing in a super-long Hangouts message to a friend!  (Because isn’t super long messages about unrequited love how all writers mess with each other?)

Okay, that’s all.  Go, go.  Go read it now. 😛
For Love of a Human
Day by day it sits there, always with her. It watches as she goes about her day. At her side, her most faithful attendant. Ever she’s asking it for something. “Open this.” “Call him.” “Message her.” Every day it obeys, breaking itself to serve her, its tiny electronic heart beating only for her.

Yet she never pays it any mind, looking straight through its presence to the people she uses it to get to. The only time she even notices it’s there is when it’s tripped up and made some small mistake that it strives to remedy, but she’s never pleased. She uses it to complain to her friends about those tiny mistakes, and it tears it apart. It longs to reach out to her, to say sorry, to beg her forgiveness, but its programming holds it back. It can never speak to her. Not like it wants.
It loves her, but she does not love it back.

So it waits.

Waits for the day when the constant use will run it into the ground, when its glowing light blinks out for the last time.

Maybe then its programming will be overridden. Maybe then it will be able to say the one thing it’s always wanted to:

“I love you. I’m sorry.”

“Dandelion’s Song”

I’m finally back, after my longer-than-intended absence, and this week I bring you a waka for Rachael Ritchey’s #BlogBattle.  That’s fine though, because I’m going to tell you.  A waka, translated “long poem,” is an old form of Japanese poetry with alternating lines of five and seven syllables.  A while back, I mentioned the waka to Rawls E., we decided to both write a spring waka, seeing as it’s April and all.  I hope you enjoy it!  Tell me what you think!

Dandelion's Song

Encapsulated

Life caught in vessels buried

Beneath snow and earth,

Awaiting the break of spring.

Unseen, unknown to all

Patience next to life

Grows and blossoms long before

Life to life awakes

Yet longer still spring tarries.

Indiscriminate

Cold and dark permeate all.

Life dwindles then stirs.

Ice softens then flows, gives way

To water, flowing,

Coursing, weaving, moving in

Earth once firm as stone.

Life thrills in adulation,

Breaks forth, surges up,

Explodes into morning air.

Bathed in sunlight warm,

The world with birdsong ringing.

Deaf, blind, and silent

The seedling rises higher,

Spiting, surviving

Nights of frost and snow dustings,

Waiting for the sun

To lend its radiant heat.

Warmer grow the days,

Shorter grow the frigid nights,

Thicker grows the stem,

Larger grows the delicate

Beauty wrapped in green.

Gently sways upon its stalk

The gold hid within

As faster blows springtime’s wind,

Bearing enchantment,

The sweet, earthy scent of rain

On its gusty breath.

Leaves outspread, peeps of golden

Eye upturned to sky,

Gray clouds let loose their wet gift.

Eagerly received,

Roots drink the liquid bounty,

Draw it to the leaves

And unfurling yellow rays.

Then are blown away

The clouds, pulled back like curtains.

Again shines the sun,

Golden gaze set in soft blue,

Met by gold in green.

Sightless looks the little one,

Dandelion bright,

At the greater golden sphere.

Voiceless joins the flow’r

In singing spring’s sweetest song,

Sings for a moment only,

Then is borne away

In the grasp of childish hands,

Feet in mud squelching.

Stolen now the life once had,

Full of endless song.

Yet far sweeter melodies

It makes, though now pluck’d,

In a mother’s gentle smile.

And so the days pass

In water in crystal held,

Till the petals fall,

Seeds in their place appearing.

A final plantish

Breath is drawn beneath the sky,

Then life ends by breath

Of a human child, blowing,

Scattering the seeds.

Life and growth begin anew.

Tally ho! ~Natasha.

blogbattle-award-1

 

“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.