Acknowledge & Ignore Procrastination

I got the idea for this article of my procrastination process to work for me by listening to  The Writer Files Podcast – titled The Writer’s Brain on Procrastination Part One and Two. I had realized something about the information Kelton Reid and his guests had not quite expressed. This reminded me of what I’ve done most of my life while working on my novels Soul’s Little Lie. I thought, maybe someone might find this list useful.

Don’t get me wrong, Kelton Reid’s podcast on procrastination was helpful as a simple review for myself in which I had previously studied for the past few years. Its good to be reminded of the process of procrastination and now here’s how you can use procrastination to your benefit.

I know what procrastination is and I ignore its existence. This is how I transform the potential for procrastination into working for me.

  1. Ignoring the mental aspect – I see that I am ignoring the writing work in front of me, but I also see that it is a perfect time to breath and rest. Acknowledging that this is only a momentary time of resting my mind, allows my mind to go idle so not to stress myself into over thinking the work ahead or in front of me in that moment. – Take some time for yourself to get up from the computer, typewriter or collection of notes of your prose or article. Just as much as your body needs to stretch from sitting so long, so does your brain.
  2. Not binge watching tv shows – When there is a massive writing project that must get done and I acknowledge the possibility of procrastination that may come about, I don’t give into binge watching tv shows. If I do allow myself to take thirty minutes to three hours or more of time to binge tv shows, this opens up a plethora of creative problems. The tv show stories invade my mind to hijack my already incubating prose. I then find myself thinking of the visual and audio ques of that show feeding into more procrastination. – Once I’ve found myself not watching tv shows for weeks on end (not feeding into procrastination) my prose flow smoother and the chapters start coming along with ease. Even my note taking is fuller for that future chapter. Also, my editing sessions are finished up that much quicker.
  3. Writing Walkies – It takes me thirty minutes to an hour to walk from my house into town and through town. I’ll take these ‘Writing Walkies’ in the evening hours and be out there in the small town for an hour to four hours at a time. I’ll have my IPod with me to listen to my music that pertains to the manuscript project at hand or I won’t listen to the music, it all depends on how I want to think the current chapter or scene through. Writing Walkies may seem like procrastination, but it is more atune with making the brain go idle, to make it be at rest to allow intrusive thoughts to flow to the way side without full acknowledgement. – Once this has been achieved, of the scene flowing as I talk to myself (finding no traffic on the streets and hardly anyone outdoors at night) I’ll walk faster and feel an excitement in me to get back home to flesh out the scene notes by hand or type.
  4. Work Log – Sometimes I’ll look through my Work Log to see how far I’ve come in the progress of my manuscript. The Work Log is put into two visual places – a dry erase board calendar and a book planner calendar. I’ll do my work for a few hours, starting at 6pm (or a little later) up until 2am. On the dry erase board write down the book number, chapter number, sometimes even the amount of pages written or the time in which I’ve worked. Then I’ll transfer that log into the paper edition of the day planner in red pen. Sometimes adding side notes to what else I did in my writing or not writing. – Looking through my Work Logs for a few minutes every few days may seem like procrastination, but it is more akin to juicing myself up for the next day of work.
  5. ‘Soul Team’ Waiting – While I wait for any one of my ‘Soul Team’ in replying back to the pieces of material I sent them for edits or beta reading, I’ll just sit back and do other things. I’ll do basic chores around the house, which coincides with Cleaning Up The Stage process. I’ll do some reading to pick up where I left off, which usually I’ll read a chapter or two. I’ll even go about analyzing my Work Log or go over my notes. Sometimes, depending on the weather, I’ll do some Writing Walkies. To mix it up while I wait, I’ll play some video games and yes, I’ll watch YouTube videos in the morning but only about subjects I’m passionate about: sciences, psychology, nature, art, history or politics. Currently though, no working on artwork since my mind hasn’t flipped that switch cause of the manuscript being the main focus.
  6. Concept Illustrations – Some people would call this part a ‘side hustle’. My Concept Illustrations are far, far away from anything resembling a ‘side job that makes money’. It’s not even a ‘side project’ to me. Reason being – a small 5×7 or a large 24×18 watercolor or basic pencil and ink sketch for my novels is just for me to get a concept idea out of my head. A short fling to amuse my mind to take a break from writing. A healthy procrastination by far. However, if I’m working on my manuscripts heavily for weeks or months on end, Concept Illustration pieces don’t dare come up in my mind. I’ve even forced it, but that painter’s switch won’t click. That’s a good thing. Once my writing binge is over, which can take up to 9 months or less, only then will that painter’s switch get flicked. Then it becomes a short burst of creative juices flowing for a few days to a month at most. Then, it’s back to manuscript studies and writing for another 9 months.
  7. Prep Talk – Not at all to be confused with – Pep Talk, but close. If I feel that procrastination is making its way into a longer period of annoyance, I’ll stab it out by acknowledging it as fear. Once I’ve done that, talking to myself of how I’m feeling of a writing situation I’m in creatively, I’ll pretend those fear elements are people around me that I’ve known or have yet to know or meet. I’ll talk back to the ‘visual hallucination‘ (that I’m conscious of making in my mind) and I’ll act out that situation in the room. I’ll do this when its just me in the house alone, so no interruptions by anyone else crossing my path so I can concentrate. Subjects I’ll confront of this fear induced procrastination are – a) having an argument with an editor. b) reminding myself how much passion I’m backing this writing project. c) the main reasons for wanting to become a published author with a book or two on shelves. The costs I’m willing to make to make my dream come true and how much all of this means to me. – Once this Prep Talk is finished, the lingering leftovers of that possible procrastination has faded and I jump back on board to working on the edits or current chapters of the current or next manuscript. (To add, this Prep Talk also helps me get out some of my PTSD from my past. The coupling of my ‘publishing fears’ and PTSD, talking it out in an empty room in front of imagined people that I confront, helps me acknowledge that I’m still alive and my passions to be a writer keep me going in a healthy direction)
  8. The Process Starts Again at #1 – Then I go back to the top of this list and I find I’ve done more progress in my writing each and every day or week or months worth of material.

I hope this article helps you or someone you know that is having a hard time with procrastination. Show them these helpful tips in taking control of procrastination to work for them. You’ll be surprised how far you’ve come in your writing.

Cleaning Up The Stage

Cleaning up the store before opening the doors to customers. Preparing the canvas before placing the first paint filled brush stroke. Sweeping the stage before rehearsal begins. Prepping your work space before you type at the typewriter for that important article or first draft of a new novel.

Not all writers do this process, but it does help…at least that’s how I noticed a shift in my work whenever I cleaned up the stage.

I was always a tidy child and teenager. I did as I was ordered and told to do in keeping my room clean or maintaining some form of space to keep organized. Even if it meant that my mother with her bipolar with residual schizophrenia on top of that which the littlest thing would upset her of whatever I did ‘wrong’ to her whims. I grew accustom to maintaining my room as perfect as possible. Reason being for the most part, I danced in my bedroom all the time. I understood early on my own observations while taking ballet class in 1985, that the cleanliness of the studio and stage was important. It kept accidents from happening. There is nothing worse in the world than tripping over the smallest object when dancing.

I took that basic training of cleaning up the stage to heart and still do it today, but with a twist.

I discovered in my early 20s that I had a niche in recognizing a pattern of thought whenever I finished cleaning dishes, laundry and sweeping the floors or cleaning anything else in one day. Once the chores were done for that day, my mind was free to focus on my writing for the rest of the week. I would have 5 or 6 days devoted to writing even if it was only note taking and study of my works. I would finish one to three chapters in that week span. Then the cycle of come Sunday or Monday I would clean house once more to prep for the next work week of writing.

Why would I go to such lengths to clean house in one day, even if all I needed to do was 2 to 3 loads of laundry? Imagine for a moment you want to write a whole chapter. The story is flowing out of you, but your mind is bogged down at the forefront of – ‘There is a load of dishes in the sink’ – ‘there is a load of laundry that needs to be washed’ – As you notice there is something keeping you from your work, you stop and go finish that other thing, for my case chores. If I find that this is happening inside my mind and I know physically there are chores to be done, and I continue to ignore those chores, I get depressed for the next few days cause I’m being lazy to myself and neglectful to my writing.

Writing is the reward for when I’m done with basic household needs. I look at this way, if you can not maintain your household of the basic clutter around you (basic chores as I described before) then how can your mind be calm and at peace to help you focus on your creative work in front of you? As much as a cluttered mind can not focus, neither can a cluttered house, stage, etc. When you have not kept to a basic once a week schedule of maintaining the house needs (your needs, mind you) then the creative work before you will and can suffer as a result.

On a Sunday or Monday I’ll see the dishes need to be done. I’ll see if one or two loads of laundry to be done. I’ll notice there are dust bunnies on the floor and sweep all the floors and clean the cat box. Then come Tuesday onward I’ll have nothing better to do than write a new chapter(s) until the next Sunday or Monday rolls around. Then the cycle starts all over again.

Don’t get me wrong here. There are authors out there of all kinds that just focus on the writing and keep going all the while neglecting the household needs to keep them sane, healthy and happy. Especially the healthy part. If you have a partner in your life that can help with the chores to keep you on task at writing, then ask them to help you with the house chores from time to time. It will help you lessen the load.

These are all crucial processes before you begin any body of creative work, before setting a dinner party or office meeting or before you fill your car with vacation essentials for that road trip adventure. If the stage is not cleaned and ready, how can you focus on the task at hand that will then keep you mentally fit and healthy?

Possible Hail Mary…

I got my 10th rejection letter a few days ago. Later I went hunting in my email account in search for my previous rejection letters and found only two. The others, about seven, had been deleted or I haven’t searched for them effectively enough.

Posting them online on my personal Facebook page I got a few encouraging replies. One of them was a run down of what each of these rejection letters meant. This is what she said:

Actually the rejection from DAW is excellent news. They said even if that particular book wasn’t right for them, they asked you to submit again in the future. So that’s actually GOOD.
The second is just standard confirmation they got it. It doesn’t mean anything and it’ll take 30 days to get back to you. If they don’t *shrug*
The third is an actual rejection. Pay no mind.
Getting rejected is a part of life, and actually a mark that you’re in the writing club now. Many people never get the courage to submit, or give up after one go. Almost no one EVER gets accepted right out of the gate. Stephen King has been rejected hundreds of times. A buddy of mine only has ten works in print and 200 rejections. The object is not to quit. So don’t quit. 💗
I actually printed and framed my very first one. It’s a badge of honor marking that I’m a real writer now.”

10thRejection

Seeing this breakdown of what each one meant, even though I already understood a while ago, it was review for me to fully understand. This got me to thinking and talking with my boyfriend, who is trying ot help me see the  mistakes in my work. Then it happened…Jon saw a slight difference in the first chapter that I had not seen before or thought about. A light bulb went off in my head as I rushed to write down the notes in Volume 2 Journal, but was slowed down by him as he carefully walked back to the computer room with a full cup of coffee being sure not to spill it.

“Hurry! Hurry up!” playfully egging him forward, excitment in my voice, “I need to write this down before I lose it to the winds!”

The hail mary play was this – Jacob Umari still finds these old hand made parchments signed by David Geraci. He does a search for the name online and it leads him to Strong Waters Asylum, now named Strong Waters Rehab Center in upstate New York. While there searching more information about this long dead patient from the 19th century, he hides the files he’s found, along with the parchments and other files from that long lost case file, calls his friend Frankie needing his help and where to find them. Then something terrible happens to Jacob and his friends and family find he’s now kept at Strong Waters for medical evaluation.

Letting this new first chapter of book one steep in my mind for a day or so while going through the first draft or two in my head in story order and I realize something – Scarlet Elwood, Brandon’s wife, wouldn’t have such a heavy role to play. I can take her out and clear up fifteen slow chapters throughout all 3 books.

This also means this frees up time movement to go much faster and the possible shrinkage of book 2 cut in half and more easily mesh with book 1. Frankie would still move forward in book 1 to buy the Geraci mansion to build his story arch and Brandon would still leave Scarlet to presue his story arch as planned, but it would flow much smoother throughout all three books.

Then there’s Davon Tucker, he’d still go to the Geraci mansion with his two bandmates to film the music video. He’d interact with Frankie just as before in book 1 and still have a feel for the mansion as he goes into book 3. This would mean Jacob, Frankie, Brandon and Davon would all still be introduced in the first few chapters of book 1 and span out through the rest with ease. This would give Josh, one of the bandmates, more room to do his dirty work toward Davon instead of having Scarlet be the ‘ring leader’, which seems so out of place. Amy Tucker, Davon’s older sister, is also in on this scheme.

Having fully realized this, this means I can not take off any vacation or special events of any kind.

20th Class Reunion in August – Nope

New Kids On The Block concert in June – Nope

Gem and Rock shows this summer – Nope

Might be able to take a break for the Arlington Fly-In event since it’s right behind the house at the Arlington Airport and the noise of classic airplanes and racing planes would never let me work on my writing as they flew around for three days. Yeah, that’s my only break time. Not to mention, I’d still go out with my man to the movies.

How I work on my manuscripts is I treat it like a retail job of the schedules I used to have. I’m so used to such schedules for nearly 20 years in retail, finding it works great for writing.

2 hours writing/typing, 15min break, 2 hours writing/typing, 30min lunch (or an hour), 2 hours writing/typing, 15min break and 2 hours writing/typing until it’s nearly bed time at around 1am or 3am. This would give me a full 8 hours of work. I’d start at 3pm once my boyfriend is gone off to work and not finish until 3am or sooner. Shoot, maybe its a 10 hour shift. Damn. I can do this easy.

To add, a blank page on the screen never scares me considering how many notes I have on this whole project.

(Below are my 1st and 5th rejection letters)

1stRejection

5thRejection

Query Letter for Soul’s Little Lie

As of late last night, about 11pm, I officially finished writing the third book in the series of Soul’s Little Lie. I’m having to put this all together as one whole book since the first manuscript is less than 70k words and the publishing house does not accept anything less than 80k words. This means, putting it all together in one massive book will have to do. Later, all three can be set up into their respectable publications, but until then, this will have to do.

Below is the query letter I’ve sent out. It’s much better than the one from two years ago.

****

Soul’s Little Lie, a high fantasy with a touch of supernatural, is a story not for the fait at heart when opening the door to forbidden dreams of the past.

Stepping into, what could have been, is more dangerous than not knowing the truth. Men feel pain as much as anyone else. Your echoing cries have been heard. Love is waiting for you.

Ambros Hayemore has a massive task at hand – clean up the power hungry mess his father Lord Ynycornus started. A game of power through the lost magic of necromancy of stealing and using an other’s soul is forbidden for a reason. What is worse, is what damage could Ambros Hayemore have caused by going back in time through consciousness of dreams and thoughts? Doors that should have never been opened have lead all involved into a tangled web of the soul’s little lie of haunted pain from the past and a future most uncertain.

The beginning of his quest is to find the Five Lords of the human lives they once lived. To do this, the Geraci mansion in Lowell, Massachusetts must be purchased and refurbished to be used as a beacon for the Five Lords to find their way home. Appointing Frankie Bellington to take possession of the mansion, he is thwarted with troubles ahead. FBI Agent Jacob Umari is lost in the dreaming while in coma at Strong Waters Rehab Center. Brandon Elwood is self medicating by having an affair to get away from his abusive wife. Davon Tucker is drawn to the mansion and by doing so, hides inside himself to the trauma he endured from his sister. David Geraci, the last owner of the mansion a hundred and seven years ago, his soul afterlife is hijacked by Lord Ynycornus to use to his advantage to ensnare Vivian Warren to force her to reincarnate to Mythia as Princess Ira, Ambros’ mother, so he can take the throne.

Observing your publications for years, I have come to enjoy the books your company produces with the authors you have found. Currently, I am reading Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear. I had been previously published for a short time having learned many lessons along the way. It was an experience I will never forget.

Soul’s Little Lie is a three part book of a word count at 265,856 with 87 chapters and 783 pages.

Readings From The Past: A Collection

I only read novels that physically attract me to them due to the book covers. Not because of the common ‘judge a book by its cover‘ mental concept, but by the art itself of how the artist put together the composition of the painting to be so pleasing to the eye.  If the book cover tantalizes my eyes, I then read the synopsis on the back.  If the synopsis tells too much, my mind figures out the story and finds clichés and tropes right after.  I then put the book back on the shelf and start over in search for one that attracts my attention.

Once I’ve found the right book with the cover that is beautiful as the work of art that it is and that the synopsis hasn’t given away too much and that my mind is unable to unravel the story from there, I’ll buy it and start reading the next day.

This is a small list of books that did just that for me…

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

Zodiac by Romina Russell

What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Queen’s Own by Mercedes Lackey

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Fear Street Series by R.L. Stine

I would post more, but my collection was given away to charity without my knowledge due to unforeseen circumstances and a bad turn of events from 2 years ago since I had to leave nearly everything behind.

I also read non-fiction more in the educational side.  If I read biographies it is for study only, not much for entertainment.  I would also have posted more to this list if I had the funds and the bookshelf space for more books.  It takes time to build the physical library one wants in the computer room to become a true library and no I do not read books by computer screens. It hurts my eyes.

Well, the new year is here and this is my first blog post to start out.  I will still probably write an article or post once a month as I have always been.  I’m not much for writing author page blog articles since I have so much  more work to do for my book series.  I will be keeping tabs here from time to time on how my progress is going, but if you want to keep up with me you can find me on Facebook. The link is in the About section up top. Thank you.

Comparison of the Two

For the last few days I’ve had a mental and soulful breakthrough. I had realized again, but more deeply this time, that I was free from the abuse of my family and it had been five years since I left the abusive husband. I felt it was safe to really let it all go.

In that realization, I found myself drawn to my original first draft manuscript. I was afraid for years to read it – 22 years since I began writing it and only since 2006 had I finished that first draft finally. Thing is though, it was a terrible mess. It was a complete blundering Mary-Sue with hardly any action, inner dialogue, plot or any form of character development. I was a teenager at the time when I started writing it on September 1, 1995 to May 9, 1996 of 18 chapters by hand in ruled notebooks and later in my mid 20s I continued from chapters 19 to 26 and still after all that time it was a damn mess.

In 1998 I submitted the first three chapters to Baen Books. I have since lost the rejection letter, but I still remember the poignant words from the editor –

“It has potential, but it needs work.”

Ever since reading those words potential and needs work I’ve kept on typing a new manuscript. Later those three manuscripts would become something more. As for the original manuscript, it has now become a distant memory and is barely noticeable as a story to be continued with the new three books. A whole new fourth manuscript will be so different than I originally had intended back then and that’s okay. It’s part of the process of being a writer.

Now, I’d like to share with the world something I’ve only shown to a small handful of people. I’m only going to show one page that should give a good enough comparison of the new revised from scratch chapter 12 of the original manuscript.

(Book 4 is far from getting started in writing. I just did this revamp of chapter 12 to help myself understand how far I’ve come as a writer and how I can continue to improve.)

MythiaCh1202Yes, I edited a bit of it last night in red pen. It needed it so badly.

Now, for the revamped version….

November 18, 2017

A disclaimer – Twenty-two years have passed since I wrote my first manuscript titled Mythia. Chapter 12 from that manuscript is being rewritten to showcase a comparison of writing styles to see how I have progressed. This is the finished example.

Mythia

A Manuscript

by: Tara B. Dobbs

Chapter Twelve

The Isle of Sperotus was bathed in cool blues giving the plant life a haunting effect as the evening crept in with the double moons hanging in a partly cloudy sky. The southern side of the island, with its long sandy beach was kissed by the full moon in silver light; the pale blue moon at quarter. Ocean surf gently fell over the sand and in the distance waves crashed among the rocky outcrop of a massive plateaued cliff.

Ynycornus had arrived first to the island a few hours earlier. His mind raced with doubtful thoughts with fear nipping at his heart. He had to tell her how he felt this time; finally for the first time. It had been a thousand two hundred years since he last laid eyes on Mythia’s princess.

Princess Ira had been imprisoned in a crystal orb by the actions of a malicious criminal by the name Katema – a noblewoman who was displeased with her lot in life at court that she had to stoop to kidnapping the Princess in hopes for a ransom. Ira was only a child and Ynycornus could do nothing to save her once the little girl was placed in the orb. A powerful magic had sealed her in and to add more pain, the little princess thought she could be crafty in protecting herself with a spell she had found hidden away in the lost pages of the Book of Anora. The single spell for continuous sleep Ira put on herself.

Ynycornus thought of this a bit more in hopes to understand Ira’s actions. Maybe she was afraid Katema would take information from her? As long as Ira was in the clutches of the Eternal Slumber spell, Katema, not even Ynycornus or anyone in the kingdom, save for maybe Tibrus, could wake her. The spell had been designed to work itself out once the danger had passed. There was no telling how long the sleep would be. For that, Ynycornus was the most angry with Ira still to this day for her actions.

While she slept for 1,200 or so years, Ynycornus was voted by the High Council and the Noukadian Priesthood to be Steward of the Kingdom. There were no heirs to the throne since King Cyrus and Queen Tamera, Ira’s parents, were murdered by Katema that same day as Ira’s imprisonment. With great pride Ynycornus accepted the position but with a lingering broken heart.

Tonight though, Ynycornus would get a chance to speak with Ira alone. The princess had meetings with the High Council and the Priesthood for months now on how to go about taking over as Queen and leaving Ynycornus back on the High Council as Second Command Councilman and return to the Priesthood as High Priest. To Ynycornus’ disbelief, the Princess gracefully declined for Ynycornus to return to his original duties. She wanted him to stay in the position the people had voted for. The Council and Priesthood had informed her on all the good hard work he had done for the kingdom in her absence and had begged to differ that Ynycornus was in need in current affairs of Temple and Council. Ynycornus was grateful for her loving gesture, but how would she react to him of what he had to tell her; of what his heart must confess?

Far into the distance a small row boat, adored with the royal crest at its bow, came into view. Far out away from the shore behind the rowing boat the Mythian Fleet’s Galian ship laid anchor. Ynycornus could see Ira cloaked in black to hid herself from any possible prying eyes. She had only been awakened for three months and only the High Council and Priesthood were allowed to see her for that time. Not even the four men rowing the boat to shore were allowed to see her.

As the boat came ashore, the four rowers jumped off; pulled the boat further in away from the surf. Ira sat, her head down as she waited for Ynycornus. No one had touched her hand, let alone her shoulder when she awoke from the orb’s shattering. The best physicians looked her over, barely touching her for the examination and found her to be in perfectly good health, save for one major change – she had grown and aged to a full adult, but how? The Eternal Slumber spell could not force someone to grow and age and yet stay physically one age for so long. Under natural circumstances Ira would have been in her elder years by 1,200 years and possibly close to death.

Making his way toward the boat, the rowers holding the boat steady, Ynycornus took Ira’s gloved hand helping her off. Ira’s grip onto his hand was strong and warm. A warming slipped through his body as she stepped onto the wet sand. It was now that Ynycornus felt as though she had come home at last.

Leading Ira onto dryer sand near the tree line Ynycornus turned to the four men, “You may go. Give my thanks for Anya for this meeting.” With that the four rowers pushed their boat back into the waters and began rowing toward the awaiting Galian ship.

Once the rowers were far out of sight and the ship took up anchor, heading back to the mainland going North, Ira slipped off the black cloak. Long dark brown wavy locks fell down her back and over her shoulders. Her blue eyes the color of topaz finally set sight on Ynycornus’ elder face.

With a gasp seeing how old he had become, she stepped back covering her mouth to restrain a scream.

“I’m sorry,” Ynycornus apologized. “Maybe we should have met sooner, but this was the only way I could get you here.”

Dropping her hand to her chest, taking in some deep breaths, “You’re so handsome, but you’ve aged. Are you in good health?” What was she expecting anyway? Ira was not allowed to see Ynycornus until all the meetings were done. It was Tibrus who had found her slumped in the clear gelatinous substance of the broken orb in the Grand Ballroom which was also the throne room. Even while she slept in the orb, no one was allowed in that room save for Tibrus who worked all those years trying to break the spell. All those she saw were of the Highest Council, higher in rank than Ynycornus by far and only three Priests and many physicians. Ynycornus was the High Priest, the highest in rank anyone could go, so why wasn’t he allowed to see her? This flew through Ira’s mind as she continued to look him over to get her barrings.

The last she saw Ynycornus was when she was a child, maybe as far back as a baby. She remembered him holding her, rocking her to sleep and at times feeding her when her mother Queen Tamera slept and while her father King Cyrus was off doing kingly duties of state. Ynycornus looked young back then when she was little. He looked no older than late teens at least. To the royal family Ynycornus was more than just High Priest and Second Command Councilman, he was a surrogate brother to Ira. Her love for him showed through her smiles, cries and worries she bestowed on him over the few years she got to know him.

The realization of having lost her surrogate brother, her best friend finally hit her. She kept up a fecade of royal duty for just a few months, not allowing herself to grieve. Her parents had been taken away from her which made it all the more worse.

Her breath calming, she looked around seeing the island, which was forbidden to all but the High Priest Ynycornus, she fell to her knees burying her face in her hands as the long, long awaited tears poured from her eyes.

Kneeling on both knees in the sand, his blue and silver robes flared out on the sand, Ynycornus pulled Ira close to his chest. Dropping her hands from her face, she pressed her tear filled face onto his chest slowly soaking her sorrows into the fabric. Her arms wrapped around his neck and shoulders as she sobbed to nearly screaming.

Once she had calmed enough, Ynycornus helped her to her feet. “Follow me. I want to show you something.”

Guiding her through the tropical forest onto a well warn path to nearly the center of the island, a creek flowed beside them. Far up ahead the sound of a waterfall flowing into a pool echoed amongst the trees. Just at the entry way to the falls, a pale blue barrier flickered as Ynycornus walked through. Ira hesitated. “It’s alright. It’s a circle barrier of the magic that lays here. Once you’ve crossed it you can’t speak while inside the space. See there?” pointing to the trees and bushes, the flowers began to wilt and the leaves began to dry and fall to the ground. Putting a finger to his lips, Ira stepped through the pale blue lighted barrier in silence.

For many minutes the pair spoke nothing to one another. Slowly the plant life around the waterfall returned to its former beauty. The flowers grew swift; blooming with radiant colors. It matter not that the nighttime had come. This place was strange and yet beautiful in all it showed inside the circle. Even the waterfall and the pool below seemed to glow a delicate blue.

Sitting on the ground, near the pool, Ira looked around slowly. She sighed, turned to Ynycornus and pointed to her throat.

With a gentle smile, Ynycornus answered her telepathically.

“Are you strong enough to speak with your mind?” he asked.

Hesitating, she took a breath, closed her eyes, “I think so. Why couldn’t I come to the island when I was a child? I have memory of this place.”

“You did come here once before, but you were very little. You were barely learning to walk when your parents brought you. It was forbidden even for royalty to be here. I was there in the forest watching. I could have easily removed you all, but I couldn’t allow myself to do it.” Ynycornus smiled softly at her as he remembered that day so many years ago. “You loved it here. Even though you were only allowed to be on the Southern beach. I could not permit you and your parents any further.”

“I’m glad to be here now then,” she paused, blushing, “with you, but it’s too quiet. I’ve had my fill of silence. Not enough beauty though.”

For just a little longer, they sat and watched the flowers bloom and grow. The waterfall sparkle in the moonlight and then Ira realized it – there were no birds singing. On Mythia there were plenty of nighttime birds that would sing softly, but here at this waterfall, this closed off area of the island there was no sound of birds. The water made splashing sounds, but no birds. Ira began to panic. Standing in a hurry, she gathered her long white and silver dress and ran out of the circle. The thin lighted barrier flickered as her legs went through.

Chancing after her, she was heading back to the Southern beach, Ynycornus grabbed her arm pulling her back gently her back against his chest. Her breath was fast and uncomfortable to hear.

“I can’t have any silence like that for long!” Ira cried as she turned around to look at him. “Didn’t anyone tell you? Tibrus learned quickly I couldn’t take it. I have to have someone talking aloud or music playing somewhere at all times. I can’t handle the silence. So much silence all these years!”

Ynycornus had not been told of her condition. A thousand and two hundred years in silence with only your own thoughts to keep you company. By the Five Lords, how could a little girl handle such a thing for so long? It was then Ynycornus understood that part of Ira’s mind was still a child. How could he confess anything to her now? She was still just a child inside.

Shaking away the disgusting thought of his mind, “I’m sorry, Princess. No one has kept up in telling me anything of what you’ve gone through.”

“No one? How? Why?” A rage formed behind her eyes. A rage Ynycornus had never seen from her. An unease crept into his soul as though he had done something terribly wrong to her somehow.

“Let’s not worry about this now. I’ll have a talk with the Council and Priesthood tomorrow morning.”

Taking a breath, stepping away from him, “You must have wanted to talk to me about something important to take me away from my duties.” Ira touched his chest where his heart lay inside beating. “I appreciate the effort to give me time away from the work, but what was it you wanted to really talk to me about?”

Now wasn’t the time. The only thing he could think of on the spot was to show her the truth. She had only known of him in his humanoid form for six years. She deserved the know the truth. Only the Highest Council of the main eight and two Priests know of this truth. A few others in the past had known, but they were long dead. Not even Ira’s parents, the King and Queen of Mythia, knew of this truth. It was hidden as though the kingdom depended on it.

Looking around at the clearing Ira had run into, he nodded to himself. Closing his eyes, dropping his hands slowly from head to hips and then finally bending over just slightly as though his arms and hands would touch the ground, within a few seconds his whole body transformed in the shape he was original born – a white unicorn.

Flowing pearly white mane and long thin tail with thick tufts of hair at the end. A tall strong build, a foot taller than a typical farming draft horse, but with cream cloven hooves and nostrils at the end of his muzzle looked different almost the shape of a deer. A single spiraled bone white horn in the center of his brow and his eyes the same stunning blue as the ocean.

Stamping one front hoof to the ground, he nodded his large head at Ira. His flowing mane catching the moonlight.

It was quite the sight to behold as Ira found herself trying to find a tree to steady herself against as she walked backwards. Once she found a tree to lean against, she looked the beast over carefully. Her eyes were the size of skipping stones. Face nearly pale with shock.

Gently to her mind, “It’s okay. What you see is the truth.” The only thing he expected next he would not be angry at her for.

Sure enough, within a few more seconds Ira ran. She ran as fast as she could with the long dress clutched in a thick gather of fabric. The only way now off the island was natural to her – she had to fly.

Once she was clear of the trees and on the sandy beach, she spread her white feathered wings wide. She had not flown since a year before her imprisonment. Not having much practice her instincts took over. Higher she climbed with the occasional misbeat of her wings to flap in unison. She had to find her way back to Hayemore Castle as soon as she could. She could not understand what had happened. Everything was happening far too fast.

In the forest, Ynycornus still in his natural form, he watched through the break in the trees Ira flying away from the Isle of Sperotus. Once she was out of sight, he made his way through the forest back onto the beach. Finding the wet sand more sturdy for his large equine body, he pawed at the water a bit and slowly pawed at it some more and more until the sand turned the water to mud. Neighing aloud with a snort of anger, Ynycornus galloped down the beach at full speed. Turning around, he galloped again even faster, but once he was close to the rocky cliff, having done this time and time again with ease, he climbed his way to the top on the gagged rocks until he was safe on the plateau face.

How could he be so foolish? He was the High Priest of the Noukadian Temple and Second Command of the Council. He was one of the highest ranking officials in the kingdom – that had made a grievous mistake. It wasn’t that he had transformed to his born form in front of his precious surrogate sister and possible love, it was that he had forced her into something that was against nature and now there was no going back. The realization of his mistake from centuries past had come to full form.

It was then he realized, “Maybe no one will know. If I just help her adapt back into her the life she had lost, maybe just maybe she’ll be free.” He paused, looking out over the night sky and ocean below, slowly transformed back to his humanoid form, but this time a young man, “As long as the Council doesn’t know, but I have to tell my brethren at my side.”

But could they keep even this secret? They had before of his born unicorn form for thousands of years, but this – how long could sealed lips last?

***********

I don’t think I’ll repair any other chapters in the original manuscript. It’s just too painful to look at anymore, save for the 1% of notes I found that I’ll use in book 4 later in the next few years.

If you are expecting some more excerpts of book 4, I’m sorry to break your heart but this is the only excerpt I am willing to showcase until it’s truly published. It took me many, many years to get up the courage to show any piece of the original. I’m ashamed of the mess the original had become, but at least I got that work of 197,000+ words out of my system to show to myself that I can write novels.

And here I am, 22 years since I wrote my first, I’m still writing them. Knowing that, makes me the happiest person alive right now.

Trying Out a Literary Contest

It took a few weeks, but the edits for the first book were finally finished with the help of my two Beta Readers.

You see, Inkitt has a monthly book publishing contest and my entry was a bit late. The deadline is October 31, and I just barely got mine in just late last night. My entry was for all three of my novels for the Soul’s Little Lie saga. (The fourth book I haven’t even gotten started on, save for a bunch of notes)

You can read the free eBooks here, but there is a limit to 100 copies.

Soul’s Little Lie Book 1: Echoes of the Lost

Soul’s Little Lie Book 2: Midsummer House

Soul’s Little Lie Book 3: Whispers in the Hall

 

Contests usually scare me though. That’s why it’s taken me so long to get up the courage to enter one until last night, more like at the beginning of this month. I don’t expect to win this month, but who knows. Hopefully I can enter the same works into next month’s contest.

So, please give my novels a good read through. Post a review, pass the links around to your friends and let’s all see how this turns  out.