Tag Archives: Gwendolyn Cease

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Happy Wednesday. 🙂

Today we're talking about our favorite writing advice. Very time appropriate because I needed the reminder - life is pretty chaotic at the moment with things that are so far out of my control I just have to roll with it. So that's what I'm doing, and longingly thinking about the annual writing retreat next month.

Okay... writing advice. Here are the three peices of advice, which pretty much run along the same lines, that have taken up residence in my brain. And have often when I'm having a hard time. (Excuse the f-bomb...but it's necessary in my gray matter, honest)

So, yep, all of that is on repeat, right now. And I need to listen and get some writing done. 🙂


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa

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Hi all. Today is a promptly penned post. I gave it a fair shake, I swear.  It's been all kinds of crazy here. The hubs is off on a long-ass business trip, I'm sick, and life, in general, with its regular brand of madness... But enough about that. Here's what came to me. The prompt will be in bold in the story.


"Hurry! Before Gran comes back!"

I glanced over my shoulder and glared at my little sister, Hattie, who was in the window, keeping a look out. Or at least that's what she was supposed to be doing. Instead, she was staring at me, clearly freaked out.

"Shhh. Keep watching, for crying out loud!"

Once she did that, I turned back to the bookshelf in front of me. Perched on the chair I'd dragged from the desk, I reached as I high as I could. Almost there... My fingers scrabbled along the spine of one of the books I was after. So close...

They were my mom's, and I just wanted to see. She had magic, just like Hattie and me. And there had to be something in them, something more than what Gran was teaching us. We weren't like kids in books who had no idea what they were - we were witches. Or magic-users, as Gran called us. We were meant to keep it secret from everyone else but here, in Gran's cottage, she was teaching us all about ourselves and the "great power and responsibility" we had. Or so she said.

Honestly, based on what we've learned so far, magic wasn't all it was cracked up to be. For example, there were 20 spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff. What was the point of it all then? How was dinking around like this supposed to be a responsiblity? I didn't get it. So, I thought if I could read Mom's journals and her books, maybe I could figure some of it. And...well, I missed her and Dad. I wasn't stupid or anything. I didn't think magic could bring them back or let me talk to them from the grave. But this could make me, and Hattie, feel closer to them. Even a little.

I was able to drag the slim book closer to the edge and grasp it fully. I pulled it down and cracked it open. My breath caught at the sight of my mom's handwriting on the pale pages. Before I had a chance to read anything, Hattie squealed.

"Cody! I see her car!"

I jumped off the chair - I'd get the other books later - and dragged it back to the desk. I heard the front door open, creaking on its hinges. Hattie stared at me, face pale, gray eyes wide.

"It's fine. Sit on the couch," I whispered, tucking the book into the loose waistband of my pants, the cover hard and cool against my belly. I yanked my t-shirt down to cover it.

My sister sat on the couch carefully and faced the TV, which was playing some ridiculous educational program neither of us had any interest in, but Gran thought was worthwhile. I ignored the guilt that weighted on me as I flopped down next to her. The book was our mom's - and by all rights, it was ours now that she was gone. And I wasn't a little kid anymore, no matter what Gran thought. I was ready to know more about magic - certain there had to be more.

"Sorry it took so long!" Gran exclaimed as she came into the room. "Mrs. Miller was feeling more ill than she let on, and I wanted to be sure she was all right before I left."

"S'okay," I mumbled.

"You must be starving." She dropped kisses on the tops of both of our heads before hurrying toward the kitchen. "I'll make some sandwiches."

As soon as she was out of sight, I sprang up. I looked down at Hattie, and she nodded. We'd promised to always look out for each other, and I knew she'd keep her mouth shut.

"We'll look at it tonight," I whispered, then ran out into the foyer and up the narrow stairs to my room. Heart pounding, I pulled out the book. Unable to resist, I opened it again and ran my fingers over the words - words Mom had written - and my eyes started stinging.

"Cody!"

I nearly fell over when Gran's shout traveled up the stairs.

"Yeah?" I yelled back.

"Come on down. You can practice the new tea spell you learned yesterday while I fix lunch."

I huffed a laugh then answered, "Be right down, Gran."

I shut the book and shoved it between my mattress and the boxspring. I knew this was the right thing. There had to be more to magic, more to me than making tea. And I was ready to learn it all.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah MullinGwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

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Happy last Friday of April! I'm currently sitting in the Orlando airport - heading back home after a short getaway with the hubby. A much needed one. We don't often get to take time away together. So when he had a conference in Orlando and asked if I wanted to tag alone, I said yes before he was even done asking. Especially as he'll be traveling for work most of the next month and I won't be seeing him *sad panda*

It's been a lovely little vaca, and as I said, much, MUCH needed, but I'm ready to get back home and get back to work.

So...time to check in. Here were my goals for April (I'm actually a bit afraid to look at this as it's been a weird month and I feel as though I've accomplished nothing.)

  • Publish Safeword ProtectedGoing to be cutting it way close on this one. It *may* end up being the first week of May. Not happy about that. Kinda pissed at myself, to be perfectly honest. 

  • Complete Into the DeepYeah, we're not even going to talk about this one.  No "kinda" about it...pissed at myself.

  • Self-care and house stuff - This, I've actually kept up on. 

  • Complete all scheduled April blog posts - Including this post...DONE.
  • Complete May newsletter short - Still a work in progress. But will be done soon, in time for our May newsletter. 
  • Keep Writing & Publishing and Marketing bujos updated - Done

  • Come up with a reasonable writing schedule for the next couple months (Keyword: REASONABLE, Jarman!) - I'm still working on this. Mostly because my life schedule (or all the schedules that impact my life - hubby's work/travel, kids' school schedules...) will be drastically changing in the next couple weeks with hubby's travel and the  kids finishing up school, etc.) But I'm making progress. 

 

Overall, I'm not super happy with April.

But not going to dwell. Going to move forward. So, goals for May... I'm going super duper simple this month.

  • Write daily - doesn't matter if it's only a paragraph. Heck a sentence. But writing DAILY.
  • Keep up on self-care and house stuff
  • All scheduled May blog posts
  • Complete short for May newsletter.

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Torrance Sené

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Happy Wednesday!

Today we're talking about what we wished we'd learned earlier than we did.

There have been many lessons I've learned that I wish I'd've learned much earlier than I did, this right here...

...is probably the biggest lesson I've had to learn. And is, sadly, one I've had to relearn, again and again, because I seem to forget it all too easily.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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Happy Monday! It's time for another flash fiction. This one inspired by "Ever the Same" by Rob Thomas.

I love this song. It's one of my favorites. I went into the world from my "Albion's Circle" series for this flash fic, and wrote a glimpse into what I feel is one of the most important relationships in that series. And it isn't one of the romantic relationships.

I have delved into this world in flash fic before, so if you'd like to see those, here are the links.

"Merlin's Cave"
"The Hammer's Coming Down"
"I Will Possess Your Heart"


~Arthur~

“Arthur.”

I looked up and found Anna standing in the doorway, hand braced on the wooden frame, looking as exhausted as I felt.

“If you’re busy—”

I snorted and pushed my chair away from the desk. “I was paying bills. Nothing exciting, and nothing that can’t wait. What do you need?”

Her lips quirked upward. “Always to the point and ready to jump in without even knowing what I’m about to ask for. I'd forgotten that about you.”

“Well, It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A very long while,” I pointed out, familiar sadness weighing heavily over me.

“Yes,” she murmured. “My memories are coming back—the ones from Camelot that were hidden…” She blew out a long breath. “But I’m realizing that time may have passed, but you’re the same Arthur. And you are exactly who I need, right now. Who he needs.”

I stepped closer. “Merlin?”

“He won’t listen to me.”

I nodded, knowing things were still strained between the couple. Mostly because of Merlin’s self-sacrificing tendencies, especially when it came to the woman before me.

“And another thing I know, that I remember,” she closed the distance between us and took my hands, “is when I can’t get through to him, you always can.”

“That didn’t happen often—you not getting through.” I squeezed her cold, trembling fingers.

“It’s different now.” She inhaled deeply, closing her eyes a moment against the tears that welled up. When her bright green gaze was on my again, she continued, “He doesn’t see me as he did then. He looks at me and all he sees is his failures. Not how I look at the past, Arthur,” she said quickly when I opened my mouth. “But he does. All those lives, never finding me or being able to save me… I’m not the same Annwyl from Camelot. Not to him. Not really. So, I can’t get through to him the way I did then. But you can.”

I sighed, not exactly agreeing with her, but I wasn’t prepared to argue it. Not when there was Merlin to deal with.

“He won’t sleep,” she said before I could ask what the issue was. “He’s pushing himself too hard. For me, for you, for the Circle. He’s trying to figure out a way to find Jamie, to stop Mordred, to,” her voice cracked slightly, “to make things okay between us. He isn’t giving himself time to rest, and he hasn’t…hasn’t taken the time to grieve at all, let alone properly.”

“I’ll talk to him,” I assured then kissed her cheek.

“Thank you,” she said as we parted.

I headed out into the hallway then toward the stairway up to the third floor—Merlin’s space. I stopped and looked back at her. “You need to rest, too.”

“I will, when I know he is.”

Shaking my head, I made my way upstairs. Merlin wasn’t exactly alone in the self-sacrificing department. Hell, that could be attributed to damn near everyone in this house. Myself included. Of course, it was sort of a requirement when you vowed to come back, life after life, to fight against things most people believed were fantasy.

I didn’t bother knocking on the door and strode into the large open room. Merlin was at his desk, old books open and covering the space in front of him. His dark hair stood on end, from his habit of shoving his hands through the strands in frustration, and he was pale as fuck, with dark circles underscoring his eyes. Eyes that he could hardly keep open. Stubborn bastard.

I walked over to his side and settled a hand on his shoulder.

He startled slightly and sleepy blue eyes peered up at me. “Arthur?”

“Come on. Bed.”

Shaking his head, he turned back to his books, pulling one closer. “In a bit. I just need to—”

“You need to sleep. You can look at this with fresh eyes in the morning.”

“Arthur, I don’t need a fucking keeper,” he snapped. “What I need is to work, to figure out what to do, what to…”

And there were those hands in the hair…

I shifted and, gripping the back of his chair, pulled it back. Then, I grasped his elbows and yanked him to his feet, ignoring his protests. I pulled him around the desk, past the shelves of books and the table weighted down with even more books, to the large bed at the opposite side of the room.

I pushed him to sit on the edge of the mattress then crouched down to untie his boots. He jerked away, and I grabbed him by the calf, scowling at him.

“Merlin!” He stilled, and I pulled off both boots, tossing them to the side before standing. “If you want to sleep in something other than what you have on…”

He glared up at me, and I returned the hard look, not giving an inch. He pushed to his feet, hands clenching and unclenching at this sides.

“Don’t need a keeper,” he said again.

“Not a keeper. A friend,” I murmured. “A friend who worries. A friend who loves you.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed audibly. “Low blow.”

I lifted a brow and waited. He muttered under his breath, and in a blink, he was standing there in a pair of pajama bottoms and threadbare t-shirt.

“Now, you’re just showing off.” I bent, reaching around him, and pulled back the duvet and sheet. “In.”

He looked as if he was going to argue again, but after a moment, his shoulders slumped as he sighed.

“In,” I repeated, a bit more gently.

Woodenly, he moved onto the bed, laying on his back and staring up at the ceiling. I toed off my shoes and stripped down to my boxers and t-shirt before climbing in beside him.

“Turn off the lights, Merlin,” I instructed.

“Arthur, please,” he whispered.

“Lights,” I said, adding a bit what Merlin called my “royalty” into my voice, knowing what needed to be done, knowing what he needed.

He blinked rapidly, then all the lights, save a small lamp across the room, went out. His breathing quickened and became harsher with each exhale. When his trembling shook the bed, I rolled onto my side and laid a hand on his chest, over his heart.

“It’s not all on you, Merlin. Stop carrying it all.”

His entire body jerked, and he shook his head frantically.

“You need to give some of it up. Give some of it to me, so you can rest. So you can be better and do what needs to be done. The weight of it all is crushing you, my friend.”

“You’re one to talk, sire.” The snarkiness of his words was completely ruined by the tears in his voice.

“Yes, and when the time comes—because it inevitably will—when I need to give up some of what smothers me, when I need to rest, you’ll be there to remind me, won’t you? It’s what we do.”

“I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see…”

“What? What do you see?” I asked when he fell silent. Because it could be so many things. Living the lives we did, there was no shortage of horrors to relive in the quiet unguarded moments.

“Arthur," he said, voice small and quiet. "I killed him.”

I closed my eyes as my throat tightened, the pain from that loss still a very fresh wound. “It wasn’t your fault. You know that.”

“No, I don’t. I don’t know that,” he bit out. Then, his hand covered mine. “Whose fault is it, if not mine? I should have…should’ve done it differently. Should have figured another way to stop it.”

“It was Mordred,” I said, loud voice echoing through the room. “He set that in motion. And don't start down the road of questioning or diminishing the choices we make. We all made the choice to be here, and to give our lives if necessary. He did what he believed to be right." Even as I was assured Merlin and believed everything I said, with every ounce of my being, I couldn't quite bring myself to say his name, yet. My fallen knight. The first of the fallen in this life.  "And he’d be pissed as fuck, Merlin, if he knew you were blaming yourself. Don’t lessen his choice, his sacrifice like this. Honor it. Be better.”

“How many more are we going to lose, before this is over? Before we stop him?” He gulped. “Am I going to lose her again?”

Merlin moved closer, just an inch or so, but it was enough. I pulled him the rest of the way and held him—like I had hundreds of times before, like he had held me just as many times, if not more, when I was the one in need.

“We will stop Mordred. And we’ll keep Anna safe.” I said firmly, closing my eyes, praying I was right, this time.

“I’m so tired, Arthur.”

I had to fight to keep quiet, to not cry at the depth of pain and sorrow in those four small words. Silence settled over us, and slowly, Merlin relaxed and grew heavy in my arms. I continued to hold him as sleep finally stole over him, trying to give him what strength I could, hoping it was enough.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mulliin | Gwenydolyn Cease
Kris Norris | Paige Prince | Siobhan Muir

(and a big welcome to Siobhan who will be joining us for flash fics!)

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10 - Flat characters and stereotypes- Characters that don't show any growth throughout the story and/or are almost caricatures. And stereotypes....urgh. It's just a specific type of flat character, really. The super gay best friend/sidekick who is essentially there for humor, all women but the heroine are just jealous and horrible bitches, the alpha-hole hero who has no redeeming qualities but somehow the heroine loves him and so does everyone else, deep down...

9 - Inconsistent characters - I just said I wanted character growth, yeah? Well inconistent characterization is NOT character growth, though sometimes it seems to be explained away as that. I'm talking about characters acting completely out of character, with no logical or believable reason behind it. Or bam, halfway through the book, it's like reading a completly different character altogether.

8 - Too big a cast - too many people to keep track of - It drives me nuts when I can't keep track/keep up and then have to scroll/page back and figure out who the person is.

Now, I'm actually fine with a larger cast. *I* have a larger cast in my Albion's Circle series, but I hope I avoid (and try VERY hard to!) falling into the trap of making people go "Who's this again?"

So the problem isn’t necessarily a large cast (though I think there likely is a limit to how many people you can effectively have playing a decent role in the story), but more often, the issues is how it’s executed. If the cast is introduced in a style reminiscent of classical literature like The Iliad or J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, the author may want to step back and reconsider a few things.

7 - Insta-love - I know I've mentioned this in another post at some point... I want to see people fall in love. I want to see what about the characters the others love and be rooting for them. That's why I read romances. So, when it's instaneous - and not talking about immediate attraction/lust here - I feel let down as a reader. Big time.

6 - Lack of research - If you're going to write about something, in detail, then you need to know what you're talking about. An example - I was reading a book in which the hero was a private investigater. There was a murder and he's called by his cop friend. The hero then proceeds to show up at the crime scene, pokes around, takes a file in full view of everyone, touches everythign with no freaking gloves or anything, basically compomising the crime scene and evidence. I'm no expert in law enforcement or crime scene investigation, but even I know there is no way that would freaking happen!

5 - Overselling the research and/or knowledge - This is a personal one for me, and I'm sure there are people who disagree and perhaps like this kind of thing, but I don't need a run down of every furnishing and antique in the family mansion. I don't need page upon page of all the sights in the city that story takes place in so I know that the city was googled. For me, if it isn't important to the story, I don't need to be regaled with all this information and it pulls me completely out of the story.  

4 - Head-hopping - When we're bouncing from one character's head to another, when that results in confusion and having to skim back to figure out who's head we're actually in...

And falling under the same umbrella - too many POVs. Especially if it's just once in the story and it's a character who doesn't even play a large role.  There are ways to impart information to the readers without going into, say, the waiter's head for a matter of paragraphs just to let us know a tiny detail.

3 - This is more specific to paranormals.... The vamps, the weres, the supernatural beings are all drop dead gorgeous and physically perfect.

And don't get me wrong... Having pretty characters, not a problem. But being told ad nauseaum just how beautiful and stunning they all are, how they could all be models, etc., it gets old very quickly.

2 - The irresistable heroine. Everyone wants her. EVERYONE. Even her gay married dentist is re-evaluating his sexuality because omg she's just all that.

1 - This is specific to story with BDSM elements - when a character is into BDSM, it's because at some point in their life they were abused and they are broken somehow. That the character just needs to be fixed, and when they are good and whole and healthy again, they won't need to do "that" anymore. Because just being into it, just enjoying it, just getting something out of it without a terrible, horrible, no good past pushing you do it isn't enough.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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Seriously, I'm getting that frame and putting it on my wall. LOL Mostly because, no matter the successes, the failures, and everything in between, I try. Despite things blocking my way, I try. No matter how many times I stumble, I try. Even when that stumble leads to a spectactular face-plant, I try. Even when it's my own mind trying to push me down, I try.

So all joking - and tongue-in-check mock cover - aside, I'm damned proud of that fact.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
 Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James

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Hey all. Time for another Musical Musings. I limited myself to 1-2 for each one... LOL And here we go...

SONG THAT MAKES ME HOPEFUL - "I Am the Doctor"

SONGS THAT MAKES ME HAPPY - "Can't Stop The Feeling" & "Best Day of My Life"

SONGS THAT MAKES ME CRY - "It's Quiet Uptown" & "Supermarket Flowers"


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Torrance Sené

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In no particular order...

(10) Being outside in winter. I hate being cold.

(9) Commenting on Facebook. And every once in a while, I seem to forget why I avoid this, but don't worry, I'm reminded oh so very quickly every single time.

(8) All the "news" on FB that gets shared again and again. Kinda goes along with the previous one. Don't get me wrong, I love FB. Love being able to keep in touch with friends/family who live far away, rediscovering friends from years past... But I try very hard to keep it to just that and avoid the rest of it.  But there is always that one person who shares and shares and at the rate they are doing it? There is no way they are even reading the things - they just like the headline because it fits their view. *sigh*

(7) People who don't listen. Because they are always right. Don't think I have to elaborate there, do I? Nah, didn't think so. 

(6) Feet. Just...feet. I don't know what it is, but I don't like feet, don't like touching them, sure as hell don't want anyone near mine... No. Just no. And this is one top ten item, that is NOT getting a pic because...pics of feet? Avoid because they fall under the umbrella of "Feet", thank you very much.

(5) Bugs & Spiders - It's not going to shock anyone to learn that I'm not an outdoorsy kinda gal. It's mostly 'cause bugs, spiders and creepy crawlies...well, creep me out. And the ones that don't, are just plain annoying.

(4) Sometimes, I just wanna be alone. Alone and silent.

(3) Web MD -

(2) Toxic people - the drama-seeking, issue-creating, lie-to-your-face-and-everywhere-else-and-can't-keep-their-lies-straight, will-do-anything-to-satisfy-themselves-and-to-hell-with-you kinda people

(1) Negativity - This is a work in progress (and avoiding the toxic people? Biggest step I've taken in my life to avoid negativity) I've been trying very hard to be more positive and not let negative situations, negative people and negative thoughts overwhelm me. Not always easy, I'll admit, but it's amazing how differently I function when I focus on good things, on what I've accomplished rather than what I didn't get done... Does it make everything perfect? Do I only have good days, brightside-Barbie-ing my way through life? Nope, but I'm better for it - I'm happier and more productive because I do everything I can not to get sucked into the vortex of negativity.

 


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullen | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris | Torrance Sené

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OMG, how February almost gone already?

Okay, checkin' in... First, I'm away from home right now. I'm visiting Bronwyn, and I get to see a bunch of my people this weekend as we do a mini-retreat. So super stoked about that.

Now, looking at the goals I set for February in my last check-in post *covers face and peeks through fingers*

  • Continue with the self care and house stuff - definitely makes a happier, calmer me. 🙂 This, I rocked. I have stayed on track with this really well, and that makes me incredibly happy.
  • Complete Safeword Protected (Bound series) and Into the Deep (Albion's Circle series) - so close on both of these, and since they have been on my plate, so to speak, for so long, getting these completely done and released will be a huge, huge thing for me. Um...okay, this may have been a slightly unrealistic goal for me. I don't think I took into account the other non-writing stuff that would take up my time. BUT, I have made writing progress, making time nearly every day to write, and I'm still on track to complete Safeword Protected by the end of the month. So, I'm going to say "Good job, Jarman. Not perfect, but not bad." 
  • Complete all scheduled blog posts for the month. OMG, so freaking close on this one. I missed one post - because of craziness with the day job and having 2 day job projects that needed to be finished ASAP, so taking time away to do the blog post didn't happen. But I did almost all of them, AND I did all the flash fiction ones. So I'm calling is good...

So, February - not perfect, but I did accomplish a lot, so I'm pleased with that. Going to focus on the positive.

Onward to March goals:

  • Keep on keeping on with the self-care and house stuff
  • Publish Safeword Protected
  • Complete Into the Deep
  • Complete March Newsletter short.
  • Complete all scheduled March blog posts.
  • Update Writing Bujo
  • Put together Publishing and Marketing Bujo
  • Fix mss. templates

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Torrance Sené