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Today I started writing again for the first time in a long time. Actually, to be more accurate I'm editing a work in progress, desperately trying to find my voice for my characters again. In the process, I'm doing a lot of re-writing. It's a lot harder than I was expecting it to be, and a lot of things are changing in the story for the better.

It feels good to be writing again. It might not be amazing writing, but I'm working and creating and it's doing glorious things for my sanity. I've always said, I'm a storyteller, and if I can't tell my stories I get grumpy. Think Snickers commercial grumpy.

That's how you know you're a writer. You've gotta tell your stories.


Sep. 5th, 2017 02:40 pm
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I have a lot of weird dreams. A few of them I've shared here because they give me story ideas. It gives a glimpse into a world I might be creating (or will be soon). Sometimes, I forget my dreams and they come back to me later. I'm hoping that's the case with the latest one I had last night. So much of it is vague now even though for the first few hours of the day it was fresh. Lesson learned, I should have written about it while I had the chance!

I do remember it being about a refuge facility for those who were unique. A young man was charged with taking care of youth who wandered in. They all had different back stories and complications that the young man helped them deal with so they could go back home. It sounds like the beginning of what could be a fantastic series, perhaps something that involves multiple authors even.

Simple, and sweet. Sometimes, those make for the best stories and adventures, though. Right?

Would you read it?
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Another Achlivan Cycle Kiss.

* * * * *

As I gazed at Talia sitting across from me, her hand tightly holding the lead singer of Roleling’s, I realized how drastically different she and Chevelle actually were. Sure, they had a few things in common. I guess I’d always had a type, and that was intelligent, independent, and decisive. Without intelligence, I get bored. Independence is a must have given that I can’t have anyone clinging to me twenty-four/seven in my line of work. Decisive, well, usually, I need at least an hour to choose a restaurant on the fly. Yeah, I can be that bad. Those were the three common factors of Chevelle and Talia.

Appearances, they were drastically different. Talia being tall, but petite. Chevelle being about as average as a girl can get. Height, weight, proportions, she resembled the everyday eighteen-year-old. For some reason, she thinks that makes her undesirable to me. We’re getting there.

The way she and Talia handle life’s curveballs was also different as well as telling. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit stung that Talia was already dating another guy. At the same time, I realize I’m a total hypocrite seeing as how I had my eyes on Chevelle. I think what bugged me the most was that she jumped into his arms three days after I was taken from earth. Regardless of if she thought I was alive or not, three days? Wow. I didn’t even start thinking of Chevelle in a new way until at least two months passed.

However, she and Jake had history. He was the one who got away a few years back. The one she swore she was over, and that’s why it was okay for them to collaborate on songs all the time. Perhaps he was simply convenient, or maybe she realized just how much she still loved him. Whatever the case, they were together.

“No, it’s cool,” I said for the third time. “Seriously, I mean that.”

“And it doesn’t mean—” Talia began.

I held up a hand. “Let’s stop. The whole point I’m still meeting with you is to tell you everything that’s happened and what could be coming next.”

So I told her. About the Achlivans, why they came, and the offer on the table for her and Jake to take if they so choose. As long as they aren’t on my ship, I couldn’t care less. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that. Though I was starting to think about taking Chevelle up on the offer to burn the CD liner of Talia’s album. The tabloids said she wrote a whole new one dedicated all to me and the love we shared. I got a good laugh from that.

When I was done with my story, she chewed on her lip, clearly mulling everything over.

“Wow, you still want me to have a chance? You’re not writing me off to die?” she asked.

I shook my head. “That would be awfully petty of me, don’t you think? You, Nate, my parents, are all getting a chance because you’re important to me, and I’m important to them.”

“What about you?” she asked. “If Jake and I are together, and everyone has to be paired up, who—”

“You must have missed the part where I mentioned I have a female roommate,” I said quietly. “Not that we’re together.” Yet. “But I’m good so long as she wants me around. We’ll figure it out. Nate too. There are a lot of single women on the ship. I’m sure one true love is just around the corner.”

Talia frowned. “Tim…”

“I gotta go and prepare for my press conference,” I said, standing and glad for my time crunch because it was the perfect excuse for a quick exit.

Hard part was done. Closure obtained. Now I no longer had to feel guilty for thinking about kissing Chevelle anymore. Seeing Talia again did show me that I needed a little more time on my own before I did kiss Chevelle next. I had insecurities of my own to fight through, and only some of them we could battle together.
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From the upcoming "Water Touched"

* * * * *

As a dragon, Darien flew to Ceremony Island. The same place his father had once met his mother, and his brothers had met their wives. He did one full circle and made sure it was in fact void of all other humanoid life aside from her. The last thing his people needed was for a curious priest to break covenant and ruin everything. He had yet to kill. He never wanted it to come to that.

After he was sure the coast was clear, he made his descent to the designated clearing where the sacrificial alter was kept and Tai was restrained. Of course, she looked incredible in the getup the priests had given her to wear. He hadn’t been expecting to see…so much…and it made him falter a little. Why didn’t anyone warn me about that? Poor Tai, she must be freezing. And how degrading to put her on display like this. Then he caught a good whiff of her fear. Fear never smelled good to him. It reminded him too much of a dirty sock. When the scent wafted up to him, he felt sick to his stomach.

He landed, walking to her slowly, not wanting to frighten her even more than she already was. Scaring her was the last thing he wanted to do, but he couldn’t think of another way to approach her. Landing in the forest around the sacrificial alter wasn’t an option, there wasn’t enough room for his dragon body. Unless of course he killed a few trees to make room, but that would no doubt frighten her more. His only other choice would have been to transform into his human form on the beach, but then other humans might have seen him.

Of course, he could perform the transformation right there in front of her, but that didn’t sit well with him either. Her first time seeing him as a human needed to be special as well as practical. Changing from dragon to human would make it harder for him to reason with her than changing from human to dragon.

The last choice he had was to cast a sleeping spell on her. He breathed a light, gentle mist over her. It glittered slightly as it moved from out of his mouth and over her body. The magic inside of the mist was meant to relax her. She shook so hard with fear he was worried she might go into shock. And she was crying. He couldn’t stand it. All of that stopped when she breathed in the sparkling blue mist. In a few seconds, she was in a dreamless slumber.

Darien gave her a gentle nudge with his nose to make sure he hadn’t gone overboard. The smell of fear was now gone which helped his stomach to settle—sort of. She seemed okay, so that put him at ease. He could never get a handle on the potency of his own magic. From birth, he’d had an abundance of it. More than any other dragon in his tribe, even.

Another ten minutes passed before he decided to transform back into his human form.

After he changed shape, Darien straightened his clothes out. He wanted to look his best and make a good first impression for his bride. While his magic allowed for him to change forms and keep his clothing while doing so, it had a tendency to crease and wrinkle slightly somewhere in the process. Satisfied with the crisp, elegant appearance of his dress pants and white button down, he took the time to study his surroundings. He hadn’t actually taken the time to look at everything around him and see if the priests had done everything he requested.

The blue flowers he had wanted surrounded the altar where Tai was restrained, and there were many more than he could have ever imagined. There were several unlit candles, ready and waiting for use. Why not do something with them? While Tai slept, he took the time to light the candles, breathing blue fire from his mouth to do so. One of the simplest of spells, but whenever his brothers’ wives saw it in action, they always thought it a neat trick.

Once he had light to see better with, he sat down on the altar beside Tai and untied the knots binding her. Her body was shivering. I should have brought a blanket. Another thing he hadn’t been warned about in advance. Without another thought, he unbuttoned his shirt so he could wrap it around her torso. She was still cold. He placed a hand on her ankle and summoned a small bit of his magic to try warming her further.
I should bring her home. Let her wake up in comfort instead of here. She’ll be more receptive if she feels safe. Which meant he had to turn back into a dragon. Yeah, I have no idea what I’m doing.

He changed back quickly then gathered her carefully into his claws. In comparison, her body was so small and fragile. Carrying her back in such a way was not something he would enjoy. She should have been riding on his back, awake, and free. That was the exit from the island he had envisioned for them. Next time.

Thankfully, the flight home was fast and easy—or it seemed fast. The adrenaline continued to pump through his veins even though he was still only running on a handful of hours of sleep. He landed at the secret entrance to his apartment building—the one designed just for his family to fly in and out of without notice—and returned to human once again. From there, he went to the elevator that would let him out closest to his room. All of his family was graciously gone from the floor for the night, and would remain gone through most of the next day.

Once in his room, Darien pulled back the covers and lay Tai in the bed. He tucked her into the blankets, kissed her forehead, and then lie down next to her. With her by his side, the weariness and excitement from the day caught up with him. It wasn’t long until he too was asleep, finally feeling a peace for the first time in his life.
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An Achlivan Cycle Kiss.

* * * * *

Chevelle didn’t believe me when I told her I was starting to fall for her. I’m sure in her mind, I was suffering from some kind of bizarre version of Stockholm Syndrome. There’s the off chance that she could have been right. At the same time, so much of our lives had changed. If I had been normal and not a celebrity, I’d have fallen for her on Earth. She had been famous, the same thing applies. This is just how we happened to meet, and neither of us has control over those circumstances. Shouldn’t what matter be that we met in the first place? Why doubt everything?

I couldn’t keep rocking the boat. She wasn’t ready, and I respected that. One good skill I’ve learned from my years in the public eye is how to act as though everything is fine, even when it’s far from it. Keyword there is act. I’m an actor, it’s what I do, and sometimes that leaked into my reality. I always tried to keep myself real with my family and friends. There are days where it’s easier to nod and smile than cause a fight for no reason. I like to think everyone does this kind of acting.

That’s the kind of acting I did with her for a few days after my messy emotional confession in the kitchen. I acted. Cool as a cucumber on the outside, while on the inside I was a tornado of feelings and over analyzing. Because I do that. I overanalyze things. I dissect and understand. Then I solve. When I can’t come up with a solution, I get frustrated.

How do I solve this particular problem anyway? The problem being her believing that I meant what I said: I care for her. I’m falling in love with her.

Yeah, I still had to deal with the Talia situation. Two days and counting. Not looking forward to it. The only people I actually wanted to see were my parents and my best friend, Nathan.

“Shouldn’t have kissed her,” I mumbled to myself. It’d be a million degrees less awkward if I hadn’t done that. What was I thinking? Of course Chevelle is going to be intimidated and conservative. Our version of dating is drastically different. In Hollywood, we grab the moments we have and take them to the fullest because who knows when we’re going to be pulled apart. Chevelle had never had a boyfriend, and I got the feeling she was looking for someone to love for life. And she wanted to go about that process slowly.

I can slow down now. There’s nothing saying I have to rush. And I do want to find that one love. Not like our life would be perfect, but it does get exhausting moving from one person to the next, hoping to cure the disease of loneliness. Being lonely does feel a lot like a terminal illness.

She entered the apartment, Lara at her side. They were talking about colors to dye their hair for the next community shebang. Chevelle’s dark eyes met mine briefly, she blushed, and then lowered her gaze as she sat on the couch. In her hands was a book. My favorite book.

“I pushed it through the approval line extra fast.” She hesitated, then kissed my cheek. “Because I do think of you too.”

“Thank you, that means a lot,” I said honestly. A small nugget of encouragement. Perhaps she did feel the same way after all. Slow and steady. Slow and steady.
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Another "Battlefield" kiss.

* * * * *

Homecoming. Angela wanted to go. Orlando did not. It had nothing to do with the fact that it was a social function or a dance. He liked to dance, a lot. Not a fact he broadcasted much anymore, but he wouldn’t turn an opportunity to down when presented. Except he couldn’t go to Angela’s homecoming – he’d been expelled from her school a year ago and had no intention of going back even if it were allowed. Not when Jesse Jordan still attended, at least. And he definitely did not want to invite Angela to his homecoming dance. Not when his ex-girlfriend was a shoe-in for queen, and the student body had decided to nominate him for king. They had to have all been high that day, there was no other explanation.

If Angela and Tait didn’t actually know each other, he’d have considered it, but they were old cheer buddies. Practically BFFs once upon a time. It’d be awkward. He and Angela hadn’t made their relationship social media official. The most anyone knew was he was dating someone, and he got the feeling people thought he was lying about it to keep the eligible ladies of Lunar Falls – Tait included – from pouncing.

Angela coming to the dance would prove he wasn’t lying. There was that perk, but all of the potential drama out weighted that one positive. For being dramatic, Orlando didn’t like drama.

“You’re not mad are you? I hate robbing you of the opportunity to wear a sparkly dress,” he said quietly. He knew how much she loved to glam herself up for any occasion.

She gave a small shrug. “I can go on my own. Won’t be as fun without you to dance with during the slow songs, but it’s not the end of the world. There’s still next year. When I’m a senior, your arch nemesis will be gone. No one in my class remembers you. The only reason anyone from yours still does is because Jesse will make a comment about ‘the incident’ every so often. Sometimes he tells everyone you’re in jail.”

“My dreams of leaving a lasting legacy have been shattered,” he deadpanned. “Are you sure?”

Angela kissed him, soft and sweet. “I’m not mad. Promise.”
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Another Achlivan Cycle Kiss

Read on here! )
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Another "Battlefield" kiss.

* * * * *

A month. They’d been dating a whole month, and Angela respected that Orlando wanted to take things slow, to do it right, and that they weren’t ready for a number of relationship milestones. Still, was it unbelievable for her to expect a first kiss? A month was hardly an unreasonable amount of time. The most they did was hold hands, or put an arm around the other. What was wrong with her that he didn’t want to kiss her?

He kissed Tait. When they were dating, he mentioned it a few times. They made out on the couch. What gives? She huffed.

“Problem?” he asked, glancing over at her.

She shook her head. “Nope.”

Orlando grabbed the remote and paused the movie they’d been watching. “Yep.”

“Come on, I want to see the end,” she protested, not wanting to fight. They’d fight if she told him what was going through her mind. Either that, or he’d laugh at her silly insecurities.

He raised an eyebrow. “Like you haven’t seen it before. It’s one of your constant go to movies.”

For a reason. We’re not supposed to actually watch it. She gripped the hem of her shirt tightly. “The ending happens to be my favorite part. I pick it a lot because I like it.”

“I know. I like it too. But I can pause it, and we can watch the end after you tell me what the problem is. Let me do my manly job and help.”

She glared at him. “And here I thought you were above stereotypes.”

“Your sarcasm radar is broken. Why are you mad?” he pressed.

Why did he have to know her so well? “Am I gross?” she asked at last.

He laughed. “What? No. Why are you asking? Someone at school? I can send them a glitter bomb, teach them a lesson.”

She couldn’t help but crack a smile. It faded quickly. “You won’t kiss me,” she said.

“So you assume it’s because I think you’re gross?” He scowled. “Your logic doesn’t make sense.”

“You kissed Tait.”

“She’s different.”

“And prettier.”

“Hardly.” He rolled his eyes in true Orlando fashion. “Don’t judge me for what I’m about to say.”

“Um…okay?” What horrible truth was he going to tell?

Orlando took in a deep breath. “I don’t kiss you because I’m afraid that if we start, we won’t be able to stop. The way I…want to be with you…is a lot different than anything I ever felt when I was with Tait. I know, I’m a pig.”

“Pigs are still cute.” She paused, the realization dawning on her that he wanted to sleep with her hitting hard. That he wanted that with her and not Tait. She was probably doing her tomato impression. “M-most of the time, I mean. They’re cute. At least you know you’re a pig.”

“Ouch,” he mumbled.

She lay her head on his shoulder. “I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit, Orly. You’re a good guy. You respect me.”

“I do.”

“And there is no way you can talk me into anything I don’t want to do,” she added. “Which I don’t want to, not yet, just like I know you don’t want to yet, and I’m cool with that. We’re on the same page.”

He nodded. “See? I over analyze things too.” That got him a poke in the side. He yelped, ever the ticklish one. “It’s hard, okay? Stop torturing me for being aware of my hormones.”

The double meaning had her laughing so hard she fell off the couch.

“You and your brother are cut from the same cloth after all.” He narrowed his gaze at her. “There are days I wonder. Then you do things like that.”

She gazed up at him from the floor. “Oh come on, you love it.”

“I do.” He said it so softly. “I mean, I love you, so it’s a given, right?”

The three words. Right there. She gave him a tiny smile. “I love you too.” She rose to her knees. “Now we have to kiss. For real.”

He didn’t hesitate. He got off of the couch to meet her lips with his own. Slow, sweet, and patient. Like he was savoring the moment. And after the moment passed, he gazed down at her, their bodies still close together. “Yeah, I don’t want to stop.”

Angela didn’t either. She put her hands on his chest, knowing the moment wasn’t their moment to have. Not yet. “But you did just fine. So no reason to be afraid. I got you. I won’t let you take it too far. And I trust you, so I know you won’t push it there either.”

Nervously, he leaned in and kissed her again. This one less intense, though still delightful in its own way. “I’m convinced. Kissing can be added to the agenda more often.”

“I concur.” She wanted another, but decided for the time being they’d had enough. “Am I that scary?”

“You? No, not usually. When you’re mad, yes.” He raked his lower lip between his teeth. “The thought of losing you for good? That’s terrifying. And I don’t want to be like—”

“I know.” Orlando didn’t want to be like her brother, the guy who played with hearts and burned every romantic bridge he crossed. As much as she loved JD, he did have a way of being incredibly selfish. Orlando taking note of those mistakes was telling. He meant it when he said he was taking their relationship seriously. Which begged the question: was he hoping to marry her someday?

The thought scared her and excited her at the same time. She needed to get out of high school before that happened, but how soon after graduating would she want to wait before taking the plunge? No, I’m reading too much into it. For the moment, she’d be happy he loved her. That was more than enough.
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From Displaced. Free through June 6th, 2017.

* * * * *

There’s this girl on the ship named Rumor. I don’t think that’s her real name, and I know she’s not a girl, but she has the maturity of a child. She looks at Timber like he’s a piece of meat. We haven’t met, but I’ve seen her gazing his way every time he and I are out of the apartment. It’s been about a month here on the ship and I can tell she’s spent all that time trying to claim Timber as her next bed warmer. Cause that’s what she does. Finds a guy who looks fun, takes him at all costs, and spends him dry. Bad news.

We were at the park outside the school. Lara was playing on the playground while Timber did his work out. Guy liked to use the equipment to keep his six pack fully stocked. The hormonal young woman in me enjoyed the show. I hated that Rumor was too.

Her voice trailed toward me. “Tim, sweetie, it’s clear she’s not interested. Why make life here more difficult. We’re supposed to prepare for Sanctuary—for our forever. Clearly, you’re not meant to be. Expand your horizons.”

I didn’t hear his reply. As if on autopilot, I made my way toward them. Time to set her straight.

I walked up to Timber, pushing Rumor away in the process, grabbed him by the back of the neck and pulled his lips to mine. It wasn’t perfect, clean, or magical. It probably sucked as far as kisses went. Wouldn’t know since I never got around to kissing anyone ever back home. He had a girlfriend, so I knew he’d hate every second.

But it got the point across. He wasn’t going anywhere. Not until he either chose to leave, or his girlfriend made it aboard the ship.

Rumor stomped off. Timber blinked a few times.

“Thanks,” he said, breathless.

I made a celebrity breathless – score. I winked. “You’re welcome.”
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From the Battlefield universe. Currently off sale, but here's a reason you should pick it up when it returns.

* * * * *

When Angela had told Orlando she needed space from him, she hadn’t expected him to take the request so seriously. )
cloudsriser: (water touched)
Notes: An alternate universe of the Achlivan Cycle. If you want to know more about these characters, you can read the book here.

* * * * *

Wicken, Timber, Lara, and myself all surrendered peacefully to these…attackers at the mall. All of us congregated by the entrance as instructed, and we waited…and waited…until some guy named Paul separated us. He pointed at us like cattled and commanded us to go when called—or else. Wicken was called away with the first group of people. Mostly young adults around his age. I’m not sure what that meant. Timber and I were the only grown-ups in our group. The rest were all kids.

Timber, Lara, and I were the last to leave. We teleported to a space ship. Yeah, a space ship, teleportation, wild stuff. Then we were put in an apartment, and I think that puts us up to pace.

I’m pretty sure I started hyperventilating, or maybe I fainted. One minute I was standing, looking in our swanky new pad, and the next I’m slumped against Timber’s chest.

“Here,” he said, helping me into a dining room chair. “I’ll get you some water.”

“Thanks,” I managed.

Paul seemed to nod with approval. “Yes, you two will get along well.”

“That’s great and all, but that matters why?” I asked.

Timber brought me the glass of water just as Paul dropped the next bombshell on us – we were expected to act as a couple. Live together. All the other things that come with dating. Not right away, but eventually – or else. Some screwed up form of an alien dating service. Flattered they put me with Timber Hudson, teen heart throb, and actor extraordinaire, but…no. We don’t know each other.

Timber pointed that out.

“Get to know one another and we can reevaluate the situation,” Paul said. “You’re not being forced to do anything. Only highly encouraged.”

“I have a girlfriend,” Timber said.

Paul sighed. “This is temporary. We’ll find you a suitable arrangement that makes everyone happy. For now, don’t cause a fuss or the Achlivans will send you to go live with the trouble makers.”

Yeah, that probably wasn’t a good idea.

“What about Wicken?” I asked. “Is he here?”

“The other young man you were with at the mall?” Paul asked. I nodded. He smiled. “He’s been placed on another ship. You will reunite on Sanctuary.”

“Huh?” I asked.

“I’ll explain later.”

Of course.

Paul glanced between Timber and I. “For now, just be reassured you are safe and this is a good thing.”

A few more minor details were given. When he was coming back to show us around our new habitat, etc. Once he was out the door, I pinched myself. Yeah, this was all real.

“I need food,” Timber said.

I laughed. “Funny, I was just thinking that.”

“Really?” His dreamy one blue and one green eyes were wide.

“Subconciously, yeah.”

“What do you eat?”

I raised an eyebrow. “What don’t I eat?”

“Guess I’ll let the kitchen tell me.” He moved into the next room, and I watched him explore the cupboards and refrigerator for a little while. He seemed quite comfortable in there, and there were a lot of choices for him to pick from.

While he cooked, I took the time to calm down. I had to turn my brain on and stop oogling over him. I needed to think.

The three of us ate some pasta dish that had roasted tomatoes and asparagus and it was amazing. I ate two bowls. Lara eventually went to bed, seemingly unfazed by the whole situation which was weird since she couldn’t be older than six. Her parents didn’t sound like good people though from what little she told us. She was probably better off.

“We have to pretend we’re a couple.” I groaned.

He scoffed. “Gee, thanks.”

“You’re not the problem,” I mumbled. My cheeks flushed with heat. How could Timber be the problem? He was perfection in human form.

“It’s just acting,” he said. “Won’t be hard to do.”

I laughed. “Please…” It’d be easy for me to be attracted to Timber – I already was. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a straight female on the planet who wasn’t attracted to him. Him attracted to me? Whole other story. I was a normal, slightly chubby, eighteen-year-old girl. Not a super model like all of his highly publicized relationships. Comparatively, I was gross.

“I’m not joking.” He moved closer. “From the little I know of you, I can tell you’re a catch. Pretty and smart.”

He thinks I’m pretty? He thinks I’m pretty! Ugh, I’m pathetic. Of course that’s all I can think about. Timber. Hudson. Thinks. I’m. Pretty.

Then he kissed my cheek ever so gently.

“See? Easy.” He winked and left the dining room.
cloudsriser: (water touched)
When I first started writing, I was involved in the world of fan fiction. It's my gateway into writing, and I'll always have a soft spot for it in my heart.

One of the things fan fiction writers participate in are prompt challenges. The prompts are collected in what is called a Table of Doom. The goal? Finish the table for your chosen fandom. Sometimes, this involved claiming a favorite couple or character to focus on their adventures.

It's been a long time since I've done this. Recently, there's been a revival of the challenge on DreamWidth where I keep this blog. The goal? Write fifteen stories involving a kiss between your two chosen characters. In this particular challenge, I'm allowed to claim an original setting. So I did. I claimed three different couples from three different universes and I'll be using three different prompt tables.

Here are the prompt tables:

Timber/Chevelle: Aquarius

001.Challenge 002.Straight 003.Boat 004.Manipulate 005.Petite
006.Rose 007.Tempt 008.Oppose 009.Exuberant 010.Anger
011.Deafening 012.Tea 013.Weakness 014.Deep 015.Blue

Orlando/Angela: Aries

001.Squeal 002.Curse 003.Repulsive 004.Endure 005.Repress
006.Thunderstruck 007.Fire 008.Dance 009.Wings 010.Peace
011.Resplendent 012.Luxury 013.Genuflect 014.Empire 015.Dusk

Darien/Tai: Virgo

001.Heaven 002.Vulgar 003.Dignity 004.Restraint 005.Reprimand
006.Stingy 007.Generous 008.Bliss 009.Blind 010.Heavy
011.Burden 012.Mystery 013.Curiosity 014.Mystify 015.Obsequious

I hope you enjoy this adventure as much as I do.
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It's easy to be lazy. I think that's why a lot of people seek lazy out - it's easy. Sometimes, we need easy in our lives. After working a long day, going through a rough time, we need that moment to breathe and relax before getting hit with the next wave of tough.

A couple of months ago, I had a car accident that left me with a mild TBI. Not a big deal, really. My doctors stressed I should take it easy and make my way back into the working world gently. Because I work from home, take the time off from writing. Don't push it. Spend a week doing nothing.

I did, and it was great. Just what I needed. Week two rolled up, though, and I still wasn't "feeling it". My body still felt all kinds of off. My head hurt, my body was tense, and my equilibrium was shot pretty bad. So I took another week off.

Week three, I did a little bit of work. That was about all I could stomach before the headache came back and my frustration rolled in as words became harder to find after about an hour of working. Side note: I usually work for about three or four hours, and that's just dedicated writing time. Some days, I do even more.

Week three turned into week four, and then five, and then six. I think I'm at week eight or nine, and something still feels "off". And ya know, maybe it is still related to the accident. It also might just be me stuck in the habit of lazy. I'm done kicking myself if that's the case.

Now, I tried to jump back in full speed ahead and failed miserably. So how do I overcome the lazies and get back on track? Patience and diligence. This is just the "step by step" program I'm using, but feel free to give it a try and maybe it'll work for you too.

STEP ONE: Set reasonable goals.
STEP TWO: Come up with an ideal time frame to achieve those goals.
STEP THREE: Prioritize all of the goals.
STEP FOUR: Work through the highest priority to the lowest.
STEP FIVE: Be flexible and adjust goals as needed.
STEP SIX: Be gentle if you fail.

It's going okay so far. I'm not succeeding all of the time, but I'm not failing all of the time either. The biggest thing is being gentle with myself when I don't make it. Get up and try again. Most days, I don't do all the things, but I'll get through at least half and that's a big step in and of itself.
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I had a dream last night about Nancy and P. P doesn't have a real name just yet, but he's a quiet boy. Tall, dark, and handsome, and loves to read. Nancy is the popular cheerleader type, though she's not mean like a lot of the other girls on her squad. she's actually pretty cool. P and Nancy are in love, though given high school politics they're keeping that to themselves. Except that they're going to come out as a couple on Prom.

Nancy is given a prom queen nomination. Yey Nancy! She and P find some place quiet to celebrate. Things get a bit...intense, but since they're in the middle of school it's kind of hard to find some place quiet and private for that sort of thing. They discover a new door in the empty classroom where they're hiding out. The new door leads to a small apartment of sorts. Thinking nothing of it, they shut the door and lock it.

After their desires are dealt with, they head back to the classroom. Nancy goes through, and P is about to when the door shuts and locks him inside. Time passes, perhaps days, and the doors open again.

Only it wasn't days that passed, it was years. Seventeen of them to be exact. Nancy is engaged to be married, teaching at the school, and P has two daughters enrolled in high school now. He stumbles out into a whole new world. Everything is different. Is there anyway he can take back those missing years? To make things right?

Would you read it?
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Going to get deep here, and if you don't agree with me about all of this, that's fine. I'm not going to get into any debates about it, so please don't try and start one or pick a fight.

Today I'm going to talk about faith. I have a lot of it, and yet not enough. I'm a Christian, and there's a lot of stuff in the Bible that is hard to understand. One of my biggest struggles with my faith is when my brain can't make sense of a lot of stuff. How can God make everything? How can he write the order of the universe? Etc. How do we know that it's not all made up? What is the meaning of life? All those deep questions that people pretend they aren't plagued with, but totally are. Why? Because we're humans and we need to understand everything. I think it's in our nature. Understanding means control. Control means safety. Control means we get to decide how it's all going - not the other way around.

It says in the bible that we are designed in God's image. God is a creative deity. Has to be. Have you platypuses? Tapirs? Some of the things that live in the ocean? Totally wild stuff. Humans are creative because God is creative. How can God create a universe? People do it all the time through their imaginations. Through fiction. When we create these worlds in our mind, they come with rules that we dictate. Harry Potter has a set of rules of how magic works and how certain things function. I've done the same thing with my dragons world, my aliens, my Muses. It's not weird or wrong to be creative.

How can God know the beginning from the end, but still let us have free will? This one I didn't get for a long time. I sat around and thought about that one pretty hard the other night. What's interesting is that as I'm writing, I know the beginning and the end of my stories. The middle has a few key points that need to occur too. However, there's always that moment where the personalities of my characters take it in a new direction. I can try to control it, but it isn't the right thing to do. It makes the experience hollow and lose meaning.

What is the meaning of life? That, I still don't know. We are all part of history. Our legacy might be simple to make way for someone else's legacy that is grand. I don't have all of the answers to all of the questions out there. I don't think I ever will have them all. My brain isn't going to make sense of things. My heart might eventually, and we are asked to believe with our hearts, not our minds. Hearts can find truth.

I know this is kind of rambly and clunky, but I guess the point is: God can be found in anything. If this helps someone else understand why I believe what I do, then cool. That's kind of all I was going for. That and how I use fiction to express my faith. That you can use fiction to express your faith without beating people over the head with it. That expression is sometimes asking those hard questions and seeing if you can find an answer. Or...seeing if you can be content without one.
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It's spring break here, and while I'm not going on an exotic vacation to a far off land where there will be lots of rowdy wild fun, I will be going on an exotic vacation to a far off land of the imagination. I'm not sure yet on the wild fun aspect of the adventure just yet, but I can guarantee it will be an adventure.

There might be the assumption that I'm talking about my own book writing adventuring. That will certainly be happening, but today I'm going to talk about how that adventuring will be happening when I read (and game, I confess I do plan on playing a great deal of video games too).

See, the kids and I are reading books together this break. It's been a lot of fun for them as well as for me. Reading is important and not just because it works your brain in a new way. It invites the imagination, and if you don't like fiction you can still use your imagination with non-fiction too. You learn something new when you read, I think that one is a given. Whether it's a life lesson, or just a new fact. Reading also teaches patience as there is no immediate gratification involved. You have to wait to turn those pages. Earn each one. Work for the story to get to the end and devote time to it.

That last one is the thing that keeps me from doing it the most. I confess, it is hard for me to sit down and dedicate an hour of my time to reading. Because I need at least an hour or I won't stay immersed enough in the story to make real progress. I'm a slow reader and it takes me time to really get into a book. Ten minutes here and there is like when I take ten minutes to do writing: I just don't connect the way I should. At the very least, I need half an hour of time to dedicate to the story. So I'm trying to work on that. Letting myself have time to slip away.

Because it's important to take a vacation of some kind.

And that's how I'm spending Spring Break. On vacation, in a book, and remembering I don't need to be in the NOW all of the time.


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