Helen tossed off the covers. She couldn’t sleep. It had only been a few hours since Cindy had dropped her off, after yet another all night session testing the limits of her abilities, tipsy on wine and drunk on power. She had stumbled to the bedroom, thrown away her burnt-up clothes, and flopped into bed. She fell into sleep like a diver into a pool.
She hadn’t expected to resurface again so soon. She checked the bedside clock. Four-thirty a.m. Too late to be called night and too early to be called morning. But her eyelids were up, and she shook with a restless energy. She knew this feeling. It was excitement.
The round of experiments with Cindy last night had shown her what she could do. And she wanted to do more. It had been a long time since her limits had been stretched, since the world had seemed new and exciting. God, what a rush! It was like being in love.
She sat on the edge of the bed for a moment and then padded to the closet and pulled on a long T-shirt. It had been her husband’s and proved more durable than he had. She wondered if it were possible to buy fireproof clothing.
Moving quietly through the apartment, she made her way to the kitchen and to the patio doors at the back. She stepped through into the patch of grass that had sufficed as a yard for Mary’s barbecue party a week or so ago.
Helen looked around. The windows of the two apartments above Mary’s overlooked the yard, but they were dark. The back of the yard was bordered by some kind of industrial strength hedges, probably to protect the homeowners behind from having to see the seedy, little apartment dwellers smoking their cigarettes and drinking their beer.
Helen willed a ball of fire into her hand and made it roll. She tossed it from one hand to the other, rolling it across her arms and laughing. She balanced it on one finger like Wilt Chamberlain and made it spin, first one direction and then another. She made a second and a third ball and tried to juggle them. Whenever she dropped one in the grass, she stomped out the small fire with her bare foot and made a replacement.
When she tired of fire juggling, she decided to try other shapes. She made a sort of spear, a long thin flame. She bent it around itself until it was a ring. She spun it in the air and then around one wrist, like it was a hula-hoop. She thought about spinning it around her waist, but knew the shirt would never survive it. She didn’t want to end up naked in her daughter’s backyard.
God, this was fun. She hadn’t had this kind of fun in years. She lined up a couple of beer cans and soda bottles in various parts of the yard and, making her finger into a gun, shot them with small blasts of fire, leaving smoking piles of melted tin can and broken glass.
She was trying to decide what to do next, when she froze, stopped by a small squeak. The sliding door squeaked in its track. Helen turned, just in time to see her wide-eyed daughter poking her head out the small opening she had made. Her voice sounded almost childlike, like she was afraid. “Mom?”
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I had triplets today. Three brain children.
Three of my book babies were sent out into the world to seek their fortunes. Hmmm . . .may have to work on that metaphor. Makes me sound too much like the mother in the three little pigs, and I'm hoping to avoid the wolves.
It really is such a lovely feeling though, getting your work out there into the world. So grateful for all the help I've had getting this far.
It's time to celebrate so the youngest and I made cupcakes. :-)
Today, I sent out an author newsletter announcing the re-release of my novels through a new publisher. I also changed all my pictures and banners on all the different social media platforms I play on so as to stop using the picture of me holding that first book with its old cover and the old covers.
It felt really good. Like fresh coat of paint or complete makeover good. That new beginning feeling like I get when a new semester begins and I get new students and the possibilities are all still on the horizon. Such buoying optimism!
Despite the signed contract in my hand (or really, on my hard drive), the thing that made this rebirth moment for my novels feel real was getting my new covers and knowing my release date (February 7). So, one more time (then I promise I'll stop sharing my new covers . . .for today at least): Meet the Menopausal Superheroes for the first time all over again.
#smileaday Making space!
I've been slowly transforming the smallest bedroom in our house into a writing room for myself. It's slow going. Money and time are two things I'm always short on. For a couple of months, there's been this big pile of displaced things taking up half the room: college girl's belongings that didn't got with her but are still wanted, furniture and shelving that I haven't figured out if I still have a need and use for yet, toys and belongings left from when this was the tween's room, etc.
We moved everything that wasn't temperature sensitive into the half-way finished attic today and voila! The room feels room-sized now! Tomorrow, I'm hoping to start removing the wallpaper. Maybe I can get some new paint on my walls before the end of February!
This week was a low fiction week as I had a lot of writing business to handle to prepare for Illogicon, a local sci-fi and fantasy convention. But I did add a couple of hundred words to my current short story.
This one is called "Bad Luck House" and fits in to a series of stories I've been writing, which I call "The ShadowHill Stories." They are all weird/supernatural tales that take place in a suburban neighborhood much like the one I live in. This one is about a house that can't seem to keep a tenant. Here's an excerpt from what I wrote on it this week:
For the past couple of years, I've taken on a #52weekproject and a #365dayproject. In 2017, I tried a new recipe every week and posted and responded to a poem every day. In 2018, I wrote about #dailylight every day: something good about each set of 24 hours. I also try to read a book a week (though that one doesn't quite work out on that timing: I always read more than 52 books, but they don't always neatly finish in a seven day span). I have a five year long chain of writing at least 250 words a day (which shows how well this habit building, commitment to myself thing works for me.
I know that some people hate this sort of thing, but I look at it as a commitment to myself, a promise that I will do these small things that bring me pleasure and make my days better.
For this year, I'm going to play a game a week for my 52 Week Project.
My family and I are big into boardgames, card games, videogames, roleplaying games, etc.
We have too many. I won't have to buy a new game to find 52 different ones to play over the course of the year.
I'm hoping this will get some of the ones that haven't made it off the shelves onto my table and into our hearts and minds.
I know it breaks my husband heart when a game sits unplayed.
I'm also looking for the "us together having fun" part of that.
Our children are at branching out ages, and it's hard to find something we all love, but we always come together over the gaming table.
So, in a way, this is my promise to have more family time.
Last year's #dailylight 365 day project proved really important to my mental health. It was a hard year. You guys know, you were there, too.
Definitely hard on creative, sensitive sorts like me. So many of my friends suffered mental and emotional anguish and found it hard to move forward on their creative endeavors, when it felt like the world was burning down around us and our basic assumptions about the goodness of humanity were proven false and ridiculous.
So, my #365project this year will be in a similar vein: #smileaday . I'm planning to write about one thing that made me smile each day.
You know, the whole "even in darkness there is light" thing. Choose your wizard. Gandalf, Dumbledore.
It helps me to remember to take a moment and notice it.
Are any of the rest of you project people like this? What are you taking on in the new year?
But nope, 7:30 and I'm awake.
But a cup of tea, a biscuit, and a finished chapter written in a room lit only by soft morning sunlight later…I'm good. That was lovely.
This is O'Neill. In the picture, he's watching me write, and sharing my hippo footstool. He's a great writing coach. He lets me tell him stories and listens very patiently, even when the stories don't quite make sense yet. He's a big-picture sort of guy that way.
When I've been sitting here too long, he lets me know it's time to go for a walk or get a snack. If I seem agitated, he'll put a paw on my knee or nudge a nose under my elbow to remind that it's okay. I've always got him.