“Shadows Over the Moon” – a short story

I had told myself that I wasn’t going to write today.  Why?  Because I lost a short writing competition, again.  So I have been wallowing in a mud pile of self-pity since I received the email telling me I didn’t make it. I know that I’m not the only one writing pieces for these competitions.  I did, however, have really high hopes for this piece. Especially since I am trying to get a book deal, I know that it would give me quite a boost to get recognition with something like this.  I have copied my short story below. Feel free to give me your thoughts and feedback.

Shadows Over the Moon

     I kept walking, with my head down to stave off the cold.  My fingers were purple and stiff.  I was afraid of folding them for fear that I would lose pieces to the wind.  I had no idea where I was going, only that I had been thrown out.  My tears froze on my face and I could remove them as icicles.  If only I was close to my family, but they had sent me to that house to serve.  They needed the money.  Besides, with a growing belly I would not only be a shame but a burden.

     The wind picked up as if it too wanted to condemn me.  As if it had the right to judge me.  I cried harder and fell on the ground.  Now I was not only cold, I was wet.  I closed my eyes and thought how cruel it was to die this way, alone on a street that I had walked every day to go buy bread for the ingrates that had put me out in it tonight.

    I heard the howl of a wolf and looked up to  find its shadow on the moon.  My stomach released itself and a light went on in the house to the right.  “Help,” I yelled, although it appeared to be a whisper.  The wind lowered its force and twice more I said it.  I heard voices, footsteps, and I felt a hand on my shoulder.

     Stiff as bark, I was picked up and carried away, one of my arms instinctively protecting the bastard that I did not want to keep.

**** I hope you enjoyed reading this.  And although, I have been feeling sorry for myself, I will only continue writing.  Many of the greats struggled to get their start, right?

Creative Process

Often, when reading a different book by the same author, I ask myself how it is that they have been able to create characters that are completely different from one another as well as the story lines.  I always assumed that it would be extremely difficult to create a character that has different characteristics and not go back to what is already written.

Now, I am in the creative process.  I finished one book and I’m in the process of writing a second book.  And I’ve got to say, that one book is completely different from the other.  Words are different, plot is different, and characters are different.

The creative process is exciting.  Once a story starts taking shape in ones mind those special characters guide us along telling us what they’re feeling and living.  I know that sounds crazy but for all of you that are writers, you will understand.  We must give a true voice to those voices in our heads.

Let’s keep creating and weaving worlds that will hopefully reach the right people to help them feel good or just right.

Feelings while writing

Have you ever written anything that physically drains you?  That moves you to tears even though you know that you are the one weaving the thread?

I have been told, by my husband, that I put “too much” into my writing.  That I try too hard.  What’s my response?  I want people to read what I write and identify.  To have the need to reach for that box of tissues or two.  To feel a constricted heart and sympathy.

All of my writing is not sad or tear-jerking, I do have some comedic pieces.  But the story occupying my mind write now is one laced with loss and grief.  I am searching the depth of my characters bringing out, or trying to bring out, who they are.

I want everyone that reads my male lead character to struggle with love/hate feelings. That’s how complex he needs to be.  Therefore, I must become him so that he is believable and real.

“When writing a novel, a writer should create living people, people not characters.  A character is a caricature.” — Ernest Hemingway

I have a hard road ahead of me, but a very interesting one at that.  I can not wait to finish this story and have it ready to present it to you all.

Needing to Vent

Today is a day for venting.  Why?  Because I had a good/bad day.  I know life isn’t fair, and that we don’t always get what we want or what we believe we deserve.  And quite honestly, I am usually one of the first ones to throw a feel-good quote out there.  But there are those occasions when things get to me and I can’t help it.

If you are reading this and you don’t believe in venting, I apologize.  If you also had a bad day or a bad moment and also need to let it go, feel free to do so in the comments section.  I’ve heard it’s good to write things down and then crumple the paper or in this case we can throw it out to the cyberspace and maybe forget it that way.

So, what happened to merit this meltdown?  Sales.  The constant requirement of up-selling and offering something to everyone we wait on.  I know, on my last post I talked about not worrying about the things I can’t change.  But sometimes, circumstances makes it close to impossible to ignore.

For example, the computer systems used to track sales are not flaw free.  However, management takes those numbers as if they were the law.  They don’t take into consideration all the work that gets put in to generating the sales, and many fall through the cracks.  But the expectation is still there.  So we have to be amazing with a flawed tracker.

I know my line of work is not the only one that has goals or deadlines, and usually I’m okay with that because I understand the need to grow a business.  What I have an issue with, is when the associates are streched to the point of breaking and it happens relentlessly day after day after day.

Sad part is, I enjoy what I do, for the most part.  If only everything was taken into consideration.  It’s not my dream job.  I’m still hoping I can land that one.

And what’s even worse than all I’ve complained about above… I can’t sing!!!   🙂

Stressed at Work

There was a time when I looked exactly like this clip art.  I was going around in circles trying to please everyone in the company I was working for.  Every day I would wake up and go to work, dreading the day ahead of me.  After a couple of promotions, I figured I was on my way to a smooth ride.  How wrong I was.  My paychecks looked better but the workload was more than doubled.  The expectations were quadrupled and the goals were set so astronomically high, I never had a chance to reach them.

Then I started having an insistent pain around the area of my liver, that three doctors could not figure out.  Finally, the last doctor decided that it was an issue with my gallbladder and surgery was scheduled.  Here I was almost a year later and the pain was not gone.  So I decided it was time to change jobs.  Why?

Well, aside from the fact that I was being looked at as a non-perfomer, the level of stress that I was experiencing was making me irritable and it was zapping all of my energy.  I had enough patience to wake up in the morning and then it was gone.  My children could not do anything right and I was always yelling and arguing.  I even started to develop a rigidity in my neck, I assume from carrying the bulk of my stress there.  So I had to find a solution.

I started applying for different positions and one came along that would allow me to have the same benefits I was enjoying but it was, in theory, going to be an easier job.  I took it.  At first, the change, the training, the getting to know everything and the expectations started getting to me again.  Then I decided I needed to make a change in me.

Four months later, I am now relaxed.  I am content.  But now I am convinced that stress does affect ones body and mind to where we can become debilitated.  So, how can a person help stop the damaging effects of stress?  I must add a disclosure here, I am not a doctor nor in the medical field, but I wanted to see if it was stress that was affecting me so.  So I did some research and this is what I found.

First, you must recognize how stress is personally affecting you.  If you are tense, this means the muscles are constantly on guard preventing relaxation and can lead to musculoskeletal disorders.  The respiratory system can also be affected, causing shortness of breath or hyperventilation.  We can be at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disorders, and it can even elevate blood sugar levels.  The drain in energy that we can experience comes from the constant fight our nervous system has to do to try to keep us at what is normal for us.

Then you must try to help your body.  This can be done through respiratory techniques, meditation, joining a support group, or, if possible, removing yourself from the stressful situation.

For me, I experienced several of these indicators and I can’t say that I am completely free of stress.  However, I am no longer a copy of the caricature attached to this post. Now I change what I can and leave alone what I can’t.

Such is Life

There was a point and time, when I was growing up, that I envisioned my life as an adult.  I knew that I would marry and have children, although I never gave much thought to how many or if I prefered boys or girls.  I just knew I wanted a family.

And then the time.  Never, in my wildest dreams could I have come up with the family that I have been blessed with.  Starting with my husband, who has learned or is attempting to learn, the art of putting up with me.  I can have a very difficult temperament and even so he doesn’t seem to mind.  I’m sure I irritate the heck out of him, and sometimes I push his buttons enough to where we have an argument, but in the end all is well.

Then came our kiddos.  Two handsome boys and a darling girl.  Those kids light up my life and give me a reason to be someone better.  They give their love unconditionally and accept me as I am.  They teach me something new every single day, and I don’t know if I am shaping them or if they are shaping me.  They can be very hard headed, adamant and strong willed, but also loving, kind and soft.  All of these traits, I hope, will turn them into well rounded adults.

I wish I could say that my life has turned out to be a fairy tale.  That my kids will turn out perfect.  But, I know that is not all true. I just hope and pray that I can do good by them and maybe, just maybe they can be happy.  I know for a fact that they have filled my heart and it beats steady and happy thanks to them.

I am very fortunate to be a mother to these little ones and a wife to my honey.

I wish for the same for everyone.  True love is sometimes hard to come by.  We can’t dream it into reality and we can’t pretend, but we can search until we find it.  And when we do, never, ever let go.

The Last Promise by Richard Paul Evans

I just finished reading this marvelous work of art.  My reaction?  Sigh, wipe a few happy tears and cheers for the culmination of the story.

It is very seldom that I am so immersed in a story that I feel like it’s real.  That is the case with the story of Ross and Eliana.  Every word, every chapter showed me who they were and I got to know them.

At first I wasn’t sure where the story was going to take me but once it got going, I could not put it down.  The depth of emotions was addictive.  The purity of their love was refreshing.  Every scene they’re in is charged with a deep rooted love.  You can feel it pulling you with them.  The relationship is based on love not lust.  They don’t fall into bed at the first chance they get or every chapter there after.  Their bond grows from getting to know each other, from trust.

I will not give any spoilers, if you have not had the chance to read this story.  But if you do choose to do so, you will not be disappointed.

Eliana is living in Italy with her son Alessio and the sometimes present Maurizio, her husband.  She is not living the fairytale everyone, including her, expected.  She knows that her husband is unfaithful but she doesn’t see a way out.  She has no hope. Intro, Ross.  The tenant that hails from America with an unknown past, but with the heart to help her find her way.  The choices she has to make are not easy but they are necessary to find her true self.  The happiness that can only be hers.

Set in countryside Italy, you can enjoy the food and wine while you witness love unfold before you.  With love in the air, it is the perfect book.

Now I shall have to find more books by this author.  I am sold on his prose.