• K.S. Thomas

Writers everywhere don't call this month November...It's NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.

The general idea is to write 50k words - the magic number of words deemed acceptable to be considered a novel - all over the course of one month. There are daily writing goals, word trackers, accomplishment badges and an entire community of participants to help keep you going through November 30th and hopefully - 'The End'.

I've been writing full length novels since...2011...I think? By 2014 my writing muscles were in top shape, churning out a novel in 30 days no problem...until I signed up to do it on purpose through #nanowrimo

In the pic you can see the various attempts I made to complete my nano goals. It was a sad, sad situation, lol. All those stories were completed eventually, but I didn't get to claim a #nanowrimo win until 2017! So, my goal this year, is just to write. No pressure. No focusing on the deadline. Completing the story before December 1st would be awesome, but it's not necessary for success. All progress counts. And, I've done this often enough to know the story WILL get written, even if it's not in the time frame I was expecting. What about you? Are you writing this month? What are your past experiences with NaNo? Are you a fan? Have any tips? I'd love to hear!

  • K.S. Thomas

I haven't written in days. Maybe because I have an event coming up this week which isn't writing related (for those of you who don't know, I also run a business called Wildly Magical with my mom...because we're into doing wildly magical shit and want to teach everyone else to do wildly magical shit as well...because, that's wildly awesome, that's why) and this event has had most of my creative juices tied up in other things. Fun things. But not writing related things.

Of course, the fact my life is sort of in limbo right now, isn't helping any in the writing department. Writing is so closely tied to who I am, that any disconnect I feel from myself, leads to a disconnect from writing. On the other hand, writing would probably lead me straight back to the heart of me and make me feel grounded again. So, I should be writing more now than ever...except I can't. It's a tricky cycle. For now, I've given my hair a fresh splash of purple again, so at least I look like me. It's a step in the right direction. Hopefully writing isn't far behind.

Unless, the real issue is a lack of story. A lack of words needing to come out. A missing drive to introduce new characters and their tales to the world. Or, maybe it's too damn many to choose from. Which is probably more likely. Given the current list of started projects...

In any event, I have a choice to make...either keep binge watching Switched at Birth and crocheting yet another blanket I really don't need (the equivalent to sticking my head in the sand and living in numb denial of my missing self) or, open a damn word file...any word file, and start putting words down. Even if they suck and don't seem to be leading anywhere.

Yeah. For sure.

In the meantime. Here's another first chapter from something I'm writing...was writing...will soon be writing again :-P

Thoughts? Have I got something worth pursuing here...or should I curl up with my crocheting a little longer ?!

CHAPTER ONE

Emmery

“So close,” I whisper, hunched over so I’m at eye level with the coffee maker on our kitchen counter. I lean in a little closer until I can see my reflection in the still predominately empty pot. “Come on, just a few drips more and I can have a cup. You can do it.” I’m not sure which one of us this pep talk is really for, myself or the lifeless yet life preserving appliance, but one of us really needs to produce at least eight ounces of coffee here shortly so that the other can sip it and still get to school on time. I’m not saying my survival depends on it, but at six am on my first day at a new school, my levels of motivation most certainly do.

“I can’t believe they make children get up at this ungodly hour,” my mother grumbles from somewhere down the hall and I imagine her walking blindly toward the kitchen, nose leading the way toward coffee and morning’s only redeeming quality.

“It’s not too late to let me be a homeschool kid,” I call back into the dark abyss still holding her captive.

Then she emerges, hot pink hair a wild mess making her look like Cousin It’s twin dressed in drag. “Forget it. I’m not spending every waking second with you.” She makes a face, sticking out her tongue as she passes me, heading straight for the cupboards. She opens three different sets of cabinet doors before she whines in frustration. “Where are the coffee cups at in this house?”

I shrug and hand her a cereal bowl. “Haven’t found them yet.” I reach for the pot inside the coffee maker. It finally produced enough elixir of the gods to grant me the serenity required to embrace the day. And I’m definitely not forfeiting it to my mother just because her superior caffeine addiction magically summons her the moment there’s a full cup’s worth of coffee ready for consumption.

Thankfully, she’s still too preoccupied with the current coffee cup conditions to notice I’ve hijacked all the available brew. “I don’t understand,” she says, frowning, “is it possible Grandpa Joe never drinks…joe?”

“I don’t think it’s called that minus the cuppa.”

She doesn’t care. “Maybe this isn’t going to work out.” She shakes her head, waving at me impatiently to get me to the clear the path to the coffee maker. “Maybe we can’t live here with Grandpa Joe after all.”

I almost spit coffee. “Uh-huh. Yeah. Let’s just pack everything back up and head home to Las Vegas. We only just made the two-thousand-mile trip out here, just spent all of yesterday unloading the trailer, and I’m pretty sure our loft is now occupied by new tenants, but why not? I’m down. I didn’t want to start senior year at a new school, five weeks into the fall semester, anyway.” I hand her the coconut milk. Then, I wait and watch as she takes her first sip. And a second.

All at once, her sanity makes a full return. “Don’t be crazy. Your great grandfather needs us. Who’s going to fry up his eggs and spam for breakfast at five pm every day if we move back to Las Vegas.”

I shake my head. “You’re totally psycho, you know that, right?”

“Who talks to their mother like that?” Then she smirks. “And you know that shit’s hereditary.”

“Coffee deprivation induced insanity?” I laugh at her. “I don’t think that’s an actual thing, Ma.”

She cocks her brow at me, eyes moving down to the bowl of coffee being cradled in my palms only inches from my mouth. “Isn’t it though?”

“This is different,” I insist, “This is a means of survival. Without this magic potion, I would never be able to make it through what promises to be a fairly traumatic and exhausting day. Unlike you, who came by choice and who lives every aspect of her life on her own terms, I am here by default. Yes, I fully support the decision to come here and live with my great grandfather, who admittedly is far too snarky to be subjected to any sort of nursing or caretaking staff, and yes, I am in favor or completing my high school education, but…” I point my index finger skyward without actually releasing my grip from my mug. “In a million years, I would never choose to get up at this hour, nor would I volunteer to leave the lively city life of Las Vegas in order to come here, some tiny, sleepy, senior city in Florida, even if it is right on beach. And don’t even get me started on all the ways in which I am not in favor of my current options where my education is concerned.” I pause, for dramatic emphasis. “On every level.” I could go on, I haven’t even touched on the ways in which this unexpected detour through my teenage years has affected my social life, but I’ve ranted on long enough to distract from the real issue. My mother being right about my hereditary coffee conditions.

My mother sighs. It’s genuine. I hit a nerve and I didn’t even mean to.

“I know the dance scene here is…”

“Non-existent?”

“Not non-existent,” my mother insists.

“If I have to count what is available, I’m going to be using some really unfriendly terms to describe it.” I lean back until my weight rests against the kitchen counter. “Disgraceful. Pathetic. Humiliatingly awful. Painfully inept.”

“Done?”

“I’ll need more coffee before I can continue.”

She rolls her eyes, the initial guilt and empathy residing back into the endless dark that is her soul. “Fine. Drink your coffee. Gear up for another round of ranting. But, while you sip, consider this.” She sets her bowl on the counter and slides her butt up beside it, feet dangling down the front of the lower cabinets. Then, she picks up her coffee again and brings it to rest in her lap as she continues, “Once upon a time, the high school dance team was, hm…” She taps her lips thoughtfully. “Spectacular.”

I open my mouth to argue but her glare cuts me off before I can say anything.

“You weren’t there, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.” Then, as if she can sense my need for added verification on this, she adds, “If my word’s no good here, call your Aunt Jazz, who not only danced on said team, but was team captain two years in a row.”

“That was twenty years ago. It’s not the same team. It’s not even the same coach,” I point out. “This team hasn’t competed in years and the only place they ever perform anymore, is at their own ball games.”

“Exactly.” How she thinks I’ve just made her argument for her, I’ve yet to see, but I’m sure she’s right, she usually is, especially when that smug smile of hers starts creeping in.

“Go ahead.” I slump down with imminent surrender and succumb to the comforts only my coffee can offer me now.

“This team needs you. It’s such a mess, it’s got nowhere to go but up. Just think of the possibilities here, Em. With your training, your experience, you have so much to offer, it’s ridiculous. Where are you ever going to find another challenge – no – opportunity, like this?”

“You legit suck, you know that right?” I scowl at her. “I was all set for full on martyr-mode and you just had to go and screw it all up.”

“You’re welcome.” Then she has the audacity to wink at me. “Also.” She reaches into the side pocket of her sweatpants and retrieves a set of car keys I’ve never seen before. “There’s this.” She holds them out toward me, dangling them in what I’m sure she thinks is a very enticing fashion.

“Specifics, please,” I request, not willing to set down my coffee for the mysterious keys just yet.

“Keys to Great Grandpa Joe’s 2008 Saturn Outlook.”

“Swanky.”

She smirks, acknowledging my sarcastic contribution, then goes on, “Found them in the envelope your grandparents left for me with every important document to be found in this house. Unrelated, but I think my Uncle Larry may have been adopted. Which explains a lot, actually.” She tosses the keys without warning and I nearly drop my coffee bowl to catch them. “Enjoy.”

“Seriously?” I’ve never been gifted a car over coffee before.

“Yup.” She grins. “I figure you’re legal, he’s not. It just makes sense.”

“Wait, how long has it been since anyone drove it?” I’m not saying I have doubts about my mother’s ability to fully think through a plan, but she is the artsy sort, and logical thinking just isn’t in her skill set.

“Maybe a week?” she says, shrugging her shoulders as if this conversation hardly seems relevant to her. “Aunt Jazz drove it when she was here. Said she gassed it up and everything before she left. And your grandfather just had the oil changed last month when they were down, so you should be in pretty good shape.”

It takes a minute for everything to sink in. Things get a little muddled in the middle when I consider how many relatives have been in and out of here over the past six months taking care of my great grandfather, trying to bridge the gap until a more permanent solution could be found. Us.

Then, it hits me.

“I have my own car.”

“You have your own car,” my mother confirms. “Now take it and get out of here. It’s going to be rough enough being the new kid, you don’t want to be the new kid who stumbles into class late.”

I nod. “I see what happened here. This had nothing to with me and everything to do with you not wanting to have to put on clothes to take me to school.”

She makes face and laughs. “I think we both know I have no problem taking you to school in my pajamas.”

I shake my head. No one hides ambition and accomplishment better than my mother. “And here I was worried about the first impression I would make upon people, I totally forgot how many of them would be meeting you for the first time.”

She waves it off, dismissing my insult. “They all have parents who will be more than happy to fill them in on all things Scar Harper. The real fun will be you trying to sort out which stories are true, and which aren’t. And believe me, you will hear stories.”

“You were scandalous,” I say flatly. Can’t say I’m surprised.

Her eyes flash. “Still am.” Then she leans in to smack a kiss on my forehead. “I have to pee. See you this afternoon.”

I watch as she hustles out of the kitchen and back into the dark hallway. “Love you.”

“Love you, too,” she calls back just before I hear the bathroom door slam shut.

My gaze drops to the keys sitting in my palm. “I have a car,” I say to myself, in a sing song voice that makes me giddy the more I repeat it. “I have a car.”

Suddenly, day one of senior year at a new school, doesn’t look so shabby.

And, things keep improving when I realize I’m a four-minute drive away from school, adding at least another twenty minutes to my nightly sleep from here on out.

Then comes the hard part.

Getting out of the car.

Walking into the school.

I already planned on being early in order to accommodate for my visit in the office prior to starting classes, but with my travel time significantly faster than expected (it occurs to me only now that my mother and sister never lived in my great grandfather’s house and that the house they grew up in was several miles down the shore, thus making their travel time irrelevant to my planning) I am one of a few stragglers showing up way ahead of schedule.

Curious to see what people here are all about, I scan the sporadic passersby. The first few I encounter are about what you’d expect to find at a school, an hour before school starts. The studious, the well-prepared, the over-achievers. This, of course, applies across all high school related endeavors, so it’s not just my fellow nerds, but also, the athletes and the always delightful social stars who volunteer for everything and wind up on every committee imaginable.

Somewhere between the parking lot and the main office, I notice I’m not the only one studying new faces. I’m getting plenty of attention as well.

And, the closer I look, the more I can see why. I stand out. A lot.

Maybe I didn’t in Vegas because the city draws all walks of life and entertainers and artists are a dime a dozen. Or maybe I was a freak there too and just never noticed because everyone was already used to me.

Regardless of the reason, I’m now abundantly aware of all the ways in which I’m different.

My hair, which currently sports every color of the rainbow thanks to my mother’s bright idea to use up everything not worth packing prior to the move which included multiple open tubs of our extensive hair color collection (my mother’s habit, but I’ve been known to partake), probably hasn’t met with a brush in three days or so. It’s been washed, but I’m not big on styling, and thus the airdry waves which kind of take on a life of their own the longer I let them live freely.

I wear makeup, but more for fun than any sort of beautification functionality. For instance, today, to remind myself to be open to whatever comes, I drew a tiny heart on my cheekbone just below my left eye and instead of blush, I like to dust my cheeks with a bit of glitter. Today I went with silver. Thought I was toning it down a bit, to be honest, but now I’m thinking not so much.

My outfit, while not as thoughtfully selected as I might have liked, given most of my clothes are still in boxes, fresh off the moving trailer, is still a standard ensemble, a staple if you will, where my wardrobe is concerned. Until this morning, I never saw any issue in pairing my green and red striped leggings with a pair of denim shorts (I wear leggings with everything. It’s a dancer thing. I haven’t seen my naked legs since I was like two.) Or wearing an oversized t-shirt I cut into a crop top to complete the look. My Vans can hardly be an issue, because they’re badass. I would know. I custom designed them myself.

“Morning,” I mumble, attempting a wave at the next person who passes me. It’s met with less than enthusiasm, but the guy does at least nod in a semi-polite greeting as he goes by.

I speed up. One more door and I’m in the office. It’s a pretty open space, with several desks spread out from one end to the other, though only three of them are currently occupied. In the back, there are two private offices, one marked for the guidance counselor and the other for the principal.

I shift right and head for the guidance counselor’s door. After knocking twice, I hear something that sort of resembles a ‘come in’ and enter.

The woman at the desk is about as perky as my mother is at this time of day, and I’m guessing by the empty coffee cup sitting inches from her hand, there isn’t enough caffeine in the world to improve her disposition.

“New?” she mutters after glancing at me for about three seconds.

“Yes, ma’am.” I’m not usually one for formalities, but I suddenly feel the need to take my standard manners up to exceptional, just to offset any bad first impression I may be making just by being me. “Emmery Harper.”

She pulls a file from the stack to her left and flips it open. After scanning it for a small eternity she turns her attention to the computer screen before her and begins typing away. “We tried to match your schedule up with the classes you were taking at your last school, but sometimes the fit is still off, so if you find you’re behind or ahead in a significant way, just let me know over the next week and we’ll adjust it.”

“Thank you.” I watch as she continues to type.

“Says here you’re a dancer. Will you be wanting to try out for our team?”

I nod. When I realize she’s still not looking up at me, I answer in words. “I was hoping to, but I wasn’t sure if I’d missed auditions or not.”

She hits one last button and the printer behind her springs to life, spitting out several sheets of paper. She rolls over in her chair to catch them and then returns, handing the batch to me. “Ordinarily, yes, but we had to make some unexpected changes in our coaching staff and the new dance coach is looking to expand the team some more. Auditions are Friday.” She rolls an inch to the left and leans. “Keegan?”

A girl with bright blue eyes, a flawless tan complexion and perfect, bouncy, blonde ponytail, pokes her head in, looking way too eager to please. “Yes, Miss Tucker?”

“This is Emmery, she has an interest in dance.” Miss Tucker directs her attention toward me, now pointing at Keegan. “Keegan is captain of the Glam Dolls, she’ll tell you what you need to know about auditions.”

Just like that, I’m dismissed, and she gets back to doing whatever it was she was doing before I interrupted her morning, with doing her job.

Keegan and I walk silently out of the offices back into the hall. Only once we’re out of earshot of adults does either of us seem comfortable enough to speak again. Though, apparently, for different reasons.

“So, you’re the captain. Any advice for this Glam Doll hopeful?” I ask, trying to sound funny and endearing, because that is the Emmery way.

Her previously sugar sweet demeanor changes and I’m met with a new Keegan I would consider the evil dimension Keegan. “Yeah. Don’t audition.”

Then she flips her ponytail using her hand, before she spins around so fast it make a little whipping sound as she goes.

“I have a car,” I whisper to myself as I watch her go. “I have a car.” I add a little dance, you know, to give it all I’ve got. “Yeah, no. It’s going to take more than the Saturn to recover from Keegan.”

I turn my face toward the ceiling and stick out my tongue, just to let the Universe know how I feel about current events. Then I sigh with resolve and start making my way down the hall in hopes of finding first period.

B. Wild Poetic

She’s the dance of the earth under my feet.

She’s wild rhythm my heart yearns to beat.

She’s all the colors I want to repaint my world.

New life, New girl.

  • K.S. Thomas

I've reached that point in age and single-hood where I have to wonder if maybe I already met my person and just...missed it somehow.

I'm sure that's not really a thing, I mean, how could you MISS something significant like that?! But, my mind, forever on the lookout for a fairy tale, always considering the many possibilities of happy ever after, is fond of retelling those old stories and, you know...tweaking them to be more fairy tale like.

And thus, you'll find the very extensive list of Second Chance/First Love rekindled mosaics in my written library (Fruit Punch Kisses being the most recent...Save The Date being the first).

Of course, even when I intend to pretty up in fiction what I botched up in real life, it doesn't always go according to plan...like with It's Kinda My Thing, which was totally a Second Chance story...until it wasn't. Which I suppose is telling in its own way. That's one guy, one romance, I really didn't miss out on :-P

Anyway, what's the general feeling on Second Chance romance? Am I the only one starting to look backwards because looking forward is becoming increasingly vague and intangible? Anyone have a second chance in real life that turned out to be the real deal? I'm curious! And not just because I like collecting writing material :-P I just want to know!