Birthday Gifts To Myself

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Today’s the day!

Today I turn 41 years old, but honestly, I’ve already felt 41 for a while. This year I was fortunate enough to have my girls the weekend before my birthday and I’ve been essentially celebrating my birthday all weekend long. On Saturday, my mother treated my girls and I to birthday lunch at Olive Garden (one of my favorite restaurants) and then we spent the rest of the day just relaxing at my mom’s house in the lovely weather. As a continued celebration of my birthday yesterday, I took my girls to see the new Star Wars movie, Solo, and treated us all to overpriced movie theater snacks. We all enjoyed the movie and then went to ice cream afterwards.

I’m quite sure I’ve never celebrated my birthday over more than one day, so I’ve been enjoying this unusual treat this year. For me, the best gifts are spending time with my girls and family, having good friends, and being able to do what makes me happy. If I need material items, I can just buy them for myself, so wrapped gifts aren’t really necessary anymore. Thus far, 41 is off to a really good start!

As I continue to celebrate my birthday today on the actual day I was born, I decided to give myself a very important gift. This year’s birthday gift to myself is that I will spend the entire day while the girls are at school writing. Writing future blog posts, writing in my Warcraft fan fiction, writing outlines for future stories, whatever I want!

When I was a teenager, I promised myself I’d be a published author by the time I was 30 years old. That deadline came and went without realizing that goal, but I haven’t given up on that dream. I do have one self-published Kindle book, but it’s non-fiction and while I think it’s a good story, my heart is really in fantasy fiction writing. I love that anything is possible when magic is involved and that type of freedom helps my writing go wherever it wants to take me. My muse is very much alive these days, but I have trouble making the time to let her out. Hence, today’s birthday gift of writing!

I think like any writer, I doubt my own abilities to tell something new and different in my own interesting style. However, as I’ve read in many inspirational writing quotes, although something might have been told many times before, it hasn’t been told by ME and with my voice. Therefore, I feel like I still have much to offer this world as an author. At my core, despite the many paying jobs I’ve had and have in my life, I am and have always been a writer. The universe gave me this crazy imagination for a reason and today I’m going to channel it into my keyboard and onto pages and pages of new adventures!

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Thousands of words

As I didn’t have my girls today and I’m leaving tomorrow evening after I’m done watching them for my ex, I knew I had to use today to get as much writing done as possible. I had several freelance articles to write of varying word counts and I also had college writing assignments that are due tomorrow night and that I know I’ll be too tired to deal with once I arrive at my hotel for the night.

I wanted to get the bulk of the writing done today so I can spend tomorrow enjoying time with my girls amid packing (I’ve barely started), baking goodies for this weekend’s Pow-wow and finishing up pre-trip odds and ends. I knew if I left any writing until I had the girls at my house, I’d feel conflicted and stressed and I don’t need that added onto trying to get everything else done before my road trip.

I’m not kidding when I say I wrote thousands of words today. Most of them were for freelance work and the rest were college work and well, this blog post. I haven’t written quite this much in a rather long time, but I’m proud of myself for getting almost everything written that I wanted to. I even managed to squeeze in washing Jazzmin during one of my necessary mental breaks.

Although I wrote a lot, I certainly didn’t talk a lot because it’s just me and my animals when I don’t have the girls. The two younger cats and Jazz have been sticking close to me though, listening to me type away and eagerly awaiting a return to silence. The remaining words I have to write can wait until I wake up tomorrow morning before my ex drops off my girls because tonight, I am officially worded out.

The Power to Write the Words

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Just as I said I was going to in my last blog post, I sat down at my desk this past Sunday and started writing in my fantasy novel “Unbroken Flames.” During the past few years, whenever I’d sit down to write, I’d feel all nervous and restless, as I doubted my own abilities as a writer. I didn’t know if I still had “it” anymore and when I’d start writing, I couldn’t remember what tense I usually wrote in or what my writing “style” even was.

Fortunately, that nervousness didn’t exist this past Sunday and for the first time in many years, I was able to put on music and just start typing out whatever was in my brain. The ability to listen to music and write was something I’d lost and I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was because I can’t concentrate on my work writing if I listen to music. Writing for pleasure is different though and I was finally able to let the music help inspire me and move my fingers across the keys.

I only wrote a few pages but those few pages were the start of something important and they represent a shift in my life. I’ve finally managed to close the doors on certain chapters of my life and restore my eternal hope for the future. Those feelings flowed into the main character of “Unbroken Flames” as I realized that she needed to transform just as I have these past few years.

I may not be able to rewrite what’s happened in my life, but I can rewrite what’s going to happen in hers and perhaps as I write the future I want for her, it will create the future I seek as well. That may sound absurd, but I know better than to underestimate the power of the written word…

Writing to Honor My Father

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. He's wearing the bobcat shirt I remember well.

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. He was always supportive of my writing.

Occasions like Father’s Day today have been difficult for me since my father walked on in October of 2009. Quite often, I feel sad and cry during the days leading up to the event, but then on the actual day, I’m okay. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t really been sad leading up to or including Father’s Day. I still miss my father immensely and always will, but I think I’m finally in a better place now and able to focus on all the positive aspects in my life that come from having him as my father.

One of the things I remember my father asking almost every time I saw him was “How’s your writing going?” I’d usually reply that it was going okay or some such thing, but I always felt like I was letting him down because I wasn’t published yet. He was one of my biggest supporters when it came to my writing and losing him made it so hard for me to continue writing in any of my books. I think the fact that I now make my living as a freelance writer would please him, but it’s not quite the same.

Yesterday was a wonderful day that started with waking up to my daughters coming into my bedroom and included beautiful sunshine, a conversation that made me smile and laugh, and an afternoon and early evening spent visiting my mom. I felt so elated and inspired that I actually felt like writing in my newest fantasy novel (now over 4 years old and only containing one chapter). When I told my oldest daughter Jordan of my desire to write, she smiled broadly and was genuinely excited for me. She’s blessed with the gift of writing as well and is a far better writer at 13 than I was at her age. In her enthusiasm for me writing again, I saw a bit of my father and I knew I couldn’t let either of them down.

Alas, I was a bit too tired to write last night, so I decided that I would write today. My girls won’t be back until the late evening and it’s too hot and full of deer flies to do much outside so writing in my fantasy book entitled “Unbroken Flames” sounds like the perfect way to spend the day. A lot has changed in my life since I started writing that book and it’s past time that I start incorporating that into the story.

One thing that will never change in any of my writing though is my love for breathing life into strong female characters who are willing to fight for what they believe in, have faced challenges that made them stronger instead of destroying them and who still believe in love and all of the amazing gifts that come with it.

So here’s to you, Dad, your little girl will finally get going again on her writing!

Stories that come at just the right time…

The book that made Gina Ardito my new favorite author!

The book that made Gina Ardito my new favorite author!

Everyone has their own favorite author or authors and growing up mine were Piers Anthony and Anne McCaffrey. I still love those authors and have introduced my oldest daughter to Piers Anthony’s Xanth series, which she now loves too. For most of my life, I avoided reading romance-style fiction based in reality because the whole reason I read is to escape anything that reminds me even remotely of my daily life. This past spring, something inside me finally snapped, clicked, realigned or whatever and I discovered my new favorite author.

It started when I saw the cover of a book that made me hungry for pizza. It was by one of the authors I connected with via social media. The author’s name was Gina Ardito and the book was A Little Slice of Heaven. Once I started reading that book, I couldn’t put my Kindle down! I wrote a review about it on Amazon and expressed how it restored my faith in romance because it did just that! That really is saying a lot for a woman like me who’s a divorce single mother in her 30’s struggling in the world of modern  “dating” and fishing through disingenuous men. I do still believe that there are good men out there, men like my father who know how to treat a woman right and who are true gentlemen.

Until I find such a man, whom I love and who loves me back though I will continue to bolster my faith by reading Gina Ardito’s books. I’ve now read Charming for Mother’s Day, Duet in September and Duping Cupid. Last week I started reading Eternally Yours and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! Are all the men in her books true princes who ooze kindness, charm and sincerity? Of course not! Who would believe that??

I will write reviews on all the books I’ve read but for now, I hope this helps spread the word about them. What I love about Gina Ardito’s books is that all of her characters are easy to identify with. They could truly exist in the real world and their struggles are relatable and human. In the end, the characters in her books snap into shape, wise up, reveal their true hearts and become the heroes that all men and women should be. It isn’t always the man saving the woman, quite often it’s the woman saving the man or the characters saving each other. There is a yin to the yang, a balance to the relationship and the understanding that everyone should stand on equal footing.

Whenever I read Gina Ardito’s stories, they come at just the right time. When I am floundering with my belief in love, when my personal relationships are struggling and when I have trouble seeing the light among the shadows. All I have to do is fire up my Kindle and start reading her written words across its bright surface in my dark room and my hope is restored. Now that is the type of writer I strive to be someday!

My Way is a Unique Highway (revisited)

I’ve had a rather full day of…well, everything. These are the days I’m glad I have old blog posts on Corbin Creations to re-post here. This was one I wrote when I posted the first part of the story detailing my first trip to Massachusetts. That entire story is an e-book on Amazon and were I better at self-promotion, I’d say click here now! And have a handy-dandy hyperlink. I’m not doing that though. I’m just posting the words of a blog entry that even a year later, still inspires me.

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My Way is a Unique Highway – 8/6/2012

I believe I’ve probably mentioned this in previous blogs, but I don’t do things the usual way. If there’s a normal, set path for doing something then I most assuredly deviate and blaze a new trail with my machete of determination. I set a goal and it is vivid in my mind and within my power to obtain and so I pursue it every way I can figure out how. As I’m traveling the new path, I think up all these ideas and aspects of my goal that were not immediately visible to me and I then have to find bridges over occasional pitfalls. Luckily for me, I was blessed with a clever and intelligent mind that continues to amaze me and I am always able to build that bridge and find the light in total darkness.

I have never been and will never be, an average girl. Average is boring and predictable and I am vivacious and spontaneous. We are all of us extraordinary, if we just take the time to stop and look inside ourselves and realize what makes us all unique. I highly doubt following the rules brought success to any of the great trail blazers in history and being timid just means you get shoved aside out of the path of braver folks. I don’t take being pushed aside well and I certainly don’t abide by being overlooked and forgotten. To that end I’ve learned not to let certain things faze me and to accept that when someone fails to see my potential, it is a failing on their part and not my own. I’m tough and I’m strong but I am also very loving and expressive. It really is all about finding balance.

In my quest for my dreams, I have posted the first of many installments in my Massachusetts story on the page appropriately named “Massachusetts.” It truly is my story and not a fictional tale meant to draw in audiences. Writing fiction is far safer and what I’m accustomed to but playing it safe only seems to hold me back. You can certainly get to know an author through their fictional characters because they are all extensions of the writer, but I thought for now I’d just skip ahead and let you know the real me. My beloved English teacher told me in 11th grade that I should write my autobiography and I remember thinking he was crazy. I was only 16, what did I know of life yet? Turns out, he knew what he was talking about and finally at 35, I’m taking his advice. I regret that he has passed and is not here to witness my transformation from shy girl to brave, bold, determined, stubborn, strong woman but I know that his spirit is impressed and continues to cheer me on. Thank you, Derek, I promise I’ll make you proud!

Unbroken Flames – Dracani rescue teaser

Vihresa followed the glow of the light as she made her way through the trees. As she stumbled over roots and got snagged by thorn bushes, she keenly missed Quilla’s ability to guide her safely even in utter darkness. The cowards that had taken her pup from her would pay dearly for their thievery.

The light grew in intensity telling Vihresa that she was getting closer to some sort of camp. She slowed her pace as the trees thinned out. When the trees opened up to reveal a large clearing in the forest, she ducked behind the closest tree as she examined the scene.

There were several large campfires burning throughout the clearing and the flicker of those flames danced across shadows of men and the metallic shine of cages. Vihresa took no notice of what the men looked like; her wide-eyed gaze was sweeping across all the cages. In each cage there were three to four dracani pups crammed in so tight some of them could barely move. Their beautiful eyes were filled with fear and sorrow and many of their wings were at such odd angles Vih was certain they must be broken. “Bastards,” she hissed as a trace of flames lit her hands.

A strong hand suddenly yanked Vihresa further back into the shadows of the trees and another hand over her mouth stopped her from crying out. “Relax, Vih, it’s me,” came the harsh whisper of Dvar’s voice.

Vihresa relaxed her body and the man released his hold. She whirled on him angrily. “You followed me?!” she demanded in an irate whisper. Seeing Aros standing loyally at Dvar’s side, the woman managed a brief smile at the handsome dracani beast. Aros’s large golden ears were perked up and his dark eyes focused on his master.

Dvar looked from Vih to Aros and back again in confusion. She was pissed at him for following her while visibly happy to see his dracani? Her lack of trust in humans was worse than he’d realized. “Vih, what do you think you’re going to do?”

Vih’s anger returned as her gaze shifted back to Dvar. “Rescue Quilla and the rest of those pups. I’d think that would be obvious.”

“By yourself?! There’s over thirty men in that camp, Vih!”

“They stole my pup, Dvar and they’re probably selling all of them to battle trainers! You expect me to just walk away?”

Dvar scowled. “No, I expect you to wait while I gather my friends from the city guard and-”

Vihresa clenched her hands into fists and stepped away from the man so swiftly he couldn’t stop her. Ignoring Dvar’s curse-filled demands that she come back, she strode out of the safety of the trees. The woman’s whole body suddenly lit with flames drawing the attention of most of the camp. “Release those dracani!” she demanded welcoming the burn of the fire through her very essence. She was answered with unimpressed laughter. Vih grinned evilly in pleasure. “You were warned.”

The men’s laughter turned to screams of terror as every fire in the camp exploded upward and outward catching clothes and skin on fire…