Preptober 26

The struggle is real. 

I have hit that wall that I hit when I’m pantsing my stories, but at least I am working on an outline. Surpassing that wall — of what my brain and heart and soul and other dramatic language regarding  body parts is blocking — is difficult. I have a … feeling. Nothing concrete. Glimpses of what Wren is feeling in these later chapters. Questions that need to be asked and answered. Things that need to be inserted into the story but I’m not quite certain WHERE. As I write this though, the solution is clearly obvious. Toss up scene cards in Scrivener and don’t worry about where in the book they will ultimately reside in. Just get these ideas out. Onto paper and all of that rot. 

Okay. Okay. I’ve talked myself off the ledge. Ish.

I am a pantser. I do not know why I am so upset that I might not have a full outline to go before the start of NaNoWriMo. What I currently have done is a lot better than NOTHING. There is a path for me to take at the beginning and towards the middle. Maybe just setting out on this path will help me unlock more things to come once I allow myself to sit down and write it all out. 

I can. And I will do this. I haven’t any choice because this is what I want.

Wren, your story will be told. Possibly a bit more meandering and with an absolute lot of garbage in this first draft. There will be so much I forget to put into your story, and so much I will likely have to take out of that first draft. But I want to tell your story. I want to take the time that is needed. I think other people might like your story too. 

And if not… that’s fine. No one else really matters here except for me and you. Me, because I’m the one typing away furiously (or I will be) to tell your story. And you, because it is YOUR story. Even if you aren’t a real person. I want to and will do justice by you. It just might take awhile. And lots of revisions, edits, and rewrites. And that’s okay. I just have to allow myself to GET to those points. 

Wren, let’s tell your damn story.

Okay, I took a break from writing this blog entry to write down ideas for those scenes where I feel as if we need them but I’m not sure, precisely, which chapter or part of the book to fit them in.

I feel better!

How is your NaNo prep going? What bits do you struggle with? How excited are you for NaNoWriMo to start? I am super excited. The adventure will truly begin in less than a week!

October Prompt: Rat Doctor

October Prompt: Rat Doctor

This prompt took me a bit to write, and I hope y’all enjoy it! It was a lot of fun to write once I got to writing it. So, enjoy!

His nose twitched as he took in the scent of illness all around him. His scrambled up the back of the human, perching on the human’s shoulder. The human tensed, but did not run. The rat nestled his nose against the human’s ear, breathing in for a moment. Trying to get a smell that was not illness. He was tired of that stink. Then he spoke—human language was difficult for him because his body wasn’t quite built for it—his words quiet, and his voice rough from lack of use.

“You are caring for these humans wrong. The sickness, it isn’t what you think it is. I can help you.” 

The human was tense. He could feel the tension in the their shoulders. Muscles that needed relaxing, but the rest of the human, smelled healthy. 

“You’re a talking rat,” the human said, voice high pitched with fear. The rat couldn’t really hear the fear in the voice, because the rat didn’t really understand the different cadences that human voices could have. But he could smell the fear, he could sense it, he could tell in a rat way, that fear was evident in the human’s voice and body.

“Sure, and I can help you. You need my help,” the rat said, trying to remember what it was that last human he had worked with had told him. A saying, or something. “You have nothing to lose,” the rat said, memories washing over him. Too many of them, and it made him sad, sad in a way he felt was more human than ratlike. 

The human sighed, and then nodded their head. 

“Okay, help me. What am I doing wrong. What is this sickness?”

The rat felt surprise. He had anticipated it taking more time to convince this human to accept his help. But, he supposed, as he looked around at the sick all around him that this human was desperate. He scrambled down from their back, his body not as spry as it had once been, and he jumped. He landed clumsily on a table, some tools clattering to the ground, and he heard the human gasp.

“Those were sterile! I’ll need to—…”

“You won’t be needing those,” the rat said, without looking back at the human.

“Come,” he said, and he led away from those useless human tools. Humans always used more things than they truly needed. They made things more complicated than they needed to be. The rat’s own life, his body even, had been overcomplicated by humans in that lab oh so long ago. He had rat friends, he supposed. But none that wanted or could make a family with him. He was lonely, and had been, for such a long time. He wondered if that loneliness was what had prompted him to finally come out of hiding.

He didn’t know. Didn’t really care to know the true answer. He hated that he thought abstractly like this. He had had so much time to think, and he was tired of it. He was grateful for this puzzle of human sickness. Grateful he had a reason to think outside of himself and of something else. 

“I’ve seen this illness before,” the rat explained. Still surprised, really, that he had this human’s attention. “You need old medicine.”

“We’ve tried all the medicine we can think of. Nothing we have works, and the new st—…”

“You aren’t thinking old enough,” the rat said.

“How old?” The human said after a beat and the rat gave a shrug of his shoulders. As much as a rat is capable of shrugging.

“Human time doesn’t make much sense to me. But, here is what you need.”

The rat sat down on his haunches, and began to explain. He pointed to items that looked familiar. That smelled familiar. He asked questions too because he knew that humans liked to change things. But he thought they had enough to help all these sick people around him. It took hours, and he was tired, but in a good way. In a way he hadn’t been tired like in so long. 

“Thank you,” the human said as the rat walked away, going back to his hideyhole.

“Do not thank me yet,” he said, before he disappeared. 


He didn’t know how much time had passed as he kept hidden in his little house in the walls of the hospital. This hospital wasn’t where he had been born or anything. No, he had been born of two rats in a lab some miles away. His own parents had had brains more advanced than other rats, but they were not quite like him. His brain had been more human-like, and some minor tweaks to the rest of his body. It had made it impossible for him to mate with other rats, and the humans hadn’t thought to make another like him. Or maybe they couldn’t. He didn’t know, and he stopped asking questions a long time ago. His parents had died, and once the humans realized just how special he was, he had been moved away from the rest of the rats in the lab. 

He thought of his past a lot. Especially in the quiet hours — not that hospitals really had too many quiet hours — and he both loved and hated that he thought of his past like this. His life… had been special. He had a lot of fond memories with the humans who had helped make him the way he was. He missed the lab sometimes, but he hadn’t missed the continual experiments. He was grateful that Emmy and Ellie had gotten him out of the lab. 

They were the ones who had brought him to this hospital. All because he had a theory on how to stop the illness that was spreading through humans like wildfire. That was a strange expression to come to him, and he knew he had gotten it from Emmy or Ellie. He had never seen a wildfire before. Hell, he hadn’t ever seen any kind of fire before. 

He thought more and more about Emmy and Ellie in the quiet moments. He knew humans cried when they felt like this. Sad, but he didn’t. Or maybe he just couldn’t. 

He didn’t know how long he sat in his hole, in what he called his little house, before he snuck out again.


“You are back,” a voice startled him. He knew it belonged to the human he had helped the last time he had shown himself.

“Yes,” he said, sitting on his haunches and watching them. 

“I wanted to thank you,” the human said, and they reached behind to pull out a block of cheese. The rat hadn’t had cheese in so long. He tried not to look too excited by the prospect. “I didn’t know what you would like, but…”

“You don’t need to thank me,” the rat said, finding that the more he spoke out loud, the easier it was to remember how to do it. The easier it was to get his voice working. 

“Yes, I do. What you suggested… no one would have thought… how did you know?” The human asked as they handed him the piece of cheese. He took the cheese and bit into it. He wanted to cry even though he couldn’t. He remembered Emmy and Ellie talking about how beautiful things sometimes made humans want to cry — and he felt like he finally understood that sentiment. 

“Who are you?” The human asked.

The rat shrugged his shoulders.

“I’m just a rat.” 


“You are old, Just A Rat.” 

“I am.” 

“I can’t find any records on you. That lab that you say you came from closed down about thirty years ago.” 

“Your human time means nothing to me, you know that.”

“I also know rats don’t live thirty years, and you are older than that.” 

“We should check on those patients of yours.”


“Why are you sad?”

“I hate that you won’t let me tell anyone about you, Rat. Or that you won’t give me a name. I know you must have had a name before.” 

“That name means nothing now, and you know how humans are, if you tell people about me…” 

“But I don’t deserve all this praise that I am getting.”

“Yes, you do. You helped all those people.”

“Only because you told me what to do.”

“You used the tools presented to you. You deserve credit for it.”

“So do you.”

“I don’t want human credit.”


The rat sighed. His human was getting old. He had refused to ask for a name from this new human. Refused to to allow himself to get to know this human outside of the hospital. But he knew that the human would be retiring soon, and that he would have years again, of being alone. He had tried to steel himself and protect himself. He had tried not to grow attached, but… of course he had. 

“This is your last day, isn’t it?” The rat said, nodding his head towards the balloon the human had attached to their wrist for some reason. The balloon said ‘Happy Retirement’ on it, but the rat hoped if he didn’t read those words too often, they wouldn’t turn out to be true. 

“It is,” the human said, and the rat could feel some nervous energy exuding off of them.

“What is it?” He asked.

The human sighed, “I want you to come with me, but I have a feeling you won’t.” 

“Leave the hospital?” The rat asked. 

The human nodded and in that moment they reminded him of that younger and uncertain human he had met so long ago. He had only known this hospital and before that the lab. He had never been to a human’s house before. Not even Emmy or Ellie had ever extended that invitation to him.

“You don’t have to. I’ll be around visiting still, the hospital can’t get rid of me that easily.”

He let the human ramble on for a little while as he thought. As he allowed himself to imagine a life outside of these walls. His heart ached in a way it had never ached before. 

“Okay,” he said.

“What?” The human asked, shocked.

“I’ll leave here with you.” 

He had lived a long life and would probably continue to live a longer life. Perhaps it was time he experienced it elsewhere. And, he liked this human. He could care for them as they grew older and older still. 

The human smiled.

“Hop into my bag then. Let’s get out of here.” 

Preptober 15th

Howdy y’all.

This week my Preptober has been going… okay, I guess you could say. I didn’t really finish all the goals I had set for last week. I outlined a chapter, and worked on outlining another before I got distracted by other things. Like making a gosh darn playlist for my novel. I have never done that before, and that is a work in progress still. I am not too sure how often I will listen to it when writing since I have a difficult time writing when there is singing going. Instrumental music I can write to, but vocals throw me off. Still, I had fun with it. 

I did not flesh out Lorenz much more, my bad Lo. 

Didn’t work on the mechanics of magic either, which was a goal. BUT I did come up with an area of new tension for two characters and that involves magic, so in a way, I worked on the magic of the novel. 

Slowly figuring out the beef that Dot and Wren have. These two characters grew up together as I mentioned in my previous entry. Their initial beef is still on the tip of my fingers. I am slowly teasing it out. I am getting even bigger hints of what it could be! So, that is good. In fact, I might even write a scene involving the two of them as kids and that will take place waaaaaaaaaaay before the novel, won’t be inserted into the novel because I am not planning on having traditional flashbacks. But, it could help me write a scene I do have planned, so. Yes. 

Excitement. 

This week I simply have a question I am asking myself, but I can’t really share it with y’all because it could be considered a spoiler. But, thinking about this question, has been helping me a lot get further into my character’s heads. And… speaking of characters, I thought it might be fun to introduce a few of them to y’all today!  So, let’s go say hi to them.

Wren Lowe: The protagonist of the story. Spoiler alert: she’s a ginger because I make every single protagonist of mine, gingers. You insert what you know. She’s in her late thirties. She has two kids, Bramwell and Briar. She has healing magic, and a garden that takes up practically her entire backyard. She grows a lot of her own plants and herbs to be used in potions and such for healing. Her current best friend is named Edie.

Briar Acacia Lowe: Wren’s oldest child. She’s fifteen in this novel. She has her Mom’s red hair, but she keeps it short. Briar is messy. She likes to live in a cluttered space, she claims. Clutter, she claims, makes her feel calm. She was recently introduced to riot grrrl music, and is a convert. She’s working on a zine with her best friend (to be named). Briar has dream magic. She’s protective of her younger brother, and of her mom, though she’s much gentler with Bramwell than she is with Wren.

Bramwell Cassius Lowe: He is ten years old. He is neat and thrives on things being put in their proper place. Briar’s cluttered existence makes him stressed. Nothing is out of place in his room. He tries to sneak into Briar’s room on occasion to clean it for her, and that usually results in a fight. He has empathy magic, and he knows how much that worries his Mom and sister. Even without the empathy he would know it. He feels a bit like a burden, and he wants to prove to his Mom and sister, that he will be okay. 

As you can see, there are different types of magic in this world. I am still working on… the rules and such for it. Because I had an idea, but the more I think about it, the less I am certain it will work. So, back to the drawing board with that. Fingers crossed I figure it out enough to write come November, but November is all about that rough draft baby, so even if I need to completely change it… well, I’ll worry about it later. I’ll just make certain to have something down for now.

I hope you enjoyed the very brief introduction to my characters. I finally finished a prompt too! I am simply sitting on it for a little while before I reread and do minor edits, and then I’ll share it with y’all. How is your Preptober going?

Preptober 7th

Howdy.

Today is the seventh day of Preptober. And I am in the midsts of still outlining and worldbuilding. The itch to write is a strong one, and I might dabble in writing down a scene or two from another character’s perspective, or perhaps, just write a scene that takes place before the main story will. I don’t know. I worry if I don’t try to write something down then I will…. I don’t know. Not necessarily lose steam but.. I think I’m just looking for an excuse to write something in this world, and I may as well give into it.

Struggling real hard with the final two prompts I received for September. My goal is to finish them before November. And again, as mentioned before, no prompts during November. I’m excited for the two prompts I have sitting around. I just can’t quite get the feel that I want for either of them. But, y’all probably don’t care about that as this is supposed to be about PREPTOBER, eh? And I should be blathering on a bit more about my novel.

Ooookaaay.

My Preptober Goals for the week are:

  • Outline Two More Chapters
  • Flesh out Lorenz a tad more
  • Work on mechanics of magic
  • Figure out the Wren & Dot Beef

Let’s breakdown how I am doing with each little goal, shall we?

Outline Two More Chapters:  I have outlined one so far (Chapter 6) and now I’m moving onto chapter 7. I am glad I am doing this because I’m struggling with these more middling chapters than I have with the others. Hopefully, getting them outlined and then the rest, will help when I’m writing them. Help me get past that middling area, eh? 

Flesh Out Lorenz a tad more: I haven’t written down too much about him, but he’s been percolating in my head all week. I’m getting a vibe for him, and I should write that down. But he’s been a character who hadn’t been named, is somewhat important, and I’m thrilled he has a name and is starting to turn into someone a bit more… real, yanno?

Work on the mechanics of magic: I love fantasy novels. But I hate when magic systems don’t really have any… like repercussions isn’t the exact word I’m looking for, but… there needs to be something. Something more than just saying words and wand waving. What happens when magic is used? What happens to the magic user or the world around them?  What are the pros and cons of the magic?  Because if there isn’t a downside then people can just use magic all willy-nilly and I just. I need more. So, I am working on that. I have a few ideas. I know the types of magic I want in this world, and now it is is simply time to just work on… the deeper stuff.

Figure out the Wren & Dot Beef: Wren is my protagonist. Dot was her childhood best friend. This is a minor spoiler that… something happened between the two of them when they got to college age. Something that caused them to drift apart. I just need to figure out exactly WHAT. That feel when you know something happened. You might even have a taste of what it is, but you just can’t really figure it out. Or like it is on the tip of the tongue (tip of the fingers? tip of the brain?) I WILL FIGURE IT OUT IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO!  Ahem.

And so those are my goals for the week. Making some headway with them. And then I am also just working on everything else that needs doing and really thinking about my plan of attack. How and when I plan on writing. Obviously, the morning hours, before the family is up is when I plan on getting the bulk of my writing done. But I also hope to write some in the evenings, so fingers crossed! 

I hope y’all enjoyed a small glimpse into my thought process. And into what I’ve been doing so far to prepare my novel for November. Are you doing NaNo this year?  If so, tell me about it!  How is your Preptober coming along?

preptober!

and so, october is upon us. i haven’t done an honest attempt at preptober before, mostly because i never quite do the whole plotting/outlining/planning thing. but, i am excited to give it a go this year. and see where my plotting/planning/outlining takes me. i have already started it — pre-october (pre-preptober???) and i worry that maybe i started this outlining thing perhaps a bit too early, but i also think it was good for me to start working and getting my ideas in some fashion.

anyway, for the month of october, i plan on sharing some of my planning with y’all. maybe i will even share some excerpts of my plans, and a bit about the characters who are going to be living in the space within my novel. because, otherwise, i feel like it might be boring if all i am doing is saying: “yo, i plotted today! and i did that yesterday, oh and the day before that.” i mean… i find that stuff kind of neat when other writers tell me that, but i’ve begun to suspect that maybe i am weird. borderline boring in personality, but that’s okay with me. 

ahem. focus. no dissing on myself.

so, my goal for october, is to write at least one blog post a week where i talk about how my preptober is going. possibly more. but, i am aiming for at least once post a week with that. i also plan on working on my prompts still too, and then pausing the prompts come november.

the current title for my novel is: motherhood & magic. it will follow the story of wren and her two kids: briar acacia and bramwell cassius. i went extra with their names for fun. and it will explore how wren deals with single parenting in a world with magic, especially when the magic of her kids is different—rare— it is magic that exists in the world, but rarer. and there are issues aplenty with it. i plan on exploring motherhood in a modern fantasy setting. there will be dragons! (don’t get too hyped by the dragons, maybe I’ll explain those later). 

and that’s all i am going to be sharing for now! 

how many of y’all are doing nanowrimo this year? have you won before? do you participate in preptober?  how do you prep for it? what is your preferred plotting and planning method? best of luck with november! 

September 2020 Prompt: The Bitch is Dead

September 2020 Prompt: The Bitch is Dead

Here’s a little prompt that seems more fitting for October. I had fun with it. To be honest, I have fun with all the prompts. I hope y’all enjoy my take on it!

‘The bitch is dead,” Claudia said, gazing out at the small gathering of people. The youngest of whom was eight and the oldest around sixty. The energy changed at that moment—after those words were pronounced. A low wailing began and it was slowly picked up by the rest of those who were gathered. Even the eight year old began to wail, her pitch not quite matching the cadence of the others. Claudia gazed out at the small crowd, her expression unreadable. She didn’t join in with the wailing but she watched for a few minutes, before she turned around and entered the house.

The crowd stayed outside and wailed for ten minutes, before they dispersed. Claudia watched them through the window of the door. Her shoulders tense. She waited by the window until everyone was gone, and then she allowed herself a moment to cry.


The day of the funeral was bright; the weather perfect. The sun bright, and nary a cloud to be seen. It was the kind of day that their pack leader would have loved. The kind of day where she would have gathered all the young pups up, and forced them to go on a hike through the property of the camp. Most of the time older folks would tag along too, and an impromptu picnic would happen. Everyone would enjoy one another’s company and the good food. 

Claudia wanted to match the energy of one of those better and happier days. She figured Pippa would have approved, but she was having such a hard time of it. She couldn’t even muster a smile. She hadn’t cried since that moment by the window. It was as if her body was frozen with grief. Her shoulders tensing with the responsibility that she knew the pack would want to place on her shoulders. The burden of leading she had always known would fall on her shoulders if something ever happened to Pippa. And with that illness, without anyone being able to heal her sister, she should have known that day was coming sooner rather than later.

She gripped the sides of the podium, knowing she needed to make a speech. Knowing it was customary of someone in her position. She had struggled and failed to write something down. Bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. She hadn’t been sleeping much those last few weeks of Pippa’s life, and Claudia could not remember if she had gotten any sleep at all in her grief of the last few days. She felt weak on her feet. It didn’t help matters that tonight was a full moon, her body already preparing for the transformation to come. 

“Pippa would not want us to mourn her for long,” Claudia said, her voice weak even to her own ears. She smiled sadly, surprised that her lips could even quirk in that direction but supposedly it took more muscles to frown and maybe she just didn’t have the strength to do it.

“She would want us to be outside, basking in the sun. She always said that a lot of sunlight was good for us on the night of the full moon. No one — especially not me — will be able to replace our Pippa. But, we all know, she would not want us crying over her for too long. She would want us to celebrate her life, celebrate what she and all of us, did for ourselves and the pack.” Here Claudia’s voice shook.

Pippa had changed things for the better with the pack. She had fought hard for the rights of werewolves, and for other people like them. Other folks who changed into creatures during the full moon. Pippa had helped the world realize just how human werecreatures were. How, most of the time, they were human. And when they weren’t, it wasn’t like their creature side was any less monstrous than some people who stayed human all the time. Pippa had encouraged the rest of the pack to stand up for themselves, to crawl out of the shadows, and to stop living in fear. 

And Claudia she had been there with her sister for every step of the way. But it had been easier, then for her to fight, because she had had Pippa’s passion and belief to fall back on. She knew though that she wouldn’t or couldn’t give up on the future her sister had envisioned. She would have to learn how to fight just as hard and passionately as Pippa had. Even while drowning in grief. 

“Tonight we will mourn and celebrate as only wolves know how to do. And tomorrow, we will begin again, the vision that Pippa dreamt for us all.”

There was a smattering of claps, and a sob or two from the audience, as Claudia stepped away from the podium. She couldn’t bring herself to look at the casket. She did cry again, tears wet and warm, sliding down her face.


Night was falling and everyone was spread out. Claudia could feel her bones and her body protesting the change that was about to begin. The moon didn’t need to be out fully before a transformation occurred. It started just as the sun was going down, before the moon was fully up, and it was painful. The human body preferred to stay in one shape. It didn’t like bones and limbs rearranging. Sprouting coarse fur out of fragile human skin hurt too. People yowl, cry, and scream during the transformation. It wasn’t any wonder the terrible rumors and stories of werecreatures persisted for so long. 

Eventually, the pack were all transformed, and gazing at Claudia with expectancy. She knew she was supposed to lead the pack in their romp through the forest, in their hunt for food for the night. She wasn’t ready to lead. But she also didn’t have an excuse.

Pippa always said that Claudia had it in her, and the bitch was dead. It was time for Claudia to take up that mantel. 

She tilted her head  back, and howled at the moon. Grateful that her fur hid the tendency of her skin to blush at such a stereotypical move. The rest of the pack picked up on the howling. It was mournful and beautiful even if it was a little cheesy.

And then she ran. And everyone followed her.

September Prompt: The Awakening

September Prompt: The Awakening

I really want to write a longer story based on this world. I am doing my best to keep my prompt responses under 1,500 words. But, anyway, I think the world I have created here would be fun to explore, so maybe I will write something a little longer! I hope y’all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Today is the Awakening. 

I adjust my white robes—they don’t fit properly, but I notice that most people are fidgeting with their own. Gathered around me are all kinds of people. Some distant relatives of the people who sleep, others family friends of those who passed on before the Awakening, and some look old enough to have possibly even known the individuals who sleep. I work in the facility, and I am tasked with being there for Isabella, no last name, who has no one left to greet her. That happens sometimes. Not everyone falls asleep and has loved ones to find them. According to Isabella’s records, it took a month for her to be found. 

It should not take anyone that long to be found these days — in ten days specifically — when the Sleeping occurs, thanks to GPS and smartphones. But I am getting ahead of myself. 

“When do we go into their rooms?” A woman named Regina according to the name tag affixed to her own ill-fitting white robes asks. 

I realize she is asking me. Everyone keeps asking me questions, and I suppose it is fair. They all know I work at the facility, that I have been tasked with keeping their loved ones or loved ones of dead loved ones alive. 

Not that it is hard keeping the Sleeping Ones alive. It isn’t like they can put themselves into any danger just lying there. But all these people in this room, they all seem to think I know things about their people. Like what their personalities really are like, even though I don’t. All I know of these people is their sleeping patterns, that some snore really loudly and others drool so much we have to swap out their pillows more frequently. 

I have never been to an Awakening before, though. And any information that I have these people have in packets they were supposed to study before coming. Still, I plant my customer service smile on my face.

“In about ten minutes,” I say, with a quick glance to the clock ticking in the room’s corner. My voice is higher-pitched than normal, a voice that I can only use when I am in the mode.

“Oh,” the woman says, and I find myself feeling guilty. She is nervous, I think. And I understand that too, because so am I. I have never met Isabella before—not really. Sure, I know her sleeping patterns. I know as much as her records tell us, which isn’t too much. Not much was known about Isabella. None of her neighbors at the time knew anything about her, or where she had come from. There were whispers of gentlemen (and some women too) callers coming late at night, but nothing  concrete. 

What am I supposed to say to this woman? Who fell asleep a hundred years ago? I suppose I will figure it out in less than ten minutes.


This isn’t the first time that I have been in Isabella’s room. Her body is still connected to all the wires that monitor her. The dull beep, beep, beep of machinery that tells all of us she is doing okay. She looks peaceful, the same as when she fell asleep, because that is one of the stranger things about those who fall asleep. They don’t age. Their bodies don’t decay. They seem immune to illness while they sleep, though we still give them vaccines for when they return to the world.

Return to the world. Even that phrasing is odd to me. 

They do not know the world anymore. Technology, it has advanced so much. Telephones and cars were relatively new when she fell asleep. I don’t think television existed and I wonder how you are supposed to explain computers and the internet to them. Oh, I know in that packet I studied, there were guided conversations. Suggestions of how I could breach the topic of all that has changed with Isabella, but none of it sounded natural to me, and why should she trust me?  She doesn’t know me.

I know her, though. I know how her face looks when she dreams. I can’t see what she is dreaming, but her monitors pick up on it. If the dream is pleasant, she has a tiny smile on her face. If the dream is unpleasant, she doesn’t frown. Her lips just fall into a neutral expression, but if you look close enough around her closed eyes, you can notice crinkles that aren’t normally there. She doesn’t talk in her sleep — some do—but she sighs occasionally. 

I have studied her file too. Even if there isn’t much in it. Her’s isn’t the only file I studied, and her sleep isn’t the only one, either. I have worked in this facility for years. I interned here in college, and once I graduated, they offered me a job. My bosses like my insight, apparently. They like how I treat the Sleepers. My curiosity, they say,  is at an appropriate level. 

I can’t really imagine working anywhere else, and I am going to be sad to see all these Sleepers leave. But I know, in ten days’ time, I will have new Sleepers to look over. 


I am seated in my favorite chair in  Isabella’s room. It came from her house and has withstood the test of time. We try to do that when we can, place items from the Sleeper’s lives, around their room. Usually people have albums and pictures, but not Isabella. All she has is this chair, and the dresser in the corner filled with knickknacks and clothing. 

The beeping on the monitor changes and I find my eyes daring towards Isabella. She sits up and stares with a confused expression at all the wires connected on her. Then her eyes land on me.

“I fell asleep, didn’t I?” she asks, her voice sounding rough from lack of use, but at least she still has a voice.

“You did,”  I say, suddenly forgetting everything that I am supposed to be saying to this woman. All the words of comfort and reassurance. At least she doesn’t seem like she wants to rip any of the wires out. She seems calm, and maybe a little too calm, but I will take it. 

Isabella’s eyes land on me, in her chair, and then drift away towards the rest of the room. Taking in the small television in the corner, the dresser that was in the room she was found in, and all the monitors that monitor her health.

“Things look mighty different,” she says, and I notice a hint of an accent. 

“I’ll bet,” I say, and I know that I should say other things. Asking how she is doing. Checking on her vitals and things like that. But she seems so calm, and not at all confused. I suppose by the time she fell asleep, we humans knew the routine. It had been happening for so long. I still think it would be a shock to fall asleep and then wake up a century later, but… not everyone is like me, I suppose. 

“Can I get something to eat?” Isabella asks.

The question makes me laugh.

“Technically, we aren’t supposed to let you eat right away.” I point out.

“I have had nothing to eat in a hundred years. It hardly seems fair to make me wait even longer.”

There’s a glint of amusement in Isabella’s eyes as she says this. I think I probably have five or ten minutes before she really puts up a fuss about food. I also decide that I like her, and maybe this won’t be so bad. Reintroducing her to the world.

NaNoWriMo 2020

i am doing me some NaNoWriMo this year. i attempt the challenge every year, and have only won twice in my life. the first year that i won was in 2011, the year after i graduated from college. i didn’t have papers to write or books that i had to read, i was missing having deadlines like crazy, and i didn’t yet have a job or kids. there wasn’t much going on for me at the time, and i breezed through it. i had like two 10k days. it was fun, it was exhilarating. i have just lied to you all unintentionally. having checked the NaNo website, it appears i have won the thing three times. my bad. the second time i won was in 2017 and the third time was in 2019. somehow, i forgot i won just last year. in my defense, though, we all know that 2020 has actually already been 100 years long. 

in between those victories i have tried nano and failed it. i have tried camp nanos and failed those too. some projects i stop after only 1,000 words, some projects have nearly 10k or more. and an awful lot are at 0. i feel like most years i start off heavily motivated, that i will complete this goal, and then i fall behind. not just one day behind, but two or three, and it feels like once those days keep stacking up, it gets harder and harder to motivate myself back into the game.

i am also realizing that perhaps my method of pantsing it, with very little to NO plotting, could be a problem. and so this year, i am embarking on a journey of self-discovery, of learning how to plot and plan for myself. and i am having fun with it.

did you know that plotting— outlining even! — can take some off the edge, that “I MUST START THIS NEW PROJECT IDEA NOW OR WITHER INTO NOTHINGNESS” feeling sparked by a new idea? that sometimes is the problem with NaNo when i think too early about a project. i am hoping that i keep the passion, the excitement alive, with my foray into this outlining and plotting game.

so, starting this month and all through october, i will share my baby steps into plotting. i will share snippets of my outline. bits about the characters i will be writing about, and bits of the story i have in my head. 

i will also continue to work on the prompts i have been given for this month and ask for more prompts when i finish those. pausing prompts in november to just focus on the writing of my novel which is currently called: Motherhood & Magic

are you planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year? are you a plotter or a pantser? do you have any advice for a pantser who is attempting their first plotted novel?

September Prompt: The Coffin

September 2020 Prompt: The Coffin

This prompt is about a … coffin! Again, mostly written around 5am and 6am. As always, not much editing done, just a few rereads. I enjoy not really editing these things. Speaking of enjoy, I hope you enjoy the story!


The first time she saw the coffin she had been five years old and playing hide and seek with her cousins. It had been in the basement, not exactly hidden or anything. She had had no idea what it was, just that it looked like the perfect place to hide in. The top of the thing was up, exposing an opening plenty large enough for her to climb into. So, she had, and she scooted down into the thing, full of giggles. Then she heard her cousin come tromping down the stairs, and he looked everywhere but the coffin, before he ran back, and she giggled even more.

She couldn’t remember how long she laid, curled up in the foot of the wooden thing. She hadn’t been afraid of it, honestly. She hadn’t realized at five that a coffin was where dead people were put. She had actually felt safe in it, secure, and maybe a little warm after a while. 

Eventually, her cousin found her, with the help of her brothers, and the rest of her cousins who had been playing. Everyone had screeched when they had seen where she was at. Someone called her a weirdo, and another person a freak. She hadn’t really known the meaning of those words, just that the tone had implied they were making fun of her. That was when she began to cry.


She was ten when she finally asked her grandma about the coffin. The adults were in the process of moving Grandma out of her big house, the house with three levels and a basement. Except no one went up to the third level. All the kids knew the third level was haunted by ghosts. The adults just said there was no reason to climb all those stairs, but Maisie knew that that was just a cover. Grandma was seated in her favorite chair, a pair of sunglasses perched on her nose even though she was indoors. She had one of her adult drinks, a cocktail was what she always called them. It looked like juice but tasted something awful (Maisie may have tried a sip of it once when she was younger, on a dare from a brother, and all she could remember was the burn of the drink and how it had made her cough). 

“Sit and supervise with me, Maisie-bee,” Grandma had said, and Maisie had taken that invitation to climb into the chair with her grandmother. She snuggled close, and they sat together. Grandma occasionally sipped her cocktail, and barked out orders to Maisie’s aunts and uncles. 

“Grandma, what is going to happen with that coffin?” Maisie asked.

She found herself thinking about that coffin a lot. She was now grossed out with herself for having hidden in the thing when she was younger. Dead people lived in coffins! Had a dead person been in that coffin before? Maisie had never known a person who had died before, but she had had a pet cat by the name of Griffin. He had been gray and old most of her life and had died when she was six. Her best friend at school, Charlotte, had had an uncle who had died and she had gone to the funeral. She had told Maisie all about it. Charlotte was where Maisie got most of her information from these days. 

“It is coming with me,” Grandma explained. 

“Why?” 

Grandma didn’t answer the question right away. She just took a sip of her drink, most of the ice had melted by then, and the glass was slick with condensation. Maisie was beginning to wonder if perhaps Grandma hadn’t heard her. She was on the verge of repeating the question a little louder— Charlotte said that sometimes old people just couldn’t hear— when Grandma spoke up.

“It’s mine. I bought it a long time ago.” 

Maisie stared at her grandmother, a frown on her face.

“But you aren’t dead,” she said, puzzled. 

Sudden worry bubbled up within her though. What if her grandmother was dead. Or a vampire! She had seen a vampire movie before, and she knew that the movie was supposed to be fake, but what if it wasn’t?  Not all movies were about fake things. Her Dad liked to watch documentaries on wars, and he said, those battles actually happened. Except, vampires usually looked a lot younger than her Grandma did. But… Maisie realized that her Grandma was wearing sunglasses inside.

“Are you a vampire?” She whispered in awe. 

Her grandma laughed at that question and Maisie never found out the answer because her Mom called her away after that to help with moving some boxes. 


Maisie was fifteen years old when Grandma was buried in the coffin. The day of the funeral was cloudy and muddy. Maisie’s Mom cried a lot, and so did most of her older cousins and relatives. She couldn’t muster any tears at the funeral, or even after finding out that Grandma had died. She was sad about it, and she knew she would miss her grandma, she just couldn’t cry. 

She remembered the way the coffin was lowered into the ground and the speeches that people made. Maybe not the exact words, but the context. It was a lot of talk about how vibrant of a personality Grandma had had, right up until the moment she had none because death had taken it. 

No one talked about the coffin that Grandma had had with her. The one that had moved from house to house with her. Maisie had thought that was a little strange, how no one wanted to really bring up death even though they were at a funeral. She thought that her grandma might have liked it if someone had talked some about the coffin. If Maisie could speak in front of crowds like Charlotte, then maybe she would have given an ode to the coffin, but crowds even if it was a crowd of family, made her anxious. 

She did say a silent goodbye to both grandma and the coffin once they were buried beneath the earth. 


At twenty Maisie bought her own coffin. 

She had stared at rows and rows of the things. Half listening as the man (was he an undertaker?) explained about the different woods and things like that. He asked about her loved one, and Maisie had been confused for a half a second before she had smiled.

“This isn’t for a loved one. It’s for me.”

His eyes had gone wide for a moment and Maisie realized that he probably thought she was sick and dying. Technically, everyone was dying from the moment they were born. But she had every intention of living a long life like her Grandma had.

“I’m not sick or anything. It’s just… It’s a family tradition,” she explained.

It wasn’t, but Maisie was hoping to make it one. The rest of her family had used whatever money they received from Grandma after her passing to buy things like computers or help pay for cars. Things that they technically needed to make life a little easier. She had been fifteen then, and her parents had told her she had to wait until she was eighteen to spend the money.

At eighteen, she hadn’t wanted to. 

Now at twenty, she knew in her gut, just how to spend the money. She was pretty sure that her Grandma would approve.

September Prompt: Eggs & Roses

September 2020 Prompt: Eggs & Roses

The first prompt I have written for September. Here is my take on Eggs & Roses. It went in a direction I hadn’t expected from it. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write until I sat down before a blank document, and then with the magic of 5am (more accurately it was probably 5:30am when I started) words began to flow. This prompt is written in the first person, something I rarely do, but have been compelled to do twice for prompts, interesting! At least, interesting to me. Anyway, please enjoy the prompt. As always, very minimal editing (mostly a read through or two).


“He has been coming every day for the last two years,” May pointed out, with a nod to the older gentleman at one of the booths near the back of the restaurant. 

“He always orders the same meal too,” added April, who had been walking by with a stack of plates balanced precariously on her arms. She shot her twin a look just before she entered the kitchens. 

“She doesn’t like us gossiping about him. She thinks he’s sad,” May explained, pausing a beat before adding, “but you saw how quickly she jumped in to talk about him.” 

“Do you think he’s sad?” I asked, doing that held tilt that always made May laugh. She said it reminded her of her puppy. I liked to make people laugh, it was a compulsion of mine. It didn’t matter if people were laughing with or at me. 

May didn’t laugh but her lips quirked up into an amused smile before she shrugged her shoulders. She gave the old man one more look, and I couldn’t quite read the expression on her face as she studied him. 

“I don’t think that he’s just sad,” May said slowly, “there’s more to it.” 

I wanted to ask May what she meant by that, but April had come back out from the kitchens, and the withering look she had given the two of us, had been enough to spur us into action. There were tables to attend to.


I had been working at the diner for over a month now. It was my first waitressing gig. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the work, but it paid the bills. April and May were a few years older than me. Fraternal twins who looked nothing alike. April was tall with long blonde hair that was always pulled up into a tight bun. She was the more serious twin. May was shorter with hair so dark it looked black, she kept her hair short and buzzed at the back. She had been the one tasked with training me, but May was easily distracted and had a tendency to wander off mid-sentence or training. April seemed to have a sixth sense about that, though, and she would swoop in to save my ass by explaining what her sister had not.

It was a family-owned diner, and it was rare that they hired new staff. Everyone made me feel welcomed, my coworkers, and most of our customers too since they were regulars. I still felt a bit like an outsider, though. Accepted only on the surface level. I had no intention of staying at the diner for years and years like most of the wait staff, and maybe, that was why I felt like I did not quite belong. Maybe everyone else sensed it too, even if they were nice, I never quite felt a real connection with anyone there.

If I managed to make everyone laugh at least once a shift and I got decent tips, then I considered that shift a win. 


“What can I get you today, sir?” I asked, and as I looked up it dawned on me who I was finally waiting on. The older man who came in every day, and sat at this booth.  He was dressed nicely, way too nice for what the diner actually was. I  noticed, for the first time, that he had a bouquet of roses. He must have seen me looking at the roses because he smiled.

“These are for my daughter, she’ll be joining me. I’d like some scrambled eggs, and an orange juice, please.” 

“Should I leave a menu for your daughter, then?” 

“That would be nice.”

I left a menu with the man and walked back towards the kitchen. I did my best not to peek over my shoulder at him.  I couldn’t remember if I had seen him with roses before, but something told my gut, that he probably always came in with them I had just never noticed before. I had never gotten close enough. 

I was distracted for the rest of my shift. I kept glancing at the old man, his table, and the door. Other patrons made jokes with me because they were used to me joking back, but everything felt kind of flat to me. Every time I checked on the old man, to bring him his food and then refill his orange juice, he smiled and seemed happy. Excited even about the prospect of seeing his daughter. But after a few hours, he had gotten up and left. His daughter had never come. He left a decent tip and the roses behind.


“He’s always waiting for his daughter?” I asked May.

We were seated outside of the diner. May’s back against the wall, and an unlit cigarette perched in her lips. She was not actually smoking it, she never did. She just always kept one on her for smoke breaks. I was on my fifteen-minute break, timed just so I could bother May with my questions.

“Always,” May replied, pulling her cigarette out of her mouth and pretending to exhale. 

“And she never comes?” 

“Never,” May stuck the cigarette back between her lips and squinted at me.

“Does any—…” 

“No one knows anything, Bev. He just comes every day, and orders his scrambled eggs with orange juice. He gets exactly one refill of the orange juice and eats his eggs. He eats them slowly and after two or so hours, he leaves. Always leaving the roses and a nice tip behind. No one wants to ask, no one knows what to ask. April is right, you know?  It isn’t our business.” 

May then stood up as I said nothing. Mulling over everything she had just said. Wondering if maybe I should be the one to break protocol and just ask those questions. May studied me for a few minutes, her eyes narrowed like she could read my thoughts. I could feel my face beginning to grow warm under the scrutiny of her look. 

“Don’t forget about the trash,” was what she said instead, before walking back inside. She stuck her unlit cigarette into her apron pocket, next to all of her pens. 


I ended up working at that diner for just under a year. I waited on the old man with his eggs and roses a couple more times. His daughter never came into the diner and I never worked up the courage to ask him anything. I guess, I realized, it was not my place or my business to ask.  Or maybe I could always just feel April’s laser-like eyes boring into my back. I really did not want to deal with her quiet wrath.