11:30 PM. The red numbers on my alarm clock flashed from my bedside table. I wiped my brow and looked back down at the mess of desk parts laying around me. Crickets chirped from my patio.
I’d finally gotten my bed up, after struggling with it for hours. When it comes to putting things together like this, I suck. That’s why In the past my brother or dad usually put these things together for me.
I rubbed my eyes and pushed myself up and toward my luggage bag to get my bed sheets. The unreadable instruction manual lays on top of the pile like a snowcapped mountain. It’s more like a confusion manual than an instruction manual.
After making my bed, I plopped onto it, sighing. I opened my iPhone and set the alarm for 6am, before leaning back onto my pillow and shutting my eyes. Sleep welcomed me. I felt myself drifting off slowly.
Clunk. Boom. Pop.
“What was that?” I said out loud, “Could it have been an earthquake.” I jumped. But then I heard it again and glanced up at the ceiling. It was my neighbors upstairs. Their heels resonated through the floor, echoing my room.
“Man, are they wearing granite shoes?” I shook my head. Great. It’s like past one am. Why are you pounding around up there like you are a troll pacing thinking about what you will have for dinner tomorrow?
I turned around and set my white noise app on my phone. It was like my own portable rainforest. I shut my eyes and sunk back into a peaceful sleep as the troll continued to pace.
I jumped out of bed as soon as my alarm went off and threw on a black pencil skirt and a satin blue shirt. When I walked into the bathroom, I jumped when I saw my hair and face. I looked like a zombie who’d had a tough time crawling out of my grave the night before. I combed out my hair and put it in a bun, before adding some color to my face to make me look alive.
A melody played from my room, which had me running out of my bathroom to answer the phone.
“Hello Scarlett, it’s Benedict. Just wanted to let you know I am waiting downstairs.” I glanced at my watch and then hustled to grab my stilettos and folio bag. The heat greeted me as I left my apartment. I struggled with locking the door and then hustled to the parking area where I saw Benedict’s limo. He got out of the limo and opened the back door for me. The black suit and hat looked like the exact ones he was wearing the other day.
After a short drive, Benedict stopped the limo in front of a modern glass building with Viva Glamour Magazine etched in the glass above the double door entrance. He opened the limo door. I breathed in deeply before stepping out of the car. Benedict nodded at me.
“Thanks, Benedict.” I smiled, reaching for the golden door handle. I opened the door to a grand staircase with a golden handrail. While quickly making my way up the staircase I admired the crystal chandelier hanging from the center of the ceiling.
“Hello, can I help you?” A tall woman with curly hair asked from behind a receptionist desk.
Making my way to the desk, I said, “Yes! Madam Vera TruDell just hired me.”
“Oh, yes! We’ve been waiting for you!” Her whole demeanor changed as a smile filled her face. She stood up and gestured over to a sitting area decorated in golds and blacks.
“Have a seat over there. Someone will be out in a moment to bring you back.” She smiled again, before making her way back to her desk.
“Thanks.” The glossy covers on the magazines sitting on the glass table in the middle of the sitting room caught my eye. Viva Glamour Magazine was Las Vegas’ top fashion magazine and I was going to be a new addition to it’s editorial team. Nerves danced inside my stomach.
“Scarlett?” A woman with a dark inverted bob came from the hallway behind the receptionist table.
“Yes, that’s me.” I quickly stood up.
“Perfect, please follow me!” She turned quickly and walked down the dark hallway to an office with double doors. I followed her as she pushed the double doors open.
The entire wall on the opposite side of the room was aqua. It was water. It was an aquarium wall. A large desk sat in the middle of the room and a black leather seat sat behind it. A woman sat in the chair, while looking into the aquarium. Hammerhead sharks swirled in a frenzy.
“Scarlett is here now, Vera.” She said and quickly left the room with the door closing behind her. The woman sat quietly.
I breathed in deeply, “Hello?”
The woman slowly twirled her chair around to face me. I gulped, What did I get myself into?
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I am currently writing a story on Wattpad titled, Glamour Inside. Check it out and take a read here. I will be posting the story every other week on here and on Wattpad! Hope you enjoy.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I always love hearing your thoughts.
Isn’t that an awesome cover? Without further ado… here is the story!
Chapter 1. The Arrival
I never imagined telling people I’m moving to Vegas. It’s just not something you hear everyday.
People filled the plane aisle. The flight was long enough and now we had to wait for everyone in the front to leave so the lucky ones of us at the back could also de-plane. De-planing is my favorite. To pass time I scrolled through the images of the forest behind my home. The vibrance and silence of nature called out to me, but it didn’t help drown out the already intoxicated people who sat anxiously around me waiting to get off the plane for their Vegas vacations of gambling, drinking, and who knows what else.
As more people made their way down the aisle, I put my phone away and heaved my heavy computer bag onto my shoulder. I’d packed it to the brim. You need to make room for everything you might need when moving across the country. I need a massage, I thought, while standing up. I reached up to the overhead storage area and pulled out my carry on bag with wheels and set it on the ground.
While moving forward, the bag struggled to move in a straight line. Bam. It rolled into the back of a seat. The wheels were the kind that rolled in all different directions making it really easy somedays and really difficult others. Bam. It hit another seat. Thank goodness no one is sitting in the seats anymore. Getting on the plane with the bag was a nightmare as it ran over a few flip-flops and bonked some knees.There were countless frowns and judge-y glances tossed my way. I could hear my brother saying “Scarlett, you need a license for that thing. You aren’t good at driving it.” Bam. The suitcase hit the side of a chair for the third time. I sighed, struggling to push it forward the best I could. If this were a test to get a license for a vehicle I’d fail.
“Have a great time in Vegas.” A flight attendant smiled. I nodded and walked into the jetway as the desert welcomed me with a dry dusty smell. It filled my senses. If only she knew I wasn’t here for vacation.
As soon as I entered the terminal cheesy clinking sounds and musical noises ricocheted through the building. There were a bunch of gambling machines sitting in the middle of the terminal. A few people sat playing them. I looked around to see if anyone else thought this was strange, but no one was watching. It must be Vegas. What I’d heard was true. Las Vegas breaks the mold. Anything goes there.
After following the signs to the baggage claim and finding my checked bag I spotted a tall man with slightly no hair. He wore a black suit and matching sunglasses. His face held no emotion as he held a white sheet of paper with my name written on it: Scarlett Elmswood.
“Hello, I am Scarlett.” I waved, approaching him.
“Great. I found you.” He nodded and slowly turned toward the exit, “Now, just follow me.”
He reminded me of the majority of rickety old butlers in the black and white horror films set in creepy Victorian mansions. I swallowed hard and followed him outside. An intense dry heat overtook me as I stepped outside. I threw on my sunglasses as he led me to a black limo. He took my bags and put them in the trunk, before opening my door. I crawled into the limo.
“Welcome to Las Vegas.” He smiled. He looked as though he rarely smiled. Goosebumps shivered up my spine as he shut the door.
Oh boy, what did I get myself into? This is going to be interesting.
Chapter 2. Home Sweet Home?
I fumbled with my phone as the driver pulled onto the interstate. The neon signs and colorful casinos glimmered past us as he drove away from the Las Vegas Strip. The driver was quiet. Cars with Nevada and California plates zoomed past in a hectic manner.
“Madam Vera TruDell told me,” He spoke, causing me to jump, “that you will be starting tomorrow at 9 am.”
“Yes, she wrote me an email yesterday.” I pulled the email out of my computer bag. I’d printed it off earlier. He pulled off the busy interstate. My eyes wandered back down to the email.
I look forward to meeting you and can’t wait for you to start at our Viva Glamour Magazine, the newest enchanting fashion magazine to hit America’s newsstands.
I’m thrilled that you are starting on Monday. You will be writing pieces for the magazine and also for the website. Please, come an hour early so I may speak to you about your position more.
Vera TruDell Viva Glamour, Magazine Editor
I pondered her note and glanced out the window. Are we really in Las Vegas? The area of town we are in now looks like middle America with green trees and real grass decorating the sides of the streets. It doesn’t feel like I’m in the middle of a desert. The driver turned off the street into what appeared to be a gated community where a security guard sat in a square brick building. He looked up from the newspaper he was reading and nodded, pushing a button to open the gate. Quaint apartment buildings filled the property. Each apartment had a cute balcony. My driver rolled to a stop in front of the office surrounded by bushes and flowers. The sky blue office door opened and a small man walked out toward us. The tranquil pool tempted me from the corner of my eye. A garden of plants, bushes, and flowers also surrounded the pool. This place didn’t look anything like what I’d seen on the website. It was so much better. Usually the real places were worse in real life than the website. This place was an exception to the rule. Thank goodness.
This whole place gives off a secret garden feeling compared to the rest of Vegas. The busy clanging airport and the cars zooming about don’t existent in this place.
The small man’s cheeks glowed as he smiled. He smiles too much, I thought. There was a jolly bounce in his step. My driver got out of the car and waved unenthusiastically. And I still don’t know his name? The small man said something in return and smiled again. The nameless driver opened the door for me.
“Thanks!” I pulled myself out of the car and lugged my computer bag out and over my shoulders.
“Scarlett!” The small man said enthusiastically, while rushing up to me, “My name is Gip.”
“Hello!” I offered him my hand. He grasped my hand and shook rapidly. Gip? What a peculiar name?
“We have your apartment ready for you. Benedict, thank you for bringing her. ” He fumbled for something inside his tweed suit jacket pocket and pulled out a key, while looking at my driver. His name is Benedict? Interesting, that he hasn’t mentioned his name once.
The key wasn’t the kind I was expecting. It was the kind you’d see Cinderella’s step mother using to lock her into her room. It was an antique key with prongs and a serrated edge. He handed it to me, while smiling.
After filling out my lease papers, Gip led me to my apartment on the second floor. It was a three story apartment. I jumbled the key around a few times, unsuccessfully opening the door.
“Don’t worry. Most people who move in here struggle with the keys at least a few times, before they get it.” The small man chuckled.
Well then, why don’t you update the key system at this apartment, I wondered as the pressure built. Gip and Benedict stared over my shoulders as my nerves skyrocketed. Come on. Open. Turn the right way. After struggling for what seemed too long, I got the door open. We entered into the cool apartment. It was like heaven compared to the heat outside, being 109 degrees fahrenheit. The open floor plan and the gorgeous wooden floor made me feel like I was stepping into Snow White’s cottage in the woods. All it needed was some decoration and little dusting. Benedict sat my bag on the floor with a bang.
“If you have any needs or problems, be sure to call the office. We have maintenance and a night staff. Oh, and your bed, desk, and bookcase made it here earlier this week. They are in the master bedroom.” Gip smiled, before disappearing.
“Same here, missus.” Benedict tilted his black hat down in politeness, “Tomorrow, I’ll be here to pick you up at 7:30 am. It’ll take 30 minutes to get to Viva Glamour‘s office.”
“Thank you, Benedict.” I said. He nodded as a small crease resembling a smile crept onto his face as he turned and silently left, leaving me alone with the door open. Hmm… interesting people. I turn back into my apartment and sigh deeply before twisting the lock.
I wheel my bag into the master bedroom and lay it on the floor along with my computer bag. Sun rays come through the window and rest on the sunflower yellow colored walls. My plastic wrapped bed cushion is propped against the wall and my furniture is still in boxes. Uff, I need to set up the bed tonight still. Ahh, I think I’ll escape the work and procrastinate by going to the pool. I unzip my luggage and dig to find my swimsuit. Once I find it and change, I grab my confusing key to lock the door. I make my way to the pool. The sun warmed my skin as I made my way to the pool. I could get used to calling this home.
When I got to the pool, I lay down on a lawn chair. It was perfect. I closed my eyes and sighed. But not long after a woman started singing quietly from the pool. It was mesmerizing almost like a lullaby, but after a little while I felt like someone or something was staring at me so I opened my eyes.
It was her. The woman in the swimming pool. Her eyes were dark as a sinister look covered her countenance. She looked like a demon in the pool with wet black hair hanging from her head like seaweed. Unnerved, I got up slowly and grabbed my keys to go up to my room. It was nice while it lasted, but that was weird.
The #WritingHarvest Twitter Chat is back on this month! Aren’t you excited? I know I am. I have some exciting projects and things coming up for the #WritingHarvest Peeps. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom and make sure to click on the link and fill in the questions.
I wish that my summer could be as carefree as they were when I was little. They were the days of laying on the hammock reading all day, while listening to the birds singing and the wind whispering through the tree’s leaves. But now, summer… is a lot like all year long.
I wake up at around 7 am. Go for a run or a walk with my fiancé and then take a shower. This summer I was lucky to have my fiancé here with me for 6-weeks. He spoiled me with amazing breakfast and surprised me with lavish dinners when I came home from a long day at work.
By 9 am, I’m at work. I really love having a job. It really creates a sense of financial peace knowing that you can make enough to meet needs, but also to enjoy life.
But, I’ve also found that I want to have more of a passive income lifestyle. That would allow me to live the way I want to.
10 Things I’m Thankful For This Summer
1. That Johan was able to come and visit. That we were able to travel around to different places. We went to Mammoth Lakes, California (Which, I really liked. It’s a beautiful little getaway haven. Zion National Park in Utah. The Grand Canyon. We got to see tons. Was a lot of fun!
2. My Imagination. Johan and I have been brainstorming some exciting awesome projects that we are putting into action in the coming months. Really excited to share it with you all.
3. Air Con. Living in the desert of Las Vegas has really taught me something about hot summers. I don’t really enjoy living in a place that is so burning hot. My sister sent me this hilarious meme. And I swear… It’s true! (AND NOT ONLY FOR JUNE!!!)
Seriously… see how that burning fish just looks like he’s walking about his daily life and like that fire isn’t really bothering him? Yup, that is what it’s like here. It’s burning hot!!
4. Characters. I am so thankful for the characters that pop into my mind begging for me to tell their stories.
5. You. I am so thankful for all of my blog readers. You all mean the absolute world to me.
6. Wattpad. I started a novel on Wattpad. It’s a fun new side project, while I work on my other projects. I will be updating “Glamour Inside” every other week. Click here to read it. Would love to know what you think about it!
Goals for The Rest The Month-
Print out my editor’s mark ups of The Mason of Hearts (Printed it on July 15th, 2015)
Read through them. (Started on July 19th, 2015)
Edit TMOHs. (Planned date to be done: July 31st)
Write & upload chapter 3 of Glamour Inside to Wattpad (Hopefully will upload this week!)
Get proofs from layout designer at Dancing Poet Creative Media for the book version of my Instagram class.
I’d like to invite my friend and fellow writer & author Katie Cross to the blog again. Her newest book is out today! Yay! Be sure to show some love by commenting! Without further ado… learn about writing a series from someone who has done it. :)
When it comes to dessert, I know my way around a bakery.
But writing in an organized manner . . . well . . . let’s just say I’m one teaspoon short of a full set. When I started writing The Network Series, I had the equivalent of an egg and a teaspoon. I learned the hard way that one egg does not make a cake. As a bonafide pantser, however, I didn’t really care. I knew that as I went along, I’d figure it out. And I did.
But let’s just say that my little cake took awhile to bake.
And now I’m wishing I’d read the directions.
Tips for Writing a Series.
1. Plan out the general reach/direction for your series from the beginning. If you can answer these questions, you’re on your way:
Note: these answers don’t have to be detailed or cemented, either. I’m a bonafide fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of author, so things can change in a second. But having this direction can give a structure and stability that can save a lot of time.
– How many books will be in the series?
– Will it all be from the same POV?
– Does it take place in the same world/time?
– How much time passes from the start of the series to the end?
– Is there a prequel?
– What is the final ending of the last book? Knowing this in advance can help a lot with early foreshadowing.
– What are some possible titles?
2. Figure out an overall arc for each individual book.
This doesn’t have to be very detailed for all those pantsers out there. (I’m the biggest pantser of all). Having a basic idea of what to expect in book three will help with consistency as you write book two, for example. This is also a big way to help foreshadow well. If you know the basic ending of the fourth book, then you can add little extra hints in the previous books.
3. Don’t be afraid to write more than one book at once.
This, of course, is personal preference. Some people can only have one project at a time, while others need many. I found that working on more than one book in my series has helped me keep things consistent and fresh.
(For me, I have one in the first draft stage, one in rewrites/revisions, and another with the editor at any given time.)
4. Be prepared to re-read your own books many times.
I try to reread the previous books in the series at least once before releasing another one, just to make sure the details are consistent. I also have roughed up copies with dog eared pages and notes for quick reference.
It’s amazing how fast I forget eye and hair color.
5. Find beta readers with good memories that can help you fact check.
What you don’t want is a series that is inconsistent. Whether it’s style, timing, hair color, events, or what type of tea your character always takes, you want it even from book to book.
6. If possible, maintain a consistent editing team.
This can also go a long way in helping you maintain character voice and style, as well as pick up on little details that you may have missed from before.
7. Decide the details early.
Writing character profiles and having them saved in an easily accessible place can help you remember little things like hair color, eye color, style, etc. Another great idea is to draw a map—especially if you’re writing fantasy—so you know where everything is and how far away.
In conclusion, writing a series can be tough work. There’s a lot of plot and character arcs to keep in mind, not to mention details, locations, and the overall story that spans the series. Have your cake and eat it too by planning ahead of time!
Today is the release day for the prequel to my YA fantasy series The Network Series! I, personally, plan on celebrating with cake. You should too.
*hands you cake*
Click on any of the links below to get your copy today, or visit the official website to learn more. Don’t forget to snag your free copy of my novella, The Isadora Interviews.
She also loves cake and any kind of sweet confection, which is why her chick lit story, Bon Bons to Yoga Pants currently ranks anywhere from #6-10 on Wattpad and is sponsored by Athenos yogurt. (Click here read for free!) If she’s not writing, she’s playing with her dogs in the mountains or getting ready to be a first time Mom.
This book has really opened my eyes to a new style of writing. It’s big on getting you writing. It isn’t another one of those books that bore you to death. Promise it will help you too, if you actually do the homework inside it.
I’m all about getting in shape, but sometimes It’s really difficult to go for a run around town when you have things to carry like keys, money, and your phone. And it’s not like you want to be that person who wears a fanny pack. (Nothing against fanny pack wearers. They just aren’t for me.) Check out the Flip Belt. It’s a nice way to carry what you need and in style. No one even knows you are wearing it.
I’ve been taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University through a church here in Vegas. I really have been enjoying his classes. This is the handbook for the class. It goes over everything that is covered in the class. Really helpful for answering all of those money questions one gets from time to time.
I am from the country. I lived on the outskirts of a very small town in rural Minnesota and had my own personal forest surrounding my home. Currently, I am living in Las Vegas. You can imagine the difference i am experiencing!
I really miss the green leaves and the trees that surrounded me. I remember reading the Secret Garden when I was younger. Did you ever read it?
Nowadays, I really wish I had my own secret green garden to escape to. So, I decided to start my own seeds to grow my own little garden – an urban garden.
Happy Fourth of July! When you think of America, what are a few landmarks that pop into your mind?
My list would be:
Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota
Statue of Liberty, NYC
St. Paul’s Chapel, NYC
The Wild West
Medora, North Dakota
And many others…
There are many places that stick out to me. And it’s because they carry the traits of the American values and our history. The pride to be an American.
I went to New York a few years ago with Johan. It was my first time there. When I saw the Statue of Liberty I was blown away with emotions.
You probably ask why?Because, I was listening to their audio guide and one of the ladies had written in her journals about how trying and tough the boat ride to America was and that when they finally saw lady liberty, they couldn’t help but cry. They were coming to a new country that was opening their arms to them. Saving them from religious persecution. Saving them from countries being run by Tyrants.
I put myself in her shoes. I put myself in my ancestors shoes. Some of my family from the past went through Ellis Island. Lady Liberty greeted them.
My ancestors went through many trials to come into America; the right way. My great great grandma lost a child at sea when coming over from Norway. She tried hiding the little kid so she could bury them on land, but the captain found out and they buried the kid at sea. How sad! I read the letter my great great grandpa sent back to his family in Norway describing this whole story. Once she met up with my great great grandpa to make the trek to Minnesota, they lost their other child. They were starting out NEW. Completely new.
They fought for what they had. They worked hard for what they had. They started over.
I believe this is what describes an American.
If anyone wants to be an American, they must be willing to fight for what they have.
They must work hard for everything. They mustn’t expect to get things for free.
That means they shouldn’t expect the government to take care of them.
An American must take care of themselves.
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Do you ever feel like you are a trapeze artist who is walking across a wire balancing fine china on your arms, head, and shoulders when it comes to balancing your life with work and your writing?
Yes? I know I have felt that way!
I realized now more than ever, while working a full-time job that requires a lot of work to be put in, that sometimes when I get home I am completely tired and feel absolutely no motivation to write because I’m pooped from everything I had to get done earlier.
So how does one deal with all of these plates (responsibilities) and how do you manage balancing life so you don’t end up dropping them and breaking them all. If you want to know some things that will help you keep all of the plates balanced read on.
1. Get Moving
I’ve found this to be so helpful. If you set aside 30 minutes a day to exercise your body will thank you later.
I get to work at 9 am every morning. Lately I’ve been trying to wake up earlier so I can get a run in before work as well as some words written before I leave home. Check out this cool bedtime calculator. You type in when you want to wake up and they tell you when you should go to bed in order to wake up at that time.
I’ve been working on a new novel. I bring my novel freewriting notebook with me wherever I go. Whether that is to work or church or even on errands. You never know when an idea will pop into your mind. In this notebook I answer questions that get me thinking about who my characters are, what kind of world they live in, and what the rules to their world are. I’ve really found it helpful.
4. Cook Before You Are Busy
Get a slow cooker. Prepare meals on the weekend and then freeze them. Then before you go to work, throw your frozen prepped meals into the slow cooker. Your food will be ready for you by the time you get home from work.
Make sure you set aside some relaxation time for yourself. Maybe that means a bubble bath or a massage on the weekend. It’s just important that you take care of yourself during your busy lifestyle so that you can recharge.
6. Take Time To Chat With Writer Friends
I have some great writing friends who totally understand the work that goes into balancing life with writing and work. It’s nice to have people around you who understand your daily struggles and joys.
7. Go Someplace
Remember when Anne from Anne of Green Gables said “There is so much scope for imagination.”
She was right. There is so much scope for imagination in the world around us. Go somewhere on the weekend to fill your mind with new thoughts and ideas.
BONUS – Leave Work At Work
I have found that once I leave work I need to keep work related stuff out of my mind, because if I don’t I get stressed and irritable.
The secrets to living a healthy balanced lifestyle have to do with finding a happy medium in the many areas of your life.
What are some things you’ve found helpful to balance life, work, and writing?
If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to check it out now! I have the first chapter on Wattpad and I will be putting the second chapter up this week! –http://w.tt/1BL3EE6
Want to flesh out your characters in a fun way? Ever thought of free writing your characters thoughts? We’ve all at one time or another done that character sketch that they taught in high school. The one that asked a ton of questions like:
•What hair color?
•Does he/she have any scars?
I promise this isn’t the same kind of free writing exercise. Character sketches never really helped me much. I found them a bit boring. It made them seem like a homework assignment rather than a real person.
This writing exercise will help you grow into a writer that knows their characters on another layer.
When I free write my character’s thoughts in the form of journaling it really gets me into their heads.
They seem like they are REAL. Well, they are… they are inside your head. Get to know your characters better by doing this free writing exercise.