Monday, December 30, 2013

Menu: Week 26

I'm in shock that its the last few days of 2013. I can't believe how fast this year went. Here's to another year of wonderful things and new adventures.

Monday
- Lime steak tacos

Tuesday
- Oven fried chicken strips and baked potatoes

Wednesday
- Chicken Quesadailla

Thursday
- Tuna cheese melts (Just me and the boys)

Friday
- Ham and cheese sliders and Parmesan green beans

Saturday
- Dinner with the In-Laws

Sunday
- Slow cooker balsamic shredded beef and mashed potatoes



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Menu: Week 25


Because its Christmas week and funds are tight. I've decided to plan my meals around what I already have in my house so I don't have to buy a lot of extras. Merry Christmas to you all!!!

Monday
- Santa Fe Baked Chicken and baked potatoes

Tuesday
- Sloppy Joes and green beans (Christmas baking: Crockpot Meatballs for the Baker family pasta bar)

Wednesday
- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Thursday
- Steak Tacos

Friday
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta and green beans

Saturday
- Dinner with the In-laws

Sunday
- Steak Quesadillas

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Menu: Week 24

One more week closer to Christmas. I can't believe it. I did get all my Christmas shopping done just haven't wrapped any of them.
My eldest got to go to a Trail Blazer basket ball game with his daddy this week. He was so excited. He ate an entire bag of cotton candy by himself in just a few minutes and downed most of dad's popcorn. He danced the entire time trying to get on the jumbotron. Maybe next time I'll make him a sign. :)
On to the food. 

Monday
- Santa Fe Baked Chicken and bakes potatoes

Tuesday
- One pot sausage skillet pasta and green beans

Wednesday
- Roast beef and smoked Gouda grilled cheese with a side salad

Thursday
- Lime chicken tacos

Friday
- Turkey cream cheese wraps (Just me and the boys)

Saturday
- Garlic Parmesan crusted pork chops with Parmesan broccoli

Sunday
- Philly cheese steak sandwiches with a side salad

 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The McCracken family

I love photographing this family. We always have lots of fun together, even when it is bitterly cold out and all the kids want to do is play. :)





















Monday, December 9, 2013

Free Photo Session GIVEAWAY!


Win a free half hour mini session from Sara Henderson Photography. All you have to do is scroll down to the rafflecopter and enter to win. Don't forget to tell your friends. I will pick a winner on Monday the 16th, 2013. Good luck and Merry Christmas!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Menu: Week 23

I can't believe its December already. I haven't started my Christmas shopping yet! The boys went to daddy's work and saw Santa. They were so excited that they chatted up Santa for a good 20 minutes. Then they moved on to the outdoor garden center to help daddy pick up the tiny Christmas trees that blew over with the wind. Its was really cute. On to the food.

Monday 
- Tuna Cheese Melts (Just me and the boys)

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday
- Pizza Night

Friday

Saturday
- Dinner with the In-Laws

Sunday
- Left overs or Sloppy Joes.

Monday, December 2, 2013

#PimpMyBio - Here goes nothing...

I really don't know a lot about Twitter, but while I was stalking the #PitchWars feed today this #PimpMyBio tag came up. I started reading what other people had to say about themselves and why the mentors should pick them. I said what the hey... I can do that... I think.
Any who, here are some of the reasons why the mentors of Pitch Wars should pick my MS and help it shine. Here are eight things about me that might make you say... Huh?...

1. My name is Sara but some times I like to add an I. That's right, Sarai.

2. Last year for Christmas I actually gave my sister a jar of Edward Cullen's ashes. It's not that I was obsessed or anything... Would you like a jar of Edward Cullen's ashes? I have extras.
3. I know what the fox says...
4. I wrote a book when I was seven about a guy that grew backwards. His name was Zartan... It was genius I tell you. What? There already was a movie about a guy that grew backwards?
Ah, dammit.

5. Grew up in a family with 8 children. Mom told me I could have a special place under the stairs to be quiet and do my writing. A place where the other kids wouldn't bother me. To bad there were no lights...

6. I love BACON!

7. I wrote my MS during my lunch break at work. Two people I worked with actually paid me to be in my book. I am now $40 richer and have Captain Bruce Decker and Mr. Deedub to thank for that. If you want to know more about them and if I let them live you have to read my MS. 


8. And of course the good stuff...
I've been given the amazing opportunity to be a stay at home mom. I get to be at home with my 3 adorable boys and do what I love. Writing! Between the poop filled diapers and the drooling baby on my lap, I have become an expert at typing with one hand. That's right folks, I can do tricks. On top of being temporarily one handed, I have an amazing ability to drown out annoying sounds. Armpit farts, battle cries, Word World. Actually... I kinda like that show. 
Anyway, if you pick me I will work my ass off. I will never give up. As I bid you adieu, I shall leave you with these words of wisdom...


P.S. Who could deny these faces... They say "Mommy should win!"




Pitch Wars 2013

I'ts that time of year again. Pitch Wars is here and as usual I'm freaking out. Its the same "Did I do enough?" "Did I do to much?" "Is my MS crap?!" I hate the waiting game, but I hate the rejection more. Ahhhhh!
Like a good aspiring author I sent my MS out this morning to 4 mentors that I thought would be a good fit for me and my writing. I had to narrow the field from 46 to 4. Let me tell you, that was not fun or easy. Now I wait till the 11th to see if I was picked for the agent round. I heard there is a lot of competition though. 1700 entries with still 10 hours to go. Not good odds, but I believe in my work... I think... Yes, yes I do.
Even though its too late change anything, here is what I submitted for Pitch Wars.

     
The ancient blood of the master races flows through Tabor’s veins. Power. Magic. A death sentence.

In the south, the Dominion hunts down anyone with the blood of the ancients –and on her nineteenth birthday, they find Tabor. Captured by the murderous Dominion leader, Lord Farenan, Tabor and her magic are all he needs to claim true power in the world. He will use her magic to find her people and enslave them.

Unwilling to be used, Tabor escapes and places her trust in her new caretaker who promises to aid her in finding her people – a people who have not been seen in a century.

Tabor quickly finds that her new ally has his own agenda. Betrayed and recaptured, Tabor is taken to the heart of Winter Land and forced to search out her ancestors. Her people hold the secrets to her safety and her freedom – but Farenan seeks to make Tabor their destruction.

Chapter 1

The history books tell us of the three master races. The one’s that came before us. It is said that they created this land together for their peoples to live in peace, but as always, greed did not escape them. One race wanted more. More land, more power. They waged war with the other two nations, creating havoc across this new land.

No one knows how long they fought, or if there was a victor, but what we do know is that the master races are gone now. Some say they fought till they annihilated themselves. Some say they left this new land in search of freedom. I say they went into hiding, waiting for the right moment to strike, freeing this land of evil. That is why I wait. I know they will come for me.
~*~

Then the dream came. It was cold. The chill touched my soft cheeks and bit at my nose. Momma was screaming nearby, calling to me. Where was she? I cried, letting the warm tears run down my face. I cried to her without words, only because I didn’t know any. Momma? Her screaming had stopped. They all had.

The silence that came was deafening but calming in an odd sense. I was the only thing making sound with my crying now. The heat from my tears helped warm my skin but it wasn’t enough. I still shivered from the cold, or was it fear? I was too young to know the difference. Where was Momma? My hands reached for her but all they found was the cold snow around me. Where was she? Why didn’t she come?

I woke with sweat running down my face. A cold draft blew over me from the open window as I tried to make sense of the nightmare that haunted me. It was always the same. I could hear her. I could hear all of them, but the only thing I could see was the snow falling around me. The eerie sounds of their long lost voices played over and over in my head. I ran my hands through my sweat soaked hair. Make them stop!

My thoughts were interrupted by the bell in the tower. I dreaded that sound. It meant that I would have to live one more day hiding who I was and where I came from. I guess it was better than the nightmares I faced when I slept, but I didn’t know how much better it was.

As the bell chimed again calling to me to get out of bed, I remembered what this day meant. It was my nineteenth birthday. It would mark one year that my magic refused to emerge. One year that I was a misfit between normal and Artican. I was beginning to doubt my origins. Maybe I wasn’t who I thought I was all along. Maybe this master blood that was supposed to be running though my veins was a myth. Who knew? The masters had been gone so long they could just be stories that were told to children at bed time. No. I had to keep believing in my future. Otherwise, what was I living for?

My small room was oddly cool. Rolling onto my side, I gathered my sheepskin blankets up around my chin and pulled my feet close, attempting to warm them before I dozed back off to sleep. What was the point of waking now? I had nothing to show for myself. Not even a speck of magic flowed from my finger tips. It was embarrassing. Not that anyone knew who I was, but I knew, and that was enough.

I tried to doze off again. Maybe I could get another hour of rest before I faced the world. The images of my nightmare haunted me still, lingering in my thoughts. Nineteen years. Nineteen years had gone by with these images. For some reason they bothered me more this morning than they had previously. It was unnerving.

There was a knock on the door, bringing me from my haze. A sigh escaped my lips. I knew who it was. Delah my best friend. She had probably come to check on me, to make sure I was ok.

“Yes?” I said.

The wooden door creaked open and Delah’s mop of red hair peeked around the corner, followed by the rest of her. There was concern present on her face. I hated it when she looked at me like that. It was pity in her eyes. I didn’t need her pity or anyone else’s for that matter. I had accepted the fact that I was alone, why couldn’t everyone else?

“I’m glad to see you’re… awake,” she sat on my bed next to me as I sat up and scooted over to make room for her.

Glad? Who was glad? I was nothing. I wasn’t a human and I wasn’t an Artican. How could she be glad? I forced a smile. Maybe she would leave me alone if I looked optimistic. Probably not, but it was worth a try.

“Tabor, are you listening to me?”

I was startled out of my daze again. Delah was probably trying to tell me something important, something that would cheer me up. I didn’t even know why she tried. I was a lost cause.

“Sorry,” I rubbed my eyes, “I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“The nightmare again.” Delah rested her hands on mine, giving me a weak smile. It was of little comfort now, but a nice gesture all the same. My white skin was pale in comparison to her dark tan and cold as well. It was a reminder of how different we were, how I didn’t belong here. She was one of two people who really knew what I was. An Artican. A member of one of the three master races that have long since disappeared. No one knows why they left, but it was convenient for them to leave me here without a hint as to where they went.

I had been separated from my people when I was a baby, brought here by the grace of the Overkeeper, and raised with the knowledge of what I was and what I was capable of. Although my magic hadn’t began to surface yet, it would hopefully come soon and those who found out of my Artican decent would try to use me for their own bidding.

“There is always hope,” Delah whispered. It felt like she was reading my mind. I didn’t like it. She had a way of always knowing what I was thinking. I was beginning to wonder if she too had special powers or maybe she was just that in tune with my moods. I had heard stories of mind readers. People claiming they were decedents of the Dominion, one of the master races. People would say or do anything these days to gain power, but still, there was talk of a warlord from down south that used dark magic. He was gathering an army. For what, I didn’t know, but I had to be careful these days while I was without my magic.

“You’re right Delah, there is always hope,” I sighed. I felt a little better, but I was sure the feeling wouldn’t last long. It never did.

“I just wanted to bring you this,” Delah placed a small bundle in my hands. It was wrapped in a scrap of brown burlap and tied with twine in a neat bow around the top.

“It’s a birthday present,” a smile crept across her face.

Speechless, I pulled the twine. The scrap fell open on my lap revealing a leather bound wrist cuff with brass rivets around the edges. It was amazing. My fingers caressed the worn leather. It was oddly soft, not like anything I had felt before. Not even from the leather workers in the towns nearby.

“Where did you get this?” I picked up the cuff to examine the broach secured to the middle of the leather. It appeared to be a family crest with a snow leopard in the middle. I wondered what it meant.

“Father Michael found it recently while traveling through the mountain passes. He thought it belonged to your parents possibly or maybe one of the members of their traveling party. He thought it might be a nice trinket to remind you of who you are.”

“Why didn’t he give it to me himself?” I pressed her for more information.

“He seemed upset when I talked to him at dawn prayers. He asked me to give it to you. He ran off before I could ask him anything more.”

Menu: Week 22

I am super excited about this weeks menu. I'm trying some new foods that I'm not sure about, but what the hay, i'm going to eat them anyway :) Maybe I can get my kids to eat it with me... On second thought, not a chance.

Monday
- Chipotle Steak Quesadillas

Tuesday
- Tuscan Grilled Chicken

Wednesday
- Grilled Chicken with Peach BBQ Sauce

Thursday
- Crock pot Tortellini Soup

Friday
- Beach Boy's Pot Roast

Saturday
- One pot Chicken Risotto (pictured above)

Sunday
- Left overs or Sloppy Joe's

Monday, November 25, 2013

Menu: Week 21

Its Thanksgiving week! My husband and I decided that because we are going to have so many good thanksgiving foods this week that we were going to make meals as far from the mashed potatoes and turkey that we could come up with. So, it's Asian week!
A little orange chicken, some Mongolian beef. Lets try something new.

Monday
- Orange Chicken and Rice

Tuesday
- Mac & Cheese (just me and the boys)

Wednesday
- Hoisin pork with rice noodles (Pictured above)

Thursday
- Thanksgiving! I'm making a ham and home made Coleslaw

Friday
- Left overs and grilled cheese (Just me and the boys)

Saturday
- Dinner with the in-laws

Sunday
- Mongolian Beef and Rice

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Menu: Week 20

I can't believe we have been doing a weekly menu for 20 weeks now. We've had so much fun cooking together and not to mention the money we've saved. Now a days we don't even want to go out for dinner because we know we can make something better at home for a fraction of the price. Its AWESOME!
This week my little Ronan dropped a rock on his toe, turning it black and blue. I guess he wanted it to match his black and blue eye from last week when he tripped and hit hi face on his toy box. That kid is a monster.
Phoenix has started the second term of kindergarten. At his rate he will be done with classes by the beginning of January. He will get to start 1st grade then.
And dont forget little Liam. He rolled over for the first time this week. The little guys going to be 4 months Saturday. I can't believe how fast my little guy is growing.
Well, on to the food since my weekly menu is a day late.

Monday  
- Dinner in Astoria (Baked Alaska)

Tuesday
- Jason's cousins ham recipe (I have no idea what is in it but my husband is going to cook it)

Wednesday

Thursday
- Pizza Night

Friday

Saturday
- Caprese Burgers  (pictured above)

Sunday
- Left overs or sloppy joes

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu: Week 19

SO, last week my hubby took me to see the new Thor movie for a belated birthday present. I enjoyed it very much. Was it wrong of me thought to be thinking about plot lines in my head the whole time? Ah, the mind of a writer. I couldn't help myself.
I also was part of a query (Writers cover letter) workshop and had my query critiqued by Emmie Mears, an editor for an online geek hub for women. It was awesome, but a little scary. She gave me some good tips and hopefully soon I will have my query letter squeaky clean in no time.
Well, lets get on with the food shall we.

Monday

Tuesday
- Grilled Cheese (Just me and the boys)

Wednesday
- Honey baked ham (Trying some recipes for Thanksgiving)

Thursday
- Mongolian Beef (Pictured above)

Friday
- Mac & Cheese (Just me and the boys)

Saturday
- Dinner with the In-laws

Sunday
- Sloppy Joe's or dinner with a friend

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cajun-Style Hash Browns

Every once and a while I wake up early enough to make breakfast for my husband. I found this recipe the other day while surfing pinterest. It was easy and delicious. One of my eggs did break and I over cooked them slightly, but what the hey, it was a good first try.
The original recipe called for sausage, but I didn't have any so I used bacon. It would have been better if I cooked the bacon on the stove top first then put it in the oven. I like my bacon crispy!
To check out the original recipe click here.

20 oz potatoes (I cut my own potatoes but you can use frozen ones) 
1 chopped green pepper
4 tbs Butter
4 cloves Garlic
8 oz Smoked Sausage
Cajun seasoning
Cheese (Optional)

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. add garlic and sliced sausage. Cook until garlic is tender and fragrant. Add the potatoes and cook until soft. Mix in Cajun seasoning. 

Put potatoes and meat mixture into an oven safe pan. With a spoon make holes for the eggs. Crack an egg into each hole. Lightly sprinkle Cajun seasoning over eggs.

Cook in oven for 18-20 minutes or until the egg whites are fully cooked but the yolks are still runny. If you are going to add cheese, do so in the last 5 minutes of cooking. 

Serve immediately and enjoy! Makes about 6 servings.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Menu: Week 18

Hey hey, its November. My favorite month of the year. Do you want to know why? Its my birthday month. I like to celebrate it all month long :D I wish. Here's to my last year in my 20's. My goal is to have my book published by 30. Freaking out a little since I only have a year. Cross your fingers and on to the food.

Monday
- Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Pasta (since we didn't do it last week)

Tuesday
- Home made chicken nuggets and fries (Just me and the boys)

Wednesday 
- Calzone (I have my oven back!)

Thursday
- Home made mac and cheese (just me and the boys)

Friday

Saturday
- Cajun Chicken Pasta (pictured above)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cheese Corner - Grilled Cheese Grill

Alright Portland! My husband and I have been wanting to check out some of the cool little eateries in our area for a while. While we were out with the kids yesterday we found this little place,
The Grilled Cheese Grill. It was sooo good. The kids loved it because it was grilled cheese. My husband and I loved it because we got two grilled cheese sandwiches with veggies and a burger patty in the middle. They call it the Cheesus. I got the Baby Cheesus that has only one grilled cheese sandwich with the burger in the middle. It filled us up. We liked it so much we went back the next day.
The kids got to eat inside the bus, which they thought was the greatest thing ever. I thought it was pretty cool myself. Very Portland.
I would only suggest one thing. Bring your own drink. A can of soda costs $1.25 and that's all they have to drink.

The Cheesus.
Locations
NE 11th & Alberta
SE 28th & Ankeny
SW 10th & Alder | Washington

Price: $ (it cost about as much as Wendy's)

Gluten free option (great for me)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu: Week 17

Another week down. We took the boys out for a little photo fun last week, got this precious picture of all of them together. It is sooooo hard to get them to all look at the camera all at the same time. dang it! 
Some other news. I didn't have my manuscript picked for the Trick or Treat with Agents contest. I didn't really expect much, but I worked hard on that thing to get it done in a week and needless to say, I was really disappointed when I didn't get picked. Oh well, on to the next. 
I've decided to start something new while I work on getting my old manuscript out. It's based of an idea I had back i highschool. Maybe this one will be better. :)
Here is the menu for this week. Sorry it's a little late. We had the in-laws over yesterday for dinner and I didn't really get a lot done other than cleaning and cooking.  :)

Monday
- Slow cooker Lasagna (because I didn't do it last week)

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday
- Spaghetti (depending on trick or treating)

Friday
- Mac & Cheese (Just me and the boys)

Saturday
- Dinner with the in-laws

Sunday
- Grilled cheese with tomato & onion (recipe not in English :p used Google translator)



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trick or treat with agents

I pushed really hard last week to finish my manuscript for this reason, Trick or Treat with Agents. I know there is only a small chance that my novel will be picked to move on to the agent round, (39 out of however many submitted) but I would like to believe that my writing has a chance. Cross your fingers.
If you're a writer and want to participate also, follow the link above, but hurry you only have till 9pm Eastern time. Good luck.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Artican Chapter 25 - The end

Arsan’s hand lifted, touching my hair. My white hair. It must have turned colors when I had died. He played with the strands between his fingers before his fragile strength left him and his hand dropped. Arsan’s breathing was shallow and long between. He was slipping away in front of my eyes and there was nothing more I could do. I willed my magic to move faster, but the extent of his wound was vast. It was working as fast as it dared, making sure it didn’t miss anything.
I placed my free hand on Arsan’s chest. I could feel his heart beating, but it was slowing, weakening with every passing second. No, Arsan, you have to hold on. Tears fell freely down my face, dripping on the frozen ground below me. I felt a thump on my hand, then a pause. The last thump came slowly. He was gone, his heart had stopped beating.

“No,” I moaned. I was too late. If only I had been able to subdue Farenan quicker, then maybe Arsan wouldn’t have been hurt. Then he would still be here with me. “No, this wasn’t supposed to happen. We were supposed to grow old together, you and me Arsan. You can’t leave me here, you can’t leave me.”



94702 / 94000 words. 101% done!

Artican Chapter 24

“Jump, Tabor jump!” Nell’s voice echoed around me as she fazed quickly in and out of human form. I didn't hesitate. I moved my legs as fast as I could toward the edge of the fissure, planted my foot on the edge, and launched myself into the blackness of the underworld.

I was terrified. Wind whipped passed my ears, defining me from the intense sound. I was on my belly, falling into nothingness, waiting for the Underworld to claim me. When it did, I was not prepared for the change. My body shuddered and in an instant I felt my heart stop beating. I took my last gasping breath and gave over to death. The feeling was uncomfortable, to say the least. Being dead, it was like my body was being filled with mud. Every muscle was stiffening and tired. I fought the feeling to sleep as I feel. 



91718 / 94000 words. 98% done!

Today's Theme song - Zedd - Clarity ft. Foxes

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Artican Chapter 23

Granden looked shocked. “There is no magic in the walls. You are as insane as your father was.”
My eyes widened as I stared down upon the robust man throwing insults from his chair. I might not have lost my temper if he hadn't used my father’s name in that way, but what I did was of his own doing. Even my magic and that in the walls didn't attempt to stop me. I let lose a flame that surrounded the chair, encircling it in a wall of fire. That’s where I left him, crying out for help, the flames licking at his feet and face.

I threw the large wooden doors open before me, using only my magic. I was breathing heard, trying to calm my thoughts, to force down the anger inside me. He had gone too far. If he hadn't brought my father into the conversation things would have gone differently. Still, I was sure I had gotten my point across.



87818 / 94000 words. 93% done!

Artican Chapter 22

The brother smiled that weary smile again. “It’s because she is special Tull. She will bring our people into the light where we belong.”
I stared down into the face of the infant. I knew that face and I knew the man who was holding her. It was my father. The vision seemed so clear to me now. Tull had shown me the first time he had seen me. My uncle Tull, as a boy, trying hard to understand what his brother was saying. None of it made sense till now.

Grief and longing overcame me. All I wanted to do was climb into those strong arms again and be held by my father. Feel the love that I saw before me for that little baby, but I couldn’t. Life had been cruel to me and taken him from me before I could remember him clearly. But at least I had this, a face to hold onto. Tull had given me that and I would be forever grateful. The vision began to fade leaving us in darkness again.



83500 / 94000 words. 89% done!

Menu: Week 16

Since I don't have an oven for yet another week, I am forced to only use stove top and crock pot recipes again. What ever, right?
The picture above if from our trip to the pumpkin patch today on Sauvies Island. The sun was setting and it was a beautiful day. We had lots of fun in the corn maze and rode the hay ride out to the pumpkin field to pick our round orange objects. We had a great day!

Monday
- Nachos (Jason works late so it will be just me and the boys for dinner)

Tuesday

Wednesday
- Slow Cooker Lasagna

Thursday
- Grilled Cheese and fries (Just me and the boys again)

Friday
- Flank Steak Tacos

Saturday
- Dinner with my family

Sunday - Having the in-laws over for dinner
- Parmesan crusted pork chops with Parmesan broccoli and baked potatoes

Today's Theme song - Andy Grammer - Keep Your Head Up

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Artican Chapter 21

The sun was creeping towards the horizon, casting shadows of the mountains across the land. It was colder here in the shade, especially with the wind wiping up all around us. It blew at our backs, toward the looming peaks in the distance. Ice from the ground swirled in the gusts, biting at our faces and making it hard to see. This was not where I had expected to find my people, but then again, I hadn't expected to find them at all.
            There was a familiarity about this place though. I had been here before. Yes, I recognized it from my dream, but there had to have been another time too. Sometime long ago, maybe when I was a child? Those memories came and went, and were usually just fragments of a time long gone, nothing ever concrete or stable.

            The wind gusted again, howling around my ears. It was so loud I couldn't even hear my own thoughts. This open land had to end. It seemed like the mountains slid further and further away with every push of the wind. It felt like we were going nowhere. 



79484 / 94000 words. 85% done!

Artican Chapter 20

With one scream of fury, she plunged the cold steel into black matted flesh, just behind the hellhound’s ear. The sword sliced through the skin like it was made of water, forming a line under its chin. The force of her leap carried her up the other side of its neck and over the top. Nell finally fell to the ground, crouching next to the beast, her sword stabbed into the ice in front of her. There was a sullen look of death on her face. 
            The hellhound stared at me, those dark red eyes burning into my soul. It didn't make a move or a sound. Then, with one quick movement, its head rolled to the ground, cauterized at the neck by Nell’s sword. I was startled by the sight, in shock even. One minute the beast was widening its jaw to devour us, the next it was dead, decapitated by one of its own. I didn't know what to think.

            Nell stood from her crouch and pulled her sword from the ice. It quickly vanished into smoke and was gone. Her face softened as she looked at me, a sense of pain in her eyes. What had she done? She had killed one of the Underworld’s minions, and for what reason? To save us? I didn't know what to say.



75407 / 94000 words. 80% done!

Query workshop

I just submitted my query letter for critique to a workshop. I'm supper excited and I know that great things will come of this. :) Wish me luck.


Today's Theme song - Avicii - Wake Me Up

Friday, October 18, 2013

Artican Chapter 19

I reached out and burned a vine, pushing with all my might to plunge through the hole it left behind, too gain a little more ground. As I did the wall of brambles in front of me gave way and I fell into an open area, a path through the thicket. It stretched out to both sides disappearing around a corner twenty feet away on each end. Which way would lead us out, if it lead anywhere at all?
The hellhound crashed closer behind us, howling, reminding us it was near. The putrid smell was becoming overwhelming. I had to pull my cotton shirt up over my mouth to try and stifle the sent. It was of little help with the beast so close.

My magic pulsed, my head snapped over my shoulder. There it was, in the tunnel behind us, only yards away. The hellhound, its red eyes glowing in the darkness were all I could see. It stood there, watching us, not moving. I stared back in horror, waiting for something, a twitch, a movement, something to tell me what to do, which way to go. Then it sprang forward, streaking towards us. Its black matted fur catching what little light was there. The hell hound was coming for us. We were out of time.


71237 / 94000 words. 76% done!

Artican Chapter 18

I couldn't tell what was going on inside Nell’s head. There was a broad range of emotions forming on her face that were all jumbled together. “I can’t change what I am. I am a cold blooded killer infused with the power of the Underworld. I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t send souls to the Underkeeper. He will come for me, I know he will.”
A shimmering tear rolled down her face. A human emotion. “I miss my sister. We were human once, you know? Taken by those who worship the gods when we were little. Delah was given to the Overkeeper and I… I was sent to hell where I was trained. I haven’t seen my sister since.”

Without warning she turned back into her mist form and disappeared into the forest. She needed time to think. I needed time to think. What just happened?


67031 / 94000 words. 71% done!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Artican Chapter 17

The dagger came down, directed at my heart. I braced for the piercing blow that would end my life, but it didn’t come. Nell stood between Farenan and me, the dagger buried in her heart. I could see the tip of the blade protruding through the back of her jacket. Her mist had appeared out of nowhere, forming a human body in the split second the dagger came down to meet me. I cried out in shock, not believing what just happened, but relieved that I was still alive.
There was no blood where the dagger had pierced. It didn’t stain her jacket, nor did it run down her chest to pool on the ground at her feet. There was nothing but a hole from the jagged metal.

Farenan stumbled back in shock, tripping over his own feet and falling to the ground. He quickly regained his footing, but stood clear of the red head that saved me. “What form of sorcery is this?”


63344 / 94000 words. 67% done!

Artican Chapter 16

My fear for the Lord of the Dominion had faltered. If I saw him again I would rip his throat out. I screamed again. It rang out through the trees and echoed forward toward Farenan. I could feel my rage building inside me and then the all familiar warmth that the cuff induced. I stopped my ranting to feel the magic serge through my veins. I wasn't wearing my cuff. How was I touching the magic of my ancestors without aid? In my mind it didn't even matter how. I fought to hold on to that feeling, allowing the rage to build inside of me. The strength surged through me and exploded through my muscles. My head was clear for the first time in days. Farenan would not get away so easily.

            My horse was calm, standing still next to me, waiting. I knew what to do, the magic told me how. I laid my hand on the strong neck of my horse, a calming touch. The warmth boiled through my chest and down my arm. It flowed through my fingers, leaving my body and joining with the mare. She jolted with a whinny, prancing around the clearing, ready to run. She felt the magic like I did and knew what to do. “Fly like the wind, girl. We have to catch Farenan before he reaches his men.”



60429 / 94000 words. 64% done!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Artican Chapter 15

Again in the silence came the mist from the shadows. It was crimson red, the color of blood. Its ominous sight sent chills down my spine even though I knew it was Nell. This time the men saw it coming too and they began to run and scatter. Farenan yelled from atop his horse for order, but no one listened. “Turn and fight you pansies. You are soldiers of the Dominion and you will act like it!”

His words were in vain. Men ran in circles, yelling in fright. Some fell to the ground without limbs or died in front of my eyes from Nell’s unseen sword. Pandemonium was all around. This was my chance. The minute the mist was near I lay my heals into the flank of my horse and rode. Ruan clung to my back tightly just as I had told her to do, her arms squeezing my ribs almost painfully. 



56676 / 94000 words. 60% done!

Artican Chapter 14

Arsan was out there in the forest somewhere. Had he escaped from Farenan’s grasp? Or was he lying dead in the cold snow somewhere, his body rotting, being picked apart by scavengers. I could only hope that he was still alive, watching, waiting nearby to save me. He was my only chance now to survive.
I wondered if he would take Ruan with us. If he would see her as I did and trust her. I guess time would only tell, if he was still alive, that is.

I found myself wondering through the encampment. No one minded that we were there. They let us walk past them without even a word. I wandered aimlessly through the crowds, not paying attention to my path till I came across the horses. They were all well groomed, bread well, loyal. One stood out to me in particular, a chestnut mare with long golden brown hair. She turned her head and nuzzled me as I came close. I liked the look of her and reached out to stroke her mane. 



53693 / 94000 words. 57% done!

Today's Theme song - Dropkick Murphys - Worker's Song

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Artican Chapter 13

Farenan’s piercing eyes gazed into mine with a fire I hadn’t seen in him before. “I’m going to hunt down the Artican’s and rule over them like my father had wanted me too. Then with the power of the cold ones I will bring down the rest of the free world, with you by my side of course.”
 I was stunned. I hadn’t planned on him telling me the truth, not even half of the truth. I just stood there with my mouth open searching for something to say. He was going after my people, the Artican’s. How could I stop this?

“Don’t worry my dear. It’s going to be easy.” Just then my cart came and Farenan guided me to the warmth of the fir. “Get some sleep. We still have a few days march ahead of us. I will need you strong for the battle.”



50657 / 94000 words. 54% done!

Artican Chapter 12

“Huh, I guess you’re right.” There was a slight inclination of humor in the tone of his voice, but also a sadness that I felt as well. It was the mention of the family that he could never have again, but still searched for. “Am I still aloud to say thank you?”
 “If you must.”
“I must.” His arms gave me a little squeeze as his lips brushed my neck with a sweet kiss. I could feel the warmth in them and I sighed. This was how it should be. If only it wasn't here, but some place that we could call home.
In the quiet of the night a strange buzzing sound grew steadily closer. It was quick. I turned my ears toward the sound, trying to hear it better. What was it? My eyes scoured the darkness beyond the glow of the fire. It was so dark, I couldn't see anything. Then I noticed a ball of light floating towards us. It whizzed overhead, barely grazing the balloon above. It left a black streak of singed canvas in its wake. That was no ball of fire, it was an arrow engulfed in flames. I heard the all familiar twang of a bow string and the whizzing of another arrow through the night sky. The ball of light dropped ashes as it flew through the air, puncturing the balloon overhead. The canvas caught on fire as the arrow ripped through the other side of the balloon.

Someone was attacking the Stallings, but who would be this far north?



47047 / 94000 words. 50% done!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Artican Chapter 11

The lightning cracked again and I could see the tears that were now running down Arsan’s cheeks. He looked like he was in anguish internally, a feeling that I fought myself, but for different reasons.
“Tell me how this started.” If anything he owed me an explanation.
I could feel his body tens from my question. “I… I don’t know where to start.”

“Start at the beginning and tell me everything. You owe me that much.”



43849 / 94000 words. 47% done!

Artican Chapter 10

Arsan’s hands trembled as he held me close. His finger wiped away the tears that flowed down my red hot cheeks. “Please, don’t listen to him.”
His words were only a whisper but they felt like a shout inside my numb head. Everything that I was able to hold onto this long was vanishing in a confusing mess of stories and lies. I didn't know who to believe. I didn't know who to trust. There was only one question that needed to be answered, “Is it true? Did he send you to kidnap me?”
I could tell that he didn't want to answer me. His face contorted in pain, physical and mental. All I needed was that one word, yes or no, and I would be satisfied. When his gaze dropped and his hands fell from my face I knew my answer.
“Yes,” he whispered in my ear.

My heart broke.



40444 / 94000 words. 43% done!

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