Hear ye, hear ye!

It has come to my attention that we need some kind of camraderie this November. In only nine days, several of us will be slaving away in the trenches, trying to write something worth reading, or maybe just trying to write to our goal.

It is with this in mind that I am proud to present…

The WordPress Authoresses

Yes, I have begun a little club, and yes, it is open to the public! (That is, the public who is doing Nanowrimo, but that pretty much is all of you guys. :P) This club’s purpose is to promote friendship and fun during Nanowrimo and provide an outlet other than blogging to share your achievements. And yes, there are special perks, including….

  • access to a free online chat room set up specifically for club members
  • a welcome package designed by moi
  • for winners and non-winners alike, a certificate of participation designed, again, by moi
  • and the friendship, laughs and inside jokes that accompany these sorts of things.

The last day to sign up is October 30th, 2017. On October 31st, I’ll send out your welcome email with the goodies and chat room link. And on November 1st? We’ll begin writing in the company of eachother!

Click here to sign up (link opens in a new tab). I can’t wait to get started!

See you in the club,

Tess

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Part One of Chapter One {Word War}

Here’s the first part of our story, guys – FINALLY, right? Ava is writing the next part. Enjoy!


The only thing I was aware of was my heart beating wildly in my vibrating chest. A deafening crash was surrounding me, definitely costing me some of my hearing. I gasped for air, but it felt as if my ribs were clinging to my lungs. The only thing I was aware of was my heart beating wildly in my vibrating chest. A deafening crash was surrounding me, definitely costing me some of my hearing. I gasped for air, but it felt as if my ribs were clinging to my lungs.

Then all was quiet. I felt the adrenaline drain from my body as I lay in what felt like a bed of straw. I touched my forearm with a shaky hand – yes, they were cooling off. My breathing steadied as I ran my hand over the thin leather strap across my body, rubbed my hand on the case. Oh yes, that was what I was doing here. Just find Master Andrew Carrion and give it to him. Then – go home!

I sat up, stretched and looked around me. Tall trees were everywhere, their brightly colored leaves falling lazily to the thick carpet of moss and crunchy foliage. I looked up. Soft grey clouds slid steadily across the patch of sky visible between the branches.

Slowly, I shuffled through the leaves, observing my surroundings. A squirrel scampered off into the thicket as I stumbled over a fallen branch. It was very quiet, save the sound of rushing water somewhere in the distance.

I bit my tongue as I ran my hands over my forearms. Somewhere in my travels I had learned that Neds and water are a painful combination, a barrage of electrical signals speeding through the part of my body which was not attached to my mode of transportation. Two metal sleeves encased my arm from wrist to elbow. Without them, I would be stuck here, in this strange time, forever.

My eyes strayed to the sky again. “Please don’t rain on me,” I whispered, just a bit nervous. I opened my trench coat, pulled out my compass. One and one half miles to the exact north would bring me to the spot. I turned, still looking at the compass, trying to make the little red needle rest on the ominous N.

A cold wind blew the smell of rain in my face. I breathed deep, settled myself down, and, still following the compass, walked as confidently as I was able.

Suddenly, the leaves slipped downward beneath me. The compass jumped out of my hand as I tripped.

Down I slid on the thousands of leaves. My desperate grabs at something solid were in vain. Finally, with a shock of icy reality, I came to a stop, but my troubles were far from over. Electric pain pulsated through my body as I tried to get out of the water, but every move of mine was riddled with spasmatic suffering. I wouldn’t have given up, but I was overwhelmed.

Still trying to regain control, I passed out on the bank.


I figured we needed some action to begin with – was it clear enough that Ned is a time traveller?

Take it away, Ava!

{Tess}

Epic Houstonian Adventures – Part One: Nigel

EPIC HOUSTONIAN ADVENTURES

Rejoice – it’s a blog graphic. I never make those. But I finally hauled my rear to Canva and made it. So be proud, please, and don’t expect it to ever happen again.

But a set of adventures as awesome as the ones that have been going on for the past two weeks deserves a blog graphic.

Ready?

Midland, TX
August 4th, 2017
5:00 am

We had a rental car (because Andre wasn’t going to be able to come). We had our bags packed. Everyone was buckled in, breakfasted, and ready to begin our crazy journey to Houston, then Shreveport, in less than twenty-four hours. Let’s put that on a map and see how many miles that is.

01

Without stopping (as we did), that’s a twelve hour drive of 722 miles. Not as impressive as some road trips, but certainly insane for a day.

Usually, when we go to Shreveport, we just hit I-20. But this time, we needed to go down to Houston to see what could become our new van. We’d elected (after lots of debate) that his name was Nigel, because Nigel came from a Gaelic word for black, and he was a black van.

Same day
Houston, TX
1:30 pm

First of all, I want you to check out this listing for Nigel. Be sure to look at all the photos. It may help you see through our eyes.

Fred, our salesman, had obviously never sold a van. I hope we didn’t intimidate him too badly with our questions and comments and confidence….

But from the online listing, Nigel looked pretty good. Right?

 

Who would have thought that….

  • Nigel had no seatbelts in the back row….
  • Nigel had no air conditioning in the back row….
  • Nigel’s entire back row was a poorly-executed aftermarket job….
  • Nigel had been painted black to hide all his paint failure….

We decided that the only Nigel this van was going to be the namesake of was Nigel Thornberry.

giphy

We reached Shreveport safely, with all our money, but we were still dissapointed. I mean, we’d taken a huge detour for a blarghgalarghalargh.

Nigel thornberry

Yeah, I’m having too much fun.

But not all was lost – next part: Roxie!

Have you ever had a bad car buying experience? Do you know anyone who has? Do tell, please!

Aand…Secrets! (This is Trivia!)

What TV show does Nigel Thornberry come from?

The answer will be all lowercase and all stuck together.

{Tess}

End-of-summer ‘where have you been?’ post.

I’m not sure who said that summer was supposed to be laid back, but whoever they are, they should be banned from speech. My summers are always crazy busy, and this one has been no exception.

Where do I start?

Oh yeah, Camp Nano. Yes, I won with 50,004 words. Basically, I did Nanowrimo in July. To put that into perspective, if I recieved a dollar for every word I wrote this July, I would have enough money to buy my family a brand new Chevrolet Express 3500.

Which brings us to our van-shopping adventures. We have a fifteen-passenger Express who is white, ginormous and named André,  like the heavyweight champion André the Giant. We named him that because that guy plays our favourite character from The Princess Bride, Fezzik.

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via

Anyways, André is as old as I am, so naturally he isn’t very good on the highway anymore. Considering that we do frequent commutes and road trips, we’re looking for another van – not to replace André, but one we can use on the interstate. So my mom has been looking all over creation for one within our price range and not halfway across the country. (Well, scratch that. We live in West Texas. The van we’ve scouted out is in Houston. That is halfway across the country. :P)

chevrolet-express-cargo-black-2
via

Here’s a van like him. We’re considering naming him Schwartz, Dougal or Nigel.

Conveniently, we’re going to Shreveport this weekend, so we’re going to alter our usual I-20 route and go down to Houston to see Schwartz/Dougal/Nigel. I’ll have to decide which name works best for him when we see him in person. Which do you think is best?

Let’s see, what else have I been doing? I’ve been bowling on Thursday nights, which is fun, and I’ve also been working at a stable. In exchange for cleaning tack and helping younger kids with thier lessons, I get to ride, so I’m loving the arrangement.

I’ve also been biking. I recently worked up to guts to ride in a skate park. That was fun.

Then I have been trying to manage these two blogs and still eat and sleep.

It’s going to be even busier once the school year starts, so I’m making the best of things and collecting funny memes from the Internet.

6f66b9b3fc8d39d6734ca44213569129-metal-slide-texas

How has your summer been?

{Tess}

Little Art Dump + Camp Nano Pep

After posting about the Lion I did a couple of days ago, I felt so good that I sat down and drew for another hour or so. (Of course, that puts me drawing at almost midnight. Oh well, it’s summer.) Here’s some things I did:

6-29-17_one
YUS…..finally, a female husky to shake things up a bit. Her ears are a teeny bit off, but I think it’s okay.
6-29-17_five
Green dog! My little sis and I were playing school and I drew this for ‘art class’. It actually wasn’t half bad (despite being green…)

 

6-29-17_two
I love the wolf’s position here!

I’ve been doing some reading, and I found a slideshow (yeah, authoratative) on the differences between wolves and dogs and how you can distinguish them in drawing.

Secrets…

Wouldn’t you like to see this really neat guide? The whole slideshow will be in the Secrets page! To get in, though, you must answer the question (and I’m practically giving it to you)…

What were my sister and I playing when I drew the green dog?

The password will be all lowercase.

Now, for the remainder of this post…

Image result for camp nanowrimo 2017 banner

I’m participating in Camp Nanowrimo this July, and I’ve created a special cabin for anyone who wants to join. All I need is your Camp username and you can be part of the WordPress Authoresses. (You will need to make a project before I can find you. It doesn’t have to be much, just a title and a word goal, really.)

If anyone’s interested, then tell me your Nano username, please! The more, the merrier! I’m also considering making a Chatsy room for it, so this session will be fun!

Good luck with the planning (or pantsing, for that matter!)

{Tess}

Tag!

I was tagged by Rebcake (Becca, I had no idea you had another blog) for a writing tag of sorts. Now, I am not a Canva wizard with money to spend on those countless one-dollar beasties, so instead of trying to finnick with the free images for hours, I figured the quality, conciseness and intrigue of the answers was more important than graphic design. Some things just don’t click with me.

I. What genres, styles and topics do you write about?

Stellar question. When I don’t have a new story rolling around in my head, I write anthropomorphic animal fiction. As in, talking horses. But it sounds more dignified when you use large words to describe it. If I happen to not be in a anthromporphism mood, then I write brutally innacurate historical fiction.

As for topics, I try very hard in my stories to avoid orphans. Pick up any book on the shelves of your local library these days and there’s a 70% chance it features an orphan. Can’t we have some parental supervision these days? I wouldn’t think of giving any of my characters mental instability by removing all of their parental attachment. The cruelest it gets is losing one of them, and even so, they’re forever remorseful over it.

Other things to be avoided: any kind of magic, too much shipping, academies of special people (where’s the idiot academy?) and most “E.S.” stories. E.S. is an acronym used commonly in my notes. It stands for “enigmatical something”, meaning, some sort of thing that every single blasted person knows about and wants except the people irrelevant to your story. The Lord of the Rings, although I really don’t like it, is a classical E.S. story. I usually use the acronym in a annoyed/sarcastic tone, e.g. All this story needs is something to go between part C and part D. Oh, I know! An orphan with an E.S.!

Well, I have spent a lot of time talking about the things I don’t like to write about. So it is safe to assume that I like to write about the things I have not mentioned. Proof by counter-example.

II. How long have you been writing?

I got interested in writing via an online course I took that gave me a bounty of information on how to write, which happened sometime in 2014. But I had been making up stories long before then.

When I was around six years old, I began playing out stories in my head before I fell asleep at night. Most of the time they revolved around this kid named Tony (heavily based on my brother Mac) whose dad was a police officer, and, naturally, went on crime-fighting, mystery-solving adventures that were a lot of fun to think about. Of course, looking back on it, it was awfully cheesy, but I was six.

After that phase three to four year obsession, I began making up animal stories due to my love of animals and the fact that I began to like Tony’s German Shepherd Trooper (made up in the second year of my playing those adventures) better than Tony himself. So I dibbled with those for awhile. But my ‘big break’ was Nanowrimo 2015, when I finally sat down and wrote 40,000 words. I haven’t stopped since.

III. Why do you write?

This is the part where all eloquence flees my mind.

I write because I have stories that need chronocling. As anti-climactic as that is.

Wow, this is oppressively short.

IV. When is the best time to write?

They say that Nanowrimo builds habits. I believe them. I get up before eight every morning, eat an egg and some turkey sausage, read some Bible, then sit at the computer and write for at least an hour. So, morning, I suppose.

This sounds all hunky-dory but I get writer’s block like crazy, so most of the time I only end up with a few hundred words.

V. What do you love about writing?

I love the imagination involved in creating characters and stories and worlds.

I love the tingly feeling I get when I make something that’s actually good.

I love the big thought trains my words buy tickets for and the long discussions they incite.

I love the research I end up doing and the knowledge I gain that was sparked through a simple question I thought up while writing – What does miso soup taste like? What even is miso soup?

(FYI: Miso soup is a Japanese broth made out of soybeans. I have tried and I have to say that if you haven’t had it, you’re not missing much.)

VI. What do you hate about writing?

I hate it when I spend effort and brain cells making something up and then realise that it’s already been written.

I hate it when words don’t behave as they should.

I hate it when I can’t eke out any words despite my most violent efforts.

I hate it when I have a brilliant idea just waiting to be written and then I forget it.

I hate it when I get distracted.

And I hate writing culture. Sorry. I believe in happy endings and moral choices, despite the critics who call that uninteresting and psycologically boring. I’ll show ’em.

VII. How do you overcome writer’s block?

I switch projects. I go write something else. And I wonder why I can’t seem to finish anything.

VIII. Are you working on something at the moment?

Indeed. The votes have pointed towards Dog Story, which I began – ha! This morning!

IX. What are your writing goals this year?

Camp Nanowrimo (July 2017)

15,000 words of Dog Story

Nanowrimo (November 2017)

Editing Camp Nanowrimo Project from April

Over-achiever. *scoffs*

Indeed, I realise that this post is nearly one thousand words long! For your cooperation, you have won access to something you may or may not be interested in.

Introducing…

Secrets

A members-only page for those who make it through posts!

Yay! Free stuff!

But – there’s a catch. To get your classified information, you must answer the comprehension question below:

What was the name of Tony’s German Shepherd?

The answer, which is case-sensitive, is the password to the page. If you can remember the answer, then you will find out the title of the long-awaited Dog Story. And it’s a pretty awesome title, if I may say so myself.

Good luck and good day!

{Tess}

I Touched A Real Human Brain

Yes, I did touch a real, preserved-in-formaldehyde human brain. I also touched a heart and a liver, which were also human and preserved in formaldehyde.

Yes, it was creepy.

No, I did not visit any black-market organ donation joints in creepy alleys.

Today, I went to the  Sci-Port, in Shreveport, LA, courtesy of my friend, Cyto. Now, I had been before today and witnessed all the cool stuff they have there, one of the attractions being an excellent model of the Solar System. Nothing makes you awe at the works of the Creator like seeing your tennis-ball sized Earth next to the thirty-four foot wide Sun. I powered light bulbs and hair dryers with an exercise bike, stood in an old steamboat, and discovered that I have the extremely rare trait of bent little fingers.

But by far, besides petting the milk snake that was out, witnessing the adorable juvenile alligators, and experimenting with pulleys, the coolest thing was the brain.

Of course, the credit of my experience goes to the guy who brought it out of its bucket and let me touch it. That has to be one of the coolest things I have ever done.

The other really, really neat thing that I have done happened yesterday. Whenever I come up to Shreveport, my siblings and I always make sure to visit Cyto’s neighbour, a certain Mrs. Ann Horn. She has told us all kinds of things in past, and showed us several as well. Once she told us how when she was going to college in Princeton, New Jersey in the 1930s, the newest H. G. Wells novel, The War of the Worlds, was being played over the radio, and how everyone mistook the gripping descriptions of alien motherships for the apocalypse being forecasted and fled the town. We all found that quite amusing. But yesterday left me awe-stricken.

She had this book on her dining room table when we came in, explaining that we may want to look at it. So I picked it up and opened the barely-attached cover. The following greeted me as I breathed in the dusty, musty scent.

The Gentleman’s Magazine, May 1754.

I just stared at her. And she smiled back, replying that it was indeed an original printing.

That had to be the oldest thing I had ever held, save a rock. And I couldn’t believe that she had it. Apparently her brother had given it to her.

As I sit here writing, I realize that this sounds a bit far fetched, but I assure you, everything I wrote about is 100% true. On my honour.

What is the weirdest or most interesting thing you’ve ever touched? I would love to know.

Signing off for now,

Tess