The Rolling Writer

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 143- Teodora

It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

Elektra and General Mattila are making a deal to free Teodora. One condition Mattila presents is that Teodora abdicate in favor of Elektra. Teodora can’t figure out how this benefits Mattila, until she hears that Elektra has married Mattila’s son Jozef.  Teodora is speaking:

“Elektra may not be everything I’ve hoped for in an heir, but she’s not stupid enough to want to marry your son. I’ll have the marriage annulled at the first opportunity.”

Elektra opened her mouth, frowned, then shut it again. Teodora really didn’t know what was wrong with the girl.

“She won’t,” Mattila said, smiling, “the archduchess is expecting, so the marriage has clearly been consummated. In fact, I think Elektra is rather taken with her husband; aren’t you?” she turned to Elektra, still smiling.

“I’d like to talk to my mother alone,” Elektra said, though Teodora couldn’t think why. That her daughter was married and pregnant was beyond imagining. And by Jozef Mattila, of all stupid idiots. Teodora would have to worry about feeble-minded grandchildren on top of everything else.

 

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 142- Trystan

It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

It’s October, which means it’s also time for the First Page Review Blog Hop. Writers post the first 1000 words of their WIP to get some feedback. I have the beginning of my first in a new series, Shield of Kings, up there.

This week, I’m continuing with Blood of the Empire. While Elektra and Mattila bargain for Teodora’s release with her captor, Trystan’s mom, Trystan himself is headed that way, hoping to reach Teodora before anyone else does. Some of you might recognize the other character. 🙂 Edited and horribly punctuated to fit.

As Trystan neared the border, he kept a cautious eye out for Mattila, but ran into his mother’s army instead. Or at least, what used to be his mother’s army.

“You must not go home, Your Grace,” Sonya Vidmar–the general in charge–said as they sat at a small table set up in the shade of an oak tree, Trystan taking advantage of the break to have a cool mug of ale.

“Isn’t Teodora still there?”

“I don’t know–she was,” Vidmar’s weathered face was anxious, “but your mother let her out of the dungeon a few days ago when she heard about the battle and that Mattila was coming to negotiate Teodora’s release.”

“What?” Trystan couldn’t believe that, even of his mother.

“I wish it weren’t true; it seems both you and I were to join Mattila’s forces.”

“Never,” Trystan had to stop himself from punching the table.

“I agree; I have my own history with Teodora and wouldn’t survive one day in her power. I doubt things would go much better for you.”

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First Page Review: Shield of Kings

This is a cool blog hop I haven’t done since I was first working on Rise of the Storm! Sign-ups are open until the 15th if you’re interested. Shield of Kings is the first book in a new series. It’s already been to beta readers, a few of whom felt the beginning could use some more clarification. So, if you could let me know of any bits that seem confusing, I’d greatly appreciate it!

 

Chapter 1: Luzyana

“You must go,” King Arryk said, rushing into the room where Luzyana sat playing with the baby. “They’re going to kill you.”

Luzyana  handed the baby to the nurse, then stood to face her husband. “Calm down, darling,” she said, taking his hands in hers. “Now tell me what’s going on.”

“There’s no time.” A deep crease was forming between Arryk’s blue eyes, though that was nothing new. The political situation had been deteriorating for months now and he took every setback personally. “There’s a mob coming this way.”

“A mob coming for me?” Luzyana attempted a smile even as her heart banged against her ribs.

“Yes.” Arryk’s hands tightened around hers. “The ruling council said the queen was responsible for my heresy and they’d give in to none of my demands until you were gone. They demanded I send you back to your mother, and when I refused … well, things got worse.” Read more ›

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 141- Elektra

weekend writing warriorsIt’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

I’m finally back! It’s so nice to be writing again and to be back on the hop. I really missed you guys. If you aren’t caught up on the drama, you can read my posts for the past few months. Thanks to everyone who followed along and lent me their support, both moral and financial. Writers really are the best!

At this point, I’m working flat out on the severely belated conclusion to my series. Book Six is called Blood of the Empire, and I’m somewhere in the middle of the first draft. Hopefully I can get it finished during NaNoWriMo. It picks up shortly after the end of Fall of the Titan. Teodora was captured and spent a few months in the dungeon. Serves her right! After being defeated, General Mattila escaped from the battlefield with Elektra, and headed straight to where Teodora is being held prisoner. Now they’re about to negotiate her release.

At first Elektra didn’t recognize Teodora, she was so gaunt, her head shaved. Her eyes were the worst though, hollow and a strange, flat shade of black. When they met hers, Elektra found herself shrinking back, though she forced herself to look happy.

“I’m glad you’re all right, Mother,” she said, taking a chair next to her.

“What are you doing here?” Teodora asked, no hint of any emotion on her face.

“It’s a long story.” Elektra wasn’t looking forward to telling it. “Let’s get you out of here first.”

“Yes, let’s.” Teodora turned away and didn’t look at her again.

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One more update- We’re settling in!

We have actual furniture!

Well, I think it’s safe to say the whole ordeal is finally winding down. We’ve been in our new apartment for nearly two weeks now and aside from bedroom furniture, are pretty well set up the way we want it. The only remaining issue is that we are jumping through major hoops to get our cats approved by the property manager. I’m hopeful that will be resolved in the very near future.

We’re both still working crazy hours, but it’s getting easier as we get used to them and also have our own place. From here, Ben’s commute is much shorter, and my work is easier too when I don’t have to worry about disturbing other household members.

This place is incredibly quiet, and I’m starting to feel my stress dissolve. That means I can write again! I’m just getting back into it, but I’m hoping I can have Blood of the Empire done by the end of the month or shortly thereafter. That means a release date of around year end could be possible. I’m glaring sternly at my manuscript, willing it to not give me any trouble.

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I have a job! And other good news

Getting friendly with a glass of Viognier

It’s been an eventful week! On Tuesday morning, I taught my final trial lesson. It went better than the others, with only five children, all of them well-behaved. I got my feedback (talk with your hands more!) and a job offer the next evening. I’m still on a completely opposite schedule from China- fifteen hours behind Beijing- so everything moves slowly. They message me in the middle of the night, and I respond while they’re asleep.

Well, I’ll be on their time very soon! The hours are … less than ideal. I work from 5-9 pm my time, then a long break and another shift from 3-7 am. But the work is fun, the pay is good, and I don’t have to buy work clothes!

Ben also got a job interview with a local trucking company. It’s not until Wednesday, but we’ve got our fingers crossed because it’s exactly the kind of thing he’s looking for. Hauling wood chips out of local sawmills and delivering them to local paper mills, he’d get lots of overtime and be home every night.

We also got our car back, finally! It runs beautifully and didn’t break the bank. We’re so glad we didn’t listen to the shop who tried to sell us a used transmission for a ridiculous amount when we didn’t even need one. It would have cost a LOT more and not solved the problem. Now that we have the car back we can start the apartment hunt in earnest. This next week should see us driving all over Springfield, checking out the cheap places.

We had time for a bit of fun, too. Last night we went to Silvan Ridge winery, where a friend of my brother’s was competing in a 5k race. We met with a few other friends and had a little potluck. And wine, of course. It was a beautiful, breezy evening, and as you can see above, I enjoyed myself.

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Things are looking up!

It’s been a busy week, but mostly a good one. We spent much of Sunday marathoning Game of Thrones, since we were a season behind. That was a welcome escape from real life! I also realized I hardly kill any characters by comparison, so y’all really have no basis for complaint when I off the OCCASIONAL totally necessary people.

Monday saw us at our storage space, unloading the uhaul. We don’t have much stuff, but it was hot, smoky and humid, so we were glad to have it done and the uhaul safely returned. Next, we needed to get our car fixed. We took it to a well-reviewed local shop, but the the code we constantly see didn’t come up for them. Naturally. So we took it to the muffler shop in the meantime, which was across town. I’m ok with the traffic here, but there’s something weird going on with my eyesight. Oncoming traffic, or curbs, or construction cones on my left side always look like they’re coming straight AT me, rather than past. It makes driving a lot more stressful than it needs to be. I’ll find an optometrist next week and hopefully it’s fixable.

Ben got to work applying to local driving jobs, and I notified the English school in China that I was back in business. They scheduled another training session for me, since it had been a while. It was pretty stressful; even though I wasn’t officially being evaluated, I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t know what I was doing and just making a mess of things. But my trainer was kind and encouraging, then scheduled me for my first two probationary classes, at 5:00 am Friday morning!

Read more ›

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Update: Safely Arrived in Oregon!

I didn’t write an update last week because it was all too depressing. Our truck was repossessed (in somewhat shady fashion, though we’ll let a lawyer handle that) and we had to quickly put all of our stuff in the trailer and move into a motel. We spent the next several days desperately looking for a place to live, which we’d already been doing pretty desperately, but with no luck. So when our last best prospect for a home fell through, we took my brother up on his kind offer of a place to stay and left for Eugene. After seeing all of the lower 48, I’ve always maintained that Oregon is still the best state, so it probably makes sense for me to be here. 🙂

We left Idaho Falls yesterday afternoon and just drove straight through, taking only a couple short breaks for naps in rest areas. All of our worldly goods fit easily into a small uhaul and we towed the car behind it. That setup was not so much fun to drive, so I left most of it to Ben, the professional. The kitties were less than thrilled with the cramped, weird situation, and we had one escape in a rest area in the middle of the night. Fortunately, he loves rolling in the dirt, so I was able to nab him before he got very far.

We arrived in Eugene about 10 this morning and moved into my brother’s spare room immediately. They were hosting a big party in the afternoon, but we pretty much slept through it. We can’t unload into our storage space until Monday, so we’re looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow before we throw ourselves back into the fray.

Right before getting kicked out of the truck I had a super-stressful interview for an English-teaching job, though I passed. The problem was, I didn’t have reliable enough internet connection to move on to the next phase. I have to teach three probationary classes before I get the job, so I’m hoping to get that sorted out in the next few days.

Anyway, at least we have some breathing room now, and time to look for our own place, but with local support and connections. It’s nice to be close to loved ones after all this!

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Guest Post: Cindy Ochs Borror

My darling sister offered to guest post!

The Rolling Writer’s sister here! My name is Cindy and I am 10 years Christina’s junior. I do not possess the writing prowess of my sister but she is my claim to fame! 🙂 I’ve had the pleasure of beta reading most of her books and trust me there has been some weeping and gnashing of teeth through each one!

Anyway, I’m not here to brag about my beta reading skills or Christina’s ability to write, for that matter, because you already know about it! I’m here to share a little bit about us. Since there is quite an age gap I didn’t really get to know her well until she opened her home to me some years ago when I attended college nearby. At the time she was a banker and she did it well. In fact everything she has done thus far, she has done well. It’s one of the things I love about Christina, she loves a good challenge and likes to prove that she can do it better than anyone else!

These last few years have been a joy to witness her doing what she loves. I have been amazed at her abilities and laser type focus to be able to create an incredible and intriguing world. Unlike her I am not well versed in European history so once I finish reading one of her books I love talking to her to find out what was fact verses fiction. Sometimes the facts make me cry, (it’s a family trait that we both do rather well!) However, I love hearing how she has incorporated her own ideas into history. I also have to add I may or may not resemble a certain character in book 1 and 2 who met a devastating end. 🙂 At first I was stunned that she could do such a thing to her own sister ;)and then again I love how she watches personalities around her and brings them to life in her own stories!

Here’s the thing, though. As most of you know the Rolling Writing has stopped rolling and unfortunately, writing. I know that she has described in detail what has happened recently so I’ll spare you the rehashing of recent events. I’m here asking for help. Not because she asked me to, because she hasn’t. I began a Go-fund-me for her and her husband, again not because they asked but because I wanted to help and it makes giving very tangible and easy to give from anywhere in the world. I love seeing her thrive and want to help get her back to doing what she does so well. In the mean time she is doing what it takes to keep going. So I’m asking for help to get her back to her passion. I know that she has included the Go-fund-me page before so that you can follow updates. However, I’m going to ask from the bottom of my heart to please help my sister and her husband through this crazy time. Please consider donating and sharing their story on Facebook. Even small amounts are incredibly helpful. You can click on the link and then on updates to see the latest update and to see that things have turned quite urgent in the last couple of days.

Thank you for this opportunity for me to share and please help this awesome, sister, friend and writer!
Click here to support Sudden Job Loss and Truck Crisis organized by Cindy Ochs Borror

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The saga continues …

When I was a teenager, I begged God to give me an interesting life. I certainly got one, but I should have been more specific. I was picturing something like an astronaut or opera singer. 🙂

It’s been an interesting week in all kinds of ways. I’m trying and failing to remember the beginning of it. I think I might have actually worked on my book at some point. So that was a good thing.

I also had another interview. It was for an appointment-setting job for a solar panel company. It actually sounded kind of cool and the money is great, but it involves a lot of face-to-face interaction, which sounds nice and also terrifying. I’m keeping it on the backburner, IF we stay in the area. More on the IF later.

My next big task was to create and upload a couple videos for Chinese English-teaching schools. I anticipated work of an hour or two, and the reality took two whole days. I started with technical difficulties on their end, shed a lot of tears through the middle (which is not a good look on video), and persevered to the end in spite of numerous challenges of shooting video inside a truck. Some of these challenges included: CATS. Anyone who has cats knows what I mean. They are unable to mind their own business. Another challenge was the inability to run the AC while filming because of background noise. It was 100 degrees outside. Dripping sweat is also not a good video look.  Oh, and the Blue Angels are in town for the air show, so I had jets screaming overhead every 3-5 minutes.

But I finally succeeded in creating a dramatic re-enactment of the Three Little Pigs, complete with great huffing and puffing. Gratifyingly, I got an immediate and positive response minutes after I sent it off. So I’m on to the next phase in the interview process. I have a day or so to study practice videos, then I will give a full hour English lesson to several Chinese adults pretending to be five-year-olds. If I pass that bit, I give three probationary lessons to actual Chinese five-year-olds, and if that works out well, I’ll be hired. I’m very optimistic at this point, but will need a new computer because my old laptop does not have the specs to run their software. I’m borrowing Ben’s for the moment, and fundraising for a refurbished one to get as soon as possible after hiring.

Ben has been applying to any and all trucking jobs and has had several interview requests. What’s weird though, is that he’ll get an email asking for an interview, he responds, and then it’s crickets. He did get an offer to drive truck for the potato harvest, but starting September 1. Not really helpful right now.

Throughout all of this I was feeling really crummy with what felt like a super-painful ear infection, so on Friday I went to the doctor. I don’t actually have an infection, but my lymph nodes are inflamed, probably due to stress and jaw-clenching that comes from stress. So I got antibiotics and something for anxiety, which is already working, thank goodness. After just a day and a half of both, the pain is gone, and I’m slightly less basket-casey.

Having chill pills on hand was useful, because we heard yesterday morning that the finance company is indeed interested in repossessing the truck asap. We’d tried contacting them over the past weeks but they never responded to us, continuing to harass the step-mom whose name is on the loan documents. So we told her to tell them we’re getting out as soon as we can, and will turn the truck in then. We’d hoped to put off apartment-hunting until one of us had real work, but we can’t wait any longer. Cheap apartments are plentiful around here, but not so much if you have pets. Still, we have applications in anywhere that seems feasible.

But we’re also trying something else. Our long-term goal was to get out of trucking and into an RV. Maybe now is the time. It’s not ideal, but would solve the pet-unfriendly landlord problem, and we could live in family members’ driveways indefinitely. So we did a bit of shopping yesterday and found a nice used RV that should be in our budget. We also got approved for it, but not at the payment we want, at least not without jobs. The salesman seemed VERY eager to make a deal however, so he’ll continue to finesse the financing when the banks open on Monday. While we wait for him to work his magic, we’ll keep looking.

We’re also putting the truck trailer up for sale. Getting rid of that quickly would solve a number of problems. So, fingers crossed we find someone looking for a deal on an old, but well-cared-for refrigerated trailer.

I’m really hoping by the end of the week I can report good news all around. Thank you so much for the ongoing well-wishes, prayers and contributions. It’s all appreciated, and is keeping us going through a tough time. <3

 

The story so far:

Why I’m taking a break

An Update

 

 

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