Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Snippet from NaNo 2014

Since I usually love to share what I write during NaNo just for fun, I'll share a little snippet from the Chronicles of Messinia (otherwise known as Allora and Dominic's story). The scene here is from after Allora is kidnapped, abused, rescued, thrown overboard, deserted on an island, and then rescued again to be brought back to Messinia by Dominic who suffers half of it right next to her. Her family assumes she's been violated or worse during her ordeal and she finally makes it to the breaking point with the stress of the effects of her situation. The following consists of conversations between Allora and her friend Gianni, and then between Allora and Dominic. Since it's fresh off the press from NaNo for the most part its not edited so bear with me if the grammar isn't amazing.


Out of sight, Allora heaved and audible sigh and loosened the strings of her bonnet, sweeping it from her head.
            “Thank you for rescuing me, Gigi.”
            Gianni chuckled. “I did have the impression, yes, that you may have been in need of rescuing. I take it the wedding plans are not at all to your taste?”
            Gianni did not know the circumstances around when and why Allora had accepted Gabriel’s proposal, and Allora had not seen fit to explain the details nor had the time prior to her captivity. The night of the initiation ceremony seemed so long ago now, and her rash decision haunted her.
            “Not entirely, I will say. It all seems to be moving too fast. I do not think that I am ready to be married.”
            It was not necessarily a lie; Allora was not ready to be married to Sir Gabriel, especially when her mind was in turmoil surrounding her time with Dominic and her worry that she had not seen him in weeks. 
            Gianni raised a brow, not fooled by her friend’s attempts to remain nonchalant. “Oh?”
            Allora hurried to change the subject. “Indeed, So tell me, what other gossip have you heard – and do not say those that include myself and my scandalous time away from Messinia. I cannot bare the pitied stories I have heard.”
            Gianni rolled her eyes and harrumphed, but let her carry on. “I will tell you, dearest, but one day you really must tell me the truth of why you decided to marry Sir Gabriel after all when you do not seem at all fussed.” She twirled the parasol over her shoulder and her face became more relaxed and bright as she turned to a subject that agreed with her far more than before: city gossip. “Did you know that the Countess of Livern has disgraced herself rather fully after imbibing far too much at Lord Rutger’s ball? She drank half of the punch and made the most inappropriate comments on Lady Ivy’s gown.”
            The nature and tone of Gianni’s gossip, a firm shakedown on some of the lighter scandals of the aristocracy, began to cheer Allora up, and she even laughed at the thought of Baron Heyworth’s coat bursting at the seams under the pressure of his girth. Until Gianni’s words shocked Allora to a standstill.
            “Oh, and did you hear that Dominic Wellsby is back in the capital? You must be so grateful to him after he sailed to Hasah to rescue you, it is dreadfully romantic of him! Do you know Lady Ivy asked him how he had felt swooping into action and he said that he was doing his duty to his King and kingdom by ensuring that no harm came to you! Isn’t that lovely?”
            Doing his duty to his King and kingdom? Allora’s mind flashed to the first night in Hasah when Dominic had slipped into her chambers of the harem and the furious kiss he had pressed to her lips. Duty? Was that all it was?
            “I’m sure my father is very grateful to him, he did after all protect me from further harm and retrieve me from Hasah.”
            “Oh but Wellsby said it was what any man loyal to the crown would have done. He was only too pleased to be of service.”
            Internally, Allora began to fume and the only outward signs of her extreme displeasure was the tightness of her smile. “I see.”
            Gianni, face flushed with excitement and pleasure at the thought of Dominic’s supposed loyalty to the King, did not seem to notice and continued to gush about the many wonderful attributes that he possessed. Allora grew even more furious by the moment, especially after Gianni revealed that he had been back in the capital for days.
            They continued to walk throughout the gardens, as far as the edge of the forest of Gylen, and turned back when orange began to streak the sky. Allora’s face had begun to ache by the time she bid farewell to Gianni and spent the last few hours of the evening torturously restless before retiring as soon as possible.
            She dismissed Maddy straight away, needing the sanctity of solitude to finally release the pent up disappointment, hurt and anger that had singed her soul ever since Gianni had told her Dominic thought of her as a duty. How could he say that of her after all they had been through together? After she…after they…and she…her mind was a whirlpool of feeling, she barely knew where to start.
            Flopping to the four-poster bed, Allora buried her head in her hands and let quiet tears overflow to drip between her fingers.
            She sobbed for what felt like hours, until she could cry no more, and the palace seemed to fall silent as those within retired for the evening. Without Maddy to help, Allora crawled beneath the covers of her cold bed still strapped into her corset and tried to fall asleep as best she could. But as she tossed and turned, it seemed it was not meant to be.
            A gentle scratching sounded from the balcony as Allora became aware of the doors opening slowly and silently. She was afraid at first, remembering how she’d been taken by Borasah’s men from this very room. Her breath caught, crushed from her lungs with the corset, and she clutched the bed sheet to her breast as the shadowy outline of a man drew into view.
            For one very awful moment Allora was certain she would be taken again, when moonlight reflected off the man’s midnight hair and she recognised the set of his broad shoulders. Dominic. She did not know whether to be relieved and sob, or to erupt into anger once more.
            He stepped into the room, closing the door behind him and approached the bed. She knew that he knew she was not asleep, and she sat up to greet him.
            “I thought you weren’t coming back.”
            He raised a brow, and she saw it even in the dark. “Why did you think so?”
            “You never said so much as goodbye, and did not tell me you had returned.” Her voice was acid to her own ears, her anger refusing to be contained. “You said that I was just your duty.”
            Dominic sighed, he had known that she would hear the words he’d used.
            “And you believed I thought so?”
            “Was it a lie?”
            “No.” She gasped in outrage and pulled a pillow from the bed to fling it at him. He dodged it easily and caught her arms. “Ally, listen to me.”
            Allora tried to shrug him off. “Why should I? All I am to you is a duty!”
            He shook her gently. “Listen to me! Of course you are not only a duty to me, how could you even think so after all we have been through thus far? I did not wish to inform the aristocracy of our connection nor the King when your reputation has already been hurt. It is also common knowledge that your marriage plans to Sir Gabriel have been resumed. Did you want me to tell the world what happened on my ship? On the Island? In the cottage in the woods?”
            She shook her head at each prompt, tears forming once again.
            His hands softened on her arms and his voice lowered. “Of course you are more to me than a duty. So much more.” His words had drawn him closer to her, and soon his mouth was mere inches from hers.
            Allora should have told him no, told him that they couldn’t, but when he was so close and she had missed him so much, she could have sooner torn out her own heart then let him take her mouth in the blistering kiss he gave her.
            But even then it was not enough and her arms wrapped around his neck, tugging him closer as she pressed herself up against him. Dominic needed no further encouragement and pushed her backwards onto the bed, falling to the mattress beside her to keep his weight from baring down on her.
            Allora’s arms trailed from around his neck to sweep down to his shoulders and slowly to his back to rest on his hips. They both moaned when he moved more fully above her, and her hands delved beneath his shirt.
            His shirt disappeared and her nightgown followed moments later, her thigh hooked over his hips.

            “Don’t tell me to stop, Ally. Gabriel has no place between us here. You’re mine.” 

Hah! I bet you thought I was going to post the whole smutty scene in there! I won't because I'm funny like that, but if you really want to read it and you say pretty please just hit me up on the facebook and I'll send it to you. 

Sam xox

Healthy/ Unhealthy

It's been a little while! I know, I know.

First it was NaNo plus this new 10,000 step competition that was high grade kicking my ass and left me without any extra time to check in. Then it was the post NaNo depression that had me curled into a ball for a whole weekend feeling poorly, and after that it's just been work keeping me on my toes trying to get my head around everything. The world of travel is amazing, but still damn hard work.

But I'm here now, did you miss me? 

50k in 20 Days.Like I said NaNo this year was a little more than mental. 'Insane' actually falls short. I whipped myself into shape cracking my word limit every day and amazingly finished on target on day 20, two days ahead of my PB from last year and 10 days before the official NaNo end date (30th). And oh believe me doing a 9 hour day at work, keeping an average of 10,000 steps per day (not during work hours! I have a desk based job now) and pumping out 50,000 words of fiction that I already known the story for (Allora and Dominic'a story has been in the works since 2004, when I was 14! So I already knew exactly what I was working on from the start) is really, really hard. I seriously challenge you to tell me that it was easy. But I did it even if I had to increase my caffeine intake and occasionally slap myself awake when I started to pass out on the keyboard. Sometimes I had to delete paragraphs because they were written half asleep and made more or less no sense. 

But I did it! My PB NaNo certificate now has pride of place in a frame on the wall in my tea room. Hell, I earnt it. That little piece of paper saying that I did it really means the world to me. Writing is my life, it means as much to me as my day job so hitting that target is just as important to me as whatever I did during the day. Sure I 'do it to myself', but can I just say ditto to absolutely everybody else's job stress. 

And it is stressful. Starting a brand new job is hard enough without adhering to a strict exercise regime and wringing your brain for creativity on the side. 

So when I hit my PB 10 days ahead of schedule despite the insanity of it all, simultaneously fleshing out a novel I'd been working on for 10 years, suffered some real disappointment at work and at home, and no one was around for a high five it sent me into a spiral. I did something pretty amazing, and, regardless of whether or not its actually true, it seemed like no one really cared. 

I hate to admit it, and of course in hindsight it seems silly now, but at the time it felt like no one had time for me or really understood. I have a great selection of friends and family, let me get that straight, but sometimes all it it takes it one word from someone who cares to make everything better. And I got that, of course, but it wasn't from the get go and as a result I spent two full days feeling worse and worse. Which is my own fault as much as anyone's for not sending out an SOS immediately. Plus my feelings are usually pretty transparent so people catch me out right away if they see me face to face, which few people actually did since most of my correspondence was the digital kind. 

I'm generally pretty happy these days, and so I didn't make it clear enough that I was feeling so low until the second day in and by then I was feeling particularly terrible. Struggling to get out of bed or fake smile kind of terrible, and on the decline. It was getting bad enough that I knew if I let it continue I was going to be in far worse shape than I'd been in a long time. But I was lucky, I was aware enough of what was happening even if I couldn't stop it that it needed to be stopped. I needed the help, simple as that, and I knew that my friends would provide it if I only asked. So I did, better late than never, and things got better. It took a lot of internal bravado and virtual hugging, tears and animal cuddles, before they did but I was better for it in the end. 

My point here is sometimes you feel low, and that happens, but let my awful weekend be a lesson to everyone: get help right away. If it's just PMS or a down moment then that's great, but at least you have the support if things get worse and sometimes that support nips it in the bud before it even can get worse. I was aware, but not everyone is - sometimes you can fall so far before you even realise you have. Look at it like travel insurance; if things go wrong then you have it to help you out, and if you don't need it then at least you would still have been fine. But if you don't have it and you really needed it...well, dkshshahagsvsbsns!!!!!!!!!!

There really are no words for that. As they say its often way better to have something and not need it, then to need it and not have it. 

Plus, how can your friends help you if you don't let them know you need it? Not everyone can be like Carrie White, or Jean Gray. 

Despite my awful weekend, I am actually really good. My health kick is really working, I've lost 4kg in the past 8 weeks which is nothing to scoff at when you consider muscle weighs more than fat and I spend about 9 hours in a chair 5 days a week. I eat healthy, Krispy Kreme excitement aside, and I work really hard to make my recommended 10,000 steps a day using the Fitbit pedometer I bought. I carried on the Green Coffee Bean and Garcinia Cambogia for the entire time before getting too lazy to take them and decided to take a week off this week. I need to resupply anyway, so I'll get back on that next week. 

My BMI might still consider me obese, but with my muscle tone, epic exercise, 4kg weight loss and all the noticeable differences in my body I would definitely say that what I am doing is working for me. Especially since as long as I stay within my calorie budget per day and keep up my protein/fibre intake then I can pretty much eat what I want to (within reason). It's been pretty great actually. I'm committed as ever and I can see results so I'm sticking to it, and being healthy really just makes a difference in personal organisation and control. I'm not wonderfully spontaneous, but I was never really good at that anyway and to be honest I kind of think its overrated.

I'm a human so I have my down days like my awful weekend, and I am always trying to improve myself. Since I know that so many people do too, I'll leave you with this song because its something I like to listen to if I need a boost. If you're male or female, happy with your body but down, or if you maybe want to shed a few kilos or tone or put on muscle or even put on a few kilos, my biggest advice is just make sure you are doing it for yourself - not anybody else. Being healthy in body and mind is what you want to aim for, and that means accepting that you get down sometimes, that your achievements are amazing, and that you can change your body when you find what works best for you. But the most important thing? Remember that you are enough. 

Have a listen, think about what the words mean to you.

Sam xox