In Search of Search Terms

Remember back in the day when you could actually see what search terms brought people to your website? (If you don’t remember, read this glorious post from Hyperbole and a Half. Go on, I’ll wait for you.

Ok, so like I was saying- remember that? We don’t have that anymore, thanks to encrypted search terms, and it saddens me. I would really love to know what search terms are bringing people to my blog.

I’m going to leave this post a sticky for a while, in the hopes that you, the readers, will help me out.

What search terms, if any, brought you to my site?

Feel free to leave a comment here, or message me directly using the contact from on my About page if you’d rather.

Thanks guys! I’m looking forward to the results. 😀


Rain between days

The in-between days were always the worst.

When she was fully in one world or the other, it was easy to forget her other life existed. Finals and BFF crises were of universe shattering importance, when they were allowed to be. When wind and wilds and earthsong filled her heart, the cares of a teenaged girl were but the blink of an eye. But when she was in-between, moving from one life to the next, nothing mattered. Everything was muddled and muddied and wrong. The whole point of keeping life balanced with death was so that life mattered. But the little things that made up a human life were so trivial, so tiny…

It was hard to feel like life was worth protecting when people cut in front of you at the Starbucks line.

But she wanted this. She had to keep reminding herself that she wanted this. Star and Fox and everyone in the valley seemed so cold sometimes, so distant from mortal cares… She didn’t want to become that. More than anything, she did not want to become that. She did this for her mom, for her best friends, for Jordan and Brenna and Katie. She did this for Zig and his stupid cute baby. She did this for Chris and Nat and Marie. She had to care about people, about the things that mattered to them, or she couldn’t trust herself. She didn’t like the person who would be making such important decisions if not tempered by her petty teenaged self.

And it was petty, she knew that. She knew she had to balance tiny mortal cares against large, world altering matters. But it was because those large matters would affect the small ones that made them matter. In and of themselves, the world would adjust to almost any apocalypse. Plants would keep on growing, birds would keep on singing—or they wouldn’t. The world would keep spinning—or it wouldn’t. The sun would keep burning, until it didn’t. In that long, long view, nothing she did meant anything.

So she had to keep it small, keep it tight focused. And that meant coming home at the end of every summer, coming back to a world where no one knew she could melt their faces off if they didn’t stop stepping on the back of her shoe. She shifted her weight, sliding her foot back into her sandal, trying to remember why she’d come to this soulless corporate place instead of going down to the Early Bird. If it came down to saving Starbucks, she might let the world burn.

Ice Flowers

And just like that, it was just another day.

Layla stood shivering at the corner, waiting for Benny to come rattling down the old churt drive in his even older truck, just as angry to be up and moving as she was. She liked the beat up maroon monster. “Betsy” was cranky and vocal about it and somehow that made the indignity of getting up before the sun just to work at the local SavABunch more bearable. She could do without Ben—but then, no, that was the point, wasn’t it? She couldn’t do without Ben, or at least without someone to give her a lift the five miles into town. Benny had been giving her rides every morning since they were high school together. And before that, Benny’s dad had driven them both. Ben. It was Ben now, Layla. She had to remember that. Couldn’t risk offending him. At least, not over something so small. She had to save her battles for the bigger things, more important no’s.

The road crunched under her feet as she stomped back and forth, trying to stay warm. Ice shards stuck up in little clusters, moisture forced up out of the ground like little clumps of frozen grass, or tiny delicate flowers. Some twisted and curled, some shot straight up in proud obstinance. All of them told her it was too damned cold to be out this early, before the sun had even started to kiss the tops of the tallest trees on the tallest ridges of the holler. The sun didn’t care that it was the day after Christmas. The managers at SavABunch didn’t either.

The familiar rattle and rumble announced his arrival long before the feeble sweep of tired headlights. Layla hoisted up the garbage bag at her side, filled with cardboard and little twist-ties and scraps of plastic and gift wrap and tags that all read “To:” but none of them “From:”. There was no point in filling out that part. They all knew exactly where their meager little Christmas came from.

No matter. Another dollar, another day. She swung the bag up into the back of Benny’s truck before he could even properly put Betsy in park, let alone do something stupid like get out and try to insist he do it for her. That didn’t stop him from opening the door, but at least he did it from inside the cab. And besides, Betsy’s passenger door liked to stick lately anyways. Made sense to just let him do it.

“Morning, Layla.”

“Hiya Benn–”

She gave him her brightest smile, trying to push it all the way up to her eyes.

“How’s Moma?”

“Moma’s fine. How’s your Dad and Gran?”

“Fine. How’d Christmas treat y’all?”

“Just fine, Ben. And yours?” She busied herself with her seat belt, the crusty thing fighting with her in the cold. Her shaky fingers just couldn’t seem to make it work.

“Mighty fine, gal. Jim ran into a patch of grouse, brought a few home on his way in. We’ll bring y’all some around if he managed to scare up anymore.”

The belt finally slide home with a sticky click, and Layla settled back into her seat, burrowing down into her coat. She stared out at the tiny tunnel of light the headlights carved out of the darkness.
“That’s awful sweet of him. You tell Jimmy thanks for me if I’m not around when he stops by.”

Silence filled the empty space between them, settling into the middle seat like a third wheel. Layla was grateful for the buffer. Ben couldn’t seem to abide it.

“You get your Moma those red shoes she was yammering about?”

“No, Ben. Not this year.”

Of course she hadn’t bought her Moma any shoes, or that fancy dress, or any of the other foolish things she’d asked for. She bought her a sensible new book of puzzles, and knit her a new pair of socks over the course of many lunch breaks, and came together with the folks at church to bring her in a consignment shop recliner to replace that one that had become too much soaked with urine. The old one was still sitting out back, waiting to be burned.

“Well, maybe there’ll still be some, maybe on sale for after Christmas. I can check for you, if you like.”

“No, damn it!” She bit her lip at the terse words, then swore again as Betsy hit a pothole that bounced the corner of her elbow into the door handle. Ben murmured a word of apology, and Layla sighed in a big frosty puff.

“Ben, you know Moma doesn’t need any stupid red shoes. What’s she gonna do, stare at them from under the blanket? Click her heels together three times and wonder why nothing’s changed?”

Ben’s fingers curled and flexed against the wheel, smoothing over it as if he could smooth the snarl from the conversation. Layla’s own fingers bit into her palms deep in her coat pockets.

“You sure are grumpy this morning, Layla.”

Something relaxed in her, while something else tensed. He was willing to let the Moma thing go. But that meant his attention was back on her. Time to play nice.

“Yeah, Ben. I am. Sorry to take it out on you.”

“S’okay.” His fingers tapped a meaningless beat against the wheel. It was painful watching him try to think, waiting to see what would come out. “It’s easy to get lazy after a few days off. Betsy didn’t wanna go back to work this morning either, did ya gal?”

One morning—begrudgingly given because it wasn’t worth the cost of being open with no one in town—hardly counted as enough time to get lazy, but she would take it. If he was willing to excuse her ill behavior, she wouldn’t point out his logic was flawed.

“It was a nice change of pace, anyway,” she said lamely, knowing she had to say something.

“Don’t you worry, Layla.” His tone was bright and chipper again, pleased she was playing along, or something. She didn’t know and she didn’t care. “You’ll get another vacation here come New Year’s.”

And just like that, it was another day.

Julie returns to the attic

Tonight’s prompted writing took me back to a short story I did called Two Ghosts, in which Ruth’s middlest daughter starts to discover her magic. I discovered some very …interesting things in tonight’s writing, and I’m looking forward to chasing all these hidden goodies down. 🙂

Note: This is raw and unfiltered/edited, but I really liked it’s energy so thought I’d go ahead and share anyways.

She slammed the spellbook closed with a thud. Clearly she wasn’t getting anywhere. Huffing out a long sigh—that blew up a cloud of dust from the surrounding forgotten attic treasures—Julie leaned back and stretched, trying to pop her back.

She’d been up here for hours, trying to find anything, anything, that might still have a lingering presence. She’d tried crystals, wands, random junk found in draws—she’d even tried reviving one of the old sigils. Maybe that one had worked, but she couldn’t tell. She couldn’t read anything of spells or power—not like her sister anyway. Their dad, the real witch of the family, had tried his best to help her come to terms with supposed powers. But after that one and only time in the attic, this attic, nothing. Whatever had happened up here had been a freak accident. Clearly.

She sighed again, this time more of an annoyed huff, then unfolded her long legs. She frowned at the large swath of ankle no longer covered by her too short jeans. Growing pains. Yay.

Pushing to her feet—heedless now of wherever she put her hands, this old lines had no real power in them anymore—she got up to wander, to work some life back into her feet. The spell book had been interesting, but lifeless. Nothing up here but old ghosts.

She let her attention slide as she wandered the room, hands trailing idly over dusty shelves and forgotten papers. Even if she couldn’t make another memory echo manifest, she still loves looking at all the old, curious treasures tucked away up here. Her grandmother had worked up here. Her father and uncle had, too. She still remembered the day he and Ruth had snuck up here, trying to be closer to the ley line*, reaching for that last little bit…

“I wouldn’t, little niece of mine.”

Julie spun, coming face to face with a boy who looked uncannily like her father, but not quite.

And, of course, he was semi-transparent.

Julie fell to her butt with a gasp, choking on the dust cloud it knocked up. The spectre of her uncle rushed to her side, but of course, his hands passed right through. He frowned, looking at his hands as if he might will more substance into them, and Julie groaned as she felt her ears pressurize and then pop. A feeling like the first few drops of icy autumn rain hit her gut.

“Oh, sorry. That shouldn’t have drawn from you.”

Younger Uncle Simon knelt by her now, hands semi-solid against her arm. Warmth flooded through her, the queasy feeling leaving her stomach. Her head spun, and her ears rang with the distant memory of spectral thunder.

“Uncle… Uncle Simon?”

He beamed at her, eyes full of a paternal pride that looked ridiculously out of place on an eleven-year-old.

“That’s right, Julie. You’re a very clever girl.”

Julie frowned at him, knowing that she’d revived a ghost but knowing how—or even, exactly what any of that meant. Simon’s smile softened.

“I don’t understand it either, little niece, but I’m sure together, we can figure it out.”

He held out his hand again, offering her help up. She frowned harder at it, then pushed herself up to her feet without his help.

“Just because you’re wearing my Uncle’s face doesn’t mean I automatically trust you.”

His answering laugh felt like a thousand tiny moths dancing along her skin. It was thrilling, and utterly unsettling.

“Good girl. Good instincts.”

A final action beat, but I’m officially distracted. :/

“I think you’ll find ghost talker yet.”

*is that the example I want to use?

A Zig Short

Trying to get back into a daily writing habit, and apparently my brain decided it wants to go back to Haven. So have a Zig short, and look forward to more.

Something squished under her foot. Jules froze, sleep-addled brain trying to race but not mustering up much more than a tired sputter. Her foot was wet. She just wanted to pee—really, she just wanted more than three hours of uninterrupted sleep—but now her foot was wet and growing cold and she just couldn’t wrap her thoughts around why that might be. She stared down at her feet, blinking stupidly in the night-light dim hallway, utterly unable to make any sense of the situation. Finally, she took another step— onto more wet.

Scowling, she turned on the bathroom light. Why didn’t bathrooms come with two lights? Full vibrant fluorescents were great for putting on makeup, ridiculous overkill for getting up to pee in the middle of the night. She blinked back the stars that filled her eyes, until finally the scene in the bathroom resolved itself. The shower liner hung half-out of the tub, both still damp from recent use. The towel she had stepped on had clearly not been enough to mop up the deluge of water that had escaped from the shower. Jules let out a sound that somewhere between a sigh and a groan, then picked her way across the wreckage to the toilet.

Zig froze when Jules came down the stairs. She shouldn’t be up at this hour. He’d been as quiet as he could when he’d come in from work, did his best to get Ajay to settle down again after changing his diaper. The kid was a handful, throwing off energy in a way that made Zig’s second sight go hazy with power sometimes. He hoped his son would grow into, or out of it, or whatever. He’d also hoped he hadn’t been making too much noise down in the kitchen, bouncing Ajay on his hip while he made pancakes. Apparently, no such luck.

He flipped the last cake out of the pan and moved the pan off the burner—a habit he was really pleased to have finally gotten down, this whole induction top had a helluva learning curve—and carried the plate over to the breakfast bar. Ajay tugged at Zig’s ear, trying to put the shiny amber gauge into his mouth, and Zig moved him to another hip once he set the plate down. Then he came around the bar to meet Jules halfway across the living room, trying to judge from her expression if he should go in for the kiss or not. These were dangerous waters.

“Why is the bathroom covered in water, Zig?” Her voice dragged with exhaustion, too tired to even sound angry about it.

His face immediately fell, wincing in regret. “I’m so sorry babe. I meant to get back up there and clean it up, once I got this little guy quieter.” He jiggled Ajay on his hip. “He seemed to wake up almost the instant I got through the door.”

She groaned and reached for the baby. “He’s probably gotten sensitive enough to read the wards. Can’t talk yet, but the little bugger can feel when the ward shifts. Good job, bud.”

“He certainly lights up my Sight like a Christmas tree—erm, Solstice bush.”

Ajay laid his head on her chest so he could keep watching Zig. Jules laughed without energy. “Either works – He must be going through a growth spurt.”

Zig hitched his robe back up on his shoulder. “Sorry we woke you babe. You uh, want some pancakes?”

At the word, her stomach growled, reminding her that if he was having a growth spurt, Ajay was probably pulling more on her energy too.

“Yeah, I should eat, then try to sleep again.” Ajay gurgled and she eyed him suspiciously. “Or eat, feed him, then sleep.”

“I can make him some formula?”

Jules shook her head. “No, nursing will be good for both of us. Just get me the syrup and a nursing blanket.”

Zig scurried to do as she asked, moving with ridiculous haste. It was both adorable and annoying. Yeah, he’d fucked up the bathroom, but she was getting used to that. His clingy need for her forgiveness was more than she could wrap her head around. “Zig, it’s fine” never seemed to be enough. She wondered if her empathy wasn’t somehow affecting his whack-a-do magic. Whatever.

A Rainy Day

Rain stared out over the lake, knowing it was just a lake, but feeling like it may as well be the edge of the world. They were called The Great Lakes for a reason. The water just seemed to stretch on and on, and out here, standing straight against the wind, she felt like she was staring down eternity.
A single crow hopped from branch to branch in the windbreak behind her. She ignored it, not caring if it was Rook or just a solitary wanderer. The former could go fuck himself, and she didn’t have anything to offer if it was the latter.
“Learn to take care of yourself,” she muttered, swinging her umbrella halfheartedly towards the trees. There wasn’t enough energy left for much more than that.
She felt so stupid carrying this thing. She’d spent the summer calling elemental forces, commanding winds, conjuring storms, but back home, she still had to carry an umbrella in case of showers. It was all just so stupid! What was the point of cosmic powers on a world altering scales if she was never meant to use them? Why shove these powers into a teenage girl, telling her “the time will come” and “you have to learn” and “you must be ready”–ready for what? To watch her step-father die? To watch countless of people die, one after the other, in a long endless line she was never meant to stop?
“What’s the fucking point!?”
She screamed up at the sky, fury building within her to match the whipping winds from without. The lake frothed and seethed, chopping waves building from so far out she could never hope to see them, breaking small and useless against the man made docks. She shrieked into the wind, sound gobbled up instantly by the growing storm. The storm was hungrier than she was, but she was angrier.
She hurled her umbrella into the wind, a useless makeshift javelin. It spiraled wildly off course in an instant, not that she’d been aiming for anything in particular. It snapped open, spines bending instantly out of place, canvas snagged and snarled against its own spines turned against it. Rain watched the thing tear itself apart in some small amount of satisfactions, though it was a cold and empty kind. She watched it skitter and dance down the beach, tumbling heedless in a wind that did not know or care that it was there. She heard the staccato croak of the crow calling from the woods, and another answered it from far off. Rain turned and marched back inland, full of nothing and learning nothing from screaming into the wind, her burdens only lightened by the weight of a single umbrella.

Writer’s Rambles: Take care of yourself

This topic didn’t seem like a “for writers” right away, but then this comic on tumblr and that 1) writers are only human and 2) we like to kid ourselves that we’re not. And 3), only semi-related, I have feels I need to work out and I do that best through writing (I’m sure none of you can relate to that).

I haven’t done a word on NaNo. I don’t know that I’m going to. In years past, I’ve felt enormously guilty over it. But there just isn’t any energy for it this year.

And that’s okay. Sometimes there’s just not. I’m learning that my life doesn’t have room for a writing marathon in November. I am doing my best to take care of me the human first and me the writer second and my WIPs third. They’ll get done when they get done. But they won’t get done if I burn out.

So take care of yourselves lovelies. Happy Writing, and Happy Resting.