The Shoe Box Secret {Part One}

“Oh, good grief. Are you kidding me?”

Cece tossed a handful of her husband’s laundry into a basket and forced the closet door open. “Where the heck does he even wear all of these clothes?” She bent over and picked up five more t-shirts, and a pair of pants then added them to the clothes she’d collected from his side of the bed. She knew it had been a while since their last laundry day, but she didn’t think it had been that long.

Searching the remainder of the closet one last time, her eyes fell on a box behind his golf clubs. It was a smaller shoe box, but Cece couldn’t recall the shoes that went with it. She wondered if Mason had gotten her a gift for their upcoming anniversary and her curiosity got the better of her. She removed the lid, but her brows furrowed.

“What in the world?”

Her eyes scanned over the contents. There were various passports, each with a different name, and a significant amount of cash in different currencies. “Liam Matloff. Hiram Ridgeport. Benjamin Jeffreys. Samuel Campion. This can’t be right.” Cece recognized a few locations but not the names and wasn’t sure why Mason had them in his possession.

There was one passport, with the name Henry Lancaster, that caught her attention more than others. She’d seen that name in the news a couple of weeks ago. It was a case that was unsolved, but involved money laundering and murder.  Cece’s mind began to race with the thoughts of what it could mean as her heart rate increased. She could feel the panic rise as she flipped through five more passports.

Headlights passed the window and Cece jumped. She glanced around the room and realized that Mason was home. Quickly placing everything back the way she’d found it, she set the shoebox back in the closet and tugged the laundry basket toward the washer.

She heard the front door open then slam shut. The baby monitor on her hip lit up in green lights as their nine-month-old son began to cry. Cece rolled her eyes. “Really, Mason. I just got Finn to sleep,” she mumbled under her breath. Releasing a sigh, she threw the remainder of the basket into the washer, added soap and hit start before heading to Finn’s room.

Mason met her at Finn’s crib and placed a hand on the small of her back. She jumped at his touch, and he removed his hand with a skeptical look. “Everything okay?” She nodded. “Of course, you just scared me, is all. Welcome home.” She adjusted Finn before giving her husband a kiss on the cheek. Mason smiled as they walked to the kitchen. “Thanks, honey. How was your day?”

“It was uneventful. Finn, here, he’s fussy and won’t sleep longer than thirty minutes. But otherwise, it’s been an alright day.” She offered a warm smile and rocked their son, hoping she seemed normal. Finn sniffled and buried his face between her head and shoulder. Mason nodded and set his briefcase on the counter before taking a seat at the bar. “Well, I’m sorry to hear that he isn’t sleeping. Maybe try some music tonight? If he doesn’t stop, just let him cry. Eventually, he’ll pass out from exhaustion. No use in you losing sleep too, Cece.”

“That’s so cruel. I could never.” She looked horrified as she held Finn closer to her chest. “We’re supposed to nurture and take care of him.”

“Not at the risk of preventing his development.” Mason rolled his eyes and shrugged his coat off. “You can’t pamper him all the time. He’ll get too soft.” It was Cece’s turn to roll her eyes as she sat in the rocking chair across from Mason. “You always say that, but you don’t know the first thing about it. He’s teething. Cut him some slack.”

Mason laughed. “Yeah, I’ll cut him some slack when he learns what’s right. I used to pick on kids like him.” Pouring himself a whiskey sour, he took a drink and pointed at the child. “Don’t encourage him to be any less than his optimal self.” Cece shook her head. “He’s less than a year old. How could he possibly know what’s right? You’re awful.” Mason ignored her and walked to the living room. “When’s dinner?”

She released the breath she’d been holding and rubbed Finn’s back. “It’ll be ready in thirty minutes. Let me get Finn back to bed, then I’ll finish it.” Mason flipped on the television to the news, and the conversation was over. Cece considered her find in the closet and the best way to approach him. She knew that tonight wouldn’t end well since he was already in a mood, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that this was far greater than even she knew.

‘Who am I married to?’ 

The question bounced around her mind as she laid her son in his crib once more and covered him with a small blanket. She considered her options as she prepped their dinner and served him. She desperately wanted answers but was afraid of the cost.

~*~

Hello again, lovely readers!

I’m a little behind on my blog challenges, but this one here, this is part of it. We were asked to use this site to pick a prompt. My prompt was:

“A woman finds an old shoebox belonging to her husband, and opens it to find foreign passports under different names, and a large amount of cash. Who is she married to? As she starts to panic, he arrives home…”

I’m not really sure where the rest of this prompt will go, but if you’d like to see a part two, leave me a comment below with some ideas on what he’s hiding and why he might be doing it.

You can find the responses from other participants here (NSFW), here, here, here, and here.

(:

Enjoy!

{July}

It’s time for a mini challenge. :D

~*~

{Currently}

{Loving}

I love pandas.
They’re adorable, fluffy, and fantastic. How could I not?

Haha.

I love fresh fruit, cold sparkling water, and that we are in the summertime. With the warmer temperatures I can fish, swim, paddle board and tan. All of which are some of my favorite things to do. <3

{Reading}

I am currently reading the book Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson. It was our book club book for the discord server I’m in, but I don’t think anyone else is currently reading it. I’ve decided to try and push through. I can sort of see a story in here somewhere. :D

{Watching}

I haven’t been watching too much television as of late. I’ve been binge-watching my movies. {In case you don’t know me all that well, I own quite a few movies. xD} I just finished watching the first four Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I still need to watch the most recent one to “finish the series” this time around but plan to do that tomorrow.

I saw a few older movies too: The Parent Trap, Chasing Liberty and First Daughter. They were on Fox the other day, so I decided to watch them from start to finish.

I also watched Born in China for the first time ever. It’s a Disney Nature film that features a panda family among a few others. {Surprise! Haha.} I thought it was pretty cute.

{Listening}

I have been listening to a lot of gaming music. While catching up on my writing for Camp NaNoWriMo, I need some good music that doesn’t have a lot of vocals and gaming music does the job. I also have been listening to a lot of Chill Dubstep. :)

{Thinking About}

I have been thinking about taking some trips and camping. I recently saw Mount Rushmore and Sioux Falls which sparked some sort of traveling bug inside of me. Now I want to go see the Niagra Falls, the Grand Canyon, and Ol’ Faithful.

Camping has also been a thing I’ve wanted to do since summer started. I want to ditch work for a couple of days and sleep in a tent in some random forest where I can fish and eat campfire food. It sounds magical. <3

{Anticipating}

I have been anticipating getting a puppy for well over a year.

Anyone who knows me, knows I want a dog. I can’t have one until we move so I’m counting down the days until I can have one.

I can’t wait!!!

{Wishing}

I wish I had a house. :D

If I have a home, I get a dog. xD

My wants/desires are simplistic in nature. <3

{Making Me Happy}

My honey and my cats make me happy. They’re always excited to see me when I get home, and it makes me feel loved.

My sister-in-law asked me to be her maid-of-honor, and that makes me happy! I’ve never been one before! :D But I’m glad she trusts me enough to do the job.

The discord server I’m in makes me happy. I’ve met so many amazing people with so much experience/talent. It’s a privilege to interact with them as I do and I love being a part of their crowd. :D

~*~

Anyway!
That’s it for the “currently” challenge.
Check back next month to see what I’m up to.
Link your response below in the comments.
:D

Until Next Time,
-Shay

A Word to the Wise

“A word to the wise” is an idiom that we’ve all heard at one point or another in our lives.

My first thought?
It’s used to emphasize someone has given instruction or is about to provide useful information. So I think its appropriate for Amanda’s next challenge: give your very best advice.

I feel as though advice is subjective in many ways. What works for you might not work for me. What I do find, however, is that we all have nuggets of information that are invaluable from our experiences, trials, and successes. And when we share them with others, we find that we’re not the only ones it can work for or even better, that we’re not alone in our struggles. Whatever our method, we all have something that we’ve learned or that could potentially be useful.

Which brings me to my version. :D

Explore your options.
There is no right or wrong way to start with your writing. Maybe you woke up this morning and decided you want to write a novel, or perhaps you’ve been writing since you were in second grade. Wherever you are coming from, you have different opportunities and ways to write.

What do I mean by this?
Well, maybe you are into writing poems or songs. Perhaps you’d like to send a letter to someone you love or write about characters from a movie you enjoy. Maybe you want to write about an intergalactic space station that’s been attacked by an invading neighbor planet of aliens. Better still, you’ve decided to create a character in your mind that has found themselves lost in the jungle of a prehistoric era. Are you into history? You want to write about World War I? Perfect! Whatever your interests, you can make it happen.

Choose a project.
The great thing about writing? The sky is the limit. No one can tell you what to write except you. So now? You get to take a moment and think about those previous examples you thought of, and you get to do something with it. Every character needs their story told, right?

Take that imagination of yours and put it to good use. Find what peaks your interest.

I believe in you.

Make a commitment.
If you have to, create a contract with yourself and hold yourself accountable. Maybe it’s marking a calendar with specific goals, or telling someone that you’re going to write a novel.

I tend to tell my friends and family that I’m starting a new project. Or, I’ll post it here, on my blog, letting the world know. Tell yourself that you owe yourself a dollar for every day you miss. Better yet – Find someone you can trust to keep you honest and pay them a dollar for every day you forget to write.

And follow through.

However you can hold yourself accountable, that’s the method you should choose.

Set yourself up for success.
There have been many times where I have let myself suffer to get those words on the page. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to stay hydrated, eat a balanced meal, sleep, and stay in the right state of mind. Taking care of yourself is, in the end, taking care of your writing. And you’ll feel refreshed because of it.

Plus, if you’re sad and writing something happy, it won’t come out the way you plan. Which leaves you more to edit later in the long run or you’ll end up hating what you’ve worked so hard on in the first place.

Create a writing environment.
Not only is taking care of yourself valuable, but there are ways that you can prepare an area to help you stay productive.  Set aside a place to write and create a playlist that works well with your project. Decorate your space in a welcome and inviting way so that you want to go to that area to write. Remove distractions, and temptations to be distracted, so that when you sit down to write you can focus on it.

Be realistic in your goals.
Choosing a daily number of words that you know can be done on -any- day is a sure-fire way to make sure that you will complete it. If you know that you only have the patience for about a hundred words, set your goal for that, and when you pass 100 words with flying colors, you can be proud of yourself for pushing the limits on those extra days. It’s always okay to write more. But you should never feel like you -have- to get so many words on a page. If 100 words, every day, doesn’t work for you, lower it. If it’s too small, raise it. If you’re not sure? Find a number generator online and use that instead. Switch it up every other week.

It’s always up to you.
Whatever you think is best for you and your projects.

Set a time that works for you and your schedule. If you are more alert and focused in the morning, try to make your writing time in the morning for maximum productivity. Are you a night owl? Best make that writing time at night.

Cater to what you know is good for you.

Throw your inner editor out the freaking window. xD
Unless you’re editing a work in progress, that internal editor needs to pack up and get the heck out. We are trying to be creative here, we don’t need Debbie-Downers to come in and steal the thunder.

So, if you have to find a cage or buy a lock, take your inner editor and put him/her where they belong. They will be fine, just leave them a snack and some reading material to keep them busy.

This is the time to get all of your fantastic ideas out on paper.

Or computer. :P

Just write.
Forget about everything else and only write. It doesn’t matter if it’s spelled correctly or the words are in the right order. At this moment in time, your only concern is taking all of those images and words out of your head and putting them into a story. We’re not aiming for perfection, just for it to get written.

Our inner editors would love nothing more than to prevent productivity because they have a lot to say. But this isn’t their time to shine. We can always schedule the time to do that another day. Right now? We’re just gonna get those words on the page.

Having that mentality really frees the story inside of you and grants you the power to focus on your character and what they need to say.

Everything else?
It comes later.

Jodi Picoult said it best.
“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank one.”

So get to writing.

Make it fun!
Take your characters and writing on adventures to new places. Take a day and spend it interviewing your characters. Try writing something in a genre you’ve never written before. Talk out your characters with other writers. Maybe even get one or two to roleplay with you. Create a challenge with one of your fellow writer buddies.
You can try word wards, sprints, and crawls.

You will find success by using different tools and methods, and by taking the time to write, especially if its fun. (:

 

 

If I were being honest, I could probably think of more things to write about here. Like I said, advice is subjective. But for now, I feel like leaving this with you is enough to get you started. If you’re interested in reading a bit more, I posted something similar a few years back which you can find here.

Hopefully, something in this post has struck a chord with you and you feel empowered to write, even if it’s only 100 words. (: What are some things you think would be helpful for a new author. Any advice you think I missed? Leave it below in the comments. Either way, I challenge you to start writing something today.

Good luck, my darlings. I know you can do it.

Until Next Time,
Shay

 

A Raven’s Tale

This short story is brought to you by Prompt Night on Discord.
(:
Prompt Kudos to Gianna Robbin

~*~

Raven shifted uncomfortably in the chair as she slid her silky black hair over to the left shoulder. A few curls bounced loose with the movement, but she ignored them as she attempted to switch her focus towards the front of the room. Their lessons ran unusually long today, causing her to grow impatient.

Leaning her head into her hand, she watched as Professor Evanora discussed ways to use ginger. The alternative medical class had proven helpful earlier on in the year when they discussed hangover cures and homeopathic ways to cure minor ailments, but some of the more recent courses seemed to have lost their flair. Checking the time, Raven rolled her crimson eyes. If the professor didn’t stop talking soon, they would miss their entire lunch hour. Her patience wore thin as she tapped her black french tipped nails on the edge of her desk.

“Are we inconveniencing you, Miss Addington?”

Raven made eye contact with Professor Evanora before sitting straight. “Not at all, professor. I simply noticed the time, is all.” Professor Evanora raised an eyebrow in response to her sarcasm. “Is that so?” Raven nodded. “Well, I’m sorry to inform you, Miss Addington, but we’re not on your time frame. The class proceeds until I have finished.” Professor Evanora turned around and scrawled an assignment on the board with a piece of chalk. “Fifteen extra pages of reading tonight, since Miss Addington has far too much time on her hands.”

The class groaned. Raven rolled her eyes and shoved her books into her brown, leather saddle bag. It barely filled the main compartment, but she loved the oversized item. She retrieved a small vile from the front, side pocket, and opened the bottle. Pouring the liquid over her wrist, she drew a symbol within it and muttered:

“A curse to make you suffer, without a lengthy pause,
And just a pinch of anger, for all the pain you cause.
Mess with me, and my own time, I’ll sacrifice and take what’s mine,
Don’t be a bitch, or you will see, a harsher outcome, so let it be.”

Raven bit her inner cheek and waited for her mouth to fill with blood before licking the symbol on her wrist. She watched as the scarlet fluid mixed with the clear liquid and smiled a wicked grin. She crossed her arms and waited for the lunch bell to signal the next class. “Ah, yes, you all may go. I trust that you’ll enjoy the readings tonight. Thank you again, Miss Addington, for your continued support in education.”

Raven raised her left eyebrow with a polite smile. Never skipping a beat, she stood and added, “Of course, Professor Evanora. Anything to make you feel as though you’re successful in this classroom.” She could hear the responses of the rest of her classmates, watched Professor Evanora’s face fall, and confidently exited the room. She smirked as she made her way through the hallway knowing full well that they’d call her to the headmaster’s office. ‘It’s worth it,” she thought as she reached her history class.

Sure enough, Raven found herself in Headmaster Myrick’s office. He paged for her halfway through the hour, and she was excused from class to discuss the incident. Her mood did not falter as he reprimanded her behavior. Instead, she planned the many ways she would get revenge with Professor Evanora. The headmaster let her off with a warning, but she found that she couldn’t care how he handled the situation. She would do it all over again if given the opportunity.

When the day finished, Raven found Castalia walking towards the door. “Cas, wait up!” She turned and grinned when she saw Raven. “Hey girl, heard you got into some trouble today with Professor Evanora.”  Raven rolled her eyes. “Eh, it’s nothing I couldn’t handle.”

They shared a giggle before exiting the building. “Good. Glad to hear it.” The girls headed toward the river, enjoying the sunlight. “Are we meeting with the others today?” It was a typical question for this time of day, but Raven wasn’t quite sure. “Have you reached out to Kyna or Amethyst? I haven’t seen or heard anything from either one all day.”

Castalia shook her head no. “Nope, I believe they skipped today.” Raven nodded. “Sounds like them. I’ll give them a call.” She reached for her cell and dialed the number for Amethyst. It rang a few times then Amethyst’s voicemail picked up.

“Hey, it’s your girl, Amethyst. I can’t come to the phone right now but leave a message, and I’ll send love like I always do!”

Raven waited for the beep then shrugged at Castalia. “Am, it’s Raven. I’m calling to see if we’re meeting this afternoon? Text me when you get this. Bye!”

“I wouldn’t bother calling Kyna. They’re probably out at a party or something. These two need a leash.” Castalia performed the charade of a leash connecting with a collar and yanked it backward for added effect, causing Raven to laugh. “Well, we can head back to the shrine, if you want?”

“I can’t. Dad’s being a pill and wants me home by four. If not, they will ground me for a month. Supposedly, they have some news to tell us.” Raven released a sigh and hugged her friend. “Well, if you must. I guess I’ll see you guys tomorrow then.” Castalia nodded. “Of course! You still have to tell me what happened with Professor Evanora.”

Raven smiled. “Well, it’s only the beginning. I have a plan that will make her wish she never crossed me.” Castalia shook her head in a sympathetic but approving way. “Audentes fortuna iuvat.” Raven pointed to the sky with a grin and answered, “Acta non verba.” Then they waved and parted ways.

Raven noticed that her parents were already gone when she arrived home. Her father had a business trip that she’d known about for weeks but her mother should have been at the house. Irritated, she slammed the door and headed to her room.

She set her saddle bag on its stand and opened her notebook full of spells. Taking a few seconds to write her curse from earlier in the day, she let the anger scatter. Lighting five candles, she drew a pentagram on the ground in chalk before setting her black metal chair in the center.

Raven staged the candles in each of the points before changing from her school uniform into a satin, lacey black dress that she’d fabricated for such a moment as this. The main bodice was an almost see-through, diamond-shaped corset, beaded with different gems, shells, and diamonds she’d collected over the years. It used to have sleeves, but she removed them and added a cape that draped over the length of her body, plus some.

The flames from the candles cast an eerie glow over her flesh as it peered through the various openings in the gown. She savored the power she felt as she entered her haven. Her curly locks cascaded over her shoulders as she inhaled and reached for her pendant, holding it to the moon up above. Her gaze wandered through the skylight as she began her chant.

 

Hello, My Name is Shay and I Write.

I’m an aspiring author, and it’s been approximately six hours since my last prompt response.

I See What You Did There

What am I currently working on, you ask? My first order of business is this really great new Blog Challenge that a friend of mine, Amanda, is hosting. She currently owns and runs this Discord server. I’m excited to participate and think it will be a great way to stay accountable. It’s also an invaluable way to practice different methods/styles of writing. What will the challenge hold? Well now, you’ll just have to come back and see. (;

An October Midnight is my current work in progress. I started this one back in November for NaNoWriMo, and while I won, I haven’t had the chance to finish it. With Camp NaNoWriMo around the corner I will post updates as I go, but for now here’s a brief description to tide you over.

I’ve been writing since early elementary school, but I’ve told stories since I could talk. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but my grandma used to remind me how I would walk up to her with my hands on my hips and I’d tell her in my two-year-old-sass, “Grandma, can I talk to you?” Apparently, I could talk forever and about anything under the sun. I used to speak to myself in mirrors as a younger child too. I might be insane, but shh. Don’t tell anyone, okay? Haha.

I remember getting excited to read in my first-grade class. I had the best first-grade teacher, Mrs. Owens. She was amazing. She encouraged all of us to want to read books. Personally? I attribute my love for books partially to her. And now? I enjoy stories of all different aspects. I love reading books, short stories, descriptions, and blogs. I am an avid movie lover and watch many television shows. I even consider music as a way of telling a story and music has such a significant impact on my life. <3

I suppose you could say that’s how I got started. Between vivid dreams/nightmares and the various ways to enjoy a story, I too thought I had a chance. When I was younger, I never really thought about publishing anything. It was never about that for me. I just wanted to document what I saw in my dreams/nightmares to remember. Not that I had an issue with that. I had many recurring dreams growing up and wasn’t likely to forget any details.

In a way, though, writing out my dreams/nightmares validated the images that I saw in my head. I acknowledged my vivid imagination and detail-oriented experiences. Sometimes, they scared even me. Other times, I wished the things I saw were real. Maybe it was my way of coping with the dramas of life that every child encounters. Or maybe, they meant nothing at all. Either way, to me, I wanted to remember them forever.

In middle and high school, I really started to pick up my writing. It was therapeutic and relaxing, it was a way to vent or express myself when I wasn’t always sure how. It was and still is a constant in my life. I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo for quite a while now and love making new creations from scratch. Even now, as an adult, I see it as a way to take an adventure to a world far away from my every day-to-day life and an escape from the stress around me.

My “why” has changed a little bit. I still want to remember what I see in my head, or the thoughts that I come up with. But I also write with the goal of someday publishing. I write now so that one day, someone will read a story that they can relate to. It may not touch everyone, but if it makes a difference in one person’s life or allows them to find the same comforts of escape that I do, it will all be worth it in the end. If only one person enjoys what I’ve written, it’s good enough for me.

All joking aside, I enjoy spending time creating stories that will take both character and reader on a journey. It might be a post-apocalyptic world with zombies or crazy viruses that prevent you from going outside. Maybe it’s a forced marriage in hopes of avoiding war or possibly a space adventure where you choose your outcome. It could potentially be a cursed town with mysterious happenings, a cannibalistic serial killer who loves his family or even a first-timer at a college where strange and mysterious things keep happening. No matter what it is, take a second look. You might just find me somewhere in the midst.

Here are a few more writers from the server that are participating!
Check them out below.

 AJ
~*~
Looking for more of My Challenge Responses?
1st Challenge
2nd Challenge
3rd Challenge
~ 3.5 ~ Mini Challenge

Journey of Chaos: Expressing My Secrets, One Post at a Time…

Hey there!

After some careful thought and a bit of encouragement topped with a nudge from a friend, I am going to be doing a segment of posts that are my (A-Z) Personal Progress + Continued Journeys. The series of posts will focus on featured topics that range in the good, the bad, the ugly and the chaotic. (;

Featured Topic Realms:
• Addictions
• Animals
• Blogging
• Challenges
• Commitments
• Distractions
• Dreams
Encouragement
• Fears
• Goals
• Habits and Hobbies
• “I Love’s”
• Just Because
• Knowledge is Power
• Life
• Mental Illness Recovery
• Movie Reviews
•NaNoWriMo
• Next Up for Me
• Nightmares
• Overcoming Obstacles
• Photos
• Powerful Inspiration
• Quotes
• Recent Reads
• Scary Situations
• Strengths
Struggles
• Tattoo Potential
• Television Show Reviews
• ‘Under the Weather’ Days
• Vacations
• Victories
• Weaknesses
Wisdom
Writing
• X-raying Thoughts
• Yummy Recipes
• Zoning In on Me

I haven’t decided if I want to go in order, or if I want to jump around a bit. Who knows, I may decide to add more as I go. What I do know is that it will be a great way for you to get to know me, grant another way for me to express a bit more of my chaos and maybe, just maybe – I’ll get to know some of you better too. So join me on my Journey of Chaos. You might just learn something that will surprise you. (;

Here’s to getting to know you better and offering more of myself to the world,

Let my Journey of Chaos Begin <3

{***Underlined Words are links to the posts.***}

Warning: Foreign Message Incoming!

Hello Earthling, Traveller, Wanderer.

Welcome to The Haven of Chaos where crazy hectic is the new normal. All of us wondered when you would arrive. I’m sure the road has been challenging, but we’re so glad that you’re here. Let us make you feel right at home. With so much to do and so little time, the post-it’s shall be your guide. Oh, and remember, “We’re all a little mad here.” (;

Sincerely,
El-shire the Monday
The leader of the Welcome Committee

_ _
A Note from the Author

Every entry holds a clue,
Acting as a guide for you.
They live within a post-it,
Conveniently, where you sit.

Follow the journey, on the written path,
We promise it’s easy, there is no math.
The topics vary and cover a hill,
But please remember to do as you will.

Can’t wait any longer? The story is here,
But it comes in pieces throughout the year.
I hope you enjoy this as we begin,
I’ve let my hair down and sent you in.

My final note, within a white daisy,
Welcome to My World of Crazy.

Shay (;

P.s. Search for the next Red Post-It to continue in the Haven of Chaos (World).