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!

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