Personal Posts

I Went to a Writing Covention and…

20160303_122012[1]I have never been so well dressed in my life. As many of you know, I am still in college, though I just recently signed up for graduation in December (yay!), and being in college I’ve had the opportunity to join the English Honor Society: Sigma Tau Delta. This offers a wide range of opportunities for all college writers, and I definitely recommend joining if one ever has the opportunity to do so. One perk that I took full advantage of was being able to submit a piece to the national convention, which means I would get a chance to travel out of state, attend a literary convention, and present my piece in front of all my peers and colleagues for my college. Needless to say, I was beyond pumped.

I submitted a short story and *spoilers* my short story was picked! It was probably one of FB_IMG_1456698771494[1]the more exciting moments of my life. I received the news at around 11 pm via email after a long shift at work, and I immediately called and woke up my boyfriend to tell him the good news, along with my mom, step-mom, and grandmother soon after. I told my colleagues at work over the course of a couple of months, had them read the story if they felt so inclined, and they made me feel more confident than I had ever been. Also, my friends got together and bought me this amazing messenger bag that they surprised me with a few days before I would be travelling. I cried. I hugged them all. Little did they know, it was a huge boost to my confidence, reminded me that I was worthy of being loved, as well as assured me in my abilities as a writer. I now refuse to carry anything else.

Then began planning. I lassoed my partner-in-crime, my boyfriend, into taking the 16-hour drive with me and we were off to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Along the way we went through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois (where I paid my first toll fee), and Wisconsin. After an extended 19-20 hour drive because I just couldn’t drive anymore past 2 am, we finally arrived in Minneapolis. I read my story, met millions of authors and poets, ate at every northern restaurant I could find, got lost multiple times in the Mall of America, enjoyed hours in the underground aquarium, and countless hours enjoying the cold weather with my boyfriend. I have always said I would one day live in Portland, Oregon, despite having never been there. However, now that I’ve been to Minnesota, I don’t think I could picture myself anywhere else. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Unfortunately, our time in Minnesota came to an end and we made the extended 19-20 hour drive back through Iowa, Missouri (where I also received my first speeding ticket), Arkansas, and Mississippi. It was a trip I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It was my first trip completely on the road, completely independent of any guardian, and completely paid for by me. It was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to take part in next year’s Sigma Tau Delta convention.

Want to read the story I presented? Did I mention I was approached by another author with an offer to publish it in anthology? No? Well, more on that once we get the details ironed out. Until then, thank you so much for reading, and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures on here.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

My Birthday Giveaway (21 years in the making)!

Howdy y’all!

Today just so happens to be my 21st birthday, and rather than drown myself in legal alcohol purchases, I have decided to give a gift to YOU… er, well, FIVE of you, that is.

My book The Mind, the Body, a horror short story collection, came out last year in October. I purchased five author copies, signed them, and have started a Goodreads giveaway. Anyone living in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia can enter for FREE to receive one of the five copies. All you have to do is make a Goodreads account and enter here: CLICK ME!

And while you’re there, add me as a friend (if you want to become a fan, that’s cool, but I’d much rather make ya my friend, ya know?).

Help me celebrate my birthday by making this the best birthday book giveaway in all my 21 years on this Earth (this is my first birthday giveaway, but who’s counting?). Enter, share, and let’s have fun!

Don’t have time to enter today? That’s okay! The giveaway ends March 27th, so you have plenty of time! Just make sure you enter by then, or you will miss your chance at FREE BOOKS!

Finally, thank you all so much for the emails and the posts, wishing me a happy birthday. I can’t thank you all enough for all the kind words and well wishes. You make my heart full.

Thanks for reading and/or entering!

-Lissy

FanFic, Left 4 Dead

The Blind Witch ch. 4 and 5 – A Left 4 Dead Fanfic

– 1st Chapter –

< Previous Chapter

Next Chapter >

(In this case, I felt ch. 4 was far too short on its own to post on here. So, they shall be together on my blog, but separate elsewhere.)

Chapter 4

She was beginning to dream again. With the heat came the dreams, and with the dream would eventually raise memory. There were bits and pieces, sometimes images, more words. She would see colors – blue, green, shades of pink, possibly the color of cheeks or roses, then she would feel things. There were soft things, hard things, painful things… things she both longed to remember and things she was happy to forget. The words though… the words were of the utmost importance.

Danger.

Danger was the first word.

It scared her until her body shook her awake, but even in the wakeful hours of bright sunlight and dew, she found the word “danger” still lingered within her. It left a bitter, copper taste in her mouth, which she tried to physically spit out, but to no avail.

The sticky dew was no help, and it had her squirming relentlessly. Then her eyes fell on a mass of darkness, curled on the ground beside her.

There was a thump.

She stopped and pressed a hand to her chest. She couldn’t recall such a feeling, or a word to describe it. It went just as quickly as it had come, and soon her mind was focused back on the mass next to her. It barely moved, and she could scarcely say it moved at all.

But as she reached out to investigate further, a little flash caught her attention. There, attached to the end of what should’ve been fingers, were claws. She made a little gasping noise, and held her hand up to the light, turning and turning the claws until she had investigated every edge and corner of them.

Had she always had these things?

Then, there was a grunt, and the mass on the ground stirred. The Witch shuffled back, claws extended out to put a serrated wall between herself and whatever was rising from the ground. The mass, now a full grown man, shook – an animal shaking off leaves and dirt from where he had slept. His brown hair was sticky with the dew and something crusty and black. Then, his face angled up to meet hers.

She screamed.

The shriek echoed through the forest, erupting into a cacophony of sounds and animals. The Hunter’s brow shot up, and his mouth formed an unpleasant line with the loose, broken lip dangling off the bottom. He shook his head and held a finger to his lips.

“Hush. Quiet, Witch.”

She fell silent and carefully studied his mouth. He could speak, too?

“Who… are you?”

The Hunter sat up, rolling his neck until it made a cracking sound, then he sighed.

“… Hunter.”

The word formed in her mind, cloudy and foggy. There was something attached to it, something very real and very there, but just out of her mind’s grasp. She sat in silence for a long time, just trying to clear the fog and pull that image forward, but to no avail.

The Hunter grunted, his face now tight and accentuating the scars with what looked like annoyance.

“Witch?”

The Witch shook her head. That wasn’t right. The name was familiar, but there was something else… something that name seemed to cover up.

“Emily.” She said.

The Hunter froze in his morning ministrations.

“What?”

She clicked her claws together, trying to form the sounds again… slower.

“… em… Emily. I, Emily.”

The Hunter’s lips broke from their line into what might have once been a smile. He rushed toward her, a crouched creature with an ugly face.

She shuffled back, screeching and slashing claws before he could even get close. The Hunter stopped, and pressed a hand to his chest.

“Remember me?”

She didn’t move.

He hit his chest more forcefully.

“Remember me?”

She shook her head this time.

He yelled, raising his voice much louder than he needed,

“Hunter. Remember me?”

Her mind rushed and slowed, rushed and slowed, until it was throbbing in her skull. Why couldn’t she remember that word? Why couldn’t she remember that word? Then another word rose amongst the chaos.

Tears.

Then she remembered.

“Hunter…”

He nodded, and the smile returned to his lips, though wrinkles broke the laced pattern of his brow. He was worried, and so was she.

How could she forget so much, and remember so much, all at once? And why?

Chapter 5

Her Hunter hadn’t looked at her again since they had woken up. Her memories from the past were still foggy, a thick haze she couldn’t seem to wade through, but while her memories as an infected faded, something else long forgotten was beginning to rise within her.

She had remembered a name, her name. She was no longer just the Witch. She was Emily, and if she remembered nothing else the rest of her life, she would’ve been content with just a name. She had proof that she actually had been a person once. She had felt and carried the warmth she could only imagine now.

Though this new information was satisfying, that lingering haze had her growing more and more curious about the past. Who was she really? Who lingered just below her gray skin? She studied her hands, the palms scarred up and down from what she could only assume were her own claws. How many of these scars were from this life, and how many had she earned in her old one? She wanted to know. Somewhere deep down, there were answers. She just needed to figure out how to access them.

Then, a gruff voice broke through her thoughts,

“Witch?”

She looked up to see the Hunter, pacing back and forth on all fours, making much more noise than the Witch deemed necessary.

She shook her head, even though he wasn’t looking at her to see it.

“No. Emily.”

He growled.

“Emily.”

Emily peered over at the Hunter, his pacing was uncoordinated. His hands and feet seemed uncertain of their next fall, hovering in the air much longer than they should’ve been. He was nervous.

Emily then recalled the way he had lunged to her at hearing her name – her actual, human name – as if he was excited, as if he had been waiting for her to remember it.

“Hunter? Your name… only Hunter?”

The Hunter froze in his pacing, giving her a chance to catch the side of his face, and the way his lids and sockets twitched with unused muscles. It looked so painful. She wondered if and how he could see at all, but a little niggling at the back of her mind had her feeling a strange sense of déjà vu. She felt like she knew the answer already, she just couldn’t recall how.

The Hunter said, “No.”

Short, resolute. He didn’t want any more questions, and even if she asked, she probably wouldn’t get an answer anyway. The Hunter was too busy trying to remember how to pace properly to recall a name. His arms were bent at unnatural angles, as if they were contorting on their own. It was separate from what he wanted them to do, which was simply to pace back and forth.

Emily sat, waiting for something more, squirming in anxiousness when nothing did. In the meantime, she let her mind wander and ponder things she still had no answer to.

Hunter’s name?

Her name?

Why was she remembering, and more importantly, why was she forgetting, too?

She held her arms out in front of her, studying the deep red lines she hadn’t noticed latticing her arms in a beautiful, ugly mixture of purple and gray. They were so in-between, much like a scar, a wound between being there and disappearing. Her eyes flicked back to the Hunter, who was now stopped in his pacing, staring at her, slack-jawed. His sockets were right on her, daunting and angry with their little pulps peeking out at her.

She couldn’t remember ever seeing something or someone so ugly, so animal. Then, another flash of memory: moonlight, rough hands, warmth, and light… bright, bright light in a dark room.

A room in a house she had lived in, in a former life from ages ago.

She had to go back. That would be where the answers were. She stood up, eliciting a growl from the Hunter who crawled up to her feet. She presented her claws, though she knew he wouldn’t hurt her. Something inside her, deep, deep down within her chest, there was a slight twinge. Something was changing inside her, but she just wasn’t sure what.

She looked to the Hunter, and she could see something was changing inside him, too.

He growled again,

“Where are… you going?”

She shook her head and pointed towards a break in the woods where they had walked through before.

“Home.”

The Hunter shook his head before nudging against her knees in the opposite direction, deeper into the woods, and farther away from her goal.

“No… bad. Need to keep… going.”

Bad? How was it bad? Her home was there. She knew it. It was familiar and safe. It might have smelled like vanilla or lavender a long time ago. It was a memory which burned her nose with its strength. There had to be more. She had to remember if it was vanilla or lavender. She pushed against his face, and he pushed back.

“No. Home.”

He growled, much louder, and pressed his shoulder against her, too, causing her to stumble back a few steps. He wasn’t going to let her pass… at least, not without a fight.

She brandished her finger blades, giving him a hiss of her own. The Hunter sat up until he was simply squatting, quiet and still, a statue. She pointed passed him, back toward the path she knew would lead her back to where she needed to go.

“Home. I need home.”

The Hunter shook his head, resolutely. So, fight it was. The Witch released a screech and stepped forward, not before a loud crackling of gunfire erupted within the woods. Behind the Witch, a tree whined with agony, having taken the shot for her. She turned to investigate, which the Hunter took as his chance. He easily rose from his squat and shot forward, scooping the writhing Witch in his arms.

Emily continued to screech and thrash. She was getting farther and farther from her goal, farther and farther from the chance of her memories. Then, as if on cue, another shot rang close by. A memory surfaced from within the haze.

A man… no. A group of men, with guns and knives, watched them as they ran into the woods. A man at the front of the group, poised with a knife pointed in their direction, not unlike her claws, watched with a promise gracing his lips.

‘I will find you.’

And he had.

It really was bad.

To be continued…

– 1st Chapter –

< Previous Chapter

Next Chapter >

Thanks for reading!

-Lissy

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Original Work, Personal Posts, Short Stories

The Mind, the Body: Dig my eyeball out with a spoon, and love it

The Mind, the Body
Out today!

Want to read a bit before you buy?

The Mind, the Body: Heterochromia – A short story teaser.

The_Mind_the_BodyThe Mind, the Body
by Alyssa Hubbard
Cover Art by Cover Bistro (Jessica Richardson)

eBook Versions: Kindle: $0.99!
Nook: $0.99!
Kobo: $0.99!
Apple: $0.99!
Smashwords: $0.99!

Paperback: Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Reviews: 

Rating: *****
“I’ve never been able to say that I actually felt emotions when reading a story, but I did with this one. The detail that Alyssa includes in her books can make you feel like you are there in that exact moment. I had to stop reading this book and come back to it because of the great detail that overtook my emotions. I have read it again since the initial reading and still enjoy it. If you are looking for a very detailed, in the moment story, you’ve got to read The Mind, the Body!”
-GoodReads Review

Genre: Horror

Published: October 1, 2014

About: Perhaps what people fear isn’t hiding in the shadows, but standing in the light.

The Mind, the Body is a collection of short stories, featuring a rusty spoon, a crow-nosed piano player, a starving wolf, two sets of fingernails, a pair of best friends, and a man made of ash. A bit of blood and folklore tied together to make a little book of horror. Fear is more than monsters and ghost stories. What we fear most is often times what lurks within us.

Original Work, Short Stories

The Mind, the Body: Heterochromia – A short story teaser

Copyrighted © 2014 Alyssa Hubbard

This short story is part of The Mind, the Body, my horror / body horror short story collection. It can be pre-ordered or purchased October 1, 2014. Enjoy!

“Heterochromia”

Alyssa Hubbard

I was born in a family of five blue-eyed, blonde-haired southern gentlemen. My mother was decidedly absent for most of my life, having been one of the foolish sort, often times putting too much into her own silly superstitions than what they were worth. She was highly dedicated to the Lord’s word and could often be found praying as she went about her menial tasks. Even the regular obstacles of life sent her into a fit of prayer. But it was a minor annoyance my father had traded for hot meals and sons. As long as she remained useful, he would bare anything to keep her around. My brothers had to deal with it as they grew, but when she had born me in the loft of father’s barn, on a night when the rain pounded the rotted wood and drenched the hay until it too smelled of death and rot, no one would have to listen to her prayers again.

The barn, for her, had become a church. It was the only building with a second story, and the closer she was to God, the better. Father didn’t stop her, even if it stormed. The man had preached to her, hoping to sway her, but she wouldn’t have any of it. It felt too isolated in the house for her. She wanted to have her children where God could see, so the abandoned barn with its cracked ceiling, shuttered windows, and the scent of livestock which never completely went away was where we had all been born. Yet, I would be first baptized in that very same loft.

The night of my birth, she gazed upon my golden head with the love of every mother who had ever existed, cooing and holding me close to her pale bosom. I was her first and only daughter. The first she would be able to teach the Lord’s word to day-in and day-out. I’m sure she had dreams for me, dreams which she had saved just for the day she finally birthed a daughter. It was finally here, all her praying finally come to fruition. She begged to see my eyes, to look into their never-ending blue depths and to see all her love emulated into a single human creation, and when I opened my eyes she found:

One blue.

One green.

She prayed hard that night. Prayed as she left a little, soaked bundle in the loft, wrapped in nothing but a fragment of saddle cloth from a horse my father had put down some months ago. Perhaps she had wanted me put down, too. Perhaps she thought I was some creature born from her sins – not of love, but of atonement. Regardless, it was the last I saw of my mother. It was the last anyone had seen of my mother.

And amongst the men, I grew. My father came for me in the early morning. He thought nothing of my eyes, but rather worried more for my health. It would be foolish to think he did so in the name of parental affection. He cared not whether I lived or died, but what he did worry about was the planting of his crops and the care of his farmland. If he were to keep me alive, would I survive only to lead a life of fragility and be unable to even keep the house? It would be a heavy burden to care for a daughter who would never be able to marry and do the basic task of womanhood. If I showed a hint of weakness, he would take me back into the barn loft. It was an archaic form of euthanasia, one which was often left for the dogs and sick livestock. That was what I was to my father – an asset, minor livestock to be raised and to eventually benefit the family. My death would have been a loss, no matter how minor my worth truly was, and he could only hope that my survival would be a gain.

I can’t hate him for it. The life of a farmer is a hard one, without the added frustrations of a sickly child. But I could certainly never love him for it, either. It didn’t rightly matter. My father wasn’t of the loving sort. Once I had proven my worth, living in and out of that loft for the first portion of my young life, and never once catching illness, even during the heaviest of downpours, I was brought into the house. It wasn’t long after that I was bullied back to it – to seek sanctuary from the torment of my brothers, my teachers, and my classmates. Even the animals had begun to torment me. I felt it in the way they watched me as I walked through the fields. Their blank gazes followed me from dawn till dusk, and never did they get close enough for me to touch. They wouldn’t come near their hay until I’d left it, and even then they barely touched it. It had escalated to the point that they would stop eating all together. My brothers said the hay smelled of death when I touched it, and the animals could smell it, too.

The eye – the single green eye was the physical creation of my torment. Even when I slept, in the darkness I could feel it lurch about in my skull. It was alive, you see. It did what it wanted. Some nights, I awoke in the middle of the night to a burning sensation in my left eye – that eye. It would burn and simmer, like a festering sore inside my skull. Could you imagine? Having a boil burning inside your head? Why did I suffer nightly because of it?

The eye looked at things. During the night, it opened of its own accord, and would simply look. It wouldn’t blink. It wouldn’t close. It would open and gaze out into the night until it dried out, which would then wake me. The only nights of peace I ever received were when it rained. My eye could open and watch and the rain would hydrate it again.

But that had only been the beginning of my torment. It had taken on a life of its own, it had developed a voice – one which seemed to echo in my brain and bounce about in my skull.

It would whisper, “Dream not through the night.”

And I would plead, “No, Devil. I wish to sleep. Why must you torment me so?”

“Your sleep will be wrought with fears. We must pray.”

“No, no! I will not hold council with you, Devil. Leave me to rest.”

But the eye never would rest. It continued on with its ramblings until I could hardly tell my own thoughts from those of the eye. The rambling ranged from prayer to pleas, and once those prayers slipped into my waking hours, I knew something needed to be done. I was becoming like my mother, a paranoid zealot. As I prayed in the field, I swore to myself and to God that I would be rid of my demon – my mother – once and for all.

It was a disgusting act, and it could all be traced back to my birth. Back to when my mother left me to soak in the rain. My first night alive on this planet, and the woman who carried me for nine months left me in the soaked hay to rot in the rain. Was I not worth those nine months? Had my conception and birth truly been for nothing? She had been the one who created me. She had been the one to make the eye. Why did I have to suffer for the sins of my mother?

Was that why she feared me so? Because she feared herself?

But it didn’t matter. The water, the thing which I had survived and found comfort in, had cleansed me and my eye. Cleansed it so I could see what needed to be done. There was one night, when the rain began to pour and my right eye opened to join my left in its vigil that I became truly aware of what needed to be done. The lightning danced above like chains in the sky and lit my loft until it was filled with the strangest shadows. In the night I listened closely and heard the steady thrum of the blood within my body and the heart in my chest. My body was telling me something. My body was revolting against the devilish organ held within my socket. My body wanted to rid itself of the green boil inside my face, and I was happy to oblige. It was during that night, as I soaked in the rain and breathed in the heavy scent of manure and wet hay that I truly studied my body, and from there I made my plan.

The next morning, I sent my eldest brother to town with every penny I had. He pitied my unfortunate soul and did what I asked of him with little questioning. I was beyond grateful. I couldn’t go out in public. Not until it was done. He came back that evening with what I most desired, but had most feared. It was a tiny hand mirror, encrusted in silver metal which had begun to tarnish green – a fitting color, I decided. The glass itself was completely intact, and that was all I had cared about. It would do for my task. Yet, what had begun to haunt me more so than the eye was that of my own reflection. I did my best to avoid meeting my own gaze, but my curiosity always managed to lure me in, and throughout my morning chores I would find myself sliding the mirror from my pocket to study my visage.

I was a woman. There was no question about it. I don’t wish to seem prideful, but if I had been born without the eye, my father would have had no problem finding a husband for me. My cream skin was tinted honey, a shade which was uncommon amongst the burnt farmer daughters. My hair had been bleached white from years toiling out in the sun when most of my female peers had been kept indoors. I was more than a farmer’s daughter, I was exotic. Yet, as beautiful and exotic as I appeared, all who I came in contact with feared me. Perhaps I was feared for more than just my eyes – though they were a sight to behold, too. They had bags beneath them, one of the few flaws to be found, but when gazing into them, first blue, then green, I found myself hypnotized. I decided then it was some form of witchcraft or magic and promptly stopped myself from looking any longer. I wouldn’t. Not until it was time.

Night seemed to crawl into the day, and I waited anxiously in my loft once my chores had been completed. I set the mirror up on hay bales I had stacked during the day. I needed it to be my station. Before the sun had completely disappeared, I fumbled in the hay and the darkness where I found my candle, wrapped in the very saddle cloth which had kept me alive at my birth. It was special, that way. I lit the wick and set the candle beside my mirror. Within seconds I heard the soft shuffle and clatter of my brother with dinner. He clambered up the ladder, loud, but silent. He simply slid the tray across the floor and I listened a bit longer for him to slide down the ladder and fumble out of the barn again, leaving me once more in silence.

I felt my way over to the tray and pulled it to my work station where I studied it under the candle light. It was chicken of some kind, though I could scarcely make out its shape. The dim light of the candle casted a shadow over the meal, darkening the meat until it looked like something more. Like a child, perhaps? I plucked up the silverware and held it close to the candle. A knife and a spoon were my tools, and the latter was what I chose. With my remaining utensil, I stabbed the shadowy chicken and watched a blackened fluid pour from the wound. I couldn’t tell if it was blood or juices. I took it as an omen and my body physically wilted at the impending surgery which I was about to perform.

It was too late. I had gone too far to stop, and my resolve was strengthened by the cacophony of thunder above. I rested my meal in my lap, clenched the spoon, and gazed into the mirror. It would be the last time I looked in the mirror and saw my face as it had been. I lifted the spoon to my face and pressed the chilled metal against my bottom eyelid. Sweat and cold metal will forever be the most frightening of combinations, and it would haunt me for years to come. I took in a shaking breath, then shoved in the spoon.

It was a searing pain at first. My body writhed and revolted against the intrusion, more so than it ever had over the very organ which I was scooping from my socket. My hand twitched with agony and heated trails of blood warmed my cheek. I wanted to stop. I wanted to pull it out and start over, but I couldn’t. I had to pull out the eye first. My heart was thrumming even harder in my chest which only made it harder to breathe. I was going to faint. As dark as it was in the loft, nothing could compare to the darkness which intruded my mind, gradually covering my brain with a fuzzy mold which made it hard to even think.

The thunder cheered above, right before a steady stream of rain began to pour in. It cooled my flesh and washed away the blood. My body seemed to calm at its arrival. I took in one breath, another, and another, then I began at my work again, determined to finish what I had started. I would succeed. I tried to look into the mirror, to steady my work, but my vision had blurred to the point I couldn’t see through the darkness.

I shut my blue eye and scooped. With a rush of air the spoon came free, and for a moment I felt a slight pull, then nothing. A fleshy blob plopped against the skin of my cheek, and all was silent except for the gentle pitter patter of the rain above. I couldn’t really feel the eye, but there it was, warming my cheek and occasionally tugging from the force of the rain. All that was left between me and the bane of my existence was a string of flesh. All I had to do was break it, and I would be free. But for a split second, I felt the urge to push the eye back into place. Perhaps the eye was more powerful than I had ever imagined, or perhaps it was my own fear coming back to haunt me. I could fix it if I wanted to. I could start over and all would be well. It was a feeling so jarring, my hands trembled with anticipation, and the spoon clattered to the floor, slipping from my grip. Could it be pushed back in? I raised my hand as if to try, but then I thought of that damn eye and its demands. I couldn’t let that thing win.

I gripped the fleshy pulp in my hand and yanked it free.

The moment it was separated from the cord, I felt an intense rush of nausea, and I was wrought with the image – or perhaps a memory – of my mother pulling me free from her, screaming and writhing in a world of rain and lightning.

The organ plopped into the plate at my lap. I focused my remaining eye there just in time for a strike of lightning to illuminate the loft so I could see my blood mixing amongst the juice and the meats. There was no way I could tell the difference. I had lost my appetite.

Then I gazed into the mirror. All I could see was the smudge of my silhouette amongst the darkness. I needed another flash of lightning. One more and I could see my freedom. The result of my operation would finally be revealed to me. I needed to know it was all truly finished. I would be normal. I would finally be normal.

Oh, but what a fool I was.

The lightning flashed.

I met my gaze in the mirror, and where my green eye had been there was now a gaping hole in my skull. Darkness returned and all fell silent once more. I reached up to my face and slid a finger into the cavern. Empty – it was totally empty. I had mutilated myself. Rather than carry the burden of a different eye, I had performed the ultimate sin: I had destroyed God’s creation. Perhaps it hadn’t been my mother’s sin which I had carried. Perhaps it had been my own. Or worse yet, perhaps it had been a gift. What had I done? My heart didn’t thrum, my body didn’t writhe. I just sat there: numb.

Then, within the silence, I could hear the voice of a woman echoing within the confines of my socket. My mother, I assumed. She was praying.

“Please, Lord. Forgive me for not trusting in your plan. You have given me the task of raising a child with such a gift, but I cannot. My fears will not let me, though I know you have a reason for it all. Have mercy on my weak soul, and on her blessed one. Please don’t let her suffer, and please do not let her become me.”

I let out a sob and lay on the hay. It no longer smelled of death, but instead had taken on the aroma of blood and viscera. I was deafened by what sounded like the cry of a newborn. I didn’t realize it was my own voice fading into the downpour until I finally allowed my consciousness to disappear completely.

And for the first time since my birth, I slept.

I hope you enjoyed this short teaser. Let me know, and comment below. Thank you for reading.

-Lissy

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Writing

How to Format a Manuscript

There are plenty of guides on how to do this. Plenty to be found on the internet, but a lot of them, I have found, don’t have examples, which I will be sharing with you all today. If you didn’t already know, there is a general consensus on how to format a manuscript, and this has been done since typewriters, which explains why things are formatted a certain way.

First off, let me disclaimer: Not every publisher will follow these guidelines.

I feel like this is the main problem a lot of people have. They think everyone will follow the same format, but that is just not the case. The majority will use this format, but you should still read their guidelines before sending anything in.

The number one reason for rejection is disregard for the general submission guidelines! Remember that!

Anyway, on to the list and example (which will be at the end)!

First off, if you have Scrivener, a lot of this will be done for you and is set up as default, so you may not have to worry about this. For those of you who don’t, Courier (any of its varieties), is the most accepted font. Times New Roman, Arial, and Garamond are also very popular so make sure to check the submission guidelines. So,

  • FONT
    Most common: Courier (any varieties)
    Other possible: Garamond, Arial, Times New Roman
  • COVER PAGE
    Name (Real, unless otherwise specified)
    Address (Mailing preferred, billing may be requested later, unless otherwise specified)
    Email address
    Phone number
    Agent’s name (Omit when necessary)
    Agent’s address (Omit when necessary)
    Title (Formatting example at the end of post)
    by Name (Pseudonym here if applicable, formatting example at the end of post)
  • PAGE NUMBERING
    In the top right corner on the second page, put the following in formation in the format:
    LastName / StoryTitle / Page#
    This should appear in the header portion of the manuscript.
    Not every publisher will want this, as some prefer anonymous submissions to promote a fair review, so once again, check the submission guidelines before submitting. On the first page, in the same spot you placed the LastName / StoryTitle / Page#, you’ll put your approximate word count.
  • END PAGE
    At the very end of the manuscript, skip a line, then put: <<<< >>>>
    This will signify the end of the manuscript.

Now for the example PDF: This is an Example

I hope that helped! Did it? Is there something else you’d like to know? Anything that didn’t make sense or that you wish I had covered? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Personal Posts

Writing Goals

With the start of summer break, my new internship, and my job, I’ve had a lot of trouble keeping up with my writing.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been majorly slacking on a lot of things. Sure, I have excuses:

Tornadoes ripped through my state and my town, the great snowpocalypse, general anxiety… but writing is something that has always made me feel good. It comforts me, and to have avoided just because of sheer laziness is unacceptable. So, in order to keep myself on task, I have set up writing goals for myself so as to start the next school semester fresh and productive.

ONWARD TO THE LIST!

  1. Have my three short horror pieces beta read…
    I have already somewhat started on this, and a lot of these will pretty much be continuations of what I’ve started, but it needs to be out in the world. If I post it publicly, I will definitely feel more obligated to do it. If you’d like to help out, please fill out the contact sheet and let me know how much you’re willing to read and when.
  2. Send my short stories out to as many publications as possible…
    I am extremely lazy. BEYOND lazy. I desperately need to sit down, go through some journals and magazines, and filter through the horror market. I need to see where I can fit in, where I can’t, etc. I don’t want to burn bridges by just spamming my work, but I do need to make a more conscious effort to get out there. I’ve already sent one out. We’ll see what is done with it, then edit, edit, edit, if necessary. Then, send again.
  3. Write for some themed journals…
    I’ve never been in to those journals that only publish for a theme. I understand a genre, but themes have just never appealed to me. If I want to get out there, I need to be able to expand my horizons, so to speak. I need to be more willing to write for something else. It’ll increase my productivity immensely, and I will be able to test myself. I need to at least try.
  4. Finish Ice Over, then go back to writing short stories…
    I love writing long pieces. I love it more than anything else in the world. Apocalyptia and An Austrian March were fun. But I need to become a better writer before I can continue to be a novelist. Short stories are just that, short. They don’t require too much time, though time is necessary. I can write a large amount, send them out, get critiques from a lot more people, and better my writing so I can eventually get back to novels. Ice Over will probably be the last long work I write for a long, long time.
  5. Test the waters with my poetry…
    This year, I thought, would be the year for my prose. It has actually been much more fruitful with my poetry. I’d like to explore my poetry a bit more and expand my skills in that field, too.

I, in general, just want to be more well-rounded as a writer. I thought I had found my place in the writing world, but I’m finding that there is so much more still to explore. Writing is a journey, and I’m taking it one step at a time.

Now, if you’ve made it this far, I want to ask you, what are your writing goals this summer? Anything special you’ll be working on? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Personal Posts, What Gaming Taught Me, Writing

What I learned about writing from Minecraft

I’m embarrassed to say that only a few days ago I finally bought myself minecraft. I’ve played the pocket edition demo and enjoyed watching my friends and favorite let’s players play it, but never had I played the actual game myself before. I can’t believe I have lived so long never having played it. Better late than never, I suppose.

I knew I was going to love minecraft. It’s creative and exciting, two things I love, and who doesn’t? But what I wasn’t expecting was how much I would learn about writing through minecraft, and, as always, I’ve made a list for it. ONWARD!

  • It’s all about location, location, location
    Where your characters take root or travel to should always play a role in the story. Does it snow? Are the characters acclimated to that kind of environment? What kind of trees are there? What kind of animals? Will there be towns to stay in or will they be forced to shelter in isolation. These are all key in setting up a believable location.
  • Physics, guys. Physics
    If your characters are going underground, and they try to dig, will sand fall onto them? If they’re digging into gravel, wouldn’t it shift depending on the gravity involved? If they stand in a body of water, will the current move them? It doesn’t have to be much, buy don’t make it easy on your characters. The environment can be just as big an obstacle as any other.
  • Please, please, please make your side characters somewhat interesting
    The AI in minecraft can be fun, funny, and extremely interesting to watch as they go about the environment, but the villager NPCs are absolutely dreadful. They make the most awful noises and the only thing they’re good for is trading but they hardly have anything worth trading for. If I find a village, I usually just go on ahead and slaughter everyone (I promise, I’m not a psychopath). Make even the most minor characters into something. If they appear, then they need a personality, too. Make every character appearance meaningful in some way. Otherwise, don’t put them in.
  • It’s okay to write scenes where your characters are alone
    A major part of minecraft is when you’re traveling or just living day-by-day trying to survive. It gets lonely. If you’re in single player, you’re just that, completely alone with nothing and no one to talk to. And hopefully this isn’t just me, but I get majorly self-reflecting when I play. I mourn animals I have to kill, I get tired of killing things, I pray I find a village or that I will find someone or something in the seemingly vast and never ending world. Make your characters self-reflect. They’re humans (or non-humans?) too, and will have moments of loneliness, self-reflection, and in the beginning they mourn having to do certain things to survive. Just something to keep in mind as you write.
  • Even in the most fantastical and paranormal of places, there are rules
    In minecraft there is a mode called “Creative Mode” where you have unlimited access to every material available in the game without having to search for it as you would in the regular “Survival Mode.” You can no longer burn up in lava, or drown in water, and enemies no longer attack you, giving you free reign to build and manipulate the world however you see fit. However, there are still rules. You can spawn any creature, including the boss Ender Dragon, but they’ll still try to escape, they’re still hard to control, and the Ender Dragon will still try to kill you even though it can’t. And if you teleport off the map or try and teleport somewhere, which will get you stuck in a wall, you automatically die. Though this isn’t a big deal and everything is still easy, it is something to think about as you create your worlds. Even though you give your characters free reign and fantastic abilities, there needs to be a limit, otherwise there can be no plot and no conflict. What’s the point of a world with no obstacles?

Most of these are common plot aspects we see in everyday literature and things easily picked up on, but it’s nice to see how they are used in other mediums of creativity. Now for a few questions: What have you learned about writing from video games? Is there anything else you’ve learned in minecraft that I’ve failed to notice? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Writing

Word counts? How important are they?

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For as long as I’ve been a part of writing communities, I’ve been surprised by how intensely focused everyone is on their word counts. NaNoWriMo? Based solely on word count. Writing sprints? Based on word count (most of the time). Genre? Has preferred word counts. Novels? Novellas? Short stories? Flash fiction? All based on word count.

Success is linked to word count, and I can see why. In the technical and business sense of it all, word count is beyond important. But I am of the variety which couldn’t care less about word counts. If you’ve ever read my editing technique posts (#1 and #2), then you know I start all of my projects on paper, then move up to typewriter, where I then finish on the computer. It’s a long, drawn-out process, but it gets the job done. Paper has no word count, typewriters (unless they are of the modern variety) have no word counts. I usually don’t know my final word count until the draft is already complete and has gone through two edits. I, personally, hate word counts. I feel like they are stifling to writers, though some people find them to be helpful, and keep them motivated.

Though it is against my own personal preference, I’ve decided to make a list detailing why word counts are so important (though I still say write how much you want to write. Write until the story is done, and all that jazz). Anyway, before I change my mind, ONWARD TO THE LIST!

  • Most Literary Journals take Fiction of a Certain Length
    Granted, most of these journals also have themes people can write for, but it’s still worth noting. I’ve found that most literary journals will take lengths ranging from 5,000 words to approximately 10,000, though that is pushing it. They prefer shorter works because the lengthier the journal, the more expensive it is to print. If you’re looking to get into a journal, it’s best to follow their guidelines exactly. If they prefer a certain word count, it would be in your best interest to meet that word count.
  • Most Presses take Fiction of a Certain Length
    Same goes for big name presses. They want big books. The bigger the book, the more money there is to be had. It has been statistically proven that people like buying bigger books. So, the bigger the book, the better (most of the time).
  • Genre Presses always have a Length Preference
    Most YA presses want lengths in the 50,000 to 100,000 word range. Most sci-fi presses want 100,000 to 300,000. Fantasy can go from 50,000 to 500,000. It all depends on how strict the press is and what they believe is the ample word count for the specific genre they are hoping to publishing. It is important to keep in mind the genre you are writing for because that will also determine how much you need to write.
  • Word Counts are Encouraging
    There is a reason NaNoWriMo is always so successful. People like having a specific number to achieve. It’s similar to why I like making lists. I like being able to reach something, to have a specific goal I can aspire to. Thus, setting a word count goal can help to encourage your inner-writer. If you can’t seem to finish a draft, try setting daily word count goals or an entire draft goal. If you give yourself a specific deadline, you’ll have a better chance at achieving it.

Word counts are important, but in all honesty, write until the work is finished. There is no point in adding fluff and useless info just to reach a word count goal. If you finish the draft, then it’s done. Same goes for cutting things out. If you think the work is as complete as it’s going to get, once editing is done, then don’t worry about trimming it down. Now, just for those who are interested. I’ve added a list of common, general words counts for genres and book sizes below. These aren’t set in stone. Each press usually has a different interpretation as to how many words a genre needs, but this can be a fairly accurate place to jump from.

Novel – over 40,000 words
Novella – 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette – 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story – under 7,500 words

Middle Grade Fiction – 25,000 to 40,000
YA Fiction – 45,000 to 100,000 (possibly 120,000)
Paranormal Romance – 85,000 to 100,000
Romance – 85,000 to 100,000
Category Romance – 55,000 to 75,000
Mysteries – 65,000 to 90,000
Horror – 80,000 to 100,000
Western – 80,000 to 100,000
Thrillers and Crime Fiction – 75,000 – 100,000
Mainstream/Commercial Fiction – 50,000 to 120,000
Science Fiction and Fantasy – 80,000 to 120,000

Now then, what do you think about word counts? How important are they to you? How strict are you with them? Are you like me and couldn’t care less about them? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Original Work, Personal Posts, Poems

“Sometimes I wake up and decide I’m a rubbish writer…” a micro poem by Alyssa Hubbard

Some days, I wake up and decide I am a rubbish writer. Everything I write, whether it be a novel, a short story, a grocery list, it is all just rubbish.

Some days, I wake up and decide I am a goodly writer. Everything I write, whether it be a novel, a short story, a grocery list, it is all goodly.

Then there are days I don’t write at all. Those are days I cease to be a writer.

-Alyssa Hubbard

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