New Writing Project – Short Story Collection

Long time no write!  This comes to you during one of the most taxing times in any teacher’s life–the days leading up to spring break.  This semester has been surprisingly very difficult for me, and I’ve felt far too much stress and doubt in my abilities.

So my mind has been pretty absorbed into grading essays, planning lessons, editing yearbook and newspaper pages, and trying to get students interested in just about anything over the last few weeks.  So that’s left my free time and creative life floundering somewhat.

I would say that the release of my chapbook, Chasing Distant Horizons (only $2.49 for the pdf), was somewhat of a success.  If anything, it gave me the confidence to achieve something as grand as self-publishing, if only on a small scale.  Add to that my recent flattering comments on my submission for the Dark Crystal Author Quest, and I’ve found some positivity with regards to my writing.

So I need a new project.  I need something to breath more life under my creative sails.  That’s when I went back to something I spent a very long time on.

As some of you may know, I wrote a complete fantasy novel and have spent a lot of time off and on editing that sucker.  There are still substantial things to be done, and one day I really do hope to see it find the light of day.  That being said, I thought about the editing process and how I haven’t revisited the world in some time.

That’s when the idea hit me.  What if I wrote a series of short stories that fleshed out elements of the world and characters.  The thread that holds all the stories together would ultimately be the world that I’ve crafted in my fantasy novel.

So I’m working on a rough (very rough) draft of a short story, which will be hopefully the first of many.  This story centers around one of the main characters from the novel, a half-elven lazy drunkard by the name of Isac.  In the novel, Isac has little desire to do much else than wallow in his home, waste away at the tavern, and ignore the rest of the world around him.  The story I’m drafting tells how he discovered he has special powers and how he loathes everything about it.

Here’s a small bit of the rough draft.  I hope you enjoy. [Click below to read it.  I don’t want to take over people’s feed.]

            I still remember the first time my father told me that I was born a sorcerer.  If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I may never have believed him.

            That moment changed my life for the worse.  I never wanted this to happen to me.  I didn’t yearn for any sort of special abilities.  The only thing I wanted was to live a normal life.  I wanted to go through normal schooling, to fall in love with a beautiful woman, or to just enjoy drinking at the Silver Tankard.

Okay, so I did eventually get to do that last one, but that’s not my point.  I missed out on a normal childhood, and it happened due to powers beyond my control.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I’m nothing special.  Hell, being told that my little accident was caused because I had “an innate attunement to the elements of the world” still did not change my personal view.

Those were the words my father used the day after I accidentally set fire to our family kitchen.  You see, I was trying to light the fire under the cooking pot situated in the brick fireplace.  We were low on firewood, so I went out and gathered some scraps from the nearby forest.  The thing is it had rained for days on end, and the only wood I could find was thoroughly drenched.  Everytime I tried to start the fire, all I could produce were a few wisps of smoke.  I was an idiot kid at the time, not that much smarter than I am now, and my mind was on the stew my mother always made.  I scoured the kitchen for anything to burn.  My search turned up some old-looking papers with strange symbols scrawled on them that appeared to be nothing more than scrap.

Mom died of pneumonia two years before this incident.  She was the thread that kept our family together, and her death really changed my dad.  Being an elf, father was unsure how to handle that very human issue of death.  Some of the more cruel of our people, those who prided themselves as purists, often said that my father deserved what he got for “thinning the bloodline.”  They never spoke those words to my father’s face, but I heard them at school.  Lillandra, or Lily as father affectionately called her, was a beautiful woman with golden hair and gentle blue eyes.  She did not deserve the hate that many showed her.

From the moment of her passing, my father spent all of his time in mourning, and it eventually led him to his current path as a priest.  Every night I could hear him talking to her as if she were actually listening and able to respond.  It honestly scared me a little.  My older brother would vouch for me if you could find him.  Mom’s death changed him, too.  He left for a life in the forest soon after her passing.  I guess people mourn in different ways.  Some people turn to the gods, some turn to nature, and others turn to the bottle.

Oh yeah, I was telling you about nearly burning down my childhood home.  I crumpled up the papers and tossed them on the wet kindling.  I tried and failed to light them, and I felt my frustrations rising.

That’s when it happened.

Thankfully my father was in the study when the flames rose out of control.  I honestly don’t know what happened or how.  I remember giving the old flint and steel one last hard strike and then a blinding flash of light.  I must have shouted loud enough to rouse my father, who tells me that I sat in a catatonic state in front of a small blaze that had jumped outside the boundaries of the brick chimney and onto the wooden floor.  He says he pushed me aside and put his newly acquired divine magic to use by creating water to throw onto the flames.

I never got my Mom’s soup that night.  


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