Writing contests… What compels me to set myself up repeatedly for an emotional one-two punch? That is my initial reaction anyway, after the rejection comes, or the silence when my beloved story is knocked senseless to the mat after all the arduous work.
Eventually, after much moaning… ahem… soul searching, reason returns, and I take away the valuable lessons and start my next story.
How about you? Do you submit to writing contests to hone your skills? Are you a writer who thrives in that environment or shuns it? Share your highlights, successes, and best lessons in the comments.
Selena Aires is fine with her nine-to-five life in the city, using her spare time to create art instead of making friends or finding love. Her mentor begins to insist she’s on the wrong path.
When he dies, her grief and faith in his convictions prompts her to move to a small town in the lofty Sierra Nevada Mountains. But more is waiting for her in Quincy than the invigorating pine-scented air, endless trails, and the perfect artist bungalow. What Selena didn’t expect was an encounter with an astonishing man whose barely restrained power calls to something buried in her she had no idea was there.
The alpha of the North Star Pack thought he’d faced every challenge until he laid eyes on the new human in his territory, a beautiful artist with the heart of a warrior. Andras Johns knows instantly his life will never be the same.
The two of them must find a way to merge their opposing worlds while Selena grapples with her feelings for a man with a mystery beneath the surface and faces a destiny that’s expanded beyond her wildest imagination, a destiny fraught with peril in a world that just keeps getting stranger.
Zigan – 1988 AD
It was a stormy night when I materialized in my mist on the second-floor landing of the small house that sat hunched within its aged timbers in the middle of blowing alfalfa fields. Thunder shook the floor beneath my feet as I surveyed the hallway. It was uncluttered with a colorful runner, the only object to break up the expanse of walls. It smelled like damp wood, and ozone was sharp in my nostrils from the persistent lightning strikes.
Other than the intermittent flashes, only the light of a half-moon penetrated, showing three doors to choose from. But I could sense the tiny human I was to bind my soul with for the rest of my life.
Certain now the room at the end was the one to avoid, I moved quietly along the plank floor to stop at the first door, then paused at the threshold to savor the moment. For half the life allotted to me, I had trained with the Order of Hala preparing for this bonding and the challenges it would bring. The time had come to meet up again with the precious soul who’d returned to this world, choosing this infant in this remote county in northern California.
I put my hand to the brass knob and turned it, relieved the door didn’t creak as it swung open to reveal two children sleeping despite the rolling thunder and lightning flashing close to the house, and the rain pounding against the panes of the only window. The pulsating light illuminated the large space containing the crib, a small bed, an open cabinet stuffed with toys, and a rocking chair in the corner.
Electricity of my own vibrated over the pulse of my wrist as I drew near the crib, which drew the attention of the infant girl who woke as soon as I leaned over her. The heart-shaped face framed by a halo of dark hair watched me in silent fascination, her arms waving and legs wiggling in reaction to the magic that surrounded us.
A faint moan had me inspecting the bed in the opposite corner where her four-year old brother dreamed, nestled beneath a Spiderman cover with his own mop of dark hair peeking out, oblivious to the magic and the storm.
So, I did what I came to do. When I pressed my wrist to her minuscule left shoulder, an obscure image of a half-moon and my wind symbol tucked next to it formed on her delicate skin. Her brilliant eyes sparkled as she watched my smiling face, making no sound as our souls connected. “Grow well, my precious one, and we’ll meet again soon.”
She has been named Selena. I will reveal myself to her when she is grown and finds her mate, and our journey will begin. For now, I gathered my mist to take me far away.