Don’t worry, I’ve got you (short story)

Come on, Follet, you look like you could use a drink!” Del looked up from her spot on the comfy chair. When she saw who was talking with her she shook her black haired head.

Leave me alone, Alenko,” she said. “I’m not in the mood.” She lifted the side of her lip, ready to snarl something else at him if he didn’t leave. She knew that with her strong physique and red scar across her lips she looked more than a little intimidating. Surely intimidating enough to get Alenko to leave her alone.

He held up his hands in a defensive gesture.

Fine, fine, I was just offering. You’ve been sitting here all night.”

Del nodded, but didn’t smile. She couldn’t wait for the others to leave. The national holiday brought out the strangest things in people. They wanted to celebrate the country’s finest. The heroes. The do – gooders. It made Del sick. She wanted no one to celebrate her or her past actions. She hated this stupid day. Usually she made it bearable by drinking with her old commander, but the bastard had betrayed her and gone on a date instead.

The lobby filled with silence as Del was finally left alone. She should have felt relief, but instead she was filled with anxiety. She tapped her foot on the floor and tried to resist biting on nails. She was a lieutenant commander damn it, acting like this was beneath her. After crossing her legs and then uncrossing them, she got up and headed for the door. She didn’t really want to, but anything would be better than just sitting here.

* * *

And there was something better. As much as Del had dreaded going into town, she had to admit that moving to the beat of music inside the club was nice. It was a lesbian club, a small one and Del could drown in blessed anonymity. She was just a person in the crowd, not a hero, not military. Just another lesbian out on the Fourth of July who wanted to get lost in the music. She danced for a while longer, but then when the next song ended, she headed over to the bar and ordered a drink.

She leaned against the bar on her elbow and let her gaze sweep across the room. The club wasn’t completely filled with people since most were celebrating elsewhere. Del found herself wondering why the people around her weren’t with families or friends, celebrating with apple pie, fireworks and good conversation. They couldn’t all be dealing with latent PTSD tendencies and a commander who had abandoned her on this night of all nights. Del chugged her drink down as the beat of the music continued.

That was when she noticed a young woman sitting by one of the tables to the side. She was nodding her head to the music, golden locks bouncing around her shoulders. She looked a bit like a porcelain doll. Del was so focused on inspecting the woman’s pale skin and cute nose that she didn’t notice the woman’s gaze traveling, suddenly blue eyes looked straight into Del’s black ones. Del immediately looked away. Her cheeks heated and she hated it. She lifted her gaze again and noticed that the blonde woman was laughing. Seemingly at her. Del turned her head towards the bar and ordered another drink.

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Five female protagonists that I admire (or crush on a little bit)

Yesterday I saw this post on tumblr so I decided that in honour of International Women’s day, I will make a list of the top five female protagonists that I admire. In no particular order. Some of these, or most of these are from lesfic novels. But there is an explanation for that, I assure you.

1. Hermione from the Harry Potter books. Might be a bit of a cliche but what’s not to love? She is smart and brave and made it a bit easier to grow up as a book worm who actually enjoyed studying. But she is so much more than that. She could easily be on the bottom, being muggle born, a lot of teachers dismiss her, she has no knowledge of magic or the world of magic from her childhood. She goes on to be the top of her class. But I like that she isn’t just smart because she’s smart. I mean, of course she is talented and intelligent. But her talent comes from A LOT of hard work. She studies, studies, studies. She’s not just bright but she has a good work ethic and that’s something I’ll always admire.

2. Luke from Backwards to Oregon by Jae. I’m not sure how much is admiration and how much is just a crush but I really, really love Luke Hamilton. Okay? She also has a great work ethic and she is very brave. Very, very brave. I like how she’s in charge of herself.  She doesn’t get into fights, she doesn’t rise to silly challenges. She is calm and patient. She has embodied “others can’t make you feel something without your permission.” I wish some of her discipline could rub off on me.

3. Anita Blake from the Anita Blake books by Laurell K Hamilton. I started reading the Anita Blake books when I was 16 and they have stayed with me into adulthood. Anita Blake doesn’t take shit, she is brave and strong and knows how to be intimating despite being petite and seemingly pretty. She adapts to situations. I also like that despite being a strong character, she isn’t perfect. Sometimes when I’m reading, I keep thinking “Anita, shut up.” Her mouth really gets her into trouble. Sadly, I haven’t enjoyed the latest books but there comes a time when I’ll reread the whole series.

4. Ryan from the I lost my heart in San Francisco series by Susan X Meagher. Ryan is brilliant, wonderful and very smart. I’m most of the time just impressed with her skills, but I like how she is very modest. She doesn’t brag. She prioritizes her goals and needs. Puts family first and sticks to her principles. She forgives but doesn’t let people run her over. In many ways I wish I could be like Ryan.

5. Beatrice from  Wideacre by Philippa Gregory. I know that Beatrice is evil. And twisted. And I don’t think I actually admire her. But gosh, she has strength and resolve. And she’s a fighter. It doesn’t matter that everything is against her, she fights for what she wants and she fights to keep it.

That’s my list. It was hard to stick to just five to be honest but if I didn’t, I would have been up all night.

The kind of writer I am

I’m a planner. I plan everything. Because of this the planning stage of a novel takes several months for me. First I have backstory stuff, writing small backstories for any major characters, doing research if necessary etc. Then I write an outline or at least an idea for what’s going to happen in every chapter. For my first novel (that I wrote when  I was 20 and no one will ever see) the planning stage took about two months. For my first “real” one, the planning stage went on for six months.

I even plan short stories in detail. It just gives me something to work with and I need that to get my creative juices flowing.

Then when I sit down to actually write I can just look at the plan for that chapter and now what my goal is for that day.

Sometimes I’ll still be in the planning stage when I start filing on the first chapter or beginning but usually I try to have the entire plan done before I start.

My last novel took me 11 months from start to finish. It could have been done faster but I have studies, work and have moved twice within that time period.  Otherwise I managed my time this way:

March to August – Planning

August to October – First draft

October to February 2015 – Second draft

I wish I could sit down and write because I think the excitement of the first draft is awesome and I admire the people who can. But I have never managed to finish a story I didn’t first plan for. So even though the planning stage is sometimes boring since I’m eager to start actually writing, I know that it’s a necessary step for me.