not all those who wander are lost…

Hey there. It’s me.

Yes, the really real me. I am here. Which is different because I haven’t been here much lately, I will admit. There are so many different reasons, that I haven’t been (and still am totally not) sure where to begin. So I’ll just ramble for a minute and maybe some of you will be able to identify with how the last few months have gone for me.

I haven’t been here much because, all those things I used to write? Yeah, they all left my head. Really. They did.

Over the past few months, I haven’t had many thoughts on things to share. Which is weird because I always want to talk and I always want to share. But nothing has been in my head. Not even for fiction-story-writing purposes. My daily let’s-write-this-many-words-per-day routine all but walked out the door. And it slammed on its way out. *Ouch*

But why, you ask? Yeah, me too. 

You see, I’m in a place with my writing that I’ve never been in before. Back in 2013 when I decided I would truly give this let’s-get-published thing a chance, I gained a burning desire to write that has never wavered. Ever. Even in the weeks/months where I had very little time to actually write, I always had that nagging in the back of my brain–or shall we say, screaming?–that I needed to sit and write at least some of the words–if not all the words–so my brain didn’t explode. Literally. (Okay, fine. Not literally, but still…) But something happened this past summer that changed things. And the crazy part is, I don’t know what that thing was.

To sum it up, I went to a writers conference back in July. Realm Makers. (*sigh, swoon, cartwheel*) Remember me talking about that? Yeah. And it was amazing! Really, it was. I met crazy amounts of people that are all super weird like me and I learned so many things that really made me want to make my writing the best that it could possibly be. Really.

But then, it also didn’t. See, while there, I met with a mentor and told her of my anxiety over the fact that I feel like I have so many things I need to do on social media every. single. day. and that I’m not sure what the purpose is since I’m not even a published writer! I mean, who’s reading my stuff anyway, right? And why would I talk about my books that aren’t coming out when I don’t know if-they-ever-will/when-they-will-be coming out? She agreed. It’s tough for a non-published writer to gain a following and excitement over their writing when they have nothing to show for it. (In print, anyway.)

So, I decided to take a small break and then come back with renewed interest and ideas of things to blog about. Except that during that time I reflected on the pressures of being a writer and all the things I’m supposed to be doing daily, and watching all the things that all my other writing friends must do daily, and all the things that I might someday have to do daily once I actually for really real become published and–CRASH! I hit a wall. No, not literally, but it sure felt like it.

I got so overwhelmed with all the things I had to do or I might have to do or I wasn’t doing that everyone else in the universe was doing, that I sort of froze. And felt sad. Very, very sad. (St. John’s Wort has become my bossom buddy.) And the words just sort of, went away. *sniff, sniff* All my words–those lovely words that I adore putting on the page and am eager to twist into different worlds and stories, they all went away! Yes, I prayed for God to give me direction. In fact I begged him, seriously begged him for words. But I had nothing. And then I’d meet people and they’d be all, “Oh wow! You’re a writer! Awesome!” and I’d be all cringy inside because, if I’m supposed to be a writer, then shouldn’t I be doing that little thing called writing? 

*Sigh* So there you have it. The truth is out. And is hopefully setting me free (right Anne with an “E”?) The truth is I’ve been depressed and confused. That’s where I’ve been. Wallowing and wandering and pondering and seeking. 

The good news is, I think I’m finally climbing out of my slump. I’ve had stories popping in my head lately and some of them I’ve actually written down! Yippee! I woke up this morning and all I wanted to do was sit in front of my laptop for a few hours before going to church! Yes! And through the counsel of a very good writer friend, I think I’m getting my head on straight with what I actually want my writing to be and the future that I hope to see for it.

Things are different now. My perspective of writing and the writing industry is different and I think even the way I write might have changed. (We shall see.) But that’s okay. This is a good thing. Life is about change. Sometimes that change comes out of the blue and smacks you upside the head. Sometimes you don’t know how to handle that change and you sit frozen for a few months. But on the other side of change, good things can happen. Good things will happen. I need to believe that. 

A brand new year is around the corner. 2018 looms like the shadow of a toddler standing outside the bathroom door waiting for mama to be done already. And I’m excited. Really excited this time. Throughout the past few months there were times I thought I was excited but I hadn’t fully worked through emotions and deep seeded stuff that needed worked on. But now I have and I’m ready. Ready to see where my writing takes me and what that means for this blog.

So stay tuned. I can’t promised my posts will be timely or frequent but they will have new direction, new life. That’s for sure. Thanks for hanging in there with me, friends. It means a lot that you’re even reading these words. 

Merry Christmas. Go bake a batch of cookies and take them to a neighbor you don’t know. It will do amazing things for your heart. I promise. ❤

~Laura

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Photo credit by James Pond via Unsplash 

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Flash Fiction Friday: Ten Minutes of Hope

Alayna stepped back to admire her work.

It had taken hours to create but with the help of her mother and little brother, it was time for the big moment. Or, rather, the ten big moments. That’s all they were allowed anymore now that the government had cut the number of minutes of electricity use to just ten minutes per month.

The Revolution had begun just as any other from history. But this one quickly pulled another country into its fray, then another. What started small had turned into a world-wide threat. Her mother remembered days of heated houses, cars that ran, ample food to fill bellies and a thing called freedom.

A sigh spilled from Alayna as she imagined such a world. She couldn’t complain, though. They were one of the few families that had secured the government issued three-hundred square-foot storage units, unlike the seventy-five percent of the population forced to live on the streets.

“Ready to turn on the lights?” Alayna’s little brother asked.

She nodded. This was it. Her most favorite part of the year. The one time she could pretend that she lived in a world with abundant electricity and enough clothing for all. If she focused on the site before her she could almost ignore the gnaw in her stomach and stink that told her none of them had bathed in a week. She would sear the memory of what was about to happen in her mind to last for a full year.

“The time has come,” her mother said, as she flipped the switch on the wall.

The christmas tree lit with glorious pride and filled the room with the hope of a better world.

Alayna smiled. “Merry Christmas.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Mark Rabe on Unsplash

ACFW New Releases–December 2017

Happy December, you guys!! I can’t believe it’s actually the last month of 2017. *blink, blink* But the good news is, these books are just in time for gift giving! *throws confetti* Check out these new releases from fellow ACFW authors–a few of these might be perfect as a stocking stuffer!

December 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary:

Rebecca’s Redemption by Lee Carver — A nurse seeking redemption for past sins joins a doctor contending against the jungle. Both healers need healing. (Contemporary, Independently Published)

Contemporary Romance:

The Christmas Baby by Lisa Carter — Mistletoe Mommy Anna Reyes is pregnant and widowed, and a Christmas homecoming isn’t so simple. Reuniting with her best friend, Ryan Savage, makes it easier—even though she knows he’ll soon be leaving their small coastal hometown. After putting his career on hold for his family’s business, Ryan’s finally ready to pursue his goals. But as he and Anna work to make the holidays special for a group of at-risk kids, Ryan wonders if he can give up one dream for another. They’re determined to make this a Christmas to remember, but can Ryan and Anna also make their holiday family last forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: Wishful Thinking

James hurled the tennis ball at his bedroom wall then snatched it when it bounced back. He leaned against his bed and frowned.

Grounded again.

He didn’t see why. His mom had given him twenty bucks for the seventh grade dance. She’d never mentioned that it was “emergency only” money. The fancy fortuneteller the school had hired had given him much more than twenty dollars worth of advice.

At least it had seemed like more than twenty-dollars-worth the night before.

James glanced at the metallic statue that sat on his nightstand. His glower deepened.

All your dreams will come true, the fortuneteller had said. A single wish will change everything.

Yeah, right. James kicked a pair of dirty jeans out of his way—so that’s what that smell was—as he crossed the room and grabbed the talisman.

He clenched his teeth as he turned it over in his hand. This piece of metal had gotten him in serious trouble. And for what? Simply spending money he thought he could spend? Heat bubbled inside his chest.

His mom had always been hard on him. Work, work, work. If only he had a nice mother, like his grandma.

James gasped as an idea formed. He licked his lips and focused on the object in his hand.

Then he made a wish. A real, honest-to-God, bona fide doozy. He squinted his eyes shut and—

“I wish grandma was my mother.”

He opened his eyes and looked around his messy room.

Nothing. Not a thing changed.

His heart sank. His mom had been right, of course. She was always right.

With a groan he fell into bed and switched off his light. Being grounded was boring.

The next morning he woke to the sound of singing. Who was making that awful noise?

He stumbled down the stairs as he rubbed his eyes, fully aware that sometime in the night his mom had made good on her promise to repaint the hallway. The scent of bacon and eggs greeted him as he entered the kitchen.

Nice. Mom almost never makes breakfast.

“You’re late!” a woman-who-looked-identical-to-his-grandma-but-who-was-about-thirty-years-too-young said to him.

What?

“You’ve missed the bus! You’ll have to walk ‘cause I’m not taking you. Go get ready. And don’t forget to get your bathroom cleaned today or you’re grounded to your room for the next week. I expect better, young man!” She said all this in one single breath.

The exact amount of time it took for reality to hit James. His eyes went wide.

His wish had come true.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Pixabay by FeeLoona

ACFW New Releases–November 2017

Hey CF friends! Looking for some new books for the long holiday weekend at the end of the month? Here are the latest releases from fellow ACFW authors! Enjoy!

November 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Rooted in Love by Valerie Comer — A divorcé with a set of rambunctious twins falls for the boys’ daycare administrator, but does he deserve another chance at love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Prescription for Romance by June Foster — Though history teacher Scott Townsend made a commitment to the Lord as a teen, he can’t relinquish his bitterness toward his younger brother after he squanders their parents’ money. When a beautiful, young pharmacist seeks affirmation in a way that challenges Scott’s values, he must uphold his Christian upbringing. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romance [Winged Publication]) Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: Out of Time

Ava ran through her front door gasping for breath. “We’ve got to leave. Now!”

“What?” Peter said, jaw wide. “Are you sure?”

“They’re coming. We don’t have much time!” Tears swam in her eyes. She jumped at a noise outside.

“Okay….” Peter glanced around.

“No!” Ava’s voice trembled. “There’s no time! They’re coming!”

Peter bit back the agony of leaving behind so many memories. “So be it. Stay close behind me.”

They fled their home just as a man and woman rounded the corner, voices raised.

The two mice ran for their lives, away from the homeowners and their nasty traps.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Vladimir Kramer on Unsplash

Flash Fiction: Bad Luck

“You’re late husband owes us a debt and it must be paid ‘fore you leave the country, lil’ lady,” the man says with an Irish accent. His thick mustache twitches with joy at my misfortune.

I swallow hard and blink back tears as I stare at the one-way ticket in my hand. It had taken every dime I could make to buy it. This was my chance, the only chance I’d get to start over. “But–” My chin quivers.

But nothin’. It’s the law. Your husband owes us so you gotta pay.” He takes a step closer, his large shoulders looming above my head. “Now.”

“I don’t have any money. How can I–”

He grins and shifts the toothpick around that sticks from between his teeth. “That third-class ticket you’re holding would do the trick. Always wanted to explore the world, see how much money I could make somewhere other than this dirt heap.”

My heart sinks. How long would it take for me to save up again? Where would I live until I was able to afford another ticket? “And I wouldn’t owe anymore? Ever again?”

The man laughs deep in his gut. Chills spill across my skin.

“You’re debt will be paid, lil’ lady. On my word.” He holds out a hand. “Do we have a deal?”

I duck my head and accept my fate. Never a day in my life had I ever had anything other than bad luck. Guess today was no different.

As a single tear slips down my cheek I hand over the ticket.

He squeezes it in his palm with a glimmer in his smile. “Thanks! Can’t wait to see what the Titanic will hold!” before he slinks away.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo by Amy Reed on Unsplash

Flash Fiction Friday: Mother

“Another p-pancake, sweetheart?”

Jordan swallowed against the lump in his throat and eked out a smile. “No thank you, um…mother.”

“Y-you sure? You’re not yet t-twelve. A growing boy needs nourishment,” her voice sang. “I made your f-favorite, chocolate chip. You’ve loved those since you were a t-toddler, remember?”

Her mechanical grin made Jordan’s insides grimace.

“It’s fine,” his father, Carl, said. “I need to get the kids to school anyhow.” Carl’s brow creased as he looked at Jordan’s younger sibling, Sissy.

“They were…erm…good,” Sissy said. “Thanks.” She bit her lip. “Mother.” The third grader stood and shouldered her pack, followed by her brother and dad.

“We’ll see you after school.” Carl hesitated then leaned in to give Mother a kiss, cold metal against his lips.

“Bye!” Mother waved. “Maybe this weekend we can go to the F-fun Park like we did when the kids were l-little.”

Carl and the kids mumbled a goodbye as they stepped outside in silence.

Once they were out of earshot, Jordan turned to his dad. “Do we have to keep her? She’s weird. And she thinks she’s known us our whole lives. This has been the longest six months of my life. None of my other friends have a Mother like her.”

Carl frowned. “Give it a little more time, kids.” He looked back at her as she stood on the front porch, her smile frozen in place. His gaze drifted to the sign attached to her side, the one that read Artificial Intelligence. Brown & Company. “In the meantime, try to be nice.

“After all, she thinks she’s alive. It wouldn’t be fair to tell her she’s not.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Jessica Bristow on Unsplash

Flash Fiction: Wisps

“Come on, Lettie. It’s getting dark. The Wisps will be out soon.” Emerson looked around the thick forest, her blue eyes wide.

“Stop with the toddler-tales,” Lettie groaned and plucked another jacaranda blossom from a tree. “You’re almost eight. You don’t really believe all that fairy nonsense, do you?” She sniffed the flower and walked deeper into the woods.

Emerson tried to swallow but it ended up a hiccup. She scuttled after her sister. “But Lettie! What if they’re true? What about Nora-Mae?”

Lettie tossed her curled blonde hair over her shoulder with impatience. “Grow up, Em. That story’s been around since Granny was born.”

“But Daddy said it was true. Nora-Mae disappeared long ago when she followed the lights, the ones that bounced along the path.” She curled her fists tight. “This path, Lettie.”

“It was just a story. Momma yelled at Daddy after he told you. I heard her in the kitchen when I was supposed to be practicing piano.”

“But Lettie….”

“It’s not true, Em.” Her voice rose an inch higher.

“Nora-Mae heard voices, too. The fairy voices that called her to come and play. The ones that led her away and got her lost, so she never got found again.”

Lettie huffed. “Fine. We’ll leave. Only to shut you up!”

She stomped back toward their home, her little sister close behind. Along the way they passed Charlotte, one of Lettie’s school-mates.

“Watch out for the Wisps, Char,” Lettie teased. “They might get ya.”

Charlotte laughed. The sun sank another few feet into the ground, trickles of faded light on the path. She only needed a handful of blossoms to complete her bouquet for the supper table. She’d be gone before the forest was dark.

Giggle.

She turned at the sound just beyond the trees to her left. Had Lettie and Emerson come back?

Giggle.

A light twinkled just over the small mound of earth that took the path in another direction. But then it was gone. What could it be?

Charlotte looked back toward her home. It wouldn’t hurt to look, right?

Then she followed the light as it bounced and danced across the ground and into the trees.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Pixabay

Teaching Your Characters to Fight Write

Hey guys! How is your week going? Another blog post I wrote for the Almost an Author website has gone live. You can check it out here. And yes, I did word the title of the piece with purpose. You’ll have to read it to find out why! *wink, wink*

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Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash