Category Archives: My Other Writing

Flash fiction, articles, guest blogging. Farm blogging, chicken blogging, blurbs.

No Overnight Success

So my friends just found out that Minstrel is on its way to publication.  I’ve received comments such as, “Wow, that was fast.”  Or, “When did you have time to just pound out a book?”

To all potential authors out there… it’s never fast.  What you see on Facebook is what we put out there for you to see.  You see us write, “Starting Day 1 of NaNoWriMo” then, “The manuscript is being formatted!”  Then you see us announce a release date.  You don’t see the hours at the computer between one November and the next.

You don’t see the 12-year-old who writes her first novel in notebooks, carrying them around between classes so people think she’s studying and don’t interfere with her thoughts.  You don’t hear the snide comments from her friends, as if, “I’m writing a book” was synonymous with, “I’m trying to become more beautiful than you.”  You don’t hear adults telling her, “That’s great, but you need a real career.”  My mother thought she was supportive, but she had submitted a few works, had been rejected, and had stopped writing because of it.  I could feel that rejection in her comments.  For a while, I was married to a man who sabotaged my work, deleted my files or created extra chores for me, because my writing interfered with attention he wanted.  Then there were years where I struggled to work two full-time jobs while raising children on my own.  Most of those years, nothing got written.  I’ve been through critique groups where people twenty years older than me ripped my work apart and trampled my self-esteem, though they were no better at their craft.  I’ve also been through those critiques that dissected my work and isolated parts that were weak or lacking or trite.  I started writing then stopped so I could survive cancer.  I started writing then stopped to deal with a special needs child.  Minstrel is my fifth full-length novel; the other four are unpublished for a reason.  Because I now have a supportive partner who facilitates my dreams and allows me to escape into my office for a few hours a day, because I can now say my skill has improved enough to create a publishable work… none of that deletes 24 years of growth.

To all potential authors out there… if you’re willing to endure 24 years of work to publish your first novel, you’ve moved beyond the first step.  You will not become talented overnight.  You won’t develop that thick skin within a few days.  But as you write, as you tackle the obstacles in your life and learn from them, and use them to enrich your writing, you will get better.  You’ll get closer to that published novel.  And when your friends say, “Wow, that was fast,” you just smile and move on.  You’re the only one who really knows how much growth goes into greatness.

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Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower: Assassin’s Vow

Title: Assassin’s Vow
Author: Marissa Ames
eBook: Yes

BoykinCarmerPoison

I held the puffer fish with one finger as I sliced off the eyes and fins.  With the tip of the knife, I opened the fish and carefully removed the innards.  I flicked the noxious parts into the refuse bucket.  Dipping the knife under the skin, I flayed the fish until I had nothing but clean flesh.  The skin plopped into the bucket atop the entrails.

“Don’t cut yourself,” Jess warned before cradling my hip against his.

I muttered, “Don’t worry,” as I sliced the flesh into morsels.

He set a plate on the butcher block.  “Where are your gloves?” he asked as he arranged the slices on the plate with his bare hands.  Giving me a knowing wink, he tossed a morsel into his mouth and chewed.

“I’m fine.”  I slid the plate aside then stabbed my knife into the other puffer fish.  Using the blade, I flipped the fish onto the block.

Jess caught my wrist.  “Wear gloves,” he said.  “Please?”

I sighed and put my gloves on.

“You’re in a mood today,” he commented as I popped both fish eyes then stabbed again to catch the liver.

Shrugging, I lobbed off the head and fins.  “The tarts are done,” I said as I ripped out the entrails.  I carved dainty slices with a frill of blue skin on one edge.  Jess nudged a second plate over.  “Baneberry has the fluted crust, currants have the scalloped crust.”

As Jess meandered to inspect the food, I looked over at my dress.  Cream silk with lace trim and a whalebone corset, it was exactly what I would have chosen for my own wedding.  It was expensive.  The client would pay for it tenfold after the job was done.

“What’s in the soup?” Jess asked before touching the ladle.

“Lily of the valley and death cap.”  I arranged the fish on the plate then wiped the flat of the knife over the food for good measure.  “Don’t eat the cheese.  The goats fed on autumn crocus.”

“Remember to make-“

“I know, I know,” I said as I flipped the knife down onto the butcher block.  “A clean batch is draining in cheesecloth right now.”

Today we sought to shake the power structure of a crime family.  Nobody expected to die at a wedding.  The client chose whom to warn about the food.  By the time the poisons took effect, Jess and I would be paid and gone on our supposed honeymoon.

I snatched up a wet rag and slapped it across the block.

Jess was immediately at my side, grabbing the rag.  “Alright,” he said as he pried it out of my fingers.  “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

We were professionals, not poets.  These things weren’t supposed to matter.  The others had warned us to avoid sentiment, to remain partners only.  It wasn’t like that, though.  Since we fell in love, our skills honed.  Trust bloomed.  No man watches your back like the one who holds your heart.

Jess leaned against the butcher block and folded his arms.  I avoided his gaze but he held strong.

“It’s nothing,” I insisted.  “Just another fake wedding.  Just another bride and groom, pretending to be happy.”

The happiness wasn’t false.  Most of the others didn’t know our partnership had evolved.  They just knew we worked better, satisfied more clients.  They pressed to know our secret.

It was almost everything I ever wanted.

Jess said, “You need to cheer up.”

“I’m-“

“Going to risk the contract.”  As I pouted and set my poisoned hands on my hips, Jess continued, “How can I help?”’

We were professionals.  Casting one more glance at my dress, I turned back to the butcher block and took up my knife again.

“I see.”  Jess dropped the rag on the block and wrapped his arms around my waist.  His lips hovered right behind my ear as he said, “I was saving this, but I suppose now is the right time.”  Releasing me, he took the knife from my hand then carefully peeled off my gloves.  I gawked down at him as he dropped to one knee.

“This time,” he said, enfolding my hands in his, “I hired a real priest.”

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Photo Credit

Written for Anna and Michael’s Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower.  Congratulations!

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