Summer Churning

Elise, what have you been up to?

Where shall I start? It’s officially summer, so my garden and I have been racing each other to see who can weed/grow weeds the fastest. Ha. It’s no contest. I lose.

But the flowers are gorgeous and I keep picking these bouquets that knock my socks off! Seattle friends–I’ll make you a pretty posy is you want to stop on by!

My energetic 4-year-old is learning to swim and getting really excited about outer space and volcanoes. Also, the Disney Pixar film Wall-E is his bliss.

My 19-month-old is babbling a storm of words to replace her baby sign language. She also climbs onto everything and unbuckles her car seat harness while I’m driving.

I’m running to keep up with both of them and to keep them from killing or maiming themselves for roughly 12 hours a day.

I rise early to hone that edge of wakeful clarity and I write before I shower or eat breakfast. Finally I look the part of the crazy writer at her desk in her bathrobe, frizzy hair, and huge glasses! (Bucket list goal complete! And no, I don’t have a photo of that one for you!)

After a rejection that made me sadder/angrier than usual, I decided to up my publishing game. I plan to submit one short sci-fi/fantasy story per quarter to the Writers of the Future contest. My goal is to place in the competition within the next five years. That gives me about twenty short stories to write and submit. Holy moly, Elise.

Thanks for supporting me, James!

I’m in the very final stages of prepping a story submission to the above contest. It will be my first submission after setting my goal. I’m optimistic and exhausted, all of which is normal.

…What am I writing? I thought I’d share a little about the drafts on my desk right now. My head is full of ideas and I keep outlining and planning in this detailed, rigorous style that leaves me tired but confident. It is a new season for me and things are churning out. They don’t always come easily, but they are churning. (Things of quality, I hope!)

Elise’s short story drafts:

Untrained Luck – on the way to a volatile negotiation, a mediator takes in a child she could not leave unprotected, hoping meanwhile to survive not just her next gig, but the world’s impending acid storm.

Focal Point – a magical, dangerous painting blinds a young woman in the first year of her marriage and her only hope for healing lies in revealing her own dark secrets.

Recollection – a government official’s routine visit to a small desert town unearths questions of hope and mysterious rumors that hold secrets to the town’s survival.

Inheritance – three adult siblings are astonished to find in their grandmother’s inheritance not money or real estate but distilled memories – they’ve inherited their grandmother’s social, gardening, and teaching skills, for better or worse.

Have you entered a new season of sorts? I’d love to hear about it!

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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