NaNoWriMo Update

Hey everyone,

I’m writing today to update on my NaNoWriMo project. I started off with the intention of finishing up my YA fantasy “Fall of Gaela” Book One, and I am still working on it for parts of Nano. I felt myself drawn to a side project that has been brewing the past few years. I’m not sure if I’ll make it quite to 50K this year but I’m confident that I can make it to 40K especially since I have the week of Thanksgiving off. I’ll have plenty of time to write. Right now, I’m at about 10K words and still need at least 6-10K this weekend to catch up (if I want to make it to 50K). A little bit about my current project, without too many spoilers – I am writing something about a slayer (think Buffy the Vampire Slayer but a little more woke). She also has magical powers so she’s not just a hunter, she actually has the power to heal earth’s creatures. It’s a beautiful concept intertwined with elements of horror. I’m trying something new with this project and letting my character tell me her story herself instead of planning the plot ahead of time. I’ve been inspired by storytelling across cultures, unplanned, uncensored, unfiltered. I want to tap into that creative energy flow instead of planning stuff out. Anyways, thanks for letting me share my honest thoughts on here.

I’m hoping to have a novel ready to publish in the next few months – a year. We’ll see!

I’ll check in once I finish my NaNoWriMo on how the rest of the month will go. I’m also working on a Roanoke story, will post it on here once I finish it! Not keen on submitting my short stories to publications, would rather just share it on here with all of you 🙂

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Self Care Rituals

Hello world,

It’s been awhile since I’ve used this blog which is odd since I have been home the past 2 years of the pandemic. Consumed by the work of being a full time middle school English teacher during a pandemic, my writing took a backseat for a little while. Instead of writing, I took it upon myself to immerse myself in the world of roller skating and maybe used a little too much social media. For 2022, I’m trying to be more present with myself, reconnect with my writing practices, and establish community with others again.

The term “self care” is often associated with Himalayan salt and rose adorned bubble baths, facials, massages, and overindulgence. What I have come to learn “self care” means to me is none of these fancy, materialistic luxuries, but instead, finding a way to be present with myself and the world around me. Self care then becomes an act of self love, self acceptance, and forgiveness. Perhaps, taking the time to re-evaluate areas of my life where I could practice more restraint and patience. Below are a few of the ways that I practice self care in my daily life.

Saying no

I was a “yes” person for many years and I had no real understanding of what boundaries actually were or how they were practiced. In any job, with any relationship, and any person for that matter, I had a hard time just telling people “no.” As a result of my inability to say “no,” I experienced a spiritual and emotional fatigue that brought my mind, body, and spirit into a cavern of darkness. I work in a field where it is often expected for me to agree and say yes often in order to be a part of a team and to stand out.

Since when did burning yourself out become a badge of honor? I have come to learn that it isn’t and that I cannot be productive in any area of my life if I’m burnt out. As difficult as it may feel at times, sometimes the best option for me today is to say “no” and decline. Life is too rich and meaningful to be wasted on feeling duped or drained constantly. I’d rather retain the energy I have now to be able to luxuriate in the joys of life.

Affirmations

I was born a natural cynic with a mean girl as an inner critic. She loves to terrorize me, bring down my self worth, and make me feel inferior. Over the years, I’ve come to find my most powerful weapon to use against her would be positive affirmations. It was a few years ago when I first stumbled upon Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life.” I remember looking through the watercolor images of angels, inner children, and unicorns. I thought to myself, “well, isn’t this the corniest thing I’ve ever seen?”

I bought the book as a joke, thinking it would be of no use to me but I soon found that it was a first step in the direction of self love. I began to listen to her affirmations daily and I even bought a purple journal with a unicorn on it (big surprise). Each day that I would feel myself spiraling in my mind, I’d write affirmations in that small journal. I would write spiritual affirmations, “I am” statements, prayers, gratitude, anything I could to shift my mindset. After all, my inner critic was strong and resistant.

It was in Louise Hay’s book that I learned about mirror work. Mirror work is a type of morning practice where you look in the mirror and repeat a mantra or affirmation while looking directly into your own eyes. It’s a powerful practice in building confidence, self worth, and positive thought processes. I once heard Brene Brown say that we create false narratives in our childhood which develop into unhealthy patterns in adulthood. Thus, the self care came once I was able to begin unlearning those false narratives and replacing them with better narratives.

Gratitude Journal

Part of my daily morning routine is to write 5-10 things that I’m grateful for. I do this in addition to writing morning pages as a form of meditation. Some days I don’t feel grateful, or I wake up in not the best mood but when I write down those items that I’m grateful for, my mindset begins to shift. I once heard someone say the phrase “rose colored glasses” and I feel that gratitude allows me to wear those. Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, it will pay off over time. Give it a try for 30 days and see what happens.

Upcoming Writing Projects

Currently working on the following projects:

-a collection of vignettes on my journey to self acceptance, self love, and healthy relationships.
-a novella series about a shamanic healer who hunts supernatural villains.
-poetry (always writing poetry).
-hopefully, another zine that combines photography with haikus.
-random short stories I need to finish.

I hope to have some work to share with you all soon!

Trick or Treat

Hey everyone!

I’m finally back and have some exciting news to share. I’m publishing two zines in the next month and vending at Tijuana Zine Fest this year. I’ll be publishing a poetry zine entitled Love Poems to Get You Through the Dating Apocalypse and a short story photo book, Desolate Spaces. I’m going to work on creating an online store to have it available to sell via my upcoming website.

Besides finishing final edits on these two zines, here is my other goal for June (and probably for July as well): to finish horror stories I started last year and compile them into an anthology. So far, my plan for this one is to completely draw and design the cover myself and also, to self-publish. The idea behind this project is to create something reminiscent of classic 90s horror geared toward young adults; for e.g., Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkGoosebumps, and, Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

I’ve been taking a couple workshops to improve my knowledge and writing skills. So, here is a snippet of a flash fiction piece I came up with in my Flash Fiction workshop through Flash Fiction Magazine:

Trick or Treat

When I was younger, my heart bubbled up with anticipation on October 31st, knowing that I would escape myself for one night. Clutching my plastic pumpkin pail, I’d jump with fright at the sight of ghoulish creatures and drool over the scents of miniature M&M’sTwixTootsie Rolls, and Snickers.

With Love & Light,

E.R. Buendia

The light fades…

So for this piece I decided to delve into some world building for a trilogy scifi idea I have, which takes place in another planet beyond the sun’s reach…the land is dying because its desperate for light…here’s a narrative on my protagonist’s childhood memory:

The sunsets were dazzling as the sun prepared to go into its slumber. Hues of mustard and tangerine blended together into a beautiful spread across the sky surrounding the kingdom of Gaela. The young girl cupped her hand pretending to lift the colors of the sunset out of celestial sphere that reflected off the lakes. A smile formed upon her face, as she closed her eyes and felt the last rays of sunlight seeping through her skin. Light was a luxury in Gaela and any moment that the people could get with the sun was sacred. The sun was a god to the people and the moon was as well, any source of light.

    Eighteen hours per day the land was filled with terror and darkness. Creatures beyond the fray awaited the moments the moonlight dissipated into the abyss of the universe so they could prey on the weak. The kingdom lived in a state between waking and sleeping, in a constant fear of the night. They were forced to become one with the night as the sun’s rotation grew further away from their planet. Circadian rhythms were out of sync, causing a mental disorientation amongst everyone and this young girl managed to maintain balance through all of the chaos. There was something special about her. She had the ability to manipulate the four of the five elements: water, air, earth, and, fire.

    With this power, she had to hold onto the secret because if anyone were to know what she was capable of, she could be drained from her energy. She knew the cost of her special ability could lead to her demise so she never spoke of it. She tried her best not to let her powers show in each activity she had with other children her age. She knew it was wrong yet the curiosity gnawed at her insides of how much further she could take it. How powerful could she become?

~ ER Buendia

~

The Night, a poem

She becomes the night

As she levitates to the tops of the trees

Divine winds cocoon her flesh


Rocking her through the evergreen


As she continues to float


She becomes a part of the night


Passing the stars


Whispering to the moon


Sweet chants of Hecate, triple goddess


Bewitched by the howls of wolves


She is home

-ER BUENDIA

StAD September 

Hey guys,

I will be using the Story A Day Challenge this month to help me connect with my characters and also to bring you some cool flash fiction. Currently developing a horror anthology zine which I hope to release Halloween week.

Here is my first prompt piece inspired by one of my book ideas (the modern day Arthurian one): 

  1. When I was born…”


When I was born, a reincarnate of a goddess from centuries past bore into me. Her soul lit up the room and my mother was astonished, believe it to be an angel. The light blinded a couple of the nurses in the room because it was powerful luminescence which created a sun-like blast. At first, people were unsure of what I was. They believed that I was a spawn of the devil or some type of evil, but other holy rollers believed me to be an angel. But the dreams I had told me otherwise.


The images of my birth haunted me as I grew up feeling unsure of how to identify myself. I had been adopted into a family that did not know whether to fear me or adore me. As I grew, I began to grow curious of the incident that happened that day I was born and began to read about past lives, angels, evil, and, any other occult topics. I would spend hours trying to decipher what I was. Growing up, I was perplexed by my ability to touch wounded animals and heal them. The animal would shake off their injury and wander off into nature, without any sign of discomfort. My adopted mother caught me healing a wounded bird one day and asked a priest to come and observe me, believing me to be a child of God.


The thing is, that I was not a child of God and I was not related to the devil. I was just me and part of being me, was that I was reincarnated. I did not know this until the dreams began. Dreams of a lush green pasture, a great kingdom, and hooded tall men which looked as though they were wizards from Lord of the Rings. In reality, these men were druids, a race of magical beings who had been lost in the waves of time.  In the dreams, people called me Morgan, Morgaine, or Morgana. I did not know what it meant until I stumbled upon mythology which addressed a Morgaine la Faye as a Triple Goddess. I, then, figured out that the power I held inside of me was related to her. Was it possible that I am a reincarnation of a powerful goddess? Me? I am barely passing my high school Algebra class…how could I be the powerful triple goddess?

Greetings from Canada

Day #1-Write a story after a postcard arrives from someone who passed away and whose funeral you attended that says the words, “I’m not dead, meet me tonight at ___________”
Greetings from Canada by E.R. Buendia
I read the postcard looking back at me with an image of a grey sky and an outline of old Victorian aged houses. The right bottom corner in boldfaced red writing “Greetings from CANADA” and a tiny maple leave emblem. A cryptic message scribbled on the left side: “I’m not dead. Meet me at the grave site where I was buried tonight at 8pm. Sincerely, Jake.” I let out a sigh, not knowing what to think of this news. It was 4pm and I knew the next four hours were going to be dreadful.
Eight o’clock came with a slow yearning building inside of me. I reflected gently on the memories I had of Jake as children holding hands on the swing set.
Was he in trouble?
Now that I was approaching the darkly lit cemetery with the cobblestoned plaques all around, my heart began to race. Fight or flight mode. I wondered if this would be my demise. The dark figure turned his face and looked at me with a grin on his face, which was now sunken with deep violet undertones in his sunken face.
I approached him, bearing my cross necklace on my bosom and his eyes began to burn. He let out a shriek, as high pitched as a siren. He began to step away from me to the other side of his grave. And, as I looked at him closely, I saw fangs poking out of the top of his mouth, gently onto his bottom lip. Catching his breath, he said in a whisper, “now you know my secret.”
I gasped, unable to accept the creature standing in front of me was a vampire. Knowing that vampires were fictitious creatures of the night, and, it was not possible for my oldest friend to be a vampire. Feeling helpless, as though I was under attack, I fell to my knees and felt a twinge inside of me, liquid beginning to collect in my eyes.
I aggressively brushed the tears from my eyes, looked up at him and asked, “so how long have you been a vampire?”
He looked back at me, with the eyes of a lost baby deer and said “I’m newly turned, I’m immortal, baby.”
I knew that this was the start of a twisted and long journey for Jake and I. Jake grabbed my arm and we began to float in the air, the gravestones blurred together into a gray swirl beneath us. Jake ran his fingers over my eyes and lethargy sent me into a slumber, as panic set in, unsure where this dreadful creature of the night was taking me. The lights faded away and darkness swept over my eyelids.

Story A Day Challenge update

I am happy to announce that my Story a Day Challenge is going successfully. I have written mystery and horror stories so far that have been so fun to write! From stories about fairy tale lands and floating visions to a story about a peculiar stranger and mysterious vanishing characters. This week is all about novel development.

A little bit about what I’ve been working on I’ll share with you: I’ve been developing a SciFi/Fantasy novel since 2012, it’s an idea that has been looming in my mind that would have a non-cliched female heroine. In this world, there are people with telekinetic abilities and it is post-post apocalyptic, in a kingdom that is flourishing. This week I have been able to work on establishing a setting based loosely on the time of the Middle Ages and Medieval Gothic Renaissance. I am beyond excited to share a short story that takes place in the setting of this universe, but I need to edit it a little bit more first! 🙂

However, here is a little snippet from the Creative Writing workshop I’ve been attending, this is another short story I am developing simultaneously as an exercise:

Barely at seventeen years old, the young girl with the glasses and porcelain colored skin, waited anxiously at the train station. She clutched her indigo purple colored sleeping bag tightly, as it was all that she had left. Wearing some camel brown oxford shoes, tight black pants and a black coat, her neck covered in a plaid colored Burberry scarf, she looked longingly into the cityscape. Hoping for something better, her darkly framed glasses fitting her round face perfectly and hiding the tears that continued to fall down her cheeks. With the cold breeze hitting her face, those tears could easily become frozen and become memories of her current heartache. The bright red colored seats in the train station seemed especially alarming to her on this Monday morning.
Today, her music was blaring Claude Debussy, it was a classical music kind of day and a day to try and stay focused for this teenage girl. Her white headphones were connected to an iPhone that had a cracked screen that she did not have the money to fix. But the music of Debussy was calming enough to get her through the next thirty minutes that she would have to wait for the train this morning.
I will be sharing some more stories later that I do not plan on submitting or querying to literary magazines…
My writing adventures are just started and I am looking forward to creating this universe!
ER B.

Writing Update

I’m still continuing to develop the plot line a little bit more, working on a detailed outline before I actually create the manuscript. Been reading up on the Roman Empire and been formulating ideas on how I can develop a plot that could possibly turn it into a trilogy.

In the mean time, I’ve also been developing a mantra book of my own. I’m not sure if I’ll publish it or just give it out as gifts to friends but the plan is to write mantras with watercolor in the background of lotuses, and trees, and possibly fairies.

A group of people on Facebook decided to start NaNoDreaming for the month of December for those of us who weren’t able to meet the NaNoWriMo deadline, I haven’t been too great at checking in but it’s another motivation for me to get going and keep writing. On the side, I’m also taking part in online classes to receive my teacher’s certification for either TESL or TOEFL.

On Instagram, I’ve been participating in a challenge which has helped me continue to journal on personal self-awareness. It’s called #BeYOU2ful and I’m completely in love with the movement! Today’s prompt was to write about all the reasons why I love myself and I’d love to share that on this entry:

I love me because I don’t give up not even when I feel like I’m at the brink of darkness, I still keep moving forward.

I love me because I am courageous and loving. I work full-time in a job that not everyone wants to take and that’s because I’m passionate about helping other human beings reach their potential. Everyone has a meaning of success and I want to help people reach their success.

I love me because I am worthy of love. The fallacy that existed in my head for so many years was only causing me to self-deprecate and feel miserable. But today, I can look at myself in the mirror honestly and say “I love you. You are beautiful.”

My first name Erika means royalty and that’s how I feel inside, noble but humble. I am not above anyone else, I want to help and love other people. And that is my life mission, is to help heal the world, just through my writing or with my actions…or even with education. Just be a little trickle in the water.