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 🙂

Advertisement

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!

Pearls

It’s been while! Hi WordPress!

I finally published a poetry zine titles, “Love Poems to Get You Through the Dating Apocalypse.” I’m not selling this one online at the moment. Going through the Artists Way and feeling inspired again already, even painted the other day.

Here’s a fable-poem I wrote which was inspired by the transformative magical powers of water:

The lonely girl weeps

By the crippling creek.

Her wounds run deep.

As she stares at her reflection

In river’s body, her tears

Fall into the stream,

Transforming into freshwater pearls- so rare, so precious,

Maintaining their purity.

Yet the girl is blind

To their beauty,

Only able to see the darkness beneath the foamy edges

So she retreats

Placing the pearls back

Into their clam, clasped

Until the comforts of water

Put them back into the shore

Like a pirate’s lost treasure,

Found and adored.

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 Dark, Goosebumps, 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’s, Twix, Tootsie Rolls, and Snickers.

With Love & Light,

E.R. Buendia

Self Love Poem

I wrote this while pondering the subject of self-love, I decided to write a love poem to myself based on some experiences I’ve had the past 7 years, here is the results:

I Love Me

I walk through the forest called life as
Daisies blossom against obsidian skies
Feet bare,
and grounded into dirt.

A flame ablaze in the distance,
Heart becomes a reflection.

Darkness fades and lunar energy
Lights the path in front of me.

Do I trust the gods and walk forward?

Or, pivot my flesh to walk back into the night?

The glow brings my eyes to a stupor,

I am spellbound.


I am one with the night and
Dance with the deities.


I am ready for
the shaman’s blessing.


It is time to drift from fright
And fall into the universe’s embrace.


Great Spirit cradles me in a celestial blanket;
As the dusk arrives,
So does the love of the divine.


Another day, another opportunity
For a joyous stroll.

~E.R. Buendia

The Hummingbird Dance

A couple of months ago, I wrote this poem after feeling frustrated with my experiences on Tinder and OkCupid. Yes, I have tried online dating apps for years; much to my dismay, each time with negative consequences and it has taken me awhile to learn how to love and respect myself first…here’s a poem about one of my most recent online dating experiences, you can find it in the Bards Against Hunger poetry anthology on Amazon, link at the bottom of this post. Namaste!

The Hummingbird Dance by E.R. Buendia

Your summer kissed skin glows in the sunlight

As the faint breeze sweeps the sweat off your brow

Hummingbirds fly touching upon tangerine flowers

As though the nectar is a gift from the heavens

The flutter of the hummingbird’s wings

Sounds as sweet as an evening lullaby

On this perfect summer day, with harmony standing nearby
Waiting to send love darts to promising lovers

With your eyes closed, you imagine these darts beaming upon the birds

And fill your heart with hopes of an epic love story

Hope that was lost in the reckless abandon of heartbreak purgatory

Is this hummingbird a blessing?

Is it a sign of divine love?

Is this your soulmate?

Or, are you drifting into the

abyss of hopeless romanticism?

Tragedies of Keats,

of every Romantic poet,

who hoped the same

Is this a love doomed or

an epic love that would last for lifetimes?

So you hope for a happy ending this time.

Pray for an ideal to come to fruition,

And get drunk on the fragrance of infatuation.

Copyright of: E.R.Buendia

To purchase the anthology click here. All proceeds go to food banks across the nation, help us end homelessness and famine in our country 🙂

Alchemy/NaNo Update

alchemy symbols
Image found on Google 

Alchemy has always been a fascinating part of science to me. In the Pagan beliefs, we have the Pentagram which symbolizes the five elements of: Spirit, Earth, Air, Water, and, Fire. Now imagine a world that has a whole caste system where there are individuals who use Alchemy as a form of science, which used to be combined with the use of magic. Now imagine that the magic has been banned so the Alchemists rely solely on the power of science. This is a huge part of my novel.

It’s been a journey writing this novel. I am learning a lot more about myself. I’m learning more about conveying emotions in my readers, and, how to write appropriately in an Active tone as well as an first person POV. Writing a novel has been not only challenging but also extremely rewarding. I look forward to sharing excerpts of the novel once its more polished but for now it’s a very ROUGH draft, it’s okay. That’s where proof-editing comes in!

Anyway here’s a little micro fiction for you, told in the perspective of Prince Sebastien:

The ball was on the horizon, only seven days away and the prince did not want to squander around the castle. He told his closest confidant that he wanted to spend the day as a peasant so he grabbed a nightshade cloak and wrapped it around his collarbones. As he glided down the steps of the proud kingdom, he noticed his father wrapped up in conversation with the leader of the Knights. 

His feet propelled him forward and into the streets of the kingdom. The market was busy this afternoon, filled with hopeful dames, which wanted so desperately to become Nobles. As his cloak continued to fly behind him with his quick movements, the prince carried himself toward the crowd. Through the crevice of a tight alleyway, he squeezed his body through, being careful not to drop the hood of the cloak, so he could not be recognized. 

Square pieces of black parchment paper floated around the sweaty palms of romantic ladies, fantasizing about marrying the prince. He scowled. Unfavorable of his fate, wishing he could be either an Alchemist or a Knight. He craved adventure, danger, and, mostly to be left alone. He was tired of having to please all the Nobles. If only, he could just runaway into the depths of the mountains or into the lands of the djinn. 

He got through the edge of the alley and stumbled into the bottom of a path leading up to the market. And as he slid out, a beautiful girl with laced up boots, olive skin, auburn curled hair and eyes that faded between violet and hues of honey-brown walked in front of him. She was struggling with the weight of the cart that she carried in back of her. Hunched over, doing her best to get it up each stair.

The prince watched as she dropped the cart and it came flying toward him. He lunged in front of it, catching it with his forearms, nearly toppling backward as he caught it. The weight of the cart wasn’t as bad as it looked. And, he smiled up at the girl, looking down on him with rose colored cheeks. He carried the wagon up toward her, despite her protests. He carried the weight of the boxy framed wooden wagon up towards the sky. 

And, he lost sight of her…but hoped that he would see her again…

-Work of: Celena StarVela (E.R. Buendia)

 

The Strange Day

My Halloween gift to all of you (I will be posting microfiction/flash fiction horror pieces all weekend):

The sunlight slanting in through the window, lingered on a bowl of fruit as the day came to a close. This was the last of light which became a treasure to the people, who were frightened, as the end was near. She scurried grabbing her rifle from the shed outside, as the grumbling sounds of the walking dead could be heard in the distance. What started as a peaceful day, ended being the last harmony to be felt to the remaining survivors of the zombie outbreak. The Aztecs prophesied this day would come, that the skeleton people would be the end of human civilization and today was that day.

The kitchen was still sanctimonious, a sacred space, and, Himalayan salt was no longer going to work against these monstrosities. The only hope was this shotgun she had purchased hesitantly months prior. She thought of gratitude for preparing herself by taking shooting lessons. She was not going to become a meal to those flesh eaters. A hideous sound came from the front door, and, she sprinted to the mahogany archway, trying to remember if it was locked.

The sound of bones slamming against the doorway was sonic, and echoed throughout the house. With the rifle in her hand, the young woman opened the door. In front of her was a rotting corpse with hemoglobin parchments drooling off of his chin. She raised her shotgun, and said “not today” as she pulled the trigger releasing a blast through the skull of the dead man.

~Celena StarVela

RePOST from Brave and Reckless..You Were Meant to Know the Night

As the moon dances across the lake Fairies fall into slumber Poppies shine brightly against the darkness Lovers begin laughing into the wind As they prepare for their midnight rendezvous The humidity of the summer winds Bring sweat to the brows of children The lonely ones feel melancholy, While filling their hearts with hope And […]

via You Were Meant to Know the Night Writing Prompt Challenge: ER Buendia — Brave and Reckless

Heat Wave

Admittedly, I have been procrastinating on my outline/NaNoWriMo prep this year but I plan to spend some time this weekend and Monday and Tuesday finishing out the scene-by-scene parts of the outline. I plan on using OneNote to keep track of all of the chapters. It seems like the best program that I own for this novel writing project; as, I cannot pay for Scrivener at the moment. In San Diego, there has been a heat wave this week, so here’s a little poem/microfiction of how it makes me feel:

As the heat burns through my flesh
There’s no escape
My nostrils catch fire
As I continue to breathe in the flames
Hoping the flames will ignite my desires
But instead they leave me lethargic
Parched for water
Crawling on the pavement
Reaching out for help
No Escape. Just humidity.
Santa Ana winds hit my hometown
In a fury and leave me with swollen eyes
And sleepless nights
Drenched in sweat
Dreaming of dancing through autumn leaves
Relentlessly bemused by dry air
On this October night

~E.R. Buendia/Celena StarVela