Reading and Writing Progress

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, so I thought I’d share my reading progress. 

I made a reading goal on Goodreads to read 50 books for the year. So far I’ve read 34 and I’m currently well on my way with the 35th. To see what I’ve been reading click here

While I was exploring Goodreads I found some cool data about my reading goal. 

The number of pages I’ve read by year:

The number of books I’ve read each year (what the heck happened in 2016 I have no idea):

The books I’ve read by the year they were published and the year I read them:


I thought those things were kinda neat. I accessed this data on the Goodreads website, not the app, by clicking My Books at the top left side of the page then clicking Stats on the left side navigation column. 

As for my writing progress…

I haven’t done much mostly because I’ve been waiting on feedback from beta readers. The MS right now is 72k and 201 pages in Word and will grow from the feedback I received. 

I asked my beta readers to keep in mind the following while reading (authors probably don’t do this normally, but this was necessary for me for certain reasons):

  • Chapter lengths – short, too long, just right?
  • Diction – does it read well? does it read like a young adult novel?
  • Dialogue – not awkward/forced? natural?
  • Mr A’s stories – do you need to know more about him? less? 
  • Mr A in general – how is his character overall? does he sound too far fetched?

I’m thinking of handing out the MS to one more beta reader to check for grammar and punctuation errors while I rewrite a few scenes, add some details, and do my own editing. Overall I’m happy with the feedback I received and I’m looking forward to getting back to writing. 

Until next time. 

Happy Writing!

MH

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The Dream Catchers

As we dream pieces of our lives manifest into a comprehensive whole, one which we can understand and apply to the difficult or confusing moments in our lives. Yet how do our dreams know which problems or concerns are the most important? How does it know what we value most? The answers we seek?
We are not the only ones seeing what we dream…

We called them the Dream Catcher’s and they helped us to organize our lives through dreams.

They never revealed themselves to us. We still do not even know when they come to us in our dreams. They only want to help us by offering suggestions and guidance to us when we need it most.

A long time ago an evil fire demon named Korak started to plan of depriving humans of their ability to dream. Korak was jealous of the human capability to tap into their subconscious when he, an elemental made entirely of shadow and fire, could not. His jealousy caused Korak to become obsessed with humans and for centuries he watched them with a critical and jealous eye.

Humans only knew and accepted what they saw before their eyes when they were awake and never looked below the surface of things. Reality for us, back then, was what we saw and felt; anything beyond that was unimportant and did not hold our interest.

We were living zombies. We did what was supposed to be done; no more and no less.

One day, when we were still hunters and gatherers, a far superior race flew over the Earth and took a special interest in us. They called themselves the Budari but we refer to them as the Dream Catcher’s: after the webbed and sometimes jeweled pendant that hangs above our bad to catch the bad dreams and lets the good dreams through. When they passed over the Earth they thought it was odd that humans were not able to dream even though they had a subconscious of which humans were not aware.

And while the Dream Catcher’s watched the human race, they were being watched themselves.

The Budari could not sense Korak’s presence at first because of his ability to willingly make his identity known if he so chose. Korak had never encountered beings like the Dream Catcher’s before and was more curious than angry at first when the immortal beings first encountered Earth.

The Budari, seeing as how humans lacked guidance, decided to share their wisdom with us through dreams. As time went on and the Dream Catcher’s continued to observe the humans, Korak became jealous and angry that such powerful and awesome beings would take an interest in what he considered to be a weak and cowardly species.

Korak began to devise a plan to end the human race and make the Dream Catcher’s grant him not only the ability to dream but to tap into the dreams and subconscious of every single living being in the universe.

Korak disguised himself as a human being named Haziezal. He charmed his way through the hearts of the most powerful and influential humans and soon became a lord over many kingdoms and had thousands of loyal subjects. Korak made himself the most charming and idealistic human being on Earth to appeal not only to the humans but the Dream Catcher’s as well.

It wasn’t long until the Dream Catcher’s decided to make contact with the human race.

The leader of the Dream Catcher’s, who was the oldest by five million years, decided to make contact with the human beings who showed themselves to be true leader’s to their people and could therefore choose for the rest of humanity to accept the gift of dreams.

The Dream Catcher’s chose humans who met these qualities from every continent. Korak, human alias Haziezal, was one of those humans. A meeting place was established on the far side of Earth’s moon in an ivory palace built especially for this meeting between these immortal and mortal beings.

The Budari told the humans and Korak that they were from the far side of the universe and in their exploration to map out the universe and establish contact with races that showed potential they noticed that the human race could use some guidance which would be given to them through dreams directly from the conscious of the Dream Catcher’s themselves. However, to do this the Dream Catcher’s needed the human’s permission to tap into their subconscious whilst they were asleep. They were an older and more powerful race but free will was a sacred thing among them that was not to be forced upon in any way.

The humans and Korak accepted the offer with extreme pleasure and gratefulness. It was truly a gift from the gods.

The dreams started that night and the humans showed great enthusiasm for the wisdom of the Dream Catcher’s upon first awakening.

Korak kept his ability from the Dream Cather’s even in his dreams and he learned many things from them. However, the more the Dream Catcher’s shared their connection with Korak the more he was able to delve further into the immortal beings’ subconscious and thus learned how to master the subconscious and, eventually, free will.

His plan was a simple one: learn as much as he could of how the Dream Catcher’s maintained control and then take the control from them by attacking their subconscious and free will one by one.

The immortals, at first, could not fathom that a young race like humans were able to take control over more advanced beings like the Budari. So Korak struck fast and he struck hard. He showed no mercy.

Needless to say many immortals fell underneath the unseen onslaught of this ruthless fire and shadow god. 

The Budari scattered and abandoned the humans. Whatever guidance they gave the humans in the beginning was lost the moment they left the Earth to the mercy of Korak.

A few thousand years passed and Korak acquired many human slaves out of fear but also to his newly acquired powers to bend free will to his might. 

The Earth became a sea of ash, fire, and decay. Thousands upon thousands died. Only a few hundred had the courage to stand up to Korak; none survived. It seemed all hope was lost and the human race was destined for extinction. Korak’s plans were complete and many worlds waited to be ruled.

However, one thing which Korak did not account for was an attack from the remaining Budari. 

One secret the Budari were able to keep from Korak was the legend of the Guardian. The Legend went that in times of great need a Guardian from the oldest race in the universe, older than the Budari themselves and so old that the name of that race was lost with time, would come to their aid. The Guardian had been floating through space for many millennia just to serve this specific purpose but no one other than the Dream Catcher’s were able to summon this great Being. There was only one catch: the elder’s among the Budari were the only ones who could do the Summoning but they were scattered across the universe.

Each Budari elder had a piece of the Summoning tattooed on their bodies which, when combined with the other tattoo’s, would awaken the Guardian from anywhere in the universe. The Budari elder’s only remembrance of this ritual was a vague idea in the back of their heads that these were put on their bodies when they were thousands of years younger as a sort of initiation mark. The meaning of the tattoos only became apparent when the need for the Guardian was a desperate one. And Korak was making them very desperate.

The Budari elder’s were scattered across the universe in hopes that by creating distance from each other they could keep their secrets of the universe from Korak as well. Then the tattoos made their meaning clear: each mark burned against the skin of the elder’s until it could no longer be ignored. And just like that the memory of the elder’s was returned to them and they knew what they had to do.

Korak’s attention was consumed with the destruction of Earth so he never noticed the gathering of the Budari elder’s in a nearby solar system. The elder’s raced to each other across the universe until, near death even for immortals, they found one another and the Summoning began.

The Guardian awakened with an explosion of suns and stars; uninhabited, lifeless planets erupted in flames. A monolith of power and raw energy made up the form of the Guardian and its anger was something to be feared if you were the cause of it. Korak unknowingly would rue the day when he decided to attack the Budari.

The attack was just as sudden on Korak as Korak’s had been on the Budari. The shadow and fire demon had no time to create a defense from the Guardian. The war itself lasted for a thousand years and Korak was cowardly enough to employ his human slaves against the Guardian. Many human lives were lost this way but as the years went on the humans began to realize that Korak was losing his control over them. The Guardian, with the help of the newly invigorated Budari elders, was able to distract Korak long enough for the humans to shake off the control of the demon and they began to fight back.

Korak was alone in his fight now and he could not maintain his control any longer against the Guardian, the Budari, and the humans. The fire and shadow demon was losing…and he hated it. Being made up only of fire and shadow each attack on Korak diminished his demonic powers and his elemental form until he was a whisper of the mighty being he once was.

The Guardian banished Korak to the farthest and coldest part of the universe with no habitable planets and where Korak was not able to regain the strength and power he once had. 

Humans, with the help of the Budari, returned the Earth to a livable state. The Guardian, its job now complete, returned to its slumber to wait the time when it was needed again.

The Budari told humans that they could no longer reach them in their dreams and provide them with words of guidance and wisdom. However, they have never truly left us. The Budari secretly left a gift for us: dream catcher’s that hang above the beds of every human so we can still communicate to them…but the webs prevent us from ever communicating back.

Editing Progress #19

Horror Novel:

  • Word Count = 68, 565 (5, 526 words added!)
  • Pages = 192 (14 pages added!)
  • Chapter 13 = written and edited! Words = 5, 361; Pages = 13

One more chapter to write and edit then I’ll be all set for Round 2 and 3 of my editing process. How’s your writing going?

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

Elemental Reign

​Long ago, before the race of man was born, the four elements were the sole protector’s over the Earth. The original four, Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, chose which parts of the planet they would take under their rule. 

Fire would govern the heat of the sun, the temper of the volcanoes, and the breath of the dragons. 

Water would govern the tempest of the seas, the chill in the wind and the clouds, and the quiet of the streams, rivers, and lakes. 

Earth chose to govern the movement of the mountains, the slumber of the rocks, and the richness in the dirt. 

Air chose to govern the stirring of the clouds, the swiftness of the wind, and every flutter of a birds wings.

Each Element governed their parts well and together made the Earth thrive under their rule. The animals and the plants lived well under the watch of the four elements and everything was peaceful for thousands of years.

Soon, there came about a new race; the race of man. Man was born from the richness of the dirt so it was the element of Earth who noticed their arrival first. Earth told the other elements of this new species and together they watched the growth of Man.

Being a new species, Man was helped to survive by the four elements themselves. Fire gave Man the secret to his element and this helped man to stay warm and cook their food. Water told them the secret of where to get the cleanest and purest water from the lakes and rivers and calmed the seas when they travelled. Earth gave Man the secret to find means to build shelter and also showed Man how to grow their own food. Air gave them the secret to knowing which way the winds will blow so they could travel across the sea and land at great speeds.

In the beginning, Man was very thankful for these gifts. Offerings and sacrifices were made to the elements, and later to other gods, and the elements took pride in the development of Man. In the beginning, Man respected the gods and the gods respected Man.

As the race and knowledge of Man grew they became selfish and vain in their demands from the gods. As the most popular race Man felt they deserved to be masters over all the other races on Earth. Sacrifices were laid before the gods and Man begged the gods to make them lords over all the Earth and the knowledge it possessed. The four Elements saw the hubris of Man and the problems this would cause and denied their request. 

That was the day Man turned their backs on the gods.

Although they were denied the knowledge and the power of the Earth, Man decided to take it for themselves. First, they claimed parts of the Earth for themselves; if the land resisted they destroyed it. Second, they claimed lordship over all the other races on Earth especially the animals; when some of the races and animals resisted they were also destroyed. The dragons, gryphons, mermaids, and many other races were among the few who resisted Man the strongest. Unfortunately Man destroyed these races which also destroyed any knowledge they could have learned from them. The heroics of these races now only live on through myths and legends of Man.

The four Elements saw Man’s destruction of their poor Earth and decided to punish the once promising race. When Man no longer thanked the gods for sharing their knowledge each element punished Man each time they used the knowledge the gods gave them and did not thank them properly.

When Man abused their knowledge of fire to destroy the homes of the races which resisted them, Fire decided to take her revenge. Fire made Man fall asleep around an unattended fire one night. She enticed one young and rebellious spark to flirtatiously dance with the dry grass on which some of them had decided to lay on. Fire allowed her element free reign on the dry grass and many died; but still Man thought they could outsmart the gods.

Water then decided to try his might on Man. Since Man abused the knowledge which Water gave them and polluted the waters which they ate and drank from, Water was determined to drown Man in the same water they had contaminated. While crossing a seemingly calm sea, Man rode the waves contently and without worry. Suddenly, giant waves rode up on all sides of the ship surrounding the shocked and frightened Men. Water purposely held the waves threateningly high over the ship then brought them crashing down on the ship. Many men, young and old, drowned but only a few took the Elements’ warning to heart.

Air was hesitant about his revenge. Few Men knew how to take his element for granted, but he saw the damage they caused when using the power of the other elements. So he decided to take a mild, but firm, approach when he took his revenge; he decided to bring brutal winds and fierce tornados to the villages of the Men who were especially unforgiving and ignorant towards the gods. Each hurricane and each tornado destroyed the homes and the lives of the Men who lived there. A few more Men bowed to the gods again out of renewed fear, respect, and humility; but many still sought to conquer the gods. Thusly did Air have his revenge.

A much as Fire, Water, and Air felt that each of their powers were being abused by the humans, none of them were being abused more so than Earth. Her element, her secrets, was being taken for granted most of all because it was she who provided the means for them to survive. And it was she who would bring Man to their knees in surrender. Man underestimated her power and anger and would suffer the consequences.

Man noticed that three of the four elements were striking back so they decided to attack the fourth thinking that that element would be the weakest. They attacked with all the remaining power of those who still defied the gods. 

The battle that ensued was a brutal and bloody one…

One thousand years it lasted with both sides taking heavy damages. The humans were merciless in their destruction of Earth: they polluted the air and the water with mechanical inventions, they tore up the Earth looking for riches to satisfy their immense greed, and they murdered millions of animals and plants in their thirst for revenge. Earth, once a vibrant, healthy, and thriving place was now a wasteland of mechanical destruction and wasted blood.

The Elements showed a likeminded indulgence for utter destruction and revenge. They manipulated their elements to destroy millions of human lives by not allowing the earth to grow food for months, even years, at a time, and they similarly denied the clouds to release any fresh water for the humans. The Elements also invented new ways to seek revenge in response to the human’s technological inventions. Many new diseases were introduced through contaminated food and water sources. Since land symbolized power Earth decided to bury herself under Water’s protective element so the decrease in possession of land caused the humans fight amongst themselves for the remaining land and wealth.

Finally, with both sides equally destitute and weak, the Elements and Man called for a halt in their attacks to see if they could find a peaceful end to the War. Conditions and terms were discussed, arguments were frequent, and tempers flared. Two weeks went by with both sides putting forth their own terms which were then consequently turned down by the other side. Until one night, when the Elements and Man were close to renewing the War between them, a young human girl child named Lilith came forward with a plan to end the thousand year war. 

Lilith would give herself over to the Elements as a hostage and the Elements would protect her and care for her the rest of eternity if Man promised to take better care of the Earth and show respect for the other Elements. Knowing that this young, innocent, and humble girl would be at the mercy of the mighty Elements Man agreed to this proposal and promised to cherish their home and would not take anything for granted ever again.

So that night the Elements took Lilith and brought her to their home high in the heavens above the earth and fell in love with her innocence and her beauty. Man started to live up to their promise and a few hundred years later they had the earth returned to its original beauty before they had polluted its waters and destroyed Nature itself. 

To this day Lilith still lives above the Earth watching her fellow Man grow and die and live among the Elements with mutual respect and love…

The Beginning

Look, I don’t exactly know how it came to this point or why things turned out the way they did. All I know is that it did happen and it’s become my sole purpose – or burden – to tell you what the six of us went through and why some of us survived and the others…did not. Why this whole mess had to happen to us I will never understand. Every day I blame those responsible for allowing it to go on when they knew of the consequences the whole time we were locked up in that…place. Every waking moment of my life I keep wishing that what went on was part of another person’s past instead of mine; but we were the lucky – or I should say the unlucky – ones who were chosen for this inhumane experiment.

You may be thinking this story is just a joke or part of a string of e-mails sent to you by a superstitious friend, but what I am about to tell you actually occurred. I cannot give you any names or the exact date of when this happened mostly because I myself am unsure of when we were chosen to take part in this whole thing. I don’t even know if the names I was told were the real names of my comrades or an assumed alias so the person’s true identity could not be traced by those who took us against our will. Besides, a different name may have allowed them to escape from their real self, as if everything that had gone on was something that had occurred in someone else’s life and not their own.

Anyways, like I was saying. This story is not a joke. I am a real person writing a real event that happened to real people. The things I am about to tell you are so horrendous and so shocking that they can be nothing but the truth. Now go find a comfortable space in which to read for this story is a long and arduous one and it may just one day end up saving your life…

Editing Progress #18

Horror Novel:

  • Word count = 63, 039 (2, 998 words added)
  • Pages = 178 (9 pages added)
  • Chapter 11 = written and edited! (3, 008 words and 8 pages)

Two more chapters to write and edit. I’ve managed to write and edit chapter’s 10 and 11 in a day so I’m hoping to do the same for 12 and 13. I also chopped chapter 10 in half (14 pages was too long) and brought up my total number of chapters to 30.

Word count goal is still 70k or higher and I’m only 6, 961 words away from that goal. 6, 961 words should equal two more chapters.

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

Editing Progress #17

Horror Novel:

  • Word count = 60, 041 (2, 377 words added)
  • Pages = 169 (6 pages added)
  • Chapter 10: written and edited; 5, 517 words overall; 14 pages double-spaced!

There’s one chapter done, only three more to go! Look at that word count. It’s so beautiful!

I’m hoping to start and finish Chapter 11 tonight. It’s a bit ambitious but hey, I think I can do it.

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH