Woven

Deep within his waters

Arose the golden lines

Snaking the ground like vines

Picked clean by the daughters

Of a glorious sun

Their purpose lay hidden

Submerged in dusts of time

Their ways calm and benign

A path not forbidden

A path already done

Unseen unless chosen

Escaping awareness

Filtered by the darkness

Only eyes wide open

Discern the mystery

Never a pause nor break

A continuity

Unfathomable tree

Branches to not forsake

Connected, you to me

A chord

A rope

A tether

A bind to our heartstrings

Woven, you and I

 

Release the Novella!

The time has come upon us.  Brace yourself for a (hopefully) short blog post full of shameless self-promotion and a stupendous amount of links as I explain the release of my very own self-published novella called The New Colony.

What is a novella, you may ask?  Well, basically it is a shortened novel.  In the case of The New Colony, it is only around 10,00 words long; more like a short story than a novel, but technically too long to fit into most short story categories.

The idea behind the story has been accumulating dust in my mind for several years now.  I was always intrigued by the Lost Colony at Roanoke Island back in the 16th century.  There has always been a lot of mystery surrounding the events and this caused my thoughts to go bonkers with ideas of what may have happened.  Plus, I have for a long time now desired to write a story in journal entry form.  Thus the story was conceived.

As I await the finished edits of my full-length novel, which I hope to have published this year, I wanted to get my feet wet in the book selling world and gauge what kind of response I would get out of The New Colony.  I was unsure of how to publish it at first.  But after doing some research, I found the best way to release it to the most widely distributed channels would be by using Smashwords for the e-book copies and Createspace for the print copies.  And I could not be happier with the results!  Both distributors were surprisingly easy to use, once I grasped the concepts of formatting and such.  And to top it all off, both services are free to use, which is great for someone with little to no publicity (Createspace does offer some professional paid services which you can also use).  I highly recommend both of them and will more than likely use them again in the future.

Before I get into posting a bunch of links on where to find the novella, I want to give a huge shout out to Celora Blair for designing the cover art for The New Colony.  It is indeed wonderful and exactly as I had imagined it!  She is also a tremendous writer and you can find the link to her blog “In [The] Deep” here.

Now we may begin the links.  Bring on the links!

To purchase The New Colony in print for $4.99, you can find it at:

Amazon

Createspace E-store

Otherwise for E-book versions, you can purchase it for only $2.99 at the following:

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Inktera

Scribd

Finally, I just wish to say thank you to all who take the moment to purchase and read this story.  None of this would be possible without your support!  Here’s to the beginning of the journey and hopefully further up and further in, as C.S. Lewis would put it, to the next step of the way. Cheers!

Love Unlimited

C.J. Huffman

The New Colony- A Sneak Preview

The New Colony- A Sneak Preview

Hi readers, I’ve been working on a long short story (or novella, as it is defined) called The New Colony.  It is a historically inaccurate account of the English attempt to establish a settlement on Roanoke Island in the late 1500’s, better known as the lost colony. It is written in journal entry form which I found to be quite neat.  I am currently looking to get the story self-published in both e-book and print versions, which is super exciting, to say the least!

So without further ado, I give you a sneak peak into the story that is The New Colony.

 

Day 1

We finally leave port after over a month’s delay.  All one hundred and seventeen of us crowded onto the Lyon with the flyboat and pinnace by our sides.  All of our hearts burdened with fears, anxieties, and excitements; we were, after all, sailing to a new world.

Day 72

I was finally allowed to go on deck with Mother to see with our own eyes the land slowly approaching us.  The mere sight of the sun was enough to partially awaken that sense of adventure I had let submerge into the depths of my heart for too long now.  As we reached the forward most part of the bow, as we were allowed, we caught sight of the growing land mass.  It looked all the more inviting than ever land did in all my life.  Seventy-two days aboard a vessel will do that to a man, or any such persons.  Mother cried out with a victorious holler, grabbing my hand and joyously flailing it about.  “We’ve made it, dear, we’ve made it!” she shouted.  I celebrated along with her, but a part of me was on the lookout for Alis, seeing if I might catch the smallest glimpse of her anywhere.  But the moment did not occur and before I knew it I was being summoned by Mother below deck, back to our foul and cold dungeon to wait.

Day 95

It has been now twenty days past since we first anchored off the coast of Roanoke Island.  And in those twenty days, there has been much progress with the village and surrounding fort walls.  We’ve come a long way, I suppose.  But within the progress much anxiousness can also be felt.  With supplies running low, the ominous natives who can be seen here and there watching us from the forests, and the unfavorable weather conditions, our hopes are being run aground.  White has been attempting his best at keeping morale up, but there’s only so much the man can do.  We will press on, however.  A second failure on this island would not do at all.

Day 117

This morning… oh, what a horrid sight it was.  This morning the men out fishing in the sea came running back to the village with great fear in their eyes.  They attempted to explain what was happening but no one could understand them in their frantic state.  I could see them from my vantage point on a roof I was working on.  They eventually convinced some men to go back with them to have a look with their own eyes.  I decided to follow.  Huge mistake.  As soon as I reached the clearing of the shoreline I saw it.  A great herd of all kinds of animals were there in the sea, swimming, drowning, and floating upside down in the water dead.  There was silence, except for the splashing and the waves hitting the shore.  The men all stood looking on in bewilderment, as did I.  What was happening?  It was the only question I could think of…

Wait, what is that?  I can hear many shouts and cries outside these walls.  Have the natives decided to attack us instead?  No gunshots have been heard yet.  Outside my window I can see… nothing.  Odd.  There seems to be a great, thick fog settling over the island.  It is quickly seeping into my room, blurring my sight.  Gunshot.  Another gunshot.  Where is Mother?

 

My Own Worst Critic

When it comes to entertainment, most specifically movies and TV shows, I find myself to be quite a harsh critic, just ask my wife. After nearly every movie we watch together she asks me how I liked it. My typical response: it was pretty good. This is my calculated reply saying that the movie was so-so, alright, okay, something along those lines. And in case you were wondering, most movies out there receive this rating from me.

Why, you ask? Well, I’m not so sure. I perceive it may just be my low tolerance for mediocrity in entertainment. If it doesn’t wow, amaze, or make me really think about it, then I can’t give it a five star mental review. But, of course that’s just me. The film and TV show industries thrive off of making, in my opinion, mediocre productions all because most people like that sort of thing. And that is perfectly okay. I don’t want to go bashing anyone who enjoys sappy romances, cliched  dramas, and typical action films. That is not my place to judge (Though, don’t even get me started on soap operas! ughhhh).

Maybe I’m not as easily wowed as most people out there. Maybe it’s me. Yes, most likely there is something wrong with me.

Anyway, when it comes to myself, most specifically me, myself, and I, I find that I am my own worst critic, the harshest of them all. Even right now, I am calculating just how great this blog post is going to be and whether or not I should abandon writing it all together (For the reader’s sake, I will fight against this pressing feeling and post it, even if it truly sucks! Because who doesn’t love a crappy blog post?). Being such a difficult critic against myself, is by far the greatest enemy I face, especially when it comes to doing what I love, whether it’s writing or playing the drums. My own harshness can, at times, tear me down so much that I end up losing all faith in the project and put it on the shelf. I nearly did that several times with the writing and editing of my almost-finished novel. I would begin reworking a segment or touching up a chapter and then all of a sudden realize just how bad the story was and want to just throw it out altogether, hours and hours of work gone in seconds.

Thankfully that never happened. I’ll admit, there were times when I’d set the project aside for months on end because I had lost my desire for it, thinking that I’d never get anywhere with it, or that it could never be good enough. But each time I always came back to it. I knew it was meant to be written. I finally, very recently, realized that the story might actually be very good, and not just “pretty good,” as I so frequently label things.

All in all, being my own worst critic can downright devastate me at times, but it has also, in a way, helped me to strive above mediocrity. I don’t want to write just another novel, or be just an average musician, I want to be great; not in my own abilities themselves but in the songs that I play and the stories that I tell.

Thank you, reader, for following my ever messy and tumultuous journey.

Love unlimited!

C.J. Huffman

(Happy?) Birthdays

Every year, you’re forced to celebrate the day you arrived on this planet… wait, no were not aliens…

Every year you’re forced to celebrate the day you came into this shiny, strange world. It’s a day to commemorate you turning another year older and another year wiser. Though the latter is not always the case, as I know from experience, it means another year flushed down the drain and your life closer to its finale.

It seems like such a dark and calloused look on the ordeal, but, alas, that’s the way I’ve viewed them the last few years. To my defense, it’s tough having a birthday in the winter months, when everything’s cold and dreary (at least where I live), and that seasonal depression stuff is in the air like pollen at all other times of the year. The hopefulness of spring, the fun-spirited joys of summer, and the beauty of fall, have all come to an end and grumpy, gray winter has settled in.

Now, I don’t wish to make excuses and I definitely don’t want to play the blame game here, it’s just kind of how it is. For me, I don’t like growing older, I don’t like feeling that another year has passed without living life to its fullest. It sucks, I despise it, and birthdays always remind me of those things. They force me to relive the past year and see just how wasteful I have been with my time, or how short I have come to meeting my own expectations for the year, or how I’m stuck in certain places I wish to be unstuck from but can’t see any way out of. Still have any desire to wish people “happy birthday”?

Thankfully there is always a “but” to be had when writing about these kinds of things. I believe in hope. I believe, even in the darkest, scariest, and most painful places, there is light to be seen; a light that shatters the darkness. This birthday, for me, has been different. I’m lighting hope’s candles and not extinguishing them this time. I’m not focusing on all those “could’ve”, “should’ve”, “would’ve” possibilities. Believe me, there are many of them just waiting for me to fall into their traps, waiting to suck me in and spit me out the other side beaten and bruised. But I’m looking at the present, where I’m at now, and how I’ve gotten here. Life is precious and life is all too short. There are blessings around every corner, if we but open our eyes to them.

So, happy birthday to you; to all of you, each and every year. Let us not focus on the downfalls of each passing year, but the good. And let us glean from the past but never get stuck there, for progress is made step by step.

Don’t forget to have a piece of hope; I here it’s delicious!

Love unlimited,

C.J. Huffman

Man and Space: Part III; the Conclusion

Man and Space: Part III; the Conclusion

After long travels week after week
The space man could not find what he seeked
And that was Earth, his marvelous home
Far into space he was alone
No one to talk to
Nothing he could do
To search for his mother planet, Earth
All his research would be of no worth

His heart became lost in loneliness
His thinking became a scrambled mess
The fame he sought would never take place
All those hopes had left his dreary face
He screamed at nothing
He fought with nothing
All of his supplies were scarcely thin
All of his food could fit in a tin

“Why did this happen to me?” he thought
“This is not the outcome I have sought
All of my research will now go to waste
Any glory I will never taste
I have failed my life
And filled it with strife
I’ll die alone in this galaxy
Oh, had I not lived in vanity”

One day his house came close to a sun
He knew his fight could never be won
It was impossible to find home
He would die a poor man all alone
From glory to dull
He ended it all
He leaped out towards that brilliant star
He burned alive as he fell afar…

Man and Space: Part II

Man and Space: Part II

After a week had slowly gone by
His home began climbing to the sky
He was suddenly startled and scared
Jump out the window? he did not dare
The earth shrunk in size
None could hear his cries
He then realized the wish he’d made
His worries began to sharply fade

“How awesome!” he thought, “my wish came true!
I can discover many things new
I will become the most famous man
In all the towns and all the land
From one countryside
To the other side”
But with a wish comes many troubles
It is not all mere blowing bubbles

The scientist soared to new places
Of many things new, he kept traces
Also keeping records in a book
Of strange things, where the simple wouldn’t look
Some stones from a moon
And gases from Neptune
His adventure lasted a long while
Soon, he faced his most awful trial…

Man and Space: Part I

Man and Space: Part I

Once upon a time there was a man
Of great wealth and esteem in the land
He analyzed every moving thing
Things short-lived and creatures long lasting
From the tallest tree
To the smallest flea
He was honored and praised many a time
For his great works he viewed as just fine

One day he looked to the stars above
And thought “earthly works are not enough
I want to analyze the great sky
But I need to be able to fly
Into unknown space
Passing the sun’s face”
He thought but nothing came to mind
Of how to escape the realm of time

While gazing at a beautiful star
To the right, one quickly fell afar
He promptly made on whimsical wish
That he could swim through space like a fish
Float close to the sun
He would have much fun
He could study the whole universe
Very close up, he would be the first

The Story Behind a Story: Rooms

It’s been my deepest desire to write about the making of my short story Rooms, which is extremely personal to me.  I finally felt that the time was right to actually sit down and share about a darkness that, for the longest time, haunted me and cost me so much lost time.  What better way to do this than to put it on a public blog for all the world to see!  Joking aside, I feel that it’s good for everyone to see that we are all just human.  We all make mistakes and we all fall flat on our faces.  And that’s okay.  The sole point in sharing our failures with others is to, one, learn from them, and two, release any guilt or shame we may unintentionally be carrying with us in the process.

So, let’s dive into the muck, for out of the dirt came this story that I am so passionate about.

The entire concept behind this story began on one Sunday morning quite a few years ago (specifics unknown). My pastor was teaching on how to let go of certain things in our lives by giving those spaces within our minds over for God’s use.  He explained that our brains are like storage facilities or large buildings with many little rooms with them; each serving a function or thought process in our lives, whether it be a certain activity we enjoy, a habit, a philosophy, or specific cluster of ideas.

He used his personal example of his habit of smoking cigarettes.  That entire room within his mind was filled with all the ideas, processes, decisions, etc, involving smoking.  It was an unhealthy habit he could not shake.  It seemed the entire ability to be able to finally quit had gone up in smoke (I couldn’t help it). At last, he decided to give it over to God to take care of; he gave that room to be occupied by Him.  In that moment, he was no longer a “smoker.” God had gone through, cleaned up the place, maybe even redecorated a bit, and became the lone tenant.  It changed my pastor’s life in that aspect, and all because of faith.

Continue reading “The Story Behind a Story: Rooms”

In Mists, Part II

In Mists, Part II

Alas! I see a glow
From within the forests
A being starts to sow
The seeds to conquer mists
Maybe now, maybe now

For the mist dwells among
All the dead and the old
The living and the young
To eat away their souls
All is cursed, all is worst

But those seeds have been sown
A new dawn will awake
Even darkness has known
There will be less to take
And destroy, and destroy

Those seeds of light will spread
The darkness will tremble
Its heart will fill with dread
Now, its ways will stumble
In retreat, in defeat

My own purpose will be
All renewed once again
Sharing my fruits freely
To all and without end
There is hope, there is hope