There’s Progress…

I think we all put ourselves on some type of timeline/deadline to have things done. We set our minds on something and we all believe it’s going to happen exactly when we say.

For some people, things do work out just like that.

For me, not so much. And, as I’ve said before, I’m learning to be okay with things not happening my way or happening a lot slower than I anticipated.

As I get into a good flow that works for me now, I’ve been looking back at and picking up on different projects to see what recaptures my interest.

One of the things I’ve focused on again is what I dubbed my final poetry collection. I had begun it with the hopes of having it published at some point in 2020. Life happened, naturally, and I let that slip away from me.

I took a look at it again last night, added to it, and I can say with confidence that it’s back in the forefront of things I’d like to share at some point this year. In the past, I’ve published a total seven poetry collections. All of which were relatively short, four of which I’ve since removed from Amazon because I wanted to rework certain poems and include them in this final collection. I’m aiming to make this one my largest, twenty to forty poems total (as it stands in this early draft, I’ve got twenty-three) and I hope to publish it.

My goal for 2022, which I’m keeping very small, is to publish two or three big projects.

  1. Final Poetry Collection.
  2. First Short Story Collection (I have so many ideas for this, but not sure where I want to start)
  3. My debut novel (which I’m going back and forth between Fly Girl and something completely different).

Those are a few of the plans in my mind, and I think it helps me to write them out (and not just speak them and allow myself to forget about them).

All of this to say, there’s progress being made. Progress is slow, but it’s still good progress and I’m growing more excited every day for all of my ideas, plans, goals, and more.

I’ve also been discovering new talents and passions and I can’t wait to share those as well!

As always, thanks so much for sticking around with me and see you soon with something new!

xoxo, Cortney.

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The Long Hot Summer [Snippet] by Cortney Joseph

Hey! dropping in to drop off a NEW short story!

I titled this as a snippet because typically with my short stories I don’t feel a need to write more once I finish, but this one introduces a character that I feel needs her own full story. I’ve had the title The Long Hot Summer in my head for a while, and the idea of a story set in the 1940s in my head for a while. I just may try to combine the two.

Lastly, I’ve implemented something new at the end of the story. Leave a round of applause via the ‘hand clap button’ if you enjoyed!

xoxo, Cortney.

___________________________

Madelyn tossed and turned for what seemed like hours, the sweltering summer heat and the night’s noises taking over the small space of her bedroom. There was no peace to be found, crickets chirping their melodic tunes as she dabbed away the beads of sweat that dripped down her arms and legs.

She’d retired just after dinner, hoping to relax and rid herself of the day’s stress. No luck.

She was far too uncomfortable, and there seemed to be no relief in sight.

Beneath her opened bedroom window, there was a sudden disturbance. Rustling of broken branches and leaves. She tried her best to ignore it, to set her mind on counting sheep in hopes of dozing off.

And then, a voice.

“Sugah.” It was faint, but instantly recognizable. And as annoyed as she wished to be at the thought of someone ‘intruding’ at such a late hour, a tiny smile etched itself across Madelyn’s lips. “Sugah, you awake?”

I should let him stand there, get himself in trouble, she thought. It would serve him right after what he’d done.

“Sugah, I’m sorry. Please talk to me.”

Madelyn rose slowly, pulling at the straps of her nightgown. She adjusted them on her shoulders, making herself as presentable as one could look at three am. She took her time, laughing to herself at the way he dragged out her nickname, his heavy drawl making it sound all the sweeter.

Propping herself against the windowsill, she leaned forward with her head out, a stern glare on her face. “Do you know what time it is, Raynard?”

“Far too late to call on a lady, I know. But Sugah, I just had to see you.”

“You missed that chance when you stood me up tonight, last night, and the night before. Get away from here, please, before my daddy wakes up.”

“Sugaah, please. I can explain.”

She stepped out of view, hiding herself behind curtains as he drawled on about a mishap, losing track of time, and other excuses. Things she’d heard time and time again, things she’d hear over and over if she allowed Raynard to continue stringing her along.

“I really did lose track of time. Jerry blew through town, and you know how it goes when you haven’t seen friends in a long time. You know how the fellas and I get. Do you want to know every place we visited, what we did, what we ate, who we spoke to?”

“Oh, I can just about imagine, some I won’t even dare to name.” Her tone wasn’t as sweet as Raynard had become accustomed to, it seemed to drip with a bit of disdain suddenly. Accusation lingered in the space between them.

He hung his head, only for a moment, knowing it would be of no use to deny or argue any idea she might have had. She’d more than likely be correct in her assumptions. “At least I’m here now. Sugah, I love you more than anything in this world, you know that.”

She returned to the windowsill, staring at him harshly. “You sure have a funny way of showing it.” Lowering her voice, hating the thought of waking her parents, Madelyn continued. “You know, I’ve wasted years of my life sitting in this very window. Waiting and pining away for someone everyone else swears is the perfect catch for a girl like me. You’ll be a spinster Madelyn, you’ll grow old alone, Madelyn. Sometimes a man must do a little more exploring before he’s certain, Madelyn, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. And I believed that, for a long time. Now, the more excuses and lies you toss my way Raynard, the more I start to think and feel that being alone might be much better than being lonely in the company of someone that seems so uncertain of what they have with me.”

“Sugah, do you hear yourself?”

“Yes, quite well. I’m tired, and from far more than this heat.”

The fact was everyone was so used Madelyn accepting whatever was thrown her way. Be it directions, plans for her life, excuses for their failures and short comings, feelings, ideas, and more. No matter how they claimed to love her; not a single individual in her life cared to ask Madelyn what she wanted or how she felt about anything.

That included her love life. She was expected to enjoy and be grateful for any match her parents suggested. She was expected to be gleeful at the prospect of playing second to whomever and whatever said match involved himself with.

And while she loved Raynard Valentine dearly, while she truly felt he could be the love of her life, Madelyn felt it painfully obvious that it were time she loved herself just a tad bit more.

“Goodnight Raynard, and goodbye.”

“Goodbye? Madelyn Woodley, what in the world are you going to do without me?”

She took a deep breath, standing straight. The smile that had originally formed itself at the sound of his voice returned and widened at the possibilities that began to fill her mind. “I don’t know, but I think I’ll have fun finding out.”

Closing her window and curtains, Madelyn returned to her bed. Still no relief to be found from the heat, at least there was one less thing she had to worry over now.

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Hello There…

Soooo …

I thought a new schedule meant that writing again would be easy for me, it would flow naturally because I have time now.

LOL, I was so wrong.

And no, I’m not counting myself out and I haven’t lost my excitement or belief in myself. It’s just that while the ideas present themself daily, getting them from my mind to the tips of my fingers to paper or word document has been a rollercoaster, to say the least.

I had such high hopes for myself for January, only to find myself so tired and my body still reacting as if I were still working a schedule I held for six years. It’s been a constant reminder to myself that years can’t be undone in a day (or even in two months post change).

With that thought, I’ve been allowing myself a lot more grace rather than getting angry at myself for not completing tasks, not writing, not reading and anything else I’m supposed to be doing to further my craft, site, and brand.

I gently remind myself that there is no time limit, my gift is here and mine forever, and I can only go UP from where I am now. It’s that kindness towards myself that’s been allowing me to push forward instead of shutting down like I would before.

Just thought I’d share that, and well wishes for you all who are still here with me. I hope February brings us all greatness! & see you soon with new playlists to write to, and new stories/poems by myself and fellow writers.

xoxo, Cortney!

Writer’s Spotlight : You’re In Big Treble by Paris Daniels

Hi guys!

For some time, I’d been speaking on hosting an artist spotlight or corner of sorts to promote some of my favorite reads, fellow writers who are both friends and supporters of me, family, other artists, etc.

Well, that starts today and I am beyond excited for my first spotlight to focus on fellow writer, Paris Daniels.

A writer, musician, and music educator from Louisiana, Paris Daniels authored and published her first children’s book, You’re In Big Treble (featuring illustrations from Paris Edwards), in 2019. A cute and fun quick read for parents to share with their children, or teachers with their students.

While I, myself, haven’t ventured into music classes or played my clarinet in years; I found this to be such a cute way to showcase the names of notes (we meet Bass, Quarter, and more), how one can move up and down lines and spaces, and where/when the conductor needs them as Treble asks to play with her friends while she is at rest.

I found this to be an adorable read with clear and pretty illustration and would recommend for anyone looking to introduce their young children or grandchildren to music education in an easy and quick form early.

Below I’ve included a photo of You’re In Big Treble (clinking the photo will take you directly to Amazon) along with it’s synopsis below for anyone who may be interested.

As a fellow writer, and family, I can’t express how beyond proud I am of Paris for taking the big leap a lot of us are afraid of. PUBLISHING! And doing so on her own. I can’t wait for what she brings next, as all authors are, your gifts are truly needed and appreciated.

In Staffland, there is always moves being conducted. But, one day as Treble was venturing out throughout Staffland she receives news that she is in BIG trouble ! This creative music book is perfect for young readers, music educators and anyone who has a love for music. It details note and staff names, note values and musical terms.” – Paris Daniels, 2019.

“Again” by Cortney Joseph

It was all in the way you touched me,

Cold, displeased with the surface each fingertip grazed.

I tensed, thinking I’d prepared myself for what had become the usual,

a tense prelude to the darkness that shone itself in your eyes as you pulled away,

hand raised to the heavens, striking with force that knocked me backward.

Again, and again though we’d both said agreed there’d never be another moment such as this.

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Memory Lane by YoLana Crocket

It’d been a while since I’d step foot in this place.

It’d held so many bad memories, brought to mind all the tears I’d cried the instant my soles touched the tile. Brought an aching to my heart that I could hardly explain to anyone once I’d manage to free myself of it’s hold. With each stride the grip grew tighter around my soul.

I’d been told that sometimes closure can’t come without reopening old wounds, and I’ve never been sure of how true or untrue that might be. Surely wasn’t sure if I wanted to bother with finding out, not even for the purpose of ‘healing’.

The walls were now baren, stripped of the smiling faces and colorful scenery. Free of lovers embracing, free of babies and all the spaces that brought about unbridled joy and happiness.

The white walls now a stained yellow, years of neglect and decay settled in with a stale stench that reminded me of the old wooden homes occupied and owned by the elders in my youth. I hadn’t thought about it in years, and yet, in an instant I missed the simplicity of it all.

It became quite funny, for only a moment, how the thought of childhood could bring back both fleeting excitement and everlasting grief.

Into each room I meandered, taking mental note of every missing patch, every creaking board, every tear that fell when a memory came dashing before my eyes.

I felt every emotion possible, and nothing all at once.

I felt caged once more, and prayed for total freedom to follow.

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It’s Our Anniversary!

Do you know what today is?!

That’s right, MyPenWritesNice is officially 5 years old today. FIVE! It’s so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I not only started something big, to me, but I have kept it going in spite of the many obstacles life has thrown my way.

I’ve seen growth, not only with this site and those of you who have stuck with me since day one (and those who have joined along the way) but also growth in myself as an artist.

As someone who is hyper critical of themself, I’ve found in starting and trying my best to maintain this website that making this move was just what I needed to teach myself to have patience AND trust in myself and my talents.

I can’t begin to thank everyone that has read, liked, commented, shared, or even just clicked around the site in curiosity. The engagement from different countries is what continues to surprise me, and I can only hope that my words have touched and/or resonated with readers in all of these amazing places in some way or another.

To celebrate a bit, I thought we’d take a trip down memory lane with a few of my favorite stories that I’ve posted over our first five years. Check them out below.

As always happy reading, thank you so much, and I appreciate you all very much!

  1. A Friend In Need (by Cortney Joseph)The very FIRST short story I shared via MPWN.
  2. So The Myth Goes [“Prayer Lake” Intro] by Cortney JosephMy very first attempt at writing horror.
  3. A Life To Remember : Prologue by Cortney JosephA look into one of my favorite types of stories to write (period/era pieces)
  4. A Place In The Sun (Intro) by YoLana CrocketOne of the very first stories shared by a fellow writer/friend in support of MPWN.
  5. A Meeting In Secret (‘Batiste’ Novel Snippet) by Cortney Joseph One of my favorite shorts/snippets to share when I’m promoting the site!

Have a read, leave me your thoughts, and I look forward to how we’ll grow within year five!

xoxo, Cortney.

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Investments (in self & others) and Excitement (for the future).

I am truly looking forward to the new year.

Though I have still had many trying moments in 2021, I can honestly say that this past month alone has given me so much hope and restored my excitement for my future. So, if you guys didn’t catch it, Christmas day I posted a new short story. It is the very first NEW work I’ve written in two years!! Happy is an understatement of how I felt upon completion. And though it is certainly not one of my best (in my humble opinion), I’m thrilled with it because I know now that I haven’t lost my gift. She’s back and it starts with the simple little post below.

Merry X-Mas, Baby.

Naturally, along with getting back into writing, I’ve decided and reminded myself that I also need to get back into reading. As someone who loves to learn new things and new techniques and styles, I’ve been feeling that a lot of my problem is that I haven’t kept up with reading any of the genres that I’m attempting to write in, if that makes sense.

2020 I was supposed to get back into reading and I can honestly say that between January of that year and today, I’ve read a total of …. three books, if that.

So, since I’ll be diving back into that, I’ve also decided to tie that into a new section of my site that I’ll be including in 2022, and that is an artist/writer’s spotlight. As I told family, I want to help others the way the I wasn’t able to have or find help when I first started, even with a smaller platform. You never know who you’ll reach and who you can help others reach, right?

I’ll be ordering books soon, with the first two on my list being by a fellow writer within my family, and a book I’ve been wanting to add to my collection by Stephanie Ascough (who has been a wonderful supporter of my site this past year), but I will also be looking for lots more. So, if you’re an author and have a book you’d like read and featured, please feel free to reach out with details on where I can grab a copy via CortneyJ@mypenwritesnice.com

That’s it for now, a quick update of sorts. I’m shooting to have a story for New Years Eve or New Years Day. We shall see how that goes.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope this holiday season has been amazing and blessed for you. I just want to thank anyone who has stuck with MPWN for being here and reading along. I can’t wait to bring new greatness in 2022, and we’ll be celebrating FIVE years of MyPenWritesNice! Do me a favor, in the comments let me know what you’ve enjoyed or loved about the site most over the time we’ve shared, I’d love to know.

If I don’t make a mini post before then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Merry X-Mas, Baby. by Cortney Joseph

Kayla stared closely at the paper resting loosely between her fingertips, in complete disbelief. Tears welled within the ducts of her eyes, threatening to spill as an unconcerned gaze fell upon her. Her unstead hands trembled with each word she read.

What was this, and why had it crept into ruin what she intended to be the best season of her life.

Words seemed to fail, would not materialize in time for her to express the sudden pain and anguish that surged through her heart. “What the hell is this, Ty?”

“Just what it says Kayla. You’re an intelligent woman, I would hate to have to spell it out to you.” Tyava, whom Kayla had spent the past ten years of her life with, stepped forward. It seemed her words flowed with ease, as if she’d had adequate time to collect her thoughts and make all necessary plans to execute this moment.

It was then that Kayla began to recall the subtle differences around their home. Things she’d noticed but thought nothing of. Tyava had been coming home later and later, or not at all. She assumed to avoid the arguments that had begun to plague their marriage as of late. Little by little items that belonged to Tyava had gone missing, things she thought simply might need to be replaced. The space in her closet, growing barren with each week that passed. Fewer and fewer words spoken between the two as the days passed, their outings together down to none. There had been no affection, no chemistry, no interest in keeping appearances.

Suddenly the joyfulness of the holiday tunes that surrounded them, an attempt to set a different mood, sickened Kayla. She felt her knees begin to weaken, felt herself falling off a cloud it seemed she’d been keeping herself on in hopes that this would never be her reality.

Kayla scoffed, angered. “And there was no other time you could have done this?” Truly, what time would have been good to suggest or announce one’s desire to divorce?

Tyava could only shrug her shoulders, failing to understand where these sudden feelings her wife displayed were being pulled from. All throughout the years they shared, not a single conversation about feelings, thoughts, emotions, or ideas could be expressed without Tyava’s being pushed aside or disregarded. She might not have played the traditionally feminine role within their relationship, but she had them too and she’d grown tired of being made to feel small or insignificant when she gave more than her ‘better’ half.

“So what am I supposed to do, just accept that you’re leaving me and look a fool?”

“Yeah. You know, looking the fool isn’t so bad, I’ve been doing it since we got together. I’ve thought about this long and hard Kayla, and while I will probably always love you, I just can’t do this anymore.”

“Marriage is a lifetime commitment, Ty. I gave and sacrificed everything to be with you! You can’t just leave me like this.”

The tear-filled words of supposed anguish that followed did nothing to stir Tyava, not like they would have months or even weeks before. “Merry Christmas Kayla, I wish you a very blessed new year and a happy life.”

Without another word, blocking out the sounds of her enraged wife, Tyava walked away without the hopes that she’d find peace and joy within the newest season of life alone.

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Songs To Write To (Holiday Edition)

I have to admit that these past few years, the holidays have not been my favorite times of the year and it’s been a bit hard to get festive in any fashion. Typically around this time, I write a Christmas story or novel of some sort, and I haven’t done that for at least three years now.

While I’m still figuring out my time, and getting settled into a new job (yay!), I figured I’d at least attempt to write something (no promise that it will be shared ’cause I simply may not finish). However, like most instances with me, I need music to write and inspire me. Figured I’d get a little festive with a Christmas playlist of my own, and I hope that it helps to inspire other writers as well.

There’s a little something for us all, new renditions (a bit of Trapmas vibes as well as the standards) along with some of our favorite classics. As I hear many say, it’s not officially Christmas until you hear The Temptations sing “IN MY MIND”. 😂🤣

My Winter Wonderland playlist for 2021 is below. Happy Listening, Happy Writing, and most importantly Happy Holidays to you and yours!

xoxo, Cortney.

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