Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Bees Found Me

Once upon a time, my apartment was invaded by honeybees...

...and Rooglewood Press announced the theme for their next fairy-tale novella contest: Sleeping Beauty.

It seemed only right to connect the two events.

The latest WIP I've been working on sporadically? A project I've affectionately titled Sting Me to Sleep. (It's quite possible this title is as bad as The Shedding of a Star - the original title for How a Star Falls. It sounds quite epic and clever to me, but, um, you can see that I don't always have the best judgment when it comes to naming my work. So...let's just call this a working title for now and see what happens!)

What started as a terrifying experience has turned into story inspiration and an odd sort of fascination. I've even been collecting various bee paraphernalia (some items gifted by my mom): honeycomb-shaped bee dishes for my kitchen counter, bee pajamas, a bee notepad, and, from my most recent trip to the coast, a bee dishtowel, bee necklace, and a nonfiction book called The Beekeeper's Lament.

It's interesting how writing through your fears can be so freeing. A new perspective - a bit of distance to see the size and shape and solutions - can make a world of difference.

(Does this mean I won't freak out again next spring should I happen to hear buzzing in my stove vent? Mm, probably not. But still.)

Sting Me to Sleep has been quite fun to write so far. :) It's a contemporary romance with a slight fairy-tale flair. I don't know if I'm going to enter it into the Five Magic Spindles contest, as I feel it's more a modern "reimagining" of Sleeping Beauty than a retelling. More "inspired by" than strictly following the plot. I'm really not sure how exactly it's going to turn out, but I hope to finish it soon-ish and find out!

If you'd like to see my inspiration board for the story, hop on over to Pinterest. Below you'll find a snippet from the beginning of my WIP and some pictures of honeybees hard at work at a rose garden I visited with my mom and sister on Saturday...

* * *

Unedited Snippet from Sting Me to Sleep

There were two things I feared in life above all others. 

Bees, and inconveniencing another person. 

The latter dread resided deep within me—a calcification built layer by layer, glare by glare, reprimand by reprimand, and solidified with my mother’s disappointed tears. That’s why I didn’t ask for help when the bees came. 

It was just last spring. I lived in a small rental home on the edge of town, where the grass grew a little wild because I had never bought a lawn mower and the nearest neighbors weren’t near enough to care. 

I liked the solitude. Any freelance editor would. And I was proud to have my own space after several years of rooming with strangers while building up my business. 

But the bees found me after only several months of peace. 

I had known they would find me, eventually. The kind of knowing that friends mock but always proves true. Maybe a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Still, I wasn’t prepared for the battle that awaited me in my own home.

* * *

*Note: I haven't forgotten about Morning Glory (Book 3 in The Heart's Spring series) or Where Trains Collide (another NA novella)! I still plan to finish and publish both stories in time, Lord willing. Stay tuned!


  1. Ack! Bees?! Yeah, I don't do bees! I would have moved out! Of course my mom tells me that about our house that gets several scorpions a year so I guess we all have our fears huh? Love the snippet from your WIP! Looking forward to reading anything you put out there!!

    1. Scorpions?? Yikes! I've been known to freak out in the presence of scorpions...

      And yeah, the day I returned my apartment to find a bunch of bees on the inside of my window was not the happiest day of my life, LOL. I much prefer for them to stay outdoors, where they belong... But all in all, I do like my comfy little apartment, so the bees didn't chase me away. ;) Really hoping they don't come back next year, though!

      And hey, the incident inspired my latest WIP, so we'll see what comes of this. :)

      I'm so happy you liked the snippet, and I truly appreciate your support and faith in me! ((Hugs)) I hope this story comes together and I can share it with you. :)


  2. Exciting stuff! Thrilled for any and all of your WIPs, Amber. And whenever they're ready to share with the world, we're willing to read them. (Not to mention excited!) Happy writing.

    1. Rissi, you are just fantabulous at supporting authors and cheering on friends, you know that? Thank you so much for all you do!! At some point sooner rather than later, I hope to get another story out for you to read. :) Thank you for your patience and unwavering encouragement!


  3. What an intriguing idea and so neat that your fears and an unpleasant situation inspired your story. The beginning has really sparked my interest. I've studied the life cycles of honeybees, and it's really amazing. But, like you, I wouldn't want my home to be invaded by them! Best wishes with your story. And, I think Rooglewood Press would welcome all types of interpretations. God bless you.

    1. Aw, thank you so much for the encouragement, Meredith! I'm honored you stopped by to check out my story idea, and I'm excited that you're intrigued by the snippet. How neat that you've studied honeybees! I confess my knowledge is pretty basic, so I still have plenty to learn. But they're certainly fascinating creatures, and it's amazing to see how God designed them to work together for the good of the colony!

      I'll probably get into this more in an author's note or something, but thankfully the "invasion" of the bees in my apartment was a one-time incident, and my landlady helped remove them. There were a couple of instances after that where individual bees got in through the vent, but thankfully not en masse as before. :)

      Also, thank you for the encouragement regarding Rooglewood's contest! Seeing the types of stories chosen before, I know they are definitely open to a variety of retellings - I guess it would just depend what sort of theme they end up going with for the next collection. And I'm unsure whether this story will end up being close enough to the fairy tale to really count as a "retelling." So I'm currently leaning toward self-publishing it before the contest ends. But we'll see! :)

      God bless you, as well, and thanks again!