Hello all. I do actually have a good bit of the second and third parts of the vampire story done. I wrote more than 100,000 words in less than 6 months when I did this. I may finish it up, if anyone actually likes this one. Who knows. But it is here for you all to enjoy. Please remember this is fiction, and lives in my head. Enjoy reading MLSteele 🙂
I hope everyone has a lovely day today!! Enjoy your time with friends and family and good food. Laugh more today, tell those you love what they mean and have that extra slice of pie!! Happy Thanksgiving Y’all !! And enjoy your reading!! Xoxo MLSteele
Hello all, it’s been a bit hectic, probably the same for most of you as we stumble closer & closer to Thanksgiving!! My mood has been surprisingly good for this time of year. May have a bit to do with the fact that I’m taking time for me, in the way of exercise. I’m not trying to lose weight or anything, just using the exercise as a way to lift my spirit, tire me out so I can sleep well, and to help aleviate some of the pain from my chronic health issues:-)
For those of you who can relate to SAD, hang in there, get plenty of light, and shoot for some exercise if you can!!
i can tell you, there have been times I didn’t want to go on, times I knew no one would ever miss me if I did go, but you know what, I would. It has taken me so long to realize stop living for others and begin your life as who you want to be. Be free, be happy!! For me, this means not caring what others think of me physically… I cut all of my hair off even though others protested. If I choose to wear plaid and print,so be it ! Who cares what anyone else says!! I am trying to teach those who look up to me the same thing. Do what makes you happy, the rest is merely approval. And you are the only person who needs to approve!!
So everyone enjoy your reading, have a lovely week of cooking& baking and celebrating & I will try and have something good to read for you soon 🙂 <3 MLSteele
Hello everyone:-) The countdown is on for the Thanksgiving celebration!! I have made my list & have started buying things hear and there so hopefully I won’t have to do a mammoth shopping trip the day before, which is my usual… Lol
I’ve been working on my story, the Ebony Jackson one, trying to get it long enough. To start with it was 6,800 words. But I have increased it over 8,000 already , as time allows me to work.
It looks as though I will miss this first quarter for the writing contest, because that story is still sitting idle… But it’s there, over 2,000 words written on it so far, so I will finish it , just maybe not until the Christmas Holiday:-) school is hectic , along with me trying my best to stay healthy!!
I hope to hear from some of you . If you have any requests or things you want to ask, feel free 🙂 Thank you all, and Happy Reading 🙂 MLSteele
I’m thinking about posting a section of one of my stories, that I want to make into a e-story on Amazon … Maybe… I’m one of the most indecisive persons at times…
So… I suppose I will post a small excerpt from it , I hope it’s ok , and I hope to have it up and ready to sale asap, although this could take awhile, I’ve never done it before 😀 anyways I will post a small section !! Happy Reading MLSteele
Hi y’all just popping by since it has been a bit since I have posted…
This time of year, is the greatest, and the worst. It is the time for cooler weather , for all of my favorite holidays , and all of the delicious foods that come along with them!! It is also the time of year , when recent losses & long ago losses really hit home. I try to look on the bright side &imagine all of those loved ones huddled around their own table where they are now , enjoying the festivities too as they watch over. However that only gets me so far…
Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family & giving thanks to all we have. It is a time to celebrate our blessings through food and family!
I have a traditional American Thanksgiving, with turkey, stuffing, & all the other fixings!! And yes, all made from scratch. I know this is seen around the globe, and I would really enjoy hearing any replies about your Thanksgiving traditions, how you give thanks for what you have , and how you celebrate and with whom 🙂 I hope to see some comments soon !! Lots of Love & enjoy reading!! MLSteele
Here is the second part of my current story. Here we get to meet more characters.
Krasnoyarsk Outpost Two, Siberian District, Russia
24 August, 2259 Terra Year
1416 Zulu Time
Horacio watched the embedded reporter speak to his CO. The little camera floated around on its regressive gravity platform, controlled by little twitches of the reporter’s big toe. The lieutenant pretended to be busy with a balky mass coil driver for a squad automatic weapon while the interview was going on. He was trying to keep an eye on Captain Màrtainn, ready to interrupt with a pretext to get her away from the reporter. Some bullshit excuse, maybe pretend he needed her CO’s retina print and voice print on a report for something. God knows there was enough paperwork floating around the military that it was plausible enough. Then again, there probably really was stuff that needed her to sign off on anyway.
The technology of the camera intrigued him. It was something proprietary, and more than likely some JAG lawyer was trying to get it licensed to the military. He could think of a few ways to weaponize something like that. He wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting the picocontrollers for the thing implanted in selected muscles. It was different for everyone. Not everyone had the best control of a certain muscle group, so they went with whatever body part they had the best control over, other than face, ears, and hands. Reporters still had to write, or at the very least manipulate electronic tools with devices. The military didn’t use thumbprints anymore, but the civilian applications did. Biometrics had come a long way in several centuries.
The captain was still outwardly calm. The reporter was a good man, and even though no one in the unit liked reporters, they’d all respected him. He was professional, competent, and best of all, a former Marine. The reporter knew how to elicit information and lay down covering fire. So, the reporter got more tolerance from the Marines. Horacio saw her twitch a little when she spoke about the Russian, and his heart hurt for her. Horacio was jaded after years of war and having served in two branches as officer, but for some reason he was more protective of his current CO than all the others. He wasn’t the only one to feel that way, and over blood beers later he and Second Lieutenant DeBourchier concluded it was because she was his first female commanding officer.
“Not saying you’re attracted to her, sir. But we all kinda watch out for her in battle. God knows if she thought we were, she’d rip us new ones, and that’s no joke. That sharp tongue and temper of hers, well, you know how it is.”
“Don’t I know it, D.B. Sometimes, she ain’t a people person.”
“No, but damn, what a fighter.”
“Too bad we can’t replicate a hundred of her and send them all to Ik’tretka.”
“Their home planet would explode.”
They looked around to make sure she wasn’t hovering around. Lieutenant DeBourchier sat back and belched politely. His black mustache stood out against the flash of pearly white teeth.
“What I don’t like is the trippies running experiments on our women and using them like so many brood mares. I heard too much about the feeding stations.”
It was no secret about the particular atrocities visited on women. The staff xeno-psychologists were all ripping out body hair trying to figure out why the trippies liked women so much. Yes, there was the hormone thing, estrogen and such, but no one had captured a live Trippy to find out why. He knew about the warrior suicide culture they had. The xeno-anthropologists said that according to every intelligence document they could find, the trippies considered what humans called death to be the same thing as “growing up.” The thought that the human race was locked in a to-the-death battle with children was disquieting.
“Where are their ‘parents?’ Wouldn’t you think they have to be around somewhere?”
“You’d think so, but no, I guess not. Leastaways, nobody’s made the trip to go find them.”
“Yeah, too busy dealing with the hooligans knocking down the mailbox and leaving prank calls. What about trying to keep them alive when we take prisoners?”
“You know how hard that is.”
The Trippy prisoners tapped into their warrior culture whenever they were captured, and performed a version of seppuku. The ritual was never-ending, and every Marine, spacer, soldier – or cop, for that matter – had seen it at least once.
Once a Trippy was issued into a cell, they made use of the facilities to ‘purify’ themselves. Water was water, apparently, and they consumed it with gusto. The Trippy prisoner would cleanse themselves, arrange their bark-like exoskeleton with care, and usually compose a poem in their native tongue. Some of the more educated among them would write it in Standard, which was strange enough. Those composers were the more militant of any of the prisoners taken.
The strange thing was that in the absence of a spoken language, the Trippies had very complex written language. It was a very precise orthography, heavy on mathematics. The heavy scientists like the physicists, astronomers, mathematicians, various engineers, and so forth all wanted to study this language for possible use in scientific expression. Strangely, though, there was several subsets of the Trippy language that dealt with the abstract of art and interpretive expression. The scientists with the artistic leanings was pleased to find this hidden side as well.
This dichotomy of the aliens – the absence of a spoken language versus a complex written language – made for a lot of head scratching and debates. Whenever a prisoner was taken, several of the scientists from whatever range of discipline that was available rotated watches along with the military personnel. They waited for the prisoners to write out anything, and watched for minute clues in posture or mood. Each composition was recorded and pored over, with the more popular posted in the daily intelligence briefings to the Theater CINCs.
Currently the November Tau Tanka was the selection given. So called because the layout happened to match the style of a Japanese tanka, it ran as follows:
the air of battle
makes gre’swetor’s sweet hail
Come, gre’swetor! I have stood
awaiting my time proudly!
This particular tanka was accompanied by a list of battle accomplishments and honors, posts, duties, and commands held by the Trippy in question. It turned out that he (or she or it, no one was sure) was a fighter of some great influence. Even to a layman, it seemed impressive. The xeno-anthropologists seemed to be particularly impressed by the genealogy that the fighter had thoughtfully attached.
They couldn’t ask him/her/it about it, though. Like every other Trippy that they’d captured, the fighter had written all he/she/it had to say down after the ritualistic purification, bowed to the four winds, collapsed where he/she/it had stood upright, and died. This was the supposed meaning of the word ‘gre’swetor,‘ but no one was quite sure.
There was no way to stop them. Suicide watches had been set on every one, and most just recited a string of numbers, using their language hardware, then collapsed. Invariably, there would be a message arriving at the headquarters, with the numbers in the headers of the message, that contained the last words of the Trippy in question. If there was more than one, say in holding cells, one would act as a second for the others’ action. It was half-seriously dubbed trippuku by the Marines, and the slang word had caught on. After all the other Trippies had been ‘assisted,’ the second in the trippuku ritual would follow suit. This one would always list the assistance just given last as a great honor, and expire happily.
Lieutenant DeBourchier shoved his empty blood beer mug to the sergeant bartending and stood up.
“It’s been nice, sir, but I got to rack out. I have an early patrol tomorrow.”
“I hear you. Hey, don’t forget those evaluations.”
“Yeah, tell me about it. I think sometimes the military runs on paperwork, not fake-coffee.”
“It does. Thanks a lot for reminding me about coffee, fake or not. Real coffee’s five hundred credits a pound and you want to mention it? This crap we got now just sucks.”
“Sorry. I’m not the one that lived on the stuff before the Trippies came.” The junior lieutenant smirked as he slipped the proverbial dagger in.
“Oh, get out of here before I wipe that smirk off your face.”
DeBourchier left, not particularly worried about the jesting threat. The sergeant grinned at the officer.
“Sir, one day he’ll get it back. Don’t you worry.”
“Not worried, sarge. I’ll get mine. Besides, I still have a freeze-dried pound of coffee he doesn’t know about in my bank’s safe deposit box back home. When the war’s over, I’m going to get it out, open it, brew a pot, and I’m not sharing.”
The last part came as the sergeant was visibly drooling. He seemed to be disappointed. Horacio didn’t have any sympathy for him, or anyone else.
“And another thing…”
“Anyone comes up to me and starts sniffing around for coffee, I’ll know right where to go.” A level glance spoke volumes. The sergeant nodded quickly, and placed a shot glass in front of the officer.
“Sir, I got something for you to try. I was saving it for a special occasion, but now’s just as good a time as any.”
“Okay, what is it?”
“Patience, sir. You’ll see.”
Horacio watched as the sergeant took two unmarked green glass bottles out of the cupboard, one smaller than the other. He set those down by the shot glass, then got a teaspoon and a dirty white bottle from the small refrigerator under the bar.
The sergeant smiled, and shook his head. He set the white bottle down on the other side of the glass, and theatrically balanced the spoon on it. Horacio rolled his eyes, but was intrigued enough not to say anything. The officer watched as the enlisted man uncorked the bigger bottle and carefully pour out half a shot of clear liquid into the glass. He recorked it and put it on the counter running the length of the wall behind the bar. After he uncorked the second bottle, the sergeant grabbed the spoon and twirled it absently.
Horacio raised an eyebrow.
The sergeant placed the spoon bowl side up over the shot glass, and very slowly poured a deep green liquid over the spoon, leaving a space to the rim measuring maybe the thickness of three coins. Horacio noticed that the green liquid didn’t settle in and mix with the other fluid, but sat placidly in a layer over it. He still didn’t say anything. The sergeant uncorked the dirty white bottle with one hand without moving his spoon, and tipped in a milky white cream over the spoon in the same manner as the green layer.
Horacio noticed that the cream left no residue or droplets on the spoon. Looking at the shot glass, he saw that the concoction was steaming or smoking – he couldn’t tell which.
“Throw it back, sir, whole thing. Quick, before that top layer melts. Swallow quick.”
The officer looked up at him, then shrugged. He grabbed the shot glass, feeling the warm and cold layers through the thin glass, and threw it back.
His breath left him as molten fire coursed down to his stomach. As the slug inched its sedate way, following gravity, he was surprised to note that the peristalsis of his digestive tract had stopped in shock. His muscles tightened in response, but as the shot worked its way down, the muscles loosened up after it passed. Horacio was sure that his stomach was going to clench up, but that didn’t happen. Instead it seemed to calm itself and go to sleep. A feeling of warmth and content ease washed over him, and he looked at the bartending sergeant in astonishment.
“Sergeant Hanks, just what in the hell was that?”
The sergeant grinned.
“Felt like poison going down, didn’t it, but at the end, feels great?”
“Yes, but you didn’t answer the question. What was it?”
“The guys call it Cosmic Explosion.”
“I can see why. Where did it come from?”
The sergeant wiped the bar as he spoke.
“Well, one of the intel guys was looking at the trippuku stuff they get, and one of them left his favorite drink. They didn’t really think anything of it, until other Trippies after that one mentioned in their own missives that they wished they’d had it one last time. It’s sort of like Gunny Jacob’s meat jerky, as far as we can tell.”
The officer nodded. Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Jacob was famous in the unit, and beyond, for the jerky chews he made to take out on patrol with him. He charged a high price for a small bag of his jerky, but not one Marine complained. They got discounts compared to the Navy and Army. The joke was that when he retired, Gunny Jacob was going to get rich from the jerky. The other joke was that since he guarded his secret method so well, the recipe he used was classified high enough that even God wasn’t cleared for the information.
“So what about it? Are you saying that this Trippy made this drink, like Gunny’s jerky?” He coughed and watched, fascinated, as the room spun a little. The sergeant had a hand out to steady him already.
“How do you know this stuff won’t kill me?”
“Me and the boys did a scientifical test. We found out what the analogues was to the Trippy ingredients. It turns out that you have to make up the green part and the white part, but any moonshine at least a hunnert ‘n’ fifty proof will do.”
“So what was the proof?”
“We took leave and drank shots. Nobody can get through more than two. Best part is, you don’t get a hangover.”
“Well, that’s good, but I don’t think I’ll be trying a second one so soon. I’ll try another one next week. Damn, that’s potent.”
“You say so, sir. You know what’s funny?”
“What?” He was slurring his words a little now.
“Skipper can slam two of these beauties, and still ream someone out. You can’t tell it affects her a-tall.”
“Dayum. She’s a better man than me. You put me out with one shot. I’m going to bed.”
The sergeant laughed.
“Have a good night, sir.” He watched as the officer carefully got off the rough wooden stool and navigate slowly to the door. Sergeant Hanks traded smirks with the other enlisted man cleaning up for closing time. The lance corporal flipped the sign over, and turned out the lights, then walked to the bar.
Sergeant Hanks was just finishing two more Cosmic Explosions, and he locked up the bottles, as the lance corporal sat down on the seat the officer had just left. He picked up his shot.
“Well, Bill, another day.”
“Got that right, Roger, another day, down the tubes.” The sergeant picked up his shot, and they threw their drinks back. Both shuddered simultaneously.
“Think this place is going to survive?”
The sergeant stared off in the distance, thinking about the lance corporal’s question.
“I hope so, but the way it’s been going, I don’t have any kind of clue.”
“Lieutenant Bisbee’s all right, but the Skipper… she’s scary.”
The sergeant thinned his lips.
“I know she isn’t going to win any popularity contests, now or probably ever, but if anybody that managed to deal with half of what she’s had to and still be a saint is cracked. He’s got something eating at him, too, but he keeps it close.”
“Why? You heard something?”
“Bartenders and priests hear a lot, and both drink because of it. I’ll keep the Skipper’s secrets, mainly because I don’t want her after me.”
“OK, well, yes, I can understand that. You know scuttlebutt has that there’s another operation laid on in a few weeks.”
“I know, and it don’t look too good.”
“You know any details?”
“All I know is rescuing women. They’ve been pretty tight with anything else. The Skipper and Mr. Bisbee’s going in with the whole team. I don’t know anything else, and don’t really want to know anything else.” The sergeant gave the lance corporal a speaking glance.
“Did you know about the special munitions for the mass driver weapons?”
“Yes, there’s several huge crates, about big enough you or I could stand up in, being guarded at the corner of the ammo dump. All hours, and the guard are all people that I don’t remember having seen here before.” The lance corporal had a photographic memory for faces. “I don’t know where they come from or what they do when they aren’t around those crates. A forklift had to move them, and they drive the forklift, too. Nobody on the base is assigned there. I nosed around. People don’t even know about it, and I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t happened to drive by on an errand the other day. It’s locked up tighter than a battlecruiser’s hull. There’s a godawful big barracks behind that razor tipped fence, too.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t be talking about it. Loose lips and all that, you know?”
“I know, but …”
“They’re armed with some serious shoulder weapons, they’re in uniform, and they have military discipline out the yingyang, but this group isn’t Army, Navy, or Marines. They aren’t wearing Hegemony threads.”
“So they’re government contractors.”
“Yeah, you’d think so….”
The junior enlisted man had a frown on his face still. Sergeant Hanks looked at him.
“I said that I didn’t see anyone that belonged here, and I meant that. I did recognize quite a few people I’ve served with that. All of them were lifers. Career service, and no pushovers. Two of the others was my senior drill instructor and another drill instructor. None of them would get out of the service for anything and I would have bet my life savings that all of them would die in uniform before they took it off. Plus, we’ve had a higher rate of turnover in our staffing on this assignment than the norm, not counting casualties and injuries. I called some friends in the network around the world and they’re telling me the same thing.”
“Are you saying…”
“I don’t know what I’m saying, except something is going on that don’t look aboveboard. There’s a paramilitary unit out there, behind that fence that’s got people in it that mean business. They’re self-contained in there. They don’t mix and mingle with our people out here.”
“That’s not good.”
“No, and that worries me. Yeah, military secrets and all that, but I did a little digging.”
“Hold on! The hell!”
“Relax. I checked building orders. I didn’t get into personnel files or anything like that. Building orders are non-class.”
Sergeant Hanks shook his head.
“I don’t want anyone busting up in here and throwing me on the ground just because you happen to be here.”
“I doubt it. Now, do you want to hear what I found, or not?”
“I think I’m going to regret it, but you have my attention now.”
The lance corporal grinned humorlessly.
“It turns out that the base planning commission – you know the guys that go to work all day in that basement and almost never sees the sun – they think that corner of the base is all forest. There’s no work permits, construction permits, administrative orders, utility hookups, electronics contract work – nothing. Just a permanent hold order for that exact plot of land. Those feather merchant clerks in that detachment didn’t seem interested in telling me much more than that.”
“What does the hold order do?”
“It’s a reservation thing. Whoever puts the order in can hold it until they’re ready to develop it, and things like that can literally stagnate.”
“Well, if there’s this ‘hold order,’ then why isn’t there other paperwork on file for the buildings and improvements out there?”
The lance corporal blew his breath out.
“Don’t you get it? There’s some higher than top secret stuff going on over there, and people are noticing. It isn’t just me. There’s people being quietly shuffled around, too. That makes holes that need to be filled, and it’s attracting attention. It’s going to start pulling in more than that soon, and it’ll start with trying to find the unit all these people went to. Somebody is going to pull that hold order up on a computer somewhere and they’re going to see that it’s a ‘work in progress.’ They’ll stop looking there, unless they go looking with the Eyeball Mark One, Mod Zero. If they decide they want more answers and try to get onto that mini base out there…”
The sergeant looked at the lance corporal, then unlocked the whiskey cabinet again.
Hi everyone. Long time between posts, I know. Still battling this illness, some days I feel as though I will never again know what it is like to be well again. But anyways…
I was trying to think of something to write for Halloween, so I think I will just maybe pick a topic and write. Thirteen days till the big day. All those who know me, know I love Halloween. I love fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Winter and Christmas. They also know that this is the time of year I struggle most with being happy, even though it is my favorite. I think a little something to do with my illness, and shorter days, longer nights, and less sun.
So… I think maybe I will try to start out with a story, about something that will help me get into the spirit, even if I can’t actually be out enjoying bonfires, s’mores, and hayrides.
Happy Haunting, the story will start a bit later this evening, once I have a few moments to decide exactly what to write about. J
©2015 ML Steele
Ok, that is probably one of the more strange titles that you will see on the internet’s writing pages. Please note that I did not say, “on the Internet.” That honor is strictly for other subjects, all of which we will not necessary speak of here.
However, it allows for an interesting dichotomy of observation. We as writers can tend to be a little bit introverted. There are exceptions, as with all things. Take a look at the next ten interviews on screen, and see who’s in the interview. Chances are you’ll see the people make a living in front of the camera. Writers get interviewed in print a lot more than on screen, I’d be willing to bet, because they are more comfortable expressing themselves that way.
And no thoughts or comments about hallucinations if you’re looking up at that title and wondering what I took this morning.
In a way, though, the writing process is a way to help the things that lead to the title. I’ve referred to a “mind movie” in posts past, and in many respects that could be considered indistinguishable from a hallucination. I won’t get into the psychological aspects of that – much less the psychosomatic aspects if you happen to write horror and scare the hell out of yourself.
Sensory input is important in our daily lives. For instance, right now, I’m listening to traffic, shivering a little at the cool October air (64 degrees in Florida,) and trying to type as my most affectionate kitty licks my thumbs.
The senses are what allows us to interact with our physical world, which is why sensory deprivation often has such an effect. Without the interaction, we are cut adrift and helpless.
With the stories in our heads, struggling to get on paper, we have to interpret the various things that make up the story into something that could conceivably be sensed.
Let’s take Odell for a moment. Remember him? Last time we saw him, he was at Jack’s apartment after that horrible day on the garbage truck. Right now, I can see Odell standing at the counter of the liquor store, making his purchase. His wife’s perfume is still on his collar,and I can smell the faint scent of jasmine. I can hear the rasp of a couple of twenties and a five being counted off to give to the cashier for change and some quarters. I can also hear the sounds of the register beeping as the keys are pressed and the till popping out, then being shut a little too hard.
There’s the ring of the bell at the drive-thru window, the hum of the air conditioning unit, and the smell of where the apple moonshine was spilled earlier. Putting myself in Odell’s place for a moment, I can feel the slick smoothness of the case of beer, and the chill of the other case that came out of the cooler.
Moving a little bit ahead, at Jack’s apartment building, there’s the smell of somebody out grilling. Good steaks, too. The sound of Jack’s radio, and down the hall, there’s a couple of kids fighting over something and a parent telling them to knock it off.
That’s a normal thing, and something that we could probably experience any given day, depending on your proclivities.
What if you want to write sci-fi, for instance? I don’t think any of us have directly experienced the beauty of Cherenhov radiation during faster-than-light travel (here, it’s the blue glow in the water of nuclear reactors) or the terror of a warp-core breach following a plasma coolant leak. Still if you want to taste the color orange, you have to stretch your mind a little to be able to visualize that mental movie, and then stretch it a little more to translate from movie to paper.All that stretching will give you insight on various things, when you start exercising the storytelling power inside you. Just remember to stretch again when you cool down.
I’ve read a few things in the past that left me wondering if the writers took something before they sat down to the typewriter, and relied on muscle memory to hit the right keys, and even today it’s still hard not to think the same thing. I personally don’t, just for the record.
So, stretch your mind. Listen for some beautiful blue skies, and look carefully for the sound of water trickling over the stones.
Editing is important when writing. Self-editing can slow you down as you write, and I’m just as guilty of that – if not guiltier. In any event, when you finish a piece, then find some trusted friends or family to look it over. Many of us write as we think or speak ourselves, and things like regional dialect sometimes bleed through.
Me, I have problems with “was” and “were,” and many times I just run with it and correct it later. That is, if I remember to do it. This is why I would rather have someone look over my work and check it.
There are guides available for sale to help the writer with these sorts of things and to give the writer the precision needed to get the word out quickly. I used this search string at Amazon.com to pull up all manner of results. Things of this nature can help a great deal, but you do have to put in the time to study it and improve your craft.
Granted, but if you paid attention in school, you wouldn’t have to do that. I can hear some out there smirking as they say this. While this is true, it is also true that there are some of us that put pen to paper that hasn’t sat in a classroom for some time. The finer points of this or that tend to diminish over time, and it is for this reason I suggested the Amazon search. Reference material never hurts. Just remember to actually refer to it.
An editor can improve the technical aspects of your work immensely, and if you can afford it then make use of it. One of my favorite opening lines is “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” This comes from the first volume in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Now, I don’t know if he sat down and wrote the line like that as a first draft. I dimly recall some interview many years ago in which he did say that. My point being, let’s say he started with “The gunslinger chased the man in black across the desert.” That is serviceable and conveys the image of a pursuit, but it’s a little dry.I could see an editor saying, “Let’s try it this way.” When you read “The man in black fled across the desert,” you automatically think about ‘well, he’s being chased by something.’ On the other hand, “the gunslinger chased the man” doesn’t really give as much room for imagination to spark. Once you read the second part that says, “and the gunslinger followed,” you think ‘why is there a gunslinger after him?’ Or, at least I did.
Somehow, without editing, I doubt the Dark Tower would be seven books. Or for that matter, Harry Potter. Proverbs 27:17 said it pretty well. “One person sharpens another.” While King Solomon wasn’t specifically referring to the writing process in this instance, the wisdom of another reading your work and sharpening it is paramount.
So, enjoy your writing, work hard at it, and let it shine. If an editor can make it shine brighter still, then make use of that resource.