Monday, August 31, 2015

My On-Again, Off-Again Obsession - Wattpad

I'm usually the friend who claims electronic books are for suckers. Nothing beats browsing the bookstore for hours on end, sipping a cup of coffee and choosing which books to bring home. And let's not forget the smell. The aroma of a fresh-off-the-print book is pure bliss. And sure, I'm most likely inhaling the mesh of chemicals used to treat paper, but who stinking cares?

Anywho, I have a confession to make.

I possess an on-again, off-again obsession with Wattpad - a site featuring electronic books.

Yes, I know. I can't smell the pages, but I deal.

I say on-again, off-again because every few months I simply forget about the site and become caught up in the tangible books I can actually add to my collection.

Nonetheless, if you've unfamiliar with this site, although I highly doubt you are, it's an online writing community to post stories, poems, and fan-fiction. And many of these stories are the real freaking deal. These writers have huge followings, millions upon millions of readers, tons of reviews, awesome covers, YouTube trailers and some even go on to be published! There's even online awards for the best books called "The Wattys."

I don't care if these writers are considered "undiscovered" to the publishing world, they are hot shots on Wattpad.

When I first discovered Wattpad, I didn't think the original stories would be all that read worthy ... but I was proved wrong. Granted, every now and then you must sift through stories to find the true gems, however it isn't that difficult. You're able to filter your selections.

Sometimes you'll run into the Christian Grey wannabes or smut filled novels, but if you're not into those stories just keep on scrolling, my friends. Also, you may become invested in a book and find out the author hasn't posted in ages!! That's why I search only "completed" stories. Just a heads up there.

Still, don't worry. There's something for everyone on Wattpad. However, I'm not going to lie, I'd never post a story on there. Why?

  • Thieves Do Exist. 
  • Literary Agents Aren't Too Thrilled About Stories That Have Been Posted Online. But I've Heard Many of Them Read The Stories Too ... HYPOCRITES! ;-)
  • Some Criticism from Reviewers are Unnecessarily Harsh and Can Discourage You. 

So, if I were you, I'd just READ ... NOT POST!

Still, I love Wattpad.

*Swoon*

Monday, August 17, 2015

I'M A BAD BLOGGER - I REALLY SUCK AT IT!

I’m a sorry excuse for a blogger. 


I mean, I seriously suck. 

I suck to the utmost and it isn’t even funny. What the heck is it about the blogging hemisphere that I simply cannot stay connected? Every time I attempt to leap back into this “hobby” of mine, I become distracted with stuff going on in my ... how shall I put it?

Let's call it my physical life. Heck, sounds about right. Geez, my wording even sucks.

TBH ("to be honest" - yeah, I'm hip), I have become so incredibly occupied with real life that I can’t keep up with this blog. I promise, ever since my last post I have seriously been on the go! Don’t believe me? You think I'm lying? Check the list, folks.
  1. I’m now a Christian Non-Fiction Author for a publishing company I adore. Can't name drop, tho. 
  2. I’m working on my MFA via online courses – but that’s a secret, so shh.
  3. I’ve gotten myself into tons of freelance writing and editing projects like a freakin' genius. I literally spend a huge chunk of my day at my desk. Whether I'm writing, editing, proofreading ... or looking at Netflix or Hulu (hehehe)... I'm glued here, man! 
  4. My Urban Fantasy WIP has morphed into a new WIP. I am obsessed with the changes! You guys know how the writing, editing and revising stages are with WIPs. So no need to explain there.
  5. Plus other stuff. *averts eyes suspiciously*
  6. Umm ... Does traveling count as a distraction?
  7. Did I mention church functions? Family Functions? Just a lot of social stuff. Grrr.
  8. My family – my sister in particular – has taken up loads of my time within the last few years. 
    • FIRST, I had to plan her wedding. And she was a feisty Bride Zilla.
    • SECOND, she decides to get pregnant on the honeymoon, so I planned her baby shower too. And she was a feisty Pregnant Lady!
    • THIRD, she calls me quite often simply to chat. Seriously, girl. I am busy. I don't have time to chat. Tend to your fussy 1-month-old baby. Okay, Austin isn’t THAT fussy. But babies are blah. They pee, poop, eat, sleep and look cute. I can’t wait till that kid can say, “Hey, Auntie. You rock!” He gripped my finger the other day and I nearly exploded with joy! And all he did was hold my finger ... Not only do I suck, I'm a sucker. 

So, yeah. Your girl is spent! 

However, let’s cut the crap. I mean, can you smell the bull? I sure can. It stinks like a circus. 

If I was truly passionate about being a blogger, I believe I would have squeezed it in. I didn’t stop watching my favorite shows. I didn’t stop hanging out with friends and family. I didn’t limit my time with God.  Well, actually I have slacked on my prayer life. I need to fix that. Yikes.

ANYWHO! I’ve discovered that I just don’t have the passion for blogging like I used to.

Nevertheless … I WANT IT. In all seriousness, I have been extremely busy. I even find it difficult to spend the desired time on my WIP. Although I absolutely love and enjoy writing, I don't want it to become a chore for me. Yah know? Whatever ... I'm not even sure if I'm making sense. *Cringe* Furthermore, I'm the most organized person I know. Therefore, I know my neglect here has nothing to do with that. Like I said, if I wanted to keep up with this blog then I certainly could. 

It's the joy I'm lacking here, people.

How do I get it back? How do I rediscover that joy in blogging? Honestly, how? 

:-(

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mourning Fictional Characters

It's about that time I jump back into this. So here goes nothing! 

My latest Facebook status triggered by angst and devastation reads,
  • I hate when writers unnecessarily kill off the totally freaking awesome protagonist. And just to uplift the whole selfless heroine theme. Readers of fiction don't need to be taught any lessons from the novel, just give us a good freaking story....if J.K didn't have to kill Harry for her books to rock then surely.....never mind, screw it...can't believe I'm mourning a fictional character.
You guys know I am sooooo dramatic! So yes, you read right. I am officially mourning the loss of a fictional character. Don't worry, I won't spoil it and tell you the name of the character or book series I am referring to; I don't want to completely ruin it for you. As well, the series is pretty popular right now and there's even a film adaptation to it....a film I kind of don't want to see now because I know what happens at the end of the book series, lol.

Nevertheless, over the weekend I was feeling so incredibly sick because the main character died. The ride or die, faithful and loyal, courageous and loving protagonist DIED! Granted, she selflessly gave her life to save an entire city...but still! She had an awesome love interest! One of those worthy of being a total character crush type of guys! She had a future to live for! She'd endured so much! And for what? Just to die an unexpected and unfair death whilst everyone else lives happily ever after? Ughhhhh, seriously I'm still a little salty from it...and I'm mad she was cremated. Just saying!

Anyway, to make my theatrical reaction even worse, I started praying for the girl as if God was going to miraculously change the PRINT in the book. I sat in my chair screaming, "What the freak just happened!? Noooo! God No! Help her Jesus, help her!" Then I started incorporating scripture with my freak out, "I thought she could walk through the fire and not get burned! I thought the flame couldn't scorch her! What the heck! God, what is going on?"

Let me tell yah...it was a rough weekend. However, that's what good writing is all about. Triggering emotion and developing a deep connection with your readers. Having such awesome character development that your characters become actual people. That's the sort of impact I desire for my characters, yah know?

Oh, and if there is any prayer my lovely Lord may have rolled his eyes at...it was probably that one. But hey, what can I say, He totally made me this way! ;-) That was a pretty awesome scripture I thought of though. Kudos to me! Train up a child and all that jazz! It's below in case you're interested! 



Monday, November 18, 2013

Dream With Fear or Faith?


"Faith will take you where fear won't let you go."

That was the title of the sermon my Auntie Joyce preached. To say it has stuck with me for the better part of two months now would be quite the understatement. When I began attempting to live by this statement and apply it not just spiritually but to every other avenue of my life, I realized something about myself. This entire year I've been held captive to fear instead of free in faith. The doubts, insecurities, second guessing, and underestimating myself was just a self inflicted tactic produced by fear to set me back--that's how I look at it anyway.

I touched on this briefly in a previous post but I didn't spend too much time expressing my innermost feelings and all that jazz. Essentially, this year I put off the querying process simply because I was fearful that I would have a repeat of my last run. Even though during that time I was less experienced, less knowledgeable, busy going to college and juggling two jobs, and my novel had not undergone that serious nip and tuck sort of revision. I was pretty much just a little bitty baby novice and now well...it's been two years. I should know a little something by now, right? Lol and I do.

So in the past few months I've realized that in any situation, not just writing wise, if I wait until I deem myself absolutely ready to do something then I'll be waiting for the rest of my life. Not many people are ever ready to launch out into what they consider the deep and dark part of the waters, but the launching has the take place some time or another. Whether you're facing difficult circumstances concerning career/education goals, financial setbacks, personal goals, family issues, challenging relationships, or just dealing with the usual curve balls life tends to throw at you keeping a positive mindset is key. It may be easier said than done, but it's true. Folks with big dreams need to recognize that struggles and disappointments are inevitable but discouragement and quitting is a choice.

But I'm human. We all are. So sometimes I get down and wonder if my dream career as a YA and new adult fiction writer will ever come to pass. Will I ever have a final revision that's good enough? Will my critique partners ever say "don't change a thing"? And why does success have to take so doggone long? And these questioning and doubt then transforms into outright fear. When that moment comes for me to shine or present my work, I get timid. Why? Because I don't want to hear the harsh criticism. Or I'm afraid a person will tear it to pieces.

But frankly, I'm sick of being scared. Screw fear. I'm operating on faith now. And I've told myself before that I have faith that things will work out and yada yada yada, but it wasn't until the concept of "faith will take you where fear won't let you go" that it actually sunk in. I just sat down one day and made a list of the results of fear and the results of faith. It is shared below.

FEAR
Suppresses our thinking and behavior
Limits creativity
Develops bad habits & stress
Weakens our resolve
Cripples growth
Robs peace & happiness
Limits prosperity
Chokes us with doubt
Creates procrastination
Causes insecurities
Defers dreams
Halts success
Undermines destiny
Lies
Regrets
Kills faith

FAITH
Invokes spiritual and intellectual growth
Motivates creativity to become artistry
Promotes positivity
Inherits promises & expectations
Strengthens our commitments
Cements your peace and happiness
Sees unmeasurable success
Creates belief in self
Demands action
Promotes truth and hope
Knows no doubt
Defends your unquestionable belief
Is a Free Thinker
Values loyalty
Instills curiosity and thirst for more
Kills FEAR

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Crazy Sick Talk with my Characters

I want to blame my two week absence on the Cardinals disgracing my city and losing in the World Series (grrrrrr, talk about devastation to the core...and a waste of money on all that daggone party food!), but I've been incredibly sick and am finally starting to feel like myself again. Bronchitis, sinusitis, and a stomach virus all decided to ransack me simultaneously. I've never experienced such a sucky sickness in my entire life...but then again I always say that when I'm sick. Just like I always say "this is the best cake I've had in my entire life" whenever I eat great cake.

And yanno', I swear teaching grade school children is like a death trap. The little sweetums are always sick! And they aren't very good at grabbing a tissue versus their sleeve, covering their coughs, using hand sanitizer, and the like. Yet I still adore them and their potent germs.

So, whilst laying up like a dead woman I had loads of time to talk to my characters, fantasize about perfect future scenarios (believe me, all ladies in their 20s do this) and read the Bible...while feeling a tad guilty for taking notes for my novel instead of my personal journal but hey, stuff happens. Jesus knows I totally love Him and will spend extra time with Him this week. Anyway, back to the characters bit...

Obviously I've done the whole character sketches, picking through their personalities, appearance, traits, habits and so on, and simply letting them take up residence in my head while I listen and observe. As well, I've been through the interviewing, discovering, and analyzing processes.

Essentially, I know my folks pretty well....but I still like to talk to them. Sometimes they talk to one another. Or I envision them meeting my family and friends. I make up fun, sad, serious, dangerous, happy, ridiculous, or whatever situations and sort out how each of my characters would respond or say in such circumstances. Is that too eccentric? Am I the only one who enjoys the company of their own characters or should I say further exploring them? Good Lord...that sounds a bit psycho for folks who don't understand fiction writing, but it's the truth for me.

If I tell you I was the only person holed up in my bedroom while I was sick I'd be telling you a boldfaced lie. One night I even fell asleep talking to my characters and proceeded to have a dream about them with me in it! And HELLO! Let's just say I totally have a crush on the male love interest in my book now. I'm just sayin! Logan is a charmer in person....or in dream, whatever. No wonder he's a lady killer. But anyway yeah. It. Was. Freaking. AWESOME! My imagination was on overload during this sickness and no lie...my characters made it fly by so fast. I now possess a greater love for them because they kept me company when no other human being wanted to be around sick ole' contagious me. And below is how I feel about those people now, hmph! ;-)


Can anyone else relate to me here? Am I the only one who treats my characters like living, breathing, running around, having a good time real folks?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Makes a Good Villain?

Look, I'm not going to give a lengthy introduction here. I'm not about to justify nor delve into the many eccentricities of me. You guys know by now that I'm a pretty unconventional girl. So, I'm just going to throw it out there without attempting to give an explanation beforehand...but I sort of just did give an explanation, huh? Eh well.

I like villains.

I fall for the bad guy.
The darker and dangerous the better.
I don't give a darn if he's a stone cold killer.
I'm down for the sick and twisted crazy ride (just kidding, mom).

Yeah, I'm that girl. But this only applies to the marvelous world of fiction we find in totally awesome novels, comic books, films, shows, and what not. There is no way I would ever associate with a psychopathic scoundrel in my real life. I don't have a thing for illustrious miscreants and I sure won't ever give into the charms of a handsome serpent rocking a dazzling smile and....well, moving right along...heh heh.

Essentially, I have much admiration for writers who can humanize a villain that well. The sort who can cause their readers to develop sympathy for the treacherous monster causing all kinds of chaos. I'm talking about a writer who has the ability to mask a character's wickedness so well that the reader forgets and sometimes don't even care how evil the character is. They start rooting for the character.

That's how I am. My mother hates it--and she will probably hate this post too. She doesn't understand how I can be a nice (sometimes), saved good church girl (lol) and have a fascination with things I should really abstain from. I know, I know, I know...pray for me.

But really it's not that bad. My salvation is not in jeopardy. I think it's normal, actually. Honestly, how many people do you know absolutely LOVE Bellatrix Lestrange? I loved her from the moment she was introduced in the Harry Potter series. She has such character and her very essence is simply magical and graceful yet deranged and sickening. And yes, I did mourn the loss of Sirius Black...but I still loved Bellatrix! The same goes for The Joker, Cruella de Vil, Valentine, Dark Phoenix, Magneto, Voldemort, Dracula, Hannibal, Loki, Klaus...and the list goes on and on my dear friends.

I just think it's awesome, you know? And I believe this is an ability that every writer who wants to be successful in the publishing world (in the appropriate genre, of course) should have. Readers hate the stereotypical and mundane villains whose actions are totally predictable and eye roll worthy. Readers want villains who are unpredictable. Villains who are smart, crafty, has potential and great ideas, and are motivated. Readers dig rebels with a cause. And man...villains with a troublesome past? They take the cake.

Really guys, even Lucifer has a past. The villain of all villains! The guy was the favored angel in heaven head over the choir and he gave it all up simply for a control he would never acquire, a ridiculous amount of unnecessary envy, and crazy greed. That's one heck of a past. He had a father, no THE FATHER, a family, a marvelous place to call home...but something happened.

Something always happens, right? That's what readers like-that something that causes the villain to change. And I'm talking before he/she is actually deemed a villain. And although I detest Satan and he is one villain I would never play patty cake with....the dude has a past, present, and future. If you want to create a successful villain start by reading the Bible. There is so much good in there, of course, but it also tells of the evil side. Learning about that true evil--the very birth of it--has caused me to write villains a lot better. They all take after the devil anyway, right?

And by the way....Satan sucks to the utmost. Jesus rocks. Just thought I'd throw that out there, lol. Don't want you guys thinking I'm some psycho devil lover or anything. I'm all for God, folks. I just can get caught up with the villains in stories I read. ;-)