RSS Feed

Tag Archives: reading

Luck and Fairy Tales

The Luckiest Fairy Tale

The Luckiest Unlucky Man Alive is Signed: To Megan- The next J.K. Rowling. Bill Goss
The Freedom Fairy Tale is Signed- To Megan: I was impressed by your confidence and spunk! You’ll go places! John Rossi

 

You may not know this, but I’m a server. I work in a tiny little town at a Pizza Hut not too far off the interstate. In some ways, I wish I could say that I’m not like other servers, that I love it when I see customers come in no matter what time it is… but I can’t say that. While I love my job, and I very rarely dread seeing customers in our doorway, at 9:15 pm on a night we close at 10 and when I finish I have to drive 45 minutes back to college? Let’s just say I was nearly done, and I was so ready to get out of there that seeing two gentlemen trot right in and grab two seats at a table before I could even say hello had me huffing and puffing in the back of my head all while pasting on a server-smile.

Now, as I said before, we’re not too far off the interstate, and a lot of families and other travelers will come in for a sit down meal that still isn’t too long of a wait, so I’ve met a few people here and there- Russians, Scots-women, Californians, and a Michiganite once. So, when these two gentlemen started asking me about souvenirs and travel stops, I didn’t expect too much of it. It turned out that they were from Florida and were on their way to see one of the gentlemen’s sons who was about to become a Navy pilot.

Well, since I’m self-published, and it’s kind of difficult to get myself out past Arkansas, having a job where I get to meet people from out of state helps me out. Usually I sign a copy and give it to them in order to promote myself out of state. I’ve become great at giving myself a chance by moving from questions like “So how’s your day?” to “What are you majoring in?” to “Oh so you like to write?” It’s that final question that gives me the chance to introduce the fact that I’m a published author.

Unfortunately, though, this past Monday was not that way. I didn’t have any copies of my book. I don’t have business cards yet. My usual signing pen had gone missing. The world was against me, but I was determined that I had to somehow sell myself as a legit author. So, instead of doing my usual act of beating around the bush, I just walked up to the men and said, “Gentlemen, I have a favor to ask of you.”

And here they tentatively said okay, to which I asked (now I realize the stupidity of this question), “You know anyone back in Florida who likes to read?” They said yes, and so I started to tell them all about my book, how I would really appreciate it if they’d just tell someone about it, and how I appreciated them listening to me to begin with. With that, I had to go grab their pizza for them. When I came back, one of the guys was gone, and I assumed he’d gone out to smoke or something. When he came back in, he was holding a couple things in his hand and asked to borrow my pen.

Despite the fact that I was using it, I agreed, and I am more glad that I did than I can explain. It turns out, as you have probably guessed from that picture up there, that they were authors, and they were so impressed by my “spunk” and confidence that they had decided that they’d each give me a copy of their book, signed. Dr. John Rossi, author of The Freedom Fairy Tale, and Mr. Bill Goss, author of The Luckiest Unlucky Man Alive, gave me more happiness that night than anything. The odds of that happening might be slim, and I may have begun their visit to Pizza Hut as miserable as could be, but I ended up gaining an experience I’ll cherish forever. Where Mr. Goss may be the luckiest unlucky man, that night, I was the luckiest girl in the whole of my little town.

Just remember- Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.

Dreaming a Dream of Coffeehouses

I’ve told you all that this is my author blog, and perhaps it is in a way, but I think, for the most part, this might be instead my blog of dreams. Since I dream of being a successful author, my place as an author fits in here but only partially. Dreams span far and wide for me, born a dreamer after nine months of growing, and so I guess this is, in a way, my medium for getting them all out, just like in my writing.

The reason I even bring this up is because I am, inevitably as this is a major dream of mine, back to thinking of the coffeehouse I’d create if I had the money and the experience to do it. There are Starbucks far and wide, yes. There are ritzy coffee joints in big cities, in well-to-do areas, and even small towns. I want to create something different, though.

Don’t we all?

When you walk in somewhere, do you immediately think of how to adjust the atmosphere, how it could be set up differently, how it feels? I do. I pass by a building these days and I say, “That could be perfectly renovated into a beautiful little coffee shop!” or I look into a business already being ran and decide if I like the layout or the chairs or the menus or even the uniforms. I see paint swatches in stores, and I start to search for what exact shade would create a warm, not too dark, and always homey feel, what would accent that nicely?

But, as most of you are aware, I’m 18, and what you don’t know is I tend to try to be logical.

Starting your own business is a terrifying thing rife with struggles and let-downs, stress and long hours. At 18, in college, is not a time to even begin to think I’m ready for that, and with the business sense only slightly better than that of a goldfish, I couldn’t even begin right now. In fact, not too long ago, I gave this dream up as one of my Unreachables, something I’d forever struggle for yet never actually try to reach out and grab.

That’s the thing, though.

Ever since I gave this dream up for nonsense, illogical nonsense, everything around me has been about living your dreams. People will comment how it’s amazing I have a book out there and published at 18, YouTube videos about school procrastination end on some note about living your dreams while you still can and before all you have left is the “What if?” I’ll go to a class, and the teachers are talking about it.

So, I think I’m supposed to live my dreams.

No, no, no, guys and girls, women and men. I am not saying I’m going to run out, try to get a place right this second, grab a place, renovate it, set it all up, buy the equipment, and decorate it all to start my business now. Goodness, no, but I am taking steps to make it happen.

I’m going to take a Small Business Management course, take a few extra business classes, and really work on making myself business savvy as much as I possibly can. I have a business minor already, and I am doing what I can to achieve these new goals I’ve set for myself.

So, if you’re like me, and you’re sitting and wondering about a dream, but you’re writing it off as just another silly notion, this is what I have to say:

All those teachers, your parents, your friends, the vloggers you watch on YouTube, and everyone else around you are right! When you get older, when you’re lying there with nothing but memories, it’s a lot better to say you tried and failed than to wonder what would have happened. If you think you can’t do it, don’t get discouraged. I never thought I could publish a book, and that’s done. I never thought I’d be able to work towards owning my own coffeehouse, but I am.

So, go out there and do what you’ve got to do- unless it’s vile and mean or horrid to other people and will make them cry. That’s not nice. Please don’t intentionally make people cry.

Well, that’s all for now. Have fun living, dreaming, and living the dream!

Tiptoeing through New Territory

stop-tiptoeing-tulips-tell-like-is

Ah, the joys of being a writer. It opens up new worlds and ideas, stories and plot, characters and dialogue with each day.

But what happens when you, as a writer, veer from the worlds you’ve been exploring and space-jump or even just perspective jump to another world or genre entirely?

Well, if you’re me, you worry constantly. You tiptoe through this new idea, terrified of where it will lead you. What if you step on that stone? Do you have to make the main character feel that? What if she says this? Oh my God, what if she’s not even a she? What if you want her to be a he instead? What then? How on earth does a guy react to stepping on a stone?

You think I’m joking. I promise you I’m not.

New territory is always terrifying for me because it’s not what I know I can do. Perhaps sometimes that’s a good thing, but for the most part, it’s terrifying. So, I tiptoe, which is horrible because it causes my “me” as a writer to be left out, and trust me, if you lose a writer’s “me,” you’ve lost your story. Then it’s the bare bones, something someone’s read a million times before and can fill out like the answers to a test, and reading through it is a test for the reader, a test of their patience, endurance, and stamina.

What I say when it comes to new territory? Well, excuse my phrase, but you better go balls out because your reader is experiencing this for the first time too. Sure, I worry, but I also have to force myself into the story. Make it happen. Tell it how it is. It’s difficult, don’t get me wrong. There will be some tiptoeing you can’t avoid, some exploration you’re scared of getting into, but sometimes that’s when you force yourself to go for it.

Maybe this is me rambling on, but maybe some of you feel this way too. So, come on, let’s go traipsing through a new world together and see where we come out.

Nothing Lost, Everything Gained

Welcome to another post midnight ramble!

As a college student, the dorm is a big part of my daily routine. Not really the activities because the general populace in my dorm is a miserable lot, but I have to keep up with room checks, move in, and move out days. Fast approaching is a move out day, the last day of my Spring semester and the start to my long awaited but slightly dreaded summer.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. What on earth does this have to do with writing?

Well, with moving out being so close, I’ve decided to start packing up what I simply won’t need for the rest of the semester to take home and leave there. It’ll make move out day so much easier with only the big stuff to worry about. While doing this tonight, I realized something.

This is A LOT like writing.

When I start a novel, it seems like I put just the bare bones into it because I don’t know exactly what all it’s going to need. By the fifth or sixth chapter, at least, though, I start picking up things, adding things that I think I are so very neat. I am absolutely certain that every single thing that I find to include will, in fact, be necessary.

I am always wrong.

By the end of my first draft, there will be quite a bit that needs to be cut- extraneous details that no reader is interested in. At this point, my draft needs to start preparing for move out day. Things need to be packed up and moved back home into my head. Other more important bits and pieces need to be put in a more logical place, and a few things can stay where they were to begin with. By the time my draft- now all grown up and ready, turned into a completed piece- heads out to be seen by the world, moves away from me and into the hands of the public, it needs to make sure that the end result is showing the world the biggest, most important things about itself.

You might think you’re losing way too much with this packing and distributing, but you’re not. When you take things out that didn’t need to be there, it opens the readers’ eyes to what did need to be there and may have been hidden behind that dresser-sized fact that was just there to obscure the view.

So, with that little tidbit, I’m headed off for a little bit more packing- of the dorm variety, not writing- and then some sleep.

Until next time,

Happy reading, writing, and living.

Satisfaction Guaranteed – Only Not Really

Satisfaction3

It’s technically Thursday here in my little Arkansas town, so this could possibly be my day’s blog, but you might end up with two today. We’ll have to see how hectic my day is first.

I’m sitting in my bed right now, wrapped up in a blanket and wishing I could sleep as I scroll through blog after blog. I find that I’ve been struck again with a desperate wish that I could draw. My art is limited to very small confines, and even that usually isn’t very good. It’s only recently that I’ve mastered proportional stick figures.

Thinking this, though, I realize that I should probably be satisfied. I mean, I have a talent. I was born to write, was born to smoosh tons of words together into something visually appealing and produce many copies of it for the world. Or, at least I believe that’s my reason for being here, and a few strangers here and there have pushed that idea into my head more firmly with amazing reviews on my book. Some people don’t have that. They’re wanderers, people unsure of what exactly, if anything, they’re good at. So, surely I should be pleased that I know and am achieving my dream.

Only not really.

I’ve been around so many people in my life. Friends of mine are artists, masters at math, science whiz-kids, history buffs, computer geniuses. You name it, I’ve probably come in contact with them. That’s just how it seems to go with me. I surround myself with people who dream as much as possible and who try to achieve those dreams to the best of their ability. The thing is, though, they’re not satisfied. My artistic friends wish they could remember dates, my science-oriented friends hate that they can’t create unknown worlds, my math friends wish they could draw.

So much for satisfaction.

And I’m just the same. I wish I had the artistic ability to match my writing. Because I can see it so vividly, it’d help me to write my story even more if I could draw it all out first. I want to be able to create my own covers with my own art rather than my photography. I mean, I have a legitimate reason, but it seems I’m a bit of a one-trick pony. Writing is where I excel. Art is what I follow with envy. The rest is just a little bit of me.

Perhaps it’s because it’s the one thing I can’t even say I have a basic knowledge of, I’m not sure. All I know is that, though I spend hours practicing, my fingers and pencil fail me in a way they rarely do when I sit down to write. So, maybe I should stick to that. With that at least I know what I’m doing, where I excel, what I need to work on, and I know that it’s where I’m meant to be.

So, maybe satisfaction isn’t guaranteed just because I have a talent, but I have it better than some, so I shall try to be less envious and more happy just to be what I am- 18 and writing.

Well, this is me off for now. Perhaps we’ll talk again later? I hope so. But, for now, have a great day!

Post Midnight Ramblings

4044-writing-is-a-socially-acceptable-form-of-schizophrenia_380x280_width

Perhaps it’s the 12:25 AM on the digital clock speaking to me in the corner of the screen.

Perhaps it’s insanity.

Perhaps it’s guilt for missing my blog post a couple Thursdays ago.

Whatever it is, it’s saying, “Do something productive, or go to sleep already!” So, I decided to do something that seems, to me at least, productive- having a one sided discussion with my laptop in the hope that my readers will enjoy it and comment back to create a two sided discussion with real humans.

I have no real topic for tonight, this morning, today, whatever it is, except for rambling. A trip to Hastings today really got me motivated on the novel-writing, though. Because I’m 18, in college as an English major, and coming up on midterms, sitting down to write for pleasure and for my readers isn’t really an option I’ve had here lately, so No Place Called Home (working title) has been put on hold indefinitely. Something about a bookstore, though, gets my creativity rolling.

So, I am now back to research, thinking of ways to develop my main character, wondering where to set her, whether or not where I’ve set her is a decent place, if I am willing to change it, and other thoughts like that. I’ve been re-caught up in the world of my current character, and I’m trying to figure out the way to best tell her story so that everyone can feel like they’ve been just as caught up in it.

I’m not even through the first draft, though why would I be? I only started about a month ago. With every novel I write, I want to suck you in more, make you feel like there was every reason in the world for you to forget that you wanted to go to town today just because you couldn’t put the book down. At the same time, I want you to feel like it’s a true story.

Everyone asks me that of my first book, A War I Never Asked For… (link to the about page I’ve done on it), and I have to shake my head. It is a work of complete fiction, but I do want you to feel like you’ve just read the story of a real, teenage girl. These things do happen.

I write what really goes on in the world today because too much of the time, not only do the people going through these rough times feel like they’re alone and that they have no one to turn to, but adults want to overlook the bad by acknowledging it in words but not in the actions.

Sure, very few people will say we have a perfect world today. That being said, it’s hard to recognize sometimes just how much bad there really can be. We, and I include myself in that most definitely, want the world to be inherently good, even if it’s not, and it’s easier sometimes to overlook the bad. My stories are a way for me to acknowledge the bad and to maybe put something out there to give someone hope that this isn’t a battle they’re facing alone and that they can get through it.

These stories are a way for me to try to hand out a little good. There was a writer, once, that I sat down and read. I’ve always been a writer, always wanted to see my pages in print, but when I sat down and read, for the first time, Blind Alley by Iris Johansen, I realized that I wanted to be a writer that someone could perhaps draw some inspiration or strength from.

To this day, I aspire to thrill people with tales of suspense and romance, though I doubt I’ll ever give up teen fiction. I believe it’s my truest calling- to hand my words to equally avid readers, and maybe someday I’ll encourage a few sparse readers to pick up a few more books and expand their horizons to worlds unknown.

That’s all I have tonight for my post-midnight ramblings. I hope you all have a great one, and I look forward to speaking with you again this Thursday.

Sing a Song of Stories

Welcome back. Welcome for the first time. Just so you feel welcome, that’s what matters.

Guess it’s that time for me to pick my brain for the words that explain what I’ve been thinking. As the title suggests, I happen to be thinking of music.

Because I happen to have a new musical obsession in Ed Sheeran- not only a singer with a brilliant talent, but an inspiring story that makes me smile to listen to him. Homeless to star- a beautiful and often written fairytale come to life in the reality of a talented young man. Though, I’m not sure I can call him a young man. He’s certainly older than me.

That’s not the point of today, though.

Because I’ve had some of the more serious or love-y of his songs as background for the duration of the night, I’m having trouble writing anything but love stories about people who have rough lives. Maybe that’s not so far from my usual writing. It got me thinking, though, when I went to start this blog, that music we listen to often does shape the way what we write comes out.

There I go clumping writers together again.

It shapes my writing because it shapes me. When I hear a particular song, I put it into a category of when I should listen to it. Some songs are white noise for me. The music fades out to become something of a barrier for my bubble but isn’t a nuisance and leaves me alone to do the writing that wants to be written. I can hear my characters telling me their story, shaping their world and what’s in it better with that music in the background. Ed surely is not white noise.

His songs resonate. They take a hand, smack me across the face, and say, “Listen. I am important.” And they are. So, because I have to listen, if I listen while I’m writing, my writing can take on that tone even if I wanted previously to write something flippant and fun. So I have to say, in some ways maybe they influence my characters. Those little humans floating around in my brain maybe get smacked across the face with his music, too, and so they tell their story to me differently than they would have before.

All I know is that what I listen to matters. If there was ever a song I loved about writing stories, I wonder how my writing would be influenced then.

Do you have a playlist when you write? I’d love to know if songs change you the same way they do me. I clump writers together often on accident, so I would love to- if you are a writer of any sort or just a person who occasionally pens something, whoever you are and whatever you do- know how you feel about what I have to say.

Anyway, this is me off for tonight. I shall go re-immerse myself in Ed Sheeran’s musical talent.