Why do you write?

People ask me what I want to do and they seem surprised when I say “Write”. Why? Because apparently people look at me and see someone who is smart, who can do all these things, and who can “command” a room. That’s not true. The truth is, I may be smart–but I’m not as smart as everyone thinks. I can command a room, but not with power or interest.

You see, ever since I was little I had a simple idea of what I wanted to do “I want to make a difference. I want to save people.” It seems simple enough–there’s so many things to do. So I tried. I tried to be a biochemist–to dabble in it in hopes of becoming a cancer researcher. Well, it turns out I’m rather shit at science. Honestly horrible. I pass classes only by studying my ass of, but quite honestly I’m terrible at most anything that has to do with actual scientific testing. Plus it has a lot of math sometimes and I suck at math. I can barely do arithmetic in my head.

So I thought, maybe I’ll become a psychologist. Sadly, I apparently am not good at talking to people. Well, at least in the way psychologist’s should. I understand them, but I’m really bad at actually listening and giving helpful advice…or so I’m told. Besides, I get too sad listening to others problems. It hurts me to see other people’s pain so intimately.

Well, then what if I did something else? A doctor! I can be a doctor. Too bad hospitals freak me out and to be honest, I don’t think my own mind would allow me to be a doctor. Plus I won’t lie to you…I’ve never given it an honest try because I sucked so bad at anything that requires deep concentration and a steady hand (I’m a natural klutz).

So then I realized I was having a problem. How can I help someone when all that I tried I was either not good enough at, just plain out got bored with? I was at a complete loss. Everyone was telling me I could do anything and yet I knew it wasn’t true because I did have limitations in my own skills. What was I to do? What could I possibly do to “save” people and make a difference? Write.

It took me a while to come to this conclusion, but I’d always been writing–ever since I was a kid (y’know–on the walls with crayons). So my solution was staring at me in the face. I, who raved about stories that changed my life. I, who always was inspired to write down what I saw around me. I–I could be a writer. All of a sudden, I realized that stories, art–they can make a difference. They can make someone feel not so alone, they can inspire, can heal. Stories have this beautiful power of being able to be whatever you make them. Which is why I decided that I wanted to write stories; beautiful stories, powerful stories, stories that showed the good and the bad of life. Stories that came from somewhere deep and showed a part of the human experience.

Ever since I came to this conclusion, I’ve been able to proudly tell people “I want to be a writer” and when they ask I can tell them easily “because I want to make a difference. I want to write stories that’ll touch people. That’ll give them hope or make them feel less alone.” Because I may not be good at math or science or talking in great crowds, teaching, or more, but that doesn’t mean I can’t change someone’s life. No matter what you do, you can always change someone’s life. Maybe not in the obvious ways, but even just the smallest.

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It’s a Holly Jolly Season

It’s that wonderful time of year! Christmas season is well underway and the streets are lit up with fairy lights. As much as I love fall weather, snow and cold is also lovely. There’s something about icicles on bare tree branches that is just absolutely beautiful. It really gets me wanting to write something in an attempt to capture the magic of the season.

Of course as much as I want to write, I also want to go out and enjoy the weather. There’s so many wonderful and festive things about December. Be it holiday shopping, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, Christmas Bizarre’s, the festival of lights, ice skating (which I’m fairly bad at), hot chocolate, or just hanging around with friends and family–there’s just so much to do! I recently decorated my Christmas tree (and pretty much the entire first floor) while listening to Christmas music and it was just so divine. One of my favorite parts of decorating is being able to go around and look at all the ornaments we’ve had. Almost every single decoration has a history behind it–a story of whytree and when it was purchased or made. Some represent family trips, others friends, some are from childhood, others derive all the way back to my mum decorating her mother’s tree. Putting all the decorations up is like re-reading a good book-happy to turn each page and relive the moments once again.

In particular, I’ve noticed just how many angel ornaments we have. I wonder if that’s why I took to angels in my book series? I wouldn’t put it past myself. We also have an angel atop our tree instead of a star. Funny thing is that angel is as old as me. Apparently the year I was born, my parents didn’t have anything to put on top of the tree and my two-year-old brother asked our mother why there wasn’t an angel at the top. I think she was a little perplexed as to why he specifically asked about an angel and not a star like most Christmas trees. Either way, she decided to trek out all the way to Michael’s and found pretty much the only angel they had left. Then she had to call our father to pick her up from the store for some reason and when he asked why she was all the way out there she recounted the story. So that’s why we have an angel sitting atop our tree. She isn’t a fancy angel–her wreath is falling from her hands, and she almost never sits properly at the top of the tree, but somehow this year she did. Maybe that’s a good sign. I’m sure we could all use some luck or guidance.

I also have a TON of holiday shopping to do before Christmas (as well as other events). So much that I’ve actually considered using my Youtube channel at last and doing a 12 days of Vlogmas up until Christmas. It’s a good excuse to kick my butt into actually posting content on my Youtube. What do you guys think? Anyone interested in 12 days of Vlogmas? Let me know! A link to my channel can be found in the social media pins.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season! Make sure to spend time with your family and friends. Be nice to each other and enjoy the holidays!

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx

 

 

NaNoWriMo (and queries)

November is here~ and it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, perhaps not the MOST wonderful but certainly an enjoyable time. Having finished up the last round of self-edits on my novel, I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year and I’m really excited about my story. It’s a nice break from fantasy as I dive into a paranormal gothic period piece. It’s a story I’ve been thinking of writing for a good five months but had to sideline since I was focused solely on my fantasy series (and getting it ready to submit).

I’ve never really written a ghost story before–or anything with a gothic background–and so far it’s been an interesting experience. I love writing a multitude of genres but I’ve been so deep into fantasy the past few years that I’ve really forgotten what it’s like to write something else for a change. It’s been fun to explore more of the writing world though and it’s definitely something I recommend. Try not to get set into one genre–try to explore them all! Or at least a reasonable amount of them (okay at the least try more than one). I really hope to finish it by the end of the month but we’ll see. So far I’ve been strangely busy (normally I’m not this busy). I think it’s just the after con hangover. Oh. I haven’t mentioned that yet but I plan to write a blog post on it (and if you follow my instagram you probably already know). I staffed/enjoyed an anime convention over Halloween weekend and it was such a great experience. I love conventions, but more on that at a later time.

Ah! I should probably also update you guys a little on book and writing stuff (since, you know, this blog was originally for book updates haha). So two things. The first is that I had a piece of flash fiction published in Splickety Publishing group’s magazine Havok (their Halloween edition). If you have time you should go read it! There’s a lot of other great authors featured in it as well and it’s a really fun issue.  The second this is that since editing is finished, I’ve looked into and compiled a list of agents to query for my book. All I need to do is finish writing all the queries and cross my fingers. It’ll probably take some time but I’m hopeful–you always have to be hopeful.

So that’s about it for now. This was a very short update! Is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear about it if so!

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx

 

Writer Talk & Sake

You know what every good writer needs every once and a while? Another writer to talk to.

–And alcohol. Mostly the alcohol.

The other day I went on a nice excursion to the mall with my fellow writer friend and we enacted that terribly stereotypical and entirely accurate depiction of girls going shopping for fun. We did and we shopped a ton. I really don’t remember the last time I’ve shopped so much (mostly cause of the lack of money [yeah totally becoming that other stereotype of the broke author]). I normally go window shopping and this time I actually bought quite a few bits and pieces and spent most of the day shopping. Of course this was fine since I was supposed to be resting my wrist from typing anyway.

Anyway, so after shopping we decided to get some food to eat and talk about writing. We went to a Japanese restaurant we frequent and ordered a bunch of appetizers and one other we really needed: SAKE. Got ourselves a tiny bottle and started drinking it before our food even came. It’s probably not best to feed into the stereotype of the struggling writer always drinking but in this moment of weakness we definitely did.

hanafuri

Over our drinks and food we had a nice talk about each other’s stories. We had a nice talk about what our favorite part of our books was. The funny thing was, though we could each pinpoint exactly what our favorite part in each other’s books, we honestly couldn’t figure out our favorite parts in our own work. Perhaps because we are too close to our writing to be able to pick anything that particularly stands out…

Still, I thought it odd we couldn’t find the best in our own work so I decided it should be our task (or homework if you wish) to think about our favorite part. I think it’s important that authors are able to distinguish the one moment in their own book that they liked the most–whether for description, dialogue, feeling, or action. It’s nice to be able to think “ah, that was good”. Creators of anything really need to be able to be humble as well as look at their own work and see what is great about it.

So, now you know my homework for the week. I’m going to think hard on what I believe my favorite to be. So for whoever is reading this, I task you with the same homework: What is your favorite part of something you’re working on?

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx

Visual Novels & Mystic Messenger

First off, I need to make an apology to all visual novel/otome games that I’ve ever dissed or made fun of in the past. I’d always believed them to be simple dating sim games made for people to have an animated hubby/waifu in the reality of a game world. However, a few weeks ago I was alerted of the presence of a cellphone app that people were freaking out and talking about called “Mystic Messenger” so naturally I had to try it.

At first I was a little discouraged to hear Mystic Messenger was a visual novel/otome game that was developed by Cheritz (a company known for catering to the female audience). However, upon launching the app I was entirely hooked. This app was cleverly designed to play out in the form of chatrooms and phone calls and is sprinkled with beautifully drawn visual novels. The use of chat rooms and phone calls is particularly clever–utilizing the common functions of the phones that the app is designed for. More importantly, chats show up on your phone like any other text and are spread out throughout the day as if you were truly chatting with the characters. The chats span all hours of the day and each has different characters involved as if the characters were truly logging on whenever they had the chance. Even late night, 3am chats tend to start with “are you up?” as if a friend was test-texting you before waking you up at 3am. More importantly, if you miss a chat in the game, you have until the next one begins to respond. All of these features gives the app a very real feeling.

Furthermore, the characters have  well-rounded personalities. It only takes a few chats to be able to read a chat bubble and know exactly who is talking (even without looking at their profile pics). The characters also have great character growth in their individual routes and each route has a solid story that is engaging and interesting. Plus each route differs in how much information you get for the overall story depending on how involved with the main plot the character whose route your on is. I particularly like that aspect of the game since I’ve now played two route and heard about another from a friend. The differences in each are very interesting and I like hearing more about other characters who weren’t as present in the routes I chose. The frustrating bit is that in order to get a full picture, you need to play all the routes–oh well, at least it’s interesting and well written (even though there are some EXTREMELY cringe worthy lines in there–the writing team behind it seems to be aware though as the characters sometimes call their own lines cringeworthy).

What’s great is that Cheritz and their mastermind of an app has given me a whole new respect for visual novel/otome games. What I believed to be only about “who to date” was instead a discovery of character and plot. Each day, I couldn’t wait for the next days chat to figure out what happened next. It was as good as reading a book–except this way my own choices influenced whether I got a good, normal, or bad ending. Plus, I have to admit, it felt nice to get phone calls from the character who were concerned whether or not I ate or slept. Furthermore, through unlocking two unknown endings, you’ll dive entirely into visual novels with 7 chapters each. These two unknown endings are where the plot gets super interesting and very intense. It was around here that I was really sold on the fact that the game wasn’t just a dating sim–it was a story.

So with new respect for this genre of game, I apologize to it for ever having thought it to be shallow. Perhaps some are, but not all. They are literature all the same. So, even if you think visual novels are a tad cringeworthy, give them a chance. They may surprise you.

Well, that’s all for today. Thanks for reading my mini-review (when did this turn into a game/app review post?!).

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx

Old friends & Coffee

Over the summer I found that a lot of people I used to know managed to apparate into my life again. It all started with my friend who, out of all things, lives down the street and whom I hadn’t talked to in a while.  Once the best of friends we grew apart and yet connected last January again over coffee. During the summer I saw her a few more times, either dancing or having coffee dates. It was a little awkward but overall nice (a subject we touched on). It was nice because even though we’d both changed and it was a little strange at first, before we knew it it was like no time had passed at all. It was like we were back in the days when we talked about everything and had fun. It was just that we were older and instead of drinking lemonade we were drinking IPA’s.

Aside from her, I bumped into other friends (a few of which also live in the same neighborhood as I and her. How ever did we grow apart?) and the same kind of things happened with them (I bumped into most of them at bars/lounges) and it was both fun and still weird. You see, while we all felt like we were all in the same place in life (nowhere), we also seemed slightly…competitive. As we chatted it was a huge game of who has done more things and who has had the craziest “adult” life yet (can I say adult if we’re only like twenty-two?). The more I spent time with old friends the more it seemed that since we all knew we were in the same rut, it was only a matter of who had the best time getting there. It made me wonder about that scenario you see played out on television where at the high school reunion you go to flaunt off your success. But again, this time it wasn’t so much success as it was how fun things are.

Which of course got me thinking…why were we all out there dancing and drinking and “enjoying our twenties” when all we talked over coffee about was jobs, books, adult life, and the troubles we were having? Well, it wasn’t hard to figure out. You see, we’re all coming back into town after graduating college and the funny thing is none of us did what we set out to. We never got the ring to Mordor, we didn’t find the Horcruxes, we didn’t even get the lantern into the pumpkin in time. That’s not to say we didn’t do anything in college. We all had great times, got our degrees, and acquired mass amount of loans, but none of us are coming back bragging about that amazing job or internship that is lined up for us straight out of college. Most of us can’t even give the amazing love story of meeting their Marshall or Lily during college Most of us can just say, “yeah, well I’m looking for a job to save up to do…[insert goal here]”. Which makes sense. Life isn’t what our high school mindset thought it would be and that’s okay. It never is, and maybe we have to drink our troubles away to forget how everything isn’t working out for us at the moment but that’s okay–well, at least for now. It just needs time and patience and it’ll be fine. It may not be what we expected but it’ll be beautiful anyway. Plus, until then we can always chat over coffee when we run into each other. If there’s one comfort, it’s familiarity in the changing world of life after college. And it’s great to be with familiar people, dancing the night away so we can relax from our worries for just a little bit.

And I guess even as I scour for jobs still and edit my book (last edits I swear! Then to query agents), I have it a bit better than others. After all, I got my best freak friend (That doesn’t sound nearly as endearing as it is) that’s a constant amongst all the other people who come and go like the tide.

Now then, since this is titled “old friends AND coffee” I guess I should mention coffee a bit. Of course, I just mentioned coffee because most of my old friend’s always want to get coffee! I guess that’s because coffee dates are the thing to do in your twenty’s (and beyond). Anyway, here’s some last minute wisdom! When in doubt, ditch the phone talks for a nice heart to heart over coffee. Good company and a soothing drink are sometimes exactly what you need.

That’s all for now. Thanks for sticking with this rant and I hope you’re having a lovely morning/afternoon/evening whenever and wherever you are!

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx

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Nye Beach & Character Names

This past weekend some of my friends and I decided it was time for a coast trip due to one of their birthday’s. Out of all the beach towns we chose to stay at, we chose Newport. I hadn’t been to Newport for at least ten years. When we arrived and walked to the beach, I was amazed that the name of the beach was none other than Nye. Why was I surprised though? Well you see, one of my protagonists is named Nye and I never really knew where I got the name from. I thought up the character back in Elementary school and his name had always been set in stone. So…I suppose that makes sense actually. Most likely I named him after the beach that I had so many happy memories of. It is a little strange though that even as a child I unconsciously chose a Welsh name for a character. I suppose that just means I’ve really always been fascinated with Wales and all things Welsh.

Aside from the strange name revelation, my friends and I had a lovely time. We walked up and down the beach, collected stones, drank some mead, and even went to the Oregon Aquarium (if you’re ever there, the shark tunnel is a must). At the aquarium entrance you take a picture of your group and have the option to purchase it later. We ended up doing this only because our picture was so epic that it made the aquarium staff laugh (anime poses always work). Overall, our days at the beach were a complete success. It was a nice end to the summer and a good getaway from the city. Plus I managed to get quite a few pictures of signage that said “Nye beach”. My fellow author friend and I couldn’t stop making jokes while thinking of my character. As we left the beach we waved to it saying “Bye Nye” (I’m pretty sure we’re the only people who think we’re funny).

In addition there was a stretch of beach that reminded us of my fellow writer friend’s own book (which I’ve read). If you want to check out her author site here it is: https://minaeverse.wordpress.com/welcome-to-verses/

Well, I think that’s about it for now. Does anyone else have any interesting character name origin stories? I’d love to know.

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx