New Header!!

Was experimenting with a new header in Photoshop to advertise my upcoming eBook…what do y’all think??

Not too bad for 2:40AM…

And now, eek! Must get to bed!

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Random Drivel – Job Search Continues

Well, the job search continues…as I’m panning through the various jobs that are out there (or not out there) the anxiety is starting to rise…

It is becoming evident that in order to find a job, and in order to find one fast–I’m going to have to do something that I told myself I would not go back into– the dreaded RETAIL INDUSTRY…

What is it? It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No, it’s my car covered in about 2 or 3 feet of snow we got winter of 2011. Oh, fun times at the University..(been feeling very Binghamton nostalgic lately..in case you haven’t noticed!)

Now, okay enough with the drama okay, it can’t be that bad right? Well, for the past three or four years, (while attending college or after college,) retail is all I’ve done and I told myself, that I will not work one more Christmas in the dreaded retail business. (Plus, it pays crappy too!)

Oh, sure, you can make great friends and the discounts in some stores…not too shabby…but every year the Christmas music starts playing just a little bit earlier, the prices get just a little bit higher and the customers get a little more crabbier. Most Christmas music starts playing the day after Halloween. Halloween! Thanksgiving is not even considered!

I like some great turkey and mashed potatoes as good as anyone…but to ignore Turkey-Day completely..Puhleesse.

Anyway, I digress…Christmas in the retail business BAD. And leads to a very unhappy Amanda. It is hard to enjoy the holiday when everything is so commercialized…it really puts you in a very un-holiday like mood. Grr.

So…where does that lead me? Hoping I can snatch a job real quick in the next month while still applying for other opportunities. The idea of just randomly sending out resumes to various states and opportunities is sounding more and more appealing…

I shall go where the wind takes me…

PS. I’d like to focus next week on more of my eBook publishing and my novel itself. So look forward to updates then. Perhaps, this weekend, if there is time…there will be posts on Dawn’s Rising.

How is it that an unemployed person can have no time at all lately?? Aghh!!

I think I tripped over my mountain somewhere between this morning and noon today…Grrr.

Climbing My Mountains, One Step at a Time

In case you didn’t notice…I had a bit of a rough time last night.

The weight of the world was on my shoulders and sometimes you can’t help it, you feel yourself sinking down into that deep, dark abyss.

Heavy and dreary skies at the beach at Wilmington, NC.

I watched my niece earlier today and as I was playing the “Be Patient” song to her on YouTube from the music machine, it had me thinking about the other songs my mother used to play for us as kids, and among them were the Psalty Song Book Praises.

Now, for those who don’t know who or what I’m talking about it was a series of music tapes created by a church group aimed to spread the love of God through kids songs.

And yes…I grew up in a very christian home and as I’m certainly not as innocent and trusting as I was back then…sometimes a message meant for kids, hits just as close to home when you are an adult.

And that is a song called “One Step at a Time.”

No matter what gets you down in life, you can climb your mountains… one step at a time.

Whether it be school, job, your kids, your homework…everything is easier to tackle little by little. I shouldn’t let that mountain-load of stress get me down…even if it does seem a heavy load to bear…

Rainbow in the sky over Binghamton University. Taken about April 2011.

Remembering that if I climb on top of it, look at the larger picture, one itty-bitty step at a time… “I’m gonna make it!”

And whether it be God, your parents, your husband or your best friend, no one is alone in their troubles…or you don’t have to be. A friend is there to lighten the load. Just like laughter is, just like love.

And loving something or someone other than yourself, other than your troubles…makes the world brighten.

The Nitty Gritty

Well, first of all, I’d just like to thank those that have liked any of my posts or that are now following this blog. It is such a great relief to know that someone out there is listening and cares about the same things that I do! You guys are awesome!

So I thought for my NEXT post…I’d do something a little different. I thought I’d share a little bit about my characters and my plans and thoughts from Dawn’s Rising with you.

Mallard duck at Greenfield Lake, NC. FYI…there is a time stamp on each post. Plagiarist’s beware! Grrr…

So, I’m probably going to do something that no writer has done before. I mean, why reveal your characters and part of your story before it’s actually written or finished? Isn’t that like the great taboo of good authors who must horde their creative ideas in the possibility that it might get stolen by others?

That is very likely…but as this is my “warm up” story, my first real-length “crappy” novel, I wanted to do something different for my viewers. All writers have their own writing Gods: J.K. Rowling…Stephen King…Neil Gaiman (who is one of my favorites by the way) who all talk about their first crappy draft or their first attempt at a novel and who admit that it was terrible and are sooo happy that it didn’t get published, etc…and that’s good for them, except I’m left wondering:

HOW did they get to that process? Why was it crappy? And what did they learn from the experience?

Everyone has their own method and way of writing that works for them, but wouldn’t it be great if someone actually shared that process step by step? Every writer has to start somewhere. Even if it’s at the very nitty, gritty beginning.

And that’s a lot of what this blog is about: my own method of learning, my own mistakes…to share with you, other writers, curious observers, avid readers. It’s certainly not a process that’s talked about or shared, because I suppose yes, it is embarrassing looking back and realizing you’ve got writing where “His eyes sparkled” way too much or  her heart “pounded like a race horse’s hooves” or other such cliches…but hey, it’s all good fun!

Gotta reelaax. Pick up your pen, or run those fingers across that keyboard and just write.

Rainy Writer’s Block

It is raining here in upstate, New York (thank you, hurricane, Isaac,) and I am having one of those days where the couch, a nice, warm blanket is where I want to spend the rest of my day. Suffice to say, you might think that this might be a nice time to write…NOT.

A view from my front porch; rain dripping off my mother’s hummingbird feeder.

The more I know I need to write, the more I can’t. When writing becomes an obligation, it becomes not fun anymore and then I  get that dreaded writer’s block. (This has been happening more often than not lately, now that I’ve given myself a deadline for this eBook and definitely want to see this one completed! I think I’m going to aim for November. I want a draft and some finalizations for November at the latest.)

I’m reminded of a fantastic article I found on Patricia Briggs’ website. (Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite authors…she writes primarily Urban Fantasy; the Mercy Thompson series…amoung other things.)

Anyway…where was that article again?

Ah, well I couldn’t find the article I wanted…buut, at any rate, the main gist of it was this: to find a way to make writing fun again.

  •  Go out for a walk, take a break from it, phone a friend…etc.
  • Try another project than the current one.
  • Write in a different character’s perspective for a while.
  • Think outside the box…think outside the current chapter you are working on.
  • Start writing in another place.
  • Research.

What I do sometimes: Take a character in your novel or current idea and have that character write a letter to another character. The end result is this: You get to know what your character is feeling, you know their relationship with that other character based on the letter that he or she wrote, and you get a better understanding of the motivation behind why he or she does what he or she does.

I like this technique because it is very personal and because it’s so personal, you can really understand and hear the particular voice that your character has. (I’m not just talking about the voices that writers hear in their heads, although, there is that too.) I’m talking about the voice, the mannerisms of your character; why he or she is the way he or she is.

Anyway, perhaps, I’ll go follow my own advice now…

Because when it comes down to it, only 20% of what you know of your character actually gets on the page; so you better know that character 100%! And who is a grand example of this? Only J.K. Rowling of course!

New Cover Page!

It didn’t take me surprisingly that long to finish this cover page…so here it is! 😀

Later, I will include an excerpt of Dawn’s Rising as I update the page…

The Amazing Adobe Photoshop CS6

So, for anyone who has been reading this blog, you might notice that I’ve had trouble downloading a free trial of Photoshop CS6. Well, I have some good news! I borrowed a friends faster and high-speed internet and I am pleased to say that everything is alive and well in the Photoshop world.

It took me an hour or so to remember how to use it, (it has been about 3 years) but I have about three-fourths of my cover page done for Dawn’s Rising and I am very pleased at how it is looking so far!

So, here I am writing a quick blog to emphasize how amazing Photoshop is for making cover pages. If you know how to use the program and have it on your computer, I would definitely use it for an eBook cover page. (Or, you can always do what I did and download a free 30 day trial.) It is easy using the various filters and effects and it really makes the cover page your own–and also a work of art. I am no Photoshop expert, far from it– but it really makes any effort you put into your page look like its been professionally done.

I am going to continue using it for various photos and cover pages that I might post on here, so look forward to updates. Also, as imagery inspires me, creating the cover page itself has given me ideas for the story and various plot twists. It’s been a very exciting project so far!

I was going to post a preview of the cover page here, but I would rather wait for the big reveal when it’s completely finished.

A quick look: I am now researching how to create a realistic sun-rising effect or sun burst effect…any tips or pointers would be awesome.

Self Publishing — Great Writing or No?

I was doing some reading today on Smashwords.com and was taken to this page: http://blog.smashwords.com/

It is Smashword’s blog, where there is an interview with a self published or “Indie” writer, Rachel Higginson. (For those of you wondering what Smashwords is, it is a company that helps you create your own eBook. Out of all the eBook publishers out there, they seem to make it the simplest and the cheapest to publish to Kindle and all the other Electronic stores and I have chosen them to publish my own eBook.)

Rachel expresses in the interview, how she had a dream of being published since college, but all of the queries that she sent out to publishers kept getting rejected.

Now, she is a self-published writer and making a living at it! The article felt inspiring to me, who has the very same aspirations…to see my work in print and to make money from it someday.

Nasty spider who built its web in the corner of my house. Sometimes the art of writing is like a great web–there are so many different strands that make up the greatness of the whole, that sometimes one weakness can corrupt the overall structure.

I have not read Rachel’s work, so I cannot say anything as to the quality of her writing…but if she is a best seller, it must mean that it can’t be too terrible right?

My biggest fear is this: to present something that I might consider a work of art to the general public and have it be trash. There are many best sellers out there that have been critiqued for that very reason (Stephenie Meyer for example). They write a novel that reaches a large audience of people and while their characterization and their plot line isn’t original, or their writing, something in their story drew people in.

While one can argue that the writing is not great, the writer has presented an idea that is catching. While the plot is mediocre, and the writing cliché, I would like to argue that in some cases, there is a way to write good cliché.

And perhaps this is the case in many self-published novels. While editors are waiting for that next, great, purely, original idea, the readers and general public are saying: No, we like simple and we like fun and no amount of originality can make up for a good, simple and relatable read.

While I want to be a great writer and to be appreciated for the art of my writing, I also want to create a book that is relatable and fun for a wide audience. I think to create something that is relatable and fun to read is also difficult, because it comes down to style. Every writing style is different, just like every writer behind the writing is different.

My question is this: Is there a way to write well, but also make it accessible?

You see books out there classified as “great reads” but they are not best sellers. And while great reads are not always easy reads, they are not always the most interesting either.

Is there a way to write intelligently, but also make it accessible?

I think, that when it comes to a great writer, great writing is all about balance. And every self published author, must find their very own balance. Finding that balance, on the other hand, is a whole different matter…

New TV Show: Revolution! Yeah!

Is anyone as excited as me about this new TV show coming on NBC in the fall??

My Dad’s only comment: “Where do they get the bows and arrows and swords from?” Hehehe. I love him.

Finally, NBC’s taking a show of post apocalyptic proportions and presenting it to us for entertainment! (Eh, with the exception of Terra Nova…and we all know how thaat turned out.) J. J. Abram’s involved, so it can’t be too terrible, right? Very excited about this!

As I am an avid TV watcher and lover (of course I am! I’m nerdy like that!) I will occasionally be reviewing some of my favorite TV shows on here. Revolution will most definitely be making an appearance. Also, keep an eye out for reviews of Vampire Diaries, Bones, and Once Upon a Time later on.

I love the summer, but I am excited about the new season of TV starting soon! FINALLY! Something worth watching! Can’t wait!

 

What do I stand For?

Feeling a tad irritated at life, the world and blogging today so I’m trying to find that song that’s been stuck in my head since last night…

Ah, here it is:

I know it’s not the regular music video, but sometimes I don’t like the them because they change my own personal view of a song, and where’s the enjoyment of that? If I can’t relate to it on a personal level?

Anyway, looking over the lyrics…Wow, they really do reflect how I feel right now: Very disconnected, and very adrift…always the questions that pop up in life: What do I stand for?

Mostly the questions for me now are this: Am I making the right choices? Am I doing the right thing? What’s the right job? What’s the right move? Always the startling questions for a struggling artist…and someone who hopes they are getting everything they want out of life…

“What do I stand for?”

 

Photoshop update #2: I have abandoned my quest for download and have decided to seek greener pastures: Ebay.