Category Archives: Dear Diary

Post Smoky Blues and Highs

So, back again! Been a while, hasn’t it?

Soooooo, I went to Smoky again. J If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out [this post] or [this one] from a review of a previous Smoky. If you don’t want to go to that lovely piece of my blog, I’ll paraphrase: 20-some writers of all shapes and kinds, cranking out words, eating delicious, homecooked food (courtesy of our two live-in chefs), and having a blast.

I miss everyone already, but that last day slammed me once I go home. See, in the prior two years of attending the Smoky Mountain Writers retreat, I would get home off of a high of cranking out thousands upon thousands of words, and think, “I’m going to continue working on this until it’s done and perfect and-

Grumpy-Cat-NO-1

My brain would shut down entirely. I would want to write, but have nothing pulling me to write. My mind was filled with ideas, but without motivation, I’d go nowhere. {See  [this post] on L.O.I. and my struggles with it.)

And nowhere was where I remained for months after each Smoky. First Smoky (2015) I cranked out about 28,000 words in the six days of the retreat. Second Smoky (2016 – Last Year): 36,000 words.  All new projects.

This year, my new project topped out at 31,000 by Saturday night. I was pleased with my work, even getting positive feedback from an awesome friend who has been supportive for the last month or so. (For those of you who don’t know what I mean by that, watch [this video] for the bombshell that broke me at the end of January.)

I won’t say much about this project, as I’m keeping it as hush-hush as I can. All I can promise is that it is amazing so far. In working on this project, I learned how to look back on the past and smile, without it dragging me down.

Most of this week post-Smoky, I’ve been singing and dancing everywhere, smile on my face (most of the time, anyway). I’ve gotten tons of weird looks at the grocery store and gas stations and while walking laps at work, but, for once in my life, I didn’t care.

I.

DIDN’T.

CARE.

A HUGE step in the right direction, I think. While the beginning of the year had been rough, I’m not going to let it squash my passion for writing and my confidence in this project.

Also, we do nightly readings at Smoky, where we can ask questions, but no criticisms, which creates a nice, positive atmosphere in which to share our crafted stories. Many of you will have heard of me talk about my mentors Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine (Authors of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series; highly recommend). They were the ones that got me to my first Smoky, and they go every year too. It’s always fun to see them and laugh and have a good time, and my depression thanks all the Smokies for emotionally supporting me. It really helped, guys. It really did.

Anyway, Tee was in my last three reading groups of the retreat. That first reading, it was me, him, and KT. I did my reading second, and was terrified. Once I’d finished my 15 minutes (different from the standard 10, because our group was smaller than the others), Tee asked a question or two, and then told me that, compared to the readings I did last year, my writing was LOADS better, and he could see how much I’ve improved, to which, KT agreed. Once readings were over, I was headed to my room to call Boyfriend, when Tee got my attention and said, “Seriously, Christine, that was good. Keep it up.” As he thumbsed-up me and walked away, my heart pounded. I couldn’t believe that my mentor, idol, and role model had complimented me that strongly.

Fast forward to the final night’s reading. I finished reading a single chapter, and had 3 minutes left to read. Before I could continue, Tee interrupts and asks a question. I glanced at where I would be reading and told him, “I don’t think I’ll be able to get there in three minutes.” He laughed and urged me to finish. Once my turn was done, he said to me, “Your story… it kinda feels along the lines of Labrynth.”

Cue heart pounding out of my chest. For those of you that don’t know Tee and Pip, let me mention a little factoid: they LOVE David Bowie. Like, beyond comprehension. Tee comparing my story to a David Bowie movie just topped anything else on the retreat. I was on Cloud Nine all the way home… Until I remembered what my brain does after Smoky…

Grumpy-Cat-NO-1

… And started to silently panic.

Soon, I realized there was a simple way to combat the L.O.I. and lack of motivation: Forcing words out. I am now challenging myself to write 300+ words a day, and I’m keeping a record in an Excel Document (Curse my love of Excel). I’ve been doing okay, considering; I’ve written over 3k in the last four days. I’m also posting a daily #PostSWRLog update on my Twitter account to hold myself accountable. I’m still going to attempt words this weekend, but travelling for a short vacation might hinder that ability. I still will post #PostSWRLogs, but probably not a huge word count. That will change after that fun’s over.

Oh, and that project that Tee complimented me on?

*gestures for you to come in closer*

*whispers* It’s a secret.

Keep Faith, everyone. Stay tuned. This year is going to be a wild ride. 😀

Looking to the Future: 2016 to 2017

So, Christmas is drawing nearer, as is the end of 2016. I’ve seen so many people who have labelled 2016 as the “Sucky” year. Celebrities dying, elections pulling people apart, so many people becoming violent or ending up a victim of violence. I hate the news lately, because all they do is fill me with terror.

scared-hiding

But, wait.

Why do I feel terrified?

  1. Is it election results?
  2. Death of a famous person or someone close to me?
  3. Christmas plans or moving process causing too much stress?
  4. None of the above.

If you picked (d), you are correct. Then, what is troubling me so?

Answer: What’s in store for my future?

That big question has been hanging over my head for a good number of weeks. If 2016 was as bad as it was, then what does 2017 hold for me? Well, here’s what I’ve decided to do. Below will be a few lists I’m making, both for my peace of mind, as well as for your information.

Stats for 2016 (before this posting on 12/19/2016)::

  • 1,181 views on this blog
  • 357 visitors to this blog
  • 19 Likes on Blog posts
  • 25 Followers on Twitter
  • 20 sold/freebie copies of The Protektor’s Reality in the hands of new readers
  • 13 free short stories downloaded (all off the iBookstore)
  • Only 2 new reviews on Amazon of The Protektor’s Reality
  • Only 1 patron on Patreon

Things that were horrible in 2016::

  • Mono (yes, the illness plagued me for most of the summer)
  • Having to see a cardiologist in my early 20’s
  • Losing a lot of weight, but gaining 2/3 of it back again…
  • Struggling physically from anxiety
  • Being so far away from my pucky doggies

Things that were good in 2016::

  • Smoky Mountain Writers retreat for another year, and cranked out 38,000 words in 6 days! (Love ya, guys! Can’t wait for February!)
  • My first Ravencon AS A WRITER GUEST/PANELIST!
  • I celebrated a year of being with my loving Boyfriend.
  • I started (and revamped) my Patreon page, in hopes of staying motivated.
  • Boyfriend and I took our first vacation together, went to Las Vegas and Arizona to see his Mom (Front row seats to KA, the Cirque de Soilel show!)
  • [Last week] Kicked off my new Youtube Channel, ChrissyTalks

Things I hope to accomplish in 2017::

  • Stay consistent with my blog
  • Upload to my Youtube Channel regularly
  • Try and gain more Patrons, reviews, and fans by ‘putting myself out there.’
  • Keep writing!
  • Ravencon as a Guest/Panelist AGAIN!
  • Exercise more and drink more water
  • Feel more confident in myself

So, here comes the biggest goal of all.

I WANT TO PUBLISH ANOTHER BOOK!

Unfortunately… I am so in debt that I cannot currently afford to publish one right now. I’m hoping, with ya’lls help, I can raise enough to publish this one, Children of Destiny, which would be the first book in my Trials of Terrara Vikos trilogy, the series that The Protektor’s Reality precedes. In this trilogy, about sixteen years have passed since The Protektor’s Reality, and Lucian has just made the difficult decision to bring his daughters back into the fray. Trouble is, neither of them know about the Realm, as Lucian sent them elsewhere to be protected. Now, with the girls getting slammed with their destinies so suddenly, the tension starts ratcheting up. The Seeker is close, and all the time spent trying to figure out the Seeker’s new identity is coming to a close. However, when the truth is revealed, how will they all decide to react?

I started writing my ToTV saga in 2011, starting with the trilogy (all of which are completed first drafts), with the short stories after, and the most recent being The Protektor’s Reality prequel, published in November 2014. (Two years, yikes!!)

So, I’m posting this here. This was originally supposed to be a surprise for patrons on my Patreon, but I’ll give you readers of my blog the scoop. When you pledge to my Patreon page (even just a dollar), the thank you note for becoming my Patron has a coupon code for Smashwords that will allow you to download The Protektor’s Reality for free in any digital form! How cool is that?!

Also, my first novella for The Chaos Accounts, titled “Accounts of Anxiety”, the saga which is what my Patreon is meant to influence, is well underway. I’m almost half-way through it, maybe just a tad under the halfway point. If you want more details on this writing adventure, or if you (maybe?) want to pledge to get that free ebook, I’m linking to my Patreon [here].

If you don’t have money to spare, DON’T PLEDGE! Like I said above, the debt struggle is real, and I am now twisted into it, so I understand lack of funds. If you can’t pledge, at least share links to my stories or this blog, so maybe the word-of-mouth technique might actually work. You know, hopefully. J

Also, if you are one of the few who has read The Protektor’s Reality from cover-to-cover, PLEASE (and I cannot stress this enough) LEAVE A REVIEW! Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, or anywhere else. Reviews are the biggest gift I could be given this holiday.

Below this post is my first video on my new Youtube channel, ChrissyTalks. Oh, and since I know he’s been on this website already, shoutout to Chad at 2nd & Charles. I filmed, edited, and uploaded this below video last Thursday night when I returned home from that store. If you want to know the impact of that trip, watch the video below.

I wish everyone Merry Christmas. Stay safe on the roads, eat a lot of candy and sweets, and enjoy the joy the holidays bring.

Keep Faith, everybody.

The Waiting Game: Take Two

Last time you saw the words “Waiting Game” here on my little slice of the Internet, it was to talk about waiting for news on a project and what to do to not stress. This is in the same vein, but more a story than an advice column.

Last time I attempted to publish a novel, I succeeded. It became what is titled The Protektor’s Reality, and I am so happy I finally got a published book. Waiting was the hardest part though. Not only for betas/edits, but covers, layout, the delay in instantaneously being able to throw your greatest achievement out into the throngs of people with confetti and flying money. Does matter if that waiting takes only 1 day or five months. Waiting is HARD.

For The Protektor’s Reality (hereby abbreviated “TPR”), I had a few edits I waited for over the course of five months. First one I sent out go it all back to me within a month. Luckily, she enjoyed it so much, she said she is always willing to read more. In fact, you’ll hear a bit more about her later (in relation to the reason for this post). The other edits weren’t so quick, but I eventually got them back. Waiting for those edits, even the one-monther, were absolutely nervewracking. At the time, I was still in school, so I could study and hang with friends while I waited.

That no longer applies.

Granted, I do have a full-time job now, which takes up a majority of my day. However, during down times at the office, my mind shoots back to what I am waiting on, if they’ll like it, if I’ll like what comes out of it, what that will mean for the future of my book, etc, etc, until I drive myself crazy and have to force myself to do the work that suddenly gets slammed on my plate.

I’ll lay it out, plain and simple.
Waiting.
Sucks.

We all have to do it, though. In fact, we all wait on a regular basis. For food to cook at home, or be prepared at a fast food establishment or restaurant.  For our favorite TV show to come back on after commercials. For the car in front of you to stop driving 30 in a 60 (on dry roads) and get their butt moving. For us to fall asleep at night.

Granted, a lot of these might frustrate various people. However, we writers aren’t only stressed by waiting, we are terrified. Why do you think that is?

Worry we won’t ever hear back.

Anxiety over our writing not being good enough to succeed.

Maybe fear over rejection or dislike.

Whatever our reasoning, as writers, we are terrified of waiting. Our work (or pieces related to it) seem to be in a state of unreachable limbo, and we feel so much fear it will never come out.

When I finally released TPR into the wild, a huge weight lifted off my chest. I breathed a sigh or relief, sunk into a comfy chair, let life start to go back to normal-stress levels. Soon after, though, came the big realization.

This wasn’t over.

If I wanted a future career as an author, one which I’d already started down with the launch on TPR, I would need to keep creating and publishing books.

With a wating game.

Every. Single. Time.

My stress shot through the roof. It wasn’t over. And, for us as authors and writers, it will never be over. But, that’s okay. Because, we are still doing what we love: creating stories, and sharing them with the world.

Currently? I’m in a waiting game again, and will probably be for a majority of 2016. I’ve sent off my betas, one of which being the one who read the TPR before its release. All my betas are reliable and have a considerable amount of willingness to make time to read, because they trust this will be a good read. Then, after that, I’ll make my personal edits as quick as I can, and send off to an editor. Then wait again. Once that’s back, make my final edits, send off stuff to layout and cover designers. Wait. Get all that back. Upload to self-publishing company. Wait. Receive proof on mail. Read and make sure everything turned out correctly. Hit Submit. Write another book. Send to betas.

Repeat.

It’s a neverending, vicous cycle of waiting in the author world, but, once we accept it as a part of our writing/publishing journey, it becomes easier.

What to do in that time frame?

Read this.

And, do what you do best.

Write.

 

New Years – A Reflection on Life

New Year, new start, right? At the start of every year, all of us look forward to another year where nothing is impossible. Lose that twenty pounds, get that promotion, write that book you’ve been putting off for years, or go on that cross-country trip you’ve always dreamed of. There are a bunch of people I know (me included) that had a big change in their life in 2015. Babies entered some friends’ lives. Some people married their soulmates. Others started new jobs (example, me), big moves, new houses, new cars (example, me [again]), etc, etc.

No matter what did or didn’t happen in 2015, the biggest thing you can say is: I survived 2015. Lots of people can’t say that. Death got personal for me last year, with one of my grandfathers passing away from cancer (as I’ve heard my mentor say a bunch of times, “F–k Cancer”).  He was an amazing guy, and he went out the way he would have wanted, and that’s all that matters to me.

I guarantee lots of you lost loved ones this past year. My heart goes out to all of you, as I have felt that pang a few times in my life, and each time brought me to tears for months to years. It’s hard, looking to the new year without those wonderful people in our lives. Every passing moment stabs our hearts, and it literally hurts.

Here’s a little secret though. Come closer.

Closer…

*whispers* It gets better.

Yep, it does. Does that mean it will get to a point where you will feel nothing? No, unfortunately, the human race has not developed the technology to put your memory into an unfeeling, superhuman automaton with wifi in the head and a feeling suppressor where your heart should be. Sorry, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. Or, ever, if we’re lucky.

Feeling sadness or depression can be seen as a bad thing, and, to be honest, it is. As someone who’s suffered depression in the past, it’s hard. You shrink away from people, trying to hide the sadness and anxiety in your heart. Wanting someone to listen but not willing to talk about it. Biting back tears when looking at your bank account, your sick sibling/parent, or even just a simple picture.

But, the fact of the matter is, YOU’RE FEELING. Being able to feel is an amazing gift. It allows you to express what you like/don’t like about a situation, and to let others know what you think about something. Feeling is just feeling; there’s no other way to describe it, really. But, it’s amazing when you think about it. It’s something we take for granted.

For instance, I’m worried about an upcoming project of mine (more news in the distant future). That alerts me to plan things out, and have a backup plan should things not turn out right. It also tells me to keep going, so I can prove to myself that I was worried about nothing.

I’m scared of change. This informs me that when change happens, I need to fight back against the fear and take every hit, because, usually, it’ll be worth it in the end.

I’m happy I have a loving family, and a caring, awesome group of close friends. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far in my work career, my writing career, or life in general. Feeling that happiness makes me feel warm and fuzzy and lets me know that not everything sucks.

And I’m upset about death. However, it’s a fact of life. We all will die in the end. If you need advice on how to handle death and your impending demise, consult the Adam Ruins Everything finale. Just a warning, the end is depressing (if you couldn’t guess that already by the topic).

But that doesn’t mean that everything about death is horrible. You have to look at it a different way. Sure, the physical body of the person you love is buried in the ground, but now you have a guardian angel looking out for you. Sure, they can’t affect anything on this plane of being anymore, but the things they did do in our existence left a mark on the lives of so many other people on this Earth. They can’t verbally speak to you anymore, but they live on inside you, in your memories, in your words, in your actions. We choose to focus on their death, because it’s seems easiest to do. But, that hurts you in the end. Don’t focus on their death; focus on their LIFE. The bonds they created that even death cannot break. The changes they made in their own life that affected others in a positive way. The lives they altered, simply by existing and interacting with the world. Their childhood, their schooling, their careers, their family, their friends. At some point in our lives, we made a mark on someone else’s existence, and that’s what we should focus on.

To tell the truth, I would not be on this blog, writing this post right now, if someone in my life hadn’t died. In fact, I wouldn’t be a writer at all. My uncle, while only an active part of my childhood for a year of my elementary school journey, passed away. I was eleven. He was forty.

He was supposed to die at eighteen.197952_1002567381076_3062_n

He was blind, but a genius. He worked as an engineer as an adult, even without being able to see. He had a loving family, who he chose to spend the last year of his life with. He didn’t let his illness or incapacities stop him from achieving his dreams. When he died, I took on that mantra. The night of his death, I wrote my first poem that wasn’t a school assignment. My mother read it – all three pages – and told me I should be a writer.

Almost twelve years later, I have published a novel – dedicated to him, as you’ll see if you picked it up on Amazon -, finished almost ten manuscripts, graduated college a semester early, got an amazing job three months after graduating, and have big plans for the next several years in the career that his death inspired me to take on. I learned to look at the life he had on this earth, not the fact he was gone. Because, I guess, he’s living on inside of me, pushing me to keep going when things get tough.

So, to 2016, I am going to keep pushing forward. No matter what you might throw at me, I will look at my book, my manuscripts, or that poem I wrote twelve years ago – which my mother has made hundreds of copies of throughout the years – and remember why I’m doing this.

Twenty-sixteen:

Bring.

It.

On.

Social Media From a Dummy

(This is in honor of the release of Social Media For Writers, a self-help book by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine, now available on Amazon (click title above for hyperlink)(cover to the left)

Social Media hurts my head. Most of the functions are easy, and, if you don’t understand them, a plethora of resources are at your fingertips. Easy enough, right?

For me?

No.

It’s not due to the difficulty level; I understand how most work just fine. It’s on a more personal level. I’m the type of person who cares too much about what people think of me. When contemplating a response, if there is even the slightest chance someone might not like it, I usually don’t do it. It’s because of this that I seem antisocial or shy most of the time. I spend too much time debating on the perfect response, only for everybody to have moved on to something else.

I need to change that.

Just because I may seem weird, off, or offensive during one second doesn’t mean the seconds after will remain the same. Now, that doesn’t mean blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Experience has proven to a multitude of people that that strategy fails quite frequently. But, the truth it, I shouldn’t be afraid to be myself.

As of today, I am going to make an effort to put myself out there more. This includes social media. I’ve had a Twitter account for a while, but rarely tweeted. I’ve had this blog/website for two years, and rarely posted. My LinkedIn hasn’t been touched in almost a year, while my Tumblr hasn’t been used in so long that I can’t even remember what my username is. (Note: Tumblr is one of the few that confuse me.) And, while my personal Facebook thrives, my author page has sat on lockdown for months.

NO MORE!!!

I will make my author page on Facebook live sometime tonight. This blog post marks the second in 24 hours. Twitter will be picking up speed in the next week or two (you know, hopefully). LinkedIn and Tumblr will probably stay static for a few more months until I get the hang of this whole “Be-Yourself” strategy.

Below are the links and details to my various social media accounts. I am including this website, just in case someone can’t read the URL box above.

***FYI- BIG NEWS: COMING SOON***

Website/Blog: http://terraravikos.com

Twitter/Periscope: @discoverywritin

FB Author Page

Email: terraravikos@gmail.com

E-Newsletter Sign-Up Form

I am also looking for people that might want to host me on their own blogs sometime in the December/January time frame, after I’ve announced my “Big News”. If you might be interested, shoot me an email or contact me through my FB page or Twitter handle.

Until later, Keep Faith, everyone!

Optimistic Heart

131007-093034I’ve been thinking about lots of stuff lately. Between work picking up pace, my friends and sister getting ready to graduate, and a death in the extended family, I’ve decided to reevaluate my life.

My life as a new author has been rough. I’ve been monitoring my sales page, which has been very depressing for the past few months. It made me wonder if I made a bad decision in self-publishing this novel. I’ve also thought about sending copies to review bloggers, but my mind does something to me every time I debate about an action.

Imagining the Worst Case Scenario.

I read some of these bloggers’ submission details, and when it says they post their reviews everywhere, both positive and negative ones, all I can think is, “What if it’s negative? What if my writing isn’t as decent as I had hoped? What if I get a bad review, and that scares others from even giving my novel a chance? That could ruin my shot at getting bigger…”

I have this OCD trait where I want everybody to like me. It doesn’t matter if I see or talk to someone for a few seconds in my entire life; I want that person to like me for those few seconds. It’s become such a paralyzing problem, because then I second-guess my thoughts. I walk on eggshells, trying to ensure that each person I meet or interact with doesn’t have negative thoughts about me and my behaviors and mental/emotional state.

TheProtektorsReality_400x640_115dpiThe thing I’ve come to realize recently, is that you can’t please everyone. You will always have haters, especially if you put your work out for the world to see. It comes with the job, and it’s something I’ve struggled with since Day 1.

I need to refocus on my dream, what I want, and how to get there, and not focus on the negativity that my mind creates for me. Being a pessimist has always come easy, the true challenge is getting past that. Despite the scenarios my imagination creates to scare me, I have always been optimistic about my dreams. I have always hoped to be partially-successful as an author. I always hoped I would sell tons of copies of my books, to prove to myself that I’m a good writer and that others enjoy the stories I have created.

The following lyrics are from a song that was released only a few days ago, by an AMAZING Youtuber named Tyler Ward. It’s an original song he wrote (and he had another video showing him going through the songwriting process for this very song), and it was perfect for what I had been thinking about for the week prior.

“So I’ll blame it on my Optimistic Heart,

At least I’ll have stories for my scars,

American Dream my life away,

When all of my dreams cry, “MAYDAY, MAYDAY!”,

I may lose my heart,

But one day I’ll be a star.”

So, for the others of you out there that have regret your decisions or lose faith in your dreams, “Try not to care what others think,” and have an Optimistic heart. Just keep trying. You’ll get there someday.

Good luck, Dreamers. “One day, [you’ll] be a star.”

 

Ten Years of Family: Ravencon 2015

I’m drained.

And no, not in a bad way.

This past weekend was Ravencon 2015 close to my home. This con is near and dear to my heart, as it was because of it that my goals and perspective on my writing life changed.

April 2008:

Stuck in a rut. Haven’t written anything for weeks, and not because I didn’t have time. Think major migraine + achy muscles + searing pain in my heart like someone stabbed me, but ten million times worse. I had never had as much difficulty writing as I had then, and I don’t think I’ve hit a Writer’s Block that hard since. I caught a glimpse of a flyer on a school bulletin board. It talked of authors, artists, and scientists talking during all lunches. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I decided to go, only expecting a few pointless pointers and tips, probably things I already tried.

Boy, was I wrong.

And it was because of one guy.

Tee Morris.

Tee was a school alum, and came almost every year to promote this “Ravencon” event, whatever that was. As of now, I can’t remember exactly what he said and told me one-on-one, and I don’t even think he remembers. What I do remember is going back to class (late, as I stayed past my lunch to talk to him), opening my notebook, and cranking out what would eventually be recorded on my computer as 1,200 words. In one day. Needless to say, he pulled me out of my rut that day, and that’s when my writing “hobby” became what I eventually wanted to be a writing “career”.

April 2009:

I waited anxiously for Tee to show up and talk to my class that Spring, as he did every year, because that teacher also taught him. Never happened. I even went to Ravencon (my first trip), and couldn’t find him.

April 2010:

No sign of the elusive Morris, at school or con. Seems to have dropped off the radar.

September 2010:

On a suggestion from my coordinator, I reached out to him, in the hopes that I could convince him that we weren’t quarantined and the building was still standing. Imagine my happiness when he replied by telling me that he was coming back for Ravencon in the Spring. I spent the rest of the time until the con working as a go-between for Tee and my school’s library.

April 2011:

The Friday of the con, I spent the entire day in the library with literary masters. Thank you to all my teachers who let me skip class (it was senior teach day, so don’t panic, no one else was in classes either)

And then that weekend, three of my friends and I got to be on a panel, called Voices of Tomorrow. It was pretty much a panel where Young Adults talk about their interests in the literary world. Tee (of course) moderated, and it was my first experience on a panel. You’ll see why that experience *might* help me later.

The next three years (2012, 2013, 2014), I went every year, spending time with Tee, his (now) wife Pip, and so many other writers until my heart exploded.

This year?

Ravencon lost a important and loved member of its community. While I never got to meet John, I could see him through those that did. The love and care and compassion, the excitement and laughter and joy, the camaraderie and friendships and relationships. John must have been a pretty amazing guy to have brought all these people together, and a great, fun, wacky group of people to boot. And I saw his spirit in those around me, and I have never felt so close to so many people in such a short amount of time.

Add onto that fun and closeness with me actually *attempting* to be social. I introduced myself to a few people, including the Con Chair. When Tee followed up the introduction, he says, “Yeah, she’s gotta be a guest next year.”

…….

My heart literally stopped.

I mean, he’s mentioned it in the past, but now that I have a physical book, it’s an entire possibility.

AN ENTIRE. POSSIBILITY.

Milestone, baby.

AND THAT’S why I needed panel experience.

While I’m not going to guarantee that will happen, I’m reeeeeeally hoping it might.

Tee, make it happen.

You know, please?? 😀

New Starts

HAPPY HUMP DAY!!!!!!

So, this is the first place I am officially announcing this news: I GOT A JOB! A REAL FULL TIME JOB!!

*insert squealing girl here*

*clears throat*

Anyway. This company was the only one to even ask for an interview since my December 2014 graduation. I’d gotten PLENTY of rejections (not unlike my publishing attempts), but they asked me for not one, but TWO interviews, and two days later, I received a job offer, making MUCH more than I’d expected and will great benefits.

By the time of the follow-up interview, I was recovering from a Smoky Mountain Writer’s hangover and in the middle of a Book 3 mini-coma. Once that retreat had ended, I had a L.O.I. (Loss of Inspiration – see previous post), and felt absolutely drained. And don’t go thinking that the retreat was terrible for me if I got these aftereffects. That retreat was AWESOME, so no one can criticize it. I got a lot of wordsmithing, brainstorming, and networking done in those short seven days. If you EVER get a chance to go on a writer’s retreat or even a literary convention, GO!G&G 60th 149

Anyway, I was readjusting to normal, routine life, which consisted of an hour of staring at a blank computer screen, unbelievable amounts of time on Facebook, and having deep conversations with my dogs because I had no one else to talk to. Don’t look at me like that. It’s not weird. What is weird is having a majority of days filled with silence after seven days of having 18 other people to talk to.

The job offer made me so excited. I was bouncing off the walls for days! Yeah, I crashed once, and started freaking out about what I might screw up, or how I might come off to fellow employees, or how people’s first impressions of me would be (positive, negative, creative – the worries were unending). Then, I realized that I can only do the best I can. They had to know I would be a good fit for the job; otherwise, they wouldn’t have offered me the job. I may doubt myself during my employment, but I had to be worth something to end up there.

In writing news, I still am stuck on my SMW WIP. However, I took a detour, and decided to venture into the past of the characters in that series, much like I did with my ToTV series and The Protektor’s Reality [Still available for purchase on Amazon, along with the ebook short story saga 😉 ]. One of these prequels is a roleplay that I’m doing with a friend, coincidentally the one who gave me the idea for this series to begin with. It’s pretty much just a GoogleDoc that both of us can edit, and we each post a paragraph or so focused on a single character’s actions, and then we put some sort of separator (for instance ” *** “), and the next author/character can post their bit. The second is one I’m doing on my own, but has helped me to create the background and behind the scenes of my current WIP series. And BOY, is it fun!

Until next time, interwebz, Keep Faith. Like I’ll have to, in order to not go insane balancing my work life and writing life. :p

Dear Diary: The Struggles of a College Student

Yes, I know; I missed a blog post. The reason for that will be explained throughout this little story…

Ever have one of those days? The kind when you don’t get much of a breather before another person or problem comes breathing down your neck? Yeah, I’ve been having those.

For the past month.

Welcome to the life of a college senior.

I’ve had projects, homework (which I’ve fallen behind on MAJORLY), special events, running between home and school (which is a 50 minute drive one-way), and one internship interview that I think went well. This work load has been getting worse and worse as the semester has gone on. Finally, after that month, I broke down on Wednesday. It was too much. The trigger was being threatened, but it was an empty threat. I was scared at first, but when I realized it couldn’t happen, it wasn’t a big deal.

Anyway, my life is finally calming down. I’m staying at school this weekend to catch up on work (as I really don’t do homework when I’m home). I’ve got 5 make-up quizzes, one make-up test, and 28 minutes left of a transcription for my English class to do this weekend. For the rest of the semester, I have one quiz, three final exams, two final projects, and two weeks of being here.

The point of this post is to not scare people into not wanting to go to college. That is not even close. You get the opportunity to go to college, I have one word for you: GO! It is the experience of a lifetime, and you don’t want to pass that up.

No, the point is that THINGS GET BETTER. No matter how bad things look, they will always get better, somehow, someway. As my family used to tell me on a regular basis, “Things can only go up from here.”

And I’ve had friends at school that are going through the same stresses I’ve been going through. There are a few song lyrics I play for them to let them know that we’ll get through it.

“If you ever fall down, straight to the bottom, and you can’t get back right where you started, any place anytime, you gotta know for you, I’ll fight.”

-Daughtry, I’ll Fight

“Just give it one more time, to a Lullaby, and turn this up on the radio. If you can hear me now, I’m reachin’ out, to let you know that you’re not alone. And if you can’t tell, I’m scared as Hell, cuz I can’t get you on the telephone. So just close your eyes. Baby here comes a Lullaby. Your very own Lullaby.”

-Nickelback, Lullaby (I linked the actual music video for this one, because it’s powerful. At least to me)

“Cuz when push comes to shove, you taste what you’re made of. You might bend, ‘til you break, cuz it’s all you can take. On your knees, you look up, decide you’ve had enough. You get mad, you get strong. Wipe your hands, shake it off. Then you stand.”

-Rascal Flatts, Stand

“There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle. Sometimes you’re gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side. It’s the climb.”

-Miley Cyrus, The Climb

Whenever I feel down and like the world has thrown me to the ground (usually repeatedly and frequently), I play these songs and others like them to remind me that I’m not alone. This happens to everyone at some point in their lives. If they can pick themselves up, so can I. On Thursday, after that meeting that scared me on Wednesday, I went to my teacher’s office to talk to her about it. The first thing she tells me? “I glad you came. I didn’t think you’d last the night.”

To which I replied, “Well, I’m still alive, right?”

(Where do you look for inspiration when you’re upset or stressed? Do you have any songs, song lyrics, poems, stories, or people to talk to that help get you out of that rut. Comment below and let me know how you get through those struggles.)