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Liebster Award

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A few weeks ago I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the very talented and lovely jac forsyth, the author and blogger of the site Crone. This sweetheart fairly recently popped up on my blog and started gifting me with all sorts of marvelous and insightful comments. She has all sorts of fun short stories and poems on her site, so please go and give it a look!

The Liebster Award is, more or less, allowing you folks out there to learn a bit more about me and, more importantly, find new blogs.

The Rules:
1. Share 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
3. Nominate up to 11 bloggers and write 11 questions for them to answer.

The Facts:
1. I have a huge sweet tooth! Chocolate is one of my greatest weaknesses.

2. My other weakness is animals, particularly puppies (and, no, I don’t care how old a dog is — it will always be a puppy). I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to write full-time and, when I do, I’ll foster/adopt as many dogs as I can care for!

3. Gaming is important to me as well. The stories, art, music, characters, and the social aspect and community of gaming are all huge inspirations to me.

4. My day job is a tax collector. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Fortunately, I have an awesome work environment and amazing coworkers in my office!

5. My Hogwarts house is Gryffindor, while my Ilvermorny house is Thunderbird.

6. I’m a bit of a hydrophobic. I hate swimming, and I refuse to go underwater. As far as I remember, there’s no real rhyme or reason for this phobia.

7. As a kid, my greatest ambition in life was to be Batman, part of the X-Men, or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I’d like to think that those role models are the reason why I cannot stand any sort of prejudice or bigotry and am gifted with an open mind.

8. While I did very well in school, I was never a fan of the classroom setting. I prefer to learn hands-on and work rather than sit at a desk and take notes.

9. I love music of almost any kind (I’m not too partial to rap), and I almost always have something playing in the background when I’m working. At the moment, it’s usually video game soundtracks or instrumental artists like Lindsey Stirling and Taylor Davis.

10. I’m pretty proficient with computers and software, as well as being able to code a bit in HTML and Java. I find most electronics and programs fascinating!

11. I’m the middle of three sisters in my family. Rachel is my younger sister, while our eldest sister is Lisa. Thanks to Lisa, Rachel and I just became aunts to our first nephew this year!

My Answers:
1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
Oh, dear Lord… Technically, I think I started my blog way back in 2012, but it wasn’t something I took seriously. This year I truly started buckling down, trying to build up my blog mostly to reach out and keep in touch with fellow writers and gamers. It also helps my own writing to be talking about it to the world!

2. If you were an evil villain trying to take over the world, how would you do it?
Patiently. Although having minions and using force may be fun, I’d be more inclined to take a manipulative route. Plant seeds of doubt within allies’ minds, watch them turn on each other, usurp the power for myself, that sort of thing.

3. Which quote would you have tattooed up your arm?
“Far over the Misty Mountain cold…” A simple tribute to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises with a line of lyrics from their songs. This particular one is from Misty Mountains and it just evokes a sense of fantasy and adventure to me. Other quotes I was thinking of were either from Disney or the Legend of Zelda games.

4. What book, poem or piece of artwork are you currently working on?
Well, there are several on the back-burner at the moment. I suppose I’ll say the tentatively titled “Glory,” my planned novel for next month’s NaNoWriMo. It’s going to be a fantasy-ish adventure novel with a cast of characters exploring the lands around them. Dragons will most likely be involved.

5. Blue pill or Red pill?
Red pill all the way. The truth may be ugly, but it’s better than a beautiful lie.

6. How do you deal with self doubt?
Fake it ’til you make it. I’m a fairly self-assured individual, mostly because I try not to care about what others think of me, but if I’m struggling with self-doubt when it comes to writing or one of my other projects, I try to push through it or even take a small break.

7. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?
Make your blog something you’re passionate about and let that passion roll off the page to touch your readers. If you’re having fun doing it, not only will it be contagious to your readers, it’ll never seem like a chore.

8. If you could go back in time, which period of history would you choose?
Can I go ahead in time? I’d love to see the technological advances of future! If not, then perhaps the time of the Renaissance period. The art movement alone would be amazing!

9. Which book or film do you wish you’d thought of writing first?
Uh, Harry Potter? The Lord of the Rings? The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern? Anything really that evokes a sense of magic. I also wish I could have been part of the superhero movement, such as the X-Men or Batman comic books. Those kinds of writings, about justice and overcoming intolerance, are fantastic to me.

10. What is your zombie apocalypse strategy?
Similar to my “take over the world” strategy, patience would be key. Stay low, go fast, keep quiet, hit the zombies hard enough to one-shot ’em. I’d probably try to make my way toward a mountainous region, somewhere that had a small neighborhood or not too many people/zombies around, and attempt to live off the land there.

11. Which character from any novel, poem or piece of artwork that you have produced, would you most like to meet?
Alexander Baker, also known as Tech. A character from my superhero series, he’s an adorable, geeky genius, the type of guy who has an unending passion for his projects, but can definitely be a bit flighty with other things. Nevertheless, if you needed someone to talk to or a date to a wedding or something, he’d be there in a heartbeat.

My Questions:
1. If your blog was categorized as a book genre, what genre would it be?

2. Congratulations, you just adopted a mythical creature as a pet! What kind of creature is it?

3. What is your ideal weather like on a writing and/or reading day?

4. What’s your element (fire, water, light, earth, etc.)?

5. Who is your favorite original character? Or, if you’re not that kind of writer/blogger, who is your favorite fictional character?

6. Virtual Reality gaming systems are on the market now. What fictional world (book, film, video game, etc.) would like you to visit if you could through a VR system?

7. QUICK — what song are you listening to right now?

8. What is the last movie that you have watched that you would recommend to your best friend?

9. If writing wasn’t an option for you, what would you be doing instead?

10. Would you rather be a wizard in a humans’ world or a human in a wizards’ world?

11. Which is easiest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Now, here are the 11 blogs I nominate for the Liebster Award. You guys are under no obligation to do this if it’s not your thing, but know that more of the world deserves to know about you!

1. Rachel Poli
2. The Huffman Post
3. Hencheman-4-Hire
4. Nintendobound
5. I Read Encyclopedias for Fun
6. An Adventure in NaNoWriMo
7. Richard’s Blog
8. Inklings
9. A-Scribe to Describe
10. My Little Book Blog
11. Tiffany Crystal

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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Home

 

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The Unique Blogger Award

Over at his blog, Richard was kind enough to nominate me for the Unique Blogger Award a couple of weeks back. Thanks very much, Richard! It was sweet of you to nominate me for such an award!

Without further ado…

The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
2. Answer their 3 questions.
3. Include one meme and one quote you really like.
4. Nominate 8-13 bloggers to receive this award.
5. Ask your nominees 3 UNIQUE questions.
6. Add a link to the awards creator: Tara at Flower in Rainy Day.

The Questions:
1. If you could direct a film adaptation of any book, which would it be?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I would dearly love to see this adapted into a film, with the best special effects team there is!

2. Where in the world would you most like to visit that you haven’t been to yet?

Considering how much of a Lord of the Rings fan I am, I’m thinking New Zealand. I haven’t traveled very far at all in my life, and the chance at seeing the gorgeous land where the movies were filmed sounds amazing.

3. Is there a particular animal you would like to see in the wild?

I would love to observe the majesty of a wolf pack or a herd of wild horses loping through their territory.

The Meme:

(I don’t really have a favorite meme? I’m going to cheat and skip this section… Sorry!)

The Quote:

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Nominees:
(Obviously you guys are under no obligation to do this if it’s not your thing, but know that I love you all!)

1. Rachel Poli
2. Mr. Panda
3. Herminia Chow
4. Skye Hegyes
5. Jac Forsyth
6. Combustible Reviews
7. Miketendo64
8. Nthato Morakabi

My Questions:
1. How well equipped — both physically and mentally — are you to survive in the world of the last book you read?
2. If you were in an RPG-style game, what character class would you be?
3. If your favorite fictional character or world were a genre of music, what genre would they be?

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Home

 

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Blog Appreciation Post

Hello everyone! Today I thought I would dedicate my blog post to some of the other blogs I read on this wonderful corner of the Internet. While I’ve given a shout out to Rachel, Skye, and Herminia a few times before, I thought I would put a few other blogs in the spotlight. I randomly picked out just a measly few of the many blogs that I follow, and I’ll probably do another post like this down the road at some point. Enjoy!

The Writer’s Corner

A blog created by A.J. Palm, The Writer’s Corner boasts posts about writing, literature, and journalism. She posts every Sunday and Wednesday, and has plenty to find if you’re interesting in writing and reading.

Henchman-4-Hire

Penned by Mr. Sean Ian Mills, Henchman-4-Hire is a wonderful blog dedicated to all things geeky, such as superhero comics and video games. If you’re part nerd, go and check out Henchman-4-Hire!

Book in the Bag

Book in the Bag is a blog run by a team of nine reviewers. They dedicate their time to reading and reviewing as many books as they can, and they also take recommendations. If you’re looking for a new book or two, try scrolling through their posts for some suggestions.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Jay Dee Archer is the author of this particular blog. Not only does he explore writing and reviewing, he also enjoys sharing his random store of knowledge regarding science and history and his photography.

Double Jump

Double Jump is a brand new blog centered around video games and is run by Rachel and myself! (Yes, this is a bit of shameless self-advertising.) Rachel and I have a plethora of ideas for this blog, including reviews, debates, top lists, and more. We’ll be doing joint posts on Wednesdays while she posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’ll post on Mondays and Fridays. Today, for instance, I have posted a book review for “Ready Player One,” a novel set in the future that revolves around a contest for the control of a coveted virtual reality. Go check it out if you’re interested!

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What are some of your favorite blogs on WordPress?

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Home

 

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“Have a Prompt!” Saturday #18

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Posted by on May 30, 2015 in Prompts

 

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Forgive and Forget?.”

Click-clack. Click-clack.

I glanced up from my notebook and she saw me look her way.

Click-clack. Click-clack.

My head raised slowly as she sauntered closer, her heels on the tiled floor announcing her every step.

Click-clack.

She grinned. One of my eyebrows inched toward my hairline. The click-clacks stopped as she did right beside me.

“Can you do me a favor?” she asked.

“Why?” was the response I blurted. Her gaze strayed downward, her bottom lip was caught between her teeth, and her heels clicked and clacked as she fidgeted. Clearly I wasn’t the accommodating seventh grader she had remembered.

“It’s about Sarah,” she said.

I sat up straighter and stared at her until her clicks and clacks ceased. “Go on.”

“Back in middle school,” she said, “I did some shitty things to her.”

“You did,” I agreed. Click. She took a step back. “And?”

“Look,” she said, “I want to be able to apologize to her. I haven’t had a best friend since we had our falling out.”

That hadn’t been Sarah’s fault. I waited for her to get to the point as to why she was talking to me.

“You guys are good friends,” she said.

“Very good friends.” Best friends.

“I was hoping that you would just let her know that I wanted to talk to her,” she said. “You know, clear the air. I really want to apologize. Can you do that?”

Five years had passed since then. All three of us had grown and changed.

I nodded. “I’ll let her know.”

“Thanks.” Clack. She turned away.

“It’s up to Sarah whether she wants to talk to you,” I said.

She paused and glanced back at me. “But… you will let her know?”

“I said I would.” My stare was hard, unblinking. “I don’t let others down.”

A hesitant nod was all I received before she turned away again. I returned my gaze to my work, but my attention was on the sounds of her departure.

Click… clack… click… clack…

Click-clack

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Home

 

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Yooka-Laylee

Anyone who is a fan of Nintendo or Kickstarter games had been keeping their eyes on Yooka-Laylee, the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie from way back on the Nintendo 64 console. With Yooka-Laylee’s extraordinary success in reaching its Kickstarter funding goals in less than an hour, it’s little wonder that it’s one of the hottest video game stories out there.

With the game’s Kickstarter success, Yooka-Laylee will be heading to all major platforming consoles. Originally they had just wanted to reach PC and Mac platforms, but all the pledges allowed the game to be slated for the Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 as well for their October 2016 launch. The developers are dedicated for the best game possible without the risk of “Kickstarter bloats.” In fact, their next pledge campaign is for a full orchestra score, something that will be a wonderful addition to the game, but not necessary for the game’s overall play value.

They may just make it. At the time of this posting, there are over 1.4 million pounds of pledges and 42k backers. While perusing the article myself, the number kept increasing every time I looked up at them.

While way-back-when, I wasn’t that much of a fan of the Banjo-Kazooie games (I know, I know, sorry — it just wasn’t my cup of tea, for whatever reason) and I never got the chance to play much of Donkey Kong 64 (although I remember the awesome theme rap), I think Yooka-Laylee looks amazing. The characters are adorable (look how happy they are at 25 seconds into the video!) and the overall visuals of the gameplay look fantastic. The video shows off some of Laylee’s flying abilities and I’m eager to see what our chameleon friend will be able to do.

Who else is looking forward (or not) to Yooka-Laylee?

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Home

 

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A Side Character’s Story

In between writing and work, Rachel and I have been playing video games. In particular, the game that we’ve been sweeping through is Paper Mario, a gem from the old Nintendo 64 era which we have on our Wii’s virtual console. Even non-gamers, I’m sure, know the Mario name. The guy’s been around since 1981 in the arcade game Donkey Kong when he was known as “Jumpman,” a year before he earned his familiar Italian moniker while playing the antagonist in his next game appearance. Being in over 200 games since then, Mario has become a well-known hero in the video game world.

The games in the Mario series are populated with all sorts of fun characters of all sorts of different species, from Mushroom Kingdom’s Toads to the colorful Yoshi dinosaurs to the shelled Koopas to the plant-like Piantas. Paper Mario is no exception, especially if one considers all of the partners and side characters that Mario helps and is helped by in the game. His partners are all helpful and have a purpose, both in and out of battle, but one of the side characters particularly amuses Rachel and me.

Kolorado and his snazzy mustache

Kolorado is a world-famous archaeologist in the console Paper Mario games. He frequently travels the world for history and treasure (much to the frustration of his wife). Mario meets him fairly early in the game at Chapter Two, and he just seems like a fun little character with a British accent. Later on in the game he actually accompanies Mario into one of the dungeons, an island volcano on the verge of erupting.

As creators, we populate our stories with so many characters to boost our antagonist’s and protagonist’s virtues, flaws, and goals. At times, promoting aspects of the main players of the story is the only purpose of the side characters. Many fall into cliche stereotypes, such as the mother hen, the dumb jock, or the brainy nerd, and are only there to push the hero (or villain) along.

Kolorado smashes through those stereotypes, proving that he’s more than just a simple side character. From his introduction into the game, the players are given a brief overview of his personality from meeting his wife, who complains about him not being home. He’s rash, always exploring, never settling down during his quests for treasure. Upon finally meeting him a little later, players find that he’s a friendly, curious sort. Even later still, he provides comic relief while courageously (or foolhardily) risking his life in an active volcano for Mario (and treasure).

Here is a character that has his own dreams to pursue rather than just being a plot device for Mario’s adventure. Here is a character whose personality is as well-rounded as a novel’s protagonist, with both virtues and flaws. Here is a character who is living his own life, even though the story’s spotlight is not on him.

Kolorado reminds us that every character, no matter how small a part they play in the novel’s overall story, has a tale of his or her own. He knows who he is, what he wants, and how to achieve his goals. Sure, he’ll help Mario if and when he is needed but, for the most part, he’s busy doing what he has to do for his life. Kolorado’s background and personality helps shape his story and his interactions with Mario which, in turn, help shape Mario’s story.

When sketching out a side character, don’t only figure out what he or she can do for your protagonist or antagonist. Figure out his or her character. What is their history? How did they get to where they are now? What made them the cheerful girl next door or the wise old man? What are your side characters’ dreams? What are they doing to achieve them when they are not interacting with the main characters? How do their goals shape them?

The main characters may be the heroes of your story, but every side character is the hero of their own.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Home

 

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