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The Roses of Success

The other day Rachel and I actually sat down and watched a movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Starring Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, and Lionel Jeffries, it was a musical fantasy live-action movie revolving around a family and their magical car released in 1968. Dick Van Dyke has always been a favorite entertainer in our household, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fun movie to rewatch every once in a while.

One of the songs in the movie is called The Roses of Success, sung by Lionel Jeffries as Grandpa Potts and a chorus of eccentric inventors. The whole point of the song is to embrace failure, to never give up despite set backs, to be thankful that you’re moving forward enough to figure out what doesn’t work on the way to figuring out what does.

It resonated more with Rachel and me at our ages now than it ever did when we were younger. We’re both working on getting our writing off the ground, both with novels and blogging, as well as our networking with good friends aiming for similar goals. It was an uplifting song, one that was perfect for this fun, even if silly, movie. I hope that, if you haven’t gotten the chance to see this classic movie, you do one day!

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Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Home

 

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No WiFi For a Day

It’s amazing how much we’re connected to WiFi nowadays.

This past weekend, our WiFi randomly decided to stop working from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon when our father called our service provider and they did their magic to bring us WiFi back.

Saturday night, Rachel looks to me and asks, “Since there’s no WiFi, you wanna trim the cat’s nails?”

This is apparently how ingrained WiFi is in our everyday lives.

It obviously wasn’t the beginning of the apocalypse or anything, but considering the pair of us blog often and use our social media sites for said blogs and connecting with friends, it was a bit odd. However, we each spent Sunday morning reading on our deck before the sun disappeared behind rain clouds, and it was great! Both of us finished the books in about two and a half hours. It’s been a while since I’ve done that.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Home

 

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Blog Resolutions

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  • Continue posting every day — last year was the first time really committing to this blog, and it’s been a fantastic habit both for my writing and for communicating with others (see, Mom, I promise I won’t turn into a hermit!).
  • Schedule out more posts in advance — I’m a procrastinator by design, but by actually scheduling and writing out more posts ahead of time, I’ll have more time on my hands to work more on my writing, reading, and drawing (… and video gaming).
  • Read more — definitely need to carve out more time for reading, not only to include some more reviews on this blog, but also because think of all the awesome books I’m missing out on!
  • Be better with commenting — I’m awful at this one, and I aim to be a lot better. Don’t take as long to reply to comments on my own posts, but also poke around more at other blogs on WordPress. I follow some amazing people around here, and I need to show them more love!

What about you all out there? Got any good resolutions, for blogging or otherwise?

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Home

 

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Early Bird or Night Owl

What’s the best time of day for your writing?

Rachel’s one of the early birds of the family, always getting up two hours before she actually leaves for her day job to get a head-start on her writing and blogging. Meanwhile, I’m lucky if I can roll out of bed and remember to put on actual pants before taking the kids to school a bit after seven in the morning.

I tend to go to bed after Rachel does, usually spending an extra hour or two while everyone else in the house goes to sleep to write in my notebooks. It’s a nice, quiet time that’s only interrupted when I start making more and more spelling mistakes due to getting tired.

Maybe my late nights are why I have difficulties getting up in the morning… Or I could blame the puppy for joining me in bed in the early morning hours to snuggle!

What about you? Are you the type of writer who does his/her/their best work in the morning, the afternoon, or night?

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Home

 

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Short Story Sunday – Camp NaNo Excerpt (April 2015)

Instead of the usual short stories that I post on Sundays, I thought I would post an excerpt to my Camp NaNo novel. Here is a past post with a brief synopsis of the story currently titled, “NPC.” Basically, it’s a video game/MMORPG world where the players are paired up with dragons.  I hope you enjoy it and have had/are having a wonderful Easter and weekend!

An Excerpt from NPC

“It’s not often we find a Water around these parts,” were Brent’s first words as he hopped off of Foxtail’s back and sauntered toward Kurt and Noodles. “I’m a bit surprised that you contacted me.”

“I figured that Fire dragons and their masters would be the more knowledgeable pairs to ask about this region,” Kurt said with a nod and a gesture toward Mount Cataclysm.

“You’d figure right.” Brent glanced at the mountain range. “So, then, what do you want to know about the mountains?”

“It’s about the players that were caught in the summit earlier today,” Kurt said. “They mentioned that it was a rockslide that had caused them to get stuck. When I spoke to Animus about it—”

Brent scoffed. “Ah, the mod that knows everything about our world, eh?”

“She helped create it, Brent,” Kurt said. “I’d be concerned if she didn’t know enough about the realm.

“Anyway,” he continued, “Animus said that the servers and programming should have withstood the attacks and not have caused a landslide large enough to trap a couple of players. I wanted back-up to check it out.”

Brent raised an eyebrow. “And you called me?”

“You were the first one I thought of,” Kurt admitted. “If you don’t want to help, I can contact someone else. Maybe Josephine—”

“No, I’ll help.” Brent ran his hand through his hair and glanced back up at the mountain. “Foxtail and I aren’t doing anything exciting right now. I just don’t think that there’s really anything you need help with, ya know? I don’t think a landslide is all that uncommon.”

“It isn’t?” Kurt said, glancing over his shoulder at Brent before leading the way into the cavern. Noodles clung to her master’s shoulders. “You have landslides often, then? You should inform Gears or Animus—”

“We don’t have landslides every day or anything.” Brent followed with a shrunken Foxtail gliding along behind him. The Fire dragon gave off a natural glow that lit the cave just enough for the group to see by. “With the extra monsters and the enthusiastic, to put it nicely, players that take care of them to help their dragons grow… Well, landslides happen more often than the administrators care to know.”

“Gears and Animus would care to know, I’m sure,” Kurt said. “If you’re having more landslides that are not supposed to happen in the program, then the code must be—”

“Do you hear yourself?” Brent looked down at Kurt from the crag that they had been climbing. He hauled Kurt up to the top when Kurt had been close enough to reach. “Who do you think you are?”

“I’m Kurt,” Kurt said, taking a step back from Brent and brushing off the dirt and dust that his shirt snagged from the rock face. “I’m a non-playable character moderator for Dragon Tamer—”

“You’re an NPC,” Brent said. “That’s it. No more. That’s all that we’ve been created for. There is nothing else. The administrators are nice, sure, but they have to be in order for us to do our jobs. They don’t care that much about us or our world so long as we do what we’re supposed to.”

“That’s not true,” Kurt said. “They do care about us. Why else would they spend so much time in this world when they have their own? Why would they trust us, help us grow if they didn’t care?”

“It’s their job,” Brent said. “If they don’t act nice to let us do our jobs, then they don’t have their jobs. It’s all one big cycle.”

“They don’t get paid to create and maintain this world,” Kurt said. He brushed past Brent, wishing now that he had called Josephine and her Fire dragon. Josephine was the type to light trees on fire to watch the “pretty flames burn,” but at least she had her zest for exploring.

“They don’t get paid yet, you mean,” Brent said. Kurt gave him a backwards glance, prompting Brent to continue. “Say this game on their world becomes popular. So popular that they need a little donation money to buy a more powerful second server to keep the game going. Because it’s so popular, players are going to pay. They get enough players, they get enough money. They get enough money, one of the big corporations in their world are going to take some interest in Dragon Tamer. If the administrators are smart, they’ll take whatever monetary offer they get.

“If they’re really smart,” Brent continued, “which they seem to be considering they created an entire world and a population of people and creatures to go with it, they may be able to create their own corporation. You get where this is going, Kurt?”

“If their hard work comes to that,” Kurt said, finally looking back at Brent, “then they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.”

Brent’s snort swiftly turned to laughter. “And then what, Kurt? They get all the money, they get a corporation to take care of our world, of this game… Then where do we end up?”

“We’ll still be here,” Kurt said, “helping to care for it—”

“Yeah, sure.” Brent shook his head. “They get enough money they’ll get live moderators to crack down on the players here. They get a big enough corporation and everything in this world, including us, will get strict scripts to live by. Hey, who knows.” Brent shrugged and cut ahead of Kurt again. “With moderators from the real world, our mod codes could be erased. Our self-awareness, something that Gears and Animus thought would be nice to give us, will be gone. They wouldn’t want us to, you know, rebel or anything.”

Kurt paused a moment. “Would you?” he asked. “Would you rebel, Brent?”

Brent didn’t answer as he and Foxtail continued through the cavern, leaving Kurt and Noodles behind in the shadows.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2015 in Scribbles

 

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The Determination of a Turtle

So I figured I would try to do a lot of writing today, seeing as I’m about 7k behind on my NaNo project. It’s a quiet, drizzly day, I don’t have to puppy-sit my uncle’s hyperactive beagle, and I’ll have the office/den to myself for a couple of extra hours since my sister Rachel babysits after work on Mondays.

Anyways, here I am sitting and typing away while gulping down coffee (decaf for me, since I am not Rachel), when I hear Raph the turtle start knocking on her tank. I glance over and see her staring me down through the glass, and I figure why not take her out so she can get some exercise. It’s not too cold of a day (actually, it’s rather mild for a rainy, November Monday) and she’s been semi-hibernating with the winter days coming. So I take her out, dry my hands (since Raph has an affinity for wanting to come out of her tank right after she gets out of her pool), and place her in the middle of the room before going back to my laptop.

First, the turtle got stuck by the wires of our telephone and game systems, so I had to rescue her from there. Then, she decided to walk along the wall where our laptop chargers rest. I had to pause and lift the chargers out of the way so she could continue her walk. Seriously, she stopped right by them and stretched her neck up to stare at me, demanding to move the obstructions. After that, she decided, hey, why not attempt to climb up the pile of novels Rachel has by the corner of the room?

Spoiler: she didn’t make it up the book hill.

At the moment, she is now trying to either climb into or bury herself under Rachel’s leftover bag of Halloween candy. There’s not much left in the bag, but there is a package of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lollipops in there. Maybe she’s trying to channel her inner ninja turtle, especially since she was named after one.

That got me thinking. Despite the setbacks, Raphael never gives up on exploring the room (and beyond it if we ever accidentally leave the door open) or trying to get where she wants to go. Her determination led me to my own and, as I stared back at my current NaNo project, I realized how my determination has been wavering.

I’ve got so many ideas, not just for novels, but for myself. The only thing stopping me from achieving those ideas, those goals, is myself. Why can’t I write 5k a day, even while pup-sitting? Why can’t I edit a few pages of my first-draft manuscripts a day? Why can’t I sketch a picture or, hell, even make a blog post once a week?

On that note, how many “inspirational” posts do I have on this thing? When was the last time I actually wrote about an achievement rather than just a promise of heading toward my goals?

The story of my NaNo project is not going well. It’s going down the road just fine, really, but it’s not what I had originally pictured and the result is less than sub-par. However, I do have a few good scenes, a couple of great lines, some interesting characters (like a wyvern named Mumbles) that popped up. In the spirit of NaNo, I’m going to get to the end of the story (at least, figure out the ending), and maybe the aspects about it that I do like can find a home in a future novel.

At the moment, I need to channel my inner turtle and find the determination to keep moving forward.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Home

 

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A Mouse and a Leap of Faith

“Everybody needs a leap of faith… When are you taking yours?” – Nickelback’s “What Are You Waiting For?”

I must have been a dog in my past life.  A feisty little dachshund, to be exact, if one was to ask my coworkers.  Years ago when I had applied for and gotten the position to work at a dog day care and hotel, no one from my family and circle of friends had been surprised.  With my love of animals, it was a natural choice.

It had been a shock when, about four years later, I had announced that I was quitting.

I still loved the dog day care, and I hadn’t grown sick of it at all.  It was the first job that I had never dreaded to wake up and go to, and I had seriously considered making a career out of my position in that company.  Yet, I had other dreams that had been collecting dust in the back of my heart and it was about time that I took a leap of faith to make them come true.

Writing had always been a passion of mine.  My room was littered with notebooks, pens, and how-to books on crafting rich tales.  My Internet personas boasted of half-finished fanfictions from video games and movies, and of stories that were always works-in-progress.  There was no reason why I could not turn those works-in-progress into full-fledged novels.

My epiphany happened while vacationing with my younger sister in the most magical place on earth, Disneyworld.  With how busy the dog hotel was, especially during the times of year when schools were out and families were on vacation, that Disneyworld trip had been the first vacation I had taken in over a year.  It was at the end of August, a blazing time in Florida, and my sister and I sought out the indoor attractions and shops while collecting autographs from the face characters.

One such attraction that struck both my sister and me with inspiration was a certain gallery exhibit in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream.  We goggled at the artifacts that detailed Walt Disney’s life and how he created a monumental company that has always touched the lives of so many people.  It rekindled the spark of our dreams with writing. After all, Walt Disney was able to follow his dreams with just a mouse.  Why couldn’t we do the same with just a pen?

My sister and I have had many frank discussions regarding our dreams with writing ever since seeing that exhibit.  She has over a half a dozen first (and sometimes second and third) drafts of novels while balancing her full-time job along with school.  I have had only two completed first draft manuscripts.  Even though my work schedule had always been more sporadic than hers, she at least had the focus to complete her stories.  I still had the attention span of my past-life dachshund when faced with a squirrel.

I made a decision before the end of that Disney vacation.  With no debts to my name, I had a decent savings account that could allow me to take a few months off and work on my writing dreams.  A mere month after returning from that vacation, I left my job at the dog day care and hotel with bittersweet feelings.

Dogs are pack animals and most thrived with socialization and being around familiar faces.  I felt as if I had left my pack to try to establish my own, and I wasn’t sure about all the rules of the wild.  However, I had taken my leap of faith and, though it may take me a while to learn how to fly, I will soar.

I may have been a dog in a past life but, with my stories, I believe I have many lives ahead of me. I wasn’t going to keep them waiting any longer.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Home

 

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