Monday, December 29, 2014

End of the Year

So it's the end of the year.  In three days it will be 2015.  It has been a pretty interesting and busy year.  I am sure some bloggers out there are doing end of the year surveys.

Remember Back to the Future II?  The movie takes place 2015 (I think) and they were flying around in hover cars.  Well it's almost 2015 and we are still driving on the ground-in hybrid and electric cars. There are a few things that came true from that movie including tablet computers, video conferencing, and wireless video games.

I'm not doing a survey, but I will hit some highlights.
  1. I had a summer job at a healthcare center. It was my first working in the medical field.  Therefore, it was an interesting experience.
  2. I went to Hilton Head Island this summer.
  3. I purchased a lot of books this summer, and I have some that I have not read yet.
  4. I had to learn some life lessons this year. One of those lessons is: don't count on promises that people make.  This is always a constant reminder. I had a few promises that were made to me this year and they weren't fulfilled.  Another reminder was: don't let people use you.
  5. I got up enough courage to write another ebook. 
  6. I bought a new computer because it was time.  I am getting use to Windows 8.  
  7. I used public transit to get to and from work.
  8. The biggest thing that happened this year is I lost 20 pounds.  It takes hard work and patience. It boosts your self esteem when you are able to fit into clothes you haven't wore in a long time.
  9. I had to go back do some edits for my ebook. I think I should hire an editor.  
This post isn't very exciting I know.  I hope that I will have more exciting news in the new year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Taking Stock...

Well, I can't believe that 2014 is almost over.  Things tend to slow down and or come to a screeching halt this time of the year due to the holiday season.

Work has slowed down at Knoji AGAIN.  I am glad that I mustered up the courage to write another ebook. I intended for it to be released on January 5, 2015.  However, somehow I published it early on AmazonTaking on the Writing World is still scheduled for purchase on 1-5-15 on Smashwords.

I don't know if anyone has purchased it on Amazon yet, but at least six people and counting have downloaded a sample on Smashwords.  Thank you so much for your support.

I hope that next year will be a better year all the way around.  I have been thinking about writing a whole new novel.  However, I find myself trying to write out the same old story.  Maybe there is a story that needs to be told.  Or maybe there are some bad novel ideas that need to be shelved forever.

For months now, I have been struggling with a business plan.  Since I have no data to show for income statements and marketing, I feel like I am writing myself into a corner. I try to search for data on the Internet, but just when I think I have solved the puzzle, I find out that I have to pay for it.  I am probably not looking in the right places.  I have been dealing with this project since September.  I saw a book in the Kindle store about how to write a business plan in three hours.  Really?  Really? It is taking me three months to write a business plan.  It shouldn't take that long.

Sometimes, it feels easier to just watch TV or grab my Nook and just read. I don't know if it is the winter season that makes you want to be lazy and sleep.  South Carolina doesn't get the brutal winters like the Northeast and Midwest. 

Until next time...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review: Breakdown by Ellie Grace

Goodreads says:

Amy Porter has had a thing for her twin brother’s best friend since she was a teenager. After being considered “one of the boys” throughout her childhood, he’s the first guy to look at her and see past the tomboy she used to be. Unfortunately, he’s also completely off-limits. She does her best to move on as the years go by, but it’s not until her life takes a drastic turn that she finally accepts the fact that they aren’t meant to be. However, as her world crumbles around her, Nate always seems to be close by to help her pick up the pieces.

Nate Miller knows that Amy is the one girl he can never have. No matter how badly he wants her, he won’t risk destroying his friendship, or the promise he made to look out for her when her brother goes overseas with the Marines. As life continues to get in the way and keep them apart, the only logical choice is to give up… but giving up is the last thing he wants to do.

With so many obstacles stacked up against them, can they find a way to make it work or are they headed for a breakdown?

I didn't know who Ellie Grace was until I spotted Breakdown on Amazon. After reading the description, it sounded interesting enough to give it a chance.  And I am happy to say that I am glad that I gave Ms. Ellie Grace a chance.

First, I was excited that the book took place in my home state of South Carolina.  I don't see too many books that take place in South Carolina.  I wonder if the author is from Charleston, SC.

We meet Amy and Nate.  Nate is Amy's brother Dex's best friend.  Dex has always been protective of Amy which meant scarring off any guy who showed interest in her.  Amy and Nate have been crushing on each other for years, but due to circumstances, unexpected pregnancy, fear of Dex, and bad timing-they just weren't able to get together.

The time they did spent together, they weren't able to keep away from each other and couldn't fight their feelings. The book takes place during the time period of over six years. Amy and Nate finally realize they are meant for each other.  Can they make it work? Will they be able to face Dex? Will Dex accept their relationship?   I don't want to give too much away.  I must say that this book is a quick read because I was so eager to find out what happens next.  I will give a hint-there is a happy ending.

Ummm....there were a few steamy scenes to put it nicely, so this book is more so for the mature crowd.  I believe that Breakdown is classified as general fiction and or new adult (18-25). And some are probably yelling at me, "You need to just grow up."  Yep, I heard it before.  Don't say I didn't warn you. 

3 out of 5 Stars
Personal digital copy purchased from Amazon

Friday, December 5, 2014

Coming January 5, 2015

Guess what?  I have finished the final edits for Taking on the Writing  World: The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life.  It is scheduled for release for January 5, 2015 on Amazon and Smashwoords.

I'm so excited.  As eager as I was to put the ebook out there immediately, I knew that I needed to take my time.  First impressions make lasting impressions, so there was no time for sloppiness. So here is an excerpt from the book.  Enjoy!


When I decided to send out my children’s story to magazines, it was rejected.  I know now that rejection is the norm for writers who want to get published.  However, I was tired of it.  I felt like my writing was worthless and I was wasting my time.  I began to believe Ms. M who said that it didn’t have what it takes to be writer and I was proving her right.
I was tired of being turned down because my stories didn’t fit in with the publications I wanted to publish them in.  Thanks to contest scams, I feared that my work might get stolen.  So what do you do in these situations?  Give up altogether?  Let the nay sayers win?  Or do you find another path?
As a person, I know that I don’t fit in.  I stand out from the crowd rather I like it or not.  I didn’t fit in at school or at work.  The fact has proven true for my writing.  Big Brother, Little Sister didn’t fit in any children’s magazine.  Also, my unfinished novel didn’t exactly fit into the young adult category because my main character was 22 years old and out of high school.  I came to the realization that it was time for me to pull up my boot straps and face my fears.  I have also learned that I needed to have thick skin in order to make it in this business.  I needed determination, drive, and discipline to continue in the fight to publish my stories.

Is there a place where writers can publish their stories that just don’t fit in with the current trends of the market?  Thanks to self-publishing companies like Create Space, Smashwords, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Book Baby, and others, authors can publish their stories that would probably still be stored away on flash drives, discs, hard drives, and clouds. 

In October 2011, I created an account on Smashwords.  I primarily opened the account so I could download books from the site.  It took me two years to be brave enough to self–publish short stories.  I decided that this would be an experiment to see if anyone would want to read my work.   I had a few short stories and flash fiction pieces that I wrote for Helium.  I decided to clean them up and publish them as a short story collection titled, The Stories We Tell When Drinking Coffee: A Collection Short Stories and Flash Fiction. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

10,000 Words-Accomplished

That's right...I reached 10,000 words on my work in progress project: Taking on the Writing World. I plan to have it ready for Amazon by next month.

I know that 10,000 words is barely scratching the surface compared to full length books of 60,000+ words.  For me this is an accomplishment because I completed a book that I am proud of and I saw the project all the way through. I didn't let self doubt and negativity get in the way.  I just wrote and told my story.  I will spend the rest of this month editing-making sure that typos repetitive words, and spelling errors are gone.  That can hurt your reputation as a writer.  I have learned this the hard way.

Last Tuesday, I had an appointment in Clemson. After it was over, I took the bus over to Starbucks to treat myself to a peppermint mocha coffee and cheesecake brownie.  I know I need to keep away from sweets and I have for the most part, but I thought that I should reward myself for my little victory.

The other day, I took inventory of the unread books on my Nook tablet and I resolved not to buy anymore books until I finish reading what I have and when Sarah Dessen's and Susane Colasanti's new books come out next year.  The other day I was on Amazon and I saw a book for $3.99.  I thought well, it's just $3.99, but I exercised self control and exited the Kindle store immediately.

I am almost finished reading Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.  I have been reading the book off and on because I have been sidetracked by other books and life itself.  Which brings me to another realization: I am not going to finish the Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge. Although I have been reading non stop, I am not going to reach my goal of 50 books.  Maybe next year.  While it's nice to curl up read during the evenings and weekends there's stuff that needs to be taken care of.  I have been working on my e-book and some freelance work for Knoji.  (I have to strike when work is available).

I hope to have an excerpt up soon.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review: I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau by Gary Kemp

Goodreads says:

I Know This Much' tells the story of Spandau Ballet, but it's far more than a book about being in a band. Whether it's meeting Ronnie Kray before filming 'The Krays', sketching out the fashions and subcultures of the day, or hanging out with Princess Diana, this book offers a story on every page.

Sometimes I need a break from young adult fiction.  

I believe that my reading tastes are maturing.  I like to read biographies and other interesting stories. I want to read stories that inform and inspire me.  I want to read about adults my age, closer to it, or older.

So how do I know about Spandau Ballet at 31 years of age.  Well, I am into 80's music.  I have always liked their song "True" which was their big hit here in the United States.  The 80's British band may be a one hit wonder here in the States, but through my research, they were big in the UK.

A few years ago, I decided to find out if they had any other songs. And thanks to iTunes, I found their other music.  I started liking their music and found myself downloading it.  I stumbled across this book on the Internet and wanted to read it.  I didn't think that I could get the book here in the US until I found it on Amazon.  

You don't have to be a fan of Spandau Ballet or know who they are to be interested in reading the book.

The opening chapter takes place in a court room.  Why are they in court in the first place?  I have heard that they went to court, but I didn't know the story behind it.  Gary Kemp takes readers through his childhood, how the band came together, and their journey.  I found myself bulldozing through each chapter to find out what happens next.  I have to say that this memoir is well written.  

I learned bits of interesting facts throughout the book.

  1. Singer Sade didn't think that she could sing.
  2. Lead singer Tony Hadley was put under a Turkish rug to soften his voice.
  3. Spandau Ballet appeared on Soul Train.  I even found a clip on You Tube.
  4. R&B/Hip Hop/Pop artists have sampled the their music over the years. (Well, I actually knew some of the songs that used "True" as a sample.
  5. Gary Kemp was a child actor, and had a role in The Bodyguard.
As the story progressed, the pieces of the puzzle came together. I didn't think that this band could fall apart, but they came together again.  I don't want to give too much away.  

4 out of 5 stars
Personal digital copy purchased from Amazon

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cover Reveal: Taking on the Writing World

Thanks to the cover creator on Amazon KDP, I was able to create a professional cover that I am absolutely happy with!  Drum roll please...

Note: I made a change in the subtitle.  The book with be called: Taking on the Writing World: The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life.

I can't wait to finish the book and put out there for readers to read.  Stay tuned for an excerpt.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

WIP: Taking on the Writing World

Hi, I guess that it is not too early to announce that I have been working on a new book project.  I have been reading a lot of books about writing and reading about experiences from different writers. Reading those experiences inspired me to tell my story.

I wanted to write about my experiences with writing contests, classes, rejections from publications, and other adventures and misadventures and share some words of wisdom I picked up through the years.  I still consider myself  a newbie although I have writing online for almost five years.  I still have a long way to go, but I am not as green as I use to be.

I am not so quick to enter just any contest promising money and publication.  I am not in a big hurry to hit to publish button.  Case and point, I wish that I would've taken my time with the short stories on Smashwords.  There have been times when I have caught mistakes and had to upload a new version.  I hoped to make money off my stories, but it took me nine months to earn $11.03.  The lesson here is don't publish to make a quick buck.  These things don't happen overnight.

I am half way through the book and I have written almost seven thousand words.  That is a world record for me.  It is more than the word count of the failed unfinished novel that I attempted.  What's different this time around?

I have been writing out each chapter by hand in a notebook and when I am ready, I type it on the computer.  This strategy cuts down on getting distracted by the Internet.  I feel more productive when using this method.

I plan to publish through Amazon's KDP to reach a wide audience.  I can't wait to publish, but I don't want to rush it.  I am so glad that KDP has a book cover creator so I will have a professional looking cover.

The working title for my first full length non fiction book is Taking on the Writing World: The Ups and Downs of Getting Published.  I hope to have it on Amazon by January 2015 at the latest.

Stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Book Cover Make Over

I have exciting news!

I thought that it was time to get more professional looking book covers for the eBooks I currently have on Smashwords.  I have learned a valuable lesson: don't make your own book cover if you don't know what you are doing or if you do not have the right tools.

I am still learning the ins and outs of the self publishing business.  I think that having a lack of professional covers for my books is the reason why the aren't selling so well.  In order to reach a wider audience, I plan to publish them on Amazon as well.  Not everyone knows about Smashwords.

There is a new project in the works.  Stay Tuned!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Book Review: Socially Awkward by Stephanie Haddad

Goodreads says:

Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Did you ever try? Jennifer Smith spends most of her time wishing she had a more exciting name, lived a more exciting life, or that she could just become someone else for a while. With her sister Claire's help, Jennifer channels her life's desires into the perfect graduate research program: a fake Facebook identity that allows her to "study" the world's reaction to perceived beauty. Making up a new name, designing a new personality, and doctoring a photo or two seems like the perfect plan; how could it possibly backfire? Especially if it helps her get the attention of a long-time school crush... Lost in her new-found "popularity" as Olivia Saunders, Jennifer's real life starts to slip out of her grasp piece by piece. Before long, she finds herself caught in a love square--where one of the four corners is an imaginary person. While Olivia's life has all the glitz, glamour, and guys she could ever have wanted, Jennifer has to decide if she can walk away and learn how to be okay living life as herself.

I discovered Socially Awkward by Stephanie Haddad on Amazon one day.  I read the description and thought that it would be an interesting story. I decided to take a chance since it was a freebie.  And this story is interesting.

As I started reading reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I began to have second thoughts.  People were saying how horrible this novel was.  One person even compared it to an after school special. I am 31 years  old, I believe that I missed ABC's after school specials by a few years. So I headed over to  You Tube to watch a few.

In my personal opinion the novel was not that bad. I continued to read to find out what happens to Jen and everyone involved. I think that Jen went overboard and got too involved with her project.  The plot sounds like something that would be on MTV's Catfish.  At least Jen had her profile picture photo shopped instead of stealing someone's photo from Myspace.  The novel makes a few valid points.

  • It paints  a very real and vivid picture of how so many people allow social media to take over their every day lives.
  • It speaks very truthfully about how a lot of girls feel about themselves. That they have to be somebody they aren't for someone to want to be with them instead of finding the one who accepts them for who they are
  • Committing yourself to something will yield results. Excuses will get you nowhere. 
It was interesting how Sean accepted Olivia's friend request simply because he thought he recognized her from school.  I remember when I first signed up for Facebook back in 2009, I received a friend request from a girl I went to school with.  I didn't accept because this girl never talked to me and made fun of me back in middle school. Sure, I had classes with her.  But I didn't see the point in following each other on Facebook.  I agree that so many are absorbed with social media these days.  They have to broadcast all their where abouts -where they are hanging out, when they are going out of town,  the fact that they are at a Luke Bryan concert, etc. 

It is sad that so many girls believe that they have to be someone they are not in order to be accepted. When Jen poses as Olivia online, she received more attention.  I thought that it was also interesting that the author gave Jen a physical challenge.  Jen is hearing impaired and has to wear hearing aids.  Jen feels self conscious about them and hides them with hair.  I can understand where she is coming from because of my vision impairment.  I can't go without my glasses, but I feel self conscious about carrying around my white cane.  I appreciated the fact that Haddad didn't dwell on Jen's impairment and didn't make this a pity party story.  It rare to find stories featuring physically challenged individuals.  Usually when we read or watch these stories (movies and TV shows) they are held as a hero or someone famous.  Mostly, we hear about famous people.

Jen has another issue to deal with and that is her weight.  Her doctor tells her that she needs to loose 30 pounds.  I think that Jen becomes committed to this task because of the push from her sister Claire and the research project.  Because Jen is committed to getting healthier, she begins to feel better about herself.  

Socially Awkward wasn't as bad as reviews made it seem.  I think that readers can learn a lot from this novel if they looked deeper into the plot. 

3 out of 5 stars
Personal digital copy from Amazon.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five Things On A Friday

  1. I have been replacing things lately. The battery in my laptop hasn't been holding a charge lately, so I always had to keep it plugged up.  Last week, my computer suddenly cut off and it would not come back on.  What to do? I called the manufacturer to order a battery but they were out of stock.  They told me to call their partner for a battery.  It was going to really expensive.  So I turned to Amazon.   Saturday, I noticed the charger had a strange smell and heard a low sizzling noise.  I immediately took the the plug out of the computer and out of the outlet.  It felt strange going without a computer. I have done it before.  This time I have a tablet and smartphone to keep up with mail at least.  
  2. I decided to buy a new laptop.  I have been planning to buy a new computer anyway. Fortunately, I had put some money back for this purpose.  What will I do with my old one? I plan to give it to my mom once the battery and new charger arrives.  I purchased a new HP laptop. I was stunned when I that I have a web cam.  I know that web cams are great for Skype, but the thought of having a web cam creeps me out for some reason.  I am probably just thinking about too much.  I have to get use to Windows 8.  The whole start menu has it's own screen.
  3. I finally got my new iPod nano up and running.  I spent all that time the other week trying calling customer service to help resolve my issues. Part of the probably was my old computer. I like it  because it is accessible for visually impaired persons.  The only downside is the screen being so small.  I have to get use to the navigation.  Also, the Nike+ app is awesome.  It tracks who many steps you take, calories burned, and how many miles you have walked.  I burned over  140+ calories in two laps around the neighborhood.  Which means I burned off that 100 calorie snack I ate yesterday and probably those mini blue berry muffins.  (I probably shouldn't had ate them).  I have been eating salad for dinner the past few nights, so that should make up for it.  (Someone is shaking their head).
  4. I am still reading of course.  I downloaded some free books from Smashwords about writing.  I am usually reading my YA romance novels, but I think that it is time to expand my reading tastes. I also think that it is important to read books that will benefit me.  I just finished  I am a Writer by C.G. Cooper.  It tells the story about a woman who is struggling with her writing until she meets a guy who helps her reach her goals.  No, this is not going to be another sappy love story.  Although it is a fictional story, at the end of each chapter, the author gives exercises like Sherri (the woman in the story) gets from Daniel.  After reading these writing books, I felt inspired to work on a project.  More details to come.
  5. I have been asked to write up a business plan for a local project.  I have never written a business plan before.  So I gulped when I was given this task and gulped again when I started going through the questions. I never knew that business plans were so in depth but it makes sense.  I looked at some samples with charts and graphs.  Also, a lot of research is involved.  As I transcribed my pages of handwritten scribble, so far it has amounted to three typed pages.  This should get interesting.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five Things On a Friday

  1. I really need to stay away from Amazon.  I was able to find a cover for my tablet for $8 which came with a stylis and screen protector. Yesterday, I found an used 16GB iPod nano in good condition with all of its accessories for $89.  I have been wanting a new iPod for awhile, but I was holding back on shelling out $150 for a brand new iPod.  Who says you have to have brand new?  Besides, I have to be more careful with my spending.  I can say that I have improved over the years, but have some ways to go.  Like for instance, I went a bit crazy with buying books this summer.  I decided to not buy any more books unless they are free downloads, come from the library, and or if I REALLY need them until next year.
  2. I have decided that it is time to get serious about my health.  I ordered some diet pills from Amazon and went on a diet. So far...things are moving at a slow pace.  There are two major things I decided that I would cut out-sodas and junk food.  No chips, no cookies-you get the picture. I have been doing pretty good at staying away from sodas. However, yesterday, I smelled  Cinnabon and was tempted to go over. They were running a special.  How convenient. Their cinnamon buns are doughy and sweet, but man are they good.  I have trail mix to keep me happy.  Since I am doing this for two months, maybe I should have ONE cheat day. Maybe not...what do you think?
  3. I have been reading a book called Socially Awkward by Stephanie Haddad. It was a free book on Amazon, so I downloaded it without hesitation.  It has been very interesting because it is about a sociology research project gone wrong. I am half way done with it, so I should have a review up soon.
  4. See, why I need to stay away from Amazon.
  5. I have been watching a lot of re-runs especially of 90's sitcoms thanks to the Hub channel.  Lately, I have been watching Blossom and Step by Step. There were story lines and characters that I forgot about. Where was I? Was I sick, doing homework, went somewhere, or-er on punishment?  That happened a few times and my TV privileges were taken away.  Back then, there was no Netflix, Hulu, DVR, or catching up on your favorite shows on the Internet.  Nope, people use to record things on their VCR. And younger readers are probably wondering what that is.
Have a good weekend everyone!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Long Update...

Hi, I finally have a chance to write an update.  I have been away from blogging this summer.  My last post here was back in July.

I have been busy all summer because I started a day job at a doctor's office.  (That's another story in itself, so I won't go into the details here).  Anyway, I had to do a lot of training-mostly reading manuals and watching web videos.  When I thought about blogging, I was too exhausted to put something together.  I had a few drafts hanging around since July, but I never finished them.

I managed to post a few reviews for YA Books Etc.  As far as the 30 Week Writing Survey, well I have completely falling off the wagon. I wrote six weeks ahead when I started working, but I just didn't have time to write more for the series.

In June, I was able to take a break from the rat race and went to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina with friends.  What else have I been doing this summer?  Well, I have been doing a lot of reading. You may be wondering, you had time to read?  And the answer to that quest ion is yes.  Mainly because, I needed to keep myself occupied during my 25 minute bus commute to and from work.

My commuter route is mostly used by Clemson University students and faculty.  I felt awkward listening to my iPod while someone were studying and asleep beside me.  So I downloaded some books on my tablet and happily read.

Speaking of books, I discovered a Barnes N Noble at the university.  If you are a book nerd like me, you know that this is a dangerous place for you and your wallet.  I purchased three paperbacks that I haven't read yet.  The B&N is not your usual full scale retail store.  It is more of a college bookstore-part textbooks and supplies and part other books-fiction, non fiction, travel, etc.

I purchased way too many books this summer-mostly ebooks.  What's scary is that just in a few clicks, you can purchase and download books within a minute.  I have enough reading material to keep me occupied until the end of the year, and maybe until early next year.

Also, another habit I started was going to Starbucks at least once a week.  I love their frappes.  It was just too hot in my opinion to drink hot coffee. One day, I wanted hot chai tea.  It was good, but I was sweating on my way to the office.  Maybe I should wait until the winter to drink hot chai tea.

And speaking of beverages, I am excited that pumpkin spice season is back.  I asked for a pumpkin spice latte at McDonald's but the truck didn't delivery the mix yet.  So I settled for a vanilla latte-and it was good.

I am so glad that fall is almost here.  I spent the whole summer baking and sweating in the sun and getting rained on.  I had a pair of ballet flats that got soaked a few times.  My experience on public transit has been quite interesting-you meet all sorts of interesting people.  I had a bus to pass by me because the driver didn't see me because it was pouring raining and I was under a tree and umbrella. I had to take an alternate route and the late bus home. The very next day, the same bus broke down.

Also, I have been doing some freelance work for Knoji since July again. Who know how long this will last.  I decided to purchase the new Samsung Galaxy 4 Tab by Nook. It is a combination of a tablet and the nook.  So far, it has been a pretty great experience.

I hope to back on a regular schedule or as regular as possible.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

On Time Management...

I thought that it was time for a proper update.  Where have I been?

At the beginning of June, I started a new job.  I have been in training for the last five weeks. Therefore, I haven't had time to blog or work online.  Besides, freelance work has been slow lately.  Before my first week at work, I wrote a few weeks ahead for the 30 Week Writing Survey.  I figured out how to schedule posts weekly instead of  positing everything all at once.

I like my job at the doctor's office.  I had to get myself adjusted to working in an office enviroment again.  It is very different from working at home alone in front of a computer.  Each morning, I wake up at six, to prepare lunch and get ready for work.  I commute to and from work by bus.

How do I keep myself occupied on my commute? I try to make sure that my tablet is charged up with plenty of reading material.  I also bring my iPod.  But, I feel self conscious about listening to my iPod on the bus.  Why?  

The commuter route that I ride is mainly used by Clemson University students and employees and other people who may work in the town.  I am usually sitting next to someone who is studying or taking a nap.  I always wonder if the person will be distracted by the music. So for the most part, I just read.

I also took a trip to Hilton Head Island with friends. It was nice to get away for a few days.  We hung out and watched movies and went to the beach. It was nice to put my feet in the sand and water.

The nice thing about Hilton Head's beach is that they have a place where you can rinse your feet off, so you won't track as much sand in the car. That's the first time I've seen this at a beach.

I enjoy blogging, but I am not sure how it is going to fit into my everyday life now.  By the time I get home, I am extremely tired.  It is nice to write ahead and schedule posts ahead of time.  

My time is more valuable than ever, and there's not enough hours in the day.  I have to do a lot of online training and read ton of information for my job.  I don't have time to keep up with social media. (I can imagine my mom shaking her head, "what did I tell you, it's not that important").  And she's right, it's not that important. A lot of people are into Instagram, Snap Chat, and whatever new thing is out there now.  I don't even keep up with Twitter that much and I am always forgetting my password for LinkedIn.  Should I just shut down Facebook for good?  I have deactivated FB so many times it's not funny. There is always that tug of war...did I miss something?  It's the main way I know what's going on with people and that is sad.

It's becoming harder and harder to keep up with friends and associates.  Right now, I have an email sitting in draft for a friend that I haven't finished writing.  I don't have time to chase people down. I remember when I was younger, I use to sit at home calling people to only to talk to voice mail or get an "I'm busy."  I use to compulsively email.  I got the feeling that people got ignored or were hitting the ignore button on me.

I've reached a point in my life where I decided to stop chasing people down. They will email when they get ready. They will call you when they get ready.  Why did I do this? Maybe because I had too much time on my hands, perhaps lonely and bored. Whatever the case was, I got a wake up call when my number was blocked. So yeah, it was time to grow up.

So I came to the realization that people had a life and it was time for me to get a life too.

Despite my busy schedule, I always seem to have time to read.  Books have always been an escape especially when things get hectic. What have been reading lately? I finished Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I am currently reading Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti.  

Lately, I have been on a book buying frenzy.  I am still working my way through The California Diaries series. My bus drops me off at the university's student center. Inside I discovered that they have a Barnes N Noble. It's not your full scale Barnes N Noble, but is also a college bookstore.  Since I have to wait about 30 minutes for my second bus, I sometimes browse the Barnes N Noble side of the store.  This week I purchased The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and He's Gone by Deb Caletti. 

I walked in Thursday, and saw another book that I might buy.  I should have enough reading material to keep me busy for a few months-maybe until the end of the year.  I can't be spending money on books like a crazy person.  I like to check out books from the library, but I don't have to go these days.

My book review blog YA Books Etc. is picking up followers via Bloglovin.  I didn't think that people paid attention to my blogs, but someone is taking the time to read-and I appreciate that.  I few books I need to read and write reviews for.

My biggest project this weekend is declutterring.  I have discovered retractable storage boxes by Homespace at Dollar General. I own four all ready.  Now I have a nice place where I can put my books in until I can get a bookshelf.

In other news, I have become a Starbucks addict.  There is a location near where I work.  I like to stop by before work. It is nice to sit down for a few minutes to enjoy a beverage.  I often see people sitting in front of their laptops or chatting with friends.

While checking my email one day, I found out that Yahoo Voices will be shutting down at the end of the month.  I was shocked. I thought that they were doing well.  It just goes to show that these content mills do not last forever. Suite 101 has shut down, Helium will be shutting down, and I wonder who will be next to go.

I have been trying to get more involved with Bubblews. I finally reached payout almost three weeks ago. And the sad thing about this is that I have been waiting almost three weeks for $50.88.  First, I was told that i would receive it in 7 days. I contacted them and they said it would by 12-14 days. Okay, so I wrote them again. They apologized and said that it I was scheduled to be paid on July 4th.  Really? Really?

Hello people, today is July 5th and there is nothing in my Pay Pal account.  I understand that they are backed up-but what if I was really depended on that money. Fifty dollars is fifty dollars, but I earned it, so don't mess around.  I was posting to Bubblews ten posts a day after a long day at work.


Until next time...

Monday, June 30, 2014

30 Week Writing Survey #16 Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? ;)

Yes, I do write romantic relationships, but they have their limits.  I have even went as far to writing about an interracial couple as mentioned in another post.

I guess that I do okay with romantic relationships. I don't know if readers would find them realistic or not.  In terms of limits, there might be a kissing scene, but that is as far as it goes.  I am uncomfortable with writing sex scenes and to be frank, I think that they are unnecessary. Does a book have to have sex scenes to be a best seller or a must read?  Now, I know that some might roll their eyes and tell me that I need to grow up and go sit down somewhere.  

I believe that explicit descriptions of sex can take away from a story. For instance in a novel called You Can't Run From the Heat by Qiana Williams, there were too many explicit scenes and I felt that it took away from the story.  The author had a good suspenseful attention holding plot and in my opinion, she could had done without  the scenes.  Therefore, I had to abandon the book.  It is rare for me to not finish reading a book.

So if you are looking for hot and heavy love scenes, you will have to find another story or book because you won't get it from this writer.

Monday, June 23, 2014

30 Week Writing Survey #15-Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

Here is a question that I can really answer.  I feel like my answers for the last few weeks have been very short.

When it comes to my favorite writers, it is hard to pick out just one. The easiest way to answer this question is to pick out my top three.

Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is one of my all time favorite young adult authors. In case you are not familiar with her work, she is the author of: The Moon and More, Lock and Key, Someone Like You, and other books. I started reading her novels back in high school. I read Keeping the Moon and Someone Like You.  After graduation,  I got away from leisure reading, partly because I just didn't have the time.  Around 2005 and 2006, I began to crave leisure reading again. I wanted to find out if Sarah Dessen had any other books published. Thanks to the Internet, I found more books. I also discovered her website and blog.

I enjoyed her blog because she would keep her readers up to date on pop culture news, family life, and books. She also had a series on her blog called The Friday Five.  Last year, she discontinued the series. She posts special updates every once in awhile.

One of the reasons why Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors is that her stories feel real. Also, her characters feel so real and relatable.  Usually in stories for children and teens, adults have a limited story line. However, in Sarah Dessen novels, the adults seem to have as a big of role as the protagonist.

I also love her settings.  Sarah Dessen created the fictional town of Lakeview based on Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Lakeview is where most of her stories take place).  This town feels so real, and if I didn't know any better, I would have thought this was a real small town.

Ronni from Anywhere Is

Anywhere Is a blog that I have been following for almost two years.  The blog is written by a blogger named Ronni Selzer. She writes about her life in Chicago, Disney, and her other life events.  The interesting thing about Ronni is that she is like me in many ways. For instance, when I participated in the 30 Week Blog Challenge, I discovered that we have the same tastes in books.  How did I know this?  Well, she posted a picture of her bookshelf, and I recognized some of my books.  Also, I started following her on Goodreads.  Again, similar reading tastes.  It blew me away.  I have never met Ronni, but she feels like someone I could totally be friends with. To me, it is a plus when I meet someone who is obsessed with books like me. As an added bonus, she is an aspiring author like me.

Meg from Write Meg!

Keeping with the theme of paying homage to fellow bloggers, I would like to acknowledge Meg from Write Meg!  By day, Meg works as an editor and columnist for three newspapers in the D.C. area according to her bio on her website.  Write Meg is a blog dedicated to books, writing, food, and whatever is going on her personal life (within reason of course).  Meg also posts about her travels.  I read a blog post about her trip to London.  (I was unable to find that post to share with you all). Her description of her trip made London more appealing.  London didn't use to be on my list of top picks for foreign destinations. However, thanks to Meg, I want to go to London more than ever.

London calling...

Monday, June 16, 2014

30 Week Writing Survey: Week-14 How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

I usually don't map out locations for my stories. It's all in imagination.  When I was younger, I use to draw pictures for my stories, or little maps to remind myself where things were located. Sorry, I don't have copies of those drawings.

Now thanks to Google Maps and Google Earth, I can see in real time where a place is located.  For instance, I can accurately describe where Spill the Beans (a local coffee and ice cream shop) is located.  If I want to use an apartment complex in a story, I can accurately map it out and or describe it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

30 Week Writing Survey: Week 13- What's your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

What is my favorite culture to write?  Here is another question I've never considered. But it is a good one.

I am most comfortable with writing about the American culture.  If you want to get more specific, African American culture.  Why? Writing about my own culture is something I can relate to and most comfortable writing about.  We have our own unique issues that others outside of our culture may not fully understand.

In my stories, I strive to have characters from different cultures. For me personally, writing about these cultures takes observation and research. It helps expose yourself to different types of food, music, and people from different backgrounds.  You can learn so much when you broaden your horizons.

Monday, June 2, 2014

30 Week Writing Survey #12- In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it you'd like to share?

Hmmmm...worldbuilding?  Well, here is a a question I have never really considered.  So far, many of my stories have taken place in real life locations.  In one story, I created a fictional job training center for adults.  Within that fictional center, I could create my own rules, staff members, etc.

I have never made up fictional neighborhoods or towns.  My character's homes are either imagined or based on real life houses or apartments.  In the future, I will like to try my hand at creating an actual fictional townor start out small by creating a fictional eatery, bookstore, or some other place of business.