Saturday, December 31, 2011


I love Numerology.  I love numbers.  But not math.  Or physics. 

2011 was my 9 Personal Year, which means things coming to an end.  And, in truth, that happened.  I lost friends.  I broke up with my boyfriend.  I finished community college.  And, to top it all off, I finished the most exhausting novel I've ever written.  But it's the one I'm definitely most proud of.  (It's 27 chapters and I finished it on the 27th.  Sign?)

I'm looking forward to next year.  It's my 1 Personal Year, which means the cycle starts over.  Things begin.

I have 2 New Years' resolutions that I intend to keep just to myself.  They're my secrets, my internal goals.  I also have 3 goals I don't mind sharing with you.

1.  Write.  But not just write.  Finish the two novels I have mapped out.  Start the (or finish, depending on how long the first two novels take) Stranger in the Mirror sequel.

2.  Believe In life.  In love.  But most importantly, in myself.  Take chances.  Remember that life is a gift and that I am an incredibly lucky human being just to be alive.

3.  Watch.  Ducks games, obviously.  As much as I can.  And when I can't, listen to them online, in the car, however I can.  We have yet to start a streak, but I can feel it coming.  Believe in them.  Support them.  And, more than anything, never, ever give up on them.

So, in total, 5 Resolutions.  5 also happens to be my life path number, by the way.

See?  It's all in the numbers. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Miracles, Christmas and Otherwise

First off, let me start by wishing each and every one of you happy holidays.  Whatever you celebrate, I hope you're happy, warm, and safe.

Today, I want to address miracles since Christmas is tomorrow and nearly every Christmas movie has some version of a miracle.  Of course, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to say miracles occur only during Christmas or only for those who celebrate Christmas.  Miracles can happen to anyone at any time anywhere.

First off, let me start by saying wholeheartedly that I believe in miracles.  I tend to view them, however, in a similar way I view love: I believe in love but it's hard for me to imagine falling in love any time soon.  Same with miracles.

The more I got to thinking, the more I started realizing that perhaps I have to be part of my own miracle. 

Let me give you an example:  my Ducks aren't doing so great.  Like, they're losing way more than they're winning.  As fans, we want to see our team play, especially when we know there's such talent on the team.  Even if they lose, we want to see them play like they care.

That hasn't been happening recently.

It's easy to start to think negatively, to point the finger, to demand trades/firings.  I'm sure a lot of people go into the game thinking the Ducks are going to lose.  Our opponents might not even take us seriously anymore.


Here's the thing: I firmly believe that your beliefs can be put into actions, whether you're conscious of it or not.  If fans or players go into the game, waiting to make a mistake, waiting for the other team to score, it's going to happen. 

What the team needs now, in my very humble opinion, is support.  Every time I flick on the television, I believe with all my heart that they're going to win.  Every time I step into the Honda Center, I believe with all my heart that they're going to win.  There have been a couple of times I've caught myself cursing the other team or yelling at our players (yes, I yell at the TV.  Don't deny you don't do it too.), but when we do something great, I'll grumble, "Well, that's what you're paid for, isn't it?"

It's totally negative and totally not me!

A Christmas miracle would be for us to win our next game - a road game - against one of our rivals, the San Jose Sharks.  And then, win two in a row.  And then three.  And then start a streak.  But in order for a miracle to actually occur, we first have to believe in miracles and believe that we have the power to cause them. 

I can't play hockey, and even if I could, I couldn't go play goalie for Jonas Hiller.  That's his job.  But I can believe in him.  I can believe in every player, every coach, and every fan.

Instead of yelling at my television Monday night, I'm going to try and focus on the positives, even when we lose.  I might be only one person, but even a little can go a long way.   

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Expectations and Plotting

As you guys know, I'm a plotter.

With my current MS, I had a general idea of my characters and their story but I didn't actually write down specific plans of where I wanted this to go (besides a few notes to remind myself of important things).  About halfway through, I knew where I wanted to take the story, so I wrote one sentence plots for each character in each chapter.

Except, as I'm learning, my characters pull me in another direction in order to make sure I tell their story rather than their story through my point of view.

For instance, today, I was supposed to have my MC, Sophie, make up with her love interest Will after a tense fight.  Instead, she basically tells him she deserves better than some guy who runs away when things get tough, who doesn't build relationships with people so he doesn't get hurt.  Will's a good guy, don't get me wrong, and he'll continue to be Sophie's love interest.  But after writing that - being possessed by Sophie's spirit, more likely - I was so proud of her.

One day, you guys will read the scene I'm talking about, and I hope you're proud of her too.  It should be noted, though, that the scene wasn't exactly written in the stars, but Sophie made me write it down anyways.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Do you guys have favorite numbers, or numbers that just randomly keep popping up in your life?

Mine is 22.  There are many things that have happened to me on the 22nd of the month.  My uncle died on the 22nd.  My grandfather died on the 22nd.  Johny Dillinger was both born and died on the 22nd.  Goatboy and I broke up on the 22nd.

The 22nd of every month used to unnerve me.  It was never a great day.  Sometimes it wasn't horrible, but it was below normal.

November 30th, I turned 22.  Beforehand, I was worried.  I didn't want this year to be meh.  Below normal.  But the crazy thing is - this year has been pretty boss.

Take my birthday for example.  Last year, celebrating my 21st, I rented a small yacht and had 20 of my friends and a Jack Sparrow impersonator party and dance as we sailed up and down the harbor.  This year, my mom picked up a specially designed Ducks carrot cake (my favorite), my brother got me a couple of DVDs, and then me and my brother went to a Ducks game where we snapped a losing streak and won 4-1 over the Canadiens.  It wasn't a huge birthday, I celebrated it with pretty much my family, and I didn't do anything too special.  But it was perfect.  My team won.  My day was pretty good.  And I didn't have to worry about friends having fun and a boyfriend remembering that yes, today was my birthday.

Since then?  I've been happier.  Much happier than I was at 21.  It's like I'm owning 22, and it hasn't even been a month yet.

And now, I'm looking forward to the 22nd.  I can't wait to see what every new day will bring.  Because, for whatever reason, I know I'll be able to handle it. 

Try and catch me now, 21!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dear Anaheim Ducks,

Today is my birthday, and, in celebration, me and my brother are going to the game tonight.

I won't be holding up a sign that tells everyone that I was born twenty-two years ago.  My picture won't be on the scoreboard.  I'm not going to ask you for kisses or propose marriage to you.  The only thing I want from you tonight is a win.  Because I know you can win.

There's no need to fire people, to trade anyone, to snatch captaincy away.  You have all the parts you need.

I still and will continue to believe in you, no matter what happens.  Because that's what fans do. 

I may not be able to go to every game, but I watch every game.  I may not be able to purchase all of your merchandise or go to watch parties or attend all of the amazing activities you hold every year.  I still don't understand certain things, especially player stats and why people get kicked out of a faceoff.  But I believe in you.

I'm looking forward to watching you play tonight.  Hockey is something that makes me so incredibly happy, so thank you for providing me with that, especially with a home game on my birthday.

Good luck tonight and all the best!


Thursday, November 24, 2011


This isn't a post on Thanksgiving or what I should be thankful for (lots of things, I know!) or anything like that.  I feel like Facebook has that covered.

Today, I want to talk about D.B. Cooper.  40 years ago today, the man we barely know anything about completely changed the way we view traveling in the sky.  First and foremost, he was an air pirate.  Nuff said, as far as I'm concerned.  Secondly, D. B. Cooper wasn't even his real name.  Third, he got away with $200,000 and was never heard from again.  Finally?  His case is the only hijacking case in American history to be unsolved.

You all know my love for gangsters, and while this one lived in 1971, it's still hard not to admire the guy.

Up in Washington, people are gathering this weekend in order to honor the legend that is D. B. Cooper.  I entered a poetry contest with him being the prompt.  If you're interested in reading it, you can find it here.  If you want more information on D. B. Cooper, I'd suggest buying the book SKYJACK: The Hunt For D. B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray.  It's amazing, let me tell you.

Okay, I lied: Happy Thanksgiving!  Keep tradition - whatever that tradition may be - alive.  And, as long as I'm alive, so will D. B. Cooper.  And Dillinger.  And Karpis.  And many, many more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In which I talk about fashion

Let's get one thing straight:  I have no idea about fashion.  A lot of the time, I flip through those sections of my magazines without even a second glance because a) I don't really care and b) the clothes are just not my taste.

I don't really a have a "style," so to speak.  I guess if I had to label it, it would be comfortable mixed with conservative-classy, with hints of edge every now and then.  Yeah, I tend not to fit anywhere, really.  But that's okay.

So why am I talking about this?

Last Friday, I went to my charity event in a beautiful dress that I looked pretty damn good in.  But I didn't feel comfortable.  I knew I looked good but I felt like I was faking it, like this wasn't me.  Like I was pretending to be someone I wasn't.  Luckily, my friend was there and kicked my butt about saying so and I enjoyed the night.


I realized that clothes that typically are supposed to make girls feel beautiful: prom dresses, wedding dresses, that sort of thing; and sexy: mini skirts, short dresses, don't really make me feel that way, whether I know I look good in them or not.

As such, I found that the clothes I feel sexy in are simply jeans and a t-shirt, flip flops, converses, or a pair of amazing boots.  That's me.  My hair's down.  I have minimal if any makeup on.  I can't explain why, but in that outfit, I have swagger.  In a cocktail dress, I'm afraid everyone can tell I'm pretending.

And then this led to an even bigger realization - which, for you fashion people, is probably common sense and I apologize for my ignorance - Fashion isn't about what you wear, but what you feel when you wear clothes.

Confidence is sexy, and I feel confident in jeans.  Ergo, if I'm meeting someone important - a hockey player, perhaps? - I should probably dress jeans.  No, I probably won't reveal too much skin and thus won't be dubbed as 'sexy,' but I'll be myself and as cheesy as that sounds, that's what matters.

So wear whatever it is that makes you comfortable.  Be confident, because when you are, you shine.

*On a related note, my mother and I were heading to the grocery store, and I turned to her and said, "I feel like a supermodel today."  She turned to me and said, "You should feel like a supermodel every day."

So every time I step out of the house, I try and think like that: I don't care if I'm wearing sweats or jeans or a sundress, I pretend I'm a supermodel on a runway.  And you should feel that way too because in one way or the other, aren't we all supermodels?  (Okay, I know, I know, that was bad.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quick update

Um, hi.

I'm sorry I've been AWOL lately.  My mother and I have both experienced unrelated, non-life threatening medical emergencies which have rendered me pretty much without a social life (and missing one hockey game) more so than usual and running around doing everything since my mother couldn't.  My poor car, unused to this new strain, died so it's being towed to my auto shop today.

This, of course, has resulted me in missing more classes than I would have liked (though, realistically speaking, I don't like to miss class at all).

Which has subsequently resulted in me dropping out of NanoWriMo.  Inspiration has run dry, as Natalie Imbruglia, would sing and I simply don't have the time.  However, hope is not lost: once I finish with finals, I plan to use my three-ish weeks of winter break to make up for it.

Speaking of which, I registered for classes next quarter: 4 classes back-to-back, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I've never crammed all my classes on two days a week before, but since I refuse to take night classes, that's how it ended up.  We'll see what happens...

Yesterday night, Jeshicka and I went to my hockey charity event.  It was fun but not what I expected.  I met a lot of the players - all of whom were extraordinary - and we had a fun night.  And no, I didn't even have to use any of my pre-planned conversations.

Today is my mother's birthday.  Me and my brother got her some spa gift certificates - which she needs and totally deserves - and a card.

Finally, the Ducks have only won 2 out of their last 14 games.  It totally bums me out because I know they're better than this, but I have faith that they'll pull through.  Somehow they always do. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween, NaNo, and Movember

NaNo WriMo starts tomorrow.

I wasn't going to participate.  I write when I write and that's pretty much how I've been doing things since, well, I've been writing.  I produce at least four thousand words a week, something I'm content with given the hectic load I have to deal with in terms of academics.

Speaking of which, I'm so swept up in school to the point where that was my primary reason to not do this.  (I'm not going to lie, school is a big reason why my writing has definitely fallen to the wayside.)

But I've come to realize something: writing keeps me sane.  It gives me something to hold onto at a pretty chaotic time in my life.  I need to write.

So I'm going to.  No, I don't think I'll get 50,000 words and no, I'm not going to hold myself to it.  If anyone can put a ridiculous amount of pressure on me, it's me, and I do that enough with school.  So whatever I accomplish will be more than if I chose not to participate, which, for me, is enough.

*A quick note!  I have two projects I'm currently working on: one is in the editing process while the second one is ten chapters in what I'm hoping is a thirty chapter YA novel.  However, I'm setting the latter aside in order to start an entirely new project that's been pestering me for a while.  That's my main focus for NaNo.  BUT if inspiration strikes for my second project, I have no qualms writing that as well.

**Starting tomorrow is Movember.  It's where men, today, shave their moustaches/facial hair and then let it grow out for the entire month in order to bring awareness to men's health, especially prostate cancer.  Yes, it's a hockey thing but it should definitely be talked about more.  If you want to learn more about it, feel free to go here.

Happy Halloween (surprise, surprise I'm a pirate), Happy NaNo (good luck and have fun!), and Happy Movember!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rekindling the flame

Midterms kicked my butt.  Not in the oh-man-I-totally-bombed-them, but I've-been-studying-so-hard-my-brain-is-going-to-explode.

Luckily it didn't.  And luckily, I survived last week.  I thought it would be fast since I had three midterms back-to-back.  It wasn't. 

But it's over.

Last week was horrible for writing, though.  I was uber focused on midterms and I looked at writing - for the first time in a while - as a job.  I didn't do any this week.  Yesterday was a day I still had to go to school despite being completely burned out in order to start the learning process in preparation for finals all over again.

But I started writing again.  And it was like a breath of fresh air.

Tonight, my friend and I are going to Disneyland for Mickey's Haunted Halloween Party.  It's been planned since the beginning of October, like a present for suffering through midterms.  I'm really, really excited.

And the cherry on top?  The Ducks broke a 3-game losing streak last night, beating Minnesota 3 to 2.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Girling out

I am such a girl.

And I love it.

I grew up as a tomboy.  I played soccer and my friends were pretty much guys and I never wore dresses or skirts unless I was attending something formal.

I like to think of myself now as a feminine tomboy.  I still love jeans, but I realize my legs look nice in dresses and skirts and I'm addicted to boots and eyeliner makes my eyes pop.  (Although, I do digress, unless I'm going out with my friends, I totally forgo makeup.  I'm just too darn lazy.)

Remember how I told you about that hockey charity event I'm going to?  Well, it's coming up.  Like, soon.  And I have to be a girl.  It's a cocktail party, after all.  As such, I ordered my shoes from (which you can see here) early because I need to break in the shoes and, you know, make sure I can walk in them.


I also bought makeup, and, okay, I totally girled out.  I was at Target and was bombarded with cheap but high-end makeup.  I bought everything I needed for the night (including three brushes for eyeshadow) for $22.  (My shoes were just less that $20.)  The makeup is e.l.f. by the way.  The website is here if you're interested.

Finally, I found the hairstyle I'm going to attempt.

Note that I said attempt.

Last thing I need to get are earrings.

As things start coming together, I'm getting more and more excited.  When do I ever get a chance to dress up like some kind of cynical, closet-romantic Cinderella off to a ball filled with hockey players?  Um, never.

So I'm going all out, and that means girling out too.

I'll let you know how my progress goes.  I am planning on practicing the hairstyle and the makeup before the actual day of the event.  You know me; I am a perfectionist after all.  But I'm even excited about the practicing.

Because I love being a girl and doing girly things.  While still talking about hockey, of course.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hey you

Yeah, you.

I just wanted to remind you that you're important.  And beautiful.  And the guy/girl you're crushing on does notice you, but you overthink too much and try to talk yourself out of hope to protect your heart.

But guess what?  The heart was built for this kind of pain.  I've learned that my heart is one of the most reliable, crazy, and spontaneous organs I have (and seems to have a fighting brother-sister relationship with my head.  Why can't they ever agree?).  It gets beat up.  Like, a lot.  But it's still in there, beating, waiting for The One to walk into my life.  (My head still doesn't believe in this romanticism, but my heart is waning on it.)

It hopes.

My mind, it tries to keep me focused on what's really plausible.

I'm ashamed to say that the past year or so, I've been leaning more on my mind.  My heart's been through the ringer and I want to protect it from the excruciating pain of disappointment.

But my heart doesn't need nor does it want that protection.  It wants the opportunity to take a chance, and if it hurts, well then it hurts.  It doesn't matter. 

My mind likes to be in control.  My heart?  Not so much.  It lives to be out of control.  And for someone as organized as I am, this is scary.  Letting go, giving my heart the reigns, terrifies me.  But I think I'm ready to start taking chances again.

Which means that I need a little reassurance.  A confidence boost, if you will.  Then, as I kept thinking about it, I realized we all need pick-me-ups.

So you - yes, you.

You're beautiful.  And funny.  And smart.  And talented.  You are perfect.  You are going to be okay in life.  The world is a better place because YOU are in it.  And before you ask, yes, I truly believe anything in life is possible.  You just have to let your heart take over in order to start believing it yourself.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Taking a break

I should apologize for the lack of updates these past couple of weeks.  They've been incredibly hectic, thanks to midterms next week and me getting over being sick.  I've barely read for fun, barely written anything.  It's pretty much school, school, school.

And that's great... until it isn't.

Looking on the bright side, as I try to do, I needed this break from my creative side.  I needed to focus on school until I simply couldn't anymore.

Because I didn't force myself to write, when I started writing again, the words flowed from my mind to my pen to the sheet of paper. I got new ideas that I didn't know I needed until I received them.  They fit with my story perfectly.

It's scary to take a break.  I understand completely.  You feel like you're lazy or you're giving up or that writing has fallen to the wayside and you're not sure you'll ever get it back to being a priority.  But everyone needs a break from everything sometimes.  And with that break comes inspiration and a renewed enthusiasm for writing.

So take a break.  Calm down.  Watch TV.  Listen to music.  Take a walk.  Study.  (And study, and study.)  Go to a hockey game.  (Might I suggest the Ducks game tonight against the Dallas Stars at 7PM?  Anyone?  Anyone?)  Then, when the time comes, and it will and you'll know, write.  Because once you start up again, you might not stop.

And that's the best feeling in the world for any writer.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Music Monday

1)  blink-182's "All of This."  I've mentioned this song before, but seriously, I cannot get enough of it.  I got the CD a few weeks ago and I've listened to this song nearly one hundred times.  It's a simple song and the verses tend to repeat, but you can feel what the singer's going through.  That, paired with Tom Delonge's bridge of "Use me, Holly, come on and use me" gets me every time.

2)  Demi Lovato's "Unbroken."  This song is just perfection.  It's edgy but hopeful, strong but vulnerable.  You can hear the power and determination in her voice.  I love it because when she gets to the chorus and tells her guy, "I'm gonna love you like I've never been broken," I want to sound as sure as she is about falling in love and not worrying about if he's there to catch her or not.  It's inspiring but still such a great song to dance to.

3)  Lady Antebellum's "As You Turn Away."  This song is just heartbreaking.  I've listened to a lot of sad songs since Goatboy and I broke up, and this is one of the few that manages to capture what I felt during that time but in a way that makes it relatable to everyone.  My heart always clenches hearing Hillary's voice crack when she sings, "The door is closing and I just can't change it..."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunshine Sunday

1)  Hockey.  I know, I know, this one's obvious but after yesterday's game (triple overtime, an amazing winning goal from Bobby Ryan), I'm even more excited for games than ever.  Friday is the Ducks home opener and then Sunday is Corey Perry Night in honor of him winning the Hart Trophy!

2)  Music.  Evanescence has their first album out in five years.  I love Amy Lee's haunting voice.  It'll be interesting to see where where the primarily new (besides Amy) band takes their music and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

3)  I get my dress back.  Remember the dress I'm wearing to the charity event I was tellig you about?  I had to take it in to a tailor's in order to get cups so I wouldn't fall out (if you know what I mean).  Once I get the dress back, all I need for the event is makeup, jewelry, and shoes!

What about you?  Anything you're excited for?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Unconventional ships

We all have 'em: our favorite ships.  It's one of the reasons we watch a particular show, they inspire us to write numerous fanfiction, and, if the ship is unconventional, the mere chemistry between the two characters is the soul reason we shippers keep our hope even though it's most likely never going to happen.  Below are my favorite ships, some unconventional, some not, in no particular order:

1)  Penny and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.  I'm all about opposites attracting and balance, and these two have that in spades.  Plus, the undeniable chemistry between the two actors is just sizzling.  I know Sheldon's supposed to be above romantic entanglements, but he's still a man, and if anyone can convert him - however tentatively - it would be Penny.  Plus, please tell me that you too saw how he looked at her in the pilot?

2)  Jeff and Annie from Community.  When I first started shipping this couple, I'll admit it was a pipe dream.  Older guy, younger girl is rarely portrayed realistically on television despite the fact that age gaps do happen in life.  The chemistry between Joel McHale and Alison Brie, like the actors above, is undeniable.  Instead of denying it like the producers and writers of The Big Bang Theory, Dan Harmon, creator of Community, decided to use it.  And now, as crazy and as unconventional as it seems, Jeff and Annie is canon.  See?  Dreams do come true.

3)  Booth and Brennan from Bones.  I know, I know.  Totally canon.  But I love those two together.  They just make me so incredibly happy.  It'll be interesting to see how the (SPOILER ALERT) baby will affect them.  I can't wait!

4)  House and Thirteen from House, MD.  Never going to happen, I know.  The chemistry is great, and out of all the potential people House could be with, I seriously think Thirteen would never ask him to change and accept him for who he is.  (It should be noted that in the first couple of seasons, I shipped House and Cameron, but then she got all crazy and I just went, "No.")

5)  Sookie and Eric from True Blood.  Please don't tell me I have to explain this one.  Seriously, I get burned just watching the two of them interact.

Bonus 6)  Gibbs and Abby from NCIS.  I don't really watch this show, but if any couple defines unconventional, it's these two, but I can't help it.  I love them.  They, too, have chemistry. 

Obviously chemistry is big for me.  So are the looks that pass between the actors (characters?) that might or might not be on purpose but are nonetheless there.  Logic has nothing to do with it, though I think I could give a good argument for all of these couples about why they should be together.  For me, though, it's more of a gut reaction, that these two should be together.  And I just go with my gut, more so than with my head.  Which explains a lot.

What are your favorite television ship and why?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fictionpress Friday

Tip #4:  Write a good first chapter

Catchy title?  Check.

Piquing summary?  Check.

It's time to write your first chapter.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you do so:

1)  Good grammar and spelling is a must!   I know that Fictionpress doesn't have a screening process, but you're representing you and your work.  To be taken seriously, make sure your work is the best it can be.  I understand there might be an instance where time is short and you can't edit it.  I always write a little note apologizing for my errors just to let my readers know I'm aware of them. 

Also, I understand that once you finish a chapter - especially the first one - you're super excited to post it.  I've felt this and I've done it.  But please, wait.  Sleep on the chapter for at least a day so your eyes will be clear and focused and able to spot any errors than you might editing the same day as writing it.

2)  Introduce your couple, or, if there isn't romance in your story,your main characters to your readers.  We don't need to know everything, but we need to know enough in order to care about them.  If we care about them, more than likely we'll invest in the story and follow it to its completion.

3)  End on a cliff-hanger.  As a reader, I hate it, but as a writer I know my readers will come back to find out what happened (especially if I've made my characters likeable, and if I update my story regularly <-- more on that later!). 

4)  Introduce the conflict of the story.  It doesn't have to be detailed, but we need to be aware of potential problems the MC will face.  It goes hand in hand with caring about the characters.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Gary-Stus

I have a confession: I still watch Disney movies.

As a blonde, I tend to gravitate towards other blonde heroines in order to find a physical similarity of which I can relate. 

But I'm not drawn towards the blonde Disney Princesses (Rapunzel doesn't count because SPOILER ALERT she was originally a brunette.  I was not happy with that surprise.)  Anyways, I digress.  The reason I'm not drawn to Cinderella or Aurora or Snow White (besides the fact that she has raven-colored hair) is because, quite frankly, their princes are kind of lame.  And if a girl falls for a lame prince, then her whole character is suspect.

Belle and Pochanhontas and Jasmine and Mulan (I know, I know, she's technically not a princess.  But I've met her more times at Disneyland's Princess Parade than Pochahontas.  In fact, I still haven't met Pochahontas, and I frequent Disneyland pretty often!) have great male opposites because while they're imperfect, they're likeable.

(I know that Ariel has been left off the list and I'll tell you why: while I adore her character and while I admit Eric is very nice to look at, he's clueless.  Oh, and I'm not looking at princesses after Mulan.)

Aladdin is a "street rat."  There's no way he can ever give Jasmine the life she's use to.  But he fights for her, first by lying to her and claiming to be a prince and then literally, against Jafar.

John Smith is ambitious.  He likes adventure and exploring and immersing himself into new things.  That curiosity eventually gets him in trouble, subsequently forcing him back home, parting himself from Pochahontas forever.  (I know that the second movie and real life differ, but I don't care.  I'm in denial.) 

Shang is prideful but fair, an excellent military man.  He's disciplined and cautious, strict and blunt.  But he believes in Mulan, even when the safest bet is to go against her, a woman.

Beast has a temper.  He yells and throws things and he's arrogant and selfish.  But he learns.  He saves Belle's life and lets her father go, wanting her happiness before his own.

Obviously these men aren't perfect.  But that's what makes them real and interesting and men we girls would fall in love with.

That's the secret with writing heroes.  Make them men you'd want to fall in love with (or want to be friends with).  You know when you first start dating a guy and he has this annoying habit that you find endearing?  That's an imperfection.  Everyone has them, and sometimes (let's face it - most of the time) those are imperfections we fall in love with.

Perfect guys are boring.  Lame.  They have nothing to learn, which makes them stagnant. 

Make them real because ultimately it's the real guys we fall in love with.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunshine Sunday

1)  The Ducks arrived in Finland safe and sound!  Tuesday, they have an exhibition game in Helsinki and then their season opener Friday in Finland against the Sabres and Saturday in Sweden against the Rangers.

2)  South Park and House, M.D. start back up!  I love those shows (I really am hoping House steps it up!)

3)  It's October!  This is one of my favorite months (after November, of course!), and even though I live in the stagnant Southern California, the sunsets are beautiful, the trees change, the leaves fall...  I love it.  Plus, there's Halloween and Halloween at both Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm (traditions me and Jeshicka will not give up!).  The only downside is that all of my midterms are this month as well.  Eh.  We all have to take them.  Oh, and best of all, hockey season officially starts!

4)  I found my dress for the Ducks charity event!  It's navy blue and a couple of inches from my knees from Victoria's Secret.  Now if only tickets would come on sale...  (Here)

5)  My mom's getting a new television installed this week.  It's better than our new one and she seems to be really excited about it, so I'm happy for her.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A mixture of contradictions

I am obviously a girl, a young woman, a lady, or whatever politically correct term you might call a twenty-one year old female.

When I was a kid, I was a tomboy.  I hung out with boys in elementary school and played six years of soccer.

Then, my body went through puberty   You know how that goes.  Still, I was a tomboy.

And then I moved.  I made friends that were girls and got clothes that fit my body - including bras.  By thirteen, I was shaving my legs and by eighth grade, I wanted to buy thongs in order to erase the dreaded panty line.  Of course, Mom said no.  Apparently, I was too young.

Then high school.  I'd always liked boys.  My first-ever crush was on Shaggy from Scooby Doo and my first crush on a real person was (is, let's be honest) Jim Carrey.  High school introduced me to lots of boys and gave me a good reason for wearing tight jeans.

I got my ears pierced my sophomore year of high school a couple of months before my homecoming dance at Claire's.  I was happy it didn't hurt, that I didn't see a needle (for whatever reason, I do not like needles.  At all.), and that the process was maybe five minutes if that.

Of course, I was still somewhat of a tomboy, and as such, really didn't wear earrings after my six weeks and homecoming dance was finished.  My ears closed up.  It didn't particularly bother me because I don't really wear earrings anyway.

Then college hit.  I dated Goatboy.  We broke up.  I started at a university.  During this time, I started getting more feminine.  I started buying dresses (currently, I'm obsessed with dresses) and even wear them occasionally, along with pencil-skirts, heels, and cute flats.  I actually do my hair when I go out rather than run a brush through it and leave it down.  I shop at Forever 21.

But.  As you all well know, I am obsessed with hockey.  I watch every game.  If the Ducks are playing but the game isn't televised, I'll listen to it on the radio.  I watch pre and post-interviews and I try to go to as much of the charity events as I can.

Which brings me to the point of this little blog: there happens to be a charity event the Ducks host every year that allows me to dress up (cocktail attire which means super-cute dress) yet immerse myself with hockey.

Which is why, yesterday, I got my ears pierced again.  Not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous, but besides a quick pinch, there was still no needle, no pain, and in five minutes, I was out.  I'm preparing for the event.  I want to look elegant and classy and beautiful.  I know that when people see me, they won't take me seriously.  They might think I'm there with my family (I'm not) or that I'm there to flirt with hot hockey players (I plead the Fifth on that one), but really, I want to have conversations with people who care about the sport as much as I do.  I love my friends, but they know nothing about hockey.  One-sided conversations about something you love gets tiring after a while when all you want to talk about is how great Dan Ellis is.  But more than that, I want to support the Anaheim Ducks Foundation and be a girl while still doing something in relation to hockey.  Of course, as usual, I will be underestimated.  But I'll prove them wrong.  I always do.

I'm really looking forward to looking and feeling quite feminine while talking seriously and knowledgeably about something so masculine.

(Speaking of hockey, the Ducks are on a plane right now to Finland in order to open their season.  I wish them the best of luck, and a safe and super-fun journey!) 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fictionpress Friday

Tip #3: Have a summary that hooks your readers.

I know, it's pretty much like the Tip #2, right?


You could have a spiffy title but if the reader doesn't care what your story is about, they won't read it. Your summary sells your story - it's what gets people to click on the link to read your story.

Summaries are relatively easy for me. Here's what I've found works and what doesn't:

DO use dialogue between two characters (usually the hero and heroine), especially if there's a hate-love relationship and your good with dialogue.

Example: "And just so you know, love, my words are not the only pretty things in this room." "I am sure you are referring to yourself?" Oh, pirates and their pick-up lines. (From The Dead Man's Tale) You can already tell the characters are going to be flirtatious and witty, characters I'm particularly drawn to and want to read more about. (Yes, I'm bias.)

DON'T use song lyrics. Your title doesn't have to really talk about what the story is specifically about. Your summary, on the other hand, needs to give a general feel for what you plan to be writing about. Are the characters going to be antagonistic toward each other? What's your main character's obstacle? Song lyrics don't convey what a reader needs to know.

DO use only three sentences maximum for your summary. If you can, only use one. All you need is your two characters - your couple, if there will be romance - and the tension between them or the obstacles they will face.

Example: "He left his mark on her, not because he wanted to, but because he couldn't control himself when he was around her. She was his; that was all there was to it, whether he actually liked her or not. Well, they always did say love was blind" (from Losing Yourself in Me) and "Despite the fact that he was Onyx's most notorious criminal and a merciless madman, she believed that he was human. That was probably her biggest mistake" (from Fatal Attraction). You have the two characters - though who they are isn't known - and the tension between them.

DON'T use your summary to tell your readers a better one is inside. I know I'm not going to waste my time hoping to see if there is one. Your readers won't either. In fact, they may be completely turned off because you don't even know how to sell your story. And normally, the longer, "better" summary can be reduced to three sentences and tells too much of the story.

If you've won an award for your story, DO add that to your summary. An award means somebody liked your story enough to reward you. It definitely helps in generating buzz for your story (usually your story will be linked on another website, generating more advertisement for it) and, if the award is from a place people trust (SKoW, for example), they're more likely to give your story a chance, regardless of reviews.

DON'T use bad grammar and/or spelling. Common sense, right? But I've seen it, and it has completely turned me off. Bad grammar and spelling tells me that the writer is a noob and that they don't take writing seriously. If I want to use my precious time in reading someone's story, they better well have a good grasp of whatever language they're writing in. You're not texting your friends, people. You're selling your story. And, if the writer can't even write a summary with good grammar and spelling, I know there story sure as heck won't have those components and I will not waste my time trying to sift through that, regardless of compelling characters and plot.

In conclusion, a quick, snappy summary is all that's needed. It should be specific - where readers know the general plot and/or characters of the story - but vague enough where they're interested in seeing where the story goes.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I learned my first week at an actual university

So my first week at my school is finished and I've learned some things that might be useful to you - you know, if you're not already at a university or planning to go to one.

1)  There's a lot of reading.  And I mean a lot.  At least one hundred and fifty pages of reading a week, and that's for one class.  I'm taking 3.  And yes, I actually do the reading, which means my eyeballs feel like they're falling out.  They're not, of course, but they certainly feel like it, to the point where after I finish my reading (yes, I'm still a week ahead) I don't want to read for pleasure.  I am, but not as much as I wish to.  And with my eyes feeling like they're falling out, it's not totally pleasurable.

2)  Professors will keep you until the very last minute.  At my community college, we were released about five to ten minutes early depending on the professor.  They usually don't start a new section of lecture unless they're certain they can finish it, but don't want to stop in the middle, and they also are aware we as students who had classes afterwards had only ten minutes to get to their next class if they let us out exactly when they were supposed to.

Professors at universities don't seem to care, despite the huge campus - where, even if you're running, you still might not make it to your next class in ten minutes.  I'll start packing up five till, putting my three pens (three to code my notes and keep them organized) and then, instead of ending on the slide (because all professors use PowerPoints), they keep going.  Then I have to take out all three pens and copy the next slide down, and at exactly three twenty, they let us go.

3)  I never have to exercise again (actually, until I graduate).  Because the walking is just ridiculous - in a good way.  Plus, I park on the fourth, fifth, or sixth floor in the lot depending on openings and, instead of taking the elevator, I take the stairs.  And no, I'm not complaining.  I work out five days a week, twenty to thirty minutes each.  This just adds to it.  I just wish I didn't have to carry all the books and articles - which I have to read - around.  But hey - my thighs are going to be even more toned than they normally would be.  Ha!

4)  No one can drive well except me.  I don't think I need to explain that further.

What about you, university students?  What have you learned?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Mary-Sues

I hate Mary-sures.  Don't even get me started on Gary-Stus (We'll talk about him next week.).

But, like all first-time writers, I wrote them.  I remember being a part of when it first came out and, like all girls, had a crush on a character and decided, "Hey, since I can't actually be with them in reality, I'll write a character who looks like me but prettier and who acts like me but is perfect."  And, since I didn't particularly like this characteristic of the hero, I changed it.

(Don't worry, I'm cringing even as I write this.)

Then I got scathing reviews.

After I bandaged the pain, wiped my tears, and forced myself out of bed, I realized I deserved them.  And more than that, I realized that perfect characters aren't that interesting to read about.  As I grew as a writer, I realized that writing perfect characters is boring.

Give your characters flaws.  Real flaws that real people have.  For instance, my character in my pirate novel, Remy Cutler, is spoiled.  She judges people based on their physical appearance and thinks she has better judgment than people beneath her station.  Then, she's forced into a situation where status doesn't matter.  She has to wear dirty clothes, socialize with pirates, and worst of all, is forced to wash dishes.

There's tension and - best of all - she learns.

Therein lies character development.

And the thing is, I love when Remy learns.  It makes me proud, as if I was her mother.  (Which, I guess, I kind of am.)  Other people will too.  Your readers will.  They'll see she's a spoilt girl, maybe relate to her, and then develop into the person she was destined to become.  Your readers will love the journey you take them on - that is, if you create a compelling enough character.

That's the key, you see.

Your reader has to care about your characters.

And if your character is perfect (I'm looking at you, Mary-Sue), no one's going to care.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunshine Sunday

1)  The real first week of school.  I know, I know, I'm a nerd.  But once you're done with your general education, you get classes that focus on your major and, at least, for me, I'm really psyched to learn more about mine.  Oh, and since I'm a nerd, I finished all the reading for this coming week over the weekend so I don't have to worry about that!

2)  Hockey.  When am I not excited about hockey?  The Ducks play their cross-town rivals the Kings tonight, Wednesday they head back to Vancouver, and Friday they play the Kings again.  I know it's just preseason, but I'm still excited!

3)  Birthdays.  My dad's birthday is on Tuesday!  He'll be 51 this year.  He looks, maybe, like he's in his forties though.  Good for him.

4)  Music.  blink-182's new album comes out on Tuesday as well.  I love them.  I can't stop listening to "All of This" (especially the bridge - it gets me every time!) and whenever "First Date" and "All the Small Things" come on, I get ridiculously, goofy-happy.  I dance in my car.  Definitely looking forward to this album.

5)  Braces.  My brother gets his braces off on Thursday.  He's ecstatic.  He's had them on in what feels like forever and I'm just so excited for him.

Anything you're excited for this week?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fictionpress Friday

Tip #2:  Have a title that captures the reader's attention.

Titles and summaries (we'll talk about those later!) are like your pre-hooks to your first real hook (not only the first line, but the first chapter).  You need a good title to get someone to read your summary; you need a good summary to get someone to read your first chapter, and if you have a good chapter?  Well, you'll have them hooked.

So, titles: make them catchy and relevant to your story.

My titles are usually titles or phrases from songs that relate to my story.

For example:  Saving Smiles is a phrase from Vanessa Carlton's "Pretty Baby" song:  "Pretty baby don't you leave me; I've been saving smiles for you."  It's a perfect song for a girl who has a crush on a guy or if just starting a romance like Christian and Andie.

Brighter Than Anyone is from Paramore's song "Brighter": So this is how it goes... Well, I would have never known.  And if you have to go I'll still say that you shine brighter than anyone."  It's perfect about a relationship that is probably ending, and though there's regret and sadness, there's still affection and respect, just like what happened between Christian and Andie.

Keep it short and simple, quirky but cute, and your Hook #1 should be good to go.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life and Death and White-Out

You know that saying: 'I wish life was more like a pencil, where I could erase the bad things.  But life is more like a pen; I can white-out the bad things but I can still see the stain that remains.'  (I know I butchered it.  I'm sorry.)

Well, there's a big fat stain on our criminal justice system today.

Now, I'm going to get a little political and I hope I don't offend anyone.  I'm a big proponent of individual rights and would never want to force anyone to believe what I believe simply because I think it's right, but I expect the same respect in return. 

Full disclosure: I am against the death penalty in every instance.  Sentencing someone to death just doesn't sit well with me, no matter how bad a defendant is, how guilty he or she is.  Last night, Troy Davis was executed because the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case.  It apparently didn't matter that seven of the nine witnesses recanted their testimony and said that police officers coerced them to do so.  It didn't matter that there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.  Today, he's dead.  There's no reversing that.

I'm not saying he's innocent (though there's a likelihood he was).  But I don't think he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and, more than that, I cannot believe that a jury can sentence a man to death simply because there are eyewitnesses.  People make mistakes.  Everybody lies (has no one watched House, M.D.?).  How can we kill a man based on what nine people have to say, especially when seven of those people admitted to lying?

To say I'm furious is an understatement.  I'm certain people have lost faith in our justice system - a good system that Americans believe in.  It's flawed.  And we have a responsibility to ensure that innocent men aren't sentenced to time in prison, and more than that, aren't sentenced to death.  Now, I can't say I want to abolish the death penalty.  But I think there definitely needs to be more stringent rules before a defendant is sentenced to death.

I guess what it comes down to is answering the question: how many stains on our justice system are we willing to have?

R.I.P. Troy Davis

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Plotter or Pantser

Ah, the age-old question, is it not?

And I hate to give you a horrible, politically correct answer, but I have to: I'm both.

When I was writing my hockey mystery that kicked off this second serious bout of writing (that I'm probably going to edit the crud out of because it definitely needs it), I plotted it out practically to the detail.  I wrote out the scenes and some of the dialogue because I was afraid I would forget everything.  (I'm the girl who takes too many notes rather than too few because what if I don't write down something important?)  Plus, longhand writing stuff has been proven to help you remember things better than typing them out.  As a mystery, I couldn't forget a detail either, so it was write, write, write.  Plot, plot, plot.

With my pirate mythology story, I plotted out the entire trilogy, but left out lots of details.  In fact, I wrote one to three sentences about each chapter.  The funny thing was that I stayed with the outline, but allowed myself to waver if need be.  And waver I did.  The first few chapters were outline-perfect, and then I veered off course... and tied it back together with the outline at the end.  I liked that I knew where I was going (honestly, having an idea plotted out motivates me to write, and I can't claim writer's block, either) but that it wasn't as stringent as following every detail of the outline to a tee.

With my supernatural story that I'm currently writing right now, I'm a pantser.  I have a a very vague idea of what needs to happen and a loose interpretation of the plot.  Other than that, I write everything from scratch.  I like this too.  It's liberating and freeing and since I don't know what's going to happen next, I find that I'm excited to figure out what happens next.  Plus, I am in love with my characters so I feel like we're going on a journey together.

I do like to outline, though.  It helps me release my pent-up anticipation of writing the many, many story ideas I have bouncing around in my hand that demand my attention.  Once I've written their story out in a form of an outline, they leave me alone, knowing that if I choose to write their story in more detail, I have an idea of what needs to happen for them to be satisfied.

What about you?  Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Being A Nerd vs. Being Prepared

I'm super-organized.  I'm also super-ambitious.  I strive for doing my absolute best in everything, especially academics.  Good grades are essential to me, which means I do all the necessary - sometimes more - work to ensure I reach my goals.

School doesn't start until Thursday.  I received a syllabus late last week for one class which says next Tuesday (Class #2) has some reading due.  Reading I'm almost done with today.

When I told Jeshicka this, she laughed and called me a nerd. 

I actually don't mind being called a nerd because I kind of am.  I just see it as being prepared.  And if being a nerd means getting good grades, then I will wear that metaphorical pocket protector badge with pride.

(Since I've admitted to my nerdiness, can I just say how excited I am for the Ducks first preseason game tonight?  It's not broadcasted on TV, but I do plan on listening to the audio streamed on the site, plus reading Ducks' blogger Adam Brady's comments about it.  I know, I know: NERD!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Welcome Week

Okay, so the alliteration you see today is totally not my fault.  This is what my school is celebrating this week.  No joke.

I was devastated.  I had my third mandatory orientation (being a transfer student can be exhausting!) that conflicted with training camp for the Ducks.  Obviously, academia won out and I attended the first day of Welcome Week.  It wasn't all that bad, actually.  Turns out, all new students get a free sweatshirt and the chancellor was pretty nice.  (Of course, aren't they all nice when they're not talking to you individually?)

After that, we had a more intimate welcome from our individual schools.  Social Ecology has an amazing dean.  She's funny and sweet and seems to be down to earth too.  Then we were introduced to some professors and the services our school provides.  I was especially excited learning about the Study Abroad program, which I will do Summer '12 baby!  (Yes, I worked it around the hockey schedule...)

After that, the clubs' fair was going on.  My friend Jeshicka and I walked around like morons for a bit until we found the Anthropology Club (for her) and I talked to some of the Ice Hockey team (for me) about the upcoming schedule.  Then we left, because I was breaking in a new flats and the parking garage was pretty far from the fair so there was much walking.

Which was fine because it's exercise, you know?

To be honest, I'm excited.  Hockey starts soon.  School starts soon.  And while I'm a teensy bit worried about the academics, I already feel appreciated and like I belong at my school, which is nice and different and I'm looking forward to truly being a part of something academic.

Welcome Week, indeed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunshine Sunday

Sundays are usually reserved for relaxation, for groaning because Monday brings school or work or waking up early to take your brother to school...  But I digress.  So I wanted to talk about things this week that have made me happy and what I'm looking forward to this week.  Ready?  Okay!

1)  Hockey is BACK!  Well, almost.  I attended the Ducks' training camp the past two days and it gets me super-excited for the season.  Getzy and Perry were pushing each other (playfully, of course!), Bobby Ryan was goofing around with his teammates, Hiller was nearly back to his best (but vertigo is scary to have for a starting goalie), and my personal favorite Dan Ellis, is on top of his game!  I also found a couple of players to watch out for (crossing my fingers that they make the team): Andrew Gordon and Mark Bell.

2)  I start school on Thursday.  I'm a bit nervous (I know an actual university is different from a community college but I'm not quite sure what those differences are yet and as such, can't prepare) but the closer it gets, the more excited I am.  I am planning to go to sporting events (Why can't UCI have a football team?  Why?) and socialize.  I'm hoping that UCI is where I'll belong, not just for academics but because I care about the school as a whole.  Plus, there's a bunch of cool activities during Welcome Week including screening X-Men: First Class on the Green.

3)  Demi Lovato's new album comes out on Tuesday.  I love her, her voice, and her songs, and I am looking forward to hearing what she has to offer.

4)  TV.  I'm a confessed couch potato who works out, okay?  All my favorite shows premiere this week (Community, The Office, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family) and new shows that I'm looking forward to checking out (Whitney, Two Broke Girls, The New Girl, The X-Factor, Last Man Standing) and new shows that I checked out last week that I like (Free Agents, Up All Night).  Granted, I will/have watched a lot of these on my computer because I can't watch everyone at once.  I'm sad that I have to wait until October for Bones and all year until True Blood.  But I'm sure some shows (and hockey) will tide me over.

5)  Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray.  You know my love for Depression-Era gangsters.  D.B. Cooper is kind of like that, but for the 1970's.  He's polite and charming and jumped out of a flying airplane with two hundred thousand dollars strapped to his chest on a rainy night after threatening to blow up said plane with a bomb.  No one was harmed and to this day, nobody knows who Mr. Cooper really is.  I love this stuff.  Especially when the author wrote about an old woman who compared D.B. Cooper to John Dillinger.  The gangster-geek in me squealed like a school girl! If you're into this kind of stuff, I definitely recommend it!

What about you?  Any things you're looking forward to this week?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fictionpress Friday

Okay, first off, I apologize for my usage of cheesy alliteration.  But I love it.  I think it's clever as well as cheesy.

These posts probably won't be as long as the writing or personal posts because these are merely tips.  I figure you might be here to read about writing, possibly to read about me (I hope I'm not boring you too much), but some might want to learn how to break into Fictionpress.  As you may (or may not) know, I'm a writer on Fictionpress.  All of my stories (besides my one-shots) have over two hundred reviews.  My goal has always to be a published writer.  To be a published writer, you need to be able to sell your books.  Fictionpress is a good way to practice that so I'm here to offer tips that have worked for me.  I hope they help!

Tip #1:  Have a good story.  Common sense, right?  But you'd be surprised how many stories out there that aren't great or understandable or just plain unrelatable.  Some of my stories are original - I come up with the plot, characters, and everything else.  Some of my stories are modern takes of classic stories so my plot is already outlined, my characters are defined, but I have to give them my voice.  And some of my stories take certain plots or characters from movies and I tweak them in the way that I want.  I don't have to worry about keeping them "in-character" because I'm not writing fanfiction, and I try and give them my own unique spin.

A way to write a good story is to take your favorite fairytale and write it with your voice.  Modernize it.  Switch sexes.  (Instead of Cinderella meeting her prince, maybe a guy on the wrong side of the tracks meets a spoiled rich girl who's more than just a pretty face.)  Be creative.  It's your story.  And since the theme is universal - and there's romance - people will relate to it.

But you won't get hits if you don't have a well-written stories, well-rounded characters, a hook for a summary, and a catchy title.  We'll talk about those later on, though.  For now, choose a story/fairytale/plot you want to explore and write!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Writing

I've shared a lot of personal stories with you.  I've talked about guys and hockey and Johnny Depp.  I figure I should probably talk about writing, since I'm a writer.  Just know that this is what works for me.  Since writing is so subjective, it may or may not work for you.  But I've found that reading all I can about writing - whether I agree or not - is just as helpful as writing itself.

Today, I want to talk to you about writing, literally.

I'm working on two different manuscripts: one is going through the revisions process and one I'm writing the first draft for.  The first one, I typed on my computer.  The second, I wrote with my hand and then typed up the draft onto the computer.  Both work, obviously.

But I've found that when I write my story out, I connect with my characters better.  I can't explain why.  Perhaps it's because the act of writing is more personal, more raw, than simply typing everything up on a computer.  But I learn more about them, I get inspired more, and for whatever reason, my writing is better. 

However, there are plenty of downsides to writing: your hand hurts.  I'm left-handed, so I'm definitely left with a smudge.  It takes longer.  My grammar and spelling aren't thoroughly checked.  I can't tell how many words I've written.

Still, though, I prefer writing.

As I'm revising the first novel, any rewrites I do happen on paper.  My description gets more poignant and again, I learn more about these characters and get more personal than I would have had I simply typed everything up a second time.

So I write.  And write.  And my hand hurts.  And I smudge.

But it's worth it.

What about you?  Do you type everything up, or do you write it out first?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Vampires done right

I usually don't do these posts.  I love reading books and if I were to review every book I read, I wouldn't be able to write anything.  But if you like vampires (real vampires, not ones that refrain from eating meat and sparkle), go read the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, and then go read Bloodlines by the same author.

I'm obsessed.

My only qualm is that I have to wait until June of next year until the next book comes out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

People pleasing, happiness, and respect

I am a people-pleaser.*

*Note:  I didn't say was.  I am.

But I'm learning how to be a positive people pleaser rather than a negative one.

What's the difference, you ask?  Instead of focusing solely on what other people want, I'm taking into account what I want.

I don't know what changed to make me care more about me in terms of what other people want.  I know I'm not the type of girl who goes on dates with guys simply because they ask and I feel bad I don't like them in that way so they get a pity yes.  As I'm sure you're all aware, I don't like to waste my time.

I think it started around the time Goatboy and I broke up and my best friend and I had a falling out.  Both of those effects stemmed from a cause: I started telling them what I wanted and/or I started standing up for myself.  When it came to me and Goatboy, we had been together just over nine months and I was beginning to feel like I was in limbo, waiting around for something I wasn't sure was going to actually happen. Nine months together and we had yet to make our relationship official.  When I'm with someone, I give my all.  There's no room for half-way when it comes to me, and I was beginning to feel exhausted at pouring all of me into the relationship when he was only giving me a bit of him.  Of course, I now realize that he was giving me all he possibly could, all he had, but he couldn't fully commit.  And as much as I loved him - he was my first real love, after all - it wasn't enough.  And, still in sync, we seemed to realize it at the same time and parted ways mutually with the promise of maintaining our friendship.

When it comes to the friend situation, I confronted her about not inviting me to her little sister's sixth grade graduation, inviting someone else in my place who, while my friend too, didn't have the same relationship with that girl that I did.  And my best friend knew it.  Her little sister and I were incredibly close to the point where I considered her to be my little sister.  And I told my friend I wanted to come, and despite this, she didn't invite me, even though she invited our other friend over Facebook and it would have been rather easy to copy and paste that comment onto my Wall, but she didn't.  That's not the end, though.  The guy that she's been in love with - let's call him A - randomly started flirting with me on Facebook.  I didn't respond to the flirting, but he kept doing so.  So my friend blocked me on Facebook.  She threw seven years of friendship away because her unrequited love was flirting with me - flirting which I ignored and even tried to thwart.

How do you know it was because of A?

Because I checked and she blocked him too.

It was the final straw.  She gave up our friendship because of a guy who didn't return her sentiments, without even having the decency to ask my side.

But this isn't where the story ends, folks.

A asked me out.

I've never been interested in him that way and though me and my friend were over, I'd still never do something like that to her.  So I said I'd love to hang but we didn't have to date.  As guys are wont to do, he mistook my meaning and we decided we'd go hiking the following week.  I came clean the day before thanks to my anxiety at doing something intimate alone with a guy when I'd rather be at home reading, telling him I had just gotten out of a relationship, I didn't want to date because I didn't want to lead anyone on, and I certainly wasn't ready for anything serious.  He took the message well, going so far as to tell me he respected me even more because of my honesty.

You'd think that would be the end of it, right?

Haha.  No.

He kept inviting me to go hiking, to go to the movies.  Sometimes, I'd ignore the texts, sometimes I'd respond a long while after, telling him I was hanging out with my brother.

I didn't understand: couldn't he take a hint?  I don't want to date him.  We were barely friends, barely knew each other.  As unsocial as it sounds, if I'm not interested in being friends with you, I'm not going to waste gas and my time hanging out with you.

The climax came when he texted me at one in the morning with the simple message: Help me.  You read that right.  Help me.  Um, I keep my phone on vibrate at night specifically for this very reason: if one of my friends need me.  Middle of the night calls/texts are reserved for emergencies (at least with me since my real friends know I go to bed early).  On top of that, it took a while for me to finally fall asleep and I had a doctor's appointment really early in the morning.

So I sent a snappish text in return, asking him what he needed my help with at one in the morning.

He replied with something along the lines of how cranky I was in the early morning.  Note that he had yet to tell me what he needed help with and actually apologize.

Um, yes.  So I told him I had a doctor's appointment and was fast asleep before he woke me up.

He seemed to think this was funny because he literally wrote "LOL sorry damn."  Or something like that.

I was so pissed, I didn't respond.

How dare he?  Who the eff did he think he was?

No kiddies, the story isn't over.  I know.  I can't believe it either.

It was a week before he texted me, asking me to go on another hike with him and a group of friends.  But here's the kicker: he called me grouchy.

That pissed me off more than I can comprehend.  I hate when people think they're closer to me than they really are and, as such, seem to think they're entitled to treat me more intimate than what propriety actually calls for.

I thought about how I was supposed to respond for a while before coming up with something that stated how the fact that he texted me at one in the morning and the way he handled my less than enthusiastic reaction was completely inappropriate.  I reminded him we've never hung out and we barely know each other and that, while I thought he was a decent guy, I didn't want to hang out with him at all.

His response?  Haha, k.

Okay, I was upset but whatever.  I thought I wouldn't be hearing from him after that.

I thought wrong.

A few hours later, he texted me this really long message asking me why I was so upset, how he thought I was going through something in my life that I was taking out on him (are you effing kidding me?) and all he was doing was inviting me to go on a hike, and by the way, he already apologized for that text.

Yeah, my mouth still drops open when I think about it.

I had two options: I could respond or I could let it go.

While I wanted nothing more than to point out his stupidity at not taking a hint and completely overstepping the proper boundaries of Facebook friendship, I decided to let it go.  His behavior was already worrisome and I didn't want aggravate it any more because I wasn't sure how he'd react in terms of harassing me.  Plus, if he couldn't see how inappropriate his behavior was, even with me telling him, than there was no way I could make him understand. 

So, why am I telling these personal (and probably boring) stories?  Because going through each one, and ending with what I went through with A taught me something.  I've always said the universe is working WITH you and never AGAINST you.  But if you work against yourself, what is the universe supposed to do?

Standing up for myself, even though it was hard and hurt and painful, was the best thing I ever did.  I'm not worried about how Goatboy truly feels about me and if I can really depend on him anymore.  I'm not trying to be the perfect best friend when she doesn't take me all that seriously and treat me the way I deserve to be treated anymore.  And I'm not going to let some guy make me roll over because of his incessant persistence and lack of understanding of the word no.

Here's how I see it: the moment I start respecting myself to the point of action then I'll attract people who will respect me.  It's common sense, right?  Well, I'm the type of girl that has to feel it to understand, rather than simply know it.

I still like making people happy.  I realize that upon meeting people I admire or the cute guy in my class, I will never be the mysterious siren oozing sexuality.  I'm not cool.  I'll be uber-polite, probably blushing and smiling way too much girl.  But, the things is, I'd rather be sweet than sexy.  (Most of the time.)  Because that's who I am.  However, I'm not going to sacrifice my self-respect over it, especially to people who really don't deserve to be in my life anyways.

We all deserve happiness.  The universe wants nothing more than to make us happy.   But you have to help too.  Sometimes, happiness is a result of letting something you cherish, something you love with all your heart and will still probably love for the rest of your life, go.  Your happiness is more important than theirs.  You are the first person you should want to please.  Because you're worthy of it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Name Calling

Everyone who knows me knows I'm a HUGE hockey fan.  I've been counting down the days till the start of the season, arranged my studying abroad around the season, and have reserved a section of wall in my room specifically for hockey pictures.

But when I'm watching the game - either at home or in the arena - I always hesitate before I start to cheer on a player by name.  It's stupid and silly and ridiculous, but I always feel awkward shouting "Go Teemu!" when he has the puck only because who am I to address him by his first name?  He hasn't given me leave to call him Teemu.  And if I shouted "Go Mr. Selanne!" - whether at home or in person - people would look at me like I was off my rocker or something.

Okay then, Heather, you say, what about nicknames?

Um, I get upset when people call me something other than my name unless I know them.  I don't think it would be right for me to address George Parros as Georgie or Ryan Getzlaf as Getzie without their permission.

However, I have no problem calling Cam Fowler 'Cam' because he's younger than I am.  I'm traditional to the point of nausea, right?

I know, I know: I'm overthinking it and I should just call them by name.  And I do.  But I always hesitate because I don't like being presumptuous about something like that since it's basic etiquette.

Though, even I will admit that there are exceptions to every rule.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting Over Boys

I'm not a rebound kind of girl.

Well, after a relationship ends, I like when guys stare at me because it boosts my waning self-confidence.  And yes, flirting is nice.  But I don't throw myself into the arms of Random Boy #1 in order to get over an ex.  Because to me, that's an impossible feat.  Rebounds, to me, are replacements.  And when it comes to my exes, they're irreplaceable.  Even the bad ones.

I can't be with another guy because I'll be looking for my most recent ex in them and will be disappointed when I don't find what I'm looking for.  The thing is, they'll never be him.

And that's okay.

The way I get over an ex is to throw myself into something completely unrelated.  With this past relationship, I listened to Hilary Duff's "Holiday" about a hundred times and avoided any songs that might bring me to tears.  I also refused to watch sappy romantic comedies because even though I know they're unrealistic, even I - the very optimistic but not very romantic girl - wanted to be what every heroine in those rom-coms is: the exception. 

Because Goatboy was my exception.  And in my naivety, I thought, You know, maybe it's not crazy to think that I'm his exception too. 

Except life doesn't work that way.  As tortuous as it is, just because he's mine doesn't mean I'm his.  And I didn't want sappy movies to remind me of that.

I refused to write poems, and when I thought enough time had passed where it was safe to, I still cried writing them.  I'm tearing up a bit, writing this.

And let me tell you, I am not a sap.  Far from it.  I can always tell when something is genuine in romantic comedies, and when something is just way too cheesy.  And when it's cheesy, I can't help but laugh.  While all the other women in the theatre are 'awing' and sniffling, I'm laughing.  And I'm sorry to ruin the moment but I cannot help it.

But I think that's what makes me happy in this moment, right now.  I'm hopeful.  For the future.  For my love life.  Because even though Goatboy was (and is, and probably will always be, as first loves usually are) my exception, there will be others.  And finding the one that sees you as his or her exception as well?  Well, that's fate, isn't it?

I'm sure I won't find my One right now.  Probably because I'm not quite over my previous relationship.  Not yet, anyways.  And I refuse to get into a relationship until I'm over the previous one.  But with each passing day, a little bit of the pain fades.  And a little piece of me grows back.  Granted, he'll always have his piece of me and I'll forever love him.  But my heart fills that gap with lessons I've learned, an updated version of what I want and don't want in a relationship, and a small, silver scar that will remind me of him.

As if I could forget.

And while I feel myself fully letting go of what was, I yearn for what will be.

And that happiness comes from what is now.

No, I don't do the whole rebound thing. 

But I watch television shows with genuine guys I adore.  With Number 24 way back last year, what got me over him was watching the first season of True Blood.  And I saw how genuine Bill was, and how much he loved Sookie, and I realized that it was good riddance with Number 24.  I wanted a guy like Bill.  (Granted, this was season one.  I have been Team Eric for a while now, thank you very much.)

And while I didn't find Bill in Goatboy, I found what I was looking for in that moment, and I didn't even realize it until we started dating.

And now, the thing getting me over Goatboy isn't Finn from Glee or Parker from Drop Dead Diva as I expected, but rather Professor Snape.  From Harry Potter.  No.  I'm not kidding.  It's probably the slew of talented authors over on that capture his character, make him such a well-rounded character that you'd be crazy not to fall in love with him. 

Goatboy was everything I needed in those nine months we spent together, but now, I'm hoping for someone like Professor Snape.  In all honesty, I probably won't find someone like the Potions Master.  But I trust the universe to give me exactly what I need when I need it even (especially) if I, myself, don't know just what that is.

But hopefully, the universe will throw in that silky, seductive Alan Rickman voice when choosing my next romantic entanglement as icing on the cake.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tarot Cards and other hobbies

I used to think that writing was my hobby.  But I'm hoping to turn it into my career.

So what do I do about hobbies?  While listening to music, going to movies, dancing, working out, and hanging out with friends may seem like hobbies, I believe they're more related to our desire as humans to socialize and communicate.

A hobby is something we do to occupy time, something we like but don't necessarily need to make money off of but still makes us happy nonetheless.

I used to think writing was my hobby.  But really, it's a passion.  I have to write.  I don't have a choice in the matter.

But my hobby?  I like to read tarot cards.  Some people believe in them, others think they're tools to communicate with the devil.  Many people are placed down the middle in this particular spectrum.  Personally, I do believe what they have to say but I also realize that the future isn't set in stone, and that I'm able to change it.

Which makes tarot cards so cool.  They offer guidance and help, explain karmic lessons you might need to learn, or reassure you that while it's bleak and hard now, it'll get better soon.  They tell you things, whether you want to hear them or not, and explain how to overcome the difficulty, or that someone's talking bad about you, or bad news is coming.

But they also reassure you in that you can always turn a bad card over.  Really, your destiny is up to you.

I like their symbology, learning about what they mean and how to interpret them in different situations.  But more than anything, I like that I can go them at any time, night or day, and they'll help me out. 

Which says a lot more than many other hobbies out there.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday's Breakdown

What I'm reading: Size 14 is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot and The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
What I'm Listening ToBad Meets Evil and Angels & Airwaves
What I'm Watching: Married... with Children Season 8 (on DVD)
What I'm Writing: As of yet, untitled pirate mythology story - just started Chapter 22 (YA)
What I'm Interested in Right Now: Working out

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Letting Go and Starting Over

I've had one hell of a time these past few months.

In April, Goatboy and I decided that it would probably be best if we stopped seeing each other.  Totally mutual and we said we'd still be friends.  (You know, after we get over each other, because it's hard to care about your friend romantically.)  At around the same time, my best friend in the world and I started growing apart.  I don't know why but I promised that this year, I'd start standing up for myself.  And perhaps that's one of the reasons she started to pull away and align herself with someone else. 

It doesn't matter though.

I've always believed that the little things matter more than the big things.  Whether it comes to guys or friends, sometimes it's best - no matter how hard it is - to let them go.  Maybe the timing is wrong and you'll meet back up in the future where it'll be better to be friends or lovers (both?).  Maybe this is the only time you'll encounter them but your life will never be the same because of them.  Maybe you're the lesson they need to learn (I HATE that!).

Whatever they are to you, sometimes it's best to let them go.

And it's hard.  Trust me.  Breaking up with your boyfriend and best friend around the same time is one of the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with.  But I've learned that I will accept nothing less than what I deserve, whether from a guy or from friends.  It's made me feel more mature, more adult (eek!), and I like myself.  I'm proud of myself.  I admire myself.

And that's how I know that it's the right thing.

What gets me through it are two different quotes: God never gives you more than you can handle and If you love something, set it free; if it comes back to you, it was meant to be and if it doesn't, it was never really yours in the first place.

And this has also made me appreciate those people that are practically permanent fixtures in my life: my mother, my brother, and my friend Mrs. Wolverine (because she's super in love with Hugh Jackman, but then again, who isn't?).

More than that, letting go of things - shedding my cocoon so to speak - makes me excited to start over.  I start at a new school in late September.  I'm going to Comic Con.  My friend from Germany is coming to stay with me for a week.  I'm going to Disneyland.  I'm going to the fair.  Hockey season starts.

But I have to get through these next couple of weeks.

It's going to be hard.  Little things will remind me of both of them and then I'll miss them and wish they were still in my life.  But if they wanted to be here, they'd find a way to be here.  And if they don't, they're not worth it.  And because I've realized personally how short life is, I know I should only interact with people who deserve to be in my life.  Anything else is a waste of time.

Life shouldn't be about suffering.  Yes, there will be pain and hardship.  But it's about dancing in the rain.  And everyone knows how much I love doing that.  :)

And what I'm going through now will make me the beautiful butterfly I'm destined to be. 

So bring on the pain and tears and suffering.  I'm a strong girl - stronger than I give myself credit for.  I'll survive.  I always do.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday's Breakdown

What I'm reading: Size 14 is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot and Wanted by Sara Shepard
What I'm Listening To:  old school Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne
What I'm Watching: Bones Season 5 (on DVD)
What I'm Writing: As of yet, untitled pirate mythology story - halfway through Chapter 18 (YA)
What I'm Interested in Right Now: Comic Con!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being Authentic

Yesterday, I found out, thanks to a loyal reader, that I was a victim of plagiarism.

I scoffed at the idea that somebody would want to plagiarize me.  Me!  Not that I didn't think such a thing could happen to me - because I was definitely aware of it, no doubt - but because I just couldn't fathom why someone would want to plagiarize my stuff.  I feel like if my stories were books, they'd be quick, fun beach reads.  Most of them, anyways.  Great when you want something light, but not plagiarism-worthy.

I followed the link my reader sent me and found out that this woman not only plagiarized one story, but three.  Three!  And they were all mine.

I felt... violated.  I'm not going to lie; I felt like she stole three of my children and claimed they were hers.  (Maybe a little overdramatic, but whatever.)  Everything was exactly how I had written it - down to the title and the summary!  Had she no shame?  Didn't she know there was a possibility she'd be caught?

And what kills me is that she was getting reviews, reads, and votes.  I'm not jealous that she was stealing my work, per se, but I was pissed that people she believed she wrote these stories.  Stories I wrote at five in the morning because I just didn't have the time for it.  Stories I outlined and created and wrote in my voice.  My stories were labeled as hers.

I hated it.

Which surprised me because I didn't think I'd have such a strong reaction to it, even when confronted by the blatancy of her lazy actions.

I realized that these are my stories, my babies, which means they're a part of me.  If anyone tries to claim them as theirs, I feel suffocated and angry because they're claiming me as them.  And I'm not.  I'm only me.  (Geez, I hope this is making sense...)

And that's how I know I'll never plagiarize.  (I always knew this, of course.  Sophomore year of high school I got my first and last D in a science class because it was so hard everyone - even the good kids - had to cheat in order to get a decent grade.  But not me.)  Because everything I do or write has some part of my instilled in it.  I could never claim something that isn't mine because it has no piece of me in it. 

Obviously that means I'll have to work harder but that's okay.  It's worth it.  At least, to me.

So, what happened to my plagiarizer?  I left a comment on her author's page introducing myself, telling her she has 24 hours to remove my stories or I'll go directly to the site and inform them of her blatant plagiarism and constantly write on her author's page telling her readers or whoever decided to check her out that she plagiarized my stuff.  A few hours later, the entire author's page didn't exist.

Which left me relieved.

I probably won't ever take my stories down (unless I'm hoping to publish them, of course).  There's a good chance that I'll be plagiarized again, and when the time comes, I'll handle it.

But I'm a writer.  And when you're a writer, there's a good chance someone is going to copy your work.  But those plagiarizers?  They're not writers.  They're just lazy and want some instant gratification.  And remember: the highest form of flattery is imitation.  Even when it's verbatim.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nerves and Settling Them

I am incredibly nervous.

Today, I sent out two query letters to prospective agents for the novel I hope to get published.  It's different than before (when I was 18, I sent out query letters for a story THE DEAD MAN'S TALE and last year, I did the same with SWIMMING IN RAIN) because I've thoroughly edited my novel and I wrote it in a month - it means so much to me because it deals with something incredibly important to me: hockey.

This is personal.

Which is why I'm nervous sending it out in the business aspect of the publishing world.  Because while it might be personal to me, it's business for them.  If they reject my story, they reject me.

But I'm growing thick skin.  I know I'll need it, especially if I want to be a writer, a published one on that.

So, with my grandfather's hat on my head and the blanket I've had since I was born in my lap - my own form of a subtle alcoholic beverage used solely to calm my nerves - I sent out those two letters.  Something might come from it.  Nothing might come from it.  But no matter what, I'm a writer.  And someday, I'll be a published one.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday's Breakdown

What I'm reading: Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot and The Complete Public Enemy Almanac by William J. Helmer and Rick Mattix
What I'm Listening ToSelena Gomez's new CD, Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert
What I'm WatchingBones Season 3 (on DVD)
What I'm Writing:  As of yet, untitled pirate mythology story - started Chapter 15 (YA)
What I'm Interested in Right Now:  NHL Draft/Free Agency (Brad Richards signing with the Rangers - at least it wasn't with the Kings!)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life's Collisions

Have you ever learned something in one aspect of your life, only to apply it to another aspect of your life?

For example, when I was in fourth grade, I learned how to play the clarinet and how to read music.  I found that piano music is roughly the same - at least the melody - and since I knew where the main C was located, I transferred my clarinet notes to the piano subsequently teaching myself to play the piano.  (With one hand, but still.)

Today, I went to watch prospective Ducks play a scrimmage against each other.  Granted, these kids (I say kids because I was older than the majority of them - and I'm only 21 years old!) aren't professional (yet) and it was a scrimmage (part of a training camp). 

They were good, for the most part.  I like to watch the goalies personally.  Of course, there was a lack of tension because prospective Ducks were playing against other prospective Ducks so everybody wins, and since they started 25 minutes late, I was worried about possibly getting a ticket because of my parking time limit.

But there were a couple of things that happened that I just cringed at.  Even I know you don't do stuff like this. 

Granted, I never played hockey in my life.  I've probably been ice skating only a handful of times.  But I played soccer for 7 years when I was a kid, on an All Star team and then to an APP team with the option to join club soccer.  And I was a defender the majority of time (sweeper, to be exact).  I can take what I know from soccer and prescribe it to hockey. 

Like never, ever cross to your teammate in front of your goal.  It's just too dangerous.  You never know if someone will make a breakaway, intercept the pass, and score a goal.

Or don't reach for the puck with your stick.  Get your body behind it.

And for the love of God, don't block the goalie's view of the puck!

But the scrimmage was enjoyable.  I always find it fascinating to watch people play hockey - it's the fastest sport on the planet, and it's cool to know that I'll have watched soon-to-be Ducks when they just started out.

I'm not on the ice so I don't know what it's like.  It's completely different when you're there, on the ice, playing the sport.  But maybe they could participate in a soccer camp.  Just for fun.