Category Archives: personal

Earliest Childhood Memory

Wow! I fell way behind on my own challenge. Since my last post, I started a new novel, and it took hold like wildfire. I decided to stick with that, just to get the first couple chapters done, and it left little time for working on my blog.

Now day 14, I’m just now coming back on a day that’s probably one of my favorites.

This one really shouldn’t be a favorite. A lot of my childhood memories were of me falling off something, or tripping over something, and winding up pretty hurt because of it. You’d think after years of adulting, and countless dance classes, I’d have stopped this nasty habit of falling, but it still hasn’t gone away.

My earliest memory goes like most of my memories of my childhood. I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, in this case, climbing a huge rock, and then falling into a cactus bed.

In retrospect, the rock wasn’t probably as big as I remember, but because I was so small, it seemed like a mountain. This means the single cactus I fell into looked like a bush of spikes straight out of a nightmare.

My biological father was with me at the time, and I can remember screaming as he took me to the nearest gas station where he borrowed their first aid kit and pulled needle after needle out of my arms and legs. I vaguely remember being surrounded by men, each one trying to get me to stop crying, giving me an ice cream out of the freezer I was sitting on, and helping my dad hold my arm when I kept trying to pull away.

Why do I like this memory so much? It was pretty traumatic at the time, but it’s always stuck with me as something that taught me a valuable lesson.

One, when you’re experiencing something negative, things look bigger and badder than they really are. But as time passes you begin to realize it wasn’t as bad as you originally thought.

Two, you’re going to fall down, and sometimes it’s going to hurt, but rely on others to help you back on your feet. I didn’t have a choice as a child, I had to get help from strangers, but as an adult, I try to remember that the kindness of others can sometimes help more than you realize.

And lastly, if you do fall, and you will, always get back up and try again. Learn from that mistake, and do better next time. A tumble from a rock didn’t stop me from getting up the next day and climbing something else. It didn’t stop me from trying things to push myself a little harder. Again, I was a kid, but it’s still something I apply as an adult.

 

What was your earliest childhood memory and what did you learn from it?

Check out Tanja’s Day 14 here.

Want more January blogging challenges? Check out Tanja RamirezLily Couldridge, and Alexandra Burt‘s pages. They’re all taking part as well. It’s not too late for you to do the same! Just link me to whatever social media you’re posting your challenge on, and I’ll give you a shout out.

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What’s in my bag?

Well I’m running late again today. I got caught up with conversations on Twitter, making a massive surprise project for my sister’s baby shower, and then got to talking plot with my writing partner.

But I’m here now, so welcome to day five of the January Blogging Challenge! 

I have a few handbags, but none are as important to me as one my husband picked up at a military surplus store. What used to be an old gas mask bag is now toting around my wallet, keys, pencils, pens, loose change, and almost always a book or two. It doesn’t look big, but it must have some TARDIS/Mary Poppins magic, cause I keep everything in here.

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Occasionally I’ll have a random curio tucked away in the bottom, like a worry stone, or a pendant to St. Christopher (my current odd thing out in my bag), and I almost always have one or two tubes of chap stick, even though I rarely use it.

It’s not expensive, and it looks ragged, but I love my bag. It’s sturdy and is probably the most “me” thing I own.

 

Want more January blogging challenges? Check out Tanja RamirezLily Couldridge, and Alexandra Burt‘s pages. They’re all taking part as well. It’s not too late for you to do the same! Just link me to whatever social media you’re posting your challenge on, and I’ll give you a shout out.

Day 4 – It started with a sketch

Talking about my first novel is always something I’ve wanted to do, but was never sure how to go about. The fear of offending someone or bringing up old wounds always stopped me.

I wrote a book about people with wings, for Pete’s sake! How do I even begin to talk about the amount of loss I felt before I put pen to paper?

 

 

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This post contains sensitive subject matter. I’ll be discussing suicide and miscarrying, so viewer discretion is advised.

Continue reading Day 4 – It started with a sketch

Life Changes for 2018

I don’t like setting resolutions.

Maybe it’s the wording of it, just like I don’t like the word “diet”. Both seem so temporary to me. Sure, resolution means “a firm decision to do or not do something”, but how many people break these supposedly “firm decisions” within the first month of the new year? 

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Back in 2013, I started using the phrase “Life Changes” for the new year. Instead of saying I was going to do a diet, I said I was going to change the way I ate. Instead of saying I was going to exercise, I said I was going to make a change to how active I was in a day.

By focusing less on an end goal, I tweaked my day to day schedule and created solid habits. I wound up losing 20 pounds since then, and I finished writing a first draft of my book in a month, then edited it in another eight. Setting changes to my schedule helped me create long lasting results that I’m still benefiting from.

So here are ways I’m going to change my life in 2018.

~ I’m going to set aside one hour a day for reading, and one hour a day for writing. During those two hours, I can listen to music, however the tv must be off, and the phone needs to be on silent.

~ I plan on putting aside one day a week to focus on a new skill. It can be anything from learning a new crochet stitch, to finally learning how to parallel park (because I can finally admit that I have no idea how to do that). There is no pressure to master this skill (although learning how to parallel park would be nice), it’s simply to try a new thing.

~ I will dedicate two days a week to querying and learning more about the publishing world. I’ll talk with already published authors, take a class, or read more information that’s available, but I recognize that I need to change how I look at my road to publication.

~ Two days a month, I’ll attend a writing group meeting. If the other members of this writing group can’t show up, I’ll go someplace quiet and take that time to work on my next book.

~ I am going to travel one week next year to a place I’ve never been. It can be a different place every day, an hour away from my house, or it can be more than one day to somewhere I actually need to travel to.

~ I’m going to start going to bed later so I can wake up earlier to hit the gym for at least thirty minutes, every other day. While at the gym, I’m going to change how I work out, from taking it slow, to pushing myself a little harder every time I’m there. This also means I’ll need a gym membership, so I should probably get on that.

~ I will spend less time on my phone when I’m out in public by keeping my data off and making more of an effort in social situations.

~ I am going to change how I view social media by not putting such high standards on myself. This means posting only once a week on my blog, and scheduling other site posts instead of stressing over them.

~ And last, I will look for time in my schedule for volunteering with my community, either at the library, the children’s theater, or even stopping in at the blood donor center. I know I’ll have time, but I’ve never volunteered in the past because, let’s face it, I’m too focused on myself. By paying attention to when I’m being selfish, I hope to replace some of this time with giving back to others.

Personal Post Friday – 2017 Was The Year I….

So much happened this year, I don’t even know where to start. If someone would’ve told me I’d have gotten as much accomplished as I did, I would’ve laughed at them.

For one, I’m not the type of person to do a 5k, even if it was just a fun run, and goat yoga? Who does goat yoga? Apparently 2017 Andrea.

So here’s a quick run down of 2017.

– Did a mud run.
– Finished Flightless and started sending to agents.
– Went to a goat yoga class.
– Built a van with my husband and drove from Tacoma to Texas and back to Tacoma, just because.
– Got a raise at work.
– Was maid of honor at my cousin’s Harry Potter/Fandom themed wedding.
– Built the foundations for my writer’s platform.
– Heard back from an agent, and rewrote Flightless.
– Drove across country again, for a military move to Texas.
– Camped on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere and saw more stars than I have in a long time.
– Reconnected with old friends I hadn’t spoken to since high school.
– Stood up for myself and started taking charge when I would’ve sat on the sidelines before.
– Got through 10 books, which is a big deal for me since I’ve been slacking off on reading since 2012.
– Started talking with other writers and authors on how they hone their craft.

I’d love to hear about your year! Make a blog post titled “2017 Was The Year I” and send me a link. Was your year productive, or filled with new experiences? Maybe you just got through another year, and hey, that’s an accomplishment, too.

Share how your life went and what you hope to accomplish next year.

Flightless Fan Art #2 – Daniel Bennett

When I first made Daniel, he played a crucial part in the original draft of Flightless. 

In spite of this, there really wasn’t anything to him. He was his girlfriend, Elizabeth’s, arm candy, and my main character, Christopher’s little brother. Daniel filled any exposition holes, but he wasn’t really “his own man”. He only existed to benefit others not because he belonged in the story.

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Original artwork

 

So he was chopped from the final draft, but I realized I had a great opportunity to add him to a different book that exists in the same universe as Flightless.

I rewrote him, created a well rounded character, and wow, the art that came from the changes to him turned out incredible.

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Daniel & Elizabeth Commission by Maddy

Daniel grew up in an abusive household. While it wasn’t intentional abuse, his mother thought she was doing the right thing, it was abusive none the less. Unlike Christopher, who shouldered all the problems and saw it as his job to take the brunt of the pain, Daniel grew resentful.

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Anthony, Elizabeth and Daniel by Kennie

Even after he was taken out of the situation, he still acted like the world owed him something after everything he went through. When he was forced to move away from his brother, and in with an able bodied “flock” (a, yes, very cheesy word I use for my avian family units), he was crushed.

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Nap Time by Maddy

At the end of the first book, there’s talk of Daniel coming to see his brother again, after years of being apart, but when he arrives in the second, Christopher is already gone. Forced with another abandonment, he spends time with Elizabeth, and the two work through both of what’s happened in their past, while growing closer through mutual respect.

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Church Meeting by Jillian

I can’t wait to tell his and Elizabeth’s story. It’s going to have a heavier romance plot than my other ideas for the Flightless universe, but one that’s a slow burn compared to a whirlwind of emotions.

If you’d like to see more of my own Daniel art, here’s some below! Hope you enjoyed it.

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Want more artwork? Check out my last art share, for Anthony Ortega.

 

 

Obligatory Disclaimer

All above artwork was posted with permission given by the artists, so long as credit was linked back to above accounts. If you’d like to use any of the above artists, please contact them directly through links to ask before posting images. 

 

Who’s up for a January Blogging Challenge?

With 2018 fast approaching, and my creative moral low, I’m looking for ways to boost my spirits. Since I always loved topic challenges as a kid, I decided hey, if it got my butt in gear then, maybe it’ll help now?

Take a look, and if you feel like taking part, please do! Some of it is a little specific to me, so make any chances that you see fit.

31 Day Bloggin Challenge

Do you have a blogging challenge you’re doing? Share it below!

Aesthetic Sunday – “Flightless”

Hello all Aesthetic Sunday folks! Today I raided my Pinterest for everything related to Flightless and slammed them together for some aesthetic fun!

Enjoy! 

Kaitlin Harris
One of the two protagonists in Flightless, and definitely the most important, Kaitlin is an art history major who spends more time in libraries than she does in malls. After her sister’s kidnapped, she’s forced into a world she spent her whole life running from, and come to terms with not being entirely human. 

Christopher Bennet
My second protagonist, Christopher is a disabled winged character (avian), who’s trying to help Kaitlin better understand the avian world. While he too is more of an introverted character, he’s inspired by the way swans act in nature. Christopher knows he’ll never be able to fly, but he hopes he can still protect those who matter most.

 

 

Credit for pictures in the links on my pinterest. Should you see an image that belongs to you that you’d like removed from the post, please contact me and I’ll take it down immediately.

Flightless Fan Art – Anthony Ortega

Before I started writing Flightless, I was obsessed with drawing the characters in my winged universe.

Because I spent a lot of time developing the world through art, I wound up getting quite a few pieces of artwork over the years, either as fan art, or in some cases commissions. While I’ve always been active with artists of other mediums, I don’t spend a lot of time talking about Flightless with the writing community.

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Anthony by Kennie

So to open up more about the world I’ve been building, I’m going back to art. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be showing off some of the art I’ve received over the years, in hopes of letting people get to know my universe, as well as my characters. This week’s feature character is Anthony “Tony” Ortega.

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13 y.o. Tony by Sarah Weinberg

Tony, my little Spanish songbird from Cádiz, Spain, and is the youngest character in Flightless. In this universe, humans coexist around winged humanoids called avians. Besides having wings, they’re just like you and me…except for the fact that they have some questionable instincts and strict rules on what’s appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

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I’ll Fly Away by Megan

Tony’s mother is an avian, and his father’s human, so sadly, his wings will never develop for him to fly. In fact they’re significantly smaller than other avian’s his age. His mother was supposed to have gotten rid of him at birth, because it’d be kinder to him in their culture in the long run, but instead, she gives him to an avian who lost his wings, William.

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Getting Ready by Allicyn

While he has his own story I hope to tell one day, he’s a representation of the childish hope my main character, Kaitlin, has in being able to have a happy ending. He’s a sweetie so I hope to do him some justice one day, and at the very least give him a short story of his own.

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Anthony Commission by MurphAinmire

Here’s some of my own artwork for him. Hope you enjoyed!

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Sunday Aesthetic – Misery in Magic

Take Beauty and the Beast and add a bit of The Craft, with a dash of The Sopranos. Throw in a pinch of the His Dark Materials trilogy (and I mean a small pinch), and what do you get? Misery in Magic.

At least, I that’s the recipe I’m using.

My work in progress is coming along nicely, but I’m still in the plotting stages. To get a better idea of what I wanted, as far as the vibe of my novel went, I made an aesthetic to help me along.

Enjoy a small blurb from my first chapter below!

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No one said a word as Isabelle stood. Her siblings stared as she walked to the oldest of the McKellen clan, her chin lifted to meet his cold grey eyes. The tattoos on his arms and neck all told stories of people he killed and demons he summoned. Could she ever love him? No, but she would still marry him if it meant peace between their families.

“I’ll do it,” she spoke more clearly than she thought she could. “I’ll take your hand.”

His family behind him murmured, but hers was silent. They didn’t care what happened. She was their sacrificial lamb, and her future husband before her was the wolf they were feeding her to.

“Did you kill my sister?” he asked, his voice so deep it vibrated down to her bones.

“No,” she answered, “but if I agree to the terms of the treaty, does it matter?”

“No. I guess it doesn’t.” He was emotionless as he stared into her, finally shaking his head. “I agree to take you as my wife.

Cole O’Bryne. Her new husband. The man she was sure who would kill her.

 

What do you think? Have any other modern magical books or movies to suggest? I’m definitely enjoying the direction this romance is going, but could always use some more inspiration!