Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Life as an Adult with ADHD

When your a college student time is always of the essence. Yet, sometimes, you really need a breather. So, you write. You write to escape, to relax, to enjoy life again. You wish you had more time to write incredible things, but at last, you don’t.
So maybe you carry a notebook, jotting down ideas from time to time and telling yourself you’ll give it more thought later. But, then, it beacons to you. Something within screams that you must write.
Welcome to my life with ADHD. It’s great and terribly frustrating all in one. It’s like standing on the sidewalks of New York City and trying to focus on a single conversation. It’s like sitting underwater trying to see above the surface.
You see, the thing about being a writer is that your thoughts will create outrageous hyperboles to describe your life. When life gets into a stagnant routine, you lose touch of your creativity. After all most writers are also adventurous and daring souls.
However, if you’re a writer, you need to write to stay sane! You have to dump your fears and stress into the pages of a personal journal. You need time to rejuvenate yourself.
I learned this “scribble down for latter” thing from interesting articles on ADHD. Still, I’m not sure it always helps. With an ADHD mind, thoughts rush in & out without schedules or respect to the current situation. Then again, it’s these same racing thoughts that are written down that create the incredible posts on the blog and inspiration for my writing. ADHD isn’t always a totally bad thing.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Sharp Edge of Silence: Stand Against Bullying! 

Silence, a sound some call peaceful and others call torture. There are very real consequences for being a silent bystander of bullying. This article dives into the reality of cyber bullying and its effects.
I've personally endured a lot of bullying in my time. A few months ago I had an experience with an old friend that came back to haunt my social media feeds. She posted some pretty mean and nasty stuff about me on her Facebook wall. I am still to this appalled at the fact that out of all of my friends who where connected to her account only one dared to stand up and tell me this.
My friends wouldn't say anything about her attacking post because they where afraid of her doing the same thing to them. However, remaining in silence does a lot more damage than you may realize. In the act of my friends choosing not to say anything about the situation, I felt abandoned. Because they remained quiet it reinforced that what my bully did was completely acceptable.
A few days latter my bully had become so determined to cause chaos in my life that she dragged her friends into the mess and enlisted them in an army of bombarding viscous text messages. If I hadn't told anyone, the situation could have had far reaching consequences. Many teens and young adults end up in situations like I did and they can't take it anymore resulting in severe depression or even suicide.
I asked myself in the dark pain of the night why no one was speaking up against my bully, I did nothing to deserve what was happening. Yet, the messages kept coming and I kept drowning. I eventually resorted to the only thing I knew how to do to stop the nasty messages. I changed my phone number on a harassment policy through my cell phone provider.
Staying silent is deadly, if you witness bullying, dare to be the hero who takes a stand.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Photography at School

 I love photography just about as much as I love writing. This week I thought it would be cool to share some of my recent photos with you from my Humanity's Course I am in this semester.

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I took this picture on the way to class early one morning this week. The sun was in just the right spot to give the sky bridge on campus a really interesting glow to it. I like how all lines lead the eyes towards my focal point of the sky bridge.

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This second shot was taken of the fencing underneath the stadium. Because I was doing my photo shoot midday I had to find something that wasn't in too harsh of lighting. I'm not a total fan of the flat lighting in this image either, however the texture is what makes it a decent shot.

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Ah... now this is one of the best shots I have taken in a while. I like the dark background leading to the light of the bleachers just up this staircase. The focal point in this case becomes the outside light. It almost beacons to the viewer as if to say "Come enjoy me, come see the light of life."

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Both of these images where taken in campus gardens. I find the patterns to be interesting in my photography.

 This next shot is simply beautiful leading the eyes on a journey of exploration wondering where the curved line of sight will lead us.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

We Love You Sally Carmichael: Movie Review & Trailer

I recently had the opportunity to see We Love You, Sally Carmichael, in theaters with my family. So, as usual, when I get my hands on some awesome media, I share my review with all of you!

Plot:
The movie is about an author named Simon who wrote a best selling famous Siren series about a girl who falls in love with a merman. He creates a woman's pen name for fear of being seen as socially awkward as an author. When a famous actor named Parry Quin is commissioned to play the lead merman roll in the movie production of the Siren novels he demands to meet Sally Carmichael. Only one problem, Sally doesn't make appearances.

When Simon's publisher tells him to make an appearance with the actor or else surrender his royalty he is forced to reveal his long-held secret identity. The rest of the movie focuses on life after he is revealed as Sally Carmichael.

My Review:
This is by far one of the best movies I have seen in the theater since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came out last December in 2016. We Love You Sally Carmichael has themes of love, perseverance, and even overcoming anxiety. It's a hilarious hit among the LDS Mormon community but I do think that the audience for this movie has the potential to grow.

I defiantly recommend the move to all authors and aspiring authors. It highlights the mounding efforts that go into becoming a successful published author in today's modern world. I connected with it because being a Sally Carmichael level author is my dream someday.





Saturday, October 7, 2017

Netflix Original TV Series Project MC^2 Released a 5th Season!

That's right! This nerdy show about a group of girls working as undercover spy operatives in the organization Innovate is back!  The new season five features only five episodes but each episode brings more excitement to the avid fans the show has gained. It's aim is to teach us that "Smart is the new Cool" and I have to agree.

The application of knowledge in the show is quite incredible. Each girl has expertise in technology, engineering, wearable technology, chemistry, problem-solving and so much more. The main character Mackala Micalister leads the operations in the fifth season to uncover who is about to set a vile of self-replicating nanobots loose at SpaceINC's destination mars summer camp.

Makala Micalister earned her bird award and is now know as the "Owl" as we learn in the last episode exclusive in season four. Makala's duty to perform well as the Owl puts her under new pressure to succeed. To through more twists and turns into the season, the guy she has been dating throughout previous seasons named Kyle has no idea she was kidnapped at the end of season four.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Art of Human Connection: Fighting the Plague of Depression in Young Adults

In today's rapidly growing technological culture we are losing touch with face to face communication. However, communication is what makes us feel human. It keeps us motivated. Today there are more young adults facing depression than any other generation. Why? Well, I am going to bring to light that our lack of meaningful relationships has something to do with it.
Look around next time your in a public setting. How many people are on their phones rather than starting conversation with each other? The results are shocking. There is an undeniable dark side to social media out there that is also contributing to skyrocketing rates of depression among young adults and teens. Every night most of us spend time scrolling through our social media accounts comparing ourselves with others, however we tend to compare our worst attributes with someone's best attributes portrayed through social media. It's no wonder we are a depressed generation if that's how we are viewing the world around us!
Now, not all social media is evil, there are good things that come of it. For example sharing funny you tube videos, sharing your beliefs, and connecting with friends all over the world. However, I also dare to raise my word of caution.
Look up! Look around, go start a conversation. Go do something selfless and kind for another member of humanity. Do it face to face, eye to eye, sitting next to a real breathing human. The greatest joy in life comes not from looking inward but from looking outward in love, gratitude and service for the hundreds of people who are God's children around us every day. People are not placed in your life by accident but by the intervention of God. They are there because you have something to offer to them that no one else in this world of 7 billion people can offer them!

Monday, September 4, 2017

How to be More Courageous

 This week I was assigned to give a speech about something that I learned from in my life.  I chose to speak about my story through Dyslexia. There was an undeniable power that filled the room as I spoke. Many of my classmates shed audible tears as I concluded my speech.

What made it strike the hearts of my pears with such force? I spoke in a way that allowed my audience to feel the story as I told it. It was absolutely amazing to see the impact that a few simple words for four and half minutes could have on my peers.

So what did that speech say? Let's dive into it:

To say that I am nervous would be an understatement. I have endured multiple drafts and rehearsals before standing here today.

My 8th grade year I was struggling in English, no one knew why. I was a diligent student. I always did my homework and turned it in on time. Still, I struggled.

My English teacher said "It isn't fair for you to have to suffer like this. You put in a lot more work than many of your fellow students do for the same letter grade."

He dared to fight to get me help in school. I will never forget the selfless service he gave to me, he was simply a friend no matter what. It didn't matter if he was busy grading papers or had a lot to do. He always left his door open to me. He encouraged me time and time again when I felt stuck, lost, and alone. This teacher taught me some the most important life lessons that I carried through high school.

When I got to High School they refused the help that this teacher had set up for me. I was left to go through school alone.

My Junior Year I was faced with near failing grades again. I didn't know what to do, I had tried everything. However, I finally found testing to find out what my learning problems where related to. I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD. At this time in my life I didn't think that my diagnosis was the best thing that had ever happened. I looked down on myself because of it.

I became very depressed and even suicidal during this time in my life. I wanted the pain to end and I wanted to return to heaven on my own terms. The pain reached deep within me. I have a disorder that will never go away in this life. Every day I am reminded that I live with a disability, every day I have to chose to face this trail in courage or to face it with fear.

(Insert Pause: I realized that half the class was letting out a few tears at this point, I myself felt a couple escape my eyes and I had to wipe them away to continue to see my notes.)

I remember submitting my diagnosis paperwork to the school. A week later I revived an orange slip requesting that I went to see our principal. I was terrified. I hadn't done anything wrong, why would he want to see me? Now, you should know that my principal was rather large and he was much taller than me. He was pretty intimidating when you stood in front of him. I endured him yelling at me over wanting something for nothing for an hour. He didn't understand that I was drowning in school. He didn't understand that I was so devoted to school that I gave up time with my family in order to complete assignments. He told me "Our program is to make failing students average, your already average, we can't help you."

I remember leaving his office with ANGRY tears running down my face. Who was he to tell me I couldn't graduate? Who was he to tell me that I wouldn't be cut out for collage?

As time went on, I found help and medications despite being terrified of the stigma. I spent months researching tools and assisting technology that was available. I spend a couple of years in tutoring, it was incredibly embarrassing to tell my friends that I couldn't hang out with them because I was stuck with a tutor. I had to learn how to learn with my disabilities.

From this experience, as deep as the pain cut into me, I learned a lot of valuable life lessons. I learned how to be my own advocate for my disabilities. I learned that if I wanted anything to change that I would have to stand up on my own two feet and talk one on one with my teachers. Communication has become vital to my academic success. Eventually, with the combination of therapy, medications, tutoring and the support of my teachers my grades improved.  For the first time in my life school wasn't a burden to me anymore, but the doors of understanding where opened to me. My parents got me a digital reading pen that allows me to read exponentially faster than ever before. Now, here at BYU - Idaho there are so many more resources available to me than ever before in my academic carer.

So, YES, I am Dyslexic, I have a Learning Disability, BUT ...

It does NOT mean I am a misfit.

It means I am a fighter who dared to break the sound of silence!

(End of Speech)

I love that this message highlights the beauty that has come from my challenges in school. I realized how strong I have become because of it as I was writing this speech.  My professor told me after class that was very impressed to see the shift in my body language and voice as I talked about finding hope in the midst of my disabilities. He told me with quit a bit of emotion in his own voice that he was proud of me for having the courage to talk about a difficult topic.

Another girl in my class who spoke after I did talked about her story through dysgraphia, (a mathematical disorder of mixing up numbers). It was just as amazingly inspiring as my own speech was. I understood how she felt in every second of her story. She told us in her introduction how glad she was that I had the courage to share my story first.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ready for a New Adventure: How I'm Preparing to be a Collage Freshman 

Audio Download Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ISGZWULn8cDSqfH2LXOQwg6_kINmB0av
My Dad asked me a few nights ago "Are you really ready for college? This changes everything."
I'm proud to say that yes, I am ready. At least, I'm as ready as I can be for a plunge into the unknown alone. When I say alone, I'm not just referring to moving out, I'm talking about the fact that I'm actually excited to relocate to the middle of nowhere. Yep, I'm going from a small town to an even tinier town. However, I'm not going to tell you all exactly which school I chose to attend because of my next point.
I am incredibly ecstatic to start a new life and a new social circle where no one knows my name. But, wait a minute Amanda aren't you TRYING to get your name known because you're an Author? Yes, I do want to be known for my books but right now, it's unlikely anyone at school has really heard much about my books yet. If they have heard about them on the other hand, I would be shocked with joy! Someone out there has been reading my books! Ok seriously though, it's a fairly lavish daydream that I will run into one of my fans. 
So, really I am excited to enter a new threshold where no one knows about all the crap people have said and done to me in High School. Let's be honest, High School years were some of my hardest years yet. I am a writer but I am also a visual/digital artist, a friend, an archer, a young girl, and an adventurer.
Here I come world! With a book in my hand, a reader pen in the other, I'm ready to defy my dyslexia and be more than my diagnosis. (Which by the way this statement is what my newly published novel Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms is all about.) I am so ready to learn what "normal" is again! I say "normal" because no one is truly normal. I'm just ready for a drama-free life!
If you have enjoyed this post you can check out my own novel here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/amanda-evergreen/shyelle-rise-of-the-dragon-kingdoms/paperback/product-23296355.html 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 

Review from Amanda Evergreen's Perspective

fahrenheit
"It was a pleasure to burn."

In a twisted future world it is illegal to own books. Instead of firemen putting out fires, they start them. Information is offensive with a destroy it all mentality in this dystopian society.  The book focuses on the main character, Guy Montag, and his internal struggles against his conscience after meeting a local girl named Clarrise who challenges him to have second thoughts about his job as a fireman.

I read this book for my science fiction class but it was such an inspiring book to me that it definitely deserves a spotlight review of its own on the blog. The message this book had for me was beyond anything I had ever experienced in literature before. Fahrenheit 451 has prominent themes of breaking conformity, individuality, censorship, and technology threatening relationships.

If you have enjoyed this post you can check out my own novel here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/amanda-evergreen/shyelle-rise-of-the-dragon-kingdoms/paperback/product-23296355.html 

This post was sponsored by: https://davisweddingplanner.com/

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How Airline Flight Helped Me Learn About Dragon Flight! New Insights for Your Story! 

Hello Fans and Readers! Welcome to Amanda Evergreen's Blog!

Want to know how the logistics of Airline flying relate to the Flight of dragons? Recently my family had the amazing opportunity to go to Honolulu, Hawaii. We went for my Grandparents' Anniversary and the High School Graduation of my cousin and I.

I will begin by saying It's been ten years since I was on a plane prior to our tropical vacation. Ten years ago we my two brothers where adopted from Europe. Oh, how I had forgotten what take off actually feels like. A frightening array of G force in your face as you're shoved against the seat.

Really, it's quite amazing that the gigantic tube of metal with wings gets off the ground at all.
Furthermore, it got me thinking about the amount of mussel, thrust and surface area on the wings that a dragon would need to make flight possible. Obviously, a dragon with a human rider could not fly into the thermosphere as a plane does because of thin oxygen and harsh temperatures reaching down to -68 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, logically speaking flying as high as 36,000 feet means you need Airspace clearance.

The second bit of insight I gained from the flight was that everything is tiny above it. To illustrate this check out my photos below. There is a whole new perspective to discover above the world!

If you liked this post, check out my own Novel! http://www.lulu.com/shop/amanda-evergreen/shyelle-rise-of-the-dragon-kingdoms/paperback/product-23296355.html









this post brought to you by logan remodeling

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull Book Review

First of all, this post will not contain any spoilers because the whole point of this review is to recommend an amazing novel without spoiling the unique experience you can gain by reading it!

Review of Dragonwatch from Amanda Evergreen's Perspective: 
Brandon Mull's newest novel Dragonwatch was published to the world in May of 2017! I am here to answer this question: Is it a good sequel to Fablehaven?

It's so much better than just a sequel to Fablehaven! This book is a continuation of the magic of Fablehaven story that took place in the magical Dragon Sanctuary, Wormwroost. Dragonwatch feeds mostly off of the events of the fourth book in Brandon's Fablehaven Series, Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary. 

Originally, I had predicted that Dragonwatch would be focused on the children of Kendra and Seth. I was presently surprised to learn from Brandon's book trailer that Kendra and Seth still play rolls as the main characters in Dragonwatch. 

The fourth book in the Fablehaven series is by far my favorite because of Raxtous. He is the enchanted dragon who was raised by Fariys. Raxtous is very self-conscious about being the joke of the dragons because his breath "weapon" is to make things grow. However, Raxtous also has a courage fit for his dragon-sized heart. He ends up eating Gavin, the shape-shifting dragon who Kendra had a crush on in his Human self proclaimed Dragon Brother form. Because of Kendra being Fairykind and Raxtous being enchanted, Kendra can freely converse with Raxtous. When I found out that Raxtous had returned to make an appearance in Dragonwatch, I was way beyond hysterical with ecstatic excitement!

Brandon also introduced a few brand new characters into Dragonwatch! These new characters came as a total surprise for me so I will refrain from giving any more spoilers here by saying that I am fully impressed by Brandon's creativity in this area.

Also, Dragonwatch has an enthralling backstory behind its title. The word Dragonwatch refers to a legendary society of elite magical preserve keepers! The building climax in Dragonwatch kept me turning pages for a straight week (and I'm a tortoise type of reader)!

Lastly, Dragonwatch Is a must-read for you if you have enjoyed Fablehaven. There are a ton of incredibly artful plot twists!
Just in case you want to buy this book after reading my review I have included the cover art & the Amazon link: Please note that I am not in anyway paid to promote this book. I write these reviews to share great books with my fans and to build a community of common interest!
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1629722561/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_xwtJzbGSVAFR9 

Also if you liked this post & book you can check out my own Novel here! http://www.lulu.com/shop/amanda-evergreen/shyelle-rise-of-the-dragon-kingdoms/paperback/product-23296355.html

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Reading is Becoming A Lost form of Entertainment

There's been a debate going on about this at our High School. This week I am going to elaborate on it a bit. The last book I read personally cover to cover that was not my own Novel was Fahrenheit 451. It is about a dystopian future where the books had become lost, ironically enough. Society had lost the taste for books and as a result, it pretty much destroyed itself. Now granted there also was an overbearing government banning the books as well but even so the books were lost. While this read was mostly for the enjoyment I also needed to read it for school. Unfortunately, I think that many of today’s advancements in technology are eating up the market of young readers. While there are still many avid young readers still out there, reading a book as a form of entertainment isn’t as popular as it used to be.

My mission this week was to find out why reading was becoming a lost form of fun for young readers. For many high school students life is full with a part time job and the struggle to balance school work. Many feel that they do not have the time necessary to devote to a book. I myself relate to this attitude a lot. Some studies have shone that teens today are actually reading more words in a volume of text than in the past due to our mobile devices. However, we are reading fragments of stories. Short text messages in improper grammar because we are in too much of a hurry to type it all out. The decline in teens reading for fun is concerning, especially as I try to market my E-book.

When you really think about it, we read something every day. A message from a buddy, a Facebook post, an article online, a magazine, a menu. There’s a lot of information at our fingertips. On the other hand, longer books and stories are missing from the internet. They are the missing void only a library or a kindle subscription can fix. Written expression is falling short because the readers are disappearing. Putting together a research project is now done online, I haven't been to a library for a research paper since my 8th grade year. That being said, I think an online digitized library could become quite the rage among young adult fiction readers. If it was very easy to get to from our mobile devices I think we would be inclined to read more.

That being the case these days, it’s the business model my own website follows. Most teens I know around me are even more inclined to get into an audiobook than an E-book. An audiobook can come with you on your phone for a run, in the car, or on a bus ride. While reading is good, a lot of us don’t have that kind of time anymore. Podcasts are starting to surpass blogging in popularity now for the same reasons. I may start to do more podcasting in the future due to the growing trend for authors.
So, Is Reading really becoming a lost form of Entertainment if we are listening to the same information? Yes, listening alone to a book is different in the brain than the physical act of turning pages of a book and following along with the audio. I find that when I have only listened to an audiobook my mind has a higher chance to wander.

In conclusion, I do believe reading is becoming a lost form of entertainment among teens and young adults, the effects of it could be potentially catastrophically dramatic. The good news is that we still have our books so celebrate it and go read a book today!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Short Story Connection to Disconnection - Science Fiction

Hello friends, followers, and readers! This week's post is a Short Story! I wrote this a while ago for my science fiction class but I thought that you guys in the internet community would enjoy it. As promised and as always there is also an audio file attached to this post if you would rather listen than read. If you like this story or think it needs improvement let me know in the comments below! Also, if it's your first time with us, be sure to like and share this post as well as follow the blog for more awesome content like this! If you want to skip right to the story, keep scrolling down this page

Connection to Disconnection

“Kirsten you are being reassigned,” Alfa said standing up at the head of the table in the conference room.

Alfa, the chief of Kirsten's FBI unit was huge and six feet tall. He had tribal tattoos all down his arms that were visible with his black short-sleeved uniform button-down shirt. Alfa also had dark skin and big brown eyes. I stood up from my seat and walked to the front of the conference room, I could feel the stares of my co-workers prick the hairs on the back of my neck up like needles. The room had one long rectangular dark wood table in it. The wall facing the hallway of the National Data Libraries was bulletproof glass. The Data Compound was in the shape of a twelve-sided dodecagon. Offices and the conference rooms were around the perimeter of the building. The hallway separated the data floor from the rooms at the perimeter with another set of bulletproof glass walls.
When I reached the front of the room Alfa handed me a small black box and told me not to open it until I was at my office. I thought this was a bit odd but I took the box and gathered my things as the meeting dismissed.

Returning to my office I shut the door and sat down at my desk to open the box. I gently lifted the lid and pulled out instructions written in invisible ink. I set them aside, there was a watch underneath the note. The watch was band was made with a comfortable black silicone and the watch face was square but looked like a normal watch. Confused, I unlocked my desk drawer and rummaged through it to find my black light pen. Clicking the pen on from the top I started to read the message:

Agent Esperson,
We have assigned you to a new mission. You will be useing this watch to find any citizens who have missing citizenship files with the United States. The watch is activated only by your telepathy. We have inserted the virtual reality overlay disk loaded with all files of the US citizenship database. Good Luck!

Alfa Allred - Head of Data Libraries

P. S. I believe that you are the perfect person for this mission and I have chosen for your mission to remain under classification between you, the national FBI and myself. You’ve never let us down Agent Esperson.

I lifted the watch from the box and put it on. Activate Data Chip I thought. Sure enough the watch powered on and the overlay came up as if part of my normal field of vision but I could see the green band at the top of my field of vision that said “Citizenship files data chip active.” Ready or not I had a duty to be an alien hunter. I felt queasy but I had a job to do, denying this duty could result in cruel punishment. I grabbed my keys from my desk, they jingled a little as I clipped them to my belt and I felt adrenaline rush through me. It was time for something to change but how could I change the government alone? I couldn’t, I knew that for a fact. The law had been passed, all unregistered aliens were to be arrested for further analysis and questioning. It made me uneasy to know that these aliens were for the most part probably innocent and misunderstood in the world like I was.

Even though I am human and a native to earth, my own kind has fallen mostly silent with me now. It wasn’t always that way, there was a time years ago when I was socially engaged and what you would call an extrovert. Then things really changed when our mobile devices could transmit our memories and telepathic thoughts. Our physical face to face interactions suffered, unfortunately my ambiverted soul suffered with the death of our old school interaction patterns.

I passed my friend Audrey on the platform walking towards the double glass doors to enter the data storage floor. I smiled and waved trying to conceal my nerves. Her file came up to the side of her saying:

Audrey Wood, Agent in Alfa’s FBI NDL Guardianship Unit, Natural Citizen, Registered at Birth.  
Good, I breathed internally, you're safe from arrest. I scanned my hand and the double glass doors opened with a ding of approval for entrance.

“After you Audrey” I said to her motioning for her to enter first.

“Thanks Kirsten, very kind of you.” She replied as I entered behind her. “Ten at night and the day couldn’t get better, funny to think our day starts when most days end to the rest of the city.”

“Yeah, it’s fun though. Sunset to sunrise, off just in time for breakfast at the Cafe. Your coming this morning aren’t you?” I asked Audrey.

“Yep, I heard Reve is going to be revealing his long-awaited surprise to you.” She continued just before they had to split off to their stations for their shifts.

Audri was one of my only friends who really understood life as an FBI agent, there was a lot I couldn’t tell others about my profession. Even having Audri as my very good friend, work had become almost a monotone symphony to me. It a necessity but almost an interruption to my true creative power. I believed against the FBI values the more I worked under them, but without being able to find work in the city stayed under a system that contradicted who I really was. I’m not a person who likes to cause havoc in someone else's life. We have enough of that as it is.

After work I got into my favorite teal lace dress and slipped on my heals. Reve said to dress nice so I almost wondered if he was going to treat me for my birthday. No, it wasn’t for another month. Was he going to take me to meet his siblings? I wondered. No, it’s a friday, they’re in school. I felt my heart beat faster, a little nerves, a little excitement. I stopped for a moment to watch the sunrise out of our huge glass windows in the apartment. These quiet moments of meditational thought no one seemed to understand now but it was in these moments that often my best ideas arrose. My roommates were still asleep. The sunrise brought a beautiful orange glow over the gradually awakening city.

Quietly I slipped out the door of our apartment again and started walking down the hall and down the staircase out onto the sidewalk. The morning air was a little chilly but not cold enough to justify bringing a jacket with me. The Cafe was only two blocks away from our apartment complex. Traffic was moderate this morning, usually wasn’t too bad this early but it was still faster to walk to the Cafe. Our reservation was made for five-fifteen am at our usual favorite table at the far left corner big “L” shaped booth.

I walked up to a homeless man on the corner of our block. I didn’t have much but I handed him a granola bar I had in my purse and sat down next to him for a moment as he ate it. He was a citizen too, his files came up saying that he had owned a printing press that went out of business in late July of 2020 due to the modernization of the New York library going strictly online. The facility just housed the audiobooks, public theater, and rentable E-readers now. I talked to him for a moment about his journey through homelessness.

When I entered the Cafe, Reve, Audrie, Alex, Callie, and Kaliea were already looking over the menu. I sat down next to Reve, and his files loaded. A moment later a message popped up: “Unregistered Citizen, no data files availableThat’s strange. I thought to look around the table. Alex’s files came up just fine. I proceed to see Callie and Kaliea’s filles where normal.

I fidgeted uncomfortably in my seat as I tried to think of possible reasons that Reve’s filles didn’t come up. He motioned to hold my hand, I pulled away instinctively. He looked at me with a confused expression.

“Sorry” I told him quietly. “I’ve had the jitters since Alpha put me on the new assignment.”
He tentatively motioned for my hand again. This time I reluctantly let him slide his fingers between mine. It was weird not to like his fingers touching my own. What is wrong with me. I thought. There’s just an error in the chip. It’s going to be fine. I told myself, but the longer I thought about it the more the anxiety grew. Have I lost all feeling for human connection?
The usual waiter Amy came to take our orders and I ordered my usual friday breakfast. Two pancakes with the famous creamy peanut butter syrup, a cinnamon roll and a spinach mushroom omelet on the side. We started to converse about our night at work and Reve asked me what was in the box Alfa gave me.

“A mission assignment, rest is classified.” I replied trying not to give him too much information.

“And that sweet watch?” He asked admiring it as I took a sip of water.

Why didn’t I just take the watch off! I thought as he held my hand examining the watch.

Reve and I had finished eating and he took me down to central park. We walked along the sidewalk for a while until we sat down to watch the ducks.

“Kirsten, there's something I should tell you.” Reve started nervously.

“What is that?” I asked. That you're an unregistered? I thought.

“I think we should seriously consider life together. I could give you a bright future here.” He continued.

“You mean like marriage?” I laughed. “Why didn’t you say so?”

“Yeah, I guess that’s what I was trying to say.” he smiled.

“I don’t know Reve, with this new assignment Alpha’s gonna keep me pretty busy.” I replied. “It just may not be the best time now.”

“We’re always busy with an assignment.” Reve pointed out. “I have plenty in savings to get us a nice sized apartment. Enough room for kids too.”

“Alright, that all sounds good, but I need to ask you something Reve.” I commented. “Are you a registered citizen?”

“That’s an odd question, of course I am. It’s the law.” he answered. Reve fidgeted around a bit with this statement.

“That makes me feel a lot better about your files.” I breathed in relief.

“My files? How'd you get my files?” Reve asked bewildered. His eyes grew wide with concern.

“Alpha had me review some for him today.” I replied quietly.

“Hum, alright. What did you think was wrong with my files?” Reve asked.

“They are missing,” I said looking at him seriously.

Reve breathed heavily, “My files are missing?” he clarified.

He didn’t kiss me at the door like he usually did. I could sense something was wrong that he wasn’t willing to let on to. My stomach tightened into knots. My thoughts filled with horror scenes of my predicted worse possible outcome. I walked back through the apartment to my room and let myself fall onto the bed in a heap. Knowing that I was alone I felt myself drift to sleep as the tears stung my warm face. How could I break the trust we had built these past three years?

9:00pm and my alarm is blaring. I moaned rolling off the bed groggily, I hit the floor with a loud thud burritoed in my blankets. The apartment felt it was mid July. Coming to my conscience I humphed at the thought that Taylee had probably turned the heat up to inferno super volcano again while I was sleeping.

Arriving at work I passed Reve but ignored him. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything to him after last night. Something was very wrong with him. Something was also pretty wrong with me. The person I had come to trust so much had become a stranger to me that I knew everything about yet we didn’t speak to one another. Reve had walked a few paces down the hall before turning back to talk to me.

“Kirsten let me talk to you after work, please. I don’t think you understand.” Reve said.

“No, you don’t understand Reve. You're in great danger! As long as I am with you I am in danger too whether or not you're innocent!” I pleaded with him as I struggled to suppress the emotion in my voice.

“Why are you so afraid of my missing files?” Reve asked with his teeth clenched a bit in frustration.
“We are going to get arrested. You know the law Reve.” I whispered intensely, getting a little more up close and personal with him.

“Yes but I really have to explain, just meet me here later alright?” He begged and then strode off in his original direction.

I didn’t want to meet Reve after work. I didn’t even want to be at work knowing that something was either wrong with the data files or that Reve was still holding something back from me. I feared talking to Alpha, if Reve really was alien they could sentence him to death. I felt numbness make its way from my heart spreading its pledge all through me. Then it hit me all at once in a crashing wave, I was afraid of losing him. I had lost so many friends before him that he was the only special one that I felt comfortable giving access to my memories. He had my memory chip as a medallion of hope. He could see the memories from any computer. I wore his memory chip as a medallion of trust. He took a part of me with him as he briskly walked down the corridor alone. I stood there just watching him breathlessly. I couldn’t feel our connection, it was dead as my smartphone without service. It was over, as broken as my shattered phone screen when I had dropped it through the six floor elevator shaft last summer.

Finally coming to myself I entered the data storage floor. Very slowly through the shift an idea dawned on me. I could steal a business information chip to find out if Reve had been working for anyone else. It wouldn’t be as useful as the shape shifter registry, but that was highly classified under multiple code names. Only Alfa would know where it was, and the data chip could only be pulled from it’s storage compartment by his bio scan. I could steal a chip with practically any kind of informational registry I wanted. Life form identifications, vehicle registry, active drivers, registered alien immigrants or even the international food nutrition index.

“Hey Audri, would it be crazy if I tried asking Alfa for the shape shifter registry?”

“What do you want to do with that?” Audri asked giving me a suspicious look while we continued filing away data chips. “You know that chip is only available to the elite few in the mega elite circle!”
“I want to know … “ I started but stopped mid sentence. I couldn’t tell her that I suspected Reeve was up to something. I couldn’t put that kind of bad taste on him. “Nevermind, it's classified above your clearance.” I sighed.

“What in the world is Classified above my clearance?” Audri asked taken back by my comment.

“I can't put someone else in harm's way to tell you Audri. I'm Sorry, I shouldn’t have mentioned it.”
After work I didn’t return to the corridors. I had enough confusion for one night. The last thing I wanted was to run into Reeve again. I didn't want to face my fear that he was lying to me. Yet the thought of him ran cold down my spine as I dug for my car keys leaving the building out into the freezing air of dawn.

“Kirsten?” Reeve said behind me.

“Reeve, I don't want to do this but I have to turn you into Alpha. I want to believe you're innocent but … the law is the law. I have to report the problems with your data.”

“I have to tell you something really important Kirsten. There's a reason you can't find my records.  I'm not who you think I am. I'm an alien, a Trizdonian refugee.”

“You lied to me?” I shouted turning to face him.

“I was protecting you.” He said looking at the ground.

“You should be ashamed! You have put an entire nation in danger Reeve!” I growled at him angrily between clenched teeth raising my arms.

“Let me explain, please. I have lived alone and in fear of who I really am for years. You of all people should know what that feels like Kirsten. You are an unregistered data chip engineer. That’s why I am able to trust you with this.” Reeve said trying to look at me.

“Reve this is different, I told I was unregistered because I had to under Alpha’s command three years ago. I’m actually registered with the Elite FBI agent’s circle, but this Reve is something else. I could be fired because of this.”

He motioned to hold me in an embrace but I did the only thing I could. I started to run. It’s what I had always done when trust was broken. This time maybe forever. How could I love someone and not know their true colors? One stomp after another I channeled the rejection through my feet. I was let down again and it was destined to destroy me from the inside out. Yet, feeling the air rush past me I was reminded of the life Reeve and I had before I knew something was very wrong with him. The memories haunted me flashing through my mind, ghosts of my perfect past.

I could hear Reeve running after me. I ran faster until I couldn’t run any farther. There was a bus just a few yards away ready to pick up a load of ten passengers. I ran into the bus. I watched from the window as Reeve stood watching the bus pull away. I turned to sit down in my seat. Just when I thought I found someone who understood me, I lost them. It happened like that every single dang time, fate had its way of getting in the way and screwing it all up. I angrily yanked his chip from my neck snapping the cording in half that tied it into a necklace. He wouldn’t be able to hear my thoughts at will now. I wanted to melt the chip down to liquid glass and erase every memory it stored, but that involved throwing it into Mt. Sinoration the active volcano in Canada that reached temperatures of a million degrees fahrenheit.

My phone started ringing. I dug it out of my bag. It was Reeve. I let it keep ringing. He couldn’t fix this no matter what he did now. He betrayed me, but then it dawned on me. Reeve lost everything. He could be the last Trizdonian left. Even though I had come to the conclusion that Reeve had shattered our relationship, I still loved him. I loved the goodness I knew was still in there somewhere. Why should it matter if he was an alien. In many respects I am an alien too. I thought. I got off the bus at the next stop and Reeve called again.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Kirsten, I’m really sorry.” Reeve said. “I should have let you know the truth a long time ago.”

“Reeve, I’m kind of an Alien myself,” I replied. “I’m misunderstood like you are too. You were kind of right in a way. I’m sorry that I disconnected our chips.”

“Kirsten?” he said pausing for a moment.

“What?” I asked.

“Your a chip engineer, we can get new chips. I’m more worried that you are alright, I read a book about humans going into shock of extraterrestrial life forms. I feared that I had shut down your processor.”

“My what now?” I asked bewildered.

“Your processor, that is what you call it right?” He reiterated.

“My brain?” I suggested.

“Ah yes, that’s right.”

“You didn’t shut me down, but you scared me. Why didn’t you tell me the truth to begin with? You could have really hurt someone!”

“I wanted too, but I was afraid that you wouldn’t accept the truth.” Reve said nervously.

“Reve, the truth is that we can’t hide what makes us who we are. I can’t hide the fact that I am a highly intelligent trained FBI chip engineer any more than you can continue to disguise your identity as a Trizdonian refugee. At some point we all have a hidden part of us, something no one knows. It will alienate us from the world until we come to realize the potential of it. Ultimately you will chose if your imperfection will make you unbreakable or an outcasted alien. Depression will either tear me apart from the inside out or build me up as a phoenix from the ashes. Your upbringing will either haunt you or it will make us stronger together.”

“You have Depression?” He asked surprised.

“Yes, it can destroy even the best of us.” I sighed having a hard time admitting to it. “I’ve struggled up and down for a long time, Reve. It’s a lonely road. An invisible battle one on one with pure evil. It stays that way until I remember that I am not alone. There is an outside force, not equal, not opposite, but united if we invite it. This force has lifted me from the depths of all imaginable suffering.

Depression is darkness so dark that it is tangibly cold, a void filled with my own echoing regret. It is feeling everything and nothing all at once. It is a sensation that you are missing something, that drives you to insanity until you find it. When you find what was lost it finally allows you to feel glorious dawn. You see, now that I accept a flaw within myself that has stigma attached to it, I am open to others. Are you going to really accept your past or will you continue to suppress it, Reve? The more you hide it, the more you try to cover it up, lie about even, the more miserable you will be with yourself.”

“I have a lot of work to do.” Reve said looking at his feet.

“Then I’ll be the one to take the first step with you and every step that follows know that we are in this together. No one will hear us if we do not speak. It is time to accept us, even the horrible parts of us Reve. This is what it means to be human. You now live in a human world, this will be new to you. However, if you agree to talk to Alpha tomorrow, I will let you turn yourself in.”

“Your generosity is beyond your age.” Reve said walking me back to my car.

“It’s all about learning to let the suffering become the strength and being humble enough to know when you can’t go on alone.”

Like this post? Suport the blog & check out my newest novel! http://www.lulu.com/shop/amanda-evergreen/shyelle-rise-of-the-dragon-kingdoms/paperback/product-23296355.html

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lessons From Lance Conrad, Author of the Prince Trilogy

Recently, in my Science Fiction Course, I had the opportunity to hear from the published fantasy author, Lance Conrad. He is the writer of the books: The Prince of CreationThe Prince of Nobility, The Prince of Loyalty, and The Weight of Swords. This week I would like to share some of the main points from his presentation with all of you that may or may not have had the opportunity to attend his book talk. You can click on the image bellow to link to his website.
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  1. Lance believes he became an Author through hard dedicated work not through talent alone.  

He told us that one of the things he got asked about the most as an author was how it felt to finally see his books in print. I thought it was very interesting however that he talked about getting published is usually what young aspiring authors see as the ultimate achievement, but there's a lot more to being an author than just getting your book into print. Yes, publishing is a great accomplishment and an amazing milestone, I am not by any means here to look down upon that but, many new authors totally forget about the marketing side of being an author.
He said “Most of us authors are introverts, we are the ones back at a desk behind a computer writing. We don't like to be the ones actually talking about our books.”
To this I agree too oh so well, which brings me to the next important point from Lance’s Presentation. I had the opportunity to personally ask him this question myself.

2) I asked Lance what he did to promote his books and this is the answer I got:

As many of you know I have been looking for ways to better market my own book, so why not learn from someone who has done it right? Well, the answer I got was that Lance actually started out just about as naive into his dream as I am for mine. He started believe it or not selling his books door to door. You’re probably thinking at this point something like “what the heck was he thinking?”. When it came down to it though, he talked to us about what he learned from those miserable days with door to door selling and rejection letters from libraries and book stores. Lance had come to the conclusion that he was just too new. He did tell us that his days with door to door pitching of his book did help him with public speaking however and that through this he learned to really tell his story orally to the point of his book pitch becoming perfect and memorized.  

3) If you want your dreams to become reality you have to be persistent enough to pursue them.

I think this is probably the best thing I got out of Lance's book talk. Along these lines he talked about not being afraid to look stupid sometimes. The successful people are the ones who have enough perseverance to withstand the pear pressure. Think of Thomas Edison, if he would have given up then we wouldn’t have light bulbs. Likewise Lance also told us to “learn by doing, keep asking questions.” I thought it was interesting that he brought the whole curiosity of learning theme to the table, this is how our high school is trying to train students to think.
I was selected to be part of the student learning “experiment” as I will call it way back during my freshman year.  You know what? It changed my life. I realized that there was so much more to school than the grades. I often think that grades alone are a very poor way to measure success. Ask me how much information I actually have retained from all my years in school. It’s not as much as you would think. Why? Well, because I remember the information I have actually used over and over again. So, the big take away here is that some of us are meant to jump from thing to thing, until we find something that will forever feed our curiosity. For Lance Conrad this thing is writing books. It really inspired me, I feel like I fit his description well of the “job jumper” at the moment.

4) Characters are the most important element for your story.

Characters drive your story, they make the events in the story matter. Lance used the example of Harry Potter here, which I really liked so I’ll reiterate what he said. He talked about how Harry Potter was such an innocent character  and then JK Rowling kinda beat the crap out of him. However, it is all these hardships that Harry Potter faced that makes us as the readers connect to him.  
Lance told us this, “The hero can’t be perfect. Make your main character struggle, have doubts, and fear. Give them things they have to overcome in your story. Good characters have trails. They chose to still go on with all fate against them.”
I love this so much because it reminds me of the Hero’s Journey writing model. The whole point of the hero’s journey is to make an ordinary character a better person by putting them through extraordinary circumstances. It is in these circumstances that your character has to choose between becoming a hero or a selfish brat. This is why I also believe that literature itself makes us better people if we chose to learn from it. We may not have superpowers or dragons to ride but we all have something very powerful within us, our human nature. At some point in our lives all of us will make choices between the forces of good and evil, for better and for worse.  
Through my own writing journey with Shyelle - Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms my characters have grown as I have grown with them as the writer. Remember that. You as the writer must submit yourself to becoming a better person too. Many of the challenges Kristen faces as the main character in Shyelle are real things that I have faced for myself personally. My own hardships give me something fascinating to write about. Consider this, especially when you feel that you're losing a firm grip on your dreams.

5) A writer is only as good as his/her connections to his/her readers

It's one thing to be a writer, but it's a whole new world to be out there with your writing and to be successful at sharing it. Lance talked a lot about being proactive with your work as a writer. He said that you really have to just buckle down and talk to people because your book really won’t start to matter until it matters to your readers. You have to be willing to write and then to share. Best selling authors become best selling authors because they share what they have written and learned along the way.

The BEST Things You Can Do to Help Someone With Dyslexia!

Hello Fans and readers! This week I am very excited to do this post for you about a topic I am pretty passionate about. Dyslexia and reading disabilities! Specifically, what you can do to help someone who struggles with dyslexia. Even if you don’t know anyone with dyslexia this article will be very worth the read. I decided to write this article because my main character Kirsten in Shyelle - Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms is Dyslexic.
Some of you might have a dyslexia diagnosis and be asking now what? One out of every 10 Americans is dyslexic. It’s more common than you think. There are around 40 Million Adults in the United States alone that are estimated to have dyslexia. Sadly nearly half those Adults may not know that they have dyslexia. Today, I am going to give you the  BEST things you can do to help someone with dyslexia (written by a dyslexic herself). Also apologies in advance that this post will probably be fairly long.  
Number One: Know what Dyslexia Is
First off dyslexia is a neurological disorder that causes people to think better in three dimensions rather than two. It’s not just a made up thing that Percy Jacson has. This is one of the most important things to know if you want to help those who deal with dyslexia on an everyday basis. Understanding that dyslexia makes it difficult for your friend or loved one to read is the best place to start. This bit of knowledge is going to help you have compassion for dyslexia.
I am a reading challenged student myself and I understand how difficult it can be to express yourself through written expression without a keyboard and spell check. However, I am also a published author that has managed to compensate and utilize my tools to my advantage. Just like Kirsten, the main character in my novel Shyelle - Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms I struggled to read and often ended up with motion sickness because of the way that words would appear to move across the page.
One of the best resources out there for learning about dyslexia and other learning disabilities is the website Understood.org. This site was just launched within the last year or so but it has given my family and I some amazing resources. You can check out the dyslexia page here:https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/understanding-dyslexia?.
Number Two: Give the Gift of Reading and Knowledge : C Pen Reader Pen Review
This almost should be number one, when you give a dyslexic the gift of reading, you also empower them to be more independent in life. My parents and I recently found one of the most amazing breakthroughs in assistive technology, the C pen Reader Pen. We were thinking about getting one for collage but I really needed it and they decided to get me one for my 18th birthday! This device is seriously a lifesaver! It can scan over any typed text and read it into my headphones. It makes reading a book a lot more interactive for me than just following along with an audio book. I don’t have to worry about losing my place with an audio book anymore either which is a plus. Best of all is the fact that I can read ANY typed text with it. I had a big problem when it came to reading textbooks and assignments because there are no audio files for these. I can also use the pen even with my colored reading overlays on top of the text. I will say that if you try to read really small text (less than 11 point fount) with it that It can read some the words funny. I found this out while reading my scriptures with it that are in fairly small print. You have to scan over small print text slower for it to pick up the words correctly but it does work for what I need.
My other favorite feature that the C Pen Reader Pen has is that I can connect it via the USB charging cable that came with it to my school MacBook Air 11” laptop and scan text into a Google Docs or Word document for taking notes up to four times faster. My High School is one of the first in the country to have an integrated one student to one laptop program. We didn’t get the laptops until our grant passed last year but having a laptop for class is EXTREMELY helpful. We paid the insurance on it so that I can take the laptop to and from school everyday which is also really helpful as most of my class work is done through Canvas now. It is really nice to be able to type assignments rather than hand write them because I have spell check at my fingertips to help me out. A Lot of parents didn’t support the laptop program at first but from what I see most students have been able to excel learning with the help of this technology and refrain from using it to just play games on. I highly recommend getting a laptop if you are a dyslexic student in high school or college. Even a tablet and a keyboard can be very helpful to you.
The C Pen Reader Pen also has a dictionary function on it so I can easily look up a word I don’t know. It has a recording feature as well so that I can record class lectures and revisit them in case I missed anything for my notes or even send the audio file to a friend who is sick. Now granted you have to make sure your teacher is ok with you recording the lesson but my teachers are receptive of it. It’s futuristic design has even made my peers a little jealous. It's small enough to fit well into my hand and it’s super light unlike competing digital reading pens. It’s something that I am not ashamed of walking around school with! That right there is HUGE for a dyslexic. So many of us dyslexics already struggle to uphold positive self esteem so walking around with bulky and dorky equipment is the last thing we want to have happen.
Number Three: Be a Friend
This probably sounds really simple but it’s true. Us dyslexics, we really need good true friends who understand us. We want to live life and be social too but sometimes we have a hard time doing that. It’s vitally important for us to hear that it is worth it to work as hard as we have to just to get through a day at work or school. It’s a huge relief to have a friend to talk to.
Number Four: Don’t Judge a Dyslexic If They get Emotional
We might get emotional a lot, it’s part of the way our brains are wired to think. Frustration is something a dyslexic will face on a daily basis. Sometimes it can lead to us becoming overstimulated and therefore emotional. We are doing the best we can every day to live life so, don’t judge a dyslexic if they get emotional. I can tell you that yes, I have been emotional in front of my pears before. It’s pretty embarrassing. It can hurt when your peers are mean to you because of dyslexia. However, know that there are good things to come. Dyslexia does not have to define someone.

Character Development: The Sandbox Technique

The sandbox technique is one of my favorite new tools for character development that I read about a while back in a Writers Digest article called “Layered Revision” by Gabriela Pereira. In the article there are five layers of revision. The Narration or Point of View, Characters, Plot, Scenes and Cosmetics (Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling & Word Choice.This week’s post will be focusing on layer two, Character Development.
“When you test things out in the sandbox, you eliminate the risk of accidentally breaking anything in your manuscript.” - Gabriela Pereira
I love this concept, there have been countless times when I feel like I have screwed my manuscript trying to fix character issues. Luckily I kept back ups of my original draft, my second draft, my third draft and so on so that I could return to them. For any writer I highly recommend doing this. When your first draft is complete and you are ready to edit save a copy of the document under another name labeling it the draft number that it is, this will save you a lot of time and heartache when you feel like you mess up your manuscript. However, if you are really looking for a good way to develop your characters heres some tips based on the “Layered Revision” Article.
The sandbox technique is all about taking your established character and throwing them into a totally different situation that the character does not face in your story or novel. For example, I took my character Kirsten from Shyelle - Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms and put her in a school setting and wrote from her first person point of view. While doing this I realized that the story was much better told from her first person perspective rather than the third person omniscient perspective the novel was originally drafted in. There is more room for readers to connect to the story and feel like they are in it, fulfilling the ultimate goal of writers connecting with their audience.
“Characters give your story meaning. They make us care about the events in your story, making those events matter.” - Gabriela Pereira
In order to write an exceptional character it is also important to know what motivates that character. You may need to do some digging to find this but when you do find it your story will be exponentially more engaging for your audience. Many times I have found that the inspiration for what motivates my characters is reaching down and knowing what motivates myself. A well written novel has characters that stand for something that they passionately believe in! This is especially important for your protagonist as their belief system will be a driving force that will guide their behavior through the entire novel. It may even be beneficial to put yourself in the place of your protagonist in writing a sandbox mode draft. Your belief system as the author will help you to form the belief system and values of your protagonist.
We tackled the protagonist but what about writing an with an effective antagonist? As many of us writers know having an effective antagonist to tempt your protagonist away from their mission is just as important as your protagonist. The antagonist needs to have defined motives for why they do evil. People usually do not to just decide to be evil overnight. Maybe your antagonist uses anger to justify their actions, maybe it's greed, or maybe it is fear that drives them.  
Another really important thing to remember when writing with an antagonist is that most antagonists at some point where potential protagonists. Try writing the scene that your antagonist makes the defining decision to become the antagonist that they are now. This will help you to pinpoint your antagonist's motives. Keep working with your characters until you feel like you know them almost as well as yourself! Most important don't give up!

Learning to Conquer Your Own Hero’s Journey in the Writing Process

Drafting your story: The Call to Adventure
A draft is a merely a detailed brainstorm of your ideas. It’s supposed to be messy, disorganized and yes, even a bit awful. However, don’t let this discourage you from writing. There is hope for you. The drafting stage is your “Call to Adventure”, you have an amazing Idea and now it's time to do something with it! One of the most important attributes of a successful author is the ability to keep writing in the face of opposition. In other words when people tell you “your writing is trash” get up turn around and recycle that trash. If they Honestly tell you that “your writing is trash” then figure out how to learn from it. Maybe it is trash right now but it doesn't have to stay trash forever!
Refusal of the Call: The Rough Draft Blues & Writers Block:
If you have ever experienced writer's block you know that it is relentless. Every hero along the hero’s journey will at some point refuse their call to adventure. That’s where writers block and discouragement come in. The moment you believe you can’t be a writer is the moment you have set yourself up to fail. I am a firm believer that self doubt is the biggest enemy to our creativity. Now, at this point you may be saying something like this “What if it’s just the way I am? What if I suffer from anxiety or depression?”
First off, you're not alone if you are asking yourself these questions. In fact, I asked myself the same questions while I was drafting Shyelle - Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms. You may just need to Meet with a Mentor, which I will talk about more in the next section.
Sometimes this writer's block comes as a result of stress in your life, sometimes it comes from a lack of inspiration in your mental inspiration holding tank. The cure? Put away your story for a while and carry a notebook everywhere you go. I really do mean everywhere. Do yourself a HUGE favor and invest in a good durable notebook that is small enough to carry with you everywhere. This may be a physical notebook or an online “notebook” you keep on your phone in Google docs. Whatever is more convenient for you. Maybe you're a fairly decent artist too and you want a sketchbook so you can draw and write.
Like this Quote:
“Keep a Notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable that gray matter, and  lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”Jack London
Seriously though, write down everything in it! I recently discovered Frixion erasable ink pens and I’m obsessed! I can use my notebook over and over and over again. When it's full I scan it all into my Google Drive. When I first was diagnosed with A.D.H.D. my doctor told me to carry a notebook, I have found that it was also the missing tip I really needed at the time to improve my writing not just my ability to remember things in school. Even if you don’t have A.D.H.D you can still gain exponential benefits from carrying a notebook especially if you are a journal writer.
Journaling not only improves your mental health but it also improves your ability to focus on the important things, meaning more focus to your writing. Authors often write into their stories topics that they deal with in their everyday lives. Journaling will help you to remember these topics that you can insert and play with in your writing later on. If you are worried about pesky people getting into your private writing I do suggest using Google Docs or a Word document encrypted with a password. Print your document from time to time and keep it safe, you always want a back up weather it’s your journal or your Novel. You can trust me from experience on that one.
Meeting the Mentor: Authors Read and Learn from Others:
Think about someone who has positively impacted your life. This could be a teacher, a friend, a family member or a doctor. All heroes need a mentor or teacher along their hero’s journey. Those of us who were having self doubts may even need some professional help. There's no shame in that! The most important thing I have gained from my struggles through Learning Disabilities is that you have to suck it up and ask for help. You need to humble yourself enough to kick yourself over the head a little bit and go ask for the help you know you really need.
For the rest of you, congratulations you're reading this and you’ve found a Mentor in your writing process! Reading is one of the most powerful tools for an Author. I didn’t always believe this for myself, in fact for a long time I avoided reading. However, I have been able to find the right tools that allow reading to be less of a burden on me as an insecurity. I got a C pen Reader Pen for my birthday and oh my gosh it’s like where has this been years ago! So, even if reading isn’t your strong suit, you can find tools and adaptations that work for you. It’s ok to be different, just learn what works for you.
Crossing the Threshold: Committing to a Realistic Goal
A hero in the hero’s journey needs to cross the threshold in order to grow and continue their journey. Usually they must also overcome guardians of the threshold. This is where you must find what is holding you back from writing and work to overcome it. The best motivation for change is to set a realistic Goal. Let’s say that I want to be better at descriptive writing. I would set a goal to work on a descriptive writing exercise at least once a week. Then I have to evaluate how I’m doing. Even if you get off on your goal keep working towards it.
Tests, Allies, Enemies: Learning from Life
In the hero’s journey your protagonist needs to face challenges. They need to struggle. It’s what makes a book a bestseller. The same goes for us in our lives and in the writing process. Take what you learn from hard times and give that knowledge to your characters.
“Truth must always remain, yet it must always face opposition. Without such opposition there would be nothing worth fighting for and no need to conquer our fears.” - Shyelle - Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms
Ordeal, Death, and Rebirth: Editing Your Work
For many authors the Editing process is a big scary thing but it doesn’t have to be. At the same time I called the Editing process the “Ordeal, Death, and Rebirth” in the hero’s journey because it really is Death and Rebirth of your story. This is the phenix of your story. The point in which your character faces their biggest challenge that hits them at their weakest point. Editing is about keeping the good stuff and strengthening the weakest points.
Return Home With Reward:
Your final draft is being polished, your hero has learned from Their journey, have you learned from yours? What have you gained from the journey? Sometimes you will not receive recognition. It is the true writer that continues to write whether or not there is rewarded publicly.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Laddies of the Round Table Rock!

 We had about 28 inches of snow in one day (mind you this is NOT the day my school called a snow day ...). They canceled school the day after the huge storm, which in my opinion was kind of ridiculous, but I guess that's what happens when you live in an area that is no stranger to snow. I had to figure out what to do with my snow days, yes, school was canceled two days in a row. A snow day it self is very rare in our area, having two consecutive snow days is even more unusual.  However, we did have a bit of fun too, check out these pictures: (the snow banks are taller than I am by the way and I am 5ft. 5in.)

Sledding with Jimmy and his friend at a local park
our HUGE snowbank
   
Beautiful View from the back yard,  taken when the temperature was -20 degrees F.


                  
 

                  

In addition to all of the recent snow I also have another experience to share.  I recently tried to ask my friend Gavin to the Sweethearts Ball. I put together a flash mob dance that took a good bit of time but unfortunately, he told me no. Sadly I think he has heard the nasty rumors circulating the school because of another friend that went raging out on me.

The whole situation is sad and unfortunate. I don't think any of us meant for the group I shared so much with to shatter.  Over time all of the guys I hung out with have faded from my life. Now I am on a quest to find a new place of belonging after being pushed out of the place I was so sure I belonged. Making friends isn't easy for me when I struggle to connect with kids who do more normal things with their lives but fortunately, my choir buddies have welcomed me into their table.

The term welcomed into the table is our school's term for being welcomed into a group of friends referring to the invitation to join them for a lunchtime conversation. I used to be the one to invite others to my table but now its a bit ironic to be the one welcomed to another's table. One day at a time I believe Heavenly Father is still watching over me, maybe his plan is that I have a purpose to fulfill at the round table than at the table of the outcasts. Most groups or tables have a name they are known by, the choir table happens to be named by them after the round table of the knights.  The table of outcasts was actually named by a jerk who called us the outcasts but the name stuck.

So, because Gavin obviously doesn't want to go to the dance I asked Ari instead. I met Ari in early morning seminary, he is the age of a junior in high school but a sophomore in college. Crazy smart right? I am so excited to go with him I can hardly wait, I just hope I can convince a lady of the round table to double with us.