December 11, 2018

Oh We Went A Wandering Through the Dusty Stacks

I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, but NC State acquired my book for D.H. Hill. It wasn't a difficult task and now my book is listed among the stacks. However, prior to December 5, it was being processed and was unavailable to checkout.

On December 5, I found out from a writing buddy, Joshua, that it was listed as available - except he couldn't find it when he went searching in the stacks. He went earlier to check it out, so by the time the English Club meeting rolled around, he told me and I decided to search for it after the meeting.

Well, it turned into an expedition with half of the English Club hiking over to the library.

We rode the elevator, cramped quarters when there are six people riding together, and got off at the eighth floor. Since Joshua had explored earlier in the day, we let him guide us to the right section.

And it wasn't there!

We scanned the shelves and checked the numbers, but we couldn't find it. Alas, there were some books in German that a few of the club members perused in earnest, but no Island Whispers.

We decided to take the stairs down, so after winding through the stacks, I decided to scan one last shelf on a whim.

In the library there are these shelves where unsorted books rest and there we found it! One copy of Island Whispers, still new and unopened, sitting next to books about microbiology and the mafia.

We skipped down eight flights of stairs and Joshua became the first person to check it out from the library. What a memorable evening!

December 4, 2018

An Interview with the Author

A while back, months and months ago, Ingram Elliott wanted me to fill out an interview form. There were several questions about Island Whispers and about my writing. Here are a few of the questions with my responses:

Tell me a little about your book’s title and what it represents?
Island Whispers is sort of a nod to all the mysteries that are going on in the book. However, it first was just the title of a book mentioned in the story. Angelica’s father had recorded mysterious events in a book titled: Island Whispers. My mother was the one who suggested that I change the title to Island Whispers because it worked better. So I did and that’s how it was born.
What is the primary message you hope to share with readers? How do you hope they will feel after reading your book?
I want them to feel understood. I want them to come away and see magic everywhere and fun. However, they are also supposed to understand that the world is not so divided into black and white. There are different stories that need to be told and we interpret what we experience differently.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t let yourself give up and keep challenging yourself to explain things that you previously just wanted to shove under the bed and attribute to magical chance. There were a lot of things that I just kind of gave up and let slide until I realized that they could be explained if I just dug further. It really added more to the story and didn’t make it seem like there were no rules and that things could happen at the “author’s whim”. 
Why should we buy your book? What makes it special in comparison to other books in the same genre?
You should buy it because it is a fun adventure with a world that is not our own. It’s relatively easy to read without complicated jargon that populate other fantasy novels and provides enough of a familiar feel that I think readers will immediately be comfortable with most of the ideas. Still there is enough new information and details that make it another book to store on the shelves next to other fantasy novels. Also the characters are relatable, emotionally they react how we would expect someone to react. Their powers aren’t over the top and I think they reflect each of their personalities as well. I really like how the book builds and the characters begin to grow with the story.

November 28, 2018

Artistic Passions

I am an amateur artist. In particular, I am talking about painting. Anyone else like to paint?

I find it stress relieving. Usually I paint the same things over and over again. Does anyone else do that? You just have that one theme that you stick with no matter what.

I have included some pictures of my art. For some reason there is some glare from the overhead light and I couldn't figure out how to take it so that there was no glare and no shadow.

I'm mostly a nature painter. I love starry skies, although my stars can turn out a bit blobby. A thousand suns instead of a sky full of stars. The first two have that night sky and they are places with hills. The one on the left has those dark tree outlines which I painted later. The green hill also came later which is why there are blue spots around the trees, I didn't want to mess up the edges but I couldn't leave it blue around them all, so the ground is slightly blue, interpret that as you will. The one on the right has a blurry slash in the hill side. Yes, that is the haze of a city and light pollution. I'm not sure why this city is sitting at the base of a large hill, but it is and there is a yellowish halo over the top of it.

Below that is a cupcake which I painted for my birthday.

The bottom right is a flower where I used my acrylic paints like watercolor to fill in some of the petals. I also used my green for the background. Basically, I added water to the paint and let it spread over the canvas instead of putting more paint down. The bottom left is a rose of which I'm especially proud. Again sort of a watercolor effect for the background but nice strong lines for the flower itself.

Do you have a favorite? Or do you dislike them all? What do you think I should try to paint next?

November 21, 2018

When You are Stuck, Do Something Different

When you have a block, when your brain has frozen or fallen in a hole, stop what you're doing and do something different. It can be stressful when we are straining ourselves to try and do what we think we ought to do in the moment. However, for our health, it is better to take a break.

When I say something different, it could be something big or it could be something small.

When my head hurts or my body feels heavy, I lie on my back and stick my legs in the air. It's kind of funny how great it feels just to swing my legs and pretend to walk on the ceiling. Sometimes I'll prop my feet on the wall and just contemplate the ceiling.

When my writing is blocked, I like to color or look at possessions that I love and remember why they are important. There are things that we keep that have stories and if I take the time to listen, then I can hear them and it helps me to write more.

To the right is one of my necklaces that I've had since high school. I like to play with the coins, separate them, move the bead up and down. It makes me think of a pendulum or the part of a clock that swings side to side. It also makes me think of hard candy or a special eye glass that lets you see the magic in the world.

Not all of these breaks are foolproof or guaranteed to work every time, sometimes you are stuck for days so your break needs to be for days. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.