On Working a Thrift Shop On a Saturday!

So this one is more about people watching. And I swear one day the Thrift Store I work at is going to be on the news at one point for someone crushing another person because they needed their sale!

Every Saturday our store opens at 8am on the dot, and there are people starting to line up as early as 7:15 some days. And sometimes I look at them and go: “Thriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiift, thriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiift!”

These people are just so hardcore about their sales they have fought over them. Not to mention how trashed the store gets after ten minutes of opening it. *headshake*.

Last year on Halloween I dressed up as Jeff the Killer, if you don’t know who that is he’s a Creepy Pasta character and really messed up. But I went out to the toys section and just stared at the kids. One of them actually went crying to her mother saying there was a creepy man watching her and went on to describe the character I was portraying. When the mom went to check, I was hiding in the back watching her, she said this:

“There’s no one here. But if you don’t clean up the toys you pulled out he might come back.”

That is such a great line and I swear listening to people is hilarious. This is why I work at a thrift shop. Because it’s fun to people watch everyone there. And makes it easier to make background noises in certain stories. Snippits of conversations you wouldn’t normally hear. That kind of thing.

So there you have it, my saturdays in a nutshell. Busy, not fun, and loads of people.

Keep on Writing Dudes and Don’t forget to be awesome!

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Why I Write the Way I do

I was originally going to skip a blog post this week, but I’ve honestly had something in my craw that I needed to get out. So here we go a blog post.

I recently put up on my personal Facebook page (hence the deleted name and my friend’s deleted name) a post.

what's bothering me

Now granted I should have been a little bit more specific. I hardly ever write with a synopsis, I find it hard to keep on top of those and never even used them when I was in a class. I find them boring and then I also feel like I have to write around them. But my friend’s response honestly made me feel like I don’t put any effort at all into my writing. And to a writer that makes me feel like crap.

You can also tell that I “communicate” with my characters. A lot of really good writers do this. It helps flesh the characters out a little bit when you can “talk” to them. And I never want to do something that a character I write doesn’t want  to do. So I’ll  never put them in situations they can’t get out of.

As for any type of synopsis I do indeed have a few in order to keep some story ideas straight.

Here are two examples:

Hidden Revelations spoilers Barrel of a Gun spoilers

As you can see they are for two different stories. And yes I used a River Song thing. That’s just how I roll! You can also tell how many things are in the one for Hidden Revelations. That’s a lot of stuff that I need to plan for. But even then….my stories do tend to run off on a tangent I never expected. So I couldn’t plan for it. And when it surprises the writer, it can surprise the audience as well.

As for my comment on facebook, that was directed mainly towards the newest story that I’m writing. As you can see the brightly colored word counter to the left, it’s called Forbidden Dance. The 25,000 words is my minimum I can write, the max is 40,000 and if my story is longer than 25,000 words I’ll change it to 40,000 that way I can remember how many words I need to stop at.

Why am I writing Forbidden Dance with absolutely no synopsis written down? Well, for one thing it’s a romance story that focuses around a Ballerina. I know where the story is going to end. I even have a little bit of a chapter written around the middle of the story already put into the story, and I know how it began. I just didn’t mind where it went around them. And just letting my character live her daily life is fun. Besides, her love interests (yes, she has three guys interested in her. Love square is much better than love triangle.

I’m not saying that I don’t care where my story goes, trust me I really do. I just don’t want to bog myself down with a synopsis that I feel that I have to work around. Why is Rose’s story different? Well Rose needs boundaries otherwise that character will run off on bunny trails that don’t even matter. As for why Fire of the Night has one, well I’ll let my good friend Barbossa tell you that:

The reason why I write the way I do is in order to let my characters do their own story rather than me tell you what I think their story should be.

Keep on Writing Dudes and don’t forget to be awesome!

How I built my worlds of Jericho and Natalix

Unlike how many people think that fantasy worlds come into being with a poof mine came into being through a lot of hard work.

When I was about 6 I realized that I had a really strong sense of imagination and that if I closed my eyes and focused really hard I could create a world in my mind to escape the world that my body occupied. It started out with elfen looking creatures as well as a few dragons.

When I was twelve my world was complete. Even if there were some unexplored parts I figured that I’d get to them later. I never got the chance to explore them the way I used to because that was the year that I was never able to return to Jericho by closing my eyes and focusing.

Time moved on and I started my first draft of Fire of the Night, it had been in my mind long enough. Well I made a rough map when I was almost 17:

bigmapofJericho2

The water around it is the ocean. To put how big this place is into perspective, it lives in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, which is roughly 5 times the size of Colorado or almost twice the size of TX. I had a whole theory about Jericho and one day actually told my parents that I wanted to go to the Bermuda Triangle just to see if I could find my world when I was 9.

I was always fascinated with the disappearances around the Bermuda Triangle and thus that was where my world must have existed, invisible to the human eye and only some people get lost in there and honestly don’t remember where they are, others just vanish without a trace, and still others end up being found later after a crash with the dead bodies.

That was how Jericho was formed, from a theory about missing people and the imagination of a six year old. As I got older, the world matured and got better. I still have yet to make another map of Jericho since then…however that is the rough sketch of what the world looks like in Jasmine’s Time, aside from a few missing castles, like the main Majesti Castle (Rajan’s home) and Renaya’s Castle, but it looks like I actually stuck a castle in there that doesn’t appear for a few more centuries….wow go me.

As for Natalix….that actually started out as a “what if”. Now most fantasy worlds have gods and goddesses, mine doesn’t. Mine has the “Great One” or as humans know him: God. There was one character that lived in an underworld known as Karach Oracle, he is the Keeper of the Dead under a curse. But what curse we don’t know. Nor do we know why his twin sister Miruial is a ghost and the leader of the Rainbow Ghosts (her name and what she does for a….”living” for lack of a better word, actually came from my friend Sarah (who did my Author Photo) who loves rainbows and her online name was Miruial pretty sure I’m misspelling that, the correct spelling is in another file somewhere).

So what if there had been gods and goddesses in Jericho before it was Jericho? The truth is that there was another world before Jericho, it was named Dinarus. There were only a few different types of elves in that world as well as dragons and gryffins. They were lead by the King of the Gods and his siblings, including Death, Life, Darkness, Ice, etc.

So what happened to this world? The short answer is that the King of the Gods knew that their time was coming to an end and thus started creating another world that was similar to their own, however it was built on top of a world where there was no fantasy, so there would be no human access to their world. They would be alone. Or so they thought, Dreamers started playing with the world and adding their own bits of things.

He finished his work just in time for the Flood to hit. He escaped with his siblings (except for three and I’ll get to that) and mortal wife. He then gave up his status as a god and lived out his life as a mortal. The Fallen were born from the remaining siblings, except for six of them. The Four Fallen of Death (Persephone, Hades, Erebus, and Thanatos), the Fallen of Life, and the Fallen of Darkness.

Why are there four Deaths? Well….Persephone is the Fallen of the Death of Children, she has the form of a tall woman, however whenever she goes to help children (and I mean little bitty ones, from just born all the way to 12-year-olds) go to the afterlife she has the form of an imp that would play with her until they moved on. She’s also the only one with another form.

Thanatos (who is also the Prince of Poison from Jericho) is the Fallen of Accidental Deaths, these are the ones that don’t try to commit suicide but it just happened that kind of thing.

Hades is the Fallen of Death by Normalcy, he’s the typical Grim Reaper cloak, scythe, etc. He’s the one who goes to find the ones that are dying of old age, heart attacks, anything considered “normal” deaths.

Erebus is the Fallen of Horrible Deaths, he’s the one who gets all of the bad cases, the people who end up dying horrible by either their own fault or anything else. Like falling off a cliff, stabbings, anything where the corpse would be mangled.

Getting back to the ones who ended up staying behind. Death and Life were two of the three siblings who didn’t end up going to Natalix. Death, or rather Karach, was under a curse in the underworld. He was forced to stay behind and look after the souls of the dead until his flesh rotted away, leaving a skeletal watcher, chained to the underworld, unable to never leave, and no longer allowed to have visitors unless they came to him for aid.

His twin sister Life, died in the flood because she stayed behind to look for her brother. She found him when she became the Queen of the Ghosts.

As for the final sibling *smirk*, the god of Darkness was stripped of his powers, except for whatever he needed to survive. He took another name: Delano. And started a family with a woman named Aria. She took his first name as her Surname and from those two, the Delano were born.

*bow* and that’s how you make a complicated world.

Keep on writing dudes! And don’t forget to be awesome!

On writing and mental illness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so in honor of that I’m going to tell you what it’s like to be a writer with a mental illness.

I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) almost five years ago. Now the way it was explained to me was that there are different stages ranked 1-5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the worst.

1. This is the lightest stage, they will have recurring nightmares, but otherwise seem unaffected.

2. They have nightmares like in stage 1 but they also have flashbacks when triggers are hit.

3. This is where the illness takes a bigger tole on the person. They have nightmares, flashbacks when triggers are hit, they also gain some other traits that look like other mental illnesses, most specifically they will have heightened senses, especially when it comes to memory. Most people remember about 7-9 items stored in their short term memory, people with PTSD will store 15-30 items in their short term memory. As well as remember more in their long term memory and be able to pull it out at any moment. At this stage the person with PTSD will also show signs of Bi-Polar Disorder and Depression. However, they can still work and live a daily life, and with years of help from a professional will be able to live a normal life.

4. The person with PTSD gets worse, more signs of more mental illnesses (that they don’t have), however it is still treatable.

5. The patient can no longer function, and most of the time…they will commit suicide when they feel like they can no longer exist as everything will give them issues.

There’s a reason why I remember more of Stage 3 than any of the others, I was diagnosed with that stage. When I was sixteen I was put onto medication for Depression. That didn’t help, it only made it worse. I spent most of my time doing “research for a story” finding out the most painless way to die.

I never thought about going through with them, since I really hate pain. But when I was nineteen I decided that I was done with the world. I was never going to make it as a writer or as anything else. (I found out later that it was the medication I was taking) So I stood outside of a friend’s house with a knife in my hand and shouted up at the heavens, demanding why I was here! Nothing was good! Nothing was ever going to be good! That’s when I heard a voice in the back of my head say: I made you! And because of that things are going to get better.

At that point I stopped taking the medications for depression, after that I stopped having suicidal thoughts.

At the same time I was diagnosed with PTSD I was also diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), what most people know as having a split personality. Now I actually knew about this one. When I was a kid, I had an imaginary friend who was real, but no one believed me. I’d talk to her and she’d respond back, in time I came to call her my twin Sarah, because she spoke like me, looked like me, but she was different. She had no fear, she was assertive, she was controlling, and she took no crap for no one.

When I was about thirteen I went looking through a book of baby names. That’s when my other personality chose her name. Alexandra Lee. But her nickname was Lex.

Now the only reason why I even knew I had this split personality was because I self diagnosed myself when I was thirteen. At the time I was having a LOT of blackouts, stress will do that to you. So I googled it and found out that everything I experienced whenever Lex was most present was signs of having DID.

I even lost a whole year of my life because of this illness. I cannot remember anything that happened when I was 8. except for one day, when my brother sliced my arm open and even that was fuzzy because I had a different memory of what happened. One that I remembered most clearly. When I brought that up to my psychiatrist she said that sometimes your other personality will create new memories for you when it’s something they can’t fully block from the main personality’s mind.

After a year of seeing my psychiatrist she was able to put the two personalities together so I am again one whole being. I still hear Lex in the back of my head anytime I let the world get to me due to PTSD. “What the hell are you doing!? Don’t be so hard on yourself! You’re better than this.” But that could just be my own brain telling me that we can kick Mental Illnesses butt.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, because of my two mental illnesses and seeing a psychiatrist I am now able write any character with those two illnesses..I am also able to provide help to a friend who is writing a character with PTSD.

However, writing is hard when sometimes what you write causes a trigger. Now I don’t get flashbacks as often, however I do get a mantra of evil every now and then. “You’re ugly, worthless, stupid, an idiot, a nerd. You are such a little witch! Why can’t you be like your brother? Why can’t you do anything right!?” That whole mantra goes on. And anytime someone hits something close to that or anytime that I end up hearing that I can’t do anything right the mantra starts going on in my head. And even writing in first person when my character gets told that she’s worthless it hits me…I’m working on trying to separate it. However, it is hard.

Now that all of this is said and done, does my Illness define me? Not at all. If you ask anyone that I know if I have a mental illness, they’ll tell you the same thing. I didn’t know until she told me. Or I didn’t know until she started crying because of something that was said to her.

Your Mental Illness doesn’t need to define who you are! I have been told so many times over the past few days that I have a big heart, that I’m amazing, and that I’m a great person. And anytime I hear that, a new Mantra starts up in my head: “You’re amazing! You have a good personality! You have a huge heart! You are loved! I love you when you are you!” And hopefully one day, that mantra will overcome the mantra of evil.

Keep on writing dudes! And don’t forget to be awesome!