Our Apocalypse Could Have Been Worse

To say the past couple of months have been … interesting is a bit of an understatement. None of us really expected to be locked up in our homes by mid-march because of some crazy virus that the CDC just couldn’t control. And now we’ve gotten confirmation on UFO’s and Killer Hornets have invaded the US.

Yeah, 2020 is shaping up to be a hell of a year.

Though most of us will admit that its not quite the apocalypse that we wanted. Admittedly some of us we’re really looking forward to zombies in our local area but beggars can’t be choosers. And since lock-down seems to be coming to a close with businesses opening back up in some areas, here’s a few novels that we can be thankful didn’t actually take place.

*** Warning: Possible Spoilers ahead***

  1. Under the Dome by Stephen King – I believe this novel gets over looked simply because it’s one of his newer based ones and the television series made it a bit of an odd film. But Under the Dome is all about a small town that gets cut off from the rest of the world due to some sort of dome being placed around it and it becomes a ticking time bomb as air pollution, lack of oxygen, and morals run low all across the town while people try to discover some way to lift their prison.

    It’s not his most talked about end of the world story like The Stand or The Dead Zone, but it’s definitely up there and worth the read. Considering most of us have gotten that small taste of isolation for ourselves. Thankfully we weren’t cut off from the rest of the world like they were in the novel.

  2. The Murder Complex By Lindsay Cummings – It’s Hunger Games. Kind of. The Murder Complex is all about dystopian future where a plague has devastated most of the world but a unique society that exists in Florida and is run by the murder complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

    This is an interesting take on dystopian world as the two MC’s learn more about each other and their growing distrust of a government that doesn’t care rather any of them live or die.

  3. Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie – This one of those morbid type books that I received in a subscription box and cried buckets of tears over. In this book all the worlds children get sick and die within a day and the story only gets worse from there. With all the illness and loss going on in the world, let’s be thankful that its nothing like the events in this book.

  4. Borne by Jeff Vandermeer– Its never quite stated what happened to the world where the MC Rachel scavenges through, but its a pretty desolate and dangerous place. The story seems to suggest that the biotech corporation destroyed it in some way. Leaving behind tons of biotech that’s just plan dangerous – like the huge bear that floats around the city- and a small little creature called Borne.

    In the end this is a really interesting read that is about learning to love and letting go and seeing the beauty of the world through another person’s eyes. It could also stand as a bit of warning as to what could happen to humanity should large corporations lose control of their creations.

  5. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson – This book is about Neville, who when we first come across him seems to be the last man on earth who is still looking for a cure to the zombie like creatures that now inhabit it. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen the movie, even longer since I read the book, though I vaguely remember hating the movie for not sticking to the book. As it so typically goes.

    But I remember finding it a bit depressing for the simple fact after everything he goes through and discovers, he comes to terms that the “monsters” roaming the earth is the new normal and he’s actually the villain.

    Only depressing when you think that some day or normal will no longer exist and another evolved form of humanity will come through replace all that we know.

BONUS Apocalyptic material.

Death Stranding – I was originally going to keep this post to focus mainly on books that I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed but Death Stranding has a really good message that feel needs to be heard now, more than ever.

Death Stranding is a PS4 video game about a guy names Sam Bridges who is a porter and is tasked with the seemingly IMPOSSIBLE job of reconnecting the world. (Or at least North America) In the game you travel from one coast to the other – over mountains and through the woods- to bring various communities various supplies and connecting them to the Chiral Network all while fighting strange creatures called BTs that you can only see if carrying a BB, MULES that steal your cargo, and rogue porters that are just out to destroy the world for their own means. But all through the game there’s one phrase that is repeated over and over which is “Tomorrow is in your hands.”

Essentially, while you are a single player doing all these missions alone, there’s a constant need to interact with other characters and constantly forcing you to make connections from part of the game to the next. Hell, it’s run on an online system that allows other players to build something that you can use and later add to if you really wanted to. The whole game is about connecting the world and connecting with other people, and reminding all of us that we are stronger together.

A pretty wholesome message for a video game, in my opinion.

If you haven’t checked it out, by all means, go do it. If nothing else you can watch Norman Reedus track across the mountains for a couple of hours…lol…and go check out all the other books listed if you haven’t already.

And remember we’re going to survive these strange times. Together. Stay safe and take care.

Until next time.

Also…this quote from the villain Higgs just rings true on so many levels “Nothing like the eve of extinction to bring focus to the mind. Makes folks honest.” And yes, I totally heard that in his voice. lol

Patience is Key

I’ve found myself searching for a great deal of patience this past couple of weeks.

Patience with my kids because they are home for the week for spring break and want to bicker over every little thing that they can think of. From what game they’re going to play, to how they are going to play said game and right on to who’s going to take a bath and drain said bath water when it’s the next person’s turn. (Yes, this is a regular argument despite me telling the person who took the bath to drain the water.) Top that off with them randomly getting sick and you’ve got my week in a nutshell.

Patience with the husband who is off for the week. Though he’s got a new computer and video gaming system and isn’t really that bad.

Patience with the mail system because I have several packages coming and they just seem to take forever to ship and deliver.

Lastly, patience with myself because I keep stopping and going on my WIP. I know what I want to do with my story and the changes I want to make. I even have most of them written down and staring at me, mostly. Until I actually get going and then I do this stop and go dance that has me sitting there an hour later with only a little over three hundred words written out. I did this the other night and tweeted about it.

The scene gave me such trouble that I was ecstatic to actually to have finished it. It was only later, as I’m lying in bed, that I kicked myself for not forcing myself to write more. I could have stayed up and written out the next scene. Could have even started on the next chapter, or at least make up the to-do list of changes that needed to be done. I didn’t. I simply went to bed and the next morning I got up and watched youtube videos. Something else I’ve been kicking myself for but I haven’t done anything about the problem.

So being patient with myself and my ever-present procrastination is there.

All that being said, this isn’t much of an update or even some sort of how to. More of a reminder to myself and whoever needs it that great things don’t happen overnight. That it’s okay to be a turtle writer, and not rush through things if want them to be perfect.

Patience is key with anything good in life.

Take care and until next time.

Wendy

Reaching That Pipe Dream

       We all have what’s called a pipe dream. That fantasy in your head that you know will never actually happen but it’s nice to dwell on every now and then. Something that keeps us motivated and heading in the right direction. 

Having these dreams aren’t horrible, they sometimes even help, but you got to stay realistic as well when setting up your goals. We all know that midnight fantasy of being interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel is probably never going to happen. Though the idea of seeing your book in a bookstore, and maybe even sitting behind a booth at a book-con is a definite possibility.

As you go into the new year thinking of what you want to accomplish there’s probably a few things that you should keep in mind while writing out that list of goals.

Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T

Specific,

Measurable

Achievable

Result-Focused

Time-Bound

In other words write out a specific, realistic goal that you can achieve in a certain amount of time. I’m sure about now you’ve all heard of this S.M.A.R.T goal method and have read or watched some video on it. It’s probably one of the more well known of the goal planning methods because it forces you to break down your goal into bite size chunks that you can accomplish with enough persistence and determination.

Last year my only real goal was to be more productive. It was a good enough goal and a obtainable, but I didn’t break it down further then that while planning it out. A mistake I see on my part as I look back over the year.

Was I more productive?

Well…

  • I wrote a story.
  • Been through at least 4 round of revisions.
  • Started a vlog/blog. The vlog is on hiatus because of technical difficulties. (I.E. I don’t have a fully functional camera.)
  • Set up a website…sort of. It’s mixed in with the blog which is fine for now.
  • Nudged myself into the writing community with 350 followers on twitter. Not bad for an anti-social who can go weeks on end not talking to anyone unless absolutely necessary. (Husband, kids…..you get the picture.)

That was just writing goals that I’ve managed to strike off. There was also a couple of trips my husband and I took that knocked a couple things off my bucket list, the 6-weeks of back to school that I did that got me my promotion at work and

…yeah that’s about it.

I’d say that was a pretty productive year and I’m quite proud of the things I’ve accomplished and the things I’ve learned on the way. I’m finding my groove and what works for me and what doesn’t and am more aware of my draw backs.

Like the weeks where I do nothing at all.

At the beginning of 2017 I got into Bullet Journaling. Which is a basic system where you grab a notebook, set up an index and key and depending on what you want, you can either start out a yearly overview of events (Future Log) or dive right in and just make a list of the days in the month, write out what happens in that month and move on to the first day in your BuJo and make a list of things you need to accomplish in that day. What you finish in that day you cross off, what you don’t finish you migrate to the next day / page. Whatever. It really depends on how you setup your Bullet Journal and I’ll leave links so you can check out the original idea by the creator and a few other popular sites because I’m horrid at explaining these sort of things.

Ryder Carroll Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal 101 by BohoBerry

Anyways, I started a Bullet Journal in  the beginning of the year and flipping through I notice a lot of weeks where I just didn’t bother to do anything. Their either blank or the things I had planned aren’t crossed off at all.

I tried to get better at this towards the end of the year when I started noticing the trend and I have. Sort of. These past couple of weeks I’ve caught myself falling back into those grooves of nothingness and I’m fighting it. The fact that I have something to focus on now is a definite plus and I’m hoping to keep at getting better at catching myself in 2018.

The Bullet Journal has worked in keeping me accountable for my time and reminding me when I”m wasting it. Which is what I needed, now I need to take it to the next level and start really focusing on my goals and how I need to accomplish them.

Which is where the S.M.A.R.T goals system comes in.

I have three main goals this year.

  1.  Publish Stop the Raven   

Or at the very least begin the process via querying agents and publishers.

I believe I’m close to this goal. A few more CP / Beta reads and I can fix what’s wrong and hopefully move to the next step.

During that time period I’m also going to be researching agents and publishers and all those diddly bits. I have to research on how to research all that. If you know what I mean. (So much research)

      2. Is a personal goal.

          Something I’ve been saying I would do year in and year out and really need to focus on it this year. I think you are getting this gist of this so I won’t go into details.3.

      3. Build on my author’s plateform. 

      Again this is going to require research on how to get better at this, cause if this year has proven anything .I suck at this part.

  • Blogging regularly seems to be part of it.
  • Buying a Camera at some point to start vlogging again will help
  • And of course other bits and pieces that I’m working on. (Like the not talking to people for weeks on end.)

For now that’s what I got. Those are the three big plans for 2018 and I don’t think I’ve thought of anything totally extreme. I’m hoping this year is going to be as amazing as 2017 was for me.

What about any of you? Any goals that you are wanting to achieve, or any other methods to reaching those goals. I would love to hear them.

Happy New Year everyone!

What to buy that writer

            Christmas time is coming around and people are getting excited for more family get togethers. The Christmas parties, the traveling, and of course the gifts. The best and worse part of the holidays would be the gifts. Coming up with gifts for everyone that you know isn’t going to earn you an eye roll is by far the most stressing inducing part of the whole ordeal.

That’s not including the meal prep and get together with the whole family.

But if you have a writer in your life, particularly a beginning writer that’s looking to get serious, here are a few items that might just perk up their day.

  1. Books on writing advice.

          There is plenty of books out there that can help someone figure out just about any stage of the writing process. There’s a wide array of information out there ready for said writer in your life but to narrow down a couple of my favorites.

There is always the most well known (also termed the writers bible) and that would be Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’

In his book, he gives a bit of a backstory on himself and how he got into writing and turned it into a career and then he gets into some of his most well known writing advice and even a list of book recommendations.

Next favorite, and I just realized she has published another one, is Angela Ackerman’s Writer’s Guides. She’s got the Emotional Thesaurus, the Positive and Negative traits and a whole slow of other books that is more reference material for writers looking to make great characters and settings. A definite must have in a writer’s arsenal when fleshing out those stories.

Like I said there is a slew of reference material that you can browse through on Amazon and no matter what stage of writing your writer friend is on, they’ll be thankful.

  1. Notebooks and Pens

     Writers write.

             That’s just what we do. Rather it be on the computer, or phones, or on that scrap of napkin at the coffee shop. We write. Everywhere. So why not buy that writer in your life a couple of note books and some pens to do just that. Don’t have to be fancy. Could probably go down to the local wal-mart and pick out some cute notebooks and decent pack of pens and we’d be happy.

Though I can be sure said writer would be more thrilled if you actually put in the effort and buy them that leather bound journal with the string that wraps around to keep it closed and those beautiful fine liner color pens to go with it. But really any notebook would do and would be greatly appreciated even though we already have like a hundred other notebooks lying around the house.

  1. Coffee Mugs and Candles

           Okay, so it’s not essential. We don’t really need the coffee mugs, or candles, or even a t-shirt that defines as writers. We are who we are. But just like having those name plates at the office, with your name and title on them, or getting one of those, “World’s Best Dad” mugs. Their nice to have around, just for the sake of having them. Not to mention that candles and caffeine help us relax and get those words out of our system.

  1. Books

              I’m not talking about more of those advice books. I mean just regular every day books because most writers love to read as much as they love to write. It’s not a must do requirement to be a writer. It just happens to come with the territory and I can guarantee there’s a wishlist of books sitting around somewhere.

It’s the never ending lists that get’s added to daily. Yeah that one. Take a look if they have it written down, or ask them.

Better yet.

Get them a gift card to their favorite bookstore and let them go nuts for however long they decide to get lost in those bookshelves.

5. An Ear to Listen

                  Every writer needs that ear to listen to. The one that let’s them bounce off ideas and just talk through random plot points that are probably never going to take place in the actual story.

Not to mention that extra pair of eyes that they can show bits of story to so they can get some idea if they’re on the right track and not demand to read the rest of the story.

Because it’s not finished. We just need to know if this particular part is working or not.

So, the best gift you could give is your time. Let us run ideas by you and rant a few times about how the story or character isn’t going the way it’s supposed to. Sure we have writer buddies we can do this with. It’s just nice to have a friend that goes along with our craziness as well.

So there you have it. A handful of items that you can give to that writer in your life that hopefully makes shopping for at least one person less stressful and time consuming.

Every Writer Needs to Keep a Journal

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Notebooks, journals, those random bits of paper that you find at the back of your desk drawer. All of them a great places to jot down notes, make that quick list or essentials or just write down that really motivating quote that you just read.

Me, personally, I keep three. One to jot down scenes and random ideas. Another for planning and yet another for quotes. We won’t go into the odd bits of printer paper
shoved into said journals from work when inspiration struck at the oddest times.
My love for notebooks and journals knows no bounds. Mainly because they can be used for a great many things.

 

1. Great Place To Keep Notes.

The first and obvious is they’re great for keeping notes.

Need to remember to grab that thing at the store, or need a list of something that your kids want for birthdays or Christmas. Just grab a notebook. Don’t have to be a fancy one, just a small $0.50 one would do the trick. Keep it in your wallet or back pocket.

Simple.

Smart.

Everything at your fingertips.

Or you could just use that notepad app on your phone..that’s fine too. Unless you’re like me who constantly loses, breaks, or forgets her phone and doesn’t have those notes readily available on said device.

I’ve found notebooks/journals to be slightly more reliable.

2. Good for writing out ideas

Need to jot down that one line that you know you’re going to be forgetting later, I’ve got a notebook that has whole chapters in it from stories written three years ago right along with my blog posts and those crazy writer tags.

Why?

Because I’ve told myself this lie countless time while I’m laying in bed, ready to sleep after a long day, and come up with some epic scene. By morning I’ve forgotten most of it and am banging my head on the wall trying to remember even a portion what was said or done.

I’ve learned my lesson of course; as my co-workers could attest to. Now I’ve been known to stop mid work day to write down that crazy scene, or outline that next part of my book. My friend rolls her eyes at me but she knows it’s done for a reason.

With it I’ve managed to remember names, places and some of my favorite lines. Even managed to rewrite several scenes from different stories. It’s also kinda fun to go back and look through your old notes and see how far you’ve come as a writer.

Gives you a bit of a moral boost just to see how far you’ve come.

3. Journaling is essential for not only motivation, but for mental health

Keeping a journal has also been known to help boost ones moral.

When you keep consistent notes on what days bothered you and why, you tend to have a better understanding on what things you should probably avoid. Or things you need to prepare for that you know is going to trigger some sort of non-stellar mood. (Yes, I totally used that word. Who cares.)

Mood Journals, as their sometimes called, allows you to write out your feelings. Especially those that you don’t feel like expressing to the world. Their private and you need them to stay private, but it’s not good to bottle things up. A journal is a way to get them out without telling it to the world if you’re are not ready for that.

 

4. They make amazing planners.

I’m sure by now, you’ve heard of bullet journals. Where you keep a journal as a planner and you can create and change your own lay outs. Making it easy to add and remove things at will.

Yep, I’ve got one of those.

It’s been great this year for my goal of being more productive. It’s help. To an extent. I find that when I actually take the time to write down my tasks in bullet form the night before I’m more liable to complete those tasks the next day. When I don’t bother…well.

You get the picture.

You can do various different spreads from word count goals to weekly blog posts layouts. Even financial and TBR spreads. There really is no limit to what you can place inside these little planner/journals. Allowing you to keep everything in one, easy to reach spot.

Bullet journals are also good for adding in those little things. I have quotes, photos and movie tickets. Small little momentos from the past year, not to mention a handful of receipts that I might need one day.

People have Memory pages dedicated to specific events or even months, some have mood calendars. Like I said, a litter of versatile ideas with no end in sight.

 

5.  Fun to look back at all your crazy ideas and note worthy days.

I’ve kept journals for as long as I could remember. Long before my for sure writing days. All the way back to my middle school days when I would write down my angst ridden poems.

I still have them. Their sitting in a box somewhere and whenever I move I glance over them, cringing at my 11 year old self and smiling at the same time.

Journals are good for that. They allow you glance back in time, rather it been last week or 20 years ago. Little time capsules that you can stow away and look back on whenever you wish .Especially if you keep photos and little diary like entries in them. Next year, I’m going to try to do more of that. Take more photos and paste them into my bullet journal.

Something to add onto what I’ve already cataloged and will hopefully have for a long time. It’s my firm reason to believe that everyone needs to keep a journal.

Writers especially. We tend to be scattered brained at times, jumping from one thought to the next, never really sure where those little roads might lead and what might be forgotten in the long run.

Even if it’s a small $0.50 notebook and a pencil. Grab it. Keep it in your purse, pocket, whichever and jot down all those random little things in your life. Ideas, to-do lists, those moments that impress upon you the most.

After a while you’ll be glad you did.