5 Quotes By David Baldacci [Mystery Month]

5 Quotes by David Baldacci | Writing Quotes | Mystery | Inspiration | Inspirational Quotes | RachelPoli.com

1. “Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?”

2. “Today might not be so good. But tomorrow, you got another chance to get it right.”

3. “Time doesn’t really heal, it just makes you not give a crap.”

4. “It’s not the beginning or the destination that counts. It’s the ride in between.”

5. “Anyone who’s lived has lost somebody.”

Have you read any books by David Baldacci? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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5 Quotes From Sue Grafton [Mystery Month]

5 Quotes by Sue Grafton | Writing Quotes | Inspiration | RachelPoli.com

1. “Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”

2. “Thinking is hard work, which is why you don’t see many people doing it.”

3. “Ghosts don’t haunt us. That’s not how it works. They’re present among us because we won’t let go of them.” (M is for Malice)

4. “We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying.”

5. “You don’t have to justify yourself to me. You did what you did.”

What’s your favorite quote? Are there any others you love? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 34 [Creative Writing – Mystery Month]

Last week’s writing prompt was a Picture Prompt. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now onto this week’s writing prompt:

Creative Writing Prompt | Sentence Starter | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Begin a story using the sentence above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing!

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My Trip To Canada [Life]

If any of you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you saw a couple of tweets from me at the beginning of the month about me being away. My blog was still running as scheduled, but I wasn’t reading or commenting on anyone else’s blogs. I wasn’t answering comments on this blog and I was barely on social media.

I was in Canada for EGLX – Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo – for my other blog, Double Jump, and also for myself.

My sister Kris and I have been wanting to go to a gaming convention or expo for a really long time now. Pretty much all of the YouTube gamers we watch was going to be there. They ran a couple of panels and put on a show. This was an opportunity we knew we couldn’t pass up.

I don’t do anything spontaneous. I’m an organized person, I have slight OCD, and I need to have a plan for the day, the week, the future, everything. I know plans change and things come up and I’m a pretty flexible person, but I’ll admit there have been a few situations where I’ve been agitated or upset because something didn’t go as I planned.

Being spontaneous is a good thing, shaking things up is a good thing. But sometimes my brain doesn’t think so.

I haven’t been on an airplane since I was 3. I don’t remember it and just tell people I’ve never flown before. So many things have changed since then anyway. I also have never been out of the country. I’ve never taken a trip without my parents. Yes, I’m 24, but I still need my mom and dad.

So you can imagine my reaction when Kris burst into our office one day and said, “By the way, we’re going to Canada!”

I should also mention I’ve never really planned a vacation either. I mean, I have, but with my parent’s help or my aunt and uncle’s help from the times we’ve gone to Disney with them.

Kris and I had to figure out how to book a flight, get our passports, figure out money and currency exchange, find our way around the airport, decide how to get from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the convention center, and back again. It’s a lot. I knew it was going to be a lot but it’s one of those things you don’t realize how much work it is until you actually do it yourself.

But I did it. Kris and I did it.

Canada EGLX | Video Games | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

Why am I explaining all of this even though this trip was mainly for my video game blog? Well, I wanted to explain that we’re capable of doing much more than we think. This trip was a huge eye-opener for me.

I have generalized anxiety disorder. I won’t go into too much detail about it. Maybe someday I will, but for now, I’ll leave you with this: some days I do well, other days it kills me.

Being on an airplane, for example, flares up my anxiety. I know a lot of people get like this with flying, so it’s pretty common.

I’m going to Disney in April where I will have to go on an airplane. The last few times I’ve gone, we’ve driven down there. I’ve been panicking and sometimes dreading going to Disney, the happiest place on earth because I need to go on an airplane.

What if the plane crashes? What if we, for some reason, can’t get home? What if I get claustrophobic? What if I have an anxiety attack in the middle of the flight? What if I have to go to the bathroom or start to feel sick? What if someone else on the plane gets sick?

There’s always that “what if” for everything in life, but now I know what to expect. Now I’m actually excited to go.

I had a great time on the plane. The flight was only an hour and a half and it went by so fast. Yes, I did have an anxiety pill, but I honestly don’t know if I really needed it. I got cookies and apple juice on the flight which was really good. I watched the map and followed where the plane was and where it was going on the way there. On the way back I watched Mrs. Doubtfire and had pretzels and apple juice.

On the way to Canada, I sat in the aisle because I was nervous the window would make me sick. I didn’t want to stare into the abyss to remind me of how high we were. On the way back, I sat by the window and loved watching the plane ascend and descend. I loved seeing the buildings from above. We were also sitting right next to the plane’s wing both ways so that was certainly cool to see as well. I’ve never seen a plane up close before.

I was also nervous about the expo itself. Kris and I were going to be in an unfamiliar place, a large room filled with, what seemed to be, a thousand people. It was crowded. It was loud. There was a lot going on. I don’t do well in those situations.

But I did it. I was fine and I had a good time. Sure, there were some moments I felt claustrophobic, but there were so many things to do and games to play, I was able to keep my mind off it and just focus on the good.

And I did this for three days in a row.

EGLX in Canada | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

I’ve realized something important about myself while going on that trip. I knew my anxiety was all in my mind, but this proved that it really is just in my mind.

I’ve always wanted to travel but never have because I was afraid to leave my house. I was afraid I’d die on the plane.

It was amazing to see all the art and talent of various people who share a love of video games. It was fantastic to see the YouTubers who have inspired me to do what I do today. (Our hotel room was right next door and across the hall from a couple of them!)

It may seem kind of silly, but even though I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school, these YouTubers have changed my life.

A few of them have anxiety and/or depression and talk openly about it which has helped me a lot. Their videos are funny and entertaining that I’ve watched them in the middle of the night a few times when I had too much anxiety and couldn’t sleep. They’re very open, kind, and welcoming to anyone and everyone no matter their race, sexuality, mental health, or anything.

They’re just a group of friends who do what they love for a living and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do – what I am doing.

I can relate to them on so many levels: working from home, doing what I love for a living, my mental health issues, my overall goals for why I do what I do, and more.

I want to inspire people the way they have inspired me. I want to make people laugh. I want to make people feel loved and welcome in this community I’ve been building with my blog (and beyond). I want people to feel safe and comfortable when they read my work or watch my videos (when I get the channel up and running).

I want people to look at me say, “If she can do that, I can do that” just like I’ve done with these YouTubers.

I want to explore the world and before going to Canada I didn’t realize that was a thing I could do. I did it because I wanted to see those YouTubers in person. (And also because Kris was able to pay for me… Thank you, Kris!)

I want to teach myself new things and I have been. I’ve been teaching myself filmmaking and video editing so I can start a YouTube channel for this blog (and also for Double Jump down the road). I’ve been drawing more. I’m not very good, but maybe I’ll get there in time. I want to publish books. I want to create a literary magazine or something similar. I want to create a video game.

That’s not even the half of it. There’s so much I want to do. I want to do it all. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But the possibilities are endless and my creativity can go as far as my imagination, which, I’ve come to realize, is pretty endless itself.

Canada seemed to be the first step for me. It opened a new world for me and I came to realize I can do more than what I think I can do.

Maybe someday Double Jump will have its own panel at a convention. No, I don’t want to be rich or famous, but I’d like to make an impact on people’s lives. (As well as make a living off it because… bills.)

Maybe someday my creative works – no matter what form, video, blog, writing, etc. – will inspire and help others.

Of course, I can’t give all the credit to those YouTubers and to the fact I went to Canada. I went to Canada and I do what I do because of the choices I’ve made and the way I’ve decided to spend my time.

I do what I do because there are so many people who visit my blog on a daily basis and actually care about what I have to say.

Canada's EGLX | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

This is a long post, probably the longest I’ve ever written on this blog. If you’ve read this far and you’re still reading, I applaud you. Thank you for reading this through.

I didn’t mean for this to be so long and corny, but it’s the truth and I felt it needed to be said. I had this realization through my trip and breaking out of my comfort zone, but there was also something else that happened to make me realize this.

The other thing that made me realize all this isn’t a happy story like Canada. It’s gotten me down for quite a while now. Though that’s a story for another day.

I’ll say this though: I’m happy where I am in life. I’m happy with the things I’m doing and the things I’m trying to do. My anxiety holds me back sometimes, but I figure it out. I have a good head on my shoulders (I think so, anyway). I have a good support system with friends and family who love and encourage me to do what I do. I’m a pretty lucky person.

But I guess I’ve rambled enough. Thank you for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being here and taking this journey with me.

Have you ever taken a risk in life? Done something you didn’t think you could? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Musical Mondays: This Is Me (The Greatest Showman)

This Is Me by Keala Settle | Musical Mondays | Inspiration | The Greatest Showman | RachelPoli.com

I thought we were due to have another Musical Monday post. There’s been so much hype around The Greatest Showman and while I have yet to see the movie, I’ve listened to the soundtrack over and over again.

All the songs are so inspirational and I think it speaks to anyone who wants to inspire people, make a difference in the world, or who are just creative at heart.

The song This Is Me is performed by Keala Settle and she has a beautiful voice. It’s all about being you, shooting for your dreams, and not letting anyone say you can’t do something or get in your way.

When you’re trying to make a living as a writer, blogger, freelancer, whatever… it’s really hard to stay positive. You just have to take it day by day. Work hard and stay focused. Remember you can do it no matter what. Your time will come to shine.

I chose this particular video for the song because Keala was nervous to sing the song. I felt as though the song taught her a lesson in a way. I found it inspirational. The actual song doesn’t start for about a minute in, but I recommend listening to the whole video anyway.

Enjoy.

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become)
I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
This is me
and I know that I deserve your love
’cause there’s nothing I’m not worthy of
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come)
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I’m gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
Oh
This is me

What did you think of the song? Have you listened to the soundtrack or seen the movie? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Old Ideas Left Unwritten

So, I told you guys about why fan fiction is important to me. I also went through two of my stories I posted on the fan fiction website and wrote commentary for my awful writing way back when.

Fan fiction was the ultimate start to this writing journey that I have currently been going on for the past 13 years. I eventually stopped writing fan fiction to work on original books, but I still had many fan fiction ideas.

I remember telling myself that I would get back into fan fiction one day. That hasn’t happened, but never say never. Maybe when I’m retired I’ll get back to it for fun. I would love to get back into it now, but I’m more focused on my original work to (hopefully) be published in the near future.

So, I came across an old folder that has a list of all the ideas I was going on post on the website. There are 46 ideas total.

Unwritten Stories

I remember telling myself I wanted to post 100 stories and I have 58 stories posted. I would have had 104 stories if I had actually written and posted these ideas.

The categories vary from TV shows to video games (and that’s mostly it). They’re in alphabetical order (even back then I was super organized). Here are the different categories:

  • Ace Attorney (video game)
  • Animal Crossing (video game)
  • Everybody Loves Raymond (TV show)
  • Fruits Basket (Anime)
  • Ninja Turtles (TV show — This is my biggest category with 24 story ideas)
  • Ninja Turtles and X-Men crossover (TV shows)
  • Pokemon (video game)
  • Seinfeld (TV show)
  • Sims (video game)
  • Super Smash Brothers (video game)
  • Teen Titans (TV show)
  • X-Men Evolution (TV show)
  • Zack and Cody (TV show)

What a variety! I like a lot of things apparently.

Now that I’ve reacted to a couple of old stories, I thought I’d react to a couple of old summaries.

I’m not good at writing summaries now, but I was worse back then. Plus, my ideas were a bit out there, if we’re being completely honest.

Ace Attorney

There’s no summary or title with this one, but I had the who, what, where, when, why, and how all figured out. Maybe I’ll use it for a future novel in my current mystery series?

The main reason I’m pointing this out to you guys is because of the names. According to my notes, a jewelry store was robbed. The owner of the store is named Sapphire Gem and her mother is Ruby Gem. The culprit’s name is Bryce Bagz. Way to be subtle!

Ninja Turtles

Of course, Ninja Turtles is my favorite and I reacted to two TMNT stories already. So here are some of my favorite ideas.

Remember

“During a battle with the Purple Dragons, Raph gets knocked out and loses his memory. Master Splinter, April, Casey, and the turtles take turns telling him stories to help him remember.”

A bit sad, but not bad overall. Also, I’m pretty sure there’s an episode in the 2003 cartoon where Leo is practically dying and they all tell stories.

Memories

“After Master Splinter passes away, the brothers reflect on memories they had with their master/father.”

Well, then. I don’t know what was up with all the depressive themes.

The Mystery of Women

“The boys talk about girls.”

Oh, I’m sure that would have been a good one!

I had many great other ideas as well, such as them getting super powers and Leo haven’t an affair (don’t ask, I don’t even know).

Seinfeld

The Rejection Hotline

“Jerry meets a girl and when he asks her for her phone number, she gives him the number for the Rejection Hotline. Elaine copies down the number so she can use it on guys, but after she hooks her friend up with someone else she knows, she accidentally gives him the RH number instead of the real number. George uses the number to get a girl off his back, who ends up hooking up with Kramar.”

I have to say, I’m impressed with how fleshed out this idea was. I feel like it would be an actual episode of the show. And yes, the Rejection Hotline is an actual thing. Or, it used to be anyway.

Okay, I picked out the “decent” ideas from that huge list. Maybe those ideas will pop up in a new way in my original novels. Who knows?

Do you have any old ideas in the back of your mind? Do you think you’ll ever end up writing them? Let me know in the comments!

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Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Skye Hegyes

As you know, guest bloggers appear on my site twice a month. For the months of August, September, and October, my guests will be discussing the same topic:

When and why did you begin writing?

This week we’ll learn a little bit more about Skye Hegyes. Thanks, Skye!

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Skye Hegyes

This is going to be horrible to say, but I honestly can’t remember when I started writing. I know. I know. I’m a horrible writer/author, but it’s the truth. I have no real recollection of when I started writing. Nor do I know what started it all truth be told. I have my hunches, though, and I guess that’s going to have to be good enough.
First, you must realize I come from a major reading background. There have always been hundreds of books (no lie; last count there was over three hundred) in my parents’ household. Most of them were fantasy. Some of them were thrillers, some romance, and some horse books. Horse books are their own genre in my household. Both of my parents were readers, and as soon as I could figure out words and letters and everything in between, I was too. My younger sisters weren’t far behind.
Even before the ability to read kicked in, my ability to tell stories reared its head. I was a knight saving a princess from a dragon, an astronaut exploring space in my one-man shuttle and fighting galactic battles in order to save the universe, a native hunting on the plains or taming a wild horse, a gunslinger who robbed banks but went after a murderer when my family was killed. I befriended giants and dinosaurs, rode dragons and unicorns, build robots and cybernetics. The games were endless and with them my ability to weave a story. Some were good. Some were bad. Some were too horrible to ever be mentioned again.
When these stories started being pulled from games and instead weaved into words on a page, I’m not certain of. My first “stories” that I can recall were all the school papers written based on writing prompts I was given in class.
The first story I can remember writing and being proud of was a short story I wrote for a fifth grade journal. I don’t remember the topic we were supposed to write about or how I came up with the particular story (See? Bad author!) but I remember being more proud of it over other stories, not because the idea was good, but because it was the first short story/prompt to spark an idea for a novel.
Of course, this was the first novel I plotted in my head completely but only wrote out bits and pieces to here and there. If I ever did complete the whole novel: a) it wasn’t right away, b) I have no recollection of it, and c) I no longer have a copy of it. Either way, it’s quite possibly a good thing. I might – just might – have a copy of the short story still but I don’t know. If I do, it’s mixed up with all my remaining school paperwork somewhere deep in the depths where only Cthulhu himself dares to go.
The first full novel I have a full recollection of writing was a novel I wrote in a black and white composition notebook, and it was called A Horse Called Catapult. It was the first somewhat original piece I’d ever written – heavy on the somewhat – and the first I showed someone else and asked their opinion on only to have that person question why I wasn’t trying to become an author.
Looking back now, I’m glad I don’t still have a copy of it. It was… well… to put it mildly… It was a bucket of copyright infringement. It had a plot close to the first three books in the Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell. In that series, a young teenager called Ashleigh moves to a racing farm where she meets an older pregnant mare who gives birth to a sickly foal she then has to convince everyone is worth saving. Then it continues on with the foal’s training and finally on into her racing career. If you ever want to read it, the first book is called, A Horse Called Wonder.
My novel, A Horse Called Catapult, was about a teenager named Anna living on an Arabian horse farm. A local vet brings in some rescues including a black stallion Anna nurses back to health, trains and then races. See the similarities? Yeah…
Beyond that, I wrote a bunch of short stories about a girl and her horse, the first of which she saved her horse as a foal when it fell through a frozen pond. While I don’t still have the original, I re-wrote it, and it appeared in Short Story Smash.
Since then, I’ve written hundreds of stories and several novels. I’ve had great people introduce me to National Novel Writing Month, publishing, and blogging. I’ve been privileged to meet dozens of awesome people both online and in real life. It’s been a great opportunity and an even greater experience. Plus, just think. I have many more amazing years left in which to continue to grow, develop, and of course WRITE!
Author’s Bio:
Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’s home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree…
Connect with Skye: