A Sweet Birthday Card

I don’t normally post twice in one day, but this is something that I had to share with you guys.

I turned 22-years-old today. My 11-year-old cousin made me a birthday card. It made me feel pretty special.

Not only did she make me feel good, but it’s also nice to know that she thinks so highly of me. That said, I’m very close with my cousins.

  
This is the cover that says, “Happy happy birthday, today’s your special day, you just got a cupcake, now blow the flame away!”

  
The inside cover. She knows that I love my Ninja Turtles dearly.

  
“Rachel I could never ask for a better sister/cousin than you. You are funny, beautiful, amazing, and anything else you can think of. I hope you have the best 22nd birthday anyone can have!”

Then she turnes my name into an acronym: Royal, star in the sky, Creative, Humoress, Enchanting, Lovely.

No gift can compare to this.

I hope everyone is having an awesome day!

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Exciting Updates! (Not Really)

Today is day three of February vacation. For the past two days I’ve spent it doing nothing, cleaning the house, and getting little bits of writing done here and there. I am proud to say that I actually did something today!

As Kris stated, “We’ve gotten our social quota for the year… we’re done!”

Last night, my sister Lisa and her husband texted me asking if we wanted to meet them for lunch. So, we did. They were a little late due to the DMV, but it was all good.

Kris and I went to Barnes & Noble in the morning. It’s always nice to have the opportunity to go there multiple times a week. We always go on Saturdays because Sundays we have church and I’m at work the rest of the week. We both brought just our notebooks again. It’s been a nice change of pace handwriting instead of typing, even if typing is faster. However, I wrote over 1,000 words today in about an hour. I think that’s a pretty good accomplishment.

What am I writing? I have no idea… it was an idea I got from a short story I wrote back in November. I have no idea where it’s going or why I decided to continue with it. However, a plot is slowly forming in my head so I’m going to stick with it for now. Maybe it’ll turn into a new novel idea or maybe it’ll turn into a more lengthy short story that I can submit to a contest or something. We’ll see.

Then we went to Kohl’s because we both need new clothes… and we needed to kill some more time while we waited for our sister and brother.

Then we went to the mall (which was where we were meeting them for lunch) and we wandered around aimlessly there. After about two hours, we ate lunch and sat there and talked for about an hour and a half or so. Then we finally parted ways.

After eight hours, Kris and I staggered home and boy, has it been a long day! It’s been a good day, though. We saw some family, wrote a bit, and got new clothes.

You can’t go wrong with that.

My Weekend

I hope everyone had a good weekend. It is Monday yet again. I feel as though it were just yesterday that it was the beginning of a week. However, this week should go by quickly with the holiday coming up.

Kris and I never went to Barnes and Noble on Saturday. We both woke up feeling a little under the weather so we decided it would be best to write at home. I didn’t write as much as I expected (or hoped to) on Saturday, but I did get some writing done nonetheless.

Yesterday I didn’t think I was going to get any writing in at all. I had church in the morning and my friend’s baby shower all afternoon. I came home exhausted and Kris and I decided to play video games (because… priorities). We ended up playing for a half hour, writing for a half hour, alternating the two tasks. I ended up writing over 4,000 words yesterday. I was impressed with myself.

This morning I wrote a little over 2,000 words. I have to get ready for work soon, so I decided to stop for now. I may get the chance to write some more later.

I started writing a “short story” for NaNo and I am now on part seven for it. So, that’s where I stand now on my NaNo. New novel idea? Maybe.

I’m at 42,108 words for NaNo, finally back on par and ahead of the game. I have about 8,000 more words to write and I’m hoping to finish it by Thanksgiving on Thursday. That means if I don’t write again today I need to write at the very least 4,000 tomorrow and 4,000 on Wednesday.

Of course, today I have to babysit after work. Tomorrow I have to go to the doctor after work and Wednesday after work is most likely going to be spent cleaning and preparing for Thanksgiving. The good news is I don’t have school this week, so no homework for me. That’s at least one less thing I need to worry about.

I would really like to get my Short Story Collection/NaNo finished by Thursday so I can continue editing Detective Florence 2 over the break. I need to start riding that horse again.

Friday Morning

It’s six o’clock in the morning and I did not write today. I could have gotten pretty ahead on my word count for NaNo, but now I’m behind yet again.

My psych professor always opens our weekly quiz on Thursday, so I usually take it Thursday morning before work… it’s timed for an hour, but it’s only five questions. It takes me 15 minutes to do. Of course I forgot about it because I finished my homework so early this week. I remembered it last night when I went to bed. So I took it this morning. No big deal.

Now I have to start getting ready for work soon so I’m not going to be able to get any writing. This blog post is going to be as close to writing this morning as I’m going to get.

I’m going to my friend’s house after work today to help her prepare for her baby shower this Sunday. Depending on how early I get home tonight, I will try to write before I go to bed. It’s Friday so I feel no obligation to go to bed early because I don’t have work tomorrow… if I can stay up that long.

Tomorrow I am going to Barnes and Noble with my sister for a big writing day. I hope to really catch up on my word count and go above and beyond.

We just need to see if I’m focused enough between the people coming and going and the Starbucks in my system.

How To Write Good

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I found this picture while scrolling through Twitter. I found it to be amusing, so I figured I would share it with all of you.

In other news, I am currently preparing for my sister’s wedding tomorrow. I have the rehearsal dinner tonight, the actual wedding tomorrow, and then Sunday… I will most likely be sleeping all day.

I will not be posting again until Monday.

What about Short Story Sunday? I didn’t write one. I didn’t have the time to this week… or last week for that matter. Sorry about that, guys. I’ll get back into that habit next week.

Until then… have a good weekend everyone!

Happy August!

Camp NaNoWriMo has officially ended as of…well, many hours ago. I have to admit that I have never been so happy in my life that a session of NaNo has ended.

Losing 44,619 words of my manuscript five days before Camp ended was probably the worst experience in my life. Dramatic, but true. I was determined to win Camp so I pledged to myself that I was going to write 45k words in four days. 45k because Kris was able to get the first 5k words back for me and I say four days because there was no way I was going to be able to write anything as soon as I lost my entire novel. I needed a brand new day to start fresh.

Monday July 28, I wrote 15,029 words. Tuesday July 29, I wrote 10,019 words. Wednesday July 30, I wrote 5,016 words. Yesterday, July 31, I nearly died, but I wrote the last 15,036 words bringing my novel to a total of 50,112 words. Of course, Kris told me to validate my novel twice because I technically wrote 90k in one month. I just didn’t have all the physical words to prove it. So, I did and my NaNo stats look really weird because I had 44,619 for July 30 and then on July 31 the bar shoots way up and says I have 94,731.

Let’s keep in mind that these last four days I was constantly screaming in my head:

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

It was true. It was fairly “easy” to rewrite the novel because I wrote notes of all the scenes in order as I wrote them the first time around. Of course, before I lost the novel I realized the story was taking a different direction and I was getting lost. I took this rewrite as an opportunity to get my novel back on track and I spent a lot of my time moving the scenes around (I wrote them on sticky notes inside a notebook) trying to make some sense of it all.

It worked. To be honest, I think this version of the novel turned out better than the first. There was just one problem… I had finished the novel before I hit 50k.

I have many ideas for my Detective Florence series and I always pictured the entire series to be in a set of trilogies. Of course, now I’m wondering if the books need to be in sets of twos or many they don’t need sequels to each other at all. However, the first novel is fairly big with about 92k words and about 291 pages, but I’ve only edited the first draft, so it will most likely be less. Now the second novel is about 50k with less than 200 pages.

I think I’m going to write the third book pretending it’s going to stay a trilogy and see where that plot takes me. In other words, editing these novels is going to be just grand! (<—Please note the sarcasm.)

So, now I have another novel written, my third NaNoWriMo certificate, and a very sore wrist. I love writing and wish I could do it all day every day. The binge writing was fun and interesting to say the least, but… I am never going to do that again.

However, if you want to look on the bright side, at least I realized I can hit a deadline if I really set my mind to it.

But… Let’s be real now. Why did I want to win Camp so bad? Well, to complete another manuscript, of course. Yes, but also because Kris and I told ourselves that if we BOTH won (and we did — go us!) we could buy Mario Kart 8. Now I’m just waiting for her to get out of work so we can play it together.

Congrats to everyone who got through yet another month of NaNo! 🙂

Looking For Cabin Mates!

Camp

As we all know Camp NaNoWriMo starts up again for the July 2014 session in less than a month! However, it’s back with a little twist.

There is a cabin feature on Camp NaNo where participants can gather, chat, and encourage each other with their writing. All in all it’s just a great way to make new friends.

Well, they’ve now added private cabins. Instead of suggesting someone to be in your cabin and then maybe getting in the same one, you can start a private cabin and invite specific people to join. If they accept the invitation then they’re automatically in the same cabin as you. The best part is that you don’t need to wait for the NaNo people to assign the cabins. The private ones begin as soon as you have someone in a cabin with you.

I wanted to see how this worked, so I decided to create one. It’s looking pretty sad at the moment because it’s just me, Fiery_Sapphire, and Kris, Winged_Spirit.

So I am sending out a message to all my NaNo/WordPress friends…if you are participating in Camp next month and would like the have the pleasure of having Kris and me as cabin mates, then please let me know. Give me your user-name and I will send you a cabin invitation through Camp NaNo.

We need more friends. 🙂

Stepping It Up

Writing

Hey everyone!

It’s another one of those posts again…yes, we’re going to discuss “the future” today. Aren’t we excited?

My sister Lisa has a friend who is currently saving up money with her sister to move out of the house. Since she, Kris, and I are all planning Lisa’s bridal shower together and such we’ve had a lot of time to hang out more than usual which is nice. She was telling Kris and I her plans and it got Kris and I thinking…again.

We both love to write. And we do write. But we don’t “write.” I realize I’m not making any sense, but it’s Camp NaNoWriMo right now, people. I was doing so well and then I just stopped. Why? I don’t know…bridal shower and bachelorette planning, homework, work, babysitting, preparing my bedroom to be painted, etc. There is so much to do and not enough time. And unfortunately, with my bills from the upcoming wedding and I’m going to Disney again in August in addition to school bills and such, I need to save every scrap of money I can get. Hence why I’ve been working and babysitting so much.

Writing doesn’t fit in right now. It’s not a priority because it doesn’t pay the bills. It makes me angry because I love to write and want to do it all the time for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to become a full-time writer just so I can go to Disney…I want it as a career because I know I will be happy doing that for the rest of my life.

Thus, Kris and I are bummed; especially Kris because she basically works about nine hours a day in which case your entire day is gone by that point. But by coincidence, the Easter Bunny got Kris a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine and gave her an issue to get her started.

This issue had a list of 101 best websites for writers. We’re talking about websites to get the creative juices flowing, writing advice, agents and publishing, general resources, jobs, online writing communities, genre-specified sites, and writing sites that are just fun. It’s the best thing we’ve ever come across. Kris and I were discussing freelance writing on the side until we were able to publish something and this list of website gives us links to find writing jobs.

Neither one of us have looked at all the websites thoroughly, so we haven’t decided which are too fantastic to not join and such. Plus, there’s a lot to choose from and honestly a bit overwhelming because you just don’t know where to start.

As I go through these websites, I will be sharing my favorites on here for all of you writerly people to enjoy.

Since Kris and I have been behind on NaNo and decided to finally step it up into our writing careers, we’re skipping church tomorrow to go to Barnes & Noble and write all day long. So I’m hoping to write at least 10k tomorrow.

I decided to write all day today as well since I was home and wrote 10,369 words. I have to say that I feel so good right now after doing that. My NaNo count is up to 30,721 now. Still behind, but hopefully if I get a good chunk done tomorrow I will be able to hit 50k by the end of the month.

Before I go, I have to shamelessly advertise: Kris started a new blog. She’s still maintaining her Sugar Wolf blog about writing, but she created a new blog called Wagging Tales. She works with dogs so this blog is dedicated to stories and her experiences with the furry, loveable creatures. So feel free to go check it out!

I hope everyone is having good luck with their writing  and NaNo (if you’re participating). Talk to you soon! 🙂

Two Squares

So I’m sure most of you remember the Reading Bingo I announced a little over a week ago. I discussed that even though I don’t read too much I feel very determined to do not one, but both bingo cards, which is 50 books. However, I will settle to complete only one card.

At the pace I’m going, I have to say that I am in pretty good shape. I’m starting with the purple bingo card (the orange one is geared toward more young adult novels whereas the purple is just general). It’s the beginning of February and I have already read two books for the bingo, which helps my GoodReads 2014 Reading Challenge because I am now four books ahead of schedule for that.

The Hobbit

The first square I filled out was “A book with non-human characters” in which I read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I had to read this book for my science fiction and fantasy class. It took us two weeks to read it; we had to read chapters one through seven the first week and the rest of the novel the second week (which happens to be this week). I ended up finishing the entire novel last week. I did this because I wanted to attempt to have less homework this week, so I thought I would read bits and pieces each day. I ended up reading the rest of the novel in one or two sittings. It was really good; I don’t read fantasy all that much mostly because I have a hard time understanding it (hence why I read mostly middle grade fiction), but it just happened to be one of those “can’t put down” books.

Coming Clean

Speaking of “can’t put down” books…the second square I filled out was “A book you heard about online” in which I read Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller. This book was self-published through Amazon back in July 2013. I heard of it through an article on Yahoo and thought to myself, “This sounds like an interesting book.” It’s a memoir about growing up with both of her parents being hoarders. As interesting as it sounded, I never really read memoirs or non-fiction books. I thought about reading it, but in the back of my mind I knew I most likely never would read it.

Well, since there are very few books I hear about online (well, I do, but I just don’t pay attention), I didn’t know what to read for that square. Then Coming Clean popped into my head, I downloaded it onto my Kindle, and guess what? I read it in three days. According to my Kindle, I read 20% the first time, got up to 48% the second time, then I spent about three hours this morning reading the rest of the book. If it wasn’t too late last night and I wasn’t so tired, I probably would have stayed up half the night to read it. I couldn’t put it down. It is certainly a book I would recommend to anyone, and I did: to my mom and both of my sisters.

So I have 23 more books to read for the purple bingo card. For seven of those squares I know which books I’m going to read. One of them I started reading, but I’m reading it with Kris (we alternating reading the chapters out loud to each other–we’re weird), so it’s going to take us a while to get through it.

If any of you out there is doing the reading bingo, I would love to know what you’re reading and how far you are. If you think this is something you might want to do, then click here: This is the original website of the bingo cards, even though I found them on Pinterest.

Daily Word Count

Writing

 

 

I posted this picture from Pinterest because this is how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s gotten to the point when I’ve started asking myself, “Why am I doing this to myself?” again. You all know my answer as I have explained it once or twice before.  As writers we’re not allowed to make excuses, but we make excuse after excuse anyway. Here’s my current excuse:

School started.

You know how I was writing 5,000 words a day? I was doing fantastic at that! Well, since school started I have been more preoccupied with that (as I should be) so it’s gotten to the point where I’ve said to myself, “It’s already 8pm, I’m not going to hit 5k…I’m just going to go watch Seinfeld.” …My sister and I have been on a Seinfeld kick lately.

Anyway, I decided that I’m going to shoot for 1,000 words a day while school is in session. During winter break, summer, Spring break, etc, I’ll go back to the 5,000 words a day. I’ll update it on my To Do List whenever I change the word count, even if it’s just for a week (like for Spring Break).

Now this bothers me because I assumed by taking three classes I’d have more time to write as opposed to taking five classes like I did last semester–not to mention I’m not working full-time anymore. But here’s the thing: I’m taking three classes and have 14 books for it. Mind blown, right? You have no idea how much reading I have been doing in the past two weeks since school started. I’m not saying this is a bad thing because it’s certainly helping me on GoodReads (I’m three books ahead of my 20-book 2014 Reading Challenge goal!) and I’m using a few of those books to fill up some squares on the Reading Bingo. So even though a few of the books are boring (no offense to anyone who likes Gertrude Stein and/or Ernest Hemingway), it helps. Plus it’s good for writers to read books they like and books they don’t like, right?

So today I pushed myself to get back into that daily writing routine. I wrote 1,259 words and I am happy with that. However, I will admit that I am looking forward to Spring Break in the middle of March so I can not be too exhausted out of my mind and will be able to write 5,000 words again even just for that week.