Note to self:

It is just fine to want the nice things in life. So often, I hold myself back from the things I want, as if even thinking about the things I want will prevent me from having them.

The truth is that I want beauty and security and joy in my life. I’m through with putting myself last and making myself pay for the choices I’ve made. I have a beautiful daughter who deserves every good thing in the world, but I deserve nice things just as much as she does. I don’t want someone to swoop in and save me. I want to save myself.

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NaNoWriMo Prep – Worldbuilding

I’m getting ready for Camp Nanowrimo. One of the main steps to getting ready to write is the outline. For that, though, you need to know what you’re writing, and what seems to help when writing something that’s in the scifi or fantasy genre, is worldbuilding. Because of the differences in the world you’re writing, something as basic as the food your characters will eat or what your characters see on a daily basis is completely different than what you or I might eat or see.

 

Some of the steps that go into worldbuilding:

  1. Some people like to start with a name for their world, but for me, names are the hard part. I like to start with the visual, as in what the people look like, what they wear, etc. How they interact with the people around them, whether it’s formal or informal. then you have to think about whether you have more than one race, and what their differences and similarities are.
  2. I like to find inspiration in societies that exist on Earth, whether they’re alive today or not, especially for things like religions and monarchies. Often, religions are based in trying to explain why something in nature happens, like why there is a powerful storm or a drought.
  3. You have to think about what kind of buildings your world has. Remember that there needs to be a reason for everything. That doesn’t mean that you have to make our buildings simple. Look at ancient buildings and building methods here on earth: the great cathedrals, for example. Those buildings are incredibly ornate and complex, with reasons for everything in them. Or, think about the elves’ buildings in The Lord of the Rings. Incredibly ornate, but made from natural materials. Along with buildings comes the question of how the people in your world travel. What sort of roads are in your world? are they paved? Are they gravel? Do you have an ice world, where the roads are glassy ice and people travel down them on something similar to ice skates?
  4. What sort of climate does your world have? Perhaps there are more than one, or maybe the people in your world live underground or underwater. What sort of natural disasters might the people in your world experience?
  5. What sort of jobs do the people in your world have? Are there restaurants and businesses? What types? And what do the people in your world use as money? Do they have a well-organized money system, or is it more of a barter system?

After answering all these questions, you probably have a fairly good idea of what  your world looks like, so the next step is to do a sort of “walk-through”of your world. Some people sketch pictures. Others write it out. As long as there’s a clear image in your head of how things are in our world. Keep in mind that this information might only make it into your story in bits and pieces, but it’ll be really useful for you as a writer.

Slowly, I feel myself figuring out how to get from point A, (where I am now), to point B, (a path which leads to the life I want to have). I’ve had a bit of clarity recently, and I realize that the only person who is going to get me out of this mess I’ve made of my life is me. I’ve taken some important first steps, but I like to have everything all mapped out, and I know I’ve got a long way to go.

My first step is to launch this business that I’ve been saying for weeks now that I’m going to do. Recently, I went out and got the last few things I needed in order to start selling things online. Tomorrow, I’ve got pictures to take and post online, and I need to decide which avenues I want to advertise in. It’s all very exciting and nerve-wracking. But, I’ve never had much sympathy for people who get themselves into messes, (I hold myself in this category), because I’ve always thought that if you get yourself into a mess, you need to be the one who gets yourself out. There’s no point in feeling sorry for yourself because that doesn’t help, and it often leads to procrastination in fixing the problems.

So, here goes. My goal is to sell at least one product by the end of the week. I don’t think that’s too high of a goal, personally.

My days are so short.

Here it is, already almost 1am, and this is literally the first time this week where I’ve been able to sit down and write anything.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the future, and what my goals and ambitions and true desires are. I could say something generic like, “I want x amount of money in salary per year” or “I want such and such a job/husband/life,” but my problem comes when I don’t know how to get from point A to point B. I could list all the excuses I have for why I can’t do the things I should, and to be honest, some of them are legitimate. Life IS hard when you’re a single parent. Reliable childcare is expensive, and you have to have it in order to be able to work. BUT, you have to have a job in order to pay the bills. It’s like a vicious circle. UNLESS you work from home, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a steady paycheck, and there’s no one to fall back on if you fail. (Deep sigh).

I want so much for my daughter. I want so much for myself. I feel like, if I can get to my point B, I’ll be on my way.

New Business Venture

Hi,

So recently, I acquired a sewing machine, and since then, I’ve been practicing and seeing if I’m any good at it, and as it turns out, I am. I’ve always enjoyed sewing, and having a machine really makes it easier. So, I decided to start a business making throw pillows and household items. I’ve made a couple so far, more to practice than anything, and I’m pleased with the results.

I’m also job hunting, because it’s definitely time to find a more serious job. It’s hard, though, when someone who’s opinion I value tells me that I’m not thinking about things rationally, and I’ll never be able to afford things the way I think I will. Grr. I’ve decided that I don’t care, and that success or failure is up to me.

In The End

In the End is a book that came about because a remarkable person who I cared a lot about died. He wasn’t old or in any way ready to die, and his death was tragic, but in the end, it was  inevitable, because he had a heart rhythm disorder called Brugada Syndrome which went undiagnosed until just before he died. How he died was very sad, but it was not the defining thing about him, or about why I wrote the book.

The reason he mattered, and the reason his story matters, is because even though bad things happened to him, he never lost his goodness. He could have given up many times, but he didn’t. Maybe he should’ve. I, personally, wouldn’t have blamed him.

His name was Zachary Lee, but everyone who cared about him called him Zee. He was a child prostitute. Although I changed quite a few details in the book, and hopefully never got too graphic, the real person was born to a couple who realized that they could use him for their own gains, and use him they did. when he was ten, he was rescued, and eventually put in foster care until he was adopted at twelve. Most people would have been broken by a childhood and upbringing like that, but Zee was braver and stronger than he knew. After he was adopted, he lived as good a life as he deserved, with a set of parents who loved him and gave him every kindness they could offer. This included a cat named Jellybean, who was Zee’s constant companion. He often said that she was better than most humans, because she didn’t judge him the way most people did when they heard about his past.

I suppose that you can’t talk about Zee without mentioning Alex. Alex was his best friend, and the two of them were, at first glance, totally opposite. Alex is taller, for one thing, (close to 6′, compared to Zee’s 5’4), and exudes an air of confidence that attracts people to him in a way that Zee could only envy. But Alex is something of a contradiction. He came from a broken home and a very unstable mother in particular, and he had to sort of fend for himself a lot when he was younger. In fact, it was Zee and his parents that offered Alex stability. So, as unlikely as it might have seemed at the time, the two of them were very close friends, and still would be if Zee were still here. Alex is in the military, although I confess I’m not sure which branch. He and I have sort of lost touch. He was tickled pink that I wrote him as a main character in the book, and he was a source of a lot of the details I wasn’t sure about. He did ask me to change his name in the book, though, for his own privacy.

When Zee died, he was nineteen. At the time, it seemed sudden, and it was definitely unexpected, but looking back, there were signs and symptoms, but nothing big enough to make anyone consider that he might die.

After he died, it was a very emotional time for everyone who knew him. I still wonder if he knew what a lasting impact he had on those of us left behind. That thought, and a song by Black Veil Brides called In the End, was what pushed me to write the book. The song has a line in it that goes: “In the end, as you fade into the night, who will tell the story of your life?” I remember hearing that song and getting this light bulb moment. There was also the famous quote by Banksy, “I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.” I realized that with words, I had the power to keep his memory alive. So that’s what I did. And in the process, I found something I truly love to do, which is to write.

If it sounds like an interesting read to you, you can find it here:  In The End

When I made this blog…

I told myself that I would update every week AT LEAST, and I would get on a schedule and blah blah blah. It’s eight months later, and I’ve finally logged back in.

So, it’s 2016! I’ve had a bit of a roller coaster of a new year so far, but I’d like to recap 2015 before I get into what’s planned for 2016. 2015 was, in many ways, a really good year. Possibly one of the best of my life, and that’s all due to my Amelia Rose. She’s napping right now, so I’m taking the moment to write this. It still hits me sometimes that I get to have this amazing little girl in my life for the rest of my life. If that’s not a blessing, I don’t know what is. Ah, she’s such a joy. So full of smiles and sweetness, and turning into such a beauty. She’s been walking for a while now, (started walking just before her 1st birthday back in November), and recently, she’s started almost running, which usually ends up with her tripping because her little legs can’t always keep up with the rest of her. She’s also talking a bit now. She can say “Mama,” “hi,” “no,” “yeah,” “num num” (food), “up,” “down,” and “out.” It’s crazy how fast she’s growing and changing. I could talk about her for hours and still have things to say, but I won’t bore anyone reading this.

2015 was an interesting year all the way around, though. There were a few dampers on the year, but nothing too big. I finished the very final draft of my book, In the End, which I think will always have a very special place in my heart. If you haven’t read it, (or even if you have, which is doubtful, because I’ve slacked off on getting it out there), I’m going to post something about it on here, among other things, which will, I hope, garner some attention for it. In 2015, I participated in NaNoWriMo twice, (the first time being Camp NaNoWriMo), and I ended up with a novella and a novel, both of which I’m rather proud of, if only for the fact that I can put them on my bookshelf and use them as proof that I’ve actually finished something I can be proud of.

I suppose the big thing that I realized last year, which I’m working to change this year, is how much I currently have to rely on others for. In particular, I mean this in terms of financials. Having a baby means that there’s much more to think about when it comes to finding and keeping a job. At this point, I need to get a job that will pay our bills and provide for the two of us. A happier thing I’ve realized recently is how capable I am as a person, and that there’s nothing really holding me back apart from myself.

And that brings me to my plans for this year. The first, I sort of touched on, and that is that it’s time to build an independent life for myself and Amelia. Starting by paying our bills, but by the end of the year, I’d like to be living on our own. I’m ready now, and that’s what makes the difference, I think. The other big thing for this year is that I’m starting a new book, which is one that I think will be accepted by publishers. It’s more of a YA/Scifi sort of book, but I’ll write more about it later. I hope to have it done by the summer and ready to submit to literary agents/publishers, and I’d like the word count to be somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 words. Last time I wrote a book that length, it took three years. Let’s hope that with better planning, it won’t take so long this time.

Well, that’s all for now. This year should be a good one.

Hello, lovely internet people

My name is Leanne, and I am a single mother to an amazing little girl named Amelia Rose.  On this first post, I want to talk a little bit about myself, and what I want to do with this blog.

So, I’m a single parent.  I’m also a writer and a continuous learner, and I try to always live life to the best of my ability.  Currently, I am in school, taking just a few classes per semester, but I plan to go to a school in Pennsylvania called Wilson College, which has a program for women with children.  When I’m there, I plan to get my degree in Accounting.  After that, at the moment, I believe that what’s going to happen for Amelia and I is that we will build a homeschooling life.  I will work from home, and she will be homeschooled.  I grew up in a homeschooling family, and I truly believe that it is the best option for her, because of the real benefits it offers, not the least of which is that I will be able to parent her the way I want to.

As for an introduction to Amelia, she is currently six months old.  She is the most amazing and beautiful little girl that I’ve ever seen.  I know I’m biased that way, but she has the most lovely big blue eyes.  Her favorite new activities are rolling over when I put her down, (which has led to some squirmy diaper changes!), and tearing up paper and trying to eat it.

As a writer, I have written one full length novel, with another one in the editing process, and a third still in the beginning stages.  These days, life is a journey, and I’m at a place where I’m excited to see where things go.