Rambling

So, my friend and I ended up not seeing Blackfish.  It turns out that her movie app on her cell phone lied to her about times and we missed the only showing of the day.  That was alright, though, because honestly, neither of us felt like being depressed today.  Instead, we ate lunch at a trendy restaurant that probably neither of us are actually cool enough to eat at and then went and watched Letters to Juliet (for the record, that movie is a lot less depressing than Blackfish).

We had kind of a funny conversation on the way home.  I’ve always said that of all my friends, she and I are the most alike.  We’re both pretty easy-going, straightforward, and we agree on a lot of the same stuff.

This afternoon, we started talking about the 1993 Halloween classic Hocus Pocus.  I don’t even remember how we got on it.  Maybe because I bought Halloween candles today?  Not sure.  Anyway, we started talking about how much we both love it and she says, “That movie used to scare me so much when I was little.”

I said, “Me too!  I was really scared of the book with the eyeball.  And of Billy.”  I love Billy now, though.  He’s awesome.  The book?  Eh… still kind of creepy.

She goes, “I was scared by the idea of three evil witches kidnapping children and eating their souls.”

That’s when I realized that I was a really demented little kid, because secretly, I always wanted to be them.  Specifically, I wanted to be Sarah because she wore purple and she was the pretty one.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am really, really girly.

Every time I watch the movie, I find myself rooting for them and I’m always really disappointed when they die.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one though.  Everyone loves Winnie, Mary, and Sarah, right?  They’re hilarious!

There is absolutely no point to this blog post other than I thought that was kind of an amusing conversation.  I guess I’m kind of procrastinating too.  I really need to be editing and uploading right now.  Instead, I’m writing a blog post and listening to the theme song from Friends on repeat because I had a dream about it last night.  I always wanted a Joey, but to be honest, I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up with a Chandler.  And I am just fine with that.

Okay.  I’m going to actually go do my work now.  Bye!

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Quick Cemetery Tours Update

On a Cemetery Tours related note, I have spent the last week going through and editing the book (I swear, the edits NEVER END!) and will be spending the rest of the evening making changes to the manuscript.  Next week I’m hoping I’ll be able to spend a lot of time MARKETING.  That’s going to be the big thing these next two weeks!  Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s getting so close!  I’m nervous and exciting and ready and terrified! 

Blackfish

Tomorrow has the potential to make a big impact on my life.  My best friend and I might be seeing Blackfish, the new documentary that primarily focuses on the killer whale, Tilikum, who drowned his trainer, Dawn Brancheau in 2010.  It also touches on captivity and the way animals, particularly killer whales, are treated at SeaWorld.

The first time my family took me to SeaWorld, I was seven years old.  I am not exaggerating when I saw that that one visit changed my life.  I fell utterly and completely in love with the ocean and everything in it.  I loved the sharks, the dolphins, the coral reefs, the sea lions, the orcas, everything.  I spent my entire childhood reading every marine life book I could get my hands on.  I watched all the little kid documentaries, I constantly drew pictures and made clay sculptures of whales and dolphins, and, when I got old enough, I went to SeaWorld Camp.

To this day, my weeks at camp were some of the greatest moments of my life.

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Spanky and me. Sea Lions are my favorite.

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Swimming in the Killer Whale’s medical pool.

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Otter Hammock.

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Now, I hear arguments all the time that people should not be interacting with these wild animals, etc…  But I never thought it was a bad thing.  This sort of interaction and exposure has given me the gift of a lifetime; a deep and profound love for something completely beyond myself.

It’s true, I love writing and I want to be an author, but my lifelong dream has always been to work with marine mammals.  I used to want to be a trainer, but as I’ve gotten older, I realize that I’d rather volunteer my time with conservation and rescue/rehabilitation efforts.  And when the day comes that I have the funds to do so, that is exactly what I plan to do.  (Maybe I should make that my catchphrase:  Buy a copy of Cemetery Tours, help save a dolphin!)

I can’t, as a person who loves these animals, say that captivity is okay or preferable.  It’s horrible to take an animal from their home and put them in a pool solely for profit.  But SeaWorld does not do that anymore.  At least, that’s what we were told at camp.  And although I can not speak for the organization or the big corporations, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the people who work with those animals love them with all their hearts.

I’ll be honest with you.  A part of me is dreading seeing Blackfish, just because I know it’s going to break my heart and make me cry.  I’m terrified that everything I thought I knew about the place I’ve loved for so long and that taught me to love these beautiful animals might have been a lie all these years.  But I feel like it’s been too big a part of my life to ignore it.

I love those animals and I always will.  I want what’s best for them.  And I hope that no one thinks badly of me for my lifelong relationship with SeaWorld.  I don’t regret it.  It taught me more about life and love than anything in the real world ever could.  I just hope it hasn’t come at a cost.

Staying Focused

I pretty much love everything about writing, but my absolute favorite party has to be the very beginning.  That first moment you get a brand new idea for a story and you’re so excited about it that you make a whole new Pinterest board and a new iTunes playlist entirely dedicated to this one idea.  It’s new!  It’s exciting!  You can see it!  You can practically breathe it.  

Then that little angel who lives on your shoulder taps you.  

“Eh-hem.”  

Oh right.  I have a book that’s coming out in about three weeks that still needs my attention.  In fact, I really need to get the ball rolling on that.  Like, I shouldn’t even be eating or sleeping or breathing.  I should just be focusing on that book.  

It’s a good problem to have.  You know, to be so excited about a new idea that you forget about everything else.  Then again, I really want to be working on this new idea when I still have a zillion things to do, not only for Cemetery Tours, but for the three other books that I have in the works!  I wish I could clone myself.  That way, I could work on all five of the stories at the same time!  

These Next Few Days

These next few days probably aren’t going to be all that eventful.  I will be spending the weekend rereading the manuscript AGAIN (of course this time, it’s in book format… yay!) checking for misprints, typos, and errors.  I’ve already found one spot where I left out a word.  It’s incredible.  You can read through a manuscript a hundred times, have twelve different people read through it (most of whom are INCREDIBLY intelligent) and you can STILL have errors!  Holy cow!  

But in the end, it will be worth it.  I want this book to be professional quality, and that means making a professional effort.  

On the more exciting however, I have officially procured a place for the Cemetery Tours launch party!  I am really excited about it!  I can’t wait to start planning and making arrangements!  I have also started handing out some Cemetery Tours postcards with all the information on the back around my community, so hopefully the word will spread!  

As usual, I will keep you updated!    

Dream Cast

Okay, so I’m not sure how many authors actually do this, but I imagine quite a few have at least some idea of which actors and actresses they would cast should they ever be lucky enough to have their book adapted into a movie.  It helps to have an actor or actress whose performance and way of speaking are familiar to you to bring characters to life inside your mind.  I didn’t cast the entire book, since I want to keep at least a little mystery in the book, but I want to share my ideal casting choices for the five main characters.

Matthew Gray Gubler as Michael Sinclair.  I’ve been in love with him ever since I saw my very first episode of Criminal Minds.  I knew right then and there that he would be my inspiration for at least one of my leading men, and it just so happened that he fit reluctant medium Michael Sinclair to a tee; cute and awkward with a dry sense of humor.  I’d also love to see Matthew Gray Gubler as the star of the show!

Amanda Seyfried as Kate Avery.  This “casting” was easy.  I love Amanda Seyfried.  I’m a huge fan of all good chick flicks, and she happens to star in several of my favorites, such as Letters to Juliet and Dear John.  I’ve always found it more difficult to write likable female characters.  You want them to be nice, smart, fun, but you never want a Mary Sue; a character who is just so perfect that she’s annoying.  The most important thing for me in writing Kate was that I wanted her to be real.  I didn’t want her to be a perfect Jane Austen-reading, veggie burger-eating, shy girl next door.  I wanted her to be a funny, outgoing, neurotic, pizza-loving, television fanatic.

Jensen Ackles as Luke Rainer.  Okay, any fan of Supernatural will understand how he inspired the dreamy, ghost hunting superstar, Luke Rainer.  He’s loud, charismatic, flirty, but he also has a more serious side that he doesn’t let a lot of people see.  He’s not above a little manipulation to get what he wants, but in the end, you still can’t help but love him.

AJ Trauth as Gavin Avery.  So, for those of you who don’t remember him, or weren’t old enough to appreciate good television in the late 90’s – early 2000’s, this guy played Twitty in the Disney Channel sitcom, Even Stevens.  I’ve never seen him in a really serious role, but physically, he fits the bill for Kate’s haunted brother, Gavin.

Cody Linley as Eugene “Brink” Brinkley.  Okay, so, this guy is a lot older now than he was when this picture was taken, but since this is a dream casting, I figure I can get away with using whomever I want.  And yes, if you’re wondering, this is Jake Ryan from Hannah Montana.  I know his character was kind of a tool, but I kind of  liked him.  Besides, he’s just how I imagined Michael’s friend and roommate, Brink; youthful, carefree, funny, slightly immature, and optimistic.

The End.

https://www.facebook.com/CemeteryToursSeries

Extraordinary

Today is a big day in my household.  It’s the day my little sister goes off to college and moves into her new dorm.  I know it’s not like she’s leaving forever, but it’s still weird and, I’m not going to lie, sad.  She’s my best friend in the world and I’m going to miss her like crazy.  Sure, she’s close enough that we’ll be able to see her at least once a month, but it’s still a big change.

While I’ve mostly been preoccupied with the fact that I’m going to miss her, I have to admit, I’ve also been a little envious.  See, I never had the full college experience.  When I was in middle school, my family suffered a tremendous financial blow, the effects of which still linger to this day.  Things have gotten better, but my mom still says that they’ll probably never fully recover from that period in our lives.  Because of everything that happened, I couldn’t afford to go away to college, so throughout my four years of undergrad and two years of grad school, I lived at home.  Even though several kids do that to save a little money, it’s something I’ve always been insecure about. 

However, everything I’ve gone through in the past year has inspired me to stop dwelling on the experience I didn’t get the opportunity to have, and all the amazing and wonderful experiences that I have had, and that I hopefully will have in the future. 

This post isn’t really about my book or my work as a writer, although seeing that through has given me more confidence and self-respect than I think I’ve ever had in my life.  It is a little self-centered, but I think it’s good for everyone to take a minute and think about everything extraordinary about their lives.  The shooting stars, if you will.  Here are a few of mine.

I’ve hiked to the top of a mountain.

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I’ve seen the Red Woods of the West Coast.

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I’ve visited Heaven on Earth.

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I’ve danced with a beluga whale.

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I’ve worked an amazing job as a summer camp counselor.

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I’ve seen my favorite band live in concert.

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I’ve earned my Master’s Degree.

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I’ve enjoyed a sunset picnic on the beach.

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I’ve been inside a fairy tale castle.

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I’ve eaten Haggis.

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I have not one, but two of the best friends in the world; two people I trust completely and know will be there for me no matter what.  And that’s a rare find even one time around.

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I’ve played in the mud for absolutely no reason other than that I could.

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And I’ve started my own business and written a novel that will be in print and an eBook in exactly one month!

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I can’t wait for whatever happens next!

Next Steps

The past couple of days have been pretty productive, which is exactly the way I like them to be!  I designed and ordered both my business cards and postcards with the cover to Cemetery Tours and information about the book, websites, etc… just to hand out around the community or send to whomever wants one.  Gotta keep marketing!

I also just ordered the first copy EVER of Cemetery Tours from my printer to proofread!  I am so excited to finally have it in my hands! 

Now that that is all underway, I need to start thinking about formatting for eBook.  I also need to figure out a few more marketing strategies and reserve a place for the release party.  I’m hoping that I hear back either today or tomorrow from the venue I contacted last week.  It’s actually my church, but we have a great reception hall and we’re Episcopalian, so DRINKS ALL AROUND!

Just kidding.  I want it to be a family event.  Though there probably will be drinks.  Anyway, if that falls through, I’m not sure where I’ll look next, so I’m really hoping it doesn’t fall through.  

Now that things are starting to fall into place, I really need to start focusing on my next book!  I actually have two that I’m currently working on; a sequel to Cemetery Tours and the first in a trilogy.  I won’t say anything more about that one yet, except that it has sort of a nautical theme.  I’m all about the ocean and preserving marine life, so I’ve been looking forward to writing this one for a while!  I’m at about the same place in each of them, so I’m not sure which one I’m ready to commit to.  I need to pick one soon, however, as I’d really love for Wind Trail’s next publication to happen sometime early next year!  I think I’m going to buy myself a calendar and start giving myself deadlines.  I’m usually pretty good about deadlines when other people set them.  I should be even better about deadlines to myself, but I know that if I break my own deadline, I won’t get a bad grade or a cut in my paycheck or anything like that.  I’m very lenient on myself.  Maybe having it in writing will help me.  When I first started working out, I made myself a sticker chart, which actually encouraged me a lot because I could see how much work I’d put into it!  

Well, I think that’s all the updates for now.  Later!