Thursday, May 31, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

I got my first rating/review on Smashwords.  3 stars.

Darnit.  Darnit.  Darnit.

This was my biggest fear with self/e-publishing.


It's not a bad review.  It's not a bad rating.  But I wanted at least 4 stars.

The star rating system on Goodreads (according to them is):

1 star - didn't like it
2 stars - it was ok
3 stars - liked it
4 stars - really liked it
5 stars - it was amazing

For the record, never, ever take my ratings on books if you're my friend on Goodreads.

My rating system:

For half of my 5-stars:  No, it's not great literature, but I enjoyed it anyway.  It was fun, that sort of thing.  Good way to kill some hours.

For the other half:  This book was freaking amazing.

(The fact I don't review most of these doesn't help things)

4-stars:  Well written, not perfect but still pretty good.  I'd recommend almost all of my 4-star rating books before I'd recommend 1/3 of my 5-star books.  (What am I talking about recommending?  None of my friends read, and even then, we don't even read the same stuff.)

3:  Ugh, well, it was okay, not for me, but still good.

2:  Uhm...it had a plot.

1:  I hated it.

Assuming this person doesn't have my review opinion, I did okay.

We're going to the store today.  Maybe I should get a pint of Dutch chocolate ice cream.

Reading

I know a lot of readers cut back on their reading once they go to college, but so far, I haven't, and that's taking 20 hours last semester.  But, I also didn't work either, so that freed up a lot of my time too.  I barely study.  I was one of those students that got it (or most of it) the first time around and would then look over it again right before the test.  And pass.

If I had studied in school I probably would've been a straight-A student.  In college, I would probably be a 4.0.  Still, no going back.  And quite frankly, I'm happy being a 3.5 student.  I'm considered smart and I get my writing and reading done.

A girl's got to have her priorities straight.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Asking for Advice

I've been a Culinary major for a full semester/summer and already I'm rethinking it.  Good thing I never actually started culinary school.

I want to be a writer.  That's it.  I still want to have my own restaurant someday, but honestly, I should only chase one dream at a time and THAT would seriously cut into my writing time.

One can't serve two masters.  It's in the Bible, so it's true.

I pick writing.  I want a normal 9-5 where I have plenty of time to write.  Sadly, writing doesn't pay very well.  Heck, with the exception of the 99¢ thing on Amazon, which I had no control over, I would write for free.  I've been doing that since 05 anyway.  It was never about the money.  I'm not saying I don't dream about becoming a Bestselling Author, because I do, but it's not about that, and it never has been.

Money doesn't buy happiness.  It buys comfort.

Looking through other things the W offers, and I've been considering business or accounting or finance-type stuff that all the advice for college kids websites say are good fields to go into.

Marketing.  Good idea for a self-publisher.  Plus, I would be able to get a "real" job, maybe.

I read somewhere that I should build a lifestyle that supports my writing.  That would.  I think.

It would certainly make me appreciate writing more.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Advice to myself, and incidentally, other people

1)  Life's easier when you know who you are.  When you have a passion in life.  
Passion = happiness.  At least, it has for me.


2)  Our economy sucks.  The job market sucks.  No matter what field you go into, you're going to have to fight for a job, most likely.  You may as well take the gamble and follow your heart/nose/dreams/here's a good one, God's will. (Rich Mullins has a great song about this.)


3) Know your talents.  Cultivate them.


4) As for as the stuff you're not talented in, if you like doing it, do it.  You'll get good.  If not, hide your attempts.  ;)  As for the stuff you're not talented in, and you hate doing it, don't.  Not if you don't have to.  It's not worth stressing yourself over.


5) Dance.  Even when you feel like an idiot, dance.  Get moving.  Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.


6) These things make life easier:  Laughter, chocolate, best friends, books, Rich Mullins, Brennan Manning, and fairy tales.


7) Don't worry.  God's juggling the Universe.  He won't drop you.

Now all I got to do is follow my own advice.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sitting on My Hands

I uploaded "My Fair Donor" to Smashwords 5 days ago. (See sidebar)

I still haven't gotten any reviews, BUT there's been over 100 downloads.  I know from experience that I don't read stuff nearly as fast as I get them.  I shouldn't expect that from other people.

I followed these 2 (3? 4?) pages on Facebook that advertise free Kindle books.  I've downloaded a lot that way.  I've read...like, none of them.

Part of this is because I want to read a lot of print books while I'm home.  The more books I have on my Kindle (and Kindle app for my BB), the less print books I'll worry about bringing to the dorm.

I'm stock-piling, basically.

So, I'm not sweating it.  People will get to it when they get to it.  Between my Kindle books and my print books...well, let's not go over how many books I have that I haven't read.

So, I'm not going to stress (much) about having my little short story out there and no reviews.  I have a few downloads.  Reviews'll happen, and when it does, after I'm done jumping around the room (if it's good) or eaten a pint of ice cream (if it's bad, but ice cream's a good idea whether the review's good or bad), you'll be the first to know.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Itsy bitsy--nothing itsy bitsy about THAT spider

For the record, I don't have arachnophobia.  But I hate, absolutely hate large creepy crawlies that sneak up on me.  If I see it first, and at a distance, I'm okay.

If I'm walking in my room and one just pops out that's like this big:



and like two inches from my foot, we're going to have a problem.  I don't remember flying across the room, but I did.

If it hadn't been 11:30 at night, I would have gone get my older brother (one of two; he's who's staying with us right now) or my dad (who's home this week).  Something about a huge spider turns me into a weakling.

I killed it.

I love the crunch when you kill a huge bug.

And I flushed it.  I got the idea from Brad Stine.  I've been watching a large amount of his videos.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Fair Donor

...was released on Smashwords last night.

If you're interested, click here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Doorstoppers

I know I said I'd wait until I was done with all my Stephanie Plums before I started on my doorstoppers, but I decided against it.

I'm starting on the doorstoppers now.  I just finished Hot Six, and with no forseeable end to the Stephanie Plum books in sight, and no foreseeable choice between Morelli and Ranger (I've read some reviews for Explosive Eighteen), I've decided to cut back for now.

The Doorstopper list?

Books 1-4 of A Song of Ice and Fire, not all of them are really doorstoppers, but there's so many.
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Insomnia by Stephen King

I got a bunch of other hardbacks that are quite long, but these are my heavy hitters that I want to hurry up and get through.  I have some pretty long MMPBs to get through too, but I can always pack those.

Also, I counted my Unread books today.  First count was 190, the second was 182.  I'm gonna go with 182, because I think I know why there was an 8 book difference.

First up, I pulled Insomnia.  787 pages.

Idle Questions

1 - Do the people who play the Power Rangers like their jobs?


2 - Come to think of it, do any children's actors like their jobs?


3 - Do women in historical romances shave their legs since they're always "creamy white"? (Their legs, not the women, but I guess they are too...)


4 - Do the Avengers like running around in their costumes?  (Awesome movie, by the way, you must see it!)


5 - Does Chris Hemsworth wear a wig when he's Thor?
(Actually, I Googled that one, and it's a wig, apparently a super-wig.)


6 -  How do authors really feel when their books are turned into movies and they butcher the books?


7 - How many more Stephanie Plum books will there be? (I know the movies depend on how well the first one did.)


8.  Will Disney ever release Frozen or will it be put on ice again? Pun intended.


9.  Will Disney ruin "The Snow Queen"?


10.  Should I look up a nunnery?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Bookwormy College Girl's Problem

I will mostly likely be staying at the dorm at the W.  I have, at last count, 622 books, about 170 that I have not read and about 80 are reference.

I have an idea of the books I will bring, but even I know I can't take all of them with me.

I know I'll take my Ragamuffin Gospel and Reflections for Ragamuffins; most, if not all, of my Stephen Lawhead's and Stephen King's; my short story collections; 2 Bibles (HCSB and NLT); The Calling of Emily Evans; Nectar from a Stone; My Andersen and Grimm collections; baby name books; my dictionary and thesaurus (well, I have like 2 or 3 of each, but one of each); probably It's Not Easy Being Green; and maybe half the books on my Unread shelf.

Bookshelves, we have a problem.

Of course, I'll have my Kindle and my Kindle app on my BB, so I don't have to bring so many.  I have an HCSB and Nectar from a Stone on my Kindle as well as in print, but there's something about flipping through the book.

Honestly, I'm going to try to read as many books as possible before move-in day.  I really just want my comfort books.  And I'll try to read all those doorstoppers I have.  Why bring a few ginormous books when I can bring a probably double the amount in MMPBs?  And then there's the other books I have bookmarks in and my Lloyd Alexander's and Victoria Alexander's.  Oh, and my Candice Hern's!  But most of the ones I have by her are on my Kindle, but I have four of her books in print, only one of which I've read.

What I think I'll do, is once I'm done packing the absolute essentials, I'll just pack books in the spaces and see how much I can fit.

I remember reading somewhere that you know you're a bookworm if you hate moving because of all the books you have to pack.  I now understand fully what the blogger meant.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

I actually got my mother something for Mother's Day this year.  I don't think I've gotten her anything in a few years.  Like, since 2009.

I got her a new copy of The Help, because she loaned out her other copy and never got it back, and a Vicki Yohe CD.  Oh, and the card talks.  It's about guilt, something my mother can do better than Sylvia Fine.

I haven't given it to her yet.  If it goes well, yay.  If not, it'll be another 3 years before I get her something again.  I've said it before:  I suck at picking out gifts.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why I Think It's Popular

1.  Stephen King

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, SK was popular by the time I cut my reading and writing teeth, though I didn't touch one of his books until I was a senior in high school.  The first book I read by him, The Eyes of the Dragon, was freaking awesome.  I was brave enough to try some of his other books, Firestarter and 'Salem's Lot.  I liked them.  As far as fame goes, I think he deserves it.  He can tell a good story.

2.  Twilight

I've said it before.  Twilight is popular for 2 reasons:  1 - it's easy to read.  2 - There's hot guys.  Millions of teenage girls who've never read anything else don't need a strong plot, a likeable heroine, or even an acceptable length.  That being said, I did like the Twilight books, I just don't think they're the greatest thing I've ever read.

3.  Harry Potter

My mom never let me read Harry Potter.  It looks fun, though.  As soon as I'm tucked happily away at the W, I do plan on reading them and watching the movies.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"My Fair Donor" Concept Cover

This is an identical post from my other blog:


Using a variety of softwares I do have on hand, I managed to make this for my cover. It's just concept work. It's really plain, but I like it.

I don't know if I'll use it or not, but here it is:


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Obscure Fairy Tales: The Pen and Inkstand by Hans Christian Andersen

IN a poet’s room, where his inkstand stood on the table, the remark was once made, “It is wonderful what can be brought out of an inkstand. What will come next? It is indeed wonderful.”

“Yes, certainly,” said the inkstand to the pen, and to the other articles that stood on the table; “that’s what I always say. It is wonderful and extraordinary what a number of things come out of me. It’s quite incredible, and I really don’t know what is coming next when that man dips his pen into me. One drop out of me is enough for half a page of paper, and what cannot half a page contain? From me, all the works of a poet are produced; all those imaginary characters whom people fancy they have known or met. All the deep feeling, the humor, and the vivid pictures of nature. I myself don’t understand how it is, for I am not acquainted with nature, but it is certainly in me. From me have gone forth to the world those wonderful descriptions of troops of charming maidens, and of brave knights on prancing steeds; of the halt and the blind, and I know not what more, for I assure you I never think of these things.”

“There you are right,” said the pen, “for you don’t think at all; if you did, you would see that you can only provide the means. You give the fluid that I may place upon the paper what dwells in me, and what I wish to bring to light. It is the pen that writes: no man doubts that; and, indeed, most people understand as much about poetry as an old inkstand.”

“You have had very little experience,” replied the inkstand. “You have hardly been in service a week, and are already half worn out. Do you imagine you are a poet? You are only a servant, and before you came I had many like you, some of the goose family, and others of English manufacture. I know a quill pen as well as I know a steel one. I have had both sorts in my service, and I shall have many more when he comes—the man who performs the mechanical part—and writes down what he obtains from me. I should like to know what will be the next thing he gets out of me.”

“Inkpot!” exclaimed the pen contemptuously.

Late in the evening the poet came home. He had been to a concert, and had been quite enchanted with the admirable performance of a famous violin player whom he had heard there. The performer had produced from his instrument a richness of tone that sometimes sounded like tinkling waterdrops or rolling pearls; sometimes like the birds twittering in chorus, and then rising and swelling in sound like the wind through the fir-trees. The poet felt as if his own heart were weeping, but in tones of melody like the sound of a woman’s voice. It seemed not only the strings, but every part of the instrument from which these sounds were produced. It was a wonderful performance and a difficult piece, and yet the bow seemed to glide across the strings so easily that it was as if any one could do it who tried. Even the violin and the bow appeared to perform independently of their master who guided them; it was as if soul and spirit had been breathed into the instrument, so the audience forgot the performer in the beautiful sounds he produced. Not so the poet; he remembered him, and named him, and wrote down his thoughts on the subject. “How foolish it would be for the violin and the bow to boast of their performance, and yet we men often commit that folly. The poet, the artist, the man of science in his laboratory, the general,—we all do it; and yet we are only the instruments which the Almighty uses; to Him alone the honor is due. We have nothing of ourselves of which we should be proud.” Yes, this is what the poet wrote down. He wrote it in the form of a parable, and called it “The Master and the Instruments.”

“That is what you have got, madam,” said the pen to the inkstand, when the two were alone again. “Did you hear him read aloud what I had written down?”

“Yes, what I gave you to write,” retorted the inkstand. “That was a cut at you because of your conceit. To think that you could not understand that you were being quizzed. I gave you a cut from within me. Surely I must know my own satire.”

“Ink-pitcher!” cried the pen.

“Writing-stick!” retorted the inkstand. And each of them felt satisfied that he had given a good answer. It is pleasing to be convinced that you have settled a matter by your reply; it is something to make you sleep well, and they both slept well upon it. But the poet did not sleep. Thoughts rose up within him like the tones of the violin, falling like pearls, or rushing like the strong wind through the forest. He understood his own heart in these thoughts; they were as a ray from the mind of the Great Master of all minds.

To Him be all the honor.

(1860)

SOURCE



It's short enough to put the whole thing, so I did.  And I think it speaks for itself.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Songs: Hard to Get (by Rich Mullins, duh)



I didn't like this song at first.  It's really slow and if you don't pay attention, it's hard to get (pun intended).

But then I really listened to it.  And now it's one of my favorite songs from the Jesus Record.

Rich Mullins said in one of his concerts that he liked doing prayer songs.  I kind of got the feeling that this is one of them.

I don't know how to describe it, other than to call it heartbreaking.  Or it's a heart's cry.

Lyrics, via Lyricsbox.com:

"You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt

Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away
Well I memorized every word You said

Still I'm so scared I'm holding my breath
While You're up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then

Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat

Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You're up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained

And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this somehow
All I really need to know

Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind
I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt blame and regret

I can't see how You're leading me unless You've led me here
Where I'm lost enough to let myself be led
And so You've been here all along I guess
It's just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Final Grades, part 4

Recap

Fall 2010
  • Art Appreciation - A
  • English Comp. I - A
  • World Civilizations I - A
  • General Psychology - B
  • College Algebra - C

GPA: 3.4


Spring 2011
  • General Biology Lec/Lab - A
  • English Comp. II - A
  • World Civilizations II - A
  • Intro to Sociology - B

GPA: 3.76


Fall 2011
  • Computer Applications - A
  • General Biology II Lec/Lab - A
  • Honors Forum I - A
  • World Literature I - A
  • Walking - A
  • Public Speaking - C 

GPA: 3.6

Spring 2012

  • New Testament Survey (online) - B
  • World Religions (online) - B
  • Theatre Appreciation (online) - A
  • World Literature II - B
  • Jogging - A
  • American History II - A
  • Spanish - A
  • Honors Forum II - A
GPA:  3.55

Cumulative GPA for my time at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College:  3.57
63 credit hours

Separating...

Okay, so about going indie?

I signed up for CreateSpace, and Smashwords will be next.  No, the story's not ready, not yet, so it's a little premature, but maybe by the time I've gotten around to fixing the story till it's Perfect, I'll be used to this indie thing.

I know "indie" is a label, but I love the sound of it.  Like the word.  It just sounds cool to me.  I can live with that label.  It's much better than "dork" or "geek" or "nerd" or "weirdo," among other things I've been called.

I started a new blog.  This one, I hope will be more writing and not my life like this one (although, I appreciate all of you who are actually interested in my life).

Mostly, it's about the decision to self-publish and how it's treating me so far.

J. C. Verdin (something like an author).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Last Visit

I finished my finals yesterday.  On a whim, I drove up (me, alone) to the Port in the torrential rain (me, alone) and went see Amanda.

Today, my PTK t-shirt came in, so I drove up to the college to pick it up.  There was a sign on Prof's door saying she wouldn't be in until 9:30.

I went to the library to wait.  One last time.

I spoke with one of the librarians for a few minutes.  Deciding I wanted to get my phone to call home and say I'd be awhile, I left the library to find Prof had returned, and it wasn't even 9 o'clock.

I got my shirt, saw how bad I parked, and that was that.  My time at Perk is over.  My final grades should be posted later today, and I'll put those up when I get them.  I'm just as anxious as you are.

Now, for the shirt:

Front where-the-breat-pocket-should be.
I find that a little hypocritical since I really have
none of those traits, except perhaps scholarship.


Back.  talk nerdy to me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tale from a Tabloid

I've mentioned Candice Hern's website is the place to be for Regency information.  Scattered along her site are the Tales from the Tabloids.  I'm assuming they're actual newspaper stories.

This one is my favorite.

"Southampton, April 4: A circumstance has occurred in the neighborhood of a large town in Hampshire which has occasioned much conversation. A young lady, twenty-three years of age, who will inherit a large property upon her father's death, was recently discovered by him to be pregnant; and on the enraged parent's demanding to know who had been the seducer, she, to his utter astonishment, answered that it was her maid, Harriet. Harriet was immediately called before him, and an examination took place, when it appeared that the young lady, during a visit last June at a friend's house near London, became acquainted with a handsome youth, who was shop lad at a circulating library, of whom she became enamored, and a secret marriage was the consequence. Fearing her father's anger at such an unequal match (the youth being poor), the idea of being obliged to part with him gave birth to the following stratagem: The youth assumed the female habit and accompanied his fair bride to her father's house, where he has, until within this fortnight, figured away as her maid. The old gentleman, however, is now reconciled to the loving couple, and Harry (alias Harriet), is as happy as wealth and beauty can make him."

The Lady's Magazine, April 1809