The Giving Spirit


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Something peculiar happened to me this Christmas season, something I didn’t even notice till my Mom pointed it out; and I’ve done some thinking on it since. For the first time, I didn’t make a Christmas list.

I didn’t even think to make one! Which is so very odd, because I love Christmas and I love receiving presents–getting gifts equals receiving a physical object from someone who said, “I value you enough to spend my hard-earned money on you.” Like, wow! I LOVE PRESENTS and the paper and the name tags and the excitement of opening them. I say without shame that presents are the one of the best things about the Christmas season–it sounds selfish and materialistic to say so out loud, but it’s the honest truth.

So, I did a double take the other day, when I realized how much my focus had shifted off myself and on to others, without me even trying. Without me even realizing it.  It wasn’t even until a couple of days ago when Mom, in passing, mentioned, “Hey, you didn’t make a list this year” and I realized I’d completely forgotten about it.

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I want to know why, in a rhetorical sense. Is it because I’ve grown up? Because I knew my family’s Christmas was going to be really low key this year and so I didn’t want bother my mom with a list? Because I’m distracted with my new story idea? Is it a combination of everything above? What happened to the my tradition of list making? Is 20 the magic adult age?!?!?!?!?!

I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is this: giving gifts is incredibly awesome. It’s what I’ve been focused on since Thanksgiving ended–“It is present buying time for family and friends!” And I like that that was my primary focus this year, without me even thinking, “Gosh, I’m too old to make up a list of things I want, I should focus on others for a change.” Like, wow. Maybe I am growing up…?

christmas presentI often shake my head when I hear people complain about how Christmas has become commercialized. Because you know what? Money is only as good as the things you buy with it. To give people gifts and see their reaction, hear the sequels, and make them feel noticed and appreciated–that’s exactly what the Christmas season is for!

Because when has the spirit of Christmas been about anything but giving.

~Jamie

Winter-y Wonder!


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S tagged me with this winter tag, which I’ve never see before, so I’m especially excited to answer it! Thank you, S! (Check out her blog, A Free Mind, people! One of my faves!) I’ve not gotten into a holiday mood yet, mostly because my zomb story means listening to intense music, putting joyful Christmas music to the back burner. Thankfully, that’s about to change very shortly–(I’m putting up the Christmas tree today)

The Rules: 
1.Thank the person who tagged you & link to their blog.
2. List your top 5 favorite things about winter.
3. Answer the questions of person who tagged you.
4. Create 5 questions about winter for the people you tag to answer.
5. Tag 3 or more people.

5 Favorite Things About Winter:

1. Christmas: does not need to be explained because it’s almost everyone’s favorite holiday. ;)

2. The Cold Weather: even if it leaves me shivering at 70 degrees, it’s still a great change from a constant sweat at 105 degrees. :-| And cold weather means my favorite thing which is…

3. Hoodies: I love wearing hoodies. I want to live somewhere where I can wear them all the time. I have a Joker hoodie, a Darth Vader hoodie, a very comfortable boy’s hoodie that are the best clothes in the world.

4. Christmas Music: because Christmas music is the best.

5. Christmas Decorations: in people’s yards, in stores, in my home, everywhere. I love seeing Christmas decorations everywhere.

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S’s Questions:

1. What does winter makes you think of? Heehee…Christmas. Always. To me, Christmas equals winter and winter equals Christmas. Winter never seems to last that much longer after Christmas and New Years ends…I mean, yeah it lasts past March, but it doesn’t feel the same. :-|

2. What’s your favorite Christmas movie(s)? *gasp* I will have to limit myself: I usually list A Christmas Story as my favorite, but I also adore Miracle on 34th Street (the old one!), White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

3. What’s your favorite winter/Christmas song? (Feel free to make that plural.) Oooh, so hard because there are so many good ones. I love Sleigh Ride (instrumental is best!), Carol of the Bells, O Come O Come Emmanuel, Winter Wonderland, and the songs from the animated Grinch film. Below is the acapella group Pentatonix’s rendition of Carol of the Bells.

4. What’re your favorite winter clothes? Heehee, again, hoodies. I sometimes have to wear hats and scarves, but my favorite thing is a warm fandom hoodie.

5. What’s your favorite winter drink? HOT CHOCOLATE. It is one of the best drinks, and I can’t drink at any other time except for wintertime. :( :)

I now tag:

Maribeth

Abigail

I can’t think of anyone else at the moment–if you want to do it, go ahead, of course! :D

~Jamie

This Year I’m Thankful For…


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Among many things this year, I’m grateful for:

a. My soul mate, music.

b. Earning $5,000 doing something I love and am excited about, along with the mental journey of confidence the contest took me on.

c. My family and how hard we’re working to make things better for ourselves and each other.

d. Finding a school that has helped me begin to  catch up on everything I didn’t learn during homeschool. 

e. Yummy food. 

f. Getting to Skype nearly every week this summer and fall with my best friend.

g. My home and getting to live in it.

h. Studio Ghibli and anime, for renewing my love for exceptional animation and story-telling.

i. My blog readers and followers and all the people who comment.

j. Getting to attend my first comic-con and having a chance to attend another one this winter.

k. My overall good health.

l. Precious memories of past friends who I miss.

and m. Christmas, because I already have Christmas on the brain. (sike, if you thought this was going to be the full alphabet! XD Have a good Thanksgiving everyone.) 

~Jamie

This Year’s NaNoWriMo


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Today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo and many of us writers participate each year! It’s always so exciting–joining an international group of people with one goal to complete a certain large word count in a month!
Now, I didn’t think I’d talk that much about this year’s book because I’m writing it purely for me and the characters are so special I almost don’t want to talk about them. However, after thinking about it and seeing the awesome link up to blog meme Beautiful Books, I decided to get over myself and talk a little bit about this year’s project. (Thank you to the creators of the blog event Beautiful Books for coming up with these questions!)

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THE QUESTIONS

1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Okay, to answer the easy question first: I’m a complete hardcore pantser. I ruin my drive and my stories when I attempt to plot them out beyond a simple framework. As to which came first: in a sense, the plot came first. I decided I wanted to write a zombie survival story this year. However, the characters are ones I created/have written with from back when I was twelve. I wrote five books with these characters by the time I was sixteen and I haven’t really done anything with them since. So I thought, okay, zombie story with my old characters! Why not?

2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?

Yes, the title is “Alive”–it’s a play on how a lot of zombie titles have the term “Dead” in them. I went for the opposite, haha. I’ve revised the “blurb” since my last post, too. It’s down below under the sum up.

3. What word count are you aiming for when your novel is finished?

50,000. This is a silly practice book that I won’t mind if I don’t actually finish. As long as I can get to the end of say I completed this year’s NaNo, I’ll be happy. :P

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4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.

Here’s the revised blurb: “Finding themselves trapped in a zombie infested part of Florida, members of an old detective club re-band together to escape and survive as they journey out of the danger zone, unsuspecting that an old enemy is on the their trail for vengeance.” That was one long sentence. My story is simple–it picks up after several years from my last book, it’s almost like an alternate universe tale with zombies.

5. Sum up your characters in one word each.

This is actually quite easy. I’ve worked with these characters for so long, I know them very intimately in many ways. Baxter: leader. Zak: stronghold. Jenny: protective. Duke: passionate. Anthony: muscle. Rip: smarts. Norton: confident. Kyle: revenge.

6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!

I’m actually very excited to write more about Baxter, the old gang leader. He’s been a special favorite of mine since forever. He’s very smart but has become pessimistic about life in general, which is reverse character development from the last book I wrote. Even though he’s become bitter, his friends still find him a strong leader and steady in a new uncertain environment. Baxter became hard to write when I first changed him, but I think with of my new experience in human emotion, and psychology in general, I can now handle the character. :P

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7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?

Kyle is probably one of the most one-dimensional villains I’ve ever created–however, I can excuse myself as when I made him, I barely knew how to write consistent protagonists, much less well-developed bad guys. Kyle’s revenge motive is very simple and I don’t feel like I need to flesh him out any more than he already is. So we’ll just glide over this question, ok? :P

8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?

It’s very simple–survive. Don’t get bit. Don’t get infected. Don’t die. What stands in their way? Again, it’s very simple–zombies. When done right, zombies are fantastic fantasy creatures and I can’t wait to write them into a story!

9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?

Right now, the opening consists of a few members of the old gang returning from a camping trip in the nearby mountain and find their small town full of the dead. They stumble upon more of their friends and decide get out of the town before they even discover they’ve been left behind in a war zone of sorts. All this triggers old problems that were never resolved that the group must work out if they want to trust each other to survive.

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10. Where is your novel set?

In a fictional small town in Florida somewhere on the peninsula. The most I know is that they’re against the ocean  and they will have to travel north to get to a safe zone…

11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?

Honestly I haven’t thought that far ahead. It’s a straight forward zombie survival/drama story–it almost writes itself!

12. What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?

Well, the friends have grown apart the last few years, so coming back together to work as a team really makes them face their old problems and learn how to set differences aside to help each other survive. Probably one of the most dynamic relationship that I’ll address is between Baxter and Kyle, whose story of anger and revenge has been left hanging for over four years. It’s going to be cliché as heck but a lot of fun for me to write. Hopefully this story will help me put these characters to rest, give them solid endings, and allow myself to move on from my old childish stories (even if those stories mean a lot to me.)

13. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

If I’m going with Baxter being the main protagonist, maybe I will give him a path to peace in some way. Or maybe I will kill him off and emotionally scar myself. I’m still deciding…

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14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?

I have no idea how the book will end or if I will even reach an ending by 50,000 (I can be long-winded)–I want both a happy “they survived!” ending and a “they’re torn to bits emotionally and physically and they all DIE BECAUSE IT’S A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE STORY” type ending. I don’t know–how do you think I should end it?!

15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself? (This is your mission statement, one you can look back on when the road gets tough.)

DEAR LORD I HOPE NO ONE READS THIS BOOK NOBODY WILL TAKE ME SERIOUSLY AS A WRITER EVER AGAIN. But seriously, I hope I have some plain, decent fun and get some resolution with these characters that I’ve left dangling for so long in an old Microsoft word document deep within my laptop folders. This year’s NaNo is going to be more of a personal journey, but that’s a good thing!

(What are your plans for November? Do they include NaNoWriMo? If so, what are you writing about?! We should be buddies on NaNo if we aren’t already!)

~Jamie

Giveaway Winner Announced!


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My giveaway closed this morning and the winner selected is Anna Baggins for the blog post comment that she left! Congratulations, Anna, I’ve announced this all over the interwebs already, but I’ll say it again! Congratulations!

Thank you to all who entered my giveaway within the last two weeks, it was awesome to see the different names appear! I feel so blessed to have been able to launch my first giveaway with the help of the prize money I made this summer! Without it and your support here at my blog, I wouldn’t have been able to do this! Hopefully someday in the future I can do another one! Maybe when I hit a certain follower count or something similar!

Thank you again to everyone who entered! Congrats Anna, hope to hear from you soon! (I’ve sent an email your way. ;) )

~Jamie

Jamie’s Follower Appreciation/Doctor Who Giveaway!


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I’m so happy to at last throw my blog giveaway this month! It starts today! I’ve had an amazing time writing on this blog the past three years and the people who’ve followed and commented throughout the years have been some of the best parts! Today, this giveaway is for you!

Since I’m using Rafflecopter to host this giveaway, and Rafflecopter wouldn’t cooperate with WordPress, I’m using a special page on Facebook to host this giveaway (Facebook wants me to say they’re in no affiliated with this giveaway I’m just using it to make the Rafflecopter app work!) It should still be really easy to do and I’ll still spell out rules here! When you’re ready, BE SURE to click to the link to visit the giveaway page to enter!

Simple Version:

Giveaway Length: 10/13/14 to 10/31/14

Item: Doctor Who Box Set of Seasons 5-7 on DVD Region 1!

Eligibility: Must live within The United States or Canada.

To Enter: Visit this page and see what Rafflecopter options you want to fill out to make lots of entries!

Terms of Use: Can be found on the Rafflecopter app on the Facebook page.

Note: In the Rafflecopter, to get extra entries, you can leave me a couple of comments answering the questions: please try to leave those comments here! This is, after all, a giveaway for this blog.

Extended Version

There is one prize–meaning there will only be one winner– and my giveaway items are the fan favorite Doctor Who Seasons 5-7 on DVD; in new and good condition! I have only viewed Season 7 once and Seasons 4 and 5 never. I don’t care if you watch Doctor Who or not for you to enter this contest; all I care is that you are a blog follower because this giveaway is a follower appreciation giveaway! This giveaway value is $240–I wanted to make my first giveaway big! (For some time, I wanted to also giveaway The Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy but sadly that is no longer possible! So sorry about that!)

Want a picture of the three box sets!? Here you go; a raw photo from my desk! I

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The only restriction I have on this giveaway is that I can only ship these within either The United States of America and Canada. Sorry other-international-readers. I almost cried making this decision; I really do appreciate you following me! If you can’t enter, leave me your blog/twitter/Facebook link in the comments below and I’ll come follow you!

The only other thing I want to highlight is that when you enter, in case you win, you must be sure there is a way for me to find you and privately contact you for your address so I can send them to you!! If I can’t do that, then a new winner will have been chosen. But as long as I can direct message you through Facebook, Twitter, or can contact you to get your email, we should be in good business! (And of course overall rule: let’s all be adults and mature throughout this contest, no hating on the winner, ect ect ect. Come on. Let’s have a good time!)

Follow this link to my giveaway page and click on the tab “Giveaway” to get started! The giveaway begins today and you can enter in different ways up to October 31st when the giveaway closes at 6 AM Arizona time! Within 48 hours after the giveaway closes, I will announce the winner!

I really hope this giveaway is a success! It’s my first one, so I will be learning throughout this process myself! Good luck to the winner!

(As fate has it, I will be gone most of today, so any questions you might have I won’t actually see till later in the day–just a heads up!)

~Jamie