For My Fellow Writers /// 01


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It begins! Welcome to the first post of my new blog series “For My Fellow Writers”, in which I share something that’s helped me in some funny way, in hopes it might help you out too! I hope you all enjoy! ❤

NaNoWriMo is coming up really soon, so I decided to share one of my favorite world building/inspiration resources on our very first entry for “FMFW” in honor of everyone building their worlds right now! I don’t remember where I found this site, I just know that I forget about it too often for loving it as much as I do. (A casual disclaimer, I’m not a big enough blogger for this to be sponsored, so I’m only recommending this because I LOVE IT. XD )

It has a funny simple name of “donjon” and it’s a straightforward generator; I believe it was made for tabletop role-playing games but it is the fantasy/sci-fi writers dream generator for world building and world/story inspiration! Go here for a moment and play around on this page to get a quick taste; be sure to click the drop down tab!

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the main page

To list just a few of its amazing, detailed generators, it can create globes and maps of variations and fantasy calendars, along with different types of star systems, adventures, magical items, dungeon levels, and monsters. It generates tons of names and titles for humans, aliens, monsters, inns, spaceships, and planets, too.

These generators are all surprisingly detailed, so you can be about as specific as you want for most things, which is fantastic! I always get super pumped whenever I pop over there to fool around for awhile. I’ve used it to generate random writing prompts; I also use it to shake things up in my head. It’s lots of fun!

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Hopefully some of you who might be writing fantasy or sci-fi this year might find something useful to your world building or writing! Be sure to let me know which generator you find that you didn’t know you needed! XD

(Of course, download things at your own risk, but I don’t remember having trouble with this the last time I used it. You can always take screencaps of the information as well to save as images.)

While I’m still undecided on my participation of NaNoWriMo 2015, I’m all gung-ho on cheering on the rest of you! So don’t be shy to come vent your frustrations or ask for a “you can do it” from me; I’ll have something positive and supportive to say to anyone who needs it whether you are participating or not!

NaNo-2015-Participant-Banner

Also I thought it’d be fun to do another poll! The results of the last one were very helpful! Like last time, this is a multiple choice, so check whichever might fit you, and if you want to be more specific in the comments, feel free! If there’s a general time when the majority of you get your writing done, I might figure out a good time to publish these posts to benefit you all. That is, after all, the point of this series. XD

For me, I get more written on weekday nights for some reason. 🙂 Have a great day, my fellow writers! ❤

~Jamie

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It’s About Time I Talked Anime


So, I started watching anime this year. Studio Ghibli was the perfect gateway for me to see past the different animation style and over-the-top story plots to discover the Japanese world of fictional wonder. It is now my opinion that most writers who fancy themselves really creative should watch the really solid entries in anime. The characters and the often-times ridiculous plots are both invigorating to the imagination and tingling to the story-telling senses.

Today I’m going to take the time to cover just a few anime that have been a real delight and among my top favorite shows! I’m sure in the future I’ll discuss plenty more! (Unless stated otherwise, I’ve watched all of these with an English dub.)

5cab3cd4c3956d371249d6ceae793daaPrincess Jellyfish | 11 episodes | 2010

I almost didn’t finish this after the first episode–it felt so bizarre for being a slice-of-life comedy–cross-dressing, awkward misfits in a stylish society, the drama… However I found my curiosity was too strong, so I watched the next 9 episodes all at once and I fell in love! I couldn’t look away! It was strange, odd, quirky… and touching, heartfelt, thoughtful… and really, really hysterical. I have almost died from laughter rewatching this show! Beside that, it’s wonderfully balanced between the hysterics and it’s thoughts on clothing, identity, and just being a girl! (Full length review coming soon.)

So, if I was held at gun point and asked, “WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ANIME” I just might blurt this one out as my answer. (AND STAR WARS, GUYS. IT REFERENCES STAR WARS DURING IT’S MAIN TITLES SEQUENCE. MEGA POINTS BECAUSE STAR WARS.)

psycho-pass33-ep-18Psycho-Pass | season 2 currently airing | 2012-present

Wow, this was really good. They got me fully invested from the beginning as the first episode’s pacing was amazing. The first season was, overall, a fantastic, engaging watch. It started off just enough like a cop show that I felt like I was in familiar territory, before surprising me with its amazing sci-fi world filled with brilliant moral dilemmas and questions. Great characters, combined with thoughtful questions on if a Utopia-like world is possible through heavy crime control, all make for one of my favorite anime shows!!

I’m so excited that they’ve made a second season; I hope to watch the first episode in dub soon!

gugure_kokkuri_san-01-kohina-ramen-eating-chibi-looking_upGorure! Kukkuri-San| currently airing its first season | 2014 

This is probably one of the funniest shows to ever cross my laptop screen and it’s not even released more than six episodes so far! I’m completely hooked, though. The show’s premise–a few animal spirits come live with an emotionally detached girl who thinks she’s a doll–leaves the door wide open for the most ridiculous things to happen. The level of bizarre is just about off the charts, but the show handles it so well! It’s even been able to be heartwarming and side-splitting within a 20 second scene! I can’t wait to see more of this show, and I know I’ll be rewatching it in the future!

(I have been waiting for an anime like this to help me get over my struggles with subtitles. While I still prefer to watch my heavier, darker anime in dub, Kukkuri-San opened the door for me to start two other lighter, subtitled anime that I’m really enjoying!)

fate-zero-screenFate/Zero | 2 seasons | 2011

Boy, was this show dark and intense but fantastic for the thriller/horror/action genre! One of the highlights is the animation–MINDBLOWING-LY. BEAUTIFUL. I was very glad I watched it with the English dub so I could fully focus on the wonderful visuals. The colors, the amazing action sequences, the rendering of magic and manna, and the overall world throughout the animation was breathtaking! The soundtrack is also beautiful! I’m looking forward to seeing the spin-off Fate/Stay in the future!

Honorable Mentions for this post:

Wolf-Children-Ame-and-YukiWolf Children | 1 hour 57 minutes | 2012

What a beautiful, sad, heart-touching, sweet movie this was (can all werewolf stories be more like this?) I was so blessed to get to view this film and it’s story of a hardworking mother who gave up so much to protect and provide for her children were just a bit different from others *cough-See-Title-cough.* The characters are adorable heart-stealers, the story is so sad while at the same time uplifting, and the setting made me want to move out to the Japanese countryside. This is definitely one of my most favorite anime films ever.

Death-Note-death-note-16355334-640-360Death Note | 37 episodes | 2006-2007

My first anime, which I watched last summer. While it didn’t trigger my interest in anime at the time, it was one of the most addictive marathon experiences of my life. I’m pretty sure I watched the entire show in about three days solid. The examination of criminal psychology and criminal investigation mixed with supernatural elements was amazing to behold. The anti-hero Light and the brilliant detective L created so many amazing “battle of wits” scenes that my mind was kept racing to keep up! Besides all that, I must mention that the shimigami Ryuk is one of my most favorite anime characters of all time–there was never a more vicious-looking sweetheart in existence.

***

This post could not be complete with a thank you to a best friend. Never pressuring, never judgmental, James managed to prod me in the direction of anime over the summer months during our weekly Skype chats. Thanks for being so nice, James, and for making anime feel normal enough so that I dared jump in and try!

So, what are some of your must-watch/favorite anime? Or are there any newbies out there like me?

~Jamie

I Won


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Read the official statement here!

See my winner’s page here!

When it was announced that I was the official Soundtrack Winner of the Hugh Howey Booktrack Contest, I tumbled down the stairs to my mom and managed out, “I won it!” We started jumping up and down and hugging each other. It felt surreal yet thrilling, especially on top of my poor nerves. I’d been apprehensive the day before and slept so badly that entire night. Not even Lady and the Tramp had helped calm my spirit enough to sleep soundly. Somehow, all the suspense was both lifted yet escalated at the same time!

I feel so blessed and incredibly excited and even surprised that Hugh Howey liked what I’d added to his story and thought it worth the grand prize. As a writer, I know the protectiveness one can have over how someone else is interpreting or viewing your story and characters; so when I added the music and sound effects, I wanted to honor and build up what he had already so skillfully written, while having fun myself. I feel so happy that that must have come across in my work in some fashion! That feels very fulfilling–especially against so much good competition!

So, three months since first learning about the contest and thinking “ooh, sounds fun, what’s stopping me from giving it a try”–I’ve won 5,000 dollars! On top of that, I’ve won an opportunity to co-produce another Hugh Howey book on Booktrack! How quickly this changes everything! I have money I can save for editing and publishing purposes, money that I can put into making myself a real author in the near future. I have the opportunity to work with a well-established author as well, which will be so good for me and I hope I learn a lot from him! This all IS HUGE, especially since I come from a background where I was told by authority figures and the pulpit it wasn’t God’s will for a woman to have a career outside of marriage and motherhood, leaving me so insecure about my abilities. What an incredible boost this is!

booktrack winner

I want to say a big thank to my two test readers; my sister Kayla, who told me it sounded great when I was insecure about the music selections, and James, who pointed out a couple spots of inconsistency that were easily fixed and also assured me it sounded great! Your feedback was very encouraging to hear before I hit that publish button! I would also like to thank Booktrack and Hugh Howey for hosting such an amazing competition! What a summer this has been for me!

I hope to very soon write a post on my process and tips for creating a Booktrack; I think it would be fun and I hope to encourage any of my fellow writers to check this program out if they haven’t already. I also hope to claim my prize money soon! Haha!

When it gets down to it, I’m feeling so stunned and thrilled and curious about the future and just–wow. I’m really floored.

I know I will sleep good tonight.

~Jamie

All About Doctor Who


{includes discussions about verbal abuse, the Matt Smith era, and thoughts on Season 8.}

Doctor WhoI haven’t talked about Doctor Who on my blog in quite awhile, and with Season 8 finally here, I think I need to get around to discussing it again. The reason I haven’t talked about it in awhile is because I didn’t enjoy Seasons 5 through 7 and that saddened me. I love Seasons 1-4 very much, and wanted to keep liking Doctor Who. As it turned out, my opinions on the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who is a very unpopular one–everyone seems to love 5-7 a lot.

It’s uncomfortable when my opinions form on the unpopular side; it makes it harder to be true to myself. I’ve struggled merely writing this post for about two months because of fear of hitting the publish button.  However, I’m going to stop feeling uncomfortable for being different and share my thoughts just as I need to. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything as there is one serious issue in particular that needs to be addressed and I hope everyone reads at least that part of this post.

tumblr_mi8217YrC51r5pjkqo3_500Before I begin, I want to address everyone who’s thinking I carried prejudices into these seasons because I didn’t want to like anything after David Tennat’s leave. This is not true. Although I was hesitant, I gave them an honest try and left it up the writers and actors to win me over to their side. That’s their job, after all. It simply didn’t happen that way.

I hated almost everything about Seasons 5-7 of Doctor Who. A lot of that stems from the fact that I couldn’t stand most of the characters that populated the show.

Matt Smith’s version of the Doctor was awful and almost ruined the character for me. Eleven’s silliness and rudeness was very distasteful; I could neither take him seriously and I couldn’t respect him. He wasn’t whimsical or lighthearted; he became a blundering, smart alec-y, catch phrase-spouting fool. The gravity of the character was gone and the attempts for gravity in the last season was a hit and miss. On top of that, we as the audience were told “The Doctor lies” which waters down the moral compass that is The Doctor. The Doctor was someone I could trust before Eleven. But suddenly, I’m supposed to believe he’s a liar? Why?!? Just so the writers can change some time traveling rules? Overall, Seasons 5-7 were incredibly hard to watch because of the main character’s drastic and distasteful personality change. I never warmed to Eleven and am very glad Peter Capaldi has taken over at last.

dr-who-s6-01I disliked River Song a lot. River  never came off as a “strong woman” to me. The actress attempted to make her come off strong-willed and smart but she was only ever over-dramatic and annoying. I couldn’t connect with her. She was also a know-it-all, which I absolutely hate in almost any character. Although that was her whole character’s thing–knowing the Doctor’s future–it was not pulled off well, at least not in a way that made me like her. I also didn’t care for her romance with Eleven as it felt very forced and not at all natural. Overall, I sighed very hard whenever she appeared in an episode and I will be glad when she stops appearing on the show.

fab59890a76b9426a8e8b80555ad61bcRory Williams was the only character I liked from the Matt Smith era, even though he had his own faults. He was a very sweet, adorable character and had a fantastic growth from a insecure boyfriend to a strong adventurer who could roll with the punches. His faithfulness to Amy–who I will talk about in a moment–was endearing, but only to a degree. Overall, Rory was the one bright spot in these three seasons and is definitely one of my favorite companions. The only thing I didn’t like was his relationship with Amy.

Amy Pond. Wow. What an abusive woman. The show attempted to show her as a “strong independent woman” but that was not at all what she was. A strong woman does not need to whip-lash people with her tongue and this was a huge problem in these seasons. Amy put Rory down all the time–in fact, the few times she seemed to care even a little bit about him was when his life was in greater danger then usual. This was very off putting. Her “witty” comments were not at all funny but merely rude, unthoughtful remarks. I do not consider this an aspect of a strong woman. And sadly, I didn’t see any character development in the character throughout the seasons at all! This was disappointing.

tumblr_mjpd9wcRK41qksmhwo1_500I did not appreciate how verbal and emotional abuse was shown as normal and “funny” in Amy and Rory’s relationship. Amy did not want to do the work of building proper trust in their relationship, and insisted that Rory just “trust” her when he had doubts, WHICH IS NOT AT ALL HEALTHY. People. Please understand that this is not healthy. I know this from first hand experience. I come from a family that has suffered from verbal and emotional abuse and it is wrong and needs to be talked about more and it is not funny or healthy. What does a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship look like? LOOK NO FURTHER THAN AMY AND RORY’S RELATIONSHIP AS THAT IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE. I plead all of you, both men and women, please learn from my own suffering from this abuse and do not be Amy in any of your relationships. And either sex, men or women, if you’re in a relationship with someone who is treating you like Amy–GET OUT. Now! They do not truly love you, what you see on the screen is not going to play out so great in real life. 

This is a serious problem and it made many of 5-7’s episodes very hard to enjoy when they were saturated with abuse. Sadly, I’ve never seen anyone else even have a problem with Amy’s behavior and that simply reinforces the fact that very few people are aware of what verbal and emotional abuse is or understand that this type of behavior is very dangerous and harmful. It makes me sad that so many girls see Amy as a positive role model.

Clara-D-doctor-who-32962678-933-1280There is one last character I should cover quickly and that is the current companion to The Doctor, Clara. As of right now, I still do not really care for Clara. She’s okay at best, but usually she comes off as overly confident, in a way that I can not relate to, and the actress annoys me. It’s also annoying that now, each new companion The Doctor meets is suddenly, unbelievably important to the entire ticking of the universe to some degree or another. To quote Syndrome from The Incredibles, “When everyone is super, no one will be.” Come on, writers of Doctor Who. This is getting old. What happened to just having ordinary relate-able companions go on adventures? Those are characters I can personally relate to best! (This is why Rose will forever be my favorite companion.)

Overall, because of unlikable characters, bad writing that led to the show trying too hard to be funny, and some very obvious rule changing to time travel that made me very mad, I found that I did not enjoy the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who. The show seemed to be caught up in have “smart” fast dialogue and overly complicated story arcs rather than delivering solid, likable, healthy characters and strong simple stories.

To round off my thoughts on Seasons 5-7, I will highlight the only episodes I manged to enjoy from the three seasons. There are only eight of them, and I will keep my thoughts brief.

Doctor Who 1

Doctor Who 2I liked Flesh and Stone a lot for the Weeping Angels. They’re cool. I liked Amy’s Choice as the plot was actually fascinating and enjoyable. Day of the Moon with the Silence was great; they instill some great terror. 🙂 And Rory was awesome in A Good Man Goes to War. Night Terrors was all around great; it had some fantastic horror elements and was a nice simple story. The God Complex reminded me of old horror films as well, as while I didn’t enjoy some of it, the first half was good. Hide, again, had the horror/scary element that I enjoy. Finally, The Crimson Horror I really enjoyed for the period setting and creepy element. And, yep, those are the few episodes I ended up enjoying to certain degrees.

Before wrapping this post up, I want to touch briefly on the fact that Doctor Who is back on the air! As most Doctor Who fans are aware, Doctor Who has finally returned to television this past Saturday with Season 8’s first episode, Deep Breath. I ended up enjoying it! Capaldi was great as The Doctor, although what his Doctor will be like is not completely clear as we’re still meeting him. So far I like this version; some gravity to the character seems to have returned and I hope that remains because that was sorely lacking from Eleven’s personality. I had some quibbles with a few things about the episode but nothing to warrant conversation as of now.

About time … Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who and Jenna Coleman as Clara.I look forward to the future season with hope! I’m really hoping the characters will be less annoying this time around, which should make watching the show more enjoyable. I really hope I can get back to loving DW again. I dislike disliking Doctor Who. 🙂 Here’s to a brighter chapter in the future of this science-fiction show! Please don’t disappoint me like that again.

~Jamie

Shameless Self-Promotion (Need Your Help)


free_texture_friday_541-1024x682_FotorrI don’t do a lot of self-promotion, so stick with me here, okay? Thank you in advance for simply reading.

Because I love the world of writing and don’t have a steady source of income, I’ve entered a couple of writing contests on Booktrack; the amazing platform where reading and audio come together. It can easily be a disaster, but with my work I try to keep the sound effects realistic and the music appropriate as I never want the audio track to distract or detract from the main point: the story. That’s what I’ve attempted to do in this latest contest hosted on Booktrack.

I don’t know that much about author Hugh Howey, but I know just from his first chapter in Half Way Home he’s a fantastic writer! Half Way Home’s opening “Abort” is very intriguing and very sci-fi! I was thrilled to hear about his contest where anyone can take one of the chapters from Half Way Home and add an audio track to be in to win up to $5,000 dollars! That’s a lot and that’s what I’d like to win. I’d even be happy being a finalists, as they win $1,000 dollars! Even though I do what I do because I love it, I have to admit I’d really love to be a winner here as the stakes are so high and the money could really help me out. And here’s where I need your help.

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behind-the-scenes view of my work

I’ve done my part; I’ve listened to the extensive library of music, edited footsteps and breaking glass and the atmosphere and played with volume levels. I’ve finished my official cover for the chapter, too (up there, see, see! Isn’t it pretty?!) Now, what would really help me is:

A) Some feedback– are there too many sound effects, what did you find overly distracting from the story, the music doesn’t work in this part, ect–just any feedback at all. I have till the end of July to finish tinkering with my entry before the contest ends and the judges begin doing their thing. Any and all critiques would be appreciated before then so I know if I need to do any little (or large!) fix ups to my story.

B) Views. To be become a finalist, the contest states that the three entries with the most amount of views will become finalists. Two more will be picked by Booktrack to make a total of five. My chances of becoming a finalist go way up the more times my story is viewed by clicking the “read” button. If you all could do that even once that would be helpful.

Here is the link to my story below; it works best on web browsers Google Chrome and Opera (both of which I use for free and really like.) You can also simply go to Booktrack and type my username Jamie221b into their search bar. My three stories will come up, this one included!

My Version of Abort: http://www.booktrack.com/#!/bookshelf?booktrackId=99220c80cdcd4cdb8df77b29c57a5545

Booktrack: http://www.booktrack.com/#!/

The Contest: http://www.booktrack.com/#!/landing/hugh-howey

And as a little bit more of an incentive for you: if I’m one of the finalists or the winner of the contest, I will be able to afford my DVD giveaway I’ve been planning on hosting here! The items I have sitting here are Seasons 5-7 of Doctor Who (seems to be everybody’s favorite!) and the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, which everyone should see once! I’d love to be able to throw this giveaway, so the money would definitely make it a sure possibility!

While I would be very grateful if you could help me out with A) and B), I’m also not meaning to hold a gun to anyone’s head like “HELP ME NOW OR YOU’RE NOT A NICE PERSON.” You’re going to do what you’re going to do, so I’ll only be asking this once. 🙂 If you have any questions, please ask. Again, thank you for at least reading this and have great rest of your day!

~Jamie