Monday, July 30, 2012

The Date Draws Ever Closer

The title to this blog post has many meanings, including the fact that it is actually a quote from my novel Summer's Hollow that I am currently slaving away on editing right now. For those of you who don't know, Summer's Hollow is a horror novel that I've been working on for about 7 years or so. I started writing it in High School and finished it just last year. Obviously since I started it in High School the first chapters needed a lot of work with the grammar and overall writing. The content was there it just had some weird writing styles that I had tried out and figure it didn't work.

Now I'm over a third of the way through editing Summer's Hollow (going literally sentence by sentence changing things) and it's getting easier and easier to edit as I go along. It's like me and tunnels (which most of you know I have a phobia of); I'm about over a third of the way through the tunnel and I can see the edges of the light creeping into the darkness.

In the process of editing Summer's Hollow, I'm falling in love with my characters all over again. The main character, Rylie, is very similar to teenage me. She's awkward, geeky, smart and at times shy (okay let's be honest, I was never shy, but you get the point). The other characters are equally loveable and some very unlovable like Rylie's older brother. I love my descriptions of the psychic connection that Rylie has with the other main character, the spirit of Mary Pascal. All in all I'm so in love with this book and I can't wait for you all to be able to read it. With the editing process underway we're shooting for it to be released the end of October or the beginning of November.

The other meaning of this title is that I'm approaching the date when I start Grad School at the University of Maryland. September 3rd is my start date and I'm getting pretty excited. Once I finish (in about 2 1/2 years) I will have a Masters in Geospatial Information Science. To all the people out there who don't know what that is the cliff notes description is that it's taking maps and data and creating databases and complex maps to show spatial relationships of data. To do this I utilize the ESRI ArcGIS Software suite that I just received the other day and started to play around with (which is a slippery slope since you can spend hours doing so).

My classes are on Mondays from 5:30 - 8:00pm and Tuesdays from 5:30 - 6:30 and they're done online using webcams. This allows me to view the lecture and also talk to the professor without having to physically be in the classroom. We also have the option to go into the physical room as well. Since this is a technology degree where all our projects are done on the computer using the software the online setting is an ideal one.

I am super excited to start though I know it's going to be a lot of work and time. I'm hoping  that I can still find the time to pursue my other passions such as writing and Anthropology. Most likely most of my projects that I do for this Master's Programs as well as my thesis are going to be on Anthropological topics. This being said I plan to share these projects with you guys to keep you in the loop as well as show you just how awesome GIS is!

P.S. This image doesn't really have anything to do with what I was talking about except for the fact that it is hauntingly beautiful as I hope you find my book as well. Source:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ukrainian Rhinos

So if any of you have seen on facebook they have this "past life generator" that gives you who you used to be in the past. It outlines your gender, profession, qualities and the way that you died. Now usually I don't do these things, but my friend Steph (Author of The Coexist Cafe) posted hers and I was too curious not to try it out myself. Now you're probably wondering what this has to do with Rhinos but trust me it does.

This was the past life I got:
Gender: Male
Past Year Born: 1511
How you died: Rhino killed you
Re-born: November 10, 1989
Quality Got from the past: Brave and Fighter
Past Profession: Seaman, cook, carpenter.

Um... yeah. So apparently in a past life I was a Ukrainian man who was a brave seaman who was killed by a rhino? First of all are there rhinos in the Ukraine and second what the hell kind of a situation was I in that I was killed by one?

Facebook has left me with so many unanswered questions; so where do I go next? Why Google of course. I literally started googling "Rhinos in the Ukraine" to see what I got. I came across this website: that gave me a brief overview of everything I ever needed to know about Rhinos including how to say it in pretty much every language. (Ukrainian is Носороги). 

What did I find from all of this you ask? That yes, a subspecies of the white rhino was actually bred in Eastern Europe including the Ukraine! Also they were breeding white and black rhinos together around the Czech Republic area. In addition the Woolly Rhino was very prominent during the Miocene in this region. The rhino is used for many different things but the horn is most prized. In many regions throughout the world rhinos are killed specifically for their horns. 

I realized from this research that rhinos are an animal that I knew hardly anything about and now I know a lot more about them. The lesson I learned from this whole thing: I will stay away from the Ukraine in loo of being killed by a rhino.

P.S. If you google "White Rhino" you get A LOT of pictures of pot.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Like a Bull in a China Shop: Sam in a Book Store

Pretty much the title says it all. I'm slightly obsessed with bookstores. When I was younger I was obsessed with libraries... yeah you can see a trend here. So last night Grant and I decided to finally go to this bookstore down the street from us. Now I've been wanting to go to this bookstore because well, it's a bookstore but the main reason though I wanted to go there was the name: Daedalus Books.

The first time I heard about this online store (and the subsequent warehouse that happens to be in Maryland) I was a senior in high school. I was taking a mythology class and for one of our projects we had to find an example of mythology in advertisements and write about it. That's when I discovered Daedalus Books. For those of you who don't know who Daedalus was here's a short synopsis of who he was and of the famous Greek myth:

Daedalus was one of the great inventors, architects and artisans of Ancient Greece and is credited with the invention of the axe, saw, ceramic wheel and even the masts of boats. Yes, he was actually a real person; like many other cultures, Greeks centered their myths around real historical figures. One of the greatest known of his accomplishments was  his plan for the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete and Greece today. 

The way the myth goes, Daedalus built many great structures for King Minos but at some point Daedalus and Minos' relationship deteriorated. There are several different explains to sudden rift, but the most popular has to do with the labyrinth that Daedalus created for Minos. See King Minos wanted a building that he could cast his enemies into that would both make sure they couldn't get out and that the mythological minotaur couldn't either. His enemies would then be killed by the Minotaur. The way the story goes though is after Minos imprisoned Theseus in the labyrinth, Daedalus advised Princess Ariadne to give Theseus the thread that helped him kill the Minotaur and escape the labyrinth.

Minos was infuriated when found out about the betrayal and imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in the Labyrinth. Daedalus being the inventor he was, fashioned a set of wings for his son out of wax, feathers and wood and they were able to fly out of the labyrinth. Later though, after being scolded by his father not to fly to close to the sun, Icarus did. The wax on his wings than melted.

That's the cliffnotes version of the story, which happens to be one of my favorite stories in Greek Mythology. Funny enough it was the TV show "Wishbone" that got me so into that myth. The point of me telling you the whole back story is to show you how excited I was to go to this bookstore.

Daedalus Books is mainly an online shop for "New, Remainder Books, Overstock CDs, DVDs at a Discount Price." I have used them to order books in the past because of their great prices but I have never gone to the store. The warehouse style store can be seen from Rt. 32 and every-time I drove past it I was intrigued. It is the only brick and mortar store that they have in the country and lucky for me it's about 5 minutes from our apartment.

Last night though was the first time we went. I went just wanting to look around and Grant wanted to get some books that he could read on his upcoming business trips. We spent over an hour in the store (though I could've spent a lot more) just looking around at all the different books, CDs and DVDs they had to offer. Most were under 7 dollars so of course we were immensely happy.

After about 30 minutes I found the holy grail: The Anthropology section. Now granted, it wasn't that big only a section of a large shelf but it had some amazing books none the less. I have an obsession with enthnographies so I had to hold myself back from buying the whole section that was filled with them along with a handful of evolution books.

So there you have it, a great books store that has some great deals and a great names.

"Daedalus - the greatest inventor in Ancient Greece"

Friday, July 6, 2012

Madness!? Well maybe a little bit...

It has come to my attention that what I am currently embarking on might be slightly mad or insane. That may be true, but to be in my shoes I think you have to already be a little bit insane. I think Grant would agree. Upon returning home from work yesterday we did the usual "How was your day, baby?" "What did you do?" song and dance and when it came to my part I responded: "I started a publishing company and just registered the name with the State of Maryland."  Of course I was looked at with a blank stare and perhaps even a bit a fear in his face (not unlike the one he had when we first started dating). It was the "What the hell are we getting into" face.

Then I explained to him my mind process for how I landed at that point. I explained that I spent a good while researching all about self publishing, marketing and the like and had reached this decision. I told him how many self publishers create a DBA Sole Proprietorship to publish their books under. Another blank stare from Grant. That's when I started going into detail about how DBA is short for "doing business as" and a Sole Proprietorship means I own it myself. I assured him that I knew what I was doing since I have registered our company in different states as a corporation so a simple DBA was nothing.

After all this explanation he looked a me and then hugged me and told me he was proud of me and all that I had accomplished (still with that look in his eye like he thought I was slightly insane). And like I said I think part of me has always been a little bit insane.

So on top of my full time job at my Federal Government Contracting firm, Grad School for Geospatial Information Science, my normal writing (stories, blogs, etc) and the occasional volunteering at the museum I now have my own publishing company that I can use to publish all my works. Yep, insane may pretty much cover that...

P.S. Of course I had to use the image from 300 :)