Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Spark

There has always been a path that I have laid out for myself: high school > college > job > publish books > grad school > career > PhD. It is a path that for the longest time I thought I was going to take alone; a path that I was determined to fight my way for. Then a funny thing happened: I fell in love. This caused my path to deviate a little bit and threw "get married" somewhere in between grad school and career. All these notions that I had about my life suddenly have this other person involved in it.

For a while I wasn't sure how I felt about this. Sure my thoughts on weddings and marriage had changed but was I really ready to be a wife? Was I ready to walk down that aisle and proclaim "I Do?" These questions have been swirling around in my head and I was assured by many a married friend that theses were normal thoughts to have. My life didn't have to be put on hold. There was just now another person, who was going to have the title of Husband, that would stick by my side and assist me with all those things I wanted to do. If anything it would HELP my path.

Then came yesterday afternoon when I got my dress. Sure I had tried on the dress before (in a size too small) but it wasn't MY dress. This one easily slipped on me, fitting my curves in all the right places and then I realized - this was exactly where I wanted to be in my life. Staring in the mirror as my Mom, Bestemor, Cousin, and Best Friend fussed with the dress, deciding where the bustle should go, it struck me. This felt so incredibly right and I couldn't help but be lost in this vision of myself.

Maybe that sounds a little vain - but I have worked my ass off to get this body of mine the way I wanted it and even my imperfections I found perfect. As the bridal consultant asked me if I wanted to try on any accessories (which I declined, I am not into "bling" at all) I still couldn't help but look in that three way mirror at all the details of this perfect dress that had found me. That right, it found me and is now part of me.

Right now I can see it hanging on the door to our extra bedroom. For the time being I didn't want to let it out of my sight. Every so often I admire it in it's beauty and smile at the thought of Grant seeing me walk down the aisle in it. Of course I will hand it over to my mom next week as Grant comes home on Saturday and I don't want him to see it. Now I know that wearing that dress while saying I Do to Grant has always been part of my path.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Techy Tuesday

When it comes to the overarching concept of technology, cell phones are relatively new. The first handheld mobile phone was created in 1973 and since then we've had thousands of models of different types of mobile/cell phones. The technology took a while to be perfected and in some cases is still being perfected. I was born in 1989 so for me it is hard to comprehend life without the cell phone. Personally I didn't get my first cell phone until I was a junior in high school (in 2006) but now I'm pretty much glued to my cell phone.

The cell phone now has gone way passed the standard technology used to make voice calls. Now there isn't much you can't do on a cell phone. From using it to make calls, check email, surf the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and GPS - the possibilities are literally endless. It almost eliminates that need for a computer altogether. There are times when I use my cell phone to do all the thing that I use my laptop for.

Personally the cell phone has made communication when Grant's oversees so much easier. I can easily get an messages he sends me (email or facebook), we can chat on skype right on our phones, and we play Words With Friends (he always wins). Without this technology I wouldn't get to talk to him as often since regular calls are so expensive in and out of India, he's 9 1/2 hours ahead, and I'm not always near a computer. For that I am grateful.

On the flip-side of that there's also the fact that people have become lazy because of cell phones. We suddenly want everything now. If we want to know what actor played who in a movie we can look at our phone, if we want to know sports scores we look at our phone, and if we need to find out how to get somewhere we look at our phone. In some ways it has lessened the interaction and communication with others by the very tool that was supposed to bring people together.

Now I open up the floor to you all. What do you think about cell phone usage? How helpful is it and what do you use yours mostly for? Do you think it's lead to less communication or more communication?

*Image and information courtesy of the article "Cell Phone Evolution" on wikipedia

Monday, June 24, 2013

Playing to Your Strengths

This is a phrase that has many connotations. It could be applied to your job, to sports, to your day to day interactions with people, and even when it comes to relationships. Today though I'm bringing it up in reference to writing. I've always thought that pushing boundaries and trying new things is a really good thing to do. On the flip-side I think when it comes to some things, like writing, playing to one's strengths is necessary.

Over the weekend my friend came up from Richmond and we saw the new Much Ado About Nothing film by Joss Whedon. Now I'm not going to gush too much about the film (literally could spend hours doing that, but I want you all to see it before I do) but I want to talk a bit about how it influences this blog post. Most of you have read Much Ado at some point either in high school, college, or even on your own. It is a classic Shakespeare comedy and is known for the sharp wit and comedic genius of the characters. The back and forth between Beatrice and Benedict is intoxicating and the fact that they are played by Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof (who for you fellow Whedon Nerds is pretty much like Wes and Fred are back together) make it that much more amazing. The constant banter between them and the subsequent love that is started because of that is quite amazing. Shakespeare really had a way with words, especially when it comes to dialogue.

Now it is important to mention that my friend who came to visit happens to be my critique partner. She is studying to be an English teacher and is also a writer. We are constantly swapping stories and helping each other out with things. She noticed something when reading the rough drafts of my "Chronicles of a Teenage Freak" series - the dialogue was very strong, the descriptions were awesome, but the action fell short. She then went on to talk about how much she really loved the dialogue and the fact that my characters reminded her a little of the bantering between Beatrice and Benedict.

So it struck me: playing to my strengths in this case would mean focus on the dialogue between the characters. What does that mean you ask? Well it means that I've decided to take these great pieces of dialogue I have and turn it into a screenplay. Yes you heard me correctly, my next project will not be to write a short story series but instead write a screenplay or even a series of screen plays. I've even toyed with the idea of turning it into a TV show of sorts.

Then of course I know your next question is: Well what does that mean for Summer's Hollow? Don't worry my loyal readers I'm still trekking along with that; I've just taken then opposite approach. In fact the theme if you will for Summer's Hollow right now isn't play to the strengths, but instead identify the weaknesses. See I was so hell bent on getting it out there, getting it in the hands of all of you, that I neglected some major pieces. Right now I'm falling in love with SH all over again and loving it. So you know what? I'm not rushing it. I'm seeing what developments the story will take. It's still slated to come out at the end of the Summer but I'm not stuck on any date right now. The best development that had come out of this has been an amazing Prologue.

Exciting things are on the horizon! Of course I'm going to continue to work on Summer's Hollow and of course keep you all updated on that (frankly I haven't worked on it in a week since work, school, and wedding planning have taken over. Remind me again why I decided to do all of this at once? lol). In between though I will be doing a bit of research on how to best attack this whole screenplay thing. I'm excited to finally figure out what I can do with these 125 short stories that I have that have these strong pieces of dialogue though the story is a little stuck in my head sometimes. So a big thank you to my critique partner for helping me to this development and also a big thank you to Joss Whedon and Shakespeare for constantly inspiring me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Techy Tuesday

Starting today I'm going to try a new segment for my blog: Techy Tuesday. This will be a weekly (or bi-weekly depending on my busy schedule) segment focused on different forms of technology. Since I'm moving forward more into the technical field than the anthropological one I think this will be a great opportunity to show people how the two work together. It also gives me the chance to showcase some of the projects I have been working on for my Geospatial work as part of my grad program.

In addition I also want to open the floor up to anyone who would like to do a guest post about any kind of technology. It is my goal that most of you will learn something new with every Techy Tuesday segment and also get to discuss these technologies both here and on my facebook page. If  you are interested in guest blogging or just want me to write about a specific technology please email me at: curtincall89 [at] gmail [dot] com. 

For this week's segment I would like to address the question: just what is technology? Webster defines it as: "The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes" or "Machinery and equipment developed from such scientific knowledge."

This is very similar to the anthropological definition of technology which is: "The body of knowledge available to a society that is of use in fashioning implements, practicing manual arts and skills, and extracting or collecting materials." (

What does your mind conjure up when you hear the world technology? Do you think more along the lines of the anthropological sense, or more in lines of actual equipment and gadgets that we use in the modern times? Discuss...

Monday, June 17, 2013


I am the first one to admit it: I am a control freak. When I'm not the one doing the work or getting things done I tend to hover over the person who is to make sure everything is done. I love working in groups, don't get me wrong, but I like to be the one in charge. Control over my life is another thing that I strive for. I want to make sure I have a firm grasp on it and can take care of myself. This of course means that I work my ass off to get the things I want and to take care of not only myself but the other people I have in my life. 

The flip-side to this is that I have any amazing fiance who is always there to help but at times I'd rather just do things by myself. He and others have told me over and over that marriage is a partnership and that both partners have equal levels of control. This is going to be a tough one for me. I know Grant is completely capable of taking care of himself and me also but I need to learn to relax and let him take the reigns every now and then.

A prime example of what happens when I lose that control was yesterday. Many of you know that Grant's plane left Saturday night for Mumbai, India. Well it's monsoon season for them there now so his plane got diverted for over 6 hours to another part of India. It really doesn't seem that bad looking at it now but during the time the control freak in me was freaking the gosa out. See when he flies I always monitor the flights. United Airlines has an awesome app that sends you alerts when the plane has taken off, landed, and if anything changes.

The app even has a tracker that shows you a picture of where the plane is in the air. So imagine my surprise when I got the alert that the plane was diverted. No explanation just that it was diverting to another part of India. Well the control freak in me literally went crazy. I then for the next two hours started researching all the different airports, what was going on Mumbai for them to divert, and when it would all be back to normal. Eventually I found out what was going on - that the plane was delayed in Ahmadabad for weather and they would arrive in Mumbai when the weather subsided. Then came about 9 hours of me not hearing anything. The flight tracker wasn't updating, Grant's phone wasn't working, and the Mumbai airport didn't know anything about the flight. I know that I shouldn't have worried about it as much as I did - but I HATE not knowing what is going on hence the control freak thing.

Eventually Grant got to the hotel (after having an employee from the hotel itself pick him up) and right away called me on skype to give me the run-down. Turns out United doesn't usually fly out of Ahmadabad so they spent 4 hours getting the paperwork together to even fly to Mumbia. Grant and the other passengers spent the entire time just watching the in flight movies. He was fine and in the back of my mind I knew that but the control freak in me took over. He then went on to apologize for not calling but apparently his India cell phone decided to not work this trip. His regular cell phone worked within India but he couldn't call out of India.

Well that's where the control freak in me took over today. While he slept, regaining his strength after being on a plane for over 23 hours, I was fixing his phone so he could make calls within India and back to the US. Right now everything is good and he's preparing to go into work tomorrow (they're 9 1/2 hours ahead of us). This was just an extreme example of how when things are beyond my control I go a little bit crazy. Luckily in between all of the craziness I was with my Dad for father's day (of course updating my United app every 5 minutes and waiting for Grant to call). In the end things seem to always work out for the best and I've learned to get better at the controlling problem. Like everything else though, sometimes it just come raging back when the situation isn't even that bad in the end.

This is why I turn to Hoodoo. Hoodoo is the one thing that I feel that puts me in total control. I get to control all the elements around me and contain my world either to my altar, mojo bags, chalice, or anything else I want to use. Then everything within that world I have control of. So you better believe I broke out my black salt, candles, marbles, a piece of Grant's clothing and went feverishly to work on protecting him through the ordeal. It helped keep my sanity and in the end helped him get safely to where he needed to be. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Darker Side of My Writing

Horror is something that I feed off of, drink off of, and ultimately live off of. It's the reason that I put the pen to the paper or my fingers to the keyboard. The ability to paint a picture in someone's head and cause them to lie awake at night is something that I strive for. All this being said, horror is not what I solely get paid to write. My day job as you know is at a government contracting firm doing proposal and other technical writing. This for some is scarier than any horror novel; for me it's why I sit at this computer every morning at work.

Technical writing is a whole other animal where flowery words, long sentences, and over use of adjectives is discouraged. The main purpose of it (in my line of work) is to inform, persuade, and prove that you know what you're talking about. This becomes difficult at times when you really have no clue what you're talking about say on the subject of Network Infrastructure Support.

Have I lost you in a cloud of boredom yet? No? Well good because even though it may sound dull to you I thoroughly enjoy it. Let me walk you through a typical proposal that I help write (some information is taken out since I'm bound by NDAs and my Security Clearance). First the government puts out a solicitation for contractors to submit proposals to win the work. These solicitations usually consist of a Statement of Work (SOW), Solicitation Instructions, Past Performance Questionnaires, and various other attached forms to fill out. It is then my job to read through all those documents, figure out what the government wants, and then start working on the response.

Most of the time I'm not the only one writing. In fact it is very seldom that I am the only one writing. We have a bank of seasoned proposal writers, subject matter experts, and pricing experts to help us write the best proposal to win the work. Lately I've been in the land of the staffing portion of the proposal. It is then my job to not only find the candidates that would best fit the contract but to write eloquent summaries of their qualifications. This is a lot harder than it sounds and I am often spending days pouring over resumes and picking out pieces that go the best with the particular contract. There are even times when I've used my own resume for a proposal since I had the qualifications and security clearance (which is the biggest hurdle when recruiting for these classified positions). That actually was the hardest write-up that I've had to write. It's easier to look at another person's resume and talk them up than it is to talk up myself.

The other parts that I work a lot on are the past performance pieces and the technical parts of the proposal. This is to ensure the government that we have the past experience and capability to do the contract in question. This involves a lot of sifting through past contract documents, talking to employees and subject matter experts who do this work for a living, and a lot of editing of write ups from other people. That leads me to the next part I play in the proposal developement: editor. Though at times it might seem that I let little grammatical mistakes slip through on my blog, when I edit other people's work it is much easier to catch their spelling and grammatical problems. In my company I am known for getting the wording right and making purely technical pieces "sound more eloquent" as my boss puts it. I even have friends at other firms/government agencies who send their technical write-ups for me to fix for them.

Of course since I work for a small company the proposal stuff isn't all I do but it is mainly what I focus on now. I also help with the day to day administration like managing office supplies, sending out checks, producing paperwork for clients/employees, etc. It helps me that I wear so many different "hats" at my job so that I am never bored. There is always something going on in one facet or another.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Meet My Jet-Setting Fiance

Once again thank you for all the questions you submitted this past week. Last night Grant and I sat down to conduct the interview. He leaves this Saturday for a three weeks trip to India so it was a perfect time to conduct this interview. Some of the answers to these questions were even surprising to me. Other cultures have always fascinated me and I would lying if I said I wasn't jealous of his globe-trotting. Now without further ado I give you Grant: jet-setter extraordinaire. 

Why do you travel? What do you do? (Lilac Wolf)
We’re running out of room to store used nuclear fuel in spent fuel pools which has been the norm since the beginning of nuclear power. My company, Transnuclear, designs, licenses, and fabricates storage casks to transfer fuel from the pools to offsite locations in safe and secure manner.  Many of these casks are fabricated overseas in Japan and India. My job is to ensure that the fabricators adhere to American standards. 

How are you treated by the local population when you visit a new country? For instance: With respect? Slight distrust? Welcomed with open arms? (Bella)
In India I’m welcomed with open arms everywhere because they know I have money. On the streets they know I will pay full price for things (not haggle) and I will tip where tipping isn’t common. For fabricators I oversea at the plant, we are their customers. In Japan, we’re treated the same way by our fabricators simply because we are the customer but in the street we’re treated as a normal local.

What was your favorite place to visit and how does the food differ from what we know here as their traditional/regional foods? (Renee)
I need to preface this by saying that heavy industrial shops are not located in tourist locations (which is true in every country you go to). That being said, I can guarantee it would have been Kyoto Japan, but I got sick the first and only time I went to Japan. So I didn’t go sightseeing at all. Of places I visited, probably all of the shrines old and new in India. The old ones predate anything we have in America and Europe by centuries and the new ones are some of the most immaculate places in the world in stark contrast to the rest of India.

As far as food goes, it’s hard to say because most of what I eat comes from the hotels. But as far as I can tell, Indian food is full of spice, flavor, but texturally it’s all very consistent and “goopy.” Most Indian places, where I have eaten in America are pretty spot on but they might have one or two dishes that you would never find in India, especially if anything has beef. The quality of meat is one big difference. It’s subtle, but in India chicken and lamb are generally chopped into bits with the bone and cartilage and you can never tell exactly where it came from in the animal. 

What part of the Indian culture do you like the best/that calls out to you the most? Would you want to live there permanently? (Pherin)
While I rarely participate because I don’t know the language, my favorite part of their culture is just how open everyone is. Throughout the day/night everyone is outside talking with one another, sharing stories, gathering at the marketplace and generally having a good time. However, I would not choose to live there. I am sure there are lovely parts of India to live but I have yet to see them. The cities themselves while sociable are dirty, filled with litter, animals roam free, the air is full of smog and dust, and in busy sections of cities it is pure chaos.

What myths/misconceptions regarding the various countries you visited have you discovered during your travels? (Ambergine)
I think Japan gets a bad rap for being where all the weird stuff happens when in fact that part is a small, small subculture. The nation itself is probably the most structured, organized, and precise societies in the world.

How would you describe the smell of the streets of Japan you frequented? (Magaly)
Remarkably refreshing no matter where you are be it downtown, on a congested train or in the middle of a heavy metal shop. Rarely if ever did I encounter a pungent or even different smell it was always something I never even realized while I was there until you asked this question.

What one thing would you say a travel to Japan should absolutely not miss? (Kestril)
The ability to go explore anywhere without fear be it tourist attraction or darkest of dark back alley and find always find something interesting. Be it hidden restaurant, temple, or such. There is this ability to wander and find random nice things that I have never experienced anywhere else. It was hard to find a ‘bad part of town.’ 
What's the wildest thing you've encountered on your travels within the states? (Danni)
My travels in the states have been relatively few and frankly uninteresting. But if I had to pick something, it would be the other day we were driving to get lunch from the office and a hawk swooped down and picked up a snake from the woods nearby. Wild…  (yes, he is such a comedian *eye roll*)

What is it you miss most of home, while you globe trot? (Eloira)
Not including my dearly beloved, I would say a consistent sleep schedule and beef.  Except in Japan where there beef was far superior to the US. Though I did miss coke which in Japan was slightly different from the U.S. 

Have you ever found yourself somewhere that you were tempted to stay forever? (Jennifer)
I have never been tempted to stay forever but I would like more time to enjoy the places I go. I’ll fly in for business and maybe have a weekend to myself which is mostly spent traveling within the country. This also applies to layovers in such places as Seattle or Europe where all I get is a passing glance.

Where have you always wanted to go, but haven't had a chance to visit? (Pherin)
I have yet to make it out to California; after travelling long distances, the last thing I want to do is travel to the other end of the world. So instead, I would much rather go somewhere new that is closer and California seems like it is very diverse and full of interesting opportunities. 

What would you do for a Klondike bar? (Pherin)
That depends, are we talking original? Reece’s? Rocky Road? Double Chocolate? Heath? Or some other yet to be invented flavor? 

Will you take Sam to Comic Con for your honeymoon? (Kallan)
Sam and I have already decided that we are going to St. Lucia. However, if Sam would like to go back on this deal she may do so at her own expense. 

Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you would like to say at this time? (Me)
Thank you everyone for all the questions. I like my job and what I do. It gives me many opportunities to do things I normally wouldn’t do of my own volition. The world is a strange and interesting place and I hope I haven’t distorted it too much. But I encourage all of you to go and prove me wrong. Yours truly, Grant Dambach, dictated but not read.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just Call Me Butter...

....cause I'm on a roll! Yeah, there's a chance that Grant's stupid sense of humor is rubbing off on me. Seriously though, I've been on a writing roll lately! Good thing too as my break from classes is officially over. I'm back into the academic grind for my Project Management class. I'm actually really liking this class. It's much different than the other very technical heavy classes so far in the program. The purpose for this class is to teach us how to manage projects in the Geospatial field. It's also supposed to prepare us for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam that most of us will end up taking. It's just another one of those certifications that I can tack onto the end of my name along with my security clearance and soon to be Masters Degree. Anyways, it'll prove to be a great class and even help me with some of the technical writing I do at work.

Meanwhile at work we're undergoing another audit/appraisal of sorts so for the month of June there will  be less blog posts. Instead though you all should take solace in the fact that I am slaving away at Summer's Hollow. Okay slaving isn't the right word because honestly I'm LOVING the new developments of the story. I owe Magaly over at Pagan Culture a huge thank you for helping me find that spark that I needed to go forward and really attack the story. She's also really forced me to come out of my comfort zone when it comes to the way I write and WHAT I write. Can you believe I'm even working on a romance series of short stories right now? I know, I'm still shocked at myself!

Since I'm throwing some "shout-outs" you all may have noticed that my blog looks different. Okay it looks freaking awesome!! After I changed the title to my blog I played around with some graphics but in the end I just left it plain. Though I have other wonderful friend, Tara, over at Blog Makeovers by Tara who has an amazing eye for design. She is the one who has been hard at work creating this now awesome new design for my blog (I even now have a button that you can grab and share)! The result was a beyond perfect blog design that really reflects who I am as a writer and anthropologist.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Winner Is...

This past giveaway went extremely well; you guys came up with some awesome questions. I'm so excited to interview Grant this weekend! Since I am interviewing Grant and he's the one who got the bag I had him draw the winner for the giveaway. Plus he's a little less awkward than I am on video. Of course mind you this drawing was done at 9pm last night so we were both pretty zonked (yes I know we're both old people). So without further ado I give you the (ridiculously nerdy) man I'm spending the rest of my life with:

Huge congrats to the winner! Please send me your address via Facebook or my email: curtincall89 [at] gmail [dot] com. So excited for you to get this amazing bag! Of course you should all stay tuned on Monday when I'll be posting the interview with Grant. Have a wonderful weekend all my lovely followers!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June Giveaway

First of all Happy June to all! Can you believe that we're almost halfway through 2013? This year has been flying by. Since it has been flying I haven't been able to do what I've been dying to do: have my fiance, Grant write a guest blog post. I've been toying with the idea for a while of how to actually do it and what he should talk about. Then over the weekend it hit me. Why not let my readers decide?

So here's what we're going to do. I'm going to do an interview with Grant next week about his adventures in India, Japan, and other places around the U.S. he's traveled for work. You guys are going to decide what questions I ask him. Oh and did I mention that there's a giveaway involved? Once you submit your question for Grant either in the comments below or on my Facebook Author Page, your name will go into a drawing to win this awesome bag.

Grant got it from Vododara, India off of a street vendor. It's handmade and completely hand stitched. Below is a close-up of the strap to see the amazing detail that was put into it. I have a couple that he's brought me back the different times that he's gone, so I decided to share the wealth. All you have to do is submit ONE question for me to ask Grant about his travels abroad and you can have a chance to win this gorgeous bag. You have until Thursday, June 6th at 5pm to enter. Then on Friday, June 7th I will pick a winner! And yes you will get to see my awkward video skills again as I will be recording the drawing. Can't wait to see the questions you all come up with! Ask away! :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Finding My Inner Romantic

Romance, passion, and lust: three things that I have never lacked on a personal level but three things that my writing has lacked over the years. Sure I've talked about love and have described characters having intercourse but it was always very technical. Part of me thinks that the good little Christian school girl in... hahahaha. Sorry I couldn't even finish that sentence I was laughing so hard. Point is, I always have had trouble getting those feelings that I have had over the years out onto the paper. Instead I lived in the safe bubble of showing characters interacting up until the passionate moments and the skipping to the next scene.

What I was missing was a great opportunity for character developement. There's room for the reader to learn even more about the character from the interactions they have with others. Rylie is a great example of this. In Summer's Hollow she has this notion that she is a freak so she ignores most advancements from the boys around her. Then when she meets that boy that makes her heart race and he in turn likes her back, she goes a little crazy for him. Upon the first draft of SH there was no passion between them. Sure they kissed, held hands, exchanged looks but that was pretty much it. I was stuck inside that comfortable bubble.

Now that bubble has been popped and I have been flung outside of my comfort zone. You won't see Rylie having sex with her love interest but the passion is definitely there. She may be that good, yet somewhat on the freak side, farm girl but like any other teenage girl whose hormones are flying, there is that spark between her and the boy in question.

This was not an easy thing to acheive. In fact the past month since I paused the release date for SH I have been in research mode. I have been reading books that I would've otherwise never picked up. Hell, I even raided my mom's drug store romance novel collection for some inspiration. Dare I mention I actually enjoyed a Nora Roberts book? My mom has never been prouder. See I am still that dark, cynical writer with these characters who may not be the most romantic but at least now I know how romance could be. In fact I am working on a new series (not sure what I'm going to do with it) with a character who is much different than what I've written before.

Her name is Jessica Lamb and she is a high school student who has had to grow up very fast because of her parents' tragic death. They were these great humanitarians who traveled the world, helping those who were in need. Jess strives to fill her parents' shoes while trying to still be a normal teenager. Now I know she does sound along the lines of what I've written before but her twist is that she happens to be a hopeless romantic. She wants to find that true love and along the way falls into many different relationships that turn out less than great. She's also the first bisexual character that I've explored (not counting Morgan from Deal with the Devil) and I'm excited to get to know her better in the process of practicing my romance writing. It is very different to me to write these stories that have no ounce of the occult or supernatural in them but I'm adapting.

This of course is just a side project and I'm not sure if I will actually publish any of the works. If anything I will post some excerpts on my writing blog A Pen and a Piece of Mind to showcase this side project. Don't worry though I'm still working on Summer's Hollow and it's still slated to come out towards the end of the summer. These little side projects are just ways for me to practice my writing while getting to learn more about another characters. For me all my characters are like friends that I am meeting for the first time. This morning for instance I decided to have coffee with Rylie by writing a completely new scene for SH. It was great to get to know her better and see a different side to her that somehow was stuck inside my brain.

Romance still isn't my favorite thing to write but I can no longer just ignore it and hope it goes away. I still put my dark and humorous twist on romance but it's much better than it used to be. I will no longer tip toe around the kiss leaving the reader wanting more. Instead I'm going to be as in your face as I can be with what is going on in my characters' love lives. I can also promise some of it might get a little... scandalous.