Thursday, October 31, 2013


Today was probably among the best days I've ever had. Not because it was Halloween. My family doesn't really celebrate it, though I really don't mind free candy :)
I woke up somewhat early today and finally managed to finish a chapter that had been given me trouble for some time. I went with my violin teacher to work with her horses and it was awesome! Gypsy was such a good girl, even though I was flopping all over her back. I got a lesson from my teacher and I'd say it was the best riding lesson I'd ever gotten. Usually when I take a riding lesson I'm getting barked at for not doing it right and I sit there trotting and walking in endless circles wondering if I'll ever progress further than a trot.
My violin teacher thought I was ready for the canter. It was like flying, I managed to keep a good seat through parts of it, and my helmet was flopping all over my head, but it was purely awesome. I've got to keep that experience in mind for when Aster (my main character) rides the fictional Gypsy. I was clinging to her mane, focused on going where I needed, but my chest was fluttering with how amazing it was. According to my teacher I'm an intermediate beginner. It was good to know that seven years worth of riding lessons and bouncing barns paid off. My teacher said that maybe by next year I'd be ready to show.
The only downfall to working with Gypsy was that she tore a chunk of my thumb off with her teeth. Don't get too freaked out, it was just the top layer. I was giving her a treat and she got my finger. I was kind of stunned, feeling the pain and wondering what I should do. I ripped my thumb away a little shocked to see the torn skin. My thumb is okay now, but lesson learned, I should've had my hand flatter when I offered the treat!
When I got home there was a surprise waiting. My younger sister tore open the door and told me what I wanted to hear, my book had arrived while I was gone. I finally got to hold a physical copy of Twisted today. It was surreal. No more dreaming, no more imagining. It was real.

It was amazing to see. To feel. My family was freaking out with amazement. Ahh. I feel complete today.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gone Mad

It's a true statement. All writers (at least the ones I know) are a little mad. We spend hours upon hours by ourselves with a computer and a keyboard and imaginary people. I think that I've tipped the scales of mad and gone towards crazy.
Yes the crazy train has left the station with Tayla Durham aboard.
Today was another bad day. I saw an interview with a famous author on TV and while it was somewhat encouraging I felt crushed. How on earth would I ever attain that level? That they would interview me on a TV channel that hardly anyone watches?
Crush. Bang. Crash.
It's difficult to play the violin and cry, I'm just going to say that, at least the violin was noisy enough to hide the fact that I was sobbing and giving it a bath in my tears. (=D)
About the crazy, well I'm desperate for anything. As I was playing and crying an idea popped into my head. I'm going so slooow on publizing Twisted so I figured why not.
Here's where it gets a bit crazy. You may have to cringe away from this one. In no means am I big on Facebook, the most time I've spent was probably an hour and that was to make a Facebook page for Twisted, (you can see it here, feel free to like, I'll love you forever if you do ;D) and today was no different, but I did something crazy.
I went onto several author pages, authors that I greatly respect and their books have given me courage and ideas for my book. I went onto their pages and left a message practically begging for help.
Don't think I'm crazy?
I do.
I was mumbling "Tayla, you're crazy!" as I did it.
Now we'll just see if any of them respond.
I doubt they will, but I suppose it was worth a try. Better to shoot than just to hold the gun and hope the prey comes to you.
Sorry horrible analogy that I just made up.
Anyway, I'm still gritting my teeth over the whole job option, but I'm pointing towards Gardner Village, it's a historical town somewhat nearby. I wouldn't mind working there, it has an atomosphere a bit like Tilt, a town in Twisted. I really don't like the idea that it means that I'll be making money. That sounds wrong, ummm I mean I don't like the idea that I'll be making money, thereby meaning that I'll be opening the door for tax and then debt and just to be clear I'm in a financial lit class and thereby have been learning WAAAY too much about debt and the whole enchilada.
And that was a really long paragraph. My editor would not approve. She kept telling me to make. my sentences. short.
Yes, so I'm feeling a little wild, a little worried that the authors I messaged are going to think I'm a total lunatic. I'm struggling here and I read the biography of one of the authors and I know that this author started out in the same place as me, plus he's the same religion as me, so I think that he might (no crossed fingers here!) help.
But I've had a bad history of asking for help and getting none. Take all the riding instructors I called and emailed last year for example. Practically every single riding stable in the state of UTAH! Okay, all the ones I could find online and in the phone book. Yes. I was desperate enough to use those good ol' yellow pages. I hate using the phone and it killed me to not get an answer. I left message after message and got nothing. Then one stable I got a riding lesson from wouldn't call back and...augh! long story short I'm kind of nervous.
I'm scrambling for ideas, literally. I don't know what to do! That's why I'm so scared. They say fear comes from the loss of control (which is why I hate elevators and mines and mine elevators for a double whammy!) and I feel like I'm on a really big horse and the reins just slid through my fingers. I'm groping for them. Nada.
I feel like I'm in that scene from Tangled where Flynn asks Rapunzel if she's okay and she says that she's terrified that her dream won't be as good as she imagined.
Unfortunately I don't have a roguishly handsome man asking me if I'm okay. I have myself and my suddenly busy family. It seems like the more I need them the busier they get. Especially my sister. Oh if only I could talk to her for longer than five minutes and not have that "well" moment. She understands how I feel and was the one to tell me that there must be something great planned for my book.
I don't feel so now.
If there's something so great, why is it getting ignored?
I drew a picture of my villain (sorry, he objected to the simple statement of "bad guy") and colored it in because I wanted to see the color scheme of him. He's hanging on my wall now and every time I look at him (creepy skull and all) and I want to cry. Will all that work and struggling to create something with a whole different world be ignored? Did I waste my time working on creating a dynamic villain when I should have been working in a job?
I don't know. I really don't know.
Fear is the loss of control and from the unknown. Perhaps I'm afraid because I don't know what's going to come tomorrow (and by tomorrow I mean like forever in the future) and because I really don't have much control that I can see.
Either way I should still be proud of myself. I've done the impossible. I'm eighteen-years-old and I am a published author. I was always a bit crazy to begin with, so why not? Why can't I achieve the impossible? Who was so bold as to say that I, Tayla Durham, couldn't have a best seller?
I give you all permission to laugh at me when it happens. You can leave endless comments of hahahahahaha told you so!
For I am not a quitter.
I began this journey
and I intend to finish it.
I did not begin to quit
And I'm not going to quit because it got hard.
For I am not a quitter!

Here's my Facebook page for Twisted, I'm trying to keep it up to date, but lately I've been trying to finish another book. I'll take more pictures, promise :)

And here is where you can purchase a Kindle version of Twisted on Amazon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm Waiting Just Waiting

You know how it feels when you're waiting for something? How everything seems to take twice as long if you want it to happen and then goes twice as fast when you don't? Yeah I'm in that kind of a mood right now.
My dad ordered a proof copy of Twisted for me. It's just to polish it up and to see the final results. The predicted day for it to arrive is November 4th. So faaar away from here....:(
Yesterday I went to the opening party for my section of NaNoWriMo (National Writing Month of November) it was fun until I started talking to some of the other authors there. I mentioned that I was published and was practically attacked. The person I was speaking to did not seem impressed that I was a published author and went on to blah about how it was impossible for an author to make a living by "just writing" UNLESS you have a best seller.
Steam in my ears I still managed to be polite.
I don't think there's anything else that I can really do BESIDES write. I have no patience for rude people and tend to rip them a new one where they least expect it (hehehe) if I got a job at a fast food restaurant you guys would never hear the end of "this person did this" "that person did that" and I'm bored just writing that.
In other words I'm really struggling with what to do. On one hand I DO NOT UNDER ANY KIND OF CIRCUMSTANCE EVEN UNDER DEATH ITSELF WANT TO GET A JOB!!!!! Yes, that ought to get my feelings about that across quite nicely. I look at the people I know with jobs and they way they answer questions about what they're doing with their lives and it's always "Oh, I'm working."
*Nazgul scream, which I know how to do, by the way. You suck air in.
It's NEVER been a goal of mine to be owned by a company that only wants me for money. Honestly is EVERYTHING about $$$!?
Buuut on the other hand I don't want to get stuck in a financial bend because I didn't get a job soon enough and die an, as Anne of Green Gables puts it "old maid."
It's also kind of frustrating because every is practically screaming at me to get a job when I really don't want one, don't know if I'm ready for one, and am generally unhappy with the whole stupid situation. A good friend acts as though getting a job is the "grown up thing to do" and I'm not sure if I'm ready to "grow up" either.
Yes, I'm eighteen. Yes that immediately entitles some kind of responsibility but what if I DO NOT want to follow societies norms? I mean honestly and I ask this of myself, when have I ever followed societies norms? I don't care about the latest fashions, I don't like showing every ounce of skin that I possibly can, and I'm not into singers (though Taylor Swift, the Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling often grab my attention) and I could honestly care less about actors, except Prince Caspian, mmm that boy is fine. ;)
I don't want to grow up and be like the rest of the world. Seriously! I don't want to follow the middle class trends. Someday I want to write about how happy I am being financially independent and able to help. It frustrates me because my dad has been helping me through the efforts of  getting my book published and I don't even have enough money to buy him a stupid candy bar to say thank you.
You know those coming of age stories where the character makes a vastly important decision about how his or her life is going to go? I feel like I'm at that point but I don't know what to choose. The future is such a mystery that I want to scream every time I think about it.
And the saddest thing for me is that I keep telling people that I HAVE a job already and that I am VERY happy with it and I would be generally UNHAPPY if I had to give it up. I write. Words. Words. Words. In fact, if one will get technical, I've already completed NaNoWriMo, or I could finish it in two weeks. Seriously! It's that easy for me to get 50,000 words! And it seems like my talent, my love for writing is being OVERLOOKED! It makes me want to grab my hair and throw a fit. In the "grand scheme of things" I will still be an author, and I will keep writing until the day that I am physically incapable of doing so, and even that will not stop me from composing stories.
I know that before we were born we lived and with that knowledge comes the revelation that even before I was born I was making up stories. Even as a little girl I was creating worlds of my own. Is that going to be overlooked? Will that be ignored? It makes me miserable to consider. I like what I'm doing already and if the world can't accept that fact or even tries to take it away from me then I will never be whole.
I apologize for this very long rant, but it feels marvelous to put my words down somewhere. No one will listen. They're all far too busy to be concerned with the woes of an eighteen-year-old who doesn't want to be grown up yet. I wish that those around me would tell me that they are proud of what I have done instead of telling me to "stop bragging" about it. It's been building up all week and now, emotional upheaval, spilling out.
I don't want everything that I have done to be overlooked and ignored. Being able to write 50,000 words (that's about 175 pages , depending on your font and font size) in two weeks is not something everyone can do. Will that be ignored to fit in the "grand (STUPID) scheme of things"?
I'm sorry. It's a lot of frustration on my part.
Exhausted and emotionally torn, Tayla out.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Watch Me

The print copy is taking longer than I thought to get ready. Oops.
I spent most of Saturday formatting the book's text and fighting with page margins. Turns out when you shrink the page margins your book gets longer. This is probably common sense for some people, but I never put two and two together to realize that. With 1.5 spacing and the new page margins Twisted went from 337 (about) to 623 pages! Whoa. I was a little bothered that the book was only 300 pages(ish) but 600 pages? Um...unless I'm trying to write the next American thriller book, that's WAY too long.
I shrunk the spacing from 1.5 to single. Now it's a respectable 423 pages long. I can live with that. What I'm not very happy with is how much of the royalty I'm NOT getting. The book is going for about $13.50 in American money (I'm new to this so I don't know how to calculate money from other countries) and I only get $1 from that. Um....hello? (short gripe) I wrote the book. Why are they getting all of the royalty?
Yeah that was a real shocker to see last night, I was reasonably upset to see how little I was getting. Why do the publishing companies get all the money for the author's hard work? Anyway, I'm holding my chin high. No one expects me to succeed. In fact I wouldn't be too shocked to learn that people expect me to fail. Like one of my relatives who gave me a well aren't you adorable? kind of look when I told them I was writing a book. I'm sure that they thought it was impossible for a stupid little kid like me (and I was a stupid little kid. Weren't we all?) to be able to write and publish a book.
Can't wait to show them the print copy of Twisted and say "Yeah. I wrote and published this. What did YOU do this week?"
Expect me to fail? Don't expect me to succeed?
Watch me.
I've done things in this past year that surprised myself. I stayed on a cantering horse (major accomplishment, first time I did that I nearly flew from the horse's (Scarlett, not Gypsy, I don't think Gypsy would allow me to go soaring off of her) back when she took a corner too sharply) I managed to survive the woes from the editor. I DREW THE COVER FOR A BOOK!!!! And I didn't even know I could draw that well on the computer. Go figure. Then I learned how to read html, how to fix the dpi and size of images. How NOT to quit when things go wrong. Then I read the entire Lord of the Rings series in a month.
In other words I've surprised myself. There have been times when I look at what I've done and I don't see it as an accomplishment. That's stupid. I'm published and I'm only eighteen. It would've been when I was seventeen....buuut the editor took longer than I expected, but oh well, her work was excellent.
What I'm trying to say is, who knows? Who knows what's going to happen? I refuse to think that my book won't ever be noticed. I KNOW it will be. The reason I kept going was because I firmly felt that my book needed to be read that there were people who needed to read it.
So now I just need to finish the print version. Sheesh.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Goodbye Before Hello

I know I sometimes seem to go on forever about death (wraiths) but I need to take a moment and write about the importance of life.
Some of you may be wondering what happened about two weeks  ago  (the something awful has happened) that was so traumatic that I'd write that. For a full explanation you need the back story. Roughly three and a half years ago my youngest sister (at the time) died and was a still born. It was the first time a death had happened in my family and we were all so shocked we literally could do nothing but stare at each other and cry over the tiny body of my sister.
It was shocking.
Even more was when a year later in I think it was April, maybe early May my mom told me that she was once again pregnant. Unfortunately my older sister, father, and I were the only ones who officially knew because shortly after Hope (the baby) was miscarried.
It was horrifying. We honestly couldn't believe that it would happen to us again.
And then roughly a month ago my parents announced that my mom was pregnant for the ninth time. I was a little disconcerted by this because I would be 18  years old than the baby, but I didn't need to worry about it. Two weeks later I heard my mother talking in her bathroom. It was one of those things, you know? Where you just know that something awful has happened? I knew without question that when my mother told me that the first baby (my still born sister) hadn't moved in two days that my sister was gone.
I knew when my mom was crying in the bathroom after spotting blood with Hope that Hope was no more.
I knew while listening to my mom talking in her bathroom that it was going to happen for a third time.
Is this some weird sister sense? I suppose I knew from the start that my still born sister wouldn't join our family. I didn't want to think that way with Hope and Jason.  We all hoped that Jason would be different, that he would join our family instead of leaving it before we even saw him.
It's weird now because my mom was craving all kinds of food when she was pregnant with Jason. We used to joke about it and I miss hearing her talk about how the baby wants orange juice and nine o'clock at night.
Some people may claim that because Jason was miscarried at 12 weeks he wouldn't even qualify as a person. I don't think those people have souls. My brother was very much alive and very much a person and I miss him. I really wish that I could have seen him alive, at least for one hour before God called him home.
Truthfully I'm kind of scared to be a mother. I know that's probably years from now, but still. I've seen too much death to NOT be worried. I don't know if I could handle it if it happened to me. It's why I admire my mom. She's incredibly strong, holding us together even though she's hurting. Thank you, Mom.
Because of this sudden  and completely unexpected death, my writing has become a little bitter. I'm writing the back story of the Secret Keeper and am currently at the time when his living self dies. It makes me so sad because I never expected to feel the emotions of his family as strongly as I do. Death is unexpected. It's not very welcome, especially when I had to say goodbye before I was allowed to say hello.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oh What a Week

This has been an incredibly long week. I became a published author, played in an trio for the first time and got two enormously large (and probably infected (oops!)) blisters on my ankles.
I'm glad it's over, I'm currently stuck in Friday clothes, you know that stuff you bury at the back of your closet with a desperate promise that it will never see the light of day? Yeah. That kind of clothing, needless to say I'm not a happy camper about my outfit right now.
It has also been a year since I began playing the violin. To celebrate that I shook and quivered my way through a recital. I was just fine playing Gavotte, I mean I've been playing it since May (it will not disappear!) until I suddenly realized that I was playing in front of a bunch of people and suddenly, without any kind of warning I lost my place.
Also since May we've been working on a music piece for a trio. Two violins and the piano. We finally preformed it last night and to be honest I only knew what I was doing through the first half of the song. Second half I was making up all the timing, ah rests, they are a pain for beginners. It's also the first song that I've played in third position on and I think that was the best part of the second half was how fast I could go from first position to second position and back.
Amazingly though I managed to keep in time. My only mistake was in the last part of the song where I counted wrong and had to skip a few notes to keep up. Oh well, I didn't like that part anyway, I didn't know how to count it until one day before the recital. I was also in danger of having my A string snap in my face. It began fraying and has been replaced with a brand spanking new string.
Anyone who understands violins will understand why I am cringing. New strings have a tendency to go out of tune in about five minutes, even less if you're lucky. Though I did get to play on a beautiful $23,000 French violin. It had a deep voice, but I like my tiger-striped violin better.
As for my book...well I've decided to take everything as a victory. I'm proud of what I've done, because honestly? I've never met another 18-year-old who has done what I have. I have met other teen authors, but most of them looked at me like I was a freak and a half. I'm sorry that I'm original. It's not my fault. :)
And I love my mom. Special shout out to her. She's really sad because of the sudden and really unexpected death of my little brother Jason, but she's still there for me. She's been advertising my book to her friends and sister. Thank you, Mom. I couldn't have done any of this without you. :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Guess what!? Twisted is officially available in the Kindle store! It was quite the shocker to see MY BOOK on AMAZON!!!
So you may be wondering how I am feeling to be a published author...well, yesterday, not so great. I felt like a failure. I literally felt as though I had failed because not a single person had even LOOKED at Twisted,okay, I don't know how true that is, but when I looked at other author's books, like Rick Riordan's new book (the title just slipped my brain) who had 480 reviews after five days, I crashed.
I'm sorry, I'm kind of ranting at myself. It is so stupid for me not to look at what I have done and where I have come and NOT be proud of myself.
I made this reminder for myself,
I made that picture in January 2011 maybe 2012. I don't remember which January. Long story short, it's been hanging on my wall for a really long time. I didn't make my goal last year, but this year I did it.
If you can't read it (and I don't blame you, iPod pictures tend to be like that =D) it says "October 15, Be there" as a reminder to myself to get published on the 15th.
The Done part says that I am...well done. I accomplished my goal and I will be happy with myself because I did it.
I'm not saying that I'll be thrilled if no one buys it. I wrote it so people could read it, but I will be proud of myself nonetheless (whoa, that's a really long word!)
I can't lie and say that it was an easy goal to reach. It was hard! I was clawing and scrabbling and crying a lot. Things happened and I felt like I'd been kicked in the chest and I quit for maybe an hour. I'm terrible at quitting permanently. Unless you count my art class I was glad to see that sucker go.
Here's the truth, there is not a single part of me that is not in that book. I put everything I had. Everything. I gave up hours upon hours to write it, I gave up part of my social life, watching TV, video games, even and oh, I dare say it, sleep! And because of that effort, my book has a soul. It's touched me. It's aided me in my life. Now it's no longer completely mine. I wrote it for people to read. I wrote it for you to read. If you don't want to even look at it, fine, that's your choice not mine. My choice is this, because of all the effort I put into my book, all the hours and thoughts I forced myself to spend on Twisted I KNOW it will be successful. I will be happy knowing that fact. I accomplished my goal. I'm published before graduating high school. That's not something everyone can claim.
Here is my reminder to me.
I did it.
Rachel K. Johnson did an interview for the release of my book on Kindle. You can see it here.

And if you want to check out my book in the Amazon Kindle store. $2.99 will get you a copy of it and it's in the Amazon lending library!

I apologize for not having it out in print yet. I know, it's driving me crazy as well. I've spent so much time looking at my book on an electronic device that seeing it on the Kindle is pretty much like seeing it on my computer, except I can't delete things. :) The print version will be available as early as the 19th (this Saturday, the day I'm hoping for) or as late as the 31, Halloween. Duh. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Final Stretch

Twisted will be published in a Kindle format TOMORROW.
I made my goal.
My book is going to be published on the 15th of October 2013. For those who don't know I am only 18 years old and I am a published author. (Nearly, off by about 24 hours!)
I can hardly believe I am where I am right now. I am almost published!!! I spent most of last night (up until 11:30pm) working on formatting Twisted. I can't tell you how many times I uploaded, saw that it wouldn't work and went back to formatting. I finally got a version that I liked, thereby meaning with a bit more tweaking, it will be ready.
Now I really want to get I published because I'm borrowing my dad's laptop to do the formatting. It's sitting in front of my computer (my Windows'98, yes I am literally living in the past, my version of Word still has that paperclip guy that turns into a box like every time you save something) and until Twisted is published I can't use my computer which is reasonably driving me NUTS.
Yeah. I've got my priorities straight. I want to be published so I can use my computer again.
Overall, I can't believe that I'm here! I am almost published!
*Does little dance
I'm almost published.
I'm almost published.

I also created a Facebook page for Twisted you can see it here:

I'll try to keep the page updated so you can see what's going on. Lots of pictures, maybe a few drawings. One of these days I'll make a Twitter. :)

Yes. Loving my Bob Ross mountains. :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In the Midst

Something awful has happened. It's been an emotional night and day, where I've been on the balance between okay and positively terrified.
I'm not saying what happened yet. I don't know all the details and I don't want to curse anything. But it's happening in the past, and everything is repeating almost exactly same way as it did before. Almost exactly the same days.
Part of me suspected this would happen. The other half didn't want to accept it. I began panicking two nights ago that it would and last night after dinner I learned that it had, and I apologize, I'm practically speaking in riddles.
It's kind of what this feels like.
A riddle that refuses to be answered.
I'm also really cold, I popped my jaw out of place on accident and I burned my finger so badly it blistered. Things are not looking up. How many downs must a person suffer before an up is within sight?
It is a powerful master.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


As you may have noticed I have my up days and my down days.
Today is a "I-really-don't-care" day. I am sick and tired of spending all my time in gut-wrenching worry (it actually feels like it's wrenching your stomach! Odd!) and crying about something I cannot control.
I'm done.
I'm done listening to the negative.
I'm done listening to the doubters (often times including myself)
I've had enough. You can only spend so much time hitting your head in a corner before you have to turn around and see that there's a whole room behind you. I'm sick of the corner. The room is looking pretty nice.
I'm done being scared of something I'm not in control of.
Enough is ENOUGH!
All through yesterday doubts kept trying to peck their way into my mind. I wouldn't allow them in. Same thing today. I woke up feeling almost empty and feeling complete apathy for fear. Send me to Minas Morgul, I'd tap dance in front of orcs and not blink. I just don't care. And it should be noted that the only official dance class I took was when I was maybe three and I sat in the corner for most of it.
Also I want to share some edited pictures I took of myself (I don't think you can tell that they're selfies! (self portraits)) and don't worry. I don't agree with naughty pictures. I'd burn my crazy expensive camera before I  even considered taking one. If you do, it's your choice. Don't rat on me.

Funny story, before I took these pictures, I had no idea what my profile looked like. Everyone used to tell me I had a pixie nose, I now believe them. I think I should dress up as a pixie for Halloween. I can be as mischievous as them. Don't believe me? Read chapter fifteen in Twisted. ;)

This is the original photo. It is called Img_3889. Super name, am I right? I can never find old photos unless I give them an original name. img_3889 doesn't cut it for me. I can never remember it.
 I call this picture Darkness My Soul (I was feeling dramatic yesterday) because I played with the hue and saturation of the picture it blows out the light in the back ground leaving me looking much paler than I actually am. And no my hair does not have highlights, that light streak you see is a bunch of white hairs I call my unicorn hairs. In this picture I look like a ghost.
If you go Google wraith (I'd suggest going by wraith, fantasy otherwise you'll get some weird things) the original meaning is ghost. I took the Lord of the Rings and some of my own research approach and came up with the idea that a wraith is a person who lost their souls to darkness becoming a ghost.
And what is a ghost? It is what remains behind after a body dies (metaphorically speaking) so the darkened ghost of a person is a wraith.
Thereby, Darkness My Soul is the screaming of a soul for relief from darkness.
 This is called Help Me. Most of the color is gone. It reminds me of a scene in my book where the Secret Keeper's living self (who he was before he fell into darkness) felt as though he were encroached in darkness and only a spark of light remained.
 This is called Hello There. I played with the effects and darkened everything leaving this picture with a harsh light. It's like the awakening of the soul to a remembrance of all there was in life. I love the way the shadows look in this one and the light across my face, almost as if there were an angelic presence urging me to leave the darkness behind and look up.
 I played with the color filters. For those of you who don't know much about cameras (me two months ago :D) cameras pick up light, red, blue, and green light. When you play with a light filter you can make an image look too green, too red, and too blue. I like the way my hair looks in this.
 This is where I played with the levels. My hair is naturally that red (oh sigh) unless it's been bleached by the sun or shampoo. You can clearly see the unicorn hairs in this one. Believe it or not, these pictures were taking in the morning (about 11:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time, something like that) I hung a black photography cloth in front of my closet and used light coming from the hallway. It took like 20 pictures to get this one. I love the deep shadows. Pictures like this are my favorite, they speak to me. I discovered recently that pictures like music bring up something within my soul. The beauty is sometimes lost, but the meaning is still there. The overall name for all these pictures is Bring Me to Life, like the song by Evanscene.
 This is Loss of My Soul. Same picture as before, but if you look closely I used a tool to darken my lips and the visible eyelid. It appears as if I am about to turn away from the light instead of look to it. I've learned so much this year from studying horses with my violin teacher. Body language can mean so much. This position looks defeated. Like a hard fought fight that was lost in the end. I think it says "I give up." or "Save me."
This final one is a girl looking towards the lights on a bridge. Black and white added the effect I wanted to grab. It has a haunted feel and reminds me of how I've felt before. A dark spot among bright lights, wanting to join them, but feeling unable to get there on my own. In color a lot of the dark spots are washed out and it looks too yellow. In black and white the effect is ghostlike. I want to be there.

Have any soul pictures (what I call the ones above)? If they're clean please share them with me. Leave me a link to your blog or Facebook and I'll be sure to comment. I love this kind of photography and I want to see what other people have done so I can know how to improve mine.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I'm Finished, So Why....?

As you all saw in my previous post, I'm finished. My book is done. There is really nothing I want to fix. I drew my map, I finished the cover completely, my family is raving about how awesome it all looks....
So why do I feel down?
I made my account on CreateSpace today. Yes I'm self-publishing. I don't have the kind of money or patience for huge companies to try a traditional publishing effort right now. And when I saw the account earnings as being $0.00 in American, European, and other kinds of currency, it all came crashing down on me.
My hopes went crashing.
I know this is probably stupid thinking, thinking that I've failed before I even started, but I feel so hopeless. There are so many people out there who publish a book and VOILA! A buzillion readers. Now I'm being told that it's going to take even longer than I thought to just get this stupid thing onto the Kindle and AUUUUUUUUUUGGHHHHH!
Though I don't like screaming like that because you do it for so long and it begins to hurt your throat and then you are a poster boy for laryngitis.
Part of me wonders why I ever thought I could write a book. That part of me is curling into a corner and hoping that it all goes away if I ignore it for long enough (okay let's be honest? How often has that actually worked?) the other half is kicking me and snapping "hello? YOU WROTE A FREAKING BOOK! WHY ARE YOU BEING A STUPID SAPPY IDIOT RIGHT NOW?"
I'm not sure which side is more dominant.
I want to cry, stomp my feet, but I am no longer a child. Those behaviors will only be seen as immature and pathetic. I've received a lot of kicks since I began writing this book. Right now it seems like I am getting slammed into on every side.
Help me!!!
On top of that I keep dreaming that I have a horse of my own (except on one night that switched and I was a Nazgul on a fell beast and I crashed it into a wall. Oops.) and it makes me sad because the way things are going it's never going to happen.
Then again I never stayed down when I was kicked hard enough to fall. So far nothing has been so terrible I haven't been able to find my feet. Why should this be any different? It's new. I can't see the future. Who knows what could happen? Ten years ago I never saw myself at this point. Ten years from now I may look back at this post and laugh at myself (if I do, I give all of you permission to laugh at me (politely! =D)
I heard a poem at girl's camp since then it's popped into my mind on occasion. This is one of them. It is not my poem in any way, it's copied off of this website, All rights go to the respective owner, who I thank for writing this.

The Race

    attributed to Dr. D.H. "Dee" Groberg
Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
    my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
    excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race
    or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
    and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one. The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
    to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
    was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
    the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
    and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
    Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow. But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
    which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
    and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
    his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
    “I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.” But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
    with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
    “If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten...
    but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
    “There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
    But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face. “Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
    for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
    You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
    and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
    still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
    Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end. They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
    head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
    the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
    you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
    “To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.” And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
    the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
    And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
    another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”
End quote

And just so you can see,
Here's the entire cover, all of it drawn by me. It's a screen shot because the program I was using wouldn't save it. This is front, side, and back covers.
I hope and pray for the moment I will be able to hold a physical copy of it in my hands. I no longer care about giving signed copies (as my young mind once imagined doing) if it sells, I want my readers to sign my book. Nothing would give me more joy than seeing the names of people who have read my book inside my personal copy.
It's all I can hope for now.
My journey has brought me to a dock with only a raft and a paddle moored in place.
I won't go back to where I started.
I can't avoid it forever.
The only thing I can do now is get on the raft and paddle.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I am very happy to write this post to announce that I am done.
Yes. That's right. Twisted is now complete and ready to be published. This is an amazing moment for me. I spent nearly 2 1/2 years working on this book. From rough draft to final form I've learned so much.
I began this book at the tender age of 15, still well within the bounds of a growing child. I finished it at 18, now an adult, though I am not done learning yet.
When I began writing Twisted I'll be the first to admit that my writing skills weren't very sharp. I repeated things over and over again. My plots weren't exactly award winners. Now I feel very confident in what I write. It makes me happy to sit in front of my computer and take what once was a blank page and fill it will heart.
I've given this book every ounce of effort I have. There's not a single part of me that I withheld from writing. I'm a dreamer and I've spent so long dreaming about this moment, now that it's happening for real I'm kind in a state of shock.
Don't worry, I'll wake up.
I guess you can say that I've changed from the start. When I was fifteen I was sure the world was out to get me. I wasn't very social, I could never pick up the phone or strike up a conversation with someone I hadn't know for years. I also wasn't very responsible, my parents didn't trust me that much. I wasn't exactly what you'd call an angel.
My saving quality was probably my love of writing.
It takes commitment to write. Before this time I'd never really been committed to anything. I made half-hearted efforts and things from time to time but never a full try. When I did write (I did everyday on a book that I started before Twisted) I spent most of it worrying. It took forever and I got about one chapter done everyday if I was lucky.
Then Aster the Terrible walked into my life. It was roughly after I finished the book mentioned above. My sister took it away so I couldn't read it for a month which was apparently supposed to help your writer's brain recover. I wasn't supposed to read it or write it or whatever.
I went stir-crazy. I think it was about two weeks where I fought for something, ANYTHING to write. I'd written this little blurb (I think I got about 4 chapters and some scenes done) about one of the characters from the other book. It inspired what was to come. On March 8, 2011 my journey really began. I don't even remember what I was thinking as I sat down one day and began writing.
Somehow or another these words spilled across the page.
Oh what a world. I was at the height of my reign of plunder.
BAM. I was hooked.
14 days later I was done. I'd written a 210 (I think) page book in 14 days. It had a plot, character development, twists turns and even a name. It was simply meant to be.
I wrote the first 2 drafts of Twisted in 2011. They weren't very good, but I didn't care. I loved my characters. I loved writing about them, thinking about them, drawing them. I also started and finished the second book.
By now I think my entire family was involved. I was sixteen by then and I think a bit more mature. I began getting serious about getting the book published. I always meant to get it published, but didn't get really serious until the third draft.
I was fully committed now. I had my "I want to quit!" moments, but I always (and thankfully!) got past them. I began waking up at 5 in the morning to get more time to write. I was pounding out about 100 pages a week. Amazingly my behavior got better. I was less whiny (until I got sick, then bombs away!) my parents began to trust me more and I was getting to know my siblings better.
Now almost 3 years later I'm definitely not the same person I was when I began this book. I am much more able to handle problems maturely, things that terrified my fifteen-year-old self don't even cause me to blink...much. I honestly don't care what people think. I'd go sing a nursery rhyme in Grand Central Station for fun.
It all began with a book and the effort of trying to get it published. I am able to set goals and accomplish them, I can look at problems backwards, forwards, upside down, and sideways. When I get stuck I don't panic for weeks. I allow myself to freak out and then move on with it.
What is this all about...well it's mainly just me contemplating my journey. I know it's far from over, the best part hasn't even come yet. It's been a long hike. I look back to where I started and where I thought it was so hard and it's really so easy! If my journey were a mountain, the beginning spot would be flat ground with maybe one little dip that I got stuck in for a while.
Now I'm climbing near vertical surfaces.
What changed?
I suppose it's like the quote my dad always says (sometimes to my annoyance) "Things grow easier. It's not that the nature of the thing itself has changed, but our power to do so has increased."
Something like that.
I'm not sure who said it.
I believe this. As a fifteen-year-old there was no way I could do what I'm accomplishing now.
Quote on, Dad. Quote on.