Monday, December 13, 2010

Make Christmas Memories NOT More Stress

I'm amazed that it's really been a MONTH since I posted.   Wow where does the time go?  Of course this is the busiest time of year for me and I'm sure many others.  It's so easy to get caught up in the "have to's"  of the Christmas and Holiday Season.   I  was thinking about this the other day, and all I needed to get done. Then I stopped and thought about  what I really needed to do.   Amazingly enough these lists weren't the same.   Sometimes we let ourselves get caught up in what we oughta do and not necessarily what we need to do.  There's a big difference, then we are faced with the dilemma of  choosing wisely between the two.   Here are a few things I thought about when I put my need list together hope it helps a bit.    

Time Management
Ok this one is a REALLY  big one  because we are all pulled in a million directions during the holidays. In order to make our holidays a lot happier, we must decide on what the most important things are that we want to accomplish.   Family should be first and foremost on the list .  Whether your family is a traditional one or one of the non-traditional others that exist,  it is important to decide what ways you are going to spend time with them.   Whether it includes making new traditions,  keeping old ones, going to performances, or  parties you need to make a list and schedule them.   You  can then work your other secondary commitments into this set schedule as you see fit. Make sure it's what works for YOU!  

Duties or tasks  maybe the list that cause a lot of us the most headaches.   Through the media, friends and others we sometimes put these crazy expectations on ourselves, and then when it comes time to enjoy Christmas we  just want to take a nap.   We find that we've ruined our own holiday by setting the bar too high based on the false expectations we've either put on ourselves or let others pressure us into.   Give yourself permission to say no when it doesn't fit  your needs and those of your family.

I know your asking yourself  how in the world do you decide what to put on the have to list?   Once again, write it down, then go back and rank the items according to importance.  Even with the items on your list, you should look at your expectations of them, and decide if you want to keep them as is or revamp.   For example, instead of sending out 100 Christmas Cards,  maybe this year you just send out to close friends and family.   Another ideas might be contacting your friends and family you exchange gifts with.  Suggest and talk about drawing names, giving a family gift or my personal favorite,  do a gift exchange that  is part of a game instead of buying for everyone.  Of course this is great for the budget too.

Making Memories 
Finally, I'm drawn  back to something my mom says all the time, "let's make some memories".   I think that's probably the most important thing about holidays.   Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and what memories you want to make.  If you have children ask yourself what memories do you want them to have and then do what you need to in order to make those happen.

I have a lot of Christmas memories,  but one of my favorite is when my dad took my younger brother and I to cut down our Christmas tree.   We lived in a small mountain town surround by national forests and   back then all a person had to do was buy a permit, go pick out your tree, and cut it down.    I remember getting in the car and heading up a snow covered road straight up into a mountain paradise.   Imagine the prettiest snow covered mountain scene you have ever viewed and you get the idea.  It looked like something right off of a Hallmark card.   Dad parked on the road and we walked down into a small valley which included a small stream running through it. Of course this time of year it was mostly frozen and while dad worked to chop down the tree, my brother and I skated back and forth on the frozen strip.   My mom and dad may not have set out to "make a memory"  for me that day, but it has always been one of my favorite.  

The key to having a great Christmas and Holiday Season is to stop and give some thought to what you want for yourself and your family.   Decide what memories you want to create, then simply get organized and help make them happen.   I think maybe the most precious gift someone can give  is a memory that  will be cherished forever.  

Make it a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season for you and yours.  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Novel in a Month

You're Kidding Me Right? 

I really hadn't seriously thought about participating in the National Novel Writing Challenge,  but now, of course, the night before it starts I'm actually thinking of doing it.  It seems like a lot of my writer friends are going to try and get involved, and I asked myself why I hadn't even thought writing for it.   I'm not sure to be honest.  Maybe it's the time constraints or the huge idea of the project.  The plan is to write a certain number of words a day, pacing yourself so that, by the end of November, you have a 50,000 word novel.   WOW,  so when did I ever think about writing a novel?

 I really had kind of given up the writing thing way back after I graduated from college.   My career life took a different route, another of my passions, helping others. So I left the writing by the roadside and really didn't give it another thought.  Well that's not totally true, every once in a while I thought about it,  but I really didn't think I had a viable outlet.  Then I discovered Fan Fiction.   After reading the wonderful stories,  my writing muse started dancing around head trying to get my attention and I opened the door and let her run free.   Guess what? It's been one of the best experiences I've had in a long time.

 I love writing the stories, getting the feedback and hearing from the readers; it's addictive.  So now I'm sitting here seriously wondering  if I could do this. What can I write a novel about, and where in the world will I find the time?  Well I have no clue on both points,  but really don't I owe it to myself to give it a shot?  Don't we all owe it to ourselves to take a risk, to take a leap of faith?
Ya,  I think we do so here I am taking a risk and a big leap of faith.   I'll update you along the way.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vampires - A Hot Ticket

An Interview with Eric Northman and Pam Ravenscroft

In the past few years, we’ve seen an obsession take hold of society.   It started with the media, books to be exact, and then it took over the big screen and the little screen.   It would be difficult to find someone in our modern society who has not heard the names, True Blood, and Twilight.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with these “stories”, let me educate you with one word, Vampires.  
Vampires are the hottest ticket to hit in a long time.  It started out with the books and it ballooned overnight.   Once these little gems were discovered there was no stopping Hollywood.   A “soccer mom” from Utah became an overnight sensation when her book Twilight hit the big screen.  The attention was unstoppable, the fame meteoric and it didn’t stop there.  
In September of 2008, HBO introduced its new show, True Blood.   It initiated us into a new modern world of vampires with its intrigue, danger, lust; we were captivated.  The show is based on the book series, The Southern Vampire Mysteries, by Charlaine Harris,  which chronicles the life of a young southern waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, who has a special gift - telepathy.  She soon becomes involved with the vampire world which has come out of the coffin with the discovery of Trueblood, a synthetic blood substitute.  We quickly discover that Sookie is a danger magnet, and of course this makes for exciting, heart stopping, entertainment.  
True Blood has become one of the hottest shows on today ranking # 1 in its time slot, bringing in a record breaking 5.3 million viewers.  Its cast and writers have had numerous awards heaped on them, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  If anything it seems to become more popular with each season.  True Blood fans don’t seem to be able to get enough of Sookie, Bill, Pam, and of course Eric, the Sheriff of Area 5 who is nothing short of every girl’s dangerous fantasy.  
In fact, many female fans would argue that Eric Northman is one of the biggest draws for the show. The blond haired, blue eyed, thousand year old Viking is nothing if not easy on the eyes.   At 6 ft. 4 in. with a muscled, lean, body, and the face of a model, he commands attention merely by stepping into a room.  If that weren’t enough, he has a wicked sense of humor and can be very charming.   However, always lurking in the background is the predator that comes with being Vampire.  

Recently some friends and I had a chance to sit down and talk with Eric and his child, Pam for some candid one on one questions.  You might ask how is this possible after all it’s just a show, right?  

I think Eric’s quote speaks to that question the best, “You must ask yourself, did Charlaine Harris create me or have I always existed and merely made myself known to her?”

Now without that thought in mind and no further ado I present to you an interview with Eric Northman and Pam Ravenscroft.  All comments appreciated, I can’t say if either Eric or Pam will respond but you can always hope!

Monday, October 18, 2010
Sarahblueiris: Before the revelation did you pose as humans? How did you avoid being drafted in wars etc

Eric Northman: Pose as humans?  You might say that
Eric Northman: When it was convenient of course
Pam: I never enjoyed lowering myself to that level. But when needed, I have...blended in.
Eric Northman: As for wars - well, who says I avoided them?
Sarahblueiris: No Sir, I meant being drafted, I would assume a Viking would love the rush of battle and the blood would be... an added bonus.
Eric Northman: Drafted *chuckles* that practice has not been around for many years considering my lifetime
Eric Northman: and avoiding it is easy - I daresay there are many among your humans that have found ways
Pam: Drafts are on a security numbers and such, no? A system neither I, nor Eric conform to.
Eric Northman: I can avoid what I want when humans are concerned - just like I could make you forget you asked that question
Sarahblueiris: lol... understatement thou art Eric Northman's bitch
Eric Northman: *raises a brow at Sarah*
Sarahblueiris: well it's true! *shrug*
Eric Northman: Moving on...
Char: Ok I have a couple of questions. How long did it take you to adjust to being a vampire?

Eric Northman: What do you consider adjustment?
Char:  You know changes, and what was the hardest part of it?
Eric Northman: *leaning forward with piercing gaze* any certain reason you ask this?
Yes of course I'm curious....
Char: We all are.
Pam: *rolls eyes at Eric* Adjust? *snorts* I never lived until Eric made me what I am today.
Pam: The hardest part was realizing all the fun I had missed as a human.
Eric Northman: The adjustment is different for all
Char: Well I think we all know that about you Pam.  But I don't think that's really the norm. So what aspects did you struggle with personally, Eric?
Eric Northman: Pam was born to be a Vampire
Pam: *glares at Char before rolling my eyes*
Eric Northman: The drive to kill if anything.  Something I find to be quite...satisfying still.
Eric Northman: But that was nothing different from my human life as a Viking.
Char: So the joy of the battle so to speak?
Eric Northman: The rush of battle.
Eric Northman: The joy of winning.
Char: That’s understandable; humans of course fill these needs all the time.

Char: Sarah do you have another question?

Sarahblueiris: What is the biggest misconception humans have about you?
After the change.

Eric Northman: That they're our equals
Sarahblueiris: that's not a misconception, that's a delusion *rolls eyes*
even I'm not that stupid.

Eric Northman: Indeed

Char: Well you know I'm not too sure I agree about that equal statement.  Sarahblueiris: *raises eyebrow at Char* Seriously?
Char: *glancing at Sarah* Let’s move along with another question, we can debate it another time.  

Sarahblueiris: Do you find it flattering that people write fanfiction about you? Have you read any of them?

Eric Northman: I have had some fanfiction brought to my attention
Pam: *nods* I've read a few my pets have brought to my attention.
Eric Northman: As for the fanfiction - it can be...flattering
Char: Yes and?  
Pam: Flattering. And amusing.
Eric Northman: As for which ones - I do not have the names handy but I remember one of them was about Pam and I - and quite humorous
Pam: *smirks recalling the story Eric speaks of*
Eric Northman: Pam is the reader - that is if you can call Dear Abby reading
Char: *laughing* well it's better than nothing I guess.
Sarahblueiris: I think you'd find quite a few  Fan Fics that you would enjoy. Although some make you both a little too... human?  including mine. It's embarrassing.
Eric Northman: Then they make me something I am not
Eric Northman: As Compton would say:  "I am not human - I am Vampire

Char: Let’s go ahead and let some of the other’s ask questions. Jade do you have one?

Jade: Yes, actually. Eric - what does it mean to you, to be a maker; is there an aspect that you enjoy over others in being a maker, or even dislike?

Eric Northman: *turning to Jade* you asked what it means to be a Maker
Jade: Yes. To you. Your own thoughts/feelings on it.
Eric Northman: *considers a moment - staring toward Pam*
Pam: *turns my attention to Eric*
Eric Northman: Being a maker can be quite - rewarding
Eric Northman: it can also be quite tiring when one has a progeny that likes to test the boundaries
Eric Northman: and border on insubordinationPam: *smirks*Pam: Oh Eric, you'd be bored if I were any different. Don't deny it.
Sarahblueiris: *high5 Pam*

Char: Eric could you compare it to a Parenting role?

Eric Northman: *low chuckle* Parenting
Char: Well it kind of would be right?
Eric Northman: *remembers taking care of my baby sister*  Not so much parenting and Pam's making had nothing "Parental" about it.
Sarahblueiris: *snicker*
Char: I know that whole sexual side of it, but there is a care giving side of it......maybe that's more appropriate.
Pam: *recalls when I was first turned* Far, far from parenting *laughs*
Eric Northman: Guidance more so and discipline when necessary
Char: And you provide for them?
Eric Northman: Teach them to survive - not provide.
Char: Especially at first?
Eric Northman: Though my normal Amex bill would speak otherwise
Char: EXACTLY! and you call her your child do you not?   She can be a handful......much like teenage humans
SophieM: give a vampire a blood bag and you feed her for a night. Teach a vampire to bite and you feed her for eternity. ;)
Pam: She...she...she. *hand on hip* I am right here breather.
Char: Sorry Pam, I apologize.  
Pam: *sighs dramatically*
Eric Northman: But Pam's eccentricities and over abundance of shoe wear is a point and even she knows when NOT to push the limits.
Char: Most children do *winks*. And Pam just proved my point.  

Sarahblueiris: Char... don't tease the vampires. it could be hazardous for your health.
Jade: Whatever you call it Eric has done well. Pam is her own vampire and one to be proud of. There are worse vampires to have as children - Bill Compton, being one. She's an excellent vampire and Eric helped shape her. Let's leave it at that.

Char: *Raising eyebrow at Jade and Sarah* Sophie M.  Do you have a question?

SophieM: Do you find immortality difficult in any way? In the sense that you remain largely the same while the world changes around you. Or do you find it easy to adapt and change with the times?

Pam: *fangs descend* Tread lightly.
SophieM: *tucks herself into a corner and tries to keep a lid on her snark*
Eric Northman: Immortality - difficult?
Eric Northman: No
Eric Northman: Adaptation is key to survival
Pam: Immortality is delightful, SophieM. The fact that humans seem to become...more dense, over the decades can be frustrating.
Eric Northman: something Bill has not managed to learn and therefore he clings to humanity
Pam: Adapting is the name of the game. Especially in terms of fashion... *smirks*

Char: Along that same line......what has been your favorite period of time?
Eric Northman: There have been many
Pam: Mid 1970's, when I returned to Eric's side after a few decades away.
Eric Northman: *slight shudder* the things you wanted me to wear then
Char: Eric care to elaborate?  Pam what did you think of the 70s fashions?
Eric Northman: I would rather forget it ever happened
SophieM: *claps hands over her mouth as she tries to imagine Eric in bell bottoms*
Pam: *chuckles* Eric wasn't a fan of bell bottoms and velour.

Sarahblueiris: GoGo boots and minidresses a favorite Pam?

Pam: But of course Sarah *smirks*
Eric Northman: Not the velour

Char: Sapfirerose get ready with your question You're next.

Sapfirerose: How about your years as a Viking? What was the transition from Viking to Vampire like. (Being a Viking Wench, I had to throw one Viking question in. :))

Eric Northman: The transition was liberating, it was like being transformed into one of the Gods.

Char: Speaking of God do you balance the thought of a "God” with what you have seen and know? Who do Vampires see as their "ultimate creator"   or ?

Eric Northman: I only have a Maker *catches self* had - a Maker
Char: so you do not believe in an Ultimate power....
Sapfirerose: I was trying to figure out a wording for that, Char. Sheriff, you mentioned becoming Vampire was 'like being transformed into one of the Gods' ... do you still recognize the Aesir?
Eric Northman: the Aesir *considers*
Eric Northman: I both pray to and curse them
Char: Why do you curse them?
Eric Northman: my reasons are my own
Char: hmm Ok
Eric Northman: humans curse their God do they not?
Char: Yes usually it's when we mess something up and want to blame someone else...... Of course that’s speaking from personal experience.

Sarahblueiris: Would it be ok to ask about your Maker Eric? He made an impact on all of us but I won't ask if you'd prefer to keep it private
Eric Northman: *swallows slowly* you may ask
Sarahblueiris: Thank you *bows*

He seemed like he could have been very mischievous, was he?

Eric Northman: *raising brow* you think Godric to be - mischievous?
Sarahblueiris: not all the time certainly, no one can be something all the time.
Eric Northman: you have no concept of my Maker if that is what you saw in him
Sarahblueiris: Obviously he was other things besides that
Pam: *silently wishing Godric wasn't brought up...knowing what it does to Eric's mood*
Eric Northman: *starting to pace* No concept - at all
Sarahblueiris: I apologize Eric, I did not mean any offence
Eric Northman: *pacing - lifting lip up in a snarl when I remember the words of Godric's vision regarding Russell*

Eric Northman: Godric was a better Vampire than I will ever be
*even if I don't understand or agree with the last words I heard*

Jade: Yes. Let's leave it be. Seriously though, Pam. the shoes. Have you been featured on any fashion magazines since vampires have become open to the 'public'?
Pam: *furrows brow at Erics words* Don't say that...
Eric Northman: *snaps head toward Pam - starts to say something - stops - clenching jaw*
Pam: *locks my gaze with Erics before lowering my eyes and turning my attention to Jade*
Pam: Shoes. No, magazines...not my style.

Char: Eric
Eric Northman: *steps up to Char* Yes?
Char: Are you ok? Loss is really so very hard......whether you are 30 or 1000 but that "person" who helped create you stays with you always, in your mind and in your heart.

Sarahblueiris: *feels like a kicked dog*watching my grandmother waste away from cancer was a dream Eric. You think I like asking painful questions? Why do you think I was being disrespectful... If I hadn't promised Char that I'd stay, trust me I'd leave.
Eric Northman: *growling* There is no fault in what you asked Sarah
Eric Northman: *whispers something low to myself* Han kommer att ha någon fred – någonsin  (He will have no peace - ever.)
SophieM: Kanske inte.  (Perhaps not.)
Eric Northman: *tilts head toward SophieM upon hearing my language*
SophieM: De som förtjänar lidande kommer alltid att ha det.  (Those that deserve suffering will always have it.)
Eric Northman: Han förtjänade allt han fick  (He deserved everything he got.)
SophieM: Jag håller med.  (I agree.)

Eric Northman: Av att jag inte kan vara säker på - han ... ändras från Vampire som gjorde mig  (Of that I cannot be sure - he... changed from the Vampire that made me.)
SophieM: Som du sa: förändring är absolut nödvändigt för överlevnad.  (As you said: change is absolutely necessary for survival.)
Pam: *masking all emotion from my face*

Eric Northman: Shall we pick this back up at another time?
Char: Yes I think that would probably be best.

Sarahblueiris: Thank you Eric. *bows*
Char: Eric, thank you very much for your time and for sharing your thoughts with us.
Sarahblueiris: Thank you Pam *bows*
Char: Pam as usual you are a delight.
Eric Northman: Until we meet again *lifting sarah's hand - kissing the palm
*Eric Northman: *disappears*
Jade: Thank you, Eric and Pam, for the time you gave us.
SophieM: Tack båda för att du kom, Eric, Pam. (Thank you both for coming, Eric, Pam.)
Sapfirerose: Thanks, Sheriff, Thanks Pam

Pam: *nods* Behave yourselves breathers...
Jade: Oh Pam, where is the fun in that?
Pam: ...Lesbian weirdness is perfectly acceptable however *winks*
SophieM: Good to know... *makes note*
Char: *laughing * Pam take care of Eric
Jade: Thank goodness. *smirks* May you find many lovelies while shopping. Good night!

*Interview/Chat edited for consistency and readability  

As you can see the interview became a bit emotional and intense. I know speaking for myself it brought up a few unexpected emotions.   I guess anytime we think about death and loss it’s bound to stir something in all of us no matter if we are human or vampire.  I think though it also shows an ideal that I truly believe, we are not as different as we believe, we just have to embrace it all, if you are vampire or a human.  

Thanks once again to Eric for agreeing to be interviewed.  I’m sure I tried his patience a bit trying to get everything organized.  So shoot me I’m a Type A personality *winks*.   A shout out to my girls, Sarah, Jade and Julie (Southernlady23  who couldn’t be with us tonight).   Thanks for all your help and thanks to all who participated.  

Until next time stay safe and do something nice for someone else. You never know how it might change their lives, and who knows maybe it might change your own.      

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chatting with Char: A Disguise

A few weeks ago, I was working on my blog and trying to get ideas for articles. I came up with the idea of a new column, and decided it would consist of interviews with different Fan Fiction writers.  There are many of us who read and even write for Fan Fiction.  l  thought it would be interesting to get to know some of these great writers, and maybe eve learn some of their tricks.  My first interview is with Jade, otherwise known as Suaru-chan on Fan Fiction.  

I met Jade while I was looking for a beta.  She seemed very knowledgeable, and I needed someone with a lot of experience and a lot of patience.  We talked and decided we would give each other a try. Soon we were humming right along as a newbie and her beta. She has been such a great help to me and I’ve learned so much.  However, one thing I didn’t realize was how much talent and experience she was disguising with her age. Don’t get me wrong, I knew she was talented.  I just didn’t realize how much experience she had at the ripe of old age of twenty one.  

I hope you enjoy my interview with a young, but very experienced writer.  I am sure you will find her story interesting, as well as informative.  Please feel free to post any questions for Jade in the comments section.  She has assured me she will be happy to respond.  

Char- When did you get interested in writing?
Jade: I became interested in writing when I was very young. My mother always read to me and I grew up with loads of books. So, I'd say at age six, when I wrote my first short story.
Char- Really? What was it about?
Jade: Oh lord, uh, I think it was about a fairy princess that saved the forest with the help of dragons.

Char- LOL So counting even the one's you wrote as a child, how many stories do you think you've written?
Jade: Around about one hundred or so. Some of them were very short - and not very good, mind you, haha! - but I've written loads. My mother still has all my old notebooks containing the stories stashed away somewhere.
Char- Oh that's wonderful! I bet she cherishes them.  
Jade: I used to write short stories and give them as 'presents' to my parents and grandparents. T
Char- Oh that is really sweet! I guess we better tell  the readers a bit about you.
Jade: Sure! I'm currently twenty-one; soon to be twenty-two on October 20th. I live in a small town in Ohio with my husband, Nick and our pup and two cats.

Char- What do you do in “real life” ?  
Jade: I've worked in positions from clerk, to sales associate, to Assistant Manager in different jobs. Currently I'm taking a break from that to focus on getting into school for Teaching Pre-K level and Child Psychology.

Char- Where does your writing fit into your career plans?
Jade: I love to create and I think that as a teacher it's important to encourage creativity in your students, no matter their age. Working with small children early on and encouraging that helps them develop better social/language skills and confidence within themselves. As for the psychology, sometimes writing/drawing - some creative outlet - is a better way to communicate and even heal. I think just having my passion and sharing that bit of myself is a great way to connect to children, which is what I really want to do with both careers.

Char-  So basically use your writing to help reach children in both of the positions.
Jade: Plus, how awesome is it to have a teacher that is willing to write a story just for their class and let them help, you know?

Char- Yes, that would be. I had a geography teacher in Jr. High that did that and I learned more in that class than I did in any other. So now that we know a little about you and your aspirations, let's talk about your writing.   Do you have any current original writing pieces you are working on?  Can you tell us about them/it ?
Jade: I have several at the moment. A few are still in the early stages and I'm always re-working the plots to make sure I have a solid foundation.

Char- Can you give us a peek at one of your plots?
Jade: Eek. Um, I'm not really prepared to share any at the moment. However, I wouldn't mind doing so at a later date, if that's alright?

Char- Sure, Let's talk about genres is there a specific one you like writing?
Jade: I love several genres. I can never stick to one! Currently, my three main projects are fantasy/romance, romance/family, and a horror/mystery.

Char- Do you have any favorite writers in each of these ?
Jade: Um, yeah. I really enjoy Laurell K. Hamilton, Judith Tarr, Iris Johansen, Steven King, John Saul, Charlaine Harris and Katie MacAlister
There are a host more, but if I started listing them all we'd be here for a few hours!

Char- Do you have a favorite?  Let's put it this way... You are on a desert island and can have only books by one author - who is it?
Jade: Um, honestly? Judith Tarr  (Steven King was a close second.)

Char- Do you see any similarities in your writing style with hers?
Jade: Yes and no. It wasn't until I read her Hound and The Falcon trilogy, that I really began to look at my writing style. I changed it because I loved how she wrote. It's very elegant and detailed yet easy to read.  I have a bit more 'modern' feel than her, so it brings a different message across, I think.
Char- If I'm understanding correctly, you became more of a detailed writer after reading her work?
Jade: Yes.

Char- Has that been a good thing or a bad one?  And in what way
Jade: It's been a very good thing. It helped me to be more open to what I could 'show' the readers. I am able to use all of my characters sense now, to give a depth to my writing that wasn't present before. It's made me put myself into the mindset of my characters so I can 'feel' what they do and give that a  sense of life.

Char- It has helped them become three dimensional
Jade: Yes. Which I'm very grateful! They were a little flat there for a bit. Poor darlings. Haha.

Char- I'm sure your readers are very happy about this too. How long ago did this change occur?
Jade: Oh boy. Uh, let me think here...around six years or so now? Yeah, around about that.

Char- It's been awhile.
Jade: Yes. It's kind of surprising when I think about it, because it's just part of my writing now, you know?

Char-  Sure I can understand that.  Was that before or after you found fan fiction?
Jade: That was about two years after I started reading fanfiction - so a year after I started writing it.
Char-  I'm curious, have you went back and rewritten any of those stories.
Jade: Fanfiction stories? No. I started to re-work the plot of one, but I've been so focused on my original works and my Southern Vampire Mysteries fanfic that I haven’t had time.   My originals - some. I've started taking bits and pieces and have started to add them as I find a use for them.

Char-  So  you want forward momentum.  
Jade: Yes. Very much so. I'd like to go back eventually, but we'll see what happens.

Char- Since we've opened the topic of Fan Fiction let's talk about your involvement there.  How did you first discover it?
Jade: My friend Lucy and I were huge anime fans. She found it - no idea how though - and sent me a link.   I've been hooked since!

Char- How long ago was that?
Jade: Um, that was in 2002, so eight years. Wow...I feel old now. Haha.

Char-  Time flies when you are having fun, huh.  When did you decide to write your first FF story and can you tell us a bit about it and the experience?
Jade: I decided to write my first story in 2003. It was an Inuyasha (anime) fanfic. I was so scared! 'What if nobody likes it?' etc. I drove my mother crazy worrying. When I got my first review though, I was so excited! It was a learning experience. The fear of rejection and the joy of reader response. It helped teach me that not everyone is going to like what I write and that I am truly grateful for those who do.

Char- Those are wise words for aspiring writers! How old were you?
Jade: I was fifteen.   Well, actually fourteen when I posted it. I turned fifteen that year.

Char- How was your first experience and do you remember anything about it?
Jade: I remember checking my email and noticing a review. It wasn't a detailed 'oh wow, you're the best ever', it was just kind of a 'this is ok' kind of review. I screamed and jumped around and nearly broke my neck to run and hug my mom.  I had a few ups and downs with that story, but I learned a lot. To write what I feel and enjoy and to be willing to take the good and bad reviews. Each opinion was a validation that I could do this - even the bad ones.

Char- Do you remember what the interview said?
Jade:  Actually I do it said; “Very Cute story, keep the story going.”

Char- It’s great that you can still remember the review and it’s a  interesting outlook on feedback. So you believe a bad review is something that can be used to make you a better writer?
Jade: Of course! There is no bad review - unless you get one where they tell you to 'die, you suck, you can't write' etc. A negative review is a persons honest opinion and you need to look at what they found to be lacking. Take it with a grain of salt and try to improve upon that. For all you know, it could really be a weak part of your writing and working on it can improve your story overall.

Char- Good advice...I'll remember to use it and I’m sure a lot of other new writers will too.  
Jade: I think that is a big fear - bad reviews - for new writers. It's going to happen at least once, to everyone. It's not the end of the world.

Char- How many stories do you have up on Fan Fiction?  
Jade: I've written nine stories. Five oneshots and four that aren't finished. Two are current and the other two are ones I want to eventually get back to as time allows.

Char- Do you have one you are particularly proud ?
Jade: I'm proud of my story All My Love. It's a new venture for me. My first Southern Vampire Mysteries - popular book series - story. These are really detailed characters that I'm getting to work with and I am happy with what I've written so far.

Char- It's a work in progress?
Jade: Yes. I started writing it in April and posted the first chapter in May, of this year.  I have no idea when it will be finished. My muse, she is not a timely creature.

Char- Can you give us a quick plot review?
Jade: It's a story about finding yourself and learning to love - and express that love in its different forms. It's a very positive feeling story with some crazy thrown in to keep it 'spicy'.

Char- As is usually the case with SVM,  lol.  Let me ask you, do you have any original characters in “All My Love” ?
Jade: Yes! I have Alexander and Saga Northman! There are a few other characters that will come into play, but those are the two known at the moment. They are Eric's children in my story. I am so in love with them,  My little cousins were my inspiration for Alex and Saga.

Char- Which is harder to create, an original character or your own version of the writer's character?
Jade: I think an original. When you write fanfiction, you have the character already laid out for you and since it's fanfiction you can tweak the characters to your whim. With an original you have to create them from the ground up. Looks, personality, history, etc. It's a long list and a long process.

Char- Where do you start when you develop a new character?
Jade: I start with a personality. I kind of 'feel them out' and from there build their looks, then move to more detailed personality info - likes, dislikes, etc. History - family, schools, etc come later.  

Char- So you write almost a biography?
Jade: Yep. I cover everything from their eye color to their favorite scent, childhood memory, food - the whole nine yards. Friends, family; all of it gets covered to some extent.

Char- How long does this usually take you?
Jade: It differs from character to character. Sometimes its days, other times its months. I usually read over my character sheets at least once a month - all of them - and edit them as needed.  I keep information sheets - word documents and  spread sheets that detail the relationship links, etc - and I like to refresh myself as I write by reading over them.

Char- I think I might need to have you do another article on writing for
newbies... lol
Jade: Haha! I didn't use to do that. I've learned that the more I put into these character the more real I can make them. Having solid foundations for not only the plot but characters themselves helps me build a stronger story.

Char- I’ve  read that many famous writers use these types of tools.
Jade: I have some 'cheat sheets', actually. Quick/easy Plot Outline and Chapter Outline and Character Outline sheet things. They're just a brief cover of what I usually do.  I have too. It can be a little daunting - so much work! - but in the end I think it's worth it. Anything that helps you keep it all together and keep things straight is a good thing in my book.

Char- You're  saying it helps writers to keep their information organized.
Jade: Yeah, it really does. As you write and edit things while going along, you need to have those bases covered. Plot holes or weak characters can really derail a story.  Notes are your friend! I promise, haha!

Char- More great information for new writers. Since we seem to be talking about new writers, Can you give them a few tips?
Jade: Sure! First of all, notes really are your friend; you'll be making a lot of them as you start out. That's a good thing, honestly.  A 'rule of thumb' I use for writing a chapter is to have no more than 3 main points(things of importance that happen) and no more than 5 sub-points (minor things that happen). Get to know your characters - how they talk, react, think; everything. The more you can 'get into their head' the better.  Research. Put some time into researching the things you're writing about because it helps keep you both correct and free of plot holes.  Keep trying. When you first start out, you're not going to be perfect - no one is, not even the big time writers. You're still learning your style of writing and it will take time to develop! That's fine. Write and learn and don't give up!  Use details. Details and writing clearly will give your readers a better sense of what you're saying.   Use a beta also, if possible. They rock.

Char- Is there anything you wish someone would have told you as a new writer?
Jade: Oh yes! I wish they would have told me to get a beta-reader, that I would eventually come into my own writing-style but that it would take a while, and to take notes. I was not a happy note taker when I first started.  I was anti-notes. 'It's in my head!' Problem was, it didn't always stay straight in my head. Ha!

Char- You have learned the hard way ?
Jade: Oh yeah. I'm stubborn that way. Stubborn is not a sexy trait when writing. It usually bites you in the bum. Hard. I still have the scars, I'm sure.
Char- LOL But it has made you the writer you are today?
Jade: Yeah, it has. However, I could have done without a few of the panic-attacks and mood swings. There will be rough patches for everyone, but if you are willing to change/learn, it makes it a much better process.

Char- That sounds like a personal mantra?
Jade: It may be. Usually I'm too busy trying to hose my muse down from the ceiling to really pay attention.  Haha!
Char- LOL  Well on that note is there anything else you would like to tell your readers or other writers?
Jade: Be happy? Hah. Seriously though; enjoy what you do. Find what inspires you and let it take you to wherever that path may lead. Writing or reading a good story is a great experience and when it's all said and done, it is very rewarding for both the writer and reader. I hope that everyone enjoys that journey. I know that I have. Still am, at that!

I hope you have enjoyed this peek into the life of one of the many great writers at fan fiction.  I want to thank Jade for letting me share her story with all of you.  Please read her stories and check out her page on Fan Fiction.   I know you will appreciate and enjoy her work.

Chat with you soon.