Philosophy By Christy

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The Path of Passion

Credit: Canva.com

One of Meg Cabot’s characters advised in her latest book, ‘No Judgments’: “Find what it is you love to do, and then do that thing as much as you can… That really is the meaning of life.” This quote really impacted me this week. Last year, I learned how valuable it was to follow the path that worked the best for me. It led me to better jobs, but also a revival with my writing. I have always loved writing, but I felt I had finally found more time to focus on my writing, and took a different approach to improve my skills, especially storytelling. I made the decision to make my writing more a priority. I’m working towards making progress towards becoming a full-time published author. Writing is my passion, especially creative writing. I don’t want to stop.

I’ve found what I love to do. I want to write as much as I can. Passion has led me here. I believe passion led you here as well. Now that we have found what we love, what do we do now? That is where we have to put in the effort as much as possible, even if it feels like there is no time in the day. This is why the pomodoro technique is helpful. Focus on your writing for 25 minutes, even if you don’t write for another sprint, you’ve written something today. It’s helpful to do several of these writing sprints a day whenever you feel you have a short amount of time, or you need to focus on what you’re working on, even revising. After the sprint, you can take a short break, and come back later. Another aspect that can help is to plan ahead. I don’t mean every aspect, but the big ideas written down. It provides a map for you to figure out what to do as you’re writing and revising. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, even meditating and journaling before you start can get your mind focused on the task ahead. There are different tips and suggestions, but remember we’re all unique, and we are continuing to grow. So you need to figure out what works for you. At the end of the day, it’s about making progress with your writing.

I’ve been inspired lately not only with my novel, but to write short stories for two friends of mine. I don’t know what I plan on doing with the stories after they read them, but it’s been a wonderful adventure coming up with the ideas and bringing them to life. It’s another reminder how much it matters to me to find stories that people want to read and worth reading. Even though I’m writing with them in mind, I have found that I’m expanding my writing skills. So it isn’t only a gift for them, but for me. I look forward to having them read the stories. It also helps to be working on these stories as I wait for news on my novel. I have found it’s important for me to keep writing. It is what makes my life worthwhile. I hope writing, including mine, impacts you to keep doing what you love and bring meaning to life. – Christy

30 Poems, 30 Days 2020: Buy a Flower (Day 8)

Credit: Canva.com (photo), poem line “borrowed” by Emily Dickinson

“Perhaps you’d like to buy a flower?”

Right now we can not sell

Maybe you can borrow

Until you can buy the rose

She gets all the flowers ready

For personal delivery for him

Until he tells her that they are for her

She knew then she will lend

Her heart but for only an hour!

By Christy V.

Keep Trying And Writing

Image from Canva.com

No matter what you write, it can be tough to publish your work. Many focus on perseverance, never giving up when things get tough, but sometimes it is important to reflect and realize maybe some things aren’t meant to be. When you do feel what you’ve done needs to be shared, you’ll find a way somehow. We usually see failure and rejection as a negative, and what I’ve learned from J.K. Rowling is that we should see it as an opportunity to find a new path, and direction to what you’re doing.

When it comes to work, they say that you should find something that you’re passionate about because if you love it, it does not feel like work. I think it’s partly true. I have found that it is important to find the jobs that work best for you, but even though, there will things that you have to work on. Just like when you write, if you love it, you’ll keep writing, but it does not mean that there won’t be difficulties. You have to figure out what you need to do next. Are you trying to improve the recipe? Then it’s about revising and finding another avenue for publication. Is it a stepping stone to something else? Never see your past work that does not get published as a failure, it’s something that you learned and made you become who you are.

My essay did not get accepted as I hoped, but I’m going to try to find another avenue for publication, and revise my essay as best as I can. Most of all, I’m going to keep writing because I’m passionate about it, and it always helps me. I enjoy all kind of writing, especially creative, expressive, and academic. A friend told me to keep trying and writing, and I plan to do so. I have the time to write what ever I want in between my jobs that I love. It makes me happy. My mental health is better than it used to be, but I know that it is always a work in progress. There are many reasons why. When I learned about IDONTMIND, from my favorite actors, especially one from South Texas. This movement taught me about to value my mental health and share my experiences. Another reason is because everything in my life now is providing me opportunities to do what I’m passionate about: artistic pursuits, helping others, and sharing my talents.

I have the wonderful opportunities to mentor students about writing, especially impactful when they figure out something from our discussion, or they let me know of their future success. I feel such pride in helping students complete the next step in their education, and learn English, which reminds me the most of my mom, and others in my family, who have come to the U.S. and became American citizens. I have a chance to create items to grow communities. Also share my talents for an amazing website that grows every day. I can do all that along with working on my writing pursuits and singing at church. I feel appreciated and supported. Even with setbacks, I still feel hopeful for the future. What we should focus on is the positive things in our lives, and our strengths, and where we can move forward. Let go of what does not work. Don’t let others bring you down. Don’t let what you see as weaknesses and failures become negatives, but something that can make you become the best version of yourself, and bring much of your work to the rest of the world.

I’ll always find ways to keep writing and share my work.

A Successful Camp NaNoWriMo 2019!

Image from CampNaNoWriMo.org

This April and July sessions of Camp NaNoWriMo (plus the in between months) were really successful for me in many ways. I’ve had many opportunities throughout my life to publish my writing in some kind of form, but I could be sharing much more. In the month of April, I realized that my blog could be a great place to share short writing pieces, especially if I don’t plan to publish them in other ways. I decided to participate not only in Camp NaNoWriMo that month, where I could work on any project, but also NaPoWriMo, which is the challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days. This was an interesting and amazing experience to find what I would write about each day, and help me realize that I have the freedom this year to be creative, especially each day. This was also a great way for me to improve my mental health through writing. I’m so thankful to IDONTMIND for inspiring me to share more about mental health, and making me strive to improve my mental health. The feedback I received from friends, fellow writers, family, and others about my writing was rewarding, motivational, and also helped me figure out what I could do to next. I also have enjoyed the support of my Camp NaNoWriMo cabin filled with local writers from the South Texas Scribes. Poetry is such a wonderful way to express and present different things. I feel like it led me to visit New York City, which I realized I could go by the end of April. On the weekend of May 25, I went to New York City, and fell in love with the city. I hope to visit again someday. I’m thankful for all the incredible experiences I had that weekend, and who I spent it with. When I got back, I truly felt like I had turned 30 early.

So many exciting opportunities were coming forward for my writing and with my jobs. Additionally, so many people that continue to inspire me and motivate me forward, especially those who I work with. My life isn’t perfect and there’s always things I strive for, but I feel like I’m at an amazing place right now. I’m excited for the future adventures ahead. This July, I began working on my second essay project this summer. I thought Camp NaNoWriMo could positively push me to finish the essay draft, just like it did for my first published essay. It did. I’m still waiting to see if it will be published, but I’m hopeful. I also used this month to write poetry and anything I felt like writing, especially on my blog. It felt good to have the option to choose what I felt like writing, especially when I felt stuck sometimes, or felt like writing something different. Both of these months, I didn’t focus on word counts. I look at pages and hours to see my progress. There was some freedom to the fact that I wasn’t focusing on reaching a word count goal. Only focusing on getting something done each day. There’s writing I still need to revise and so much I still want to write. I can’t wait to see how much more I can complete by the end of this year.

Additionally this July, I’ve even had time to learn how to bake pies by scratch with the Waitress the Musical pie book with the songs playing in the background. Life has an interesting way of bringing all the ingredients you need to write, but it’s up to you to create something with it. By the way, I recommend going to see the musical before it closes on Broadway on January 5, 2020. Truly everything changes. Besides July 31 being the final day for Camp NaNoWriMo, but it also happens to be J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter‘s birthdays. They both inspired me to become a writer, and become everything I am and do each day. They truly have taught me that we have all the magic we need within ourselves, and we can imagine and do amazing things. Thanks to them. Thanks to you for all the support, and I look forward to updating this blog with whatever is ahead. I’m so blessed, thankful, and excited. I hope to publish more of my writing in the future. I also hope you will continue to follow my journey, and I wish you all the best, especially on your creative endeavors.

The Power of Writing and Inspiration

“One thing I know: Words are powerful.” – Christina Farley, THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE, 224 

With each stroke of a pen, or key on the computer, people and new worlds can be woven into stories. I’ve always found stories, as well as writing, magical. Christina Farley’s latest novel, THE PRINCESS AND PAGE, is perfect for all ages, but most of all, a wonderful way to explore the power of words for readers and writers alike. Every time I picked up the book to read, I found myself interested in where the story would go, but also made me drawn to my computer to write. I’m glad that I took my time to read this book because it made me really enjoy the story, and the way it was created. The most amazing part of the story it’s actually inspired by actual castle and its royal inhabitants, including Gabrielle d’Estrees, French royalty who lived during the 1500s.  The main character of Christina Farley’s story, Keira takes on a modern day journey as a Word Weaver, who bring their stories to life when they use a magical pen. I believe that Keira will inspire many girls to create their own stories. I know because she and her author have inspired me.

During the time that I was reading this book, I had recently completed my final retake comprehensive exam, and started on my Camp NaNoWriMo creative project. I went from one intense writing event to another. Both would end up being extremely successful. Now that I’ve passed that exam, I can graduate this month and receive my Masters degree in English Literature. With Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve still have a bit more to go on my writing project, but I reached my goal. I hope to finish the draft and revise it soon. Christina Farley’s book was only one of many things that inspired and motivated me with Camp NaNoWriMo.

Image: Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) from Supergirl  — Meme created by me

Another would be Jeremy Jordan, the multi-talented actor from the same city I live in right now, he inspired and motivated me through his own range of work and online postings. Not just for April Camp NaNoWriMo, but also since the TV show Supergirl aired (on the CBS and now The CW) and most of all this semester. My mantra for my exam was: “If Jeremy Jordan can reach his dreams, then so can I.” It has basically become my mantra for life. Hopefully someday I can meet him, and tell him how much he, and his work, has inspired and motivated me. It can’t be too hard to meet up with him, he has to come back to his hometown eventually, right? It’s my birthday wish, but it’s likely not going to come true this year. Just as Christina Farley was inspired by real life aspects for her story, so was I. One of the best things about creative writing is that you can make almost anything possible. Even make your birthday wish come true early. If I’m Word Weaver, it will eventually happen, but hopefully not exactly how I wrote it. My new novella is only loosely inspired by the real world, a bit of my Catholic faith seeped in, but besides all that, it’s all fictional. I still haven’t done anything with the first novella I wrote for my first Camp NaNoWriMo. I would like to revise both and then see if I can get them published somehow.

Supergirl on The CW – Winn Scott (Jeremy Jordan) & Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoit) from the recent episode, “Alex” #SupergirlCW

On another note, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that I’m drawn to stories about female reporters, since I was a student reporter for high school and college for a while. While Supergirl brings hope, Kara Danvers inspires me more. Especially this season as she has grown as a reporter, and I hope she continues to grow in the seasons ahead. Her passion to tell the world the truth, no matter the consequences is awe inspiring. Also her influence has inspired those around her to want to be heroes as well. That I find amazing. That includes Jeremy Jordan’s character Winn Schott, who has wonderfully grown in the past two seasons to be an important part of Kara’s life. His nerdy, smart, crafty, and charming personality, and as well being an awesome friend makes him a hero in his own right. Kara and Winn are my favorites on the show, so it’s also no wonder I want them also to be together. For now, I’m happy with them as friends.

Katherine Plumber (Kara Lindsay) and Jack Kelly (Jeremy Jordan) in Disney’s Newsies (2017) #NewsiesForever

In the stage version (which is even better than the original) of Newsies, Katherine Plumber is another inspiring reporter. She not only brings a voice to kids fighting for the right wages, she also empowers herself through her writing. She gets inspired to write an article about these newsies, especially about the head of the group and the face of the strike, Jack Kelly. These two get inspired by each other to do what they thought wouldn’t be possible. As someone who has loved music, dancing, and singing, especially musicals, and plus I’ve learned many of these talents in school, it is no wonder I found this stage version of Newsies enthralling. I’m not the only one since the stage version has been nominated and won a few Tony awards. I wish I had gotten a chance to see it live, but I’m so thankful that they filmed the stage version and released it this year in cinemas. Soon the world will know about the best musical I’ve ever seen, because the digital release will be May 23. For now, you can enjoy the original cast recording of the songs on Spotify, and as well as other songs that Jeremy Jordan has performed.

“This is next level.” – Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) on the latest episode of Supergirl. 😉

I could tell you more about what has inspired me lately, but I think this post is getting long. I’m sure I’ll write more on my blog in the future. Hopefully I’ll write more blog posts coming up, and especially in the summer. See you soon! Thanks for reading! May you have many blessings, and if you write, may you have plenty of inspirations to lead you to write. I’m so thankful to have so many inspirations that lead me to write from my favorite authors to my favorite actors, and my friends and family. I’ve truly have been blessed by God. More and more feel that He is leading me towards using not only my singing voice, but also my writing voice towards showing His love for us. So I don’t know what is ahead for me, but I’ve realized that I’ve been given talents that must be shared. I’m thankful for that.

P.S. Several of my favorite authors made me cry today because of their writing. Thank you, J.K. Rowling, Richard Castle, and Christina Farley. Lots of love.

2017: Journey

Creating Journal entry by Christy V.

Creative Journal Entry by Christy V. (aka me)

Journey: a passage or progress from one stage to another. I decided to make this theme, that my best friend Tabitha suggested, as my focus for this year. I’ll explain why in a moment. There are multiple journeys in life, including life itself. The most difficult are the ones where the odds are uncertain. No matter what, we have important people in our lives to give us strength to push through any difficulties. Sometimes the difficulties push us to be better than we once were.

There is fear in the unknown, but for me, my faith in God reassures me that things will work out even if they are not what I expect them to. He is there always by our side, even when it feels like others are not. By focusing on “journey” this year provides a way to view this year differently than others: an opportunity for growth, compassion, and faith, but these are things that can be continued on way beyond this year and onward. It is a reminder to focus on the important aspects of life when the future seems even more uncertain than before. It is a reminder that we’re all a work in progress.

What can we do to make this journey of 2017 worthwhile? Pay attention a bit more of your surroundings. Listen to those around you. Reflect on what you’ve done each day and see what you can improve on for the next day. Grow your passion for learning, especially with reading and writing. Allow yourself to be open to new ideas, while still holding strong to what you believe is right. I grew up being a girl scout, and recently, I’ve been reminded of the Girl Scout Law and Promise. Both are what I want to keep in mind this year.

On my honor I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law. I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout. 

This year we need to seek healing, hope and unity to move forward stronger and better than before. We also have to remind ourselves what truly makes us happy, and what we’re doing that could hold us back from happiness. We can’t let things like procrastination and negativity hold us back. With step by step we can move forward together.

We must have patience as we work out the difficulties because it will ultimately lead to our happiness, but most of all, lean on those who matter the most, especially best friends who encourage and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves. Just as Matthew Kelly said in his book Resisting Happiness, “The power of one friendship can change the course of a life.” The people around us changes us, and we change them. It’s the secret of life. Remember “Life is short. Never waste a day.” Set out this year to do the things you’ve been wanting to do. Don’t let time pass you by. Be stouthearted. Lastly, remember “The strongest stars have hearts of kyber.” If you do not understand what I mean by this quote, I recommend reading the novelization of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. For now, here is one of my interpretations of the quote: Live with your heart open for love, even if it breaks your heart. It’s more powerful and stronger than you think it is.

Contemporary Dystopian

Dystopian

Dystopian – an imagined place where everything seems extremely unpleasant, or environmentally degraded.  (photo by io9.com)

I’ve read some, but not all dystopian novels. I’ve read Utopia by Thomas Moore. You have to have a bit of an idea of what an Utopian society is to really know what Dystopian is. With Utopia, it explores a fictional island society and looks at its religious, social and political customs. This gives a chance to explore a society that seems perfect, but it’s there to truly critique our own society, where ever it may be in time and space. Dystopian is the opposite, but not completely. We see a society of full of the extremes, but gives enough space to critique our own society as well. It isn’t all that simple. Why are we gravitated to this kind of literature in the first place? Since I’m more familiar with contemporary dystopian, I’ll answer the question with it. The horrible moment of 9/11, I believe, greatly influenced dystopian literature. The new texts became more than a critique of society, but also a way to deal with postmillennial anxieties.

This is why young people, as well as adults, are drawn to these kind of texts. News media, as good intending it may be in certain aspects, has increased our anxieties of the world around us, as well as opened our eyes to more negative aspects of our society. The Hunger Games and the Divergent series are some of the most notable for contemporary. There is also Battle Royale, that is a Japanese novel, which seems to be a precursor to The Hunger Games. There is also the horror dystopian novel, Bird Box, that hits home exactly what our anxieties come from (media/real world), and how we deal with them (confront the labyrinth). We feel unsafe, and we find refuge in these texts because it reminds us that we don’t have it as bad as it could be. Reading these texts gives us distance as well to explore while knowing we’re seemingly safe where we are. It’s somewhat like a travel narrative through our exploration of these fictional societies, but it’s more like a labyrinth or a maze.

The labyrinth in western culture has become to represent confusion within society, and the desire to search for self, meaning, or to feel safe. It also a form of development, this is why it calls out to young people, but also to ourselves, since we continue to struggle growing towards our potential. Ultimately reading these texts becomes a rite of passage. We are able to observe a system and find its flaws to help “beat the game.” We look to this literature to help us deal, but also to overcome more than one opponent, and navigate more than one labyrinth. No matter how you feel about the former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, he tapped into something that has been building within these contemporary novels. Our desire for revolution, but most of all, change social injustice. We need dystopians more than ever now with the current election, and politics. Where candidates are tapping into our anxieties, as well as our hopeful desires for a better world, towards their end goal of winning the election. We need literature to find ourselves, and decide how we will make the best decision(s) to improve our world.

testing

Yet a labyrinth originally was seen as a single route with twists and turns that isn’t meant to be difficult to navigate. There is only one path, one entrance and one exit. The only way one can safely enter is to have a tie to the entrance that will lead you back to the exit. With this in mind, the end goal isn’t the destination, but the journey. Exactly what these novels provide a journey for us to experience. At the same time, we have a maze, that is confusing and paths may lead to dead-ends. This is a puzzle that can be changed to different levels of difficulty and complexity. Mazes are used to see spatial awareness and sometimes intelligence. The Testing series uses both versions of a labyrinth, as well as the maze. As you can see from the first novel cover, mazes are large focus for the series. Without giving too much away, this series gives a different kind of critique of society, presenting the flaws of standardized testing in an extreme dystopian world. This society uses tests to determine who is qualified to lead the country. The series becomes a labyrinth the complex journey, while the characters confront not only labyrinths but also mazes to find out what they can do to survive, but also “beat the game,” what can they do to make their world change to be better.

We desire to read these texts, but also to write them. It’s a labyrinth and a maze at the same time. We want to provide these journeys to others, but also to ourself to find out our potential as well as explore how we can change our society, but most of all make aware of what could lead towards a dystopian society to prevent it from happening. Or are we already in a dystopian world finding our way out of it? It’s all really up to us, the readers and the writers.

 

2016: Be More Open-Minded

Clara Oswald (Doctor Who, BBC America, Series 9)

Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald (Doctor Who, BBC America, Series 9)

Open-minded (adjective): having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments. 

“I try never to understand. It’s called an open mind.” – The Doctor

As an English scholar, I feel studying literature has given me a chance to explore, and to be more receptive. Yet I’m always conflicted. Even though I love being a Catholic, I’ve grown to realize that there are issues in life aren’t easy to pick one side or another one. I want to follow God, and have compassion for everyone, no matter what they believe in or stand for. I feel like some times society pushes us in ways that we must decide to be on one side, and not the designated other side. Why do we have to pick? I think it’s more important to focus on what we share, than what divides us, yet both need to be discussed so that everyone gets their voice heard and is valued.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara Oswald [Doctor Who, BBC America]

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara Oswald [Doctor Who, BBC America]

When I started grad school, I became more interested in Feminism, especially because of Emma Watson (who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies). For a long while before, I felt unsure about what Feminism was about and supporting it. Through Emma’s work with UN Women & HeForShe (check out the new and improved website), she has made me realize that Feminism is ultimately about equality and that both genders need to work together to accomplish this.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Equality doesn’t mean that we are all the same, but that we all have equal rights and opportunities. Everyone should have the opportunity to study what they are interested in, work towards having careers in which ever field they want to pursue, and should be able to be paid well. Another organization, GirlsRising, promotes education for girls all around the world, and spreads awareness that many girls sadly don’t have the opportunity to go to school.

GIRL MEETS WORLD - "Girl Meets STEM"

Rowan Blanchard as Riley Matthews and Corey Fogelmanis as Farkle Minkus (GIRL MEETS WORLD – “Girl Meets STEM”)

On the latest episode of Girl Meets World, Girl Meets STEM, the main character Riley realizes that science shouldn’t be something that the boys study and the girls just assist. She stands up for the girls to show that we should question the world around us, and not let things just go by. Riley loves science and wants to grow to be better at it. Her long time friend, Farkle, ends up realizing he isn’t giving Riley the opportunity to grow, and motivate her to explore her interests, especially in science. When they work together in science class, they succeed. Even though this episode is about promoting STEM subjects to girls, as well as Feminism, it isn’t the most important aspect. Riley’s mom, Topanga, brings it up when talking to Riley and her female classmates, “Don’t talk yourself out of pursuing something because your afraid of how it’s gonna make you look. What you need to know is don’t let anyone get in the way of pursuing your growth and curiosity no matter what you wanna do.” We shouldn’t let fear get in the way of our exploration, no matter what we do, and not matter what our age.

GIRL MEETS WORLD - "Girl Meets STEM"

GIRL MEETS WORLD – “Girl Meets STEM”

So what does this have to do with being a writer? We have to be open-minded to new ideas and experiences. It’s tough in our world, but we have to do it. Otherwise, we don’t realize what’s really happening around us. We have an important job to do. Share our voices, thoughts, and stories to make others critically think and motivate each other towards striving our full potential. How can we do this? First by reading, watching, listening outside your comfort zone. Second, exploring what you’re interested in, even if you don’t feel confident in your abilities. Third, decide on your immediate and long-term goals for yourself. Fourth, writing what ever you’re drawn to, but also looking towards inclusion of unfamiliar along with the familiar. I was brought to bring up this because I feel it’s really important at this time for both genders to realize what’s going on around them, and working towards doing our part to improving the world in any way that we can, while still striving towards what we hope to accomplish with our lives.

If you’re looking for inspiration, I would recommend exploring the shows and organizations I’ve already mentioned, but also: the completed web series Classic Alice (if you haven’t already) and the book club created by Emma Watson, Our Shared Self. As well as the new Sherlock special, The Abominable Bride (no spoilers, but it’s worth re-watching multiple times to get all the details of this incredible story). The web series explores Alice’s journey in living life according to classic literature, but grows to realize how important making her own decisions. This recommendation is two fold, it first will inspire you to push towards reading books outside of your comfort zone, and then hopefully inspire you to reach for your own dreams. Second, the series is a great way to see how characters and a story plays out in our ever growing modern world. The show goes from telling the story on film, to giving their characters their own twitter accounts and podcasts, etc to create an interactive experience that makes the viewer not only learn more about the characters but also critically think about the story.

The feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, was recently created, and Emma hopes it will be a way to have an open discussion about though-provoking and empowering literature. The first book is ‘My Life on the Road’ by Gloria Steinem. This turns to the last point of this post, I don’t want to get stuck in my ways that I’m not open to new ideas. Even though Feminism brings forth issues that what the Catholic Church says is contrary to their teaching of what our values should be, I don’t want to close off hearing what someone else has to say. I’ve been taught that we should listen to all sides. I’ve also been taught to have mercy and compassion. I think they all are needed to have a better future. I’m already receptive, but I hope to be more receptive to new books from this book club, as well as the books I study in the semester ahead and in the future. I want read & explore more about science because like Riley, I love science, and sadly don’t explore it as much as I used to. I want to continue exploring and creating new adventures, on and off the page, and not be afraid to take chances. I also hope the same for you. May this year be filled with inspiration and opportunities.

Kate Hackett as Alice Rackham and Tony Noto as Andrew Prichard (Classic Alice)

Kate Hackett as Alice Rackham and Tony Noto as Andrew Prichard (Classic Alice)

Tips on Drawing on Inspiration to Write



Hello! You’ve arrived at the next stop of the Brazen Blog Tour. I’m excited to celebrate the release of the final book in the GILDED series written by Christina Farley. For those who are interested in learning more about writing inspiration, or just curious to see how the GILDED series was inspired, you will enjoy reading this interview with my friend Christina Farley. I really appreciate the opportunity for my blog to be part of the this amazing book release celebration. I can’t wait to delve into Jae’s story once again, and see what Christina writes next. If you have arrived to this blog post and have no idea what the GILDED series is about, I recommend reading this wonderful fantasy series with a contemporary look at Korean mythology. If you’re a fan of Rick Riordan’s YA novels, you’ll find a familiar yet unique story with Christina’s series that will make you curious to learn more about Korean culture and myths. Also a strong female lead that inspires readers of all ages that they can do the impossible. After the interview, you will find all the information you need to enter into the special giveaway.


To learn more about this series, visit the Gilded Series websiteWatch GILDED’s book trailer here!

Be sure to pick up the letter for this stop at the end of this post to earn extra points in the Kindle Fire or $50 Amazon gift card giveaway! Collect all the letters during the blog tour to spell out the secret message to earn more points.


About the Book:

Find it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads | Indie

Tips on Drawing on Inspiration to Write



Interview:


1.     Where do you draw inspiration for your writing? How do you find ideas for your stories?

   


Photo taken at Mont Saint Michel

Every story that I’ve written so far stems from my travels. I love to travel and I find so much inspiration in it. Whenever I go on a trip I make sure I bring with me a journal. I make every attempt I can to make notes of the architecture, the dress of the people, the way they interact with each other, their tone of voice. I make sure I visit as many museums of history and culture as I can so I can learn about that area’s past and discover what made them to be who they are today.
Here’s a video I made about tackling writer’s block:


2.    What drew you to create the GILDED series? What surprised you the most when you wrote the series? What is your favorite scene from each of the books?


It was the Korean myths and the Korean culture that really sparked my interest in writing the Gilded series. When I came across the myth of Haemosu and Princess Yuhwa, I was completely riveted about the what if’s of that myth and what happened next. I originally hadn’t expected it to be a series, just a standalone but as I started revising GILDED, I realized there was SO MUCH MORE to this series. So I kept writing!
Here’s a video clip where I talk about the inspiration of GILDED.
I’m a sucker for writing fight scenes. So my favorite scene in the series is the last two chapters of BRAZEN. I was completely inspired when writing it. I remember not being able to type fast enough to tell the story that was unraveling in my mind.


3.    How did the process go to publish your series?


It wasn’t an easy journey, that’s for sure! I started out writing to fulfill one check mark on my bucket list. But once I started writing, I was hooked! So I started off writing for magazines, writing short stories and articles.
Then I took a class with Jill Santopolo and learned how to write a young adult novel. I wrote a lot of books! But when I started writing GILDED, I knew deep down inside that this was the one and I told myself I’d do anything and everything to get it published.
So I revised heavily and then sought out an agent. I got three agent’s who offered representation and choose Jeff Ourvan. We went out on sub a few months later (after revisions) and sold five months later to Skyscape/Amazon Children’s.
This video pretty much sums it up!



4.    What is the most memorable reader/fan interaction?

I’ve had so many memorable moments. But going on an author tour to Korea was incredibly impactful. Not only did I get to return to the roots of Jae Hwa’s story, but it was so neat talking to students. One high school boy at Chadwick International came up to me and said, “I’m Korean-American, a black belt in tae kwon do, and I’m from California. Jae Hwa’s story is so much like mine. Thank you for writing this book.”
I was like WOW!!!
And then I got to meet a 7th grader from Seoul Foreign School (the school that’s in the books) and her name is Jae Hwa Lee!!! How crazy is that?
Such an amazing experience. You can watch my video here that reflects on the trip.





About the Author:


CHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the Gilded series, a YA contemporary fantasy series set in Korea. GILDED was nominated for Korea’s 2014 Morning Calm, Ohio’s 2015 Buckeye award, and the Tome’s It List. As a child, she loved to explore, which later inspired her to jump on a plane and travel the world. Christina’s adventures sparked her to write stories, infusing the real world with fantasy. Currently she writes from home in Clermont, FL with her husband and two sons—that is until the travel itch whisks her off to a new unknown.

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Christina Here:


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To celebrate the release of BRAZEN, Christina is giving away a Kindle Fire (US only) and a $50 Amazon gift card (international). The letter for this stop is SCollect all the letters from the blog tour to earn more points!

All it takes is one person

Marvel's Daredevil (Netflix)

Marvel’s Daredevil (Netflix)

“It’s funny how your life can change/And turn around on a dime/Yeah it can take you down the darkest lane/Then lead you into better times…” – Daughtry, ‘Utopia.’

The way the world is, it’s hard to imagine how much one person can do to make a difference. Every day, we all make an impact some how. We all have the power within ourselves to do good, but we have to strive to do it. Obviously we can’t be superheroes, but we can be heroes. We’ve all got talents, strengths and weaknesses. But it’s really up to each one of us to learn and grow to make those aspects the best part of ourselves. Not just for us, but everyone you could ever affect. As a Catholic, I believe God gave all of us gifts that need to be shared.

Thursday night, I started to watch Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. I had heard much about it, and that I would like it, especially because the main character is Catholic. I had seen a previous retelling of Daredevil as a movie, so I wasn’t sure at first how the show would be like. Now that I’ve seen the whole first season, I have to say that this show is much better. Even with all the talk, the one thing that pushed me to start watching was that I noticed a friend of mine, Evan, on Facebook was tagged to a Catholic post that was being shared about the show. At the moment, I have been talking to him more after going to his band‘s show. This also inspired a bit of my last blog post too about taking chances.

Anyways, this show reminded me about how one person can make an impact in you’re own way with your talents. For example, Evan might not realize how much his presence, personality, kindness, and talents impacts the people he interacts with. From what I can tell his personality makes people happy. The only reason I know that is because he brings a bright smile to my face. I like to support my friends’ endeavors because I believe that’s what good friends do and because it makes them happy, which ends up making me happy. It’s a also special plus when the action inspires me in some way. I hadn’t been to the place that Evan’s band played in a long while because of a friendship I had to let go of. I’m glad I didn’t let my past stop me from going because his band is fantastic, and filled with potential. Even though going reminded me a bit of the past, it also reminded me that I can make new happy memories as long as I’m open to them. The way I’ve been feeling lately, I’m so inspired to write creatively. I keep waiting for the right story to come along, but really I just need to start.

The past shapes us, but it doesn’t define us. We make our story, with the help of God of course, and all of our stories are weaved together. We all have a chance to be happy, it’s our choices that affect that. Many things can make us happy, but at the end, it’s really up to us, as with everything with do with our lives. Obviously not every action we do will be a large wave, or even be noticeable, but being aware of it every day, being thankful for what we have, and trying our best can push us to do more. Some times we need just one person, that God brings in our lives, that inspires us to be brave. Everything else will fall into place.

“If we make the new world/Then we’ve got a story to tell/Will we stand together/Or just get torn apart/This is utopia/Let’s make a brand new start.”