Exciting News!

This fall, me and twelve other authors will be releasing a horror/thriller anthology. The anthology will be titled, Thirteen, and features many other talented authors I know. I will release the names of those authors at a later time, in another post. 😉

Yesterday we got the release date for the anthology and I am very excited to announce that Thirteen will be available for purchase on October 4th! Mark your calendars folks, because this October is sure to be a chilling one. My anthology story is about an old schizophrenia hospital based on an abandoned hospital near me in Northern Wales, Denbigh Asylum, also known as North Wales hospital. My story follows a group of teens who enter the building one night…

This Tuesday, Debra and I are taking a trip to the hospital ourselves so I can tweak my story to be more like the setting I chose. Hopefully we make it out alive. If we do, I’ll add photos here of the old asylum.

For now, check out this article on the old hospital. The pictures are eerily beautiful, and the story of the hospital should give you a good insight on why I chose it. Denbigh Asylum

 

To be continued…

Camp NaNoWriMo, and Greece!

This month has been full of excitement. I got back from Italy, got back in the habit of writing daily again, and started planning for when Lonnie comes to visit, and my final trip before I go home! The novel I have been working on for this month is a young adult thriller, titled The Darkness Within. I’m writing the novel for my mom, who doesn’t enjoy reading, yet wants to read one of my novels. She is a scary movie fanatic and loves all things scary. Hopefully she will enjoy this novel.

Here is the synopsis:

The house next door holds a horrifying secret…

For as long as Claire Anderson can remember, the house next door to hers has been vacant. After the last owners passed away, the house fell into disrepair; practically unlivable conditions. She had even began to grow accustomed to the creepy little house next door.

But now the house holds a darkness with who’s living there and the secrets he has…

Her new neighbor, David Greer, is attractive, middle-aged, and friendly. At least, that’s what Claire’s mom, Jasmine, thinks, but Claire can’t ignore the bad vibe she gets from him. Maybe it’s because she’s not used to having a neighbor, or maybe it’s because her mom seems to have a thing for him. Then again, it could also be the strange looks he gives her when others aren’t looking. Claire isn’t one hundred percent sure what it is about him that gives her the creeps, but she sure as hell has to find out, and preferably before he gets too close to her and her mother.

Can Claire figure out what David is hiding behind the walls of his decrepit new home, or will she fall victim to the darkness within?

Thanks to my writing cabin, and my daily writing word count goals, I am 33k words into the novel. I hope to get to at least 40k by the end of the month and then go back and edit the novel before submitting to any publishers. I want it to be about 50k words when I am finished with it. I am very excited for this new novel, and I’ve been channeling my inner Tami Hoag as I write. She is my spirit animal.

In other news, Debra and I got together last night and bought some of the tickets for our final trip. We have it all planned out and are very excited. WE’RE GOING TO GREECE! We will fly from London to Crete, and spend time there for a day. Then ferry to Santorini, and stay for two days, then ferry to Mykonos for two days. So exciting. Greece is at the top of my bucket list! It’s like a dream come true!

Bad Luck to the Bone

Anyone who has spent time with both Debra and I together can tell you that when we are together, bad things happen. It’s not that we cause those bad things, it’s just that together we always experience bouts of bad luck. It happened last semester at our home university, and we were sure that we wouldn’t get through our Spring Break plans unscathed. Boy, were we right. Below is a list of odd, and strange things that happened to us during our spring break trip, starting the first night we were together. Not all of these things are to be blamed on bad luck. Many are just strange things we did that I decided to add to the list.

 

The List

Paris: (Our first time meeting up during Spring Break) My family and I arrived to Paris late due to the Belgium bombing, and Debra and I missed our bus to the airbnb place we booked for the night. The bus was the only transportation there other than a $120 taxi, so we ended up sleeping in a cold hallway for the night. We could not get a refund on the money we spent on the airbnb.

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My Writing Room

Writing is one of those skills that takes a lot of practice, time, and effort, but it also takes the perfect atmosphere. Every author is different though. Some authors may prefer complete and utter silence during the writing process, while others may enjoy blasting heavy metal while they stab the keys to the beat of the music. It all comes down to what works for that particular person. When I first began writing, I was able to write through anything. Now, I have to be sitting in utter silence in order to stay focused. I seriously think my attention span has shortened as I’ve gotten older…

I even wrote in the firm, balancing my receptionist duties while writing.
I even wrote in the firm, balancing my receptionist duties while writing.
Since I was able to write despite what was happening around me, I didn’t have a specific writing room. Instead, my writing room was anywhere that I had my laptop, and I wanted to write. Sometimes that would be in the car with my family on long road trips, while my boyfriend was watching sports, or even while my music was blasting. Honestly, I really miss those times because it made it easier to pump out a story when I could focus anywhere. Now, my writing room has become more fixed, and far more relaxed.

My room back at UMW
My room back at UMW
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Two SKINS Fans Take Bristol

On nearly every trip that I have been on thus far, the trip was planned by Debra. For the first time, I did the planning! Not long after we met, Camille and I found out that we were both huge SKINS fans. Once we learned this, we decided that we had to take a trip to Bristol together so that we could see where the show was filmed. After we chose a prime weekend to go, a weekend that we were both free, and the weekend that Debra was going to meet Cody (her boyfriend) in London, I got to planning! I found the cheapest tickets and came up with a train itinerary for the weekend, and found a nice Airbnb place for us to stay. Our trip was all set!

Camille and I bought a tickets not long after and started getting excited about our trip. We both had a lot of places that we wanted to see. Camille found a BuzzFeed post that listed places in Bristol where SKINS was filmed, and what scenes the places were in. We made a note to do as many of those things on the list as we could! Later that night, our Airbnb place got cancelled, as the owners were going out of town for a wedding that weekend. I was on it, searching for a new place for us to stay. Finally I found a cute, little caravan for us to stay in, and it got accepted!

A week later, we only had one day left until our trip! I packed late that night, and Camille messaged me a time for us to meet at the train station. The next day we were both running late, but met at the station and had enough time for me to print my final ticket, and board the train.

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Spring Break!

Spring Break (or Easter Break as it is affectionately known as in the UK) is not as big of a deal in the UK as it is in the United States. This puzzles me, because in Europe schools have longer Easter breaks than we are given in the US. In the US, our Spring Breaks only last a week long, and they are not as glamorous as everyone sees on TV (like in 90210 for example). At Bangor University I have a three week long break, and I am so excited for it!

My family arrived in Bangor on Sunday evening, and have spent the last few days with me in Wales. My Aunt Teresa, Aunt Dorothy, cousin Jenna, and younger sister Tamrin all came for a visit and it was great seeing them. I cried like a baby when they first got off of the train. It was definitely a touching reunion. I was so excited when I was waiting for them at the train station. Camille was also waiting there, as her boyfriend was coming in on the same train as my family.

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The Construction of Women in Media

The media alone can create certain schemas inside a person’s mind. I am a woman, yet there are thoughts that I have when I think about women as a whole that are not necessarily true. They are just how the media depicts women, and how women as a group are portrayed to others and to ourselves. In class we were separated into groups where each group chose a manilla folder that had a topic written on it. The topics were women, men, Islam, sex, and health. My group chose the folder on women, and inside were four different articles that each focused on women as the topic of discussion.

The article that I received to look over was about all of the things you need to know if you love a woman. The article was basically a list of things that men needed to know in order to deal with women. It was written by a woman, which says a lot about how women view each other. The second article was titled 40 Things I Learned in 40 Years and was a list of forty lessons that a forty year-old woman learned from her life and experiences. The article was border-line depressing to read, and had a lot of repeating elements of putting yourself first, not men, and focusing on your career. The woman who wrote the article seemed kind of like she was giving others a list of things to do so that they don’t end up at forty with regrets like the writer did. The next article was written by a man and was about dealing with his wife, and the final article consisted of pictures that signified women. The pictures were of scales, women with low self esteem, men taking care of them, shoes, fruity cocktails, and anything else it seemed they could thing of to demean women.

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Simiotics

vintage-ads-that-would-be-banned-today-19

This advertisement above is incorporating semiotics, the study of sign systems, to sell their product; the Gillette Safety Razor. “Anything can be a sign as long as someone interprets it as signifying’ something–referring to or standing for something other than itself. We interpret things as signs largely unconsciously by relating them to familiar systems of conventions” (Chandler, 2007, p.13). The advert above uses a notorious symbol for delicacy and innocence, a baby, to get their point across that the razor is safe. This child in the advertisement is smiling happy while clutching the product. The words, “Begin early,” and, “Shave yourself” are at the top of the page and really hit it out of the park to signify what the ad is saying. The earliest someone could begin is as a baby, and the child is shaving itself. If the baby can shave itself, let alone even handle the razor then it just must be safe .

In my opinion, this advert is kind of genius. Gillette is using a baby which has the connotation of being innocent, delicate, youthful, and pure, and mixing it with the denotations of razors, which are dangerous, sharp, and should be kept out of reach of children. By mixing the connotations of an infant with the denotations of razors, the myth that Gillette’s Safety Razor is safe enough for a baby to use is created. The baby is happily clutching the razor, and is dressed in all white which adds to the symbol of purity and innocence. The tiles in the background allude to cleanliness, which also goes hand in hand with a razor that’s main use is to clean up appearances.

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Media Effects On Behavior

Disney Princesses

The word “media” refers to the main means of mass communication that reach the public. Media can be regarded by people of all ages, and is often used to influence behavior and/or thoughts. “The integration and connection of television and other media with the rest of social life presents another serious problem for effects research: does the media present viewers with new attitudes and behaviours, or merely reflect these as they already occur?” (Guantlett, 2005, p.15) In class, we debated whether media that causes unwanted behaviors or thoughts should be banned. This question was brought up in regards to Eminem and Rihanna’s music video for Love the Way You Lie. The lyrics to the song and the video, arguably glorifies abusive relationships, which led to people trying to get the video removed for it’s take on such a sensitive topic. During this discussion, I took the side that media of this nature should not be banned. In my opinion, it should be restricted for those under the age of legal consent (18), but after that age an adult should be allowed to make certain decisions on their own. As an adult, one should be able to decide for themselves rather than to be influenced completely by what they hear or see in the media.

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