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The #evernighties Thursday Weekly Author Blog Challenge is a once-a-week blogging adventure brought to you exclusively by Evernight authors. Each week, we answer a new question (listed below and borrowed from MFRW.org) and the answers will be featured on the Evernight Reader’s Group on Facebook, as well as our own blogs and social media platforms. Check out the group or follow the #evernighties tag to see how other authors answered this week’s question!

Week #5: A book that has influenced my life

This is a great question, and there’s several–I’ve talked about some of these before, so I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record.

I didn’t exactly have the best life growing up/in my teens. My mother died when I was 13 and I went into a system of foster care, rotating between my much older siblings and other people connected to my family. I hated my life and most of all, I hated living in the small, backwards town I lived in where there was basically nothing for a teenager to do but get into trouble–which I did, a lot. Even back then I was obsessed with horror novels and movies, probably because I was morbid due to my circumstances. Around the age of 15 (it’s been a long time and hard to remember my exact age) I found a copy of The Vampire Lestat at a flea market/basement sale type thing and of course it had the word VAMPIRE in the title, so I had to have it and read it.

It turned out that book changed my entire life–largely, because if you haven’t read it, through most of the first half, Lestat is a young (human) man who is desperate to escape his dreary provincial life and horrible family situation. He ends up doing this in the most fantastical way, by becoming a vampire (though it’s forced upon him) and taking on Paris, becoming an actor and ruling the night. For me, it sounded like all my daydreams come true. And even though it’s a largely tragic story about losing your humanity while trying to find yourself, it resonated with me so strongly at that impressionable, miserable age and gave me hope. I still have that falling apart, rag-tag copy I bought for 50 cents all those (many!) years ago. It’s held together with tape now and the pages are yellow, but I will never throw it away.

Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is also the book that changed how I look at writing, when I was a young and very green writer. Her dark and frank sense of humor is right up my alley, and the lessons she teaches in it made things very clear for me at the time. I still have that old book too! I also have an old copy of Sophy Burnham’s For Writer’s Only which is full of amazing and resonating quotes for authors. I have a lot of old books!

How about you? What book changed your life?

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The #evernighties Thursday Weekly Author Blog Challenge is a once-a-week blogging adventure brought to you exclusively by Evernight authors. Each week, we answer a new question (listed below and borrowed from MFRW.org) and the answers will be featured on the Evernight Reader’s Group on Facebook, as well as our own blogs and social media platforms. Check out the group or follow the #evernighties tag to see how other authors answered this week’s question!

Week #3: How much of myself is in my writing

This is a really interesting question this week, and the answer is kind of complex. It’s one I like to think about as a writer, though.

First, I think I put a good bit of myself into my writing as far as passion goes. Whatever I’m passionate about/into at the time happens to be what I usually write about. I mean, I think it would be hard to write about something you’re not really interested in. So I do tend to focus on subjects, places, and things that I’m fascinated by. I assume most writers do, and that’s the biggest part of ourselves that we put into our writing.

I also sometimes add personal preferences to my stories. My characters might have some trait or habit that I have, or they like (or don’t) like something that I do. No one character I’ve ever written is EXACTLY like me, but sometimes I give them a bit of my personality. I think that’s natural as a writer too–it’s part of that “write what you know” advice we get whacked over the head with. I might pull from my own memories or childhood to give a character a backstory, but again, no character is a carbon copy of me.

And of course, my characters sometimes end up in places I’ve been and I draw from those experiences. Life translates to fiction, after all. I think it’s fun that way.

What about you? Do you put yourself into your characters?

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The #evernighties Thursday Weekly Author Blog Challenge is a once-a-week blogging adventure brought to you exclusively by Evernight authors. Each week, we answer a new question (listed below and borrowed from MFRW.org) and the answers will be featured on the Evernight Reader’s Group on Facebook, as well as our own blogs and social media platforms. Check out the group or follow the #evernighties tag to see how other authors answered this week’s question!

Week #2: My earliest memory

Welcome to the second week of the blog challenge!

I only remember bits and pieces of my early childhood, but I remember those bits pretty clearly. We moved around a lot when I was a kid (even from state to state) and I remember a lot of the houses/apartments we lived in. I remember traveling a lot on a bus with my mother (we lived in Nevada but her family was here, in Ohio). I remember various significant events like birthdays and Christmas and family members visiting. I also remember school–I changed those pretty often too, due to all the moving. I think the fact that things were constantly changing is the reason I can remember them so vividly. After all, when studying the way our brains make memories, it’s been found that new experiences tend to get imprinted the strongest, because our brain is more alert and paying attention to the new information/surroundings.

However, my absolute EARLIEST memory has photographic evidence to back it up so I know it’s not a false memory. There’s a picture of me around two years old, sitting on a couch with my sister in our Easter dresses, with our Easter baskets. I can remember being on the other side of that picture, sitting on the couch–I really can! That’s honestly the earliest memory I have. It’s a brief flash but it’s definitely a clear memory. I think that’s pretty cool.

How about you? What’s your earliest memory, and do you think it’s real?

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We’re into the second week of 2019 already! Can you believe it? Only a few more months of winter here in the northern hemisphere, that’s the way I look at it. 😀 Even though, we haven’t really had winter yet–no significant snowfall, and the temps right now are spring-like. I know it’s waiting just around the corner, though.

The new year means resolutions for some people. I always make some…whether I follow through is another story. Some people don’t believe in making them and I totally understand that. The concept of time keeping is made up by humans, so literally any time is a good time to start working on self-improvement. I believe that too, but I also feel like the new year is a good time to hit the reset button. I always give it a good pounding, anyway.

Some of my resolutions were sidelined a bit during the first week of 2019 as I had some health issues that blew me off course. That’s okay–I’m trying to frame it that all the bad stuff got out of the way first so the rest of 2019 will be smooth sailing. My personal resolutions (which I won’t bore you with) stayed intact, but my writing resolutions got derailed due to having to go to the hospital (twice) and being on some mind-fogging medication. I’m back up on my feet and doing much better now, but I’m trying to get back on my writing resolutions. That is, more consistent blogging, and contributing some work toward my writing every day, even if I don’t have much time and it’s just a tiny bit. Part of that is keeping myself AWAY from distractions on the internet and TV and concentrating. Using my spare time more productively. I’m really quite horrible about it and easily pulled away so I’m trying to be more mindful.

Again, some people don’t do resolutions and I get that. Just because the year started over doesn’t mean you’re mentally, physically, or emotionally ready to make big changes in your life. I tried to focus more this year on making changes that I feel I’m ready for and capable of. And if you do make resolutions and slip on them, it’s important not to beat yourself up. Persistence and trying again when you fail is far more important to success than consistent perfection. Nobody ever learned to ride a bike, drive a car, or heck, even walk, by doing it perfect forever from the very first try. However, trying again and again got you there eventually.

Besides, everyone knows January is just a trial month to figure out how you want to spend the rest of the year. 😉

How about you? Did you make resolutions? Do you believe in them? How are they coming along?

How was everyone’s Christmas? I had a particularly lovely one simply because I was actually OFF from my job on Christmas Eve AND Christmas–which I don’t think has ever happened in my working life. I work in food and beverage/hospitality and also in an airport, so we don’t close for the holidays. My regular days off just happened to fall over Christmas. I have to work New Years but hey…I don’t even care, I’m grateful!

I love to decorate, so of course Christmas is my favorite time of year. It’s the most extra time of the year, so it suits me!

The BIG present was a new gaming chair for my son.

My son got me some lovely presents. I love Hello Kitty!

A work friend got me some cute stuff too! Yes, I like coffee and cats. Why do you ask?

I also bought MYSELF a gift before Christmas, when I upgraded my phone to the Galaxy Note 9. I can’t say enough good things about this phone. It’s AMAZING. I’m a big Samsung/Android person anyway, but this has so much storage and it’s just so responsive and efficient and BIG. I loooove it.

So yes, it was a pretty lovely Christmas. Do you celebrate? Did you have a good one? What sort of presents did you get?

To finish, here’s a picture of my cat and the funny way she always sits in “her” chair. She just doesn’t want us to forget what a lovely tail she has.

Have a great weekend!