The Liberty Chronicles: Book One- Chapter One

Jordana Black had three weeks left until the end of the summer and the beginning of her Freshman year of college. She was enjoying every minute of it. During the school year, she had to find time to squeeze in reading, writing, and relaxing between all of the studying and homework. During the two months she got to be away, she could do all of those things.  

On a fine summer day, she was laying in the hammock her stepdad strung between the two oak trees in the backyard. She was reading a book, the one where the guy gets the girl and they live happily ever after when she got a call from her boyfriend Kade. The call went to her tablet and she saw Kade’s face on the screen, overlaying the book she was reading.  

“Accept call,” she instructed the device. “Well hello there stranger.” She could see Kade rolling his eyes on the video feed now taking over her screen, his normally curly black hair now mostly hidden underneath a ball cap.  

“Strange? There’s not a thing strange about me.” As he said this, he demonstrated his ability to shift both of his eyeballs outward at the same time. “Nothing at all.” 

“Gross, you win just stop that!” 

This always makes Kade laugh. “Hey, you. What’s a girl like you do with her time on a day like this?” 

“Well, you know, things that girls like me do, of course,” she said, “whatever that means.” 

“You’re reading, aren’t you”? 

“You know me too well. What are you doing handsome?” 

“Thinking,” said Kade.  

After a moment consisting of nothing much more than a blank stare, Kade breaks the silence.  

“Well, it’s been a while since we’ve done anything other than talk on the phone and, not that I don’t like talking to you, I just thought I might take you to a movie and maybe get some dinner before.” 

“A smile reaches Jordana’s eyes. “You would, would you?” 

“I would.” 

“Hmm. I guess I could make time for a guy like you to take me to a movie.” 

“Great. Then a guy like me will pick you up at about 730. Oh hey, I think you should be expecting some sort of delivery soon. Love you, bye!” 

“Love you too,” said Jordana to a blank video feed before her screen filled back up with the book.  

A few pages later, she was interrupted again by a low buzzing sound coming from above. The sound was coming from a delivery drone from Ember, a massive online retailer that sold nearly anything and, in the major cities, delivered most packages by drone shortly after an order was placed.  

Jordana got up from the hammock as the drone landed with the package a short distance from her. It shut down its motors as she approached. There was a red light above a small screen. This screen instructed her to place her index finger in a small box to certify receipt of the package. She did so and a green light replaced the red one. A message now appeared on the screen advising her to stand back, gave her ten seconds to do so, started its motors, released the package, and zoomed to the sky.  

When the drone was gone, she picked up the package and opened it to find another box labeled “Converse All-Stars”. Inside this box was a pair of shoes which she had only dreamed of having before today. They were white with pink accents. High top Converse All-Stars. At first, she could not even process what she saw in front of her. This was something that she had mentioned to Kade years ago when they were in Middle school. There were only 1,000 of these made and they cost over $200 when they first came out which meant either he paid a ton of money for them or he found a way to buy them back then. Either way, she was grateful she had someone in her life who cared this much for her. She wanted to call him back and thank him but she knew he would want her to wait and just wear them tonight. That’s exactly what she did.  

***

She was sitting on the curb waiting when Kade arrived. She stood and watched in unexplainable anticipation as the door on the PodShare pod lifted, allowing him to stand and walk out to her. The first thing he did was look at her feet to see her wearing the shoes he got her.  

“So, you got my gift.” 

Jordana slapped him on the arm before embracing him in a hug. “You’re crazy, you know that? I can’t even imagine how much these things must have cost you.” 

He smiled. “Eh, only a small fortune.” 

“Well thank you. I can’t even believe you remembered me talking about these.” She broke the hug but immediately took his hand.  

“You look good Jo. Really good.” She had the perfect outfit picked out for the shoes. She looked like a blast from the past with her ripped jeans, pink and white band shirt, and a pink hoodie, despite it being nearly 90 degrees outside. If he ever had any regrets about spending what he spent, it was gone now seeing her standing there.  

“Let’s go then, shall we,” said Kade, motioning for Jordana to get into the pod. Once inside, Kade pressed an icon on the tablet in front of them that said “continue”. A voice from somewhere in the pod said “continuing to Fire Grill. Arriving in seventeen minutes.   

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The Daily Westin

Hey friends!

I haven’t blogged in a while. To put it simply, it’s because I haven’t written in a while. Okay, I’ve written but not like I need to be writing if I am to become a published author one of these decades.

On Painting

If you’ve read any of my more recent posts, you know that I took up painting. Do you want to see how that’s going? Let’s get that out of the way real fast, shall we?

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I’m kind of proud of that one. I had just completed one layer of a very colorful painting, which took me about a week, and decided to turn around and do a grayscale within about 30 min of that. It only took me a few minutes but was very satisfying. If I were ever to make prints of my paintings to sell, the grayscale one would be the first one I’d think about.

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This colorful piece was done purely on instinct. It was completely random and very reactive in the sense that I had no idea what was coming next and, thus, had to react to every single brush stroke. It was challenging but also very fun.

You can see that my painting style has changed dramatically if you take a look at what I was doing when I first shared a painting with you. I threw any attempt at realism out the window and have since focused my energy on the abstract. It’s much more challenging than even I would have ever imagined, and it’s because of that intense challenge that I find it so rewarding.

On Writing

I was doing so well with my novel, The Liberty Chronicles. I’d made some major revelations in the story and was super excited, as per the usual, to build on it more and more. Then I got a shiny new idea and I could not stop. I kept on developing it despite knowing that I should just write it down and move on. It is my firm belief that this is what did me in.

I haven’t written in something like three weeks now. For whatever reason, my creativity has manifested in visual art lately and, despite how much I love painting, writing is still my passion. Sure, I would love to make an income as a painter but I want even more than that to be a published author and make my living that way someday.

Maybe this is what I needed to do, to publically say, once more, that writing is what I want to do. Perhaps something as “simple” as blogging will be enough to get me back into the writing groove.

It’s going to be tough trying to balance writing with painting, but I am going to try my hardest to do just that. I am going to put my shiny new idea down and get back to work on The Liberty Chronicles. I think I have been away from it long enough now that I can actually do what I was planning to do weeks ago. I think I will go back to the drawing board, keeping the main points but developing a new outline for the story and then starting the manuscript over from scratch. It’s a big task but I am glad I was less than ten thousand words in when I decided I needed to do this.

So, that’s the plan ladies and gents. Thank you to those who’ve stuck around and I hope you will continue to do so. I will be doing better at blogging and trying to be the example I set out to be for you all.

Happy writing!

–Trevor

On PrepTober

I am failing miserably at PrepTober. We are 1/3 of the way into the month and I am not 1/3 of the way done planning for my #NaNoWriMo novel.

I started the month with big plans. I was going to begin to use a bullet journal and plan out times when I would prep. I would split the tasks up by days, world-building Monday, character creation Tuesdays, outlining Wednesdays, something to that effect. Yet here I sit, having only fleshed out a small piece of my main character and, though I know the world in my head, I haven’t gotten it down on paper. Outline? Ha! Not even close.

Queue the excuses. As per the usual, work is wearing me out. I truly hate my job anymore. I love writing and that’s what I would rather do so I also spend a lot of time getting product reviews ready to publish. I have countless products that I need to review and they can’t take a backseat anymore. It’s something I am truly passionate about. I love taking the photos, editing them if I have to, and writing about my experience. It’s fun to try and craft my words into something that can best represent my experiences with a product. It’s challenging and hurts my brain sometimes, but I love it.

Also, finding and reaching out to brands I’d like to work with isn’t as easy as you may think. So that’s what’s been taking my time.

No more of this not prioritizing my novel. I have to get back to getting ready for Nano, because dammit I’m going to win this year.

I hope you all are doing better than me if you’re spending October prepping for Nano.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

 

–Trevor

Creativum Minimalist Journal

Hey gals and guys!

I want to share something very special with you today. The Minimalist Leather Journal from my friends at Creativum, who were kind enough to send me my own journal for the purposes of this review.

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I have to note how, every time I walk into my office since I got this journal, it smells like leather. It’s the most wonderful thing. It’s like my office is filled with expensive leather furniture. It’s not, I promise, It’s just this journal.

 

The Specs:

Size: A5 (8.5″x6″)

Paper: Unknown. I suspect around 80 to 90 GSM.

300 pages of refillable lined paper.

Binding: Stitched

Closure: Leather strap around wooden button.

Bookmarks: 1

Pockets: None

Pen Loop: Yes

 

The Basics:

Minimalist. It’s in the name and the journal itself screams it. We’ve all seen the big hulking leather journals found anywhere from your local box store to Barnes and Noble. They are the opposite of minimal. The folks at Creativum have nailed the concept, providing the rugged durability of a  100% genuine leather cover with a simple yet very functional journal insert.

One of my favorite things about this journal is the button used in conjunction with a leather strap to close it.

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How beautiful is that? And it’s not just a button. This is a huge part of the culture of Creativum. In a nutshell, it stands for creativity and how having a little of it can get you a long way. As a writer, I can’t imagine writing my story in another book just for that alone. It’s a constant reminder of how one man made something from nothing and how, if he can do it, so can I.

As you see here, this journal is stitched and bound.DSC_0065.jpg

Because of it’s stitching and not being bound to a solid spine, it also lays relatively flat.

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If you’re looking for a beautiful cover with refillable pages, this is a perfect choice. The refills are available for only $8.00 USD, which I consider an absolute steal!

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There’s also a nice pen/pencil loop so you can keep your favorite utensil with you wherever you and your journal travel.

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Writing in the Journal

I must say, I originally planned on using this with pencil, because that’s what I like writing with, but I purchased a Pilot Metropolitan and wanted to use it more. I chose to do some of my writing in this journal with the Metropolitan.

First let me say that this paper takes the ink from my Medium Nib pen very well. It feels nice and smooth, while on some other paper I’ve used it’s been a little too scratchy. This comes at a price, however. It takes the ink too well. While there is no bleed-through on the page underneath the one on which I write, it does bleed through a little too much on the back of that page. So much so that I wouldn’t write on the back, which for me means half the page availability if I were to continue to use a fountain pen throughout the entire book. I should clarify that not all of it bleeds through and the ghosting is heavier and thus more distracting than the bleed through in my opinion.  Thus, I would not call this paper fountain pen friendly, at least not with a medium nib or anything this wet. I wouldn’t even call the Metropolitan “wet” but I guess with this paper it seems to be.

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If you do like to write in pencil, the paper feels really nice while doing so. It’s not too toothy so it won’t eat the graphite, but it’s not just slippery smooth either. I’d call it a perfect balance.

Conclusion

Don’t expect to use this with wet pens. It simply won’t be effective. Having used it for quite some time now, that’s honestly my only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint.

I absolutely love this journal. If you’re looking for something you can use for a bullet journal, this may not be for you (though you can bujo with lined sheets if you want). But if you’re looking for something for daily journaling, a diary, or even writing stories like I use mine for, this is perfect.

I give the Minimalist Journal from Creativum a 9 out of 10 stars. 

You can pick yours up for $45.00 USD for the regular size. They also offer in a mini size (5.5″x4″ 240pages) for $35.00 USD.

I want to say a huge thank you to Creativum for sending me this journal.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

*This journal was sent to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. However, I am not being paid to provide a biased review and my opinions are my own.*

–Trevor

 

 

Diversity in Books 

I don’t want to write this post. I’ll be one-hundred percent honest with you. I’m afraid that it could singlehandedly ruin any chance of me ever becoming a successful author. The thought that, as soon as this post goes live, the internet will have record of my opinion on this matter terrifies me.

But fuck it.

I just watched a few videos on YouTube by two different personalities. I want to name names. More than ever, I want these people to know how stupid they are, one in particular. But I won’t. The video that spurred this is one from a rather new person in the AuthorTube community and it is titled, in part, Writing With Diversity. 

Now, I feel like I have to mention that this particular person doesn’t seem to have any sense of originality whatsoever. They seem to have watched a few of their favorite AuthorTuber’s videos and said “Oh hey, I like her. I want to be just like her when I grow up and make my own videos”, then went and did just that. This person has copied the mannerisms of the other person in what seems like an effort to, I don’t know, be cool like them or something.

This particular video is the personification of that mentality. Here was their message on diversity in books, in a nutshell:

  • If you don’t write with diversity, you’re an asshole.
  • You MUST tell your reader what color someone is, otherwise they must be white, and you’re an asshole.
  • If you don’t write interracial relationships, you’re an asshole.
  • There are some sexualities that we don’t even know about. If you’re not writing about various sexualities, you’re an asshole.
  • The fact that YOUR characters are straight is stupid. Asshole.
  • If you don’t write about trans or non-binary characters, you’re writing isn’t realistic. Oh yeah, I forgot. Asshole.

This was seriously the person’s message. And here’s what I gathered from it.

This is the most important thing. What this person is asking writers to do, no demanding, is to conform to their ideal book. If I, as a writer, don’t do this, then I am doing something wrong. Fuck you, YouTube Person Who Must Not Be Named. Fuck you.

What makes this so much worse is that they are not the only person making these types of demands. So many popular BookTubers and AuthorTubers are doing this. And it is sad! Sad because they are willing to conform. Sad because they are perfectly fine with someone telling them how to write their story. Sad because they are okay with changing their vision to some cookie-cutter bullshit dream of this perfect world that, quite simply, does not exist.

  And let’s be honest, sometimes you can tell the cookies are homemade when they don’t all look the same, right? 

Writers write their visions. These could be visions of some utopian society where everything is perfect, they could be of a dystopia where nothing at all is perfect, they could be of a relationship they wish they could have but are too afraid to pursue it so they make up a story about it. Let me tell you something. When I dream, I don’t dream what anyone else wants me to dream. When I picture certain situations, I don’t picture them the way anybody else might picture that exact scenario. It’s not how our brains work!

Did you know that Hermione from Harry Potter was supposed to have been black? JK Rowling said she always saw her as black, but I bet you never would have guessed it.  There never were, in the early days before the films at least, any inferences to her color. You could have read her as black and the story would not have told you any different.

Did you know Dumbledore was thought by the author to be gay? There were literally never any parts of the story, be it in the books or the films, that would have ever suggested that, unless of course you count his lack of a partner at all. But JK Rowling told us that in the years after she typed the last words to a Harry Potter novel.

What I am getting at here is that I shouldn’t have to point out to you a color or sexuality to begin with. Now, if I do choose to specify, and I should only do so because it moves the plot forward, then I should do so respectfully and tastefully. However, you have no reason to expect me to include these things just for the sake of including them. You shouldn’t want me to! If my vision doesn’t include a transexual, why the actual fuck would you want to see one in the novel? It makes no sense!

If my vision is of a boy riding a dragon through over fucking Castlevania and I want to tell you his ethnicity, I will. If it is pertinent. But would you be any more amazed by the fact that this person riding the dragon was Indian? Fuck no.

If my vision involves a man fighting ninjas in back alleys across the globe, do you have to know he’s bisexual? Or what if he identifies as non-binary or gender fluid? Does that intensify the appeal of his fighting prowess? No. No it doesn’t. He can kick some ninja ass, no matter who he’s banging when he gets home and if telling you about it doesn’t move the plot forward, then I’m not going to tell you. 

I want you to know now that, just because I don’t tell you a character is bi or anything like that, doesn’t mean he or she isn’t. Believe me, I flesh my characters out and I know who they are. If them being bi doesn’t move the story along, I won’t tell you. Also, if the color of their skin is not important, I will not tell you. Instead, I will let you decide if they are black, white, brown, yellow, whatever.

And after all this, if I do write a book without any representation of a particular group of people, oh well. It’s my vision. Don’t buy my book. Naturally, I want to write a book that the world will love to read, but I refuse to conform. I refuse to alter my vision to suit any of these snowflake’s needs.

While I understand the need for people to consume stories with which they can relate, there is much more to being able to relate than just the color of a character’s skin or the people they choose to have relations with. Yes, our real world is not vanilla and it makes sense to have diversity, but not at the expense of changing a story to make it happen. If the story didn’t specify a certain diversity, simply dragging and dropping it into that story only seems disingenuous. Why would you want to read something like that?

Enough is enough. No more demands. No more templates for stories that don’t offend simply because they include the types of characters that meet specific requirements. No more.

If you read this all the way to the end, thank you so much. I love you all.

Happy writing!

–Trevor

 

 

When NOT to Write Horribly

You know you’ve heard it. We all have. Your first draft will be crap. All that matters is getting the idea out and onto paper, you can fix it in editing. You can’t fix a blank page. The list goes on and, while this is usually the case, it isn’t always.

Just yesterday, I made a discovery in my story. Now, I have always been a half planner,  half pantser. It’s just what’s “worked” for me. So, I have been working on a story and I have a partial outline, character development, and massive world building. Countless hours put into the pre-writing phase. I have been doing well dealing with letting go of my need to control the words as they come out of my head, following the idea that you can fix it in editing. This has been a huge leap for me. Nearly six chapters in, I can no longer do it.

Now, I don’t know if my half planning method is to blame for this. It could very well be. I’ve started to realize that my story actually isn’t working. I’ve written a character into a position where I have no idea how they even got there. Why should they be there? What did they do to deserve this? Shouldn’t they have to work a little harder? Nothing in life, even in an alternate dimension believe it or not, comes for free. Yet here I am, giving my character something I have never seen just given.

  I have to rewrite my story. 

This is the time when just editing simply will not get the job done. If I continue from here, there is no telling where the story will end up. Hell, it might not even be a story because half of  the story is missing. And I am only approaching the sixth chapter!

So, I wanted to tell you guys that editing does not always fix the story. Everyone will tell you to write like crap until all 50,000, 75,000, 100,000, whatever, words are on paper. What editing won’t fix, however, is a broken story.

This can happen to anyone too, not just a half planner like me. You can have a fully fleshed out outline and know every scene down to the dialogue, and this can happen to you. I want to tell you that when it does happen. Stop. You need to stop. You have to figure out what happened to your story. Yes, it is a huge time consuming task, especially if you’ve written more than I have, but you have to. Why? Because your story will suck. Unless you find a way to fix all the inevitable plot holes, you won’t fool your reader. And if you think you can fool your reader, you are insulting them because you can’t!

Just stop and fix it. Go back to your outline. Go back to your character development and world building and see what went wrong. I promise you, it’s in there and if it’s not, that could be your problem too.

I hope you learned something from this today. I wanted to share with you my mistake so that, perhaps, you would recognize it in your own writing. I’ve seen too many authors not recognize this mistake in any number of variations, and they go on to self-publish their story thinking it was okay and it wasn’t. This is a waste of your time and, most importantly, your reader’s time.

Happy writing, guys and gals!

–Trevor

What Even Is Going On?

 

Hello guys and gals.

So, I am certain you’ve noticed my absence in recent weeks. This is a problem and I am sorry.

I have, indeed, been writing, well, sort of.

I must admit to you all that I am so lost right now. I have no idea what I’m doing or where I am going. I thought I had finally found the proverbial yellow brick road, a path to something, anything that resembled hope. I HAD found it, and I had begun to see the way. Then, suddenly and without notice, the path dead ended into a dense forest which I will surely not be able to navigate my way out of.

To put it as simply as I know how, I am not doing well as a writer. I thought that, for once, I had this great idea for a story. Fully outlined it and even began writing it. I got no more than 5,000 words in before I was struck with Shiny New Idea Disorder (SNID).

SNID is an asshole. I hate SNID. SNID should die a fiery and most excruciatingly painful death.

I honestly don’t know how writers do this. Surely I am not the only one who encounters SNID. Perhaps my problem is that I have a severe lack of self-control. Couple that with a tendency to be easily distracted and SNID wins every time. Literally. Every. Freaking. Time.

I apologize for bringing you all such a dark and gloomy post but I owe you all something and this is all I could muster.

Help me!

Thanks for reading!

–Trevor