My photo
Delaware, United States
Deborah Hawkins, penned Debra Renée Byrd, began writing after a blank book project in elementary school and never stopped, fashioning stories based on her favorite TV shows and movies before creating more original works. She studied at the University of the Arts and Florida State University before settling down and graduating from Temple University. She now resides in her hometown of Dover, DE, where she spends most of her time at work or at church. She loves fantasies, superheroes, is a trekkie and a brown coat. She loves television and lives for Final Fantasy video games, having collected most of them. She has read a myriad of authors, and her favorite authors change whenever she finds a new book that changes her life... "When you can't run, you crawl. When you can't crawl...well, you know the rest." -Tracey, Firefly, "The Message"

Search This Blog

Monday, November 26, 2012

If I never see another turkey...

My mom couldn't have bought a bigger bird this year. She decided to cook at our house, and we expected about 30 people. 20 came. The macaroni & cheese was gone by Day 2. There were two sweet potato pies and 3 cakes still out on Day 3. There were still two bags of turkey on Day 4. I'm still full.

So now that that is over, this week I am on Slim Fast to get off the pounds I was supposed to have been getting off already, now topped with the 8,000 pounds I gained on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Stuffed Saturday (yes, I made that up). I wil be exercising with Julia & Jaana's Core Rhythms, NYC Ballet, and Neena & Veena's Fat Burning Bellydancing. God knows I need it.

I don't want to even type the T-word anymore. It's a curse. I curse you, bird.

Monday, November 19, 2012

El Dia de Accion de Gracias

Because in Spanish you just can't say Dia de Gracias. You have to be acting on it. lol

Anyway, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and there are many reasons to be thankful, so I shall list some of mine ahora.

I'm thankful for my mom, who let my sister and I back into the house after we graduated and didn't snag that publishing job right away. We live rent-free, as long as we work, and as we struggle with bills and things on two our lower-class salaries, she steps in to help and sometimes forgets that we owe her money.

I'm thankful for my sister, who is my best friend, the Ashley to my Mary-Kate (many people still don't realize we're not twins). I want to throttle her every other day, but that's what sisters are for.

I'm thankful, as I tell God most days, for waking up sorta-sane and with good health. I'm thankful that I have a job and a place to live when many people don't.

Most recently, I'm thankful that I finished the first draft of my second book, and that I was given the gift of writing and dreaming. The world needs more dreamers.

Enjoy your turkeys, tofurkeys, and turduckens!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My first novel was an X-Men rip-off.

Do I always do 3-for-3? I feel like I do...Oh well. lol The quirky Cassie Mae was Too Scared to Close Her Eyes in this Q&A session, then tagged anyone who had time to do this. I work in a slow office, so heeeere I go! :)

Do you ever close your eyes when you're writing?
Only when I stop typing first. lol I have to visualize a scene sometimes, so I do close my eyes to picture everything.

Do you listen to music while you write? Before you write? Or neither?
It depends on my mood. Sometimes music is distracting. Other times, silence is.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or many projects at a time?
I used to work on multiple projects: when I got stuck on one, I'd work on another. But like this last instance, while I was intensely working on a project and stopped for just didn't feel right. I was also working on a short story I realized, per my last entry.

Do you know when you've started writing something special? Or do they all feel special?
I think I do. Halfway through, if it's crapola, I realize it's crapola and get depressed. lol

Are there projects that you couldn't imagine changing anything in the story? And on the opposite of that, are there projects where you could shrug about change and jump in and do it?
I used to think so (regarding the first question), but I've changed so much in my fantasy WIP that I never thought I would, so now I'm all "never say never!" Nothing is definite. So, no, no problem changing things now.

Do titles come easily for you? Or are they more difficult?
I sort of chuckle when I think about it because my working titles are usually the names of the main characters. So I'm going to go ahead and say they're so difficult that I just give up and say MC1 and MC2.

Did you know you wanted to be a writer when you started your first book?
I did.

Do you think your first book will be published? (I know this is a REALLY rude question to ask someone who is working on their first book ;-))
Did you ever see VR Troopers or Tattooed Teenaged Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills and think to yourself, "This is a rip-off of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers"? My first book was a rip-off of X-Men. lol Does that answer the question?

Are there favorite places in your house where you like to write? Or do you get more work done when you go somewhere else?
As long as I have something to write in or on, I'm okay anywhere.

And there you have it folks! Have at it if you have the time. :)

*SIGH* Oh, NaNoWriMo...

I think I failed last year. lol I don't even know what I was trying to work on last year!

I know this about myself but tend to forget this about myself that I'm a short story writer. I've so far gotten a novel out of myself by happenstance and vision. So I realized the story I started to work on for NaNo this month wasn't going to be a 50k piece by Day 3. I actually surpassed the 1,667 word a day for Days 1 & 2, for which I was proud!

However, that was all she wrote (literally).

Had I had thought ahead, I would've probably started that Middle Grade fantasy I've been talking about since I mentioned it, oh, I don't know, 7 years ago? But I have extreme blinders on. Maybe I'll still try to work on it this month. I feel that it definitely needs an outline, though. Can't pants this one.

I will keep you all posted.

(For my AQC readers: The seed is strong. ????)

The Next Big Thing (Week 23)

I was asked by the awesome Aaron Bradford Starr to participate in the tradition of So You Think You Can Write a Novel: The Next Big Thing edition. It was a great honor, and I don't think I've done a Q&A about the novel I'm currently querying and have thrown into the trenches for the New Visions Writers Award Contest. *prays*

In the Q&A, we share what possessed us to write these novels. lol I'm almost sure mine are weird, if not a little different, so I'll dive right on in.

1- What is the working title of your book?
Save the Queen.

2- Where did the idea come from for the book?
It actually started with a very elaborate dream I had, and since either most of my dreams don't make much sense and/or I'm not that great at oratorilly telling my dreams to people, I wrote this one down so I could show my sister. Part of the dream became the opening sequence to the story, and another part of it was usable for a later chase scene.

3- What genre does your book fall under?
Young Adult Fantasy.

4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is the trickiest question for me, because I started this story when I was 18 or 19. At the time, I knew I wanted Zoe Saldaña to play a supporting character. I've unfortunately made that character younger at this point. As I got older, I wanted Jodelle Ferland to be the main character with Kristin Kreuk as her mother, but then I decided to make my main character black, so that went out of the window, too. I haven't even homed in on any male actors yet.

So long story short, I have no idea who would be playing my characters in a movie rendition.

5- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The princess of a dead race and her watchmen journey to defeat a vengeful spirit from the future.

6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would prefer an agency. I want to be certain there are people out there who can see my vision, and throwing it out to the wolves on my own--there's no guarantee either way, but at least if I find an agency who believes in my story, I'm one step closer to knowing there are others who will, too.

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The short answer is 8 years, 4 of which I was in school. I also edit and proofread while I write. A bad habit, I know, but I'm an English major.

8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The voice and character atmosphere is very similar to that of The Enduring Flame trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. I was very fortunate to stumble onto these books last year. There's a formality/Olde English-y mixed with familiar/today language that I feel both my and their stories possess so that you get a little of both worlds. The series was also pretty dark, not even underneath it all, it was overcast. As you get deeper into my story, I feel the same thing happens. There was some truly dark stuff going on that the world had forgotten about or just didn't know about, which is why the story is happening.

9- Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I took a year off after high school because I didn't want to go to college. Since I couldn't find a job, I played Final Fantasy IX and X just about every day. I realized I wanted to write a story as if the story from a Final Fantasy game, that obviously hadn't been created yet, was adapted into a book. Like how they made The Spirits Within. It wasn't a movie adapted from one of the games, but it had the same elements of a Final Fantasy video game. I wanted to write a book in the same way. My working title is even a weapon in many of the games.

10- What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Well, if they like FF games, see #9. lol Otherwise, it's on the shorter side of an epic tale. My goal was to write a short fantasy. You get what you want, not what you'd rather skim over. I don't have the attention span to drag things out, and as a reader, I know how frustrating it is when you want to get to the point, but it's 50 pages away. Someone (don't know who) once said to write your novel so that there would be nothing to edit out in the movie adaptation, and that was how I wrote it. There's no filler. It's just the story.

Next week, November 14th, tune in to SC Author's and Revo Boulanger's blogs for another edition of The Next Big Thing.