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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"

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The First 300!

I know it's not the end of the week and that I may come up with something brilliant to post between now and 11:59pm Saturday, but just in case I don't, I've decided to post the first 300 (332 really) words of my fantasy WIP: Save the Queen. This is part of the new opening to the story that I recently decided to do, so whether or not it's worth anything to anyone besides me is up to the universe. At any rate, I hope it paints a good, albeit brief, picture of my main character, Ghuli, and that you enjoy it.

Book One

The northern winds always felt warmest at dusk in the Forest of Weeping Willows. With the Island Continent so far west, the Crystalline Princess liked to imagine the sun glanced longingly at the Isle on its way back towards the eastern skies, a last goodbye before nightfall. Ghuli sat on a high, steady branch of a blue willow deep in the forest, tying the ends of some of its switches as the sun heated her skin. She only had a few minutes left before Cyan found her, so she clutched the ridged bark as she stood, pressed her long, brown feet down against the ties along the branch to keep her balance, and stretched her arms to hold the switches at a comfortable point. She held her breath within her. If things went how she desired, she would be swinging through the air in the next few seconds. Otherwise, she would have to explain to her watchmen why breaking her arms and legs was a good use of her time.

Ghuli closed her eyes and let her feet slip away from the branch. For two seconds, she was falling through the air, and then the switches jerked tight beneath her feet. She screamed and laughed as the blue leaves of the other switches brushed her. She flew upwards until she stared up at the wraps bound around her feet, the hem of her un-dyed woolen skirt sucked against her shins. Then, she was falling backwards through the same switches, grasping her makeshift swing as it took her back the other way. Her black curls covered her eyes and mouth as her body lay suspended in the air for another long second before she was swinging forward again.

She was able to do this a few more times before she locked eyes with her First Lieutenant Watchman in the brief moment she lay in the air. “You said you would stay on the Eastern Road,” he said as she passed him.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I was on Carnival VICTORY


When we (my sister, my cousin, 3 choir mates and I) landed in Miami, our friends were messaging back and forth about a Carnival cruise ship which had an engine fire on its way to Mexico and was stranded with no power for 3 days! Of course, they were worried because we had our phones off because of international rates. But we were able to tell them no worries!

The trip was for my cousin's 27th birthday, and she loved it. We went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman. I have saved a trip that return to Grand Cayman in my Carnival account, and granted I have a new job by this summer, I'm going back next summer! I love turtles, and I want to see them again (saw them last year, but not this time because my sister and I..saw them last year. lol). Jamaica was interesting. I have a mild irritation of island men, but we stayed on the tourist strip, so we only really had to deal with aggressive tour guides. I had my first oxtail, which was good, and I plan to have more. We have a Jamaican restaurant in town. I wanted callalo (I still don't know what it is, but if it's good enough for Cliff Huxtable, then it's good enough for me), but our friend was on a scavenger hunt for free items, and by the time she found them all, our feet hurt too much to go back.

There really is nothing like waking up, not needing to make your bed (I don't anyway, but ah, well), and getting dressed, then going upstairs to eat food you've already paid for months ago, so you have no worries. To be honest, the desserts at the buffet were pretty bad, but everything else was great. I tried escargot and frog legs. X( The escargot tasted like a mushroom the first bite, but the second began to remind me that I was eating a snail. The frog legs were better, but a frog hardly has meat on his bones, lol, so there was a lot of cooked muscle. At least I can say I tried them now. X)

Now that I'm (slightly remorsefully) back home, it's Lenten season, so I get to fast off those pounds I gained on the boat. I also hope to kick back into editing full force and try to query off Save the Queen! I was thinking about it and Ruby a lot while I was sailing, so I know I need to work on them both, hopefully attain some beta readers...

Alrighty, well, I'm off to start my day! Good morning, by the way! haha

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG: The Panic Rant

Please visit the originator's page here: The Ninja Alex!
Okay, so, now I'm 28 years old. I'll be 29 in July, one year away from 30. 30? What?? Wasn't I supposed to have 2 kids by now?? Why didn't I get married at 25? Oh yeah, my boyfriend at 23 was a jerk, so I broke up with him. I wonder if he's still writing. He was such a pompous know-nothing. If he gets published before me, I'll scream.

Oh no. What if I don't get published? Like, EVER? I've been writing since I was 7 years old. It's all I know how to do! Why didn't my mom encourage me to take up ASL or Ballet? She knew I loved them! Why didn't I major in Voice instead of English? No one understands that an English degree doesn't mean I want to be a teacher! Why do they make that correlation?! I wanted to Write for Film and Television! I should've stayed at UArts, but I couldn't be away from my sister for ONE YEAR. She only stayed at FSU for one year, and I was left alone in God-awful Tallahassee for 3 semesters! I got to meet Robert Olen Butler, though. That was awesome. I should've stayed one more semester. I would've been in his class, stalking him like a fangirl. And gotten arrested. In Tallahassee. Ugh.

But Temple didn't have a creative writing program at the BA level. I loved Temple, though. I should've looked for a writing group. I bet they had one. I miss Write Club sometimes. FSU had a great program. UArts had a great program. I hated Center City Philly, though. Why can't I make up my mind? I could've made my manuscript into a screenplay SO easily!

But now it's a manuscript, and just when I thought I finished editing it, what am I doing again?? EDITING IT! When will it be finished? I'm clearly not the brightest star in the sky when it comes to my own work! I can edit the Hell out of a friend's stuff, but I can't see the flaws in my own work until I've sent it out with a query I've changed more times than I changed underwear this year, and wow, that one publisher was really enthusiastic about it, but they still turned it down. ACK!

What if it's never published? My mom thinks I took that year off after high school to find myself, and my older sister thought I was playing Final Fantasy for 365 days, and I was, but I was WRITING, too! I wrote, and I wrote, and my laptop crashed, and I started from memory TWICE! That's how strongly I felt about this story 10 years ago. What's up with me now?? Have I split into two separate people? Is a pessimist me trying to bully the dreamer me into reality? I don't like you, pessimist me. Go away.

I'm done.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Blogger Spotlight: Kristen Lamb

You all get at least a two-fer this week, as I'll have to visit my "AA" this Wednesday (ISWG). lol

I'm really bad with my writer social media, and the past few weeks, I've just been terrible, so because I'm going on a cruise next week, I vowed to be on the ball this week. The first blog-linked tweet I clicked on today caught my eye, because it was titled "How Eminem Makes Me A Better Writer." I found it humorous, so I went to read the entry, and I got a whole different entry than what I expected!

Kristen Lamb expresses her love of good music no matter the genre, and she goes into detail how the medium of poetry has transformed into today's rap music scene. She also does an awesome job of tying in songs by Eminem and the stakes of characters in select novels.

So click that link down there, and also check out her book We Are Not Alone. If you're a writer, there is also a contest tied to her entry, so extra-check it out. ;)

Kristen Lamb: How Eminem Make Me A Better Writer