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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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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Express Yourself: August

I feel like July was both long and short. August happens on Thursday! It's crazy.

This week's Express Yourself asks what we look forward to in August. My uncle (aunt's hubby) turns 50 some time in August, so my aunt is throwing him a surprise 50th Seafood Fest-type birthday this Saturday! I am one of 4 people in my family not allergic to either shellfish and/or fish, so I'm very excited about this, and I plan to try to make either a crab dip or a  crab-stuffed grilled cheese I saw on one of those Food Network shows.

Next Saturday, my cousin and I are taking our goddaughter Chanel for the weekend. Our former choir mate made the choir godparents! She's the sweetest baby, hardly cries and sleeps a lot (sounds a lot like me when I was a baby hehe). So this should be an experience, as I haven't watched a baby in 10 years. I imagine like will go on as normal, with the exception of staring at her for 36 hours. :)

Nothing else really happens in August for me that I'm looking forward to, so that's it. :-D

Thank you to and for this weekyl bloghop.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Big 5-0

No, I'm not 50; I just turned 29 afterall.

But I have reached 50 followers! A big thank you to everyone who has subscribed and reads my whacky, sometimes non-sensical, sometimes blabbermouth, sometimes I-forgot-to-post posts. It means a lot that someone is "listening".


Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Freeday: Throwback Thursday

Confusing, right?

But since I'm scheduling my post, I thought it would be interesting.

In my teenaged writing years, I went through a period of writing tragedy. In my suspense works, someone died. In my romance works, someone died. It got to a point that my cousin threatened to stop reading. I think she actually did, now that I think about it!

Now that I'm older, I do still lean towards darker, sadder tones, but I've tried to not kill any of my characters...for now.

As a writer, did any of you have a different theme than what you trend towards now?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Express Yourself: Writer Woes

Today's Express Yourself is (edit): What is the most frustrating/satisfying thing about being a writer? Not a writer, then pertain this question to whatever you'd like.

Thanks to Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests for this weekly bloghop.

I actually just tweeted about this one as I was revising my WIP. One of my writer woes is probably a pantser issue: where is this story going?

As a pantser, I tend to know how my stories start and what the end will be. The middle and connections between come whenever they feel like it. I spent a LONG time trying to figure out why the antagonist in my story is coming for my protag, and when it finally hit, things came together so well.

Another woe is after all of this work I'm doing, will anyone see it? I just want people to see the vision as I envisioned it, understand it, and appreciate it. So I'm going to keep working at it so that this is THAT story.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Freeday: My Itinerary

It is here! I am 29! And my birthday is on a Friday, so I took the day off! WHOO! (It's really still Thursday, so I'm "working" and revising my novel. Happy Birthday, Pop-pop (July 18, 1930-November 20, 1998)!)

I have decided to put up my day's plans for fun. I hope you all have a great weekend! <3

July 19

7-8:00 a.m. Wake up?

9:00 a.m. (if I wake up at 8:00 a.m.) Exercise

10:00 a.m. IHOP (free meal!)

12:00 p.m. Hair dresser (by Team Natural)

2-3:00 p.m. Rehoboth Beach with my pals!

5:00 p.m. The Greene Turtle

7:00 p.m. The rides? More beach? Be ratchet? lol

July 20

12:30 a.m. Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Jesse & The Rippers are performing!)

11:00 a.m. Check-out

11:30a.m.-3:30p.m. The Fair!

5:00 p.m. Home

All times except for my hair appointment and check-out are approximate.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Last of the 20s

That should be a book title, no?

So, since my birthday is tomorrow, I have a 2-day birthday celebration planned, and I can't WAIT!

But since I have to, and it's Thursday, I thought I would look back on the things I have and haven't accomplished per my *ahem* plans in the past.

When I was a little girl, I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be 16.
Tomorrow I'll clearly be 13 years past 16, and it's crazy to me sometimes. I still feel at most 18.

I started writing when I was 7 years old and at 12 decided that I wanted to be an author.
While I had a lot of trial novels and series stowed away, I'm currently on my 4th or 5th revision of the novel I would love to be my debut novel.

At 25, I said I had a 5-year-plan to be out of my mom's house.
Ironically, my mom moved to a 55+ apartment complex this year, so technically I accomplished that.

I'm just going to stop here because I've already mentioned my marriage and babies dreams that aren't yet, well, happening. I suppose there's still time. :)

How about you guys 29+? Are there/were there any goals you had in your earlier years?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Express Yourself: Social Challenges

Thank you to Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books for this weekly meme!

This might be both an easy and a hard question because it's not something I get to talk about often, the question of my biggest social challenge.

I think I said this a while back, but I began my growing up in a predominantly white town called Yardley, PA. It's about an hour north of Philly, just west of Trenton, NJ. I spent a lot of time being if not the only, one of the only black students in my classes. For a while, I did wish I looked like my friends, but overall, I was accepted, and I was fine. Moving down to Delaware, however, was a culture shock. Dover was actually a segregated city when my mom was growing up, and the further south you go, the clearer it is that some mentalities haven't changed. So it's hard going through days where people always categorize or judge people based on what color they are, and you see it on the news so often it's sad to see the tug-of-war between how far we have or haven't come.

Didn't mean to bring down the mood, but hopefully the world changes. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Freeday: Rainy Day Tunes

Well, I will have to schedule my posts the night before. My work browser now won't let me type in this box.

I hope everyone not on the east coast is having a good Friday. My town is flooded. We had to take a back road to detour our back road detour.

But that's not what today was about. Rainy days are a perfect day to cuddle up with a book, blanket, movie, ideally a person, and chill. Since I work Monday through Fridays, while I'm watching the rain through the vestibule windows, I love listening to mellow pop tunes. I have a Pandora radio just for it. Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, etc. Yuna and Birdy are also on that list. Some wine and popcorn Olivia Pope style would make it a perfect day.

So, what are your favorite tunes on days like this? Days like mine, that is? lol And stay dry!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Express Yourself: Movie Snacks!

Hosted by:


Sorry for being a day late, I keep forgetting I can see the whole month's schedule without waiting for the hostesses! They are Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books, and they always have interesting questions for the blogosphere!

This week's is an easy one: Whether watching a movie at the theater or at home, what's your go-to snack?

Honestly, I like to keep it classic: popcorn. I prefer a little "butter" in the theatre, and I LOVE the new pop-up bowls that are in the store. Saves two seconds. ;)
Sometimes, I like to get something a little sweet, usually, a gummy product or the chocolate mints, but too many of those in an hour hurts my stomach. So, usually, I just stick with popcorn.

Thanks for stopping by! And visit the other participants.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Freeday 2: I Finally Finished Final Fantasy XII

Not particularly a tongue twister, but what alliteration!

WARNING: Roman numerals ahead.

WARNING: Nerd rant ahead.

If you've noticed, I love Final Fantasy, and my fantasy WIP is loosely based on the games. Not including Final Fantasy XI, which was an online MMORPG for some reason, I have played and finished all of the numbered Final Fantasies up to XII, including VII and X's sequels and spin-offs. I also have, but haven't finished because my PS2 laser broke!, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions and Final Fantasy Dissidia I & II. I think all I need now is the first Tactics and the Chocobo Chronicles, and I'll officially be a hoarder.

I bought Final Fantasy XII when I was in college. I had a waitressing job that lasted 3 weeks, but with the tips I made, I splurged on the $200 Collector's Edition of the game and guidebook, which comes with a bonus disc and a book of artwork. I really wish I hadn't paid for it, but 6 years later, I've finally finished the thing. Here are my problems with this game.

The Battle System:

Up until Final Fantasy X, what happened when you weren't in a town was your character walked across a world map (looking like they could step on the towns) until they encountered a monster to fight, at which time the screen would dramatically change to a 2D row vs row battle. In X, you had more of a realistic feel, where your character walked through towns AND the greenery around it, but you still were whisked away to a 3D row vs row battle. I'm going to blame XI for the change because XII kind of looked like XI. In XII, once you left the town or city, you were in a world where you could see every monster you were about to fight (except for snakes, that popped up at random). The only good thing about this is that there were no surprises. The bad thing is: in all of the other games, you pressed a button to escape, and you had a 50/50 chance of returning to the world map. In XII, you had to run, and the monsters CHASED YOU! I hate games where something is chasing you, so that this happened frequently stressed me out and often, when I first played, got me killed.

The upside to this battle system, tedious though it was, was 1) the gambit system, where I could program the characters to fight, and pretty much walk away to get a sandwich, unless I wanted to do a limit break or summon; 2) being able to make battle chains, where if you fought more than 1 of the same monster in a row, you received bigger rewards.

The Story:

When you have storylines like a lost esper trying to save the world of espers, the dark truths behind the world's military, a whole city of people giving up their lives to keep the dream of their city alive before it's destroyed, etc. etc., a simple War of the Roses storyline just doesn't cut it. FFXII had the most basic story for all of the drama you go through. Kings of old wielded the power of something called nethicite (which I'm guessing was like the crystals from the other games), and one power-hungry prince is trying to harvest it all for his own benefit? And then I fell asleep! Just like in a book, I need a little more motivation to care about what's happening on my tv screen. Right to the end, I never did.

The upside to the story were the two characters Balthier and Fran. They brought such humor and two really nice side stories to the main one that made me love them. My favorite lines are theirs. Two from the final scene (which I will get to in a minute): Balthier: "I'm the leading man, and you know what they say about the leading man. He can't die." Fran: "I see you in more of a supporting role." HILARIOUS! To me, anyway.

The Ending:

If you have ever played a Final Fantasy game, you know that 1) there is never just ONE final boss, and 2) you need popcorn for the final scenes once you've beaten those 3 - 14 end bosses. FFs VIII and X had two of the LONGEST end boss sequences AND final scenes, but they were great, and I loved them, especially if I didn't die more than twice trying to finish. Final Fantasy XII had the most lackluster ending I have ever seen! I beat the younger prince's guard, then the prince who was causing all of the trouble. Then, the younger prince's guard helped me to fight the prince once he morphed (he totally super saiyaned) into something bigger. THEN, I beat him after he was possessed by some demon-like spirit who was controlling him all along. His ship almost crashed; they made me think Balthier and Fran died, and then a year passed, and the world is peaceful, and Balthier and Fran didn't die, but we never see them again. Then, the credits roll, and it goes back to the opening menu. WHAT?! I'm used to AT LEAST something special during the credits or after the credits. This did not happen.

The Summons:

Don't mess with my summons. Just don't. For those still reading and don't know any of the things I'm talking about, summons are special monsters that you can call on to annihilate a monster that might be a little too big for your britches. They've been called many different things: espers, aeons, guardian forces; I think they're just called summons in FFVII. Playing from the first to the tenth, there have been staple summons: Ifrit (fire), Shiva (ice), Bahamut (flare). You get used to these, and you like to see how they evolve. Just Google Shiva from Final Fantasies VII through X to see how she changed. It's awesome!

Someone decided this time around, "Let's make up ALL NEW summons, and name the battleships after the old ones." NO, NO, NO! Not only did I almost never use the summons I did find, but I never knew what they did! I could have read up on them in my guidebook, but grrrr. I know Belial was the fire summon, but other than that, no idea what the rest did. And some looked TERRIFYING! And the music that played when I DID use one was scary, too!

The Side Quests:

You can have too many. I don't think I even did half of the ones that are in the back of my guidebook, and when the story is already blah, what makes you think I want to go off track to do mini-stories? There are about 100 hunts. I did 30? There were 13 summons, most of which were side quests. I think you received 4 through the story, so I think I ended the game with 5, two of which I never used.

Overall, I give this game 2 of 5 chocobo feathers, and that's pushing it. I'm never playing it again...but I might get the spin-off game Revenant Wings.

I have a problem.

Friday Freedom: Freedom Day!

Good morning!

On Tuesday, I said I didn't know what I was doing for the 4th of July, which was yesterday. Since I had to get a few food stuffs for a birthday party at work today, I decided to pick up some potato salad, just in case someone decided to do something. That went well, because my uncle was cooking. So I had ONE plate (I'm proud of myself), watched Madea's Big Happy Family (one of the better ones in my opinion), then had one of my aunts drop me off at The Green to watch the fireworks with my friends. Then, we took a midnight ride to the beach and chilled there for an hour. We got in at 2am. I'm back to work, exhausted.

How was everyone else's holiday?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG: O ! say can you see

Hello! And happy early 4th of July from the Insecure Writer's Support Group, led by the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh!

I really don't have much to say today, but I thought I'd provide some inspiration based on a letter to the editor in my newspaper a couple of weeks ago. The man started by complaining about the way some people embellish "The Star Spangled Banner", then went on to tell the history of it, which I didn't know, so I ignored his little complaint. lol

Francis Scott Key had gone to negotiate the release of war prisoners (War of 1812) and in ended being held himself, due to becoming aware of the British intent to attack Baltimore. So, he was in prison during the bombardment at Fort Henry September 13-14th. From his cell, he was able to see the American Flag still standing in the morning.

Inspired, he wrote "Defence of Fort McHenry", which was later titled "The Star Spangled Banner" and put to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven". It became so popular that by 1931, Congress made it the United States' national anthem!

And something I just learned: there are 3 other stanzas! So, here is one of the surviving copies of "Defence of Fort McHenry" for your enjoyment. Have a Happy Independence Day! May we all one day write something that is remembered for generations to come. :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Express Yourself: For the 4th

Welcome back for Express Yourself! Thank you to Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests for this weekly bloghop.

This week's question is: What do you plan to do for the 4th, or for this week if you have no plans. (BTW, happy belated Canada Day!)

I actually have no plans. I'll most likely wear red, white & blue, because I'm cheesy like that. I might make the two packs of hot dogs I bought the other day when I went to the store for waffles. We can see the fireworks from my street, but maybe we'll go out to The Green again this year. It was nice not having a house in the way of the whole picture.

How about you guys?

Have a happy Fourth of July! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rainy Day Ramblings

Happy Monday!

If you're on the east coast, is it raining? It's been raining on and off for about three weeks now, and there's supposed to be a torrential downpour every day this week here. Meh. I'm going to just go out and dance in one of the rains. It would be more fun with a special someone by my side, but I guess I'll keep waiting, Jesus.

For four harrowing days, I couldn't find my MP3 player, and I longed for this Daley song the entire time. Common sense advised me to check the couch this morning, so now I'm listening to "Smoking Gun". British people have so much soul. I love it.

*Stopped to sing it*

Speaking of MP3 players, has anyone else ever experienced MP3-ESP? When you have a song on your mind and your player on shuffle, and boom: that song comes on next? It happens to me a lot, and I'm beginning to think my Philips has an AI prototype in their players.

I'm taking the time to elaborate on parts of my manuscript, and I'm stuck because I don't know how superfluous it is. I like to be able to see almost everything in a scene, but I'm bad at doing it myself.

Monday Morning came too soon...Does anyone remember that song? It was on a commercial for something: a girl was taking a test, and her teacher caught her opening up a note, but it was from her mom wishing her good luck on the test. It was a good pairing.

I want to write one of my revampings so badly right now. The issue I have at the moment is how to execute. I kind of want to have chapters dedicated to how each character came to where they are before I bring them all together. The last time I worked on this particular theme I was a teenager just coming out of my X-men obsession. That's about 15 years now (sheesh). I'll work it out.

I almost left without saying what I came here to say in the first place. My coworker who was the Admin I has been upgraded to the Admin III since ours retired Friday. I was talking to my sister about how when the Admin I position is posted that I don't want to apply because it's not what I want to do. Always the child of logic, she asked me: "Is it more money?" That wouldn't matter to me if I didn't owe Sallie Mae a grandchild and don't have my own set of wheels yet, so I'm going to stop throwing my tantrums and do what I have to do. I know I'd love to make writing a career, but for now, I have to be practical. Bleh.

I hope everyone has a good Monday, and see you tomorrow for Express Yourself!