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

Friday, August 30, 2013

Confessions Blogfest

So my first confession is going to be that I almost forgot about this blogfest. >.<

Blogfests are a fun way to meet other bloggers in our writing community, and this is an even more fun one, because it pushes us to confess some things about ourselves. *cue Usher music*

Speaking of Usher, I used to try to pop-lock because of his "You've Got It Bad" video. I think I did it well, but who knows? lol I always felt a little silly. I love to dance, even though I'm not totally coordinated and have ZERO flexibility, but when I was little, I wanted to do ballet but was too shy to say anything about it. But every now and then, I put on some music and contemporary my heart out.

And now another confession that will hopefully never get me killed: I sometimes zone out while driving. I'm better at catching myself doing it now, so I don't do it as often as I used to. ;)

A big thanks to Dani and Jackie for hosting this! I'm going to go look at other people's confessions now. *puts on sunglasses and big hat*

Friday Freeday: ???

I'm starting to not having anything to say on Friday...Sheesh.

So I guess rambling about writing is better than nothing.

I won't say why, but I'm so glad I'm old enough now to realize that how I used to write was so immature. College and revising really have molded me into a better writer to a point where I can tell when I'm not doing my best.

I do miss how I used to be able to write in multiple stories at a time. That's kind of slowed down.

I want to revive a lot of the stuff I used to write with my current knowledge, but I think it would involve *gasp* plotting.

I'm very happy for the people I've met through the internet who have agents! Hope that will be me one day before I'm thirty-five. Thirty is now too short a goal.

Not about writing, but there are a lot of TV shows I need to catch up on before they start up again, so maybe that will be my Saturday between reading and beta-reading.

City of Bones is available for pick-up at my library now, but I just started this other book, so I might just let it sit there and try again later.

My 30-day Sugary Free Drink ban ends on Tuesday. Had I started when I said I was going to, I'd be able to have soda on Labor Day, but as it goes, I'm bad at resolution-type deals.

It's 11PM (scheduled blog), so I'm going to turn to Family Guy and go to bed. Shalom.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Express Yourself: Childhood Movie and/or Book

Welcome back to Express Yourself!

This weekly meme is brought to us by Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books. This week's question is about our favorite childhood movie and/or book.

I had a huge exposure to both mediums as a child, which is probably why I loved my Writing for Film/TV classes. So, this is an easy one for me.

My favorite childhood movie is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, for obvious reasons.

My favorite childhood book is a book of poems called Something Big Has Been Here by Jack Prelutsky. They were quirky and fun to learn.

Thanks for stopping by! Visit the other participants through Dani and Jackie's blogs. :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Freeday - Music Feature: Ariana Grande ft. Nathan Sykes

I don't have anything special to say today, so to commemorate a book I just learned was a book when its movie is coming out, here is Ariana Grande featuring The Wanted's Nathan Sykes singing "Almost is Never Enough" for the soundtrack of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thereafter Update


I normally don't post on Thursdays, but I thought I'd throw a little support and promotion out to the wonderful author of Hereafter, Terri Bruce, who has had a nightmare of a time with her publisher regarding edits and publication of her sequel Thereafter. If you have been following her story, please visit her page here for an update and to support her if you are able.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two for Tuesday: Tunes for Tuesday

So, I'm listening to my mp3 player and thought of all the great first lines in songs. Some are so gripping that you have to listen to the rest of the song. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Close your eyes, make a wish. This could last forever." Backstreet Boys - Climbing the Walls

"Waste all your time writing love songs, but you don't love me." Lianne La Havas - Forget

"Come upstairs and I'll show you where all my...where my demons hide from you." Lianne again - Lost & Found

"You took your coat off and stood in the rain. You were always crazy like that." Jewel - Foolish Games

Express Yourself: Comforting

Welcome back to Express Yourself, hosted by Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books.

This week's question is about comfort books and comfort movies (I suppose somewhere along the lines of comfort food but no calories?).

I don't think I have any comfort books, to be honest. I have a short attention span, so I rarely read books more than once.

My comfort movie is probably Enchanted, just a feel good fairy tale come to life. Who doesn't love Patrick Dempsey? Add a little bit of singing, and I'm happy for the rest of the day. :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Update

So I left everyone with a fairly depressing Friday post, so I thought it only fair to say I had a good weekend. :)

Saturday I was on double duty at the local Filipino-American Fiesta. The choir I'm in had to sing, and my sister and I had a Zumba class to teach near the end. Both went very well, and the food was great! I got my annual halo-halo, which was PACKED with food stuffs this time around. I hadn't digested by the time Zumba came around. >.<

Sunday, after being so tired from Saturday, my cousin, sister, and I decided to take a day off, but since my cousin & I are on the Praise & Worship Team, we had to do that first. Then, her dad asked us to surprise one of our sister churches and sing with him there, so we were back on duty. lol It's a tiny church, so they were already halfway through their service (whereas ours was probably still doing annoucements), but we sang, and then we got to the message.

The pastor read from Psalm 118 and focused on the 23rd (I think) verse: "The stone that the builders threw away is now the most important stone." It was the title of the message that hit me right away: Rejection leads to your Elevation.

Having had the rug pulled out from under me with this whole job situation, it meant a lot to me from the jump that had I gone straight home from my own church, I would have missed that strong and subtle piece of encouragement. So, I'm going to keep my head up and wait as patiently as I can for the something better that's in store for me.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Freeday: Best Week Ever

I know it's Friday, but it's time for BEST WEEK EVER!! (Please don't sue me, VH1.) Time to see whether the title is ecstatic, sarcastic, or a little bit of both.

It's highly sarcastic this week. The Admin III has been out all week due to a death in the family :( . It was unexpected, so I have been left virtually alone in the office as the only "admin" type person. The building of receptionists next door are extremely unreliable people and obnoxious human beings, so I've had interrupted breaks and can't leave the office unattended even though I actually have a car to use this week. The other receptionist had the gall to tell me we're not supposed to leave the front unattended, even though there is a sign and a phone for visitors to call everyone they need, so obviously our office is prepared for unexpected situations like the one we face this week. If I weren't on a 30-day sugary drink-free challenge, a sangria would be in my hand right now.

Speaking of Admins, I opened my mail Monday and learned that due to an administrative decision, the position I spent 6 hours applying for will not be filled at this time. One of the directors said she thinks they'll be changing it to a higher Admin position, and that's cool, but maybe they should have decided on that before my time was wasted.

So to sum up my week, I've been sitting at my desk, bored, alone, and quite bitter.

On the good side, I wrote over 1,000 words in a new WIP based on my old mutant stories. It's kind of bad at the moment, and I'm going to take the advice of many a blog and be okay with that. I need to decide if I want it to be more X-men action/adventure or some other kind of something else. lol I'll see what comes from this.

I also reread the few thousand words I wrote in one of my fantasy stories, and I fell back in love with it. I hope it turns out as I imagine it. I just need to work out Points C through H.

And tomorrow, I get to enjoy the annual Filipino-American Festival at a sister church, where my choir has to sing, and then I have to teach a Zumba class. lol As long as I get my halo-halo, I'll be a happy camper.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

And an update: spilled my $1.79 cup of Brazilian Dark & Irish Creme 7-Eleven coffee. *melting and shutting down*

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Express Yourself: Alternate Worlds

Good morning! Welcome back to Express Yourself, brought to us by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

This week's question is: In what book/movie world would you like to live in?

I'm not particularly sure, to be honest. I wouldn't mind living in the Marvel world, as long as I got to have a cool super power and could touch people without killing them.

I think living in Joss Whedon's Serenity/Firefly 'verse would be kinda shiny. And maybe I'd get to meet Malcolm Reynolds. =D

And on technicality, thanks to Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children, I'd like to live on one of the Final Fantasy worlds, as long as some catastrophe doesn't kill me in the process.

Visit Dani & Jackie's blogs for a list of all the Expressors!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Freeday: Revising a Query.

(It's crazy that Friday is already here. Just Wednesday, I was grumbling that the next day would only be Thursday. Time is so odd.)

Last night I finally finished my latest revision on Save the Queen, and the next step will be to collect some beta readers and query agents. Because the latest revision of my query needs more work, I thought I would go ahead and post what I had posted to my AQC SpecFickers and do a "live" correction blog. (Long post ahead.)

Here is what I started with, which is already too long (316 words).

When Ghuli turned seventeen, everyone she knew and loved died, but she doesn’t remember them. She doesn’t even remember being seventeen.

As far as she knows, she is the sole heir to the throne of a race massacred by the metal army the world calls the Contagion. Her parents sent her away to be protected by watchmen before their home was destroyed. The Contagion scours the world, destroys villages, and kills thousands searching for her. Raised by a team of handmaids and watchmen who keep her out of the army’s reach, Ghuli grows up as carefree as possible, swinging from willow trees and learning fairytales from lands near and far.

But the army beings to find her. The first attack took the life of her commanding watchman. The next forced her to flee for safety on another continent. Ghuli tries to dream of the fairytales that once soothed her to sleep but dreams instead of a relic, one she needs to find so she can remember. Searching for it isn’t as easy as it seems, especially once she meets the power behind the army, a wraith who remembers everything she doesn’t, who says everyone died because she and Ghuli killed them. They were princesses and could have been queens, but Ghuli betrayed the one person she promised to protect and must be punished.

As Ghuli runs from this new threat, she meets…herself, the piece of her that remembers everything. Ghuli’s consciousness lurches through time to help protect her body until it can reach the relic and piece herself back together. Once made whole, Ghuli can stop the wraith before the Contagion leaves nowhere else for her to hide.

SAVE THE QUEEN is a YA fantasy complete at 103,000 words. As a lover of RPG video games, I strove to create on in prose form. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

So the critiques I received on it were: interesting, but not as a hook, and to start with what Ghuli does remember, cut the word count, make Ghuli active, not passive, change the order of the details even though it's not the story's sequence, my big issue: clarification, and to nix that RPG note.

I really do thank my AQC people, too, because they've helped me do better and to grow a thicker skin. I'm very protective over this piece specifically, so I always felt like a mama bear listening to her cub be criticized. lol

So now, let me see what I come up with based on the notes I received. I can say that even with the addition of detail I added in my last revision, I shaved 1,000 words. Like a boss.

*live revision of my query*

As far as Ghuli knows, she is the sole heir to the throne of a race massacred by the metal army the world calls the Contagion. She will learn her home was destroyed once before.

Raised by a team of handmaids and watchmen who keep her from the army’s reach, Ghuli grows up swinging from willow trees and learning fairytales from lands near and far, but the ever present Contagion scours the world, destroys villages, and kills thousands searching for her. Sometimes it finds her. Forced to flee for safety, Ghuli tries to dream of the fairytales that once soothed her to sleep. She dreams instead of dark places and abandoned castles, of ghosts and worlds she’s never seen.

At least, she doesn’t remember seeing them. She meets a wraith who controls the Contagion and seeks to punish Ghuli for betraying her in a time Ghuli can’t recall. She runs from this new threat and into her consciousness, lurching through time to help protect her body until she can reach a relic hidden among a land forgotten by most. The relic will not only mend Ghuli but show her what it was that destroyed her home the first time around. Once made whole, Ghuli can stop the wraith before the Contagion leaves nowhere else for her to hide.

SAVE THE QUEEN is a YA fantasy complete at 102,000 words. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

241 words. I think I like this one, but is there ever a query that you say, "YES! This is it!" or do you just close your eyes and push it off the cliff?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Insecure Writers Support Group!

It's the first Wednesday of the month again, and that means another session with ISWG, brought to us by the incomparable Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. Please visit his page to see all of the stops for this monstrous bloghop.

I'm not in a huge rut like I was in Winter, but I am moving VERY slowly at the moment, thus missing getting to read blog subscriptions, writing at most a paragraph at a time, and just being sleepy. Probably because I don't go to bed until late, which I'm trying to remedy, especially because I have to get up before 7am. If I could have a job where I could make my own hours, that would be love.

Speaking of which, I applied to the Admin I position in my office on Friday. That was work itself, because I started that thing on Thursday. I don't think any other state has such a cyclical questionnaire, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, today, I will be continuing to revise my fantasy WIP, so that I can move on with my life and jump back into finding CPs, betas, and get to querying with what is hopefully a better manuscript. I'm surprised I've changed so much. I never thought that when I started, there were better things in mind for my manuscript, so that there are better things, and I've figured them out, I'm very excited for the progress. Somewhere this Summer will be 10 years since I began to write Save the Queen. I should throw myself a party. 30 second dance break, anyone? No? Okay.

This felt more like a diary entry than a blog...or is that what these are in the first place?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Express Yourself: Characters of You

(So I can't type in the Compose side on my work computer, but I can do HTML. Sheesh.)

Welcome back to Express Yourself, brought to us all by Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books! This week's question is: What movie/book characters do you relate to most?

For books, I actually saw a little of myself in Nabokov's Pnin, this poor anxious man who was constantly struggling with being misundertood and a touch of bad luck.

For movies, it will always be Amelie Poulain, a sweet, sometimes lonely but imaginative and observant young woman who just wants to save the world and maybe find love. I'm her all day. lol

Thank you for tuning in, and see you tomorrow for the monthly ISWG meeting. ;)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Theresa Paolo's (Never) Again Cover Reveal Tour!

Hello, and Happy Monday!

Today, I have something special, and that is a stop for Theresa Paolo and her cover reveal tour for her debut novel (Never) Again, which will be published by (Berkely) Penguin on October15th!. First, here is the amazing blurb:

Just when she had finally moved on…
…He moved back.

When college freshman Liz Wagner hears her ex's voice for the first time since he moved clear across the freaking country, she does what any respectable girl would do: Dive into the girls' bathroom.

Zach Roberts—the Zach Roberts—is back. And he’s everywhere Liz looks—infiltrating her friend group, buddy-buddy with her brother. It’s enough to ruin college altogether. But what choice does she have but to put on a happy face and pretend he didn't leave her vulnerable and alone in a pile of emotional wreckage?

Pretending works, until tragedy strikes and the only person available for comfort is the one person she wants to stay away from. When Zach turns out not to be the jerk she convinced herself he was, but the boy she used to love, Liz needs to decide whether to open her heart again to the boy who tore it out.

I was hooked when I read it! And I enjoy the title, because I feel like that happens to me a lot, of course in less important matters, but anyway, here is the cover!


Very bright and dreamy. :)  Congrats to Theresa Paolo!

(Never) Again will be available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble and Amazon, and you can add it to your To-Read List at Goodreads.

About Therea Paolo: 

Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her boyfriend and Milton, their big eyed goldfish. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty which is why she writes New Adult and Young Adult books, reliving the best and worst years of her life through her characters. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. On November 11th 2011 at 11:11 she made a wish. Two hours later she was laid off. Jobless for the first time since she was sixteen she was determined to make her wish come true. Writing became her life again and after many nights of ignoring her boyfriend to spend time with her characters, she finally received the call that all her hard work, finger crossing and eye crossing paid off. She signed with Berkley (Penguin) and her debut novel, (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, will be out in Fall 2013. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera or can be found in the blogosphere or on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Freeday

The good news is that I finished a scheduled post for Monday. Of course, I forgot to schedule one for today.

But it's still Friday, so Happy Friday! :-D

I spent 6 of the last 24 hours writing 8 pages worth of answers for the supplemental questionnaire that accompanies the state application. After one full month of the position Admin I just down the hall from me being open, they finally posted it as a vacancy.

I'm currently reading Sophie Perinot's historical fiction The Sister Queens. The last historical fiction I read murdered my soul (devastating twist near the end), so hopefully there is a happier ending at the end of this. I at least know a little more about Queens Eleanor and Margaret because I wiki'd them. *wink*

Now, I plan to go upstairs, get my charger, and revise a little of my WIP. Have a great weekend!