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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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Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Freeday: Feedspot

Good morning!

So, last night, I got a pleasant e-mail mistaken for spam, so I'm glad I check that folder often. I have received 29 followers through, and because I am generating such activity, I also received a full free year of premium services.

It's apparently an alternative to Google Reader, and I've already followed some of my favorite comics to keep up with them. I think you should too. :)

In other news, my sister turned 27 on Wednesday, and we are in a 4-Day celebration mode, so I will see y'all on Tuesday. ;)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Falling for Fiction Query Critique

Hi guys!

On Monday, my query was hanging out with Jessica at Falling for Fiction getting critiqued! *eep* Stop by to see what she said. :) Spoiler alert: Still working on my query. lol

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Express Yourself: Author Luncheon!

Good morning!

Welcome back to the weekly meme Express Yourself, brought to us by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. This week's question is What author would you want to share lunch with.

This question KILLS me because I HAD THE CHANCE!!! to eat dinner with my favorite author and couldn't because of the stupid bus schedule! D:<  I started reading Robert Olen Butler because of a short story anthology we were reading at FSU. I hadn't thought much of the story when I read it, but then we watched him read it (because he wrote it live!) on Inside Creative Writing. And I fell in total and utter fangirl love, reading everything he wrote. He is actually a professor AT FSU, and had I stayed one more semester, I probably would have had him as a teacher and stalked him, so there but for the grace of God go I. lol

So, anyway, I built up the courage to ask if I could stop by his office so he could sign Had a Good Time for me. That was when he said he has dinner with his students before class and invited me to come! BUT I lived on the other side of town, so I wasn't able to make it. *sob* So I had to settle for getting there to wait for him to get to his office. Oh my God, when he stepped out of the elevator, I almost screamed like he was Michael Jackson. lol But I kept my cool and went to his office, said something stupid about his afghan on the wall (called it a rug) and smiled happily as he signed it. One of the best days ever.

If you have a chance, read some of his work. He was in 'Nam, so he has many stories written in the eyes of soldiers or Vietnamese citizens, and they're just so beautifully written. He's also put out his first thriller The Hot Country, and I couldn't put that down!

So he is for whom I would turn back time to go have lunch with. :) That's an awkward sentence. Ah well.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday 'Stalgia

Yes, I countrified nostalgia to make my title alliterate. lol

I was in my poems folder on my thumb drive and forgot about the gems I wrote for Poetry a Day. If you're ever bored, you can go ahead and scroll through my April Dailies. If not, that's cool, too, but here are the first and second day poems I wrote in 2012.


Hello? Are you there?

Nah, of course you're not.
You don't even know I exist.
And I have no clue where you are.

So when are we meeting?
Will it be that fateful Summer day
Where I finally decide to leave this house?
Be a beach crab, not a hermit?

Did you like that?
I bet you're laughing right now
And aren't sure why.
Tell those people to stop staring at you.

You're beautiful.
Whoever you are.
I'm cute, so I think you'll notice me.
Was that conceited?

But I bet you like that.


I'm just passing through
No need to look at me
I'd actually
Appreciate it
If you didn't even talk to me

I'm trying to hide behind this tree
It's a little taller than I expected
How the hell'm I supposed to
No, I can't climb it
I came up short

Some dude at the top
Right hand side
Is smiling down at me, though
He waved
I feel better

Well, it's okay if he sees me

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Freeday: WIP It!

Happy Friday!!

I am combusting spontaneously as I type (just ate a hot sausage/egg/cheese biscuit, so my body temperature shot up), but it's Friday, so I am obligated to bother y'all before I burst into flames.

This week on the WIP circuit, I decided to tackle revamping my first writing project which focused on the lives of young mutant students. As this has been done before (especially since as a 7-year-old writing it, I was copying X-men), I had to figure out new reasons as to why these people are mutated, and what kind of story I was going to tell here. SO, I decided for this go-round to tell the story of how the main students I plan to focus on came to the shelter where they live or how they overcame an obstacle in the past while already at the shelter. Again, having had written the original story well over 15 years ago now, I don't remember half of the first cast. But, the good thing about writing is that you can start from scratch and not mess up the final product.

Another thing I decided to do was to absorb two projects I had started based on dreams I'd had because the characters pretty much lived in the same world as this major WIP, so I have "new" characters to mesh with the "old" ones, and I'm excited to see how they will interact. I've even decided to tell the story of the owner of the shelter, which in all the incarnations of this story I'd never done before, so I'm really excited to make her an organic character with her own past.

So that is what I'm doing. I hope everyone has a good weekend, and happy writing! I'm cold now. Time for coffee.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Express Yourself: Character Personality

Happy Tuesday!

I'm back as always with the weekly Express Yourself topic provided by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. This week's question is "What movie character's personality it yours to a tee?"

I think I've talked about this a few times now, but Amelie Poulain's character fits me frighteningly well. She's a very imaginative young woman who lives a fairly mundane life with a mix of people she likes or dislikes. She's kind of lonely and enjoys simple pleasures like sticking her hands in a bag of lentils and roaming gnomes. And when Nino Quimcampoix comes into her life, she's determined to be in love with him without confronting him.

It's a wonderful movie that everyone should watch and fall in love with. Do it. DO IT. ;)

Anyway, I related to Amelie so much that I wrote a poem in Spanish (I can't speak French, so Spanish was the next best option in my mind).

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Freeday: Thursday Thoughts

I'm making this a habit, aren't I? lol

But seriously, I was trying to figure out since last night what to write about, but being sick since Monday night, my head's been on the foggy can't-breathe-through-my-nose kick. Fortunately, a random thought from Mindy McGinnis made me think of the weird dreams I used to have as a kid.

I lived in a townhouse complex in a small not-even-on-the-map town in Southeastern PA (Yardley) where many of the buildings were connected by breezeways. As kids, my sister and our friends used to hang out in them because they echoed and were, slightly breezy. As I said on Mindy's page, I think they sucked all the breezes into themselves somehow.

That being said, I always had a love for the fantastical, and I'm honestly just now realizing it. This one was definitely because of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and the idea of getting into another world through something as simple as your closet. When I was a kid, I used to dream about being able to go to another world or even to Delaware where my mom's family lives through one of the breezeways in the complex. I'd know which one it was because it would have lasers criss-crossing through it if you looked at it from a particular angle, and I'd always have to reach it before the lasers disappeared.

So, thanks, Mindy! Pleasant memories. :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Query for #PitMad

Guten morgen!

So those of you in the Twitter-Writer-know are aware of Pitch Madness happening until 8pm today. You get to pitch your story in 140 (including the genre and category help), and a PARTICIPATING agent just may favorite your tweet, which is generally a request for more (it may vary).

Since I decided to throw my hat in the ring and saw that some agents come to the blogs to look at more, I thought it would be wise to post my query which I worked on live a few weeks back! So: SAVE THE QUEEN!


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.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Express Yourself: Crafty (And my final sketches)

Welcome back! Express Yourself is a weekly meme by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests to get to know their followers better! This week's question is about the handy/crafty things we wish we did.

I not only wish I drew better, but had a more consistent will to draw like I used to when I was a kid. I wanted to be a writer/illustrator. That fell away by the time I graduated college, but this past week, as you've seen, I had a drawing streak on which I didn't expect to follow through. As it turned out, I finished my secondary characters today at work, so here they are!

This is Ghuli's 2nd Lt. Watchman Laris, a quiet and cheery baysprite. When I first drew these characters years ago, I never got to him, even though he was the first character whose face I knew clearly in my mind (he looks like a red-headed Anderson Dornelles). I did get lazy and didn't draw his crossbow or swords, but his quivers are on his back.

Then, I did Avalegna, a werebeast who appears later in the story. I initially had her eyes open, but I didn't like that. She's another cheery character, and she likes to climb things.

And since I had finally finished the group, I decided to put them in paint and adjust them to relative heights to see what they look like beside each other, and I'm very happy with the result!

Have a good week, and stop by Jackie & Dani's pages for the other participants. :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

More character sketches!?

Happy Saturday!

So I actually did draw two of my three male characters. I took care to get them as close to how I picture them in Save the Queen as possible. Then, I actually used Paint to place the characters together for the first time!

First, I did Andyrsn, the Junior-Grade Lieutenant whom Ghuli meets. He lives on Viveno Island, popular for  its baobab trees (really cool looking trees that are actually from Africa) & fruit. He's a really nice guy, so whenever I draw him, I make him wave. 
Then, I took on Cyan, Ghuli's surrogate brother and 1st Lt. watchman. His face constantly changes in my head, and I think this is as close as I'll get to how I would like him to look. The tattoo along his arm and neck is from a Trollic Marking ritual after a Trollic watchman suffers his first injury protecting his watch.

When I say Trollic, I speak of a race of giants in my WIP. Cyan is from the shorter breed, hulktrolls. That being said...
...he's 7'5, and he was Ghuli's full-grown height (5'3) probably around 8 years old. I decided to see what they would look like standing beside each other, and I keep looking at it in awe. This is the first time I've had a chance to draw them in dimensions that I could actually manipulate to do this.

Okay, let me stop staring at it. After putting these two together, I decided to stand Andyrsn (5'11-1/2) beside Brodie (5'9). They're my gunslingers and grew up together. I didn't mean for them both to wear plaid, but that's my story speaking to me: it's the local in-style.
So now, I have two characters and one sheet of this work paper left, so we'll see how that pans out.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Freeday: More sketches

So I actually did TWO people yesterday, and I'm surprised. I guess I'm in the mood to draw this season.

This is Princess Ghuli the Crystal Bearer, my MC, standing in front of a weeping willow. She's more ornery than she looks, but she means well. This is what she's wearing (and where she is actually, the Willow Forest on the Island Continent, which is more wintry than its name (like Greenland)) when the story opens, undyed wool and boots to keep her feet warm when she doesn't take them off to swing on the willow switches. Her hands are also wrapped with linen to hide the crystals in her hands.

This is 1st Lt. Brodie (not the second person we see in the story, but the easiest to draw, so...), the Scholar. Ghuli learns she needs to find her through a dream, and they're more connected than she knows initially. She's a hot-head and really smart, which is sometimes a bad combination, but she and Ghuli become close friends. I have to make a choice as to who I will draw next. I tend to have trouble drawing boys, and the last girl is going to be tricky, so it might take another week.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Why I'm Glad Computers Became Accessible to Mere Mortals

Drawing for 2 hours really flares up the carpel tunnel. Or is it tarsal tunnel when it's your knuckles? Or just arthritis? =\

Anyway, I was one of those kids who did nothing by type the moment a computer entered my house in like 1996, so the giant pillowy callus I developed on my ring finger from the weird way I hold my pencil diminished greatly once I was able to save stories onto a computer.

Yesterday, if you follow me on Twitter, you saw that somewhere around 2pm, I decided to sketch (yes, I do that sometimes lol) some of the essential characters in my fantasy WIP Save the Queen, this time the beasts of the Contagion, the metal army hunting my MC. I finished a little before work got out, so here they are. Each machine has a trait modeled after Boccioni's "Unique Forms of Continuity in Space", a piece I fell in love with my Freshman year of college. Also, the loops on each around the arms and back are tubes. They are magic-infused and water-powered machines.

The Helichimera, who I knew as I drew it that I described them as having 4 heads in my story, but I realized I didn't know what a 4th head would do, so I nixed it thanks to brainstorming this sketch. This is also the first time I took on drawing a ram and a lion. I'm almost sure I've drawn snakes before but can't remember.
The first one I set out to draw and the first seen in my story, the Iron Giant with an armless profile to show the back detail. It's cuter than I meant it to be, but in all-black cast iron and at 12 feet high, I imagine it would be scarier in person. I eliminated the description of the faceless shield somewhere between drafts, but the giants have no hands.

And the one that took 2 takes, lol, the Mythril Eagle. It kind of looks more like a hawk, but I don't draw birds. They're 3x bigger than vultures, and the wings pretend to flap. All of the machines run on jet engines. The detail on the talons are also plates so the talons can bend for grabbing people.

If I take on drawing the actual people again (I did years ago), it will be a slow, slow process. Like 1 a month. lol

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Express Yourself Photos

Vintage Pic!

Express Yourself is a weekly meme brought to us by Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books.

This week they ask us to post some of our favorite pictures! So here we go. =D

This is a picture I took when I lived in Florida for school. I call it Hand of God.

I love jackets, and I love flashy jackets, and I also love snapping photos in them. lol The first picture I took 5 years and 10 lbs ago. I lost the middle one to a chocolate fountain, but I wore it to X-3. I'm about to pull the third out for the cold months!

My sister and I spent a couple of years going to various WWE shows. This is a Live Raw/Recorded Main Event two-for-one deal where I successfully snapped Batista during his awesome pyrotechnic entrance.

Thanks for stopping by! :)


I really hoped to do this at home so I wouldn't have to HTML lol. Forgot to.

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means writer-bloggers all across the world come together to post their deepest writing insecurities, and for the past 2 years it has been all thanks for the Ninja, the Guru, the Guitar Hero Alex J. Cavanaugh! =D

Today I thought I would share a lot of things because I had a lot on my mind about writing in regards to editing & proofreading. For instance, the editing/proofreading business I started up. It's always been very low in clientele, which is because I'm not very good at advertising. At the same time, I only started up the business because other people told me to. Do I like editing/proofreading for money? It's nice, but I like to do it more for fun. So will I continue trying to push myself to advertise? Not particularly sure. We'll see what happens.

On the other side of writing, being on the receiving end of critiques. I've always hated hearing bad stuff about my work or things that confused people, but I had to learn that most people were trying to help me make my work better. So having the pleasure of helping someone else out and seeing them make the same mistakes I made when I decided to take the step in wanting to publish, it made me both sad I didn't have anyone when I first sent my story out to contests that I had no one to look over my work but me (because honestly my family doesn't really care and Delaware is bigger on nature and contemporary stuff) and glad that having that experience, I had a chance to try to steer the person in the right direction, despite the excuses they made for why everything they wrote was necessary (That's exactly how I was).

The moral of the story is, lol, to know what you want to do when it comes to your writing goals, build on it, and do your best!

I keep forgetting to thank the co-hosts! Chemist Ken, SL Hennessy, Michelle Wallace, and Joylene Nowell Butler. Thank you!