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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, September 30, 2014

Express Yourself: Autumn

Happy Fall! So far, my fall is pretty grey. lol But the leaves are beautiful outside my work window. :D

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

This week, they'd like to know what our one favorite thing is about Autumn, even if you hate it (who the heck hates Autumn?!).

It's actually my favorite season, despite the onset of my allergies that last through Spring. It's almost always nice outside. I can walk home more often without sweating or freezing to death. I LOVE the smell of fireplaces in November. We have these trees whose leaves turn wine red. It's a beautiful season!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Freeday: Writer Because of TV?

Happy Friday!

SO, as I was reading another lady's blog for Express Yourself (Melissa over at My Creatively Random Life), I realized something.

Most writers say, "I read this, and I knew then that I wanted to be a writer."

As some of you know, the first real story I started writing was about mutants living in a school. Why? Because I was watching X-Men. I'm almost sure this isn't normal, and nowadays, I think that I probably should've stayed in Writing for Film/TV, because even though books make me want to write, my first passion happened because of a tv show. Also, still to this day, I'll watch something and think to myself, "I can't wait to have my own movie!"

I love acting out scenes to myself (which if anyone walked in on me throwing myself on the floor and crying for no real reason, I'd be thrown on the altar), and I still really want to be published. I also want very much to have a small screen or big screen notch on my belt.

I really hope both happen.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday Words: Flight Volume 4

Welcome back to Wednesday Words, reading edition!

I put American Gods on hold so I could at least read the two other books I checked out with it. They're graphic novels, the 4th and 5th parts of a series called Flight.

Now, hopefully this works. Some of the stories don't have words. I could probably take a picture, but I'd rather give you all lines.

So, that said, there are 344 pages in Flight Volume Four. has chosen....Page 195...No words. I shall hit it again.....Page 254.....Almost....One more time....Page 323....

So, I'll just hit it until I get a page with words on it--AH, only had to do it one more time! Page 106 has a letter on it! Oh hey, I'm actually about to read this one, too. I give you a piece of "The Window Makers" by the series editor Kazu Kibuishi.

Hi Mr. Emery,

I made a window this morning that I
thought you'd enjoy. Get well soon and
see you back at the office.


There are scenes in each window, almost like a live painting. It's neat.

Does anyone else like a good graphic novel? The only others I've read are The Watchmen and the first volume of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Express Yourself: When I Grow Up

I wanna be famous! I wanna be a star! I wanna be in movies!

Sorry, I love the Pussycat Dolls. Hello! I'm a day behind on life. The temperature when I woke up yesterday was in the mid 40s, and I had my fan on all night, so I got to work with quite a set of backed-up sinuses and went home early to rest. Of course, I do my blogs while I'm at work, so I didn't get to do Express Yourself yesterday.

This week, Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.

I wanted to be a firefighter. My mom used to love chasing firetrucks to see what big fire they were going to put out (sometimes, she still does it), and they really interested me. Of course, there's nothing glamorous about houses burning down, so I always wanted to be someone to help put them out. Of course, at 5'3 with low upper body strength, I probably wouldn't make the volunteer squad now, so...yeah.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday Words: We Are People


So, yes, I'm still reading American Gods, but I just read a blog that sparked a thought in me, so I have actual words on this Wednesday.

So, we writers who are privy (or were forced by the times) to social networking do these things called contests to try to nab an agent for our WIPs. They're very innovative and creative contests, and many of the hosts call on mentors or judges to help the writers along.

Key word in that sentence: HELP.

I've been a victim of this, and the writer of the blog post I'd read actually was crushed by this: there are times when one or two of the judges/mentors *gasp* criticize more than critique what they read.

Key words there: criticize, critique. People forget that there is a difference.

Now 95% of the judges/mentors will be really helpful and give you constructive feedback. Some of it might sting, but you learn from it and make your work better to either try another contest or query an agent/publisher. The other 5% can just be plain out mean. They don't take the time to say, "Hm, this might be just a BIT too harsh. Let me rephrase this."

"Well, if you want to be a writer, you need to grow a thick/tough/adamantium/whatever skin."

That's just lazy and selfish to fall back on. Yes, we have to let some of the critiques roll off our back, but we shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the criticism, especially when it was your job to help a writer who just wants to make it, not beat their self-esteem into a bloody pulp.

Writers aren't robots. We're not androids. Writers are PEOPLE with these things called EMOTIONS and FEELINGS.

Before you put out what you think is a witty or snarky "critique" or even comments you think the writer deserves because you didn't like what they submitted, and they need to know that point blank, remember what it was like when you first started putting your work out there and how crappy you felt when someone was a total douche because they felt they could be.

Okay? Cool.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Express Yourself: Collections

Happy Tuesday! Welcome back to Express Yourself, created by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests to learn more about their followers. You can join us on either of their Express Yourself pages!

This week, they ask: What do you like to collect?

I LOVED when they started making the state coins. I spent every year trying to get the new states, and I finally have them! I also have many dollars and coins from other countries, from New Zealand to Costa Rica! I noticed maybe last year that two mints were out of each state quarter (one made in Denver I think, and the other in Philly), and I would still like to have all 50 from each region, but I do have all of the states.

They're making the national monuments and parks now, but I need the quarters for the bus, so maybe I'll continue when I have a car. hehe

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Freeday: DO OVER!

So, I need another Friday, like right now.

So, I set my alarm for 7:15 so I'd get in time to catch the bus for my dentist appointment. 7:45 rolls around, and I wake up realizing I'm supposed to not still be in bed. I neither heard my alarm, nor my calendar go off to tell me about the appointment.

Thus, I had to walk to the appointment. Fortunately, it's only about mile northeast of my development, but I was in no mood to walk.

Then, of course, I hate getting my teeth cleaned. I feel like they use that hook to scrape away a tiny fraction of my gums. AND I have to go back to get another filling. *sobs in my head*

After that, I walked to the 7-Eleven catercorner from the office, buy breakfast and fruit for lunch, then proceed to wait for the bus...which stopped running about half an hour before! SO I then had to walk the next mile to work! And some idiot yelled "Hey, Baby!" at me, then "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!" When I didn't answer the first, second, third, or fourth time. Like, get. a. clue.

And because I didn't really sleep well, I'm extremely sleepy.

Can't I just wiggle my nose, or call on Jeannie to start this day over? I don't want to live today. Maybe tomorrow. Not today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday Words! Still reading Gaiman.


I'm still reading American Gods. That reading spree I went on a few weeks ago must have burned out, but I can't miss another Wednesday, so you'll all just have to read Gaiman with me. ;)

So, I'm using to pick a page and a few lines for me to share with you all. As I said before, there are 541 pages in American Gods. Random has chosen.....Ah, a page I've read already. Page 42.

This is a good scene, too. There are about 31 lines on this page, so, Random, do your thing!
...............................Line 11.

The girl gave him his cash back, and put the purchase on the card, and then gave him the card receipt and took his cash, then returned the cash and took a different card.

I'm going to go ahead and throw in a line from a little later as a bonus, because I didn't catch what was happening up there (Honestly, I still don't get it lol).

"The way I saw it in there, you never paid for the gas...The way I saw it, she wound up paying you for the privilege of having you in her gas station. You think she's figured it out yet?"

If you don't see me next Wednesday, I'm still reading this book. I'll try to speed up, but it's the slacker season.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Express Yourself: Special Places

Welcome back!

Express Yourself is a weekly meme created by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. This week, they would like to know if we have any special places where we read and/or write.

I actually don't, and I should, because the way my attention span is set up...When I was in school, I'd read and write during class and still managed to get A's and B's. lol But I do enjoy reading in a park when it's a nice mix of sunny and breezy. It's very peaceful.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Freeday

Happy Friday!

It's Payday, and almost half of my check is gone already. Yaaaay. lol

Anyway, I had gone back into my WIP yesterday and wondered if I'd gotten into the right rhythm before the page I was on (60-something), so I went back to the first page. My last Beta said I had an issue with stage direction, and yes, my story so far was riddled with it! It made it very robotic, so going back to the first page was the right thing.

Joan Rivers died yesterday, and it's crazy to think the comedians and actors you grew up watching are now passing away. I watched Robin Williams more and really was hurt by his death. I'd seen Joan a few times on Fashion Police, and she was very funny. E! put out a 3-minute video for her, and it made me like her even more, especially her love for Melissa. I hope both families will cope well.

I also hope they give Joan the funeral she wanted. Did you all read it?? <--- Read it, then come back. lol (Ironically, yesterday was also Beyonce's birthday! lol)

I've always said if I die before 80, sure, go ahead and cry. But if I made it to 80, THROW A PARTY! No one has time for tears if I saw 4 decades! That's an accomplishment! I could've been hit by a train at 7 or flipped many a car forgetting to look in my blind spot. Heck, I went to school in Philly. If I make it to 80, cry at home. At the funeral, though, play my favorite songs, and that Sean Paul song with that terrible singer whine-singing, "I'm still in love with you, boy...So yes, also at my funeral, you need to be doing Jamaican gyrations around the it can't be at church. lol

This post went left-field.

Y'all have a great weekend, and hug your loved ones!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG: Third Anniversary!! & Express Yourself Weekly

Happy Third Anniversary, Insecure Writer's Support Group!!

I think I've been a member for about a year now (if it's longer, where did the time go?!), and it's been a great help. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh-Sensei for creating this group. And in one month, it will be the 1st anniversary of the website and Facebook Group, and the team has something in store for us, so go check it out. You can also sign up to join our monthly lamentations and/or encouragements, as well as see who is co-hosting this month. I think there's a Shah, a Sheena, a Baffled Brain, and an Irish Hawaiian. ;)

So I have the yo-yo'ing wonder in mind as to whether or not my stories will ever see the light of day. I write some that I know I never really mean to publish, but what about the ones I do? I've kind of staked my whole life on getting the title "author" somewhere close to my name, and there was SO much I didn't know about writing until after I graduated college that it's taking so much longer at working towards that goal. Pray for me. lol

In the meantime, I've also been working on doing more reading, and last month was very successful. With that said, Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests put up this month's Express Yourself questions, and this week's goes in line with my reading goals. :)

This week, they asked what we plan on reading this month.

At the moment, I'm reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods, a very good read so far. If it doesn't take me two more weeks to read it, I'll be reading two graphic novels, Flight, books 4 & 5. And because whenever I check out more than one book at the library, the book I placed on hold decides it's time to be available (crap, I need to go pick it up!), I will hopefully be reading By Blood We Live by the end of the month.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Final Fantasy

So I had this thought the other day about my book.

If you've followed me since whatever Post 1 was (I think my first attempt at submitting a not-ready fantasy novel), you know my fantasy WIP--formerly Save the Queen, currently The Crystal Bearer--is a book I wrote based on the Final Fantasy franchise. From character names, to themes, to nuances, I molded my story because I wanted to write a Final Fantasy novel. This is why I called it Save the Queen, a popular weapon used throughout the games. I only changed it because the title didn't make sense.

In early queries, I mentioned that I wrote it based on Final Fantasy and was told not to in critiques, because agents might not know what it is. I'm beginning to ponder if I want to leave out that tidbit that is the main reason I wrote the book in the first place, and would I want an agent who can't share a nearly (or totally) obsessive love for Final Fantasy with me? It really takes over about 20% of my life. Some people obsess over J.K. Rowling. I obsess over FF.

So a few things have crossed my mind about this story, one that I think I shared somewhere on here:

1) Write a screenplay for the story. My first major was Writing for Film/Television after all, and I know I could do it if I took the time.

2) Make it a graphic novel. So many scenes I see in my head would work so well in this format, and I think it could work.

3) Try to find the current producers of Final Fantasy to see if an original novel would interest them. They produced two movies after all, and there are novels, novellas, webcomics, manga based on the games that are already out, and an original anime (which I need to search for and watch).

#3 is the one that I thought hard about the other day. It was actually my original goal for this particular story, and I think I'd like to work toward it. If I have a chance at doing this, I know I'll need to change the title again because right after I finished the first draft, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers came out and jacked up my spirit.

Fortunately, I know what it would be: Final Fantasy: Remnant.

(Edit: I already know not to go through Square Enix. Ouch.