Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Today is Harry Potter’s 38th birthday, so I felt like a post was necessary!

As a kid I was not interested in reading Harry Potter. I remember checking it out of the library, and then never finishing the first book. I saw the movies right when they came out, and I still watch all of them about once a year. When I was younger, Harry Potter didn’t fit into my genre of books I liked reading.

I visited Harry Potter World with my boyfriend a year ago though, and it was so amazing! From the Butterbeer to the Hogwarts Express, no detail got left out of this amazing park. I think I could go back once a week and still find something new to look at each time.

Since then I have read the first four books, and I plan to read the last three soon. J.K. Rowling is an absolute genius, and her writing is unparalleled.

Harry Potter’s influence on my generation, as well as younger and older generations, should always be celebrated.

(I’m a Ravenclaw, by the way.)

Help Me Write This Book

For most of my life, I have had it in my head that I am going to be a published author. Generally, if I get something in my head I am going to dwell on it until it gets finished. The problem with writing this first book has never been my lack of desire to write it, but  that I have never been able to nail down a genre. I have a lot of different interests, and I hate the thought of being tied to one type of book. Some days I want to write a mystery, and others I’m more drawn to a fantasy, magic type book.

Your first book is going to set the precedent for your audience and for the people interested in publishing it, and I want to make absolutely certain I’ve got it right before I do it. So far, what I have is an idea for a book. I have an outline and I have the names of characters. The theme ties in my love of mystery and what I experience (to an extent) as a lawyer. John Grisham is an author whose ideas have shaped me, and being that he is an attorney also I think molding my career as an author after him makes sense.

I have always envisioned writing Nancy Drew type novels, so I’m thinking of this more as if Nancy Drew grew up and became a lawyer, what would her life be like?

I’d gladly accept any advice you might have for writing your first book. I imagine it won’t be nearly as easy or go as smoothly as I have pictured in my head. The big ideas are easy to come up with, it’s the details I struggle with sometimes. Any helpful tips or things you wish you had known when you started your first book would be a huge help!

I have to start somewhere, so I may as well start now. Maybe I’ll be able to cross this off of my bucket list before I turn 30 in a few years!

Mr. Confidence- A Book Review

book review pic

About a month ago I was contacted by Laura from Prodigy Gold Books, and I was asked to write a review for a new book they have coming out, Mr. Confidence by Rahiem Brooks. Of course I said yes, so I was sent the book (which is only available by download since it has not come out yet). I finished it last night, and I immediately wanted to sit down and write out my thoughts on it.

It is not the genre of books I reach for when in a library or a bookstore, but I enjoyed reading something a little different. It still had an air of mystery, as well as the crime aspect that I enjoy, but it does not fall under a mystery category. So for me, it was a good change of pace.

I don’t want to give too much away, and being that this is the first real book review I have been asked to do, I don’t know what or if there is a correct way to do this, so forgive me if I give too few or too many details. I don’t want to ruin the book’s plot for any potential readers out there!

Don Juan is the main character, he’s just gotten out of jail, and he has a lot of drama. Drama is the best word to describe the book, as well as the character. He is thrown back into the middle of the world that landed him in jail in the first place: the mother of his child, a mistress, and a world full of drugs and lust.

Don Juan is determined to not end up back in jail, and he will do (and does do) anything to keep that from happening. His main priority is his daughter, and the picture of the relationship Mr. Brooks draws for us between Don Juan and his daughter, Trinity, is one of a gentle dad who always goes the extra mile for her. He is also a thief, a con artist, and a ladies’ man that has no regard for the feelings of other people, except for his daughter. Mr. Brooks takes us on a short journey where a lot of life altering events occur for Don Juan. Just when we think our main character is at the end of his road, Mr. Brooks throws in another curve and changes everything.

The only complaint I have of the book, and it’s a small one, are the different view points the book goes through. Most of the book is told from the point of view of either Don Juan or his friend/business partner Lex. Several other instances in the book though, the story felt like it was being switched to the viewpoint of several background characters. The story still made sense, but a couple different times I had to look back and see why we were being told the story from that character’s point of view. Other people may enjoy the different view points of each character, no matter the significance, but it just didn’t feel as natural to me. Again, a very small detail in the scheme of things and likely just personal preference.

Mr. Brooks does a good job of capturing the dialog and the mannerisms of the area and the culture. It was an easy read, and one I enjoyed each night after work. It had it all: betrayal, love, crime, and greed. I would not recommend this book to young adults, as there is some explicit content, but it is a great read for a more mature audience.

I will be reading another book by Mr. Brooks, A Butler Christmas, that is already available to the public. I will make sure to update on that one as well!

 

Writer’s Block

It feels strange to call it writer’s block, because there are a lot of things I want to write about. Writing about not being able to figure out what to write about is obviously ironic. I feel like my mind is being pulled in many different places. I want to write murder mystery. I want to write about my trips to Disney. I want to write about every political thought that goes through my head. I want to write about this new Keto diet. I want to write about all of these different ideas, but I don’t know where to start and I don’t know whether anyone even wants to read them. I don’t want to be someone who just writes things for other people to read and then forget about. I have always wanted to write things that leave an impact and help other people.

I think the harshest critic any writer faces is himself. How do I make myself vulnerable enough to share parts of my brain with total strangers on the internet, when half of the time I don’t even like what I have in front of me?

Write what you know. Easy enough right? It’s not, because what I actually know and what I think I know are two completely separate things. I know my opinions and I know my perceptions. I think many people confuse knowing things and thinking they know things, and I strive not to be the person that shares things just because I think I know them as being correct. If law school taught me anything, it was to keep my mouth closed about things I only think I know. Just because it’s my opinion and just because it’s a strong one at that, does not mean that it’s right. Just because a bunch of other people on my Facebook all seem to coincidentally have the same views I do, does not mean it is the right view. It also does not mean it’s the wrong view.

I have been asked by several different people why I don’t talk politics as much anymore. Frankly, I’ve disengaged myself because I enjoy my friends and family not hating me. You cannot say anything in this particular political climate without making someone angry. I choose not to feed the beast. Every time I see a political debate on Facebook it makes me ill, because there are a bunch of people who know half-truths arguing like they are experts in the particular field, and if anyone has the audacity to express a different view they act like the person has committed a crime against humanity. To reiterate, just because you have a different opinion than someone else, does not make you right. There is very rarely a time in life when there is no middle ground on something. If you are unwilling to compromise in your views regarding politics, or anything in life, you will never grow as a person. Our government was not set up for one set of people to always be 100% right. We were set up to compromise and to find solutions.

So it’s tough to write what I know, because although I am not necessarily concerned that anyone reading it would be offended, I do have enough respect for other people to know that not everything I say on a topic will be right. Understand, I still have every strong opinion I have ever had on a subject in any field I have ever discussed before. I am just a little more selective in what I share and who I share it with now. I want to write things that people enjoy, and I am struggling to find my voice about what topic that needs to be in.

I will not set out to lecture anyone on any topic as a twenty-six year old. I do not have the life experience, nor do I have the desire; except maybe about Disney World, I’m pretty good at that.

 

 

Share-It Saturday: 50 Hilarious Memes You’ll Relate To If You Love Books — Vampires, Crime and Angels…Eclectic Me

Reblogged from Buzzfeed ~ “There are two kinds of people: people who use bookmarks, and monsters.” Jarry Lee ~ BuzzFeed Deputy Books Editor ~ 1. Kayla Yandoli / BuzzFeed . 2. media.bookbub.com . 3. Cathy Ngo / BuzzFeed . 4. Kayla Yandoli / BuzzFeed . 5. Kayla Yandoli / BuzzFeed . 6. media.bookbub.com . 7. https://embed.tumblr.com/embed/post/t9b5junpPVsV4dotezqmug/58523588092?width=542&language=en_US&did=0dada0793731574ed50fefef4d99fbef9677bb82 %5B…%5D

via Share-It Saturday: 50 Hilarious Memes You’ll Relate To If You Love Books — Vampires, Crime and Angels…Eclectic Me

Around the (Disney) World in 365 Days

Good Morning to everyone except people who drink decaf coffee. (Just kidding!)

This post is a little different from the normal murder mystery. While most of my interests in writing lie with the theme I’ve chosen for this blog, I have another obsession: Disney World! My boyfriend, Johnny, and I became Annual Passholders for 2018 and we are getting ready for our second trip of the year over Valentine’s Day weekend. Johnny is helping me write this article to ensure that I don’t leave anything out and to make it even more helpful!

When we went in March of 2017 (the trip that spawned the idea to gift each other these passes) we had no idea what Fast Passes are and we had no idea how a few simple adjustments could make your trip SO much less stressful and more enjoyable. For the love of Disney and your sanity, I thought I would share some tips on how to make the most out of your trip. I know when I was first researching all things Disney, I felt like I kept having to go to separate blogs to get information I needed. My hope is that this will be a comprehensive post.

FAST PASSES

Securing Fast Passes should be your top priority when planning your trip to Disney World. Without fast passes you will spend precious park time in lines that you can avoid with a little preparation. Remember, “Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail,” and while Benjamin Franklin is not in the Hall of Presidents, his advice will allow you to eat a Turkey Leg in Adventure Land instead of sitting in a line for three hours to ride Space Mountain.

Each park is different in regards to fast passes, but I will break it down by park so that it’s much clearer to understand. For fast passes, you have a window of time that you can visit that specific ride or attraction and go in the short line with little wait. For example your window could be 10:00 am-11:00 am. You cannot go early and you cannot go late, it must be within the window.

Magic Kingdom: You can choose any 3 fast pass experiences that you wish. Once all three of these are used, you can pick three more. You have to use the first three before you can make more selections though. I would recommend using your first three fast passes on rides that typically have a long wait such as: Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. While “it’s a Small World,” “Carousel of Progress,” and other timeless classics provide a fun experience and a short line, they are a waste of a Fast Pass.

Disney’s other parks, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, are different in how their fast passes work. The attractions at these Parks are separated into groups. In the first group you can only choose one attraction out of the first group of rides and then two out of the lower level of rides and attractions. For example: In Epcot, Frozen Ever After, Illuminations Reflection of the Earth, Soarin‘, and Test Track are in the first group. While you can get three fast passes to Epcot, you can only choose one of those rides from Tier 1 at a time and two other fast passes out of Tier 2.

When you plan ahead and reserve your fast passes before your trip, you can only do three fast passes per day at first. So, if you are park hopping and starting at Magic Kingdom and going to Hollywood Studios, you cannot do two fast passes at Magic and one at Hollywood Studios. You must do three at Magic Kingdom, and when you use those Fast Passes, you can get the three more at Hollywood Studios.

Fast Passes are harder to get for the newer rides, especially the new Avatar attractions in Animal Kingdom, but it is possible to do. You can get your fast passes 30 days before your day at the park, and if you’re staying on site that window opens to 60 days before your park day. If you plan ahead, you can ride any ride in Disney World!

MOST UNDERRATED ATTRACTIONS AT DISNEY

Some rides, attractions, and restaurants get overlooked after being at Disney for a while, getting less publicity, and simply not being the thrilling rides that some of the attractions at Disney are. Johnny and I were surprised at some of the things we enjoyed doing that tend to get overlooked at Disney.

Primeval Whirl is a really fun ride in the tucked away part of Animal Kingdom. That area has a carnival feel to it, and it is different from other parts of Animal Kingdom, but we had a great time on the ride. It is more of an old school roller coaster than the other ride types, but it was so fast and fun and it is easy to get a fast pass for.

50’s Prime Time Café is the cutest place to get lunch. It is decorated in 50’s decor and the waitresses are really good about sticking to the era when they talk. Not only is it esthetically identical to the 50s, the food is AMAZING. It was easy to get a reservation, even at one of the busiest times of year, and the wait was not bad (yes, you do still have to wait sometimes to eat even when you have a reservation).

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is a great place to go and either cool down or rest your feet, while laughing at Mike Wazowski. It was very interactive and it had people of all ages laughing and joining in. I highly recommend checking it out.

The Country Bear Jamboree was a lifesaver for us on our last trip. When we went on NYE weekend, it was very cold. We had brought jackets, but it was still so cold that we were miserable. We were waiting on our dinner reservations in Liberty Square and had a lot of time to kill, so we watched this attraction at least three or four times. It’s adorable and funny, and I was a huge fan of this movie growing up, so I enjoyed it. The lines were short and it was a good way to warm up (or more likely cool down on future trips).

BEING A PASSHOLDER

Being a passholder has a lot of perks. Not only do you get to go to Disney World an unlimited amount of times in that full year, you also get great discounts on things such as food, merchandise, and staying at the hotels on site. In some cases it is up to 20% off. Parking is also FREE at all parks with an annual pass!

The upfront cost of the pass can be a lot to swallow, but even if you were only to go to Disney World twice during that year for a full week each time, it has more than paid itself off.

Being a passholder also puts you in a separate line to get into parks and you have your same magic band all year (which I highly recommend a magic band for convenience) so you don’t have to worry about getting a new one when you enter the parks at the beginning of your trip. You can just go in.

Passholders also get priority in a lot of situations. For example, we had a reservation at Epcot on New Years Eve and we were worried that the park would reach capacity before we could leave Hollywood Studios and get there. However, one of the cast members told us that people with reservations are always let in, as well as passholders get priority.

I definitely never thought I would be a “Disney” person, especially as an adult. I went once as a child and while I love Disney movies and the characters, I was never obsessed with the idea of going to Disney World. For this year though, Johnny and I are so excited to be kids again and enjoy everything Disney has to offer us.

Christmas with Bobby

December 21st, 1987- Justin

Justin’s parents didn’t stay anywhere for long. The Johanssons had lived in Florida and North Carolina in the last five years. He was twelve, so he had never lived in one place for very long.

They were writers. They could live wherever they wanted. Justin’s social life was not of consequence to them. Justin mostly stayed to himself, because he was never in one place long enough to make friends. He was into history, and most of his spare time was spent reading a book about some war or in the library looking at pictures from one.

Justin reached for the front door of the two-story, brick Victorian house that they were going to be renting. The door was heavy and a deep, rich mahogany. The owner had left a Christmas wreath hanging on it.

Justin took his coat and hat off and put them on the coat rack just inside the entryway. Since they were virtually nomadic, his parents opted out of owning furniture and instead only rented a house if it came furnished. They brought with them whatever would fit into their van, and if it didn’t it got left on a curb in whatever state they were fleeing. As long as Justin had his books and his supplies for painting his model battle figures, he didn’t pay much attention to anything else.

He walked around the house looking into each room and then made his way up the spiral staircase. He could choose between two different rooms. He chose one that had a brown, four post bed and a fireplace. There was a bookcase with a set of books on the top shelf and a stiff chair in front of it with a tall lamp.

That afternoon he unpacked his clothes and his figurines and books; when he was finished, he went outside to look around. There was a tire swing and an old shed, and then there was a pond about a hundred yards away. He went to the edge of the pond closest to the house and sat down.

As Justin was staring at the lake, he heard leaves crackle and he turned around expecting to see his mom or dad. It was a boy who looked about Justin’s age. He had brown hair, dark brown eyes, and he was dressed in jeans and a brown sweater.

“Hi, I’m Bobby,” the boy said.

Justin assumed he must be from one of the houses down the road so he stuck his hand out for the boy to shake.

“I’m Justin. We just moved in today.”

Justin invited Bobby in. He wanted to show him the figurine collection and all of his books. He walked into the kitchen and asked his mom for two glasses of lemonade and a plate of cookies, and then he and Bobby ran upstairs.

December 21st, 1987- Rhonda

Two glasses of lemonade. Maybe he was just thirsty, but she was worried it was starting up again.

They moved a lot. She knew it sometimes upset Justin, even though he didn’t show it. When Justin was younger, the moves were easier. He was more easily persuaded by the promise of new adventures.

The first few moves were about the experiences and making a better life. The last couple have been to escape the experiences of th past lives.

She hoped this latest move would be one of the last ones. Her husband, Raymond, loved the thought of settling down in Maine, and he was tired of running.

December 22nd, 1987- Justin

Since there wasn’t any school because of Christmas break, Bobby said he would be back over the next day. Bobby was quiet and didn’t have much to say when Justin asked him questions, but Justin was just glad to have met someone before he had to go to the new school- at least there would be a familiar face.

Justin waited on the front porch, and at about 10:00 a.m. Bobby came walking down the driveway.

They spent the afternoon inside. It was too cold to stay outside. Bobby told him about how he had been the new kid last year, and he didn’t have many friends either.

“All the kids here play hockey. My dad is in the military so we move a lot too. I can’t even skate,” said Bobby.

Justin felt like someone his age finally understood him. For the rest of the afternoon and the next day Justin and Bobby painted figurines, and went and explored the property around the new house.

Justin was going to ask his mom if his new friend could spend the night.

December 22nd, 1987- Rhonda

Justin walked in and he looked excited.

“Hey honey, get washed up for dinner. It will be ready in twenty minutes.”

“Okay. Can Bobby stay for dinner and spend the night Mom? I was hoping he could help put up the Christmas tree and decorations,” an excited Justin asked.

Her face fell. “Sure, I’ll set an extra plate for him.”

She talked to her husband that night when they were doing dishes and Justin had gone to decorate the tree.

“Baby, what are we going to do? We’ve been here two days, and it’s the same problems as always,” said a tired Rhonda.

“I don’t know anymore Rhonda. They said anything could trigger it,” he sighed. “I’m done moving though.”

December 23rd, 1987- Justin 

His parents didn’t like Christmas. He knew that, but he still loved celebrating, so he was excited to get a small tree (that his dad begrudgingly went and got for him) up and decorated last night just in time.

Bobby had gone home that morning after breakfast, but he said he would come back tomorrow so they could hang out.

Five years earlier (Denver, Colorado): December 24th, 1982-Rhonda

Her life was shattered. She sat next to Jonathan praying and rocking back and forth. It had been an accident- just an accident. She wouldn’t let herself think anything else.

Justin stood at the top of the stairs staring blankly into space.

December 24th, 1987 (Morning)- Rhonda

Justin didn’t remember that Christmas Eve in ’82. He didn’t remember his brother either. The doctors ran tests and they talked to him for months after it. They finally just said that he had disassociated himself, and that anything regarding his twin brother or the incident seemed sort of like a dream to him.

From the outside looking in, Justin seemed like a normal twelve year old.

The last five years around Christmas Justin would see people who weren’t there. They were all boys about his age. They thought if they moved that Justin’s “friends” would go away, but they never did. The doctors had put him on medicine, but the medicine made him violent, so Rhonda took him off of it.

When they lived in Florida, he had pushed her husband down the stairs on Christmas Eve for telling him that his friend “Dustin” didn’t exist. They chalked it up to it being the anniversary of Jonathan’s death, but it seemed like every anniversary, Justin had some type of outburst.

She hoped as he got older, things would improve, but it seemed like the delusions were just getting stronger. She was terrified to take him to a hospital though, because she knew they wouldn’t let her leave with him. She had lost one son, and she was determined not to lose another of her babies.

December 24th, 1987 (Afternoon)- Justin

Bobby showed up around 4 p.m. and they were upstairs in his room looking through some of the old books that had been left in the bookcase.

Justin could tell his mom and dad didn’t like Bobby. They didn’t speak to him at all, not even a “hello” until Justin called them out on being rude. They forgot to offer him anything to drink or eat unless Justin asked. It was ridiculous. He knew they were in their own little worlds writing, but that wasn’t an excuse.

He wasn’t going to lose his friend like they had run away all of his other ones. His Dad had said Dustin didn’t exist; he obviously did. He just didn’t want Justin forgetting about Jonathan. How could he forget Jonathan? He had ruined his life. He had broken Justin’s new toy he got, and when Justin got mad and pushed him, he fell down the stairs and died. Justin didn’t mean to do it. He just meant to hurt him.

Everyone blamed him for it. They didn’t want him having any friends, or having anyone to talk to. They just kept taking them away from him.

Not this time.

He heard his Dad coming out of his room.

December 24th, 1987 (Night)- Rhonda

She sat with her husband’s head in her lap; he was still breathing but it was shallow and he was weak. She screamed in agony when she saw Justin at the top of the stairs. She didn’t know why she bothered to even look up. She knew when she heard her husband screamed what had happened.

“Baby please don’t leave me,” she wailed.

She could hear the sirens. For the first time, she prayed they would take her son away too.