A Writer's Journey

June 12, 2017

Summer is Coming

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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Get it?

And I’m not even a fan of Game of Thrones.

I’m going to go put myself in the corner when I’m done with this post. Don’t worry.

We’ve already had a heatwave here in New York. Three days in mid-May peaked over 90 degrees—all in a row. It was like a preview for the summer.

However, the weather since has been mixed. Sometimes it’s been really nice, sometimes…not so much. It’s been chilly and rainy. Very rainy. Hopefully this isn’t an indicator of how the summer is going to go.

Because I want a nice summer. I want a summer I can enjoy. To spend some time outside, maybe reading or writing, and to go in our pool. Just…have a summer.

I want to step outside and feel the inspiration of the season. Maybe write a summer inspired short story. Or fanfic, given my inspiration as of late. Whatever. Just as long as I’m writing. Outside. In the nice summer weather.

Have I made myself clear yet?

Good.

Now, I just have to get Mother Nature to cooperate.

June 5, 2017

Go West

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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And then run back East, if you’re me.

We have established I’m a diehard East Coast girl, right?

But, yes, I made a trip to the West Coast at the end of April. I mentioned it in an earlier post—I went to Anaheim for a work conference. It was a great conference and I learned a lot.

I’m not here to talk about that, though. I’m gonna talk about almost everything else. Starting with the flight there. I flew United, which had been booked long before the gentleman had been dragged off the plane. So I had some fun with my parents, promising not to get dragged off my flight. But my flight was uneventful, though I made a new friend—an absolutely adorable and happy baby girl whose mother was sitting next to me. Her older brother got sick so Mom had to help him and asked me to hold her. She apologized but as someone who suffers from motion sickness, I told her it was no worry. I happily held her daughter and bounced her on my lap as she played with my fingers. She was calm and happy, probably transfixed by the game I had been playing, and just enjoyed being bounced.

We landed and I handed my new friend back to her mom before deplaning. So don’t worry, I didn’t keep her.

My colleague and I got to Anaheim from LAX, settling into our hotel rooms. Some other colleagues from New Jersey had arranged for a dinner that night so I changed into a nice dress for it. We went to a restaurant across the street that was absolutely delicious (and serving $8 margaritas!). It was nice night out.

I got back to the hotel, took a shower and then tried to do a little work before I ended up falling asleep. I guess jetlag got the best of me.

Wednesday was a busy, busy day. After dinner, though, I still had some more work to do and ended up logged onto my computer at work. Which was a bit confusing, since my computer was still in New Jersey. So the time was three hours ahead. But I got my work done…and then I passed out shortly We after taking my shower yet again.

Not sure I could blame jetlag that time.

Thursday was more of the conference. However, I had a nice break in the afternoon. I noticed the Crystal Cathedral nearby and I decided to see if I could walk there. Google maps said I could so off I went.

It was gorgeous. I don’t think there are words to adequately describe it, which kills me to admit as a writer. The main cathedral was closed as they are converting it from a Protestant church into a Catholic one. I mostly walked around the grounds, taking in the different statues and the beautiful fountains around the compound. And I popped into the chapel for a bit before returning to the hotel.

That night, a group of us went to The Outlets at Orange, which were right next door to us. We went to a seafood place there, so I had to order one of the few non-seafood options (steak). And I’ll admit, I had to text my parents because I wasn’t sure which cut I like. (It was the rib-eye). My steak was delicious and instead of steak sauce, I ate it with green chimichurri. I had red chimichurri on the Disney cruise and can now say I like both. We ate, drank and were merry until my coworker and I decided to call it a night.

I had planned to get some writing done but once again, I found myself out cold after taking my shower. These conferences can take a lot out of you!

Which brings us to Friday. I woke up a bit later since I wasn’t going down to the conference, but I wanted to be out on an early shuttle because I was spending as much time as I could in Disneyland. However, I wanted to get a few things done first. Like booking my shuttle back home and getting internet access for my flight back to New York. I did have five hours sitting still in one place to look forward to.

I made it out to the 10 AM shuttle to Disneyland and was there by 10:15 AM. Once I was through security, I headed over to California Adventure to begin my day in the park. I went on Radiator Springs first, using the single rider line. And I relaxed, knowing I was in Disney.

I spent fourteen hours in Disney—from a little after 10 in the morning until a little after midnight. And I enjoyed every minute of it. Even as it got more crowded as the night wore on. I did have to start prioritizing which rides I went on. Since I’m going to Disney World in June, I decided to focus on rides I could only do in Disneyland. Which is why I waited for the Matterhorn despite there being a 105 minute wait. Well, that and the fact it was my first rollercoaster. So I had a sentimental reason to ride it.

When I got back to the hotel, I just took a shower and set my alarm for 8 AM. I knew I was exhausted and figured that was plenty of time to pack before checkout at 11 AM. And it was also when NY Comic Con tickets were going to go on sale. So I figured it would give me enough sleep.

I woke up three hours later. And I wasn’t sure why. At first, I thought it was my sinuses. The pillows didn’t let enough lift to let my sinuses drain while sleeping. But even after I blew my nose and cleared it up, I still couldn’t sleep. The Santa Ana winds blew outside my window, rattling it and bending trees. I worried they would delay or cancel my flight home. I could feel myself growing antsy, like last time. It was time to head back to the East Coast. Or maybe just get out of the hotel. There are times I get restless and need to just walk around.

Finally, I settled down and fell asleep again. Once again,though, I only slept a few hours before waking before my 8 AM alarm. Since I was going to be waking up anyway, I got up and got in the virtual queue for NY Comic Con tickets. I also dressed for the day and grabbed some breakfast—walking with my phone the entire time so I didn’t miss my chance to buy tickets. (I was going to get Friday and Saturday tickets but Saturday was all sold out by the time I got to the checkout an hour later. I got Friday).

After packing my bags, I then called home to check in with my parents. We talked for a bit before I chilled, waiting to check out of my room and wait for my shuttle.

However, I ended up waiting and waiting for my shuttle when I did check out. When it did come, I realized I was going to be later to the airport than I wanted to be for my 2:15 PM flight. We got to the airport at 1:00 PM and had to help an older couple out. The other family in my shuttle and I felt bad that we couldn’t help them with all their bags, but our boarding time was 1:30 PM. We were pushing it as it were.

Thankfully, the travel gods were on my side and I flew through security. But I didn’t have any time for lunch. (Good thing I got breakfast!). So I loaded up on snacks before getting on my plane. I pretty much ate them all over the five hours it took to get back to New York. The flight back was also one of the first times I had all trip to actually get some writing done, thanks to the Wi-Fi I had purchased.

And then I was home on the East Coast. I was able to get some dinner and pretty much went right to bed after. After all, I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before.

Then I got back on a writing schedule.

April 24, 2017

April Showers

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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She laid on her couch, wrapped up in a soft blanket as she watched the rain hit the bay window in her living room. The pitter-patter of the drops against the glass was the soundtrack for her afternoon and she sighed, content.

The door opened and closed, sending a cool breeze through the house. She raised her head as she heard someone kick off their shoes, muttering under their breath. “I feel like a drowned rat,” her husband called out.

“All you need is some dry clothes,” she replied, not bothering to look up. She remained focused on the window.

He walked into the room and kissed her forehead. It sent a shiver through her body as his icy skin brushed against hers. “You need something warm,” she said.

(more…)

April 17, 2017

A Reflection on Being 30

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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My birthday was on April 1st. Yes, I’m an April Fool’s baby. It sometimes sucks (though it’s been years since I’ve gotten a gag gift) but it’s kinda awesome as well. We April Fool babies tend to flock to each other and share some kind of bond when we meet up with each other.

I can’t believe a whole year has gone by already. So, how was thirty?

Not too bad. It probably could’ve been better, but all in all, I liked it.

Let’s get the bad out of the way. Of course, my grandmother died. I still miss her every day but I know she’s in a better place. I also lost my great aunt, Jennie, another strong woman in my life.

(more…)

April 4, 2017

Long Live Outlaw Queen

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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This entry started off as something completely different. It goes back to this entry where I wrote about how the writers of Once Upon a Time were bringing Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) back for a multi-episode arc. That arc began at the very end of Episode 10 (“Wish You Were Here”) when Regina (Lana Parrilla) encountered a version of Robin Hood in a realm created by a wish made by the Evil Queen, and ended two Sundays ago with Episode 14 (“Page 23”).

When Once came back after the winter hiatus (“Tougher Than the Rest”), Regina pursued Robin to find out if his life was better without her. She found out this Robin lost Marian before he could marry her and never became a thief with honor, stealing for himself rather than giving it to the poor. He admitted that he wasn’t happy and that it seemed the other version of him had a good life, even if it was cut short. Robin and Regina still had that connection, that pull, and they popped thanks to Parrilla’s and Maguire’s chemistry. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) suggested Regina take Robin back with them to Storybrooke and he agreed.

(more…)

March 8, 2017

Celebrating Women Authors

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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I am a woman.

I’m sure you’ve probably figured that out by now and that I’ve probably flat out said before. But I thought I’d state it again.

Today is International Women’s Day. Some women may have walked out of work today, protesting pay inequity between the genders in the workplace. Some may not. Still, today is our day.

So I thought I would celebrate by highlighting three of my favorite female authors.

Jane Austen: I absolutely love her writing. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book and I’ve loved the other books I’ve read (especially Mansfield Park). Many mistake her works for light romance but they are more than that. They are social commentaries disguised as light fare. Really read one. You’ll see.

Ann Rinaldi: She is my favorite author. Ever. I used to run into the library or the book store to find the next book of hers to read. Through her, I learned that historical fiction was a genre and it was one I enjoyed reading. I learned so much from her, including how to write historical fiction. I will forever be indebted to her.

Sara Donati: I think it’s been a while since I’ve talked about her. Mostly because I’ve been delaying reading “Endless Forest” because I don’t want the adventures of the Bonners to end. She brought the New York wilderness, 19th century New Orleans and Scotland to life with her vivid descriptions and  decorated the landscapes with colorful and intriguing characters. She is heavily influenced by Diana Gabaldon and poor Hannah Bonner gets put through the Jamie Fraser wringer, but if you want a straight historical romance without fantasy elements, check her out.

These are just 3 of my favorite women authors. Who are some of yours?

February 20, 2017

Traveling, Traveling, Traveling…

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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It’s February and I already have a lot of trips planned for 2017, it seems.

In fact, it started this past weekend with a trip up to Corning, NY to visit my cousin and her kids. Corning is a quaint little city best known for glass and other kitchenware, but it’s pretty picturesque. It’s also wine country and I’ve been meaning to go on a wine tour up there.

Maybe this summer?

(more…)

February 14, 2017

Be Mine Valentine

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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Red and pink dominated the office, with hearts dangling from the ceiling and flowers on nearly every desk. It seemed Dolores went all out this year and Grace sighed as she set her bag down.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” Dolores chirped, coming up behind her. The office manager was dressed all in red and had pinned white bows with red hearts in her brown curls. Her glasses were perched on her nose as her blue eyes took in Grace. “Any plans?”

Grace shook her head. “Quiet dinner at home, some wine and the least romantic movies I can find.”

“Come on. Where’s your Valentine’s spirit?”

“There’s no such thing,” Grace replied, sitting down. “There’s a Christmas spirit, but no Valentine’s spirit.”

Dolores huffed. “With that attitude, you’ll never have a Valentine.”

“Maybe I’m not looking.”

With the way Dolores reacted, one would’ve thought she had just confessed to murdering puppies. She clutched her chest and her blue eyes went wide as her mouth fell open. “Don’t you want love?”

“I do,” Grace said. “Just not for some stupid commercial holiday.”

“It’s not a stupid commercial holiday.”

She gave the older a woman a look. “Please. Spare me.”

“How is this a stupid commercial holiday and Christmas isn’t?” Dolores challenged.

Grace sighed. “Can we not do this? Can you just accept that some of us aren’t as gung-ho for this holiday as you and leave us be? Please?”

“Or what?”

“Or I’ll report you to management,” one of her colleagues, Dan, said. He peeked over the wall separating their cubicles, eyes focused on Dolores. “This has to be borderline harassment.”

Dolores pulled back, sniffling. “No one appreciates this holiday.”

Before either Grace or Dan could say something, she stalked away. Leaning back in relief, Grace looked up at her savior. “Thanks for that.”

“You’re welcome,” he said. “There are a few of us grumps but you seem to be the only woman who isn’t hiding her disdain for today. I think that’s why Dolores focused on you.”

She sighed. “Great.”

“Don’t worry. I think I scared her off.”

“Good. Maybe I can get some work done,” Grace said, finally logging into her computer.

He wished her luck before sliding out of sight, returning to his own work. She smiled, diving into her tasks for the day.

(more…)

February 7, 2017

Return to the Big Project

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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So, I’ve been quiet about this for a while. And there’s a reason—I had to backburner it for a couple…months.

First, I realized I couldn’t focus on it and NaNoWriMo at the same time. I tried but it didn’t work. Not with me having a full time job as well. So I had to make a decision and put the Big Project on hold.

Then came December. “The Christmas Wish” wasn’t completed yet, so I focused on that. With a lot happening before Christmas, I had to keep the Big Project on the backburner so I could get the story finished—as well as my OUAT Secret Santa gift.

Which now brings us to January. I rang in the New Year with a glass of Reisling and then two hours later, I couldn’t breathe out of my nose. As the night wore on, I felt worse and worse and it was clear I had a cold. It was a lot of sleeping as we returned from my sister’s in Virginia and I spent the next day resting as well. After going to work on Tuesday, I was knocked out and called out sick on Wednesday because I was just feeling awful. I spent the rest of the week trying to get better.

And then my grandmother died.

So I realized January just wasn’t good. I decided to start again February 1st…and then got felled by a stomach bug. (My immune system clearly needs a boost). So that went out the window as well.

Now I’m hoping to restart this week. Wish me luck!

February 1, 2017

Am I Turning into Planner?

Filed under: journey,The Fairest of Them All,The Wedding Game,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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Probably not, but…

I do have a character development sheet saved on my computer. And a plot chart sheet. Have I used them?

Not yet.

Do I plan on using them?

I do.

What for?

I’m not sure.

There are a few projects I might apply it to. Most of them are past projects I want to tackle again for some rewrites. And one is another fanfiction turned original story (not the Big Project. I don’t think this would help that).

Let’s break them down:

Fairest of Them All: It’s been a while since I’ve talked about this, huh? For those who may not remember, here’s a rundown: I wrote it for my first NaNoWriMo. It’s a modern day fairy tale where my main character, Gwen, finds her life mirroring Snow White’s. Is it coincidence…or is she the reincarnation of the fairy tale princess?

I’ve been meaning to go back and re-edit this. Okay, more like rewrite. So I want to be sure I’m clear as I dive back in. Clear on the characters, clear on the plot progression…I’m still serious about this story.

The Wedding Game: Yes, I still have hope in this project as well. Though I believe earlier I mentioned that this was probably getting a full rewrite, so I’m definitely going to need the planning guides as I embark on this.

Whenever that is.

The Nanny: This is the fanfic project I was talking about. It’s one I’ve mentioned before in a few posts, especially after I received several reviews attacking my decision to include a rape scene. However, it’s more beloved and many have asked if I plan on publishing it. I will probably have to publish it in parts as it’s long. And unfinished. I feel the plot plan will help me break it up logically.

So maybe I’m turning into something of a planner.

Only time will tell.

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