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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Car Troubles and Other Stupid Stuff

Hey everyone. (Sigh). Hope you've had a better week then I've had. Not that it's all been bad, but I think plenty of us know how one bad day can ruin all the others.

But I'll get to that later. Work was normal this week; I worked hard, and did a really good job promoting the book drive B&N's doing. If I didn't touch on it in last week's blog, B&N as a corporate group does a nation wide book drive at all its stores, and this year the charity/organization they're helping is Reach Out and Read. It's an early literacy and school prep charity that promotes reading by working with doctors and their child patients by providing books for the doctors to give to the kids every time they come in for their yearly from birth until age five, while the doctors talk to the parents about the importance of reading while suggesting that the parents make a habit out reading aloud to their kids.  These books the kids get can sometimes be the only books they have access to, so it's a good charity to help with, and I was able to both days when I was on cash register duty. There was one sour point at work this week, though. The books we're promoting come in English, Spanish, and bilingual, and one woman donator didn't realize that until I pulled the book she chose off the shelf and showed it to her. Seeing it was bilingual, she quickly changed her mind, choosing an English only book, muttering about how we 'didn't need any more Spanish speakers' out there. I, of course, was disgusted by this, but I just kept smiling until she left. But really! What's wrong with Spanish speakers? What's wrong with people who speak another language? If I wouldn't have gotten into trouble for it, I would've actually shown my disgust, but as it stands, I just have to remind myself that not everyone thinks like that and those that are racist are wrong.

And that's work for you.

Internship-wise, I got a bit of a break this week. According to one of my two writers, her laptop broke, thus losing her articles for this week and leaving me with no material to send (I say according because 'who knows what really happened', as my boss says). So I only had to look over two articles, one being about the responsibilities that come with beauty and the other on a necklace for Esty.com. These came from the writer who usually has typing problems, but she showed some improvement by actually providing pictures and fixing some formatting issues that had appeared in her earlier articles Good job (and I promise I'm not being sarcastic).

The next character we're meeting this week is one lovely lady named Ursele Cady. She's Moa's best female friend who works in a very fancy catering business, and thus her manner is quite proper; she's a clean freak and hates dirt and disorderly conduct, preferring activities like reading, tea-drinking, and other feminine activities. This, of course, leads to many clashes between her and our final member of this group of five (who I haven't introduced yet) because he's disorder personified, and is also blessed with being the one person who can really piss Ursele off. Manners aside, she has a wicked temper when provoked, and is a lot stronger than she seems; she doesn't like fighting, but will protect herself by beating the crap out of any unfortunate idiot who picks a fight with her. She's more than happy to help Shawney and Moa take down Moa's creator, using her links in the entertainment/clientele business to find out important info on the higher ups. All in all, she's truly the mother of the group; sweet and kind to her friends, but a living terror when that peace is interrupted by either outer or inner forces.

Now, my Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Meeting my quota for donation books. I'm doing good while doing a good job. :)

Like 2: Dinner with an old friend. Out of the blue this week I got a call from a family friend who wanted to see if we could go out to dinner together. We did, going to a Mexican joint not too far from the house where we both had delicious fish tacos and caught on things. Her family is doing well, and it was just nice to see her and talk with her. Thanks, Mrs. Maginn!

Dislike 1: Racist book woman. See above for more info.

Dislike 2: MORE CAR TROUBLE. My temporary license for my car was going to expire soon, so I thought to drive out to the DMV and get a permanent one. This is how it went; I drove to the address my dad gave me, only to find out I'd driven out out of my jurisdiction and told to go to a more local location (thanks a lot, Dad). I do, but it turns out that DMV only works with driver licenses, not license plates, and give me another address. I finally get to the third spot, and after waiting three hours while doing stuff on my laptop, I'm told that I can't get my license because I'm missing a few signatures from dad and you apparently need to get your car checked over and have the report with you to get your license, NONE OF WHICH I KNEW. Which leads to me having a nervous breakdown in front of the desk lady and ends with me discovering for the second time in a week, my car battery is dead and me calling AAA for help again. The only bright side to any of this was getting an extension on my temporary license, so at least I'm not breaking the law. But I'm going to try again this week, and this time I WILL walk out with my permanent license! HEAR ME ROAR!!!!

And quote. 

"Nothing is impossible; the word itself says 'I'm possible'!" -Audrey Hepburn

With hope for better days,
Colleen

Monday, November 10, 2014

Work Method Update!

Good day, peeps!

So work was good this week in the sense that nothing horrible happened. I did my shifts, worked hard, got a few people to renew their memberships, and things like that. But this week the whole store had a meeting to discuss store proceedings during the holiday season, and it was surprisingly okay. Everyone actually met up an hour before the meeting and had a pizza party, where not only pizza was ordered, but my coworkers brought their own food and drinks in, and it was GOOD. Chocolate-covered strawberries, gingerbread, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies; I could go on about all the sweets, but I'll stop here before I give us all diabetes (I think the healthiest thing I ate that night was some tasty chicken salad). Afterwards the entire staff got split up into groups and we met with the managers to discuss how to handle things during the business season. A lot of it was stuff I'd already heard of, but there was also a lot of things, like book-selling terms, that I'd forgotten or weren't sure about, so it was a nice little party and refresher course, and now I'm better prepared to take the holiday season on!

Things with the internship are going along swimmingly. Once again I had a light workload this week, which is always nice, and I had some pretty interesting articles, like a list of ways to wear a scarf. Nothing to complain about here; I really like this internship and I'm happy to have found it.

And with no news on the writing front, other than I'm still chugging away at my sci-fi novel, so time for another character discussion. This time we have Len Graink, Shawney's younger cousin and his partner at Rohart Repairs. Despite the partnership and being almost as brilliant as Shawney when it comes to mechanical know-how, Len does barely any work and is probably the laziest guy you'll ever meet, preferring to nap on the couch (which he is very protective of). He's also an incredible pessimist who can be rather negative and rather religious; he's a follower of the Sololism faith (which basically believe God is real but abandoned the world after he made it), and one big point with Sololism is the distrust of highly advanced machinery, like cyborgs. Thus, Len doesn't like Moa very much despite her being made from the body of his old friend, and this causes some arguments between Len and Shawney. But for all his bad points, Len loves Shawney very much and is loyal to him, and he does his best to do the right thing, so when Shawney does help Moa with finding out what Dr. Bentwood is up with, Len helps out, knowing if he doesn't things could go very bad for all of Renatola.

And that's all, folks!

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Seeing my good friend Elle while working. We were friends in high school, and I haven't seen her since graduation. She looked good, though, and she's having a wonderful life with graduate school and being engaged to her high-school sweetheart (who's a very good guy and they both deserve each other in the best way possible). Made my day a lot better. Great seeing you, Elle!

Like 2: My new coworker Runa. She just started working at the B&N, and I met her this week when she was practicing with the cash register at the mall cash wrap where I was stationed that day. She asked all the right questions, I gave her a few tips, and we had a nice conversation about our favorite books (we both like fantasy a lot). I look forward to working with her, especially after the favor she did for me, which is explained in Dislike 1.

Dislike 1: Car problems. No, I didn't crash, but I did accidentally leave my headlights on when I went to work one night (it was actually the same night as the employee meeting). When I was done, the car wouldn't start, and despite having some jumper cables on me, I didn't completely remember the instructions Dad gave me when I first got them. But I did remember my AAA Roadside Assistance card, and I was able to call them and have one of their guys stop buy who jump-started my battery. Runa stayed with me the whole time and let me sit in her heated car while I waited, so I didn't get cold, and in the end everything worked out and I got home safely. Thank goodness!

And quote!

"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" -Mary Anne Radmacher

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (and it's not even Thanksgiving Yet!)

Hi ho diggity!!!

Things are picking up at the B&N. All the Christmas came out so fast, you wouldn't believe Halloween stuff had even been placed out in the first place. Christmas themed price signs are up, deals are out, and people were everywhere during last night's shift. Not that I was at the cash register - I was on patrol on the second floor - but I honestly think that was the most full I've ever seen the place. And there were plenty of book stacks left behind that I got to clean up, but even worse than that was that I think I found my first bit of evidence for a store theft. I was cleaning the kid's section, and in some corner I found one of those plastic and cardboard boxes for a Disney figurine. The doll itself and the clothes were missing, but some of the other parts were left behind, which I can't help but find weird because if you're going to steal something, wouldn't you take the whole thing? Anyway, I dropped the evidence off in the back room, but I don't know what can be done about it. It's hard to trust people to do the right thing these days, isn't it?

But it wasn't all bad at the store this week. I got to go off the beaten trail and do something different, and that was creating the stocking stuffer display. One of my bosses positioned the stand and gave me boxed of little goodies and a handout of where went what, and it was fun; kinda like putting a puzzle together. Not to mention some of the stuffers look really awesome. For example, there was a frog-shaped tea diffuser, and a multi-pronged charging cord for all sorts of devices, and a little light up bottle stopper that turns an empty bottle into a lamp. Very cool, and certainly things I would want to see in my own stocking (hint, hint).

Editing is going well. I'm back to two writers this week, so it's been relatively easy getting everything looked over. Not to mention my favorite writer and her short but sweet articles. But something both my writers need to work on is using contractions. You know, like 'can't' and 'would've'? Both of them don't, and it's driving me nuts a little because that's not how people talk, and it makes their writing sound weird and helps to ruin good sentence flow. I've made a note of it this week, and hopefully they'll get it and listen.

Let's look at another character from M.O.A-27. Remember last week when I mentioned the person helping out our heroine? Here's his introduction. I give you Shawney Rohart, hologram genius extraordinaire. A few years out of college, he's the boss and owner of Rohart's Repairs and can fix pretty much anything, though holograms are his specialty. The only family he has is his lazy cousin Len, and knows a lot about M.O.A-27's (we'll call her Moa from here on) past life. He considers her his friend, despite the difference between the two (Moa makes sure to point that out), and is more than willing to help her uncover the scandal that made Moa into a cyborg. He is a nerd completely, and I love him for it. Hopefully you will too when you read him in action.

Now to the Weekly (Dis)Likes!

Like 1: Making the display. See above.

Like 2: Halloween! I love this day, and even though I spent it handing out candy to the few trick-or-treaters that came buy, I still had fun with my costume:

What a wonderful ghoul am I, huh? It's cool what you can do with art supplies and clothes from your closet.

Like 3: Candy. Got plenty to eat since not a lot of kid showed up. Yum!

Like 4: Christmas fair at the local church. My grandma and I went, and it was nice. It wasn't horribly big, but there was some really interesting merchandise, like magazine papercraft crosses and some absolutely beautiful jewellery. I didn't pick up anything, but my grandma got some present for some special people who will really like them!

Dislike 1: THE ROYALS LOSING THE WORLD SERIES. All I will say is the fact we got that far to begin with will always be a bigger victory than the stupid Giants actually winning the thing!!

Dislike 2: Finding evidence for a store theft for the first time. Sad. :(

Dislike 3: The lag time when I'm trying to watch a Youtube video on my phone. When I'm driving in my car, that's what I use when I want to listen to a certain song, and the pauses and feedback loss that make me have to play it again or wait are awful. What's with the cruddy connection!?

And quote!

"Whoever is happy will make others happy too." -Anne Frank

See ya,
Colleen

Monday, October 27, 2014

Today is Your Birthday!

Howdy, y'all!

So work is still work, except this week was really busy up front with the cash register. There was like a line of non stop people on Friday and Saturday, and it felt like a miracle when I could actually get a break. Despite that, things are still going well, and I even managed to score each of the three memberships B&N offers. Other than our regular membership discount card, there's also the Kid's Club Card, which gives you small kick backs for every time you buy kid's stuff, and the teacher discount, where you money off materials intended for classroom use. The most I got out of the three was the Kid's Club, raking in seven memberships this week, and I am very proud of how well I did (though not as proud as the time I sold seven regular memberships in a day). The only other things I can mention this week is that I got called in two hours before I was supposed to start working one day, so that was two hours extra cash, I finally got my Christmas vacation hours sorted out and okayed, and my mom stopped by to see me in my work environment, which was really nice, and I was happy to see her. So that's that.

Concerning the editing, I have another writer that's been temporarily reassigned to me. According to the work charts, one of the other editors has left for reasons I won't ask about (none of my business), so until further notice I have four writers' work to look over and after and inbetween the lines to catch whatever mistakes they make. But it's not that bad; the temp is a good writer (though she could stand to actually hyperlink her web sources), so it's not like I'm dealing with another version of Miss Late-All-The-Time. Thus, editing is going just fine.

No news on the writing front, and this week's work in M.O.A-27 was a little slow thanks to much-welcomed visitors (which I'll tell you about down below). I'm still in the middle of the fight scene I told you about before, but now the tables have turned as the heroine's best friend, a hologram genius, has thrown a bunch of holograms into the fight, which are all projecting a image of our favorite cyborg that move together in one big mass. Despite the advanced tech the enemy is made out of, our genius has implemented a scrabbling system that messes up the bad guy's ability to pick out the real person, so our heroine is right in the middle of some serious butt-kicking. And thankfully, thanks to the outline I wrote before starting this project, I know exactly where this fight is going (you will have to find out yourselves some other time).

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: This week was my birthday! I'm now 23 years old, and it was a very good day. My mom flew in for it, and we spent the whole day shopping. I got some great birthday presents: comfy dress slacks, a flippy skirt, and a new ipod, to name a few. I also had a delicious dinner at a seafood restaurant where I had peanut butter/chocolate cake and tried oysters for the first time (and they were actually pretty good, all things considering).

Like 2: Seeing my mom. I love her lots, and it was a treat to see her. :)

Dislike 1: The Royals losing against the Giants twice in a row. Who hit the switch and suddenly made the players go all bad? LAME!!

And quote!

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Later days,
Colleen

Sunday, October 19, 2014

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you're wondering what the all-caps/shouting is about, you will find out momentarily. Until then, let's touch on other things.

Work is work, as in nothing bad and nothing exciting happened this week. I did start making arrangements as to days off during this Christmas holidays so some time can be spent with the family, so that's something. Otherwise it was normal; working at the cash register, working at customer service, putting books away, and cleaning up after patrons too lazy to do it themselves.

Editorial work is going well as well. The writers are turning their work in on time, and I actually caught a break this week because the two writers who usually post longer articles didn't, and post normal length work instead. Which was nice for reasons I'll explain down below. Otherwise, I got some really nice articles in terms of subject matter and photography; two were about fashion shows for designers Diane Von Furstenberg and Dries Van Noten, whose features pictures were awesome in terms of displaying the merchandise (don't know if I'd wear any of it, but it's nice to look at), and one was about this Japanese designer who makes her clothes with cloth she makes by weaving with leftover thread from waste fabric (those clothes were also pretty cool). So if you need some reading material, click here.

And in book stuff, the current book is going excellent; I'm still in the middle of the fight scene from last week, but there's going to be a dramatic turn of events as a fourth man enters into the fray with a weapon no one expected to help our heroine. Said lady, who you know is a cyborg, is part of a model line and has the designation M.O.A-27, the letters standing for Military Opts Automon, and has both lower legs up to the knee, her stomach, her right arm up to her elbow, and her complete left arm from shoulder to hand as army green robotics, with metallic eyebrows to boot! There's very little she can't do thanks to the super computer in her head, which can look up anything in the blink of an eye and all the gadgets she has stored away in her body; I'll admit her robotic abilities were inspired partly by Cyborg from the old Teen Titan cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid. But there's some added additions, like jet boots, sonic wave fists, mini missiles, and more (I should make a list of all I want her to be able to do), all stored in a bio-synthetic body with metal bones and electrical tissue. She's no Transformer, but she's made for anything, and with knowledge of every single fight style, she'll take you down!

Now onto the Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Want to know why I'm happy? I GOT MY FIRST CAR!!! This weekend while my dad was visiting, him, me, and my grandpa went used car hunting and made a day out of it. I did my research and found some really good cars at the local CarMax, but Dad suggested we try going to a dealer that's owned by one of his friends, and that's where I found my car! It's a silver 2011 Corolla with only 36K on it, has a 26 mile per tank capacity, has a clean cloth inside, and everything works! All under my price range. I'm happy that I have this, and I'm going to do my best to take care of it. I don't have a good picture yet, but I'll post one in next week's post.

Like 2: Family visiting! Both my dad and youngest sister came to spend a few days with us to celebrate my upcoming birthday, and it was fun. Other than car shopping, we had a nice lobster dinner at the neighborhood country club (it was delicious, with potatoes and corn and apple crisp for dessert), went out for lunch a bunch, and carved jack-o-lanterns (which I'll also post a picture of). It was great seeing them, and I can't wait to see them again.

Dislike 1: The Royals game getting rained out on Monday. I was supposed to go, but it got cancelled because of the rain and rescheduled to Tuesday night, WHICH OF COURSE IS WHEN I HAVE A NIGHT SHIFT AT B&N. Yeah, not very happy about that if you can't tell, and there was no time to call in and ask for a day off. GRRRRRR!

Dislike 2: The stoplight at 119th and Nall. It's fast in the sense that the green light lasts for only about ten seconds before turning yellow, and that drives me nuts, especially on my way home from work and there's a crapload of cars right in front of me. Does the light let us all go? No, it doesn't! And all I want is to go home after a long day at B&N. :P

And quote!

"The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have." -Vince Lombard

Good night,
Colleen

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Insert STAR WARS Theme Song Here

In a galaxy far, far away ...

Actually, let's stick with the Milky Way. I'm no space explorer, though I wouldn't turn down the chance to discover/live on a new planet as long as the natives were friendly.

If you're wondering where all the space jargon's coming from, we had a Star Wars theme event day at B&N this week. Some of the events were three rounds of trivia, each one harder than the last, and for the kids there were activity sheets, bowling, a build-your-own-R2D2 table, and storytime in the kid's section. Unfortunately, Star Wars Day went completely unappreciated by the customers; NO ONE took part in the trivia, and I can count on one hand the amount of kids who colored, bowled, and built (not counting me; I made an R2D2 because I was the one told to keep an eye on the table and I was the one who cut out all the shapes in the first place). So I got a free Christmas tree ornament and a easy work day consisting of me watching the table when not putting away books and/or reading the backs of books I considered interesting, but I do wish the customers could've participated a little more. With all the people in the store doing early holiday shopping, you'd think we'd have a bunch of participates. Ah, what can you do?

The people I'm now editing for in my internship are very different from the others I used to look over, not just because they don't post their stuff late. Two of my three new writers actually write, as in their articles actually look like articles and aren't a few sentences separated by a bunch of pictures. Now it's starting to feel more like working an internship, but it's better because these articles are actually reporting on something (not to mention the pictures they include add to what they're talking about and look really good). Not that the third short writer doesn't do her job; it's nice I don't have to do three writer's worth of block paragraphs.

And since I'm talking about the daddy of all sci-fi this post, I'll mention my own sci-fi story MOA-27, which is the one about the cyborg in the post-apocalyptic city trying to get her memories back. According to the chapter outline I wrote, I'm about halfway through, and right now I'm currently in the middle in a fight scene. Our heroine has just gotten a major hit from the other cyborg she's fighting, and she's just getting out of her daze to see one friend panicking and the other one fighting the enemy cursing up a storm. And this is only the beginning of the fight; it needs to go on for a few more pages, and it terrifies me. Fight scenes are REALLY hard to write because you have to visualize it as you write so you know what's going one, there's the laws of physics to obey if you want it to sound real, you need a basic knowledge of fighting terms so you know different types of punches and stuff, AND you have to make sure you aren't using the same words/descriptions over and over to the point you don't want to read anymore (by the way, this is my advice to those who want to write fighting scenes). I've written my fair share, and read more than enough fight scenes (thank you fan fiction!), so that helps some. But I can't deny the feeling of relief I get when the fighting's over with and I can get on to the next exciting bit.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: I saw this on the employee comment board:


Thank you! I try my hardest!

Like 2: The little cross my grandparents gave me. They went to visit Grandpa's alma mater Notre Dame this week and brought me back a souvenir. It's a cross that can fit into the palm of my hand, and it's made of walnut with a sycamore bird on it. It was made by Grandpa's classmate Moore McDonough who makes them from fallen trees on the Notre Dame campus, and it's very beautiful. Thanks grandparents!

Like 3: I had dinner with some of my grandparents' friends again. It was simple pizza, but it was a good meal with some really entertaining and nice people.

Like 4: The Royals and their winning streak. Go Royals! (If they win the whole thing, I swear someone's going to make a movie out of it in the future).

Dislike 1: The fact barely anyone took part in Star Wars Day.

Dislike 2: Car accidents. There was an accident on my way to work one day this week because someone in front of me slid into the bumper of the car in front of it thanks to all the rain we've had recently. It was a simple matter of driving around it, and police were there to help, but I don't want to think about how that could've been me. 

And quote:

"Do, or do not. There is no try." -Yoda, Star Wars. (I just had to.)

See ya,
Colleen

Sunday, October 5, 2014

New Writers

Hey little ho, bros (and ladies)!

So, after those two eventful weeks I wrote about in my last blog, I had a rather average week of work, writing, and what not. Work was work; I had two night shifts this week, which wasn't so bad, and I've been working my hardest while trying to help the store out. I also had to do the music section again for one night shift, which same with the weekly look-over through the CDs for rogue labels. Which isn't the worst thing in the world, if I haven't said so already, but I did discover how I hate being interrupted when in the middle of this. I work slow because I'm thorough, so I only have a matter of time before the store closes to get this done, and the moment I feel like I've gotten into a groove and rhythm of doing things, someone breaks my concentration by asking them if I need help. And of course I help them, because I do want to help them, but it only adds a bit more stress to getting the look-over done on time. Not that it really mattered last night; apparently the store was so messy outside the music department we couldn't even finish straightening up before our boss took mercy on us and sent us home before it got too late. It'll take some practice, but I think I'll get better with CD look-overs.

Editing went incredibly well this week in that I don't have to edit a certain writer anymore. Basically, I got tired of working with the girl who was always sending her stuff in late, and told my boss as such. She agreed with me that it wasn't fair, so I now have new writers. Their skills are excellent (I won't say perfect; I am an editor, after all), but it does feel like there's not much to complain about on the weekly comment sheet I send to my boss. Which just goes to show how good they are. This week some of the articles I edited were about the perfect colors for fall, Fashion Week, in Paris, Milan, and London. and how a doll magazine can inspire Halloween costumes. If you haven't checked out "The Fashion Foot" yet, do so now!

No news on the writing front, so let's discuss another character from Burn in Light. This week is Jaeger, Enid's grumpy exorcist mentor. Like her, he's half human and half ghost, and he's a member of the Council, which is basically the government that looks after ghosts and exorcists: keeping the two worlds in balance, making new discoveries about ghosts, keeping track of new exorcists and assigning them teachers, etc. The Council is incredibly secretive, keeping all but the most need to know info from the public (thanks to some incredibly outdated rule of 'if no one knows, nothing can happen') and therefore Jaeger is not the most open person, which leads to some tension between him and Enid. Their relationship is complicated, but Enid still respects and likes him somewhat, and Jaeger willing to break the rules and give her pieces of info time to time whenever he shows up to check in on things.

And that's that for this week.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: It's October! The month of Fall, Halloween, and my birthday; how can this not be my favorite time of the year?

Like 2: 30 Seconds to Mars. Love this band, and Jared Leto is one of my celebrity crushes (love him in Dallas Buyers Club, though I hoped he's cut his hair since we saw him at the Oscars). The point is I was lucky to find their CD This is War in B&N's bargain CD bin for $4.99, and now I have very happy ears. :)

Dislike 1: I need to add another question to the list of stupid question people ask me when I'm at work: "Do you work here?" No, I don't, I just like wearing this B&N nametag for fun! Yes, maybe they don't notice it right away, but it's still one of those things you just want to roll your eyes at. :P

And quote!

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." -John Quincy Adams

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crazy Customers

Little hey, little ho, people! So I was busy last week and didn't have time to post anything, but I can write, and boy is there a lot to talk about.

So remember when I said how much I liked the old people customers that come to the B&N a few posts ago? Unfortunately, I've had my first run in with a rude customer this past week, and I think I also met my first real crazy person in my whole life while working customer service. Both situations were weird and something I don't want to go through ever again, but maybe it's a good thing such meetings happened so I can be prepared for the next time I run into such people. And it's not like I had nothing but bad customer meetings this week; there was this really nice customer WHO GAVE ME THE BOOK SHE BOUGHT.

But bad guys first. The rude person was this old lady in this nasty lavender jumpsuit with a neck brace and a voice like a frog who came asking about books by an author with the last name Kinley. I look it up, but I don't find anything, so I ask the lady if she could spell the last name. She acts all offended that I don't know this guy's work, because supposably he writes a really popular kid series, but she starts spelling out the name. But she gets distracted halfway into the name, and when I politely ask if she can continue (while eyeing my co worker Kari in case I need to ask for help) she basically tells me to find someone else to help her that can ACTUALLY DO THEIR JOB. At this point Kari steps in and I step back; I didn't say anything for the rest of the interaction, but believe me, I was mad. Not that I showed it in any other way besides crossing my arms. Kari told me later that while she was leading the woman and her daughter to the kids section to look for the book, the mean bag was rude to her too, still in disbelief no one knew what she was talking about, and instead of the daughter telling her mom to knock it off, she joined in the berating too. Afterwards Kari and I worked off some steam with some bad-mouthing, so I felt a bit better. But still! Just because you're wearing a neck brace, sound like you swallowed a toad, and have no fashion sense doesn't mean you have the right to be rude to people. (And for the record, she got the author's name wrong; it was Kinney. No wonder I couldn't find anything!) Bad karma on you!

The crazy customer came a few days later. I was helping some old guy with finding some pocket datebook refills when this other old guy comes up. He's hard of hearing but asks if we have a book about 'hollow earth'. The first old guy tells me to help the hard-of-hearing guy, so I do, but while plenty of books entitled 'Hollow Earth', I didn't know which one he was talking about. So I tried to figure out which one he was talking about, and it turned out 'hollow earth' was the book's subject. As it turned out, the hard-of-hearing guy was one of those conspiracy nuts, and when prompted by the pocket datebook guy, he went into this long rant that basically was him talking about how there's a city of aliens living under some city in California. Eventually he left, and the datebook told me that I 'owe him one', because he got the burden of the whole rant. And I was grateful, because he did save me, but good lord! I was not expecting to run into my first crazy person like that!

But there was one good customer this week. She was a girl my age, very pretty, who I was checking out at the cash register. She was buying one of those religious inspirational books, and we were chatting, with her talking about how she'd come in before (of course, I didn't recognize her). But after everything was said and done, she GAVE me the book she bought, saying I looked like I needed it. I was surprised, and said I couldn't accept it, but eventually she convinced me to take it, said she'd see me later, and left. It was one of the nicest things someone had ever done for me, and it proves that there really are decent people out there. As for the book, it's sitting on my bedside table, and every night I read a little bit of it. Very nice. :)

Other than a handful of bipolar customers, I was very busy these weeks with new experiences. I was placed in two sections I haven't worked before: second floor customer service and the kid section. Talk about two different beasts from what I'm used to. I had some help with the customer service part when it came to figuring out where stuff goes, but I was basically set adrift doing the children's section and accidentally put some books back that had been taken off the shelf for removal in the first place (because no one tells me anything!). :P Thankfully the bosses were understanding and told me to take this as a learning experience, which I will, so all's good there.

Editing is the same as always, which basically means I have two writers who do very well and one who makes me want to pull my hair out. I keep telling her over and over again how she links her source websites is wrong, but she either doesn't understand or isn't listening. It's not like I'm going to drop her for this, but I did write my feelings in the editor notes, so hopefully this will all work out. But for now, she hasn't posted this week's stuff yet, so I'm really hoping she does soon because I don't want to spend a late night doing editing work when I could be sleeping

And there actually is something concerning the writing department this week: I finally got my first royalty check! SHP finally got everything together and sent it to me, so there's some cash in the bank (I'm not saying how much, though). Otherwise, no new news.

Bi-Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: I saw a friend at the B&N. Tina is one of my greatest friends from high school, and we met each other totally by accident. Turns out she lives nearby and said I could stop over after work anytime. We chatted for a few minutes, and it was great catching up. Love you, girl!

Like 2: The mythical creature display. Our local museum had a display all about magical creatures from around the world, and I went to see it with my grandma. Hands down one of the best displays I've seen, and so informative considering I'm a fantasy writer and want to include these types of animals in my books.

Like 3: Red dot sale at B&N. Basically a few tables are set up in front of the mall entrance and are loaded with stuff with a red sticker on it, which equals 50% off. With my employee discount that becomes 80%, so I was able to pick up a nice how-to book concerning cats and their care (because I really want a cat someday).

Like 4: The nice customer and the book she gave me. See above.

Like 5: Being a membership sales master! For this weekend only if someone becomes a B&N member, they get 20% off their whole purchase instead of the usual 10%. I was able to sell and renew many memberships during my time on the register, so I feel rather accomplished.

Like 6: Souvenir from Las Vegas. My mom went there on vacation and was nice to send this beautiful gold and green cocktail ring that's awesome to wear. Thanks mom!

Dislike 1: Rude/crazy customers. See above.

Dislike 2: People who leave stacks of books lying around. This turns out be a phenomenon on the 2nd floor, and of course it drives me nuts! People can't take the time to put everything back where they found it? Yes, I put books on the shelf, but for one time only, because I am no janitor, plus I have other more important things to do than to clean up your unbought crap. If anyone's reading this, please put something you're not buying back in its rightful place, please.

And quote!

"Few of us get anything without working for it." -William Feather

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Music Department

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na BLOG TIME!

So this week at work, I actually got to man the music department by myself for the first time. Now, I'm watched the music department before, but this was the first time I've been in the section for a whole work shift. At first I thought it was going to be like working the mall cash register (meaning that barely any people buy stuff and I'm bored to tears), but not so! Apparently on a weekly basis there's a DVD and CD tag check, which basically means we go through the CDs and DVDs and make sure they have a price and security tag on them and there's no loose tags lying around. When I was working in the department it was time to check the CDs, so I basically spent my whole shift, when not ringing up customers, flipping through the entire CD rack and making sure everything was tagged and writing the amount of tags found on a chart. I didn't know flipping through CDs could take so long (on the bright side, I found a Black Veil Brides CD that's only five bucks; hooray for hidden treasures!) Not only that, it was a closing shift while I was in the music section, which meant closing that up, which entailed vacuuming the floor with a crappy vacuum, sanitizing the counter, phone, and computers, making sure the CDS and DVDs were all in place, dusting the shelves, and taking out the trash and whatever cardboard boxes were lying around. It's a lot of work, but it's nice to be in one section of the store while everyone else is out all over the place. I wouldn't mind doing the music department again.

The internship is going well. The writers are posting their stuff, and I'm editing while nitpicking all sorts of little mistakes. Nothing really going on this week except that I got assigned a third writer to look over. That might sound like more work, but she is by far the closest to professional out of all my writers with the least amount of mistakes. She is no problem at all.

No news for writing, so it's time for another BURN IN LIGHT character profile! This week we have Uncle V, Enid's uncle and legal guardian. His full name is Vincent Delacroix, and he's a Protestant preacher for a nearby church (he actually used to be Catholic but had to convert to be able to adopt Enid). As said, he adopted Enid because her mother died in childbirth and her dad's not in the picture, and all in all he's a good father figure; he loves Enid deeply, and she returns his affections by respecting his wishes and trying not to make him worry with her hunting ghosts (which he can see, by the way). He's also good friends with Al and Thad, and he's just a really likable guy that's hard to hate.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Black Veiled Brides CD find. See above.

Like 2: Extra shifts. I was asked to do an extra shift this week, and I was more than happy to take it. That may be surprising to others, but I'm happy when they ask if I want extra hours. Yes, it means some extra cash, but in asking me, the bosses are showing how capable they think I am and they trust me with these extra shifts (that's what I like to think, at least).

Like 3: Dining out with the grandparents and their friends. I got to eat out twice this week with my grandparents and some of their friends at two different restaurants, and it was great both times. I ate good food and had good conversations with my grandparents' friends, who I have a lot of respect for because of how awesome they are and make for good conversation. Good times.

Like 4: I got a somewhat new charger! My grandma read about how my old charger was cracking, so she gave me the one that came with her old laptop. It's in perfect condition, so thanks Grandma!

Dislike 1: Being sick. I haven't been feeling good the last few days, and it's not like I'm dying or not taking care of myself. I just feel like I want to doing nothing but sleep, and I hope I feel better soon.

And quote!

"We are what we believe we are." -C. S. Lewis

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Labor Day Rush

Yo, dudes!

Talk about being busy this week. I had my first taste of holiday rush with working Labor Day at B&N, and it was crazy. I was supposed to divide my time between the cash register and customer service, but I ended up working the register the whole time because of all the crazy amount of people coming to buy stuff. And there was a lot of people; they seemed to come in waves, like for a time there wouldn't be anybody, then one person comes, and you help that person, and by the time you're done with them, a whole line is staring you in the face and you have no idea where they came from! It's stressful, but the upside is all these customers keep you busy, which means no time to get bored and possibly goof off and get in trouble (not that I actively try to do that). I wonder what the holidays are going to be like?

So B&N is good, and so is the internship. My boss talked with the writer who's been giving me trouble, and said writer has one more chance before being let go. That said, this writer didn't let me down this time; she got all her articles posted on time, which means I didn't have to stay up late editing them. That's solved; now it's a matter of getting her to properly link stuff. With the way she does it, I basically have to track down the specific webpage the picture came from so we can properly source stuff, because she just gives me the main page of that website. But baby steps, people. We're getting somewhere.

No update on the writing front, so to tide you over, another character profile from BURN IN LIGHT. This time I give the gentle gentleman Al! His full name is Alastor Bachman, and he's the ghost of a nineteen-year-old lawyer in training. In the late 1800's his family integrated from England to Philly (he still has a bit of a British accent) so Al's dad could live the American dream by starting his own law firm, and Al was more than happy to study under him. Sadly, Al was killed in a mugging gone wrong by a slashed throat, and he's been a ghost ever since. Out of fear of what came after crossing over when it was earned, Al decided to be a guardian ghost (ghost version of a guardian angel) to prolong his stay, and for the past hundred years he's guarded many people. His latest 'ward' is Enid, and the two of them have been friends since the day she was born. Having been there for her growing up, Al knows all about her and can be somewhat of a father figure. But something in him might want it to be more, despite all the obstacles in the way.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Got a new book. It's the second one in Lev Grossman's 'Magician' series, and I got it for four bucks when it originally was 26! Ever since I heard the trilogy was basically a grown up Harry Potter, I've been wanting to read it. Can't wait to get my hands on the first.

Like 2: Closer gym. I've recently started going to the gym that's in my grandparents' neighborhood country club, and it's great. It's close by, it's got all the usual equipment, and it doesn't feel like a total drag to get up and go there.

Like 3: Writers who get their stuff sent in on time. See above.

Like 4: The fact they finally discovered Jack the Ripper's identity after 126 years. Who doesn't like a mystery being solved? (Click here for more info). This can't help but bring me to ...

Dislike 1: Serial killers. Who likes those guys!?

Dislike 2: Dumb questions people ask at the B&N. "Do we pay at customer service?" "Where is customer service?" "Where do we pick our books up?" "Where's the bathroom?" Granted, the last two aren't exactly stupid, but since when have you ever paid for something not at a register, and how can you not notice a giant 'Customer Service' sign? It makes me want to make a Q&A poster and hang it around the store (and before you ask, no, Mom, I didn't actually suggest this to any of my bosses. :P)

Dislike 3: My charger cord for my laptop has a tear in the plastic covering the cord part, exposing the wires. It's not big, and I've patched it with some tape, but I REALLY hope I don't have to buy a new one any time soon. Those things are expensive!

And quote!

“By doubting we come to the question, and by questioning we may come upon the truth.” -Pierre Abélard

Adios,
Colleen

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Frustrating Writers

Hi, lovely people!

So, one of my occupations is going well. I'm still enjoying my job at B&N with working the cash register and helping out at customer service. There's been a few times when I make some minor mistakes because I'm still learning stuff, but my coworkers are awesome and I'm getting better every day. Our customers are pretty sweet, too; a lot of them are people my grandparents' age, but they're so nice to serve, as are those with kids because they're cute and make good conversation (as long as they're not crying). And thanks to my padded socks, my feet don't hurt as much as they used to. Finally, I had my first closing shift. B&N closes at 10, and when it does the people left in the store basically team up and walk around, rearranging messes and putting back out of place merchandise where its supposed to go before leaving the store as a group. Usually it's the second floor that needs more work than the first, and everyone says it's going to be a nightmare when the holidays start. But for now, it was really easy, and it was satisfying to walk out the door knowing I helped out.

The internship is another story. Not that I hate it; on the contrary, I love it and love doing it. The problem are the writer's I'm assigned. If I didn't say so last week, I had six articles to look over, but none of them were posted until Sunday afternoon and evening and I had to stay up late to get them done in time. This time, one writer did post her articles on time, but the other has only posted two so far out of four, and I REALLY don't want a repeat of last week. If this continues, I'm going to ask my boss if I can have another writer because I can't afford late nights with the early mornings I have. This makes me, as a writer, worry about my own relationship with Rich-the-editor; I hope I was never like this with him when we were working on SA.

Writing wise, no big news. Still chugging away at my latest manuscript and getting into the story.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Phoenix Wright phone app. This is a game where you play as a lawyer trying to prove your clients' innocence in various cases, and it's addicting. It takes a fair bit of logic, but it really makes you think, and the stories are so funny. Worth it.

Like 2: My Pandora radio station. The radio in my car is busted, so my iPhone to the rescue!  

Dislike 1: Writers who don't meet deadlines. See above.

Dislike 2: Not getting enough sleep and sleeping half the day away. Enough said.

And quote!

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -Milton Berle

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho (It's Off to Work I Go)

Hello, nation!

I know, I've been a bit overdue for a post, and that's partly do to my own laziness. See, I was working on an entry for last week, but the internet froze and I had to shut it down, which made me lose what I had written. Bad reasoning, I know, but don't say you haven't ever done the same before with something you've done.

Book writing front remains slow in terms of publishing and whatnot. I'm still writing, though, which is good after the long break I've had, not to mention I like where my current story is going. Right now I'm doing a chase scene with the main character and her friend vs. a whole bunch of cops and flying cars, so it's a good thing I've seen plenty of action movies to know how to end this.

My internship is excellent. In case you haven't been told, I applied for and was accepted for an associate editor's internship for a fashion blogging website called The Fashion Foot. It is unpaid, but it's good experience since I still do want to work at a publishing house, and it's something I can do straight from my house. The articles I've been working on are really fun: I basically look over 8 to 12 of them during the weekend and fix up the grammar and pictures, and they're about a variety of subjects. My favorite so favorite is an article about DC's Batgirl and her recently updated costume. Go and check it and other articles out at http://thefashionfoot.com/

Work is going well, too. I actually got to do customer service, which is more than just standing behind the assigned desk. I actually got to learn how to work a handheld scanner which I use to put books away in the right place, and I lead people around the store to wherever their book may be. Which is good, because I want to be moving since my feet STILL haven't gotten used to me being on them all the time. But yesterday I actually went shopping for some more work cloths, and not only did I get a cute pair of pants and some shirts, I got some padded socks that will help with feet. And cashier work is going smoothly too. One of my manager's actually told me that I've been doing a good job with selling B&N memberships, so that's a definite confidence booster. It's nice to know I'm doing my job well, and this makes me want to do it better.

Bi-Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Getting told I've been doing a good job selling memberships. See above.

Like 2: My internship. See above again.

Like 3: Shopping and getting new cloths. See above again.

Like 4: Mt new sunglasses. I got a pair of gray-rimmed, dark Michael Kors sunglasses, and they look fabulous on me. It's helps that they're also prescription so I don't have to wear them over my regular glasses.

Like 5: Pandora radio app on my phone. The radio's on the fritz for the car I drive, so I just turn that on and it provides me with all the good music I want. Now if only it had a repeat button...

Dislike 1: Everybody leaving. My mom's moving to Arizona, and my baby sister's off to college. I love them very much, and while it's a little lonely, I'm glad they're living their lives and doing what they want to do.

Dislike 2: The smell of the B&N's bathroom. Being a somewhat public restroom, I can understand it for being smelly, and it probably isn't to a lot of people. But it is with my sensitive nose, and I wish they'd put some Febreze in there.

Dislike 3: Online banking. This isn't really a dislike because it basically does it for me, but me and Mom were talking about bills and stuff, and I ended up feeling stupid because I don't know the first thing about how to pay bills. American education seriously needs to start including personal finance in math classes for high school students, because out of all the useless junk math we're taught, how to pay out bills is not one of them!

And quote!

"Work isn't to make money; you work to justify life." -Marc Chagall

Love your faces,
Colleen

Sunday, August 10, 2014

In the Biz

Hello, people!

So, it was the first week of work this week, and it was good. Most of it was training with how to work the cash register and the system B&N uses to find that one book you're looking for. Yes, it sounds boring, but it wasn't too boring for me; it's when I don't have something to do that I get bored, so I was fine with this. Best part was actual cashier work; I was put up at the front registers and got to help people buy stuff. I made some mistakes, but that's normal, and everyone I've talked to so far says it takes some time to get a hang of all the details of register work. And I believe them; the instruction guide to working the cash wrap was BIG, and there's a lot of things I have to remember. But it's fun talking to people and seeing what they're buying, and I get to see friends; my friend Niki from high school came in to pick up an order she made, and we talked some. It was nice to see her, and I hope other people I know pop in as well.

As far as writing, no news on the book front, but I'm taking on an internship! It's an associate editorial internship for a website called The Fashion Foot, basically it's my job to look through a certain number of articles each week and clean them up. It's a good counter balance to the bookseller job, and it'll give me more experience in the way of publishing. Because while I already like my job at B&N, I do hope to someday work in a publishing house. Here's hoping!

To BURN IN LIGHT, the character's name is Enid Delacroix. She's a high school senior, an average student, and quite frankly scares the pants off of anyone she meets. Part of it is how she looks: she has pale skin, white blonde hair, and amber eyes that look orange depending on the lighting. Here's a picture drawn by my best friend Tina:


Another reason she scares people is her attitude: tough, no hold bars, intolerant of any sort of bullying or bad behavior whether it comes from a ghost or human. She's nice only to those she considers her friends and family; anyone nice but unknown to her she's wary of until she knows them better (that is if she decides she wants to know them at all). She's kick ass and powerful when it comes to dealing with ghosts; she does not like chasing dead people sometimes, but she has accepted her abilities and does the best she can.

And that's this week's news. Onto the Weekly (Dis)Likes!

Like 1: Went to the Royals vs. Giants game, and we won. It was a really good game made better by the company I kept: my sister's friend and her sister. It was a good evening.

Like 2: It's Shark Week! Shark Week, oooh haha!

Like 3: My job. See above.

Like 4: My internship. See above again.

Like 5: Got my hand on The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowling. I love her to death, so I can't wait to read her latest work.

Like 6: My new shoes. I got some light brown wingtips to wear to work. They're comfy, and a whole lot better than my regular flats.

Dislike 1: Achy feet. The one thing about working at a cash register is you're standing a lot, and that equals feet that really hurt. Hence the shoes I got.

And quote!

"Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says: 'I need you because I love you." -Erich Fromm

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I GOT A JOB!!

Hello, everyone!

As the title says, I have a job! It's a part time bookseller position at one of the local Barnes and Noble, and I am so happy to get started. Today was orientation with tours and paperwork, so it wasn't too terribly exciting, but I start training tomorrow, so hopefully everything will get more interesting soon.

While the job front is fulfilled, there's been no news from either the agent or Rich-the-editor on BURN IN LIGHT's potential publication, so I'm just going to assume it's been put on hold. But I'm okay with that. Because I, finally, have started writing again. It's back to the normal half a page schedule, but that's normal for me. Not to mention it's just great to get back into the story; I've missed it. Said story, by the way, is my sci-fi story MOA-27, with the cyborg out to take down the scientist who made her and rediscover her past by means of the connections she forms with her teammates. Very high-paced, very techy, and something I love completely.

So back to BURN IN LIGHT. I talked about how I don't remember exactly where the idea for the book came from, but have I told the story behind the location it's set in? The story takes place in Philadelphia, PA. There is a big difference between a real city and the made up Florida town where I placed SWAMP ANGEL, but I wanted to see how location affected the plot (to tell how it did would be giving spoilers away). But I was mainly inspired by the time I spent in Philly taking a mouth long art study at Moore College, a small art school in the city. While I was there, I made art, lived in a dorm, and explored Philadelphia, which I liked for its history and just the general feel it gave off. I think what struck me about the city was how it was both old and new, and that both those sides fit together. This in turn was kind of how I saw the story: you have the new (humans) working with the very old (ghosts) to keep the life (and unlife) of each being the safest it can be from those that go bump in the night.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: I got a job! See above.

Like 2: I've gotten back into writing. See above also.

Like 3: Royals' baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, and we won. :)

Dislike 1: Blisters. If I've said it before, I'll say it again. I hate blisters. I got one wearing heels, and it hurt something awful. I hope my feet can get used to that certain pair, because they are adorable.

Dislike 2: The rate my DS and iPhone die. It's not like I try to make it so that I need to recharge them every day, but it seems like I have to. :P

And quote!

"If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it." -Lucy Larcom

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, July 27, 2014

To Colorado and Back

Yippee-ky-yay, cowpunks!

If you can tell by the title, the reason I didn't post anything last week was because I was visiting my dad, who lives in Colorado Springs. It was a week long mini-vacation, and it was awesome. I had delicious food, went to a Rockies baseball game (which was fun despite the fact they played as well as the Kansas City Royals, aka they played VERY badly), got to see my sister and my dog (I've missed the both of them very much), did some shopping, went to a wedding, went on a 20 mile bike ride (and survived), and got to go to the very top of Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak was the best; the view was absolutely beautiful.




The last picture has quite the story to it. When my dad and I first got to the top, there was a guy (black t-shirt man) flying one of those drones around. Just as we walked away, Dad heard an, "Oh, shit!" Drone Guy had crashed his drone thanks to the wind blowing about. After some time exploring and taking pictures, we were going back to the car and saw this: two yahoos (to use Dad's word for them, in the gray and red shirts) trying to get the drone back for Drone Guy. Nice gesture, but incredibly stupid, and Dad suggested we get out of there before we watched one of these idiots kill themselves.

So yeah, Colorado was fun.

Little change on the book/job front. I STILL haven't resumed working on my latest manuscript, but I have been doing some writer's work as a beta for an author on a story website I visit daily (a beta is basically the same as an editor). She's really good, despite being a bit wordy and having many incomplete sentences, but who's perfect? Anyway, I hope this gives me the edge I need to start writing again. As for jobs, I have started applying to other places besides where I know family, and I even have an interview tomorrow at one of the local Barnes and Noble. Pray hard and keep your fingers double crossed!

Bi-Weekly (Dis)Likes

Like 1: My sister, mom, and grandma all got back safely from London. They went there to celebrate Maggie's (the sister) graduation from high school (so proud of her), and not only did they have a good time, they got back safely.

Like 2: The souvenir they brought back. It's a lovely Cath Kidston wallet: black with a pink, taupe, and blue flower pattern. It's beautiful and big enough for all my cards, cash, and phone, and it was a good gift considering how my old wallet is patched and dirty. Thanks guys!

Like 3: My trip to Colorado. See above.

Like 4: My interview tomorrow. See above again.

Like 5: Shopping for and cooking dinner the past three nights. I was gone for a week, but Maggie, mom, and grandma were gone ten days, so I was in charge of making sure Grandpa had something for dinner. We had pork chops, chicken quesadillas, and pasta. I was very proud of myself, and so was Grandpa.

Dislike 1: Mosquitos. I HATE THEM. You know one good thing about Colorado? They don't have skeeters. But the first full day I'm home, Grandpa leaves the back door open when napping on the porch for 10 minutes, and now I've got like nine bug bites on my legs, AND THEY WON'T STOP ITCHING!!! I'm doing my best not to scratch, but it's really hard not to.

And quote!

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." -George Edward Woodberry
Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Moved In

Hi, everybody.

Again, it's a rather slow week at the personal office. I still haven't gotten back into the swing of things concerning my latest manuscript. I'm still job hunting. I haven't heard back from Spencer Hill to see if anyone's free to take BURN IN LIGHT.But at least I'm still writing this blog, right?

And the good news is I've moved out. Moving is all done, and I have officially taken up residence in my grandparents' house until I can find something more permanent. The stress and hard work that comes with moving is over! This equals more time to be spent on writing.

There's also good news on the job front. I got one of the pre interview calls from my local Barnes & Noble some days ago. They asked me a few questions, and if everything checks out with the boss (who's away on vacation), then they'll call me for an actual interview. I hope they do, but I'm still surfing job sites daily and calling in.

But to book stuff, let me talk/write about the characters from BURN IN LIGHT. We have the main character, Enid, who's a tough as nails high school senior and part time exorcist. In this book's world, exorcists are naturally born between the union of a ghost and human, but Enid's parents are both out of the picture, so she lives with her Uncle Vincent, who's a priest and a Viewer, which is the term used for non exorcist people who can see ghosts. Her best friends are two guys. Thad is a Viewer goth who's from a rich family and has been by Enid's side since first grade who's sweet and loyal. Al, her other friend, even longer, since her day one. He's a ghost of a British immigrant who died in a failed mugging over 100 years ago, to this day he still acts like a perfect gentleman. He also serves as Enid's 'guardian', which is basically the same as a guardian angel. All three make a kick ass evil ghost busting team. There's also a handful of minor characters, such as the gangbanger ghosts who Enid uses as info brokers, an occult shop owner who supplies Enid's hunting needs, and a particularly annoying poltergeist. All of them made this manuscript fun to write.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: The end of moving. See above.

Like 2: The Barnes and Noble call. See above again.

Like 3: My somewhat new flat screen TV. I say somewhat new because it was my mom's first, but now it's all mine!

Like 4: I had lunch with an old friend of mine yesterday. I saw her apartment (which was cool), and we had lunch at the farmers' market. We haven't seen each other in ages, but we clicked so easily; I hope to see her again soon (and the tomato curry I had was delicious).

Like 5: As a treat for the move, my mom and I got pedicures. With all the lifting and carrying, my feet hurt, so it was well worth it.

Dislike 1: The heat. You know it's summer when ten minutes outside leaves you swimming in sweat. >_<

And quote!

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

See ya,
Colleen

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Free Job, Anyone?

Guten tag!

It's another slow week at my imaginary office. There's only a bit of book news this time, and that is that Leticia is trying to see if someone else from Spencer Hill Press who isn't as busy as Rich-the-editor can take on BURN IN LIGHT. So far, I haven't heard back from her yet about anything, but I'll tell you when I do.

The job hunt hasn't changed much. I'm still looking and applying for jobs while trying to work up the courage to actually call hiring managers to say I'm still interested in what I applied for a week ago. It's all incredibly nerve-wracking (I hate talking on the phone), but I know I need to do it, and I will. I only wish this and job sites were easier. Isn't there a job site out there that works like one of those "For Dummies" books where everything is outlined clearly?

But enough about me whining. Time to make productive conversation, i.e. I tell you more about BURN IN LIGHT. Unlike SWAMP ANGEL, I don't remember the inspiration for this particular book. Maybe it came from me wanting to make my own twist on the classic ghost story, or maybe it started with the main character and involved from there (like the manuscript I'm working on now happened). I don't know. What I do know was that I started it in, ironically, the city the story is set in, Philadelphia. It was the summer before my senior year, and I was doing a month long residential art camp at Moore College. This worked so well, being in the city and working on a new book, really getting a sense of the surroundings and what city culture could do to the story. Not that I got a chance to work on the manuscript all that often, taking college-level art courses. But once it ended, it was back to school, which meant a return to the same typing schedule as SWAMP ANGEL: me typing on the ride to and from school while my sister did the driving. :P

But enough for now. On to the Weekly (Dis)Likes!

Like 1: Happy belated 4th of July everyone. I had a good one. My grandparents have a vacation house in the Ozarks, and I spent my 4th there watching fireworks from the dock. Our cove is the best when it comes to fireworks, because other than having firework-loving neighbors, there's a bed and breakfast in our cove that puts on a huge display every year. This time they did not disappoint!

Like 2: Blueberry pie. We had some at the lake, and it was goooooood!

Like 3: Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones. I FINALLY got around to listening to this CD which I got back in December, and it was amazing! Black Veiled Brides, where have you been all my life!?

Like 4: Got a reply from my German penpal. Her name's Elisa, and I met her while she was studying abroad at Knox half a year ago. She's very pretty and friendly, and despite being back in her home country and knee deep in exams, she has graced me with a reply. It's always nice to hear from her.

Dislike 1: Talking on the phone with strangers. Enough said.

Dislike 2: Those fireworks that sound like cannonballs being shot. Never fails to make me jump and/or give me the beginnings of a heart attack.

Dislike 3: MOVING. I'm currently moving out of the house, and though I know all the packing's necessary, it's also driving me NUTS. Can't wait until this all settles down and I get my own place (because I'm still living with relatives, just not the parents).

And quote!

"Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute." -Josh Billings

Auf Wiedersehen,
Colleen

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Days (Driftin' Away...)

Aloha, little fishies!

I finally got some book news and direction to where I'm going next in the publishing world. I've been in contact with both Leticia and Rich-the-editor, and the final conclusion is that it's going to be a little while before another manuscript starts the publishing process. On Leticia's end, the demand for YA fantasy books hasn't come completely back yet, so we have to wait before she starts pushing any manuscripts. 'But what about Spencer Hill?', you may ask. On Rich-the-editor's end, he's basically swamped (no pun intended) with other manuscripts; basically, if I do want to publish with SH again, it's not going to be until the end of summer that he can look over my next book idea. A bit of a bummer, but if anything, this gives me more time to work on writing and job searching (which is going semi-well: plenty of places to apply, but no one's calling).

Not much else has happened, so how about I tell you about the next possible book of mine? It's, of course, YA fantasy, and it's called BURN IN LIGHT. It's about Enid, a teenage exorcist whose job is taking care of the evil ghosts that go bump in Philadelphia's night life. She has help in the forms of Thad, her gothic best friend who also sees ghosts, and Al, her ghostly guardian whose been dead for more than a hundred years. There's all the good stuff a book needs, like action and romance and plot as Enid uncovers a ginormous conspiracy involving other dimensions, myths, and her own past. Would say more, but I don't want to spoil the fun. Can't say when it'll come out, but it should be before anyone joins Al in death!

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Little Free Libraries. For those who don't know what this is, it's basically a community library where a little shed like house is built on someone's lawn, filled with books, and neighbors are allowed to borrow (not steal) them. My grandma told me about them and showed my the Kansas City Star article talking about them, and they're so cool. 15,000 'branches' in 62 countries! Unfortunately city ordinance laws can ban them, like so in Leawood, so here's hoping an exception is made. Fight the power, man!

Like 2: National Geographic, July 2014 issue. Let me just say I LOVE this magazine for both the awesome pictures and the interesting articles. Like last year, there was this one piece that talked about how cloning has gotten so sophisticated and how it can involve to the point where we can clone extinct animals back into existence. And in the aforementioned article, they talk about aliens and how studies may prove that the ocean on one of Jupiter's moons may hold all the ingredients needed to make life. WE MIGHT MEET ALIENS IN OUR LIFETIME!!

Dislike 1: How quickly my iPhone can lose power. I've discovered a bunch of awesome game apps, and I've been having to charge my phone more often. Honestly, with how brilliant Apple is, you'd think they'd invent a longer-lasting battery for these things. -_-

And quote!

"Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive." -Elbert Hubbard

Aloha,
Colleen

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Ease of Summer

Hello, readers and magic bean buyers!

So we're back to the weekly schedule and its normal format, but there's not much to talk about. Book-wise, Rich the editor says there aren't currently any jobs at SHP I can take, and regarding books, he says to go through Leticia regarding what I should do. Last time I contacted her, she recommended waiting until the demand was back up for YA fantasy before doing anything else; I'll have to contact her again to see what she says this time.

Job-wise, still on the hunt. Dad's helping out, and I've established some accounts on some job sites. One is full of jobs in places I want to work, so it's only a matter of wading through them all and applying, which I'm doing bit by bit. If any reader have suggestions for where to apply for a publishing job, tell me in the comments please!

Nothing much else, so I guess I'll tell you about the time I got hypnotized, which I mentioned last post. Basically, during my last term at Knox, the board who organizes fun events for the students invited a professional comedian/hypnotist to campus, I went to his show, and I was chosen to be a participant. I sat on the stage with nine other people, and the last thing I remember was the guy telling us to breath deeply. After that everything's a blur: looking back, it's like I was present but also sleeping, because all the talking sounded like it was both coming from my head and from people talking. I can't remember much, but I recall something involving whales, aliens, and Japanese rapping, and somewhere during the whole escapade I lost my glasses, which had been given to an audience member for safe-keeping. The hypnotist must have said something right before he woke us up, because we were shouting his name whenever he said some sort of prompt until we left the tent. It was weird, magical, and definitely something to save for a book idea some day.

And Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: It's summer!!!!!!

Like 2: Got some new work out cloths, and got a subscription to the local gym. My health's important to me, so this is a good thing. :)

Like 3: Got to go to my first Royals' game yesterday.

Dislike 1: The Royals lost. :(

Dislike 2: The heat. I am not a heat person, especially given my skin. I do not tan; I BURN, so I'm always a little nervous going out into the sun even with sunscreen on.

And quote!

"Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness." -Sigmund Freud

Buh-bye,
Colleen

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I'm Back!

Hello he, she, and theys of the Internet!

This is Colleen, and and I'm finally back. I'll be posting my regular weekly schedule from now on, and boy do I have a lot to tell you all.

First and foremost, I'm a grad! As of a week ago, I have graduated from college cum laude. The ceremony was beautiful, and my whole family was there to celebrate. There is nothing I would change about it; the food, my graduation dress, the time with family, and other details were all wonderful (though I would change the stumble and the small blisters my shoes caused me walking around in them!).

The term leading up to graduation was good as well. It turned out that the final portfolio I was stressing about wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be. I had my partner, and we looked over each other's works and gave constructive criticism on it. Even the essay wasn't all sorts of awful: we got weekly prompts that gave us the twenty five page minimum we needed, and after meeting with our professor we'd reevaluate them (my essay ended up being 37 pages long). All in all, it went well. And my other classes were fun too; I read a whole bunch of amazing plays in my theater class, and I can honestly say that my gender/woman's studies class was one of the best courses I've taken in college. It was just so informative and pointed a lot of equal right issues not just for women, but for everyone. I highly recommend any college student reading this to take a class. (And all my hard work paid off, because I got all A's on my final transcript. Also, I managed to get myself hypnotized this term, but that's another story). Lastly, the story written for the school newspaper that I interviewed three times for came out this term, and it was a really good article. I'm happy with it, and Lena did a good job writing it. I don't know if there's an online link, but I'll check.

As of now, I'm currently looking for a job and a place to live. I'm keeping an eye on some publishing places that I'm sending resumes to, but also trying to apply to Barnes & Noble as well. Haven't found anything yet, but still searching. As for a place to live, I'm hanging out at home right now and then moving to my grandparent's place; the latter is helping me look for townhouses. We've already found a possibility, but until we have a better idea of where I'm working (here or a different state), we'll put buying in the back seat.

Book and writing wise, I'm still getting back into the swing of things with my latest manuscript. Like with this blog, I put it on hiatus so I could focus on my last term, but with the moving and events, I haven't reestablished a normal writing schedule. But I'll get to it! No new to report from Leticia or SHP, but I'll be sending a email to Rich asking if he wants to take a look at some of my other manuscripts.

Lastly, my summer so far is going well. I went to my library's used book sale and got some wonderful books, including a copy of JRR Tolkien's THE HOBBIT (which I've been wanting for a while). I also attended my church's garage sale and found myself some excellent clothes, including a pair of white DKNY slack that fit perfectly. Once again, both events live up to expectations.

And that's really everything I have to say. Check back next week for a return of my usual blogging style, but as always I end with a quote:

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me." -Jim Valvano

Bye (and Happy Father's Day!),
Colleen

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How Things Are

Good day, various life forms!

So first off, I did get a reply from Leticia! She's doing well, and her agency is doing awesomely too. I got some news about the manuscripts I sent to her; apparently the publishers are currently looking for contemporary, slice of life fiction instead of fantasy. She says she can hang on to the scripts until the market turns around, or I can continue working with SHP and get the manuscripts published through them. I haven't decided which one to go through with just yet; I'll need to confer with some people about which would be the best course of action.

Still setting up my Amazon author account. It's mostly done, but I'm having some trouble posting the link to this blog. I might need to take up Rich the editor on his offer with how to do that part.

In other news, not much is happening. The real work for this term is going to start this week, so I don't know if I'll be able to write every week like I always do. It's not like last year when I'm taking a whole bunch of hard classes, but it is my senior portfolio that I need to graduate. Who knows? Either way, if it turns out I don't have time to regularly post, this is a hiatus notice that will last until sometime in June. If I do have time, I'll see you all next week!

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: My spring break was good. I had a wonderful second interview, saw a couple of Oscar winners, and just generally relaxed while hanging out with the folks. It was good while it lasted. :)

Like 2: I found my missing game. Somehow it had gotten wedged into my wallet, and I found it when I opened it. No need for a replacement game!

Like 3: My two other classes. One of them is analyzing how scripts become plays, the second being a gender/woman's study class. They've been very interesting so far, and hopefully they'll stay that way.

Dislike 1: That damn portfolio. If I was nervous about an essay before this, I can only imagine how much more nervous this is going to make me. But if I edited and wrote my own book, then I can do this.

And quote!

"When all else is lost, the future still remains." -Christian Nestell Bovee

See you again,
Colleen

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Story's Out

Hello, my lovely people.

So, funny thing about that story the Communications office wrote. Day after last week's post, I go online and there it is. Whoops. Well, better late than never. For all those who want to read it, here's the link:

http://www.knox.edu/news-and-events/news-archive/knox-college-senior-publishes-first-novel.html

I've already gotten some emails congratulating me about it. Thank you to those who did so. It's really good, so I highly recommend that you read it!

In other news, I've FINALLY remembered to write to Leticia, asking how things have been and if she's had any lucking pushing my manuscripts for sale. Haven't gotten a reply back yet, and if I don't get one by Friday I'm going to give her a call. My current manuscript is still going smoothly, and I'm on the hunt for an after college job.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: I had a second interview at the publishing company I want to work for. It went incredibly well. Mr. Stewart said I would be a good hire for the company, and asked that I email my resume to help make the process easier. If there's an open job by the time I graduate, there's a good chance I could get called in for another interview.

Like 2: Spring Break! Ah, relaxing.

Like 3: Oscar movies. I've been getting my fill of them, seeing '12 Years A Slave' and 'Dallas Buyers Club'. But are bloody awesome and I recommend that y'all see them.

Dislike 1: I've misplaced/lost one of my games for my 3DS. I've looked everywhere I can think of, and I CAN'T FIND IT. Thankfully, it's cheap enough to replace, but it's still frustrating that I have to in the first place.

And quote!
 
"A hero has the power to move the world. A true hero has the power to destroy the world but chooses not to despite what the world thinks of him." -Joseph Patrick Lyons

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Story Preview

Good day, assorted readers and paraphernalia!

Got some more exciting news to share this week. Peter for the Communications office emailed me a basic rough draft of the article about SA a few days ago. I'm not posting the whole thing (I'll leave that with the tried and true news story), but here are a few snippets for now:

"Her first book, Swamp Angel, a novel focused at the "young adult"
market, was already written when she came to Knox in 2009. She had
started it in 2008, after being inspired by a song title, "Angel in
the Swamp," by the band Story of the Year."

"While the novel has no relation to the lyrics of the song, the title
"had me thinking about what an actual 'swamp angel' would look like, "
Boyd explains "Everything else kind of went from there." Praised by
Publishers Weekly as "a lush, atmospheric story," the novel is about
an teenage boy who befriends a monster living in the swamp in his back
yard."


Thank you, Peter!

And speaking of news stories, Lena emailed me about the article for the Knox newspaper, telling me that it hasn't been abandoned; it's just taking some time to get it all cleaned up for publishing and it'll come Spring Term. Thanks for the news, Lena!

Still haven't heard anything from Leticia, but finals are over now, so I'll see to it about making that Amazon author profile. Might need to ask Rich the editor about how to do that. Also sent out some job applications; hopefully I can find something.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Finals are over! And I believe I did well. Spring Break, here I come!

Like 2: Lazy days were I can just sit back, read, write, and play. This is the life. :)

Dislike 1: My bottom retainer for my teeth is giving me trouble (again) with poking my tongue. I think I need an appointment with my orthodonist.

Dislike 2: After some sunny days where I could actually wear shorts, we got a freak snowstorm, AND NOW THERE'S SNOW ALL OVER THE GROUND AGAIN. Not happy!

And quote! It's another favorite:

"When we love, it isn't because the person's perfect. It's because we learn to see an imperfect person perfectly." -Unknown

Chow ciao,

Colleen

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Picture Time

Aloha, everybody! (We could use some Hawaiian weather around here.)

First off, I'd like to apologize for my recent boring titles like 'Not Much' and 'Ho Hum'. I wasn't aware that I could've been deterring possible readers, because apparently stuff that seems boring to me isn't boring to everyone else. I promise better picture titles from now on!

As it is, something exciting did happen this week. The Communications office here at Knox is also doing a story about me and SA, and I met up with their photographer to take some pictures for the story. Peter (that's the guy's name) was very nice, and I had a good time posing in the library. He sent me a copy of his favorite shot:


If you're wondering about Where the Wild Things Are, he had me pose not only with a copy of SA but also with the first book I remember reading or being read to me. So I chose this. I remember that though Mom was usually the one who read to me and my siblings growing up, Dad would always be the one to read Where the Wild Things Are to us because for some reason he read it better than Mom did. Ah, childhood memories.

Anyway, I don't have a date for when this story comes out (or the newspaper article, for that matter), but I'll tell y'all when it does and post a link.

In book news, Leticia still hasn't replied to my Twitter post. I need to try contacting her again. As for Spencer Hill, Rich and I have been discussing book sales, and he suggested I go on Amazon and make an author profile, which I'll do as soon as I have the time. Stupid finals. :P

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: The photoshoot for the story.

Like 2: It's starting to warm up. Hello sun!

Like 3: My roommate has returned. Turns out she was staying over at a friend's place. Everything's okay now; it's good to have her back.

Dislike 1: Finals. I have two essays and a test. The test I can handle. While I'm finished with the rough drafts and only have the fine tuning to do, I'm still not looking forward to it. :P

And quote! I really like this one:

"The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do." -Anonymous

Bye-bye,
Colleen

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ho Hum

Hello, my lovely readers.

So I have some good news, bad news, and what's-going-on news. The good news is the guy from my local Barnes and Noble back home contacted after I sent him an email asking what was going on with the planning. He said - and here's the bad news - that there's been such an overflow of people wanting to do stuff and B&N, there's not going to be any time to do a reading until June. Which sucks, to be honest. But the good news is that he said I could stop by during Spring Break and sign some books that he can put into a special display for the store! I'm all for that, so we're trying to arrange a day and time for that to happen.

The what's-going-on news is a two-parter. One, the article for the Knox newspaper STILL hasn't come out. I don't know how much editing an article takes before it can be printed, but I'm starting to wonder if I should shoot Lena an email asking about it. Or would that be rude?

The second part is that I FINALLY sent my agent an email asking how my manuscripts are going along (I've sent her two more months ago, haven't heard a lot since). Hasn't replied yet, but hopefully she will soon.

Other than that, nothing much happening other than s-l-o-w-l-y working on my sci-fi book. But as long as I have my plotline to follow, I'm good.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: Campus Poker Night was last night. Played some good blackjack, and I was one of the few lucky winners. I'm now the owner of some fancy Skullcandy headphones.

Like 2: Rune Factory 4. It's a fantasy RPG I got with some of my Christmas money, and it's awesome and totally addictive. I love playing it.

Dislike 1: My roommate's disappearance. Lara hasn't come back to our room for about a week. No one's stopped by to report anything bad, so I know she's okay, but it's still disconcerting. What's going on?

Dislike 2: My second history midterm. It's all done except for a final lookover, but as always I'm nervous about it. It doesn't help that it's half a page longer than the six pages it's supposed to be; I tried shortening it, but there's too much info that needs to stay in. Hopefully the writing assistant here can help fix it up so I can get a B on this like the last one (and I think I will).

And quote!

"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." -Christopher Morley

Bye,
Colleen

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nothing Too New

Hello, readers!

Again, a rather slow week. So slow, I'm surprised it went by as fast as it felt like it did. There's literally no news for me to share. As for the news article, it wasn't in this week's paper, so maybe Lena hadn't finished it yet and thus it wasn't printed. I don't know. Hopefully everyone will be able to read it this week.

No news on the writing front. I have been applying to some publishing jobs, though. I need to call in today to check on a few of them and say I'm still interested, but how does that conversation go? With enough research I can probably find a general phone number, but is that the right one to use? I already hate talking on the phone, and this just makes everything worse. Maybe I should ask Ms. Nelson from the career center on how to do this.

As for the possible book event happening Spring Break, I still don't know if it's going on or not. The coordinator Mr. Thomas hasn't sent me any notice or whatnot. I sent him an email yesterday asking him about it, but I have yet to get a reply. I hope everything's okay.

Still managing to work on my latest manuscript on the weekends. I don't think I told you the title in my last post. It's called Moa-27 (pronounced 'Mo-ay' twenty-seven); it's the anagram of the type of cyborg the main character is-M.O.A.-turned into her name, followed by her production number. I like it as a title, and I love the main character and what a paradox I'm trying to make her be.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: My latest book manuscript. I'm really proud/invested in this one.

Like 2: Oreos. YUM. :)

Dislike 1: Making follow-up calls on job applications. How the heck do you do it?!

Dislike 2: We get our second midterm for my history class tomorrow. It's another essay, and it's supposedly shorter then the first one (which I got a B+ on), but it's still a history essay, with research and fact and boring crap like that. :P

And quote!

"A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one." -Benjamin Franklin

See you next week,
Colleen