My Debut Novel ‘The Time Company’ Is Now Available!

This is the post I’ve been dreaming of sharing! My first novel is real and ready! I know I’ve been sitting on the details, but finally I can tell it all!

As I mentioned in this post, I took a bookmaking class in my final semester of university. This course was the program’s big thing, and you had to be interviewed to get in (though as long as you had material and a good GPA, you were approved). Most of my class wrote nonfiction and/or compiled nonfiction stories from previous classes, but as I said, I knew I didn’t want to do that. I had my old half-baked fiction novel, and I was determined to use that. So I began the process of opening the file, reading the awful, cringy garbage I wrote in high school, fixing it up, and adding another 20k words to end the story. Then I edited it several times, and then I sent it to be read by a few friends who volunteered to help me out (and I am very grateful for them).

By then the bookmaking class had started, and the prof had us get to work on learning how to typeset and design covers and understand the parts of a book. Now, the prof does own/manage a publishing company, so we originally thought that our books were getting traditionally published through that, but it turned out that Life Rattle Press is a “collective group of new writers” rather than a typical publishing company, so we actually published and printed our books with Createspace, which, for anyone unaware, is an Amazon affiliate site and a common tool for self-publishers. I knew nothing of the site going in, so I had to do a bunch of research on it, but I liked that because it was my book done my way, and I wanted to learn all I could. In the end, after my story got edited another few times and I designed a cover and typeset it all, I was ready to approve it for sale.

My novel is called The Time Company. My back of the book blurb reads:

There’s a secret company that produces and controls Time. When Cory’s missing father returns home after nine years, things aren’t what they seem. Before he knows it, Cory and his best friend are off to the Time Company to seek help and uncover a shocking scandal within.

It’s just over 60 thousand words and I describe it as an adventure novel with light fantasy elements (spoiler: the light fantasy element is dragons because I love dragons so of course I had to). I didn’t really have a target audience in mind when I wrote it, but my friends who read it believe it to be good for middle school readers, and I’m okay with this because it’s a book I think I would have enjoyed when I was growing up. If this book can make a mark on a kid the same way a few specific books did on me, then I can die happy. This is the only original story I’ve ever had that’s worth telling, so the fact that it’s finally seeing the light of day is outstanding for me.

I also tried to have my story not be super cliche in the sense that I really thought a lot about common tropes and how I presented characters. I really hope that comes across. I may not be the best writer ever, but at least I’m not serving you all the same old stuff again, ya know? The Time Company isn’t flawless, but it was created with love and passion.

So I’m an official author! I’m a writer! I was pretty pleased when my 16 page free iBook on Quidditch was published, but this is way more official! Being able to hold my own book, that I designed, in my hands and knowing that I wrote every word is indescribable. It’s a feeling only authors can relate to, and I’m so glad I can feel it.

So I’ve definitely convinced you to buy a copy, right? Right. Here’s how you can get one. The book is available on Amazon here in hard copy and here as an eBook for Kindles and other e-readers. It’s also available as an iBook on iTunes. Maybe you’re not into this genre, and that’s fine, but maybe you know someone who is? Tell your friends!

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And what’s next for me? Aside from marketing my book on social media and building a bit of an author reputation for myself (how does one go about that???) I’m going to try and look into getting The Time Company traditionally published. In class, we did lightly touch on how to reach out to agents, so I want to see how that goes. I also have loose plans to make this into a trilogy. I have not started that yet, and honestly, I don’t know when I will, but it is an eventual goal of mine. I love my characters and I know there’s more to the world I’ve created, so I want to explore that one day. But I have just spent over a year working almost non-stop on this book, so we’re going to take a breather and enjoy this achievement for now!

Anyway, I’m so pleased to be able to share this after working on it for so long. I hope you buy a copy and I hope you enjoy it. I also plan to do a giveaway on Twitter soon, so keep an eye out for that. If you do buy it, feel free to write reviews or ratings or comments or something and send them my way! And for any real-life friends/family reading this, you can get a copy directly from me if you want.

That’s all for now!

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Maybe I Suck At Friendships A Little…

I’ve complained before (x / x) about how dissatisfied I am with my social circles. As I near the end of my university career, these feelings of regret and insecurity are really popping up in me. I have friends and a few best friends, but I feel like I only have a few long-term friends, and I certainly don’t have that real life ‘squad’ or ‘tribe’ that we all strive to be a part of. Out of my small batch of university friends, there are maybe four or five that I feel I’ll maintain contact with once we’re in different cities and not seeing each other regularly, and even out of those four, I don’t know if I’ll still be friends with any of them in five years. I don’t really have a great track record, you know? I can’t keep denying this when there is clearly a pattern, and I am the common denominator.

For the last couple years, I’ve been blaming other people for my lack of close friendships. But that’s unfair. Lately I’ve been kind of accepting the fact that I suck at communication too, and maybe I’m not even that pleasant to be around (still working on that positivity thing…). I sit around wondering why no one starts conversations with me, but when do I start the conversations? And even when there is a conversation going, do I  making it worth having?

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I recently reconnected with a friend I made in first year who literally dropped off the map for two years after that. We talk a bit on Snapchat (which I know isn’t the ideal vehicle for productive conversation) but our chats are limited to the really basic “how are you?” and “where are you these days?” and “what are you doing after grad?” so the conversations die quickly and I don’t feel like there was a meaningful bond made. Is this my fault for just being boring or is this typical? We were never too really close, so I don’t know what I’m expecting.

Maybe social media is the problem. It’s easy to use and connects us together, but maybe it is the reason why conversations that aren’t face-to-face are a struggle for me when it comes to real life friends (I think I’m decent at online communication with internet friends).

My best friend has recently developed into a ‘live in the moment’ kind of guy, and last summer we were talking about communication habits. He made some interesting comments. He said that he doesn’t really like using media to communicate. He’d rather talk face to face, and I think we all would, but he’s gone as far to delete some social media and not use others. Furthermore, he says that when he’s at school, he doesn’t talk to people from home, and when he’s a home, he doesn’t talk to people from school. I asked if he felt that this would mean he’d lose the friendships when school ends, and he said yes and that life is like that.

I guess I have to accept that some friends aren’t forever friends, they’re temporary situational friends. And that’s fine. If both parties aren’t going to put in effort, then that’s how it is. I can’t keep blaming others when I’m not perfect at this either, and maybe I use others as an excuse rather than facing my own issues. This is me at least admitting that I have communication issues. How I deal with this is a whole other yet-to-be-explored story.

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Do you have any thoughts or tips?

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Monthly Look Ahead: April 2018

Welcome to the fourth month of the year. I can’t believe we’re here already. And I can’t believe I survived March. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. I was big time stressed for about three days and then everything slowed down slightly, and I got a handle on it all. So now I am ready to move into April and take on all that’s coming. Especially these following fun parts:

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  • NBC’s newest live musical, Jesus Christ Superstar Live! is airing on the 1st (since it’s Easter and all). John Legend and Sara Bareilles are starring in it. Admittedly, I’ve never seen this musical, but that just makes me more excited. I am ready to be wowed, and NBC’s musicals are usually solid.
  • Finishing school! Can you believe I’ll be done? Four years of essays and group projects and lectures, all coming to an end. I have only one exam and as soon as I’m done that, I’ll be done it all. Forever.
  • Avengers Infinity War! This highly anticipated movie got pushed up a few weeks to April 27th, and I am so excited. So many awesome characters are coming together in this, so it’s sure to be stellar. This is the movie that the MCU has been building up to for a while now.
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  • The Quidditch team is celebrating the end of the school year with a laser tag session, and I am beyond ready. I love laser tag, and I think the team will be a great bunch of people to play it with. Plus, a girl on the team works there, so we get a discount. Cheap fun is often the best fun. This will be the last chance to hang with my Quidditch pals, so I’ll cherish it.
  • After years of work, I’m finally able to sell my first novel! I already got a proof copy, made some last fixes, and ordered a first batch, so this month I will definitely be able to sell it to friends and family and any interested readers. Keep an eye out for a big reveal blog post very soon with all the info!

And that’s my April! What’s going on for you this month? I’d love to know!

That’s all for now!

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Going Back Home

In about four weeks, I’ll be moving back home indefinitely. After four years of school and eight months of each of those four years being on my own, I’m going back to live with my parents because it’s free and I have nowhere else to go. I haven’t found a job yet, so I might as well search for one where it’s free, and I’ll likely be able to commute from home when I do get a job. Not that I could stay out here if I wanted to; as of two days ago, someone signed on to rent my room once I’m gone.

Going home from Rocky Horror

There are pros to going back home. For one, I eat healthier at home. I don’t have the time or patience to chop vegetables for a salad, but my mother does. She also has the time and patience to make dinners that take longer than ten minutes to cook. Aaaand she and my father love reminding me to eat fruit. It’s not that I don’t eat healthy when I’m alone, it’s that it’s probably not as healthy as it could be. Another pro is that I don’t have to deal with roommates making messes. I’m a moderately clean person and I always leave the kitchen clean. My roommates, though, aren’t as considerate. I think it’s mostly just one of the three, and I think I know which one, but either way, I’m getting really tired of finding weird stains on the counter and soggy food in the sink. At home, my mom tolerates no messes, and even though my brother is somewhat messy, he isn’t as bad as what I live with now. A third pro is that I don’t have to worry about busses because I can get rides from family. I don’t hate the bus, but they’re infrequent on Sundays and at night and waiting for them in the cold is unpleasant.

But then there are cons. A big con is that at home, I have to fight for the TV. My dad likes falling asleep in front of the news and my mom watches a few different shows than I do. I’m quite used to watching all my shows when I want for as long as I want with no interruptions, and that’s a luxury I can’t get at home without retreating to the basement, where I’d have to fight with my brother for control of that TV. Another con is that my habits are a bit more public. On my own, it’s not unusual to wake up at noon or go to sleep at 3am. I can eat dinner at 9pm or start a movie at midnight. No one is there to judge me and tell me to go to sleep at a regular time. It’s freeing, and I’m not a bother to anyone. I mean, I can stay up to 3am at home, but then I worry about waking up people when I move around. And a third con for going back home is that it’s more stressful. Every time I’m at home for Christmas or the summer, I’m usually itching to leave by the end of the time. By this point, there’s been several yelling matches, and it’s just tense. There are no yelling matches when I’m out.

Girl from Easy A saying "there's two sides to every story"

So while there are pros and cons, as there are to most things, the matter of the fact is that I like living by myself. I’ve grown accustomed to myself and my solo habits. I like the independence, even if that means doing laundry and grocery shopping. I like being able to be as free as possible on my own. Sure, it can get a little lonely sometimes, but for the most part, I’m comfortable with being by myself for most of the time. I make myself laugh. I have great taste in music. It’s nice.

Who knows how long I’ll be at home for. Maybe a year or two. Maybe more. Just know I’ll be thinking fondly on these four years of being on my own. And this is not to say that I don’t like going home or that I don’t like my family. Because that’s not what I mean. I just mean that at some point, people need to get out on their own. I’ve had a taste of that, and I quite liked it. Or, y’know, maybe I’ll get used to being home again and like that more. But probably not.

April Ludgate shrugging casually

That’s all for now!

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Does Social Media Cater To Our Needs?

Last week in one of my classes, I gave a presentation on Snapchat (making that my third university assignment on Snapchat; I’m basically an expert now). The presentation and the class discussion that followed afterward was on a study about Snapchat’s ephemeral style and how the platform is great for sharing little moments in our lives. In my presentation, I talked about how Snapchat is the only platform that really allows us to post nonsensical updates because if we just shared random clips of rain or our breakfasts on any other social media platform, it’d be very weird and annoying. I’m sure you know someone who posts dumb Facebook statuses often or tweets incessant junk.

I also talked about microblogging and how most social media platforms rely on that. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that I think there’s a reason why regular blogging isn’t seen as inherently cool to the masses. Anyway, what my prof got us thinking about in class was if social media was designed for our needs or do we adapt based on the design. There’s no definite right or wrong answer, but it is an interesting idea. Were humans really itching for a short 140 character platform before Twitter or did we just take to it easily? Or, more in general, do we constantly want microblogging platforms because we’re desperate to share and interact?

So many of today’s big social media platforms are microblogging platforms. Even new ones, like Vero, utilize this (side note, I made a Vero account but have done literally nothing with it). And while Vero doesn’t seem to be taking off too well and likely won’t be the next big platform, there’s a good chance that whatever does take over will be microblogging too.

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And I guess it’s because we like to share. We like to shout into the void and know that someone, even one follower, is receiving that shout. We like to livetweet and speak out on issues and interact with friends and strangers. I think we’re all a little desperate for attention by means of a Like, and if we weren’t, we would be on social media.

But back to the question in question: does social media cater to our needs? Sure, it gives us platforms to send pics to friends and connect with others, but what about our other needs? One point brought up in class was that cyberbullying is prevalent, going against our need to be safe. Or how there’s so much fake news, going against our need to be informed. My newest issue with social media, Twitter especially, is how much blatant copy and pasting there is going on. I am so sick of seeing word-for-word tweets from years ago time-stamped to a day ago with thousands of retweets. This goes against the need to be authentic. Social media may make it easy to tell people about what I’m eating for dinner, but these platforms aren’t flawless.

In a lot of ways, social media is more of a game than a tool. Part of me likes this, and part of me dislikes this. Maybe that’s why I kind of still like Snapchat. As I said in my presentation last week, Snapchat isn’t about numbers and popularity, it’s about sending my best friend selfies with ugly filters.

Anyway, the question of social media caters to our needs is not one with an answer. Or at least not an answer I can provide. If I had to answer, though, I suppose I’d say that yes, social media definitely caters to the social and media part of our needs, which is what we want of them, and I appreciate them for that. But there is work to be done. Social media should be about the social and the media, but platforms like Facebook and Snapchat are turning into more money makers. As someone studying communications and hoping to get a job working with (social)media, topics like this interest me greatly. So I hope you enjoyed my two cents on the matter.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too, so please leave a comment or tweet me or something!


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