Wednesday, June 29, 2016

3 Tips for Beginner Freelance Writers

Over the last couple of years, I've had some amazing opportunities to write for blogs, web pages and publications. I'm not saying I'm an expert by all means, but there is something about sharing your writing with the world that draws me closer to freelancing and away from the normal mainstream jobs. Freelancing comes in all shapes and forms, writing styles and opportunities, but today I wanted to share a few tips with you that helped me over come my fears of putting myself out there.

1. There is always fear - Its the truest statement that anyone can ever say. Putting yourself out in the world for everyone to see, being vulnerable with your craft is hard. Not everyone will give you the support you will need and want. Not everyone will like your style of writing. It's going to happen and the best thing you can do is jump in feet first and worry about the fear later.

2. Find yourself a community - I've been lucky enough to find a community of writers online that share my same goals and struggles. When that fear starts to settle into the back of my mind, gnawing at my self esteem and pushing its way into the front of my mind, I reach out to my community for support and words of encouragement. They've all been there. They know what I'm going through and they will help me through it.

3. Tools are just as important - Every writer knows that without a pen and paper, a thought will never become a story. You need the tools of the trade to help your business grow. I never leave home without my laptop, Dropbox to keep me attached to my writing anywhere I go, Tweetdeck so I can make sure my readers know that there is a new post on my blog even when I'm busy, and Invoice2go so I can send invoices to all my clients from my mobile phone. This last one is a big one because you want to get paid don't you? Invoice2go has all the services you need to keep track of your finances.

Freelancing is not going to be for everyone. I love being an author just as much, but to keep my skills sharp and well rounded I write as much as possible and so should you.

Monday, June 27, 2016

June Movies - Part Three

Back again with some more movies that you may or may not want to see. Read on to find out how I rated these titles...

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) - I have to say that I love all the Die Hard movies and that I own them all except this one on DVD. You just can't go wrong with Bruce Willis and then to add Jai Courtney who could potentially carry on the series since he plays John McClane Jr. 

If you want action, this movie has it. If you want an awkward reunion between father and son, this movie has it. Do you want betrayal and lies, well guess what, this movies has it.

To get your Die Hard fix, click here for the trailer.

I can't say enough about this movie and I will gladly give it a 5 out of 5 stars for pure awesomeness!







The Scorch Trials (2015) - So I thought the first Maze Runner movie was good. It left me hanging but in a good way and I wanted to see this movie as soon as it came out. This movie though, it really didn't live up to its name. The kids didn't spend much time in The Scorch even though they made a bg deal out of it in the beginning.

That all being said, if you can look past the weirdness of the kids supposedly being immune to this virus and then they come down with it (I might have missed something in the movie about this, but it wasn't clear,) then this is a great YA thriller that you should see.

You probably already watched the trailer, but here it is again.

I'll give it a 4 out of 5 stars only because I'm confused about the immunity thing.






The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008) - I have been on a quest to watch every single Chris Evans movie he has ever been in and I'm starting to get into the lesser known movies on the list. I've never even heard of this movie until now, but it does have some big name actors in it like Bryce Dallas Howard.


The movie is based 1957 screen play written by Tennessee Williams. The characters in the movie have these ridiculous gone with the wind kind of accents that make you shiver every time they open their mouths. I think the acting itself is great but the story is just too terrible for me to like.

Its all about a girl named Fisher who hires Evans character to take her to parties. A long story short, she promises to help Evans crazy mother get out of a mental hospital if he marries her because she has alienated everyone else and no one will love her. I'm not going to spoil the end and tell you what Evans character does, but this is one messed up movie.

If you want to watch the trailer and their bad accents, click here.

If you are trying to finish your Chris Evans movie list then you have to see it, but I will give this movie a 3 out of 5 stars for the actors commitment to those ridiculous accents.

Sunshine (2007) - Ok, so this was another movie on my Chris Evans list but I really do like a good Armageddon thriller. Especially ones set in space.

The whole premise of this movie is a crew of eight people are sent hurtling toward the sun where they will detonate a bomb inside of the star to try and reactivate it since it is dying. They aren't the first ship that was sent into space though. The first crew dispersed seven years earlier without a trace. When they pick up the distress call from the first ship, they deiced to investigate (First mistake) and all heal starts break loose.

Now, I was good with this movie up until they introduced this weird space/time shifting character from out of now where. I almost got sick with the blurry vision on the screen. Granted I was streaming the movie on youtube, but still. (Yes, you can currently watch the whole movie on youtube.)

Check out the trailer here.

I will give this move 4 out of 5 stars for epic space travel and all around bad decision making.  


Menu: Week 151

One more week until the 4th of July. It just happens to be one of my favorite holidays, but this year is going to be even more special. A young woman that I consider to be a little sister, is getting married. I'm so excited for her!

The menu this week is going to be amazing, so please stick around and eat it all up.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday
- Taco Soup

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday
- Tuna Sandwiches


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Author Interview with Danielle Belwater

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Danielle Belwater author of "Of Blood and Snow," book two of the Erlanis Chronicles.

Hi Danielle, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

This is always a tricky question! Like a lot of people I struggle talking about myself. I’m a country girl, and live on a property with my family and all our pets South East of Adelaide, South Australia. When I’m not writing, I’m spending time with my family or decorating cakes. I love being creative in a totally different media.

I've always wanted to visit Australia, It's on my bucket list.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to finish the Erlanis Chronicles. There is at least one more book in the works, but if I get to the end of writing book 3 and there are more stories to tell, well, I’m just the messenger.

I also have a series based in Japanese mythology and a broad, sweeping fantasy series in the pipeline.

Wow, you're one busy mama. I love it!

So, what have you written?

Of Fire & Roses, The Erlanis Chronicles #1
Of Blood & Snow, The Erlanis Chronicles #2

I am definitely putting these on my "too read list."

Where can we buy or see them?

http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Belwater/e/B00IGHWANO
http://www.evernightteen.com
http://www.allromanceebooks.com

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Both my main characters would tell you that they are not special at all, but they need to keep
quiet and let me tell you about them!

Nate, while a typical teenager, has an inner strength and wiseness beyond his years, even though he acts like a 12 year old sometimes.

Cora, her gifts are a bit more obvious, I can’t give too much away lest I spoil the story, but not
only does she have an inner fortitude that would rival King Kong’s, she has other more hands on
gifts. Cora sees them as a weakness, but she just needs to let go of the fear and be the champion everyone else sees her as.

Interesting, your characters sound very down to earth but extraordinary at the same time.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve always got stories in the works. I’m currently writing Book 3 in the Erlanis Chronicles, which continues the story of Nate and Cora but the focus shifts and things go in an unexpected direction.

I’m also writing a novel called “Let Her Go”which is a ghost love story based in Japanese mythology.

Ghost love story? How do you come up with this stuff? I'm intrigued and will keep my eye out for that one in the future. 

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

I always thought Shailene Woodley would play Cora, but after seeing Mia Wasikowska in a few things lately, I think she’d do a bang up job as Cora as well. But in saying that, I do adore Chloe Grace Moretz, oh dear, I can’t choose.

Nate has got that Josh Hutcherson vibe going on, but Nate is hotter and taller.

I'm always a fan of Josh Hutcherson, good choice. I don't know how you could pick between those three actresses? They are all amazing.

When did you decide to become a writer?

When I was 5. I can still remember sitting on my bed when I was little and when my Dad asked the question that all parents ask their kids, what do you want to be when you grow up? I said a writer. I kind of got sidetracked along the way, but always knew that one day I would get to where I am.

I love hearing stories like this, it makes it all that much better when your dreams come true and you become an author. It's fulfilling a life long goal.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Structure? There is no structure, when I have five minutes or an idea, I scribble down whatever I can. I don’t really have a process.

Sometimes I think this is better.  feel like when you sit down to write, it has to be forced and we all know that forcing it never turns out the way you want it to.

Do you write every day, or when you have time?

It will depend on where I am at with the story. If I’m gunning to get a manuscript finished, I’ll set a goal to write 1000 words a day. Then I know that I will at least have a manuscript, in some form, within a month or two. It’s only then does the hard slog of editing begin!

Ugh, editing. The bane of my existence.  wish that everything would just come out of my brain the right way the first time.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I usually do a combination of flying by the seat of my pants, plotting and being told where to go by my characters! They tell the story, I’m just the messenger!

It's the ultimate dilemma, pantsing vs. plotting. Another example that there is no write or wrong way to write a story.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I read as often as time will allow. In the times BC (before children) I used to mow through 2 or 3 books a week. Now, I’m lucky if I will finish a book in a month. There are just so many other things that end up taking priority.

As a mother myself, I know the feeling. It took my almost nine years to finish my last Robert Jordan book.

What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m reading Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

I haven't read that one, though I have read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Does that count?

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t panic! And don’t be in such a rush. Everything will happen when it’s supposed to. If it hasn’t happened yet, it just means your not ready.

True story!

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Harry Potter. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about not having money to do all the other fun stuff I like to do!

Yes, I would pick that one or Twilight.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t wait until you have the perfect idea, don’t get bogged down in creating elaborate character profiles, don’t wait until you think you have better writing ability, just don’t wait. All your ideas are perfect, you’re characters often change as you write, writing ability can be learnt during the process and your finished novel ends up nothing like your first draft anyway, that’s what editing is for.

Words of wisdom, thank you.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: www.daniellebelwater.com
Blog: www.daniellebelwater.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanielleBelwaterAuthor/?pnref=lhc
Twitter: @DBelwater
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Belwater/e/B00IGHWANO
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DanielleBelwater

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview. I've had a lot of fun getting to know a little bit about you and your writing style and can't wait to dig into the Erlanis Chronicles (When the kids let me). Don't miss Danielle's second novel available now to purchase. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Midnight Trail - Part Seven

Part Seven

The sun was hanging low in the sky by the time I had come up with a plan. It wasn’t going to be easy though, and it relied on the things I had in my backpack and hoped that Chris had brought with him as well.

My leg ached as I sifted through the fallen rubble, searching for the bags among the rock, but I ignored it for the most part. Fortunately, they weren’t buried deep and I was able to find them within a few minutes, bringing them back to the shade of the tree to search their content.

What I was looking for was anything that I could use to make a sled. There was only one way to get Chris out safely and that was pulling him out with what little strength I had left. In my bag was a sandwich, lighter, a bottle of water and a light rain jacket incase it started to rain. It wasn’t much, definitely not enough to make the sled for Chris. I prayed that the other pack was better stocked then mine was.

The zipper was crushed by the rocks that had fallen on it, making it difficult to open. My arms strained as I pulled on the top of the pack like a bag of chips. It popped open suddenly, throwing me back onto the dirt. When I finally recovered, I noticed that inside the backpack was a treasure trove of hiking goodies. A knife, several packs of dried packed foods, three bottles of fresh water and the one thing was desperate for, a rope.

“Yes!” I screamed at the top of my lungs unable to hold back the amount of joy I felt. Climbing to my feet, I jumped up and down with joy. “I’m going to save you, Chris what ever your name is.”

With the rope in my hand, I went to work gathering long, straight branches that were thick enough to hold the weight of a person, but still not be too heavy to lift. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make this journey, but I had no choice. With the sun beginning to set behind the trees, I lashed the last branch together and sat back to admire my handy work. Four branches made up the frame, two long on the sides and two shorter branches top and bottom. They were tied together in the corners and then the rope weaved back and forth from side to side to make what could have been a terrible looking hammock. It wasn’t much to look at but it would do.

Carefully, I lifted Chris from the shoulders and pulled him onto the hammock. With his feet hanging off the end, I carefully lowered his head down, being wary of the wound on his scalp. It had stopped bleeding but there was no sign that he would wake.

I threw all the other supplies into one backpack and hoisted it on my shoulders. There was no time to waist, Chris needed a hospital and I was going to get him to one. With the light dimming, but still long from setting, I lifted the sled from the front with a grunt. It was heavy, but still easier than dragging Chris down the river bank. The sled dug into the ground as it moved along the lose ground, but we were making progress either way.

We rounded a corner and for a moment I thought I saw Jarrod standing among the trees, the smile on his face apparent, but when I blinked he was gone. A reminder that I wouldn’t let this trail take me down.


Finally, Shelby is on her way to getting off the trail and she is taking Chris with her, but the sun is setting. Will she be able to keep going when the light is gone and the predators of the forest come out?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Of Blood and Snow - Release














OF BLOOD
& Snow
(Erlanis Chronicles, 2)

Paranormal/Suspense/Romance/Teen
Evernight Teen Publishing/63K



Blood is thicker than water, or so the story goes…

As fast as Cora can run, there is no escaping the blood that ties her to an ancient, evil past.

Amongst the bitter cold and driving snow, Nate must find a way to protect the love of his life, before the darkness falls and Cora is lost to him forever.


Buy Links:   Evernight Teen   Amazon   




 Excerpt:
14+ due to adult situations

Why? Why did I need to go home? Other than for shelter, no one needed me there. Nate was all I had left. He was my reason for breathing and now the sole reason I got up every morning. The thought of harm coming to Nate made my heart hammer in my chest even harder. I jammed my hands deep into my coat pockets and focused on letting oxygen flow into my lungs.
In a single moment of clarity, I knew. I mean, I knew I loved Nate; that was without question. But if I didn’t have him in my life, it would be nothing but vacuous space.
I brushed snow off the fallen tree trunk and sat down. My thinking tree. Nate and I came here often to sit and talk, read, or watch the day simply pass us by. I piled up handful after handful of snow, heaping them on top of each other until a small avalanche rolled off the log and into a heap on the ground.
You are the key.
I leapt off the log landing two feet together, crushing the peak of snow beneath my shoes.
“Who’s there?” I shoved my fists into my hips and squared my shoulders. If there was someone there, they didn’t know who they were messing with.
The rustling of leaves came from above and a sprinkling of disturbed snow flittered down in front of my face. The flapping of beating wings and the call of a solitary bird echoed overhead. I caught sight of white feathers tipped with black before they disappeared above the trees and out of sight.
“Is anyone there?” I called out again, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t get a response.
The softness of the voice rolled around my head as I lingered amongst the tall trees on my way back home.
I am the key. The answer is within my blood. What did that mean?


About the Author:
Danielle Belwater adores the concept of true love and that everyone has their Prince Charming or Snow White out there somewhere, even if they have to fight demons, ghosts, and wizards to find it.
Danielle has been having a love affair with words since she was young and in primary school, writing some rather imaginative tales. This love has followed her into adulthood. 
She lives in rural South Australia with her husband, young daughters and way too many animals to mention. She spends most of her time dreaming up characters, stories, ghostly tales, and watching Firefly re-runs.  She also cooks the odd meal for her family to avoid them looking like skeletons at official author functions!  
Danielle is passionate about reading and her interests include pretty much anything with words from rolling four volume epics to the daily newspaper. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Menu: Week 150

I'm trying not to post too many pictures of my kittens, but I cant help it. They are just too cute. I shared this picture on twitter with the local new station and they put it on TV during their broadcast. Ah, so adorable!

I hope you all had a wonderful father's day? We spent the morning in the garden and then my husband took some time to go kayaking in the Clackamas River. He took some awesome photos of a beautiful day. We also spent some time with the n-laws having root beard (As the boys all it) floats. They loved them.

I set up some family favorite meals for you this week. Enjoy!

Monday
- Spaghetti

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday
- Tuna Sandwiches

Up the Clackamas River Oregon City, OR.

June Movies - Part Two

I watched some pretty crazy intense movies this week, no lying. I was on the edge of the couch almost the whole time. Its rare for me to see one nail bitter in a month, but to find three in one week is unheard of. You will love these picks.

End of Watch (2012) - This movie has Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. Two outstanding actors that always give you a reason to get into the move. End of Watch is shot in a documentary style from the view of two LA cops. They are known on the streets as bad asses, taking down drug dealers and saving lives when a building is on fire. They take no crap from no one.

The good feelings take a turn for the worst when they step on Mexican drug cartel turf. n the end, poo hits the fan and bullets fly. I wont ruin the ending for you because you have to watch it yourself, but you will need your tissue box.

The only down side to the movie is every word is the "F" word. Every word. I couldn't let the kids anywhere near the living room when I was watching the movie, I had to wait till they went to bed.

If you want to check out the trailer, click this link.

I'm going to give this movie 4 out of 5 stars for language.


Gone (2012) - When I first started watching this movie the girl Jll (Amanda Seyfried) pulls out a map that says Forest Park and she is marking of areas of the map. I'm thinking to myself, that map looks a lot like Forest Park in NW Portland, but how generic is the name Forest Park? There has to be a Forest Park in every state. Little did I know, the movie was filmed in my stomping ground, Portland Oregon.

It was weird to see the actors running around deep SE Portland and then they turn a corner and they are in the rich area of NE, or they are hiding out under the Marquam Bridge, then they are driving over the Saint Johns Bridge. Either way, I loved this movie and I probably still would have even if it wasn't my Oregon.

The story is about a girl named Jill who is suffering from PTSD after she escaped being kidnapped by a serial killer. When her sister goes missing, she finds out it was the serial killer coming back for her. Of course, non of the cops believe the serial killer ever existed and they brush her off, so Jill takes things into her own hands. In the end, she tracks down the man who kidnapped her and confronts him. It is a very intense movie that you will need lots of popcorn to keep your hands busy. There is no stop thriller action and a satisfying ending that says, "In your face Copper!"

Check out the trailer here. I'm giving this movie a 5 out of 5 stars because its awesome and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Struck by Lightning (2012) - All right all you school news paper nerds (me included.) This movie is about a kid who cant seem to get anyone to respect his opinions or read any of his articles. He finds himself to be above the rest of his school even his teachers, but you have to give him a break, he's had a pretty messed up life.

When Carson (Chris Colfer) learns that the college of his dreams won't accept his application unless he does something unique, he decides to start a literary magazine, but no one wants to write for it. What does Carson do? He blackmails a bunch of people and makes them write articles.

Things get screwed up as they usually do when you blackmail people, and in the end no one reads the literary magazine anyway. Well, As the title says, Carson gets struck by lightning and dies. I can tell you that because that's the first scene that they show in the movie.

Please check out the trailer here.

I'm going to give this movie 3 out of 5 stars because it was a little depressing but still funny. P.S. It also has Rebel Wilson in it...

If you have any suggestions on movies I should see, please message, comment or email me. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

R.I.P. Anton Yelchin

It seems like more and more these days we are losing young people to senseless tragedies and accidents. It's really heart braking. These young people whether they are actors or not should be remembered for the amazing people they were.

If you haven't heard by now, actor Anton Yelchin was found pinned by his car during the morning hours of June 19th. By the time anyone came for him he was already gone. It seems to be a terrible accident that took this young man's life. In honor of all the achievements in film that Anton has made, lets take some time this week to watch one of his movies.

I've compiled a list of movies that I have personally seen of his and would recommend to anyone.


Any of the new Star Trek reboots.

Star Trek (2009)
 Star Trek - Into Darkness (2013)
 Fierce People (2005)
 Alpha Dog (2006)






















Terminator - Salvation (2009)   






















Let this be a sad reminder to keep your loved ones close and always tell them you love them, because you never know when they will take their last breath. R.I.P. Anton Yelchin.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Midnight Trail - Part Six

Part Six,

My sobs came out uncontrollably as I sat under the oak tree and let the day wither away around me. My vision was blurred and I was beginning to feel the pressure in my head from a long hard cry, not to mention the ache in my leg that was driving me nuts.

In the distance I thought I heard my name being called. Shelby, Shelby. At first I ignored it. There wasn’t anything there, but as the nose came closer and I was sure that my name was being called, I wiped the tears from my eyes and stumbled to my feet.

“Who’s there?” I called out into the forest hoping that whoever was coming could help me get Chris back to the road. “Is somebody there?”

The forest was quiet again. I listened for the sound of foot steps coming closer through the underbrush, but there was nothing. My name wasn’t being called anymore. The birds had stopped chirping and the wind no longer rustled the leaves in the canopy above. There was nothing, not even the sound of the river close by.

I turned around, looking for anything moving in the trees around me, my feet the only thing making sounds.

“Hello?” My voice was shaking and quiet.

Shelby.” A familiar voice sounded behind me, startling me out of my skin. I turned around quickly nearly stumbling over my own feet to come face to face with my brother, Jarrod.

“What are you doing here? You’re dead.” My voice caught in my throat as I spoke the words. He had been gone for months now, but yet here he was standing in front of me.

Shelby.” His words were calm and slow. “Are you going to let this young man die because you’re feeling sorry for yourself?”

A single tear rolled down my cheek as I glanced down at Chris who was still unconscious on the ground under the tree. He looked so pale already. “I don’t know what to do, Jarrod.”

Jarrod smiled at me, that knowing grin that he always gave me when he knew that I was holding back. “What happened to me was not your fault. You did the best you could to save me, but right now, you are letting this young man die when you have the strength to bring him to safety. You must save him Shelby.”

“But how?” I threw up my hands in defeat crouching down to check Chris’s breathing.

“You’ll find a way.” Jarrod’s words were distant and quiet. I turned back to look him in the eyes and he was gone, vanished into thin air like he was never there. I glanced around the small clearing trying to find him, but he was no where to be seen. He was gone.

As I looked back down at Chris’s unmoving body my mind suddenly cleared. He was going to die if I did nothing and I couldn’t just sit here and allow that. Thought started to form a plan, pieces of something that I had once been taught by my brother a long time ago. There was a way, but I would have to move quickly.


Now that Shelby has a new direction and a clear mind will she be able to get Chris back to the road before his injures take him. Find out next time on The Midnight Trail.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ronan's 6th Birthday Pictures

Every year for my boy's birthday, I take them to a park and take some photos of them that show of their personality, and no one has more personality than Ronan. He is a fun packed fire cracker, full of energy and imagination. There is nothing that this kid hasn't tried or wants to try. He also never stops moving, not even when he is sick. Love my medium boy!









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