Friday, September 4, 2015

The One Rule to Being Successful: Keep on Keeping On

I want to become a successful blogger, writer, teacher, student of the world, friend, wife, and mother. Every one of these goals is earned through perseverance, hard work, and a lifetime of practice and improvement. But, as humans, we rarely think in terms of decades. For example, we have a hard time with "I'm going to give up every Friday night to write from now on and then ten years from now I might have one or two really great books." Instead we lose sight of our goals temporarily, decide they're not feasible, or convince ourselves that they're just not that important to us. For now.

Free stock photo of cup, mug, desk, office

But then what happens? A few months pass and you realize you haven't posted a single blog post. You realize how  much fun you had writing a blog, the rush it gave you, and the sense of accomplishment you felt when you increased your readership from a measly one to a whole two people. Now you have to start all over.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Married with Board Games: Five Tribes

Not a surprise since I just announced it as one of my favorite games on my Top 20 list, Five Tribes is one of my all-time favorite games to play with my boyfriend. Perhaps my enthusiasm is partly due to the fact that he's never beat me...maybe? Nah, it's probably just because it's an incredibly beautiful and well-designed game. Right?

Look at it! Now go to the website and see what's inside the pretty pretty box...seriously go ahead...some pretty pretty pieces! If you need something to draw you to a game, the aesthetics and art work in Five Tribes might just be enough for you. Seriously, look at these:

Now, why do I think this is the perfect game to play with your spouse? 
  • It plays well with two people: Most strategic games have some sort of two player variant but they can be extremely disappointing. For example, as much as I love 7 Wonders, playing with one dummy player does not make a two player variant. Sorry. Five Tribes actually has differences to change up the strategy of the game when you play with two people.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The 7 Worst Characteristics About YA Books

I consider myself a Young Adult author in the sense that I'm most interested and most comfortable in this genre. Because I write YA fiction, I also read a ton of it. Or maybe that's the other way around? Maybe I'm so interested in it because I've read so much of it. Regardless, YA is my jam. That's why I need to do this post. There are some incredible YA books that I feel everyone needs to read with complex characters, smart plots, and narrative voices that say "Reader, I trust you to keep up." There are also YA books that do the exact opposite of these things and I've compiled a list of the 7 worst characteristics of many YA books so you and I can be cognizant of them in our own writing.

Free stock photo of person, woman, hand, relaxing

Annoyingly Hip
We've all read books that make us cringe with their slang, technology, and Mean-Girls-on-steroids type interactions. To me this is a little bit hard to overcome in writing because you want modern narrative and you convince yourself this is the way to do it. But there can be too much of a good thing here, we need to make sure we use this modern-speak in moderation. You can only mention Twitter, iPads, Apps, and popular websites so many times before readers say "Okay, we get it. The characters are teens in the 21st century..."

Monday, August 24, 2015

Making the Time to Write When You're Busy

As the summer ends and the school year begins I am faced with too much to fill my plate and nothing I can give up. So what do you do when you're faced with these dilemmas day after day? You still write. You write in any spare moment even for just a few minutes.

I'd be a hypocrite if I said I've never put my writing on hiatus, but this post is just as much for me as it is for everyone else out there. We need to stay pumped, focused, and...sane.

Free stock photo of man, person, woman, face

So how do you make the time to write when it seems like every minute of your day is spoken for?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

My Top 20 Board Games...and Why You'll Disagree 

Any legitimate board gamer out there will most likely look at my list and scoff at the number of party games that made it to my top 20 (or the fact that I play party games at all!), but I must include a disclaimer here about my list. I ranked all the games I own and all the games I can remember playing by how much fun they were and how much I look forward to playing them again.

That's it.

I didn't take into account design, length, theme, my own game group, etc (though these all add to my experience so they are included overall). All I did was gauge my own fond memories and excitement to play again. Part of me feels like I need to defend this and part of me feels like it speaks for itself. Why do we play games? To have fun! To be social! To make memories! To me, that's what this list represents.

Allow me to make a quick comment on behalf of anyone who has ever done this before. I basically rated all of my board games on BoardGameGeek, meaning I had about 30 games that were ranked between 9-10. I had ten games that I like very much which had to be cut. I can only imagine that's akin to picking a favorite child.

Drum roll, please.

20. March of the Ants: This is a great light option with a lot of theme. There are only four rounds, there are only a certain number of turns you can take, and each action allows non-active players to take a counter action, so AP is much less painful in this game. There can be as much or as little conflict as you like and it is simple yet addicting enough to be a gateway game.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Building a Twitter Platform from Scratch

Confession time. Until about a week ago I was kinda sorta anti-Twitter. I'm not sure why I never got into it, I think it was a cross between hating the constraint and the perceived neediness of it all. I hated feeling like I was trying so hard to connect with people and be witty.

*cough* circle-jerk *cough*

But about a week ago my boyfriend talked me into re-activating my Twitter account. I'd made one about a year prior but never got the hang of it, so it sat unused like a pair of roller skates after the 80s.
I digress. But it's worth pointing out that no one roller skates anymore. Blades are where it's at.

So I stumbled through six or seven of my most used passwords to try and resuscitate the feeble thing and after only a few minutes I was in! With...2 followers, who I didn't know. Now is the point of my journey that I share the fact that I'm basically a closet writer. I write for me and it's a part of my life that is semi-private from my friends and family. I like that I get to be someone else  and not have to worry about someone not liking what I have to say. I feel like a teenager that is just growing in to her body and developing her own personality. I'm still in that awkward hone-your-voice stage.

My Facebook page is where I keep in touch with people from past lives. My Twitter page is my attempt at building a platform from which to strengthen my own writing career, but also to network with important people in the business.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ticket to Ride: 10 Reasons You Must Add it to Your Collection

Far be it for me to tell you how to live your life, but GET TICKET TO RIDE RIGHT NOW.

I mean it.

I am not exaggerating when I say Ticket to Ride is one of my favorite games of all time, and probably the game that I've played the most. I've decided to dedicate my first game suggestion for those Married with Board Games to Ticket to Ride because it is beloved in my home and in the gamer world in general. You will likely have to search far and wide for a gamer who has not heard of or played Ticket to Ride. That sounds like a poem.

You will likely search far and wide
For a gamer who has not played Ticket to Ride

Okay, someone else finish it. I'm no poet.

But, seriously. TTR is the best option for couples, families, friends, new gamers, light gamers, Euro gamers, and non-hipster gamers. I include that last one because the more popular certain games get, the more hipster gamers feel they have to shun it, i.e. Settler's of Catan (or is it just Catan now?).