The Hands that Mold: Vixen

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For those new to my blog, the Hands that Mold series of posts is about the people in my life that have helped shape me into the writer I am today.

This post is about Vixen.

To start with, that’s not her real name, but in the interest of anonymity, she’ll be Vixen today.

I can blame meeting Vixen on Manda, who introduced me to a great series of books and its fan run fanfiction site.  Vixen and I were both actively posting at the same time back then.  I was looking for a new beta reader for my fics, and she was interested in one for hers, so we started swapping chapters back and forth and helping each other improve rough drafts.

In the process of all this, we also started emailing back and forth pretty regularly.  We’d talk about all sorts of things.  What strangeness I was dealing with at my job, or what she was doing in her training programs with the hope of landing a job in the near future.  We also talked a lot about Aussieisms and Americanisms. Continue reading

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The Hands that Mold: Mathew

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For those new to my blog, the Hands that Mold series of posts is about the people in my life that have helped shape me into the writer I am today.

This post is about Mathew.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you might remember me mentioning Matt before.  He was part of my very first Role Playing Game (RPG) group, which I talked about in a previous The Hand that Mold post.  You might also remember him if you’ve read my book.  This is the Mathew that I mention in the dedications and by the end of this post you’ll have a better idea of why I plan to dedicate each and every book to him. Continue reading

The Hands that Mold: Manda

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For those new to my blog, the Hands that Mold series of posts is about the people in my life that have helped shape me into the writer I am today.

This post is about Manda.

I met Manda when I was in graduate school. I was working on an MA in English at the time. Her husband was in my program, and started the semester after me. We met on Halloween at the English Grad Student gathering to celebrate the holiday by dressing up and going bar hopping.

I don’t usually drink, especially out in public, because I can get really flirty and don’t much care who I’m flirting with, which isn’t necessarily the safest situation in the world. So before we left for the bars, I warned Manda and her husband that I might end up flirting with Manda that night, because I flirted when I drank, and I tended to flirt with girls because it was safer for me, especially if they were girls in the group I was with.

I made quite the first impression, huh? Continue reading

The Hands that Mold: NaNoWriMo and the WriMos

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For those new to my blog, the Hands that Mold series of posts is about the people in my life that have helped shape me into the writer I am today.

This post is about NaNoWriMo and the WriMos.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about NaNoWriMo before, but for those who don’t know yet, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNo is an amazing event that happens in November every year. The challenge for participants, called WriMos, is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. More specifically, to start and finish a novel in a month.

I started taking this amazing adventure with other writers in 2010 when I did the challenge with my friend Manda. I was hooked from the start and haven’t missed a year since. In 2014 I started doing Camp NaNo in April and July as well and haven’t missed one of those since I started either.

One of the most amazing things about NaNo is the practice of writing each and every day. It’s great for getting into (or back into) this habit. It’s also great because it gives me a goal and deadline to work toward, which is amazingly helpful in motivating me to write no matter what else is going on. Continue reading

The Hands that Mold: My Family

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For those new to my blog, the Hands that Mold series of posts is about the people in my life that have helped shape me into the writer I am today.

This post is about my family.

I was lucky to grow up in a family that values learning and intellectual pursuits.  I might not have turned into the person I am without all the family influences in that direction, so I’m very grateful to both my immediate and extended family for always encouraging me in my drive to learn and then to write and create.

Growing up, it was just my parents, my sister and me.  We moved around a decent bit, especially when I was younger.  We’d live somewhere for a few years, once as little as eight months, before Dad’s job forced us to move once more.  It made for an interesting childhood.  I lived several placed before I started school, and because of all the moves I attended two elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. Continue reading

The Hands that Mold: Mrs. Layton

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This is the first of what will likely be several posts about the hands that molded me into the writer I’ve become. For each post I’ll focus on a specific mentor from my past or present as a way to recognize and thank them for all their help.

Today, I’d like to talk about Mrs. Layton.

I met Mrs. Layton when I took my first creative writing class in high school. She was the creative writing teacher, as well as the senior English teacher, at my school. Continue reading