Wrecked Bumper

Between my new summer job, my great driving skills (see picture below) and the hockey fever, I have not taken much time to write lately, so I thought it was about time. I say ‘summer’, but I am not quite sure anyone would consider using this word to describe the temperature around here, especially since we are still technically spring. When it’s May and you wake up and see frost covering everything outside, you know summer is still a ways off.

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Great way to start the season. And believe it or not, but I was able to accomplish this feat without even leaving my driveway!

 

Of course, there are also positive things going on. Let’s focus on the positive!

 

Shark Academy

 

If everything goes according to plan, Demons Below Us should be published somewhere in July. The first round of editing is over, and I am now waiting on my editors (AKA my boyfriend and my brother) to get another look.

 

I have already gotten started on Demons Within Us, but the most of the writing will get done only during the school year. I know real summer is coming up, and after spending all day in an office, the last thing I will want to do is spend an hour each night in front of my computer when I could be outside, doing summer stuff. If the writing of Demons Within Us goes as smoothly as its prequel did, one school year should suffice.

 

In fact, my plan was to write this trilogy in three university years, and to always be ready to publish the final book during the summer. So far so good.

 

Video Games!

 

Last week, I received my letter of acceptance to UQAT (Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue) in the bachelor of video game creation! I’m on my way to achieving my second dream.

Even though my schedule promises to be busy with all things video games, I will always do my best to devote some time every day to writing Shark Academy. But it helps to know that from now on, whenever I am playing a video game instead of something else I should be doing, I can defend myself by saying I am conducting research. Hey, I need to know the industry!

 

Also, for those who enjoy the Pokémon franchise, here are some great news (if you have not heard already). Nintendo officially announced a remake of the Ruby and Sapphire versions. This was music to my ears, since Ruby was the game I played the most when I was younger.

 

 

For more information, read this

 

 

Stay tuned: I will soon be posting a short preview of Demons Below Us.

Exam Treats

I started a quirky tradition during exam time about three years back. At first, I didn’t do it for me, because I have never had exams in college or university before this term. It was more about cheering up my boyfriend.

The tradition involves a lot of baking – comfort foods and desserts, mainly. I’ve made cookies, brownies, soft pretzels, cupcakes, home-made ice cream: pleasant stuff. Because of all my free time, I had time to bake; for me, it was a celebration of finishing the semester, but for my boyfriend, it was the best way to make sure he actually ate during his intense study sessions.

This year, I made a nice batch of peanut butter brownies, and I’d thought I would share the recipe with you. I inspired it from Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe; if you’d like the original, follow this link:  http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/02/27/copycat-little-debbie-cosmic-chocolate-fudge-brownies/

Whether you are studying, working on your next big project, or just relaxing at home, these are a great treat.

Yummy Peanut Butter Bite-Sized Brownies

1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cocoa butter

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons hazelnut-flavoured instant coffee granules

1 cup white sugar

Pinch of salt

6 Tbsp peanut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 325 degree and mix your dry ingredients together. Add wet and stir until mixture is smooth. Optional: add 3 extra tablespoons of peanut butter and swirl it into the mix without incorporating it completely for delicious peanut butter bites throughout your brownies! Pour in two small round pans and bake for about 20 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool, then cut them to bite size pieces OR keep the round sections intact, spread peanut butter on top of the first, and add the second on top for a layered brownie cake.

My boyfriend and I found a creative and delicious way to eat these brownies. Paired with ice cream, they are even better! I bought some cookie-dough ice cream before making these: now, I combine two large spoonfuls of ice cream and 3-4 bite-sized brownies and smush it together with a spoon. Delish. You can’t go any better than that.Image

 

 

On another note… I just finished the first draft of Demons Below Us today!

It should take me the summer to edit, re-write, and get some opinions on the first draft. I am so excited to share the first book of the Shark Academy series with everyone!

 

 

Bedbugs, More Rats, and Rough Drafts

I was supposed to write an article last week, but I unfortunately got delayed. My boyfriend and I had to deal with a bed bug problem… sounds like fun, right? Not only did it involve spending 100$ in laundry to wash everything made of cloth that we owned, but we also had to empty out all of our possessions at the center of the apartment. That took up a lot of time, and so did the actual extermination, during which we had to abandon ship for several hours and crash at a friend’s place along with my rat, Pikachu.

Which brings me to a new subject: new rats! I recently went to a shelter and adopted two rescue rats for Pikachu to have as friends. If you don’t like cute and cuddly things to warm up your heart, well feel free to skip past these pictures.

If you’re like me and feel happiness jump into my day at the sight of cute things, then observe.

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The new boys, Léon and Ziplock (Léon is the black one), are super cuddly and well socialized rats, and make a great addition to the family. They love sitting on my lap when I am writing, just like now. :)

Shark Academy News

I have two major scenes left to write in the first volume of Shark Academy, and then it will be time for editing. By the time June comes around, the entire rough draft should be complete.

I am having two or three talented relatives edit my manuscript, but would be open to other editors as well. What I’m talking about is a raw, unedited book I have not gone over yet. If you are interested in being the first to read Demons Below Us, seeing what a rough draft looks like, and would be willing to edit (spelling, checking if ideas and continuity makes sense, overall interest), let me know in the comments. 

This is similar to the early access beta-testing of a video game, if you will. :)

Grab Your Dreams

Today I want to talk about dreams; more specifically, I want to talk about how important dreams really are. I don’t mean the dreams you have at night, but rather the dreams you aspire to bring to reality.

I’m at an age where stuff changes at a very fast pace and where new realities often push back old ones. The person I was just two mere years ago has changed so much that it is incredible I still share some traits with her. Deep down, I’m still me, but there are a lot of things I have realized in the process of growing up. Now, it took me more than two years to grow up – we are always growing up, after all – but in those two years (especially recently) I have learned important lessons that may change the course of my life.

I’ve learned that it is of crucial importance to be true to oneself. That seems pretty simple, but most of the time part of you is still lying to yourself about something, even if you don’t realize it. Sometimes you can modify, simplify or hide something you truly want just because it seems less complicated that way. There are plenty of ways for you to justify that for yourself, but that is an act of deceit. And the problem with an act of deceit upon yourself is that no one except you will be able to point it out.

It’s difficult to dream. We all want something that seems impossible – out of reach, unreasonable, too difficult to achieve. But if that dream is all you think about day and night, isn’t that worth the hard work? There are so many ways to convince yourself that it is not worth it. The problem with that is that you will spend your life asking yourself what would have happened if only you had tried.

I mentioned in my last article that my new dream is to make video games. It took me a while to accept that as my new dream. I had been thinking about it but pushing the thought back, telling myself that I don’t know anything about programming and 3D animation. I also told myself that I have already done a year of university, and that starting another field of study would mean this first year would have been wasted. I told myself to just keep going and forget about making video games. 

What I kept forgetting was that I only have this one life. Once this life is over, I don’t get to restart and try making video games this time around. I only have this one shot. This is the best time of my life to experiment; I’m young, without kids or other tie-downs, and I have the time and energy to learn. I have to stop convincing myself that it is too late. This first year of university was not a waste of time; it was an opportunity to widen my horizons and find myself a new passion.

I’ve come to terms with this. I need to make a change and take the steps needed in order to accomplish this dream. I think about it all the time. If I don’t make it a part of my life, I will have to place other things in my head that I don’t really want. Might as well get an education in something I really enjoy and make it a big part of my life. I know it will be hard work to go into this path, but it is worth it.

Ask yourself, deep down, what your dream is. Don’t place any filters. Don’t ask yourself what others would want you to dream about. It’s all about you. Are you focusing your life around this dream? If not, do you have the means to?

If you do have the means, then there is no reason not to go ahead and do that. Remember that you only live once. This isn’t a video game; you don’t get a second or third or fourth try. You only get this one shot. Make the most of it.

Grab those dreams of yours and do all you can to make them come true.

What I’m Up To

I haven’t been keeping up with my blog very much, and I kinda feel bad about it. I want to get back to writing on a weekly basis if I can – that is, if school doesn’t get in the way during finals. School is mostly what has been keeping me busy for the past month, with essays and studying and film shoots and whatnot, but I’ve also been working on a few other things.

What I’ve Been Working On

Aside from writing essays, studying for mid-terms, and organizing two film shoots for class, I’ve been working on lots of non-school related things. The first, of course, involves my writing. You may remember me mentioning the new series I wanted to get started on several months back, Shark Academy. Well, the first draft of the first book, which will be called “Demons Below Us,” is well on its way to being finished. I’ve now put the book on hold until the end of the semester since I’ll need to be focusing on studying for finals, but since November I have been working on it almost on a daily basis (except Fridays and Saturdays). When the final draft is complete, I will edit it myself and then pass it on to my personal editors to ready it for its final appearance. The book should be out by next fall.

The concept of the book itself changed quite drastically. I had been planning to make one book per character, divided into three parts. It was while working on this first part with the character Elyssa that I discovered this first part was complex enough to be a book by itself. The book is still separated into three parts, but all three books will be surrounding this character. At every book, I will be adding a point of view, but Elyssa will always remain as the main protagonist.

I’m super excited for this trilogy. In fact, I have also been working on concepts for all three cover arts. It is the first time that I manage to plan out a trilogy that could actually work, and I really hope it turns out as good as I am hoping it to be.

Other than writing, I have been following tutorials for computer programming. That subject has intrigued me for the past few years, but I have very limited knowledge of computers and often need an actual person to teach me how to deal with things like this. This is why this self-learning is taking up a lot of my energy. I am advancing very slowly, but I am also spending a lot of my time researching for schooling programs related to video game programming. The reason I am trying to learn programming in the first place is to program video games. There are so many stories that I wish to write; there are others that I wish I could turn into games. However, this is hard work, especially for someone with close to no computer knowledge like me, which is why I am dedicating so much time to this practice.

In the end, I know it is worth it, because I have been dreaming of making video games for a while now. My first dream was to publish a book; once this was accomplished, new dreams came in its place.