Quote of the Week – November 30

When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. ~ Walt Disney

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Our trip to Disney World starts this week

As you read this, I am off at Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the week. Who-hoo! I am so excited!!!

Now planning a Disney World trip is always a big production – if you want to hit the good attractions, shows and restaurants.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge

I am a big planner (as you might of guessed when I posted that we have the next 3 vacations planned out back in August). This trip came about on what I would consider short notice. We decided in April to rent Disney Vacation Club points and stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge during the holidays. (This is big for me as it means taking the kids out of school for a week – something I have never done before.)

DSCN2988But anyone who has been to Disney World in Florida (which consists of 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a mini golf-course, 4 regular golf courses, a sports complex, a mega-shopping/entertainment center in addition to fishing, sailboats, canoes and a whole bunch of other activities offered at their 20 on-property resorts) knows you need to have some semblance of planning on this vacation.

In the past I have shared some planning posts. I am going to link back to those posts here for any of you planning a trip. But because they were written in 2013/2014, they may contain information that is no longer accurate. I will try to note here any changes from the posts but when in doubt double check all info. I suggest either a good guide book or to visit the Disboards (a message board full of Disney enthusiasts including some employees who can give you the inside scoop).

Planning Post #1 – Includes suggestions for buying a guide book, a link to AllEars.net and the Disboards, as well as suggestions to make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) at the 180 day mark if you want some of the more popular eateries. Everything in the post seems pretty up-to-date though Star Wars Weekends no longer happen.

Planning Post #2 – Covers staying on Disney property and buying a package that includes hotel, dining plan and theme park tickets. Again, it looks like this is all good info. We didn’t go with a package this year as we rented DVC points from David’s Vacation Club Rentals and bought our theme park tickets from Parksavers at a substantial discount.

Planning Post #3 – This one covers FastPass+ which allows you to skip the standby line on 3 attractions by booking an hour window which you plan to ride/view that attraction. Most of this information on Fastpasses is accurate but I would suggest checking out the FAQ on the Disboards for the most up-to-date info. Also, ignore what I wrote about Star Wars Weekends as they have discontinued that event.

Next week I will address Disney Bounding which is wearing clothing inspired by a Disney character without actually wearing a costume. Intrigued? Then be sure to check back in next Monday.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Jarvis T. Cleveland

Today I welcome author Jarvis T. Cleveland to my blog. The first two parts of a five part novella series on witchcraft have already been released and are already available on Amazon.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jarvis T. Cleveland and I am 25, a single parent-person, and current college senior. My “kid” is my 14-year-old sister who is a beautiful mess and the light of my life. I’m currently a theatre major and looking to apply to the Masters of Social Work program for further study. I love all things supernatural especially witchcraft.

How much of yourself, your personality, or your experiences is in your book?

Those who know me well would be able to spot me in a character or two but I won’t say which ones! As for my experiences they too permeate the story of Salem.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I love stories. I love the nuances of personal relationships. The beauty of characters, people. As long as those things exist I will always have fuel to continue writing.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Oh I definitely just start writing. I am a very instinct/emotion-driven person. Planning and rationalizing is not in my nature when it comes to certain things. When I try to outline with my writing the story and characters always, ALWAYS, shift into a different direction. So I’ve learned to just let them do what they do.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is entitled Salem. It is a five-part novella series of which two are already available on Amazon. Salem focuses on witch brothers Jamie and Mike Corbett and their experiences as a witch from their past threatens to tear their family apart.

What inspired you to write this book?

Like I mentioned earlier, I love witchcraft. I think it’s a beautiful thing to wake up each day feeling empowered and like you can direct the path of your life. That’s what I believe it’s like to possess magic. So I decided to create a story filled with people who have this empowered state of mind. But at the end of the day: they’re still people. So magic or not their lives are filled with obstacles, trials, and heartache. But it’s not all bleak there are highs as well, same as life. Hopefully Salem depicts this as I planned.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I like all my characters! (Sunday school answer) No, I think Jamie develops the most as a character over the five parts of Salem so I love that. Also Abbey is funny and a breath of fresh air in this dismal town. Mike also has some powerful challenges to overcome and seeing that is amazing. Nora is precious. Lucas is a sweetheart. Ugh, see? I love all my characters!

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

The story most certainly did not turn out the way I planned from the beginning. There are so many things I did not see coming that happens in the first two parts alone. And now that they have I have to sit back and watch how these characters are going to work their way out of these situations. I don’t want to give any major spoilers but I certainly never saw Jamie moving back to Salem. He hates the place. Also, I knew from the start that the brothers would sort of have their own stories within the whole of the one story but I never thought Mike’s would go in the direction that it does. If I’m sounding vague, that’s on purpose. Check out the series!

Book Blurbs

salem-1

salem-2
Salem – Part One: Ties that Bind

Salem is the story of Jamie and Mike Corbett, witches born in a town with a history steeped in death. But in the town of Salem death is hardly the end…

Salem – Part Two: The Centennial

In part two Jamie and Mike Corbett’s witchy story continues. The town of Salem is gearing up for its big Centennial anniversary which may be less of a celebration than a catastrophe. Old faces bring new secrets and not everyone is exactly what they seem.

You can buy both Salem – Part One and Salem – Part Two on Amazon.

A moment to thank some very important people

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Since today is Thanksgiving and I figure many people (at least those in the United States) are gathered around the table giving thanks and eating good food, I thought I would take a moment to thank some very important people.

Thank you…

to those who have read my stories…I hope you enjoyed them as much as I have loved writing them.

Thank you…

to those who have written reviews, hosted me on their websites or supported me on Twitter, Tribber, or Facebook, I appreciate everyone of you!

Thank you…

to those who follow or read my blog. I hope you have found some interesting or helpful information here.

Thank you...

to my family for the love and support in my writing career. I would not be able to do any of this without you!

Now get off the computer (or your phone) and get back to your Thanksgiving Day activities….

 

 

Adjusting my daughter’s ADHD meds – at her request

In June of 2015 we started our daughter Lexie on medication for ADHD. At the time, we weren’t even sure she had a problem. Her teacher had shown concern that she couldn’t sit still in class and was having trouble concentrating. The test from her pediatrician had proved inconclusive but she suggested trying medication to see if it would help – and it would give us the answer to the question whether Lexie had ADHD or not.

Jumping to medication may seem like a jump when you don’t have a definite diagnosis but no amount of redirection seemed to help Lexie. We worried about the side effects of the medication and that we would be creating some kind of zombie who shuffled through the day. But we also didn’t want her to continue struggle in school.

adderall-xr-10-mgWe started her on the lowest dose possible but saw little in the way of change. But the next highest dose seemed just about right but we waited until she started the school year to finalize the amount of medication she took. We wanted to see how she did in a school setting verses just being at home in the summer. At our first parent-teacher conference, her teacher said she was doing great. Lexie’s reading had already jumped several levels and she seemed to have no problem paying attention.

Everything progressed well through the school year. The dose seemed the right amount to give Lexie the focus she needed without diminishing her bubbly nature.

Then she started third grade. From the beginning, she began complaining about not being able to focus. She would tell us when her teacher had to redirect her or when she would get in trouble. Comments from the teacher came home echoing the same thing – Lexie wasn’t paying attention in class.

Lexie has never been a fan of taking the medication. She doesn’t like that it sometimes makes her not hungry. She worries that she isn’t her same fun self on the meds. But she also finally has realized the benefits. She too knew that last school year she had less problems.

drugitem_5271When I asked her if she thought the medication wasn’t working properly, she said yes. We talked about how much she has grown in the past year and how medications must change as you get bigger. She suggested that might mean she needed a higher dose. She then thought about it for awhile and even talked about it with her teacher who of course wouldn’t tell her what to do but did ask her questions to help her fully explore her options.

When we went to see the pediatrician, my eight-year-old calmly explained to her rationale for going to a higher dose. The doctor agreed it was a good thing to try so we went up one more level in her medication.

And so far it has been helping. Both Lexie and her teacher say she is more focused in class. So barring a drastic change in her weight at her one-month follow up appointment, it looks like Lexie was correct in asking for an increase in her medication.

Today’s Featured Author – Adam Thielen

Please welcome author Adam Thielen to my blog. His debut novel, Visceral, came out in July. You can find it on Amazon. It is on Kindle Countdown as of today.

Interview

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I actually started writing before I was a teenager.  My first original story put to paper (well digital paper), was written as a Sophomore in high school.  I continued writing short stories through college, but then gave that up to attempt a novel.  It took several tries and over a decade of projects before finishing Visceral.  I don’t really consider myself a writer.  Maybe once I’m successful.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I don’t think I could write without doing some form of planning.  I at least have to write out a list of significant developments.  For Visceral, I wrote a list of events, even a few blurbs to remind myself what I was doing.  For my next project, I will be doing a more formal outline.  It’s no good getting halfway into a book and being unsure where to go next.  That being said, I wasn’t able to stick entirely to my list.  It had to evolve as I wrote what the characters would actually do in the situations presented.

Please tell us about your current release.

Visceral is a straightforward story with a large mix of supernatural and cyberpunk elements.  Most of the focus is on dialogue and action rather than narration or description.  There are four protagonists, each with a kind of specialty.  Circumstances bring them together, and what starts as a somewhat simple job turns into a fight against multiple adversaries.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m a big fan of cyberpunk, especially in the gaming world.  I also wanted to contribute to vampire fiction something closer to the comic book and movie character “Blade” to counter all the “Edwards”.  Those familiar with role-playing video and tabletop games will see a lot of familiar themes.

How did you come up with the title?

Visceral is how I want the scenes to be conveyed to the reader.  Some are violent, some a bit gory.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I had to do a little information technology research, but that’s been my day job for a long time.  What I really needed to research was the Old West.  I made several errors in my initial draft with how I treated the region depicted around the year 1900.  You get used to a lot of cliches from Westerns, and if you look into the actual history, you find that much of the United States did not fit those molds.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No.  However, most character traits, expressions, and voice were pieced together from experiences with others.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

Tamra.  She’s black, she’s a woman, and she’s a badass.  But not like a Chuck Norris badass.  She doesn’t shoot the wings off of a fly, or flip kick anyone (sorry), but she’s confident, competent, smart, and willing to do what is needed.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

Confession: I had to Google ‘black moment writing’.  As soon as I read it, I knew what it meant.  It’s sort of a cliché in movies and TV, and I try to avoid using it.   There are times of peril though.  Early in the story, one of the characters calls it quits and it seems like the band is breaking up.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

I’m working on a prequel novella that will feature two of the vampires twenty years prior to the events in Visceral.  It’s going to be more exposition and brooding noir, and a little less action and blood.  I hope after that to write a sequel to Visceral taking place twenty years after it that will be written in a similar style as the world continues to evolve.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

There are scenes where Taq, a powerful mage, enters the Ethereal plane, a place that is much different than the physical world, and it was difficult to describe it in a way that was effective and clear.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

Taq is the mage, and I’m always the mage. I want magical or super powers.  It’s the type of character I always choose when playing a game, and most of my stories feature a magic user of some type.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Foundation’s world created by Isaac Asimov.  Space travel, robots, mental powers, what is not to love?

Book Blurb

visceralWhen the vampire council sends its enforcer Matthias to investigate a suspicious young nightstalker, he discovers that her attempts to turn a human mage have resulted in a deadly fiend.

With time working against him, Matthias seeks help from a talented but reckless young mage and a mysterious neuro with her own agenda. But the more they discover about the fiend, the more they threaten to unearth secrets that the powerful will kill to keep buried.

Enter a world transformed by a great economic collapse into a corporatocracy governed by executives, their boards, and appointed councils. A world where man has learned to exploit the ethereal plane to subjugate the laws of nature. Where vampires have emerged to carve a place within civilization. A world ripe for the taking by those with the right resources.

Visceral is a dark and gritty delve into a cyberpunk world that does not give you a chance to catch your breath. Filled with action, dark satire, and occasional humor, Visceral is a fast-paced urban fantasy taking place in the near future, present day, and even the old west. With a climax both satisfying and appalling, this urban fantasy jaunt will sate your lust for blood.

About the Author

adamAdam Thielen was born and raised in a dusty Kansas town. He started writing at an early age, and would finish his first novel two decades later.  His writing is inspired by movies, television, tabletop games, and video games. He holds a degree in Philosophy and earns a living in the IT field.

You can purchase Visceral on Amazon.