I Just Keep Disappearing

I know I don’t post on here regularly, like, at all. I’ve not posted in over a year. I started a podcast last years, and I have kept up a website for it. Granted I just put in what I say in the podcast. However, the podcast, not even a year old, was put on the back burner because life got in the way.

I’ve realized when I start feeling anxious and like I don’t have control in my life, I start doing a lot of stuff. I start focusing on things other than what I should be focusing on because (like most people) I don’t know how to deal with my own problems. Towards the beginning of the year, I got real run down. I realized the podcast should be put to the side because, while fun, wasn’t something that I could see myself doing long-term, at least not right now.

I love talking about haunted places and murderers. Those subjects intrigue me, but it’s back to just talking about it with my family when the occasion arises. However, in giving up the podcast, I picked up something new, a family on TikTok.

Yes, you read that right, I am on TikTok. If you are on there, you can find me @feliciahuffman4. Thanks to an amazing person on there called @geezahgobble who created the character of Gladys in the Department for Lost Souls, and entire community had been created within the DLS. A competition was held back in July for people to play characters in the DLS. I did not win the competition, but it inspired me to create the character of Piper, a secretary of sorts for purgatory. Through this I met other creators, and we’ve made our own accepting family of demons, gods, goddesses, and people who work in the afterlife.

Now, you may be asking how is giving up a podcast and starting a character on TikTok not a lateral move. Honestly, I don’t know. It may be, but it’s easier for me to do skits with Piper and keep up with it, than it was when I was doing the podcast. I find more joy in playing Piper.

I also got my Etsy store going and have actually made a couple of sells. It ain’t much, but I’m just happy I’m getting some interest on what I have.

Now, onto my book. It seems as though Changing Tides is taking me forever to write just like Loved by Death. But have no fear, as I sit here typing this, I plan on writing some on Changing Tides momentarily. It seems my creativity in creating Piper has sparked a need to write on my book again. Let’s just hope I don’t decide to scrap what I’ve got and start again. (I don’t see that happening)

I’d say I’m around halfway through, and I would hope that I get a complete rough draft finished by the end of the year, if not sooner.

Anyway, that’s my update. It’s not an in depth look at the shit I have gone through in 2021 alone, but this isn’t the place to share all of that. I can’t say whether or not I will be posting on here regularly again, but I’ll try to post something at least once a month just so that you guys know I am still alive.

Boggy Creek Monster – Arkansas

This week we are going to take a trip to Arkansas. This ghost story doesn’t have to do with spirits or ghosts. Instead, it’s a creature.

The residence in Fouke, Arkansas have long been fascinated with the Boggy Creek Monster. Fouke is a small town about 150 miles from Little Rock. It is believed that the creature was first spotted in Fouke. According to different stories, the Boggy Creek Monster stands around seven to eight feet tall, walks on two legs, and weighs about 300 pounds. His body is covered in long, thick hair.

The first sighting was reported back in 1834. People started to report seeing a large, hairy man roaming around. The sightings if Fouke became more frequent in the 1900s. Residents saw it over 40 times during 1997. Most people believe the creature to be nocturnal, but one hunter said he saw it in daylight in the Sulfur River.

The Boggy Creek Monster has even been the subject of four films, at least. The first was The Legend of Boggy Creek in 1973. The movie focused on Bobby Ford’s encounter with the creature. This introduced millions to the creature.

The encounter that the film is based on originally occurred in 1971. Bobby and Elizabeth Ford said that the creature attacked their home on the night of May 1. Elizabeth said that the monster reached through their window, but Bobby and his brother, Dan, chased it away. The monster would return shortly after midnight and knocked Bobby to the ground. They took Bobby into Texarkana to St. Michael Hospital to be treated for large gashes over his back. He was in shock when he first arrived. While they could find blood a the Ford home, there were three-toed footprints close to the house, scratches on the porch, and the window and siding were damaged.

There are a lot of people who believe that all sightings of the Boggy Creek Monster are misidentified black bear sightings. While black bears aren’t bipedal, they do somethings rear up on their hind feet. Some can weight 400 pounds and stand around six feet tall.

If you plan on visiting Arkansas any time soon, make sure you keep an eye out for the Boggy Creek Monster. You don’t want to end up like Bobby Ford.

 

Being True to You

I’ve got another post for you about writing your truth. I told you I had a lot to say about this.

In past posts, I have talked about how to write your truth. Today’s post isn’t going to be much of a how-to. I have something on my chest that I want to share. It was something that hit me when I was getting information together for a book I was ghostwriting.

I freelance write through a company. I ghostwrite books. Part of that requires me to do research on topics because most of what I write is non-fiction books. It’s through this research that I found so many books on Amazon that you can tell didn’t come from a person’s truth.

This post doesn’t have to with my ghostwriting or anything to do with that sort of thing.

What I want to talk about is the sheer number of books available on Amazon that are written for the sole purpose of making money.

Now, you may be wondering how I can tell that there are so many books on Amazon that aren’t written from a person’s truth. I’ll tell you, but first I want you to do something.

Head over to Amazon and pull up a listing of books. More specifically self-help books; weight loss, exercise, mental health, those sorts of things. Now, pull up a few and click on the preview book. Glance through to see what you can glean from it and take a look at the reviews and other information about the book.

You’ll probably start to notice that some books just have a better feel to them than others. There are some that feel like they could actually help you, while others are just ‘eh.’

Now, I don’t know what is in the heart of an author when they write a book, but what I do know is that if they wrote from their truth, from a need to help people or share something, you can feel it in their writing. It comes off as much more honest that fluff writing.

You don’t have to just write novels in order to write your truth. You can write your truth in non-fiction books as well. It means you are sharing truths about you and your passion in order to help somebody else. And this statement is true for fiction and non-fiction because I believe fiction can help people as well.

So many of the books you see on Amazon are books that have been written and published just for the purpose of making money. They weren’t created from a passion deep within somebody. They didn’t come from the heart.

The problem is, though, that all of these books that weren’t written in truth are covering up the books that are written truth. Speaking as an Indie author, there are so many other Indie authors out there that write their truth and have amazing stories to tell through novels and self-help books that get pushed underneath all of these other books that don’t have any heart in them.

I don’t know how these truthless books become successful. (I have my thoughts, but I will keep them to myself.) All I know is, we need to create more books that have heart and truth in them. We need more books in the world that tell stories that help people and entertain people for the sole purpose of helping and entertaining.

There are enough snake oil salesmen in the world. Those of us who truly have a story to tell, who want to share our truth, need to band together and share with the world what it means to love what you do and to love doing it no matter what you get back.

I know there is nothing that can be done about these filler books on Amazon and other sites. They are always going to be there and more will continue to be published. It’s easier today now than it was 20 years ago. You don’t need an agent or a publisher anymore. I’m not trying to start a revolution or what have you to stop these books from being published.

I am here to help and urge those who do have a heartfelt story to share, to share it.

If you are still unsure about what it means to write your truth, you can use these books to help you.

Because trust me, you can tell the difference when you read a book when it has been written from the heart, no matter the genre.

I think I’ll step down from my soapbox for now. I’ve said what I came here to say.

I hope I have helped you just a little bit more when it comes to writing your truth.

“What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” – Carl Rogers

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

Best Way to Develop and Build Characters

Welcome to the first post of 2019. I hope your holidays were fantastic.

I’m starting off the year by talking about characters. You can’t have a story without characters. No matter how hard you try, there are going to characters, human or not. Even if there is just a person describing a scene, that narrator is a character.

Stories have characters (duh obviously) but it can be difficult to create well-rounded characters that people enjoy reading. The key part of any character is to make them human. Now, that doesn’t mean they have to be human, they just have to act like a human. That means they have human ideas and characterizations and the like. They are driven by beliefs and dreams.

One of my favorite blog posts about character development is The Writing Cooperative article, How to Create Authentic and Powerful Fictional Characters written by Valerie Black. Click the link to read. It’s a good read.

As with the article I just shared, there are lots of archetypes for your main protagonist, which I will probably dedicate a blog to later on. For this blog, we are going to look more at how to build a character.

What’s in a name?

The first thing you need to do is figure out a name. Coming up with a cast list for your book is a good idea. As a rule of thumb, try to make your names as pronounceable as possible. Also, the names need to fit with your story. If you’re writing a story set in 17th century England, the name Payton is going to fit very well.

Now, I know, coming up with names can be difficult. It’s like naming a child. You want to make sure it works for them when they first come to fruition and when you write their last line. When push comes to shove, you can always use source material. Search online, grab a book, magazine, whatever you have around you to find names. Be careful not to accidentally use the same names in different stories that aren’t meant to have the same characters.

Another tip for names and this isn’t something that I do, but it is a good idea. Write out a long list of possible names for your story that way you will have some if a new character were to pop up. You never know when a random person will appear in your story.

But what will I wear?

Names are fine and dandy, but you still have to know what your character looks like. You need to know things like their age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, race, all those things.

It’s easy to come up with your character based on their social and educational status. The trick comes when they are from specific locals. If you are writing about people in Atlanta, Georgia, you need to know how those people act and speak. Unless you are going for something funny, you want to try to avoid stereotypes of what you think people sound like. That’s where research comes in.

Putting it all together.

You’re going to have characters that come together easily you know them down to their blood type. Then there will be others that you just have a mental image of. No matter how detailed you have your characters, you have to make sure you know them. If you don’t know them, you can’t convey their story. This is especially true if you write in a POV.

One great way to get to know your characters is to answer a bunch of questions from their point of view. This will put you in their mind so that you get to the essence of who they are.

Are they important?

Lastly, you have to figure out if the character gives to your story. Ask yourself what each of your characters mean to your story. This should be something you do for every character, no matter how long or short their time is in your story. All characters should grab your reader’s attention.

If a character isn’t adding something to your story, get them the hell out of there. It’s better to lose a character than make your readers stumble through a scene with confusing characters.

Now, this is by no means the end all be all information for character development. These are just three tips that can help you get started. We will look at more character development information in coming blog posts. But this should get you started.

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

Three Ways to Write Your Truth

My last post on writing your truth was a bit jumbled because I went into without a plan in mind. I knew I wanted to write about it, and I just started writing. Hopefully, you were still able to get something from it. I’m back again to talk about writing your truth. Here we are going to talk about three ways to make sure that you write your truth and not someone else’s.

In my opinion, the simplest definition of writing your truth is writing what you really want to write. Writing your truth isn’t something outlandish or some mysterious being that only a few can tap into. Writing your truth is something everybody has the ability to do, all it takes is some time and effort.

There is one hard part about writing your truth. You have to know you.

Find Out Your Beliefs

In order to write your truth, you have to know yourself. That’s the first thing in writing your truth. Know yourself. Take some time to sit down and write out the things you believe. Those are your truths. The things that you believe to be important in life. Not what other people tell you, but what you believe. These beliefs have been forming throughout your entire life. And whether you know it or not, you have been living your life based on these beliefs.

That’s the first thing you are going to do in order to write your truth. Take a moment, five to ten minutes, and write down a list of your beliefs. I don’t want superficial beliefs either. Nothing simple like I believe in God or I believe the sun is hot. I want specific beliefs. Things like people need to fight injustice, marriage should be between two people that love each other, people should be allowed to be whatever they want to be. I want you to go deep. Take some time to go do that now.

……….

……..

I’m serious, write your list now.

…..

Welcome back. Now that you have your list of beliefs you now know the things that you should write about. While you can write about things that go against these beliefs, such as a person who isn’t necessarily religious could write a book that is religious in nature. But doing so is going to be very difficult.

It will take quite a bit of planning and forethought. You will find it very hard to embrace these truths because they aren’t yours. The only way to successfully write something that goes against your truths is to change your beliefs about them. But that’s a different subject.

Don’t Be Silent

The second thing is to stop silencing yourself. I’m a woman, so I can only speak from a woman’s perspective. Women tend to silence their selves more often. I could speak on why I think that is, but that’s not my point here. Many people will stop themselves from writing their truth because they think that it’s something that others don’t want to hear, or that they will be ridiculed for it.

They feel shameful for their truths, so they stop themselves from writing about it. Now, I want to explain that I am not telling you to be hurtful or mean to others. That’s wrong no matter what. (I’m pretty sure I put that in my last blog about writing your truth and is a boilerplate agreement from now on when talking about writing your truth. DON’T BE MEAN AND HURTFUL)

What I am telling you is to be nice in how you write your truth. No matter what it is, you can write your truth without hurting other people.

I know that this may seem like I am verging on a touchy subject, and I probably am, but it’s important that we talk about this. Writing your truth is the only way you are going to feel happy and comfortable with your writing, and, yes, it will likely upset somebody. But as long as you didn’t blatantly attack somebody or you weren’t outright mean, then you have nothing to be afraid of. I’m not here to talk about ethics, just the matter of not silencing yourself.

To recap, the second point is that you should not let society or others silence you just because you are afraid that they are going to judge you for it.

Be Vulnerable

The last tip is to be vulnerable. This will go hand in hand with the second tip because you are putting yourself out there to be judged, which is a vulnerable position. Vulnerability is the key to writing your truth. Which we will go in-depth on later on. All I am going to say right now is that if you don’t feel a little bit vulnerable when you are writing and putting yourself out there, then you are probably hiding at least part of your truth.

Remember, understand your beliefs, don’t silence yourself, and be vulnerable. Once you have accomplished those three things, you will be well on your way to writing your truth.

“Three things cannot be long hidden, the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Buddha

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.