Wednesday, August 12, 2015

So I Published a Novel

The last few months have been crazy. Finishing up classes at Clark College, signing up for classes at Washington State University, publishing my first novel. Wait, what?

That’s right, folks. I finally took the plunge and published my first young adult novel. Now, it’s no secret that I love writing. Hell, this blog started out as a way to spark my creativity so that I would write everyday. However, the soul-sucking writer’s block syndrome I had during most of those first thousand posts (yes, check the rosters, kids! I posted EVERY DAY FOR OVER ONE-THOUSAND DAYS STRAIGHT!!!) didn’t remedy itself through daily writing exercises. What gives? In a word: Motivation.

You see, my sole motivation was not to write every day, but to post every day. I found it actually taking my creative brain through the spin cycle and rinsing it off over and over again instead of sparking ideas to explore. This was not writing. This was blogging at it’s worst. So I stopped. Then what happened? I enrolled back in college to finish my degree I started back in [insert mid 1990s date here]. I still have a long way to go, but am on track to become a high school English teacher within a few years. Yay me. But you know what else happened? My creative brain was reenergized.

Now, reenergizing a brain is not unlike what Dr. Frankenstein did with his creation. There are sparks and electricity, sure, but all inside the head; neurons firing solutions to long postponed projects rolling around in my brain. Actually, it was a professor who had us read about and try our hand at Ernest Hemingway’s writing process that started this whole fiasco. I was hesitant at first. I hate Hemingway. His stories are bare bones, stripped down, naked of everything except the heart and force me to use my imagination to fill in the gaps. For some, this is perfectly acceptable. For me, I found it lazy. Then I read his process and why he wrote the way he did and gained a further appreciation for his work. I still hate it, don’t get me wrong, but I recognize his genius. I also will forever be in debt to Hemingway for his writing process which, though I refuse to utilize all of it, has helped me not only rewrite a book I’ve been toying around with since high school when I finished the first draft, but led to better writing and storytelling and not forcing myself to write when I’m not feeling up to it and also, most importantly, not writing until I am empty. His best advice? Stop writing when you know what is going to happen next. Best. Advice. Ever.

So, now that I’ve gone over what has been transpiring over the last few years, I decided to start my own publishing company and finally publish my first young adult novel. Instead of taking classes this summer WSU that would have overlapped with finishing classes at Clark, much to the dismay of my husband who was looking forward to spending his days alone, I decided to focus my energy on my writing and going through all the necessary steps to not only start a publishing company, but actually publish a book. A lot of the skills I learned while I was the Managing Editor for Clark College’s Phoenix, an art and literary magazine published and produced by students, that I only got because I was in a combined Art and English class about publishing that I wouldn’t have even considered had I not taken an American Lit class and that professor practically beg me to be in this class. It’s funny how circumstances lead to new opportunities.

I am ready for this new adventure.

For more information on Cory Blystone’s Deadly Rhymes, visit

"Deadly Rhymes" by Cory Blystone on Ganxy

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Backyard Beautification

Just because you live in a rental, doesn't mean you have to forgo having a nice backyard space for entertaining. With just a few touches, it can go from fugly to fabulous!

Our backyard in the rental house we live in is, well, rather boring and small. However, though it be tiny, we have managed to squeeze in quite a few dedicated spaces. We have a chicken coop, vegetable garden boxes, a deck with a full-length bench on one side, dining table, intimate seating area, grilling space, outdoor fireplace, and potted plants galore, along with those trendy outdoor string light things.

But there are still areas for improvement. For instance, we had this lone large pot of flowers along a fence that is practically in invisible from the deck even though it is only about eight feet from the edge. To add a little flare, I bought some cheap terra cotta pots, mixed acrylic paint until I got my desire color of aqua, then haphazardly painted them, purposely leaving some of the terra cotta exposed for a rustic touch. Thank you, Pinterest! I then filled them with flowers that will make the area stand out even further, so when you are seated on the deck and look out, your eye catches those pops of color and entices you to explore further. 

Also, the side of the deck that butts up to the house was just wasted space. We have a whiskey barrel pond on the opposite side to view from the kitchen, but nothing on the other side of the sliding glass door. Well, a recent trip to Target to look at what they had led to a "Buy all the things!" spree. I bought two bright orange metal chairs and aqua cushions and lots of throw pillows to spruce up the dining chairs and bench as well. I also got a side table just large enough to fit a pot of shade plants and drinks for when you sit there. 

Now, if only there was a way to spruce up the black tarps garden stapled into the ground that take up half the backyard?