When It’s Over

As a writer, there is no other feeling that can match when you finish a project. There is a sense of pride in your work. There is trepidation, worrying that your project was terrible and no one will like it. There is hope that this one is the one that gets you to the point of “making it” so that you can tell everyone who doubted you or called you foolish for pursuing your dream that you are good enough. Validation lets you know you’re talented, right?

The truth is that there is a lot of fear as a writer. You’re afraid you’re not good enough. You worry that you are wasting your time, and the time of everyone who supported you on this journey. You are even afraid that the book will make it. Then you have to face the harsh criticisms of faceless internet people. What if it does very well and you can spoil yourself? There is so much to be afraid of.

The fear isn’t the worst part. The worst part is that feeling of emptiness when you finally complete the project. You spend so much time stressing over getting it completed on whatever deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, that you have to beat. Then, when it is completed, you have that “now what feeling”. The book is up for sale and you just have to hope. But you dedicated so many months or years on a project only to have it finally be done. And there is emptiness that does make you feel a little depressed. Even if you do have projects on your “queue” waiting for your attention.

“A Special Place for Noah” will be up for sale on 2/15. You can pre-order it in ebook format prior to this date by visiting my Amazon author page (or if you follow my author Facebook, the link will be there). I have yet to approve the copy for the paperback version as when I got the first proof, it was 3x the size that I wanted it to be. I’m not very tech-savvy and forgot how to change the page sizes for proper printing since my last paperback was released. Oops.FB_IMG_1518529971930.jpg

As for what’s next? There is still my children’s book that I want to finally finish, which has been on hold because I’m a perfectionist and I need to brush up on my drawing skills. That will be my first goal. Once that is completed, I will be working on the project tentatively titled “Project Team LaRochelle”. My husband, as well as some others, have been trying to get me to write a thriller/horror for a while now. My husband came up with an idea that he was very excited about, so we have decided to collaborate on that. Between his love of horror and my storytelling skills, this should be interesting. If we end up divorced though, you know why.

There is a lot on my plate, including my focus on growing the blog, but I am very excited to keep moving forward. With hard work and a positive attitude, you can do anything. At least that’s what I’m told. I have the hard work down, so let’s see if that’s good enough.

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It’s Been a While, Random Rantings

Random Rantings is a segment on this blog where I briefly discuss thoughts and topics that do not warrant a longer 500 words or more post. Today, here is a look at some topics from various subjects that I just felt like talking about so feel free to bring in your own thoughts here.

You Have a Memo, I Have a Memo, We All Have MEMOS!

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That’s right. It’s like Oprah in here right now. I read the Republican memo and then I realized that it was just one guy writing his thoughts like it was the law of the land that we should all obey. If it were that simple, maybe I should say that my blog matters and will really be groundbreaking and everyone will just believe that I am right and awesome just because I said so. Is this really what we have come to today? Where a guy creates a memo that may or may not be factual and sends it out to be released as some sort of vindication? This concerns me. Is this a distraction because Mueller found something and they needed to pull something out of their behinds to distract us from it? Or is it just because people are upset that we were talking about the Super Bowl or the fact that the president may have cheated on his wife Melania. (Shocker, I know. What in his history would ever give us the impression that he would cheat on his wife? Except for every other time he has cheated on a wife…)

Now the Democrats want to release a memo, that in the grand scheme of things will be just as (ir)relevant as the Republican one was. If we really take a logical stand point here, ignoring party lines, are these unofficial documents worth more than the paper they are written on?  The answer is “no”. The memo is set to be decided by the president if he wants to release it, but he needs to. Because transparency. Because you can’t just allow one side of the aisle to do it and not the other. Because if you do let one side of the aisle do it and not the other, there’s a level of censorship there that we should be concerned with. Because if the president only wants us to see one side of things, other questions should be raised. Is there truth to it that he doesn’t want released? Is it just that his precious little ego will be hurt with its release? Does he just want to prove a point that American’s should only see things his way and not the whole picture? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then we have bigger issues to worry about.

The New Book

Now, I probably should have put this above the more controversial political commentary above, but I felt that was a bit more important. My latest work, “A Special Place for Noah”, is a piece that I am really excited for. The story is about a family who is trying to help their son overcome his speech delay. It is told in 3 different viewpoints: Callie, the mother; John, the father; and little Noah himself. I hope that people love it as much as I loved writing it. It is expected to be up for sale on Amazon in both eBook and paperback. You can pre-order now as well. Just visit my Author Page on Amazon, which is posted on the sidebar of this blog.

The Pretty Super Super Bowl

In what was one of the most exciting games in a long time in the NFL, my beloved Patriots fell to the Eagles. Why did this happen? How did a backup beat the GOAT? Well, there are a few simple answers to why it happened. You could point to the missed field goal and extra point by Stephen Gostkowski, though this would only account for 4 points. They lost by more than that. You could say it was because Cooks was taken out of the game for a head injury after a nasty hit. Sure, that hurt but Playoff Amendola was clutch and Gronk finally hit a groove where he was on fire. Here’s the hint: it wasn’t the offense that wasn’t doing their job.

Their defense was horrible. Horrendous. Any awful word that you could put there would be an accurate statement for what happened here. They could not stop anything. Nothing. Were those two touchdowns a little bit questionable? Sure, but I’m not well-versed in the rules even though the casters seemed to also think those were bad calls. But that was 2 touchdowns out of how many other times they scored. It didn’t matter. We couldn’t stop them anyways and I bet that the next plays would’ve ended up touchdowns anyways because of how awful they were playing. Did I mention that their defense was awful? Philly is a hard team. They were good. They were communicating and doing well. Why wasn’t Butler playing? His season may not have been his best this year, but he was always known for his clutch plays.

The better team won. There is nothing more to that. There was nothing controversial about it. The refs didn’t hand them the game. The Patriots didn’t give them the game. They won it and congrats to them. No salt here and I’m not even really mad about it. The Patriots got the loss they deserved and that was that. I love great games, even if my team loses.

The Stock Market

Yesterday the stock market eventually dropped a significant amount. Who’s to blame for this? It’s probably just the predicted market correction that we were told to watch out for despite other people saying “everything’s good”. Is it the president’s fault? Probably not. But just like I said when talking about President Obama taking victory laps when the economy was good, you can’t give the person the blame when it is bad and not give them credit when it is good. The same applies here. You can’t give President Trump the credit for the stocks doing well without giving him blame when they go down. That’s the nature of it. You cannot take credit when things are good without taking the blame when they aren’t. That’s not how it works. Should he have taken credit when it was good? I don’t think presidents really have the much to do with stocks going up or down, so no. But you cannot logically think that there isn’t some level of hypocrisy going on. “Of course the Dems are blaming him for the stock market dropping. They just want to see him fail. He’s not to blame. But he’s totally responsible when stocks are up.” It’s not logical. Both the left and right are guilty of this. Maybe we should all start using a bit of common sense, because then 90% of political arguments would never happen.

 

When the Government Shuts Down

If we are going to be completely honest here, we can all agree that arguing about a government shut down every few weeks accomplishes nothing. How about we try a few things to help avoid this situation in the future, such as:

A Budget. Back when President Obama was in office, the talking points were “every household in America needs a budget, so should our government”. They were right back then and they would be right today if they would care enough to argue that point. We get ourselves into this fight every single year because we do not have a sustainable budget. We may have a budget in place, but it obviously isn’t sustainable if we are worried about going into so much debt every 3 months that our government “can’t run”. We manage to pay Congress and Senate an obscene amount of money to do nothing every day, why not start there when we make budget cuts? You don’t want to do a budget, how about you don’t get paid like everyone else when they decide not to do their job.

Less Blamey, More Workey. In the time that both sides spent having their pissing contest about who’s fault it is, a resolution could have happened sooner. They need to realize the reason people do not trust politicians is because moments like this make us realize that they don’t care about us. Did they take a pay cut so the military could get paid during the shut down? Nope. They care about their money and the power of being a politician and nothing else but keeping both. Instead of making the focus how one side is holding American hostage, how about we keep the focus on our lazy politicians that just want to win?

About that Budget? Did I miss the part about the budget? No, I just felt like this is an important enough issue to be mentioned twice because apparently the politicians don’t get it. And when I say a “budget”, I mean an actual budget. I don’t mean a budget, with whatever special interests that they got paid for to put in a bill so that no one wants a budget and it never gets passed. I mean a line by line budget. “We get in _____ a year, here is how this will get spent.” There will need to be hard cuts that need to be made, such as food stamps and assistance going to hard working people that are struggling to make ends meet or those who are struggling with a disability that makes them unable to get work. I’m also for reducing the amount politicians get paid. For instance, Nancy Pelosi makes around $200k a year. That is insane. Politicians should make as much teachers or police officers. In fact, I would argue that police officers should make more than politicians. Maybe if we reduced their salary, we would get more people that actually care about us. Put more money into the schools, the firemen and law enforcement that protects us, pay our soldiers a livable wage, and funding to help cure cancer/Alzheimer’s/AIDS, etc.

Working Together. Party politics are ruining our country. I have made this opinion very clear. Think about your life at work or in school. When you are working on a group project, you are expected to work as a group towards a common goal. If you don’t, you lose your job or fail the project. “Our” politicians should be working together towards a common goal: improving the lives of Americans. Anytime they fail this goal to play games with people’s lives, they should be held accountable instead of saying it is someone else’s fault.

Those are just some of the ideas that I have to make things better in the coming months. Who’s with me? Who has other suggestions to share?

It’s an Us versus Them World

I spend a lot of time on social media. When working on my supplemental freelancing career, the articles can be so infuriating that social media drama breaks up this mundane work. What was once drama over people and their significant others or coworkers, which if I’m going to be honest really kept me more amused than it should have, has become something more.

I want to use sinister here because I am starting to believe this political hate is malicious. The people spewing it, purposeful in using hateful language as if it gives them power or shows that they are more intelligent. First of all, at least use proper grammar and spelling. When you say things like, “I may not be smart cuz imma trump fan and such but I get that your a libtard”, I’m not really sure what you are trying to prove. Are you being ironic by purposefully sounding unintelligent while also dismissing someone’s beliefs? No, I don’t think you’re dumb if you voted for someone if you honestly believe that he was going to do great things. I think that if you are dismissive and insulting that your aren’t proving any point but the one that I’m about to make: we are a divided country and if you are on opposite sides of a party line, you are at war with each other.

I may have heard this line somewhere, but I’m not sure where: “United we stand, together we fall”. To be very clear, I know exactly where I have heard it. This motto shaped our country from our forefathers. It wasn’t until now that I saw the truth in it. We are divided and I am very certain that as long as we stay this way, we will fall. People need to open their eyes. At this point I am very certain that Trump could murder someone on live camera and people would use it as a metaphor for destroying the liberals to make America great today. “So what if he killed that guy, I get a tax break for 8 years and stocks are up.” It’s actually become a little insane. I loathe the argument of “but if Obama did ______, the right would lose their collective s****”. However, this is exactly the case. Obama goes golfing, he’s lazy and not doing the job he was elected to do. Trump goes golfing and he’s making America great again. Can’t we just agree that maybe they both should have spent less time doing recreational activities and more time trying to improve the lives of their citizens?

I feel like I’m in a sitcom at this point because none of this seems real. I never voted for Obama or Hillary or Trump. I have long believed that a two-party system is going to ruin America and the animosity that people seem to have for each other right now is beyond ridiculous. Adults can’t have a reasonable or logical discussion. The minute you point out something you don’t agree with about this administration, you are dismissed as a liberal who watches biased news and voted for Hillary. The minute you disagreed with Obama, you were labelled a racist. What ever happened to having your own “grey area” beliefs that come from your own brain and not a pundit on television who is paid to tell people what to think? I don’t care when this started. Some people say Obama started it. Some say Trump. Some say that this has been brewing for a while. It doesn’t matter. If we truly cared enough about stopping it, we would.

Disagreeing with a president does not make you un-American. In fact, I believe there is nothing more American than having real concerns and beliefs that you are free to discuss. What isn’t American is putting people down for it. That is one step away from those political regimes that past presidents fought against to liberate those countries. You are not indecisive for voting 3rd party. You are voting for change and a fresh voice that has seemed to be lost in today’s politics. We need a redo before this country is lost forever.

The Tax Bill to End All Tax Bills?

Last week, I was too busy tending to the sick and being sick to do anything of use here. Yesterday, when I would normally do the post, was pushed aside for personal reasons. So today you get a rare Wednesday post.

Before then, I would like to make a few announcements. One, there will be a slow expansion to the blog. I will be adding a “geek culture” page for posting where I will cover gaming news and other things related to this genre. I love my video games, board games, and hope to even discuss local events relating to this topic (even news about the Overwatch League including the Boston Uprising. Go Team). There will also be a section dedicated to television and movies, another area that I have been wanting to write about. This will all be in addition to this “Random Rantings” blog that I already have in place. Eventually I plan to go further and add an area where I discuss any arts and craft projects that I am doing at the time. I hope that next year I will have more time to dedicate to this, so we will see what happens. I’m crossing my fingers.

The second announcement is that starting next week, I will begin the grueling process of editing and adding to the NaNoWriMo novel. I’m pretty excited about this and I hope that I can get it done in time to enter the Kindle Scout Contest, where I can get my book published if I win. More crossing fingers.

Now to get onto the actual topic of today’s post: The tax bill. I like to do research on things. I really like to learn everything that I can about everything, though sometimes I just blank out in the process depending on the topic. I know how to do basic budgeting for my household, but aside from that I’m pretty useless in anything to do with numbers and economics. I know what I’ve been promised: Your life is going to be so much better with this new tax bill, you’ll see. Will I? I’m a skeptic by nature. Republican or Democrat, I would not just believe this because someone told me it. I need to see numbers.

I found numbers. Numbers say that I will see more money coming back in our paychecks. What does this mean for our deductions at the end of the year that help us build savings or play catch up with bills? Those are numbers that I would love. Because I can always pay off credit cards from during the year and have some extra to put into savings as the taxes are now. That is money that I (and a lot of other people) rely on. Maybe this will be offset by the additional 5% we will see in our paychecks. Maybe not. Only time will tell I suppose.

However, you should be worried about something bigger than this. Corporations get a permanent tax cut while the rest of us peasants only get a temporary one. This tax break for us will only last until 2026, unless they decide to extend the cuts. Will they? That depends on how much this bill actually costs the American people in the long run. If they decide that they are losing too much money off of this, then no. We get screwed over and the corporations get to laugh at us for being so stupid for being excited over the 5% we get back. Do you think that even the Democrats would roll back the corporate tax rate if they regain power? Probably not. They have donors that they need to worry about too.

They don’t care. No one cares about the people that they make promises to. The only good thing that could come out of this is maybe if they lack any money, they won’t be able to fight to take away a woman’s right to choose or a person’s right to marry. I hope that this helps us because rooting for failure only hurts us. I don’t want to see the president fail the country because we would suffer for those mistakes. But let’s not praise this bill for being the savior of the American people; it’s a boost for the whole 8 years that we definitely have it.

 

The Thing to Know about Politics

I hate that I still need to write about this. I hate that people just won’t learn. I hate the political climate we are living in today. We all experience it on a daily basis and we are one step away from being killed over our beliefs, and that is a very scary thought. I thought that we came to America to be free from the criminality of being different. I thought America was built on the principle that everyone had the right to their own beliefs. Wasn’t that was really made America great?

Apparently not. Apparently America needs to be made great again and that isn’t actually happening. We live in a place where people who think everyone should have the right to be married is a liberal with a gay agenda. Gay marriage leads to pedophilia and bestiality, right? (I seethe just thinking about this comparison. Because there are not straight pedophiles that prey on children. Because people are not about to willingly elect an accused pedophile into office.) We live in a world where people who think that transgender people should have the right to live their life without scrutiny are sick people who are enabling a person with a mental illness. We live in the world where if you dare speak against the president, you are considered a lemming that follows the libtard masses and fake news.

Worst of all? We live in a world where people are called stupid because of who they vote for. People are vilified for this. Why? I don’t like the president but I certainly do not think anyone who voted for him is dumb. They are not stupid for not wanting to try something new. The Republican and Democratic way doesn’t work, so why not try a loose cannon who speaks his mind? That is why he won. He won because people were sick of the status quo. (Remember this next election, folks. There is a 3rd option. I’m pro-3rd party choices.)

Case in point about this hateful world we live in: Jimmy Kimmel, who has been championing healthcare lately since his eye-opening moment with his infant son, did a monologue talking about CHIP with his son on his show. People started bashing him for having a cause. What does a rich libtard know about the struggles of real people? Of course he’s championing CHIP, he wants the tax payers to pay his bills. Yes, these are actual comments that I read through and some of the nicest ones at that. First of all, he isn’t in it to get CHIP to pay for his family. He has come out and said “I have the luxury of being able to afford it but not a lot of people can and that’s who CHIP is for.” Secondly, any parent who has been in the hospital with their kids knows the struggle of wanting to be sure that your child is safe and feeling guilty about worrying about the financial aspects of getting care for your child. I have been there and it sucks more than you can think and it wasn’t even a serious or chronic illness that required constant medical care. (Except for Early Intervention, but thankfully my insurance covered the $800 a week for specialists.) People who have a cause that they believe in and fight for it shouldn’t be vilified for doing what they think is right. But because his “agenda” is deemed to be liberal propaganda, he is automatically a horrible human being.

There was no need to call him names or question his intentions. In years long before the insane political divide in our country, people were actually allowed to have these things called “opinions” and “beliefs” without being torn to shreds by other people. I wish people would just start hating me again for being a Patriots fan instead of because I have political beliefs different from them. Things are only getting worse. I don’t care when it started or why, I just care that it does not seem to be getting any better and everyone is to blame for that. At this point it is hard not to think that this is part of a larger scheme to divide and conquer the masses so that we are distracted from the world going down in flames around us.

Next time someone says something that you don’t believe in, try something new: listening. And I mean really listen. They may have some valid points that you have never considered before. Don’t automatically go into the offensive and repeat soundbites that the mainstream media (both sides of the aisle) are trying to push. They only tell half the story and you are not doing yourself any favors by ignoring one side because that’s what other people tell you to. Both sides have very valid points and if we just listened, maybe we can come together to actually make the country a better place.

NaNoWriMo 2017

I went into this year’s NaNoWriMo with a story that I felt passionate about and a lot of good intentions. I had my Post Its, a plan, my peanut butter M&Ms, my coffee, and my eventual last minute savior, the flaming hot Cheetos. Despite my best efforts, illnesses, work, and life (such as Thanksgiving prep and writer’s block), I ended up at the 27,000 mark on November 29. Even my husband, the ever supportive and annoyingly optimistic man who made many a Dunks run in the name of art, doubted me. Me? I thrive under pressure and seemingly eat doubt for breakfast. Or in this case, an entire bag of flaming hot Cheetos while working.

On November 30th, I woke up early, destroyed my work deadlines, and filled a carafe of coffee. I took breaks to take my son to school and other normal breaks during the day. Thanks to my new Pixel 2 XL, I was able to continue on my work whenever I had to leave my trusty Surface’s side. This was especially useful when my body cramped up from being at the computer so long, so I began walking around while typing away. Saved it to Google Drive, then went back to my computer to continue hacking away. By lunch time, I had managed to get up to about 35,0000 words. That was still a long way away from 50,000. My husband brought home lunch, giving me time to focus on work since I would be too focused on this to be of any use to anyone.

Finally, the moment I needed to happen came. Words were floating from my fingers, which at this point became cramped and numb from typing so much. At 10pm, I had hit 45,000 words. With under an hour left, I was getting close but still seemed too far off of my goal. My husband, who worked late that day called and asked if I wanted anything on his way home. “Cheetos and a Coke.” He understood. He came home with exactly what I needed. With 20 minutes left to spare, 50,000 happened. I was relieved. I submitted the 50,000 words and got my winner loot.

That is only half the battle. The next month will be full of the editing process that can take forever, which needs to be done in order to get into a contest to get a professional publisher to publish it. There is still a long journey, but at least I have come this far with the novel.

The novel is called “A Special Place for Noah”. The story is about a boy named Noah who struggles with the inability to communicate in the outside world. There is a strong focus on the parents as they navigate this journey with him. As readers of the blog and people who know my family, you can probably guess that this is very heavily influenced by my youngest son. The point of the book is to share this story so that other people who may find themselves in this position can feel a little less isolated while struggling with any sort of developmental delay in the family.

I am really excited to see this as a finished product. It was really freeing to write and I really hope that someone else feels a connection to the book.