On day four of a two-week trip, we went to Lagos in the southern part of Portugal. I put on the sunscreen that I had, which was from Portugal and not for white non-melanin skin. They all had bronzers in them, if that makes sense. On the beach day, I put on sunscreen. I DID! I was not prepared for the reflection of the water, nor the expiration time of the water resistance.
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And even though we only were there a few hours, because I could feel we needed to leave and I needed to find some aloe vera, I still got severely burned. There was a lot of pointing and startled looks. This is at least second degree. I got a sun rash, sun sickness, and had to constantly be on ibuprofen the rest of the trip.
I had to constantly put aloe vera on it, even though it was so hard to find aloe vera there. I grew water blisters under my skin and after a while, my skin started sluffing off. No tanning bed would have prepared my skin for this anyway.
So why do I do it? I love the sun so much. I love feeling the warm glow of morning, the way it colors the sky and wakes up everything. I love letting it heat up my dark shirts. I love the energy the sun feeds me. Seeing the sun makes me happy. I love sunflowers and I love so much the color yellow.
In Everstar, the capstone in my trilogy, the sun plays a huge part. The Atmos stone was the first to be stolen, causing chaotic storms over the capital city of Southwick and casting shadows over the world of Parbraven. The little bit of sun that shines on my heroes supplies hope when they feel everything is lost. Writing more authoring for me is much like the sun. It is hope and happiness and incredible warmth, and sometimes tries to kill me.
It gave me a real taste of what the world was saying about my work. Regardless of the accolades Vivatera had received Novel of the Year being one of them , I started to feel like I disappointed my readers. So as much as I hate my skin and sometimes doubt my talent, I have to remember that I have Viking blood. In some ancestral website, it has my line going all the way back to Odin.
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But we all have the strength to follow dreams. I have friends that have completely given up on being an author because they got burned to a crisp by the sun of doubt. And I feel so bad for them; to give up on the dream they had and feel the sting of failure on their skin hurts my soul. I ache just thinking about it. Even though I get burned every once in a while, I have to think of it as a good burn, reminding me how human I am, and also how lucky I am to live my dream. I am not an impostor but a believer — ready to defend my talents and the people who stand with me.
And if you have a dream, chase it. Believe in it. Seek out your blood and find the strength in it. You were created to do amazing things regardless of what the voices of doubt say.
She had been going for a few years and I knew she always had a good time, so I said yes without thinking. I had done very little research on what this con really was, I just figured it was comparable to any comic con I had participated in. I was warned it was a gaming con, so I thought video games. I put some serious thought into how to make this con special. People flock to the center of the US, being seductively called by the river sirens, for the chance to play games, and ONLY games, for four continuous days.
Rows and rows of tables and chairs cluttered with games: new ones, kickstarters, card games, board games, RPGs, dice games, you name it.
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There were tournaments happening in C Hall a room the size of the room where they hid the arc of the covenant for Magic the Gathering and Pokemon and who even knows what?! I was flabbergasted. Being an author there felt rather special, but also really out-of-place. This con was not about books, but the celebration of creativity. Everyone I spoke to was so genuinely themselves.
This con let you be you without judgment. I tweeted snippets of what I saw and experienced find on Twitter cjtwrites. Many gamers are introverted, yet here they felt comfortable being with other introverts. The con sold out with a reported 70, attending Indy Star Link. I was impressed. The tourneys ran through the night.
Hotel lobbies and even the Indiana Convention Center was continually packed with gamers playing until the morning.
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There are some things that I unintentionally gave up when I dedicated my time to being an author, and unfortunately, games was one of them. Here though, I got a chance to forget about story building and remember the seeds that started my epic journey.
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I started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was fourteen, playing with my older brother and his high school friends. This was a huge foundation for my character development, world building, and my imagination. I made a serious impression on the guys running the room. Here is where I found my Gen Con heart. So…… found the retro console gaming room at gencon19 and I think I might be here for a while. It was good for me to get away from my bubble and experience a con away from those I know; to meet people I would never have met before; and have the freedom of being nerdy without reservation.
It was rejuvenating to my soul and healthy for me to remember my roots, and that fun and refreshing it is to just play games. My house has a strange history, and when we decided to buy the eye sore of the neighborhood, we also became something of legend. It was never meant to be my dream house, in fact, I made it very open that I hated split entry homes, feeling they were the worst idea any architect ever had. So, when we bought our first home, it was not ever meant to be our forever home. If you know me as a writer and frankly, as a person too , you will know that I personify everything.
Everything has a character. Everything has feelings or emotions.
Everything cares. And the character of this house was a sad one from the beginning. Back when this house came around, I was a young mom with a spirited toddler. We were living in a small duplex owned by a friend of ours, whose parents lived on the other side.
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The place was small, always smelled of garlic and was in a less than desirable location. But it kept us out of the rain and safe while we tried to figure out what to do next. I actively searched for a house outside of this area, daydreaming of a beautiful suburban life, far from the reality of my own unconventional upbringing. I wanted to write, had always wanted to write, but everything I had written to that point was complete and utter garbage.
Being a young mother, I wanted a house where we could make roots, where my family could grow and be safe. I had grown up as one of the weirdos in the neighborhood, and for some reason, I was trying to run away from it. I was anxious for furniture that was not college hand me downs and the freedom to put holes in my walls.
Like Colin Hay sings, I was waiting for my real life to begin. The place had been abandoned for years. The siding was tagged with some gang name from the area. There was a big, blue dumpster parked in the driveway where flippers had tried to do something with the empty house, but then ran out of money as well. No one had been in the place for quite a while. The little For Sale sign was just a small, orange flag stuck into the ground. This house was in the small neighborhood where my brother lived, and also where my husband grew up.
I knew the area. Why had I never seen this place before? Me, not one for rules, snooped around and looked in the windows. The backyard was overgrown and wild, with an already mature Black Walnut tree dominating the middle of the yard. My sister-in-law and I found a way in through a window and discovered that the place was completely gutted.