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Good morning, you!

Guess what! Today is TVA’s first anniversary. Also, this is the 100th post!

TVA Advertisement ChallengeKind of crazy cool how that worked out. ^_^ I love it when things kind of go together like that. It just feels very right. Like when pieces of a puzzle fit together.

I wanted to do something special in honor of the blog’s “birthday” and I have a sort of surprise, but it’s not really… ready yet. 😉 I’m hoping that it will include a giveaway, but I need to do some things first. It’s not a book giveaway, alas. I think it’s pretty cool though. Here’s to hoping you will too. When I get around to putting it all together.

Let’s do something different today, shall we?

I’ve been in the blogging world for a year (well, more since I had another one, but deleted it and couldn’t get it back, but you get my meaning). And I so wish I could respond to comments, but parental restrictions, you know? 132 brilliant and lovely human beings have chosen to follow my blog and I’m so grateful to each and every one of you. ❤

I’ve been advertising myself for a year, so to speak.

Now it’s your turn. Advertise your blog and leave us a link to check it out, advertise your specialties, what you stand for, what your favorite color is, how many pets you have. Whatever. Go for it!

And, as the ALS ice bucket challenge proved so well, if you say it’s a challenge, people can’t really back down. So I challenge all of you to advertise yourself in the comments and then nominate a friend. 😉

More specifically, I challenge in alphabetical order:

Ciera

Lisa

Mirriam

Una

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

God bless!

Rana

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“It’s like chopping fingers off.”

Good morning, afternoon, or evening, darling!

I finished the second draft of The Reset on Saturday, August 23. In case you’re interested. And, as someone once described editing, “it’s like chopping fingers off.”  And then buffing and painting the nails. Some of the revisions included:

  • Changing the novel from present tense to past tense.
  • Fixing grammatical errors.the reset
  • Cutting scenes that didn’t move the story forward or contribute to the plot (word count went from 48,155 to 44,637).
  • Adding some scenes that explained the plot more and/or moved the story forward.

For the third draft, I think I’ll focus on:

  • Cutting a few unimportant characters if needed.
  • Impressing Althea’s apathy upon the reader in the beginning of the story to clearly show how her character progresses throughout the novel.
  • Decide upon January’s mannerisms. It doesn’t seem right that he’s a tall fellow, but still so childish. It’s endearing to me, but it doesn’t seem to fit him even though he’s arguably one of the sweetest people in the novel.
  • Polishing the writing style.
  • Adding a bit more foreshadow.

Hopefully I’ll still enjoy it the third time around. 😛

And, I figured, why not share some snippets? I haven’t done that in a while. I guess I feel self-conscious, like every other author. Ah, well.

“No need to spend more money on something we can do for free.”

“What? I’m not worth it?” January adopted a put out expression.

I set a kettle of water on the stove and leaned against the counter, waiting for it to boil.

“Of course you are,” I said. “You’re priceless. I can’t possibly spend enough money on you.”

“You could try,” he suggested.

~*~

“If I chose anything more than bread and cheese,” January said, “I’d have to cook. And that ain’t happening. Hope you don’t mind.”

~*~

Everyone within earshot turned to look at us.

“What’s wrong?” I asked him.

“Smoke!” he wheezed. Jan doubled over, gripping his abdomen. “It’s killing me! And you!” He pointed an accusatory finger in the smoker’s direction.

I covered my mouth to hide a smile as Jan narrowed his eyes at the man whose face had turned a deep cherry red. He dropped the cigarette butt on the ground and crushed it with his heel. January straightened and nodded once. He tugged on his coat and grabbed my arm. We hurried down the street with our ice cream and dignity.

I looked up at the young man who winked at me.

“Saving lives one hack at a time,” he said.

~*~

“How do serial killers become serial killers, do you think?” he asked, obviously forgetting that I was a serial killer. “Do they eat their Lucky Charms while reading the Paper in the morning and go, ‘oh, nothing interesting in the news today. I’ll change that?’”

“Well, I’m guessing someone forgot to put the ‘lucky’ in their ‘charms’ that morning because, if they were lucky, that’s not what would cross their mind.” I rolled my eyes.

~*~

“Oh, please,” Fëar said with a rolling of his eyes. “You think Fanon and I are just partners in a business? Nah, we’re buddies. We joke quite a bit over a round of drinks. You’re one of the best jokes we’ve heard in a while though, darling, I must say.”

I slammed my coffee mug down on the table. The black liquid splashed up and burned my skin, but the pain only registered in the back of my mind.

“You think my pain is something to laugh about over a drink?” I shouted. My chair fell backwards and crashed to the floor as I stood. “Is that all other humans are to you sick people? Jokes? Toys you can break and throw away when you get tired of them?”

Fëar frowned. “Be a bit more generous, darling,” he said. “We tape them back together a few times first.”

~*~

The elf stepped forward and jabbed a finger at me. “You were lovely, darling, until you started thinking. I would put a reality check on my daydreams if I were you.”

“I’m beginning to wonder which is more real,” I said, “my daydreams or your reality.”

~*~

“Sometimes they don’t mean to,” I cried. “But people are selfish and they’ll do what’s best for you until it’s inconvenient for them.”

 ~*~

I smiled a little and placed the dagger on a decorative table. “Get out of here, tramp,” I said with a grin. “I’ll see you soon. Don’t go anywhere predictable.”

He winked. “No garbage cans or park benches. Got it.”

~*~

Maeve turned to leave, but stopped. “Oh, and just so you know,” she added over her shoulder, “that little episode earlier was nothing. Fanon’s had centuries to discover new methods of manipulation. I’d just get it all over with. It’s the right thing to do.”

I closed my eyes and when I reopened them, she was gone.

The right thing.

How could she tell me that an incremental massacre was right? Would killing many for the sake of one justify the murder of so many innocents?

What’s your editing process? Any advice? Specific things to look for?

I love you and God bless, kid! 😉 You rock.

Rana

P.S.

As I read my Bible last night, I stumbled upon this verse and thought this it worth sharing:

“My son, with humility have self-esteem; prize yourself as you deserve.” – Sirach 10:27

Day #1

Well, it was the first day back to school for me.

I can’t say I’m very happy.

While I do school at home, I’m still required to stay on pace and get as much work done as a normal student. The only difference is that I do it at home and have to be self-disciplined. But most of my courses this semester are with the local college since I dual enroll. We’ll see how well I handle this.

I work very well under short periods of pressure. Unfortunately, school is not short periods of pressure. It’s more like-

Okay, metaphor/analogy time, folks.

You remember the story of the Princess and the Pea?

Well, we’ll say that each mattress is a level of pressure. I am the pea.

Story time is over.

Essentially, that’s every kid’s life for four years. And I’m sure it’s not much easier in college. Well, assuming that you’re actually studying and being responsible…

I actually think I wanted to post something encouraging though.

So, let me direct you to three informational videos that might help you. I really like Ariel from Icon for Hire although I can’t listen to all of their songs based on the topics. She’s very encouraging, very honest, and down to earth.

One of the things that hit me hardest was a certain point she made: Hating the school does not equal rebelling against the system. I think it was Mark Twain who once said that hating someone is like taking poison and expecting the other person to get hurt. Something along those lines. Simply making it your role in life to hate school is not going to change anything. I need to remember that. And I need to get over myself.

Anyway, here you are. 🙂 (I kind of want to share all of her videos but, I’ll exercise self-control. 😛 )

Friend Finding 101

What I Wish I’d Known In Highschool

Who Are You Trying to Impress?

God bless!

Rana

Hi. I’m Awkward

So I’m wasting my life watching Messy Mondays videos (if you don’t know who they are, go check out their website — http://www.blimeycow.com/).

I’ve been watching them for a very long time.

Maybe years.

Probably years.

Anyway, I remembered a little story that I’m hoping will make you smile and bring a little bit of confidence and self-assurance to your life. May you never be as strange as I am. Because I will most likely get jealous depending on your style of awkward.

If I can have friends, anyone can have friends.

While I was at that two-week debate camp that I referenced to a couple of posts ago, three girls and I decided to do a photoshoot. Fun, right? I was fixing this one girl’s hair and this dude walked by (I’m pretty sure he worked on-campus – he might have been in his early to mid-twenties) and I blurted out, “I like your hair! …But I’m not going to touch it.”

And I’m pretty sure his train of thought went from, “aw, what a sweet girl” to “what a creeper. I need to get away,” in maybe 0.2 seconds.

He just kind of went, “Thanks! …Uh, thanks. Let’s, uh, keep it that way.”

And he scurried away.

Thanks for letting me waste a minute of your time, lovely. 🙂

Here are some pictures from the shoot.

Oh, wait. I just saw that Robin Williams just died. I’m crushed. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on this man’s talent and I’ll be a Catholic and pray his soul gets to Heaven.

Okay, now I feel a bit bad for continuing, but, well… here we go. Just a side note: I usually look like an idiot. I’m being partially selective with the pix I’m posting here for obvious reasons. 😛 Never mind. I’m going all out. Sorry. You get to see my true-ish-self.

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Creeper Status: Level: Me

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As a friend once said: "What would America do without Rana to hold up our national monuments??"

As a friend once said: “What would America do without Rana to hold up our national monuments??”

We did a video to earn points. Fashion video. In the words of a friend, "Girl be like: I did my own makeup." I, happily, did not for this picture. My roommate did.

We did a video to earn points. Fashion video. In the words of a friend, “Girl be like: I did my own makeup.” I, happily, did not for this picture. My roommate did.

God bless!

Rana

{break me, heal me}

Good morning, afternoon, or evening, my darlings.

never surrenderWith so much going on in today’s world (like ISIS beheading even children, depression sucking in precious teens, failed relationships that tear families apart, a father’s drug abuse influencing his son to do the same, a mother’s lack of care for her daughter who seeks that love in all the wrong places…), it’s hard to remember that there is still some good in it (like the man who holds the door open for a woman struggling to get her stroller through it by herself, or the random person on the street who compliments you on your outfit, or the stranger who says something small but fills an empty spot in your soul, or the missionaries sharing love with those who didn’t know it was a real thing…).

Whenever it seems like nothing is going to get better again, force yourself to remember that you’ve felt like this before. Remember all the times when you wished you were someone else so you didn’t know the things you were struggling with inside, when you wished you looked like that person, when you wished you weren’t you weren’t your own worst enemy, when you wished you could just feel better, when you wished you could tear yourself apart.

What do you do when you find yourself asking, “where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me?” (Job 17:15)

Remember that the hard things now make you stronger. Also, so cliche, but it isn’t the end. ❤ Don’t make bad choices based on the way you feel now. You know you’ll regret it. Think ahead to when you’re feeling better — what decision could you make now that will make you happier then?

There’s not insta-cure for pain. There’s no mental iodine.

In the moment, it seems like it’s going to last forever. Everyone’s been through something that would break your heart, love.

It hurts.

It does.

It’s hell.

But not forever.

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening.  They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”  He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,  “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.  Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. – Luke 18:35-43

“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.  You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor” (Job 11:18 – 19)

I love you. Stay strong. ❤

God bless!

Rana

{my new favorite story}

Hello, beautiful!

I’m back from a two week debate camp. And those weeks were two of the best ever. ^_^ I could have stayed up in Virginia for a lot longer; but alas, it could not be. V_V

Now let me tell you a little story. It’s my new favorite. And it’s true.

Once upon a time (if you’ll forgive the cliche opener), I was feeling selfish for wanting to spend my parents’ money on attending a two week debate camp. My dad wasn’t entirely sure if it would be worth it. So I prayed that God would get me there if He wanted. His Will be done, not mine.

faithLo and behold, I ended up in Virginia. I met a nice college student who was contemplating converting to Catholicism. Now, I had borrowed a couple of books from someone and lent them to said college student.

Guys. This was one of the best things ever. I wasn’t sure if I should go. I did. I met a really cool guy and hopefully the books that I’d brought along helped him out.

Also, when we were praying one night, I wanted to tell the guy all of the above (not necessarily exactly like I wrote it) but wasn’t sure if I should or if it’d be creepy, you know? So I asked God to give me an opportunity.

Lo and behold, the guy walked in as I was about to leave.

Now, you should understand something about me. I’m not the feeling kind of person. I don’t usually feel stuff when I pray. I don’t usually see God working very obviously in my life.

But the stuff above was just way too obvious for me. I really think it solidified my faith and showed me that God works in different ways and if He leads us to things, will bring us through them.

Here’s an amazing Bible verse that I really like:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

This is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. Ever. Without doubt.

Please pray for the guy. 🙂

Has anything like this ever happened to you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 😀

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

The two books were:

The Protestant’s Dilemma by Devin Rose

Catholic Controversies by various authors