Yesterday was November 1st and the start of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is like the Boston marathon for writers. In one-month participants are challenged to write 50,000 (or more) words in 30 days. Many people constantly worry and nit pick their creations to the point that their story becomes a concept stuck in their minds. Don’t be that person. The point of the month long exercise is not to finish a novel but to just get one started period.
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”- E.L. Doctorow
There are also perks from sponsors like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Scrivener, who give free or discounted services, which aid writers who want to go further after the NaNoWriMo challenge. Plus you get cool badges and banners that help keep writers motivated and inspired throughout the intense writing period. It’s a wonderful thing, and I owe NaNoWriMo for getting me started in writing a novel as well as inspire me to create my blog site.
You are probably wondering, if you love it so much why not participate? I am not going to lie I did consider doing NaNoWriMo this year. I love the feel of keys tapping beneath my fingers, the constant need to type, and watching my story develop right before my eyes. But I digress, I only want you to remember that the key to success in this challenge is to just type. Writers (I include myself in this obsessiveness) need to stop thinking too hard on the grammar and mechanics. All that comes later in editing and rewrites.
However, this year I have decided to fine tune my manuscript, “Voices of Clara” for publication. Ironically, the story is one I wrote and finished during NaNoWriMo 2008. I was so excited when I saw how the story came together. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was my imperfect story, and I had written it in 30 days. Now it’s 2014, and I still haven’t published, “Voices of Clara“. That’s a long time to sit on a book and have it go nowhere. I don’t want my work to have been written in vain. I like the story of Clara, a young adult woman trying to figure out life and what she wants from it. While having, a few funny and heartfelt adventures and discoveries along the way. I feel that many people could relate regardless their age because we have all struggled in our early adult lives.
Now you know why I am not NaNoWriMoing this year. I encourage other writers to give it a try even if you don’t reach the 50,000-word count goal. I have seen some participants’ word counts go far past the intended goal. Hopefully, I will be able to participate next year because I love a good challenge.
It’s Not Too Late To Participate!
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo 2014? How far have you gotten in your word count? A friend of mine and established author has written over 10,000 words, and she’s only just begun.
Good luck to all the participants and I wish you all the best success in your challenges.
On October 23rd, 2014 Houston’s Stereo Live was pulsating with artists of all types from slam poets, visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians. That night I was there to see and interview singer/songwriter David Justin who just released his new single, “Supernova”. Since the single’s release earlier this year Supernova has been played on Pandora, Sirius, and BBC Radio and is steadily gaining popularity.
David is a Houston native, and upon meeting David I found him to be the down to earth guy he was described to be. His love of music grew after he was presented with his first violin lesson at the age of eight. David proceeded to teach himself the drums at age 12 and eventually picked up songwriting. He never intended to make music a career but after writing several songs while in college David decide it was time to make his mark in the world, and he did. In 2009 David was nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Awards.
However, “Supernova” is not David’s first well received work. In 2012 David’s first album, “Speak to the World”, which included fan favorites such as “Maria”, “Covergirl”, and “Paper Heart”. David’s acoustic style music, voice, and lyrics invite the listener to relate with clearly sung lyrics. I especially like his song, “Unspoken”. His music is reminisce of singers Gavin Degraw, John Mayer, or Michael Bublé.
The night of his performance David sat down with me for a short interview before heading on stage.
Budom: How are feeling tonight? Excited? Pumped?
David: Yeah, I’m excited. There is always excitement, that’s what makes playing live so much fun.
Budom: So tonight you’re going to be playing acoustic?
David: Yeah, yeah that’s pretty much how it all started by playing acoustic and playing by myself. Of course when I am out in LA I play with a band. But then tonight I’ll be playing acoustic style, and I have a drummer who will be playing the Kahuna it’s like a beat box thing, and then my other friend will be playing the bass. It’s going to be a good change up because there is going to be another band playing a full set, and I think the people will enjoy that a lot more. The music will be a lot more raw.
Budom: I read in your bio that you started at a very young age. Was your father your biggest influence as far as getting into music or were there other influences?
David: I mean from a young age I was around music, and of course my dad was my biggest influence because he was the one around the house who played music. So without him I probably wouldn’t have chosen the path I did, and done things or learned the instruments that I learned without him. But yeah, I would definitely say that he was the main person that I looked up to.
Then throughout my teenage years I got into songwriting. When I was about 17 or 18 I got really serious about it. I wrote about 10 or 12 songs that I felt really comfortable with and proud of and I didn’t know what to do with it. I never really thought about being a recording artist. I just loved music, I loved writing, and I would play for my all my friends and family and they said, ‘you should really records these things’.
So, I started off with a little tape track like a cassette and started to record myself playing, and the more I would do that the hungrier I got to make something bigger. I ended up meeting a producer in Dallas who actually produced my first record and recorded my album.
Then about two and a half years ago I got hit up by my manager, Joe Fontaine out in Los Angeles. We started a dialogue and started talking, and his mentioned to me what he was doing and trying to accomplish. Joe said he actually knew some producers and songwriters in Los Angeles. So he asked me to fly out and I flew out. I did a session or two and things went really well. We recorded some songs and I ended up signing a deal with him.
I have been flying back and forth maybe every two to three months going out there just writing and recording. It’s really been a fun experience. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m starting to meet a lot of people in the industry. It’s good being out there and then being able to come back home and play shows where I can play to almost two different audiences.
Budom: Yes, two different types of demographics and types of people?
David: Yes, yes, it really is. Because different people respond to the songs differently, and that what’s really exciting, seeing how people respond and connect with the songs.
Budom: You were nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Music Awards. How did that feel? Did you expect that or was it like “wow” after getting the nomination?
David: (laughs) No, I didn’t. I, uh..just finished recordings some songs from my first record and I was just really trying to get a break, and get my name out there. It was actually the first contest I had ever submitted to. I was kind of leery about submitting to a song writing contest because they get thousands of entries, and you never know if they’re going to hear your song or what.
Yeah, I got a letter in the mail saying that I was a finalist and I think it was out of four or five thousand entries. It was really neat, it was kind of the first time I felt justified as a songwriter. I was up against pro songwriters and I really felt justified and excited. It really made me want to pursue more and do more.
Budom: So you mentioned that you want to build a bigger fan base in Houston. I have a teenage daughter, and I asked my youngest what type of questions she would ask if she had the chance. The first one question is: If there was someone you could collaborate with as a songwriter or singer who would you choose?
David: Hmm, that’s really tough because there’s so much talent out there. I mean it seems when I find a favorite artist then I find another favorite artist. I think that’s just the power of the Internet, and there’s so many tools to discover artist. I would definitely say I think it would be fun to collaborate with John Mayer. He’s a very versatile songwriter and musician.
Budom: Would you ever consider a collaboration out of your genre like Kesha and Pit Bull did as well as other artist?
David: Uh…No, the way I write songs I don’t usually listen to other people and think. ‘I’m going to write a song like that’. It really comes from within me I’m pretty true to myself and I don’t try to be anybody that I’m not. I try to keep it pretty pure.
Budom: Okay, last question. If you had a fandom what would they be called? Here are some examples for you Justin Bieber’s fans are “Biebers”, Lady Gaga’s are “Little Monsters”, and Taylor Swift’s fans are known as the Swifties.
David: (laughs) You know this has been an on going conversation with my manger. We’re still trying to pin point that now. I thought maybe the “Little DJs” but that’s kind of corny, you know? Or maybe the “Little Supernovas”, I don’t know that something we’re still working on. I think it’s going to be like one of those things when somebody else says something and then that’s it.
Budom: (laughs) Well, we need to get that out there. We need to see what your fandom is going to be like. That’s what we need to get a rally started on getting an idea on what to call your fandom.
David: I think so, yeah. We need to work on that. That’s actually a good question because I always think about that.
Budom: Well, David thanks so much for setting aside this time to sit here and chat with you. I look forward to seeing you on stage.
I had a wonderful time corresponding with David through social media and at the interview. He’s a musician with heart and soul and you can hear it in his music.
“It takes courage to chase your dreams and dreams to create courage, but either way I’m committed to both.”
– David Justin
David’s album “Speak to the World” and new single “Supernova” is available on iTunes. Look for the official “Supernova” video release coming soon, featuring Caitlin O’Connor (Sports Illustrated, The Gambler) and Christine Lakin (Step by Step, Melissa & Joey). Meanwhile, you can catch his “Supernova” lyric video on youtube.
I just returned from the theatre from watching ‘Fury’, which premiered Friday October 17th, and according to Variety is suspected to pull in 25 million dollars by the finish of this weekend. Some may think that ‘Fury’ is just another war movie, and maybe it is. But to the men who has served those tanks in a war this movie tells their story.
Fury, a WWII movie focuses on the decisive act of tankers who in 1945 war torn Germany decide to dig in, and hold an important position that would help defeat the German army and possibly end the war.
The war hounded and angst ridden team is led by Academy Award winning actor, Brad Pitt (12 Years A Slave, Inglorious Bastards) . Pitt, plays a man hardened by war and scarred by the missions he has led, but continues to promise his men he’ll get them home alive. Not too much later the tankers find themselves in the battle for their lives.
Shia Lebouf (Transformer, Nymphomaniac) as Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (when focused on acting instead of antics) delivers a memorable performance as a soldier whose faith keeps him and his fellow tankers going even as they protest and tease him on his preachy ways. Michael Pena ( Battle Los Angeles, Gracepoint) and John Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Wolf of Wall Street) hold their own switching from hard to compassionate when the moments called for it.
The most surprising performance was from Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Three Musketeers), who played newly assigned tank driver and desk jockey Norman Ellison. Norman is a young private who claims his specialty is not shooting bullets but typing 60 words per minute. Pitt’s character Sgt. Don ‘Wardaddy’ Colier takes Norman under his wing for many reason but the main reason is to keep him alive. As a form of solidarity the men tell themselves in what seems a sarcastic yet truthful salute, “this is the best job I ever had”.
The film is intense and the acting is right on. I cried, but then I always cry at every war movie I go to. I have my personal reasons. However, it’s hard not to cry when the scenes are so intense and the people are so real. The actors are heaving with such emotional turmoil your own insides ache for them. The tanker’s brotherhood resonates as I am reminded of all the people I have met who have been affected by war today.
“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”- Sgt. Don ‘Wardaddy’ Colier from Fury
Director David Ayers (Training Day, Fast & The Furious) did well in showing how war can cause conflicts within soldier’s about their moral values and faith as they fight to make it home from war. While at times Pitt’s character seems harsh he shows that he is harsh for good reasons in his lessons to young Norman.
The film is worth watching, and although the story is an old one, the stories told are relatable to some viewers out there.
In the spirit of TBT ( translation: throw back Thursday) I went browsing for something in my past post up. I found myself drawn into rereading the flash fiction I created just by looking into a photo and speculating. I enjoyed doing this challenge. It only made me love writing even more. So I share with you my TBT WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words- Mother.
I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Omar Farhad’s début novel gives readers a closer look at what it takes for people to survive in a world where chaos has become the norm, but where deep cultural rituals and habits are kept alive.
While Farhad’s story is fictional the novel sheds light on real living conditions in a world constantly torn apart by war. Honor and Polygamy shows Afghanistan’s plight from a different perspective.
Nicholas Blake, a UN diplomat from New York is assigned one last deployment to Afghanistan. However, Nicholas does not realize how much this deployment would change his life. He never planned on getting kidnapped, and used as a tool for the very Taliban he is trying to help remove from Afghanistan. Nicholas takes readers on his journey of hardships, and the terrible decisions he must make to stay alive, and return home to his wife and children he left behind. Farhad describes both Nicholas’ American world and his Afghanistan world with the relatable interactions of his characters. Will Nicholas’ knowledge of Afghanistan culture, and his nearly perfect Pashtun help him survive his captivity? How far will he go to save his life?
“What if I had done it differently? Would I be in the same mess? If I explained it to Lisa, would she understand? No . No matter how good my intentions were and how bad my circumstances are, my wife will never understand. She will always feel betrayed by and disappointed in me.” –Nicholas Blake in the novel Honor and Polygamy by Omar Farhad.
As a spouse, mother, sister, aunt, and friend of men and women who have deployed to Afghanistan. I am very aware of the dangers that can occur for people on deployment military or civilians. I also think much about Afghanistan people and how the war must affect their way of life. Honor and Polygamy stirs the hearts of readers to empathize with Nicholas’ actions to survive. Readers are left to reflect on how Nicholas’ survival may conflict with their own cultural beliefs and moral values. How far would you go?
We speak briefly with Omar Farhad about his novel and what brought him to tell us his story.
Budom: Were you concerned how recent current events might affect feedback from your readership regarding the political nature of the story?
Omar Farhad: First, I want to thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express myself and at the same time explain the nature of my début novel.
Honestly, I am very concerned with the recent US government’s reckless behavior in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Looking at the recent government changes that the US made or encouraged starting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and now in Syria, the political situation in mentioned nations have become more dangerous. The new weak and corrupt governments are not able to defend their nations against the new created fundamentalist ideology. Therefore, “one dictator is better than many corrupt official”. That in mind, the US experimentation of forced-fed democracy in the Middle East must stop at once before the entire world is pulled into a world war III.
Budom: As an Afghan-American man writing, a reader might assume that the book is very one side. However, I found it was not. Was it difficult emotionally for you to write the story?
To answer the first part of your question, every reader will judge my point of view according to his or her level of understanding. As a writer, the very first thing I have learned in writing is to be honest and truthful. I will never deviate from stating the facts directly or indirectly.
I used to work as a contractor in Afghanistan for a little over two years. After the end of my second year, I realized the US efforts in Afghanistan will ultimately have fruitless ending. In Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East where the United States has been involved politically, the US government simultaneously failed to recognize the cultural distance, societal complexities, and change political practices. One size does not fit all.
Budom: Could this have really happened in Afghanistan if someone like Nick should request “Nanawatai,” which means “asylum” in Pashtun’s culture, and the language of the southern and eastern Afghanistan people?
Omar Farhad: The honor codes that I have mentioned in my book does exist in reality and yes, if someone like Nick who needed asylum “Nanawatai” would have been taken in by a Pashtun family. These codes of honor are many thousands year old. In a tribal uneducated society like Afghanistan, these codes of honor are still good as gold to bring order and to keep peace.
Budom: What do you want ‘Honor and Polygamy’ to accomplish as a novel? Do you find it is getting good reception with readers and critics?
Omar Farhad: Yes, the book is received warmly. Feedbacks from Amazon and goodreads.com are all positive.
I as an Afghan born had many hopes for Afghanistan. However, “seeing is believing” and what I have witnessed in Afghanistan did not give me hope for a better future.
After 14 years of US involvement in Afghanistan, after many lives lost on both sides, and after billions of dollars lost to a created corrupt system, the American public does not understand why we are involved in that war. The most typical and basic perception of the American people is, the spread of democracy. Well, that is a great idea but, did every American woke up one morning and realized they were born free? The answer is no. Democracy in the United States was achieved over a period of 300 years with many sacrifices made by those before us. The same is true about other nations and the same process and time is needed to achieve democracy.
With Honor and Polygamy, I am hoping to point out missed opportunities, cultural distance, and cultural complexities that were first missed by the British invading Afghanistan in late 1800s, the Russians in 1980s, and the US since 2001.
Budom: Will you be writing more on this subject on a future novel or do you have something else planned?
I am currently working on my own memoir, which also have a political side to it. My journey as a child begins right before the Russian invasion and I grow to a young man in war torn country and as a refugee in Pakistan.
Thank you Omar for giving us a look into another world and culture. I look forward to your next book. Honor and Polygamy can be found on Amazon.com.
About the author:
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan Omar Farhad move to the United States over 27 years ago, and now resides in California. Farhad holds degree in Aviation from Spartan School of Aeronautics as well as a degree in Global Economics from the University of Phoenix.
lecturaobligada– by Alberto Berenguer
Q & A with Omar Farhad, author of the novel, ‘Honor and Polygamy’ – by Kevin Peters
Signs are everywhere in life. Some signs are physical and tangible like when you want to head to a business or take a road trip reading the passing signs to count off the minutes before you arrive to your destination.
Some signs are more personal like signs for answered prayers, the plant you finally grew without killing it, or the sign of the rising or setting of the sun letting you know you’re alive.
There are signs that your relationship is over, or you need to move on to the next step. There are signs that you’re being admired or that you’re being bullied.
So while we want to look for that clear sign remember some signs are not always so clear, but some signs are worth clearing up.
Other Weekly Photo Challengers:
Weekly challengers if you enjoyed my photos please feel free to leave a link to your photo in the comments so I may enjoy your photos too. Catch ya on the flip side. 🙂
I love sushi. Being Asian helps but it’s more than just being Asian, this love for sushi. Sushi is an “edible” that looks weird but infuses flavors, which explode in your mouth . Sushi is famous for being raw (which btw is called sashimi) fish but it is so much more.
That’s why when my daughter came home exclaiming she found a running/moving sushi bar, I was all in. Sushi Choo Choo is a sushi with locations in Houston & Humble, Texas.They specialize in creating small portion size sushi rolls with names like Sea Dragon, Shaggy Dog, and Crazy Lover. The creations look creative and is delivered to you via moving belt.
Sushi Choo Choo’s ambiance is a very clean sleek but makes you feel like you stepped through a portal to Japan. I went to the Houston location twice, once for lunch and dinner another time. Both times our servers were very welcoming and efficient.
“The experience is unique and simple. Here is how it works.”-Sushi Choo Choo
The sushi that comes around is fresh and priced right. The sushi plates are color coded such as yellow is $1.50 and orange plate is the highest serving of sushi priced at $4.00. If your on even more of a budget for the Sushi Choo Choo’s has a “happy hour”. Happy hour means that you get 20% off sushi from the running bar and 50% off sake. Sushi Choo Choo is definite must if you get a chance to head to Houston. “Happy Hour” times are Sunday through Thursday 9pm to close and Monday through Friday 2:30pm to 5pm.
I recently read a blog by Erin J. Bernard, written on September 9, 2014 titled, KICKING PUPPIES AND TAKING NAMES: WHY WE MISBEHAVE IN ELEVATORS. Bernard engages readers with a cozy humorous tone throughout the blog. Her great insight on the psychology of elevator rides and the effect they have on human behavior. My favorite part of the blog is when she recalls famous elevator snafus most everyone can relate to. The elevator adventures are from past through present day.
“You might encounter a beautiful new neighbor with copious, spilling décolletage, whom you will instantly charm and then just-as-quickly infuriate when you gaze into her vacant eyes and explain that everybody in the building’s only been nice her because her boobies are humongous. It’s not your fault – your long-suffering son has placed a birthday curse on you that acts as a much-needed truth serum – and it’s causing all sorts of antics to ensue (“Liar Liar”).” — Erin J. Bernard
I found much of Bernard’s blog relatable to my own opinions, and I enjoyed hearing some historic information on elevators. Do yourself a favor, and read the article by Erin J. Bernard, who welcomes comments and discussion about the blog.
La Porte, Texas is a small town near Galveston Bay plays an important part in American History. The San Jacinto Battles Grounds is a historic attraction that kept up by the Texas Parks & Wildlife agency.
The photo of the Battleship Texas was taken during our housing hunting expeditions to Houston (believe me we had more than a few expeditions). I added in the Mexican soldier (played so well by hubby) to portray “endurance”. Endurance is a hardcore ingredient when it comes to the making of American history.
The battleship tour will aid you in imagining the life sailors endure during the wars, especially in comparison with today’s sailors. Imagine your only source of news from home depended solely on snail mail? I am sure my iPhone toting teen would find that barbaric.
Yes, I started with such a word, but sometimes that is exactly how I feel. I know that job hunting has never had an easy history, but you would think after all these years something would make it easier. Maybe even pleasant?
Okay, I ranted thanks for listening. oh wait? Did you think I was done no I am merely pre-thanking you for staying to listen. Today I went on an interview that took up to 3 hours. As I was regretting skipping my morning coffee my stomach grumbled. It was so loud! I thought the receptionist might come in the conference thinking I needed medical attention. Thank goodness, my stomach had good timing and did not protest during the actual interview.
So back to this interview which started at 9am and proceeded until noon. Let me tell you, this was for a position that stated it was an at home position.
Ah, but like Daddy always said, “read the fine print.” otherwise you will rue the day. I am not saying the company was dishonest, no. The interviewers were very open during the interview, and clarified any concerns I might have with the position. More on this later.
I was given a skills test that involved reading a small children’s book then writing a short essay about it, and what you think of the book. The test was not so bad. Of course, I am the worst test taking person. I get so nervous when tested, even if I know the information. Then the next step is the face to face interview.
There were lots of questions on handling customers and resolving issues. I feel I was being auditioned more than interviewed. The interviewers wanted to know how I might have solved irate or distressed customer issues. They really went through the résumé. It’s nice to know someone is reading my résumé.
It seems that the training takes place at an office site and once trained can earn to get on the “at home” rotation. This education is estimated to last average of two to three months. Two to three months? But I have a home office waiting to be used! Sigh. Okay, I kept my smile on and figured that the salary was worth the training at an office site.
Once the interview was over I was offered a drink, and the restroom. The interviewers went to discuss, with their general manager, if I would be moving to the further into the “employed” stage. I waited for at least an hour before one of the interviewers returned to let me know they “weren’t” moving further on with the hiring process.
Okay, there are some good things I can take from this. The glass is always half full, right?
1. They spent a long time with me. They must have seen some potential. (Yet they didn’t hire me,hmmm?)
2. The universe must be telling me something. (I don’t know. I just had my heart set on a couple of other applied to jobs. Luck be a lady tonight.)
3. Really there is no three. Everyone was nice and polite but they could have sent me home then discussed things with the general manager. (I was having coffee withdrawals.)
That’s it, my “argh” day. I am not sad that I didn’t get the job just slightly disappointed. Rejection is not an easy criticism to take even when it is constructive criticism. I really felt they liked me during the interview. Either way it was good interview practice. I kept thinking this is what is must feel like trying to get a job at a law firm. I tell you, the interviewers were very thorough.
Who wouldn’t be a little disappointed that’s just human nature. No worries though because I still have a couple of interviews in the wings. So wish me luck as I continue onward in my job hunting saga.
I enjoy traveling because learning becomes interactive. My visit to Jamaica revealed that poverty is real. In the United States people can go most of their life without seeing or meeting homeless. However, that is getting more difficult as economies remain unstable.
I was impressed with the Jamaican people, that no matter the difficulties of their struggles, the Jamaicans are a positive and resilient people. In Montego, Jamaica stands a statue of Samuel Sharpe,a revered freedom fighter against slavery. Sharpe, a leader in abolishing slavery in Jamaica, and aided towards eventual independence from Britain.
“…Jamaica slaves won emancipation in 1834…”-Photo with History of Jamaica.
A rape victim speaks out with her Art. Read the article and then take the poll. Has Emma Sulkowicz gone too far? Are our great teaching insitiutions ignoring rape on their campuses?
Good Advice for the mentally stressed! Of course, it’s easier said than done with this crazy world. See if you agree with Philosophybank.org authors, Neil & Nalin Gadihoke’s… “DO NOT” List of the Mentally Strong.
After reading the article take the Mentally Strong Quiz and let us know where you stand.