So You’re Quitting The Walking Dead–Here’s Why You’re Wrong

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Unless you live under a rock, by now you’ve all seen the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead. Unless you were born without a heart, you’ve also probably had at least a dozen emotional breakdowns over the last 72 hours. You’re not alone. I have to stop myself from crying at the mere mention of Glenn’s name. (Sorry, Abe. Your absence and lack of wisecracks will be just as heavily felt, but I just can’t imagine the Walker-World without Glenn’s endlessly generous heart.) That said, it’s time to address the zombie in the room.

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Since the premiere, there’s been a whole lot of “fans” who claim they’re quitting TWD after this week. While I will be the first to agree this was by far the hardest, most traumatic hour of television in the history of television (GoT’s “Red Wedding” included. Your move, Martin), I don’t believe anyone who says they had no idea this episode was going to be so brutal. Any true fan of TWD has at least done some research/read into the graphic novels and has known for years now what they were in for with Negan and his savage band of Saviors. So why the scandalized attitudes?

Before I go on, I wouldn’t be doing my job as an unbiased viewer if I didn’t take the time to analyze the new dynamics of the show. For the last six years, we’ve watched TWD from the side of Rick Grimes. We’ve stood by our fearless leader of the apocalypse as he’s had to make one impossible choice after another, as he’s continued to find security for his people, then gotten his people into trouble, even after he bit that guy’s ear off (which was totally awesome, by the way). But the further the show progresses, the more I find myself asking, “Can Rick really be considered a hero?”

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Don’t get me wrong, the whole point of the zombie apocalypse is to buck up and put who you once were behind you. Saps don’t survive. I get that. But what about when Rick assassinated an entire town of people without any instigation. Yes, he thought he was doing what was right by helping another town of strangers. We all know it was a mistake, though. Just think, if Mr. Grimes had minded his own business, we would still have Glenn, Abe, Denise, and countless other people. So thanks, Rick. This brings me to the group’s fateful encounter with Negan. As much as I hate what the leader of the Savior’s did Sunday, I honestly can’t say I blame him. Furthermore, when you compare how many men Rick killed versus the two Negan killed, homeboy actually let them off easy. (Forgive me, Glenn and Abe.) What’s worse is that Negan truly believes he’s the one who’s been wronged. This sole dynamic between cat and mouse makes for a hell of a season. Now, back to what I was saying earlier.

To add to the ridiculousness of people’s reactions, apparently the Parents Television Council has recently spoken on the matter by voicing their distress regarding the violence of Sunday’s episode. Um, what? Where was it ever stated that TWD was a show for children? At the very least, if you don’t have the foresight to make your kid cover their eyes or leave the room when you know someone is about to get their skull bashed in, then what what are you even doing with your life?

My favorite feedback since the premiere has come from those who don’t even watch the show, the people who have been asking why people like me watch a show that clearly causes misery. To be fair, I was asking myself the same thing as I covered my mouth while two of the show’s most beloved characters literally bit the dust the other night. But then I stayed up for the exclusive clip for next week’s episode, which I fully intend to watch, because I apparently love to torture myself.Unknown.jpeg

The bottom line is this: The Walking Dead is a show notorious for crossing the line. It’s violent, gory, mature, and all-around depressing. But I, like any other lover of the zombie-genre, knew all of that going in. This isn’t a show one watches to feel good about life. This is a show we watch when we need to be reminded that things could always be worse. You just lost your job? At least your wife didn’t die giving birth in the middle of a walker attack. Your relationship just ended? At least your father wasn’t decapitated at the hands of a severely misguided, one-eyed dictator. (Do you see where I’m going with this?) THAT SAID, the beauty of TWD lies in the rare instances when something good actually happens to Rick or Carol or Daryl. It’s the purest feeling of joy in the world. (Maybe this makes me sound lame, but I don’t care.)

Fans like me have spent six years watching this show, of suffering through all the (many) moments of horror and sadness, because at the end of the day we’re all rooting for these fictional people’s happiness. We watch TWD to be reminded that no matter how bleak things get, there’s always a small ray of light waiting for us at the end of the tunnel. Though fundamentally a show about the undead, TWD is actually at its core a show about the living. It’s about seeing how hard times can change a person, for better or for worse. Regardless of what the critics say, TWD will forever be one of the most brilliant shows ever to grace cable television simply because of its ability to reflect the essence of who we are. At the end of the day, The Walking Dead reminds us what it is to be human. That’s why we continue to put our emotional stability on line for the sake of a TV show.

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The Life of a Mentee #PitchWars #PimpMyBio

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When I was nine years old, I discovered the magical world of Harry Potter for the first time (not to be confused with the Universal theme park). Two months later, after blasting through the first four books of J.K. Rowling’s series (the other three weren’t yet out by that time), I sat down to write my first story.

It. Was. Wretched.

At the time, though, I had never more proud of myself.

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Three years passed. Then one fateful day, I discovered Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series. To this day, I remember my emotions as I devoured each book, having never read anything like them before.

That was when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to be a writer one day. And that’s exactly what I did. The four years of my high school career consisted of Friday nights at Barnes & Noble, where I would buy four or five hardbound notebooks at a time to indulge my creative whims. Though my friends would never admit it, I knew even then what a nutcase they probably thought I was.

When I was nineteen, I was offered a contract from a small publishing company for a three book series. At long last, my hard work was finally paying off. Like any eager nineteen-year-old with a big dream and an optimistic mind, I jumped on it. Within a year and a half, I had three books out in the big, scary world. (You can find the link for them through this site, in case you were interested.) Yes, I thought I was big $h*t. I was sure that I was going to be the next big thing, that my books would sell like hotcakes (I’ve never understood that term) and I would be invited for an interview with Ellen Degeneres and everyone would love me.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

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Oh, my sweet summer teenage self, how wrong you were. A couple of years passed. Then one late evening, I was struck by an idea for a brilliant new YA science fiction/fantasy story. Fast forward to #PitchWars 2016.

After participating in last year’s #PitchWars and failing to procure a mentor, I was inspired to completely rewrite my manuscript. And I am so glad I did. Anyway, I’m back this year and more ready than ever! So enough about my lengthy background. How about some fun and random facts? I’ve decided to list some of my favorite things as a way of better displaying my wonderfully enigmatic personality. As you’ll find, I’ve listed more than one thing in each category, because I am the most indecisive troll ever to have walked this green earth.
Favorite Shows: Chuck, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Firefly, How I Met Your Mother, Fringe

Favorite Movies: Empire Records, Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings, Stuck in Love

Favorite Bands: Weezer, Cake, Coldplay, Of Monsters and Men, Twenty One Pilots, Nirvana, AC/DC

Favorite Singers: P!nk, Eminem, Joan Jett

Favorite Books: Harry Potter, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Song of the Lioness, Throne of Glass, The Great Gatsby, 1984

Favorite Actors: Jennifer Lawrence (I want to be her BFF) and Robert Downey Jr. (I want to be his wife. Jk. Not really.)

Favorite Food: PIZZA. Any time, anywhere.

Favorite Drinks: Coffee, Chai Tea, Moscato D’Asti

 

And that’s all I got for now, folks. I’m so excited for #PitchWars 2016 and to meet all the awesome writers participating! Good luck to all! And to the YA mentors, PICK ME!!!

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TLR 4–Where the Heck is it?!

To my readers, fans, and possible stalkers (and to those who consider themselves as all three):
 
After receiving several messages over the last few months regarding the release of TLR 4, I believe you are due a moment of complete, undiluted honesty.
 
The last update I gave, I told you all that I would be done with TLR 4 by late fall. I am still hoping to achieve this personal deadline, though I still have an overwhelming amount to go. For one, this book is significantly more complicated to write. For starters, the plot in TLR 4 is ABUNDANTLY different than its predecessors. Location, characters, etc. Then there’s the personal stuff.
 
When I finished writing TLR 3, I was going through a mountain of big-life changes. Namely, I was dealing with a lot of ends. The end of a serious relationship, end of a long-time friendship, end of a job, end of a school, and end of a place. Essentially, I was cutting all ties of things I believed to be weighing me down in some way or another. (Physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) I was exhausted. Then I transferred universities and moved three states over, basically on a whim. So I had to learn to re-adjust to my life and surroundings. Basically, when I thought of writing TLR 4, all I could think about was the changes I had just made in my life and some negative feelings that consequently affected my writing and my view of Emma, Evin, and the rest of the gang.
 
I was unhappy for a long while, and didn’t want to risk that unhappiness creeping into mine (and everyone else’s) world of Evmurah and supernatural Boston. Moreover, I was having a very difficult time finding any inspiration of any sort. Then it came, but not in the form of TLR.
 
So I temporarily set my published series on the back burner to focus on a new project, a project that I must admit has brought me more exhilaration than anything else I have ever done before. (All I can say for now is that it’s a blend of science-fiction and fantasy.) And I finished the book. But it still wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. So I re-wrote it. Then again. And again. Until it was right.
 
By this time, I was under contract for a different company to finish a different book (more on that later as well). So I had to, once again, put a hold on TLR to make good on my obligation.
 
In the midst of all this, I was wrapping up my last semester of college. Again, I was unhappy. I was more stressed than I have ever been in my life and yet again dealing with tying up loose ends and friendships. (What can I say, I have an uncanny talent for burning bridges.) I was also in the middle of another major move.
 
Currently, I am writing (sincerely) to you guys from Virginia. I am also actively seeking a big-kid job, because as much as I adore writing and hope to one day pursue it full-time, I need something in the meantime to pay my bills, as well as my dog’s lavish lifestyle. I have finally returned to TLR 4 as my main project, and I am working on it when I can, though unfortunately, not as much as I would like.
 
I promise, you guys. I am trying. I want this book done just as much as everyone else, because I know I put y’all on a serious cliffhanger with the end of TLR 3. I pulled a total George RR Martin on everyone (sorry, Georgie), and for that I apologize. But it’s coming. I have not forgotten those of you who continue to inspire me to chase my dreams. I have not forgotten Evmurah and it’s magical inhabitants.
 
As always, I would be nothing without my readers, so I thank you all once again for standing loyally by me.
 
Love,
KL
 
 
 

THOUGHTS, TATS, AND THANKS(GIVING).

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When I was 17, I wrote and rewrote my first book. When I was 19, I received a life changing offer from a small (and ever growing) publishing company to finally see the series I spent the better part of my teenage years working on in print.
After a lot of thinking and deliberating, I decided to get my first tattoo about a year ago, then enlarged it some tonight. (I’m kind of a wuss, so I like to do things cautiously and minimally.) This mark is the mark of the Council (a Darspinger) from my own books, ‘The Lost Realm Series.’ 
The thing is, this mark is more than just a symbol from a book. This is a mark that represents loss and grief, especially for those characters where my books are concerned. Because in order to grow, we have to stumble and count our losses along the way. Over the last year and a half or so, I’ve had this lesson handed to me over and over again, and in a thousand different ways. I parted with the town and school I loved to take a risk in a town and school I knew nothing about, left people I loved behind, quit my stuffy office job, lost a few friends along the way (figuratively), and lost a beloved family member as well (literally). But among all the chaos and pain, somewhere along the way, amazingly, I started to grow. 
2015 has been a monster of a year, to say the least. I know there’s still a little over a month before it’s finally over (thank goodness!), but I felt that now was an appropriate time–if there ever is actually an appropriate time to get profound on social media–to post some thoughts. Apologies to everyone for the monologue. Sometimes it feels good to get on my philosophical soap box and use my almost English degree to talk nonsense. 
What I’m really trying to get at here is that the new Star Wars movie comes out in less than a month, so this year can’t be all bad, right? *Prays Abrams really knows what he’s doing.*
*To those of you gloriously dedicated, awesome humans who read my books and have asked when the next one comes out, I promise that I have not forgotten about you. I’m working on a little at a time, around the time when I’m not in school, writing papers, or having minor mental breakdowns. It WILL get done, hopefully over my holiday break. As always, thank you all so much for your patience.
XOXOXO

A Treat: TLR 4 Excerpt

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In celebration of the 3,728 (14 pages-worth) of words I’ve written today, I decided to let everyone else in on my celebration as well. For all of my awesome readers, who have been so patient as they wait for me to hurry and finish TLR 4, I decided to reward everyone with a small treat. Before you read, be warned that this is an UNEDITED excerpt and you will probably be left with more questions than answers–what can I say? I’m a tease. I might also advise you you all to grab your tissues.

Enjoy, my loves! 🙂

THE LOST REALM BOOK 4 EXCERPT

When her surroundings finally stilled, Emma saw that she was standing in what looked to be a hallowed tree. It was the only observation she had time to make before she noticed the other occupant of the area.
“Tristan!” she exclaimed as she fell onto her knees beside him. She reached out to touch him, feeling furious and powerless when her hands went right through him. “Tristan, can you hear me?”
It was a stupid thing to ask. Of course he couldn’t hear her, not when she was nothing more than a lingering spirit and him injured and incoherent. Still, Emma felt comforted speaking to him, even if he wasn’t able to answer her.
“I apologize for what I am about to do,” an animalistic voice said from behind her.
Emma turned to look at the mossy bearded man and the dagger in his hands. Her heart clenched as she wondered what he was going to use the dagger for, and then unclenched in confusion as the strange man held the blade over the pit of flames. Only then did she notice the strap of leather wedged between Tristan’s teeth.
“Oh God.”
For his part, the bearded man tried to be swift as he firmly pressed the hot blade against the giant, unsightly welt on Tristan’s neck. There was a sizzling hiss, followed by an agonized howl that made Emma want to hold onto Tristan and never let go.
“You’re hurting him!” she yelled to the man.
Finally, the man lifted the dagger and returned to the fire pit. Emma couldn’t tear her eyes from the shiny patch of burnt flash the hot dagger had left behind. The man was at Tristan’s side again, once again carrying an orange-tinted dagger.
“Don’t—”
This time, Tristan’s emerald eyes flew open from the shock of the pain. Emma tried to block out his screams as she knelt over his body, as if by doing so would somehow protect him from any further harm.
“It’s okay,” she whispered into his ear. “I’m here, Tristan.”
Tristan shouldn’t have been able to make sense of anything that was going on around him. That much had already become evident to Emma. But as his dazed gaze suddenly seemed to focus on her, Emma sucked in a startled breath.
“Emma?” he murmured through the leather strap still wedged between his teeth.
Emma eagerly nodded. “Yes, Tristan. It’s me.”
The bearded man finally tossed his dagger aside and gently removed the strap from Tristan’s mouth. Emma barely noticed as he stood and disappeared from the room.
Tristan reached a hand out, as if he really could see her.
Emma’s eyes stung as she sadly shook her head. “It won’t work, Tristan.”
His tapered fingers grasped at empty air in response.
There was another throbbing sensation in Emma’s head, like some silent warning that she was running out of time. “I can’t stay much longer.”
“Please,” he murmured.
Emma held a hand as close to his cheek as she could without passing through him. “I’m so sorry, Tristan. Where I’m at right now…I’m lucky I was able to come here. Even luckier you’re able to see me.”
Tristan was fighting to maintain his consciousness as he breathed, “My fault.”
He was referring to her death.
“No!” she tenderly argued. Her heart—dead as it was—seemed to shatter into thousands of pieces at the grief that had spread over his pale face. “I knew what I was doing.”
Tristan howled out in pain as a convulsion shook his body. “Sh—should’ve stopped him.”
“He had us all fooled.”
Emma felt her presence in the living realm begin to waver.
The Realm of Shadows was calling her back.
“I have to go now,” she reluctantly told him.
“Stay,” he breathed, between ragged breaths.
Emma’s hair fell around her face as she bent to brush her lips against his. For the briefest moment, she thought she felt something—a tingling warmth that hadn’t been present before. It was gone before she could be certain.
“I love you.”
Tristan fell unconscious again before he could reply, exhausted from his ordeal. It was for the best, Emma thought to herself as she finally faded away. After everything he had been through, Tristan deserved at least a few hours of peaceful sleep.

Write, Write, Write

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Please excuse this interruption for a quick update on my writing life!

Some of you may know that I’ve been writing short stories over the last few months for an up-and-coming tabletop gaming company called Knight Errant Games. And let me tell you, it has been what I consider a surreal experience to be a part of the writing world from this side of the table (pun intended). It’s seriously awesome, you guys!

What many of you may not know, however, is that a few weeks ago I was offered a contract and the chance to write a full standalone novel for KEG. As one of the nerdiest people on the planet and someone who has dreamed of writing full-time since the day I could write, I knew I’d have to be an idiot not to consider this opportunity. So after several more emails and a lot of thinking, I am ecstatic to announce that I accepted the offer and as of today, am officially on board to write what I hope to be a super exciting novel about even more super exciting things!

Come check out what KEG’s about through this link: http://www.knighterrantgames.com

In the meantime, for those of you who are eagerly awaiting for the day when I finally finish TLR 4, I wanted to take a moment to reassure everyone that I am still hard at work on it and really hope to be finished with it in the next couple of months. As always, I promise to give updates with each step of the process and wanted to thank everyone for your interest and support!

XOXOXO
-KL

Blueberry “Prisp”: An Original Recipe

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After two weeks of great behavior and healthy, clean eating–and I mean CLEAN–the inevitable happened tonight. I got a sweet tooth.

Of course, I wasn’t about to break my diet for empty calories and the nagging guilt that would later rake my mind, and I had the most persistent feeling in my gut that there was a reason for the carton of blueberries I bought today on a whim. And then something incredible happened. After a few minutes of searching the Pinterest boards, inspiration struck.

Without further adieu, I present to you the all-original 100% HEALTHY recipe for what I like to call a “Prisp” (a DELICIOUS hybrid between a pie and a crisp). Yes, I created the entire thing from my mind, and guys? I’m pretty dang proud of it!

Blueberry Prisp

Blueberry Prisp

Blueberry Prisp Recipe
Preheat oven to 375°F.

For the crust: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg white

For the filling: 1 pint fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons honey

For the crisp: 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1/4 cup crushed walnuts (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix ingredients of crust together before transferring to a lightly greased, glass pie dish. Gently press down, until the bottom of the pan is covered with the crust. Then, dust the crust with a thin layer (about a tablespoon) of brown sugar. Next, mix honey and blueberries in small bowl before spreading over the crust. Lastly, after mixing ingredients for crisp in another, separate bowl, pour mixture over layer of blueberries, taking care to spread evenly.

Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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*For those looking for a little more (even though I think it’s absolutely perfect as is) top with scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt or vanilla ice-cream. Also, (for those opposed to blueberries) even though I’ve yet to try any other combinations, I’d venture this recipe will work just as well with peaches, apples, and cherries.

P.S. Make sure to tell all your friends and families where you got this delightful recipe from! I’d hate to have so generously shared my original idea and not receive any creative credit for it! 😉

A Plea

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At first, I wasn’t going to say anything, simply because I don’t have much of an opinion on the matter and the matter doesn’t apply specifically to me. But after hundreds of hateful posts and comments (from both sides) filling all of my news feeds across the internet spectrum, I felt it my right, per the First Amendment, to say something. Before I get on my soap box, let me say that this is not intending to be a lecture or political sermon of any kind, but rather, a heartfelt plea.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court passed a monumentally historical decision. As a born and bred Christian, I was taught many lessons growing up, above all, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned” (Luke 6:37). It is this lesson in particular that I have tried to apply most of all to my life, and this lesson that I applied to yesterday’s news. That having been said, there were many people who disregarded this mindset entirely (again, across both spectrums) and instead chose to act with disgrace and hate.

Yes, there were many people opposed to the SC’s decision. There were many people whom, like me, grew up in a church setting and were taught to view the world through moral lenses. Though these people have been brought up to believe in the union between only man and wife, I noticed many of these same people held their peace (yes, peace) yesterday in receiving the SC’s decision and remained dignified, even if they might have felt uncomfortable or disappointed. Again, Luke 6:37. On the other hand, I noticed there were many other people raised in the same way that reacted with outbursts of hate and near violence, something that DOES go against Christian standards. Then, there was another group, a group that chose to caustically mock the Christian religion and its followers as a whole in a manner that was just as violent and disrespectful as the formerly mentioned group.

Deep down, this hurt me. This hurt me because I live in a country where we are promised safety and freedom. Freedom of the press, speech, religion, and, as of yesterday, whom we marry, regardless of gender. Unfortunately, the more people continue to treat each other and the law with hate and violence, the more I continue to feel less safe and less (religiously) free.

To those not affiliated with the Christian religion, please note that it is both offensive and unfair to group all of us as a whole when there are some who would act disgracefully in His name. Also note that I would like to apologize for anyone who treated yesterday’s news with outright hate and violence. Yes, they have as much right to freedom of speech as anyone else, however, that is not the Christian way. That being said, it was just as unacceptable for those in favor of the SC’s decision to provoke and/or bash anyone associated with the Christian religion, simply because of the morals myself and these people choose to stand by (note that this was not everyone, just a select few). Once again, not everyone thinks or is the same and does not deserve to be treated as such.

I will finish this long-winded speech off by saying for the second time that I reserve all judgment on the SC’s decision, simply because it is neither my judgment to pass, nor any of my business (maritally or orientation-wise). As a Christian, I feel it is my job, as well as the rest of His followers, to act, not with hate or judgment, but with peace and love. THAT is what we are called to do–not just “we” as in Christians but in non-followers as well. In a country that continues to fill with hate and violence, love is what we–ALL OF US–need most right now. “‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF'” (Mark 12:31), regardless of whom that “neighbor” is and whether or not you agree with them or their lifestyle. THAT is my plea.

I apologize for such a long, deep post. Rarely do I ever take the time to get so philosophical on the internet. I am happy for those who feel happy by yesterday’s events and saddened by those who chose to react with hate and/or mockery. As for me personally, I remain neutral on the decision, in a state of reserved judgment, as it is not my place to pass it.

For those who disagree what I’ve taken the time to write, please do not respond with hate (as that is the very thing I have just urged against) but simply ignore this or, if it makes you feel better, block me.

Much love,
K.L.

14 Signs Your Actual Relationship Is With Coffee

Thought Catalog

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1. Your idea of a perfect date is just you, a cup of coffee (with a full pot on standby), and a good book.

2. It’s the first thing you think about every morning. The only thing that convinces you to get out of bed is the beautiful coffee aroma that wafts into your room every morning. You would take that smell over sweet nothings whispered in your ear any day of the week.

3. You think it’s beautiful at all hours of the day, no matter what it looks like. Hot, iced, latte, black, any form it chooses to take, you love it just as it is.

4. If you ever had to choose between the boyfriend/girlfriend and coffee, you would choose the coffee. A life without coffee is no life at all.

5. You spend all of your extra money on it. Oh my gosh, this mug…

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