My Favorite Play-Along Piano Songs

Last week, I played the piano for the first time in probably four years. It was sort of like riding a bike–if you tend to crash frequently.

But the longer I played, it came back to me. Strange. Anyway, I was reminded of all the songs I learned to play just so I could play along.

After All These Years – Silverchair

To continue with my bike analogy, I crashed horribly last week. Like, blood everywhere when I tried to play this. But the further into the song I got, it started to come back. Woo! There are like 45 flats and sharps and ten key changes in this one. I tend to round up.

Existentialism on Prom Night – Straylight Run

It’s been years, but I think this is the first song I tried to “play along” to. I’m sure it was an epic fail.

The Luckiest – Ben Folds

If you’re new around here, Ben Folds is one of my favorite people ever. And that’s all I need to say. Oh, one more thing. I played this at my piano recital! Continue reading

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Creating Novel Aesthetics

Happy Writing Wednesday, all!

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I’m obsessed with Adobe Spark. I’ve made an unhealthy amount of pictures for I’m Only Me (and everything else I write). It’s strangely addicting, and I may have a problem. I’ll be posting my novel pics on my Instagram in the coming weeks. I have a schedule and everything. Try to contain your excitement.

Ha!

Well, I’m excited about it. I don’t know how to convey this without sounding like I’ve officially lost it. There’s something literally magical about seeing fictional characters that you’ve created come to life in a picture.

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accurate representation of me scouring Pinterest

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My Currents: May 2019

Wow, I’m late. These particular updates aren’t that high on my priority list, which is actually a pretty good confession to make, I’d say.

A List of Currents and Lasts

Current Album in My Car

Ember Breaking Benjamin

Yep. #noshame

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Current Album in My Stereo

Saturate Breaking Benjamin

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Last Song Played on Spotify

I’m listening to Mark’s playlist as I type this. Currently:

“You Won’t Be Mine” Matchbox 20

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Last Netflix Binge

Waiting for OITNB…

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Current YouTube Obsession

Kitboga

Love. So this guy calls scammers and wastes their time. That’s pretty much it. While this doesn’t sound entertaining, I’m obsessed. He has a voice changer of some kind, and his granny voice is perfection. I love him. And his eyebrows are awesome.

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Last Movie Watched

Captain America: Civil War

I think…

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Current Read

*crickets*

I really need to read something. #forshame


Thanks for spending some time here! 

Surviving the Slush

Well. Not sure if I’m up for this, but I’m going to try. I have some thoughts…

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Here’s the thing. Querying is hell. It’s an absolute nightmare. So you write this novel, and you’re proud of it–the story of your heart, to throw that cliche in here. You do your research to find agents looking for your kind of story. And they’re out there. You prepare your query letter, agonizing over every word and obsessing over comma usage. Does a comma go there? Gah!

You send it out and wait to hear back. Meanwhile your inbox becomes the single scariest page on the internet.

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And… Rejection. But that’s OK. That agent was out of your league. It was a long shot. It was expected. Whatever.

Then another rejection comes. Yes, it hurts, but you press on.

This cycle continues until you’ve run out of agents, patience, or self-worth.

I know agents know this, but they have so much power. With one email, they can change lives. That’s what I’m thinking when I hit send. To the writer, you’re sending out the result of more work, heartache, and dedication than anything you’ve created in your life. But on the other end, it’s more of an ever-growing list that must be sifted through before the pile is too overwhelming. I don’t fault agents for this, and I mean no disrespect. It’s just the way it is. Reading through queries is only part of agent life. So what took you possibly years to prepare can turn to a “no, thanks” with a skim and a simple click.

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But. Continue reading

Meet Lily Morgan: 2019

About two years ago, I created some interviews for each of my characters. I’m giving these an update, simply because I know my characters even better now. I’m not sure if I will re-post them as their own blog posts, but over the next few days-weeks, you can find the updated interviews in the I’m Only Me tab above.

Starting with my MC, Lily Morgan.

1. What is your age?

26

2. Do you have any siblings?

I’m an only child, but Anna and Hunter are pretty much my sisters.

3. Are your parents alive? Are they married? Are they divorced?

My parents are still together after twenty-some years. They live in Easton, which is about six hours away.

4. If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?

Let me think…nothing alive, I assume? 1) iPod loaded with all my favorite songs. 2) Power generator to keep it charged. 3) A notebook. Then again, if I had my laptop, I could combine 1 and 3. I’m not sure now. Can I come back to this one?

5. Do you have a hidden talent?

Unless you count automatically assuming the worst in most situations, then no.

Continue reading

VIPKID Vibes: FAQ for Newbies, Part 1

Now that I’m on my 3rd contract for VIPKID, I figured I have enough knowledge to make a FAQ post. I’ll start with the most common questions I see from new teachers.


What is the flower icon on my profile?

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On the teacher app, you’ll see a flower beside your name. This is the number of followers you have.

What does that mean? A parent can “follow” a teacher and be notified when you open slots. As far as I know, that’s the point.

Can you see who is following you? No.

Does your follower count affect your bookings? I haven’t really noticed a difference, to be honest.

What is that other icon? The things that looks like a v in a circle is the number of tokens you have. Which brings me to…


How do I earn tokens?

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Hutong challenges! Which aren’t “challenges” at all. They consist of clicking links, skimming information, or typing a quick response to a question. And while they aren’t worth many tokens, they do add up.

Parent feedbacks. For every 5 apple rating you receive, you earn tokens.

Attending workshops. I haven’t done a workshop in a while, but I believe you earn 4 tokens?

Random incentives. When I renewed my contract, I got 100 tokens. Sometimes they have surveys in exchange for tokens.

Why are my tokens in different places?

I’m not sure why they haven’t streamlined this, but the tokens you earn from Hutong challenges are kept separate from those in the portal. In the Hutong, you’ll need to click on Rewards and do an exchange. They’ll move your tokens (by 100 or 500) to the portal.


What are the tokens for anyway?

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VIPKID Vibes: Now on Instagram

I’m not sure what possessed me, but I made an Instagram account just for VIPKID. My plan for now is to post some pictures of rewards I use and anything else VIPKID related. I’ll also post a link to any new blog posts. I can’t guarantee I’ll keep up with this, but I’ll give it a try.

You can find me here: @vipkidvibes

This is strictly for VIPKID, so if you have a VIPKID themed Instagram, I’ll give you a follow. 🙂


If you’re more into cats, follow my cat instead: @meowingmocha

AND because I’ve completely lost it, I’m starting a writing Instagram too: @laurenseewrites


Thanks for spending some time here. What am I doing with my life?

Finding My Story a New Home: Part 2

Update:

I had to cut ~3200 words from a short story to meet the word count limits of the magazine where I’m submitting.  I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but it ain’t fun.

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It wasn’t bad at first. It was actually pretty easy. There was some questionable content that had to go, so that was at least 1k. Easy.

Then I had to start cutting lines I really like. Really, really like. I had to keep telling myself, I still have the original story saved. It’s not like it’s gone forever. And this is necessary if I want the story to have a shot. It didn’t make it any easier, but it gave me a push at least.

The last 200 words or so… absolute hell.

But I did it. My grand total is now… 5938

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Finding My Story a New Home

I’ve spent days–no, literally days–researching different literary magazines. Let me just say… whoa.

First of all, who knew there were so many? Well, probably everyone.

There are many factors to consider when you’re looking to submit your writing: print vs. online, word count limits, reading periods, reading fees, accepts reprints or not, circulation size. It’s exhausting.

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Short version:

I have three short stories I’m trying to see in print. One of them is new, so I have virtually no restrictions and many places to chose from. I sent my first attempt last week. Fingers crossed.

My second story is a reprint, but it’s average length and “literary” so I have some options here as well. Sending my first attempt this week. Fingers and toes crossed.

The third one… you have no idea. #thestruggleisreal

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Continue reading

Songs I’m Binging This Week #3

I’ve been a bit MIA lately, but I hope to get back to regular posting–starting with this #musicmonday edition.

Disturbed “Land of Confusion”

Why this wasn’t on my favorite covers post, I can’t say, but it’s awesome.

Corey Taylor “Taciturn”

There’s a super awesome solo concert with covers I never would’ve imagined (Eagles and CCR, really? Yes.) I’d never heard “Taciturn” before this concert, so I thought I’d check it out after loving it at first listen. And boom, the live version sounds exactly like the studio one. Why? Because it’s Corey Freaking Taylor.

Five Finger Death Punch “I Refuse”

Another slow-jam. Ha! Is this a slow-jam? Beats me. I like it though. I do like FFDP, but I have to say, their songs all sound the same, no? Especially the guitar solos. The slower ones have more of their own sound, I think. This guitar solo in particular is not very FFDP at all. Thanks to Pandora for this one.

Korn “Coming Undone”

First off, this album cover is the stuff of nightmares. Now, to me, Korn is synonymous with “Freak On a Leash” and nothing can change my mind. I don’t know much of their music at all. Not everything needs an explanation. This is pretty catchy despite how repetitive it is. Thanks for Alex Hefner for this one.

Disturbed “Sticken”

Disturbed again?? It’s simple. I was doing a 1k piece puzzle in my living room, as one does, and Pandora’s Breaking Benjamin radio was playing a crap-ton of Disturbed tracks.

So, yeah. That’s it.

Until next week, rock on.


Thanks for spending some time here.