Archive | December, 2012
Video

SS: Dragon Speak

30 Dec

Watch my video to begin this post via this link: Dragon Dictate for Mac. If the link doesn’t work, or you don’t want to watch the video, what I said is typed below, so enjoy my review of Dragon Speak! (And work with me, because I’m technologically challenged, and I had to get Dragon Speak, Photo Booth, and Microsoft synced.)

Photo on 12-28-12 at 12.56 AM #3

Using Dragon Dictate.

“Hey, everyone! It’s Shannon.

I was just making this video (for the first time, so you get to hear my voice) to review Dragon Dictate for Mac, which is a voice recognition software, in which it turns your voice and what you have to say into text for you.

So far, although the download took me a long time, I’ve really enjoyed the product. I found it very effective, and it works with most accents. My dad also used it, and it works really well. I haven’t, however, used the punctuation aspect, so I will be editing the text (which is below) I’ve added so you can read along and see how it does, and I will review once I get used to the punctuation aspect of this product.nc_025638

So far, I think it’s great. I think it’s very effective. I’m really glad I got this product, and I’m hoping to show it to my friends, so they can also use it for essays in school or personal writing like I’m going to use it for.

I also wanted to thank you all so much for following me on Twitter, my blog, sending me emails, and supporting my dream as much as I’m trying to support everybody else’s.

I think passion is very important. It is wonderful to share an English-based passion or reading-based passion—writing, art, anything—with anyone in this world, because I think the point of living is passion and celebrating your passion but also supporting other people’s passions, so thank you very much, sincerely, that you’ve helped me with mine, because you guys keep me going every day, and I love sharing these things with you.

I will be sharing more of Dragon Dictate and other products as I come across them, and I hope you guys are having a great holiday. I hope whatever you celebrate—Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza—that it’s going great, that your family is healthy and well, that your pets are happy and spoiled, and your kids are just the same, and, you know, maybe you also got Dragon Dictate.

Let me know how you’re using it. If there’s any shortcuts that don’t know about, I’d really appreciate it—so happy holidays, happy new year, and I’ll be sure to make a new video in the future, so—

Thanks! Bye!”

~SAT

Visit Dragon Speak website here.

Movie Mention: ParaNorman

28 Dec

I LOVE anything and everything paranormal, so when a close friend of mine suggested this animated flick, I was ridiculously excited.

ParaNorman is set in a superstitious town, haunted by the ghost of a prosecuted witch. Norman, a young boy with the gift of seeing the dead, realizes he must take charge and solve the witch’s curse before it destroys the town he lives in (even if they do ostracize Norman for being different.)

I REALLY recommend this film, since I enjoyed the playful  aspects towards a normally haunting topic. But what is “normal” about ParaNorman?220px-ParaNorman_poster

Read more about it here.

From a writer’s perspective, this movie is a prime example on how we can take old concepts and renew them into something not done before.

Also, I’m glad everyone enjoyed my writing tips on dialogue, and I hoped you all can incorporate them successfully. It’s always a joy to help others with their passion, and I’ll be sure to share other ones to you in future posts.

In other news, I’m currently working with Amazon to feature November Snow chapters. Then I will release an E-Book for kindle and other electronic readers.

Until then, enjoy this movie, and keep writing/reading,

~SAT

Writing Tips: How I Form Dialogue into Writing:

26 Dec

I separate writing into steps, so work with me here, and read twice if you need to start over after the end. This is an excerpt from chapter thirteen in a writing of mine, so don’t read for content; read for basic instruction to help focus on one writing aspect at a time.

First: Dialogue

Personally, I like to write out my dialogue at once, using an abbreviation for who’s speaking, so I know who’s speaking when I come back. This way, I don’t have to worry about description, but I can simply concentrate on the art of conversation.

In this scene, my protagonist, Amea (A), is crying with her back to the door when Emmy (E) checks on her.

EX:

A—What?

E—It’s Emmy.” “Are you crying?”

A—No

E—Good

A—What are you doing here? Where’s Leena?

E—Still sleeping.” “I was in the garden. I don’t play much, but do you want to come with me?

Second: Conversational Description

This is where I separate the speech, so it sounds more realistic and/or add basic character descriptions.

EX:

“What?”

“It’s Emmy,” she said, and I slid the door open as I wiped my tears away. She frowned. “Are you crying?” she asked, and I shook my head. “Good.” (I cut this dialogue to make it sound younger, as Emmy is nine.) 

“What are you doing here? Where’s Leena?”

“Still sleeping.” Emmy shrugged “I was in the garden. I don’t play much, but—” She grinned with crooked teeth. “Want to come with me?”

Third: Further Description and Edit

This part is where I add the description, placing the basic scene and adding to the dialogue with scenic descriptions

EX:

I slammed my bedroom door and pressed my back against it, sobbing. Water curled down my fingers, and I clutched my face, falling to the ground. I laid my forehead on my shaky knees as my body shuddered, vibrating as knocking rocked my entrance. (All of this is added)

“What?”

“It’s Emmy,” she said, and I scooted forward, (added necessary movement) sliding the door open as I wiped my tears away. She frowned, pulling at the ends of her curly red hair (added childish action), and rocked back and forth. “Are you crying?” she asked, and I shook my head. “Good.”

I smiled. “What are you doing here? Where’s Leena?”

“Still sleeping.” Emmy shrugged, pointing down the hall. (added—hall for scene) “I was in the garden. I don’t play much, but—” She grinned with crooked teeth. “Want to come with me?”

Four: EDIT EDIT EDIT.

It is necessary, so take that beautiful red pen of yours and get to work :D

I hope this may separate your writing into bits in which you can concentrate on important aspects one at a time, rather than worry all at once.

Have fun and write endlessly,

 

~SAT

Merry Christmas

25 Dec

This exciting holiday added another member to my family!

My older brother, Greg, proposed to his girlfriend, and now I have a future sister-in-law to welcome.

My older brother, Greg, is dressed like Santa, and, his fiance, Chelsey, sits on his lap. Welcome to the family@

My older brother, Greg, is dressed like Santa, and, his fiance, Chelsey, sits on his lap.
Welcome to the family

I’m very happy, and I hope that everyone’s holiday has gone as wonderfully as it can.

Also, my father bought DragonSpeak for me. It’s a voice recognition software that types as I talk (since I do both WAY too much.) I’m looking forward to using it, both as a student and an author, so I’ll let you all know how I like it once I get a chance to get used to it.

Have any of you used it before?

I’m starting my Christmas off with waffles and mimosas with the family, ending it with more food, drinks, and lots of love.

Christmas Breakfast Mickey waffles, eggs, bacon, and mimosas

Christmas Breakfast
Mickey waffles, eggs, bacon, and mimosas

Again, Merry Christmas and have a great holiday!

~SAT

Inspirational Meet: Danny Maloney

23 Dec

As many of you know, I spend most of my writing time at IceFire Hookah Lounge, because I love the friendly atmosphere and music. For my post today, I wanted to show how wonderful my experience at IceFire has been by introducing my friend, Danny Maloney, who DJs there.

At 19 years old, Danny Maloney DJs at IceFire Hookah Lounge and Llwellyn’s Bar. His mixes are involved in the Flohawke Label, an up-and-coming label from downtown Kansas City, and, most recently, he won a DJ competition at DanceFestopia in 2012.

His music and his passion is an inspiration to me, showing young adults can succeed at their dreams, so I interviewed him to encourage all of you to follow yours as well.

Enjoy! And listen to his mixes (which are fantastic.) I linked them below the interview, and I hope you hear his passion as much I as witness it every day.

Tell me about yourself. What’s your passion, how old are you, and at what age did you find your passion or decide to stick with it?
 Was there a turning point where you knew this was your passion?


I’m 19. My passion is being a DJ and music in general. I found my passion when I was 16, but I decided to stick with it at 18, because I was DJ-ing for a rapper at the time. We did two concerts, opening for Vanilla Ice, and another show for Mac Miller. The concerts allowed me to realize I could truly follow my passion.

Photo by @TaylorLamb (twitter credit)

Photo by @TheTaylorLamb (twitter credit)

What are daily things in your life that you do in order to bring your passion out and inspire yourself?


 I spend about an hour to two hours a day “digging,” which is searching through the internet for new tracks that I believe with become popular from artists on-the-rise. I also network as much as I can, especially for local DJs to help support the scene, and their passion as well as my own.

What inspires you?


I’m inspired by the love for the music. Whether it’s a crazy bass-line or a harmonically beautiful melody, every day I’m inspired by any type of genre and decade of music. If I could have my way as a DJ, I would spin the 90’s, because I believe it’s the most passionate genre, such as Third Eye Blind, Everclear, and Blink-182 (etc.)

Finally, what would you say to someone else that would encourage them to follow their dreams, especially at a young age?





You can do it. If you have the drive, wants, need, and motivation, you can do it. If you don’t have all of those, then you certainly don’t want to pursue it for the rest of your life. This is what defines passion. If you don’t think, breathe, and dream your passion, then it’s obviously not something you want to make a living out of and do for the rest of your life.

Listen to Danny’s music, streamed via SoundCloud here.

He’s also on Bandcamp.com here, and, of course, you can join him on twitter here.

~SAT

Relax & Read: The Host

21 Dec

Happy Doomsday.

I hope we’re all still alive, unlike the Mayan calendar predicted (which isn’t true if you’ve researched, but that’s not the point…Right?)

However, since the end of the world is supposedly today’s main event, I thought I would share a novel with that concept. tumblr_m3v4chx2xc1qm6yt5o1_250

“The Host” by Stephanie Meyer takes place on earth after we’re invaded by human hosts who, honestly, make the world a better place to live.

When Melanie is taken over, however, she rebels by staying within her body, and working with her “Wanderer” in order to survive. Strangely enough, her Wanderer begins fighting with her, and they work together in her body to save the human existence.

Read more about the novel here.

And the movie (which comes out in March) here.

~SAT

Music Muse: Florence And The Machine

19 Dec

So I was gifted the Florence And The Machine album, “Ceremonials,” and I haven’t stopped playing it.

Mary Leontine Welch’s vocal spectrum is astounding, and her sound stretches over emotional boundaries, eloquent sounds, and subtle rhythms. The album is quite beautiful, and I recommend it for anyone who liked “The Dog Days Are Over” or bands like Mumford and Sons or Gotye. 220px-Ceremonials

Personally, I loved “Seven Devils” and “Lover to Lover” the most.

Official Website here.

Check out “Ceremonials” here.

~SAT

Shannon Summary: Finished Finals

16 Dec

On Friday, I finished my finals at the University of Kansas.

I had a very rough semester, considering I am still grieving my roommate’s death in October, but I managed to get through my semester successfully, and I’m very proud of that.

Also, I wanted to take this opportunity to share my favorite required reads and films I saw during my classes, so here we go: (Click any of the titles to read more.)

Poetry:

The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway by Jennifer L. Knox

the new black by Evie Shockley

Films:

Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946, Tay Garnett)

The Spiral Staircase (1946)

Brick (2005)

Books:

Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

I’ll probably review most of these in the future individually, so I can give you more information without taking up your whole afternoon reading (Ha), but all of these are fantastic reads and films to entertain yourself with.

Have a great weekend and fantastic break if you’re a student,

~SAT

My friend, Brooke, and I on the first day of our Film Noir class.

My friend, Brooke, and I on the first day of our Film Noir class.

 

 

 

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

14 Dec

This morning a 20-year-old gunman murdered 27 people, including 20 children, in Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Keep the victims and their families in mind today as this unfortunate incident is, sadly, not the first.

Read more about the shooting here, and keep your eyes out for ways to help the families.

Also, in regards to school shootings, I think education is very important, and I like to do this through writing and reading as many of you know. Even though I personally believe we cannot logically understand the illogical (situations like this), I still think we can try and/or cope. 9781442433564_p0_v1_s260x420

I read Todd Strasser’s, Give a Boy a Gun, many years ago, and I found myself deeply moved by the severity of school violence he exposed. I really suggest this reading and/or Rachel’s Tears, which depicts the life of Columbine victim, Rachel Scott.

Please educate yourself, share these novels, and prevent the pain of more suffering by understanding as much as we can about these tragic circumstances.

And, remember, help the families if you are able to this holiday season,

~SAT

Relax & Read: A Dog Named Christmas

14 Dec

Happy Friday and Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is enjoying the days leading up to Christmas, New Years, or any holiday they celebrate, but today I wanted to share a Christmas novel I have come to appreciate and love. dognamedchristmas

Greg Kincaid’s A Dog Named Christmas is a lovely holiday tale where a young boy named Todd convinces his family into adopting a sweet pooch. After naming the pup Christmas, Todd uses his animal-love to advocate “Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program” and brings his town together with Christmas spirit and love for pets.

Hallmark also made a movie out of A Dog Named Christmas. (Click here.)

Greg Kincaid is a fantastic author–and I’ve also had the unique experience of speaking with him about writing and how he succeeded sharing his story. He’s helped me with my own writing passion, and he encourages every writer’s dream. Not only do we have a great Christmas tale here, but we also have a passionate author to celebrate this holiday season.

So check out his novel here.

Happy Holidays,

~SAT

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