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Whew! It's been two weeks since my last post? Oh my. Where is the time going? I'm not 100% sure. So some updates then onwards to the writing subject.

ShutoCon preparations are still underway. I have to give a huge amount of thanks to my mother at this point. She and my stepdad have told me I can use their computer and printer to print off flyers, bookmarks, and excerpts, so there is a huge cost-save right there. My mom is also working on my cosplay coat for a personalized take on Fayt Leingod from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. The cosplay might not be 100% complete in the next month, but some of what I want to get will have to be obtained either at ShutoCon or through some online retailer. I was lucky that I was able to buy most of what I needed, material-wise, for this cosplay back in October. Whether I'll use the wig (purchased almost four years ago) or just dye my hair blue will remain to be seen. (I'd really love to dye my hair blue.) So much love for and huge thanks to my mom for helping me with the coat. She's told me it's giving her fits, but it's also her first time working with the material that I'd chosen.

The crowdfunding campaign is still underway. I'm reassuring everyone right now that all money raised for the GoFundMe will go towards to purchasing copies of my own stories for the conventions I'm attending throughout the year and not towards things like shopping at the conventions, food, fuel, hotels, and registration. That is not the campaign's purpose. It's to purchase books for sale and for the cosplay giveaway and for any other product that I am unable to do on my own (like ink pens and silicone bracelets - not a right this moment thing but an eventual thing). This is a business venture for me as well as an artistic and creative venture. Getting out there is part of the gig, something I'm late into doing since publishing Portal to Gaming nearly three years ago. Links for the crowdfunding campaign and for my books will be at the end of this entry.

ShutoCon will be my fourth appearance in public as an author.

My sister and I got to attend an early, free screening of The Great Wall. That was fun, but it also wasn't a movie I'd want to spend more than $5 per ticket for, mainly because I went in with the misconception that, because it has Matt Damon in it, it was going to primarily be an action-flick. It does have a lot of action, but it isn't the kind you'd expect to see Matt Damon in, at least in as far as I'm familiar with him as an actor. It is a good fantasy flick as well and a bit historical. It does make me wonder what would happen if such a thing happened in a current modern setting. Oh, the ideas, how they can flow to me at times!

Ravensrealm is coming along quite nicely, in my humble opinion. With the way everything is moving along, I'd say there are some nice surprises in store for the reader.

A publication date will be announced in the near future along with future public appearances.

Finding Sounding Boards

First of all, let's define what a sounding board is. For creative types, specifically authors, and problem solvers, a sounding board is someone to help overcome an obstacle in a given situation. For writers, this could be ideas on how to resolve a plot conflict, a character quirk (to either overcome or possibly add), or any other number of problems that they face with a manuscript. For me, my sounding board is actually my best friend when I find I'm in need of working through something that's stumped me (one of the pitfalls to being a pantser). It does help that she's a fellow writer as well (fanfiction - how we became friends in the first place) and so can offer me a more honest perspective than someone who doesn't write and doesn't want to feel like they're hurting my feelings by offering critical feedback. She does love what I do because I am good at what I do, but that doesn't mean I get everything right in the first go-round.

For writers, people who can act as sounding boards can actually be extremely helpful in the writing process. That outside perspective does come in handy.

Here's the thing: As writers (and sounding boards/brainstorming groups), we really should try to strive to find the right match. Every writing project is different and thus will have different needs. I feel quite fortunate that my best friend is quite versatile in helping me handle whatever happens to stump me. She's also great for hearing out ideas that excite me and helping me to enhance them. I just have to be sure to remember to tell her that I'm talking about my characters and stories, or I end up confusing her (because it can also be part of a conversation when this happens).

So how does one find a fellow person to brainstorm with? Writing groups are a great way to interact with others. This can help writers establish writing partnerships and readers. Talking to local librarians about setting up writing groups can also be a big help for those not in college or high school. Searching for writing workshops and online writing groups is yet another way to find someone to bounce ideas off of and to help keep a writer on task.

There is one huge thing, an important thing to remember when it comes to establishing this particular type of writing partnership.

Whoever becomes your brainstorming buddy/sounding board also has a life outside of assisting you, the writer, with your writing needs. That includes work, hobbies, friends, family, personal downtime, and, as much as I dislike to say it, medical crises and familial crises. They might also be writers working through their own writing issues. How you approach your buddy when you need help is key. How often you approach your writing buddy for ideas and for what kinds of ideas. Treat your writing buddy the way you want to be treated as a writing buddy, and that, in my personal opinion, will go a long way in helping you to establish healthy writing partnerships.

That's all I have for today. Links follow this.

Crowdfunding Campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/writing-product-for-conventions
Books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Elise-K.-Rasha/e/B00MQF33K6
Books on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Elise%20K.%20Ra'sha%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall