2017: Year in Review

With all of the holiday parties I’ve attended in the last few weeks (seven in total if I’m counting correctly), I haven’t had the time to write a proper blog post. There were quite a few big events that took place in these short 12 months, and everything seemed to fly by. Here is a brief review of the milestones for this year as we look forward for 2018!

January – March:

  • Went through an Escape Room for the first time, and survived!
  • Started playing the Neebs and Associates D&D Session.
  • Saw Aaron Carter in concert.
  • Nancy and I got engaged to our boyfriends within a week of each other!!
  • Saw Green Day and Simple Plan in concert.
  • Shared an Artist Alley booth at Shuto Con.
  • Met Mystery Skulls!
  • Won a signed copy of The Burning World by Isaac Marion.

April – June:

  • Mark and Catherine got married!
  • Saw Aaron Carter (again)
  • Saw Markiplier’s Show.
  • Bought my wedding dress!
  • Nancy got married, and I was one of her bridesmaids.

July – September:

  • D&D Birthday Celebration.
  • Went to the 89X Birthday Bash with Jen.
  • Eddie and I purchased our first home together!
  • Went to the Ren Festival with Nancy and Brianna.
  • Took a two-day vacation to Toldeo and Sandusky, OH.
  • Started new Social Media position

October – December:

  • Went to a Lions Game with work friends.
  • Halloween House Warming!
  • Youmacon
  • Five year Anniversary
  • The Art of Falling was published!

REVIEW: Unwanted

Although I can normally power through a 200 page book in about two hours, I took my time while reading Muns’ Unwanted. Not because it wasn’t interesting, but because I wanted to spend time really reading the book and not just skimming along at a quick pace like I usually do. Muns had asked me to be honest about my review, and with that in mind I made sure to take notes while reading so I could provide the most accurate review I could.

With that being said, there is a lot to say about this book regarding its plot, its characterization, its style, and whether or not I think it has the potential to be the next big thing.

To begin, Unwanted is your traditional dystopian novel. If you liked Hunger Games or Divergent, then you’re going to love this novel. It has all the aspects of a successful dystopian tale: a protagonist that is strong willed and has a pure heart, an antagonist that rules a nation and has the power and drive to kill anyone who disobeys him, and a fully developed society for the characters to live in.

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ARTICLE: Unwanted is a Book You Want on Your Bookshelf.


Friends and Family support Matthew Muns, a junior at Oakland University, by attending his official book release and signing on Sunday, Dec. 20.

On Sunday, Dec. 20, I had the honor and pleasure to attend a book signing and celebration of an Oakland University student’s new self-published book. That student is Matthew Muns, and he is not only a fellow Golden Grizzly, but an old friend of mine from high school.

I’ve known Muns for many years. We’ve taken several photography courses together, and when I heard that he had written and published the first book of a trilogy I was both a little jealous and extremely thrilled! Of course I was going to attend his big debut event and write up an article for him. My review of his novel will be at the end of this article.

The Golden Celebration, as it was called, was held at Suzette’s Master of Dance studio in Shelby Township. At least fifty people arrived to support Muns with his new book. Appetizers and drinks were available for guests, as well as a photo booth which was popular with the kids. Family, friends, and some of Muns’ dance students came to shower him with praise. When I saw Muns, he gave me a big hug and was practically shaking from excitement. After all, he was accomplishing one of his dreams at only twenty years old.

The event kicked off with a book reading, where Muns read a passage of his book from the first chapter, then moved onto testimonials, a Q/A session, and finally a speech from the author.

After all the speeches were complete, Muns spent an hour signing books and taking photos with his friends, family, and new fans. Once he was done, I had time to talk to him one on one about his life experiences.

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D&D: Basile’s Backstory

Here’s a fun fact, Basile was born on November 28th. So, to celebrate his belated birthday, it’s time to share his entire backstory with you!

As a writer, I can’t just write a simple backstory. No. I have to write a 65 page backstory including several developed scenes. Oops. At least it gives me something creative to do while I wait for the next session, and keeps my writing juices flowing.


Eythan woke up earlier than usual.

The house was silent except for the gentle hum of the wood furnace trying to keep out the bitter chill. He rolled onto his side and curled into a ball, burrowing under the thick fleece blanket. Winter mornings in Modelheim were always unbearable until the sun poked over the mountains and warmed up the earth.

A loud snore broke the silence. Eythan peeked out from under the covers to stare at his brothers sharing the bunk bed at the opposite end of the room: Tomas the sleep-talker and Judah the snorer. He could barely see Tomas on the bottom, wrapped in a cocoon of blankets with only the top of his strawberry blond hair poking out. Meanwhile, Judah was practically hanging over the edge of the top bunk, his mouth open and drooling as he let one arm dangle.

Beside them, the door to their room was cracked open – most likely from their mother checking on them periodically in the middle of the night. She had picked up the habit shortly after Eythan’s horns started growing in. He didn’t like to think about how his mom may be a little afraid of him.

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AOF: Cover Reveal and Available to Purchase

I know I typically post on Friday, but I don’t care. I’m breaking the pattern because it’s official. The Art of Falling is now available to purchase on Amazon in Paperback and for Kindle!

It still doesn’t feel like I’m a published author yet. I don’t think it will quite sink in until the first few reviews appear on Amazon, and a physical copy is on my bookshelf. You can bet I’m ordering one as soon as possible.

And check out the GORGEOUS cover that my publisher and I worked on. I am so happy with how it turned out. I am so thankful for the amount of brainstorming and time that went into determining what would be a good cover for the audience I’m aiming for, and I feel that this hits the nail on the head. Simple, clean, and easily able to expand into a series.

While an “official” launch through Dragon Moon Press won’t happen until after the holidays, I plan on holding a giveaway to win a free signed copy, as well as holding a book reading and signing.

But don’t feel like you have to wait for an official launch to get your hands on a copy. If you want paperback, you better hurry! Copies are selling fast (a lot faster than I expected, to be honest!) If you prefer digital, get it for your Kindle, or download the Kindle app to read on any device. Please a review and share with your friends! But most important, please enjoy reading Keir and Regal’s story. I have put a lot of time, energy, and soul into this work. It will mean the world to know that someone other than myself will get sucked into their life.

Now, onto the sequel.


ARTICLE: Dark Room Sees Bright Future


Professor David Lambert help his students with their cyanotype prints in the redesigned dark room on Nov. 11.

Located in the basement of Wilson Hall is a special room where students spend several hours working with chemicals under red safety lights to produce prints of their film photography.

On Oct. 22, the Art and Art History Department revealed the new dark room renovations.

“They’re not so much newer capabilities, but more functional,” Lecturer in Art and Photo/Media Lab Manager David Lambert explained. “The dark room is now split into two. One side is film only and one side is print only.”

The rooms are connected by a single black revolving door. In addition to the divided workspace, all of the rusted stainless steel sinks were replaced.

Kailey Johnson, a senior studying photography and cinema studies, has worked in the dark room both before and after renovations. She believes that the dark room has improved tremendously, especially the workflow.

“Previously people would have to maneuver their way around others, creating some dilemmas,” she explained.

However, with the digital age rushing forward at full speed, what is the importance of having traditional printing processes? Why continue to teach students how to work with film in a dark room?

According to Lambert, the advances in technology have sparked a rebirth of older processes.

“The digital age has made what we’re doing today relevant,” Lambert said. “The dark room lays a foundation for digital media. Basic photography principles such as depth of field, levels, and contrast are laid out in the dark room and we can see how that is reiterated in Photoshop. Photoshop played off of original dark room knowledge when developing its functions and features.”

“I own only film cameras,” Johnson said. “I prefer using film photography because digital can’t compete to the truest form of colors or blacks & whites.”

When asked what she thinks the importance of film photography is, Johnson believes that film is the root of photography.

“If Oakland didn’t have a dark room, or didn’t teach film photography, we wouldn’t be able to consider ourselves photographers,” she said. “You have to know the history and experience developing your own artwork before stepping into the digital age.”

In addition to learning the basics, students can utilize the new dark room in addition to digital processes for more advanced photography techniques.

“Now with alternative processes, we can work on the computer and we can print out a negative. In Photoshop students can manipulate a negative and print it out. It’s more accessible because they can jump into more advanced techniques,” Lambert explained.

He firmly believes that working in the dark room is essential for those who are interested in learning photography. It lays a foundation of how to properly work a camera by forcing students to slow down and focus. With film, students are limited to 24 or 36 frames per roll. There is “no luxury of messing up” like there is with digital.

“Patience is something that you learn throughout this process, but once you see the final results you feel so proud of yourself that you created this work of art,” Johnson added.

Students have the chance to experience the new darkroom. Black and white film photography courses are available for both majors and non-majors.

Written by Dani Cojocari. Originally published in The Oakland Post on November 16, 2015