2016 SO FAR: LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE

pexels-photo-27812It seems the years pass by faster the longer one lives. That’s certainly been the case for me. I’ve been quite busy even though I don’t have a job. Writing books is a lengthy process. I’ve also been doing something new this year: learning a language. I’ve wanted to learn French for a few years, and I finally took the plunge.

At first, I doubted that I could learn a new language without a teacher. I became interested in French after discovering Alizee, one of the most famous European singers. I found an album of hers for sale at Best Buy around 2011. Yeah, it seems even in boring small cities like mine you can find obscure (for the U.S.) music. Anyway, I was hesitant to learn French for the aforementioned reason. And it never occurred to me to sign up for French classes at the community college…there were none in high school. My class schedule was full, anyway.

Looking back, it was too early to sign up for a French class. After what I’ve learned so far, I think I’ve done better by myself. I first started learning French by signing up for a Duolingo account in September of last year. I made my first mistake then, though. Still doubting a language could be learned without a classroom, I went slow. By slow, I mean learning around ten words a week. It was a good call at first, but after I got better, I should have tried to learn more.

As I (slowly) progressed through the Duolingo tree, I found that the content was a bit more advanced than I wanted. My interest was in learning words for conversational use, not stuff I should know if I planned to move to France. So in February of this year, I downloaded an app called Memrise. On that one, I went faster. I studied a lesson a day (each lesson has no less than ten words, usually sixteen). Every Sunday, I would review stuff that I learned that week instead of starting a new lesson. When I signed up for Memrise, there was a course called A1 French. That one had around twelve hundred words in total. It’s been phased out, and divided into new courses with around four hundred words each. I started with French 4, because the earlier courses had words I learned in Duolingo and in A1 French.

This year, I also started listening to French music and radio stations. My favorite artist by far is Joyce Jonathan. This woman has the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard. I don’t know, I just find it so appealing I could listen to Joyce all day. And she also has des jolies yeux and adorable cheekbones. Anyway, over time, I discovered new musicians to listen to. Some of my other favorites are Louane, Nolwenn Leroy, and Yelle. Music is so effective at learning a new language that I can now speak a bit of French.

I’m surprised by how much French I know now. And I haven’t even signed up for a class or spoken the language to anyone. I plan to do the latter in the future, though. Since I’m probably the only trilingual for at least a half mile radius, I searched for other ways to hear spoken French. This led me to discover a few great YouTube channels. I’ve never watched any, not having a need or interest. The one I watch the most is Patricia B en Francais. Patricia’s excellent for a French learner because she’s an American who moved to France. She now speaks the language almost flawlessly. Most of Patricia’s videos are about fashion and makeup, though, but they’re still useful to learn French. It helps that she’s easy on the eyes and ears.

So, that’s it for today’s post. I’m writing another one like this for next week. In it, I’ll reveal a few new details on my newest project. Have a good day!

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MOST DATEABLE FICTIONAL WOMEN

How’s it going? There are only two days left for Valentine’s Day. Couples all over will be celebrating the day of love in different ways. For those of us who are single, we can still hang out with pals. Valentine’s is for friendship, too!
Whether you are single or in a relationship, you probably have a crush on someone well-known. For this post, I thought it would be fun to make a list of the most dateable women in fiction. This list will not be in any particular order. I’ve included characters I know well or have at least heard of. A side note: not all of them are crushes of mine! 😀 Here they are:

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WHERE WOULD THE SORTING HAT PLACE YOU?

Hermione-Sorting-Ceremony

Last week was the first in September. Can you believe how fast the summer is going? For fans of Harry Potter, though, September 1 means a new term at Hogwarts. This year is significant because Harry Potter’s son, James Sirius Potter, officially starts his first school year. J.K. Rowling tweeted about it herself. Naturally, James was sorted into Gryffindor. It was also revealed that Teddy Lupin is a Hufflepuff, and Head Boy! Continue reading

THE NEW, LUDICROUS REVIEW POLICY AT AMAZON.COM

Book-Review-Sample-Amazon

If you have been keeping up with the book industry in the past couple of weeks, you’ll already be aware that Amazon.com has updated its review policy. While this in itself isn’t reason to worry, the actual revisions that Amazon made have caused a backlash. Now, you can’t post a book review if Amazon thinks you are personally connected to the author in the slightest way. That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? If you’re thinking “Does a Twitter follow count?” then the answer is yes, unfortunately. Continue reading

MISTAKES THAT ENDED THE “AMAZING SPIDER-MAN” FILM FRANCHISE

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-screenshot

Hey, folks! As you can tell by the headline, this will be an opinion piece. I don’t think I’ve written one before (laughs). I’m more of a fiction writer than a blogger. For this piece, though, I wanted to go a different way. I’m no authority among critics or anything, but I’m a big fan of superhero movies and a decent storyteller. So I wanted to share my opinion about the failure of the Spider-Man reboot films starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t that bad of a movie. It still could have been better, though. I liked Garfield’s Spidey a lot better than Maguire’s. And Stone did such a good job as Gwen Stacy that I’ll have a tough time seeing another actress take that role. Ultimately, having a stellar cast wasn’t enough to save the franchise. Most of the issues were with storytelling. Here’s what I think could have made the film better: Continue reading