General Gaming · Writing / NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Recap 2018


It’s November 30th and I’ve finally finished my NaNoWriMo journey, by 67,405 words (total). That’s over 17,000 words then I had expected since the goal was to shoot for 50,000 words. And…even though I’ve passed the standard 50,000 word novel length, I would say that I’m only a little over half way into my novel. So, what did I learn this month while participating in this journey….?

  1. Consistency really is the key — In the past, I’ve usually started late (like this year….*face palm*) but one thing I did differently this year was I had a schedule. I made a point of ending my day by doing some quick writing. This helped me meet my daily word count but also allowed me to get ahead so that when the holidays rolled around, I could just relax.
  2. It’s okay to be a back seat driver — Sometimes I like just letting the story take me where it wants to go but other times, I felt that giving my characters too much freedom to dominate the story made the story go a little out of control. This was usually when I would break out my outline and map a way back to my final “destination” (or, what I would call, the predicted ending).
  3. That I have what it takes to be a “writer” — I might not be the next Steven King or James Patterson but completing this challenge has helped confirm that I have a desire to tell stories.

Next on the list is to start editing up the draft and begin mapping out the actual “graphic novel” outline for my artist. I’m looking forward to sharing more about this project as it evolves in the future.

Did anyone else participate in NaNoWriMo?

❤ Ruubin

General Gaming

Borderlands | The Game That Defines FTWRuubin

Being a part of this collaboration has been a valuable experience where I have made new friends and have discovered new video games. I think we make an awesome team of gaming bloggers. A huge thank you to Normal Happenings for including me in this project. You can read my article from the link below. Enjoy!

Normal Happenings

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy


The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introductionJust a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

There is so…

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General Gaming · Movies · Writing / NaNoWriMo

My Harry Potter Adventure

I was recently tagged (as in earlier this month) to participate in another one of Normal Happenings blog projects. This one is part of their Daily Inkling project…Rewind. Replay. Basically, my task is to respond to the following prompt: 

If you could experience one movie over again for the fist time, which one would it be and why?

We’ve crossed over the bridge of no return where I make a HUGE confession. I am a HUGE Harry Potter nerd. As in, I’ve seen all the movies and read all the books over a dozen times, have written my own fan fiction, and have several posters. I have wands, jewelry, sweaters, etc. Oh, and I’m a proud Ravenclaw. 

The first time I ever heard of Harry Potter was when my dad bought the first movie (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) for my brother, who was already reading the books. At the time, I really wasn’t into supernatural/magic types of stories and spent more of my time playing with Disney characters and reading books like The Boxcar Children and Junie B. Jones. Which is probably why my dad didn’t even bother to ask if I wanted to watch the movie with them as the gathered in the living room, popcorn in hand. 

GIF source via Tenor

During the middle of the troll scene, I happened to come out of my room, curious as to what the excitement was. I watched in silent awe as Ron and Harry took on a huge troll. Inspired because I noticed that Harry and Ron were the same age as I was. I watched the rest of the movie with my dad and brother, completely overwhelmed that there was this completely other word full of wizards (my younger self believed most fantasy creatures were real). I also remember hearing Ron shot Hermione’s name which sounded to me like “Hermie”…afterall, Hermione just didn’t sound like a real name. So, for the longest time I believed the trio was Ron, Harry, and Hermie. And from that moment forward, I became a huge Harry Potter fan. I read all the books the moment they were released (usually within the day) and we always saw the movies once they were in theatre. 

Which comes to the point where I actually answer this prompt. I would never want to change this moment where I first discovered Harry Potter. However, if I could rewatch a movie and experience it again as if for the first time, it would be to see the rest of the movies in the series. Mostly because I want to experience the magic once again as if seeing, hearing, and living each moment as if it’s a new adventure. 

Any other Harry Potter fans out there? 

❤ Ruubin

P.S. Thanks to Matt from Normal Happenings for tagging me in this prompt so that I could once again be involved in the awesome adventures! 

General Gaming

My First Sunshine Blogger Award


I won a Sunshine Blogger Award, thanks to the awesome Skylar Mei from GamerGal.exe. I virtually met Skylar-Mei through a blog series by Normal Happenings’ “The Games That Define Us” which will be released next month. Then, I participated in A Geeky Gal’s 30 Day Anime Challenge and was introduced to several awesome anime recommendations from Skylar-Mei. Anyways, the questions that I was asked are:


1. If any gaming controller could work with any console, what would be your preferred gamepad?

This is an easy question for me since I’m actually extremely picky when it comes to my remotes. I’m not a fan of xbox controllers which is basically why we don’t own one. I also have never liked the Wii remotes. Something about trying to point and aim just never worked for me. For the most part, I’m a Playstation gamer and I prefer the remote over any. However, I do miss the original Nintendo remotes. Having just a few buttons was so simple and sometimes truly missed.

2. Has there ever been a time where you gave up on a section in a game and never looked back?

Haha, unfortunately, this is me…often. I wouldn’t say that I’m a quitter. It’s more that I get distracted easily and when I take a break from a game I usually find another game to play and am immediately addicted until I hit a section I give up, take a break, and start another game. The cycle just repeats.

3. What is your favourite name of an achievement/trophy?

World of Warcraft’s, What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. This achievement has a long history for me. It’s an achievement that you have to complete all the world events and you earn a Purple Proto-Drake (flying mount). If you are familiar with my blog, you are probably aware that this is my most sought after mount and I will one day complete this achievement.

4. What is your favourite video game soundtrack?

Skyrim! The opening song in Skyrim is one of my absolute favorite video game songs. Here is two of my favorite YouTube musicians, Peter Hollens and Lindsey Stirling, performing it.


5. Which game has the best loot system?

I’ve actually never considered this. I suppose Diablo III has the best loot system because the loot just drops out onto the map for you to run over (PlayStation 3) instead of clicking the body and “auto looting.” I also think it’s funny how you run over things (jars, bodies, etc.) and money just flies onto the map.

6. What’s the most difficult game you’ve ever beaten?

Here is a confession….I’ve only beaten a few games in my entire gaming career. I’m just not good at finishing games because I hate the idea of the story ending. However, of the games I have actually beaten, the Borderlands series was the hardest.

7. Which game have you played the most and approximately have many hours have you spent on this game?

HAHA!! Hands down, World of Warcraft. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many hours I’ve played. I can tell you that I’ve played since 2009 and from at least 2009-2011, I played every day for at least a few hours. Then, from 2015-2018 I’ve had a steady gameplay where I play an average of 10 hours each week.

8. Was there ever a game that made you think “I really want to play more games like this”?

I wish there were more multiplayer-like games like Borderlands. So many multiplayer console games are one console only which means that typically for those awesome games my husband and I have to purchase one of each (which also means we have two Playstations). I love that with Borderlands, we can sit on the couch (with a third or fourth player) and play without having to purchase extra devices, extra games, and worry about syncing equipment (like with friend invites).

9. Hard copies or digital?

I love the idea of digital and mostly stick with digital games through my BattleNet and Steam accounts. However, for the consoles, I prefer to purchase hard copies for games because I worry that I will run out of storage space (which is now happening in our PlayStation 4).

10. Since it’s nearly Hallowe’en, what’s you favourite horror game (or film if you haven’t played any)?

Update, it took me a while to respond to this list (frowny face) but I wouldn’t have a good answer for this anyway. I don’t play horror games….like, at all. I’m such a wimp when it comes to scary things (movies, books, games, you name it). However, there is one game that I do play regularly that actually scares me and that’s Skyrim. I know, surprise! I absolutely hate doing the storylines in Skyrim that require going into the crypts. Even more, I hate having the sound on because the sound effects and music really get to me. Now, I save those quests for during the day (with all the lights on in the house) and when I know my husband is home. Although, sometimes with him home, I get scared even more because he’s like a stealthy ninja that creeps up on me (which I think he thoroughly enjoys).

11. As we’re both fairly new to Twitter, who should we be following?

Hmm….I’m honestly more of an Instagram nerd but my favorite accounts to follow on Twitter are:

 – If you haven’t heard of Nerdy Nummies, it’s probably the most amazing cooking show out there. 

 – If you’re interested in World of Warcraft. 

 – Creator of the webtoon, Let’s Play. 

 – I love this blog and their passion for trying to get gaming bloggers together to share ideas, memories, and laughs. 


My Nomination:

We Nominate… You!

Matt and Nikki, Normal Happenings

Megan, A Geeky Gal

The Well-Red Mage

Sam Foden, For Fods Sake

Ani, Doki Doki Otaku

Heather, Just Geeking By

My Questions:

  1. What was the very first video game you ever played?
  2. If you could only play one game for the rest of your life, what would that game be?
  3. What video game do you wish had a sequel (or prequel)?
  4. Are you a morning, afternoon, or evening gamer? Weekday or weekend?
  5. What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?
  6. What video game character is your spirit animal (as in, what character do you relate with the most)?
  7. What’s your favorite video game villain?
  8. Kiss, Marry, Kill: Name one video game character you’d kiss, one you would marry, and one you would kill.
  9. What video game has the most intriguing storyline?
  10. What’s the most money you’ve spent on a video game?
  11. If you could teleport into a video game and live in that world, what would it be?


Please feel free to join in even if you haven’t been nominated and link your answers back to this post (or you can even play along in the comments section), the more the merrier! We look forward to reading everyone’s answers!


Writing / NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo – It’s Here!


NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month where writers are challenges to draft up a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. In honor of this new adventure, I found a neat little tag from Smudged Thoughts called the NaNoWriMo Fanatic Tag and thought, I’m always in the attitude of answering random questions…why not?

So, in honor of NaNoWriMo, and also because who doesn’t want to be in a family with a bunny named fanny (see Smudged Thoughts blogs for details), I will be answering the following questions about my NaNoWriMo experiences and this month’s latest novel idea. Also, before I get started, I wanted to tag a few friends that I challenge to join this adventure:

  1. Sklar-Mei (You’re doing a 30-day challenge already –you’ll easily get some writing in)
  2. CarolBones
  3. Ani
  4. YOU! You don’t have to be tagged in this challenge to actually participate in NaNoWriMo. If you want to write a novel, write a novel!

Now….on to the post:


  1. What is your NaNoWriMo Username? I actually just changed it to FTWRuubin so that it would match my new branding for my blogs. However, for the last 7 years, it has been lovesoranges. I honestly couldn’t tell you where that username came from. 
  2. Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter? I’ve always been a plantser. I usually approach the challenge with an outline and a fairly solid beginning and end idea but everything else is completely unplaned. 
  3. How many years have you done the NaNo? How many times have you won? I’ve done NaNo since 2011 and have won 5 times. I find my user stats to be a little comical because my dashboard says my “wordiest day” was November 2011 where I wrote 44,244 words. This is actually a pretty funny error because in my first year I had no idea how to update my daily word tracker and it wasn’t until the end of the month that I figured out how to upload my total word count. So…no, I’m not a novel writing machine that can hammer out a novel in a day. 
  4. What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story? I’ve always been a “writer” in the sense that I was obsessed with writing poems and song lyrics in high school. I also kept a journal pretty regularly since I was in grade school. It wasn’t until I took a creative writing course elective in college that I found out that I realized the stories I was writing in my journal counted as me being a potential writer. However, over the last seven years, the funniest thing about my NaNoWriMo adventure is that I never seem to start on time. I always mark it on my calendar but there are so many things I have to get done in the first few days of November that I always start around the 4th or 5th. As you can see, once again I am starting my adventure late. Yet, it makes me laugh since technically I’ve managed to write five 50,000-word stories in 25 days. (See it’s possible)
  5. Do you have any writing “lucky charms”? No and this makes me sad that I’ve never been clever enough to come up with one. However, now that I know this is a thing…I’m determined to find one. 
  6. What is Your Absolute Favorite NaNoWriMo Memory? I wouldn’t say this is a “favorite” as in good memory but it’s one of my more memorable. My first year doing NaNoWriMo I had gotten the flu really bad and ended up going home from college for a week. I couldn’t keep any food down and was pretty miserable so I decided to distract myself by writing a story. 
  7. How do you Pronounce NaNoWriMo? This question makes me laugh because I never realized there was another pronunciation. It’s obviously na-no-rye-mo. 


  1. What’s the Name of Your Project? This year’s project is called “Blood at the Root” and is going to be a graphic novel outline. I’m a little more nervous about this project since it’s technically not going to be a “novel” but I’m writing the outline out as a novel first and then converting it into a graphic novel format. So, if you think about it….I’m writing two stories (the novel version and the graphic novel). 
  2. What’s Your Project’s Genre? Fantasy…werewolf supernatural! 
  3. Introduce Your Cast: I’m only going to share my two main characters, even though I’ve mapped out my entire cast. Overall, there are seven regions of wolves, each with a maximum of a dozen regional packs. There is an Alpha assigned to each pack, with an Ambassador assigned to each region. While Alphas are selected in their role, Ambassadors come from an ancient bloodline when werewolves were first brought into existence. In a way, their history would show they are family but time has diluted this bloodline.
    • Elara is my main protagonist. She’s the heir and daughter of the “Rho” (which is explained in the book). Elara is one of the alpha pack leaders in the European region (there are seven regions — which mirror the seven continents) but when one of the pack Ambassador’s dies, she’s suddenly caught in a war between regions and it’s up to her to save her own pack.
    • Tarvos is my second main character who is the son of the North American Ambassador. After a suspicious illness kills his father, Tarvos finds that he’s suddenly responsible for an entire region of werewolves where he’s forced to decide on potential alliances. However, who his new allies should be, he just doesn’t know.
  4. What is Your Novel’s Theme? There are a lot of small themes in this novel but I think the primary theme is evolution (not in the scientific sense). From the beginning of the novel, we will see how the werewolf race is caught in their own ways but after one of the Ambassadors dies (werewolves don’t typically die from illness), there is a war that will force the different regions to decide if they will evolve into a new bloodline or if they will stay in their older ways. 
  5. What is the Novel’s Main Setting? Since my novel looks at the world as a whole and has assigned a bloodline to each region, I will be eventually talking about every area on earth. However, for the first part of the novel, I will be focusing on the European and North America regions. 
  6. Are you Using Any Plotting/Story Structures for Your Project? In the past, I’ve usually winged it with my stories and at the end of the challenge, I was just unhappy with the result. However, after my second challenge, I started using the “hero’s journey” structure. From looking at my writing in general, I find my stories typically follow this structure so it’s easier to just go with it instead of fighting it. 
  7. What are Some Ways You Prepare? I prepare for NaNoWriMo by creating a calendar outline that covers what each chapter should focus on. I find that it really helps to plan out the outline to the days so that I know what I need to achieve by the end of the day. However, since I don’t know all the middle details of the novel, I usually have a few days here and there for creative planning. As for mental and physical preparation, I don’t usually have a routine. I just try to get the writing done before 10 PM since I think sleep is extremely important. 
  8. What is Your Writing Tool Kit?
    • My laptop — I used to be focused on only using Optimus for this project (that’s my gaming computer) but now I write using Google Doc so I can literally write from anywhere. 
    • Notebook — I buy a new notebook for every year. Since this year’s novel will be a graphic novel, I purchased a hardcover notebook which is much larger compared to my others so that I can include sketch ideas (from the artist), lists of information, map ideas, chapter outlines, etc. 
    • Music — In the last few years, I started creating Spotify playlists for my novels which I find listening to music in the background to be extremely helpful in channeling my inner feelings to write strong dialogue. However, I found that with Amazon Prime, we actually get a music streaming service (with no ads!) so I’m going to be building my playlist on there this year. 
    • Google — I use Google Docs to write my stories, Google Slides to create outlines and keep track of reference images, and Google Sheets to track my chapter outline. It’s the most organized way of writing a 50,000-word novel that I can think of. 
  9. What’s Your Best Advice to New and Old Nanoers? Do this for you! You deserve to write that novel that’s been deep inside you all these years and you deserve to be able to share that with the world. Don’t worry about the number and deadlines. The purpose for this challenge is to encourage you to write and make writing a part of your day. If you know that there is no possible way you can write 50,000 words in a month, change the goal. Shoot for 25,000 or 10,000. Challenge yourself to write 250 words a day or write a poem a week. Even if you don’t meet the 50,000-word goal, you are not a failure because a failure is a writer that refuses to write. 

Well, thanks for hanging out with me in this tag! I hope that you consider joining the challenge even if it isn’t 50,000-words. Also, please, don’t hesitate to add me on NaNoWriMo so that we can follow each other’s stories.

Happy Writing!

❤ Ruubin

General Gaming

Habitica – Gamify Your To-Do List

Whew, I got lost with my blogging schedule somewhere back in October. My career sort of took over for a few weeks since my annual portfolio was due today. Since this is my third year, I was required to submit a portfolio of all my projects and statistics from my everyday duties from the last three years (instead of an annual report). Basically, I’ve spent 40+ hours putting this portfolio together.

Now that it’s submitted, I feel like I have a little bit of my life back now. NaNoWriMo starts today which is my next goal and I wanted to make it more focused on providing content for this blog! So, to prepare myself, I wanted to talk about a new tool that I’ve been using the last few months to help me stay organized with my personal life, work projects, and this blog (in addition to two others….eeepp!).

Habitica is my new favorite web tool for organization. I’ve tried a lot of organizational web tools over the years; asana, todoist, wunderlist, trello, etc. and even though these tools all have amazing features, Habitica is still my favorite. I’m a gamer (if you couldn’t tell) and I’d say I think like a gamer so having my to-do list function as a video game (earning achievements, losing health when I don’t meet deadlines, earning gold to buy rewards) is the best structure for staying organized that’s on the market.

At the moment, I’m a level 26 healer and with my growing to-do list over the last few weeks, I’ve actually been losing a lot of health. Pretty understandable since my portfolio has just been the top of my to-do list. However, as a healer, I can heal myself (and buy potions).

One of the neat features about this tool is you can create habits, dailies, and a general to-do list. What I like about this to-do list tracker is you can create sub-lists in each task, in addition to notes, due dates, and tags. The tags come in handy if you have to do assessment reports like I do. As long as you create your own tags and consistently use them, the reports are extremely descriptive and helpful.

For those that like to do more collaborative work, Habitica has challenges (quests) that you can take on if you are a member in a guild. At the moment, I’m just a solo adventurer, which limits my ability to do quest lines but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the other perks. For many tasks, you receive gold, xp, and in some cases, rewards like mounts, pets, potions, etc. I love collecting the pets.

Overall, this is an outstanding tool that you can use in your browser but also has an iOS / Android app that makes keeping track of your lists on the go extremely convenient.

What kind of system do you use to keep track of your to-do lists?

❤ Ruubin

P.S. I heard about Habitica from a post published on the Productivity for Gamers blog.

General Gaming · World of Warcraft · WoW Challenge

Holiday Quests in World of Warcraft

Image from Wowhead. World of Warcraft is owned by Blizzard

I love holiday quests and achievements and would say it is my absolute favorite thing about the game! As it would be, Hallows End just began this week and as always I have been going around trick-or-treating like my life depended on it. I wouldn’t really say there is a specific holiday quest that I love the most because I love them all. However, the achievement that I want the most is the What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. The reward for this achievement is a violet proto-drake.

For as long as I can remember, holiday questing has always been a must for me but like any other gamer, I always take a break now and then. Unfortunately, my planning for these breaks has always been bad because I’m only one holiday away from receiving this well-earned proto-drake and that’s the Midsummer Fire Festival. You better watch out Midsummer 2019….I’m coming for you!

❤ Ruubin

P.S. This is Day 19 of my World of Warcraft 30 Day Challenge. Want to participate? Check out the full challenge here.