Filtering by Tag: writing

Goodnight & Go--Cover Reveal

Alright, guys.

So, I've been trapped in the editing cave all summer. Like, I only went to the beach once. I don't even think I saw the sun at all. Not a single blistering, painful sunburn. No itchy mosquito bites from nights spent around the campfire. No sand in places sand has no business being.

The sacrifices I make for my art, I tell ya.

But I've got a treat for you.

Just this morning, my cover artist sent me the final cover for Cat's story--Goodnight & Go. And, guys, I might be in love...

meikausher_Ebook.jpg

RULE #1: NEVER STAY THE NIGHT

Happy-ever-afters are for suckers, and Cat Keller ain't no sucker. For years, she's followed a set of rules--rules to keep things casual, to keep her heart safe. And she's never broken them…until a one-night stand turns to two nights, then three, then…well, maybe she can bend just one rule.

RULE #2: NEVER BRING A BOY HOME

Jude Oliver--radio deejay and local heartthrob--was only looking for one night, too, and the cynic in red high heels seemed like just the girl to erase the taste of heartbreak from his lips. But with every night they spend together, Jude is falling for Cat. Soon, he's ready to take the leap and love again. Can he convince her to jump with him?

RULE #3: NEVER…UH…WAIT, IT'S HERE SOMEWHERE

With his unwavering optimism and dimpled grins, Jude is defying Cat's casual code. As she scrambles to hold onto her defenses, she can't help but wonder if he's the one guy worth breaking all her rules for.

 

Keep your eyes out--Cat's story hits stores next month!

July's Too Close, Guys (Oh, and Here's a Cover)

I had a moment this weekend.

There I was, outside enjoying the first glimpses of Spring, making notes for the revision I'm about to start, when it hit me:

I'm doing this thing.

I haven't formally announced it yet, but most people in my life know: I've decided to self-publish. And my first book, Something So Sweet, will hit digital bookshelves on July 1st.

THIS July 1st.

Am I freaking out?

Hell yes.

Am I still going to do it?

Hell yes.

It's so crazy to me. Three, maybe four, years ago, I couldn't have imagined being here. My world was so much smaller then. My dreams seemed impossible, illogical. Just plain silly.

A lot of things have happened since then, and I couldn't be more grateful for every one of them. If I hadn't gone through the lowest lowest and the highest highs of my life, I would not be here now. About to publish my first novel.

Guys.

Can you believe it?

With the release a couple months away, I'm thinking I want to share something with you: the official cover of Something So Sweet.

You ready?

Here it is:

SHE'S A DREAMER STUCK IN A RUT   Big dreams. Tierney Chandler had 'em. Why else would she leave her small town--and her picture perfect fiancé--behind? Nine years later, the town's still small, her dreams are mostly still dreams, and her still-perfect ex is interested. Maybe she should ditch her daydreams and pick up right where she left off…   HE'S A DREAMER STUCK ON HER   Jack Elliott is a baker, making his dreams come true one golden, flaky pie crust at a time. Years ago, he lost out on his chance with Tierney, but now she's back--and he's determined not to let his annoyingly perfect cousin swoop in and steal her away. Again.   TOGETHER, THEY CAN MAKE NEW DREAMS COME TRUE   With a little magic potpie, some stellar kisses, and a heaping helping of blue-eyed charm, maybe--just maybe--Jack can convince Tierney that he's the dream she's been waiting for.

SHE'S A DREAMER STUCK IN A RUT

Big dreams. Tierney Chandler had 'em. Why else would she leave her small town--and her picture perfect fiancé--behind? Nine years later, the town's still small, her dreams are mostly still dreams, and her still-perfect ex is interested. Maybe she should ditch her daydreams and pick up right where she left off…

HE'S A DREAMER STUCK ON HER

Jack Elliott is a baker, making his dreams come true one golden, flaky pie crust at a time. Years ago, he lost out on his chance with Tierney, but now she's back--and he's determined not to let his annoyingly perfect cousin swoop in and steal her away. Again.

TOGETHER, THEY CAN MAKE NEW DREAMS COME TRUE

With a little magic potpie, some stellar kisses, and a heaping helping of blue-eyed charm, maybe--just maybe--Jack can convince Tierney that he's the dream she's been waiting for.

This book...this is the book I've been trying to write for years. And years and years and years. It's been through so many changes, from plot lines to character names to settings, but at its core, it's always been a story about dreams. Letting go of old ones and chasing down new ones. Something that I relate to now more than I ever have before.

I love these characters and this world so, so much. And I'm both terrified and thrilled to share it with you guys.

July.

Shit.

That's not too far away, is it?

IWSG: Doing the Thing That Scares You

A couple months ago, I did something. Something big. Something scary. Something I have always wanted to do.

I bought a ticket to Europe.

Not as part of a group tour, or a cruise. A single, solitary, one-way ticket to Amsterdam.

The moment I confirmed the purchase, my stomach fell straight to my toes. What was I doing? Who did I think I was, planning a solo trip thousands of miles away from home? I wasn't that brave!

Here's a secret, though: I AM that brave.

We all are.

Life, I have come to learn, is often choosing to do the thing that scares you. It's not easy, and there are a million reasons NOT to do it, but what's the worst that could happen?

Given, of course, that the thing that scares YOU is not, like, committing murder or jumping off a high-rise. DON'T do those things. They're scary for a reason.

But buying a ticket to Europe? Applying for a job you really want? Asking that cute dude out that you see every day at the coffee shop (probably not for coffee, though)? Yes. Do those things.
Moments after buying my ticket.

Because the worst that could happen is that you fail. You get lost in the streets of Florence. You don't get the job. The cute dude says no. You're still okay.

This applies to writing, as well. A book idea that scares you might turn out to be the best thing you've ever written. Joining a writing group could earn you some new friends (and writer friends are the best) and maybe some solid advice. And self-publishing the book babies you've put your heart and soul into for years...

Okay. That last one is super scary, no matter how much optimism I sprinkle over it.

But, just like that ticket to Amsterdam, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do the thing that scares me. Because what's a life spent sitting on the sidelines while others chase their dreams?

What scares YOU (writing-wise or not)?

Writing Lobsters

Let's face it. This writing thing is hard work. Hard, lonely, crazy-making work. You can go it alone, spend every day staring at your computer screen, banging out word after word, steeping in your own stink while subsisting on coffee and chocolate.

OR you could do all these things in the company of someone else. What's better than sharing body odor and snacks. Misery loves company, right?

By our very nature, writers aren't usually fans of people. If given the choice, most of us would never leave the house. We'd be like that guy in Finding Forrester, that gets groceries delivered to his house and everything. (Now that I mention it, that DOES sound kind of nice...)

But that would be the WRONG choice.

In the video below, author Jenna Moreci talks about why Writer Buddies are necessary (Note: If you've never watched a Jenna Moreci video, two important things: She is AWESOME, and she swears. A. LOT).


Jenna makes some excellent points. Who else is going to understand when you've been stuck on the same chapter for DAYS and you just want to set your book on fire? Who's going to give you a chocolate bar and a "Suck it up, buttercup," speech when you're thinking about throwing in the towel and taking up Alpaca farming instead?

Not "regular" people, that's for sure.

I am lucky enough to have an amazing group of writers around me. For about four years now, I've been a member of the fabulous foursome, Pigasus Pen. When the group began, we were all fledgling fiction writers, giving this thing our best go. Now, two of us are querying agents, and two of us have decided to self-publish. We've come a long way, baby.

Before I joined this group, I was floundering. I'd rewritten the same book at least a dozen times and I was spinning my wheels so hard I'd worn them down to nubs. With the help of these amazing ladies, I have come so far. I firmly believe that if I hadn't stumbled upon a "looking for a writing group?" post on the NaNoWriMo forum, I would still be staring at that same manuscript. Or, worse, I would have given up on writing altogether.

In addition to my Pigasus ladies, I have a strong and supportive community of writers with the Capital City Writers Association. Between the workshops and conferences and spur of the moment write-ins I've had with CCWA members, I feel more invigorated and prepared to take on the world of publishing than ever before. The resources and knowledge this group possesses are absolutely priceless.

So, yes. You COULD stay at home and fester in your own stinky, stubborn stench. Or you could get out there and mingle. Meet some like-minded folks and form a bond. Find someone with your brand of crazy and WRITE ALL THE WORDS!

Go on...mingle.

Oh, and if you're wondering about that title, it's based on the Phoebe Bouffay lobster theory. Only, instead of old lobsters wandering around the tank, holding claws, picture two bedraggled writers in their leggings and sweatshirts, sharing a bag of M&Ms. It's a real thing, I swear! Just ask Christina.

IWSG: Writer Angst



The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!



Current Writing Mood:




Thank you, Schmidt, for summing things up so nicely for me. 

How is YOUR writing going these days?

Monday Mixtape: Novelin' Music


Music is an integral part of my writing process. For me, it's very much the first stages of character development. I'll hear a song and go, "Oh, this song is totally so-and-so," or "That song is perfect for the scene where this thing happens." I'm even known to do this for my writing lobster's novels.

While plotting, I always compile a playlist of songs that strike something in me about the story. Usually, the playlist gets absurdly long--we're talking 75-100 songs sometimes.

As the story comes more into focus, as I get to know the characters better, the playlist shrinks. I listen to these playlists on loop while I write, and for months and months after I finish a draft, every time I hear a song that had been on a playlist, I go right back to that story.

I'm currently almost done with the third book in my first series, and its playlist sits at about twenty songs. Each one represents something about the story, or a piece of a character, and they immediately put me into the story.

I decided to share a few of these songs with you guys today.

First up, "Till the Casket Drops" by ZZ Ward:


"Show Me Your Fangs" by Matt Nathanson:


"I Really Like You" by Carly Rae Jepsen:


So, there ya have it. The soundtrack of random that is on repeat in my head right now!

What about ya'll? Do you use music playlists as you write? What kind of music do you listen to? Any recommendations? I'm always on the lookout for new music!

IWSG: Publishing Paranoia

The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!

These days, the number of insecurities I have as a writer is lower than it's ever been. I'm confident in my stories and the way I tell them. I believe in these books, in these characters, and I love the ever-loving shit out of them.

That doesn't mean there aren't things that still scare me.

Publishing, for instance.

I've made the terrifying and exciting decision to self-publish. I'm taking the rest of this year to polish the three books in my first series, and then off I go.

There was a lot of back and forth that went into this decision. And though I now feel this is the absolute right thing for me and my books, I'm still wrought with insecurities.

Mostly, its the whole, "Everything is my responsibility so if I fail then I have no one to blame but myself, and also what if no one likes my books and they think my characters are stupid and my doin' it scenes are awkward and my dialogue is stilted and unrealistic and..." thing.

I could keep going, but I'll leave it at that relatively small list of things that are running through my head.

I'm sure traditionally published authors experience a lot of these same insecurities. You spend months and months and years slaving over these books, falling in love with these characters, laughing with them, crying with them, and then...then, you let them go. You put them out into the world and you hope that people love them as much as you do.

Someone won't though. Maybe lots of someones. And there's nothing you can do about it.

It's like birthing a baby, and of course you think it's the most beautiful baby in the whole damn universe, but someone is bound to tell you that your baby is ugly.

I don't want anyone to think my babies are ugly.

So, what about ya'll? Those of you that are published, both traditionally and self, how do you deal with these insecurities? Any tips for that inevitable moment when someone doesn't like your book? I'm freaking out over here!

Owning It


            A person can spend their entire life trying to figure out where they belong, what their purpose is, what they should be doing with the blink of time they’re given on this planet. Most people, I think, don’t ever find the answers.
            I’ve spent a lot of time being uncertain, being told that my writing was a “dream,” and a silly one at that. That the odds are not in my favor. That I should focus my energy on something “logical,” something “real.” And, for a while there, I listened.
            My life has shifted a lot in the last couple years. It’s morphed into something I don’t even recognize most days. The person I am now, I firmly believe, would punch the person I used to be right in the face and tell her to stop being such a chicken shit. And that is an amazing thing to realize.
            Along with those changes came a confidence I’d never had before. A confidence that the purpose I’d convinced myself was stupid for years was, in fact, the thing I should be doing with my life.
Charming, racy, funny, snarky.
            That realization was confirmed this weekend when I was fortunate enough to be in the company of over a hundred people with the same passion as me: writing.
The Capital CityWriters Association put on one hell of a show with their annual Write on theRed Cedar conference. And, with each hour that passed surrounded by so much fire and passion and support, I realized: this is where I belong. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.
            I’m a writer, goddammit.
            Man, that felt good to say.

           

IWSG: Revision-Induced Terror




The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!

Revisions.

Edits.

Rewrites.

These words are currently the makings of my writerly nightmare.

Here’s the deal: I am about half through writing the third book in my series. Which means I’m about 40k words or a couple months (whichever comes first) away from having three books to revise.

Three.

What. Was. I. Thinking?

Me, being scared.
When I made the decision to forge ahead with book three, it seemed like a good idea. Get all the details in place, I thought. Continuity is magic, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I like revising. I like turning something messy and cobbled together into a cohesive, smooth, pretty story. It’s fun for me. Unless I’m looking at nothing BUT that for an extended period of time.

I’m not exactly sure how to go about it. I’ve rewritten plenty of times. Hell, I rewrote the same book for years and years. Now, I have (or will have) three solid drafts that don’t need rewrites, just revisions. And it’s scary.

Super scary. 

So. How do you revise? Do you have a method? A process? A trick up your sleeve? Are you hands-on, with printed pages in front of you, or do you prefer doing everything on your computer?

I’m all ears, lovely folks. I need all the help I can get.

2015: Best Year Ever?



It’s New Year’s Eve. This time tomorrow, we will be at the start of a brand new year. Can you believe it? 2015 is almost gone, never to be seen again.

I hope your year was filled with all things that were good. I know mine was.

From start to finish, my 2015 was a lesson in changing and learning and growing. On a big picture level, there are a few things that stand out:

I wrote. A lot. Like, a lot, a lot.

At the beginning of the year, I attended a writing conference put on by the fabulous Capital City Writers Association, called Write on the Red Cedar. It was, hands down, the best conference I have ever been to. I paid extra for a workshop with Donald Maass, and, OMG guys, I learned so much. I went in to the workshop with my completed NaNoWriMo novel (the sequel to the one I had finished the year before), and when I left, I had a plan for rewriting the entire last half. That workshop was a game changer for the way I write.

As a side note, the CCWA is doing another conference in January, and this year's headliner is Bob Mayer. Interested? Ya better hurry. They're almost sold out!

So, I rewrote the last half of that book and turned it in to my wonderful writing group. The verdict? It was a solid first draft with minimal issues. The entire experience—writing that book, attending the conference, rewriting half of the book—guys, it changed me. As I’ve mentioned before, I spent a LONG time working on one book. Over and over and over and…well, you get the picture. I wrote that book so many times. I was stuck in a loop. When I decided to write something new last November, I had no idea how it was going to change me.

In about March, armed with notes from my writing group for revisions, I cracked open my manuscript, ready to revise. Only…I couldn’t. Because I had learned so much about writing and about my abilities as a writer, I knew I had to go back. I had to go back to that FIRST book. If I was going to present the two novels I had written as a series, then I had to rewrite book one. It didn’t match the tone, the voice, the everything of book two. So, with a sharp edge of hesitance, of nervousness, I rewrote book one. 


In July, I had MAJOR SURGERY!!!!! My gallbladder had been trying to kill me for a while and so I finally got that sucker yanked out. Life has been much less painful since.

I finished my rewrite somewhere around mid-August, and threw the whole thing to my writing group. At this point, it wasn’t even a rewrite. It was an entirely new book. The character names were the only constants between the new and old. And it was the right decision. My group loved it—of course, there were suggestions to make it better, but overall…I couldn’t have asked for a better critique.

From September to October, while putting together a plan of action for revisions, I went back to school. I finished one class before I decided that now was not the right time. I was finally onto something with my writing, I was excited, passionate, confident about it for the first time in forever, and I didn’t want to split my time between writing and school. It was a hard decision to make, because I don’t have much left for my Bachelor’s degree, and we all know writing ain’t a logical career choice (at least if you’re looking to quit your day job). But in the end, I had to follow my heart, and my heart was with the writing. It always has been.

So, I withdrew from school. One of these days, I’ll get back to it, finish up that degree. Hopefully by then, I’ll have a few published books under my belt.

Also in October, I took my first solo trip. I flew to New Jersey to spend a week with my best and oldest friend and her family. Jersey was beautiful, her boys were beautiful, and I finally got to see the ocean! 



It was a wonderful trip, and it gave me a confidence I needed to know that I COULD travel solo. Because that is a huge dream of mine: to hop on a plane aimed for Europe and see everything on my own. Now I know that I don’t suck at traveling.

In November, I started a new book. I didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo, but I got damn close. And by the end of the month, I had 42k’s worth of a new draft I was excited and passionate about. The third book in my series was well on its way.

Not to mention, my writing lobster and I rang in the end of NaNoWriMo the best way possible—in a cabin in the woods, no wifi for miles. It was gorgeous and inspiring. It has since been decided that this must become a tradition.




Now, at the end of December, the end of 2015, I have not added to my NaNo word count. Instead, I’ve spent the month rearranging what I wrote in November. Once I’ve got everything in its place, I’ll finish writing the book (even though I don’t have an outline, so I don’t know how it all ends), and then I’ll move on to revisions—for all three books. Because that’s not crazy or anything…

So…yeah. That was my year in a nutshell. 2015 just might be my most favorite year so far. 2016 is going to give it a run for its money, though. Which, let’s be honest, is a good place to be in.

Stay tuned for a “things I’m going to do in 2016” post.

How was your 2015? Do you have any big plans for 2016?

Crazy Little Thing Called Life

Life is crazy, you guys. Everything can change from day to day to day. The last year and a half of my life should have taught me that. Even still, I find myself being surprised by how much can change.

If this sounds ominous, it's not meant to. These most recent changes are all good ones, I swear.

First up, I withdrew from school. I'm only nine classes away from my Bachelor's degree, but throughout my first class, I found myself overwhelmed and unenthusiastic. I didn't want to take the class, and there were a billion things I could have been doing instead. And then the wheels started turning:

"Why am I doing this?"

"Do I really need this degree?"

"Do I want to put myself even further into debt for a degree I might not even need?"

"Why am I putting so much time and energy into this when I could be writing?"

It was the last question that struck me the hardest. I know I've mentioned a lot just how much writing I've been getting done lately, how much better that writing has gotten. How I feel like something has finally clicked into place. Did I really want to shove all that aside for something that didn't make me nearly as happy as the writing?

The answer: not even a little bit.

So, I withdrew from school.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't questioning myself. Years of hard work, student loans galore, only 9 classes to go. Why not just finish? Why put something as LOGICAL as school aside to focus on something as ILLOGICAL as writing? Shouldn't I be a grown up and make the responsible decision?

I can always re-enroll later. There is no guarantee that the writing will come as smoothly at a later time. The muse is a fickle bitch. I...I don't know. I have to take some more time with the words. Finish the last book in my first series, clean them all up. I just have to.

There are a couple more big decisions that I've made recently, but I'm not quite ready to talk about them yet. Hint: they're both big and scary and exhilarating and (hopefully) awesome.

To be continued...

The Balancing Act

Last month, I picked up where I left off about a year and a half ago--I went back to school. Now, if you're sensing some bitterness there, you'd be right.

My dilemma is this: I've been writing a lot over the last year. I have discovered my voice as a writer, and I have decided on a career path for these book babies. School throws a wrench in these plans. When I'm writing, I'm thinking about homework. When I'm doing homework, I want to be working on my book. And when I'm doing neither, when I'm hanging out with friends or just relaxing, I keep thinking I should be doing something else. Cue deep breaths.

Part of me wants to say eff it and focus on the writing, but the years and student loans I've put into school would be for nothing. I've only got ten classes left for my Bachelor's. Ten classes. It'd be silly to not finish, right?

So now I'm left trying to balance my newfound fire for writing with classes that I don't particularly want to take. Throw in a full-time job, my awesome friends and a new relationship with a pretty rad dude, and I've got a lot on my plate.

So, how do I balance it?

I have no idea.

As if I don't already have enough on my plate, I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I'm going to write the third book in my first series. I'm super excited about this book. It's going to be a blast to write. That is, if I don't let everything else eat my soul.

So, how about you? How do you balance writing with a life full of other things? Any tips or tricks for me? I suck at balance.


Plotter Panic

I’m a plotter.

A hardcore, need-to-know-every-detail, plotter.

As evidenced by the 27,000-word outline I wrote for my current work-in-progress.

Yep. 27,000 words.

So, imagine my borderline panic when I started writing the book and the opening scene was not as outlined. Borderline panic turned to full-on Omigod, what am I doing? when, scene by scene, chapter after chapter, everything was coming out new.

“Why did I spend so long outlining?” I asked myself. “Why didn’t I just start writing the damn book?”

At some point, about twenty thousand words in, I reached a point where I was like, “Okay. All right. I can do this.”

Which, given my obsessive plotting tendencies, is a big deal.

I fought the urge to stop writing, go back, re-outline, and I just kept going. Something inside me shifted, and I just relaxed into the writing. Clearly, these characters were going to tell this story the way that they saw fit. Who was I to interfere?

And you know what? So far, so good. I’ve got about three or four chapters left to write, and a new ending in mind. We shall see how it holds up…

The lesson here? Relax. At least, for me. I was so uptight about my outline, so stressed when it wasn’t working, when the story kept changing. The moment I let it go (Let it go! Let it go! Ahem…sorry.) was the moment I learned to trust my writerly instincts.

Does this mean I’m going to be a Pantser from now on? Hell no! Going into a story with absolutely no clue what’s going to happen freaks me out, even if what I plan on happening changes. But I have learned to roll with the punches. That’s a valuable lesson for someone like me.

What about you? Are you a Plotter? Pantser? Somewhere in between?

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I've been calling my next WIP a rewrite.

It's a book I've written and rewritten so many times over the last almost decade of my life. The story has changed, the characters have morphed into different versions of themselves, the story has taken on many different forms. At its core, though, it's always been the same story: girl leaves boy, girl wants boy back, boy is engaged to another girl. *cue super-hot best man*

Well...that plot has been discarded.

No longer is this version a "rewrite."

It's a brand-spanking-new book.

The bones are similar to the thousand previous drafts: Character names (though they've all got new last names), the town and its residents, a few of the events. But everything else? Oh, so different.

As I was writing my last book for NaNoWriMo last year, I discovered something about myself. I was funny. I liked my characters to be funny. Not so much on the angst. Every version of the first book was laden with angst. They were all angst cookies frosted with the gallons of tears my characters cried.

Well, no more.

My hero has made the biggest transformation. In every draft, he's been this sexy, brooding guy with a Mysterious Past and a perma-smirk. Basically, he was this guy:


Hot, right? Of course he's hot! That's Ian Smolderhotter. Hold on...I've lost my train of thought...

Oh, yeah. Out with the Ian, in with a new face. No longer is my Jack a broody, moody, smirky, too-serious dude. Nope. He's lighter now. Funny. And so adorable (still sexy, though. Don't worry). Still, I know what you're thinking. HOW COULD YOU REPLACE IAN SOMERHALDER WITH SOME NEW DUDE? DON'T YOU KNOW HOW HOT HE IS?

I DO know how hot he is. He's just not JACK, people! I'm gonna need you to calm down.

Are we calm now? Okay.

My new Jack looks a lot like this guy:


Look at that smile! Doesn't he look all kinds of charming and adorable, all while still being super sexy? I told you not to worry. Also, I'm pretty sure that Mr. Smolderhotter will get his book. I'm thinking Jack has a hot older brother...

So, yeah. Lots of changes with this book. I am no longer thinking of it as a "rewrite." This is an all new book. And I am so ridiculously excited to start writing it!

Ten Months Sober

So, this is a writing blog. I rarely, if ever, get any sort of personal. Briefly, last September, I mentioned my life, and how much things had changed. Today, I want to talk more about that.

This time last year, things were wildly different. I was on the verge of quitting the job I'd been at for 8 years to take a brand new job, about to celebrate 7 years with someone I loved very much. Of course, there are no relationships without struggles, and a couple weeks after our anniversary, the struggles broke us.

And...well, I've been picking up the pieces ever since.

Little by little, I've been rebuilding my life. True, it's taking a lot longer than I wanted it to, but I've been told I'm too hard on myself.

I've been finding the good, though, amid the absolute devastation. I have found a group of friends who love and accept me just the way I am. They don't tell me I'm awesome and stroke my ego 24/7. If I need to hear something, even if I don't WANT to, they'll say it. Everyone should have friends like these people.

I've also been rediscovering myself. In a relationship, it's easy to lose yourself. It's easy to bend and twist and compromise yourself to be what you think the other person wants you to be, until at some point you look in the mirror and you're not sure you recognize the reflection. I'd spent so long trying to be this idealized version of myself that it was almost like I didn't exist.

Over the last ten months, I've gotten to know myself again. And you know what? I like me. I'm lighter and sillier than the woman I was within the walls of that relationship. I'm trying new things and going new places and learning to be independent. I've spent hours watching Supernatural and Friends and Gilmore Girls and Audrey Hepburn movies. I've had Ben & Jerry's for dinner one night, and then pizza for dinner the next twelve nights (all while losing over 40 lbs). I've hung out with my fabulous friends until the wee hours. I've spent entire days cuddling with my puppies and dancing to Taylor Swift. I have met new people, experienced new things, and I've found a confidence that had all but disappeared. I've started planning a life that is all mine. A life of love and laughter and travel and pizza and words and puppy cuddles and Dean Winchester (if only on my TV screen). I've learned that not only am I capable of being alone, I actually LIKE it.

And you know what else I've been doing? Writing. So much writing.

I went from rewriting the same novel for damn near 8 years, over and over and over, to finishing that novel and then whipping through an all new one. One that came so fast and easy to me, and that turned out so well that I'm astounded. I fell in love with writing again. I found my voice - did you know that's not just something people say? All those years I struggled with that one book? I have pinpointed why it wouldn't work. It was too serious. The follow-up book managed to be lighter, funnier, in spite of the heavy issues my characters are dealing with. I am confident that I can rework that first book and turn it into exactly what I've wanted it to be.

So, yeah. I got hurt. I got hurt in ways that left me shaken and doubtful of my worth as a human being. I felt crazy and confused and scared and stupid and alone. Some days, I thought I wouldn't survive the pain, thought I couldn't pick myself up and go on living. But here I am, almost a year later, still standing. And more than that, I'm stronger than before. Life is weird that way. Just when you think you can't make it, there are a million reasons why you can. One person can't - and shouldn't - be your everything. And it's okay to let go of the past and move on with your life.

As Taylor Swift sings in the song that has become my constant soundtrack, "The rain came pouring down, when I was drowning, that's when I could finally breathe."

And, I'm happy to report, that I am breathing just fine.





IWSG: Don't Stop Believing

The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writers Support Group Be sure to stop by and lend your support to the other writers participating!

I decided to go back to Book #1 for yet another rewrite. I am plagued with the idea that maybe I'm wasting my time.

I finished a book I love a couple months ago. I wrote it with such ease and I love the finished product. It needs some work, of course, but overall, I feel like it was a huge victory for me. It was the first NEW book I wrote in years, and it felt liberating and amazing.

Why, then, would I go back to the book I've been writing for upwards of 8 years, on and off? The book that has caused me so much stress and anger and frustration and pain? The book that has seen at least 10 different rewrites and is STILL not all it could be?

It's a waste of time, right?

But the thing is...I can't give up on it. With my newest book, I learned things about myself. I learned to be a better writer, a more confident writer. I believe I can finally give the characters in that first book the story they deserve. And, in the words of the incomparable Journey, "Don't Stop Believing."

So, back to the drawing board, I go.

Will this be the time that I finally get it right?

What about you? Have you ever worked on the same project for years and years? How did it turn out? Do you ever feel like you should just give it up?



How YOU Doin, 2015?

Okay, okay. So it's been over four months since my last post. I am KILLING this blogging thing. KILLING. IT.

In all reality, I've spent the better part of my time since late-October...WRITING.

I completed NaNoWriMo with just over 53k words, then continued to work on my novel for the next couple months. I typed the words The End in mid-January, then attended a fantastic writing workshop with Donald Maass, which spurred ALL THE EPIPHANIES. I rewrote the last half of my book, then turned it in to my fabulous writing group. From the moment I turned it in to the morning of the meeting, I felt like I was going to throw up or die or both.

I couldn't have asked for a better meeting, though. I got great feedback, and a relatively short revision list for my book baby.

You guys, I am so, so proud of this book. After spending the better part of 8 years writing and rewriting my last book, I wasn't sure going into NaNoWriMo if I could write something new. But I wrote the hell out of this new book, and you know what? It's so much better than the other one. I have really found my voice as a writer, and I've learned and grown so much. This new book...it's me. The last book, I spent years and years trying to figure out WHO I was, what I wanted the book to be, what I could and couldn't say...and so on.

Once I hit my stride, the words wouldn't stop coming. I laughed, I cried, I had an absolute blast writing that book.

And now...well, now I'm going back to the first one.

I know, I know. Sounds silly, right? Why go back to the book I'd spent year after torturous year writing after discovering a new confidence with a new book?

Well, the thing is, I believe in the characters in the first book. I love them. I love the story. I want to give them the book they deserve. And I believe I can do that now. Now that I've figured out how I work, how to be free with my words and not allow self-doubt to censor me, I really believe I can make this book what it was meant to be.

Outlining has proven to be a bitch, though.

The thing I'm struggling with is this: there is a lot to be loved in the original draft. And there are ideas a-plenty to improve it. So, I'm trying to find the balance between the old and new. And let me tell you...it's not easy.

But I've got a self-imposed deadline. I want to have this new version completed by the first week of May. That gives me...two months?

Shit. I'd better get cracking.



PS: How ADORABLE is my new header? My wonderfully amazing best friend and writing lobster, Christina made it for me. She rocks, eh?

NaNoWriMo 2014


While I take a break from the completed draft of a novel I've worked on for years, I've decided to start something new. And what better time to do that than in November?

For those who may not know, November is National Novel Writing Month. Basically, the crazy writers of the world attempt to write 50k words in 30 days. It's insane, infuriating and sort of awesome, and I can't wait to give it a go. This year, unlike the past few times I've participated, I'm not aiming to hit the 50k goal. I really just want a solid start on my next novel. And NaNoWriMo provides just the inspiration and motivation I need to do that.

My next novel stars Cat, the sassy, scene-stealing best friend of my last main character. I've been working on the outline for the last couple weeks and I am stoked to get started!

To get into the story, I've been listening to a playlist of songs that remind me of my characters and spending way too much time on Pinterest. I love that I get to call this stuff "research." I mean, look at all the pretty!




The soundtrack for this novel has been completely different from my last one. Lighter, sexier. These two songs specifically have been on repeat:






I really feel like Cat's story is going to be so different from Tierney's, and I'm looking forward to the challenge. It will be a nice break before I start revising Tierney.

How about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How has your writing been going? Isn't Jared Padelecki pretty?

Strong, Even When It Hurts

So.

Six months since my last post.

What have I been up to?

Well, life is kind of crazy these days. I'm single for the first time in seven years, I moved, started a new job, got a new car...you name it, it's different.

Basically, I've spent the last few months trying to get my feet back on the ground. I'm not quite there yet, but each day I'm getting a little closer.

On the writing front, I'm only two chapters away from The End. Which is another thing that's freaking me out. I've been working on this particular novel for so many years. Once I reach the end, once I go through the revision process, I have to say goodbye to this story, these characters. Yet another change in my life. While it's a good one, it still makes me nervous.

And excited.

My next novel is already forming in my head. My main character whispering sometimes, screaming at others, trying to get me to write her story. I need to finish my current one first, but the prospect of a shiny new novel is thrilling.

But I have to finish this one first. So close, yet so far away. I had the ending all mapped out, but about halfway through the novel, my main character changed the course of the story. Now, I'm struggling to nail down how it all ends. Happily Ever After sounds easy enough, right?

I'll get there, ladies and gents. One word, one step, one day at a time...

IWSG: How Long is Too Long?


The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!

I have this app on my phone called Timehop. Basically, it scours the internet each day for things you've posted on the same date in previous years. It's kind of cool and mostly I enjoy the look back (especially today's update from last year: "Dropped off the last rent check today. Can't wait to make that first mortgage payment!). But lately, I've been getting updates like:

"Finished Chapter 17 today! Onto the next chapter."


or

"I rewrote my outline. Now, maybe I'll finish this thing by the end of March!"

The problem with those updates? They're from 2 & 3 years ago, and are about the same book I'm working on now -- which, for the record, I had been working on sporadically for at least 4 years prior. Actually, now that I think of it, in April, it will be 7 years with Dana, and I was definitely working on this novel when we met. You guys, that's a LONG time.

So, my question for today is: How long is too long to work on the same project?

When should you decide it's just not gonna work and set it aside? When do you start on something new?

Now, I'm not completely bummed that I'm still working on the same book, because in the last year or so I have made leaps and bounds with it. This is the best it's ever been. It's finally becoming what I have wanted it to be from day one.

But those Timehop updates, they do make me wonder. What might I have accomplished if I'd let this book go?

What are your thoughts? How long have you been working on your current WIP? When should you give it up and move on?