No Excuses. Just Write.

I just spent a week in Hawaii, and it made me realize something:

I’m angry. Have been for a while. I don’t want to be anymore.

I have been writing in the hope of being traditionally published for four years, this October. I remember the moment with great clarity that I decided to make that my goal. And, in retrospect, that may have been my first mistake.

I was sitting on my stoop in Brooklyn, and I decided to discontinue the blog I’d started when we moved to New York City in favor of creating a writing-centered blog to begin building my author platform. I didn’t even have a finished draft yet, and already I was plotting my future as an author. Already, I was thinking about what kind of brand I wanted to create. Already, I was setting myself up for heartache.

This post will be inspirational. I’ll get to that part in a minute.

I did finish a draft. And then I revised. And revised. And revised. And every time I did, I wanted it to be the last time. I wanted someone to tell me yes, this book is no longer a red hot mess. I got a lot of feedback. That manuscript helped me make a lot of writer friends and industry connections because it was promising, but it was never quite right.

I got tired of revising it and around that time I finished my shiny new idea. I revised. I revised again. I sent it to readers and got fantastic feedback. I did a revise and resubmit with an agent. The resubmit went well, all signs pointed to Yes, and then instead nothing at all happened. The agent fell off the face of the planet. I never heard from her again.

Whether it was right or not, I got angry. Yes, I did the proper thing and acted cool. I told myself this was not my fault. I told myself this was just business. I force fed every line of positive energy bullshit I could down my throat. I faked a positive attitude. I began to query more widely. I got a lot of requests, fast, and there were a couple of weeks there in January where I was flying high.

But the Anger was still there. It had a higher threshold for patience than I did. As the months of waiting dragged on, it festered. It seeped into my heart and mind and creative force. I sat down to write, anything, and Anger distracted me with self-pity. I griped about the Industry, and Anger became more powerful in my disgust. I saw certain books become successful, books I read and didn’t love, didn’t like, didn’t get. I struggled to read at all. Agents requested, agents rejected, agents didn’t get back to me. I decided Agents could go fuck themselves.

I’m a bit of a potty-mouth. Anger made that worse.

I kept having accidents and injuring myself, and Anger managed to make even those about my failure as a writer. Because since I wanted to be published, since I had decided that publishing was my goal, the fact that I wasn’t yet meant my writing was bad. It meant I was clearly on the wrong path, and I needed to realize it. It meant my talent, my love of story, my imagination, was substandard. It wasn’t enough to know what I loved and get to do it — I needed to succeed. I needed to win. I should just give up.

This wasn’t happening without my knowledge. I am not a victim. Anger became my ally. It made me feel validated in my procrastination, or lack of perseverance with the manuscripts I had started, or querying some more, or deciding anything, ever about my career.

The week before I left for Hawaii I started a new project. Well, a reimagining of that first novel. The one I gave up on. The one I wrote because I wanted to get published. As the words poured onto the page, I forgot to be angry. I forgot to feel sorry for myself, or to hate the agents that said no or said nothing, I forgot everything because the words were more important, the voice was all that mattered. It was a small victory against Anger, and it was the first step in breaking that alliance.

On the way to Hawaii I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and saw another writer announce they had landed an agent. And I should have been happy for them — I was happy for them, really, deep down — except Anger reminded me of all the reasons I shouldn’t be. Of all that I deserved and hadn’t received, of all the wrongness. I shut my Twitter feed and felt tears well in my eyes. I was tired of being angry. It was making this hard thing harder, and in order to win, I would need to let it go. And winning would have to become something else. And everything would have to change.

This realization followed me to the Islands, where I looked out over the ocean and asked for clarity.

The real problem was me. And the only person I was hurting, the only successful victim in my alliance with Anger against the publishing industry, was me and my writing. Me and the thing that I love.

The clarity I asked for, I received. The Islands operate on a different wavelength than the rest of the world. They move at a different rhythm. I move dangerously fast. I hate waiting. I see time as a commodity I will never have enough of. I want everything. I want to be everything. I am pulled in a million directions by me and no one else because I am afraid of missing it. I am afraid of not doing all the things I am supposed to do.

Ultimately, I, not Anger, am my own worst enemy. And I don’t know if that will ever really change, but I do know that I have to forgive myself for not meeting that goal yet. I have to forgive publishing, and Agents, for not doing things the way I want them to. I have to forgive my writing for still being a work in progress. I will only have me to blame if I let Anger win instead of Perseverance.

In the end, the only thing we have power over, no matter what we’re trying for, is ourselves and our attitude. So, no excuses. Just write. And then rewrite. And then start again. You are never finished, but you are good enough in your unfinished state.

feet in water

Put my Patella Back

This year so far I have…

Busted up my face falling down a ladder

Been in a fender bender

And most recently, dislocated my kneecap. And it’s April.

That’s not counting the time my dog was attacked and nearly died. Or my husband was sick with strep throat so bad his tonsils swelled and his throat closed up. Or the bouts with hopelessness as a result of my seemingly never-ending stay in publishing limbo.

But back to my kneecap.

I’m going to warn you ahead of time, the story of how it happened is pretty lame. (I am working up a draft of a more interesting tale, for cocktail parties and public appearances. I’ll trust you guys not to give me away.)

I was sitting at Stephanie’s (my YouTube co-pilot and sister) kitchen table yesterday afternoon having an evil-genius planning session for our videos. We’d brought the dogs over since we were going to be gone most of the evening.

James, the dog I previously mentioned that nearly died earlier this year, got out somehow and was wandering around outside Stephanie’s kitchen window. He’s prone to making bad decisions, and so Stephanie went out to get him. Then, when he wasn’t coming to her, I jumped up to go help.

And that’s when I dislocated my kneecap. Was I chasing the dog? Nope. Did I fall down some stairs? You’d think, with my history, that was the case.

No, I hit my knee on the table leg.

That’s it.

That’s the whole story.

emma

I slammed to the ground with a guttural scream. The kind women in labor make in  movies. I couldn’t move my leg without a blinding pain shooting through my entire body and making we wish for oblivion. But, of course, I didn’t pass out. No, not me. I stayed lucid and snarky through the entire ordeal.

I wanted to call 911.

My husband insisted we not because, despite my assertions, I was not dying.

Stephanie immediately called my mom because she is smart. Mom is always who you call in this type of situation. I am sure it’s the same with your mom, if not, you can always borrow mine for a small security deposit and the rights to your first-born.

Then we had to wait. My husband held my leg in place and kept me calm and sensible. He is my raven-headed superhero. “If only Claire Beauchamp were here, she’d know what to do,” he said. Sigh. My Soulmate.

Mom arrived, with my Asgardian-like brother, Isaac and his weight-lifting friend, Joshua and they hatched a plan to move me. I couldn’t actually move, so this plan involved strapping my legs together with a belt (which was accompanied by more movie labor screaming and maybe a few curse words and requests that Jesus take the wheel), rolling me without actually turning me over onto a sheet, pulling me like furniture across the floor and then securing me on a crib-base board as a make-shift gurney.

Fast thinkers, those guys. I was doing Lamaze breathing at this point. So I had found a freckle to focus all my energy on and was trying to get to my happy place.

They loaded me in the car and we began the way-too-bumpy ride to the ER.

Upon arrival we were told the place was packed. They wanted to put me in a wheelchair to which I responded, “If you shoot me with meds first, then sure. Otherwise get the hell away from me with that, dude.”

The second ER nurse they sent out, while they were trying to get a stretcher for me, asked me what was going on.

“I’m dying,” I told him. “Can’t you tell?”

“You’re in pain, which is how I know you’re not dying,” he replied, smiling.

I recognized the other nurse as a friend of a friend and then we were gold. If they didn’t treat me well, I’d tattle on them. Or, maybe it was the fact that they had to treat me right away because I couldn’t sit up. I don’t know, it went pretty fast after that.

They wheeled me into the hospital while I chagrined about my lame story, and they offered some more exciting alternatives.

Then my dad showed up and started to pray before he even got inside my room. Once he saw my knee, all whompy and turned on its side, he nearly passed out. Well, he couldn’t stay. So he and Mom left for the mall and some much needed retail therapy. My injury was giving him heart palpitations.

Vitals were taken. Blood was drawn. IV went in.

“Usually, when they do the X-ray, the patella just pops back in on its own,” the RN said as she looked at my knee. “We’ll get you some morphine before we try to move you though.”

I had never had morphine before, and if I’m honest, I wasn’t really excited about it. I kept having visions of the Morphlings in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and really didn’t want my skin to look like that.

I thought a lot about Jamie Fraser and his dislocated shoulder. This was therapeutic in many ways.

The lady with the drugs was next. She told me common side affects of Morphine are feeling flushed all over and a heaviness in your chest. That sounded like something that would give me a panic attack, so I told her, just in case.

“I have panic attacks sometimes, mostly when I’m getting dental work.” Though, it’s mainly the result of feeling trapped that triggers it.

“Honey, there are no dentists here, you will be fine,” my husband, the pragmatist, said.

She laughed and administered the category C opioid. I was not fond of it at first, and then, I imagine as a result of the drug, I didn’t care that I wasn’t fond of it. Then I started crying and wanted to take a nap, neither of which was helpful to anyone.

And when the X-ray tech came in, she shifted me over on my back and my kneecap promptly popped back into place.

“Usually, once the drugs are administered and people’s muscles relax, it just moves on it’s own,” she added, as an extra explanation.

“Honey,” I said to my husband, not the technician. “This is why Claire gave Jamie the whisky.”

My dad came back about 30 minutes later, right around the time I was starting to feel bored and needed a distraction. He was waving a bag with a cute outfit that he’d bought me (not on sale) in an attempt to deal with his anxiety. The RN came in to check on me and he jumped in.

“She’s my only daughter—”

“I’m thirty years old now—” I interjected.

“She pushes me over the edge,” he ignored me.

The RN looked at me. “But she’s so pretty.”

“And that makes it worse,” he paused to lift the outfit up so she can see. “I bought her this.”

“Oh, it’s nice. I’m just going to get the doctor,” she smirked as she left.

“I think the drugs have warn off,” I said. “When will they let me leave?”

**

I’m fine now. Mostly. They want the knee immobilized for a few days, and they are making me use crutches, and I am not pleased about any of it. But it’s okay, and it’s a good story, and that’s something to be thankful for in my world.

I get knocked down a lot. I get sidetracked and slammed, and usually it results in bruises that fade with time. When this kind of thing happens, my response is to roll with it. You can’t allow yourself to feel defeated, you can’t entertain your anger or play into pity. If you do, you run the risk of actually being defeated. And that is exactly what the Goblins on your path are hoping for.

Don’t let the Goblins win.

What’s up Wednesday: The Final Countdown

RobotWUWThank you Jaime and Erin for hosting What’s up Wednesday these last two years! I have met some of my favorite writing people through it. You guys are amazing!

Here’s the last, What’s up with me…

What I’m Reading

I just finished reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell, and it was everything fantastic and awesome that I expect from one of her books, but it also punched me in the gut with emotion. Georgie McCool is a character I identify with in a way that makes me almost embarrassed, and maybe when I was reading I started sobbing like an idiot while my son tried to get my attention and my husband made me a cup of tea. Good times.

What I’m Writing

I started a new story. The voice came to me in the shower and then before I knew it I was writing words. For now, I’m just following her. I don’t really know yet where, but after a few months of false starts on other projects, and feeling like I’m in limbo, it’s nice just to write and not feel bound by anything.

What Works for Me

Like I said above, not feeling bound by an arbitrary goal or a word count requirement. Not looking at the long road ahead littered with drafting and revisions. It’s like walking down stairs carrying a laundry basket. I can’t see the stairs below me, but I can feel them. I can’t get focused on the final step or I’ll lose traction where I’m at. It’s an exercise in living in the moment, writing in the moment, focusing on the day I’m in, the word count I’m at, and that’s it.

What Else is New

Last week was Spring Break for my son. We did a lot of playing, and reading, and going to parks. The weather wasn’t the best the last half of the week, so I took him to the movies and cuddled with him over popcorn.

I also got him a little Spring Break gift at Target. He insisted on having his picture made.

samtarget

I’ve been focusing some (a lot) of my energy on my YouTube channel Books, Booze & Bitches with fun results! Yesterday I did a video about the San Diego Comic Con Hotel Lottery and the resulting CRASH of the website. (Check out the Crazy 4 Comic Con Post about the situation as well, if you’re interested.)

EXTRA: I discussed my experience with another crash when I submitted my application to the HBO Writing Fellowship.

We post new videos every Wednesday, with the exception of this week when we are posting more because Hotelpocalypse 2015. Today we are talking Insurgent Movie!

And finally *sniffle*….What’s up with you?

Waiting Ring

ring When you are a writer in pursuit of publication you wait. A lot.

First, you wait for feedback from critique partners and beta readers to tell you your manuscript is ready to query. This is an important stage of waiting. It helps you build up strength in your patience muscles. It teaches you that you can’t harass friends, that passive aggression will do little more than make them want to block your email. Waiting on readers forces you to develop a range of coping mechanisms needed to manage the heavyweight Waiting Tournament that lies ahead of you, known as:

Cold Querying.

This stage of waiting comes with a whole new set of challengers. In one corner there’s Inevitable Rejection. This is a brawny, unscrupulous, and unfortunately unavoidable opponent. Sometimes it strikes fast. Sometimes it is a slow, brutal stalemate of DID THEY GET MY QUERY WILL THEY EVEN RESPOND, in which you recheck their company guidelines and bite your nails to the quick.

In another corner you will face the Partial Request. Often, the Partial Request tag teams with Inevitable Rejection to combine their strengths in a pleasant, sometimes long-awaited Form Letter. Occasionally, Partial Request bows out, and you are upgraded to FULL REQUEST challenge.

This, my querying beauties, is the big leagues. Full Request enters the ring, distracting you with shiny hopes and dreams of Offers, and Contracts, and Emails full of flattery and begging. But then Full Request pulls out it’s secret weapon: Waiting for a Response.

At this point, you are tired. You’ve already fought through three rungs of hell to get to Full Request status. You begin to question your ability to defeat this challenge. Your anxiety seeps to the surface and gives you bitter beer face. You are constipated by the lack of movement in your inbox. You wonder if all the offers are somehow being captured by Full Request’s henchmen, Doubt and Self-loathing. You know you shouldn’t give a flying fuck but you do, you can’t help it, and what’s worse, your hands are tied.

Yes. You start work on another manuscript. Or you start a YouTube channel (like this one). Maybe you take a trip or focus on family or educate yourself in the art of underwater basket-weaving. But you are still WAITING. No winner has been declared. No loser has been declared either.

My friend, Sara Biren told me a story today about waiting in the Geek Squad line at Best Buy. A woman showed up waving a piece of paper with her appointment confirmation and demanding instantaneous service. She was sent to the back of the line. After listening to this woman complain, Sara told her, “There are a lot worse things than having a broken phone and having to wait in line to get it repaired.”

Sara knew I needed to be reminded of this, but she was nice enough not to bitch slap me with it. She was nice enough not to say, “Get over yourself. First world problems much?”She has been in the Agent Waiting Ring. She is now in the Editor Waiting Ring. Her patience muscles are bigger than mine.

When Sara was finally called to the desk, she received an upgrade and got a shiny new case to protect the Precious. Her children were happy because they’d spent the afternoon hogging the Best Buy in store iPads. Waiting had paid off.

Sometimes, Waiting is just giving the Upgrade a chance to find it’s way to you. Sometimes, Waiting is right where you need to be.

Winter Writer Recharge 2015

WriterRecharge 2015

It’s February, which means it’s time for Writer Recharge! I REALLY needs this, this year — like bad!

Once again hosted by Katy UppermanAlison MillerLiz ParkerElodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren, Writer Recharge is your chance for a four-week jump start in the middle of a cold, dreary winter. Set goals for yourself, check in once a week, and connect with other recharging writers.

This year, the hosts have come up with a few categories you might want to consider when making your goals. You can choose a goal (or goals) for one or some or all:

  • WRITE/REVISE – Choose writing goals for the month.
  • READ/REREAD – Read a book that’s been on your TBR forever or reread something that had a great impact on you.
  • STRETCH – Do something outside your comfort zone, from reading a genre you typically avoid to trying a new food or rock climbing when you’re afraid of heights – that kind of thing.
  • SELF – Do something good for your mind or your body.
  • CONNECT – Find a way to make a difference in someone’s life. Make a connection, via social media or in person. Initiate twitter writing parties, have a real-life write-in with writers in your town, or offer to critique or beta read someone’s work.
  • FUN – Make a goal to do something super fun and exciting that you can look forward to

How Writer Recharge works:

  • First week of February: Post your goals for the month on your blog, website, or Twitter. Use the hashtag #WriterRecharge. Link your blog post on Sara’s post.
  • Every Monday in February: Update your progress via your blog or twitter. Link your blog posts on our Monday posts.
  • Throughout the month: Use the hashtag to connect with other writers, have writing parties, and cheer one another on!
  • Friday, February 27: Post your final update via your blog or twitter.
  • Anyone who uses the hashtag or links their blog posts will be entered to win a fabulous prize package at the end of the month.

My Goals for Writer Recharge:

Write/Revise:

  • Write at least 500 words everyday on my WiP.
  • Finish the revision outline for my screenplay and begin work on it.
  • Finish the first draft of the TV pilot I am working on

Read: 

  • Read two non-fiction books
  • Read two YA or Adult fiction books

Self:

Work out three times a week. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy but it needs to happen. My plan is Tuesday and Thursday to go to my gym, and then choose one other day to do something physical that makes me sweat at least a little.

Connect:

  • I am participating in a pay it forward initiative (from Facebook). I want to send out my gifts for one of the people that signed up for mine!
  • Participate in some Twitter writing parties!

Fun:

I have been trying to start Supernatural viewing parties with my sister-in-laws. Not the current season, but starting from episode one. I am a Supernatural newbie, and I think this needs to change. So. I want to set aside one day a week to spend time watching it with my sisters. This is about more than the show — it’s about spending time with two of my favorite people ever!

What’s Up Wednesday: I’m Back!

Castle Button (Final)What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

I just finished an ARC of The Winner’s Crime (the sequel to one of my 2014 faves The Winner’s Curse) by Marie Rutkoski. Oh man. This book. It took some turns I was not expecting, and they were all executed beautifully. I am deeply worried right now about Kestrel and Arin. That’s all I will say.

I started on Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please, and already I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I think Amy is fantastic — so funny and smart and snarky. I am gleaning wisdom from her. She has the wisdom. I’m also reading a book called Severed by Frances Larson. It’s about severed heads throughout history. Because why not?

What I’m Writing

I am working up a revision outline for my screenplay. I finished the first draft Christmas Eve. Sent it to two of my CPs after the New Year. I got fantastic feedback last week and am thrilled to move forward with this revision.

I am also drafting a new project. Though, this has had to take a back seat to other things with more urgency. It’s not a YA project, it’s not high fantasy though there is of course a speculative element, and it’s a lot of fun.

My YA fantasy manuscript Of Blood and Promises is doing well in the query trenches. So, my nerves are totally wrecked. Yep.

My goal: 1000 words on the MS. Finish the revision outline for the screenplay.

What Works For Me

Taking time away from the computer to explore. Reading (and watching) nonfiction that is riveting, inventive, educational and vibrant. Paying attention to the small moments. Too often we brush over those, and those are where our humanity is fortified.

What Else I’m Up To

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a What’s Up Wednesday. There was no real reason beyond my own need to recede for a bit, and my own time constraints. I am so happy to be back with you guys! The past week I have been spending time with some baby goats. For years I have guessed that baby goats have magical healing powers related to cuteness, and last week I confirmed my suspicions were not unfounded. goatandsam Also. I injured myself rather dramatically about a week and a half ago. Read about it here. My face is finally starting to look normal, though I’m still dealing with soreness and bouts of embarrassment and shame. Klutz 4eva!

So…how are you fairing this week?

Goodbye, 2014.

anguish

These last few months I’ve tried to stay quiet. Scroll through my social media feeds and you will see reposts from Tumblr, some chit-chat about books I’d like, or my growing obsession with all things British, but you won’t see many personal statements save the occasional Holiday greeting or writing status update. If social media is a sampling of a person’s life, then mine should tell you one thing: I am processing.

Processing. It’s a word I use a lot to describe my need to riddle out difficult situations without being bothered for an opinion on the subject. Sometimes, I do it while writing, others by griping, and occasionally, by watching Downton Abbey or Harry Potter and taking quizzes online to find out what fictional city I belong in (Hogsmeade) or what literary character I am most like (Sherlock?). It’s necessary, healing, and made better with a very large cup of tea or whiskey, or whiskey in tea. I’m not partial.

This year has been hard, and not just for me. I would challenge you to find a single person in your life that would categorize 2014 as anything but rocky.

We live in a dark and broken world, one populated by people determined to wreck dreams, destroy lives, take lives, confine lives. It is a world where a young man is gunned down and then accused, not accused and then tried. A world where girls are stolen from schools or given away by their families, raped, brainwashed, lost. A world where schools are not safe places because bullying runs rampant, boxes are still built for kids to stay firmly inside, and bullets might fly, taking lives barely lived. It is a world where wars escalate, and death tolls rise.

But it is also a world where voices can unify across race and religion, for change, for justice, just to be heard for a moment, together. Where hashtags get the word out to #bringbackourgirls, to remind us #weneeddiversebooks, and for better or worse, start discussions about feminism, sexism, racism, and sometimes are the only way to follow stories being ignored by major media outlets. It’s a world where a teenage boy from Texas can independently produce a music video about gender stereotypes and watch it climb past 1 million views.

It’s a world where my son lives, plays, learns, and grows. Where he can pray to meet the Pink Power Ranger, and watch his prayers be answered. It’s a world where he knows, no matter what, his mom and dad love him, his mom and dad listen to him. Regardless of how bleak or bright this world may be at times, it is his world. It is my world.

This year was a batter-ram. It was a punch in the gut, a smack in the face, an ugly whisper in my ear. Sometimes it was like sliding down a rainbow to fairyland, full of fun and unbelievable blessing. It was the year I flew on an airplane for the first time by myself, and then got on three more planes, alone and changed. Where I got upgraded to first class when I shouldn’t have. Where I wrote another book, revised it into a thing I’m proud to call mine. It was the year I set out to write a screenplay and I succeeded.

But it was also the year my grandmother died. And her death forced my family to change.

It was the year I questioned everything.

It was the year where certain futures became impossible, where certain relationships became the past, where what seemed steady became shaky.

It was the year that I had to turn inside myself and find my own answers, and be okay with those answers, and trust my faith to carry me past all the questions, all the setbacks, all the loss — it is still carrying me.

And maybe that’s the ultimate answer. Being carried. Allowing yourself to breakdown. Taking the hand given to help you back up. Without that, we would be forced to declare darkness the winner. Yes, the world is filled with darkness, but I refuse to live in a world where it wins. I refuse to be altered by it. Instead, I choose to do whatever I can to alter it. I choose to let myself fall down, but not to stay down.

The kind of magic that exists in fantasy novels, the kind I write about and grew up pretending to wield — it doesn’t exist in this world. Real magic is an act of will, a step forward instead of back. Real magic is living, breathing, forgiving, loving without condition.

It is processing, large teacup in hand or not, and then it is moving forward. Forward is not about forgetting the past, or ignoring the problem. It is deciding not to accept more of the same.

2014 is nearly over. 2015 begins anew.

go

What’s Up Wednesday: The Outlander Edition

RobotWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

Finished the adorable How to Get a Love Life by Rosie Blake. It was a fun read, and since it is an e-first the price is quite low. I totally recommend, plus, it takes place in London which just feeds my growing obsession with the UK. I am using Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas as a revision reward. I want to just devour it, but this is better…this is better.

What I’m Writing

Yes. I am revising. It is part revision and part rewrite, which has gotten me thinking about the difference between the two. There is a difference. When I started revising the draft stayed mostly the same with some well-placed additions or subtractions, new scenes, reworking old scenes. Then I made this BIG change, and the BIG change has required a rewrite of the middle third of the book. I am a million times happier with this thing, but holy hell it’s involved. I want to be finished with the revision by the 15th (or somewhere very near the middle of the month) and have it off to my CPs shortly thereafter.

What Inspires Me

Thinking outside the box. I sat with my eyes closed last night pondering out a particular sticking point in the plot, and came out on the other side. Being willing to step back and really look at each element in this book has broadened my own understanding of what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it.

Outlander…in no way does Scotland in the 1700s remind me of the world in my manuscript, but the beauty of the story, the romantic Jamie quotes, the pretty boy in the kilt…

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What Else I’m Up To

Watching Outlander

I don’t have Starz, and where we live (our house is in the woods) we cannot stream very much from the internets because our provider has a bandwidth cap. (I hate them.) So I go to my sister-in-laws on Saturday to watch Outlander. She is a teacher, and with the school year up and running she stays busy during the week. Saturday is our time to catch up, to fangirl and swoon, and to forget there is a world where Jamie Fraser is not real.

quote

 

I’m gonna also need all these outfits, and her tartan with pockets. (My birthday is coming up, FYI.)

 

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Catching up with friends in general after the busy summer. Reading more. Writing more. Overall just having more time, while also somehow having less time. Mom’s with school age children, you’ll know what I mean.

Have a wonderful week!

What’s Up Wednesday

TreeWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

I just started How to Get a Love Life by Rosie Blank. I started it about four months ago, forgot about it the hustle of things and it being on my Kindle app which sometimes I hate, and then remembered and opened back up. It was published in the UK and is absolutely adorable. It’s chick lit, which is not normally my bag — I say that, but I have loved quite a few books I’d call chick lit actually — but I’m really enjoying it.

I hope to finish it by the end of the week because as my reward for getting ALL THE REVISING accomplished, I am buying Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas and may not speak to another human person until I have devoured it.

What I’m Writing

I am doing a revision on my manuscript Of Blood and Promises. Mostly, it was prompted by really incredible notes from an agent I’ve been working with (not signed, don’t get too excited), but then as I considered her notes I began to see so many things come clear that it took on a life of its own. I am kind of killing this revision, and now that my son is in school, I have time to really knock it out.

In the last couple weeks I have witten over 9,000 new words and revised a whole lot more. So, in honor, here is a tiny little excerpt that I revised last week:

I hear Aiken move from the bed, shuffle across the room, and then lean against the door. After another moment he opens it. His face is washed in moonlight, revealing eyes hooded with sleep and hair mussed all over. He wears thin pants that hang from his hips and cling to his thighs, and for the smallest moment I forget myself, the reason Malia and I woke him… reason at all. It is work to force my eyes back to his face.

He glances between us, waiting.

What Inspires Me

I’ve been inspired by some really incredible YA high fantasy. I read The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutoski and Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, which are very different brands of high fantasy, and both incredibly well done.

This for tone and emotion:

obandpinspireWhat Else I’m Up To

Still very much adjusting to my son starting Kindergarten. There is no doubt that he is ready, that he will flourish, but it is emotional to realize how big he’s getting, and how fast that’s happening.

I’m started exercising again. I have been mostly eating healthy and not drinking (not having a night cap every night). I really hate working out but I really love the sense of calm I have when I do, and hopefully the result of a cuter ass won’t be so bad either. 😉

Happy Wednesday!

 

Ready. Set. Write! Final Update!

RSWCoffee

Ready. Set. WRITE! is an online writing intensive to help stay accountable with your writing goals over the summer and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on whether planning, drafting, or revising! Your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and Katy Upperman. Find the rest of the details HERE.

Here were my goals:

1. Finish a draft of my screenplay. I’d like to have it off to some readers for feedback by the middle of July.

2. Finish a draft for a TV pilot and send off to readers.

3. Begin work on the sequels to both YA manuscripts, as well as further polishing and revisions on the first books, as needed. I would like to have a few chapters written and the books plotted (although, my plotting is pretty loose when drafting) by the end of the summer.

5. Read at least one book a week. I’ve been so busy lately, and so tired at night, that reading has been shoved to the back burner. No more!

4. Have an epic summer with my son.

Here’s What I Actually Did:

1. Wrote half the draft for my screenplay. Wrote a story grid to help with plotting and arcs. Feel really good about the concept and characters. WIN!

2. Didn’t even touch the pilot. Did not have time. C’est la vie!

3. Got revision notes from an agent I’m working with (though not signed with) on my manuscript Of Blood and Promises. They rocked my world. I took a break from the MS while I sorted them out. Came out on the other side with a brilliant and exciting plan. 110 pages into the revision. WIN!

5. HA! Was in a reading slump for most of the summer. Also, because my son was with me A LOT more, I had way less time to devote to anything, and the time I had went to writing and trying to keep up with CP reading. I read a handful of amazing books though, including:

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

6. I had the MOST EPIC SUMMER with Sam. This, more than anything, is what I wanted to accomplish. He started Kindergarten today, and I wrote a post about it here. I have no regrets that so much of my summer was devoted to making sure his was filled with adventure.

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My Biggest Challenge this Summer was…

Changes. This was a summer filled with change and it required extra effort on my part. It meant letting go of my previous habits and routines.

Favorite Line from my WiP:

Screenplay —

Terrified. I knew my entire life was about to change. Brilliantly, but absolutely.

Of Blood and Promises

She was light in sinking darkness. She was friend and ally to my isolation. She was the face I saw when I closed my eyes.

She was never mine. I was never hers.

Something I love about my WiP:

They are what I want to be writing, and even when I couldn’t work on them, they kept telling why I had to come back.

Thank you fellow RSWers for the friendship and fortitude to get through this summer and still have something to show for it. I have no doubt that much of my writing success this summer is due to this group!