Monday, February 17, 2020

2020: A Year of Doing

I know it's been awhile since I've come on here, but various things have fallen between the couch cracks in the last few months. For me, life in 2019 was maybe one of the hardest (personally) that I've had to endure. I experienced more tears in that year than while giving birth to my four kids - combined. I kept my face brave, endured it with my family and support of friends who knew how things were going, and kept prayers going on a daily. 

This year, I thought as January was looking up, would be different. However, I'm not so sure. Everything just stings from 2019 still and I feel like I need a ton of daily affirmations just to get through the days. My husband's hugs are the best and he doesn't even know it.  

I will say, and I never thought I'd say this, I found a soft jazz instrumental music station on YouTube for one of my clients at work, and holy hell, it has been my own life changer. The comments have stated how the music helped several through depression or anxiety. I found my mood calmer when listening to it, too. I'm not a jazz listener. I've tried. I can do vocal jazz. But instrumental? My ears say no. This soft jazz though, like big time elevator music, has stabilized me every time it's on. When I'm cooking, working, studying, whatever I'm doing. My youth group even said they found it very relaxing and chill. 

Aside from all that, in my writing path to publishing, I'm awaiting some agents with partials/fulls with big crossed fingers. It's a shame this is taking so long, but requests for more came right before the holidays, so I imagine agents have a lot of catching up to do. And normally, I try to keep this all quiet and hush-hush. But honestly, I'd rather be transparent about it and find solidarity in others doing the same or having been there done that. In the end, it'll all be worth the wait. Right? Right???

Luckily, I also have 70k words drafted in my YA dark fantasy, and my goal is to finish it before the summer at close to 80-95k. Finished meaning off to betas after my own edits. I know it would've been done by now if work and personal stress hadn't gotten the best of me. So, if my Viking fantasy doesn't pan out like I hope, I'll have another to query this year. My comedic Kpop romance went to the side for now, but will be continued once the dark fantasy is off with betas. Gotta have something to do in the meantime, right?

One word to summarize 2019? (suckfest, that's mine)
A book and/or movie you loved in 2019? 
(A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd, Sadie by Courtney Summers; movie...not so much)
Any word for 2020 to motivate you? (convinced; various predicators say this is my year; why argue??)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Querying and Writing and Writing Some More...

I noticed that I haven't blogged in about ten months. And generally have spaced out my posts by several months. Remember that time when you tried to do it several times a week or at minimum once a week and some days were better traffic days than others, and some times to publish them were better than others? Yeah, me too...

As of summer, I've been in query mode for my Viking fantasy. Will it ever take off? I don't know. I've had some promising requests, and am looking forward to finding out the end result, but like I've been told time and time again in the book writing/publishing world, time is not on your side, be patient.
Image result for drafting a book
Have you met me?? Patience is my nemesis. But, I will say, I'm getting better at it.

In the meantime, I'm drafting two books. The first is a YA dark fantasy that I conceptualized almost two years ago. I hit a wall with it about a quarter way in, something feeling off. I realized I needed to invest more into the secondary characters because they were the back bone of the story. Sometimes taking your concerns to another writer friend so they can offer advice is just what you need. I ended up spending the following days journaling all about each of the main/secondary characters and the dark clouds parted and the sunshine shined. Now, I can't wait to continue the story! This story has islands, anti-heroes, missions, love, and humor.

I'm also working on a YA contemporary. This one was more of a surprise. It's comedic (right up my alley), and came about when I watched my daughter at a choir concert. There's a lot more to it than that, but I literally was watching something unravel before my eyes and a story idea hit, and it hit hard. I've enjoyed working on it because it's quicker writing when you're not trying to worldbuild as much. This story has k-pop, first loves, mental illness, YouTube-ing, and lots of humor.

Oddly, both are male POV's. And oddly, I'm LOVING WRITING THEM.

OKAY, that is all! Hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather, getting cozy in their sweaters and pumpkin spice - apple spice aromas.

What are your plans for the remainder of the year? What've you been working on? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Why You Shouldn't Quit Your Day Job

Last year, I had a ton of moments where I'd be barfing to a friend about how sick and dog gone tired I was of working this job I work when all I want is to be able to write books. To have the time to even get the chance. To not drive away and do xyz, but stay home and xyz all over my manuscripts.

It came to a head a couple months ago. I was in tears and literally melting about this very thing to one of my writing besties. It was Marco Polo so she couldn't do anything but watch me cry. I've had these moments several times since. It drives me nuts. It gets me no where. It doesn't motivate me to work faster. Working faster means turning in crap, and I'm not doing that. Sometimes though, venting was helpful in and of itself. Just to get the words out I hold in constantly. Constantly!

It's hard to see friends and acquaintances boom boom boom book after book, getting to do the very thing I just pray to. I get infuriated when I can finally sneak in some writing, because I shouldn't have to. Or at least, I don't want to. I want time in the day when I'm not exhausted from work, family, cooking, chores, exercise, etc etc etc. (And please, don't remind me to not glorify publishing. I know, and have read, about many who've had crap deals. Susan Dennard goes into this with great length. I get it. I do. But, I still want it.)

So why do I say don't quit your day job? Well, several years ago, I won an interview with Greenhouse Literary agent, Sarah Davies. Her advice was that very thing. Her reason was she wanted to see that all the eggs weren't in a basket of "publishing dream." It showed financial logic.

The week I had my first real meltdown, I was at work the next day and saw an interview by Harry Connick Jr of the Shark Tank's, Daymond John. He said the exact same thing. In fact, he was working at a fast food restuarant when he'd had the idea of FUBU. BUT, he didn't give up what allowed him to financially live. He said he did FUBU at night and fast food by day. He worked harder and harder, allowing the percentages of time spent with one to slowly become more than the other. FUBU took off, and allowed him to financially thrive. THAT was the moment he stopped working fast food.

There are moments in my life when I pray all my hard work will pay off. That I can reach my goal. That I can slowly, and assuredly, begin to also make the switch between jobs and follow my heart deeper and deeper into my writing journey. Scratch that, my writing career.

Months ago, I did a very brave thing. I entered my 1st chapter (which I knew had problems but I needed enlightment) to a podcast. I was shocked and teary when I heard the highs and lows of the chapter, which is the point of the segment. Ultimately, I rehashed my first 2 chapters with the advice given in mind and BOOM. Everything made sense once again. I'm on chapter 8 now and hoping to be done and able to query by the end of summer. The podcast set me back several months worth, but it also set me forward in my writerly knowledge. And that I'm forever grateful for.

I hope my words today have been helpful. I thank all of you for being there with me and always encouraging me in my Viking story and never sending me any shade. I hope to one day put you in my acknowledgements. And yes, I probably just jinxed myself, now! :)~


Monday, November 12, 2018

Ageism in Writing

It's interesting how I had these ugly feelings about my age (late thirties) and suddenly I see this Insta-story by Mary E. Pearson, author of several YA fantasy books, including the most recent DANCE OF THIEVES. She talked openly and honestly about the stigma and how her first book wasn't published until she was already 45. Mary is 63 and still going strong, still writing and staying undefined by her age. (P.S. Her skin is flawless and looks crazy young!)


Another author I looked up was JK Rowling, who was 32 when her 1st book published, and 42 when the series was done. Keep in mind it took several rewrites when she conceptualized/drafted the first book at 25. At 53, she still writes strong, especially in her Adult pen name, Robert Galbraith.

However, several new, upcoming, or even authors with books really charting those charts, are all...young. 20s, Early 30s. I'll flip to the end of finished books to see author photos and its like looking at kids and I feel ancient!  And dang, you probably are young in my eyes, too, and I'm NOT preaching to the choir!

Personally, I wonder as an unpublished author if what I'm doing in trying to be published is too late in life. Yeah, we hear there is no age limit, but is that really true? Do you ever wonder if an agent looks at your age and thinks well, we can pump out at least this many books before they croak?

I often wonder what MY excuse is for not "noveling" sooner. Yeah, I made that word legit. Spread that. Growing up and into my high school years, it was always poetry, lyrics, and novel "attempts." After H.S. and an amazing creative writing class my senior year, I went for a "real novel this time." Lost it, and ... life went crazy in a vague nutshell. It wasn't until I moved to this little island in 2006 that I wanted to write about its history and remembered - Hey! I used to love writing!!!

Slowly, and after a few newspaper articles, I regained that passion and around 2012/2013 tried to rewrite that story in H.S. I lost. It's buried on my laptop, now. Where it should be. But what a learning process!! Then I got pissed and wrote a WF about being a pissed off writer with life issues. HAHAHA! Jokes on me, it didn't get published and I realized I'm not a WF writer.

So what is my excuse for taking this all the way into my 30's to start noveling?? Stupidity? The dark ages in my life? I don't know. But, I suppose it's better than waiting until my 98th birthday, with my last breath saying, "So, I have this idea for a Viking..." *croaks*

Here's my last tidbit about ageism in writing...if you can think it, you can write it. There is no golden age, formula, maturity. You are the only one stopping you or allowing others to. Screw that! Show them what you're twerking with. See? I'm hip. I'm young. :)~

*click to see Mary E. Pearson's insta-story on ageism here*

Tell me your thoughts! If you're under 40, don't you dare! Kidding!!!!!






Monday, October 22, 2018

Honing Your Craft

A few years ago when I first heard that phrase, I really hated it. I thought it was the stupidest expression ever. It wasn't that I didn't understand what it meant, it just sounded silly, ridiculous. Hone your craft? Craft for me means glitter, glue, and popsicle sticks. So was I supposed to sharpen and shape my...popsicle stick hut??

I never correlated writing with being a "craft". And some people say that writing isn't a "hobby" and how dare we say that! Well, technically, working on crafts is a hobby, so why ISN'T writing ok to say is a hobby if we're saying it's a craft? Who cares, quite frankly? That's how I see it. Call it whatever the heck you want!! But whatever you call it, find out how you can "hone" it. *cringes*

Lately, I decided to take my Viking story and give it a major honing. I honed the crap out of it. I even removed several scenes and replaced the beginning storyline, effecting other scenes. A lot was rewritten, and I was drafting my already finished book all over again. I decided what must stay and what must go and what just simply had to be new. It took me all summer and into the beginnings of fall to finish. I didn't get to give it the time I wanted with accepting more hours at work, and giving my kids a summer that I was present for as much as possible. And, seriously, some days I didn't want to look at it.

When I was done, I wondered if the storyline even made sense. If I left threads out. If I had just a scatter of yarn balls and cats playing in there. I outlined each chapter and the scenes. To my surprise (and tears) everything was accounted for!

Next, I began adding in emotional and interior thoughts, while cleaning spots, too. But, when I went back a few chapters to correct something, I found my beginning was too strong and the rest like rubber. Literally, I was like "eff my life!". Now, I'm back to the beginning chapters, weeding out all the crap left and right. I'm finding the story hidden beneath the over use of fertilizer.

I could sit here and be really, really mad that I had to go back. I'm not though. I'm happy that by working on it and reading books along the way, I am sculpting my clay. I am glittering my paper. I am sticker-ing my scrapbook. I am honing my craft. I am practicing even if on the same piece of
work.

If a craft example isn't your thing, how about: The only way to master a 3-pointer in basketball is to keep shooting over and over and over. Same ball. Same hoop. And sometimes, the same spot. Adjust your hands. Adjust your footing. Adjust your strength. Soon - swish.

What about you? How long did it take until you found your niche in something? What helped you figure out what you were doing wrong or gave you the boost you needed in the right direction?