31 December 2014

The Obligatory New Year's Goals Post

I wasn't even going to do this, but I've seen a lot of other people doing it, so, here we go! Goals for the new year.

1. Bust out the third draft of Uneven Lines and try to get it published 
So I know getting this book published is going to be an uphill battle, that I'm probably going to get a million rejections before something good happens. But I can't even get the battle started if  I don't FINISH THE EFFING BOOK. In February it'll be four years working on this thing and I just really want to get somewhere with it. So yeah. Most important goal right there.

2. Get some smaller pieces published. And write some more. And get those published.
I've been sitting on dozens of poems for years and haven't done anything with them. At least one good short story, too (and several bad ones). I'd really like to get them published somewhere, and start writing more. I really just want to be writing something every day and having more pieces than I know what to do with.

3. Read more books and watch more movies. 
Every single year I make a goal to read 100 books and watch 100 movies. I never even come close, especially with the books. I only read twelve this year! Twelve! I got a lot closer with the movies--84, check out the list here. I would like to actually accomplish these goals for once, and really, I should be reading a lot more.

4. Figure out what the hell I'm doing with my life
If I can accomplish #1 and #2 this will be a lot easier, but in the meantime, I really need to find a job that works for me, and hopefully move out of my apartment in the near future. My fiance and I have been living in the same studio apartment for over three years and I think it's starting to drive me a little nuts. I want ROOMS. Like, more than one.

I probably have a million other small goals but those are the big ones. I really don't feel like I accomplished anything last year, so I'd like to make some big changes in 2015. We'll see.

29 December 2014

What I Got for Christmas...

I was thinking of doing your typical January/New Year's Goals post, but since I'm running around like a nut doing 10 loads of laundry this morning, I thought I'd keep this post short and sweet. I'll possibly write about my goals on Wednesday. Possibly. 

I hope everyone had a great holiday and got all of the presents they wanted! I never know what to ask for when Christmas rolls around. I already have way too much stuff and no room to put it, so I end up being too practical about presents. I asked my fiance to put air in my car's tires and replace my missing hubcap, just because I didn't want to do it. I guess I'm weird, but that's the sort of thing I usually want. That or cash. 

The downside was that I knew every single gift I was getting this year, because it was all stuff I asked for. I guess the upside was that I couldn't possibly be disappointed. So I did get a lot of practical stuff--a new pillow, gray winter gloves to match my scarf, a yoga mat. But I got some fun stuff, too. The new Anne Rice book, the next Game of Thrones book I needed, Criminal Minds Season 9 on DVD, and CANDY!!!

And these adorable Funko Pop dolls of Kristoff and Sven from Frozen. Because I'm an adult, I swear. 

Everyone needs at least one toy for Christmas, right? Including Gizmo. By the way, I didn't ask the cat to pose with all of my presents. He just refused to move. 

What did you guys get for Christmas? Any good toys? 

19 December 2014

Deja Vu Blogfest: When Do You Hold Back?

Today is the Deja Vu Blogfest! Hosted by DL Hammons and Nicole Zoltack. The idea is to re-post your favorite blog post from earlier in the year, or one you thought didn't get enough attention. This was a tricky one for me. I decided to go way back to the beginning of the year and pick a post I liked that also wasn't too popular. I decided on this one because not only do I find it amusing, but it also addresses a topic that I still struggle with. My opening paragraph offended somebody who read it (so obviously they didn't make it to the second chapter), but I'm starting to wonder if that's a bad thing...

Anyhoo, here it is (from January 13): When Do You Hold Back? 

I read somewhere once that a character should not masturbate in the first three chapters of a book. Too bad that's exactly how I start Chapter Two!

There's a time and place for everything, but how exactly do you figure that out when writing a novel? I've been struggling a bit with my opening line to the second chapter, since I love it but it also kind of worries me: "I didn't like jerking off, but sometimes it was necessary." I like it, it fits the voice, but is it too much to open a chapter with? Are my readers going to laugh or be disgusted?

Well, I suppose anyone who's disgusted by that line should know that it only gets worse and probably shouldn't have picked up my book in the first place. But for those who really are interested in this particular story, is a line like this going to scare them off? When is it ok to be completely inappropriate?

I guess it depends on the story you're writing. And it's not just about vulgarity, either. You have to make sure every moment, every sentence, even, fits in with the overall tone and voice of your book. There are times when you can be subtle, and there can be times that make your reader gasp. You really need both to have a good balance. But I think the question that's really been on my mind lately is, should you ever hold something back in your book because you think it's too over the top?

I think I've already answered that question. It all depends on the story you're writing. And on the scene you're writing, actually. The reader is going to be able to tell if a moment, or even a single word, doesn't fit with the rest of the scene. It will take them out of the book for a moment, make them realize it isn't real. And you don't want that. So it's not even about holding back, it's about being genuine. Yes, I start the second chapter of my book with my narrator talking about masturbation. But he's a fifteen-year-old boy with a new crush. What else would he be doing? It's real, so I think it works, the weak-nerved reader be damned!

So mix it up a little. If the reader needs to be punched in the face, then you should punch them in the face. If your characters swear, and it fits your genre, then let them be who they are and talk how they want to talk. Of course, you don't want to overdo it. Every word has to be carefully planned out. It has to be necessary. You don't want swearing just for the sake of swearing. You want your characters to have real voices. Know what works for them and for the story. Never hold back just because you think you should. Hold back only when the story needs it.

17 December 2014

Five Secrets

I was tagged by Samantha Bryant to share five secrets about myself. The first question that came to mind was, do I even have five secrets? And then, if I do, would I be willing to share them on my blog? I figured any secrets I could share would either be really boring or really depressing, or just not secrets at all. So these five little bits of information are sort of secrets? I guess?

My hair is turning white
Not gray, but white. They've been sprouting up here and there since I was 18, but now it's starting to get worse. I've always said I would never dye my hair until it started to go gray, so now I'm actually considering it, but I really don't want to. I usually just pluck them out of my head or ignore them. I have pulled out a few white hairs that had color at the root, so I'm wondering if that's a good sign, and maybe it's stress related or something like that and the color can come back. Fingers crossed!

I had imaginary friends until I was 12
It started with one when I was 8 and then grew into an entire group. We had all sorts of adventures, occasionally teaming up with my real friends who also had imaginary friends. Sometimes there were imaginary villains. I think it goes along with being a writer and wanting to create characters and stories. When I started 6th grade it started to feel silly so they drifted away. Wait a second, I'm a writer. I still have imaginary friends. Except Jordan would make me trip down a flight of stairs if I called him imaginary. Just don't tell him about my Twitter bio...

I used to act
This isn't so much a secret, but may be surprising considering how much of an introvert I am. When I was in 4th and 5th grade, I joined the Drama Club. We would put on shorter versions of famous musicals. Instead of all of the songs, there was usually one group number and one solo for the lead--for instance, when we did Annie, we did "Hard Knock Life" and "Tomorrow." I always went for the supporting roles so luckily I didn't have to sing. I was Grace in Annie and Nancy in Oliver! It was a lot of fun but I think the idea of trying out in middle school just seemed too intimidating for me, so I never did it again.

I have no friends
I think in today's world, it's hard to say who your actual friends are. I have all of my blogger buddies, of course. I have Facebook friends, but those are mostly former coworkers. I have one childhood friend that I hang out with every few months or so. But that's about it. I'll go out with my fiance and his friends, but I really don't have any friends of my own. I had to cut ties with pretty much all of my friends after high school, which honestly is something I should have done long before then. Since then, I've had a very hard time making serious friends. I think it's equally due to my extreme social awkwardness and the fact that it's hard for me to trust people after being hurt by friends so many times. It's just very hard for me to click with people.

This is what the inside of my head looks like
In my Liebster Award post, I mentioned that I have a cerebral shunt in my head that was put in when I was 3 months old to drain fluid from my brain. Well, here's a diagram of what that looks like, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Well, those are my five "secrets." This is the part where I'm supposed to tag people to pass this on to, but I figured that would take me several months to do. So if you'd like to be the next person to share five secrets, let me know in the comments and I will tag you!

15 December 2014

Blogging Block

I was supposed to know what to blog about today. I was supposed to do something cool for my muse's birthday. But I couldn't figure anything out and he had nothing to say besides, "It's my birthday--why are you making me work??" I could make an actual cake but I'd be the only person eating it, and that's no good. Especially since I lost three pounds last week (woo!).

So then I thought I could tell you all how I was planning on cracking down and just writing like crazy this week. Well, I know that's not going to happen already. I really was planning on it, but the universe has slapped me in the face once again. I thought I had figured out what was making my cat sick and fixed the problem, since the last time he got better on his own without medicine, but today his symptoms started up again for the millionth time. So I'm kind of stressed out and frustrated and don't really feel like doing anything besides sitting here on my computer.

The good news is that I'm making a little bit of money doing some crowdsource work. Not a lot, but it's something. I made $100 last week so I figured if I can keep up the same pace it would be like a part time job, which would be great for me so I can still have time to focus on writing. I do need to branch out a little more and try to get some writing work and get some small things published, even if I don't get paid for it.

Well, I won't bore you with my nonsense since I have no idea what to actually blog about. I'd say "happy birthday" to Jordan but he probably wouldn't care. Which is weird since he usually likes attention...maybe just not from me...

12 December 2014

Grabbing a red pen in the dark...

Let this be a lesson to you, people--always plan your blog posts ahead! Because I'm now writing this knowing that I've been blitzed (yaaaaaaaaay!). I'll still act surprised!! I was going to write a book review today that I've been putting off for forever but I thought I would write something more personal, especially since there have been a few more developments regarding my last post.

Basically meaning, I WROTE SOMETHING ELSE!

I've gotten into the strange habit of getting randomly hit by inspiration when I'm trying to fall asleep. I always try to brainstorm during this time (mostly because it's quiet...) but I don't usually come up with anything that requires me to get up and write it down. But for the past three nights in a row, that's exactly what has happened, and considering how little I've written in the past few months, I'm not going to complain.

The first thing that happened was that I figured something out that completely changes things up in one of the subplots. I think it's great--it makes something happen a lot earlier in the book than my original drafts. I felt like there was a certain aspect that was way too dramatic, and I figured out a way to make it more subtle. The only problem is I have no idea how to end this subplot now, but it could be fun figuring it out. It actually just fizzled out toward the end of the book, so now maybe I can end it with a bang.

Also (best segue ever!)--I think I may have figured out part of the sex scene at the end of the book, too. Still no actual words forming in my brain, but it's progress. I've been wanting to make my MC a bit more evil like he was in the original short story I wrote, so I think I've figured out a way. (I know that sounds really weird out of context. Just trust me.)

I said something about a red pen, didn't I?? Two nights ago, I was once again hit with inspiration to the point where I wanted to write down the words that were in my head. I usually just grab my phone and type in my ideas, since I don't have to get up and turn on a light or anything. But this time my phone was halfway across the room charging. Luckily I knew exactly where I had left a notebook, and my pen holder is right on my nightstand. I fumbled around in the dark trying to find them, knocking a few things over in the process. I just grabbed the first pen my fingers touched, then ran into the bathroom to get some light.

Of course, I had grabbed a red pen. Not exactly my first choice for scribbling down new ideas, but it would have to do. I wrote down a one sentence idea that I didn't want to lose. And then I wrote my MC a mini-speech that starts with, "Look, don't feel sorry for me," and then proceeds to be the saddest speech ever. It stemmed from me watching too many Christmas movies and then realizing that he never would have believed in Santa.

But anyway, I have rambled on for far too long. I'll let you scurry away now. Happy Friday!

10 December 2014

I Wrote Something!

I'm attempting to get more organized with my blog posts, but of course I've tried that about a million times before, so I'm not holding my breath. But my plan right now is: writing tips/observations/discussions/whatever on Monday, a more personal (but probably still writing related) post on Wednesday, and then fun things on Friday (book reviews, blog hops, more pictures of cupackes, etc.). This isn't set in stone and obviously any monthly or date specific blog hops (IWSG, for example) will still happen.

But anyway, as the title says, I WROTE SOMETHING. It's not nearly as exciting as it sounds, but progress is progress, right? I still have not even looked at Uneven Lines since the nightmare that was Pitch Wars, but I still think about it all the time. It's just whenever I think about actually working on it that I start cringing.

Last night I was just thinking about the book, which wasn't anything new, really. But as I was picturing the scene, words started popping into my head. Actual words! Words I hadn't thought of before. This hasn't happened in months! Since I was actually trying to fall asleep while I was brainstorming, I grabbed my phone and typed in the few lines of dialogue that I had imagined. It wasn't perfect, but it was something.

I'm hoping that this is a good sign. Maybe at some point today I'll be able to write even more words, and then more words tomorrow! I may be getting ahead of myself, but for the first time in a while I'm actually starting to feel excited about my writing again. Hopefully it sticks.

08 December 2014

Do Blog Posts Need Pictures?

Just about every blog post you're ever going to come across is a piece of writing. That's the main purpose of a blog post, no matter what you're writing about. You're writing something. But that doesn't mean the writing is the only part of the post. A lot of bloggers will include pictures in their posts to go with the writing, whether it's a book cover, movie poster, or just a picture of their cat (I've certainly done a few of those). But are pictures necessary when you're creating a post? And more importantly, do they draw a bigger audience?

There is a lot to think about when considering to put pictures in a blog post. Is it a post that needs one? Will you be able to find a picture that goes along with your topic? Do you even have permission to use it? (I'd suggest reading this article by author Roni Loren--very informative and kind of scary). If you're writing something more personal, you can add your own pictures that go along with your story. How easy it is to include a picture depends on what kind of post you're writing. But do you feel like you have to include a picture in every post just to get more attention?

Usually in any blog feed, when a post shows up, you'll also see the first picture that is in the blog post. What I'm wondering is if this makes anyone more likely to click on the link and read the whole post. Is the point of putting pictures with our blog posts to make them more interesting, or just to catch people's attention?

I thought I would analyze my own posts just to see if the ones with pictures got more page views. For me, it didn't seem to make any difference. Out of the last ten blog posts (excluding any blog hops or awards that have their own picture), only two of my posts had at least one picture. And these posts actually had fewer page views than most of my posts without pictures. I'm sure a lot of factors go into this, what days of the week I posted on (Mondays always tend to get more views than Fridays, for example), what the post was about (posts with a "writing tips" label got more views than others). The list could go on and on. So with my blog at least, I'm not sure adding pictures makes a difference. But I write about writing (mostly), so I guess it makes sense that the writing is what attracts people.

I think it really goes by a blog by blog and post by post basis. If you're writing about someone's published book, it makes sense to include a picture of it. If you're just rambling about your writing troubles, there may not be a picture to go with it, and really, one isn't necessary for a post like that. For me, at least, when I'm going through a blog feed, I'm not really attracted by the pictures. I'm more interested in who wrote it (if it's someone whose blog I visit regularly, I'm more likely to click) and what the topic is. Throwing a picture up along with it doesn't seem to make a difference.

What do you guys think? Are you more likely to click on a post if it has a picture? Do you think your posts get more page views when they have one?

03 December 2014

Starting from Scratch (Somewhat)

It's that time again! The first Wednesday of every month is the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Click the link to sign up! And be sure to check out the IWSG Guide to Publishing Beyond, which is available now. It has a lot of great advice on writing, publishing, and marketing, and it's FREE! I contributed a piece on choosing between first and third person. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and everyone else who helped to put the anthology together.

I've got plenty to be insecure about this month. I'm not looking forward to Christmas at all. I need to really start figuring out what my next step is going to be in life because I've been slacking off way too much. And I'm still trying to figure out how to throw my muse a birthday party.

But I don't want to overwhelm you guys so I guess I'll talk about the book. Sounds ominous, right? I'm still avoiding it. I think about it all the time, but I can't bring myself to work on it or even read it. I know I have to do a massive overhaul of the last third of the book, but it's hard to figure out how to change things.

I'm trying to take on a different mindset. I basically want to start with a blank slate, at least from a certain point. I want to pretend I've never written that last third so that I can come up with some ideas that are new, and not just keep rewriting the same moments that didn't work in the first place. 

It's scary, but also kind of fun, because coming up with new ideas is always more interesting than editing to me. I still have a few scenes I plan on reusing, and ultimately the book will still end the same way, but I'm hoping for a lot of things to change along the way. When I finally adopted this mindset and started thinking about what would happen next, I immediately came up with a new scene that will help flesh out a subplot. I had this block for so long, where I knew things weren't working but had no idea how to fix them. Wiping the slate clean has helped me get through that.

Do I have everything figured out yet? Definitely not. But it's one step in the right direction. 

01 December 2014

Jordan Takes Over: What I Want for My Birthday

**The first Monday of every month, I let my muse take over the blog. I apologize in advance.**

You didn't really think I'd miss December, did you? It's the best time of the year! And no, not because of Christmas (ugh). It's my birthday month, obviously! You read the title, right? So you're not surprised or anything. Yup, in two weeks I will be turning 19. Technically. Do muses actually age? I guess that's something that's just way too much work to figure out. Honestly, I can't think of a more anticlimactic age than 19. Ho hum. What do you get when you turn 19? Nothing! No new privileges, and you're still in that weird transition stage where you're an adult but still a teenager. So it's weird. Still can't drink (legally...).

Anyway, I'm just going to make it easy for you and tell you what I want! You were so worried, weren't you? (Yes, I'm being sarcastic. But I'm still going to tell you my list.)

  • Anything music related is cool. I like pretty much everything. So, you know, concert tickets, gift cards. Some really expensive headphones! Or whatever. 
  • Equipment for my band is always needed, but you'd have to talk to Eric about that. I just sing and look pretty. I'M KIDDING. I'm not that shallow. I actually write like 90% of our songs. So there. 
  • Actually, I could totally use a new laptop. I can learn technical stuff, ok?! I'm sure someone out there has money to waste on me. 
  • Practical things are always appreciated. Notebooks, pens, pencils, MetroCards, condoms. You know, stuff I use every day *wink* 
  • Or just cold hard cash. That's what my mom always gets me since she doesn't know what I like. 

Right, so that's pretty much it. Wait, was I supposed to ask for things a muse would want? Like having my book finished? Yeah, well that's not going to happen in two weeks so I'm not gonna bother. Or something with the blog? Well, I do already get to take over once a month so that's nothing special, really.

I'm open to suggestions. Like, how the hell do you throw a birthday party on a blog? You guys can't email me cake. Or if I do decide to take over, what should I talk about? Or I could just do nothing.

Thoughts?! No, really! I want to know! I guess I'll see you in two weeks. If I feel like it...


26 November 2014

Thanksgiving Cupcakes!

So I was going to write a *real* blog post today but since I'm always out of ideas and tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I figured I'd just share a few pictures of my latest baking adventure.

So in case you didn't know it by now, I've got a thing for cupcakes. They're just so much fun to make! I don't mess around with store bought cake mix or frosting, either. I took a cake decorating class when I was 13 and learned how to make buttercream frosting, so I really just can't see myself ever slapping canned frosting onto a cupcake with a butter knife. Nope. It's just something to be creative with, really. I like to think about what cake would go with what frosting and what filling. Then making them as pretty as possible :)

Anyhoo, I made these cupcakes to bring down to my sister's house for her birthday, and since I still have half the batch of frosting, I'm making them again for Thanksgiving. It just seemed like the logical thing to do. The cupcake itself is an applesauce cake with apple pie filling and cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Everything was made from scratch and they got some pretty good reviews.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Anyone making any special treats? And is anyone else as obsessed with cupcakes as I am? 

24 November 2014

Out of Ideas

I know I've said in the past that ideas are everywhere, and they are. You can be struck by inspiration at any moment--watching a TV show, listening to a song, just observing people. You could get ideas from dreams or even turn something that happened to you into a work of fiction. But just because the potential for ideas is never-ending, it doesn't mean that you're going to stumble upon them twenty times a day. What if your ideas are dwindling, and you just feel stuck?

I always tend to feel like I can't come up with new ideas, which makes it even more frustrating when I don't want to work on my biggest project. There isn't anything else to work on, so I do nothing. I even have a hard time coming up with blog post ideas. Sometimes I don't feel like I have an interesting story or a good piece of writing advice to share. And I can really only say how I'm having a hard time writing anything so many times before it gets old.

But how do you create ideas when you feel like the idea making machine in your head has broken down? What if you feel like any new ideas you come up with are terrible? Or maybe you feel like you're just reusing the same basic plot over and over, just with different characters and situations? I feel like any ideas I've come up with recently are just sub-par variations of the novel I should be working on, which I guess means that subconsciously I do want to work on it, but I just wish it was easier.

Maybe when we run out of ideas it's because we're trying too hard. No story is going to be perfect at that first moment of inspiration. There are so many details that will take time to figure out. It may not be easy, but we shouldn't let that stop us. And just because you don't have the entire complicated story mapped out in your mind doesn't mean you should give up.

Start with what's easy. What kind of characters do you want to write about? What kind of conflict do you find interesting? Find some detail that you find so exciting you just have to write about it. That's how I started my current WIP--with a very simple story idea. I basically thought, "oh, I'd really like to write about that." Once I committed to it, then more details started developing. Suddenly my characters seemed very clear, then more plot details, and pretty soon I had a complicated story idea that I was really excited to write.

So find something, just one tiny detail that intrigues or inspires you. Maybe you'll realize you're not out of ideas after all. You just need something to spark them.

17 November 2014

Know What Your Character Wants

One of the most basic things you need to know when describing your own book is what your character wants. I can't even begin to list how many times I've read this when looking up tips for query writing. What does your character want, and what stops him from getting it? That's your basic conflict, and that's all anybody really wants to know when you're summarizing your book. But here's my issue with this concept: at any point in your life, whether you're making a big decision or a little one, do you always know what you want? So what if your character doesn't know what he wants? Is your story set up for failure?

I'm still avoiding my book like the plague, but I have given it a bit more thought, and I've broken it down into three parts. I've mentioned before that I feel the third part is the weakest, and it's not just because I can't write the last chapter to save my life. I think it has something to do with the fact that my MC doesn't know what he wants. In the first two parts, he didn't exactly have everything figured out, but he at least had a good idea about what he wanted. He just had to figure out how to get it, and how much he could get. But as the story progresses and things get more complicated, what he actually wants is hard to figure out.

I don't necessarily think this is going to kill my story. Whenever you're reaching the end of a book, the characters are probably going to have to make some decisions that help wrap up the whole story and bring it to its conclusion. If your story is about a love triangle, then your MC is going to have to pick one person. If it's an epic quest, then your hero will probably have to choose whether or not to complete it even when it seems impossible. A lot of stories will have decisions being made in the final act.

This thought process has helped me feel a little better about the fact that my MC has a hard time figuring out what he wants in the final act. Where I think I went wrong was in the execution. He's very wishy-washy about it, which just doesn't fit his character at all. He also doesn't seem to realize that a choice even needs to be made until the very last minute (which is a big part of why I think my last chapter doesn't work). Maybe what he wants is just to figure out what he wants, which is ok, but it can't just dawn on him out of nowhere. He has to be constantly aware of it, which I don't think I pulled off.

So a decision may be a big part of the final chapters of your book. Even if your character knows what he wants in the beginning, things can happen throughout the story that make it harder to figure out exactly what he wants in the end. But as long as he knows a decision needs to be made, then it won't throw the reader off when he finally makes it.

Your character may not always know what he wants. It isn't the end of the world for your story. You just have to help him figure it out.

10 November 2014

The First Step

I'm going to keep this short, because as usual, I'm stressed out beyond belief. I have to take Gizmo back to the vet AGAIN, this time for blood work just to make sure he can handle an anti-inflammatory medication. I didn't even really want to blog today, but I also didn't want to not blog. So yeah...

I want to take this whole getting back into editing thing one step at a time, and I think I figured out the first step. It's pretty easy--just read. I want to read the first five chapters of my book, because I think they're the best out of the whole thing, and reading them usually gets me excited about the story. I've also pretty much edited them to death and there isn't much more to do with them, besides maybe a few tweaks here and there. So I'm thinking reading this section will give me a boost of confidence and hopefully a feeling of excitement again.

The next thing I want to do is piece together a draft that I can send to a few more beta readers. It shouldn't take me too long (I hope) and I'd really like to get some more input. But of course, I'm getting ahead of myself. Today I'm just going to read. If I finish that and want to do more, then that's great. If not, that's ok, too.

07 November 2014

A Week to Myself

First off, on the Gizmo front, the Most Uncooperative Cat Award goes to...THIS GUY...

...who is very tired because he spent 3 hours at the vet on Wednesday and then had to go back on Thursday and stay 4 more hours all because he was very determined to not give them a urine sample. They finally managed to get it and are sending it out to see if there's some reason why he keeps getting sick. It could also be stressed related, although I don't know what he could be stressed about. We'll see, I guess. 

So! My fiance just left on a trip to LA, which means I'll be home all by myself for an entire week. This is both good and bad. I'm gonna miss him like crazy and worry about him being out there by himself all of the time, but I also have all this time to myself and I'm hoping I can get a lot done. I'm really a night owl, especially when it comes to writing, so I'm planning on staying up late all week and working on some stuff. 

But here are some goals for the week: 
  • Read, read, and read some more.
  • Watch lots of movies. I don't think I can reach my goal of 100 books for the year, but there's enough time to reach my 100 movies goal. 
  • Edit! I had some trouble sleeping around 3 AM and actually got some brainstorming done. I think the last third of my book is the weakest part, and I thought of an underlying thread throughout the book that might help it out. 
  • Outline and possibly start writing the book I was supposed to write for NaNo. It's still on my mind so I'd like to get a little work done on it before it flutters away. 
  • Start planning out my A to Z Challenge posts. I've jotted down a bunch of ideas but I need to start actually planning which ideas can fall under what letters. Still not sure about X and Z, though...
  • Look into getting some small things published. I've been sitting on one good short story and a bunch of poems and I'd like to actually doing something with them. 
  • Because I also eat my feelings, I bought all of my favorite snacks and junk food that I can eat while my fiance's gone. There will be baking involved. 
That's it, I think. I'll let you know in a week how it goes. 

05 November 2014

Finding the Passion

Hello, everyone! Today is the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! I'm feeling extra insecure so I fit right in. Check out Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog to learn more and join in.

First Wed of Every Month

I'll keep this post brief because I'm feeling beyond lousy. I have a cold whose main symptom is a constant headache. And we have to take Gizmo back to the vet later today for the FOURTH time. It's very frustrating when he keeps getting sick. Hopefully they can finally put a stop to it.

So I could talk about how I gave up on my NaNoWriMo book before I even started it, but I'm not really all that upset about it, honestly. I don't think I had planned this particular story well enough to bust it out in a month. Besides life getting in the way of my writing time, I just wasn't feeling it.

I feel like I have such a hard time being passionate about my writing lately. When I first started my novel, it was all I could think about. I couldn't do anything but write. Sometimes I forgot to eat. If I could write like I did back then I would be busting out two novels a month. But I just don't feel that way anymore.

I know everyone has said just to put it aside for a while, but the thing is, I have. I haven't looked at my book in over two months. I really want to work on it, but I also don't want to even look at it. Maybe it's because I know editing it is going to be hard. Maybe it's because I feel like no one is going to like my book, or they're going to take it the wrong way. I'm sick of not working on it, but I don't know how to start.

I guess I'll just take it one step at a time. I've had a couple more people offer to beta read for me, which I think will help. I just have to merge some of the edits I've already made with the last complete draft I have before I send it out. My editing draft is an absolute mess and there are a bunch of holes in it, but I also don't really want people to read the second draft as it is. I've got to tweak a few things first. But I will get it out there!

That wasn't brief at all, was it? Oh well. Time for some tea and aspirin.

03 November 2014

Not Blogging Today

Nope. Not gonna do it. I'm sick. My cat is sick (AGAIN). I've already given up on my NaNo book (besides the life nonsense, I just wasn't feeling it). And if you think Jordan is around to write his monthly post, well, hahahahahaha. Yeah right.

Anyway, check out my Liebster Award post from Friday. It's much more entertaining than this one. See you all on Wednesday for IWSG!

31 October 2014

Liebster Award!

This is a really, really long time coming since I’ve been nominated for this award, not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES, and I’ve just kind of been putting it off for forever. First I was nominated by Li at Flash Fiction, then Chrys Fey at Write with Fey, and finally, Nikki at Travels with Pen and Paper. Well, I’m finally doing it, and thanks so much to the three awesome ladies who nominated me. 

The Rules: 
  1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 more bloggers who have less than 200 followers and let them know they’ve been nominated.
  4. Provide 11 questions for those bloggers to answer. 
I’ll be honest, the hardest part is coming up with 11 people to nominate, since most of the blogs I follow either have over 200 followers or they already have the award. But! I figured I could cheat, and since Nikki’s post also said to nominate “up to 11 bloggers,” I was totally on board with that. So, here we go!

11 Facts About Me
  1. I’m horribly near-sighted, hence the glasses. I wear them for pretty much everything except reading.
  2. My favorite color is gray.
  3. My least favorite emotion is probably embarrassment. I hate it so much that I can’t even stand watching or hearing about other people being embarrassed.
  4. I haven’t cut my hair in 3 years, not even a trim.
  5. I can’t drink anything with carbonation because the fizz hurts my tongue. I haven’t had more than a couple sips of soda in my entire life, I’ve never even tried beer, and I don’t plan on drinking any champagne at my own wedding.
  6. I own way more cardigan sweaters than any normal person should.
  7. I’m really good at identifying celebrity voices in commercials and cartoons.
  8. Most of the time you’ll find me in jeans and a t-shirt, but at heart, I’m a girly girl. Dresses, high heels, etc. I just rarely have a reason to dress up.
  9. When I was three months old I had to have surgery to reduce fluid buildup in my brain (caused by hydrocephalus and Dandy Walker syndrome). I have a cerebral shunt in my head that’s basically a tube that drains the fluid. It’s possible that the symptoms no longer exist, but it’s not really worth it to have the shunt removed if it’s not needed. I can actually feel the tube through the side of my neck and I have a scar on my stomach from having it lengthened when I was four.  
  10. I can’t do things like ride a bike or ice skate (probably due to poor balance). You can imagine how horrible my seventh grade field trip to the ice skating rink was.
  11. I pretty much never listen to the radio, so I'm never up to date with current music. 
The Questions!

Ok, I’m also cheating on this part. Well, since I’ve been nominated three times, I’ve been given three sets of questions to answer! I didn’t want to bog this post down with 33 questions, so I decided to pick and choose my favorite questions (or maybe just the ones I knew how to answer) from each of the people who nominated me. The first four are from Nikki, the next four are from Chrys, and the last three are from Li.

1. What was your worst job? 
When I was 16 I sold makeup through mark.—a sort of younger division of Avon. The job itself wasn’t terrible, but teenage girls don’t have all that much money, so I didn’t sell all that much and ended up buying too much stuff for myself with the discount.

2. What was your favorite childhood toy? 
Not one in particular, but I was CRAZY about stuffed animals. I don’t know the exact number, but it’s over 300. I still have them all, but they’re in my storage unit.

3. What's your favorite vegetable? 
I’m a picky eater, so I could probably count the vegetables I like on one hand, but I’m gonna have to go with green beans. Except I’m really weird—I eat them with steak sauce. My sister does it, too. At some point in our childhood we were having steak and green beans and the sauce accidentally got on them and we realized how good it tasted.

4. Would you rather have a live in chef or live in maid? 
I’d have to go with maid since I love to cook but I’m very messy about it. It would be nice to have someone else clean it up for me. Actually, can I choose a live in hairdresser/makeup artist/personal shopper? Those exist, right?

5. On a Friday night, what are you most likely to do? 
My fiancĂ© and I like to stay at home, have a few drinks (usually Malibu rum and some kind of juice), and order some scrumptious take out or I’ll make something like tacos. Then we’ll probably watch a movie or binge watch a TV show on Netflix. We’re practically hermits so it’s a lot of fun.

6. What is your biggest dream? 
You mean besides being a bestselling author? I secretly really really want my book Uneven Lines to be made into a movie (but only if I get to write the screenplay, obviously). I’m actually already convinced that the universe has sent me a sign that it will happen. No, I will not tell you what it was, since I’m also convinced I will jinx it. Yes, I know I’m delusional.

7. If your house were burning down, what would you take and why? 
After making sure my fiancĂ© and cat were getting out ok, I’d grab my flash drive since it has all of my writing on it, my engagement ring (besides the obvious reason, it also belonged to my mom), and my Playbill binder (which has the Playbills to every play & musical I’ve ever been to).

8. If you were not in your current line of work, what would you be doing instead? 
I’ve always kind of wanted to have a bakery, or maybe just a cookie shop. I like coming up with new ideas for recipes. Ooo but I’d totally have to make cupcakes, too.

9. Have you ever witnessed a truly heroic act by someone else? 
The closest thing I can think of is when my dad jumped into our pool fully clothed to pull out my little cousin, who was probably about to drown. I think we look at it as more amusing than heroic at this point.

10. You've just had a novel published and the fanfiction community is going wild.  How do you feel about it?  Are you flattered, angry, resigned? 
Well, if it’s UL, I’m terrified, because I’m sure you’re all sick perverts…but I’m totally gonna read all of it. Hey! It doesn’t count as slash if the characters are already gay! Unless you paired up other characters…no! Do not do that! Stop it! Stop it right now! How dare you even give me those ideas??

11. You can choose any location in the world to pursue your writing, but you must remain there for the rest of your life.  Where would it be?
I absolutely love New York City, so I would want to move there. This may have less to do with my writing and more to do with my love of Broadway musicals… 

My Nominees!

I tried to find as many as I could but it's difficult! So I only have four. Go check out their awesome blogs!

S.E. Dee at Blue Bic Blog

Crystal R. Martin at The Write Life

Debra McKellan at The Write Mage

and Brian S Creek 

And finally:

11 Questions for my Nominees to Answer
  1. If you could dress up as anyone/anything for Halloween, what would it be?
  2. If you could only write one genre of books for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  3. Where were you when you were struck with the idea for your current WIP? Did something trigger the idea or did you pull it out of thin air?
  4. Who is your celebrity crush?
  5. What literary character would you want to be best friends with? BONUS: Which one of YOUR characters would you want to be best friends with? Describe him or her.
  6. You have to pull off a huge heist (such as robbing a casino like in Ocean's Eleven). Who do you want on your team? You can pick people you know, celebrities, or any fictional characters (but no magical powers!). 
  7. What is your least favorite household chore?
  8. Has there ever been a book/movie/TV show that made you sob uncontrollably?
  9. Has one of your favorite books ever been made into a movie and you hated it? If not, did you love it? Why?
  10. How do you take your coffee? Do you like flavored coffee? (Or what is your favorite tea if you’re a tea person?)
  11. What would your demise be that gets you kicked out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory? (You can pick one from the book/movies or come up with your own!)
Not gonna lie, I had a lot of fun coming up with these. I hope they're not too obscure or too involved to answer! 

29 October 2014

NaNoPrep: Research Before or After?

With NaNoWriMo fast approaching, it's about that time when most writers planning for it (or maybe just me...) go into panic mode. Have I thought this story out? Do I have everything I need to get an entire novel written in just one month? What if I don't? Am I doomed to fail? Should I even start?

I know I'm not 100% prepared to start writing this novel. I don't think I'm even 50% prepared. I think this is equally caused by the fact that I just decided that I was going to do NaNo, and let's be honest, I'm a procrastinator. I've got the basic story planned out in my mind, and I've thought over several different scenes, but I think there's still a lot about this story that I haven't figured out.

I'm not all that worried because I'm a pantser (I'm assuming all of you know what that means :P). I just have some sort of natural aversion to doing outlines. I usually don't plan what I'm going to write. I just write whatever scene is pestering my brain the most, then as I write more and more, start to piece everything together and figure out what's missing. Is it the most organized method? Definitely not, but I know what works for me.

What I've come to realize is that every book requires at least a little bit of research. If you're writing a realistic novel set in the real world, then you want to make sure all of your details are accurate. For this particular novel I'm planning on writing, I don't have to do a ridiculous amount of research, but I'm a bit worried that I don't have enough time to figure out everything before I start writing. So what should I do?

There are plenty of options, of course. I could get all of my research done before I start writing. I could research what I need as I'm writing it. Or I could just put all of the research on hold, write out the novel, then check the accuracy once it's done and fix any mistakes. Obviously the first two seem the most logical, mostly because if you write something without doing your research, you may find that what you wrote is inaccurate and you may have to rewrite the entire thing. But when it comes to something like NaNo, where you're trying to get as much writing done as possible in a short amount of time, you also don't want the research to trip you up and take up a huge amount of time.

I haven't quite figured it out yet. Most of the research I need to do involves the setting. I still have a few days to get my research done, but I also want to focus on figuring out a bit more of the story line, and--oh, I don't know, naming my characters. I also think I could just develop the setting the way I picture it and it won't be terribly inaccurate, or at least have any huge errors that I can't easily fix once I get all of my research done. I just don't want to be in the position where I finish an entire novel then find out it could never happen the way I wrote it. I don't think this could happen, but you never know.

I guess I'm going to take it one day at a time. And I've still got three days to get some research done.

27 October 2014

I Hate My Book

I'm sure every writer goes through this phase when they're editing a novel. The high of writing the first draft is long gone and now you're ripping it apart trying to fix every tiny little thing that's wrong with it. It's not easy, and it's definitely not as fun as actually writing. It's one thing to know when something isn't working, but it's another to know how to fix it.

I've been in such a rut lately. I don't even want to look at my book, let alone work on it. I know I've been whining about this for a while now, so bear with me. It's just really frustrating when you've worked for so long on something and been so passionate about it and then suddenly you want nothing to do with it.

I know there are a lot of reasons for why I'm feeling this way. I think I'm still a little burned from sending my book to people I know. I mean, I sent it out to fifteen different people, and only one acknowledged that she finished it. Another two made a few comments here and there, but those stopped along the way. Everyone else said absolutely nothing, not even something as simple as, hey I finished a chapter. I'm wondering what the point was. I honestly don't even know if those other people read any of it at all. So if I can't get people I actually know to read it, how can I get strangers to?

Then of course there was the whole Pitch Wars fiasco. Don't even get me started on that. I don't blame it completely, but it is what triggered this rut I'm in, this desire to do absolutely nothing at all when it comes to writing and editing.

I'm hoping that maybe doing NaNoWriMo will help me in some way, being able to work on something different for a while. Because I've been doing nothing for quite some time and it isn't helping. I really want to work on editing, but every time I try it's like I can't even look at the words I've written.

Ok, I'm done ranting/whining. For now I'm just going to worry about getting my NaNo book outlined and ready and maybe when November is over I'll be in a better head space for editing. Fingers crossed.

22 October 2014

Good News, Bad News

So I'm trying to get back into the swing of things when it comes to blogging. Sometimes it's hard to come up with ideas for blog posts, other times it's hard just to write them at all. But in the past, I've always found when I can't think of something to write about, then it's ok just to ramble. Or sometimes make a list. Or both. So that's what I felt like doing today. Here are some of the good AND bad things going on with my writing, and maybe a few from my regular life as well.

Good News!

Gizmo seems to be doing a lot better since his second shot on Monday. The vet also recommended getting a laser pointer so he could get more exercise and lose weight. I think watching him chase the red dot is more entertaining for me than for him, though...

Even though I said I wasn't going to do NaNoWriMo, I think I changed my mind. I'm going to do it, but with a different story idea that's been in the back of my head for a while now. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

I came up with a theme idea for next year's A to Z Challenge! I was convinced I wouldn't come up with one, at least not with enough time to plan it out. But I have more than five months now and I really like my idea. I have no idea how I'll come up with posts for the trickier letters, though. X? Z? *shudders*

I noticed our bananas were going bad yesterday so the obvious thing to do was to make banana bread. I kicked it up a bit by adding some shredded coconut and cinnamon. So yummy!

Bad News...

No editing on UL whatsoever. I did try a little brainstorming on the subplot front and may have figured out a few things, but then I worry that I'm taking it in the wrong direction. I think it's hard to get the whole idea out of my head and start from scratch.

I really don't think my brain is capable of coming up with a book idea that doesn't involve a forbidden and/or secret romance. Come on, brain, stop being so predictable.

I've never ever finished a NaNo book so part of me is already convinced that I'll give up halfway through like I did last year.

That's it, I think. I thought I had more bad news...which I guess is good news...

20 October 2014


So I WAS going to do something super awesome and cool seeing as this is my 200th blog post (no idea what, but something). But yesterday morning all of Gizmo's UTI symptoms came back so I'm kind of in the middle of a nervous breakdown. I'm bringing him back to the vet for another shot in about a half hour. The guy I talked to on the phone this morning said sometimes it takes two to really get rid of the infection. I just kinda wish someone had told me that the first time and maybe I wouldn't have been freaking out yesterday. But anyway, I'm all stress and nerves right now so all I want to do after the vet is watch tv and possibly take a nap.

So, uh...yay for my 200th post? 

15 October 2014

Soulless Blog Tour

Today I'm hosting the very awesome Crystal Collier! She's sharing an excerpt from her new book, SOULLESS, which just came out on Monday. I'm super psyched to read it since I loved the first book in the series, MOONLESS. Check it out!

Series: Maiden of Time
Author: Crystal Collier
Pages: 263
Pub Date: October 13, 2014
Publisher: Raybourne Publishing
ISBN: 9781629830032

The Soulless are coming.

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.


What reviewers are saying:

"5 Stars." - Invincible Love of Reading Book Blog

"I LOVED it! So good. Seriously...exceeded my expectations." -Kristin Smith, advanced reviewer

"Entirely unique and chilling." Gabby @ What’s Beyond Forks

"Unputdownable." T.C. Mckee, BookFish Books


Mae stood on the brink, arms crossed.

Alexia’s head felt like a pillow full of down, a soft buzzing in her ears, the taste of sulfur at the back of her tongue. “The Soulless—” she warned.

A wicked smile crept over Mae’s face, her blind eyes crinkling at the corners. “I can hear them.” She stepped over the line of white blossoms.

The grass reached for her foot—like iron shavings drawn to a magnet. The stretching plants shriveled and blackened, desiccating and writhing into the dirt. Deadness bled out from the innkeeper across the foliage, spreading like the black fingers of an inky night, but halting along the perimeter Kiren had marked. Like a giant sucking breath, an invisible force drew the color and life out of the earth, pulling it into Mae’s body. Her eyes closed, nostrils flared, chest lifting as though she were breathing for the first time. Death ringed her foot, extending twice the woman’s height in all directions and growing while her skin gleamed and brightened.

A shriek rent the air. The creature nearest Mae collapsed. Those on either side dropped. A fourth and fifth toppled.

Hesitating, Mae retreated back over the line. “Go away. The girl is under my protection.”

The one creature still standing trembled and disappeared in a blinding blur of motion. A wide berth of shriveled nothingness remained, five immobile lumps littering the ground, not a whisper of life stirring them. Mae turned and faced Alexia, her innocence a halo of light against a backdrop of devastation.


Get your free copy of book 1, MOONLESS, October 13, 20, 27, 31 or Nov 7.

Author Bio:

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. 

You can find her on her Blog, Facebook, Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

13 October 2014

Quick update before I scurry off...

Sorry I didn't blog much last week. My poor Gizmo was sick all week. We started noticing a problem on Monday night and I spent most of my time on the internet trying to figure out what it was with no luck. We finally took him to the vet on Thursday, found out he had a UTI on Friday (do you guys know how hard it is to get a urine sample from a cat? Because now I know), then had to take him back on Saturday for a shot. He actually handled the shot pretty well but he really hates being in the car and being at the vet in general, and was extremely vocal about his disapproval the whole time. I still have to give him oral antibiotics twice a day as well, which is very hard and I now have a wound on my hand to prove it. He does seem to be getting better, though.

So this week I'm hoping to get back into editing. I just have to take the plunge and start doing it. Even if I just get a few things fixed every day, it'll be worth it. I actually don't think I'm going to do NaNo this year--the fantasy story I had in mind still needs a LOT of planning and I don't think I'll get it all done in time (I still haven't named the characters!). Plus I'd rather focus on editing if I can actually get back into it.

I'm hoping to get a book review written for Friday's post. We shall see. If not, then I'll definitely be back on Monday to let you know if I got any editing done or if I failed miserably.

06 October 2014

Missing Muse & Shelfie Blogfest

Do you ever feel like your muse has abandoned you? Like they just got sick of your crummy attitude and went away to do something more fun than inspire you? I'm starting to think that might be part of my problem. I haven't been feeling all that inspired lately but I think it goes beyond that. I used to talk to my muse--like actually talk out loud and hear him answer in my head. I can't remember the last time I did that.

Usually on the first Monday of the month Jordan takes over and writes his own blog post. Well, it just feels like he didn't show up. Ideally, I'd like for him to show up every day, but since this is pretty much the only day of the month where he's actually required to do something, I'm wondering if I should put up fliers. Well, here's the best I can do, I suppose:

Missing: Muse
Male, approximately 5' 10"
Somewhere between the ages of 15 and 19, depending on his mood. Probably 15. I have pictured him as old as 35, however, so be on the lookout.
Caucasian, brown hair, brown eyes. Most likely wearing skinny jeans and a gray t-shirt.
Answers to: Jordan, Palmer, or "gorgeous"
Does not answer to: Jojo, no matter how many times I call him that.
Last seen here on September 1. Could be anywhere between his hometown of New York City and eastern Massachusetts, where I live. Or wherever it is that muses go. Is there a muse dimension where all the muses just hang out and laugh at us?
Image credit

Can be lured with sweets. Just stick a cookie or cupcake in your window and he might show up.
If found, please hold hostage and let me know. He WILL try to trick you into letting him go, and will most likely be successful unless you wear earplugs. Or give him the whole batch of cookies.

Anyway, onto something else! I've been procrastinating forever and now it's the last day of the Shelfie Blogfest! Thanks to Tara Tyler and all of the awesome co-hosts for putting this together!

First off, let me say these shelves are a complete lie. It's not as bad as that sounds. I live in a studio apartment so there's not a lot of space. Most of my books are actually in boxes in a storage unit. The books I keep in my apartment are the ones I haven't read or have recently read, as well as my favorites. And all of my writing reference books. I also usually don't get the third shelf--it's home to my fiance's horror movie collection, but I cleared it out and organized all of my books so that they looked more presentable. :P Enjoy!

My sad three shelves. Yes, I own the DSM and a Geometry textbook.

Winner of worst spine goes to The Catcher in the Rye. Surprise--I have none. 

And I originally wasn't going to do a true selfie shelfie because I hate pictures of myself, but I thought literally sticking a costar on the shelf would help me out. He seemed to enjoy it, except for the fact that this was the last picture after about thirty failures...

01 October 2014

Sufferin' Subplot!

I know I have a stuffed Sylvester the cat somewhere, but don't ask me to dig it out...

First Wed of Every MonthAnyway, today is the first Wednesday of the month so that means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! It's also the one year anniversary for the IWSG website! If you're looking for my submission for The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, err, well...I haven't written it yet. I'll go ahead and blame my writing slump, and maybe my tendency to procrastinate. But I can think of several high school and college essays that were done at the last minute and still came out amazing, so this will be my project for the day! I know what I want to write about, at least, so, fingers crossed!

Anyhoo, whenever IWSG day rolls around, I feel like I always waste it. I usually vent about some minuscule problem or dilemma that having just one or two people respond to it makes me feel better or reinforces something that I already knew in the first place. It's great to get feedback, but on a day where I usually get three times the comments, I feel like I should be talking about something more meaningful. So that's what I'm going to try to do from now on.

I've been talking about my editing woes a lot lately. Basically I've been avoiding it like the plague. There are a ton of reasons behind this, but part of it is that I'm having a really hard time figuring out how to fix all of the problems in my novel. I'm starting to think I have to completely scrap the last third of it and figure out how to get to the ending. I've always known how the book needs to end, I'm just not sure I got there in the right way.

A lot of my problems come from the subplot. I think I have two options at this point: either scrap it or find a way to make it reflect the main plot more. There are a lot of parallels in my book--parallel moments, parallel characters, parallel LINES (there's geometry--it makes sense, I swear!). So my subplot should parallel the main plot in some way. I think what I was going for is to show how my main character is constantly manipulating people in some way--so this should go for the minor characters as well as the main ones. But I don't think I got that point across very well.

What worries me is that I can't quite figure it out. Every solution I come up with seems stupid, but I think I'm relying too much on what I've already written. I think up to a certain point it works, but once my MC has made the decision to basically destroy one his friends, it didn't really go where I wanted it to. It ends kind of weakly, and I want my MC to have more control of the situation, and honestly, be a bit more evil.

I'm also worried that having this subplot will weaken the book as a whole. Do I even really need it? I know I need these minor characters to have certain moments happen, but besides that, is it necessary? Do you think subplots just distract from the main plot? Or do they enhance it? I guess that all depends on if they're done right, but I'm still not sure about mine. I think I need to reevaluate why I need it, and try to revamp it so that it makes the story better.

What does everyone think? Are you for or against subplots? And if you'd like to help me brainstorm (and just for fun!)--how would you get revenge on someone who hurt you? 

Hope for Her Release Day Blitz and Giveaway!

Hope for Her By Sydney Aaliyah Michelle
Release Date: October 1, 2014
Get it on Kobo: http://bit.ly/HopeKobo
Get it on Amazon: http://bit.ly/HopeAmazon
Get it at Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/HopeBnN

No one ever expected much from him.

Joshua Elijah Griffin, IV is on his last chance. A stint in rehab and a transfer to a new school has scared him into putting his life on track. He’s determined to live up to his family’s expectations, but on the first day of class, Josh meets a girl, and he knows his father won’t approve, but in Carrington, he sees a kindred spirit. He's willing to give up everything to be with her.

No one ever thought she was special.

Carrington Olivia Butler is ready to shine. Always in the shadows of her siblings, she goes away to college to break out of her shell. All Carrington wants is to feel special. Josh's attention is exactly what she craves, but their intense and sometimes volatile relationship is more than what she bargained for.

Josh’s demons return, and Carrington’s feelings fade, but both aren’t ready to give up hope. They give their love one last shot to survive, but hope, may not be enough.

**This book contains adult subject matter. Not intended for young readers.**


Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a New Adult Contemporary Romance writer, a voracious reader and movie fanatic who hails from Texas.
After surviving 5 1/2 years living in China, she had the courage to finally pursue her passion and become a writer.
Sydney has been blogging at sydneyaaliyah.com for three years, where she interviews people about their tattoos, discusses her favorite movie quotes, reviews books (New Adult & only the ones she loves) and journals about her writing and editing process.
Sydney’s self-published debut New Adult Novel Another New Life released in May 2014.
An active tweeter, she is also a JuNoWriMo (2x) and NaNoWriMo (2x) winner who notes the sci-fi action flick “The Matrix” as the best representation of her life in the past. She is now awake.
She can recite the entire script for the 80’s teen comedy/drama “The Breakfast Club” and loves any and everything associated with the Avengers Movie, especially Tony Stark.
When it come to books, Sydney reads different genres, but some of her favorite writers are Stephen King, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Cora Carmack & Emily Bronte. Under the Dome, The Great Gatsby & Wuthering Heights are her favorite books.

I reached out and grabbed her, wrapping my arms around her waist. She resisted,
pushing and punching my arms and shoulders. I wanted her to fight me. To hit me and scream and show me what I did to her.
After a while, she collapsed in my arms, exhausted from fighting, but her sobs
continued for several more minutes. My neck and chest dampened from her tears, and her whole body convulsed when she released an uncontrollable series of coughs. It shook us both, but I held on tight. The vibration of our bodies glued together made me hard, and I found it difficult to concentrate. I tried to push those thoughts out of my head. I wanted her to understand.
It tore me up to know I caused her an ounce of pain. I held her tight with one arm and stroked her back with the other. Each stroke, her body softened. When her last bit of energy drained, I turned us around and her back was up against my car. I placed my hands on her hips; she whimpered as I lifted her and sat her on the trunk.
Her damp hair stuck to her face, and I pushed it away. I wiped her eyes and lifted her chin.
"How could you leave me like that?" she asked. The desperation in her voice
fucked with my mind. I hated myself.
"I'm sorry," I whispered as my lips sweep across her cheek. She tensed. I
expressed my gratitude by kissing her other cheek. She whimpered, and my heart
I kissed her forehead, dropped my hands to her waist, and her head fell forward without my support.
"Why?" she asked. Her voice sounded defeated, but defiant. She wanted an
answer. She deserved an answer.
"Since I meet you, I've had the time of my life." I kissed her jawline as I placed

my hands on her thighs. “I’ve never met anyone like you before." As my lips moved to her ear, she leaned into me. I pushed her legs apart. I wanted to hold her, get closer to her. She relaxed more with every kiss. "I want to be with you so bad." When I reached her earlobe, I bit it, and she moaned. "But eventually you're going to leave me."

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