07 December 2016

When Words Happen

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that I haven't written a blog post besides IWSG for months. I feel so out of the loop. I do read some blogs now and then but definitely not every day. And I never comment because I don't want anyone to come back here and see all the tumbleweeds. I think I'll probably stay on my sort-of-hiatus for the rest of the year. Although Jordan's birthday is this month, and he's finally turning 21 (sort of)...help me! ("What makes you think I haven't had a fake ID for years??" he says). I could do something for that (but not a Muse Party. I haven't given myself enough time to set that up, womp womp). I'm hoping to get back into the swing of blogging next year.

Anyway, the good news! You'll never guess. I'VE BEEN WRITING ACTUAL WORDS. Wait, it gets weirder. NOT SOMETHING USELESS. I know, right? FOR THE ACTUAL THIRD DRAFT OF UNEVEN LINES. WHAT IS THIS MADNESS????

*cough* I'll stop shouting now. I wouldn't say it's a ridiculous amount of words, but maybe a ridiculous amount of ideas. Like I keep thinking about it all the time, whereas I've mostly been avoiding thinking about it for quite some time now. Sometimes I'll get struck by an idea and have to stop everything to write it down--whether it's at work or 5 in the morning and I'm trying to sleep and can barely keep my eyes open to type it into my phone. But I will definitely take what I can get.

I'm still trying to figure out how to rewrite the last third of the book, but I want to keep editing and writing to get there and hopefully I'll have a plan by then. My ideas have been all over the place, at different points in the book, but I'm not trying to rein them in. Because like I said, I'll take what I can get!!!!!!

I am trying to get more organized, though. I finally bought Scrivener and I'm loving it so far. I had the trial sitting on my computer for years. I tend to leave little scraps of ideas all over the place--on my laptop, my flash drive, my phone, in notebooks, on random pieces of paper. Sometimes I'll think of a sentence I wrote a while ago but can't remember its exact location. So I'm trying to find all those pieces and put them all in the same place! I'm hoping it will help tie everything together and maybe I can figure some more things out.

Ok, I'll stop rambling, BECAUSE  I HAVE TO GET BACK TO WRITING. Ok, not really. When this posts I'll actually be at work. But when I get home, WORDS. WILL. HAPPEN.

02 November 2016

New Story Syndrome

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

Hello blogging universe! (Blogiverse?) I know I've been super off the grid lately. I guess it's hard to blog about writing when you're not actually writing, which has pretty much been the case for the past few months. I just haven't been able to come up with ideas lately. And I don't think I could write a blog post every week just talking about how I'm always tired...

Anyway, this month, I thought I'd take a crack at the IWSG's question, which is: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? 

While I think there are a ton of favorite things, one in particular came to mind. I love that excited feeling when a story is brand new and the ideas just keep coming to you non-stop. I guess I've been feeling this way lately because I actually wrote something new! 

I wrote a short story to submit to the IWSG anthology contest, and I actually had a lot of fun crafting the characters and the world they live in. At first, I just had a basic idea of what I wanted the story to be. Then one day, the ideas started flowing (at work, of all places!) and every gap began to fill itself in. Of course, I procrastinated on actually writing the story, but I think I tend to do that when I really like a story idea. I like to keep it in my head for a while before I put it on the page. 

I think no matter the outcome of the contest, I'd like to continue with this story, whether that means writing short sequels or maybe even a novel (because I have chronic novelitis!). Even if the stories are just for me, it would still be a good way to keep the creativity going. I've come to realize that the less I write, the less I want to write. It's hard to pull yourself out of a rut. But since I've actually been writing lately, I feel more motivated to keep doing it. 

But that newness of a story is one of my favorite things. When it's all you can think about and you just want to keep writing and get those ideas down. That kind of excitement is a hard thing to ignore. 

05 October 2016

Everything and Nothing

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I can't believe it's October already! Where is the year going?? I haven't written a blog post since last month's IWSG, and I guess technically a lot has changed, well, since I GOT MARRIED. But you knew that was coming (most of you, anyway). Vegas was lots of fun and the wedding was short and sweet and (mostly) stress free. I did manage to win a little money on the slot machines but you go through a lot of money on food and alcohol and getting around. So far married life is pretty much the same as non-married life, but my husband and I have been together for nine years before we got hitched, so really not much has changed. And no, I haven't changed my last name yet and probably won't change it on the blog or my social media even if I do, since I think I'll still use just my maiden name for my pen name. Still deciding. 

Ok, you get one picture before I move on to writing stuff! I loved my flowers! They were so pretty. And my blue shoes, but they killed my toes and I switched to flip flops after the ceremony. 

Anyhoo, onto writing stuff. Well, not much progress there. I mean, I have been busy. Plus having a full time job makes it difficult to get any writing done. But I also just haven't felt like it lately. I just don't feel the drive. I get hints of it here and there but I feel like I don't want to force it. I think it will gradually come back once I get back into a normal life groove. I'd really love to get the third draft of my novel done some point soon. I doubt it will happen before the year is over, but the sooner, the better. 

Sometimes I feel like I just don't know what to write about. That's probably why I haven't been blogging too much lately. I just don't have any ideas. I can never seem to come up with anything new. I really would like to write something for the IWSG anthology contest, too, but I'm not sure if there's enough time or if I even have a good idea. I do have something in mind, but I just don't know if I can develop it enough and get it to where I want it to be in the amount of time we have. 

It seems whenever I don't know what to do, I just end up doing nothing. I would really love to get something submitted for the anthology, because I think I would regret not doing it more than doing it and not getting in. How can you have a chance if you don't even try? The good news is that I do have a lot of time this weekend by myself to try to work on some things. Whether I get a story done or even just some editing on UL, I think I'll count that as a win.

07 September 2016

Off the Grid

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I've been kind of off the grid lately when it comes to pretty much all forms of writing, blogging, and social media. Probably because I'm going crazy between work and planning this Vegas trip (which is this Saturday!!!!!!!!). I just haven't had the brain capacity for it. I even almost forgot about this blog post and I'm sure it's going to be half-assed since I'm trying to pack for the trip and still have to work the next three days. 

So I'm probably going to stay off the grid until we get back. Then I'd really like to crack down and get back into writing and blogging again. I did finish that Chapter 3 edit a few weeks back, but other than that, I haven't been writing at all. I do want to take a few chapters with me to maybe work on during my flights but I can't promise anything. Usually when I plan to be productive on a plane I just end up watching TV. 

So hopefully I'll start blogging again towards the end of this month. If not, then definitely next month! I kinda still want to do a Halloween themed muse party but I don't know if I have enough time to put that together! And what the heck would Jordan and I wear for costumes??? I'll probably keep up with Instagram during my trip because pretty much the only time I like to take pictures is when I'm doing something fun. Or if my cat is being cute. Or if I bake something...

But anyway, I shall be back (hopefully) in a few weeks! And hopefully with lots of writing happening as well! Right now I have to figure out what book(s) to bring on the plane!!!

03 August 2016

My Brain Doesn't Work

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I should be honest, I've been staring at this post for a while now trying to figure out what to write. I don't know if I'm just too tired right now or just burnt out from everything. Work continues to be nuts. I work in a hospital so it's hard to predict--it could be crazy one day and slow the next. Right now it's pretty much just crazy. Plus this is the time of year where everyone takes vacations. I've actually had to be in charge quite a few times while my manager is off so that can be stressful. So I'm tired all of the time.

Then there's wedding/Vegas trip planning! I still have SO MUCH to do. I do have the most important things done, though. But I feel like there are still so many things I have to buy and plan and pack and yada yada. I also just got contact lenses for the first time, which is so weird for me. I've been wearing glasses since I was ten. I feel weird without them. I tend to switch back and forth depending on how tired I am when I wake up in the morning.

So I haven't had too much time for writing lately. I've been trying to finish up my Chapter 3 edit, but the first half of it pretty much needed to be completely rewritten. With the second half, I'm just trying to make the end more interesting. I think in the last draft it was a little boring, and I like to end the chapters not on a cliffhanger, exactly, but with something to make the reader want to keep going. But this chapter does have the cupcake eating scene, which is one of my favorites.

Luckily, we now have questions to answer for the IWSG, which is great when my brain isn't working. This month's question is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

I love this question because I actually still have my first piece of writing. It was a children's book that I wrote when I was eight! I even drew all of the illustrations myself (poorly). I went on to write a whole series of books about mice before I switched to novels, but I keep this first one as a look back to where it all started.

Do you still have your first piece of writing? Anyone else's brain malfunctioning?

01 August 2016

Jordan Takes Over: Can You Keep a Secret?

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

Everybody get in real close because this post is top secret! I love a juicy secret, don't you?? I'm kind of an expert on secrets, actually. There's like at least ten of them in my first book. Seriously. Sadly, this secret isn't all that juicy, but it's still a secret. So everybody be quiet!

As much as I hate to ask, I need some advice. Ugh. I can usually figure things out on my own, but you know, I had to write a post today anyway so this seemed like a good idea. So! Next Tuesday is Sarah's birthday. And I guess if I want to be a good muse I should get her a present or something. But what?

Before you state the obvious, let's run through some options first. I mean, due to the weird worldly restrictions of the muse-writer relationship, I can't just go out and buy her something. Nothing's ever easy, is it? So that limits my options. Now I could totally do something music related, like write her a song. But that's kinda weird, right? I don't even write songs for my boyfriends. Well, ok, I've only had two. And a half...ish. Ok, I have written songs about the half-ish one, but those are secrets, too. So, shh! But anyway, a song probably isn't the way to go. I could finally tell her the name of my band, but that's just way too easy. She's gotta work for that information. I could make her an awesome playlist or something. I mean, she literally only listens to Hamilton. For months now. There's this thing called variety, people! She can't be reasoned with! MAKE IT STOP.

Anyway, ok, so, the obvious thing to give is INSPIRATION. I guess. It's not like it would take a ridiculous amount of effort on my part. But it's not exactly a concrete concept, either. How much inspiration are we talking about here? And when? And most importantly, at what point can I stop and take a nap??

I mean, I've gotta work around schedules here! Do you think she'll actually want inspiration on her birthday, or will she be too busy? So when? Before? After? How many hours are we talking here? I have a life. Or should we focus more on the quantity of writing? Say, one chapter? Two? I don't know. I'm not the writer here! That's why I'm asking you people! And don't say infinite inspiration! That's just crazy.

Well anyway, I guess I'll figure something out. Hopefully I won't just fall asleep and forget...


06 July 2016

IWSG (because I can't think of a title...)

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

So...I haven't been blogging for a while now. Or writing, actually (well, that's not all that unbelievable...). I've just been drained lately. Physically, emotionally, creatively. Work has been particularly stressful lately. So when I'm not working I pretty much just want to sleep. I've even started taking naps in the afternoon. I hate naps. So anyway, I just haven't been feeling the inspiration lately. I haven't even come up with blog ideas, but honestly, I haven't been trying very hard to find them. I guess I just felt like taking a break.

So of course, I have no idea what to write about! Luckily the IWSG folks have added a new feature: a question to answer! This month's is: What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

Hmm. Well, ok, when I first read this question, it kind of depressed me. I honestly couldn't think of anything. I could tell you several instances where people told me my story was awful (ok, two), but I don't think anyone's interested in that. But good? And something specific? That was tough. I actually had to go digging for something, in a long buried Facebook message from a former coworker who read the original short story that would turn into UL. He said: "I am very impressed with your ability to flesh out your characters and environments. You have an attention to detail that is of a high order, without being overwrought, and you know just when to pepper dialogue into the exposition." So that's good, right? He went on to provide some constructive criticism as well, adding that "I hope this isn't too harsh. I'm harshest on work that I like the most." It was actually kind of nice to go back and read this since I don't let anyone read my stuff, like, ever.

Perhaps I would add another honorable mention, because it wasn't really something good that was said, but the reaction was exactly what I was looking for. When I was sending out my second draft chapters as I rewrote them, I did have a few friends and coworkers who were actually keeping up for a good chunk of the book (you know, before everyone decided to just give up *sigh*). I'm sure I've mentioned the twist at the end of Chapter 17 before. It's one of my favorite moments in the book, actually. Well, the day after I sent it out, I went to to work and when another coworker came in, she walked up to me and screamed "WHAT DID YOU DO????" which honestly was the exact response I would want from a reader after that particular chapter. So it was pretty uplifting for me.

Ok, so I started this post thinking I had nothing to say and I've rambled on forever. That's usually how it goes, isn't it?

06 June 2016

Jordan Takes Over: But I Don't Wanna!

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

People like to bitch and moan. It's just what we do. It makes us feel important. Especially when other people are around to hear us bitching. I mean, would you read a book or watch a movie or listen to ten songs in a row where everyone is happy? No, because that's boring. We like other people's misery even more than our own. It just makes for good entertainment.

People like to bitch the most, I think, when they have to do something that they don't want to. Like me writing this blog post. Wait, what? Did I say that? Prove it. Things like, going to the dentist, or getting your car inspected (I live in NYC, I don't need a car, haha!). Or maybe just going to your job every day. Every second can't be filled with great, fun things that you love doing, right? It's just part of life.

Case in point, Chapter Three. Well, the first half of it, anyway. We finished the edit (if you can call it that, it was basically perfect already) of Chapter Two on Tuesday, but you wanna know what's happened since then? A whole lot of nothing. And it's not my fault.

Don't believe me, do you? Look, I am perfectly willing and able to provide inspiration for this scene. I've even suggested ways to change it so it works better and fits in some setting crap that we haven't put in the first two chapters (Yes, it was my idea. No one is here to deny it, right? So it's the truth, then.). But a certain Miss Writer Lady (who shall remain nameless) doesn't want to work on it. Why? Because it's too hard! Boo hoo.

This is a scene that needs to pretty much be completely rewritten. And that's too hard and scary to even attempt, right? Hey, remember last month when I talked about how you blame your muses when you can't write? Well, that is not always the case, thank you very much. Sometimes you're too scared to write or you just don't want to do it because it's too hard and needs too much work,

Well, GET OVER IT. Guess what happens when you don't even try? Nothing! At least if you make an attempt, you'll eventually get through it. It could take forever, but eventually it will happen. And then you can move onto the next scene which is way more fun anyway.

So, in summary: Suck it up and stop your bitching.


01 June 2016

Wait For It

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I frequently have a hard time motivating myself, especially when it comes to writing. The words just don't seem to come, so I don't do anything to seek them out. I spend most of my time just waiting for inspiration, motivation--whatever that spark may be that finally gets me writing again. But most of the time it doesn't come. How much time have I spent (and continue to spend) just waiting

It's not exactly something I'm proud of, but I can't really help it. I feel like I'm always waiting for the right moment, the right time. What if it never comes? What am I supposed to do in the meantime? I guess the easy answer is--WRITE. Just write anyway. Even if it's hard. Even if every single word is a struggle, it would be better than nothing. But most of the time, that's easier said than done. 

Some days I think I could do great things if I only tried a little bit harder. Other days I don't feel capable of much of anything. But I don't really think it's a fear of failure that keeps me from trying. So what is it? 

Sometimes I wonder how other writers can bust out book after book, publishing several per year. I'm taking forever just to get one done. I just don't get how they do it. I wish I could write like that. I keep waiting for some breaking point where I'm finally able to just write pages and pages. Even when I have time to sit down and write, it still doesn't happen.

Waiting may sometimes feel like the right thing to do, but is it the best thing? What if that perfect moment, that perfect motivation never comes? I could spend my whole life waiting for it, or I could actually try. Try to take that inspiration instead of waiting around for it to show up. If you take control, then maybe you won't have to wait anymore.

**If anyone knows where I got the title for this post (and in a strange way that would take too long to explain, the inspiration behind it), you get a cupcake. :D

25 May 2016

Two Milestones for the Price of One!

Greetings! It's a special day here at the FFP (wait, I've never called it that before...). Not only is this my 400th blog post, it's also my FIFTH blogiversary. It's been exactly five years since I wrote my first blog post. I can't believe it's been that long, actually, or that I've written that many posts!

So I had a hard time figuring out what exactly I should do for this post. I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate, but nothing as crazy as another Muse Party or some other blogfest. Then I thought I could share some of my favorite posts from over the years, maybe even pick one for certain categories (favorite blogfest, favorite A to Z post, favorite old post with no comments). But then I realized I did something very similar for my third blogiversary. This wouldn't have been a big deal except a lot of the posts or category ideas that came to mind were already listed in that post.

So I decided to tweak the idea just a bit. I decided to just share posts from the last 100. I didn't want to share too many since I know there's no way people will actually go back and read them all, but here are just a few of my favorite highlights from the past 100 posts! (I went backwards chronologically, well, because it was easier to go through the posts that way...)

1. Evolving
My favorite post from this year's A to Z Challenge. Not only do our characters evolve as we continue to write them, but we evolve as writers as well. I always think it's funny when I read something I wrote a long time ago and see how awful it is, when at the time I thought it was fantastic!

2. The Muse Party Blogfest: (Anti-) Valentine's Day Edition
Because I had to! My favorite part may have been making the cartoons...

3. Something Clicked
Just because it was really awesome when this happened and I finally felt like I was ready to write again.

4. My Muse's Boyfriend
Probably the post that made me smile the most. Even though sometimes I want to strangle Adam...that pushy, perfect haired jerk. He's adorable, though. Dammit.

5. Jordan Takes Over: Let Sleeping Muses Lie
Well, I had to include a JTO, of course! While this wasn't exactly his most insightful post, it was definitely the funniest...

Five posts for five years is good, right? I didn't want to go too crazy. Well, that and I've been writing a lot of "woe is me" kind of posts for a while (until post #3 happened, basically). So those are no fun. 400 posts sure feels like a lot, so hopefully I'll still have ideas for the next 100!

23 May 2016

A Post (Because I Have To)

Where the heck did my weekend go?? Seriously, it's like it disappeared into some sort of wormhole. Which is why I'm scrambling to get a blog post done on Sunday night before Game of Thrones starts (because I'm definitely going to bed once it's over). So...greetings from the past! I would wait until Monday to write a more decent post, but I have to work at 6:30. And if I don't get a post out until the afternoon, I may as well not bother. But I could just skip this post altogether, right? Haha, WRONG. I actually have to post today if I want my 400th post to line up with my blogiversary on Wednesday. So there.

Anyway, in case you hadn't figured it out yet, this post is not going to be very substantial. But I guess I will share some cool things with you.

1. I have (mostly) figured out what I want to do for my post this Wednesday. It's extremely similar to what I did for my third blogiversary post, but I figured no one would remember that. Wait, except I just told you. Hmm. Anyway, still figuring out the exact way I want to go about it, but it will be done!

2. In other writing news, I ACTUALLY GOT MY REWRITE OF CHAPTER ONE DONE. Sorry for the caps. It's that exciting. Chapter one was being a bitch (or maybe Jordan was...). But anyway, I got it done and now I can move on. I ended up not writing that little setting snippet yet, mostly because there was way too much going on in the chapter already. I may try to squeeze it in the second chapter, but I think that chapter is already perfect so we'll see. I may just try to write it first and then see where it can fit in.

3. I got my wedding dress! I'm incredibly low maintenance--I only tried on two dresses and ended up going with the first one I tried. Plus I'm thinking it should be fairly easy to pack for the trip to Vegas. Woot. Oh! I didn't even want a veil but my consultant and fiance gained up on me and I bought one anyway (I had no idea he cared about that sort of thing, either). I'm still not sure if I actually want it, but I got it for half off, so it's not a huge deal.

4. I made these awesome brownies over the weekend even though I'm trying to lose weight. They have a peanut butter swirl and Reese's pieces. Because why not? I made my sister keep most of them. Most of them...

5. We recently got a new mattress and a new bedspread so I may or may not be trying to redecorate my apartment. It's difficult because there's not a lot of space in here. But I'm hoping to purge some of the stuff we don't need. And maybe put some shelves up. I've been dying to reclaim my desk to actually use, you know, as a desk. Right now it's on my fiance's side of the bed and is just covered in junk. Having an actual writing space would be awesome. But it's going to be a slow process. We have too much stuff and nowhere to put it! 

Well, I think I'll leave it there before I start to ramble too much. I'll be back on Wednesday for the extravaganza!

16 May 2016

Chipping Away At It

Now comes the time of year where I have zero idea what to blog about! Here goes nothin'...

So I've been slowly trying to get back into the editing groove. Except, well, I've never really had a groove. I usually just wait around for inspiration to strike and then try to milk it for all it's worth, then once it's all gone start all over again. It's really not the best method. Waiting around for inspiration means that you're doing a whole lot of nothing in the meantime.

I'm trying to get in the mindset that it's ok to do a little bit at a time. If you can only get one paragraph done each day, that's still better than nothing. If you wait around hoping to get a lot done at once, you may end up not doing anything at all for most of the time. Just getting a little bit done everyday is still progress, right?

Right now I'm still trying to get through my first chapter revision. One of those random bursts of inspiration helped me get through the first scene, which was great, but that urge to write like crazy fizzled out after a few days. Since then I barely even looked at the chapter. If I kept waiting around for another one of those bursts, then chances are I wouldn't get anything done at all.

So I went back to the second scene. I had a few lines of dialogue already in mind so I started with that. I just imagined what was happening in the scene and started writing. It wasn't a particularly long scene, just enough to introduce some minor characters, really, and a little splash of backstory. But I got through it. I hit another one of my check points. With each one that gets done, I get a little bit closer to the chapter being done. And since this is the hardest chapter rewrite until I get around to the fifth/sixth chapter area, it will be really easy to get a huge chunk of revision done once the first chapter is complete.

So if I break down the first chapter, it looks like this:

1. Classroom scene (DONE)
2. Cafeteria scene (DONE)
3. Possible setting establishing scene (I'm still deciding if I need this but at this point I haven't even mentioned where the story takes place and if it's not in the first chapter it probably won't be mentioned until Chapter 3, which may be weird)
4. Home scene/phone call with mom (Not done)
5. Last scene--characters meet! (Basically done because it doesn't need much rewriting)

SO. Bottom line--one major scene to rewrite and the possible snippet to write and then the first chapter will be done! And then it's on to chapter two, which I literally have one editing note for. So I'm very slowly chipping away at this chapter. Maybe if I think small steps instead of big picture, this will actually get done sometime soon.

In other news, as long as I post something next Monday, my 400th blog post can be next Wednesday, which also happens to be my 5th blogiversary. Sounds awesome, right?? Except I have no idea what to do for it. Something bigger than a regular blog post, ideally, but not nearly as huge as say, a blogfest. I don't know. Suggestions are welcome...or I could totally just phone it in...

09 May 2016

A to Z Reflections 2016

Now that the A to Z Challenge is finally sadly over, it's time to reflect!

Pheeeeeew. Ok. This year was a rough one. I'd like to get through the reflections without getting ridiculously negative. I kind of felt like I was pulling teeth from everyone, including myself, through the whole thing. And I think all of the problems started before the Challenge even began.

I chose my theme, The Revision Project, because at the time I was really excited about revising my novel. I thought that by focusing 26 posts on different topics that all focused on revision, it would help me figure some things out, maybe get some good feedback and new ideas from other people. Well, it didn't exactly turn out as I had hoped, on any of those fronts (for the most part).

Here's where I went horribly wrong. I never fully figured out what the hell I was doing with my posts. I wanted to focus on my book, but the problem is that it's not published and no one has read it yet. So while the topics would all be inspired by it, I still wanted to make the posts more universal so that people could relate. But that made things more muddled. Was I asking for advice or was I offering my own writing tips? Or was I just rambling? For most posts, it ended up being a mixture of the three.

I made it even worse, though, with what I'll call the "bookends" of my posts, both of which left me disappointed. At the end of all the posts, I added on one or two questions to hopefully get people talking in the comments. I think that part worked too well. If I had made these posts completely about offering writing tips, this would have been more successful. People responded with their own ideas and experiences related to the topic, which was great. But on those posts where I was really searching for feedback on my own work, those questions seem to lead people away. It was hard to get actual feedback, and on this point, I think my whole theme was flawed. How can you get real feedback on something that is completely out of context? Which just leads me back to the fact that I never really figured out what I wanted from these posts.

The other bookend turned out to be mostly useless. I started each post with a quote from my novel that related to the topic. I did this because I wanted to include something fun in each post, and I knew that finding pictures would be next to impossible. But the quotes turned out to be pretty much pointless. I don't know if this was because they were out of context (again!), or if people just skipped over them to get to the actual post. The only post where the quote really got a response was for "Opening Scene," probably because I pointed out that the quote was my new first line. So I'm thinking unless I made reference to the quotes, they were most likely skipped over.

I guess the most disappointing thing is that my theme actually had the opposite effect of what I wanted. I got zero revising done during the month of April. I didn't really figure anything out, either, that I didn't already know. There were a couple of comments that got me thinking here and there (I think most of them were from the same person! No I won't tell you who *laughs evilly*), but mostly it was just a lot of rehashing ideas I'd already thought of and not even trying to do any actual revising.

But anyway, I've rambled enough! I wish I had chosen a different theme, but none of my other ideas were developed enough, so I would have been struggling for topics. I'm hoping for next year to come up with a more fun theme, and to do so waaaaaaaaaaaay in advance this time. I still have that guilty pleasures idea (but I still don't think I have 26, so maybe I'll combine it with something like obsessions? I don't know...). Or maybe just songs from Broadway musicals. Something fun. We'll see. I'd like to not think about it for a couple of months...

06 May 2016

Chrys Fey's SEISMIC CRIMES (+ a Giveaway!)

Today I have a special guest on the blog, author Chrys Fey! She's here to interview a character from her newest release, SEISMIC CRIMES. Check it out and be sure to enter the giveaway! Take it away, Chrys! 
Interview with a Detective

Today I am taking a cruise around Orlando, Florida with Detective Thorn. He’s showing me the city and answering a few of my questions.

1. What was your reaction when you found out there was a drug ring among criminals and police officers?

*hands tighten around steering wheel* Shock. I couldn’t believe there were cops out there who would stoop to such levels for money. How could they sacrifice their shield like that and be so greedy? Especially to kill other cops.

2. I don’t know, but I think you were getting somewhere: Greed. You were brought in on Ryan Goldwyn’s murder case to help track down David Buckland, the last suspect on the loose. How did you plan to find him?

By tailing the dealers he had been spotted with at one point or another. If we were still out there, it wouldn’t be long before he went to one of them. And he did.

3. While looking for Buck, you meet Donovan, Ryan’s brother, and Beth. What was it like to work with them?

Donovan wasn’t exactly a picnic to work with, understandably so, but he was smart and that I can respect. Beth was brilliant. She was our secret weapon.

4. As I understand it, you like to flirt with Beth. Why is that?

Why should I? She’s beautiful and fun.

Chrys: She’s in a relationship with Donovan.

Thorn: *grins* Pissing Donovan off is a bonus.

Chrys: Do you have a girlfriend?

Thorn: Not yet. *winks*

5. You arrived at San Francisco right after the quake. What was it like?

Utter chaos. First responders were rushing to the scenes of emergencies. There were so many people needing help that the call system went down for hours. I went straight to the San Francisco PD to do my part. I was there when I found out about what happened to Beth and Donovan.

Chrys: They were fortunate that you came.

Thorn: *snickers* I came to yell at them for being so reckless, but that recklessness paid off for us all.

Title: Seismic Crimes
Author: Chrys Fey
Series: Disaster Crimes Series (Book Two)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: Digital and Print
Page Count: 282




An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?


Amazon CA / NOOK / KOBO 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

04 May 2016

So Many Insecurities

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I have so many insecurities I don't know where to begin! But that's what happens most months, actually. So I thought I would break it down.

Blog Insecurities 

I don't want to talk too much about the A to Z Challenge here because I'm saving that for my reflections post. I will say that this year's was kind of disappointing for me, and that's mostly my own fault. But right now I'm just glad it's over, and I hope to come up with a more fun topic next year so I can enjoy it more. I'm also insecure about writing new posts. This week has been easy, since Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were at least somewhat figured out way beforehand. And next Monday I'll post my A to Z reflections. After that? I have no idea. I'm also very close to both my 400th post AND my 5th blogiversary. I could probably make them happen on the same day, actually. I have no idea what I would want to do, though (and no, not a Muse Party).

Writing Insecurities 

I've gotten zero done on the revision front lately, which is kind of disappointing since I seemed to be on the right track for a while. I still haven't finished the first chapter revision. I know things will get so much easier once I finish it. The next few chapters don't need much work at all. And then besides a few major edits, I can probably fly through to the last third. When I get to the last third, however, I'll be completely lost again. It just seems so overwhelming that I don't even want to work on it. But at the same time, all I can do is think about it.

Life Insecurities 

Did I mention I have a wedding date? NBD, right? September 12 in Las Vegas. We've already got our hotel suite, flights, and the chapel booked. I'm looking at wedding dresses for the first time in a couple weeks and I'm petrified. I'm bringing my fiance because otherwise I will be a nervous wreck, plus I'm not superstitious at all. I am so not the type of person who likes to be the center of attention. I must be the most anti-bride of all the anti-brides who ever lived. So far we've got six people going and that's already too many in my opinion. I just want to hide.

I'm also trying to lose weight. I started Weight Watchers again and it's going pretty well. I've already lost ten pounds (although I think I cheated because I was definitely bloated for my first weigh in...the ladies know what I'm talking about). I want to exercise more but a few weeks ago I pulled a muscle and could barely walk. Work was excruciating at times and today is actually my first day without taking any Advil at all. I think the fact that we have the crappiest mattress ever did not help the healing process, but luckily we're getting a new one this weekend! I just hope it doesn't cost too much because I'm still super broke from that whole not having a job thing. Glad that's over! And do you know how much money it costs to eat healthy? So many fruits and veggies...goodbye paycheck...

Ok, I'm done. I think. What is everyone else insecure about?

02 May 2016

Jordan Takes Over: Blame Game

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

Can you believe it's been two months since I've written a post? Are you devastated?? Ok, ok, I know it probably doesn't feel that way since Sarah spent the whole month of April talking about how obsessed with me she is, or something like that. I don't know, I didn't actually read them. AND I'd like to know whose idea was it to have Adam write my March post. Mine, you say? Because I was sleeping?? I want proof. Recordings, documents, things with signatures! I don’t give up things that are mine that easily. And I certainly don’t share. 

So anyway, when you can't write, you tend to make a lot of excuses. No time, too tired, no inspiration, blah blah blah. About that last one, though. If you can't write because you don't feel inspired, who do you usually blame? Yourself? Yeah, right. You blame your muse. And let me tell you, we're sick and tired of your crap. 

Ok, so I'm actually not the most cooperative of muses. I mean, we've been working on this thing forever. Like, I was 15 when we started. Now I'm hearing that Sarah and Adam are teaming up to write some short story for my 21st birthday (and they think I don't know about it!). But that's not until December (plenty of time to figure out what you're getting me). 

Wait, I'm getting off topic. Where was I? Oh right, being cooperative. You see, I didn't exactly sign up for this muse gig. It just kinda happened. It just means I had a good story to tell, not that I was some great resource for inspiration. I mean, do I really have to be around every single day until we get this done? Because I definitely haven't been. Oops. 

I'm not exactly a big picture kind of guy. I don't think too far into the future. I'm more about living in the moment. I guess writing a novel is really a big picture kind of thing. Sure, you take it one word, one scene, one chapter at a time. But you can't exactly get the thing done without at least imagining the whole thing. So I'd have to say I'm not exactly the best person to help with writing a novel. 

But it's not entirely my fault, either! If I actually get on board with providing the inspiration and she doesn't even use it, well, what should I do? Just keep giving and giving and still nothing happens? Yeah, right. Trust me, I don't stick with anything if it isn't worth it for me. So why do I stick around at all? What, do you think I could get someone else to write my story? I do not even want to go there. 

So we're not exactly perfect for each other. Or maybe we are. Still figuring that one out. 


30 April 2016

Zipper (and Other Words I Hate)

**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

I barely got a chance to even look before he pulled my zipper down and slipped his hand over my boxers. 

Yeah, there was no quote in UL that uses the word "zipper" that wasn't naughty. Sorry not sorry. Actually, I'm lying. There's totally a sentence in the first chapter that mentions backpack zippers. But where's the fun in that?? 

So I actually hate the word zipper. But it's one of those weird words that you can't really find a way of replacing or editing out. So I started thinking about what other words I hate that I still have to use from time to time. So I made a list!

WARNING: Most of my least favorite words are related to sexytimes in some way.

Ok, it's not so much the word that I hate. It's that it's just a necessary part of any below the waist sexy scenes. Pants can't come off without zippers going down. I know you can skip some things, but that always seems to be an action that needs to be on the page or people are going to wonder how the heck those pants came off. Magic? Scissors? And the pants aren't always 100% off, either, but Jordan's always wearing skinny jeans, no one's getting in there without a zipper being undone.

I hate this word probably more than any other word and I don't even know why! It's just a weird word! It's a weird thing! Especially on dudes! But I mean, it's there. Sometimes a tongue has to be touching it...

This is one of those words that just sounds so textbook in a sentence. Like, what is this, high school health class? What's the alternative--hard on? Because that sounds SO romantic! NOT.

The F Word
No, not the obvious one. That's in there 183 times. The mean terrible one. I've tried to use it somewhat ironically but it always stands out like a sore thumb. I think it may be better off not in there at all. (Except maybe the quote featured in my V post. But that whole paragraph is heavy on the sarcasm so I think it works).

Ok, I don't actually hate the word love. But it's kinda hard to come up with words that you dislike and still have to use (because if you dislike a word, you typically just don't use it!). But for this particular novel, I made it a point not to use this word. At all. Ok, once. That's why I'm hoping it will stand out in that particular sentence, because it kind of shows how one character is entirely aware of how another character feels for him (but has not revealed this to the reader). But I have made sure that I don't use it in any other sentence in the book, even something so simple as, "I love pizza!"

I wanted this list to be longer, but like I said, coming up with words that I hate and still have to use is hard. Plus they're all probably related to sex somehow. Well, that is it for this year's A to Z Challenge! I hope you all enjoyed my ramblings this month.

What words do you hate? Are you going to take a nice long nap now that the Challenge is over??

29 April 2016

Yummy Stuff

**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

I stuck the fork right into the squishy, yellow center, picking up a big chunk and sliding it onto my tongue. It was sweet and tangy, the flavors erupting in my mouth. I snatched up the entire dish and brought it back to the couch and ate and ate and ate until my fork scraped up all the crust from the bottom. I just couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t even want to. 

One of my favorite things to write are food descriptions. This won't always be necessary in every story, but in UL, food plays a huge role, so it definitely pops up now and then. Writing about food can be fun--what it looks like, smells like, tastes like. It's a great chance to really dive into a description and cover all of the senses. 

But why food? Well, that will depend on the story. For mine, food represents not only an actual hunger, but also a more symbolic one, as well as an awakening of sexuality. With pie and cupcakes. Yeah, it may seem weird, but I think it works. It's one of the more fun parts of writing my novel. 

So where do I sneak in food descriptions? Well, most of them are at the beginning. If you read this post, you may remember that when Tom first meets Jordan, he brings him a pie (it's a math joke!). Chapter One ends with Jordan eating that entire pie in one sitting. His hunger is something that cannot be contained, but also exposes a vulnerability that he isn't quite ready to admit, either. 

I will fully admit that it gets bizarre at points, and I absolutely love it. One of my favorite scenes involves eating lemon bars while Jordan, is, well, by himself...doing something else at the same time (wink wink). It's so weird and yet it works. Every time I include a lengthy food description, what I'm hoping for is to actually show some other aspect other than just the fact that my characters are eating. There are other emotions and desires going on at the same time as a literal hunger for food. 

Why would you want to include food? If not for a symbolic reason, maybe just to show character traits. Maybe one of your characters likes to cook. Having them cook for another character could be a good way to show certain aspects of their relationship as well. Or maybe you just want to make your readers hungry...

Do you include food descriptions in your stories? Do you think you could eat a whole pie in one sitting??

28 April 2016

Exceeding Expectations

**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

But clearly it was supposed to happen, since the universe so conveniently placed the answer right in the palm of my hand. I mean, I’m used to getting my way, but this was more than that. This was a sign.

I'm not exactly the type of person to believe that things will go my way. I don't honestly believe that I'll finish this book in the near future and get it published and then all my dreams will come true. But that doesn't mean I don't dream, either. I guess the weirdest part about that is that sometimes I actually worry that these dreams will come true. What if it's just too much for me to handle? What if I just want to run and hide instead? 

I won't deny the fact that I dream big. I mean, I lead a very rich fantasy life. And it's this weird mixture of thinking/hoping that all of these things will come true while also being incredibly rational thinking that they couldn't possibly happen. Like, I'm delusional, but I'm also very much aware of how delusional I am. Sometimes I wonder if these thoughts are helping or if they are holding me back. 

It's not just because I worry about reality not living up to my expectations. That's pretty much guaranteed to happen. There's another underlying fear that I don't really like to think about that much. What if these dreams do all come true? Am I really the type of person who can handle it? I'm not exactly one for the spotlight. I mean, I can't even take the pressure of being a bride right now and only six people are coming to my wedding. So why do I think being some famous author is going to work out for me? 

But I also think everything happens for a reason. I've always thought that this story is bigger than me, because it was just so strange that I even came up with it in the first place. I feel like it serves a bigger purpose than just being a story, but I can't know what that is now. 

And then there was the sign, of course. I know I've mentioned it a few times with my weird vagueness, and that's for two reasons. I don't really want to talk about it that much until I actually know whether or not it was a sign. That could take years to figure out. But also I don't want to explain it and have people say, that's not a sign, you're just crazy! I'd like to hold onto that little bit of hope. 

I will tell you that it involved at least four coincidences at once. I knew three of them beforehand, which was pretty much why I was where I was in the first place. Things seemed to line up perfectly and I just had to be there. What I didn't expect was the fourth coincidence, and it kind of slapped me in the face. I've mentioned before that my novel has colors--blue and gray (yes, I know it's weird, but stay with me). I suddenly realized those two colors were right there, front and center. It was kind of nerve-wracking to realize this. What did it mean?

I know the more logical explanation is that it meant nothing and it was just a big coincidence. But it was just so weird that I still think about it from time to time over three years later. Was this the universe's way of telling me things will work out? Or am I just nuts? 

Either way, the thought of success is mildly terrifying. What if I can't handle it? I feel like I'm the kind of person who would rather go hide in a cave than shine in the spotlight. But that doesn't mean I don't want to finish and publish this book. So I guess, like most things, I'll have to take it one step at a time. 

Are you afraid of success? Do you think the universe sends signs?

27 April 2016

Wait, I Take It Back

**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

I felt so stupid and angry. I didn’t want to forgive Brian, not ever, and I wasn’t ready to forgive myself. It just seemed so easy to forgive Tom, because he was so f***ing pathetic, because I didn’t want to start over. 

Stories usually have a lot of twists and turns. Not everything that happens is going to be expected. If you want to keep the reader entertained, including a few surprises could be a good way to go. But how do you get things back on track after you've included a surprise? Does it lead your characters down a completely new road or is it more of a detour? 

What happens after the twist will probably depend on how big it is, or how it relates to the overall story. Is it something life changing or just something that temporarily throws your characters off? How do you recover from a twist (if recovery is even possible)? 

My issue is that I feel like I recover from my twist too quickly. There's something that happens at the end of Chapter 17 that is completely unexpected. I love the twist. LOVE IT. So much so that I'm not going to explain it and spoil it. I love everything about it, how it comes out of left field, my narrator's response to it. It's pretty much perfect (I think...). What I worry about is how fast I smooth things over. In the next chapter, actually. 

Basically one character does something bad to another. It seems like their relationship is over, but then some other unrelated bad things happen and the second character changes his mind. Then the character who did the bad thing explains why he did it and apologizes. And then we're back to normal. 

I just hope that the chain of events leading up to the apology doesn't make it seem so strange. But I also worry that the character's explanation basically takes back the bad thing he did. It's not completely swept under the rug but it's pretty much forgotten within a few chapters. Does this totally ruin the shock of the twist? Or should I find some other way to keep its impact going as the book continues? 

Do you ever "take things back" in a story? How do you deal with a twist?

26 April 2016


**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

Great. Just fabulous. I mean, really. What the hell, why didn’t we just have everyone watch us going at it? It would have been a great show. Watch the f** try to f*** the desperate whore. Who knows what could happen?!

One of the few good things about working on the same novel for over five years is that at this point, I have the voice down. It is done, it's developed, it's perfect in my mind. It certainly may not be everyone's cup of tea ("Who has tea??" Jordan says. "You made tea and didn't make me a cup?!"), but neither is the whole book. For this book, and for this character in particular, the voice works.

Voice is a tricky thing. What you need can depend on a lot of things. Each character should have his/her own distinct voice when they speak, but that doesn't necessarily come up on every page. Your narrator's voice does, though. And if the book is in first person, you're actually writing from a character's point of view. As you read, you're experiencing everything through his eyes and his words. You want it to sound like a real person is telling the story. That's where voice comes in.

Everyone has a certain way of speaking. Your narrator's voice should be distinct from the other characters in the book. We should actually believe that this person would use these words to tell the story. When I first started writing UL, it did not sound like a teenage boy was telling the story. It sounded like a twentysomething girl was, well, because that's who was writing it. Voice doesn't always come to you right away. Sometimes just getting the story down first is more important. But developing a distinct voice for your narrator will not only make the story believable, but hopefully more enjoyable.

Honestly, the first thing I did to develop Jordan's voice was just to throw a lot of swears in. I figured that was a totally plausible thing for a teenager to be doing. I cut the big, lengthy words that he would never use and replaced them with more believable ones (like "bullsh**" for "pretense," that was a good one!). I didn't shy away from fragments. I added little phrases that I probably will need to cut down on in the third draft, like all the "I mean"s and "really"s and "I mean, really"s.

I guess the one thing I worry about is that some people won't like the voice. But I guess those are the same people who wouldn't like the book anyway. But some people are turned off by swears. I almost didn't include the end of the above quote until I realized that was kind of the point. If Jordan wasn't swearing all the time, it would probably seem weird. I know that limits my audience a bit, but I just think it's more believable, and it's something unique to his voice. There are other characters in the book who never swear, but he's definitely not one of them. So why would his narration be any different than his dialogue?

Figuring out the voice can depend on a lot of things. Who your character is, what point in his life he's telling his story from, or just how he speaks in general. It can take a long time to develop, but as long as the narrator has a unique voice, that will make the story come alive even more.

How do you develop a character's voice? Do you mind reading books with swears?

25 April 2016

Unseen Forces

**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

“So when do I get to meet your sister?” I asked when I finally took a second to breathe instead of eat. I said it like this was something completely normal to ask. Really, I just wanted to see how he would react. 
He just glared at me for a second before shaking his head. “You’re hilarious.”

Every story is like a bubble. Everything that happens in the story takes place inside of that bubble. All of the action, dialogue, and moments that the reader actually reads over the course of the book. But that doesn't necessarily mean that these things are all that matter. We can still see through that bubble, where there are all kinds of outside influences.

Unless your story is following a particular character from their birth to their death, then really, we're just looking at a particular moment in his/her life. What is happening in this life snapshot will obviously be the most important part of the story, but that doesn't mean that what has happened before it isn't important. Your characters have already lived some of their lives and that has shaped who they are. Some of that may show up in your story.

Take background information, for example. Stuff like this occasionally needs to come up within a story--things that happened long before the book began but whose influence is heavy on the characters and story. The background story on Jordan's mom plays a big role in UL, for example. It weighs heavily on their relationship and how he lives his life. Without some of that information sneaking in now and then, their relationship within the story may not make sense. What has happened before the story begins will still find ways of influencing the characters from time to time.

Not every single influence is necessarily seen in the story, either. If you think about one character in your story, then think about every person they know and that has influenced them in some way, that would probably be a lot of people to include in one book. I have a few unseen characters who are mentioned here and there throughout the story, Jordan's mom's boss and Tom's sister in particular. These unseen characters influence the lives of the story's actual characters, but there just isn't a spot for these characters to actually show up. You don't want to force these characters into the story if they just don't fit, but if their influence is still there, maybe they need to be mentioned from time to time.

There are things and people outside of your story that will occasionally influence what is happening within it. How much information you share about these things will be entirely up to you.

Do you have unseen forces or characters that influence your stories?