Quick Writing Update

Hey guys. Here’s a stream of consciousness writing update.

It’s really hard to stay motivated sometimes.

In May I took a break from writing for two weeks because we had friends and family in town and now I’m really struggling to jump back into it. My Beatles book has only been querying for a few months but the rejections (although an important part of the process) can be hard hits sometimes.

Not only that but I discovered that Disney Hyperion picked up a series a similar idea as the one that I’m currently working on. I don’t know if that means the market is good for mine, or if I’m SOL. Now, I’m trying to shape this book into something that can stand on it’s own two feet. It’s different enough that I’m confident to finish, but still feeling that pressure knowing I’m going to have competition right out of the gate.

I’ve just been thinking about the back end of publishing too hard and it’s effecting my art. I don’t want to write for a publisher. I want to write for me. But then, can I really feel successful even if nothing happens with my writing? I’d like to think that I would. My bookcase is already filling with manuscripts faster than I thought it would. Soon I’ll have an entire shelf of my own completed work. But still would be nice to share some of these stories with you guys.

My electrician surprised me the other day by asking me all about my writing. When he asked me if I could send him the link to “my shop” I sheepishly gave him the name of the anthology I was published in three years ago. People asking where they can buy my work is happening a lot more often. I’ve always considered at some point self publishing. Even for curiosity sakes.

I told my critique partner that if I were ever to self publish Love Me Do, it would do the absolute best as a radio-play type audiobook. I envision this as being it’s highest and most entertaining form. There’s a lot of music in it; Beatles, 50s, and even new, original songs. I think being able to hear the quips from a Lennon impersonator would be fabulous. I could do the narration and the main character Em. That really wouldn’t intimidate me. But anyway, not to get your hopes up about it, because to be able to bring exactly what I imagine to light would cost a lot in production. I would have to find some bang up impersonators AND an impersonator band. Figure out copyright and legality. All the actors and sound production and music to mix. It would just be a lot. Even though that’s probably the best form this story could take.

I wanted to cheer myself up, so I had a graphic designer help me with a book cover. Not for any other reason than to put the thing on my shelf and feel better about the hard two years that went into it.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’m sure it’s not fun hearing about projects that are not available to read. I’ve had a lot of brainstorming over this blog and well, about you guys! I’ve been playing with some ideas. Ways to bring you into my writing world a lot more! A fun community to build!

So that’s all I want to say I guess, is thank you from my inky writerly heart for supporting me and reading what I have to say and letting me have a voice. I love you guys.

I CAN’T BELIEVE I FINISHED THE BOOK!

My heart is so full right now. I am thrilled beyond belief to announce that I have finished all the edits on my Beatles time travel book! If you’ve been following along at all, then you know I have been pouring my soul into this project, off and on for the past two years. Typing ‘The End’ feels both relieving and a little sad haha (which I did NOT expect to feel that way).

There are just SO many people that I need to thank for the completion of this book:

DAN for enduring the countless hours of my absence

MY KIDS for playing quietly on occasion and allowing Mommy “book time”.

MY MOM for calling me early in the morning just to demand to know what happens in the next chapter. (Making me feel like maybe this book isn’t the worst thing in the world!)

MY CP MERRILL for all the feedback, creative insight, advice and emotional support

LIZETHE and STORMIE for being terrific invested beta readers and encouraging me through the drudgery of editing

TAYLOR for watching my kids a couple of times so I could write

KATE FRIDRICKS for being my Liverpudlian eyes and ears and teaching me all things Scouse.

The wonderful BILL HARRY for being very, very kind and answering the oddest questions, sending his articles my way and sharing his incredibly precious memories of John Lennon.

JOHN, of course, for being such a freaking interesting and dynamic person to write about

And EVERYONE for their support, related memes, interest of any kind, reading this blog post lol

So I’ve already started the query process (aaaaaaaah). I don’t really know what will come of it, but it feels good to have another manuscript completed and on my shelf.

I Wrote a Novel in 30 DAYS

Hey so it just occurred to me that I haven’t even told you about the project I started for NaNoWriMo.

(If you haven’t heard me blabber on about NaNoWriMo yet and you don’t know what it is. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. All of these authors around the world commit to writing 50k words in the month of November. It’s a fun challenge. And I do it every year that I can.)

So let me introduce you to the new book I’ve been working on. Ready?

Drumroll…

Dun Dun dun DUN!

It’s an adult paranormal thriller called, “The Glass Box Town”. (working title but we’ll see). Here’s the cover I made for it once upon a time:

Having just stolen her father’s car, Hallie finds herself lost on a desert road. Then the unthinkable happens, a strange woman from nowhere hurls herself in front of the moving vehicle. When Hallie goes to an eerie small town for help, they accuse her of the woman’s murder and force her to stay. The longer she stays the more the town’s diabolical motives begin to unravel.

If you follow my work, you know I’ve been writing Rom Coms for the past… forever. So switching to this one was definitely intimidating. A bit out of the comfort zone, but in a good way.

I won NaNoWriMo even though I felt like I was losing my mind almost every day. I also made a short video on my NaNo journey if you haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet!

Stay tuned for more updates on this novel. And thanks for checkin’ in!

This is Me.

I’m very nervous about this post…

I don’t know about you, but quarantine became an introspection boot camp for me. For the past year, I have been going through an existential, incredibly spiritual, life changing process. And I guess I want to talk about that… I guess I want to talk about me. The real actual me.

Because what I’ve discovered during my introspection boot camp is that I hold back the real me a lot. I mean, it’s a human desire to please others and be likeable, but… I do that to SUCH an extent that… I think many people don’t know me very well. Even people who are very close to me.

So this is a very vulnerable post for me… because it’s real and raw… and it’s me.

Hello, I’m Val.

I’ve always loved being called “Val”. I feel endeared to anyone who shortens my name to “Val”, I’m not sure why. I think it’s because it feels warm and close. Like the person using the nickname wants to be my good friend. The name “Valerie” is always something that I’ve exceptionally liked about myself.

I’m an outgoing person who suffers from an overwhelming social anxiety.

I think this confuses a lot of people and makes me come off as a brat and a flake. (Or maybe that’s the social anxiety telling me how I come off). I don’t know if I’m actually an extrovert or an introvert. I get energy from being around others and desire to be around others. But I also hate leaving my house and often want to be alone. It’s strange. I will go minutes from performing on stage in front of hundreds of people to not being able to go to a cast party of a handful of people. Oh, parties… I’ve been called ‘The Life of the Party’ before… wut?… I am TERRIFIED of parties! Really, really terrified of big groups. I’ll be at a party and have to leave to the bathroom or to my car to cry… spend a few minutes in literal tears… fix my eye-makeup and return to the party. I’ve done this many, many, many times in my life. I don’t want to be an anti-social person, but I get easily overwhelmed and anxious. Really the only way I cope at a big party is if I tuck myself into a corner somewhere with one other person. One-on-one time and quality time are everything to me. And that’s when I really light up.

I am a Mormon.

Yeah, I’m pretty Mormon. Once I got lost in a Walmart and ended up in the alcohol aisle and I actually said out loud, “Where am I?”. HAHAHA!

I don’t post about my religion often, but it is truly me. And I truly am a believer of Christ.

Spirituality is more important to me than my religion.

I have found a personal spirituality and it is the foundation and forefront of my religious beliefs. I really have developed a strong love for exploring my spirituality. Meditation and introspection. I don’t know why I shy away from talking about it so much. I think I’m nervous that people will think I’m “kooky”. But so what? I totally am! That’s who I am! Hahaha!

I just really love communicating with The Divine. With The Spirit. With myself and the energies around me. I have a strong belief in communication. In intuition. It guides me in my daily life and choices. I don’t have to shy away from this part of myself. It’s A HUGE PART of myself. I love my church but my personal spirituality and relationship with God has become the priority for me. I can ask Him anything and receive wisdom and knowledge. It’s a constant battle to put aside my pride and be open-minded to this communication. Open-minded to the fact that I know so little. To the fact that others on Earth and their diversity have so much to teach me as well.

I’m artsy fartsy

Same with spirituality… I don’t know why I hold back this part of me so much, because it’s actually a big part of me! … I find meaning in everything. And everything is lovely and purposeful to me. The shape of the trees and the size of the moon. All these metaphors and lessons all around us. Art is everything. Art is civilization. The hippie culture resonates with me. I enjoy symbolic performance art unironically. (There, I finally said it!) All I want to do is create. If I’m not creating everything feels heavy and sad. I live to create and enjoy creation.

I have weird taste in movies…

Open apology but if you’ve ever asked me if I’ve liked a movie and all I said was yes… I probably lied. I never NOT have a really strong opinion about a movie! I think I lie because I would never want to rain on someone who has connected with a piece of art. I’m not trying to be pretentious or a critic… because the stuff that I actually DO like is weird as hell! I never noticed until Dan pointed this out but I “only watch old movies”. But he’s right! I really do prefer old movies to anything else. Just the same as music.

So I don’t know. It’s not anything shocking or unique. But it’s me. And I realized that I don’t have the easiest time sharing myself. I’ve been spending too much of my life trying to mold myself into whatever will make the other person the most comfortable… but why do that? Why can’t I be my artsy, new-age Mormon bundle of anxieties? There’s nothing wrong with who I am. Even these little things. And if it takes a year of pandemic isolation for me to love who I really am, then that’s okay. And I’m here. Writing these miniscule things about myself but feeling free to do it.

Love is accepting another person for who they are, especially the things that make them different. So this is how I love myself, by accepting these “weird” things about me.

Our New House!

Hi, wow. It’s April now. What a month last month amiright?? But hey! At least one cool thing happened! Here is the video of us moving into our new home. Thank you SO much to everyone who made this possible. So glad we were able to get you in and out safely before this madness happened!

 

Super Quick Life Update: WE ARE BUYING A HOUSE!!!

NEW HOUSE:

Sorry, I’ve been MIA this month. Things have been super crazy since we’re BUYING OUR FIRST HOME!!

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I seriously am in love so hard. Sometimes when I think about it, I feel all blubbery and teary-eyed haha. It’s everything I wanted and then some! We are signing all the closing paperwork TODAY and I honestly couldn’t be more STUNNED/ECSTATIC.

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THE KIDS:

Has everyone else been like non-stop sick? Because holy moly. This month has been the WORST. We’re just barely getting over the flu and thanks, it only took us A COUPLE OF WEEKS.

 

THE WRITING:

Things have been slow as hell. This is the slowest I’ve written in years. I remember when I proudly wrote a breezy 2k a day. Now when I write two sentences, I have to stop to wipe my brow and binge watch a horrible reality show because my fingers are so tired. It’s been some rough stuff man. In November alone, I wrote 50k words. Then it took December, January, February to wheeze out 20k.

crawling

And it’s not without a reason… House hunting and house buying has become like a full-time job almost. It’s so much work and time! One other hilarious thing that has slowed me down, is I can’t get myself to stop reading my own book. Usually, when I draft I have a strict no-reading-back policy, but with this one, I’ve been pretty naughty. I’ll try to refer back to a scene ‘real quick’ and ‘hey this is kind of funny’. Suddenly 100 pages later, I’ve been sucked in and I just wasted my designated writing time. That’s a good sign though, right? I mean, I don’t know if anyone else will be turning pages, but I LOVE THIS RIDICULOUS BOOK OF MINE. AND GOSH DARNIT I AM DETERMINED TO FINISH THIS FREAKING DRAFT BEFORE I MOVE! AND I WILL! JUST YOU WAIT NAYSAYER!

(I can’t tell you too much about the book yet, but what I can tell you is that it’s a dark-comedy time-travel story about The Beatles.)

Stay tuned for more updates, book announcements, videos of the new house, so on and so forth.

A Decade at a Glance

2010

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Where I was living: Cedar City, Utah. Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Actress. Theater Tech. House Manager. Stage Manager. Assistant Director.
The career I wanted: Children’s Theater Instructor. Health Education Teacher.

A typical Friday night: Lounging in the jenkiest, ghetto cinderblock dorm. Hanging out with my boyfriend and watching a pretentious movie. Walking across the street to the cafeteria where we hope that the Football team hasn’t eaten every single chicken tender *again*.

2011

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah. Provo, Utah. Lima, Peru. Trujillo, Peru.
The job I had: Actress. Student. Theater Tech. House Manager. Stage Manager. Assistant Director. Theatre Teacher… so on and so forth… Full-Time LDS Missionary (volunteer service).
The career I wanted: Children’s Theater Instructor. English Teacher.

A typical Friday night: Before the mission, I can guarantee you I would have been with my best friend Landon. In 2011 we were basically conjoined and a typical Friday night would be us doing something stupid like breaking into an abandoned building or irritating full-crowds by just being a hundred decimals TOO MUCH.

2012

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Where I was living: Trujillo, Peru. Salavery Port, Peru. Neuvo Chimbote, Peru.
The job I had: Fulltime LDS Missionary
The career I wanted: Probably a teacher but ???

A typical Friday night: A typical Friday night as a missionary in Peru is a lot of walking. Chicken and rice for dinner and then back to back appointments until you collapse on your bed in your small one-room apartment (quarto). Stopping random people in the street to talk about really serious existential questions. Butchering through my Spanish and trying to make it up by being as animated as friggin’ possible. Meeting really great people and talking and thinking about Jesus Christ.

2013

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Where I was living: Neuvo Chimbote, Peru. Centerville, Utah.
The job I had: Fulltime LDS Missionary. Student. Box Office Manager. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist.
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary

A typical Friday night: 2013 was a weird year for me romantically. A typical Friday night I would have been on a date. (Sometimes even two dates on the same night. YIKES.) I also spent the majority of my time at the University of Utah Insitute of Religion where I met some lifelong friends, did a lot of service and too many stupid pranks.

2014

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Box Office Manager. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist. Receptionist / AR Clerk
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary

A typical Friday Night: I met Dan early 2014. When we were dating we would stay up ’til three, four in the morning just talking and joking around. Any Friday night we would be watching a bad movie (on purpose) or confusing our friends with our elaborate inside jokes. SHMOOPIE.

2015

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Receptionist / AR Clerk
The career I wanted: Stay at Home Mom, Theatre Instructor, Writer

A typical Friday night: I would come home tired and cranky from work around six or so. Dan and I would almost certainly be having Beef Stroganoff for dinner. Binging Breaking Bad on the pull out sofa bed in our front room.

2016

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist. Stay at Home Mom. Fulltime writer.
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary, Stay at Home Mom, Writer

A typical Friday night: When Jack was born, I started writing all day every day. He never wanted to be set on the floor (he’s still the same). I would lay him on my legs and taught myself to type one-handed!

2017

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Stay at home Mom. Fulltime Writer.
The career I wanted: An author / Stay at Home Mom

A typical Friday night: I remember Pharmacy School feeling like a backpack full of iron bars as we crawled toward the finish line. A typical Friday night would be, Dan in his office studying/crying. The baby mesmerized by music videos (he’s still the same). Vigourously researching story structure, plotting, and publishing.

2018

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah. Mesa, AZ
The job I had: Stay at Home Mom. Fulltime writer.
The career I wanted: An author / Stay at Home Mom

A typical Friday night: It’s hard to even remember since it was so hectic. We spent a lot of time inside. A single mom. Dan miserable at work and Jack adjusting well to Arizona. Casey was an easy baby and spent most of his Friday’s asleep.

2019

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Where I was living: Mesa, AZ
The job I had: Stay at home Mom. Fulltime writer
The career I wanted: An author / Stay At Home Mom

A typical Friday night: As I write this post… it is a Friday night. Dan spent a long day at work (*the much better job that he loves so much). He fell asleep next to me, an interstellar space travel documentary is playing. Rain patters on the window. The boys are asleep, although, I am confident Jack will be up more than a few times tonight. And I am still writing.

And reminiscing.

 

 

Another Short Story Finds a Home

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Hey. I haven’t had a chance to share this because I’ve been so busy with NaNo but I had another short story published. Which you can read for free online in the Salt Lily Magazine…

*PG13 warning* This story is a direct modern translation of a scene from Taming of the Shrew. Some of Shakespeare’s inappropriate jokes survived the translation. Plus some swears here and there.

Even if you don’t read the story, you still should check out Salt Lily Magazine. They often feature artists and musicians and just have really great content.

 

READ HERE: