A Spooky Writing Update

I went to that conference I said I was going to go to. And it was super helpful. Um, not in the way that I thought it would be though.

I had a critique workshop. And oh, boy. You know yours isn’t very good when everyone pauses before their critique and goes, “Okay, yeah… … so this one…”

critiqueaww

*Me, listening to their critiques with my hand on my chin.* Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yep. Okay. Perfect! I know exactly how to fix this.

*scoops entire manuscript off the desk and into the wastebasket underneath*

I’m kind of glad. From the beginning, I knew this had some really messy challenges. It was the first novel that I had ever formally finished and even though the premise is cool, it’s extremely difficult to pin down and write… and have it make any sense.

I spent the first day of the conference mourning the unpublishable mess I had scooped together, and then the next day of the conference pushed me in a really good direction. I realized that through all of the obsession over publishing I had completely abandoned my original dream (I couldn’t think of a less dramatic way to say it haha). That dream is to one day in my lifetime, have an entire bookcase full of my own printed-out manuscripts. I’ll always aspire to be traditionally published, but I have too many book ideas to be married to just one.

The fog lifted. The direction became clear. I NEED to start writing my next book IMMEDIATELY. That has been the obvious take away from both the conference… and also from being aggressively haunted…

haunted

Yeah, so, okay. There are muses. And then there is Lennon. I’ve already mentioned how pushy he is as a muse … it’s no joke. I COMPLETELY understand why there are THOUSANDS of books and movies (and Broadway plays even) that are all about him. Because honestly, once he picks you. You’re done. You’re writing something for him right then and there. Maybe that’s even how he continues to influence music. I mean, probably.

musician

I tried to read a book. A manuscript for my critique partner. And this imaginary Lennon-presence-thing would have none of it.

 

LENNON: Reading again, ay?

ME: Go away, John, this has nothing to do with you.

LENNON: Hmm, you’re right you know. How about this ol’ bookie that Cyn wrote about me, then?

ME: No, thanks.

LENNON: Let’s have a look…

ME: I already committed to—

LENNON: LET’S HAVE A LOOK THEN, SHALL WE!

 

So, whatever, I ended up switching mid-way through for one of the books that Cynthia Lennon wrote. (“John”) I read it in like a single day, because of this imaginary shotgun to the head. At the end of the book she mentions that John had once told Julian that if anything were to ever happen to him, he would send a white feather. So that anytime Julian saw a white feather he would know that ‘John was there and watching out for him’. Which I thought was a really nice sentiment.

OKAY UNTIL WHITE FEATHERS STARTED SPONTANEOUSLY POPPING UP ALL AROUND ME EVERY FREAKING DAY.

The first time, it was a cool anomaly. I was walking the boys to my neighbor’s house and there it was. A perfect pure white tail feather. I was ecstatic, because wow, what were the odds of finding a pure white feather the day after finishing that book? I took a picture even.

20190726_114437
awkward phone shadow bro

I began seeing white feathers every single day (still do btw). On the sidewalk, on my car, on the playground, even in the pool.

One time, we took the kids outside to play and I told my husband about how weird it was that I was finding these perfectly white feathers all over. He totally laughed at me. He said, “Okay, just because you have a little crush on John Lennon you think he’s trying to give you a sign or something…” I shrugged. Because, yeah, that was probably right. And I went inside the apartment to get the boys a drink of water…

My husband swears that right after our conversation, as soon as I shut the door behind myself, A WHITE FEATHER DROPPED FROM A BIRD AS IT FLEW OVERHEAD, RIGHT WHERE I HAD BEEN. And he got the heebie jeebies … and now he doesn’t make fun of me for it anymore…

But even after that, I was like, wow. Pretty funny coincidence…

Do I need to mention again how pushy this muse is?

John-being-cheeky-in-the-plane-the-beatles-41011791-497-322

This one day, I’m coming back from lunch with the boys. I get out of my car. Notice the feather. Haha, there’s my feather for the day. Cute. Still happening. I take another step. Another feather. Step. Feather. Step. Feather.

I freaking look up to see -THIS IS NOT A JOKE OR MADE UP STORY OR PRANK PULLED BY MY HUSBAND THIS IS A REAL THING THAT HAPPENED THE OTHER DAY – small white feathers were scattered on both sides of the pavement leading all the way up to my front door.

I slowly walk inside with my children. Turn the deadbolt. And call Ghostbusters.

Anyway, long story short, I started writing a book about John Lennon. So, that’s fun!

 

A Dark and Funny Graphic Novel to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

PlagueC.png

 

Hey! If you haven’t noticed by now, I love to support indie authors. Especially if they have really cool books. And especially ESPECIALLY if those books are spooky and hilarious graphic novels…

I would like to turn your attention to The Plague and Dr. Caim, which is all about a medieval doctor as he attempts to treat people with the bubonic plague.

C. E. Gallas was so kind as to send me a few previews for you to check out. If you are interested in the project, I recommend supporting him in this way: https://unbound.com/books/the-plague-and-doctor-caim/

 

Plague3.png

Plague2

Plague1

 

I feature indie authors often and give shout outs as often as I can. If you have a book you would like featured you can contact me here or follow me on Twitter for other opportunities.

Life Update: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE GOOD:

So last time I gave you a full-ish update, I mentioned that Dan had gotten a part-time job and we were still looking. Yo, Pharmacy is not a joke right now. Anyone thinking about going into it should know that getting a job is REALLY DIFFICULT. And not just for an unfinished resident. I mean, IN GENERAL, it’s incredibly competitive.

But something kind of amazing has been happening to us lately…

The job that Dan landed is a PRN job which if you are not familiar with the medical field it basically means “as needed” or like “a substitute pharmacist pretty much”. He was told that it would probably only be one weekend a month. Like ten hours or something like that. So yeah. It was a PANIC. Ten hours a month ain’t a real job. So we were up to our necks trying to find something else.

BUT THEN. Once Dan got all trained up, he started getting a lot of shifts… and then a second site hired him… and then they started giving him remote shifts. Now all of the sudden he’s working full-time.

I kept watching our Google calendar fill up month by month before finally, I realized… this is the job. Dan loves it. It’s the EXACT company that he wanted to work for. And he gets to spend a TON of time with the family. Like… this is it, dude. Why mess with such a good thing?

There are other little details that need to be ironed out since PRN isn’t a traditional job, but I think we can make it work and I finally feel… settled. I spent the last however many months feeling on edge and overly anxious about “THE JOB” when… it was there all along. He had it within the first six weeks.

THE BAD

I always have to mention the writing so here it is.

I re-read my last “Life Update” from May and it made me freaking whimper. EVERYTHING IS STILL THE EXACT SAME. LIKE NOTHING HAS CHANGED ALL SUMMER. Isn’t that dumb!? I work on stuff every day with like so little to show for it. And I know, emotionally, I’ve had a lot on my plate… like honestly a bowling ball on my paper plate. But still! It really sucks. Because through all the hard days the ambition has not gone away. In fact, I would say that the ambition has only gotten bigger and meaner. Like a fat, feral, untamed ambition eating me from the inside out. And all I do now is sulk around the house complaining that I don’t have ten more novels finished since May.

I just want something to happen. Anything. A big gust of wind in my sails. I need to feel like I’m moving forward.

THE UGLY

It’s been a very difficult time for me personally.

Someone very close to me has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. I don’t want to say who it is, to respect their privacy, but just know that it is a relationship that is absolutely irreplaceable. Every day I have to wake up and imagine what my life would be like without that person. And I don’t know what’s going to happen.

If you are the praying sort… or you vibe with vibes… or you’re a really cynical person but you’re good at sending funny memes… just keep me in mind, I guess.

Other than that kids are doing great! They are so sweet. Getting bigger every day! Life overall has been good… which is weird because it’s been the absolute worst year of my life.

Also in retrospect, I should have started with the worst thing and ended with the best thing. Welp. That’s what I get for trying to do some cutsie title. SORRY. Tune in for, hopefully, some cheerier updates down the road.

Wow. An Apology Plus Book Update

Okay. Dang. Things have been rough.

 

But I am getting back on track now. No more month-long absences. For reals this time.

Remember when I had this clean set schedule at the beginning of the year? Um. Forget about that. Throw that out the window. It’s dead. Unbuckle that dream and step into this dumpy carnival ride of broken hopes

I don’t know where the heck to start anew, so I’m just going to talk about writing first because that’s my baby. . . well, other than my actual literal babies…

So almost every day I get asked if my book is published yet. FOR THE RECORD, I have now created an entire page solely dedicated to my published works. Books that you can buy and read TODAY. But, as far as this one novel. Man. It’s been a hard three years.

headache

 

Um, writing a book is no joke. It’s definitely a long term relationship with your story. The other day, I went back and counted how many actual times I have written this novel and I basically cried into an open carton of ice cream for the next few hours.

 

“Identity Crisis Season One through Six.docx”

“The Other Five Percent First Draft.docx”

“The Other Five Percent Second Draft.docx”

“The Other Five Percent – Third Draft.docx”

“The Other Five Percent Merged Draft.docx”

“Identity Crisis MS Full.docx”

“Identity Crisis New Draft One.docx”

“Identity Crisis Second Draft.docx”

 

Yup. This is the eighth time I’ve re-written this story. The EIGHTH time.

But it’s not just drafts. It’s a lot of other stuff too. My writing folder looks pretty ridiculous.

just ridicky

It’s so much work. And like, do I want to make a whole blog post complaining about it? Not really. But I’m just so anxious to move forward with other ideas. I’ve been working here and there on other books and then coming back, so I have all of these other projects that are just taunting me from the sidelines.

Here. I made a helpful graphic, so you could see how much I actually have done… but not done.

helpful graphic

Also dozens of short stories and poems that haven’t been picked up or developed yet. It’s a lot. A. LOT. So much that I just feel frustrated creatively. But I’m just so freaking tenacious like I NEED to finish this book and have it be a product that I’m okay with. Even if no one sees it and it was all just for me.

Basically, what I’m saying is, at this point unless an industry professional tells me to re-write… this is the last draft. If it doesn’t cultivate any interest this time around, I’m actually fine with that. I have learned so much writing this book, and I feel that I’ve really developed my craft in a way that would have been impossible without it.

I am only a couple of months away from finishing the editing (probably). Then I’ll go back to querying because I solidly promised that I would do that for myself. And yeah, it would be super easy to publish on Amazon or something, but ultimately getting a literary agent is a goal/hope of mine. And I don’t want an agent just for a gatekeeper like I want someone who can help me sort through the sea of ideas I’m drowning in (see above) … (sea above MUAWAHAHBLABLA).

Eh. Anyway. I’ll let you know.

But look. I updated my book’s artwork since apparently, that’s a thing I do now. And re-wrote my ‘blurb’ since this is basically THE EIGHTH COMPLETELY NEW VERSION OF THIS THING.

IDENTITY

What happens when the principal won’t let you quit your school’s honor club? How about teaming up with the school drug dealer to spread the rumor that you’re a hopeless troubled burnout…

Ever since she caught the Student Mentor’s President cheating on her at Homecoming, Elle McKernan is looking for any excuse to get out of her commitments as secretary. When the principal adamantly refuses to let her off the team, she turns to local school psycho Ronnie Gonzales to ruin her reputation and get her kicked off for good! Collaborating with a troublemaker, however, proves to be impossible without making any actual trouble. And to further complicate matters, she finds herself rebounding for Ronnie instead. Will she be able to abandon her mild-mannered ways and step into the new persona she invented? Or will she stay true to herself at the risk of losing the only friend she has left?

Celebrating a Friend’s Book Launch: Cleo Under the Surface

Hey guys! I wanted to draw your attention to a great new YA sci-fi set to release tomorrow. The book is available exclusively on Amazon and if you preorder today, it’s only 99 cents!

CT Barnes is a personal friend of mine, she’s been working hard on this project for a while now, so go on over and show her some support!

 

Cleo: Under the Surface

“Cleopatra Travers can’t remember what happens when she’s sleepwalking. Her parents know. They witnessed something they aren’t telling Cleo-and now whatever she did has carved a canyon of space between her entire family. Cleo’s parents are afraid of her, which makes Cleo terrified and unsure of herself.

Not receiving the love and acceptance she longs for at home, Cleo tries to fill the void at school. Now, as her junior year ends, she is finally becoming popular. But her plans become disrupted by the resurfacing of a forgotten crush and new discoveries about her sleepwalking that risk the exposure of her long-kept secret.”

 

 

If you’re an author and have a book coming out or recently published*, I would love to support you by featuring your work on my blog! Contact me  if you are interested. Obligatory free of course, I’m just trying to connect and support the writer community!

*Erotica would probably not be a good fit for my small audience. Thanks.

OFFICIALLY Finished my Novel

Blech. I don’t even know if I want to write about all this.

So I finished my fourth draft, *cheer* now I’m hunkering down into the query trenches *whimper*.

cringe

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the process of traditional publishing, it goes like this…

A) You write a book (obviously) 

B) You pitch your book to a literary agent (the ‘pitch’ is also referred to as a query letter)

C) If the agent likes your pitch they’ll request to read your book

D) If the agent likes your BOOK they’ll offer you representation (or in other words they’ll take it to publishers)

E) Your agent pitches your book to publishers (also referred to as ‘your book being on submission’)

F) If the PUBLISHERS like your book they will offer you a publishing contract.

That’s how you get traditionally published. Although, even then G) PEOPLE have to like the book and buy it in order for it to be successful. 

Needless to say, this process has been INCREDIBLY intimating. You try to do your research like a good little author but, hey, it turns out that writing an attention-grabbing pitch is incredibly subjective. Who knew. It’s like every bit of information I came across was contradicting to the last. Personalize your query letter. Don’t waste your time personalizing. Start with your hook. Start with your personalization. Put your information at the top of the email. Definitely never put your information anywhere else except under your signature. But the one thing that they all agree on? THERE WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS ONE LETTER YOU ARE WRITING RIGHT NOW.

wtflol

Headache. Honestly. I haven’t even gotten any rejections yet and I feel super discouraged. I procrastinated and groaned and kicked the dust around until finally the other night I FORCED myself to proceed to step B. Yikes. I sent to a pretty small handful of agents just to get my feet wet. We’ll see.

So, now the question on your mind… Will I get to read this book?

Um. I don’t know. I hope so.

It’s a quirky little novel and unfortunately, just as the main character straddles between two versions of herself, the book also straddles between two potential audiences. Would fierce partiers and rockers really want to read about a piddly main character who is Mormon? And would a Mormon parent really buy a book for their kid that has swear words and drug references? I’m just not sure. This could be a marketing problem… (um, probably won’t include that in my query letter)

I could really foresee a kind of Freaks and Geeks cult following of those who would appreciate both sides (as I did growing up). But in a business/commercial sense it is quite risky, so if I can’t get agents and publishers to envision that kind of marketability then…. ???

lucy

So, that is it. My worries and insecurities all over the internet for everyone to see and think about. If you have any encouragement or good vibes please send ’em my way. Meanwhile, I’ll be burying my head into other projects and trying not to think about my inbox too much.

Pitching my Weird Pregnancy Dreams as Book Ideas

np_dream_1

Okay, so I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I dream it’s not about myself… That is to say, that sometimes I dream in a “movie format” with it’s own characters and plot twists and everything. This especially happens when I’m sick. And if I’m sick and pregnant, the story-dreams are even crazier.

So I started writing them down as if I were pitching them to agents as book ideas. Here they are for your enjoyment! (Forgive the conspiracy thrillers. It’s been a rough first trimester.)

 

Retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, but the giant is made out of pulled taffy.

A family of four tries to escape a mall as an active shooter works his way towards them.

A cheerleader is forced to spend time with some of the grossest and geekiest outcasts of the school (stylized as a 1980s John Hughes comedy).

A down-on-his-luck father is hired to work for the United States’ most extensive underground mob.

Four amateur and bumbling criminals decide to rob a bank accidentally at the same time as four violent and capable criminals.

A woman takes down a group of terrorists on a cruise ship by using an animal-shapeshifting superpower.

Queen Elizabeth is let in on a secret plan to assassinate one of her own government officials right before her daughter announces that she’s fallen in love with him.

A group of young boys find themselves trapped in a house with strange and mysterious properties, competing for the only exit.

A lonely high school kid is granted the ability to become invisible for a day. He uses his new skill to learn that his fellow students have their own demons.

A high school girl begins to accurately dream the future the day before her premonitions become true. At first it’s all fun and games, until her dream predicts that she will somehow become hopelessly lost in the dark woods.

“Morty’s Fun House of Outrageous Revoked Licences: The Strangest Reasons People Have Had Their Driver’s Licenses Taken Away” (I flipped through this book in a dream haha)

A doctor is hired by a corrupt pharma company to pretend that he has a specific degenerate disease in order to falsify research.

BONUS: I dreamt that my husband and I were contestants on The Bachelor/Bachelorette but living in the same house. We made a vow to give up our roses for each other

 

Which one would you read as a book or go see as a movie? Do any of you creative people have out of control dreams like this?

Novel Update: Back from the Editor!

So in case I haven’t spammed you well enough and you somehow don’t know… I’ve been working on a YA novel for the past six months. It’s about an LDS girl who tries to fit in with a group of burnouts, and it’s lightly based on some experiences that I had in high school.

The Other Five Percent MM.jpg

Completely finished three drafts (woot!) and hired a freelance editor to take a look at the project. I do plan to try for traditional publishing which would probably require another editor anyway… but my thinking is that it was more of an investment into my skills as a whole. Trying to improve my craft overall.

The timing was impeccable honestly. My morning sickness had me out all of March and my book came back right when I was feeling better. (Um, amazing!) Now I could actually process the daunting six page editor’s letter.

giphy (1)

(ALSO) If you are a writer and are considering hiring an editor. I wholeheartedly recommend doing it. It was expensive (my only Christmas gift). But in my experience, it was worth every penny. She addressed all the concerns that I had for the piece, but could actually tell me what to do about it. It is worth it my friends!

Mostly her recommendations were things to add in, opposed to changing. Which YAY! Because writing more book is WAY more fun than re-structuring everything. She also mentioned that my writing was some of the cleanest that she had come across… which had me like “Wha? Really??” For a first time novel that I wrote in twenty days. Um yeah, that’s a compliment.

giphy-downsized-large

So anyways, didn’t mean to blab on so much about it, but in short – It’s going well. Haha

Now, with the brainstorming help of my editor I am starting draft numero 4. And I am hoping that this is the one I can present to potential gatekeepers and book Gods. So cross your fingers for me! I would love to finish it before I move to AZ, but realistically… who even knows.

Novel Update Also New Blog Schedule

Hey there, hi there, ho there.

So I’ve been writing a book, which you may have already heard about. If you were wondering how that is going… Ummmmmm… THIS GIRL IS ON FI-ARE!!!

Like I’m not even sure what is going on. I wrote the entire first draft in twenty freaking days. And I guess that wasn’t over-achiever enough for me because I revised and rewrote the entire second draft the following month. So that means, that from the 1st of November to the 28th of December, I wrote, redrafted and rewrote a 200 page novel.

While also designing covers. While also being a mom of a toddler. While also holidays and stuff. Whaaaaaat even happened? Like maybe I’m actually a cyborg or something? Because I don’t even know how that could have actually been a thing.

But yeah! That happened. Will that happen again in my life? I doubt it. But right now my little book is pushing right along. Only three people have read it so far, but the numbers are adding up quickly. Right now, I have two critique partners scrutinizing their way through it, as well as an editor lined up. Even though this process is going quick for me (NOT NORMAL) I’m still trying to be thorough and am planning on a few more drafts (Started draft three today WHAT EVEN). Depending on what the editor says I’ll likely be sending it off to agents in the summer. (AAAAAAAAAAAAH!)

So that’s crazy.

 

Also a while back I posted a survey asking what I should do with the blog in 2018. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF YOU requested that I please keep the embarrassing stories segment… which I have tons of material for so that’s not a problem. I was glad to see that the “story time format” was so well loved, because I have soooo many stories outside of the embarrassing realm. Which brings me to this…

I am adding a second monthly story time called “The Craziest Things That Have Ever Happened to Me”

You can expect the first installment of that next Thursday, where I tell you something that happened to me just last week. Very exciting. Subscribe so that you don’t miss a single ridiculous story.

Here’s a visual representation of the 2018 schedule:

Week 1: Mommy Post / Family Things

Week 2: Embarrassing Stories

Week 3: Writing Updates / Samples / Various Essays

Week 4: The Craziest Things That Have Ever Happened

Occasional Week 5: Lazy Recipes