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!

New Year’s Resolutions

I have this friend who posts her New Year’s resolutions on her blog and then UPDATES HER PROGRESS THROUGHOUT the year. Like, who is actually responsible and accountable like that? (And if that friend is reading this, you know who you are, you goal goddess).

So FINE. I guess I’ll JUST HAVE TO DO THE SAME. Maybe I’ll actually have some follow through motivation here.

I have a lot of ambitious ideas… And usually what happens when I have a lot of ambitious resolutions is that they don’t get resolutioned… SO, what I decided to do is to take all these dreams I have for 2021 and break them into a much smaller, more reasonable goal. Something so simple it just HAS to done. For me, this is a better recipe for success, especially considering how emotionally draining 2020 was.

Here are my 2021 ambitious dreams vs. the realistic goal:

THE DREAM: Spend the year putting my entire house together

Okay. I have lived in my new house for more than 10 months now… and yet it looks like I’ve lived here for ten days. There’s no artwork or decorations. We patched all the nail holes in the house… and then didn’t touch up the paint, so there’s literal white splotches all over my house. Random doodads have broken off the walls. Furniture still in its box that I haven’t assembled haha. Not to mention the big projects that Dan and I keep talking about. I don’t know why I just gave up putting my house together, I think maybe because of the pandemic?? And hardly anyone was visiting anymore? I don’t know!

THE GOAL: Make a list, do some of the things.

I’m going to walk around and make a COMPREHENSIVE INVENTORY on everything that needs to be done around the house, and then I’ll do one room at a time and pick the top two or three things to do in that room. And I’ll probably be doing that for the next few years or maybe as long as I’m living there. Going room to room and improving as best I can. That’s the only way I can keep my motivation, my sanity and my budget on track.

THE DREAM: find a sexy cardio exercise routine and get into shape

Classic New Years amiright?

THE GOAL: Make a habit of stretching every day, slowly build up a yoga routine

Okay… I really need to be honest with myself here. I want to be in shape, I want to take care of my body, but I know me. And I know that if I don’t start THIS slow, it’s not going to stick. I’ve tried to start an exercise routine many, many times. And I know yoga or tai chi is something that I would have the most interest in. It’s something I can do at home with the kids (even though at that point it will essentially be goat yoga). It just fits me the best. If I tell myself hey get up at five AM and run in the hundred-degree Arizona heat, it’s not going to happen. But if I tell myself, okay five minutes of stretching, I have a much better shot at establishing a habit, which is mostly what I need right now.

THE DREAM: find a cleaning routine and keep my house sparkling

Ahahahaha

THE GOAL: Clean for the 20 minutes the boys are in the bath

Last night, Dan bathed the kids and I ran downstairs and sped-cleaned the playroom. I was SHOCKED at how much I was able to get done while the boys were distracted! I told Daniel we ought to start doing this regularly and he said he would rather be the one cleaning HAHAHAHA Hey man! Either way! We could even switch off! We already routinely wash the boys… so if we made it a routine to speed-clean at the same time, I think we’d be surprised at how impactful those 20 minutes would become! Really!

THE DREAM: Query my Beatles Book in the spring. Have the first draft of my Paranormal Thriller finished by fall. Blog once a week. Publish a short story.

THE GOAL: … I just think I can do it…

I know I get a little carried away with writing … but I seriously think this is doable for me. I only have eight more chapters to clean on Love Me Do. It’s been through three or four beta readers and done well. (It’s always a SUPER GOOD sign when your betas pester YOU for more chapters vs. the other way around!) My NaNo project already has 50,000 words done, so I would say… maybe… 30-40k more? Maybe even for Camp NaNoWriMo in April?? I have a couple of short stories that I’m sitting on and working up the nerve to submit… I usually spend a week or two and knock out all my blog posts for the next few months (if you were wondering how I do it so “regularly”).

… I really think I can do it…

I’ll keep you updated. Every quarter, I’ll use the blog to check in with these goals (April, July, October…)

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.

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:

NaNoWriMo 2019!

So I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Woot woot!!!! So excited for it too. I didn’t participate last year because ya know… newborns will do that to you. But back at it again with the lofty writing goals.

  • REAL QUICK If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is… It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Authors from all over the globe attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I’ve already been working on it for several days now.

Last time I did it I FREAKING CRUSHED IT. Finished my whole novel in THREE WEEKS. But I’m kind of a freak when it comes to writing soooo… Do I anticipate to do that again? Abso-freaking-lutely NOT. haha. For some reason (a reasonable reason) adding the second kid really slowed me down when it comes to drafting.

But I DID do 10k in a single day with both kids so… I could just do five of those and then… ugh. That makes me feel so tired I can’t even finish that sentence.

I’m doing a couple of things differently this year and I’m *intrigued* to see how they go.

One of the biggest differences is that I’m not going in sequential order. This is the 4th novel I’ve started and I’ve always strictly gone in order. Chapter One, Two, Three… But yeah, I’ve decided I’m not doing that this year. This time if there is a scene I’m really excited “to get to”, I’m just going to straight-up write it!

I’m also going to dabble in dictation. I’ve used it a little with outlining and blogging but never drafting. I think it would help with speed or situations where I can’t sit down and write, but I dunnnnoooo… my speech to text on both my phone and laptop are hilariously inaccurate. So if I do too much of it, I’m going to be rewriting my whole book in the editing room.

I also am going to vlog a little each day. *Try to* that is, so don’t hold me to it.

If the NaNo site fixed their links, you can see how I’m doing here:

https://nanowrimo.org/participants/val-manwill

 

Trying to Remember: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

This is a series where I try to write the synopsis of a movie BASED SOLELY on my ratty childhood memories of it.

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SCOOBY-DOO ON ZOMBIE ISLAND

Um, okay. Spoiler Alerts. Maybe. Hahaha

So Scooby-Doo and the gang have split up and gone their separate ways… wait… isn’t this the plot of the live-action movie? Hmm not off to a good start… Okay, so Daphne and Fred are like in a random marketplace or something and this girl naaaamed… Leyla?… tells them that she lives on an island in the Louisiana bayou and that the island is TRULY HAUNTED. Daphne who is… like an investigative news reporter now, for some reason, is like YO! LET’S GO! And they have to gather the gang back up, which apparently isn’t hard once they tell Scooby and Shaggy about all the Gumbo that they will eat there.

So this gruff riverboat guy takes them to the island where Scooby gets into a fight with a catfish for some reason. And then they meet Leyla and her sister… um… blonde Leyla. Blonde Leyla is pretty hospitable, except that she doesn’t like Scooby because he’s an icky dog.

Daphne immediately goes into the kitchen to film some like reporter thing. And while she’s filming, a civil war ghost appears and carves “GET OUT” on the wall with his sword. So Daphne takes a spoon and starts scraping the wallpaper off (Lol is this memory even real?). Leyla is like WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU WHY ARE YOU DESTROYING MY KITCHEN?! And that’s when Daphne is like Hey this wall has been made from an old pilgrim ship… or something like that.

shiplap joke

omgshiplap
OMG SHIPLAP!!

 

So anyways, one night, zombies start chasing them. And there is a SUPER COOL THEME SONG THAT PLAYS. And then I think maybe Shaggy falls into a pit or something? Iono. But the sun comes up and the zombies, like, slink back into the mud and disappear.

So probably some other stuff happens and mystery-solving that I don’t remember. But then they discover that Leyla and Blonde Leyla are actually… evil cat people (???). And gruff riverboat guy is actually an evil cat person too! So they’re stuck on the island. And all the cat monsters have been trapping people and sucking out their souls and turning them into zombies… I think to be able to live forever or something? And also I feel like there’s some big monologue about how their feelings were hurt by pilgrims or whatever.

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Anyway, Scooby saves them somehow, but I don’t remember. I think he breaks their little green scepter thing that sucks out their souls… No, wait… that’s the live-action version again…

Um. Scooby saves the day and gets a Scooby Snack. THE END!

 

GOES AND READS THE ACTUAL SYNOPSIS

Wow. Pretty bang on.

 

 

 

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

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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/

 

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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.