Leaving 2016.  DON’T look back! 

This year has been pretty incredible. Good and bad. From all the famous deaths to my difficult personal journey this year, I’m looking forward to starting a fresh, new year. I suspect there’s a few people out there that can empathize. 

I believe happiness is your responsibility. I don’t believe in blaming others for what you’ve chosen to do or how you live. That being said, I’ve come to realize that if I want to finish my novel, raise my twins well and excel at my job…it’s all up to me. 

I have the same quantity of time each day as everyone else. Much as I want to say I need more time, time management is the true answer. 

Unfortunately, being diagnosed with bi-polar and panic attacks years ago, hasn’t helped. I’m not on medication or seeing a therapist. Honestly, I think I’ve done a fairly good job managing my emotions on my own. Until tonight. 

Sometimes I get fired up over something minor, that doesn’t even really affect me and I should let it roll off. But suddenly I over analysis, obsess and end up blowing up. To me, this is unacceptable. 

Going back to my original declaration…this is on me. It’s not my husband, my twins or social media that’s to blame for my frustration. It’s all on me. 

So I’ve decided to consider seeking out a therapist. To make sure I’m “normal” or to hear that indeed I’m a little extreme and need some sort of medication to even me out. It’s a tough decision for various reasons:  money, potential side affects, management of time around the appts…fear.

My number one concern about considering therapy and medication again is what it could do to me creatively. Sure, it may help even out my moods, keep me rolling on the positive side of life and best of all, quiet my mind to help me sleep!  But what if I try a med again, and lose my ability to want to create?

My writing suffered in the past when I was on medication. 

So. Do I try to calm my anxiety and even out my moods?  Or do I do everything I can to manipulate those outrageous thoughts into an amazing manuscript to fulfill my number 1 goal (after having the twins of course 😉 ) of publishing a novel?

Decisions, decisions. 

Adulthood is not easy. But one of my two options above should certainly make it better. 

The question is…which one?

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The End

Thanks to NaNoWriMo and my new “resolution” to get up earlier, I have finished the first draft of my Mythological Romance!  During November, any time after about 4am, if I woke up, I got up.  I pushed myself to go downstairs in the dark and start typing away.  It worked!  Not only did I hit my goal for the month (over 50,000 words), but the habit seems to have stuck!  I’ve done it multiple times now through December and Sunday, I wrote “The End”!

As difficult as writing can be, I realize that it’s the easiest part.  Now I have to start the 2nd draft and edits.  I’m excited and looking forward to making this story the best it can be, but I’m nervous because I get distracted so—-squirrel!

I hope NaNoWriMo was great for everyone that tried it this year!  And even if you didn’t hit 50,000, any added words you got onto paper is more than you had in October!

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Best Author Vlog…IMHO

I stumbled onto a vlog while trying to search out something related to writing to listen to during my work day.  Her name is Jenna Moreci and the link will take you to her YouTube Channel.  She’s absolutely hilarious and I’ve had a blast enjoying her writing tips and her personality.

In fact, I’ve enjoyed her so much, I purchased her book:  Eve, The Awakening.  A genre I’ve never even tried in the past, but she’s such a great speaker…I had to support her!

Here is her novel synopsis, straight from her:

Eve is an outcast. A chimera.

After years of abuse and rejection, Evelyn Kingston is ready for a fresh start in a new city. The esteemed Billington University seems like the perfect place to reinvent herself—to live the life of an ordinary human.

But Billington is harboring a secret of its own. Interlopers have infiltrated the university, and their sinister plans are targeted at chimeras—like Eve.

Instantly, Eve’s new life takes a drastic turn. In a time filled with chaos, is the world focusing on the wrong enemy? And when the situation at Billington shifts from hostile to dangerous, will Eve remain in the shadows, or rise up and fight?

Again, I’m more of a romance lover, but I *had* to buy her book after listening so long to her channel on YouTube.

If you’re not interested in this type of novel, you should still give her Vlog a try.  She’s got some fantastic writing tips, mixed with her own personal brand of humor.  It has inspired me to push through writers block and get back to writing!

Check out her website and the first 3 chapters of Eve, The Awakening!!

 

I want to, but I can’t…

My writing process over the past few years can be best described as an out of control roller coaster.  I can sit for an entire month and hash out a first draft without blinking.  Maybe a little blinking.  But then I hit a low point.

Unfortunately, I seem to be at that low point right now.  I finished a first draft, set it aside, tried to go back…set it aside.  Then I thought, maybe starting something new will refresh me and I’ll enjoy going back to write a 2nd draft on the last one.

I fleshed out about half of the next story, I even jumped in with both feet and I’m in the second chapter now.

Hit the wall.

Now I can’t make myself open the rough draft of my finished story or my 2 chapter current draft.  I open it, look at it and shut it again.  This has got to be the most frustrating time in my “process”.  I’m struggling to make myself sit down and focus on writing, I’m irritated with myself because I’m not writing and I’m listen to just about every vlog, pod cast and writing lectures I can.

My current favorite is a vlog by Jenna Moreci.  She’s hilarious.  If you want to listen to writing advice, while laughing?  Check her out here:  Jenna Moreci YouTube Channel

I’ve already listened to her entire set of video’s twice and I’m on the third time.  She has her novel out and you can find that here:  Eve, The Awakening.

I’m trying to keep my head “in the game” with listening to her and also, my all time favorite writing podcast:  The Dead Robots Society.  These guys keep me completely submerged in the writing atmosphere, even if I’m not writing.  Check them out!

All in all, I love writing and have a fantastic time living in “my worlds”, but struggling during this “down” time is rough.  Do I go back to one of the two drafts that are waiting for me?  Do I set them both in a drawer and try something else?  Am I getting bored with the type of writing I’m doing and do I try something completely different?

I’m not sure what the answer is, but hopefully it’ll come to me soon.  I hate waiting 😦

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Meeting Anna DeStefano

This weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting author Anna DeStefano at my first GSRWA chapter workshop.  First, let me say that the workshop itself was very well put together.  I enjoyed meeting some of the members and everyone seemed very positive to be there.

“Anna DeStafano is an award-winning, nationally bestselling small town romances spotlight family, friendships and the forgiveness that nurtures her characters’ dreams…as they explore the issues all contemporary families face.  She’s the author of more than 27 novels (in more than 7 different languages, with over half a million copies of her books in print) that have garnered numerous awards including twice winning the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the Golden Heart, the Maggie Award for Excellence, and finalling in awards such as the National Readers’ Choice and Book Seller’s Best Awards.”~Read more on her website:  annawrites.com

She’s beautiful, extremely intelligent and positively amazing to listen to for hours.  It was sad when it ended, but I came away with so many great suggestions, tips and tools for making my writing better.  And not only the drafting part of writing, but the rewrite and editing as well!

She has all of her workshop notes up on her site, available to anyone and I suggest you check it out:  Free Workshops

One of the most important and SIMPLE things she teaches that “anyone” can do, is the “Beginning / Middle / End” technique.  Whether you’re a pantser or plotter, if you use this basic tool, you can’t fail in crafting a beautiful, desired story.  The idea is to sit down and, if nothing else before you write, figure out the Fear of your characters and their Goal – at the beginning, middle and end.  And here’s a hint…it should be different at each stage.  For example, she used her novel: Let Me Love You Again (Available at Amazon)

Beginning:  Her hero’s fear at the beginning of the story is attachment to a foster family he left behind years ago.  When he’s forced to come home, his goal is to get out of there as quickly as he can.

Middle:  Her hero learns that he’s a father to a daughter he never knew he had in the same town as his foster family.. ..now what?  Stay?  Go?…

End:  Hero now wants to stay, but…heroine wants him to go.

Notice that at the beginning of the story, he’s fighting against his worst fears and his goal is to stay as far away as possible.  In the middle and highest “arc” of her story, you can easily see how he is about to break and head toward the black moment.  How this “middle” incident can pinpoint his turning point.  At the end, he’s realized that what he wanted all along, wasn’t what he needed and ULTIMATELY wants.  Anna says to think about the beginning as giving your character EXACTLY what he wants, in the worst possible way.

She had so much food for thought on writing, it blew my mind and I’ve been struggling to process it all.  Anna made me think, made me feel larger than what I thought I could be with my writing.  I may still have a long way to go, but with the techniques and handouts (again, available to all on her site), I feel that there’s nothing standing in my way except my willingness to write.

Check out her novels now!  See below for a few, and her site for all available.

Thank you, Anna, for taking your time to speak with us!

mimosaanna

betrayalbellevue

 

 

 

The Year of The Writer…

2016 will mark my year as a Writer.

Well, that’s my goal at least.  After finishing NaNoWriMo a “winner” with my latest manuscript, I decided that if I can do that, I can do anything I put my mind to.  Maybe not anything.  But I’m going to try, nonetheless.

So this year, I’ve thrown myself into the writing community and made myself believe that this year…will be my year.

After revitalizing my writing website, joining Romance Writers of America again, finally signing up for my closest Chapter (GSRWA) and obtaining my first critique partner – I’ve taken it a step further.  I’ve joined the Rose City Romance Writing chapter as a Golden Rose Contest Judge.  I’m excited to judge a writing contest and learn myself what others are doing in the same genre as me (aside from published novels).

I’ve also reached out to my chapter and offered my volunteering services as well as getting ready for the WOTS conference in October.  Aside from all of that, I’m opening myself up and letting some friends read my finished story now, which was always hard for me to try and do.  The fun part is I’m getting a lot of positive feedback.

Hopefully, that will be enough to get me through any bad feedback that comes my way 😉

So February will be rather busy, there are multiple contests coming up besides the one I’ve decided to judge.  I’ve entered the 2016 Great Expectations Contest with my “first draft” which I now wish I’d waited to polish before sending in, but I literally found the contest the day entries closed 🙂  Would be happy with just a little feedback though!

My family has been amazing through January.  I can’t thank my husband enough for all of his help and patience while I’ve submerged myself in writing.

My friends and coworkers, I owe my gratitude as well, since they end up sort of forced to hear me talk about writing 40+ hours a week!

It’s the people that surround you that lift you as a writer, thankfully, I’m surrounded by the best!

Now moving onto working on my synopsis – if anyone has some great advice on how to do these, feel free to contact me!  I’m researching and studied the best I can and so far, I’ve come across a REALLY great site that I think has helped me more than anything so far:

Kathy Carmichael: USA Today Best Selling Author – check out all of her workshops and printable worksheets on synopsis!

I’ll be examining her website today to learn as much as I can!

Alright, off to write I go…thanks for reading today!

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Write on the Sound – 2016

Write on the Sound is a conference in Edmonds, WA that I had the pleasure of attending in 2014, but missed out on last year due to personal reasons.  But as of yesterday, I’ve decided that I’ll return for 2016!  I’m extremely excited for the chance to attend through the first weekend of October.

As some of you may already know, the WOTS conference “is one of the premier conferences in the Pacific Northwest. Presented the first weekend in October each year, WOTS offers a unique and affordable opportunity for writers of all levels to build on their knowledge of the craft, learn about a new genre, and explore the writing industry. Its limited size makes the conference an intimate experience, perfect for sparking creativity, sharing ideas and networking with other writers.”

It’s a wonderful place to network and learn something new with every class, no matter what genre you live in.  I found one of my most exciting lectures to be on World Building.  Obviously in writing a novel, you’re spinning tales and weaving together at least a “basic” world around your characters.  But to listen to a father and daughter team that write in fantasy worlds describe their process was extremely fascinating.  They touched on stories such as Avatar and Star Wars and to look at it from a writers POV is entirely different than a reader or watcher.

Unfortunately, there are negatives that go along with it, too.  One of the most “logical” lecture for me to attend (or so I thought), revolved around romance writing.  The presenters were three romance (& erotica) authors and instead of offering advice or having an outline of what they wanted to discuss with us, they sat down and did a Q&A the entire 45 minutes.

This may have been something some of the other guests were interested in, but I found it lacked little information that benefited me.  I’d have liked to have more of their process or suggestions for writing, editing or publishing involved.  Maybe some sort of detail on how romance writing differs from others.  Or perhaps some experiences they’d had while publishing that maybe would be new information for amateur writers.  I suspect not everyone would agree with me, I mean I could have asked them to tell us about these things, but none of the other presentations had been laid out like this, so I wasn’t at all ready for such a “round table” discussion.  And to be honest, when they decided to spend half their time bashing Nicholas Sparks…I shut down.

Now as you may or may not know, I very recently wrote a post about meeting Mr. Sparks and how I looked up to him.  So it may sound like I’m a “stalking fan” or something along those lines, but the reality is, he’s a highly distinguished author and has a pretty great resume in the writing department.  I simply like to give kudos where it’s due.  Is there anything wrong with a “new” writer looking up to another that’s made such a name for themselves?

I don’t have any problem whatsoever with someone else having their own opinion, I’m as “open minded” as anyone.  I just don’t feel spending my hard earned money and taking time away from my kids to listen to these folks…should include half an hour of someone telling me why another successful writer is “beneath them” or isn’t good enough because their style of writing is “wrong” or is “only successful” because of some distorted reason.

It’s not very classy in my humble opinion.  It’s not an issue to me that these ladies don’t like NS, it’s my issue that writing is a difficult form of expression.  Especially if you stick with it, make a living or finished an entire novel.  It’s a lot of hard work.  There isn’t anyone “good enough” to speak so lowly of another person.

Aside from this negative experience, the rest of the conference left a positive lasting impression and I’m looking forward to the next one.  I just may skip the romance writing section of it 🙂

The town of Edmonds is gorgeous.  There are various antique shops, galleries and distinctive eateries in the area – all within walking distant of the conference.  If you stroll down to the waterfront, you’ll be in one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever found in the area.  While on break or lunch or after hours of the conference, Edmonds is a magical place to write.

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Feel free to join me and say hi this year!