So in just over a month Four Corners will be officially released! I am having a wave of mixed emotions. I am beyond excited to see it finally out and also a little terrified of people actually reading it. I know I've spoke of this before, but it is a scary process putting something you worked so hard on out there into the world and hoping that others like it at least a little bit as much as you do.

The final proofs have been sent to the publisher and the entire book jacket (front, back, and spine) has been approved as well. The artist/friend did amazing work on it! It blows me away and makes me happy each time I see it. Crazy to think that soon I will be able to actually hold it in my hands and open it and read my story. Eek!
Then the thought of other people doing the same makes me want to throw up a little. It's probably something every author goes through. Maybe not anymore, but I like to think that Stephen King or James Patterson was nervous before their first book was released.

In trying to ease my nerves a bit I've gotten back to writing Book Three. Crazy to think how ahead of the curve you need to be in this whole writing business! I am expecting Book Two from my beta's and can't wait to hear their reactions and tips for improvement. If you are considering writing or publishing a book (self or otherwise) I HIGHLY suggest a great group of beta (or early draft) readers and a good editor. There is nothing more annoying as a reader than a manuscript that you've paid for riddled with mistakes. Not that everything can be caught (heck, I even found a thing or two going through the last draft that needed changing), but it will be much better than what you can do solo, trust me.

I've also started looking into promotional materials as well. These items, like bookmarks and postcards, will be available at signings, but if you aren't able to make it to one or you get a book before and, drop me a line with your address and I'll send you some goodies!

I'm also starting to nail down details for my release day extravaganza!! OK, extravaganza might be a strong word, but I will be partying and would love anyone local to the area or interested to come join in on the fun. Details will be posted as soon as I have them.

In the meantime, if you or anyone you know is interested in Young Adult books, please give them a heads up about Four Corners! Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and believe it or not I am only so loud, so any help I can get from all of you would be amazing. Or perhaps you know a teacher or writers group that would like to have a speaker at, I'm game for anything! I'd just love the opportunity to put FC in as many hands as I can. Reading is a wonderful and powerful thing, especially in teen years. Some of the most meaningful books I've read in my life were between the ages of 14 and 16 and I'm so excited to be a part of bringing a new story to a new group of people.

When I think about that, it pushes any anxiety I may have about the process, at least for a little while...
 
 
Just write. This is my advice to you. Find a way. Just suck it up and do it. If you don’t think you can get the story out, you are wrong. It will be hard and hideous and wonderful. You will hate it, like it, hate it again, and love it more than anything. It will be the worst and best thing.

And more than anything, it will be yours, and you did it, and no one can take that away from you.

If you’ve ever doubted yourself, never thought you were good enough, didn’t think you had it in you, I can tell you that you do. You are good enough. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what anything else thinks, much less you. Writing is a primal thing. Having thoughts and putting them down on paper is a blessing that us humans have. It is an amazing thing that we can do. The sheer act of writing is amazing. You will surprise yourself.

You will write a heartbreakingly beautiful line. It will be the best thing you’ve ever written. There will come a time when you have to let it go, when it will break you apart inside to cut it, but we are writers and this is what we do. We must let go of things we love to make what is around it better, and it will make it better. You will forget about your one great line because it will be replaced with many more, some of which you will also have to throw away. It is maddening and you will want to quit. Don’t. Don’t stop. You will come out on the other side and when you do, when you hold that paper in your hand with words that have come from some place in you that you didn’t even know existed, it will be worth it. You will realize that you did it, that you are a writer. Don’t forget that feeling. Keep that knowledge tucked into your back pocket for the times when you don’t think you can do it, when you don’t think you are clever enough, or smart enough, or have enough time. Bring out that memory that you’ve done this before and you will do it again, because that is what we do. We bleed letter-filled blood and mop it up with clean, white pieces of paper and hold them up for the world to see. With each word typed we re-affirm this fact to ourselves. We can do this. This is who we are.

If you’ve only ever been a writer in your head, afraid to put it down because of what it may be, resign yourself to the editing process. Realize that it must first come out to have any sense made out of it. You can’t make something out of nothing. Put it down, walk away, come back and sift through and find the gold in the dirt. It’s there. You will find it. Be patient with yourself and let your mind wander. Always carry a notebook with you and keep one by your bed.

When people remark that they couldn’t imagine writing anything, that they have no talent, tell them they are wrong. Encourage them do to it anyway. We all have a story to tell. Remind people that their lives and their imaginations matter. Don’t lose your ability to dream and wonder.

Tell them to put it down on paper. It will be ugly and beautiful. It doesn’t matter. They will hate it and love it. Tell them it is worth it. Tell them they are a writer.

 
 
So I had all the intention in the world on January 1st of writing a profound New Year email...and now it is suddenly the middle of February. Does that count as failing some as-of-yet-named resolution?

I've resigned myself to the knowledge that things will never slow down, so I just need to learn to deal, adapt, and roll with the punches (something very difficult for a Type-A like me!). My writing has unfortunately taking a bit of a back seat, though I did write a little short story for a FWA contest (free entry for members, check it out! https://floridawriters.net/competitions-awards/collection/), but I have set a goal for myself to finally finish my self-edits on the sequel to Four Corners and get it to my Beta readers. I could edit forever, but as some point I really need to just let someone else read it. Plus with FC coming out in the next few months, I don't want to have a huge lag time between books if I can help it.

I also just got back from participating in my first Ragnar Relay. I was part of a team of 12 who ran from Miami to the Keys. It was an amazing (and tiring!) experience. The beauty of running through the mangroves at night with only the small light of a head lamp and the stars to guide you, the sound of the water lapping all around, was worth the entire trip, sore muscles and all. I've been battling some running set-back lately and it was nice to have a reminder that it really is something that I love. I wrote up myself a training plan and now am full steam ahead for training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC with my sister. The cooler FL weather certainly doesn't hurt my motivation either ;)

So while this is coming a little late, Happy New Year! May 2015 bring each of you closer to your dreams and happiness as each day passes, and may you be able to release any pain or stress into the past. I think I will make this my resolution as well :)
 
 
So not really sure if editor's block is a thing, but I am making it if it's not. I've heard and experienced the frustration of writer's block before, but I naively thought that as long as I could get words down on paper (or screen) the hard part would be over.

I made the now embarrassing proclamation to my previous beta readers to be ready for a rough draft any day now and to see if their schedules were clear. They all enthusiastically agreed and were eager to get some pages to read.

That was two months ago.

OK, I could make a few excuses. My first round of edits came back for Four Corners, so that took me out of commission for about a little bit. Then I decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot and start book three, I think I wrote for about 14 collective days, so to be generous to myself that knocks a month off, that still puts me a month behind my own goal.

So what is my problem? I've read through the draft a number of times and highlighted the areas that need a bit of work or where I want to include a few characters in some scenes, nothing overly complicated, but then I look at my five 3x5 cards with notes on them and I freeze. It seems like an impossible task. I keep trying to break it into small pieces, but the other loom over me, making it next to impossible to focus.

I've had my word doc opened for an hour. I only succeeded in scrolling to page four, the first that needs attention, out of a total of 254 pages. Only 250 to go? (trying to stay positive over here...)
But I guess with so many things, the only way out is through.

Here I go, wish me luck, and feel free to give suggestions if you've ever struggled with The Dread of editing.


 
 
It feels like something hijacked this year, somehow we are already into December. NaNoWriMo is over, and while I did not "finish", I got a really solid start on book three. I wasn't necessarily expecting to hit the 50,000 word mark (ended up with a bit over 16,000), but I am grateful that it gave me the motivation to get back in the world of the Four Corners and start giving some closure to my characters and myself.

If I've learned nothing else through what I will call the trilogy writing process it is this: it's hard, time consuming, and draining (I guess a trilogy within a trilogy). It also gives me a much greater respect and sympathy for authors who write each in sections instead of all at once and break it up. While I can't imagine writing 150,000 or so word at once, I see the appeal in getting the whole story out and then editing and chopping it into three pieces. I find it difficult not only to keep the voice and momentum going, but to simply not forget characters. This is something I realized I did in book two (sorry Omire!) and have to go back and add him in.

I used to get frustrated with authors who take 1-2 years between books. Now I am scared if I am even going to be able to do each installment of mine that quickly! It is a fine line between getting your product in the hands of your eager readers before they forget all about you and giving them a quality thing to have. I am in awe of those out there that time it all perfectly.

So as the first book in the Four Corners series is fast approaching release (one reason I'm anxious for 2015 to start!), I hope you can all bear with me and stay with me as we take this journey together. Don't give up on us, I promise you, it will be worth it.
 
 
So after a month of basically not writing or reading anything of my own (damn life getting in the way...), I decided I needed a bit of motivation. Luckily this revelation came just as November was starting. Why November? You may have seen some confusing hashtag usage scattered around social media the last week, #NaNoWriMo, known in writing circles as National Novel Writing Month.

It's an awesome month that encourages anyone who has a story to tell to start telling it. If you are interested in getting involved, its not too late! Information can be found at http://nanowrimo.org/

The goal is to complete a novel (50,000 word count) by the end of November. I've been struggling with motivation on starting book three of Four Corners, so decided to make it the perfect excuse to get started. I may not hit my goal of 50k (oh responsibilities getting in the way), but it has made me at least get a move on in coming back into the world of Levi, Aura, and my cast of characters. Just like signing up for a race motivates me to get out the door and run, I am hoping NaNoWriMo will motivate me to get as close to a first draft done as I can.

And really, that is the main goal. Are you going to have a polished, pretty, ready for the world book at the end of 30 days? If you are, more power to you, and please drop me a line on how you do it, but for the rest of us "mortal" writers, the first draft is often the hardest, and just getting it down is a huge accomplishment. Something I read the other day that really stuck with me in reading different posts about the month was : You can't edit a blank page. It's true, no matter how terrible something I may have written is, it's better than having nothing down at all. Terrible I can work it, nothing is daunting.

In running there is a phrase "Did not finish is greater than did not start". Even if you are unable to complete the race, you are better off for trying than others that let that doubt keep them from the start line. I don't know where I'll be when December 1st rolls around, but I'm sure no matter what, I'll be trucking along, picking off the chapters and getting closer and closer to my story's finish line.

Good luck to you and all your writing endeavors! Now off to write some of my own!

 
 
Well after what seemed like a never-ending process, the first round of edits from Four Corners are complete and back to the publisher! It was a really eye-opening process and I learned a lot about my writing style (both good and bad!), and realized that I have quite a bit of work cut out for me on book two. Though I am going to take a bit of a much needed break  from editing for a few days because I am headed to North Carolina for the Rocktoberfest Half Marathon (yes, I get that running 13.1 miles may not constitute a "break").

The weather here is finally considering cooling off, though it seems like it hasn't totally made up it's mind. Temps are still hovering in the upper 80s, but we had a few days of fall-like weather that make me think that it is a possibility in our future, plus the rain finally stopped! Got to go on a nice trail ride yesterday for the first time in weeks. Thought I was going to lose my mind! I've even started running at lunch time so I don't get rained out from my runs. Those that live in rainy weather- I don't know how you do it!

October is going to be a busy month, gone this weekend and then off to visit my Aunt and Uncles new place on the "west coast" (what floridian's call the gulf), then kitchen reno starts the last week in October! All this house stuff has shown me the appeal to just hiring a designer or trying to get on a TV show to have someone else do it, but I guess it will be that much more satisfying when we are done. Going to finally make a trip back up to Pittsburgh at the end of the month to visit with college friends. It has been way to many years since I've seen them, I can't wait!


Before I know it, it will be the holidays already. Whew, where did this year go? And hopefully around that time my book will come out! It is really starting to feel more real. The cover is almost done and I can't wait for you all to see it. It's crazy to think that this long journey is slowly culminating into being able to actually hold my published novel.
I can't wait for you all to do the same.
 
 
I recently celebrated an anniversary. No, not one with my husband or job, but with my longest friend. We met 25 years ago on the bus home from school, and the rest, as they say, was history. We shared a passion for horses and rode together for a number of years. We stayed close all through school, though didn't keep as well in touch as college began. It was horses, funny enough, that brought us back together. It had been several months since I'd spoken with her on a regular basis, but when I was given the opportunity to attend the Preakness, I knew there was only one other person in the world I wanted to share that experience with. This was the beginning of the second phase of our friendship and we grew close all over again.

We were there for each other during failed relationships and the ebbs and flows of navigating our futures. She listened to my giddy stories as I told her about “this boy from work”, and stood by my side on my wedding day as I married him a few years later. Any time I've needed her, she has there for me in an instant, and I for her. She is truly a sole mate of mine.

Funny enough though, this also got me thinking about the painful ends of some friendships I've had in my life. And it is painful, just like any break up is, but one that can be much harder to navigate. There aren't romantic comedies to turn to about how to move on. “Rebound Friends” isn't a term I've ever heard. It's a shame really because the same pain is felt- sometimes even more.

Intellectual relationships can be more complicated and nuanced than physical ones. When you tell your friend you've broken up with a guy, they lament with you and help pull you through it. What is supposed to happen when that go-to person is the break up? Who are you supposed to turn to then?

And as in every ended relationship, you can't help but play over each circumstance and try to figure out what went wrong. With a guy maybe physical compatibility just wasn't there, but with a friend, facing the truth can be scary. Maybe I'm not a good person? Maybe I'm selfish and unlovable? This may sound crazy, but if people choose their friends because they like them, then is “unfriending” them a stamp that they simply don't anymore?

I still grieve over several friendships that are no longer in my life. Sure, I've had friends where we've just drifted apart, but I'm talking break ups here. In each others lives one day and then not the next. Sometimes it was a slow build-up and others in a flash, but they are all difficult to sort through the aftermath of. While not all of them were healthy (in hind-sight I see that I am truly better off), I'm still sad. There were still great memories and moments shared with another person that I might not share with anyone else.

But in the end, like in any relationship, you have to dust yourself off and get back out there. Each person comes into your life for a reason, maybe it's to show you something about yourself (both good and bad), maybe it's so you can help them, or maybe they are the path to your next connection.

You never know what lies at the end of one friendship or where that road may take you. But I will say this: I've heard about plenty of rebounds sticking, maybe yours will turn into a life-long one.

 
 
So I am finally settled in at my new house writing in my new (and wonderfully purple) office. It's amazing to think of how much stuff one person can acquire. It really shows itself when you have to move it all ;)

But now that I am settling back down into a routine I am itching to get back to normalcy. I went for a run the other day for the first time in what felt like forever (it was dangerously close to being forever) and got to ride the other day as well. Now I just have one thing to get back to, writing.

I've been experimenting and trying new forms of social media and I realize how much there is to learn! It makes me feel incredibly old when I heard about new platforms I didn't know existed. Thankfully I have an endlessly patient cousin who refrains from laughing at me when I ask her ridiculous questions. Through my publisher I met a wonderfully helpful fellow soon-to-be-published author named Tonya (you can find her writings over at http://www.tonyaroyston.com/) and she introduced me to figment. You can find my author page there and an excerpt of Four Corners at http://figment.com/books/818238-Four-Corners just keep in mind this is the current edit and will probably change some as it is tweaked through the process.

Figment is an awesome collection of writing, and I find myself torn in even more directions. I have set up my Facebook page for Four Corners, I have a blog, and a Twitter, and I realized today that with all the writing I have been doing lately over all those platforms I am missing something that I should really be doing: actually writing.

Two Worlds sits in piles on my desk and it's at the point now that I try no to directly look at it in the hopes it will edit itself. I need some of Cinderella's mice to come and fill in plot gaps and story lines. This should be much easier than making a dress, so I really don't think it's too much to ask.

But in all seriousness, as with all things in endless attempts at work-life balance, I am now having to add a few more spinning plates to it all, so you may see me a bit more sporadically on all my social media platforms, but do not fear eager reader, it is all for you, darling.


 
 
After years being a chronic renter and mover (in the last 10 years I've lived in 10 different places, not fun especially since I am one who hates moving and change), I am finally a home owner :) It is a strange feeling walking into a house and having it be “yours”. It hasn't really hit yet, probably because I've been spending most of my time cursing while removing wallpaper and cleaning carpets, but I think it will really sink in once we are officially moved in next week.

The house has also been taking up a lot of my time, which I think I've established (see past blogs) is basically non-existent. So really that means that I haven’t been running or writing much lately. I've also taken on some volunteer tasks with the Florida Writers Association, so all in all, I've been spreading myself a little thinner than normal. I can't wait to finally be moved so at least that will be one less thing to have to worry about.

I've also moved up a bit in the world, as I am writing this on my brand spanking new computer. After agonizing for much longer than one should have to agonize over purchasing a new computer (see above, the fact that I hate change), I finally bite the bullet and got a new desktop. My old one was over 8 years old and I'm pretty sure computer years are measured similar to dog years. While it worked perfectly as a word processor, if I happened to ask it to do two things at once, it basically threatened to explode (some days I sympathize). It was becoming increasingly difficult to write any more as I use the internet quite frequently to research and also to simply update the various social media's I am on.

So here I am, acting like almost a full-fledged grown up; buying things I need to further myself and trying to let go of those new-territory reservations I find difficult to shed.

This new computer is also really make me want to write more, which is awesome, though I hope the motivation will stay til next week when I have a bit more time. Which frankly I am kidding myself, as I know that something else will come up that will fight for my time as well. Maybe I need to work on saying no seeing as the whole making-more-hours-in-a-day experiment has so far yielded negative results.

But if there is one thing anyone has ever moved to a new place know to say yes to, is shopping, new computers and all. Almost makes it worth the change ;)