Friday, November 28, 2014

Hasta la Vista, Teenage Me

As my 20th birthday grew closer and closer, I began to think more and more about what's changed since I entered my teenage years.

I moved from California to Arizona when I was twelve, in seventh grade, as an awkward, short girl with hair never far from a ponytail. When I was fourteen and a freshman in high school, I went through a horrendous period where I was bullied incessantly by two girls who had once been my best friends. They met through me, then turned on me, and I still don't know why. But I survived through an inner strength I didn't know I had, my friends who I'm still in occasional contact with now (I say occasional because college has a way of messing up life), and my books and writing. Looking back, I'm thankful I went through that, because I'm now a stronger person and I know that my two younger sisters--if they ever have to go through a hell like that--will always have me to look to for help. My junior year of high school was the hardest, but by the time my senior year came along, I was a confident eighteen-year-old halfway to a two-year college degree.

I think year nineteen was the one that brought about the most change, both internal and external. I had my first "real" boyfriend (high school relationships don't count in my book). I had to learn how to be friends with just myself while my friends got married or moved on to schools while I remained at home (for reasons I don't really want to get into). (As a side note, one of my former best friends who bullied me is now married.) I had my first real heartbreak (that I'm over now, not to worry) and in turn I broke someone's heart, too. I wrote a book that I will always love when I was eighteen, and I wrote a book that rewrote me in the process just a little over a month ago. I met my critique partners, who have become the closest friends I am so incredibly grateful to have. I know they'll be with me for the rest of my life, in some way, shape, or form. I've learned things about myself, about what I want and who I am and what I believe in. I've learned how to be strong not just for myself, but also for my family and my friends.

In fact, I am still learning all those things, and so many more. I'm learning while some friends were your best friends, they won't always remain that way but they will always hold a special place in your heart. I've learned that if something doesn't sit right with you, it's time to move on, no matter how much hurt it may cause. I've learned that fear is something you can overcome, if only you take the necessary plunge.

And so, as I say goodbye to my teenage years, I say hello to my twenties. I know they hold much more than I may be prepared for. I know things will not always be easy. I know I'll probably have my heart broken, and I know I'll probably break hearts in turn. I know that, whatever life throws at me, I will always be strong enough to pull through. Because I believe in myself, and no one can change that.

Over and out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monday Music 60 on a Tuesday

So Monday kind of got away from me. Mondays have a way of doing that, methinks. But I have a perfectly legitimate reason! Two CPs got back to me with notes on my manuscript THE WAYWARD DARK AND NEARLY FORGOTTEN on Sunday, so I've been editing nonstop. The book is so pretty, if I do say so myself.

On another note, if you haven't yet read BOOMERANG by Noelle August (the pseudonym of Veronica Rossi), you need to fix that ASAP. It's a New Adult contemporary, so not usually my cup of tea, but I read the first chapter before I bought it and fell in love. I bought it months ago, and I'm honestly not sure what took me so long to get to it! Because I inhaled it in one day. I stayed up way late to finish it and I'm still thinking about it days later. In fact, I'm hoping to re-read it, despite my teetering TBR pile! It's a fabulous addition to the New Adult genre. I definitely recommend it!

Mia is someone I can relate to, despite our somewhat different circumstances, so it made it easy to get into her head. And then Ethan, the other point of view, was swoonworthy.

Now, without further ado, here is your Monday Music selection. Because I'm talking about a genre that's not epic fantasy (*gasp* THE HORROR!) I thought I'd share a song by an artist I recently discovered, because it's not really a song that inspires the fantasy in you. (Although, it is on my Wayward Dark playlist...) It's called Moments by Tove Lo. Go listen. Go read the book. I'll wait here to squee with you.

Happy Tuesday and Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Music 59

Hi, everyone!

Because I've blogged two times since last Monday (see here and here), I'll spare you a long post and jump right into one of my favorite pieces of music. This week's selection is called City of Sails by Marcus Warner. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Monday!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

When the Muse Calls But You Can't Answer

I actually wasn't going to write a post about this, because I feel like I'm complaining enough on Twitter and to my CPs (bless their souls for putting up with my texts containing "merrrr"s and emoticons).

But I know I'm not the only one to feel this feel, and this isn't the first time it's happened to me. No, far from it. In fact, it happened to me for over six months. I would write up summaries, plot out books, come up with characters, and fall flat. I couldn't keep writing. I'd write the first chapter and then I'd ask my self what the f*ck I'm writing and I'd stop. It happened over and over and over again.

I don't know how some authors can just slam out one book after another. When I write, I'm so torn up inside by my characters that I feel them long after I've finished writing them. It's a little hard for me to start up a new story with new characters shortly after finishing a WIP. I'm trying to break this habit, because I do want to keep writing with the time I have, since come spring I'll be back in uni.

But I just can't break the habit of starting new stories and being unable to follow through until the draft is complete. Maybe what I need to do is what I was saying to one of my CPs this morning: Just keep barfing up ideas until one of them clicks and sticks. I know I want my next WIP to be a standalone. I know I want it to be an epic fantasy. I'm just waiting for the right characters and world and plot to rear their beautiful heads.

Anyone else suffer from this? How do you combat it?

And now, I leave you with a very random but hilarious gif, simply because I want to make your day better:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When Writing is Work

I have a confession to make: it's hard for me to be able to take a "day off." If I'm at home with free time, I find it nearly impossible to not feel the insatiable need to write, simply because the work ethic is so deeply ingrained in me.

It doesn't matter that I've just finished a manuscript. I can't edit it without my CP's notes, so I find myself with a conundrum: Either I can take a break, or I can start another manuscript because taking a break is like wasting time to me, even if it's not and I know it isn't. Writers need to read to recharge, to let their creative juices get a break, to let their emotions simmer.

And yet, no matter what stage I'm at in writing, I find it nearly impossible to take a break and read. I have books piled on my desk, lining my shelves, all waiting for me to get to them. And I want to get to them, to read them and swoon or laugh or get really, really angry. But no matter what I do, as soon as I sit down to read, I ask myself why I'm "wasting time." Why I'm not taking this free time I have to write another manuscript.

It goes full circle, again and again and again, and nothing I seem to do breaks that vicious cycle. Even if I feel burned out, or tired, or like the manuscript I'm beginning is going to be a hard one to write for reasons I don't even know.

Do you ever feel that way? Like no matter how hard you work, you just HAVE to keep plugging away, HAVE to keep working, HAVE to be doing something that seems "productive"? It's so frustrating. And if you do, how do you trick your mind into letting you take a break?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Music 58

Hi, everyone!

It's a blustery day here and I woke up with the WORST crick in my neck, but I think that's just natural for writers and readers because we tend to sit in some interesting positions. (It's not just me, right?)

On the writing front, my fabulous CP Anne has the first chapters of my Sekret WIP and is reading them. I'm so exciiiited because she's the first CP to actually read the book after I've finished and edited it (to the best of my ability). Hopefully she's not too traumatized.

As for what Sekret WIP is about, I've talked about it a little bit here and here, but not much. The current working title is THE WAYWARD DARK & NEARLY FORGOTTEN (though my critique partners and I continue to call it Sekret WIP... Heh). My snazzy PitchWars mentor Stephanie from the 2013/2014 year helped me come up with that beauty. Someday soon (I hope), I'll put the official summary under my "Books" page here on the blog.

Now, before I can blather on any longer, here is your Monday Music selection! This week's is called The Eternal Rest of a Ronin by Really Slow Motion music. It's goooooorgeous, so I suggest plugging in your headphones and blasting it as loud as you can stand.

Happy Monday!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Music 57

Hi, everyone!

I can't believe it's already November. I mean, where has October gone? I kind of feel like it just popped its head in for a brief second and then disappeared.

But hey, it's now November, which means NaNoWriMo, Mockingjay Part 1, and my birthday. (But, to be honest, I'm more excited about Mockingjay than my birthday. Have you seen those trailers? It's going to be killer to wait for Part 2, because I think Part 1 is going to be all about getting Peeta out of the Capitol. Ech hem. Moving on.)

Without further ado, here is your Monday Music selection! This week's is called Centuries by Fall Out Boy. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Monday!