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Calm Before the Storm

th1TY66I4NIn was at the end of 2012, that I began to write. Not actually began, but revisited writing. I’d gotten this notion that being an author was my intended path. For the past 20 years I’d been a property manager. Not a complete happy one. You know, just doing the job and paying the bills. Who aspires to collecting rents and receiving calls about a leaky toilet?

I took off two months or so, and for that time, all I did was write. I was consumed. Where were these stories coming from? In the shower, in my sleep–all I did was write in my mind. After I collected a few books on paper, I researched what to do next. So I began querying my books to agents. I got a few requests, some advice, and mostly after that, rejections. It was disheartening. But also a gift of knowledge. What I was writing wasn’t ready for publication. I needed to attend some workshops, join some writing groups, and read! And that I did. All of it. I entered contest after contest, some even put me as a finalist, but most importantly, I received valuable advice from the judges. What I needed to tweak, work on, and get better at. And so I did. Then came more rejection. I was almost at the end of my ‘what if I’m just no good.’ So…I took a break from it.

In that time I took a hard look at what I wanted to do in life. And what I found out is that I wanted…no, what I needed, was to write. I would not give up. I would not accept rejection. Shortly after this I received word from a publisher that she wanted to contract me for a book. I was over the moon. Me? Are you sure? LOL

So for that year until publication I continued to write, I started my blog, and I got a Twitter and Author Facebook. I was on my way! Then came another contract for my second book. Yay! I was doing it now:)

Most recently my first publisher and I parted ways. I always try to see the lesson learned and move past it. Next month I will release my debut book, “Waking Amy.” I’m slightly freaking out. This is not the way it was to be, but I’m so much better for it. Still, I’m very nervous. Talk about opening your soul for the whole world to see! I’m releasing my words, my imagination, my feelings, out to the universe. Certainly the entire universe won’t witness this, but they could should they go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and click “Buy Now.”

I’m going to try and stay away from the reviews. I can only imagine I’ll be like the groundhog…slipping back into my hole if there’s a bad one. But I’ve been told that a bad one is better than a blank one. Okay, I think. I’ll try and remember that when I’m sobbing in my wine glass, blabbering incoherent things.

I’m crossing off everything as I go. Joined this club, check! Talked to this reviewer, check! This is my first time out, and I’m alone…I’m sure there will be a million things I don’t do that I should. But the most important thing I keep telling my self, is that I’m doing it! I’m really releasing my book! May everyone who takes a chance on this girl and reads it, be blessed for it:) I’m counting on it!

 

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Writing a Series

thD2COL8XII just finished writing the second book in the series, “Waking Amy.” It’s crazy how all that happened…

I wrote “Waking Amy” and sent it out to agents and publishers for a contract. When I decided on the one I now have, the letter of acceptance included a suggestion of more titles in the series. What? I ended the story, I thought. What other titles? There were none. Amy, as far as I was concerned, was off doing whatever she was doing. I had put a period to the end of her book existence. Then I let someone read it. And she said the same thing…what next? I had to think about that.

With Bridget Jones Diary coming out with the third installment, I knew it made sense. I wanted to see what happened after the last page on that first book. Was Bridget going to truly have a happily ever after with Mark Darcy? I would like to know. Same with Amy. Sure, I ended the story, but there was so much more to Amy’s story. Like Bridget with Mark, would Amy continue with her Mark Darcy? How would life find her next year?

I had so much fun continuing Amy’s story. Who doesn’t love mini-series on television, anyway? The Thorn Birds for one was awesome. And shows like The Practice, or Nashville…if you wanted to you could continue all the books that were written as a standalone. It just takes a stretch of the imagination.

I’m looking forward to Bridget’s third installment. A baby? I’m not sure what Amy’s third sequel will bring, but for now I’ve got her settled in book two, “Leaving Amy.” I hope everyone who reads it will enjoy it as much I enjoyed writing it. It was great pushing my original thought of ‘The End’ to the limits:)

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Guilty Writing

guiltThis last week has been one of those times that a story has consumed my every waking moment. My sleep…my driving…my working. It has pulled me from the lines of cooking, cleaning, and generally being present in this day. Although it’s wonderful to be visited by a forceful muse—one that pours ideas onto me like a raging waterfall, it has its downside.

As with anything you do independently from home—work or online classes—you run into the guilt factor. At least I do. As a writer, I’m sitting there typing away, doing the side-glance of the dirty dishes, the dirty laundry, and the empty cabinets where food once occupied. I wrestle with character motivation, as well as my own, in terms of getting other things done that need to get done. And I know! I’m at work, right? Writing is my job; one of many. When I do my other job on location, I’m not listening for the dryer to play that most annoying tune, and running to get the clothes before they wrinkle and I have to actually lay a hot iron to them. No, I’m doing whatever that job is. All that’s around me is filing cabinets, desks, computers…or cakes and pies. Pick the job!

Excuse the rant. It’s just that I’m trying to justify the time I’ve put into my latest book and not my daily chores. Even my plants are looking listlessly out to the rain, hoping it will break through the glass and moisten their roots. I kinda wish it would, too. Do you know how many plants I have to water weekly—sometimes twice if I want to see truly glossy foliage? I’ll save my plant addiction for another post!

Anyway, although I am thankful for the plentiful creativity that is pulsing through me now, I am waging the war on guilt. Hopefully it won’t take too long to download my brain onto the computer screen. I’d hate for the kids to come home from school and find my body taken over by the dust bunnies:)

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Deadlines and What they do to Me

DEADLINEI officially have deadlines. For so long I’ve written on my own timetable. Edited when I felt like it, developed characters when I took walks, and proofread only on days I had time. Now it seems it’s going to change.

As I look at the 300 page manuscript glaring back at me, I laugh. Not the Joker kind of laugh, but a timid little mouse laugh. Edged with a sense of denial. “Yeah, that thing’s due soon, but whatever … I’ve got time.”          Three weeks later I’m looking at the computer monitor with Scotch-taped open eyes, a huge Mocha Frappuccino, and shaky fingers … the clock chiming, 1:00 a.m.  Why do I do this? It’s seriously something wrong with the wiring in my head. My daughter gets a school assignment for two weeks out, and it’s finished that night before the ink is dry on the instructions.

Maybe I feel like I’m holding the work for later. Letting the idea marinade that it’s something to be done. Maybe I do my best when a gun is cocked to my head. Who knows. As I type this very blog, I glance over to my massive pile of paper and deny it’s there … ticking like a bomb. Whatever, I’ll get to it. Right after I fill the birdfeeders and water my plants. Then I know I’ll be ready:)

On a most happy note, I just signed a contract with a new publisher for another book. It’s due out next summer and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Having my work in the hands of readers is unlike anything. Of course, if they’re mean in reviews, I’ll hide under a rock. But I’ll cross that denial bridge when I come to it. For now, it’s a dreamy-eyed notion that I’m going to be published again. It’s just the beginning!!!!

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File it Under Memories

MEMORIESI read something on Facebook yesterday from one of my childhood friends that wished he could go back and live in the days when he was young. I suppose the memories of this time appealed to him; made him long for the simpler times. Problem is, we all learn in reverse. When we’re young, we don’t realize how good we’ve got it. We always want to grow up. Ha! Sure, there are perks, but if only we could savor the younger moments; times when we got called for dinner, showed up and ate and then scampered off to hours of play before bed. And we could actually sleep without any problems going through our minds. Okay, maybe we were concocting silly problems, like what if I have to go grocery shopping with Mom, or even bigger, why do I have to get a hair cut Saturday? Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to visit those times?

Isn’t it nice that we can think back on wonderful memories? Times that make us smile while staring out to space. Images that appear faded in our mind, sometimes sketchy at best, but, they’re all there. It amazes me that our brain stores these moments. Today I have the privilege to write a bit before going to work. I’ve turned on Northern Exposure for background noise, and instantly I’m at ease. Comfortable with my surroundings. You see, after I graduated from school I’d watch this show every day before lunch. It was such an easy time for me. I was going part-time to college and working as a nanny. Life was sweet. The biggest obligation I had was to change a diaper, feed a baby, and do a term paper. The world was happy, or so I believed because I was.

It’s great being able to surround ourselves with memories. My best friend sometimes sits and closes her eyes with a huge smile on her face. I ask, where are you? She sighs and tells me. Sometimes it’s Florida on a beach, sometimes it’s on her trampoline outside her childhood house. She finds peace with these memories. Today I find peace with Northern Exposure at 11:00!