The Show Must Go On!

Hi folks, it’s been a hot minute. Several hot minutes. How are you?

Life has gotten a bit crazy the past few weeks, in very good ways. My day job has been taking off in exciting and terrifying new ways (note to self, get better at not oversharing with the big name donors and better at smiling and nodding).

I’m nervous as hell, because like the masochist I am, I decided to audition for the theatre I work at. We’re doing Fun Home next season, and I just have to try. It’s the one role I feel like I’m really perfect for, and it’s right in my range. I’ve been training my voice for it, with the help of an amazing vocal coach, and working on a monologue (not as often as I should, I’ll be honest), so I feel more or less prepared.

Don’t wish me luck, though. Tell me to break legs. Actually, do whatever you want because either it’s going to go well or it’s not, but I’m feeling positive.

On the book end of things (Heh, book end), The Heart of Chaos will be available soon! It’s going to be my first standalone release, so I’m very very excited about that. I can’t wait to share it with you. I’ll keep you posted!

First Rejection!

Yep, I sent out my first query and got my first rejection within 24 hours.

I typically will say I pride myself in being a realist, but honestly? I’m a dreamer. I’ve had that query sitting there in my drafts for several months now, edited and perfected, tailored to that specific agent I really had might sights on. In my head, I saw how it would happen. It would take a week or two, but I’d get the response back: She wants to read the first five pages! I’d send them, having perfected the full manuscript already, and she’d return with glowing reviews and tell me that she wanted to be my agent. Then would come the big book deal with a huge publisher, I’d see my book in the shelves as a featured read when I walked into a store, and then a movie deal! (Pretty sure most of us can admit to living out these fantasies in our heads, right?)

Yeah, I can’t call myself a realist. Not even close.

I’ve been very fortunate in my writing career so far. I’ve gotten published several times with more successes than rejections. It’s been great, it really has, and I have to admit now that I’ve let it get to my head.

This rejection is a good thing. It means I put myself out there, and I’m ready to do it again. I just have to remember that this is a process. I’ve been using theatre parallels in my head, since that’s a world I’m more familiar with. Agents and publishers, those are the directors holding auditions for their show. Me? Just an actor, walking in and hoping I can give them what they’re looking for. If I don’t make it, it’s not because I’m not good, it’s because I’m just not what they’re looking for right now. Maybe I’d be a perfect Juliet, but they’re casting for Hamlet right now.

Now that I’ve submitted my first query, I’m hoping the next rejections will be easier. Eventually there will be acceptance, but that part isn’t up to me. All I can do is keep putting it out there until I find the right fit.

Wish me luck.

I’m afraid of success.

I realized this today. I can’t remember what triggered the thought, but I started thinking about how I kept putting off submitting Rook to agents even though it’s in a pretty good place. I keep coming up with excuses, telling myself it needs more revising, more fixing.

It’s much safer to live in obscurity, to have only a few friends and family read your work and tell you how nice it was. It’s downright terrifying to think of a whole bunch of strangers reading it. They will see my precious stories without any rose-colored glasses and read them exactly as they are, and my books will have to stand on their own. They’ll be subjected to criticism (and rightly so), personal biases, individual tastes, and mountains of opinions if they get into enough hands.

Isn’t that the goal, though? I thought I knew that for the longest time, I thought I was prepared in every way a person can be. I thought I was ready to send my baby out into the world, armed with a full lunchbox and change of pants, just in case.

Now, I feel more like I’ve got my toddler on rapidly fraying leash and I’m just praying I can keep them from killing themselves by running out into traffic to follow an errant family of ducks.

Enough personifying my stories. The point is, I’m ready to let them go. Acknowledging my fear was the first step, now I’m setting deadlines. Rook is going to agents by the end of February. It’s time.

Wish me luck?

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! (Minus the Chicken)

You are looking at the blog of a (FINALLY) winner of NaNoWriMo! I’ve been trying to beat this thing for years now, and I am so damn proud. Y’all, I’m not even sorry for bragging. I’m just so pumped. And exhausted. I’m going to go home and try to scrape some of my sanity back together, I’ll give you a better blog post later. Reflections and all that fancy stuff.

For now: just YAY.

The Adept/NaNoWriMo Update

I have to admit, it’s taken me quite a long time writing The Adept (still a working title) to see how it’s going to end. Naturally, I had the basics in mind from the beginning: whether or not it was a happy ending, whether or not they all get out, etc., but I didn’t know how I was going to make it all happen. That’s one of the downsides of being a pantser. (*Fun fact, my computer keeps trying to correct ‘pantser’ to ‘panther’. I’m okay with this.)

I’d also argue that this is a benefit of being a pantser, really. It’s exciting, surprising, and a huge emotional journey for me to write so fluidly. Letting my characters take the lead adds a sense of surprise and authenticity to the story that makes it a fun experience for me, and hopefully for my readers as well.

Obviously I don’t want to give too much away, plot-wise. I’ll just say that I’m very, very excited for the next part I’m going to write. I didn’t plan on this particular plot point at all. Honestly, this character was only going to exist in memory based on my original plan, but now it just works so perfectly that I can’t wait to put it down.

Back to it, then!

38337 words, for the record, and still working on it! (I’m a little behind, but I blame the turkey.)

Confession Time:

I’m a serial pantser.

(For anyone unfamiliar with the term, it’s writing by the seat of your pants. Hence, pants-er.)

I try to start with an outline, even just a mental one, but my characters are truly the ones in the driver’s seat. I’m realizing that more than ever now, in the latter half of NaNoWriMo (33,663 words, by the way, BUT WHO’S COUNTING).

If I’m honest, I really prefer pantsing my novels. It’s exciting. My characters continue to surprise me and sometimes it’s even a little scary, but I love the thrill of it. The Adept is getting a bit longer than I’d planned, but in a very good way. It’s taking twists and turns and coming together in ways I hadn’t planned.

Any other pantsers out there that can relate? Or strategic planners that think I’m absolutely nuts?

(I tend to agree, but I fully believe that a healthy dose of insanity is essential for any work of fiction.)

The Great NaNo, Part II

I have to make a confession, I didn’t hit my word count one day earlier this week. Gratefully, I had gotten myself ahead to begin with but I was really worried about falling behind.

I decided to try a new strategy today: Just write. Don’t count words, don’t count pages, just write. And when I finally decided to stop…

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 7.05.20 PM

2,395 words in one session! Hell. Yes. It may only be the beginning of week two, but I’m really proud of this.

The point of NaNoWriMo is primarily just to keep writing, and it’s definitely kept me doing that. I’m such a competitive person, however, that having a challenging goal like this and knowing that there are so many people out there trying to hit that 50 thousand mark just makes me want to dig my heels in and CRANK. It’s hard to keep that drive at a healthy level, though. My wife is working her butt off at her own job, and mine can get stressful, what little time we do get together we do take advantage of. Lately, I feel like I’ve been so focused on this that I haven’t been as mentally present with her when we do have time together.

We’ll be sitting on the couch, I’ll have the laptop out while Lost Girl plays on the TV. Something will spur on a random memory from the day and she’ll tell me about her new employees and I find myself doing the classic “That’s great, babe. Uh huh. Yep.”

Sometimes I really just want to smack myself.

Yesterday, I finally had the good sense put the laptop down and help my wife with some scissoring (and by that I mean cutting a bunch of things out that had complicated shapes, but if your head is in the gutter, well, it’s not my job to take it out). We finished the task and I went back to my writing, and guess what? I made my word count. Everything was good.

Since the start of NaNo, I’m glad to say that I’ve taken my head out from beneath the couch cushions and everything is good. The lesson here is balance. And occasional scissoring together. (The couple that scissors together stays together? I’m going to stop now.)

Holy NaNoWriMo, Batman.

So, it’s that time again. I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo several times before, my personal best came out to 32,732 words which of course means I’ve never won.

Five days in now, and I’ve exceeded my daily goal every day so far (keep in mind that ‘exceeding’ usually means only by 20-50 words, but it sounds exciting to say EXCEEDING). I’m not entirely sure I’m going to win this year, but I’ve decided to treat this as more than a challenge: it’s a necessity. In my mind, I’ve filed away my daily word counts with my daily medications and feeding the cats. It’s gotta happen, whether I’m in the mood or not.

This year’s project is a continuation of a current project I have going on, the working title is “The Adept”. It’s a sci fi YA novel, planned to be a trilogy. I haven’t decided on the series name yet, but it revolves around a creeptastic company called R.I.S.E., so I’m sure there’s some series name potential there. Eh, I’ll figure out that part later. First, I need to write the damn thing. Hence, NaNoWriMo.

Wish me luck!

Wife Notes

I have to brag a little and I’m not even going to apologize. 

This morning, like usual when my wife gets up before I do, she woke me with a kiss to tell me goodbye. I was so completely lost to sleep that I barely remember it, but when I finally came to a while later, I fumbled for my phone like I always do. I had barely looked at the time before I realized my phone was sitting on top of my little leather-bound notebook, a gift from my mother-in-law. We each have one, each with our zodiac constellation on the front, and we’d even used them to home our vows in our wedding ceremony.

 The notebook was open, this morning, and I knew that meant that she’d left a little something for me. It’s always a exciting feeling, but usually we only leave wife notes when one of us is gone for an extended time so the extra surprise. I sat up and snatched up the book, devouring her sweet words like my favorite candy. It was a simple message, only a few sentences, but I still feel it’s warmth even now. 

She’s still at work, regretfully working the weekend again, but we do what we have to. I’ll probably end up working from home today, too. It just makes the biggest difference knowing that she took a few minutes out of her morning to leave me that note.

Guys, I have the best wife ever. Just saying. #wifebrag

Non-Rook Happenings:

“Rook” is my main baby right now, but I’m far too much of a multitasker to focus on one thing at a time. As much as I would like to be the kind of person who just cranks out one project at a time, that’s now how I function best, so while I was getting into one of my final rounds of edits to Rook, I got distracted. As cliche as it sounds, I had a book idea come to me in a dream and I couldn’t let it rest until I began writing it.

The working title for this ‘dream book’ is currently “The Adept” (should that be underlined? It’s not a complete book yet… eh, that’s what editors are for). It starts with a barefoot teenager getting thrown out of a plane without a parachute, so that’s fun. 

I also just sent edits back on a piece that will be part of an anthology, its romance featuring a polyamorous trio, but I don’t want to give much away other than that until it’s released. I can’t wait to share the info once it’s released, I really fell in love with the characters, and honestly I might end up turning it into a much longer story at some point.

I also received the absolute best rejection email I’ve ever gotten: my submission for a different anthology wasn’t accepted… but they want to turn it into its own ebook. I’d call that a WIN. I’m extremely excited to get this rolling, but luckily it’s already written, so I just need to await edits from the publisher and get back to work on other projects.

Long story short, “Rook” is still a priority, but if I don’t let myself explore “The Adept”, I would regret it. When inspiration knocks, you don’t wait for it to knock twice, right?