Hello, New Year

Technically it isn’t the new year yet, but I think we’re all ready for it.  2015, it’s been fun, but I’m ready for a fresh start.  I’m ready to get back to reading and writing, but I’m also ready to get back to my passion for being outside, for traveling, for photography.  Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, there is no doubt, and my family and I enjoyed a spectacular Christmas.  But it’s time for a new adventure.

I’m finally at the point in my life where I can tell people what I want and not be hesitant or afraid of what they’ll think.  I’m also finally at the point where I know for sure that yes, this is what I want, beyond the shadow of a doubt.  And what I want is to be able to fully support myself with my books and my writing.  I want that freedom.  I think that’s all I’ve ever really wanted.  The physical world is full of limitations, but with words, with books, anything is possible.  That’s what I love most.

In 2016, I want to read more, support more authors, write more reviews.  I want to publish at least three more books.   I want to take better care of myself (the typical I’m going to eat healthier and exercise more resolution).  But most of all, I want to hold on to why I do what I do.  I want to remember all of the extraordinary things that life has to offer.  I want adventure and blue skies and oceans and mountains.

Welcome, welcome 2016.  I’m ready for you.

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  In some ways, it feels like it’s been a long time coming.  In other ways, it doesn’t feel possible.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve?  What?  When did that happen?

The last few days (weeks, actually) have flown by.  I attended the wedding of two of my dearest friends from high school, my family and I took an outdoor adventure to the Arboretum, and of course, I’ve been baking magic bars and wrapping presents like crazy.  I’m so, so, so excited for Christmas morning to get here.  I just hope I’ve savored and appreciated the holiday season enough.

The Arboretum was beautiful and wintry.

We also enjoyed a stroll through the DeGolyer House, which I remain convinced is haunted but the staff tells me otherwise.  They had a beautiful display of creches and nativities arranged throughout the whole house.

Finally, I just had to share some of these pictures from friends and reviewers.  There is a lot of holiday book love going around!

In case we don’t speak again until after, I hope you all have the most blessed and bright of Christmases!  Love and peace to all.

 

Interpretations

Last night, a few friends and I went to see the new Macbeth movie with Michael Fassbender.  It was pretty good, beautiful if nothing else, but it definitely took its artistic liberties when it came to staying true to Shakespeare.  For example, more than a few of my favorite lines and passages were cut.  Sure, this is to make due for timing, but they could have cut out about ten seconds of Macbeth’s eight-hour-long death scene to make room for the line, “Here it not Duncan, for it is a knell that summons thee to Heaven or to hell…”

That’s one of my favorite lines in all of Shakespeare!  Didn’t happen.  Oh well.

After the movie, we went and discussed a few of the choices that the screenwriters and the director made in regards to staying true to the original source material and their interpretations.  Throughout the conversation, I found myself thinking back to something that I learned in a poetry class in college.

When you write a book, you’re not just writing one book.  You’re actually writing three: the book itself, the book that you, as the author, knows it, and the book that the reader interprets.

I found that fascinating, and all too true.  No reader interprets the same book the same way.  No one sees a story exactly the same way.  The world of Harry Potter, for example.  Although millions of people have read the same book, we all experienced it in a different way.  We all visualized it a different way.  Harry Potter is actually millions and millions of different books and stories and experiences, and none are more or less real or true than another.

Then I started thinking about fan fiction, and how fans will take characters from author’s stories and make them their own, and tell different stories.  For example, one of my good friends asked me when Luke Rainer was going to come out of the closet.  Now, I’ve never really imagined Luke as gay, but I’ve never specified that he’s straight either.  And even if I did, it is fully within my readers’ rights to imagine my characters in any way that they want.

What’s true for one reader might not be true for another.  To me, Fred Weasley will never be dead.  I remain CONVINCED that George figured out a way to go back and save him.  Since neither were mentioned in the epilogue and no burial took place, I believe than anything is possible.  I’m also pretty convinced that the true villains of Frozen were the trolls.  I’m inclined to think they MADE Hans evil so that Kristoff could have Anna.  But that’s a whole other conspiracy theory.

In the City

Hello, friends!  Just a quick update!  I may not have any more deadlines for a while (Yay!) but life is still as busy as ever!

I’ve been enjoying a wonderful few days, celebrating the impending Christmas season with friends and family.

A few of my girlfriends and I had a Christmas crafts night.

Then my mom and my sister and I took a trip downtown to see the world premiere of the opera Becoming Santa Claus.

And life is only going to get busier!  Tonight, my friend and I are taking my sister out to celebrate her birthday.  Tomorrow night, a group of my friends from high school and I are going with our English teacher (our Mr. Feeny, if you will) to see MacBeth.  Thursday night, I’m going to a bachelorette party and Saturday is the wedding!  So much fun and merriment and all the while I keep thinking, “Oh my goodness!  I have to get the new book out!”  Then I remember it’s already out and I think to myself, “Oh, yay!  I love it when that happens!”

The new book is doing great.  And Boy Band is getting some new love because of it!

I’ve had two reviews in the past week that I particularly love.  One is from a new friend down in Mexico named Bryan.  You can check out his review here!

He also took this fabulous picture and I’ve got to be honest, it’s one of my favorite book portraits ever.

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The other is a review I believe I already shared, but I love it so much, I’m just going to share it again.

I love all my readers and reviewers and friends so, so much!  I don’t know if you realize it, but you make so many dreams come true just by doing what you love!  Thank you, thank you!

I hope you all are enjoying this most wonderful time of the year.

Wonderful Christmastime

Hi, friends!  Well, the new book is out, I enjoyed a wonderful evening at the Sanger Library as my last public book even for the year… I’m ready to enjoy the holidays!

It’s funny, I’ve had so many deadlines this year that every time I look at my phone and see the date, I think, “Oh my gosh! I need to hurry up and…”  And then I remember that I HAVE no more deadlines this year!  Yay!  It’s a pretty great feeling.  Not gonna lie.  And I’m proud of myself for sticking to them.  Now I just have to get them out of my head and relax and enjoy.  I’ve never considered myself a workaholic, but I am very goal oriented and I usually have to have SOMETHING I’m working on or toward or else I just don’t know what to do with myself.

But I DO have a lot of things to work on.  For one thing, I’m beta-reading my good friend’s first book!  Her name is April, but you might know her as A Well Read Woman.  I’m very much enjoying her book.  It’s taking me a bit longer to read than most books, however, because I’m going through and making notes.  I really enjoy beta-reading, especially because it means I get to read books before they’re released!

April was also sweet enough to read Boy Band and she wrote one of my most favorite reviews of all time.

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And no, I don’t JUST love it because she included a One Direction gif.

After I’m finished beta-reading, I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the books on my TBR list for 2015.  I’m not sure I’ll finish them all by January 1, but I WILL finish.

If I could have one wish this Christmas, it would be for independent authors everywhere to enjoy the same amount of recognition, respect, and readership as our traditionally published colleagues.  If you have a reader in your life, visit Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com and check out an independently published book.  I guarantee you you will make an author’s Christmas dream come true.  A reader’s as well.

Love you all!

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21

Today, my little sister turns 21.  I could very well make this a sentimental post about how she’s my best friend in the world and how she’s crossing a major milestone and how I’m so thankful to have her in my life, and all of that would be very, very true.  I don’t know where I’d be without her.

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In honor of her birthday, I decided to release my new book, Backstage, the sequel to Boy Band, a day early on Kindle.  I did this, in part, because she loves the first book so much.  We’re both big boy band fans in real life, and she was the one who really pushed me to finish the first book and to publish it.  She enjoyed Cemetery Tours also, but not like Boy Band.

That being said, I hope you all enjoy the second book!  I did my best not to end it on as BIG a cliffhanger as the first one, but rest assured there is a third one in the works!  Sam and Mel’s story isn’t quite finished yet!

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Love you all!

Backstage on Kindle

 

The Writer’s Christmas List

Hello, friends!  How are all of you?  Sadly, I am still battling The Crud.  I thought I was getting better, but then Monday night I had a bit of a relapse and it hasn’t gone away.  It’s not horrible, but it makes you feel just gross enough to not want to do anything.  Blah.  Thankfully, I get to work from home so I don’t have to go out and infect the rest of the world.  Unfortunately, in my sickly state, I don’t want to work.  I just want to sit around and snuggle with my kitty and watch Disney movies.

As I was getting ready for bed last night, I couldn’t help but think that this virus has seriously gotten in the way of my Christmas shopping.  And THAT gave me an idea for a blog post.

Ladies and Gents, may I present to you…

The Best Gifts To Give To Your Writer Friend This Holiday Season.

*Please note I am NOT writing this as a suggestive hint that all of you need to buy me presents.  This is just a fun little list that I came up with for all writers.  Not that I speak for all writers.  You know what I mean.*

  1. Books.  This one, I think, kind of goes without saying.  We’re writers.  The only thing we love more than writing is reading.  You can never go wrong with books.
  2. Gift Cards.  Let’s face it, most writers are poor.  And even if we’re not, we can be hard to shop for.  Gift Cards, especially to Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or Starbucks are always appreciated.
  3. A Bottle of Wine.  Insert stereotype that authors really, really, really like to drink here.
  4. Scented Candles.  Okay, maybe this is just me, but I love lighting a scented candle while I work.  It brings me so much peace and makes my work environment so pleasant.  12246903_10206808044093322_3679859631548650627_n
  5. Scarves.  We’re writers.  We love scarves.
  6. Homemade Cookies.  Honestly, this is probably the best present of all.  I’d so much rather have a good friend make me something (especially something chocolate) than go out and buy me something.
  7. A Book Review.  The very best gift you can give to any writer anywhere is a book review.  Just a few short sentences about how much you enjoyed their book.  Book reviews are invaluable to writers.  It’s free and it only takes about three minutes of your time, if that.  Best.  Present.  Ever.
  8. Giving Their Book as a Gift.  You want to make a writer’s holiday season merry and bright?  Give their book as a gift to someone else.  That is better than buying the writer themselves a car.  Okay maybe not, but it’s almost just as good.
  9. Donate to a Good Cause.  Last year, instead of buying gifts, my mother donated to charities in our relatives’ names.  I thought that was a great gift.  Great causes to donate to for your writer friends include literacy and education charities.  Also the Humane Society because everyone loves animals.
  10. Quality Time.  To me, nothing is better than quality time spent with those you love.  Take your favorite writer friend out to dinner, or go drive around a look at Christmas lights and drink some hot chocolate.  Bake cookies and watch a Christmas movie.  It’s the season for gift-giving, true, but it’s more so the season to love and appreciate the people in your life.  It’s the moments, not the gifts, that will last a lifetime.

 

December Tidings

Hello, friends!

Oh my goodness, it feels like it’s been a while since I last posted.  Probably because it has been.  This has been quite a week though, let me tell you!

First of all, I hope all my American friends had a splendid Thanksgiving full of good food and good times spent with family and friends.  My Thanksgiving was pretty excellent, although as soon as I got home from our friends’ house, my throat began to hurt and I spent the next three days on the couch with The Crud that’s going around.  Thanks, Dad.  Fortunately, I didn’t get it nearly as bad as he did.

In much more exciting news, IT IS FINALLY DECEMBER!  It’s time for snowflakes and hot chocolate and Christmas lights and movie nights by the fire and all those wonderful winter things!  Now of course, once Christmas is over, I won’t be nearly as excited about the cold, but for the next 25 days, bring on the winter chill!

Even though it’s only the first day of December, it’s already turning out to be an incredibly busy month.  I’m giving a talk tonight at a local library about NaNoWriMo and what to do after you’ve finished your manuscript.  If I can figure out how to post the Power Point presentation here, I will.

I’m also giving another talk at another library NEXT week, but I need to check in and make sure everything is still on schedule for that!

Also… BACKSTAGE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN EXACTLY ONE WEEK!  I’m so excited for y’all to read it.  I would post the first chapter here, but it contains MAJOR spoilers for the first book, so I’m afraid y’all are just going to have to wait a week!  You can, however, enter to win a signed copy of BOTH BOOKS on GoodReads.

Once Backstage is released, I’m going to take some time just to enjoy the holidays, spend time with family and friends.  But I’m also going to be investigating a few new publishing platforms as well as a few new projects.  Oh, and I’m also going to be catching up on a LOT of reading.  My goodness, I am so behind.

Happy December, everyone!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

(Except for, you know, when it’s warm and sunny).