Home, Sweet Home.

I missed this. I missed sitting, staring at my computer, building worlds in my head and bringing them to life on paper. I missed the smell of coffee brewing, and the screech of milk steaming. I missed the smiling faces that greet me when I walk in, laptop bag hoisted on one shoulder.

And I missed the Pacific Northwest. I missed crisp, fresh air. I missed tap water that actually tastes good. I missed friendly and genuine people, who stop four lanes of traffic to let a jaywalker cross the street. I missed craft beer made by people who have become our friends.

While we were in the land of palm trees and littered freeways, the scenery in Salem changed. Trees that only hinted at the change in seasons are now vibrant shades of orange and red. They sky is still blue, but the color isn’t as saturated as it was during the summer. It’s paling, preparing to give way to the clouds and rain that cast every thing in shades of grey.

And I love it.

Disneyland was wonderful. And exhausting. We had a wonderful time, but by Saturday we were desperate to be back. To be home. Our trip to the Happiest Place on Earth showed us just how much we love our state, city, and home.

Being home means that finally, life can go back to normal. No wedding to plan, no looming vacations. I can finally say I have free time. Although, we have no money to spend, thanks to an awesome vacation.

So, Tuesday found me sitting at Starbucks, and working. I wasn’t sure what to blog about, and actually felt good about writing, so I skipped my typical warm up and dove straight into fiction. I didn’t go crazy, but still wrote about 920 words. I’ll be finishing the chapter today.

I’m still reading ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’. It’s kind of slow towards the end, and I’m afraid to finish it, since there’s no word on the third installment. Trevor, who is an adamant non-reader, picked up a copy of the Mazerunner, and didn’t set it down until he finished it. He even stayed up into the wee hours on a work night in order to do so. We just went to Escape Fiction last night to get the next book in the series for him. Needless to say, I am thrilled.

Speaking of series, Sanderson sent his newsletter subscribers a sample chapter from the 3rd Stormlight Archive novel. It was AWESOME! And now I’m desperate for more, which is going to take forever! Drat.

There’s been progress with the Nameless Book Club, since I’ve come back. We’ve agreed on Wednesday evenings as our meeting time, and we’ll probably only meet once a month. I’m going to finalize the booklist, and then I’ll set a date for our first meeting.

School starts next week, which is nerve wracking. I’m feeling good about French, though I’m concerned about the amount of homework there’ll be. But, that’s to be expected from a 7 week online course. What I’m really excited about is my Short Story class. The text is amazing, filled with hundreds of stories from every imaginable author. I’m curious to see how the course is formatted. Will it be purely read, analyze, report? Or will there be discussion elements? I’ll find out soon enough.

I haven’t done much editing lately. I’ve got several people asking after the second draft of ‘Vessels’, and I’m starting to feel bad. I haven’t devoted nearly enough time to it. Pending my progress on ‘Jordinn’s Story’ today, tomorrow I’ll edit a couple chapters.

I’m pretty stoked about things in general right now. Life is calming down, and giving way to new adventures and lots of writing. Always a good thing.

It’s good to be back, Blogland. Now, enjoy these photos from our trip!

My Handsome Man
My Handsome Man


A Selfie with the 3D glasses, as is tradition.
A Selfie with the 3D glasses, as is tradition.

The Homestretch

Sometimes I think I should be a little more structured with my blog. When readers come here, they never really know what they’re going to get.

One day I may have some insight into writing itself, but most days I just blather on about my personal life until I can feel the writing juices are flowing.

This blog is my equivalent of Vonnegut’s scribblings. Except he had the decency to throw them away. Here I am posting them for all the world to see.

But, I’m not too motivated to change the way I blog, because it works. I’m not here to have thousands of followers, or to try and make a living. I don’t even understand how that works. How do you make money from putting your personal musings on the internet?


This blog is here as an outlet. A place where I can sit down every morning and talk about whatever strikes me, in order to wake up my brain and prepare for the hours of fiction writing ahead of me.

And let me tell you, it works.

Yesterday I wrote 3,727 words. In one sitting. I finished chapter 18, considered ending the day there, and then wrote another 800+ words for chapter 19.

And I am so excited about that! You see, my book is only 20 chapters, plus an epilogue. Today I will finish chapter 19. Do you see?

I am almost done with my second novel! And this one is actually a novel length! Well, it’s still small, but publisher’s would actually look at this one!

It’s going to cap out at about 60,000 words.

So, a week or so ago, I knew I was getting close to the end of my journey with ‘Cards’, because I started thinking about the next project. I want to work on a large fantasy piece, that’s set to be a trilogy. There are a ton of characters, all with their own point’s of view and plot lines, and I’m really excited to start it.

But, I know from previous experience that once I’m done with ‘Cards’, I’m going to need a break. Last time, I went into a sort of writing hibernation. I disappeared for the better part of six months, and I don’t want to do it again.

It’s just such a waste of time.

So, in my ‘non-writing’ time, I’m going to finish the first round of edits of ‘Vessels’. I remember liking how they were going, I just got distracted. And, if I’m not writing, I should be editing 3 chapters or so a week.

I want to get it done before the wedding. We’ve got just over a month until we say “I Do”, and I want to have this novel, and the edits for ‘Vessels’ done, so I can honeymoon guilt free.

And I still have wedding stuff I have to think about! Gah! So much work to be done!

But, I’m feeling good about it all. I finally think things are under control.

I’m off to work on this novel. I’ll talk at you later Blogland!



Goals-ish, and Metaphorical Acrobatics

Oh, Mondays. Usually a day off, the last couple have been busy. Today is no different. Today we have another shift meeting, and then I’m closing.

Really, let me be honest with myself. I am just busy.

In order of events:

Tomorrow- getting a tattoo, plan first dress fitting, purchase wedding invites
Sunday- Bridal Shower
the 29th- catering appointment
May 17th- final payment/pick up wedding rings, manicure appt., engagement photography
May 31st- have to be out of our current apartment

So, my every waking minute is filled with a torrent of wedding ideas, moving plans, and somewhere in there I’ve carved out space for writing and editing, and then within that is my personal time.

In short, I need a vacation.

So, last week’s goals. I wanted to finish chapter 12, and edit chapter 5. I finished chapter 12 on Monday, which worked out nicely, because I was a busy bee most of the week. I made a halfhearted attempt to edit chapter 5, but didn’t get very far.

So, this week I want to write chapter 13, and finish the edits on chapter 5, and maybe even edit chapter 6 while I’m at it.

But, the closer we get to July, the less time I’m going to have.

What’s left you ask?

I still have to solidify catering, though I think we’ve got it nailed down. Have to purchase invites, and then send them out. Need to make appointments for the dress fittings. Need to taste and decide on cake. We still need to book every aspect of our honeymoon(s).

I can’t think about it too much or it sort of downward spirals.

And the wedding isn’t the only stress in our lives. Trevor should hear something about the 911 job later this week, and we’re moving. There’s a lot of money heading out, but not quite enough coming in. But, I don’t want to make it about money. We’re doing well, better than a lot of people our age, and I won’t complain about finances here.

It’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve had a real weekend. It’s not anyone’s fault, but I’ve been switching a lot of shifts and requesting a lot of weird days off. And it’s only going to be worse as hurtle toward the wedding day.

If I could get a real weekend off, you know Saturday and Sunday, it would give Trevor and I time to really pack and clean and plan out wedding stuff. And it would give us some quality time together.

We’ve done well with the time we have together, and I love it. But there’s nothing quite like sleeping in together on a Sunday morning. Or going out on a Friday night, when neither of us have obligations the next day.

I want to have a normal person’s schedule. But, I can’t have that and write. At least not while I depend on Starbucks for a paycheck. Now, if I could write full time… talk about a dream.

Anyway, I should try and get some work done. Though, I’ll be honest, I’m not really feeling it right now.

It’s like I’ve been hurtling, blind, through this bog of work. And because I couldn’t really see it, I could continue. But, I’ve had several people ask me about my workload lately, and their shock at my output has made me stop and consider.

Am I working myself too hard? Probably. But I’m getting the results I want. Mostly. I’ve proven that I can take a four hour block and bust out a chapter, start to finish. I can take a chapter from rough draft to 2nd draft in two hours. It’s not a lack of ability or determination, or even discipline.

It is genuinely a shortage of time. I could write 20,000 words a week if I didn’t have a day job. But, I can’t afford not to work, nor can I afford to work part time. So my life has become a balancing act. How many things can I juggle while walking a tightrope with one arm tied behind my back?

More than I would have guessed. It’s the longevity I’m worried about. I just have to make it to August, after that I will suddenly have a lot of free time. I hope.

This post is getting a little ramble-ific, so I’m going to end it here. Wish me luck for this week. There’s a lot going on in the coming days, and I still want to make my goals. I’m in need of the good vibes.



Week 10 Summary, Pt. 2

Before I get into full swing on Pt. 2, I have a couple things to talk about.

1. Sorry for this post being a day late. I started a new blog yesterday, The Disney Honeymoon Challenge, and all my spare time found itself wound up in designing and posting over there.

2. I wanted to talk a little about audience. This blog, for instance, has a pretty limited audience. It’s intended for writers. Whether they write blogs, fiction, or nonfiction doesn’t much matter, but the blog focuses on writing topics, so that’s who it’s geared for. I imagined that, on WordPress, writers would be quite a broad audience. But, the new blog has already seen more views in a day than this one has ever seen in one day. And here’s my thoughts why.

First of all, it’s Disney. Disney is a huge, extremely recognizable name. It also is generally loved. Millions of people are obsessed by all things Disney. Myself included.  So, there’s that. But it’s also about relationships, love, and marriage, and how these things are reflected in Disney films. Suddenly I have a blog that is relatable to just about everyone. And it shows.

Already I’ve had several people ask me if the new blog’s initial success makes me feel bad about this blog. The answer is, ‘no’. They are two totally different animals. And the writing blog is more for my own well-being and understanding of my craft.

The Disney blog is for fun!

But, having two blogs is definitely time consuming. Already I’m wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m not one for giving up. I’ll find a way to balance two blogs, writing, editing, wedding planning, and 40 hour work weeks…

…I think.

Now, back to Lecture #10!

We left off talking about Agents. What they do, and what to look out for when you go about acquiring one. But now, let’s talk about the Arguments Against Agents.

The Eternal Rewrite.
—-> How much time do you want to give to this Agent? If you’re editing before they’ll agree to represent your work, you’re not getting paid. So set limits. How many rewrites are you willing to do for this Agent? Do you agree with what they’re saying about your manuscript?
—-> Send to other Agents while you revise for this one. Don’t limit yourself.

Incentive to Go Bigger.
—-> They might not fight to get that extra money.
—-> You need to know the business, demand rejection letters, know where and to whom they’re sending your work.
—-> Be proactive, work with your Agent

Remember, an Agent is there to give you advice, NOT manage your career.

Getting a good Agent is about the same as getting published. But, keep in mind that Sci-Fi/Fantasy Houses tend to do their own quirky stuff, an Agent may not even be necessary.

Brandon then realized that we probably don’t have much understanding of the Book Market, so he broke it down for us.

Nonfiction > Fiction
Children’s > Adult
Romance > Everything Else
Thrillers > Everything Else

And Sci-Fi/Fantasy is WAAAAAAY down here. But, Sci-Fi/Fantasy tends to be very open to new authors.

You need to be an expert on Publishing Houses and Genres. The more you know, the better your chances.

And then there’s a little tidbit: 40% of people who buy a book online have looked at a physical copy in a bookstore.

So, Brandon lists Sci-Fi/Fantasy Publishers:

Del Rey/Bantam/Spectra
Simon & Scheuster

Look up Editors, look at the books they’re producing—-> Buy them, read them, learn what they’re looking for. Also, pay attention to Book Labels. Who are your favorite books published by? Read the acknowledgments.

Knowing specific editors at TOR is very important, they are basically autonomous, and publish things they like.

So, how do you get to know editors and agents?

Go to conventions!
—-> see them at panels
—-> ask them detailed questions about what they’re working on

Big cons that you need to start attending are:

World Fantasy Convention
The Nebula Weekend

See if an Editor you like writes a blog, if they do read it, leave comments!

Also, there are submission guidelines for a reason. Read them, understand them, and adhere to them. Don’t get your manuscript tossed without being read because you didn’t use the right font.

Someone in the class asked if they should register a copyright before sending their manuscript out. Brandon laughed. Basically, your work is NOT going to get stolen in New York. Publishers want your skill, not your ideas.

Remember, ideas are cheap.

So, don’t register a copyright, it immediately labels you as a noob.

And then Brandon said something that made me happy. He said we should be doing it all. We should be writing short stories and getting them published, while submitting our longer works to Publishers as well as Agents. Do it all!

I then wrote, ‘Google this shit. This is hard, but you have to do it.’ Obviously, Brandon didn’t drop the S-word in his lecture, but occasionally, I leave motivating messages to myself.

Anyway, I’ve ignored ‘The Portrait’ for a few days, and I need to get back to it.

Have a great day, Blogland!