Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Five tips for a successful semester, or a crazy life

 The semester ended as it had begun, with a little rain. 

My first semester at Arizona State University has ended, or at least for me. My professors are all in grading mode and I am anxiously waiting for my grades.

This semester was SO not what I had expected. I don't know why I thought I would breeze through. I am studying what I love after all. Still, majoring in English is a bit crazy. I don't think I have ever read so much or written so many papers in such a short period of time. CRAZY.

About a month in I had a bit of a breakdown. I felt as if I had taken on way too much, and in effect was failing those who needed me. There were a lot of tears involved. I ended up loosing a bit of weight (not really complaining about that side effect ;) But the scales were a sure sign that I was not okay. It all culminated in a conversation I had one morning with my fourteen-year-old in the car on the way to drop him off at the high school.

He said, "Mom, you don't smile anymore."

Yikes! Having seen a bit of that in my own youth, it kind of freaked me out. I do not want my kids to remember me as that unhappy woman rushing around all the time.

Education is so not worth it. So, something had to change.

At that moment I didn't want to drop out, but I definitely wanted to quit after the end of the semester.

I talked to several people whose opinion I trusted. What do I do? Can I do this and not let those around me down? Being a mother, you can't help worry about these things. I think the need to be selfless is engrained in us all. So, how do we find a balance? Can we find a balance?

First off, my husband said that I was not dropping out. I love that man. He reminded me that this has been my goal for forever, and that my family can support me. But, BUT, I don't have to be perfect. I don't need to be the top of the class. I do have a problem with obsessing on things, and giving a 110% when 80% will get the job done. Balance, BALANCE!

SO, I made a list of what needed to change before I lost my mind completely. I came up with Five things that I needed to do to survive.  And, do you know what? They worked. The second half of the semester, which has much heavier of a work load, went much smoother.

I'm sharing them because they may make a difference for someone, even if their crazy isn't school, but work, or projects, or assignments. Whatever.

Number One
No one cares if you are the best, so why should you?
This goes back to me being the top of the class. I think sometimes we kill ourselves to create something over-the-top, when good will do. This one was so hard for me, because it is just my personality to steamroll in. And do you know what? I lessened my load and still got all A's (unless I bombed my final papers). Weird, huh. I don't think my work was any less quality, I just didn't bend over backwards killing myself to get the A's. I did what was asked, kept things simple, and that was it.

Number Two
Schedule time, then let it go.
In the beginning of the semester I would do my homework, (usually while my kids were in school), but then, when my kids were home, all I was thinking about was school and the long list of assignments that needed to get done. I was present but I wasn't. What I really was, was a wreck. I couldn't sleep, could barely talk to people because what was going on in my head was so overwhelming. I had several lunch dates with friends and they kept looking at me like I was this caged animal ready to pounce at any moment. They used soothing words, and kept their tone calm to not startle me.
What did I do to fix this?
I scheduled my time. I said, I am going to work on my homework from time A to time B, and then I am going to let it go. I had to force myself not to think about my workload. It took a bit of work, but eventually It worked. It was amazing, how much happier I was once I learned to separate my focus.

Number Three
Me time, isn't school time.
Though my going to school is for me, it isn't my outlet. The opposite actually. But, I did need an outlet. I needed a space to go and have fun, relieve all of that pent up stress. But, though I love my family, it needed to be me time, and time with family is fun but it is impossible for me to  get out of mom mode. This is where my two closest friends came in.
We meet almost every Monday for lunch. Most of the time I do not want to go. They know this, and still love me. I am an introvert by nature, I love nothing more that secluding myself in my house like a hermit crab.
 I usually have excuses. I always have a heavy work load on Mondays, and my house is always a disaster after the weekend. Still, they tell me I am going anyway. And I go (usually because they pick me up). And, I am ALWAYS so glad I went. It's two hours of my week where I smile, and laugh, and can act like I am sixteen again…without the pimples.
Women need women. . . need I say more.
What do you do when your husband is super sick on Thanksgiving? You go to Village Inn.
See, not perfect but look at those smiles!
Love this family of mine.

Number Four
Don't forget who matters.
This one ties into number two. My kids are not going to be kids forever. If I don't get this right, my biggest regret is going to be that I missed out on their childhood because I was too consumed elsewhere.
There is no accolade that can possibly bring me more joy that these four kids of mine. They are AMAZING people. I have no idea how I got so lucky. My most favorite moments are when I get to talk to them one-on-one. They really are fascinating.
So, if my kid needs me to miss class so I can go on a field trip with them to the Musical Instrument Museum, I am going to miss class. If my daughter wants me to go to science camp with her, (a three day outing with over a hundred 11 year-olds), and miss listening to a guest lecturer from the Arizona Republic Newspaper, I am going to miss the lecture.
These four give me more meaning, more purpose, than anything the world offers. Yes, it is important that they see there mother going to school and working hard on her goals, but it is more important that they know, that no matter what, they come first.

Number Five
It's not all about you.
What! The world doesn't revolve around me?
During my not so great period, I talked to my older brother, because who doesn't give better advise than a big brother?
I told him how I was feeling. One of the first things he asked me was if I was doing any service. Wait, what? Didn't I just finish telling him how overwhelming my life was? I do not have time for service. "Do service," he tells me. "It doesn't have to be big. Just do something nice for someone else everyday."
Hm. I thought about this for a while. I am great with service when it is assigned to me, but on my own, I revert to my introvert ways. So, I opened myself up and looked around me. I took the time to really see people instead of just nodding as I passed them. What I have come up with are not huge, and I doubt anyone has really even noticed, but I have tried to be kinder, friendly, more involved in other's lives. I ask others how they are doing and listen. No, I am not going to get the Nobel Peace Prize, but this is what I can offer right now.

My brother is right. When your life feels as if it is crashing around you, there is nothing better than looking outside of that life and making someone else's a little brighter. I think of all the things I changed this is the one that made the biggest difference for me. Doing more, actually lightened my load considerably.

These are my epiphanies of the semester, take it for what it's worth.  We are all busy, and I think we all have, at times, bitten off more than we can chew. Hopefully someone will find this helpful.

Now, I am off for a month. My goals are a bit of painting, revisions on my novel, and enjoying the holidays with my family. Wish me luck! Good luck to you, too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Weekend As A Travel Writer

WARNING! This post is going to be a photo overload.

Life has been a bit nuts. When I started school this last semester I had no idea what I was in for. The non-stop craziness that is my day-to-day is a bit overwhelming. I have been working on a post where I put into words my feeling, but so far it is just random thoughts. So, I am saving that until I am able to articulate myself properly. It may take me awhile.

Anyway, one of the benefits of going to college is that I have been able to gain some amazing experiences. This last weekend is a perfect example. 

Those of you who follow me on Instagram, or Facebook have seen quite a lot of pictures of me and horses. Here is why . . .

For my final project in my travel writing class, we have been asked to write a lenghty travel article. We have to actually go to the location we choose, which limits our options a bit. Then we are to  give a 10-15  minute PowerPoint presentation on wherever we went and our writing process. 

While I was brainstorming, a horse trail I took with my husband and kids came to mind. We had gone to the White Mountains last Spring. We were camping and it was snowing. It had been a crazy weekend. On our second to last day we came across a stable at the base of the Sunrise Ski Resort. There we met this Apache Native American that gave horseback tours. Despite the cold, it was amazing. 

I thought, how awesome would it be to go again, and this time interview the Native American Guide. (I need quotes for the article). 

So, I pitched this idea to my professor. He loved the idea. 

The only problem is that the stable is four hours away, and my time is limited. I knew I did not want to do this by myself, but I also knew my husband could not get off work, nor did my kids want to miss school. Yes I know, it is weird that my kids would rather be in school than go on a trip to the mountains. I have no idea where they get it from.

I have been dreading making plans, because I didn't want to do this alone. Last minute I threw out the idea to a couple of my closest friends, that maybe they should come with. I would rent a cabin in Greer and we could make it a girls night away. And wouldn't you know it, they were all in. 


First off, the weather was perfect. The fall leaves were all gone and the mountain was settling in for winter. You know, those few weeks where the air braces itself for the snow. 

The cabin was this cute rusting building, very picturesque. I wanted something I could photograph incase our guide cancelled and I needed a backup story. 

We met our guide, Kicker, Monday afternoon. I was a bit nervous to interview him, mainly because I needed good quotes, and I really had no idea what I was doing. I am not sure what he thought of me, but he was so kind. His thoughts were really quite beautiful. He seems like a humble man, and very inspiring as well. I know if I do this right, he will make for a fascinating story. Talking to him was just as much fun as going on the trail ride. 

Don't I just look so official? Too funny.

Then the horses. This was a riot. I have very limited experience. My friend Melanie has even less, and of course Heather was the pro, because that girl has done everything. For whatever reason, the horses were in a mood to trot, so my backside is still paying the price. I couldn't figure out how to prevent my tush from bouncing on the saddle. Please don't try to picture this. Kicker recommended I move like Beyonce. Then he demonstrated. He was a much better Beyonce than I could every be, hence the bruising I have sustained. 

We all took loads of pictures. 

Hands down, it was one of the funnest two days I have had in a very long time. There is nothing better than being in a beautiful place, having an adventure with two of your closest friends. I think we all laughed a little harder than normal. Our jokes were definitely funnier than they would have been if we were in Mesa. I think we were all a bit drunk on the novelty of not having to take care of anyone else. 

These ladies were wonderful sports, and I will be forever grateful for them for supporting me. Though, I am not surprised because that is just who these ladies are. 

So anyway, it's time to put this travel article together. Can you believe it? I am already getting ready for finals! This weekend gave me just enough of a breather to push me through to the end, but I am so ready for winder break.

Once I finish the article, I will publish it here. The best in the class will be submitted for publication in the Arizona Republic Newspaper, so wish me luck!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yep, I'm going there. Let's talk about New Adult

Recently, in my writing circles we have been talking a lot about the new genre New Adult. Which isn't abnormal because it really is what many in the industry are talking about.

So, what is it? Isn't that the million dollar question?

I first heard the term a few years ago. THEN, I had it described to me as novels in which the main character is between the ages of 18 to say… 25-30.

My first thought was that this is a fabulous idea. Why hadn't someone thought of it sooner? Those early adult years are really quite distinct. There are challenges that we face during those years that are specific to that time in our lives. So, of course it should have it's own genre.

I have even thought of writing for that age. As a student at Arizona State University, I sit on the sidelines to observe those who are in the thick of it.

My current work in process has a lead that is seventeen and a love interest that is in his early twenties. I have often thought that this story would make a great New Adult book.

Well, not exactly….. and here is why.

NOW,  what has been coming out labeled as New Adult is filled with explicit sexual content, abuse, and drug usage. In an article I read recently an editor stated that if you submit your book to her, and label it New Adult, she expects your novel to have those elements in it (sex, drugs, abuse, raw content). If it does not, she assumes you mislabel it.

Also, an interesting observation that I have made is that, a few years ago, when the New Adult market was primarily self-published books, most agents and editors assumed that this new genre was just a fad, that it wouldn't last long. Their reasoning being that New Adult still fits in the Adult category. (I even went to a conference a year ago where that view was expressed by a few agents). Now, with novels like Fifty Shades of Grey (where the main character is a college student) exploding, they are seeing dollar signs.

Sex sells. How many times have we all heard this? But still! I think we are selling this young group of adults short.

I am not naive. Like I said, I am a student at ASU, ranked one of the top party schools in the country. BUT, I still feel that this time in their lives is about more that just experimenting physically. They are here to learn… with their BRAINS, after all. Yes, they are finding out who they are, what their values are, and core beliefs. They can do this without partying there brains out and being promiscuous.

You hear that students! You will only get one body in this life, so you had better take care of it. In twenty years your body will be reprimanding you if you don't treat it well.

Okay, that was a major rant, but to my credit, these are the people I spend my time with, and boy do I think they are underestimated.

I asked several students in my American Lit class today what they thought of Fifty Shades of Grey. Only one admitted to reading it (though, I am sure others had but were embarrassed to admit it). She said she could only get through the first book because the writing was so bad. SEE! these students are smarter than we give them credit.

The truth is, it is easy to write a physical relationship. A B and C happens, which of course = Love. Wrong. What is hard, is to write a relationship between two people that is based on an emotional connection. One that is felt in the words they use, or the words they don't, and in the very air around them, not in the way their bodies react on a chemical level. These 18-25 year-olds are smart, they can handle a little depth. And depth doesn't mean a novel that plays out like a bad country song.

Having said ALL that, here is my questions… What do we do? Do we sit back and let these stereotypes take over this genre. Do we only offer these types of books to our younger readers? Or, do we try to change the definition of New Adult? Because, I think this genre might be here to stay.

Honestly, I don't know the answer. There are already exceptions to the rule, but are those exceptions able to make a difference? I don't know. What do you all think? I would love to get the take from an author who writes clean New Adult novels.

Anyway, I hope this doesn't offend. this is just my opinion, for what its worth.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Do I really want to dig that deep?

I am taking a break from essay writing to write a little post. It has been FOREVER.

School is going fabulous. Thanks for asking. ;)

It's crazy how much reading is required when you are enrolled in 4 English classes and one History class. But, I do love it.

For my Writing a Personal History for an Audience class we were asked to come up with five events  from our childhood that we could write a five-ten page, SINGLE spaced, story about. The trick is that these stories have to be interesting to readers and you have to invoke all five senses in the writing. After we post our ideas the class picks what story they want you to write.

 At first I thought, sure, no big deal. Then, as I started actually brainstorming I realized how difficult this was going to be. thinking of a story from my childhood that is interesting, one that I am willing to share in depth, is not easy. I

I have spend weeks meditating. No seriously, I just sit on my sofa and try to remember my childhood in as much detail as I can. Man, how my brain hurts. I have been racking my brain trying to remember what happened that long ago.

A little over a week ago I dropped my two sons off with their cousin at a football game at my old high school, (GO JACKRABBITS!!!) Holy Moly. Driving down Southern Ave, seeing all of that purple and gold, (horrible school colors, BTW), I got the strongest sense of nostalgia. Yeah, I grew up in the hood, but man, did I love it. With the school song running through my mind "Carry on. . ." I stopped by good old Nielson's Custard, that got my taste buds reminiscing. I would not go back for anything, I was a shy teenager who was not the most comfortable in her own skin, but I do appreciate how lucky I was to have the teenage years that I did.

Later I got out the old photo albums. That was interesting, and remembered things that had long been forgotten.


My twenty year high school reunion is coming up. Yes, I am that old.  I have been inundated on Facebook by different posts/ and pics from my high school days. Great timing, because I needed the added inspiration.

After this last week of purple and gold, the stories seemed to write themselves. They are all documented and submitted. Now I am crossing my fingers, hoping for the story I want to write to be the story others want to hear. You never know.

Okay now, back to my essay on The Scarlet Letter, Can This Book Be More Melodramatic? Seriously, Hester should have ditched that town in chapter one and told Dimmsdale to stop being such a self obsessed weenie.

My Brother and I

High School 

Always a Princess 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Upholstery 101

As many of you know, a few months ago I purchased this old sofa on craigslist. The idea was that I was going to reupholster it then resell it for a profit.

That was when I was contemplating hiring an editor for my recent work in progress, (my novel). Everything is on hold for a bit while I am waiting on responses to submissions, so that means no professional edits for now.

After my sister and I finished the sofa, a friend of mine dropped by and told me, rather forcibly, that I needed to keep this sofa. It does fit in perfectly with my living room decor…. and who was I kidding, it was going to be imposable to part with the thing.
See, I had to keep it. 

Many people have expressed interest in learning how to reupholster. It really isn't hard, at least the way I do it. I am self taught so this is just my way. I am sure if you asked a professional you would probably do a few things differently.

So, for those of you who would like to get your feet wet, here is what I recommend.

#1 Start with something free. If you don't have a lot of money invested into the project and it doesn't turn out it won't freak you out, though of course it is going to turn out awesome. I recommend doing that chair you contemplated throwing away, or bench, ottoman or sofa.

#2 Whether it's a chair or something large like a sofa, for your first time pick a simple piece. Avoid tufting, (only at first, I LOVE tufting), or something with a lot of trim work, pleating or piping .

#3 If you don't like to sew, or don't know how, find a nice friend or hire someone to cover the cushions.  I have done both, but if I am good on budget I hiring it out. I can sew but I don't like messing with it.

#4 Buy fabric when you find it on sale. Fabric is EXPENSIVE. If you are not careful, it could cost you the same to recover a sofa as it does to buy a new one. Or, if you are careful it can cost you under $100.

#5 As far as fabric goes, your first time, pic a solid fabric that is sturdy and doesn't fray easily.

#6 for your first time go ahead and use a hand powered stapler, but if you want to continue, invest in an electric or air staple gun.

Now that you are ready, how do you get started?

#1 The removal. This is the part that I do not like. I don't care how nice the sofa was, when you take off the fabric it is going to be gross, dusting, yucky.

You can use a flat screwdriver and needle-nose-pliers to remove the staples or you can buy specialty tools for this at your local reupholster store.  Wear gloves or you will cut up your hands. I have man hands so I no longer care.

  • Remove the legs and the underlining. 
  • The back piece is next. Take a Sharpie and write the number 1 on the outer back. Then I label the top and bottom. 
  • Next is the outer sides. Then I write two. On these pieces I label left and right, top and bottom. 
  • I move on to the inner sides and back, then finally the bottom front. I continue to label the number in which I removed it. 
So, why do I number the fabric? Well, I number it because when I reupholster, I do it in the opposite order of how I removed it.  So lets say I numbered from 1-8, when I recover it I would start with number 8 first then go back to one.

Be very mindful as you remove the fabric, of how it was originally assembled. Every piece is different and so it will save you a lot of heart ache if you try to put it together the same way.

#2 The cut.  I then use the nastily fabric that I have just removed as a template to cut the new fabric. 

#3. The fun part. When stapling the new fabric on, make sure you pull the fabric extra tight because over time, like all fabric, it will relax. 

Lastly, give yourself a break. You will see flaws, there will be flaws at first. BUT, most likely only you will see them.  

Here are some pictures of my latest project. SO FUN!!!

Notice the nails? Yep you can tell this is hard work.

It matches my dinning room perfectly!!!! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Jen, the Circus Lion

As summer has been winding down and school is beginning to wind up I feel as if I have been doing nothing but jumping through hoops.

This time of year is always crazy for me. My kids are anxious and needing to get back into a structured environment. I am ready for some structure of my own, too.

I don't know about all of you, but summers are lethal to my house. I have spent the last week digging through my kids closets, (being horrified by the horror!!!) throwing everything away I can. I am not a sentimental mom, so if my kids what to save anything from their childhood to give to their own children  one day they are out of luck.

Right now our days are filled with running to this school meeting for one kid, then another meeting for another.  I have been making sure the kids are up to date with their Dr. visits for shots and sports. I have an endless list of school supplies to buy (planing on being broke for the unforeseeable future). And, the fall is our crazy sports season for the kids so right now I have to get all of that ready. This is the time of year where I go, go, go. I pretty much live in my car.

Then there is my schooling. taking about hoops. It seems that ASU is struggling to believe that I have lived in Arizona for the last thirty years. Sometime today, I will be hauling myself and my kids down to the university to get that straightened out. But I am registered, and I have ordered most of my books. I am excited and nervous and a bit ill all at the same time. I go from anticipation to wondering what the heck I am thinking.

And like any lion that is asked to jump through hoops in this crazy circus, I am a bit grumpy. What I really want to do is sit on the sofa with a book.  Or better yet, write for hours on end.

I have been semi productive with my writing. This summer I did a total overhaul on my recent novel. After finishing this latest version I loaned it out to several teenagers…boys and girls. This was frightening. The one thing I know about teenagers, having two of my own, is that they are brutally honest. This is a good quality in a beta reader, yet, I was still nervous, (I didn't want to cry in front of a fourteen-year-old, which I knew I would do if they told me they hated my story.) It seems like I worried needlessly because the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. There really is something incredible about watching the eyes of a youth light up as they talk about your characters and your stories. I can definitely get used to this.  THIS is why I write.

So anyway, while I am waiting to hear back on submissions I am inching my way through the sequel. I am so busy with all of the hoops that this process is taking much longer than I would like. An hour here or there is not a fun way to write a novel, but I am progressing. (Sorry to anyone waiting to read part 2 because it may take me a while).

Sometimes you just have to trudge through and do what you can and call it good. At least that's my philosophy. I am ready to put a close on this summer chapter. It has been a blast, but all good things must come to an end, right?

Here is a few pics of the summer….

Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Yeah, flowers like this don't grow in Arizona.

Donut Falls. FREEZING!

Park City

White Mountains AZ

Snowed in!

Rockin' the roller coasters. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saying goodbye to the Bridal Vail Falls of my childhood

When I was a child my family went on many, many road trips. My father, who is now in his 80’s still thinks he needs to drive up to Globe (a three hour  trip) once a week.

My memories of these trips are all wonderful. I remember driving through Oak Creek Canyon in the pouring rain, being excited when we saw those dinosaurs on the way to Disneyland, and then there is the vast openness of the Navajo reservation between Flagstaff and Utah.

I love to drive. I am married to a non lover of road trips so we don’t do them nearly as often as when I was a kid, which is fine because my kids seems to have inherited my husband’s preferences to driving long distances.

This last week we did make it up to Utah for the 4th of July. It’s been six years since we have made this trip. We seemed to have taken the Arizona heat with us since it was over 100 degrees there most of the week, yet, we still had a great time. My husband, who is a mountain man at heart, fell in love with the trails surrounding the city. He fished and biked, we all hikes, and picnicked, and had an overall amazing week with my Utah family.

On Sunday we decided to head down to Provo where the Bridal Vail Falls are. Now, these falls are what I remember of the Utah from my childhood. I hate heights, yet, I would be suckered intro riding the tram to the top. Living in the desert, one doesn’t see much water. I remember thinking the falls were the most beautiful things created.

Fast-forward seventeen years to last weekend. I couldn’t wait to show my kids these falls of my youth. We drove an hour and a half out of our way just to check them out. My husband had never seen them so he was game for whatever.

Then we got there… and I thought… this isn’t the right place. The tram was gone along with the restaurant that sat on the top of the cliffs and where there used to be a gift shop on the bottom there is now just a shack made of plywood.

This place was crowded with families that left their trash all over the place. I am all for families coming to spend time at the falls, that was what we were doing, but pick up after yourself, and keep an eye on your kids.

We were there maybe two minutes tops and then I was heading back to my car. No, I did not take any pictures. That is why you wont see any here. I am not going to lie, there were tears in my eyes, (and I was a bit angry).

I did remember hearing something about an avalanche the winter after I was last in Provo. I looked it up on my phone as soon as I reached my car and got all of the gory details. Apparently, it was the second time an avalanche took out the tram. It all sounded pretty devastating. I read through it and understood why the tram wasn’t rebuilt. But, why not the visitors center, why not replant some trees around the base?

I was in a bit of a funk all day. I felt as if something cherished from my childhood was gone forever. Then I started feeling old, (but that is another issue all together).  I have heard older people complain about the world changing. I had always rolled my eyes and thought they were just not progressive. Now, I think I get it. It is sad when something from your past is no longer there.

Anyway, sorry for the gloomy post.

This summer has been crazy, and I have been crazy busy. It’s definitely one of those monthly blog post’s summers. Busy is good. It means we have places to go, people to see, and memories to make.

Here’s to wishing you and yours a crazy busy summer too.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A change of plans

It is super late, but I have been crazy busy and I have not been able to post as often as I like, so, I am taking the time now before my eyes seal shut and my head hits the pillow. (Please ignore errors caused by exhaustion.)

I have been at a crossroads lately with my last novel. I have been editing like a mad woman, and finally got it to the point where I needed to make a decision.

For those of you who do not write or are not in the know, the publishing industry (thanks to sites like Amazon) have been moving in the direction of sell-publishing over small publishers… and for some, the "big 5" publishers. This puts authors like myself in an interesting situation. In the past, I have not thought twice about doing anything other than be on the hunt for an agent, (the first step to finding publication with the "Big Five").

But now. . . I am not so sure. There are many advantages to self-publishing. You have more control, and you don't have to wait. You also receive a larger percentage of the book sales, (if your book sells).

The down side is, if you are not diligent, the quality of your writing may not be what you really want out there representing your work. Also, you have to pay for your own edits, (and if I am going to publish I want the best editor I can find). You have to pay for the cover art, among several other things. The cost adds up fast. You also have to do all your own marketing, though, some say with publishers you have to do this now anyway.

About a month ago I sat down at my computer and weighed these pros and cons. I did not come up with a decision but I did decide to go ahead and find a professional editor to look over my manuscript.

All was going as planned. I had received the quote from the editor. After I swallowed down THAT number, I began brainstorming ways to pay for it without digging into our saving. I found this beautiful chesterfield type sofa on craigslist…. and I thought, hmmm, I can recover this and make a little profit. No, this won't cover the cost of the edits but it will put a dent in it.

I am going to be doing a full post on this sofa later. 
Then, half way through the reupholstering of the sofa something happened that had me rethinking my goals. (I will let you know if it turns out ;) ).

Isn't this just how life is. I have to be flexible, otherwise I may get whiplash. Especially in this journey to become published, so much of it is hard work, but a lot of it is being in the right place at the right time with the right people. A LoT of it is having thick skin and listening to what others are saying in order to polish your work.  I am still working on my little projects to pay for edits on my book, but now is not the time for me to have it professionally edited.

I am a girl that wants things NOW, but I am learning to wait for when the stars align. In the mean time I will be very busy making my novel the best it can possibly be and working my fingers to the bone tufting and stapling this sofa.

Wish me luck, and happy writing.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Muse has left the building

Oh, the pain! 

For the last few weeks I have been in a bit of a writing slump. It's not that I am having writer's block, because I have my story mapped out. The problem is I don’t have any motivation to sit down and write for hours on end.  

It’s weird because I do love to write. It’s fun. So why aren’t I doing it?

For the last few weeks I have sat in front of my computer and let my mind drift elsewhere. Not into my story as it should but drift to projects I want to get done around the house, books I want to read… etc. etc.

I have been in the middle of chapter five for weeks!

Finally, yesterday I decided that enough was enough. I needed to pinpoint what was wrong or I will never get this book finished. I have never experience this before so I wasn’t sure what was wrong now.

After a lot of self-reflection, I realized what was different now from when I have written books before. This is the first time I have seriously been looking for an agent/publisher. To be honest, this part of writing stinks. You have to have some extremely thick skin to handle the constant rejection. AND I don’t care who you are, or how great of an author you are; in this business you will be rejected left and right, whether it’s agents, publishers, or reviewers. If you don’t have a healthy dose of self-confidence cemented inside of your soul being a published author is not the right path for you.

It’s not really even the rejection that’s the problem; it’s the waiting to hear if I am rejected that is causing me difficulty. Its put me in kind of a funk.

What I need to do is compartmentalize, put my last book in a box in my mind and close it for a while so I can write. I need to stop checking my inbox for starters. This is hard when one of my goals is to send out a few submissions a week, so yes, I need to check my email.

Do you see the tough spot I am in? I want to be looking forward; yet, I have to look over my shoulder from time to time.

I am new to this. Before, I just wrote and bypassed the submission phase completely. That is no longer what I want. I feel ready to share what I have written. I need help. What do you suggest I do? Is it possible to write during the submission phase of another book? How do I get myself out of this slump?

My muse has gone on vacation and I miss her.