Make it Count. 2014

Resolutions are often about making habits and breaking habits. 
Can I just say?
Resolutions suck.
Trying to convince yourself to go to bed earlier, workout 3x a week, avoid sweets… It’s exhausting. Feels like banging your head against a wall over and over. Fail once and spend far too much brain space trying to relieve the guilt. “Just this once.” Suddenly, you’re halfway through February and haven’t opened your gym bag in weeks.
I’m not going to fall in that hole anymore and attempt to dig myself out each November.
This year, I’ve got a very important meeting scheduled for every Sunday night. I’m setting small goals for each week. Little things building into larger goals. One week in, I’m doing a great job of keeping on task. I haven’t bothered to think as far as the end of the year. The furthest I’ve thought is February. It’s been an energetic start.



Choose your “Blind Date” wisely this Valentine’s Day

Instead of spending that last paycheck on a overpriced dinner for two or a singles night out, take home one of these blind dates!

From Lauren Gibaldi Mathur, via YA Highway

With dating profiles like these, you’re sure to find a winner.

“Rebellious teen looking for love at first sight. Freedom to be self a must.”

“Unique and adventurous teens looking to expand their horizons abroad and change their relationship statuses. Language skills not necessary. Kissing is universal.”

To read more about this awesome library project, check out the full article on YA Highway: Blind Dates with Books!


The Next Big Thing

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Fiona Pearce and the Crack in the Universe

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It all began with a talking dog named Dox. From there I simply listed everything I wanted to read in a story and every cliche I hated… and bam. 1st draft. (jk)

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Science Fiction for middle grades

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Watching a movie of books completely warps my imagination of the story. So, I tend to avoid this sort of thing. Past roles and actual personality could really impact how I write the character.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Between Earth and the Other Worlds, 7th grade is going to be a rough year.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Unknown. I am currently exploring both avenues.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took 16 months to write the first 75,000 (and then cut 45,000). I wrote the last 50,000 during NaNoWriMo.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It has a little bit of portal fantasy like The Subtle Knife and The Magician’s Nephew, but I am working it toward a more science fiction focus.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Honestly, I found myself constantly scanning the bookshelves both online and in stores searching for a good book to read and coming up empty. There are amazing books out there, but I was looking for a rather particualar read: young female protagonist, interested in heroics & science, in an adventure tale. So many books should fill that void, but I was constantly turned off by the first few pages, plot problems, or the ?requirement? of a love interest. I am only writing the story I wanted to read.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Fiona’s companion on this adventure is an enormous, fluffy, English speaking alien. Their relationship through the book starts poorly (that happens if you make someone’s whole family think she’s going nuts) and gets much worse.

hmm… I need to find someone to tag….

The Writer’s Workbench

My poor, underutilized desk! So many days were spent building you from scratch, and yet you are neglected. Seriously, I love my workbench. However, I get antsy if I sit anywhere for too long. Just when my attention wanes or writer’s block starts to creep up, I have to ‘change perspective.’ Usually this means laying out on the floor, sitting on the kitchen counter, moving out by the pool… I just can’t stand being in one place for long. My desk is perfect for my many creative projects and plotting out my stories. As you can see in the image below, the index cards on the wall are all related to my current work in progress. It’s helpful to have them all out where I can see them.

Top Shelf: Misc creative supplies: spare wood, yarn, fabric in old metal bait buckets

Wall: Index cards of story, Gilbert & George print, IKEA kitchen containers and rack for pens, pencils, markers, etc, Webcam for skyping home

Desk: Roofing square, wood clamps, external hard drive, spare index cards, current moleskin notebooks, Froder’s National Parks guidebook, Lonely Planet’s guide to travel writing, change tin, current story in hard copy

Adaptability as Hubris

We are, on the whole, extremely adaptable species. You’d have to be to survive the millennia.

In travel, it’s not a good thing. I know, hear me out.

We strive so hard to find new places to appease that desire for excitement and thrill. But we arrive and after a few days, it wears off. Why? Our minds adapt too quickly to our new surroundings. You can only see something for the first time once. Each time after that, our brains categorize it. File it away among the other places it resembles.

After just a few days of thrills, we miss the comforts of home. We lose the awe of the current destination.  The couple in the lobby remind you of the neighbors. Rosa’s Cantina tastes delicious but not as good as the little diner across the street from your house. Cities are cities. Towns are towns. And everything runs together.

We adjust. Form habits. Just as we start to always bring a raincoat in Seattle, and check for ticks after a hike in the forest, we adjust inside. Our minds. Quickly altering to accept new realities.

You’re ruining the fun.

Let go of the camera, forget the annoying children sitting behind you, and just breathe. Taste the air. Salty. Fresh. Smoky. Thick. Cold. Warm. Close your eyes and listen. The rumble of traffic. Waves slapping the deck. Feel the statue’s stone, the wooden rail. This moment will never exist again. A single blink of a lifetime. Slow down and let it wash over you.

“Ira Glass on Storytelling”

Video by David Shiyang Liu

This first year of settling down and getting those words on paper/computer has been a rough one. Between the stories of failed authors and my own inner critic, writer’s block is a common occurrance. Ira Glass’s advice to beginners is an excellent reminder for those tough mental moments.