NANO… um, not so much!

I fully intended to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.  I wrote a synopsis and I outlined the entire book and I wrote like crazy for about a week.  And then life got in the way.  And really, I’m kind of glad.  I think back over the work I did and know that the book I was writing is not a book I would ever be proud of.  I love the first couple of chapters, but after that, it really just falls apart.

And I’m cool with that.  Not everything is going to work.

Part of the reason life got in the way this month is that I was trying to do too much.  So like me.  Always the over-achiever.  Throughout the month I stressed myself out with editing Twenty-Five and querying, plus writing for NANO, plus trying to figure out what I’m going to do come January first when I don’t have a job anymore (yes, I officially quit the hair salon, I put in my notice), plus trying to train someone new to pick up some of the shifts I’m leaving behind.  Yeah… I’ve been busy.

So I’m glad December is almost here.  Even though December brings a whole new round of stressors (hello my other company has 3 weddings in December!!!),  I think I’m more prepared to handle them now.  I hope so.

I’ve started a new book.  One that I think better suits me as a “writer” and I’ll be writing that in December. I don’t intend to stress myself out over word count.  I want to write something I can be proud of when I’m finished with the first draft so that I actually want to edit it and create a second!

I’m putting Twenty-Five on a back-burner for now.  I need time to fall in love with my characters again so that the next time I look at my manuscript I don’t kill them off in a fit of panic and fury.  Or something worse.  Like tossing my handwritten first draft into a fireplace.  I know I have it all typed on a computer, but I think it would be like burning my own heart to toss the first pages containing my characters into a fire.

So anyways, that’s what’s going on with me.  How about you?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I complain a lot, but I have so much to be thankful for. I’m healthy. I’m alive. I have a roof over my head and food on my table. I have two wonderful parents. My dad quit smoking six months ago after over THIRTY years! I’m so proud of him. My sisters and brother are funny and loving and supportive. My brothers-in-law are not jerks and they really love my sisters. My family is just wonderful all around. And I have a fantastic support system in my writing from the readers of this blog and the friends I’ve made on The Next Big Writer.

Thank you to everyone who loves me. I love you, too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Update 11/22/09

I just heard back from the agent who requested a partial.  They passed.  Said the story was flat.


NANO is not going well.  I’ve been so stressed and busy I haven’t really worked on it at all.


Bad day today, but hopefully tomorrow will be a good one.

Reading Agent Blogs Really Freaks Me Out

Okay, so I’ve been trying to be a good little writer and be “in the know” by joining writing websites, researching agents and literary agencies, and following writing blogs. But most agents’ blogs really scare the crap out of me. I’ll read blogs about character, plot, POV, etc. and suddenly have a panic attack. Am I doing what the agent says NOT to do? Is my work the kind of thing an agent takes one look at, groans, then turns to his/her trusty computer to educate the rest of the world NOT to do what I’ve just done? Dear God, I hope not. I don’t THINK that I’m doing all the wrong things I’m reading about, but how can I be subjective of my own work? Does anyone else get really freaked out after reading agent blogs?

Most Days I Just Want to Cry

And a lot of days I do.

I’m stuck.  I’m stuck in this life that isn’t right in any way, shape, or form.  I was supposed to do things with my life.  I was supposed to be somebody.  I always did well in school.  I was freaking valedictorian of my high school class, voted Most Likely to Succeed.  I was supposed to go to college and do well, graduate, and get an amazing job.  So what happened along the way that I’m broke, in a dead-end job which I’m about to quit so I can wait tables to get myself out of debt?  I went to college, I did well, I graduated. Where’s the amazing job?

I wondered in high school why I couldn’t find a boyfriend.  All my friends had boyfriends.  Several of my friends went from one boyfriend straight to another.  But not me.  And people would tell me it was because I was too mature.  High school boys weren’t at my level.  And because I’m naive, I believed that.  I was told, by several people, that I’d have boys falling at my feet when I went to college.  Yeah, that didn’t happen either.  I met one guy my freshman year who was actually interested in me, too, but that only lasted about two weeks.  Then, what?  He got bored?  Realized I was boring?  Realized I was going nowhere?  I don’t know.  He just kinda disappeared.  And that was the last time anyone’s ever been interested in me.

I don’t get it.  I just don’t get it.  Why do some people get everything and others get nothing?  Why do I get nothing?  How do I get anything?  Anything at all?  I’m sick of crying.  I’m sick of hating my reflection every time I look in the mirror.  I’m sick of the negative, pissy, angry person I’ve become.

My Top 10 Favorite Books

*edited September 8, 2014*

This was a HARD list for me to make.  I love to read.  I’ve always loved to read and my taste in books is broad.  I only had one requirement for a book to make my top ten list: I had to have read it more than once.  To me, that’s an automatic way to determine if a book is good.  Do I want to read it a second time?  A third time?  Otherwise, I just went with my gut.

1.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  I know, no big surprise here if you’ve read other blog entries.  I’ve read this book more times than I can count.  I cry every time Darcy says, “You are too generous to trifle with me…”  I used to have “I love Mr. Darcy” as the screen saver on my phone.  I’m such a dork, but I don’t care.  Elizabeth Bennett is witty, independent, and kind.  She stays true to the women of the time period she lived in, but she also breaks new ground.  Jane Austen is a genius.  This is ABSOLUTELY the best book ever written.  If you disagree we cannot be friends. (Okay, we can be, but don’t be surprised when I try to get you to love it, too.)

2.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.  Okay.  This may seem like it’s really high up on the list.  It’s a YA book about wizards.  Again, I don’t care how big a dork it makes me.  I freakin’ LOVE Harry Potter.  I love the whole series, but Goblet of Fire is my favorite because it really is the peak of the series.  The kids are transitioning from children into young adults.  The happy-go-lucky innocence of childhood disappears as Voldemort returns to his physical body and Harry is faced with death first hand once again.  Complications arise as hormones increase.  And the Tri-Wizard tournament is written with vivid description and heart-stopping action.  J.K. Rowling is one of the best writers of the twenty-first century.  And I will not apologize for listing it as my #2.

3.) Persuasion by Jane Austen.  Another Jane Austen book.  I think of all her heroines, I relate personally to Anne Elliot the most.  She’s a lot like me.  Quiet.  A little bit of a doormat for those around her.  Mid-to-late twenties and still single.  Not the prettiest girl on the block.  Yet, despite all of her seemingly negative qualities, she’s so lovable.   She’s one of the kindest and most selfless characters in literature (there’s where the similarities end).  And she doesn’t change who she is for the approval of others.  And Captain Wentworth is almost (ALMOST) as dreamy as Mr. Darcy.

4.) Bleak House by Charles Dickens.  After Jane Austen, I think Charles Dickens may be my favorite author.  I love the way he builds characters and plot.  In Bleak House, the tension is high from the beginning and it never breaks.  This book dips and twists between different perspectives and different plot lines seamlessly and then weaves everything together in the end.  Everything is connected.  It’s fantastic.  And the book keeps you guessing about more than plot.  Even once the story ends, you are left wondering if Esther is really as reliable as she seems to be.

5.) Matilda by Roald Dahl.  Again, this may seem like an odd choice, but I have a very good reason for including it.  I read this book OVER and OVER when I was a child.  I would finish reading it and immediately restart.  I wanted to be Matilda.  I didn’t want to have her horrible parents, but I wanted to have her genius brain.  I hated Ms. Trunchbull and felt victorious every time Matilda got her revenge on her with the chalkboard.  It’s imaginative and just plain superb story-telling.  This is the kind of book that makes kids want to read.

6.) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  Another childhood favorite.  I forced my mom to take me to the library every two days one summer so I could check out the next book.  Eventually she broke down and bought them for me.  I love the whole series, again, but LWW is the best known for a reason.  The characters, the scenery, the danger!  It has everything a child (or an adult) could want in their fantasyland.  And for some reason, I had a crush on Edmund when I was little!

7.) A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  Another love of my childhood: Sara Crewe and the students at Miss Minchin’s boarding school.  This may be one of the first books I read because I loved the movie so much I wanted more time with the characters!  But, let me tell you, the book is WAY better than the movie.  Sara deals with more trials and tribulations than any child should ever have to go through: she loses her mother, her father, her privileged life, her friends, her dignity.  But through everything, she never loses her spirit.  She never lets the world break her.

8.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I read this for the first time in fifth grade.  I felt so special reading such a “grown-up” book.  Years later, I wondered if my love for it came from that importance I felt when reading it for the first time at such a young age.  But then I re-read it in college and realized that it’s one of the best stories ever conceived about family, young love, and becoming the person you are meant to be.  Every young girl and woman should read this book.  Jo March rivals Elizabeth Bennett as one of the greatest literary heroines ever written.

9.) The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  I actually didn’t read a lot of contemporary books until the last couple of years, but this beautiful love story pulled me away from the classics.  I suppose you could call it paranormal, since one of the main characters is a time-traveler, but the real world setting is SO REAL.  The love Clare and Henry feel for each other knows no limits.  I love the way the story moves in and out of past and present, from Clare to Henry’s POVs, from one real-world issue to the next, but always remembering it is a love story and that the focus should be on the love the main characters share.  I cry every time I read it.

10.) Same As It Never Was by Claire LaZebnik.  I discovered Claire LaZebnik by accident.  I challenged myself to purchase a book I’d never heard of, by an author I’d never heard of, based only the cover and genre (Contemporary Romance).  Same As It Never Was actually wasn’t the book I picked, I chose The Smart One and the Pretty One, but I fell in love with LaZebnik’s writing and searched out her other books and online presence.  I made so many comments on her blog, she probably thought I was crazy, but she sent me a copy of Same anyway.  It was the first autographed book I ever received and, even though it’s actually her first novel, it’s my favorite of hers.  The story is simple, but perfectly paced and plotted.  The characters make you want to root for them.  It’s just a lot of fun.

So there it is.  My top ten.  I’m sure a lot of you out there will question my choices, but this is certainly only a list built upon my personal preference and the emotion stirred in me when I read these novels.  For good measure, I’ve also compiled a list of honorable mentions.  This was almost as hard as the top ten, because I wanted to include EVERYTHING!  I won’t say why I chose all these because it would take too long, but in no particular order, my honorable mentions are:

A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Emma by Jane Austen

The Rainmaker by John Grisham

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss.  Okay, this one I will give a reason for.  My mom taught me how to read with this book!

Now, what are some of YOUR favorite books?

Why I Write

writing with pen

Someone asked me today why I started writing.  I was tempted to pull up my blog and say, here, read THIS.  Of course, I did not.  I’ve already addressed why I started writing, it was an attempt to control my life.  An attempt to control something I felt was spiraling into the black abyss of averageness.  (I love the phrase black abyss, by the way.  I realize it’s a bit redundant, but I don’t care.  I’ve used it elsewhere in my writing, but I can’t remember where at this moment.  This may make my overall point completely off-base, you’ll have to be the judge.)

I think the real question is: Why have I continued writing?

Hmmm… Now isn’t that a doozy.  I could simply say I enjoy it, which is true.  I could say I have nothing better to do, which is basically true.  Or I could say that once I started, I felt a pull, a compelling need to keep going, which is definitely true as well.

But none of those are the real reasons I continue to write.

I keep writing because deep down, I think I’m good at it.

Okay, how horrible is that?  And vain.  I know.  But, I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t continue on a path I thought would lead to nothing.  Again, read my first post and how many times I switched my career goals.

(OH!  I just remembered where I used the term “black abyss” in my other writing.  It’s in Chapter 47 of Twenty-Five.  I hope this admission doesn’t make you seriously reconsider whether or not you want to read Twenty-Five, unless you didn’t want to read it before and now knowing it has such an awesomely redundant but kinda-cool-poetic phrase you do.)

I write now because I think I’ve found something I actually do have a talent for.  I could be completely wrong.  I hope I’m not.  I normally don’t take praise to heart, but I’ve made friends based on my writing.  People I never would have met or known have read and ENJOYED my book.  Maybe I shouldn’t believe every word of positive feedback they give, but it can’t ALL be BS, right?

Since I graduated college, I’ve been wondering where all my potential went.  I found it with a pen in my hand.  And that’s why I continue to write.

Synopsis for Twenty-Five

Okay, friends, I need feedback on this synopsis.  I have to send it out to an agent and I need to know if it grabs your attention.  Any places that are too boring, too confusing?  Is the writing good?  Does it make you want to read the whole book?  WARNING SPOILERS hahahahaha   If you want to be surprised by the ending of the book, don’t read this!


When twenty-eight year old BEN HARRIS’s car crashes into ABIGAIL BRONSEN on her twenty-fifth birthday, neither is prepared for the instantaneous attraction they both experience.  It isn’t until a month later at a chance encounter that the sparks reignite.  They make arrangements for a first date, one of many to come.

Abigail is wary of the relationship at first, having never had a serious boyfriend.  Ben is also hesitant as memories of a cheating ex-girlfriend haunt him.  And Abigail’s reluctance doesn’t help.  But slowly, Abigail learns to trust Ben.  Her trust is tested when she opens herself up and reveals a personal decision: to remain a virgin until she gets married.

Ben is surprised and confused by the news.  What is the appropriate response to that sort of news in this, the twenty-first century?  And, how is it possible that such a gorgeous girl can still be a virgin at twenty-five?  Abigail explains her decision to wait is based on a story her mother told her as a teenager and on the desire to be truly connected and loved by the person she shares such a special experience with.

Ben isn’t sure he’s prepared to give Abigail that commitment, but his own sexual history makes it easier for him to try.  In his last several relationships, sex complicated things, leaving Ben with nothing more than memories and a broken heart.  He doesn’t want to risk hurting Abby, as he’s come to call her, or himself by getting intimate too quickly.

As the couple struggles to build their relationship without sex and in the midst of career troubles for both, Ben finds a list Abby made in high school.  “25 Things I Want to Accomplish by Age 25.”  He always knew her age was a touchy subject and the list tells him why- she hasn’t crossed anything off.  Ben embarks on a secret quest to help her complete the list.  He convinces her to donate blood, ride a motorcycle, go scuba diving, and learn how to surf, falling deeper in love every step of the way.

One thing he can’t help her cross off is item #4, “Write a column in a national magazine or newspaper.”  At least, he can’t help her directly.  But his push for her to give blood leads her to write an article titled “Facing Your Fears,” which the editor of the magazine she works for decides to publish.

Everything in Abby’s life now seems perfect.  She’s in love with a wonderful man who’s helping her tackle her fears and insecurities and writing a monthly column for the magazine where only a few months ago she worked in the mailroom.

On her twenty-sixth birthday, Abby experiences a new collision, of a very different nature than the previous year.  Her editor offers her a new column, “An American in Europe,” which would require her to move to London.  Before Abby can discuss the opportunity with Ben, he presents her with a photo album showing all the list items he’s covertly helped her cross off over the year.  It ends with a promise that he will marry her someday.  The amazing gift floods Abby with doubts about the decision she must make.

She is forced to choose between moving to London to advance her career and staying in the United States with Ben, the first man she’s ever loved, the man she wants to marry.

She chooses to take the job, knowing she would have always regretted passing it up, leaving both herself and Ben brokenhearted.

Ben can’t understand why the new job is so important to her when she already has a column and his love in the States.  He’s too hurt and stubborn to ask her to do long distance and she doesn’t want to force him to attempt it.  Her old insecurities flare up and she convinces herself that he’d be happiest without her.  She is incredibly wrong.

With Abby in London, Ben tries to forget about her, to move on.  But everything reminds him of her: a pink baseball hat, the scent of vanilla, riding his motorcycle.  He tries to date again, but the vapid blonde he chooses is so devoid of interesting conversation she only reinforces the qualities he loved in Abby: a good sense of humor, modesty, her struggle for independence.

He throws himself into his work, the one place he can be free of Abby-reminders, until he learns she recommended him to a journalist friend for a human-interest story on his athletic complex in Sports Illustrated.  He’s thrilled about the opportunity, but perplexed by Abby’s involvement in it.

When the article comes out, his first instinct is to call Abby to celebrate, but the fact that she can’t be there in person for him weakens his desire to speak with her and ignites his anger with her all over again.  Meanwhile, Abby in London reads the article and has the same instinct to call, but loses her nerve, thinking he’d only be upset to hear from her.

Not long after the SI article is published, Abby comes back to the States to attend the wedding of Ben’s best friends MATT and TRISH.  She’s hoping to reconcile, but Ben is determined to get closure once and for all.  He vents all of his frustration out, bringing Abby to tears, and declares that he never wants to see her again.  Her plans of kissing and making up torn to pieces, she returns to London, broken in heart and spirit.

A few weeks later, Trish confronts Ben about his behavior at the wedding and encourages him to read the articles Abby has written since she left him.  Each one details how much she misses and loves him, how she never would have had the courage to go after her dreams without his support, and how badly she wants him back.  The final article pleads for a second chance at Matt and Trish’s wedding.

Ben realizes not only that he is still very much in love with her, but also how wrong he was not to encourage her new job opportunity.  He rushes to the airport and takes the next plane to London, praying he hasn’t lost her for good.  He waits for hours on her doorstep for the chance to beg her forgiveness.  Reading her articles over and over, he holds out hope for a future with the girl who stole his heart when he smashed into her car.

When she arrives, she’s confused to find him, but he explains he hadn’t read her articles before the wedding.  They both apologize for the mistakes in judgment that led them to break up and live in misery for eight months.  Ben presents Abby with a new list, “What I Want to Accomplish Before I Die.”  It includes ten items, all about their reconciliation and new life together.  He gets down on one knee and proposes while a crowd of on-lookers cheer them on.

Abby grabs his shirt collar and raises him to his feet.  Her kiss says it all.  Yes.  Of course she’ll marry him.


I just got my first request for a partial ms from an agent!  They want the first three chapters and a synopsis.  I can’t believe it!  I’m flabbergasted.  It’s only the third agent I’ve heard from.  I know that I’m not guaranteed anything, but it’s soo exciting anyways!  And just a few minutes ago I was thinking life was too f***ing hard…

See, that’s why you always have to remain positive.

I’ll keep you posted once/ if I hear back from the agent once I send the chapters.

NANO: 14,759 words, 10 chapters!