Let me fill you in

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  I am such a blogging slacker.  I don’t even have a good excuse, but for all 5 of you who read this (when you see it posted on my facebook page), here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Publishing Honor’s Lark!  The book went live on May 13th on Amazon, with the official release (i.e. me telling everyone I know about it) on May 15th.  Sales and reviews have been trickling in slowly (like really slowly.  like glacially slowly.  like the hare lapped the tortoise twice and is coming up on lap #3), but I’m so proud of it.  Even if only one person buys it and reads it, I’ll be happy (and my mom did both, so I’m good!).
  • Fulfilling a lifelong dream.  My friend Brooke and I went on a 9 day trip to London, baby!  It was amazing.  I’ve been jokingly calling it my Jane Austen pilgrimage because we literally did everything I could find that was Jane Austen related.  We went to her house in Chawton, which has been converted to a museum, and saw the rooms where she ate, slept, and most importantly – wrote.  It was a literal dream come true.  I cried. Not heaving sobs or anything, but dainty, Austen-like tears.  (Hell, I cried when the plane landed in London.)  We went to the British Library, where they have a copy of Persuasion written in her hand and her old writing desk.  We went to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, where she once lived.  We walked streets and saw buildings she wrote about.  We did a lot of other things in London and it was all amazing, but I would have been happy to just travel to Chawton and spend all day there.
  • Celebrating.  My friend Tracy Banghart’s self-published book, Shattered Veil, was bought by Alloy Entertainment as part of the launch of their Amazon digital first imprint!  The book (which is amazing and you should definitely read) is now titled Rebel Wing and is available exclusively on Amazon.  We went out last night and had a blast celebrating the awesomeness that is Tracy and her book.  You should definitely go and check out the twitter feed from the party, after all, you need to know what the official hashtag (#flamingscorpion) is all about.
  • Celebrating.  My two best friends both had babies in May!  I have two beautiful new nieces, Finley and Emerson.  They are so sweet.  I’ve been so busy, I’ve only been able to see Finley once, but I’m going to rectify that really soon.
  • Celebrating.  My sister is pregnant again!  Another little boy or girl will be joining our family in January.  Plus, we had an adorable Minnie Mouse-themed second birthday party for my niece Addison in June.
  • Turning 30.  Oh, the big 3-0.  It came, it went, I survived.  I even got a tattoo in honor of the occasion!  Abby would be so proud.
The Honor's Lark paperbacks arrive
The Honor’s Lark paperbacks arrive
My new tattoo.  Sometimes I need a reminder...
My new tattoo. Sometimes I need a reminder…
My sister, niece, and brother-in-law at the cutest Minnie Mouse birthday party ever
My sister, niece, and brother-in-law at the cutest Minnie Mouse birthday party ever
Jane Austen's home in Chawton
Jane Austen’s home in Chawton

Goodbye 26, Hello 27.

I have officially been 27 years old for two days now.  Weird.  Super weird.  Getting older the last couple of years continues to stress me out.  Stop-I know what you’re thinking- “27!  You’re still so young!”  Yes, yes, so I’ve heard.  It still stresses me out.

When I was 24, I began writing a book knowing that my 25th birthday was approaching and I hadn’t accomplished anything real in my life.  I finished the first draft of the book before my birthday, and I DID feel accomplished.  I started editing.  I listened to review after review and made change after change.  I took away, I added.  I created this beautiful little story that I love dearly and will always cherish.

And then I got scared.  I stopped editing.  I stopped believing that my pretty little book was worth anything and I stopped attempting to get it published.  Then I turned 26 and I stopped writing almost altogether.  I had ideas, but seemed incapable of making anything out of them.

I joked a lot in the few weeks leading up to my 27th birthday that it was going to be 26 Part 2, because I still felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything.  Turning yet another year older and feeling like my life was out of my control and pathetic, I wanted to hide my head in the sand.  I couldn’t stand the thought of admitting that I was 27 years old and still living with my parents, still stuck in a dead end job, still blocked from writing, still alone.  But I’ve never been someone who has presented myself as anything other than who I am, so I figure I just need to get over all that shit and focus on being happy, no matter where I am in life, no matter how unsuccessful I feel or appear to the world.

I made a new friend this past Friday night, while I was out singing karaoke to celebrate the blessed event.  She asked how old I was turning and I gave her the joke answer: 26 part 2.  She said something to me that I hope I can learn to believe in.  She said that I should be excited to be who I am right now- that this year of my life is going to be amazing and I should be proud of everything I’ve accomplished in my 27 years.  She also said that I write like a hummingbird and then gave her guy friend my phone number!  We were both a little tipsy- but the sentiment holds!

So anyways.  I’m going to try and embrace year number 2-7.  If you see me complaining, you have my permission to smack me.

Not my new friend, but my oldest friend- Ashley and I at dinner before heading to karaoke.

It’s Been One Year…

365 days and 100 posts.


One year ago today, I picked up a pen and started writing down the story of how I came to pick up a pen in the first place.  It’s crazy how much (and how little) can happen in a year’s time.


I was working at a hair salon last October, frustrated that I couldn’t pay my bills and hating how stressed out every day at work made me.  I had fallen in love with Ben Harris, the character I dreamed up to fall in love with my fictional equivalent, Abigail Bronsen.  I had never sent out a query letter and I had no idea how self-esteem crushing writing one could be.


In November, I attempted my first NANO novel, which I called Anita’s Dream Diary.  There were certain things about ADD that I loved- the first chapter contained a rather hysterical (I think) suicide attempt- but as I kept writing, I just realized the entire style of the book wasn’t suited to my voice.  It was an interesting lesson in learning to let go when things aren’t working.  I started writing The Death Effect on Thanksgiving Day and I didn’t “win” NANO, but I’m still glad I attempted it.


December was a big month.  I gave my boss notice and started looking for other jobs.  I knew that I was never going to be happy working as a hair salon receptionist.  So I moved on.  And on January 20th I started my new job.  As a receptionist at an orthodontist’s office.  Okay, so I’m still a receptionist, but the great thing about working at the ortho is that when I leave work- I’m done with that job.  I don’t have to worry that someone is going to call and ask me to work their shift or about the crazy guest that didn’t like her hair.  I’m not on-call 24/7.


I went on a couple of dates in February!  It didn’t end in a love connection, but it felt good to get out there and feel some butterflies and wonder where it was going.  I hadn’t been on a date in seven years, so even being asked out boosted my confidence!


March and April were wedding months for me.  I met with a lot of brides, worked a couple of weddings, and started planning with a full-service couple.  I really really love being a wedding coordinator.  I cannot wait until that grand day when I’ll get to do it full time.  I really hope it happens soon. I know that whenever I’m able to quit my day job to do weddings full time, I’ll be able to put a lot more of my free time into 1- writing and 2- having a social life!


Disney World and all of it’s fantubulousness happened in May.  It was a much-much-much needed vacation.  I really needed to see my friend, Brooke, and I really needed to have some fun and some alone time with my writing.  I got all three things.  And my adorable niece, Gracyn, was born on May 24.  She is one of the happiest things in my life right now.  She’s not my actual niece, but her mother and I have been friends since first grade!


I turned 26 in June.  If it’s is possible, I think turning 26 was more difficult than turning 25.  I had my book to focus on on my twenty-fifth birthday.  On my twenty-sixth, all I had to focus on was the fact that I was twenty-six!  I realize I’m not old.  I realize I’m still young.  But I am not living like a 26-year old.  I’m a nomad.  I don’t have a real home.  I have three jobs.  I’ve never had a relationship.  I wonder what’s wrong with me that at 26 I’m not more grounded.  Some people would be happy with leading this kind of existence.  I am just not one of those people.  I like order and stability.  I can’t understand what’s been keeping me from living the life I want.


A client was unhappy with me in July.  I can’t explain how uncomfortable and upset that makes me.  I want to make everyone happy.  I am sickeningly accommodating of people, especially my clients.  It keeps me up at night when someone is angry at me.  But I had to push through it, because I kept getting prospective clients and I still had other weddings to plan and coordinate.  It wasn’t easy for me.  And I still think about it sometimes on my long commutes to and from work.  I hate that I can’t get over things like that.


The Hamm family took a trip to visit more of the Hamms in August.  We spent a long weekend with my grandparents in Buffalo. It was another much needed vacation.  My really good friends Ashley and Charles moved to Burlington with beautiful Gracyn around the same time.  I’m soooooo happy I finally have close  friends nearby.  And that I don’t have to spend all my weekends alone in my bedroom!


September and October have been wedding-crazy-busy again!  As you can see, the year started with writing and it pretty much fazed out and into wedding work.  I wish I had an extra twelve hours every day so that I could focus equally on both my loves.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to.  I miss writing.  I can’t remember the last time I sat and wrote anything new.  I’ve been slowly editing Twenty-Five for the past month, but haven’t picked up a pen and written anything fresh.


So that’s where I am, on this, the one-year anniversary and one-hundredth post of my blog.  I hope I’ll have another eventful year.  I hope I’ll grow and maybe have another finished book by the time October 15, 2011 comes around.  Maybe I’ll be in love.  Maybe I’ll be living on my own.  Or maybe I’ll have learned to start living in the moment and not looking to the future.  Who knows.  But I hope you’ll stay along for the ride.


Quick reminder- I’ll start posting my book chapter by chapter on Sunday.  Please, if you are a regular reader, but have never commented- let me know how you like it!  And share it with everyone you know.  Especially if you know any literary agents or publishers 🙂


And thank you so much for reading, for following this journey I’m taking to become a real writer.  I appreciate it more than I can say.

My Favorite Posts

There’s less than a week til the one-year anniversary of this blog!  I can hardly believe that I’ve been writing and sharing with the blogosphere for a year.  I’m so glad I let a friend convince me to start it.  It has been a friend when I had no one to talk to, an outlet to vent, and the best place in the world to share my writing.  I sincerely hope that those of you who are kind enough to follow me have enjoyed my nonsensical ramblings and bitching and exultations.

For those of you who may not have been around since the beginning of this blog, I wanted to catch you up a little bit/ share my favorite posts from this past year.  I hope you enjoy!

The Road That Let to Know

Originally Posted October 15, 2009

It’s amazing how seemingly insignificant moments in life can become catalysts for major change.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  And it must be true because I’ve witnessed the phenomenon time and time again.

I tend to be the type of person who thinks I always know what path I’m walking when, in reality, I could stumble upon a fork in the road, trip over a tree root, or walk right into a dead end at any moment.

Read more here…

My Top 10 Favorite Books

Originally Posted November 9, 2009

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 and the Randomness page.  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 have “I love Mr. Darcy” as the screen saver on my phone.  Yes.  I really do.  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.

Read more here…

Bookshelf Browsing- Why Judging a Book By Its Cover is Totally Fine By Me

Originally Posted January 6, 2010

I read somewhere that writers aspiring to be published should

(A) Read as many books in the genre they are writing in as possible


(B) Support other beginning (or non-famous) authors by buying their books.

Well, if you’ve been reading my blog regularly you’ll know my financial situation as of late hasn’t really allowed me to purchase many books (or any at all), so I’m dreadfully out of touch with what is out there in book world right now.

Read more here…

What I Learned This Week

Originally Posted March 11, 2010

I’m often told that my writing is very honest- that I’m not afraid of putting myself out there on the page.  And I definitely find this is true.  In fact, I’m more honest in my writing than in actual conversation.  Not because I am untruthful in real conversation, but because I often just can’t find the right way to express myself.  Somehow, in writing, I always can.

I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon a lot lately.  Namely due to this guy I went out on a couple of dates with.  Let me emphasize A COUPLE OF DATES.  I’ll be more precise.  TWO dates.  You’ll see why the number is important in a minute.

Read more here…

The Query I Wish I Could Send Out

Originally Posted May 3, 2010

Dear SuperAgent,

I wrote my first novel, Twenty-Five, a year ago, on the verge of my own twenty-fifth birthday to deal with the trauma of that milestone.  It is the first time I’ve attempted to write fiction other than a contest in the fourth grade (which I won) where I wrote a short story entitled The Summer Aliens Invaded My Brother’s Brain.  I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses.  Twenty-Five is a love story, pure and simple.  The characters are not so utterly unique that reading about them makes one wonder if I was on acid when imagining their personalities.  The plot is not so action packed and full of twists and turns that readers will sit looking at the wall, scratching their heads, for ten minutes after reading because they have no idea what the hell just happened.  Instead, I’ve created characters who are a lot like you and me, your best friend, your next door neighbor, and the boy who grew up down the street from you who you always had a secret crush on.  What happens to them is what happens to us all- the firsts of a new relationship.  The first meeting, the first date, the first kiss, the first fight, the big breakup, etc.

Read more here…

And some milestone updates for you:  this is my 99th (eek!) post and there are only 4 days until the anniversary!!!!
A little thing that makes me happy: decorating for Halloween!

If You Don’t Follow Lua Yet, Start Now

Seriously.  She is wise beyond her years.  I’ve been following her blog for two, maybe three months now, and she always has the most profound, yet entertaining, posts.

This Monday’s post (which I just read today) was all about finding happiness in the little things in life.  I know that this isn’t a new concept, but it was something I really needed to see in print.  She listed all the little things in life that make her happy and since my birthday has really gotten me down, I think it’s something I should do, too.

So here you go, little things that make me happy.  I’m going to try and conclude every post with one from now on, but here’s a list to get me started:

1. The first sip of an ice-cold sunkist, straight from the bottle.

2. Geico commercials

3. Christmas traditions with my family

4. Writing my name and the date on the title page of a recently read novel

5. Seeing my freshly painted nails flying across the keyboard of my laptop

6. A perfect stranger asking me where I got my laptop because they’ve never seen a purple laptop before

7. Anyone telling me they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written

8. The minister announcing “I now pronounce you man and wife…” regardless of who’s getting married

9. Dancing with the Stars

10. Quoting lines from Friends

And to conclude this post properly, a little thing that made me happy today: A kid from the ortho’s office brought the whole staff churros from Costco because I had never had one.  And they are delicious!

The Beginning of My Twenty-Sixth Year

I’m not fishing for “Happy Birthdays,” I promise, but I just can’t seem to get over the fact that I’m a year older.  I’m on the wrong side of twenty-five.  The side that leads to thirty.  And I swear to God if one person leaves a comment saying how young I am and how I have my whole life ahead of me and how good things come to those who wait, blah blah blah, I’ll go ape-shit on their ass.

I know people out there GET IT.  I know I’m not the only person who feels like a complete and utter failure; like my life has gone a thousand miles in the wrong direction.  I totally know that.  I just don’t feel it most of the time.

You know what I mean?  I feel so all alone.  Yesterday I had a crappy day.  I woke up late so I didn’t have time to wash my hair.  Let’s just say when I don’t wash my hair I look like I dipped my head in a big tub of melted butter.  It was Monday and even though the schedule at the ortho office didn’t appear busy, I did not stop all day.  I was busy.  Crazy busy.  And I had wedding stuff to worry about on my lunch hour and when I got off of work.  And I was just tired and in a foul mood all day.  It sucked.  And I didn’t know who to call.  I wanted to call someone so badly and vent, but I didn’t know who to call.

Not knowing who to call wasn’t the worst thing though.  The worst thing was thinking about what I would say and realizing I couldn’t even really express HOW I was feeling or WHY I was feeling that way.  I’m a freaking “writer” and I can’t express myself!  And thinking about it made me realize that all of my complaints were bull shit and stupid and no one would want to hear about them.  And that made me think how I really needed a therapist.  Of course, that would just bring up the issue of not being able to express myself again.

I don’t know if this has anything to do with turning twenty-six, in fact, I’m sure it doesn’t because I’ve always been crazy like this, but I was thinking about being twenty-six yesterday as I walked out to my car and how I’ll never again WISH to be a year older.  Remember how when you were younger, you’d start saying you were 10 when you were only 9 and a half, because you wanted to be mature, adult, grown up?  You didn’t want to be seen as a kid anymore?  So you looked forward to each and every birthday.  You counted down the days and you made sure everyone knew how old you were.  It makes me incredibly sad that I won’t ever have that again.

Okay, maybe I will, when I’m like 99.  Cause it would be pretty freaking cool to tell people you were turning 100.

But anyways.  I’m twenty-six now.  Twenty-six.  I’m trying to wrap my head around that.  I’m trying to be happy about that.  I’m trying not to see it as just another year flying by without me making anything of myself.  Without anyone else seeing anything in me.

I don’t want responses, really.  I don’t want to be patted on the back and told that everything is going to be okay and that I’m awesome.  Because I know that.  I really do.  But, like I said before, knowing and feeling are two different things.  Two very different things.

The End of My Twenty-Fifth Year

It’s June.  I can’t believe it’s June.  It’s JUNE 13TH!!!!

June used to be the month I looked forward to.  As soon as the calendar hit June 1st, I’d start the countdown to my birthday (6 days counting today and the actual Birth Day, in case you were wondering).

I loved my birthday growing up.  I loved having a day that was all about me- where I got to pick the restaurant and sit in the front seat and the cake had MY name on it.  Who doesn’t like that?

Birthdays are a lot less magical as you get older.  And I’m not saying I’m old.  In fact, I still FEEL very young.  But I can’t deny the fact that I am getting older every day.  We all are.

It’s going to be very difficult to say goodbye to my Twenty-fifth year.  As you’ve probably learned by now, I’ve built it up in my mind as the year things were supposed to change- where I was finally supposed to become something, someone.

I can’t say exactly why the age Twenty-five has such a powerful hold on me, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t.  I actually wrote my novel when I was twenty-four, but I’ve spent my entire twenty-fifth year revising it and trying to see if I have what it takes to be a real writer and I’ll always think of my twenty-fifth year as the year I created my first book.

And it’s almost gone.

And I’m no closer to being someone special than I was a year ago.

Or am I?

I’ve grown this year.  Taller, no.  Wider, possibly.  But mostly in taking control of my life.  I write my blog- I share myself with the world.  I quit my job and found one that pays better and doesn’t make me want to kill myself at the end of the day.  It still isn’t my dream career, but it enables me to work towards my dream career a little more.  I actually went out on a couple of dates this year!  None of them led to anything, but they were still more than anything else in the past six years or so.

I can’t truthfully say that I’m happy with where I’m at in life.  But.  I can say that I’m happier than I was a year ago.

And that has to count for something, right?