I’m not good at keeping resolutions of any kind,  New Year’s or otherwise.  So that’s why I’ve stopped making them in the past.  I just don’t have the willpower or the motivation to follow through.  If no one else is depending on me doing something, chances are, I’m not going to stick with it.  I am not sure exactly why it is.  Perhaps I spend so much of my time working- where there is always someone anticipating or needing something from me, that when it comes to myself, it’s almost a break to not expect anything.

I’ve never gone on a true diet, because the times I’ve tried to “eat healthy” have lasted all of 3 days before I succumbed to my intense craving for Ben & Jerry’s.  I don’t exercise, because I’m just too tired at the end of the day (or the beginning of the day).  I realize that this is very bad.  Very bad indeed.  I want to be someone capable of improving myself, but let’s face it, that’s not who I am.

To get to my true point though, I sort of made a resolution this year to write more.  To be precise, I made a resolution to do something writing-related every day, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.  I’m not setting any kind of goals or holding myself to any kind of standard, but I felt like it was a resolution that needed to be made.  If I want to ever truly be a real writer, I need to be in the habit of writing on a daily basis.  When I wrote Twenty-Five, I couldn’t put my freaking pen down, but since then, it’s been a constant struggle to find the time and the energy to be creative.  I think I have a habit of sabotaging myself and I’m trying to break that with a new habit.

So far, I’ve been doing really well.  I haven’t spent a lot of time each day writing, but I’ve opened my computer and written something on The Death Effect every day since January 1st.  I have a brand new chapter that’s SOOO close to being finished and I find myself thinking about the characters and the scene I’m working on when I have down time (basically, when I’m driving to and from work and when I’m trying to fall asleep).  I think I may actually finish a first draft at some point.  At the rate I’m going, it might not happen in 2012, but it is going to happen.  You can check The Death Effect’s page to check my progress throughout the year.  As I’m writing this, I am up to 46, 924 words, 38 chapters written, and 4 chapters started (they are short chapters, just in case you aren’t familiar with how long 46K words is).  I’m estimating that the completed first draft will be between 65K and 80K words, with 55ish chapters.

I’m looking forward to this.  I hope I find it in myself to go through with it.  If you follow the blog and you notice I haven’t updated in a while, feel free to give me a good kick in the pants.  I’ll probably need it at some point.

I Need Your Help!

It’s official: I’m applying to graduate school!


I’ve wanted to go to grad school for a long time, pretty much ever since I graduated college, but it’s never seemed to be the right time (i.e. I never had the $).  I still don’t know if it’s the right time, but I have the money for the GRE and for the application fees, so I’m going for it!  There’s no guarantee that I’ll get in anywhere, the programs are very selective, but I’m giving it all I’ve got.

I’m hoping to get into a Creative Writing program so I can earn an MFA.

All that to say: I need your help.  The most important part of the application is the writing sample.  30 pages or less of original work.  I’ve selected the pieces I’d like to include, but I’d like some feedback/critiquing before I send them in.

Here’s what I’m planning on:

The Painting

The Maidening Ceremony

My Pen

Love is on the List, Chapter Ten: Confession

Love is on the List, Chapter Sixteen: Another Confession

Please let me know your thoughts.  Tell me everything: room for improvement, grammatical or spelling errors, or if you’ve read other pieces you think would be better for me to submit.  I want to send in my absolute best work.

Thank you!

My Pen

I picked up a pen one day
And set it to paper
And words flew out
My secret fears and desires
Seeped onto the page
Suddenly I’m looking at myself
With my own eyes
I’m a different person than I thought
No better
No worse
Just different
So I pick up another pen
And set it to paper
To see what else I can teach myself
Where do I want to go?
What do I want to see?
Who do I want to love?
It all reveals itself on the page
Finally I’m living a life worth living
Even if it is
In the pages of my notebook
So I don’t put the pen down
Even when I should
Because when its in my hand
When I set it to paper
I can make the pain go away
Or I can make the pain worse
I can FEEL
So I continue to write
Continue to discover myself
My hidden sexuality
My thirst for adventure
My longing for lust and love and friendship
Because the second I drop the pen
It all goes away
And I know nothing about myself
Or my secret fears and desires
I have nothing to teach myself
No life worth living
No longing or thirst to explore
So I cling to my pen
I cling to the paper
Praying that they are an anchor and a sail
Both at once
My tools for staying grounded
My means of floating away

A Blank Page


A blank page

Full of possibilities

Like my life

What will I do

With it?

Will it go to waste

Like my life?

Or will I

Create something beautiful

Something meaningful.

The pen hits

The white canvas

Smearing ink

Forming letters



Will it become

Anything worthwhile?

How often have

I done this

Very thing

Sat quietly


Whether I’m enough

If what I write

Is enough,

Good enough.

How often have you?

The words

Are repetitive

Filling the page

No longer blank;

A full page

Loses possibility

Is that why

I’m afraid?

Afraid to ruin it

With mediocre ramblings.

I don’t want

To lose

The possibilities.

What am I

But full of options

Full of ideas

Full of promise.

What is the page

When I can

No longer

Add ink?

What happens to

Its possibilities

If I rip it up,

Toss it in the trash,

Burn it?

Do I die with it?

What has happened

To my possibilities,

Where did they go?

I don’t remember

Ripping them up

Throwing them away

Burning them.

Yet, I can’t

Find them.

I’m afraid

They’re gone

And no amount

Of blank pages

Can bring them back.

Please Welcome Guest Blogger Angela Fristoe!

I decided that it was probably time to get this blog back on track, seeing as it started out as a blog about writing and has somewhere along the way veered into a blog about randomness.  So, I’ve asked a few of the writer friends I made two years ago on The Next Big Writer to whip up some guest blog posts for you to enjoy.  They are all embarking on the process of having their books published, either through self-publishing, or through a traditional publishing house and I applaud them for that!  They believe in themselves and their writing and they are putting it out there for the world to see and enjoy and that is not only impressive, it’s courageous.  My first guest blogger is Angela, who I knew for the longest time as “penang” or “Ang” in the TNBW forums and whom I’m happy to say is a talented writer and a great friend.  I asked her to talk a little about why she first “picked up a pen” to write and to give you a little information on her latest book, Songbird.  Here’s what she had to say:

Writing was never my number one passion. In fact, writing didn’t even come onto my top ten list until about six years ago. I’d always dreamed of being an artist, a flight attendant, or the next Diane Fossey or Jane Goodall. I ended up teaching. Then I read the Twilight series. Okay, so not the best example of amazing YA literature, but it did make me think I could do that. Until then I didn’t even know that Young Adult was a genre.

When I first started writing, I had no idea how to approach it, and honestly I still don’t. Every writer I talk to approaches it differently. For me this means sitting down at the computer and typing as it comes to me. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. My first novel is still under the revision process thanks to my unplanned approach.

Songbird is actually the second novel I wrote and most of it was done within a month during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Finishing Songbird, along with revising and editing, took a bit longer, but this story just flowed for me much better than my other novel. There was never a point where I sat down and didn’t feel the story come to me.

There are parts of Songbird that are so close to my heart. Some of the experiences, good and bad, that Dani goes through were inspired by things that either I’ve experienced, or people I know have lived through. At times it was hard to write because all I could see and feel were the real reactions and emotions.

Songbird is a story of death, loss, love, friendship and moving forward. Seventeen-year-old Dani is haunted by memories of her abusive parents and her murdered brother. Those memories constantly influence her choices and when her love for her best friend Reece is rejected, she struggles to find a way to put the past behind her for good. A struggle mad harder when a former foster brother reappears and brings back even more of the past.

Songbird is now available in paperback and all eBook formats at, B&N, and Smashwords.

You can learn more about Angela and her writing at her blog: Turning the Pages.

Putting Down the Pen?

I’ve wanted, for a while now, to be able to take a memory, something from my past, and write a deep, meaningful, reflective post about it.  Problem is, I can’t seem to come up with a memory that would allow me to write anything of significance.  I could talk about choices I made that, in retrospect, were probably wrong or I could talk about moments when I thought my heart was breaking, but again, in retrospect, it probably wasn’t, but I don’t think I’d get the reflective piece I was hoping for.  I should probably be thankful I’ve lived a fairly even-keeled life.  There have been no times of great tragedy, only disappointment and regret, but there have also been no times of tremendous joy, only fleeting happiness.  In the grand scheme of things, I should consider myself lucky.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble writing for a long time now- pretty much since I finished the second big edit of Twenty-Five.  Poetry, short stories, attempts at novels- nothing is working.  I have begun to wonder if I should put the pen down and forget about this whole writing thing.  Not that I want to, necessarily.

I’ve never been successful at anything I’ve attempted to do.  At least, I don’t feel like I have been.  Always good, never great.  Which makes me think I’m not choosing the right things.  Honestly, when I think about it, the only thing I ever really excelled at was school.  So, I’ve been thinking about going back to school.  I’ve wanted to get a graduate degree pretty much since I received my undergraduate one, but the timing has never been right or the money’s never been available.  I still don’t know if the timing is right and I know there isn’t money available, but if I keep waiting, I could be waiting forever, right?

I don’t know for sure yet what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, or even the next couple of years.  I wish I did.  I wish I knew if I had it in me to write another book.  I keep trying and failing.  And I hate failing.  I keep thinking one day I’ll have the time to devote to another story.  One day I’ll develop characters that really speak to me.  One day I’ll come up with a plot that is so freaking fantastic that it will basically write itself.  But how long can I wait for one day?

I feel lost and confused and really guilty that I haven’t had anything of quality to post on this blog in a very long time.

Why I’m Awesome, if you hadn’t already figured it out

I’ve been in depression-mode for a while, I’m very sorry that I haven’t been posting any quality writing on the blog.  Especially since the site-view spikes I get after I post something very short make me feel guilty that I’ve not provided anything decent for anyone to read in a very long time.

The truth is, sometimes creativity takes work.  It’s very difficult (for me) to come up with interesting topics to write about for this blog, especially when I have to create interesting topics to write about for two other blogs now due to work.  Personal writing has taken a toll.  A very heavy toll.  And that makes me very sad.

But.  The other day, thinking about what I could possibly talk about that I haven’t already covered, I decided to give my readers a bit more of myself.  I’m already a pretty open book, I’m very honest about who I am and what’s going on with me, but I’m usually only inspired to share the crappy stuff.  The stuff that keeps me up at night and won’t allow me to move on until I’ve purged it here.  Today, I’m not going to do that.  I’m going to talk about my other side.  The side that is pure awesome.

That’s right.  I said pure awesome.  Intrigued?

1. I’m awesome because I have a lot of passion for very little things.  Like Softlips chapstick- it’s the only kind I’ll use.  And Sunkist soda- the best foods and beverages are orange, afterall.  And pens- if you haven’t figured out my love of pens yet, what are you still doing here?  I love writing with a pen for a couple of hours and then pulling it apart to see how much ink I have left in it.  Stupid, yes, I’m aware.  But I don’t really care if it’s stupid.  I like it.

2. I’m awesome because I’m independent.  I’m not always good at being independent, but I try really hard to be.  I work three jobs to pay my bills and I know how to change a flat tire on my own and while a man in my life would be nice, I certainly don’t need one.  My friends like me single and fully awesome.

3. I’m awesome because I have a great memory for nonsense.  I remember silly little stories like the time my friend Ashley made me walk into a tree while playing Ghost in the Graveyard as children- we both laugh whenever I bring that up.  I can recall random facts that I read somewhere that really only have a fraction of something to do with the main conversation, but I tell them anyways.  My boss asked me once if there was a song I didn’t know the lyrics to, which brings me to number 4.

4. I’m awesome because I love to sing, even if it sounds horrible.  I learn the words to songs after only a few listens and I love my long commutes simply because I get to listen to the radio and sing at the top of my lungs while dancing in the driver’s seat and entertaining the other drivers around me.

5. I’m awesome because I genuinely enjoy doing nice things for other people.  I love to make home-made ice creams cakes for the staff at work.  I go above and beyond for my clients.  I give compliments that are deserved and will make someone smile.

6.  I’m awesome because I love to laugh.  I like watching comedy specials on tv, I laugh aloud to books or movies.  I’m not particularly funny myself, but I appreciate someone who is.

7. I’m awesome because I’m pretty realistic.  I don’t make plans that are over-the-top or logistically impossible.  I don’t expect a white knight on a noble steed to come charging up to rescue me.  I know life isn’t always easy and most definitely isn’t fair.  I see myself through unclouded lens.

8. I’m awesome because I know my limits.  I’m not a good or particularly fun drunk, so I don’t drink a lot and when I do, I drink very little.  I’m not good at sports, so I only play them occasionally with family and then usually to made up rules where it doesn’t matter how good you are.

9. I’m awesome because I can type pretty quickly.  May not seem like something that’s too awesome, but I love the feeling of my fingers flying over the keys and letters and words suddenly appearing on the screen.

10. I’m awesome because I’m kinda a slob.  But an organized one.  Kinda.  I am pretty messy in private, but at work, everything has a place.  I’m super efficient and I know where everything belongs.

So, now, why are you awesome?

2011 Writing Exercise

I’ve already blogged about one goal I have for 2011- to write another book.  I’m going to write another book this year, I’m going to write another book this year!


But I have another goal, and one that will hopefully help me reach the goal above.  I’m going to spend at least one hour a week doing nothing but writing.  No laptop and internet, no phone, no ipod, just a pen and a notebook.  I did it this past Saturday and it was amazing.  I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to commit to one hour a day, but I know that while I have 2 1/2 jobs, that’s probably not possible.  Eventually, the writing will be all story/novel focused, but this past weekend, and probably for the next several, it will be free-writing, plotting, and character sketching.  Saturday’s hour really helped me tap into the idea I have for my next book and the time produce 12 notebook pages of notes, questions, thoughts, and chronology.


I’m determined that I’ll be focused and prepared when I actually start writing this book.  I want to be in a place where I want to write every moment of the day, a place where I cannot get the story or the characters out of my head.  If this method works, maybe I’ll be able to go back to one of my earlier, unfinished ideas to revamp and finish it.


I’m not going to include any notes about the concept I’m working on right now, because I don’t want to jinx myself, but I found the exercise so cathartic, that I want to share some of what I wrote during the exercise.


I’m sitting in B&N and I’ve decided that for 1 hour, I’m going to write.  It doesn’t have to be fiction, or a story or a poem.  I just need to write to practice.  To get back in the habit.


I’ve set my alarm,  So here we go.


I just checked my spot on the shelf and came across a book only a few authors over called “29.”  The blurb sounded interesting.  I need to add it to my goodreads list.  It’s almost fate-like that I’d see a book with such a similar title in a spot so close to where my book would be if it were published.  But I don’t believe in fate, really.  Because that would mean my sucky life was on purpose or something.


Thinking about the book I’m going to write this year, I feel really connected to MDMD (title withheld for now- sorry!  and no- it has nothing to do with doctors) even though I thought UN (sorry again!) would speak more to me.  I think MDMD just has more plot and character opportunities.  I hope so because I’m about to take the plunge.


I’ve been reading The Weekend Novelist and when it gives tips or advice, sometimes I think about how I would use them on MDMD.  I think I should just go for it.  But I’m going to be prepared.  I can’t just write willy nilly without knowing where the characters are going and who they are.  I think the biggest problem I’ve had in the past is that I didn’t know who the characters were or I had too many of them for them to be unique and real.  Not this time.  I’m going to focus the story on 2 individuals again, but flesh out the personalities and back story of the secondary characters as well so I know who I’m working with.


I need to get a timer so I can shut my phone off while doing writing exercises.


(4 1/2 pages of story-centered notes skipped)


Yay!  another pen just ran out! (I know that seems weird, but I love writing with a pen until it runs out of ink.)


I think the purpose of today’s exercise is to ask all the questions but not come to conclusions.  I’ll make conclusions the nest time I spend an hour doing this.  I wonder if I should share this exercise on my blog.  I wonder how long it will be typed up or if anyone will be interested in reading it.  Should I not give information on the book I’m working on until it’s ready for edit phase?


(and the rest of the pages were all story and character centered)


Does anyone have any suggestions for helpful writing exercises for me?

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.