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

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.

Short Attention Span

It’s funny, I’ve spent the past couple of days wishing I had time to write a blog post, and yet when I just opened up the “Add New Post” page and set my fingers on the keyboard, my mind went completely blank.  I had nothing to say.  So that’s why you are getting this little rambling to kick things off.

Let’s see, what’s been going on?

Well, I just spent the last couple of days in Marilla, New York with my dad’s parents (so for those of you who commented on my last post, I’m so sorry I haven’t responded yet, I’m going to right after I finish this post).  For those of you who don’t know western New York, Marilla is close to East Aurora which is close to Buffalo.  Marilla is such a small town that my grandparents mailing address is East Aurora.  But anyways.  Being with family you only see once every couple of years or so (if that) is always awkward, but it’s nice too.  Like seeing my dad get hammered with his brother and sisters around makes me realize how all his children got to be the smart asses they are today.

Of course, there’s always the inevitable “we’re interested in your life” conversations which lead to things like my uncle checking my hands to see if there are any engagement rings there (for the record, there aren’t) or being told by my seventeen year old cousin that I need to get married soon so he could come down and visit us again (he and his family came for my younger sister’s wedding last year and we had a blast) or being told by my grandmother that there’s always the internet to find someone or being asked by my aunt if I even have a boyfriend.  At least my grandfather told me I looked slimmer than the last time he saw me (though I’m probably not).

I did get some time on the plane ride to Buffalo to type up a few random chapters of The Death Effect that have been waiting in my notebook for a week or two.  My current word count is 37,163!  I’m about 1/2 way there.  I can’t believe how long it is taking me to write this book, but I should remember that writing Twenty-Five in a month was a real fluke, and I shouldn’t expect that from every book I attempt to write.  It got me thinking about how much I’ve written on some of my other ideas, probably not much!  So, of course, I looked.  Here it is:

Thirty-Four: 35,988

30 Dates in 30 Days: 2,598

Anita’s Dream Diary: 21,525

Aribelle: 5,328

David and Adrian: 14,551

Love or Friendship: 4,133

The First Mermaid: 1,870

Apparently the long novel is not something I’m very good at, the longest one on this list is the “sequel” to Twenty-Five!  Or at least, I don’t have the attention span for it.  My friend Ang once asked if I’d ever thought of doing a collection of short stories.  She may be on to something, since it seems I think in 5,000 words or less most of the time.  I’d love some suggestions of what to write about- what would you guys enjoy reading?

And a little thing that makes me happy: A pen that writes really really really well.

Where Dreams Come True… Part Five

Sunday morning, bright and early, we drove once again through the Disney gates.

Our first stop was Hollywood Studios, because I LOVE the movies! Any movie, every movie.  Good, bad, and completely ridiculous.

We went to Guest Services and told them it was our birthdays.  They gave us these badges with our names and “Happy Birthday” on them and every where we went all day long Disney employees (and some other guests) told us Happy Birthday.  I recommend getting one of these badges whenever you go, whether it’s your birthday or not.  Being told “Happy Birthday” every five minutes is incredibly magical!

There weren’t a ton of rides at Hollywood Studios and the ones there had long lines and no fast passes for a while, so we didn’t ride anything, just walked around and admired the general splendor until it was time for the Beauty and the Beast show.  Have I mentioned that Beauty and the Beast is my ALL TIME FAVORITE Disney movie?  The show was really good– basically the movie condensed into thirty minutes of musical numbers.  I loved it, of course, and sang along with each and every song.  I’m sure Brooke was annoyed as hell, but she smiled and didn’t complain at all.  I took about 30 pictures of the show, but here’s my favorite.  Any guess why? haha

After Beauty and the Beast we went to the Indiana Jones Show, then moved on to The Magic Kingdom.

The Magic Kingdom was just that.  Magical.  I know I’ve used this description countless times, but really, Disney World is magical.  It’s wondrous.  Amazing.  Spectacular.  Fantabulous.

The first thing we did was head straight for Space Mountain and get fast passes.  Unfortunately the fast passes weren’t good until after 8:15 PM, but luckily, we were planning on staying all day!

After obtaining the fast passes we got lunch, then enjoyed the 3:00 parade.  It started raining just as the parade started, but the rain was actually a welcome addition- it cooled the day down a bit.

When the parade ended, it really started to pour, so we went to the Hall of Presidents and enjoyed the show there.  It was quite moving.  It begins with George Washington and goes all the way through to Barack Obama.  When pictures from 9/11 scrolled across the screen with George W. Bush’s voice speaking over it with words of encouragement for the nation, I got a little teary!  And I am NOT a fan of George W. Bush!  But anyways…

We spent the next couple of hours riding all of the MUST RIDE rides: It’s a Small World After All, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise.  I wanted to ride the Teacups and Splash Mountain, but Brooke didn’t want to, so NEXT TIME!  And unfortunately Thunder Mountain was closed.  NEXT TIME!

At 6:00 we left the Magic Kingdom and met Danny in Epcot for a backstage tour of The Seas.  I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures backstage because that’s “where the magic ends.” Plus, Danny could have gotten into big trouble!  He took us to the room that overlooks the aquarium and I stood approximately three feet away from two dolphins who stuck their heads above the water and looked straight at me!  They knew I was there to see them.  I couldn’t say anything to them or make any big hand gestures because it would derail their training, but still, I was only three feet away.  NEXT TIME Danny might try and arrange it so I can go snorkeling in the tank and then I might be able to touch one of them (maybe- I’m not sure, he wasn’t clear on that)!

After our backstage tour, we walked through the World Showcase.  Of course I had to take a picture in the famous London phone booths!  Danny ate at the Moroccan restaurant, but Brooke and I didn’t want to eat anything for dinner yet because we still had Space Mountain ahead!

We went through the entire World Showcase and of course I took a ton of pictures, but I’ve already bored you enough, so I’ll just get to the end of the day.

We went back to The Magic Kingdom after the World Showcase because we wanted to see the fireworks.  They were beautiful but Danny told me how much they cost each night and almost gave me a heart attack.  Let’s just put it this way- it was almost more than I made last year- for the entire year- with both jobs.

Still breathtaking, though.

And of course, after the fireworks: SPACE MOUNTAIN!  The best most awesome roller coaster EVER.  I know there will be some cynical and pessimistic people out there who don’t believe in the magic of Disney who will say, “Space Mountain?  Really?  The best roller coaster ever?”  And I will say “HECK YES!”  And they will say, “But it doesn’t even go upside down!”  And I will say, “But you can’t see what’s coming next!  The thrill is much bigger!”

After Space Mountain, 😦 , we left Disney World.  I said goodbye to the happiest place on earth (though, as we were informed when we got our birthday badges, Disney Land is actually the Happiest Place on Earth, while Disney World is Where Dreams Come True).  And then I had to come home.  Back to reality.  But I brought some happiness back with me.  A little magic.

And I plan on holding onto it for as long as possible.

Thank you Disney World- I will be back.

Where Dreams Come True… Part Four

I really had no idea describing my vacation would take this many posts- sorry!  feel free to skip if you don’t love Disney as much as I do– which btw is crazy talk.  Who doesn’t love Disney?

The first thing we did at Disney was explore a few of the resorts.  We went to The Wilderness Lodge

I got a little camera happy!  I took even more at the Wilderness Lodge, but I won’t bore you with too many pictures.  I was just so excited to be there.  It was like stepping into a dream.  I’d been wanting to go to Disney World for as long as I can remember.  And here I was.  Standing there, seeing the beauty and the creativity and the wonder of it all.  It makes you realize how important passion is in life.  You have to have passion to have fun, to enjoy the little things.  I had a lot of passion at Disney.

The next place we visited was the Contemporary Resort.  It was not nearly as exciting as the Wilderness Lodge because it was all modern architecture and furniture.  It didn’t have the magical atmosphere that the other resorts did, but it did have the monorail running through it!

We hopped on the monorail and headed to the Polynesian Resort.  The Polynesian was BEAUTIFUL.  Gorgeous.  And it smelled delicious!  There’s a restaurant there called Ohona (if you remember from Lilo & Stitch, “Ohona” means family) where they serve the customers family style.  Waiters walk around with huge trays full of kabobs and according to Brooke, the bread is delicious.  I think you have to have a reservation to eat there, so we didn’t, but I told Brooke that next time (and yes- there will most definitely be a next time) I visit, we are eating there.

We did eat at the Polynesian Resort, though, just not at Ohona.  We ate Pineapple Dole Whip at the cafe on the bottom floor.  It was actually a little bit taller than this picture, but we all took a bite before I thought to pull out the camera.  And yes, we ate it all:

After the Polynesian resort, we went to The Grand Floridian Resort.  It was spectacular.  I want to live in this hotel.  That’s all I’m going to say.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

After seeing the beauty at the resorts, we went to Downtown Disney so that I could get all my souvenirs.  We decided it would be best to get them the night before so that I didn’t have to carry them around all day on Sunday at the parks.

Saturday was eventful.  Sunday was magical.  There’s just no other word for it.  Look for the final installment tomorrow night!

Where Dreams Come True… Part Three

Brooke had to work on Friday during the day, so I got to sleep in!  And when I did finally get up, I immediately put on my brand new bathing suit (P.S. I haven’t worn a bathing suit in over 4 years.  Luckily, it was not as traumatic as I expected because no one saw me in it except for Brooke and her roommate later in the day) and went out to the pool.

In Florida, everyone has a pool in their backyard.  Literally.

I got in the pool and swam around for about five minutes.  It was nice, but swimming alone really isn’t that much fun, so I got out and dried off by laying in the sun for a little bit.  Then the main event.  I spent the next three or four hours at my laptop, just typing and editing and not worrying at all about work life.  I was completely immersed in The Death Effect and the world of my imagination.  It was so peaceful, so nice, so incredibly relaxing.  I really needed it.

On Friday night Brooke, her boyfriend Danny, and I went to their stem church for Bible study of sorts.  I had a good time.  Their friends were welcoming, we had Papa John’s pizza (mmm… delicious.  I used to dislike it, but it has grown on me), and then discussed the idea of God’s plan and the goal of accepting God’s plan and living in the moment rather than living for the future.

I completely live for the future.  I wish I didn’t.  And I’m trying harder not to.  That’s partly what this blog is for.  It’s why I switched jobs in January.  And it’s why I write for me and haven’t really been freaking out about the fact that I haven’t had time to search for an agent.  But the truth is, I’ve always waited for that future moment when my life “will start.”  You know what I mean.  That time when I’m in the career I want, in love with the man I want, happy with the family I want, out of the debt I have now.  It’s always ahead of me.  I’m always stretching my hand out trying to grasp it, inevitably falling short.

But my trip to Orlando was living in the moment.  Not caring how it would affect my bank account, only caring how it would affect my happiness NOW.  And I’m so happy I went.

Saturday, I repeated Friday morning/afternoon- working a lot on The Death Effect, but not really working on it.  I read through everything I have written so far, edited a few things, and made sure it was up-to-date on TNBW.  Again, a completely relaxing, no-obligations day.  I loved it.

Saturday night- we went to Disney…

My first glimpse of Disney through the rain and the windows!

Where Dreams Come True… Part Two

So let me tell you a little about my trip to Orlando.

This was the first real vacation I’ve had in years.  YEARS.  I can’t even remember the last vacation I took.  My family went to Buffalo to visit my Dad’s parents last summer, but I’m not sure I really count that as a vacation because it was all family time.  The point is, I don’t take a lot of vacations because I can’t really afford it for one thing and because I don’t have the time for it for another.  This was a pretty big step for me.  I’m still not entirely sure I could afford this vacation, but it’s over now, so…

I had a four-day weekend thanks to Memorial Day and the new job at the ortho’s office (if I can still call it new, I’ve been there almost 5 months), so I just took the plunge.  I’m not really a risk taker, never have been.  The day I purchased the plane tickets- I felt so amazing!  And I’ve been in such a GOOD MOOD ever since.

I got off work at 5:00 on Thursday and headed straight for the airport.  It was the first time I’ve flown by myself!  I’ve flown a few times, when I was in college for trips with the Honors Program I was involved in, but I’ve never flown for a personal trip and never by myself.  I’m used to being alone, so it wasn’t a big deal, but it did make me feel GROWN UP.  You know?  I’ve been an adult forever it seems like, but this was just another one of those things that every adult has to do- Fly on a plane by themselves.

So… Check!

I had a short layover in Nashville and I almost freaked out when we landed because I thought I missed my connecting flight to Orlando!  ALMOST freaked out.  But I kept my head cool.  I almost freaked out because when we landed my phone said 8:26 and my flight to Orlando was scheduled to leave at 8:20.  I was stuck on the plane so there wasn’t anything I could do until we got off the plane and I found my gate to see if my flight had left.  I texted my friend to let her know and then I saw the guy’s cell phone beside me said 7:28.  I was like, “Is there a time difference between Raleigh and Nashville?”  Brooke said she’d look it up and let me know and sure enough, yes, there is an hour time difference!  North Carolina and Tennessee are so close, I never knew they were in different time zones!

Needless to say, I didn’t miss my connection!  I got to Orlando Thursday night a little after 11:00 and Brooke picked me up at the airport.  My vacation REALLY started the next day!  More to come…

Where Dreams Come True… Part One

It is Monday night, 9:44 pm, the 31st of May.  Memorial Day.  I just finished a visit to my friend, Brooke, who lives in Orlando.  We went to Disney World while I was there.

It was my first visit to Disney World.  I had an AMAZING and FANTABULOUS time.  It was the most fun I’ve had in as long as I can remember.  And it really got me thinking- because what doesn’t get me thinking?- about my life and my upcoming birthday.  I feel like I have a ton of stuff to say, so this is probably going to be a two or three part post, to be posted over the next week.

But before I get into my ramblings on how Disney World has changed my life, here are a few pictures for your enjoyment!

More pictures to come, I promise!  The adventures *begin* tomorrow!