Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Currently... Update Edition

It's ridiculous how long it's been since I've updated here. Life seemed to pick up and fly. I decided maybe the best way to update is join Katy Upperman and others with a Currently post.


Being a mom! My husband and I were matched for open adoption (our son will know his birth family) in January, and our son Oliver was born in early February. It's been a whirlwind of wonderfulness. I'm trying to enjoy every moment, even though the urge to write still compels me. 


I never used my phone for reading until now. Holding a book is impossible so e-books are a savior! I'm currently re-reading A Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (second Outlander book) since I haven't read it since I was a teenager! Since it takes time to read her books (it's over 752 pages long), I'm also reading Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway. 

Also, to get back into writing, I'm going through Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell.

There's our usual shows that I'm completely in love with like The Flash, Supergirl, and iZombie. And Outlander is back! My biggest guilty pleasure is Dancing with the Stars since Jodie Sweetin is on there, after the return of Fuller House. I admit that Full House (and The X-Files) was a favorite of mine growing up. I loved the new show and can't wait for the second season. It's strange being grown ups! But it's fun my son can grow up with it. 

Listening to...

I've been playing a lot of Disney songs and Oliver loves it when we play Rock Band. He sings back-up vocals. It's adorable. 

Thinking About...

Getting back into writing and finish this book! I'm learning how to incorporate things into my schedule again. For example, take a morning walk while the kiddo naps. Since we've done this, he's been sleeping better (which he already does!) at night. I need to make time, even if it means going to a coffee shop once a week. 


Going to North Dakota in a month to see our family and friends. I can't wait to introduce everyone to our little boy!

Can't leave out Captain America: Civil War, Free Comic Book Day, AND Mother's Day is all on the the same weekend. Score! 


I was better at taking breaks for myself! Instead I fill it with chores that need to be done around the house. I feel like I'm constantly playing catch up (in a way, I am!). Not sure if I'll ever find balance, but I'll figure out how to do it or handle it someday. Writing this blog post is a good start

Making Me Happy...

It was a long two years where my health wasn't the best, I was worried about us starting a family, and my writing was going nowhere. When we decided to do adoption, things started to fall into place again. We waited eight months for that call, but it happened at the right time. Watching our son born, and him holding my finger while they weighed him and everything, and how he still does it now, shows me how far love can go. The day after he was born, I was sent a link for open submissions for an adoption anthology. I'm not sure if I'll be included, but knowing I could write, submit, and try made me realize I can do things again. It's a reminder that this is a path that I'm meant to take.

And seeing my husband with our son. It's one of the most beautiful things I've seen.

Being a part of a my son's birth family. Open adoption is such a gift.

Hearing everyone's excitement and becoming closer to people when our son was born. Gratitude makes a world of difference.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Things are Happening: In the Every Day

A few weeks ago, I had a great visit and walk with my friend Elle in La Jolla. Afterwards, I needed to cool off so I decided to put my feet into the ocean. I wasn't sure at first about doing it while I leaned over the fence, taking in the waves. It wasn't the first time I've done this. The only thing holding me back from putting my feet in was myself, and that wasn't enough. No one was on Shell Beach. Why not take the time? I grabbed my spare sandals I kept in the trunk and headed down. 

The water felt amazing after this 95-100 degree weather. A couple joined me, and I had a lovely visit with the wife. She told me that when she saw I was in the water, it inspired them to do it too. One by one, more people wandered down until there was 10-15 of us on the small beach.  

The last year held its ups and downs. I'm making the effort to tell myself, "Everything will work out." Between querying agents and the path to adoption at the same time, I've had to adjust my expectations of myself.  To keep taking risks. I'm seeing more posts lately about positivity, but I've been keeping other things in my mind too. 

1) What is the truth in your life? 
It's good to be realistic and a dreamer, but am I being true to myself? I knew for years that we would adopt. At first, we tried to have a biological child. Then, about a year ago, I looked in the mirror and it was through my own eyes that I knew that we should adopt. 

It felt right. I felt fierce. And, as you see here, I haven't forgotten about that moment. 

2) Things will happen in their own time. 
We don't know when we'll bring our child home. We don't know what amazing and brave (I could go on) birth mother will choose us, but we know she's out there. She will change our lives, and there will be no way that we can repay her. We'll make her as much part of the family as we can because that's what we'll be because of her. I can't wait while holding my breath. It will happen, and for now, that's enough.

With querying for books, it's harder since there's a lot of effort. Writing. Revising. Query letters. The dreaded synopsis. Research. Book events. Conferences. Twitter research (obviously!). Sending e-mails. Filling out spreadsheets. The rejections. The small victories. Waiting, and again, I can't hold my breath. If I keep going, it will happen with time. 

I will persist. 

3) If it doesn't cost anything, then is it worth it?
When I was seventeen, I joined the National Guard to help pay for college. I didn't know what choices I had at the time, and I was scared. At the same time, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I didn't know what it meant, really, and it was the reason why I had to receive a medical discharge. I then applied for college, was accepted, and moved from a town of 15 people where I lived my whole life to 100,000 people in less than two months. A few people didn't agree with my decisions, but it was my health-- and my heart. If I hadn't made those decisions, I would have went to a different college.

I wouldn't have met my husband. My best friends. My whole life wouldn't have lead me here to San Diego where I will become a mother and the writer I always dreamed of being all these years. 

I bleed on the pages. I hurt for the things I lost. I fought for the things I gained. 

I stay determined.

And when I look at this list, I'll probably kick myself when I'm having a stressful day of "when will it happen?" or stare off in the distance wondering "when will someone say yes?".

Then I will remember. It wasn't easy, but I'm doing it.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Things are Happening: North Dakota Trip and Adoption Announcement

It's hard to believe that summer has passed and we're heading into fall. Over the past two weeks, this massive tree over our home in San Diego has been shedding its leaves. They are all over our backyard, and even though we share space with three other carports, the leaves love our space. I picked up that large pile yesterday. Crickets were living in the leaves, and they were jumping everywhere.

I grew up in the Midwest in a yard surrounded by trees. A few pile of leaves doesn't bother me much. When I was a teenager, it took me six hours by myself to rake up our front yard. This doesn't include transporting all the leaves away. This was before we had MP3 players and cell phones. We had a cassette player plugged into the garage that I cranked up to full blast (I lived in the middle of nowhere) and went to work. My cats were helpers so I might have gotten distracted a little bit while throwing them into the piles. The air was crisp, and I had to wear a sweater and gloves. As you can see, raking leaves wasn't such a bad memory. It's a reminder of autumn-- crisp air, cloudy skies, and mystery.

I found fall in Southern California!
It's different here in San Diego. We are in the middle of a heat wave, the ocean is warmed up, and I'm obsessed with being in the pool. While raking those leaves, the smell and humidity brought me back in some ways. At the same time, it brought me forward to where I'm at--- which isn't a bad place.

North Dakota Trip
We visit our home state of North Dakota this summer. My parents' 50th wedding anniversary is this week. September is a busy time for my family so we decided to go back earlier to celebrate with everyone. My brothers and I planned a lovely gathering at a hotel in Fargo. It was the immediate family, along with one of my many uncles who was their best man. It was a great time to connect with everyone, especially my nieces and nephews. It's one of the hardest things about being away, but technology helps fill in that space.

Red River cutting between Grand Forks, ND and East Grand Forks, MN
After that weekend, we spent the week visiting whoever we could. We would get up at 7am and stay up until midnight. The sun is different there, and at ten o'clock, the sun was beginning to go down. To us, it felt like 8pm (which it was!). We also attended a local convention, CoreCon, that we helped run for four years, which is like a giant party to us.  It was nice seeing our hard work instilled within the convention after leaving and appreciating how they have made it continue to grow. We entered the costume contest, something we've never done before, and we won Best Workmanship (which is more Joey's doing than my own) with our Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen costumes.

Joey showing his costume to his Grammy
Spending time with friends and family at CoreCon--
in and out of Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen costumes
Flying home wasn't a weird experience this time around.There was nothing pulling me backwards to regret our decision to move away. I still refer to North Dakota as "back home", and I don't see anything wrong with that. I lived there for the first thirty years of my life and its impression on me will never change.

And another reason why I was looking forward to being back in San Diego is we spent the last two weeks celebrating and talking to people about adoption. Joey and I put in our birth mother letter to a local facilitator and we were thrilled that we were able to share the news with the people that we love in person.

Joey and I have talked about adoption since the topic of having children came up. Joey's mother and uncle were adopted, and it made sense for us to grow our family this way. When things aligned in that direction, it was natural for us to make the decision. We're fortunate that we found someone in San Diego to help us fulfill this dream of ours, and has done so for many families in the San Diego area. There is no doubt in my mind when I think about everything that we were lead to this city, and this place, to find our child. We're waiting to be matched with a birth mother (or parents) and not sure how long it will take. However, we're up for what life brings us!

Our announcement we shared with friends and family
And that's June! I will post more about July and August in the weeks to come. And maybe I'll catch up with September. I'm back in RevisionLand with a shiny new project that I'm excited to tackle at last. Feels good getting back into the groove of things.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Spring Writing Bootcamp 2015 Wrap Up

It's hard to believe that the Spring Writing Bootcamp is over! The last two months have gone by and left quite an impression on me in ways I didn't know possible. But first I want to give a shout-out to the YA Buccaneers for putting on this challenge and to my team members, Heidi Sinnett and AM Hughes! Be sure to keep an eye out for them in the book world.

Let's see how I did in my goals in the past two months!

1) Write 50,000 words in my current WIP, Prairie Dust.
Overall, I wrote about 16,000 words. How did I think I was ready for this book? I wrote about how this is my first contemporary so I've come across a few challenges like actually having to write a young adult within the perimeters of our world and not one I made up, realizing I was writing some scenes in the wrong weather, and dealing with how geekdom is seen over the past ten years. Is it weird that I find writing fantasy novels so much easier? 

I was also distracted by a secret project where I had to fit everything on two pages, no more or less. It was quite the challenge. When I wasn't feeling Prairie Dust, I was determined to get that finished. I'm pretty proud of it and it was a little more pressing than this book, so I'm not beating myself up too much.

We'll see how the manuscript progresses over the next few months. As you can see by my posts, I had a lot going on with different conventions and events. We're heading to North Dakota to visit family and San Diego Comic-Con is on the horizon. I'm going to work hard on dedicating more time to my work, even if it's ten minutes a day. 

Goal: Develop better habits! My health is improving and I feel like a cloud has been lifted from my head that's been there for the past year. I developed some rough habits so it's time to undo them! 

2) Write synopsis for my three completed manuscripts. Decide on next the next big revision project.
This was actually a great exercise for me to do. I haven't been able to decide on what to start next for a while and those three manuscripts have been sitting waiting for some attention. After I wrote up what ended up being more like a proposal, I sent it off to my four critique partners to help give some insight. Thank goodness for their insights! 

Goal: Listen to my gut. I apply this whole projects or even to a simple scene. I usually know what's right. Time to quit ignoring it. Though, there's nothing wrong with asking for help.

I'm now reading through the first draft of the chosen project, Mirrorspeak. It's been two years since I wrote it and it's always strange to be surprised by your own words! 

3) Rework the revision project outline. 
I'm working on my revision process and this is something that's still in progress. Right now, I'm focusing on getting the outline of what I already have and taking a look at the bigger picture. I'm actually pretty excited about this! 

Goal: Finish reading through the draft and get that outline together!

Time to get work done and start on those goals. Good job to all the Bootcampers! Keep up the awesome! 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In #7 (and Faith)

Word Count Update
I've been working on A Secret Project for the past two weeks. I sent off the first draft of it today and hope to have the final version completed by the end of the month. I can't say much else, but I'm counting this! It's one of the hardest things I've ever written. 

In regards to the WIP, I was distracted again. This seems to be a pattern. I did manage to get several scenes together and have a better idea of where the story is taking me. I think I'm going to restate that a new goal of reaching 20,000 words by the end of the Bootcamp and actually is more realistic from past experience. (What was I thinking?) However, this genre is completely new to me and it's proving to be a bigger challenge than I first imagined. (When is writing ever simple?)

Other things
I decided to unplug more from the internet this. I've realized that I've been busier than I'm used to and I needed time to recharge my inner introvert. I think it's so important to listen to yourself about what you need because no one else will do it for you! For the last year, I struggled with some health issues and I'm finally feeling like I'm able to reclaim my life back a little by little. In that time, I collected bad habits that I'm doing my best to break. I'm determined more than ever to work on my writing, and as you can see, I'm still struggling. However, I keep telling myself that I'm writing again and that my voice matters.

A friend and I were talking about querying and writing the other day. She brought up the difference of hope and faith for writers. Hope is wanting something to happen, but faith is confidence that it will happen. In the past year, I've hoped for something happen. It's time for some faith. 

Two more updates left, including the final reflection post. May isn't over yet so let's get to work!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In #6

Word Count Update
It's slowly coming along! I've fixed the timeline issue to get things back on track! I have the book split up into the different months of the schoolyear and broken up into scenes instead of chapters for the time being. That was really helpful when I was writing about that snowstorm too early.

Last week, I put together the synopses of the three projects I've written and need revision. I added a short writing sample and sent it off to my critique partners to get their opinions. It was pretty apparent to all of us, after looking at everything, what I will work on next. It's also the reason why I've decided with no uncertainty that first person isn't the right voice for me. How do I know this? One of those novels is written in first person. Like one of my partners pointed out, everything is there. It just doesn't seem to move. It's disappointing, since I've actually worked on that most recently, but sometimes you have to let things go for a while. (Not sure why I learned that lesson the hard way. This isn't the first book I've written in first person and decided that's the problem.)

Other Things
This week I've come to the conclusion that my favorite writing resource at the moment is Chuck Wendig's blog. Whenever I have an issue or need a break from something bothering me, I go over to this blog and I find something that boosts my confidence faster than a shot of espresso. I have promised myself  at the end of this novel, I'm going to reward myself with a few of his books. I just need to decide which ones! For now, I have the blog to taunt me. Go read it too!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In #5 (and Free Comic Book Day!)

Word Count Update
I'm really happy with my progress in the past week. This is the first time a book I'm writing isn't progressing in chronological order. I created an outline of the school year for my characters and realized I was writing about snow in October. Yes, snow can happen in North Dakota that time of the year, but that wasn't what I wanted. I finished up those "snow scenes" and backtracked to homecoming and Halloween. It's funny how these characters are working against me! This book is character-driven so I'm at their mercy. Please be gentle, my loves!

I wrote at my local library this week and there were so many words! It would be ideal for me to write this book there since it worked out so well. The bad news is my back and hip didn't like the chair that I sat in. I haven't felt like that in quite some time! I have a bad back so I need to be careful where I sit (my local Barnes and Noble and their bench seating works best for me). There aren't other choices at this library for me to sit unless I want everything on my lap. There is another library a little further from my house I'll try next week and it's by where I like to go hiking. Crossing my fingers that they have better seats and I can go there a few times a weeks. We'll see how it goes! I want to mix things up since I don't want to spend a ton on beverages.

YA Buccanneers challenge
I shared my favorite piece of writing advice above and I've been taking it to heart a lot lately. Maybe it help you in your writing days ahead! 

Free Comic Book Day 
My husband Joey and I volunteered at our local comic book shop, Southern California Comics, for Free Comic Book Day. We were dressed up as Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man. We went down the long lines of people to entertain them for the first few hours of the event. There were also local vendors and food trucks. It was a nice little event!

My favorite part of the whole day was the family of four little girls. The three older girls (the littlest was a baby) took pictures with both of us, but then they each had to have their own picture taken with Spider-Gwen. Since she's such a new character, it's always so fun to see people cheering her on!


Currently... Update Edition

It's ridiculous how long it's been since I've updated here. Life seemed to pick up and fly. I decided maybe the best way to upda...