Congratulations!

Congratulations to the winners of my recent The Thing About Apples Goodreads giveaway (which had nearly 1,000 entrants!) :

Stacy Krout

Carling Vesico

Athena De Rosa

Jennifer Siddall

Roland So

Deanna Josephitis

Crissy Shamion

Jack Marsh

Britini Gibson

Jeremy Martin

 

Didn’t win? You can still get a copy of The Thing About Apples for as little as $4.99 on Kindle or $15.75 in Paperback. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up the first two books of the series: ‘Till the Last Petal Falls and To Dwell in Dreams (Winner of the 2014 C.W. Coates Novel Award!)

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Already off the Wagon

The bad news? This being the first post in awhile means that I fell very behind on my promise to blog more often. The good news? It’s Lent now, which has always been the better time for me to get my act together. And I’ve also been spending a good amount of my time writing- several short stories, personal pieces, and getting back into editing Painting the Roses Red. I even started writing poetry again under my other alias. So even if it seems like I might have fallen entirely off the face of the earth, I am still here and I have been working on my writing! I’ve also been able to get into a rhythm at my new job and with my new friend groups as well, which makes it easier for me to schedule time to write, edit and promote.

How are your first months of the year going? Did you start off on a good foot or slip back into bad habits immediately?

2017 Resolutions

Alright, so 2016 was a bit rougher of a year than I had planned on it being. Mostly because I planned on doing so many big things at once and hadn’t been realistic about how much I could really handle at one time. I did manage to marry my best friend, thank goodness. I never managed to edit through Painting the Roses Red, write anything new, or work harder on my promotions. I ended up gaining 10 pounds back of the weight I’d lost, and I left off my blogging schedule once the weather turned cold and the wedding loomed closer. It was a big year though, so I’m not kicking myself too hard. Instead, I’m going to focus on doing better next year.

With that in mind, next year I will:

1. Get those last 10 pounds back off

2. Get back into editing Painting the Roses Red, with the goal of re-submitting it to publishers/agents by the end of the year

3. Really sink some time and resources into promoting myself as a writer. Dedicate time that I can’t to writing to material to shopping myself around for appearances, guest blogs, etc.

 

I have a small list this year because I really want to be able to keep myself to it (even going to buy a planner this week to keep everything straight). What were your resolutions? What will they be in the new year?

 

I’m a Married Woman Now!

15337375_10154795436617264_2890215680535555652_n          On December 3rd, at 1:00 P.M., I married my best friend and the best partner a woman could ever ask for at the Catholic Church where I grew up, was baptized, and received my first sacraments. This year has been insane, what with all the planning, the moving, the preparing and just the general anxiety that comes with taking such a huge step in one’s life… and now that it’s all over, I couldn’t be happier. I told my husband (squee! Still so fun to say!) when we were beginning to come back from our honeymoon that I was just as excited to go home with him and be a family as I was to fly to Ireland and Italy for our

This year has been insane, what with all the planning, the moving, the preparing and just the general anxiety that comes with taking such a huge step in one’s life… and now that it’s all over, I couldn’t be happier. I told my husband (squee! Still so fun to say!) when we were beginning to come back from our honeymoon that I was just as excited to go home with him and be a family as I was to fly to Ireland and Italy for our 10 day vacation. (Which is saying a lot, considering the fact that we got to see the Pope as sposii novellii). This man has been my rock for the past four years. He encourages me to keep writing, to keep trying, even when I don’t believe in myself anymore. He helps me stick to my goals, and to my beliefs- even if he doesn’t share those goals or those beliefs. If I want to lose weight, he helps me do it healthily, even if he says he thinks I’m beautiful no matter what. If I start being lax with my faith, he reminds me to go to church or say the prayers I promised to pray, even though he himself is atheist. He makes me a better me- and he claims I do the same for him.

I am beyond excited to be starting this new year with a new husband. I’ll also be starting a new job, working as a youth minister at a church near me. This will fortunately free up a lot more time for me to be writing and promoting myself as a writer, as I will be getting a much more flexible schedule (and a lot of work-from-home projects as well). I’ll be writing more, editing more, scheduling more appearances and talks and just generally putting all of my time and energy into building the life that I believe me and my family are meant for. Just as I knew I was called to be my husband’s wife from the moment I met him, I’ve always known I was meant to be a mother and a writer. And with him by my side, I hope to be more faithful to those callings than ever before.

Here’s to a fruitful, enlightening, and beautiful Christmas season after this amazing Advent!

Women’s Fiction No Longer

I never really thought I’d start my writing career with ‘women’s fiction’. My favorite author was Terry Pratchett, my favorite mangaka Kaori Yuki and I loved magical girl animes and Princess stories. When I wrote my first sixty-page novel in fifth grade, it was a dragon story. In high school I became fixated on vampires and the occult, and recently went into a fascination with faerie lore.

But the story I got out first was women’s fiction- a story laid out in the ‘real world’ that revolved around a female character and some major events of her life. Even as a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, I intentionally left out magic because the story I wanted to tell involved how fairy-tale relationships would play out in real life.

Now with two books in that series published, and the third coming out this July, I’m beginning to wonder why ‘women’s fiction’.

Not ‘why write this instead of fantasy’ but ‘why women’s?’. And not ‘why write female characters’ but ‘why not just say you write general fiction?’. When I was convinced as a child that I was going to start right out the gate with dragon stories with big heroines, I didn’t think of them as ‘women’s fantasy’ just because the characters are female and might, on the off chance, appeal to women more. So why shortchange myself as a writer now?

Sure, the Once Upon A Reality series focuses on women. And it sometimes focuses on primarily female issues, such as childbirth, and female puberty. But so what? I spent many years in high school reading male coming of age stories or mid life crisis regarding manhood and those were never designated ‘man’s fiction’. And i learned from those stories, regardless of the fact that I was born female and identify as a woman. Men and women alike can find something to learn from Jolee, Lyn and Ann. Both men and women can relate to the likes of Adam, Gage, Phillipe and Hunter.

So I’m done personally designating the installments of the Once Upon a Reality series as ‘women’s fiction’. From now on, I will refer to them simply as ‘fiction’ and welcome all kinds of readers to delve into my characters’ lives.

And don’t forget- when you read, leave a review for me on Goodreads or Amazon, or email me or comment on the blog. I love to hear from my readers, no matter who you are or what you have to say!

The Things You Forget

Something that I would love to have, as a person, would be to have some kind of built-in check off list that either flashed in front of my eyes or was built into a watch or something. Because here’s what currently happens: I have a list of bajillion things to get to. Write a blog post, edit a chapter, write a chapter, clean the bathrooms, bathe the puppy, get a surprise for the fiance, meet up with a friend, work out, tan, make sure my social profiles are up to date, etc. I do maybe three of those and my brain suddenly goes “List done!”. I end up doing something unproductive, like watching my k-dramas, scroll around Facebook mindlessly or lounging about on my butt for several hours. And then a couple months later, I do something like log into my writing Tumblr and go “Sweet Moses! I haven’t had the queue updated here since January?”. And the thing is is that I actually wanted to be up to date on that. I wanted to be engaged in that community because it’s something I enjoy, it’s something I find useful and/or good for me; I just let it fall off by the wayside because I forget in the mess of everything else I wanted to get done.

And it’s not like I don’t have time to do that stuff. I wasn’t happy mindlessly scrolling Facebook. I honestly feel dissatisfied if I have nothing to do, if I don’t have a task. I think that this happens because I currently have this process of prioritizing- a list of things from one to one hundred about what needs to get done first, and so on down. And when I get done with the things that were top priority I just forget about the rest of them. Maybe because they are all of an equal importance? Maybe because after the first couple it just becomes overwhelming because there no actual organization?

So to avoid this problem from continuing on, in the next couple of weeks I’m going to set out a schedule for myself. Monday- refresh queues on Tumblr, Tuesday- refresh boards on Pinterest, Wednesday for contributing to conversations on Goodreads, for example. Basically parcel out each day for some kind of social media maintenance so that I can make sure I’m keeping up without having to feel overwhelmed. Because a lot of this I could even do from my mobile devices while I’m at work, during my lunch hours and whatnot, so even if I were to have a busier night schedule than usual, I wouldn’t fall off the wagon. Hopefully. Because we all know what I’ve said about best laid plans before. I think the important thing here is me trying out new strategies until I find one that really works for me, so that I can be more involved and engaged with you, my readers, and the world at large in a way that is beneficial for all of us.

That being said, is there anything you would like me to talk more about or do on social media that I haven’t? Less updates, more ‘Why I Write’? More writing tips? More publishing tips? More promotional things? More news on projects coming up? I’m always here, and I love to talk to people about my writing. Just send me a message through thisthis, or comment below!

Happy New Year!: 2016 Resolutions

So I didn’t do all that well with my 2015 resolutions in the past year. I ended up making about half of them, and failing the other half. I did good on keeping with my blogging schedule (having a schedule really helped), and I ended up losing a full forty pounds over the year. I did finish and submit The Thing About Apples, but not until about a week ago rather than the projected fall deadline. I got so busy in my personal life that I didn’t even match last year’s Goodreads challenge, much less the increased 10 books for the year. I didn’t submit any short works, having entirely focused on finishing bigger fictions pieces and starting new ones. I am glad for having an otherwise great year growth-wise, however, so I’m not going to beat myself up too badly for falling behind on these. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to try again, though!

In 2016 I will:

  1. Marry my best friend
  2. Edit through Painting the Roses Red and re-commit to submissions
  3. Do work on my current fantasy project once at week at minimum
  4. Continue keeping up on the blogging schedule
  5. Maintain weight loss until the wedding
  6. Work harder on promotions

How about it, readers? How did you manage on your resolutions in 2015? Any new ones for this year?