Friday, December 6, 2013

The Haul and Wait

Monday, December 2, 2013 was the submission day for the fabulous Brenda Drake's PitchWars. (To find out more information on what PitchWars is, feel free to click the link - it'll take you to her blog and she can explain things a hell of a lot better than I can at the moment.)

Bottom line, if you have a finished manuscript that you're ready to query with, you apply for a mentor. They'll read your query and your sample pages - sometimes even ask for more - and then they'll give you feedback on why they did or didn't accept it on December 11. I know that's only five days away, but it's going to feel more like a month away, really.

I'm not very good at waiting.

The last time I entered a contest like this was during my semester from hell (I think) and I entered Sage, and I totally botched my applications, in all honesty. It was awful. Last year I chose not to enter, because I didn't have anything that I really, really thought would be worth it.

This time I offered up Matt & Topher like proverbial lambs. I've had some success with them in pitch contests on twitter, and I've gotten plenty of rejections with them doing e-queries, so I'm really curious to see how they'll do. It will also be an opportunity to find out what I need to work on - because there's always something that can be improved - and that advice will prove valuable even if, ultimately, the boys and I go nowhere but back to the drawing board.

In the mean time, so I don't freak myself out totally while waiting and obsessively checking the Pitch Wars hashtag, I work at the hotel (for a rather funny picture from Wednesday, check out my Instagram feed for the chalk outline from the kitchen) and I work on getting a little further in Frost, my re-working of Jack Frost that I started three years ago. In other words, I keep busy so I won't go nuts. So far it's working. Hopefully the next five days will go much the same.

Happy Friday and have a good weekend.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Something to Be Thankful For

Last week was Thanksgiving. We had, as per usual, a boatload of people in the house. We also had a boatload of people staying in our hours for the week, too. My aunt and uncle from Maine, my two cousins and their dog from South Carolina, stayed at our bed and breakfast (what we jokingly call our house in the summer because it's like a permanently revolving door twenty-four hours a day with who is getting up for work, leaving for work, and coming home from work...but that's a different story for another time) and we had something like sixteen or seventeen people for dinner Thursday.

I had to work. It was an utter madhouse at the hotel: we did 685 for our buffet dinner, ran out of turkey, and had fun with each other so we didn't go absolutely batshit crazy. Well, we went batshit crazy anyway, but the highlight of having to work on a day when we were supposed to be with our families - which people continually thanked us for - was sitting down at the end after all the customers had left and the dishes had been taken back to the kitchen, and having our own sort of family dinner from the left overs. We were all tired and punchy and it was one of those things that I'll hang onto for a long time.

What I'll also hang onto is that a week ago Monday was my twenty-fourth birthday. With all that happened this year - and it's been a rough year - I honestly, at some points, didn't think I would see it. But I did. And to be able to celebrate it, and look forward to another year patched up and ready to take on the world is something that will make this birthday the most special that I will ever have. I will always remember this one. Not because of the food or the presents, but simply because I am still alive.

My family, the jokers they are, have hinted they're going to get me a cow tag - like you can buy at Tractor Supply - with the number 23 on it. I have to say I really like this idea, and I'm hoping to find it in my stocking on Christmas morning. And if anybody asks me about it, well, I have a story that's stranger than fiction. But they say the truth usually is.

Hope you all had a happy holiday, and oh, hey, it's December. When the hell did that happen?

Friday, November 15, 2013


I've written four novels. I'm not saying this just to toot my own horn, but you need to know this for this post to make sense. There's been three contemporary romance, and one urban fantasy. But never have any of them made me feel the way the one I'm currently working on for NaNo does.

There is an emotional depth to this story that scares the hell out of me.

Whether it has to do with the underlying theme of being human, or a focus more on relationships and how they can change depending on circumstances, the story going on between Jack, Mari, and Drew is terrifying. I can't adequately explain it, and considering how much better I communicate with written word than spoken, that should say a lot.

It also makes me wonder how many other writers out there are scared shitless by their own stories. I can't be the first or only person to have this thought. And thankfully I won't be the last, either.

On the bright side, the writing seems to be going smoothly, and that is most definitely a good thing.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday

(Try to ignore the fact that I haven't posted in a week...)

Spring semester 2010. This is my friend J who lived across the hall and around the corner my sophomore year. Yes, the wall is most likely holding me upright. I'm not the most graceful person on the planet on solid ground, and even less so on skates. But it was fun, and that's all that counts.

I still ice skate at least once a winter.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday

November/December 2010. It's the view from my room - ABN 3, 4F - at the University of Wales Trinity St. David Carmarthen campus. The empty space is from a car that had only recently left. Those who live in the UK aren't accustomed to driving in snow, whereas the New Yorker who was being a creeper and watching the mayhem as someone tried to leave their parking space and up the hill is used to it. (I told him to put his foot on the gas and not let up until he was on the flat past the hedge. He finally made it.)

This is also from the same time frame and was one of the cork boards on the wall of my room. I like to send and receive funny cards - getting mail is fun - and I pin them up after I get them so I can always have a quick chuckle if I need it. It became a tradition while I was at college that sort of died when everything went to hell my senior fall. 

There's so much about this picture. It's when I discovered the timer on my camera. The stack of books by the curtain were supplemental materials for my two papers due for Living in an Old Country: The History and Heritage of Wales. Newcastle Brown Ale (my absolute favorite beer and my preference) comes in cans (it's also a domestic instead of an import). My traveling orange winter hat is there, too. That hat has been everywhere since I first bought it in Belgium in 2008 while overseas to play soccer for a week. 

This was also the place where the idea for Jack and Mari was born, where I worked on Sage and made sporadic updates for Murphy and Me. 

I miss it and I can't wait to go back January of 2015 for graduate school. It won't be Wales, but ARU is only an hour from London, and Carmarthen is only another four hours by train.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Things to Know VII

- If I hadn't already been totally happy with where I'm going to go to grad school, the fact that they called me this afternoon would have sealed the deal.

- I can't imagine what it cost them for that 11.5 minute conversation.

- That predictable American girl stereotype about British accents totally applies to this chick.

- I'm not ashamed of the above.

- The library gave me permanent volunteer hours on the first Monday of the month, and I'm also still a sub when necessary.

- I'm more excited than I should be to have library hours tonight.

- November is National Novel Writing Month.

- I dug out The Icicle Man and have been playing in that sandbox since last week.

- It's rather fun to give my recently-turned-human character the emotional mood swings he's experiencing.

- Though I do feel kind of bad.

- I discovered Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix.

- Due to the above, I can confirm what we already knew: I'm a Trekkie.

- I still cry during Star Trek: Into Darkness.

- I'm also going to cry while watching the final episode of Sherlock and therefore haven't yet.

- The next season starts in January and I'm not sure I'm ready.

- I have a cold, most likely can't take any old meds, and will be suffering through with copious amounts of orange juice, cough drops, and decaffeinated tea.

- All of my Twitter followers, you have been warned.

- I'm still waiting to hear back from an agent and choosing to take no news as good news so far.

- Don't ask me how many words I've written for NaNo because I don't have a clue.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Halloween Edition

(I swear I will do an actual blog post soon. Promise.)

From Halloween 2007 it's Raggedy Ann. There was no Andy - I couldn't find him, and then decided I didn't need him - and that handmade red yarn wig was absolutely awesome. I had to lifeguard part of the IAC swim meet after school and wore that while sitting in the chair.

As for this year? Well, I'm rockin' out in my Iron Man arc reactor t-shirt my cousins got me as a gift when I was still in the hospital back in August.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

From the Vault

My weekend was, barring a flat tire while traveling to the Farmer's Market with my sister, rather uneventful.

This morning I had coffee with a good friend of mine from high school. She went to college for English, and we've both always been very interested in writing stories. We even looked at some of our old stuff and had a good laugh over it.

Naturally, with November being only four days away, we talked about what we were going to do for NaNo - National Novel Writing Month. My original intention had been to finish Terrathela and Two for the Aisle, but we got to talking and I got to thinking about how much I really liked an idea that had started off as a dramatic text while I was abroad. I'd started a new view on the idea of Jokul Frosti while I was in Wales, kind of spliced it with elements from The Pied Piper, and the beginning efforts of the novel are only about 12,000 words right now.

I'm going to go play in this sandbox again for the month of November. The characters are fun to work with, the plot is fairly solid, and Jack isn't a protagonist I'm familiar with working with. He's darker, and in a way, he's a little flat because he doesn't have a clue what to do with human emotion.

Wandering back into the urban fantasy neighborhood, too, is a promising prospect.

This excitement over ideas and story lines is what makes it fun to be a writer. Though, in a way, I'm also looking forward to the frustration that's going to make me want to pull all my hair out.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Strangely Fun

(I'm trying to blog every day in the attempt at being a better blogger. Key word is attempt.)

I have a six-year-old niece and she watches a lot of Disney channel, and that's where I first heard this song. Then I think I heard it on the radio. It's strangely addictive, and has also become one of the songs I listen to on my walk.

Have a good rest of the weekend and I'll be back on Monday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flashback Friday

We're going to completely ignore that I missed Throwback Thursday yesterday on my Instagram, and roll with Flashback Friday instead.

All the way from March 2008 and somewhere in Belgium. I went over with other students from my high school athletics section to play soccer for a week. Played one of the best games of my life as a goalkeeper there, too, after we had gone from Belgium to Germany. That soccer uniform - including my white goalkeeping jersey - wound up in a plastic garbage bag in my soccer bag in the bottom of my suitcase. That week was a ton of fun, and I met a lot of great people. 

(Mom really loved unearthing that bag when it got home. It was beyond gnarly.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Things to Know VI

- I can drive again. (Considering I've had my license since I was sixteen, this shouldn't be a big deal, but it is. Trust me.)

- I'm back to doing volunteer hours at the library and loving every minute of it.

- It's friggin' cold here.

- I got accepted into my first choice graduate school - Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England - and am waiting to hear from them whether they're going to defer me for a year so I can start January 2015.

- It feels really nice to have a goal to work toward again.

- I still haven't heard back from that agent that requested the rest of Two for the Rent.

- Because of the above I'm attempting to develop patience.

- So far that's not working.

- I seriously do wonder how the people who follow me on twitter find me.

- But I'm still not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

- Sneezing still hurts enough to make me swear in languages I don't even know.

- I have the attention span of a gnat.

Monday, October 21, 2013

To Those Who Wait

There is the idea that good news comes to those who wait. In a fit of brilliance last Thursday I totally forgot to check my email all day and the result was that, at roughly 9 pm that night, I had 18 new messages in my inbox.

One of them was a conditional acceptance letter to the University of Central Lancashire.

I only applied to three programs, and the one I've been conditionally accepted into is my second choice. Still, I ran through the house (as best one can with a still-healing sternum) and very excitedly told my parents because, well, I've been accepted to grad school!

It was unexpected. It's not that I have that low of an opinion of myself, it's just that my four years of undergrad were rough in places, and my GPA reflects that. I missed finishing with a 3.0 by .13, which, at the time didn't seem like a lot, but when you put it on an application along with your transcripts starts to feel like a chasm.

The other good news is that one of the other universities I applied to - University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow - wants an academic reference. I'm choosing to take this as a very good thing.

In the meantime, I will wait to hear from the other two, as well as the agent currently reading the rest of Two for the Rent. Good vibes and crossed fingers are much appreciated.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

My first legitimate college paper for my first history class was done via my first academic all-nighter in the lounge outside my first dorm room and I ate nearly an entire package of Oreos by myself. I was also pretty damn sure I was going to fail my upcoming Chem 110 exam, and then there was also exploratory abdominal surgery to look forward to over winter break.

Good news was that I didn't fail my exam, surgery went fine, and I later went on to graduate with a BA in chemistry.

During my sophomore year I wrote a blog post titled Definition. In that moment I not only felt beautiful, but looked it. At least to me. As someone who had played over a decade of competitive sports having a positive body image was, sometimes, difficult to manifest. I later read this same post aloud in front of a room full of my peers - while wearing that same flannel shirt - during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I did some tabling for NEDAW, too, as one of my good friends used to have an eating disorder. All of those involved worked hard that week putting up sticky notes with positive messages on bathroom mirrors, showing how out of proportion a life-size Barbie is, having an open mic night, and much, much more.

The bottom line is that women, men, people in general come in all sizes and shapes. There are those who fight constantly to look in the mirror and find one good thing in a sea of negativity.

Which makes it frustrating beyond words when Fat Shaming Week actually becomes a thing.

I'd like to be kidding. Unfortunately, I'm not.

To the men at Return of Kings fat shaming is not only acceptable, but something that must be done. In a recent post about the success of their week, cultural blogger and RoK creator Roosh writes: "Fat shaming is less about bullying individual fat people than reaffirming the fact that obesity culture is not okay in America, and attempts to brainwash people of that fiction must be immediately be destroyed with logic, science, and schoolyard insults."

It's things like this that not only make me lose a little more faith in humanity, but also drive home the importance of To Write Love on Her Arms, NEDAW, and other social movements.

As a woman and a person, I wasn't put on this Earth to be someone's object. My body is my own and, like one of my recent Twitter updates - found here - it has been to hell and back in the past two months. If a man isn't as fond of my wide hips and love handles as I am, that's fine. Nobody wears my skin but me, which is why there's absolutely no justification for anyone to make me feel ashamed of it.

RoK wants to change the cultural mindset of America. My advice is to start with their own.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I knew, sort of, what a non-traditional family was. I'd  used them a lot in my writing, too: Ralurick spends his childhood with a single mother and his adolescence with his grandmother; Ella's raised by her grandmother; Topher's raised by everybody on his mother's side except his mother, and Matt seems to be the only one who has the seemingly requisite mother-father-siblings dynamic.

I have that, too. I have two parents who are still married, and a sister. But my nuclear family has grown a little bit. It grew six years ago with the birth of my niece. And it changed two years ago when, on the outset, everything went to hell.

We've always been fluid. Sunday dinners during the winter are one of my favorite unofficial traditions, and I can't remember when we started them. Whether they're at our house or my sister's is up for grabs throughout the day, and sometimes whoever isn't responsible for dinner itself brings dessert.

When I first came home from the hospital post-surgery, stairs weren't really something I could handle a lot. The result was that I took a lot of my meals upstairs, sitting in one of my mother's straight-backed chairs. When I gained a little more mobility - and less fear of falling without being able to catch myself - and my mother started going to work for the latter half of the day, I ate dinner with my sister and niece.

That has been, hands-down, one of the best things about my recovery. The ability to see those two smiling faces on a daily basis, to help with homework (we're not large fans of Common Core math because sometimes it feels like two women with four-year degrees don't have a clue what's going on and the kid is only in first grade), to read with her, and to sit on the back porch and look with new eyes on an old, trusted view.

For these two I am grateful and thankful beyond words.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Process

So last blog post, way back when (yeah, I'm good like that, eventually I'll know what the hell I'm doing) I hinted about something that I'd share...soon.

Classify this as soon.

There really hasn't been much available on the job front for me. Which is weird, because I have a bachelors degree in chemistry with a minor in theater. I'm still waiting to hear anything useful from Chicago - or anything at all, I'm not picky - and the other jobs that I've applied for through government agencies have been fails, too.

That being said, I applied for grad schools.

Three, so far, and all of them in the UK. I try not to think too hard about what it means for the future of American education when I can get a masters degree for between $16,000 and $25,000 in a year to fifteen months abroad where doing it in my own country would cost at least double that.

Now it's just a waiting game, and most of you know how much I love waiting. Which isn't a whole hell of a lot. So keep your fingers crossed for me, if you remember. And this will probably make me feel like I've gotten into college all over again. Because, well, technically (hopefully!) I will be in college all over again.

And sometimes second chances are the best thing for a person.

Friday, September 20, 2013


I've thought about how I would start this post. About what I would say. I've made it a point to be honest because I'm a bluntly honest person. And you can't sugarcoat something like this.

So here's the reasoning behind my newest, and most favorite twitter hashtag #cowheart.

I was born twenty-three years ago with an ASD - atrial septum defect - meaning there was a hole in my heart between the top two chambers. (Quick anatomy lesson - you have four chambers, two upper, two lower.) Only we didn't know I was born with this. I played fourteen years of soccer, starting travel when I was eleven. I was a three sport athlete during high school, including when I went to Holland, Belgium, and Germany for a week to play over there. I played my first year and a half of college, too.

And still nobody found it.

The heart palpitations started spring of 2012. They continued periodically for the next year. Doctors like to think that anything that goes wrong with the average college student is stress related. Which, maybe, could have been it. It had been a hell of a last six months or so, what with things going on at home, getting three D's on my transcript, and finding out that I wasn't going to graduate that May. But things like that don't really make me anxious.

But they didn't go away when I finished in December and moved back home to wait the four months to walk across the stage. So we kept at it. My primary care physician referred me to a cardiologist, who, first, hooked me up with an event monitor for a month. That was my wired for sound period, where I wore a monitor for a month straight and only unstuck myself to shower. If I had any palpitations I was to push the button, wait for it to stop screeching at me, and then call the recording in for the medical center to then send to my cardiologist.

There was nothing on the monitor at the end of the month. Still, I kept having palpitations where I thought my heart was just going to up and quit. So he decided on doing an echocardiogram. (An ultrasound, pretty much, for your heart.)

That's when, in March of 2013, they discovered the hole. We just didn't know how big it was, and because there was no baseline for this kind of thing, he decided he would monitor it. I had the instructions to carry on like normal - work, refereeing, whatnot - and did just that. Carrying on like normal involved going down to a soccer tournament in Gettysburg, taking a train to Chicago to take exams, and working 25-35 hours a week as a waitress. It also included getting a second job because my student loans went into repayment this summer.

A few weeks into July it was time for another echo. A few days after I had gone in for the exam I got a phone call from a nurse. One of my valves wasn't...functioning properly. And there was some enlargement. She royally freaked me out completely, and it took a visit with my cardiologist in order to basically be calm again. He did agree that the hole was larger than we had first thought, and that, as it appeared to have grown larger in a short amount of time, wanted me to have it patched. So he sent me to a cardiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Originally, when we talked with the cardiologist, he was going to use a little device like a double-sided umbrella to patch the hole. He needed a better picture of it, where it was and how big it was, and we scheduled a TEE - they knock you out, put a camera down your throat, and take pictures of your heart from the inside. It would give them what they needed to know. We scheduled that.

After the TEE is when things changed rather drastically. They learned the hole was huge, and couldn't be patched the little device. Using the device would have allowed them to go in through the leg, and involving a minimal hospital stay. And a shorter recovery time.

But you can't do that with a hole in your heart the size of a half dollar.

I had open heart surgery August 29. It's a heady thing, to know that in order to have a longer life expectancy you have to have your sternum cracked, heart stopped, and the hole patched with a piece of cow. Medicine has come a long way since they first started doing this type of repair, but it's still batshit crazy to think about. I was scared. Even when you know it has to happen, it's still terrifying on a certain level.

One of the things I remember from those first post-surgery moments in CVICU is writing "I love you" on my sister's palm with my finger. I stayed in ICU for 24 hours, and was moved a stepdown unit the next day. I was in the hospital three full days following ICU. I've since been back home.

I'm doing really well. We're following the recovery plan - dictates diet and exercise - and while it's driving me nuts to not be able to move my arms above my head or lift over ten pounds, I manage. I've done a bit of reading, some writing, and I've watched a whole lotta episodes of CSI:NY, and Flashpoint on Netflix. But it's also given me a lot of time to think about what I want to do with my life, and what my next steps are after I've taken my 12-14 weeks to heal properly. I've got an idea. But that's a blog post for later.

As for the cowheart? Well, I'm part cow. I joke that I'm Iron Man, and the family jokes that whenever anyone eats steak we're eating my new relatives. Sometimes a little humor goes a long way. And right now I'm just taking it day by day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Windy City

To say it's been a while is an understatement. Rather than dump everything on everybody all at once, I'll go slow.

Back in May I submitted an application to the Illinois State Police to try and get in their forensic science trainee program. I figured it was a long shot - I wasn't sure which option that I would be qualified for - and it was the application from hell. My twitter feed can attest to that. But I sent it off to Illinois and hoped for the best.

Then I graduated from college with a BA in chemistry.

About a week, week and a half later (I think) I got mail from Illinois telling me that I had passed the education requirement and could come take my exams. It was like being accepted to college all over again, and I legit jumped up and down. Then figured out arrangements to get myself out to Chicago for a few days.

I took an AmTrak train for the first time.

One 11 hour train ride later I was in the Windy City for the first time, riding the L and trying not to get lost on my way to the hostel. My sense of direction is a little murky when I first get to a place, and I wound up taking a taxi from, well, the west side to somewhere a little more...safer. All the way to The Bean.

The Bean is really cool because it's this giant steel (I think) coffee bean-looking thing that, when you stand in front of it, reflects everything around you. It's really cool. It's a total head-screw when you go inside because you see yourself in fifteen or so different places.

I hadn't realized there was a time difference between Chicago and New York. Going back in time is not overly easy on the body, and I called it a night early. Mostly because I wanted to let everything just settle and sink before I had to take what was basically two civil service exams the next morning.

They went really, really well. The way that their tests work is that you get your score when you get done, but you don't exactly know your grade. So I walked out of there knowing how I had done. I took two exams because I'm qualified for two options. Then I had the rest of my time in Chicago to do whatever that I wanted before I got on the train that night. I took a water taxi out to Navy Pier, did the swing ride, and then walked the streets looking for a place to have Chicago deep dish.

Which is the best pizza I've ever had.

A couple weeks after I came home I got my grades in the mail. They were quite clear on the website that they only really offer interviews to those who make A's, which means you're extremely qualified.

I have an A on both exams. I'm extremely qualified and just waiting for them to call me to come back for an interview. It's a step. And now it's just a waiting game. Though I'll take any excuse to wander back to Chicago.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Two for the Rent

Matthew Winchester is about as good a best friend as anyone - Topher Stanton included - could ask for. He looked past the Stanton billions and simply saw Topher. So it's no big deal when Topher comes out as bi during their fall semester senior year.

Except it throws Matt's already muddy perspective on his own sexuality into a tailspin. Having a girlfriend doesn't seem right, and watching Topher attempt a fledgling relationship with another man doesn't sit well, either. Losing Topher's not an option, so Matt sucks it up and buries it all in the proverbial closet. 

While Topher might be emotionally conflicted on where his best friend stands in his life, he's not an idiot. He can see Matt's frayed edges and knows something's gotta give, but he's had too many important people walk out on him to lose Matt the same way. It'll be a miracle if they make it Christmas, let alone graduation in May.

Topher slammed open the door to the apartment and shut it just as viciously. The cats scrambled across the hardwood, disappearing of all places, into the bathroom, and Matt turned on his cushion, staring wide-eyed at his roommate.

He undid the top buttons on his double-breasted, calf-length dark gray peacoat with trembling fingers, allowing the two halves of the fabric part without actually removing it completely.

"What the hell is going on, Matt?" Topher said, his voice odd in the silence of the apartment.

Blindsided, Matt tried to buy himself some time. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"You. What the hell is going on with you, Matt, because last I knew when I first came out to you in September, you weren't a homophobic asshole!" Topher gripped the sides of his coat with white-knuckled fingers. "But I swear to God that you can't stand the idea of me dating anyone."

"Where in hell did you get that idea?" Matt demanded, rising up on his knees and keeping the back of the couch as a barrier between them. "And I'm not homophobic, you asshole." He wasn't. He wasn't sure what he was, but he knew he wasn't that.

"Then what is your goddamn problem?" Topher looked at his breaking point, and Matt hated himself for putting the two of them in this position.

"I don't have a problem with you," Matt said carefully, looking at Topher's nose instead of his eyes. He opened his mouth and had to glance away from Topher's face; the words wouldn't come.

Topher, however, could read between the lines well enough. "Why did you break up with Charlie?"

Matt rested his elbows on the back of the couch, scrubbing his face with his hands. "She wasn't...she wasn't what I wanted." No, that wasn't quite right. "She didn't feel right to me. When I held her." When he kissed her. When he put his arms around her and held her tight. She was curvy in all the places he wanted her to be flat.

He licked his lower lip, glad his coat was wool as a lesser fabric would have split from the tension or been marred beyond repair. Topher made Matt's gray eyes briefly, swallowed thickly, and whispered, "Why did you stop playing football?"

Either Topher was operating at a higher brain wave than the rest of the human race or he was damn good at connecting invisible dots Matt wasn't aware he'd left out in the open.

"Why did you stop playing football, Matt?" Topher repeated, louder. He took a step forward. "You love it. You absolutely love it and you've played for years and you were a freshman starter and you gave it up. So why did you do it?"

"Why is this important now?" Matt shot back, gripping the cushion like his life depended on it.

Closing his eyes, he swallowed again, like he was having to force it past a lump. "Why, Matt? You gave up dating Charlie, you gave up playing football - "

"Does it honestly matter? Does it seriously fuc - "

"Yes it matters, because it doesn't make any goddamn sense!" Topher's chest heaved. "What the hell are you hiding? From me?" 

Anybody In There?

*tap tap*


Anybody out there? Or, should I say, anybody in there? I know it's been a few months. Life got kind of nutzo for a little while - I'll fill you in a little bit - but for now, I'm back. And here's hoping this twenty-something workaholic can remember to type a few non-fiction messages every once in a while.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Right? Yes. Easy? No.

Just in case anybody on the internets hasn't heard - or kind of forgot, because I almost did - tomorrow is Pitch Madness. I was so excited when this first came across my Twitter feed because, I think, at the time I'd just finished Two for the Rent. It would be such a big change from what I had pitched in the last contest she held - Sage - and, considering the feedback I got when I pitched it during a hashtag event, I was pretty damn excited. This could be what lands me something bigger and better. Pitching it in 35 words isn't a problem, I'm more than comfortable with my first 250 words, and all screens are pointing toward giving this a shot.

No problem, right?


I did a lot of thinking today, and yesterday, too, watching stuff come through my Twitter feed and trying to feel that same excitement I felt last semester when I damn near missed the entry window. And while I am kind of excited, and I'm really hopeful, I won't be entering Two for the Rent. I can't. Not in good conscience.

It's finished, yes, but it's not complete.

As much as I want to throw it out there and hope for the best, and feel happy and kind of safe in knowing there could be a better market for it than Sage, it's nowhere near where it needs to be. Where it should be to be entering contests. It needs at least a full second draft, and I won't waste an agent's time, nor take somebody's spot that has a complete and polished manuscript ready to go. I couldn't do that.

I won't do that.

So I'll wait for the next one. There will be other contests. There's also always good old fashioned querying when the time comes, but for now I'll sit on it, keep plodding along with the second draft and the second book in the series. And we'll see what happens down the road. A little at odds with the carpe diem lifestyle, but the timing's not right. I wish it was. Damn, do I wish it was. This, however, is all part of the process, and the learning curve. A learning curve where a large part is knowing when you're ready, and when you're not. Realizing you're not can be a little hard to swallow. It's part of the journey, though, the whole process of going from idea to manuscript to, hopefully, at one end of the road, an agent. My process for this particular project still has a ways to go. It smarts, but I recognize I'm not where I should be for a contest like this at this time.

To all those entering tomorrow, I wish you the best of luck. I'll be there for the next one. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blind Leaping Faith

Trying to get a novel published is like taking one flying leap off the edge of a precipice without knowing where in the hell the bottom of the canyon is and whether someone will catch you or you'll crash and burn. You can see the end in sight - that nice display in B&N - but that's on the other side of the long dark tunnel, and there are many times when the light you see is actually an on-coming train in the form of a rejection.

Despite all of this happy happy stuff, which always feels more depressing for some reason, one just has to solider through and keep hoping for the best. There's contests along the way - enter your first 250 words, your first paragraph, your 35 word pitch (which is hard, by the way, to condense 95k worth of writing into one single sentence), and peruse twitter to see what's coming down the pipes next. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don't.

The point is that while it's not easy, nobody ever gets anywhere by giving up. So don't.

Don't give up.

Have faith that your writing is something someone, somewhere, is going to want to read, and subsequently love. Because, sometimes, at the end of the day, that's all you've got. Along with good friends to help you, too, and give you the boost you need.

Don't ask me where this post came from today, of all days, because I'm impressed I could finally make what's going through my head into something coherent that wasn't a new fiction chapter. Which reminds me that I need to get on that. Writing a series is kind of fun.

Happy Monday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hey Speed Racer

I have some exciting news. No, I didn't get a job or an internship that I've applied for (yet, though here's hoping) and I haven't managed to land an agent for Sage yet (though, here's hoping again), but I did manage to finish another novel.

Two for the Rent is a complete first draft at 94,876 words. I don't know which I'm prouder of, that I finished another novel or that I kept the sucker under 95K. It's a little bit of both now, and I'm still smiling, even though I finished it Saturday night. So, while I leave that to sort of cool off for a little while - until I can print it all out and get to it with red pen - I'm embarking on something I've toyed with but never really started.

A sequel.

Yes, there was always the intention to do a sequel to TftR, and, well, because I blame my fellow Sommies and the fact that Word Wars (pick a time, write for 10 minutes, and then share) are addicting, I started the sequel - Three for the City - on Sunday. And yes, because it seems to make life slightly easier, I have planned out some events for it, and it sits at nearly 7,000 words so far.

In other writing-related news, I sent out a query and first 10 pages to an open submission for New Adult. We'll see what happens there. Fingers crossed it's something good.

And I don't know whether to be perturbed or extra-proud of the fact that TftR was written in less than three months.

Yeah. I'll let you decide on that one. My sister has informed me, like normal, "It is what it is." And so it is.

What's even scarier is that it's been suggested that I start planning for, The different paths and different options I could explore, how I want to get there, and the steps in between. Which is scary as hell for someone who finds planning a bit of a struggle sometimes.

Happy Wednesday. Oh, and if you're interested, here's Two for the Rent and Three for the City.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I like to learn new things, and am, at times, utterly fascinated by this world. I like to know how to put thing together, how to take them apart, and how they work. The thing that both fascinates and terrifies me is my own human body.

Today I went in for an echocardiogram, which is, pretty much, an ultrasound of your heart. I got to see my own heart beating, watch it do its thing. Watch the valves open, watch how it worked. The scientist in me - which is a very large part of me, along with that damn innate curiosity that would put a cat to shame - absolutely loved it. The other part of me was leery of it, and found it kinda freaky.

I'm pretty sure I smothered that part of me out of existence for a little while. The woman doing my echo was really awesome, too, explaining to me what I was looking at. It was really, really nice of her. Might have helped that she knew I was a science geek, but I'm thinking she was the type of person to answer questions any of her patients asked about it.

But seriously. I saw my own heart beating today. It was one of the coolest - and freakiest - experiences of my life having to deal with my own body.

The other side of this was that I was also given a 30-day event monitor. My father has already joked that I'm "wired for sound" now. It has significantly less leads than my halter monitor from about a year ago, but I've already tried to accidentally rip one of my leads off. It'll take some getting used to, that much I know. We'll call it my new fashion accessory and leave it at that.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cabin Fever

I think I'm getting Cabin Fever. And no, I'm not talking about the wine - though it's local, and delicious - but the fact that I've been mostly cooped up in the house since I moved back home after finally completing college. I had some sub jobs for a while, but it's going on two weeks since I last had one of those.

A few of my friends have suggested volunteering. I'm currently one of the on-call volunteers for my local library, and I have about one set day a month that I go in and volunteer for about two hours. It's really fun - I've already had my training night - and the library is one of those places that I love to hang out at between summer work shifts. Makes sense, considering how much I love to read and write.

Having all this time on my hands has been good for my writing, though. I've gotten at least 20,000 words written since I've come home, so my latest novel has really taken off much quicker than anything else I've written lately. I'm still sending out query letters for Sage, but nothing to the We love this and want to represent you NOW effect has come back my way. Here's hopin'.

I'm not sure if I told you all, but I applied for an internship for this summer. I'm really hoping I get it, and if I do get it, that means I'll be moving to New York City. Another way that I've been using this plethora of free time has been to look at rentals and apartments in the City. I think my best bet might be for something on Staten Island, and just looking at places to live has gotten me excited. But I can't move forward with that until I know about the internship, and I'm not going to hear about that until....I don't really know when, actually. It's one of those rolling with the punches, things.

Excess time on my hands means I have the urge to wander, too, though I'm not sure where I'd end up. Then again, I'm rather okay with that idea.

And, because I can't say the phrase Cabin Fever without thinking of The Muppet's Treasure Island and starting to sing that song, I'll leave you with this.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Back Again

I'm approximately four days late on this one, but didn't we already discuss the idea of better late than never?

Anyway. After a brief hiatus, The Sleepless Writers are back with a new look, new format, and new ideas. They have a collection of different writing styles and voices from across the US, Canada, and the UK. There's a little bit of something for everybody, whether you're a hardcore novelist or someone just looking to make your every day writing better. Come check us out and see what we have to offer.

You can follow on Twitter, tumblr, YouTube, and Facebook, too.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Better Late than Never


I know. It's been an interesting....well, closer to two months, probably.

Christmas was lovely. The whole holiday season was lovely, in general, except for when I nearly gave myself a panic attack really thinking the world was going to end according to the Mayans. As I'm still sitting here, breathing, and the sun keeps rising at the start of every day, clearly something was off in someone's calculations.

That and I kept trying to think about how they hadn't accounted for daylight savings and leap years and....yeah.


January saw me and my sister wandering through the streets of New York City. Festivities included the 12th Annual No Pants Subway Ride - we did not participate, in fact, we were damn confused when the people next to us on the platform started taking their pants off - a viewing of Avenue Q off Broadway, me wandering around for a media and entertainment day, and many visits to Starbucks and Times Square.

It was also where I got the idea for the next moment of brilliance. I applied to an internship with the Travel Team at The Huffington Post. They were one of the places we went to on media day, and it seemed to be a really good fit. So here's hoping.

I've also added another rejection to the pile for Sage.

That's where I'm at. Here's to a new year, and me crawling out of my blogging hibernation.
"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz