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Healing

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the power of art and story. Sharing our stories is an integral part of how humans connect and empathize. There are so many stories that have touched my heart, and I want so much for my stories to be that for my readers. Then I think, can I really finish another book? Particularly one so personal? It's true that I was thinking that about Magic Inc. Book One, as well, but Book Two is even more personal and soul-baring.

That soul-baring part, I believe, is making Book Two an even better novel than Book One (so far). I feel like I'm able to do some of my best work when I'm writing about all the passion and pain inside of me. But that sometimes makes it very difficult emotionally. I'm getting close to writing scenes that represent more of the bullying and isolation that I went through in school. And I'm scared. I'm scared of triggering myself. I'm scared of misrepresenting things that happened to me, because I've blocked out a lot of the details. (But the feeling. Oh, the feeling, I will never forget.)

But other times, I can't get enough of writing my Soul Truth. Especially when I've been going through a lot. And when I'm working on parts in-between, I get frustrated and (almost) bored. The difference? I love writing scenes with Chaz. I love letting Jane be able to open up about how she feels and things that have happened to her. The scenes get emotional, often more than I even plan, but it's more cathartic. When Jane talks to Chaz, she feels safe. And I feel safe. It's not as much reliving the pain as healing it.

The story needs both the experience of the trauma and the healing. But I've been through the trauma already, so I much prefer the healing.

When's Your Next Book Coming Out?

There's a moment when someone asks that question where my mind begins to panic. You already want another book? Do you know how long it actually takes to write a book? I mean, I know some people can 'write a book in a month', but I am so not one of those people. My first book took over 5 years to finish (not counting the planning stages), and you seriously already want another?

It's such a well-meaning question to freak out over, I know. It's great to think people actually might care about writing. But it's funny how it's mostly the people who haven't actually read my first book who ask it. People who have read the book only say they're looking forward to the next book. They don't usually ask directly about when the next book will come out. Which is much less stress-inducing.

But when people do ask about the next book, I have to tell them that I don't even know what the next book is. It's totally reasonable to imagine that 6 months later a writer would be working on her next book. And don't get me wrong, I am. It's just, as usual, I'm actually working on several next books. And I don't know which one will actually be the very next. Dreaming in Shadow is the furthest along. But Book Two of Magic Inc. still gets the most attention from me and is catching up. Sound familiar? Well, if you're not aware, I was having this same issue a few years ago. Yeah, Dreaming in Shadow versus Magic Inc. again. I guess it makes more sense now to work on the series I've already started. But back then, it made more sense to finish Dreaming in Shadow first, and that's the opposite of what happened. So, maybe, that will be the case again? Or maybe, I'll be having this conversation again when I'm working on Book Three. :/

All of this is really an non-issue right now, though. I haven't felt well enough to work much lately. So, that's part of why I've been so quiet online. I haven't had much positive stuff to report, so I've kept quiet. But then I remembered that I meant this journal to be an honest look at my life, both good and bad. Just because I have a book out now, doesn't mean everything I write in here has to be part of some marketing dance. In fact, that's the last thing I want. But after announcing the book release, I was so nervous to write my next journal entry... that I let it go on this long.

Now I want to tell you, future authors who also have anxiety/depression, that you are going to go through times where you will struggle to feel well enough to write. Even when you've released a book after years and years of work, you don't magically feel better. You don't get to erase the struggle out of your journey to your next book after you become "a professional". Some things definitely get easier, though. You do know that you can do it; you can make it to the other side. At least, most of the time you know. Sometimes, you look at all the work ahead and get just as overwhelmed as you were the first time around. You look at authors who release a book (or more) a year and have no idea how they do it. But you don't have to be them. You only have to be you.

Sometimes you won't feel well enough to write. But it will come back.

And my next book? It will be out when it's done.

Magic Inc. Book One Now Available!



Jane Roberts never fit in. After years of teasing from her classmates, all she wanted was to blend in and be normal. But on Jane’s first day of fourth grade, her life changes completely when the new girl, Jenny, brings with her arrival the secret of magic. Jane goes into training, where she learns the ins and outs of magic and its great history. But not even magic can top the feeling Jane gets when she meets Chaz Parker, Jenny’s older brother. She’s head-over-heels and wants to be with Chaz forever, but a nine year age difference makes Jane wonder if he’d ever look at her that way. Between learning magic and falling in love, Jane’s year is bound to be anything but normal.

You can now buy a copy of Magic Inc. in eBook! I will continue to update with new links.

Amazon (for Kindle!)
Barnes & Noble (for Nook!)
iTunes (for Apple Devices!)
Smashwords (Most Formats Available!)

Raindrops on Roses...

When you get this ask, list 5 things that make you happy, then send it to the last 10 people that liked/reblogged something from you :)

I decided to repost this here since I ended up writing a lot and wanted to share with more people.


So, you may or may not know, but I struggle a lot with the word happy. If I use it, like I did yesterday, I usually say “I’m happy to” or “I’m happy with” not straight up “I’m happy”. Because I have never felt the kind of happiness that gets down deep in your heart. I’ve always felt lonely and scared of being even more alone in my future. And this is getting awfully mopey for my being in a decently good mood. Sorry.

But here are some things that make me happy-ish and have gotten me through hard times:

1. Working on Magic Inc. Writing, in general, feels great as long as I don’t try to force it and just follow my inspiration’s lead. But Magic Inc. feels even more special than my other stories because it allows me to relive my childhood fantasies and work through some of my deepest feelings in text. That also makes it scarier to eventually share that story with other people. (And soon.) But hopefully, it will reach people who can relate to it.

2. The Sims. I love The Sims. I love making characters on there and “work” stuff like that. But I also love just playing. I’m constantly making stories in my head while playing Sims, and occasionally, they end up as some part of my fictional universe. But just being able to create stuff that’s just for me is a good creative exercise. I get to create without any pressure.

3. Giant Bomb. I can’t tell you how much Giant Bomb (and older GameSpot) videos and podcasts have helped me get through rough periods in my life for the past ten years. The Persona 4 Endurance Run is something I go back to time and time again, and I kind of can’t imagine my life without these dudes in it, as silly as that may sound. Losing Ryan Davis was so hard because it felt like he was a distant friend.

4. Having a great therapist/mentor. Jill is a key part of my life. She’s encouraged me to be myself and follow my dreams. There’s no way I’d be getting ready to publish my first book right now without Jill to read everything I’ve written and to give me her honest feedback.

5. Watching through TV shows with my Mom. Since my great emotional crash of 2010, I’ve usually spent a few hours every night, during my most emotionally vulnerable time, watching TV shows with my Mom. This idea has greatly improved as we realized that watching shows from the beginning through DVDs or streaming is much more fun than just seeing what’s on and having to choose from that. We’ve watched through almost 25 shows over the last few years, and we have fun making silly references to each other.

Magic Inc. Book Cover


Just wanted to pop on and share the cover of Magic Inc. drawn by the amazing Giselle Ukardi! Hopefully I'll have some news about a release date soon. Editing is going well, and I'm really excited. Nervous, still, too. But hey, that's how it usually goes. Follow my Facebook and/or Twitter for more news.

The Last Two Weeks

I'm going to try to actually make this a short one since it's getting late, and my eyes are sleepy.

Let's try breaking this up into sections. Here are some things that have been happening the past two weeks...

I finished Magic Inc.'s second draft. I felt sad afterward, but that was bound to happen. I'm not sure there's much else to say than that.

I moved on to seriously editing it. So far, I think it's going well, but the stress of things being near the end has been draining my energy. A lot.

I found an artist. I posted an ad on the Deviantart forums and got an overwhelming amount of responses. Everyone was so talented, but only a few had the style I was looking for, and only one seriously pulled me in. She is such a wonderful artist, and she was willing to really get to know the characters. We've talked about the cover and made some plans, and hopefully, it is all going to work out.

Today, I asked Christen to give me a little makeover for some author pictures. We went to the park, and the sky started sending out these tiny hail stones. But eventually, it calmed down, and we got the pictures. I'm not the most photogenic person, but helped by the makeover, we managed to get some good pictures.

I then came home and made an official Facebook page. Which was the point of those photos.

It's clear, looking at that list, that I've gotten a lot done, but my head's been all over the place. I haven't had a panic attack yet, but I've come pretty close. I keep thinking... what if I do all this and nobody cares? I also haven't been sleeping well. I'm sleepy all morning and afternoon, then restless at night. I mean, I'm tired at night, too. I just have trouble getting to sleep.

All I keep coming back to is that I'm overwhelmed. Even the positive things that are happening are getting translated by my brain into anxiety. But hey, that's nothing new. I just need to calm down and get some rest. Sometimes it's good to just step away from your big project so you can build up some new energy and inspiration to bring to it. I feel like that's what I need to be doing right now. I really want to get this book out by summer, but I have to keep reminding myself that I know better than to push it.

And yeah, this post wasn't particular short either. Oh, well.

The Pull of Magic Inc.

It's hard to focus on this last chapter of Magic Inc., mostly because of all the stuff that comes after it. Editing and sharing and formatting, and I still can't figure out what I'm going to do about a cover. I'm partially excited to share this story with people because I've put so much work into it the last five years, but I'm really not sure if I can trust the world to understand my innermost thoughts. And that's what a lot of Magic Inc. (the series) is.

It would be so much easier to put Dreaming in Shadow out there first, because for as much as Jodi and I are similar, she is not me. Her story is not about me. Dreaming in Shadow was always a book, meant to be shared with readers. And I have been sharing that story, in its many versions, for over ten years.

Magic Inc. was never meant to be a book. It was the world that keep me going when there was nothing hopeful in my reality. It is so deeply personal that I keep asking myself, "Why did I decide to make this into a book? They'll never understand it." But it became so key to the rest of my universe that it wouldn't make any sense to take it out now.

I'm very behind living your truth, being yourself completely, and not faking anything. I don't mind sharing my deepest thoughts in blogs or tweets, because I'm not ashamed of my own truth. But it's different with this because people - readers - seem to think they own a story just because it's been shared with them. They don't understand that, at least for some writers, writing is pulling words right out of your soul. Saying a story belongs to the readers, to me, is like trying to claim an experience as your own just because someone confided in you about it. I want to share my world with readers, and I feel like I'm meant to do that. But this story is mine, and it always will be mine. People can like it or dislike it; it's not about that. My fear are the people who'll try to say "it shouldn't be this way" because they think they know better than I do about my own creation. People who will think Jane's feelings aren't realistic, even though they were my own.

It was one thing for someone to not like Jodi and basically say she was a bad person. Jane is me. This story is my story. And anything more than a "this is not for me" is going to hurt a lot worse than criticism for any other story. So, why does it have to be my first book done? Why was there such a pull in me to make this story into something I could share? I seriously feel like there's a chance this series will appeal to NO ONE. Yet I had to write it. More than nearly anything else I've worked on. What does that mean?

Winter to Spring

I know it sounds crazy, but I'm not all that happy that spring is here. Don't get me wrong; I like the flowers and the fresh air and being able to wear my normal clothes out again. But something weird happened this past winter. I decided not to care. Not to go out much. Not to force myself into things. Winter was the perfect excuse to stay home and save my energy for writing. And my goodness, did I get a lot of work done. It's amazing what you can do when you're not feeling drained from forcing yourself to be out around people.

I bet some people will think that means I'm "going backwards", because they think I should be getting out around people more. But it never feels like progress to me. It doesn't make me happier. Honestly, it rarely feels worth the stress to me. It's not worth the drained/depressed feeling I get afterward either. It is very nice to do things with friends and family from time to time, and I wouldn't want to stay away from being out completely or anything. But I chose what I wanted to do much more carefully over the winter. Which left me a lot more energy for writing. And now, I'm one chapter away from finishing Magic Inc.'s second draft and moving fully into the editing phase. I really think I'll be able to have the book completely done in a few months. As long as I don't have another emotional crash...

That's the other thing about spring; it leads to summer. And summer is not a typically good time for me. Neither is my birthday at the end of May. And I'm scared; I'm so scared. Last year I made it through summer and crashed in the fall instead. But it was horrible. It felt like one of the worst I've ever had. Winter allowed me to pull away from expectations and just focus on recovering. And I ended up doing more than that. The freedom from the whole "getting outside of your comfort zone" thing so many people preach actually granted me more progress. I work better when I am comfortable and not under pressure. That's just how it works for me.

But the nice weather is back, and so are the expectations. Not just from other people, but from myself. Winter is often about survival. Spring is about wanting more. And I do want more. I want to find Morgan. I want deeper friendships with people who understand me. I want my writing to reach people. But I may not get any of those things. At least not any time soon. There's a pressure building in me, whether I like it or not, for things to change. For finishing a book to be more than finishing a book. For it to be some kind of catalyst in my life. To break free of the ten-year cycle. I know who I am, and I know what I want. I want to move forward. But I need to move forward my way, at my pace. Towards what I want, not what others think is best for me. That's what winter taught me. To take better care of myself.

I decided at the beginning of winter to figure out what was good about it. To let time go forward and not fight the seasons so harshly. Now, I need to figure out what spring can offer. I don't know what that will be yet, but I don't want to forget what winter gave me in the process. I want to learn to appreciate each season for what it is and respect the flow of time, working with it instead of against it. Wish me luck.

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Ten Years of Finding Myself

I had a bit of a stressful dream last night about school and feeling left out when my high school class graduated. Now, I realize why. Today was the last day I went to school ten years ago. Yeah, ten. That's a long time. For a while, I blamed myself for not being strong enough to carry on, but I've realized that I did what I had to. The longer I put off getting help would've just meant it would take longer to get where I am today. I still can't quite say that I'm happy, but I do have hope. I have a purpose, work that feels important. I have a therapist who became my biggest encouragement in getting back in touch with that purpose. I finally found a medication that helps to stabilize me without bad side effects or a numbing out of emotions.

I've figured out a lot about myself by pulling away from the normal path, and though I certainly still have things to work on, I mostly like what I found. I know exactly who I am, and I don’t pretend to be anything else anymore. I try to love myself, even when it’s hard. I understand how I work best. I know enough about myself to decide on what's best for me, instead of what other people project as being the right/only way. I know I only have so much energy, and I try to use it wisely. If I were still striving so hard to be "normal", I wouldn't be able to focus on my writing because that would take most of my energy.

There are still things I need in my life to be truly happy. My heart is still waiting for that person to have the deepest of connections with. I struggle with loneliness for friendship as well. Sometimes, I still miss everything I lost when I left school. But in leaving, I really did find myself.

I’ll probably be sad about this for a few days. Maybe even a week. That’s just natural. I’ll find ways to cope, and I’ll move on. It’s funny, though, that this anniversary comes just on the edge of completing my first book. It’s hard to tell if releasing Magic Inc. Book One will really change my life in any big way, but there is at least that possibility that something good could come of this. I’ll try to hang onto that hope.