Monday, December 31, 2012

Monkey Madness Monday: 2013 Bring it on!

It's the end of another year. Yowza, was it crazy. Here's why:

  1.  Debut, um, 'nuf said?
  2.  Class of 2k12. One of the best things about the year.
  3. My friends Gae and Annemarie visited from NY for my debut, other best thing that happened this year.
  4. Had to get out of my comfort zone for the numerous school visits, bookstore and library events I participated in.
  5. Marketing, ugh.
  6.  Online dating, um, yeah, crazy would be a good word though doesn't quite grasp the absoluteness of the craziness.
  7.  Parted ways with my agent, the quest to find a new one.
  8. Both kids in high school. When the hell did I get that old?
  9. Thing One driving, a blessing and a curse.
  10. Awesome trips, AZ, NY, the ocean, Portland...
  11. Two rewrites, two new books, no 2nd book deal. :( (not yet)
  12. Insomnia. ARG!
  13. Lots of good books read (okay, lots for me, which is probably a drop to some of you)
  14. New BF. I think this one's a keeper. 
Now, for the resolutions. I like to compare the new with the old, see my successes, find my shortcomings, plan for the future accordingly. So here we go...

Last year's goals - exercise more, 3 days a week at least work up to 5 hopefully. Healthier eating habits. 30 minutes of quiet reflection a day.

Results -  I didn't entirely fail on my health goals. I did exercise more. I walked a lot, bought a bike and biked quite a bit when the weather was decent. I started kickboxing. I feel good about it. I'd say I did the 3 a week mostly. Didn't quite make it to 5, only some weeks. I still eat pretty healthy. Quiet reflection? Not so much.

2013 goal - Keep up with the exercise, 3-5 times a week. Keep up with the healthier eating, cut down on my wine *sheds tear*. While I didn't give myself a weight goal last year, I really would like to drop some weight. I'm not going to put a number on it, just going to leave it at that. Quiet reflection...hmmm...I think I'll try this again. 30 minutes a day, huh? I'll try.

Last year's goals - Finish rewrite (Dissected), write 2 books. I know those are lofty goals, but I think I can do it if I set my mind to it, set priorities, and plan my time better.

Results - I finished the rewrite. I also finished a major rewrite of another book and wrote 30k at Nano toward another book. So I didn't quite reach the goal, but I still feel okay about it. The major rewrite was essentially like writing a whole new book, and 30k is nothing to sneeze at.

2013 goals - Finish nano project, write 2 more books. yes, again lofty, but if I put my mind to it, I know I can do it. I also need to make some decisions. I've been contemplating 1) Entering ABNA 2) Self publishing 3) Finding an agent. I need to shit or get off the pot. I truly believe you will see another novel by yours truly on the shelves within the next two years whether it's self published or no.

Last year's goals -Figuring out how to balance work, writing, kids, and all the other pleasures in life. Reading more, staying organized, travel more.

Results - Balance? I think I did okay, though would like to do better.
I read. I actually, without realizing until just now, reached my goal of one a month. I know I read at least twelve books. Gathering Storm, Scarlet, May B., Velveteen, Breathe of Eyre, The Wicked and the Just, Breaking Beautiful, Love and Leftovers, Hunger Games, Okay for Now, Inside Out and Back Again, Hooked...look at that. That's thirteen. :) That's all I can remember and probably all I've read unless you count self help and diet books, which I don't.
Organization? Um, I just cleaned my office. It was bad. So I'd say no. Fail.
Travel. As you see from my above list, I got some places. I'm good with it.

2013 goals - Probably the same. Keep balance, keep reading, keep organized, keep traveling.

Last year's goals - To learn to love myself unconditionally, accept the things about me that cannot be changed, and try to change the things that are under my control. To accept that I am human and therefore fallible. Try not to be too hard on myself when I fail, trust myself as well as those around me. Instead of trying so hard to find happiness, I will let it seek me out.

Results - Well, love myself? Mostly I think. Accept and change, I suppose. Too hard on myself? Trust? I still have issues I suppose. Sometimes my behavior disappoints me. I can't help it. Others? I think I mostly trust others, but at times I'm too trusting. I let people take advantage of me, my heart, my generosity and kindness.  Letting happiness find me. I suppose I may have tried to hard at first, but then I let it go. And guess what, it found me and right now at this moment on the last day of 2012 I can truly say that while life can be frustrating and stressful...I am happy.  Happier then I've been for a very long time.

2013 goals - Continue to love myself and others to the best of my abilities. Remember that I am fallible and will make mistakes, but it is just a part of life, who I am, and who I will be. As long as I keep growing and learning from the mistakes I make, it's fine. I need to continue to trust in myself and others, but I also need to be more careful when doing this and now not everyone has my best interests at heart. And I will continue to let happiness happen.

Happy New Year all. I for one am excited for the new year. There are things churning in my world that I'm excited about and cannot wait for the new year to begin. It's my wish for you that 2013 be filled with adventure, hope, bliss, and love.

Stay safe and sane. Do your driving sober. Peace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


You know what sucks about insomnia for me? The fact that I can't write when I can't sleep. If I could, I would probably have about 20 novels in my pocket just waiting to be published.

Last night I couldn't sleep. I tried, but I tossed and turned until I finally got out of bed. Then I played on the computer until about 2 am. Yes, that is probably normal for some of you, but I have a day job and a messy house, and Christmas lights to put up, and a giant pile of laundry to fold. And I'm not even going to talk about my office. Ugh.

I mean, yes, there were probably contributing factors. I did take a nap yesterday, but I've been doing that lately and it hasn't affected my sleep before. Have I ever mentioned I HATE taking naps? I have too much to do to be tired.

Also, I really wanted to go to kickboxing last night, so I drank some coffee at about 6 pm. But if I hadn't, I'm not sure I would have gone and I really needed to punch and kick stuff last night because I've been so stressed and frustrated.

But I can't write when I can't sleep because my brain is mushy. And I have a book to finish. 30k in. I need to push forward.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Sigh, it's been a rough road this last month. I participated in NaNoWriMo, and I didn't finish, but did get 30k on a new book.

I had a couple disappointing book store events, I think the first was because of placement, the second, definitely advertising.

And my debut year is coming to an end, and to be honest, it was a little disappointing, and I'm coming to grips with that.

I was going to go into detail, but decided against it. I'll just say, my book sold pretty well, there were just some bumps in the road that in my opinion stopped it from becoming more than it was.

I have decided I'm not going to market Never Eighteen any more. I'm going to look forward to what comes next. I don't know which book it will be, or if it will be traditional or self publishing, but I know I still want to do this, so I'll keep working.

And Happy Birthday to my Dad.

Have a great Tuesday all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monkey Madness Monday: NaNo Quiet

Yes, I took last week off from blogging. I hadn't really intended to, but with NaNo and, well, life, I really had no choice.

Here's the deal: I don't think I'm going to complete NaNo this year. I'm about 7k words behind and really don't think I can catch up. But ya know, I don't feel too bad about it. Why you ask? Because I truly believe I'm writing a quality story.

The main reason I'm behind is that I'm doing too much research, and that's my bad for choosing a story set partially set in Medieval Germany. And yeah, I could have glossed over that stuff and gone back and put it in later, but I didn't want to. I wanted to know what kind of foliage grew in the Black Forest, and what exactly is and Imp? What did women wear under their dresses in 1250 and how arranged marriages worked. So, my bad.

I am very excited about this story and this series (this is the first of hopefully a three or four book series).  And a stray from the contemporary realism I've been writing for the last four years.

Here's an excerpt of the story for your reading pleasure (or displeasure if that's the case).

Happy reading, happy writing, happy Monday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

F³A: Frustration

I kind of ranted  yesterday to my supports at the Class of 2k12. I'm frustrated with this business. I'm burnt out. I'm tired of promoting the same book. I want a new book out there to promote. But these things take time and time is something I have very little of. I already have three books done. But I need time to revise, to query, and to get a new one written and go through the same process.

While I'm doing that I have to work a day job, attend kids soccer games and music performances and spend time with them. Spend time with my boyfriend. Shop for groceries, clean, do laundry, exercise, eat, sleep.

Promote that damn book.  I think I'm going to hang it up with the book though. I'm tired of it. It's going to have to sell itself from now on. I mean, I have a couple visits already scheduled, one each month until February, but then I'm done. Until the next book.

And the next book...I think I'm only going to agent shop until the end of the year, then I'm seriously going to look into self publishing. I don't know 6% of sales as opposed to most of the % of sales. Yeah, I'll need to hire an editor, maybe a cover designer, or at least someone to consult because I can pretty much design my own. I can make my own trailer, design my own swag.

I have friends that have done this. They like it.

I have a fan base. Many of them are just waiting for my next book to come out. If I wait to be traditionally published, if that even happens again, I'm looking at 2-3 years from now. Are those fans even going to care by then? Probably not.

I do feel good about one thing. I'm writing a new book during NaNo. I still like writing.

What would you do?

Friday Scribbles:

Next Pandora Song: Icky Thump by White Stripes (Beck Radio)

Book of the Week: Um, book: I've not had a damn moment to read, so...we'll go with my Rainmaker Retreat manual from my legal marketing conference.

Redbox of the Week: The Avengers "Puny God" favorite line.

Quote of the Week: "Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward."
Kurt Vonnegut

Happy Friday 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday Writing: My NaNo

Here is my NaNo work. Rough of course, but I'm exciting about it because 1) I'm writing something new and 2) because I'm planning on making a series of this idea. Tell me what you think.

You’ve been deceived. I know my reputation precedes me, but all that’s been told, and all that you’ve heard is nothing more than a superfluity of fabrications meant to destroy me. They wish to extinguish any remaining embers of the fire that burns within me so that I may give up my quest.  How? Through their words they’ve transformed me from a kind and caring, albeit sometimes mischievous creature, into a monster. But truly, I’m not so much different from you.
The stories you’ve heard about me leading weary travelers astray, switching babies at birth, or eating souls are simply untrue, though I admit I’m always up for a good prank. Harmless tricks are instinctive to my kind, but I don’t slink down alleyways and sewers, eavesdropping on the desperate and dejected to find a suitable victim for my next ruse. Alleyways frighten me and I will not slog through shit for even the funniest of pranks.
My skin is not red; I do not carry a pitchfork, have a tail dangling from my ass, nor possess horns— though my ears are a tad pointy.  I have no talons, claws, or any other animal like features including wings, though I’m able to render some for you if you wish to fly.
Those who’ve tarnished my character have much to gain, but I have everything to lose. And their motivations stem from nothing more than man’s need for possessions and power.  They turned me into a monstrosity to keep kith and kin chasing after me. When they began, they had no idea how long this hunt would last, how many fathers would pass the legend that is me down to their sons. Now centuries later, though the families of Strauss and Dietrich still know my origins, though not in its entirety and not in truth, the rest of the world does not. For the others deceived by the lies of those families, my name is now equated to a folklore tale of terror, a boogey man, a nightmare.
My goal now, is to end, once and for all, the avaricious pursuits of the Houses of Strauss and Dietrich, untether myself from the one thing that keeps me vulnerable to the greed of all man and subsequent captivity, and locate the girl from the prophecies.
But mostly my wish is to clear the name of Stilzchen, and to find my happily ever after.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NaNoWriMo: Does Your Family Understand?

How does it work in your house? For me, even when I was married, it was good. My family has always supported my writing. During NaNo, they have me my space and new I would be writing most of the day. I mean, if it was more than a month, I'm sure they wouldn't have been so willing to cooperate, but for one month? Sure why not.

My kids still understand. I tell them it's National Novel Writing Month and they say, "Oh, okay," and keep their distance.

I have a new boyfriend. He's great. He thinks it's cool I'm a writer, but I'm not sure how much he understands this whole writing life yet. I think it's a lot easier if someone is with you from the onset of your writing career, when you're first starting out. It's almost like it's their career too. Their failures, their successes. I hope he understands enough to know that this is who I am and who I want to be and that it's not just a hobby for me. And yeah, it's hard. It's a struggle. But it's what I want to continue to do, challenging or not. I want a career doing this and I don't think that goal will ever change.

One NaNo book became a real book, maybe this one will too. Tomorrow I'll give you a taste of it.
So, how is your family reacting to your NaNoness? Understanding? Frustration?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monkey Madness Monday: NaNoWriMo

Yeah, so, um, I didn't blog at all last week. It was a busy week. I was coming off of a marketing conference, then there was Halloween, and then, yes, NaNoWriMo started.

For those of you unfamiliar with that term, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is a personal challenge for writers to write a 50k novel in 30 days.

Crazy, I know.

The point is not to produce a quality novel, it is simply to produce. To write. And this is something I so desperately needed right now. It forced me to finish revisions I'd been dragging my feet on so I could start something new. Something I'd been excited about for a long time but not started because of aforementioned unfinished project.

You must be asking yourself, what's the point of writing trash? Like I said, the point is simply to write, but also, with revision, your work can go from trash to treasure. I wrote Never Eighteen during the 2008 NaNoWriMo and look where it is now. In fact they have a whole section on published NaNo works (disclaimer: I have no idea if these are self or traditionally published novel and therefore cannot speak for the quality of said novels).

Are you NaNoing this year? If so, how many words in are you? What are you writing about? What's your NaNo handle?

I'm just over 10k (this is sure to slow down now), I'm writing YA fantasy, Here's my profile if you want to buddy up.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Writing Wednesday: An Unbalanced Line

Tell me what you think.

He glanced at me again. “You should back up, stay out of the way.”
“Yes, sir.”  I saluted, watched for a minute or two then asked, “Dad, why do you practice in Spring, anyway?”
“What?” He turned, an expression of irritation across his face. “Because there’s only a few months left until the season,” he snapped. “Now hush up, girl. I can’t sit here and entertain you. I’ve got a job to do.”
I went back and leaned against the wall, watching the team scrimmage. I never really understood the appeal of the game. The Center—would hike the ball and the Quarterback, who always wore a red shirt so he wouldn’t get tackled, would catch it. Then the Quarterback would throw it, hand it off, pitch it, or run it himself. All the while, his opponents would lunge at him, trying to get through his offensive line.  The other defenders ran down field, chasing after the receivers. I thought it seemed like a simple game. As I watched though, I realized how many plays needed to be memorized, and how you always had to be watching and be on your toes, how you needed to be inside the head of your opponents, figuring out and beating them to their next move.  There was more to it than meets the eye.    
    “Hey, Dad, is there something I can do to help?”
     He gave me a quick glance. “Uh, not really, just keep a safe distance.” And so I did and kept watching, keeping a special eye on the quarterback, who was mesmerizing. He seemed to have the most difficult job on the field. He had to be fast and strong, and have good reflexes. He had to be able to see everything, in front of him, coming up next to him. He had to have eyes in the back of his head.  He had to be quick and accurate, graceful, yet tough. He was the leader, the captain, the hero. I was in awe of the responsibility he held. If he failed, the team was sure to fail.  And the quarterback was also the player my dad paid the most attention to. It didn’t suck that he was totally hot, either.
     During one play, the quarterback—Brady Briggs— who I immediately crushed over—threw a beautiful pass down the field. The receiver went up for the ball, but he tipped it off his fingers, popping it up in the air and out of bounds. It landed at my feet. I bent down and picked it up, flipped it end over end a few times. As I turned that ball over and over in my hands, I got an idea. One that would help me and my dad get along, to become like a real father and daughter.
     My dad came and snatched the ball away from me and tossed it back out to the quarterback. I looked up at him and smiled, knowing in my heart that this would bring us together.  My dad looked at me funny and said, “You look like you’re up to something.”
     “Chu—no.” He still looked at me suspiciously.
     I nodded and went back to watching the practice, plotting in my head all the while.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I need some love.

So I've been filling in at the YA Rebels this week and you know, I'm not a regular, so I need some love so I can look cool.

I spoke my mind about LGBT History Month, I carved (no I didn't I crafted, horribly I might add and you could win a prize if you "like" mine here) a pumpkin, and today I asked three dead people one question each. Maybe I'm too controversial. I don't know.

I feel okay about my other posts. I KNOW I'm not going to get as many as the OTHER Rebels because, you know, I'm just a fill in, but today I don't feel any love at all. So go love me here. Give me a thumbs up. Leave a comment. It's my last day filling in.

Okay, thinking about those on the East Coast, finishing up some revisions so I can  start on NaNo tomorrow night, and trying out some Gummy Vodka.

Night Y'all.

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's almost NaNoWriMo and I'm going to barf

Yes, my plan is to do NaNo this year. What is NaNoWriMo you ask? It's a 30 day challenge to writers to write a 50k book in 30 days. Perfectly doable,right? It is, but it takes dedication. Oh, and 1667 words a day. 

Um, my plan was to finish typing up these revisions first. *cough* cue the tumbleweeds.

I'm still hoping to do that. I have a couple days vacation ahead of me and I hope to clickity clack at the keyboard. But it's sunny. And there's a pool. And a casino close by. And cookie dough vodka.

okay, I may be taking the ms and laptop out into the sun to get this motherf*@ker done.

I think my NaNo project is pretty cool. It's a series I'm starting. It was a toss up between the two series I want to write, a dystopian, and this one. I asked opinions and this one won out. Not giving anything away. I think it's an original idea and I want to keep it that way.

Are you doing NaNo? Do you want to share your project? I've not signed up on the website yet, I'll do it tonight, but find me and lets connect

To find out more about NaNoWriMo click here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Things I Hate: Bullies

It still is National Bully Prevention Month and I wanted to share the story of Molly Burke. I thank the beautiful ladies at The Middle Ages and my wonderful friend Gae Polisner for sharing her story otherwise, I'd never had come across it.

It is heartbreaking. It is horrible. You wonder how humans can treat their own kind in this cruel fashion. 

I urge you to watch the first two minutes otherwise you won't understand this girls story in full traumatic detail. (it's not the best quality video, but the audio is what's important).

 Molly's speech is from the We Day even in Canada. We Day is a movement of young people leading local and global change, which offers curricular resources, campaigns and materials to help turn the day’s inspiration into sustained activation.

The movement is a blueprint for young people to take action as agents of social change. This generation believe they can make an impact on society, remove barriers, create change to make the world a better place. Find out more about We Day here. Find out more about Molly Burke here.

It's inspiring to see young people trying to make a positive difference in society, but it's even more inspiring to see a young girl rise above adversity to inspire others that may be in her same situation to show them that they're not alone and they can overcome the obstacles in their paths.

Let's work together to end bullying once and for all and as Gandhi says, be the change we wish to see in the world.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Writing: An Unbalanced Line

From my rewrite and now round of revisions. I'm typing them up right now. This is toward the beginning when my protagonist, Chelsea, loses her mom to cancer. Tell me what you think.

By the time the doctors found the cancer, it was already widespread so the attempts at chemo and radiation proved to be futile. They gave her four to six months. We had no family to speak of. Mom’s parents were long dead, having been taken from this earth by a crackhead mugger. I had no aunts and uncles on my mom’s side, as she was an only child. My parents divorced when I was six and my dad lived a couple states away along with his sister and my Grandma Frankie—that’s short for Francesa. My mom had lots of friends though, and they took turns coming in and helping out, along with hospice, but mostly my mom’s best friend, Suki,.
I felt so helpless as I sat by her side and watched her hair fall out, as she disintegrated in her own bed, as her body grew weaker and more frail by the day, then finally as she silently slipped out of consciousness. Her already labored breath would catch, and her chest would heave when it became too painful even to breathe. I slept when she finally died after just three months, and I was glad for it. I wouldn’t want to have watched her take her last breath.
     Upon waking that morning, I went downstairs to find Suki and an odd pair of undertakers in my living room. The first undertaker was just like the ones you see in the movies. His name was George and he was very tall and pale with dark hair and a deep voice. The other’s name was George too. I know, too weird. He was the comic relief. It was almost like watching a vaudeville act instead of the men who were going to take my dead mom’s body out of my house forever.
     I stared, numb and feeling as if I was watching a movie instead of standing there in my own life. Suki paid attention as the undertakers delivered their monologues and then went about their duties. I stood there for a long time and Suki just let me, staying quiet, occasionally walking by and patting my arm or rubbing my shoulder between phone calls and cleaning and such.  I finally sat down when the undertakers rolled my mom out on a stretcher in a big black plastic bag with a zipper down the front. They handed Suki some pamphlets as they left. I went to the door, peeked out the peephole and ran my hand against the smooth oak. I watched them load up the plastic bag that held my mom’s body. I watched the Georges climb into their death mobile and drive away, then went to my mom’s room. The air was suffocating and musty. The scent of decay lingered.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

YA Rebels Pumpkin Carving Contest Giveaway

So, this week (and last week and next week) I'm filling in at the YA Rebels vlog for the wonderful Corrine Jackson while she cuts back on the interwebs to get her writerly stuff caught up. This week the Rebels are each carving a pumpkin and you, the viewer are going to judge them. Here's how the contest is going to work:

On Sunday the Rebels will post photos of each of the pumpkins on their Facebook page. You
"Like" your favorite pumpkin (you only get to vote ONE time!) and you'll be entered to win signed copies of TEN by Gretchen McNeil and VELVETEEN by Daniel Marks. U.S./Canada only. You have until midnight on the 30th to enter, and a winner will be announced on Halloween!

So there it is. I'm going for the sympathy vote since I'm not an official Rebel...yet. Here's my video for your viewing pleasure. Go leave me a comment and make me look popular. They have an opening for Wednesday I hear.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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