Thirty-eight soooo great

So in 2009, before my sister died and my life changed forever, I had a livejournal, and I tried to post there regularly. Sometimes I did well, sometimes not. One thing I tried doing was 100 journal topics that I found on this old angelfire site.

I did all right posting those. And then my sister died. And then I kind of stopped doing anything for a while. I tried to resurrect the 100 in 2010. Then, when I was getting this website going and really getting things happening with my big superfun wannabe author career, I did them again.

And now I want to get back into this blogging thing, I think, so get the creativity flowing again or whatever, and so I’m going to give it another try. Because I can’t just post about my regular life or where my mind is lately. Because it’s just too freaky deaky and I’m not ready to just blare that all over the place.

So. Presenting number 38 in the 100 Journal Topics project.

38. Did you ever know someone who had “everything?”

No. Ha ha, done.

Seriously, though. I don’t really think so. I mean, surely I had some jealousies about things other people had when I was younger, but I never really thought someone had everything. Oh sure, my neighbors to the north had HBO, back when it was actually called Home Box Office and was its own separate thing, not part of a cable package…and my neighbor to the south had horses, and a three wheeler, and a pool, but we had a pool too. And we had our ponies. And I had a sweet fort thing in the middle of a stand of mulberry trees, and like two hundred My Little Ponies, and the coolest swingset known to man. I didn’t have a treehouse, and that grieved me, but I still had it all right.

In high school, I had a car. Not the best car or the newest car, but I had a car. So again, yeah. I had it all right. Not the richest kid in school but not the poorest either. Not by a long shot. I had friends, I had reasonably cool clothes, I had parents who were pretty understanding and lenient. Things were all right.

You guys, this is basically what my car looked like and it was so big and old and flippin' sweet and I'm still a little peeved that my sister wrecked it. Its name was Tiger and it was such a good car. <3

You guys, this is basically what my car looked like and it was so big and old and flippin’ sweet and I’m still a little peeved that my sister wrecked it. Its name was Tiger and it was such a good car. <3


But I’ve always been like that. I’ve always been basically satisfied. Sure, there’s better stuff, and that would be nice, but at least I’m not starving or homeless or whatever. I’m a long way from that life.

Nowadays, I suppose I could look to my writing friends and look at what others have. Sometimes I do; I’m not gonna lie. But I still think that if I’m patient and cool, my time will come. It’s kind of fun enjoying my friends’ successes anyway. Like my friend Kim…her amazing book is coming out this month and I’m so excited for her! Yes, it’d be cool if I’d gotten there too already…but I also believe that all things happen for a reason, and there is divine timing. If I haven’t gotten published yet, it’s just because the time isn’t right. And that’s okay. I just have to keep trying so I’ll be ready when the time is right.

Anyway, when you get right down to it, I guess I personally have everything. Okay, see, I wrote this thing back when I was in high school, where we had to say what our life would be like so many years down the road. It was for our journals, for our English class. I said that I would be a writer, living in a two story old house, married with children. And there it is. That’s what I wanted, and that’s what I got. So I should be pretty dad gum satisfied. And I am. I still want more, you know, but I’m content with where I am right now. The future will surely hold all kinds of surprises, and that’s cool too, even though I don’t really know what they are. I’m thankful. Thankful to God, thankful to others, thankful for basically everything in life. It’s a pretty sweet place to be.

happy-unicorn-rainbow

So…that’s my step back into my 100 journal topics. Maybe this time I will do more than two before lapsing again. Here’s hoping!

Two stickers

I have two stickers on my calendar as of today. One for yesterday, and one for today.

At some point in my past, I decided it would be an EXCELLENT idea to mark “good writing days” with a sticker on a calendar. I got the idea from someone on twitter. I don’t remember who, because I am rude like that, ha ha.

Anyway, I did really well with it at the time and finished the project I was working on. But since then, there have been some sticker days, yay, but more non-sticker days. Today is the first time in a long time that there have been two sticker days in a row. It looks nice.

I’m awfully melancholy though. It’s probably somewhat due to the playlist I’m using for this novel. It’s soulful and something my late sister enjoyed. This book is about sisters – identical twins, actually – and this playlist is perfect. The book is going to be melancholy too, I guess. I’m feeling quite a bit of the emotions of my characters right now, which is also causing my disquiet.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still in my good place. I really am. But of course, there always has to be SOMETHING, doesn’t there, or life would be awfully bland after a while. Like a good book, there has to be conflict. It can’t be beautiful weather every day, or how would we appreciate the gloriousness of a perfect day?

There’s so much I want to say, to write, to release out of my mind. To reach out into the silence of the internet and ask who hears me. Who understands me. Who knows me. Who loves me unconditionally. I used to have anonymous places where I could cry out. But I don’t anymore. I can only think my innermost thoughts in my head or whisper them to God. That should be enough. But right now it isn’t quite.

I guess I should stop. Sorry that this got weird.

image

Coffee shop musings

So I’m at this cool coffee shop in OKC while I’m typing this. I am, however, too chicken to ask the baristas if I can get the wifi password, so I’m going to post this later. I might use my phone’s hotspot. Depends on my mood when I get done, maybe. I’ve got a hot cocoa and biscotti and a glass of water. Plug in is nearby but I haven’t taken advantage. I’m in pretty good shape, battery-wise.

Anyway. I came into town early to help Ben with something at lunch. And now I have our SCBWI Oklahoma OKC Connect meeting in three hours, so it seemed kind of crazy to go home and basically turn back around. So I got brave and entered a place I’d never been before. Vintage Coffee. And it had one of my greatest fears – front doors you can’t see into. So there’s no way to really know what’s inside. But I got smart and looked the place up on facebook, so at least I had an idea of what to except. Once inside, I figured out where to stand to get my order taken and then I relocated to a plushy chair in the corner where I can observe everyone easily. Bliss.

I have several things I can work on today. I read through my wip the other day and got a good vibe for it again. I dislike some of the things that happen – it seems very surface in some spots – but I remember it was that way when I first did it but I just decided to do the rough draft and then go back and fix. It’s just such a complicated, issues-heavy book. I didn’t want to get bogged down on the first time through. I did, anyway, though. So I’ve been trying to decide if I was going to go back and try to fix the shallow parts, or if I would just keep powering through. I guess I’ll just keep going. I’m not even a third of the way through, so I really need to keep after it. So that’s project one.
Project two is the fanfic that I haven’t worked on. But that one should probably wait until I work on the wip. I mean, if I was desperate to work on the fanfic, I’d probably put it first, but this is actually a hard premise for me, so I don’t mind waiting on it. And that’s better anyway. I used to do fic on weekends and the real stuff during the week. That would be a nice rut to get back into.

Project three is the blog. I have lots of things I do each day, so I don’t see why I can’t do this that way too. I just need to have a plan. I still want to the 100 journal entries. And I like doing things to promote my local SCBWI and the members. And I have a new idea to start giving snaps to my agent’s other clients, because a lot of them are doing AMAZING things and deserve the recognition…even if it’s just from my obscure blog.

Mondays I’m probably not going to do anything, due to our homeschool co-op. But I should be able to blog other days, though. But should I do it multiple times a week or just once, at a minimum? I don’t know what schedule would keep me at it in a more consistent manner. I know it’s important to write regularly, to stretch that writing muscle. Of course, I also have journals and things that I write and just keep at home, either on the computer or in a book. Those are generally personal enough that they will not be appearing on the blog. And how much do people really want from my personal thoughts anyway?

I used to be more open with things, I guess. I did livejournal regularly and was very active on social media. But now I’ve pulled back. Maybe because I have a lesser need for external validation? I also think I have less of a need lately to please everyone. My biggest reason to be on social media so much before was to please people and FOMO. Honestly, there’s pretty much only one reason for me to be on social media anymore – apart from work-related things – and it is FOMO in a way, but not like it used to be. Missing out on most things doesn’t really concern me any more.

Anyway, enough cryptic talk for now.
Muse is on the speakers at the coffee shop. I’m going to take that as a sign. A sign of what, I don’t know. But I think it’s positive.

In like a lion

So it’s March!

Biggest news for me so far is that I finished my final revisions for Maybe, Baby and sent them to my agent. That was yesterday. Fingers crossed that she thinks we’re ready to go on submission.

I’m ready to get back into a regular writing schedule (FINALLY). That’s good because I have a couple of projects that have been simmering for a while. I thought it might be a good idea to put them right here and maybe have a little bit of accountability, lolz.

So. Things I want to accomplish – ideally in 2017.

–I want to finish my halfway completed first draft of Liddy Chatterley’s Lover. I know what I need to go back and fix, and where I want to go from there. It’s really a matter of just powering through the tough middle parts.

–Project two is writing the first draft of a novel I’ve been playing around with in my head for a year now. Working title is Hunting Down Dylan.

–After I get that one done, I get to write the first draft of my newest idea. Working title is Taco Bell Wedding.

–Keep updating the blog with better regularity. Like…once a week would be crackerjack. Once a month would be acceptable. I’m not a machine, ya’ll.

–Doing more and better publicity for SCBWI Oklahoma.

–I also want to continue working on my fanfic, but just a little bit. I can’t believe I haven’t done anything there in more than a year. I want to write more on at least one of my unfinished fics. More would be nice but I’m not going to make myself crazy over that. I hope to work on this when I’m taking a break from my main projects. Keep my writing fresh and all that.

–And, of course, I know there will be lots of editing and revising on these and other projects. Plus, you know, real life.

Here we go.

Writing and other abstract things

So I have this new checklist app thingy on my phone. I have several different checklists on it for myself, like a to-do list, a shopping list, and a list of things I need to deep clean (shed, I’m looking at YOU). The most important list, though, is my every day list. It’s helping me to have more focus to my day, and a sense of accomplishment in the small things of life. Brush teeth? Check. Make sure my son does his math? Check. Brush the little one’s hair? Check. Exercise? Well…sometimes I get that one. I’m not perfect, ha ha.

Also on the list is “Write Something.” I have to admit on some days I am much more lenient on this than others. There have been days that I have decided to consider posting on the SCBWI Oklahoma Facebook page as “writing something.” And technically that’s true, right?

I’m going to do better though. Much better. Turning that corner a few months ago has brought me to a new place. And happily, it’s a place where I once again feel the desire and need to write. I know this blog post will earn my checkmark, but I already know that I’m going to do a little fanfic after this. I haven’t written any fanfic since February 2016. But I really want to stretch my writing muscle. I don’t want to start anything new, because my agent is going to be sending me some edits in a few days and I want to be completely ready for those. But fanfic isn’t quite the insistent mistress that an actual novel is. I can leave her for a while and she doesn’t put up much of a fuss.

Ha ha, I just went to add some animated gifs to this and then remembered that I accidentally copied all of those over to my external hard drive and then deleted them off my computer. And the external hard drive is all the way over on the other side of the room. Guess that’s not gonna be happening this time.

Well, on with the fanfic!

2016, for me

A lot of people hated 2016. I can understand why. I know all the terrible things that happened in the year we’ve just ended. And I can emphasize. But my 2016 was possibly the best year of my entire life.

It didn’t start out that way, though.

Oh, I was happy enough when January came. Really happy, actually. I’d just signed with my wonderful agent a few months before, and I was very optimistic about the book she was going to submit for me. I think we’d gotten the manuscript where we wanted it at that point, and it was going out. But I can’t remember for sure. But I was optimistic and excited for the future, working on a new project, writing my just-for-fun fanfiction like crazy, and feeling so positive every single day.

Then something happened to me at the beginning of February that shook things up a lot. I don’t really want to delve into the specifics, but I only wrote one thing at that time – a fanfiction chapter that I’d been planning for a while. It took one day and I posted it and said I’d do more and I didn’t. I hope I do more with it in the future though. This new thing took up all of my time and attention, and I didn’t even have time to write. It was a very happy time for me.

But like Robert Frost said, nothing gold can stay. And when my project began to fall apart, I was left grasping at the wind. As the days dragged on, I fell into the darkest time my soul had ever experienced – even more than when loved ones had died in the past. I couldn’t understand why this affected me so greatly. I had several strange illnesses fall on me at the same time, and I felt like I would never find hope or joy again.

I read a lot. Nothing that was really important to me, but just something to pass the time. I would sit on my porch and read and read. Because if I wasn’t reading, I was thinking. And that was unbearable. But I had do something to fill the endless days, stretching onward to forever.

I didn’t write. I didn’t do any edits. I avoided people as much as I could. When I did have to get out, I hid it the best I could, but I was so broken inside. I found enough strength to finally contact a therapist, and I began seeing her at the end of April. It helped. Somewhat. But I was still so confused and full of sorrow. And it shouldn’t have affected me like that. It shouldn’t have. But it did. And that was all there was to it.

Sometime in May, I reread a book that had always meant a lot to me – “I’m Gonna Bury You” by Gene Neill. I had been given this book as a teenager and read it many times. This man’s journey to God was always inspiring to me. I decided to give it away, so I reread it first.

And for the first time, I noticed something. New the end, the author mentioned a book that he had enjoyed by a man named Merlin Carothers. I was intrigued by the thought of a book that had helped the man who had inspired me so much. So I took a photo of the book title with my phone. A few weeks later, I ordered a copy on Amazon. It came, I read it.

And that’s when things began to change for me. Most of Carothers’ works are about finding joy in everything in your life through thanking God, and praising Him for it all. And it says everything. Good and bad. It’s scriptural – in the Bible it says to rejoice in all things. So I decided to give it a try.

As the days turned to weeks, I began to change inside. I once again found hope where there had been none. And I began to feel truly thankful and close to God. The more I thanked Him for everything in my past and present, the more I learned to trust Him and be at peace with what was happening in my life.

I still had trouble. A lot of trouble. But I kept reading, and praising, and praying, and learning about more scriptural teachings, and things kept steadily getting better. Even when I had setbacks, I would come around within a day or two. I kept talking to my counselor, confiding in my husband, and praying. I had several Christian books on all types of subjects that I read every day. It would usually take me between two and four hours to get through my devotional time every day. But I didn’t mind it – I enjoyed it…and I’d never experienced that before in my life. I highlighted key verses in my Bible and took pictures of important thoughts from all my books, so I could read over them later. I’ve been a born-again Christian for a very long time…but this was something new. Something more real and vibrant than I’d ever experienced.

This went on for some time. Lots of good days, a few bad. Overall I was surviving. I still wasn’t writing. I still had my mind on the things had had happened earlier in the year, and what I had lost. And I kept trying to determine how to manipulate the situation. How to fix everything. How to help things.

And then November came. The year was almost complete. At the beginning of that month, I would not have said 2016 was all that great. I was excited about the new relationship I was experiencing with God, and I was so grateful for it, but I was still confused and hurting…even though I was thanking God for the confusion and the pain! But then something changed in me. I know the exact date – November 11. I was wasting time as usual (and feeling guilty about it, as usual) reading things online. And then I read something that changed everything. It was like a switch turned on for me and suddenly I could see the light.

And I can’t even tell what it is, because it’s odd. It doesn’t really make sense. But it does to me. And that’s what matters.

I have never, ever, felt a peace like I do now. And it’s been strong and consistent this entire time. I no longer worry about things. I am truly filled with a peace beyond all understanding. I still thank God for everything, and I praise Him each day. I completely trust Him with everything in my life, and I am willing to go wherever He leads me.

And self-love! Oh, man, I finally understand this concept! When that big thing suddenly clicked in my mind in November, I really loved myself…maybe for the first time in my life. I love myself unconditionally. And others I love? Also unconditional. I do not need anyone else in the world to do anything for me any more. I choose to be with the ones I love, and I want to be with them…but I don’t need them. I will still be whole and be me regardless. Not needing them doesn’t mean I don’t love them – I suddenly loved them even more. They don’t have to do anything to earn my love. My love is there, always and forever, regardless of the circumstance or choice.

I’m so free. I’m so free, ya’ll! I don’t even know how to express it fully. I finished my revision and got it to my agent. I’m getting ready to start back on my unfinished manuscript. And I’m starting to think a little bit about fan fiction. It’s just so freeing! No matter what happens in life, I have God. And I have me. Those are the only two things I really, really need. Everyone and everything else is wonderful blessings heaped on top of an already complete and fulfilled life. And it’s mine!

And this is why 2016 was the best year I ever had. All the suffering and pain, all the long days and endless nights full of questions and doubts and misery…they were all worth it. I’d go through them again a million times if the way I feel now is the end result.

And the thing is…I’m not even describing it well enough. I’m a writer but there are no words for the unspeakable joy that is within my soul 100 percent all of the time. But it’s blissful. And I don’t think I’m ever going to lose it again.

I want to thank everyone who has been with me in one form or another, loving me when I couldn’t love myself, through so many years. I especially appreciate those who loved me in 2016, when I was in the dark night of the soul. I finally found the light and I am honestly, truly well.

May the joy of the Lord be with you always. <3

I have arrived, world

I was interviewed for a blog a while back, and it went live today.

Writer Wednesday Interview with Regina Garvie

I think I sound reasonably competent in it, which I am extremely grateful for. But how bizarre is it that I have accomplished enough in my writing career to even be interviewed about it? It’s left me feeling a little weirded out. I mean, I’m pleased, no doubt, but it’s just odd, I guess. Like…since when am I a real writer? Surely there’s been some mistake, right?

Judi’s questions were awesome and really left me free to express myself easily. And how cool is it that she does this on her blog for people she doesn’t really know? (Well, we’re friends on twitter now, but we didn’t know each other when she decided to interview me.) And…she totally updates her blog REGULARLY. Weird, ha ha.

And…I just went to go snag a new animated gif to help express myself right now and I discovered that when I backed up all my old pics on my two hard drives and deleted things off my computer last month, I deleted those, too. It’s not the end of the world, obviously, since they’re still on the hard drives and just need to be moved back, but…I’m way too lazy at the moment to do that.

Wait. Wait. I’m not lazy. I’m just such an amazing, REAL writer that I don’t have to rely on animated gifs to get my point across. That’s it.

A REAL WRITER.

So check out the link, if you’re so inclined, and see if you agree. (Or if you at least agree that I’m doing a pretty good job pretending like I am.)

The Tsar’s Guard Parade

Guard Banner

I’m very honored to be a part of the Tsar’s Guard and to be participating in the Tsar’s Guard parade, spreading the word about the upcoming sensation, THE CROWN’S GAME by the amazing Evelyn Skye!!

Guys, I’ve totally read this book.

Okay. That’s not true. April Fools, hilarious. I figured that since I got the luck of the draw at getting this day, I should try to do something, no matter how lame.

But I know some things about it. I’ve preordered from the Amazon page. I’ve read the Buzz  excerpt. I’ve viewed the trailer. Also, I know Evelyn, like, personally, and I’ve read another, unpublished novel of hers, and so I’m practically an expert.

She’s a great writer. And a great person. And if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have my agent. For reals. That’s why I’m so honored to even be part of this. I’ve stressed about it since I applied to be a part, because I didn’t think my stop on the parade would measure up to everyone else. But I do know that if nothing else, I can completely and without hesitation recommend this book.

The Tsar’s Guard Parade also includes a giveaway for an ARC of the book. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

CrownsGame hc cTitle: THE CROWN’S GAME

Author: Evelyn Skye

Release Date: May 17th, 2016

Pages: 416

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

 

About Evelyn:
Evelyn Skye head shot high resEvelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.

 

Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram

 

 

Giveaway Details:

 

1 winner will receive an ARC of THE CROWN’S GAME. International.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Rafflecopter

 

Find the complete Tsar’s Guard Parade Schedule at Evelyn Skye’s website!

Issues

So I’m having a bunch of stupid stuff going on my my life with now. Some of it is health related for me. Some is health related for family. One is health related for a far-away friend, which is resulting in me not getting to talk to this friend. That’s super stressful in itself, really.

I’ve been wallowing in self pity a little bit, but today I’ve tried to move my mind to other things and get some work done. It went reasonably well, except I did have to do some paperworkey type things for my health thing and certain family members kept haranguing me about things I felt a little overwhelmed to deal with. But I did get several things done for SCBWI that I’ve been putting off, and I got the downstairs part of the house fairly clean. Only about a third of the things on my to-do list are checked off, but some of those things have to wait until tomorrow anyway, so that’s okay.

I feel like a lot of things that have been happening to me will work their way into my future writing, so that’s at least a positive way to look at it.

In other news, I decided to listen to the soundtrack for Hamilton today, and it is amazing. I haven’t even heard all of it and I want to buy it already. I’m sad because I can’t listen to it now because I have company.

I also have an actual important blog post to do, for my friend Evelyn. I signed up to be part of the blog parade for her debut novel. It seemed like a really good idea when I did this, but now I’m afraid what I do is not going to measure up. I have no clear idea of what I’m going to do, although I might do better with that when my company is not talking to me about the things running through her head that are a little much for me to think about today.

I’m rambling. Time to check off the box next to “Write a blog post” and then work on the next one. “Write the parade post.”