Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Hello everyone!

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It’s been a little while since my last update, and a lot has happened. Life is full of surprises! I’m starting a new job in two weeks. It’s a temporary assignment, but I’m excited to get experience in another department. Also, I’m officially going back to school in September to get my Bachelor of Education in Adult Education. So, yay!

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But, as with most things in life, things are going to change. So, while I’m excited, I’m also nervous.

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I’m still trying to figure out what it all means and how to slot writing into learning a new job and going back to school. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment. Eep!

But you’re here for writing news, right?

I attended SCBWI Canada East’s conference in Montréal last weekend. It was great. My favourite part was hanging with my awesome writing buddy, but also the workshops were pretty enjoyable. I think I got a lot out of it, but mostly I got a break from the tire-fire of my life, and I’m still feeling much better for it afterwards.

Thing is, Awesome Writing Buddy brainstormed IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT with me, and we may have solved the problem? But I’m also working on THE SCARS WE BEAR. Can I get two drafts of a book completed before September? I GUESS WE’LL SEE!

eye of the tiger(This gif is for two of my writing buddies, but for different reasons.)

I’m also still querying THE NEW ROMANTICS. I’m behind on sending queries out but I’ve had some pretty good response with several requests for partials or fulls. No “yeses” yet. I’m getting a lot of, “Like it, don’t love it” responses. Kind of a bummer, but I’m hoping someone will love it! If not, I have some irons in the fire and I’ll be back in the trenches again with a new project next year. I hope.

So, that’s it! I’m going to spend the summer neck deep in writing projects (hopefully) to prepare for school starting in the fall. Then, who knows? Life is full of surprises.

Thanks for reading. ❤

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On Nerves and Being Ready

It’s been about three months since I’ve posted anything on this blog. To be honest, I’ve been having mixed feelings about having a blog. I feel very nervous, exposed, and frankly silly. It’s scary to have people read it. And lately, I’ve been a bit of a mess.

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However! I am just returning to life after two weeks of vacation. It was fantastic. Really relaxing, refreshing, and just helped me get my head back on straight. During it, I didn’t do much writing or editing, but I’ve let myself off the hook for that. I needed the time and it worked wonders.

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In book news, I’m getting to quite an exciting time. In about six weeks, I’m planning on being ready to start querying THE NEW ROMANTICS to agents. I also have the opportunity to send it to an editor before the end of October, hence the timeline. I have some changes I have to make in the next week or two, then it’s polish, polish, polish. I have a great beta reader helping me out, plus a buddy helping me get my query letter up to snuff.

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I’ve been posting snippets from my book on Twitter, too. Here’s my favourite line I wrote recently, during revisions:

Still, I’m nervous. I’m not convinced I’m ready. I’m not sure I’ll ever actually be ready. I know rejections are going to come – everyone gets them – but it’s still putting this thing that I made out into the world and asking people to like it. Scary!

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But, as everyone worth anything has said some variation of, if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life. (Daniel Handler and Hugh Laurie come to mind.)

I took this blog down for a while because I was nervous what agents will think if they come looking for me. I’m worried about what my Twitter looks like, too. I’m generally anxious about everything to do with querying and being online and being a writer. But, a conversation with a great writing buddy of mine who recently started her own blog (Hi, Joy!) encouraged me to put it up again.

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So here I am. I’m practicing putting things out into the world and asking you to like them. I’m not ready. It’s hard. But I’m trying.

Thanks for reading. ❤

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Juggling Projects and My “Big Book”

So, my writing week is behind me and I’ve returned from my work trip to Newfoundland.

(Look! I saw icebergs! And really steep cliffs!)

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My writing performance was pretty dismal. I didn’t work on THE SCARS WE BEAR. Instead, I worked on editing THE NEW ROMANTICS to get it beta reader ready. Which I did, so it’s not all useless. I’ve sent it off the three people. So now we wait.

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Also, I attended an online webinar hosted by P.S. Literary Agent Carly Watters. (She has a great blog you should check out.) Carly talked about how, for a debut author in the 21st century, you need your debut to be your Big Book. The best thing you’ve ever written. Not just a good book, but a great one.

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So. What’s my Big Book? Is it really THE NEW ROMANTICS, a contemporary romance reminiscent of a beach read? Or, IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT, which needs a tonne of work? Is it THE SCARS WE BEAR, which hasn’t been written. Something else?

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I have a secret to tell you: I have two “third books”. The third book I’ve referred to in earlier posts is not THE SCARS WE BEAR. It’s another book, also one that I’ve always wanted to write, also one that I’m terrified of. It is nameless. Both deal with similar themes, but at different stages in one’s life. UNTITLED’s MC is fifteen, in high school and living with her parents. THE SCARS WE BEAR’s MC is nineteen, doing an internship, on her own for the first time.

I shelved UNTITLED because I couldn’t think of a way to end it happily. (I have ideas now.) It trends younger than I usually write. It’s going to deal with some really heavy stuff. It’s got mental illness, first love, body issues, family issues. It will be deeply personal, which is terrifying. But I’m also kind of in love with it.

THE SCARS WE BEAR would be a little lighter, though it deals with heavy topics, too. It’s more in the age range I like to write. I’m excited about writing about someone’s first time on their own, dealing with first loves while falling for a second, how to deal with mental illness while not necessarily being in the throes of it. I feel like I could write it well.

So you see my dilemma.

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Anyway, my point is, I’m not sure where to go from here. Obviously, wait until my beta readers get through THE NEW ROMANTICS, but in the meantime? I guess I have to see which project gets me the most excited. I don’t know which one that is yet, or if it won’t change week-to-week. Still, I want to write three hundred words a day. It just might not be on one project. (Ugh.)

Well, thanks for reading! If you have any advice, I’d be happy to hear it in the comments.

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On Fear

Hey dudes,

It’s been a super long time and I feel like I owe you a blog entry.

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So, those of you that know me know I have an anxiety disorder. It’s gotten loads better over the years through a lot of hard work and the occasional medication. I haven’t had a panic attack since I lived in my Ottawa apartment about five years ago. I can go out and, like, be with people. Honestly, it’s nothing short of a miracle.

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That doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. My body may not enter flight or fight mode over not being able to find a hair brush anymore (long story), but I still get very, very nervous over silly things.

Like my third book.

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After two previous books of varying quality, I’m finally sitting down to write the book I’ve always wanted to write. And that’s a lot of pressure. I need to get it right, you know? So I’m terrified. What if I’m not a good enough writer to pull this off yet? What if no one wants to read what I have to say? WHAT IF IT’S TERRIBLE?!

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I know, I know. Just write it. Get it down. You can’t edit a blank page and all that jazz. All my advice to other writers just spins through my head. I’m doing the best I can. I tried outlining and plotting, but I can’t. Looks like I’m a pantser and I’m just going to have to get this first draft written. I have a goal to write 300 words a day, just like I did for IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT, and this will get me a 70K first draft by the end of the year.

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I use this great calendar by Karen Kavett and you should go check it out. I have the week of the May 24 weekend off to do writerly things. I have my second book, THE NEW ROMANTICS, out to my alpha reader so I can’t touch that until she gets around to it. So I’ll be heads down, writing THE SCARS WE BEAR.

Did I mention I’m terrified?

Me, two weeks from now:
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Thanks for reading, folks. I won’t be doing a live blog of my week off this time, but I’ll post some updates, if y’all at interested. Follow me on the Twitter!

Talk soon ❤

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Book Updates

Hello all,

Long time, no see. Sorry I haven’t updated in a while. I’ve been working away but there hasn’t been much news.

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I’ve received responses from all the agents I queried, save one. All rejections and I’m taking the last one’s silence as the same.

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In all honesty, though, it’s fine. IT GIVES A LOVELY LIGHT isn’t up to snuff yet. I’m actually a little ticked at myself that I queried at all since I can’t requery those agents I’ve done already. Sigh.

I’ve been putting IGALL through critique circles. It’s already gone through one and it was almost done in my general fiction circle. Well, my big climax chapter got absolutely torn apart in that general fiction circle. Like, it was painful.

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So, it turns out, I have to completely chop off the last five-ish chapters and go at them again. Fun times. I’ve decided to shelve it for a few months and get my passion back for the project. I’ll come back to it. I hope.

On the front of my second novel, code named THE NEW ROMANTICS, I’m making excellent progress. I’ve completed the first draft at about 63K words. Then, I plotted it out, found some holes, and I’m working on fixing those. The second draft I’m expecting to come in between 75K and 80K for word count. By far the longest thing I’ve ever done.

happiness2And I have novel number three percolating away in the back of my mind. My bestie/writing partner says it’s because I want to avoid editing. During the editing stage, I always get an idea for a new novel. Hence the birth of TNR.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening with my writing. The group is going fantastic and I appreciate all my writing buddies in whatever form you take. I’ve been posting lines from my works in progress on my Twitter! Go check that out and give me a follow if you like it!

Thanks for reading. ❤

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Books I Read in 2015

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year!

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As was tradition back when this blog was active, I’m here to share the books I read in 2015. In total, I read 56 books. That’s the record, at least ever since I started recording my yearly book list. And here they are. Asterisks (*) indicate a reread (and yes, I reread some within the same year).

  1. A self-help book that I didn’t record the name of
  2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  3. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
  4. The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
  5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  6. Just One Year by Gayle Forman
  7. Just One Night by Gayle Forman
  8. Don’t Touch by Rachael Wilson
  9. Show Your Work by Austin Kloen
  10. Jackaby by William Ritter
  11. Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding
  12. Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
  13. Maximize Your Potential Edited by Jocelyn Glei
  14. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
  15. *A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  16. Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
  17. We Slept Here by Sierra De Mulder
  18. Marbles by Ellen Foley
  19. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  20. The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond
  21. Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
  22. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  23. Neanderthal Meets Human by Penny Reid
  24. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
  25. Way More Than Luck Edited by Janet Crowther
  26. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  27. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
  28. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  29. Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
  30. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  31. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  32. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  33. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
  34. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  35. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  36. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  37. *Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  38. *Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  39. *Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  40. *Just One Year by Gayle Forman
  41. *Just One Night by Gayle Forman
  42. *Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  43. *Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  44. *Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
  45. *Honeybee by Trista Mateer
  46. First and Then by Emma Mills
  47. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
  48. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  49. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  50. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  51. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
  52. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
  53. Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda by Becky Alberalli
  54. The Dogs I have Kissed by Trista Mateer
  55. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
  56. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

A couple things I noticed:

  • This was the year of YA. I read young adult books almost exclusively. This probably contributed to my high book count.
  • For someone who doesn’t like Sarah Dessen, I read a lot of her books this year. Maybe I was just giving her a chance.
  • I didn’t reread all my usual books. I usually have at least one Jane Austen book on my list. I’ll have to rectify this in 2016.
  • All the Bright Places broke me. Seriously, do not read this book during a sensitive time in your life like I did. I had to cleanse my palate with books I knew I loved and ended happily because I could not get over that book. I’m still not over that book. (It’s sad, but very good.)

My favourite new books were probably the Just One Day series by Gayle Forman (I want a Willem!), Rainbow Rowell’s books, All the Bright Places, I’ll Give You the Sun (though I didn’t like it at first), and Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda. Stephanie Perkins’ books are always good for a pick me up and I love them.

I’m not going to bother talking about the books I didn’t like, though there were a few of them.

So, that’s it! My 2015 book list! How was your year in reading?

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Beta Readers

So, I’ve moved on to the next phase of my process of getting this book out into the world: Beta readers.

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I have a lot. Seven, actually. Too many, probably, but I’m excited to hear everyone’s opinions. Excited and terrified. So far, I haven’t heard back from anyone other than general “so far, so good” comments. These are nice but leaves a lot up in the air. I’m hoping to have Draft Four, a.k.a. The Querying Draft, ready by the end of this year, so I’ve asked for feedback by the end of November. This is going to be a long month.

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In return, I’m Beta reading for a few of them. Everyone is so talented. This is what I have to go up against in the pile of submissions for agents. Again, terrifying.

Anyway, that’s where I am. Sitting and waiting. In the meantime, I’m working on novels two and three. I’m about two-thirds of the way through novel two, so it’s really my focus. Novel three is more of a pet project that I’m working on in my spare spare time, which is sparse (like the novel itself).

Hope you update you soon when I get back all my amazing comments! Thanks for reading.

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