Re-read The Girl In Between Chapters 6-10

RereadBeing that my re-read of chapters 1-5 went much better than expected (meaning I’m still in one psychological piece) you’d think that I would have been ready to jump into the rest of the story immediately. Unfortunately, in the last seven days I’ve left my full-time job and spent the past week making a list a million miles long of all the things I need to accomplish in the next six months in order to capitalize on my current momentum to the point that I’m not sleeping or all that interested in eating (I never lose my appetite, not even when I have the flu!) and at this point I’m just a ball of nerves trying not to self-implode. Which has given this re-read an entirely new context. Because, you see, once I’ve finished re-reading the first three books in the TGIB series I’ll actually have to sit down and finish the final book. And what if it’s terrible and everyone hates it? Hence my putting off reading chapters 6-10…

Initial Feelings: The opposite of hunger. Anxious. Sleepy.

Initial Thoughts: If Stephanie Meyer can suffer through a re-read of Twilight for the purpose of gender bending the two–according to early reviews–most un-gender-bendable characters of all time then I can certainly re-read TGIB without having a full-blown panic attack. Oh my gosh. Am I about to have a panic attack? But I’m out of on demand episodes of The Real Housewives. And ice cream. Where has all the ice cream gone??? That’s it. Emergency trip to the grocery store. I can read this shit later…And I just remembered my boyfriend took my car to work.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.23.59 PM*Chapter 7 is one of my favorites. Getting it right was absolutely punishing but Roman’s descent into the ocean as he searches for some piece of himself is such an important moment for his character. On every page of every book it’s like he’s constantly fighting between being the hero and giving up. That fight starts here in this moment and it’s also the first time we see the dynamic between him and Bryn. Roman finds so much strength in her and she really is the one who, time after time, continues to come to his rescue. Creating that nontraditional dynamic where the girl is the hero wasn’t really my intention. As I was writing and fleshing out their characters, it was more like, Bryn just came to me and said “so, I’m the hero of this story,” and Roman was like “and I’m the one she saves.” The strength and support they give to one another gradually becomes more mutual as the series progresses but Bryn’s character is much more consistent and even as Roman becomes more and more powerful she still represents everything he wants to be.

*A lot of Bryn’s grandmother’s most memorable lines were actually added in later drafts of the story. Again, I was really trying to pump up the dialogue and add some more humor to break up the emotional intensity in certain places. When Bryn’s in the dream state it’s like one emotionally intense scene between her and Roman after the other. When she goes back to the real world I wanted it to feel lighter, even if it’s just briefly. I love in chapter 8 when Bryn and her mother are eye-rolling over her grandmother’s superstitious impulse to tie rosemary around her wrist and then she suddenly appears and is all like…”I do not sneak.” I can just picture her wearing a long gypsy-like robe with bangles and gold chains that are eerily silent as she manifests in the doorway.

*I would now like to take this moment to address the very polarizing decision (at least for my books it has been) of my inclusion of authentic “teen speak” in my novels (this definitely picks up steam at around chapter 8). I know a lot of people don’t like cursing, especially in books for young adults. However, some teens curse. This is a fact. And some of those teens happen to be represented in my books. If you don’t like to read/hear/speak curse words then save yourself the agony and don’t read books with curse words in them. I am an artist and it is not my job to police what your child may or may not be reading. I am not thinking about the possible negative implications of my artistic choices on the youth of the world. I’m telling a story. Just a story. *Drops mic*

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.25.35 PM*Adding to what I wrote about in last week’s re-read post about Bryn’s real-world problems adding depth to the story…I’ve also noticed that a lot of paranormal stories follow the format of: girl grows up in boring town surrounded by boring people where nothing ever happens–she meets a mysterious stranger–finds out she has super powers and is supposed to save the world. Now…this plot might sound slightly familiar, even in TGIB (Hey, it was my first paranormal romance!) BUT even though Bryn does believe she has a somewhat dull and unproductive life due to her disease, I really tried to make it a point to give her a past. Past, as in, Drew, issues with her father, her grandfather’s passing, her mother’s borderline romantic relationship with her uncle, her friendships with Dani and Felix, etc. In these first ten chapters we’re not just introduced to Bryn’s disease and all of the “paranormal” symptoms that come with it but we’re also introduced to her. The girl. The normal human being who has been living a life before Roman showed up. He is not the impetus of her existence or even of her story. Why? Because REAL HEALTHY relationships don’t work that way and they shouldn’t be portrayed that way in fiction either.


*This was my first novel written in past tense and it shows. But that’s okay, I’ll just tweak this, and change that, and…STOP! NO EDITING ALLOWED!
*When I first wrote this novel and all of the accompanying “high school-esque” scenes it had only been about two years since my own high school graduation. Now, it’s been about six…and can you believe I’m actually volunteering to go back there and be a teacher? I pray every night that I won’t have students like Jessie Fowler or Candace Johnson or, God forbid, Drew… But I probably will and then I’ll just have to write books about them where they get exactly what they deserve
*Sidenote-my high school stats teacher was also named Mrs. Wheeler. She was a very nice lady who surely passed me out of pity.
*I like that Bryn’s dreams of going away to college in no way cause her to be overly preachy when it comes to Dani and Felix’s alternative plans (or lack thereof). I know we like to drill it into kids’ heads that they should all go to college someday but the truth is that college is NOT for everyone.
*I also love how Bryn’s main concern as Michael Erickson is being carried into the back of an ambulance is “what about the cake?”

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Day 1

I’m the type who tries to plan every hour of every day at least five years in advance. I don’t fear change–burying a parent at 18 will teach you that things don’t always happen the way they should and that you can’t control everything–but I would much rather be the driving force behind any changes in my life rather than a helpless bystander. Yesterday was my last official day as part of the 9-5 workforce that sucks the life out of so many of us creative types and today is my first official day as a full-time author.

I hadn’t planned to leave my job so soon–I have student teaching next semester and was anticipating staying around until January–but then the universe intervened and I really had no choice. Work stress is one of the worst kinds, not only because that’s where we all spend most of our time, but also because it seems like the majority of people in leadership roles are borderline psychotic and therefore there is only one means of escape for those of us caught in their cross-hares. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding my early departure, the point is that I’m FREE.

I woke up at 9AM this morning and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’m sure the next few days will be the same. But it’s a wonderful feeling. I took an “artistic sabbatical” once before while I was writing Breathing Ghosts but all it amounted to was six months of stressing about money and the eventuality of finding a job and the BIG UNKNOWN that was my future. This time around I feel like I’m standing at the precipice of something wonderful. The future is no longer dark and obscure but wide open and expanding in an infinite number of directions. This time around I have options and that is true freedom. And it’s all thanks to my readers. You all have given me the financial freedom and the courage to pursue my dreams and I can’t wait to begin this adventure with all of you by my side; I can’t wait to share more stories with you; I can’t wait to be the most unencumbered, most creative, most authentic version of myself I’ve ever been. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And now, after such a devastatingly long break, it’s finally time to start putting Bryn’s nightmares to bed.

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Re-read The Girl In Between Chapters 1-5

RereadIt’s the first official re-read of The Girl In Between and in this post I’ll be covering chapters 1-5. For anyone who hasn’t read the book yet please be aware of possible spoilers. I’m not exactly following a format here and will mostly just be rambling on about whatever comes to mind…Please leave any questions in the comments section or via Twitter and I’ll do my best to reply to them ASAP!

Initial Feelings: Terror. Nausea. Terror. Slight Hunger.

Initial Thoughts: This is going to be terrible. I’m going to hate every word. I can’t believe four years have gone by. I’m so old. And getting older every second. A quarter of my life is almost over. OHMYGOD! Maybe I should eat a snack first…


*It feels like it was just yesterday that I was living in Florida while my boyfriend went to school, working at a data analysis firm, and writing every second of every day because I knew no one and had no friends (FYI, I’ve found that having no friends is the key to being productive). I wrote the entire first draft of this novel in emails when my boss wasn’t looking (FYI, the second key to productivity is finding a job where you can secretly write all day).

*When I first started sending this ms out for critique I can’t tell you how many people told me that it was some kind of unwritten writing rule that you should never start a novel off with a dream sequence. That’s probably good advice, but when it comes to writing, how many of those “rules” are created by writers and how many are actually enforced by readers? After an initial moment of panic I realized that most readers probably wouldn’t pass over my book just because it began with a dream sequence, whether they were aware of the “rule” or not. Besides, I hate rules. So there.

*I forgot how much I used Bryn’s story to help me remember my own. I have a terrible memory, and in my desperation to hold onto the tiny details that mean the most, I’ve tucked them into Bryn’s thoughts and home and family.

*Plot-wise as I was planning this story, Dani and Felix’s roles were secondary but they are absolutely my favorite part!

c1-5-quote*Craft-wise one of my main goals throughout the revision process for this ms was to work on including more engaging and dynamic dialogue. Feedback on my earlier novels cited them being a little description heavy (blame it on a classical education) and since this project was my foray into genre fiction I really wanted to work on creating dialogue that not only moved the plot but was also entertaining. Thanks to Felix, I think I got some real gems!!

*Way back in 2011 this ms started out as a contemporary novel with hints of magical realism. As it evolved into a paranormal romance I thought about cutting some of the more “normal” aspects of the story like Bryn’s relationship with Drew and the role that her extended family members play. But I’d read paranormal romances before that had a lot of action but no depth, mainly because those real-world aspects, such as the MC’s family and friends played a minimal role, especially in regard to the emotional development of the character. For Bryn’s story, I think leaving in those relationships and normal teenage issues really grounds the narrative and makes the paranormal aspects feel even more real. I’m proud of my choices to use genre as a guiding force rather than a strict set of rules to follow. Because as previously mentioned, I hate rules.

*It took months to get the first part of this novel working. I combined and reordered the first 10 chapters so many times! Rereading the first 5 reminds me of all of the stuff I cut that I was so in love with at the time but that really was dragging everything to a snail’s pace. In hindsight, I feel like I made the right choices (so far…we’ve still got 30 chapters to go) so that’s a relief!


*I love how Felix has more sass than Dani and Bryn combined
*I wish the story had room for a deep exploration into the trauma behind Bryn’s grandmother’s obsession with leftovers. And putting people down on the sly. And being so wise, except in regard to her self-perception.
*I like how my attempt at making Roman’s initial chapters disjointed and jarring resulted in some of the writing actually being disjointed and jarring. From this point on, if anyone asks, I totally meant to do that.
*I can’t believe I wrote this entire novel when I was just twenty years old. Wait, a hundred instances of anaphora?–yes…yes, I can. Just kidding, I still love anaphoras.
*This was actually a very enjoyable experience. However, the lead-up to the actual re-read was quite stressful, so I must go now and decompress with some nachos.

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Re-read The Girl In Between Series With Me!

RereadI’ll soon be re-reading the ENTIRE TGIB series in preparation for finishing the FINAL book and I’ll be tracking my progress on the blog. Believe it or not, authors don’t remember every single detail of every single book in their backlist. Unless of course they have some sort of epic filing system or have taken some kind of mind-altering drug that allows them to utilize their brain power to its full capacity (NOT A PLUG). Unfortunately, I’m only human. But re-reading the series isn’t just about sparking my memory it’s also about experiencing these stories the way YOU the READERS have experienced them. I will NOT be wearing my editor’s hat while reading and I will NOT pick at these stories and drive myself mad. I WILL have fun re-reading these stories and will hop on the blog every Thursday to tell you about all the fun I’m having!

If anyone is currently reading the books or about to start, I hope you’ll stop by and ask questions, make comments, and/or just laugh at my self-deprecating reflections. I want this to be a conversation and to provide everyone with an opportunity to see a little of what exactly I was thinking when I was just 20 and first writing these novels. If I can remember that far back…we’ll see. The Re-read OFFICIALLY starts on October 1st and I’ll be covering about 5 chapters at a time, starting obviously, with The Girl In Between.


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August Totals


August#s2 So much for tending to my blog. Those ten days between the summer and fall semester flew by. In between I took a trip to my hometown, I bought a new car (more on that in a later post as it was an incredibly liberating moment and entirely thanks to all of YOU), and I didn’t write a single word. I take my first cert exam on September 16th and afterward will finally be able to incorporate writing back into my schedule, even if it’s only one day a week until the end of the semester (also in a later post–my anxiety surrounding my return to writing after a much-too-long hiatus).

The good news is that sales still haven’t trickled out. October is officially the six-month mark and I’d anticipated a more dramatic decrease or some kind of fluctuation at least, but so far nothing catastrophically devastating has happened. In August sales slowly dropped from 200 books a day to around 170-180 but downloads remained strong, which has really been key to my steady sales from month to month. As long as people are still downloading TGIB for free I can anticipate sales for the following month, although what percentage of readers actually go on to buy book 2 I haven’t calculated yet. At the end of October I plan to analyze all of this data more thoroughly and compare Amazon’s numbers with my other retailers along with blog stats and new newsletter followers. But for now, please excuse my hibernation (I know, I know, AGAIN) while I cram for cert exams and try to psyche myself up for my return to the Dreamer Universe.

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