When Art imitates Strife

mental health, writing process


75,000 words in and this book is finally taking shape. Themes are beginning to emerge and the characters’ thoughts and actions are creating the conflict instead of me just dropping them into unfortunate circumstances. Things are starting to make sense.

A little too much sense.

See, I thought I was writing a story about two teenagers bonding over their love of Antonia La Singla and Diego Vargas; their dead parents and the ghosts they left behind. But it turns out I’m telling a story about what happens when those ghosts get under our skin, when we hold onto them so tightly that they become a part of us in ways we don’t even realize.

It’s a story about overcoming stage fright but it’s also about all of the other fears that hold us back–the fear of loving and being loved, the fear of letting go, the fear of leaping into the unknown.

This book has been such an agonizing slog through time and space and twisted metaphors because how can I get these characters to the other side of fear if I’m still stuck at the starting line myself? Every word is a step we are both taking towards freedom. Sometimes we get lost, we backtrack, we go in a direction that doesn’t make sense.

But the only way out is through.

I have to fight through the mess to make it something new. I have to dig through the muck of my own mind. I have to pull out the weeds. This book might not be a cure or even a sense of closure. But if I keep tilling the soil and praying for rain it might just be a safe place to plant the seeds.


The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Written

WIP, Writing

*To celebrate my two-year blogging anniversary, I’ll be re-blogging some of my favorite posts from 2014 throughout the month of December*

Lately it feels like that’s what this current WIP is turning out to be. I wrote the other day about how I had my first good writing day in a while but something I didn’t quite clarify was that “good” wasn’t necessarily referring to the actual writing itself. Yes, I gained clarity and yes, the words were flowing but that didn’t mean they weren’t garbage. They were and they are and the more I write the more I dread revisions because this puppy is going to need a lot of work. But what I’ve come to realize in my quest to write a first draft without obsessing over every word is that it’s not the words that matter. What matters is the story. And not whether or not it’s good but whether or not it’s there.

Through five books I’ve been the type of writer who would rather sit and…

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WIP Wednesday

WIP, Writing

It’s the final WIP check-in of the year and even though I’m drowning in revisions right now, I’m still trying to absorb the fact that I’ve published two novels in the past three months and there’s still one more on the way before the year is up! Everything but the last chapter, which I’m still tweaking, of book 3 in the TGIB series has been sent to my final beta reader, which means that the FINAL draft will soon be complete (hopefully mid-December) and then I’ll just need one more line edit before this novel will be officially done!


The first draft of this novel practically fell out of me and it had been smooth sailing through most of the revisions but now that I’m nearing the final draft, those doubts I’d managed to stave off for so long are finally starting to rear their ugly heads. This happens every time I near the end of a project but since the writing of this novel wasn’t as tumultuous as the others, I find myself questioning whether or not that’s a bad sign. Writing should be difficult, and writing this novel was difficult, but not as difficult as the others. I’m not sure if that’s just a result from my recent growth as a writer or if it’s a sign that I didn’t grow enough during the writing of this book, but I’m hoping to take some time away from it before my final revisions so I can get some clarity and see it more objectively.


Book 4 in the series will still be my main focus this spring but now that I’ve started a new job I’m probably going to spend most of the next couple of months trying to work out a new routine. For me it’s an essential part of my creative process and I just can’t be productive unless I have some kind of itinerary.

I’m absolutely loving my new job but I can also sense myself using it as an escape. My writing has been my sole focus for so long but mentally I’m just so drained from this series that I can’t wait to take a small break from it at the start of the new year. I put so much pressure on myself these last two years that I think I deserve to live in the here and now for a little while instead of constantly planning the next chapter or book or release date. I still want to be a full time author but after getting this new job, it’s also nice to know that I can do something else and actually be good at it. I’m a creative person and that creativity isn’t bound to words or a certain medium or occupation. That creativity is boundless and powerful and I can fulfill my purpose as an artist no matter where I am.

WIP Wednesday

writing process

The Girl In Between is OFFICIALLY LIVE!!!! Yes, book one is done and out in the big scary world, finally ready to be read! In all the commotion of making TGIB ready for pre-order and converting review copies and contacting book bloggers I accidentally forgot to upload the manuscript to Barnes & Noble but since their nookpress editor is so ridiculously easy to use I got the story uploaded yesterday and it is now available online as well as at Amazon and, temporarily, Smashwords. I started writing this novel way back in April of 2013 and to know that I never have to tweak another sentence from it is such a relief, not to mention I’m pretty darn proud of it and can’t wait for the first reviews to start trickling in.

Book two has been copy-edited, formatted, and will soon be available for pre-order! Have I mentioned before how much I love the new Amazon pre-order option? Because I do. It’s so convenient and I love that even though book two won’t go live until the end of October, I can go ahead and get it uploaded and out of my way so I can spend this ENTIRE month focused on book three. There are a few last minute things I want to look over, mostly pertaining to the blurb, but once that’s finalized in the next few weeks I will be revealing the cover, along with pre-order links, and Teaser Tuesday will resume with some of my favorite snippets from book two!


Book three is in much the same place as it was the last time I checked in. September was not the game changer I’d hoped it would be and I actually ended up taking a week off to recoup from the past seven months of feeling like crap. I came back from that break feeling a lot better but I didn’t properly anticipate how much time promo and blog tour stuff would really take and ended up spending most of the month sending out emails, begging people to review my book. I still have so much more to do now that people are starting to respond and bloggers are sending over interview questions or requesting blog posts, but despite the kick-off to the blog tour slowly approaching, I’m making a commitment that October is going to be all about finishing book three. If all goes well, I’ll finish my current round of revisions in the next couple of weeks and then finish the next round by the end of the month, possibly running into early November. Then I’ll send those edits to my FINAL beta reader and hopefully have the final draft ready to go in December. I say hopefully though because if the past few months have taught me anything it’s that you can’t plan for the unexpected and that working sixty hours a week warrants a little R&R every now and then.


Book four remains untouched but just like I’m devoting October to book three, I plan on devoting the last two months of the year to finishing the first draft of this novel.


Once that’s done and I’ve collapsed face first in a vat of something warm and hopefully made of chocolate, I will finally return to the real world. No, not the actual real world, I mean I’ll return to my shelved contemporary novel and maybe by then I’ll only be working one job instead of two and there will actually be people out there who are anxiously anticipating reading it.

WIP Wednesday

writing process

It’s finally September and the release of my next novel is less than a month away. A year ago when I published my last novel, Breathing Ghosts, I was racing to finish line edits and copy edits and formatting, but this time around there’s nothing left to tweak or fix or figure out. Book one is ready to go and it’s an amazing feeling. In addition to writing and editing the rest of the series, the last official business regarding The Girl In Between is setting up the blog tour. I’ve just started sending out review requests to bloggers and the first responses are already trickling in and even though it’ll probably take me a couple of weeks to  send out emails, I feel strangely serene about the whole thing. Not rushed, not anxious, just ready. I’m so ready for people to read this book and for people to experience yet another stylistic evolution from me. It’s a new genre with a new focus and I think it has the potential to have the kind of greater mass appeal that my first three novels didn’t necessarily have. With that said, there is still so much work to do in terms of promotion, as well as when it comes to finishing the other books in the series. If anyone is at all interested in reviewing the first book in the series, send me an email and I can get you an electronic copy in the format of your choice. I’m sure I’ll put a more official call out to bloggers soon to set up some kind of spotlight post for all of the people participating but if anyone wants to get a head start just contact me!


It took almost two whole months but I FINALLY finished the final read-through of book 2 and it is currently off for one last copy edit. Getting through the last read-through of this novel was torture. These books are so much longer than what I’m used to writing so each round of edits took a significant amount of time and when you’ve read something twenty times already, forcing yourself to read it just one more is excruciating. The good news is that after finishing it once more from beginning to end I can honestly say that I still love it. I just hope that other people do to. The OFFICIAL release date for book two in the series is October 31st!


I’m currently working through revisions for book 3. These are also taking longer than expected but that’s mostly because since February I’ve been suffering from debilitating migraines. For some awful reason my 23rd year has been all about inheriting my mother’s many health problems and developing strange ones of my own. I’ve experienced so many setbacks that I haven’t necessarily blogged about, mostly because I’ve spent most of 2014 either at one of my two jobs or in bed recovering from them. The good news is that I’ve made the adult decision to take myself to the doctor tomorrow to get tested for hyperthyroidism so hopefully I’ll be feeling better soon. Once I am, I hope to reignite the insane writing pace I was able to maintain most of last year and maybe that will make up for all of the time I’ve lost.


The fourth book in the series is stuck in limbo right now for the same reason. I’m re-writing the first draft from scratch, which is usually a lot of fun for me because I like treating every scene and every moment as a puzzle piece that just needs to be jiggled into the right place. Once I’m done with revisions for the third novel, which I hope to have off to my next beta reader by mid-September, I plan on devoting most of the rest of the year to getting book 4 just right. I’ve never written a finale before with this much weight. It’s a lot of pressure and I’m still waiting for a really powerful moment of clarity on how to finally put these characters to rest. I just hope something comes to me soon so that I at least have a concept to work with.


August was full of challenges and a perfect depiction of what this year as a whole has really been like. In the moment, the writing of these novels hasn’t felt that much different than novels I’ve written in the past, but in hindsight I realize that I’ve already accomplished much more than I give myself credit for. I’m not sure yet how I’ll celebrate the release of The Girl In Between but I’m making a promise to myself that I will. On September 30th I won’t look back and I won’t look ahead. I won’t worry or wait or doubt. Instead, I’ll buy myself an ice cream cone or maybe an entire cake, I’ll eat the whole thing, and then I’ll take the longest nap in history because I’ve earned it.