fireflys_locket: (Free Falling (Serah) - whispyr)
2017-02-18 08:32 pm
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The Destination is Important, Too

Health issues combined with continuing depression about life and the state of the world have made writing scarce these past few weeks. But I opened my windows today for the first time in ages, and I feel like I can breathe again. If you know me well, you'll know I'm not exactly a summer person. I get terribly overheated in the sun, keep my room fans all year, and wear a tank top and shorts if at all possible. (Seriously - middle of the winter, tank top and shorts.) But don't get me wrong, I don't particularly like winter, either. Snow is pretty from indoors, and luckily, I work from home and can stay out of it most of the time. I favor the in-between seasons. Spring and fall. More fall than spring these days, since the arrival of spring just makes me fear the summer and my birthday. But I love the breeze. Jane is an Air Element for a reason.

I just remembered this bit of advice I left when posting a song many years ago, and it still rings true: "And seriously, the biggest piece of advice I have for writers who are in the midst of a huge writer’s block, or have ideas but can't seem to get motivated enough to write... is open your window." Maybe some of you are more drawn to the scent of fresh earth or rain or the ocean, but I feel like most creative people have at least one major connection to nature. And it's good to reconnect.

Anyhow, I spent the day reading with the windows open, and I feel more alive than I have in a while. (I also packed up some copies of Magic Inc. for my next event!) Some of what I was reading was more Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Bird by Bird does have some very interesting things to say about writing, and it's a pleasant read. But I'm only deeply connecting to bits and pieces and not the core of the lessons themselves. For instance, I love the idea that characters will form themselves and that you shouldn't betray their personalities for the sake of plot. Also, that you're more a typist for the story that exists out there in the ether or in some other unconscious part of the brain. But I've realized this book is far more a tool for Pantsers than Plotters. The very idea of writing out a first draft with no idea where I was going is terrifying for me. I always need to know where I'm going. Some curves may surprise me, just like any journey. But the destination is important, too, you know.

I planned the majority of the Magic Inc. series before I even started the first book. Some sections of the journey have bigger empty spots waiting than others (which make me nervous if I think about them too much), but as a whole, I know where the story is going. I know my characters' wants and needs. I know the way their stories weave into my other books. And definitely, where it all ends.

But that's pretty far off, so we can just focus on the journey for now.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
2017-02-02 11:42 pm
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Inside & Out Book Tag

Swiping another book-related set of questions from elsewhere to post here. This one is the Inside & Out tag. Feel free to take this onto wherever you like to answer questions.

I Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough? (Discuss)
I really like book summaries, both reading and writing them. Occasionally, I feel like they give away too much, but usually, I like seeing what all the book wants to tease you with. It's probably the most important factor in deciding what I purchase.

N New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?
I love hardcovers. I box up books and move them often, and they take a beating way better than paperbacks. Plus, I just remember the joy of picking up a new hardcover Harry Potter book. Nothing else compared.

S Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)
Clean, clean, clean. Although I like the idea of making notes in books you want to share with friends.

I In your best voice, read for us your favorite 1st sentence from a book.
Well, since I stole this for my blog, I can't do this one. But I'll link to Alexa reading hers, since it's my favorite as well.

D Does it matter to you whether the author is male of female when you're deciding on a book? What if you're unsure of the author's gender? I'd like to say no, but honestly, I read way more from women authors than male. I find books written by male authors tend to be more gory in fantasy, which is triggering for me, or filled with crude jokes in contemporary, which is also triggering. But I don't consiously avoid male authors.

E Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there? (Do confess thy sins, foul demon!) :)
I have a friend who always reads the end first. (You know who you are!) I've only skipped ahead when it's something I'm considering abandoning. And I used to check all the chapter art when I got a new HP, until I accidently spoiled myself that way in Book 5. Haha.

&

O Organized bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?
Organized. Sort of. I just group books together in a way that makes sense to me at the time, and I only shelve books I've already read and want to keep.

U Under oath: have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?
Possibly? I do love covers and get drawn in or turned off by them, but I can't remember buying any books without reading the synopsis. The cover is the first pull, but it's not enough to sell the book alone.

T Take it outside to read, or stay in?
Reading outside always sounds relaxing, but I'm too twitchy of a person to actually enjoy it.
fireflys_locket: (Glasses Girl - Collapsingnight)
2017-01-31 06:35 pm

Not-so-"Shitty" First Drafts

I am very nearly halfway through the first draft of Magic Inc. Book Two. Well, really, I'm very nearly halfway done with both the first and second drafts of Book Two. Because writing first drafts by computer instead of in a notebook has allowed me to revise sections as I go along. Which I know can be a killer to some writers. Getting all wrapped up in perfecting one small section instead of actually finishing a full draft of their book. I used to be that way when I was a teenager. Forever starting and restarting Dreaming in Shadow and even my fanfiction projects.

But somewhere between then and now, I got into a better relationship with revision. For one, I became more able to do it on my own instead of relying so much on outside opinions of what needed to be changed. I could see more of the flaws with my own eyes. I could also better appreciate which parts needed to stay raw and filled with emotion. The sections that basically spilled out of my soul. So, now, I am writing in scenes as I feel drawn to them and tying everything together later while also revising what I have already. This leaves me with something more resembling a second draft than a first by the time I end each chapter.

Of course, I will need to go over everything again once I finish writing, and I already have noted some scenes that will probably need more additional editing than others, but I feel I'm delivering more polished new chapters by this method. In some ways, I am hoping that streamlining my process will keep me from taking five years to write one book, but it's mostly just the natural progression my writing process has taken.

I've been reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and mostly enjoying it so far in spite of my hesitation to read more writing tips for fear of feeling even more alienated. Anne's writing is witty and relatable. At least when she's simply talking about the many feelings writers go through and not trying to teach something. Which is to say, I still cannot relate to the "shitty first draft" concept.

I always prickle when writers proclaim that all first drafts are garbage. While I've certainly created work that was flawed and in need of excessive editing, I have not (at least for many years) written what I would consider garbage. Maybe it's because I usually spend years writing a story in my head before I even start the first draft. Maybe it's because I only write when I'm inspired, and therefore, haven't forced whole chapters out of myself before I was ready. Maybe I'm just really bad at writing, and have been doing it wrong all along. I mean, that's always a possibility, I suppose. But I think my process just different from the norm.

I spent some time recently on Miss Masquerade, which has gotten very little attention from me since the release of Magic Inc. Book One. It surprised me how I'd forgotten the ease of working on a real second draft, where the plot had been laid out and all I had to do was make everything flow better. I got to just play with words. Be a writer over a storyteller, because the story was already told. Being a storyteller has always been my priority, but it is nice to have the freedom to not worry about that part. This is why I put so much into my first drafts. So that all I have to do later is polish. It baffles me that writers often say the second draft is the hard part. But I guess that makes sense if what you threw together the first time was "garbage" and you have to change the structure of everything drastically.

I'm certainly no stranger to having structural issues to fix in second drafts, though. Part of the reason I'd forgotten how nice it could be to write a second draft was because my other second draft, Dreaming in Shadow, had a major issue. There was a scene I had meant to include in the first draft that had the potential to break the flow of the entire second half of the book if I put it in now. Okay, it probably was not going to do that. But I am an anxious person, so I agonized over how I was going to fix this issue most of last year. And in the end, when I finally came to the part in the second draft where the scene needed to go, it went. Perfectly. There was a pointless scene sitting there, holding a place for it this entire time. Ugh. So much wasted time and energy. But I'm grateful it all worked out. Now, I just hope the second draft will start to flow again.

So, maybe I can't quite relate to the "shitty first draft". But the feelings of self-doubt that often facilitate the need for them - oh, can I ever relate to those! Doubt is really is my biggest threat to staying productive, besides low energy. Part of the fight actually is against the worry that I'm somehow doing all of it wrong because my process is so different from most writers. That's why I don't like to read writer's tips. They all seem to be the same. And there are so many different ways to be a creative writer.

What matters most is the finished book. So, if part of your process is to write a bad first draft where you let yourself write freely, go for it! But I actually enjoy my planning and "perfectionism"... most of the time. I have a fairly good relationship with it when it comes to writing, at least. The combination of planning ahead but waiting for the right inspiration to hit before actually getting the words down is a good balance for me. Part of the reason I pay so much attention to my first drafts is that I don't want to edit heavily later. I want the emotions to stay raw, while fixing the flow of everything else.

I would encourage new(ish) writers to let your work be raw and imperfect. Don't let your fears keep you in an editing loop, if it means you'll never finish. Know that you can fix issues later. But don't be afraid to take your time, either. And instead of considering first drafts as being "shitty", think of them as an unpolished gemstone. It is still beautiful. It still deserves your respect. And with more work, it will shine.
fireflys_locket: (Valerie - amillionicons)
2017-01-21 03:43 pm

Music Meme

Rules: you can tell a lot about a person from the music they listen to. Put your music on shuffle and list the first ten songs, then tag 10 people. Take it if you want to!

1. Poe - Hello

2. S Club 7 - Dangerous

3. Sherwood - Gentleman of Promise

4. Erutan - Come Little Children

5. Nobuo Uematsu - Compression of Time

6. Hilary Duff - I Am

7. Linkin Park - Shadow of the Day

8. Adele - Make You Feel My Love

9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Cast - Walk Through the Fire

10. t.A.T.u. - Show Me Love
fireflys_locket: (Glasses Girl - Collapsingnight)
2016-12-30 04:46 pm
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A Year in the Life of an Author Redux

This was my first full year as an author, and it feels kind of weird. I've gotten a lot of good work done this year, and I'm grateful for that. I know that finishing my next book is my main mission right now, and that's going fairly well (if slowly). I also did an absolutely terrifying first author event, which took so much personal planning and energy.

But I still feel like so little has changed. Aside from a few moments here and there, I still feel more like a writer scrambling to legitimize her vocation by finishing her first book than an author working on her second. And maybe it's just my predisposition for seeing the negative, but I can't help but be sad that I still don't really have any clue what I'm doing when it comes to marketing and disappointed that Magic Inc. hasn't really found its audience yet.
fireflys_locket: (Fangirl Hachi - fireflys_locket)
2016-12-09 12:41 am
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Year-End Book Freak Out Tag

I feel like I should be blogging about books more (and just blogging more in general). I read quite a lot now. The last few years, I've been reading about 30 books per year. This year, there's a chance I might hit 40. That's nothing compared to some of the most voracious readers out there, but it certainly isn't nothing. I've been trying to find some book vlogger/bloggers to follow, and in the process, stumbled upon this tag. Obviously it's way past mid-year, but I wasn't able to find a similar end-of-year tag yet, and I may forget to look for one once the holidays descend. Sooo, let's just pretend this is an end of year book tag, and I'll amend the questions to fit that.

1. Best book you’ve read in 2016?
Where She Went by Gayle Foreman. I really loved the first book, so I had high hopes for this one. It did not disappoint. As soon as I started reading Where She Went, I fell in love. Something about Gayle Foreman's writing style feels like it was tailored specifically for me. I can't explain exactly what about it appeals to me so much, but it's like breathing in a much needed gust of fresh air. I haven't read any of Gayle's other books, and I'm curious to see if the writing style feels the same or if it's just the way she wrote this series.

2. Best sequel you’ve read in 2016?
While Where She Went qualifies here as well, I'll say City of Glass. After years of saying I would never read Cassandra Clare (here's why), I bought her first two books at my library's book sale last year, and after being encouraged by a friend, read them. And loved them. I mean, really loved them. I then had to decide whether to buy the rest of the books, and if so, how. I tracked down used copies with the original covers and read City of Glass in January. What can I say? I love forbidden romance, and the first three Mortal Instruments books are full of it. The characters are amazing, and the lore is fascinating. Book Three added some interesting new characters to the mix and resolved one of the main plot points in the series. And the ending felt very much like it could have been the end to a trilogy. That's why I've hesitated to read the second half of the series. Book Three ends in such a nice place, and I wanted to let the characters rest. I still have my reservations about reading Cassandra Clare and occasionally feel guilty for giving into the hype. But if I judge the books by what they are, I can easily say it's my favorite series of the last two years. And someday, I'll purchase and read The Secret Country series to assuage my guilt.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
SO MANY. But maybe, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. Or The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Or Remembrance by Meg Cabot. I started rereading The Mediator series to prepare.

4. Most anticipated release for next year?
Either Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth or Once and for All by Sarah Dessen.

5. Biggest disappointment?
I mean, I could say Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But to be honest, I didn't expect great things from it in the first place. And yet, somehow, even going in with low expectations, I was still disappointed. Maybe even emotionally devastated by the destruction of my favorite series. So, actually, Cursed Child. Definitely Cursed Child. (Runner-up: Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott. I mean, it had a book blurb from Sarah Dessen; I expected it to be amazing. I found most of the characters unlikable and the circumstances even worse.)

6. Biggest surprise?
Maybe Cinder by Marissa Meyer? I'd heard a lot of praise over the series but wasn't sure tech-based Cinderella would appeal to me. I loved the writing style, the characters, and the world. And all this is just reminding me that I need to read the second book.

7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you)?
Cate Tiernan. I flew through the first three books in the Sweep series. Loved the main characters and the magic. I have the next six books now, and I'm planning to get back to this series soon.

8. Newest fictional crush?
Probably Aiden St. Delphi from The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Honestly, at this point, I can be hard to please when it comes to other writers' fictional love interests now that I've written my own. I'm not impressed with the way male romantic interests are always described as being out-of-this-world gorgeous. Aiden is no exception to this rule, but he has that watchful protector vibe that I love.

9. Newest favourite character?
Probably still Aiden. But also maybe Dawson Black from the Lux series also by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

10. Book that made you cry?
Basically everything makes me cry. So, it's hard to just pick one. But which books may me cry the most? Either The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger or We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han. For very different reasons.

11. Book that made you happy?
I guess I don't read a lot of happy books. But I read Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, and her books are always a treat. (Bonus: Mink Volume 1 by Megumi Tachikawa. So adorable!)
fireflys_locket: (Lovely Reflection - amethystia)
2016-12-06 02:16 pm

Year in Review (Marie Forleo Style)

I was watching Marie Forleo's latest video, and my responses to her questions were getting so long that I decided to turn this into a journal entry. It's been too long, I know. This is only my seventh entry for the whole year. And one was just an excerpt from Magic Inc. But hey, here I am, ready to share more honest, personal thoughts. I suggest you watch the video to understand the questions more in depth, and maybe, make your own list because this felt really cathartic to me. But that's up to you!

1. What’s one thing you did that you’re proud of?
I participated in my first author event/signing. Which was incredibly scary and required a lot of emotional preparation. But I think, considering how hard it is for me to do anything social, I coped well with it. And it was because it was something I really wanted to do, instead of something I felt pressured to do. Plus, I got everything ready ahead of time, which helped calm my anxieties a lot. That could be part of what I learned this year, as well. That giving myself enough time to prepare can really help my anxiety. It won't make it go away, but it does help. I've also put a lot of effort into my second book, and I feel like my writing has improved and I've figured out better ways of working that suit me and my process. It can be hard not to look ahead and see over half a book left to write, but what I have written is some of my best work to date. And it is because I am taking my time with it.

2. What’s one mistake you made and the lesson you learned?
My mistakes are mostly personal, but I think, as always, I struggle too much with worry about what other people will think. I know myself and what I want, and I don't let anyone change that. I don't hide my true self, and I don't fake anything. But I still get triggered way too often by stuff I read on Facebook and the like that I feel is making a judgment on who I am (which sometimes is true, but is often just my perception). I also still judge myself based on other people's accomplishments far more than I ever spend celebrating my own. But I've never been good at celebrating myself, so I'm not sure how to change that.

3. What’s one thing you’re willing to let go of before the New Year?
I have lots of projects I still feel will find their way in the right timing, so I don't want to let go of them completely. I have been doing a lot of physical clearing in my life, though. Going through old clothes, jewelry, magazines, and various papers I no longer need. As well as making a habit of donating books, DVDs, and CDs I don't see myself revisiting. I'm a collector, so I like having a lot of stuff, but it's still important to check with yourself - will I use this again and/or does it have deep meaning to me? You don't have to save absolutely everything. Along with that, I'm trying to keep myself from feeling committed to finish any book series, video game, or TV series that doesn't really capture me. There are so many beautiful stories that will resonate with you, and there just isn't enough time to waste on stories that don't. I tend to try to see the best in creative works, and I have to remind myself that I don't have to like everything. And my not liking something isn't necessarily saying it's objectively bad, just not my cup of tea.

In terms of resentments and guilt, that's a lot harder to let go of. I've quarreled a lot with relatives in the last few years, finally having to block some truly toxic people. Ideally, you would be able to cut off toxic people without holding onto resentment, just forgive and let go (without letting them back in to cause more damage). But that's rarely the case. And for those people who have hurt you without meaning to? The ones you want to forgive and move on with? Maybe that's even harder. And perhaps worst of all, when you're holding onto anger with a person you are currently stuck living/dealing with. Someone you would cut off for good if you could, but life isn't perfect and you have to deal with people you don't like sometimes. And you feel you can't really let go of that anger because you have to continue guarding against them. But at the same time, that anger is killing you, not them. “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Ugh. So true. And yet that doesn't make it easier to let go. At least not for me.

Well, there you have it. I'm not sure I'm completely ready to let go of this year and move into a new one, especially knowing at least one bad thing January has in store. But I do feel like I've opened myself up more and given myself the opportunity to think deeply about all of this. Sometimes even I avoid feeling things if I can manage it. (I usually can't, but if I can... oh, man.) The year ahead scares me. But I encourage you all to follow your heart and intiution. To speak out against injustice. And to be kind. The world desperately needs it right now.
fireflys_locket: (Jane (Book One) - fireflys_locket)
2016-08-30 11:47 am
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A Year in the Life of an Author

Well, it's been a year since Magic Inc. Book One became available for purchase. It has been a very stressful, often traumatic year, so it's hard for me to revisit this milestone with much enthusiasm. However, Magic Inc. represents not only the five years I spent writing it, but the five years of planning before starting it, the many years spent honing my craft before that, and all the passion and pain I felt in my childhood that led to my writing in the first place.

Magic Inc. was my childhood fantasy world. One I never expected to share. One I was scared to invite anyone into. But here it is, one year later. And nothing has exploded. No one has been overly disruptive or unfair in their judgment of the book. But it also hasn't taken off in any big, positive way. Maybe that's what the first year looks like for most indie authors. But it's hard not to get discouraged sometimes. Not to let the success I've yet to find get in the way of writing Book Two. When both your personal life and your "career" are having problems, it is doubly hard to fight off your anxiety and depression.

I do know that, in some ways, I am very lucky. I was able to print my books without putting myself or my parents into any kind of debt. I was able to get a beautiful, personalized cover for my books that some writers could not afford. And my family and old friends have all been supportive of me and my work. Not just now that I have something to show for it, but every step along the way. I mentioned in my last post that I've been reading some of my old fanfiction. I've also been reading some of the reviews I saved from those stories. "I don't doubt you will be an author," my friend, Mallory, says in one comment.

And now, I am. All the work I've put into writing since I was eleven has come together in my first book. First of many, I hope. I certainly have enough ideas to last a lifetime, if not two. Though I still get nervous. What if it just suddenly stops? I don't know how to write from a technical place. I write almost completely based on inspiration and intiution. That actually works for me, in spite of what many other authors will try to advise. I don't really think I could live without writing, but I do worry that I will somehow stop being able to put together whole books. I've already spent a lot of time working on (and worrying about) the outline for Book Three when Book Two isn't even done yet. Ah, I guess that's just life for an anxious writer.

I'd like to take this moment to thank anyone who has read (and particularly reviewed) Magic Inc. Or given me feedback on my writing at any point. It all led up to this. While I became an author only a year ago today, I've been writing for sixteen years. And it was all part of the journey to get to this point. I still have a long way to go, but I will try to step forward with faith that this is the path I am meant to take. When you're a writer, you have to write. It's just who you are.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
2016-08-18 12:51 am
Entry tags:

The Writer's Journey (So Far...)

I've been thinking about my "writer's journey" a lot the last week. How everything I've ever written or imagined has fed into my current work. I’ve been reading my first fanfiction series, and while the writing is beyond cringe-worthy and full of cheesy clichés, there’s something about it that still resonates with me. I marveled both at how far I've come and how, at the core, I'm still trying to tell the same story. Whether I call the main character Val or Valerie or Jane, I’m still trying to write my truth. And it’s still what feels the most right.

I’m also impressed that my 11 to 13-year-old self was able to write out multiple stories with foreshadowing, a prequel, and mostly original characters and plot elements. Fanfiction is where you can play freely just for fun and/or harness skills for writing your own original work. It was an important step in my journey.

When I was ready to move onto my own original work, I already had a strong sense of what I enjoyed writing about, I had improved technically, and I had already crafted some of how I wanted my version of magic to work. I ended up starting a bunch of stories I was really excited about, and when I discovered I wanted to connect all of them together into a whole universe, everything fit together naturally.

But I ended up abandoning many of those stories (at least temporarily) because I didn’t spend enough time planning them out before I started writing them. They became more a backstory or behind-the-scenes for the few stories that really resonated with me from the start. The ones that basically formed themselves. Even if I never got past five chapters before I went back to fix the beginning again.

And then, I went through a pretty dark period, and I wasn’t writing much at all. Even once I started coming out of the dark period, it took a long time (years) to really recover from that patch of creative block. During the recovery, I was writing again, but I spent more time in my head, playing with new ideas and how they could tie into my current stories. So much came together over the course of those years. But I still didn’t have anything to show for it.

The last six years, I’ve really focused on writing. Fewer new ideas have captured my interest, and instead, most of my inspiration has gone straight into my current projects. It took over five years from writing the first words of Magic Inc. to getting the book published. I also had three other completed first drafts. But I still didn’t feel like I’d done enough.

For a while, I was really frustrated at how long it took me to put my first book out. It still felt like I was years behind and barely keeping up. That feeling took over any sense of accomplishment. Now, looking back at the path I made for myself, I realize the years I took to form my world and hone my writing were crucial. Everything I worked on clearly led to where I am now, and none of it was a waste. I’m proud of my journey and the work I’ve created. And I’m looking forward to sharing even more of the vast universe inside my head with the world.

If only I could hold onto this positive feeling during the darker days… or inject it into other parts of my life.
fireflys_locket: (Lovely Reflection - amethystia)
2016-06-19 05:52 pm
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Buds and Butterflies

"The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

It's weird, being that person who doesn't change much, watching other people change or talk about big changes. How they aren't the same person they used to be. It baffles me. It makes me feel different. Other. Just like I always have. Being alienated as a child actually helped me to get to know myself much more quickly than most people.

I know not all changes are bad. Sometimes people have to shift over time to be the person they were meant to be. And that's okay, for some people. But the thing is, I've basically always known who I was. There were things about myself and what I believed in that I tried to deny to fit in better, whether with classmates or the church or whatever. But deep down, I knew how I really felt. Dropping out of school gave me the chance to accept myself as I am.

I always knew what I wanted to be, too. I've been a vegetarian since thirteen. A writer since ten. A make-believer/story-creator much longer than that. And searching for my soulmate as far back as I can remember. (Maybe what I've been looking for has changed a bit over the years, but it's only that I realized I deserved better. Someone who really loved and understood me.)

It's good, knowing yourself so well; it's constant and reliable. Though knowing who you are doesn't mean you never have doubts. It doesn't make everything else just fall into place, either. It doesn't mean you don't have limitations. The same ostracism that helped me know myself also left wounds that have handicapped me all these years later.

I am still young Jane Roberts. I'm still that nine-year-old girl with all of that passion and anxiety. I still rely so much on my Mother and can't be on my own. I'm still terrified of so many things (mainly people), and I'm just as lonely as I ever was. Maybe more-so after closing myself off so far away from people.

When I was young, I always felt older. Like I understood more than everyone else. Maybe every kid feels that way. I probably actually knew far less about life than the kids around me. But I did, at least, know more about myself than most of them could understand.

Now that I'm an "adult", I feel more like a teenager than I ever did at that age. I feel like I never developed past the age I left school. I am twenty-seven, and I barely feel seventeen. And I know I'm not alone in not feeling my age either, but few people are actually in the exact same situation they were in ten years ago. They are not as stuck as I am. They are not as crippled and ruled by anxiety as I am.

But through all this, I know who I am. And I love that person. I don't want to be anyone else.

"Your time as a caterpillar has expired; your wings are ready."

It doesn't mean I don't want my life to change. I'm dying to break free of the bud, to spread my wings and fly. But wanting it doesn't make it happen. Everyone wants to say that your only limitations are the ones you give to yourself. That you can choose to be happy.

Do you really think I wouldn't choose to be happy if I could choose that?

The truth is that mental and emotional illnesses are just as real as any physical limitation. If I could live on my own, I would. Believe me. At this point, I am absolutely sick over having to live in the situation I'm in. I feel so trapped I can hardly breathe.

I don't want to be normal anymore (though sometimes I still think I do). I have always had my own path to follow. And that's good. I wouldn't change that now. I love who I am, flaws and limitations and all. But I want a better, happier life. I want to break free from the circumstances that have held me in like a closed bud, and fly.

But I cannot fly on my own.
fireflys_locket: (Jane (Book One) - fireflys_locket)
2016-03-25 12:49 am
Entry tags:

Healing

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the power of art and story. Sharing our stories is an integral part of how humans connect and empathize. There are so many stories that have touched my heart, and I want so much for my stories to be that for my readers. Then I think, can I really finish another book? Particularly one so personal? It's true that I was thinking that about Magic Inc. Book One, as well, but Book Two is even more personal and soul-baring.

That soul-baring part, I believe, is making Book Two an even better novel than Book One (so far). I feel like I'm able to do some of my best work when I'm writing about all the passion and pain inside of me. But that sometimes makes it very difficult emotionally. I'm getting close to writing scenes that represent more of the bullying and isolation that I went through in school. And I'm scared. I'm scared of triggering myself. I'm scared of misrepresenting things that happened to me, because I've blocked out a lot of the details. (But the feeling. Oh, the feeling, I will never forget.)

But other times, I can't get enough of writing my Soul Truth. Especially when I've been going through a lot. And when I'm working on parts in-between, I get frustrated and (almost) bored. The difference? I love writing scenes with Chaz. I love letting Jane be able to open up about how she feels and things that have happened to her. The scenes get emotional, often more than I even plan, but it's more cathartic. When Jane talks to Chaz, she feels safe. And I feel safe. It's not as much reliving the pain as healing it.

The story needs both the experience of the trauma and the healing. But I've been through the trauma already, so I much prefer the healing.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
2016-03-16 12:34 pm

When's Your Next Book Coming Out?

There's a moment when someone asks that question where my mind begins to panic. You already want another book? Do you know how long it actually takes to write a book? I mean, I know some people can 'write a book in a month', but I am so not one of those people. My first book took over 5 years to finish (not counting the planning stages), and you seriously already want another?

It's such a well-meaning question to freak out over, I know. It's great to think people actually might care about my writing. But it's funny how it's mostly the people who haven't actually read my first book who ask it. People who have read the book only say they're looking forward to the next book. They don't usually ask directly about when the next book will come out. Which is much less stress-inducing.

But when people do ask about the next book, I have to tell them that I don't even know what the next book is. It's totally reasonable to imagine that 6 months later a writer would be working on her next book. And don't get me wrong, I am. It's just, as usual, I'm actually working on several next books. And I don't know which one will actually be the very next. Dreaming in Shadow is the furthest along. But Book Two of Magic Inc. still gets the most attention from me and is catching up. Sound familiar? Well, if you're not aware, I was having this same issue a few years ago. Yeah, Dreaming in Shadow versus Magic Inc. again. I guess it makes more sense now to work on the series I've already started. But back then, it made more sense to finish Dreaming in Shadow first, and that's the opposite of what happened. So, maybe, that will be the case again? Or maybe, I'll be having this conversation again when I'm working on Book Three. :/

All of this is really an non-issue right now, though. I haven't felt well enough to work much lately. So, that's part of why I've been so quiet online. I haven't had much positive stuff to report, so I've kept quiet. But then I remembered that I meant this journal to be an honest look at my life, both good and bad. Just because I have a book out now, doesn't mean everything I write in here has to be part of some marketing dance. In fact, that's the last thing I want. But after announcing the book release, I was so nervous to write my next journal entry... that I let it go on this long.

Now I want to tell you, future authors who also have anxiety/depression, that you are going to go through times where you will struggle to feel well enough to write. Even when you've released a book after years and years of work, you don't magically feel better. You don't get to erase the struggle out of your journey to your next book after you become "a professional". Some things definitely get easier, though. You do know that you can do it; you can make it to the other side. At least, most of the time you know. Sometimes, you look at all the work ahead and get just as overwhelmed as you were the first time around. You look at authors who release a book (or more) a year and have no idea how they do it. But you don't have to be them. You only have to be you.

Sometimes you won't feel well enough to write. But it will come back.

And my next book? It will be out when it's done.
fireflys_locket: (Purple Flower Book - colorvary)
2015-10-08 05:21 pm

My Book Info

Interested in checking out my books? Here's the place to go!

Read more... )
fireflys_locket: (Jane (Book One) - fireflys_locket)
2015-08-30 09:46 pm
Entry tags:

Magic Inc. Book One Now Available!



Jane Roberts never fit in. After years of teasing from her classmates, all she wanted was to blend in and be normal. But on Jane’s first day of fourth grade, her life changes completely when the new girl, Jenny, brings with her arrival the secret of magic. Jane goes into training, where she learns the ins and outs of magic and its great history. But not even magic can top the feeling Jane gets when she meets Chaz Parker, Jenny’s older brother. She’s head-over-heels and wants to be with Chaz forever, but a nine year age difference makes Jane wonder if he’d ever look at her that way. Between learning magic and falling in love, Jane’s year is bound to be anything but normal.

You can now buy a copy of Magic Inc. in eBook! I will continue to update with new links.

Amazon (for Kindle!)
Barnes & Noble (for Nook!)
iTunes (for Apple Devices!)
Smashwords (Most Formats Available!)

fireflys_locket: (Pretty Hachi - girlgamer)
2015-07-15 04:35 pm

Raindrops on Roses...

When you get this ask, list 5 things that make you happy, then send it to the last 10 people that liked/reblogged something from you :)

I decided to repost this here since I ended up writing a lot and wanted to share with more people.


So, you may or may not know, but I struggle a lot with the word happy. If I use it, like I did yesterday, I usually say “I’m happy to” or “I’m happy with” not straight up “I’m happy”. Because I have never felt the kind of happiness that gets down deep in your heart. I’ve always felt lonely and scared of being even more alone in my future. And this is getting awfully mopey for my being in a decently good mood. Sorry.

But here are some things that make me happy-ish and have gotten me through hard times:

1. Working on Magic Inc. Writing, in general, feels great as long as I don’t try to force it and just follow my inspiration’s lead. But Magic Inc. feels even more special than my other stories because it allows me to relive my childhood fantasies and work through some of my deepest feelings in text. That also makes it scarier to eventually share that story with other people. (And soon.) But hopefully, it will reach people who can relate to it.

2. The Sims. I love The Sims. I love making characters on there and “work” stuff like that. But I also love just playing. I’m constantly making stories in my head while playing Sims, and occasionally, they end up as some part of my fictional universe. But just being able to create stuff that’s just for me is a good creative exercise. I get to create without any pressure.

3. Giant Bomb. I can’t tell you how much Giant Bomb (and older GameSpot) videos and podcasts have helped me get through rough periods in my life for the past ten years. The Persona 4 Endurance Run is something I go back to time and time again, and I kind of can’t imagine my life without these dudes in it, as silly as that may sound. Losing Ryan Davis was so hard because it felt like he was a distant friend.

4. Having a great therapist/mentor. Jill is a key part of my life. She’s encouraged me to be myself and follow my dreams. There’s no way I’d be getting ready to publish my first book right now without Jill to read everything I’ve written and to give me her honest feedback.

5. Watching through TV shows with my Mom. Since my great emotional crash of 2010, I’ve usually spent a few hours every night, during my most emotionally vulnerable time, watching TV shows with my Mom. This idea has greatly improved as we realized that watching shows from the beginning through DVDs or streaming is much more fun than just seeing what’s on and having to choose from that. We’ve watched through almost 25 shows over the last few years, and we have fun making silly references to each other.
fireflys_locket: (Valerie's Happiness - fireflys_locket)
2015-07-15 01:01 am
Entry tags:

Magic Inc. Book Cover


Just wanted to pop on and share the cover of Magic Inc. drawn by the amazing Giselle Ukardi! Hopefully I'll have some news about a release date soon. Editing is going well, and I'm really excited. Nervous, still, too. But hey, that's how it usually goes. Follow my Facebook and/or Twitter for more news.
fireflys_locket: (Hagu Opens Box - fireflys_locket)
2015-04-23 12:37 am
Entry tags:

The Last Two Weeks

I'm going to try to actually make this a short one since it's getting late, and my eyes are sleepy.

Let's try breaking this up into sections. Here are some things that have been happening the past two weeks...

I finished Magic Inc.'s second draft. I felt sad afterward, but that was bound to happen. I'm not sure there's much else to say than that.

I moved on to seriously editing it. So far, I think it's going well, but the stress of things being near the end has been draining my energy. A lot.

I found an artist. I posted an ad on the Deviantart forums and got an overwhelming amount of responses. Everyone was so talented, but only a few had the style I was looking for, and only one seriously pulled me in. She is such a wonderful artist, and she was willing to really get to know the characters. We've talked about the cover and made some plans, and hopefully, it is all going to work out.

Today, I asked Christen to give me a little makeover for some author pictures. We went to the park, and the sky started sending out these tiny hail stones. But eventually, it calmed down, and we got the pictures. I'm not the most photogenic person, but helped by the makeover, we managed to get some good pictures.

I then came home and made an official Facebook page. Which was the point of those photos.

It's clear, looking at that list, that I've gotten a lot done, but my head's been all over the place. I haven't had a panic attack yet, but I've come pretty close. I keep thinking... what if I do all this and nobody cares? I also haven't been sleeping well. I'm sleepy all morning and afternoon, then restless at night. I mean, I'm tired at night, too. I just have trouble getting to sleep.

All I keep coming back to is that I'm overwhelmed. Even the positive things that are happening are getting translated by my brain into anxiety. But hey, that's nothing new. I just need to calm down and get some rest. Sometimes it's good to just step away from your big project so you can build up some new energy and inspiration to bring to it. I feel like that's what I need to be doing right now. I really want to get this book out by summer, but I have to keep reminding myself that I know better than to push it.

And yeah, this post wasn't particular short either. Oh, well.
fireflys_locket: (Rin Fireflies - fireflys_locket)
2015-04-08 12:12 pm

The Pull of Magic Inc.

It's hard to focus on this last chapter of Magic Inc., mostly because of all the stuff that comes after it. Editing and sharing and formatting, and I still can't figure out what I'm going to do about a cover. I'm partially excited to share this story with people because I've put so much work into it the last five years, but I'm really not sure if I can trust the world to understand my innermost thoughts. And that's what a lot of Magic Inc. (the series) is.

It would be so much easier to put Dreaming in Shadow out there first, because for as much as Jodi and I are similar, she is not me. Her story is not about me. Dreaming in Shadow was always a book, meant to be shared with readers. And I have been sharing that story, in its many versions, for over ten years.

Magic Inc. was never meant to be a book. It was the world that keep me going when there was nothing hopeful in my reality. It is so deeply personal that I keep asking myself, "Why did I decide to make this into a book? They'll never understand it." But it became so key to the rest of my universe that it wouldn't make any sense to take it out now.

I'm very behind living your truth, being yourself completely, and not faking anything. I don't mind sharing my deepest thoughts in blogs or tweets, because I'm not ashamed of my own truth. But it's different with this because people - readers - seem to think they own a story just because it's been shared with them. They don't understand that, at least for some writers, writing is pulling words right out of your soul. Saying a story belongs to the readers, to me, is like trying to claim an experience as your own just because someone confided in you about it. I want to share my world with readers, and I feel like I'm meant to do that. But this story is mine, and it always will be mine. People can like it or dislike it; it's not about that. My fear are the people who'll try to say "it shouldn't be this way" because they think they know better than I do about my own creation. People who will think Jane's feelings aren't realistic, even though they were my own.

It was one thing for someone to not like Jodi and basically say she was a bad person. Jane is me. This story is my story. And anything more than a "this is not for me" is going to hurt a lot worse than criticism for any other story. So, why does it have to be my first book done? Why was there such a pull in me to make this story into something I could share? I seriously feel like there's a chance this series will appeal to NO ONE. Yet I had to write it. More than nearly anything else I've worked on. What does that mean?
fireflys_locket: (Pretty Hachi - girlgamer)
2015-04-06 12:31 pm
Entry tags:

Winter to Spring

I know it sounds crazy, but I'm not all that happy that spring is here. Don't get me wrong; I like the flowers and the fresh air and being able to wear my normal clothes out again. But something weird happened this past winter. I decided not to care. Not to go out much. Not to force myself into things. Winter was the perfect excuse to stay home and save my energy for writing. And my goodness, did I get a lot of work done. It's amazing what you can do when you're not feeling drained from forcing yourself to be out around people.

I bet some people will think that means I'm "going backwards", because they think I should be getting out around people more. But it never feels like progress to me. It doesn't make me happier. Honestly, it rarely feels worth the stress to me. It's not worth the drained/depressed feeling I get afterward either. It is very nice to do things with friends and family from time to time, and I wouldn't want to stay away from being out completely or anything. But I chose what I wanted to do much more carefully over the winter. Which left me a lot more energy for writing. And now, I'm one chapter away from finishing Magic Inc.'s second draft and moving fully into the editing phase. I really think I'll be able to have the book completely done in a few months. As long as I don't have another emotional crash...

That's the other thing about spring; it leads to summer. And summer is not a typically good time for me. Neither is my birthday at the end of May. And I'm scared; I'm so scared. Last year I made it through summer and crashed in the fall instead. But it was horrible. It felt like one of the worst I've ever had. Winter allowed me to pull away from expectations and just focus on recovering. And I ended up doing more than that. The freedom from the whole "getting outside of your comfort zone" thing so many people preach actually granted me more progress. I work better when I am comfortable and not under pressure. That's just how it works for me.

But the nice weather is back, and so are the expectations. Not just from other people, but from myself. Winter is often about survival. Spring is about wanting more. And I do want more. I want to find Morgan. I want deeper friendships with people who understand me. I want my writing to reach people. But I may not get any of those things. At least not any time soon. There's a pressure building in me, whether I like it or not, for things to change. For finishing a book to be more than finishing a book. For it to be some kind of catalyst in my life. To break free of the ten-year cycle. I know who I am, and I know what I want. I want to move forward. But I need to move forward my way, at my pace. Towards what I want, not what others think is best for me. That's what winter taught me. To take better care of myself.

I decided at the beginning of winter to figure out what was good about it. To let time go forward and not fight the seasons so harshly. Now, I need to figure out what spring can offer. I don't know what that will be yet, but I don't want to forget what winter gave me in the process. I want to learn to appreciate each season for what it is and respect the flow of time, working with it instead of against it. Wish me luck.