Home is where the ocean is.


“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”
~Sarah Kay

How is it September already? Seriously … it is beyond my comprehension. Between having to skip our annual vacation at the shore in June and then spending the whole summer working on revisions for my book, it kind of seems like the season just slipped right on by without giving me a chance to soak it up. That’s why I was so especially grateful to have a week in Ocean City at the end of August. I’d been yearning for it like words can’t express – the feel of sunshine warming my face, the sound of the wooden boardwalk planks beneath my sneakers, the smell of the salty ocean air surrounding my soul, the sight of endless turquoise as I swam in the pool – and it felt particularly special this time. It was all the little bubbles of magic the seashore always sends fizzing up around me, but it was more than that, too. It was gratitude for the chance to be there when we thought it wouldn’t be possible at all this year. It was a celebration of sorts, a chance to breathe out, relax, and drink in the inspiration. I timed it so that my first round of edits was finished two days before we left, and though it felt incredibly strange not to be hanging out in Melina and Bradley’s world, it was also a much needed break from working so hard. Here are some of the sights that surrounded me:

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Where did you go on vacation this year? Share a picture with me!

Piece by Piece.


“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
~John Wooden

It has been a week now since I started revisions on my book. I’ve gone through six chapters so far and have deleted just over three thousand words. That seems pretty good, right? Three thousand words from sixty pages is nothing to sneeze at, especially because I’ve also been adding in quite a few sections as I go along. But it’s not on par with where my deletion totals have been for the past couple novels – instead of cutting a thousand words per day, it’s usually been around half of that. It shouldn’t bother me. I know this. I know that each story is different, each creative process is different, each experience is different. That’s a good thing. It’d be awfully boring, wouldn’t it, if they were all the same? I think it’s hard not to compare, though. We’re constantly doing it, and, perhaps, constantly reminding ourselves not to do it. At least, I am.

And yet … I’ve still been eyeing my daily word count and stacking it up against previous ones. Until today. Because today, I realized something. It’s okay that there hasn’t been as much to trim from the edges of this story so far. There will be those wordy passages in the future, the scenes I can chop and the characters I can erase (yes … I am actually completely getting rid of at least one, perhaps two, and no, surprisingly this doesn’t make me nearly as sad as I thought it would, because I know it’s best for the story). With some books, I delete entire pages at once. With this one, I’m still spending hours on each chapter, but I seem to be mostly pulling from each individual sentence. I’m slimming it down piece by piece, one word at a time. I’m okay with that now – because, really, isn’t that often how our lives go? We create the foundation brick by brick. Each word written, each photo taken, each canvas painted, each application submitted … this is how we get from where we are to where we want to be. Dreams are real, and so are passions, but they’re built on hard work and the willingness to throw ourselves into the details with all the attention that we would give to the big and shiny main goal. Maybe that goal isn’t one huge thing, after all. Maybe, instead of a giant hot air balloon floating high above, it’s a hundred regular balloons with their strings dangling right in front of us. I’m content to grab them, one by one. I’d like to hold each of them in my hand for awhile before letting them soar into the limitless sky.

Piece by piece. That’s how we arrange the building blocks of our lives. That’s how everything grows. Sometimes the pieces are tiny. Sometimes they’re big. Sometimes they’re neat and symmetrical, sometimes they’re messy and uneven. But as long as each one is a part of us, I think that’s what matters most. We’re all a puzzle, right? Just like books have so many elements that come together to tell a story, we have so many elements that come together to tell our stories. It’s easy to forget that. So easy. Maybe even too easy.

So as I continue revising this book chapter by chapter, I’ll remember that. I’ll do my best to soak up every part of the journey and to give it the attention it deserves. This book will get there, and so will I … piece by piece.

Since I Last Posted …

“May your new ideas feel like sunrise.”
~Danielle LaPorte

(I imagine that title being sung to the tune of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.” Is her song now stuck in your head like it is in mine? You’re welcome.)

I truly didn’t intend to go two and a half weeks without posting, but somehow the days have just been whizzing by. It’s strange, because time also seems to be moving quite slowly. It’s a bizarre juxtaposition that I can’t quite figure out. Today is a snow day, though, a sort of wrinkle in time, and I’m glad for the chance to sit down and catch up. Here’s what I’ve been up to since I last posted:

* Keeping a very, very, very close eye on the bunny boy. Jasper had another stasis episode two weeks ago – thankfully the most mild of the three, and the wonderful director of the bunny rescue happened to be around the corner from my home at the time, so she dropped everything to come help out. I couldn’t possibly be more grateful for her kindness. It happened during the week this time, so I was able to take Jasper to his regular vet, who suggested dental work to trim two of his teeth. They’d gotten a bit long, and since that often contributes to stasis in rabbits, we scheduled the procedure for the following Tuesday. It was such a nerve-wracking day, sitting by the phone and waiting for them to call with an update. Jasper did great, but it took him a couple days to feel like himself again after the anesthesia. I just hated to see him so sad and out of sorts. He didn’t want to do much of anything at first, not even eat, so I ended up staying up with him almost all night and hand-feeding him hay one piece at a time. Exhausting as it was, I’d do anything for my furry little love. He’s since returned to binkying and happy-flopping – his new favorite place to do that is between my feet, which melts my heart! – and I’m praying that this is the end of the stasis problem for a long time to come.

* Starting to plan my new book! This has been interrupted on more than one occasion, mostly due to needing to keep a constant watch on the bun bun, but I’ve been having such a good time with it so far. I mostly have general ideas jotted down as of now, and I also did a full character sketch of my new MC (or possibly one of two new MCs – I’m toying around with the idea of doing another dual POV story) Melina. I’m really excited about her. She’s spunky and confident, determined and passionate about making the world a better place. There are so many hidden layers to her, though, and it’s going to be fun watching them unravel – and, hopefully, finding a way to be tie them together in a new design. I’ve wanted to incorporate political science into a story for a long time now (Melina works as a staff member for a candidate running for election), and I can’t wait to dive into writing this. I have another two weeks or so of planning first, but then it’ll be drafting time again. I’m already so eager to type, type, type!

* Revisiting WATERCOLORS. Another reason I had to put a temporary hold on the new project is that I’ve spent this week back in Eden’s world. I’ve been doing some extra research so I can add a new scene to the book. It’s been awhile since I got to hang out with Eden, and maybe this sounds corny, but in a way it really is like going home. I think that’s one of the things I love most about writing, that it allows me to carve out memories in so many different places. If I ever go to Atlanta again, it’ll remind me of Sofie, Brandon, and their kids. The Jersey shore will bring Charlotte and Nolan to mind, and Nantucket – because somehow, some way, someday, I will get to Nantucket – will make me think of Remi and Eli. Nashville is for Eden and all the people who fill her life with song. Physically, Pennsylvania is home, but how lucky am I to have a piece of my heart in so many wonderful places across the country? Writing has done that for me, and I’m so grateful.

* Learning how to put together a newsletter. I’m taking over the bi-monthly newsletter for Luv-N-Bunns, the rescue I adopted Jasper from, and am so excited about it! I met with the woman who’s been writing it for the last year and a half so she could teach me the program and show me the ropes, and as soon as I’m finished with these new revisions for WATERCOLORS, I’m going to jump in and start working on the first of the two February editions of the newsletter. I’m hoping to add a feature that highlights a bunny who’s been adopted … anyone want to guess which rabbit will be the first in the spotlight? :)

* Enjoying the snow! After the insanity of last winter, this one has been fairly calm in terms of precipitation. We didn’t get much measurable snow at all, in fact, until this past weekend. The huge storm that was supposed to hit us last night ended up switching tracks, so we only got an additional four inches or so, but it was still beautiful to watch. I even went out to take a short walk this morning while the flakes were still falling from the sky and floating around like a real-life snow globe.

How about you guys? What have you been up to lately?

Greetings from Eden.

“We get what we give, so let’s paint this world bright
Fight for each dream, celebrate each life.”
~Eden Abraham, “Watercolors”

Hey y’all!

I thought I’d give Shari a break from posting this week, since she just finished her final round of edits on my story and can barely even look at a computer screen right now without her eyes getting bleary and her thoughts immediately dancing over to my world instead of hers. Who can blame her, though, after four months of writing and six months of revising? It might have taken five different drafts, but you guys, it was worth it, because I’m so excited with the story Shari and I told together. I tried my best to help her along the way, to whisper in her ear and get inside her head. Sometimes I even flat-out defied the things she thought I was going to do. That’s really fun, isn’t it? Showing your writer-friend who’s in charge?

So many things about my book have changed over the past several months, but its heart still beats the same way. Its song still hums with the same notes, the same melodies, the same lyrics. One of the most important things I’ve learned as a songwriter is that you have to take it one word at a time. The beauty of music is in its authenticity, in the organic way it blooms, and that is true for writing, too. I think there are a lot of similarities between music and writing, in fact, and I’m happy about that, because it’s allowed Shari to truly delve into my soul while working on this book. She was able to understand what music means to me, because it’s what her own passion stirs in her. She was able to understand the chords of my heart, because hers resonate the same way. She was able to understand my persistence, because that same determination flows through her veins.

My songwriting, though? Let’s just say it was a good thing I was there to lend a hand. :)

I hope y’all will get to read my story one day. I hope you’ll get to experience Nashville, TN and Portsmouth, NH. I hope you’ll love the people in my life as much as I do, because they are good people. Wonderful people. The kind of people I could – and, often, do – write a song about. But most of all, I hope you’ll be able to take something away from the lessons I’ve learned. I hope you’ll see that life isn’t about how many times we fall, but how many times we pick ourselves back up. It’s about letting yourself lean on people and offering them a pillar of support in return. It’s about learning to trust, and believe, and take that scariest leap of faith. I think that’s what us creative types do all the time. We put ourselves out there. We put our hearts out there. It’s hard, and it’s emotional, and it’s nerve-wracking. But for me, and for Shari too, it’s necessary. Because there’s something else I’ve learned: a wish is nothing if you don’t take the steps to make it come true.

Soon it’ll be time for my story to start inching into the world. To make its way to agents, all the while still holding court in Shari’s heart. She seems kind of crazy to me for voluntarily querying two novels simultaneously, but then I think about my songs and know I would do the same thing. I would take every chance I get, make and create every opportunity, and I’m pretty proud of my writer-friend for doing that. She says she’s proud of me, too, and I’m glad. We make a good team.

Happy Sunday, everyone, and remember: we all have a journey to embark on and a story to sing. Make yours uniquely you. Color it vibrantly.

xoxo, Eden

Currently.

“It doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”
~ Lucille Ball

Well, well, well … guess who’s finished (for now) with her revisions and actually has the time/lack of bleary eyes/mental energy to blog again? This most recent round of edits took four weeks and involved a lot of adding, deleting, and rewriting, and although I was definitely ready for a break by the time it was done, I am seriously so happy with how the novel evolved in the fourth draft. It’s officially my shortest book now (you’d better believe I did a happy dance when the word count came in nearly a thousand below my goal), but the awesome part was watching the story grow, even as its length shrunk. Best. Feeling. Ever. I have some downtime now, while it’s with the next pair of readers, so I figured it’d be fun to do this ‘currently’ post that I saw over on Brittany’s blog.

Currently watching: The only show I’m watching on a regular basis right now is General Hospital (which has been so good lately!), but I’m really looking forward to the return of Grey’s Anatomy and Shark Tank in two weeks. Oh, and I just recently finished watching the full I Love Lucy/Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour collection. It was a special treat, because although I’ve seen every episode of the half-hour show before, there were some longer ones that were new to me. There’s just nothing like watching an episode for the first time and laughing until you cry. What a timeless classic and priceless treasure that show is, what a vibrant thread woven into entertainment history. No matter how many times I watch, this constantly holds true: I will always love Lucy.

Currently listening to: The soundtrack I made for WATERCOLORS. I’ve always felt that music and writing are so strongly intertwined, and I love to listen to songs that sing my books’ stories. There’s something special about hearing a lyric and instantly being transported into a scene. Now if only I could find someone who’d take the song I wrote for the book (and rewrote … and rewrote … songwriting is hard, you guys!) and turn it into more than lyrics on a page!

Currently thinking about: How fun it was to meet Danielle Fishel (Topanga from Boy Meets World/Girl Meets World) at her book signing last night! She’s kind, witty, and personable, and it was so cool to chat with her after watching Boy Meets World every week when I was growing up. She told us she’s going to narrate the audiobook version of her memoir, and I think that’ll be so fun, to hear it all in her own voice.

Currently trying to figure out: If I’m insane for actually contemplating the idea of querying two novels at the same time. SANDS OF TIME is still out there, and I have no intentions of pulling it back, even though WATERCOLORS will (hopefully) be ready to go within a month or so. Glutton for punishment? Perhaps. But I won’t know if I don’t try, right?

Currently looking forward to: Adopting a bunny! I’ve been in touch with the woman who runs the shelter closest by and am sending off my adoption application today. Just the thought of bringing home one of those sweet bunnies makes me smile. The only problem? There are six that I’m drawn to, and I don’t know how I’m going to choose only one after meeting them. One look at those precious faces and the decision will be even harder … but talk about a great decision to have to make!

Currently reading:I just finished Matthew Dicks’ MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND, and oh my gosh, I absolutely adored it! It’s one of the most creative, unique, poignant stories I’ve read in a very long time. From beginning to end, I was completely captivated and couldn’t put it down. I finished the whole book in three days, something I haven’t done in quite awhile. Next on my list is Sarah Jio’s THE VIOLETS OF MARCH.

Currently making me happy: A lovely birthday week that’s been filled with such sweet messages, gifts, and wishes from family and friends. I won’t lie, the thought of turning thirty-one kind of had me in a funk for a bit – somehow it seems so much older than thirty – but you know what? Getting older is a good thing. We are so blessed for every year, every month, every day, and I’m determined to live that gratitude on a daily basis.

Your turn! Answer one – or more – of these in the comments!

Things I’m Loving Lately.

“All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight.”
~Clay Jannon, via Robin Sloane in Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

Hi, friends! I’m popping in from Revision Land – started the third round of edits on Watercolors this week and am somehow still enjoying the process immensely! – to say hello and see what everyone’s up to. Can we talk about the fact that it’s already mid-August? I seriously don’t understand how that’s possible. Where has the summer gone? It always seems to fly by, but this year … I don’t know, I feel like it should still be June. I wish we could slow down time, but since that’s not a possibility, I hope you all are taking a moment to enjoy these hazy, lazy (or often not-so-lazy) days and the warm sunshine. Here are a few things I’ve been loving lately:

– A weekend getaway to Lancaster, PA. We went to see the show Ballroom With a Twist, which featured performances from Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and American Idol finalists. It was such a great combination – featuring one of my favorite SYTYCDers from all the seasons! – and was so fun to see the routines in person.

Ballroom With a Twist

– The duck pond at the hotel where we stayed. There were dozens of ducks in and around the water. How adorable are these babies?

Baby ducks

– The summer scents from Bath & Body Works. Honolulu Sun, Cool Coconut Surf, and Hello Sunshine are my new favorites and will have me dreaming of the beach even when the weather turns cool.

– The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I don’t watch regularly – I’m usually asleep by the time it comes on – but I had the chance to go to a taping of the show last week and had a blast. It was so cool to see all the behind-the-scenes details and to experience such a unique kind of energy. Helen Mirren was my favorite of the guests. Added bonus: we got off the subway directly below the Simon & Schuster building and got to walk through the lobby on our way outside. This writing and reading fanatic was most excited.

Jimmy Fallon tickets

– Wawa’s banana cream smoothie. They have so many good flavors, but this one just might be the most delicious. It’s fruity and sweet, the perfect summer treat.

– Winning at miniature golf not once, but twice, and getting two holes-in-one in the same game. For someone who almost always loses, this was a pretty awesome triumph. I may or may not have done a victory dance.

Mini golf

– Animal rescue and adoption centers. I’ve been thinking about adopting a bunny for awhile now and have fallen in love with some on the centers’ websites. Hopefully I’ll get to make a furry friend part of the family soon.

– Flowers like this. The world is so pretty when its colors are bold and bright.

Flowers

– Unique, original stories. I just finished MR. PENUMBRA’S 24 HOUR BOOKSTORE and really enjoyed it. It’s different from the kinds of books I normally read, but different is good sometimes.

– Working on this book baby of mine. I so love seeing it grow with each round of revisions – and shrink, too! The final draft of this will end up being my shortest ever, and for anyone who knows the way I write, you’ll understand why I’m so proud of that.

What are you all loving lately?

Twelve Days.


“Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology.”
~John Tudor

Know what’s never a good sign? When you’re working on the computer and the screen suddenly goes blank. Know what’s even worse? When you try to reboot said computer and are met with wavy lines, shrill beeps, and, eventually a vast blue (or sometimes white … or sometimes black … or sometimes gray …) chasm of nothingness. And do you know what’s worse still? When you drop off that computer, that very lifeline of sorts for a writer, and the technician who’s supposed to fix it actually breaks it instead.

Awesome.

Welcome to the last twelve days. What was promised to be a one or two day repair turned into an almost two week saga. A misdiagnosis of the problem … an extra three days for the correct part to be ordered … a check-in phone call on my part during which it was explained that in the process of replacing the display, they broke the airport card … another six days for my computer to be shipped to Tennessee for their error to be fixed … minimal communication and apologies, except from one very kind tech representative … let’s just say I was not a happy camper.

As of yesterday, I FINALLY have Goldie again (please tell me I’m not the only one who gives computers a name!) and I seriously don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to get back to work. I have a second round of revisions to make on WATERCOLORS, a song to write for it, and queries to send for SANDS OF TIME. I’m always excited to sit down at my writing desk after a break, but after one that was frustratingly extended by all this time? I. AM. JUBILANT.

I did my best to keep up with y’all via my iPod, but holy cow, did my eyes start hurting after awhile, so if I missed anything important – or even anything small – let me know! And does anyone else have any computer repair horror stories to share?!

Lately.


“Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery.”
~Henry Miller

Lately, I have:

* Finished the first – and most major – round of edits on WATERCOLORS. Actually, let’s say that again and add in some more excitement. As of yesterday, the second draft of this book is officially complete!! Whoohoo!! The story is 16,000 words shorter, but as is so often the case with writing, it’s also reminded me that less can be more. The revision process has been entirely different this time around. Instead of my finger taking up permanent residence on the ‘delete’ key, I’ve actually gotten to add a good amount to the manuscript. Before I started, it was a bit daunting. I knew there were so many things to change, so many things to rewrite or rework, and I wasn’t sure how to approach the task. But once I sat back down at my desk and opened the Word document? It was instant adrenaline and excitement. For the first time, I can honestly say that editing has been a totally joy-filled experience. It was such fun to watch the story grow – even as it shrunk – before my eyes. Being unsure about some points as I drafted was tough. Knowing how I wanted to strengthen them during revisions was inspiring. We always say that each writing journey is unique, and this was such a great lesson in that. Never would I have thought that I’d enjoy editing more than drafting – and maybe this will be the only time it happens – but I am grateful for taking another path this time, because it’s helped me see new things.

* Spent the day in NYC with a wonderful group of friends, including my kindred spirit in writing. Words can’t express how much I was looking forward to this day, and even though it went by way too quickly, I had a blast. There’s nothing quite like getting to spend time with people in person when you normally have to rely on the phone, computer, and mailbox for contact. Times Square, Mister Softee, Rockefeller Plaza, Simon & Schuster (because it’s a rule that if writing sparked your friendship, you must take a picture outside that building), Vynl (coolest restaurant, fyi, if you’re ever in Manhattan), and Junior’s for the best dessert … it was fun not because of what we did, but because of who we shared the experience with. I wish I could rewind time and do it all over again!

* Read my first Nicholas Sparks book. I know, I know, what rock have I been living under all these years? Actually, it’s been a deliberate choice to stay away from his novels, because I know they normally have sad endings and I tend to look for happier ones in my reading choices, but a friend recommended THE LONGEST RIDE, so I gave it a try. I am so glad, too, because I loved it. Yes, it was sad, but in a touching way. I loved the characters and the stories, especially the one primarily set in the past, and still find myself thinking about them, even days after finishing.

What have you guys been doing lately?

Reading List.


“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”
~Carl Sagan

Well … hello there. Sorry, friends, I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the (blogging) earth. I started edits on WATERCOLORS two and a half weeks ago and have pretty much fallen down the rabbit hole of Revision Land. After (happily) spending four hours on each chapter, the last thing my eyes (and neck … and back … and head …) want is to stare at the computer screen for much longer, so I’ve been stepping away from the laptop as much as possible. The goal is to finish this first round of revisions by the middle of June, so I’ll be back to more regular posting then, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share some thoughts about a few amazing books I’ve read lately.

THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER, by Sarah McCoy: You know those books that do more than touch your heart? The ones that slip seamlessly into your soul and take up permanent residence? The ones that make you laugh one moment and grow misty-eyed the next? The ones that strike a lasting chord? That’s what this book did for me. It’s been a long time since I was affected by a story on such a visceral level. From the very first word straight through until the very last, I was just spellbound by the characters and their journeys. When Reba Adams visits Elsie’s German Bakery to interview its owner and write a Christmas piece about her for a local magazine, she has no idea what awaits her. What memories she will hear from both Elsie – who, as a German teenager during WWII, hid Tobias, an escaped Jewish boy, for months – and her daughter Jane. What a deep, life-changing friendship she will form with the women. What inspiration and hope she will see in them and feel reflected on herself. This is a story about Reba and her fiance Riki. About Elsie and her family, both those in Germany and those in America. About Reba and Elsie and Jane together. With alternating perspectives – the book flips between present and past, showing us the heart of who Reba and Elsie are – it offers an insightful, educational, inspiring, enlightening view. I found myself thinking about these characters, especially Elsie, so often, even when I wasn’t reading. I woke up two hours early on more than one occasion to squeeze in extra time with them, I sat on a beach with a windchill in the forties because I only had two chapters left and couldn’t imagine not finishing the story right then, even if it meant my hands turned to ice. This story, it is compelling. Mesmerizing. Fascinating. I learned a lot about WWII in both regular school and Hebrew school, but this added another dimension. It left a handprint on my heart, on my thoughts, and will stay with me for a very, very long time to come.

CATCHING AIR, by Sarah Pekkanen: You guys know this already, because I’ve talked about it time and again on here, but Sarah’s books are among my very favorites. So when I won an ARC of her new novel, you’d better believe I was super excited. As usual, she’s crafted a story that takes us directly into her characters’ hearts … homes … hopes. When Kira and Peter Danner accept his brother Rand’s offer to move to Vermont and run a B&B with him and his wife Alyssa, they don’t know what they’re in for – and for people who crave security, that is, to say the least, a leap of faith. The same is true for Alyssa and Rand, whose lives are forever changed by tiny miracles that blossom into the greatest blessings, and for Dawn, a woman who finds herself on the run as she desperately tries to flee the past that could put her entire future in jeopardy. Watching their lives intersect, seeing them pull apart and come together, is both entertaining and emotional. One of the things I enjoy most about Sarah’s writing is her ability to make readers feel like they’re right there in the pages, experiencing the story instead of simply reading it. Alyssa’s first ultrasound … Kira finding peace with the man whose absence left a hole in her heart … Dawn learning to stand up for herself … all five of them coming together to throw the wedding of the year at their B&B … I didn’t just see those scenes. I felt them, too, and I was inspired. Because this story? It helps readers catch some air of our own.

FANGIRL, by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve been hearing such wonderful things about this book for so long. Everyone I know who’s read it has loved the story, and now you can count me in among those singing its praises. Like I mentioned, I actually rediscovered my passion for creative writing because of fanfiction, so from page one, I very much related to Cath. Her love of writing, her immersion in the story, her dedication to the emotion it brings out and the emotion she brings to the characters … it was like sitting in a warm patch of sunshine. There are such lovely insights into the writing life in this book, into its joys and frustrations, its heart and soul, and I had so much fun going along on the journey with Cath. Loved her, loved Levi, loved the way their relationship blossoms. I think what I loved most, though, is that the characters in this book are normal. They’re everyday people going about their everyday lives, trying to navigate the world just like all of us. They could be any of us. How awesome is that? Just like Cath is a fangirl of Simon Snow, I am one for this story.

Your turn: tell me what you’re currently reading!

Six.


“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”
~Stephen King

If you heard a squeal of happiness yesterday at approximately 10:30AM Eastern time – or perhaps it was more of a cheer – chances are it was coming from Pennsylvania. From the general vicinity of my desk. From my mouth. Because that’s when I reached those always bittersweet words: THE END. When I first wrote them back in June, I was misty-eyed. When I reaffirmed them yesterday, I was smiling from ear-to-ear. My major round of revisions? FINISHED. And the icing on the cake? I came in more than 2500 words below my goal. That makes for one very excited writer. The final chapter of this book was my favorite thing to write, ever, and even though I was so ready to wrap up edits by the point I reached it, yesterday’s work was still a joy. That’s what this manuscript will forever represent to me: pure, unfettered, unequivocal joy. I’m taking a week-long break while we head to the shore for vacation, but to be sure, it won’t be far from my thoughts or heart.

And now (this is a complete non-sequitur, but I must post this quickly so I can finish packing), a “six things” meme, which I was tagged for by the wonderful Megan.

1. What is your favorite movie quote and why?
Is it cheating if I choose a quote from the film adaptation of a book? I positively adore the following, from The Help: “Go to New York, Ms. Skeeter. Go find your life.” Skeeter is one of my all-time favorite characters. The way she stands up to societal stereotypes, the way she breaks down walls through her writing and through her determination … it’s an inspiration. She tells the stories she can’t not tell, and she reminds all of us writers to never, ever give up. We must find our lives. We must create them.

2. It’s back to school time. What was the best year you had in school? What made it so great?
You know, I’m really not sure if I can pinpoint a single year. I honestly enjoyed so many of them. Junior year in high school was an incredible amount of work, but I loved my AP English Lit and American History classes. I learned more in that English course than in any other. I adored my senior year in high school because of all the extracurriculars I was part of, especially being on the steering committee for our school’s Involvement Day (where regular classes were cancelled, a plethora of speakers came to speak to students about a variety of causes and volunteer organizations, and everyone got to choose which sessions they attended) and acting as student coordinator for the district’s media symposium (even if it meant giving a speech in front of over a hundred people – talk about nervous!). Going further back, I loved sixth grade – candlelight hour, creating “bare books” with the first graders, watching Voyage of the Mimi, and more – and going forward, I also loved my senior year in college.

3. Is there special something you do every day (journal, Skype someone, take a walk, etc)? What is it?
Write, write, write. That was a shocker of an answer, huh? I also go for a long walk when the weather is cooperative. And, um, does playing Candy Crush count?

4. How do you get blog ideas?
Well, obviously a lot of my posts revolve around writing – sometimes they’re updates on my own process, sometimes they’re reactions to things I’ve seen or read elsewhere. Beyond that, I try to balance it out with other topics and generally just write whatever I’m inspired to discuss.

5. Has anybody famous ever followed or mentioned you on twitter or another social media site?
Yes! Several General Hospital actors and actresses have responded to comments – they are amazing at being in touch with the fans – as well as some of my favorites from American Idol. There are also some fabulous authors who followed me back and who I chat with – so fun! And then there’s Kristin Chenoweth, who answered me twice within the span of a day. To say I was excited is a gigantic understatement.

6. Describe your perfect Sunday.
Writing, reading, walking, and watching a handful of old I Love Lucy episodes … unless we’re talking about a summer Sunday, which would also include swimming and take place seaside.

Your turn: answer one (or more) of the questions in the comments, please!