A Confessionary Tale, Part 2.


“All art is a confession.”
~Gaston Lachaise

I confess that: I’ve been meaning to write a new blog post for weeks now, but life just kept on getting in the way. The stress of December and January doesn’t seem to want to let up now that it’s February (erm, make that almost March — how did that happen?!), but I’m hoping things will calm down soon so I can get back to writing here on a regular basis.

I confess that: I’m spending most of my free time these days with Jasper. After another stasis episode last weekend – even though everyone was so hopeful that the dental work would fix the issue – I really thought I was going to totally lose it. There doesn’t seem to be an answer for why this keeps happening, and that drives me crazy, because all I want is for my little guy to feel good always. Fingers crossed that was the last time he has to deal with GI stasis, ever.

I confess that: I was all set to start drafting my new book this week, but that it got put on hold for next week instead. Between a snowstorm and several nights of sleeping on the sofa, waking up every couple hours to check on the bun bun, I knew it wasn’t the right time to jump into a new story adventure. I want my head and heart to be fully in it, because I am so excited about this project. I’ve spent the past month planning out Melina and Bradley’s story – figured out last Friday that there’s actually a mystery involved! – and can’t wait to hang out in their world. It’s one of politics and patriotism, and I think it’s going to be so fun to explore.

I confess that: I like the snow, but I am getting supremely tired of the ridiculous cold weather we’ve had this winter. It’s so freezing that it literally hurts. The predicted wind chill this morning was -32. That is just not cool (well, actually, it’s downright frigid, but you know what I mean).

I confess that: I would love nothing more right now than to be at the shore. Even if it’s only for a day, even if all I can do is sit in a room and look outside … I am craving the thought of being seaside. Since that’s not possible, I look at pictures instead and pretend that I can hear the waves as they gently tumble against the coastline.

I confess that: I have been counting down the days until Madam Secretary returns on March 1st. It has quickly become one of my absolute favorite shows, and I’m so glad it was renewed for a second season! That show is actually part of why I decided to go with my politics book next, out of my whole list of choices, because it just makes me so excited to write about that unique atmosphere.

I confess that: I took a chance on buying nail polish at the dollar store (to say money is tight right now would be an understatement, and it was a brand I’d heard of before, so I figured it was worth a try) and really regret it. It stained my nails so badly that I had to put on two coats of another polish to cover it up, and you can still see the other color poking through in spots. Guess I’m going to have teal tinted nails for quite awhile. Lesson learned.

I confess that: I check my email way too many times throughout the day. You’d think that querying would be less anxiety-inducing after all these years, but nope. My heart still skips a beat whenever that inbox updates.

I confess that: I wish there was a switch to shut off my brain sometimes. It is constantly whirling, spinning, tumbling these days, and it’d be so nice to just zone out for a bit. I can’t wait for the weather to get warmer so I can start going for long walks again, because that’s my time to just let it be … to just let myself be.

I confess that: I’m kind of tempted to go to Rita’s Water Ice for their seasonal opening today, even though it’s currently 16 degrees out. Since I don’t want to freeze my insides, I think I’ll stay home and go for some hot cocoa instead.

Your turn! What do you confess?

Enough is Enough.

“Sometimes the key to making progress is to recognize how to take that very first step. Then you start your journey. You hope for the best and you stick with it: day in, day out. Even if you’re tired, even if you want to walk away, you don’t. Because you are a pioneer. But nobody ever said it’d be easy.”
~Grey’s Anatomy

Enough is enough.

It’s a statement of strength, a declaration of clarity. Enough is enough; I’m putting my foot down. Enough is enough; I’m taking control of my destiny. Enough is enough; I’m choosing to travel down another path.

Those thoughts have all floated through my mind multiple times since I dove head-first into the querying process almost five years ago. Five years. That’s a long time, friends. It’s a long time to ride the roller-coaster, your hopes soaring sky-high as the cart inches up and then plummeting back down to the ground as you enter the steep drop. It’s a long time to put your work out there, your babies out there, your heart and soul out there, knowing full well that it’s making you vulnerable in such an emotional way. And there have been wonderful moments, to be sure. There have been requests that etched a perma-smile on my face and feedback, both from agents and loved ones, that filled me up with pure joy. But there have also been not-so-wonderful moments. There have been form rejections and no responses at all. There have been emails that made me want to curl up under the covers and hide away from the world. There have been tears. Lots of tears, more than I’d like to admit. So many times, I’ve been tempted to give up. Enough is enough. Something you love so deeply shouldn’t, in turn, bring about all this hurt. It’s not right. It’s like Eden, my most recent MC, says: “Sometimes inspiration doesn’t matter. Sometimes we can wish with all our hearts, work day in and day out to create the lives we yearn for, and still, it doesn’t happen. Reality isn’t like a song, or a book, or a movie, and happily-ever-after doesn’t always exist. When we realize that, maybe it’s best not to push it. Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole just ends up chipping off its corners.”

That’s where I was on Friday, after a particularly heart-wrenching week in the querying world, and, to a point, where I still am now. It’s where I’ve been before. And, I know, it’s where I’ll be again. Because even though I sat myself down on Friday and really, truly considered giving up, that just isn’t a possibility. When I think of not jumping into all the stories still on my to-write list, it makes me so sad. When I think of abandoning the characters who have already become such a part of me, it leaves me feeling empty. When I think of a life without writing … honestly, it’s unimaginable. Literally, I can’t fathom it. So I remind myself this:

If I’d given up after the first rejection, I’d never have gotten a partial or full request. If I’d given up after the first book queried, I’d never have written five others. If I’d given up after it felt like the publishing part was draining the happiness from the writing part, I’d never have gotten to work on the project that filled me with pure, unadulterated passion and delight. If I’d given up when a draft was particularly challenging, I’d never have seen how rewarding the revision process can be. If I’d given up after the form rejections, I’d never have gotten the ones that, even though they were ultimately a “no,” still made my heart sing. If I’d given up all those times, I’d never be the writer, and person, I am today. And if I give up now? Who knows what I’ll miss out on?

Despite the countless hours of work, I’m not where I want to be yet. Not by a long shot. There’s so much more I want to do, and I feel limited a lot. I can’t share my stories with everyone yet. I can’t invite the real world into my characters’ worlds. I can’t call myself a published author. I can’t buy extravagant or expensive holiday gifts, because devoting so much time to making this writing dream a reality doesn’t exactly help my bank account. I can’t donate to all the charities I want to, and I can’t adopt more than one bunny, because I just can’t afford the added expense right now. I can’t.

Enough is enough. And that’s okay.

Because maybe I can’t do it all, but I can do something. I can’t rescue all the bunnies, but I can give Jasper a warm, good home where he feels safe and loved after a life that didn’t start out that way. I couldn’t write a large check for Giving Tuesday last week, but I could donate a small amount to three of my favorite charities. I can’t fix all the horrible things that have been in the news lately, but I can make myself aware and educated. I can’t get my book babies out there yet, but I can share them with a smaller circle and let their feedback be what I focus on, what I let buoy me up when it feels like I might drown. I can do what I can, with what I have, and I can recognize that, for now, that’s alright. All we can do is our best. All we can try is our hardest. That’s enough. We’re enough. It’s tough to believe that sometimes, especially when it feels like the world is telling us otherwise, but I’m going to try. I’m going to try really, really hard. I hope you all will, too.

Because sometimes enough truly is enough.

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!

No Worries.


“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
~Epictetus

By nature, I am a worrywart. I check to make sure the oven’s off before going to bed each night. I’ve never flown on an airplane – so many things about it terrify me – and probably never will. I look in my rearview mirror quite frequently while driving and still remember the way, thirteen years ago, my driving teacher actually covered it with her hand so I’d stop. I get concerned when people are late to arrive somewhere. And WebMD? It’s my worst enemy.

Know what doesn’t make me anxious, though? Writing. Editing. Losing myself in the words, in the magic. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, as I query SOT. So many things about the querying process are frustrating, or disappointing, or just plain tough. I have a separate email account for everything writing-related, and I won’t lie, my heart likely skips a beat whenever the number in that inbox updates. Querying is not for the faint of spirit, that’s for sure. I’ve been doing it for a long time now, and I like to think I’ve learned something – lots of things, even. But still, it takes a lot. And maybe it should, because the best things in life, they’re worth fighting for. They’re worth the nerves and the wondering and the worrying.

Sometimes, though, we have to forget about the next step in the journey. About the things out of our control, whether that’s our dreams or our careers or whatever else is waiting out there in the wide, uncertain world. And when I need to do that? I turn to reading, or music, or the outdoors, or, most often, writing. I jump into my characters’ stories and am reminded all over again why I do this. Why I love this. Why I need this. Do I want to be published? Of course. But more than that, I want the joy, the excitement, the invigoration of sitting down at my desk and knowing I’m about to go on a journey with these people who travel from my imagination to the page. Writing lets me explore. It lets me play. It lets me believe in fairy tales and goodness and light. There is truly nothing like it. When I’m writing, it’s like my heart grows wings. It chases away the worries. It lets me be my freest and truest self. When my family went through the excruciating month-long horror of losing Gram? I escaped into my writing. When I was searching for a way to work through the pain of losing all my grandparents? A way to heal? My characters taught me how. And just a few months ago, when I spent a terribly long week waiting for an MRI and worrying about what could be wrong? WATERCOLORS helped me through.

Writing can be difficult. It should be difficult sometimes, because that’s when we find opportunities to push ourselves. But it can also be beautiful. It can also be magical. It can also be a safe place to let go of everything else and just be. In spite of everything else, maybe even because of everything else, I am so grateful for that. When it comes to writing, I have no worries.

And isn’t that the way it should be?

All in the Numbers, Part Two.


“When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings.”
~W.E.B. Du Bois

6: the number showing our current windchill, which, believe it or not, is actually an improvement over some of the temperatures we’ve seen here lately. Between the frigid digits and the snowfall practically every other day, I think it’s safe to say everyone is counting down to spring. Fifty-two days, y’all!

46,440: the number of words in WATERCOLORS, my WIP, which has been such an interesting and eye-opening journey since day one. I’m going to write a separate post about this soon, but for now I’ll just say: it’s amazing how every book truly is an entirely different experience. Eden’s keeping me on my toes, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing where she takes me next.

9: the number of days until Kristin Chenoweth’s concert and M&G. I can’t wait to have a chance to talk with her and am already considering the notecard option (like I did with Kelly), so I don’t forget anything. To say I’m ridiculously excited for this opportunity is an understatement.

26: the number of books I’m hoping to dive into this year, although if my to-read list is any indication, it should really be double that amount. So many stories, not enough hours in the day.

4,812,692: the number of times I check my inbox daily. Kidding. Sort of. This querying business is a good reminder that patience is indeed a virtue.

What numbers are defining your weekend?

Do you know?


“If you want to know where your heart is, look to where your mind goes when it wanders.”
~Anonymous

– Know what’s annoying? Super-maddening-makes-you-want-to-scream-from-a-mountaintop annoying? Tinnitus. I woke up last Thursday with a constant ringing in my right ear, kind of like the fire alarm you’d hear in a school building, and it’s been playing its irritating tune ever since. It FINALLY shifted to a more muted, lower-pitched sound today – still frustrating, but at least it’s not driving me up a wall. Working, reading, and even sleeping (especially sleeping) have been a challenge, because when it’s quiet ALL I can hear is the noise, and it’s getting to the point where I’m actually looking forward to seeing an ENT specialist next week to find out what’s going on and how, fingers crossed, to make it stop.

– Know what’s exciting? Super-wonderful-makes-you-want-to-jump-up-and-down exciting? Getting a meet & greet with the fabulous Kristin Chenoweth. She’ll be here for a concert in February and I decided to splurge for the VIP package. It is very important to me – more important than I can explain, really – to express my appreciation to her for her song “Borrowed Angels.” It brought me such comfort after losing Gram back in 2011, such solace after an experience that shattered my family’s collective heart into smithereens, and I desperately want to thank her for that. I already know I’m going to cry, but they will be happy tears. Grateful ones.

– Know what’s addicting? Super-compulsive-makes-you-keep-repeating-it-even-though-it-won’t-change-anything addicting? Refreshing your inbox while querying. Watched pots really don’t ever boil, do they?

– Know what’s invigorating? Super-adrenaline-pumping-makes-you-want-to-imagine-all-the-magic-in-the-world invigorating? Starting to dream up a new book. I’ve had several (very general, still hazy in that whimsical way where they contain so much possibility) ideas floating around in my head since finishing SANDS OF TIME, but I haven’t been ready to focus on them yet. Getting SOT prepared to query was first on my priority list, and to be honest, I was still too swept up in Remi’s and Charlotte’s worlds to even consider jumping into a new one yet. But then Kaitlin suggested a storyline that instantly sent my mind ablaze, and I’m really looking forward to discovering where it will lead. I haven’t started to brainstorm or plan yet, but am hoping to in the next couple weeks. And the best part? Remi and Charlotte get to play a role. I adore tying former MCs into new stories. Something about it just feels special.

What’s currently annoying/exciting/addicting/invigorating in your life?

Portrait of a soon-to-be-querying writer.


“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Step 1: Finish your revisions. Fall in love with your book-baby all over again.

Step 2: Sit down to write your query letter. Remind yourself that, contrary to popular belief, this has actually been a fun process in the past.

Step 3: Write query letter. Wonder how you ever thought this was enjoyable. Resist the urge to hurl your laptop out the window.

Step 4: Write synopsis. Try even harder to resist the urge to hurl your laptop out the window.

Step 5: Rewrite your query letter. Again. And again. And again. Rewrite it until it flows, until it entices, until it works.

Step 6: Edit your synopsis down. Delete, delete, delete.

Step 7: Treat yourself to an ice cream break. Or a Starbucks break. Or possibly both, because chocolate and coffee are an awesome combination. And maybe a Candy Crush break, too?

Step 8: Update your agent database. Work outside since the weather is beautiful. Forget about your allergies, because it is WARM and SUNNY and who cares about some pollen?

Step 9: Hello, headache. Hours upon hours of staring at a screen and inputting data does not help with the eye strain, either. But the spreadsheet is so pretty! It’s all alphabetized and color-coded! Yay!

Step 10: Remember that query letter you thought was finished? Not yet. Tweak a sentence here, change your word choice there. FINALLY do a victory dance when it’s polished for good.

Step 11: Update that spreadsheet some more. Acknowledge that Excel is becoming your new BFF.

Step 12: Start to feel those butterflies flutter their way through your heart whenever you think of sending your book out there into the world. Nervous butterflies. Excited butterflies. Hopeful butterflies.

Step 13: Find your coat of armor. You’ll need it.

Step 14: Go get some more chocolate. You’ll need that, too.

Step 15: Step onto the roller-coaster and prepare for what will hopefully be the ride of a lifetime.

Plus and Minus.


“The desire to write grows with writing.”
~Desiderius Erasmuss

+ : We’ve had not one, not two, but three days of beautiful spring-like weather. After winter’s frigid digits, it has been both energizing and inspiring to feel the warm sunlight again. I don’t even care that temperatures are taking a plunge again for the rest of this week (okay … that’s a lie … I care at least a little …). Mother Nature gave us just enough of a spring fling to be satisfactory. I can wait a couple more weeks for it to be an everyday occurrence. In the meantime, I spent my weekend walking through the quaint Peddler’s Village, along the boardwalk in Point Pleasant, NJ, and around the block at home.

Peddler's Village

: The aforementioned boardwalk was cut much shorter than normal, still splintered from the effects of Hurricane Sandy last year. This was the first time I’d been to the shore since the storm set its eye on New Jersey, and to see the barricades, the boarded-up homes and businesses, the sand still in the streets, and the boardwalk blocked off in many spots … it was just very, very sad. I know the shore will rebuild its way into being better than ever, but until then, it hurts to see such a special place still rocked by waves that have long since retreated.

+ : Falling more and more in love with your WIP with each day you sit down to write is, truly, the best feeling ever. It’s always a good thing when you wake up on Monday morning, on every morning, eager to get back to work. Everything about this project has been joy-filled so far. In the midst of querying, it reminds me exactly why I write, exactly why I continue to pursue this, exactly why I can’t ever give up. I’ve written just over 23,000 words so far and am so legitimately excited about telling the rest of this story that I wish I could just glue myself to the desk chair and focus on nothing else. Other responsibilities, who needs ’em?

: Those other responsibilities beg to differ, as do my bleary eyes and needs-to-be-cracked-frequently neck. Oops?

+ : You should be really jealous of how I spent my Sunday morning this week, because it involves two of General Hospital’s sweetest, kindest, and funniest actors. Jason and Dominic were both gracious and genuine. They’re so down-to-earth and friendly, even coming over to suggest pictures to snap (true story: Jason only wanted me to take candid photos of my sister meeting Dominic!). My favorite moment? Telling them about Mine to Love – because GH recently had an adoption storyline, as well – and Jason calling after me as I was walking away, “Good Luck with your book!” So nice. Also … not the worst people to be between for a picture, huh? :)

JTandDZ

: Yeah, there isn’t really a corresponding ‘minus’ for this one, so instead I’ll just post some more pictures. Ha.

Jason

Dominic

Give me a plus or minus from your weekend/day/week!

All in the Numbers.


“Originality exists in every individual because each of us differs from the others. We are all primary numbers divisible only by ourselves.”
~Jean Guitton

10,458: the number of words currently in my WIP, which becomes more of a joy to write with every single day. I’m already discovering so many twists and turns to my characters’ personalities, already following their lead as they dictate where the story will spin. It’s an inspiring road to travel and an exciting journey to take.

24: the number of days until I’m in Washington DC for this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. I’ve wanted to go for so long and can’t wait to see those beautiful umbrellas of pink petals in person. Fingers crossed that the trees will all be in bloom.

3: the number of times I’ve now had the chance to talk with General Hospital and Dancing with the Stars superstar Kelly Monaco. Her fan event on Sunday was one of my favorites I’ve ever attended, and I was, once again, totally impressed by her genuinely kind and gracious nature. From telling me that my eyes are the bluest she’s ever seen, to reminiscing about the 2005 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade and saying how sweet it was that I remembered our visit there, to sitting and chatting with me – and everyone else – as though we were friends, she was nothing but a complete class act.

DSC02941 - Version 2

54: the number of choice on today’s weather forecast. Perhaps spring is around the corner?

570: the number of words I wrote in twenty minutes this morning. Wednesday are my query days, my days to focus solely on sending MINE TO LOVE out to agents, but I woke up with a scene in my head and simply had to get it down before doing anything else. There is something so special about that flurry of furious typing, that whirlwind where your fingers can’t type quickly enough to keep up with your thoughts, and it completely made my day, all before 8:00AM. Writer’s high? For real, it’s the best ever.

What numbers are defining your day?

A Whole New World.


“A whole new world,
A new fantastic point of view.
No one to tell us no, or where to go.
Or say we’re only dreaming.”
~Aladdin, “A Whole New World”

(Is that song now stuck in your head like it is in mine? You’re welcome.)

Did you all see me doing a happy dance yesterday? Hear me shouting from the rooftops? Sense me bopping around in a bubble of writerly bliss? Or, perhaps more accurately: did you all read my gleeful postings on Facebook and Twitter? If so, then you already know that I started drafting my new book yesterday and that I am (ridiculously, unbelievably, all-encompassingly) excited about it. After several weeks of research and character development, I truly couldn’t wait to dive in and begin telling my characters’ story. Sure, there were a few conflicting emotions in the days leading up to it – as anyone who’s traveled the querying journey knows, sometimes it’s an intensely difficult road to navigate – but more than anything else, what I felt yesterday morning upon sitting down in my desk chair was joy. Adrenaline. Hope. Love.

I was worried it might feel strange at first, writing about a new set of characters after having spent two and a half years with the previous ones. Sofie and her story have become entrenched in my heart in a very important way, and I wasn’t sure how things would go when I attempted to put myself in the head of a different main character. Until I actually began writing. Until Remi grew from someone on the page to someone in my mind, in my eyes. Is it possible to feel an instant bond with someone who isn’t real? Because with her, I do, even though most of her life is completely different from anything I’ve experienced. I just … get her. I understand what makes her tick, what makes her hope, what makes her take a leap of faith that most people would think is foolhardy and much too spontaneous. Do I still have a lot to learn about her? Of course. She has a lot to teach me, just like all my characters have. Just like Charlotte, around whom the other half of the book is focused, will. I’m looking forward to starting chapter two – and her part of the story – tomorrow. I’ve never worked on a manuscript before where the chapters alternate evenly between characters (and settings … and decades … and perspectives …), but I can’t wait to see how it plays out. So far it’s been a total blast. Jumping into this whole new world is exhilarating. It’s like the air actually has electricity in it, like the charge is palpable.

Already, I can tell that this novel is going to be an entirely different experience than any I’ve written previously. I think that’s a good thing, though. Each project impacts us in special ways. Each helps us grow, both as writers and as people, in special ways. And each imprints a handprint on our hearts in special ways. In the midst of querying Mine to Love, this new book-baby is going to be a bright spot. It’s going to be a reminder of the joy of writing, not the struggle for publication. I need that right now. I think all writers need that always. We can revise, we can query, we can submit, we can (fingers crossed) publish one day, but the actual writing is the heart of it. Sharing our characters’ journeys, going for the ride alongside them, is still the soul of it.

And isn’t that what life’s all about, heart and soul?