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?

Advertisements

Things I’m Loving Lately.

“All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight.”
~Clay Jannon, via Robin Sloane inΒ 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?

A Confessionary Tale.


“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I confess that: although I’ve been working feverishly on WATERCOLORS and have been looking forward to some downtime for the past few weeks, now that the first draft is officially finished (!) and I’m not at my writing desk this morning, I already miss my characters.

I confess that: I didn’t think I’d be much of an audiobook person, but thanks to an awesome app for the iPod, I’ve become a huge fan and now love listening to books as much as reading them.

I confess that: I’m super disappointed today, because instead of visiting my friend and her sweet daughters, I’m stuck at home with what seems to be the beginning of a sinus infection. Really bad timing, body.

I confess that: I’ve become totally addicted to Shark Tank this season and would happily watch it all day if possible.

I confess that: everything else fell by the wayside when I was in my must-finish-this-draft frenzy, so now my non-writing to-do list is about seventeen miles long.

I confess that: I check the long-range weather forecast every morning, hoping to finally see some 70s, and am crossing my fingers because it looks like Friday might be the time.

I confess that: I click on over to my inbox way too many times per day.

I confess that: Rita’s Water Ice has only been open for a month and a half and I’ve already been there five times. Oops?

I confess that: I recently bought myself a new beaded bracelet from Emme Rylan’s etsy shop and an awesome purple purse. Because sometimes we have to treat ourselves, right?

I confess that: I’m jealous of everyone going to Washington DC this week, since last year’s Cherry Blossom Festival didn’t actually have many blossoms.

Your turn! What do you confess?

What’s Up?


“I will not fall
I will stand tall through it all
Just so you can see
The strongest parts of me.”
~Elise Testone, “I Will Not Break”

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, so I figured I’d pop in with another.

What I’m listening to: Elise Testone released her debut album, In This Life, last week, and I’m so enjoying it. She was my pick from American Idol in 2012 – there’s something very textured and unique to her voice, like it’s telling a story – and I’ve been looking forward to hearing new music from her ever since. Favorite songs include: Still We Try, Never Gave Me Butterflies, Save Me, and I Will Not Break. Also: Kristin Chenoweth’s Taylor the Latte Boy. She sang it at her concert on the fifth and I seriously have not been able to get it out of my head for the past twelve days. So fun and catchy.

What I’m watching: Olympics, Olympics, OLYMPICS. If there’s coverage airing, my television is on. I love everything about the games: the spirit, the dedication, the joy, the diligence, the hope, the faith, the pride. There’s just nothing like getting to watch someone’s dream come true. And how inspiring is it to know that, with years of determination and hard work, the training can pay off? Obviously writing is a far cry from figure skating or skiing, but seeing those athletes achieve their goals makes me want to jump into my desk chair and keep working on my own.

What I’m reading: Sarah Beard’s PORCELAIN KEYS. I’ll have a full review (and giveaway!) up on the 28th, so I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll just say this: it’s a book that stays with you. When I’m not hanging out with the characters, I want to be. They resonate like the music that runs through their souls, and I can’t wait to see what happens next in their story. If only I could just sit and read all day …

What I’m writing: Still hard at work on WATERCOLORS! I’m 64,000(ish) words in and enjoying it more and more with every day. Eden’s life is starting to turn around in wonderful ways, and even though I want to shake her for making choices that will bring it all to a screeching halt down the line, I must admit, it’s such fun to write this part of the book. I really feel like I’m getting to know her well now, and the supporting cast, too. Today’s writing session featured a diary entry from Eden’s mother Mariah and it made me super excited to flesh out her part of the story more. It’s amazing how characters’ lives, how all of our lives, are so interconnected like sentences on a page. Getting to weave their threads together is such an exhilarating process.

What I’m smiling about: a countdown to spring (thirty days, thirty days, thirty days!), this video of a precious polar bear cub making his debut in Toronto, irises that fill the house with their sweet scent, and new nail polish that adds a splash of color to the day.

What are you listening to / watching / reading / writing / smiling about this week?

What …


“Everybody’s reaching for something
Every day pulling and tugging
Always wanting a little more …”
~Melinda Doolittle, “Give”

What I’m listening to: Remember when I wrote about Melinda Doolittle’s fabulous and inspiring new song? Well, this past Tuesday she released an equally fabulous and inspiring EP. It’s called YOU’RE THE REASON and is full of wisdom-filled lyrics, beautiful melodies, and Melinda’s powerfully resonating voice. I love it so much and am learning something new from the tracks each time I listen.

What I’m watching: Anyone else a fan of Shark Tank on ABC? I find the premise absolutely fascinating and am always so intrigued by the products people create. There are so many reality shows out there, but this one is unique and – pardon the pun – inventive. And can we talk about Grey’s Anatomy for a minute? HUGE kudos to the amazing Sara Ramirez for last night’s Callie-centric episode. Talk about talented.

What I’m reading: Actually, this should probably be entitled “What I’m immersed in to the neglect of everything else.” Seriously. Allison Winn Scotch’s new novel, THE THEORY OF OPPOSITES, came out on Tuesday, and oh my gosh, you guys, it is excellent. I’m three-quarters of the way through and will write a full review when I’ve finished reading, but for now I’ll just say that it’s already made me laugh out loud, already made me nod my head in agreement, already made me think and reflect and feel.

What I’m writing: I moved on to character sketches for my new book this week and am truly having such a blast getting to know everyone. So far I’ve hung out (that sounds weird, huh, talking about characters like they’re real?) with Eden, her future best friend Serena, and her love interest Wilson. I’m growing more and more excited about them, about their stories, about the journey we’ll all go on together. There’s still some planning to do, but I can’t wait to start drafting in a couple weeks.

What I’m smiling about: A sweet new bundle of baby joy for a friend, a good report from my biennial cardiology appointment (for my heart murmur), a burst of (relative) warmth sandwiched in between the cold weather of late fall, and some wonderfully invigorating chats with some equally wonderful writing friends.

What are you listening to / watching / reading / writing / smiling about this week?

A Step Back.


“Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”
~Lucille Ball

Lucy

It’s no secret that I, along with countless others, love Lucy. I own every episode on DVD, have a stack of books dedicated to the show, the actors, and the incredible innovation of everybody involved in Desilu, and even wrote about the timelessly classic cultural phenomenon for a final paper in one of my college courses. Two Lucy dolls sit atop my hutch, a pocketbook with scenes from the show makes me smile whenever I use it, and I’m determined to visit the Lucy-Desi Center in Jamestown, NY sometime soon. So when I first heard there was an I Love Lucy stage show? And when I subsequently heard that the first stop on the production’s national tour would be Atlantic City? You can bet I was excited.

I’d looked forward to seeing the show for months, and it didn’t disappoint. Of course there will forever be something special, something iconic, something untouchable about the dynamic between Lucy, Desi, Vivian, and William. There’s a reason the television show is still aired worldwide, introducing new generations to the hilarious antics of the lovable foursome. But the stage version isn’t about comparisons. It’s about paying homage to the magic and history created more than sixty years ago. From the in-costume actors mingling with people outside the theater, to the setup of the stage and production – designed to mimic the Desilu studios from the 1950s and make the audience feel as though they’re watching two episodes be filmed – to the fabulous talent of the leads Sirena Irwin (Lucy) and Bill Mendieta (Ricky) … well, let’s just say it’s like living in Lucy’s world. I loved every minute, from the episodes themselves (“The Benefit” and “Lucy Gets Her Eyes Examined”) to the interludes with live, in-person commercials, just like the audience experienced it six decades ago. The cast had grandiose shoes to fill, but they did it beautifully. Sirena’s facial expressions and comedic timing were so on point with Lucille’s, and I swear, if you closed your eyes while listening to Bill talk, it’s like you were hearing Desi … that’s how perfectly he did his accent. They are fantastic.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that, after this leg of the national tour, they’ll decide to travel the country again and perform new episodes. I will happily be front and center for it. So much of society today is about looking forward, dreaming and planning and working toward the future, and while that’s important, of course, I think it’s equally as necessary to take a step back sometimes. Getting to do that yesterday was a treat. It was such a neat experience, and I’m sending all my appreciation to everyone involved in the production for giving that joy to countless audience members across the country. The original show made its viewers smile from start to finish, from the opening chords of the famous theme song to the last ones. This show does the same (even down to that theme song, which they performed at the end!). I didn’t think it was possible, but truly, it made me love Lucy even more.

Popping In.


“You find me here alone,
I hear a voice that’s so unknown.
It strikes courage up my backbone,
Strength in my heart.”
~Angie Miller, “You Set Me Free”

Wow, it’s been forever and a day since I last posted anything, hasn’t it? Full blame goes to my WIP, which has me so immersed in its pages that I’ve now forgotten to eat breakfast not once, but twice, this week … oops? With only seven and a half chapters left to write I’m finding it harder and harder to pry myself away from my desk. To say I’m excited about what’s ahead for my characters is the understatement of the century. Then there’s the fact that when I get to the home stretch of a first draft everything else usually falls by the wayside. It’s just challenging to remove myself from the story’s world for very long. Even when I’m not actively working, I still find my thoughts wandering back to the book. I wanted to pop in and say hi, though, and figured I’d share a few things currently capturing my attention when I’m not hanging out with Remi and Charlotte.

What I’m Reading: I was lucky enough to win an ARC of Claire Cook’s TIME FLIES from Goodreads and am thoroughly enjoying it. Normally I back off from reading as I write the final chapters of a manuscript – I like to stay in my own characters’ heads and not get to know others – but I’m squeezing in a couple chapters each day since this story is so fun. A main character who’s terrified of driving on highways? Let’s just say I can most definitely relate.

What I’m Watching: Anyone else a Dancing with the Stars fan? I’ve been rooting for Ingo Rademacher and Kellie Picker all season long and was thrilled for Kellie when she won the mirrorball trophy last night. Her dancing is lovely and her personality is contagious. She just makes you want to smile! How about American Idol? Anyone see the finale last week? Angie and Candice were my favorites from way back in the audition rounds. This is the first time since Carrie Underwood that one of my top picks actually won!

What I’m Listening To: Going along with the Idol theme, I pretty much haven’t been able to get Angie’s version of “Try” out of my head since she sang it on the show two weeks ago. I’ve also been loving the studio version of her self-penned single “You Set Me Free.” There’s something really special about that song. She’s going to be a big hit in the music scene, I can just tell.

Your turn: what are you reading, watching, and listening to right now?

Happy 50th, General Hospital!


“Daytime has been successful all these years because it caters to a very real need in the audience – to see something that’s not nighttime fantasy. People watch daytime because it’s like their lives.”
~Erika Slezak

GH collage

Happy 50th Anniversary, General Hospital! Thank you for the smiles, the laughter, the sunshine, the tears, the joy, the storylines that inspire and touch, the special and talented actors who make their fans feel like friends, and the truly amazing group of people I’ve met thanks to the show. Cannot imagine my life without them, and I owe it all to GH. I am so proud to be a fan of this tugs-at-your-heartstrings daytime drama and the incredible cast who breathes life and soul into their characters every day. Here’s to another fifty years of magic, stories, and memories!

A Tale of Two Pictures.


“When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
~Ernest Hemingway

Journal

Guess who officially chose a writing journal and started working on her new novel last Thursday? Guess who is very, very excited about that? The idea for this one has been percolating for over a year now, and it’s been such fun to take it from something abstract to concrete. There’s still a lot of research and planning to be done before I begin writing, but I’m having so much fun with it that I don’t even mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just itching to write again after spending all those months editing, but I’ve always been a fan of this part of the process, too. There’s something invigorating about the plotting stage – the pages are still blank, literally and figuratively, just waiting for a world to be born, for characters to be born, for a story to be born. I’ve spent a lot of time these past several days fleshing out my two main characters and am almost giddy about their journeys. This book is going to be quite different from anything I’ve ever worked on, both format-wise and story-wise, and even though it feels strange to be visiting with other characters instead of Sofie and Company, it’s also exciting. I kind of feel like Pandora, but in a good way, about to open a new box and watch infinite possibilities spring up from inside. To Charlotte and Remi: I cannot wait to tell your stories. You are already like living, breathing people to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing where those possibilities take us.

PortChick

I’ve mentioned my love of General Hospital many times, so it should come as no surprise that yesterday’s event with Laura Wright, Lisa LoCicero, Julie Berman, and Kelly Sullivan was a blast. Pretty sure they had the entire place laughing out loud for two hours straight. It was lovely to talk with Laura again, and I’m especially glad for the opportunity to meet Lisa, whose sunny spirit is truly contagious. As always, the awesomeness of the cast made me even prouder to be a GH fan.

Hmm, maybe one of my new characters will love the show, too. They do always say to “write what you know,” right? Off to brainstorm some more now …