Category Archives: Writing Process

How Quickly the World Can Change

News on book 3 and a diary entry

I’ve never been the queen of social media. Not as a teenager. Not as a mother. Not even as an author, though I understand its importance and make an adequate effort to do my part. But even for me, my online presence over the past few months has been horrible. I only wish I had a happier reason why.

I WISH I could say that I was busy celebrating my 32nd birthday. Or getting lost in my third book. Or enjoying my first Christmas with my beautiful baby girl. But the truth is that I spent the holidays half blind (literally) and terrified.

It started with what seemed to be a tiny smudge on my contact lens — only when the contact lens came out, the smudge didn’t leave along with it. I didn’t think much of it at first. I was just tired … or had run into a very persistent speck of dust. Surely, it would disappear in a day or two, just as mysteriously as it had come.

Over those next few days, however, the smudge ballooned into a thick gray curtain that blocked out half my world. Through the afflicted eye, I couldn’t see my husband’s hand one centimeter in front of my face. I couldn’t see the bright red numbers on my bedside clock, even with my nosed pressed up against the glass. I clung to my daughter every second, terrified that the loss of sight would become permanent … or spread to my other eye as well … ending my life just when it was truly beginning. Continue reading

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Take a peek inside my writing room — via Novelicious

My Writing Room picture - Kenyon
Sometimes it’s one-fingered on an iPad in the nursing chair. Sometimes it’s while tossing a ball for my dog in the back yard. Sometimes it’s on the kitchen counter, jotting a few sloppy words between recipe steps and lunging to reset my daughter’s baby radio every 49 seconds – to avoid a complete, non-cooking-related meltdown. And once in a while, on those rare days when everything actually goes according to plan, it’s in my home office while the little one slumbers and my dog curls peacefully at my feet. That’s the dream, anyway.

Right now, while working on the third book in my Desperately Ever After series, my “writing room” is wherever I can spare time for a thought and a scribble. That’s because in addition to being an author, I’m also learning how to be mother to a five-month-old girl and playmate to a woefully neglected (though really not at all!) tornado of a labrador named Shadow. Suddenly, two hands are a luxury and I’ve read The Little Engine That Could ten times for every chapter I’ve actually written. Who am I kidding? Every PAGE I’ve written.  Continue reading

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Desperately Ever After: Update on Book Two

If you Google “denial,” you’ll get definitions from the Mayo Clinic, Wikipedia, and good old Merriam-Webster. You’ll also get to relive some Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, learn that “Denial” is an extremely popular book title, and read 217 author quotes on Goodreads.

“Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it,” George R.R. Martin wrote in A Game of Thrones.

While you could also call it optimism, or hope, or faith that Amazon would correct its conversion errors in a timely manner … at the end of the day, Mr. Martin is right. I have been in denial for the past week about the scheduled release of Damsels in Distress. Continue reading

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Word Crimes

Let me start by saying I’m not a fan of Robin Thicke. But when I heard “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody of “Blurred Lines” (which, depending on your gender, you may or may not detest), I just couldn’t help but share it. Yes, Thicke’s beat is catchy, but it’s Weird Al’s rant against countless “Word Crimes” (“I could care less” has always driven me nuts, as has the misuse of “its” and “it’s”) that really hooked me.

So for all you fellow grammarians out there … even if you get a little lax every so often … enjoy:

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My Writing Process blog tour

Immortal Longings cover (new)A few weeks ago, author RG Dole tagged me in this Writing Process Blog Tour. RG is the author of a supernatural star-crossed lovers book called Immortal Longings (as a fan of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, I hope to get to it soon!), and I’m honored she thought of me for this.

I’ve been struggling to find the time to pick up the torch, so without further ado:

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What am I working on?

dfw-lk-did-cover-midDamsels in Distress, the sequel to Desperately Ever After, is due out next month. It’s hard to say too much about the story because the first book is still brand new and I don’t want to give anything away! I’ll just say that Damsels in Distress continues Belle’s struggle and also adds Sleeping Beauty (Dawn) into the mix. Dawn is a background character in Book One for space reasons, but her story is actually one of my favorites. I really can’t wait for everyone to get to know her better. There are so many questions people never ask about the Sleeping Beauty tale: What kind of man would discover a comatose woman in the woods and decide to kiss her? How would she feel waking up covered in dust with a stranger’s tongue in her mouth? What if she had been in love with someone else before the curse hit? How would she reconcile her old life with her brand new existence?

After that, I’ll be diving into the third installment in the series, as well as writing my first Desperately Ever After novella. The latter will tell the story behind Grethel, the woman who took Rapunzel as a baby and kept her in that tower. There are so many minor characters in the series that I’d love to explore further, so I hope it’s the first of many side projects. Continue reading

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My turn to do the talking

The wonderful Zanna Mackenzie, author of IF YOU ONLY KNEW and fellow dog lover, interviews me on her blog today.

It’s nice to turn the tables once in a while and talk about my experience 😉

Check it out here: http://t.co/P9I3mKXYAi

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Emerging from Chaos: Relishing the Post-Draft Cleanup

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Maybe I’m just weird, but there’s something euphoric about the post-draft cleanup period … when the manuscript reaches its (temporary) end and the keyboard-punching squalor in which I’ve been living finally goes away.

Out go the late-night fro-yo bowls, the drained mugs with solidified coffee residue at the bottom, the piles of notecards, the “reference” books, the illegible pencil notes, and the reams of print-outs bloody from my Bic round stic pen. Oh, and the random sweaters I kept taking on and off. And the receipts I meant to file away. And the inboxes that look like George Costanza’s wallet. And the to-do list for my non-writing life that’s been completely on hold for months. Continue reading

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My tribute to a publishing heroine: Hazel Gaynor, author of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME

The Girl Who Came HomeAbout six months ago, when I was trying to figure out this whole publishing thing, I connected with a brilliant and wonderful author by the name of Hazel Gaynor. To an aspiring author, she was a beacon of hope and kindness in a world of locked doors.

By that time, her self-published e-book, The Girl Who Came Home, had sold nearly 100,000 copies and gone on to secure a re-publishing deal (plus an additional title) from William Morrow.

To me, she was living proof that an author with a good book and a dedicated work ethic would eventually find success. There may only be one Promised Land, but there are countless ways to get there.

Hazel GaynorWhen I reached out to her for advice with Desperately Ever After last fall, she could have easily glossed over my questions or sent me an indifferent, “Just keep at it!” But she didn’t. She took the time to answer all of my questions in-depth; she asked about my life and told me about hers; she put me in touch the brilliant Andrew Brown of Design for Writers; she introduced me to Catherine Ryan Howard‘s invaluable guidebook, Self-Printed; she offered to be my second-ever author interview on Skipping Midnight (after the also wonderful Heather Webb); and she has continued to support me in this brand new life that I’m determined to make work.

Hazel was the first of many writers I’ve since met who’ve completely disproved the notion that this industry is filled with cutthroat, uber-competitive people who are only out for themselves.

This past Tuesday, William Morrow released the “new and improved” edition of The Girl Who Came Home. Below are the Amazon summary and link. I just purchased my paperback copy (the original is on my Kindle), and hope you’ll consider doing the same.  Continue reading

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Understanding Writers

I found this post by Dahlia Adler a few months ago and loved it. For some reason, it seemed perfect for a rainy Friday. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, it offers some good insight.

Read it, comment, and then head on over to The Daily Dahlia for more.

If you enjoy Skipping Midnight, fairy tales or puppies (and come on, who doesn’t like puppies?) please head over to Facebook and “like” my page. Who knows, maybe it’s a wizard in disguise and doing so will grant you eternal good karma. Just sayin’…

The Daily Dahlia

Non-writers, we love you. We really do. We love how badly you want us to succeed, how badly you want to give us advice, and the incredible amount of support you give with your words and wallets. You are amazing. And when you try to make suggestions as to how we should go about publishing our books, it’s not you we’re frustrated at, exactly. We know that writing looks easy; it’s something we’ve all had to do in school a zillion times. And we know we’re not all getting paid for it yet, and that makes it look like it’s just this fun little thing we do to pass the time or indulge our insanity, and yes, it is that too.

But here’s the thing: it’s hard work. It’s time-consuming. It’s soul-sucking. And it’s so, so much more than you think it is. It’s something that requires a lot more…

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Why every writer needs a dog

There from the beginning

There from the beginning

The great Jennifer Weiner (author of Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and, my personal favorite, Goodnight Nobody) doesn’t need to give advice to the legions of writers salivating over her wild success. With 10 bestsellers and 11 million copies in print, she could easily spend the rest of her life in seclusion, mailing out manuscripts for instant publication, and cashing in royalty checks. Instead, she is constantly going on Twitter to make adoring fans laugh; on Facebook to provide glimpses into her life; and all over the web to answer questions and make hope-swollen writers feel a little bit at ease.

A few years ago, when I decided to stop dreaming about becoming a novelist and do something about it, I found a great deal of guidance from a spot on her website. In addition to the numerous pages reflecting her success, there was one titled “For Writers.”

It was filled with great advice. But the best, hands down, was this: GET A DOG Continue reading

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