Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Civil Wars

Given the chance to talk about somebody else as the topic of my blog today, the choice came easily.  I stumbled upon some videos on YouTube of my favorite music artists, The Civil Wars, and have been watching and re-watching them for the past couple days.  The pursuit of an artistic life, whether that art is written, played, sung, or sculpted, comes with certain hurdles.  This is true for everyone, even the people who seem to have an easy ride.  Opening up the soul to create art is inherently fraught with conflict, with judgments, with highs and lows that touch on depths whose ripples can define a life.  There is vulnerability in submitting to our art, and even more in sharing what our art produces.  Writers know this.  Singers.  Painters.  We all know what it is and yet we do it anyway.  This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes by Anais Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

So, we blossom, in sometimes funny-shaped blooms and endure through unpredictable weather toward our goals.  What moved me so much about the two Civil Wars videos I posted (aside from the amazing music) is the discussion with high school students about the winding path that, after ten or more years in the music industry, led them to each other and to the amazing ride they are now on.  The second video talks about the inspirations for their lyrics.  For me, hearing their journey made me feel better about my own winding journey. I hope wherever you are on the path, you find something inspiring about them too.

The trailer for my YA debut, The Wild Wood, available June 29, 2012.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This Morning

Today's post is about sharing something about myself, so I am going to share the realization I had this morning.  First though, I know that even when we have an epiphany, it doesn't mean we've achieved inner peace, it is just one piece on a long road toward growth (something I love, as stagnation is my greatest enemy).  I just wanted to add that caveat because too often we look across fences and see what others claim to feel without understanding that they don't necessarily feel that way every single day.  With that said, let me tell you about this morning.

It was a good morning.  I woke before my alarm and used the stolen minutes to read some of a romance novel series that I'm going through like wildfire (stolen reading time is one of my favorite things).  And then I got up, let the dogs out, and fed them (they get so excited to eat that you'd think I'd been starving them for months).  I exercised (a tiny bit) and then got ready for work.  All of this seems pretty mundane, but it was pleasant.  And just before leaving for work, while wearing a pretty dress (I have big love for pretty dresses), I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I am happy with where I am in my life, who I am, what I am achieving, and wouldn't choose to trade with anyone else.  That's big for me, because I sometimes look over fences at the people who have the things I don't (both on a personal level, as well as a literary one) and want to be where they are.  I always wanted the agent, the book deal, and all the validation that implies.  Self-publishing wasn't the way my dream ever looked.  But this morning's clarity really wasn't about book deals or the lack thereof, it was about me.  Who I am at my core.  It was about acceptance of the pretties and the uglies inside us all.  And it was wonderful.

So, that is my About Me for today.  May everyone have cause to smile on a Tuesday morning in May.

The trailer for my YA debut, The Wild Wood, available June 29, 2012.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday: About Writing

Monday's topic is about writing, and I was thinking about this post while I was editing this weekend.  My book is in the finishing stretch (thank goodness since it is coming out June 29, 2012) and as I go through and make minor reader-inspired tweaks, reviewing these words for the billionth time, I am reminded of exactly why this was the book that refused to be put away forever just because it didn't find a traditional publishing home.  Even after all this, two complete rewrites, changes, two years set aside and then revisited, I still love it.  It still moves me.  I still cry at the end, happy tears.  My characters are real to me, and thankfully, to my readers who have been pestering me to do something with this book and write the sequel (or get buried up to my neck until I do, thanks, Tawny).  This story needs to live, and it is for this story that I am crossing the barrier I never thought I would cross.  I never intended to self-publish.  I planned to just keep writing and submitting first books (everything I write is a series, so far anyway) until I found an agent and hopefully got a book deal.  But The Wild Wood forced my hand and now I'm on a terrifyingly wonderful adventure.

So, I guess what this post is about as far as writing is concerned is the beauty of reading your own words and having them draw out of you a response when by rights you should be over them after the years of work and endless edits.  I'm not over The Wild Wood, and I hope readers feel the same way.

The trailer for my YA debut, The Wild Wood, available June 29, 2012.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Make You Smile

A friend just sent this to me and I thought it was perfect for the Friday goal of the Blog Me Maybe blogfest to make you smile.

Have a Happy Friday Everyone, and get out and dance walk!

The trailer for my YA debut, The Wild Wood, available June 29, 2012.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

About Someone Else Thursday

The first "about someone else" post isn't much of a challenge and isn't a first for my blog, but it's been a long time since I posted anything about her.  Her name is Han Suyin and she is the author of my favorite book, The Mountain is Young.  My cousin, who incidentally is the person who sent me the article that inspired me to self-publish, recommended this book to me almost two decades ago.  I've read it dozens of times and every single time, I love it more.  I can only dream that one day I will be able to use words like Han Suyin does as she weaves a tapestry and takes readers away from the world they know into the world of her fictionalized Kathmandu.  The main character, Anne Ford, is a favorite of mine, but I also love the entire cast of fallible but fascinating characters.  The book is out of print, but available used from Amazon and other online book stores.  I highly recommended it, and would love to know who your favorite writer is and why you are moved by their words. 

The trailer for my YA debut, The Wild Wood, available June 29, 2012.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

About You Wednesday

I've been thinking about what I would ask followers of my blog and it wasn't hard to figure out.  Since making the decision to self-publish, I really wonder what others think about doing the same.  I know for everyone the reasons to self-pub or not to self-pub are unique, but I wonder what the catalyst is for the ones who have done/or are doing it and what keeps others from diving in.  So, if you don't mind sharing, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The book trailer for my upcoming YA fantasy, The Wild Wood

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

About Me Tuesday

So, I've been looking for a way to get motivated to start blogging more consistently and the day I went looking around for said motivation, I wandered onto another favorite delinquent blog (yes, Ms. Lola, I'm looking at you).  And there I discovered the Blog me Maybe Blogfest.  Well, I'm in.

Here's the format (and you don't have to post every day or visit every participating blog, but I am very excited to try).

Mondays: May I tell you something about writing?
This can be anything writing-related. A post on craft. A post on your process. A snippet of your WIP, if you like to share. A book on craft that you want to recommend. Things you struggle with. Things you rock at. ANYTHING at all! 

Tuesdays: May I tell you something about myself?
Pretty self-explanatory :) Share something about yourself that your followers might not know. Or maybe they do. It doesn't matter--this is just so people who read your blog can get to know you a little better. 

Wednesdays: May I ask something about you?
Ask your followers something about themselves. 

Thursdays: May I tell you something about someone else?
Make this post about someone else. A writing friend. A critique partner. A person from history who's fascinating. A character from a book. Anyone you want. :) Have a guest poster. Give an interview. Get creative! Just let the spotlight shine on someone else. 

Fridays: May I share something funny?
Fridays = the starts of weekends! BOOYA. Reason to celebrate and laugh on it's own--plus, who doesn't want to see something amusing after a long week?

So, for today, I'm going to start with something easy, something everyone might not know about me.  

If I could only listen to one song for the rest of my life, this is the one I would choose.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Book Trailer for my YA debut The Wild Wood