Guys, I'm really struggling with my latest manuscript. Like I said before, writing a dystopian is no joke. And way different from writing fantasy. I'm well into ACT TWO and still a bit terrified that things won't resolve themselves. That I won't have a strong enough reason to write this book. If that makes sense.
So I have a decision to make. Do I push through, knowing that I will no doubt feel lost during some stage of the writing process, no matter what manuscript it is? Do I say, "It'll sort itself out at the right time" and complete the beast? Do I trust that there is a full story inside of me, and if I give it enough time, it'll come out?
Do I write the sequel to The Missing Crimoire?
AHHHHHHH! I'm SO CONFUSED!
I have plenty of story ready to write a sequel to TMC. I would love to dive back into the world of Luke, Gwen, and Wood. But I can't quite trust those feelings yet. It's like a past relationship. All you seem to remember are the sweet times. All you want is to return to your version of the relationship. Whether it's true or not. I'm feeling the pressure of a new story -- and suddenly, all I want to do is run back to the comfort of an old one.
What do I do?
Comfort and a bit of guidance (and a vote, really) of what to do would be appreciated! In other words, HELP THIS WRITER!
Guys. You all know that THE NAMING OF COLTON BLACK is coming out in August. But I need some help on picking the exact day.
Which is where you come in.
For the next week, I'm going to ask YOU to select the date. How, you may ask? By telling me what date YOU think it should come out on and WHY. Is there a special day you celebrate in August? Do you have a "lucky" number? Can you make up some random story to make me select your date?
Whatever the reason, give it all you got! The winner will get a FREE Kindle copy before the release date!
Contest starts TODAY and runs until 11:59PM on JULY 1ST -- I'll reveal the winner on JULY 6th, right here on the blog. Can't wait to read your posts :D
Guys -- for a limited time, THE MISSING CRIMOIRE is FREE on Kindle. Can you even, right now? I know investing money in a new author can be low on the priorities list; believe me. I understand budget. Which is why I love being able to give away copies for free.
Who does't love FREE?
Already 16 of you have downloaded it (and I'm writing this on day one of the promotion) -- YOU GUYS! THANKS for your interest!
And you know would make my author heart go pitter-patter? Leaving a review on Amazon or GoodReads. I'd love you forever, in fact.
I'm taking a quick break from embarrassing myself (don't worry; I'll start up again soon.) to talk about the dreaded ACT TWO.
I have been putting this off and putting this off, making excuses as to why I've been putting this off, until finally, I did it. I started.
ACT TWO scares the bleep out of me. Any of you writer's feel me on this? It's such a beast, being the largest part of the manuscript, and the part where things must happen. Steadily. Constantly. It's where you must guide your hero along a path that'll ultimately lead him to his breaking point. To a place where he'll reevaluate everything he holds dear. To a moment where he'll suffer. Break. Crumple. Drown. And then finally surrender to new possibilities. New territory.
Then it's, hello ACT THREE.
But until then, I must make my hero do things. Act. Compete. Feel. Move. Grow. Develop. ACT ONE sets the scene of the story. ACT TWO holds it all together.
I've done this before, written a novel. Done it three times, in fact. And yet, each time I get to this point, I struggle. It's a scary place to be, ACT TWO. It's where (for me) all the doubts come in; the demons begin to taunt: you'll never figure this out. You'll never finish. It's impossible. And yet, if I can push through, push past that nasty concophony of voices, I can get to a really good place.
Nothing feels more satisfying then placing that last period on the page of a finished manuscript. So, here I go. Yet again. On the path through ACT TWO. Feeling a bit like Frodo Baggins--heavy with responsibility to finish my journey. Knowing I have no choice but to continue on until it's done.
All kinds of good vibes to those of you working on ACT TWO. Talk to me if you're struggling. We'll get through this together.
Now that you all have seen the cover of my next book (SQUEAL!), I want you to get a taste of what's to come. For those of you who found my secret page and for those of you who've signed up for my newsletter, you've gotten the first glimpses.
But, because I'm feeling so excited about this story, I'm going to share with the rest of you an excerpt from the first chapter. (If you missed the full chapter, and want to read it, sign up for my newsletter and I'll send it to you!) I'm so excited for the release of this book in August. Love you all to pieces.
Six days. I’ll have to relive everything in six days.
Wow. Life. Ups and downs come and go, don't they? We've had a few over at the Puelma household. A possible relocation. A dearth of freelance gigs. A new puppy. And many more. None of these things has been terrible. Not at all. Just a part of the ups and downs.
I'm going to be honest--the new puppy might be the hardest. But he came at a time when I really needed him. For instance. My husband received some news we might have the opportunity to relocate. A move. A new location. A new adventure. What I've longed for for many years. To a place that I love. Where people whom I love live. But things fell through the cracks and the chance disappeared. For now. It was a tough blow.
Enter my freelance life. I'll sum it up for you in one word. Slow. I know this is part of the journey. Yes, I get to work from home. Yes, I get to set my own hours. But yes, paychecks cease to exist at times. Then the doubt sets in. Am I good at what I do? Is my portfolio too weak? What am I doing? When the work dries up, so does the validation. And not that I need others to validate me. But aren't we all hungry for it? Especially in a career?
Then--the Puppy. My hero of a husband, who's fought allergies with dogs in the past, knew how much I've wanted one. For years. Since those embarrassing moments in my childhood. I turned 34 this week. And he bought me a puppy. The absolute cutest maltipoo. Cream with a hint of apricot. Cub-like face. Paws to squeal over. No, he's not easy. Yes, I've gotten severely less sleep since he's arrived. My arms have teeth marks all over them. And I should receive a badge for cleaning up. He'll never be a solution to life's downs, of course. But he sure is a welcomed (and freakin' cute) distraction.
As I write this, I'm longing for my pillow. Sleep is calling. Then again, so is a crying puppy. And that, oddly enough, is a much sweeter sound to me. So, welcome, life's ups and downs. I'll take 'em as they come.
(Another repost. But guys. It's worth the read.)
The word itself is embarrassing. Going through it? Even worse.
But we all experience it. We have no choice. It grabs ahold of each one of us and slowly transforms our minds, our bodies, our lives into adults. Or slightly older little people still with the minds (and let’s be honest, bodies) of children.
So many embarrassing moments surround my own puberty. Scoliosis testing. PE uniforms. My first period. Growing bodies videos. If I had to do each one of these now? Sure. They’d be slightly uncomfortable, but doable. Not life changing. Not torturous. Not embarrassing.
Unfortunately, we can only go through puberty while experiencing puberty. At an age far too young to emotionally handle what’s happening.
For me, I didn’t have sisters. I didn’t know how to change in front of another girl who wasn’t my mom. And even then, I liked having my privacy; my own space for things like that. So when I entered into the land of the PE uniform, and changing in a gym in front of fifty other girls became a must, I did my best to blend into a corner and swap my street clothes for gym clothes savvier than a magician.
And then there was the scoliosis test in the seventh grade. Walk into a room; remove your shirt; and allow a nurse to survey your back.
REMOVE MY SHIRT???
Yes. For only a few minutes. In the privacy of a room. In front of one other woman. However, it felt like the most intrusive, embarrassing incident one could think of.
Then there’s the changing bodies video. Now, not only are you subjected to watching terrifying images of uteruses and embryos and whatever the heck were in those clips, but you were forced to witness them next to your parents. GAG. SQUIRM. Parents then are gross like aliens. When they kiss, it’s what you imagine extraterrestrials doing in space. So to sit and watch something about the female body, the developing female body, with your parental aliens, life can’t get much worse.
I’ll spare you from detailing my first period. Just know I was such a reserved, shy, uber sensitive human being that my mother could only communicate with me through leaving pamphlets in my underwear drawer. Speaking about the subject matter face-to-face mortified me. Again, no sisters. No one leading the way in this; showing me how to talk about tampons and pads and spotting and bleck, gross, nononononono.
Thank goodness, life gets better. Thank goodness puberty turns into adulthood. And thank goodness we grow old enough to look back, laugh, and write a blog about it. Here’s to puberty. Thanks for the inspiration.
I told you I'd share embarrassing stories of myself, yes? Well. I stick to my word.
(This is a repost from an old blog of mine.)
Since my heroine Breslin is a seventeen-year-old, and an easily embarrassed one, I thought I’d let you in on some of the more "special" moments I’ve experienced in my life. After all, who doesn’t like laughing at others?
Senior year was pretty great. I had a solid group of friends; enjoyed taking dance class; was a varsity cheerleader; and felt more confident in my skin (as confident as an introverted with a yet-to-be-discovered anxiety disorder seventeen-year-old could be). Talking with boys seemed less intimidating. Especially boys I thought were just friends.
I had auditioned for a swing dance group and got it–this was one of the most fun experiences in high school by far. Loved. Plus, getting to dance with guys in an unassuming, casual yet fun way was perfect for me. Lots of joking around. Lots of laughs. Lots of silly.
Little did I know, I had made a different impression on a boy in this group. A boy who was indeed very nice and very sweet; and a boy who decided he wanted to ask me to prom.
I hadn’t expected to go to prom. I was a non-dating senior in high school who only went to dances stag (my parents instilled in me the idea of waiting-to-date until I was older, and I fully supported that); it made the occasions less stressful and as equally fun, since I could dress up, be goofy, and not worry about every tiny insecurity I would have worried about had I gone with a guy. Which is why, I had succumbed to the fact that I wouldn’t have a date to prom.
Someone didn’t get the memo.
I arrived at school one morning to a Chinese take-out box sitting on my desk in English class. Having attention drawn to me was not a favorite of mine. So, when I finally sat down, students around me were vocally curious. “Open it!” “What’s inside?” “Who left it?” Heat burned my neck. I’d have rather taken the box into the restroom and opened it there. But with the mini frenzy that was starting, I did what they wanted. And opened it.
Inside, was a clue written on an opened fortune cookie slip of paper. Since it’s been years (fifteen I think (dang)), I can’t remember what it said. But I do remember bemoaning the fact that this wasn’t over. The attention; the mystery; the inevitable question.
Classes went on and more take-out boxes appeared on my desks. Inside each was a new clue. My anxiety grew with each box I collected. With each stare that focused on me. And with each thought of who was this from? I didn’t have admirers or a potential crush at the time. The mystery was killing me.
Finally, lunch was drawing to an end, and I was heading up the stairs of the science building. When coming down to meet me was my swing dance partner. The boy. The very nice, very sweet boy who I had only labeled as friend. There he was, standing there with a dozen red roses and a huge smile on his face.
I wanted to faint.
I shuffled towards him, feeling an overwhelming mixture of feelings. Embarrassment for sure. Here I was, soaking in the attention from all around the courtyard; faces, staring at me; expectantly waiting for me to answer his question.
Maybe someone with a more stabilized internal world, someone who didn’t tense up when embarrassed, someone who handled anxious situations well might have handled this sweet moment better. But I wasn’t that girl.
The memory of what happened next is a bit hazy. But I do remember washing that smile off his face with a quiet and gentle no. It was awful. Awful to put him through that. Awful for not being a more balanced person at the time. Awful for the questionable stares that followed after I retreated. Why, why would I have said no to such a sweet and grand effort?
Because. I was seventeen. Anxiety riddled. Affected by embarrassment. Introverted. And a dating newbie. Put that together with a grand, publicized gesture and you’ve got the worst case scenario. For me. And for the poor boy who asked me.
Today, I hope I would respond differently. Yes, I’m still easily embarrassed and an introvert; but with help and time, I’ve quieted my internal fears and anxieties, and have freed myself from the hold embarrassment has on me like it did back then.
And to the sweet boy who asked me to prom, you were a stand-up guy. No doubt you found your forever “prom date” who appreciated your grand gestures. Keep being you.