I’m sad to say I’m not updating with talk on writing or much talk at all, though I suppose you all are getting used to that by now.

No, a lot has been going on, and I haven’t had much time to do much of anything–even the things I need to do. But the things I want to do? Forget about it!

So, let me be very brief and make promises for the future like I always will:

  • I got engaged (wedding planning sucks!)
  • I’m being converted as a full-time employee at my job
  • I’m editing a book for RHX still
  • I’m not going to the gym 😦
  • I’m not writing 😦
  • I AM doing a LOT of things around the house/”homestead” that you can read about here: Acre Hill Farm

So I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to get caught up at work, and get plants in the ground at home and build cages for animals, and plan a wedding that will be happening in a little over four months (can I say that I need to go to the gym enough?).

So I’m counting down the days to September 30, when I can breathe and start to have more time to myself. Until then, I need to start writing whenever I can between everything else that’s on my plate!

Here’s to hoping for a better update in the next few weeks.

Most of the time, I don’t believe in Astrology. Sure, I’ll check my horoscope the day after to see if it came true, or I’ll do a pairing of “Am I compatible?” but I don’t put much stock into it. I don’t know that I believe the day I was born and the month and the position of the planets changes who I am as a person. Perhaps it does and I just don’t get it. And I can read a description of a Pisces and find something that’s true, or of Cancer, or Sagittarius…. And I’m a Gemini.

Having said all of that, sometimes–I wonder. I wonder if it doesn’t play a part in my life or that maybe I just so happened to be born under the Twins as a coincidence. (I don’t believe in coincidences.) I say this because there are so many sides to me, and none of them line up.

Sometimes I don’t know what life path I should have chosen. You see, coming out of college, there were two “me”s. There was the me who wanted to come back to Maryland and settle down, who wanted to write books and live a domestic life, who wanted to dream big and have a career.

Then there was her. You hear me talk about her sometimes, and I miss her very much. You may have heard me say that I have different personalities depending on the language I speak–and it’s true (there’s those naughty multi-personality twins again!). I wish you could meet this “her.” She’s lively and much less shy, much less bashful. She speaks Portuguese and could have gotten a job in Brazil. At the very least, she would have stayed in Pittsburgh and gotten a job translating and, eventually, living in Brazil or at least visiting often. You see, she gets shivers up her spine and a warm feeling in her heart just to think of living in Brazil. I know because I can feel them now.

But when I graduated I had to make a choice. Brazil/Pittsburgh or Maryland. Obviously, I chose to come home.

Do I regret it?

In some ways, yes. I don’t regret coming home and I certainly don’t regret the life I have. But I regret not trying to apply to a great job. Regret may even be a strong word, and not trying too harsh of a judgement. You see, because I didn’t not try. I just made a choice to go with Her #1.

It’s hard, I think. Having these two conflicted souls inside you that just won’t mix. These two life paths that you know you have to walk away from one to choose the other. Can I still speak Portuguese? Mostly. Could I visit Brazil? Of course. Could I still try to get a translation job? Yes, but it would be hard. I can still visit Pittsburgh, I still get excited when I meet Brazilians, and I still love their culture.

But it’s not the same and the two lives are too different to merge.

So that is what I live with. And as I get further down this first path I realize–that’s not it. Apparently I’m riddled with dual parts, sometimes that I find hard to reconcile. The perfect example:

I tend to walk into work in dresses (preferred outfit) with cowgirl boots and Carhartt jackets. I can analyze data and write design documents, and then struggle to realize the workplace is probably not the place to talk about my chickens and 5-year farm plan. I can go to a bonfire and hang out with all of my friends, only to find out that their dad’s or mom’s are surprised when I say I’m a technical writer.

It’s all these things. All these things that make me wonder: Where should I be?

Well, I like where I am. I’m working for changes, to exercise more and write more and farm our acre and to make this life I’ve chosen the most it can be. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s multiple “Me”s and sometimes I miss the other version.

After a lot of quiet time, I’ve been tagged in a prompt!

I’m glad, too, as it will hopefully start the long process of my climb out of hibernation. I know I’ve been quiet, and if you’re still around—thank you! Hopefully this will add some insight, and kickstart my need to write, edit, and do all sorts of other things you can read about in my other blog (link soon).

If there’s one thing that writing this post taught me, it’s that I’ve become too disconnected from writing, the writing world, and this story.

Thank you to Rachel for tagging me! Go have a turn around her blog as well.

1: What is the working title of one of your current stories?

Riverbank is the biggest, longest thing I’ve ever tried to write. It’s my current work in progress, as I don’t count short stories. It will hopefully be the first, and not the last, book I will ever write.

2: Where did the idea come from for the story?

I’ve always been an odd person. A little meticulous, a little worried, a little bit of an over-active imagination. I used to have trouble falling asleep because I would imagine the house was on fire or that a murderer was climbing into my second-story window. I was as young as 10 when this happened.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the idea of this story originated from one late night. I was in college (so maybe five years ago) and couldn’t sleep, and as I listened to the trains go by and thought of “home,” I imagined a girl standing in the middle of the street. Suddenly, she caught fire.

The story snowballed for four years to become what it is now.

3: What genre does “Riverbank” fall under?

I would call it Young Adult Dystopian, but I’m hesitant to use “YA.” Not just because of the stigma—I don’t get it, I’ve read bad novels for adults and great novels for young adults—but because I’m not sure if it fits.

The protagonist is in her early twenties, so a little outside of the YA genre, but ultimately, YA fits. It also may fall more into YA Fantasy, depending on your views.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh no. I don’t think like that. I don’t even know the names of most actors. Can I tell you what colors I think of when I think of the book?

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?

In a world where the elementals’ control of the weather and the earth makes survival impossible, Keira learns the sacrifices of war and what it is to be human in an elemental world.

I’m going to have to work on this!

6: Will your story be self-published or represented by an agency?

Honestly, I haven’t thought that far through. Of course—I’ve thought about it. But I think writing it before deciding would be OK. I would do anything from searching for an agent, publishing it myself, going through a smaller publishing house, or going to my friends over at RHX to see if they would pick it up.

7: How long has the editing taken you?

Let’s write the darned thing first! I got 40k in a month, then slowed to a crawl….

8: What other stories would you compare “Riverbank” to within your genre?

Honestly, The Hunger Games would be a big one because of the oppressive nature of the government. I would also liken it to some degree to Tamora Pierce’s middle grade novels, especially because of the nature of the magic.

9: Who or What inspired you to write this story?

I would say the Earth did. It may sound hokey, but especially when we have 70-degree days in February, and snowstorms on the brink of Spring, I get an itch in my fingers to write. I think there’s a huge climate shift happening in our world, and whether it’s because of our own mistakes or because that is the way the circle goes is an argument I am not taking part of with this work. This is just a way to cope with the change.

I suppose you could also say it’s a story about learning that a moral compass doesn’t always point to true North. I think of this in our constant battles to stay ourselves and stay moral, even if it means staying apart from expectation.

10: What else about your story might pique the reader’s interest?

There isn’t much romance, so if that’s your cup of tea—look elsewhere! It is, however, a close look at where the line between good and evil belongs. It has some beautiful magic in it, all stemming from nature. And it has a lot of weather!

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Now it’s my turn to tag! Ty, you’re it!

I haven’t written at all this weekend, like I wanted to, but here is what I did do:

  • Went to a funeral. Let me just say, no matter what, funerals suck.
  • Visited with some of Mike’s family. The circumstances were sad, but seeing them is always good.
  • Ran around like crazy returning things and then buying everything we could get our hands on. But we’re ready for canning and freezing our vegetables!
  • Cooked/baked more than I have in WEEKS. The menu included chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, meringues, venison chili, chicken meatloaf, black cherry venison (still marinating in the fridge), turkey and chicken meatloaf, apple spice cupcakes, beef and cheddar gravy, pie crust cinnamon rolls, citrus water, blueberry lime water, strawberry/blueberry/mint water, and whole grain bread (ate a few slices with some cheddar crab dip I found in the freezer). Hungry yet?
  • Packaged up a lot of said food for the freezer. What, you didn’t think I ate all that this weekend, did you?!
  • Worked on the chicken coop some more! Painted the inside, put up the outside and then painted it!

ImageSee, this is the coop in the middle of putting up siding. Now all we need is to get approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals so we can actually own the chickens. But that’s a long story for another day.

Here I go again. Jumping on the self-published authors soapbox, telling you that I read a lot of self-published fiction (both good and bad). This time, though, I’m going to go to the flip side:

What bothers me and will make me less likely to read your book if I haven’t picked it up all by my lonesome.

Now, the majority of self-published fiction that I have read I stumbled upon myself. I was digging through Amazon for something to read, probably saw a pretty cover and decided to see what it was about. If I read an author and enjoyed the book, I was willing to see what other authors they recommended. So when I read some Amanda Hocking and thought she was fun, I saw JL Bryan and decided I loved his Jenny Pox book. Heather Hildenbrand I stumbled upon. A book called Gravity by Melissa West popped up in my recommended reads.

All of the others I read but probably wouldn’t recommend that everyone read. (In fact, if I wasn’t trying to be so diplomatic, I could tell you of a book that I finished the other day that I highly recommend you never even try to read.)

But that tells you how I pick books. Pretty/decent cover? – Check. Recommended by another person I like? – Likely to help. Recommended by Amazon? – I’ll at least open up the page.

But here’s the way I don’t find books: By getting hassled to read or download an e-book, even if it’s for free.

I only joined Twitter a few months ago, in the thought that I could possibly meet like-minded people, connect to some real-life people I don’t see too often and who don’t have Facebook, and hopefully get on my way of having people know what’s up with my writing.

I think these are all great reasons to have a Twitter. Many authors use twitter to connect, and as we all know, the writer does much of the marketing now. The problem is that some authors only use Twitter to announce their book.

Your posts crowding up my homepage, telling me that your book is the best and I should read it, do not make me want to read your book. If it’s bad enough and that is literally the only thing I see you post, chances are I’ll want to unfollow you.

But I’ll take it one step further into what’s worse: Authors inflating their followers by following you, and then unfollowing you once you’ve returned the follow.

I’m not sure of Twitter etiquette. I still don’t know what to post sometimes (since much of what I’d be inclined to say/think is probably inappropriate to share with the masses!–I’m half-joking), and at times I get overwhelmed with so many statuses. I pick and choose what to respond to, and sometimes I worry I don’t fully get it. Perhaps it’s OK in the Twitterverse to follow someone, then unfollow them once it’s been returned.

My gut tells me, though, that it’s a scam and a poorly executed and poor platform-building plan.

So to anyone who may friend me to pad their followers, then remove me to make you look more popular:

I will figure it out and I will unfollow you. I haven’t read your book and given your clogging of my feed with posts about your book, and the fact that I don’t know you, I was never attached to you to begin with. And as someone who does read self-published fiction, you’ve actually lost a reader through book-selling harassment and unfavorable moral code, which means you’ve lost all of my friends I would have bugged to read your book if it was any good.

And before you, dear reader, say I’m being crazy about this–I don’t think so. I think you’ll find that many readers are the same. They prefer authors to have a blog they can read, a Twitter that says something about their life. Even though, yes, it will provide a cover reveal or a giveaway or a publication announcement, it will also provide something that makes them human.

So here’s a few simple rules:

  • Post about things that aren’t just your book.
  • Don’t post about your book every three hours.
  • Don’t follow, then unfollow people as soon as they’ve returned the follow.

This simply doesn’t work unless you’re J.K. Rowling. Hint: You’re not.

Follow me on twitter!

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