Tuesday, February 21, 2012


A Gift of Thought is going to be the weirdest book ever. I kind of love it. Even right now, when it's in its first draft stage and scenes wander and I get repetitive, it's...different. It's not young adult, but Dillon and Rachel are sure important. It's not really a romance. It's only partly a thriller. I have no idea what it is, really. But it is ever so fun.

I'm biased, of course. But still, I'm loving all my characters madly and that's really fun. And Sylvie--she just rocks. I'm so excited for her to get an HEA.

Friday, February 17, 2012


The strangest part of having started OhLife when I did (last April) is that my reminders wind up being all about grief. Or almost all about grief. Today's OhLife message:

"Spent the day hanging out with Mom at the hospice. It's almost the end. And the whole thing is surreal. You want the last moment to be right -- to be reading a psalm or saying I love you or being focused on her face (most beautiful as it happens, she is lovely in her last moments). And yet -- what the hell, eventually listening to Britney Spears is just a fucking relief."

Eventually, a decade from now, the days could all merge together. Maybe in ten years worth of February 17ths, there will be some good, some bad, some uncertain. Instead, though, I have a year that's almost all about dying. But hey, listening to Britney Spears is still a relief.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

William Carlos Williams

Loved this: http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/17609287179

In his Autobiography, William Carlos Williams recounts what led him to pursue medicine as a career:

No one was ever going to be in a position to tell me what to write, and you can say that again. No one, and I meant no one (for money) was ever (never) going to tell me how or what I was going to write. That was number one…
I wasn’t going to make any money by writing. Therefore I had to have a means to support myself…for I didn’t intend to die for art nor to be bedbug food for it…

I feel the same way about it, although I don't aspire to write great works. But I spent my time as a freelance writer and being dependent on an audience is so much less fun than writing what you love and hoping someone else will find something in it to love as well.

Found here: http://amygarvey.tumblr.com/post/17655192147/austin-kleon-william-carlos-williams-on-the-freedom-of

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Grief is such a weird emotion. It underlies everything I do. I can't say hello to the checkout person at the grocery store without knowing that it's there.

And then sometimes it comes in waves, huge sweeping waves that just wash over me until I feel like I might drown in it if I don't scream. I never do and it passes anyway.

Yesterday, I said about journaling that maybe it always reveals something, but if the writer can't handle the pain, maybe it's not the right time. I was talking about clients, but for me, writing is sometimes a spiral downward into depths I don't want to reach. Sometimes it's just easier to not be thinking.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Things I know that I wish I didn't

You can always hear it in the voice, always.

Words are almost unnecessary.

I heard it in my dad's voice yesterday, when he asked a question.  He knew the answer. He just didn't want to know.

And I heard it in Chris's voice this morning, when he left a message on my answering machine.

He told Finn on Friday. I won't imagine that conversation. I don't want to. But he said that Finn said, "I didn't know. I didn't know."

Maybe he didn't. But probably he did. He just didn't want to.

I knew.

I was crying even before I picked up the phone to call Chris back.

Tomorrow, it will be six months since my mother died. She was the only person I really wanted to talk to today.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Writer's block

I finally realized this morning that I'm stuck at exactly the same point in Thought where I got stuck in Ghosts. Writing about a teenage ghost means that you're writing about a dead child. There's no way around that.

I also realized, though--and this realization is more fun--that Sylvie is an entire rebellion in one character against a stereotype of emotional empaths. She's an empath (although I never describe it that way) but she just treats it as a sense and moves on. The whole "overwhelmed by other people's emotions" stereotype--yeah, not so much. Because, honestly, who is overwhelmed by sight? So there's a lot of colors in the world, it doesn't make you curl up into a fetal ball. Same with smell, same with touch. We learn to process. We learn to filter.

Sylvie had to learn to process another sense, she did, and she's fine. And I need to keep writing her story, despite the dead child!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Goals and illusions

A few months back, I wrote about goal-setting and all the "ought to"s that authors get hit with. And then a couple months after that, I wrote about rules and the surprising number of completely arbitrary rules I was being told to follow. (I might have been a little nicer in my description than 'completely arbitrary', but maybe not, too.)

I based my ideas about self-publishing on the ought-tos and the rules and the advice all over the place. Not that I did any of the ought-tos or followed the rules, but my conclusion was essentially that I shouldn't worry about Ghosts, because unless I worked way, way, way harder than I intended to, and did a bunch of things that didn't remotely interest me, no one would ever really buy it.

Note, please, that I love Ghosts. Truly, madly, deeply. I think it's a terrific little book, I think Akira and Zane are great characters, I love the way the story unfolds. But every author feels that way about her work! An author's opinion is worth nothing.

And my editor side is pragmatic. In the gigantic sea of slush that is Amazon, even good little fishes get eaten by...drat, I can't believe I've forgotten what eats Nemo's mom. Ah, a barracuda! Yes, the barracudas munch down even really nice little fish. Although, really, that's a pretty tangled metaphor, since it's more like the nice little fish starve because the big fish get all the food. Ghosts is a nice little fish, and I fully expected it to starve. I truly thought that I'd be thrilled every day I made a sale, and that if I sold 100 books in my first year, I'd feel lucky.

I do feel lucky. But I also feel, more than ever, that the ought-tos ought to be ignored and the rules ought to be broken. Although, I suppose (my editor side at work again) that it's possible that if I had followed all those ought-tos and all those rules, I'd be rich by now. But you know, I don't really think so. I think I would have made my life difficult and stressful and miserable, and instead of feeling lucky to be where I am, I'd be feeling anxious about not doing better.

Anyway, today A Gift of Ghosts made it onto a paid Amazon bestseller list for the first time. It's the Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Fantasy, Futuristic, Ghosts list, so yes, we can call it a niche and it looks as if it hit 80 but has now started to drop, so we're not exactly heading into big money territory, but still. Yay, Ghosts!

If I'm counting correctly (always possible that I'm not), it sold 43 copies on Monday and Tuesday. I used a free day on Saturday, so it might have been the carryover from that.

Regardless of why it sold, though, my conclusions are twofold: 1) don't believe the people who tell you all the things you must do and all the rules you have to follow and 2) don't believe the people who tell you it doesn't matter what you do because you won't sell any until you have lots of books available, either.

And now, back to writing Thoughts. I discovered recently because of advice from my friend Tim that Sylvie is not my protagonist and neither is Dillon! In fact, it's possible that Sylvie is my antagonist. I'm still trying to see how that plays out, but it definitely means some early revising needs to happen. (It seems really weird to me that your protagonist and antagonist could wind up with an HEA, but it looks as if that's the direction I'm headed -- since Lucas is the only character who's quite clear about a goal, he's the protagonist. Funny, huh?)