Writer’s Block Need Not Be A ‘Vice’: A Brief Story About the Struggle to Create

Vice Front Cover 5.5x8.5Vice is finally published! Part two of my YA Sci-Fi series has made its way into the world, three years after the release of the first book, Tick. I did not plan a pre-release. I have not sought many ARC reviews. The birth of Vice was a challenge to say the least, and I wanted to share what I have learned about the process of writing this book, what I hope to gain from the experience, and some advice and wisdom to other struggling authors.

Let’s go back to the beginning. I wrote the first draft of Tick in three and a half weeks, a serious feat for any writer. The story poured out of me from beginning to end. I knew little about where the story was going beyond a handful of major plot points, and I didn’t have an ending. I got up every morning and hammered out 5-8 thousand words a day, seeing maybe only the next one or two chapters in my head. It was during the process of writing Tick that I discovered the ending, that I realized the purpose behind the story, that I was revealing a part of myself that needed to be healed in not only the process of writing Tick, but sharing it. I spent an additional seven months rewriting and editing Tick, but it was an almost magical writing experience. Continue reading

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Book Trailers Don’t Have To Be Boring

This first half of 2017 has been quite a success in my little world. I made author friends and co-founded Made in L.A. Writers, an indie author co-op based in Los Angeles. The Made in L.A. group got to participate in the LA Times Festival of Books. My long-developing TV pilot script Wilde Girl was selected as a finalist for the Barnstorm Fest. I have one book and two feature scripts in the editing phase. I spent four months working in production and learning just about everything there is about getting a television show on the air. Needless to say, it’s been a busy year.

I have learned over the course of these last several years, that times like these, when things are going well for me, it is crucial to give a piece of that pie back to others deserving of it. Which is precisely why I used my newly refurbished video editing skills to help promote the works of two of my Made in L.A. partners, Cody Sisco and Dario Ciriello. Remember, book trailers don’t have to be boring. It’s another chance to tell your story!

It’s All In My Head

fuel for the mind, circa 2002

People often ask me, “Have you always been an artist?”

“Of course I’ve always been an artist,” I say with an undertone of resentment for the fact they didn’t already know this. “Just because this is the first time you’ve ever seen me paint something, doesn’t mean I’m making it up right here on the spot. I didn’t become an artist overnight.”

That last bit is never said out loud, of course, because I’m not an asshole, and it’s not really their fault they don’t know what I do when I’m not pretending to be a respectable citizen.

Even while I internally fume about how still — even in my adult age — so many people have a terrible misconception of who I am, I understand why. Outwardly, I don’t give off the “artist vibe”. I’m not covered in tattoos, I dress fairly conservatively, I don’t spend my days yammering about artsy things. Quite frankly, I don’t find most meetings to be appropriate for such conversations, but given the right time and place, and I’ll talk your ear off about music or books or movies or politics. I didn’t gain an interest in those topics overnight, either; I simply choose to not talk about them all the time.

Perhaps the reason why I don’t expose myself as an artist in my daily life is because I’ve learned to compartmentalize those versions of myself. Growing up, most people in my life didn’t understand that I had such an incredible need to express myself. I channeled my emotions through any medium I could — music, art, graphic design, poetry, storytelling, anything — because the real world did not offer me the platform to truly speak my mind. Both my parents have artistic backgrounds (my dad is a writer, my mom has done fine art for decades), yet both their lives followed a path that halted their progression as artists. You know … the real world. So when it came time for me to graduate high school and decide what the hell I was going to do with my life, the voices of family members and friends alike resonated through my head: “You won’t make money as an artist. Pick something else.” Continue reading

Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now

a fan's interpretation of the characters ... Felix is hot

a fan’s interpretation of the characters … Felix is hot!

The Reading Nook NZ is hosting an international Giveaway on their blog. Entry requirements are to sign up and leave a blog comment including a question for me. On March 30th I will be writing a guest post on the blog, and answering all the questions!

The giveaway is active through March 30th, after which three winners will be picked. One prize of a signed paperback, and two ebooks. Enter now and leave a question about me or my book, Tick. Read their review of the book itself.

While you’re at it, you can enter my Goodreads Giveaway, which ends on March 31st.

Who Thought Writing Would Be The Easy Part?

They do exist!

They do exist!

My debut novel has been a year in the making, which I suppose isn’t too bad considering some writers have spent a decade writing one novel. If someone had warned me of the hours I’d spend preparing my book for self-publication that did not include writing, I’d have …

Who am I kidding, I’d do exactly what I’ve done, a hundred times over. I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a fan of tactile things (vinyl, Polaroid photos, and, of course, books), and there is something especially satisfying about holding a real, solid representation of the book you’ve spent so much time and effort writing. And on top of that, there’s even more to admire if that very book was designed and organized by you. That font, that position of design element, that color scheme … It all becomes more amazing when you are part of the process from start to finish. Continue reading

Not Quite An Update, More Like a Chronicle of Recent History

Ready, set, publish!

Ready, set, publish!

It has been, like, centuries since I’ve written a blog post. I’d thought about it. Many times. I even went so far as to come up with a witty title for a new post. And yet, I didn’t get far enough to reach the website.

It’s an odd sensation to be at a loss for words. As a teenager, putting all my thoughts into words was about all I concerned my day with. That incessant need to express myself with blog posts (back in their heyday, before everyone had a blog), or in my Notebook of Doomed Things. For a time, all I wanted to do was express my innermost thoughts and tribulations, regardless if anyone else would ever read them.

And then I became an adult. And I still wanted to express myself. So I became a writer.

Fast-forward to last year, and I can say without a pause in my breath that 2014 was one for the books (ba-dum ching). I spent most of my “free” time on my book, whether it be writing, or editing, or designing the cover, or thinking about writing or editing or design. All of my brain space has been consumed by my manuscript, for better or for worse (although, I’ve sadly neglected a few friends; thankfully Husband is in charge of the cats, because … um …). Needless to say, despite how my original intent was to document my Adventures in Book Making, I have failed that resolutionmiserably. Also, my resolution to get back to the gym — but, one thing at a time.

Biggest update? Well, I can say THE THING IS DONE! Now, what’s next?

Continue reading

Life Imitating Art Imitating Life

Life-imitates-are-far-more-than-art-imitates-life

I’ve had many different jobs in my life. I’ve been a barista, a teacher’s assistant, a corporate intern. I’ve worked at music recording studios, worked reception desks, worked hours filling out excel spreadsheets and scheduling forms. All of these jobs came with their own perks and advantages, and all had their own sets of challenges. And each time I moved from one job to another, I found myself molding my external persona to fit within the new environment.

Anyone who’s worked retail or food service will agree to the horrors of long and exhausting hours on your feet (which only get worse during the holiday season), all the while you’re expected to keep a smile plastered on your face. The customer is always right, right? Quite frankly, the general public is a needy asshole. Yet, you’re not allowed to have your own personality working in retail. You’re meant to be a robot in a green apron. Smile and say yes. A lot.

The biggest dichotomy in my working life was the time I moved from working in a music recording studio to working at a post production house where I coordinated schedules and made spreadsheets. I went from working long (loooooong) hours, on-call graveyard shifts, expected overtime, shitty pay and no benefits, in an environment filled with rappers, mistresses, booze and drugs, to a company where there was a fair amount of un-healthy food shaming (fat-shaming for LA health nuts) and where the two people who smoked cigarettes were looked down upon as being walking cancer advocates.

Continue reading