Monday, December 23, 2013

Day #9253 - Goodbye, Raggedy Man

Even though we've all known it's been coming for months, I'm still having a hard time fully wrapping my head around the fact that the day after tomorrow, Matt Smith's time as the Doctor will actually be over. He was my first Doctor, after all. The very first episode of Doctor Who I ever watched was The Eleventh Hour and I was immediately taken. How had I never heard of this before? How could I have ever dismissed science fiction and insisted it just wasn't for me?

Matt Smith, in a way, changed my life. Because of him and his portrayal of the Doctor, a dream of mine was able to come true.

This time last year, I was still grieving the departure of Amy and Rory. Like I said, I was new to the show so it was my first time dealing with saying goodbye to characters like this. At the same time, I was continuing to pursue my writing ambitions. I've been an aspiring novelist for a few years now, always practicing my craft and praying for my break. It came in the form of a short story contest: Lisa Burstein wrote a novel told through diary entries. Her challenge was to write the diary entry of a fictional character, pick finalists, let fans vote, and the winning story would be printed in the back of her novel. So I went back to The Eleventh Hour and there was Amy and the Doctor. I wrote a story about how much I'd love to travel through time and space with this amazing Time Lord, big chin and all. I entered it, forgot about it, and no one was more shocked than me when I found out I won. In March, a dream came true. I saw my name in print, in a book, for the first time. Something I'd written was out there for all to see.

All thanks to the Doctor. In the last few seasons, Matt Smith has had epic speeches and amazing adventures and wacky headwear and two hearts of gold. Through his portrayal of everyone's favorite alien, I learned how to look at humanity though a new lens. There is always hope and the choices aren't always easy, but in this Universe, no one is ever truly alone.

Last year, I welcomed Clara as the new companion with open arms. And over the years I've caught up on all the 'new Who' I'd missed, so I've seen how regeneration works before. I'm sure Peter Capaldi will do a great job and I really am excited to see what comes next for the show. But Matt Smith is my Doctor, and saying goodbye to my Raggedy Man will make this, in some ways, a TARDIS Blue Christmas.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day #9217 - The More Things Change

It has been a very long time since I've been this bad at posting here, but better late than never, right?

And so, a recap. The past few months have been incredibly busy. The school year started back up and right away I was up to my eyeballs in all of the library things, plus my new official role as assistant director of the school's drama club who put together a comedy just in time for Halloween.

Of course I didn't actually get to see either of the performances of the show for an audience, but with good reason! After a very long engagement, Brother got married that weekend, so I now have a sister in law and brought my bouquet catching record for the year up to 3 out of 5 weddings.

And really, that's just the tip of the iceberg. So far, being 25 has been all about changes. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. My family is growing, but that just means they matter to me that much more. My job has brought more new people into my life as well, and for that I'm grateful.

But the thing that has the most to do with me, the change that is most predictable considering my life is this: I'm writing again. And I mean that in the long story sense. Yes, my critique partner Sarah and I have been writing short stories for our blog Stories by SaM so it's not like I've been completely dormant, but my success with long stories hasn't been so great. I grew very thick skin when I queried my first novel and part of me is still really disappointed that I wasn't able to find an agent for it. I wasn't expecting to need so much time to bounce back, but I was terrified of facing the page again. If that idea sucked, then how would I know if my others are any good?

Eventually, I got over that fear. Or more like I got used to it. This summer, I jumped back in with a science fiction story unlike anything I'd ever done before. And after 100 pages, I had to stop. I still believe in the story, but I'm not the writer I need to be to give that story what it needs yet.

So it was back to the drawing board. Again. Not a fun place to be, but the great thing about finally finding a critique partner who understands how my brain works meant I wasn't alone. Her feedback on my short stories has been helpful, and it was actually the thing that got me into a new project. Code name: Red Novel. I've made it a hashtag and everything. Not going to lie, it's going slowly. It's a little bit painful. But it's different, I'm excited, and I'm taking my time. Simply put, I'm trying because sometimes, I think Yoda got it wrong. Sometimes, all there is is try.

And that, dear readers, is where I'm at.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day #9112 - Esther Day

In the English language, we're taught at a fairly young age that four letter words have the tendency to be very powerful, but none is more powerful than love.

It's a word that gets thrown around pretty liberally sometimes. I love this song or that movie or your haircut. It's a word that we know has big implications when you're romantically involved with someone. To tell a significant other "I love you" is usually a big step in the relationship, or maybe not a big step because maybe you're saying something that you both already know is there. (I'm just assuming here - I've never fallen in love so I can only guess.)

But the term 'significant other' is so misleading in a few ways. I'm not dating anyone, but that doesn't make the people who are in my life at the moment insignificant. And I love them, certainly not in a romantic way because that would be weird, but I love these people who make up my family and friends.

It all brings us to Esther Day. August 3rd was the birthday of Esther Earl, a Nerdfighter who unfortunately passed away when she was far too young at the age of 16 due to cancer. However, before she died, Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green told her the community would make her birthday a Nerdfighter holiday and the day would celebrate whatever she wanted it to. Wise beyond her years (or at least much wiser than I was at that age), she decided the day should be one to celebrate all the kinds of love that Valentine's Day looks over. The non-romantic love. The family and friends and platonic loves that shape our lives just as much, yet how often do we really stop and tell those people?

I'm guilty of not saying "I love you" very often. I feel it, I try to show it, but considering how much words make up my life, saying "I love you" is hard. But yesterday, for Esther and just because I should, I was at a baseball game with my parents, brother, and future sister-in-law. It was a beautiful summer night, we were having a good time, and I was weirdly nervous, but I said it. I told them all that I loved them.

And it was SUPER AWKWARD. Nice, yes, but also kind of FREAKING WEIRD. My parents were very touched, but it was especially weird to say to my brother (we both made a face, honestly) and then we went back to our evening just as it was before, only now I could feel good about the fact that my family knows for a fact that I love them. I used my words.

It shouldn't be hard and it shouldn't take an unofficial holiday to make it happen, but it was and it did, and I'm grateful for it. So thank you, Esther, wherever you are, for making such a fantastic choice. My family and I appreciate it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Day #9110 - Twenty-Five Thousand and Fifty-Eight Reasons to Celebrate

Internet, this really isn't a huge occasion in the grand scheme of things, but it is to me and I've decided to share it with you.

This summer has been hard for me. Emotionally I've had a lot of baggage piling up in a very un-fun way making it increasingly difficult to stay positive. Add on the fact that in just under three weeks I head back to work, turn 25, and my time becomes incredibly crunched and it just makes the pressure levels rise until I feel like I am going to burst. Or collapse. Or break down. Maybe even all three.

So writing should have been my escape, right? I put together the best outline I've ever done for a piece. I had to think so much about how this plot and these characters were going to fit together before I could get started, and I did it. I put in the hours. I have a notebook keeping all my thoughts consolidated. I have an amazing critique partner who helps me figure ways out of tough spots and cheering me on when I want to give up. But my demons wouldn't leave me alone. There would be days where I couldn't even think about this story, so I'd instead retreat into a side project for Stories by SaM. I kept reading and writing (and lately listening to audiobooks. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is a book I liked last year, but am completely loving as an audiobook right now). But this story, code name Bluebird Novel, continued to give me trouble despite my efforts.

It wasn't even a question of why. I know why. I'm afraid I'm not a good enough writer for this idea. They few people I've shared the basic plot with have loved it, so imagine how deeply in love I am. I just want it to be great. I want the vision in my head and this journey these characters go on to be the best it can be. But am I a good enough writer to make that happen? Some days I'm convinced I'm not. Other days, I'm hopeful. The past two days especially I was finally able to get up off the mat and try again. And this afternoon, I crossed over the 25,000 word mark.

Is the pacing off? Probably. Is the dialogue perfect? Not even close. But the pieces are starting to come together. My characters' voices are becoming more distinct. Their situation more dire. I'm actually making myself take a break right now so when I pick up tomorrow, I'll be able to carry over some of today's momentum. Considering how rotten I was feeling about trying to make this story work before, today 25,000 words feels like a miracle. Now only 55,000 to go... I think I can do it.

This book, if I can do it right, has the potential to be something really special. Could it be my 'big break?' Who knows. After my last tour of Queryland, I'm not getting my hopes up. However, I finally feel like a Writer again, which is no small feat. Even if this story only ends up being for me and a few people I choose to share it with, it's still definitely a Something.

So that's a good feeling. In honor of this nice big word count number and good feeling, therefore, click the link here to listen to one of the songs on my playlist for this novel. Not only does it reflect how I feel sometimes (especially with my writing), but it also captures the feelings of my protagonist really well. =)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day #9107 - 24 Until 25

So I turn 25 in 24 days and as it turns out, this is bringing up a lot of feelings.

Yeah, I'm not wild about it either. I'm actually terrified. The thing about growing up is that it never stops. Well, I mean, yeah it stops when you're dead, but if life-life is stagnet, if you're not growing anymore, then something is wrong.

In a lot of ways, I do feel like this is the right age for me. My interests. My tastes in music and clothes and what my idea of a good time is. I have my own beliefs and opinions that I may not have had a few years ago. I care about different things. I see the world more complexly. I have dreams and goals and desires that my teenage self never would have been able to wrap her head around. They would have seemed to foreign and far away.

Yet, in more ways than I'm entirely comfortable with, I don't feel almost-25 at all. I still feel like wearing high heels means I'm playing dress up. I still don't have a solid understanding of things I think 'grown ups' should like stocks and stuff. (I also frequently still use the word 'stuff' - yeah, I have an English degree and fancy myself a writer.) My friends are getting married and having babies, but it feels like just yesterday we were going to each other's high school graduation parties. Now we talk about car payments and home projects. Instead of going out at 10:00, I consider it a good day when I'm in bed by that time.

So this last month before I hit the quarter-century mark will be a busy one. I've got a lot of emotions I want to sort through, I have to get ready for a new school year to start at the end of August, I have a massive stack of books to read, and I want to make more progress on my own WIP before said school year sucks me in and 'free time' becomes fictional again. Wish me luck, Internet. These 24 days are going to be something else...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day #9084 - Dear June

Inspired by EmilieOfNewGloom's Letters to July and the also popular Document Your Life project, I've decided that after a year of doing favorite things videos every month I'd instead try making a video-letter to the month that has just past.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day #9070 - Onward!

Hey, you little blog of mine. Hey, you awesome readers. I've been neglecting you. Again. And I'm sorry, so here is me trying to make up for some lost time.

The last few weeks and months have been crazy for a lot reasons and in a lot of ways, most of which I am not going to share with Internet because A) not relevant and B) boundaries, people! What I can say is that at least the juices have been flowing when it comes to story ideas. Some of this has been great for output over on Stories by SaM, but a war was waging in my head between two bigger concepts that I've had for a while.

Unable to figure out which to pursue, I thought that especially since it's summer I could be ambitious and try both. What resulted was two outlines: one took me almost a week to get out, but I was less sure it was really right with each passing day. The second one I churned out in less than a day. It was six pages long and that wasn't even getting into detail. This goes along with the lists of characters I've had brewing along with a map I drew up.

Yeah, you heard me. A map. This is serious.

Needless to say, I'm going to give this story my full attention with the other one going into the proverbial drawer along with the others I've had over the years.

Now is the hard part: the actual writing it. I love and hate this part, which is pretty normal for writers. Having an outline and lists and maps is great, but I'm only a writer if I'm actually writing. So wish me luck as I venture into this one. It's a genre I've never considered writing before and an idea I never would have thought could have come out of my brain, but that fact excites me more than it scares me, which I hope is good.

Also on the calendar is the ALA Conference in Chicago Thursday thru Monday - if you will be there, let me know! I'd love to meet people =)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day #9040 - RIP Eckert

A few weeks ago, I threw a funeral for my Halloween pumpkin, Eckert. Literally threw.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day #9025 - Let's Go Fly a Kite

This past Easter, my grandmother gave my three young cousin kites. Even though it was freezing, there was a good breeze going so us older grandkids (we'll always be in the kids category even most of us are in our 20s) took them outside and taught the youngins how to fly a kite. I brought my camera and here's what happened.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Day #9020 - Using My Words

Life keeps drumming along, and I'm equal parts happy and sad that I've been busy and haven't had quite as much time to write about it here. Happy because it means I'm doing other things, sad because I like documenting what's going on for fear that I will forget far too soon.

Now that the play I was an assistant director for at the high school is now over, my evenings have once again opened up. This includes going back to the gym (or at least thinking about it), writing, and author events. For the first time in what feels like forever, my writing has been making progress. Though it saddens me to put my fairy tale inspired project back on hold - it's simply not ready for me yet - this sci-fi thing makes me excited and I've had fun playing around with it and doing some world building. It now has its own composition notebook where I can keep all my thoughts together and I'm hoping to do some more outlining this weekend so more actual writing can happen very soon.

But unlike past projects, I don't want to do too much too fast. I think that's been my problem - I try to get ALL THE IDEAS down ALL AT ONCE and then I get into lulls. Luckily, thanks to the author event I went to at Andeson's this week, I think I've learned how to stop doing that.

Lauren Morrill, me,
& Lenore Applehans
Thursday night I headed to Naperville and got to meet the lovely Lenore Appelhans (Level 2, being rereleased as The Memory of After), Lauren Morrill (Meant to Be), and Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall, The Delirium Trilogy). They were all insightful, wonderful, and fantastic and it was a great little trip in the middle of the week because I haven't been to a signing in ages. I've written a review of Meant to Be over on my book review blog and if you love Shakespeare, England, and love stories with quirky nerdy girls, then this is the book for you! As for Level 2, I have it on my Nook and can't wait to jump into this action packed tale of the afterlife.

Me & Lauren Oliver
But back to the writing part. Lauren Oliver's writing method was what struck me perhaps the most: she's currently working on three books at the same time, and she says she is able to do this 1) because she has no other hobbies so she rewards herself on a good day of writing with more writing and 2) because unlike other writers I know/have heard of who set a minimum word count for the day, she sets a limit. If she's working on one book, she'll go for 1000-1500 words a day. If she's doing two books, she'll do 750 words in one, then 500 in the other. If it's like now when she's doing three, she writes less in two and is copy editing the third.

As soon as I heard this, it was like a light went off in my head - how brilliant, right? She says that way, she's not binging on words. Even if she's in the middle of a scene and wants to keep going, she knows she'll still feel that way tomorrow and it actually makes it easier to jump back in and keep momentum. Needless to say I love this and will be trying this out in my own life.

Another writing announcement I have is that my critique partner and I have started a short story blog as a means of helping us practice skills and play with new ideas. The site is called Stories by SaM and you can check it out at Since May is Short Story Month, we're each taking turns writing a story a day following the daily prompt posted on We're doing this blog style so we can get comments and feedback from people, so please don't be shy!

And that, dear Internet, is what's been going on lately. For the most part. Well, it's as much as I'm willing to share with the PUBLIC for now. And since I forgot to post this last week, here's my April favorites video for you all to enjoy!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend =)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day #9011 - Just Jump In, Already!

When I'm feeling stuck with my writing, I like to read about writing and seek out as much advice as I can on how to make it work.

Needless to say, I do a lot more reading about writing than actual writing these days. And it comes down to one simple reason: I'm terrified. I've had very little success on this journey in the grand scheme of things, and I do so much dreaming and have so many ideas but then when I do have time to face the page, everything comes out all wrong and awful and it SUCKS.

But enough of that crap. I'm sick of being scared, so I'm taking to my writing in the same way I've had to take on other aspects of my life in the last few months: just jump on in and hope to God I figure something out along the way.

It's actually all thanks to the authors I've been lucky enough to meet. Meg Cabot signed a book for me along with a card stating that I'm the world's best librarian and suggested to start small - make it your goal to write at least one page a day and if you do that, you'll have a 60,000/200 page manuscript in 6 months, maybe less. I met my critique partner at a Maggie Stiefvater signing where the author gave the advice to write the story you've always wanted to read but haven't found on a bookshelf.

But really, the debut authors are the ones who have gotten my butt in gear. I look at my signed copy of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and remember how excited she was to be on her first tour for her first book, how cool she was and supportive and how I left believing in myself. I remember Jen Bosworth, author of Struck, who had an idea that maybe others thought was wacky but she went with it and it was incredible. And they were both so nice to me, and it meant the world.

Which is why I finally feel ready to face my latest idea. There have been two ideas duking it out in my head for the last few months while I've been terrified. One is fun, contemporary, so completely me (or at least who I've always thought writing-me is/would be) and I started writing it last summer, got 100 pages in, got stuck, recently reread it and figured out what I need to change, except I still can't get it to work the way I want it to. I mean, I know first drafts are supposed to be shitty, but I can't even get enough to work on the page to even approach shitty.

All the while, there's been this other idea that is just so not me. It's science fiction-y, dystopian-but-not, delves into a lot of social and political issues and I can't believe this idea ever came out of me. I mean, this idea is so BIG and it terrifies me because I want to do it justice. I love that this weirdness came out of me, but can I make it work? I think this could be something different, special, or maybe just completely crazy. And I want to see where it goes, so I'm just going to jump in already and let that other idea incubate for a little while longer. I have no doubt it could work someday, it just needs more time to simmer. In the meantime, I have this THING that is just SO WEIRD that I need to see where it goes.

After all, if Leigh can turn the Darkness into a villain in a world with beauty and magic and passion and all the feels and Jen can have a girl who's addicted to getting struck by lightning stuck in a battle between two warring religious cults in the middle of the apocalypse, maybe my idea isn't so crazy. Maybe it would be right at home with these other ones and this is me finally finding a voice that will be heard.

So, on the count of three. 1...2...God help me 3!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day #8979 - Patience

Oh, Internet. Remember when I used to be a more dependable blogger here? Someone who actually posted with a relatively high level of consistency with entries that weren't all embedded YouTube videos and contained, you know, words and thoughts with substance?

Well spring is here (though it certainly doesn't feel like it here in Chicagoland) and I'm determined to be better about that. New season, fresh start.

So what have I been up to? Quite a lot. There was the Dear Cassie release at the beginning of the month and was fun, but at the same time, after that day came and went, I was left with my usual paralyzing fear that always accompanies my writing. My Amy Pond contest entry is now out in the world, and it's my only writing 'success' to date. While it did give my confidence a boost and I did send out a fresh round of query letters, the responses haven't really changed. Form rejections. Gotta love 'em. Though at least I am developing a thick skin on that front.

I was also lucky enough for my pitch to be selected for Write On Con's Pitch-Fest and I got more feedback from fresh sets of eyes. It was really helpful to get constructive criticism. Unfortunately I queried so many agents with a letter that I now know wasn't the strongest and I still have a ways to go on perfecting my pitch skills. The rational part of me is winning that internal battle, knowing that it's better I learn this sooner rather than later, but there is that dark corner of my brain where the doubts dwell where I spend a lot of time, frustrated that I still can't seem to get this right and what if I'm not meant to ever be a published author?

Patience and practice, though, are the keys to success. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself, though if I'm honest, I haven't done much writing since the Dear Cassie contest as a result of these fears. I keep planning and planning and note taking and there's been a lot of thinking about writing and my story idea.

Just not really so much writing. So this upcoming week while I'm off from work (school district I work for is on spring break), I want to step away from my procrastination-via-planning and actually start writing this project. I'm a planner, not a panster, so I know I won't be too comfortable writing without knowing quite where I'm going for too long, but it's time to get back on the bike so to speak.

There's been a lot of other things filling my days too. Family members and friends announcing engagements and babies on the way and I'm also helping directing a play at my school. But this is the Internet, so you don't get to know everything =P Just believe me when I say there's plenty of good going on too.

So that's enough for one rambling post. Hopefully "next time" will be sooner rather than later =)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day #8967 - Q&A

Hey there, Internet! The awesome and most excellent Erin Brambilla recently tagged me in a blog post on writing and all kinds of fun things, and I thought it would be a fun way to share with you guys what my big writing project thus far (the one that has brought me to Queryland) is about. So here goes!

1. Who would win in a staring contest, Harry Potter or Percy Jackson?
Ordinarily I am totally Team Harry, but this is tricky because Percy is the son of Poseidon and can control water, so that probably means he can keep his eyes extra hydrated. I've got to go with Percy on this one.

2. You’re out of black ink on deadline day, in which color do you print your manuscript to send back to your (perhaps hypothetical) editor: Cyan, Magenta, or Yellow? Why?
Cyan, absolutely. Pink just doesn't suit my story, and if I really did have an editor, I feel like trying to make him or her read 200 pages of yellow text would be a great way to get dropped by said editor.

3. Tell us about your book.

What is your working title of your book?
I'm actually working on a different project right now, but the manuscript I'm shopping around is Stage Directions.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was in theatre in junior high as well as all four years of high school, and it's a bizarre and crazy world to be a part of. There were so many times when things would happen that me and my friends would say "you couldn't make that up if you wanted to," so I decided to write a story in honor of those years and people.
What genre does your book fall under?
YA Contemporary (with a dash of romance)
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I'm so far out of the loop with keeping up with teen actors, so my answers may suck here. For Colin, I picture a young Zachary Levi and for Annie, I always pictured me haha =)
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In her final months of high school, Annie Miller deals with drama on stage and off as she juggles figuring out what her ex-boyfriend wants from her, coming to terms with her growing feelings for her best friend Colin, and being an understudy for a play in which everything that can go wrong, does.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I've been in Queryland for almost a year now with no big news yet. I'd prefer to go the traditional route when it comes to publishing.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft took about 4 months (summer vacation - one of the perks of working in schools) full time, but I've been polishing and continue to work at it as I get feedback from readers.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm a huge fan of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Maureen Johnson so I think if you like their stories, you would like mine.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wouldn't have been able to write this without my years of theatre growing up, my summer as an actress for my local park district, and finally becoming a teacher and helping direct plays now (actually at my old high school!). A lot of that went into this book.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Theatre plus music plus cool nerds plus drama onstage and off plus cute boys =)

4. An asteroid is screaming toward Earth and only one dance craze is allowed in the hidey-hole that saves humanity: Gangnam Style, The Electric Slide, The Macarena, or The Harlem Shake. Which one do you save? (And you’re not allowed to say none) Also, if you are brave enough: Post a video of you doing said dance. THAT’S RIGHT. AN OPTIONAL CHALLENGE!
Oh this question. I dislike this question because I really don't keep up on dance crazes! Mi going with the Electric Slide because at least there is a level of full body, choreographed movement that I can do without looking too odd. It's timeless, whereas I'm convinced the Harlem Shake and Gangam are things that will puzzle and confuse us for years to come if we even bother to remember them at all, like Mambo Number 5.

5. What book are you currently reading?
I'm currently between books, but I just finished the original novel version of Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown as well as Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein. Next up is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

6. Who is your favorite author? (I give you permission to cry that you can only choose one and then I’ll let you choose, say, two or three if you must)
This question is impossible!! I have an English degree and a library degree!! Okay, if I really had to narrow it down, I will say Jane Austen and Shakespeare for my more literary self, and StephaniePerkins, John Green, and A.S. King as a select few of the YA authors I love.

7. What inspired you to become a writer?
I have always loved reading and stories and have spent most of my life caught up in day dreams. Finally I just figured why not see what happens if I write them down?

8. What’s your favorite eReader?
I have an old-school Nook which I really like for when I'm traveling, though I also use my iPad as an eReader which works well too.

9. Favorite internet distraction?
YouTube, with close runners up being Pinterest and Tumblr.

10. Favorite fictional boyfriend?
These questions are killing me!! Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly from the Austen universe are favorites. And Captain Wentworth! And then there are so many from YA who are great, so I guess for the sake of picking one right now I'll go with Eli Stock from Along for the Ride.

11. If you write drunk and edit sober, name the drinks for each. (Like mine would be wine and coffee)
I don't do it often, but I enjoy writing with a glass of wine or a beer every now and again because I'm more willing to roll with however things come out. More often than not, though, I'm accompanied by coffee or tea.

And that's my first Q&A! I tag whoever wants to be tagged, go ahead with Erin's questions because they're good ones =)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day #8960 - Release Day

Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein is finally in print, which means I finally got to go to the bookstore and see my short story printed in a book for the first time!!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day #8955 - February Favorites

Zombies and sci-fi and Shakespearean tragedies,
these are a few of my February favorite things!

Also, happy birthday to my pals born on February 29th. Because I never know if it's appropriate to say that a day early or on March 1st (which feels really late because then we're in a new month).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day #8951 - Five Years, Five Things

Five years ago today I made my YouTube account, so I of course had to make a video to mark the occasion.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day #8944 - On Doing it Anyway

Isaac Asimov, a notable science fiction author, once said, “You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.” 
It’s a sentiment I really like on the whole, but I’m not going to lie: that last line sort of eats away at me. It is my greatest fear with this dream I have with writing and now video making, that ‘if you have talent’ part.
Because the first part, I have got down. I keep on posting on my various blogs, even when my view count has inexplicably plummeted in recent months. I keep making videos and trying new things which is a lot of fun, but still I don’t have a very large audience or reaction. I keep  working on fiction, lately trying my hand at short stories and again, having a lot of fun trying, but who do I share them with when I have no agent or ‘readership’? Could it be Mr. Asimov was right and that maybe I just don’t have the talent?
It’s a question I can’t answer, and I’m not sure if anybody can. The rejection letters seem to imply I do not have talent, but I’m not ready to admit defeat just yet. So I’ll keep blogging and filming and writing. Even if for no one else, even if it’s just for me, I think that counts as some measure of succes in that I’m taking on my fear of failure by simply, simply trying. By doing it anyway, I succeed.
Though if you want to comment and subscribe and all those other fantastic things, I’d be really appreciative of that, too. =)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day #8941 - Single Awareness Day

In which I share a true story about one of my favorite Valentine's Days. Hope everyone has a great day, no matter your relationship status!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day #8908 - And Then it Began

It started with reading something on Twitter, which led to a blog post, which resulted in writing my first ever piece of fan fiction. And then just a few weeks later, it led to something that has felt so impossible for so long suddenly becoming very real.

So let me back up. On December 4th, YA author Lisa Burstein tweeted that she was sponsoring a contest in honor of her upcoming novel, Dear Cassie. I went over to her website, read more about it, and spent the month toying around with a few ideas and the prompt. Then finally on the very last day submissions could be sent in, the last day of the year, I threw a Hail Mary and emailed in my submission because, hey, what's the worst that could happen? Rejection? I've been a resident of Queryland for a while now, so I'm so used to that.

On January 7th, I found out my entry, a diary entry from the perspective of Doctor Who's Amy Pond, was a finalist. Voting would take place for a few days, and the finalist that got the most votes would get their story printed in the final copy of Dear Cassie.

And yesterday as I was about to shut down my computer at work and head home for a relaxing weekend, I decided to check my email one more time. And then it began. "Monica, Congratulations you won!"

To say I'm excited puts it mildly. This is what it feels like when something you dreamed of happening finally starts to unfold a little bit. I understand that it's one 750-word piece of fan fiction, but in just 52 days, I'll be able to walk into a bookstore, pick up a copy of Lisa's novel, flip to the back and see the words "By Monica Fumarolo" staring back at me. And that's nothing short of a miracle to me.

So I must of course thank my family and friends who have always stood by me. And there are the many people who took the time to vote for me, too - this wouldn't have happened if not for you. March 5th is the currently posted release date for  Dear Cassie and I cannot wait!

And since I'm also such a music nerd, you should know this is the song playing in my head since I got the news =)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day #8897 - 13 Things to Start 2013

Hey hey, Internet! in the spirit of being totally cliche and jumping on the bandwagon, now is probably a good time to look back at 2012 and what lies ahead in 2013 for me.

1. Over all, I would say that 2012 was a year that was on par. There weren't an overwhelming number peaks and valleys, which I guess is a good thing. Not to say it was perfect, but I survived which is actually saying a lot.
2. I am proud of myself that 2012 saw me finally gaining the courage to send out queries and search for a literary agent willing to represent me. No luck so far in gaining said representation, but the idea of sending that email and what the reply may be is no longer something I find terrifying. Well, less terrifying, anyway.
3. I'm still writing, and again I think that's something that requires a certain amount of courage. I have very little control over if my stories make it out into the world or not, if my manuscripts will ever become published novels that make their way to your local library or bookstore - all I can do is keep writing and sending them out, the rest is out of my hands.
4. I finished grad school. Are master's degrees more common now than in the past? Perhaps. But for two years I worked so hard on something I'm passionate about, and the experiences I had in learning how to become a librarian were some of the best of my life. I fell in love with learning all over again.
5. So there weren't a whole lot of lows, but in a lot of ways 2012 was challenging in ways that oftentimes, I had no idea how I was going to come out on the other side with my sanity intact. And sometimes, it wasn't, and I learned that that was okay, too. I have my friends and family to thank for that.
6. According to Goodreads, I read 69 books last year and I know the number is actually higher because it doesn't take into account the books I re-read nor the ones I was too embarrassed to post online. It was such a joy to get to experience so many stories, and as always, it comes back to learning. Constant reading is a vital contributor to my education in how to become a writer.
7. While most of these points are about reading and writing and books, I was so happy to discover in 2012 that I'm capable of a wider range. YouTube and making videos managed to become a part of my life that I absolutely love and find an incredible amount of joy in. Sure many of those videos are also book related, but my other 'resolution' for the year is to break out into other topics and share. I love being a new BookTuber, but I want to remind myself and the world that I'm complex, and I want the things I create - be it stories, videos, art, whatever - to reflect that, too.
8. I have high hopes for 2013. I want it to be the year of doing more. Traveling would be great, but just being active. Busting out of the comfort of my home, defying every introverted and shy instinct that consumes me and just try.
9. Not going to lie, now that I'm trying to come up with 13 things, I'm struggling. So here's to struggling and those struggles making us interesting (to borrow from my favorite middle grade novel, Bloomability by Sharon Creech).
10. I already know that 2013 will bring about a few big changes to my life and the lives of my loved ones. My big brother is getting married this year, and several of my friends are tying the knot with their significant others as well. And I couldn't be more excited for them.
11. My life-long journey to be accepting of who I am continues. Whether that means the things I choose to pursue, voicing my opinions about the things I like and dislike, and just being honest with myself. It's something that ought to go without saying, but reminding myself never hurts.
12. Oh crap, this list still isn't over yet?...errr....
13. I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!

Okay, so that was a longer post but there it is. So here's to 2013, eh? Let's stay positive and may good things come your way!