Decade in the Making

I’m halfway through the second round of content edits on Corroded (Surge Imprint from Anaiah Press, April 2016), which makes it at least the fiftieth revision. It’s been a learning curve, to be sure! Even though it’s coming out second, this is the oldest “book baby” of my adult life. My first born, but she had to stay in the ICU so that the second child, Fortitude, will be out in the world four months ahead of her.

Corroded has been through two different critique groups, a full manuscript critique by Laurie Halse Anderson, and a handful of beta readers. Not to mention that it went through two rounds of submissions—and rejections—in the past four years (when I thought she was mature enough) before she was accepted this year (on the “first” try.) I’ve swaddled and re-diapered this story more than anything else I’ve ever worked on. Early readers will recognize the story, but Corroded is now so much more than I thought possible when she was formed a decade ago.

In the beginning, I was too close to the main character. By separating myself from her, I was able to dig deeper. How is that? Probably the same way you can find yourself by losing yourself in service. I had to give up my own ideals to find the true complexities of the characters. And in doing that, I maneuvered through the layers of the story to find the heart. I journeyed so far that I ended up with two main characters and dual point-of-view novel.

Foritude-Corroded quote

Thought it all, I couldn’t give up on Corroded. The story needed extra nurturing and that took time off and on throughout my other projects. Even now, there’s work to be done, but I’m confident the book will be the best version of itself when it’s finally released from the nursery. Anaiah Press has given me a stellar editor to make sure that happens. It’s been a longtime coming and I’m grateful for each step of the journey.

Happy Book Birthday

Happiest of Book Birthdays to one of my critique buddies, Joyce Scarbrough!

After Me

AFTER Me is ready for purchase for your Kindle or Nook.

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I’ve got my copy ready.

My blurb: AFTER ME is a hilariously dark look into the afterlife of a privileged teen who had a less than ideal home and personal life. Given a chance to avenge her death by taking on a new identity, readers will laugh and root for Jada during her adventures in the world of the transdead living among us.

Read it and say hello to Flo for me. 🙂

2012: The Year of Firsts

It’s been an eventful year. High and low points abound but this time around, I’m thinking firsts. Several of my firsts happened while in New York City this spring including:

  • Taxi ride (No, I’d never been in a taxi cab!)
  • Train trip (Full size, not a Thomas the Tank Engine ride along.) 100_1034
  • Subway experience
  • Broadway show
  • Eating sashimi
  • Times Square and all other things New York City

My literary related experiences were memorable as well. Several of the events were the cumulative efforts of the previous year(s), but here they are:

  • Acting as a World Book Night giver (I handed out twenty copies of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson to the Baker High School softball team on senior night.)100_0927
  • Being acknowledged in a novel as having helped with the writing process by the author (Want by Stephanie Lawton, my friend and Write Club confidant.)
  • Submitting a novel, CORRODED, to publishing companies (No news from any of the four, yet.)
  • Writing conference (Multi-day, not just a single workshop.)
  • Guest blog post on another website (Nerdy Book Club, for the win!)
  • Purchasing e-books (My first was Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale by Tamra Torero.)

Then there’s the most recent happening—the big finale happened this morning. Drum roll, please.

  • I joined a choir.

I can hear the snickering from here, folks! I come from a musical family but have always sung off key, or so I thought. Turns out I just couldn’t hit the normal notes. Tenor (back row, with the men—and two other ladies) is what I sang for the Christmas Cantanta during our chapel service. I wasn’t perfect, but I got most of the notes, but maybe not in the right spots… Well, I tried.

The End, again

Right about midnight, I finished my revision of Corroded,  just under four months shy of when I received my critique back from Laurie Halse Anderson. For those new readers, yes, that’s the Laurie Halse Anderson, award winning author and NYT bestseller. Be sure to check my other blog posts listed in the category menu on the right under topics such as her name, critique and major freak out.

My revision started slow. I rewrote the last 24,700 words since the beginning of June. In the three months before, I’d only written 16,200. At the end of May, I realized it would take me the rest of the year to finish my rewrite unless I made it a priority. So, with motivational help of my critique group friends (holla to Meleesa, Stephanie, and Israel—thanks for the late night chats) I pounded out over a thousand words most days in the past three weeks, concluding with 3,594 last night.

Now I’m tasked with reading through the last few weeks’ worth of writing before sending it out to my Write Club friends (the above, plus Joyce and Lee Ann) as well as a new beta reader. And I’m finally going to take the time to watch the complete series of Firefly as a reward!

A Month, Revisited

The past few weeks have been filled with home, family, friends, and literary adventures. Just like Mary Weber, the main character of Corroded, I’ve been expanding my comfort zone by participating in new experiences. And with each new merit badge of life I earn, the anxiety over the unknown lessens.
Examples—aren’t you curious to see what I consider adventurous? Probably second hand to most people, but for this anxiety-prone wallflower these things are a big deal:
My first belly flop! A diving board was NOT part of it, but it counts, right? And the fact that I was standing in an above-ground pool… but it was a big one… Hey, this is from the girl that could never do a Slip-N-Slide because I couldn’t make myself fall down!
Taking all three kids downtown for a field trip. Yes, I did meet a friend and her three kids at the museum, but I had to park and walk the block to the entrance alone with my kids. We even crossed streets twice—one of them Government Blvd—to look at cannons and read their historical markers.
Creating a public “fan” page on Facebook for me/my writing. Might be premature, but some of you out there care enough to “like” me. 🙂
Conducting my first public meeting for the Mobile Writers Guild. Me. Public. Speaking. Those that know me from church have witnessed my teaching and speaking engagements before. Get me in front of a group of kids and I’m fine. Add more than half a dozen adults to the mix and I turn blotchy red. I pace, wring my hands, and my nose sweats. But this went better than I expected. Yes, I fumbled over words, my eye-contact could have been better, and my nose still sweated. But I wasn’t red (or purple or splotchy) and no one ran from the room screaming. Not even me.
Sharing Corroded with family members. Yes, I’m finished! Just waiting for two more critique group sessions for the group to finish it before sending it off to Laurie Halse Anderson for a critique. I first offered the manuscript to my sister-in-law, then my eldest sister, and finally my mother. They are all avid readers. I’ve heard back form my s-i-l that the first two chapters already had her sucked in. And, of course my mother thought it was “really good” (she read it all yesterday afternoon) but she immediately wanted to know how much of it was true. Yes, it was inspired heavily by my own junior year in high school, but it is not an autobiography.
And, of course, I’ve been reading. This is my list from the past month:
A Joan Bauer kick. I read Hope was Here about a year ago and loved it. Found these books on the bargain tables at Books-A-Million over the past several months and decided to read them all back-to-back. Her books are thoughtful, beautifully simple coming of age novels. Everything I hope my own stories can be.

Then I moved on to a new writer friend’s debut novel. I met Israel through a neighbor of his who I’m friends with when she sent him in the direction of the Mobile Writers Guild. The Anne Marie is a great story for readers, especially dog-lovers, ages ten and up.

Yesterday I finished another MWG member’s book. It’s out of my normal reading genre—adult romantic comedy—but the characters were multidimensional and the information about trichotillomania was interesting. Joyceand I have been in critique groups together the past two years, so I’ve read her WIPs as well as one of her other published novels. Write on, Comma Queen!

Spring n Things

I hope everyone has enjoyed the celebration of rebirth. Oh, to be able to experience pure forgiveness and mercy—such a blessing in trying times!
Life’s been, well—life, so my blogging is lacking. Some things are too personal (or boring) to post about. But I have passed a few sharable milestones this past month—breaking over 45,000 words on Corroded and completing 165 days of official homeschooling. Only fifteen more days to go for this “school year”. Woohoo!
There’s a bit of a writing shake-up happening for me, too. After I finish this draft of Corroded, I’ll be dropping my current critique group to be in a new group just for writers of young adults. (I might need to stretch them to middle reader level for future projects—so be warned, W.C.)
But I’m straddling the two groups for the time being. I’ve been with the established group for a year and a half so I won’t drop them when I’m within sight of the ending. All the members have added to my knowledge and growth and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. They’ve stuck with me through Corroded (and several small projects) over the time we’ve shared at Panera and the hours we’ve spent reading/writing/editing before the meetings. I’ll miss the ladies, but hopefully we’ll still get to visit at the Mobile Writers Guild events.
It does make more work for the weeks I’m doing double duty. I’ll be reading the submissions from two groups as well as rewriting/editing the beginning of my own WIP before I’m at the end. It’ll be worth it to have a new eyes reading who are focused on the YA market, though.
On that remark, I best close so I can get back to writing/editing.
Oh, and here’s the visual for my good reads since the last blog: