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Welcome to 2016!

The past few months have been a whirlwind. My upper palate surgery recovery took way longer than I thought, so I apologize for the blog silence: catching up on work, school, writing, and the holidays pushed the blog into low priority.

But! It’s a new year, a new semester, and soon a new book! Here’s what’s been up, and what will be up:

Check out my new smile, circa November 15th!

And here’s what it looked like two weeks later: 

Fun with gap A photo posted by savannahjfoley (@savannahjfoley) on

Things have settled down but I won’t get top braces until March to start closing dat gap.

Book News

My next semester of school starts on Monday, so I have until Sunday night to finish up this edit of The Cobworld. After that it’s back to possibly drafting Nameless while I extensively plan for Shotgun Girl. With this book I want to challenge myself not only with third person, but in conforming to a more traditional plot arc with a five-act structure. Shotgun Girl is a trilogy (for now) and I want to rock both the plot structure and the writing.

Nameless is… Nameless. It burbles up in me and dies down again. Beyond that, nothing has really changed since my last update. You can always find the latest Nameless news on this page.

Writing Revelation

Working on edits for The Cobworld forced me to confront some of my bad writing habits, and led to this revelation:

 You guys, this is HUGE for me. For all my books, I would write these scenes and just dread re-reading them in the edits. Then I’d re-read them, and they’d be okay. You know that feeling? They’re okay to the point where they don’t really need to be changed, but you still cringe at the thought of them, and sometimes even skip over reading them entirely.

I’ve always read that one of the biggest causes of both procrastination and bad writing is fear. Fear that you’ll get it wrong, fear that you can’t handle it, fear that what you really need to do is beyond you. And I knew that, logically. But I didn’t really learn it until this book. I don’t have a ‘darlings’ problem. I have a problem with radically re-writing scenes where I’m not 100% sure what happens, or needs to happen. So I bluff through it, and the emotions are wrong but the writing’s correct, and it gets left in.

But not anymore.

Fave Five

  (under the cut because this gets epic) Continue reading “Welcome to 2016!”

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Writing Update, Summer 2015

I won’t hold you in suspense — I’m working on Nameless again.

I officially finished edits on The Cobworld on 6/29, and immediately launched into reviewing the Nameless draft.

After around 2 years away from serious work on the draft, reading it again was a magical rediscovery of the story and characters. Little plot twists I forgot I put in, hints I’d begun weaving for conflict later on… Finally I feel awash in new energy and enthusiasm for the project. Gone is the dread and the panic and the obligation. Now I want to finish this story because it’s so good you guys omg and I can’t wait to share it with you.

When I made the update last November about my current feelings on Nameless, the responses I received publicly and privately were so supportive, and I appreciate everyone who reached out to say something. But I also had this revelation… Why am I so worked up about disappointing fans of the original story, when in reality you guys would account for only a very small percentage of all of Nameless’s potential readers? (Not to mention how cool you guys are with the potential changes). I realized the world at large isn’t going to be judging me; they’re only ever going to see the finished draft.

And so I was able to let go of all my internal negativity, and this feeling like I had an obligation to hold on to parts of the story that had always been there. Re-approaching the story now, I have this fresh energy and motivation. It’s so clear to me what must happen, and because of all the hard work I’ve put in on other books over the years, I know I have the skills to do it.

Obviously writing always seems easy during the planning stages, and I’ll confess that endings remain my kryptonite, but I have around 50k-ish left before I have to fight that battle, and plenty of skirmishes to get my confidence up before then.

Here’s to the next 50k!

In personal news…

Being married is exactly the same as not being married, except now I get to practice a new signature every time I sign a receipt. Honestly the most different thing about being married is how everyone else treats us as a more legitimate couple, which borders on offensive in some instances. I still have trouble referring to Chris as my husband and have called him boyfriend more times than you’d think, but he doesn’t mind, because it’s not a big deal. Anyway, we’re deliriously happy and therefore there’s not much more to say, so I’ll stop.

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I have a new cat now, a small and feisty goofball of a cat, that appeared outside my office building one morning. She was obviously dropped off by some heartless soul, and had drying teats to suggest a recently weaned litter of kittens. Now she’s all fixed up and running wild through the house, amusing us all with her antics. Kitten was a very different sort of cat; she never played and was immune to catnip, but Mia is a cat’s cat. It’s such a joy to watch her play with toys and even things that are decidedly not toys, such as my pen when I’m brainstorming:

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I knew the right cat would come along when I was ready, and Mia is undeniably the right cat. Get this — she had no fear of Bella when I brought her home the first time. What kind of cat isn’t afraid of a big, wolf-looking dog that is very interested in smelling them immediately and up close? This crazy girl.

Now I know where the spilled cup of water this morning came from…

A video posted by savannahjfoley (@savannahjfoley) on

For all my American friends, have a safe and happy 4th of July!

<3,

Savannah

PS: I’ve migrated to using my official author FB page instead of my personal page, so please Like at will.

PPS: I’ve added a link to my instagram on the right, if you’re interested in seeing more pet pictures from someone you kind of know on the internet.

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My Picture Book Save the Dates!

This post is severely delayed — My Save the Dates went out months ago but due to some poor planning on my part (*coughcough*Gave them all away and just found a sample from the printers*ahem*) couldn’t get all the photos I needed until just now. Enjoy! :-)

You might recall that Chris and I got engaged this August. In fact our wedding is only 29 days away!!!

After a solid month of watching Say Yes to the Dress, and pinning my posterior off every evening, I’d gotten my fill of Wedding Fever and settled down with a practical, fun-oriented wedding plan.

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The dress has been ordered, the venue booked, the caterer chosen, the decorations planned, the wedding party nullified, and so we came down to… the Save the Dates.

Above all, I wanted something that represented Chris and I as a couple. I played around with a few ideas…

From traditional…

wildflowres

To Laser cut…

laser cut

To a package including seed bombs

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AND THEN

I had The Idea.

I’m a writer, yeah? And Chris and I literally met in an Enchanted Forest. And we’re getting married on our 7-year anniversary, which is such a lovely fairytale number… It seemed like there were lots of really cute coincidences here that could be taken advantage of.

WHAT IF, I thought to myself, I MADE A PICTURE BOOK AS OUR SAVE THE DATE?

*cue choirs of angels and lots of open-mouthed grinning*

Therefore, I present to you my Save the Dates, in picture book format:

The Two Travelers

Here’s the process behind how this adorable booklet came to be:

Continue reading “My Picture Book Save the Dates!”

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On Being INTJ

Growing up, I knew I was different. Not different in a good, quirky way, but different in a bad way. I couldn’t make friends. Music made me feel depressed and anxious. I could only take interaction with non-family members for so long before, again, I became depressed and anxious, overwhelmed with the violation of emotions that weren’t my own. I had no understanding of nuance and exceptions; things were or they weren’t and my emotional intelligence was so underdeveloped I could be quite mean, not understanding how my words affected others. Pretty ironic for a writer, huh?

I recognized my failures to be a normal kid but couldn’t understand why it was so. I remember in sophomore Psychology class the teacher asked us what we wanted to get from our experience in the class, and my answer was, ‘how normal people think.’ One girl repeated my words with offense, ‘normal people?!’ and I just looked away, because I knew: I was different, and I couldn’t explain how. No one could, not my friends who accused me of being exhausting and close-minded (they were right), and not the psychologists who just looked at me blankly while I tried to explain my thoughts.

Something was different, something was missing. As a method of self-defense, at times I wore my difference as a badge of pride, even if only internally, though if I’m being honest it always hurt. Still, this self-deception caused me numerous problems as a teenager and it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to let go of it.

Continue reading “On Being INTJ”

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On Being an Older Sister

I have two sisters. One is 3 years younger than me, and one is 10 years younger. I call them my Middle and my Youngest sister.

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Here’s the most recent picture I have of us (Middle on the right, Youngest on the left), and here’s one from last year where we’re flipping our hair like we’re related or something.

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My Middle Sister and I exist on opposite sides of the family spectrum. She has the body type of all our Foley cousins, and physically I’m more on my mother’s side of things. She’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. She’s more mainstream culture and I’m more indie. She follows trends and I stare at them in bafflement. My parents got one of each and then a compromise, because my Youngest Sister is an exact split between us.

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Here’s me and Youngest Sister on the plane to New Zealand last month.

Continue reading “On Being an Older Sister”

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New Zealand in Pictures

So apparently the trick to letting wordpress upload my pictures is not to upload the original large-res pics, but instead individually save pictures from Google Photos (NOT downloading them, as you get the same issue) and then uploading those lower-res pics, which wordpress will accept. The more you know!

Anyway, here’s the New Zealand trip in select pictures:

First up, Team Shitty First Draft takes Australia!

tsfd

Continue reading “New Zealand in Pictures”

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Happy Halloween!

I’m having some troubles with uploading the pictures from New Zealand onto WordPress, but if we’re Facebook friends you’ve probably seen them anyway :-)

Here’s a teaser though, one of my favorite pics from the trip. Yes, the water really was teal!

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I just adore Halloween. The costumes, the decorations, the scary movies, and especially passing out candy to the neighborhood kids. One of the best parts of being an adult is getting to be on the other side of that door.

I’ve often found myself drawn to positions and services ‘on the other side of the door.’ I want to be in the know, I want to be behind the scenes, involved in all the reality that takes place before the fantasy is presented.

I guess that desire comes from my profound ignorance of the adult world as a child. I viewed adulthood with fear and anxiety, petrified because I didn’t have the knowledge I knew I would need, and the learning process was confounding. Driving, cooking, laundry, paying taxes, opening a bank account, working for 8 hours a day with no recess… When you haven’t taken even the smallest step towards self-dependence it all seems overwhelming.

Of course each skill came in its own time, and each piece of information acquired slowly added up to a wealth of knowledge, the greatest of which is that I learned I have the ability to figure out any problem life throws at me. There’s no reason to be anxious because I trust myself that I’ll figure it out. Haven’t I, every time before?

And so, these days I find myself wanting to be working behind the scenes. I’ve parted the curtain and found the man behind the Great Oz, but now I want to know what it’s like to operate those levers.

Wanting to be a writer is probably the greatest example of wanting to be behind the scenes. As it is for so many of us, reading was my life as a child, and books were my closest companions but also a mystery: how were they developed? What was it like to write them? Where did the ideas come from?

When I started out as a writer I was obsessed with learning the minute, intimate details of a writer’s process. If you could have shown me how the neurons in the brain fired to create ideas I would have wanted to see. Now that I’m ten years into being a writer I know way more about the process than I ever thought I would, and though the strength of my curiosity has waned I’m still fascinated.

In my day job, working in human resources, I feed my curiosity about the big intimidating world of corporate life. I get to learn the reasoning why decisions are made and policies developed. That’s part of why I love my job, but here’s a pretty great example of another reason:

sav witch

Every year I’ve been here I’ve promoted dressing up at work for Halloween (as long as costumes are dresscode-compliant, of course), but this year we went all out, sponsoring an open house for the families of our employees. You can see some of the spiderwebs decorating the cubicles behind me!

This year I’m the classic standby of Witch, because my true costume is work-inappropriate, yet appropriate enough for the costumed charity ball I’m attending tomorrow. It’s going to be crazy and fabulous, and I can’t wait to show you pictures! You’ll  never guess what I’m going as ;-)

I’d like to leave you with this excellent song that’s my theme for the day, She’s My Witch by Kip Tyler.

Have a safe Halloween, and good luck with NaNoWriMo if you’re participating!

<3, Savannah

 

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Saying Goodbye

The past couple nights I’ve had dreams of both my cat and my littlest sister. I bought my cat when I was ten and my mother was pregnant with my sister, so they share a birth year and are naturally somewhat linked in my mind. It really wasn’t surprising, considering our upcoming trip to New Zealand, and my cat’s rapidly declining health. I had a big decision to make, and my subconscious wanted me to work through it.

On Wednesday I made the incredibly tough call to end my cat’s life.

kitten looking away

Continue reading “Saying Goodbye”

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A Wedding, and New Zealand!

Life has been very good — and very busy! — over the last few months. First up — my sister got married this weekend!

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The ceremony took place at my family’s stables, with reception in my parents’ backyard. It was lovely and filled with light, but best of all it was filled with family!

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Here’s me with some of my cousins (and an aunt!) up in Nashville two days before the wedding. Most of the family flew into Nashville the first night so we went up and stayed with them, and partied on Broadway. Let’s just say much fun was had by all, and leave it at that.

My family is big, and loud, and full of love (and partying!). One of my favorite parts of the wedding reception was dancing down a line of clapping relatives and getting goofy with it. The photographer was snapping away like mad so I should have some delightfully ridiculous photographs to show you eventually.

New Zealand

Long story short, my sister (not the one who got married) has an opportunity to live with and learn from an amazing horsewoman in New Zealand who has stayed with our family before, so I agreed to accompany my sister over to New Zealand and get her settled in for her two-month-long stay. We leave in two weeks!

This will be my first real out of the country experience (I went to Canada once as a kid, before they required passports, so that doesn’t really count) and I’m thrilled nearly almost unto death!

Any followers in New Zealand, or Sydney for that matter? My sister and I have a 13-hour layover in Sydney and we’re doing a whirlwind tour!

Writing

Except for an interlude for the wedding, writing is going very well! I’m working on edits for Cobworld and still brainstorming on Shotgun Girl, but it’s all taking form. I was hoping to be able to work on Shotgun Girl for NaNoWarmUp, but unfortunately with the edits and the traveling (!!!!!) I don’t think that will take place. But here’s the current playlist for Shotgun Girl if you’re curious!

Talk to you soon!

<3, Savannah

PS: Here’s a ‘before and after’ on my wedding hair! The hairspray/teasing combo gave me hard little hair nuggets that took two shampoos, a hair mask, and brushing in the shower to get it all out! Worth it though :)

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