“Emergence” was the theme word for my birthday. My best friend flew down to visit and we spent four amazing days together hanging out, catching up — and healing each other. She very patiently and lovingly helped me explore the glass walls of the maze depression built in my mind until I could jump out and walk free.

A few weeks prior to this I was in another bad depression spell. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was spiraling in a feedback-loop of dead-end thinking and avoidance. I prayed in my journal to stay focused on holding out my spiritual hand, waiting for the help I believed would surely arrive.

Within the space of a few days several dear friends serendipitously offered up the advice I was looking for, showing me I’d been tangled in my own head for far too long. I need time spent among people. I need movement. I need more time living in the body instead of the air above my head.

Now that I’ve broken free from the chains of my own making, I’ve realized how silly it was to be bound like that for so long. Hindsight is 20-20, right? Here’s what I discovered:

A lot of my unhappiness stemmed from the incredibly high standards I set for myself, and the crippling need to perfect details and planning before moving forward with the things most important to me. I have so much creativity I’ve bottled up inside, and so many projects I’ve put on indefinite hold because I wanted to ‘save’ them for when I had a book deal, so they could be used ‘appropriately’ in expanding my platform.

And everything I wanted to do ancillary to novel-writing, I was withholding because I view everything from a monetizing perspective. Why bother learning to crochet, or make jewelry, or carve wood, or do so many other things I want to do, unless I’m going to launch product lines and set up marketing plans and launch Etsy stores, and, and, and…

Such competitive, unrealistic thoughts, right? Art makes me happy.  And I don’t need a business plan or financial reasons to make it. I don’t have to devote my entire life path toward a set of products. I can just… make stuff. For the joy of it. That’s a GOOD ENOUGH reason.

And as for writing… one of my most favorite things to do here lately is write little poems about my wonder for life, the universe, science, and God. In the back of my head I figured I’d write in secret for a couple years, and hopefully after I’ve had a few YA books come out I would have enough street cred to justify a small poetry chapbook, and THEN maybe I could start sharing them.

But in some ways that’s putting the cart before the horse. Art comes first, THEN platform. And my fears about ‘wasting’ the sharing of new work, or ruining my chances for copyright or traditional publishing just doesn’t really apply these days in this share-first monetize-later environment. I don’t need a contract to be a real creator, or to start sharing my work.

So, now I am.

I still feel very anxious about ‘muddying’ the waters of my online brand, but I’m trying not to care anymore. To that end I want to  make this website more inclusive of EVERYTHING I’m doing, so I’m adding new sections and changing things around some more. I would really like to start updating this blog more frequently and have more conversations. Here are the other things I’m doing:

Poetry on Instagram (& more!)

I started a secondary account for my poetry and poetry-related art. If you like my style, come follow!

I’m adding these poems and graphics on several mediums, most notably Pinterest if that’s more your thing.

Art, Art, Art

I’m finally learning Illustrator! I’d love to make in-person art but I’m still too perfectionist, and computer programs allow me the unfettered ability to tinker. Check out this happy polar bear! I’m very proud of him because he’s the first original illustration I’ve made on my own, instead of copying other people’s art to practice Illustrator functions.

I also made the graphic at the top :-)


I’m back. I was gone for a long time because it was OVERWHELMING. But now I’ve unfollowed a lot of people, especially industry-people, so I don’t get that panicked “I’m falling behind and everyone is doing so much more than me!” feeling. Now my feed is a trickle instead of a river, and that’s way more enjoyable. Plus, several of you have been SO nice and welcoming. You’ve really made me feel wanted.


I’ve been stuck on Nameless for a while. Not because I don’t know what happens, but because of Unrealistically High Standards (TM). Done is better than perfect, right? I’m trying to let go of that itchy perfectionism and get through it (while still having FUN).

Depression + the Future

I’m feeling WAY better. This week. I hope it lasts, but the past nearly two years have taught me I just can’t know for sure when the depression will come back. I have a book ready to query (Shotgun Girl) but I don’t know if now is the right time. I’m in the last semester of college (graduating August!!!!) and sort of reclaiming my artistic self, so I’m unsure this is the best time to go down that road. I think by the end of the summer I’ll have a better handle on things.

Thank you, as ever, to everyone who has reached out with encouraging words. It still amazes me that we can communicate so lovingly across so many miles. The future is wonderful, isn’t it?

Talk soon,


New Beginnings

So many exciting things are happening, or about to happen–I want to tell you about them all at once! However, this will probably make more sense with a narrative:

In November I was diagnosed with depression.

(Don’t worry, it gets better).

You may remember I mentioned feeling a few scary days of it in this post. Well, I’m sorry to say that the symptoms continued shortly thereafter, undulating in varying degrees through my life over the next few months.

I started seeing a counselor and confessed that I felt guilty to be grappling with this thing: guilty not to have it, but to have so little of it. I had the kind of depression that enabled me to get up in the morning, and be productive at work, and even write. I maintained my relationships, and showering, and I didn’t cry. So it felt weird to claim ownership over the term because while it did take a toll on my mental outlook, I was able to stay productive and reasonably healthy. It’s just that my heart was heavy and lacking in hope while I did it.

Nights were worse, because I wasn’t distracted with work. When it was bad I felt like something curled up in my chest and died. I got impulsive–I wanted to do almost anything to  ease this bad, sick feeling inside. I indulged in a lot of binge-eating and wine drinking. When my symptoms were light, it was a sort of vague, restless discontent. A sense of doom. A feeling of hopelessness. A veil of pessimism.

Definitely something separate from my mood–a physical feeling on top of my mood. At my counselor’s recommendation I got my vitamin levels checked, my iron levels, and my thyroid. All test results were normal, and there was very little to talk about in therapy, aside from some family drama that cycles in and out.

I was hoping that after finals ended in early December the cloud of depression would lift, but instead it got worse, indicating it wasn’t exactly stress-related. I was kind of hoping it was, because that would make sense, and be somewhat fixable–I work full time, go to school full time, write, take care of the house, cook to eat healthy, and try to exercise (though I’m not very good at that lately). I also have relationships to maintain, with my family, and Chris, and our dogs (yes, dogs plural! more on that later).

Wouldn’t it make sense if this was caused by stress? Wouldn’t it be better if it was caused by stress, because I could cut back on the number of classes and make other modifications to get back to normal?

But it wasn’t. As my therapist explained, this was just something my brain was doing right then. Which was disappointing and weird, because I’ve always been so naturally upbeat and positive. I felt like it was my fault, even though I was told it’s not.

She recommended I go on anti-depressants, and wrote me a recommendation to take to my family doctor. I’ve never been on anti-depressants before. That was a big step, to me, one I wasn’t sure I was ready to make, even though I longed for freedom from this alien negativity jockeying my brain. Chris recommended I see a psychiatrist, a doctor of brains, so I got an appointment, but it isn’t until early February. I resolved to hang on until then.

And the dark clouds kept rolling over. So there I was: carrying around an extra weight I felt guilty for having, and guilty that while having it, it wasn’t heavier. Depression — a journey of purpose and satisfaction! /sarcasm

During this time, my mantra, my prayer, became Light up my life, modified from a lyric in a Lana del Rey song. I sang and repeated it to myself, looking for something to get excited and passionate about.

Then, Chris and I adopted another dog.


This isn’t a story about how a dog saved me from depression, because she didn’t. But Grace was a little more light shed on my life, and I’m grateful she gave me something to look forward to and be excited about. A distraction for those brutal, dark evenings.

I’m superstitious about pets–I want to look at a potential new pet and know it’s the one for me. I got that feeling when I saw Bella on Craigslist, and Mia the cat picked me as soon as I went out to go see her behind the break room at work. Chris had wanted another dog for a while, but I just didn’t get that feeling. Besides, I love my Bella-dog like crazy, and didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable or left out. Bella is so perfect, she’s basically a big cat, and new dogs might not fit in with our little lifestyle.  However, one night we were browsing pet finder and came across a picture of Grace.

Shit, I thought. I think that’s my dog.

We put in an application for her and out of many were the only family approved. Grace had what we were looking for–a medium-sized dog to be a playmate for Bella, white like I like, and a Pyrenees-lab mix like Chris wanted. He frequently bemoans that as a Samoyed Bella isn’t very family-minded, and she’s not a good cuddler. Grace is both.

Their first meeting went really well:

It just reaffirmed that she was the perfect dog for us… she and Bella became instant best friends and play all the time. What a joy for Bella, too, to have that in her life :-)


But again, while that was a very lovely thing (and I’ve been spamming Instagram with pics of her and my other pets), it didn’t really fix my main depression problem. Then, a week ago today, a most amazing thing happened:

It went away.

I know, it sounds weird. Everyone I tell is like… yeah that’s not how depression works. You’re not supposed to feel it come and go. But guys, I’m telling you, I could feel it happen. I was up way too late, around 2am, and I finally made myself turn off my lamp and go to bed. As I lay there, brain too active, trying to find the rhythm to fall asleep, I felt the depression go. It fizzled away like steam into the air.

Yeah. Super weird.

I kept this development close to the chest for a few days, but it hasn’t come back. I feel normal again. I feel like myself again. And, it turns out, this period of depression was a blessing in disguise. Which leads me to the other super exciting thing I’m dying to talk about:

I recently had a Manifest 2017 session with Andrea Scher, and it totally changed my life. Andrea led me through an examination of 2016 and a goal/dream setting for 2017. It was so weird to look back at 2016–the depression gave me short-sighted vision, and I’d forgotten everything I accomplished:

  • Wrote Shotgun Girl after 2 years of dreaming about it
  • Made excellent progress on Nameless, especially in terms of story. I made so many brave choices this year with that book, including cutting 30k and letting one of the main characters take a totally unexpected and intimidating turn!
  • Traveled a ton! I went to NYC with my sister, Las Vegas with Chris, Georgia with Susan Dennard, St. Louis with Kat Zhang, and New Orleans with my sister again! Plus a couple trips up to Nashville for concerts, one of which I did all by myself!
  • Maintained relationships with the people most important to me. I developed my relationship with my littlest sister. Chris and I remained happy and in love. That was the wonderful thing about therapy, and my depression, and any issues I have really: my relationship with Chris is never the problem. He and I are always good.
  • Fully healed from a major psychic wound with the help of Susan
  • Implemented a ton of projects and changes at my day job. Was featured in a trade magazine as one of the ’30 Under 30′ in the nation.
  • Asked the writing club at my University if they would be interested in me coming to give a talk (despite the voice in the back of my head criticizing me, “Why would they want to hear from you? You’re not published”), and it went amazing!
  • Worked full time and took 10 classes over the year, and managed to do all the stuff above.

Wow! 2016 wasn’t so bad after all, right? Andrea surprised me when she called me a “creative powerhouse.” Until I step back and look at it all, I don’t realize how much I really work on and produce. It never feels like enough.

But the true takeaway was Andrea’s method for teasing out my hidden dreams and aspirations, and beginning to manifest them into reality by writing them down–and getting specific. Andrea was so great at this. From the tangled word vomit I threw at her, she was able to pull out my core desires and passions like simple, beautiful jewels. She even gently and wisely pointed out a few things to me that I’d been struggling with, but convinced myself to tolerate.

The greatest moment was when she had me write down the characteristics of two people I hugely admire. From there we identified my core goals/values for the upcoming year:

  • To be brave (and bravely make the hard decisions that are best for me)
  • To be uniquely myself (to make the art I want to, not to please others)
  • To be clear and discerning with writing and my career

And as for the issues I was struggling with, she asked me this: What would the people you most admire do in this situation?

You guys, my shoulders just fell. Because I know. I’ve known all along. They would do what’s best for them, and exit the situation. It’s funny how it takes another person to get you to see that. Andrea also made this mind-blowing suggestion that I should be grateful to my depression for knocking down some of my emotional defenses and bringing these issues to light.

Thank you, depression. You really did let something amazing come through.

So I’m making changes. An immediate one you might have noticed is I’ve re-branded my website. I’ve known for years I needed to do this, but I put it off because I adore the special banner picture I commissioned from Corona Zschüsschen. I paid for it, I love it, and it represents me and my work, so how could I get rid of it? But the dark colors, and being bound to such a large header image, were weighing on me. It was a chore to come here and update my website. I always felt icky doing it. As a compromise I will make a print of that banner and keep it in my office so I can smile fondly at it instead.

Another change is that I’ve decided to only take 2 classes this semester, instead of 4. This means I won’t graduate this December like I’d planned. But if I push it off, then I get to use these next 4 months to fit things in my life I really want to do. Why should I have to put my passions and interests on hold for 4 months, to constantly find myself thinking, ‘I’ll do that thing after next semester?’ Why should I risk the side effects that come from all that stress, possibly including returning to depression? Is pushing the graduation deadline really so terrible if it means avoiding all that?

Nope. Not so terrible at all.

This brings me to the third and biggest change: I have ended my professional relationship with my literary agent.

I am so grateful for the support Laura Bradford gave me over the years, and how she continued to stand by me across eight years and three projects with no sales (plus another couple manuscripts that never went on submissions, including Shotgun Girl and the rewrite of Nameless). Her endorsement of me as a writer gave me so much in my life, not the least of which is the experience with LTWF and my lasting friendships and readers from those years. Laura gives amazing editorial feedback that helped me grow significantly as a writer. If your tastes and hers align, I highly recommend her.

I signed with Laura when I was nineteen, and positioning myself as a women’s fiction writer. That is not the writer or person I turned out to be. While this was an incredibly hard decision to make, I feel it’s the right one for me, and I’m very excited to move forward.

The past few days have been unreal. I haven’t felt this good in so long. I feel like I completed a long, hard chapter in my life, and the new chapter is brimming with opportunities.

I am also really excited to entering the querying trenches as a writer informed about the industry and my creative self, so different than how I did it the first time. For years I gave advice to other writers on various blog platforms. We’ll see if I can’t put my money where my mouth is :-)

Talk to you soon,

<3, Savannah

Birthdays, Visits, and Horse Races!

I’m socially exhausted these days, and for that I apologize. Here’s what I’ve been up to the past few months:

Kat Zhang came to visit!

As you may know, Kat and I have been friends since 2010 when we were both contributors to the blog project Let The Words Flow. Kat came down to spend the night with me on her way home from some traveling. Here’s what we did:

sav makeupKat put some intense makeup on me using techniques she learned from assisting a professional photographer with shoots. This eye makeup was crazy, yo. We also put red eyeshadow and gold sparkles on my other friend. It looked great!


The next day we went to brunch, and then rode horses at my family’s stables. That’s me leading a horse out to ride. My sister guided us on a mini trail ride and it was super fun. Kat was riding my sister’s champion horse, who loves to splash around in puddles. We got muddy!

sav by kat 200

Then we took an ATV out and Kat took some great photos of me and my sister down by the river, which was swollen from tornado-inducing storms the days before. This is my new social media profile picture! We also took some pictures of Kat, but my sister and I are enthusiasts, not professionals, and I guess they came out kind of blurry, lol.


Lastly we took some fun photos, and I love the way this one turned out!


I turned 25!

I bought some crazy lipstick and nail polish, wore a tiara like I just didn’t care, and went out for hibachi with my family and friends!

Sav birthday tiara


Thank you to everyone who sent me sweet birthday wishes through social media <3 You are so kind!

Hats and Horse Racing

My family has started up a horse stables, and this past weekend they invited a bunch of horse folks out for a big party to watch the Belmont Horse race. All the ladies were asked to wear fancy hats, so I present to you myself in 50’s themed fancy horse racing attire:

Horse race hats

I bet on Wicked Smart, who did not win, I am sorry to say. However, I did win the ‘best hat’ contest (by a majority), so there’s that.


I’m still plugging away at Cobworld edits, but I hope to be finished very shortly. Then I get to dive back into a previous project, and I’m just so excited I could burst.

Hopefully I’ll talk to you soon! ;-)

<3, Savannah

Stop the Holidays, I Want to Get Off (With GIFs!)

I love the holidays. I love decorating and singing holiday songs and eating caloric food and visiting family.

But the day after the actual event I am done. DONE, do you hear me?

This December was a flurry of activity, with my writing, work, and personal life all swirling together. In case you weren’t aware, I’m in a leadership role in my day job, and act as the coordinator for a lot of our company events. Let’s break this down:

December Week 1

Turned in ACORAS to my agent! Celebrate! Indulge in guilt-free television-watching sessions and internet surfing!

Begin to think guiltily about ACORAS 2, which I officially started for NaNoWriMo and stopped working on in order to not over-stimulate the story.

Week 2

Even though I’d been planning for it all year, scrambled this week to fill the final details on the annual company Christmas party! Have first stress migraine.

At party receive recognition reward in front of all staff. Ride in limo.

Week 3

I was in NYC again! This time Chris went with me! It was a structured event so we had no free time to see friends or family (though I did sneak in half an hour with Sammy Bina while I was supposed to be touring the World Trade Center Memorial Center).

If you’ll recall, I was in NYC basically the same weekend last year, so it was a lot of dejavu. I still didn’t have time to see the NYC Public Library (it’s on my bucket list), but Chris and I had a wonderful time at the stuff we did get to do, which included eating at fabulous restaurants, giggling so hard we cried at WICKED on Broadway, eating the best pizza and cannolis I have ever had from some hole in the wall place, and buying way too many scarves in Chinatown.

Week 3

Our family Christmas party! We had a Godfather theme this year, so we served home-made meatballs and spaghetti sauce, home-made bruschetta, and made our own meat trays and caprese! We bought way too much food and have agreed to tone it down for next year, which is a total relief because preparing all that was exhausting.

Week 4

Christmas!! We spent every spare minute with family. Chris gifted me with all of our much-wished-for camping gear, so we will finally be able to go camping together as soon as the weather warms! Speaking of weather, it managed to sleet/snow here the day after Christmas, which is sort of a Christmas miracle. I’ll take it.

We went fox hunting with my family, but it was miserable cold, and we weren’t allowed to keep the car on or talk at all because we had to listen to the radio and for the hounds. It was awful.

This Week!

I’m sick, but finally back at work and on a regular schedule. It is such a relief to be ‘back to normal’ after a month of deviation. We are dieting and running again, I will be able to write more in the evenings, and we will take more steps towards finishing the updates on the house.

Goals for 2013

  • Sign a book deal. This one isn’t really up to me at this point, but it would be nice to do :-)
  • Finish the second sleeping beauty story. I loved having a month off in December because it showed me how much I can’t help developing stories. The second book is coming alive in ways it totally didn’t when under the deadline of NaNoWriMo. I’m very excited to turn it into another work I’m incredibly proud of.
  • Run in a 5K. Chris and I didn’t run in December at all, but we’re back on it starting tonight!
  • Hit my goal weight. We really have this diet and exercise thing down pat, it’s just a matter of sticking to the process. I’m excited for the progress I know will come.
  • Update my crafting blog twice a month.

Oh, what’s that? Crafting blog? Yes, I craft. I am a crafter. I just love making stuff with my hands, but I feel weird about sharing that stuff on here since you guys aren’t here for that. So, I’ve decided to separate out the projects, and if you’re interested you can follow along at Paper & Teal. It’s something I’m just getting started, but I should have some of my past projects up there soon, and I’m doing a new one with Chris this weekend.

2013 here we come!


What about you? What are you up to/what are your goals for 2013? Leave a link to your blog if you’ve already blogged about it!

<3, Savannah

Good News about NAMELESS and ACORAS

When I wrote this post about Nameless and my burnt-out-ness, you guys were very gracious and understanding about the continuing trek that is my struggle to revise that book into something publishable. Which is why today I’m breaking that unwritten rule that writers shouldn’t talk about their projects until they’re complete, because I have good news for you!

I think… I think I figured out how to fix it.

My friend Kat Zhang (whose amazing debut WHAT’S LEFT OF ME is coming out this fall!) has been a soundboard for various Nameless ideas for a few years now. A few months ago when I was complaining about voice and tone in YA, she made a brilliant suggestion that immediately became part of the Nameless cannon: what if the book didn’t start with the MC already being the Poetess?

Always before we’ve met the Poetess when she’s already established in her role. She has already joined the adults and triumphed over one of her biggest personal challenges (the Poetess selections). But what if she was never meant to become the Poetess? What if she was too young, too inexperienced, and unfortunate circumstances prompted by the Rebellion left the government with no choice but choose this teenage girl for a demanding and isolating public role?

The reason I shied away from this idea is my unwillingness to change the first chapter that has gotten so many people’s attention. When you hear about the story you want to see the slaves. You want to go through the selections and see the beautiful boys and pick one to be yours. It’s a harem and a nesting fantasy, and you don’t have to wait through several establishing chapters to get it. It’s right there, first chapter.

And I love all the subtleties of the world building and the pressure on the Poetess, stuff that would be absent if she wasn’t the Poetess when we first meet her. So I was left with this conundrum and facing those horrible, needling rules of slaying your darlings and ripping apart your favorite bits for the sake of the story.

I am an acolyte of this writing religion, and I know the dogma. I just balk at it sometimes.

So then we had my post about being worn out and not knowing how to fix it, and life moved on with my ACORAS rewrites, which are going swimmingly, by the way, but I’ll talk about that further down. Then Saturday night as Chris and I went to bed very late, I told him about my progress with ACORAS and how excited I was, and how in as little as a month I could be sending it to my agent again. Casually he asked me what I would work on next.



I… don’t know?

The sequel to ACORAS, probably. I thought it would be a trilogy but now I think it will just have a sequel. Or I could work on the adult fantasy I’ve been quietly tinkering with, about a female sociopath and the warrior who accidentally becomes her companion. Or maybe return to the Sirens story, with a complete do-over.

Or Nameless.

Chris drifted off to sleep but I, over-caffeinated, stayed awake with Kat’s suggestion and my resistance to change tumbling about in my mind. I knew even when discouraged that given enough time my subconscious would dredge up a solution, but still I kept worrying away at the idea. How could I make her the Poetess and not-the-Poetess?

And then it hit me. So hard I had to get up out of bed and tiptoe down the dark hallway and turn on only the lamp in my office so I could scribble down the words jumping seamlessly from my mind:

I was not meant to be the Poetess.

Not yet anyway. But when the smoke cleared and the body of the true Poetess lay crumpled on the floor, I was the one who spoke into the receiver, who turned my face to the still-transmitting cameras and told the nation not to fear the Rebellion.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. We didn’t need chapters of introduction. We didn’t need to see her working as a lowly scribe and aspiring one day, after decades of study and obedience, to be chosen as the next Poetess. We just needed a summary of how she found herself 17 and in charge of the nation’s mental well-being.

So there you have it. I’m a dork, but the obstruction has been cleared, and though we’re far from out of the woods (I’ve accepted I’ll probably have to dump 10 years worth of the plot of the last 3/4 of the book), I’m at least back on path again. Just thought you might want to know :-)

I also wanted to share a few tidbits of information that I just today recalled about the origin of Nameless. After so long with these characters it’s easy to forget the alarmingly haphazard way they came about. For example:

  • Number 23 was originally based off my girlhood crush on Tobias from the Animorphs series.
  • The real reason he’s mute? Because when it came time for them to interact 15-year-old me had not a CLUE what Shae would realistically say.

Blind luck, subconscious soup, and an unhealthy Animorphs obsession. These are my writing origins. Let’s move on to more professional news so I can pretend I’m a real writer:


I’m rewriting ACORAS again.

It’s not that the first version was bad. It just wasn’t as amazing and heart-stopping as the new version I began to envision. Beginning with the flashback I mentioned in the weird tenses post and blooming from there, the story slowly grew into a far more nuanced version of the tale I’d first told. Motivations cleared, plot threads thickened, characters enhumanized, and the resulting layers of truth and lies were much closer to the original pitch.

But for a time there everything was growing somewhat out of control, as I filled page after page of notebook paper with ideas and snippets of conversations or thoughts. I had to make a story bible, a document for cut bits so I could refer to them later, a document for bits that hadn’t happened yet, and of course the ever-expandingly detailed Plot Notes bullet list. Computer programmers call what was happening to me ‘feature creep’.

It was very overwhelming. But after a lot of doubt and despair everything settled down, like it usually does, and I started taking those slow steps towards untangling this mess and figuring out what had to go where. As of this weekend my first 110 pages are solid and there’s only about 20k missing to connect the beginning with the last third. 20k for which I have detailed, consecutive notes.

I’m so pleased and relieved I could burst. I wish you guys knew ACORAS like you know Nameless, because you should totally look forward to how this one’s gonna rip your heart out. I even put it on my About Me page: If you come away feeling like I’ve kicked you in the heart, then I consider my mission accomplished. ;-)

<3, Savannah

An Update on NAMELESS

My first book, Nameless, got me where I am today. It’s the reason I had fans, the book that got me an agent, the reason I was invited to be a part of LTWF, and probably the reason a majority of you follow me.

Here’s the run-down on Nameless’s history:

  • I wrote it when I was 15, and it was put on Fictionpress
  • At the time it was a trilogy, which I completed
  • I signed with my agent in 2008
  • The first book, under the name of Antebellum, was put out on submissions and did not sell. It was greatly enjoyed, but no one knew how to market it.
  • My agent suggested combining the trilogy into a single book and changing it to a YA voice.
  • This was a good move. It made me cut a bunch of crap, and I’d always envisioned the story as being for a younger audience.
  • I sent the rewritten version to my agent. She liked the plot changes, but the voice wasn’t YA.
  • It turns out I didn’t know how to write YA. I found my YA voice, however, by writing the sleeping beauty story.
  • I attempted to rewrite Nameless in a YA voice
  • I failed.

I’m at the point with this story now where I don’t know if the plot is inherently YA at all. It’s about a girl trying to be an adult, running her own household, grappling with sex and the pressure to have children, getting involved in politics and making big leadership-type decisions that affect a nation, and ultimately contributing to a complete social revolution while navigating the requirements and sacrifices of a mature relationship.

Now what part of that really reads as YA? Even if you’re a 15-year-old reading this and thinking, ‘That story sounds amazing!’ and wanting to read about a teenager doing all that, the fact remains that this doesn’t really fit in with today’s YA market.

Which is so unfortunate, because the genre of the book sort of needs to be YA in order to be successful. YA is amazing; it can take all sorts of things. But because this story isn’t really Dystopian or strictly Fantasy, and definitely not Literary, it seems I’ve written myself into a very tight corner from which I’m struggling to escape.

I wanted to tell you guys this so you would understand why it’s taking so long, and why I’m sort of burnt out with struggling. I love this story, and it’s my baby, but trying to fit it into something it’s not has pretty much worn me out.

That’s why I stopped working on it, and focused on my sleeping beauty story. Which I also love. Which I am also invested in. Which has also made me cry and given me goosebumps and which I CANNOT WAIT to share with you, because I know you’ll love it as much as I do.

Now, I’m not giving up. That’s not what this post is about. I’ve promised myself and I’ve promised you that I will deliver this story to you one day. I will find the right angle and I will find the right way to tell this story in a fashion that is both amazing and still marketable. I will.

But I’m also probably going to deliver you the sleeping beauty story first. As we approach the 8-year anniversary of Nameless’s first draft, I just wanted you to know why.

Thank you to everyone who still reads my sample chapter and gushes. You guys remind me why it’s so important to keep working <3

Why I Left Pub Crawl

I sent out a brief notification on Twitter, but now the official goodbye post is up over at Pub Crawl.

After two and a half amazing years, with all love and respect, I’m leaving the blog. This post explains why. To read my goodbye to my readers, along with a small recap of my more fun articles, please visit my goodbye post at Pub Crawl.

The short of it is that I’m trying to simplify my life, and give myself as much time and mental clarity as possible to focus on my writing.

The long of it is that as far back as August I knew I had to make a change, but dreaded the process. I dreaded what I would have to give up more than what I knew I would gain.

Then the other day I read a post about writing and not writing. The author said something I’ve heard a million times before, “Talking about writing is not writing.” But he also said something different, something that struck a chord with me: “Writing about writing is not writing.”

Throughout my time at LTWF and Pub Crawl, I became very good about talking about writing, and explaining about writing. But the time devoted to doing that doesn’t actually count as writing time. It’s not furthering my stories. It might clear up some of the noise in my head, but it’s not teaching me about my own novel.

As much as I loved being a part of LTWF, and as proud as I was of Pub Crawl, I’ve reached a point where things have to get condensed, and some things have to be cut. A ‘spring cleaning’ of my life, if you will. I decided a part of that cleaning needed to be stepping down from the blog. I post only once or twice a month, but the administrative requirements of the blog, and the constant checking and planning I do is what really takes up my mental time. Instead of pondering my plot and actively seeking new ideas, I worry about what to write next so I can deliver a quality article for our readers and meet the expectations of my team. I check our traffic stats. I comb Twitter for industry news and inspiration for articles, not my work.

A big deterrent to resigning was giving up the amazing opportunity that LTWF/Pub Crawl has been. I felt almost guilty… how could I even think of throwing in the towel when so many would love to be part of a project like this? I worried about giving up my platform for reaching people, not only from a promotional sense but in a way where I could positively affect the lives of young writers. But here another piece of writing knowledge comes into place: All the promotion in the world means nothing if your book isn’t good.

I can’t deliver a good product to my readers and myself if I stay distracted. And so I choose to refocus all that mental energy into my own projects.

I’m looking forward to my new freedom :-) Pub Crawl wasn’t a drag, not at all, but it was a responsibility, and the relief of that burden is uplifting.

What does this mean for my readers, both here and at the blog? I hope those of you who follow me exclusively at Pub Crawl will also choose to follow me here. I will still post articles as they come to me. I have upcoming stuff planned on magical systems, how to find community online, and the hard lessons of writing. Not to mention my personal rants and revelations, as always :-)

Other positive changes I’ve made include reading instead of watching TV (a resolution constantly being renewed, lol), getting a library card, and feeding my creativity through other mediums, like paper installations, painting, and remodeling my house. I’ve been quite busy, actually, and will make a personal update post soon, I promise :-)

I feel happy, I feel relieved, and I feel ready to get started on this new chapter in my writing life. Thank you so much to everyone who made the past two and a half years amazing. I’m so proud to have been a part of that amazing blog project, and I will treasure that memory always.