Dear Morgan, Don’t Give Up!

Several long-term goals were within my grasp. I had a plan. My confidence was high, twenty-sixteen was the year I’d been dreaming of.

Until

On an overcast night in early February when we took our dogs out to potty before bed. Our big dog, Meg, was already outside on her lead when Molly and I arrived. Meg was so excited to see us that she did three joyous laps around us in a couple of seconds. Before I could step out of the loops made from her lead, a strange sound in the neighbor’s yard distracted Meg and she ran to investigate.

I woke up laying on the concrete patio looking up at the stars and worried about Molly.

Everything Changed

I’d gotten a concussion when I landed on my head on the concrete. Nausea and headaches became normal. When we went to the doctor, my mom told her I’d been speaking a lot of gibberish since it happened. I’d known I’d been struggling with my words but I’d had no clue that I wasn’t making any sense.

I lost six weeks of writing time because I couldn’t focus on anything. Stupidly, I assumed I could just work extra hard for a month or two and my amazing year would continue as planned with only this hiccup to make things interesting.

Before falling I’d planned to finish rewriting Valentine’s Catastrophe before Camp NaNoWriMo started on April first. Then I’d write the rough draft of UnScrooged, a full-length Christmas romance novel, during camp. And after that complete rewrites of my first book, The Fire-Pit, followed by another rough draft of a brand new story.

It quickly became clear this schedule was never going to happen. I couldn’t work for more than a couple of hours a day and barely made any progress. Halfway through camp, I officially changed my goals so I wouldn’t beat myself up for being so far behind schedule.

False Hope

The last week of Camp NaNoWriMo I reached an intense and emotional scene. No matter what I did it wouldn’t come together. Desperate to finish the story, I took a pen and paper outside in the hope that inspiration would strike. Molly came with me. We enjoyed the sunny spring day and while she did fun dog things, I wrote.

By the time Molly wanted to go inside I’d written more than I had in over a week. Excitement and relief surged through me. I was back to my old self!

I woke up early the next day eager to get to work. Two cups of coffee later, I’d only written a couple of sentences and didn’t like either one. By lunch I was blinking back the tears gathering in my eyes.

I hate crying. I hate being weak. Continue reading “Dear Morgan, Don’t Give Up!”

Behind the Scenes of ‘The Fire-Pit’

Until I began writing The Fire-Pit I never thought about what went into writing a novel. At the library or bookstore, if an authors’ name or a cover caught my eye, I read the blurb on the back. If it sounded interesting I took the book home. It was fairly easy to find an entertaining story.

The last eighteen months have been an adventure. Grab a camp chair and join me by the fire.

Research

A great story idea came to me in the shower. Guess I ought to write a book.

Yep, that’s how it started. With an idea. Part of my idea involved a food truck. I spent many hours learning everything I could about food trucks.

I spent days creating my characters. I found images on google. I interviewed each character, asking 40 in-depth and probing questions. I learned a lot about them.

Despite being scared I was ready to write. So I did the research all over again. I repeated this process for six months.

Camp NaNoWriMo

There was a blog, written by indie author Donna B. McNicol, that I regularly read. She announced in July that she was super busy writing all of August’s blog posts ahead of time because of Camp NaNoWriMo. I remember eagerly following the link to discover what this camp was all about. Camp NaNoWriMo is where writers come together and for a month write like crazy. You can do anything, a novel, a screenplay, blog posts, non-fiction, newsletters, or research for an upcoming project. I decided it might just be the kick in the pants I needed to escape this research quagmire I’d fallen into.

I wrote every day for two and a half weeks. On day 17 my characters went on strike citing unsafe working conditions. They claimed boredom had almost resulted in several of them dying. They refused to come back to work until I’d watched a few action adventure movies. I argued with them. They won. Continue reading “Behind the Scenes of ‘The Fire-Pit’”

Are You a Shark?

For the last couple of weeks, my niece has stayed with us. One of her favorite games to play is a card game called Rats. The game has wonderful illustrations of cartoon rat characters doing silly things and standing by giant cheese numbers. Each player attempts to collect all the cards in the deck, whoever does is the winner.

My sister prefers I keep my niece’s identity a secret. So from now on, I’ll call my niece, Princess Cadence, her favorite My Little Pony.

Princess Cadence is 7 years-old. Somewhere along the line she heard the term card shark. In typical kid fashion, she shortened that down to “shark.” As we played the game and her pile of cards grew she began asking if she was a shark. We assured Princess Cadence, that she was a shark.

A few days later, she and I were playing an intense game of Rats. Slaps (on the table and a part of the game) and laughter could be heard anywhere in the house. Princess Cadence had a huge pile of cards. She looked at Auntie’s small stack and announced I was a crayfish and she was a shark; a running joke was born.

The next day tiredness prevented her from doing well. Her concentration was like a bubble; there one second, popped and gone the next. When she complained that I was a shark and she was a minnow, I suggested that she need to think like a shark.

A strange look crossed her face. Continue reading “Are You a Shark?”