Is it Friday yet?

Yes, it is. Thank God. Well mostly. At least . . . Ugh. Okay, not really.

It is Friday, the very first Friday of the new year, which means it should be an auspicious start, right?

Well, it’s funny that. I’m getting mixed reviews on how people are faring the New Year and we’re only four days in. On one hand, I’ve got FB friends who have proliferated their Facebook pages with pictures of weird looking cats and sage wisdoms for the start of 2013, things like “Whatever you dreamed yesterday, you can dream tomorrow,” and “Start off the new year on the right track with these 10 organizational tips.” You get the drift. Pages of overflowing optimisim and niceness. On the other hand, I’ve realized I’m also friends with a large group of cynical pragmatists.  They’ve got things like, “The glass is half full. Who are you kidding?” or “2013: Why did the Mayans have to be wrong?” Yep. I’m telling you, these people make my day every day.

So why is today downer Friday? What’s in the air that makes some people so, you know, down?

The one thing you can say about the first week of a new year is that it makes people think. Hell, you can’t swing a dead cat around here without someone asking you what your new year’s resolutions are (ed. – please don’t swing cats, dead or otherwise). The ending of a year and the beginning of a new one is a time of reflection, of introspection, and some of us just don’t like what we see. Some people think about all the stuff they didn’t accomplish in 2012 or all the crap that came their way that they’re still dealing with. Others freak out completely and start wondering “What does it all mean and what’s it got to do with me?” I don’t know if it’s something particular to our age – most of my friends are in their 30s and 40s – or if it’s just part of the human condition to feel that little bit uneasy when a new year starts.

I like to think of it as performance anxiety. It’s not just a man’s problem. I think we all suffer from it even if it’s just a little tiny itsy weeny bit.

My personal case in point. As I finish Protector and start working with my new editor, I have this distinct feeling of discomfort that I didn’t do enough for Watcher. I stood by my guns that I wasn’t going to do any promotion on Watcher at all until I completed Protector. Why you may ask? Well, I had two very good reasons in my mind:

1) I would lose momentum as people waited around for Protector
2) What if I couldn’t write a second book?

Both are very real fears in my head. I guess I should say were now. Protector is just about finished, thank God, praise be to Allah, Mazel Tov, etc. . . But that aside, I’m lamenting the fact that I didn’t do something about Watcher reviews before now, that I didn’t plug into the PR machine. Now that I’m ramping up to Protector launch, I’m having to start on this now while I really should be enjoying my “honeymoon period” with my editor. I would be lying if I didn’t say it kinda sucks. Now I see why publicists get the big bucks cause frankly being a one man shop is like a time sucking vortex of the Dr. Who variety. No one has time to do everything (ed. – I can turn anything into a Dr. Who reference, trust me).

So back to the New Year, right?

I can see why people are stressed out. A new year means a new expectation plus all the old crap you were dealing with any way. Not that I want to end this blog post on a negative vibe – last thing I need is bad juju here. No, what I wanted to say is that it’s okay to be a stress monkey, it’s almost expected. If you’re not a little stressed out about another year going by then I’m not sure you’re doing it right.

And on that note:

Happy New Year and remember to breathe. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

Real Life and Writing

I’m a day early on a blog post. I know, like anyone has any time to read anything so close to the holidays, but this thought has been stuck in my brain all week and I had to write about it somewhere.

So here it is:

It’s funny how real life can crop up in your writing. What I mean by that is that no writer is an island onto himself. Everything we experience, everything that moves us – both good and bad – has an effect on what we send out into the world in our books. I know that we all write the little blurb in the front of our novels that say “blah, blah, blah, purely fictional, blah, blah, not based on real people,” and that’s mostly true, but not 100%.

I had my own art-imitates-life-then-life-imitates-art moment this week.

I’ve been having a hell of a time getting the last couple of chapters of Protector finished this week. Nevermind that I have an editor deadline for January 7th. Oh no, I’m gonna be having some late nights between now and then. That aside, I experienced the same thing with Watcher so it’s not a new feeling. There’s something paralyzing and terrifying about tying up the loose ends into a pretty package (ed.- gratuitous holiday reference). I mean you’ve got almost 400 pages in and now all eyes are on you as resolve all the angst, the tensions, and of course, the murders. Plus for me, there’s always that chapter or two that happens right before the big reveal that has gaps – I mean seriously big holes where you think, “Where’s the plot to fill that?”

And so that sends me into a spiral of panic. For the most part.

But you know what? It’s also a magical moment. Some of the biggest “Uh uh, you didn’t!” moments came at the end of Watcher, which ties back into my original thought about real life.

At the end of Watcher, I was seriously addicted to Dr. Who, specifically the The Doctor and Rose timeline. That whole “Bad Wolf Bay” thing nearly killed me. I literally had tears in my eyes with that good bye scene. There have been few times that I have emoted in such a strong way to fiction. Even now, I think I was a wee bit silly with Dr. Who, but if I go back and re-watch it, I still get that feeling. It takes a lot for me to buy in, but when I do, I buy in big.

So as I enter the last phases of Protector, I find myself once again addicted to yet another televisual experience – this time in the guise of Sons of Anarchy.

Oh yes. Man, I am seriously hooked on this crazy show.

Bear with me for a minute here as I digress . . . I have a deep love for everything Russell T Davies. Not that Russell has anything to actually do with the SOA, but when I found out that little ol’ Geordie Charlie Hunnam was playing a biker boy in a US drama for FX, my intrigued was piqued. Any Brit or gay man for that matter will remember Charlie playing Nathan, a coming of age gay adolescent in Davies’ Queer as Folk. (Hell, I can’t get the images of his gay sex scene out of my head ever.) So how does a quintessential gay icon become a burly extremely heterosexual biker gangster?

Easier than you imagine for a Brit star who’s been trying to break out in the US. Wow.

Where’s Nathan?

Anyhow, the point is that I’m finding it having an influence on the ending of Protector. Just like Dr. Who did on the end of Watcher. All of a sudden plot holes are starting to fill, things are clicking into place, and I have a new love for men with facial hair, tattoos, and big Harleys. Thank you SOA for the inspiration.

I won’t say more because otherwise it’ll give away what’s brewing for Betrayer, Book 3, but you get my drift. Sometimes art imitates life or vice versa, but sometimes art imitates art, too, whether we’re conscious of it or not.



7 Months

Tomorrow, it will be exactly seven months since I started writing Protector, Book 2 of the Shining Ones series.


Has it only been seven months? Yep, afraid so. What feels like an agonizing lifetime has in fact only been about the same length of time it’s taken me to get four hair cuts. Or to put 5,000 miles on my car. Or the same time it’s taken me to gain about 5 pounds.

I’d like to say that that sort of stuff puts it in perspective, but really it doesn’t. As I get older, time seems to speed up exponentially to my age. My husband tries to give me some sort of scientific explanation for this, but more often than not, I don’t understand it. Happily, it doesn’t change the facts.

Seven months.

Holy Moley. But in a good way.

Even though I had originally planned to finish Protector at the end of August, I can see now that that goal was highly unrealistic. After all, it had taken me over a year maybe even two to write the first book. I’m not 100% sure because I didn’t keep a developer/writer journal during that time. I’m just doing an estimate here. Still, even if I said eighteen months as a compromise, that means I’ve cut 50% out of my timeline.

Whoa. That’s pretty crazy. Imagine if I was a manufacturing plant making widgets. Would I get a bonus for the increase in production?

Anyhow, it’s a nice way to end a very bad week . . . seventeen chapters down and only a few more to go.

What I’m Thankful For . . . yes I’m late

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not very good at the whole blog thing. Yeah, not really good at email either or the phone or any other way that a normal human being keeps up with another human being. I’d like to call it genetic, but I know it’s not true. There are women in my family who can talk on the phone for hours – so that theory is utter bollocks.

And that’s not what this blog post is really about.

No, what this is about is friends. Not an acquaintance, a colleague, someone from your book group, your rabbi, or anyone else who fits your life like an accessory. I mean the real deal. The one. The person who knows you better than you do. Yeah, that friend. The type of friend that you get once or twice in a lifetime. The one that stands by you no matter what sort of cosmic crap follows you around. That friend who puts up with all your neurosis, your fat thighs, your multiple one night stands, and everything else in between. It doesn’t have to be someone who’s known you your whole life, but it helps.

This is what mine looks like. She’ll probably kill me for posting this picture, but she’ll forgive me because she’s that friend (see how that works?).

We may not get to choose the genetic pool in which we spawn from, but we do get to choose who we want in our lives. There’s been a couple of times in the last twelve hours when I thought long and hard about what I had done to deserve the latest melodrama that has erupted in my personal life, like somehow I was being punished. But karma has a way of throwing you a lifeline. So when I was at my lowest point, my one called out of the blue from over 3,000 miles away right at the point that I needed her the most. I’m not making it up. It was like she knew without knowing. It was an almost religious experience and something that never ceases to amaze me about our relationship. Time and time again, she’s always there without me having to do a thing.

And just so you know, she’s highly embarrassed about my PDA and is probably inwardly cringing, but again, she’ll forgive me for that, too.

No matter how low you feel, no matter how much crazy family crap happens (because let’s face it, all families are just one step from Jerry Springer), no matter what things make you lose your belief in humanity, you will always have that friend.

And for that I’m truly thankful.




Why I’m not writing

I don’t know what it is about this October.There’s something in the air. It’s not just the cooler weather, the crackle of falling leaves, the smell of fresh apple cider . . . there’s something else going on and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

But the outcome is the same. I’m having a hard time concentrating on writing.

Yep. Same ol’ problem just different source.

It’s like I can ‘t sit still. I kid you not. I’ve got a million and one projects on and they all seem much more important somehow. Like cleaning out our linen closet or building a desk or making a wedding cake. I didn’t make any of those things up. They’ve all happened in the last two weeks.

So what is it about the Autumn that makes me crazy?

I don’t know. There’s something exhilarating about losing the Virginian humidity in lieu of crisp mornings that require a hoodie or a jumper. It sort of makes me go all gooey inside, but also gives me a shot of adrenaline, which means I’m never very long at my desk. I’m not even sure I’m writing about it, but I guess I’m wondering if it’s just me or something that everyone catches once September one comes and goes.

I’d like to say that since I’ve acknowledged it, I can now tackle it and move on . . . but did I mention that I’m hosting a Curry Club next week or that we’re throwing a neighborhood wide Guy Fawkes night in two weeks? Yep. Even after I deliver the cake to this wedding today, there’s still no rest for the wicked.

You know what though? I’m not too fussed. The Autumn is my favorite time of the year and I plan to enjoy it even if it means I get a wee bit behind *again*. Life is meant to be for the living after all.