Once upon a time, I used to sit down at a blank page and write whatever popped into my head. Other times, I toyed with an idea first, and once I had a loose premise, I started writing. I wrote about unexpected superheroes, teenage vampires, epic fantasy worlds, parallel dimensions, corrupt ghosts, possessed mermaids…and as fun as it was to play around with these stories, none of them went anywhere. Most of them were never even finished. And when I did get far enough to type “The End,” those manuscripts languished in Revision Purgatory, forever finessing, never finishing. Needless to say, this approach wasn’t going to get a manuscript polished, let alone published. I needed to change my pantser ways and embrace the art of planning.
I have a hard time remembering the books I’ve read. Ask me for a recommendation, and everything flies out of my head, leaving me wondering, “Have I ever read a book?”
If it weren’t for Goodreads, I don’t know how I’d get through the May #RomBkLove challenge started by Ana Coqui. The goal is to get people talking about romance novels across social media, and it’s certainly doing that. I’ve been participating on Twitter (my favorite platform), but I wanted to include the info here, for the next time someone asks for recommendations and I immediately forget every book I’ve ever read.
I think I’m pretty funny. I don’t know if others would agree or not, but I think I am. Or at the very least, I’m silly, which is close enough. When writing, I try to imbue a light-hearted sense of fun into my stories, to balance out the deeper feelings that come up for the characters. The ability to infuse your writing with humor is all well and good, but alas, this is where killing your darlings comes in.
Last week, I posted reviews and video clips of the first four shows I saw this year. Here are the other four, with two video links for each: The Great Comet of 1812, Amélie, In Transit, and Anastasia.
There’s something special about live theater, and especially musicals. The feeling of being in a space with hundreds of other people, watching supremely talented performers giving it their all on stage, lights me up. I love the singing and the dancing, probably because I’m not great at either, so I find it really impressive when people are triple threats.
After I finished writing Take the Lead, I realized I hadn’t been to a musical in nearly five months, and I was due for some creative well-filling. This year, I’m making an effort to see more shows. I’ve seen eight so far, so I’m splitting them into two posts. Here are the first four: Holiday Inn, School of Rock, Waitress, and Newsies Live.
This blog is due for an update! A lot of cool stuff has been going on, and I’m going to take a minute to celebrate, because I haven’t done enough of that. One of the things I’ve learned in the last couple months is to enjoy the big and small moments as they come. Give yourself a break for a little while to let it all soak in. You’re working hard, and you deserve to celebrate when you hit milestones. When people congratulate you and wish you well, receive the love.
On with the celebration!
I’m super excited to announce that I have signed with Sarah E. Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency!
Self-sabotage happens when we set a goal, then proceed to make choices that go directly against the accomplishment of that goal. With writing, self-sabotage can look like procrastinating when we’re supposed to be writing. Or it can look like refusing constructive feedback, or failing to do necessary research before a big decision. There are many ways to self-sabotage, but let’s talk about one of the less obvious ways we self-sabotage: playing small.
I always forget how energizing live theater is. Since I live in New York City, it’s easy to put off going to shows, because they’re always available to me. I fall into the habit of saying, “Oh, I’ll try to go later,” because it’s cold or I feel tired. And that’s how I end up missing shows.
Holiday Inn is playing at Roundabout Theater at Studio 54. The last show is January 15th. I heard it was good, and after I found out Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) was the lead with Corbin Bleu (of High School Musical fame), I knew I had to see it. Pinkham was phenomenal in A Gentleman’s Guide and Bleu was amazing on Dancing with the Stars. Since it was the last weekend, I bit the bullet and purchased a ticket for the second-to-last day through the box office. I even splurged, buying a better seat instead of “whatever is cheapest.”
[Edit: You can read this story here, since the anthology is no longer available.]
This month I had the opportunity to submit a contemporary romance short story to the Wattpad anthology Winter’s Embrace. I chose to write a story that takes place on the Winter Solstice. Here’s the blurb for Solstice Miracle:
Two people who’ve written off love and magic find a little of both on the longest night.
After inheriting her grandmother’s house in suburban Connecticut, Rina Minkin revives her witchy improv character to help pay for necessary home repairs. When Miguel Alvarez shows up at her front door with two kids in need of a Winter Solstice miracle, even cynical Rina can’t turn them away. And the longer she spends with them, the more she wants them to stick around.
This was a fun piece to write, and I enjoyed designing the cover. I didn’t officially sign up for the anthology until I had some semblance of an idea, although my first idea is not the one I ended up writing. It’s been ages since I wrote something this short (it’s around 6500 words), and it was a challenge to include a strong character arc and a believable romance in such a short span. I plotted out three scene beats to get a solid beginning, middle, and end, and went for a sweet heat level.
Solstice Miracle is free to read, and you can find it here. Make sure to check out the other talented writers in the anthology, and Happy Winter Solstice!