lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Suffering Protagonist September 9, 2019

I love writing. I love books and words and storytelling and the whole messy world that comes with all of it.
But sometimes…sometimes I feel a little guilty for the damage I do to my characters.
When you get down to the heart of writing, I’m just a person sitting at a computer, torturing innocent, imaginary people.
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The level of guilt I feel for torturing my characters varies depending on the series. With Girl of Glass, the world is ending, people are dying in mass, so the damage I did to Nola Kent is like…meh, at least you’re alive.
In How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days there’s tons of drama and magic and danger, but Bryant’s resilient so I feel like he’ll be okay.
The Girl Without Magic gets a little tougher. Maggie Trent is strong and bold, but world hopping adventures are hard. And saving people is a lot of pressure.
The Tethering is rough because Jacob only wants to love Emilia, but it’s not that easy…
But I’m working on a new series, one in which I feel super guilty for the level of pain I’m putting my poor protagonist through.
She’s strong, she’s brave, she’s everything I would want to be if everything I had ever known was destroyed and my fate was to become an assassin. Her name is Ena, and I love her. She may be my favorite character I’ve ever written, but bad things just keep happening.
And I’m the one doing it.
Maybe it’s weird to be so concerned about the damage I’m doing to my imaginary characters. And I can’t make things easier for Ena because that’s just not how her story goes.
But dude…I feel really bad.
And I’m only on the first book in her series.
Oops.
Sorry Ena.
 

Turning a Corner May 2, 2019

I know it’s been a while, and I really am sorry.

Basically, maintaining my author work while choreographing and being in one show and then jumping right into rehearsals for another ate all my available brain cells.

Night of Never was released two weeks ago, and Son of Sun comes out next week, so it’s been a wild ride. It’s been a storm of editing, writing, and making big life decisions.

There’s a story that I’d love to tell you all, but I can’t because airing your grievances on a blog is unprofessional and immature, and I’m good enough at adulting to know that it would bite me in the butt.

So here’s a much longer story.

When I was in college, I was never what my professors wanted me to be. I was smart enough that they needed my GPA, driven enough that I always had theatre work, but they always placed me at the bottom of the list of those they deemed worthy of success.

I’ve spent my adult life as a female in musical theatre. I’ve been lucky enough to work a hell of a lot more than most and have had the pleasure of working for companies that I genuinely enjoy. Even still, as an actor, let alone a female actor, it is regularly implied (and sometimes outright stated) that you are disposable. If you’re lucky enough to have work, then you should take what you’re given because there are hundreds of other people who want to be sitting at your dressing room station. (more…)

 

Voices from the Void March 20, 2019

Writing can be a very lonely pursuit. Even though I’m in constant contact with other authors, editors, cover artists. Answering emails, messaging on Twitter, responding to Facebook posts. It still sort of feels like your tossing your baby into the void.

It takes me between 1-3 months to write a book. That’s just the actual typing the word count portion of the process. The planning beforehand and editing after take a whole lot longer. Take all that time and multiply it by the number of books in a series. All those hours of plotting, writing, polishing, then you just toss this book baby out into the cold cruel world of the internet and hope its wings are strong enough to fly.

But even if the book is doing well, there’s still this constant fear of the void.

Now that I’ve gone Indie, I can see the download numbers for Girl of Glass. I can track the daily data down to what country the downloads are coming from. Thousands of people have downloaded Girl of Glass since its release less than a month ago. Like…multiple thousands.

But I don’t know if any of them have actually read the book. I don’t know if they’ve fallen in love with Nola’s giant heart. I don’t know if they think Jeremy or Kieran is a better match for her. I just don’t know!

And it’s maddening. (more…)

 

When the Free Book Beguiles February 25, 2019

Being an actor/author isn’t always the easiest path. There is so much rejection and self-doubt there are times when it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth trying to tell your story.

And then you upload your rerelease of a book onto Amazon and reach number three in your category without even promoting the book.

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Lessons I Wish I’d Learned February 15, 2019

I can sew on a button. I can almost manage to do my taxes on my own. I’ve consistently worked in my chosen field since leaving college. There are areas I’m lacking that could improve if I really wanted to put the effort into learning.

Like how to change a tire. How to cook. How to clean up the desktop of my computer so I can actually find files when I need them.

But there are some topics in which the information is so spread out across so many different resources, it’s hard to figure out what the actual best practice is.

Let’s look at it at a base level. If you’re going on a trip to Disney World and you want to know what the best order to ride the rides is in order to avoid the worst of the lines: If you Google it, you’re going to get twelve different answers. Of course, if there were one definitive answer, it would be out of date as soon as everyone read the list and started flocking to the same places in the same order. (more…)

 

A New Beginning December 14, 2018

I have the unfortunate duty of announcing that the Girl of Glass series is going on a temporary hiatus.

I found out this week that the publisher for the Girl of Glass series will be shuttering its doors. The eBooks for Girl of Glass and Boy of Blood have already been pulled from retailers. On the plus side, the publisher seems to be handling the closure in a responsible manner. I have been promised a reversion of rights letter.

With that document, I will have the ability to re-release Girl of Glass on my own. Rather than shop the series out to new publishers, a process that could delay the continuation of the series for years, I have chosen to take the project into my own hands.

If all the paperwork goes well, Girl of Glass and Boy of Blood will be back in circulation this spring with book three in the series, Night of Never, coming out this summer.

I’m looking forward to this exciting new adventure in publishing, and I hope you will join me as Nola ventures back out into the world.

Thank you as ever for your support.

P.S. Don’t forget to hang on to your old copies of Girl of Glass. Those covers will not be reprinted, so who knows? The books could be collectors’ items someday.

 

Reading Reviews May 8, 2018

There are a lot of similarities between acting and authoring. The love of storytelling, artistic nature of the endeavor, the constant threat of rejection… and reviews.

Reviews as an actor have never really bothered me. You win some, you lose some, but at the end of the day, you have to do the show the director set to the best of your ability. Altering your performance to fit a review is horribly unprofessional, so you soldier on and keep your chin up.

It’s a little different for books. The book is out there, and there really isn’t anything you can do. Unless there are semi-colons mid-word (as was found in a big name book that will remain nameless), in which case your publisher has to scramble to send a new version out into the world, the book is the book.

But you’re working so independently on your books; you could let the review pressure trickle into your work. Declaring that you’re never going to use a love triangle again, you will avoid writing on all social issues, or banning magic from your books are easy traps to fall into.

I know a lot of authors refuse to read any reviews of their work, and I get it; avoiding psychological damage is important. (more…)