lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A “Real” Job November 27, 2018

I’m an actor and an author. Those are the two things I do with my life. They are both horribly time consuming, desperately competitive, bound to shatter your heart, and I would never give up either of them.

But a lot of people don’t consider either to be a real job.

I’m an adult. Not like just out of college and think I’m a grown up. I am actually a full-fledged adult who likes to gripe at youths who aren’t concerned with being politically active. But some people still somehow think that I’m going to outgrow these strange pursuits and choose something sensible to do with my life.

My favorite comments include:

  • If you keep practicing, you could really be an actor someday.

Counter balanced by

  • You’re so talented, have you considered acting professionally?

 

There’s also the gems of (accompanied by thoughts like):

  • So what do you do for money?
    I sacrifice goats to the gods. Would you like to come to the next ceremony?
  • What are you going to do—you know—when you’re old?
    Be a cooler person than you.
  • You should be on Broadway. Why don’t you live in New York?
    I like disposable income and hate the smell of pee on the sidewalk.
  • Don’t you want to do something more with your life?
    I tell stories and make people happy. I may not be curing cancer, but escape and joy are important, dammit.

(more…)

 

My Bio October 23, 2018

As an actor and author, I have to write a lot of bios.

Some, like for kid’s shows, are super easy.

Megan is thrilled to be on stage again. Her favorite animal is the narwhal, and her favorite food is ice cream.

Then there’s normal show bios where you have like two-hundred words to sound impressive so you go for:

Megan is thrilled to be a part of shmanky schmoo production. Previous credits include: Blah, blah, blah, blah. Am I impressive yet? Blah, blah. Love to my husband.

But the real kicker is the author bio. Sometimes you have about one-hundred words, so all you can do is list your books and say who your agent is and you’re done.

But sometimes they want you to fill a whole page so the reader can really get to know you. This, my friends, is dangerous. It’s all about balancing honesty with interest.

I’m going to list my books, that’s a given. I’ll put in a tagline about my work as a playwright and lyricist. I’ll probably toss in a bit about being a professional performer because, for some reason, people think that’s super cool and glamorous. (I agree with the cool, but the glamorous is a lie performers like to keep up. Really we’re just sweaty messes wondering when our costumes can be washed and where the nearest ice pack is, but whatever. It’s nice to believe that fake eyelashes and sequins really do make us fancy.) (more…)

 

In Re the Rut October 12, 2018

I’m not good at being in between projects. I lose track of productivity and get less done than when I’m horribly overworked.

I sent two manuscripts to my agent, sent a proof to my publisher, rehearsed and opened a massive show, and am about to open a second show, and I have no idea what writing project to work on next.

I have things I could do but nothing that anyone is asking me to do. There is no deadline. I have no tether to my time. I don’t know when the last time was that I didn’t have some author thing I had to be working on with every spare moment.

I’ve been on a book binge. If you haven’t read Throne of Glass, I highly recommend the series. It’s been keeping me up reading way too late at night and helping fill the void where work should be.

I’m working on the script for another Children’s show, and the first is being rehearsed for its very first production, which is super exciting!

So I guess that’s what I’ll do, dive into the script and lyrics and see where that goes. Maybe edit a new short story to give away to my mailing list subscribers from my author site. Maybe… I have no idea.

I’ll find a project to hold my focus soon.

Or binge read every book in Barnes and Noble. One or the other.

 

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…)

 

Adventures in Authoring May 4, 2018

As I type this blog, I am sitting on my tour bus seat with my computer perched on my lap. (Don’t tell my chiropractor). During the seven months of tour, this seat has been my bed, my office, my sofa, my kitchen.

The thing is, if I didn’t have a writing career, if I were just being a full time actor and living a leisurely tour life, I would have so much time to read and play. But I have an author career to maintain. I wouldn’t want to change a thing. Smashing all my time into writing when I’m not eating and sleeping is a worth the sacrifice.

Generally, I wake up, crawl my way onto the bus, and sleep through quiet hours. Then it’s time for lunch, during which I work on managing my social media accounts. Afternoon on the bus is writing and editing time. Get to the hotel at 3:30-ish, work/swim if there’s a pool, scrounge for dinner. Get on the bus to go to the venue at 5:15-ish. Get to the theatre, cram writing work in between meetings, sound check, and the show. Get back to the hotel at 10:45-ish. Work until about 2am. Go to bed. Start the whole process over bright an early the next morning.

There are times where variations happen. If we’re in a city for more than a day, I can sneak away for a few hours if there’s a hiking trail available. If there’s a really great brewery, I’ll sacrifice a bit of my word count to sample the local brews. But really it’s a lot of time pushing through to get things done.

But it’s worth it because by the end of this tour I will have
Released two books:

Boy of Blood (Girl of Glass, #2)

The Girl Without Magic (The Chronicles of Maggie Trent, #1)

Edited one project to turn in: (more…)

 

Last Chance! January 23, 2018

The Rafflecopter ends today! If you want a chance to win a new Kindle Fire 7 preloaded with great Young Adult reads, follow this link and enter now, because tomorrow the giveaway will be gone!

Don’t miss out!

 

Authorless-ness January 16, 2018

In case you missed it, my latest book, The Girl Without Magic was released last week.

This is the part where I’m supposed to say how grateful I am and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful publisher, and how thrilling it is to have people read my words.

All of that is true, but this is Life Beyond Exaggeration, not my author website, so here’s the messy part of it.

Being an author isn’t always fun. I actually thought about it, and if I gave up writing, I could get masters degree. I would have time to do the school work and time to earn the money to pay my tuition. If I didn’t write, I could be a really great ukulele player, have a six pack, have watched everything on Netflix everyone tells me I should watch. There is so much I could do with my time and my life if I just stopped writing! It’s maddening!

And that’s what I spent my joyous release day thinking about. In a burrito of blankets. Binging on cool ranch Doritos. There were a lot of things that led to this highly attractive moment.

Amazon being screwy and not posting the book for many hours so I was panicking that it would never go up.

Important people not answering my emails when I needed them to.

People in my non-author life treating my writing like a side hobby that should hold no sway over my schedule and should be dismissed when it becomes inconvenient for them.

The never-ending self doubt because no one will read my books and, even if they do, won’t leave a good review.

Then I decided. I was done. No more writing. Fulfill the commitments I currently have contracts for and then be done. (more…)