lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

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…)

 

The Trouble with Taxes January 25, 2019

I have never claimed to be the best at adulting. There are several areas of basic skills that I’ve never mastered. I’m a hazard in the kitchen, I don’t know anything about cars, and the only way I know to fix household appliances is to call a repairman.

I am, however, used to being smart enough to understand things. My brain is currently failing me.

For the past several years, I’ve done taxes for the husband and me. Not exactly the most glamorous chore, but I liked getting everything done. Each year, things got a bit tougher. We started getting 1099s, we had more specialty acting deductions. But I muddled through, with a ton of help from the husband, who was tasked with tracking receipts.

Then I arrived at this year’s taxes. I knew the code had changed, so I started doing a bit of research… and fell down a black hole of doom. Most of the tax write offs actors used to have—classes, show makeup, dance shoes—were gone. I had figured that much out just by listening to my fellows freak out about how to pay for everything if it wasn’t going to be a write off. But then I got stuck on one simple question, how does standard meal allowance, or M&IE (federal meals and incidental expense) work now? (more…)

 

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…)