Mugs & Motivation

It’s been a quiet few weeks (er, months) around Ebb & Flow.

My preoccupation with our newest international move–this time back to the Good Ol’ US of A–is much to blame. There’s a lot involved in purchasing new cars, identifying apartments, catching up with family and friends, and coordinating three different shipments of far too much stuff. (Every time we go through one of these nomadic seasons, I fantasize about burning everything we own–books excepted–and starting from scratch.)

But the biggest culprit behind the “Mysterious Case of the Missing Blog Posts” has been the dedication of all my writing time to a massive overhaul of my historical novel. And I do mean massive: facelift, rhinoplasty, and some serious literary liposuction. As in tens of thousands of words, now gone.

I’m glad about it. With every word felled by my editing machete, I know my book’s becoming better. But… Continue reading “Mugs & Motivation”

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Texas: There’s No Place Like Home

One of the many (many MANY) odd quirks of Foreign Service life is a little something we call “Home Leave.” A congressionally-mandated series of leave days following the end of an overseas posting, Home Leave is designed to help culture-shocked American readjust to life stateside.

Since July saw the official end of our time in Suriname, we’ve been spending our month-long Home Leave traipsing around the country, visiting loved ones and preparing for our move back to ‘Merica, where we’ll be posted to the D.C. area. Our trails took us from D.C. to Michigan to Indiana to Texas, seeing treasured family and friends all along the way. Continue reading “Texas: There’s No Place Like Home”

Father’s Day

 

On this Father’s Day, I think (unsurprisingly) about my dad, who’s really always been my hero. As a little girl I looked up to him completely… and honestly, none of that’s changed now that I’m a girl all grown up, and moved (at times very, very far) away from home.

My dad has given me many things. A sense of safety and security in the loving family he helped build. A drive to learn, a strong work ethic. A penchant for adventure that’s stood me in good stead in my life married to a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. A love of the outdoor world that is so deeply rooted in me. My passion for all things water-related, that, as a surfer, swimmer, and ocean-enthusiast, I find to be at the very core of who I am as a person.

These mark but a few of the gifts my father has bequeathed me. But perhaps the one that is easiest to take for granted is the support he’s provided me as a writer. Many parents, I think, would’ve been tempted to herd me (out of love, of course) toward a more stable career. Instead, my dad listened to my ideas, read and edited my early (terrible) drafts, paid for writers’ conferences and even traveled with me to attend them. He’s believed in my dream even when I didn’t. And for this writer, there aren’t words enough to say thank you.

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Bite-Sized Book Reviews: “Legendary”

In many ways, writing the second book in a series is trickier than writing the first. The author faces the challenge of having to maintain the elements that made the first book a success, while also having to amp up the stakes (and yet avoid veering into territory that isn’t cohesive with book 1).

I read Caraval, the first book in Stephanie Garber’s series of the same name, with an overall sense of satisfaction. (Find my review here.) The pacing was good, the world intriguing, and I was curious to see what happened next. Lucky for me, I already had an Advanced Readers Copy of sequel Legendary on hand for review.

Legendary continues the story of the Dragna sisters, Scarlett and Tella. Now traveling with the players who put on Caraval–an immersive, magical game that is half-carnival, half-scavenger hunt–the sisters are enjoying the freedom won from their oppressive father in book 1. But when they are sucked into a second round of Caraval, lead character Tella learns that this time, it’s no mere game. And gaining her mother’s freedom may mean unleashing an ancient evil on the world. Continue reading “Bite-Sized Book Reviews: “Legendary””

An Ode….

An ode (that’s technically a limerick) to my husband, in honor of his patient creativity in helping me re-plot my novel this weekend:

There once was a man whose writer wife had

Written a book whose problems drove her mad

She asked him plot questions

Nagged for edits, suggestions

With a sigh, he gave advice ironclad*

Continue reading “An Ode….”

Editing & Angst: Tactics for Triumphing over Tough Choices

There’s some contention about who said it (Da Vinci? Picasso? E. M. Forster? Paul Valery?), but whoever voiced it, the thought’s a salient one:

“A work of art is never finished. It is merely abandoned.”

For novelists, this means–after much hard work–finally making the choice to unclench your fingers and drop that red pen. At some point, you have to kick that baby bird out of the nest and let it fly or fall as it will.

Alas pour moi, that point of abandonment is not now. Every time I try to nudge one particular novel out of my drafting/editing nest, I find it chirping obnoxiously, squawking that it’s not quite ready.

And so I find myself flourishing that vermillion ink yet again, this time to do a massive, content-oriented edit aimed at culling thousands of words.

Now I may grumble and groan and gnash my teeth–just ask my long-suffering husband–but I’m also invigorated by it. Because who doesn’t want to make her book the best it can be?

That doesn’t mean the project isn’t daunting. Yet as I read through my novel, I’m finding two images to be helpful guides as I decide what to keep and what to cull. For my fellow writer/editors, I thought I’d share: Continue reading “Editing & Angst: Tactics for Triumphing over Tough Choices”