Ah, the twin hazards of being a freelance artist/writer: procrastination and performance anxiety.

As soon as I sit down at my watercolor block and pick up my brushes, I find myself convinced that the writerly muse has suddenly, decisively descended and I must return to my novel RIGHT. FRICKIN’. NOW.

The minute I pull up that chapter I’m re-writing for the second third fourth fifth time, my eyes sneak back toward my painting. I mean, is it really wise to give up the last good natural light of the day?

I think I might need a personal assistant. Just to set off the shock collar every time I think changing up activities every five minutes is a good way to be productive.

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Publication News!

Already anxious about your Christmas shopping? Wondering what to get the literature nerd in your life? (After all, you can only buy them so many book cover T-shirts from Out of Print. Of course, they also offer sweatshirts, scarves, mugs….)

Well, look no further! Hitting stores in late December, Family, Friends & Foes: Human Dynamics in Hispanic Worlds marks the newest anthology in a series on Hispanic literature that includes other such favorites as:

And may I recommend, in particular, Chapter 4: “ ‘In This Madhouse’: Myth, Message, and Kaleidoscopic Kin in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude“?

It just so happens to share its author in common with this blog. And that makes for notch number 4 in my lit anthology gun belt!

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FEATURED IMAGES PROPERTY OF SUSSEX ACADEMIC PRESS (COVER DESIGN PROOF) AND MakeAMeme.org.

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Comedy & Query Trenches

I recently took a 6-month hiatus from querying literary agents so I could focus on putting my historical novel on a very-much-needed weight loss plan. Now that I’ve lopped off 30+ percent of the book (and it can finally wiggle back into that little black dress), it’s time for me to return to the query trenches.

As anyone who’s been there before–or is hunkered down now–can attest, those trenches are not a fun place to be. There’s a lot of research, a lot of letter-honing, a lot of hoping/praying, a lot of waiting, a lot of stress-eating-ice-cream-by-the-pint.

A lot of bracing for the inevitable rejection. As Dana Stabenow said,

“To be a writer is to embrace rejection as a way of life.”

Continue reading “Comedy & Query Trenches”

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”

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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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”