on the move

The internet must be confused; it appears to have brought you to my old site! 
I'm not saying it's not a fine place to be, but my new site is MUCH nicer, plus it has the added bonus being updated! 
Trust me–you're going to want to check it out at: 

Here's my cat in a sink for your trouble.

why, hello, 2016, you're looking mighty fine

And we're back! What?! Two blog posts in two days?!? What is going on!??!?

I'll tell you what--exciting things! If you haven't had a chance to check out yesterday's short and sweet post, I'll give you an even shorter and sweeter recap: in the coming weeks, I'm relaunching this blog/site, and I'm hoping that you and anyone you know who's looking to recreationally flex their creative muscles will help me out with one of a few new features I'll be launching. Exciting, yes? Yes. It is. More to come on that in a few weeks. First, we've got a site to migrate...

Actually, no. First, I think I owe you a real post. Enough site news for now. I want to talk about something I think is pretty important. New years = fresh beginnings = reflection and all that junk, but if I'm being honest, the topic I want to touch on today isn't something brought on by the new year. It's something that's been on my mind for weeks. Months, really. Or longer. It's the result of the past year and beyond.

I want to talk about being humble--specifically, the importance of being humble. I'm sure you've heard people speak on this topic before. People who are probably more qualified to speak on it to boot. But it's something that, I think, has really helped me survive the past few years, and while I'm going to frame it in the context of my writing journey, I think it can easily be applied to a lot of things in life.

During my years working in publishing, and time spent trying to get published myself, I've encountered A LOT of aspiring authors, and subsequently, I've witnessed heaps of determination, frustration, and more cursing the universe than I could ever keep track of. The road to publication is long and full of devastation. We all have our bad days. We all have days when we feel like we should give up and move to Alaska to rehabilitate baby seals, leaving the brick walls that stand in our way behind forever.  We all have days when we ask, "what if, no matter how hard I work, my dream never happens?" And yeah, we all have days when we look at the other guy, the guy who's found success and wonder, "Why him and not me?"

There's no concise answer to that question. It's a foggy, swirling cloud of half-explanations. Luck. Timing. Personal connections. The list goes on and on. The thing is, the answers don't matter. What matters is that you find a way to stay humble, even if you have fleeting moments when that jealous question crosses your mind. Staying humble will keep that question from gnawing away at your ambition, your creative drive, and your ability to just. keep. going.  Being humble turns "I'm amazing. My book is a million times better than half the crap that's being published so where's my book deal?" into "Do you still want this? Yes? Then keep working at it. Believe it will happen and keep going." It prevents you from becoming the one thing no author should ever let him/herself become--entitled.

By focussing on staying humble, I can honestly say (and this still comes as a surprise to me from time to time), I'm always genuinely happy to read announcements from author friends who've finally sold their first book--or second, or third. Seriously. It's not even in that grit-your-teeth "Oh, I'm so happy for you........." kind of way, but in the way where I find myself truly celebrating the successes of my peers. I can't tell you how wonderful and freeing that feels. Envy is a terrible thing. It can and will eat away at your soul. But to be able to honestly revel in the successes of others is refreshing and inspiring. It makes me want to work harder at my own writing so I can get there too! And, unexpectedly, I find it helps with the frustration that comes with rejections. It reminds me the dream is possible, and sometimes, someone else's good news is a welcome change when I'm feeling down about my own lack of good news.

But perhaps the most important thing about teaching yourself to stay humble, is that it's a skill you can use for life. Even if you do accomplish that elusive goal you've been chasing, staying humble will continue to serve you well. It keeps your head on straight (and believe me, you'll be doing anyone who works with you in the future a huge favour by keeping your head on straight). So take a deep breath, and remember, things have a way of working out. You already have a lot to be thankful for. Try to keep that in mind, even as you're striving for more. Everything that happens next is just icing on the cake.

ready to rise from the ashes

Another crazy, busy year is hours away from ending (or has already ended, depending on where you are on the globe). In some ways, it feels like the past year has flown by, but in others, when I think back to some of the big decisions I made this year (like not returning to my full time position at Harlequin, or moving our family not only to a new house, but a new community), it feels as though they happened in another lifetime.

But the point of this post is not to reminisce, it's to look ahead--and there's so much great stuff to look forward to in 2016! I'm excited to announce this blog/website is on the move! In the coming weeks, I'll be migrating everything over to a brand new, sleeker, redesigned site, which will mark the beginning of a new era in what I want this space to be. As Baby H gets older, and I find myself in a position to give my writing career more of myself than ever before, I'm ready to jump back into this blog with some new features and some old favourites (admit it--you know you've missed my Friday5 posts). I have an idea for an interactive writing feature that I'm really hoping some of you will help me out with, whether you consider yourself a writer or not. We're all storytellers by nature and I'd love to see that side of anyone who's willing to go on a little adventure with me. I want this site to take on more of a community vibe if possible, but I need your help to do that. Yes, you in the back wearing the gorgeous ugly Christmas sweater! More details to come on that--and a few other features I have in mind. I can't wait to launch the new site and dive in!

As for my current WIP, which I kickstarted in November during NaNoWriMo, I'm also really looking forward to diving back into it after an extended break for the holidays. Hopefully I'll be in a position to share some bits and pieces of that with you as well. It's straight-up YA contemporary romance, and it's pretty swoon-worthy if I do say so myself ;)

I don't want this post to ramble on, so I'll keep it at that for now, but I wanted to write and say hi!, happy near year!, and let you know about the exciting things I have brewing for 2016. More details to come very soon!

Wishing each and every one of you all a peaceful, healthy, and truly joyful new year!

the dog's breakfast

Where did all these cookies come from? Photo credit: Zorik07
This post has gone through several incarnations--actually, I shouldn't even say it was a single post because at one point it was going to be three different posts, but as the title suggests, I've decided to throw up my hands and cobble them together into some sort of Frankenpost.

It's been about three months since my last update, and though most of the people reading this will probably have some idea of what's been going on with me because of Facebook, I figured I might as well post a rundown here for posterity's sake. And it being Friday and all, let's do this Friday5 style, shall we?

But only kinda.
1. I'm moving to the country (gonna eat a lot of peaches...does anybody even remember that song?) Yep. Let's get the biggie out of the way first. We all know how stressful and time consuming moving can be. Throw on top of that the fact that we weren't exactly planning on moving (until we suddenly fell in love with a house) and, well, let's just say everything is a bit chaotic at the moment. If I'm not chasing my children around (my actual full time job), I'm making lists and checking them twice--wait, that's not right--it's more like making spreadsheets and cross-referencing everything eight thousand times. And packing, and scheduling, and packing, and painting, and packing. I won't bore you with all the details, but on top of the usual moving stuff (and our family has doubled in size since we last moved), there's also all the getting our current house ready to sell in a timely manner stuff, because again, we weren't exactly planning on this happening...

2. Which brings me to update #2: because of the sudden decision to move out of the city, I've also made the extremely difficult decision to not return to my position as an assistant editor at Harlequin. I have A LOT of thoughts and feeling about this decision, but rather than wade too far into the deep end, I'll sum them up as best I can by saying this whole moving/not returning to work thing has been very bittersweet. I'm definitely excited about our new home and the opportunities it presents (see #3 below), but Harlequin (specifically MIRA, and then HQN) has been my home away from home for seven years and there aren't enough positive words in the dictionary to describe the amazing, talented people I'll no longer be working alongside. I'm going to miss them tremendously. So yeah, BITTERSWEET. 

3. The decision to make the above life changes has left me with the occasional sinking feeling this might end up being a huge mistake, but for the most part, something about it just feels right. Call it a gut feeling. Part of that has to do with us settling in a nice little community just as my daughter is about to start kindergarten, but it also has to do with the opportunity it presents regarding my ambition to build a career as an author. Writing has always been something I've dreamed I'd one day get to devote my primary (work) focus on, and now I have the chance to explore that. Is it a huge gamble? Definitely. But sometimes you have to take a chance, and bet on yourself. This next phase of our lives feels like the right time for me to do that and if it doesn't work out, it certainly won't be for lack of effort or drive. Please keep your fingers crossed for me :)

4. Speaking of writing, that brings me to my next update: my WIP, THIS HIDEOUS HEART is finished, and while I don't usually like to talk about the submission process on this blog, I'll just say that it's out in the world, looking for a home. I'm really happy with how this one turned out (not that I'm not happy with how all of them turned out) and I really, really hope I'll get the opportunity to share it with you some day soon! My next project is the one I'd been working on before the lightbulb that was THH went off, stealing all my attention away. It's a summer camp story--I was a HUGE fan of summer camp style stories as a kid (Baby-Sitters Club Super Specials anyone?) and I can't wait until the bulk of this moving stuff is out of the way so that I can dive in. It's a contemporary YA romance, with hints of mystery, humour and a lot of heart. The working title is, SUMMER CAMP SUCKS WHEN YOU'RE FAT, and it fits the tone of the story so well I don't plan on changing it anytime soon :) More updates on that to come. And in fact, more everything to come. Once this move is over, I'll be in the position to actually, truly, once and for all, get back to a regular blog schedule--another benefit of all these life changes.

5. Okay, this has nothing to do with me specifically beyond the fact that I'm totally hooked. Can we please talk about iZombie? Because I'm in love. I knew I would totally dig this show because, hello, Rob Thomas is a supercrazyawesome genius, but he has somehow surpassed my expectations, meshing the best elements of Veronica Mars with Warm Bodies. In true Rob Thomas style, season one ended with a bang, and I can not wait for season two. So good, you guys. SO GOOD.

Bonus TV-related bullet point: Yes, I'm loving PLL's #summerofanswers. The drama is at an all time high, and my Haleb shipper heart is giving Hot Caleb all the awards for best boyfriend ever. If I can manage it, I'll try to do a Pretty Little Recap or two in the coming weeks, especially if something truly explosive happens. But no guarantees. Seriously, you guys should see all the boxes and moving crap surrounding my desk right now....

So, that's all for now. I'll be back with more in the coming weeks/months/etc, hopefully with an update about SUMMER CAMP SUCKS's progress, and maybe a taste of THIS HIDEOUS HEART since I'm proud and want to share. Until then, I'll just shamelessly sign your yearbook with, "Have a great summer!" ;)

i'm not dead

I'm not. I swear. If I were dead, would I be able to type this? Probably not, but then again, do we even have a definitive answer on zombies retaining the typing skills they had in life? Maybe tackle that one next, Robert Kirkman.

Anyway, yeah, not dead, just busy.

With this:

Baby H is keeping me plenty busy as he develops fun, new skills!

And this:

It's hard to get things done when a doll has been put to bed and is snoring on the ottoman. And no, I can't move her. The daughter will know/throw a fit if I move her. 

And this:

New WIP: This Hideous Heart, a YA re-telling of Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart

So yeah, that's what I've been up to. And as a result of being busy with all that, I haven't had free time to blog, not even to do a Pretty Little Recap, though yes, I have been keeping up with the show and will probably make time to recap the finale. (Mini recap time! Hot Caleb was missing for too many episodes, but was awesome when he returned; wow, Spencer was really spicing things up in the UK; the scene with the guy suddenly rising up in the burn ward was freaky as hell and I'll have nightmares for weeks; Ali with no makeup in prison is refreshing and awesome; and holy crap, Hanna is in jail, and Hot Caleb is basically the fourth liar now. Whew!)

All of this is to say that I'm on a mini blog-hiatus while I get a few things sorted out. Primarily the first draft of my WIP, because the two kids? Not much to be sorted there. That's just life. But I'm very excited about the new book, THIS HIDEOUS HEART. It's coming along really well, and so far I'm mostly on track to meet my self-imposed first draft deadline of the end of March. But I need to neglect other things to stay the course, and yeah, blogs and recaps are part of that neglect because again, the kids can't be ;)

I will definitely share more about the new book once I have a synopsis to post, and in the meantime, I'll leave you with a bit of good news about another book of mine, Skin Deep, has been shortlisted for the the 2014 Dante Rossetti Awards! In an industry as challenging to break into as publishing is, it really is very exciting and such an honour to be recognized this way :)

S'all for now! xo