Cancer in Life and Writing

I know that this blog is about writing, but I want to talk about something that I want to write about, but sometimes am intimidated by: cancer. If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago. Luckily, thyroid cancer is one of the less dangerous cancers, and I’m fine now. But the thing about cancer, is that it never really leaves you. You might be fine health wise, but you’re never really “fine” in any other sense. I always heard the phrase that people use about how things “spread like cancer” and I thought that there was something beautiful about it. To an English person, it’s a metaphor meant to show the relentless that something has and how it poisons as it spreads. As a cancer survivor, I don’t think it’s beautiful anymore, because I know what it means. Cancer doesn’t just poison your body—it poisons your mind, heart and soul. It’s something that sticks with you, even long after the cancers gone. Every time I go back for a check up, I worry that it’s going to be back. Whenever I get a headache, I have this split second of […]

Writing and Making Money

Okay, romance writers, is it just me or do you always feel the need to tell people what you do to “make money”? So, here’s the conversation I continually have with people: Them: So, what are you studying? Me: I’m studying English and Library Science. Them: Cool. So what do you want to do after you graduate? Me: I want to be a romance novelist. Them: *blank stares, awkwardness, disbelief, dismissal* Me: But, I’ll probably be a librarian or go into research or something with archives…to make money. Every. Single. Time. It’s ingrained in me to explain away my dream because I’m worried that people will hear the word “novelist” or “writer” and automatically think that I’m going to fail miserably. I used to be afraid to tell people that I want to write novels, let alone romance novels, but now I’m not. I’m proud of it. But I am afraid that people are going to see me as a failure. What makes me even sadder, is that it makes me sound like I’m ragging on the library side of things. Like I’m almost saying that it’s not my first choice—that instead it’s second behind writing. Really, I’d say they’re […]

Hello, Writer’s Block, I Will Defeat You

Liz meet Writer’s Block. Writer’s Block meet Liz—please don’t kill her. I used to let writer’s block TERRORIZE me. I’d lie around, feeling all sad and weepy, listening to equally sad and weepy songs, hoping that inspiration would just strike. Like lighting, but without the sting. But lighting doesn’t really strike that often (at least, not in the same place), so it’s not fair to put that much chance into something that you should be able to control, right? Well, I used to think that that was the case…but today, I’m not so sure. Stephen King said some really wise words in On Writing (which I highly recommend reading) and I’m not kidding when I say those words literally changed my life. He essentially said that if you’ve got writer’s block, then that means that something isn’t working. Writer’s block is basically your subconscious telling you that you need to stop and look back, then make changes, before you keep moving forward. Since that advice, I’ve been able to write so much faster and with much less pressure. But this way of thinking isn’t working for me right now, because I don’t even know where to begin. The backspace is […]

Positive “No’s” in Querying Literary Agents

Today I got a “you have an intriguing idea here” and it’s the most positive email I’ve gotten after querying an agent! Though it was still a no and I might’ve had a heart pounding moment, it was enough to make the bleak writers-block world I’ve been living in feel happy and well…positive! It could’ve been just a form email, which is something you tend to get when querying agents, but even if it is, you have to take the no, realize that it’s a “no” but then focus on the other stuff. The stuff encouraging you to keep writing, the stuff telling you that you’re going to get somewhere someday, the stuff telling you that you’ll find an agent eventually. It’s kind of like when I complain about not having a boyfriend/fiancé/husband and my mom answers, “You’ll find him someday. He’s out there waiting for and looking for you, just like you’re waiting and looking for him.” So yeah, I’m looking and waiting for an literary agent. Of course, my answer to my mom is always, “Well he needs to look harder,” or, “He’s taking too long to get here.” But you know, sometimes you’ve just got to keep […]

Want to Write? Read Bird by Bird

One of my absolute favorite professors first mentioned this book, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, to a class I was in back in my third semester of college. So, I did what I always do: used to my trust library card to put a hold on it and eventually checked it out and… IT TERRIFIED ME. Very much. Like, my chest was constricting and saw about fifty shades of my future, all of which were dark, dull colors that in no uncertain terms meant that I would probably spend the rest of my life scooping dead deer off the side of road. The book draws you in with anecdotes and hilarity, but it’s also serious at times. Like when Anne Lamott tells her class that the road to getting published is going to be hard. So, what terrified me? That right there. If Anne Lamott was to ever read this blog, I’d probably die, because she probably now thinks that she terrifies me or that I hate her. But I don’t. I really, really, really don’t. In fact, I’m at a hero-worship stage right now when it comes to her. After deciding to give it another go, I realized that I […]

Starting Out With No Place To Go

Sometimes when you write…it’s a little like that famous scene from The Walking Dead’s first episode. You know, where Rick Grimes sees the walker who is missing the bottom half of her body? Well, she’s reaching for him, making the typical walker sound, and we’re given a sense of desperation, hunger, despair, basically everything negative and nothing even remotely pleasant. Yeah, you probably don’t just see it, you know it. We all do at sometime in our lives for different reasons. But the thing is, when you’re writing, you’re not Rick Grimes—you’re not operating on a Ricktatorship. Nope, you’re that walker who’s barely cleaning to life, humanity and hope. Eventually you might get your Ricktatorship on, but it takes time for you to realize how to kill the walker. How to keep moving forward. So what’s a fix for this horrible step for writing? I don’t know. I’m not sure that I ever will. But I’ve been tossing around an idea and if I ever become famous enough to write a book on writing, then maybe this’ll make the cut. Start with your character, because that’s who drives the story (most of the time), right? But don’t write in first person, write […]

You Might Notice Some Changes

I’m revamping the blog so that it’s more orientated to wanna-be authors and book-lovers, because yours truly is both. From now on, you’ll be able to learn everything to what books I’m reading, to where I’m at in my writing. There also might be articles about anything in between…who knows!! The point is, books are important. They’re a passion. A love. And to be honest, I’d be perfectly okay spending the rest of my life alone on a desert island with one (and food…and water…and shade…oh, and a man). Regardless, I want to share my passion for them without you and I hope that in turn, you will do the same. That being said, I might stray away from my romance novel love here and there, so all book lovers are welcome! There is also an official subscription email for a newsletter that I invite anyone to join! It’ll keep you updated on new blog posts and as this blog continues to grow, maybe other things, as well. However, I will try not to spam you! So, welcome and write/read on!!

Romances with Other Stuff

I decided that I started writing romances when I realized that the paranormal-type stories that I was writing tended to lean more toward being a romance, with all the other stuff in the background. And that’s all it ever was to me—stuff. Werewolves, vampires, faeries, princes, princesses, it’s all just background stuff. Let me get this straight: there’s nothing wrong with books that aren’t purely romances. I’ve been working on reading North and South by John Jakes for the last few months (it’s taken me a few months because I’d get distracted by other novels) and also The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, both of which have romance in them, but it’s not the main focal point. It’s just as a writer and a reader of romances, I live for those moments when the girl and guy interact, their first date, their first kiss, etc. That stuff is what drives my love for reading. There’s this great blog called Nose Stuck in a Book (totally check it out) and if you follow them on Facebook, they put out a list of Free digital romances, ranging from contemporary to paranormal to sports, you get the picture. I was the perusing the […]

On Giving Up

I haven’t written a post in a while about my journey to publication. I’d like to say that my life got crazy—and it totally did—but I think that the main reason for my absence is that I’ve had a bit of a reality check. You see, I had this grand idea that I would send out my novel and within a few weeks there would magical happy dances and excited clapping. That was the dream, anyway. But then I realized that my novel was long. As in 130,000 words long, with the “average” word count for a novel being around 70,000. That means that what I wrote was almost double the word count. Double! It could’ve been split into two novels. For someone who HATES cliffhangers (most of the time), I knew that I had two options: cut it down or start anew. I chose the second option. In the month of December, I started a new novel. By the end of the month I had about 70,000 words and I finally finished at about 90,000. That was super manageable—I was able to cut down and even though I’m still in the process of editing, I think that that smaller […]