Behind the scenes: 2018 NVA finalist & the gender reveal!

When I first moved to Seattle and my sister came to visit me, we decided to see a fortune teller for fun off Broadway in Capitol Hill. I'll admit, I sometimes go once a year to get my fortune told. I don't know if I believe in them one hundred percent, but when I get good news, I like to think it manifests itself into reality.

Anyway, this particular reading occurred in the summer of 2014, and the only reason I remember it is because the fortune teller told me, Writing for you, goes hand in hand with your love life. I took that to mean that if my relationship was good, so would my writing be. Who knows if it's true, but my young twenty-something self had recently moved to Seattle for love, and I was one year into seriously writing novel-length works with the intent for publication. Back then I had been naive. I thought I could make a three-year plan to be published, and I would be financially stable enough to quit my day job. I'm shaking my head at my past self as I write this. Oh, how I wish I could have warned my past self just how difficult that would be. That's not to say it can't happen--because it has for the fortunate few, but I am not so fortunate. And the reality is, most authors still have a full-time job in addition to their writing contracts.

The whole point of going to the fortune teller though was for me to ask if I would make it into PitchWars, to which I got the vague reply, Writing will be a long journey, but when your door opens, it will happen very fast. Suffice it to say, I did not get in that year, and my relationship with Michael was still relatively new. After that summer though, I stopped thinking about that fortune, until things started to line up.

In 2015, Michael and I went to Vietnam with my family. During this trip he asked my mom for my hand in marriage. When we came home from that trip, I started working on a manuscript inspired by that trip. That was the year I got into PitchWars and Michael proposed. For a moment, it looked like things were getting serious! Writing and relationship-wise!

In 2016 we booked the venue for our wedding, and I also got my first agent. Finally, I thought. Something is happening! During this year, I wedding planned and also went on submission for the first time. All the while, I waited thinking, This is it. My door is opening!

Except it didn't. The rejections came in, and my writing confidence took a hit which showed in my other works. I started to doubt myself and my ability. Then my 3-year plan was up.

In 2017, I got married, but then my agent and I parted ways amicably. I felt like a complete and utter failure. I felt like I'd failed everyone whoever believed in me, and then eventually, I stopped believing in myself.

I took a long break from writing after that. I thought of doing something else for awhile. Maybe I should learn to code? Maybe I should become a sommelier? Maybe I should focus more on my career! Looking back, I know that my hesitation to pursue my dream came out of fear. I didn't want to admit I failed on my dream.

But with the push of writing friends, I decided to try again. It's only failure if you stop, right? Except when I tried, I was faced with rejection yet again (Seriously, miss fortune lady. Where is this door? And why won't it open?). 

Then I saw the New Visions Award contest, and I thought, why not? I liked the imprint's mission, and it became more important for me to want to share my story with readers then to simply be published. I also wanted to give an old manuscript one more shot before putting it in my trunk forever. So I submitted, and retreated to drafting once more.

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In 2018, I got pregnant. And then the beginning of my second trimester I found out I was a finalist for the award. I didn't win, but I was finalist, which meant, I wasn't outright rejected. I was in the top five, after feeling like the past five years of writing amounted to what seemed like nothing. After years of rejection and setbacks, I didn't realize at first just how monumental or how much this affected me until I received an encouraging e-mail from an editor.

Sometimes, you just need encouragement from someone who isn't family or friend who sees something in your work for you to realize, Hey, I've improved over the course of my journey. Which means I can only get better if I keep at it. And if I do, maybe a door will finally appear.

So sure, being a finalist was a small victory, but one I needed.

I have no idea whether or not the fortune lady will be right, but that's really besides the point. As long as I believe in myself then eventually some door--wherever it may be--will open. Only because I won't stop pounding on it until someone let's me in.

There will be no more 3 or 5 year plans for me. Only a lifelong dream.

Now, I'm about to dive into a cool writing opportunity this summer which may or may not come to anything. But I'm excited to tackle it just because opportunities in the writing world don't come up every often. Hopefully I'll rise to the occasion, but if I don't, that's okay too as long as I try my best, because I know I'll grow and learn from the experience (which I consider a win). To do so, I'll have to put drafting The Gilded Cage on hold, but I plan to get back to it soon.

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On another life-related note, I'm having a baby boy. We revealed the gender to the family on Mother's Day, and my heart is full of warmth and happiness for my family and in-laws from all the support we've been given. My son is already loved by everyone, and we haven't even had the pleasure of meeting yet!

The fortune lady was right about one thing though: writing and love goes hand in hand for me because the act of writing is the best way I know how to express my love.

Beta Reading, Synopsis, and Rain

It's Thursday which equals my Friday! Hallelujah!

Michael and I will be going on a getaway trip tomorrow to Walla Walla in Eastern Washington! I seriously cannot wait, this has been one of the longest weeks ever so I am pumped to get out of the city and do some wine tasting.

This week I sent my manuscript to four beta readers. I dowloaded it on my kindle too, but I think I should probably stay away from it awhile to gain some perspective.


M2 seriously drove me bonkers over the weekend, I thought I was going insane. The below comic explains it perfectly.
Though none of my betas are done reading, I've gotten some good comments which makes me sigh with relief (so it wasn't a complete shit show, excuse my language), but I am anxious for the bad comments that will eventually come. It's necessary though, contructive criticism will only make M2 stronger, which is what I want.

In the meantime I've been working on my synopsis and query (you'd be surprised how long it takes to write one letter and a 1-page summary). I've also been doodling ideas for a contemporary romance in case M2 doesn't work out. Though M2 has series potential, I don't want to invest the time in it yet without knowing if  it'll be published or not (though rest-assured, I do have brief arc of the whole series in mind).

Oh and lastly, there was a thunderstorn and downpour yesterday and it's raining today! I guess you can't exscape rain in Seattle, even if it is Summer.

Fourth Revision Readthrough

I love Debbie Ridpath's comics. I feel like the one above completely relates to me this week. I've spent the last three days rereading my whole manuscript from start to finish while Blaire just stares at me. I printed all the pages, and started marking it up like crazy (though I used a blue pen instead of red, because red just looks so mean, doesn't it? Or is that just me?) and now I'm in the process of making the changes on my manuscript on my laptop. I still have to write another chapter or two to fill in a gap I noticed, but I think it will be ready for me to send out to another batch of beta readers this weekend.

But boy am I exhausted... Even as I write this post, while sipping my morning coffee, I feel so dead. This week has just been a rollercoaster. Rereading my manuscript just makes me doubt so much that I can't tell if my story is even good anymore since I've been working on it so much. Thank goodness for beta readers.

I just need to remind myself to presevere. I'm way in too deep to be stopping now.