Hello friends!

Did you think I disappeared? It’s okay if you did… there’s been a lot of non-activity on here and for that I do sincerely apologize.

I have read 25 books in the last 3 months, but due to time constraints at the moment, I will not be posting my thoughts on all of them right this second. If you would like to keep tabs on what I’m reading, I encourage you to befriend me on Goodreads!

Speaking of books… my M/M YA ebook, Out at Home, is available on Amazon. It was published on December 6th and most people who have left comments/ratings seemed to have liked it. I will admit upfront that the book needs help on the editing-front. Unbeknownst to me, no one at the publishing company edited it before it was posted (to be honest, I don’t think anyone there actually read it…). Am I thrilled about that? No. But is that going to stop me? Also no. I have received some truly awful critiques and emails about the book, but I’m using them as a learning experience. Right now I’m 52+ chapters into writing a second YA novel (M/F this time) and am planning on querying agents when that’s finished later this year.

Another reason why I haven’t posted much on here is that I have been super busy seeing shows!

I mentioned in my New Years Resolutions post that I hoped to see at least one show a month. Even though I’m still broke as hell, I have been really privileged to see a bunch of shows this year thanks to my amazing blogging gig with IN New York magazine.

Here are my posts for shows I’ve seen this year:

Nevermore – Edgar Allan Poe: The Musical

Chicago the Musical – Chicago Continues to Razzle Dazzle Audiences With All Its Jazz

The Heidi Chronicles – Revival of The Heidi Chronicles Brings Feminism and Friendship Back to Broadway

Honeymoon in Vegas – Book Your Reservation For a Honeymoon in Vegas

(Stay tuned for more posts about On the Town, Fun House, Dr. Zhivago and Something Rotten!!)

In addition to the shows I’ve seen/will be seeing for my blogging gig, I saw Constellations and Brooklynite. Jakes Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson were beyond amazing in Constellations. We had 2nd row seats (because I was the first person in line for Rush tickets – woot) and it was a dream come true to see Gyllenhaal on stage. (Especially since I just saw his sister in The Real Thing a few months prior.) Brooklynite was great too! This time we had front row tickets for the Off-Broadway show starring the always adorable Matt Doyle.

I’ll also be seeing Darren Criss on his opening night as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I’ve seen the show three times so far (with NPH, Andrew Rannells and Michael C. Hall), so I’m looking forward to see how Darren will put his stamp on the role. Michael C. Hall was my favorite Hedwig by far. I don’t expect Darren to top him, but I am very interested in seeing how someone so young will tackle this role.

The heavy depression I was in surrounding the holidays has lifted considerably. Some things are still a bit (a lot) bumpy, but I’m definitely feeling loads better than I was. So that’s good, right?

And really that’s all that’s been going on. Oh, and I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix and HBO Go. (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was wonderful, as was The Newsroom. I’m catching up on Mad Men right now and am looking forward to Daredevil.)

Well – I must get back to work! Have a wonderful day 🙂

Hello friends.

I cannot believe 2014 is almost over. Parts of this year dragged, but most of it flew by like whoa. There was so much I wanted to do, so much I did and so much I didn’t. I guess that’s how every year goes, though, doesn’t it?

Because I have a few minutes of free time, I thought I would take a look back at my 2014 Resolutions and see how I did.

1. Finish my book – THIS HAPPENED! Not only did I finish writing my book earlier this year, but it was released by Schlimmer Publishing as an ebook on Amazon on December 6, 2014! I am grinning like an idiot as I’m writing this because I can’t believe I did it. It took me about a year and a half to write it and then some more months to edit it. I got a lot of rejection emails from agents, but Schlimmer Publishing took a chance on me and my book is out. Holy shit. Right now it’s only available as an ebook on Amazon (Here’s the link! It’s called Out at Home and it’s a YA book about a gay high school junior named Caleb who moves with his mom from NYC to Kentucky. He’s a great baseball player but is forced to sit the bench at his new school despite his uncle being the coach because the roster is already full. You can also find the book on Goodreads!)

2. Finish my screenplay – This did not happen! But I’m okay with that. I did work on it a little, but did not finish writing it. I’m actually thinking about scrapping it as a screenplay and writing it as a book instead. I think I would be able to get a better handle on the characters and be able to explore their thoughts more as a book. I still love the story, though (especially because I lived it…), and do plan on finishing it at some point.

3. Go on more dates – Well, I did go on more dates in 2014 than I did in 2013… so, we’ll call this completed. I’m not one to share ample amounts of personal information with people, but since now we’re months after the fact, I will say that I did end up kind of seeing someone for a couple months at the beginning of the year. He actually took me on the most thoughtful date I have ever been on and even though things didn’t end great between us, I am thankful for the time I did spend with him. I learned a lot about myself during and after our time together and have a better idea of what I am looking for in a significant other.

4. See at least 1 show a month – With the exception of July, I did see at least one show a month. And since most months I actually saw multiple shows, we’ll call this completed. I think I saw 29 shows this year… (30 if you count the 2014 Tonys Rehearsals). Some Broadway, some Off-Broadway, some at 54 Below. Playbill released an article that 40 shows opened on Broadway this year. I saw 15 of them. I love live theater, okay? A lot.

5. Read more – I don’t know how many books I read in 2013, but in 2014 I read 99 books and in the middle of 2 more… so I might finish one of those by midnight on New Years Eve. I should just so I have an even 100 for the year. Hold up. Does my own book count? Because then I totally have 100 books read this year 🙂

6. Visit my sister in Arkansas – Did this in November! My parents flew me down to Arkansas for my birthday weekend. People were really nice down there. It was very refreshing to spend a few days in a harassment-free environment where guys were gentlemanly. I spent a few days with my sister and my parents drove down too and it was lovely. Way to be, Arkansas. (I have my A State hoodie on right now, actually… we went to a football game and they crushed whoever they were playing. I’m not much for football, but it was nice to see the marching band.)

7. (I had a 7th resolution that I didn’t post details about on here, but I still have my list from last year so I know what it was…) – This mystery resolution was also completed. It might not have been a success on a whole, but I did it. So it counts.

So, yes… I think I did pretty well with regard to my 2014 Resolutions. I tried to make them practical and I think that worked out for the best.

Now onto 2015. To be perfectly honest, a lot of the resolutions are going to be similar. Here goes:

1. Finish my book – This isn’t cheating, y’all, as I’m presently writing another YA book! I’m 41 chapters in to a new book about a college freshman named Emmy. I’m completely in love with my characters and am determined to finish writing this and query it to agents sometime in the future.

2. Help myself better with regard to my mental health – This is the biggest change compared to last year’s resolutions. It has become apparent to me toward the end of 2014 that I exhibit a lot of the symptoms of depression. I was actually diagnosed with depression in high school, though I still think that was a mis-diagnosis and leaned more toward anxiety than depression. Presently, though, I do believe this epic funk I’m in is more than just me being sad. SO, I’m going to look further into how to help myself get better and see where that takes me.

3. See at least 1 show a month – Though I know I’m going to be in a pretty crappy financial crunch in 2015 because of the ridiculous increase in my health insurance, I’m going to do my best to budget at least one show a month for myself. Live theater is my happy place. And since we’ve already established I’m depressed, it would be unwise to take away such a big part of my life that brings me happiness. I was recently asked to be a guest theater blogger for an online magazine, so I’m hoping that will allow me to see some shows this year.

4. Read more – I would love to read another 100 books this year. More if possible! Reading is also one of the things that brings me joy (most of the time).

5. See more of my family – Though this will likely be mostly through Face Time, I would like to see more of my family in 2015. My siblings, parents and I all live in 4 different states in 2 different time zones. Visiting each other is not always feasible, but hopefully we can embrace Face Time a bit more. And I need to make a better effort to see my family who live in Philly. I didn’t see them at all in 2014 :/ I was invited to see them over Christmas, but I couldn’t bring myself to battle New Jersey Transit over the holiday. All those people. I just couldn’t.

6. Befriend at least one guy – This is different from the “go on more dates” resolution I made last year because I’m actually in need of guy friends. I don’t have many anymore, and I don’t have ANY in NYC. This makes me sad.

7. Have better social interactions – This applies to people in general – friends and potential friends/SOs. I’m super socially awkward and am very aware of this. It’s not that I can’t be a functioning person around people – I can – it’s that I get overwhelmed by new people and large social gatherings. I’m decent at interacting one-on-one with people. I’m not interested in dating around at all. I’m more of a “get to know one person really well” sort of person. So far that hasn’t really worked out that well, but now that I have a better grasp on what I’m looking for in a person and what I have to offer in a relationship, I think I can move forward on this front. We shall see!

I think that’s a decent list!

So, goodbye 2014. It’s been a crazy year. There were a lot of great times and some not so swell. I’m hoping 2015 is a good one.

Have a safe, healthy and happy New Year 🙂

Hello Internet friends,

I know I owe you a ginormous post about all the books I’ve been reading. That’s on my to-do list, I swear.

However, I wanted to share some exciting news with you. My first book is being published as an ebook!

I’ve been sending query letters out to literary agents over the past few months and so far they’ve all passed with very gracious rejection letters. However, an online publishing company expressed interest in my query letter and then asked to see a completed manuscript… AND THEN SAID THEY WANTED TO PUBLISH MY BOOK AS AN EBOOK!

So, I’m finishing up some edits, working on a cover design and setting up various author pages. If all goes well, the ebook will be released in about two months, maybe less. And of course I will post out to everything once it is available.

I’ve been pretty hush hush about the actual subject of the book as I’ve been working on it (because people can steal ideas … that’s a terrible thing, but it happens). But, I can say that it’s a YA book and it’s about high school baseball.

I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of this process with everyone. In the meantime, I’m going to finish editing this book and write some more of the other book I’m working on… (Yes, I’m still writing! I’m 30 chapters into a completely different YA book, which is presently titled “College Book” because I have no idea what it should be called. Alas. But I’m in love with this book and I can’t wait to finish writing it!)

WRITING! IT’S THE BEST!

Have a fantastic weekend 🙂

Wow. It’s been a while since I last posted about the books I’ve read and I’ve read a bunch more since then. Even though I want to be getting back to the book I’m writing (I’m in the middle of re-writing/editing a second book and just started writing a brand spanking new book that I really wasn’t planning on writing but the words just started flowing… so, lots of writing the past few weeks!), here’s what I’ve been reading:

Dairy Queen – by Catherine Gilbert Murdock – A high school girl who grew up in a football-loving family and works on her family’s cow farm is coerced into training a rival team’s player. He’s a jerk at first, but of course they start to like each other. She then decides to try out for her own high school’s football team without telling him. I’m all for girl power when it comes to hard work and overcoming obstacles, but this book was predictable and a bit cheesetastic.

Debutante Hill – by Lois Duncan – Written in the 1950s, this “aw shucks” and “gee” filled book is about a rich high school girl who is upset that her dad forbids her from partaking in all the debutante events that one of her peer’s mom’s starts up. There is a definite rich kids vs. poor kids aspect to the story, as the protagonist agrees to go out with Dirk, a boy from the other side of the tracks (even though she’s totally seeing a rich guy who just went off to college). I liked Dirk a lot and really felt for his character throughout. He wasn’t a bad guy, just misunderstood and overlooked. I enjoyed this book for what it was worth and always appreciate it when a rich kid gets a reality check.

Unbreak My Heart – by Melissa Walker – This book is about a high school girl on a summer-long boat trip with her family and how she deals with a fallout with her BFF and befriends/crushes on a boy who is taking a boat-trip with his dad. The cover for this book is awful (as I’ve found most YA covers are) and I was embarrassed to be seen holding this book even though the story itself actually wasn’t half bad. I thought the protagonist was selfish, but most high school girls are. (I would know… I was one once.)

Catalyst – by Laurie Halse Anderson – Talk about a dramatic turn for the worst. Geez. I did like this book, as I like LHA’s writing style for the most part. Another selfish high school girl, but this time it’s one who was determined to get into the one and only college she applied to and be an overachieving perfect person. Her odd friendship (that’s too strong of a word, but I can’t think of anything better) with the troubled girl from school whose house burned down was really interesting and I thought this book went to a lot of dark places. I would recommend this, for sure.

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period – by Gennifer Choldenko – Um, so I was the completely wrong demographic for this book. (I mean, I am for all YA books, lets be real, but this book should have been labeled Middle Grade, as it was for younger middle schoolers at best.) If you are at a 5th grade reading level and want to read about a chubby white girl befriending a black boy and then them finding out they have more in common than they think, than go right ahead and read this. It was sadly an epic waste of my time even though it was well written.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – by Jennifer Smith – I love stories that are mostly set over 24 hours because it gives you a crash course in who these people are and whether they are compatible with each other as they are forced to be by each other’s side practically the whole time. (I’m writing a script about something similar, so this helped a lot in that regard.) I’m a huge fan of Smith and will gladly read any of her books. This was cute, funny, sad and just overall very enjoyable (albeit so far-fetched… I mean, stuff like this doesn’t really happen to m/any people). This was a quick, lovely read and I very much recommend it.

Subway Love – by Nora Raleigh Baskin – Nope. Just no. I was not a huge fan of the writing style or the plot once I got going. (A girl from the 70s and a boy from the present meet/interact/fall in love on a subway car that somehow lets them transcend time.) Each chapter had the same grainy picture at the beginning of it, which was credited to being from a Wikipedia page. Really? I sped through the second half of it so I could return it to the library as soon as humanly possible. While I respect the author for getting her work published, this book was unfortunately not for me. At all.

Pieces – by Chris Lynch – A boy’s brother dies and some of his organs are donated to other people. The boy then meets up with some of the recipients and questions what his relationship is/should be with these people who now house a piece of his brother. I thought the book was headed a different direction than it ended up going. I didn’t not like it, but I wanted more.

The Darlings in Love – by Melissa Kantor – I had a problem with the protagonists being 14 because their problems seemed more fitting to 16-18 year olds. The BFF-ness of it all was fine, but I don’t think that 14-year-olds can properly grasp the concept of being in love with someone. Like, crushes and whatnot, sure. But end-all-be-all relationships and love does not happen when you’re 14. (Did you see what happened to Romeo and Juliet? Wait till you’re older and actually understand, kids.)

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin – by Josh Berk – I liked that this book had a deaf protagonist who was friends with a nerdy polite kid, and that they solved a crime together. But I thought some of the word choices were silly. I’m not really a fan of silly. But, I get that this book is aimed at younger boys and younger boys seem to eat silly up. So, there you have it.

Everybody Sees the Ants – by A.S. King – This book has been staring me in the face for months and I finally checked it out. I regret not reading it sooner because it was just such a satisfying read. I think I’ve read 3 or 4 of King’s books so far and this was certainly my favorite. It’s about a boy who gets picked on a lot and his parents are worried he’s going to harm himself, so his mom takes him on a three-week vacation to visit his relatives. He keeps having dreams about rescuing his POW grandfather and then wakes up holding weird items from said dreams. He befriends a girl while on vacation and learns a lot about himself and his family. It’s just a really good book and I’m definitely not doing it justice.

Project Sweet Life – by Brent Hartinger – A super quick read about three friends and a summer of shenanigans as they tried to avoid getting summer jobs (but still trying to make money). I like Hartinger’s writing style, having read one of his books before. This book was good, but I won’t need to read it again.

Grand & Humble – by Brent Hartinger – Oh my god, I’m only just now getting the second meaning of the title as I’m writing this out and I read this book two weeks ago. DAMN, SON. This was the first book in a long while where I was actually super caught off guard by the plot twist. I thought I knew what was going on, but I totally did not. It’s about two high school boys and how their lives are eerily similar even though they have nothing and everything to do with each other. I’m describing it poorly, but it was a good read. Man, I feel so stupid for not getting the title sooner. (An accident happens at the junction of Grand & Humble, but there is totally another meaning behind it… oh my god.)

The Burn Journals – by Brent Runyon – This is a first person account told years after the fact about a 14-yr-old boy who set himself on fire in a suicide attempt (that he immediately regretted) and the physical, emotional and mental recovery he went through. Runyon is a phenomenal storyteller and I am so grateful that he shared his story like this. What a horrible, horrible thing to go through… but he did get through it. And it took a lot of work, and seemed very painful on a lot of levels. This book will stay with me, that’s for sure.

The Miracle Stealer – by Neil Connelly – A girl’s younger brother is seen as miracle worker in their small community and she thinks that they are using him. She tries to protect him, but some bad stuff goes down. I’m not a super religious person and I don’t really buy into the belief that some people are tools of God, so I could see where this girl was coming from. The book was okay, but I had a hard time believing that the kind of mom this book depicts would name her daughter “Anderson.” I know that’s a petty complaint, but it took me out of the story several times.

New Kid – by Tim Green – I yanked this book off the shelf at the library because it was about a boy playing baseball. While on vacation, I leant it to a friend and she read it before I did, saying I was going to hate the ending. And she was right – what a terrible ending. Geez. This was another book in the YA section that should have been labeled Middle Grade. Basically, this kid and his dad move around a lot because the dad’s job has kind of forced them into hiding. And his dad has a habit of making them move when the kid is literally in the middle of a baseball game. Sigh. It’s not great. And then the terrible ending happens.

Wintergirls – by Laurie Halse Anderson – This book is about a high school girl with anorexia. Her bulimic friend dies alone in a motel room and then the anorexic girl must deal with that death on top of her own body image issues. This is one of the few books I’ve ever read about eating disorders. I know I will never be able to fully understand the struggle of people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia, but I’m thankful for books like this to give me a glimpse into that world. This was a good read, albeit a sad and frustrating one.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – by Jesse Andrews – A Jewish high school boy and his black BFF who like to make shitty home movies befriend a Jewish girl from their school who is dying of cancer. No one falls in love and no huge lessons are learned, but it was fascinating to see how the characters all coped with what was going on. There were a lot of cultural stereotypes, but I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised about that.

Somebody Up There Hates You – by Hollis Seamon – More teens with cancer, but these kids are in Hospice. And there is love and sex and other shenanigans. This was a mostly enjoyable read despite the subject matter. I think I’m going to lay off the “kids with cancer” books for awhile, though.

Boys Wanted – by Flynn Meaney – There is a sudden shortage of desirable boys at the Wisconsin high school featured in the book. Told from Hunter and Kelly’s points of view, we follow them through their school year and how Hunter’s stock rises even though he was kind of a slacker. Even though this book was totally predictable, it wasn’t half bad. Hunter and Kelly were both likable.

On the Fence – by Kasie West – Another shitty cover that wasn’t even remotely close to depicting what actually happens in the book. (SOMEONE MAKE BETTER YA COVERS, PLEASE) The book is about a tomboy who has feelings for her next door neighbor and sometimes late at night they talk to each other through the fence. The girl ends up working at some clothes shop and along the way allows herself to be a bit more girly (clothes, makeup, whatnot). She thinks that’ll help in the guy department, though she is repeatedly told by her brothers and the boy next door to be herself (even though that has landed her zero dates thus far). This book wasn’t terrible, but it was also very predictable.

My Heartbeat – by Garret Freymann-Weyt – Fourteen year old Emily (I think?) looks up to her 17-year-old brother, Link, and his best friend, James (who she is madly in love with). Link and James love each other, but Link is afraid to define himself as gay and James doesn’t like that Link is not open with how they feel about each other. They fight and part ways, but then James starts hanging out and then seeing Emily (which is basically a dream come true for her since she’s loved James since she was little, but also confusing because she knows James and her brother loved each other, though that love was never consummated for reasons). I had no idea what this book was about when I grabbed it off the shelf, but I’m glad I read it. Self-acceptance and acceptance from society are always hot-button issues and I thought this book was written really beautifully.

So, yeah… that’s what I’ve been reading. I’m in the middle of two books right now, but will wait until I’m done reading those (and several others) before I post about books again.

I’ve been super busy with the books I’m writing too. I’m presently querying agents/agencies regarding the book I finished writing in May. I’ve heard back from three places (all No) so far, but I’m going to just keep on querying. In the meantime, I’m re-writing/editing a book I wrote last summer (YA book about two high school teens and how they meet on vacation) in addition to writing a book about two high school freshmen navigating the challenges of self-perception/the public’s perception. I think I might put the vacation book on the backburner for a bit because I’m really finding some momentum with this college book. I got 15 pages written so far and hope to write a few more tonight before I head to bed.

As always, if you have any suggestions on books I should read, please let me know!

Have a good one

Sooooooo, I did it.

I finished the first draft of my book. 134 single spaced Word pages. 82,634 words. 1,750 paragraphs.

I just emailed it off to my BFF and she’s going to read it and I’m going to die of embarrassment.

But I did it. And I’m really proud of myself right now.

I have no idea what’s going to become of it. I mean, I plan on editing it and submitting it to agents and whatnot because I would love for it to be a real book someday and not just a Word Doc on my computer. But I have no idea if anyone will like it or if it’s any good. I like it. I kind of wrote it because it’s something I would want to read.

I don’t know… But right now, right this second, I’m going to shut off my computer and give my eyes a break for a little while. Maybe take a hot shower and then pour myself a cocktail.

I did it. I finished the first draft of my book.

🙂

Okay… I’ve seen two Broadway shows and have read 4 or 5 books since my last post, but I don’t have the time right now to gush about them. I promise I’ll get to those at some point soon. Because I have read some good books… and some crap ones. And both the Broadway shows I saw were really great (The Bridges of Madison County and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, for those who are actually interested…).

 

No, this post is going to be about friends and my really great weekend (well, Saturday) with some friends who I haven’t seen in about 3 years.

 

I love my friends. I have some really good friends in the city and I’m grateful when I get to see them. Some I see once a month. Some I see every couple months. Some I talk to multiple times a day via Facebook messaging or text messaging. One of my most favorite people in the world doesn’t live in the city, but we talk every few weeks on the phone. (Though last week we talked two nights in a row for multiple hours each night and it was glorious.) This weekend I was able to reconnect with three lovely women I went to grad school with. I haven’t seen them in years and we don’t really talk much outside of some Tweets here and there or comments on Instagram, but we had a really great day together talking about our common pasts, our differing presents and our plans for the future.

 

Now, I’m the kind of person who was always friendly with a large group of people but who only has a handful of really close friends. I have often said that I would actually be content never interacting with other people, but since I can’t be a complete hermit I an fiercely loyal to the close friends I do have and genuinely enjoy spending time in a more one-on-one or small group setting.

 

To put it mildly, I had an odd week last week and was ready to be a shut in for the weekend so I could work on my book. But, out of the blue a friend who was visiting the city asked me out to brunch on Saturday and then a couple other friends who were in town for a conference were free to hang out that evening, so I ended up having a jam-packed Saturday with old friends instead of spending it alone hunched over my computer.

 

I honestly haven’t had that much fun in awhile.

 

At brunch, my friend and I kibitzed for a couple hours over bottomless mimosas and filling carbs. I was planning on heading home before I went out later that evening, but she invited me to go to the Met with her. So, we tipsily made our way uptown to the Met and walked around the museum for a few hours ogling priceless works of art and priding ourselves in being able to identify various painters and sculptors even though we had a super great buzz going on. I had never been to the Met, so I was super excited (as I love art and history and art history). My favorite exhibit was easily the Ancient Egyptian art and artifacts. But the whole museum was great and we took some selfies with the statues, which was fun.

 

We weren’t tipsy by time we left the museum to meet our other friends at a bar. Once there, we started drinking again, so after my three pints of beer and cider, I was feeling pretty damn good again. Not only was I riding high from my delightful beverages, but I was having an odd afternoon of high self-esteem.

 

It is probably not a huge surprise that I have medium to low self-esteem most of the time. Even though I know I’m a very smart person who has good manners and morals, I often am down on myself for not knowing where my life is headed or having the kind of financial or social stability that a lot of my peers and family members have.

 

(This is where you insert the comment about how you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others because your life is your life.)

 

But I was feeling really good about myself while I was hanging out with my friends and even still today.

 

See, the friends I was hanging out with are all college professors. We all graduated around the same time from our masters program, but then the rest of them went into the doctoral program whereas I found myself drifting away from our shared major. I never really felt like part of our program (even though I totally graduated – woot), but I was friendly with these people and continue to admire them for their successes. I’m proud of them. I’m proud of their accomplishments and that they are important people in their field and presenting at conferences and all that jazz.

 

Heading into the weekend knowing I was going to be seeing/hanging out with a group of college professors (while I am merely a dog walker), I was super surprised when they all were really gung-ho about how I just up and moved to NYC a couple years ago and that I’m writing a book.

 

See, while I see myself as a lowly dog-walker who is struggling to find her purpose, my friends actually see me as a writer.

 

I mean, I tell myself that the dog walking is just a job, not a career (because it’s not a career… I cannot do that forever, especially after this terrible winter. That Polar Vortex actually almost killed me), and I want to be a published author very, very much. I am determined to get this book finished and published. It is happening.

 

But there is something really flattering and wholly humbling when people you know and admire think that you are doing something awesome. When you have such a low opinion of yourself, it feels like you won the lottery when people you believe in believe in you too.

 

And I know that sounds terrible. I know that. But it’s the truth.

 

So for the first time in awhile, I felt really good about myself yesterday. And that encouragement from my friends stuck with me today as I sat down and wrote another chapter.

 

But it’s not just those friends who are helping me see that maybe – just maybe – my dreams could be a reality. It’s all my friends and family.

 

See, when I was having my multiple phone conversations this past week with one of my most favorite people who doesn’t live in the city, she told me that she started reading my book. (I sent her a draft via email awhile ago and she’s now reading it… woot.) Even though I know what I’m writing is not something that she normally would read, I was bowled over when she said that she thought it was good.

 

I know the book has trouble spots. And I know it’s going to need some serious help in editing. But with the support and encouragement from friends who I respect and love, I am able to love myself and my work too.

 

Besides the nice things my friends have said, I got a real boost from my brother the other day. He said that he’s really inspired by how hard I’ve been working on my book and it’s inspired him to work on the website he’s designing and the other side projects he’s been working on outside of his schooling. And even over the holidays, he brought up how impressed he continues to be of the television shows and videos I worked on when I was in college. Even though he’s my younger brother, I look up to him and how accomplished he in in his fields. So, to hear that he is inspired by work I’ve done and the work I continue to do is a little mind boggling.

 

And maybe I don’t love myself as much as I could, or think as highly of my own work as I should, but even this little surge of self-confidence from my friends and family has helped so much.

 

I know if I don’t thank them as much as I could or should, but Thank You. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for your time. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for venting at me. Thank you for caring about me when perhaps I’m not caring as much as I should about myself.

 

I hope I am able to be that kind of support system for the people in my life who need it the most. I hope I can make you proud and I hope I can make myself proud.

 

Things just seem so much more possible when you don’t have to go it alone.

 

I hope everyone had as much of a productive (and fun!) weekend as I did.

 

(Dude, I played Cards Against Humanity for the first time… holy shit, that game is amazing.)

 

Have a good one

My roommates weren’t home tonight, so I did something I rarely get to do anymore – I sang really loudly in my apartment.

I used to sing all the time when I lived with my family, but I reel it in now that I live with people I’m not super close with.

Though I don’t sing nearly as much as I used to, music is still very much an important part of my life. I listen to my iPod to and from work and sometimes during the day en route to further away jobs or errands. I tend to listen to the same songs over and over and over again. Music is comforting and it’s also really inspiring. There are certain songs and lyrics that just hit home a little bit harder depending on the given scenario.

Today on Twitter, one of my favorite fellow blogger’s/aspiring YA novelists tweeted “Love Skyscraper so much. It’s the theme song for my books. May be welling up here.” Every Sunday, Vicky also blogs several songs she’s been listening. I’m not always familiar with the songs she posts, or if I am they may not be songs I’m quite partial too, but I still love reading her list every week because it’s basically a weekly soundtrack. (Check out her latest Sunday Songs blog post here!)

My own soundtrack has been kinda focused these past few weeks. I find as I’m writing, I tend to latch on to some of the songs that trigger certain emotions within myself. Though this definitely won’t be a weekly thing like Vicky’s blog, I wanted to share some of the songs that have been inspiring to me.

In no particular order…

Adam Lambert – “Better Than I Know Myself”

I first heard this song while I was working in Macy’s a few years ago. After hearing it multiple times throughout one of my shifts, I quickly realized it was Lambert. His voice is mesmorizing, but it’s the lyrics to this song and the driving chorus that punches me in the feels every time I hear it.

Cause if I wanted to go I would have gone by now
But I really need you near me to
Keep my mind off the edge
If I wanted to leave I would have left by now
But you’re the only one that knows me
Better than I know myself

It’s definitely a dramatic song (and a kinda dumb music video), but his voice is so gorgeous.

Jeremy Jordan – “I Heard Your Voice in a Dream” (Smash Season 2)

Smash was a terrible show, but this song is my most favorite thing to come out of it. So, thank you Smash Season 2. I have watched this youtube video more times than I am willing to admit and it’s not only because I have a huge thing for JerJor and the facial expressions he makes throughout (especially at 1:39). No, I love this song because of the line, “Sing to me and I will forgive you for taking my heart in the suitcase you packed.” That’s a beautiful line and my heart hurts every time I hear it.

Norbert Leo Butz – “I Could Be in Love With Someone Like You” (deleted song from The Last 5 Years)

I’ve posted about my love for this song on multiple occasions, but my love for it only increases every time I hear it. I still think this is an infinitely better song than “Shiksa Goddess” and wish it would have stayed in the musical, but I digress. This song is perfect. The way NBL sings it is perfect. And when he sings the line “I don’t know what I’m doing, but come in and ruin me,” my heart stops. That one lyric is basically my standard for potential significant others. I have yet to meet anyone who I am ready and willing to say that line to, but it’s nice to know that when I do find him, I’ll know the exact words to say to express what I’m feeling. This song is always in the back of my mind when I’m writing stuff for characters who have feelings for each other but are terrified of the unknown at the same time. (Which, ironically, is the scene I’m in the middle of writing right now in my own book… Cue Norbert.)

Krysta Roderiguez – “Safer” (First Date)

So I listen to a lot of showtunes. I listen to a lot of showtunes because they are musical dialogue used by characters to express feelings that they can’t just talk about.

When I went and saw First Date and I heard Krysta sing this song, I squirmed in my seat because it was like someone broke into my deepest personal thoughts and then wrote a whole song about them for everyone to hear. In that darkened theater, I felt so exposed while she was singing. It was uncomfortable and freeing all at the same time. Other people obviously feel the same way I do. No one talks about it, but it’s a shared feeling. So, I take this anthem of the fear of being vulnerable and I embrace it. (And belt it out when no one is home…)

Jessica Sanchez – “Clarity” (as sung on Glee)

I was not a huge fan of Jessica when she was on American Idol and I thought it was silly she was on a couple episodes of Glee, but I love her version of this song better than the original. This is another one of those songs about relationships that just sticks with you.

Pink ft. Nate Ruess – “Just Give Me a Reason”

Just a second we’re not broken just bent and we can learn to love again.” BAM – you’ve been sucker punched in the feels by heartbreakingly beautiful music. “We’re not broken just bent.” Seriously that line just begs for a second chance and it hurts to hear, but I cling to it every time the song comes on.

(I’ve also been on a huge One Direction and Demi Lovato kick, but those songs are more fun than inspirational, at least in conjunction with my writing.)

So, yeah… a lot of really emotional songs. They help me work out different emotional situations that I’m making my characters go through. Right now my boys are having the “I really like you but I don’t think we should be boyfriends” discussion and it’s hard to write because I want them to be happy, but they have to be sad first. (Remember, it’s always important to bring the audience down before you lift them back up again. And I have at least another chapter or two of knocking the boys down a few pegs. It’s draining.)

Maybe I’ll move onto some happier songs once I get a few more chapters under my belt. But for now, enjoy the wholly feels-wrecking songs I’ve posted 🙂

Okay, so I know I’m for reals behind on posting on here about books I’ve read and life in general. I’m now going to hit you with a few paragraphs about what I’ve been reading and how it’s impacted me and my quest to write the next great American (YA) novel.

The last book I wrote about here was “The Spectacular Now”, which was a bunch of books ago… so here’s what I’ve read in the past few weeks:

“Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan – I flew through this book because I seriously could not put it down. (I posted a summary/recommendation of it on the Fandom For Equality blog – I urge you to check it out here.) There were no chapter breaks, yet the story bounced around between several storylines that mostly revolved around two boys (high school ex-boyfriends) trying to set a world record for longest kiss. The story was beautifully told via omniscient narrators (gay men who lived/died during the AIDS epidemic) who punctuated the plot with wisdom and a constant reminder that there is so much potential for positive change. This was the second thing I read from Levithan (he wrote the half of “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” that John Green did not…) and I fell more in love with his writing style. This book was heartbreaking and hopeful in the best ways possible and definitely made a lasting impact on me.

“Love is the Higher Law” – by David Levithan – See, I told you I was in love with Levithan’s writing style. So much so that I immediately sought out anything else he wrote. The library only had this book, so I grabbed it as fast as I could and plowed through this in a couple days. This book takes place during and after 9/11 and is told from the points of view of three teenagers whose lives all intersect because of school or mutual friends. It was an interesting read because the characters were about the age I was when 9/11 happened and the story took place in the neighborhood in NYC where I presently work. (I lived in Ohio in 2001. After moving around the Midwest a bunch, I ended up in NYC in 2012.) The book had a lot to do with relationships forged in the time of tragedy. That’s not to say that those relationships don’t mean anything, but people bonding over a shared experience of pure terror is definitely a unique way to meet, for better or worse.

“The Order of the Poison Oak” – by Brent Hartinger – I was unaware that this was a sequel to “The Geography Club” (which I haven’t read), but I was able to glean all the relevant information I needed from the exposition. I would like to go back and read the first book to get a more in-depth feel for the protagonist’s experience about coming out at his high school (as that’s something I’m writing in my own book), but I liked this book just fine. The main character decided to go work at a summer camp with his friends so that they could get out of town and he wouldn’t have to deal with being a novelty in his own community. Though he planned to stay in the closet at camp, he developed a crush on another camp counselor (who may/may not be bi). Despite the predictable story line (I guessed the plot twist well before it happened), I thought this was a decent read. Hartinger’s writing style, like Levithan’s, hooked me right away. Even if I wasn’t completely blown away by plot, I definitely wanted to keep reading because of the phrases he used and his ability to write awesome description. I’ll be on the lookout for other books by this guy.

“David Inside Out” – by Lee Bantle – This book was a great example of how not to write. While its subject matter was relevant to what I’m writing (gay/questioning high school boys on a sports team), I thought this book was pretty awful. And it pains me to write that because I would be heartbroken if someone told me what I wrote was pretty awful, but I was not a fan of a majority of the characters (including the protagonist) and I thought the writing itself was not engaging. I didn’t care about what was going to happen and I didn’t think the book really went anywhere. Instead of feeling any sort of merit having finished the book, I just felt disappointed. I post what I read on Instagram, so I clicked on the hashtag of the book’s title and one other person posted about it. He (baritoneblogger) wrote, “Worst YA book I’ve read in a while. Definitely not gay literature.” The book’s jacket was praising it as something special, but it was mostly just cringe-inducing. The one thing I did find interesting was that it was set near where I used to live in Minnesota. So, every time the author name dropped some lake or landmark, I knew what he was referring to.

“How to Say Goodbye in Robot” – by Natalie Standiford – This book just about broke my heart. It’s the story of a girl named Beatrice (Bea) whose family moves to a new city for her senior year in high school. She befriends the boy she sits next to at morning assembly (Jonah) and they form a friendship that everyone around them seems determined to define for them. Bea and Jonah love each other, but it’s purely platonic. (Other people question if they are dating or if Jonah is gay, etc…) Their love for each other is strong and substantial – they are outsiders, but since they have each other, they aren’t really alone. Both are going through some serious shit with their immediate families, so their friendship is really a lifeline. As much as they love each other, though, that’s not enough. They fight, among other conflicts that arise, and it’s painful to read about them drifting apart and finding each other again only to have your heart hurt as the book drew to its conclusion. I picked up the book because of the title and didn’t really realize what kind of nostalgic horror I was getting myself into. But, I’m so glad I read this book. It was great to read about a strong relationship between a girl and a boy who have complete (unromantic) love for each other. I found it refreshing, even though it was ultimately quite heartbreaking.

“Paper Covers Rock” – by Jenny Hubbard – This was about boys at a boarding school who had to deal with the unexpected death of one of their classmates. The protagonist, Alex, and one of his friends was there for the other boy’s death and Alex spends the bulk of the book writing/talking about what happened and his part in the whole thing. Alex has a huge crush on his young English teacher, who also happened to be there during the aftermath of the accident that caused Thomas’s death. As the book progresses, she tries to get Alex to expand on his knowledge of the situation through his writing and by talking to her. I wasn’t expecting to get much out of this book, but it turned out to be a great learning experience because the book itself was filled with passages about how to write better. That is what I will take away from reading this story – that I can be a better writer if I make the best choices I can with the words/phrases that I choose to use.

“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)” – by Mindy Kaling – I took a break from reading YA for awhile to cleanse my palette, but it turned out that this was just another great, inspiring read. I really look up to Mindy Kaling and reading about her path from childhood to college to where she is now was really educational. I found myself relating to her a lot (she didn’t have a crazy childhood or college experience either, among other similarities) and enjoyed reading her stories about the people she knows and how stuff relating to the entertainment industry is definitely not as glamorous as we perceive it to be. She’s a great writer and I’ve been a fan of her work for awhile (I used to like The Office and I definitely love The Mindy Project) and she’s just all sorts of inspiring. She points out on numerous occasions that she is not stick-thin and that she maybe gets one hour of productive writing done in an eight-hour window. See – those are things that I can relate to! What it really boiled down to, for me, was that I just need to keep at it. I don’t want to have my own television show like she does, but I do want to finish my book and I do want other people to love it as much as I am thus far.

And that’s all the books I’ve finished in the last 3 weeks. I just started reading the latest Bridget Jones book, but I’m only about five pages in, so I can’t tell if it’s v.g. or not (see what I did there?).

I’ve been working on my own book when I can (though I will admit to being a little lazy with writing this past week – I’ve been so exhausted from work). I did get a few more pages done (I’m up to 55 thus far), and I plan on writing some more tonight and tomorrow in between other stuff I have to do (a blog post for FFE, trying to sign up for healthcare, cleaning my room a bit, etc…). During a phone call with one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world the other night, she said she wanted to read what I wrote. She was one of the few people who read the script I wrote last year, so of course I’ll let her read this and I said she could read the start of the second script I’m working on (I have 80 pages of that completed, but it still has a ways to go). Last night I texted her, though, and explained that I’m afraid to show her what I wrote because I’m afraid she’s going to think it’s bad.

I’ve read and reread what I wrote so far. I know it needs help (my ability to write description and add colorful phrases and whatnot is nowhere near on par with Levithan or John Green, or any of the writes who I wholly admire), and I know it’s nowhere near being done… but what if she thinks it’s bad? What if I just spent months writing something that is just awful?

I’m probably my own worst critic, and to be honest, I don’t think what I wrote is terrible. I’m proud of my outline and I think what I’m writing has potential to be something. (Note that I didn’t say “something great” or “something earth-shattering”… just “something.”) And I have read some less than stellar books over the years in the genre I’m writing, so my theory is that if those people can get published, then there is a chance I could too… but there is always that legitimate worry of showing someone your literary baby and them just scrunching their nose and handing it back to you like said baby just soiled itself.

So, yeah. I’m going to keep writing. And I’m going to finish my book.

But I’m also going to keep reading. I’m so, so grateful that I actually have time to read. (Yes, I’m crazy busy with work, but ten free minutes here and there can turn into chapters read, you know?)

After the holidays, I’m definitely tracking down “The Death Cure” (I loooooved “The Maze Runner” and “The Scorch Trials” and need to finish that series!) and then try and get a hold of more stuff written by Levithan and Hartinger.

If you have any book recommendations, please send them my way!

So, the Season 5 season premiere of Glee was on the 26th and I’ll have a Glee-cap up eventually… maybe even tomorrow.

Right now, though, I’m super tired so I might just type a little somethin’ somethin’ and then read a bit and then sleep. I realize tonight is the season premiere of SNL, and although Tina Fey (my lady hero) is hosting, I don’t think I’m going to make it. I am beyond exhausted and will likely have to watch the show tomorrow on my phone (because my computer is too slow to stream video… of course).

Today was my day. I did laundry, but then I read for a bit and worked on my book. I’m at 22 pages now (13000+ words). I don’t get much (if anything) written during the week, so I wanted to make sure I got something done today. I’ll try and work on it some more tomorrow. I have to work tomorrow for an hour (insert sad trombone noise here) and then stop at the library to pick up “Will Grayson, Will Grayson.” I just hope it’s better than “Paper Towns.” I’m excited for “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” because it should be more in line with what I’m writing. 

I finished reading “Call Me By My Name” this week and was conflicted. There were parts in the book where I audibly expressed my disgust at the protagonist. I kind of wanted to smack him at times since he was so flip-floppy on his feelings for Oliver, but at the same time I got why he was the way he was. All of us overthink stuff at some point… but I thought Elio was selfish during the parts in the book where he got exactly what he wanted but then felt ambivalent (or worse) about it. I was kind of surprised that this was listed as a YA book. Granted, the main character was 17, but it seemed like it was meant for a more mature audience. (Let’s just say that if we were going by movie ratings, it would have been NC-17 for sure… especially the part when Elio was handling Oliver’s bathing suit and then when Oliver ate the peach. You know… The. Peach.) At this point, I’m rarely shocked with the content of what I read… but this book had a few shocking moments even for me. 

I started reading Edmund White’s “A Boy’s Own Story,” but I’m only a few pages in. I’m going to put the pause button on this while I read “Will Grayson, Will Grayson.” I need the latter as a palette cleanser after “Call Me By My Name” before launching back into “A Boy’s Own Story.” It’s pretty heavy thus far.

You can’t see me as I type this, but I just let out the biggest yawn. It was actually quite painful, as I have jaw problems. So… I should probably wind this down, go brush my teeth and try to get some sleep. I really wish I didn’t agree to work tomorrow (it’s only an hour… but still…). 

I hope you are having a pleasant day 🙂 

Probably because I had a strongish drink and the whisky is getting to me.

The joke is on you, though, if you think this blog post is going to be chock-full of spelling errors because I’m not even remotely tipsy. Just tired. Really tired.

I stayed up past midnight last night as I was watching Richard II on PBS and then texted with a friend regarding our mutual love of Tom Hiddleston. (He was not in Richard II, but will be in Henry IV and Henry V, which will air on upcoming Fridays on PBS. He was shown in some BTS footage and some interviews. We swooned a bit as we fancy him.)

I thought I would get decent sleep last night as I had no where to be this morning, but a roommate (or someone else in the apartment building at the very least) had a very loud alarm that went off at 7:00am. I was not pleased.

That being said, laundry was done by 9:30am and I spent the rest of the day reading, writing and researching.

This whole upcoming health care thing with registration starting on October 1st will impact me, so I was trying to look up what all that entails. I am the first to admit I have absolutely no idea what any of it means (something that I told my mom earlier this week), but she said that I’m an adult and I need to figure this out. How on EARTH am I to figure this out? Do you know how much “official” paper work I’ve read through this year with regard to health insurance stuff and whatnot? I am a very, very smart girl but I do not understand a majority of the overly verbose crap that is written on those documents. It’s like the government is setting us up to fail. (This isn’t me blaming Obama. I love Obama. This is me blaming the people at the top of the life food chain who make stuff for us peons below much harder than it needs to be.)

I did some reading. I finished reading John Green’s “Paper Towns.” I find myself wholly loving his writing style but getting frustrated with some of his characters. This time I was frustrated with Margo Roth Spiegelman. I mean, I get why she did what she did (to a point), but I thought she was super selfish… and that Quentin deserved better. I need to reread the last chapter (as I was distracted by something that was on my television), but I don’t think it’ll change my opinion.

I’ve said this before on here that I’m trying to read more YA books because I’m writing one. I wrote a few pages today and am up to 11,000+ words. I’m on the sixth chapter and it’s progressing all right. My biggest problem when I write is that I fixate so much on what I’ve written and what’s likely wrong with it that I’m slow to move forward. I’m trying to just keep going. I have an idea of where it’s headed, but there is filler stuff that needs to be written out and that is not my forte. I still feel like I’m in an exposition-y stage and need to explain the different teachers and what classes my protagonist is in, in addition to his progressing attraction toward who will eventually be his BFF/love interest.

The BFF/love interest is likely going to be my favorite character. I feel slightly guilty that I’m building him up as this great person when I know that in a few chapters he has to mess up really badly in order for the rest of the story to unfold. Nobody is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that that person can’t be perfect for someone else. So, for now he’s going to be this golden boy, but I’m going to have to knock him down a little later. But knocking him off his pedestal is going to help the protagonist find his own footing and be able to accomplish stuff he didn’t think he could or would.

I’d apologize for this being so vague, but I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. Not that I think anyone would steal my idea or anything… but this is mine until someday when I hope I will be able to share a finished entity to anyone who wants to read it.

Tomorrow is the Broadway Flea Market. I had hoped to go to a movie beforehand, but the film I wanted to see is no longer playing and the other film I want to see is not playing at a convenient theater/time, so I shan’t be attending a screening (at least not tomorrow). I will go to the flea market (depending on the weather), as I’d like to get some more window cards to hang in my room. There are some from shows I’ve seen that I really want, and hopefully I’ll be able to track down a couple at a reasonable price.

Tomorrow night is also the Emmys. I have a standing text and watch date with my sister, so hopefully we’ll be able to do that. It’s nice to still “watch” something with a sibling even though we can’t actually be together.

I miss my family. I miss them a lot. I talk to my mom almost every day (especially since she and my dad are apart for a couple months while he’s off in a different state for work stuff), but I haven’t seen any family since June. I miss my siblings. My sister was supposed to visit this month, but she couldn’t swing it because of her job. I’m supposed to see my brother and his wife next month, but it’s not a certain. I just hope to God I am able to make it back to see my family for Thanksgiving. I will be an emotional wreck if that does not happen. I need family hugs.

Whelp. My movie is just about over. (I was watching Atonement because I love it dearly and had been aching to re-watch it for awhile.) I think I’ll shut down my computer, brush my teeth and curl up with another book or perhaps continue watching Safety Not Guaranteed (a movie I started to watch on Netflix). I hope to sleep in tomorrow. Should someone else’s alarm wake me up, I cannot be responsible for my actions if I go all Hulk on someone. You wouldn’t like me when I’m (super tired and) angry.

Have a good one

P.S. I got my ticket for Little Miss Sunshine today. I am so freakin’ excited to see this musical. (The cast alone is bonkers amazing… Will Swenson, Rory O’Malley, Wesley Taylor. Granted I’ve seen all of them on stage before, but not all in one show!!!!)