To the Sea Playlist

I've been on a mega-music binge lately. I often prefer silence while writing the first draft of a manuscript where I'm really digging in deep to extract the story, but get me into the editing phase and I'm all loud guitar and beat-heavy drums. I love the lyrical-ness of music, it's all poetry, but without the rhythm and bass it'd often be cheesy verse,  but with roller-coaster scaling and bleeding heart chord changes, it comes together beautifully. Below

are just some of the tunes that inspired and carried me through writing TO THE SEA...Enjoy! 






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Write, Rewrite, Repeat...repeat...repeat (and a confession.)


I've published my first book. Yes, I did my fool's happy dance. I told everyone I know and their brother's-sister's-uncle's-cousin-thrice-removed all about it. I sent it out into review-land, shared it on ALL the social media sites, and generally amped up its release with great fanfare. In turn, I received sweet congratulations, some commendable reviews, and lots of encouragement. (Thank you!)

Then in the darkest of winter, I poured a glass of tea, piled on the blankets, and read my own book, cover-to-cover. Okay, I did that for a chapter. The rest was read in stolen snatches of time between swim meets, dance rehearsals, and late nights when I should have been sleeping.

My first thought was, who would write this drivel, never mind publish it. (Insert a wad of question marks, exclamation points and a very perplexed expression.) I am, after all, my worst critic.

So what did I do? What any self-preserving self-published author would do. I took it down. I fixed my typos, mistakes, and in the end, was MUCH happier than with the book than I was after I'd read, reread, edited, proofread, um, at least eight times over the span of three years before going ahead and deciding that the indie life is for me.

It was like by putting the book baby out into the world, I was then able to measure how much it actually meant to me to be successful in this business, and to then go ahead and admit I made (to my standards) a substandard first go at pubbing. I am also committed to giving readers the best experience I can; by trusting me to tell them a decent, if not moving, story and that I know where to put my commas, dialog tags and so forth. That first version=no bueno.

So the answer, is yes, writing matters to me. I can't not write, it's like water to cells—essential (and that may sound a splash melodramatic, but if you enjoy anything hugely, you do owe it to yourself and the world to make a go of it.) Since I can't imagine not moving forward with this endeavor, I opted to make the effort to correct as many errors as I found in the book (and if any of you have formatted a doc to publishable book, you know what I mean. Tears were shed. Seriously.) It also gave me the opportunity to think hard about what I'm doing and why. All the answers to questions like, is it worth it, does it matter, who cares if there isn't a space between two words—oops—everyone makes mistakes...all came back yes, yes, it matters. And although everyone does make mistakes, I have the opportunity (as in thousands of copies of my book weren't—yet—sitting in bookstores) to bring the pages up to par.

Is it perfect? I doubt it. But it's better, in fact it's better than better. I've rarely read a book where I didn't find a flaw or two and that's okay with me. Authors and editors and all the eyes that look at a book before it goes to press are human, some may have genius minds or the ability to keep me up late in the night unable to put a book down, but when I see the from swapped out for the form, I'm reminded that we're all, ultimately, on a level playing field and that is both humbling and inspiring.

I admit this for two reasons: 1) I apologize to any grammar police (and ordinary citizens) who read my book pre-correction, I want to give readers the best product possible, so in the future you'll want you to read and enjoy my work relying on the fact that I am a competent and caring author. And by taking the time to elevate my novel, it improves the credibility of indie authors everywhere. 2) It has to do with my own integrity. Because I do what I love, it's important for the effort to be clearly reflected in what I put out there.

All that being said, Ariel Gore has some wisdom up above. If we wind our way between the chunky words and long sentences, we can in fact transform an ordinary manuscript into something magnificent...and it is totally, completely worth every second of time to revise, rewrite, repeat. And that my friends, is exactly what I'll be doing in the coming months, preparing the follow-up to TO THE SEA, book two in what I'm dubbing the "Follow your Bliss Series." It'll be called ON THE MOUNTAIN. You can be sure, I'll polish and buff it until it shines.

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Creamy Green Kelp Noodles

It's been a while since I blogged about food, but since this month we're celebrating St. Patrick's day & the first day of spring (and because of my love for all things green) begged for some kitchen magic.  


What ya need from the pantry: 


Sesame oil (splash)
Glorious kale (I used one bunch)
Ginger (to taste, I did 3 tablespoons)
Scallions (three-chopped) 
Shelled Edamame (about a cup or so) 
1 package Kelp noodles (rinsed and drained) 
1 Ripe avocado 
Splash of coconut milk 
Gluten free tamari (to taste)
Rice wine vinegar (a scant tablespoon)
Sesame seeds would be great too!

What ya need to do:


Heat oil in large pan. 

Add ginger, let it become aromatic- about a minute
Add kale, edamame and scallions. Stir. 

Add a few splashes of tamari and rice wine vinegar. 
Cook until kale is wilted. 


Meanwhile peel avocados and place in bowl. Coat with a splash of tamari and coconut milk. Using an immersion blender mix until creamy (alternately you can use a regular blender.) 

When the kale is wilted add kelp noodles. Using kitchen scissors, cut everything in pan into bite sized pieces. Add avocado mixture. Stir. 

Bowl-up, top with chopped scallions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy! 

The happy thing is this dish is gluten free, sugar free, vegan and green! 



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#Twriters




When I started my writing journey there was no Twitter or social media to speak of. It was all kinds of analog and have the notebooks to prove it. But flash forward a couple light years and here we are in the twenty-first century, and we're all about communication. I love it and hate and love it. But that first "love it" is due to the supportive, encouraging and outstanding writing community.

Back in the dark ages when I wrote down my stories with a piece of coal in my dank cave, I understood writing to be solitary act and space on the bookshelf a cutthroat fight to the death. (This was the prehistoric era, after all.) But as the sun shines and coffee is plentiful (at least for non-cave dwellers) becoming an author means connection, encouragement, community, support, conversation, sharing, and cheer-leading. It's pretty awesome, yes?

As a semi-recent convert to Twitter, I've found this to be true and more. There are fantastic writers and creatives sharing ideas, joking, promoting each other's work, swapping fantastic articles that I didn't realize I had to read, blogging, pioneering independence, and shaping a new kind of author-hood.The Twitter friends are laugh inducing, thought provoking, and inspiring. In so many ways, the community on Twitter has helped shape the author I've become, and I'm so grateful.

As an extension of my appreciation and as a way to share and preserve this great source information, I'm creating a new Twitter hashy to use when Tweeting anything writer related. It's a general meme, but can be used in combination with other writerly hashtags such as #amwriting #amediting, and this big list. This way, all the knowledge can be accessed from one hashtag feed on Twitter if a writer is looking for tips, reminders, editing pointers, inspiring quotes, WIP updates, support, basically anything that might help our fellow writers, authors, and creatives. This helps us build our community even stronger. So, when you post a tweet about writing—whatevs, use #twriters and spread the wealth of knowledge you have and encourage your fellow key-clicking, scribbling, story-writing artists!

Hunga bunga hi he ha? That's cave speak for, ya got it? 

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Sudsy Love, Recent Reads, and Dinner Decadence

Sweety boy. 


Yes, I'm aware of the irony, and I like it. 

Love is everywhere, even my bathroom sink. 


Birthday dinner decadence, an Indian feast. I'm still dreaming about this meal. 

I totally live with this chick. 

A recent fave around these parts. Yum. 

The cover I made for my chapter up on Figment


What have you been up to lately? Also, if you'd like to join me on Instagram...click here

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Keep on Keeping on >>>



You will think who wrote this crap?

keep going >>>

You will think where is the punctuation?

keep going >>>

You will think this is garbage. I can't expect someone to pay money for this.

keep going >>>

You will think, was I drunk when I wrote this?

keep going >>>

You will doubt and question.

keep going >>>

You will delete, delete, delete.

keep going >>>

You will lose sleep worrying about what readers will think.

keep going >>>

You will second guess and plot to move into a cave. 

keep going >>>

You will compare yourselves to others. 

keep going >>>

You will rework, revise, re-everything. 

keep going >>>

You will ask, am I good enough?

keep going >>>

The answer is yes. You are unique. You have a gift. You have a story to tell. It is one only you can share.

keep going >>>

and keep going >>>

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On striving


That is all.
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To the Sea // Pinsperation Board

Pinterest just doesn't get old does it? I can lose hours, days if I let myself, admiring, coveting, being inspired...by the photographs, recipes, creations, and beauty pinners share. When it comes to writing novels, visuals help so much in creating a more textured, realistic world so when I see something that speaks, or sometimes shouts, to what I have in mind for a scene, character, place, or feel, I make sure to save it to a board. Other times, the sense I have of something is so nuanced, I can only grasp at it and this is also where images come in handy to help me create a richer experience for the reader. 

Have a look at the pins that set me afloat while writing To the Sea. 
http://abeachylife.tumblr.com/post/30239686264/http-sunrisehossegor-canalblog-com



There's one pin that set the whole story in motion. When I saw it (years ago now...) I was like, yes, that is exactly what... Can you guess which one? Hint: When she's not wearing contacts Ian thinks she looks cute wearing her...
I would love if you'd follow me on Pinterest! Click here to link up.

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