personal

My word for 2015

I have set some blogging and reading goals for 2015, and I have also some personal goals like “take care of myself and be gentle with myself” as I highlighted for the #12DaysofBooks organized by YA Buccaneers.

#12DaysOfBooks

 

For the few past years, I’ve also chosen a word (or words) for the year. In 2013, it was PERSEVERANCE and ENJOY. In 2014, I chose BALANCE.

And both in 2013 & 2014, I wrote things that still resonate quite a bit with present Elodie.

  • In 2013, I wrote “But…I also need to fully enjoy the happy moments like those ones. I need to not be afraid of what could come and look forward to what I can make happen.”
  • And in 2014, “Another element is to let go of the things I cannot control and of the negative talk (–> this one is really tough). You know the one I am talking about: “I should have had, I shouldn’t have had, it shouldn’t be, it will never…

I  need to let go of whatever I cannot change (yes. feel free to sing Let It Go, I know I am :P)

My word for 2015 is PRESENT  (it’s the same as Katy’s. I probably could have copied her entire post on that one) and I think it encompasses what 2013 & 2014 Elodie wrote in this blog. I want to be present in the moment, I want to really pay attention, I want to enjoy the laughs fully, I want to pause and give my full attention to the little moments that make the big ones, and the big moments which are made of so many little ones.

I want to be present.

Do you have a word for 2015?

personal

Looking back…2014…

Button looking back

There are still a few days in 2014 and what a year it has been, both personally and professionally.

In 2014, I announced my decision to self publish and I published two books, I am so thankful for everyone who’s supporting me in my writing journey. Thank you! ❤

The Hubby and I traveled to Malaysia, to Texas…I had a lot of business trips. I quit my job as a press officer and we moved back to the US. What a year it has been!

I remember reading Katy’s blog about her year in review where she used pictures to highlight her year. Loved it. So I thought, this time around, I’ll try something a bit similar.

January

Happy, happy new year! And a Galette des Rois tradition 🙂 I also blogged about my word for 2014, which was balance.

February
  • Macarons…yum and the 40th birthday of my brother in law!
  • A lovely & romantic Valentine’s Day weekend by the Loreley
  • Signed copies of the lovely and talented Rebecca Behrens (for my niece and me)

Annnnd I announced my decision to self publish!

2014-02-11 Psshhh I have some pretty incredible news…

March
  • Getting into the habit of jogging early (5 a.m.) at least twice a week (should get back into it)
  • And another business trip in Paris followed by much needed family time.
  • On the blog, I called for people to join my UNNAMED BUT YET AWESOME team…to help me in self publishing ONE TWO THREE and I am so grateful for the lovely ladies who joined me!
April
  •  The hubby and I went to see a Klitchko fight…we were SO close to him!
  • We traveled all the way to Malaysia. The Hubby had a business trip there and I joined him after a week for holidays. We discovered Kuantan and then went to a gorgeous resort…it was amazing and surreal!
  • On the blog, I revealed the cover of One, Two, Three with the help of many other bloggers (thank you!)
May
  •  My sister and her family visited us in Germany
  • The Hubby ran his first half marathon
  • I received the proof copies of One, Two, Three
June

Published my first book

Texas

July
  •  Business trip in Aix-en-Provence
  • The World cup of soccer, still can’t believe I wore a German hat!
August
  •  Wedding anniversary 🙂 10 years together and 3 years married…there are not enough words to express how much I love him and how lucky I am!
  • Another business trip, this time in Paris
  • A fun weekend with the family in France
  • Turning 33 🙂
September
  • Moved back to the US!
  • Quit my job as a European Central Press press officer in July and my last day at work was in September. Definitely bittersweet.
  • The cat transport company forgot to pick up our Peter for his flight to the US and our big international move, so I stayed one more day in Frankfurt.
October
  •  We spent a bit over a month living at the hotel…where our boxes started to arrive.
  • We had our first tornado warning which Peter the cat and I spent in the bathroom, the only place without windows in our hotel room.
  • And…One Dream Only came out!
November
  • We bought a house! And moved in!
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving in our new home 🙂
December
  • Finally got my Maryland Driver’s License after some adventures
  • We decorated our home for Christmas 🙂
Peter The Cat

And because I took a looooot of pictures of our cat, Peter, I thought I’d do a little slideshow of his year 🙂

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Tell me, what is your best memory of 2014?

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I will be back…

I will be back

You may have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog these past weeks…

As you may know, my husband and I are moving back to the US in….one week. ONE. WEEK. This sounds surreal but it is definitely happening. We’re currently staying at a hotel as all our belongings are already on their way to Maryland.

I am still working and trying to get everything ready both for the move and for the publication of ONE DREAM ONLY (which you can pre-order here for only $0.99)

So…I’ve decided to make the blog hiatus a bit more official…but I will be back. As of October, I’ll have more time and will definitely be more active on social media.

I am organizing a Facebook event for the release of ONE DREAM ONLY to take place on October 14th…would love to see you there 🙂

Hope you’re all doing well and to talk to you very soon again!

 

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I understand why no agents signed me…and they were right.

Anna and the French Kiss

 

Tomorrow (June 26th) is my official release day.  And throughout the past months, I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection about my selfpub journey.

Results? One very long blog title and possibly, a very long, rambly post. Why? Because I think every publication journey is different, because every publication choice is different, and because in my view there´s no right or wrong answer to some of the questions.

The important thing to remember is to weigh the pros and the cons of each option.

  • Some people decide to go the self-pub route because they do not want to go through the traditional path. It´s a conscious choice from the get go, they decide it at the beginning of their journey.
  • Some may want to have a hybrid career, they want some books, some genres to go through the self-pub route and others to go the more traditional way. Some may have agents. Some may decide that in the middle of their career, some want to build upon an audience they already have.
  • Some people decide to go the self-pub route because they tried querying, they may be disappointed or even disgruntled by the process. For whatever reason.
  • Or, and that’s the case for me, some tried the traditional way, but never got “the” one. They did dream about getting “the” call, but weren’t quite sure how it would go afterwards. They had more questions and uncertainties than answers. They  know their book is good, they know their book needs work, and they think they can be good at the self-pub route. They enjoy the organizational and coordination part. They want the perks of self-publishing and understand what they “lose” in the process. Because, again, each path has pros and cons.

My point here after a rather lengthy introduction is to thank the agents who took the time to read my manuscript, to give me feedback. And to tell them: “I understand why you didn’t sign me. And you were right.”

The book I presented to them was not the book that you may or may not buy tomorrow…It’s similar, yes, but it is very different. The subplots have changed, some characters disappeared to make room for more depth for the others who remained standing. The road of Natalya took a different turn, Camilo and Rita became “real” while before they were parodies of themselves.

Natalya became stronger and weaker, she gained qualities and her flaws became more pronounced. She became “real”.

To make this happened, I went back to my CPs and beta readers notes (THANK YOU AGAIN!) and hired two editors. Both Sara and Maya gave me very detailed feedback on what I needed to do, on where I needed to go. Years before, I didn’t “get” it the first time around, nor the second time, nor the third time I revised ONE, TWO, THREE.

  • I was not ready to kill my darlings.
  • I was not ready to trust my writing.
  • I was not ready to trust my instincts.

Because I knew in the back of my mind that One, Two, Three was not ready when I queried it the first time. The second time back in early 2013, I thought I was getting there.

But why would an agent bet on “someone getting there”? especially after they receive a revised manuscript that is not ready, that didn’t dig deep enough into the characters, that didn’t go under their skins.

Yes, some loved my story, they saw the potential in it, they hesitated, they almost made THE call. But honestly, I’m not sure how I would have handled one more revision at that stage.

Fast-forward to January 2014: when I made my announcement, when I decided to choose my own magic, I was ready. I felt ready. It felt right.

ONE, TWO, THREE went through two very intensive content editing rounds, one intensive copy editing round and one proofreading round.

I loved my story now, I love it even more now because I let myself really connect with the characters. I’m still afraid.

Afraid people may not love Nata & Tonio, may not enjoy their story. But I know, that the story I am putting out there, is a story I am proud of. It is a story that was meant for the self-pub path.

Because going that route meant setting a deadline, meant finally trusting myself.

 

 

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Some updates…and a reminder to dig deeper. Always.

I’m talking about writing and about life. My last revision before my copy edit is really digging deeper about my story and my characters. It’s difficult and sometimes painful…and I’m about to put Natalya through something even more traumatic but…crossing my fingers that come June the people reading my story will “feel” with her.

Digging deeper is also about knowing people. About seeing beyond the surface and about connections. On Wednesday my great-aunt passed away, and with her it almost is like the end of an era. See, my great-aunt lived a long life. For the past 4 years though, she couldn’t speak due to a stroke, but she still managed to somehow communicate and stayed herself: she didn’t like being bothered, she was elegant and wanted to be elegant, she smiled when seeing my father or my husband, and hearing stories.

The relationship we had with her wasn’t always the deepest and it could be complicated at times, but I always found her interesting. And then, almost a decade ago, she helped me.  I was not feeling well, heart palpitations and a bit faint, and she kept her cool, she stayed with me (my sister was also with us and calming me) and she made sure I stayed calm. When the doctor came, they mentioned right away that it was probably a panic attack due to too much caffeine (and at that time too many cigarettes), the heat and stress.

Through this, I have the feeling that I got a bit closer to her and then, I dug deeper. Yes, she could be a snob, yes she also could say hurtful things without sometimes realizing it, but she was so much more than this. She always baked what we liked when weI came over,  she did little things like this with a smile, she invited us and talked about so many interesting things, she herself always tried to learn, she was relentless and funny, and she was her. She was a character.

And when visiting her we also always had the link with the past in a way. With our past.

None of that is gone with her, it’s part of us.

Walking back from a meeting in Paris yesterday, I thought about her…she lived there for a while, and she always talked fondly about the city. For a moment, I looked around me, and felt at peace.

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This is still hard, but I know that I’m happy I dug deeper when I had the chance.

personal, writing

My WiP drives me insane and keeps me sane (and other writerly truths)

This sign now hangs over our computer…

Not too long ago, Katy Upperman wrote a post entitled My WiP is Making Me Fat (& other writerly truths). I loved this post so much, that I decided to make the same type of list.

My WiP drives me insane and keeps me sane. This revision is draining me out and is going sooo slowly. Sometimes, I want to hide away from it  but mostly the entire process keeps me sane. It gives me an outlet, a way to express myself and get lost.

I always feel like my English isn’t good enough…As it’s my second language, I freak out about the small things and second guess myself. All. The. Time.

A few years ago, I posted my first query for my first manuscript on AbsoluteWrite without having researched much. And thought it had to be great. I’ve learned a lot since then.

I want people to fall in love with my characters.

I want to move people with my words.

I daydream about having more time to write.

I don’t outline. But I think I should learn how to do it.

I write in the train during my commute and sometimes wake up at 4.45am to get more writing in.

Sometimes, I ponder about my publishing road, i.e. what would be the best for me?

Not many people know about my writing.

I have the most talented writer friends. Really. They’re amazing.

My writer friends help me stay grounded.

My husband believes in me and encourages my writing. I am so thankful for him.

What are your writerly truths?

Happy Friday, personal, writing

Happy Friday #38 – The return of Happy Friday…

I know I know it´s been FOREVER since my last Happy Friday post. My last Happy Friday post was on January 18th. WOW! But Happy Friday is back 😀 My goal is to have one Happy Friday per month at least because let´s face it, there´s always plenty to smile about on a Friday and it´s always nice to look for the good things that happened during a week.  Looking forward to know what made you smile this week! 

Over on YA Confidential: The Teen Spies of YA Confidential critique my first page of GUILTY and I´m very very grateful for their feedback! Not only are their comments SUPER helpful, it´s simply great to have the views of my target audience 🙂  (even though it´s also super duper nerve-wracking).

Vacation: I´m on on holidays since Wednesday evening and we landed safely in Washington DC yesterday. We´re now back in our Maryland home. It´s funny how being back feels normal. We have our marks, our spots, our friends and the ones we consider as close as family. We´re looking forward to catch up and just hang out. (and going to Target, yes I confess, I am a Target addict)

Reading: I finished beta reading a wonderful YA contemporary this week (by the lovely Katy Upperman). You guys, this is another manuscript that really touched me and got me by the heart. Plus, the male main character is a mix of Etienne St Clair and Jonah Griggs…and adds his own layers to the batter making him really a great character to know. The entire cast reminded me a bit of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. Crossing my fingers it gets picked up soon so you get to read it too!

Movies: A long plane ride overseas means I get to watch plenty of movies. And I finally got to see LES MISERABLES! I´m officially in love with that movie. I don´t know how many times I had to wipe my tears…or how many times I was simply in awe of the way the emotions really came through both the acting and the singing. Loved it! And while watching, I couldn´t stop thinking about another MS I had the honor to beta read (the Star Wars/Les Miserables mashup by Alex Brown) 🙂

So, tell me what made you smile this week?