First, Thank you to #ASummerInWriting over on Instagram and Dante Medema as well as Liz Lawson for all those prompts :-).
I got to meet and reconnect with some wonderful authors, and I’m feeling even more motivated to finish drafting my rom-com 🙂 I’m very excited about the progress I’ve made and for my upcoming Summer goals 🙂
1. Finish drafting my rom-com. This will be my main focus in the next two weeks so that I can send it to my CPs mid-August. I need about 15000 words. Totally do-able, right?
2. Announce and promote something very exciting (related to an audiobook). My newsletter subscribers will find out first (you can subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/g_Qp4D – hint, hint).
3. Prepare for the publication of the Italian translation of ALWAYS SECOND BEST.
4. Continue adding words to 2 small projects.
5. Continue brainstorming MISS ME, MISS ME NOT. I’m not “officially” writing it yet, but this project is never too far from my mind.
6. Publish the German/English version of ASLNO via Ingram.
7. Enjoy the process and all those little happy moments. ❤
Yes, those are my feet and my Bombas‘ socks 🙂 A little motivation Wednesday mainly as a reminder to myself. But also as a way to ask you: what made you smile today? And full disclaimer: a lot of those thought-processes are easier for me because of years of therapy and a lot of work 😉 And it doesn’t mean I don’t have moments where I focus on the fact that this used to be much easier. Just putting that out there. A few days ago, I did a few relevés and elevés from first position. They were far from perfect. And I can’t stand on the balls of my feet for very long or all the way because I still experience neuropathy and cramping in my feet (and hands) in addition to needing to re-build (or build – ha) muscles. But as I did those exercises, I smiled. Because it felt like progress. Kind of like when you’re writing a sentence that stays with you or when you finally understand your character’s motivation or simply when you write a few words in-between busy times or hard times. I enjoyed this moment when it happened. I smiled like I said. I think I even laughed I was so happy. And I smile as I post it even if my feet and hands are currently cramping. I know I’ll do this exercise again today. And I am revising my first chapters feeling grateful. A reminder to keep going, to keep swimming, to keep writing.
Sie hatte sich schon auf dem Weg zur Spitze gesehen…Innerhalb einer Woche aendert sich Natalyas Leben fuer immer.
Die 16-jährige Natalya Pushkaya hat nur einen einzigen Traum: die beste Ballerina zu werden, die es je gegeben hat. Das Tanzen hat schon immer bestimmt, wer sie ist und sie würde alles tun, um die Hauptrolle in der jährlichen Abschlussvorstellung der School of Performing Arts zu landen.
This was an easy and yet so difficult question to answer.
Difficult because there are so many reasons I write (including wanting to make a living out of writing – I mean I’m still day-dreaming about getting that call from Reese Whiterspoon about adapting one of my books or maybe Netflix or Lifetime).
But mainly, it is difficult because answering it also means being vulnerable in a way. Putting those words out there. Not a story. But part of my story.
And then answering it is also easy because I know the answers. I know why I write. All the reasons. And one of the main reasons.
I feel like it’s always been because writing is an outlet for my imagination.
Already when I was a teenager…I had those stories I wanted to tell. It’s hard to describe the feeling I have when I finally fully understand my characters and how much I want to be able to tell their stories. And how much I can’t wait for them to have a happy ending. Even though for some of them, it might take a lot of heartache along the way, they will have a happy ending.
Writing enables me to express myself. And know that my words may help others in one way or another. It might distract them. Pull them in. It might make them feel…
And when I don’t write, my anxiety and OCD tend to get worse. It doesn’t mean that writing is easy or that writing is the all-in-one solution.
It’s all about balance, right?
I go to therapy. Well, right now, I do zoom therapies 🙂
And I’m lucky that I have two wonderful therapists. One who’s been helping me deal with the anxieties related to cancer and who’s been helping me with staying in the moment, being more present while also not ignoring the fears that come with *wave hands* everything.
And more recently I also started seeing an OCD specialist. And I’ll be forever grateful to my “cancer” therapist who recognized that she couldn’t help me with what I was going through with OCD. So that I could learn how to deal with it. It’s also a process. I have homework 😛
Apparently, going through months of chemo, then radiation, then immunotherapy, then a stem cell transplant and menopause and vitamin D deficiency and everything means that the brain may not have its usual mechanisms in place to deal with stress. Mechanisms I had learned in therapy back in Germany 🙂 I also had to learn new mechanisms for OCD as I hadn’t done too much work on that before. I’m telling you… it’s a process.
The last book I wrote TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT meant a lot to me because I wrote it during treatment and right after treatment. I published it before my stem cell transplant. I raised money with it for LLS. I loved and still love Lacey and Hunter. Writing that book was very cathartic. And finishing to write that book felt like such an accomplishment.And the one I’m currently writing? It manages to make me laugh out loud. And swoon. And it’s very different than my romantic suspense (no killers in this one), but it’s another way for me to be in the moment. To work. To be productive. To dream. To be creative. To tell stories.
That’s why I write.
If you’re a writer, why do you write? And if you’re a reader, why do you read?
It’s my fifth publishing anniversary or The One With All The Thoughts…First: “The One…” is a reference to Friends’ episodes, I’m not trying to say I’m The One with all the thoughts. That would be a looooot of thoughts 😉 It was either going to be that or It’s my fifth publishing anniversary and I’ll write a blog post if I want to (imagine me singing…or not…you probably shouldn’t, I have a speaking voice :-))
It’s been five years since this picture was taken.
Wow. Five. Years. The Chemical Engineer and I were living in Mainz, in Germany with Peter The Cat. I was working at the European Central Bank as Press Officer. We now live in Maryland with Plato The Dog and Bobbie Voltaire the Cat, where after going back into teaching, I am now writing and narrating. A lot has happened in five years, both publishing and non-publishing wise.
But first, a little or rather big shout-out to my parents who are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary today (June 26th,2019). Forty-five years! And let me just say, it makes my heart full of ❤
Now, when it comes to publishing. In those five years, there has been tears and laughter, total failures and resounding successes.
Some days, I feel like I still have no clue what I’m doing. Others, it feels like I have somewhat of an idea. Publishing has been a roller coaster of emotions. And let me make one thing clear, I am able to do it this way thanks to the Chemical Engineer. I definitely don’t make enough for us to live off my writing. And I’m very grateful he still believes in me after five years.
Five years ago, I published ONE, TWO, THREE…
When I published One, Two, Three, I thought it was going to be an instant bestseller.
You know the kind…even though I since realized that many (maybe most; I’m not sure since I don’t have any hard data) of the overnight successes had actually been in the making for decades.
Anyways, I believed I would wake up the morning of the launch and thousands of copies would have sold. I would be hitting all bestseller lists. Producers would be calling me, begging me to adapt the story for TV. Bookstores would ask me to stock it because people would be asking for it.
On the first day, it sold less than the number of my Facebook friends. Way less. Way way less. And nobody contacted me to adapt it for TV.
But I am still writing and I am still publishing and I am still selling copies of One, Two, Three today. And someone made fan art from the story!
Plus. the French translation got picked up as my option book with a French publisher.
It was retitled VIVRE, AIMER, DANSER… I love that cover!
And I still receive emails from readers who tell me how Natalya’s story has moved them, and how it has helped them somehow, and how much they loved getting to know her and Antonio, and Becca, and James.
Since I published One, Two, Three, I published one novelette (One Dream Only – Natalya’s story 0.5), one novella (A Summer Like No Other – Em & Nick #1) and four novels (Always Second Best, Em & Nick #2, Love in B Minor, Fear Me Fear Me Not and See Me See Me Not).
I went to writer’s retreats with talented writers and amazing human beings ❤
I participated in several authors’ events, and shared the stage with NYT bestseller authors and so many talented authors.
I signed a guitar!
I was featured in the Baltimore Sun.
Recently, I got my first BookBub promotion for FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT. I’ve been trying for 5 years to get a BookBub 🙂 and I loved what they did for the promotion and how well it worked!
Some of my books are even available in audiobook! Like LOVE IN B MINOR which has been gathering wonderful reviews!
I started producing my own audiobooks, like LA PEUR DANS LE SANG (and soon UN SEUL REVE).
I started narrating other people’s books, like this Learning French audiobook.
As well as other audiobooks for which I use a pen name…;-)
During that time, I also got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (in October 2017). After finding out that I needed to change treatments, I also organized an auction to benefit non-profits who help young adults with cancer. I was blown away by the amount of support I received from the publishing community for the Let’s Do Something Good auction! I mean I even got a signed book from Jenna Fischer! And she retweeted me and tweeted me directly!
I am back in treatment now and it’s not necessarily easy (for many reasons) yet easier (in other ways), but let me tell you: the book I currently have on pre-order, TRUST ME TRUST ME NOT, means a lot to me.
I can’t tell if I love one of my books more than the other, but I can tell you that writing Lacey and Hunter has been cathartic in a lot of ways. Being able to write has been emotional and hard and easy at the same time. Writing always is, but having Lacey trying to move forward, not knowing if she really can has been hitting a spot.
During these past five years, I didn’t reach a point where both The Chemical Engineer and I and our four-legged friends (see pictures below because how cute are they :-)) could live from my income. I loss some (especially at the beginning), I gained some (I actually make profits from my writing now, whoop whoop!).
I still dream of getting contacted by a producer. So if you’re a producer reading this, don’t hesitate 😉
But most importantly, I am grateful I get to write those stories in my head. Writing helps keeping me balanced even when it’s hard and frustrating, I find that it helps me.
I am grateful to my family and friends and everyone who helps me and cheers me on along the way (my talented and generous writer friends, photographer, cover designers, translators, editors and more).
And I’m especially grateful to my wonderful husband (who did get a Best Husband Of The Year Award last year or was it two years ago? :-)). Sometimes I have the feeling that I should do more, try more ways to sell more books (and I do), but even when The Chemical Engineer asks me for Excel sheets for the business side (and full disclosure: we bicker ;-)), I know he believes in me. And that means the world.
And I’m grateful to YOU, dear reader, for taking a chance on my books…and for loving the characters as much as I do ❤