Monday, June 30, 2014

Moving on...

About a year and a half ago, during one of those long winters we experience here in Michigan, I got my first real itch to move to a big city. Maybe it was caused by wanderlust, maybe I was bored and wished I was traveling, or maybe it was my intuition saying "Yup, it's time." Whatever the cause of this itch, it never went away, and it's only gotten stronger since.

Talking with friends, teachers, and mentors, I decided to do a little traveling to see what I liked from various cities around the states. That Spring, in early May, I flew down to the first city on my list, Miami, to visit for five days and to get a feel of the town. Miami is great. Great food, fun people, and no lack of things to do. Did I mention the food? I had some of the best pizza of my life (yes, in Miami) at little spot near Lincoln street with my friend Abdul (pictured right). I also spent way too much money, for which I feel no shame. 

I returned home to Kalamazoo with the "itch" that much stronger.

In July on 2013, I flew to the second city on my list, New York City. I stayed for almost a week, and spent a great chunk of that week trekking around Manhattan seeing literally everything. I climbed to the top of the Rock, saw Mama Mia on Broadway, explored the different neighborhoods, took a yoga workshop, biked Central Park... you get it. I did a lot. The one day I didn't explore the city, I explored Fire Island and got some sun. My good friend Joe was the best tour guide, racing across Manhattan with me for an entire week. I, too, had amazing food in New York. As you can tell, food is a big thing for me. I kind of love it.

I returned home to Kalamazoo once again and considered my first two option carefully, but couldn't make a decision. Time passed, I released a novel, then explored another option.

In November, I took a road trip from Kalamazoo to Nashville, TN. To be honest, I wasn't really considering Nashville as a place I'd want to move to. I was just visiting friends and I like to keep an open mind about these things. Nashville is a great town, and if I thought the food in New York and Miami was great...shoot. One word: Biscuits. The south does food right. I almost moved in on that account alone. During this visit, I saw Mary J. Blidge perform live, went to an old speakeasy (where I had my favorite drink ever), and had the best time with my friends. This was a reminder to me, more than anything else, that I did need to move on from Kalamazoo and experience what the rest of the world had to offer.

I returned to Nashville again in February, but my next and final city of consideration didn't come until May of this year. Of course, after the worst winter in human history.

Early in May of this year, I traveled to San Francisco, CA with my friend Mel to visit our friends Sandy and Suzanne (pictured left). I knew going in that this city would be a contender for my ultimate choice (because this is now a competition, right?). The visit was amazing, and we explored the East Bay, San Francisco's Mission and Fisherman's Warf neighborhoods, and spent a day north of the city at Muir Woods and Point Reyes. I also had a Crepe, which was the most important part (not really...but really). We packed so much into the several days we had there and I left feeling alive and excited for my next step.

When I got back to Kalamazoo, I knew that it was time to finally make a decision. I could easily stay here and just continue visiting random cities until I too many options to make a real decision, but my gut told me otherwise. It was finally time to decide, and finally time to go. I love Miami and will always go there to visit, but I don't know if I could really live there. The weather is great though. New York was close to being my choice, but something early on told me that it wasn't right, which is probably why I couldn't make a decision last summer. Again, Nashville wasn't ever really on the table, but no, it didn't win either. Great town, just can't see myself living there.

So I've chosen the San Francisco Bay area as my new location in which to live. On August 29th, I will pack up my little car and drive across the U.S. to the West Coast to set up my home. I know that's soon, for all of my Kalamazoo'ans, but as you've read this choice has been a long time coming and I'm ready for it. For those of you in Kalamazoo, I look forward to seeing you as often as I can before I leave, whether it be in yoga classes, out and about, or you can also call. Kalamazoo will always be a home for me, but for now I must go and experience the world.

San Francisco here I come...


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Update 6/24/14...

I've finished my personal edit of Heroes & Victims, and now it's with my editor to comb through. For the first time in nearly three years, I am not actively writing a novel. It's bizarre and liberating. This must be what it feels like to be a free agent. Because I'm not so tunnel-visioned on one particular project, I'm finding that I can entertain any project idea that comes to mind.

I do have my next novel planned, but I don't intend to start actively writing it until well into the Fall. For now, I'm working a 7-part short story series that I'll write another post about when the time comes. It feels so great to explore new characters, new worlds, and new possibilities. I can't wait to share more with you.

Heroes & Victims' release will probably be in the late Fall or early Winter at this point. Lots to do before then. Busy busy!

That's your update...


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Project Progress: "Heroes & Victims"...

Last week I sat down and finally finished the first draft of my new novel, Heroes & Victims. Completing this draft was interesting, because I was resisting it for so long. I had the outline finished, so all I had to do was sit down and hash out the details, but I waited because I was busy with other projects. Then there came a point last week where my creative impulse wouldn't let it sit any longer, so I set aside my other projects and voila! it was done.

Now I emphasize "FIRST draft". Heroes & Victims is still quite far from your eager eyes. I've begun the initial editing process and... let's just say it's bleeding. Soon (hopefully), I can give it to my editor for her take and, depending on her comments, I may go back in for more in-depth editing. 

Writing final outline...
I both love and hate the editing process. With a manuscript, it allows me to fine tune words I wrote over two years ago, and update characters as I see them now (which may have evolved from my original concepts). But then I realize that I've been editing for 3 hours and only gone 20 pages out of a 240 page manuscript. In other words, it's a daunting task. This novel in particular is the longest I've written by at least 14,000 words (Eyes in Atlantis: 65,000 words, The Deluge: 66,000 words, Heroes & Victims: 80,000+). I'll just go one page at a time and eventually, I'll be done. 

I do look forward to sharing this new novel with you. In the coming months, I'll be sharing sample chapters and new character profiles.

Until next time,


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tonight at 9:53pm...

Tonight at 9:53pm, I finished the first draft of my novel Heroes & Victims, the 3rd and final book in the Diluvians series.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

People have raved to me about Suzanne Collins' the Hunger Games trilogy for the past four years. At first I stayed away from it because I was deep in trenches of The Wheel of Time series, a 15-novel epic that consumed 2 years of my literary life. Upon finishing WoT, I jumped immediately into A Song of Ice & Fire (Game of Thrones) and just last month I was finally able to see what all the fuss is about.

The Hunger Games is a three-novel dystopian fantasy series that follows teenage protagonist Katniss Everdeen as she is unintentionally drawn into a rebellion against her fascist government, a rebellion for which she becomes the poster child.

The first novel, The Hunger Games, opens the story with showing Katniss' life in District 12 (one of twelve districts), which borders on squaller. Citizens of District 12 are destined to work in coal mines, and many families go without food and adequate healthcare. Once per year, two teenagers (a boy and a girl) are reaped from each of the twelve districts to fight to the death in what are called the Hunger Games. The fascist government, lead by the villainous President Snow, and the citizens of the Capitol watch the games as a sort of reality television show. In the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Malark are selected as tributes from District 12. The rest of the novel shows Katniss' battle against the other tributes from Districts 1-11. Only one tribute will survive.

I saw the movie before I read the book, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Though the book has a little more detail than the film, I have to say that I enjoyed the film more. The entire series is written just from Katniss' point of view. In the film, we get to see scenes that are only alluded to in the books (because Katniss can't be everywhere at once). About the point of view, it was really hard for me to swallow. Writing in the first person can be great for storytelling, but I had a hard time with the present tense. As a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, I've become accustomed to stories being told in the past tense. My mind just follows it better.

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