One Night & One Love back on all retailers

One Night & One Love back on all retailers

One Night image

I’m happy to say that you can now purchase One Night and One Love at all retailers again!

For a brief period they were available exclusively on Amazon but are now available here as well:

Kobo

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Happy reading!

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What Can a Writing Mentorship Teach You?

What Can a Writing Mentorship Teach You?

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I’m excited to guest post for YA Interrobang today! I talk about what I learned from my Writing in the Margins mentorship. Go here to check it out.

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Work in progress: update!

Work in progress: update!

other side quote 1

As you may or may not know from following this blog I’ve been working on my young adult novel, The Other Side of the World off and on since 2015 (June 27, 2015 to be exact – I checked Microsoft Word). That’s approaching three years, people! During that time I almost gave up on the project, but am happy to report it has found life again. I recently completed the Writing in the Margins mentorship which really kicked my butt and helped me see the manuscript in a new way. I did some major rewrites and am now on the hunt for a literary agent.

You can read the full description of the project here. The novel has changed a ton and I’m happy to report it features a biracial main character (half Filipino, half white) like me 🙂

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How to Avoid Burnout as a Writer (and as a person)

How to Avoid Burnout as a Writer (and as a person)

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Let me start off by saying I don’t know the answer to avoiding burnout. I’m not a doctor or a psychologist or anything like that. But since the start of this year I have been trying to find it. Putting too much pressure on yourself can make you feel like you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown every week. Trust me I’ve been there.

This year I set one personal goal for myself: to be less stressed. Stress can kill you or make you sick so reducing it is something I take seriously.

Of course, I didn’t do anything in January to help me achieve this goal. I started off the year pushing it hard in all areas: work, writing, and saying yes to as many things as possible. After a month and a half I was exhausted. Working full-time, writing a novel in one month, and taking care of a house, dog, etc. is a lot for anyone. Over the last several weeks I’ve been trying to reduce the stress in my life and feel like I’m on the way to making progress.

Some things I’ve found helpful:

Remove social media apps from your phone. I used to check Twitter and Facebook multiple times a day. It wasn’t leading to anything productive. I used to be afraid of missing out on writing articles, publishing advice, and family photos. I removed the one-tap apps from my phone and find I visit the sites less and less. I might even delete Facebook altogether.

Make time for exercise. I sit for a good 8 hours a day and for another hour to write. Sitting is the new smoking according to some. To combat all the sitting I try to do some exercise every day. A good friend of mine recommended the 30-day Fitness Challenge app. I find it pushes me just hard enough to break a good sweat and reset mentally.

Get outside for at least five minutes a day if you can. I work from home a lot so it’s easy for me to fit a walk in. On the days I go to my office I walk a mile and a half to and from work. For those who don’t have the freedom to do this, set a daily reminder on your calendar to get out, even if it’s just for five minutes in the parking lot. I feel so much better after I get some fresh air.

Write when inspired and don’t push it just for the sake of pushing it. This is one that’s been hard for me to adhere to. I’ve always had the “butt in chair” mentality when it comes to writing. The more you do, the higher the output, the better you will get. But writing a novel in one month made me loathe writing (usually it takes me several months to write a first draft, but I wanted to see how many books I could write in 2018). I really don’t like that feeling. For now, I’m trying to write when I want to write. Recently, I took a two-week break from writing and editing, something I haven’t done in over ten years.

Say no more often. I had several interviews lined up to talk about writing and publishing and I did something I thought I would never do: I cancelled some of them. These were opportunities I had sought out to try and promote my work, and I couldn’t believe I was turning things down. Here’s the thing, though. I didn’t feel bad about cancelling. I felt relieved. Could I spend more time promoting my books? Yes. Is it good for my health to always be on top of it? No.

Your turn. What have you done to try and reduce stress in your life? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments.

Don’t miss my other post, How to Avoid Burnout as a Writer Part II.

 

What I’m Reading, Writing, and Watching This Month

What I’m Reading, Writing, and Watching This Month

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I haven’t done one of these updates in a loooong time. But here we go 🙂

What I’m Reading:

  • The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly. Just finished this MG novel the other day and WOW. I am impressed. Granted, I have a Filipino parent like the author does so I relate on a special level but still. Solid writing and an engaging plot about two Filipina sisters and their evil stepmother.
  • You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Not sure what it is with me and novels about Huntington’s disease (for another great one check out Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern), but this book is excellent. Two sisters are about to find out if they have the disease or not. And one of them is kinda evil, the kind of character you love to hate. All in all a great read.

What I’m Writing:

What I’m Watching:

  • The Greatest Showman. My god if you love musicals you need to check this out. The score is great. The cast is great. My sister and I bought the soundtrack right after seeing the movie. Plus Hugh Jackman. What’s not to like?
  • The Resident, Fox’s new medical show. Since ER went off the air (yes, I’m aging myself LOL) I have been dying for a great medical show to take its place. I hope The Resident lasts because I think it has a shot at taking the title. From hospital romance to the greed of insurance corporations this show has it all.

What are you reading, writing, or watching this month? Share in the comments.

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2017 accomplishments & 2018 goals

2017 accomplishments & 2018 goals

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It’s that time of year again where I assess what I accomplished in 2017. DNC = did not complete. DONE = accomplished.

At the start of 2017 these were my goals:

  • Find a reliable critique partner. DNC
  • Produce an audiobook of One Night. DNC
  • Secure a traditional publishing contract. DNC
  • Finish current work in progress, a new YA novel. DONE
  • Attend at least one writer’s workshop or conference. DNC
  • Start another novel. DONE
  • Accept praise more graciously. KINDA DONE

I met almost half of my goals. I think I accomplished the two most important ones which had to do with writing output. I wrote two novels last year while working full-time, taking care of a house, dog, etc. which I consider a triumph.

This year my goals are:

  • Write two novels
  • Publish a novel
  • Focus on scalable, long-term marketing for my books

What about you? What are your goals?

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Behind the scenes of a novel: One Love

Behind the scenes of a novel: One Love

Generic book photo

A lot of people ask me how long it takes to write and produce a novel. Here I’m going to break down step by step what I did to write and produce One Love.

  • September 2016: I started getting ideas for a sequel to One Night. I started writing two different potential sequels that I abandoned. The story lines weren’t strong enough and bored me, to be honest.
  • January 2017: I got a different idea and wrote a four-page outline for what would become One Love. The story structure template I’ve used for many years is the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. Technically it is an outline for screenplays but it works great for novels, too. To order Blake Snyder’s book which details each part of the template go here.
  • January-March 2017: I wrote the first draft of One Love. I wrote roughly 1,000 words per day, five days a week (I take a break on weekends if I can).
  • April-June 2017: I did two revisions of the manuscript. This brought me to draft number three.
  • July 2017: I sent the book to my editor. It took about eight weeks for her to review. I also worked with a designer on the cover.
  • September 2017: I got the editor’s report back and spent two weeks making edits. I edited what I could on-screen then printed out the book and did one more edit. If you’re keeping track this would be version four of the manuscript.
  • Early October 2017: After I was satisfied I sent the book to a proofreader.
  • October 2017: I reviewed the proofreader’s changes then laid out the print version of my book which took approximately 4 hours.
  • November 2017: I ordered a print proof of the book. I read it, made minor word changes (I changed maybe two or three words) and updated the print file.
  • December 2017: I released the book. It would have been out sooner except I submitted the book for consideration to Amazon’s Kindle Scout program.

There you have it. I hope this takes some of the mystery out of the writing and production process.

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Writing from a guy’s POV as a female author

Writing from a guy’s POV as a female author

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I recently guest posted at Lil Book Lovers where I talked about How to Write From a Male Point of View as a Female Author. Go here to read the full post.

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What I’m Reading, Writing, and Watching this Month

What I’m Reading, Writing, and Watching this Month

the-update-1

Hey all! Haven’t done a monthly update in a while, but watched a movie last night that made me want to do one.

What I’m reading:

  • Count of Monte Cristo, unabridged. Still. I am shooting for the end of the year on this one. If I finish reading it in 2017 I will consider that an accomplishment.
  • It Started With Goodbye by Christina June. A very cute YA novel about stepmothers and stepsisters. Some reviews call it a modern retelling of Cinderella. I do love the “fairy godmother” character of Blanche in the book.

What I’m watching:

  • The Prestige. My god. This movie is classified as science fiction horror or something awful, but it definitely held my attention. Two dueling magicians in the late 1800s, played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, keep trying to one up each other and steal each other’s tricks. About once a year I see a movie that leaves me thinking, what the hell did we just watch? (In a good way). This movie came out in 2006, but is definitely my wow movie of 2017. It’s also a book that I now want to read.
  • America’s Got Talent. Or as we call it in my house, my weekly sob fest. I love watching creative peoples’ dreams come true. I’ve always thought it to be a shame that there isn’t a reality competition for writers, but know that it would be terminally boring to watch people in pj’s typing away at keyboards.

What I’m writing:

  • One Love, the sequel to One Night, is with an editor. I am excited about this one. It still involves Thompson and his romantic issues, but it’s different than the first book.  More details coming soon.
  • Still tinkering with the YA novel set in Serbia. I’ve heard that if you’re at the tinkering stage it’s time to let it go. We’ll see.

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