Listening to Your Intuition

In the beginning of July, I received an email from a fan named Kerri. Immediately, I thought of my childhood best friend with the same name, even spelled the same way! I knew it wasn’t the same girl I once counted as a sister, but my heart began pounding out of my chest, and I didn’t ‘think’ . . . maybe I need to find her today? I KNEW! Granted, I’d tried many times to search for her online but to no avail. I hadn’t had any contact with her since I married in 1998. Her last name was different. I had no idea where she lived. Make a looong story short, I paid one of those stalker sites a dollar that EVENTUALLY led me to finding my long-lost friend that day. Her mom, who might as well have been my mom from fourth to eighth grade, died the day before, too young at the age of 57. Was the immediacy I felt at the need to find her THAT particular day a coincidence?

Kerri and I reunited at her mom's memorial

Kerri and I reunited at her mom’s memorial

So what does this have to with writing?

On July 23rd, I received an email with my first round of edits for the last novel in my 18 Things trilogy. She had this to say about my ending:

“Then the epilogue happens. I’ve never been so angry and confused and bipolar in my emotions as what this ending gave to me. NOT in a good way. I edited this AS I READ IT for the first time. That was my immediate, instinctual reaction. If this were a finished, completed MS that I’d picked up and were reading to review for enjoyment, the rating/review would not be positive.”

krystal and me

My editor and me at the UtopYA2014 conference ❤

*deep breaths*

Between a family drama and health problems, I had to let this one simmer a couple of weeks because I wasn’t sure how to respond. But when I finally returned to her comments, I realized she was right. Sometimes the gruffest critiques can be the best. They make you evaluate what YOU really want as an author and go from there (a wise CP reminded me of that). And I realized the ending I, THE AUTHOR, wanted all along, wasn’t the right one . . . neither was the one my editor hoped for. Like my first two books, it may be an ending that hardly anyone expects. I know I didn’t!

But like my 14yo daughter said, “Well, Mom, you pulled total surprise endings in your first two books . . . don’t you think it’s only fitting your characters do the same thing to you for the final book?”

Still, I was flipping out . . . BUT THIS WASN’T WHAT I PLANNED?! WHAT DO I DO?!?! I should note that I never ‘planned’ to write an epilogue either. My characters had already surprised me with an extra I didn’t expect. But this time around, I was leaning toward cutting the epilogue completely, and the final chapter was one I hadn’t thought of until mulling things over after my editor’s email.

I was at a crossroads. And like so many other times in life, I followed my intuition. Never would I have ‘planned’ my ending this way, but I know . . . not think, not hope, not pray . . . I KNOW it’s the right one. Funny thing was, when I went back and examined some things in 18 Truths, it’s like my subconscious knew this ending was coming all along. Just took me a while to catch on!

Do you find yourself immediately listening to that little voice nudging inside of you, or does it take a few wrong tries before you realize your intuition was somehow right all along?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month, so feel free to join us if you need support or would like to give some encouragement! We’ve been going for three years strong now!

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IWSG- NaNoWriMo

In my first novel, 18 Things, the main character writes a life list of eighteen things to do the year she’s turning 18 at the suggestion of her therapist who is trying to help her overcome the grief of losing her best friend.

Writing a novel was at the top of my own bucket list, something I wrote after my cousin’s son was diagnosed with leukemia. I never meant for my novel to turn into a trilogy, never meant to start another career as an author. I simply didn’t want my life to end with a bunch of things unchecked on my to-do list.

I’ve enjoyed this journey I’ve been on since the summer of 2009, but it’s been a series of trade offs. Finding balance between writing and everything else going on in my life has been a challenge. And I’m sure you’re all nodding your head along to my words . . . if you’ve even had time to read this far!

My sequel, 18 Truths, is all finished and will release on January 28, 2014. So I decided to use November (National Novel Writing Month) to try and write my last installment in the trilogy, 18 Thoughts. This is the first time I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo, and I think I’m doing well so far with a total of 20, 727 words. But the writing is bittersweet. I honestly don’t know if I’ll pursue publishment again once the trilogy is complete.

There are simply too many other things on my to-do list that I want to cross off, and I’m finding there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish them all. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing. That would be like someone telling me to stop breathing. And I’m not saying I’ll never publish another novel . . . maybe I will in ten years or so after my youngest spawn has left the nest. Maybe by then I’ll have so many adventures to write about, I won’t ever be able to stop. We’ll see.

What about you? How do you balance the demands of your muse with the demands of every day life? Participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

We all have a book in us waiting to be written . . . it’s never too late to add it to your to-do list! And if you do, please visit the Insecure Writers Support Group to help you on your journey. We post the first Wednesday of every month!

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG

Champion In The Darkness and 18 Things Blog Tour Continues . . . .

First things first . . . I’d like to give a shout out for my author buddy, Tyrean Martinson, and the first release in her brand new YA Christian fantasy trilogy (how CoOl is that?!), Champion in the Darkness – The Champion Trilogy, now available on Amazon for only $3.99! What a deal!!!
 
Champion in the Darkness Cover 
 
Clara is younger than most trainees, but she is ready to hold a Sword Master’s blade. While visions and ancient prophecies stand in her way, they also offer a destiny unlike any other. Clara is aided by a haunted mentor, Stelia, whose knowledge of their enemy Kalidess is both a bane and a blessing. As evil threatens their land, Clara and Stelia must find the strength to overcome the darkness!
 
DOESN’T THAT SOUND A*W*E*S*O*M*E?!?!
 
And in other news–my 18 Things blog tour continues. Here are the stops since the last time I posted, in case you missed the links on Twitter or Facebook!
 
Joylene Butler decided to post her own 18 Things despite missing the blogfest. I say, better late than never!
 
Sharon Sant had me answer this question: Why I Love YA
 
The Autumn Review was nice enough to give me a shout-out and  post an excerpt (Have I ever mentioned that book bloggers are my heroes?!)
 
And today I’m kicking back with an interview with my main characters, Olga and Nate, on Nancy S. Thompson’s blog
 
*Only 8 more stops to go! Now, how is this affecting my sales? Hard to tell . . . it’s 188,098 in rank for paperback on Amazon and 59,815 in rank for the Kindle. So, could be loads better, but it also could be worse!
 
Thanks for all your support! I’ll see you around the blogosphere this week, and don’t forget to check out Tyrean’s new release *throws confetti*