February Update

Surprise! New year, new website/blog… again. I was so fed up with the unfriendliness of my previous platform that I ended up deleting it and moving my domain over to WordPress, which I’m way more comfortable with. There might be some tweaks and updates as I figure out what I want this baby to look like, but this is home! For good.

I finally finished my work in progress. I participated in #KissPitch on Valentine’s Day, mostly just to try my hand at writing a Twitter pitch and to see what types of romance manuscripts were getting interest. It seemed like the most popular pitches were for things like fantasy/werewolf/Death/fae/mystery/super steamy books. I did get a few nibbles, one of which ended up being a pass. The other one I haven’t heard back from. That’s okay. We’ll see what happens with #PitMad in March! Wish me luck!

I got the most awesome review on Amazon earlier this month. It said:
Screenshot (1)

Thanks, Jennifer, whoever you are! Your message really made my day. I’m working on getting that new book out there as we speak!

Reading: Half the Way Home – Adam Hochschild
Listening: Show Me Your Fangs – Matt Nathanson


January Update

It’s been a busy month. I’ve really gotten my butt in gear re: my work in progress. I hit 50,000 words back in November for National Novel Writing Month, but with my first semester coming to a close and the holidays approaching, I only tinkered with the story here and there in December.

The past month, though, I managed to crank out another 30,000+ words! I’m at 85K right now and am getting ready to start wrapping things up.

A friend commented the other day that I must be so rigid with my time, and that I must be so motivated to be able to sit down and make myself write every day, with everything else going on – contractors working on the house (still!), a kid, school, etc.

But the truth is, there are some days where I don’t feel like it. I am just flat-out paralyzed by the thought of creating a new scene and moving my story forward. I worry that, because I’ll be that much closer to finishing, that I’m also that much closer to realizing how much the story sucks. That’s when I end up curling up on the couch with a book or Netflix.

But I still chip away at the story, little by little… A little here, a little there. I organize my notes and add thoughts to my outline and write a little bit more. And a little bit more. I start telling myself things like, “I’ll just get to the end of this scene and then I’ll go to bed.” Or, “Man, I hope #ToddlerGoodwin does a good nap today because I need to finish this chapter.”

You know, kind of how you might feel if you’re in the middle of reading a good book? That’s how I feel when I get sucked into my writing. That’s where I am now!

When I hit save, put the computer away, and make myself go to bed, I lie awake forever, plotting what I’m going to write the next day in my head. Except I’m not just imagining the setting and the characters and their actions – I’m trying out the words in my head. As if I’ll be able to remember them in the morning.

I try like hell, anyway.

Reading: The Antelope Wife – Louise Erdrich.
Listening: Divide – Ed Sheeran.

December Update

2017 was the weirdest year for me. It was like being in limbo. After we lost our house, we lived for ten and a half months in an apartment nearby during the rebuild. It was strange because I never really felt fully at home in the apartment, knowing that our real home was less than a mile away.

But we made the best of it. A lot happened in 2017.

In May, we traveled to Copenhagen, to exchange homes with a Danish family. (Yup. Just like the movie The Holiday. Except I’m no Cameron Diaz.) That meant we took #ToddlerGoodwin on his first plane ride. And his first boat ride. And his first subway ride. And his first trip to an amusement park (Tivoli Gardens!) We also made it to the Copenhagen Zoo, Frederiksberg Have, the museum, and the library… We loved our trip and are hoping to complete a few more home exchanges before #ToddlerGoodwin goes off to school and we’re stuck in a school schedule.

In June, I decided to take the admissions test for Harvard University Extension School so that I could begin the master’s program for Creative Writing and Literature.

In July, I went to Florida for my first ever author convention. It was an interesting experience, and I learned a lot.

In August, I tagged along on a business trip to Boston with my husband so I could actually see Harvard. We were there for move-in weekend, right before my fall class started, and I was probably just as excited as all the freshmen! I made a big trip to the Harvard bookstore and loaded up on so much merch that my wardrobe is now mostly crimson. I survived my first semester and I’m signed up for two classes in the spring. Wish me luck!

We finally moved back into our home at the end of October, which meant we got to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas here at home. Home for the holidays! It is so great to be back where we belong.

We didn’t do any big celebrating for 2018, but I have big plans for the year. I’m hoping to finish my work in progress, get it edited, and maybe participate in #PitMad in March before querying. As for school, I’ve already got ideas for my thesis even though I’m still a few semesters away from that… but I’m really looking forward to it.

2018 is going to be a great year! Wishing you all the best!

November Update

I did it! Somehow, I managed to write 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month! I know there are some people who love it and do it every year, and I know there are some people who think the event basically causes writers to vomit out 50,000 words of junk just for the sake of “winning”… but I use it to hold me accountable. I definitely didn’t FINISH in a month, but I got a big chunk written down and it will motivate me to finish in the next couple months. (I hope.)

Thankfully, I had the whole story all planned out; all I needed to do was sit down and write it. But I had some serious obstacles in my way. For one thing, I’m taking a writing class, so anything school-related had to come first. We also moved at the end of the October, so our house constantly has contractors and construction people coming and going, trying to finish things up. Still. It’s been a month. And there’s still drilling and sawing and nail-gunning happening as I write this. And then, you know, I have a toddler, so it’s not like I can sit at the computer and just let him run amok. So any #NaNoWriMo writing was basically limited to when the kid was at preschool, nap time, or after the kid went to bed… if all my homework was done.

There were a couple days where zero writing happened and I eventually fell behind. Part of me thought, okay, seriously, maybe this is too much. I’m only taking one class right now but I’m signed up for two in the spring, and if that’s my number one priority, maybe this book just won’t get written. But then I also thought… how can I just let a notebook full of outlines and character descriptions sit?! The whole thing is right there, just waiting to be written. And I can ditch the working title – the perfect title finally came to me. FINALLY!

So I stayed up a late a couple nights and wrote as much as I could when the kid was sleeping or at preschool. On November 28th, I crossed the finish line with 50,036 words. I had written about 3,000 words while the kid was at school and while he napped, so I only had another 1,700 or so to go after he went to bed that night. I was on quite a writing streak, so I figured I could knock it out before I went to bed. And I did. Boom!

But that doesn’t mean the story is finished. Oh, no. I still have a long way to go. I also still have one last paper and a short story to write for my class… I’ll concentrate on those before picking up where I left off with my #NaNoWriMo project.

But then I’ve got a month before class starts… and I can’t wait to finish this book!

October Update

Um… Where did October go? It seems like this month flew by… which is just fine by me because we’re moving! Things are beginning to wrap up at our house and we should be able to move in next week! It will be so good to be back home!

This month we celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. And by celebrated, I mean my husband was at the house accepting furniture deliveries and waiting on the cable guy and I was at the apartment doing laundry and packing. Super romantic!

School is going really well; I’m working on a short story for my class about our experience with losing our house. I might eventually share it here on the website! I’ve also been doing a ton of reading for class. I read and loved “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell and “The Last Meal” by Michael Paterniti. I’m currently working my way through Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx (where “Brokeback Mountain” came from) and am building a massive TBR list.

Class has also been very energizing for my personal writing. I’ve gotten all of my work in progress outlined and started working on it again… but I plan on using next month to really get moving! That’s right, I’m doing National Novel Writing Month again. It’s what first got me started writing several years ago, and with everything I’ve got going on, I figured this will help hold me accountable. I have the story all mapped out and it’s ready to go… I just need to make the time to write. I figured out a writing schedule that I think should help me get my 1,667 words (OR MORE!) a day… I just have to stick to it! My plan is to get up an hour earlier so that I can work on NaNoWriMo before #ToddlerGoodwin gets up. Then when he’s at preschool or napping, I plan to work on school work or other projects. After he goes to bed, it’s time to read!

I’ve also been fiddling with the look of the website and the blog. I deleted my old Blogger blog and moved everything over to Wix, where my website is, so that everything was all in one place. Except I wasn’t happy with how the blog turned out on Wix – I didn’t find their blog editing to be very user-friendly) so now, here I am on WordPress!

Before I go, I recently set up a Linktree so you can see all my links in one spot! So cool! And don’t forget – you can get a sneak peek of my work in progress, Cookie, by visiting my website and signing up for my newsletter!


September Update

Summer is finally over and with fall comes… salted caramel hot chocolates (I’m not a pumpkin spice fan) and back to school time!

I just began my journey towards my master’s degree (creative writing and literature) with Harvard Extension School and so far, I am loving it! I’m only taking one class this term, but might try two in the spring. We’ll see. I’m really enjoying being a student and discussing our readings and our work with my classmates. The class has reenergized me and I’m trying to figure out how to balance my schoolwork with working on my current WIP, Cookie. (If you subscribe to my newsletter, you get a free sneak peek!)

Right before school started, I tagged along with my husband on his business trip to Boston so I could visit Cambridge and check out the campus! We had a great time touring the city and visiting with some high school and college friends who live in the area.

Over the summer, I did some work with my local newspaper, the Falls Church News Press. I wrote a feature article about a local church that regularly helps those less fortunate in our community and I interviewed a local resident who appears regularly on Antiques Roadshow. I hope to work with the FCNP more in the future.

I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some great parenting blogs! I’ve had pieces posted on Tribe MagazineMamalode, and Mother Hustle. In addition, I tried all summer to keep up with our family travel blog, Go With The Goodwins. We’ve got a lot going on with school starting and moving, but I hope we can do some traveling again soon!

Hopefully, by the end of October, we should be back in our house. We lost our home to a fire before Christmas and have spent the past nine months living in an apartment while our home is being rebuilt. There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel and we should be home soon! You can read about our experience on Tribe Magazine and Mother Hustle. Our ordeal has also been the inspiration for a class project, which I may use to build a memoir of sorts. Since becoming a mom, I hoped to write a humorous motherhood memoir, but now I hope that I can share how we’ve managed to overcome such a difficult experience in case it might be helpful for other people.

And on top of everything else that I have going on, I’ve finally outlined all of Cookie… all I need to do now is tell her story! I’m excited to share it with you, so I better get busy!

In the meantime, I’m celebrating my birthday by giving away Here We Go free this weekend on Kindle! Go grab yours on Amazon!

Happy Fall!