Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Beauty of Dreams

Before I commence with my regular post, I have a special announcement to make! Kit Parker – Book One: Why Rodney Never Should’ve Gone to the NAPIC has an official release date! [insert cheering] I have put the finishing touches on it and am waiting to hear back from the publisher about whether or not everything is in order.

So, I am proud to announce that my book will be available for purchase on Monday, May 12, 2014!!

If you haven’t already checked it out, make sure to read the synopsis and sneak peek of the book here: http://ivorypalace.blogspot.com/2014/04/sneak-peek-why-rodney-never-shouldve.html

And now, for this week’s post:



One of my favorite things about Tangled is the scene toward the end, when Flynn and Rapunzel are sitting in the boat, waiting for the lights to appear. I love these scene for many reasons, but for now I’ll just go into the one. As Rapunzel sits there, waiting, she expresses concern that maybe the lights won’t be all she hoped they would be. And, if they are, what then? All her life this has been her dream. So, if she fulfills it now what will she do with the rest of her life?

The part I love is Flynn’s response. He tells her, “Well, that’s the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream.”

As many of you know, I recently completed my book- the second book in the series I’m currently working on. I’ve been dying to finish this thing for a while now. I couldn’t wait to be done. And so, after I typed that last sentence- three little words: It’s a fact- I stared at the computer screen in disbelief.

I’d finished it.

I had actually finished it.

I couldn’t believe it. It actually took several minutes for the reality to sink in. And then I said, quite calmly to my parents, “Um, guys. I think I might have finished it.”

As the reality sunk in, I got more and more excited about it. I squealed some. Bounced up and down. Freaked out to my parents. Grinned like an idiot in Staples while I waited for it to be printed. Mentioned that we were celebrating several- several- times while we ate dinner.

And then, Saturday night, we got home and I sat down at my computer. To write. Because that’s what I’ve been doing for the last several weeks.

Only, I didn’t have anything left to write.

I’d finished it.

And, instead of feeling excited, or relieved, or pleased with myself for my accomplishment, I felt rather empty. Purposeless. For the last several weeks I have poured all of my time and energy into this little book. And now I had nothing. Nothing to invest in. Nothing to consume my time. Nothing to exert my energy on. I was done.

And, all of a sudden, that word- done- wasn’t such a nice word anymore. All of a sudden, it was the worst word I knew.

Because I wanted something else. Something to consume my time, my energy, and my passions.

I’m a writer, I realized. Without a story to tell, I’m nothing. If writer is the word I use to define myself then when I’m not writing what am I? If my stories are the thing that give meaning to my life then without them where is my meaning?

And, I came to realize that I think that’s how all of us are. We all have something that defines us, shapes us, excites us. We all have something with which we identify ourselves and our lives with. It’s the one thing which gives us purpose. That one thing which gives meaning to our lives. I think God wired us that way. For you, it may be something other than writing, but it’s something.

And, finally, I realized I needed to find myself a new project before all this emptiness drove me insane.

So, Sunday I did a little research and inspiration gathering, trying to decide what I wanted to work on next. There were so many possibilities, so many things I could write. I finally boiled it down to three stories: a time travel sci-fi, a modern adventure with secret agents, or a fairy tale mash-up retelling. I was leaning toward the fairy tale since I was kind of ready to work on something besides a modern story, after all the time I’ve spent on Kit Parker.

And then, Sunday night, I opened up a new Word document and began to type. And before I knew it, I had the first chapter for Kit Parker – Book Three written. And so, for now, I’m working on another modern adventure. And that’s okay. Because Kit Parker still ignites my passions. And, she gives me purpose.

How can I complain about that?

How about you? What is it in your life that gives you purpose or meaning?



Saturday, April 26, 2014

Special Announcement Concerning My Writing

I know this isn’t my normal day to post and I will (hopefully) have a real post for you at the beginning of next week, like I usually do.

But, for now, I have a special announcement:




Did you read the little word underneath the big letters? In case you didn’t I’ll put them here: WINNER.

That’s right. I’m a winner.

And, not only did I reach my word count for this month, but I also finished my book.

You read that correctly. I finished it.

46,713 words finished.

And, not only did I finish it, I actually think it’s not too bad. I like the ending a lot. I hope everyone else does too. I’m going to be giving it to my parents to read just as soon as I can get it printed out, since staring at a computer screen is never a fun way to read a book (at least in my opinion, no offense to anyone who likes that sort of thing)

Anyway, I’ve kept my vow and finished the sequel. Now I just have to finish editing Why Rodney Never Should’ve Gone to the NAPIC and then I can get started publishing it. More updates about that in the coming weeks. Hopefully, I’ll have an official release date for you very soon.

Thank you all so much for sharing this journey with me!

Until next time!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dear Fred- A Short Story of Sorts in Letter Form



Greetings!

To begin with, I own an apology to all my faithful readers for missing last week. I meant to write but, quite honestly, the week came and went without me really even thinking about it.

But, I’m here now.

Update on my novel: Word count- 33,688. That’s 22,000 words written this month. About 20,000 more words to go before I’m finished. I’m kind of getting sick of this book. I just want to be done so I can move on with my life. And, you know, publish the first one. It’s probably a great book. I’m just too stressed about it to notice.

Which brings me to my post for today. It’s a random story thing I wrote on Saturday off of a prompt. It was supposed to be an angry letter of protest, but that didn’t end up happening. And, I’m sort of missing an transitional paragraph… so, it still needs some work. But, you all get to read the original, unedited version. Lucky you.

And, without further ado, here it is:

Dear Fred,
               
First of all, is it all right if I call you “Fred”? I feel so weird simply calling you by your job description. Even if that is what you are, I hate to address you that way. After all, I may be many things, but I’d much prefer you to call me by my given name- which is Jessie, by the way, not sure if we’ve been properly introduced.
               
Now then, Fred- if I may, indeed call you that- I’d like to discuss the problems we’ve been having the last several months. We have, as you know, shared this apartment for several years now and I hate that it must come to this, but feel that things can’t continue this way any longer.
               
I would like to start by apologizing. I know I called you some unnecessarily violent names this morning when you refused to cooperate with me. I did not once stop to consider that perhaps you were simply having a trying morning. Maybe you got bad news about your sister. Or, maybe you overslept and were in a hurry and didn’t have time for me. Or, perhaps, it was a simple matter of you feeling overwhelmed because I expect so much from you and never seem to give anything in return.
               
I’m so sorry if you feel that way. I recognize that it is indeed true and hope you realize that if there ever were some way I could repay you, I would be more than happy to do so.
               
I chose you because you came the most highly recommended. All one needs to do is punch your name in an internet search engine and they are flooded with reviews of the most glowing praise. Everyone seems most pleased with the work you perform, going so far as to say- and I quote- that you are “impressively efficient,” “perfect for the job,” and- my personal favorite- “can accommodate both large parties and lonely winter mornings.”
               
The price at which I paid for your services is also more reasonable. For a job like yours people pay outrageous sums of money. But, you, you offer yourself at a price even a poor writer like myself can afford. You are, as they say, the working man’s gourmet.
               
And, lastly- and, please I don’t mean to make things awkward by saying this- but I did indeed choose you because of your looks. Your physique is enough to make any girl go crazy at the very sight of you. Whenever I walk in the room and see you sitting there my heart flutters and I wonder what I did to deserve having someone as wonderful as you work for me.
               
And, it’s not just your looks either, it’s you. You’ve always been there for me, right when I needed you most. The day my mom died and I had no one else to talk to. Those long, lonely nights when I had another three thousand words to write to meet my deadline. Those early mornings when I had my eight o’clock class and scarcely made it out the door without you. Whenever I needed you you’ve always been there.
               
So, you can imagine how betrayed I felt that morning a few months ago when you first failed me. It was a morning much like any other weekday, if you recall. I had an article to write for a magazine interested in my work and had gotten up early to begin. I needed you that morning, maybe more than I ever needed you before. And you weren’t there.

That one time I can forgive. I get that you simply wanted to make me laugh. And, had it only happened the once, I would have appreciated the gesture. But, your jokes keep becoming more and more frequent. Even though you know I don’t find them funny at all. You have made it a habit, this game of yours. And, I don’t like it one little bit.
               
You do recognize, I would hope, that I engaged you for a specific purpose. That is, in fact, why you live under my roof, enjoying the commodities I provide. I pay the rent, I buy the supplies you so readily use up. And, so, you can understand why I would be upset when you in fact refuse to do the job I engaged you for.
               
And, it would seem that my hints of displeasure- or even my outright name calling- aren’t getting through to you. Can you not see that the joke has gone on long enough? Can you not see that what is fun and games for you is simply yet another thing I need to worry about?

I can no longer depend on you. There was once a time when I felt certain of you. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that you would perform your job without hesitation. I would, if you remember, even go so far as to leave you alone to do your job while I attended to other things.

But, sadly, that day has passed. I can no longer depend on you and your services. I must stay in the room, watching your every action, to make sure that you carry out the task I set before you. And, I can’t always do that. Sometimes I have other things to attend to. I do, after all, have a life outside of you and our relationship.
               
I recognize that you too have a life outside of us and what you do for me. But, that is no excuse for being derelict in your duties. Things cannot carry on this way. I cannot keep you engaged if you refuse to do what I have engaged you for. Sitting in the kitchen looking nice does neither you nor me any good.
               
And so, as much as it pains me to say this, unless you start shaping up I am going to have to begin looking for a new coffee pot. I’m sorry if you feel this to be harsh, but I believe it is in both of our best interests.
               
Should you like to begin working again, I would love to keep you around, Not only does that save me the bother of engaging someone new, but- as I stated before- we have been through so much together and I would hate for our relationship to end this way.

And, should you wish to go, I hope it will be without spite or malice. I truly wish you the best in whatever you decide.

                                                                                Sincerely,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jessie :)



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sneak Peek: Why Rodney Never Should've Gone to the NAPIC



Greetings!

Quick Camp Update: Those of you who read last week’s post are probably wondering how I’m doing on my novel. At least, I hope you’re wondering… Anyway! I started out rather strong but sort of shorted out by the end of the week. But, then yesterday I wrote like crazy and added 5,000 words to my total count. So, I’m all caught up and then some. At the moment, I’m at 22,500 words in all, which just a couple thousand away from being halfway done. So excited!

I’m beginning to like this book more. I have a better sense of where I’m going and what’s happening. Definitely going to have it finished by the end of this month! Which leads me to the real point of this post: My next book.

Remember how I’ve mentioned a couple times the book I hope to publish? Well, I’m working towards that, getting it ready and looking into it more. So, hopefully, soon. I want to have it ready so that I can publish it as soon as I finish writing book two. Because I vowed not to publish book one until book two is written.

But, in the meantime, while I write and you wait for my book to come out, I thought I’d share a little bit of it with you. First of all, it's a YA contemporary adventure novel called Why Rodney Never Should’ve Gone to the NAPIC. The series of which this is Book One is simply The Kit Parker Series.

Kit Parker is a character I have had since I was ten or eleven. In more recent years she's sort of sunk to the back of my mind and I never thought I would actually someday write about her. Until November when I started thinking about her and figuring out who she was and making her more real. Then, a story developed and here we are. I hope you all enjoy reading about her!

So, without further ado, a synopsis and sneak peek at Why Rodney Never Should’ve Gone to the NAPIC:

One of the downsides to being kid sister to Rodney Parker, one of the nation's greatest detectives- possibly a slight exaggeration- is that people tend to think kidnapping you provides a great bargaining chip to get your brother off the case. Kit Parker would know. She's been living with the consequences her entire life and, she's used to it. It's just a way of life.

But, then Rodney heads off to the National Annual Private Investigator’s Conference, leaving her in the care of his arrogant assistant- Mr. Sherlock Holmes wannabe, Detective-in-Training, Resident Genius Oliver O'Rourke himself. When Oliver's sister is kidnapped, Kit is left with a choice to make. Does she listen to her brother and do her best to stay out of trouble or follow her instincts and help Oliver find his sister? And, can the girl who has a bad history with kidnappers manage to evade the criminal's clutches long enough to bring them to justice? Or will she once again end up the victim rather than the hero?





And, a short excerpt from Chapter Fifteen:

“We’re in!” Fiona squeals.

Oliver disappears inside and we sit back to wait.

The minutes tick by and I begin to wonder how long before we should start worrying. Because, honestly, I’m worrying now. He’s been gone for like ten minutes already. Is that too long? Shouldn’t he be back by now? Should one of us go in to look for him? Go talk to the doorman about it? Something? Anything?

“Fiona?” I hiss. “Should we be worried?”

She turns and gives me a look that says I’m crazy. “He’s only been gone like two minutes. Calm down.”

Her brother’s trying to infiltrate the enemy’s apartment and she’s telling me to calm down? At this very minute he could be getting into some serious trouble and there’s no way for us to know.

If we were in some cool spy movie, we’d be wired and able to hear everything going on right now.

But, since this isn’t a cool spy movie, we aren’t wired and we’re stuck outside waiting. I should have volunteered to go.

Not that he would have let me, so never mind.

I start to shake, thinking about all the things they could be doing to Oliver right now. Why did we ever think this was a good idea? Why didn’t we go to Mr. O’Rourke with what we had? Sure, we would have gotten into some serious trouble, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as serious as the trouble Oliver’s in right now.

I just hope he’s still alive.

Fiona rests a hand on my arm. “Kit, he’s fine. Chill out.”

Her voice is hard and impatient, nothing like the soft soothing voice she used on the elevator or when she talked to Chloe. I wonder if that’s because I’m really being ridiculous or if it’s because she’s getting to know me better and more comfortable showing me her true colors.

I highly doubt it’s the latter, but I don’t want to admit it could be the former.

I’m just being practical about the danger we could be in- or, rather, Oliver could be in. I just wish I’d thought to be practical sooner.

“How long’s it been now?” I hiss.

Fiona snorts. “Thirty seconds since the last time you asked.”
               
“It’s been longer than that,” I insist. “At least two minutes. And, that’s longer than he should have been gone.”
               
“Kit, just chill already,” Fiona says with exasperation. “He’ll be fine. Oliver can take care of himself.”
               
I don’t say anything because arguing isn’t going to change her mind- or mine. Besides, the garbage can is starting to stink and I feel like getting sick. Whose idea was it to hide here anyway?
               
I turn away from it and the building across the street, my back to both. Staring down the streets, I let my eyes adjust to the dim light, trying to find something to take my mind off my panic and the fact that Oliver isn’t back yet.
               
I find something to take my mind off it all right, but unfortunately, it’s not the something I want. Because, honestly, it’s just as bad as worrying about Oliver, if not worse.
               
Nudging Fiona, I say, “Hey, that man over there. Is it just me, or is he watching us?”


So, there is it! I hope you enjoyed that and will stick around for updates in the coming weeks!

Over and out!