Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Zoe Thanatos" Book Trailer

On her 25th birthday Zoe Thanatos is ready to end her short and unhappy life by jumping off a cliff into the Pacific. But her plans irrevocably change when a stranger intervenes, preventing her death while seemingly cheating his own. She demands answers but unearths a whole new world of questions when her savior confesses his true identity, and leads her down a path of discovery that reveals truths about the life she was meant to live.
Available now on Amazon Kindle.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Zoe Thanatos" is now available on Smashwords!

I'm so pleased to announce that "Zoe Thanatos" is available now on Smashwords for just $9.99. Whether you prefer to read on a Kindle, Nook, or iPad, you start downloading in just a few clicks! Want an extra 15% off? Use coupon code LL68L and your grand total will be just $8.49 (expires Monday 9/24/2012).

If you buy the book send me a shout-out on Twitter using #ZoeThanatos or head on over to Facebook to Like the book!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Sick Day From Life

Yesterday morning I woke up with a headache (that eventually turned into a migraine). So I took the day off. I don't have an office job I go to, or even a classroom, but I can still take a day off to mentally recoup and maybe even do something fun. So I did! I broke out my old Compaq Presario tower, set it up on the dining room table, and spent the day playing The Sims 2. It was a lot of fun.

Woke up with another potential headache this morning. I think I'll just play this day out and see how it goes.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

An Anniversary of Sorts

Yesterday was a 1-year anniversary for Jeff and me. Last September 1st we officially moved into this apartment and began a joint life together. There have been some minor setbacks along the course of the year, but for the most part I consider us extraordinarily lucky and blessed.

This past week I was at my parent's house in Lompoc house and cat-sitting for them while they took a mini vacation to Las Vegas. It was a strange sort of reminder about how much my life has changed. I really missed home - my home - and thankfully the week went by quickly. It reminded me of the times when I lived in Lompoc and Jeff was in Camarillo (where he had an apartment for the last 2 years of his undergraduate studies) and Valencia (where he grew up with his parents) and we only saw each other a couple times a year. The longest we went without seeing each other was three weeks. Last week I was gone for eight days and it was the longest Jeff and I have gone without seeing each other since we moved in together.

When we initially moved in and I left my parents, I expected to have some sort of emotional reaction, or something. A few years ago when I first moved into the dorms at Cal State Channel Islands, I missed my parents so much that they came and picked me up every weekend to take me home. Once I met the boy next door - Jeff - I came home less and less often. Last September 1st I never did have that emotional reaction. Instead I took everything in stride and just rolled with it. It wasn't until this past Friday that I cried when leaving my beloved cat, Snuggles.

I'm looking forward to what the next year brings. I love this time of year, from September to Christmas, and 2013 is going to be an epic year. I'll be turning 30. Jeff and I will celebrate our 5 year anniversary. Jeff will graduate with his Masters degree. I'll graduate with my Masters degree. Jeff will turn 25. There is so much to look forward to in the next year, especially considering we might not be living here in Apartment 54 by next September 1st. I look forward to the changes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Editing Mode

Since coming back to full-time writing status I've taken it upon myself to start editing the manuscript for the practical purpose of editing (obviously) and as a way to re-familiarize myself with the story. There were some finer points I had forgotten about, and even found one small plot hole that I was able to fix easily.

Then a fellow writer friend mentioned to me all the occurrences of "s/he could feel" and after doing a search I found more than a dozen of those exact phrases. So I corrected them... Then I wondered what other things I should be looking for and found one common word that is overused in a manuscript is "s/he said". So I did another search for "said" throughout the manuscript... Oh boy... 134 instances. Not all of them were awful but most of them were. I actually taped a piece of paper on the wall with dozens of synonyms for "said" and referenced that for all 134 instances of "said". It took quite a few hours.

I guess this is the part of writing that is the least fun. It's great knowing that the manuscript will be more polished and less amateur once it is published, but the sheer amount of work is daunting at best. I've got my work cut out for me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Return to Writing

I took about 3 weeks off for finals and a little post-term laziness but now it's back to writing and finishing "Zoe Thanatos". My mind feels refreshed but now I'm tempted to go on an editing spree rather than just finishing up and then editing. What to do, what to do!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Attacked by a Mountain Lion

Since installing Mountain Lion on my MacBook Pro last night my computer has frozen twice. Seriously?! I thought that was just a Windows problem! I'm having to do. Force restart now since I don't know what the Apple equivalent of control-alt-delete is. Hopefully the outline of my final paper is save and secure in Google Docs!*fingers crossed*

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Writing on Hold (for now)

Just as I was nearing completion on one of the final three chapters, I have hit a wall. I found myself sitting at the screen staring at Pages (word processor for the Mac in case you didn't know) and often getting distracted on Pinterest and Tumblr. Not to mention how I was also neglecting school work. Now, a few weeks ago I said I was hoping to have the first draft of the book done by now but that didn't happen and I found the block was also preventing me from adequately focusing on my school work. I have, therefore, decided to take a small break from writing so that I can focus on these final tasks in school and I don't have to worry about forcing out pages in the manuscript. Hopefully a nice break will refresh my mind so. Can finish up these last few chapters and finally get on with editing, revising, and rewriting.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

21 of 24

Last night while sitting in my boyfriend's father's SUV in the pitch dark in the of a field off Avenue 24 in Tulare county, I finished chapter 21 of my novel and surpassed 70,000 words. In fact, I'm on my way to 72,000. I was originally hoping to be much closer to finished at this point in time with finals upon me but that just didn't happen. For a while I was averaging two or more chapters a week and now I'm lucky to get one in one week. It looks like I will have to do finals and finish the novel at the same time.

Ideally I'd like to complete chapter 22 this weekend. It's a chapter I've been thinking about for a long time and really provides a backbone to the overall theme of the story. It should also be one of the longest chapters because of all the backstory involved. Chapter 21 was also a very long chapter, more than 1,000 words over what I initially was going to write. And the title is really something, too. The Death of Zoe Thanatos. I can't wait for my wonderful reader, Jeffrey, to read the latest offering and tell me what he thinks. Right now he's still in bed sleeping after a long night of catching spiders.

Oh! If you'd like to check out more about my novel, Zoe Thanatos, you can click on over the Facebook where I've set up a page dedicated to the book: I hope you LIKE it!

Friday, July 6, 2012

More spider hunting!

It is another beautiful evening. Going to accompany Jeff as he looks for more spiders. I plan on writing.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Writing in the dark

Couldn't do this in my car. Good thing I'm in the SUV.

Beautiful night for hunting

Spider hunting! Actually, I'm going to stay in the car and watch a movie on my ipad while Jeff hunts for spiders.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I cannot believe it's already the middle of the school term for me. I submitted my mid-term paper over the weekend and Monday morning found out I got an A+! I really was not expecting that. Now that we're heading into the final few weeks before finals I am using the opportunity to finish the first draft of my manuscript, Zoe Thanatos. I've powered through the last two and a half chapters and am up nearing the 65,000 word range. As I stated previously I wanted to get up towards 80,000 to have a nice, healthy debut novel. The last chapter (18) I had my boyfriend read he really praised, which is quite unusual for him. He's been incredibly supportive through each and every chapter but with this chapter in particular I think he was happy to gain a new insight into the world. It's written through the POV of a character that has not previously had a chapter but who is a very important character to the world. I was so pumped up by his comments that I wrote the latest chapter (19) through the same character's POV and I think it's some of my best work.

Today I've got to concentrate on school work before beginning the first of the last four chapters, chapter 20. I've got a little outline written out on a stickie on my desktop (I love that app!) to guide the rest of the chapters. I can't believe there are only four more chapters left! Once finals are done I'll spend the month of August fine tuning the manuscript, read and re-read it myself, hopefully (fingers crossed) find a beta reader and work on launching the campaign to publish via Amazon. That should take me right into the fall trimester where I'll be taking on a full course load (2 classes) again. It's going to be a busy summer!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Keeping Spoilers to Myself

My boyfriend and really good friend are both reading my WIP chapter by chapter. Both of them are my biggest supporters. Neither of them wants to be spoiled. So basically I have no one to talk to about the intricate (in my mind at least) plot points that are going to be coming and I feel like I could just burst. The two people I talk to the most in the world who know me better than everyone else and I can't tell them what happens next!

I expressed this frustration to my bf and he basically said "I bet that's how JJ Abrams feels". After I dismissed his clearly misguided (albeit sweet) attempt to even compare me in the slightest to one of my favorite storytellers of all time, I decided he was at least partially right. And I wanted to spoil him right there on the spot. 

Other people feel this way, right? I want people to read my story and be surprised at what's revealed but I also wish there was someone in the world I could share the surprise ending with (not fishing for a volunteer, just typing out loud).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Floating Chapter

Since my last post about how I was going to finish up my manuscript, something strange happened. I stopped writing. This had happened once before after writing what I felt to be a fantastic chapter. Had I drained the well? I spent a day or two plotting out the intricacies of the story that would fit in to this story and potentially carry over into a second book, and the process in and of itself was rather daunting. I was thinking BIG!!! when what I needed to do was think "doable". So I came up with the plot and then still did not write anything.

Finally last night I started writing. The POV is through a character who so far has only been in a few chapters, has never had a POV chapter before. And yet she is one of the most important characters in the entire story. Actually, I like writing from her point of view. The only issue now is I don't know where the chapter falls within the final eight. So far it's a floating chapter that has no real place, but whose content is paramount to the story. I've never written out of sequence for this manuscript and the idea of it frightens me a little. What if I'm unable to connect the chapters around it? What if my brain won't be able to keep up with all of these intricacies?

I'm not nearly done with the chapter yet and I'm not quite sure where I'm going (I have a vague idea) but it's an interesting experience to write through this character's eyes. It's giving a lot of back story that may prove helpful to the reader, and hopefully will be a surprise. I'll just have to see how it comes out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writing Update #2: Projections

Since my last update I've surpassed 50,000 words and currently heading towards 54,000. I have 16 chapters broken up into two parts, with chapter 17 and beyond constituting part three. Come to think of it, the first two parts are equally distributed in the amount of chapters. That's a happy accident. I wonder if there are any other coincidences like that?

Part One

  • Chapters 1-8
  • 28,132 words
  • ends on page 104 (based on current formatting)
  • 3,516 average words per chapter

Part Two

  • Chapters 9-16
  • 25,089 words
  • ends on page 206 (based on current formatting)
  • 3,136 average words per chapter 
If I add the two average words per chapter and divide again, I come up with an average of average of about 3,326.

Projected Part Three:
  • Chapters 16-23
  • 26,608 (based on 3,326 average words per chapter)
  • Page count at end of chapter 23: 308
  • Total word count: 80,000
I would prefer to have a higher word count than that but I know this is just the first draft. One thing I've noticed is that I tend to write scenes that are very dialogue-driven without much detail as to what is going on, and I think that prohibits some character development in the finer aspects of their mannerisms. 

I see myself finishing the last chapter, taking a small break from the book in general, then coming back and reading it from the start, editing in and out necessary information. Generally speaking I would like the finished manuscript to be somewhere in the realm of 85,000-90,000 words total. 

Since I am planning on self-publishing I've been coming up with a marketing plan for the book itself. Fortunately I learn a great deal about social media in my Media Psychology grad studies; this definitely gives me an advantage and a sense of confidence about the efficacy of self-promotion. 

Another aspect I'm very excited about is the book cover. I've been playing around with one idea and this morning I think the whole thing came together in my mind. I'll have to fire up my other laptop to get to Photoshop to make it. I hope it comes out like I envision it in my mind. 

And the last bit of update is that I think I've settled on a title for the book. I'm not ready to announce it until I'm sure of what it will be but the one I have in mind is already incorporated into the cover design I have in mind.... so I guess it's fate! 

Now that I know where I'm headed and how many chapters I can write for part three, I can start making an outline of where things will happen in the story. Looking forward to it! :D

Edit: I couldn't resist. I fired up the Dell and set to work on the cover. I may change it or I may keep it. I'm not sure yet. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

War on Women?

Honestly I'd like to see them try to say there isn't a war on women. And shame on the 29% of female Senators that voted against it.

Midnight Snack

Cream cheese spread on a (cinnamon) graham cracker and topped with grapes.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Writing update

Ahh! Am I really up and writing this at 3:45 in the morning? YES! Because I just finished yet another chapter in my book and I'm so excited! The writing has been much more difficult lately and this chapter was particularly difficult to get through because it is part of a grand turning point in the middle of the plot.

I am officially nearing 40,000 words with 180 pages and 12 chapters written. It's really coming along!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Something to Blog About

It seems strange to me that I never think I have anything worthwhile to blog about. School and life in general are mundane and routine, and for some reason I stop myself from sharing those aspects of my life because they seem quite boring. Well, I've started a new habit, and this is one I do want to talk about, because I really don't have anyone else to talk to it about. I'm writing a book.

I used to write a lot when I was younger. It was a daily habit that produced a lot of unfinished stories printed out in nondescript binders. Frankly the genre of my writing is too embarrassing to admit now at the wonderful age of 29, but irrespective of that it was great fun. Unfortunately that was eight years ago, way back when I was a recent high school graduate who was putting her way through community college. Obviously a lot has changed then.

I've had many ideas for stories along the way and oftentimes I would attempt to outline them to some degree of detail and then never get around to writing them. It seemed like what I thought I was supposed to do was the worst thing I actually could do. This new story has no outline. No draft. No game plan in general. In fact I don't know how it will end. Right now I have a general idea of where the story is going and a more concrete idea about what to write next. Other than that I'm completely blank.

But I find myself daydreaming into the world I've created, picturing the few characters I've made up and wondering what they will do next. I even think about them before I go to sleep at night, mostly because the majority of my writing is done at night before bedtime. Fooling around online in the morning, school work in the afternoon, writing at night. There's some Judge Judy and a few other shows interspersed throughout that timeline.

I have a good feeling about this story. Each time I finish a chapter I send it to my dear friend Julia and have Jeff read it on the iPad. Their notes give me life. They each have their own take on the story  and both of them contribute immensely to the process. Jeffrey is logical, practical and scientifically minded (which works because it's set in a fantasy world of science fiction) and Julia is a romantic, an optimist and an engaging reader (which works because there is a love story).

So far I've written over 31,000 words and 142 pages. I'm a little more than a third done. Again, I don't know what the ending will be, but I have a really good feeling I'll know I'm there when I write it.

To keep myself writing and blogging I'm putting a little widget on the side here where I can track my progress. Hopefully you'll see it completed one day!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dental Woes

Woke up with a mild toothache yesterday morning. We went about our day though. Watched the first four episodes of Veep then went down to the pool. We were going to be having a community BBQ at the pool so we went upstairs to dry off (use the restroom) and then we were going to come back down and eat and socialize. Well suddenly the toothache got worse. Jeff sprang into action and around 3:45 ended up at a local dentist office to just get the pain taken care of before having an actual appointment on Monday.

Well the tooth was too far gone and needed to be taken out. Long story short, I haven't been to the dentist on a regular basis because I haven't had insurance for... well practically my whole life. So yes, I have a few bad teeth. It's actually something I'm deeply ashamed about, though I'm trying to reframe my perspective on that. Anyway, they ended up extracting the tooth which took about 45 minutes. I ended up with about three syringes of Novocain in my mouth and afterwards half my face was partially numb, like I'd had a stroke. Throughout the procedure I was trying to keep myself calm and my muscles ended up absorbing most of the tension. By the time the dentist finished my entire body was shaking.

But all went well and I've been given some generic Vicodin to help with the pain and soreness. I have a follow-up appointment next Friday to make sure it's looking good. The dentist has identified a few areas he can address with the rest of my teeth so I'm going to see how that can be arranged, what with payment plan options and whatnot. I'm probably going to get one other tooth extracted and I have two other teeth that I know need fillings pretty soon. Unfortunately I have a lot of cavities. Maybe it's time to adjust my diet to exclude some sugars. That may help in the longrun.

I'm pretty sore this morning, can't open my mouth all the way, and in general I feel like I've been through battle or something. Nothing the Vicodin can't handle, but I don't want to have to rely on it to feel better. I think my body will heal itself naturally quickly.

Lesson learned: I need to be more proactive about the health of my teeth.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Our Anniversary in Photos, Part 2

These elephants are 41 years old!

This gorilla did not want to put up with any zoo visitors. He only looked up at me occasionally after the noisy people had left the area.

Jeff, not purposely posing with a park bench in the background.

This giraffe seemed very interested in keeping me from her baby.

Twice she walked right up to me and stared me dead in the eyes. It was very strange!

She did it to another zoo visitor as well.

The giraffe on the right was very socially awkward and stayed by that tree in the corner of the area for the entirety of our visit.

This turtle was quite large in person. S/he came right over to me and posed for a picture. So cute!

One of two Gibbons, they were howling quite lasciviously at a woman taking video/photos of them. 

A young Amur Leopard. They're the most endangered of all the big cats. The last time we were at the Santa Barbara Zoo there were two. This is their offspring. 

Snow Leopard.