How I solved my computer dilemma

This week I’ve been plugging away on the third and final installment of the “Forever After” series, the prelude to A Symphony of Cicadas and Forever Thirteen. This novel (working title is Prelude to Forever) will tell the story of John and Rachel, focusing on when they met and what it was like for them to blend a family. If you know anything about me, you can be sure that I’ll be pulling from some familiar experiences, having been blending my own family for the past several years. This book has been a story I’ve wanted to write for a while, and I’m really having a lot of fun with it.

It just doesn’t get any neater 74 pages in…. Oh, and the last sentence says “If he really likes you, he’ll wade through all the necessary hurdles to get to the heart of you.” Sigh…. It’s true.

Another reason I’m having fun with it – I’m handwriting the whole first draft. You read that right – a pen, a notebook, and me. So far I’ve written approximately 18,000 words (about 74 pages at about 250 words a page), and I’m still going strong. There are several benefits to working this way: I don’t have easy access to the distractions of the Internet (if I throw my iPhone across the room), I don’t have to deal with computer issues, I’m less apt to go back through my work to re-read (thus, letting my inner critic take over and tell me it’s all crap), and I won’t be bogged down by formatting, etc. Also, it is much easier to lug around a spiral notebook than a computer that needs to be plugged in. Last, I will have a clean rough draft to work from as I retype all of the pages I’ve written, going over the whole manuscript word by word.

Reason #137 why this is proving to be a good option for me – my computer crapped out last week.

I kind of stressed on that last point. Not only did I plan on writing my next book immediately following the release of Forever Thirteen, but I just took on the Editor’s position for my regional writing club, Redwood Writers. To be without a computer at this time was kind of terrible. No, not kind of. It’s devastating. I just don’t have the money to buy a new computer right now – I spent it all on releasing a book! Thankfully, I found a “for now” computer on Craigslist. I say “for now” because it is the most basic of basic Dells, doesn’t even have Microsoft Office on it, and freezes up when I try to do more than one thing on it at a time. But it’s a computer, and it will work for what I need it to work for. Plus, it was only $60.

In other news, some people are wondering why I started writing my next novel so soon after the last one. To be fair, it really isn’t that soon….to me. Forever Thirteen has been written for about 6 months now, and I’ve spent the last 6 months preparing for its release through tweaking the manuscript, working with the cover designer, gathering promotion materials, getting the word out…. Once it was released, I was ready to start on the next part of the story – John and Rachel’s story. But there was a second part of that equation.

I wanted to keep writing so I wouldn’t focus so hard on sales.

Has it worked? Not totally. But it’s something. Sales have been somewhat decent in the fact that my family and friends have been grabbing a copy for themselves in the past few weeks (which is so awesome and supportive of them!). But getting this book into other people’s hands has been quite the challenge. I’m a bit of an introvert, so breaking out of my shell to contact people I don’t know to write about me and my book is a bit daunting. Plus, what do I offer them so it’s worth their while? So far, my cash-strapped self has connected with one book blogger and offered a free download of my book. But is that enough? I just can’t offer every blogger I contact a print copy (which would be preferable, I know). It’s just too much. So the digital copy will have to do.

Last bit of news, I managed to land some freelance work without even trying. A friend of mine who works for the city I live in found herself in a desperate situation. Seems they are one week away from needing to finalize this year’s publication for our town’s popular parade and festival, and their writer fell through. She contacted me in her bind, and I enthusiastically accepted. Now I need to write a creative article on what ‘Home Grown‘ means to my country town, referring to different businesses, people, food…. It’s going to be a bit of a stretch to get all of this done with such a quick turnaround, but I’m excited to be a part of it. :-)

One final note: I have placed A Symphony of Cicadas, the first book to the “Forever After” series, on sale for Kindle users for 99 cents, only for as long as I feel like giving it away for free. That’s hardly anything! I hope you’ll take advantage of this deal. :-)  Link to Amazon page:

Things that happened since Friday

I published my book. :-)

I went on a $20 date after dinner with my husband where we watched the sunset over Bodega Bay from the comfort of one of our favorite restaurants. It was one of the best dates ever.

I read two whole books (one that was excellent, and one that I felt obligated to finish since I started it…and not worth mentioning…and may even have been unfairly judged since the first book was sooooo good). Thanks to my Kindle, I think I’m obsessed with reading. And I like it. (And tonight, I’m diving into my third book since Friday!)

I woke up at 5 a.m. every morning. Not on purpose.

I took my teenage dog for a 3-mile roundtrip walk to Starbucks, weighted down with a water bottle, my wallet, my Kindle, my iPhone, and two cans of refried beans for good measure in his doggy backpack. I had an iced coffee with soy milk, and we split a cheese plate. Then he slept for three hours straight when we got back home.

Don't be jealous of my dog's man parts.

Don’t be jealous of my dog’s man parts.

I suffered three ugly burns on my arms and hands thanks to my natural clumsiness not exactly mixing with using a stove. But the stew I made was delicious (it had beer as a base!).

My laptop bit the dust. :-/ (I’m writing this on my husband’s computer)

I was still able to back up all my important files before it completely died. :-)

I began writing my next book. In a wire notebook. (Look Ma, no Internet!) :-D

I took a momentary break from nixing grains and dairy from my diet. I just got tired of having to plan out all my meals and being so super diligent. And I now feel like crap, I’m totally bloated, and look like I’m 10 pounds heavier (I’m only 2 lbs up). What I really want is chocolate. But I gave dessert up for Lent. And I kind of feel like that’s one area that might not be that great to cheat on. So instead, I’m eating all the bread and cheese. All of it. (And I’m staring the cupcakes someone brought in to the office in the face. Why am I surrounded by delicious treats whenever I’m giving them up, but they’re nowhere to be found when I’m free to eat whatever???)

I ate a sandwich. With bread and cheese.

I cleaned the fridge. Then I cleaned the shower.

I discovered a new song crush.

I began saving $$$ for a new laptop.

What did you do?

Forever Thirteen, released today!

It’s finally here! Forever Thirteen is here! And heads up, if you’re buying for Kindle, it’s $2.99 for this week only to celebrate release week (after that, it’s $4.99).

And because I am just too excited to write, here’s a video:

Find out more about Forever Thirteen at

Where to buy:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print
Createspace Print

Coming soon to:

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40 ‘Mean Girls’ Quotes That Make Everyday Life Worth Living

Crissi Langwell:

The ‘Mean Girls’ 10-year anniversary is coming up on April 30 (which is a Wednesday, get your pink shirts handy!). My daughter, who was 6 at the time this movie came out, is OBSESSED with this movie. By default, I guess I am too. We have even had all-out texting wars, firing Mean Girls quotes at each other.
On April 30, you can bet I’ll have my pink on, and I’ll be watching Mean Girls and quoting every other line. Here’s a cheat sheet so you can quote along with me. :-)

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Quoting Mean Girls isn’t just a sport. It’s a national pastime. Mean Girls is how we make sense of the world, giving the chaos of the universe a recognizable template by which to understand it. More than any writer of her age (and I’m serious), Tina Fey has changed the ways that young people speak and interact with each other, introducing lovely new phrases into the vernacular like “fetch” and “that’s not a thing.” If I had to go an entire day without using a Fey-ism, I don’t know if I could do it. Tina Fey gives me life. She is my reason for being.

With that in mind, I compiled a list of my most-used Mean Girls quotes, in no particular order. This list is in no way an objective compilation, and you may find that your favorite quips vastly differ from mine. That’s one of…

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Writing like an awkward 13-year-old

When I wrote A Symphony of Cicadas, it wasn’t too hard to tell the story from Rachel’s point of view. She was a mid-30s single mother of a 13-year-old boy, preparing for her wedding. I am a mid-30s mom of a 13-year-old boy, and was preparing for my own wedding as I wrote the story (what a coincidence, lol). We both had been jaded by the dating world (before meeting our Mr. Wonderfuls), and we both were struggling with our role as stepmom and our relationship with our stepchild.

So writing from Rachel’s point of view wasn’t too difficult. It was what I knew.

Now writing from Joey’s perspective in Forever Thirteen…. That’s a whole other story.

DJ Tanner Full HouseWe all remember what it was like to be 13. It was awful. I mean, truly awful. At least it was for me. I remember when I hit 7th grade, and suddenly the majority of my friends decided that I was just not cool enough to be their friend. These were the same people I had grown up with through the elementary grades, and even ridden the bus with every day. But thing is, I was the girl who wore pink Keds while theirs were all white (hey, I just really liked pink!). I wore baggy Esprit sweatshirts while they were all into LA Gear. I tried to do my hair in the classic 80s style, imitating DJ Tanner from Full House (because, let’s face it, she had awesome hair). Instead, it turned out looking more like a hairspray saturated wave that just didn’t move – even in the strongest of storms.

I was a nerd, through and through. I didn’t quite know what it took to be cool. I was constantly aware of all my shortcomings. I was sure everyone was seeing straight through me, even when I tried my best to fit in, and they were all laughing behind my back (looking back now, I bet the majority of them felt the same way).

It was a party that became my turning point.

A bunch of us were all invited to this girl’s house as kind of a “We’re in 7th grade” kind of party. My best friend had moved away the year before, and I was just trying to find myself. To have been one of the lucky people there was a total honor.

The boy I was crushing on hardcore had also been invited. I had secretly crushed on this boy for years without doing anything about it. He probably had no idea I even liked him, nor did anyone else. I was so private about it, and didn’t know how to go about letting him know or anything. Instead, I just dedicated a million songs to him in my mind, daydreamed about what it would be like to hold his hand, and practiced saying his name over and over just because I liked the way it felt to say it.

At any rate, this boy was there, and so was I. And I was sure that this was the night that this particular boy would finally notice me, and like me in spite of all my nerdish tendencies.

The party was in the backyard of this girl’s house where she was lucky enough to have her very own basketball court. There was music, and I guess there was supposed to be dancing. But instead, everyone just kind of milled around the court eating food and gabbing. Me, I watched this boy’s every move, wondering when the right time would be to let him know that we belonged together. So it didn’t escape my attention when a girl in 8th grade noticed him first, and they began kissing right in front of everyone in the middle of the basketball court.

I felt like my gut had been ripped out and stomped upon. I felt betrayed. I mean, didn’t this boy know how many years I had put into loving him and pining after him? I felt sick with heartache. And I spent the rest of the party hiding in the shadows, crying my eyes out.

When I started writing about Joey, I struggled. It’s been awhile since I was 13. However, I fully remember what it was like to be awkward, feeling like an outsider. Truthfully, I still struggle with those feelings on a daily basis! So when I felt stuck in the beginning stages of writing Forever Thirteen, I thought back to a time when I felt weird and unloved.

I thought back to the party on a basketball court in some girl’s backyard. And you can read about that party from Joey’s perspective at the end of Chapter 1. :-)

On that note, two more weeks until the release of Forever Thirteen – March 15th!!! And this is the last weekend you can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, with a prize of an advance copy of Forever Thirteen, a copy of the first book A Symphony of Cicadas, and a $20 gift card to Starbucks. Enter HERE.

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Forever Thirteen giveaway – last chance!

4Ever13 Giveaway copy

Have you entered my Rafflecopter giveaway yet? You could win an advance copy of Forever Thirteen, as well as a $20 gift card to Starbucks, and a copy of the first book in the series, A Symphony of Cicadas. But if you wait to enter, you may miss your chance. I’m picking winners on Monday, March 3. So go enter today!

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Forever Thirteen cover reveal!

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been working closely with my friend, Liz Carrasco, to create a cover that would perfectly embody what Forever Thirteen is all about. She read the story, and I gave her a vision of what I hoped the cover would look like. Well, she took that vision, and she created something much better than I ever could have imagined. You all have Liz to thank for this book being born (she’s also the one that suggested a sequel to A Symphony of Cicadas was in order), and for the beautiful cover it will have.

Are you ready?

Forever Thirteen

Isn’t it gorgeous??? You can see what the back cover looks like over at my Facebook fan page. You can also enter for a chance to win a copy (and more) in my Rafflecopter giveaway.

Forever Thirteen is a Young Adult Fantasy novel about a boy in the afterlife seeking to save his best friend in life from self-destruction, will be available at Amazon and a few other online outlets on March 15, 2014. It is the follow-up story to my first novel, A Symphony of Cicadas. Read more about it HERE.

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