Friday, May 16, 2014

Screwing Up Alexandria

The release date for Screwing Up Alexandria is soon approaching. If you'd like to help me spread the word through tweets, blog posts (or reblogging), Facebook, or book reviews (I need a few more reviews and have some e-ARCs--advanced reader copies.), let me know. Thanks!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Tagged: My Writing Process

(If you haven't already signed up for the Screwing Up Time mailing list, please do. I will be giving away an e-ARC--advanced reader copy--of Screwing Up Alexandria to one person on my mailing list. The sign up is on the right side of the blog.)

Melanie Crouse, YA author of Hidden Magic and co-author of Alchemy, tagged me in a blog hop where authors answer four questions about their writing process. (Melanie is one of my wonderful beta readers. Thanks so much, Melanie!)

My Writing Process

What Am I Working On Now?

Right now, I’m proofreading Screwing Up Alexandria. In this book, the characters took me to three different time periods. It was a blast. I can’t wait to share it with you. (One of my beta readers said it was my best book yet. I hope so.)

How Does My Book Differ From Others In Its Genre?

Unlike most young adult books, the Screwing Up Time novels are written from a guy’s perspective. I wanted to explore what would happen if a guy from 21st century America ended up in the Middle Ages, ancient Babylon, Alexandria, Uruk, or even the future.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

I write young adult because it’s such a creative genre. As a writer, you can explore just about anything. And young adult protagonists are incredible. They are finding out who and want they are—making decisions that will define the rest of their lives. For example, in Screwing Up Time, when Mark decides whether to break into the psych hospital, he’s really deciding if he’ll risk everything to do the right thing.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I am a seat-of-the-pants writer. But that doesn’t mean I just sit down at a blank page and start typing. Okay, sometimes I do. But usually I plan and research first. For example, with the Screwing Up Time novels, I research the time periods I’m sending my characters to before I start because I think the setting is so important that I view it as a character that helps drive the story.

When my initial research is done, then I sit down to the blank page. And let the characters and the setting drive the plot. They only invite me along to record their story.

On now to other writers. I’m tagging Kimberly Afe, author of The Headhunter’s Race, and Misha Gericke, author of The Vanished Knight.

Don't forget, sign up for my mailing list for a chance to win an e-ARC of Screwing Up Alexandria!

Monday, May 5, 2014

You Have A Spot

So it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. That’s partly because I’ve been finishing Screwing Up Alexandria (I’m proofreading right now). And it’s partly because of “spots.”

At the end of March, my husband Calvin got sick. We even got a trip to ER out of it. And if you’re sick enough, you don’t have to wait. To make a long story short, they ended up running a CT scan. They didn’t find what they were looking for. Instead, they found “spots.” Most were on the liver. One was not. It was on the pancreas. It was concerning.

They ran a “multi-phasic pancreatic CT.” The results of the CT were “suspicious.” The move from concerning to suspicious was not a good thing. We have friends who died from pancreatic cancer. Gallows humor became prevalent in our home. One night, Cal said, “Don’t worry about me.” I said, “Sweetie, I love you. But if you die, you go to heaven. And I’m stuck here with four kids and a mortgage. I’m worried about me.” (Okay, two kids are grown and on their own. But still.)

Next came an endoscopic ultrasound with fine needle aspiration. Basically, they put a camera, an ultrasound wand, and a cutting mechanism down his throat. (Yes, he was asleep.) They drew fluid from the cyst. And then, we waited ten days.

Anytime you look a bad diagnosis in the face, it causes you to think. I’m trusting that whatever happens, God will give me strength to deal with it. He’s been faithful to me through dark days in the past, and He doesn’t change.

And the results of the EU were inconclusive…and the results were benign. A good thing. Sort of. The doctor said that at this small size any tumor would be benign. They don’t go bad until they’re bigger. We did narrow it down to one of two types of cysts. One kind stays benign. The other becomes cancer. Yeah, not much help. Now, we wait. In six months, we restart the process to see if the cyst has grown.

In the meantime, the doctors are running other tests because as they were tracking down the pancreatic cyst, they found other things wrong with Calvin. Sigh. And we’re waiting for the bills to descend.

But I’m happy and thankful. I feel like we’ve been given six more months. And I have new-eat-healthy ammunition. “Calvin, do you think a chocolate-covered, caramel-dipped ice cream bar is good for your pancreas?” He responds, “If I do end up getting diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I’m eating all the ice cream and cheese want.”