Soundtrack for Awoken???

One of my writer friends, Celeste Stevens, made a playlist for her book and I thought, what a great idea!! Only thing is, as a mom of five rambunctious, lovable muffins, I realize that I hardly know any of the songs the kids are listening to! So, for all you people who are more popular music minded, what songs would you put on the Awoken playlist?? Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Remember, I love music, but I particularly love versions of songs done by “Glee” or “KidzBop!”

The Writer’s Journey…Part 2, or, getting back on that horse!

Hello all again! I know it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to you. The kids started school just last week, and between getting them back on the school track (especially Marianne, who is starting*HIGH SCHOOL!* I can’t believe it, it seems like only yesterday she was standing on the front steps in pigtails for the *FIRST* day of school!) and setting up my Createspace.com account to keep to that August 30th book launch deadline—well! Let’s just say, it never rains in the Elinsen household!  Thank goodness my husband was able to handle the bulk of the school supply buying, although there’s nothing quite like that last minute Walmart run because somebody  forgot to triple check the teachers’ supply letter!

But now, with quiet falling over our house like a blanket, it brings me back to late summer 2012.

It was only last year that my husband convinced me that, while I was a great homeschooler, it wouldn’t hurt if the twins finally went to public school.  Even Allison, the youngest, had taken to Pre-K like a fish to water, but the Twins were a little too rambunctious in the early years, if you know what I mean. ;p My husband decided that at 8 years old it was finally time for them to leave the house for at least part of the day. Even though I had to agree, it’s always so hard to let go of your little blessings.

But I had kept them in the nest long enough, and as my husband reminded me, we have a great public school system in our township. So this time last year, off the boys went, and for the first time in years, I found myself home alone.

I thought about trying my hand at rejoining the work force, but one look at my resume only made me scoff. ‘Mother of five’ is hardly a life skill recognized by corporate America (although it should be! I mean, where else can you learn management skills like these, am I right, moms?), and my husband has a good job that provides for us all comfortably. I didn’t NEED to work, I just wanted something that would engage my mind and get me out of the house a bit. It was then my husband gently reminded me of how much I used to love writing, and suggested that maybe it was time for me to get back on that horse.

I was still hurting from all the abuse I suffered online, and at first resisted. Lucky for me, I have a spouse that knows when to not take ‘no!’ for an answer! (I really am the most blessed wife in the world…) He persisted, and made me promise to at least try out a new writers’ group, which had put up a meeting notice at our local library.

So, on one fateful Wednesday, nervous as anything and certain I’d hate it, I went to my first meeting of the Nibs.

We met at a the Starbucks, and to this day I still can’t believe how perfect a fit we were, and still are! And to think, I almost didn’t even go! We introduced ourselves, and over tasty Frappuccinos spoke about our writing ideas and hopes and dreams and fears. And never once was there a condescending word or discouraging critique.  Lilly, the head of the group, spoke often of wanting it to be a ‘safe space’ for us all; the only rule was that we could only say what we liked about each other’s work. No unsolicited suggestions, no grammar Nazis, no plot hole pirates—the purpose of the group was to foster pure creativity.

Nibs wasn’t for everyone, and we lost a lot of people in the first week, but I was HOOKED. I went every week to the Starbucks, sitting and chatting and typing away with the other three ladies and one man that stuck it out. Tuesdays became take-out night in the Elinsen house while mommy worked on her craft. I even finally purchased by own little laptop for writing so I wouldn’t have to hog the family desktop with transcribing handwritten notes, and my words just flew onto the screen!

And it was one night sometime in mid-October, after the kids finished their homework and were settling in for the night, that miraculous inspiration struck me—

But that’s another story for another time, dear friends. 😉

~~~

In the meanwhile, Awoken (paperback and Kindle versions) will be available to buy right here on my website starting on Friday, August 30th! Please show your support of me by buying your copies directly through my website!

Once again, thank you all for your love and support so far! Soon the wait will be over! ❤

The Writer’s Journey…Part 1…

Sitting here with less than a month before the official release of Awoken  (oh my goodness how time flies!) I can’t help but remember those dark days when I nearly gave up on writing. If it hadn’t been for the utter compulsion to write I felt the first time I saw Riley fully-formed in my mind, and my own desire to do my beloved family and friends proud, I never would have found myself here today—a nearly published author of a completed book. No matter what happens, I did it! All the nights my poor family had to eat TV dinners and leftovers because mommy was working on her novel, or the times I would take my notebook to my sons’ games, trying not to feel like a terrible mother for stealing a few minute’s writing while they were on the bench—I did it for them! And yes, I also did to for myself—to remind myself that I am a writer, that no one can take that away from me. And I had almost lost that.

I doubt anyone would realize it now, and it is a chapter of my life I consider closed, but once upon a time when I was at home raising my young children, I was a bit of a “BNF” in various fandom communities. I would get dozens of comments thanking me for what I thought were silly little stories written during the kids’ nap times and when there wasn’t anything good on the TV. I realized then that my little writing hobby was so much more than that. My words were bringing people I’d never met happiness!  Around 2007 I starting blogging in earnest on livejournal, sending out into the ether details about my happy but simple little life as well as the imaginings of my mind, and the feedback from my fans was a truly joyous experience. At night I would read the comments aloud to my husband in wonderment. We both found it a little bewildering, but for me it was a sign from God that I had a purpose in this world outside of my little homestead.

As I became more popular, though, the comments began to change. I mean, I was always happy to accept a comment or two helpfully pointing out a misspelled word here or there. But there’s nothing like “fame” to bring out the folks that just want to bring you down, and tear apart your soul’s work. People would keep “helpfully” pointing out that my characters were one dimensional, that my stories were just the same fan fiction over and over again, that there was nothing original about “X only with Y” stories (whatever THAT means!). And never mind the comments about how I should probably get a beta reader to help with my “clunky” grammar and “adverb abuse.” Adverb abuse! You know, those words that are so crucial to really bringing a scene or character to life? Unbelievable!

I went to school and got a B.A. in English from The University of Dayton! My style might not be as cookie cutter as others, and I may be no Hemingway (thank goodness for that) but I know my way around the English language, thanks!

But still the “constructive” criticism continued. If I want criticism, I take my work to my writers’ group. And besides, once I finally found a writers’ group that really understood me, THEY never have any complaints! My writers’ group now-a-days can’t wait for when I have new material to share, so obviously for some people I must be doing something really good! But that’s regardless, because once a book is out there, either read it or don’t, but don’t tell me how to use my own creative talents. That’s just common human gosh darn decency.

Harsh words, I know, but back then I didn’t think like that. Each critique and less-than-stellar comment was like a stab in the heart. Now I have the confidence to think that if you don’t like my writing, then maybe the problem is with you, not me—and if anything, that is what the back button is for. But back then, I wasn’t as confident or worldly.

I had fans, beautiful fans, who rushed to my defense, and as ever always begged for the next update. To them I am eternally grateful. But when there is poison like that in your comments, when you start receiving buckets full of it on your blog, the knowledge of just how much people enjoyed your stories isn’t enough to fight the feeling of helplessness and worthlessness that grows. I started to believe what these awful people were saying, that I was just a hack, even after I won “Western Ohio Writer’s Association Award for Best New Blogger 2011.”

And after a year of that kind of attention and mockery, I gave up. I hated the Internet, I hated myself, I hated everything I had ever written. And so I deleted it all. The livejournal, the fanfiction.net account, my facebook, EVERYTHING. I can’t even find my old writings online anymore. It is like a fire ripped through my internet home and destroyed it all.

All I kept were my old writing journals. I couldn’t bear to lose those. And thank goodness I didn’t, because everything changed in 2012…

TBC