It is untamed. Wild and unplanned. I wake deep in thought, recalling the mornings in the Redwoods – the air cold and damp. There was nothing around but the untouched forest. Standing there, facing the west, I saw the Pacific resting between the hills – the brush wild and untamed. So perfectly beautiful and lonely.
This is what it’s like to love you. On a day I least expected you, there you were. We are perfect partners. We think alike. But not. In that place in between, where we differ, you shine most.
There are more questions than answers. In the beauty of this wild thing, I long for you. What is and will not be follows me around like a coastal fog. Through the haze I see you. I don’t hold it against you – you can’t tame wild things.
I live here in this tension, with what will not be, settling into the cold, wild – alone.
I wrote the above about a man – a specific man. I wrote it a time I was in a vulnerable place – literally and figuratively. But I also wrote it about nothing at all. Haha. As a writer, there are times in our lives we are inspired to write something because of someone or as a result of an experience. What comes from that inspiration and imagination may look nothing like our lives. What also resulted from writing this blurb was a novel. I have a love/hate relationship with A Thousand Years (said novel). It has been a hard one to write, mostly because the book I actually wanted to write, may not be received well. So I struggle with all other versions of it. That’s not a good place for a writer to be.
But in just a short time, I’ll be in the very place where much of the novel is set. When I was in high school, I went on one very long camping trip all over Northern California, including the coast. The fog up there is like this living and breathing thing and when you throw that together with the redwoods and the salt air, it’s a recipe for inspiration. This is the kind of inspiration that has lasted a lifetime. It has been so many years since my last trip along the coast (I think I was in college the last time). Next week, I’ll be in the very places that my protagonist, Birdie – has called home for most of her life. I can’t wait. And while this trip home is going to be hard, I look forward to the inspiration that comes from such a lovely place – during those few days away.
While I don’t know what will happen with A Thousand Years, I know for sure it will be better if I go on this trip. More importantly, it and everything else I’m meant to write, will be better if I write what’s on my heart.
As of yesterday, I finished #NaNoWriMo2022. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in the month of Nov. I’m not finished editing/writing this novel. But I did put in about 57,000 words written/edited in the month of November. Only 30,000-50,000 more to go. 🤣📝👩🏽💻✍🏼
I’ve worked on this book for a while. But most don’t know that it has gone through massive changes bringing me to what is a completely new book today. Here’s an excerpt from A Thousand Years…
“2005 The day I was born, a violent storm ripped through our community. It was the kind of story legends are made of – or so I’ve been told for all of my 21 years. Walls of torrential rain fell, washing away parts of the mountainsides, flooding streets, and taking out a section of the highway, blocking off the Big Sur coastline from the hospital – 45 minutes away. Newscasters from the city called it the storm of the century. Of course, there were many more of those to come to California over the years – land of fire and mudslide that we are. The California Highway Patrol, local law enforcement, and even CalTrans workers were pulling people out of trapped vehicles all over. As all of this was going on around my mom and dad, who were pulled over on the side of the highway – trapped from getting to the hospital. I entered the world like a screaming wild thing, just as my son did, and as my mom is fond of saying to anyone who will listen, in my granddad’s beat up old truck.
My mom and grandma used to tell me that the way I entered the world was a sign of what was to become of me. Not a good sign, by the way. They have always said I am as wild as the storm I was born in the middle of. Perhaps. Or perhaps the wild around me as I entered the world that day, is actually a sign of how I was born to shake things up. Instead of being born in a sterile hospital, unforgiving amounts of rain fell on the truck, and crazy wind distracted my dad from focusing fully on my mom. I entered the world determined. Nothing has changed in 21 years. I doubt it ever will, in spite of the expectations that follow me around.”
I mentioned recently that I’ve started a new novel. This is certainly not a final product, since I’m only 10,000 words in, but here is the “blurb” I’m using to describe the novel now.
Ellison Whiting writes bestselling novels about families and relationships. She has made a name for herself – doing just that. Her novels become movies. Her fans become so invested in her books, she sometimes questions if they realize they’re fiction. Ellison Whiting’s problem is she writes novels about families and relationships – but she’s never known what it is to be in a family, or a healthy relationship, for that matter. Abandoned by her mother as a toddler, she is convinced of one thing and only one thing – based on the necklace with her few belongings – she was born by the sea. She’s spent a lifetime imagining her life before foster care. After another break-up, after a long string of break-ups, she decides it’s time. She leaves California behind, to uncover her history – along the coast of North Carolina – where she finds the family she’s always wondered about. But at what cost?
Here’s a brief excerpt.
“The secret to writing a great book is that there is no secret. Just a lot of hard work. I’ve written a fair number of bestsellers over the years. The kind that get you movie deals. They’re all still in development, by the way. I have a loyal fan base that would buy anything with my name on it, even if it’s awful. The truth is, everything I’ve written the last two years has been crap. I tried. I’ve tried. But when Carter left, something in me died. It’s not exactly like he was my muse. Honestly, he sucked at being in a relationship. It’s just that he’d been one of the few I’d trusted and that went right the hell out the window along with my will to write about love and family. I’d had a long string of relationships that never went anywhere. That’s the irony of course. I make my name, tons of cash, and I happened to garner critical success – writing about love and family – of all things. My books aren’t romances per se. They’re women’s fiction. I write about women and their relationships – motherhood included. It just so happens each book has a very strong romance element, even if the protagonist’s love interest is a secondary character. My most popular books, without a doubt, however – are love stories. The weirdness of writing a life I don’t know and have never experienced, is not lost on me. But I guess sometimes we know best, what we’re missing. That certainly seems to be the case with me.”
You can read the opening paragraph of Sea Glass Hearts, here. You can see my Pinterest, inspiration board, here. And yes, of course I have a Spotify playlist, too.
I wrote a novel. It’s called Chasing Hope. You can read a few reader comments about the book, here. You can find it on Amazon, here. Do you love a good book discount? I mean, if you’ve see my overwhelming number of books, you’d know that I do. When movers move me, they make comments on the number of book boxes I have. I can’t help myself. I absolutely refuse to give most of them away.
The price of Chasing Hope is now discounted (Kindle & paperback)! You can download the Kindle book for $2.99! And the paperback is at the lowest offer I’m allowed to give – at $6.54!
Here’s the first paragraph & a description of Chasing Hope: In a stroke of sheer genius, or maybe it’s a sign of a quickly approaching mental breakdown, I left D.C. seven and a half hours ago and headed toward the coast of North Carolina, with the pain of a secret dream’s loss, taking up the most space in my truck. Besides my personal effects and the furniture I brought into my marriage, I left everything else to my ex-husband and his Legislative Assistant.
Dr. Ava Cooper has it all. Scratch that – she had it all. Leaving behind the wreckage of her old life, she moves to the coast of North Carolina, without any fight left in her. As she settles into small-town life, she meets a baby in the foster care system that could change everything. Will Ava be able to let hope in long enough to get back the life she so desperately longs for?
November is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). I’ve been a NaNoWriMo participant since 2009. But until last year, I never actually finished a project. In 2020, at one of the wildest times for me professionally, I wrote a 51,640 word novel. The words poured out of me. The novel, A Thousand Years, has been varying states of editing for 11 months. I start in on re-write and it doesn’t feel quite right and I start over. It has been weird. I love the story. But it has changed dramatically from what I started writing in 2020.
As I gear up for NaNoWriMo 2021, I have a decision to make (real quick like). Do I focus in on a final draft of A Thousand Years, or do I write Sea Glass Hearts (which I’ve started)? I also have another book – still untitled, about a character named Lacey James that desperately needs to be written. I have until Monday to decide. I thought tonight I’d play around a little with all three and see if my muse catches fire. He’s finicky. So . . . eh, we’ll see what happens.