Tag Archives: inspiration

End of the year recap

2016 wasn’t a total dumpster fire on a floating garbage barge. As the year comes to a close I’m ignoring the shitshow and focusing on the goodness that 2016 brought me like:

  1. Keeping and exceeding my New Year’s Writing Resolutions to a) write 1 short story a month and b) submit at least one short story a week. I new end the year with 12 new shorts. I submitted my stories to over 150 contests/ literary magazines/ journals over the last 52 weeks and as a result:
  2. Publishing two flash fiction pieces in August. “Graylight” appeared in The Dime Show Review and “Agenda” appeared in 200 cc’s. I also placed “Self-Check” in Cleaver, but that won’t appear until March 2017.
  3. Writing nonfiction. My essay “Going the Distance” about running the 2008 Boston Marathon appeared on the November issue of The Creative Truth Journal.
  4. Contributing to the Hand2Hold Organization’s official blog Preemie Babies 101.
  5.  Pitching and selling my first freelance piece in eight years to Mom.me. You can read my micro-preemie piece here. This also led me to recording my first podcast.img_3100
  6. Self-publishing my f/f ya romantic comedy Secret Heart in October. The tragic events of last June hit close to home and inspired me to bring something frothy and fun into the world sooner. Secret Heart has sold more copies than I imagined and the feedback I’m getting from teen readers cemented how happy I am with my choice to self-publish. I even visited my first local GSA meeting in December at Shorecrest High School.
  7. My poem “Postpartum” was a finalist in the PNWA poetry contest and four of my short stories were finalists in various contests.
  8. Finding my voice again and starting two new projects: a middle grade novel and a new YA novel.

I’m really proud of what I accomplished this year. I hope to continue to be as prolific in 2017 as I was in 2016. My goals are much the same as they were, although I’d like to finish both of these projects and get them out into the world.

I have two gifts for you. The first: I’m giving away a total of 10 Kindle copies of Secret Heart via Amazon. The first contest ends tomorrow night (January 1st) so enter quick. The second contest ends Wednesday, January 4th. Yes you can enter and win both.

The second gift is this new song by Regina Spektor.

*waves goodbye to 2016*

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NaNoWriMo Advice

Here we are nearly 1/2 of the way through NaNoWriMo. I’ve given advice in the past and you can read about it here.img_3379

Mostly I just want to cheer you on and say, “Look how awesome you are! You’re writing a book-shaped thing! Keep it up!”

November is an awful month to try and write a book. This month was especially bad. The election was super distracting and for many like myself, it derailed their motivation. I’m currently at 7,411. Ideally we should all be hovering at 15k if we’re writing 1,667 a day. This brings me my first piece of advice:


Words don’t count if they aren’t on the page. The only way you’re going to catch up is to put your butt in the chair and go at it. There’s no magic solution. Just start typing or writing.

What works for me might not work for you. I know this draft will be COMPLETE AND UTTER SHIT and I try my damnedest not to self-edit. Characters change names. I change POV and tense. When I get stuck I write dialogue and make my characters talk it out. Or I write kissing scenes. I open windows and doors whenever I can. My current WIP now features a high school radio station, fake Buzzfeed quizes, some Clueless fan-fic, Settlers of Catan and now Scientology. It’s one giant WTF gif. This draft is a SHITSHOW and I love it.

The only other piece of advice I’ll give (Please note I’m a 5x winner of NaNoWriMo so I’m totally qualified to give such advice):


There are many drafts between your NaNoWriMo book and what you see in a bookstore. If you do you will become paralyzed with fear and self-doubt and you will never finish your book. Fun fact: My novel Secret Heart was a NaNoWriMo novel. It took almost four years of drafts to get it right. I completely rewrote it from scratch twice. It went through self-edits, beta readers, my agent, publishers (one had me revise and resubmit), more self-edits, and a copy editor before it was published.

STOP OVERTHINKING AND START WRITING. Don’t forget to have fun. Even if you never look at it again you can say you once wrote a novel. If anything it’ll give you bragging writes at boring dinner party.

But seriously, IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT.

You’re amazeballs. I’m proud of you.

*add me as a NaNoWriMo buddy: nanowrimo.org/participants/drdspice




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Secret Heart Playlist, Track 2: “I’ve Got a Secret”

Like Avery, Madison has her own “at bat” song in Secret Heart.  I doubt that she knows who Kate Nash is (more of Avery’s territory and musical taste), but “I’ve Got a Secret” captures Madison perfectly. Madison, of course, is student council president, soccer team captain, all-around Golden Girl. She’s afraid of her relationship with Avery going public because it could jeopardize how everyone thinks of her.

I’ve got a secret, I can’t tell you
I’ve got a secret, I can’t tell you
I’ve got a secret, I can’t tell you
I’ve got a secret, I can’t tell you

You would judge
You would judge
You would judge
You would judge



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Secret Heart Playlist: Track 1 “Closer”

I’m deeply immersed in some rewrites and revisions for Secret Heart. As I’ve said before, in order to get into a character’s head, I need to know their at-bat song. For Avery, my out-and-proud lesbian punk-rocker with a weakness for rom-coms and Taylor Swift, her at-bat track is Tegan and Sara’s “Closer.” It’s only fitting, considering that I originally got the idea for Secret Heart (then jokingly referred to as Prom and Prejudice) last September at a Tegan and Sara concert and it became my NaNoWriMo 2012 project.


All I want to get is a little bit closer
All I want to know is, can you come a little closer?

Here comes the breath before we get a little bit closer
Here comes the rush before we touch, come a little closer

The doors are open, the wind is really blowing
The night sky is changing overhead

It’s not just all physical
I’m the type who won’t get oh so critical
So let’s make things physical
I won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical
I won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical


The lyrics really capture Avery’s feelings for Madison.

Here’s the original video for “Closer”.


And one involving dogs.


Next week I’ll reveal Madison’s at-bat song.

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Inspiration Playlist Volume 2, Track 10 “Running Up That Hill”

This wasn’t one of my best weeks. There were a lot of no’s in different  areas of my life. Some were nice no’s, some were not. One no led me to enjoy a cocktail in the sun at 10:45 in the morning. I’ve hit numerous roadblocks with my current WIP and my frustration is at an all time high.

This is why Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” is so perfect. (Sidebar, it’s one of the songs l used to listen to on my long training runs to motivate me back when I was marathoning and half-marathoning).

If I only could, I’d be running up that hill.
If I only could, I’d be running up that hill.”

It doesn’t hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn’t hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I’m making?
You, it’s you and me.

Warning: The video is a little weird, unless you’re into modern dance.

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WIP seeking Playlist

I’ve hit a wall.

For reals.

No one said writing is easy, even when you have the coolest idea. Sometime you have the words but not the mojo. In my case my Muse is music, and for this particular WIP the soundtrack has zero songs which means I have a helluva time jumping into it from scratch. Mostly it’s just letting my iTunes DJ spin tracks while staring at a blank screen (or Twitter). I’m hoping that will change. Soon. Otherwise I might starting hitting things other than walls.

I’m jealous of all the people out there who can write without music, who feed off the silence or off the dull roar of coffee shop conversations. That is not me. I need to nearly blow out my eardrums with bad pop music to get words on the page. LETHAL has an amazing soundtrack. SECRET HEART’S playlist is pretty awesome, too. But VALENTINE? Totally tone deaf.

Please send me your music suggestions. It can be Top 40. It can be Indie. It can be your boyfriend’s brother’s middle school teacher’s polka band. You never know where inspiration will come from. A new song might be the ticket out of Writer’s Block.

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Inspiration Playlist Volume 2, Track 8 “Hold On”

This next song on the playlist is a departure from last week’s, but it’s still pretty awesome. How can any mix not have Tom Waits in it? That would be a crime. Right?


Oh you got to
Hold on, Hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here
You gotta hold on

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Inspiration Playlist Volume 2, Track 7 “I’m Good, I’m Gone”

If you haven’t listened to Lykke Li, you’re seriously missing out. This Sweedish singer-songwriter is wicked adorable and her songs are catchy. This Lykke Li classic from 2008 is actually dedicated to my writing bff who had a pretty rough week and who could probably use an extra dose of inspiration. Hell, I think after this week we could all use some extra inspiration.

Working in the corner, peaking over shoulders, waiting for my time to come.
Working in the corner, one day to the other, butter for my piece of bun.

Stepping a stone and I’m all gone.
Give me the tone and I’m all gone
Yes I’m walking by the line,
Not here but in my mind.
Working a sweat but it’s all good.
Breaking my back but it’s all good.
Cause I know I’ll get it back,
I know your hands will clap.

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Inspiration Playlist Volume 2, Track 5 “Dare You To Move”

Confession: I have a weakness for Nicolas Sparks books turned into films. It used to be that I had a weakness for Nicholas Sparks books until about 2002 or 2003 when they all started sounding the same. But those early books turned into some fabulous films: “The Notebook,” “Message in a Bottle,” and of course “A Walk to Remember.” I also happen to adore Mandy Moore, which is not quite as embarrassing as watching “The Lucky One” or “Safe Haven” in the theater by myself.


I also absolutely love Switchfoot’s “Dare You to Move,” because it reminds me of the film and gives me all of the feels.  It’s also a pretty motivational song:

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone’s here
Everyone’s here
Everybody’s watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next
What happens next

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before


I’m going to stop now before I confess anything else embarrassing like how I still sleep with a baby blanket most nights or that I remembered wetting the bed until I was about eight  or that I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books (or seen the films).

So with that I leave with you some videos:


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Inspiration Playlist Volume 2, Track 3 “I’m On Top of the World”

Fact: This was the song a blasted when I signed with my agent. I still feel like this. Imagine Dragons are onto something.

‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.

I’ve tried to cut these corners
Try to take the easy way out
I kept on falling short of something

I coulda gave up then but
Then again I couldn’t have ’cause
I’ve traveled all this way for something

I take it in but don’t look down

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