On Why You Should Keep Writing

Alright, so I haven’t been updating my short story project lately. It isn’t because I don’t enjoy them, they’re fun to write. It’s not because I don’t have anything to post, I have like three stories in the file that just need to be edited. It’s because….

*DRUM ROLL*

(You’re never gonna guess.)

My crippling self-doubt, yaaaay!

“Really, Bacon?” you say. “Didn’t you already write a post or two about this?”

Well, I probably did, but I have some new thoughts. So let me get to my point by way of a round-about story.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that my writing life has been hell for about two years now. I am Murphy’s Law. If it can blow up in my face and cripple me emotionally, you better believe it will and then laugh as I try to crawl back up. Sorry, no gory details because those wounds still sting. Sometimes it does get better, sometimes you can use that anger to beat everything back and move forward. But sometimes you keep getting beaten down and beaten down and beaten down, and that anger dies and becomes a ghost that haunts you with its creation.

You think about it before you go to sleep. You think about it every time you open a document. You think about it every time you hit send on a query. You think about it in the shower, while driving, at work, while eating, while reading, while you’re on the freaking toilet.

It gets to the point where you look for help, you ask anyone you can to help drag you out of the pit and you get the same, meaningless advice. And it’s equally awful to get, “You’ll get there!” as, “Why don’t you just quit?” Because you want permission to stop but you also want to find a reason to keep going and it’s this awful limbo.

So I’m a part of this Twitter DM group, and I I expressed my despair awhile back. It felt like they said (note that I’m emotionally constipated and what they said and what I heard could easily be two different things), “But you’ve gotten into Pitch Wars (a fairly large competition) twice! And you got into those other contests! And you made it into that writing retreat where they only accepted so many applicants! How can you feel this way?”

Which made me angry. And depressed. So I kinda slunk out the back door and ate too much chocolate and had a lot of good crying and played too many video games. (Because I’m a child, apparently.) They just didn’t get it. Sure, I got into these things, but I’ve never made it any farther no matter how hard I try. No one actually cares about the words I’ve written. I’ve gotten to the point I wonder if any of my critique partners give a damn.

And that brings me to today. I’m still at a low point. It’s hard to think about writing. Hope is a dangerous drug I’d like to ignore, please and thank you. But this morning I saw there were new messages I will probably ignore in the Twitter group, and then in the next second I saw Victoria Schwab’s post on being an “overnight success.” And I naturally I got a couple paragraphs in and huffed and puffed when I saw that she got an agent on her first book (I’ve written six or seven books in at least in as many years of taking this business seriously, with one agent that didn’t stay for very long), and then it hit me. I’m feeling the same way that Twitter group felt when they saw me despairing. I’d hit the level of “success” they’d dreamed of. And there I was whining and complaining I hadn’t gone far enough.

Does that make my struggle any less real? No. But it brought what I’ve been able to accomplish back into focus. I have done some things to be a little proud of and to be thankful for. And maybe if there’s someone actually reading this word vomit, maybe you’re thinking, “Well whoop-dee-do, you’ve done more than me and you’re just realizing it. What a special snowflake you are.”

Some day you might be in my shoes. You might be in my shoes right now, observing my spoiled-bratty-ness. I’m sure you’ve done something worth being proud of. Maybe you’ve gotten a request for a full manuscript. Maybe you’ve found a critique partner that loves your words. And above that, maybe you’ve written. I know that fact becomes static when you’re surrounded by writers oozing out of every corner of the internet, but take this from a writer who hasn’t made it anywhere near the top: go walk down a crowded street and remind yourself that you may be the only one there who can call themselves a writer. That’s something.

If you don’t learn how to be proud of what you’ve done right now, you’re going to be miserable. Because life sucks. Writing sucks even more. And if you don’t believe what you’ve done matters, no one else is going to do that for you.

It really made me understand what those authors mean when they say that having a book deal or an agent changes nothing. Because on a subconscious level, I still think it has to change something.

But it doesn’t change enough to matter. There’s nothing that will magically make you “enough.” You do that.

So maybe think about this for awhile. Maybe don’t. It’s up to you. If you’ve stalked me long enough, you know that I write in an attempt to bring a little itty bitty piece of magic into the world, and I’m still not sure my writing does that so I don’t know where I stand. But maybe me rambling out my feelings will help somebody else.

We’ll see.

Bacon, out.

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A Few Things

  1. I’M MOVING NEXT WEEKEND. ISH. So I don’t know when I’ll have internet. Which means that I may not be posting shorts for a time. Which brings me to…
  2. The short story project I never explained! I’m in a fun writing limbo, but if I don’t write I can’t sleep. So I’m re-doing a short story project I did ages ago and posting it to hold myself accountable. I’m going to aim to post every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, with the exception of the moving weekend/week.
  3. I swear I actually am on a social media hiatus (mostly Twitter and FB). From now until probably November is going to be super painful for me as it’s Pitch Wars season. It’s a huge dream of mine to be a mentor, but I’ve realized that’s more than likely never going to happen and it’s a constant reminder of how bad I am at this whole thing. (I still love the contest — a bunch of my friends are mentors and I’m encouraging two CPs to get their butts in gear for it this year!) I was hanging around a bit lately because of a thing, and I will check stuff those days I post stories, but otherwise I will not be online.

I think that’s it? WELP. If not we’ll know soon enough.

Bacon, out.

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Madcap Madness

Alright, everyone and their cat wants to know how the freaking fantabulous Madcap’s Aspiring Writer Retreat was. Now I won’t (and can’t, because I’m famous for my crap memory) share all the presentations and writerly cheat codes they shared, but I can ramble about how cool it was and what it meant to me. Yay?

Well, first off, a list of the amazing published authors that were there: Maggie Stiefvater, Renée Ahdieh, Dhonielle Clayton, Tessa Gratton, Sarah Henning, Justina Ireland, Myra McEntire, Julie Morphy, Natalie C. Parker, Carrie Ryan, Victoria Schwab, Courtney C. Stevens, and Brenna Yovanoff.

Every single one was amazing and had super freaking awesome things to say. From ideas,  plotting, revising, critiquing, characters, and world-building — you name the writing process, we probably talked about it.

It’s always fascinating to see how authors do things differently, no matter how many times I’ve read about revision or listened to podcasts about world building. There’s no one right way to do something. And as writing seems to be a constantly shifting puzzle of trying to find a right path to do the thing, seeing and learning so much from so many people was absolutely priceless even if I did know a lot of the concepts they covered. Because I don’t care how many years you’ve been writing, every good writer I know gets obsessed with a piece of the whole picture from time to time. Which is great for a while, but you need to remember what the core of writing is:

Being a creator, and telling that story.

Which was what this thing was all about, and what I totally needed.

You see, the next post on my blog was going to be a very ugly “I’m quitting writing” post. My finger’s been hovering over the “publish” button on that for a long time. It’s not that I’ve wanted to quit writing, it’s that I saw no other option with the hellish writing year I’ve had. I’m not going into details (you got lucky this time, non-existent audience), but I thought it was going to take a miracle to get me writing, and if I could’ve gotten a full refund for the retreat, I wouldn’t have gone.

Now, no miracles happened. I mean, Maggie’s cool and magical and all, but I think she was using all her innate powers keeping together that Nissan she bought while she was there (nope, not kidding). But the coolest thing about a retreat like this, even though there were forty-something odd people there, was that I got a lot of personal time talking to the authors and getting their opinions on things. Specifically the ugly little varmints running around my mind lately. And just like how everyone has a different way of writing things, everyone had different advice for me. Weirdly, it was all on point.

I’ve got a lot of thinking and work to do, but I’m going to try some things out. I’m not giving up yet because I love it too much to let it go. And I’ve inherited being as stubborn as a rock from my mom (thanks, mom).

So yep. The food was fabulous, the sessions were amazing, the location was beautiful, and the writers were the freaking best. Then when it was over we set boxes on fire and we took some of the ash home to perform writing rituals and it was great.

If you can, I totally recommend going to one of these things. I would be all over the next thing Madcap does (they don’t have it on their site yet, but you can sign up for the newsletter for when they do) except for, you know, being dead broke after this one. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t want to play a game of giant (Court) Jenga?

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Bacon, out.

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Cover Reveal: My Perfect Mistake by Kelly Siskind!

I’m so excited to be sharing the cover of Kelly Siskind’s MY PERFECT MISTAKE today! Kelly’s a freaking fantastic author, which you can see for yourself with the excerpt below (and a giveaway, too)!

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About MY PERFECT MISTAKE

What happens in Aspen is definitely not staying in Aspen . . .

A girls’ trip to Aspen was exactly what Shay needed to forget about her toxic ex-boyfriend. She’s got her girls, pristine slopes for skiing, and hot guys everywhere. Of course, her epic self-rediscovery goes completely to hell when a wild (and deliciously hot) skier knocks Shay on her ass . . . and war is declared.

Kolton doesn’t know what it is about Shay that makes him lose it. Not just his cool—although she does have an unholy gift for that—but his restraint. When anger gives way to explosive chemistry, they’re both shaken with the intensity of it. But somewhere between lust and hate, Kolton and Shay realize they could have something real . . . if they don’t kill each other first.

MY PERFECT MISTAKE releases April 5, 2016 – add it to your Goodreads list here!

Preorder MY PERFECT MISTAKE now: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Excerpt

He tosses me my anti-sexy helmet. “We should take another run before we head down.”

I catch it and shake my head, unsure I heard him right. “Sorry, we? Shouldn’t you be skiing with your buddies? It’s bad enough you hijacked my lunch and I have to sit at a table with you again tonight. Now you want to ski together? Thanks but no thanks.”

He lifts his arms over his head and stretches from side to side. A sliver of skin peeks out below his jacket. “The guys called it quits early. Worried you can’t keep up?”

As fucking if. The dude’s obviously egging me on, but he snaps my self-control. Everything between us is action, reaction. Spark and flame. What’s his deal, anyway? Why sit with me and ski with me when we’re worse than cats and dogs? If he thinks firing me up means he’s getting a replay of last night, he’s mistaken. Still, I need to beat his ass on the slopes. “Fine. I’ll take that run. It’s about time I put you in your place. But let’s be clear. We can have lunch and ski together, but there will be no sex.” A teen walking by stops midstride and doubles over in a fit of giggles.

“I didn’t catch that.” Kolton leans forward and cups a hand around his helmeted ear. “Do you mind speaking up?”

What a total douche.

“Everyone is wise until he speaks,” I mumble, recalling my granddad’s words.

Kolton straightens, a question passing across his face. “Are you Irish? My granddad used to say that all the time. Along with, ‘Shut your mouth and eat your dinner.’”

I laugh, abrupt and maniacal, the sharp sound catching me off guard. The energy shifts between us, like the first time I understood my Spanish teacher—the foreign becoming familiar. I frown, unsure I want Kolton to feel familiar. “Yeah, I am. The first curse I learned was feckin’ arse, and I’d kind of like to use it now.”

He smiles to himself, as though we’re friends who would sit and talk and laugh about our shared upbringing. Ruffled, I cram my helmet on, get geared up, and try to stomp out of the lodge all look out, buddy, but with the boots and Martian head, it’s a fail.

Skis on and goggles down, we race to the lift. He arrives first, making like he’s been waiting forever with a dramatic yawn. I roll my eyes and push past him. The lift line is empty, so it’s just him and me on the four-person chair.

“Mind not doing that?” he says partway up as I swing my skis.

The chair sways in response, and I rock my legs harder. “This?”

His olive skin grays. “Yeah. That.” He leans his elbows on the safety bar and closes his eyes.

If he pukes, I’ll likely toss my cookies, too. When my brother got food poisoning from China House’s all-you-can-eat buffet, it wasn’t pretty. I hadn’t eaten a thing there, but the second he threw up, I proceeded to reenact that pie eating scene from Stand by Me: projectile vomit, solid stream, fire hydrant force.

I still my skis and stop bouncing.

We pass one supporting tower, then another, before he opens his eyes.

“You regretting that lunch?” I ask, smirking.

He flexes his hands, and the poles dangling from his wrists knock around. “No. I’m regretting getting on this chair with you.”

Such a charmer.

Giveaway

Want to win a digital ARC of MY PERFECT MISTAKE? You can enter to win on the Rafflecopter below!

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About Kelly Siskind

A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in Northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head.

She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—Gummy Bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.

She is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group.

2015 Golden Heart® Finalist

Connect with Kelly Siskind

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Bacon, out.

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The Fate of the Starry-Eyed Princess…

Yes, the new chapter is coming! No, I have zero ideas when I’ll be able to post it — if I were in a state I trusted myself to self-edit I’d have it up now. But my brain is currently made of mucus.

On a side note, I’m curious if anyone out there is reading and really enjoying it? Should I continue this project or quit while I’m ahead? I could always start another short story project again. There have been a some of you that have been great about giving prompts! But I don’t have much feedback to run off of, and I don’t want to drag the few of you along on something you don’t enjoy. Either way, my brain has hit such a wall I might take a hiatus from it. Anyhow, what do you guys think?:

 

THANK YOU everyone who votes! If I don’t get too much of a response, I’ll take that as an answer, too. I’ll also attempt to come up with other content to post (Maybe I know how to do something other than to tell weird stories?), but I’ll let you know later.

Bacon, out.

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Cover Reveal: Machinations by Hayley Stone

I’m THRILLED to be a part of the cover reveal for this novel! Hayley is a fellow Pitch Wars allum,  and I happen to know she’s an amazing person AND author. Here’s the blurb about her book:

Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.

Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

AND NOW… THE AMAZING COVER!

Machinations Final Cover

Pre-order Machinations today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

And don’t forget to add it to your list on Goodreads!

hayley stone author photoHayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as a graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.
Machinations is her debut novel, releasing June 14th, 2016 from Hydra/Random House.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest

Bacon, out

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KBKL: On the Book That Mattered The Most

Originally from this post on the Kick-Butt Kidlit blog.

I’m absolutely terrible at keeping up with books being released. I read a good few every year, but I’m mostly scrambling to catch up with my giant to-read pile while also writing-working and working-working. So, instead of scrambling through my Goodreads list, for this month’s post I’m going to talk about the book that mattered to me most:

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First, let me gush. This is a book I would have DIED for as a kid. I would have dressed up as Kymera for Halloween and gotten mad at everyone in my class for not knowing who she is, and then force every last one to read the book. It’s a flip flapping fantastic fantasy that’s a sort of re-telling of Frankenstein.

This book had perfect timing in my life, though. (I had enough books I would kill over as a child, adding one more might have been fatal.) I had the opportunity to get into a contest called PitchWars for the second time in a row! Being in it before, I knew how absolutely amazing it was. But there was a hitch: I had to switch my young adult novel to middle grade.

The work itself didn’t scare me. What did was that I’ve always been a YA and sometimes even adult author. What did that say about my work? Was it weak? I went to Barnes and Noble at one point and walked between the MG and the YA section, sobbing my eyes out.*

After I told my friends, a bunch of them ended up recommending MONSTROUS to me. The author went through a similar transformation: the original novel was YA turned into a MG after an editor requested it. And holy crow did she do an amazing job. It was dark, had big themes, and I adore Kymera’s huge character arc. It also had a dragon, which helped. It made me see how amazing MG is sometimes, and how cool it would be to maybe write the story a kid might want to kill over (hopefully not literally). Let me tell you, I’ve never been so excited to re-write my entire book and polish it in two months before.

So, moral of the very long story: a good book can open up your horizons in the most amazing ways, and MONSTROUS did that for me. Said novel that I changed to MG is now shelved because of a few reasons, but I still adore the premise, and I’m glad I took the leap because it’s a much better story.**

What novel changed your perspective on something this year? Anyone?

Bacon, out.

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*I’m somehow not banned from that store, yet.
**Because I’m a curious bugger that’d want to know, here’s the short pitch for what that novel was about – HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE meets ALICE IN WONDERLAND: Trapped in a world of memory-eating magic, moody stoves, and soul-guzzling monsters, Emma’s an amnesiac with no one to trust. If she doesn’t remember her past to find home, this place will destroy her future.

A Wild Bacon Appears

I’m coming back from hiatus! Ish! I’m not gonna be around a lot, but I miss everyone too much to stay away.

And SURPRISE, I moved from Tumblr to my old, abandoned WordPress. I imported my Tumblr-site and deleted the old stuff so, no, you guys don’t get to read my embarrassing older posts. Sorry?

Anyhow, some updates:

  • I did keep up with Bacon’s Adventures in Dreamland posts while I was on hiatus, so you can catch up on those (on this site, not the old one) if you like that brand of insanity.
  • I did a super fun author interview right over here.
  • AND LOOK AT THE AMAZING AUTHOR PORTRAIT I COMMISSIONED TELARI FOR. You can obviously see it EVERYWHERE all over the site, but to see the full awesome version click that first link!

That’s about it for now!

Bacon, out.

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2015 PitchWars Mentee Blog Hop: The Story (Or Lack Thereof) Behind the Story

Yay for the mentee blog hop! This contest is amazing, and what with last year’s being so awesome (you can read my old post over here) I couldn’t resist joining in this one. Same topic as last year, too: the inspiration behind the novel that got me in. Though there’s a little problem — I don’t remember what inspired the story.

Seriously, no idea where the plot bunny came from. I remember that I came up with the concept early on in my writing exploits, but thankfully didn’t write it then.

The only inkling of an idea I have of where it came from is one my all-time favorite authors: Diana Wynne Jones. Not only is one of the character’s named after a secondary character in the second Howl’s Moving Castle book (shhh), I’ve always adored Jones’s plot and world building. Her worlds are so vast and complex and deep that I can only aspire to be like her one day. Every time I re-read any of her books, I notice new things, I laugh at loud at the jokes, I believe every word she writes, I’m transported to a world that isn’t my own.

So, I don’t have a particularly amazing story behind my novel. It’s just my little love letter to an amazing author that managed to bring a little real magic into this world, and my promise to try and do the same.

Okay, done gushing. If you’d like to hear more stories of inspiration, check out the other Pitch Wars novel origin stories:

  • Amanda Rawson Hill
  • K. Kazul Wolf
  • Vanessa Barger
  • Michelle Tran
  • ES Wesley
  • Cindy Baldwin
  • Ashley Martin
  • ​Michella Domenici
  • Tracy Gold
  • Brian Palmer
  • Julie Artz
  • Joan He
  • Kyle W. Kerr
  • Ashley D. MacKenzie
  • M.C. Vaughan
  • Bacon, out.

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