And the winner isFor right now– this exact second– I feel on top of things.

I’ve created a detailed word count goal chart, and I’m so far ahead that I technically don’t have to write till Wednesday. (But I will.)

My mom is coming over tomorrow (football what?) to work on putting the finishing touches on my house. Guys. It looks so great. It’s come so far since the end of April! (As one might hope.)

I just cleaned my bedroom. Current and former roommates can attest that that is no small task.

I gathered all my tax documents together. I’m not totally failing at adulthood.

I’m going to church in the morning, and it’s at our old-new building. (Our original site when we launched in 2010 was purchased out from under us, but this winter we had the opportunity to buy it! So tomorrow is a sort of homecoming!) There is much more to be said about this, but I’m not ready yet.

I paid off my credit card.

I get to see my family, my therapist, my psychiatrist, my best friend, and my writing group this upcoming week, and yet my schedule isn’t too crowded.

Gold medal, Sommers. Way to keep the ship afloat.

*Someone send me this post next time I freak out.*

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POV Thoughts

Guys, I’m torn.

I can’t decide if my novel should be single or dual POV.

I love my male character’s perspective on things, especially on my female character.
It’s totally his story too. He probably changes the MOST.
There are a couple scenes that idk how I’d manage NOT from his POV.

It will for sure be more difficult.
He has so many secrets I need to protect that I’m worried the first half from his POV would be too uneventful. (I have to protect those secrets till the right moment.)

Any thoughts? Lob em at me.


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Thoughts & Things

My house is coming together. Check out my insta for some pics.

I’m overwhelmed with work. As in, my professional job where I spend my days. The spring is just saturated with events that require me to put on my extrovert mask– and which keep me from my manuscript.

I started work on the new (old) novel. Day one, I tried to write chapter one, and it did not go well. The beginning is so, so, so hard. So day two, I started with the first scene in the book where I feel the characters are already established, and it felt GREAT. So excited about all my characters and my ideas.

But I know the perfect novel in my head will not be the novel I end up writing. It’s not possible. I feel like this is something Plato understood. That said, a novel that is written trumps a novel never written. There is a way in which a novel that is written is more beautiful than the perfect novel, exactly because it is written.

My stress is leveling out. I think. I hope. I can breathe again. I’m telling myself to pace myself. If I work on stuff– even a little bit– each day, it will slowly come together. That’s how it works.

We had a snowstorm in Minnesota. We got about ten inches of snow where I live. And then we carried on with life. (Because here our infrastructure expects that (and is ready for even more), so the plows and the salt and the snow blowers and the weird little things that clear the sidewalks on my campus just come out and take care of business– fast– and then we all go back to work.) It makes me a little sad (the snow), but truth be told, the fact that it’s still light out when I leave work is making my heart SING. It’s this little promise that spring will come again. I treasure the light.

I still haven’t been reading. Even my therapist told me to make time for this. I will. I need to. It’s like I feel this vacancy where I know there should be inspiration. I just have to remember how to thread this into my life: audiobooks, no writing on Mondays, taking time before bed. I know these things. I just need to start acting on them. I will.

I need a vacation. Well, what I need is concentrated time set aside to write. Seven days in Duluth would be ideal. But it’s not in the budget, and I am PTO-poor, and I’m telling myself it’s okay and that I can wait a few months. Even though I have a draft due before then. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.

I purchased a keychain pill container. There were too many times I needed Ativan and it was sitting at home. NO MORE.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts lately about the OCD parts of my blog. They are the most popular part of my website, and it’s starting to bother me. I guess I find myself continually leaning into the author part of my identity, but my blog keeps forcing me into my advocacy identity, which, to be perfectly frank, I’m less interested in these days. Wait, no. That didn’t come out quite right. I’m still interested in advocacy; I’m just more interested in writing and literature and kind of want to just enjoy my remission. I feel a little guilty about it, but only a very, very, very little. That said, I’m not sure if I should separate my OCD posts from my website and repost them elsewhere. What do you guys think?

I want to hear from you. Please chime in so I know I’m not just talking to myself over here. Please.



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Prime Time

I gave my life to Jesus twenty years ago today. Best decision of my life, even though I barely knew him at the time. Twenty years later, he is my closest friend, my creative inspiration, and the one with whom I make all my decisions. I am beloved, and that changes everything.


Filed under Christianity, Jesus, real life

When It Hurts to Breathe

The stress got bad, friends. Really, really bad.

My chest was so tight. It hurt to breathe. I would wake up panicking.

I went back to my therapist. I made another appointment with my psychiatrist. But when I felt like an elephant was standing on my chest, I went into the doctor.

They don’t play around with this stuff, especially when one’s father has had triple bypass surgery. I had an immediate chest x-ray and an EKG. I just tried not to cry.

But things are fine. I mean, mostly. My x-ray was fine; my EKG was … fine-ish. My doctor felt satisfied with it, but she still wants to run it by a cardiologist.

It’s just stress. Damn. Isn’t it wild what stress can do to our bodies??

She and my therapist both said: focus on breathing.

My doctor also said: laughIt will open up your chest.

Breathe and laugh. I can do that. Right?

Even my editor told me to rest a little.

That part seems easy enough. All I want to do is sleep. I think I might have some depression issues going on or else maybe this how I get every winter. -40 degrees does little to contribute to breathing or laughing or being joyful.

anatomyBut– a bright spot– I am reading this tremendous book, The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. I’m only two chapters in and it’s sort of changing my life. It’s such a beautiful, deep, thorough way to look at writing a story. It helps that I’ve been thinking of my story and these characters for about a year and a half. It would maybe be overwhelming to use this book to drum something up from scratch, but this way, it feels really productive and thoughtful. I’m loving it and highly recommend it so far.

I really wish that I could just take a month off of work to take care of myself. But that’s not an option, so I have to work self-care into the nooks and crannies of life. I need to breath, laugh, and rest. Love that prescription!



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2016 Poetry Campaign: A Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics

I have 8 creative goals this year, and behind door 7 is reading a book of poetry every month. Want to join me? You can see what book I’ll be reading each month here. January’s book was A Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics. Join me in February reading It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson, which will be a re-read for me, one I’m excited about.

mouthful of foreversA Mouthful of Forevers was young, fresh, edgy, sexy. I read it in one sitting, to be honest, and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had to summarize it, I might say something like “Looking for love in a time of modern scars.”

Here were some of my favorite parts:

What no one ever talks about
is how dangerous hope can be.
Call it forgiveness
with teeth.

I also loved the imagery here:

Your voice is right here
coloring my voice. Nothing is helping me
forget your hands, how they shook
like apologizing mountains
hollowed in suffering.

She had a really interesting poem about, of all things, Salome and Kim Kardashian, which– I’m not kidding– gave me a fresh look at KK. I loved these lines so much:

moves like a dream
Salome dances
like a siren song.
All the men ache to see
the hot sugar
of her hip bones

Verdict? I really enjoyed the collection and am hoping it helps me push the envelope. Join me next month with It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson. You won’t regret it!

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Filed under 2016 poetry campaign, book review, book reviews, poetry, Uncategorized

A Guide to ARC Etiquette


I’ll admit, these thoughts are just my own. I’m happy for other writers to chime in and share their thoughts too. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to write this post because it might seem like I’m only interested in money, but then I thought, No. I’m just a worker who wants to get paid for her work. There is nothing the matter with that. That’s what everyone else expects … until it comes to artists.

arc etiquetteSo, an ARC is an advance review copy. It’s an early, uncorrected version of a book about to be published meant for reviewers so that they can drum up interest in a book before it is released.

First, note: advance. This is important. If the book has already come out, you should not be asking for an ARC. On the one hand, it’s not the polished, final version; two, it’s rude. If the book is already published, you should either purchase a copy or, if you don’t want to buy a copy, check it out from your local library. If your library doesn’t have a copy, tell them you want it. I’m not kidding, they will almost always respond to requests like this, and then it’s a win-win: I sell a copy of my book and you get to read it for free.

Second, note: review. ARCs are given out with the expectation that they will be read and reviewed, whether on a blog or on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, BN, etc. It’s a great “thank you” for getting to read the book early and for free.

Third, from Maggie Stiefvater:

And finally, a note on ARCs. I don’t mind signing advanced review copies — a lot of bloggers come through the line with them, and I know they are a cool thing to have. But I didn’t get paid for them to be printed. And the publisher didn’t get paid for them. An ARC is a $6-10 promotional tool that is a privilege all of us industry people enjoy. It’s not a book. And it makes me sad if you love the book enough to have me sign your ARC*, but not a real copy. I won’t ever show my Deep Sadness to you while you’re in the signing line, but trust me, I’ll be weeping AngstBuckets on the inside. And while it merely makes me DeeplySad, for debut authors or authors with one or two books out, loving an ARC but not buying it can be the difference between a publisher signing them for another book or not.

All in all, please just remember that authors bust their asses to write these books for you. It means the world when you purchase even one copy. But when you ask for an ARC after my book is released, you’re basically saying, “I know I could buy this book somewhere, but I don’t want to. Not only that, I want you to pay shipping costs to send me a copy that you never made any money on.” You are literally asking an author to pay money to have you read their book. OUCH. At least have the courtesy to request it from the library.

Thanks for listening. I’ve been getting requests for ARCs lately when my book has been out for nearly five months, and just like Maggie, it makes me weep AngstBuckets on the inside.

Want me to keep writing? Please buy a book or have your library buy one. Thanks for your support!


Filed under ARC, Uncategorized