IWSG #I’m Surrounded

There’s not a lot of blog-worthy stuff I can share here  since most of it is in-the-moment-awesomeness and…things better suited off the interwebs 😊 So with that all said, let’s jump on into the optional question:

What are FIVE objects we’d find in your writing space?

Oh, geez. Um. Let me look around…

I should probably lie and clean a lot first, but I’m going to be honest. Brutally honest. Willing to put-pictures-up-honest, all for my lovely loyal audience (both of you 🙂 ). So….here we go:

  • Water bottles. There are a lot of them. I mean a lot. Don’t believe me?

Yeah, I’m that girl from Signs. So, what? I’ll be ready when the aliens invade. I don’t know why I keep half-drunken water bottles around, but I do. And now you know. (Please still like me).

  • Writery/Inspirationy things.

When the going gets tough, I like to read not-terrible things. It helps silence that sucky feeling most artists know all too well. Plus, most of them have pretty script and cool designs 😊

  • Plain ass weird shit.

I don’t know…I liked the frog…and the hands….I don’t know. It seemed like a double high-five, and who could say no to that?

  • Apparently…stuffed animals?

So, I’m ten. Get over it.

  • Toys!

Again, I’m a woman-child. And so is Batman. I mean, I call him Batman. Need I say more?

There. Now you have it. Now you know all the weird things surrounding my desk when I’m writing those stories you (hopefully love to) read. What’d you expect? A clean desk with a cup of pretty pens and journls? Psshh. You don’t know me at all.

What about you? What’s your desk look like?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

The Rising Author Tag

I’ve been been tagged by the superbly awesome Joleene Naylor to participate in the Rising Author Tag. The rules are simple:

  • Thank the person who tagged you (thank you, Joleene!!)
  • Answer the questions they came up with.
  • Nominate four people to do the tag (no tagging the person who tagged you originally).
  • Come up with 10 new questions for the people you nominated.
  1. What’s the last book/story you worked on?

I completed Better Than You, the last book in my Better Than This Series, last month. It’ a 65K word Contemporary Romance that reunites high school sweethearts, one of whom is a famous Rockstar. The previous book ended eight years earlier on a cliffhanger, so it was fun (but a bit of a challenge!) to bring everything back together almost a decade later.

2. Do you self edit?

This is my process: I write until I have no idea what’s going to happen next, or until something sounds off. When that happens, I backtrack until I find where I went wrong, and I start over from there. Diction and syntax really aren’t a concern until the last few drafts, so I let language things fly (they’re going to be edited later anyway – what’s the point?) Until that last draft, I’m primarily focused on the story. Does the story make sense? I’ll self-edit along the way so that it does.

3. What’s your favorite story/book you’ve ever written?

Sophie’s choice, anyone? Uh…I really don’t know because I love all my book-babies the same. 😊 I guess though, if I had to pick, I’d go with my first non-published full-length novel: Library Rules. It’s about a high school girl who locks a boy in a janitorial closet, and as punishment, is forced to work/volunteer at a library where she discovers some shady stuff going down. It’s probably my favorite because it’s the first full book I wrote, which proved that I could do it. I definitely struggled with Library Rules, but the journey to the end gave me the stepping stone I needed to start a new adventure series: Arizal Wars.

4. What was the first story you remember writing and how old were you?

If we’re going way back in the day, I’d say the first story I wrote was in elementary school; I must’ve been around seven or eight. I remember having this cheap beige paper to draw on, and I used it to portray my hero, Beefy (I kid you not!), the princess he was saving, and the evil villain who’s definitely reminiscent of Darth Vadar (my dad had me watch Star Wars early). I drew the story out more than wrote it, but it was the first one my little brain pushed out from beginning to end.

5. Do you get a lot of writing done around the holidays?

Yes, I tend to get a lot of writing done around the holidays! More time off from work means more time at home, doing this 😊 Of course, there is travel and gift-buying and other holiday-related tasks that need time and attention, but, eh. I get to it when I get to it. Time is the most valuable currency, and I spend it with either my friends, family, at work or writing. Other than that, very little else gets done.

6. What book or story (written by someone else) do you wish you’d written?

Uh, can I say all of Rainbow Rowell’s stuff? I mean, the obvious answer is Harry Potter, but even I couldn’t take credit for that. I love good romance stories and Mrs. Rowell does it RIGHT. If I could’ve written Eleanor & Park, that would’ve been amazing because I would’ve seen all the behind the scene things that only she gets to see (like all authors do for their stories). If not Eleanor & Park, then either the Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay or Evanescent by Gabriella Lepore.

7. If your last book/story was made into a movie, who would star in it?

Let’s see…if Better Than You was made into a movie, who would star? Well, since technology assists in the aging process, I guess I’d use the same actors I selected for my Wattpad casting for the previous two books, Better Than This and Better Than You: for my heroine, Autumn, I’d have Chloe Martiniez and for my hero, Alex, I’d have Dylan O’Brien. Yes, I’ve given it some thought, but what author doesn’t?

8. Do you have a WIP? If so what is it?

Here’s the sad thing: I don’t have a WIP right now. I need to start writing the fifth book in the Arizal Wars series, but I just finished reading Crusade Across Worlds for a brush up of where it left off (I wrote this over two years ago) and I need to figure out where to go next. Yes, I’m a panster, so that means I can sit down and write, but need to have a vague idea of what happens, and in order to get that, I need to play through the scenes in my head. That’s how pansting works for me, anyway. I may not have an outline to go off of, but I’m using the movies in my head instead. Plus, Return to Dellapalania (fifth book of AW) is the final book of the series, so everything needs to come together. I’ve set all the pieces for the final match and now I have to let it happen. I just need to visualize it first.

9. Do you like to bounce ideas off of someone out loud, or do you do it all in your head?

Everything happens in my head. Writing is very intimate to me, and maybe that’s why it takes me longer—because I’m asking myself a bunch of questions instead of someone else. I usually work through everything myself, but if I’m having trouble, or feel like there is an obvious solution that I’m not getting, I’ll casually ask a friend or Batman (my boyfriend). Normally the friend will answer/help without a second thought. Batman, however, likes to ask what story it’s for and when he can read it. It’s both sweet and encouraging 😊

10. Who is your favorite character you’ve ever written?

Again—what’s with the tough questions? I honestly have no idea who my favorite character is that I’ve written because I love them all so much. That sounds like a cop out answer, but it’s true. I don’t have a favorite. I don’t even have a top five. I probably have a top 15-20 but that’s probably not accurate either. I will say that Sampson and Clarence do hold a special place in my heart. But then again, so does Ginny Larson, the hero of Library Rules. A momma can’t choose between her babies.

And now for my tags! I tag Loni Townsend, C.D. Gallant-King, Zoe Ashwood, and Lidy Wilks. Here are your ten questions:

  1. What are you currently working on?
  2. Are you a plotter or a panster?
  3. If you could re-write any of your books, would you? And which one(s)?
  4. How long does it typically take you to write a book/story?
  5. Of all your characters, who do you wish could be real?
  6. How many drafts do you go through?
  7. When do you tend to write? Early or late?
  8. Do you listen to music while you write?
  9. What is your least favorite thing about writing?
  10. What is your most favorite thing about writing?

How Was Your Holiday?

Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? 😊

I hope so. I only messed up one dish (I think) but who says too many marshmallows in sweet potatoes is a bad thing? (not me)

Batman and I drove south to see my family and we ended up staying in this really fancy hotel that I found on hotels.com because we are third-class passengers who sneak up to first class any chance we get. Seriously, this place came with a bathrobe, impressive square footage, and a rounded window view out to the commercial lobby across and below:

Right? Like, how did they let us in? Oh, because I paid them. That’s right. I found a deal and provided legal tender. They had to let us in. 🙂

Seeing my parents/stepparents and sister was wonderful, but we were too busy eating and drinking to take pictures. So, other than the one above, it’s all pictures of Appa on my phone (like always). I wish I had more to say, but we already talked about Crimes of Grindelwald, and my release the other week. I feel like you’re pretty much caught up on my wild and crazy life over here.

What about you? How was your holiday? What’s new with you?

Don’t forgot to hop over to my Patreon page for in-depth posts on what I’m doing writing-wise 😊

I’m Going To Have To Read My Book Over Again

Now that BTY’s been released into the wild, the next thing I should do is suuupppeeerr market it, right? Meh. I’m going to do another stupid thing and jump into the fifth and final book of my Arizal Wars series because I *literally* cannot wait to get back to it. 🙂 🙂

My two-year break with the BTT Series was awesome, and just the refresher that I needed, but it’s time I return to my first baby. My love. My girl, Fallon, and her present & past and what it ultimately means for the future of her family and friends. YES. It’s going to go down, baby. All the battle scenes and prophecy reveals and character deaths—Er, I mean, uh…nobody dies….

Thing is, I’ve forgotten half of what I wrote. Mind you, I think the last one (Crusade Across Worlds, book 4) was published in 2016, which means I was probably writing it the year before, so some things are a little…muddy. I remember…the gist of what happens, but after flipping through the thing and being like, “who the hell are you again?” I realize I’m going to have to read my whole book over.

Totally fine. I like what I write. I like what I write so much that I wrote it in the first place, so hopefully, I won’t fall asleep during this read-through. And for those of you who’ve read Arizal Wars, I think you’ll be excited. Just glancing at some of the scenes in Crusade Across Worlds, I felt the electric zing of excitement, and was like, “oh yeah! That’s right! Shit’s totally going down in the next book.”


This may pull me out of my you’re-not-going-anywhere-funk because it’ll be something new to focus on. I’m still only agreeing to the writing aspect of this self-publishing thing, but that’s the most important part to focus on. No product, no marketing, right? And besides, I was put here to tell stories, not to tell you about them. And if I was, well…we all can’t be superstars all the time, can we?

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂 Batman and I will be making the rounds down to my hometown neck of the woods. And…there might be some black Friday shopping involved. Maybe. What about you? What are you doing for the holiday? Whatever your plans are, I hope you spend the day being happy 🙂

P.S. I will still market the Better Than This Series. I owe it to myself and my characters, so I’ll figure it out.

P.P.S. Crimes of Grindelwald. Does. Not. Disappoint! Yeah, I pretty much fangirled the entire time, clapping and hooting and hollering at the intro music. Hogwarts alum got to represent!

Today Is The Day: Better Than You Release

Well, here we go. The day we’ve all been waiting for. Today is the day that Crimes of Grindelwald comes out 😊

And also the last book in my series: Better Than You

I can’t believe today is here. I can’t believe I didn’t quit halfway in when I realized publishing three books three months apart was the opposite of smart. But hey, lesson learned, right? And I feel like I learned a lot this go-round. 😊

I most likely won’t publish a book next year, unless it’s late next year, because I haven’t started writing the fifth Arizal Wars yet, and those books are bigger and fatter than this skinny little series. And that one will be the last in the series which means even more needs to go into it. But that’s next year and today is all about Crimes of Grindelwald. And Better Than You. And it being a glorious Friday.

Have a great weekend! And if anyone (randomly) asks for a book recommendation, you should totally toss out the third book of a series they’ve never heard of:

And what’s it about again? Well…

Alex Wolf should be on top of the world. He’s engaged to a popular Supermodel, about to head off on a world tour with his band, Better Than Decent, and he makes more money than he can spend—but he can’t stop thinking about the girl who got away. It’s been eight years, and Autumn Sommers still haunts him. He’d give anything to see her again, but with no contact after so long, it feels hopeless—until Alex is surprised with some news.

Autumn Sommers wishes she could forget the past. She hasn’t seen Alex Wolf since high school, but she hears his voice all too often. It’s hard ignoring the lead singer of Better Than Decent, but being a waitress in a gossipy small-town diner doesn’t help. Autumn knows that what happened between her and her old boyfriend ended a long time ago—until he walks into her restaurant.

It doesn’t take Alex long to break off his engagement, but once news of the split is leaked, a media frenzy erupts. Determined to clear Autumn’s name, Alex brings her to L.A., but things don’t go as smoothly as he’d hoped. Not used to the demands of a celebrity life, Autumn struggles to find her ground, especially alongside a former foe. With the world watching, she’s forced to face how she became the iconic A.M.S.—and if her relationship with Alex is going to last this time.

Buy it here 🙂

Even The Small Victories

So….last week you guys were awesome with reminding me that everyone feels insecure and bleh at times, and it made me feel better. Honestly. So, thank you 😊

I’m still cruising through this fog, and probably will be for a while, but that’s fine. I think everyone has their own fog because life is life and not a utopia (sadly). But at the end of last week, something pretty cool happened, and since life can be shitty sometimes, I like to celebrate even the small victories:

I got updated covers!

If you remember reading last week’s post, I settled for purple font for BTY and that made me sad 😦 But then, awesome Loni Townsend jumped in with an outline suggestion, and, ta-da! Now I can have yellow! Now the books can pop. And this is just in time for Better Than You’s release on Friday. And since that’s happening, I have (yet more) stuff to work on. So, I’m going to go do that. BUT, this Friday…CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD BABY.

…and Better Than You 😊

I’m Nervous About The Whole Thing, IWSG

I’m kinda insecure this month.

And yeah, I’m also releasing my last book (as in a series. Not my last book ever. Let’s not get ridiculous), so that’s probably got something to do with it. But I’m not even scared of the release. I’ve announced it to practically no one and have maybe two or three people who are actually expecting/awaiting it, so it’s not like I expect any tidal wave of anything really. It’s just going to be another Friday and even more exciting—it’s the release of Crimes of Grindelwald 😊

So, I’m not nervous about chucking this story into the great internet void. I’m nervous about the whole thing. Insecure about the whole thing. I’ve been a Debbie Downer about myself lately, about my talent and progress. I told my sister (I ACTUALLY SAID THIS ALOUD) that I wasn’t certain I’d ever get anywhere with writing. It sounded horrible as I said it—especially because you can’t ever lose hope—but this very giant, logical part of my brain has been scoffing lately, saying, ‘Really, Caitlin? Still holding onto it? Still haven’t seen the signs?’ She’s a bitch, but after she makes her argument over and over, it’s hard not to take a serious listen.

I don’t know. I feel like my faith is dwindling, even though I’m doing better now than I ever have (which is saying something). Maybe it has to do with the season or full moon or because Mercury is in retrograde or whatever. Maybe it’s just a down season because everyone gets down from time to time—and doesn’t it normally circulate more around the holidays? Maybe that’s what this is. Pre-holidays blues. I hope so. I don’t want it to be the other thing. I don’t want the Grow-Up-All-Your-Dreams-Are-Dead-Sorrows. Those are a bitch.

Anyway, those are my insecurities this month! What about you?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.