If You Love Somebody’s Art – Go Tell Them

“Thank you so much for creating a wonderful universe.”

This is a message I received about my Arizal Wars series. Now that I’ve stopped ugly-sobbing over it, I can write coherently about how you should never give up on your dreams because *amazing* things like this happen. (And yes, this is freaking amazing. Can I get an amen from all my authors out there?)

The message comes from an original and loyal fan—one Batman found back when he did his stint teaching (for the record, he is brilliant, and can teach kids super hard math and history, but the common core system is beyond eye-rolling, and he could only take so much bullshit). Anyway, during his limited teaching years, he “pimped” my series (not in a threatening kind of way. More like, ‘oh you like to read? My girlfriend writes books’ kind of way) because, why not? It’s YA/NA, and students are the richest resource there is. And one magical student bit, and since then, she has asked about the series through every drought it’s embraced. She reached out when I was writing BTT, and a year before when I decided to take a break. I’ve probably even posted about not giving up because of one of her messages asking when the next book will be out.

This is what we need. It’s not reassurance—it’s a reminder.

If you love somebody’s art—GO TELL THEM.

I would *love* to tell Betty Smith how freaking awesome A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is. Every time I finish it, I flip it over, stare at the jacket, stare at her name, and wonder how I can somehow summon her from the dead just so I can fangirl over all the feels her book gives me every time I read it. Seeing as that’s sadly impossible, I’ve considered contacting her family. This is a legit idea I’ve tossed around and may one day pursue, but do they care if I like their mother’s/aunt’s/grandmother’s book? Not unless it comes with royalties, so why bother? I just want to shout at someone from that family how that book has affected me—but it won’t mean a thing to them. The only one who would understand is Betty Smith, which is why I need to summon her. Grr.

Maybe I’ll meet her in the afterlife—wherever that is—and I can fangirl over her there. In the meantime, I have to give a shout out to Sarah! Thank you for believing in (and continually asking about) this series. It truly makes a difference 😊

This Could’ve Been Bad

So, I don’t wear makeup. It’s not my thing and it never has been, and I am completely fine with that. I used to think I just hadn’t reached that “magic age” when I’d suddenly look at the stuff and it would all make sense, but it never came (and I feel like it should’ve by now). I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not meant for me, and again I utter: I am completely fine with that.

But then come the makeup trials.

I didn’t plan for two. In fact, I only wanted one. Just one lady who would do it perfectly on the first attempt because she could read my mind and pull out what I couldn’t articulate, and it’d be magical and I’d sign the contract and we’d be best friends forever. But this didn’t happen. None of this. What did happen was unwanted fake eyelashes and disappearing cheeks bones and Batman actually RECOILING when he saw me. Like, for real, guys. He jumped back. And he sees me first thing every morning.

Now, I’m not bashing on this artist. She did her thing, and maybe for another client, it would’ve been perfect. It just didn’t work for me. She drew on a completely new face, and even though I’m not winning super model of the year, I think my face is decent enough to keep. I just wanted some enhancements and I got a new set of eyes and no cheekbones. Call me crazy for wanting to look like myself in my wedding day.

I wanted to like it. I really did. I wanted to spin around and see the doves and hear the harp and just know this is what I was going to look like when I married Batman. But again, none of that happened. She spun me and I think I might’ve winced because who the hell was that? It… did not look amazing. It also didn’t look like me. At all. It looked like some version of myself that took a wrong turn somewhere, like a Caitlin who maybe had a tougher time in life. I wanted it to be perfect, but I ended up wondering how much people would truly look me in my face on my wedding day because I hoped they wouldn’t. That’s when I knew it wasn’t a go.

I took Batman with me on the second trial because I figure if he’s going to recoil, I should know sooner rather than later. Thankfully, he didn’t. He loved it, and that’s probably because the lady paid attention to what I wanted (a natural look) and how I wanted to feel (like I wasn’t wearing makeup). It only took two trials, but this could’ve been bad. It was the thing I was putting off to last because I knew I would have issues.  But I’m glad it’s over.

And yes, even though Batman saw my day-of makeup, it’s still OKAY. He has no idea what the whole thing is going to look like and honestly, neither do I, but I’m hoping it will all come together nicely. 😊

How many makeup trials did you have? Do you wear a lot of makeup, or prefer to go natural like me? What are your thoughts on your partner’s makeup?

And Then I Lost My Ring

(I’ll preface this with we have it. We found it. Well, Batman did, and I love him even more now. Plucked the thing right out of the grass, all proud at his Sherlock skills for spotting the ring amidst the random bricks and plastic water bottles where it hid. But yes, the ring—THE RING—is secure again on my finger (sort of) where it belongs, and not lost somewhere in the gross exterior of our house that we are most definitely planning on cleaning up. Probably.)

This all started because I wanted to water Artemis. Simple desire. Keep my avocado plant alive, which I’ve done now for half a year  with just a little watering every day, and twice when I can remember. Batman and I were about to head out when I realized I hadn’t watered her yet. My overpriced fancy blue watering can sat in the corner where I’d left it the night before. I reached for it, poured out the remnants, and then turned on the faucet.

And then a lot of things happened at once.

As I turned the knob, I felt something move over my foot. Remember, I live in Florida, so even with it being winter, I’m still sporting sandals ninety percent of the time, meaning my skin is exposed. So, when I felt this thing moving on me, I felt it moving on my actual body, on my actual skin receptors.

And it was a SNAKE.

**INTERNAL VOMIT**

**STILL VOMITING**

It slithered over my foot and disappeared beneath a pile of bricks and I just…reacted. I screamed out my utter terror and disgust that it TOUCHED me, and in my insane bout of flailing, I snapped my hand back just right, and my ring—THE RING—went sailing from my finger and out into the abyss of the untamed, unmowed lawn, complete with mysterious disappearing, snakes.

Not good.

Not fucking good at all.

Batman walked out, unaware of the struggle. Of the panic attack I was having over everything. All I wanted to do was water Artemis—who still hasn’t been watered—and I was petrified of a snake I could no longer see, and an engagement ring I no longer possessed. Goodbye groceries and errands and all normal life. All that exited was combing through every inch of my lawn until I found my important shiny tiny piece of jewelry.

AND THE SNAKE.

A huge concern, seeing as I never really got a good look at where it slithered off to, but my ring was missing. That was the main horror. I’m getting married in nine months and I had no engagement ring. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it the entire ten minutes Batman and I picked through the lawn where I thought I saw it go flying, and with the snake slithering secretly nearby, it felt more like an eternity. Then, just when I knew I’d have to start the new trend of brides not wearing their engagement rings, Batman reached right down and plucked something shiny from the ground.

So pretty. So not lost.

A thousand waves of relief washed over me. If anything, that day was a win. Not because I did my taxes successfully (I think!) or because I adulted by doing laundry and groceries, but because I DID NOT LOSE MY ENGAGEMENT RING. Even though it flew off my finger in a moment of terror, I still have it. The day was still a success. And yes, I know I need to have it re-sized. I’m getting to it. I’ll only put it off one or two more scares like this one before I get it fitted smaller.

How about you? Any scares? With losing jewelry, spotting a snake, or both?

P.S. Also just now realized this was supposed to be  a IWSG post…so those looking for that post, see you in March!

Seriously Though – Man in The High Castle

…I’ve been slacking.

I blame Man in the High Castle. If it wasn’t cocaine-addictive like every other show I mention, then maybe—MAYBE—I would’ve gotten a bunch more writing down over the last *cough* week or two *cough* instead of the –maybe—one to two pages I’ve written.

I also blame the wedding.

Wait.

That was a little much. Let me rephrase:

The best day ever is requiring a lot of my creative attention and Pintrest is a thing, so I shouldn’t wonder where all my time has been going.

Still. Even though I usually write at least a little every day (although I’ve been giving myself a day off here and there) I feel like I haven’t moved the story along as much as I should’ve, or wanted to. In my defense, there have been A LOT of battle scenes which take FOREVER to write, but that’s not my fault. Every time we get past a fight sequence, I hope my characters will calm down and give me some dialogue or something. They do, but then someone else attacks or a new enemy arrives and it’s back to the scenes that take FOREVER. It’s really my character’s fault. That’s what I’m getting at. I’m only the vessel, and I work better when they’re not in the middle of a shit storm. But this is the final book, and the whole thing is a unified attack/invasion on one planet—I should’ve expected the shit storm.

Anyway, just wanted all my excuses listed so I don’t feel as bad about my lazy work ethic. But that’s how it goes. Sometimes you work a lot; sometimes it’s a little. As long as some work gets done, I won’t feel like complete crap about myself and my (non-existent) writing career.

Seriously though—Man in the High Castle. Go watch. Please. And let’s discuss how shitty the world would be if we lost WWII. I could barely get through French. Don’t think I’d make it if I had to speak German or Japanese. And according to MITHC, that will just not fly.

And also: Joe Blake is really cute 😊

This is Why You Don’t Wait Impatiently

So, I’m kind of impatient. And not in a cute way (is there a cute way?) but in a crazy, annoy-my-own-self and everyone around me kind of way. It’s not good. Those who know me are probably nodding their heads. Yes, she is that insane kind of impatient! God forbid the server takes too long or the car in front of me goes a *mile* under the speed limit. I WILL MAKE IT KNOWN. It’s one of the things I really hate about myself.  But I can’t help it. I’m an impatient person, and despite all my calming techniques and counting to ten and positive mental perspective…at my core…I just want shit to hurry up.

In addition to being highly impatient (probably the correct term) I’m also a planner. I like things done wwwwwaaaayyyy in advance because then I know it’s been taken care of. I don’t have to worry about it because the task has been completed. And there have been a lot of tasks lately, one of which is a lovely little vacation for me and the hubs once we get hitched. Destination: Oahu.

Airplane tickets are booked (high-five past Caitlin) and next it’s onto the resort. Only, we’ll be staying in November 2020 and my credit card expires in September 2020.

**sideways glance**

Anyone ever been caught here? I’ve never come across this in all my adult credit-card carrying life. DENIED my purchase due to my card expiration date. It needs to be active/current at the time of check-in. Okay. Fine. Makes sense.

So, heart already racing (I need this fixed now! Not tomorrow—now!) I call Capital One screaming REPRESENTATIVE enough times to scare the automated message into transferring me to a live human being. When I finally speak with her, I explain my situation. My card expires in September. I need a new card with a further/future expiration date so that I can book a hotel room for this November. Very simple. I used small words and spoke in my gentle voice and everything. She says no problem, my new card will arrive in 4-6 days. I need it in my hands now, but okay, I’ll wait.

And, I do. Impatiently. I checked the mail the next day. And the next day. And the next. And the next, and every day until I got it which was amazing because YES—I was finally going to book the resort! The box will be checked! I can focus on other things and put this on the shelf!

Except she sent me the same fucking card.

Expiration date September 2020

**blinks**

You’re telling me, I waited impatiently every day under a LIE because I got the wrong person in the call center? What was so confusing about my explanation? Nothing! Nothing was confusing! Which is what I told the second person in the call center after explaining my situation again. I NEED A CARD WITH A FUTURE EXPIRATION DATE—SOME POINT PAST NOVEMBER 2020. ANY MONTH AND YEAR WILL DO BUT IT HAS TO BE PAST NOVEMBER 2020. I didn’t scream any of this. I said it very quickly, and very passionately while apologizing because I was hungry and (as you know) an extremely impatient person. After confirming he understood what I meant (God, I hope he did) he said my new card with a future expiration date will be in the mail in 4-6 days. Nope. Not good enough. Can’t go through another week of nail-bitings, so I paid an expedited fee to get it here by the end of this week.

Look, we’re all crazy about some things, right? I’ll be patient for a while, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. *shrugs* #noapologies

What about you? Are you this impatient? Have you ever been denied a purchase due to the expiration date? How far in advance do you plan things?

Epic First Draft # IWSG

Before we even start this thing, I have to give a shout-out to one of my bestest buddies, Robert:

Happy 21st (+13) birthday!!! 😊 😊 😊 May this special day bring you a year of blessings ahead. And may it also bring you back to the states so that I can look at your face and not a photo. (You’re sexier in person and we both know it.)

All seven days of 2020 have been great so far. I’m still engaged. I’m still writing, and I just started watching Jack Ryan! I honestly have no idea what’s taken me so long. As a lover/stalker of Jim Halpert, and especially since John Krasinski is on my top five celebrity-to-do list, I should’ve been watching Jack Ryan since the beginning. But I’m glad we’re watching it now because it’s pretty friggin awesome.

Wedding planning is going great. I think the panic and anxiety will settle in around summertime, which gives me a few months of rational, level-headed thinking left before I start second-guessing everything. Can’t wait.

Writing-wise? I’m still plugging away at RTD (Return to Dellapalania). You’ve probably forgotten since I started writing the dang thing at the tail end of 2018. I know. I know. What the hell am I doing, right? It’s long. Like, long. And I know I’ll cut out a lot of this stuff —remember, we’re still first draft here—so it’ll be shorter, but it already feels epic.

I’m a few pages into the third and final section, so at least I’m on the final leg of the trip. But it’s the last portion, which makes it the largest one, and there are *several* things that need to happen. All the stuff that leads up to the main climax (not to mention the subplot with a minor antagonist and that climax) and all the stuff after. And since it’s a series finale and not a book finale, I’ll have to really end it, and I’m not even sure what that means. It’s my first last-book I’ve written. I’m sure this will come with a lovely bunch of its own, unique obstacles, and I’m still only on the first draft. Meh.

Since I don’t have a whole lot going on, I’m going to jump into this month’s—and the first official of the year—Insecure Writers Support Group question:

What started you on your writing journey?

Whoa, buddy. Talk about a conversation starter. The long answer is long, and filled with details and emotions and ugly sobbing. Nobody wants that. The short answer is this: a teacher waaaaaay back in the day asked me to write the best story I could, and it was like a door was opened.

What about you? Long story? Short story? Cliff notes? And how’s your 2020 been so far?

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.

P.S. Happy birthday again, Robert! I love and miss you!! Bring your friggin face back to Florida already. It’s been too long.

Welcome, 2020!

Hello, and welcome to my first post of 2020!

I hope this year/decade/century/lifetime is filled with amazingness for all of you, and all the things that help you grow and give you love 😊

You know how time passes and you realize it’s going, but you don’t really register the time? That was all of December. Christmas snuck up like a ninja, and now it’s the first day of the new year. I haven’t blogged since LAST DECADE, and that is not the lazy kind of behavior I have planned for 2020. I almost missed this post, but decided writing it was more important than napping, and so, here we are. First day of 2020. The new year and new decade. It’s also leap year. What else is happening…

Oh, yeah—

I’M GETTING MARRIED THIS YEAR!!

**dances aggressively**

A thousand smiley faces and high-fives and cartwheels I could never do when I was young (or now) but still—cartwheels for everyone! Batman and I met and started dating in Spring 2007 and this November 2020, we are *finally* making it official in the government’s eyes. It’s been official with us for a while, but it’ll be nice to wear the white dress and to see him all dressed up like James Bond, which is how he wants to look. Fine by me. It’s an improvement from the blue and orange Dumb and Dumber suits he was talking about a few years ago. Or coming dressed as Han Solo (which would’ve been hot…but you know…) so the fact that he settled on James Bond is A-OKAY with me 😊

Here’s a picture of us in case you forgot what we look like:

He’s in his Adam Banks 99 Mighty Ducks Jersey that his super awesome fiancé got him, and I’m in my Hufflepuff House Sweater that the luckiest guy in the universe got me. We make a cute couple every once in a while. But never in the morning. We’re gross in the morning.

I also got a stuffed ovary to go with my vagina (we previously had the eyeball and testicle). Batman got the skin, and I must say, the family is growing nicely:

Sorry to backtrack, but awesome gifts are worth mentioning. And here’s one more. If you’ve followed my blog or a few months, or at least from the end of October, you may remember reading this post about writing the books and finding the readers, or you may have skipped it or started it and stopped—whatever your involvement, I basically stated all I had to do was write the books and find the readers (sounds simple enough, right?), and casually mention making it into a banner or plaque that I could conveniently place in the empty space above my window. Look what my mom got me:

Thanks, Ma! (And thanks to everyone who made Christmas 2019 a special one 😊)

I’m excited for 2020. Batman and I are still on our kick of losing weight for the big day, we’ve decided to finally renovate and do some actual landscaping on the house we moved into in 2015 (we rent, but have permission from the owners to upgrade), and we’re planning an awesome honeymoon to HI! I’m sure new challenges are coming our way—and I’m sure 99% of them will have to do with my car—but I’m ready for this year. I’m ready to say ‘I do’ to the weirdo who argued with me about Sin City over twelve years ago when I was trying to check out our waiter.

Ten months and we’re official, babe.

What about you? What’s happening for you in 2020? Or, I should ask, what are you planning for? Whatever it is, let’s rock 2020 😊

P.S. Shout out to my dad and Sharon for getting me these *super* comfy and fashionably awesome jammy pants. I love them!: