The Book That Almost Broke Me

I did it.

I wrote another book.

Ok, in fairness, I wrote another manuscript. The book part will be a few weeks longer yet as it still needs to go through early reads, professional edits, and formatting. But I wrote another book.

So what, you might be saying. You’re a writer — a novelist — that’s what you’re supposed to do. I thought so too until I tried to write this one.

However, this time was different from the rest.

Perhaps it was the fact that it is the final book in my science fiction trilogy. It was as if my characters refused to share their story with me, knowing it likely was their last.

Perhaps it was the new house or the new job. Maybe my brain needed its old combination of background and routine to get into its groove.

Perhaps it was my family. The kids are getting older now. I am unfortunately finding they aren’t as willing to go to bed before the sun completely sets, just because their mom needs to hit her daily word count. Nor have our weekend become any less full.

Perhaps it was simply me.

amuse yourself with more writer problem memes at https://writerblueprint.com/writing-memes/

I should have finished this manuscript in February. That was my intent. I would take a break from the blog for the holidays and focus, instead, entirely on it. When February passed, I said, eh, it’s a short month anyway, I’m not that far behind.

Weeks stretched into months and still the most glorious words in the writer’s language, ‘the end’ continued to elude me.

I wrote during this time. Don’t get me wrong, but it was a steaming pile of word turd mixed with verbal vomit left behind to fill a blank page and little more. Thanks for that imagery, you might be thinking. Just be glad you weren’t the one expected to clean it up.

This is all to say, I might be late, but I’m still here.

I set a goal — I missed it — but I didn’t let a self-imposed deadline stop me.

Instead, I found a way to finish what I started.

I wrote a book.


My manuscript is off in beta reads, but I am looking forward to seeing it on the shelves soon. Until then, I thought I would share its initial description:

Side effects may vary.

Juliane’s woken to a world she barely recognizes with no memory of the days leading up to her time in cryogenic stasis. Plagued by guilt, Stephen longs to sleep without being haunted by the faces of those he’s lost. Both are seeking more than answers.

Meanwhile, the defeat of the Watch has created an opportunity for a new world order to step in and take power. On one side, there are the Sorcerers, a group of super-humans whose abilities come at a terrible price. On the other—Beastmen, genetically modified individuals lead by one of the people responsible for the plague and economic collapse starting it all.

Juliane is on a mission to restore her legacy.

Stephen is out to save his soul.

Can either stop the upcoming war before it destroys what’s left of humankind? In this struggle for survival of the fittest, they may have to find a way to save themselves first.

You can find the first two books in the series here:

Book 1: The Fair & Foul – https://books2read.com/u/mKJePy

Book 2: The Watch & Wand – https://books2read.com/u/mYgJ9G

Or you can learn more about my other books by visiting my books page.

Temptation makes victory taste ever more sweet

There they lay, within reach, and yet to do so was entirely forbidden. It would be so easy, I told myself. All I had to do was open up one of kiddo’s packaged snacks from the basket in the pantry and chew. All those delicious salty treats were mine for the taking. But I’d made a promise to myself to limit my carb intake, particularly over the next thirty days, as the scale had taken issue with my summer beach excesses.

“She’d started taking up a lot of bad habits”, I imagined its snide electronic voice justifying itself to my toothbrush and my towel as they discussed my morning routine. “You both just help her stay hygienic. I, however, am helping her make better lifestyle choices.” I am sure both towel and brush would roll their eyes if they had them, but that awful scale had a point. I had enjoyed my summer a wee bit too much and it was starting to show.

You know what the secret to weight loss is? Don’t eat much.” – Simon Cowell
(Gee thanks, Simon)

It came to a head one Tuesday evening. There, on the table, were all the fixings for tacos which had become our weekly staple since the Lego Movie first introduced the children to the concept of Taco Tuesday. A pair of tortillas waited for me to add lettuce, beef, and cheese, with a dollop of yogurt just as I had done the Tuesday before and the Tuesday before that.

“After today I am going to limit my sugar and bread for awhile,” I announced to the hubby. “At least for the next thirty days.” Lamont looked at his own plate and agreed to support me by doing the same. We both were in the mood to change up the dietary cycle. We wouldn’t cut it out altogether, we agreed, as that was next to impossible seeing as both ingredients were hidden in way too much. To avoid them altogether would involve *gasp* actually reading labels. But we would try not to intentionally consume either.

I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t easy. I’d gotten into a habit of having a bit of ice cream in the evening after tucking the boys in their beds. A reward for successfully surviving another day. Suddenly I was out my reward. The cravings started to chip away at my resolve.

“Lead us not into temptation. Just tell us where it is; we’ll find it.” – Sam Levenson

Brilliantly (at least in our opinion), we decided to make our own dessert. We had plenty of plain greek yogurt in the fridge. Add a few berries and some honey and poof. Instant ice cream substitute. We even added a little cinnamon to give it a bit more pizzaz!

And other meal times took on a bit more excitement as we managed to break away from our weekly routine, replacing the stand-bys with things like zucchini pasta or eggs poached inside an avocado. This whole “sacrifice” wasn’t one.

Then my mom’s birthday came along with a visit by my sister. After a celebratory dinner, the smell of a fruit pie tempted my nose. A bit more of my resolve chipped away. But still, I remained strong, empowered by what I had accomplished before. There was nothing to this goal. Or so I thought until I entered the final days of my self-imposed thirty-day challenge.

Then the air began to change. Fall has arrived and with it will be the assault on my senses that is pumpkin spice. I do so love the smell of Fall. If you listen very carefully, you might yet hear the sound of my scale crying. If my resolve started out as a mighty oak tree, it is now only a splinter of its former self.

“What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don’t want to discourage it completely.” Franklin P. Jones

A friend of mine suggested I read Stephen Pressfield’s book The War of Art in which the author theorizes that our brains are somehow wired to resist completing goals. While I haven’t yet read the book (though fully intend to) I can’t help thinking he might be on to something. I was so close to writing End of Book Two in this current draft, and yet my characters keep drawing out the action. No matter how much I wrote, there was still more to do. More to say.

It was so very tempting to simply type THE END before the story is ready and short circuit the process. And if I did? Would it really matter? This is not my final draft. I’ll be rewriting an editing next. I could grab those chips as well. One small bag on day 29 isn’t going to make a difference in the scheme of things. Who would know?

I would.

And so, while my resolve may only be a splinter, that splinter wedged itself deeply under my skin. I can’t ignore it. I can’t make a move without feeling its pain.

And so, I stood fast over these final few days. What’s a couple hundred more words compared to the many I’ve written thus far? Certainly not enough to lose heart now. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote until the words END OF BOOK TWO were no longer words in my head but words on a screen. Yes. You read that right. This draft is finished. Now on to round two.

I pull back from the pantry and fixed a salad instead. It might not taste quite as good to my sugar biased tastes, but victory continues to be more satisfying.


As a reminder, I will be on the air Friday, September 23rd at 6pm Eastern time. The link to follow is http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writestream/2016/09/23/the-speculative-fiction-cantina-with-madeleine-holly-rosing-and-allie-potts

It would be nice if I had found my sea legs

Sunset at Lake Norman

Red skies at night, sailors delight. Red skies at morning, sailors take warning

Growing up, my dad would occasionally take us out sailing on a nearby lake. There were days the water was as still as glass and the wind refused to fill the sails. On those days we would bake above deck while the boat inched along at a snail’s pace. We could cool off by hopping in the water, but for the most part, those trips were rather boring. We could have swum just as easily at the shore. Other days, the wind would gust. The boat would heave up and down as well as from side to side. On those days, I would worry that we might capsize at any moment, or that I might lose my lunch.

I was taught to look out at the horizon as a way to combat seasickness.

Seasickness is caused by your brain not being able to find equilibrium due to the motion of the vessel. However as much as you rock from side to side, the horizon remains flat and motionless. It provides your brain with a mental anchor point. By keeping your eyes focused on the distance your body is able to subconsciously anticipate where you will be as the boat moves through the water. This can be the difference between enjoying the ride and turning a lovely shade of green.

Several years ago, I heard a song by a band called the Immaculate Machine entitled “C’mon Sea Legs.” The singer is basically giving himself a pep talk throughout the entire song, begging his legs to adjust to the sway of the boat. I particularly like the refrain:

C’mon sea legs, pull yourself together
you’re gonna have to learn to like the rockin of waves
whatever, c’mon now it’s not meant to be easy
but you’re not gonna spend your life bein’ sick over the side

The past week, I’ve experienced a number of up and downs. I was one of several presenters asked to speak in front of eighty people who had come from various points around the globe. Leading up to the event my stomach twisted. I forgot several lines from my prepared script, but what I did remember hit home. I ended my speech to applause, and several attendees approached me later with their compliments on a job well done.

Then I received my manuscript back from my editor. I wanted his honest assessment, and I got it. To say he thinks it needs some more work is an understatement. Based on his recommendations, I am going to have to re-write a significant portion of it, an undertaking that is daunting. A part of me wants to bury the entire manuscript in a drawer and move on to a new idea. A part of me wants to give up altogether.

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. — Charles Swindoll

I have to remember that calm seas are boring, and destinations don’t get any closer without a little wind to help push along the way.

I have to stay above deck and keep my eyes on the horizon. I am going have learn to like the rockin of the waves. I have to accept the lows as well as the highs in pursuit of my dream.

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