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The Worst Day

Open Book BH 3

This week on the blog hop, we’re talking about a topic that affects almost every writer at some point – a time when we considered giving up writing.

I wrote The Detective’s Brother in 2011 and spent several years trying to get it published through every possible avenue, but even though I got a little bit of interest from agents I was ultimately rejected.

Every time I got a rejection letter I felt like I was personally being rejected. No matter how many times I reminded myself that every writer gets rejected and that JK Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before she found one that would publish Harry Potter, I felt my resolve that I would ever publish slipping.

Then one day I just woke up and couldn’t write. Everyone has an off day so I just sat around watching movies and crocheting, deciding that I would try again the next day. But the same thing happened over and over until I couldn’t put more than a paragraph on the page without worrying about its quality.

Rather than trying to ignore my inner editor as they tell us during NaNoWriMo, I overanalyzed every word in an attempt to understand why no one wanted to take a chance on my writing. I got so caught up in trying to craft the perfect sentence that someone might love that I wasn’t enjoying writing, and eventually I just stopped.

After a few months of attempting to write this way, I gave up. I decided I was just going to stop writing because obviously it wasn’t good enough for anyone, so I put away my computer and sank into a deep depression. Every day that I wasn’t writing felt like an eternity but I couldn’t look at a blank screen any longer.

Then my husband suggested that I write something completely outlandish just for fun. When I was in college and high school, I used to write fan fiction (if you don’t know what that is, it’s when you write fiction using the characters and stories from something established like Harry Potter or Doctor Who). I decided I was going to write something like that again just for fun, and once again I found joy in writing.

I got used to writing every day again and before I knew it I was getting ideas again and writing outlines for stories of my own. I started rewriting Detective’s Brother and submitted it to small presses. You know the story from there!

Since then I have never had a day like the one where I decided to stop writing, and it’s been a relief. Now I can’t imagine making that decision again.



My Christmas Music Playlist Has Two Songs

Open Book BH 2

This week on the Open Book Blog Hop, we’re getting into the Christmas spirit by talking about our favorite Christmas songs!

As a rule, I’ve never much cared for traditional Christmas songs. Where people love to listen to certain ones over and over, I tend to cringe and say “Not Baby, It’s Cold Outside AGAIN” in my head. I have other reasons for disliking that song, but not today. Today I’m talking about my two favorite ones!

The first one is Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You. It was made famous by Billy Squier in the 80’s, and from the first time I heard it when I was a kid I loved it. It’s much more my style while still being a song that you can play at a Christmas party without having the fruit basket thrown at your head.

It was remade by a band called SR-71 on the Very Special Christmas 5 album, and they gave it more of a hard rock tinge that really hit it for me. I still love hearing either version, though I found this one completely by accident while looking for the Billy Squier version.

My second favorite is a classic from my childhood, Bruce Springsteen’s version of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. The Boss gives the old song his own flavor, not just in the singing but also the patter at the beginning of the song. This is one of the only Christmas songs my stepdad would play without being coerced and it always brings back nice memories.

Much like the two versions of my other favorite, it adds a little rock n’ roll (and a healthy dose of saxophone) to an otherwise well-picked-over holiday offering.

The main problem with most Christmas music in my experience is that there are very few new songs. Most of the ones you hear are rehashes of the traditional favorites and I’m getting to the age where I have literally heard these songs thousands of times. There are a couple of other ones I can listen to but nothing like these two. I could even be persuaded to listen to them for a few weeks after the trees are on the curb.


Before you go, be sure to check out PJ Fiala’s latest book, Danny’s War! It’s the story of a military veteran and an artist who find love and redemption with each other, complete with love, motorcycles, and a liberal amount of drama. Check it out here on Amazon and take a look at her site (http://pjfiala.com) while you’re at it!

Now, what are your favorite Christmas songs? Share them with us!

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