never take a day off from writing

Two weeks ago, I went on a family vacation to Cape Cod. It was as relaxing as a trip with a toddler gets, which is to say, not at all!

Before I left, I had hoped to be finished with the first draft of Witch Blood, book three in my Vampire in the City series. But my day job, which is usually really quiet in the summer, got extremely busy. So much so that I was much too tired in the evenings to put my mind to writing. But eventually time passed, and with it, so did my self-imposed deadline.

But never mind–I was off on vacation…or so I thought. The stupid guilt of not making my deadline kept popping up in my head. Plus, driving to Cape Cod from New York City involves four to five hours of sitting in the car doing nothing, so I had plenty of time to think about how I had failed.

The husband and son playing while I mentally yell at myself.

The first few days I was there, I didn’t do any work. After all, I hadn’t intended to, right? On the third day, the sun got to me, and I ended up taking an afternoon nap with my son. That night, I couldn’t fall asleep, and thoughts of my book kept coming back to me. Finally, sick of beating myself up about it, I dragged out my laptop and started writing. Instantly, I felt much better. I’m not saying I made a huge dent in the remainder of the book, but I wrote about 1,000 words, felt better about myself, ate some fresh cherries from a farm stand, and promptly passed out.

The next day I didn’t have a nap, but still managed to write a little, as I did every other day for the remainder of my trip. On the car ride home (which was an agonizing eight hours), I did a pretty complete job planning out the rest of the series.

As a result of this, I came to the conclusion that I can never take a day off from writing. Now, this doesn’t mean that I need to sit down and write for five hours straight every night. But in order to keep my novel top-of-mind, I need to work on it a little bit each and every day, even if I only write a couple hundred words. After my first day back at work, I was so exhausted that I wrote about a hundred words and felt near collapse. Instead of beating myself up about it, I worked on some cover concepts for the next four books. Did I get my daily quota done? No. But I managed to do something productive, felt great at having accomplished something afterward, and got one small step closer to finishing!

interview with a vampire

No, this isn’t about the Anne Rice book. I was cleaning out some old files on my computer and found this “interview” with Emma Hammond, the protagonist from my Vampire in the City series. I can’t remember why I originally wrote it, but it’s mildly amusing.

What was your life like growing up?
Pretty normal, actually. As a human, I grew up in New York City. I lived with my parents and my grandma in a house in Astoria, Queens. I still live in the same house today, but unfortunately all my family is dead. I mean, they died quite some time ago, back when I was still human.

Before your story began, what were your hopes for the future?
I used to work on the night staff at an advertising agency, and I had hoped to get transferred to the day staff. Not so much now. I was also in a fairly long-term relationship, which I had hoped would lead to marriage and maybe kids. Also not so much now.

What changed that?
I got turned into a vampire. Initially I was in some form of denial about how much it would impact my lifestyle. For example, I thought I would keep my job, since I worked the night shift. But as much as most people don’t want to spend a number of years trapped in a meaningless cubical job, I couldn’t imagine how awful it would be to spend a literal eternity in one. For some reason, it also took getting turned into a vampire to make me realize what a jerk my boyfriend was.

How would you describe your personality?
I try not to take myself too seriously, which seems to be a common problem among my fellow creatures of the night. It’s not a bad thing to be able to laugh at yourself. Although I admit I do sometimes go overboard and make jokes at the worst times, such as when my own undead life is on the line. I also tend to be trusting of people, perhaps even a little too trusting, as I have recently found out.

How would you describe your looks?
I am permanently in my early 20s, and have the stereotypical vampire porcelain skin and long black hair. I also have green eyes, which are probably my most striking feature. After being turned, I was very pleased to find out that I no longer needed glasses or contacts, or had to worry about the differences in various skin-care products. Getting rid of all my products for dry skin, combination skin, sensitive skin, and acne-prone skin was quite freeing—now I can just use plain old soap!

What are your greatest talents?
Well, there are the obvious vampire talents of super healing and strength, which really do come in handy for stuff like breaking into graveyards and hauling corpses around or even arm wrestling a werewolf. And then there’s the mind control, which I honestly try to use as little as possible—it just seems rude, you know? As far as talents I had from back when I was still human, I am a fairly decent graphic designer, I’m pretty good at organizing things, not bad at making small talk, and I’m, uh, punctual.

Who are your closest friends?
Tammy Torres has been my best friend since we met in elementary school. Despite the fact that we look absolutely nothing alike, we used to tell people that we were identical twins who had different fathers. If anyone fell for that, well, that’s their problem.

Who do you love?
Relationships with other people are hard. Maybe too hard. I’m going to have to say Gypsy, my cat. She seems to love me unconditionally and has never let me down. Plus, my allergies have cleared up due to being undead, so now our relationship is even better.

Who do you hate, and why?
Sadly, it seems like I’m not going to be able to get along with 99% of the vampires out there. Besides the fact that most of them strike me as jerks right off the bat, they also have no problem with using humans for whatever purpose they see fit. Maybe because I was human so recently, I am more prone to notice it, but I hope I never act that way.

What do you think is going to happen next?

Hopefully nothing too awful! No, seriously, ever since I became a vampire, nothing has gone the way I had expected it to! In one minute I will feel more alive than I ever did as a human, and in the next I feel like I’m trapped on some horrible roller coaster that has the potential to last for eternity.

I have a headache from video-game withdrawal

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you intended. I thought I would be done with the first draft of Witch Blood by time I went on vacation last week, but I was only about 3/4 of the way done. I told myself I would write every day while my son was napping and after he went to sleep at night. But somehow that didn’t happen and instead I read or took a nap of my own. In fact, on the entire vacation, I got just over 1,000 words written! But I was so disappointed in myself that the day I came back I immediately wrote over 3,000 words in one day, which for me is pretty good. Another thing that’s helping is I have told myself that I’m not allowed to play any video games until I’m done. Sadly, this is probably my biggest motivator!

One productive thing I did do while on vacation was plan and outline the rest of the Vampire in the City series! I don’t want to give away any titles just yet, but it looks like it’s going to be six books. S0me other things of moderate productiveness include a guest blog of mine on ParaYourNormal about getting the right beta readers for your novel. Also, I sold my soul to KDP, so Prime members can now borrow my books for free.

Finally, in personal news, I became vegan a few months ago, and have many options on vegan food that I can’t keep to myself.