A Writer's Journey

May 20, 2019

The Christmas Wish Update

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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I didn’t get a chance to post last week. The week before hand was a little crazy and then I went to Virginia for my sister’s graduation. Our flight home was delayed so I got home almost five hours later than I should’ve, meaning I lost the time I had hoped to use for writing.

But I did get some work done on The Christmas Wish while waiting in the airport, so there’s that!

So, let me update to you on my progress on The Christmas Wish…

I can see the finish line! So much so, that I’ve set myself a deadline of July 1st, one I believe I can meet!

Right now, I’m working on Chapter 13—which was Chapter 10 when I published it as a fanfiction. I’ve divvied up a couple chapters, so that’s why the numbering has changed. But nonetheless, this just leaves the Epilogue!

Can you tell how excited I am about this? I know it’s difficult to tell in the written word, so here’s a gif:

excited

I’m so thrilled to be thisclose to finishing it. There’s still a lot more work to be done but a Christmas release is looking more and more like a reality rather than a dream. It’s an amazing feeling.

If you want to support all the upcoming work I have to do to ready The Christmas Wish for you, you can do so by making a pledge to my Patreon account! Any amount will help to make this book a reality.

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May 8, 2019

I’m Back!

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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I got back from Milan last Monday! It was a long day as I was up before dawn in Italy and then flew back several time zones. I was probably up for 24 hours, which wasn’t a good idea as I developed a cold within hours of landing in New York.

Yeah, that’s been fun. I can’t tell if I’ve overcome jetlag because I’m just always tired from the cold and it being my time of the month.

So I really haven’t gotten much writing done this week as I keep falling asleep on my keyboard. (Almost literally in a few cases). I did get some writing done in Milan, trying to carve out some time to do so every night. So that’s a win!

I didn’t get much writing done on the plane. On the way over, I spent the time trying to sleep. It didn’t happen but I tried. And on the way back, the WiFi wasn’t working and the plane had Mary Poppins Returns. So I didn’t really log into my computer until almost the very end of the flight.

But the cold is receding and I’m trying to get some writing done now. So I think an update is in order…

Next week.

Please support me on Patreon!

April 22, 2019

Milan!

Filed under: Announcements,off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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I leave for Milan today—I have a 6:35 PM flight to Malpensa, scheduled to land at 9:00 AM Italian time. I’m really excited and a bit nervous, but that’s usual. Maybe a little bit more because I’m a bit spoiled by being used to having courtesy vans to and from my hotels and I don’t have it this time. But I may be able to get to another airport and hop on a courtesy van there (though it does look like there’s a charge).

I’m not sure if my room will be ready by the time I get to my hotel, but I figure I might have a better chance since I figure the earliest I’ll get to my hotel is 12 PM. At the very least, I can have lunch there and maybe see if I can check in after that.

The main reason I’m going to Milan is for a Once Upon a Time convention. All of them are international this year and Milan was at the best time for me. (Birmingham is almost right after my trip to Hilton Head and Father’s Day to boot while Paris is only a couple weeks before a major work trip). The convention runs Friday and Saturday. I’m arriving a couple days ahead of time in order to do some sightseeing beforehand. 

I’m looking forward to spending time with my friends and getting to see Milan. And of course, enjoying the convention!

So there won’t be a post next week. And I will post a round up of my trip…probably in July like last year, knowing me.

Until then…ciao!

April 15, 2019

2019 Reading Challenge Update

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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In business, the first quarter of the year is over. So I guess now is a good time to check in with how my reading challenge is going.

It’s not going well so far this year. Usually I’m at least a book ahead. According to Goodreads, I’m two books behind meeting my goal.

I’ve only finished one book so far this year—The Glass Ocean. But I hope that things will pick up. I’m close to finishing another book and I have a lot of airplane flights coming up. This month I’m going to Milan, next month I’m flying to Virginia, in June it’s to Hilton Head and then in July I’m heading to Anaheim. While all those flights have varying duration (Richmond being the shortest and Milan being the longest), there’s still time to get in reading. (Despite being the shortest, Richmond probably offers the greatest chance of getting the most reading done just because the plane doesn’t offer TV or movies).

So I’m hopeful that I can catch up by the end of the summer.

Wish me luck!

April 8, 2019

A Bit of a Breather

Filed under: journey,The Christmas Wish,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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No, I’m not taking a break from my writing. I’m ploughing straight ahead with that.

What I’m talking about is OQ Update Month, which happens to be going on right now.

As most of you must know by now, the Outlaw Queen fandom has pretty much had a theme week almost every month since last July. Despite our ship getting sunk in 2016 and the show ending last year, we are still going strong.

While the theme weeks are great at keeping the fandom alive and have been fun, a lot of us started lamenting about how we’ve neglected our regular fics. I feel like I’m always backburnering mine and that’s one of the many reasons why Comfort Food is always late.

So someone decided that April should be dedicated to us just finishing our unfinished projects. Give us a chance to have a breather and not have to worry about tight deadlines.

It’s been nice to just deal with my stories again and not have to worry about an upcoming theme week. (Though Prompt Party is lurking around the corner). And I’ve already posted two updates so far! I’m readying a couple more, possibly for this week. So this month is really productive for me so far.

Of course, there is a button. After all, I believe I’ve documented how much our fandom loves buttons. To win a button, you have to submit either 5 updates or 20,000 words in the month. I know I’ll be able to make those 5 updates and I want to do it before April 22nd, which is when I’ll be leaving for Milan. Since I won’t be returning until April 29th, that won’t leave much time to update then.

And it also gives me time to focus on The Christmas Wish as well as I do backburner that during crunch time for theme weeks. I’m heading into the climax now and I’m excited. I can see the end. I might have the whole thing changed over by early summer. And then I can move onto the next phase. Publication for Christmas is looking more and more likely!

Remember, if you want to help me publish my book, you can support me on Patreon.

April 1, 2019

It’s My Birthday!

Filed under: journey,The Christmas Wish,writing — mackenziew @ 10:30 pm
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And no, that’s not a joke. I’m really born on April Fool’s Day and would like it if there was an option for websites to realize that so I don’t have to deal with their “pranks” for today.

Enough about that. That’s just a pet peeve of mine.

Anyway, for my birthday, I’m giving you a present—but only if you’re supporting me on Patron. You can get part of a piece that follows the end of The Christmas Wish.

My Patreon can be found here.

Thank you!

Fairy Tales of New York

A few weeks ago, I talked about some of my original ideas—including resurrecting some old NaNoWriMo projects that comprised a series I called “Fairy Tales of New York.”

(That series name will probably change).

Let’s do a refresher for those who forgot or are new around here.

The series started with Fairest of Them All, a modern take on Snow White. Gwen White gets a chance to advance to a management position at the hotel where she works. She is up against Melissa, who is not afraid to resort to any tricks possible to get the position. As all of this happens, she ends up meeting Brandon King, the son of the hotel’s owner, and starts to fall for him.

Gwen also starts to have strange dreams, vivid ones where she is Snow White. When her life starts to mirror the fairy tale, she wonders are they just dreams?

Or are they memories?

I still love this project and want to go forward with it. So I’m slowly starting to go back to it, though my focus is still on The Christmas Wish. I’m nearing completion on my conversion from fanfic to original novel on that project, but more on that later.

So, here’s the deal about Fairest of Them All…I’m pretty sure I lost everything typed up. If you remember, my old laptop—Old Blue—went to electronic heaven and I had to switch to Little Blue, the laptop I got for traveling. And my IT guy at work was unable to save anything from my hard drive. I lost a lot as I wasn’t regularly using OneDrive then.

I am now.

Now, it’s not a total loss. I actually wrote my first draft of it in a notebook. I’d have to go through everything to find that notebook but it should be easily located.

However, I’m not sure I want to pull it out and type that all up. Especially as I’ve come up with different angles for the story. So I’m thinking it’s just best to start from scratch and go from there.

What changes am I making? Well, here’s a few of them…

  • Eliminating the hypnotism angle. In the original, Gwen reluctantly agrees to be hypnotized, which awakens her memories.
  • Also the five main “princesses” wouldn’t be college friends anymore but they would still be friends. They all would now live in the same apartment build, Grimm Towers. Being there is what “awakens” their memories.
  • I had originally intended for one of my princesses to the be the princess who didn’t laugh but it’s best if she’s changed to Cinderella.
  • I’ll probably be changing a few names. I went a bit heavy handed with symbolism last time and I think I want to dial it back a bit.

Plus a lot more that will probably happen while I’m writing.

So that’s my next big project. Wish me luck!

(And happy birthday…but more on that later!)

March 18, 2019

Original Ideas

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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Let’s go back to November, when I participated in NaNoWriMo. I didn’t win and it was probably my worst showing yet. There were a couple reasons for that. The main one was that I was focused on getting my Outlaw Queen Advent calendar gift written and submitted on time. The second reason is that I just was really prepared to write the story I chose yet.

I apologize if I repeat myself from my about NaNoWriMo as I explain.

This goes back to September. I participated in another theme week called “Inspired by Outlaw Queen.” Writers like me had to write stories inspired by fanart done by the amazingly talented artists in our fandom. One of the stories I wrote was inspired by this picture by my friend Jen (known in the fandom as Starscythe):

(Find her on Twitter/Instagram)

In the story, Regina curses herself so she can only marry her soulmate, who is revealed to be Robin. There’s a catch though—she can’t leave her house until she does and every time he dies, she falls into a deep sleep until his reincarnated. She then wakes up and has to try to find to get him to fall in love with her. Most of the story takes place in modern times where she has her best chance of falling in love with him and getting her happy ending at last.

A lot of readers loved my story and I loved it too. It’s probably up there as one of my favorite one-shots. As I looked it over, I felt I could expand it and turn it into an original story. So I decided to do that for NaNoWriMo.

But as I started writing it, I realized that I was very ill-prepared to actually turn it from a one-shot fanfic to a novel. I had no real direction for it, except that I wanted the story to alternate between the modern times where my main female character wakes for what she hopes is her last lifetime and her past lifetimes trying to get her happy ending. However, did I want it to be a true fantasy or did I want it to be a historical fantasy piece? If I did want historical fantasy, then what eras did I want?

Both were very good questions and I realized that I needed to answer them so I can do the research necessary to write them. As such, I pretty much gave up on NaNoWriMo and just stopped writing that story.

Part of me still wants to turn it into a novel but I still don’t know what kind of direction I want to take it. I still debate between a straight urban fantasy and a historical fantasy. It can go either way, really. Trust me—I’ve bounced between the two constantly.

Then I wondered if I should move it to when the legends of Robin Hood claim he lived so that the main character could remain Robin Hood. But would that be cutting it a bit too close? There’s already a gray space about turning fanfiction into original stories as it is. I don’t want to lean too heavily on it.

And then there’s another story I started a few years ago, one I would love to come back to. It’s about a single mother who is surprised when Robin Hood magically appears in her house. She helps him adjust to modern life and, of course, starts to fall for him. I wouldn’t want to publish two stories with Robin Hood.

I also wonder if I could use the “trapped in a modern high rise until they fall in love” in another series I started, one I wrote entries for for previous NaNoWriMos—Fairy Tales of New York.

But I think I’ll write about that in another post. This one has probably gone on long enough and I don’t want to start rambling.

Remember, if you want to see any of these ideas come to fruition, you can support me on Patreon.

February 28, 2019

Why I Write Romance

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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So February comes to an end and so does my focus on romance. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it so far! And I hope this one really wraps it all up.

As it says on the tin, this is why I write romances. What draws me to those stories, why they inspire me. This is about the tropes I adore, whether reading or writing them. This is about me.

Here we go.

Romances are so much more than just two people feeling connected and then kissing a lot. A lot of people like to dismiss romances as works without substance and it makes it clear they haven’t read a lot of romances, especially good romances.

(I think we can all agree that there are bad romances, just like every genre has some bad examples. We just might not be able to agree about what those are because it’s all subjective, not objective like we sometimes pretend it is).

Romances, though, are deeper than that. They delve further into that connection, exploring emotions and how the relationship changes people. Good authors flesh out the feelings, the needs, and the desires of their characters—especially the women.

Yes, romances are something of wish-fulfillment as I’ve already discussed. So yes, we are creating the perfect man in some scenarios. At the very least, how we wish relationships would be—how they could be.

I love crafting meet cutes and writing about that initial connection. The first blush of love—butterflies, nerves, joy, excitement—is fun to write as well. Letting the two fall in love is just as intoxicating to write as it is to read.

That’s why I love writing Outlaw Queen. No matter the scenario, it’s always fun to write them falling in love over and over. And it translates well to original works as well, whether I’m attempting to write a novel or just writing a short story. I can’t help but write a romance.

So, I didn’t make the final Monday of February but I did make the last day. I think this is a good way to end the month I dedicated to romance.

Remember, if you want to read my romance writing, please support me at Patreon!

February 22, 2019

My Favorite Literary Couples

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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My month of romance continues as I now discuss some of my favorite couples from books. The ones who made my heart race and whose love drew me to read more and more. Whose romance stayed with me even after I turned the last page. The ones who inspire me now as I write my own romances.

1. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

I think it’s been established by now that I’m an Austenite. And yes, I love these two. I’m a big sucker for the enemies to lovers trope, which Lizzy and Darcy can fall into. But I also love how they challenge each other, make each other realize their own prejudices and help each other work to overcome them. Their love is built on mutual respect and affection, two people who were more compatible than originally thought.

2. Eowyn and Faramir, The Lord of the Rings

Most people love Arwen and Aragorn. Some feel that Aragorn and Eowyn should’ve ended up together, which I understand. In fact, I believe it was supposed to be the original plan until Tolkien fell in love with Eowyn and so created Faramir to be his author avatar.

They are each other’s yin and yang. Faramir went into military life because it was expected of him while Eowyn longed for it. Together, they witnessed how the shadows of Mordor affected their loved ones and themselves. He showed her that there was more than death on a battlefield and that hope existed in the world. She supported him and listened to him, something he had lost with the death of his brother. Their romance was sweet and  I loved it.

3. Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, The Harry Potter series

Remus Lupin is my favorite Potter character. So I wasn’t too sure if I’d like any romance with him. But when Tonks grabbed his robes and declared that she loved him in the hospital wing at the end of the sixth book, I fell in love. It wasn’t the pairing for him but when I thought about it, it worked. He could be (understandably) serious and she brought some levity into his life. He grounded her and helped her mature (along with the war). So I rooted for those crazy kids as they got married and had a baby.

And in my mind, they live on forever with Teddy.

4. Robert Langford and Tess Fairweather, The Glass Ocean

I read this book over the holidays and loved it. It’s about the Lusitania and I encourage everyone to pick it up and read it.

Robert and Tess keep running into each other on the ship and have some great banter. He is pining after another woman for most of the book but to me, it was more that he put her on a pedestal and loved the idea of her, not really her. With Tess, he had a real connection and saw her as a real person, not some goddess. She slowly falls for him, realizing that she likes to spend time with him and talking with him. I spent the book rooting for them and I will tell you I was not disappointed.

Sorry for the delay with this post. I was part of a gift exchange for the Outlaw Queen fandom and one person did not get a gift. I volunteered to make that person something and so I spent the weekend just writing a new story for that person. I didn’t get to focus on much else.

I will still aim to have my last part up on Monday. So come back to hear why I write romances and maybe get a little more about my work in progress, The Christmas Wish.

Remember, you can always get sneak peeks and access to other stories by supporting me on Patreon.

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