2013.  The year we weren’t supposed to reach because the world was supposed to end.  So they say…

Looking back, I can confirm something that I hoped at this exact time last year — 2012 was a year of transition for me.  In the last 365 days, I moved 2,000 miles away from everything I knew, I turned 30, I started a new job, my dad retired, two of my best friends got married, I finally put another stamp in my passport, and I’ve been offered the opportunity to teach on a collegiate level — something that I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl.  I’m omitting that I found love, because I lost it too, but at least I got myself back to a place where I was open to love.

I made writing goals for myself, I bought my domain name after solidifying a pen name — the name I originally intended to give my first daughter.  With the prospect of children being rather remote, at least right now, the name I selected was one of such importance that I just had to know it would be used.  Simone Marrise.

And now, to look forward, I think 2013 will be another year of transition.  This one may have more growing pains, but I think that I’ll be a little more fearless this year.  A little more willing to do for myself what I would always do for others.  More travel, and not just all of the work trips.  More outings and opportunities.  More chances to meet the goals I’ve always had for myself that I was starting to believe weren’t feasible.  I moved 2,000 miles to a place where I had no friends or roots.  It may sound unwise, but it was the best thing that I could have done for myself, because I proved that I can go anywhere from here.

2013.  I’ll turn 31 in two weeks, and my thirties are already infinitely more promising that my 20’s were.  My 20’s were so littered with loss that I couldn’t see any of my major accomplishments, like finishing college or graduating law school.  Great accomplishments, but there was too much going on for me really appreciate what was happening.  By this day next year, I’ll have at least one book published, hopefully I’ll have also published a scholarly article, I’ll be slated to teach another college-level course, and I’ll be settled in a state that is almost the exact opposite of my native California.  Maybe I’ll find love again in the next year, but I’m not rushing that, nor am I scouring the earth in search of it.  Maybe I’ll get another stamp or two in my passport this year.  Maybe I’ll get serious about the prospect of buying a home, but I think that’s still a few years off.  Hell, maybe I’ll win the power ball.  Whatever happens, happens.

Goals I didn’t think I could attain are so close now.  I’m gaining a confidence I thought I’d lost, and it feels so good to be at peace with the past and have a positive outlook on the future.  I don’t intend to force any of my goals to happen prematurely, but I’m going to do my damnedest to check a few more off of the list in 2013.

No waiting until June to realize that time is passing by so quickly and nothing’s been achieved.  Time to get started.  Planning and intentions are great, but there’s no substitute for actual effort.

Barbecue and Elvis

Well, I’ve been away a while… did some soul searching, still experiencing butterflies, and (oh yeah) I moved to New Orleans.  Big change, but a good one, although if you move somewhere and then get a hurricane warning on day two, you might think otherwise.

I have to admit, I’m used to earthquakes.  Though there’s no warning, they happen so frequently that it has to be a huge one to make any real difference at all.  If it’s not above a 4.0, I may not feel it at all.  If it’s not above a 6.0, I won’t be concerned about aftershocks or any major damage.  But hurricanes, that’s different.  You may know days ahead of time, and some people may think a category 1 is nothing, but I’ve never experience one, nor have I been educated on them.  A category 1 and Katrina could be the same thing to me.

Obviously, I’ve been doing my research, since one is looming ahead before I’ve even been here a weekend.  I’m nervous, to say the least.  I’ve already been warned about my job’s hurricane procedures and policies, and I’ve been told there could be a mandatory evacuation by the city.  That may be the norm to locals, but it’s pretty unsettling to someone who’s never lived outside of California.  I’ll deal though.

Before I left Los Angeles, I joked with co-workers that if a hurricane was coming, they could find me in Memphis.  I figure it’s far enough north that the hurricane will have dissipated, and there’s some damn good barbecue.  Plus, there’s always the possible Elvis sighting, right?  Ironically, the first hurricane I might experience comes before my car has even arrived.  So much for Memphis.  Maybe I’ll just harness a gator and ride to Memphis.  Can beignets be used as water wings?  Crazy talk, I know, but it’s easier to make light of things you don’t completely understand (and are admittedly afraid of).  Mother Nature can be a beast.

I will say, in the short amount of time that I’ve lived in New Orleans, I’ve rekindled my writing motivation.  Something set a spark in me today to get out to a local coffee shop and write.  I got down a whole chapter in no time, and it felt so good to be back to getting words on a page.  Something about this city just breeds creativity; there’s an openness about the people here, and so much history.  It’s a beautiful thing (though if I could, I’d nix the bugs and this whole hurricane business).  I’m very excited to see what else is in store for me here.

Excerpt from “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”

“You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair–the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.”  ~Stephen King

Writer’s Block

I’m finding more and  more motivation to write, but less and less time to actually be productive.  How do people get this done?  Often, I don’t feel like it’s worth it to write for a half hour, if that’s all the time that I have, because I barely get into anything before time runs out.  I don’t have some complicated process, but I need a chance to refamiliarize myself with the characters and get back into the tone of the story before I move forward.

Does anyone else have this problem?   I’ve seen lots of other writers set word counts for themselves, or set a certain amount of time to glue themselves to their laptops.  But what do you do when writing isn’t your day job (but you want it to be)?

I was doing some reading on another writer’s site, one who is far more advanced in her writing career — she’s extremely successful in selling her books.  She mentioned how she didn’t quit her day job until the first book was in print, the second book was done, and she had a contract in place for her third.  Being more of a realist, and knowing how the publishing market has changed, I fully expect that I could end up self-publishing and be nowhere near a contract by the time I reach a third novel.  I just want to get my work out there.  I  don’t look at self-publishing as a negative, but I don’t want to create the expectation that my book is the next NY Times best seller when I can’t even find the time to write.

I feel like I need a plan.  Or a schedule.  Maybe I could just plan to invade an hour that I set aside for sleep, or maybe I should bring my laptop and just write through my lunch break.  I’m certainly open to some sage suggestions.

What do you do when all you want to do is write, but you have to put other things first because they pay the bills?

The Writing Process of L. W.

My writing process is more like a work in progress. It hasn’t changed that much since my first novel, although I am slightly less terrified of the process now, but it’s far from perfect. It usually goes something like this: figure out how long I have until final, drop-dead deadline, calculate how many words I would need to write every single day between now and then to make that deadline, pledge to start that very afternoon, and then procrastinate for six more weeks. It goes downhill from there. Once I’m actually seated at a computer, there’s always a white noise machine in the background, noise cancellation headphones clamped over both ears, a liter of coffee or Diet Coke or both, and an addiction to the internet so intense I can easily lose three hours to a single Google search of “Nicole Richie’s son’s name?”. It’s not pretty, but eventually I get scared enough to start putting some words down on paper, and once I get to that point, I really do enjoy it.” ~Lauren Weisberger  (Clearly one of my favorites)


When I first started this blog, I think that I wanted this to be the end-all, be-all blog for me.  However, I just don’t think that’s me.  Reviews, and recipes, and books, and dating, and musings — oh my!  Too much.

Being a true capricorn, I’m feeling the need to reorganize and refocus, because everything has its place.  Trust me, I know how ridiculous and structured (and anal retentive) this sounds to have everything in different places, but it works for me.  If I told you how many blogs I have, you wouldn’t believe me.

I think that I really want this blog to focus far less on food reviews, since I already do that separately.  I don’t need to write book reviews right now — I’m trying to write books that I can publish!  Rather, I want this blog to be similar to the first one I ever wrote.  It was on Xanga, and it was purely an organic group of posts about whatever came to mind.  Experiences, observations, musings, dating, reactions, and diatribes.  Rants every now and then.  Maybe even my reaction to an amazing recipe once in a while.  But rarely.

Do you ever find that sometimes you need to completely express something that’s on your mind before you can really focus on the task at hand?  I know that I do.  And it’s so necessary, because whatever that thought is, it will nag at me until I do something with it — like a dull headache that lingers until I finally break down and take an Advil.  A dear friend of mine, way back from Xanga days reminded me of the kind of blogging I used to do, and how I used to really be willing to “go there.”  She reminded me how much I missed that writing, and how much I’ve begun to censor myself.  Well, no more.

It’s back to the writing therapy that I need to get out my thoughts and clear the clutter from my mind so that I can focus on whatever writing project I’m working on at the moment.  If I ever want to get these novels published, it’s time to get a little more serious.

Welcome to the mind purge of Simone Marrise.