Word Wednesday: Memories and Treasures

Today’s Word Wednesday is not really about the meaning of words. Normally I would sit here at my desk and pound out some interesting facts about definitions and word origins, but today we are going to be more philosophical. And I’m going to apologize for disregarding fan input during my Facebook poll…

To anyone who actually voted on book titles for Book 3, I’m sorry that I couldn’t take your advice. While I was editing Book 3, I couldn’t help but feel that my title was mismatched to the contents of the story. After all, when your major characters are dealing with amnesia, flashbacks, and the consequences of remembering or not remembering something, it’s hard to justify a title about treasures.

There were NO treasures discussed in any material way in Book 3. So “Sea Treasures” is just a bad name for that book. “Sea Memories,” however, though perhaps less catchy or less glamorous, hits a theme in the book that I would have been remiss not to follow.

I couldn’t be more excited to tell you that the third book in the Sea Deception series, Sea Memories, comes out tomorrow.

Sea Memories book cover

This is easily my favorite book cover in the series so far.

This book is the culmination of several years’ worth of effort. I decided to write three books and release them together, an undertaking that pushed the bounds of my skill set. I’m really proud to say that I did it.

However, I’m also really excited to take a moment to take a deep breath before diving into my next writing project. I’ve got the next book in the series mostly plotted and a children’s book’s illustrations to focus on next.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of Kai and Maryn’s latest adventures.

Of course, if you haven’t read the first book in the series, you definitely need to start there.

Ruminating on 2018

As the year comes to a close, it invites reflection. What did I accomplish? What do I regret? How did I grow?

Ruminating on 2018

Accomplishments and Growth

In comparison to 2017, I can honestly say that I’ve been in a much better mental place. I still miss my dad–and I always will–but time and new experiences have offered their salve.

  • Writing, both journaling and the three novels I’ve been readying for release,
  • Drawing, whether little doodles or letter art or sitting down with my sketchpad,
  • Language learning, because Duolingo is awesome (Spanish and Hindi for now)
  • Reading, especially to the munchkins but also some great series I’ve discovered,
  • Gratitude practice, which I can’t recommend highly enough, and
  • Exercising, from HIIT to yoga, barre to Zumba,

These activities have all helped changed my perspective, keep me busy, and bring different kinds of joy. An analogy that really resonated with me was that grief or loss is like a bubble of a fixed size in the ever-expanding bowl of our life experience. As additional bubbles fill the bowl, the loss bubble doesn’t get smaller, but its proportion in comparison to our life experiences starts to shrink. I think we also get used to the new normal of not being able to share the new experiences of life with our lost loved one. Regardless, it still sucks and the strangest moments remind me of my dad, but I don’t want to dissolve into a puddle of helpless tears at every juncture.

The kids are also more independent and conversant, so it’s fun to see the thoughts coming out of their heads and to play games with them that I genuinely enjoy too. Their personalities are so different, and their capacity to learn and to help and to love brings such satisfaction to my lifelong wish to be a mother. Whether cooking with T or folding laundry with D, we find ways to work together productively and teach each other life skills. T’s love for science, D’s for cuddles, and both of theirs for having someone lavish attention on them warms my heart.

Growth as a writer? Not that you’ll notice since I haven’t released anything, but my writing provides better description and pacing than before. I’m conscious of active word choices and I’ve developed a draft-edit-complete method that really works for me. It helped me speed through Book 2 and is going to help me wrap up Book 3 at pace.

Regrets for 2018?

Can one have regrets without having regrets? Because while there are things I would like to have finished (ahem, release Sea Dreams), I do know that the delay will benefit the book’s quality. Finding time to finish the first draft of Book 3, Sea Treasures, has been a struggle despite having taken time off for medical stuff.

After surgery in mid-November to remove what turned out to be a benign liver cyst, it took rather longer than I anticipated to get back on my feet. Work stuff took priority, and then we had family travel plans thereafter. I’ve really tried to be present for the time I spend with the family, to make the best memories I can, so I can’t regret that choice. All of these activities translated to limited writing time in the last quarter of the year, inevitably delaying the release of Book 1.

The delays in the writing also paid off: I found more beta readers who were willing to share their feedback, and the slow pace of my draft have resulted in some quality writing that should (hopefully) require less editing time. I’ve also updated some things in Book 1 to make more sense and add consistency to the series.

Looking Forward

I’ll be discussing resolutions for 2019 in my next post, but obviously the first three books of Sea Deception will be released in 2019.

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