Thursday, March 13, 2014


So I started listening to this fantastic audiobook called MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill. It's the story of a straight-A high school student named Julia and her educational class trip to London. I love stories that are set abroad, and so when I read the back cover of the audio book I was hooked.

But I've been having trouble staying in the story because the narrator of the audiobook is Shannon McManus. I love her voice. She's perfect for YA and has so much enthusiasm and emotion. But she's also the narrator for LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins and I've listened to that audio book at least a dozen times.

So it is embedded in my brain that the voice is of Shannon McManus IS Lola Nolan. And Lola and Julia (the main character of MEANT TO BE) couldn't be more different. Lola expresses herself by dressing in costume, she does decent in school, is super creative, talks to the moon, and is the exact opposite of straight-laced. At the beginning of the novel Lola's dating a hot twenty-something rockstar. Julia would never break a rule, prefers to spend her time with books, and is a disciplined athlete. Julia's school appointed travel buddy, calls her book licker and accuses her of not knowing how to fun--which is kind of true.

So while I'm listening to MEANT TO BE, I'm like what's wrong with Lola? Why doesn't she want to go the party? What happened to her wardrobe? And then, I'm like's Julia. Not Lola.

What's even worse is when Shannon McManus does the voice of a British Guy, it sounds exactly like Etienne St. Clair from ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Etienne plays a role in LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, as it is a companion novel to AATFK. So when Julia is at a party in MEANT TO BE and is talking to some British guy that's hitting her. I'm like, why is Etienne hitting on Lola? No, I mean Julia. Why is he hitting on Julia? Why is he in London without Anna? Why? Why?

So, unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to finish the audio book for MEANT TO BE. There's just too much character confusion going on in my head. This may be a story I'll just have to pick up in its book form.

Friday, March 7, 2014


I've been so moved by the honesty and bravery of people like Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, and Natalie Whipple out there on the internet, that it has moved me to do the same.

Confession: I haven't been blogging much lately because I'm afraid I won't say the right thing. I don't want to offend. I want to up lift.

I don't have clinical depression like Myra or Stephanie, but I have family and friends that do. And when people I care about are sad, then I'm sad. I'm like an emotional sponge. I wish I was more like a rubber bouncey ball sometimes. Bounce. Bounce. Just care about my trajectory, and don't let sad things soak into my core.

I'm scared to truly talk about my writing journey. If I talk about something good that happened. Then I'm worried that people will think I'm gloating. If I share the low times, when I'm compulsively stalking my writer e-mail, screaming in my head: somebody please e-mail me back, say something, anything--I'm afraid people will think I'm mental. I'm afraid that people judge me because I choose to write middle grade and young adult fiction, and that I'm not writing intellectual things.

I don't really talk about what's going on with skating. Because frankly, people don't get it. They'll ask things like, Are you going to the Olympics? No, I'm not freaking going to the Olympics. Did you see me in Sochi? Besides do the math. There are so many elite caliber figure skaters out there, and only two or three people get to represent our country in the Olympics once every four years. There's so much luck and timing involved. And hard word. And sacrifice. There are infinite amounts of both needed. And money. Lots of it.

People will say, oh is it your hobby? (People, btw, ask the same thing about writing).
Hobby. That's such a diminishing term for it. That puts it on the same level as stamp collecting and bird watching. My family and I have probably put more money into the sport equivalent to pay for a couple ivy league degrees. I've made social sacrifices. I've cherished every moment on the ice, every glycol and Zamboni exhaust fume I've inhaled. Every fall that's brought me closer to achieving my goals. Every student I've taught. Every show I've performed at. Every competition that I put it all out there for. I'm proud of every piece of music I've edited for every skater. That music and the skating program connected to it, is a tool to their dreams. I am the person I am today because of this sport.

I'm 34. I want to finish off my tests. People my age aren't usually training Junior and Senior Freestyle programs. With my back and neck that's withstood 23 years of a beating with the ice, and my knee, which frankly won't ever be the same after ACL reconstruction...sometimes it's just easier to not talk about how the odds seem stacked against you. I know I'm trying to do something that isn't usually done. But, it's important to me. I've given my life to figure skating. How many people can honestly say that? And now, because I'm 34, I'm expected to just give up my dreams? I. Just. Can't. Do. It. We're talking about six tests. Junior Freestyle. Senior Freestyle. And 4 gold dance test. And then I'll be a triple gold medalist. For me, to pass these things, will be the culmination of my skating career. I can't have invested 23 years and come up short. Some people get that. Some people don't. And I'm tired of hiding the fact, that this is what I do. I spend a majority of my day chasing a dream. I have a day job and I pay my bills. But I hate the fact that I can't share this journey and the importance of it with my family or my friends. When they ask, how'd your day go? I feel like it's socially mandated to give a standard answer like: Work was busy. OR Paid the mortgage today.

Why can't I say, I skated a clean program and wrote a chapter I'm proud of in my WIP? Why do I have to talk about the mundane as if that's the most important thing in my life. When it's not. Why can't I talk about a song that cleared my mind or moved me to tears or a spiritual passage that spoke to my soul? Why does a day have to be quantified by the money earned?

And I guess in the end, I should do as Idina Menzal sings, "Let it go."

I'm not going to lie. I listened to that song five times today and progressively balled my eyes out even more with each repeat. It was cathartic. Something that I needed.

This is my blog. And I'm going to talk about the good and the bad. I hope that through my writing and skating I can inspire others, be a role model (at least to those who think that those things matter). And I don't want my success to be judged by my pay stub, or what car I drive, or the number of children I don't have.

So I plan on being here a lot more and I hope you'll come join me. Peace.