The Death of RomCom + Postpartum Update

Postpartum Update

She’s here! Our little angel arrived on February 2nd, twenty-four hours after my water broke. Looking back on those sleepless and anxious hours at the hospital, it all feels like it happened in the span of a breath. But of course, in those grueling moments, it was anything but.

Here we are, the three of us home and faring well. It seems all those baby books, online articles, and mommy blogs were worth their salt. It gave me the confidence I needed to care for her. Every day is different, some easier than others, but we’re managing better than expected. I’ve come to trust my body on a whole new level. This entire experience is like watching a miracle continuously unfolding. From my body to our newborn’s, every change is as if new parts of a sophisticated machine are awakening.

However, it all comes at a price. From lack of sleep to hormones, the flooding of emotions, and the destruction of your back–and maybe your sanity too. But I look at her and I see the pure manifestation of everything I dreamed and hoped for, and in those moments, a calm settles over me.

When she left my belly, something extraordinary and terrifying took her place. A feeling so profound it bears weight–a sharp blade made of protectiveness, ferocity, and fear, so strong it makes me tremble. I’m not one to entertain tragic what-if scenarios about the people I love: my parents, my siblings, my spouse, or my friends. But after having her, the fear of losing my baby exists alongside the unconditional love I have for her.

It’s a realization that I am not who I once was; that I am forever changed. And that I cannot live without her.

Have I mentioned how terrifying this is?

It’s OK. Breathe. Smile. RomCom’s Anyone?

At the second week of baby girl’s arrival, in between caring for her needs and managing housework, I’ve been in the mood for Romantic Comedies. My favorites are the ones set abroad in the beautiful landscapes of Greece, Italy, France, Spain, and Ireland. Something about these countries and their old-world romantic towns instantly inspires magic. I know what you’re thinking. These aren’t love stories…they’re fairytales. Stories that are often perceived as whimsical, silly, impossible, and unrealistic.


All I know is that they make me feel good. And I’m sure there are millions of fans who would agree with me.

I announce my sudden fervor to binge-watch RomCom’s and my husband gives me the typical male expression, telling me exactly how he (and the male species) feels about those kinds of movies.

What can I say? I’m filled with love and simply seek more of it. Perhaps the other half of the truth is that I’ve felt the icy caress of melancholy–so common during this period after childbirth. Captured in its embrace, it’s very difficult to surface from. And so, I strive to stay ahead of it. Eat well, sleep, smile, and laugh often. I’m trying not to ask too much of my body, even though, as I glance at my waist and no longer see the distinctive bump, I’m still unable to recognize myself. Not in this form. Heavy and sluggish, bearing half the strength I once had. I’m trying not to think too much about it. Not while everything is still so new and fresh.

My husband hates that every single one of these romantic movies involve some deadbeat that a girl is leaving for another man. My reply? Something along the lines of, “Well, I suppose there’s a lesson in there somewhere: Guys…don’t be a deadbeat or an asshole.”

Where have all the RomCom’s gone?

At this moment, I’m watching Letters to Juliet. Primarily set in Verona, Italy, and has the predictable RomCom plot. The only thing that truly differentiates these movies from one another are the faces, the locations, the starting and end point of the lovers (or singleton’s) story. It’s a beautiful, heartwarming movie. When I traveled to Italy several years ago, I longed to visit Verona. To glimpse Juliet’s castle and the famous wall where the love-stricken wrote their letters to Juliet.

Sadly, I was dissuaded by my (male) travel companion, and I’ve regretted it ever since.

If there’s any relationship advice I could offer, I’ll just say: adolescence is a short number of years, and if you’re with someone who has an interest/passion/hobby for which you might feel is childish, allow them a moment of indulgence. You should have your interests and they should have theirs. I think we’d be a little happier if we incorporate nearly as many hours into play as much as we do in work. It’s the best way to fight against the stress that plagues our generation.

“My husband believed that love is just hormones, but it’s more than that. Underneath it, [Lorenzo] was warm, kind, and so much more.” – Letters to Juliet

On my quest to create an exciting list of RC’s to binge-watch, I was disappointed to find Netflix and Amazon Prime lacking. Many of the old favorites weren’t freely available and there were no exciting new releases (save for Leap Year, and Bridget Jones’s Baby). It’s as if the film industry doesn’t believe in making good quality RC’s these days. And don’t get me started on the cringe-worthy Christmas specials. The category is desperately lacking new material.

Remember the decade before the Twilight craze, where Chick Lit and Chick Flicks flooded the shelves and theaters? I’d love to see it come back!

Welp…that’s all I’ve got. It seriously took me over five days to finish this post. >_< Exhaustion depleted me of both energy and creativity. I’m just thankful if half of this makes any sense to you.

Motherhood. Pray for me.


Also, please send me any recommendations on your favorite RomCom’s! xoxo

Self Worth & Personal Achievements + Pregnancy Update


Still pregnant. That’s the update.

Desperately trying to hang on until February 4th. I really want to give baby girl the chance to gain a little more weight before entering the world. It’s certainly translating on the scale as I grudgingly watch the numbers climb one pound after another. The Doctors keep telling me a lot of it is due to fluids, so I’m only crying on the inside…

But seriously, more than just gaining weight, why the obsession with Feb. 4th? Baby girl is due on Feb. 3rd so why is the day after so important?

The reason, very loosely, leads me to today’s topic: our fixation on time and personal achievements. In my early twenties (you’ll soon notice that I reference my twenties a lot because they were only 3+ years ago, and I did a crap-ton of growing up in the last decade), I had outlined my life and every prominent milestone. From completing a novel, to getting published, to knowing where I wanted to be in my professional career and financial goals, to building my family, and purchasing a home. I had it mapped out.

I know what you’re thinking. Control-freak? Yes. It quieted my anxiety and gave me peace of mind.

Then things got derailed.

I got engaged to my high school sweetheart in 2012 at the age of 27 just like I’d hoped. The timeline was panning out perfectly. Kids by 28-29, we already had a house, so that goal was checked off, the next step was to get published at 30.

Except, here’s the thing about well-crafted plans, sometimes it’s not on the same page as your heart. As the wedding planning ramped up, my heart spoke louder and louder.

Doubts stronger than anything I’d ever felt began to eat away at me. Staying on the path suddenly looked to be completely and utterly unfair for the both of us. Stripping away all the bullshit, it became clear how fiercely we’d insulated each other from the world. I looked around and realized we were on an island, and it had left us resentful, lonely, naive, and far from fulfilled.

There was more for us to experience before plunging into marriage. And when that time came, it wasn’t going to be with each other. In the end, the choice to go our separate ways came from a place of love and respect.

I’ve never spoken publicly about this experience because it’s no one else’s business. It’s a private, incredibly painful moment for two people and their families. But enough time has passed, we’ve all moved on. I believe it’s important to share because I’ve talked to a lot of women, and in hearing their struggles, I frequently saw a glimpse of my 27-year-old-self looking back at me.

We can be so obsessively fixed on pursuing the idealistic futures we’ve painted for ourselves–comparing and envying the lifestyle of others, in the hopes that our future is just as beautiful, even if some part of us knows it’s not what we really want. Sometimes we feel like we’ve come so far–that we’re in too deep–the idea of pivoting, slowing down, retracing our steps, or starting anew sounds impossible.

You might have kids, have a mortgage, debt, perhaps almost finished with your degree, or soaring in a career you’ve spent over a decade building. You dream of retiring at 40 or living that blissful 4-hour workweek. You want to have your masters or your Ph.D. by a certain age because you have other shit you’d like to get done soon after. Your family or that voice in your head tells you that you’re young, you have energy, enthusiasm, and the best time to do x,y,z is now!

But then halfway through, you realize that some of those ambitions were too aggressive. Or maybe they weren’t your dreams at all. Someone else impressed them upon you and at the time it sounded like a great plan. Maybe life happened: you got ill or someone you love does, and you can’t finish in the time you wanted. Perhaps you’re simply exhausted. Running on fumes. Tired of pushing yourself so hard, for so long only to see life passing you by. Instead of fulfillment, you’re lonely and depressed. You know this isn’t how it’s supposed to feel.

So what? You turn your back? Be the Anna in her 20’s and just walk?

No. Please don’t do that. Be smart about your choice, and deeply conscious of who it will impact. It would be incredibly short-sighted if you broke your promises on a whim. There are responsibilities that demand your continued commitment, and the other “goals” are no less important because they can still bring substance and meaning into your life–that is…if you still want them.

What you can relieve yourself of–as I have–is the fixation that your future achievements are on this predetermined timeline and that they can’t be altered, like stops on a bullet train to success. Undoubtably, the bigger the change, the more painful the transition. Nothing is going to spare you from the rough patch ahead, but at least you know, and can now focus on this new horizon.

One thing we all need to stop doing is comparing our lives to others. It’s hard, I know, to stop from seeing your peers with their picture-perfect lives, beautiful homes, grand vacations, accumulating cars and other stuff, and believing that their “accomplishments” mean that somehow you’re behind. You’re in your own lane in this marathon we call life.

Success is subjective

The train doesn’t have to have a new end-point. I chose to start over even though I had no idea how long it would take to recover. Hope and optimism is the bare minimum you can ask of yourself. All I had to cling to was the belief that someday I would be fine again. My train just took a fun detour through a dark tunnel.

Once I let go of my obsession in making something of myself by a certain age, I felt freer. Who says you can’t go back to those milestones? What’s another four or five years? Why is deviation so scary? Once those years pass, it will feel like a distant memory. Sure, you’ll probably wish you could have done x,y,z sooner but what’s the point?

They say life is short

But only if you’re letting it pass you by; only if you’re not spending enough time appreciating the moments. Barring health issues, you most certainly have time…enjoy it the way it makes sense for you. A friend once told me that after college, you still have at least forty years in the workforce. “Think about that,” he said. That’s plenty of time to have multiple careers where you could possibly have a decade or more of experience in each! You can apply the same thought in other areas of your life: marriage, kids, hobbies, business aspirations. Yes, some things are harder as you get older–some even physically impossible–but the point is that not everything has to be achieved in your twenties and thirties.

Take more time to focus on your health and again, stop comparing your life to others. It’s an exercise in masochism.

Everyone’s path is different for a reason. How else are we going to expand our awareness, build empathy, teach one other, and discover new ideas?

You’ll make mistakes. Everyone does. I’ve made plenty. I don’t say that with any ounce of pride but with reverence and humility. No single decision will define you as bold, strategic, lucky, successful or any of their respective antonyms. Those labels are an accumulation of your choices. Own your part and grow from there.

Okay. End rant. Now, where was I?

Ah yes, I’m praying that baby girl comes on Feb 4th. I’m still a planner. That hasn’t changed. I am, however, much more flexible than I was in the past. So if baby girl comes before or after that date then hooray! All I ask is that she’s healthy.

I want that date because of something way less sensible…


Two, four, and combinations of those two digits have been my lucky numbers since high school. And now that I’ve revealed this, excuse me while I go and change all my passwords…

As always, thank you for stopping by and catching a brief wave in the ocean that is my life. I’m so proud to have come this far. Still walking off some old injuries and finding myself dwelling on memories better left untouched, but it’s all good. Life is beautiful thanks to all the wonderful people in my tribe. Lotsa love,


This New Life

New blog photo 1.28.18.jpeg

Why the Hiatus?

I honestly can’t remember when I last wrote an entry. I initially pivoted from Blogger to WordPress in an attempt to provide more writer-focused content (also, oooh, isn’t WP just so much prettier?). But after no more than a few entries, the activity grew tedious and painful.

With side-hobbies like this, there will always exist some level of drab “work” but it should never outweigh the joy it’s meant to bring. The new direction had pushed the scale to become massively uneven and I quietly walked away.

So here’s to starting again: writing entries that I care about, without worrying whether people give a crap about what I have to say.

Ultimately, what brings you to this site is curiosity. Curiosity in what I might have to say,  what my life might entail, and the lessons I’ve learned, which you may or may not have any use for. But in the end, it’s for me. It always has been, even if I never admitted it. I write these entries because they’re good practice. They require purpose and a structure: a beginning, middle, and end. Such as any story. But I also write them because they’re an emotional release. They’re well-thought-out carefully crafted personal reflections that distract me from idleness. A writer’s mind can be a scary place. Without the ability to daydream to the point of obsession, I don’t know if I could’ve written all those long ass novels. Idleness for a mind like mine is its own kind of purgatory.

So this is where I begin. I’m enjoying the first few days of Maternity Leave. I’ve promised not to think about my job and simply focus on this new life. I’m one week (give or take a day) from my due date. We’re having a baby girl, whose features for the past nine months, I’ve struggled to picture. I feel her rolling and stretching inside of me and yet the vision of her in my arms still feels impossible and unreal. I haven’t met her yet and already, I love her.

Saying those words brings a sharp sting to my eyes. The kind filled with happiness, because how beautiful is that? Like the stories I’ve written, she’ll always be a part of me. But she’ll be she so much more. I’ve created many things in my life but never a life with a soul.

I’ve prepared as much as I could in anticipation of her arrival, but I know it will never be enough. She will likely teach me more than I could ever teach myself.

Balancing writing while being pregnant…

Challenging is putting it mildly. With the new role at work and all the fun symptoms of pregnancy, my discipline suffered these past several months. Despite what I said earlier, being a skilled obsessive daydreamer is not enough to produce a well-written story. Oh the many novels, I might’ve written…

You need discipline, time, and mental sharpness.

Unfortunately, pregnancy-brain is legit. And so is the fatigue. Along with the numerous ailments that come with the transformation required to incubate a growing human. My coping strategy after a long day of work was to endlessly daydream, which as noted above, absent of any followup, created nothing. I was trapped in my own head without an escape.

So I occupied myself in other ways. I focused on growing my author Instagram, which led to an increase in the discovery and sales of my books. Hooray! I joined a new writers group, became BFF’s with my library card, and prepared our home for the new baby.

Remembering my Promise

Despite the lack of traction in writing my next short story and novel, the promise I made to myself a long time ago remains unwavering: I would fulfill three purposes before I died (sort of grim to think about right now, I know). It’s mostly one true purpose, but each of the three is a significant milestone worthy of its own spotlight. I aim to write and finish the stories that have haunted me since my early twenties. They’re exclusive from other personal goals, like being a good mom, being a good friend, and living an honest life, etc. I still believe that everything in my life happened as it should so that I could be the writer I was meant to be.

There have been many late nights where I laughed at how naive and foolish these thoughts of grandeur were. As if I was meant to be someone remarkable in this world. But these promises aren’t meant to be grand. All they are is a needle pointing North. Being a writer is the identity that kept me from going astray, from wandering aimlessly; anxious about who I was supposed to be, and asking unanswerable questions that kept drowning me in melancholy. Before then, I tried to enjoy the escapism of youth and a kind of YOLO lifestyle only to be met with disappointment. The choices I made always took more than they gave. It’s a philosophy that quickly compounded in a tally of regrets, adding up in a ledger I couldn’t burn and forget.

That’s when I learned that both aimlessness and idleness were dangerous to me. Identifying and solidifying three simple purposes is what gave me focus.

But these promises require an investment in time, and it’s a fast disappearing currency in my household. That’s ok. I have faith. And soon, I’ll have someone looking up to me, who expects me to make a good example–as someone who keeps her promises.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I honestly don’t normally write in such somber tones. I do hope that you picked up on the range of emotions and mind-space that I’ve been experiencing as I enter this exciting and unknown doorway into a new world.

For me, life and writing are interchangeable. As such, I’ll be writing more…about life. Feel free to stop by anytime you want to see how things are going, and what I’m ruminating on these days.

Much love,


Get Some Perspective – in “Words Fail Me”

Today’s writing advice comes from Words Fail Me, by Patricia T. O’Connor, author of Woe Is I, and previously an editor at the New York Times Book Review. I love this helpful writing book by O’Connor. Im sure you’ve noticed a theme to my selection of books on writing: I enjoy a playful sense of humor to help me remember rules and guidelines. 

As a writer, perspective is an area I struggle with. O’Connor’s section on “Lost Horizon: What’s the Point of View?“, has some key takeaways that can help you flesh out a scene to help your readers visualize the setting.

Start quote

Easy Does It

I learned to drive on a stick shift, and the car protested loudly until I got the hang of it. Shifting smoothly takes practice, in writing as well as in driving A clumsy shift in perspective can be as grating as the sound of grinding gears.

Even there are many things to describe, it’s possible to move from one to another smoothly. Say we’re writing about a busy harbor town in a piece for a travel magazine. We start out small, with a particular red fishing boat bobbing at anchor. Then we pull back, describing the pattern all the brightly colored boats make on the blue water. We pull back further still, to include some gulls overhead, then the wharves at the foot of the village, then the bustling dockside street, then the houses extending up the hill and thinning out as they get farther from the water. Notice how the perspective shifts smoothly, moving from small to large, from particular to general, like a zoom lens on a camera.

Then let’s say we add the fact the red fishing boat has nets spread on its deck, drying in the sun. Crash! There we were, hovering somewhere in the sky above the village, when the bottom dropped out.

Be kind to readers. Let them down gently.

End quote

My Thoughts

Honestly, she lost me when we got to the nets spreading out on the deck part. I think the example perhaps got too long–but I picked up what she was putting down (LOL). The gist of this section is that building the scene for your readers is most helpful if you apply the same principle as a camera lens. Whether you’re starting from a broad view and zeroing in on a specific focal point, or vice-versa, this method makes a lot of sense! When facing a blank page or a new chapter, having a starting point like this will make it so much easier to build a scene or environment.

Speaking of perspective, today is Thanksgiving, and I wish you a blessed day with your friends and family. It’s been a tough month with the election and the civil unrest all across the country. I’m so thankful for my family and friends. Diversity in thought can only help us build knowledge and empathy. Regardless of what our personal beliefs are, today is a day we should be grateful to have one another.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Plot Is a Verb – In “Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us”

Today’s writing advice comes from Thanks, But This Isn’t For Usby Jessica Morrel, author and developmental editor, another witty and fun guide in discovering the most common mistakes writers make.

In the section: Plot Is a Verb, Morrel points out some of the biggest Deal Breakers when it comes to plots. She lists quite a few, most of which you’ve surely heard before. I’ve listed out the sections below, the titles are drawn right from the book and are somewhat self-explanatory.

  1. Heavy-Handed Foreshadowing
  2. Limp Adversity
  3. Lousy Ending
  4. Excess – “when a plot is excessive, and the story meanders and becomes buried”
  5. Shadowy or Snidely Whiplash Villain
  6. Suspense that Fizzles

The one that stood out to me–and one I hadn’t heard mentioned before–was the section on Lonely Hearts.

Start quote

Lonely Hearts

“I cannot say it enough: if too many scenes in your story feature a character alone, the story won’t work. Especially if in most of the scenes a character is thinking, musing, recalling the past, or sighing. Especially sighing. It will be boxed in and lack conflict and fireworks. One memorable story featured a protagonist who spent most of the story alone weeping and despairing. In fact, when she wasn’t breaking down she mostly whined throughout the story. I don’t know about you, but I cannot handle histrionics and self-pity in real life, so I’m not going to pay $24.95 to read about.

Instead, imagine the drama as a play acted out on a stage–if a character is alone on the stage, usually within moments another character arrives to mix things up. Now, I realize that one-man plays are performed all the time, but for most writers a character hanging out alone is static and dull as dishwater.

In The Old Man and the Sea,  Santiago is mostly alone in the wide waters of the Gulf of Mexico throughout his ordeal. But the story isn’t based solely on inner conflict–he’s up against the villagers, who believe he’s an unlucky has-been; the sea; the marlin; the brutal, hungry sharks; and the dwindling capabilities of his aging, ravaged body. This means readers feel the pain of his scarred hands and cramped muscles, and worry about his survival. This means that even though Santiago is mostly alone, the conflict is staged and we can watch him fighting for his last chance. The solution here is that the conflict–your protagonist’s worries and doubts and struggles–must be staged and the adversary visible whenever possible. Put anguish into action and readers will care.

End quote

My thoughts

What I like about this advice (and really, this entire book) is that Morrell does a decent job fleshing out her pain points, and following it up with real-life examples and/or exceptions. In the section above, she basically says “I don’t like reading a book where the character is completely alone,” but here’s a great book where the character is completely alone…and I liked it because…


To be fair, when it comes to the exception, she does a good job explaining why it works for that particular novel. What I took away from this advice was to be mindful of how much alone time my characters have in each scene/chapter and if they are all by their lonesome, what’s happening in that scene to build suspense and help move the story along?

Let me know what you think. Have you heard this advice or similar advice before?

Happy reading and writing.

The Deafening Hug – in “How Not to Write a Novel”


I’ve been blogging since early 2009. I’m embarrassed to say that’s almost eight years of far too many random thoughts. Of all the posts, the following writing advice drew hundreds of visitors.

In How Not to Write a Novel we learn many lessons, hilariously and delightfully delivered. One that stood out to me is known as The Deafening Hug. Authors Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman point out how we need to be careful of creating an unintended love interest. Sometimes it’s obvious; sometimes it’s not. Especially to the writer.

Start quote

1. The Mayfly Fatale

A new character is described as a “handsome, muscular man with raven hair and a cheeky grin” or “a lissome blonde bombshell in a tight tank top.” The reader immediately thinks this is a love/sex interest. While real life is full of attractive people who–let’s face it–never look at you twice, protagonists live in a charmed world where it is assumed that all the attractive people they notice are already halfway to the boudoir.

2. Alice in Lapland

Any undue interest in or physical contact with children will set off alarms. If you do not want your reader to think he is reading about a pedophile, dandling of children on knees should be kept to a minimum by fathers, and even more so by uncles. If your character is in any way associated with organized religion, whether he is a bishop, a minister or the kindly old church caretaker with a twinkle in his eye, he should not even pull a child from a burning building.

3. We’re Going to Need a Bigger Closet

Male friends hug, toast their friendship, and later stumble drunkenly to sleep in the cabin’s one bed. The reader is way ahead of you–they are secretly gay, and nothing you say later is going to change his mind. If you do not intend them to be secretly gay, let Alan sleep on the couch.

End Quote

Hilarious right? And how true they are! Sometimes when you’re trying to describe particular activities or scenes in too much detail, it can take your readers on a different path than you intended. But now you’ve got the insight and can prevent your characters from doing some highly inappropriate and unintended activities.

Happy reading and writing! Remember to return next Thursday for another insightful post, or have it delivered straight to your inbox by signing up as a follower.