My father taught me to believe…in destiny, in magic, in happily ever after. Dreams were my scripture and the starry night sky was my temple. Then Mom stopped believing, left him, and took us with her. At the age of sixteen, I cashed in my dreams to pay the rent, pawned my destiny to keep my sisters together.
Now, seven years later, I’m returning home, grieving the death of my mother, and settling my sisters back into the life Mom threw away. I never intended to stay. I don’t want to deal with my father, who is so invested in the spiritual world he forgets the physical. I don’t want to face William Bailey, whose eyes remind me of the girl I was, the things I’ve done, and the future I lost.
This would all be easier if Will hated me. As it is, I have to hold my secrets close so they won’t hurt him more than they’ve already hurt me. But he wants to be in my life. He wants what I can’t bring myself to confess I sold. He wants me.
I find myself looking to my stars again...wondering if I dare one more wish.
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Top Ten Pieces of Advice to Authors:
I’m still a little baffled when people want writing advice from me. I’m usually the anti-helpful with, “Uh? Just do it?” But since I get asked a lot, I’ve put together a list. You can trust me. It’s 10am and I’m the chick still wearing her PJs.
1. Read. A lot. I know, I know, you’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Read inside and outside the genre you want to write in. Read books that defy categorization. Read bestsellers. Read breakout novels (books that became bestsellers when the author previously wasn’t).
2. Write. A lot. It’s very easy to be impatient in the beginning because it seems like everyone else has written 3,134 novels and you’re still working on your first (second, third, whatever) one, but have faith. Every word you write is going to make you a better writer. The book you write half of and then ditch? It wasn’t a waste of time. You learned something. But if you find yourself doing this, say, more than once or twice? See #7.
3. Analyze both what you’ve read and what you’ve written. What’s working? What’s not working? What are the audience appeals? Why are the characters compelling? How was the plot structured?
4. Study the market—not to chase trends but to allow yourself to capitalize on your strengths.
5. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, celebrate your successes, and bring you joy.
6. Cut ties with people who bring you down and make you focus on the negative. Unless I just described Grandma. If that’s Grandma, learn to smile and nod and tune out the negative.
7. Finish what you started. You will always have an idea that seems better/more exciting/easier to write/funnier/sexier/whatever than the story you’re writing, but no idea beats a finished book.
8. Know and be true to yourself. Being a writer is the best job in the world. I admit it. I’m one lucky bitch. But it’s only the best job in the world because I’m writing what I love. You won’t be happy if you’re writing something you aren’t passionate about. You probably won’t be successful either, as that tends to show on the page.
9. Persist beyond when all reason might tell you to quit. Your story will get there, and your career will get there. Maybe not in the timeframe you’d prefer, but it will happen if you work hard and persist.
10. Repeat from #1.
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