Collaboration Celebration!

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There were times when we were sorely tested. Would we give up or follow through? Neither of us had ever been through the entire process necessary to publish a book. We had no idea. We thought we were too old, too tired, too broken, but we kept each other going even through our toughest times. There have been obstacles large and painful. We realize we haven’t mentioned our book for a while here on 2penthrupain. We’re happy that we finally get to share this news with you. It’s been a year and a half to go through the entire process of getting one book to press. We discover now, the week of release has arrived! This experience is surreal.

 

~*~

Synopsis: Sadie Myers is in a funk. Everyone who loves her seems to leave. No one remembered her fifteenth birthday—not even her parents. They have grown distant and moody ever since tragedy struck the family one year ago. Since that terrible day, Sadie’s life has become a dark brew of strange visions, unearthly messages, and vivid dreams in which a mysterious shadow man follows her every move. Are all these bizarre happenings real or figments of a troubled mind? When Sadie is pulled into a world so different from her own, everything she thinks she knows is turned upside down. Will she find the truth behind these unsettling episodes? Sadie will need to muster every ounce of courage and resilience she possesses in order to walk through the shadows, the fear of unknown evil, and—most important—get to the other side alive.

 

~*~

The ebook version of our first collaborative book, Ghost of a Shadow: Book One of the Sadie Myers Chronicles, is a Young Adult Dark Fantasy which will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and other online booksellers December 4th. The paperback version will be posted on that date for pre-order with availability on December 15th. The hardcover book will be out early next year.

 

Thank you for your being here with us.

 

 

 

 

 

The Tense Silence of Our Youth

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Instead of Hansel and Gretel, we have been Hannah and Gerta perhaps – two who find themselves lost in the great forest while the breadcrumbs meant to indicate a way home provide nourishment for ever watchful crows.

There have been times we both felt this way. Some of them have been simultaneous.

This state of being included some of our greatest obstacles, not only in writing but in day-to-day living. Hard to go forward when we’re looking back.

Struggles though these times have been keenly disheartening, but reminders from family and friends that everything is relative often sustains us.

Or turning around from running away to face the fear, the discomfort, the pain until it has nothing more to say, no more to deliver.

Like a string of pearls reversing into velvet black time, these difficulties have also formed a radiant calm and beauty, encouraging reflection.

Through all of this, we’ve managed to accomplish what once seemed impossible.

We’re still at it.

Sprint n’Splat

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How have you been?

As for us, here’s this month in collaboration:

These questions go through both of our minds, and we discuss them every time:

Does my sister condemn me?

Does she pass judgement or accuse me of slacking?

No, she never does. We’d like to get to the place where we can accept this as truth, rather than adding stress to our lives worrying what the other will think.

And to be honest, worrying over what each one of us thinks… of ourselves.

At its best, collaboration provides the way for us to keep up our dedication amid setbacks.

Having a partner oftentimes raises energy. Even when one is decidedly NOT up for anything, small tasks can be done by the other. We have to be okay with that.

We have the best intentions every day.

We had a good run for a couple of weeks at the beginning of June, revising our second draft, left, right, and center.

THEN, we tripped…. health-wise: our usual unwelcome, annoying, and intermittent experience turns around and bites us again.

No matter how many times we’ve been through the two steps forward/one step back thing, every time we have a good run, we forget that interruption could be lurking round the next bend… in this case, Chapter 28.

Patience, love, and compassion win the day in these situations, even if we can’t see it right away. What is most important after all?

As with location for putting up a successful business, communication is essential for collaboration.

How do you get through your rough patches? What are the tools you find most helpful when you doubt yourself?

We’d love to hear from you.

3… 2…1… Reentry

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We’ve been busy since we last saw you. We hope you’ve kept well and happy. You’ve been in our thoughts.

In the interim, we finished the first draft of our novel after a full year’s creative endeavor. We look forward to sharing snippets and scenes and in-betweens.

We’d like to pose questions and invitations for you to share your works as well.

We are now prepping for a month’s-long set of revision passes.

We find Janice Hardy’s suggestions invaluable as are James Scott Bell’s. The former suggested prepping the book by creating an editorial map with this format for each chapter. You could easily do it for each scene as well:

[SUMMARY

First line

Last line.

Revision Thoughts: ]

 

Here’s the link to Janice’s helpful resource: http://blog.janicehardy.com/2015/02/revison-prep-create-editorial-map.html

Next steps for us include an outline of the three acts and the main turning points within them.

~*~

We’ve missed this space and community. Bloggers everywhere have been in our thoughts. One good thing is we’ve been learning every day we’ve written.

Originally, we didn’t know how coauthoring would go with the two of us having different schedules, varying levels of pain, and the ever-burgeoning list of doctor appointments.

It wasn’t always easy, yet we persevered. We’re now looking for a way to celebrate our, ‘We did it!’ moment in time by reentering 2penthrupain. Please celebrate with us if you have a spare moment or two.

We know the blog is an essential part of what we’re trying to accomplish – touching base with other readers and writers.

We have a few new areas of interest coming up including finding a publisher. We were all set to go with a publishing company, but fortunately happened upon some unfortunate information. In the end because of our research, we decided not to sign their contract though it had been a slam dunk for the months leading up to the discoveries. Something kept us from actually signing the darn thing for quite a while.

Andrea took a month’s creative writing course with prompts. She’s been producing some wonderful stories on a near daily basis…. The rest were poems of equally inspiring innovation. She found the course both eye-opening and mind-stretching.

In our next post we will feature one of her short stories.

The course was offered through Creative Writing Now with Nancy Strauss.

She’s currently offering a free 3 Day Course on Endless Story Ideas. Here is the link.

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/free-online-writing-courses.html

We look forward to diving back in. Thank you for your continued support. We’d love to hear from you.

One Rotation of the Earth Around the Sun

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Happy Birthday to me today. Happy Birthday to you on your day.

It might sound selfish, but no.

Upon reflection, I heartily want to wish you the best this life has to offer.

May my special day and its energy become your special day and energy too.

I’ll share. I feel good about how we all benefit from moving all that’s wonderful from one to another.

Be well and happy!

How the ‘We’ Came to Be

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Words hold power.

Whatever their intent.

Once spoken out loud,

Can never return home again.

Words written can remain hidden for as long as we desire. We can keep them to ourselves as thoughts, but do not be fooled. They are still heard. We are led by them regardless. An intention is set, and consciously or not, they are still out there.

These thoughts set a change in motion:

“I do not want to hurt in this relationship anymore, so I have to let go. Doesn’t stop the hurt though.“

“I can’t take this job another day: I have to get out. “

Then things got complicated. However silent, the truth was out. I couldn’t take it back or unthink the thoughts.

Thus began the breakdown of my foundation. It started with that story I told myself. The story that woke me up to the possibilities of a better life and a belief in myself. It’s important because it has made me who I am now.

But does it explain how the, “I have no idea what to do with my life anymore,” statement became a focused team effort?

I heard from so many, ”You should write.”

“Write? What? Who am ‘I’ to be writing?”

Being a chef for many years, everyone said, “Write a cookbook.”

I didn’t want to write a freaking cookbook. Hmmm, maybe I’ll write about how I used food to get my body and mind healthy again. The only problem was, I wasn’t healthy, and I couldn’t maintain my health through food anymore. I was so distraught, I reverted to my old habits.

I have a talent for looking fine on the outside, but the inside is another story.

~*~

For months my sister said, “We should write together.”

“Huh? Write what?” I thought it over.

I do express myself better through the written word. But once again, who am I to be writing anything?

Lost, I remained in solitude with my thoughts… and books and blogs. I read a lot, and the repeating message was, “Do what you love. What did you love to do as a child?”

The answer was, ‘I loved to write.”

I loved words. I loved to write poems, but after one poem was found when I was twelve, it was repeated so often with ‘intent to tease’ that it became my tormentor. I put down my pen… for good.

Or so I thought.

And then one day, my downstairs neighbor was screaming at his young daughter. It made me ill, and I was shaking. Screaming has an immediate reaction in my body. Even raised voices can do it. It came to me immediately, and I knew I was supposed to write and what the content would be. My purpose, which had escaped me for so long despite asking over and over to whoever was listening inside. I recognized it as the missing piece right away.

I needed a mentor now. A partner. My sister. I always knew if I was to write, we would do it together. She is knowledgeable in this area. I knew how lucky I was that it was all finally coming together. It was time to do this.

“What am I, crazy? Really, I’m going to write a book now after all these years?”

But the answer immediately came back loud and clear, “Yes. I am going to write a book with my sister.”

The wild adventure begins. How fortunate I am to be given this chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but had completely forgotten once life got in the way.     (~Andrea)

~*~*~

I looked at my sister and saw myself… struggling with identity issues now that an earthquake of health challenges and new questions had entered her mind. Unlikely, but true: I entered a similar phase of my life twelve years earlier. It took me a long time to move one step after another from where I was to where I am now.

I still experience chronic pain and wrestle with depression, but something is different now. Time has passed with lessons learned. Pain and suffering can be two separate things.

I saw Andrea suffer and said to myself, “I know this. Maybe I can be of help.” I started researching the kinds of things she might do from home. One of the opportunities I found didn’t suit her, but it wound up giving ME a road forward. I am now slowly moving through training myself – as a life coach and writing mentor. Continuing aspects of what I did when I was a teacher. It gave me great joy then and now with my first coaching clients.

If only I could find something to engage my sister. She was not ready to take suggestions at first, but I held a space for her in my own consciousness so that it would be there at the right moment, if she had need of it.

I knew she was a good writer, but honestly I didn’t know how good. I didn’t know how much the writing would take root in her mind, heart, and spirit. How the story would become alive for and within her, as it had for me in my novels.

That is the point when a writer starts dreaming about their characters and story, waking with ideas, watching a movie and seeing a structure, or noting narration or exposition they’d choose to avoid. It’s there, percolating under the surface all the time, tendrils reaching out for resonance and impact.

I spent time with her during her transition. By that I mean the time before she started writing our book, as well as day One and after. I cannot easily explain how much lighter her whole self became immediately upon grabbing a pen to find her purpose and principle character. It was a lightning mood transformation from the much denser self she carried during all those months prior to finding herself in writing.

It was like watching a parched sponge placed in a beautiful clay bowl of liquid, swelling and springing back to life as it absorbs that for which it’s always longed: Water.

Water in the desert.      (~Leslie)

~*~

So here we are, sharing our stories with you in case they help you in any way hold hope in your life. We want you to know, that however slowly or quickly, with each step forward, things can improve.

We say this in the lightest, most pressure-free manner possible as we are traveling the uphill and rocky road ourselves.

We welcome your comments.