Why now?

Some people are asking why I shared my story about working on Election twenty years after the fact.

I suppose I’m a bit like my MC Mary. She must go through her past in order to figure out her future. She examines her previous experiences, both good and bad, in order to make sense of herself now.

I’ve done this periodically throughout my lifetime. Tallied up my relationships and life experiences to make sure my reactionary self isn’t holding the reins of my life and steering me down a dark path.

That’s not to say I don’t get mad, sad, irritated, hurt, betrayed, joyful, gleeful or silly. I feel all these things. I do my best not to let one dark period rule the rest. And I’ve had some dark things happen.

Don’t believe me?

I was raped at 15 and I kept that secret until I was 28.

I moved when I was a junior in high school.

A year later our house burned down.

I lost my home to the Northridge earthquake. The building’s first floor crunched down, had a water main and a gas main break. The building next door was rubble and the one across the street was on fire.

I was married to an emotionally and mentally abusive man. (When I left him my neighbors told me they saw him beat the dogs. I got away before he could beat me)

My dad is an alcoholic. He got sober ten years ago. But the path to sobriety was hard to live through.

I’ve had two miscarriages. Then couldn’t have any more children.

See- no joke. Hard things.

They don’t define me. I don’t wallow in the suffering.

What people know me for:

I love to dance. And I’m pretty good at it.

I have a big smile.

I learn the words to songs without trying and sing in my car all the time. (off-key be glad you can’t hear it.)

I write. I love reading and writing. Did I mention I love to write?

I try new things.

I face my fears. i.e. I have vertigo so heights jack me up something fierce, but I still hike and go skiing and do things at altitude.

I dance around my house and in the car.

I am an intuitive healer. I’m clairvoyant, clairaudient, clairsentient, clairalient and claircognizant. Here are definitions.

I can see dead people.

I make up conversations with animals. It’s fun you should try it.

I am an extrovert who is introverted at home.

I love Halloween. It’s the best holiday.

I am a Trekky. I am a Sci-Fi geek and proud of it.

This is my balance. Good stuff with hard stuff.

I don’t question why something comes up. I trust that I’m recalling part of life to help me get ready for whatever comes next.

keep it coming

xoJane is going to publish another essay of mine. I’m super nervous and excited. It’s about  an experience most wouldn’t admit. But I write essays about deeply personal topics because I write about my experience of living.

Life can be messy.

I had ups and downs and grew as a person because of them.

My fiction is the same. I write about messy families. I write about characters making mistakes that make me mad. I write about magical things and uncomfortable things. I write about love and all the twisted ways people bend themselves to be loved.

I’m thankful for my family. Despite shaking their heads at the things I share (really Holly, you’re going to admit that?) they support my writing.

When I’m not writing essays or newspaper articles, I’m hard at work querying my Young Adult manuscript. The title is DEAR DEAD DRUNK GIRL.

I hope you’ll come along this writing journey with me. I hope you feel less alone when you read some of my stories. I hope you remember to be kind to yourself and try to be nicer to others around you. You never know what’s going on behind their mask.

 

Thank You

I’m overwhelmed by the response I received after my essay was published.

Thank you for all the support. I am humbled.

To the UK Daily Mail and all of its subsidiaries- you do not have permission to use my likeness in any form under any circumstances in any media, print, digitial or any other media that exisits or will exist now or in the furute in the known and unknown universe. Take down the bogus interview. Daily Mail posted erroneous facts about me. The UK Daily Mail stole those images from my private account.

xoJane published my essay

This was my Sunday night.

After a day filled with running my little person to activities, leading a Girl Scout Troop and picking up dinner I received a tweet.

It was from super8mm and it looked like this:CiiKtEQVEAEIa5o-1.jpg

In that moment I realized my essay on xoJane.com went live two days earlier and had over four thousand shares.

IHTM: An Oscar Winner Bullied Me So Badly That I Quit the Film Industry

xoJane.com

Oh, and then I was told they read it on Yahoo!

Thank you to those who reached out to me and said kind things. Thank you for the comments. I appreciate you taking time to read my work.

Fail Better or Succeed

I’m a writer. I must cope with rejections on a daily basis. Some days it makes me want to quit. Except the need to tell stories and share them is intrinsic to my soul and happiness. So after the bad days, the days full of discappointment and rejection – the ones that have me thinking I ought to quit- I get up and I get back to work. Because I never know if today will be the day I fail better or succeed.

Listen to Peter Dinklage talk about it:

revise and return

Working on my R&R. Took a little over a week to process the suggestions. I used the time to be scared. I was afraid by making the edits my MC voice would change. I was afraid the agent would believe I could just write stories without looping around and repeating myself (MC does this- I hear her this way and apparently like to loop around and repeat myself on the page) I was terrified that I wasn’t good enough and I’d lose the MC voice while simultaneously wanting to try.

I wrote the best book I could. I love it. Really admire my MC, her journey. I can’t believe I came up with the imagery, dediated myself for years on crafting the story without pay, or anyone telling me to write. My ass was in a chair every day working. If not for my friendships with Nicole Garcia, Vanitha Sankaran and Lorin Oberweger I’d be too solitary to create anything worthwhile. I went to workshops, beta readers generously gave me their time and attention. I improved what I loved based on their feedback. Yet, it still isn’t enough…yet.

I recognize the gift the R&R is. I cried. Her notes are in opposition to another agents feedback. (subjective business) But they are concrete. They are doable. I’m gonna do this.

I began making changes. Moving through my resistance. I rearranged chapters amplifying the MC motivation- cutting lots in order to crank up the tension. I am desperately trying to cut passive voice. (curse you passive voice!)

Moving chapters is brutal. Dialogue must be completely rewritten because cause and effect changed. I’m taking my time with these edits. Becasue they may just be the magic pill that helps Dear Dead Drunk Girl get into the hands of readers.

Or I can do all this and the agent may still say, “No.”

And that’ll make me cry- but you know what? I’m a badass mother-f—er and I’m gonna fight the good fight. And I’m going to revise this book and you’re gonna love it!

Vultures #spirit #totem

Over the past few days I’ve encountered turkey vultures circling overhead. Their smooth flying shadows darkening the ground near me. One flew so low I heard it’s feathers brush against the leaves of nearby tree. They didn’t make a single pass, but instead flew around me for minutes on end. I told them I wasn’t dead yet. They found me amusing.

Don’t be surprised when they make an appearance as messengers in my next book.

when I looked up the spiritual aspects of the turkey vulture I found this:

If Vulture has flown across your path;
Vulture is asking you to be patient with yourself and think things through. Take your time before making decisions and choose paths that support your higher consciousness and your heart. Use all of your resources combined with your past experience to approach the problem from a different angle. Know that you are always free to choose your own path but be flexible while moving forward. Allow yourself to use all of your senses to navigate through this situation for your highest benefit. Call on all your resources to get the job done. Alternatively this bird recognizes that you are fiercely protective of those you feel responsible for but you are reminded that knowing when to allow others to sink or swim is important too. Recognize the need for higher awareness in all those around you.

resource: http://www.spirit-animals.com/vulture/

Cover Reveal for CATALYST and Giveaway!

COVER REVEAL FOR CATALYST With $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!

Clean Teen Publishing is proud to present the official cover reveal for CATALYST by Kristin Smith.  

This is the first book in the thrilling new Deception Games series coming November 21, 2016!


Title: Catalyst (The Deception Game, Book One)
Author: Kristin Smith
Release Date: November 21, 2016
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: YA near-future thriller
Book Synopsis:

Too pretty.

Too smart.

Too perfect.

In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teens, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant.
With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait.
In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most.

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Enter to WIN a $25 AMAZON Gift Card! 

About the Author:
Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels with enough kissing to make her mother blush. She’s a beach lover and a Just Dance guru who enjoys belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). As a self-professed chocoholic, Kristin is a firm believer that if a dessert doesn’t have chocolate in it, then it’s not considered a dessert. (Except for crème brûlée. She can always make an exception for crème brûlée.) Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to scarves, you can connect with her at the links below.
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Good News

The past few weeks have been a blur of activity for me. I opened the doors to my new business and got generous feedback from a literary agent.

The new business:

The first two young adult books I wrote were about dead girls. They are not ghost stories. I suppose I’m drawn to the idea because I’m a medium and intuitive healer. So seeing and hearing things most people don’t and interacting with them is my normal. And being dead and being a ghost are two very different things.

After studying to hone in my gifts, my mentor encouraged me to open my own practice of spiritual healing. I was scared to come out of the woo-woo closet. It’s an uncomfortable place to be- exposed with all of my beliefs laid at people’s feet to judge.

But the irony of my fear is this– I’ve been booked for weeks. My community including complete strangers (wo are now new clients) came to see me and support me. And in return my clients tell me I’m giving them a sense of peace. They say I help them feel lighter. I’m so happy my gifts are helping them!

If you’re curious about intuitive healing please visit my other site: http://www.hollyhughesintuitive.com

In other good news:

It appears I sold an essay to xoJane.com.When the link goes live- I’ll let you know.

The BEST gift I got this week was…(yes, I buried the lead)

An agent I’ve been waiting to hear back from said I piqued her interest and asked for a full. I mean, really- this is FANTASTIC NEWS.

I received the email after fusion class. I couldn’t get home fast enough. Afraid of sending the version of my manuscript I made sure to bathe, eat and take a deep breath before hitting send. Within a few short hours she wrote back. It was a no from her for now, but she gave me concise notes and said if I revise she’d be open to reading it again.

HELL YES! This is an enormous gift and I’m going to take it.

First my ego had to be swept up an coddled. She didn’t love it enough to continue. And I love my book. But publishing is a business.

I let my ego have a pity party and got to work. I printed out her notes and now I’m gonna kill my darlings. Murder them. Strip down my language and find a way to move things along.

My biggest fear is my MC will lose her voice. That the tenderness I worked so hard on will lay on the cutting room floor. The changes a critique partner asked for were an issue too. Other things require my brain to bend. I’m up for that challenge, too. Writing, revising and editing are hard work. My brain may bleed a bit and that’s okay.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to revise and resubmit. Wish me luck!

 

Questioning my Sanity

Sanity as definied by dictionary.com:

sanity [san-i-tee]

noun

1. the state of beingsanesoundness of mind.
2. soundness of judgment.

I’ve never claimed to be sane. It doesn’t appeal to my sense of self. Since seventh grade I’ve identified with the wife in The Yellow Wallpaper creeping around her room and imagining herself in the garden and behind the walls.

And I believe every creative person is a bit nuts- we have to be to allow our imaginations to flourish.

And that freedom makes art.

My arts are writing and dancing. Can’t imagine living without them. My soul would die if I couldn’t. I love the days story flows, even the days it doesn’t, the line edits, the plot holes, and the doubt. I love searching for the right word, the right emotional cue, the raw core.

But I also have to cope with the negative parts of being artistic, too. The worst part is being told, “No.”

No sucks. No can make all my pages go blank and music stop. No makes me trip and stumble, creates doubt and erodes confidence. I hate that word.

I’m wading through a tide of, “You’re clearly talented, but no,” now while I query a book and essay. It makes me question the drive that keeps me writing every day. How do I want to do something so much that comes with so much rejection?

Should I write different kinds of stories? Are the ones I tell not a fit for the market?

No.

No I should never stop being me or telling the stories I want to tell. I can’t imagine a time when I’ll stop exploring family dynamics in my fiction or delving into what people do in order to be loved- how we twist ourselves into shapes that no longer resemble ourselves to please another person. How some people think by doing something they want for another person will magically inform the other person to do that exact thing for them. I love exploring the value of love.

Hu…that’s ironic. Here I am all twisted up and wondering what shape my work needs to take, when it needs to remain the same. My voice. My stories. They matter

There is no choice. I’ll keep writing the stories inside me and help that creeping woman earn her freedom. And perhaps our story will resonate with you and keep you company on your bookshelf, too.