Feeling incredibly thankful…

Ever since I got my beta notes back in May, I’ve been spending every day (that I can) rewriting and revising my current WIP, GUARDED. And then this past Saturday, I finished a draft that I’m actually rather proud of.

I’ve been blessed with phenomenal CP’s and beta-readers this past year. CP’s who were patient and willing to help me learn and grow as a writer. Because seriously, I had a lot of work to do to get GUARDED to where it is now. The narrative was too thin, which contributed to flattening some important characters in the novel, AND the way I had initially plotted the novel left one of my most compelling characters on the sidelines for most of the story.

Since I started to take my dreams of being a published author seriously, I’ve tried to maintain the mindset that the story comes before everything else. Meaning that regardless of how difficult expanding my writing skills was going to be or how painful the criticism was, I would do what I needed to in order to do the characters and their stories justice.

And so I learned how to write a fuller narrative (Thanks, Chelsea!). And I learned to let go of my dialogue tags and adverbs (Thanks, Columbia Writers!). I also learned that even though it’s the protagonist’s story, it’s also the story of every character in the novel (Thanks, Todd, Brigitte, Deidre, and Dustin!).

But most importantly, I learned how incredibly important it is to never give up. Granted, I have a long road ahead of me yet with the querying (and hopefully, submission process), but the manuscript I have now would never have become what it is without the long, painful hours of revision paired with the many, many, MANY cups of coffee.

I am SO thankful for not only the lovely people listed above, but also for all of you incredible people who follow my blog. Your support is so encouraging and I can’t begin to thank you enough.

But before I get off this gratitude train, I do have four other peoples to thank, and lucky for y’all, they’re also bloggers…

Nicolette Elzie @ A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly
Nicolette was one of the first people to comment on my blog. I remember opening the comment on my phone in the Starbucks drive-thru and legitimately started tearing up. It was on a relatively personal post, Why You’re Not Writing: Critical Introspection, where I had opened up about my PTSD and how it affected my writing. Her words were so encouraging. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. Since then, she’s become a dear friend, instrumental in my blog growth (all the tags! Lol), as well as recently volunteered to read through the latest draft of GUARDED, which is half the reason I’m even able to say that I’m proud of this draft. Her excitement for the book makes me flail a lot, and also gives me hope for the future of this project!

Melanie @ Melanie Noell Bernard, Aspiring Novelist
Another writer I met through the blog-o-sphere. She’s hilarious and tenacious and I’m so excited I can call her a friend. She’s a huge inspiration to me as a blogger, because she hauls ass with the posts, nearly one every day! I don’t know how she does it! Not to mention she entertains my psychobabble. She’s another poor victim I’ve conned into reading GUARDED. She’s usually more of a SciFi reader, so I appreciate her stepping into fantasy for a couple hundred pages. XD

Hanna @ J.L. Gribble
Incredibly talented author and overall lovely human being, Hanna has played a pivotal role in keeping me sane (well, kinda haha). I met her during NaNoWriMo last year during the write-in’s. The moment she said she had a crotchety old vampire modeled after a red-headed Michael Fassbender, I knew we had to be friends. (If I didn’t tell you this already, Hanna, SORRY!) Her first book, Steel Victory, came out this past summer, and trust me, guys, you want to know these characters! Plus the world is phenomenally brilliant. I’ve read a short story and a novella from this series, both were FANTASTIC! I’m about halfway through Steel Victory now and can’t wait to share my thoughts on Hanna’s debut.

And now for why I’m thankful for her friendship (because I’m leaving in the tangent about her beautiful book!), Hanna was incredibly kind and patient in working with me while I tried to figure out how to write the proper narrative for GUARDED. I can’t tell you how many versions she and Chelsea read of Chapter One, but it was a LOT. Hanna also invited me to her publisher’s writing retreat where I got to connect with some fantastic people as well as do my first reading.

And last, but certainly not least…

Lynanne @ Daybreak in Autumn
Lynanne reached out to me on LadiesWhoCritique.com because of our mutual interests and writing genre/audience. And though we did start out simply as critique partners, she swiftly became my soundboard for EVERYTHING! Any crazy twists/turns in my books, she heard them first. Anytime I needed to rant about a book I read or criticism I received (there’s a difference between constructive criticism and just being an asshole – I’ve received both), she was an incredible friend and took all the rants in stride. Thank you, Lady! For being such a wonderful friend!

I feel so lucky and blessed to have all these people in my life. And seeming as how this gush fest is nearing a thousand words, I’m going to stop. Thank you everyone I mentioned above and a special thank you to all of you reading this! I’m beyond grateful for your support.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season!

Bree