New Year’s Quiz 2015

Eight year of recapping!

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

  • I went to New York City all by myself on a successful quest to see Hamilton and luxuriate in a hotel room with none other people.
  • I began querying a book to literary agents after participating in Pitch Wars as a finalist.
  • I got at tattoo on the inside of my bicep (not my first tattoo, but my first one on my arm.)
  • I got a tattoo on my upper back.
  • I flew with both kids (my younger son’s first flight.)
  • I was in my sister-cousin’s wedding with my little sister.
  • I got highlights.
  • I ran in my underwear through downtown St. Pete on Valentine’s Day.
  • I also washed my hands in a bathroom with Alfre Woodard and ran into Danny DeVito at Mood.

mother's day tattoo


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2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolution is typically to write, and this year—for the first time in a very long time—I nailed that one. I wrote a bunch over the summer. I revised and rewrite and retooled and edited my young adult sci-fi manuscript from late summer until early November, working on it nearly every single night. And this November and December I’ve written 45,000 words on a new contemporary paranormal young adult manuscript about a teenager who comes to Florida to spend the summer with her dad, struggles with severe anxiety—and meets a mysterious, beautiful girl with a secret.

I’m not big on strict resolutions, but I do want to find more balance in 2016. I found that my year of all the writing resulted in me not committing to my health in a very meaningful way. I’d like to resume yoga practice and try to go to Pure Barre once in a while (especially considering a bought a bunch of classes last summer and haven’t used them up and they’ll expire in June.)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Quite a few internet ladies had lovely internet babies that I wish I could smish every single day. I really need more babies in my life.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not this year.

5. What countries did you visit?

I stopped in the Bahamas briefly on a Disney Cruise with my cousin and my kids.

I also visited Asheville, North Carolina with my mom and my kids. I went to Boston in early October to INBOUND 2015, and I went to New York for Thanksgiving.


disney cruise

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

A literary agent. And I’d be down for a relationship. I went on some dates in 2015, but I didn’t date anyone.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I’m really terrible about dates, but I loved seeing The Avett Brothers with really good seats with my mom in October at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday. And I’ll always remember that this entire fall was consumed wholly by Pitch Wars, in a glorious, difficult and incredibly rewarding way. My cousin’s wedding in November was absolutely gorgeous and I’m thrilled for her and her lovely British husband. December 17 was a Force-filled day. I’ll remember starting my new job at Big Sea in April. Apparently nothing happened at the beginning of this year before that?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Revising my manuscript into something I’m proud of and believe in. It took more work than I honestly thought I was capable of. It involved sleepless nights and many tears, and I’d do it again. … when I have a few more weeks to recover.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don’t believe in meditating on perceived failures. There’s a lot or room for improvement, and ways I’d like to change, but framing that as failure isn’t my jam.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I didn’t have any significant injury, and no serious illness. I had one incredibly persistent cold in May or so. I feel very fortunate that my health has been in order this year, especially since my ovary has had such a tendency to flip out with cysts that come and go.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A ticket to Hamilton. I’ve always been the type of person to chase after obsessions wildly, from re-reading my favorite books in the bathtub and swimming pool to driving to an internet cafe to play Star Wars online trivia in 1996 to blowing a dumb chunk of change on a Stanley Cup Finals ticket. My solo NYC trip to see Hamilton was no exception, and I’m forever grateful to my family for helping make it possible. And I’m really proud of myself for powering through some intense anxiety to get my ass on the plane and go. The experience was charmed in every way imaginable and I’ll never forget any of it.

I also budgeted for a housekeeper twice a month, and it’s a form of self-care I was really resistant to and am now deeply grateful for. Working outside the home as a single parent is draining in ways I never imagined, but it’s manageable—especially when I’m able to lean on help and know that for two glorious Wednesdays a month I’ll come home to a beautifully clean house.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My kids are developing an actual relationship for the first time now that they’re 7 and 9, and it’s fraught and mercurial but I’m so proud of each of them for (finally sort of) learning how to play and fight and co-exist with a sibling.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Everyone who’s piggybacked on this year’s political climate to justify bigotry and hatred.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills. This marks the first year in my new house and the bills are not kidding. It’s worth it, but I have to be careful.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The Stanley Cup finals until we lost and my heart shattered into a million pieces and I literally cried myself to sleep. Not internet exaggeration cried myself to sleep. Like I wept. Excessively.

I got really excited about Pitch Wars and the day I found out I was a finalist was easily one of the best days of the whole year for me. A lot of my friends and family patiently listened to me talk about it and about my book and I appreciate that so much. Writing is a feverish, oftentimes lonely pastime, and the people who give their attention and time to writers are very special people.

I cried at Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Like… when the title popped up on the screen. There are no words for how much that movie and the experience of seeing it with my best friend at my side meant to me.

After Diane introduced me to Hamilton I went from zero to no-chill-whatsoever. That hasn’t stopped.

HamiltonRichard Rodgers Theatre

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Hey I bet you can guess which entire soundtrack will always remind me of 2015. But also that Panic! song Hallelujah, which I listened to on literal repeat during a lot of my pre-Pitch Wars revisions.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • happier or sadder? Happier
  • thinner or fatter? The same!
  • richer or poorer? The same!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Yoga. My body feels creaky and I wasn’t as strong as I was this time last year.

I also wish I’d taken more photos of my kids with my fancy-camera.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worry and stress about things outside of my control, and the unknown future. Biting my nails.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

This year, the kids’ dad was out of the country, so I got to spend the few days before Christmas with them for the first time in three years. I really loved having them during that build-up time and for all of Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, my older son got me up at 5 and I made him go back to bed until 7. We opened presents here and then went to my parents to open presents with them and have breakfast. Then we came back home and chilled and played with toys and headed back out to my aunt and uncle’s house for big family Christmas. I love this routine so much.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

I did not fall in love in the romantic sense.

When my kids were born I fell in love with them. Instantly. Devastatingly. Now that they’re seven and nine, I fall in love with them in different ways. I discover new facets to their developing personalities. I recognize that our paths began to diverge from the moment I gave birth to them—and that there’s grief and love in that journey every single day. I love being a mother.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Mr. Robot was the best TV series I watched in 2015. Daredevil was also fabulous, and I liked the new Orange is the New Black season. I also enjoyed a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I did not like the last season of Teen Wolf, so that love affair is now over.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I was ambivalent about Donald Trump this time last year but he’s not my best friend this year. I don’t like the word hate and I try to avoid using it about people, even casually. It’s something my mom taught me and it’s stuck with me my whole life. Why put hate into the world?

24. What was the best book you read?


25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Lin-Manuel Miranda. Dude.


And this was a literal musical discovery, but I had the opportunity to see Deaf West’s Spring Awakening on Broadway and it was the most moving theater experience I’ve ever had. It’s a shame it isn’t running for longer. It’s stunning and so powerful.

26. What did you want and get?

I wanted a change of pace in my career and got it when I stepped away from freelancing and went back to agency life in April. It’s been a big transition after six years of total independence.

I really wanted to go on a Disney Cruise with my kids, and the opportunity arose after telling my travel agent no. She found a deal we couldn’t refuse, and the kids stayed healthy, and the entire trip was total perfection. I adored it.

27. What did you want and not get?



28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I mean, duh. But Mad Max: Fury Road was also amazing.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35 and probably not on the actual day but close to it I went to see the Avett Brothers twice in Orlando, driving home to stay at my house between each show because I was having a big wacky anxiety attack at the same time. It was, nevertheless, awesome. I think I may have been at work on my actual birthday, which is cool because it’s also my boss’s birthday.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I don’t know about immeasurably but not dating led to not… you know. I can’t think of anything that would make life immeasurably more satisfying and this question always gets on my nerves. That’s not how life works.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Jeans, flats, a sleeveless top of some sort, and a flimsy cardigan-ish thing because air conditioning. Sometimes a dress. I still don’t like wearing shorts.

32. What kept you sane?

  • Texting, brunches, phone calls & WhatsApp with the women I adore
  • Writing
  • Spotify
  • My new therapist
  • My cool coworkers
  • Pete the work dog
  • Boat rides
  • Hiring a housekeeper twice a month
  • Occasional mindless Roku time
  • Snacks
  • My kid-free weekends
  • Weekends with my kids
  • Fishing
  • YogaGlo (I adore that app)
  • Travel

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I haven’t had a balls out whoa-crush this year. I admire Lin-Manuel Miranda to obsessive levels but it isn’t a whoa-crush. Oscar Isaac may be a late contender, though. I loved him in Inside Llewyn Davis and he’s kind of destroyed me as Poe in Star Wars.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Gun control, immigration/refugees.

35. Who did you miss?

I miss my darling friend Sylvie so much. We talk every day, but the time change between here and Belgium is a bummer and I hate that she isn’t a semi-convenient plane trip away anymore.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Linsey Miller, my Pitch Wars mentor. There are no words to describe what she did for me this year, how she helped me grow as a person and a writer and a professional. I admire her so much and I can’t believe how lucky I am that she chose me and spent such a mind-boggling amount of time helping me.

I also met some lovely new people at work who make me smile every day.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

I’m capable of more than I thought I was. I thought I learned that when my divorce happened, but that was a passive kind of survival. I got through it because I had to. This year I went beyond survival mode and took on many new challenges.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“I am not throwing away my shot.”




#PitchWars 2015 Mentee Bio

Hi there! Please check out the other Mentee Bios!


I’m a 35-year-old single mom who spends a great deal of time screwing around on the internet. Fortunately, a lot of that time is work-related.

I’m a graduate of the University of Florida with an English major and a minor in education. After having my second son and spending six years freelance writing and editing for various editorial sites, I went back to agency work in a content strategy and inbound marketing role. I love it. On any given day I might be writing about luxury weddings or interventional pain management. It keeps me on my toes.

Do I get burned out writing for work and writing for fun? Sometimes. But after being sidelined by divorce and life shenanigans for a bit, I love having my voice back. My imagination has always been an escape. As a little kid, I figured it would just stop at some point. But it never did. (Phew.)

Now I just stay up even further past my bedtime telling stories.

I’ve been blogging since 2002 and writing since third grade or so. My first book was about a very special magical girl with very special glowing eyes that made her very different and incredibly awesome. She also had a cute ginger guy friend with an owl named Orly so yes, I invented it.

Fun facts

  • My second high school job was selling sausages as the Renaissance Festival.
  • I am known to paste enormous blocks of text into unsuspecting chat boxes.
  • I cosplayed for Naruto and One Piece before they were popular. *puts on hipster glasses*
  • My dogs (rescue terrier mixes) don’t help me write at all, but they’re cute.
  • I am 5’9″.
  • Nymbler is my favorite character-naming tool.
  • I write fiction in Scrivener and anything else in Google Docs. I edit in Word while cursing Word.
  • I have tweeted over 71,000 times.
  • I recently got a writing tattoo. It’s kind of a quill peacock thing with quotation marks and it stopped itching three days ago. It was my 5th tattoo.

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Hey, I didn’t get a divorce tattoo. So this was my big cliche moment. (I adore it.)

The book

I am submitting GATHOS, a young adult speculative fiction novel. I first started writing Gathos three years ago. The current incarnation of this manuscript is the fifth revision and I look forward to attacking it again with the cutthroat (yet loving?) assistance of a Pitch Wars mentor. Pitch Wars comes at a good time for me. I’m committed to doing the work, and I won’t stop doing the work if I’m not selected as a mentee this year.

GATHOS features a diverse cast of characters. Recently, a friend asked why so many of the characters in GATHOS are queer. The answer isn’t simple, but this was the best I could give:

Growing up bisexual, I didn’t think anyone else felt the way I did. I didn’t know if other girls liked boys and girls or if there was something broken and wrong about me. The books I read and shows I watched were always about heterosexual relationships, and I was wondered if I was abnormal—or worse, just plain wrong.

Then there’s this:

The other day my 6-year-old son, who loves wearing nail polish but is usually too shy to wear it at school, asked me to paint his nails electric blue before camp. Why? He’d seen another boy wearing nail polish. Seeing that one kid made it OK.

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Kids are listening.

Young readers are listening. Connecting to just one character who looks the same or loves the same or faces the same challenges can be such an enormous comfort.

You’re awesome

I’d like to thank everyone participating in #PitchWars for being so positive and enthusiastic and so willing to share advice and experiences. For being a competition, this hasn’t felt competitive at all. It’s been about lifting each other up, and that’s pretty freaking inspiring.


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