Family · Uncategorized

The Unexpected

I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging. Not only have I been focusing on writing, which I am happy to report I’ve finished the second draft (or third draft depending on how you look at it) of my new YA manuscript. It’s off to the beta readers right now, so crossing my fingers for good feedback! I’ve also been focusing on healing and just figuring out what it means to be me again. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, please read my last few entries as I don’t really feel like rehashing everything here.

Long story short, I’ve always grown up with a specific vision of what my life would be like. After the past five years, I’m not sure what that life is going to be anymore. Needless to say, along with grieving, I’ve had to somewhat come to terms with a “third-life” crisis as I like to call it. So, I’ve been focusing on doing all the things I’ve wanted to do, but never allowed myself to do during my TTC (trying to conceive) journey in fear of hurting my chances of becoming pregnant. Truthfully, it’s a bit fun at times, but also scary. As a perpetual planner, what do I do when I don’t know what to do?

Yesterday my mom and I watched the newest movie adaptation of Little Women

 

I’ve always been a fan of the story and LOVED the 1994 version.

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I was curious to see what a modernized take of the classic would be like.

It was cute of course, but there were a lot of one-liners that really resonated with me. One of them had me sobbing in the theater. Think Kim K ugly crying.

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Forgive me if it’s not verbatim, but it was something along the lines of:

“You’re a writer. Don’t you want your [life] story to be unexpected?”

That’s the thing about writing stories, isn’t it? You don’t want your stories to be predictable. The best stories are unexpected–so, why can’t my book of life be the same way?

There is also a scene where Beth mentions how the greatest stories  have some sort of tragedy in them. But these same stories have an abundance of love as well. Needless to say, the past five years have been horrible, but the good thing about them is the outpouring of love I’ve always received.

The reason I love to read and write is because all stories, regardless of what they’re about, have a way to touch their audiences mentally, emotionally and sometimes spiritually. Needless to say, watching the movie yesterday reminded me that life will always have unexpected turns, but my story isn’t over yet.

“We each have our own paths to our castles”

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**Spoiler Alert**

Not that a spoiler alert is needed since the book has been out since 1879 and there have been many movies released since then, but let me say this is the first version where I’m actually happy Jo ended up with Friedrich

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Family · Uncategorized

Lemons and Lemonade

“I will never walk behind you or in front of you, but always beside you.”

When I first spoke those words on July 21, 2012 I had no idea how important they really were. The sun was near its last leg that day, dancing along the horizon and casting beautiful colors of orange and pink along the ocean of Papa’iola Beach. It had rained in the morning, and despite my fear of ruining my outdoor wedding, it had actually left a sweet scent along the shore as well as beautiful rainbows throughout the afternoon. Looking back, it’s amazing how symbolic that day really was.

I grew up close to my mother. As a military brat and an only child for seven and a half years before my little sister came by surprise, my mom became my best friend all those years my dad was out at sea. Perhaps it’s because of our strong bond that I always knew I’d want a child of my own. For some children their dolls are just toys. But deep down I always knew it was training for me.

As newlyweds, my husband and I knew we needed to get our bearings before we started a family. It wasn’t until over a year later in December 2013 that we made the decision to try. As articles, people and even my gynecologist told us, most couples take about a year before becoming pregnant. However, around March 2014 I had a gut feeling something was wrong. To be honest, growing up I always had a feeling it might be difficult for me to conceive. Call it intuition or just plain paranoia from a self-proclaimed ball of anxiety, but that feeling worsened as time went on. On the day of my annual gynecological exam I took the opportunity to express my concerns to my doctor. A routine checkup soon turned into something much bigger.

On April 28, 2014 I found out I needed a laparoscopic myomectomy. In layman’s terms, I’d have a robot operating on me through keyhole-sized incisions along my abdomen. As frightening as the whole ordeal was, I was relieved to know I finally had a reason for all my inklings and reservations. After a five hour surgery to remove a 63 gram fibroid attached to the back of my uterus, along with some Stage 4 endometriosis I didn’t even know was there, I felt the nightmare was over. My husband and I would finally conceive! Little did I know, it was only the beginning to our journey.

Almost exactly a year later, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I shared the news with my husband and though we were elated, that horrible feeling of doubt reared its ugly head again. A few hours after seeing those two beautiful pink lines, I began to bleed. Chemical pregnancy. Such a sterile name for what it truly is, an early miscarriage. Though I’m sure my husband grieved just as hard as I, he never showed it, always concerned with making sure I was okay.

So continued our painful journey. Throughout all our treatments: medicated timed intercourse, failed IUI’s, two polypectomies, and most recently IVF and a failed FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer), everyone around us seemed to be getting pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, the countless baby shower invites, Facebook announcements and cute Instagram pictures are reasons for great celebration and we are truly happy for everyone, but to us they are also reminders of what we don’t have.

“We have each other.” My husband never fails to remind me of this. Though he’s never once showed me anything other than love, I was always quick to question his devotion. How can he still possibly love me? It’s my fault isn’t it? I’m the one who is broken. It’s because of me we can’t have children.

It’s not your fault or mine. It just is.” With a smile he always wiped away my tears. “I made a promise to you that day in Hawaii, and we’re sticking through this together. If life is just you and me, then it’s enough.”

And you know what? It is enough.

I’ve read stories of how infertility often tears couples apart. Considering the emotional turmoil and stress endured, it’s not hard to understand why. If there’s a silver lining to our infertility battle, it’s this—my husband and I actually became closer. Throughout every battle and every tear, we stayed steadfast, hand in hand braving the next storm together. My husband has been my rock through it all, and I hope he can say the same thing about me. The tribulations of life can no doubt wreak havoc on many relationships, however I found ours only strengthened when we sought each other out instead of running away and dealing with them on our own.

The days immediately after our failed IVF were some of the hardest I’ve had to face. As someone with an avid dislike for roller coasters, I found myself riding the most horrible one of all—the emotional kind. As strong as I tried to be, certain triggers set me off. I was always on the verge of tears, fighting this mental battle within me. On one particular day I rushed to my car on the brink of breaking down. Proud to have held back my tears until I was safely in the parking lot, my first instinct was to call my husband. Like a strong hand shoved into a turbulent sea, he saved me from drowning yet again. In that moment of hearing his voice I quickly realized how much deeper I have fallen in love with him. Despite all the hardships we faced, I love him more than I did all those years ago on the beach. There is no way I can do life without him.

Though our path to parenthood is still unclear, I know whatever storms may be brewing ahead of us there will be even more rainbows to brighten up our day. No matter where we go or what happens in our lives, we’ll always walk side by side.

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Taking Risks

I sat in my usual seat within the church’s pews listening to our priest give his homily about taking risks–the good kind, mind you. Most of life’s rewards aren’t achieved by sitting around and doing nothing, but by putting yourself out there and trusting in God. It’s funny, but within one day I quickly realized the truth in this thought and felt the fruit of the words.

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Many of you may be wondering why I haven’t been putting out books this past year. Besides the dreaded writer’s block of 2016, we can also blame the resurgence of inspiration of 2017. I may not have any new books on the market just yet, but best believe this past year has been a busy one. I’ve not only rewritten Green, but I’ve also finished three complete manuscripts and have three more in the editing stages.

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So what does this have to do about taking risks? Well, I’ll tell you dear reader. During the past year I’ve also been diligently querying literary agents. As awesome as it is to be an indie author and as awesome as my current publishers are, I’ve always had a dream to see my books on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, Target and Books-A-Million. Beyond that, I also want to see an adaptation of my story on the big screen and/or Netflix. In order to accomplish these goals I need someone in my corner. More specifically, I need a literary agent.

For months now I have poured my heart into polishing up my manuscripts, writing the best query letters I can muster and researching each #MSWL and agency website until the SENT box of my email account was swimming with the words “QUERY” and “SUBMISSION”.

And after all that?

I still don’t have a literary agent.

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Now, I can put a frowny face here and maybe even a few tears because God knows I’ve shed a few, but honestly, as much as each rejection stings, they also help me out.

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Book 1 — Rejected but not given substantial critiques

Book 2 — Rejected and given some critiques, but none I felt comfortable with. This book is currently signed with a publisher.

Book 3 — Rejected with such great critiques and suggestions PLUS a call for future manuscripts.

Each rejection hurts, but obviously I’m growing with my writing and this growth couldn’t have been accomplished without taking risks.

Querying is a scary thing, but you know what? It’s a risk I’m still willing to take until I achieve my goals.

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What I’ve Been Up To…

So it’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated my blog and for that I am very sorry!

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But I have good reason for my absence!

After many, many, many months of writer’s block I have officially broken through the wall and started writing again.

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Manuscripts, revisions, edits — Like a broken faucet finally fixed, the waters of creativity are finally rushing out. I didn’t want to tempt fate and break the writing spell so I’ve basically locked myself in my fortress of solitude to focus on my work.

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I’ve also been catching up on a bit of light reading 😉

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If you want to keep up with my literary pursuits, please friend me on Facebook and follow me on Instagram 🙂

Miss you all!

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BREAKING FREE Now Available!

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BREAKING FREE by S. Briones Lim
B-Boy Series Book 3
New Adult Romance
Limitless Publishing, LLC
A one-night stand that changes her life forever…
Mallory Carmichael is a pianist who just lost out on the biggest solo of her life. To ease the sting, she heads to the club, where she meets Asher Nolan—a sexy dancer with wicked confidence in his eyes. Mallory loses herself in a night of carefree passion. Little did she know that one hookup could turn her world upside down.
A man who knows what he wants, and how to get it…
Asher—or B-boy Hellhound as he is known in the breakdance scene—is a TV and movie star. He’s used to winning…until his break-dancing game spirals out of control.
After an uncharacteristic loss, Asher becomes convinced the mysterious girl from the club jinxed him. Wanting to reverse the hex, he searches for her online, and it’s not long before #Search4Mallory goes viral.
Mallory didn’t think she’d ever see Asher again, but when she discovers he’s searching for her, she agrees to meet…and quickly regrets it.
She soon discovers how crazy a man like Asher can make her…
Asher convinces Mallory to help him find a supernatural cure for the “hookup jinx.” Navigating the world of mysticism may be challenging, but it’s even harder for them to ignore their growing attraction.
Can Asher ignore the temptation to hook up with his ‘jinx’ once again?
Will Mallory find the right balance between her crazy rehearsal schedule and helping Asher?
One thing is for sure, the only way to get over this hex is by Breaking Free.
bboy3
— S. BRIONES LIM —
Thanks to her Mom’s unwavering devotion to read a childhood bedtime story to her every single night, S. BRIONES LIM’s love for books began before she could even speak.

Raised in Southern California, Lim initially dreamt of becoming an artist. After a Psychology Degree (Summa cum Laude), a stint in Art School, and a career in Advertising/Media she is finally diving back into her first love – books. As a self-renowned bookworm, Lim’s love for reading has inspired her to pen her own novels and hopes her readers will fall in love with her stories as much as she enjoys writing them.

Her obsessions include time with family, Cherry Coke, popcorn with jalapeños, watching movies and her dogs, Tobi and Roscoe. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband.

** PUBLISHER ** GOODREADS ** FACEBOOK ** TWITTER ** WEBSITE **

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BREAKING FREE COVER REVEAL!

Check out the gorgeous cover of BREAKING FREE that Redbird Designs created! This beauty is set to release on Valentine’s Day!

breakingfreenook

BREAKING FREE by S. Briones Lim
B-Boy Series Book 3
New Adult Romance
Limitless Publishing, LLC
A one-night stand that changes her life forever…
Mallory Carmichael is a pianist who just lost out on the biggest solo of her life. To ease the sting, she heads to the club, where she meets Asher Nolan—a sexy dancer with wicked confidence in his eyes. Mallory loses herself in a night of carefree passion. Little did she know that one hookup could turn her world upside down.
A man who knows what he wants, and how to get it…
Asher—or B-boy Hellhound as he is known in the breakdance scene—is a TV and movie star. He’s used to winning…until his break-dancing game spirals out of control.
After an uncharacteristic loss, Asher becomes convinced the mysterious girl from the club jinxed him. Wanting to reverse the hex, he searches for her online, and it’s not long before #Search4Mallory goes viral.
Mallory didn’t think she’d ever see Asher again, but when she discovers he’s searching for her, she agrees to meet…and quickly regrets it.
She soon discovers how crazy a man like Asher can make her…
Asher convinces Mallory to help him find a supernatural cure for the “hookup jinx.” Navigating the world of mysticism may be challenging, but it’s even harder for them to ignore their growing attraction.
Can Asher ignore the temptation to hook up with his ‘jinx’ once again?
Will Mallory find the right balance between her crazy rehearsal schedule and helping Asher?
One thing is for sure, the only way to get over this hex is by Breaking Free.
bboy3
— S. BRIONES LIM —
Thanks to her Mom’s unwavering devotion to read a childhood bedtime story to her every single night, S. BRIONES LIM’s love for books began before she could even speak.

Raised in Southern California, Lim initially dreamt of becoming an artist. After a Psychology Degree (Summa cum Laude), a stint in Art School, and a career in Advertising/Media she is finally diving back into her first love – books. As a self-renowned bookworm, Lim’s love for reading has inspired her to pen her own novels and hopes her readers will fall in love with her stories as much as she enjoys writing them.

Her obsessions include time with family, Cherry Coke, popcorn with jalapeños, watching movies and her dogs, Tobi and Roscoe. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband.

** PUBLISHER ** GOODREADS ** FACEBOOK ** TWITTER ** WEBSITE **

23e16-limitless2bpublishing2bblue2b3
Uncategorized

Forward and Beyond!

I’d debated on posting this for various reasons. However, after careful thought and consideration, I’d come to realize if I truly want to put the past year behind me I have to acknowledge it for what it was worth. The first step to healing is to admit you have a problem, right?

I felt I lost a part of myself last year. I had become so consumed with the “have nots” that I failed to take everything for what it was truly worth.

For those of you who know me personally or follow my social media accounts, you know I’ve been quite open about my battle to become a mother. At  the end of 2013 I began my journey but it wasn’t until after my early miscarriage in 2015 something inside of me changed. I became obsessed with becoming pregnant again. Maybe it was my form of grieving. Maybe it was something completely different. Regardless, as someone who is used to working hard to attain my goals I became consumed with doing everything I could to become pregnant and this all culminated in 2016.

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June 2016

From acupuncture, acupressure, herbs, teas, vitamins, massages and yes, fertility treatments including surgery, it felt like everything I did was to conceive a child. Getting that positive on a pregnancy test, or BFP as all the message boards call it, became my one defining goal. It was exhausting.

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My “infertility” battle was sometimes the first thing I thought about in the morning and often was the last thing on my mind that even seeped into my dreams. I lived, breathed and existed purely to get pregnant — this is not healthy by any means.

This obsession caused me to hit what I felt was rock bottom. I was depressed, bitter and just swimming in darkness and negativity. I learned to smile when all I wanted to do was cry. I shut out the “real” me but was pretty good at faking being happy because that was what was expected of me.

I am blessed with a very supportive husband, supportive family and supportive close friends, but I don’t think I was really honest with them about how bad I truly allowed myself to become. Sadness defined me. Though I did have some great moments in 2016 thanks to friends and family, moreover I had a dark cloud hanging over me.

You see, being open about this kind of thing leaves you vulnerable to outside opinion. For every supportive loved one who never ceased to pray for me and continued to encourage me throughout the battle, there were other people who couldn’t help but assume the worst. In their defense, their assumptions weren’t out of malice or anything, but it can still add to the pain to hear doubt in their tone and it hurts like heck to hear me skipped over during future baby planning or “you’re next/I’m next” conversations. Though having children is far from being a race, at some points it felt as if others automatically assumed they’d reach that finish line before me. Why? Did I really come off that broken?

I was in this downward spiral and I felt as if I was drowning. To make matters worse, the hormone treatments, my sadness and my fear to work out after ovulation made me pack on the pounds. I hit a point where I couldn’t even recognize me anymore–both inside and out.

With all this on my mind I didn’t have room for anything else, hence the writer’s block I experienced  since last June. Creativity runs dry when you have no mojo left to supply it. I even reached a point where I was entertaining the prospect of taking an early retirement from writing. Don’t worry, I’ve since pushed the thought away. 

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So where does that leave me now?

The turning point for me happened in early December. I am Catholic and went to confession for the Advent season and there I poured out my guts. For the first time in a long time, I was truly honest with myself and it was really therapeutic releasing everything to God. From the beginning, I’d always tell myself that I was going to rely on prayer and will “let go and let God.” But did I really do it? No.

But that night, something changed to the point I can actually feel it. I truly let it go–all of it.

The obsession, the doubt, the fear, the anger, the sadness. All of it I placed on the cross.

Like the movie Sing says, “You know what’s great about hitting rock bottom? There’s only one way left to go and that’s up.”

And I am looking up toward God.

When all you focus on is negativity, you fail to see the good. Now that my eyes are finally open I am seeing blessings I had not expected and maybe it’s because I’m finally open to receiving  them.

2017 is going to be my year to be me again. The me before “all of this” happened. Though I can’t promise you there won’t ever be times where darkness seeps through, unlike before I’ll make sure to open the windows or turn on the lights.

Dear readers, I know I’m behind on writing so I just wanted you to know the reason behind my missing books and how I am determined to finish those remaining installments for the series you have come to love. You all have been so sweet and supportive and I felt you deserved a true explanation behind my mysterious aloofness.

I am blessed so many times over and I’m just finally glad I see it. In 2017 I will focus on all I am grateful for while simultaneously finding the me I left behind in 2013 🙂

One final word to start 2017 with. Be careful who you pass judgment on. Appearances don’t explain everything.  You probably don’t know the person’s whole story.