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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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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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Breaking Promises NOW AVAILABLE!

BREAKING PROMISES by S. Briones Lim
Series: B-boy #1
Cover Designer: REDBIRD DESIGNS
Publisher: LIMITLESS PUBLISHING
Release Date: MAY 31, 2016
— SYNOPSIS —
After a devastating accident, Aurora Crane’s collegiate gymnastics career comes to an abrupt end…
Fighting to piece her life back together, Aurora packs up and transfers to California State to start anew. When she arrives, her focus is on schoolwork and choosing a new career. But to her surprise, destiny has other plans…
Sucked into the world of competitive breakdancing, Aurora comes toe-to-toe with the hottest B-Boy of them all…
An arrogant hothead, Mitch Adachi—or B-Boy Kickwit as he is more commonly known—has life all figured out. He breakdances all day, practicing for upcoming competitions that are sure to challenge his skills—which means he has no time for distractions.
When the new girl steps into the scene, he sees an opportunity he can’t pass up…
Besides finding Aurora devastatingly attractive, he can’t help but notice her skills. He quickly develops high hopes for the ex-gymnast, seeing her as the perfect potential crewmember for the impending high stakes Battle of the Crews competition. All she needs is some fine-tuning.
When the two commit to a business relationship, a different kind of passion kicks into high gear. There’s no denying they groove well together, but there’s a chance mixing high-stakes competition with a fierce romance might lead to…
Breaking Promises.
PURCHASE TODAY! Available on Kindle Unlimited!
— 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.
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COVER REVEAL!

BREAKING PROMISES by S. Briones Lim
Series: B-boy #1
Cover Designer: REDBIRD DESIGNS
Publisher: LIMITLESS PUBLISHING
Release Date: MAY 31, 2016
— SYNOPSIS —
After a devastating accident, Aurora Crane’s collegiate gymnastics career comes to an abrupt end…
Fighting to piece her life back together, Aurora packs up and transfers to California State to start anew. When she arrives, her focus is on schoolwork and choosing a new career. But to her surprise, destiny has other plans…
Sucked into the world of competitive breakdancing, Aurora comes toe-to-toe with the hottest B-Boy of them all…
An arrogant hothead, Mitch Adachi—or B-Boy Kickwit as he is more commonly known—has life all figured out. He breakdances all day, practicing for upcoming competitions that are sure to challenge his skills—which means he has no time for distractions.
When the new girl steps into the scene, he sees an opportunity he can’t pass up…
Besides finding Aurora devastatingly attractive, he can’t help but notice her skills. He quickly develops high hopes for the ex-gymnast, seeing her as the perfect potential crewmember for the impending high stakes Battle of the Crews competition. All she needs is some fine-tuning.
When the two commit to a business relationship, a different kind of passion kicks into high gear. There’s no denying they groove well together, but there’s a chance mixing high-stakes competition with a fierce romance might lead to…
Breaking Promises.
— 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.
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Does Feeling Sad Really Heighten Creativity?

 

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Does sadness really equal creativity?

As a Psychology graduate, studies about the link between the two have interested me greatly. Whether due to a cause and effect scenario or basic correlation, there have been many cases of great thinkers and artists who were undoubtedly depressed.

Where do I fit into this scenario?

It comes as no surprise to my friends and family that when writing certain emotional scenes in my books, I often take on the feelings and characteristics of my characters. In such cases my sadness is the direct result of my creativity. Then again, there are other cases when a specifically bad mood may cause me to go on a writing binge (see One and Done) so in that case my mood really did affect my creativity.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, it’s no misnomer that emotions can greatly affect one’s level of creativity. These effects may be for the better or may be for the worst. With me, it’s more of a hit or miss.

It’s true that in exceptionally sad cases I’ve been known to lock myself up and write my heart out. In fact, I’ve come up with many story ideas–most I still have to write–because of this. That being said, sometimes when I am exceptionally depressed there is no budging me. My mind won’t work. I can’t think. All hopes for creativity are thrown out the window.

In late 2013 my husband and I began our journey to start a family. After years of being told that sex=pregnancy, imagine my surprise when I found out that it isn’t always that easy. Month after month flew by and still no bun in the oven in sight. Cut to 2014, I was officially diagnosed with fibroids and endometriosis. We had to put “trying” on hold for a couple months as I prepared, had, and recovered from my laproscopic surgery. If you’re interested, you can read about my experience in my blog: Painting with Robots . Anyway, after going through that particularly difficult time, I felt uplifted and we began to try again.

APRIL 2015

I had my first positive pregnancy test. I was ecstatic! I was over the moon! Then almost as if it were some cruel joke, I lost the pregnancy. Chemical Pregnancy – I hate that term with a passion. Regardless of how early a miscarriage is, it’s still just that–a miscarriage. I know it’s the medical term or what not, but calling it a Chemical Pregnancy just rips the emotion from the loss, doesn’t it? It makes it feel sterile and robotic. Trust me, it’s not. Many, many, tears were shed. Feelings of anger, sadness, worthlessness, despair (I can go on and on) flooded through me. In fact, in my despair, I confused the times of an Author Event, which I NEVER do and missed my time slot! Sadness was definitely not fueling any sort of creativity  for me then…

Now here I am.

January 2016 and still on this painful journey. I’m not saying I’m sad or depressed 24/7 as I have so many blessings to be thankful for, but sometimes the smile on my face is definitely just a mask.

So again, why am I telling you this?

For therapeutic purposes, I suppose…

Also, I wanted to let you know that sometimes writing breaks are completely necessary, but not something I particularly like to take. In fact, after my early miscarriage I took about a month to just compose myself and read. That’s not saying I didn’t have many story ideas fluttering in my head. In fact, despite my deep sadness I’ve manage to accumulate about 6 unfinished manuscripts and finish 4 more by the end of 2015.

All in all, writing is my therapy. Reading is my therapy. Daydreaming, imagining and creating different worlds are my therapy.

Writing takes a lot out of you and despite wanting to take a few breaks, amidst the sadness there is no denying the pull towards it.

Writing is my drug.

So, next time you pick up any book, whether it is full of tears or maybe even laughter, take a minute and imagine what the author may have been feeling at the moment it was written. It may be that those characters were exactly what he or she needed to be pulled out of a funk.

Does sadness heighten creativity? I’m not sure. But creativity definitely helps diminish sadness.

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Let’s Have a (Facebook) Party!

I’m socially awkward, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. If there is a way to avoid eye contact, public speaking and/or changing out of my pajamas then I am all for it.

Marketing your book is an integral part of this industry. Unfortunately, being a writer can’t be all about hiding behind the safety of your computer—or can it?

Facebook Release Parties are quickly taking the literary world by storm. Along with blog tours, web ads and other social media efforts, these Facebook parties allow writers to become up close and personal with their readers from the privacy of their own computers. In fact, it is due to these types of parties that I’ve been able to attract more readers and also make some awesome new friends—not to mention hit an Amazon Bestseller list for the first time! It’s all about spreading awareness.

So what are these parties? From my experience I’ve encountered two types. The first kind allows you to network with other authors. Takeover events typically take place on the day of the Host’s book release and can span a few hours. Different authors sign on to takeover an allotted period of time (usually an hour) in which they do everything from playing games, giveaways, sharing teasers & excerpts, and most importantly connecting with current or soon-to-be readers! The beauty of these types of parties is that fans of different authors will typically stick around for the duration of the party allowing them to be exposed to new writers including you! On any given day or week there is a Takeover Event going on and it is pretty easy to find hosts searching for authors to volunteer their time. Just join any of the Book themed Facebook groups and I can guarantee you will stumble across a pending party.

The second type of party I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing puts YOU in the spotlight! These Release Day Parties differ in length depending on your preference and also requires a lot of backbone. It is quite similar to the party I mentioned above but there are no other authors to share your time with—this party is all about you, baby. So send those invites out and ask your friends, family and readers to help spread the word. You wouldn’t want to go to your own party alone, right? If you rather not coordinate the party yourself, feel free to Google Book PR Companies online. Many of these companies offer Release Day parties as part of their services.

Partying isn’t just for extroverts anymore. Facebook parties allow introverts (like me) to not only spread awareness of their work but to also get to know many people from around the world, all from the comfort of your living room.

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My new Urban Fantasy novel, PLAN A: LYCAON’S KISS will be released on July 21st!!! (Exactly 1 year after my first novel, GREEN)

Since Summer has snuck up on me, I figured I’d give you a bit of a teaser. Take a look at Chapter 1!

 

I’m so excited to share it with you!!!

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PLAN A: LYCAON’S KISS

Chapter 1

“What is this place?” I breathed nervously as I fingered a mobile made of what looked to be crystals. I shuddered as I glanced around. “This place is kind of weird.”

The room was decorated floor to ceiling in red, maroon and black colored velvet. To top things off, what I could only describe as chamber music wafted throughout the small room. It reminded me of those horror movies where a virgin was ruthlessly sacrificed. Needless to say, that didn’t spell well for me.

“Jen, what is this place?” I asked a bit more forcefully. I glanced over at my boyfriend. Even after two years together he still sent a wave of butterflies down to my stomach (and other regions). I took a moment to appreciate his classic “Clark Kent” good looks. Piercing blue eyes coupled with a dark mop of perfectly styled hair. Yes, I was one lucky girl…or so I thought.

“I told you to stop calling me that,” he snapped, never bothering to look up at me. The way he fidgeted made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but I chose to ignore the heaviness in my gut.  So we were in a weird magic store, there was nothing to be worried about…right?

Jensen rolled his shoulders and muttered, “My name is too feminine as it is.”

I smirked and replied, “It’s a family name. I think people will forgive you.” I walked around the small shop, taking great lengths to avoid bumping into the various crystals, which seemed to be hung everywhere. I ran my hand carefully against a velvet table cloth and wandered over to a single black candle at the far corner of the room. It was roughly about three feet tall and from the look of it, seemed more than halfway burned through. I couldn’t even imagine how tall it stood when brand new.

“Be careful with that!” A strangely high male voice called out from the opposite end of the room.

I quickly spun around and bumped into a table. I yelped and grabbed it, steadying it just in time to save a goblet from toppling over. I grinned sheepishly and stuttered, “How’d that get there?” I hung my head and apologized.

“Is this seriously what you’re bringing me?” the man snapped. I raised my head and got my first good look at the stranger. He seemed about a good decade older than my twenty-two years and had the strangest hairstyle I’d ever seen. His head was for the most part buzzed, except for a strip of jet black that reached from the top of his forehead to the nape of his neck. I assumed he normally styled it as a Mohawk, but that day his hair flopped around lifelessly around his head. His cheeks seemed a bit gaunt and sunken in, but clean shaven nonetheless. Then there were his eyes…His eyes were lined in a deep kohl liner, which accentuated a beautiful hazel color. Had it not been for the perpetual scowl, those eyes would have been the most beautiful I’d ever seen.

“Greg!” Jensen greeted happily – a bit too happily. “Nice to see you man.” He hesitated slightly before walking over to the scrawny man. Though Greg was a good foot shorter than Jensen, my boyfriend was visibly fearful around him. It terrified me.

“Wish I could say the same thing about you,” Greg snarled. His head turned towards my direction and he narrowed his eyes. “This her?” I couldn’t help but feel stripped down as he scanned me from head to toe.

I cleared my throat. “Um, I’m Morgan.” I extended my hand only to pull it back when Greg merely flicked his tongue against his teeth in response. I gulped and walked over to Jensen, weaving my arm through his. “Who’s your friend?” I asked nervously.

Jensen visibly gulped, his Adam’s apple bouncing in the process. “This is Greg, he’s…uh…a business associate of mine.”

“I guess you can call me that,” Greg snickered and crossed his arms. I hate to stereotype, but I was expecting them to be covered in tattoos. To my surprise, both his forearms were bare except for the numerous welts and scars, which ran down his elbows to wrists. As my eyes ran along his arms, Greg and I caught eyes. He flashed me a smile and I instantly felt myself redden in embarrassment.

“So, Jensen,” Greg began as he made his way towards us. “I hope you know she doesn’t count as payment, just collateral.”

My heart instantly began to speed up. My eyes widened and I pushed away from Jensen. “What is he talking about?”

Jensen threw me an apologetic smile. “It’s only temporary,” he replied quietly. “I promise I’ll get you back.”

“Jensen,” I said firmly. “What are you talking about?” At this point I had already begun to make my way door. I reached out for the door handle only to find a hand firmly atop my wrist. I whipped my head around and found myself looking Greg in the eye. “That’s impossible,” I whispered.

Greg automatically grabbed my forearm. He spun me around so that I was facing Jensen. As I stared at my boyfriend Greg leaned over so close that I could feel the warmth of his breath hit my skin. Softly, he whispered in my ear, “Take a look at this scumbag you call your boyfriend. Owes me fifty grand that he’s not able to pay back.” He began laughing and shook his head in amusement. “Offered you up as collateral until I get my money back.”

“Jensen!” I screamed hysterically. “Tell me this is some sort of sick joke.” I began struggling against Greg, but his grip on my arm wouldn’t budge. It was as if all the strength in my body wasn’t enough to fight against the strength in his one hand alone. “Jensen!” I wailed as tears began to fall from my eyes. “Please….you can’t possibly be serious.” With my free hand I reached for the phone in my pocket. “I’m calling the police! You people are crazy!”

As soon as I freed the fluorescent pink phone from my pocket, Greg’s hand shot out and grabbed it from mine. I watched helplessly as he crushed it effortlessly within the palm of his left hand. “Sweetie, that’s not very nice,” he scolded. He looked up at Jensen who had inched his way towards the door. With a sneer Greg shouted, “You have two weeks to get me the money! If you’re not here by midnight on the twentieth, your girl is going to be the newest member of my pack, you hear me?”

Jensen nodded his head frantically and made a beeline for the door. I screamed at the top of my lungs as I watched the glass door shut behind him. I vaguely heard Greg’s words of feigned comfort as my tears began to blind my eyes.