Category Archives: About Me

Camp Nano: How I Did (April 2019)

With Camp NanoWrimo over, it’s time to look back on how I did!

If you don’t know, NanoWrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. In November, writers get together to join a “cabin”, and set a word count goal for themselves. The standard is 50k, but you can go higher if you want. You then try to write those 50k words in one month! There are different times of year Nano happens, like in April and July, where you can focus on not just word count, but if you want to edit a certain number of pages, too.

I did Camp Nano last July with several of my cabin mates Tauri, Kelsey, and Joy. This year we decided to do Nano again, and added Madeline to our cabin! Last year, I set a goal of 100k words for myself – which I surpassed and beat Nano with a few days to spare. That was the first draft of Forbidden.

This year, I sat down to write Little Lost Girls and set the goal of 70k words for myself. I went into Nano with 20k words down already, and was confident I could write another 50k…and, well, that didn’t quite happen. Since I was writing my thriller, the book was rather fast paced. I tend to write chapters between 8 – 10 pages long, but this time, my chapters were 4 – 6 pages. There were a ton of scenes involving police procedures, or other criminal investigations, that I flew through and made up because I didn’t actually know how those procedures went. It took me twenty days, but I finished writing Little Lost Girls halfway through Nano. It ended up being 54k.

That’s the shortest novel I’ve ever written. I’m definitely an over writer, and most of my revisions involve cutting or trimming down scenes, so I was shocked to see how short my novel actually turned out to be. While I did finish writing my book, I didn’t quite “win” Nano. Or did I? I don’t really know! Either way, I’m proud of myself for finishing writing another book!

It still needs a ton of work though. There’s a lot missing that needs to be expanded on, especially things like police procedures that I had no idea how to write. Luckily there are some people I can reach out to in hopes they’ll answer some questions I have.

Overall, I’m very happy with myself for using Nano as a tool to help propel myself into writing another book. And having cabin mates is a blast – we did writing sprints that really encouraged us all to write as much as we could and further our goals. If you’ve never done Nano before, I highly encourage giving it a try!

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XOXO – Devon

Life as a Full-Time Writer

It’s almost May, and that means I’ll have officially been a full time writer for four months. For four months, I’ve been pursuing my passion and goal of publication. To be clear: I haven’t made any money off this. I’m not published, and I don’t have an agent. But I’ve always wanted to take the leap into full-time writing.

Let’s take a trip down 2018, shall we?

In May 2018, my boyfriend of almost five years graduated law school. For the last three years, he’d been a full-time student. While he worked during the summer and did internships, I worked a part-time job in retail. I worked odd hours of the week, and never had a set schedule. When I was home, I worked on my writing, but I’m not going to lie: I was miserable.

I didn’t hate the retail job. I actually enjoyed it, and I loved all my coworkers. But I hated working in a retail setting, and working with customers became exhausting for my mental and emotional health. I dreaded going to work every day, and I was always anxious and nervous. On top of that, I had several health problems I was dealing with.

After graduation, my boyfriend got his first job and like me – he quickly became miserable. I won’t go into too much detail, but this prompted him to look for another job – and he got an offer. The job offer he received required us to move two hours away, to a new town neither of us had ever lived in. But after much discussion, we agreed that him accepting this job would be for the best.

By December, we both quit our jobs and moved two hours away. As miserable as I was at my retail job, I had been afraid to quit. The pay was okay, and I made commission. The commute was short. I loved my coworkers. Management was easy going and the job was fairly easy. When it was slow, I could read or write behind the counter. The pros far outweighed the cons in my mind.

But quitting the job was freeing, and it opened a door I’d been hoping for: full-time writing.

The boyfriend knew I’d always wanted this opportunity, and neither of us took it lightly. We had multiple discussion on finances, budgeting, saving, etc. you know, all the important things. But he was adamant that I take some time for myself. After all, I’d spent the last three years taking care of him while he was in school, and he was determined to do the same for me. (I am so lucky to have someone as supportive as him in my life, and I don’t know what I’d do without him.)

After we moved, we spent most of December getting the apartment in order and traveling for the holidays. It wasn’t until January that I finally sat down and began writing once again. At first, I was terrified. While I did love it, I was constantly worried about money. I found myself in a constant state of loving and hating my decision.

I loved not going to work. I loved that my “work” was getting up and writing every day. I loved having a lot of free time to myself. I loved getting to do whatever I wanted all day. I loved that I took this huge risk.

But I hated worrying about money. I hated checking my bank account every time I wanted to make a purchase, and try to justify if it was worth it or not. I hated feeling like I wasn’t earning or saving any money. I hated that people looked down on me for not working. For depending on my boyfriend. For taking a risk that might not pay off in the end.

It’s been four months, and I’ve learned to quiet those thoughts. While they do pop up frequently, it’s easy to silence them when I remember how much I love what I’m doing. Especially when I go to my boyfriend and double-check that everything is okay, that we’re still doing okay. I’m lucky that he assures me everything is fine. We love each other. We can pay the bills. I can keep doing what I love for now.

The most important thing for me is treating this like a full-time job, because in my mind, it is. I wake up the same time every day, sit down at my desk, and start working right away. I spend hours sitting in front of the computer. If I’m not writing my novels, I’m writing blog posts, or reading, or trying to keep myself in a creative mindset. I make sure to hit a word count goal every morning before I get up and do anything else with my day.

But not all days have been good. I’ve definitely had some days where all I’ve done is stay in bed and read, or play video games, or sleep the afternoon away. But I’ve tried my hardest to keep myself going, and to keep pushing towards my goal.

My Goals:

The first thing I wanted to do when we moved in was revise my novel, Forbidden, and I’m proud to say I accomplished that. I spent all of January and most of February revising it, and finishing what is now the third draft. It’s currently out with beta readers and I am awaiting their feedback. If all goes well, I’m planning to do one more round of revisions before sending it out to beta’s one last time, and then hopefully I’ll be able to begin to querying process.

The second thing I’ve wanted to accomplish is write at least three more books this year. I can proudly say I’ve written one more book – a YA Thriller. It needs a ton of work, but it’s a finished draft, at least. I have two more projects I want to work on that I’m outlining.

The third thing I wanted to do was start this blog, and I did that! Not only did I start it, but I’ve continued to post frequently and on a consistent schedule.

And as a non-writing related goal, since moving into a new place, I’ve really been taking the time to get organized and throw out/donate all sorts of things I didn’t need anymore. The move really has felt like a fresh start for myself and my boyfriend, and we’re both getting our lives in order.

Once I start querying Forbidden, I think I’ll be ready to go back to work. My ultimate goal right now is to really get that novel ready, so that while I’m querying I can use work to distract from the waiting.


I know this isn’t permanent. I will eventually go back to work, and I’m actually hoping to go back to school. But for now, I’m proud of myself for making this leap, and following my passions. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and I don’t regret taking this chance. Not one bit.

XOXO – Devon

My Favorite and Least Favorite Tropes

Tropes: There’s ones we love, and one’s we hate. While there’s some tropes that are overdone, when used effectively, they can really spin a story and take it in a unique direction. When done wrong, they only fuel our hate for that specific trope. Here’s a list of my all-time favorite and least favorite tropes!


Favorite:

1.) The Love Triangle

I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for love triangles. I love having two potential love interests who are often very different from one another. When done right, the added romantic tension between our main character and two love interests really pulls me in.

2.) Enemies to Lovers

I love two people meeting who instantly hate each other – either because they’re on opposite sides of a war, have different backgrounds, are rivals – whatever the reason, the tension is usually heavy. Watching them grow to like and eventually love each other really tugs on my heartstrings.

3.) Found Family

I think it’d be pretty hard to mess this one up. A cast of characters who love each other, even though they’re not related by blood, is frequent in a lot of fiction. A good cast of characters who bounce off one another really make this trope fresh and unique every time, and you can’t go wrong with it.

4.) The Mentor

Gandalf, Uncle Iroh, Dumbledore, Yoda – I love a good mentor. The wiser and more experienced character who helps our younger MC on their journey, who offers helpful advice, and even sacrificing themselves for the safety of our hero is one I don’t think I could ever find myself disliking.

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Least Favorite:

1.) The Chosen One

I don’t really hate this trope. I think, if done well, it can actually be really good. But more often than not I find that the Chosen One usually lines up with the main character being super special and admired by everyone, and it’s just not my cup of tea.

2.) Insta – Love

I definitely believe in insta-lust. When you see someone for the first time and are immediately attracted to them, now there’s nothing wrong with that. But falling in love with someone only hours after meeting them? No.

3.) Absent/Dead Parents

I understand the reason for this one. If parents were around, how would our characters have time for all of their adventures? But it’d be nice to see a parent actually get dragged into their child’s unfortunate circumstances, or lend a helping a hand in times of need.

4.) The Perfect Protagonist

This one sort of lines up with my Chosen One trope. I’m just not all for the “perfect protagonist”. You know who I’m talking about – the protagonist who just happens to have some unique features, like an unnatural hair or eye color. Anything they do, they’re suddenly an expert at within hours or days, compared to people who’ve been training their entire lives. Instead of being scolded or punished for their mistakes, they’re congratulated for them and told how brave, special, or unique they are. Boring.

5.) Poor Communication Skills

When the entire plot revolves around the fact that two characters just didn’t communicate something to one another, or give each other time to explain a situation, I get so irritated. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting two characters to just tell each other something, or get a disagreement settled, and they don’t. There’s better ways to create conflict than this.


There’s nothing wrong with using tropes in your own writing – in fact, it’s encouraged! Tropes help ground the reader in something familiar, but when you do use them, it’s important to give them your own unique and special twist!

What are your favorite and least favorite tropes? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO – Devon

10 Books I Wish I’d Written

There’s a lot of books out there. Some are good, some are bad, and some fall into the “meh” category. But once in a while there’s a book, or a book series, that we can’t help but finish reading and wonder, “Why didn’t I write that?”

There’s no rhyme or reason to how we get our ideas the way we do, or why they develop a certain way in our minds. At least for me, that is! But every story idea is unique to every author, and it’s part of what makes the writing process so fun. That said, it still doesn’t change the fact that sometimes we look at a book and wish we’d gotten that idea first!

So here’s a list of books I find so good, I just can’t help but wish I’d written them myself.


A13t6dMpJuL.jpg#1: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know I’ve mentioned this book quite a bit and how it reignited my passion for reading. I owe a lot to this book. Not only is it well-written, but the world building is great and I love the characters. Sebastian’s debut novel is one that has continued to be a favorite on my list. And I really think it stands out amongst a lot of other YA fantasies on the shelves.

 

 

 

 

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#2: A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Okay, I know, I know. This one shouldn’t be a surprise. I started reading A Court of Thorns and Roses before reading Throne of Glass, and I fell in love with Maas’s writing. Her writing style is beautiful, and she really knows how to craft a story. She also has a knack for creating really interesting side characters. The entire series was a blast to read, and I really enjoyed it.

 

513L6oG8e6L._SY445_QL70_.jpg#3: The Rift: Uprising by Amy S. Foster

Alternate universes – they’re a thing I don’t feel is mentioned a lot in fiction books. You definitely see them when it comes to comic books, but in terms of science fiction novels? I haven’t seen many. I think the concept of explaining alternate universes, and an entire multiverse, is really hard to explain, but Foster does an amazing job of summarizing it in this book. Her world-building is so well thought out and captivating, and the concept is one I’d never seen before.

 

 

 

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#4: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

No one should be surprised by this one! Like so many others, I grew up reading and watching everything Harry Potter. Rowling created a literal world of magic, one that to this day still has readers in love with her work and her wizarding world. Her level of imagination is seriously something to strive for!

 

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#5: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

This was the last book I read in 2018, and I loved it. The writing and story were both gorgeous. The storyline was so unique. It takes a lot to make me cry because of a book – and this one really got the water works going. Ernshaw’s ability to spin her witchy tale was so captivating that I just couldn’t put this book down.

 

 

 

 

9160KvYYLIL#6: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

This is a recent read for me. But man, as much as I love thrillers, I’m usually a little disappointed by them. This one? It blew me away. While I wasn’t a fan of Lockhart’s writing style in the beginning, by page fifty, I was hooked. Her writing is superb and beautifully written. The mystery constantly kept me on my toes, and I was always wondering what would happen next. I read a lot of thrillers, and by far this has been one of the best.

 

 

 

9780316556781_p0_v3_s550x406#7: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Like The Wicked Deep, this one had me crying by the final couple of pages. The characters are what sucked me in. I could relate so much to the MC, Valerie, and what went on months before the plot of this book. The emotions the characters felt were so raw and real, that I couldn’t help but feel for them at every turn.

 

 

 

 

yas-5_zps097038fc#8: The Watersong quartet by Amanda Hocking

Mermaids and sirens. They’re something you don’t see a lot of on the shelves. The Watersong series was Hocking’s first traditionally published works. She spins a unique tale of mermaids and sirens and Greek mythology, blending together interesting characters with the beach side tourist town that always sucks me in. This series doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves.

 

51OMI4Jez3L._SX260_.jpg#9: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

This shouldn’t be a surprise either. Martin’s series has become a worldwide phenomenon. While his writing isn’t quite as lyrical as I normally like, his ability to craft characters and give them each unique backgrounds, plotlines, and histories is such a talent. His world is so immersive, and it’s no wonder his series has gained the recognition it deserves.

 

 

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#9: The Fear Street series by R.L. Stine.

Okay, okay. Technically not all the Fear Street books are a series. And technically R.L. Stine has written over 100 Fear Street books, not including the news ones that have been released in the past couple of years. I picked up my first Fear Street book in the school library and fell in love with the books, which took me on a quest to read every single Fear Street book he’s ever written. (I think I’ve read 90% of them). But Stine’s ability to write unique, interesting horror stories in such short word-counts, and build an entire world around his town of Shadyside, has always captivated me. The books don’t necessarily live up to some of the horror books nowadays, but they’re still a major piece of nostalgia for me.

 

41K99+cInvL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg#10: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

This one might come as a shock. Twilight is certainly not the most well-written book, or even the most imaginative, or well…it definitely has a lot of bad things about it. But forget about the writing for a second. Think about the aftermath of Twilight. I remember when the books came out and I was in middle school. A friend recommended the books to me, and of course at that age, I was hooked. But I remember what happened after: kids all over my school were reading Twilight. Classmates I’d never seen hold a book suddenly had their noses buried in library copies (which were frequently checked out and hard to get). My entire school was Twilight crazy. Say what you will about the bad quality, but you can’t deny that Twilight had a serious positive impact on encouraging kids to read.


-XOXO Devon

My Writing Journey

Hello! Let’s try this again.

I’ve had an interest in blogging for several years, but every time I created a blog with the intention of getting serious about using it, I always made excuses: “I’m too busy.” “I have nothing to write about.”

Blah, blah, blah.

Back in January when the New Year came, I got serious again. I even wrote my first blog post and went to upload it on my site…and then I got angry with WordPress for not letting me format my post the way I wanted it. So I gave up.

I seem to have a bad habit of doing that, and frankly, I’m sick of it.

I want 2019 to be the year where I stop making excuses, where I get motivated, and overall improve my mental and physical health. I want to start pursuing my dreams, my goals, and start taking risks that I was too scared to take before.

Blogging is one of them.

So welcome to my blog! I plan to use this site to document my writing journey, give writing tips and tricks, and talk about everything from my personal life to my writing life.

Follow me to stay updated, and make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

XOXO – Devon