DIY and Losing Your Mind

The other day I sat down and wrote the best little blog about how writing is just like renovating a house… and I promptly lost it.

I keep asking myself how… How could I do something so dumb?I write for a living. How can I, a person who lives in neatly categorized files and spreadsheets, lose something I spent hours conceptualizing, writing, and editing?The answer is simple. I’m losing my mind.Instead of trying to recreate what I doubt was a masterpiece rich in allegorical wealth, I am going to give you a quick snippet into the how and why I lost my stuff.Reno 2The truth is, I’m elbows deep in renovating my house. (Like the prison bars?)Last summer, my husband convinced me that we should move into a house with a shop (that included a car lift… We bought a house because of a car lift… *Shaking head* I am still confused at how he convinced me this was a good idea).He’ll be the first to admit the house needed entirely too much work for our own good (but, on a side note, our kids are learning how to remove trim and spackle). Or, maybe it is for our own good—we have come together as a family through this journey. We regularly have painting dance parties--last night it was to the song “Get Low.” Regardless, when I'm not writing, I'm renovating... and sometimes one thing just bleeds into the other. Things aren't saved (like blog posts) and paint makes its way onto things (my computer has a nice new speckled pattern).Sorrel Springs_Pre Reno 1For your viewing pleasure, here's another pre-reno picture of our house so you can see it in its full glory. This puppy hasn’t been touched since 1979.I wish I could kid around about loving the orange carpet, but I hate it so much that even the thought of saying I love it makes me want to rip it out. It's end is near, my friends, its end is near...end is neearOn a positive note, the orange-beast carpet does work well for a painting drop cloth. So far we’ve gone through twenty-five gallons of paint. I’m not kidding. Twenty-five. And I’m not done.I went out of my house this week for McDonalds, while there I had a conversation with one of my friends about how my nails are whatever color I’m painting in my house. I love getting my nails done, but I am living in a reality in which that kind of frivolity would last about ten minutes. I long for the days in which my fingernails were a nice pink color, or better yet, red... I love red.The only place that isn’t covered with paint are my fingertips… I have been rubbing that paint off thanks to the hours I’ve been spending on the keyboard working on the books—but that’s another blog post (needless to say, I’m LOVING the upcoming releases).Okay, I’m rambling. See what I mean? I’m so losing it. I feel like the dog from Up when it sees the squirrel. My mind is awash with long to-do lists and the desire to be done with all things orange and smothered in paint.So… What do you recommend I do to come back to center (i.e. my spreadsheets and calendars)? What about you? What do you do when life is pulling you in a million directions? What do you do to escape? I can’t wait to hear!!**Oh, don't forget to stop by my contest page... There's always something fun happening there! :)

Top Ten Truths About Being an Author

I am often asked what is like to write a novel. On this journey of the mind and soul, I have learned a variety of often painful and sometimes pleasant lessons.  So I decided to share a few of my gems in case you are tempted to think about writing a book or if you are just an author looking for a little laughter!


  1. If you are stuck and can’t decide what to write, drink anything highly caffeinated—don’t worry about the pain in your chest after your fifth espresso, that’s just ideas being born.
  2. Ergonomics is for wimps. If your neck, back, wrists, and eyes don’t hurt after a long day of writing, you are doing it wrong.
  3. Coffee shops are your mecca. Once you accept that you are the stereotype of a writer, you can make great use of any place that has quirky people and uppers floating in the air.
  4. Not talking about your story until it is complete is impossible. It’s like talking about your children, sometimes you just have to share. Your friends are just going to have to accept that your life revolves around little souls and souls that exist nowhere else but in your mind (don’t worry when they call you a border-line schizophrenic, take it like a compliment).
  5. In your marriage, killing a character is an acceptable rule for being in a bad mood; unless it is an antagonist, which is reason for jumping around the house like a mad woman/man.
  6. Sickness will come to the household whenever you are nearing the end of a book deadline. Make sure to get your work done early because nothing promotes a peaceful and harmonious writing environment like the soft scents of Lysol and a child’s feverish face.
  7. Putting your kids to bed early because you have a revelation about your current WIP is not only acceptable but almost required as there is nothing worse than forgetting/not utilizing the muse.
  8. Ideas only come after all of your pens are lined North to South and your chair is tilted in an exact 10 degree angle from your computer screen (or when you are trying to go to sleep and have somewhere to be early the next morning).
  9. It’s normal when you are having a conversation with one of the few friends you have left (after months of being in your writing cave) that everything they say relates to something that you have written. In fact, if this is a true friend, they will love you more for it (even if they are rolling their eyes).
  10. Every character in your book is based on someone you know. We are creatures of habit, why create a character when you have a well-known acquaintance that (not so secretly) loves to dress in drag and only eats yellow food on Wednesdays? HELLO, character quirks!

What about you? What gems have you learned along your journey?


*Danica’s next novel, The Curse of Zeus, Book 5 of the Nymph Series will be out Fall 2015!

The Key to Becoming a Great Romance Author is Having a Sense of Humor...

“A sense of needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.”  Hugh Sidey The key to being a great Romance Author is all in the laugh...One of my favorite and least favorite conversations is when I introduce myself to a new person.  I wait for the inevitable question, “What do you do for a living?”  My heart quickens, because I love my job.  I love writing.  I love creating.  I love imagining the impossible.“I’m a romance author.”  I smile proudly.Then from their reaction I know who the person is:  the non-romance reader cringes, the romance reader smiles excitedly and spills over with questions (I love these meetings—can you say ‘instant friendship?’), literary writers smirk and genre writers smile proudly and exclaim ‘Me too!’.It is truly amazing what you can learn from a person in the five seconds following my simple statement.Next I’m often asked, by the non-romance readers, “Why would you do that?”  It’s almost as if, by writing romance, in their mind, I’m instantly delegated to the social rank of a stripper or porn star.  Little do they know I’m far different than a porn star…I’m a professional writer—I know no pole dancing moves (not that I wouldn’t give it a shot), I don’t know camera angles, or movie making lingo, and I’ve never (intentionally) shown my ‘girls’ in public.What I most dislike about this assumption is the fact that they believe I’m writing smut.  My internal dialogue goes crazy.  Don’t they realize the amount of work that goes into writing a novel?  Story structure?  Pacing?  Dialogue?  Plot?  Acts?  Critiquing?  Editing? Going to conferences? Teaching classes?  Writing blogs?  Pitching the novel? Writing the queries and the dreaded Synopsis?   I’m sure they don’t mean to offend me, but the ‘smut’ that they are judging me for, is about 5 pages out of my 300 page novels.  It’s less than 1% of my work.  Yet, it comprises 100% of their opinion.  I don’t walk into their job and point at their coffee cup and say, “Why do you do that?”  (Though now, I think I just may.)During these lapses in conversational etiquette I always bite my tongue and give them the well-worn answer.  “I love it.  It’s a lot of fun.”  And I leave it at that.  If the person eventually becomes my friend, they begin to learn all that goes into writing, all the victories and the defeats, and soon they come to realize that most writing (even some literary) is, at their core, romance.  And over a glass of wine, they come to learn that most writers are not porn stars or stippers, instead only humorists in disguise.