Let’s Talk Writing

I’m in a slump. I finished two of my three YA fantasy books that are part of a series. I need to edit them. I need to do many things. But doubt is stopping me.

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There are many things that are causing the doubt to creep into my mind everyday. Here are a few examples: The market is full of so many wonderful YA fantasy books, some agents aren’t taking Ya fantasy submissions because the market is over saturated with them, you have so many ideas you want to move onto the next novel to write, this could be the one! I could go on and on.

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I’m also trying to find some writers to surround myself with. Critique partners, beta readers, or anyone who would be willing to help my writing advance and become better. I would reciprocate that as well. I just would love to find some friends who love books just as much as I do.

Moving is hard. I’ve been in Orlando for a year and half. It’s been tough leaving everything you know behind to start fresh in another state across the country.

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I don’t mind trying new things and doing out of the ordinary stuff. It keeps life adventurous. But you need people to do that with or life is lonely. I love writing in cafes and at home. I love going to writing classes. I love meeting up with people and writing with them. Talking books and where they are in their writing. I have a few wonderful friends that do that with me. I’m so lucky to have them.

I’m always looking for new friends but sometimes you think you find them and they never answer your text or call you back. I think I try a couple of times to get together with them and when I don’t get anything back…I get the hint. I can be a little out there with my personality. I get loud when I’m excited. I like to hug people.

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I’m reading Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes and it got me thinking…I say no a lot too. If it’s too hard I step back and go a different route. I don’t want difficult but isn’t that what makes a person stronger? I moved across country to a place I know no one… that is difficult. So I’ve decided to say yes to the things that scare me, like editing, querying and letting others read my novel. I’m going to be more adventurous and go to writing seminars out of state…by myself. I’m going to meet new people and not be afraid that they think I’m weird. I’m going to be me. If they don’t like me then I will shrug it off because it would be their loss not mine. I’m going to be brave and caring. I’m not going to let my fear hold me back.

So if you see a red head with a huge smile coming your way at a book or writing conference, that’s me. Say hi and be warned, I hug.

Love Tawney


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  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 10, 2015)

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.

And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.

The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.

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