The joy is real.
The struggle is realer.
HI. I’M AMELIA.
I am a mother of two. I am a writer. Some days there are no words. Just messes.
Other days there are plenty of words that should not be said in front of little ears. Like this week when a can of Diet Pepsi exploded in the freezer.
It’s hard, y’all. All of it. And most days it makes no sense. But writing, like my family, matters a whole lot to me. I find my courage when I write. And pursuing a career in writing, like motherhood, is all about courage.
It’s about joy too. My soul dances when I write. My empathy expands and heals the boo-boos in my heart. Finding the right words is my favorite. Learning the craft is all the good things: excitement, satisfaction, pride. I’ve never been prouder of myself than when I sat across from an agent and pitched my MS and did NOT cry. I’m ready for that next step.
I’VE LOTS OF INTERESTS. Does that make me interesting?
I’ve been playing second violin in community orchestras for the past five years, and oh! the material I have for my next WIP. I love to travel (check out my Instagram). Reading is traveling. Writers recreate the joy of different smells, foods, experiences, settings, and sensations for their audience. Traveling is a solid foundation for good writing and for good living. SRK and Bollywood in general are my happy thoughts. Cookies are on my team. As are books, trees, James May, and ctrl-z. I became a mother in the Deep South. I went to school in the mountains. I grew up at the beach. Home is now the Mojave Desert. I update this website every Sunday(ish) and share news about my writing journey…when there is news. And when there is not I write about my interests.
Books make it better. Books kept me company when my baby girl demanded equal parts silence and snuggles. I have many favorites. Feel free to tweet me if you heart these too.
C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold is a comp title for my debut novel. I read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist in my early twenties and fell in love. Kasie West’s The Fill-In Boyfriend was everything I wanted and didn’t have in high school. Jenna Evans Welch’s Love and Gelato has me planning trips to Italy. Shannon Hale’s Austenland makes me no end of happy and inspires my career. Hello crossover artist! Emily Bronte’s Jane Eyre has two people who are so into each other it makes me blush. Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog has me laughing out loud every time. Plus the historical necessity of cats is a plot point. Lois Lowry’s The Giver led to ugly crying when I finally read it as a nursing mama. The ambiguity still haunts me. A Farewell to Arms taught me everything I needed to know about dialogue. I am and always will be an Ernest Hemingway fangirl. Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life explored POVs and worked my empathy muscles until I was both raw and strong. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the best of the series and makes me cry every time. Every. Time. My patronus is an elephant and unicorn riding a tandem bicycle. Alex Prud’homme and Julia Child’s My Life in France also induced weeping. Scrambled eggs can be beautiful. Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers gave me the courage to try.
I WROTE A YA NOVEL.
Title: THE STORYTELLER
Genre: YA Retold Fairy Tale
Can we talk fairy tales for a minute? Can we talk Bruno Bettleheim(/Julius Heuscher) style? Fairy tales are parables. They are universal truth. They are the most human stories I know. They teach us about the healing and transformative power of love. They teach us about grief and pain. They fill us with hope even as they inform us about real and metaphorical monsters. They give children and adults the tools for besting these foes. They matter. They need to be told and retold because they matter a lot.
“Kate Crackernuts” is something of a forgotten carol among fairy tales (I blame the title). It’s a Scottish fairy tale, and Kate’s story is just as gorgeous as “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast.” I came across it my senior year of college in a folklore class. It changed my life. I wanted to read Kate’s story in YA novel form. It didn’t exist. Kate’s story didn’t leave me. My need to read it became desperate. So I wrote way more than 90K words. Revised. Solicited beta reads. Revised. Solicited more reader. Revised. Asked for more critiques. Revised it down to 90K. And then painstakingly polished it down to 87K. I entered PitchWars 2017 hoping to find a mentor, but was instead told to query by the four teams who requested my full.
In a pre-industrial kingdom (patterned after Scotland), Kate must use her talent for storytelling to rescue bedridden Prince Henry and her stepsister, Annie, from fates worse than death. Kate may be losing her mind in the effort because what she believes happened to Henry and Annie is both fantastic and absurd. Broken hearts do not result in wasting diseases. Princes sick in bed do not dance in the mountains. And stepsisters do not transform into sheep. Henry believes Kate is using folklore to reconcile truths that are too terrible to accept. When rumors of Annie’s death grow and Kate is named an accomplice in her presumed murder, Kate must flee to save her own life. Staying means extradition and culpability, but running means losing Henry and Annie forever. Hop here to take my quiz and learn which of my characters from THE STORYTELLER you are.
I WROTE ANOTHER YA NOVEL.
Title: SMOKE, STEEL, & IVY
Genre: YA Steampunk Retold Myth/Fairy Tale
I finished my rough draft, and I’m thick in the revision stages. But I am also excited beyond words. And thinking that this post is getting too long. Hmm. Looks like I should add my bio to my list of revisions.
So many teasers in this aesthetic. I can’t help but squeal. But if you headed this way because of #PitchWars 2018, this baby is what I’m submitting.
WHY? WHY? WHY?!
I’ve tried not writing. I can’t do that. Writing is my passion. It’s my escape from my hot mess. And it is fun. My mind is happy writing. I like the sound of keys tapping. I like when the words come out of me, and I wonder if muses are real and some how I’ve befriended one. I like finding beautiful trails in revision I didn’t see in the first pass.
DO SHORT STORIES COUNT? Because I wear that hat on occasion.
My story, “Soulless,” won first place in Leading Edge’s 2013 flash fiction competition.
- “The One Thing We Didn’t Have to Unpack,” Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less(2016).
- “Soulless,” Leading Edge, Issue 65 (Feb 2014).
- “The Unexpected Roommate,” Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens(2011).
THE STORYTELLER was beta read by NYT Bestselling author Grace Burrowes. Ms. Burrowes praised both the book and my writing: “Amelia has a genius—not just a gift, a genius—for dialogue and description, particularly as she anthropomorphizes sensory impressions. The voice is right for the fantastical story, the bones of the plot work, and the characters connect well to each other.”
Feel free to ask below in the comments. Many thanks!
Thank you #PimpMyBio Blog Hop. Thank you #Pitchwars mentors and mentees. I had a blast! Thank you David S. Pumpkins. Thank you kitty donuts with almond ears. Thank you new #ontheporch friends.