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"To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone — just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over." ~ John Hersey

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my Livejournal. I'm Kathleen Foucart (rhymes with Go-Kart), aspiring author and proud writer of YA fantasy & paranormal romance. Feel free to explore the tags and archives and to add me to your Friends list.

Who am I?

I'm a graduate of the MFA in Children's Literature program at Hollins University and a member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I'm married to my wonderful Hubby, who apparently doesn't think I'm too crazy (or at least, too crazy to marry). We have a Great Dane named Emma Hermione; she has a big bark, but is really a cuddle-bug (just watch out for her talons).

You can find me on Twitter and Facebook. Aside from writing, I read, sometimes knit, watch too much TV (and Netflix-- Instant Watch is the devil and I love it) and drink too much coffee.

What do I write?

I write books about teenagers for teenagers (and adults) who like to read about wizards, magic, werewolves, vampires, shape-shifters, faeries, and a lot of other things that may or may not exist. ;-) And while I don't rule out writing non-fantasy stories or books for adults, YA fantasy is where my heart is.

I've got three completed manuscripts (not counting all the near-misses that were my tutorials in "how not to write" when I was younger), one in the querying stage and two in revision.

WINGS & FANGS: BEWITCHED is a paranormal romance about a sixteen-year-old immortal shape-shifter who rescues a classmate from a werewolf, only to find this classmate isn’t all he seems. It's got mystery, soul mates who don't always like each other, a six-year-old psychic and plenty of angst.

ACCURSED is about a girl who was kidnapped as a baby, at seventeen steals Cursed objects from haunted houses, and has just learned the one person she's trusted her whole life has lied to her. There's blackmail, lots of kissing, chatty ghosts and family secrets.

THE TIES OF BLOOD (formerly ARION) is an edgy/dark piece about eighteen-year-old Arion Rapson, who lives in a Regency-era world and discovers his father is a Big, Evil Wizard-- and Arion has to train to take over. It’s got magic, potion-abuse, romance and lots of family turmoil.

If you have questions I didn’t answer, feel free to check my user info, ask in the comments section of any of my entries, or to email me at kathleenfoucart at gmail dot com.

Let it go

These last two weeks have been kinda crazy. Between Mother's Day (we hosted brunch for 8, plus two wee ones), my 20 week anatomy scan (everything looks great and it's a GIRL!), and then hubby's step-dad coming in to visit for nearly a week, it was going to be nuts anyway. Add in the fact that I overexerted myself Monday and my back has been feeling tweaked for oh, five days now, and I'm SO BEHIND on life. And by life, I mostly mean writing. But also laundry. And baking. But mainly, writing.

I forgot to write on the 17th. I haven't missed a day since November 2014, so on the one hand, I'm ticked off at myself. I didn't really do anything that evening, just soak in the tub and try to relax out my back, then lie in bed listening to an audiobook, but I totally blanked on even emailing myself somne plotting information (which is my usual "oh crap, I haven't written anything today" method of writing something). So I'm a bit annoyed. But I'm also telling myself "It happend, let it go."

I want to write every day mostly for momentum's sake. For me, it's too easy to start skipping when I've already skipped a day. And with Pregnancy Brain taking hold in full force, it's way too easy to say "Well, I just can't. I have no brain, I'm too tired, I'm not going to do it today." And today turns into three days, which turns into a week, which turns into every other day I'm giving myself a pass that I don't really want or, actually, need. Yeah, some days I reread what I'd written the day before and go "WHAT THE HELL????" because I've used the wrong form of "There/Their/They're" or left out half my punctuation, but most days, I just go "Okay, not bad, not great, fixable, move on." Which, really, is the only way forward.

But I also can't beat myself up for a missed day, or even a couple. I am a not a machine, and I need time to recharge or to let whatever aches heal. I know that I don't want to derail completely with Baby 2's arrival, but I also can't let myself be my own worst enemy in terms of "YOU MUST DO X, Y, and Z!" (Which I don't respond to well, even coming from myself, and in relation to writing!) So I'll try every day to do what I can. That's really the best we can do, right?

What about you guys? What do you do when your writing routines get thrown off? Or any routines, really! Especially the ones that help keep you sane, like crafting or reading or whatever. I think that's what gets me, is that I know I need to keep writing to feel like me so when I forget, I start panicking over "Am I losing myself???" which, yeah, after one day, not likely, but still! So how do you guys cope? Move on? Try to "catch up" somehow? Create a new routine? Inquiring me wants to know! :)


Working on Working

I was reading through my Timehop today and getting a bit down on myself. So many of my old posts were about writing: "Knocked out chapter thirty-four today!" or "Manuscript off to betas! Now on to the next project!" or "Revision is eating my brain"-- things like that. Lately a good day means I've written more than a single page (which I know would be a fantastic day for some other friends... not trying to shame). But I used to write a lot more. And faster. And I could hold pieces of two to four stories in my head and work on them all in the same day without getting confused or utterly blanking on my main character's full name.

I also used to be able to wander out to Starbucks at the drop of a hat, ignore mountains of dishes and laundry without serious consequence, and forget to eat all day with nothing worse than my husband coming home and insisting I cram a cookie in my mouth before I took his head off...

None of those are options anymore (for various reasons). Between my tendonitis diagnoses five years ago, then varying ego ups and downs, then pregnancy, new baby, toddlerdom, moving, living with family, moving again, and now pregnancy again, things have become more... complicated. I knew I'd have to change how I worked post-kiddo, but I hadn't quite realized how much all those things would affect me. Now that know... I'm pretty glad I didn't know before!

After I realized things were quite different, I thought I'd have to change my writing process. I tried plotting more (Bad. Move.) and ignoring thigns that weren't In The Story (also Bad). I tried hopping projects without moving the current one forward (irritating). I think now I've realized that the problem isn't my process-- the problem is how I approach it.

What I need to do is write how I write. Not over-plotting things (I need a loose idea of what's happening, but it has to be very loose!), letting myself wander in other points of view or backstory if I need to, and really looking at the Current Project and telling it that it won't defeat me. But I also need to give myself the headspace to do that. Which means... Ignoring some dishes. Ignoring some laundry. Letting The Toddler's blocks stay scattered on the living room floor for another couple hours. Closing my browswer window. Realizing I'm only 18 weeks pregnant and really, I don't need to pick a name for the baby Right This Second (especially since my husband will probably hate whatever I'm looking at).

I know a lot of people dislike the quote "writers write" but really, that's what it comes down to for me. I know, for my own sanity, I can't go long without writing, so yes, I write every day, just like I take my meds every day. And because of that, I need to let myself BE a writer when I'm on my own time, and remember that the rest of the world can wait an hour or two for me to come back to reality.


Fun and Games.

Over the weekend I decided to fill out a beat sheet (Save the Cat) for Darlington, and a sheet I'd made up for my own use, mostly based on James Scott Bell's "Write Your Novel from the Middle." I usually do this early on, just to try and get an idea where the story is going (often with lots of holes and question marks), and then between drafts, but I've been feeling stuck, so I thought I'd see how things stood, plot-wise.

Everything looks fine, plot-wise. I even reworked the last page of the beat sheet to include the five-point finale structure-- which also came out pretty much fine. I have exactly two sections that don't quite fit in a way that's actually a problem. I have a few more that don't fit the page-limits, but that's whatever, I adapted those for a novel anyway, so it was never entirely perfect.

My "Fun & Games" was bloated (and so is a small section of the finale), and there's not quite enough detail in "Bad Guys Close In" and "Dark Night of the Soul"-- both supremely fixable problems once I actually looked at them.

So tonight I pulled out just "Fun & Games" and looked it over. According to the word count I'd like to hit (100k, but if it's less I'm fine with that), I have ~90 pages for that particular beat before the midpoint. Dividing that out, I realized I had to seriously cut down the number of scenes I had floating around there, or rather, make the best ones pull even more weight. I'm cutting the scenes that haven't ever felt right to me, and reworking a few situations to add characters (for characterization purposes) or bridge gaps left by cutting other things. There are now a couple places where I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do, but that's so much easier to deal with than not having any clue where to even start.

Why did it take me so long to actually look at it this way? I don't know. I could blame pregnancy-, baby-, toddler-brain, but it's probably more than that. I know I'm not a fast writer, in terms of just getting a story down and then working on it. But I'm also not a plotter, and I get overwhelmed by too much pre-writing information. I think it's just going to be my process to have to relearn this whenever I'm working on another book, and though it's irritating, it's also comforting to know that I do have all the tools I need at any given time-- I just need to figure out how to lay my hands on the right ones in a slightly less irritating timeframe ;-)

Anyone else have a similar issue they're always relearning? I'd love to feel not quite so alone out here! :)

Projects, projects everywhere.

I've been working on a lot of different things in the last few years, trying to re-find my writing footing. I went through my WIPs last year (basically, any been-started manuscript that I have Actual Ideas for, and any follow-up books), and I came up with a whopping 30. Granted, most are sequels-- it's actually half that for individual worlds.

Obviously the story I've been working on the most is DARLINGTON which is part of the Dominions series. I'm currently thinking 2-3 books there, though originally it was planned as a stand-alone. Yet every time I bump up against the ending now, I see that there's more to it. So it gets at least one more, at least in my own mind. What happens when it meets the Real World is probably not up to me!

I've not touched the Mordagrin books lately. Like DARLINGTON they're going to involve massive rewrites, and I'm finding the way into the opening difficult. I have the original trilogy set up, along with a "prequel" of sorts (mostly short stories), the story arc for a novella sequel, and a super-sequel idea (set a few hundred years later). But those will all have to wait.

The only manuscript I currently think is done (save for needing a bit of revision on the epilogue), is ACCURSED, which I rewrote in December/ January. My debate with that one is if I should self-publish, or hold onto it for later work. I'm trying to learn more about self-publishing before I make the final decision, but without a base readership, I'm not sure I want to attempt it (the marketing thing seems a bit overwhelming). I also would then have to write the next two books fairly quickly, and I'm not entirely sure that's where I'm at, mentally, now.

I have a few first drafts I'm really having fun with that I want to be my next project, and I'm having trouble picking one. One is the Alt-World Futuristic Historical Mystery with Bonus!Magic (+ Kissing), currently with the working title of NAT & WILL. As you can probably tell, explaining the setting has eluded me. Think the Shindig episode of Firefly. I'm still working on world-building here, and running into issues where I need to know something about the world to keep going, but I can't figure out the world without writing more. Argh.

An "easier" world to figure out is my contemporary fantastic, working title of MAISY MEDIUM, which is about a girl whose after-school job is assisting her older sister, a psychic medium. It's a lot of fun, but I've had some issues with the characters not quite working for me, mainly the love interest. I can't figure out if he's got the wrong name, or just I'm not quite capturing his actual personality.

And last but not least is the story I started this past summer, while in the midst of moving. Working title of READ MY MIND (which I don't love, but it fits), it's a contemporary setting, a bit of a paranormal thriller, heavy on the romance. I think. The characters are so intertwined I'm having trouble sorting them out (if you've read anything of mine, this is much more along the lines of Wings & Fangs than any others). They're alternating narration very rapidly, somnetimes overlapping a little, and giving me information in random little jumbles. But they're the characters that currently really feel right to me, if that makes sense.

Anyway, those are my "top of the list" projects right now (yeah, I have to leave Mordagrin on there or I get irritated at myself, even though it's lower priority at the moment!). I'm hoping that the more I talk about my projects and what I'm working on lately the more I'll actually push myself to get done. It makes sense in my head, so we'll see!

What projects are you guys working on? Anything new and fun? Anything simmering in your mind, just waiting for you to be able to find the time to get back to work?


I realize it's now April, but I figured posting my goals here might help hold me accountable. I'm in an writerly email group that discusses our goals quarterly, which is awesome, but since it's not as public, I wonder sometimes if I feel more comfortable letting some slide because it's a guaranteed "safe space." Don't get me wrong, we all need that kind of place to talk about what we're doing or not getting done, how life is affecting said goals, etc., but I wonder sometimes how accountable I feel for those goals.

So I figured I'd share with a slightly wider "audience" in an effort to maybe push myself a wee bit harder. I gave myself some slack these last few months (a.k.a. "first trimester exhaustion") but I'm hoping to get back into a better routine, at least before third trimester exhaustion hits!

1) Write Every Day.
Now, I decided on this goal in general a looooooooong time ago, though in 2013 and 2014 I decided to let it go. Bad. Idea. Very. Bad. At least, for me. Obviously, YMMV, but for me, not-writing, even 50 words in a day, makes me cranky and irritable. I technically can skip a day and not feel too bad, but I've noticed when I let that happen, I quickly backslide into a few days, then a couple weeks... Yeah. So this year, save for that whole "having a baby" thing, I'm going to try and write every day. I'm sure when it gets closer to baby-time I will slip-up more often, and I'm going to try not to let that bother me too much, but even a week or so post-baby, I need to remind myself to get back at it. When I had C I didn't write for weeks after, and when I went back to it, it was like slogging through mud. Or possibly molasses. But it made me feel like me again. So the goal is going to stay Write Every Day with the caveat that I assume the day(s) I'm in labor I probably won't get anything done :-P

2) Write 300k words this year.
I'm not sure about this one, either. I got up to 282k last year, so when I decided on this goal pre-pregnancy, it seemed quite reasonable. Now... Eh, not so sure. I'm barely over 50k for the year so far, so if I keep up this pace I'm on track for about 200k. Not bad, certainly, but not 300k. We'll see how this quarter goes. I might decide to adjust it back to 250k, just to give myself a bit of a push, but not a totally unrealistic one.

3) Get DARLINGTON into a queryable state.
I talked about this one last time I wrote. I go back and forth between "why am I even bothering, this story will never be done" and "seriously, you're SO FREAKING CLOSE just keep swimming!" I think this might be the year I actually do it, so long as I can keep pushing through. It's a slog when I'm rewriting the opening for the umpteenth time, but I know there's more there, I just have to get to it!

4) Make headway on at least 1 other project.
When I'm between revision passes, I usually have another project in the wings, so I can just project-hop and keep up momentum. With DARLINGTON I have a few options for what to move to next, all of which I kinda love, so I think it's going to have to be whichever project my brain won't let go of at the time. I'd love to move most of the current first-drafts into the second act (they all are stalling out around the start of act two right now), so I have some options. I'll try and post a bit about all of them another time, because I'm really not one who keeps things close-- I find I move along more with encouragment/ sharing than by never telling anyone anything!

And those are my writing goals! I'm also working with the word BRAVE this year, so I'm trying to get out of some comfort zones, really push myself, and get my stuff back out there. It's time to be brave!

What about you all? Have you been hitting any of your goals for the year, or want some encouragment? Hit me up in the comments and I'll be a cheerleader!

Storying is Hard.

Some of you (esp if you know me IRL or on other social media sites) probably know I've been struggling a bit, writing-wise, over the past few years. My daughter was born in 2013, and has kept me hopping ever since, and the previous year, within a span of five months, I got an agent, went on submission, was passed to another agent, and then dropped when my project didn't sell. Not outside the norm for a writing life, and I know other people who've had similar things happen, but I'd also been floundering on my next project even before I got dropped. So basically, since early 2012, I've been a bit off.

All this off-ness has happened while I've been trying to work on a project-- DARLINGTON (Full working title: DARLINGTON: WHERE SHADOWS DWELL A Novel of the Dominions). I've been thinking for years that it was an inherent problem with the story I'd written in the first draft-- and I couldn't seem to get away from certain plot-events that I kept questioning. They just didn't make sense to me, no matter how I played with character motivations, setting changes, cutting minor characters, whatever. I tried writing other projects because I kept getting frustrated with this one. Actually, I tried switching to not one, but five other projects. Six, if you include revising ACCURSED (the book that was on sub), partway in 2013, and then fully a couple months ago.

No, despite having started it in December 2010, I couldn't figure out DARLINGTON until last week. In 2016. *headdesk* And it wasn't even something totally outside of what I already had-- oh, no. It was a subplot that had been there since the beginning. One that I knew turned out to be important in the ending, but that didn't surface much throughout the middle of the book-- in fact I'd debated trying to find a way to cut it all together.

So here I am, starting yet another draft of this dang book (because I also discovered it seems to work better in present tense, not past-- who knew?), and hoping I have enough energy in me to get a queryable draft by the end of this year. Oh, did I mention I now have a 2 1/2 year old, and I'm 15 weeks pregnant? O_O But I have to try. I've given too much of myself to this novel to let it go just when I'm finally seeing the The Way Out.

Missing LJ

Not really sure what I'm here to blog about today, but I've realized more and more lately how much I miss emptying my writing-brain here. I've been getting back to on-paper journaling, which I still love, but I've missed the opportunity for feedback that this venue supplies. Though I take it a lot of people aren't here anymore... Which is a shame. I'm not finding any other online community quite the same in terms of actual *community* and not just drive-by posting and liking and reposting and what not.

Anyway, mostly just popping in in the hopes that starting small like this will encourage me to come back around more often. Now that I have help watching The Toddler during the week, it's more likely I can sneak some blog time.

A Month of Thousand-Days

Somehow at the end of April I realized I was writing over 1000 words a day fairly consistently. I'd have a few days where I'd dip below, but overall, I was way over my original goal for the year of 250 words/ day. So when May started, and those first few days were over 1000, I was pleased. I decided to try for staying over a thousand for two weeks straight (so, counting the end of April). When I made that, I thought, hey, let's see if I can go one more! With that done, I wanted to get to the same date where I started the 1000+ words streak in April, but in May.


Could I push to the end of the month?

On the 30th, I nearly gave up. Hubby was at work 23 hours that day, Kiddo refused to go to sleep until after 11 (and I usually don't have to get her to sleep, that's her daddy), and when I crawled into my room, at 11:20 with cookies and milk, I had exactly 0 words for the day.

At 12:24 I hit 1002 words and called it a night.

Now, maybe that day I should have called it a night earlier. Especially since said Kiddo woke up every 15 minutes starting at 4:45 until I brought her into my room at 5:30, where she kicked me in the face until her dad showed up at 6, when I promptly had to remove her from the room, or she'd screech in his ear until he had to go back to work in 4 hours. Needless to say, I was not an overly happy mommy, nor did I make it to church that morning...

But I didn't call it a night. I opened a document, stared at the blinking cursor, changed the font three times (I use different fonts for different stories for myself-- all back to Times New Roman when I submit, but it helps me keep track of which world I'm in), then started writing in a voice I hadn't written in since February. And I got about a thousand words from her about her story and life that I wouldn't have had if I'd just said "Screw it, I'm vegging with Supernatural then sleeping."

I'm not saying I have some sort of inhuman super-writer powers. I really don't. Especially because that section I wrote isn't necessarily going to get me farther in her actual story. But they were words. I wrote them.

I'm finding more and more that it really is true-- if you keep writing, you keep writing. Just... keep going. Some times it's probably best to call it a night after 100 words when you just can't brain anymore. That's okay. But try again the next day. Brain out 100 more. Or 50 more. Or 500 more. Even staring at the document, thinking about all the things you want to write, but can't-- that's work. You're trying. Yes, the Most Important Thing is getting words down, because you can't fix a blank page. But the second most important thing, IMHO, is showing up even when you can't write a damn thing. Even when your mind is jumping everywhere else, and you're stressed and exhausted and don't want to think anymore about anything, let alone have to imagine an entirely new person in an entirely new world doing things you've never done before-- the important thing is you're there, and you're thinking about it.

Writers write, that's the thing, yeah? Well, writers also don't write sometimes. They look at their story, and they re-read. They doodle a map. They fantasize about movie casting and decorating their MC's house. It all feeds into that part of the brain where the stories are still hiding, still waiting to be told.

If I hadn't pushed myself last month, I might have gotten a little more sleep, sure. But I also might not have. And I certainly wouldn't have written just over 42k words. That's almost a NaNo right there. I haven't gotten that many words down in a month since August 2010. And I did it during naptimes and before my husband would come up to bed at night (so I had like, an hour-ish). Now is it all story? No. But it's all feeding my story. It's all in my head, mushed together and waiting for the right time to come out and present itself.

I'm looking forward to meeting it. Until then, I'm about 300 words away from 1k today, and I'd like to keep pushing for it.

What about you? Have you challenged yourself lately, even just a little one? Let me know in the comments so I can cheer you on!


Writing is fun again!

Hi, LJ Land. You might not believe this, since I haven't been here in a year, and only sporadically for quite a while before that, but I've missed you!

So here I am, dipping my toes back into blogging, because I've missed my LJ friends and because I've found writing out all my writing problems here really was quite helpful to me, and I miss knowing what I'm thinking :)

Life News Since Last Blog: My Hubby got a new job back in October and we moved up to the Frederick, MD area, which is where I grew up. Actually, we're currently (still) living at my parents' house as we look for our new home and try to sell our house in VA. It's been a bit crowded and frustrating at times, but it's also nice to have extra hands helping with the Seriously Active 19-month-old. Tiny Human is a ball of energy and I am frequently exhausted, though in a good way, since she's a pretty darn fantastic kiddo.

In writing news, I'm finally getting back to my own process. I realized last year that I was trying to fit some sort of "Writer" mold that just wasn't me. But that didn't mean I could just hop back on that bike/ horse/ whatever-metaphor-you-want and get back at it the way I used to. Nope, writing really is a muscle. It apparently needs regular exercise to keep it working the way you want it to.

Last year my writing goal was an average of 250 words a day. I mostly hit that goal except for the "moving months" of October and November where I totally fell off the writing wagon. But towards the end of November I realized I was not going to be happy writing in fits and starts, and I really did have to try to write every single day again, no excuses. And... I've been doing it. For me, writing really isn't something I can say "well, I can skip today, because I had a good day yesterday"-- at least not right now, when I'm still trying to get back to a good writing groove.

I started out the year working on a new story, with a working title of Maisy Medium, about the little sister of a psychic medium. It's a contemporary, real-world setting, so it's quite different from everything else I'd been working on for a while (Darlington, Nat&Will, The Ties of Blood, Conviction), and a bit different from Accursed or Wings & Fangs, in that the MC isn't the one immersed in the paranormal world. So it's been a bit of a challenge, but one I've been enjoying working on.

Lately, though, I've finally found my footing in my revision of Darlington! Gee, that's only taken what, three years? hahahahahathud

Seriously, though, it feels so good to be working with Marna and Tenn again. I've gotten feedback from one beta reader already who loved it (yay!) and am waiting on a few more responses to come in over the next month or so. I think the difference is that I've given myself permission to just let this revision go the way it wants to. If I feel the need to write a scene from another perspective to really understand it, I do it. If I need to write a scene that doesn't actually take place within the story's timeline, but I need it to see what happened to set something else in motion, I do it. This not only has helped me find a stronger footing in the story, but it also has gotten me to enjoy laying down words again. I've actually broken 1000 words/ day half the days this month. I can't even consciously remember the last time I did that (but my records tell me it was in January 2011).

It's not like I'm going to have this darn thing ready to query any time soon. I'm not even letting myself think that way too often, because I get overwhelmed (mostly b/c agent research! sooooo time-consuming and frustrating!), but at least I finally feel like I'm heading in the right direction again.

How about everyone else? I'm so sorry I've fallen off the face of the earth, but I'm hoping everything is good with all of you, and I really would like to know how you're all doing, life-wise, writing-wise, whatever! *hugs LJ friends*

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