The Secret Life of a Wallflower

I know I keep apologizing for my long absences on here, but I really do mean it.
Life has just been crazy busy lately, what with my new job and all. Also, our wireless router broke and so we’ve been having to poach off my nana’s wifi (she lives next door) which has not been a terribly successful method of operations. This has resulted in it being very difficult to get online and write posts or edit different versions of my book for different platforms.

Today, I am finally going to write the post I’d been planning about publishing my novel. As you may have guessed by now, I like to have a little time to reflect on the big changes and things that happen in my life before I write about them. I also intended to have information on here about all the different avenues you could purchase it on, but with the no wifi thing, it’s been essentially impossible to accomplish that. All I can offer you is the Kindle version, which is $2.99 and I DESPERATELY hope you will buy. Seriously, I will love you forever if you will click this link and make a purchase:
http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Wallflower-Lives-Book-ebook/dp/B00M0EVCGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406770072&sr=8-1&keywords=the+secret+life+of+a+wallflower

Another thing I have to beg of you is that if you read it, please please PLEASE review it. So far my novel has exactly two reviews, one from my friend Kayla that is kind and generous, and one from a random stranger that gives it one star and says it’s full of contradictions and the language isn’t true to the era (Newsflash: romance novels are works of fiction, essentially NOTHING ABOUT THEM is really historically accurate when you come right down to it. So if you’re looking for historical accuracy, read a history of Regency England. Hello.)

Even with only two reviews, one of which is ONE STAR, 304 people have still bought my book in a little less than a month. Let me just say how utterly mind-boggling that is. Like, seriously. My brain cannot fathom this. This is even more strange to me than when 100K+ people read my viral Buzzfeed post– because this is a NOVEL that I spend FOUR YEARS writing and which COSTS MONEY. And 304 people have said, yep, I’ll give that a go! 

Now, I know a large portion of that number comes from my amazing friends and family, who’s support has been overwhelming to me. But regardless of the reason they bought it, people are actually BUYING it. Even more exciting, this helps increase my chances of being noticed by a major traditional publisher– or at least gives me something to brag about when I write query letters, which helps improve your chances because your novel is demonstrably sellable. 

For anybody out there who doesn’t have a Kindle, I promise I am working on versions for Nook, Kobo, and the Apple store. But just a note, if you have a tablet or a smartphone or even a laptop you don’t mind reading on, you can download the Kindle app and buy my book that way. So technically you don’t even need a Kindle.

As for a print version, well, I’m considering. The problem is that when you print a book on your own, it becomes very expensive for the buyer if you want to make any viable profit off it. First, you have to pay to produce the books and have them shipped to you. THEN I have to pay to ship them to everybody who orders them. Based on the number of people who told me that they want to buy a hard copy, according to the math I would probably make 50 bucks on the whole venture for an enormous amount of time and effort unless I wanted to charge like 13 or 14 dollars for my book.

And that just doesn’t feel right to me. 

Right now I’m playing with the idea of ordering the books and then having an author signing event when they come in, so that way people could pick them up and it would eliminate the cost and need for a second round of shipping. But then you run into problems like where do I have it and what if people can’t make it to the signing to pick up their book? I’m still working to find a viable solution for both myself and the people who would buy the book, but I’ll keep you updated.

Another thing I’ve learned is that trying to market your book when you’re a self-published author is pretty difficult. I know I should’ve written this post before now to help with some of that, but like I said– things have been crazy. 

To anyone reading this who has a blog or something similar, I would be THRILLED if you might want to read my novel and post a review on your site. I would be happy to give you a copy for free in exchange for the promotion. If you have a book club that is interested in using my novel, I’d be happy to come speak or answer questions or something. A book club that my old soccer coach and a mom of one of the girl’s I played with have actually asked me to come speak at their book club before they read my book for the month of September, which is just crazy and amazing and terrifying all at the same time. But I can’t wait to do it.

So that’s about it, I guess. That’s where Sara Rowe, author, stands currently. I’m hoping that you, my amazing and wonderful readers, will join my fan club.

Here’s the links to some of my pertinent social media pages:

My Facebook Author page: 

https://www.facebook.com/sararowewriteswords

The Secret Lives Series FB page: 

https://www.facebook.com/thesecretlivesseries

My Twitter: 

https://twitter.com/rowemygatos

My Goodreads Author page:

 https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8402241.Sara_Rowe

and again, the link to my novel:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Wallflower-Lives-Book-ebook/dp/B00M0EVCGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406770072&sr=8-1&keywords=the+secret+life+of+a+wallflower

Again, regardless of whether you buy it or read it or not, I still cannot thank you enough for following my blog. It means the world.

10 Lessons I’ve Discovered While Writing My First Novel

Hello, Readers.
I’ve been meaning to write this post since about February, but somehow am only just now managing to get to it.
As I mentioned a few times, I recently finished my very first novel. To put it simply, it was an eye-opening experience. Over the course of nearly four years when I was writing this book, I learned a great deal about myself, my abilities, and the process of writing an entire book. Now,  I bring to you some of the most pertinent bits from my journey.
Throughout this post, I will be using my favorite meme of all time, Writer Leopard. Now, there have been times (SOOO MANY TIMES) when I have questioned whether I was meant to be a writer, whether I had any talent at all, if I was just wasting all my time. Then, one day, like a treasure chest of priceless gems in your own backyard, I discovered Writer Leopard, the most accurate meme I’ve ever found (aside from Socially Awkward Penguin). You may or may not know this, but I am OBSESSED with leopards. They are my favorite animal, hands down. When I realized that the meme for writers was emblemized by a leopard, I knew I had found my calling and that I was in the right profession.
Whether you are an aspiring writer, an avid reader, or just a kind person who is reading my blog, I hope you will find this useful. I cannot, of course, promise that this will be the same experience you are having, have had, or will have, but this is what it’s been like for me.
So get ready, because I’m about to hit you with a realization tornado.

1You will have a whole lot of ideas for a novel.

Since deciding I wanted to be a writer somewhere between the age of twelve and fourteen, I would estimate that I have started approximately fifteen to twenty books. I have had ideas for about 1,000. The best source for these, of course, is when you’re in bed at night, five minutes from the verge of sleep, and you’re suddenly struck with most incandescently brilliant and utterly original idea for a novel that has ever blessed the mind of any writer ever.
Generally, if you don’t write it down, you’ll have forgotten it by the next morning.

Did I mention it was a leopard IN A MONOCLE?!

The idea for the novel I finished actually came from another book I was reading at the time. I was very frustrated by the interaction between the hero and heroine, and I felt a need to make it better (another great source of novel ideas).
Suffice it to say, if you are drawn to writing, you will see ideas everywhere and in everything.

2. You should not, under any circumstances, believe all those ideas are really as great as they initially seem.

There’ll be a whole lot of ideas that you have that never even make it to paper, and that’s as it should be. But there will be ideas that you love so much that you do find yourself starting them into a real, actual novel. But one of the hardest lessons you’ll ever have to learn is that some of your ideas are just not good, and even though you’ve written a hundred pages on them, they are never going to see the actual light of day.  Some of your novels just need to be abandoned. As badly as it hurts, however, one day you’ll look back on them and wonder what in god’s name you were EVER thinking.

It’s for the best.

 

3. Writing a book is really hard.

Hopefully if you are really serious about being a writer, you’ll already have accepted this as obvious. I mean, the funny thing about writing a book is that you actually have to do all the work. Like, if you don’t write it, it just… sits there. It doesn’t go anywhere or do anything, because this is literally just stuff you’re making up. And one of the hardest things about writing a book is actually sitting down, picking ONE idea, and actually finishing it. Part of the reason I took four years to finish a book is that in that time I started five or six other ones, worked semi-seriously on two or three, and periodically lost interest and motivation in writing anything at all. But I think the way to know that you’re a writer for real is that no matter how tired of it you get, you always come back to it in the end, no matter how long it takes, because you just physically can’t stop writing. Even if it takes four years.

4. There’s no specific way to write a book correctly.

This was one of the big struggles for me. I googled all kinds of stuff to try and figure out how to motivate myself to write. When I was younger I felt sure that there had to be some specific method that was guaranteed to work. Like if you make an outline, type up a list of plot characters, and designate an hour every day when it’s time for you to write, you’ll have your book churned out in no time. I even tried making a timeline on a big piece of posterboard for one book I was writing, and you can figure out how much that helped me when I tell you that I’ve only written about twenty pages on that story to date. But writing is not like cooking (thankfully, because as you all might remember I am abysmal at cooking). There is no recipe that says, if you takes these ingredients in these quantities and put them together in this manner, you will end up with a product in a specific amount of time.
The more I read, the more I realized how personalized writing a book can be. Some people keep a notebook for each book they write, where they jot down ideas and impressions as they come to them, and create an outline and a character list. Some people start their book from the end, and some people start it from the middle. Some people write the big, important scenes in the story, and then just fill in and connect them together later.
There is literally just no right way. You simply have to work through the process of finding out what works for you. I wrote probably between 50-75 pages from the time I started my book as a sophomore in college to when I graduated, parceled out over three years. Then, after I graduated, I revisited the book and wrote about that same amount in a couple months. Then I got sick of my book and abandoned it, only to open it again in around November of 2013 and finish it in February of 2014, feverishly writing about 100 pages in four months. Writing just came to me in weird spurts and starts, generally in the middle of the night and in huge chunks. Anytime I tried to plan out my plot ahead of time or make an outline, nothing would come to me. Or, I would decide to write the story one way, and then suddenly I would just be writing something else and the characters would just be doing things and I would be just as surprised as someone who had never looked at my book before.

Three weeks, ha, try three days.

What I’m trying to say is that the only correct way to write a book is the way that gets it done.

5. You will hate your book at some point.

As I mentioned, this book took me nearly four years to write, and that’s partially because I hated it for a collective period of about two years. During college, I periodically worked on it and periodically hated it deeply and pretended it didn’t exist. The first half of the book was edited over and over again, because I would open it with the intent to write more on it, end up reading what I had, discover it was awful, and then go back and extensively edit what I already had. I fell back in love with it after graduation and managed to accomplish about as much as I had in the previous threeish years in just a few months. Then I read one of the best books I’d read in the past few years whilst in the midst of this writing fury (I DO NOT RECOMMEND), and subsequently fell into a decided and violent hatred of my book, essentially convincing myself that it was the worst ever and I would never be a talented writer.

The only reason I probably ended up finishing this book was because I reopened it months later and realized I had a really large chunk of a novel written. So I thought to myself, eh, might as well finish it! Then, after I reread what I had on my Kindle (an extremely handy editing tool) I fell back in love with it. The closer I got to the end, the more I loved it and wanted to finish it– until finally one day it was done.

6. Finishing a book is one of the most euphoric feelings a writer will ever know.

The night I finished my novel, I cried because I was so happy. It was like that feeling you get at the end of an amazing novel except times ten, because it was the end of MY novel. I couldn’t seem to believe it, that I had written an entire book from my own hands. The whole thing that makes writing hard, the fact that it comes entirely from you and you do all the work, is the same thing that makes finishing a book so amazing, because you have DONE IT ALL. When my best friend Skye read it, she told me that she would forget I had written it until suddenly she would think “SARA wrote this, HOW WAS THIS ALL JUST IN HER HEAD.” And the only thing I could say was that I didn’t know either. I don’t know where it all came from or how I had an entire story just there inside my head that I actually managed to translate into words and pages and dialogue. I read my own book and couldn’t seem to believe that all of that had come from me.

IT’S LIKE I’M POSSESSED

I used to scoff when I was younger at writers who said that the characters just did what they wanted and had a mind of their own, and they just wrote it down. I found the idea ridiculous; you’re the one writing the story, and making it all up! But I have been converted–I now know this to be the gospel truth. Most of the time, writing feels like I’m just watching this movie play out in my head, and I’m just frantically trying to keep up and write down what I’m seeing as it happens. To me, my characters are real and they exist, and I am as emotionally invested in their lives as I am in my own. The culmination of their story, therefore, affects me as much as if I’d found my own happy ending. In finishing this novel, I took a piece of my heart and soul and typed it into a Word document.

7. You can always assume that you have missed something while editing.

After finishing my novel, I knew I had a great deal of editing to do. I went through and read it on my Kindle, making notes of every mistake I made and every part I needed to change slightly, and spent a couple weeks fixing it.  Then I read it again and edited it more. Then I read it AGAIN and edited it even more. Next I let my sister read it, and fixed all the new mistakes I had made while in the process of editing. By this point, a few people had asked to read it, but I had to make sure I’d edited it enough so that I didn’t embarrass myself.

NO NO NO IT’S NOT READY YET

Even after I let my friend Skye read it, she STILL found mistakes for me to edit. It is a seemingly endless process.
(Funny fact: the header for this said “You can always assumed that you have missed something while editing.” until I went back an edited it for like the third time.) 

 

8. Letting someone read your book for the first time is the most terrifying feeling ever.

I am closer to my sister than any person on earth. We are like the same person essentially. But letting her read my story was even nerve-wracking. When I then turned my book over to my best friend Skye and next my best friend Tiffany to read, I honestly thought I was going to vomit. It didn’t matter that I loved it, that Rae said it was great– I was convinced that they were going to hate it and think it was the most awful book ever written, but worst of all they were going to have to pretend that it was good just because they were my best friends. Like I said, in writing this book I wrote part of my heart and soul on to every page, and I felt like I was essentially opening my chest and exposing it to them to crush if they so desired. It was AWFUL. But luckily, they were both wonderful and complimentary and very helpful in what they told me about it. It was a balm to my terrified soul.
What I eventually accepted was that I had written a novel, I was damn proud of the fact, and people would either like it or they wouldn’t. What mattered was that I loved and was happy with it– because if you don’t believe in yourself as a writer, nobody else is going to either.
Of course, that does not mean that I am one hundred percent comfortable telling everyone that my novel is a historical romance replete with things like kissing. For the people who I don’t expect to ever read my book or don’t want to let read my book, you just come up with the blandest description imaginable.

“It’s set in London in the 19th century and it’s about a girl whose sister gets kidnapped and she’s trying to find her andddd… ummmm…. Yep. That’s it. Nothing exciting, really.”

I’ve already told my parents that I’m very sorry, but they can never, ever read it, and that’s all there is to it.

9. Publishing a book is harder than writing a book.

Now, there might be people who quibble with me here, but as I am deep in the throes of trying to figure out how to publish my book, I am firm on this point. Publishing is terrifying, confusing, depressing, and overwhelming. What I have discovered is that most major publishing companies don’t even accept unsolicited manuscripts–this means you can’t send them your book unless you have an agent that can contact them and set it up. And from what I’ve managed to learn, getting a reputable agent is even more difficult than actually publishing a book.
I have found only three major publishers of romance novels that will even accept unsolicited manuscripts. And, let me drop a piece of information on you that I would have LOVED to know before I started writing my novel– all of these companies have specific word count requirements for the manuscripts they will accept.
As you probably know if you read this blog, I have a tendency to be rather long-winded. I have always been that way; when I was writing essays in school I always had to edit them down. I have never had a problem with meeting a word count, only exceeding it. I’ve just discovered that I have a lot to say. When I was writing my novel, I had no real idea exactly how long it actually was, because Word document pages don’t exactly translate into real book pages. I knew it was pretty long, and my word count was high, but I had no idea just how long it was until I finished writing it and started googling average lengths for romance novels. Apparently that average is between 80-100,000 words.
I have approximately 130,000 words.
Of the three publishers that might accept my manuscript, the highest acceptable word count was 120,000, and the other two companies highest were 100,000 and 95,000.
I don’t know how to explain to you just how difficult it is to consider trying to cut out 30-35,000 words from the novel you just spent four years laboring to finish. And of course it was especially disheartening to read these articles saying if your book is long then it means you’re a bad writer and you don’t know how to edit and blah blah lots of other depressing things.
Well, duh, I’ve never written a book before so no, I DON’T really know how to go about editing it. And even though it’s admittedly very long and I am sure I am biased, I don’t think the book really drags that much–it’s just that a lot of stuff happens and it takes a few pages to explain it. Of course I’m sure that there’s plenty of editing that could be done to it to make it shorter– but 35,000 words worth? I just don’t know if I can do that.
And so I started considering the option of self-publishing. It’s easier than ever for writers to self-publish their book cheaply with things like Kindle and Nook and the whole world of ebooks. If I self-publish, there would be no restrictions on the word limit. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.
But then I started actually reading about self-publishing, and I started getting just as confused and worried as I did with regular publishing. Which platform would be the best to use if I did self-publish? How do I format my book correctly? How do I create a cover for my novel? What is all this stuff about royalties and fees? And if I did self-publish, how big of an audience would I really be reaching?
Turns out self-publishing is not quite as easy as it initially sounds.
And so I find myself stuck in this strange limbo, wondering which direction I should go in. So far, the best I can think of is that maybe I will self-publish the full length version, try and see what feedback I can get on it, while simultaneously working on making a much shorter version that I could send in to publishers. Just when I find I’ve FINALLY completed my novel and I’m ready to share it with the world, it seems that I’ve got a whole world’s worth of work in front of me.

10. No matter how rough the first one was, before you know it you’ll be starting on your next novel.

Seriously, guys. It was  barely two months from the moment I had finished the first one– not even like from when I edited it or let other people read it or started researching publishing companies– literally from the moment I finished it mid-February that I opened up a new Word document and started working on the sequel. I’M NOT EVEN DONE EDITING THE FIRST ONE. I just couldn’t help myself, the characters were already there in my head and clamoring to be heard.
17 pages already in that one, everybody.
At least this time, I know about the word count thing.

Go big or go home.

Poem: All The Words I Haven’t Said

Hi again, Dear Readers.
My last post was all about things I’ve learned, and one thing I forgot to mention is that I think everyone should try and write a poem at least once. Once upon a time,  much like everyone else I knew in the sixth grade, I had only a fairly vague idea of what poetry was and thought it was pretty lame. Then we read some poetry in my English class, got an assignment to write our own poem, and I fell in love with an entire genre. So give it a try, you never know.
For today’s poem, we’re going a ways back, which is only appropriate because it’s “Throwback Thursday.” When I was a senior in high school, our final project in my AP English class was a poetry unit wherein we wrote different poems according to the guidelines our teacher gave us. I was introduced to a type of poem called a villanelle, which has very specific rules you have to follow in order for it to qualify (you can read about it here if you like). The most famous example of a villanelle is “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, and if you’ve never read it DO IT NOW. A villanelle is one of the hardest types of poems I’ve ever had to write because the structure is so rigid, but it also grew to be a favorite of mine. Through a lot of effort and thought, I wrote my own villanelle, and it is still one of my favorites of any poem I have ever written. Hopefully you enjoy it too!

All The Words I Haven’t Said

 

All the words I haven’t said
are enough to fill a world of books;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

I know they’re an equal to all the words I’ve read
and all the ones I’ve spoken, or accomplished with a look,
all the words I haven’t said.

A wealth of wit and woe and warmth inside my head,
bound away in the shapes of words and gestures that never quite took;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

And I know the greatest source by which that speechless hoard was fed;
you dished out chances for my silence like an errant cook
made rich by all the words I haven’t said.

And all the hidden heart-shadows where I cowardly feared to tread
were a million words lost in silence like my king to a rook
and I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

Yes, the volume of my speechlessness is great, but in all those words’ stead
I wish I would’ve said the three most important ones, even if my voice shook.
Oh, all the words I haven’t said;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

Some Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far

It’s been awhile, friends. I hope you’ll forgive me, and  that you’ve stuck with me here on the blog. It seems lately that the writing well has gone dry after losing Boo. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy that I’m still deeply in pain over that, but if you do I honestly don’t care. Losing a best friend always hurts.
However. In the inestimably wise words of Robert Frost: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” As much as it hurts, as wrong as it feels, my life is going on. I have laughed, I have enjoyed myself, I have worried and fussed over other things besides losing my cat, and generally just kept on living, just like Robert Frost says. So in that vein, I have decided to share just a few of the more pertinent life lessons that I have gathered so far in my twenty-two years. I’ll try to be clever, and wise, and even funny again. And hopefully I’ll make you think, just a bit, as well. I also hope you’ll share some of the lessons you’ve learned so far in your life in the comments.

A Few Things I’ve Learned So Far

— Pets will break your heart. They will. But I have come to realize that I would never, ever, ever trade the love and joy and comfort of my cat, even to avoid how much it is hurting to lose him, and that’s true with all the pets I’ve lost and I can’t imagine not feeling the same when I lose other pets in the future.

— If you haven’t read ThLittle Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, you absolutely and unequivocally should. It is one of the most poignant, brilliant, and gorgeous things ever written disguised as a children’s book. It is also especially beautiful if you have just suffered a loss. I read it the other night without knowing this, and found myself bawling with the bittersweet comfort it gave me. Overall, this book is just going to drop some serious truth on you.

It includes charming and whimsical illustrations.

— The probable number of people who have sang along passionately to “Someone Like You” by Adele while staring at a picture of an old love and crying is mind-boggling to consider.

Adele songs– always relevant.

— If you want to wear leggings as pants… go right ahead. Seriously. Wear whatever the hell makes you feel beautiful and happy, and don’t ever let someone tell you what you should or shouldn’t wear. Fashion is subjective and a matter of personal opinion, not an excuse to put down other people. Be like this guy–comfortable in your own skin, and whatever you chose to put over it.

— In that same spirit, this is a great quote to live by, brought to you by the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.” (This is not an excuse to be blind to all advice, help, and suggestions. It’s just a reminder that you can never please everybody, so at the end of the day you have to go with what you believe in.)

— It does not matter how much you love someone, or even if you believe they love you, too– if they don’t WANT to be with you, then it will never work. Falling in love is an act of gravity, a law of nature that you have no control over. Commitment is always, always a choice. Learn this lesson early, and save yourself a lot of heartache in the long run, even if it feels like your heart is breaking in the short term.

So. Many. Celebrities. So little time to creep them all. You just have to fill your stable, and then ignore the studs and fillies that go prancing by. (Until, of course, one of your stable gets married or has a significant other, then it’s time to head on down to the horse auction.) ((Why did I suddenly choose to go with a horse theme here???))

I honest to god hope I never, ever know Damian McGinty, because there are things I've done for this blog with Paint that can't be forgiven.

I honest to god hope I never, ever actually know Damian McGinty, because there are things I’ve done for this blog with Paint that can’t be forgiven.

— Travel. Anywhere you can, any way you can. It will change your mind and your life.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Paddington Station, London

Paddington Station, London

— The best birth control is working at a daycare.

— It is completely okay if you are girl in your twenties or thirties and you do not like wine; do not let Pinterest convince you otherwise. It is also completely okay if you do not like to drink.

Except the problem where I don’t like wine.

— One of the most disappointing but helpful lessons I learned at a college filled with foreign boys– JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS AN ACCENT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE THEM SOMEONE YOU WANT TO DATE.

— You’ll know the difference between a crush and love, but there is nothing and no one that will be able to tell you if you truly love someone. Seriously, there’s just no way to tell for sure unless you decide you’re sure. Unlike my entire childhood led me to believe, there is no blurb on the movie/novel of your life that tells you definitively who the two romantic leads are. Thanks a lot, childhood.
Right-in-the-childhood

— Be kind. See Ellen DeGeneres if clarification is necessary.

— Sports are just a game. No matter how much you love them, always remember this: Just. A. Game. They do not trump human decency.

GRAMMAR MATTERS.

— Don’t overthink things. Most of the time, things are much simpler than you want to believe.

This is one of my favorite things ever.

This is one of my favorite things ever.

Also this.

— Both tea and books possess magical, healing properties.

— You are not infallible, no one is infallible. Never, ever, ever believe that you are always 100% right, because you are not. Accept that you are going to be wrong sometimes, and learn how to admit it. It’s one of the most useful lessons, to own your mistakes.

— You can still get a sunburn when it is cloudy, USE SUNSCREEN.

— You have to love yourself before someone else can love you. Well, at least to have a healthy relationship, you need to love yourself first. I fully believe this; I have spent a lot of life struggling with insecurities and wondering what was wrong with me because no one ever liked me back. Now, finally, I have grown to love myself, my imperfections and my best qualities, and I am a million times more confident and comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been before. I think that translates to a maturity that would serve a relationship well, much more than if I’d been in one previously in my life.

— Cats will never miss an opportunity to put their butt in your face.

— You really should floss your teeth every night.

— You are fully responsible for your own choices. You are not responsible for the choices of others. In the end, you make decisions for yourself, even if it is only how you decide to react to something.

— Hair products can change your life.

— Romance novels are NOTHING to be ashamed of. Of course, as with all genres, there are fantastic books and there are horrible books, but the genre as a whole has progressed light-years since the stereotypical “bodice-rippers” of the past. Seriously, some of the most important things I’ve ever learned came from romance novels.

The answer is yes. Do yourself a favor, gentlemen.

— You will find friends in the most unexpected places and at the most unexpected times. You will also realize that some people will always be your friend, come what may, while others were only meant to be a brief chapter in your life.

— Eat dessert.

If Emma Stone says it, you should listen.

I call it my dessert tank, personally.

— It is perfectly fine to be in your twenties or thirties or any age, and to be a virgin or to not have a boyfriend or to never have been kissed. Just because romance is absent from your life does not automatically mean something is wrong with you or that your life is lacking or even that you’ll never find it.

I don't get what's wrong with this? My jokes are hilarious.

I don’t get what’s wrong with this? My jokes are hilarious.

— I believe you are responsible for your own happiness. I have known a lot of bitter, angry people in my life, and it has only reinforced this to me. Always try to make your own happiness.

— Unless you’re a sailor, take Dramamine before you go deep sea fishing. TRUST ME, DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKES MY FAMILY AND I DID ON THE UNSPEAKABLY DREADFUL SUMMER VACATION AFTER SIXTH GRADE IN SOUTH PADRE ISLAND (Incidentally, that’s also where I learned the lesson about getting a sunburn while it’s cloudy.)

— New lesson: Do not go to South Padre Island.

— You WILL make a fool of yourself in front of someone you like. Just accept it, and enjoy the hilarious story you’ll be able to tell your friends in the future. And, if you’re really lucky like me, you’ll humiliate yourself over and over and over again, and provide enough stories to one day write your own book about it. (In case you didn’t know, I am an optimist.)

Sublesson: Daily Odd Compliments are the best.

— You’re probably never going to use cursive or algebra outside of school, but learn them anyway, because learning is always important. Besides, I like to write in cursive, it’s much prettier than my print handwriting.

— Some things are wrong, even if the person in authority is telling you that they are right. (For example, it will always be gif with a “guh” sound, not a j sound. Jif is peanut butter.)

— Take naps if you can. And laugh freely.

–Do not, under any circumstances, get a drastic new haircut any closer than a month before a major life event.

Junior year of college. Worst haircut of my life.

Junior year of college. Worst haircut of my life.

— From what I can tell so far, the golden rule is still the best one to live by.

— Wear bicycle shorts under your dress or skirt. Just do it.

— Be honest whenever you can, and kind when you can’t.

— If you’re going to drink a lot, do it around people you trust, especially the first time. And for godsake, have someone hide your phone from you.

The problem.

The solution.

— Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned so far: Love may not be all you need, but it’s the most important thing. Love comes in all forms, and whether it’s for someone else or yourself or your pet or your favorite food, love is the rain and the sun and the minerals that nourishes the healthy growth of life. I believe in love above all things.

— And the final lesson I am sharing with you today– make your own rules and learn your own lessons. All the things that work for me will never be exactly the same as the things that work for you. You may never learn some of the things I’ve listed, or agree with any of them, and that is absolutely and perfectly fine. What I do wish could be universal, however, is tolerance when everyone inevitably comes to the realization that no one will ever agree with every single thing we think and believe.

Post originally inspired by 25 Things Every Woman Needs to Know

Poem: How You Know

So I’m still feeling depressed and lost over my sweet baby Boo, and I don’t feel like trying to laugh and be funny. So I’m just going to throw an old poem your way that is appropriately angsty. Also, there is profanity, so proceed with caution.

How You Know

Is this what falling in love is like?
Joy distilled naturally to its purest form
The searing expansion of warmth
that makes your chest feel like it will imminently explode
Like you get when you finish a damn good book
A chronic contraction at the corners of your mouth
That leaves your lips twitching constantly
Especially when you stand there stupidly unaware of it
Is this what falling in love feels like?
The repetitive, horrifying plunge
Over and over and over and over and over and over
Where you go stumbling and plummeting off every cliff you find
Yet the laws of gravity and nature itself don’t seem to apply to him
And he goes strolling casually along right above
The heels over your head
So he is walking on water and can’t seem to do any wrong
Permanent enough to let you regain your feet
Oh god, is this what falling in unrequited love is like?
Eternally off-balance because
Something isn’t right inside your head
And you go tumbling into sporadic pitfalls
Of his eyes and his laugh and his voice and his hands
And the goddamn way his path is paved perfectly smooth and
He never falls into you
I’ve told myself yes and I’ve told myself no
And forced myself to let him go
But he’ll never just go
Is that how you know?
This isn’t a damn good book someone has already penned
There’s no definitive, answered end
But, oh god, I’m afraid that’s how you know

Boots and Cats presents: #Forever Alone- A Story (Mostly) in Pictures

Salutations, Readers.
Tonight, I am attempting something a little bit new- a mostly pictorial blog post, including pictures and GIFS! So bear with me if it doesn’t go completely smoothly. There’s just something about gifs that I inherently love. They’re succinct, visually arresting, and yet often with convenient lines of text to really get the point across. Also, there’s an overwhelming variety of gifs that deal with my topic today, perhaps best described using a hash tag: #ForeverAlone.
As you all may know if you’ve read my About Me thing for this blog, I am already in training to become one of the greatest Crazy Cat Ladies of all time. It’s a point I take particular pride in, because I may not be able to do anything else exceptionally well, but by god can I love me some cats. I feel that at this time, I should present some evidence. Let me introduce you to my two cats. And just a note, I don’t even have my own house yet, and I still already have two cats. Observe:

If the Honey Badger were a cat.

If the Honey Badger was a cat.


Name: Boo-Boo
Age: 15
Gender: Male
Aliases: Boo, Boodle, Boo baby, Sweet Precious Baby Boy, Best Cat Ever



Name: Finn
Age: 2
Gender: Male
Aliases: Finny, Phineas, Finn-Finn, Finky, You Are The Craziest Cat Ever

An impressive resume so far, no? But someday I hope to get to this:

My story from today only reinforced my belief in this ultimate end for me, but I’ll drop a little background on you before I go further. A year or so ago I needed to buy new cleats for indoor soccer. There’s a somewhat limited number of places to buy nice cleats around where I live; generally everyone goes to a certain three stores owned by this guy from Iran. Well, in one of the stores, I had noticed a few times when I’d been in there that a gloriously attractive foreign man was working in the store. I admit this factored somewhat into my decision of which store to go look for cleats in. I was thrilled when he helped me pick out my cleats and I proceeded to post a photo to Facebook of them, with this caption: “Got new cleats for only $15 from my crush at Soccer USA! Someday, hot foreign mystery guy, I will ask your name.”  To my excessive embarrassment, one of my friends from college, Tiffany, commented telling me she was good friends with him and had worked with him at the store. I’d had no idea; I felt like the biggest creeper ever, only made worse by the fact that Tiffany was so nice about it and even offered to give me his number haha. My intensely shy, painfully awkward soul shuddered in horror.
Fast forward to 2012, right before I’m about to go back to college my senior year, and by a series of coincidences, Tiffany ends up becoming one of my roommates and subsequently one of my best friends. Of course, the hot, foreign guy is brought up (his name is Dragan, honest to god, and he’s from Macedonia), and a running joke is established about how Tiffany is going to set us up.
Now, finally back to today. I pinky promise to you I needed some new soccer socks; I only have one pair and I’m about to start playing indoor again after being off for like a month. But it’s possible that I could have bought soccer socks somewhere else. But Tiff hadn’t seen her good friend Dragan in ages, so why not go to the old soccer store so she could say hi and I could buy my socks? Two birds with one stone, guys. We got there, he was hot as ever, and he and Tiff chatted as I pretended to look at socks but really creeped horribly. Eventually it came up in the conversation that he was going home over the summer for his sister’s wedding and Tiffany, bless her heart, says “Ah, does that mean you’re going to get married?” I waited, ears perked and with bated breath. And this is the reply I heard, “Ew, no! I’m not getting married until I’m thirty. No relationships, single is much better!”

…………………………………

all by myself gif
We left pretty quickly after that, mostly because Tiffany had class but also because I was crushed. I didn’t even want to buy my socks anymore, but Tiffany was buying a shirt so I went ahead. I wanted to ask if they had any of these shirts available for purchase as well:

72 cats

It’s a rough life out there for the single ladies. Especially for those of us who prefer cats and books to flirting. And trust me, when I say I am painfully awkward around boys I like, I’m not even kidding. I once tripped a guy I liked… in college. But that’s for another day. It’s not necessarily even that I’m shy, it’s just that I am rather different and well aware of the fact. I am seriously the most boring, tame person ever. You all might think I’m over-exaggerating, but consider this. For my twenty-first birthday, do you know what I did? I ate at Red Lobster. With my family. Including my Nana, who is in her seventies. I had one drink. And then I went home. But hey, I was pretty tired, because that morning I’d gone to the zoo. For my twenty-first birthday.
But perhaps you don’t think that’s even that bad. So let’s take what I did for my eighteenth birthday…. I went polka dancing at the local Czech Hall, because we totally have one of those. Yep, polka dancing. This is why at pretty much every party I’ve ever been to in the history of ever, this is me, to some degree:

awkward darcy
Because honestly, I’d rather be at home reading a romance novel. It’s so much easier; I still get the charming love story but I can expend zero effort while cuddling with my cats. It’s really the ideal situation (and perhaps this is why I haven’t had a boyfriend since I was 16). I do go out places sometimes, and my friends always encourage me to put myself out there and talk to boys,  but it’s just so scary:

he could hear me

Trying to find a significant other just requires so much effort; it makes me want to take a nap just thinking about. Sleeping Beauty is really the smartest of the Disney princesses because she just took a nap and let the hottest Disney prince (#TeamPhillip) do all the work. That’s a game plan I can absolutely get behind. Disappointingly so far in my life, taking a nap like Aurora and reading endlessly like Belle hasn’t lured a prince in yet. I’ve tried some other methods:

Get milkshakes, they said. The boys will come, they said. #wherearetheboys?

Get milkshakes, they said. The boys will come, they said. #wherearetheboys?

 So far, however, this is the closest I’ve gotten to any interest:

camel kiss

We didn’t exactly suit. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but a girl has to have some standards. So, unless something very unexpected comes along (for example, someone like this little Romeo, except not 9 years old), I fully assume that my life is going to end up being some sort of combination of this:


Hope you guys enjoyed all the pictures/gifs and got a little bit of a kick out of how excited I am to be a Cat Lady. But it’s like my grandpa always said*, “Cats, don’t judge you; cats understand.” My ultimate goal is to get a cat named Peeta so I can say that’s who I share my bed with every night, and that’s why I’m going to be #ForeverAlone.

Valete,
Sara

PS I decided to go with Latin, because it’s as dead as my love life. According to this person, “valete” means good-bye or stay strong, which I encourage all my other single, book-loving, cat crazy comrades to do. And speaking of books, I’m going to take a moment to emphatically promote the book The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen; it’s one of the best I’ve read in the last ten years and I highly recommend it. She’s also having a contest to give away a copy of the upcoming sequel; I am on absolute tenterhooks waiting for it to come out!
Lastly, I want to encourage you to check out another blog post with gifs that I just happened to stumble upon the other day where a girl shares her experience with braces. It’s very short, but I was pretty much in tears because I was laughing so hard when I finished. It’s worth a read so check it out!

*My grandpa never said this ever in his life that I know of.