Sorry I won't be around as much

My time is becoming very limited! So much is happening right now. We are at < 6 weeks before the book releases, which means lots of edits and work on peripheral material, and I'm also trying to write 50,000+ words of the sequel for NaNoWriMo. And, you know, teach Taekwondo every day and stuff.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with my writing and related activities, Sam and I have launched our official writing blog, which you can follow here: http://mechlingstubbs.wordpress.com

If you just want updates on ME...good luck. :-p Twitter is perhaps your best option!

Much love!



Our novel has been resubmitted to our editor. Phew! Now it's time for a well-deserved breather.

I'm not exactly sure what will happen now. Our editor plans to go through and make another round of suggestions. How in depth they will be, remains to be seen. Our editor says he still believes a December release is possible, so we'll see what happens!

Sam and I have been working on getting a new blog up, in lieu of a full website, which we will have eventually. I'm hoping to see our new blog go up in the next couple of weeks. It's time to start developing our real web-presence as authors. WEIRD to think about. It's a new level of exposure and professionalism that we are just now approaching.

In the meantime, I'm busy teaching, and brainstorming for NaNoWriMo. I'm looking forward to a super-busy November! =)


Burned. Out.


Haven't seen you for awhile.

I don't really understand why, but blogging has sort of fallen by the wayside over the past few months. It doesn't really take that much time to write a blog, yet it keeps feeling like more time than I have.

In life news, as you've probably heard, the book that Sam and I have written is being published, by a small independent publisher called Inquisitive Books. It's exciting! And a LOT more work than I anticipated.

I'm burned out.

You have to understand, I've been working on the same story for over a year. I was looking through my notebook yesterday, and we started writing this book last July. That's not even counting all the brainstorming and worldbuilding and everything that came before. Granted, we've taken breaks from it. But there have been no other books in the meantime. I've been working on the same characters, the same plot, in the same world, for 16+ months.

For me, that's an eternity.

I'm tired. I'm tired about thinking and rethinking the same plotlines, the same characters. The revisions that we've done are good, they have improved the story. But I'm tired. I'm three-quarters the way through revisions, and I'm done. I've had it. I'm ready to hand it over to our editor and call it quits. I'm going to tell him so, and see what he says!

Originally I'd planned to write Book 2 for NaNoWriMo this year. But there's no way. I need a break. First of all, I'd do a really sloppy job with it, and probably end up scrapping most of it anyway. We're not prepared for it in the least. And I'm just tired of the whole thing. I need a break, I need to work on something light and fun so I can refresh before coming back to this story.

This book is supposed to be released late this year. All along I've thought that was optimistic, and it seems further away every day. I'm losing my grip. I really do believe that some space, a break, would help rejuvenate me so I could finish the revisions strong. But I don't know if I have that luxury!



Dear Reader, a hurried update

I had a couple of people ask me why I don't blog anymore. It's not that I'm choosing not to blog. It's that blogging seems to require deliberate thought and cohesiveness that I don't possess in great measure at the moment. So my dear reader, I offer you a somewhat scatterbrained update on my life.

A majority of my time is consumed by Taekwondo, which, I might add, is the best job on the face of the planet. We've had a couple weeks off for "summer break", which means the kids don't come but the staff works even more than usual. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things--I've missed my students! Of course, half our staff is going away for 2 weeks, which mean me and one other instructor are covering nearly all of the classes at the studio for the next two weeks. It's going to be a major ADVENTURE.

I'm actually really pleased with my work right now. I feel like I'm really coming into my own as an instructor and staff member at the studio. My students are thriving, I feel like I'm connecting and really starting to make a difference in these young lives. Some of my advanced students are now entering their Black Belt Testing cycle. I will have a direct hand in their progression toward Black Belt. This is significant. But it's not just the advanced ranks--every student of mine is precious, and I find myself brimming over with the desire to help them succeed. It is this investment in my students and in this place that makes every long day, every hour worth it.

In other news, Sam and I are going to start submitting our novel to agents. Technically, we're submitting a query letter. This is a one-page document, which is all we have to hook their interest. One paragraph introduces the book, the theme. The second paragraph is a brief synopsis of the story. The third paragraph is a brief author bio, where we talk about our qualifications. That's it. That's all we have to interest an agent enough that they request more. I've really been struggling with it. I mean, our book is good. It's the best I've ever written. It will stand on its own merits. But brevity has never been a strong point of mine (ie this was supposed to be a "brief" update on my life!) I don't write poetry...I write EPIC NOVELS. So writing a single page, making it concise but mysterious, brief but engaging...well, it's a challenge for me. Sam and his family have helped greatly, and I'm not sure I'll ever be satisfied. But in the next couple of days we're going to start submitting our queries and wait for some of the rejection letters that are guaranteed to follow.

That's pretty much it. I spend a vast majority of my time at the studio, either teaching or in the office. Sometimes I get to hang out with my awesome friends. On Sundays I direct the ward choir, which is challenging but fun. Occasionally I get to go to ward activities, though not as often as I would like. And every now and then I get to chill with my family--though not as often as my mother OR I would like. But that's pretty much how it goes!


It's all about Attitude

I've been feeling a little overwhelmed this week. We changed the schedule at the studio, so Mondays and Tuesdays have become pretty crazy (Tuesday I was at the studio for 13 hours). I spent Wednesday making up for everything I missed the first two days. Today I spent the entire morning at Sam's house wrapping up our final revisions and polishes to the manuscript. It went out this afternoon to our first round of beta readers.

Needless to say, when I arrived at the studio this afternoon, I was pretty overloaded. I did not eat well, so I was feeling a bit off anyway. I started considering skipping Black Belt class. I began to create excuses.

Something happened, though. I can't really pinpoint where it occurred, whether it was a comment someone made, whether it was one of my students, or if it was just me. But somewhere in this hectic afternoon, I realized that it's all about attitude.

I taught three classes this afternoon, and all three of them went great. I had a parent tell me that I am the best teacher she's ever seen. I nailed a difficult kick in Black Belt class. But it really came home during sparring class at the end of the night.

We're prepping for a tournament next week, so we had the full scoring system out and we were doing competitive matches. I was one of the last to fight, and I got to pick my opponent. I looked around the room. I could have picked a lot of different people. But when it came down to it, I knew that I needed to push myself. I picked a black belt of my same rank, a younger guy who weighs probably 50 pounds less than me. He's fast, and he's powerful. Of everyone there, he pushes me the most. He was also on fire tonight.

I got my butt handed to me. He nailed me left and right. Oh, sure, I got some good kicks in, and I worked on my spinning kicks the way I've been training. He's so fast, these don't really work on him. I ended up on the ground at least four times. But each time I popped up, ready to go again. The fight ended when he accidentally kicked me in the small of the back and knocked the wind out of me. But once I got my breath back, I popped right back up, ready to cheer for him for a really great fight.

I was on fire tonight. It didn't display physically--my game was definitely not on tonight. But tonight I had indomitable spirit. I pressed on through hard things, and I was happy about it. It wasn't fake or forced. Each time I fell, each time it was hard, I smiled and pressed on. By the end of the night, I was brimming with triumph. Not because of a fight won or lost, but because I had triumphed a mental game.

Taekwondo is only one part of my life. We all have things that are challenging that we have to work through. We all have things that get us down. But friends, it's all about attitude. That is how we triumph.

I'm going to kick butt next week. ;)


Quitting my job, writing, and life: an update

My blogs have been neglected, I'm afraid. I'm not sure I can quite express to you the insanity that has been my life over the past couple of months. Suffice it to say, I have been a busy girl.

The biggest news that I wish to share with you is that today is my official last day at my morning job. No longer shall I be the friendly customer service rep. No longer do I have to rise early to answer phones and talk to grumpy people. No longer will I claw my eyes out over silly projects handed to me last-minute by my boss. Freedom is mine.

This decision was a long one in coming. I have been dissatisfied with this position for quite some time, but felt stuck by circumstance and finances. However, change is finally in motion. This fall I will be going back to school. I am not certain where yet--I am registered at UVU to get started on a second bachelor's degree. However, I am on the alternate list for the MSW program at the University of Utah. Obviously it would be my preference to skip two extra years of school and go straight into my chosen grad program. So here's to hoping that someone else decides to drop out of the program, so I get to go. They have until August to let me know...so we'll see what happens.

Needless to say, this intent to go back to school put a hard deadline on my time at this job. However, more and more I was getting the feeling that I should quit sooner.

My writing has been going very well. Sam and I finished our manuscript at the beginning of May. Before that time, we set some goals for ourselves and this book. The first was completion by the end of April, which we almost made. The next goal was to finish a full revision of our own by the end of May. This is still in the works, we'll see how much progress I can make this weekend. Our ms will spend the next few weeks in the hands of our first round of beta readers, then undergo a second full revision. Then in July we'll hand it off to our larger second group of beta readers, followed by a third full revision. The goal is to have the ms ready by the end of summer to begin the submission process to agents and editors.

I'm quitting my job for the summer to write. I just feel that this is what I'm supposed to be doing right now. These few months are precious time for me--in the fall, I'll be back in school and working, so my time to write will be very limited. I feel strongly that I am supposed to finish and pursue this book, so I'm taking this time right now to do so. It was hard to justify to myself--I mean, I may never make a dime off this book. It may never go anywhere. So it was hard to justify a REAL job and the bulk of my income for what may essentially just be a hobby. But after some earnest prayer and counsel from family and friends, I decided that for this summer, it was the right thing to do.

Incidentally...I'm really excited about the book. Co-writing with Sam has had it's challenges here and there, but overall it's been a great experience that we are eager to repeat. Together we've created something really strong, and I think that with the right timing, we have the potential to get published with it. I am very hopeful.

Other updates--Taekwondo is also going really well. I am picking up even more classes this summer, which is exciting. This coming month I will be competing at the Utah Summer Games. I'll be sparring, performing my form, and performing on our school's demo team, which is the shiz. I'm in the middle of a "diet" (not really, it's just eating better and being off sugar) trying to drop a weight class for the tournament. I'm super excited about this competition and everything else going on at the studio.

Life continues. I doubt it will get any less busy for these changes. But hopefully it will be a lot more fulfilling and enjoyable. =)


Beware: I am mean.

A little something you have to know about me.

Apparently, I'm mean. But, I don't mean to be mean. :P

So, Olympic Taekwondo is all about kicking. That's how you score points. They're now incorporating rules that award points for punches...but nobody actually scores them yet. Like, we're supposed to, but we're all hard-wired for just kicks, so that's still the name of the game. Kicks to the head get more points than kicks to the body. Naturally, the more advanced your rank, the more people tend to kick to the head. In the Black Belt ranks, you hear of people called "head hunters" who do nothing BUT head kicking. But that's another story.

I tend to get underestimated a lot. You see, I am not quite 5'3" tall. I'm stocky. Sparring matches are assigned by rank, age and weight. So a girl who's a lot taller than me will be a lot skinnier than me and weigh the same. So I tend to fight a LOT of people who are taller than me. This gives them a huge advantage--my head is a lot easier to reach. And I don't look like a fighter--I'm stocky and...well-endowed in certain areas. This all plays into the underestimation.

As I proved yet again today, I can hold my own in a fight. The first girl I fought today was at least 7 or 8 inches taller than me. Granted she was older than me. But still, she should have walked all over me with head kicks. But you see, I'm scrappy. I do a lot of what we call "jamming"--I stay in really close to her, where I can still nail her but she can't get to me because I"m too close. And I play mind games, which is really where these matches are won. I'm loud, I'm confident, I smile--rather wickedly sometimes--and then I beat the tar out of them. Ya, I get tired. My endurance isn't what it should be, and I'm not as fast as I need to be. But I win.

I was still coming off the high from my first fight when I went into the second--an exhibition match, which means that the opponents aren't people who would normally be put into a bracket together because of differences in either age, rank or weight. In this case, it was age--she was 48, I think. I, um...kind of wiped the floor with her. I didn't mean to. But I've been well trained and I was in tournament mode, and it was really hard for me to back off. Fortunately, she was still cheerful and upbeat later. It's never my intention to really discourage anybody--and when you lose 27 to 3, that has a strange tendency to occur. :-/

Nobody looking at me would think I'm an athlete. Nobody looking at me would think "ninja" or "fighter." Nobody looking at me would think that I know more ways to hurt or kill someone than I care to count. Nobody looking at me would think "martial artist." But that is how I think of myself. I am a martial artist. And on days like today, it's nice to know inside that I am good. At least, I can hold my own. I might not look like much, but I warn you--don't underestimate me. Because apparently, I'm mean.