2 Out of 3 Trees Agree–Christmas is Over

A lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth happened earlier today as we dismantled the decorations and packed up the Christmas trees…two out of three of them, at least.  The pink one gets to stay.  It became our shrine to all things girly during a season of more dramatic colors after my young daughters begged me to buy it for them when they saw it on the shelf among all the garlands at Target.  I admit, I was just as thrilled to bring it home as they were.  It’s a dinky, little, sparkly statement piece that begs for attention, so we doted on it like a princess.  Being a mere two feet tall, she traveled well, migrating between two bedrooms, mine and the girls’.  Wherever we were hanging out, we brought her along and found a way to help her fit in.

Today, we dressed her up in heart-shaped ornaments and tucked her into the corner of our dining room, insisting that she should stay awhile as Valentine’s Day is just around the corner now, and the occasion wouldn’t be complete without a festive Christmas tree in disguise.  Letting go of Christmas is never an easy accomplishment, especially in this household, but we managed today to make the best of it by convincing ourselves that our little, pink princess still belonged.

The whole situation reminds me of the editing process.  You know the one precious scene that you doted on for weeks…the one that you adorned with fancy words and kept close to your heart as you tried to fit it in somewhere because it was just too cute to delete…yeah, that one.  But, no matter how much you want it around, everyone else wants you to get rid of it because it just doesn’t belong in the story anymore. Only you just can’t quite give it up yet, so you cram it in the corner of a polished chapter and change it up a bit, hoping no one will mind.

I am in the process of adjusting my manuscript’s word count (READ: gutting scenes I’ve vested hours into crafting) and collaborating on which sparkly, little princesses get packed up and put away.  It’s a painful process with plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth, just like earlier today.  Letting go of something we adore is never easy, but just like the other two Christmas trees, the edited material may find its way back into another season of writing someday.  For now, though, I will keep editing as needed by the light of our little, sparkly, pink tree, at least a little while longer before I finally put her in a box in the garage once and for all.  (Then, of course, I’ll unpack the gumdrop tree, as soon as Easter rolls around.)

On the Last Day of the Year 2014

It doesn’t snow where I live because once every twenty or so years doesn’t count.  A few miles up the highway, on the other hand, is a proverbial winter wonderland.  Inspiration abounds as countless trees provide every breath of fresh air with a crisp sweetness, and the landscape beckons snow angels as soon as winter comes around…or so we thought when we squeezed in a day trip to the snow with the children today to close out 2014, and what I mean by snow is the hard ice in the shape of snow that blanketed the landscape like a twice-baked nail salon lacquer.

I’m pretty sure it made no difference to my children, though.  As soon as they were slipping and sliding around on the illusion of snow, my seven-year-old found out the hard way that she didn’t need a sled to ride down the slope.  Then, she kept on trudging back up the slight hill and riding it back down again on her bottom, laughing all the way.  My four-year-old kicked and clawed with all her might through the crusty layer until she uncovered enough loose ice crystals she could scoop it all up and throw it over her head and pretend that it was snowing.

It made me think of how important it is to have that childlike determination to kick and claw my way through the illusion of the life of a romance novelist.  Behind every well-penned line that can spiral a reader into her own kind of wonderland, any number of setbacks may have occurred for the author–rejection, revision, even a horrendous book cover.  I am realizing that I have to be willing to slide down the pile of disappointments to come with realistic expectations as I am just beginning this adventure, and I know that I have to turn around and climb back up again with a smile on my face because the journey requires an attitude of childlike determination and joy if it’s going to be worth it, laughing all the way.

I welcome the new season in my life.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Hello. My Pen Name is Brooke E. Wayne, and I Am a Writer.

Sometimes, it takes an accumulation of devastating life-changers to send someone sprinting back into the comfort of writing.  To borrow the words of one of my characters, “Beneath the tumultuous sea of tears, there came a revival in her soul, gasping and spitting out the mire from her heart in wicked wretches of laughter.”  Over the past couple of years, I have come to the realization that life really is too short to waste one breath NOT doing what I am meant to do.  My love for writing began when I scribbled out my first novella at eleven years old and set my heart ablaze.  I even earned my BA in English after surviving my poetry-writing teens, and I went on to earn my MA in Humanities with an emphasis in Literature.  I have also been teaching English Language Arts full-time since 1996, inspiring others to write nearly everyday.

Funny though, I had only managed to wade in the depths of writing as an adult with just a handful of unfinished manuscripts to be ashamed of.  I had allowed circumstances, self-doubt, and the overwhelming fear of where to begin in the publishing industry to keep me on the outside looking in.  I finally learned, though, that some things are destined to be in my life, no matter how long I had gravitated towards the wordless, mundane world I had created for myself over time.

Almost three years ago, my dying mother came back to life, and then, several months later, my brother died.  When I could finally cope, I turned everything around–for my parents, for my children, for my husband, and for myself.  I made some dramatic changes in my life, including snagging my brother’s middle name (Wayne) and embracing the sleeping writer inside of me awaiting the kiss of life after all of these years.  I dusted off an old manuscript that I had barely begun over a decade ago and rewrote it from beginning to end with some self-induced writer’s drought in between.  And, like the baby that it is to me, I finished developing it in nine months, and I am almost ready to start pitching it.

At my core, I am at peace with the tragedies on my journey, and my cup overflows with joy.  I only wish to be contagious with love and laughter, spreading smiles across various platforms as I keep moving forward in my pursuit of becoming a published romance novelist.  I am not afraid anymore because I know that my big brother is watching over me, whispering, “Stop wading, Brooke.  Go ahead and dive head first with all of your heart!”