Answers to Kyle Overstreet’s Author Questions

I have to confess something to you, followers. It’s pretty thrilling when you find out that someone deemed you worthy enough to feature you on their blog in any fashion. It’s exciting to know that people are taking notice of you. I don’t have a huge following, but I am grateful for each and every one of you. And I was so honored when I was featured in Kyle Overstreet’s 3rd edition of NaNo Hop Author Questions. I want to give a big thank you for the mention and ask you all to go check out that blog here.

Now, to the questions!

Yet another cool name. What is Tessy short for? Or is it a name of its own?

Tessy is actually my given name. Fun fact: Tessy means ‘late summer’ in Cherokee Native American – which is approximately a quarter of my nationality. It’s a name passed down from a great-great-grandmother.

Do you think people who have cool writerly names seem drawn to writing because their name is a perfect author’s name?

Very interesting question! I suppose it does draw some people with writerly names. However, I think writing is very much ingrained in many of us – whether our name deems so or not. For me, there really was no other option. I mean, sure, I picked out loads of other careers before finally settling on writing. Tried a few of them out even. But no matter what path I took, I always landed back at writing. It’s been clear for a while now that this is what I’m meant to do.

First of all, hey! You sent me a link to your experimental poetry. It didn’t work. Could you send it again? Or post it here. Either way.

Haha, I don’t think I’ve ever done experimental poetry in my life. Maybe you got me mixed up with someone else?? In any case, if you or anyone else would like to check out some of my poetry or other flash fiction, they can find it on my Late Summer’s Thoughts blog HERE.

Do you wear purple masks all the time?

For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s this mask being referred to (my mention came from Instagram).

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It was my amazing butterfly Halloween mask. Unfortunately, no, don’t always wear them. In fact, this is the first time I’ve done anything for Halloween in several years now. So, it was pretty fun. It was meant to be a throwback to a Halloween I had as a child – about 18 years ago. But I could never find the photo of that Halloween XD

Sorry I don’t have more. Instagram is a hard one for me. I’m all, “So… you like to take pictures of people and things.. Yeah…”

That’s alright! It probably doesn’t help that I don’t have a ton on my Instagram. For those of you following me there, don’t worry – I’m getting better at it. I try to remind myself almost every day that I need to post something! In any case, for those of you interested, I will tell you a little more about me – hopefully things that aren’t in my author/blog bio.

I’m Tessy. And I’m a 20-something year old woman. And actually, yeah, I do like taking photos. Photography is a big hobby of mine. I considered taking it up as a career once – but I found I don’t like HAVING to take photos. It spoiled the fun for me. But I still love my cameras and I even collect vintage ones. They’re killer. As you all know, I write – a lot. I used to write a lot of flash fiction, but mostly focus on longer works and freelance ghostwriting for clients these days. I’ve started a lot of novels, but finally have a full finished draft of one thanks to NaNo 2016. And before I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a number of things – doctor, defense attorney, journalist, editor, and even a private investigator (this was before I found out you’ve gotta go to school to be a P.I.??? I mean, come on – I’ve already got the skills. Who needs school?). I run a creative business. And hopefully in the new year, I’m going to start learning to crochet and also join BookTube. The latter is gonna be a big hurdle for me due to anxiety – as much as I love being behind the camera, being in front of one scares the living daylights out of me. But you know, you’ve gotta face your fears and all. So wish me luck on that one! So, um, I think that’s pretty much me in a nutshell.

Again, thanks so much for featuring me! It means so much.

And until next time followers, take care.
P.S. If you’d like to follow me on my other social media accounts and haven’t yet, I will leave links down below.

Twitter: @TessyDockery

Facebook: @Dockery.Tessy

Instagram: tessydockery

Pinterest: latesummer93

Google+: Tessy Dockery

Goodreads: Tessy Dockery

Christmas Book Recommendations for Little Ones

Every year around this time, I start picking out Christmas storybooks to read. I mostly do it because even as a woman in my 20s, I still enjoy the stories. I have an inner child that comes to life this time of year. However, I do it so that I can recommend them to my parent friends as well. This year, I decided to bring my recommendations to the web. The storybooks I’ve picked out this year will be most appropriate for younger children – probably between the ages 2 and 6 or 7. I know I’m getting these recommendations out quite late. So, if you can’t get to your local bookstore to pick these gems up for your children, I’ll be linking you to each one on Amazon. The Kindle versions are great – anywhere between $0 and $4. **Disclaimer: I am not an Amazon affiliate and am in no way being paid for these recommendations.

So, with that, let’s get to it:

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The Little Blue Digger and the Christmas Tree by Harriet Tuppen & Branislav Gapic

This story is perfect for the little boy in your life. The characters are adorable construction equipment vehicles. It’s very reminiscent of Disney’s Cars. The illustrations are so nice – very colorful and the facial expressions drawn on the characters are just so lively. They will capture your child’s attention. And if that’s not enough, it’s got a great theme of friendship at Christmastime. Your child will learn that friendship is so important and should really be celebrated at Christmas. The Kindle version is just $2.99 and you can purchase it here.
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Harry the Christmas Mouse by N.G.K. – Illustrated by Janelle Dimmett

This next sweet story is written in verse and is very reminiscent of The Night Before Christmas. It’s about a mouse who takes a stroll on Christmas Eve and finds a stranded Santa Claus. It has bright, beautiful illustrations that you’ll oo and ah over. This story is so full of friendship and the real meaning of Christmas. It’s not one you and your child will soon forget. And, it’s FREE on Kindle right now. You can snag it here.

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Santa’s Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right Night Before Christmas by DK Simoneau & David Radman – Illustrated by Brad Cornelius

This story, by far, is my favorite out of the three. It is written in verse and is a new take on The Night Before Christmas. It is so quirky and will have you and your child laughing and wondering what will happen at the end of the wild adventure. The illustrations are vibrant and vivid. They will catch your attention and draw you further into the story. It is easily as memorable as The Night Before Christmas. It is the most expensive out of the 3 books – at $3.99 for the Kindle, but it is well worth the price. You can purchase it here.

 

I hope you’ll pick one of these up for your child. I believe the would enjoy each and every one of them. If you decide to get any of them, let me know how you liked them in the comments. And until next time, take care and happy holidays.

3 Signs You Might Need to Scrap Your Story

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I was on YouTube today listening to an old NaNoWriMo playlist. It was the one from my very first NaNo – also my first win. I reached the 50,000 words that November. The story wasn’t finished by a long shot, but I haven’t touched it at all in the 3 years since. The following winter, I had some pretty major life events happen that threw me into a huge creative slump. I stopped writing, I stopped reading, I stopped crafting. It’s been almost 3 years since I hit that slump and I’m only just now getting back into the swing of everything.

Today, while skipping around that playlist, my love for those characters came back to life. This same exact thing happened just days before NaNoWriMo2016 as well. I forced myself to put it on hold though to work on the current WIP. I still need to edit that current WIP, but I decided to pull up the files for my 2013 NaNo novel. Scrolling through it, I can see how I’ve aged, how I’ve learned. And I could see all the changes that needed to be made to that novel – changes I would never have seen 3 years ago. So, today, I decided I’m scrapping that story and starting from scratch. I love those characters with the same passion I loved them back then and I realize that they deserve a better story than the one I gave them.

Scrapping a story is hard. Or rather, deciding to scrap one is hard. We as writers live by holding onto our stories. We love our ideas – even the bad ones. We get attached and it’s hard to let go. Today, I want to give you all some signs that you might need to scrap your story and start fresh. **Major disclaimer here: These signs are just from my own experience. They may not apply to your story. Always do what feels best to you when it comes to your writing projects.

Sign 1: No matter what you do, you can’t seem to move the story forward.

You’ve skipped around the scenes, trying to find something to add to your story. You’ve killed off a character or two. You’ve created new conflicts. You’ve taken out conflicts. You’ve added characters. Yet still, your story isn’t going anywhere. Like me, you may love your characters, but you’re not giving them the right story. It may be time to scrap your plot and go back to the drawing board. Don’t get rid of your old manuscript though! You never know what in it might come in handy.

Sign 2: Your characters aren’t who they’re supposed to be just yet.

This is on the other end of the spectrum from Sign 1. You’ve got the plot exactly as it should be. You know the story. But the puzzle still isn’t quite coming together – your characters are giving you grief. You’re supposed to be giving them grief after all. That’s how writing goes. Basically what I mean by this is that your characters need to be developed more. You’ve had a clear idea of who you’ve wanted your characters to be, but you haven’t quite gotten them into that shape just yet. That’s okay. Put the story on hold – spend some time with them. You’re probably going to have to rework that story quite a bit once you get your characters to that prime point, but it’ll be worth it.

Sign 3: Your story isn’t settling right after a break from it.

This was more or less, my specific sign. I spent a lot longer away from my story than I planned on. However, now that I’ve come back to it, there are so many things that just don’t settle right. I was so happy with my story when I wrote it. Everything was coming together perfectly. I really didn’t have any issues besides the fact it was going to take more than 50,000 words to finish it. I’ve learned so much in the years since writing that story though. I know the only way to make everything settle right is to scrap it and start fresh. Some things will remain, but this story needs to be told in a different manner – in a better one.

These are some pretty general signs that you may need to scrap or rework your story. As writers, though, we trust our gut and our gut understands these generalities pretty well. And we have to be okay with letting go of some ideas to make way for new, better ones. So, what signs have you encountered that made you decide to rework/scrap a story? And how difficult was it for you to make that decision? Let me know in the comments. And until next time, take care.

Write. It. Down.

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I constantly keep a notebook with me. I have a full sized one on my bedside table. I carry a tiny one in my purse. And I have several others laying here and there around the house. I do this so I can write down those little sparks of ideas that could one day turn into a full blown story or something. I know if I didn’t have something to write them down on, I’d probably forget well over half of them. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve taken several ideas and been able to connect them in a story. Ideas I wouldn’t have unless I’d written them down.

There’s a flaw in my system though. I only found it today. It actually has nothing at all to do with what I write in the notebooks, but rather what I do not write. Just before NaNoWriMo this year, I was suddenly flooded with a lot of great story ideas based off music I was hearing while compiling my writing playlist. Music is oftentimes a big factor in my story ideas. I hear snippets of songs and soon enough, full on stories are folding out before my eyes. It’s great when it happens. However, I really needed to put these story ideas on hold for a month or so since NaNo was quickly approaching. So, I made another playlist called “Stories.” I loaded it up with every song that was sparking ideas at the time. It was the perfect way to store all my nice little story ideas in one place to be returned to later.

You might see where this going. It’s 13 days after NaNo now and I’ve returned to that playlist – to all my great story ideas. Where’s the flaw you might ask? Those songs aren’t sparking anything now! Sure, I saved them so that I would have story ideas later. I didn’t write anything anywhere though about what story ideas these songs were sparking! All those nice little plots that were unfolding before me aren’t there anymore and the songs seem a little bit useless to me now.

I’m going to leave these songs on that playlist in hopes they might spark something again someday. It just saddens me that I lost so many ideas because I failed to write things down. Followers, I want to remind you that it isn’t enough to just have notebooks laying around. Sure, they’re pretty and they draw some interest, but simply having them doesn’t make you a writer. You have to fill those pages. Remember to write things down – even if it doesn’t seem important at the time. Don’t take your ideas for granted. Don’t think they’ll be there tomorrow.

I learn more and more everyday that it is so important to write things down. I’m grateful for being able to remember the things I do, but I know my brain can’t store everything. I’ve even gotten to the point that I jot down the bad ideas – even if it’s not in great detail. Write down all your ideas – you never know when they’ll come in handy. So readers – what are your methods for remembering ideas? Do you journal? Jot it down in an app? Break out the laptop everytime? Do you keep it all meticulously organized or do you just let it sit in a creative jumble? I’d love to know your thoughts – tell me all about it in the comments. For now, take care and happy writing – or whatever it is you lovelies do (:

Trying to Climb Out of a Creative Slump

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It’s days like today when everything seems to be going wrong that I wonder exactly why I thought it would be a good idea to revolve my livelihood around creativity. I’ve been sitting here for several hours trying to figure out what to put down on the page. And this follows getting frustrated with my glass cutting work and my wire wrapping – both of which really need to be done today despite the fact that my hands aren’t wanting to work properly for me.

I’ve always been good at math, economics, business, and law. So why have I been pursuing a solely creative path? Why haven’t I put my time and effort into something that could easily become a career? There’s several reasons really.

I grew up knowing without a doubt that I would become a pediatrician. Who knew I freak out during emergencies and that medicine wouldn’t really be a good option for me? That was okay though – I quickly found that there were so many career options open to me that wouldn’t consist of some child coming to me with their leg gashed open and needing stitches or some other medical procedure immediately. I hopped around from law to politics to the military to business. Any of these would have been viable options. Somehow though, I landed on journalism. And from there, other versions of writing.

Writing is so deeply ingrained in me that I don’t know what I would do without it. If I couldn’t pull my notebook out and write quick little notes out when things are going good, bad, and everything in between, I’d probably go insane. Even as I continued to jump around from career choice to career choice – non-creative things that I felt others would approve of – I always came back to writing. Writing fits everything I am. It fits my creative lifestyle in every way, shape and form. No matter what creative projects I have going on in my life or what goals I’m hopping to and from, I can write about it.

On days like today when nothing is going right, there are deadlines looming, and I’m wondering why on earth I moved on from that stable line of work I had, I have to take a step back and remind myself exactly what it is I’m working towards. My creative lifestyle affords me a lot of things. It may not always bring in the best income, but it makes me happy on most days. It pushes the depression away. It allows me to have a flexible life. It allows me to expand my mind and gives me the time to learn new things constantly. It allows me to connect with a lot of great people. Writing for a living has more advantages for me than it does disadvantages. And taking this step back allows me to push forward and get the things done that I need to get done without missing deadlines. I persevere and use this beautiful creative brain of mine to figure it out.

So readers, on bad days like the one I’ve had today, what do you do to push through? How do you get out of the slump and figure out what it is you’ve got to do next? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your strategies for battling bad days.