happy new year to you all!

if you’re reading this, you’re probably a better person than I am, because I am the worst at keeping up with blogs.

I don’t mean to bore y’all, but I want to talk about 2013.

folks, it was a great year. it was the most exciting, maturing, stressful, crazy, spontaneous, expensive year of my life and I’m so grateful for it.

what happened? so, so much. here are my highlights:

my church. oh man, my church. I have a family of 300+ people that I couldn’t love more. they’ve welcomed me, taught me, comforted me, encouraged me, loved me. I’m so in love.

NaNoWriMo Finding You stats-Finding You = complete. until I start editing, of course. it took me a year and a half, but it’s my favorite thing I’ve written; I’m proud of it, despite its flaws. this is unusual for me. it took me a year and a half, and I’m relieved and sad and excited to be done. it has definitely been my most emotional book to write so far.

-crazy friendships I didn’t expect: you may be reading this, and you may know who you are- people I knew a little, who have come to mean a lot to me over the past year, people I didn’t know at all yet, people I have never met face-to-face but who have made this year worth it.  I love you all.

-travel: to be honest, travel always makes my year. when people ask me what my hopes and dreams for the future are, I have my answer ready these days: all I is want to travel the world, write books, glorify God and love strangers, with a true love and a family in there as well. literally, that’s what I want from life, and the time I spent roaming the country (and visiting Canada on my own) this year has been some of the best- visiting friends, visiting places, visiting events. it’s been phenomenal.

-CULTURE! seeing Les Mis twice (American tour, Canadian cast), a Ramin Karimloo concert in Boston, Red Sox game, Newsies and Cinderella on Broadway, surprise Afie Boe concert in D.C., a 1960s party, Shakespeare in the Boston Commons, a Matt Nathanson/Joshua Radin concert at the House of Blues…I feel so enriched and in love with life. just give me a seat in front of a stage and I’m happy.

-Matt Smith is gone. this is not a positive aspect of 2013, but it is monumental. I won’t burden you with my frustrations with his last episode, or my other issues/heartbreak. I do very much miss Amy & Rory. (we *did* have the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and while I wasn’t 100% impressed, it was terribly exciting.) to sum up, this is what I felt/am feeling:tumblr_inline_mw359v1Mm61rhvd1v

-2013 was my first year not a part of TeenPact. to be honest, that’s hard. I wish there was a way I could have always been involved. but God has been so gracious to me in helping me handle “growing up”. I’m excited to be taking new steps in my life.

-I’ve had some really rough, stressful, depressing, and upsetting patches in the year, and I’ve been incredibly touched by the people who reached out to me. I am so grateful to all of you for caring about me, and not accepting “I’m fine” when I told you that.  thank you with all my heart for Jon McLaughlin - Holding My Breath signedseeing through me, sitting me down, and making me cry to you. I’m not good at the whole “being-vulnerable” thing. I like to think I can save the day or do a darn good job at faking it by myself.

-a few last things that made the year great: CATCHING FIRE CAME OUT. I started watching Supernatural. I went to Ikea for the first time. I registered for my first class with Harvard Extension, which is as close to all my dreams coming true (#nerdwholovesschool) as I’ve ever come. thanks to Jesus, I was able to restore a friendship that was was physically paining my heart and is now beautiful again. Jon McLaughin’s new album came out. I finally bought combat boots. I met a few of my real-life heroes.  I went Enjolrasing for the first time. and I found the love of my life aka Michael Vaughn on Alias.


and I finished out the year with my sister and a dear friend watching the fireworks at the Boston Harbor. it was magical. and freezing.


I promise I’m just about finished, but I want to list, online, publicly, what I have resolved for the new year.

-I will seek God’s voice and *actually listen*.

-I will practice self-control, in all areas.

-I will stop apologizing so much. it’s my worst habit.

-I will at least attempt to be published- something, somehow, somewhere.

-I will read good books; I have a tendency to stop reading when I write, and vice versa. I want to conquer that.

-possibly get a tattoo – nobody kill me, please. I’ve wanted one for a while. I’m just not certain yet, though I know what I want.

-finish another novel (either ‘Check’ or ‘Across the Lake’, I think).

-do a cartwheel. I’ve never done one; this year I’m going to learn.


what are your resolutions, victories, regrets? tell me while you listen to this song, about the last night of the year. it’s my favorite.





Emphasis on “may”…the first one.

I’m just going to get right to the point: I’ve got writing issues.  I can’t go three months without something new on my plate, or I get stir-crazy and frantic, like my world is closing in.  It’s sad, people.  Pity me.

Thanksgiving night (after eating far too much food, playing thanksgiving-themed games, singing in a talent show, tying for first place in said talent show, and then eating far too much dessert)I had a dream.  It was so epic I think it might have tied with Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.  I’m not even joking.

It was set in the 1890s, in the alleys of London, carrying the feel of Newsies and themes from The Thief Lord, and woven with romance, jealousy, oppressive family ties, secret background-stories, betrayal, and adventure.  My favorite “character” in the dream was a carbon-copy of Alistair Brammer as he appears in the new Les Misérables film, and was consequently named Alistair.  (I’m more than happy to have him feature in my book since he’s rather a favorite of mine in the musical theater world.  If you don’t know his work, look him up!)

I definitely overslept, though it didn’t matter since I always do at Gramma’s house.  People kept trying to wake me up and I’d shove them away, because even mid-dream I could tell this would make a fantastic novel.  My consequence was that most of the Thanksgiving dinner left-overs had been eaten by the time I finally got up at almost noon.

But I think it was worth it.

I’d love to promise that I’ll be unveiling this new book soon (since the dream covered all the major plot points, and since I wrote it all down the second I woke up, I only have to write it now! cha-ching.) but I’m afraid I have to finish at least Esmeralda before I can conscience that.  If it sounds at all interesting to you, though, never fear! It will appear soon enough.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a temporary cover image, since even before I post it I must have a cover (oh yes, I’m calling it simply “Dream” for now, since that’s what it was, even though that has nothing to do with the story).

(And I think that “Ava” looks something along the lines of the girl in this picture, though I’m not positive yet.)



Perhaps you’re familiar with the musical  Rent.  (Now before my fellow-homeschooler friends stop reading this and disown me, hear me out.)  It’s a tragic story, made more tragic by the fact that Jonathan Larson died the night before it opened.  I don’t support many of the themes of the story, and I don’t agree with much of Larson’s philosophy.  As a parody of La Bohème, I think it’s a piece of genius.  All moral quandaries aside, the show itself has some definite moments of brilliance and others of…insipidity.  (“Finale A”, for instance makes me want to cry, while “Light My Candle” is crude and just…awkward.)  My favorite character is definitely “Roger”, partially because he’s one that any aspiring writer can relate to.

Perhaps the best known song from the show is the famous, “One Song, Glory”, sung by “Roger” (originally Adam Pascal) as he worries that he will never make his mark musically on the world before he dies of AIDS.  The words speak to a writer like myself who hopes to make her mark somehow, someday (though I don’t believe I’m dying yet).  And the song is made more beautiful by the fact that it’s sung by Adam Pascal (who I have a major crush on) in his lovely, raspy, rocker-like voice (which I have another separate crush on).

While the entire song is SO applicable to my dreams as a writer, there’s a bit that I especially love:

“Glory, in a song that rings true
Truth like a blazing fire
An eternal flame
Find one song- a song about love
Glory, from the soul of a young man
A young man…”

I don’t need to be the next Suzanne Collins, Shannon Hale, or Veronica Roth.  I don’t think I ever could be, by any means.  But I want to accomplish something, and to know that I have.  The theme quotation for my life is one by Franz Kafka.  He says, “I want to escape the unrest, to shut out the voices around me and within me, and so I write.”  My soul needs to write.  I can’t survive without stories.

In all humility, I don’t think I’m without talent, at least.  There’s a line in Aida (another favorite Adam Pascal musical) in the reprise of “My Strongest Suit” where Amneris and Aida lament that, “a life of great potential is dismissed, inconsequential”.  I’d like to believe that I have potential, at least, as a writer.  And I don’t want whatever gifts God has deigned to bless me with to go to waste, for my life to be inconsequential.  In one sense I would be happy just sitting at home writing for the rest of my life, but at the same time, I don’t want only that.

I need to do something.

With God’s grace, hopefully I will.



This past weekend I had the best night of my life: I saw Ramin Karimloo live in Albany.

It was honestly as simple as that- I was practically jumping out of my seat waiting for him to come on stage, and when he did I came seriously close to that embarrassing fangirling that I always find so repulsive in footage of Justin Bieber concerts.

When he sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Mis early on in the performance, I nearly cried.  His voice was so beautiful and powerful, and had all the emotion that the song should bear.  I think God has blessed him with one of the most amazing voices in the world.

After the show (which had a wonderfully long encore), which included music from Doc Watson, Johnny Cash, great musicals, and several of his own pieces (some of which were folk songs, and many of you must know my love of folk music), we went out into the lobby-ish area and waited to meet the man himself.

We actually talked for a bit, and I can honestly say that Ramin Karimloo was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.  He’s encouraging and real and super humble, despite being mind-blowingly talented.  His openness in giving God the glory in subtle ways was really wonderful as well.  Overall, it was seriously the best night I can remember of my life.  I’m torn between hoping his music takes off like crazy for his sake and hoping it doesn’t so I can always get tickets when he’s in the country.

I would seriously encourage y’all to check him out if you don’t know his music- the 25th Anniversary of the Phantom of the Opera, the Original Cast Recording of Love Never Dies, the 25th Anniversary Concert dvd for Les Misérables, and his own solo album, “Any Human Heart”, are just a few examples of the music you can look into to hear his incredible talent.

I dare you to watch the video linked below and not become a fan:

‘Til I Hear You Sing

My greatest earthly love is musical theater.  If I’d been blessed with an especial talent for singing, I’d do anything to have become the next Lea Salonga, the next Sierra Boggess, the next Stephanie Block or Heather Headley.  They’re my heroes. Oh gosh. Wow.  Just thinking about them makes me kind of breathless and ashamed that I’d ever even think I could be like them.  I have no such illusions. But I am planning on moving to NYC or (preferably) London to get into that scene somehow.  Anything.  I’ll be a stage hand, or a “water-girl”- I really, really don’t care. It’s the atmosphere, and the music, that I want. That I crave.  That I live for.

Les Mis is my favorite. The only thing that even nearly compares is The Phantom, and then Aida and My Fair Lady and West Side Story and Evita and Wicked and Miss Saigon are all wonderful.

And so, of all the characters in literature, music, and theater, I relate the most to Eponine. I’ve resigned myself to the background-character role in life (that’s not a pity-party, that’s my realization, and I hold to it). I don’t completely mind it- at least I can find a twin in literature, right? So Eponine’s mine. As a matter of fact, in a lot of ways, she’s not my twin, she’s me.

In the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Mis, filmed and (thank God!) put on dvd for my constant viewing, Eponine was played by Samantha Barks. Who was brilliant.  A little too pretty for the role, but wonderful.  In the 2010 cast, it was Rosalind James.  A bit angry, and her voice isn’t my favorite, but gosh can she sing and does she ever have the look down.  10th Anniversary was Lea Solona.  Don’t get my started on the epic-ness of that woman.  And lastly in my list of notable Eponines, Francis Ruffelle, the original- but she isn’t really my deal.  Kinda sounds like she’s been drugged. Anyway.

Imagine my sheer delight to find that Tom Hooper – TOM HOOPER – was making a film adaptaion of the musical!!!! I was ecstatic. Hugh Jackman as Valjean? Heck yes.  I was hoping for Ramin Karimloo, (my own true love) but it’s the best second.  And Russell Crowe as Javert will probably be amazing.  Anne Hathaway as Fantine might be good, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried as Marius and Cosette will be fantastic, I think.  Aaron Tveit being Enjolras MADE MY DAY.

So, the next character to cast is obviously Eponine- Lea Michelle, Scarlet Johanson, and Evan Rachel Wood all auditioned and were considered.  I was thinking Rosario Dawson would be cool.  Or any number of the amazing talents in London and New York and Sydney and Las Vegas.  But no.  None of those.  Instead we’re going the typical Hollywood style and choosing good publicity over talent.  It’s time for the really really bad news.  I’ll be quick so I don’t start balling again.  *takes breath*


I don’t care how much you happy-dance-squeal-jump-for-joy over Taylor’s music, her cool hair, or her numerous boyfriends and the pointed songs she writes about them after the inevitable break-up two months into the relationship.   Maybe you think she’s the best thing that ever tried to pair pop music with country and for that she should be worshiped.  Maybe you’re really in love with her and can’t see past her shallow lifestyle.  Maybe she’s actually a wonderful person and I’m wrong. (I mean that- I could be way off.)  I. DON’T. CARE.

Because she can’t be Eponine.  Where’s the depth?  The rugged “I’ve-lived-all-my-life-on-the-street” feel?  The girl who helps her parents rob people blind, run a crack house, and outsmart the police?  The one who’s hopelessly in love with Marius (Eddie Redmayne) and unable to get his attention as anything more than a boy-like friend?  How is she going to be “just one of the guys” to him and be awkward and boyish and blunt but silent about her own feelings because she doesn’t know how to function in the romantic world? (And for the record, I don’t think she’s even pretty.  But she is glamorous, and that is the opposite of Eponine.)

Lastly, and most importantly, where are the chops!?  She can sing a fine (somewhat weak) country song, but really? Boubil and Schönberg?  Never.  That’s not ever.  NEV-ER.  If you can’t tell, I’m really upset about this.  Call me a baby, but I cried.  I feel like I, personally, am being violated.  Anyway. That’s my rant.  I refuse to apologzie for it, because frankly, you didn’t have to read it. :/  (It doesn’t help that the google search “Les Miserables” is now filled with images of Taylor Swift.  Yeah. I’m piping mad.)

Au revoir.