Before I get into an update on my writing life so far, I want to mention how I am currently working on my website to make it more tea/writer themed since tea has always been a hobby of mine, one I’ve recently picked back up since discovering a place in Aiken that actually sells loose-leaf tea. We used to have a Teavana at our Augusta mall, but they closed down since Starbucks bought them out (a disastrous move, might I add, because there is nothing Teavana about what Starbucks has done to its products). In any case, it is called The Confection Cottage run by two women named Lady Kelly MacVean and Chef Kirstie Wohlfeil. You don’t have to live in the Aiken, South Carolina region to enjoy her teas, as you can order them online.
My most recent purchase was a vanilla chai tea. It’s a black tea, and I am used to using water to make all my black teas. However, I wanted to create a dupe that New Moon Cafe sells because it was just sublime. So first I made it with 8 oz of water at 100 degrees Celsius, seeped 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla chai in a tea bag for 3 minutes, then added two teaspoons of half and half, two teaspoons of milk, and two teaspoons of sugar. It was good, but it had a watery flavor to it that I didn’t think was right for this particular blend. So I decided to try milk, and this is the dupe I came up with (it is perfect):
- Boil 16 oz of milk to 100 degrees Celsius (about half will boil out anyway) in a tea kettle
- While you’re boiling, put 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla chai blend in a tea bag and rest it in your cup.
- Now pour the milk over the bag and steep for 3 minutes.
- Once you’re done, still add 2 teaspoons of half and half or 1 teaspoon of whipping cream. Stir.
- Now add 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir. You can add more if you want a perfect New Moon Cafe dupe (if you’re ever able to go there), but two teaspoons is perfect, in my opinion.
- Now you can add whip cream and even sprinkle cinnamon on top.
- And yum! It is amazing. It is bliss.
On to writing!
I started a book five years ago that was dubbed The Glorious In-Between, a book about an asexual character (Shailene) who forms a fast friendship with another asexual character (Sean). They had a kind of squish (an aromatic crush) relationship going on. However, the problem with TGIB is that a lot of stuff was happening with my main character, but she wasn’t doing anything herself to progress the story. In fact, it was the secondary character, Sean, doing all of the progressing. Now after a few recent beta reads, I’ve renamed the novel Panic Switch and have given Shailene panic disorder because upon doing research, I don’t think there are really any YA books at all that touch upon panic disorder (if I am wrong, point some out to me because I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to read them). Sure there are books on anxiety, but generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder are not the same thing. I have been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks myself recently and am currently working on them with my doctor.
So I am re-writing this entire novel where it now centers around Shailene having to cope with this new panic disorder diagnosis while also trying to find closure for her recently deceased twin sister Annabelle who committed suicide. While the scenes are very much the same, the plot is completely different, and I think this time around–I hope–Shailene has much more control of the plot than Sean will.
Now on to All Stars Align. I will admit I am being slow with this one, but I am at least writing it. It is happening. It may not be submitted by the end of this summer (more like the end of this year), but I’m taking my time because I’ve noticed I have partial burnout with this trilogy–I have discovered I am simply not a series writer. Two books and that’s it. That’s why I want to take my time because I don’t want to short readers by getting out a subpar story all for the sake of finishing it before I start physical therapy school.
I also have a little surprise I want to unveil in the future, but first my books (When Stars Die and The Stars Are Infinite) will have to get fixed on Amazon first because the e-books still aren’t up and now the paperbacks supposedly only have a few in stock or are entirely unavailable. Apparently this has been a common complaint amongst the indie community. You can get them on Barnes and Noble though.