So I’ve officially been in Taiwan for a year! I went home for a few months, came back, and here we are.
I’ve gotten so used to musical garbage trucks, squat toilets, sun umbrellas, and 7-11’s that I forget how different things are here. It’s comfortable now. Minus the heat. The heat is never comfortable.
I’ve been writing like a fiend and have a lot of super exciting irons in the fire. I’m finally writing a project I’ve been brainstorming for years (which is close to my heart and as autobiographical as I’m ever going to get) and have a MONSTER collaboration in the works.
And in other news, I AM BEING PRODUCTIVE. About time.
I leave you with my favorite gif of Taiwan. Somehow, I’m not surprised that this happened.
Most of you who read my blog know me in real life and already know my connection to lacrosse. I’ve played most of my life, including a crazy college career that I wouldn’t trade for anything. When I graduated and started the 9-5 thing, I missed the game, and in 2009 I left my job to get my MFA in writing. I went to Seton Hill University, which had an amazing program in popular fiction, and a graduate assistantship for me to coach lacrosse.
Our first season was rough. Coach T had just taken over the team, and she was the first “real” coach the team had ever had. We had players who’d never played lacrosse before, and if they won two or three games a season it wasn’t too awful. We couldn’t run a zone defense, or a clear press…we were just trying to catch the ball.
In 2010 we told the freshmen, just wait until you’re seniors. If everyone keeps working like this, the team will be amazing. That was our first winning season.
I graduated in 2011. Soon after, Coach Kristina Quigley took over the team. Under her guidance 2013 was shaping up to be the greatest year yet.
I was heartbroken when I heard about the crash. I know those girls. I coached them, recruited them, and kept following their stats after I left the team. After the shock, when I could stop shaking and crying, I stared at my computer for a numb few hours, waiting for more news. Who else was hurt?
I’m so thankful that it wasn’t worse. Even though I didn’t know Coach Quigley well, I know she’d be thankful that her girls will recover from their bruises and broken bones. Losing Coach Quigley won’t be healed so easily.
It’s a tragedy to lose such a caring woman, dedicated coach, and mother.
I’m sad for the girls for so many reasons. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and losing some or all of their season makes it that much worse. It’s trivial really, when you consider what could’ve happened, but I think the world deserves to know how hard these girls—and especially the seniors, Morgan, Rachel, Kate, and Alec—have worked. You would’ve seen all that effort on their scoreboards this year.
It’s amazing to see the lacrosse community rally around Seton Hill. It proves how tightly knit we are in the sport, and how compassionate. Too often, lacrosse receives negative attention. Go to the Play for Seton Hill Facebook page and tell me these aren’t wonderful people. It’s run by players from another school, and programs all over the country are wearing red and gold ribbons, and donating to Gavin Quigley’s scholarship fund. These are the same programs that will play games to raise money for suicide awareness, breast cancer, autism, and other charities, but no one ever hears about that.
This sport is full of amazing people.
To the girls at Seton Hill: I’m so proud of you. Always have been.
You’ve overcome so much to get where you are today…remember the tornado that hailed golf balls on our practice? Or in May 2010, that first time so many of you saw New York City, and we were on the verge of another tragedy. All of those morning practices in the snow when you were exhausted and your hands were half-frozen to your sticks. Shoveling the turf. Losing games that came so close. Winning after more overtimes than we could count.
You are so strong. You can keep going.
I can’t play for you anymore, but I will write for you. I added this to my lacrosse book. You know? The one I already stole all of your names for? Someday I’ll finish it and show the world this amazing lacrosse family of ours.
I’m excited to announce my new position as Acquisitions Editor at Evernight Publishing! Their new YA line, Evernight Teen, will debut in January 2013, and I’m a part of the search for engaging new voices.
A new website is in the works. For now, submission guidelines are here.
We’re looking for fresh teen fiction, and are open to any sub-genre of YA (but sorry, no MG or tween). I particularly like sci-fi, fantasy, well-written paranormals, and sports contemporaries. Anything is fair game as long as the story is tight and the characters are original.
To query me specifically, follow the house submission guidelines, with an attn: Elle Stone somewhere in your query or subject line.
Can’t wait to read what you’ve been working on : )
I’m still a Taiwan rookie–it’s been just over a month–but there are already so many things I love about this amazing place. Here are five of them:
1. Milk Tea
It comes in a million flavors, usually for around NT$20-40, which equates to between 60 cents and a dollar and change. Oatmeal, caramel, and strawberry are just a few of the flavors available. And you can get it with bubbles. Super delicious, and so much cheaper (and more readily available) than home!
These guys are everywhere. Smell for the incense, turn the corner, and there you are. Many are open air. You just don’t see this with places of worship in the U.S. Let’s be honest…they’d get vandalized. There’s so much more trust and respect here.
Go down any street and you’ll see them in rows by the hundreds. They zip by, and daredevils squeeze between cars in the crazy dance that’s Taiwan traffic. Mind you, they also add to the air pollution, but they make getting around so convenient. You can actually drive your scooter into some corner restaurants. Plus, I want a strawberry helmet.
The weather here is erratic, with lots of rain, so umbrellas are de rigueur. Everyplace you go will have an umbrella stand AND people aren’t going to take your umbrella unless it’s an accident and it looks like theirs. That isn’t likely, considering how many colored/patterned ones you can buy. Fair-skinned ladies like myself (i.e. photophobes) can break them out parasol-style as soon as the sun comes back.
Obviously, the last one was going to be food. It is so good, and so cheap. As a vegetarian, I’m always delighted by the veggie options. Tofu is plentiful, and seasonal vegetables are always on the menu. Teppanyaki has become my favorite. For NT$50 ($1.70) I can get a full dinner with tea, soup, rice, a fried egg or tamagoyaki, and two kinds of vegetable. This time of year, it’s beansprouts and cabbage. I get mine “la” or spicy…and they mean spicy! The little red peppers are not for the weak-of-tongue.
I’m looking forward to more exploration, and many more additions to this list!!
Back in 2008, when I was doing the corporate/editorial/9-5 thing and feeling adrift, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish. It wasn’t a long list, but it changed my life.
It went a little like:
- Write books
- Travel the world
I decided that these were going to be my priorities and I did what I needed to do to make them happen. First, I left my job and got my M.F.A. in fiction. It was liberating to focus only on writing, instead of trying to write around work and the headaches that followed me home.
I couldn’t stare at a computer screen all day and comfortably come home to write. People do (and props if you’re one of them), but I knew I’d make excuses not to and would never accomplish my first goal. Not to mention goal number two. It would take 30 years of earning seniority and saving before I could see the world, and though I’ve got nothing but respect for people who do it that way, I am not that patient.
Now I’m moving to Taiwan. I’ll be teaching ESL with plenty of time to write and travel, and I couldn’t be happier. In the past few months, I’ve had too many reminders that time is precious. My cousin–who was a year younger than me–suddenly passed away as I was packing for my TEFL course in Prague. As much as I wanted to be there for my family, what could I do? She was finishing her degree, had a boyfriend she probably would have married, and big dreams for the future.
I think of her when I need to make big decisions, and remember that there’s no time to waste in life. I’m not making excuses anymore. I will do exactly what I need to do to get where I want to be.
So many people have told me they’re jealous of my move. “I want to do that!” is the most common response, usually followed by a big, “but….”
If you want to do something–whether it’s writing, traveling, getting in shape, or learning a new language–you need to start in now. The longer you wait the less time you’ll have, and the more excuses you’ll make. I don’t have a family or a house or many attachments –I value my independence too much–so it’s easier for me to turn a 180, but it doesn’t matter if you have five kids and a mortgage. Take small steps. I can’t tell you how, but if you take your goal seriously, you’ll find a way to get there. Be a little selfish and stop waiting for the things you want to come your way. You will be happier.
I don’t want to get rid of books…there’s a reason I’ve hauled them from city to city for the past fifteen years. My pack-rat instinct aside, it’s time to streamline and NOT pay to store them while I’m living in Taiwan.
It’s painful, but this is only a fraction of my shelf. The epic fantasies have been hit the hardest. I loved Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind when I was younger, but when will I have the time to re-read such long long sagas? Sorry, book friends.
Maybe this is an argument for e-readers. All the books on my i-pad get to come on the plane.
If I don’t have a breakdown, I’ll add more to the pile. I can’t bear to get rid of the Anne McCaffrey or Tamora Pierce, and the Harry Potters aren’t going anywhere. It’s love versus space.
Either way, it’s freeing not to be so cluttered, and I know the local library will appreciate some donations. Just ignore my weeping.
I’ve been away for a while, and I’ll keep being away for a while longer. I’m in the process of moving to Taiwan, and slammed with tasks and projects. But it’s all super exciting…so I don’t mind much : )
In preparation for leaving the U.S., I’m cleaning my websites and did a massive retool of my Tumblr. I updated it with the beautiful Narnia theme and will be using it a lot more. Isn’t it purty? Visit me!
Author Sherry Soule’s YA paranormal novel BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN was recently released by Moonlight Publishing. She dropped by YALitChat.org to answer a few questions and share some information on her fantastic Spellbound series.
Can you tell us a bit about your new book Beautifully Broken?
They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Whispering Pines. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse.
Sixteen-year-old Shiloh Ravenwolf is a heritage witch from the Broussard family, a family both destined and cursed. When she takes a summer job at Ravenhurst Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan, and immediately becomes spellbound by his charms.
Finally, Shiloh’s met someone who is supercute and totally into her, but Trent may be the next victim on the supernatural hit list. And Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him. Complicated much?
It sucks to have a destiny, especially since Shiloh would rather spend her summer being a normal girl who worries about clothes and boys, not the supernatural. But she’s never been normal and the stranger things become the more her own magical senses awaken.
With cryptic messages from a pesky wraith, she will begin to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town.
Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.
What do you find so attractive about the supernatural?
The romance. The world building. The way anything can and will happen.
How is that reflected in your work?
I’ve always had a morbid fascination with ghosts and haunted houses.
What else are you working on?
The sequel, Beautifully Haunted and an adult PR novel, Forever Knight.
Can you share any tips/tricks or advice you’ve picked up since switching to write full time?
I have a blog full of advice for aspiring writers here: http://www.darkangelwritingtools.com/
When’s your next release?
The next book in my Spellbound series will be published in November.
Where can we find Beautifully Broken?
It’s available through the following links:
About the Author:
Sherry Soule has won numerous awards for her short stories and now writes fulltime. She lives in San Francisco Bay Area with her family and her black cat, Charm. Sherry is hard at work on the next book in the Spellbound Series.
For more information on Sherry Soule please visit: