The Last Day of 2019 

My second blog post in two days! What’s happening? 

On the last day of 2019, I can’t help but look back at the previous year.  

On a personal level, this has been both one of the most difficult years I’ve ever experienced and one of the best. I discovered so much about who I am. I also discovered that we never stop growing and learning. I had to overcome so much this year. My world was turned upside down and all of the plans I had for the future were completely destroyed as I learned that you never really can plan for the future. But as I embraced that--as I learned to speak and live my truth and take care of myself--I began to attract positive, uplifting people into my life. I reconnected with old friends and connected with new ones. So many people helped me get through this year, and I am so grateful to all of them. 

In terms of my career, a lot happened. I started a new day job as a Digital Content Strategist for WT Digital Agency, a job I actually love. I published You and the Night, the last book in my Muse Chronicles Trilogy and started a new vampire trilogy with Into the Shadows. I wrote the first play I’ve written in years, Swipe Right, a play about dating apps. (Okay, I’m not technically finished with that one, but almost!) During the last half of the year, I was dealing with so much personal life stuff that it was hard for me to get much writing done, but I’m ready to hit the ground running in 2020.  

I read/saw/listened to/experienced a lot of great art this year. Here are some of my favorites: 

Favorite Book I Read in 2019 - City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Favorite Album I Listened to in 2019 - Milo Greene by Milo Greene 

Favorite Film I Watched in 2019 - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Favorite TV Show I Watched in 2019 - Fleabag - Amazon Prime 

Favorite Play I Saw in 2019 - Come From Away 

What about you? How was your 2019? What were your favorite books, albums, plays, TV shows, films?

Favorite Albums of the Decade 

Recently, my little brother put together a list of his favorite albums from the decade. I was inspired to do the same! These are in no particular order. 

 

1. Depression Cherry - Beach House (2015) 

2. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming - M83 (2011) 

3. 1989 - Taylor Swift (2014) 

4. Alvvays - Alvvays (2014) 

5. Absolute Zero - Little Green Cars (2013) 

6. The Lion’s Roar - First AId Kit (2012) 

7. Slowdive - Slowdive (2017) 

8. Love is Dead - CHVRCHES (2018) 

9. In Bloom - Beach House (2012) 

10. Remind Me Tomorrow - Sharon Van Etten (2019) 

11. The North - Stars (2012) 

12. The Rip Tide - Beirut (2011) 

13. The Next Day - David Bowie (2013) 

14. Vulnicura - Bjork (2015) 

15. Singles - Future Islands (2014) 

16. Teen Dream - Beach House (2010) 

17. Penny Sparkle - Blonde Redhead (2010) 

18. Shields - Grizzly Bear (2012) 

19. Waiting for Something to Happen - Veronica Falls (2013) 

20. Floating - Sleep Party People (2014) 

21. Burn Your Fire for No Witness - Angel Olsen (2014) 

22. Dopamine - BORNS (2015) 

23. Every Open Eye - CHVRCHES (2015) 

24. Soft Will - Smith Westerns (2013) 

25. Trouble Will Find Me - The National (2013) 

26. After Laughter - Paramore (2017) 

27. Familiars - The Antlers (2014) 

 

I’m sure I’m forgetting quite a few, but these are just off the top of my head.  

How about you? What were your favorite albums of the decade?

Time After Time 

So most of you have seen this news on either my Facebook, Instagram, or my e-mail newsletter, but for those of you who didn't, I just wanted to announce that Parliament House Press will be publishing my young adult 1980s time travel novel, Time After Time, in the fall of 2020!

What's the book about?

Megan Gallagher has only ever seen her mother as neurotic and overworked. When a Whitney Houston song at the 80s dance sends Megan back to 1987, she discovers her teenage mom dressed in all black and sneaking liquor in the bathroom. After preventing her mom’s drunk car accident, Megan realizes she has one month to get her teenage parents to stop partying, and learn enough about her family's secret to get back home. Too bad the much cuter teenage version of her history teacher is such a distraction. With time running out and her future at stake, Megan must learn that, when it comes to family, you can't always get what you want, but you might just get what you need.

The Muse of Tragedy 

Hey everyone! Long time, no see, right? 

So for a while there I was posting ALL THE CONTENT. YouTube videos, blog posts for my creativity blog, daily Instagram posts. And somehow, I was still managing to work on writing my books as well. And work! Not sure how I was getting all of that done. 

A little over three months ago, I started working a new day job for a marketing agency. (A job I really love. Who knew you could love a day job?) About a month later, my life totally BLEW UP. I'll spare you all the gory details, but the basic gist is that my husband suffers from drug and alcohol addiction and mental health issues. And both addiction and mental illness are extremely difficult diseases. So he went to get the help he needs and I went to my parents' house for a couple of months. I just now moved into my own place--an adorable two-bedroom condo. 

So no wonder I stopped all of my content. Over the course of three months, my life had completely changed. When I think back to where I was a year ago, so many things are different now. The only thing that has remained consistent is my drive to create.

Now that I'm settling into the next chapter of my life, I decided I could return to my content. Because I really do enjoy making the YouTube videos and writing the blog posts. Helping other creative people and artists find their own creative expression. Helping writers find their own voices. I'm bringing back the creativity interviews next Friday (I've got a good one to kick it off) and I'm even toying with the idea of doing the interviews in a podcast instead of just a blog. So I'm going to return to creating ALL THE CONTENT. Or at least some of it.

I could start beating myself up for not managing to keep up with all of my online content over the past few months. I do have a tendency to try to do EVERYTHING and then beat myself up when I can't. Or I could be really proud of myself for the writing and singing that I did manage to do during this trying time. I went to Starbucks after work and worked on Until the Night Falls, my newest vampire novel. I even started a new (unnamed) play about addiction. I haven't written a play in seven years so I was particularly proud of that one. And I have been singing at Unity North Atlanta with the Unitones--a previously-trio-but-lately-quartet of awesome ladies. 

I know many people would not want to admit that they have been dealing with addiction and mental illness--even indirectly--because there is still such a stigma attached to both of these diseases. But I think it's important to be honest and tell you that these things have had an effect on my life. I don't actually know one person whose life hasn't been touched--either directly or indirectly--by addiction or mental illness. Maybe if more of us were honest about dealing with it, there would be less of a stigma. I'm not sure. 

But. Let's bring it back to a Crawford subject. Creativity and art. The main point of this blog post is that even when your life blows up, you cannot let it stop you from being creative or making art. Don't be hard on yourself. Don't expect to write an award-winning novel or record the greatest album known to man, but still create. Express yourself. Sing karaoke. Crochet a scarf. Do something creative. And who knows? You might end up writing that award-winning novel. Often times, challenges and tragedy inspires the best art. I know this difficulty in my own life has been quite the muse for me. 

So that's what's been going on in my life. I hope you'll come along with me--read some of my blog posts or watch one of my YouTube videos. But even if you don't, I hope that you'll find your own way to be creative. 

You and the Night cover reveal and book trailer 

Here's the cover for Book 3 of The Muse Chronicles. Designed by Caroline Teagle. Isn't it gorgeous? 

You and the Night - Book 3 in The Muse Chronicles - Coming 4.30.2019

She's designed all the covers for The Muse Chronicles, and they've all been gorgeous:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of all the books in this trilogy, this one was by far the hardest to write. I started working on it in January of 2018. It doesn't usually take me over a year to finish a book. But I kept going back and re-writing the first 100 pages. It's in pretty good shape right now, but I'm about to send it off to some beta readers and critique partners. 

I have grown a lot as an author in the writing of these three books. I know they definitely have their flaws, but I think the main theme of art belonging to everyone is evident. 

It's going to be hard to say goodbye to Sylvia and Vincent. This is ultimately a love story, but Vincent represents art/music. So it's really just about a girl who falls in love with art. Do they have the healthiest of relationships? Clearly not. He's not even a real person technically. But every single artist I know has had an unhealthy obsession with art. We've all had times where we stayed up all night writing or playing guitar. We've had days when we forget to eat because we're so enraptured in our paintings. 

Not everyone is going to get that, and that's okay. Every book is not for every reader. Art is so subjective. But then it speaks to so many people because all I did was personify my relationship with art in Sylvia and Vincent. 

Some things surprised me as I kept writing. For example, I ended up absolutely loving Ryan, the bass player. He's portrayed as being a jerk, but there's just something lovable about him. We've all had friends like that--people we know are good people deep down, but act like a jackass to cover it up. Ryan is a side character, but I found myself really enjoying writing him. You can always count on Ryan to just say what he's thinking. Maybe it's that authenticity I love.

Vincent and Izabella came out of a play I wrote in 2006 called Painted. So I have literally been with some of these characters for over a decade. Maybe that's why I had such a difficult time with this third book. I knew it would all be over. 

Sure, I might return to this universe in the future. There are some different ways I could go with that. But Sylvia and Vincent's story has come to a conclusion. I really love the way I ended the whole thing, and I hope readers do too.

So the book is coming out on 4.30.19. I have just put it up for pre-order. (It's in the review process so it's not showing up yet.) For now, I hope you enjoy this book trailer. I had so much fun making it. (And there really aren't any spoilers for the first two books in it.)

 

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