Heroines, Choosing Happiness, and Why I'm Moving From NYC to London)

In a month, I'm going to be uprooting my life in New York City and moving to the United Kingdom.

I will do this to be living closer than a plane ride away from my parents for the first time in my adult life.

I will do this because my sister and her boyfriend will be only an hour away and I want my lady movie watching buddy back.

I will do this for adventure and a promise I made to myself a long time ago to do something that scares me to death every decade or so.

I will do this despite the fact that I'll leave behind friends and a life I've cultivated in weird, wonderful New York for nearly nine years.

I will do this without the security of a day job, giving me the chance for the first time in my author life to write full time for a little while.

I am excited and eager and trepidatious.

What I am not is uncertain about my choice.

My mother often tells me with a laugh that I'm just like my father. We mull over something as important as a life change or as simple as a new gadget for months, researching and weighing pros and cons. We learn everything we can about whatever it is that's caught our imagination. Recently this has led me to become a casual expert on:

  1. Running clothes and training guides (This obsession started a year ago and has not let up, leading me to be somewhat angry with my runner friends who didn't warn me that my laundry would soon be all running clothes and one morning a weekend would be devoted to long runs, often done in the cold and rain because you need those miles in the bank)
  2. Social media and content marketing programs like CoSchedule (Welcome to the sexy behind-the-scenes world of being a working author)
  3. External audio recorders (Podcasting)
  4. Shipping books internationally (My extensive research library is moving to London which is...a challenge)

My father and I will read, collect information, and take notes until one day we're ready. Like a flip being switched, we make our decision and rarely look back. It's as though steeping ourselves in all of that information has infused us with the ability to say, "Yes, that's exactly what I want."

It would make sense that this brand of seemingly contradictory dragged out decisiveness appeals to me. It's similar to the way that heroines in romance novels come to the realization that they are both in love and deserving of it.

The heroine spends the entire story getting to know the hero by talking to and interacting with him (or he does with him in M/M or she does with her in F/F). She might meet family or friends, see him on the job, or watch him at play. Often without realizing it, she's gathering information about the sort of partner he'll be letting that process in her subconscious until she's ready to choose.

All at once she knows. He's the one. It's Elizabeth realizing Darcy has saved her sister. Cher announcing "I love Josh" in front of the fountain in Beverly Hills. It's in the ah-ha moment we spend the entire movie or book waiting for.

Other people—even the hero—might try to move our heroine onto another path, but she's certain. She's chosen the love of the hero, just as she's chosen her own happiness.

This may I'll be choosing my own happiness as well as family and adventure. I plan to share bits and pieces of my move and subsequent settling in to the city I write about—even if the timeline is about 200 years off—and I hope you'll take the journey with me here as well on Instagram and Facebook.

VIDEO: NaNoWriMo Day 22

Day 22 is here, and I'm back on track (thank goodness)! NaNoWriMoers, how are you guys doing with your own challenges?

This is the hero chat with Alexis Anne I mention in the video. And here's a link to the heroine chat too.

As always, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. Happy writing!

A Sunday Break

Golden afternoon light streams through my windows when I look up from my computer. It's time to take a break. I lose myself when I'm editing and often forget about the larger world outside my apartment walls. Determined to catch the last of the light before the early fall sunset, I pull on my boots and a down vest, and clip-clop down four flights of stairs into the street.

I live on the far eastern side of Manhattan. My walk to Central Park takes me past the frat boy sports bars of Second Avenue, through the generic shops of Third and Lexington, and into the Old New York opulence that marks the true Upper East Side. Then, just when I'm beginning to feel as though I don't belong in my Sunday uniform of boots and jeans, I see green.

Trees tower over a low wall that draws the boundaries of the park. There is a little entrance at 79th Street. That is the one I take. A paved path leads me deep into the heart of the park. Cyclists and weekend athletes race past me in. They are working harder than I am, but I am on a break I tell myself.

My path curves to the Great Lawn, and I spot Belvedere Castle across Turtle Pond. It's a strange building - impressive and incongruous. A castle in the middle of the great concrete jungle. It has been nearly a year since I stood on its battlements. I put my head down and begin the climb up wide, gentle steps.

On top of the castle the view is breathtaking. Clouds reflect in the deep blue, undisturbed water of the pond. On the sloping lawn, children play at games only they understand the rules to. Trees just beginning to change colors in the fall chill frame the scene. Unashamed of being a tourist in my own city, I snap a photo and then tuck my phone away so I can watch those around me marvel at this beauty.

Revived I walk down another set of steps and through the park. I examine the plaques on green wooded benches. I stop on a bridge leading to the Reservoir to watch the runners huff and puff, fighting against the burn of ever-cooling air. There is calm here. The mere act of walking through the park washes the rest of New York away. I feel clean and new.

The sun is setting when I finally clear the park walls. On Fifth Avenue I feel the city begin to encroach upon the peace I've found. I push past tourists eager to make their way to the Met before the museum closes.

The walk back to my apartment is quick. Keys rattle in my pocket the entire way. An hour after I decide to take my walk, I'm back in front of my computer. I'm ready to work again.