Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog


    December 10, 2014

     FEATURING GUEST Jessica Khoury

    Life as an Author: The Best and Worst List

    Welcome to the tenth session of




    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’”

    — Charles Dickens

    Introducing the talented

    Jessica Khoury

    bio pic Jessica Khoury

     Life as an Author: The Best and Worst List
    “Being an author is full of ups and downs—some days are harder than others. So is it worth it in the end?  Here’s a list of some of my best and worst experiences as an author.


    People read your book! It’s terrifying. Which is why when someone says to me, “Oh, by the way, I started reading Vitro!” I usually laugh nervously and change the subject. A psychiatrist named Donald Winnicott once said, “Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” I think that’s pretty dead on the money.




    People read your book! It’s amazing! I remember how before I was published, the biggest, most radical thing I could think of was if people actually read the stuff I was writing, and how surreal that would be. So yeah, it’s scary—but it’s also exhilarating. Like, there you are, thousands of miles away, and I’ve never met you, but you’re reading something that I spent hours and months pouring myself into. You and I have a connection now. See what I mean by both terrifying and amazing?WORSTYou have to spend hours each day writing. Shocker, eh? The truth is, not every day is spent in a magical gush of words. Some days it’s all I can do just to get a sentence written. Some days, it’s work. This happens with every manuscript at some point, no matter how in love with the story I am. There always comes a point where I have to force myself to sit at the keyboard and set strict rules to make myself get the work done.



    You get to spend hours each day writing! It’s what I always dreamed of! And sometimes there are those magical days when you’re inspired and energized and can write for eight hours without stopping. With every book I write, there are always some of these days. But no matter if it’s a hard day or a good one, I’m always so grateful that this is what I get to do. My worst day as a writer still trumps my best day running a cash register (though to be honest, I usually hid a book under the cash register and sneaked chapters in between customers, so that was a lot of fun!)




    You get stuck. It happens—quite a lot, actually. Sometimes I get stuck on a line, or even just a word. Sometimes it’s a whole scene. The worst times, it’s the whole book. These moments of “Crap! It’s ruined! I can’t fix it! I’m the most horrible writer who ever lived!” really suck, and they can become huge mental blocks if you let them.




    You can get un-stuck—and it’s the best feeling! Finding the solution to a problem in my story always invigorates me. It’s like an instant rush of excitement and inspiration. And no matter how stuck I get at times, the answer always comes through sooner or later. When it does, it’s like the proverbial sun breaking through the clouds, and suddenly I see all the wonderful things in the story that made me love it in the first place.WORSTThe book you write will never match the one in your head. By this, I mean that when I get a new idea for a story, it’s perfect. Beautiful. Brilliant. I can spend hours dreaming about the book it will become. But after months of writing, what I end up with is never the same as the idea it was born out of. It’s got flaws and the characters did unexpected things that turned the story in new directions. I might have had to cut some of my favorite things about it because they didn’t fit. My bright, shining idea is suddenly tarnished, and I wonder why I even try.









    The book you write will always surprise you. Even if it’s not exactly what I pictured in the beginning, my story has evolved through the writing process. It has deepened and taking surprising turns, and usually it’s taught me something about myself along the way. Though the general points remain the same from beginning to end—the main characters, the setting, the core conflict—the thing that changes most is usually the theme—the thing the book is truly about. This quote from Flannery O’Connor sums it up perfectly: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” So at the end of each book, I discover that yeah, maybe it’s not exactly what I thought it would be… but it’s what it’s supposed to be, and that’s even better.







    In the end, though, I think the #1, absolute best part of writing is the people. It’s a pretty solitary job at times—you know, just you and the blank page, hashing it out—but all those lonely hours are spent with the primary purpose of connecting with readers, and hands down the most rewarding part of writing for me is making those connections. The readers, authors, and industry professionals I’ve met in the past few years are my most valuable and cherished part of being an author. Without them—without you—none of this would be worth it. So do I ever wish I did something else for a living like, say, train dolphins or sell real estate? No way. Even at its harder moments, writing is filled with inspiration, surprises, and wonderful, amazing people who continually put a smile on my face. At the end of the day, I can’t see myself anywhere but here. I guess you could say, in light of all the Bests in this list, the Worsts are really nothing at all.

     To learn more about Jessica Khoury you can visit her at her website,


    Don’t forget the live chat for Colleen Houck’s book club coming up at the end of this month!

    Jessica Khoury Bookclub infographic

     Join Colleen Houck and Jessica Khoury for a live chat on December 30th from 6-7pm (pacific time) on Goodreads!

    For fun there will be a GIVEAWAY with a copy of the novels Origin, Vitro and Tiger’s Curse during the live chat! You won’t want to miss this one!


    A big thanks to Jessica for sharing some insight into the life of a writer! It always surprises me that despite the hurdles and roadblocks, they each work through those challenges with determination and persistence. They never give up! Their story gives me courage that maybe I too one day can write my story.

     ~Till next time,

    Linda Louise Lotti

    This entry was posted in Featuring Authors, The Modern Ink Society.

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.