Through the Pages {my first novel}

Once upon a time, not too long ago, in fact, a little less than a year ago…

{August 19th, 2017}

“Hey, Annie, remember how you were asking, ‘what will I write next’ the other day?”

I did ask that question, after finishing Jump: The Things I Remind Myself. But when God asks a question like that, I’ve found He tends to have ulterior motives behind it. So I very cautiously said, “yeah, I remember… what about it?”

“Well, I’ve got one for you. Write a book for your mom.”

Cue wide eyes and a heck of a lot of confusion. And a scrambled message to my girl’s group. “I think I’m supposed to write a book for my mom. Help!”

Go figure, they all thought it was a brilliant idea.

“Hey Annie,” came the somewhat amused voice from the upstairs regions of the cosmos. “It’s for her birthday next year, by the way. And it’s about books. The interior will be cream paper, with an artistic book drawing for underneath the chapter headers. The cover will be purple.”

And that is the story of why I had a meltdown from August 19th to August 21st.

This was uncharted territory for me. I was pretty sure it would be a novel, not one of my short stories or a novella or something easy. (I’ve never completed a first draft of a novel, only a lot of partial first drafts.) And I had less than a year. And I needed to keep it a secret from everyone around me. (I’m horrible at keeping exciting things secret.)

{the journey}

The rest of August, September, and October were spent in a weird sort of stasis. I didn’t write a whole lot, at least, not that I remember. I did a lot of thinking. I spent a lot of time with books, and with my mom. And by mid October I had a pretty solid idea of what this story was supposed to look like.

November came around and I used NaNoWriMo as my excuse to pound out a 50k novel in a very short period of time. For the first time, I had a whole, finished, novel. And I couldn’t tell anyone.

Well, not quite true. I told my girl’s group (after making them swear to secrecy). I told Missie. And in June of 2018, I told my pen pal/adopted grandmother/great-aunt about it, because she asked what I was working on, and I was pretty darn sure that she wouldn’t tell anyone. 
The hardest thing this whole time has been keeping it a secret from everyone. Hannah helped; I had to tell her because I was in the middle of a stress-induced panic attack of “I can’t do this!” and needed help getting myself out. I told Jeremy because I conscripted him to receive the packages so my mother wouldn’t suspect anything. I made my cover designer, my editor, my beta readers, and my girl’s group swear themselves to secrecy, and… 
…here we are. 

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from this story:

“That’s the thing, Miranda, you never get over the butterflies if it’s the right person. They just settle down a bit. If it’s the right person, you just go your whole life being all tangled up with the butterflies in your stomach and the love in your heart.” 

Through the Pages
Annie Louise Twitchell

*all the heart eyes to That Book Gal for this amazing design*
Available at Amazon

Fun Fact: I had the hardest time finding an editor until I was actually ready to see about hiring one. At that point, Facebook hiccuped and showed me a notification for a post from an editing page I’d been following and hadn’t done much looking into. If you’re in the US, I highly recommend Lemons to Lemonade Editing. Not only did she do a wonderful job with my line edits, but she works on paper, meaning I had a marked up paper copy to make my changes from. That was perfect for how my head works and the way I prefer to do things, and made my process of fixing things so much easier.

Fun Fact #2: I’m still a bit giddy that I actually did this thing. I will probably be varying degrees of giddy for the next two months.

Fun Fact #3: I’ve actually been so overwhelmed since I gave the book to my mom on the 5th that I’ve had two or three headaches and gone swimming a lot and written almost nothing. Just this blog post. I’ll get back in my groove eventually. I think.

The Bunny approves. This is important.


I’m Going… On A Vacation!

Well, kind of.

I’ve had an interesting relationship with summer vacation for a ridiculously long time, but one thing has been true for the last several years: I never stick to my blogging schedule during the summer.

I mean, it’s not like I stick to my schedule anyway; my schedule says I post once a week on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (but not usually Wednesday) and I still don’t manage to be super consistent with that. I’ve learned to loosen up a lot and just let it be what it is, and if I don’t post this week, so be it! I’m okay with that.

Anyway, as I sit here in my chair at 9pm trying to decide what to do this evening, I decided to go look at my blog set up, and hey look! I have no scheduled posts, no drafts, and no ideas.

And I’m okay with that.

As of right now, I’m offically giving myself the summer off. If I have something that really merits a blog post, I’ll make one up and schedule it for one of the days in my terribly ambiguous schedule. If not, I’m not going to worry about it.

In other words, see you in August!

But I’ll be on my social media accounts on my usual semi-daily basis and sending my newsletter every month, so I won’t be vanishing entirely. It’s just that I spend so much time outside during the summer and I’m trying to get out of the habit of 6am to 11pm work days, so I think removing this stresser for the summer months will be a huge benefit for my overall sanity. (People tell me it’s questionable at best.)

I plan to spend the summer reading, swimming, gardening, not dying while my family does a plethora of projects, star gazing and mosquito swatting, avoiding moose flies (ask me sometime about being used a moose fly bait when I was nine), writing, and hanging out with a popsicle. I had planned to hike a mountain in July until the weather got to a roasting 72 degrees Fahrenheit last week and I remembered why I like hiking in September: less bugs and less heat. So the hiking trip might be postponed. We’ll see.

See you in August if not before!


Summer Reading {and why I need some lemonade}

As you may know, I read a lot of books. My Goodreads count so far for 2018 is thirty-two, which is lower than I’d expected, but it’s because I haven’t really read much in the last couple weeks even though I have three or four books I’m currently reading through.

In the last couple of days, I’ve identified the “reading block” I’ve been experiencing. It helped once I realized this is something that happens every year. You see, I read a lot of fantasy stories during the year. And every year for the last… six years or so, when the weather here turns hot, I stop being able to read fantasy.

Now, why this happens, I have no idea. But it happens. And to some extent it affects my ability to write fantasy.

So today I have a favor to ask:

Recommend your favorite contemporary, romance, chick lit, mystery, etc, and I’ll check it out. I might not read it–depending on how many I get and which ones I’m interested in–but I need some more contemporary lit!

Bonus points if it’s an Indie author. Because the Indie book club I’m in focuses on Indie Fantasy, I haven’t met many contemporary Indies.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need some lemonade to make up for forcing my head to read fantasy when it’s too hot to handle it.


2017 {my year in review}

It all started one fateful day in December 2016… 
It was the first holiday season since my great-grandmother Louise had passed away, so a number of us were reminiscing on Facebook, and a cousin shared a story that I, and a number of others, had never heard before. That story stuck in my heart and without necessarily thinking about it I found myself painting. Then I wrote the story out. I asked for a couple beta readers to help polish it up, then published it on my blog. On January 27th I hit publish on my first little Kindle e-book.
I wrote a poem for my local library’s poetry contest and won first place in the adult category with Something. Reading that one out loud at the presentation night was hard; I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it all the way through. It wasn’t nerves this time. It was how deeply the poem affected me personally.
I turned right around and started seriously working on my novella, Spinner of Secrets. Spinner of Secrets had been in progress for almost two years. I had an incredible team of beta readers who helped me get it in shape, then I started a process I would repeat three more times before the end of the year: formatting. I expected to hate formatting. I expected to take forever to get it, and to end up with a bit of a ‘ehh’ job. 
I didn’t. I loved it, and my first proof copy came in the end of April. I had a book. I’d made an actual, real, honest to goodness book. Not gonna lie, there was a lot of crying. And a lot of jumping around and yelling in excitement. And I don’t really remember a lot else.
I had two poems published in an anthology, “What The Sirens Say” and “Ache”. 
I was invited to enter a couple pieces in an anthology to raise mental health awareness, with all proceeds donated to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I wrote two poems for that, and then was able to help out a little with finalizing it. 

Back in January I’d assembled a poetry manuscript for a contest. I didn’t win, but I got bored one afternoon, rearranged it a bit, formatted it, and ordered a proof copy. This little book just might be my personal favorite of all my works this year. I finished it off with a handful of my own sketches, and published it on August 16th.
On September 28th I published The Ocean and I. A short collection of poetry, prose, and photos, it’s a snapshot of my vacation in Friendship, Maine this summer. It started as just a letter to me, from me, but I was encouraged to publish it, and people seem to have liked it.
With only two weeks left before the deadline, I learned about an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for largest anthology. I am one of over 100 authors who contributed. There are several goals we have to reach before the record is broken, but it’s kind of a big deal and I’m excited.

No Dragons, Please! was, like Spinner of Secrets, two years in process. I pulled it from my back files to be re-written and published. Originally written for my youngest brother’s 10th birthday, I had it published professionally in time for his 12th.
Other things of note:
In addition to my cat, rabbit, dog, and houseplants, I have a fish. His name is Thaddeus and he is a Halfmoon Double Tail Male Betta fish. He is fabulous. His tank is next to my computer desk and he likes to sit near me while I work.
I successfully pulled off the 2017 New Releases Showcase, a Facebook event featuring myself and eight other authors who’d released books in 2017.
In terms of mental health, this has been the best year in a long time. All of this work, all of this stretching and pushing and testing limits, and it’s still been the best year I’ve had. I’ve been scared. I’ve been angry. I’ve been stubborn and in the wrong and stupid and a brat. But I’ve been so joyful and excited and eager. I’ve been so happy I screamed and I’ve been so overwhelmed that I cried. It’s been good. 
And my total word count for 2017… as close as I can figure from my tracking…
At the end of the year, 2017 has been life-changing. Looking back at where I was one year ago today, I can safely say that I never saw this coming. And I can safely say I don’t regret it.

All my love – AnnieLou

When I Fall Apart {my wonderful Christmas present}

My head hasn’t been a very pleasant place to be this week.

I’ve had so much fun doing all my Christmas things – playing Santa and Mrs. Claus for a family, the parties, having all of my second family back in town for the first time in a long time. I even got my quiet time in with this story by the wonderful Kate Seredy:

We even made donuts Christmas Eve, which was like the world’s second funniest thing this week (the funniest was going to the grocery store dressed up as the Clauses.)
All of these things have been amazing and I’ve enjoyed  every second (although some of the parties got a bit loud for my poor head after having wisdom teeth pulled on the 18th, and I had to zone out for a bit) but in between, it hasn’t been always lovely. 
It reminds me of my poem Consumed I shared a month or so ago, and the line in it of butterflies are not only lovely things.

There’s going to be rough patches. There are going to be times when I fall down so hard I don’t think I can ever get up again. I’m 100% sure this is not the last time I will fall apart. It is the inevitably of humanity: that we have fallen.
But humans are strange creatures. I was reminded of that this evening as I had two very dear friends who live thousands of miles away talking me through a very hard panic attack. Why on earth they would care about me, little miserable soggy Annie, way far away in the land of snow and ice and black bears, was a mystery to me for a moment.
But then it wasn’t. 
Connection. The inevitably of love. Caring that pours from a heart that loves. 
They were there with me because in a way, that’s what you do. A friend needs you so of course, you help them. It’s giving love sneakers, to quote the ever fabulous Hannah Beth. Humanity is not dying. Humanity is learning to breathe. If we’re falling, maybe it’s because we’re learning to stand.
Where I’m sitting now, calmed down and all right, is a good place. And where I’ve been this week has been good too. Not happy all the time, but that’s not really what I’m after. Happiness is wonderful but I know from years of experience that it only goes so far. I’m gradually putting myself back together and becoming the best Annie that I can be, and this evening was another piece. 
Because even if it’s not okay, if the direction I’m pointing is forward, then it will be okay. And the fact that it will be okay means that I can be fine with being where I am. 
It’s okay. 
And it’s okay because I won’t always be fallen apart. I’m not always fallen apart, even now.
And I think sometimes we forget that – I know sometimes I forget that. This Christmas has been different than any before, but then, I’m different than I’ve ever been. 
So yes, including all the ugly snot-filled crying, panic attacks, and meltdowns, I had a very good Christmas holiday.
I’m looking forward to 2018 and what that will bring.
Story in video is from Kate Seredy’s novel, The Singing Tree. Click here to visit her Amazon page. No claim is made towards this work and all rights belong to the author and her heirs and representatives.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

November {news and chatter}

First things first:

My favorite small person turns 12 at the end of the month!

I’ve been sick most of this week, and got a little behind on my NaNoWriMo project. I’m not worried about it though. It’s not slow writing, it’s only a question of whether I can write or not. I’ll catch up this week and the beginning of next, and I should be ahead enough that I don’t have to write over Thanksgiving if I don’t want to. (I’ll be cooking dinner this year.)
I have book number five out this weekend! No Dragons, Please! was written for my favorite small person’s birthday two years ago. I pulled it out again this summer and got it rewritten, edited, and done up in a proper paperback in time for his birthday again. That’s the cover shown above. I’ll have the Amazon link as soon as it’s available. 
Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Stuff and Things

I’ve been loudly absent this month, which is interesting because it was July last year that I was pretty absent too. Maybe I should just take July off.

A large factor in my absence has been my emotions and mental state. I’ve been swirling from anxious to depressed to hyper-actively happy and right back around again. It’s been hard. While I’ve been safe the whole time, interacting with people has been a struggle, and most days it’s been as much as I can do to get out of bed and do my normal daily chores. Sitting down to write has been difficult, because by the time I’ve trudged through the day and have time, all I want to do is sleep. I’ve lost count of how many meltdowns I’ve had, one of them at 3am and a girl online talked me through it so I could go back to sleep. It’s been okay, the stuff I’ve been anxious about has been able to be resolved, and my family has been really great. But even though it’s been okay, it’s been hard. Tiring. I want to just sleep for three days straight (except I tried that once and I lasted three hours.)

It feels like years since I published Spinner, not two and a half months. It was six weeks ago that I talked to the classrooms – what? No, I’m 98% sure that was two years ago. I’m disoriented by how time is passing, probably because I’ve been doing so much more on a daily basis since April 1st than I have my entire life. Every day is twice or three times longer and busier than they ever have been, and I’ve been having a hard time finding my balance. In addition, I have another part job. That comes with its own stresses, especially trying to find my balance with my boss. The last time I worked under someone, it went downhill fast and I ended up badly burned. So I’m trying to figure out how to keep my boss happy while still doing the best job I can do while still staying sane. If I can’t stay sane, it’s not worth it, even though the money is good. It’s complicated.

Life’s complicated.

But, I’m feeling like I’m over the worst of this period, and will be able to start August on a better foot. Here’s hoping.


I have a poetry book coming out! I’m planning a Facebook party on August 20th.

Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Happy Birthday! (To me, and presents for you!)

It’s my 20th birthday!

I’m so confused. I don’t exactly know how I ended up here. I’m 20 years old. The last thing I remember is my 18th birthday and graduation party. (I had 60 guests. I was a little overwhelmed.) The past two years have been such an insane blur of book drafts and words and meltdowns. (The word count has gone up and the meltdown count has gone down.)

I’m going to be spending all day at an elementary school, speaking to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders about writing. But to celebrate my birthday in Hobbit tradition, I’ve got some lovely specials for you all:

Both of my ebooks, The Christmas Ladder and Spinner of Secrets, are available for FREE today. Here are the links:

The Christmas Ladder

Spinner of Secrets

And, if you want the paperback copy, I have a special there too! This one is a little more complicated because of how I have to do it with Amazon and CreateSpace. The code won’t work on, by if you go to my CreateSpace page, you can apply the coupon code


and get 20% off a paperback copy of Spinner of Secrets! 
Again, this doesn’t work on, you have to go to this link:

Happy birthday to me!

(Baby me)
(Including this one because it is my bestie’s favorite picture of me and she is special. ❤)

(Obligatory selfie… from like a month ago.)

The Christmas Ladder

 The Christmas Ladder is a short story inspired by my own family history. The man pictured below is my great-great grandfather, Reverend W. Merton Snow, a good number of years after the events in the story.

Here are the three children mentioned: Louise, Miriam, and Kathleen. Louise was my own beloved great grandmother, who passed away this summer at the age of one hundred. I’m named after her.

I’d like to thank my various relations for assisting me with this story, for providing me with names and dates, and photographs. Stories are made for making connections, and I’ve made new connections in my own family in the two days I’ve been working on this project.
I would especially like to thank my (somehow) cousin Andrea (Tyler) Evangelist for sharing the story with the Twitchell family in the first place.
There wasn’t a photo taken, or at least, none that we have today, of the Christmas Ladder that Grandpa Merton Snow painted, and so I felt very inspired to paint my own. And a little bit like the children’s book, if you give an Annie an idea, pretty soon, she’ll ask for some paper and a pen to write another one down with. 
I had a lot of fun with this one, and I hope you enjoy it. 


The Christmas Ladder
Annie Louise Twitchell

The Reverend was tired. It was the sort of unhappy tired that ought never be felt around the holidays, especially not this most sacred of holidays, Christmas. The day dedicated to remembering when the Christ Child graced the earth with His presence.

It was the day before Christmas Eve in Danville, Quebec, where he lived with his wife and three little daughters. Zilpha would probably have a hot pot of coffee on the stove, and he savored the thought of the hot drink as he trudged through the newly fallen snow.

He pushed open the kitchen door and stomped the powder snow off his worn boots, sighing softly as the girls came running to greet him – Louise, the oldest, Miriam, and Kathleen. Sweet little Kathleen, struggling to keep up with the older girls, tottering around on her little legs. He took off his coat, shaking snow off, and hung it on a peg by the door before scooping Kathleen up in his arms. She giggled happily. “Papa!”

“Hello, Kathleen.” He ruffled her hair, smiling down at Louise. “Were you good girls today?

Miriam nodded eagerly, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “We made cookies with Mama, Papa! We made cookies to hang on the tree!”

Sorry for the inconvenience, I have removed most of the story due to slightly evil genius ideas which will be revealed sometime soon! (12-27-2016)

Photo Credits to the Original Photographers
Story Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell
‘Christmas Ladder’ painting by Annie Louise Twitchell, 2016
This story is based on real people and real events, however, this presentation is the Author’s interpretation. 

Happy Birthday To Me!

I wasn’t going to do this but I decided, hey, it’s my birthday, I’ll do what I like. 🙂

Nineteen years ago today I decided to wait until 12:15 am so I would be born on my big brother’s birthday. In addition, I was a girl (the first three kids were boys) and I had hair (three bald boys). It was a grand start to my career of not doing or being what people expected of me.

Little Annie, probably 2004

Anyway. I was going to make a blog post about something but I don’t really want to so I’ll leave this for now and maybe later in the week I’ll talk about the kittens my family is getting or how Spinner is coming along or something like that. Also, I have a very sad poem coming out soon too. If you need tissues, this would be a good time to get some. 
Me, being hard at work, which is NOT what I’m doing today.

Yeah, that’s a bit more like it. 🙂
Or this.

Blessings, hope you all have a good day.

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell