Melissa Burovac

From travel to romcom and beyond – an evolution of my writing

In 2012, I embarked on a solo RTW trip that lasted nine months. I had never traveled solo before, and have a healthy dose of social anxiety plus a great fear of getting lost with my poor sense of direction, so this was an enormous undertaking for me. I had help getting prepared from traveler friends, creating lists of places to visit and gear I might need along the way. I put my furniture in storage, not knowing what to expect for how long I would be gone, sold my beloved Jeep Cherokee, and bought a one-way ticket to Mexico. I got a ride to the airport in Lihue, Kauai, carrying only a backpack containing clothes, a point and shoot camera, a 13” Mac laptop, and a water filter. A couple months after my 40th birthday, I was as ready as I would ever be.

During my travels I visited nine countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Cuba, Australia, Cambodia, and Thailand. I encountered natural disasters in most of the countries — two hurricanes, a volcano eruption, an earthquake and a wildfire. As I blogged, my friends joked they knew where I was by where the natural disasters were occurring. “Something exploded? Let’s see where Melissa is!”

Blogging as I traveled was mainly to let my mother know I was still alive. I had childhood dreams of being a writer, but those got lost in the flurry of making a living after college and were completely forgotten. When I returned to Kauai after my trip I didn’t expect such a reaction to my blog; people were amazed I traveled for nine months, mostly solo, and that I didn’t die in the drug wars of Mexico, or some other place they only knew from news reports. Or even that as a woman, I was able to make my way through the world without trouble — some trouble, but not much. The women who followed me online were especially impressed and wanted to know how I did it all by myself. As I heard, more and more, “You should write a book,” I recalled those forgotten dreams of becoming an author and decided to give it a try.

Wandering was born from my blog posts, mostly written in bars and cafes around the world— a little bit drunk, a little bit lost, and toward the end, a whole lot homesick from being alone. This first book of mine was self-published in June 2014.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds, though. I was working full-time as a bookkeeper, writing full-time after work — mostly from the back of my truck at the beach with a $200 laptop — and I was exhausted. I lost touch with most of my friends, and was a little depressed with the sudden lack of freedom.

Finally, though, Wandering was finished, published, and it was the most exciting thing in my life to see a book I had written in print. I immediately had dreams of writing more books, but didn’t see enough income to allow me to quit my regular job. I sent copies to every major outlet and publisher I could find online but no one picked up the book. While visiting my sister in Portland I took copies to Powell’s and sold them as used just so I could go back a week later and see my book on the shelf at a bookstore.

So what comes next? I wanted to be a full-time writer but it wasn’t working out exactly as it had in my daydreams. I didn’t have another book planned, and couldn’t begin to imagine what to do with myself.

One afternoon I was flipping through articles about writing on the internet and came across one about romance writers. The three women depicted in the article were raking in huge monthly incomes from churning out romance e-books, and I thought to myself, How hard could it be to write a romance novel?

I was sitting at a bar in Portland, drinking Bloody Marys and turning my imagination to writing a quick, sexy romance novel to generate some income — and I failed miserably. This is actually the only non-fiction scene in my second book Sylvie Writes a Romance.

I love to read classic fiction, sci-fi, horror, biographies — really, anything but romance novels. In my snobby view of the writing world I didn’t consider romance novels as literature, but just a means to pass the time, and not even as “real writing.” I was completely confused when I couldn’t write anything in that genre that was remotely good. It opened my eyes to how much work any type of writing entails.

I came back home to Kauai and bought a couple used romance novels at a thrift store, and sat down to read them. The books weren’t grammatically complicated, and didn’t contain any lofty ideas, and I sat down to write again, never actually finishing either of them. I just wanted to write something for a mass market so I could concentrate on writing something more profound.

I failed again and again, never writing anything I was happy with. But these failures evolved into a new project about a writer trying to write a romance novel and failing, turning to online dating to meet men and hoping to learn the meaning of romance. It’s more comedy than romance, which suits my style much better.

Sylvie Writes a Romance was born, and published in 2016.

Since Sylvie was written, I have been working on a sequel, plus trying my hand at writing a biography. I hope to have both published this year, and still have my sights set on a full-time career in writing.

 

 

Find my books on Amazon:

Sylvie Writes a Romance

Wandering

Leave a review on Amazon and I’ll love you forever!

Sylvie Writes a Romance on Smashwords – for Nook, Kobo, etc

Recent articles:

BookDaily.com

Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com

Recent reviews:

Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

Kirkus Indie Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance

 

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Nippon Maru

NYC Midnight and photography distractions

I haven’t written a single sentence since NaNoWriMo. I’ve been meaning to get in touch with other participants to see if it’s general burnout from writing so much every single day, or if I just got a little lazy. One reason I haven’t begun editing Sylvie‘s sequel is the the work on my photo blog Kauai Photo Challenge.

The Short Story Challenge is coming up in a few days and I hope to kickstart my writing again. Anyone else participating? I’d love to have a writing buddy for this contest.

Have a great day! I’m headed out for the sunshine instead of sitting at my house writing again…

 

Birthday Week Kindle Book Giveaway

It’s that time again – the annual Wandering on Kindle book giveaway. Get it absolutely free between now and March 28th!

Check it out on Amazon.

Wandering tallies her hilarious as well as poignant experiences as she travels from Mexico through Central America, sneaks into Cuba, and journeys from Australia to Cambodia and Thailand. Read about her misadventures with crocodiles and the times she encounters erupting volcanoes…and two hurricanes…and a wildfire.

Burovac’s stories will make you laugh while reminding you that life is an adventure—and sometimes you just need to pack a bag and get lost.

Photography prints available

Here is a sample of the photographs people have asked me to make as prints for them.  Let me know if you’d like one! All of them are available as 3×5 magnets as well.

m3lissab33@gmail.com

 

Dolphins1

Dolphins1

Honu1

Honu1

Sunset1

Sunset1

Sunset2

Sunset2

sunset3

sunset3

sunset4

sunset4

sunset5

sunset5

sunset6

sunset6

rainbow

mkatb

mkatb

sol

napali3

napali3

napali1

napali1

manukai

manukai

kukuiula

kukuiula

honu2

honu2

Mike Balik memorial outrigger canoe race

Kukui’ula Canoe Club hosted the first annual Mike Balik memorial outrigger canoe race on Saturday.  The proceeds of the event were donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Mike was a good guy, and although I paddled in his memorial canoe, I didn’t know him as well as the rest of the crew.  A big reason for attending this event, for me, was the memory of my friend Mark Braun; Mark died of leukemia 20 years ago after a long battle with the disease.  He remains one of the greatest people I have ever met, and it is tragic that he died so young.

There are multiple sites to give you more information or stats about leukemia, that is not my purpose.  I would like you to check out the links below to donate or volunteer, to help find a cure.

Click for the article in the Garden Island

Give to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Join Team in Training to raise money with your sports goals

 

Memorial Crew

Memorial Crew

Not a planner – another piece of the book

After a small travel break, on my way to Brisbane…

 

I’ll never understand how drinking tequila instead of packing was a good idea. I snoozed my alarm three times before I realized I had a plane to catch. Luckily, packing was as easy as stuffing everything I currently owned into my backpack. Done.

As I sat in Honolulu, waiting for my flight to Brisbane, I realized all the things I had spent the past three weeks not doing. I never really made a plan for any of the places I wanted to go. I booked a few nights in Brisbane, and that was where I stopped for some reason. Planning just isn’t my thing.

I only had one pair of pants for my travels, and I hadn’t sewn the button back on.

I found the entire bunch of souvenirs I had smuggled home from Cuba still in the same hidden pocket. Now I would have to worry again when I came back.

Minor things, but annoying.

Screwing around instead of planning...

Screwing around instead of planning…