Category Archives: Writing

The Wake Up Call, The Kick in the Ass, and The Silver Lining

I never thought it would happen to me, but there it was. I had known about it for six months, but assumed I could right the sails and keep the boat afloat.  I got caught up in what many families are facing:  The end to a well-paying, long-term job.  During those six months, like a cornered animal, I got a tad cranky.  I felt threatened.  After 18 years of working in my bunny slippers, with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in hand, I had a wake up call. One I didn’t want to answer.

I was about to be thrown out of my comfort zone and into the world of *gulp* job hunting.

Which wasn’t easy. Especially in this small town where professional jobs are at a minimum and the lines are long for the rest of the jobs that open up. Small towns are awesome.  Small towns create a sense of belonging. I love knowing everyone at the bank or the grocery store. I love the fact that one of our busiest streets really isn’t so busy after all.

But none of that matters when the well runs dry, when I’m faced with decisions, when I feel like a failure.  A new plan was needed fast.  The more I thought about it, the more I looked at the circumstances, the choice was clear.  I needed to look outside of this town.

If I were to be honest, I’d been feeling as if my wheels were spinning and that I forgot who I was – still.  I’d been talking about a finding new direction for awhile, but since I was swimming in my comfort zone, I had no reason to get out of the pool.  Well, guess what.  Losing my job was the kick in the ass that I needed to move forward.

What I hadn’t counted on, though, was that I would be going at this alone. The boys and I had been a tight unit and I assumed we’d move together. But ‘twas not to be.  They wanted to stay with their father in Idaho for their own reasons. Reasons I understood, but still I felt I failed on many levels. Was I that bad of a mother that they didn’t want to be with me? Shouldn’t I sacrifice a few more years and stay here just in case they needed me? How much would this hurt them in the long run?

Infused with guilt, I spoke with my uncle who reminded me that, in the face of knowing we would miss each other, would miss the routine we’ve developed over the years, both boys made a very deliberate decision.  Sure, they could have taken the easy way out and followed me, looking to me to handle things, but I’ve taught them to be free thinkers and to make choices based on what they felt was best for them.  It had always been my intention to pass at least one morsal of something to them, and here I had my proof.

Feeling somewhat better, I chose to practice what I preach:  Do something that is best for me.  After putting my needs on hold for 25 years, now is my chance to follow opportunities that will further my choice of career. Opportunities I cannot find here in North Idaho.

I want to show my boys a side of me they haven’t yet seen before – the woman who waited patiently behind the mother.  I want my sons to see me as a healthy and successful person, not the overbearing, overprotective mama bear who pushed them to realize heights I knew they were capable of, all while I was feeling frustrated because I wasn’t reaching my own potential.  I want to be the best person I can be, to show them that my happiness is as important as theirs. My reasons for doing this, as painful as the process might be, will serve them as well as me.

And the timing is right.  My job had allowed me to work from home for the last 18 years and over those almost two decades I’ve seen my oldest through to graduation and my youngest get through middle school.  I’ve taught them as many life lessons as I have experienced myself, taught them social graces, and how to be kind to others.  Now the rest is up to them.

Yes, I’ll definitely miss the little things, the daily routine, the chance to hug them when they’re feeling sad or happy, but through Skype, texting, phone calls, and Facebook, I’ll still be able to nag – I mean, guide – them through the trials and successes and celebrations big and small. The moments we share will be sweeter, the visits will be anticipated events.

The silver lining to all of this is that I will have the opportunity to discover who I am and what I need to feel whole, because when we become mothers and wives, so many of us lose sight of ourselves.  It’s a continuous process, one I started two years ago. I have a very specific plan A, with no plan B, so there won’t be any falling back.  Only forward movement. By expanding my horizons outside of this town, I will be able to bring more of the world to the boys.  It’s the put-on-the-oxygen-mask-first-before-putting-it-on-the-children mentality.

My uncle also told me, “Go ahead and feel guilty if you must, but it would be a mistake not to try.”

So try, I will.

This song, The Reason, by Hoobastank, is for you, boys. You are my reason.  I love you.

Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends

With so much information out there on the internet, with so many websites to sift through, anyone wishing to get information to a targeted market is up against a lot of competition.

As writers, we look to our friends and family to spread the word and, of course, they always come through.  And within our online community, we are fortunate enough to have other writers and readers who open their blogs freely to lend a hand as well.

I want to take this opportunity to thank those bloggers who helped me reveal my new cover of Souled this past week.  Please support them by visiting their blogs.  They really are awesome peeps!

Angela Peart, Author  

From Sarah with Joy

Crazy Four Books

A Dream Within a Dream

I Like These Books

Lizzy’s Dark Fiction

What’s on the Bookshelf

Tracy James Jones 

The Readiacs 

Cherie Reich, Author

An Avid Reader’s Musings 

Reading in Paradise 

Fangirlish 

Book Lover’s Hideaway

And a huge thank you to everyone who shared on Facebook and Twitter!

Three Minutes Inside A Book Blogger’s Head

I’d gone through an apple, two yogurts, and a handful of pretzels (I think better when I snack) and still I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon Bookish Temptations.  It could have been from any number of avenues.  You know how it is, we’re hanging around Twitter, watching the tweets, something catches our eye, we follow it, which leads us down another vein then to another.  But I do remember the blog post that originally caught my attention, and that was Sexy Sentence Saturday.  I started following Bookish Temptations and looked forward to the day of the week when Bookish posted Book Blogger Confessions, which gave great insight into the workings of this particular book blogger’s mind.

This led me to some reverse thinking.  As authors, we’re constantly looking for avenues through which we can pitch our novels and ways to get noticed.  The book bloggers and reviewers are tremendously helpful in that regard.  We all look to them to help us get the word out.  They rock at what they do:  Reading, reviewing, blogging their thoughts, interviewing us to get inside our head.

But… Have you ever wondered what goes on inside theirs?

This week I decided to turn the tables.  Tamie, from Bookish Temptations, has graciously allowed me to put her in the hot seat and to answer a few of my own questions.  So grab your favorite beverage and enjoy.

Thanks for being here, Tamie.  To start off, what inspired you to start blogging in the first place?

An opportunity presented itself and it sounded both interesting and fun. I’ve been a bookaholic as long as I can remember, and I liked the idea of having a forum to share my passion with others.

Do you remember what your very first blog was about?

I reviewed the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I was so nervous the day it published I thought I might throw up or pass out…Seriously.

That’s a huge series to review the first time out, Tamie.  I loved that series.  I’d like to see that review of yours!  Perhaps you can send me a link?  Okay, sorry for the diversion… So, now you have a “team.”  Who are they and what are their special areas of interest?

Debb is the first person I asked to join Bookish. I’d left the blog I started with to begin my own, and after about a month I realized that Bookish needed something. I knew that Debb was an expert where FanFic is concerned, and that a lot of peeps read a lot of it.  So I asked her and happily she said yes.  She then added Annie and together they became a super team on Fridays.

Next I asked Morgan to do a guest post, and I loved it so much I asked him to join us permanently.  He agreed to a once a month deal.  He’s an author and gives great tips during his Wordslinger posts.  He has a fabulous sense of humor too, which is what drew me to his writing in the 1st place.

Gina and Elena came next and at about the same time.  I knew both of them were avid readers, and I was looking for 2 very specific things…more reviews on BT, and quite frankly…I needed a break from posting every day. They’re both excellent reviewers and sounding boards.

Our newest team member is Katiebird.  Debb needed to take some time off, and Katiebird has guest hosted FanFic Friday in the past, so I was thrilled when she said yes.  We’ve also discovered that we’re very alike in a lot of ways…kindred spirits if you will.

Having a team is a great approach!  It definitely keeps the posts diverse.  Do you get a lot of review requests?  If so, which camp makes up the greatest percentage – indies or trads?

It seems to come in waves… a few a week and them BAM! A whole bunch at once. Right now there’s a fairly long waiting list, so I’m really limiting the yeses.  Most of it is indie at the moment.

This next question will help me as well as other authors, I’m sure.  Is there a “protocol” on your site that requesting authors should follow but sometimes don’t?

Yes… anytime an author or publisher/publicist requests a review from a book blog they need to be prepared to furnish a copy of the book. Most know this and offer to do so, but every once in a while a request comes in without mention of a book being provided. In my reply I always let them know what formats we accept and I remind them of our ratings policy. If the book doesn’t rate a 3 or above it won’t be reviewed.

Of all of the books you read, what genres do you prefer?

My personal favorites are Romance, Erotica, Paranormal, and Historical. I also enjoy Mystery/Suspense…just not as much as I used to.

There’s always something going on at Bookish Temptations. Do you find it difficult to find a balance between your extensive blogging and your personal life?

Hmmm… While I do spend a huge amount of time every day doing something in conjunction with the blog I really enjoy it, and let’s face it… I’m not being forced to do it… it’s a choice. I went on a 10 day vacation to Canada in April and I kept in touch every day, but I didn’t spend hours on it, and it didn’t interfere with the fabulous time I had. So for now at least I’m ok with the balance…or lack thereof.

Your blogging is so diverse.  What is your favorite topic to blog about?

O…that’s a tough one. I really love trying to find unique ways to spotlight my favorite authors and their book(s) for example: when I asked several authors to contribute a character Valentine during V-day week, or when I did the Gabriel’s Inferno tour.  I’m doing a fun one again this Wednesday with Gabriel’s Rapture which will be published before this is, and the Sexy Sentence Saturday.  Also, I love writing the Observations posts…they’re usually based on something personal, but I try to bring in something literary based as well.  My favorite meme is the Book Blogger Confessions every other week.  Yeah…that was way more than one 🙂

On the topic of author availability, how important is that to a blogger?

I think to have a really great book blog you need to have some good relationships with the authors you feature.  So far I’ve been incredibly lucky in that respect.  (Crosses fingers and toes having said that).

What is your take on the move from trad published to indie published and the overall quality of novels that are put out?

Since most of what I read comes from indie authors/publishers I would say it’s terrific.  Just because an author doesn’t have a “powerhouse’ publishing company behind them doesn’t mean they aren’t amazingly gifted writers.  I’ve seen some peeps complain about horrible editing and lots of errors in indie books, but I just haven’t found that to be true for the most part.  Are there some?  Of course, but I’ve seen books put out by the “big boys” that had them as well.  I have seen that more with self-published authors, but most of the time it isn’t so bad that I just want to throw the book away.  Yes, it can be distracting, but maybe I have a higher tolerance for it than others do.

Do you have a reading preference between trad and indie?

For me… I’m really liking all the indie books I’ve read in the past year. I like trying to bring attention to authors that others might overlook, and in all honesty they’ve been some of the best written and have become personal favorites…so I’m quite happy to be an indie girl.

~ ~ ~

I’m thrilled to hear you say that, Tamie, but then again, I’m a bit biased on the indie movement.

Thanks again, Tamie for stopping by and putting on a different hat for awhile. It’s good to know what goes on inside a book blogger’s mind.

Bookish Temptations is one of the many great book bloggers out there and they have so much to say, and then some!  So swing by Tamie’s blog or hook up with her and her crew on Twitter.  You’ll be glad you did.

Sex Sells, But Should Young Adults Buy Into It?

It’s everywhere we look – In magazines, television, movies, books, bedrooms, back seats of cars…you the idea.  There’s no escaping it.  I don’t care how “good” we claim to be, we’ll look.  We’re curious about the body, what it looks like (more importantly, what other bodies look like).  Let’s admit it and move on – naked bodies or scantily clad bodies – are a complete turn on.  We shamelessly flock to online sites en masse and hoot our approval.  For the males, they have the Hooter Girls, the Jaegermeister models, and a long list of others scantily clad women toting tools, beer bottles, and motorcycles.

Us women love, love, love it!  We create it!  Look at what CJ West is doing for the cause!  (By the way, comment on his challenge post and you could win a $500  Amazon gift certificate – but the biggest prize is to get CJ shirtless!)om 1953…

What about brain candy?  Look at the success of Fifty Shades of Grey Sex, sex, and more sex.  And the public is eating it up!  Then there’s Gabriel’s Inferno and the eagerly anticipated The Winemaker’s Dinner (available July 31, 2012).  It’s all about the seduction that makes us squirm (in the very pleasurable sense of the word).

Which brings me to my original topic.  How young is too young for readers to be exposed to sex in literature?  Where should we draw the line?  Should we draw the line?

I’m not advocating it one way or another, because that is a purely personal opinion for authors and the parents of young readers to deal with.  What I have observed, though, is the fact that these young adults are getting younger and are already well-schooled about the ins and outs (yes, pun intended) of sex, the very same stuff some of us try to keep out of their hands.

Let’s face it.  The act of sex is primal.  Used for procreation or not, there is, at various levels, arousal.  None of us are immune to it.

In my day job as a medical transcriptionist, I’ve lost count of how many reports I’ve typed regarding 14-year-olds who go to the emergency room due to complications from their pregnancy.  As much as I’m against babies having babies, the reality is that they know all about sex and keeping it out of books probably isn’t going to stop them from doing the wild thing.  In fact, they’ll see it, read it, and do it if they want.

A friend of mine understands that mentality, and even though her son is only 14 years old, he has a girlfriend, so she keeps a stack of Trojans within his reach.  Just in case.

When I was in seventh grade, there was a couple who spent every lunch, every recess playing throat hockey and copping feels.  Sheesh.  If they did that in public, one could only guess what they did in private.

I’ve been told by a few teens that they’ve read my novel, Again, which has a few choice sex scenes ranging from sweetly intimate to raw. (My guess is that they actually skimmed the book for the “best parts” and ignored the rest.) And they seemed rather proud of themselves for having read it.  I totally cringe at the thought, but then I remind myself of the time when I was 12 or 13 and the stuff I got my hands on. *shrugs*  Whaddya gonna do?

I’m not going to tell you if I wrote any sex into my next Young Adult novel, Souled, or not, because that would be a total spoiler, but suffice it to say, I kept it as real as possible.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Is there a line you draw as a reader or writer?  What are your beliefs?

I’m Lucky I Came Up For Air When I Did!

So there I was, keeping my head under the social media radar for the last few weeks, focusing solely on my manuscript, Souled, when what do I find waiting for me when I come up for air?  My WANA sista, Angela Orlowski-Peart, awarded me the Lucky 7 Meme!  Just the thing I needed to lighten up the mood around here.

I’ve always loved Angela’s blog because her topics are diverse, light-hearted, and always fascinating.  I’m positive you’ll love the way her personality shines through each word she puts to page.

So here are the rules to the Lucky 7 Meme:

1.  Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
2.  Go to line 7.
3.  Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them
as they’re written.
4.  Tag 7 authors.
5.  Let them know.

Simple enough.  I decided to go with the seven-ish paragraphs.   So, here is a look at part of my soon-to-be-released manuscript, Souled:

~ ~ ~

Silence yourself.  Feel, rather than think.

I tried for a couple minutes.  I really did.  In fact, my focus was so intense that I think I’d developed a permanent crease between my brows.  The battering kept up, pelting me with shots of emotion, but finally walls began building up around my mind, blocking out one emotion after another, until there was only one feeling left – elation.  I dropped my hands to my sides and my eyes slowly opened, expectant.  Then my gaze tore through the crowd like a predator sensing its prey.  The source was close.  Very close.

Ah, there it was behind me.  At a cash register stood a boy, 12 years old maybe, his face dominated by a toothy smile.  On the other side of the counter, a clerk slapped a receipt onto a brand new Xbox.

The boy’s scrawny arms wrapped around the box and pulled it off the counter.  He sprinted, the box crowding his arms, and headed straight towards me, his mother trailing behind.  I ignored the woman and instead focused on the boy.

My energy tapped into his and sucked it in like a vacuum.  To me, it felt wondrous and exciting; he didn’t feel the same way.  He looked as though he’d smacked into a wall.  He froze, his eyes latched onto mine, his mouth dropped open, and for a moment his head cocked to one side as if he were reading something he didn’t quite understand.

I smiled.

The boy forced his eyes shut, for a minute covering them with his arm as if the darkness alone wasn’t enoughThen grabbing his mother’s sleeve, still struggling with the box, he ran in the opposite direction.

Ha!  That was freakin’ awesome.

~ ~ ~

There you have it.  Look for the release of Souled this spring!

Who’s next on the list to give us a sneak peak at their upcoming work of art?  I hope you take a moment to check out their blogs as well!

1.  Krystal Wade

2.  Dorothy F. Shaw

3.  Karen McFarland

4.  Johanna Pitcairn

5.  Marion Spicher

6.  Naomi Bulger

7.  Barbara McDowell  

Naomi Bulger – The Author From Down Under

The beautiful Naomi Bulger

“Naomi Bulger is an Australian journalist who moved to New York City for adventure, and found love instead.  She now lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her new family.”    

So starts her official author biography, but it’s not that cut and dry.  There is so much more to this talented writer than meets the eye.   I’ve  known Naomi for the last nine months (another one of my WANA sisters) and have gotten to know her through her incredibly colorful and feel-good blogs, but I never knew how much about her I didn’t know.  Here’s what I found out about this special woman.

Naomi grew up in the Blue Mountains, north-west of Sydney.  She and her family lived in the countryside, deep in the Australian bush, in a home without electricity, running water, or a telephone.  She was fortunate to be able to spend her teen years exploring the rain forest and bracken fields that made up her homeland.

At the age of 19 she moved to Sydney, and later lived in New York, where she worked as a foreign correspondent.  After graduating from college, she began her professional writing career.  She has been a professional journalist and copywriter for more than 15 years, specializing in magazine feature writing and online publishing.  She was the editor of one national and one international print magazine, and wrote feature stories for several others.  Naomi has been published in several magazines in Australia and the US.  She was editor of two magazines, and broadcast to more than 100 radio stations while senior journalist at Le Gras News.

She is the author of two nonfiction books, Talk Without Being Interrupted and Seventeen Summers (both out of print), and her poetry was included in the Australian Poetry Encouragement Award anthology in 2002.

Hmm…all of a sudden my cookie baking for the senior citizen home doesn’t seem so monumental.

Seriously, though, Naomi is awesome, isn’t she?  Now here are some more questions she was generous enough to answer for us.

Naomi, you are a journalist, using facts to create your stories.  Does some of that bleed into your fiction writing?

Hmm, I’m not sure if this is because of journalism, but I do use facts within my fiction.  Not just places and names and world events, but real-life happenings.  For example, there are a lot of ‘stories within stories’ in Airmail, and many of those stories are true.  They are my stories, or stories that belong to my friends.  Where the fiction comes in is that I gave those stories to my character, Anouk, and her reactions and responses to those experiences in her life were completely different to my or my friends’ reactions.   So those stories took on a life of their own, and you could no longer call them facts.

Who came first, the journalist or the writer?

Definitely the writer.  I was writing ‘books’ at the age of six: scribbling stories in stapled-together note-pads, illustrating them, and making cardboard book covers.  I never wanted to be a journalist, in fact I think I was quite a snob about it.  At university, I saw “journalism versus novel-writing” as akin to “graphic design versus fine art.”  I fell into journalism later, because all I seemed to do in any job I had was write, and I was lucky enough to have a wonderful editor who took me under his wing and mentored me throughout my early career.  Nowadays, I recognize how the one profession supports the other, and I believe (I hope) that the practice of straight-talking, authentic, plain English journalism has helped me improve my fiction writing.

What do you like best about being an indie writer?

I never intended to be an indie writer. Airmail was first accepted for publication by a small publisher here in Australia. It was a university publishing house, and when our federal government cut funding (almost all universities in Australia are public, not private), the publishers had to close down and all contracts including mine were cancelled. We were part of the way through editing at that stage. I let the book sit on the backburner for a while, because I knew it would never be a mainstream seller: a novella… in the magic realism genre… by an unknown author? Fat chance!

Eventually, when I returned to Australia from New York, I decided to think again. Exploring the indie route for this book was a direct response to my assessment of Airmail’s limited potential for mainstream sales. I chose iUniverse because they work with commercial editors and I was willing to pay a little more to have a truly professional product at the end. I am not vain enough to think I know everything about what it takes to have a good published book, just because I’m the author. I wanted this little story to get the well-rounded treatment and be the best I could make it. It was professionally edited, professionally sub-edited, professionally proofed and professionally designed. The ‘indie’ part meant I had power of veto against these recommendations if I wanted to use it, but I rarely did.

I do still struggle with being attached to the stigma of indie writing. And I don’t have the flexibility that some indie authors have of managing their own price-points or fully controlling their own edits or cover design.  I wish I could say “Airmail is only 0.99 on Amazon for Mother’s Day,” but I don’t get any say in that.  What has surprised me, most pleasantly, about taking this route is the community of other indie authors, editors and book bloggers I discovered online.  I’d never even heard of ‘indie publishing’ before Airmail was already on the shelves. Now, I am part of a groundswell movement.  That’s fun.

What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing fiction, I’m writing journalism, or copywriting, or writing my blog.  But when I do manage to tear myself away from the computer, I am much more of a homebody than I used to be.  I’ve been learning to cook recently, and discovered I love it.  I try to walk as much as I can, which is a great way to explore my new neighborhood (we have moved around a lot in the past few years).  I find a lot of pleasure digging in the garden, exploring unique markets, and of course losing myself in a book – I read every day.  When it’s possible to get out of Australia, I find energy in travel.  It renews me. But right now, I have a big new challenge on my hands:  I have a baby due in four months, so I think if you ask me the same question in a little while my answer will be “nappies, nappies and nappies.”

Do you have another project in the making?

Yes, I’ve been working for a long time (longer than I care to admit) on a novel about a sommelier who is on a quest for an ancient and glorious wine.  It’s a little bit dark, because my hero is really an antihero who will do anything it takes to gain his prize, in the belief that he is the only one truly worthy.  I guess it’s a bit like Perfume: the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind, although not that dark.  This book is a lot of fun to write, because it combines so many things I love: a mystery, a love story, wine, art, archaeology and travel.  I hope to have finished the first draft by the time the baby arrives, but who knows how that will go.

You live in Australia, a place that many people would love to visit.  Where would you love to visit (somewhere you have never been)?

How long have you got?  Greece has been on my bucket list since high school, I want to visit the Delphic Oracle.  The aurora borealis is something I have always wanted to see, and I’ve never been to Iceland, so a northern trip could be on the cards.  I want to travel through Cambodia, and one day when things calm down in Africa, I will visit Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and so many other countries.  Same goes for Egypt and Jordan. Basically, name the place I haven’t been, I want to go there!

Before I let you go, where can your readers find you?

My blog: www.naomibulger.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/airmailthebook

Twitter: @naomi_bulger

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Airmail-Naomi-Bulger/dp/1450235492

One more bit of unfinished business…I put all of your names into a box and had my son, Jesse, draw a name.  And…the winner of a paperback of Airmail is….Angela Peart! Congratulations, Angela!  Thank you so much, everyone, for your support!  I’m sure we’ll do it again when Naomi’s next novel is released!

A Few More Deets on Souled…

This has been such a great week for me and I owe it all to my WANA sista, Bridgette Booth!

She helped me pry my fingers off my closely-held WIP and held it up to the light for all to see.

For me, and probably most writers, that’s a big step. After eating, drinking, and sleeping with the characters for many, many moons, the act of talking about the novel in public and acknowledging its upcoming release, makes it all so very real.  Knowing that months of hard work will soon draw to an end is, quite frankly, a little scary.  It is probably similar to watching our children leave home for the first time.  We push them out of the nest, hoping we’ve given them enough love and nurturing to fly on their own.  We’ll still be there for them, cheering them on, but ultimately we have to let them go and move on.

Sadness and elation – two emotions that are creeping up on me as I write this. But, it’s part of the writer’s life, a life I fully embrace.

Today, Bridgette has once again generously opened the door to her blog, this time to ask a few questions about me, my writing, and my upcoming novel, Souled.  Are you ready for some answers?  Then please join me over at Bridgette Booth’s digs for a little conversation.

In the upcoming weeks, be sure to come back, because I’ll be posting excerpts from the novel, interesting information on soul attachments, the making of the book cover  (a huge thank you to Crystalyn Abercrombie, artist and tattoo expert!), and other fun stuff!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Stepping Out For Some Fresh Air

Photo: mandylifeafter30.com

You may or may not have noticed, but I’ve been less active here on my blog and in the Twitterverse.  I know that I feel the difference.  Not posting my blogs and connecting with you feels like something is missing, but it has been for a very good reason.

You see, my next novel is almost ready to be released.

In the beginning of the novel writing process, at least for me anyway, the first couple weeks are dedicated to feverishly writing down ideas and scenes that play out in my head.  The fever then dissipates and the intensity lets up.  As words on the pages get cut and rearranged, as holes get filled in, and copy editors and beta readers help tighten up the loose ends, the fever kicks in again.  So over the last month or so, I’ve been focused solely on the last phase of my second novel.  The more detailed oriented I need to be, the more I need to go into hiding.

Photo by Thinkstock

So who brings me out of this self-imposed social lockdown?  My wonderful friend and WANA sister, Bridgette Booth!  Bridgette is diligently working on her own manuscript, is an avid reader, AND a homeschool mom.  Whew!  In between her writing, reading, and teaching, in addition to all of the stuff life throws at her, she is very generously sharing her blog space with me to talk about my soon-to-be released novel.

I’m thrilled that she has read my manuscript and will be talking about it today!   Then on Wednesday I’ll be answering her questions!

So jump over to her blog today and see what has been consuming my spare time!  I’m really excited about this novel and I’m certain you’ll see why!

Okay, I Give Up

The life I give my boys is an outside-of-the-box kind of normal.  Our house is lovingly referred to as “The Pit Stop” as we are rarely there and when we are, it’s to sleep and grab a shower and perhaps a few Z’s before we head out the door again.  My erratic work and writing hours revolve around the boys’ equally erratic hours, shaped by their activities and sports.  And the time that we actually spend at home, we spend together, yet apart.  We have vastly different interests and temperments – I’m a hummingbird on speed, my oldest a little faster than a snail, and my youngest, somewhere in between.

I love reading, writing, exercising, yardwork…my boys don’t.

They adore Skyrim and Zelda…I don’t.

My oldest enjoys making decadent desserts.  My youngest enjoys eating decadent desserts…I don’t, on either count.

My oldest and I love watching movies…my youngest doesn’t.

My youngest and I love hiking…my oldest doesn’t.

That being said, I’ve tried to reverse things a bit and make it “normal,” but failed miserably every time, ignoring the fact that when I’d tried to do what other mothers and fathers did with their family lives, it felt wrong for me, felt wrong for us.

I’ve pushed the boys on eating habits, on school, teen-tude behavior, and all I got was a big shove back.  Not fun for either party involved.

Although rules and regulations are set in place, I gave up on trying to “be normal.”  And it was freeing, because I didn’t have to pretend anymore.  But skipping not too far behind that freedom was its annoying friend – guilt.  I thought I had it all figured out when I wrote the Girl Power post, but I still found myself looking at all of my friends, wondering if I was off base.  Shouldn’t I be playing board games or something?

I realized that trying to do what is “right”, for me anyway, is a lot like being a kite.  Flying freely, yet anchored by the shoulds of the string, I’d feel “normal” and “accepted.”

But when the kite string is released, the more visible my free falling or “different” behavior is. While it’s kind of cool to do the rebel yell thing, there is a moment of ahh…damn…should I really be doing this?

I’ve come to the conclusion certain things aren’t going to happen – it just doesn’t work for us, no matter how hard I try.   So one day after sweeping up the pieces of my latest attempts, I sat the boys down and said, “Listen.  There is no ‘normal’ here.  Our routine is just what happens as the day unfolds.  We may not bond over playing catch, but we can bond while we do the Warrior Dash.  I may not bake at Christmas time, but I’ll share a box of Oreo cookies with you.  I’ll even be there for you if you want a tattoo.  You know how completely unorthodox I am…”

My oldest had stopped me and said, “We know, Mom.  We like you that way.”

*Happy dance*  They know I love them, and that is the glue that keeps us together.  But then again, it could have been the Double Stuff Oreo cookies…

The End Is Only The Beginning

The End was penned a couple of months ago, but those two words only signaled the beginning.  After 14 months of writing, the words that had been pouring out of my imagination had finally solidified into the 70,000+ manuscript that is now going through the fluff and fold and nip and tuck process.

For me, editing this YA Paranormal has been all-consuming, taking up enough space in my brain to push a few things out.  As input from my betas keep coming in, my mind is continuously working out the possibilities and changes my novel could take.  I’ve forgotten to pay bills on time, left the market with only half of what I’ve gone in for, and lost a lot of time from work because I’m running through scenes in my head instead of typing medical reports.  I get through my days only half there and it’s a struggle to bring myself to the moment and focus on the task at hand.

I’ve got the attention span of blade of grass and if a point is not made within five seconds from the beginning of a conversation or whatever it is that I’m reading, you can be pretty sure I’ve checked out and moved on to something else.  Oftentimes I wake up that way, breathing in the adrenaline of the home stretch.

With my tattoo artist now sketching out the cover of the novel – which, by the way, will be one of the next images of art to be inked on my body – the actual completion of my second novel is quickly becoming a reality…and I can’t wait!

So forgive me as I deviate from my usual blog path, because quite honestly, I can’t think of much else.  You may not see me much in the blogosphere or in Twitterverse in the next few weeks, but I’ll be around – sort of.