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Friday, August 31, 2007

Counting Down the Days

The smell of freshly sharpened pencils fills the air. A deep sniff also brings the “new vinyl" tang of a shiny new backpack, a squeaky clean pencil box and the rubbery aroma of new sneakers.

Yep, it’s back to school time.

We still have a few more days to go, but the feel is definitely in the air. I’ve started putting the boys to bed earlier at night and waking them earlier in the morning, in an attempt to ease them out of their summer sleeping habits. I also need to ease out of mine! Both work and writing took a back seat this week to the lure of sleeping in – I knew those days were numbered so I did my best to savor them.

Isn’t it funny, though, how the back to school season still brings up those old feelings? Fear of the unknown. Knots in my stomach at the sight of a school bus. Spending six hours a day away from mom. And it’s not even me that’s going back, it’s my kids!

Oh I’m sure once we get into the swing of things I’ll find the routine comforting, and enjoy the quiet in my house. Maybe I’ll even make constructive use of the rare quiet time (my youngest will only be gone six hours a week, not a day, after all) and get back into a regular writing schedule. In the past, fall has always been a very productive time for me.

Creatively speaking, what time of year is most productive for you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Perfect Summer Day

It was one of those rare late summer days today. The kind where -- just when you've given summer up as gone -- it makes one grand last appearance. Sure it was a smidge on the muggy side, but it was a great day.

I managed to put aside all those nagging "should be" thoughts and spend a great day outdoors with the boys. "You should be doing laundry"; "you should be working"; "you should be cleaning"; "you should be writing". I managed to ignore that inner voice, and for me that's rare.

Instead I was throwing a football around with my oldest son (at 7 years old, it's no longer called "catch"); then the little one joined in and we tossed the frisbee around for a while. After that, a picnic lunch outside under our favorite tree. No worries, no cares, just the pure joy of a perfect summer day with my kids.

Next week the back to school routine begins, but today for just a little while, time stood still and summer reigned gloriously.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do you ever have days like this? Where you are the kitten – and the rest of the world the Border Collie?

Well, I’ve had about a week of days like that. Nothing has gone right. You know the kind -- everyone wants to take a bite out of you, so like this kitten, you rear back, tell them all to back off—only to have someone smack you in the teeth for it.

Sigh. I won’t bore you with the details of my work situation. Suffice to say I know my job – I’m good at what I do and I damn well know it. Someone stepped on my toes and when I warned her to back off, she got nasty. I didn’t sink to her level but let her know in no uncertain terms that I was the superior here and she wasn’t going to push me around. Guess who got slapped on the hand for that one? Not her!

Some of you know about my dad’s illness and that dealing with my mother’s many issues during the illness has been a challenge. Well having a sister who consistently leaves ME to deal with my mother during all of this is no picnic either. But my mother and sister are exactly alike in that they’re both ridiculously self centered and selfish with no concern for anyone but themselves. So of course that conversation got turned into a “you just don’t know how stressful my life is right now.” Uh huh. Yeah, must be rough taking all those vacations and having plenty of “down time”. So that was the second battle.

Third is the non-stop kids battle. Gone are those idyllic lazy days of early summer. In place is the restlessness that comes from having the luxury of doing “nothing”. They go back to school in just under two weeks and I think they’re ready for routine and schedules again. I probably am too.

Anyway, so that’s my mood for today. One of those days where a hot fudge sundae for lunch would probably help – if only my stomach weren’t in knots from all the stress and angst.

For now, the in-laws are due soon to take the boys for the day. Never been too crazy about the ol’ IL’s, but this summer they’ve earned my gratitude. Having one day a week to myself has been a real sanity saver. Whether I spend it cleaning, working, writing – or simply lounging on my favorite couch “recharging my battery” by watching reruns of Frasier or Meg Ryan movies I’ve seen a thousand times before, it helps.

First on my list is a long walk with an old friend who always has an ear when I’m feeling down. Yeah, he gulps his food and drools and prefers to take his half of the bed out of the middle and has the worst habit of chasing squirrels…. But time spent with him always manages to lift my spirits. And to think they call dogs man’s best friend! Hah!

Monday, August 20, 2007

You Can't Go Back... but you can try!

I did something yesterday I haven't done in a loooong time. Have you ever done that? Tried to recapture the fun, the spirit of the things you did B.K.? (before kids!)

My husband and I used to attend a lot of civil war re-enactments in our dating days. I loved them and in the days before I even met my dh, I had half a mind to join the re-enactors. But thought the mind was willing, the bank account was not, LOL.

But there was a time we'd attend and spend the day, browsing the sutler tents, finding unique and interesting things. We'd bring grapes and cheese and wine (non-alcoholic, of course) and spread our picnic blanket on the ground and enjoy the battle with not a care in the world.

Flash forward ahead ten years! My oldest son was sulking because I wouldn't let him spend $17 on a plastic cap gun. The youngest was mostly interested in the drinking fountains and restrooms and I didn't get a chance to look at anything for longer than a split second or talk to anyone.

But some things never change. Once we were seated and the battle began, the boom of the cannons and the sight of the men fighting and falling caused a surge of excitement that I'd practically forgotten about. I really wanted my kids to enjoy it, and they seemed to take an interest, but it may take a few years to really spark anything in them. The battle was just building to a climax -- they weren't reenacting a specific battle, just an overall "this is how it would have been done" battle for show, so I wasn't sure who would be victorious. There were a lot of Confederate soldiers down and the Union side still had plenty of fire left, but the rebs just kept advancing. That's when my four-year-old grabbed himself and announced-- loudly-- that he needed to go potty. Naturally the dh didn't offer to take him -- heck, he didn't want to miss anything! By the time we got back to the restroom--after stopping at every outdoor fountain along the way (there were three!)-- I could hear the sounds of cheers and applause and realized the battle was over.

By then my oldest son was hot, bored and ready to go home. The dh was muttering about needing to do stuff at home, and I realized I still had no idea what was for dinner, so we headed for home.

Sigh. Such is the life of a mom, writer or not! So I learned that you can't go back to the way things used to be, but you can find some of the old excitement now and again!

Pardon the picture, btw. My digital camera is pretty outdated and I don't have the pics from my regular camera back yet. This was the best one I could come up with.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sons of Summerville

That's the title of the anthology I've agreed to participate in with two other Wild Rose Press authors and one newbie author.

We've done some brainstorming, and soon we'll start having online meetings to discuss our plans. But so far, I haven't allowed myself to think on this too much. If I start walking and talking with these characters, they'll start telling me their stories and then I'll want to write them. And right now I can't. Three other projects need to get finished first!

But I'll be sure to update you as soon as I can on Nick and Maggie's story and who the Sons of Summerville are.

For now I'll leave you with a photo of the naval reserve station at beautiful Summerville, NY here on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Deja Vu... all over again

Weird. That's how I feel right now. Several months ago I set up a google alert for my name and the title of my holiday novella, Small Town Christmas. So far, anytime I've been alerted it hasn't been about me or even my story. But the one I just read was. It wasn't a blog or a review I didn't know about, but apparently STC is now available on two short story sites I didn't even know about. And... get this. On one of the sites it was listed as a "best seller". Who'da thunk it? (Ahem, so uh.... why is there an echo, rather than a bulge, in my wallet right now if it's a best seller?)

What's really weird is the excerpt. It's not the scene that was excerpted on the Wild Rose website, and it's not necessarily one I'd have picked, but it's a good one. It shows the sexual tension building between old friends. But I couldn't help thinking... who chose this for the excerpt? Strange, strange. Very weird to think of somebody else sifting through my creation and choosing which scene to entice readers into buying.

And all of this comes at a time when I'm beating myself up for not having the time to write that I would like. Those of you who know what my day job is know that I've been busy, and that I need to make money, so martyr that I am, I've pushed writing aside so I can focus on work. After all I can't feed my family on promises. But it hurts. I really wanted to get The Model Man out in November, that will have been a year since my first release and I really wanted to get it out this past summer. Sigh. So why am I sitting here blogging when I should be writing? LOL.

As the saying goes, so many stories, so little time...

The Struggle is Real Week 8: When Life Hits Back

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