Thursday, December 7, 2017

Miles to go before I sleep...

I haven't written in quite awhile. I made grand plans to get back to writing more, but life has again taken me down a new fork in the road! 

I have, however, been lucky to keep writing in my life, if only a little at a time. Recently, a dear friend from high school - who is now a professor at a local university - asked if I would be a panel participant on writing books at their annual writing conference. I was very excited not only to be a part of the panel, but to see my friend, Beth, whom I haven't seen in nearly 10 years. I presented alongside a very thoughtful and talented man named David Masciotra. (David Masciotra is the author of five books: "Mellencamp: American Troubadour" (University Press of Kentucky, 2015), "Barack Obama: Invisible Man" (Eyewear Publishing, 2017), and the forthcoming, "Half-Lights at Evening: Essays on Hope" (Agate Publishing).)


I was struggling recently with the fact that I haven't made the time to finalize the edits on my newest novel, which I'd hoped to have out already. I'm reminded of one of my favorite poets and a line from his poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep." And that, my friends, sums up my writing at the moment. My almost-published book is one I am so proud of and love so much, but I have bigger obligations right now and a lot to do before I can rest. So, it will eventually get done, but right now I must stay focused on taking care of family.

Have a wonderful holiday! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Social Media

Have you heard of this new (okay, is it considered old now because it was really hip like, a month ago?) app called saraha.com?

Kid1 asked to download it and wasn't thrilled with my "Ummmm, no," response. I am not a big fan of him downloading anything I don't really know about. So I downloaded it on my phone in order to check it out and see what it's about. (My job is largely social media, so it doesn't hurt to see what it's all about.)

Apparently, it's an app where people can anonymously send you messages. Which, I mean, sounds like a wonderful app for all the people who are more comfortable blurting out what''s on their mind while hiding behind a screen and a keyboard than talking to people face to face.

And in the days of combatting bullying, I feel like this is the exact opposite of what ANY gradeschooler should have access to! Isn't there enough bullying and name calling already? Do we really need to give people an anonymous way to insult another? Because I feel like kids who want to use this aren't giving each other warm and fuzzy sentiments, but I could be wronf!

I signed up (allisonbr.Sarahah.com if you're on there and can teach me more about this thing) so I can try and figure out the ins and outs of it. I'm searching for some articles to demonstate why this is a bad idea, and welcome suggestions.

What other apps are kids using now that need to be deleted or closely monitored?


Monday, October 23, 2017

Under Construction

Hello!

Please bear with me as I clean up the blog a little over the next couple weeks. I have quite a few blog posts to put up, some to reactivate, and some to remove. I'm hoping to start the process tomorrow, and have it done by the end of the next week. So not only will there be new material, but lots of other things to read about (or read again, lol)! In the meantime, please take a moment to answer this anonymous poll to help me determine what posts to start writing more about. Thank you!

What would you like to see more posts about?



Monday, October 16, 2017

What Makes A Good Mom?

If there's one thing I've learned about parenting, it's that the internet is an endless abyss of people telling you what you are and aren't doing right. We search Pinterest for ways to make our child's room fantastically unique. We scroll through Facebook seeing the Halloween costumes that are way out of our price range and yet call us to purchase so our kid isn't ridiculed. We read articles about how to give our kids the best organic lunch, shaped into an artistic outdoor scene sculpted in the late hours of the evening.
And if I really stop to think about it, my kids don't really care about any of that stuff. Sure, they'd love new paint in their room - but they'd rather be painting a big piece of paper with mom or dad. Because that's what they're really looking for - quality time.

I've said it before but unfortunately, it needs to be a constant reminder for me. I don't have a lot of time with them between work and other responsibilities, and sometimes I lose sight of the need to spend some quality time with each of them. Today, amid the muck of Facebook, I came across this article and it gave me a new bucket-list to do before the end of this year: 30 Little Things That Mean A Lot to Kids.

My mom did a lot for me growing up. Laundry, taking us to practices, cleaning the house, shopping for school clothes. I don't remember any of those things though, at least not in the sense of a memory of her actually doing them. What I do remember, though, is her waking me up for high school at 6 a.m. with a sock she made into a duck puppet, just being goofy. I remember her helping me to make pies the right way when I wanted to experiment with baking. I remember that on Tuesdays, she would "sleep over" in my room and we'd talk about school or boys or troubles until we were both too tired to talk.

I think about my beautiful girl and how many times I tell her I'm too tired. (Which, by the way, is far too many.) We do lots of things together, but I'm starting to think she has a far better grasp on how precious the time we have together is than I do. Or perhaps she just appreciates it more. Some days, when I'm really tired, I think Oh my goodness, I wish she would learn to play on her own! Then there are days like today, when I look at her get up, get dressed, make her own breakfast, pack her own lunch, and head out the door to school that I am blindsided by the fact that in a very short time, she won't be asking me to color with her anymore. She won't be asking me to do her makeup or make up a dance or listen to the song she wrote. 

We do a lot for our kids, but I think we can always do more. Not in terms of buying them more or taking them more places, but rather in giving them time and attention in the comfort of our own homes and neighborhoods. Sure, she loves heading out to mini-golf or shop, but she'd be just as happy coloring a few pictures from the big coloring book she bought herself at the school book fair. I hardly remember vacations we went on or going to a pumpkin patch, but I will forever remember that ridiculous sock puppet and the beautiful woman who made something so inane and silly one of the dearest pieces of my memory.

What is your favorite memory from growing up?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Missing the Old Times

Writing this novel has definitely brought back some memories for me. Part of writing any story is research. If it's set back in history, you need to know every detail and every aspect of that time, from politics to what a button on a jacket looked like. This makes your story more authentic.

So as I wrote this one, I definitely spent a lot of time reminiscing on my own experience of being a teenager way back when: the emotions, the highs, the lows, the friends, the broken hearts, the laughter of sleepovers. I spent many hours speaking to people around the age of my characters and their high school experiences, as well as their hopes, dreams and regrets from then and today. 

Needless to say, all the reminiscing definitely made me nostalgic for those days. I don't want to go back (I think living through my dramatic teenage years once was enough, and I love watching my kids build their own lives in the here and now!) but I definitely miss the people from those days. College was okay and I have some wonderful friends from my college years, but it just wasn't the same. I spent my college years testing boundaries and in many aspects, hanging around some people I should have distanced myself from, searching for whatever I felt I was lacking in my life at that time. (Don't get me wrong - I also had some amazingly awesome college buddies!) Every day there was something and someone new, so it was a rotating door of new and unfamiliar, which I don't particularly do well with. 

High school was never like that - there was familiarity. There were the same people, eight hours a day (and sometimes more), weekends filled with no responsibility and no jobs but rather just fun and camaraderie. I definitely miss the lesser responsibilities sometimes as I'm drowning in work and running kids to ten different activities, but, I know someday I'll miss what I'm doing now just as much. 

My dad has a hard time remembering current affairs, so often, what we talk about is those years around when I was a teen. He likes remembering some of the friends that came through our doors and laughter that would infiltrate the entire house. Perhaps that is why I am feeling so nostalgic lately; they were indeed good (and easier) times, and I really miss some of the people I knew and loved.

I think that's one of the hardest parts of growing up. These amazing human beings come into our lives for a little bit but they stay in our hearts forever. Life is like a big apple pie where each slice is something important to us. We get older, get jobs, get bills, get families, get homes, get more responsibility and as the pie is sliced yet again, it cuts back on that slice of time we have available for the people outside our immediate circle, no matter how important they are to us. 

And perhaps that is why getting a note or email or social media message from one of those familiar faces just saying "Hi, thinking about you, wishing you the best" is one of the sweetest parts of my day. No matter how much time and distance comes between us, know that I am thinking about you - and that you made my life better just by being in it. 

It's been a very long, very trying week, and I find myself hoping for one of those messages. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Red Thread of Fate

As a romance writer, I tend to focus a lot on the idea of fate - someone ending up exactly where they are supposed to be and who they are supposed to be with. It's sort of the idea from Japanese legend, the Red Thread of Fate: the idea that two people are tied together because they need to be a part of the other's life.

Writer Lucia Ortiz Monasterio says: "For the Japanese, who know so much and intuit more, human relations are predestined by a red string that the gods tie to the pinky fingers of those who find each other in life. Legend has it that the two people connected by this thread will have an important story, regardless of the time, place or circumstances. The red string might get tangled, contracted or stretched, as surely often happens, but it can never break. This legend, so much more aesthetic than that of the twin souls, occurs when it is discovered that the ulnar artery connects the heart with the pinky finger (which is the same reason why in many cultures promises are made by two people crossing their pinkies). The thin vein running from heart to hand extends through the invisible world, to end its course in someone else’s heart. But unlike other amorous superstitions, the Japanese one isn’t limited to couples, or a single person who one is destined to find. It speaks of a type of arterial ramification that emerges from a finger toward all those with whom we will make history and all those whom we will help in one way or another."
This is true for many of my characters - not just in love, but in life. In The Touch, AJ is pulled towards a town he's never been to before, and ends up finding that he needed to be there for both love and for paving a future for his kind. In my newest book Fifiteen Years, coming out soon, the main characters are tied together by a red thread of fate. No matter how far away their lives have taken them, they can never quite lose sight of one another, as though they were destined to meet again.

While the romantic background of the red thread of fate is the stuff romance novels are made of, to me the most interesting part is that idea that we are tied to other people for a while or a lifetime. When we stop to think about all of those who have made a difference in our lives and how we came to know them, we are reminded yet again that our paths intersect with those we are destined to meet. Perhaps it is a love, perhaps a friend, or perhaps a perfect stranger who touches our lives for just a moment.

It's a pretty incredible concept to think about, isn't it? That people don't randomly enter our lives, but rather, we are destined to meet them for one reason or another; that we get close and then grow apart but are still connected somehow in the grand scheme of life.

And as a romantic at heart, I believe in the idea of destiny; that no matter how twisted or damaged the string gets, you are still connected to the person you are tied to.

Do you believe in the red thread of fate? Have you ever felt that connected to someone?

(From Pinterest)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New book coming soon!

I am so, so, so very excited!! It has been a few years since I've published, and truth be told, I needed the break to renew my creativity! I have five manuscripts sitting here, waiting for editing, and I just couldn't find the time or the energy to get it done. 

Until now.

While there are still four awaiting their turn at editing, one is in the final stages of publishing and I could not be more excited about it! Add in the fact that my friend's beautiful daughter is the cover model, and I am just ecstatic to have it be out and in people's hands. 

So, what are you reading right now? Finish it up, because Fifteen Years will be out soon!



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