Celebrate the Small Stuff!

celebrate

 

Yay! You’re published! Now you just sit back and wait for the money to come in, right? Wrong.

The very first thing I learned about having a book on the market is that I am ONE author in MILLIONS. Getting my books seen, reviewed and (one can dream) bought, is extremely hard and very discouraging. I’ll admit to trolling Amazon a couple of times a day — more if I have a new release — to check out my sales rank on a particular title. And really, the only purpose this serves is to depress me even more. So don’t do it, right? Easier said than done.

But one thing I find that gets me through the hard times (and there are a lot of hard times) is to celebrate all the small things. Successes, milestones, new things tried — there are more than we realize.

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I celebrate a new person that “likes” me on Facebook. I celebrate sending out my first newsletter, and the fact that I figured it out all by myself. I danced myself silly the first time I got a letter in the mail – an honest to goodness fan letter. And then the first one that I discovered in my in box.

When I guest blog on another author’s site and it generates a lot of comments – celebratory moment. When I update my website (OMG, I hate doing that!) and everything finally lines up correctly, that is a celebrate-with-chocolate moment. When I then learn that a friend of a friend of a friend was gushing about following said website? Swoon!

This past week I was in the dumps about sales on my recent new release. I guess January is NOT an ideal month to have a new book out. So I am trying new things, distracting myself with Twitter and experimenting with new hashtags. Lo and behold, I was followed by Starbucks. Much happy dancing and ignoring of sales ranks ensued.

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Some days it’s enough to celebrate that I got my word count in. Right now it looks like I’ll be submitting my latest book to my publisher at least two weeks ahead of my deadline. MAJOR celebrating there! Celebrating author accomplishments does not have to mean sales. Heck, I was thrilled just to receive a W-2 this year — something that I didn’t get with all $25 I made the year before. 😉

It’s the little things that make us happy. And there are WAY more little things than the built up big things we stick so much importance on.

So celebrate the little things. Eat chocolate. Dance in your underwear and sing into your hairbrush. And tell the rest of us about what you’re celebrating so we can join in with you.

A Writer Mom’s Best Friend

A weekly staple -- at least.

A weekly staple — at least.

I hate to cook. Always have. I am an expert on shortcut meals. Uncle Ben’s microwaveable rice? Been using it since it came out on the market. So you know what is awesome that I just haven’t made better use of until recently? My crock pot.

French toast in the crock pot. Holy yum!

French toast in the crock pot. Holy yum!

Yes, I am home all day writing. Yes, with a little forethought I’d have time to plan out and execute nutritious, nourishing meals for my family. But I am not a ‘follow the recipe’ kind of person. If it’s not easy, I don’t do it. Period.

So imagine my delight when I discover that a few ingredients thrown into a crock pot on simmer all day can result in food my family will actually eat? And I didn’t have to slave over it all day. My handy dandy little crock pot did it for me.

In the hopes that I’m not the only mom out there who is allergic to her kitchen, I am posting a few of our family favs.

The French toast recipe from the picture posted above is here: http://todayscreativeblog.net/crockpot-french-toast/

Shredded chicken for tacos

Shredded chicken for tacos

Another favorite we like to make for Taco Tuesdays is here:

http://www.twohealthykitchens.com/2014/01/08/3-ingredient-crock-pot-chicken-tacos/

I’ve done potato dishes, pork tenderloin, sliced apples (okay, that one took a lot of prep time on my part), Korean BBQ Beef, Coke and soy sauce drumsticks, lots of fun things. And the smells wafting through the house while it’s cooking? Bonus! People walk in and think I’m the real deal. Ha! I’ve fooled them. 🙂

What are your favorite crock pot recipes? Am I missing something really delicious? Let me know in the comments.

Happy lazy cooking!

Throwback Thursday & How I Earned My Gray Hairs

Moms, tell me you can relate. Some days your kids drive you so batty that you send them to bed early just to stop the insanity! And then later on that night, you sneak in and watch them sleep — because you need that little reminder of how sweet they can be… even if it’s only when they’re sleeping.

Don't ask... half his blanket was shoved up his pj top. I just don't get him, sometimes. ;)

Don’t ask… he had a stuffed animal shoved up his pajama top. I just don’t get him, sometimes. 😉

That’s me, this evening. The final straw with Little Guy was when he loaded a pencil into his Nerf gun and attempted to shoot his sister with it. Sorry, pal, you’re done! But before I head off to pour a glass of much-deserved wine, I thought I’d post a few Throwback Thursday pics to remind myself of happier/funnier times.

Devil horns... cute coincidence or baby villain in training?

Devil horns… cute coincidence or baby villain in training?

Okay, I can’t really complain. He’s six years old now and when I pick him up at school, basketball practice, birthday parties, etc, I get the fiercest hugs a mom could ever hope for. His sister gave that up ages ago. I will gladly cherish those hugs for as long as possible!

Red ink pad smeared across the face takes several days' worth of scrubbing to disappear.

Red ink pad smeared across the face takes several days’ worth of scrubbing to disappear, in case you were curious…

I do have to say that, most of the time, I can laugh about the trouble he gets into almost right away. Of course we haven’t had to deal with any baseballs through the windows or trips to the principal’s office, so I guess we’ve gotten off easy so far. Fingers crossed and knocking on wood.

Never a dull moment

Never a dull moment

I turned his music on (he likes to have the local classical station playing in the background while he sleeps), flipped on his nightlight and kissed him goodnight. He hollered after me as I shut the door: “Why do you always have to be the boss of me? I’m not tired, I’m just sad! I said, I’M NOT TIRED!” Uh huh. And then he was out. Seriously. In about five minutes. Not tired, my big butt!

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Sweet dreams, Little Guy (and Big Sis). Time for my glass of wine and a good book.

Writer Mom … Football Fan?

seahawksI’ll admit, before last year I could count the number of football games I’d watched – in my lifetime – on one hand. Just wasn’t my thing. Then the Seahawks made it to the playoffs. I started to pay attention to this 12th man stuff I’d been hearing about. Crowds cheering to record decibels.

You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing folks wearing Seahawks t-shirts, jerseys, ballcaps and winter hats and scarves. The 12th man flag flew everywhere. Blue and green lights on construction cranes, high rises, even on the Space Needle. Team support was high — and it was contagious. Seahawks fans are a community unto themselves, and it felt good to belong.

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So Hubby and I jumped on the Seahawks bandwagon. We watched the playoff games. We jumped, shouted and danced through the Superbowl and we have followed the Seahawks games ever since. And you know what? I may still be learning the rules of the game, but I’m enjoying it. I don’t know every single player on the team, but I’ll give these guys props for making plays that keep me glued to the screen.

Up until last year, Superbowl Sunday was our chance to get out and enjoy wherever we decided to go, crowd-free. We’d time our outings to get dinner and get out before the game ended and the partiers would descend.

So here I sit, halfway through the AFC game, pulling for the Patriots to join the Seahawks at the Superbowl. Hubby even served me dinner on the couch – chicken cut up because I’m busy blogging and watching the game. (He’s a keeper, folks!)

If you’d asked me this time two years ago if I’d be spending a precious Sunday watching back to back playoff games, I’d have laughed my butt off. I was up early this morning, getting my word count in and then heading to the gym to workout before the Seahawks game started at noon. Stranger things have happened…

As I wrap this up, the Patriots just scored another touchdown. 24 Patriots 7 Colts. I know where I’ll be February 1st. Planted on my couch, sneaking quick glances at Facebook to see what others think of the game during commercials. How about you?

free-papa-johns-pizza-super-bowl

A Bittersweet Day

She loved having her picture taken.

She loved having her picture taken.

Today is release day for my fourth Scallop Shores book, Trapped in Tourist Town. I should be excited. I should be plugging away, tweeting and updating statuses and flooding social media with buy links and covers.

Except that today is also the anniversary of my mother’s passing. Six years ago today we lost her to a very aggressive form of lung cancer. She was diagnosed in October and died in early January. I was eight months pregnant in October and could not fly out to the East Coast to say goodbye, something that still bothers me to this day.

People tell me she’d be so proud of me. And I get that. But a larger part of me feels that it’s too tacky and selfish to talk myself up on a day of remembrance. The funny part is, she’d probably be angry with me for that. She wouldn’t want my sisters and I to spend every January 5th mourning. She’d want us to laugh and live.

My mom LOVED attention. She could always be found in a crowd, telling jokes and talking to anyone and everyone. She was the type to walk up to a stranger in a grocery store and start a conversation, just because she thought they looked interesting. This writer introvert’s polar opposite. 😉

So I’ll think of this as “release week” instead of “release day”. I’ll use today for quiet reflection, a little bit of crying (sorry, Mom, just can’t help it) and smiles over happy memories. And tomorrow I’ll bug the crap out of everyone with my “buy my book” pleas. Sound good? K!

Love you, Mom! I miss you.

Newbie…but not.


I’m not new to blogging. I jumped on board YEARS ago with a personal blog to keep in touch with family on the other side of the country. It was a great way to share photos and little snippits of our lives. But then along came Facebook and the blog fell by the wayside.

Once I became published and realized I needed an online presence, I relied on guest blogging. It was great and I have enjoyed every single one of the blogs that I have written for or been interviewed on. But it’s been almost two years now and I need to stop being lazy about blogging and just DO IT already.

So here’s me: I write small town contemporary romance that my Greater Seattle chaptermates would call sweet. I think we need to sit down and have a discussion about the meaning of sweet. Because I disagree. Ahem, moving on. I’m a mom to two. You’ll hear me reference them by their online names. The oldest is Big Sis. She’s 10 years old, a budding artist (yeah, I’ll probably bug you with photos of her artwork), a bit of a drama queen and the most compassionate little soul I know. Then there is Little Guy. He’s six years old and the cause of most of my gray hairs and also most of my laugh lines. He fancies himself a scientist, and has a “secret” lab in his bedroom closet. (Shh! Don’t tell him I told you.) I’ll probably bug you with quotes from him on a fairly regular basis. The kid frustrates me to no end, but he also keeps me in stitches.lunakids

I also have an adult child, or what some people would call my husband. And three fur children, the biggest attention-seeker of those being our Border Collie mix, Luna. luna a

So, welcome to my crazy, disorganized world. I’ll post a little from writing, a little from living in this madcap household and a little glue that holds it all together. I’d love to get some ideas for creative blog posts, or something that can be my weekly “thing”. Got a great idea? Leave it in the comments. Want to introduce yourself? I LOVE meeting new people. Introduce yourself in the comments.

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