Odd Man Out

I did something this year that I have never done in my entire adult life. I took a vacation with my sisters – just my sisters. For five days, we cruised the Caribbean, skirting around Cuba as we explored Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Key West, FL. We group text all the time. We update each other with long emails sent while the kids are all at school. But this was new. Being alone together, talking, laughing and catching up… that was new for us. It was good for us.

I learned a lot on this cruise, like how those two can out drink me any day of the week. I learned we all had different experiences growing up that we had, for whatever reason, never shared with each other. I learned what it was like for each of them, caring for our mother as cancer slowly took over her body and mind (I was in my third trimester, and unable to travel to be there and help out.). I learned that even though we weren’t as close as sisters should be, the awkwardness of being trapped on a ship together never came to pass. Conversation came easily. Laughter, even easier. It was a really great time.

I learned something else though. I learned how similar my sisters are… and how different I was. Jill talked about work and life up at camp. All the people she meets and how she craves someone to talk to. Julie is a bank teller and likened the people she encountered on a daily basis as almost a second family. They needed that contact. It was second nature to start up a conversation with a stranger and come out with a new friend. On the cruise, we would be in an elevator with a group of strangers and one or both of them would reach out and connect with a fellow traveler. Without even thinking about it.

Then there is me. I work from home every day and rarely get out to talk with people – and I like that. Conversations make me nervous. Am I saying something stupid? Boring? Do I sound like I’m rambling? When can this be done, so I can go back home and be alone with my books. Hide on Facebook and talk to people from the safety of my computer. Call me an introvert. A slave to social anxiety. The complete opposite of my sisters. I tried to explain this to them, but they couldn’t seem to wrap their heads around it. Their need for social interaction was so great that they felt sorry for me, alone in my writing cave all day.

Low eighties and sunny every day — in January. Couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Another thing that was different was that, as we approached the end of our vacation, I was anxious to see my family again. I couldn’t wait to get back to my desk and submit my next manuscript. I looked forward to getting back to my routine. They would have gladly stayed on the ship and sailed off for a second voyage. And when we got home, they pined for the sunshine and warm weather. Like, really, really missed it. They both suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I live in Seattle, where it’s grey about 75% of the year… and yet it doesn’t seem to bother me like living through winter in New England affects them. Just another thing that sets us apart.

They said we needed to retake this one because I wasn’t making a silly face.

But I gave this some thought and realized that my sisters resemble our mother. She was the life of the party, loved having all the attention on her. She always had a joke ready that would have the whole room laughing. I, on the other hand, am just like my dad. He was so shy, he wouldn’t even answer the telephone if he were the only one home at the time. Parties and visits to out-of-town family were difficult for him. He had a handful of guys he could call friends. But they were good friends. But, hey, opposite attract. And if it weren’t for the wallflower meeting the social butterfly, my sisters and I wouldn’t be here. Variety is a good thing. If we were all alike, life would be extremely dull.

I miss my parents every single day. But I still have my sisters. And I so happy we finally took this trip and got to know each other as women, not just the door-slamming, tattling kids and bathroom-hogging teens we once were. Next year we are bringing our families along. Now THAT is going to get crazy. 😉

I Can Do This!

believeThat’s my new mantra. “I can do this!” Because I can. I learned the hard way. We found out in June that Home Depot refused to do our flooring project until we hired a contractor to put in sub-flooring (something they neglected to mention at the onset of the project). We were completely broke and out of options. A neighbor came over, took a look and said “Oh, yeah, we can totally do this.” Now I’ve used a hammer to hang a picture, but that’s about it.

12Fast forward to August. I put in my OWN subfloor. And instead of backing off and letting Home Depot take it from there, I kept going. I laid my OWN flooring. I learned how to use a few different types of power saws (what a rush!). Instead of a hammer, I got to use a nail gun – three different sized ones. I wore knee pads and measured and snapped, messed up and fixed it. I visited Home Depot for the supplies (oh, the irony!) and got good at choosing just the right lumber. I went to bed covered in paint and aching from every muscle in my body.

We still aren’t done. The landing and the stairs needs to be carpeted. I ripped up the old carpet and padding but we were hoping to find someone who knew what they were doing for this stretch and wouldn’t mind working for pizza and beer. Unfortunately, we were only able to find someone to talk me through it. And back in June, I would be terrified at the prospect. But now? Bring it on. I can do this! That’s on the agenda this weekend.

thisI had no idea that this mantra was going to carry over into my writing life. In July I went to RWA Nationals for the first time. I was scared spitless to pitch to the editor and agent I’d lined up months ago. What if they hated my story idea? It IS pretty different…for me. So I researched pitch sheets and one sheets. It was a little risky, and they might not even want to read it, but you never know until you try. But I did it. And both sessions went so well that I felt incredibly empowered. Both the editor and the agent asked for a full. I’m still waiting to hear back, but I am staying busy and not worrying about things I have no control over.

I-did-it_1Yesterday I was plotting out my next book with a friend. I realized I was staying very safe with the plot ending. It was time to step outside my comfort zone and go places I’d never had the nerve to go before. It was scary to think about, but at the same time…exciting. Now. I’m ready to take my writing to the next level. I’ve learned a lot about myself this summer. I’ve learned not to be afraid to try something new. Because, if there is one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s that I can do this. 🙂

forblog

Everybody Does This… Right?

weirdhabits

We all have our quirks that set us apart from everyone else.  It’s what makes the world interesting. How dull would life be if we all had the same likes/dislikes, idiosyncrasies and habits? If I share some of my weirdness, you have to promise to let me know one of yours? Fair deal? Cool. Let’s begin:

  • When watching TV I’m too lazy to put in a movie, preferring to channel-surf instead. And when I happen to find a Harry Potter flick, or LOTR, “SCORE!” I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. Sure, there might only be fifteen minutes left in the whole movie, but you bet I’m gonna sit and watch til the end.
harrypotter
  • I drink a lot of coffee. Well, I happen to think four cups a day is a lot. But I can’t just fix a cup and take it to my desk. I need to nuke it an additional twenty seconds in the microwave. I can’t claim this one is unique, as my sister does it too. Maybe it’s a Littlefield thing…
coffee1
  • Okay, while we’re on the subject of food (coffee is food!), I’m not so rigid that I can’t have my food touch. But I do have to eat each item separately before I can move on to the next type of food on my plate. Again, not entirely unique, just… different.
food
  • When I read, I have to go back and forth between my kindle and paper books. Like they have feelings or something, and I need to give everyone enough love and respect. This also goes for subgenres. If I finish a contemporary romance, I move on to historical, or paranormal, never reading the same type two books in a row. Doesn’t feel weird to me. Anyone else do this?
kindle

 

  • This is the one that will have you nodding at each other and giggling behind your hands. It’s okay, I can’t see you. I need a sleep mask AND a noise machine on in order to sleep at night. I even bring them with me when we go on vacation. I take my sleep seriously. Yeah, I doubt anyone can cop to doing this one.
sleepmask

Remember… you promised to share your own freaky habits with me. Don’t hold out on me now. Dish!

Where Did My Day Go?

Otherwise known as, A Day in the Life of a Writer Mom:

coffee6 AM: Wake up and stumble out to the kitchen for that important first cup of coffee. No matter how quietly I slip down the hall, little ears are tuned to my whereabouts. There is no school today. But who cares? Let’s do this!

Could start my writing day now, if it weren’t for the fact that Kid #2 is playing laser tag with the dog…at my feet. Nope, not distracting at all.

paperwork9 AM: Sent Kid #1 in to clean and organize her room. Looks like a bomb went off in there. She’s 11, so she doesn’t need my help.

Could start my writing day at this point, but now I’m feeling guilty that the kiddo is cleaning/organizing when I have just as many of those type of projects to tackle. So I start on Mt. Paperwork in the dining room. Two trips to the recycle bin later and the kids are whining for lunch. Where did my morning go?

chuckecheeseOne PM: I promised the kids I’d take them to Chuck E Cheese after lunch. I am either a hell of a great mom, or a certified lunatic. Kinda leaning toward the second option.

Driving down the freeway, my brain starts editing my current WIP. With no possible way to write down these new ideas, I am chanting them out loud to keep from forgetting them. Kids are looking at me weird. What?

6 PM: We got home with enough time to throw a quick dinner together and rush off to basketball practice for Kid #2. Where did my afternoon go?

I’m trying to read a book on writing craft while keeping one eye on Kid #2, reminding him to guard his guy, listen to his coach, take his hands out of his shorts and quit goofing off. I think I read a paragraph.

7:30 PM: We’ve moved on to piano lessons for Kid #1, with a quick stop at the nearest Starbucks for a skinny latte for me and pastries for the kids. Because I can’t *not* get them something when we’re stopping there solely to keep ME awake. Besides, sugar before bed couldn’t possibly be a bad idea, right? Ha.

Moving back to the book I’m trying to absorb. Only now I’m reading while simultaneously being serenaded by piano from room 1, guitar from room 2 (Smoke on the Water, anyone?) and clarinet from room 3. I think my brain is going to explode.

falling asleep8:30 PM: Kids are in bed and I have moved on to a glass of wine to celebrate getting through a no-school day.

Could I get started on my writing day now? Heck no! I am not a night owl. Nights are for winding down, and usually for falling asleep by 9:30 or ten o’clock. I’ve moved on to reading for pleasure. And I’ll probably fall asleep after a chapter or so. Where did my day go? zzz…

Mini Goals…or Don’t Quit Now

scaleHow are you all doing on your New Years’ resolutions? I’ve lost 4 1/2 pounds in three weeks. While I wish it was more, I’m doing everything right. Writing everything down that I eat. Sticking to 1200 calories per day. And I’ve started exercising at least five days per week.

disneyworldCould I maintain this the entire trip to that magic number on the scale that says I am officially where I want to be, weight-wise? Heck no! I can’t think of the long haul or I’ll get so discouraged I’ll completely bail. But can I do this for a few months? Say… until our trip to Disney World in April? Absolutely.

walkingdvdOne of the things I’m doing is a walking DVD that I ordered. Leslie Sansone’s Walking Off The Pounds. I enjoy my drags through the neighborhood with the dog (she sure keeps my heartrate up!) but the weather in Seattle rarely cooperates. So I figured I’d get this easy peasy workout DVD and feel like I’m getting my exercise in, while taking it easy. Wrong! This DVD kicks my butt! And it’s LONG. 45 minutes to do the entire three miles. The first time I did it, I was swearing at the screen, telling Leslie how mean she was. But I did it. Longest workout I’ve ever done. And it didn’t kill me. So I did it again. And again. It’s kind of addictive.

Some days I don’t feel like working out. It’s rainy outside and that just gives me a terrible case of the blahs. But I’ve found that if I get into my workout gear and lace up my sneakers, I WANT to keep going. I’m motivated. And thinking about those calories I’ll burn is pretty great too.

I’m also tracking steps and workouts with my Microsoft Band. This uploads automatically to My Fitness Pal, where I log all my food. Have I mentioned how much I love technology and how my gadgets talk to each other? Awesome!

So I’m plugging along. Losing slowly, but knowing that’s the smart way to do it. Picturing my end goal: the new shorts I’ll have to buy for Disney World, because my old ones will be too big. 😉 And knowing that I’ve gotten in shape for a vacation that is 99% walking around the theme parks.

Did you know walking just the perimeter of the Magic Kingdom is two miles?

Did you know walking just the perimeter of the Magic Kingdom is two miles?

Next up: The Can Do 5k at the end of April. I think I have both kids on board to run this one with me. Motivation=success 😀

What mini goals are you working on? Got any tips on keeping it successful?

Powerball Madness

powerballpost

I don’t play Powerball. Not even when the numbers start to get insanely big – like 1.4 billion dollars. To me it just seems like another Publishers Clearing House, “You may have already won…”. I know people who have quit their jobs just because they received that hokey junk mail in their mailbox. Seriously.

Could I use the money? Sure. Is it worth the hassle, the taxes, the “new friends” coming out of the woodwork to help me spend it? Nope.

Who wants to come visit?

Who wants to come visit?

Sure, I can play the “what if” game too. What would I do with hundreds of millions of dollars? I’d pay off the debt of probably everyone I am close to (that *I* decide I’m close to). I’m not big on cars or fancy houses, but a new house – with a dedicated office to hole up in and write (that has a door I can close and LOCK!). If I’m honest with myself, I think that home should be on the water, a lake, perhaps. A huge yard for the kids to play in. Room for another dog or two?

I’d love to travel. We want to take the kids to Washington DC, Philadelphia and Paris. You might remember that New Zealand is on my bucket list, as is Santorini. Big Sis wants to go to Australia and Greece. Little Guy wants to see Mt. Rushmore. (The kid’s got simpler dreams.) Hubby has been bugging me for a cruise to Alaska. Bring it on – I’ll do it all!

lotteryofficeAh, money to hire an assistant – someone to do all my social media posts, runs to the post office (just remembered I owe someone a book!), the list goes on and on. And to know I have a limitless supply of funds to pay for advertising. Woot – I could actually reach readers that aren’t in my immediate family. LOL Of course I’d have to update my new office. State-of-the-art EVERYTHING. Oooooh! A treadmill desk. I’ve always wanted one of those.

A personal trainer to force me to do the exercising I don’t want to. A chef to keep me on track by only cooking nutritious (and delicious) meals. A live-in housekeeper to do the laundry and pick up after the messy hooligans I live with (What? I keep my own things tidy…mostly.). A car and driver to take me wherever I want to go.winner

Yeah, it escalates pretty quickly, this Powerball madness. I’m good with the life I have. We’ve got a little extra money this year so hubby has approved a trip to San Diego to RWA Nationals this year. Yay! Can’t wait to show the kids our old stomping grounds. Big Sis was born there – she just doesn’t remember any of it.

So give me more of the same old/same old. I’m happy with that.

New Year, New Me

2016-newyears-resolutionsLast year I only made one resolution – to review every book that I read (as long as I could give it at least three stars). That was, by far, the easiest (and most enjoyable) resolution to keep. But I went too easy on myself. I let diet and exercise fall by the wayside and I gained back ten pounds that I swore I would never see again. I went right back into my old patterns of eating – junk food, stress-eating, eating when I wasn’t even hungry just because it was there.

I set writing goals last year that I did not meet. I told myself I would write a Scallop Shores Christmas anthology. Every couple I’d previously introduced would have their own holiday story. I had it all planned out and even wrote the synopsis and submitted it to my publisher. They turned it down: Readers don’t want to hear about the couples that already got their happily-ever-after, they told me. I disagreed. 2015 was going to be the year I broke into self-publishing. Um… or not.

completedI signed up for the Goodreads reading challenge for 2015 and kicked ass! – I committed to reading 50 books last year and I read 66. (All that time I was supposed to be writing/self-publishing? Hmm) I refuse to regret a minute of that reading time. I can always find writing time if I’m truly honest with myself. But reading time… that’s just for me.

Ah, 2016… I’ve got big plans for you. And blog posts are permanent, right? So if I commit to it here, I have to take ownership. Okay, here goes (for the personal goals):new_year_s_resolutions

  1. Get down to (adjusted) goal weight. (Sorry, folks – even my husband doesn’t know what that magic number is.)
  2. Exercise often – every day if possible. We’re in the market for an elliptical machine. Yay! My goal is to get up in the morning, earn my coffee by doing thirty minutes on the elliptical (or running once the weather gets better) and not have to think about it the rest of the day.
  3. Organize! I have big plans for the holiday clutter in the hall closet. I also have whole bookshelves and other shelving units that are stuffed with books, toys and puzzles that the kids haven’t used in YEARS. Time to purge!
  4. Stress less, mellow more. I have triggers (the family knows what they are) that send my blood pressure through the roof. Manage the triggers, the stress disappears. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
  5. Try out some of the recipes I’ve pinned to my Pinterest board. A lot of those are really healthy and we could be missing out on some yummy dinners.
  6. Finish the downstairs! We need a spot for that new elliptical and I want my office space back.
  7. Continue to explore the Pacific Northwest with the family. Last year we discovered Mt. Rainier, Ocean Shores and Suncadia in Cle Elum. This year we would love to finally tackle Mt. St. Helens and get up to Vancouver and Victoria.
And now for the writing goals:goals11111
1.  Write at least one blog post per week. If I keep it to something I enjoy talking about, it won’t seem like such a chore, right? Come on, guys… hold me to this one.
2.  Update my website. And by this I mean, find help from someone more knowledgeable than me. My blog posts should NOT be the front page.
3.  Finish the first of my fairy trilogy before shopping the series idea around.
4.  Try like hell to finish the other two books before Dec. 31st. Even if they aren’t 100% polished, get those words out!
5.  Seek representation. I’ve got enough of a backlist that I think an agent will see I’m serious about this writing gig.
6.  Market the Scallop Shores series in Maine, through as many avenues as possible. I have some leads in York and Bar Harbor. (Cross your fingers for me.)
7.  Get out in front of the readers more, and out of my writing cave. Search out reader events and book signings to join.
How about you? Any really unusual resolutions to tackle in 2016? Something that you’ve really, really been meaning to do and are finally ready to see through to completion? I would love to know. Hey, we’re all in this together, right?

It Must Be Monday – Summer Edition

mustbemonday4:58 AM: Amazon Fresh dropped off a grocery delivery on the front steps. It’s supposed to be “undisturbed”, but try telling that to our overprotective rescue pup. Does she wake the entire household with her barking? Nope, just me. It must be Monday.

“I can’t eat this cereal, it’s Daddy’s.” “I know it’s pink day at camp, but what if no one else is wearing hot pink, like me?” “Stop running around naked and put some clothes on.” “Did you know if you put tape on the dresser it will make it nice and shiny?” (Yep, tape all over the dresser.) It must be Monday.mbm

Two salami sandwiches, one with mayo and one with mustard. Can’t mix them up or no one will eat them. Meant to buy spill-proof water bottles over the weekend. Crap. Filling out camp paperwork at the last minute. It must be Monday.

“I have a tummy ache.” Why? “Because I swallowed the toothpaste.” You know better than to swallow toothpaste. “I know, but it tasted so good!” It must be Monday.mbm2

Why is there a slimy, gelatinous substance on the Lego I just found on my bedroom floor? And why am I touching it? I don’t want to know. Can I rewind the clock and do that last five minutes over differently? It must be Monday.

No clean shorts means creating a pair of cutoffs from a pair of holey jeans. Now youngest wants his shirt to match. Can I just cut the bottom off? No. Just a trim? No. It must be Monday.mbm3

Trying to talk the natural curlyhead into brushing her hair into some semblance of order. “It’s fine.” No, it’s actually kind of scary. “You’re so bossy.” It’s my job. It must be Monday.

“Can you help me put this bandaid on?” Why? You have no cut. “I know. But if I put it on, then if I run into something, it will already be protected.” It must be Monday.mondaycat

I need a laugh folks. Tell me your It Must Be Monday horror stories. Let’s help each other through another Monday.

Procrastinators Unite — Some Day.

procrastination

Are you a doer…or a procrastinator? It’s okay to admit you’re the latter. In fact, I hope you will — because that’s what I am. There are levels, and limits, don’t get me wrong. I don’t sit around playing Candy Crush all day. I’m the type that will do all sorts of productive things to get myself out of the things I really SHOULD be doing. I can go on a marathon laundry spree, if it gets me out of the phone calls I am supposed to be making.

If I can put it off indefinitely, I will. The cats have destroyed the couch and love seat downstairs. To the point where they live INSIDE the couch. It’s done. Time to haul them to the dump. I’ve been saying that for the last three years. This will be the year. Yup. Uh huh.

I’ve been getting notices for years that we don’t have enough coverage on our house. If it burned down tomorrow, we’d be screwed. But unless that letter from the insurance company is tacked to my forehead, I won’t remember to call and update that.panic

Now there are things with deadlines that I don’t have a choice but to address. Taxes? Just a few days ago I gathered all the paperwork we have in the house into a file. Now it’s hubby’s turn. Oh, did you think I procrastinated alone? Nope. It’s a family thing. 😀

Summer camp forms. Medical release forms. Pulling out my credit card and typing all that info in again and again. Why?!? To give the kids some semblance of a summer vacation that they’ll be able to look back on with somewhat fond memories. To give me a brief respite from the needling and bickering that would otherwise be driving me toward a Mommy ‘time out’. And as worthy as this is, Holy Mother of God, I’d rather have a root canal!lazymeme

I’ve been meaning to get the mortgage refinanced. Again, been saying this for years. But it means gathering all the right materials and making a (potentially long) phone call. Maybe I just have a phobia of talking to people on the phone. Could it be that simple? Nah. I’m just lazy.

How about you? Please tell me I’m not alone in this. What would you rather put off? And what do you instead? (Hey, I could be missing out on some valuable procrastination fun!) We’re all in this crazy thing called life together. 😀

Bucket List #1 – Travel Adventures

It’s that time of year. Winter still covering most of the country in white, while here in the Pacific Northwest it’s just a tad too chilly to do yard work or enjoy the outdoors. So naturally, my thoughts turn to vacations. Preferably somewhere sunny and warm.  We’re heading to Hawaii next month, but until then…

MY BUCKET LIST – TRAVEL VERSION

1. Ireland – any place at all in Ireland. Seriously. Any.ireland

2. Santorini – Greece is overall awesome but if I had to choose a Greek island to visit, it would be the gorgeous island of Santorinisantorini

3. New Zealand – home of all things Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. If money were no object (which I suppose applies to EACH of these destinations) then I would take every movie location tour offered. Even the ones by helicopter (though I might need to be heavily medicated). And I want to stay in a hobbit hole. Well, I want to move in, but that’s beside the point.hobbit

4. Egypt – okay, so now is probably not the best time to be visiting the great pyramids, the Sphinx and so forth. But someday? When the political unrest dies down and tourists are free to explore an ancient civilization without fearing for their lives? Then I want to go.

5. Scotland – particularly Edinburgh. The castles. The ghosts. The history. The burr. Reow! Talk to me, locals. Read the back of the cereal box to me. Love that accent!edinburgh-scotland-travel-guide

6. Paris – technically, I could cross this off my bucket list, as hubby and I went, early on in our marriage. But I want to see Paris through my children’s eyes. And for that reason, it stays on the list.

Honorable mentions: I could go on and on about places I’d like to see (if money were no object). But here are just a few more. Victoria AND Vancour, BC, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Montana, Texas (just not in the summer), New Orleans (Cafe Du Monde!), Philadelphia, Salem, MA, Rio, Alaska. And I reserve the right to add more every day. 🙂

If money were no object, where would you go? What MUST you see before you leave this Earth?

Pinterest – Time Suck or Lifesaver?

I’ll admit when a friend first told me about Pinterest, I didn’t understand the concept. (Which is probably why I haven’t done anything with my Tumblr and Instagram accounts yet.) Pin photos to various boards. Why? Though I’ll admit, going through all the pretty pictures was a lot of fun.

Where else can I tell the world about my love of all things pumpkin spice?

Where else can I tell the world about my love of all things pumpkin spice?

Then I set up boards for Scallop Shores and each of my books as they came out. I started to realize that Pinterest had a very real value for me. I could show people how I view my characters and my fictitious town. It was a way of turning my books into a 3-D reality. It made them…more real. At least that’s what I hoped. I realize every reader is welcome to their own interpretations and that’s great. But if I can show them exactly how I visualized something, that could help immerse them in the book, right?

Downtown Scallop Shores, complete with Civil War monument.

Downtown Scallop Shores, complete with Civil War monument.

 

And what about real life? The family’s got to eat, right? If you’ve read any of my early posts, you know I hate to cook. And when I do cook, it had better be easy or I WILL screw it up. (My mother loved to tell the story of how I once asked her where the “boil” setting on the stove top was.) So Pinterest is invaluable for locating crock pot and other fool-proof recipe ideas.

Hard boiled eggs in the oven – a school lunch staple!

 

Speaking of real life, Pinterest has saved my bacon when it came to school stuff. What to make the teachers for Christmas/Teacher Appreciation Day? What to make for the bake sale my daughter was kind enough to sign me up for? What to bring in for birthdays/last day of school goodies to serve an entire class?

Every teacher gets a scarf for Christmas.

And it is awesome for researching my latest series. I don’t have a board for that. Why? It’s secret. Okay, it’s about fairies and I’m super nervous that people who are used to my small town contemporaries won’t have any interest in a series that is more fantasy/supernatural in theme. Doesn’t mean I won’t write the series. And it doesn’t mean I don’t devour all the pins that really scream to me to be added into a book some day. I’m just not ready to share it with the world.

 

Inspiring, no?

 

Could I lose myself on Pinterest for an unspecified amount of time? Yes. Is it worth it? For the most part. How about you? Are you on Pinterest? What do you use it for the most? I’m always open to new ideas. 🙂 If you want to find me and my eclectic assortment of boards, I’m at: https://www.pinterest.com/mzdecuir/

Writer Mom – Crochet Addict

When does a hobby become an obsession? I have a walk in closet in my bedroom, and an ever increasing portion of it is full of yarn. I think I’m on a first name basis with all the cashiers at Michaels. I can quit any time…really… I just don’t want to. 🙂

yarn

When I was pregnant with my oldest, I tried to start my own crochet business. Creations in Crochet. Had a spiffy business license in a frame and everything. I belonged to a crafters co-op and did pretty well selling slippers, scrunchies and all manner of baby items in our little store on the grounds of a winery in San Diego.

I was so excited to finally be making an afghan for a girl after several years' worth of boy blankies.

I was so excited to finally be making an afghan for a girl after several years’ worth of boy blankies.

Then we moved to the Seattle area and I checked out a few craft fairs. I found that a LOT of people crocheted out here and it probably wasn’t worth my trouble to compete with the rest of them. But I still had that itch to scratch. Thank God for kids, mine, friends, preschool classes… I stayed busy making baby afghans for those of us adding to our families. Then I moved on to making Christmas stocking ornaments for my kids’ preschool classmates. Once they got into elementary school, I made scarves for the bus drivers and their teachers. And I am always up for handmaking booties or a precious little dress for a baby shower.

Can you tell I love crocheting for baby girls???

The baby-making seems to have slowed down lately. This past year my crocheting efforts went toward the non-profit group Hopelink. A group of friends decided to make felt stockings and bought goodies to fill them with. I know my strengths, and I should not be allowed near a sewing machine. So I crocheted as many scarves for the stockings as I could finish in about six weeks — which was exactly nine. This year I plan to do a lot more. I love to crochet while watching TV after the kids have gone to bed.

I know I have so many more pictures I could post on here of crochet-projects-past. I guess those will have to go in a future post. I even have an old business card floating around… Sigh. Another time.

What is your hobby/obsession? Leave me a pic in the comments of something cool you’ve made. I’d love to see it.

 

 

Celebrate the Small Stuff!

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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.