Posted in Family Life, The Writer's Life

Keeping It Simple…

No fancy images today folks. I am truly keeping this post simple since I have things I need to get started with already.  I got a late start today thanks to this summer allergy/cold thing I have going on. Between the coughing, interrupted sleep, and heat amping up here in Texas, I feel like I’m fighting to keep myself above water in the energy department. But, we keep moving and keep going whether we want to or not.  I am, however, trying some different medicine today in an attempt to knock it out completely. We shall see what happens though. 

Last night, my fiance was later getting home than I thought he would be. We ended up waiting for the kiddo to eat with the other kids and then we took her out for ice cream. It was her last full week of school and she was really good all week so, we opted for family ice cream outing. Of course, Dad and I got dinner while she devoured her sundae. Then we made a trip to Walmart. She got a new outfit and a kite so, I suppose at some point this weekend we’ll brave a trip to the park and let her try to fly it. 

As for me, I’m going to focus on trying to stay cool and enjoying myself. I know that he’s helping with a project but I’m sure I can find somewhere to sit and work for a while if I try. I  haven’t seen them much this week so I’m looking forward to spending time with them. 

Posted in Family Life, Lessons Learned, The Writer's Life

There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow…

Sometimes, even writers, have to contemplate something other than writing and story lines. Every life is its own story. In fact, it is in living your own life to the fullest that you’ll find the greatest story you’ve ever read or, in my case, written. But, you have to truly live in it and accept it to see the gem of a tale that it is. I spent a lot of time in my life not accepting who I was and it caused me a lot of heartache, confusion, and ultimately taught me a good many lessons about myself and where I belong in the world.

556559_433592586691099_690937278_nI spent a lot of time trying to be something I wasn’t. I mentioned it before but, it warrants repeating. I tried to confine myself to labels that weren’t even remotely a good fit for my personality, beliefs, or goals in life. I explored, yes. In my exploration I was enthusiastic and wanted very much to understand. This often led people to think that I was a perfect fit in their world. For me these experiences were part of my life and part of my research for stories that I felt I needed to write. There are experiences that will turn into books as time goes on for me.

Just as everything that happens to you serve as a lesson, so too do the people who come in an out of your life. I’ve had many of these people in my time. I will never doubt their sincerity or their acceptance of who I was at that point in my life but, the fact remains, I am no longer the person that I was when they were there. I changed and so did they. And though I may wish them the best as they move forward in the adventure before them, I know I cannot be a part of that leg of their journey. So, you let go and you move on. It really is all that you can do. 

Letting go is hard. It causes pain because you lose a part of yourself when you do it. Doors close and another opens for you to walk through. In fact, I think that life is a lot like these “pick your own adventure” books that I used to love as a kid. You come to the end of a scene and you’re faced with a decision about what path to take. If “A” happens, turn to page 45. If “B” happens next then go to page 94. If “C” happens turn to page 59. We chose a path, the other doors close and we move on to the next chapter. In life there are no do-overs or going back to make another decision based on knowing the outcome. You have to learn from the experiences and push forward and make the better decision next time. That means looking at where you were, what happened, and how you reacted to it first.

There was all sorts of hype about the year 2012. It was supposed to be this turbulent time of global disasters and upheaval. My ex-husband was obsessed with all of the end-of-the-world scenarios and it was practically the only thing he ever really spoke about with any degree of passion or intelligence. So I had a healthy dose of all the focus on the dark side of that. And 2012 was indeed a year of upheaval and destruction for me. But it was also a year of rebirth, growth, and acceptance.

I can almost pinpoint the day I knew that my relationship was over with my ex-husband. It was long before the final straw that had me moving out and the truth is, I likely should have left him long before I did. Though letting go and moving on from that was painful, there was something better waiting on the other side of it all. Yes, I grieved. But, I also picked myself up, remembered who I was before he came into my life, and I went on.

timeinlifePicking up the pieces of my life wasn’t easy. I had to make some hard decisions and come to some tough realizations. It is true what they say, it is in your darkest hours that you’ll know who your true friends are. In that lowest point, I found out that people I’d once considered to be like family to me were nowhere to be found. But, I also found that the voids get filled somehow and you just press on.

The more of the baggage I lose, the more amazing things start happening. The book started flowing again. Ideas for marketing started to come. Ways to make things happen for myself became clear and doors began to open. My personal life took a dramatic turn and now, I find that I look forward to every day. Some of those days I’m working at a day job. Other days, I’m writing and marketing my book or spending time with family and friends. But, for the first time in a long time, I am the one calling the shots. Sometimes I still feel like I am floundering but overall I know that I’m putting emphasis on the right things for a change. My family, my faith, and my writing.

I can tell you that I won’t be relinquishing control over my life again any time soon. Of course, I find that my life isn’t filled with people putting expectations on me that I don’t have for myself. I am surrounding myself with people who build up my creative side, encourage me to follow my gut, and accept me and love me for who and what I am instead of what I might be or can be. That, dear readers, is really the best part of life; finding those people and enjoying the time that you’re given. Life is too short to be full of depressing thoughts, what-ifs, and people who only hold you down or degrade you.

Posted in Family Life, Lessons Learned, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized

On Being Blessed

You know, I’ve been blessed. Especially with everything that has happened in my life in the last year I am incredibly blessed with a fantastic support system now. And that’s a big thing for an artist. We all need a little bit of support once in a while. And I learned to surround myself with people who build me up and encourage my dreams rather than pull me down. It was a hard lesson, believe me.

changeIt takes a special sort of person to be married to a serious writer. You see, there are different sorts of writers. There are the type who write in journals and keep blogs that are primarily for themselves. There are the sort that write strictly for the gratification of knowing that they can. There are others who write for the social interaction. And yes, I do know that is contrary to everything that Hollywood has put out about the writers. Then there are the type, like me, who actually write to put our work out for the public to read. We’re an odd lot that take a lot of time to ourselves and sometimes seem a bit aloof. Even when we’re spending time with the family we’re usually off in our heads thinking about plots and characters. Then there is the obsession with actually getting things out into print and marketing what work you do put out. So, no it isn’t easy for many people to deal with dedicated writers. My ex-husband certainly had a hard time with it. So much so that he was engaged to another woman before ever letting me know that there were even problems with our relationship.

Not going to lie, I was devastated when that marriage came to an end. More because I was blind-sided by all that happened than it actually being over. The being alone, I could deal with. The feeling like I wasn’t good enough for anyone was another matter entirely. My esteem sunk to an all time low. I didn’t understand how it could have happened or why. I’d put everything I could into that relationship for six years. And you can bet that there is a short story going to come out of what happened. But what came out of that experience was nothing short of amazing.

I realized very quickly who was going to be there for me. Who would help me pick up the pieces of my life and myself and come back from it stronger than ever. I learned who supported my efforts as an author and who just wanted to go along for the ride while I worked my butt off. And I definitely learned that if I did get into another relationship, I needed to find someone who genuinely shared my interests, got my quirky habits, and loved me either because of them or despite them. They needed to be able to spend time alone and not need for me to be hanging on their every movement and word. I needed that person to be interested and believe in what I was doing the same way my family did.

166070304980757248_UYbpRu5z_cHonestly, I didn’t think I would fall in love again. I think part of me didn’t want to. God had other plans though because I only wanted to meet some friends and get a social life back. Putting up a profile on a dating site seemed to be a logical step since I had no car, no home, and no money. Meeting people was going to be tricky and I really didn’t want to start the bar scene again. I’d had enough of that in my 20’s. Then there was a message and a profile that I couldn’t ignore.

Yes, it was my now fiance.

We had so much in common. Our lists of interests only varied by a few things which were so superficial that it was just funny. We actually argued about reasons for being on there and talking to people at first. Once we got past that small argument, and started really talking, we both wanted to meet. We were so close in location that I finally talked my mom into dropping me off at the local McDonalds to have coffee with him. I expected an hour or two of conversation what happened was completely different.

First of all, when he got my attention and I looked up from my notebook, I was just sort of struck. Here was this really good looking guy who was apparently there to see me. I instantly became self-conscious because, well, you know, hot guys aren’t supposed to fall for the fat chick. It’s some sort of social faux-pas after all. I’d seen pictures of him and thought he was good looking but they really don’t do him justice. Or maybe they do and its just a chemistry thing. The fact that he met my mother and I sent her on another errand so we could continue talking was an indication of how well we hit it off.

We started dating in December and while we both had other obligations with family we really haven’t looked back. The more time we spent together, the more we opened up and the more we realized that we wanted to build a life together. So when he actually proposed on Mother’s Day I was super excited to say yes.

He is definitely a different sort of man than I am accustomed to. He’s a man of principle and who respects women. He’s sensitive to the needs of others and a man of faith. He enjoys time with family and appreciates what he has more than he pines for what he doesn’t. He’s an optimist, loves to work with his hands, enjoys being outdoors and spending quality time together with me and his daughter. He’s interested in what I do, wants to read my work, and is actually willing and able to bounce ideas with me. Mostly he lets me talk things out when I’m stuck for which direction to go.

Maybe most importantly, he makes sure I work on the writing and have time to do what I need to do. Yet, he somehow knows when I need a break or a laugh and will distract me with corny jokes or cheesy music or videos. It amazes me how in-sync we seem to be most of the time. Oh! And he makes the best sweet tea in the world and keeps me in a glass when I’m working. Honestly, its mostly the little things folks.

So, yes, I am incredibly blessed. I have family who has always stuck by me, even when I may not have wanted them to. I have an amazing partner in life now who gets me, loves me, and enhances my life rather than drag me down. In the midst of this, I’ve managed to get two pretty awesome girls in my life too. One may be the best thing to come out of my previous marriage and I’m pretty sure that she was the primary reason for me being in that situation. The other is a bundle of energy and curiosity that inspires me to continue working like I do. But yes, I’m blessed and I wake up thanking God every morning for another day I get to appreciate all those little things that really and truly are just the biggest things in life.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Long Overdue Update

I have been so super busy between work, discussing options, and writing that I hadn’t even realized that it had been a month since I updated this blog. This isn’t a bad thing for me. In fact, it means that things have been going very well for me. New relationships, new job (that I actually enjoy), writing projects are going well. Other than being sick yesterday, I have only minor complaints about my life at the moment. Those things that I am complaining about will be rectified soon enough.

There is something exciting about moving from one phase of your life to another. And I will admit that if you’d told me where I would be a year ago, I would likely have just laughed and replied, “Yeah, right.” But, here I am. And truth is, I am happier than I have ever been. I have so many amazing things in my life now that I couldn’t have had before. I attribute these changes to 3 things:

  • 1. My acceptance of my faith and putting my trust in God to direct my life.
  • 2. My realizing how utterly unhealthy my last relationship was and having the courage to do what I needed to do to get out of it.
  • 3. My amazing family who have been such a tremendous support system through all of this.

Honestly, one should never underestimate the importance of a good family. I’m not saying that every family is a good one. Certainly, there are some dysfunctional ones that you may be better staying away from but, I am blessed with at least one side of my family being awesome and I try to not take advantage of their support. They may not understand everything I do but, when a decision is made – no matter how they may talk me out of making that decision- they do their best to support it.

I am still working on that balance though. Between the part time work, spending time with family, and writing it gets a little strenuous on my time. Not that I’m complaining. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My time is spent doing things that I love and with the people I love. So, there isn’t much more in life that I can ask for. Well, with a couple of obvious exceptions in my neck of the woods.

As I write this, I’m on my lunch break from the day job excited that I’ll get more hours than normal this week. There are lots of things that I am looking forward to doing with the money; goals that I will be able to reach faster. I’m working on edits for the book and will be making some announcements on it soon (I hope). I’m developing a game plan, which is something that I’ve not had in a long time. I think things work better when you have some sort of plan and organization method.

I’m so proud right now though. One of the amazing parts of doing what I do is watching the difference it makes in the lives of the kids around me. I participated in the Young Author’s program when I was in school. A couple of weeks ago, I found out that my niece and my god daughter both have followed suit and won awards in their age group. Needless to say, I’m a proud Aunt at this point. It also motivates me to continue working on my own projects. It truly is amazing what influence a child can have on your life, even if they are not your own. Just knowing that they want to emulate you is enough to make you want to be the best person you can be.

Now, I am trying to work on getting my life in the order I want it to be. I’m trying to organize things for my work and jut for life in general. I have two projects to put to bed and I have others that are just getting started. I also know that I’m going to be moving again soon and setting up a new office in the process (along with the rest of the house) and I am trying to simplify and get things in order. That, my friends, is sometimes easier said than done.

Life is good though. I’m happy and working away on projects while spending time with the amazing people in my life and working at a day job that I enjoy. So, I can’t really ask for more than that at this point. Well, maybe I could ask for these edits to be done already but, that’s just part of this writer’s life.

Posted in The Writer's Life

The Writer’s Life Update

Sometimes life just gets in the way of updating this blog. The last month or so has been filled with other things that have required much of my time. Mostly this has been a matter of looking for a day job so that I can get back on my feet but, people don’t realize that in this economy finding a decent job is much harder than it would seem on the surface. It has literally been a full-time job putting in applications, finding job postings, and sending out resumes. But that isn’t all that has kept me away from writing as much as I should be.

563290_349861381757492_48880649_nTruth is, after being cooped up and isolated for so long, I’ve been enjoying living again. I’ve been enjoying time with my family and the new friends in my life. I’ve been talking shop, attending writers group, spending time with the new man in my life, and having lots of quality time. There are pictures on my phone of us at the carnival that came to town. It was an impromptu afternoon of fun with his daughter and my stepdaughter who came to visit me during her spring break. We even went to the Renaissance Faire with all the family and had such a fantastic time that we’re already planning for another day out there before it ends. But having fun has been such a rarity in the last six years that, I have made a point of really enjoying myself when I have the opportunity. It just so happens that since I met Charles, there have been a lot more amazing days and opportunities to enjoy myself.

As much as I am loving my life now and the direction that it is taking, I know that I am going to have to start devoting more time to writing than I have. The articles that I’ve been working on and so forth have been great and they have offered a bit of a break from working on the details of the work in progress that were beginning to frustrate me. But, I am now getting back into the studio and working on the fiction with full attention.

The break was needed though. As I read back through some of the manuscript, I find that my mind is working on concepts again and my scenes are creating more clear images in my head to work with. And I’m so close to completing this draft that I think a few more good days of writing will put me into a good position to be on track for a summer release. Of course, I’ll make more announcements about that as I narrow down time-frames.

I do want to mention that a friend has a new book of poetry out. Deedra Mosley and I have been friends since we attended and graduated from the same high school. I was honored that she asked me to write the forward for her collection of anecdotal poems and limericks. So you can find her collection Kentucky Prose over on Blurb.com. I encourage everyone to support local artists. The ebook is only $1.99 and it is sure to make you laugh and give you a glimpse of life in rural Appalachia. Deedra definitely has more of a connection to those mountains and the cultural heritage there than I do but she is sure to give you a laugh as well.