Where is home?

Monday, 28 May 2012

Hunter at the Riverbend Fourth of July parade 2011

My hubby posted tonight on his FaceBook status ‘I want to go home. I just have to figure out where that is.’ I used to struggle with the same thing until recently.

The only place I truly felt at home was Farmville, VA (I went to Longwood), up until our trip ‘home’ this past summer. Suddenly, there were so many places that felt like home to me in Virginia and North Carolina. There was the home of my youth—Deep Creek and the house which was bursting at the seams with friends who might as well have been family; the home which will never be—the Outer Banks of North Carolina where I felt truly at peace with my life (I cried when we left there); the home that would be comfortable—New Bern, NC where my mom and dad live and we’d have a family and a support system for the kids; and the home of my dreams—the Blue House and the friends and community we found there.

At this point, I’d be happy in just about any of those places, even though I am still holding out for a Blue House. I find that whenever I am having a bad day, the thought that I am one day closer to being home is what gets me through. Because I know that someday, I’ll be able to wave to my kids as they board a big yellow school bus. Someday, I’ll be able to take them to a baseball game and a Fourth of July parade.

Until then, I’ll write about place and people which remind me of home. And I’ll pray that I can sell my stories so I can plump up the account that I hope will pay the way for my family to move back to North Carolina. And I’ll tell my children stories about home and teach them the Pledge of Allegiance. I’ll teach Hunter to play baseball and I’ll teach Scarlett to cheer. 

And someday, I’ll be able to take them home.

Happy Memorial Day, Everyone.

Friday Already

Friday, 25 May 2012

I know Fridays are supposed to be about fun, but the most fun thing I can think of to do right now would be to go to sleep. I won’t. Instead I’ll type a little post...

Is it Friday already? I swear I have no idea where the week went. In fact, the last five and a half weeks have gone way too fast. It occurred to me today as I booked the appointment to register Scarlett’s birth that it has almost been six weeks since I had her. And it’s been seven weeks since I left work. That means I only have a little over four months before I have to go back. God, I wish I didn’t have to go back.

It also occurred to me that I have done little writing in the past seven weeks and the one thing I promised myself when I left work was that no matter what I would find time every day to write. I guess it isn’t that I haven’t been writing. In fact I got nearly halfway through my Intrigue WIP before the hard drive went and took all of my hard work with it. I am the cautionary tale—always back up your work! I signed up to Dropbox today and chucked my writing file in that to prevent any repeats. Not that I think the new hard drive will fail, but I am something of a disaster when it comes to laptops. My poor Della has had an entire glass od red wine spilled on her keyboard and picked up a worm from Facebook. I truly am cursed.

So, it’s time to get my act together. I know, I keep saying this. I figure eventually it has to stick. On Thursday I wrote a 3000 word essay which is my final assignment in one of my courses. I also entered the Harlequin Intrigue Editor Pitch Contest. I’m pretty proud of those achievements, but I know I need to do more. I need to get a schedule sorted.

As it turns out, Scarlett has reflux. After three days of vomiting up every feed, the GP prescribed Gaviscon for her and so far it seems to be doing the trick. Unfortunately, we are still very far from getting onto a feeding and sleeping schedule. She didn’t sleep well for days and then once her tummy wasn’t killing her all she wanted to do was sleep. Until 3am, of course, then she wanted to hang out until 5. I can’t even begin to tell you how tired I am. Seriously, my eyes are threatening to close while I type this.

Being the anal Virgo that I am, I simply must have a routine. And I must have a plan of attack for completing my WIPs before I go back to work. So, once I have posted this, I am going to set up a plan for what needs to be written and when. I still have courses to contend with, so it is important that I lay down a schedule and some rules. So off I go!

Have a fun-filled weekend!

Being a mommy is hard.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Look at this! I'm blogging in the wee hours of the morning again. That can only mean one thing-- I have so much to do tomorrow I'll never have time to blog. I have an assignment and an end-of-module assessment (think final exam in essay form) both due on Thursday.

Yep. That's right. Once again I am behind schedule. Not ridiculously so, in fact, I'm a bit proud that I'm not completely snowed under considering the weekend I had.

I was single-parenting again. DH went to his best friend's wedding on Friday. I was planning on going, but the bride decided at the last moment that babies were not welcome. She didn't understand why I couldn't leave my 4 week old (breastfed) daughter with a babysitter for 2 days. Yeah. They are both a bit clueless.

So DH came home early-ish on Saturday, but did that mean I got a break? Of course not. Don't be silly. He napped all day and I looked after the kids while trying to get a little work done. I fell behind.

Today, DH had to go into work. He left around 8am or so and came home after 8pm. After I had feed the monster and put him to bed. Essentially, after I had done all of the work we usually share.

I knew this would be the case, so I spent all day cramming in my assignment. As much as I would have loved to color with Hunter (he wanted me to so bad), instead I was performing register analysis's on two texts. And there's so much more to do.

I have a friend coming to stay the night tomorrow, to meet the baby and I still need to do the comparative analysis write-up, write a 3000 word essay (that's worth half of my grade), and edit & polish a contest entry. All before Thursday.

So, yeah. I'm blogging now. Honestly, I'm just trying to get it over with. This time next week, I will be down to one class (of course I'll have more writing to do, but that is a labour of love) and I can't wait! I don't even remember the last time I took only one class!

I do all of this in an effort to be a great mommy. When we finally move home, this degree will put me into a better position to provide for my family- while leaving me plenty of time to bake cookies. :)

Until then, I will trudge on, but for now I need to get some sleep. Being a mommy is hard. Night all.


Friday, 18 May 2012

Well, it is 0026 Friday morning. I'm still up because any minute the little ladybug is going to get up to feed. I'm not sure if it would be better to go to sleep now or not.

I am exhausted. She barely slept last night and I've spent the day doing coursework and housework. Laundry and essays. My life is so exciting.

I planned to drop Hunter at school then come home for a nap while Scarlett napped, but that didn't happen. For some reason when I get home I just want to get to work. Then I pay for it later. Like I am now.

I accomplished a lot today, though. In fact, there was only one thing I didn't check off my to-do list. So that goes on to tomorrow's (or I guess today's) list. That means there's mountains of coursework schedule for tomorrow, too. I have two major assignments due on Thursday. And I have 3 articles due. And a contest entry. Which is why I'm blogging now. I need to lighten my load for later.

It isn't a particularly enlightening post. Or even entertaining. But it is a post. That's the best I can do tonight. I'll try to do better Monday.

Now I think I'm going to have to chance it. I'm going to go to sleep and just hope I get an hour before our next feed. Night all.

Sorry, Virginia, there is no...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Last week a friend of mine on Facebook posted the link to a blog which truly upset me.

Yeah. I’m going to give you the link in a minute. I don’t want to send you running off yet.

This blog tells the cold, harsh truth about what authors for Harlequin really make on each book sold. It was something I know I needed to read, but something I wish I hadn’t. The small royalties that are paid out for books that took months to write are shocking and sad. Of course, now I understand why my friend (and others I know who write for Harlequin) still have a ‘day job’.

The reason it upset me so much is that since I was about thirteen, my dream has been to write for Harlequin. Seriously. So, finding out that they weren’t exactly paying their authors well was a bit like finding out there is no Santa Claus. Now, I’m not dumb (ditzy from time to time, but not dumb). I never imagined that Harlequin authors were rich. I do understand the concept of overhead and costs and seeing as how the books retail for less than $5, I knew there wouldn’t be a huge amount left over for the author. I just had no idea how little there actually was.

So what am I going to do about it? There really is no way to make a difference in royalty rates—especially since I’m not even published yet. I know one person can make a difference and all that, but let’s be honest. I don’t want to be a part of the downfall of something I have worshipped for so long. So what then? Will I stop buying the books? Am I going to stop trying to write for them?

No and no. And here’s why:

First off, I am not a Harlequin hater. I love to read Harlequins and their authors deserve sales. So I will continue to buy the books. As far as my dream to write for them; it has sort of evolved in the past year since I’ve been taking my writing more seriously. I am still writing romance—loads of it aimed at the Harlequin American Romance, Intrigue, and Medical lines—and I still want to be published by them. Being published by them would also give me a bit of validation. I still remember the days when self-published works were met with scorn. But I’m starting to see that Harlequin isn’t my only option.

 I also write magical realism and I desperately want that published, as well, but I plan to do that through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. In recent months, KDP has proven to be the quickest, easiest way to get your story to readers—no romancing agents and praying for a publisher to bite.

At some point in the last year, I decided to try for Harlequin, build a name and reputation, and then release my MR. To some extent, I still have the same basic plan. Reading that post has, however, made me think twice about putting all of my romance into Harlequin’s slush piles. I will have worked very hard on each MS by the time they are ready to be released into the wild and if Harlequin decides they aren’t quite right for their lines, I will not retire them to a trunk. I’m going to polish them up and put them on Kindle. Why not?

OK, I won’t torture you anymore. The link to the ‘Harlequin Fail’ blog post by Ann Voss Peterson on Joe Konrath’s blog:

I’d love to know your thoughts, especially if you have experience either publishing with Harlequin or KDP. Or if you are like me—aspiring and unsure of which path to take. Anyone else sad to see Santa go?

Versatile Blogger Award

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

It has been a very busy week (yes, I know it is only Tuesday, but still) so I'm going to make this quick...

I'd like to say a big thanks to Charity for the nomination! It has been ages since I've gotten any type of award and it is much appreciated.

So, the rules if this award are:
1. Thank the person that nominated you. (Done. And her name above is linked to her blog :-] )
2. Share 7things about yourself. (See below)
3. Nominate 7 other versatile bloggers. (also see below)

7 Things About Me
1. I wrote my first book (a horror!) when I was six and I even bound it.
2. I do not have the discipline to be an author-- but I'm still try anyway.
3. I coach all star cheerleading. I run my own program (volunteer) with 4 teams with about 50 kids.
4. All of my story settings are in VA or NC and almost all are based on Farmville, VA where I went to  
    college.No matter how wide I travel, Farmville will always be my favorite place in the world.
5. My favorite WIP is a magical realism I started ages ago and can't bring myself to finish because I am
    afraid I won't do the story justice.
6. My dream is to move home to a big blue house in North Carolina.
7. I lead 2 lives- my 'real' life where I am a research technician who coaches cheer and my dream one where I am an aspiring author who knits, spins, crochets, and sews. If I ever won the lottery, I would abandon my 'real' life, move home, and live my dream life.

My nominees:
1. Bethanne Strasser
2. Becky Regalado

Oh God.

I can't find any more, my reading list has gone from ok to pathetic in the last few months. I guess I need to get back to regular reading. Sorry.

When does it become bullying?

Monday, 14 May 2012

Hunter & Scarlett
18 April 2012

I am one of those sad people who really want to be liked. Or at least not loathed. I'm not proud of it, not by any means, but I go out of my way to please people and avoid conflict. It runs in the family—my grandmother finally decided she didn't give a damn after her 69th birthday.

I am also a mother. A fierce, protective (probably over-protective) mom who wants to give her children every advantage and joy in life. I made a vow when I carried them that they would never know pain or sorrow if I could help it. And that’s why I’m conflicted right now.

I spent most of Sunday trying to keep my DH from assaulting the fathers of a couple of kids in our cul-de-sac. He had enough of Hunter being picked on and decided he wanted to take it up with the boys’ dads. Luckily, I was able to keep him in the house for the most part.

The trouble started when my son decided he wanted to play outside with the kids in our cul-de-sac. My son is four, they are six and eight. When it is just my son and the six year old, they get along great. It’s when the older boys (there is another eight year old who wasn’t at home) get involved that things get hairy. Both older boys play a bit rough and my son often comes in complaining of being ‘beaten up’.

Now, I am under no delusions that my child is an angel. Most of his versions of the events are a bit too much to believe. He tells fibs and picks fights with the best of them, but lately some of the things I’ve seen the older boys do to him have pushed me too far.

Not long ago, I was forced into a confrontation and because of it; I am no longer ‘well-liked’ by the mother of one of the older boys.  She took it upon herself to have ‘a talk’ with me about the boys and told me that it was best not to get involved in their squabbles. According to her, getting involved meant the moms would ‘fall out’ and the boys would be friends again by dinner time. It was never made official, but that talk is what caused us to fall out and we haven’t spoken since.

The talk, by the way, came after I told her son to leave mine alone. Hunter spent 10 minutes trying to leave our front yard to play with the youngest boy at his house, but he was prevented from leaving by her son who threatened to run him over with a go cart if he put one foot on the pavement. I watched it all from our front window and held out as long as I could, trying to give Hunter the chance to stand up for himself. Finally, I felt the need to intervene.

That was only one incident. There have been plenty. Her kid has even smart mouthed me! Disrespecting you elders is a cardinal sin in our house—it’s part of the whole American family values thing that I adhere to even though we live in the UK. If I found out Hunter spoke that way to an adult, I assure you he’d never do it again.

The mother maintains these are just harmless little tiffs between the kids.  Really? Is it just me, or should an eight year old be mature enough to understand that he is twice as old as a four year old? I know kids can be cruel, and at young ages, like four or five, they don’t always understand that they are being hateful. Psychology tells us that the age of reason is seven, so up until then the line between right and wrong can be blurred.  But seriously, an eight year old picking on a four year old should know better.

I think it’s bullying. Plain and simple. Now if I could only make my four year old understand that friends don’t treat you that way, because God bless him, he still wants to play with that kid. Even though he comes home every 20 minutes in tears.

Hunter is a sensitive child as it is. Not a wimp (he has no trouble clobbering one of the older boys if provoked), but unfortunately he inherited my need to be liked. The same need that saw me used and abused all the way through school. Hell, I even fall victim to it from time to time now. Of course, I’m not sure it would’ve been better that he inherit his dad’s quick temper and total disregard for how others see him. I need to teach Hunter that he needs to respect himself and put his own feelings above his desire to be liked. I need to teach him to stand up for himself... and I need to be a good role model for him. 

I just need to figure out where to start.

Week from hell...

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sorry I haven't posted since Monday. Tuesday night my hard drive died, so I took Della (my little pink notebook) to the computer doctor Wednesday morning. The good news is she is back home now, the bad news is she has no data. I am currently re-installing all of my programs and sadly, the last month worth of writing is gone. Most stressful is the loss of three WIPs which I have been working really hard on this last month. I am planning to take my fired hard drive to a specialist and pay a fortune to get the data recovered (hopefully), but that will have to wait a bit longer. 

Monday is a holiday here and Tuesday is going to be a busy one. On Wednesday, the monster (after constantly wobbling the tooth that was not ready to come out) has managed to break a tooth off leaving the roots in his gum. First order of business for Tuesday a trip to the dentist at 1000. That will be super fun since I can't really handle teeth. Nothing else bothers me-- I cut up organs for a living and used to do autopsies, for Pete's sake! But for some reason, teeth, even wobbly ones, make me cringe and feel faint.

After the dentist, hopefully I'll be able to drop the monster back at school, because the baby is due back in hospital at 1130. Thursday, the midwife scared the death out of me by telling me Scarlett was still way too jaundiced, had lost weight, and needed to be admitted to hospital immediately. The doctor in the hospital wasn't nearly as worried, but we still stayed from1130 to 2300. Poor baby girl was stuck three times for loads of blood tests and they took urine and stool for testing. They have figured out that she has thrush (and so do I, of course, so that explains a lot of my pain) but there is still some concern because she has never had a proper stool, only diarrhoea. We are going back Tuesday so they can weigh her and do more tests if necessary.

That means I have no clue if I'll post tomorrow (since I'll be home alone with both kids trying to entertain them) or even if I'll get back on track for Wednesday. I'll try to get back to schedule as soon as possible.

Short and Sorry

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

So, I missed my post on Friday. Not because I have a brand new baby. Well, not directly. The long and short of it is that I had an essay due on Thursday. Between a million feeds and a serious lack of sleep, I have only found time to finish it today. Or yesterday, as the clock just keeps ticking away as I try to type.
Now that the essay is in, there’s another one (the big final essay) which needs working on, an assignment that’s due in a couple of weeks, and I am way behind on my WIP. Like four chapters behind. That and the fact that it is only about two hours until my next feed and I really need a nap explains why I can’t bring myself to write anymore than this. I’ll try to do better on Wednesday.

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