Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Well, Christmas Day is winding down finally. It has been such a long day!

Scarlett was up four times last night-- again-- so, needless to say, I had no interest in getting up this morning. Hunter was up before seven bouncing off the walls and begging to go downstairs. We finally gave in at eight. We got Bug up and changed and called Grammie and Pop Pop on the web cam (it was 3am their time, but they insisted that they watch the kids unwrap their presents this year).

The kids, as usual, were spoiled rotten. It was so much fun watching my little ones open their gifts, especially Scarlett, now that she understands the whole present thing. I forgot how cool that is. She was so excited. Hunter, too, was beyond giddy-- even over the mouthwash in his stocking! He got everything he asked for and much more. I think both of the kids had a great day.

We were spoiled, too. Steve got me lovely fuzzy pj's (I am curled up in now), my favorite perfume, and the mermaid Pandora charm I wanted for my writing bracelet. I got him a Superman onesie, CK Be, and a few other treats. My parents went a bit overboard this year and gave us rather large gift cards to Amazon.

At first I was afraid to spend mine. Well, maybe not afraid, just hesitant. For once, I wanted to get something that really meant a lot to me, I didn't want to rush into getting the first thing I saw. My first purchase came before Christmas-- a blue tooth keyboard case for my tablet. Sadly, although it works wonderfully, it doesn't fit my Xoom 2. Rather than send it back, I ordered a smaller one and gave that one to Steve.

I didn't plan on spending anymore until well after Christmas... of course, then I found myself awake and bored at 4am. I did think about it, though, and I didn't spend all of the rest right then. I have already set myself four goals for 2014. Not resolutions, really, because God knows I never stick to them, just goals. I'll go into detail closer to NYE, but anyway, I spent the rest of my gift card over the next couple of days on things that will help toward each of those goals. I feel good about that. It's like I have already started to prepare.

I would be hard pressed to say what my favorite gift that I received is this year. I am pleased with every one. My favorites for the kids are the gorgeous Ariel Toddler Doll for Scarlett and the 'Write Your Own Storybook' book for Hunter. What was your favorite gift given or received this year?

Christmas Eve Eve!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Ah, 'tis the season for yummy treats! Tomorrow night I'll be making more gingerbread reindeer (the first batch were a big hit,  only no Skittles this time), peppermint meringues, and candy cane divinity.

Today, I made eggnog with a little whiskey. I used a new recipe I found on Pinterest and for the first time I have made eggnog without scrambling the eggs!  Yum! It is lovely on its own,  but also in coffee. I have had two eggnog lattes so far. I promised a friend that she could come by on her way home from work to try it and it is all I can do not to drink it all.

Eggnog is one of those love it or hate it things. I love it. What about you? Anyone else addicted to eggnog?

Time Out

Saturday, 21 December 2013

I blew off blogging last night in favour of eating gingerbread reindeer, drinking chardonnay, and chatting with an old friend. It was lovely! There is nothing quite like a good giggle and gossip to take away the stress of everyday life.

Around the holidays, things can get entirely too stressful. In fact, the closer we get to the big day, the less I look forward to it. In years passed,  I let it get the better of me. Not this year! This year I will take time for me!

I hope you are all finding a little time out this close to Christmas. Enjoy!

Just Another Manic Monday

Monday, 16 December 2013

Just to wind you up, let's get that song stuck in your head ;-).

Today has not been nearly as productive as last Monday. I got up an hour late. Yep. A whole hour. At least the kids were alright this morning. We didn't have any melt-downs or tantrums,  so that's something.

Now I am sat here at work, pretending to care about work, when all I want to do is nap. Of course, that is not going to happen. After all,  I have kids. And I'm about to be at home with them for two and a half weeks. Time to stock up on the Christmas movies and craft supplies!

At some point we will make cookies. I mean,  that is a given. Probably one of the things I miss the most about being at home for Christmas is the massive cookie-making binges I used to go on. I used to make at least five different kinds of cookies. These days I usually only make sugar cookies. This year, I plan to make gingerbread reindeer, (probably) sugar cookies, and once again I'll try my great Me-Maw's divinity. I try it every year and it never sets. Some day it will.

What are your favourite cookies to make at Christmas?

Bah Humbug

Friday, 13 December 2013

It's twelve sleeps until Christmas. Yay. Okay,  I'm not a total grinch. I'm just tired and broke. And things with my little man have become more complicated. I thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I thought we'd have a calm, quiet Christmas,  but it looks like that won't be the case after all.

I warned you that I'd be scarce in the weeks surrounding Christmas. So you won't be surprised to find that I have not blogged much. As soon as I wrap my head around what is going on at home, I'll fill you in. Until then, I'm going to get some sleep while I can. Night all.

Handmade Holidays

Monday, 9 December 2013

Money is tighter than ever this year and I have two kids to spoil. Bah humbug!

I'm going to try to make as many presents as possible for them. For three reasons,  really. First, I have no money. Second, I think handmade gifts are the nicest. And third, this is possibly the last year I can get away with it. My son is six, so he won't appreciate handmade gifts for much longer. 

It is proving to be difficult to find time to make gifts, though, and it's even harder to find things that my son would like that I can make. Dolls are a hit with my little girl (if only they didn't take me so long to make), but so far all I have for my son is a fort building kit. 

Looks like it's time to troll through Pinterest...


Friday, 6 December 2013

It's nearly Christmas. Good heavens that has gone fast! 

I'm sorry I've been a bit crap at blogging these last few weeks. I'm actually working my tail off making bows to sell at the Christmas Fair tomorrow in hopes of making enough money for Christmas presents. It's fun, though. Check out my little dress up crown in the picture above. Isn't it just the cutest?

So, yeah. Around this time I tend to go quiet while I get ready for the big day. I promise to blog when I can and get back to normal (well, ok, I've never actually been normal, but you know what I mean) as soon as possible. I'm sure you are all running around getting ready, too.

Happy holiday preparations, everyone!!

Christmas is in the air...

Friday, 29 November 2013

... And it's all over the floor of my home office. 

As I mentioned before, I have a load of bows to make for the craft show I'm at next weekend. I have been working at them every night (except a couple when I haven't been able to stay awake past the kids bedtimes). 

Last night, I officially started the Christmas-y bows. Tonight I'm back at all things jolly, plus some One Direction, Justin Beiber (I know, I can't stand him either), Cinderella, and minions. While I'm very excited about making them-- in fact, I can't wait to get the little monster to bed so I can get started-- all of those jingle bells and sparkles make me long to curl up in my onesie with a cup of chai and a Christmas romance. 

For a long time now, I have looked forward to the release of the Harlequin Christmas stories just about as much as I look forward to the arrival of candy canes in stores (and that is saying something!).  This year I am scouring the Entangled Publishing site for holiday themes to see what they have, too. There is just something about a wintery, feel-good romance to get you through the crowds, crap weather, and cash-flow nightmares. 

I like writing holiday inspired stories, too. My suspense is set at Halloween and when I planned out the series I am writing, I chose Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving as inspiration, but I think I might have to add Christmas in there as well. 

What are your favourite holidays for romance?


Monday, 25 November 2013

There are so many things I'd do differently if I had it all to do over again. And some would surprise you. Days like today would certainly have been avoided. But I won't moan about the mistakes I've made or what I wish I had done differently. Instead, I'll tell you this. My wish for my children is that they find true happiness, whatever that may be.


Friday, 15 November 2013

Well, it's Friday. Which for me these days means two things: 1. I am still going to have to get up at the crack of dawn even if I don't have to go to work, and 2. I need to make bows for the craft show. I started making hair bows for Bug and it has gotten out of hand. (In case you want to have a nosey you can see them on Facebook at Southern Bug Bows.)

These were my Halloween cheer bows.

#My cheerleading program is hosting a Christmas Craft Fair on December 7th and I am having a stall. It was my idea to host if, after all. And I knew the extra cash would come in handy just before Christmas. And I really thought I'd have time to make loads of bows before the day. Sadly, that has not been the case. In fact, I have made very few bows. So few, that I am wondering if I can even fill a stall. So, I better get to work. God knows the baby dolls and Legos aren't going to buy themselves...

Fast Drafting

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Okay, I admit that I have pretty much given up on NaNo at this point. Sad, but true. In fact,  I just said to a work colleague that I have looked forward to it all year and now can't find time to sit down, let alone write. Honestly, anyone who says 'if you really want to write, you will make time' clearly has a lot less on their plate than me. Or has access to some kind of super caffeine and no longer requires sleep.

What I have done is read... and research. It isn't too hard to squeeze a quick read, say a blog post, in between patients in clinic. And although I am disappointed that I won't finish NaNo, I have learned something I think may prove to be valuable. Maybe a few things. Probably the most important of these is that not every writer uses the same 'method' to get the words down. Yeah, I know that's kind of obvious, but hear me out.

I keep reading about how I should write everyday. Let's be honest. I don't even get to shower everyday. There is no chance I'll get to write everyday,  or at least not until the kids have moved out. I've read loads of posts on what methods various published authors use. Most of which still preach 'write every day'. But this week I have come across another method,  one that just might work for me. That is if I tweak it a bit.

The method is called fast drafting and it originates from a workshop taught by a woman called Candace Havens. Essentially,  you write 70k in 14 days by concentrating on page count instead of word count.  There are a few rules,  like don't read what you have previously written, but the big one is 'write 20 pages a day for 14 consecutive days'.

There is no way I can do 14 consecutive days. And sitting down long enough to write 20 pages seems unlikely,  but I have an idea. I think I'll try a lower page count at first. For example, I need roughly 30k to finish Valentine Bride. If I shoot for 10 pages (estimating 250 words per page) over 12 non-consecutive days, that would do it. Furthermore,  I could aim to do 4 days a week and finish in 3 weeks. Then I could try to up my page count and/or days per week for my next project so that eventually I am hitting the 60k mark in a month.

I am thinking of making my first draft more of a 'bare bones', telling. That way I can capture the entire story on the page while it is still fresh and exciting. I am also thinking of writing my fast draft by hand so I can steal random minutes here and there instead of trying to find time to sit at or get to the computer. It's worth a shot, anyway. So, I'm going to spend the next week or so (since I am ridiculously  busy) plotting a couple of projects in preparation.

If you've done fast drafting or have another unusual way of raising your word count,  I'd love to hear about it.  Happy writing!

Being an adult sucks...

Monday, 11 November 2013

Seriously. Have you ever had one of those days where you wonder why the hell you got up in the first place? Today has been like that.

First, I struggled to get the kids ready all the while DH leisurely drank his coffee, complained about going to work and the 'long day' he had ahead of him, then headed off on his SIX MINUTE commute.

Long day? I got up at 6am and chopped up the ingredients for a beef stew and loaded it all in the crock pot. Then I got my shower, got dressed, helped Hunter get dressed, made him breakfast, dressed Scarlett, made her breakfast, got both of them dressed to head out the door for the 30 minute drive to get to nursery and a further five minute drive to school. Then at school, the teacher informs me that Hunter isn't responding to the special measures put in place and has been lashing out for frequently. Oh, and parents are coming in to complain regularly. Which, of course, pushed me to tears. After that bomb, I started on my 30 minute drive to work, which was twice as long thanks to a back up on the motorway. And it was grey and rainy and cold.

Work was okay, in spite of my tendencies to start crying at my desk. I couldn't go into clinic because I was afraid to cry in front of my patients (never good when working with any patients, but really bad when working with cancer patients). So, I do my shift with (thankfully) only one doctor witnessing a break down and head to pick up the kids-- Hunter from link club (after school care) and Scarlett from nursery. I race home, praying all the way that the crock pot hasn't burnt the house down, and find that the stew is lovely, but I can't eat yet because I have to feed the kids, bathe Scarlett, and clean the kitchen-- all the while DH who came home only minutes after me gets in his pj's and settles in to watch TV. With both kids in bed, I finally managed to get in my pj's, eat a quick bowl of stew, and complete a database for a research project I am involved in. And now I'm blogging at 10pm. And trying to keep my eyes open.

So as you can imagine, NaNo isn't going so well. :(

Weekend? What weekend?

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Believe it or not, since Hunter has given up football and we don't have a game every Saturday I seem to have less time on the weekend. Go figure. It is striking how quickly I was able to find things to fill the time. Or how quickly others were able to fill my time. I love my family. Really. 

One of the things I'm up to this weekend is a project for one of the doctors at work. A data base that I had hoped to complete for him this weekend... And, of course, I still haven't made bows for the up-coming craft fair... I'd like to get back to sewing Scarlett's mermaid doll... Oh, and as far as NaNo goes, I've written like 1345 words... Shit.

So, I'm going to go get a shower while the minions are being entertained by Daddy. We have a birthday party to attend at one. Boy, the fun never stops, does it? ;-)

Happy weekend everyone!

Visiting The Rixton Witch

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

** This post is from 28/10/13. I have only just realised it never published.**

There really is nothing better than heading to the pumpkin patch in October. Today has been one of those days I wouldn't trade for the world-- I got to spend it with my two favourite pumpkins :-)

My Legacy

          'My face lit up like a firework. 
          My eyes glimmered like stars. 
                       I was amazed. 
           My hands shook ferociously...'

Those are my son's words. My six-year-old son who is going through a million things right now-- including a serious crisis of self-esteem thanks to on-going bullying and an evaluation for ADHD and ASD. God bless him. 

The teacher asked them to describe how they felt when they moved into their newly built school and that was what he wrote. Of course, the spelling and handwriting weren't great, but still... That description! It brings tears to my eyes.

The following week he told me that writing is 'his hobby', so I took him out to buy his first writing journal. Since then he has written one short story. He keeps asking if he and I can have a 'writing day' soon where we drink hot cocoa and work on our stories. I think that sounds heavenly.

I'm dropping my hours at the gym again, to Sundays only with the occasional Tuesday or Wednesday, so I'm thinking that maybe he and I will do a half an hour together before bed each night. It would be a great way to help him develop his writing, learn to value himself, and it would be a wonderful way for us to spend some time together. 

My childhood was not overly accepting of my writing. I was teased for it and told I would never make anything of it. Even now, I wonder if I'm too late to really get anywhere with it. Nonetheless, I am so pleased to have passed my love of writing onto Hunter. And I am going to do everything in my power to help him realise his dreams-- whatever they may be.

So far, so good...

Monday, 4 November 2013

It has been a relatively low-drama morning for once. The little one is dressed cute and in nursery, the big one is happily colouring a picture for his girl friend in the back of the car. It's Monday and there was only a small amount of drama before we left the house-- thank God for the little things...

Family Outing

Saturday, 26 October 2013

God help me...

So, today we are off to get Hunter's Halloween costume before going to his football game. Then a trip to town to the post office, bank, and pick up our second attempt at clownfish. 

This is going to be a long day. And, of course, Bug was up a couple of times in the night, then the kids were up at half seven, so sleeping in wasn't an option. 

Now they are blaring Gangnam Style in the truck. 

Pray for me...

NaNo Preparations

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

As the end of October draws near, I have realised that I am nowhere near ready for National Novel Writing Month. I could really do with an extra week or two to plot out some scenes and get myself started. Last year I went in with an idea and a couple if character sketches, yet I still managed nearly 30k words. I doubt I'll make it to 50k this year, but I would love to get further than last year.  Or at least as far as last year. Thing is I find that if I plan scenes out in depth, I write them much faster. I wish I had enough time to plot out about 60 scenes before November 1st. But first, I need to figure out which WIP to write on for NaNo...

Confessions of a Southern Mother

Monday, 21 October 2013

So, ya'll already know that I have way too many things on the go these days. And, I've mentioned cutting back on my blogs. I don't really have time to keep up with them all anyway.

Well, here's the thing. I do have another blog which, while it is really new and has only had a handful of hits, I do love. I call it Confessions of a Southern Mother. It was where I hoped to go to let off a little steam here and there. I'm not Donna Reed (soooo far from it) and every now and then I need a good rant. Some rants may be a bit cheekier than what my (again, few) readers are used to from me. I wanted a place where I could be a little less polite and a little more... I don't know... less-politically correct at times, down-right sarcastic at others. So anyway, I am trying to decide whether or not I should keep these two blogs separate, since I like having that 'other place to rant' or if I should just make my weekly post here on Mommy Mondays.

What do you think? Has anyone else got more than one blog on the go which share a similar element? Or would you forgive me if on the occasional Monday, when I am exhausted, I direct you there instead of posting here?

Bedtime For Me

Monday, 14 October 2013

I'm too tired to make much of this tonight. I just did my first Monday day shift and my last Monday night shift all in one, so I am barely functioning at this point. I'll be in better shape for Wednesday's post, I promise.

Until then... Night night.

Alpha vs Beta

Friday, 11 October 2013

So, I got a rejection back on the partial I had with Harlequin Intrigue. I'm ok with that.  In fact,  I'm a little happy with it since it was a personalised rejection. I've subb'ed three times ( 1 synopsis, 1 first chapter, 1 partial-- all through contests)  and received two personalised rejections and one form, so hey, go me!

Specifically she said it was too gritty and graphic for the line (yeah, I can see that now) and the pacing was slow with too much romance and not enough suspense (I think I get that, too). These are things I understand and will definitely work on. In fact, sitting here now I can see where my mistakes are.

What I can't decide is if I even want to try to rework it. A friend of mine, Sophie, is reading it and has been asking for the next chapter, but I'm not sure my heart is in it. In all honesty, I have been desperate to finish it only so I could go back to the story I started in NaNo last year that has been calling me. Should I plod ahead, knowing the whole book is a mess, or take some notes and move on? I can always come back to it later. I wonder if Sophie would forgive me...

The last thing the editor said confused and concerned me. She said my hero was 'a bit too Beta for our readership and they will not find that appealing'. Hmmm... Now please understand that I am not questioning her judgement. If anyone knows her stuff it is the editor of such a major line. I am just wondering how to make him more alpha. You see, this hero in particular always came off as a bit too cocky for me anyway. I thought he was alpha, but I guess not. I'm going to have to do a lot more reading,  both of HI books and on what the difference between alpha and beta is.

What I'm really worried about, though, is that this guy was a bit 'too much' for my tastes. I prefer my heroes to be boy-next-door-ish, which I suppose is beta. I like a man who is down to earth, loves his family, and is working to make ends meet like the rest of us. I don't fantasize about some corporate bad ass sweeping me off to Rio. Nope. I'd prefer to watch the Fourth of July fireworks in the back of a pick up truck with a man who has calluses on his hands. So, really, it is safe to assume that most, if not all, of my heroes will be beta.

I do tend to write more small town South (the story in question is set in New Orleans, a place that I am fascinated with, but not somewhere I know well). I suppose, with the exception of a few ideas I have which include a little mystery, that I am more suited to Harlequin American Romance or Entangled Bliss.

And the big question? Is there a place for beta heroes in category romance? What do you think? Have any of you read or written a beta hero in a category romance? And if so, what line?

The Elusive Capsule Wardrobe

I do not have Carrie Bradshaw's closet. Not in size not in contents. Hell, living in England, I find I'm lucky to have a closet, or built-in wardrobe as they call it, at all. What I do have is loads of clothes and not enough time to wear them all-- or heaven forbid have to wash them all. So most of the things in my closet go unworn. Why do I have so many? Simple. I cannot resist a bargain, whether on eBay or in the local thrift shop. So I end up with mountains of clothes that never get worn. It's sad, really.

For years I have talked about starting a capsule wardrobe-- a small collection of clothes that coordinate and allow me to easily choose outfits. Until now, I haven't had the guts to gut my closet. But in my quest to streamline my life, I know that the first thing that has to go is my bulging dressers. This has a lot to do with my recent shift to 'quality over quantity' and my sudden desire to own brand names. Yes, it is an expensive habit (not so much since I'm trolling eBay for everything), but I will be replacing the hoards of inexpensive/no-name brand clothes, shoes, and bags I have with these quality staples.

I have decided, based on loads of research, what should stay and what should go. I just have to put it into action, which I plan to start once the kids are in bed tonight. I have also downloaded a closet app for my tablet that will let me photograph my clothes and accessories and combine them into outfits and a plan for each month (Stylicious I think it was called, I haven't actually looked at it yet). I am relying heavily on info from Project 333, although I don't think I'll make such drastic cuts just yet-- I can't begin to add shoes or scarves in my 'allowance'. I do plan to get rid of some, but there is no way I could live with 3 pairs of shoes and 4 scarves!

So, I'll let you know how I do. Anyone else have a capsule wardrobe? Where did you get your inspiration/rules?

Freshening Up For Fall

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I don't know what it is about fall, but it always makes me crave a new start... and hot apple cider, lots of hot apple cider. This year change seems more urgent than ever. I am, as ever, overwhelmed in this circus that it my life. But instead of moaning about it here, I am doing something to simplify it.

Things at home just keep getting harder. These is a lot going on with my son right now, which I will get into later, and I find myself tired and unfulfilled at the end of each day. I need more time. Of course, I know it isn't possible to create more time-- we only have 24 hours, right? Instead, I need to free up some time.

Currently, I coach Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays-- bare in mind this is all VOLUNTEER. In the next two weeks, I will be dropping Mondays. Hopefully in the next month or so I will be able to drop Wednesdays as well, or at least go to every third. So, that's a start.

I am also really enjoying my writing these days and soooo anxious for NaNo, so I am going to look at adding more hours at my real job, so I don't have to write articles to make ends meet. The time I spend on those articles is way more than I would need to spend on my real job. And I have the added bonus of knowing the bills are paid each month without needing to worry about where it is coming from.

I am moving my web site back to my blog so I can update it from anywhere without needing special software (it has been over a year since I've touched that site, mainly because I need Front Page to do so). I did that last night, but for some reason if you leave off the www it still goes to the old site. I'll try to fix that soon. I am also going to cut back on blogging. Right now I have a load of blogs I write each week-- this is going to move to 2 or 3 at the most. In particular, I am going to start making my Monday Mommy posts more like the Confessions of a Southern Mother posts I write elsewhere.

In the coming weeks, you are going to find many changes to this blog. I am going to change the scenery every now and then. (I just love the new Halloween decorations, don't you?) And I am going to change the things I write on here. I still want there to be Mommy Mondays, but the posts will be a bit different-- in other words, I'll try not to moan so much. Some will be funny (I hope), some will be deep (things are getting a bit tough for my family right now, so I may need to confide a bit), and some will be random (recipes, etc.). Wednesdays will stay about writing. I'm going to keep track of projects and NaNo and even share some excerpts. And Friday will hopefully be about friends and fun (book reviews, movies, crafts, etc.).

I know these changes will make me happier with this blog. I hope they make my (pitifully few, but planning to promote to get more) readers happier as well.

Happy hump day everyone!

Weekend Catch Up

Friday, 27 September 2013

Here's to a weekend of catching up on the things I enjoy! I hope-- I know I won't be getting out of bed without my glasses this weekend. That's for sure. ;-) I am looking forward to a weekend of writing (unfortunately, some of that does have to be article notes :( ), reading, bow making, and hanging out with my family.

I want to catch up on my WIP, because I am behind. Yeah, I know, no surprise there. But I'm still focused on it, so even though I am behind it isn't the worst thing ever. I am desperate to get it done before Halloween, though, because the WIP that I started for NaNoWriMo last year is Halloween-themed and I REALLY want to finish it this NaNo.

I also want to read more-- I am in the middle of Speaking of Love by Ophelia London and I really want to get back to it. Plus, I have some parenting books checked out from the library that I want to finish. As for bow making, I have a few Halloween Orders to fill and I am working on stock for the KAC Christmas Fair. Today, I picked up some Christmas ribbons and I am looking forward to playing with them. I love making bows, so I don't really need an excuse.

Finally, and definitely most important (saving the best for last), Hunter has a football game and after we are picking up 'the Nemos'-- our two new clownfish which Hunter has named Scooby and Shaggy (the blue damsels already in the tank are Fred, Daphne, & Velma). Not only do I plan to read lots of stories to them and color loads, I want to see if I can convince DH to play a few rounds of Scooby Doo Clue with Hunter and I tonight.

So, that's my weekend, if I can fit it all in. What are you up to?

Treading Water

Monday, 23 September 2013

Well, here we are at the start of another week. Yay. And once again, I am painfully behind on the things I need to get done. Honestly, I was right on track until the littlest monster tried to blind me. 

I am teaching Bug to bump down the stairs on her bottom. She is getting to a point where she wants to do everything herself and she loves to climb the stairs, so I thought I'd better teach her a safer way to go down than walking. We are doing well with it, too. Then Saturday after I got her dressed, we started bumping down the stairs. She shifted too much weight forward, fell at me, panicked, and stuck her finger straight into my left eye. That'll teach me not to put on my glasses before leaving bed.

At first I just called for Steve to come get her so I could put a cold compress on it. It hurt like hell. Then after about 30 minutes of excruciating pain I realized that it didn't seem like I'd be able to see anytime soon. I couldn't take the pain (it made me physically sick) and I was starting to get scared. I shouted down to DH to tell him I needed to go to A & E. At A & E, they numbed my eye (bliss) and examined it. I have a massive oval-shaped scratch across my pupil and down the side of my eye. They gave me antibiotics, but sadly wouldn't let me bring any numbing drops home. So when the pain returned, I doped myself up on codeine and went to sleep. Saturday was a blur. Literally.

Sunday, I could see better, but not well enough to read or focus on the computer screen, so my writing has fallen behind again. I think I am going to write off this whole week as far as article targets are concerned and instead just catch up my research and notes like I would have this weekend so I can start next Monday fresh. There just seems to be so many things on my to-do list lately that I don't stand a chance of getting them all done.

That in itself has got me thinking. On my 30 Day Challenge, I have identified three goals. I am supposed to be completing two tasks a day towards these goals, but looking at my to-do list, not a single task is going to help me reach these three goals. It may be time to rethink my to-dos. Again. 

Anyone else find that they are treading water instead of swimming lengths?

Make The Call

Friday, 20 September 2013

So, I'm sat here in the car waiting for Hunter to get out of school and trying to knock a few things off of my to-do list. This is one of them, and it's going to be short, because I still have loads to go. (I took a cheeky nap with the cat while Bug slept instead of working-- don't tell!)

It has been a long, stressful week. I am full of flu and I lost my favorite uncle two nights ago. I still haven't taken that in. I keep getting teary at the worst times and pushing it back. I can't remember the last time I spoke to him. I hope he knew that I loved him and that the world just doesn't seem right without him here. But enough of that, again this isn't the time. The other mothers are looking at me sitting in my car, listening to Dixie Chicks, wiping tears from my eyes, with worry. Best not to scare the locals.

Instead, I leave you with this: pick up the phone. Make the call. Tell someone you love them.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, we meet again...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Honestly, I am starting to think there is nothing worse than Monday mornings. The knowledge that not only do I have to get up and dressed, I also have to get the monsters up and dressed is enough to make me crawl under the covers for good. Add to that the fact that winter is undeniably on it's way-- in other words, it was stupidly cold this morning-- and I just have no interest in getting up. But I have to. So, I did.

Today, I am trying something different. Today Scarlett started nursery on Mondays. She usually goes Tuesdays half a day and Thursdays a full day, but having her home I find I cannot accomplish anything these days. I decided to see if putting her in for the day would mean I could write my necessary articles for the week in one go and make myself enough money to cover the extra fees and get bills paid off a bit quicker. Also, less writing at night means more time with the family. I'd like to say its going good so far. Kind of.

So far, I have done the notes for five articles and even written and submitted one. Then the submission site went down. Yeah. So, I am pausing to write this, because I don't really have time to write anymore articles today-- part of the football kit in the dryer (need to find the rest of it), need to get to the store to get food for tonight, blah, blah, blah... If I had done the notes BEFORE today (they are on my to-do list for Sundays) I would have had no trouble completing three, four, or even all five.

I'm not giving up, though. I'm going to pack my notes and my computer in case I have any time around the store, nursery pick-up, school pick-up, football, or coaching. Otherwise, looks like I'll be writing until late tonight. That will teach me to leave the notes until Monday.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday The 13th

Friday, 13 September 2013

It's Friday the 13th. Yay. I woke up with a banging headache and sore throat. Double yay. The hubby is working all weekend, so even though Hunter has his first football game followed by a performance for three of my teams Saturday and I have to teach tumbling on Sunday, it looks like I'll still be dragging both kids with me all weekend.Triple yay.

However, I am pleased to announce that I am officially halfway through my WIP. That feels awesome. I do plan to work more on it tonight after the kids are in bed. This morning, though, I fully intent to push my to-do's (any that I truly don't have the energy for) to next week. Honestly, it's not that I want to shirk my duties, just that I am soooo exhausted. As soon as Bug gives in to nap time, I'm heading back to bed myself. There's a little reading I'd like to do. Or I might just steal a nap myself.

Ah, Hello Friday

Friday, 6 September 2013

Well, here it is, the end of the week. Finally. And I am beat. Now if only the kids would let me sleep past six tomorrow morning it would be a miracle.

It has been a busy, but productive couple of days, but you will be pleased (and probably amazed) to hear that I am still working on my bucket list. I haven't even looked at the mead making yet, and probably won't for a while yet, but everything else is under way.

Today I wrote three articles-- yes, three! That in itself is something of a miracle. With that done I can get onto my WIP. I am STILL on chapter 6, but I WILL finish it today so I can move on. Plus, my friend Sophie wants to read it! So, yes, I am still working on the 'finish a book' goal.And, although I don't want to get into it right now, I have had a little more initiative to get it done and start my next project.

My mini ocean is up and running. Thanks to the addition of three blue damsels, it is a bit green at the moment, but I've promised the little man a trip to the fish shop tomorrow for some 'Nemos' and a few snails to clean it up. Still haven't caught the elusive crab for his little tank, but I saw him this morning, so he's still kicking-- or maybe nipping.

And yesterday I started my Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge. I've started a new blog (yeah, as if I needed another) to talk about it so I wouldn't bore anyone here. You can find it at:
Christy Kate Gets In Shape if you are interested. So there's another goal in progress.

It's about time to pick up Hunter, though, so I need to knock one more thing off of my to-do list for the day and head out to get him. Gotta go. Happy Friday, everyone!!

Here We Go Again

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Well,  I'm behind again.  I know you aren't surprised. The good news is that I have been able to catch up before, so I can and will now.  Hunter started back to school today  (yaaayyyy!!!!) and tomorrow I go back to work,  well to the office anyway, I've been working from home all this summer. It's time to get back to my beloved schedule!

To be honest, I am not too far behind in everything else,  only my WIP has suffered.  But even so,  I  have written more this summer than I expected. So today's to-do list has 9 things on it. Two are blog posts -- this one and a new blog I started recently more for fun. I doubt I'll get around to the fun one today with more important things on my plate. Not to mention the fact that I'll have to go get Hunter from school in a few hours then cook dinner and celebrate my hubby's birthday. 

And so,  I better get to work. I absolutely must write one article,  finish a chapter, and edit three chapters in the next two and a half hours.  Wish me luck!

It's 10 am!

Monday, 2 September 2013

It's 10 am and I'm still in bed!  Of course, I'm chasing Hunter from my bedroom,  but whatever.  Scarlett did wake up earlier,  but I think she decided to go back to sleep since no one got up to play with her.  This never happens. In fact, my hubby has just asked me if the little one was still alive. I told him that I think so, but I don't want to check just in case I wake her.  It's so nice and quiet for a change.

Today, I plan to stay in my pj's as long as possible,  write a lot, and maybe bake some.  I'm dreaming about my favourite muffins with a cup of coffee. I'm behind on my schedule for my WIP (imagine that) so I need to try and catch up. I also have to write a couple of articles. What I wouldn't give for a day to do nothing. But,  mommies don't get time off.  So even if I didn't need to write, I wouldn't get to relax all day. 

Oh well, might as well get this day started.  I'm going to go visit the fish and find that recipe.  And see to the baby that DH just woke and walked away from. Happy Monday!

Donuts for dinner...

Friday, 30 August 2013

..  Because sometimes you just have to. 

It has been a long and busy week for me.  My boys have been traipsing all over England and Scotland while Bug and I have had five straight days of cheer.  Well,  to be fair,  Bug only had three,  she's spent the last two at nursery. 

What I wouldn't do for a day to do nothing.  It won't happen, though, the boys come back tomorrow and I have a party I want to go to.  Not a wild, drunken party, of course, a house warming.  My days of drunken parties are long over.  I also have to clean out Hunter's fish tank and go have the water tested in mine.  By the way, getting a marine tank was such a wonderful idea.  I love it!

So another busy day awaits me tomorrow. Then there's coaching on Sunday and the start of another full week.  So tonight,  now that Bug has stopped throwing up and fallen asleep,  it's wine and donuts for dinner.  You know you're jealous.  ;-)

Girls Only Week

Monday, 26 August 2013

Well, DH left yesterday with the oldest monster on a boys only road trip. It could have been a family vacation, but I couldn't get the week off from coaching. Well, that isn't strictly true. I could have taken time off from my gym, but Thursday and Friday I am coaching another team and I couldn't reschedule that.

So, Bug and I are home alone. It might have been fun if I wasn't working every day. But I am. So, even though I have a friend coming to stay for a couple of days and we plan on drinking a fair bit of wine, making bows, and watching girly movies it is still going to be a very long week. Not to mention, school starts next week, so I need to get school uniforms ready. And right now on my to-do list is 7 items long-- all writing-- about 14k words worth. Speaking of work, I should get back to it...

Bucket List

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Okay, there are a number of things I have always wanted to do in my life. Honestly, most of them are things I just sigh and say 'maybe someday if I have the time/money'... You know the drill. 

Four stand out above the rest right now and with my 38th birthday only a few weeks away, I have decided its time to start ticking some boxes. What are these crazy four things? Well, they aren't really all that crazy.

1. I want my very own mini ocean (aka a nano reef fish tank) for my office. As a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist. Well, not at first, at first I wanted to be a mermaid (still do, lol). Unfortunately, I followed some well meant advice and went into the medical field. So, I'll have to settle for a marine aquarium.

2. I want to get back in shape. This isn't really a bucket list type goal, but still something I intend to start on ASAP. My hubby has put my treadmill back up, so I can get back on it! Also, I have decided to start the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge. I'm actually looking forward to the cheap, easy meals.

3. I want to start brewing mead. This one may have to wait until Christmas, since the first one has cleared out my bank account. I've been wanting to brew and collecting reciepes (my magical realism WIP is even about the owner of a meadery) forever, but I'm willing to wait just a little longer. 

4. I want to finish a book-- or more accurately 5. Now, I'm not delusional. I know it takes time and I have to actually sit down and write (both of which are a struggle with two kids and two jobs), but I am going to do it. 

Okay, these aren't really 'before I die' sort of things. I'm thinking more along the lines of before I turn 39. And I am already hard at work to make them come true. I have been writing a chapter a week for a few weeks now, I have already worked out how to add exercise to my week, and last night I won a marine reef tank on eBay!

Are they things I need to do? Not really. But I am tired of thinking that I will be happy when we move home. Why should I wait? Hell, at the rate things are going, we may not get to go home. I've been putting off my happiness until a day that may never come. Not any more.

What is something you want to do that you have been putting off because of time or money?

Split Personality

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

How many personalities are too many personalities?  Or in other words, how many pseudonyms can a writer have? Now,  don't get me wrong, I have heard of writers who have written under ten or twenty different names, but that just seems like too much work. 

I do wonder, though,  if I need another one...  Or two even.  I already use Christy Kate McKenzie.  It's on this blog,  my website, my Facebook,  my Twitter-- everywhere.  It's the name I plan to use when I finally write my magical realism stories.  It's also the most fitting name for my small town romances,  but it just doesn't seem right for my intrigues.  Back when I started writing with the goal of being published in both the Harlequin American and Intrigue lines I thought I'd have a pseudonym for each line. 

I still think I need a different name for romantic suspense,  but now I'm wondering if I need to separate my small town romance from my magical realism. My favourite author,  my idol really,  published one book with Harlequin before she began to publish magical realism and she used two different names. 

Now, I know that I am putting the cart before the horse here.  I am not published.  In fact, I have only just had my first request for a partial. But I am confident that I will be published eventually,  even if I only self-publish. My time will come and I want to make sure that I am going about this right.  There is so much importance these days on branding and platforms,  it is vital to get it right from the start.

I am torn.  Part of me thinks that I should separate my romance from my magical realism to appeal to a larger audience; part of me thinks I should use the same name for both to lead romance readers to my non-category work.  I also have three pseudonyms already to go should the need arise.

So,  my question is this: Do I write intrigue in one name and everything else in another and do I also choose a third to separate the romance from the magical realism?  Anyone have experience with this and willing to chime in?

Still going... Barely.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Two more weeks of summer vacation.  I don't know what to think about that.  Part of me is desperate to get Hunter back to school; part of me is dreading going back to work.  Although,  it should be less stressful than the last few weeks of summer camps.  God,  shoot me if I decide to open camps to the general public again. Seriously,  just put me out of my misery.

To top it off,  I have spent all of my time at camp and working on cheer stuff and my WIP so I am dangerously behind in my real work.  And my boss asked today if I can get it to her by Friday.  Ahhh!!  It looks like it's going to be a long week.  Unfortunately, I am also behind in my WIP by one chapter.  But with the new work deadline I may just have to leave it behind  and catch up in a few weeks.  On the plus side, I haven't had any mommy melt downs lately. So that's something I guess.

I'm going to run now.  I have to work on my WIP a bit more  (I've already done all I can on my real work today without going mad).  If I can just get through one more scene I'm going to reward myself with a little crafting time-- I made a pattern for a mermaid doll for Bug ( okay,  I'll probably make one for myself as well)  and I'm anxious to cut out the felt!

Until,  Wednesday!!

Decorating a room like home...

Saturday, 17 August 2013

I have one more week of summer camps!! Yay!! Maybe after that I'll ge some time to really write.  It's not that I haven't written anything,  just not nearly as much as I would have liked to.  Mostly because I have been working 69 hour weeks and coming home to do hospital work,  then crashing.  But soon I'll be back to normal work, Hunter will go back to school,  and my Mondays and Fridays will go back to being MY days.

In preparation for this,  I have started to redecorate my office at home with things that remind me of home and of my goal of moving back to NC,  or more specifically to he Outer Banks. Soon my office will be really beachy!  I  bought some great pictures and have picked our a light.  Just need some new curtains. I need to start using my office again.  I have been so tired that I have moved the computer into the bedroom.  I'm getting a bit done,  but not as much as I could if I didn't just want to sleep.

Once I get it done (and clean-- it has become a bit of a catch-all),  I'll post some pictures.  Until  then, here's my favourite piece so far...


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Today I look like I've wrestled with a fairy! I am covered in glitter!

I set up a rack at the gym yesterday and added some bows to it and today I spend the morning glittering flip flops. I must admit it has been great fun. I have to coach tonight, but tomorrow I'm going to make loads of little bow clips to sell with the flip flops. It's been nice doing some crafty stuff in the middle of all of these 69 hour work weeks. 

I'm still writing, too. I've made it my goal to finish a chapter a week until its done. That seemed like a realistic goal, even with everything else going on. Eight chapters to go!

Never enough time...

Monday, 12 August 2013

As usual, there just isn't enough time in a day. Today, I worked a 13 hour day at the gym, with BOTH of my kids in tow. Surprisingly, Hunter was awesome today; Scarlett was a brat. But, we all got through it alive. Then I came home and started hospital work, of which I have only just now finished. Or maybe I should say put away for the night-- I'm not sure I am ever going to finish it!

And still there are five things on my to-do list for today. At this point I plan to do three before I crawl into bed: this blog, wash the bottles, and check my list of level 1 stunts for the stunt manual I am writing. Then I can sleep. At least, until Scarlett wakes up in the night. God, I hope she sleeps through. I have to be up at 6am tomorrow to start a 14-hour day. Tomorrow, I will be taking the kids home. I'm not going to keep them out so late.

I think we did okay today. On the Mommy front, that is. Aside from Bug being a mischievous monster most of the day, I didn't yell as much as usual. Of course, I got nearly no work done. Fingers crossed that tomorrow will be okay...

I want to go home...

Friday, 9 August 2013

I'm at work. And honestly, work isn't so bad. It's just that I really want to go home and make pretty bows. I'm making a load of hair bows and flip flops to sell at the gym and the first load of flip flops arrived today. So naturally, I have lost all desire to do anything actually resembling work. I just want to make bows.

Oh, and edit chapter 4 of my WIP. I really do need to get on with that.

Instead, I am working. Sigh...

Polka Dots and Data Sets

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Well, it's official. Bug has a nasty virus. That came with a nasty rash (she is now the polka dotted princess) and an absolute refusal to sleep. She was up until 4am the night before last and 5am last night.

Meanwhile, I have data sets to populate for my real job. And I'm spending my days at cheer camp. I'm not having fun at camp, mind you, my 8 hours there today consisted of trying to keep Bug happy & away from the other kids (she is no longer contagious, but she's highly susceptible to everyone else's cooties) and doing accounting. I don't think that's anyone's idea of fun.

What will be fun-- if the kids ever go to sleep and I ever get my data sets done-- is finishing Chapter 4 of my WIP. This is the one I sent the partial off for yesterday. Or Monday maybe. I don't remember. Anyway, I can't wait to get back to it. 

So, I better get off of here and get some data retrieved (thrilling) so I can get back to the steamy streets of New Orleans.

Happy writing!

Take Two

Monday, 5 August 2013

I started a post early today, but my iPhone deleted it, so here we go again. Today's post was all about how overwhelmed I am at the moment and how I just don't know how mothers manage to work, write, and raise the monsters-- God knows my monsters have driven me crazy all day long. I didn't even get to sit down to write until my eyes were nearly closing and now I'm blogging in bed, hoping I don't pass out before I finish.

No, kids are certainly not conducive to writing for me. Bug has been running fevers and vomiting, so that's always fun, but for the last two days she hasn't had either a fever or been sick, instead she has just cried nearly non-stop. She cries to be picked up, I pick her up, she cries to be put down. She cries to get on the couch, I help her onto the couch, she cries to get down. You get the idea. And, of course, Hunter is his usual ADHD, difficult self with a little added bratiness which has caused him to wind up Bug at every possible chance. Yes, today has been fun.

The only good to come out of today (aside from the fact that I am almost asleep) is that today I sent off my first requested partial. That's right! The partial that was requested in the Harlequin Intrigue Fearless Pitches contest is now sitting in the editor's inbox.

God, that's scary.

I'd like to think I did my best, but honestly, with the amount of stress I've been under this week, I just hope I spelled my name right. So, I'll let you know what comes of it, but it might be a while before I hear. I plan to get to work finishing the book, but not tonight. Tonight, I need sleep.

Goodnight all!

Another Quickie

Friday, 2 August 2013

No time to blog today.  I'm working (no surprise there)  and I have  polish my partial and write the synopsis.  Too much to do and not enough tim to do it in.  So instead of a long post,  I'll leave you with the blurb for my WIP tht I'm working on the synopsis and partial for...

Jilted bride, Maddie, doesn't trust men... especially sly, sexy ones like New Orleans homicide detective, Remy. But when she realizes her prophetic dreams are FORETELLING MURDER, she must trust him to help him catch the killer. Remy has always prided himself on staying one step ahead of the bad guys... and anything resembling love. He doesn't think that his feelings for the fiercely independent and infuriating, Maddie could be anything more than physical attraction. When Maddie's gift makes her next on the killer's list, both must face their fears about taking risks, trusting each other, and falling in love.

What do you think?


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Right. So I haven't really been writing lately. The gym (my fledgling business) has been an absolute nightmare lately, with roof leaks, floods, and 71 hours of work this week-- why the hell did I chose to coach summer camps? Honestly, the only thing I have written was a blurb for yesterday's Harlequin Intrigue Pitch Contest.

I went into the contest nervous. The last time I spent hours honing that 100 words and got a request for a synopsis. Sadly, it didn't go any further than that. This time I didn't spend nearly as much time on my pitch (with everything else I have going on), so I didn't expect much. I figured I'd go in paste my pitch get told no thanks and leave.

This time was very different. This time I pitched to Allison Lyons and she asked me loads of questions. And I made an ass of myself. She asked me what Intrigue authors I read and although I meant BJ Daniels, I said BJ Thomas. As in the singer from the 70's. I was nervous. ;-)

She asked for a partial! I am delighted with that, but I'm no where near ready. I have the chapters written, but I need to polish them (they are very rough) and I haven't even started the synopsis. I hate writing synopses.

So here I am, sat at summer camp trying to keep a six year old and a seven year old from killing each other (they are NOT getting along) and all I really want to do is write. I can not wait until 9pm. Then my last 14 hour day-- for this week at least-- will be over. I am going to try to sneak in a little writing time in a minute.

Gotta go!

Summer Camp and Other Disasters

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

So today was the first day of summer camp. Not that I have the luxury of sending my little monsters off to camp, mind you. Oh no. Instead, I am actually hosting the camp. Yeah. It sounded like a good idea at the time...

It would have been fine if we hadn't had a torrential rainfall which burst a seal on a drainage pipe and flooded reception. The same reception that has only been carpeted a little over a week and has only been open exactly a week. One minute we are doing paperwork, the next we realize we are sitting in our very own lake. Now see, if we had known we could have added swimming and canoeing to our list of daily activities.

So between camp and our regular practices, I worked 14 hours today-- all the while looking after my kids (no easy feat, I tell ya). Then I came home and wrote and article. I do feel very accomplished.

But, now I need to head off to bed. Six am comes really early when you have to get two kids ready and out of the house by seven. And I have twice as much on my to-do list for tomorrow. Night all!

Mommy Melt-down #1

Friday, 26 July 2013

Well, it's day two of summer vacation and I've already had my first melt-down. That didn't take long did it? All it took was a mid-day trip to ASDA with both kids in tow.

But never mind that.  The little one is napping (second nap today, but she was up ALL night), the bigger one is playing, and I think its time for a nap myself. After all, it's a long time until bed time. So where is the fun for Friday? I have no idea. I'll have a look later. Until then, I'm going to take advantage of the quiet. It will probably only last another 5 minutes ;-)


Friday, 19 July 2013

Thank. God. It. Is. Friday.

No, seriously, I could not take any more days in this week. I'll be lucky to make it to Sunday anyway.

Tomorrow, I have to get up at 5am to ride a coach for 2 hours for a cheerleading competition. I am not looking forward to it. So in preparation we have had loads of extra practices. Except for last night. Last night we were supposed to teach a workshop for girl guides, but instead we spent the night sweeping out the gym. It flooded.

Yeah. Mats floating, electrics submerged. It sucked. Luckily it didn't damage the carpet... Since the guy who was supposed to install it stood me up Wednesday. Or the furniture which was delivered today (and was supposed to go in reception, but it never got carpeted). Yeah.

Then today I left early to take Bug to her first photo shoot. Over an hour away in North Wales on a beach. Only to discover that she hates heat and sand. And we were in both for five hours. At least twice today I have wanted to sit down and cry.

Never have I needed my bed more than I do right now.

Good night.

Return of the quickies!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Here comes another quick post. I bet you didn't miss these, lol. Anyway, I just want to be able to make this off my to-do list ASAP, so I figured I'd give you a quick overview on my day today. Yesterday wasn't bad. I told my coed team that we are dropping the Sunday practice (that less than half show up to anyway) until further notice, so that means I will only work 1:30-5, instead of 1:30-9:30. Yay! Progress! I also bought some balls, coloring books, and games to play with the kids while I wait for practice to begin. I'm trying to reclaim some of that quality time I seem to have lost with them.

I have to coach tonight, so once I pick Hunter up at school, I won't have any 'free time' (what the hell is that anyway?) for writing until after 11pm. I don't think I'll have much energy to write or do anything else, really, so I'm going to try to shove some in now. In between lunch and laundry, of course. My little Miss is playing nicely with her Disney Princess castle in her room. I think. I mean, she is awfully quiet so she may have baby powdered her room again, but who cares-- I'm going to get some work done.

Yesterday I came up with a plan to complete 4 of my WIPs in next year-- August to August. There isn't a chance I can do much before August with everything else going on. Really I could do with starting in Septemeber after Hunter has gone back to school, but my birthday is September 10th and I really hoped to be finished with this self-imposed challenge before then. I'm also starting slow with my articles again. I am aiming to do 5 a week for the first few months then up to 10 (where I was before) and maybe even 15 (which I was able to do some weeks). This will help get me out of university debt and keep my bills paid on time which will make life a little less stressful. Now I just have to really do my best to make it work. I may need to stock up on coffee and chocolate!

Anyway, I've got to run. I want to squeeze in an article before I leave to pick up my monster. That way I can do some plotting in the car while I wait for him to get out. Happy writing, everyone!

I'm back.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Where have I been? Well, hell comes to mind...

At Easter we moved out of a house which, as it turns out had been poisoning us for at least a year (gas leak, no wonder we spent so much time ill and in hospital in the winter). That was obviously a good thing, even though it was rather stressful. So we have a new house which we love, but it wasn't the only move I made recently.

After a ridiculously successful enrollment event for my cheerleading program, we continued to sign up new kids week after week until we outgrew our 640 square feet (because we trained 60 kids at a time during the hour-long overlap of two teams-- it was chaos!) and we moved into our own 3,921 square foot gym. It is amazing, but continues to stress me out daily. So my volunteer gig has become a full-blown business, unfortunately, the costs of the gym mean it is still volunteer for now.

So, I'm still at the hospital, and I do love it, but the travel and extra work at home with the kids is really starting to wear me down. In spite of my best efforts, I still haven't been able to claim much more time with my kids. I'm not giving up, though. I have a plan to cut my coaching hours in half on Sundays starting next month, so that's a start. In the meantime, I am going to sacrifice whatever I have to to spend more time with Hunter and Scarlett after school.

And my school? I am pleased to say that I have finally finished my degree-- I'm nowhere near finished paying for it, but at least I have no more essays to write. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that I passed my last course, okay?

As far as writing is concerned, I'm barely doing any. I write maybe one article every week or two and the most I've done on fiction lately is a 100 word blurb for a competition that is coming up soon. I have noticed it. The feeling of not being complete that I get when I don't have time to write. I feel it every day. If fact, as much as I love cheerleading and the gym, I'd give it all up tomorrow if I could just move home to the beach and write in my spare time. You see, if I gave it all up, I would have spare time. Maybe, eventually, writing could become my full-time gig!

 So, it is safe to say that the plan I so painstakingly detailed in my last post didn't really come to be. Of course, it was a 10-step plan. Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?

It's time for a new plan. From here on out I am going to take things one day at a time. I need more time for the kids and myself. I still feel lost and that's probably because I am still trying my hardest to keep a million balls in the air at once. So it's time to drop a few.

I need to be more realistic about setting goals for myself. For example, I need to make small, gradual changes-- not give myself a list of 10 things to try to accomplish. I'm going to start by trying to get more sleep. This may be the hardest goal to achieve since my sleep is constantly interrupted by Scarlett in the night.

 Once I start to wake up more rested, I am going to slowly inch my alarm earlier and earlier. I need to go back to doing morning yoga. Eventually, I want to squeeze an hour's worth of writing into my morning, before the kids wake up. But that's going to take a while. So here I go again. I have to at least try, you know.

Now... it's almost my bedtime. Night all!

Starting over and losing track...

Monday, 1 April 2013

I know, it's been a while. I can't even begin to explain the madness that has been my life over the last few weeks. It all started with a surprise visit from our landlord (who has been MIA for over 2 years) to tell us she's dying and wants the house back. Yeah.

Fast forward to today-- my second serious day of painting our new house-- and so much has changed I barely recognize my life. I've started a real plan to make my volunteer cheer coaching an actual paying job so I can worry less about work (which is killing me). I'm barely scraping by in my last course for my degree. My kids miss spending time with me. My husband and I are at odds. I am struggling to write articles, even though I desperately need the money. And I haven't sat down to write fiction in over a month.

It may be time for a good hard look at my life. I really need to get things back under control.

So here's the plan:

1. Today I started the 30 Challenge that I am so fond of, again. It really does help me gain focus.
2. I will choose my battles wisely. Lately it seems I have to fight for everything and most of what I get really wasn't worth the fight.
3. I will start delegating more tasks for cheer and do everything in my power to stay on top of work and coursework tasks.
4. I will stay off of time-wasters (yes, Facebook, I'm talking about you) until my tasks are complete for the day.
5. I will take a look at those tasks and decide what I really need to do (like writing those articles). Everything else gets delegated or erased!
6. I will aim to have everything done before it's time to pick up the kids. That way I can spend more quality time with them. It's shocking how many times a day I say 'Not right now, Mommy's busy/working.'
7. Speaking of the kids, I'm will make a conscious effort to shout less and play more. Hunter and I played tag the other night before I had to coach and we both really enjoyed it.
8. I will take a little more time for me. I need to start running and doing yoga again.
9. I will get more sleep. Too many nights I lay awake until the wee hours reading (because it is the only time I can read) and am groggy and grumpy the next day.
10. I will start writing every day again. I miss writing and I really do feel lost without it.

I don't expect it all to happen at once, of course. It will be a work-in-progress for a while yet, but I'll keep at it. If I only accomplish a few of these things I know I'll be much better for it.

Now, I'm off to write! Night all!

It's been a while...

Monday, 18 March 2013

No, I haven't died, I just have very little time these days. The last three or four weeks have been a real trial.

First off, my little cheer and dance program doubled in size over the course of two weeks which means we've out grown the church hall and need to find a building of our own. It also means it's time to treat it as a business, so that gives me even more work to do each day.

Then the landlord who we haven't been able to contact in 2 years (not even when the heat stopped working years ago or the bathroom started leaking into the kitchen below) showed up out of nowhere to tell us that she is dying and wants the house back.

And now we've found a new house, but today I had to give away my beloved dog because it's no pets allowed (I'm smuggling the cat in. I will not lose them both.)

Stress has me exhausted and near the breaking point, but I'm pushing through. Unfortunately, I'm just not writing right now. I'm too far behind on everything else-- work, coursework... The good news is that in the next house I won't be sharing an office, so maybe soon I'll get my act together and get back to writing. Until then, I need sleep.

Night all.

Too many to-dos

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

It's going to be a tough one today. I have 11 things on my to-do list and not near enough time since I have to work both today and tonight.

I'm working from home today. My first task is to sort out my work emails. I haven't even looked at work email since last April when I went on maternity. Almost a year. I think I'll have more than a few messages to read and delete. Oh, and I have two separate work emails. God only knows how long that task will take me!

I have seriously fallen off of the 100k writing challenge wagon. There's just so much more to do! I am in the midst of writing dance technique and stunt training lessons, which will likely become books, so I may claim that. No one said it had to be fiction to count. It's better than nothing, right?

So, that's my day. Work, work, and more work. I'll finish just after 9 tonight. If I finish, that is. It's just as likely ill be at home after 9 scurrying to cross off more to-dos. At least I can cross off one already-- this blog post! And maybe the extra writing work will allow me to at least hit the halfway mark on the challenge. I've long since given up the idea of making it to 100k. I guess I'll get out of bed now.

Happy Hump Day!

Mommy Madness

Monday, 25 February 2013

It has been a trying day. Bug has a whopper of a cold, we were up past one this morning, and I've worked non-stop today. I'm writing this from bed and I can't wait to sign off and try to catch a little sleep before the next screaming, coughing episode.

I am making my volunteer coaching job into a part time job to make ends meet, so I spend most days buried in paperwork. Also tomorrow I am back to the real job (after a week off for half term) and I am dreading it. There are so many things I need to do still; so many things I want to do-- like write! I haven't managed much writing in the last month. I am way behind on the 100k challenge. But right now all I want to do is sleep. After all, I'll probably be up with the baby again real soon.

Night all!

My Muse is Drunk....

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

...or on drugs, or something like that. Or maybe she just likes to toy with me. I have loads of overdue to-do's on my to-do app (seriously, the only way I am able to get ANYTHING done in my crazy, over-worked life) which pertain to writing scenes for Valentine Bride, but suddenly I am struck with the need to write The Bee Keeper instead! 

Of course, I don't have the energy for a load of writing at the moment since I am turning the volunteer job of coaching 3 cheer teams into a real job coaching 4 cheer teams and 4 dance teams (yikes!). When I'm not recruiting, I'm choreographing, or doing accounting, or some other 'business-y' task. Or working the real job. Or looking after the monsters.

But here it is. I want to write VB, well, maybe want is a bit strong. I should write VB, but I have a spark for TBK for the first time in ages. I decided a couple of days ago to run with that spark and I've made a little progress with TBK, so I guess I'll keep with it until the flame goes out. Or I may use it as a reward for forcing myself to get on with VB. I don't know. I'm too tired to make such decisions now after coaching over 40 cheerleaders in the space of 2 1/2 hours. I'm just going to grab whichever is closest and get to it. At least I'm writing. :-)

Happy writing, everyone!

Half Term Hell

Monday, 18 February 2013

I love my little monsters. I really do, honestly. But it only takes one day of no school to drive me insane. And today Is day two of half term.

To be fair, they haven't been horrible, it's just that as soon as I get one fed, the other needs something. I don't get a minute to get anything done. Plus there is so much to do these days! The sleepless nights and real job combination is kicking my ass.

But this is the way it goes. I want to write, but I could just as soon go to bed. The muse seems to be keeping the same schedule as the sandman these days. And so, I'm going to go see if I can get a couple hundred words down before I'm flat out. That'll be a struggle tonight.

Happy Monday!!

Bows and bedtime

Friday, 15 February 2013

I am really too tired to post today. And I'm angry with DH, who neglected to even mention Valentine's Day this year. I'm taking him to dinner on Sunday and only asked him to pay the sitter, so I wasn't expecting a gift, but a 'Happy Valentine's Day' would've been nice. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. So rather than spend my post bitching, I'm going to keep it short.

I've been catapulted into a new business venture this past week (long story, but it makes me happy) so I've spent the week making bows for Southern Bug Bows (there's a Facebook page and I'm working on a web site). It has kept me from writing for a while. Well, that and the real job, kids, cheer... The list is 4 miles long. But I've enjoyed it. And tonight I wrote a scene for my WIP-- just over 1200 words! Now, let's see if I can catch up. But first, bed. It's been a long day.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Too little time...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

As per the norm, I am behind on my writing. Surprise, surprise. I haven't had a coherent moment outside of the real job, the want-to-be real job, the new craft business, and being mommy. And tomorrow I am back in theatre, so it isn't likely that I'll get any done then. Maybe tomorrow night if I'm not dead from work and kids. It would be fitting to get back to it tomorrow, since the WIP in question is Valentine Bride. Yeah maybe then.

Tonight I feel like I've been hit by a train full of 10 year olds. Cheer was great, but we held a registration event tonight and I am dead. It was good, but a lot of work. I'm even too tired to make bows even though I have new St. Patrick's Day ribbon. That's how you know I'm beat. So I'm going to sleep now. Night all!

Making up for Monday

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

This is another quickie. I'm writing in the car while waiting to drop off Hunter at school. My neighbour-- the super duper marketer and business woman-- took my idea of a bow shop and turned it into a business for me. I made a couple of cute Valentine's Day bows thinking I'd sell a few and she has me stocking her shop and has lined up some orders for me!

So yesterday was spent bow making. And a good portion of today will be spent finishing up orders. I also need to do loads for cheer since we have this massive event planned for tomorrow. So as much as I need to catch up on writing, the money-making 'hobbies' will have to come first today.

I hate that I have to choose between what I want to do and what I have to do, but today there's really no other choice. I see all of these quotes about how if you want to write you will find time. Today I have to work, take Bug to two doctor's appointments, pick up Hunter from school, finish the bows, and coach from 5-10. I don't know how I'll get all of that done, let alone anything else.

So what about you? Do you have to chose between writing and work? What do you give up to write?

Friday? Where?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Yesterday was such a blur, I honestly don't know where it went. All I know is that I spent a fair bit of money on ribbons. Which, of course, made me very happy.

Tomorrow I'm going to start using some of them. At the very least, Scarlett needs some Valentine Bows for this week. I would have loved to make some today, but first I had to organise my stash and that has taken days. In fact, I'm still not really done with it. The idea is to make bows for Bug and then put pictures on a web site to sell some. But I can't even come up with a good business name right now.

That's a problem for another time. I've just put the baby to bed and since it's the weekend Hunter will be up a while yet, but after I finish this post, I plan to fix myself a cup of tea, wait patiently for the brownies DH just put in the oven, and get back to Valentine Bride. I am so far behind my targets for it (and even further behind on the 100k challenge) that I really need to light a fire under my...

I have kept up mostly with the notes. I've plotted out 2 1/2 of 4 scenes. First up I'm going to finish plotting that third scene then start writing! Because right now, the exhaustion of the day hasn't set in and with enough caffeine and chocolate I can get through at least one, maybe two, scenes.

Off to write I go!

Not-Really-Writing Wednesday

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

This will be another short post. Sorry, but I've got a lot on my mind these days. I start work again tomorrow and I'm still trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to make the extra money I need to make ends meet. To that end, I'm considering a crafty 'side business' to pick up a few extra pounds and still get to use my crafty side. Of course, I wish I could make the money I need writing, but I don't think that's going to happen fast enough to help me now. Not that I ever really expected it would. I know it takes time.

I have a load of writing tasks to do, but I'm struggling. I just have no desire to write today. I swear, I do have the desire and drive to write, just not today. Today all I can think of is the ridiculously high phone bill I have managed to run up (I seriously do not know how) and swimming fees and gas and everything else that I have to pay. I'm too wrapped up in ways to make money to get wrapped up in my writing.

But in not going to give up. I just might have to give myself a break today. It seems like I need to re-charge. I think after running my afternoon errands (which all have to be done between 3 & 4:30) and coaching 5-9pm I may come home and snuggle on the couch with my hubby to watch a show. I can't remember the last time I did that. Maybe adding a little romance to my Wednesday night will spark some Thursday night romance writing.

Happy writing, or snuggling, everyone!

The end is near...

Monday, 4 February 2013

I go back to work on Thursday. After over 10 months. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dreading it. I have grown so accustomed to the stay-at-home-mommy thing. I hate the idea of going back to working and trying to squeeze time in for all of the things I need to do.

I'm only going back part time, but still... I have learned over the last ten months that my children and house are full time plus! Hunter's extra targets and homework, Scarlett's appointments and sleepless nights, just trying to keep dog fur off of the floor-- I don't know how I'll find time for much else.

Last night, after being woken for a fifth time by the little princess, I decided to make a new schedule on a spreadsheet. If you know me well, you'll know that I am stupidly obsessed with organisation. I added everything I want to accomplish in a week, and everything I have no choice but accomplish. It's all there: yoga, writing, work, cheer, running, and a million other things.

On paper it looks totally doable. Of course, it also means getting up at 6 on the weekdays. Which I wanted to do today, but since I was up at five with the baby (and multiple times before then), I was desperate for just a little more time. I've violated my new schedule already. On day one.

I tried to get all of my work done today anyway. I've done well enough. I mean, I'm still behind on yesterday's to-dos, but whatever. Would you believe a friend thought to remind me this weekend that I am not superwoman. Really? As if I had any delusions after the stupid shit I've done lately, lol. ;-)

Well, I'm off to start my never-ending game of catch up. Here's to a productive week for us all. Happy Monday!

Still in the game...

Friday, 1 February 2013

Well, I wasn't one of the four picked in Donna Alward's pitch contest. I never really expected I would be. I mean she had 103 pitches. I only entered in the hope of getting a little feedback and she has promised individual feedback for each of us, so I am anxiously awaiting that. That is enough of a prize after receiving my first form rejection last month.

Just a few minutes ago I mapped out a schedule for finishing Valentine Bride, so I'm pressing ahead nonetheless. If I can keep myself motivated and keep life from getting in the way (always a problem for me) I should be able to finish it by the end of February. Then I'm going to take a couple of weeks to edit it before sending it out. And start on the next one!

Late last year I worked out a schedule which would presumably produce four books a year (my goal and a trait highly desired by publishers). The head start I have on VB means that even thought I have only just started back on it, I can still make that schedule if I work hard enough. I'm going to give it my best. I honestly have no idea what the next few weeks will be like now that my maternity leave is over. I officially go back to work next Thursday. :-(

So this Friday, rather than have fun I have worked myself silly. I have spent the morning working on cheer stuff. I need to make a part time wage out of it now, so today I ordered 5000 leaflets, made 73 phone calls, and sent 48 emails. Seriously. But tonight is family movie night which means a take away, so no cooking, and once the kids are in bed I plan to get writing!

Have a great weekend everyone!

The Adventures of Buddy

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I was ready to go. I was packing up the truck so I could take Bug on the early school run. You see, she naps in the truck for an hour in front of school and I write for an hour, or edit, or whatever. But, of course, the dog blew past me and went on an adventure.

He does this whenever he can sneak out, or just knock me out of the way. Buddy takes himself for walks. He can open doors and gates. He can even let the dog next door out to play. Clever dog. He always comes back about 15 mins later, but still..

So here I am sitting in the truck in the driveway (because Bug is ready to pass out) waiting for the dog to come back. I learned a long time ago that it's no use trying to chase him or find him. He sticks to the river bank where I can't drive and since it's raining I have no interest in walking with the baby through the mud. And in my experience, he's usually back before I get to the river anyway.

So, sorry today's post isn't really writing related. I'm too angry at the damn dog to think writing right now. If he hurries his furry ass up, I might just get to finish the read-through of my WIP before I pick up the monster.

Happy writing everyone!

Back to normal...

Monday, 28 January 2013

I had surgery on Friday. Nothing too major, but still pretty painful. All you really need to know is that it went well and I am still in some pain. Not loads, but enough to wish I could just lie down. Not likely.

It's nearly time for the school pick up, then there's cleaning to do, and cooking... I don't know why I ever thought my family would give me a break. DH did cook/clean all weekend, but he made no attempt to hide his displeasure. He also acted put out that he had to carry the baby since I wasn't supposed to lift for two days. Yeah. It was a fun weekend.

I may just curl up in the back of the truck with the baby during her 'school run nap'. Normally I'd write, but today may be the exception. In the meantime, I think I'll go vacuum.

Have a good week everyone!

Catching Up...

Saturday, 26 January 2013

I didn't post yesterday. Mainly because all morning I was stuck in the hospital with no data allowance left on my phone & all afternoon I was under general anaesthetic. Nothing major and I feel okay today, I just can't lift for two days and I'm really sore.

It works out ok since I have an article and an essay due Monday. That is if the family will just let me sleep/rest/write. I'm not holding my breath. Hopefully, though, I'll get both done quickly and I can get back to the writing I really want to do.

It isn't quite 7am and I really could use more sleep, but I couldn't stand having so much overdue on my to-do list and this task was the only one I could clear quickly. So, I'm going to cut it short and get back to sleep. For once, Mommy has an excuse to sleep late!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Back In The Saddle, Sort Of

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 Woolston, Woolston

This week Harlequin author, Donna Alward announced her very own pitch contest. So awesome.
And I'm back at it. This one isn't specifically a Harlequin contest, and won't necessarily lead to a contract, but the feedback (not to mention awesome first prize) is priceless. Plus, Donna is lovely. I've had the pleasure of chatting with her on Facebook and Twitter a time or two.

So, I'm back to romance. I'm also seriously looking at the submission requirements for Entangled. One way or the other, I WILL get published. Today I pulled out the blurbs for 3 of my WIPs, so it's just a case of picking two (she's okay with more than one, but it's probably too cheeky to sub all three) and polishing them by tomorrow night. They aren't due until Friday, but I'll be in surgery during the day and most likely off my face for the rest of the night. I also have an article and an essay due Monday, so it's going to be a busy writing weekend.

How about you? What are you writing this weekend?

Another long night, another short post

Monday, 21 January 2013

Well, Bug is still sick. So far tonight she hasn't thrown up in bed (like every other night, at least once, for the past 7 days), but I'm chalking that up to the fact that she hasn't had milk... Until now. DH just gave her 2oz because she is screaming & refusing to sleep. Her little belly is grumbly and gassy, so I wonder how long it will stay down. The doctor said only clear liquids for a while, Bug is just not having that. I honestly don't know how much longer we can take this. She's been sick for 5 weeks! My poor little princess.

So, it would seem I'm in for another long night. I just want my happy baby back, the one that slept from 7 to 7 without fail and never cried. I am miserable (not to mention exhausted) because I can't make her better. And I go back to work soon. Like in a week. The doctor says it can last up to 6 weeks, but we are at 5 and it doesn't seem to be easing up any. Guess its time to do a little research on gastroenteritis. Maybe I can ease it somehow.

I'm off to google. Night all.


Friday, 18 January 2013

What a week. After a weekend of vomiting from Hunter, Scarlett started on Monday. And, of course, she has never stopped the diarrhea. Poor little Bug is so ill. We spent most of last night on the pediatric ward. Which means no sleep for me and loads more work. In fact, I realised today that I am about 6k words behind on my 100k in 100 Days challenge. Luckily I have ages to get caught up.

It has been a particularly bad week for my ego as well. Wednesday I found out that after all of that hard work, I did not get th job. I am seriously depressed over that. I really need a second source of income (from home), so its back to looking for work I guess.

To top that off, the Intrigue editor emailed today to say they weren't interested in my book. You might think I'd be sad, but I'm not. I'm bewildered. It was the strangest rejection I've ever received. And not in a good way. I didn't expect much feedback, but she gave me nothing. At all. She told me it wasn't right for Intrigue, but not even a hint as to why. She then told me that just because it isn't right for Harlequin doesn't mean it isn't right for another publisher.

I am seriously wondering if I should ever submit anything to them. It was almost like she was turning me away from the whole house. I mean if my romantic suspense which I wrote according to their guidelines isn't right, will any of, my work be? Is my style or voice not right for Harlequin? I honestly don't know what to think.

Two rejections in one week and a very sick baby. It's time to pull out the whisky. And that's what I am going to do. I am also going to pull out my old Intrigue and my magical realism to have a play with it. Tonight seems like a night for notes and plotting. I'm not sure I'll submit to Harlequin again. I'm not ruling it out, but I think it's time to look at other options. Maybe.

So I'm off to write, sort of. Happy writing everyone!

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