Filed under: Life
Friday, October 2nd, 2015 • No Comments on September, a month in review
I’m tired of the rain…
And so, it’s October 2nd and Hurricane Joaquin is making his way up the east coast and here in Virginia we haven’t seen the sun in a week and I’m wearing my awesome rain boots and drinking coffee. Ah, fall! I could do without the rain, but I am ready for October!
September flashed by quicker than any month so far this year, though I couldn’t tell you why. We celebrated our youngest’s birthday and school is in full swing, for both kids and spouse, which means I’ve already had my first cold of the new school year. (Boo!) I have a regular work schedule again (yay!) and the weeks fly by as I balance school schedules, writing schedules and all the rest of life.
Speaking of writing, this month I wrote several pieces for Mom.me on topics ranging from miscarriage to Minecraft and I had my second byline at Cosmopolitan with a piece on how my husband and I text more than we talk. I’m still waiting to hear about a couple of end-of-month pitches and I’m working on my October Mom.me posts, including today’s funny piece on being a field trip chaperone.
I read a few books this month, all of which I reviewed at GoodReads. I’m trying to get better about posting reviews of all the books I read– I appreciate it as an author and know how important it is, but it also helps me keep track of what I’ve read. This month’s books included Hush by Kate White, Dare Me by Megan Abbott, Hold Me Close by Megan Hart and You by Caroline Kepnes. I’m reading a lot of thrillers these days, and I suppose that’s because I want to write one. There is a plot brewing (stewing?) and while I haven’t committed to NaNoWriMo 2015 yet, there’s a good chance I’ll dive in with this book I’m wanting to write.
September was a month for having friends over for dinner, visiting the park and farmers market and rediscovering the joys of crockpot meals. There is nothing better than a slow cooked pot roast with farmers market red potatoes and carrots! It’s nesting season, a time for snuggling and cooking and contemplation. Oh, I also saw a couple of movies– what Jay has taken to referring to as “old man” movies– A Walk in the Woods with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte and The Intern with Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway.
As October kicks off with this rainy weather and cooler temperatures, I’m looking forward to my 25th wedding anniversary next week, a fantastic fall writers conference, an anniversary trip to see the fall foliage of western Virginia and, of course, Halloween! It will be a month of wonderful memories and (hopefully) delicious surprises. Enjoy all October has to offer!
Thursday, September 10th, 2015 • No Comments on August, the month in review
On the beach at Isle of Palms, SC
Okay, so it’s September 10th and I’m finally getting around to talking about August. It was busy. I have a hard time remembering everything that happened, so I have to pull out my date book and my various to do lists and sales trackers to break it all down. So… August.
I traveled for nearly half the month, spending almost a week in Charleston, SC with the family. I came home for the weekend, did my laundry, packed again and got on a plane for San Antonio. (I wrote a little about that in my July update.) The Charleston trip was part vacation, part house hunting expedition. Yes, we are considering moving back to South Carolina (we lived there from 1993-2000), but it’ll be next year before that can happen. There is still a lot up details up in the air, far more logistics than I’d like to consider, but that seems to be the way we’re headed. I’ll be writing more about it in the coming months, I’m sure, but for now it’s kind of a goal in the distance, with a lot to accomplish between now and then.
The San Antonio trip was a last minute thing– I got to tag along with a friend on her work trip and turn it into a writing retreat of my own. I saw a little bit of San Antonio, including its famous Riverwalk and The Alamo, as well as the notoriously haunted Menger Hotel. I’m planning to write something about the Menger, and work San Antonio into a couple of future pieces. While I was there, I wrote a bunch of new essays (most of which have found homes), pitched a few ideas and reworked a few old essays and sent them them back into the world. It was a productive trip, though I like a little more vacation with my work. Maybe next time.
The rest of the month was spent getting the boys ready for school (older kid started kindergarten, younger kid started pre-K). They’re in a Montessori school, so they started school at the end of August rather than after Labor Day. So at this point they’ve been in school for two weeks. It’s been adjustment, especially for my little guy, but we’re getting there! And speaking of the little one– we celebrated his 4th birthday the last weekend in August. I know the cliche is that time flies, but for the most part it doesn’t seem that way. I’ve been here with them almost full-time since they were born, working only part-time (and when they were very little, at least half of my work time was their nap time), and full-time for the past year. I’m grateful for that time, especially now that my oldest is in school hours than I used to work.
Some days with young kids can seem endless, but most of the time I’m very aware of how fleeting it all is. I think my time with them while they’ve been young has been worthwhile for all of us, especially since they’ve gotten nearly four years of being inseparable. And for me, I feel as if I know them better than anyone, having seen their moods and their developments change and mature. There is something to be said for being a stay-at-home mom, and I’m happy to say I recognized it in the moment and not just in hindsight. Of course, I’m still a stay-at-home mom and my work schedule is built around the 3 days they’re both in school (my little one goes 3 days a week for now), so I’ll be always be here. I hope that gives them confidence to do their own thing and feel secure in knowing I’m right here.
And while I’m right here packing lunches, baking cookies and going back and forth to school (and hanging out with the 4 year old on the two days he’s not in school), I’ve been writing. I have something of a writing schedule again, so I’m not keeping track of my hours, but it varies from week to week from “almost enough” to “not even close to enough,” and that’s okay. I’ve found a way to write fairly regularly and although my to do list is far longer than the hours I get each week, I have enough time to sustain my creativity most weeks. Yay for that!
August bylines included several posts at Mom.me, including one of my favorite pieces about how we gave our oldest son two middle names, one of them being the dog’s name. We lost Henry in 2011 and I still miss him all the time.
I also had some first-time bylines in Cosmopolitan (After a Childhood Spent on Diets, I’m Finally Done) and Country Living (8 Things Not to Say to a Military Wife), as well as another piece in Good Housekeeping (Being a Mom Doesn’t Define Me). Finally, I did something new– an interview piece (with kids!), sponsored by Airbnb for Huffington Post (We Asked These Adorable Toddlers if People Are Good).
Rolling into September, I have filed a couple of my Mom.me posts, tackled another sponsored interview for Huffington Post and I’m working on some fresh pitches. Autumn is my favorite season and I’m anticipating it being very productive!
It wasn’t all work and no play in August. I saw a few movies (Minions with the boys, which was cute, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.– Henry Cavill, mmmm!) and read one of my favorite books of this–or any– year: Megan Abbott‘s The Fever. Brilliantly written. It was the first book I’ve read by her and now I want to read everything she’s ever written. It’s that good!
I think that wraps up August. This summer has been a bit of a blur of fun times, emotional moments and a sense of being in constant motion, emotionally and physically. Always growing, always changing.
Here’s to a beautiful fall season!
Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 • No Comments on July’s Month in Review, a little (lot) late
Riverwalk, San Antonio
Greetings from Texas! I’m sitting in a Starbucks next to San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk, taking a little end-of-summer writing getaway before the madness of fall and back-to-school start. Not that it hasn’t been mad, and chaotic, for the past couple of months. Where did July go? How is it August 12 already? Last week I was in South Carolina with the family, this week I’m in Texas. That’s where August has gone so far…
July was a whirlwind. The big, big event was Jay’s retirement from the Navy. We closed out a 28 year career with a lovely ceremony and family and friends in town to celebrate. It’s been a long–and not always easy– road, but the Navy life is now behind us and Jay is a military retiree. And there are so, so many changes coming in the next year. A new career for him, a new home for us, new schools for the boys… a new chapter in our lives. It’s exciting, and a little scary. But I’m ready.
July was a month of grilling out, hanging out and writing when I could. The boys were in art camp for two weeks, which mostly meant an introduction to school for the little one and a chance for them to both torment the teacher at the same time. I’m not sure a lot of art was made, but the end result was a few extra hours of writing time for me and an okay experience for them. My youngest is ready for school, my oldest is happy he’ll be seeing his preschool teachers again for kindergarten and lunch boxes have been purchased.
Sheri (my oldest friend from Florida, we’ve been friends for 27 years!) was in town for Jay’s retirement, so we took to the boys to see Inside/Out. Such a good movie, and one that I think kids can watch again and again and get something new out of it each time (and adults, too). I also saw Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation in July, and there were the usual trips to the park and zoo. It was a good, happy, emotional month.
On the writing front, I wrote some fun pieces for Mom.me in July and had another piece at Good Housekeeping. Best Erotic Romance 2015 was finally released (under the new title Best Erotic Romance of the Year, Volume 1) after a very long wait. My future with Cleis Press/Start Publishing is a game of Magic 8 Ball: “Ask again later” or “Outlook not so good.” I don’t know what to say on the subject, so I simply focus on my writing and keep moving forward and write apologetic emails to authors who would like answers. So would I, dear authors. So would I.
In good news, one of my reverted anthologies has found a home! The title will likely change, but For the Love of a Soldier will be published by Circlet Press. I don’t yet have a timeline for publication, but it’s nice to know this book will find a good home. I wish the same could be said of my other anthologies.
I think that sums up July. For such an action-and-emotion packed month, I don’t seem to have much to say about it. But it was memorable and life-changing. And sometimes a few words is all you need to tell the story. And now here I am in August, enjoying (ha!) the 102º Texas heat for a few more days. Then it’s homeward bound to get the kids ready for school and make lengthy to do lists for those school hours. Fall is around the corner, but I’m holding on to these last few weeks of summer. I hope you’re enjoying every moment.
Hey, look! It’s a river in the middle of the city!