Friday, December 4th, 2015 • No Comments on November, month in review
26 Thanksgivings together!
Of course I’m a few days late. It’s the holiday season! I’d ask the cliched, “Where did the year go?” but I feel like I’ve been very present and in the moment this year (at least, most of it) and have been enjoying watching it unfold. I was thinking how this has been one of my best years ever, with the exception of that near-death experience in spring. Does that make me an optimist, to look at the year I almost died and still be able to say it was one of my favorite years? Maybe. I’m okay with that.
November was a quiet month. My dear friend Sheri was here for her annual Thanksgiving trip. We’ve known each other for 27 years and since 1990 when I got married she has only missed two Thanksgivings with us. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Sheri. We had a nice visit, hung out with the boys, drank a lot of coffee, talked about life and pie and Chopped and travel and politics. It’s the one week of the year that truly does seem to fly by.
Coffee break with Sheri
I had some fun bylines for Mom.me in November. I wrote about blended families and child-free friends, as well as what to know before you go to the hospital and the things I refuse to feel guilty about (long, hot showers are on the list!). And so far this month, I’ve written about jump-starting your sex life! I also pitched a few ideas to new venues (a few rejections, a few responses still forthcoming, hopefully) and got an offer to be a regular blogger for another site! I’ll share details soon, I still have paperwork to fill out and submit. But I’m excited I’ll be going into 2016 with two regular writing gigs.
Oh, and the November movies of the month were Spectre (mmm… 007) and the Peanuts Movie. I really enjoyed Spectre, and the Peanuts Movie was a cute film for a family outing.
Mostly November has been about reflecting and nesting– and decorating for Christmas. I have a few more pieces to write and loose ends to wrap up for December, and then I’ll be really hibernating for the holidays, cooking and baking (and eating) and reading and watching movies and enjoying my family. It’s the most magical time of the year and what a lovely year it’s been.
Wishing you a happy holiday season!
Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 • No Comments on October: the month in review
Autumn in Virginia
With the exception of a couple of minor hiccups–most notably, getting water inside my laptop bag and thinking my MacBook Pro was a goner–October 2015 will go down in history as one of the best, happiest months of my life. (The Mac is actually performing just fine as I type, but there is a MacBook Air on order, just in case.) The biggest, happiest event of this month was celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary. Silver! It’s been a hell of a wonderful, mostly smooth-sailing, ride and I am so grateful for the amazing, kind, handsome, brilliant man I chose as my partner through this wild, beautiful life.
So in love… still.
I traveled the backroads of Virginia in October, discovering that I really do love this state I’ve called home for fifteen years. So much so, I’m having a hard time thinking about leaving it! Time will tell where the Wrights will settle, but the trips were inspirational, life changing and love affirming in different ways.
The James River Writers Conference was held in Richmond October 16-18, and it was simply one of the best writers’ conferences I’ve ever attended. Don’t be fooled by small(ish) regional conferences, they are the where you find your people. I met some friends I’ve known for years online, I made some new friends, I talked about everything from editing erotica to creating believable characters to content marketing. I am delighted I was invited to attend. It was a terrific weekend!
Me with my erotica writing co-panelist, the multi-talented Alexis Anne, and our fantastic moderator, MM Finck
I was home for 4 days before packing up and heading to The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, a beautiful and historic resort that is part of the Omni hotel chain.
The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia
I’ve always been pleased with the eclectic diversity of the Omni properties because no two are alike and I really love that. The Homestead is amazing– a resort that offers everything from hayrides and falconry to miniature golf and childcare. As this was our family anniversary trip, we enjoyed family time as well as couple’s time, thanks to the Kids Club. The boys had so much fun the first day, they wanted to go back the next day! So Jay and I got to enjoy some quiet time (and an amazing breakfast buffet in the elegant main dining room) while the kids enjoyed their “independence.” It really was a wonderful family trip.
The boys and a horse named George
October was such a busy month, I didn’t get to see as many movies or read as many books as I would’ve liked. In fact, the only movie I did see was Hotel Transylvania 2 with the boys. As cute as the first one, I thought, and a great way to kick off the month. I plan to be home through the holidays, which means the usual cooking and baking, plus I want to catch up on my reading and see a few good movies. The new James Bond flick is definitely on my list!
This month for Mom.me I wrote about Mommy Trolls, having kids with a big age difference, the things that no longer matter now that I’m a mom and the woes of being a field trip chaperone. I’m happy to be writing for a terrific parenting website that allows me so much freedom to explore my interests. It’s particularly rewarding to see my pieces shared because I know it means I’m connecting with people.
This has been such a wild, whirlwind year of writing (mostly) nonfiction and exploring my interests and challenging myself to break into new markets. I had two bylines this month that meant a lot to me. I wrote my second piece for Narratively on a topic I’ve never tackled before, at least not as nonfiction. Check-In Time At the Most Haunted Hotel in America is about the historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. I got a chance to visit the hotel in August and the experience stayed with me. In fact, I pitched this piece while I was at the airport on my way back home. I’m happy with the way it turned out and the staff at Narratively did a beautiful job pairing my piece with some amazing atmospheric photographs. (And the ghost photos toward the end were courtesy of a woman I found through a Facebook search– you just never know who’s reading your public posts!)
As for new markets, I am overwhelmed with the response I’ve received to my first piece for Role Reboot. What It Means to Be the Fat Girl was a very personal piece to write– one I wasn’t sure I’d find a home for– and it’s been gratifying seeing that it is the most read piece on the site. I have a lot of writing goals for 2016 (yes, already) and one of them is to be a regular contributor at Role Reboot and write more essays and articles that address the experiences of so many women– many who feel as if their voices aren’t represented by mainstream media.
With less than two months left in 2015, I’m considering my accomplishments and measuring my failures and shortfalls. I haven’t written as much as I would have liked this year, although I think I have several valid excuses–from traveling to nearly dying to not having regular childcare. There are times when I have to take a deep breath and let it go– there simply isn’t enough time right now to write everything I want to write. On the other hand, I know there has been wasted time in my schedule this year, times when I should have been writing and, for whatever reason, didn’t. But overall I’m pleased with the direction 2015 has taken and I’m ready to start planning 2016.
It’s nesting season for me– and my favorite time of the year– which means enjoying family and friends, filling the house with love and laughter and contemplating the future. Wishing you all a very joyful November!
Here’s to a beautiful fall!
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!