Filed under: Writing
Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 • No Comments on December, the month in review
Me and my iced coffee, with a very special sleeve gifted to me by a Starbucks friend
Oh, December! Here we are at the end of the month and at the end of the year. It’s a balmy 73º in Virginia, which is disheartening for this Florida girl who likes her holidays with a little chill (and even a little snow). Ah well, Christmas has past and the New Year is just a few days away. I can deal with the warmer weather as I take down the holiday decorations and return my house to its pre-holiday plainness– a clean house to start the new year with a clean slate.
But first… December. This month, my oldest baby turned 6. Patrick has given us six happy years of little boy energy and humor and creativity and it’s a joy to watch him grow. He is the kid who made me a mom and I marvel at his imagination, his independence, his kind heartedness. I can already see hints of the man he will become– probably because many days he seems more like a teenager than a little boy. I’m in no hurry for him to grow up, but I find myself giving him space and time to explore his interests, knowing he’s inherited some of my introverted, introspective ways.
Christmas was fun. The boys were excited for the arrival of Santa (and I’m so happy for that!) and though it was a small just-us-four Christmas, it was special. I made my signature lasagna bolognese on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we stayed home in our pajamas all day and spent most of the morning opening presents. It was a memorable holiday, most notably because there were no sad moments for me. It was all joy, mixed in with the madness that goes along with having 6 and 4 year old boys (can you say cabin fever?). This is the Christmas I always wanted for myself.
It’s been a light writing month, as is to be expected with all of the holiday-related activities at school and home. I wrote about everything from jump starting your sex life to the “myth” of motherhood for Mom.me and I wrote a fun piece for Book.bub on book boyfriends to keep you warm this winter. I’m planning ahead to 2016 and it looks like I’ll be writing more erotica next year. I have a new anthology (likely my last) coming out in February. The One Who Got Away is possibly my favorite anthology theme ever, a bittersweet collection of stories about second chances. I’ll post more about the book as we get closer to the release date.
December movies included Star Wars: The Force Awakens (of course) and Spotlight, a film I haven’t seen much about despite it’s brilliant cast (including Mark Ruffalo, whom I adore), terrific script and the fact that it’s based on real life events. Check it out if you have a chance. My interest in investigative journalism (and the aforementioned Mr. Ruffalo) is what compelled me to see it, but it ranks right up there as one of the year’s best.
2016 promises to be a year filled with new bylines, family adventures, unexpected surprises and probably a few unpredictable (and some fairly predictable) challenge. But as December fades away, I’m savoring all that 2015 has been– the good (very, very good), the bad (not a lot, but enough for me to appreciate the good that much more) and the ugly (me, before coffee and/or in a hospital bed). It’s been a whopper of a year and it seems fitting that it ends quietly and peacefully, much as it began. Now, if it were only 20 degrees cooler…
Me and my boys at the school holiday concert
Goodbye, December. Onward to January 2016!
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!