Me, at 47

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 • 3 Comments

10308152_10152387945486907_2619289848474361841_n

I put on my sneakers last week for the first time in over a year and started moving again. I haven’t really felt like my healthy self since I had gallbladder surgery in March 2013. Ironically, in the couple of months leading up to surgery, I was thinner than I’ve been since before I had kids. Not that I weigh myself or care about being skinny (I’m not, and never will be). But I felt good, in between gallbladder attacks, that is. I don’t know why I didn’t bounce back to that feeling good place after I recovered from surgery, but I didn’t. And now I’m tired of feeling… well, tired. Tired of my clothes not fitting properly, of feeling less-than-healthy. So the sneakers are out of the closet and I’m working on it. Slowly, but still… taking that first step, followed by a thousand more.

On the eve of my forty-seventh birthday, I’m not taking stock of my life so much as I’m considering how full my life in my forties has been– and how physically and emotionally challenging. Before my fortieth birthday in 2007, Jay asked me how I wanted to spend it and I’d said I wanted to wake up in London. And so that’s what we did. I spent my 40th in my favorite city– and I haven’t been back since. Life has been… busy.

I didn’t know what my forties would bring, but it’s been a whirlwind. From that trip to London to less than three months later, when I learned of my estranged mother’s death, I feel as if I’ve been in constant motion– with constantly changing emotions. I could spend days talking about my relationship with my mother and our lack of contact in the last decade of her life, but I won’t. Her absence from my life was necessary for my emotional health, but her absence from this world is something I am still coming to terms with. People who are gone from our lives still cast a shadow, that much I’ve learned. Some things take a long, long time to get over. And some things… well, there are some things I’ll never get over.

At the end of 2007, five months after my mother’s death, I threw out my birth control pills and decided to try to have a baby. I was forty years old and it felt like “now or never.” Or, more likely “never, but I have to at least try.” After two miscarriages (at 23 and 30), it was a long shot, but in July 2008, on a mid-deployment rendezvous in Florida, I got pregnant. Quick, easy. And less than 8 weeks later, I miscarried. Slowly, painfully. I was told by a Navy ob/gyn that, because of my age (41 at the time) and numerous fibroids, I had a 3-5% chance of carrying a pregnancy to term. The odds were not in my favor, I knew that. I also knew that I wouldn’t quit until I ran out of time. And we tried again.

I got pregnant in March 2009 and promptly found a civilian ob/gyn who would see me immediately and who prescribed progesterone as a precaution. Around that same time, I pitched some anthology ideas to Cleis Press, a publisher I was familiar with because I’d sold numerous stories to other anthologies they’d published. In the spring of 2009, I threw myself into writing, into pitching new ideas and challenging myself to do new things. The reason is obvious: I was waiting for another miscarriage to happen and needed distractions in place to combat the inevitable sadness and grief.

I contracted for my first Cleis Press anthology, Fairy Tale Lust, in May 2009– and I was still pregnant. I wrote my call for submissions, kept writing my own stories, stayed busy with friends, kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. The shoe did drop, but it wasn’t a miscarriage– it was Jay having to deploy in October 2009 to Dubai for eight months. I was panicked, depressed, scared to death. I was going to be alone through some of the most challenging months of my entire life– me, who had never so much as changed a diaper– and I didn’t know what to do except prepare as best I could. I kept writing, editing, pitching. I was far enough along in my pregnancy to believe everything would be okay, but I’d been through too much at that point. It seemed too good to be true and I wouldn’t believe it was real until I held a baby in my arms.

In December 2009, I gave birth to a healthy 8 lb. 10 oz. baby boy via Cesarean section and Jay got to be there for the birth of his son and for two weeks after. I was entirely alone with the baby for two months after that, then I hired a friend to babysit part-time so I could keep writing and maintain my sanity. In May 2010, right after my 43rd  birthday and my first Mother’s Day, Jay came home from his last deployment. A few weeks later, Fairy Tale Lust was released. After a year of riding an emotional roller coaster, it seemed as if I’d found my balance. Jay was home, I had a babysitter, I was signing more contracts with Cleis Press, I was writing for other editors and publications, I had people I loved and who were there for me. Life was good.

Life was so good, in fact, that even in the midst of post-partum recovery, I’d considered having another baby. The odds were still not in my favor, but I’d done it once. Just eight short weeks after my baby was born, while my husband was still deployed, I told my ob/gyn that I was thinking about doing it again. He hugged me, for the first and only time. He said he’d been worried about me, but that if I could consider having another baby after all I was going through, then he knew I’d be okay. He also said it might not happen– those damned odds, after all.

I went back and forth over whether I wanted to try again– and when. We hadn’t given away any of the baby stuff, so clearly my heart was in it, I just didn’t know when I’d be ready. Mother Nature has a way of making things happen whether I’m ready or not, and in December 2010, exactly one week after Patrick turned one (and the very first time we weren’t careful), I got pregnant again. To be honest, I panicked when I did the math. Two babies under the age of two? Nooooo! And, of course, there was fear. The odds weren’t in my favor. One healthy pregnancy up against three miscarriages. I couldn’t let myself get too hopeful. I kept busy with the baby who was growing into a toddler, I threw myself into writing and pitching more anthology ideas, I saw the release of  a couple of new books, I worked on my relationships and I held my breath. Would it work out this time, too?

In September 2011, I gave birth via C-section once again to a healthy 10 lb. 15 oz. baby boy. Jay was home, our babysitter was in place, I had friends I trusted to offer support. It was not a physically easy pregnancy, but it was emotionally peaceful. Where the first pregnancy and birth had felt almost apocalyptic, the second one felt like a celebration. We welcomed our second son into the world and life was good. So good.

And life continues to be good, so good I’ve even toyed with the idea of a third baby, though I’ve (mostly) decided that two is (probably) enough. And at my age, the odds are nil. But still, amidst all the goodness it has been an emotional roller coaster these past few years, going from a forty-something woman without children to a forty-something woman with two very young children. There was the gallbladder surgery in March 2013, making three surgeries on my poor body in four years. There is the ongoing quest to find and maintain the balance of family, writing, self. There was the brief panic in 2012 when we lost the only babysitter our boys had known and had to find a new one (who has been awesome and who is now getting ready to leave us… sigh). There was the loss of someone I considered family and thought would always be there, but turned out to be someone I could not trust and didn’t want in my life. There have been friends who have fallen off the grid (though, to be fair, they might feel as if I was the one who disappeared), there have been the friends who have been there in ways I never imagined needing anyone. There has been a shift in interests and priorities, a growing sense of richness and texture to life I didn’t have just a few years ago. There have been discoveries about who I can really count on– and the list is shorter than I once believed, but I’ve made my peace with the fact that some people will simply never be what I need them to be and those who are… well, I treasure them. I’ve been slapped in the face with reality more times than I can count, yet I’m still here, still believing in impossible things, still dreaming, still writing, still looking for balance. And I find it in Jay, who still remains my rock of unflagging support through everything. Twenty-four years and counting. The writing and the marriage– they keep me balanced, sane, brave.

1925237_10152235130391907_66427989_n

My forties started with a trip to London, but I’ve traveled so much further than that. I’ve learned through grief and loss to appreciate the moments of pure joy. I’ve learned through betrayal to be careful where I place my loyalties– and my time. From being alone with a newborn, I learned I can do anything I have to do. I also learned I have the love and support I need so that I don’t have to do it all by myself, I just have to ask for help. I’ve learned that I can miss a dog as much as I miss a person– and that’s a lot more than I thought my heart could take. I’ve learned that getting a new dog “for the kids” won’t keep me from falling in love with that dog, too. I’ve learned that my patience may not be endless, but it runs deeper than I thought. I’ve learned to be at peace with myself and my life. I’ve learned that true love lasts and endures. I’ve learned to cherish my alone time and to appreciate the noisy times almost as much as the quiet moments. I’ve learned that being a forty-something wife and mother has done nothing to dampen or discourage my big, big dreams. Except now I dream big not only for myself, but for my children. I want to show them– need to show them– that the odds don’t have to be in their favor for life to turn out beautifully. A 3-5% chance means there’s still a chance. And as long as there’s a chance, there’s hope.

10004051_10152284076076907_603486141_n

And now here I am, on the last day of being 46, looking forward. The rest of my forties beckon with promises of good things to come and things to learn, because I’m a long way from having it all figured out (though I’m a lot closer than I was at 40). There are decisions to be made: whether we’ll get a new babysitter, or I’ll stay home with the boys, or we’ll try Montessori school. After that, there’s the decision of whether we’ll home school, as I’ve been considering for the past year. There’s Jay’s impending retirement from the Navy in 2015, which means no more deployments ever, but leaves a big question mark as to what we’ll do post-military retirement. We talk about moving, but I don’t know if we will. We’re rooted here in Virginia, this is where my babies were born, where I discovered a new, and hopefully better, version of myself, where we’ve made a life that started with two and is now four. I have always been a nurturer, a caregiver, a protector. And now I’ve come into my own and discovered a wealth of inspiration in the experience of motherhood (as well as frustration and exhaustion, but let’s focus on the inspiration).

Then there are the books and stories that need to be written, the anthologies that need to be edited, the comfort zone that I need to keep pushing. I have an amazing publisher and while I basically fell into this editing gig by accident, it’s been a pleasure and a challenge to curate several anthologies a year. Cleis Press is moving into new territory with the Tempted romance imprint and I’m excited to be a part of something new. I’m also ready for new challenges and adventures in writing and I’m seeking a connection with other writers like I never have before. Balance, balance, it’s always about balance. There are so many words in me that need to come out– but first, there are flowers to pick and pictures to draw and moments to savor.

I won’t wake up in London on my 47th birthday, but I’ll be some place wonderful. I’ll be happy. A friend once told me that the hardest part about exercising is putting on your sneakers. I get it now. It’s all mental, an attitude of wanting it bad enough– whether it’s exercise or writing or relationships or finding the balance in my life. The hardest part about being happy is believing I can be, believing that it doesn’t have to be a short trip to someplace I might never return, that it can simply be my life. So I’ve put on my sneakers and I’m ready for a beautiful, adventurous, happy year. Goodbye, 46.

Hello, 47.

1979665_10152288806326907_1029651581_n

 

Posted by Kristina in Life
 

Calls for Submissions

Monday, April 21st, 2014 • No Comments

Best Erotic Romance 2015 has closed for submissions, but I still have two more open calls. Get your stories in!

The One Who Got Away: Erotic Romance for Women

Editor: Kristina Wright

Publisher: Cleis Press

Submission Deadline: May 15

Payment: $50 per story and 2 copies of the book, on publication

E-mail: [email protected]

The theme for this collection is about lost love, second chances, reunion stories and lovers reunited through chance or determination. Does love and lust stand the test of time? In this anthology it does! Whether it’s bumping into each other on the street or reconnecting on Facebook, these lovers find that the memories are still sweet and a shared history makes for some very erotic reconnections.

According to Romance Writers of America, a romance must include two key elements: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying, optimistic ending. In erotic romance, the sexual component is critical to the development of the romantic relationship. To get an idea of what I’m looking for, I strongly recommend reading my previous erotic romance anthologies.

The collection will be primarily heterosexual with a female audience in mind. However, stories may include bisexual or lesbian encounters as well as polyandrous relationships or group encounters. I have a preference for realistic stories with contemporary settings for this series, but any time period will be considered. No incest, nonconsensual sex, bestiality or underage characters, please.

Please be sure to follow all of the submission guidelines: I will consider up to two stories per author. Unpublished stories only, no simultaneous submissions. Please do not send me a story that is being considered elsewhere. The desired story length is 2,500-5,000 words. Double-space and indent the first line of each paragraph.  Do not put extra spaces between paragraphs. Include your full contact information (legal name/pseudonym, mailing address and phone number) and a bio of 50 words or less written in the third person.  Please paste your story into the body of your e-mail and attach it as a Microsoft Word .doc file. Send your submission to [email protected] with Submission: Story Title in the subject line.  Please direct any questions to the same address. The deadline is May 15, but earlier submissions are very much appreciated.

Payment will be $50 per story and 2 copies of the book upon publication.  Contributors retain the rights to their work and Cleis Press has final approval over the stories selected for the book. Authors will be notified upon approval of the manuscript from the publisher. If you have not received a response by October 1, please feel free to query me.

 **********

Pillow Talk: Erotic Romance for Women

Editor: Kristina Wright

Publisher: Cleis Press

Submission Deadline: June 15

Payment: $50 per story and 2 copies of the book, on publication

E-mail: [email protected]

Between-the-sheets love and lust, from morning romps before work to stolen afternoon delights and midnight fantasies fulfilled. Stories of lovers in bed and all the delicious things that happen behind closed doors. Think sexy, playful, edgy and erotic and you will know what Pillow Talk is all about.

According to Romance Writers of America, a romance must include two key elements: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying, optimistic ending. In erotic romance, the sexual component is critical to the development of the romantic relationship. To get an idea of what I’m looking for, I strongly recommend reading my previous erotic romance anthologies.

The collection will be primarily heterosexual with a female audience in mind. However, stories may include bisexual or lesbian encounters as well as polyandrous relationships or group encounters. I have a preference for realistic stories with contemporary settings for this series, but any time period will be considered. No incest, nonconsensual sex, bestiality or underage characters, please.

Please be sure to follow all of the submission guidelines: I will consider up to two stories per author. Unpublished stories only, no simultaneous submissions. Please do not send me a story that is being considered elsewhere. The desired story length is 2,500-5,000 words. Double-space and indent the first line of each paragraph.  Do not put extra spaces between paragraphs. Include your full contact information (legal name/pseudonym, mailing address and phone number) and a bio of 50 words or less written in the third person.  Please paste your story into the body of your e-mail and attach it as a Microsoft Word .doc file. Send your submission to [email protected] with Submission: Story Title in the subject line.  Please direct any questions to the same address. The deadline is June 15, but earlier submissions are very much appreciated.

Payment will be $50 per story and 2 copies of the book upon publication.  Contributors retain the rights to their work and Cleis Press has final approval over the stories selected for the book. Authors will be notified upon approval of the manuscript from the publisher. If you have not received a response by November 1, please feel free to query me.

Posted by Kristina in Uncategorized
 

Twitter Contest! Will you be my Valentine?

Friday, February 7th, 2014 • No Comments

322649_10150593782811907_636573807_o

 

Won’t you please be my Valentine? I’m having a Twitter contest during this season of love to celebrate the release of my conversation-heart-inspired anthology XOXO: Sweet and Sexy Romance!

Xoxo

On Valentine’s Day, I’ll be signing my Cleis Press anthologies at the wonderful Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia. I’d love it if you’d stop by if you’re in the area, but even if you aren’t  you can enter this contest and support a fantastic indie publisher, an awesome indie bookstore and, well, me! Here’s all you need to do:

Follow me on Twitter at @kristinawright

Follow Fountain Bookstore on Twitter at @FountainBkstore

Follow my publisher Cleis Press on Twitter at @CleisPress

 

Between now and 5PM (Eastern) on Valentine’s Day use the hashtag #xoxo and tweet the following:

I want to read XOXO by @KristinaWright! http://www.amazon.com/xoxo-Sweet-Romance-Kristina-Wright-ebook/dp/B00GL9T366/ (You can also get a copy from @FountainBkstore or @CleisPress!) #xoxo

(Or something else that at least includes at least my Twitter handle and the #xoxo hashtag.)

You can tweet as many times as you like between now and 5PM (Eastern) on February 14. Only one winner will be chosen. (U.S. residents only, please, but see below for a contest for International readers!)

 

At 5PM (Eastern) on Valentine’s Day, a winner will be chosen at random. And what will this lucky winner receive? Oh, this is a delicious prize!

–A signed copy of XOXO: Sweet and Sexy Romance

–A signed copy of Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After

–A signed copy of Best Erotic Romance 2014

–A box of Valentine’s chocolates

–A $50 Fountain Bookstore Gift Card (good in the store or online)

Books, chocolate and a gift certificate for more books! So what are you waiting for? Be my Valentine (and don’t forget the #xoxo hashtag!) and share the contest with your friends, Twitter pals and postal worker (who could certainly use a prize after delivering all those Valentine’s Day cards!). And, as always, thank you for your lovely support. It’s you, the readers, who make it possible for me to write and edit sweet and sexy stories! Thanks!

 

Oh, and for my international readers: I haven’t forgotten you! Between now and 5PM your local time on Valentine’s Day, follow Fountain Bookstore, Cleis Press and me on Twitter and tweet the following:

I want to read XOXO by @KristinaWright! http://www.amazon.com/xoxo-Sweet-Romance-Kristina-Wright-ebook/dp/B00GL9T366/ I’m in (your country). #xoxo

Of course, you should put your actual country in place of (your country) so that I know where you are! One winner will be chosen and will receive e-book copies of each of my anthologies above.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovely friends and readers! May all your sexy, romantic dreams come true!

xoxo

 

 

 

Posted by Kristina in Contest, Uncategorized
 

Writer Chick. Mother Hen.

Author, anthologist, mother, wife, dreamer, storyteller, coffee drinker. I blog here sporadically, when I'm not writing, editing anthologies for Cleis Press or messing around on Facebook. Welcome! Want to know more?

Shop!

Recent Tweets

KristinaWright
@KristinaWright:
I'll be in Richmond tomorrow, signing books and handing out chocolate,12:30-2:30 at the awesome @FountainBkstore. Stop by and say hi! #RVA
22 months ago
KristinaWright
@KristinaWright:
UK friends-- my HarperCollins erotic romance Seduce Me Tonight is a FREE Kindle download right now: http://t.co/OAbvllhe
22 months ago
KristinaWright
@KristinaWright:
Don't forget my calls for submissions! Best Erotic Romance deadline is April 1! http://t.co/3OXXceZF
22 months ago

Archives