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!
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!