Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Movin' right along...

Ha, I can't help but think of the Muppets movie when I write that title, but yeah, I'm movin' right along...

Now tell me you don't feel better? I do. January is all but over. Thank goodness and not a moment too soon. I've figured out what's wrong with January, it's the Monday of the year, and we all know Mondays are just meant to be survived. Well, I survived January. Just barely!

On the upside, I did do what I said I was going to. I started sending out queries for my book this month. As of now, I've sent out a total of twenty and with only four official rejections I can only assume I still have sixteen still out there!

See that? That's me trying to be positive. It's not easy.

I'm kidding. I actually am a very positive person by nature, so there's that.

What else? FEBRUARY! Is going to be awesome. I have my trip to look forward to. OH and tax refund time! Though we have a list a mile high of bills to pay with it there should be enough left over for everyone to get to do a little shopping for themselves. And we all know what comes after February, right? March! And what happens in March???

Friday, January 27, 2012

Four more days...

And January 2012 will be over. AKA, the worst month in the history of the world, or at least my life. Okay, that might be over-dramatizing things a bit, but it's still been a crappy month. I've found myself looking forward to February the way most people look forward to Spring or summer vacation. For now, I'll take February.

Some parts of January have been kinder than others, at least weather wise. This time last year we were, quite literally, buried in snow. Today is simply rainy and dreary. Not the best, but at least we can leave the house if need be.

February may not be a whole lot better than January for all I know, but at least I can hope, right. There's Valentine's day, which we never really go all out for since it's pretty close to my birthday, but we usually do something fun. Oh and tax refund! We're so, so broke right now and I'm really looking forward to being able to exhale just a little when that tax refund comes...in February. Also, I'm getting away next month, something I never, ever do, without the kids. I'm going on a mommy get-away weekend at a friends' house. Yep, I will be getting on a plane in no less than twenty-one days (Yes, I'm counting) ALL BY MYSELF! I can't wait!

So February, please come quickly, and please be kind. Especially in regards the weather, if I'm snowed in on February 17th I will probably go insane for good.

And January, you can kiss my....well, you know...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stress relief for dummies...

It goes without saying this has been a stressful year. Yeah, we're only what, 26 days in? Still, it was stressful before everything else. You know, the usual money worries. It's never easy paying your bills when one of the parents stays at home full time and the other only works part time. So there's always that. I also began the process of trying to get my book out there this month. So far I've had nothing but rejections, which I expected. And I still remain hopeful, but that's not to say it isn't super stressful to keep putting your work back out there over and over for what seems like nothing but rejection.

Then there's that. That being the bloody "c word" which I'm refusing to speak of, just because.

Where was I? Oh right, stress. Stress is no fun, for anyone. It's like a giant weight pressing down on your shoulders or a dark cloud that seems to permeate everything around you. I hate stress. I hate it with a passion. But I'm getting pretty good at coping with it. I've already outlined a few of my favorite methods, writing and listening to music, so I thought I'd share my others.

A.) Working out/Yoga. For now I've been doing a lot of yoga. Unfortunately, when I'm super-stressed I can't eat a whole lot, so I'm avoiding any hard working out. But yoga is definitely becoming a daily thing for me. I know you're supposed to relax and be quiet and meditative, but I've found I really enjoy blasting some music on my iPod while doing it. Preferably Linkin Park. It's weird, I know, but it works for me. Generally I prefer to do this when the kids aren't around, which is only about 1 1/2 - 2 hours of my day. Otherwise Sophia tries to do it all with me, or crawls under me while I'm in "downward facing dog".  *eyeroll*

B.) Distraction. This one isn't too hard. Especially when you're a stay-at-home mom/homeschool mom. Most of my mornings are busy, busy, busy. And while being stuck at home with my two crazy kiddos isn't always the most relaxing of jobs, it always keeps my mind occupied and focused on the present. Which is always a good thing when you're trying not to dwell on negatives and stress out!

C.) Cleaning! Okay, I admit, this one is my favorite de-stressor. (And no, I will not come and de-stress at your house!) I guess it's also a result of my OCD flaring up when I'm stressed. Yesterday when Sophia went down for a nap early I grabbed all my cleaning supplies and my iPod and went to town on my bathroom. Yup. Scary, but I felt really good afterward, and dude, my tub was shiny!

D.) Praying/Reading my Bible. This one probably should be at the top! For someone like me, who was raised in a Christian home and continues to be a faithful Christian (as best I can!) this is like a knee-jerk reaction for me. Not always as much as it should be, but it is when you've sunk so low you don't know how to pull yourself back up. This one always works. The particular verses I've been reading this week have been Romans 12:9-.25. Specifically, "Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer." And also, "clinging to what is good". So, I'm clinging to what is good right now, fortunately I have a lot of good to cling to! My babies, my husband and amazing family and friends.

E.) Talking/Talking/Talking! I talked a lot before, believe me, but now it seems to be worse. Since last week  I'm sure I've had at least an hour long conversation on the phone with someone, my mom, my brothers, my dad, my sister-in-law, my friends...seriously. So beware if you offer me your phone number, I will call you and talk your arm off!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I'm listening to...

I guess I have to preface this post with a little news. In case you haven't heard elsewhere, my family just found out last week that my dad has prostate cancer. So far we have no reason but to feel hopeful that this will all be easily treated and resolved before too long. That being said, it's been a hard thing for all of us to process. But at the same time I can already tell that it's bringing us closer and making us stronger.

Anyway, I like music, a lot. In fact, I can definitely say that my love of music comes directly from my dad, who pretty much does everything with a radio on or an iPod. Some of my favorite bands were ones he introduced me to as a kid, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Pink Floyd...ect.

I find myself listening to music a lot recently, just because it is a quick way to put me in a better mood. Lately I find myself either listening to some really loud rock music (my favorite is Linkin Park these days.) But also more relaxed stuff that just calms me down. I have to say, one of my all-time favorite bands is Lifehouse. I love every single song they have ever put out. One song in particular seems to be popping up on my iPod shuffle lately and it always makes me feel better.

Some of the lyrics, in case you're wondering....

Find me here, and speak to me 
I want to feel you, I need to hear you 
You are the light that's leading me to the place 
Where I find peace again 
You are the strength that keeps me walking 
You are the hope that keeps me trusting 
You are the life to my soul 
You are my purpose 
You're everything
And how can I stand here with you 
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms and you give me rest 
You hold me in your hands 
You won't let me fall 
You steal my heart and you take my breath away 
Would you take me in, take me deeper now 
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this 
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this 

And the song if you want to listen to it...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cheap therapy...

Add that to my ongoing list of things I love about writing.

I had a crappy weekend, due to a crappy end of the week, due to the crappiest news ever. You know what I'm talking about. Someday I'll write about THAT, but not today. Not up to it.

All weekend I kept telling myself to write, not just because I do consider it part of my job these days. If I ever get the chance to work with and actual agent, I want to be able to tell them that I'm still writing every day and have a good chunk of my second novel done. So I try to write every day. And yeah, I haven't been writing lately, the last day I wrote was Thursday afternoon. Even though I didn't feel like it, I sat down to write tonight after the kids went to bed. I'm a big fan of only writing when I'm "feeling" it, you know? Otherwise it just seems forced and fake. But at the same time, you can't always "feel" it, sometimes you do have to force it, you know?

Make sense, yes or no? Probably no. And yes I'm drinking coffee right now. You know how many books I would have written without coffee? ZERO!

Anyway, so I decided to write tonight. I'm on chapter four of my second book right now, so I'm still in the getting things going phase. Of course I've already written about 90% of the rough draft so it's not like I'm going in blind, but I do make a lot of changes when going from rough-draft to typed format.

Where was I going? Oh yeah. So I decided to track how long I wrote and how many words, just for kicks. I wrote for an hour a half straight, well ten of those minutes were consumed with writing an anagram...but in the end I wrote...eight pages and about 2,000 words. Not bad at all!

And most importantly, I feel better...so like I said, cheap therapy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

On writing...

...wherein I will wax poetic on how much I love writing, words...and writing words coincidentally...

Wait, what? I know, I know.

I've been writing a long time. Yeah I know, everyone writes. But I'm talking about writing stories. I feel like I can almost just barely remember the first time I decided to write a story of my own. I was probably about twelve and I absolutely loved to read. In fact my mom always said that I "devoured" books instead of just reading them. I was going through a huge Star Wars phase at that age, ahem, one that I'm yet to come out of. And I had just discovered what we nerds refer to as, the Expanded Universe. AKA Star Wars books. I think  I read every single one I could get my hands on at the library. One night I was laying in bed with my flashlight, you know, reading under the covers, but I had finished my book. Not knowing what else to do with myself and certainly not able to fall asleep I laid there in bed and made up my own story. Granted I used the Star Wars characters and the setting, but I made up my own plot line. The next night I thought to get a notebook and pen and began writing these stories. So that's how I became a writer, I guess. And yeah, I did just admit that my first stories were basically Star Wars fanfic, so what?

Fast forward nearly fifteen years and here I am, still writing. My own characters this time, my own storylines, desperately attempting to get published. I can hardly believe it myself. Writing was just a hobby for years and years for me. Something to do on the nights when I was without a book to read. I started writing my first novel when I was seventeen, my senior year in high school. Being the homeschooled kid that I was my schedule was pretty easy. In fact, this was my second senior year, since I chose not to go ahead and graduate like I could have the year before. I went part-time, as I worked the other half of my day. One of the classes I chose to take was a creative writing course. My best friend Bethany came over once a week and we would work together. I don't exactly remember the plot line to this book, but I do remember the title "The Only Way". Ha, other than that that's all I remember. I never finished it.

Besides probably continuing to write a few silly stories and maybe dabbling back into my fanfic (fan fiction) tendencies, I didn't write very much over the next few years. I went to cosmetology school, met this guy, got married and had a baby all before I even realized it, practically. I can't exactly remember when I decided to write again, but it was somewhere around 2008ish. I think. Anyway, this novel attempt was more successful than my previous one, if you could call it that. Though it remained unfinished, because I re-wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote some more. After our move here in '09 I didn't pick up my pen for over a year. Probably because at the time I was pregnant with Sophia and I have a tendency to be completely brain dead when I'm pregnant.

Now fast forward again to January of 2011. I had the idea sometime in the previous fall. In my head I could see her, Kit, the heroine of my book, red hair, green Converse, everything. It was there, just waiting for me. Little by little the plot fell into place inside my mind. London, a chase, an adventure. All of it was there. Finally on January the eight I sat down and did something I'd never done before, I wrote an outline. After that I started doing the actual writing and there it was, my first novel. Finished. It was insane and euphoric like you would not believe. More than that it was fun. And the ideas didn't stop there. Over the course of the year I developed two more storylines to round out the series, and I'm not even sure if I will stop there.

This is what I love about writing: the stories are endless, boundless. You're only limited by your own imagination, and then, reality, if you write non-sci-fi stuff like I do. After that it's all you. Anything you want. You want a car chase? You write a car chase. You want explosions? You write them! I get all excited just thinking about the possibilities. Seriously, I'm a dork like that. It's escapism at it's finest, all inside your head.

Therein lies my only problem with writing. On days like today when I feel as though I'm brimming with ideas. I'm to a very climactic moment in the writing of my second novel, and just this morning all the pieces started falling into place inside my head. Usually I'll play through the scene a few times in my head, perfecting  it. Picturing the characters, the scenery, hearing the words they will say and how they will say them. After that all I want is to sit down and write. But I can't. I've got to teach school, make lunches, do laundry, change diapers, clean the bathroom, fold the laundry, oh wait, I should probably eat at some point too. Basically I've got to hold on to that amazing, breathtaking scene in my head while going about my daily routine. Hopefully it will still be there when I finally get a chance to sit down with my pen and paper.

The other day my mom summed up how I feel about writing, it's my passion in life. I don't normally use that phrase because it's kind of cheesy. But true. I love, love, love my kids and they are my life, certainly. But writing is my thing, you know? Plus, a huge part of me wants to do this for them too.

Anyway, I guess that pretty much sums it up, or not. Clearly my thoughts and feelings on writing are complex and numerous. I think everyone has a passion in life, whether you know it or not. And if you do know it, then you know how I feel, right?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's goin' on?

A whole lot that's what! And at the same time absolutely nothing. Isn't that strange? I can't quite explain it any clearer than that.

I don't like January, try as I might, I just don't. I know it's supposed to be a new year and new beginnings, but I still don't like it. Maybe it's the weather? Though it's been milder here than my previous Janaurys in Connecticut  I still don't like having the whole dark, gloomy cold winter looming before me. Essentially, January for me is just tuck your head down and make it through. No matter how I look at it January just sucks.

Hmmm, as usual, complaining always makes you feel better, doesn't it. No...not really. Well, that's never stopped me before. Basically, I've been getting through this month by hiding out and doing nothing. Today was the first day we actually had anything on our schedule. A double whammy of mom's group/playdate and a dentist appointment for Elijah. And then run home for nap and school. Yeah I'm exhausted. And that's pretty lame.

I'm still going to blame the weather, and the fact that there is like, zero sunshine today. But who am I kidding anyway? I'm a totaly hermit and I hate being outdoors. Okay I don't hate it, but I only like it when it's pretty. Which is hard to come by here....

What else? Ah, well, I'm totally slacking in the family blog department and I'm pretty sure the grandparents will start protesting soon unless I get up some new pics. Here's the problem, Sophia has fully transitioned into hyper, crazy, constantly on the go toddler mode and it's pretty much impossible to get a good picture of her lately. I've got a good one of her feet sticking out from underneath the curtains and a few of her running past me in a blurry pink blur, but that's about it. Basically, she's keeping me on my toes. Elijah's back to school now five days a week, and we're getting there. Some days are better than others, but at least he's learning a lot. And I'm probably slowly going insane, but whatever...

Matthew is taking three classes again this semester as well as working twenty hours, yep, it's insane as it sounds. You would have thought we'd learned out lesson with last years craziest semester ever, but no, we're doing it again! On the other hand, he made the best grades to date, so maybe he works well under pressure.

As for pressure, well, I sent out five more queries to agents today. Big sigh. I already got two replies from last weeks bunch. Two rejections of course. Though it could take up to four weeks to hear back from some of them. And yes, a no reply is a no. I'm doing okay with it so far. The first one was the hardest. I'm not going to lie. There was a constant refrain of "You suck, you're not good enough" the following day, but after that I was fine. The second rejection was much easier, and surprisingly, the nicest rejection letter I've ever read! In a way it made me feel completely legitimate like someone is out there taking my work seriously and taking the trouble to email me back and say we weren't a good fit but good luck! Crazy, I know.

So that's where we stand, seventeen days into the new year. Heads tucked, surviving. Looking forward to Spring already.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Everyone's a critic...

Especially me. At least, these days.

Now, I know I'm not a published author, and I'm nowhere near being close to one. But I have been writing for a long time. At least ten years or so, as a hobby. So I guess that gives me a tiny bit of insight as to what good writing looks like. And if my own writing doesn't qualify me as a critic, the sheer volume of books I read should.

That being said; I've got to walk away from the free Kindle books. They're starting to piss me off. I guess these authors technically qualify as published authors, even if they've only reached ebook status. But still, they really don't deserve the name. I mostly stick to library downloads of books that have been recommended to me by a friend, but most of these I have to get on a wait list for. Somehow this week I ended up with not a single book to read. So I went online and searched for free Kindle books. I stumbled across one that looked at least somewhat interesting to me. Synopsis can be deceiving, can't they? Anyway, fast forward to reading the first few chapters. Honestly, if this book hadn't been on my Kindle I would have tossed it across the room!

Seriously? This made Twilight look like literary genius. Yeah I said it. TWICE the author used the phrase "make due". Make DUE??? She also clearly knows how to use her thesaurus, and that's not a complement. It doesn't make your writing better to use crazy words, y'all. Also, the story line; two star-crossed lovers who meet unexpectedly and fall head over heels for one another in 2.5 seconds. Why? Because the dude is HOT come on, why else? And the girl is sooo boring and ugly she can't understand why he loves her when he's SO perfect....ugh. I'm getting nauseous. Also, I'm calling BS on the love story. Sorry.

Wow, I can't even continue..

And this is not just my ego talking (though I do have an ego, a giant one, mind you.) My book is better than the free Kindle downloads DANGIT!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Well, at least that's out of the way...

I think I mentioned that I set up a separate email account just for work. I told myself I wouldn't check it a million times a day since I sent out those queries. But, yeah, I've been checking, about three million times a day. There's this tiny little voice that tells me every time, "one of these days, it's going to be there." You, know THE email. The one where someone gushes about how talented I am and how they want to get my book published.

Well, I did get an email last night before bed. No, it wasn't THE email. But it was A email. A big fat rejection...

Actually it was a  nice email, probably canned and written by some lowly assistant. Despite the nice-ness of the wording it still was a rejection. I have very mixed feelings about it, to be quite honest. Part of me is excited because, dude, I have been rejected, I am a legit writer now! And on the other hand, there's this resounding feeling of "you're not good enough" that sort of echos through your consciousness.

Admittedly I had a hard time sleeping last night. No, I wasn't overly upset. I really think I handled it quite well. Because yes, I was expecting this! I had dreams where I overheard high and mighty literary agents discussing the pros and cons of my writing. In the end one of them decided to ask me for a partial. (A partial is a foot in the door, let me tell you). Then I woke up.

This morning it was the first thing that popped into my head. Rejection. I got out of bed and went straight to my gmail to delete the offending email. It was either that or frame it. I wasn't feeling particularly depressed or anything, just a little dejected. Even though I told myself the first one was probably going to be the hardest.

I feel fine now. Great really. What changed? Well, two little people that I'm responsible for got out of bed and I was busy with making breakfast, changing diapers, and all the other things that I have to do in the morning. Sophia was sitting in her chair blowing me kisses. And then I remembered that writing is just a hobby right now. My kids are my real job, and hey, at least I know I'm darn good at it.

Whether this whole writing things pans out or not, I'll still have them and they don't care whether I'm published or not. So maybe neither should I.

(No this doesn't mean I'm giving up, just trying not to focus so much on what I've defined as success as a writer.)

Monday, January 9, 2012


I can say that I'm officially trying to get my book published. I wasn't going to post this at all, but I decided I might want the date documented for future reference. That's the good thing about blogs.

See, one year ago yesterday I started writing my book, I think I had the outline finished over the weekend. From there it was writing the rough draft, to typing, to editing and re-writing and more editing and more re-writing. Now here we are, on the other side, waiting and hoping for something good to come out of it.

I wasn't planning on today being "the day", you know. Elijah and Sophia are both sick and I'm heading there too. I was up at least a dozen times last night. And I woke up with a stiff, sore neck. I'm completely unable to turn my head without being in serious pain. Fun stuff.

Ironically, as I lay in bed last night, knowing I would wake up feeling terrible with a cold, knowing I would be up tending to my sick children, I had an idea. It was one of those ideas, that sort of sinks into you and know it's right. Well, let's just say it has something to do with tying in the plot of all three of my books. And just like that, it's done. At least in my head, the whole series, start to finish.

I have so much work ahead of me and I know it. But the hardest part was sending out those first five queries today. Yeah, I sent five. Five emails. That's all. Next week I'll send five more. And so on and so forth until...well, who knows? But today was the day to just take a leap I guess. That's all I can do.

Either way, I'll probably remember this day for a long time. As I was laying down earlier, trying to ease the pain in my neck with a heating pad I tried telling myself over and over this will all probably amount to nothing. It's funny how I'm still okay with that. That doesn't change the fact that I wrote a book or that when I reach that point of giving up I will know I did everything I could.

Okay, so I'm rambling. My thoughts are kind of scattered. Either way, today is just the beginning, right?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mixed review...

Basically that's how I feel about 2012 so far. I know we're just one week in. But so far most of it has been a swift kick in the pants. Oy... hopefully things will start looking up soon.

On the other hand, I feel like I have been totally "on" in the writing department. I've been doing a lot of plotting inside my head, the only way I can, just playing it all through deciding how and when certain things should happen. Basically I've wrapped up the final plot of book two. We'll see. I think for today I'll work on my rough draft of that. So much more enjoyable and easier than my other work right now. That work has involved researching agents I think I might have a chance with and getting my query ready to mail out. Obviously this is nerve wracking as heck.

One thing I'm not getting mixed reviews on, my book! I have a lovely group of online friends who have been my go-to focus group for all things book related. It's so nice to have them proofread for me and constantly encourage me. So far everyone loves it. (I really hope they do, and aren't just pretending too for my sake.) I'm cautiously optimistic.

Like I said, the writing has been on lately. I told Matthew yesterday I was getting really close to emailing a few agents and he was surprised we were "there" already.

Crazy stuff. Scary stuff. We'll see what this year hands me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


There is a troublesome toddler in our midst...


Yup, that's my book, my brand-new, just arrived from Amazon last week, book. It's already been redecorated by Miss SoSo. That girl is trouble. On the upside, after lunch today she came up to me, saying "Mama" over and over again. Clearly she wanted something and was trying to tell me what it was. Since she can't exactly talk enough to tell me what she wanted, I asked her to show me. She marched off to her bed to get her "snuggle blankie". It was then that I realized she was wanting to be put down for her nap. She's too much.

In other news, there's a lot going on this week. Maybe not literally, but I feel mentally overwhelmed. I just have a lot rolling around in my brain that I'm stressing about. This whole book thing, which could not be more intimidating if it tried. Financial issues that we can never quite seem to overcome and when it feels like we have more seem to pile on. Tomorrow my sister-in-law is having a heart ablation done and I'm worried about that. SO much. So much...

I was  mulling over all these things today when I finally felt like someone kicked me in the head. I realized I hadn't prayed much about any of these things, instead I was just worrying and stressing and stressing some more. Needless to say, I'm working on changing that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 goals, and a few hopes and dreams...

I'm not usually a new year's resolution maker, but I do like to head into the new year with a few goals in mind. One of them is typically fitness-related. In 2010 I was going to walk 500 miles (nailed it!) in 2011 I was going to work out for 125 hours, and lose the remaining few pounds of baby weigh, done and done!

This year I'm not doing any fitness challenges. But I would like to commit to doing 45 minutes of yoga twice a week and some sort of strength training once a week. That's it!

Goals regarding the kids and homeschooling. Teach Elijah music lessons. He got a nice keyboard for Christmas and I would love to start teaching him. I took piano as a kid, as did Matthew, so between the two of us we should be able to teach him. Also, I want to spend more time outdoors. This probably won't happen until winter is over, since we're all a little wussy in the cold. I don't know why, but I don't really like being outside all that much. I guess it would be different if we had a  nice backyard, but all we have is a giant concrete parking area. Blah. We do have the beach, but it's three blocks away and you have to cross a very busy street to get their. So that's my excuse. Hopefully this year we'll get out more!

And finally, writing goals. These are the biggies. Number one: Finish plotting entire series. As of right now I'm planning on writing three in total. And I need to go ahead and figure out how exactly I'm going to wrap it all up in the end before I go any further with book two. Number two: Finish writing book two! I'm about halfway through the rough draft, but that's merely the tip of the iceberg. There will still be lots of changes made when I type it all and then a bazillion rounds of edits to be made. But I did the first one in a year, I've no doubt I can finish the second and be mostly through with the third by the end of the year. Of course this means doing what I did earlier in the year, treating my writing like a part time job and writing 2-3 hours a day! Right now I'm going to commit to working at least one hour on my work a day. Phew!

And lastly of all. Get published. Or at least attempt to get published as far as it depends on me. This means getting it together and emailing out my queries. I hope to have a few out by the end of the month. Right now the only thing stopping me is myself! I'm completely nauseous at the thought of doing this, but I don't have a choice right now.

So, it's going to be a good year!

*Edited to add: I also challenged myself on Goodreads to read 75 books this year. Sounds a little daunting, but I expect, along with my writing goals, that I won't be watching much TV this year! Also, I'm a super-fast reader, just over the two weeks of Christmas break I think I read at least eight book. Too bad none of them counted toward my 2012 goal. I've been getting most of them via eloan on my Kindle from my library, so cool!