The Equinox

20101010_5245As I moused over the Google animation this morning to see what the “special occasion” of the day was, an ominous pop-up indicated that it’s the “first day of autumn.”

“Huh,” I mumbled to myself and glanced at my old-school wall calendar, thumb-tacked to my cubicle wall. My eyes scanned to find “September 23,” and there it confirmed the day as the “Fall Equinox.” The official changing of the season. A day where the amount of light and dark are perfectly equal. Balanced. The way I like my life. The way I want my life. The way my life so is not.

I focus on one area, only to neglect another. I finish a half marathon, but my writing halts. I try to be the best mom, while my house falls in a shambles. I hone in on my career as my children clamor to get my attention. Ugh. It seems the more I try to make my pizza crust perfectly round, the more lopsided and out of whack it gets. I wonder if I quit pinching and stretching and just let it “be” that it would just naturally take its proper shape. What? Probably not, but being a pizza it would still taste good. (Another one of my balancing problems!) Don’t worry, I don’t know what I’m talking about either.

Circling back to the fact that today is the first day of autumn, I reflect. How is it possible that it can be autumn already? The summer blew by me. My last post was dated April 29. An entire season went by in virtual silence. Not that anyone probably really cared or even noticed, but still my voice went quiet over the past four months. Why is that? I’d like to say it was because I spent those carefree, summer days running, picnicking, vacationing, relaxing and just plain old having fun. I’m thankful to say it wasn’t because of a failing health problem or some dire family problem or because I didn’t have anything to say (because we all know I always do) . Mostly, it goes back to that whole balance thing. It goes back to my difficulty setting priorities and finding the time to fit them all into my day.

Thus, today, one of two perfectly balanced days of the year, I’m reminded to re-adjust, to reassess and get a bit more balanced. So, that on my evening running when those words form and flow through my mind, afterwards I sit in front of my computer and tap away, capturing them instead of letting them float away. I continue on through the interruptions – my youngest daughter’s shower-singing and my eldest’s request to examine her bug bite – until my thoughts are complete and I click “Publish.”

Here’s to a fall full of “Just Words” from me. (I know you are excited!)

What keeps you on track?

The End

Winner-180x180The End. No, as you already know by now, it’s not the end of the world (as you know it). Today is December 23 and  I feel fine (yes, I know you are humming along to that catchy R.E.M. song). It’s not the end of this blog either as some of may have thought do to my blogging absence the past month and half (then again maybe nobody missed me). Life is full of beginnings and endings. 2012 is coming to an end and 2013 is beginning. Tonight’s ending though is in relation to my next novel. I finally, typed in those words that make any author smile, “The End.”

And so now, you know why the words of my blog have been missing these past months. As a working mother, I only have so much time in the day to dedicate to my writing. This past November I focuses and dedicated those hours to my book as I participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I spent thirty days writing the rough draft of said novel and came away with 50,000 + words. And, today at around 63,000 words, I finished the draft and now will start revisions. For me revisions are my favorite part of the writing process and hardest part is behind me! Yes. Yeah me!

Anyway, I am participating in a “blog hop” with a group of authors that also participated in NaNoWriMos. The rest of this blog gives you a sneak peak at my WIP (work in progress) that hopefully will see the light of day in the Kindle book store in late February or early March.

I’ve been tagged by Shirley Wine, author of Seven For A Secret (http://amzn.com/B009XJAKLS) and  Lovers’ Lies (http://amzn.com/B009GQGUWQ) who recently shared with readers about her current WIP at www.shirleywine.com.

Thanks Shirley Wine for this opportunity to talk about my current WIP!

What is the title of your next book? Take Your Time

Where did the idea come from for the book? I got the idea for this book as I was finish writing my last book. Take A Deep Breath was about a woman named Liv, who has four sisters. The sisters don’t play a part in the first book, but I thought it would be fun to write about each one. The second book centers around the youngest sister Maddy, who we find out from Liv’s daughter Sara is a photographer.

What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary Romance

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Late-bloomer, Maddy takes her time finding love, but wonders if she waited too long.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Or are you with a publishing house? I will self-publish this book as an ebook and a paperback via Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. I love the creative control self-publishing gives me. I hate waiting, especially if  I’m going to be rejected and haven’t sought an agency or publishing house. After researching indie-publishing it seemed like the perfect avenue for me. The royalties are higher as well. The hardest part has been finding readers, but I have slowly built a small following with my first book and hope it will grow with this one and the next… I have thought about shopping my books around, but for now I’m enjoying success as an indie author.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It took me a little over 45 days to finish the first draft of this manuscript. I wrote mainly at night from 10:00 PM to midnight.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I think my writing style and stories are most comparable to Robyn Carr, Susan Wiggs, Barbara Freethy and Debbie Macomber.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I wanted to write another book in this series ever since I published my first book, but finding time without having a real deadline was the hardest part. The NaNoWriMo website helped motivate me to get the draft finished. Emails from readers of my first book inspired me to write the next one.

If you get a chance stop by my fellow writers’ blogs and read about the books that they wrote during the NaNoWriMo challenge and find out what prompted them to write their books.

By the way, Take a Deep Breath will be free in the Amazon Kindle store from Dec. 26-30!

 

 

 

Anxiety Amuck

As I cleared the pile of junk mail cluttering our dining room table, I salvaged a scrap of paper and set it aside for safe-keeping. No, I’m not a hoarder, although sometimes I do feel buried alive among the toys, clothes and shoes that litter the floors of my home.  As soon as I pick things up, it seems something (or someone) else sneaks behind me and puts something else in its place like quick sand.

But back to the all important scrap of paper. On it my nine year-old daughter had scribbled the lyrics to a Christmas song she had written. I smile to myself as I read her neat handwriting and phonetically spelled words. Her song is about having a “wonderful time.”  I take the scrap upstairs and put it in my keepsake box with the other songs, stories and poems she has written. She loves to write and she loves to read me what she has written. Pride and love fill me as I listen to her and watch her face light up as she reads something she has written aloud. She asks me if I like what she has written and of course I do. She is aspiring and I want to help her get there. I admire her creativity and openness. Her kindness and empathy.

She reminds me a lot of myself at that age. I still have a box of old stories and poems that I wrote when I was a kid. We both like to be liked and are hurt easily. Criticism can cripple us; even if it is not meant to. As I have got older I have learned to take criticisms as avenues for growth and not take it to heart. After all, it is my right to agree or disagree with it. It is just someone else’s opinion. They don’t have to like me, nor I them. I am worth more than one person’s opinion. My daughter has not learned these lessons yet and worries — a lot. This is another trait she got from me.

Nature or nurture? I am not sure. Was she born with propensity toward worry and anxiety or does she emulate what she sees? I have struggled with worry, anxiety and panic for most of my life. I empathize with the stomach aches and  racing heart. I know what it feels like to have some unknown heaviness pressing down on your chest threatening to cut off your breath. I intimately know about the restless indecision and unrelenting “what if’s” that make you want to jump out of your skin and run as far and as fast as you gave. I understand the waves of nausea, hot and cold flashes and the urge to pull the covers over your head and sleep. Sleep to escape. Sleep in the hope that tomorrow, you’ll feel OK again, but fear prevents you from actually sleeping, because what if you’re not?

Over the years I have learned many coping skills and have learned to keep the anxiety and panic at bay. My faith has given me that strength; continues to feed that strength. And still I worry about my daughter. I know I should give it to God and I try, but… The big “but.” I want to spare her from the pain, protect her and keep her safe. I don’t want to watch her go down the same path I did. I want to reassure her she is OK, not matter what. I teach her what I know when she starts to “freak out,” and it helps. She is seeing a counselor and created a worry box to put her worries in. She is making one for me as write this. She has a notebook where she writes down all the gifts God has given her that day – watching a funny movie, playing with her best friend… She re-reads her list of gifts when she starts to worry about something. The other day, she gave me a new notebook she got the other day from the treasure chest after one of her appointments. She told me I could use it to write my gifts from God in.

At the top of the list right after God’s grace, is her name and her sister’s name. I am truly blessed.