It's Thursday. My day to blog and my mind is on vacation--at least it's trying to be. :)
Some of you may have noticed I'm slowing down. Scaling back. Relaxing more and trying to remember to breathe deeply.
This is a challenge for me, and I've decided I'm a recovering workaholic who keeps falling off the wagon.
I was born with an extra responsibility gene. My mother tells me I was "helping" her with dishes by the age of three. She dragged over a couple chairs for me to stand on so I could reach the sink and rinse dishes.
By the time I was twelve, I was babysitting, fixing meals and cleaning the house while my mom worked, and driving the pick-up while my dad and brothers loaded hay bales on it.
From there I worked in local restaurants, then for the state for over thirty years, then started my own businesses, including writing and rescuing doggies.
I've lived decades where my worth was measured by how hard I worked, no matter what personal traumas I went through. I rarely took vacations--unless they involved working at something different--yet I never felt I was doing enough.
I've finally realized how crazy that is and I'm trying to invent a life I've not experienced.
I'm starting with baby steps. I sat on my back deck this morning with a cup of orange juice and enjoyed the rain. Obviously I'm an Oregonian if rain makes me happy--though it's a covered deck so I wasn't getting wet. :)
I've been reclaiming my yard from several years of neglect and love the dirt therapy. (The picture is my cleaned up narrow side yard, which I have not let most people see for quite some time.) I'm also planting my version of a garden, which means putting things in pots so I can take them with the doggies and me when we move to the farm.
And I'm trying not to feel too guilty for this late post. And I have edits to finish on a story.
Some of this may not sound like I'm slowing down but substituting one task for another. However, I'm doing things at a slower pace, saying no sometimes, and taking breaks to simply enjoy. As I said, I'm taking baby steps during this workaholic recovery stage.
How do the rest of you keep your workaholic tendencies under control? Or do you let them have free rein?
It's Tuesday again, and that means I have to take a break from my storytelling to write a blog. What the heck am I going to write about? Hmmm....type, type ...w...r...i...t...i...n...g...t...r...e...n...d...s, Enter.
This morning I woke up with a purpose; I had to choose which contest I will enter next, and this time, me preparing to enter a contest can benefit you.
The changes I made based on comments I received from the judges of the last contest have garnered my critique partner's enthusiastic approval. Those pages are better now, the whole chapter is stronger, and the book will be better because the heroine's motives and conflicts are clearer. All of those changes were influenced by comments from the judges of the contest.
I've always liked the feedback I get from my critique group. It's helpful and thought-provoking, and they always either catch something I've missed or point out flaws I was trying to ignore. Contests take that up a notch. The whole process of submitting work to educated strangers, getting positive feedback and suggestions, making changes, re-submitting that work to educated friends and getting even more positive feedback...shoot, I'm addicted!
So this morning I went to my little yellow folder on my bookmarks bar called "Contests." The links are arranged in increasing word count order, with comments about the final judges and entry dates. The next largest contest (the Wisconsin RWA entry was 2500 words, ~8 pages) says, "12-15 pp May 1 Sue Grimshaw (digital) final judge." I missed the deadline, which I didn't notice until it was too late, but it doesn't matter, because Ms. Grimshaw has already helped me.
Sue Grimshaw, I thought, hmm. (Here's where you'll be entertained by my hubris again) I wonder if she's any good.
Yep, she is. Do an Internet search for "Sue Grimshaw Random House" and you'll see for yourself. Among the results you'll find a blog post (link below) she wrote a couple years ago about what she looks for when she's choosing a manuscript. It's genre-general, all stuff we know as writers, all the rules we try to follow, but so clearly presented that it could be printed as a poster and hung in every author's writing space.
Celebrating the release of the Angel's a May Day anthology. So happy it is finished and so proud of the work my fellow angels did to make this happen.
Cover by Genene Valleau--gorgeous
Title: a May Day anthology
Author: Christine Young, C.
L. Kraemer, Rosemary Indra, Genene Valleau
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
May Day has been celebrated
since Roman times with dancing, baskets of flowers, and bonfires. In this
collection of May Day stories, Rogue's Angels--Christine Young, C.L. Kraemer,
Rosemary Indra and Genie Gabriel--continue the celebration with humor, faeries
and falling in love.
Highland Miracle --
HURTLED THROUGH TIME, Sean
Michael Sterling, landed in the midst of a May Day celebration he didn’t
understand, assuming the role of Laird Sterling.
ILLIGITAMATE CHILD OF
NOBILITY, Reagan Douglas searches for a way out of her half brother’s house.
Defying the Odds -- C.L.
The night elves on the hill
aren't happy without their magic. They concoct a plan to punish those who were
involved in the act that rendered them almost human. Meanwhile, Uther, the
rogue night elf, has returned to woo the Librarian to be his eternal mate.
Love in Bloom -- Rosemary
When childhood friends
reunite it takes two fairies and a matchmaking daughter to help them admit
their true love for each other.
No More Poodle Skirts --
After drifting for years in
the innocent age of the 1950s, a woman struggles to join today's world by
finding a career and a new love, with some help from her zany family.
Highland Miracle -- Christine Young
Sean hit the side of his head. "I'm
hearing things." Meet my true love,
a soul mate, find a miracle in the highlands...?
the devil am I supposed to be trusting? There isn't anyone around. I'm the sole
person in Central Park. But
he leaned forward, inching his way closer to the portal of the crazy machine.
He'd be pure loco if he stepped inside but Bandit seemed fine. The dog had
disappeared a couple of times into the darkness only to return again, sit down
and bark at him.
I can do this.
He stood half in and half out, inhaled deeply
then stepped inside. Behind him the door clanged shut. He jumped out of his
skin at the realization he might be trapped.
The quiet was eerie then suddenly lights began
to blink and something hummed. It was as if the machine had sprung to life. His
nerves sizzled and terror crawled down his spine. He searched the room for the
Bandit sat on a chair in front of a panel of
buttons and blinking lights. It appeared the dog meant to drive this contraption.
But drive it where?
Oh, to his one true love, to his soul mate and
a miracle. Sean let out a loud roaring laugh.
Praying it wasn't too late, Sean turned to
leave. But the door was shut tight, and he couldn't find another way out.
Banging on the door did not make it open. He ran his hands up and down his arms
in hopes of warding off the deathly chill seeming to take over his body as well
Bandit jumped from his perch and sauntered to
the wall where he pulled down a handle and dog food poured into a bowl.
Well, at least the dog wouldn't starve.
"Please sit down and fasten your seat
Sean jumped and looked around for the source of
the voice. His heart raced as if it was going to run right out of his body.
Defying the Odds -- C.L. Kraemer
In a meadow east of Eugene, Oregon
Bram ambled up the
roughly hewn stairs to the willow lounge chair located at the front of his
home. He pulled the scrimshawed pipe from his pocket and filled the bowl with
his favorite blend of black cherry tobacco. The paced routine of loading the
ivory bowl with fragrant leaves and tamping them firmly into place was one of
his favorite after dinner rituals. Withdrawing a matchstick from the inner
pocket of his vest, he struck the sulfured end against a river rock he'd placed
on the root of the towering oak that served as his home.
The fading evening sky
showered the mountains in hues of gold and red. Pushing away the light, a
blanket of dark blue velvet sprinkled with luminous star points soon prevailed.
Bram puffed smoke rings at the darkening heavens.
scruffy black and tan terrier mix meandered up and, after circling three times,
lay next to the chubby gnome.
How's the family?"
"Well, thank you.
Daisy announced we're expecting--again."
Bram chuckled into his
"Humph. I'll be
glad when we're both too old to care. I came over to ask if there are any jobs
in sight. I'll need to be working as much as I can now."
It seemed he got one
batch of kids out of the house and another was on the way.
between the business partners. Bram pulled deep draughts on his pipe, blowing
the smoke away from his friend. His eyes were drawn to the large block of light
spilling from the picture window of the behemoth on the hill. The Saun clan,
night elves whose callous actions nearly destroyed the fae population of the
meadow and surrounding forests, owned the out of place monstrosity.
Bram squinted his eyes
to focus his vision on the methodical movement that broke the beam of light. He
could just make out a figure pacing rhythmically in front of the casement.
Unable to ascertain which of the night elves was engaged in the determined
striding, Bram was sure of only one thing…if the night elves were restless and
unhappy, the rest of the valley was in trouble.
Love in Bloom -- Rosemary Indra
Harrison sat up in bed when two golden lights floated down beside her. The
shimmering lights from her fairies caused excitement to bubble within Mattie in
anticipation of their visit. For as long as she could remember the two fairies
were her constant companions. Tonight she had something important to ask them.
cross-legged on Mattie's pillow. Kendra adjusted her green dress several times
before she too sat down. Mattie looked down at her small friends then crossed
her legs in front of her mimicking the way they sat.
Every so often
Kendra's wings fluttered. Mattie knew she preferred playing than sitting still
but tonight Mattie needed someone to talk to. Like always Cara listened quietly
as Mattie described her day and her plans for tomorrow.
fairies stood, their transparent wings flapped as they started to take flight.
"Can you stay a little longer?" Mattie asked quickly.
gracefully bowed her head and moved closer to the little girl. "What's
troubling you tonight lass?"
touched Mattie's lips at the sound of the fairy's soft voice. Cara had brown
hair similar to her own. She always had suggestions and Mattie felt calm after
talking to her.
every evening when she went to bed to say goodnight. Mattie had asked her
father for a nightlight not because she was afraid of the dark but so she could
see the fairies easier without scaring them with the bright overhead light.
is very lonely." Mattie knew what she wanted but all of a sudden she
didn't know what to say. She looked at her friends. "Can you help me find
a wife for him?"
it's bedtime. Quiet down," her father's voice carried down the hallway.
"Tell your friends to go home."
her index finger against her lips and looked thoughtful.
doesn't believe in fairies," Kendra whispered. "That might be hard.
He doesn't have faith in us."
haven't even started and you're already negative." Cara put her hands on
her hips then glanced at Mattie, "You have to remember a non-believer
doesn't like interference."
disheartened Mattie's lower lip started to tremble. She'd given this a lot of
thought. After much consideration, Mattie knew she'd needed help to find a wife
for her dad.
see what we can do." Kendra looked at Mattie her expression softened.
"We'll help you."
No More Poodle Skirts -- Genie Gabriel
Life seemed much simpler when all a girl
had to worry about was keeping her bobby socks and the pompom on her poodle
skirt a brilliant white.
Daphne Madison wiggled and gyrated into panty hose that seemed determined to
twist around her like a boa constrictor squeezing its prey.
A modern woman was expected to have it all--a husband, a family, a
career--with never a wrinkle in her face or her confidence.
Daphne zipped up her dress and drew a shaky breath as she stared at
herself in the mirror. The form-fitting pink dress wasn't as comfortable as her
skirts, and the high heels shoved her feet down into the pointy toes.
I can do this, Daphne reassured herself. She hadn't even been born in the
fifties, but it seemed like such an innocent time. If she could pretend to live
in that time, surely she could live in the current millennium.
Something doesn't seem just right, she thought, as she fastened a strand of pearls around her
neck. However, she refused to wear the short skirts she had seen on television
programs. The pencil thin skirt that ended just above her knees was as daring
as she would go.
She slid her arms into the pink jacket that matched her dress and
considered herself once again. Something still seemed amiss. She settled a pink
pillbox hat borrowed from her sister on top of her smooth blond hair. Better.
White gloves restored her confidence even more.
With another deep breath, Daphne swept down the stairs to garner the
reaction of her family. She knew her adult son, Ryan, would be of little help
but to offer a gourmet breakfast gleaned from the latest cooking show on TV. A
meal Daphne knew her jittery nerves wouldn't tolerate.
Her sister wouldn't be stirring yet, but Linda would be organizing the
house for the day. She was the mother of Daphne's daughter's husband. Did that
make her and Daphne sisters-in-law? No, that wasn't quite right, and thinking
about it made her brain hurt.
She gave her head a slight shake. It didn't really matter. Linda was quite
practical and had motivated Daphne out of her fantasy life. She would know if
Daphne was dressed appropriately for her job interview.
"So what do you think?" Daphne turned slowly as she entered the
It's been two weeks since I finished the last book of my Halo Legacy Series and, as I planned, I'm learning to slow down.
Ironically, I may be getting even more done than when I was wrangling deadlines. I told some friends I've done more in my yard in the last two weeks than I had done in the past two years. They thought I was kidding, but I assured them my yard and nearly everything else in my life had been neglected while I wrote this series of books.
In addition to spiffing up the house and yard so the doggies and I can move, I'm dealing with whatever life throws at me, promoting, and looking at even more ideas to promote my books. May brings two releases--an anthology with the other Rogue's Angels on May 1 and the eighth book of the Halo Legacy Series on May 10. (The last contracted book of the series will be released July 1 and I really want to do a big promotional blast for the entire series then.)
I'm also taking time to relax. I sat in the sunshine this morning and soaked it up--as well as gave some doggie scratches. :)
Are any of you doing something special now that the weather is nicer?