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Parenting isn’t for the faint-hearted

When you’re a child, your parents should be your everything: your guides, your cheerleaders, the people who support you and your dreams…even if you suck at your endeavors.

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes people have been so damaged by their own childhoods that they make marginal parents: inattentive, self-absorbed…entirely focused on their own needs, and on their own self-worth.

I have encountered both types in my life. I’ve seen how the children of both turn out — and in the latter case, in order to be viable parents themselves, it’s a lifetime of ‘I will not be my mother’, or ‘I will not be my father’. It’s a litany they wake up with…and a litany they recite before they go to bed.

I can’t tell you how many hours I listen to the chatter of my boys (now 18 and nearly 15), or how many hours I put in when they were young. Or how many times I stopped writing/crocheting, whatever I was doing, to give them my full and undivided attention. As a result, I have young adults who talk to me about anything and everything…and know that they can.

I’m not a perfect parent, by any measuring stick. But I have kids who know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will support their dreams and endeavors…whatever they may be.

And that’s no bad thing.

 

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Black Bean

Pets are God’s constant and physical reminder that truly unconditional love exists. I miss my reminder. We said goodbye to him on Saturday. And now the only reminders I have are the empty spaces around the house; the dog door that’s now shut, the dog bed holding all his squeaky toys, the clean laundry on his part of the sectional sofa.
Everywhere I look, there he isn’t.

But I still see him. In every room. Early in the morning, when I’m awake (but my eyes are shut) I feel his weight on the bed. I caught a glimpse of his head peering at me over the kitchen counter yesterday. I hear him snuffling around the backyard.

It breaks my heart, but then I realize…

It’s a gift. His presence, here in our lives now, is an immeasurable gift during our time of grief.

Bean the Giant

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The Ones that Got Away

I hate that expression, by the way. ‘The one that got away’. My exes didn’t have to ‘get away’ from me. At least…I certainly hope they didn’t feel that way. Anyway, saying ‘the one that got away’ implies, to me, that what I have is second best. And that is definitely not the case.

I was the one who determined my past relationships wouldn’t work. I don’t hold the men to fault. They were, and still are, great guys. The best.

The men that got away are the ones I pushed away, and they respected me enough to leave. I will always regret what I did to them. Because all they did was love me.

 

I wish I could tell those men how special they are to me. I wish I could tell them that knowing them has changed me in very profound ways. I wish I could tell them how sorry I am for hurting them like I did.

Maybe I already have.

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader.

I remember when I was you. Hell, I am you. I have read more books than I have time for. I have sacrificed so I can buy ‘just one more book.’ I have told my husband ‘Just one more page…’ and turned out the light three hours later, because I. Just. Couldn’t. Stop. Reading. (The Harry Potter series comes to mind!)

Dear Reader.

I feel your frustration when a story doesn’t ring true. I take it personally when all the ribbons aren’t tied up into neat bows at the end of the novel and there are plot holes so large my Great Dane could sleep comfortably in them. I get especially irked when the cover of the novel has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot contained therein. I am you.

Dear Reader.

Grammar errors and spelling errors and errors in tense kill me. I want my escape from reality to be picture perfect. I don’t want anything to pull me out of the idea that I can, for a little while, be someone else; have someone else’s personality; be that bubbly, vivacious someone who has adventures and falls for the unattainable handsome who eventually realizes he can’t live without me.

Dear Reader.

I am an author. I put my stories down on paper. I write out those impossible people I want to be. I create the adventures I wish I could have. And I give them to you.

Are they perfect beyond measure? Of course not. But I have two choices. I can edit them into oblivion, until there is nothing left of the passion I started with; just words on a page, or I can release them, knowing full well there might be minor mistakes, things you catch that I have missed, but also knowing that getting the story out into the world is worth the risk of a wrongly turned sentence.

So, Dear Reader.

If you read my words, forgive the mistakes. Because I am still you.

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I am grateful in 2015

I find myself grateful this year. Not because it’s a new year and I’m supposed to be, but because I am.

I am grateful…

for those who hurt me and mine because they taught me how to see the light on the other side of the anger.

for my family, who believe in me when I have run out of things to believe in.

for the ability to attend college while not sacrificing time with my children.

for a husband who works 12-13 hours per day, 5 days a week, so I can be a stay at home mom and fledgling author.

for all those ‘WTF’ moments. Because without them, how would I learn anything?

for a home that requires some TLC, because the chance to make my house ‘pretty’ feeds a passion I rarely display.

for a teenager who plays the drums, because it is his passion and listening to them makes me smile.

for a teenager who loves space, because his intensity reminds me of my father.

I am grateful for all the lessons I have learned. Were they hard? Hell yes. Did they hurt? Sometimes. Were they worth learning?

Beyond all measurements.

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Hooks aren’t just for fish…

When you think of ‘hook’ what do you think of? An actual, physical Captain Hook hook? Or a fish hook?

Authors think outside the box: we think of hooks as sentences which cause our readers to say, ‘Wait! What you do mean, that ends the chapter?’

Or

‘What happens next?’

I’ve nabbed a few of my favorite novels off my bookshelf to share the beginning sentences with you, so you’ll see what I mean:

Sword-Dancer by Jennifer Roberson (fantasy): In my line of work, I’ve seen all kinds of women. Some beautiful. Some ugly. Some just plain in between. And–being neither senile nor a man with aspirations to sainthood–whenever the opportunity presented itself (with or without my encouragement), I bedded the beautiful ones (although sometimes they bedded me), passed on the ugly ones altogether (not being a greedy man), but allowed myself discourse with the in-betweeners on a fairly regular basis, not being one to look the other way when such things as discourse and other entertainments are freely offered.

(first of all…woman writing first person man. That, in and of itself, is totally intriguing. Second, the voice just sucks me in.)

The Frog Prince by Jenni James (YA fantasy):His Royal Highness Prince Nolan turned to his mother, Queen Bethany of Hollene Court and announced “I have decided to do it!” He threw the missive from his intended, Princess Blythe McKenna,upon the small end table near the settee in the formal drawing room where his mother preferred to take her tea.

(Whatever Prince Nolan has decided to do, he’s serious about it…and I want to know what ‘it’ is.)

Hotel Transylvania: A Novel of Forbidden Love by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (fantasy): Saint-Germain was there–this is not Comte Louis, but another, quite mysterious gentleman who arrived in Paris only last May–and he played several pieces of his own composition on the violin and harpsichord. Rameau congratulated him on his work and commented that he had once met a musical man quite like him in appearance, but that had been a long time ago, in 1701 or 1702, and the man he had seen was then about fifty, whereas this man is no more than forty-five.

(And just like that, the stage is set. Who is Saint-Germain? Could he be more than what he appears?)

The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (The Book of Three) (YA fantasy): Taran wanted to make a sword; but Coll, charged with the practical side of his education, decided on horseshoes. And so it had been horseshoes all morning long. Taran’s arms ached, soot blackened his face. At last he dropped the hammer and turned to Coll, who was watching him critically.
“Why?” Taran cried. “Why must it be horseshoes? As if we had any horses!”

(So immediately we know he’s a boy who wants adventure and is trapped making horseshoes, instead.)

I debated using my own works in progress, but really…using yourself as an example of a good hook with books that are still under construction just reeks of bad taste…and I do want you to trust that I’m not only rooting for myself…I’m rooting for you, too 🙂

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Books and Craziness

I went on vacation last week. I didn’t write a single word, but I had a glorious time. I even talked about writing 🙂 A lot.

Stay with me here. I’m making a point. Sort of.

When something’s in your blood, your heart, your soul, it seeps out. And guess what? People who love you, who want to see you succeed don’t care. They will listen and smile and encourage you to talk more. And you’ll glow. And feel totally goofy but also utterly content.

At least, that’s the way it worked for me. And that got me thinking how very many books i have in my head. Curious? Okay, here goes:

One 7 book fantasy series (kind of a la Robert Jordan, but not that in depth).

A paranormal quirky (I don’t know what else to call it) that might turn into a series (holy cow!)

A paranormal romance (I know, I know. I didn’t intend to write one…) This one is NOT meant for the clean audience, but it’s not erotica. Just has some grown up themes.

Three more in the ‘Sherwood Forest’ setting, in addition to the novella I’m writing now. (Yes, I’ll be writing about Marian’s mother. Eventually.)

And I think a couple of paranormals that are kind of on the cusp of being something…in other words, I’ve written beginnings, but not much else.

So unless something really changes drastically, I’m looking at 13 books at roughly a book a year.

Do what you love. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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