A dose of truth.

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How do you do it? When do you sleep? These are the questions I get all the time when it comes to writing. And while I do answer them honestly, there are nights, like tonight, where the truth is a little more complex than: “I make the time.”

The truth is, it’s 9:45 PM and I am not at home with my family where I want to be. I am sitting in a coffee shop, watching the rain, writing to you, before calling it a day and heading home. My back is aching (there’s yoga tomorrow, I say,) my fingers are numb, and I’m a bit over-caffinated. The truth is, I panicked earlier, as I often do this close to deadline and I told my husband I couldn’t do it.

“I’m not going to make it,” I cried.

“You will.” He said. “You always do.”

“I’ll just shift the pub date. I’ll change it, and everything EVERYTHING will be right in my world again,” I exclaimed, suddenly proud to have all the answers. :)

Then… I watched as he packed my laptop and shooed me out of the house. “Go,” he said.

And so I did.

Now… here I sit, with an aching back, sure, but also the sweet sense of victory: A word count met. Well, exceeded, actually.

Until, tomorrow that is. When that big fat zero will stare me in the face once again and I’ll be forced lucky enough to do it all again.

So, there you have it.

If you’re ever wondering how a novel gets written…  the answer is…It’s often hours away from those I love, one panic attack, and one word, at a time.  ;)

P.S. This is what I wrote to today if you’re interested:

Around The Bend. An Introduction.

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I’m so excited to share my newest baby novel, my 4th, with you all.

Titled, Around The Bend, it’s tentatively slated for release on 10/14/14. You guys get the first look here.

This is Jess’s story, character from The Bedrock Series, but will be read as a standalone, so you will not need to have read Bedrock/Breaking Bedrock. In other words no worries if you haven’t, it will just be an added bonus if you have, as you never know which characters might have a surprise cameo. That said, I can’t reiterate enough that Around The Bend is a standalone novel.

And now for the cover. A special thanks to Mandy at  MHPhotograpy and Lisa of Design By Blink for their outstanding work. Lisa, I thank you, once again, for not killing me during the process. You are the bestest. :)

 

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The synopsis:

If you were to pass me on the street, you probably wouldn’t even look twice. I’m that normal. I’m just like you, only wealthier. I have it all. The kids, the family, the dog, a house on the hill. Hell—I’m so cliché, I even have a white picket fence. I guess you could say that I’ve dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s. But what I also have—what no one sees in yoga, or at Nieman Marcus, or during the dreadful Ladies Who Lunch charity events I attend (because only God knows why), and perhaps most importantly, in the school pick up line—are secrets.

Deep, dark, deadly secrets.

We all keep secrets, don’t we? We all have thoughts in our heads, things we do, things about us that if people knew, they’d be shocked…right? Well, what if one day we just decided to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak.

What if we decided to let the whole world in on our dirty little secrets? And what if along the way, as we were spilling those secrets, we realized that things aren’t always what they seem and with that knowledge, it changed the whole story? 

In this book, I’m laying it all out there. The unraveling of my life. My coming undone. What one might’ve seen had they been paying attention.

What I’ve found in life is people often believe lies before they’ll believe the truth. Well, here it is, in a nutshell. I’ll let you decide which is which.

Please consider adding it to your Goodreads TBR here. It truly means a lot to us authors when you do.

What doesn’t kill you…

 

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You know that feeling during a workout where you start staring at the clock, you can feel your focus starting to fade, and you’re looking for a way out . Any way out. I’m not certain but I think it’s called reaching your anaerobic threshold. And I know it well.

Right now, that is the exact same way I feel about writing my fourth book. It’s a scary place to be because you’re questioning your ability and you’re wondering whether or not you really have it in you. And most importantly, you just want out. It’s more than fear, it’s fear + a looming sense of defeat.

The thing to remember, the thing I always hear the trainers in the gym say is “It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to make you stronger.”

And while I wholeheartedly agree, I can tell you that it’s not that simple showing up day in and day out, knowing you’re going to have to sit in your own shit uncomfortableness.

But it is what it is and somehow you do. I don’t know where you’re at, maybe it’s not struggling with writing—maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s a relationship, or parenting, or something much more significant than the things that trouble me these days.

Whatever it is, know that it is the uncomfortableness that will carry you through to the other side. Push yourself when you need to. You can take more than you think. And sit with it when you can’t. Give in to it if you must. But only long enough to get your second wind. Take a step back, a break, but know that’s not the finish line.

Last night, I had a dream about my character. In the dream she did something that I never saw coming. I woke, wrote it down, smiled, and considered it a token of thanks for all of the bullshit she’s putting me through in the daylight.

The same is true I find for other things in life. The answers will come. You just have to be brave enough to sit through the uncomfortable silence, the doubt, fear, and sometimes even the defeat, in order to hear them.

All I can think while typing this out is: “Now, why didn’t someone tell me that?” ;)

Oh, wait… :)

Why ya gotta be so rude?

Know that everything is in perfect order whether you understand it or not.” ― Valery Satterwhite

The week before last I blogged about kindness in communication. Since that time I’ve seen several posts via social media and had a few interactions with my team where people were frustrated with others for not getting back with them. For not returning the call, the email, the text. The favor. The love.

So, I wanted to take a moment to address that and talk about my philosophy on the matter, for what it’s worth.

When someone doesn’t get back with me (reciprocate) I do my best to give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, yes, I have to try really damned hard, especially if I’m waiting on something I need in order to move forward.

But it helps to assume that it’s not intentional—that’s it’s not you—because it’s almost always about them. Don’t take it personally when people leave you hanging. In communication. In business. In life. In love. And here’s why: people will show you who they are, eventually. Usually, sooner rather that later. Your job is to evaluate whether or not you really want to be associated with what they show you. People who are habitually unresponsive (uninterested/rude/call it what you want) will always be that way. From the first date, right on down the aisle. From the first phone call ’til after the contract is signed.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to be at their mercy. The beauty is that you get to choose. Call it off. Back out. Change your mind. Do what you need to do.

Use the energy you expend being annoyed/hurt/angry to find someone else— someone who is responsive and will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Give the other person the same attention they give you and then move on. While you’re busy doing that don’t forget that what you put out there comes back—heck, I think there’s even a law about it or something. ;)

Manage your expectations, sure. Give the benefit of the doubt. Once, twice, maybe, even three times. But after that it would be wise not to waste your time on someone who isn’t concerned about spending theirs on you. And I’m going to say this a again because it needs to be said: Don’t waste energy being bitter or angry about it either. Let it go, and find someone or something who deserves your time/business/love/attention.

A hard lesson to learn, sure, but oh so worth it. After all, we’re the sum of the people we spend our time with. It might be good to reevaluate whether this business/person/thing adds up. Have an air of expectancy (you’re teaching people how to treat you after all) and then let them SHOW you whether or not they meet those expectations. When they do…believe them. You’ll be a whole lot happier this way, I promise. Life’s too short to worry about unanswered texts, emails, or phone calls.

Speaking from experience, the only people I’m truly concerned about NOT hearing from these days, it’s because, well, they’re dead. Honestly. The people that remain in my life are there because they deserve to be there. Because (god, I’m lucky) they want to be. I have no intention of wasting time and energy on those that don’t. I’m too busy loving the ones who show up and vice versa. And they deserve the very best of me—which can’t exactly happen if my concerns are elsewhere.

That’s all. ;)

Hanging On. Letting Go. And the bitter taste of eaten words.

“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realise that nothing really belongs to them.” ― Paulo Coelho

“Mom. Don’t write about me,” he says.

Ok, so I won’t.

But what I will write about is this. There comes a certain time and place and point in life where you have to practice what you preach. And sometimes those things taste a little more bitter than you might’ve thought. Words are easy to say, sometimes they are even easy to write or to type–but they aren’t always easy to live.

I talk (write) a lot about following your heart. Doing the thing. Making the call. Writing the letter. Saying yes. Saying no. Saying what you need to say. But to pretend that it’s always as easy as that isn’t the whole truth. I have a kid leaving for college in 30 or so days. TO ANOTHER STATE. :) And oh my gosh, let me just tell you that I’m not coping very well with it. At. All. I know this isn’t healthy. I know that you’re supposed to pretend that letting go is easy. That you’re happy to see them off. I also know that I probably look like a crazy mother (pun intended) by hanging on to someone/something that’s mostly already gone. Stay here I say. There are so many great schools here, I plead. Deep down I know it’s wrong. But that doesn’t stop me. The truth is no matter how you try and package it this is just one more slap upside the head in the long string of things lately reminding me of the transient nature of life. People leave. Kids grow up. Your loved ones die. And so on, you go.

So yeah, letting go isn’t easy. Just as holding on isn’t, when you’re meant to let go. My neighbor (hi Greg.) once gave me some really great advice, saying (in regards to parenting but can really be used for most things) “If you let go too soon, there’s a problem. Just as there will be if you hang on too long.”

But damn it if that ever elusive middle ground isn’t hard to find.

What I do know is this: the way that you live your life is the way that your children will, too. It doesn’t matter what you say. It matters what you do. Even if those things are ultimately good things–they are watching. So, if you follow your heart, pursue your dreams, refuse to conform, and so on and so forth–you should probably be prepared for them to do the same. The problem with that being, I find, is that you can’t spare them the heartache of doing so, as much as you might want to.

It’s a dance, this parenting gig. Sometimes it’s a waltz, sometimes the cha-cha, but mostly, I find it’s a two-step. It’s hanging on and letting go. And the timing of it all, as it turns out, is ever so important. Otherwise, you’re just a really bad dancer.

P.S. I love this video so hard. It’s everything I’m trying to say, only said better. ;) It’s visual poetry. It’s philosophy. It’s beautiful. Two minutes. Shots of Awe. I can’t get enough. You really should watch it. I don’t think you’ll be sorry. :)

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Nobody knows.

“Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.”
― Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat

This is probably going to sound really out there and quite random but…for the past few weeks or so I cannot stop thinking about all of the things nobody knows. There is just so much. :) Seriously though, I know this is going to sound completely crazy but I am in complete and utter awe at how many unanswered questions there are. Complete awe.

I think as human beings we tend to become so wrapped up in the day to day, in the mundane, that we often forget that such questions even exist. We forget that we are so so small in comparison to what’s out there. And what is out there? Well, the truth is no one knows. Isn’t that a crazy thought? That we can be so technologically advanced and yet still not know?

I mean…how many of us walk around thinking we have all of the answers when there are still so many questions. Questions we haven’t even asked. Questions we haven’t even thought to ask.

This is one reason I love children so much…they’re incessantly curious. They ask questions and they demand answers. I think somewhere along the way that gets beat out of us as we morph into adulthood. But what if it didn’t? What if we spent some time (even an hour a day) being completely and utterly in awe of all of the stuff we don’t know. And what if we spent half of that time pondering the answers?

It still blows my mind that I can type this up and people halfway around the globe can read it in a matter of seconds. It’s crazy to me that I can put my (random) thoughts out into the ethers and that people want to read them. Or that people subscribe to read them. Hell, it still blows my mind that I can walk into my local grocery store and find fifty kinds of jelly…

And I tell you what, when you start paying attention to all of things that blow your mind—to all life’s unanswered questions (versus that which you already know ) living becomes a whole lot more interesting. ;)

Exhibit A: I read the article below about NASA and then texted the link (how does a text even work, anyway?:) to my husband because I had to discuss it with someone. Below was that discussion.

It’s nice to know there’s at least one person out there who enjoys indulging my neurosis. ;)

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http://sploid.gizmodo.com/nasa-detects-mysterious-signal-240-million-light-years-1595635338?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Full Circle.

“No matter the deviation, all things come full circle. You begin and end your journey in the same place, but with a different set of eyes. – Abram”― Jennifer DeLucy, Seers of Light

When my husband and I had been dating for a few weeks…or a month, or so, he tried telling me how he felt about me during an unexpected conversation on the matter. Sensing my ambivalence about the conversation (I wasn’t looking for a relationship, he was a senior in college, unemployed, and I was a 19 year old divorced mother of two, working my ass off) he scraped what I think he wanted to say (the dreaded “L” word) and instead said: “I don’t love you. But I sure do like you a lot.”

Which little did he know is not typically the way to a girl’s heart. But it was that day. I’ve never quite let him live that one down. And it’s been a running joke ever since.

These days, I have teenagers who are dating and let’s just say…it’s something else all together. On a recent visit my mother happily reminded the two of us how when we were dating his family was against our relationship for many reasons—the least likely of them probably being the fact that I had two kids, and their son was just starting out in life. I understood that, after all, I was mother then, too. :) But my family also thought I was nuts and wondered why I wanted to date someone with whom I had to pay for the dates. ;)

Anyway, it’s kind of funny in a very ironic sort of way that we find ourselves discussing my teenagers relationships, when not all that long ago…we…well, you get the picture.

Then, today our daughter gave me this. Apparently, the initials belong to the boy(s!) she likes. Good god, she’s SIX.

Full circle, I tell ya.

Full. Circle.

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On mindfulness and communication.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

I don’t often post PSA’s but when I do… :)

I am tempted to share some of the emails I receive on a daily basis—as of late I am all too often appalled at the rudeness/tone of my business related emails. I understand that we’re all busy, receive a ton of email, and often rattle off responses while we are distracted/as quickly as we can to settle the issue and take it off our plate.

But what I want to say is this: communication is communication. What you say (or don’t say) gives the recipient an impression of you and whether or not you are someone they’d like to do business with. Never forget there is a person at the other end of that email and a little kindness—even a please or a thank you—can go a long way.

I’m certainly in no way perfect but please (pretty please!) let’s not forget to be mindful in our communication. Please. And thank you. And have a great week! Oh and how are you??? I hope you’re well. :))

These are the days.

“How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss

A large part of me wishes I could freeze this summer—simply wave a wand, push the pause button, make time stand still.

I want to squeeze every last drop of these months, this season. Milk them for all they’re worth. I’m sure there will be great times in the future, but now, well, now, is just perfect.

These are the days— where kids haven’t yet left for college, or they’re on the verge of driving (their first taste of real freedom and your first taste of how high the worry quotient can actually go) while others are on the cusp of adolescence, where depending on the day, if it’s a really lucky one you just might still get a hug at school drop off.

These are they days you know you’re so damned lucky to get a second chance at this parenting gig and that this in and of itself is both a blessing and a curse—because that means you know. You know how fast it all goes and you know what it’s like to let go. Little by little, and then all of a sudden, all at once.

So you soak it all up, shake your head, smile, and sigh ever so slightly. You are happy, so very happy, even as you are sad. You’re not sure how it’s possible to feel so much happiness and so much sadness, all at the same time. But you do…and it is.

You know the time will pass and this all will have been just a season of life, just as certain and as quickly as summer will end.

For the truth is, they grow up and fall will come, whether you’re ready or not. So, in the meantime, you try your best not to be sad about it, and you make sure to revel in the warmth of the sunshine and you try your hardest to memorize the laughter. And mostly, you try not to take even a little bit of it for granted.

Yes, these are the days.

Creativity requires a fair amount of crazy.

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And sometimes, if you’re really, really lucky it’s your dreams that wake you up. They start out as a slow whisper, a gentle nudging, saying: “Get up. You got this” and leave you with a hunger you can’t seem to satisfy. The smart thing to do would be to listen and obey— otherwise it just gets louder and messier from there. :)