Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THE DAY JOB part 2

Hello, I'm back with part 2 of THE DAY JOB.  lol everytime I type THE DAY JOB I hear a deep voice with quick echo and ominous music. In some ways, I find this funny--and sad.

Let's clarify here. I've had many jobs. MANY MANY JOBS. I've done and tried everything looking for a real job. Plus I've been willing to try anything to bring in extra money to keep my family from the pit of despair. Short lists of jobs I've had:

Firefighter (volunteer, but it brought in small amounts of money)
Newspaper stuffer
Courtesy clerk
Gas station cashier
Tupperware consultant (I rocked at this until my first divorce. Was Executive manager for a while)
Realtors assistant
Catch all at radio station-did everything from fill out logs to write copy. This job was fun.
Insurance Agent (worked at same place I was bookkeeper)
Securites (this was tied into my Insurance job)
Farm Labouror
Casino Security

This is a sampling. I'm sure there are more that I'm not remembering right now. All affected me in various ways and taught me various things. Some I can no longer do, even if I get the classes done because of my health, some you would have to pay me about a million dollars a year to do again (Insurance and waitress) and I mean gauraunteed money :P but none of them, except maybe the job at the radio station, were my true calling--writing and painting.

Now that you've seen I can work wherever needed, I'm going to tell you about the job I had the longest that was the hardest: Bookkeeping/Insurance/Securities

It started out as a part time job to help a friend with his taxes. I used to fill out my own stuff for Tupperware and told him I could learn the rest of what I needed for him. It started out as a simple job, 16 hours or less. I would take all his reciepts floating around in the boxes since 1996 (this was in early 2003) and keep him current. Also, help when payroll came around and do payroll. No sweat. Payroll twice a month for five people? Easy peasy. And it was. Nate had full time job that brought home 600/wk after health ins and daycare, I had a job and I went back to school and we started building a house. Great right?

Well, yeah. For about 2 months. Than my husband lost his job. No problem, my boss needed more help doing the insurance side of things, so I started working more hours until I was up to 40+ a week so that end of it, though tight, cuz I didn't make near as much as he did, but that wasn't the problem.

See, my boss, while a wonderful person, is a terrible business manager both financially and in dealing with personnell. He'd had me start while one of his gals were on Vacation. She was on a vacation for a month. I didn't think much of it, except knowing him for five years previously, I did call him a chicken with a little laugh. Turns out, it wasn't a laughing matter.

He was afraid of her. She was bitchy, bossy and hated me because I was white. She was, and remains, one of the most racist people I've ever met who hid it behind a cloak of polite snobbery until people's backk's were turned. She hated anyone not Mexicano. Period. She ruled her house with an iron hand and tried to do it at the office. The boss and his brother, mostly just smiled and ignored her and did things the way they did. The other gal, a proper Mexican woman (I'm using her assessment, not mine) was under her thumb and always retained a repectful demeanor to her.

Then came me. I started tracking all his money. His tills everything. He was losing a minimum of 100 dollars a week in the tills. I am not going to tell you what we discovered or how, but that five years later when he closed down, we no longer were losing money from till, but were still trying to catch up from previous years.

I pointed it out. Asked everyone to be more careful in their accounting and in tracking sales slips that needed further tracking. Asked in front of boss so they knew he wanted it, just didn't know how to explain the problem. Well, then came the woman from his auxillary office. See, I went to the other office, looking for any tax records, receipts, etc and also to fill in while on vacation...

Well, I got a LOT of comments about how she was never there, especially between these hours and these hours. So I started tracking her time cards. Always they said the same thing. A little more research and watching and taking complaints from customers reveals she leaves for more than an hour to get her kids etc, to take her mom hither and dither, go to appointments, and meet her hubby whenever she wanted to. Which is fine. One of the benefits of working for a small town employer, is they get the family thing. What wasn't fine was that the time card wasn't reflecting all this time off.

Her excuse? It's her break. My response? Your break is fifteen minutes. not an hour and a half. Bosses response, "I'll talk to her" results? nothing. He still paid out over 3k. I tracked for six months how many hours she actually worked and how much time she was paid for and showed him. Her average work week by the time we closed down? 12 hours. the time she claimed? 40+. Some people might say so what? why was it your problem. Well for a myriad of reasons.

One, he hired me to help him quit losing money and get his taxes in order.
Two, turned out he hired me to be a buffer between him and all this crap.
Three, asking me to do payroll meant that I had to make sure it was accurate
Four, when money was short, I was the first one, after him, to have to wait for a check. See that last reason there???? yeah, if I'm not getting paid for the hours I'm working, she sh=ure as hell shouldn't be getting paid for the hours she WASN;t working just because she had an elite sense of self and what someone owed her.

And it was blatant. Our daughters did sports together. I was score keeper one season. WE had a game at a place approx 30 miles from us. When the bus rolled in, at 3:40 she was already there with the grandma. So, she had to have left before 3 to get the grandma and get to the away game. NO problems there as our boss pretty much let us do anything family related if cleared it first. But then came time to turn in time cards. I took the sports scheduled, told the boss the set up then showed him how she shows not leaving until 5:30. I had proof this time. Did it matter?? nope.  She honestly felt that it was her RIGHT to go to every single game AND get paid for it. That kind of mentality pisses me off.

In the meantime, the first woman I spoke of, who'd previously hated the "other" woman for the reasons I've pointed out, came to like her. They both bitched about me. What did they have to bitch about?? I was all of the sudden there, making things come to light that they'd rather have been kept hidden. The first woman retaliated in a hundred little ways. Taling about me badly in Spanish thinking I didn't know any. I don't know a lot, but I know the basics and the more business I did in Spanish, the more I remembered. When it didn't deter me, (remember, husband lost job soon after I started. Was kind of stuck) she began to retaliate in other ways. Letting her children use my computer after hours, which no one was supposed to do because of the financial stuff on it. She tried to deny it, but I had the auto-fill feature on and could show the boss her kids' names on stuff. Then things would disappear. Then came the big retailiation--bleach.

The office was in an old strip mall. How old? It was a cinder block rectangle. There was water and electric hook up, but no ventilation system. We had a thin strip at one end. One day, I come in while they're cleaning and start having trouble breathing. They used way too much bleach in the water and were mopping the floors.

I didn't say anything. I have asthma and figured was having bad day. I did what had to be done then went home. I wasn't having bad day. I was fine within 10 min of leaving the office. Soon, she figured out the bleach thing gave me problem and went from using 2 cups in two gallons to over half the bucket was bleach. I couldn't even walk in the door without asthma trouble. The boss was torn. He liked the clean office but didn't like having his bookkeeper and now licensed agent (she was not licensed even after taking multiple classes boss paid for) leave from ashtma trouble (which I made him pay me for anyway cuz he didn't do anything.) Finally, I told him it was an L&I issue. she wasn't using the chemicals properly and he either did something or I walked. I had been trying to get another job, any job, but I was over qualified for most or they didn't believe I'd take the cut in pay. So we took all the bleach out fo the office and the aerosols because of same problem and replaced them with pretty smelling pine sole and the other spray air freshner. Same brand, same smells, just not aerosol.

Guess what happened? She brought her own bleach from home. By this point, I hate my job. I've been given tons of responsibility, no authority, and he wouldn't pay the taxes as I suggested. And I wasn't getting any back up. His reason? didn't believe in nepotism. I just about had a stroke. Literally. I felt my blood pressure rise, my eye ticked and the fury just went beserk. By this point I'd gone without a check on time mulitple times. Doesn't believe in nepotism??MY ASS. IF I CAN SUFFER CUZ I'M YOUR FRIEND YOU CAN SURE AS HELL STICK UP FOR ME!  yeah. not a good time all around.

I called L&I and confirmed the improper use of chemicals issue, yeah 2 gallons of bleach to mop floors isn't good. seriously, she was only adding water cuz she thought she had to, but it was barely a cup or two by this point. Then she started leaving the nail polish and nail polish remover lids off after spraying her hair with aerosol hairspray on mornings she knew I was coming in for a meeting, purposefully trying to give me an asthma attack so I'd have to leave. How do I know it was on purpose? Well this super fastiduous, non clumsy person, left one out on the desk and the polish? She dumped it out in her garbage can. And no, where here garbage was located under her desk, there is no way she accidentally spilled that much in there without getting it on her clothes/legs, her chair, or her desk. I confronted her and my boss this time. WE're talking almost four years of this by this point.

When my boss tried to talk to her she said I needed to get a new nose. Multiple times, she said this. My asthma was immaterial and everything she heard from our boss only gave her ammunition. The last time, when the boss showed up before she'd really covered her tracks, the boss gave me money out of his pocket and told me to go home and take my kids to the movies later and he'd deal with her.

She ended up calling L&I herself and found out that no, you're not supposed to use chemicals other than how instructed on labels, no you can't use chemicals from home just because you don't like the ones the boss provides, and no, you're not supposed to be doing anything, espiecially not on purpose, that gives your co-workers health issues.

She hated my guts and quit cleaning the office, so I ended up doing it. I hired my daughter to help after going throught the pain in the ass process of getting a minor license. (it really is a HUGE hassel. you know any company that hires under eighteen give them your support. They're going the extra mile-no ten miles- to make that possible.)

I HATED MY JOB. I HATED MY WORK ENVIRONMENT. I tried writing in notebooks. At first, it helped. I tried writing on the computer on my lunch breaks and before scheduled work time. My home computer had bit the dust by then. I'd get started but couldn't find the creativity to continue. I was tired. Emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

I took a couple of art classes which also helped. But it was hard to find the time or energy to paint either, especially after class was over. I had written a story in the mid 1990's which I typed up on an old word processor. I'd found the print out and looked into self publishing. It was expensive. I was trying desperately to find a way out, but the energy to write couldn't be found.

Side note: During all of this, I also had a thyroid problem which kept getting down played as a goiter and turned out to be cancer. I was tired all the time. I finally had surgery becaue the "goiter" got large enough to be considered a serious breathing problem (doc said prob stress of job because I'd branched out as my own insurance agent and the stress had quadrupled. I was trying to get away!) The resulting lab work proved that I had cancer despite the multiple biopsies that had said negative. I had to get another surgery done and then radiation. Then I was on low doses which increased until my current dose.

Then money forced him to let people go. Those two women ended up going. Mainly because their husbands had jobs and they were costing him the most. They went on unemployment, he gave them recommendations for new job, and we struggled to get taxes paid and the tills back to where they needed to be.
a few months later, he rehired the woman from the other office--without mentioning it to me. I found out when time cards were put in. I was livid. I'd just bought a car after confirming with him we weren't hiring anyone else or back because I knew if we did, I wouldn't be able to count on my check on time. (I was right!)

So yeah, creativity was so washed out by this point, I'd forget I ever wanted to be a writer until I'd come across a story I'd started. Then sadness would fill me and I'd determine that I was going to try and write. A few more pages would get written but then the will would be there, but nothing. I'd sit and look at a blank page. Why? It wasn't writer's block. It wasn't fear of the blank page. I just couldn't be creative. My job was sucking the life out of me. I joke about a muse, etc. but I'm really of the mind set that you can write, edit, learn or do something to improve your writing even if you're not in the mood. Even reading in your genre as it's a necessary part of writing. But there were times I couldn't even read. I tried to keep doing other things, like crochet. But it took a five day hospital stay for asthma in order for me to be able to do that. I got a good deal finished on the heirloom Christmas Stocking I was working on. And yes, I finished it lol It was the second one I've done. With babies and my eyes, it's hard to do them now. I need good glasses, good light, and free time from kids, but yes, this fast and loose, highly disorganized person is excellent at cross stitching.

Finally, the agent retired and I was forced to quit working for him. I quit my insurance job as I'd been offered a job at the sherriff's office, which didn't happen because of the previous job. The details of which I'm not going into because I'm still looking for a lawyer. (You know a good business lawyer in WA state I have an EXCELLENT case for libel. Specific repeated libel that cost a government job) Any ways, I got out of the job and since I had more time on my hands, I did firefighting again and started writing.

My first querly letter went to Jessica Faust. It said something like this. "I've written a Harlequin Intrigue. You want to see it?" I kid you not. I'd been able to find enough information with the little skills I had to know you needed one but not enough information on how to write one. She was kind. Very kind. In fact, now that I know what's entailed she was deliciously wonderfully beautifully considerate and compassionate. She will always hold a soft spot in my heart :) I progressed from there. Each year, I've gotten stronger and more defiant to those around me regarding my writing. I make time for my kids, but I've become vocal in telling them all I need to write. They need to do their chores without me hounding them (especialy the teens) and the last six months, I've become absolutiely rabid about it if I don't get my writing time. My daughter's near death and other health problems put it on hold for a bit, but it never went away. I've learned a lot about myself and writing since that time.

Class discussion: What could have been done differently on my part to help me find time for writing (and painting or whateverit is you love to do)? What attitudes do we need to bring to bear to our writing because others won't? I wish that I understood now, what I understood before. I'm going to use that to show you what NOT to do, and how to get yourself where you want to be. So please, comment!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The "DAY JOB" Part one: the intro

As my "logline" says at the top of my blog, this isn't just about the journey to becoming published, it's about being a wife and mom while getting there. I talk a lot about my struggles as a mom, a little less about the struggles of being a wife, but I think I've neglected to point out that I've also worked.

Right now, that work is Etsy and trying to find new art and ways to get my stuff sold. It's time consuming, but it's not quite the same as a day job. In same ways it's harder-my kids get into stuff, especially the 2yo, my husband, who's trying desperately to remember I'm not sitting at the computer playing farmville all day, still has a hard time remembering, I'm working from home while dealing with kids, homeschooling, meals, etc.

But let's address the dreaded "day job" we hear so much about. Now it doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things whether you work, days, nights, swings or what. It all means you have less time to write. Yeah, that's the only problem having a day job, right? NOT.

I don't know if I've ever shared this or not, but I've been writing on some level since I was a kid. I loved the writing exercises from grammar school. The high school ones not so much. When other girls my age were keeping diaries, I was writing stories, and illustrated fables in my journal. As I got older, I kept notebooks around for story ideas. Invariably, I lost them. I've moved A LOT in my lifetime and it's hard to track things like that. Time. I never seemed to have enough time.

Even the first time I did the SAHM route, I never seemed to have time to write. But when I was working...

For me, there was almost always a commute. More than once, I'd wish for a tape recorder so I could verbally state my story ideas, or write them and transcribe them. I liked the time to gear up for work, or to dismantle the stress of work before hitting the family riot.

Fatigue, time, money, resources. All a part of the daily struggle to do what you want to really be doing. But what if your job is literally killing your creativity? I can give you some insights with the knowledge I've since gained, but I'm going to go through this in a three part series. Today, we have the introduction to the problem and a little discussion. Next, I will give you a better, more indepth description of the hell I felt while working. Then we can address how to fix the problem. Things I've since learned, about myself, writing, and ways to rejuice that creativity when it's being bombarded.

The problem: You are working a job that not only leaves you unfulfilled, but actually is sucking the life out of you, your mind, your creativity. More than just a matter of being tired.

Solution: We will talk about some solutions :D Also, some ways of recognizing when you're heading down the road and ways to nip it in the bud.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Camping, mostly personal stuff

Well, an overnight camp stay with inlaws turned into four days. Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. It was quite eventful. A second cousin, niece, something or other relation wasn't feeling well, so Sunday my MIL and I take them back in her beautiful wonderful 25 mpg suv type vehicle.

We drop off girls, stop at my house to get medicine bag we'd forgotten to put in the car, fed the dogs more food as the neighbor dogs keep eating all my dogs' food, and went to safeway to get creamer. My MIL went in by herself and I put my nearly dead phone in my backpack regretting that I still hadn't found the charger when we'd stopped at the house.

She comes out, throws the creamer in the trunk and heads back to the driver's side. She collapses out of my sight with a sudden short "ah" and I jump out of the car and head to the driver's side. She was down. She'd hurt her ankle, twisting it when she'd tried to walk along the curb of the manicured little bark garden area. She'd scraped her leg on the other side. I looked around, but no one was in sight. I walk briskly into the store, (no running. My MIL and I often joke how I could be her natural daughter) and the first person I see is a Safeway worker, presumably on break as he's buying lotto tickets, and tell him my mom's been injured and I need ice and first aid kit. (Former EMT. I'm making my wishes known politely but with no nonsense.) I saw the words on his tongue, almost literally as he starts to tell me he's on break then processes what I've said and heads straight to a manager.

Anyways, the manager hands me a first aid kit, then comes out a few minutes later with the requested ice. I do a quick clean with the antiseptic wipe, put on the antibiotic cream, and applied the gauze with minimal tape because according to her she was fine. We were still heading to her house so she could shower, where I'd re-apply it more tightly.

Anyways, after much info gathering by manager and one more stop, she finally tells me she thought she heard a snap and we needed to go to hospital. I told her what for and drove to the hospital. Looking at it I was pretty sure it was broken. The nurse and doctor also thought it was broken. It's not, thank goodness. Unless the radiologist looks at it and overrides the ER info. Anyway, I was really glad I hadn't stayed home like I'd been thinking about. I'd changed my mind and am still grateful for that. So many factors had come into play to make that possible.

First, we went up one day early, second I decided to go with her because I'd forgotten the mediciane bag, plus I didn't feel well, and third, I chose not to stay home.

While in the ER she hands me her debit card and told me to do the rest of the errands because she was going camping. period. We were going back up. So I left, turned on my nearly dead phone to keep contact with her. I went home to get the hot dogs and buns my husband requested and find my darn charger. I found the charger and put the phone on it while I gathered other stuff, bread, nutella, odds and ends and put it in the car. took the charger and phone, gave the dogs more food since I was there, and went to do the other errands.

By the time I got back to the hospital, she was nearly finished. Her leg was in an air cast and I was relieved it wasn't broke. You should've seen it. Malformed and purple and very painful looking.

Anyways, I finally get her back to camp where we all waited on her hand and foot. And during the down time, I look up my emails. I have facebook message from my daughter re her bf and my tweets. I haven't said much of anything in weeks. She's bipolar and her bf was diagnosed with bipolar, but he's in denial. Needless to say, drama ensued. I finally had to tell her, I wouldn't be responding to any tweets, comments, messages regarding her bf nor any attacks on me. He has her convinced that her dad, stepdad and I are all lying and turned against her bf for no reason and doesn't believe us regarding his actions while she was on her death bed. I've pretty much kept the info on that down to a minimum to keep the drama down, but all that did was open it up for him to continue to lie to her. She chose to believe him.

The whole time I'm trying to talk to her, I'm holding the charger in my phone cuz it's not charging. IN the middle of a conversation with her, it dies. I try to get the charger to work and while I was taking it out, the main piece of it broke in half. The weirdest thing ever. So I had to wait a full day. I messaged her. Hopefully, it'll be the end of the drama. I can hope.

I have so much going on. I spent a month and a half practically living at the hospital for her and I have a lot to make up even now, a month later. I'm behind in my writing, I have painting, etsy, kids, homeschooling (yes, due to the thing with my daughter, we were a little bahind on hours. Doing school until August, I think) and more writing and artwork for zombie things, photoshop to learn more of, etc. I have too much to do to give a rats, uh, yeah, you get my point. I don't have time for the drama.

We stayed an extra night than we'd planned cuz I wanted to make sure mom felt better and came home so my husband could go to rehearsal. Now, I've caught up with my networking sans the blog reading. I'll probably never get caught up completely, did some writing, and wrote on my website, made some executive decisions, and now, posting the blog :) Hopefully, I'll be able to get more done when Husband gets home and eats.

That about updates the mom/wife part of the recent journey in writing :) A little teaser, I shall be self wpublishing soon. I've even decided which one to do first. Maybe. LOL I have too that are very close to ready, it'll be a hard call. After I finish the paranormal rewrite, I'll decide.

So, hopefully, you all are getting caught up/ahead and are able to find some balance with your home and writing/artist life :D Off I go to make Stroganoff...mmmmm

Friday, June 17, 2011

Funny Photos

Okay, this is not America's Funniest Vidoes. These are some photos that I'm practicing on for some scary artwork :D (Psst, if anyone has an Adobe Photoshop 7 or CS2 they want to give me, let me know! I have Elements 7, 9 and the upgrades of 2 & 3, although I can't find 2 at the moment. I also have disks Ibought with magazines that give me brushes to do what I want and they won't work withought the CS3 upgrade so I'm on a terror!) I'll probably sketch the work and then play with it in photoshop.

However, yesterday, was a huge allergy day and I could barely see the words, so I finally decided to mess with photoshop and see what I can come up with. Here are a few examples of what I did:

Bad hair day for a cowboy

Creature likes the cookie. Creature will find the cookies and steal them.

Preppy zombies

I nearly had an asthma attack laughing at the last one so hard. That is my husband and me at Multnomah Falls, Oregon. At least, thath's how it started...

As for writing, I did manage to get a few hundred words in between the sneezing hacking, watery eyes and kids taking advantage of the sickly mom :P Today, I shall get more done!! I have to cuz my CP is kicking my arse now! she did over 3k which effectively caught her up to my big day, but my little day was a few hundred short of  hers! So onwards with the words! We shall be doing the crazy train hardcore today...that sounds slightly dirty and I'm not sure why...maybe been talking to friends on twitter too much...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New installment

So the third installment in Dangerous Journey is up on Splintered Lands. I'm having so much fun with this. It makes me grin from ear to ear. I don't worry about them thinking I'm crazy-they already do. soemthing about my love of editing or something lol I do like editing from constructive criticism. Hate editing for change of POV though *frowns and growls at remembering that I still have some to go*

Anyways, thanks for the comments on posts. I'm still having trouble with blogger. Something with my cookies. Even though I cleared my cache memory, it won't let me leave comments. I wish, they'd called those stupid memory helps something besides cookies. I LIKE cookies. I don't like this kind of problem...

Anyway, got news that my commissioned painting arrived safely, which made me very happy :D I like it when things go well. She really likes it, which makes me even happier LOL

I'm on an insane challenge to write 25k by this day next week (start word count is actually 21753), so must get on with it! Wish me luck!

Ta-ta for now!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here Come Summer

MY muse and my mojo are back, but I'm stunting my way through the word count. It's there, but just under 1k the days I write. Sundays have turned into semi forced days off...but that's okay. AS I've said previously, you have to take time off or your body will do it for you.

I started to do a new blog Sat, Sun, Mon and it didn't happen for a variety of reasons. So this morning I woke up and said I'm going to Borders to get some time in. I'm drinking a Mint Chocolate Javakula and eating a browning. *pauses while jealousy infuses your mind*

My house is superbly rearranged and we may have solved an issue with our woodstove. Now just need to figure out where to keep it for the summer. I love the way the house is arranged with it out of the house though. We'll see what happens there. I'm feeling pretty optimistic about the future, which has been a rare commodity of late. I had a commission for artwork, bookmarks sold, and someone else who's thinking of commissioning artwork. I have writing that's wanted, a check, albeit a small one, coming sometime in the future for a short in an anthology, and another small one coming in the fall for another contribution to an anthology. Small things but it all helps me to feel good about myself.

I'm about at 22k on the sort that used to be 12,600 so I'm getting somewhere with my little bits, but want to go faster. Tomorrow, if it's not windy, I'm going to be burning and weeding, but as of Thursday, I think I need to have another NANO :D With the way the house is gettting organized, it might even be possible. Just the thought of doing that makes me feel good :D

So I think I'll call up my partner and start up another writing thing for the two of us since the last one was short circuited by life. My kids have been given their instructions for summer school. Because of my daughters stuff, we got a little behind (not too far as I'm not afraid to make them work later or on weekends when emergencies happen) so I've given them their insturctions for what they have to get done if they want a month off for the summer. Yep, I'm mean. Only giving them a month off... partly because of the family upset that happened. Plus, their are more ways of teaching than sitting in a classroom and they're more fun in the summer :D

I'm working with the boys on art but my older one wants something different, so Nate's teaching him beading techniques (which I know enough of to backhim up) and I'm going to work with both of them on design and compostition. Shhhhh....they don't know that's part of the schooling :D I told them we could set up a lemonade stand at the end of our drive and they can sell their art stuff as well. Course this is happening on their month "off" lol I know, devious I am, but it's a lot easier to get their cooperation and a lot more fun for them if they don't know it's happening as part of school.

Also, I'm going to be starting a medeival section for the boys. Think it'll roll right into the next school year. We can do everything from music (which I need to bone up on) to sewing, history, geography, politics, and for breaks? Math by way of monolpoly...

Anyway, my summer looks to be full and exciting. With the school stuff, writing and hopefully camping/day trips to mountains, I plan on giving my boys a fun summer, even if they learn something along the way. Hope you all have summer plans that work for you.

BTW, I plan on blogging all through the summer as well. So if you need some company because it seems everyone and their brother is off on wonderful momnth long summer trips, come see me and we can have our own fun together :D

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Making time for writing

You're a SAHM (an acronym I've only recently learned) and you want to write. You juggle things a bit, but it works. Now you're writing. But now, you need to go to work. Or you're going to school. Or you're in charge of the senior activities for a year. something happens that is going to take up a huge chunk of time. What do you do?

First have a freak out if it's your style, then grab some caffeine, and sit down with me and let's do some *pause while I cringe* planning. Now before y'all go rolling your eyes and quit reading, remember, I AM A PANTSTER. So, I'm going to give you pointers on how to plan your life so you can write the way you need to. Are you ready?

1) What foods do you like? List the foods you and your children like the best. ie they complain the least about. Choose the easiest ones to make. Also, I found if I made one really good dinner a week, the kids and hubby were less grumpy about my time being taken up so much with other things.

2) List the ingredients you need to buy. Do. Not. Be. Lazy. This is important to the time management aspect. Check your cupboards and be sure.

3) Buy everything you can ahead of time. Do the monthly shopping, then weekly shopping. When you get home, prep everything that can be prepped! Chopping, mixing, etc. Get snacks ready like cut up carrots, celery sticks, etc so you snack less on junk food and more on healthy foods, and that goes for your kids as well! Get as much ready as possible. This is the same day you should do any cleaning that's backed up. One day a week, no writing. preferably no job/school either, but we can't always choose that aspect.

4) Be less critical of yourself. You may make comments, question yourself as to the validity of a point, or whatever it is, but you're going to be exhausted, so save the major editing for when you're not as tired, or run it by a critique partner before sending to the chopping block. You're going to have days where you feel like you can't do it all and those are the wrong days to be critiquing your own work.

5) Don't give up all your social networking time. Also, more importantly, your me time. You may have to condense that time, but you still need it to happen.

6) Set aside specific time every week for kid/hubby time. Play a board game, go see a movie, go ride bikes, whatever it is your family likes to do together. If your job schedule changes every week, then set the next weeks family day the day you get your new schedule out. Kids and husbands will fare better if they know when they'll get your undivided attention. And don't back out on that time!! Very important, especially with the children, that  you don't back out of that time for being tired.

7) Do homework/work at home stuff first. I know, there will be days when that's the last thing you want to do, but you have to. The stress of trying to fit it all in at the last minute will make you less productive overall, causing more stress, resulting in a vicious cycle. an unproductive vicious cycle.

8) Do things like laundry/dishes minor kid stuff every half hour to an hour. depending on what you're working on. Just ten to fifteen minutes and you'll be amazed at how much is done. Plus, getting up, moving around will help your brain. Win/win for you and you'll be sure to give kids and house some attention.

9) Don't sweat the small stuff. Are you OCD about the mayonnaise going in the door of the refrigerator? You may have to let it go, or quit harping at kids about it and move it during the aforementioned breaks. Learn to tamp down stress and worries of the small things. Is it really necessary for your child to wash their face the second food touches it? Or can it wait until after the meal is finished? Maybe have kid do homework next to you while you work. Can help with good work ethics for both of you J

10) Now listen close. This is the most important one. HAVE FUN!! Make sure you do this. With your kids and by yourself, while your writing, at work, at school, look for ways to have fun and enjoy yourself! Granted, there may be times you have to REALLY look to find the fun, but if you're looking for it, you're more likely to find it. This is the key. If you're happy and don't look over stressed all the time, the family will be less resentful about  your new schedule than if your snapping at them and grumpy out of exhaustion. Key element. Have fun. You get that? I'm going to say it again.

HAVE FUN! This is the most important part of being a writer, mother, student, employee, etc. The real key to success, whatever those gurus say. If you love your job, whatever it is, you'll be more successful if you're enjoying yourself!

I hope you got something out of this post that you'll find helpful. I do this for all mothers/stressed out workers who need to see that the road to publishing doesn't have to be a lonely one and that we are all human. I am a mother. A writer. A wife. A painter. A sister, cousin, aunt. I am all of these things and they all affect my writing. I hope to help others who want to write get over the guilt and find more time to write and be their true selves. Please share your experiences and any helpful tips you can add to these! They are meant to be a starting place for you to find your own way of doing things :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Just another day

Yesterday I only wrote 1k (ha ha jk on the only!) I want to write a minimum of 3k a day but I'm happy to have reached the 1k as I was inundated with requests for computer time and I was struggling through some dialogue. A week ago, that struggle would've meant brain fried regarding everything for me.

Yesterday, I got out 1k words and painted an 18x24 inch picture from one of my new found pics. For those who missed the twitter tweets I found lots of disks, I'm up to 12 now, with back ups from 2008 and before from old computer and have been spending oodles of time loading and getting reaquainted with them :D I still managed to do other things :) and I posted a new etsy item.

I also worked on my sons graduation afghan. I'll have to take a photo of it cuz it's very cool! I might even have it finished on time! He graduates next Wednesday.. We shall see! I had to have my husband pick up more yarn cuz I ran out the same day I wrote 3k! (yes, I crocheted as well. I'm telling you, it was a good day for getting things done :D) So I worked on the last panel while I waited for the yarn for the other panel (I only have like 6 rows on that panel, two attaching rows and 4 short rows with that color but I ran out of yarn! It's very annoying! Anways...)

It's a huge graduation time, obviously. A time where we all congratulate the kids on getting through the school years and hope they're ready for the future. It's why I give afghans to my kids. They'll always need blankets. To be covered with or sit on, they can use it. Plus I'm too poor to hand out cars :D

Speaking of kids and milestones, I had someone ask all of twitter, how do you manage with kids, writing and school? I think I'm going to post that tomorrow. It's related to NaNo what I figured out, but I haven't really shared that outside of the NaNo arena. Since this blog is about being a full time mom on the way to publishing, which has included some working and school, I'm thinking it's about time! So stay tuned for more ideas on how to get throught he busy times, like graduations, and retain your sanity :D

Happy Writing, Painting, and Fun Day!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My mojo is BACK


yes, I'm back :D I have been struggling to break out of my boxes, or into them as the case may be. I struggled and did write, but usually less than 1k a day. I also was able to get some cleaning and crafting done, so my mojo was peaking out, but yesterday? Yesterday was the kind of day I need to have in order to do what I want/need to do!

I painted a small painting and a large painting after *drum roll please* writing 3k words! Woohoo. Today doesn't look to be as impressive as I've been distracted by other things :)

Warning: Major Rabbit trail ahead!

I found disks with pics I'd backed up in 2008! Pics that weren't even on my computer yet when it crashed!! One thing I've discovered, is I found 10 disc with pictures. 8 of them had a set of MEM day pics that I already have cuz they were also loaded on a jump drive I backed up!! Yeah, I think I wanted to make sure I loaded them LOL To be fair, this was during the time I was on a low dose of thyroid meds following radiation so my short term memory wasn't the greatest LOL

But the biggest thing is I found my wedding pics I'd scanned, more pics of my brother, and pics of my daughter from when she was happier and let me take happy pics of her. :D I also found pics of Easter with my Birth dad and lots and lots of pics I wanted to paint and will be using for Etsy!! (See link below on my site!)

I started Etsy to help raise funds from all that was lost as I stayed with my duaghter in the hospital and the time off work my husband took so I could stay with her during  her brain surgery when I almost lost her. Even typing those words brings bile to my throat and fear to my heart. It was so close.

Anyways, please visit my shop and buy something if you like it! It'll help me know what people like in the future and which pics to make available from all those just found. I may also offer my book for sale through Etsy. We'll see. I'm not sure how to manage it yet :D
 Rabbit trail now meets back up with main story. And now, back to our regular programming!

I have written some, will write more. But as soon as I've finished setting up this post and tweeting about it, I shall be letting the children use the computer for a bit for a reward for doing their schoolwork. But an idea is rolling through my head about the story. Mayhap, it'll help me get over 3k again today despite my late start :D

Here's to having my mojo back and hoping you all find yours if it's lost!! I love writing :D It has made me happy to be writing and painting so much again.

(I also crocheted some on my son's afghan I'm making him for graduation! Ran out of yarn. oops)

Now to figure out what to put on my websit this week for writing bits...what new story shall I do? Or should I write a sequel to the boggart story, Despair's Mistress??? I could put a few ballads on there... something to think about!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June's Featured Writers

I just finished @Melcom1's first novel Impeding Justice (http://amzn.to/maTq9E) and it's there-are-no-polite-words awesome.

How's that for a recognition? My call out to another June author as one I'd tentatively had planned had a family emergency resulted in this tweet from my CP partner @Amhairi_Simpson
I've read the bio and blurbs, which I'll reveal here shortly, and I have to say, I WANT. Sounds like exactly my cup of tea! Or rather, Pepsi :-P

So without further Ado, I give you this month's featured writers!
Luton born author, Mel Comley, has published her crime thrillers, Impeding Justice and Final Justice, in ebook format

Impeding Justice features feisty new Brit Cop, DI Lorne Simpkins in a  gritty crime novel set in London. After The Unicorn kills her partner,  Lorne knows if she doesn't bring the underworld criminal to justice  soon, she will be his next target. It's a race against time, she has a  24 hour deadline to meet before her kidnapped daughter is used as a  human bomb by the Unicorn. Can Lorne track the criminal down before it's  too late...

 Mel Comley left her job as a store manager in Worcester and moved to  France nine years ago despite never having set foot in the country  before. She renovated a French property, decorating 22 rooms in six  months.

 Renovation completed, she began to follow her dream of becoming a  writer. After completing a creative writing course she penned a romance  which was a near-miss with Mills & Boon. Then she decided to turn  her hand to crime writing and DI Lorne Simpkins was born.

 Impeding Justice is the first in a series of novels featuring Lorne  Simpkins. The book has gained a Gold Star on the writer's site,  Authonomy, with a Harper Collins editor saying, "It keeps the reader  focused on the dramatic interest of the story."

 One of Mel's biggest influences in James Patterson and she hopes she has  achieved her aim of making Lorne as memorable as his ‘Alex Cross’.

 Impeding Justice has reached number 37 in the Amazon Kindle chart and  Mel hopes it will be available in print in the near future. She has recently finished the third book in the series and this is currently sitting on her agent's desk awaiting permission to release.

In her spare time, Mel loves pottering in her garden which has, for the  past few years, won a local award. She also enjoys painting and walking  her dogs.

 The Books:
 Impeding Justice

Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins comes up against her long-time  nemesis, The  Unicorn. After leading Simpkins and her partner into a  trap, in which Pete is  killed, Lorne comes to the conclusion the  criminal is obtaining insider  information, enabling him to stay one  step ahead of them.

Can Lorne uncover who the mole is before The Unicorn harms her daughter?
Final Justice. This is the sequel to Impeding Justice but is also a standalone thriller/adventure.

After  suffering a breakdown and quitting the force, former Detective  Inspector Lorne Simpkins is contacted by a friend at MI6 to help in a  covert operation.  Against her will, Lorne is convinced to help track  down an old enemy, a sadistic and calculating criminal whose ambition is  to become the world's richest man.

It’s up to Lorne and the agent to prevent him, which results in a chase through France.

My blog is http://melcomley.blogspot.com

My next featured writer has been long time twitter friend and fellow Zombie Survival Crew Member (only her ranks much higher :) who is releasing this month with Running Ink Press. I will be doing an interview with her then :D and can't wait! For now, here's the sneak peak:

PrinceCharming was a putz.
Prince Charming number two was even worse.

After the last prince ran off without any notice, breaking her heart and their engagement along the way, Nemesis Mussolini swore off men and passed the time kicking ass and slinging drinks, something her mafia father would never approve of. But, when her boss Clancy ups his flirtations, it's difficult to remember she's not interested, especially when he gets that delicious evil glint in his eye that has her melting. Just when Nemy starts to think all men might not be bad, she hears whispers about Clancy's less than legal past, and wants to run like hell from the idea that he could be just like her father.
Great … Prince Charming number three may possibly be on FBI's Most Wanted.

While Nemy and Clancy tumble down the romance road, hitting potholes every stepof the way, Nemy discovers how much of her heart already belongs to Clancy, and how much of a Don's daughter she really is. When Clancy's daughter is kidnapped, they must work together to use every talent and connection they have to get her back, which means Nemy must learn to trust again. If they fail, Clancy could lose his daughter forever. Can Nemy surrender in time to ether happily ever after, or is she hell-bent on letting her past keep her from the one man who could be her true Prince Charming?

A little about the author:
N.L. “Jinxie” Gervasio was born on Friday the thirteenth. Her dad wanted to call her Jinx. Her mom said no. It took thirty-four years for her to discover the nickname, and she’s grown quite attached to it. She lives in Tempe, Arizona with Umi (her mother) and Moon (her Alaskan malamute). She enjoys riding her beach cruiser “The Betty” around downtown Tempe, loves a good pub crawl, and has had the pleasure and the heartache of experiencing a love far greater than she could have ever imagined.

Note: Release date has been changed to the 15th!

Twitter link: http://twitter.com/Jinxie_G
Facebook Link: http://www.facebook.com/Jinxi3G
Email: jinxieg13 (at) gmail (dot) com
Blog link: http://jinxiesworld.wordpress.com

For a preview taste of her new release, go here: http://nlgervasio.wordpress.com/projects/nemesis/nemesis-chapter-1/

She welcomes you to her world.

And lastly, but please never think it's the least is a new friend I found on twitter, Theresa Meyers. Very fast and efficient, she has me drooling over her skills. Here she is my friends!


The progeny of a slightly mad NASA scientist and a tea-drinking bibliophile who turned the family dining room into a library, Theresa Meyers learned early the value of a questioning mind, books and a good china teapot. But it wasn’t until third grade that Theresa overcame her dyslexia and learned to read, going on to make words her life’s work. With a degree in Mass Communications she became first a journalist, then a public relations officer in both the corporate and agency realm landing coverage for her clients in places such as the “Wall Street Journal”, “Good Morning America” and “LIVE! With Regis and Kelly”. She launched her own public relations agency focused on the publishing industry in 2001, and eventually transition from full time publicist to full time multi-published fiction author herself, writing vampire romances for Harlequin Nocturne, Steampunks for Kensington and urban fantasy romances for Entangled Publishing. She’s currently sitting in the turret office of her Seattle-area Victorian home typing away on her next novel. She’s spent nearly a quarter of a century with the boy who took her to the Prom, drinks tea with milk and sugar, is an adamant fan of the television show Supernatural, and has an indecent love of hats. When she’s not writing, reading, sewing, canning or running herd on the small menagerie of farm animals on her mini-farm, she’s often online at www.twitter.com/Theresa_Meyers or at www.theresameyers.com If you’re more the pen and paper type, you can always write to her at P.O. Box 25, Port Orchard, WA 98366.

Back cover blurb:
The Vampire Who Loved Me

Released 5-24-11 from Harlequin Nocturne

Dr. Rebecca Chamberlin hated nothing more than the vampires who had turned her loved ones into creatures of the night…until she became one herself. Now her experimental vaccine has become more urgent than ever, and has made her the target of vampire security chief Achilles Stefanos.

Built like a god with golden hair and an irresistible allure, Achilles made her feel passion the way no mortal man had before. Beck could no more deny her craving for him than she could the hated bloodlust in her veins. But when her vaccine fell into the wrong hands, Beck has a difficult choice to make—one that challenged everything she’d always believed…..

Dark and dangerous, the Sons of Midnight are a temptation that few can resist!
ISBN: 0373618603
ISBN13: 978-0373618606

Theresa blogs as the Tuesday Lolita at STEAMED! http://www.ageofsteam.wordpress.com and is currently on blog tour for The Vampire Who Loved Me. Find out all about here: http://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/2011/05/now-on-tour-theresa-meyers-vampire-who.html

Love the sound of all of these! Which to get first??

Now will all of you please note that although I have learned how to do the whole links-y thing, I have refrained in favor of you all seeing the addresses LOL It was very hard to resist as I love my newfound knowledge so I am waiting for the clapping *pauses* Thank you, thank you. You've all been a great audience!

Please, GO GET THESE BOOKS NOW! All of these authors have worked and are continuing to work at getting word of their book out, even if they have "traditional" publishers. And most of us writers, no matter how well versed in public speaking, aren't writing because we want to spend all of our time social networking. We're writing because we love the craft!

Read folks, read. It's what's for dinner.