Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Tribute to my Loving Husband

Behind every married writer is a loving, supportive, and devoted spouse, who waits patiently for their time in the limelight and to have conversations that don’t have anything to do with characters, plots, or looming deadlines (of a writing nature). Even better is when the spouse goes out of their way to not only wait patiently, but to make things happen in support of said writer.
So as a writer I cannot tell you how much I depend on my computer. And I’m kind of weird about the whole MY computer thing. We have five computers in the house but only one is “mine.” The one people have to ask permission to use (especially after it crashed during a download for my daughter’s school project. Ugh.) Even my husband asks me before he runs off with it. But even though I can claim it as mine, it’s a little old. We bought it when I went back to school, and seven years later I finally have my degree…and one very old computer.

But hey, it still worked–sort of–so who was I to complain. The kids needed clothes, and musical instruments, and had band trips to be paid for. So I simply asked for a new working mouse since mine had ceased to operate. The wireless kind as well as the keyboard kind, thus uh hem…making it difficult to write. (Just so you know…that didn’t stop me. I reverted to the old fashioned way with notepads and pens; as opposed to fighting for time on the kids’ computers).

Well, alas…having the generous husband that I do I not only received a new mouse for Christmas, but the new laptop it was attached to. I cried (of course) and then took turns hugging the box and my husband. The kids were excited as well, but probably more due to the fact that Mom’s old laptop was now up for grabs. Knock yourself out kids…you may be ready to by the time you’re done trying to use the mouse on it.

So I was in heaven and my husband was my angel. Only one problem…

My new laptop turned out to be um…worse than my old one. Go figure. With the luck we’d been having in our house (or rather literally WITH our house) as of late, I should have known. But never fear…

I have a loving and incredibly patient husband.

He’s also an engineer by profession…and the ultimate Mr. Fix It. So not only did he fix my brand new computer (which unfortunately required opening it up and physically rebooting the keyboard–with permission of the technical support team mind you), but he did it with a smile and I love you–to me, not the tech guy.

Now you have to understand that the brand new computer was not the only thing he had to fix these last two weeks (of his vacation no less). The gremlins had already gotten into our house before my computer.

As opposed to elves, or faeries or the workings of seven pairs of hands and two sets of paws, our house and appliances have been suffering miserably at the hands of some unruly gremlins as of late. And during a most inconvenient time.

For weeks the lights in our house have been dimming, and the house really isn’t old enough to warrant any type of wiring problems. But alas, we have five computers (six now), three game systems, Christmas lights, and regular lights (I feel a twelve days of Christmas song coming on), and all of the children home for vacation and using the whole gammet listed above. So of course we were convinced that the gremlins were in fact power drains…and had it confirmed when a few days after Christmas half the circuits in the house blew.

Okay…so it was a bit strange that only half of them blew, but we thought perhaps we had just managed to overload those particular circuits. My husband being the awesome Mr. Fix It that he is, instantly went to work. Ten new circuit breakers, one fried geckko, and a lot of hot chocolate later (yes I know it’s Texas, but it’s actually been cold here people) we discovered the problem wasn’t us.

Before we could get too frustrated with the haunting of our house, the work expended, and reminding the kids not to open the refrigerator until we could move it to another outlet…
the Energy guy knocks on our door and tells us the transformer in our yard is faulty and that one of the neighbors called with our same problem. So about half an hour later we were up and running again with our gremlin problem solved.

Cue laptop gremlin and the ultimate fixing there as well.

I don’t know about your spouses, but unlike my old laptop he’s not up for grabs. I plan on keeping him around for quite a loooooooooooooong while.
Go get your own.

Have a great day. (I know I will.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Burning the Candle

So as if managing a husband, seven children, and a dog wasn’t enough…my dryer stopped working last week. My daughter came home from school the other day and asked me if I was redecorating the house in blue jeans. Um…yes. Then we got one day of sunshine to hang clothes outside…and today? Well, we’re back to using the banisters inside.

Why is this pertinent to writing? I’m having a hard time focusing. I can’t concentrate when things are messy. Period. I like being organized. I’m not anal about it mind you. My sink has plenty of dishes in it, as does the dishwasher, and the dirty laundry equals the clean I manage to wash and dry everyday.

Now with November looming ever nearer I find myself growing a little anxious; trying to get out my query letters, keeping up with the house, and preparing my schedule to participate in Nanowrimo again–a fun-filled adventure I’ve taken on for three years now. This will be my fourth, and I’m forever grateful to my younger sister who first introduced me to the craziness. It worked a miracle in removing some insecurities with regard to writing and helped me realize what I had in me. Thanks Sis!

Now I use it as a jumping off point for a first draft. A lengthy outline if you will. I took one of those books and have worked ardously for the last two years making it into what it is now…and would love to see published. I love my book, the story, the characters in them. It has a special place in my heart…literally. It’s the place that ties my husband’s family to mine. Our heritage. A magical place that exists in real life but that few people know is there. I can’t wait to share it with the world.

So on top of my trying to seriously get published I will participate again this year, because there’s something explosive that happens in my writing when I have a deadline. Just like my house. Amazing things get done in our home when we’re under the gun, and the only explanation I have is motivation and teamwork. Our family has been known to get done in 15 minutes what would take me all day, and in November they all rally together to help in the production of another one of their Mom’s stories (and petition for a character to be named after them).

Of course, I’m proud to say their supportive is not limited to Nanowrimo and doing chores.

This last summer I recently completed my Associates Degree at our local college and after twenty years of marriage, seven children and putting my husband through his own PhD program I feel pretty wonderful about what I’ve accomplished. Add to that five books, the first of which I am trying to find an agent for, and let’s just say I feel pretty blessed.

My biggest accomplishment by far though has been my AWESOME family. They’re the best! Hands down! Wouldn’t trade them for the world!

Would still like to find an agent though.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In Honor of Banned Books Week

In light of how many sites will undertake a more profound take on banned books this week, I hope you will indulge me at least my own thoughts. Which is a lot of my focus today. I wholly support the availability of books. Truly I do. And not just because I want my own manuscript to be one of them. I think that to dictate what people can and cannot do goes against human nature and indeed follows a plan of suppression and taking away the concept of free will; the one and only thing I truly believe is given to us by God. If you do not believe in God, you cannot deny that we all at least innately feel the need to choose for ourselves, act for ourselves, and be allowed to think for ourselves.

For those in countries that still deny such privileges, the last at least still holds true. Thinking is private, untouchable, and unless acted upon, remains our own. So banning books and thus dictating what people should or should not be thinking is the grossest violation in my opinion.

Instead, we should educate, encourage and then evolve. No personal growth will come from hiding information from others. Sensitivity to children and what they can handle? Yes, most definitely and therein lies parental involvement that I personally have taken responsibility for. I read the same books my children read…and then talk about them if need be. I read out loud to my children and censor out words that I don’t feel they’re prepared to hear.

Am I grateful to the librarian for stocking age appropriate books? You betcha. Because as much as I don’t approve of banning books, I really don’t think my nine year old is ready for a book on how to build guns. So what’s the difference between banning a book and choosing not to stock one you feel is inappropriate? Good question. Honestly speaking, there are too many books in the world for a school library to house them all, and most times I feel they’re simply choosing those that would best edify and uplift the age group in which they’re trying to service. And if they don’t have it or choose not to carry it? No need to get worked up folks. There’s always the bookstore. They carry everything that you could possibly want (and don’t) and are free to take your children to and shop with them.

Banning in the strictest sense is often done by governments when they’re afraid of people thinking too much (back to the idea of thinking again…because thinking breeds action). I feel that thinking for ourselves though will inevitably bring accountability to those in authority. What message are they portraying? Is there anything in their conduct that should be more carefully looked at; that perhaps is sending people a mixed message. And…oh yes. Heaven forbid we actually disagree with you at times, because we all should be in agreement with one another. Because none of us are unique.

In the words of my all time favorite children’s commercial.

Happy Banned Books Week everyone!
and… Have a great day!

***Most surprising Banned Book to me (although I have to admit the movie creeped me out)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: Banned in the province of Hunan, China (1931) for the portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level as humans.
I don’t know how they feel about it now…but seeing as how my children are sometimes one in the same (animals and human), I don’t have a problem with the book…or them watching the movie (just so long as I’m not in the room when the cheshure cat comes on).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting Started

After a lifetime of daydreaming and almost two years of hard work, I find myself in the position of trying to find an agent so that I can realize one of my many dreams (having already secured a few). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about the process, having read countless blogs and insights addressing the world of publishing. I mean I knew it would be hard, but I really had no idea.

Or maybe I just didn’t think it applied to me. Sounds about right. I’m not easily discouraged.

In fact I’m more determined than ever. I have the dream, I have the book, and dog gone it I’m going to see it in print yet! Honestly though I can see that my book needs cut and primed a little more, which only gives me more time to perfect my query letter. So great! As well, I have plenty to keep me busy and sane. Well….if you call having a husband, seven children and a dog, sane. I would, though people have often questioned my sanity, or at the very least asked me how I do it.

It’s pretty much like the process of publishing I imagine. You start with a dream and take it one day at a time, one step at a time. I didn’t have all my children at once, and my book didn’t happen overnight, or because I sat back and watched it.

My getting published will be a lot like motherhood. Taking my dream, getting a little advice, throwing in a lot of hard work, determination, and love, then crying a little, getting some more advice and digging my heels in harder.

Here’s to motherhood and getting published!