Monday, August 29, 2011

School Time

Every summer ends with a nervous evening full of questions and possibilities, full of hopes for a new school year. I can remember how hard it was to fall asleep the night before the first day, wondering what would be different this time, wondering what would be the same.

Now that I'm the mom, I spend that night before school starts listening to my children as they restlessly settle into bed, chatting about what excites them and what worries them. I nod as I remember how little they were when they came home from the hospital for the first time. I smile as I remember how tiny my son looked going to his first day of preschool.

We love this picture. His hand on his head made us think he felt the weight of the world as he walked into his first preschool class. His lunch bag was heavy for him to carry. And he wanted to go in by himself - no hand-holding or hugging. He was a big boy, even back then.

Fast forward 8 years and here we are again.

First day of middle school this time, but the photo is the same - back of his head, no one standing with him, not even looking back. But the photo is taken from much further away. We weren't even allowed to stand in the driveway! Watching through the window, we saw him glare at us more than once, waving us away.

I laughed with other moms yesterday that I'd be doing the Happy Mommy Dance when my two were on their buses, headed to school. I'd have the house to myself, and I could do whatever I wanted. I could clean without anything getting messed up right away. I could write without any interruptions. I could finally get something accomplished.

But as the second bus pulled away, I didn't do the Happy Mommy Dance. The minutes ticked by and I thought about how much we all need this time apart. I wondered if my daughter was having fun with her friends, if my son would be able to find his locker, if either of them would think about me on this very busy first day. And I smiled as I thought of how much they both have grown since those early school days. I'd be lying if I said this day was like any other; this day is full of sweet memories and sad realizations that they truly are growing up right in front of our eyes. We were told it would happen - we just didn't believe it.

It's also full of questions for me. What will I do with my time? How will I make the most of it? As soon as I post this, I'll go back to my writing, back to my schedule, back to my list of things to do. But the whole time, I'll be checking my watch, wondering how long it will be before the buses will come back and I can hear all of the stories from the first day of school.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Home Again

Aren't vacations wonderful? Time away from home, away from the usual schedule. Except that there are still clothes to wash, and dishes to clean, and floors to sweep (how does the sand follow us everywhere?). But it is wonderful to spend time with extended family that we don't get to see often enough. And it is wonderful to jump in the waves with my brave son and daughter, sit on the beach and read book after book on my Kindle, and take photos like this one:


LBI sunset
And this one:

Ah - I can still smell the salty air. Oh wait - that's the basket of beach towels waiting to be washed in my laundry room...

Even though I was away, I kept up on my reading. I finished six books and started preparing my reviews for the two upcoming blog tours I'm joining in September (see the details by clicking the blog tour buttons at the top right of this page). Can I tell you how much I loved my Kindle? I made notes, highlighted passages, and breezed through my TBR. So awesome. I don't know why I waited so long to get one.

This week is dedicated to those last minute things that need to be done before school starts next week. And writing. And editing. I also hope to post my results from my Google calendar experiment that I wrote about last month. Some interesting results, but mostly it showed me that the time I spend thinking about writing doesn't count as actual writing time. Bummer.

Happy Monday - hope your week is off to a great start!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SWOON #YABound Part Two

If you read my earlier post today, you're probably wondering why I'm SWOONING again. I decided it would be fun to include a swoon-worthy excerpt from my current project, Beyond the Prophecy. 

I published The Prophecy in February of this year, and I loved it, but as I wrote the second book in the series, I felt like I needed to explain a little more in part one. So I've been revising both books at the same time with the intention of publishing them together as Between Souls Volume One - Beyond the Prophecy and The Chapel in September. Whether you read the first book or not, you'll automatically get both in the new edition.

If you read The Prophecy (thank you!) you might remember this scene with Richard and Lucie. It was one of my favorite scenes to write.

"His electric whispers tickled my ear, and I didn’t know the sounds—I only knew warmth." From my book, BEYOND THE PROPHECY. SWOON #YABound
SWOON #YABound is the new MEME sponsored by the ladies at YA Bound, and every Thursday, they challenge us to come up with our most swoon-worthy tweets based on what we're reading. Did anything make you SWOON today? If you'd like to play along, tell us what made you SWOON from the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished by posting it in my comments, on their blog in the comments, tweet it with the hashtag #YABound, or all of the above.

Swoon #YABound

You know it when you've read it. Your heart races, you hold your breath, you SWOON.

SWOON #YABound is the new MEME sponsored by the ladies at YA Bound, and every Thursday, they challenge us to come up with our most swoon-worthy tweets based on what we're reading. So here's my first attempt with a section from my current read, The Willows: Haven by Hope Collier:
"His fingers slid down my arm, leaving a trail of heat along the way." ~ From HAVEN by @hopecollier  SWOON #YABound
So what made you SWOON today? If you'd like to play along, tell us what made you SWOON from the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering? Post it in my comments, on their blog in the comments, tweet it with the hashtag #YABound, or all of the above.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lazy Days

Everyone needs a break once in a while. I need a break from writing, my kids need a break from me, we all need a break from our fast-paced regular schedule. So this week, we took our break - the kids went to camp, my husband went to work, and I had the house to myself.

His cabin for the week*
The day we dropped them off, I spent all of my energy worrying about them while trying not to worry about them. I knew they were having fun, but nagging thoughts crept into my mind. Would they be able to fall asleep? Would they remember a flashlight if they needed to walk down the path in the dark to the bathroom? Would they miss home and feel alone and miserable?

Blurry pic of her bunk*
The second day I managed to stop most of those thoughts from disturbing my quiet time. I made a to-do list that was completely unrealistic, and I stuck to it for a couple of hours. I dusted. I cleaned the bathrooms. I did laundry. I edited my book. And then I hit the wall.

I realized that I needed to stop trying to do my usual schedule while they were away. I could have forced myself to continue, but I would have missed out on a chance to really recharge and refresh. So I stopped.

I had a lovely lunch while I read my new Kindle. I put a few loads of laundry away, but didn't worry about the remaining clothes. I walked slowly through the grocery store for the first time in years. And I went out to dinner with my husband three nights in a row - unbelievable!

I have to admit that some guilt crept into my days, and I certainly still thought about the kids, but something else happened. I started working on my projects again, this time because I wanted to, not because I had to. And I enjoyed it much more. I solved three problems in my latest book. I came up with a new cover design. I hid from Twitter and Facebook, knowing how easy it would be to spend the entire day there, and I read and read and read. I took notes on what styles of writing appeal to me. And I reviewed my recent writing to find what I liked and didn't like about my own style.

In the end, I had three lazy days of summer until it was time to pick up my daughter at camp on Wednesday, but I accomplished quite a lot. So I plan to add these breaks to my schedule as much as possible each month. I have a feeling I'll get more done that way. And by the way, the kids had an amazing time at camp. They came home dirty, exhausted, and begging to go for a longer time next summer.

*Photo note* - The pics are blurry because the kids didn't want me to take any pictures when we dropped them off at camp. These were my attempts at stealthy photos - blurry, but still memories to keep.