Taking a Deep Breath

As I alluded to yesterday on my Facebook page, I’m feeling a huge sense of relief now thaCompilation Cover Template v 1t the Darby Shaw Chronicles box set is out.

It really feels as though since Emergence was published last July, I’ve been working my keister off. Publish Emergence, only to jump into finishing Retaliation and publishing it, only to jump immediately into work on Capitulation, then the short story Pursued which is in the back of the box set. So much work, but it’s been so worth it.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy of the box set! 😀 It’s going to be so cool.

Anyway, I digress. As usual.

It’s important to take some breaks and breathers when I’m writing. I have a bit of an all-or-nothing approach, and I’m either an extreme workaholic, writing into the wee hours of the morning, or I’m procrastinating.

As in serious procrastinating.

Which reminds of a verse in the Bible, from the book of James. I’m paraphrasing here, but it says that if one knows what they’re supposed to be doing and they don’t do it, it’s a sin. That one always gets me.

I mean, I’m sure that me not writing isn’t a sin, but it does convict me a lot on things that I should be doing, on days when I’m far lazier than I’d like to admit.

Or when I’m using writing as an excuse not to do something, say, cleaning my kitchen (also not a sin, but it sure can feel like it when I get sad looks from my husband.)

Anyway, I’ve seriously taken this post in a completely off-the-wall direction, and if you’re still reading, just know this is how my mind works. 😉

Me at Helen Hunt Falls in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Back to breathers.

I was really fortunate to get to take a short breather right before publication (at probably the worst possible time, but it was already scheduled, so there wasn’t much I could do!) My family and I adore Colorado, and we were able to go out there for a few days around my taking our son to Seattle for a follow-up on his bone marrow transplant (two years!)

I think I’m still hanging on to that feeling from once I got back to Colorado. I was able to relax for the first time in what seemed forever, definitely since the fall, probably earlier. I know vacations are supposed to leave you refreshed, but this one seemed especially important this time around. I’m still feeling the result after being back home for more than a week and a half. Sure, my kids have had days where they’ve gotten on my nerves (I won’t even go into what happened yesterday!) But I’m still feeling more relaxed than I have in forever.

I don’t know if this is because of the trip, or because I’ve finally fulfilled my first goal from when I signed with Splashdown Books more than a year ago.

But I’ll say one thing:

I’m glad that I’m feeling more like myself. Hopefully that means I can be a better wife, mother, friend, and writer. Until the next time I’m able to go to Colorado at least.

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The box set is available now through Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iTunes, and several other stores thanks to Draft 2 Digital. While prices vary internationally, a US edition is $14.99 for a paperback, and $4.99 for an e-book. Keep an eye out on Facebook & Twitter as I’ll be giving away copies in the next few weeks!

It’s a New Year!

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows just how crazy my last 12 – 18 months have been. Being told my son needed a bone marrow transplant pretty much threw everything askance since August of 2012. However, now the light is starting to show at the end of the tunnel. As of January 1, he was 8 months post transplant, and doing AMAZINGLY well. All of his doctors seem very pleased with his progress, and while we have a follow-up planned in Seattle, when we return from that, he should return to treatment with his regular hematologist for Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome.

Even though clinic appointments are far too regular still, with no end in sight until mid-late spring, that light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine a glimmer on the future.

While I’m not going to guarantee I’ll be posting here regularly–even pre-transplant, it was beginning to be a gamble–I’ll post as much as I’m able to. But, this is what my goals are for this year where my writing is concerned:

  1. Write five days a week for at least an hour. To accomplish this, I’m going to try institutiting an early-morning writing time. Between appointments, and the fact I’m a stay-at-home mom (and my daughter will be starting homeschool Kindergarten sometime this year), early mornings are about the only time I can guarantee I’ll have uninterrupted time, five days a week. I instituted this early morning time on the 30th of December, and so far, I’ve gotten up four of the five days, and wrote/edited for three of the four.
  2. Publish. This one should go without saying, but I have a very aggressive goal to publish several short stories/novellas/novels this year. I’m not going to specify my exact number (partially because I’m not 100% certain of the exact number, but also because I don’t want to have life happen and not be able to follow through), but when I say it’s aggressive, it is. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. I’m trying to put myself into motion so that it becomes just part of it that I’m constantly writing, editing, and publishing. Listening to the Self-Publishing Podcast since May of 2013, and reading “Write. Publish. Repeat.” (by the same guys behind SPP) in December really motivated me. I can do this. It just takes momentum to get started.
  3. Set a production schedule. The only way I can stay on track is to know what I expect myself to do. Listening to Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn podcast (also started around the same time as I started listening to SPP–I think I learned of one from the other) has helped me see that a production schedule will help me stay on track and on purpose. I’m apt to take rabbit trails, and distractions are very easy, so knowing I’ve GOT to work on this project rather than that one may help keep me on track. I say may because who knows. 😉

I have other goals, like getting my feet in order where I can begin exercising again (I was told I had a very bad case of plantar fasciitis in my arches in December, so I haven’t been walking the dog at all) and sticking to a gluten-free diet (I’ve lost about 5 pounds since Thanksgiving just by going gluten-free, and 99% dairy free!) But, I’m really mostly focused the writing goals. Hopefully, on January 1, 2015, I’ll be able to look back at 2014 with a smile.

How about you? Do you have any new goals you want to accomplish in 2014, writing-related or not?

Until next time,

Liberty

P.S., if you haven’t done so already, be sure to pick up a copy of CSI Effect

Welcome Back! — an Update and a Re-Evaluation

Tap, tap, tap! Does this thing still work??

Ahem.

Yes, I’m back after a much extended break. So, let me catch you up on what’s happened in since I did a serious post back in January.

My little man +121 after transplant, feeling great!

In early February, we were told that we were ready for transplant, and March 1 found my husband and I driving from Kansas City to Seattle, WA, where we proceeded with my son’s bone marrow transplant. It  was slated to happen the last week in March, but he got a virus (which he wasn’t symptomatic for!) and forced a delay until May 1. From May 1 until July 23, we were outpatient for only 2 weeks, 14 hours! My little boy kept getting sick for various reasons, so we never got more than a week and a few hours out the two times we were outpatient.

However.

He has done AMAZINGLY well, and we were able to leave on his day +101 to come home!! We arrived home on August 12, which ended up being a bit of a whirlwind for us. We got home at 12:45 AM, rushed to make an appointment with our KC BMT doctor, then went to see my grandmother who was dying… and who passed away while we were with her.

I am so glad I got to come home and see her one last time.

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So, whirlwind 5 1/2 months means no writing, right? 

Nope. 

While I didn’t do near as much writing as I’d hoped to do in those five and a half months, I did more than I think many people expected I would. I finished the third draft on my suspense-in-the-future book, Reprisal, and moved further along with the first draft of my police procedural with a Sci-Fi-y twist, Dead Before Arrival. I also began drafting a short story that will be a prequel to Beyond Dead and Dead Before Arrival–and am actively brainstorming ideas for a series of shorts that could very well lead up to the publication of both books, plus the third book in the trilogy, which I’ve yet to name or do more with than have a few ideas for scenes that could or should happen in them. 

Which brings me to the re-evaluation phase of this post.

Something in me snapped last fall where publishing is concerned. Most of you who regularly read this blog will remember I’ve said repeatedly that I’m only interested in getting an agent and going the traditional route. I’m not sure what changed, but something has. Maybe it’s watching so many of my friends succeed in self-publishing, maybe it’s the further success of e-books, or the fact they’re now outselling physical books, but I’ve been re-evaluating what my desires are for publishing.

Over the last several months, I’ve been listening to podcasts like Self-Publishing Podcast and Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn with regularity–maybe even being on the brink of being a bit obsessive about it.  In the many hours of listening while driving or doing house chores, the things the hosts and their guests have said struck a chord with me, and I’m beginning to see how it’s possible for lilol‘ me to be successful in self-publishing. I’ve got a few hang-ups I’m working through, but thankfully, I’ve got friends whom I can pick the brains of. 

Currently, I’m formulating a plan to begin publishing in the next 18 months–maybe even sooner. We’ll have to see how that goes. I’m starting to chomp at the bit in order to make this happen, so if I can keep up that level of enthusiasm and have things come together, you may be seeing my name in print very soon!

As for this blog, I’m going to keep trying to plug away at it, though as I think I’ve said in the past, it’s going to encompass more of what interests me besides writing, so you may hear about kitchen disasters, anecdotes about my kids, or whatever else floats my boat. I’m also considering doing a non-fiction book about my experiences during transplant, although I’m not really sure about the direction of the project yet.

Until next time,

On Hospitals

Life sure does take the craziest paths sometimes.

For instance, I’ve only been admitted to the hospital twice–and both were avoidable occurrences (the births of my children.) I actually hate hospitals. When I was having my son, I remember vividly telling my doctor that I just wanted to go home–that’s how much I hate hospitals. My words were met with a laugh by all in the room, but I was dead serious.

So, you can imagine my consternation with the amount of time I’ve had to spend IN hospitals in the last two years. Yes, I understand they’re necessary. Yes, I understand that it’s been for the best that my son is there periodically, and that most of his doctors are based at hospitals.

Doesn’t stop my slight germaphobia.

I’m pondering this aspect of my personality more as the day gets closer that we’ll be taking our son out to Seattle for a bone marrow transplant. While we won’t be inpatient for 4 – 6 months, he and I will be in hospitals several times a week. How will that work, especially since I get a bit of anxiety when I’m in the hospital for a long time (i.e. more than two days)?

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, Washington

I have decided that there are a few things I’m going to do while I’m in Seattle. Right now, since I’m mostly writer blocked (hence no blog posts for the last two months!) all of these are reading and crafty. I figure I’ll have a lot of downtime. Currently, my list of things includes: learning to knit socks, learning Tunisian-style crochet, possibly learning to hand quilt, reading all of the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, and reading all of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (there was a freebie on Amazon.com a while back and I’ve already started it.) I’m hoping these activities, possibly coupled with writing some short or novel-length stories, will keep some of my anxiety at bay… and keep me from going bananas while being surrounded by doctors, nurses, and germs.

Until next time,

Always with the Questions…

“What do you write?”

My husband and I were in a doctor’s appointment with a doctor who may potentially perform our son’s bone marrow transplant. He had asked me if I would be the primary caregiver while in the hospital. “Yes,” I reply. “I’m a stay at home mom and a writer.”

That’s when I got THE QUESTION.

I’ve gotten it over the years, so the reply has started to just roll off my tongue.

“Murder mysteries, book reviews, and the occasional sci-fi,” I say with a smile.

The doctor and transplant coordinator laugh, and the doctor says, “Well maybe while you are here, you will get an idea on something to write!”

Sadly, I thought later on as we left for the parking garage, he’s probably not far from the truth, especially given my propensity for hating doctors and hospitals in general, and this situation in particular. And, I tend to have a running list in my head of things that will be useful down the road where stories are concerned.

But, then, you never know where that one little detail may come in handly. So, it’s good to stay on your toes.

So, will a scenario with a murdered doctor in a children’s hospital come up in my writing? You never know… Most of the time, I don’t always know where my brain is headed. 🙂

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By the way, if you’re in the United States, don’t forget to vote tomorrow. And, if you’re a Republican, a new law passed by Congress gives you the right to vote twice, three times if you’re in Chicago. 😉 j/k

Until next time,

Liberty