The Things You Do as an Author

Over the weekend, we had some family in town. In the quiet times, when one member was reading, and another was Facebooking, I was trying to squeeze some editing in. I grabbed my 3-ring binder with Launching Justice in it, made sure I had my spiral-bound notebook inside it for making notes for its sequel, grabbed a water bottle, and plopped down in the chair.

Only to burst from my chair a minute later.

You see, I had opened up my binder to where I was editing and thought, “I wonder how Jupiter would look from the surface of Mars.”

Now, for some of you, you may be thinking that that’s a really strange question to ask. But the thing is: my character was looking at Jupiter, not from the surface of Mars, but not from far away from Mars, either. So very relevant.

I’m pretty sure I startled my family who was in the room with me when I jerked to my feet quickly, dropped my binder on my chair, and crossed the room to my trusty laptop, stood over it for about three minutes as I Googled my question, then returned to my chair as though nothing had ever happened.

But I got my answer. And it was exactly what I was looking for.

Sometimes, as an author, you startle people.

For the record, this is what Jupiter–and Earth!–looks like from near Mars: earth_jupiter_i1The round dot at the bottom–that’s Jupiter. Depending on your screen and how good your eyes are, you may be able to pick out three of its moons surrounding it. From left to right, you can see Callisto, Ganymede, Jupiter, and Europa. (Callisto, I think, is where I set some of my action in Launching Justice. It may be Europa–I can’t quite remember.)

At the top are visible Earth and our moon. Makes someone feel very small to realize how truly vast our solar system is, and to think about how small it is compared to the galaxy, and the universe…

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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!

The Perils of a Pet Mom

I’m SOOOO glad I didn’t have to spend the evening at the emergency vet clinic last night. We thought Tucker, my (practically miniature) chocolate Labrador, was sick for quite a while yesterday evening after we got back from  dinner. My daughter came to us and told us he was in her room, shaking, and I thought, “Oh no, he’s having a seizure.” And he just turned 7! We got him out (under his own power) but he was acting really strange, so we questioned her: did you give him anything? Was there any food in your room? She denied it. We thought Tucker was sick, so we made him go outside, where he began acting normally–playing, wanting me to chase him, etc. But when I tried to get him to come in, he flat out refused!

Tucker
Tucker

This went on for maybe 1/2 an hour, and he came inside a few times, only to insist on going back out. We thought he had the runs or something. I gave him fresh water, petted him, and he’d act fine outside, but go nuts inside.

Then I made him come in because I was tired of this, then went and did something else for a minute in another part of my house. When I came back, my husband said that Tucker wouldn’t go into the living room.

Well guess what was in the living room? A stupid karaoke machine which a co-worker was having Nate look at for an issue with it. My husband had turned it up so loud earlier in the evening that it had been rattling the glass in my china cabinet. No wonder Tucker was upset! I made hubby remove it to his truck to take back to work this morning, and after that, Tucker settled down and was fine!

At least I didn’t have to go to the emergency vet clinic.