A Writer’s Life #2 Poolside Plotting

9 yo has been nagging to go swim so today we are doing that. It works for me too as I brought along this…

It’s ugly, but it works. #amplotting now is good for #amwriting just now. 

How’s your Saturday treating you?

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Cover Reveal … Finding Mia

I clearly remember meeting my Hayley for the first time. Labor took 4,5 hours (short compared to most), a few pushes and some tugging. Then they handed me this squishy bundle of wrinkled skin – pale, blueish and not too charmed at facing the big world. I was smitten. To me, there’d never been anything more beautiful than this shivery miniature person in my arms and I couldn’t wait to show her off to anyone who cared to spare a moment. The other two arrived slightly differently, but the feeling was the same. An overwhelming love unlike anything I’d felt before. Fast forward 16 years and look how they’ve grown… From the left Carmen (my niece – well done Barbs!) and my Bronwyn (6), Hayley (nearly 16) and Nikita (13).

My girls

Many writers use the whole pregnancy/baby/birth analogy to describe the process of getting a book out. I don’t think of my books as my babies, but I do love them and opening the Final Cover Art email from my publisher was nothing short of terrifying. What if it misrepresented my story? Or the designer picked all the colors I detest? Don’t forget, I’m a writer. I live in a world of worst case scenarios.

I took a deep breath, double-clicked and found this:

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Wow, what a moment. I love it! From the slip-slops (they put in the slip-slops!) to the way the beach sand trails off into the distance, the color of the water offset against the sky and most of all the little girl in her too-big shades – just like my girls used to.

I am smitten and I can’t wait to show it off. Thank you for having a moment with me!

 

2014: Syncing and Downloading

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I’ve had this post regarding new years resolutions brewing for weeks now and I thought it would be best to get it out before January is over. Good plan, yes?¬†Did you make any? How is that working out for you?

I don’t do resolutions for the simple reason it’s like drawing a line in the sand. The moment that groove appears, I am filled with an overwhelming urge to slap my big, hairy toe over it. It’s not that I’m a rebel. I’m just genetically bent towards sabotaging myself.

So I had this discussion with Jesus about 2014. All the normal stuff – what should I get involved with, what needs to be priority… what time-suckers should be hacked off and destroyed as hazardous radioactive energy-zapping waste. I want this year to be different. One thing that already is (different), is that I’m a proud owner of a Kindle. A friend (you know who you are!) bought me one and I’m smitten. I love that it has a little line on the menu for ‘syncing and downloading’. Click on those words, and you have whatever books you’ve ordered at your fingertips in seconds.

That’s when He switched the lights on. It’s got nothing to do with deciding my priorities using my brain and limited knowledge of what this year holds, and everything to do with getting in sync with Heaven and downloading His latest blueprints. The access is instant and the download, immediate. And the best part? You can hit that little line 20, 50… 100 times a day. The Kindle doesn’t mind and neither does God. If there is anything new, you’ll be on the receiving end. If not, He won’t get irritated with you for asking.

Here’s to a year constructed according to His perfect blueprint!

 

 

 

265 in… 100 to go

UnHinged 1My diary informs me that today is the 265th day of 2013. There are 100 days until another year bites the dust. Its enough to make my head split in half.

I’ve been scarce here, I know. I do poke my nose in to check up on you every so often. Quietly, like a mouse. Or a stalker. Just kidding. ūüôā

So what have I been up to… I finished Finding Mia in the first half of the year. It’s with a publisher and I should get the thumbs up or down by the middle of October.¬† The second half of the year was taken up with putting on a stage show UnHinged. That all went down last week and I’ve slowly been finding my brain since.

Here are some pics of the action on stage, taken by the legendary WolfWorx. The mastermind behind WolfWorx is Brian – a photographic artist. He also blogs right here on WordPress so pop over and say hi..

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2013 also saw my first words in print in a book rather than a magazine. Not Your Mothers Book on Home Improvement is a fun anthology all about misadventures in DIY. My contribution is 1 tiny story out of 65! Haha! But I love small beginnings, because they have a tendency to grow into bigger things.

For some even bigger news – I actually read a book this week. From start to finish, in a day. It was glorious! The kidlets were a little shell-shocked at having to make their own lunch, but I called it tough love and moved on.

Pulling weeds

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We had to let our gardener go. We just couldn’t afford him – he kept breaking things. Like the lawnmower and the edge cutter. And the mower’s power cable. And more rakes than I have fingers… Need I go on?

The point is – this weekend found me in the garden, up to my elbows in mud and earthworm bits. I won’t lie – it was really tough going. The weeds had been left to their own devices for way too long. As all good villains should, the had worked themselves in amongst the flowers, wrapping around and through and over and under.

We all know to effectively remove a weed, it has to come out roots and all. Easier said than done though, when good and bad are all entangled and anchored into ground so hard and dry, it would do for bricks. So I soaked it, then went to work with a fork. I dug it in deep at the roots of each bush and loosened the hard earth.

If I could speak plant, I would have leaned in close and said, don’t worry little bush – you are precious to me, I’m not here to harm you or take you out. I’m after the weeds that are choking the life out of you.¬†

As soon as the weeds were out, I patted the soil around each plant down firmly – securing them in place once more. I thought about life. I’ve been through times when everything I thought I knew was shaken. Things I put my trust and hope in crumbled and vanished. The funny thing is – those situations are long gone and I’m still here.

If I was listening, I would have heard my Heavenly Daddy lean in close and whisper – don’t worry my little girl, I’m not here to harm you or take you out. I’m after the weeds that are choking the life out of you.

Our Gardener is good. Even if everything around you is shaking, you can trust Him to keep you because you are His. Your life is precious to Him.

 

 

Hope!

My 5 yo was invited to a party the other day. Her little friend came up, tossed an invitation at her chest and declared, “You’re coming to my party!” Then she skipped off. At the time I laughed, but for some reason, that little exchange tickled something inside of me. I made sure my kiddo went to the party, present and all.

Isn’t that what hope does? Tosses invitations at the chest of the One who can do all things.

If I could bottle one thing for you today, it would be hope. Proverbs tell us “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” I’ve been there. The verse doesn’t stop there though, it goes on to say, “but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” You can find it here.

It’s really not about what we hope for, but rather Who we hope in. When we get around Jesus, He injects into us a living hope that isn’t deterred by reality, but rather instills in us courage to face it.

Some of the challenges life tosses our way are ugly brutes, others seem thoroughly impossible to beat. Does that mean its hopeless? Might seem like it at the time. The truth is, impossible situations are His specialty.

You’ve been given a ringside seat to His miracles.

Grab hold of His hand and don’t give up hope.

Landsick…

 

Photo courtesy WolfWorx photography

 

Have you ever been on a boat long enough to get your sea-legs, only to feel thoroughly sick when you get back on land?

This is probably¬†the best way I can describe how I’m feeling at the moment – though it has nothing to¬†do with boats, land or throwing up.¬†Shhh! Let me explain. I’ve just been through a non-stop series of deadlines and events that had¬†me averaging 5 hours sleep a night for months.¬†(Many nights were far less than 5 hours.) I don’t think I can remember¬†how to knit,¬†if I sit still for any length of time doing nothing I simply fall asleep. Lights out. History. My 5 yo tucked me in the other night, because I couldn’t last till past her bedtime. I vaguely remember her soft kiss on my cheek. Apparently she¬†told the rest of the family, “Don’t go in there! Mommy’s sleeping.”¬†¬†

I think I’ve¬†made it through to the other side of the¬†stomachulcerinviting hecticness¬†– yay me!

I’ve had to learn to say the ‘N’ word to some things. Aaah c’mon, do I really have to say it out loud? Okay, okay… NO. There. I’ve said it. This is not easy for me, but I’ve realized if I truly believe in my dream, my passion – I need to make space in my life for it to grow. It simply cannot remain at the bottom of my priority list for incase there is anything left of me at the end of the day. (Sincere apologies to you if you are one of those on the receiving end of a no from me.)

So thats all good, but now that the pace is slightly less pressured, I don’t know how to manage it. Going to bed at 10:30 (as much as my body desperately needs the sleep – and sleep I do!) feels completely weird. Today, I met a deadline on time, without staying up¬†beyond midnight. I worked while the sun was shining. How weird is that?¬†I nearly got through my entire To Do list-thingy for the day. Nearly. That NEVER happens. It is thoroughly unsettling.

But in all that, you know what I’ve realized? Landsick is good. It means that I’m in recovery. I’m on my way out of life pattterns that are not sustainable and are driving me further away from what I am built to be doing.

How about you? Is your life beyond managing, or could you teach me some stuff?