Finally, Finally

Blood Marriage is now available on Amazon!

For a limited time it’s just 99 cents. Better still, those with an Amazon Prime membership can get it FREE from the Amazon lending library.

Don’t have a Kindle? No worries. You can still download it directly to a pc through the Amazon site. Just click on the book cover to your right.

Oh, and I’m doing a very short interview on the very talented Clover Autrey’s blog. Please drop by and say hi.

Finally, Finally. I’m definitely the tortoise rather than the hare, but… *doing the happy dance* Finally!

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday

Merry, Merry

I homeschooled my kids (for the sheer joy of it!) K-8 and then sent them to public high school and college. One of the things I learned early on in my homeschooling days was, for sanity’s sake, not to try to school during the month of December. So we took it off and just did Christmas, which made life so much more pleasant – less stressed, less rushed and (here’s the biggie) less guilt-ridden.

As I transition from a life that’s a little less mother and a little more writer, I’m finding December hasn’t changed. Between the shopping and decorating, visits and visitors, parties and special events a whole lot less writing than I’d committed myself to is happening. So I’ve decided to take a lesson from my homeschooling days and let go of the guilt and just enjoy December for what it is – a rollicking, frolicking, month of happy chaos.

So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!!

Enjoy! Because (for me at least) it’s back to work in January.

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday

Casting Your Pearls

I ran across an old acquaintance recently, someone I hadn’t seen in years. We decided to share a meal and catch up. We talked of where our lives had taken us in the years we’d been out of touch. It was the usual stuff: jobs, houses, husbands, kids, etc. Being near the same age and both of us with empty-nestdom in sight, the talk finally turned from the past and the present to the future.

She shared what she was planning. A return to college for an advanced degree in her field and then a second career in the same field but with a different, more interesting slant. I said that sounded great.

Then I shared what I wanted to do with my post-child-rearing life: write novels! You would have thought I’d announced I wanted to don a mask and save Gotham City. Both with body language and with words she made it clear that becoming a professional writer at my age was a silly fantasy and that the most I could hope for was to write as a lovely time-fill hobby and maybe self-publish to give myself the illusion of success. Er, thanks.

Did it discourage me? Not really. But it did make me think about the people in my past and present who, without ever having read a word I’ve written and so with no basis from which to judge, judge anyway and try to get me to stop dreaming, stop striving, sit down, shut up, and act like everyone else. I don’t think I’ve ever found people like that appealing, but I have run across enough of them through the years. How about you? Have you had people try to derail your dreams? Not just your dreams of writing, but any dreams?

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday

Something to Ponder…

The late motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, said thinking in terms of time is a trap that allows us to be less and do less than we might otherwise. He suggested thinking in terms of “number of times remaining” instead because it adds urgency and gives perspective. His example: if you go fishing once a year and believe you’ll live 20 more years, don’t say “I have 20 years left to fish”, but rather say “I may only get to go fishing 20 more times.”

I like that approach. It encourages me to be more selective about my activities, and more present to the things I do choose to spend my time on, because my time here on earth is finite and valuable.

What about you, how do you spend your time and would you choose differently if you thought of time differently?

Posted in Regina's Journal

In the Blink of an Eye

Happy Birthday to my youngest! She’s eighteen years old today. She’s grown into a beautiful, accomplished, intelligent, loving, generous, kind person and I am so impressed with her.

What a lucky mommy I am!

She’ll graduate from high school in May and will be attending the University of Texas in Austin in August. My nest will be empty then and I’ll miss her with every beat of my heart. But I am so happy and excited for her.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Posted in Regina's Journal

Life Changes…

A few years ago October to December was a mad rush to get it all done. Halloween meant working on costumes and creating a display of hay bales, pumpkins, and scarecrows in the front yard. It meant pumpkin patch hayrides, making trick or treat dates, carving jack o’lanterns, throwing parties, and making sure the kids ate a high protein meal before the candy-fest started. This year it meant texting the boys at college to remind them to have a safe Halloween and then spending a couple of hours answering the doorbell.

A few years ago Thanksgiving week meant traveling to grandmas’/aunts’/friend’s homes for one huge meal after another or hosting one at our home with all the trimmings. It meant hanging lights on the house in anticipation of flipping that switch on Thanksgiving night, and going tree hunting and/or Black Friday shopping the day after. This year it meant texting the boys at college to say have a great time at the football game and enjoy the tailgate.

A few years ago the month long run up to Christmas meant giving the house a good winter clean before decorating with abandon. It meant planning/wrapping/ shipping gifts, plotting grandparent visits, and baking pies. We were taking the kids to see Christmas movies, setting Santa-face candy bowls around the house, going to parties, and attending school and church festivities. I’d read short stories because there wasn’t time for novels and steal time to work on my annual Christmas jigsaw puzzle. It was exhausting. But oh, so wonderful!

Sadly, four of the six grandparents are gone now so there aren’t as many gifts to plan or visits to plot. Without the boys here to mess up the house that good winter clean isn’t as necessary or as satisfying. Without them here to help, the minimal decorating we do feels a little more like work and less like play. It’s just hubby and I at the Christmas movies and middle-aged spread has made setting out candy bowls a tad too dangerous. With no tots or teens regularly drifting by the table to hinder/help/tease, doing the jigsaw just isn’t the same.

But the kids will be home for Christmas. Even if only for a few days. And Mama is gonna decorate and bake pies and have a jigsaw in progress. Because at our house, that’s Christmas.

What are the holidays like for you?

Posted in Regina's Journal

A Kick and a Clean

Tuesday was tough. A lot of things didn’t go my way.

You notice I don’t say they went wrong. They didn’t. They went painfully right. I won’t go into everything that kicked me in the gut that day, but I think I will write about one. Here goes:

For a ridiculously long time I’d been dragging my feet about releasing Blood Marriage. There were a number of reasons for that, not the least of which was the fact that there were two chapters I felt squeamish about. I’d been searching for a fix, but was paralyzed by indecision.

Tuesday, having already had one of those days,  I thought, “Oh well, I’m already in the frying pan, why not jump into the fire and just finish myself off?”

I printed one of those squeamish bits and took it to my critique group. I returned home feeling like I’d been punched in the stomach.

Over the last few  years, one small step at a time, I’ve been giving up my negative coping techniques. So I’m currently more vulnernable than I wish to be. I actually FEEL stuff. And it’s unpleasant. Though surprisingly survivable. Who knew?

Anyway, without my negative coping techniques, I went to bed still FEELING and woke up still feeling. And in a bout of self-pity, I posted here. And then…to my complete astonishment, I sat down at the keyboard and fixed the squeamish bit.

I hope.

At any rate I don’t feel squeamish about it anymore.

Better still, I had comments by Wendy, Jen, and Annie – who could have scolded me for my little website pity-party but instead wrapped me in kindness and encouragement. You ladies are the best!

That was Wednesday. Thursday morning, instead of doing what I’ve been doing lately – absolutely nothing except staring at the walls and mourning the fact my boys left for college two weeks ago – I cleaned my house. There’s something about a clean house that’s life-affirming, mood-lifting, satisfying, and joyously HOPEFUL.

So. I am writing. In a clean house. And Life is Good!

Posted in Regina's Journal

Now What?

I took a portion of Blood Marriage to my critique group. I knew this scene might be a little much for some people, so I warned them in advance in case they wanted to opt not to read it.  But I wasn’t prepared for how really disturbing some readers found it. So now I’m asking myself what to do next.

Do I rework the novel so that readers won’t find it disturbing? Or do I tell the story as it came to me and as I felt it would have happened considering who and what the characters are?

This is one of those days when I wonder why I write. Is it really worth the time, work, and emotional upheavals? Could I stop? What would that be like, feel like, mean to my life and to who I am?

Posted in Regina's Journal

If You Kill the Messenger…

Years ago someone came to me with information about a tween who was engaging in risky flirtations with adult strangers. Though the behavior hadn’t gone far enough to be innocence-destroying, it was dangerous. Peers had already tried talking sense to the tween without success.

Deciding that if it were my child I’d want to know so I could intervene before anything serious happened, I contacted the tween’s mother and as gently as I could I told her what was going on. The mother did not receive the news well and she punished me socially for telling her.  

Years later someone came to me again with similar concerns about the same (now) teen. This time I hesitated, but in the end I decided the parents needed to know so they could protect their child. Again, I was made to feel I’d metaphorically stuck my nose in the wrong place and gotten it bloodied.

Fast forward a few more years and now I’m hearing things I believe most parents would want to know. Serious things. But this time my source is not as reliable, I’m not eager to get another verbal beat-down, and (most important) the teen is legally an adult. So this time I’m going to mind my own business.

But I admit I’m not perfectly at peace with that decision.

Back in my college days an acquaintance came to me with some very painful information about the guy I thought at the time was my soul mate.  Feel free to roll your eyes. I wouldn’t believe what he was telling me. I accused him of lying. I metaphorically killed the messenger. I’m ashamed of that. Although I must say he took it in admirable stride.

A  couple of wasted years and a broken heart later, I found out everything he’d told me – and more – about my soul mate  was undeniably, horribly TRUE. Worse, most of our mutual friends had known all along but hadn’t told me because they “didn’t want to hurt me”.  Apparently to them, silently standing by and letting me waste years of my life, and be duped and pitied by everyone I knew, was kindness. *arrrgh*

What about you? Have you ever verbally killed a messenger? Been emotionally beaten for being the messenger? Or stood by and kept silent for fear of being unkind or uncomfortable?

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday

The Dog Ate My Homework

Yeah Right…

No. Really. I know I promised to put Blood Marriage up on Amazon in June, but a virus ate my computer. Really.

Initially I spent too many days (I’m stubborn) trying everything my PAID security  provider suggested to clear the trouble. Nothing worked.

Then I took the machine to the famous chain computer store where I bought it. Yes. They could fix it. For a gazillion dollars. (Two kids off to college in less than two months and the air conditioner quit in 100-plus degree weather. So fresh out of gazillions).  Well, they assured me, it would be much cheaper to simply buy a new one. Though of course I’d lose my data, pics, etc. I took my sick machine home. More days wasted.

Next I called a kid I knew. He came over and took my computer home with him for a small fraction of what the famous computer chain guys had wanted. He brought it back  six days later.

He’d killed the viruses, retrieved and restored the data, pics, etc (yay!). He’d also wiped the hard drive and installed a more up-to-date operating system, less vulnerable browser, cooler email thingee, and a better security software. Best of all my novel is sitting safely in the Cloud. Sadly, the word processing softwares I need to be able to do anything with it, along with my voice recognition software and a few other things, were blown to smithereens. But that, he assured me, was no problem since I could simply reinstall them from the original disk or download them again via the net using my licensing/registration codes.

Uh-oh. Was I supposed to keep those?

Now I’m running endless customer service gauntlets trying to get my software reinstalled. I’ll save you the ugly details, but rest assured I’ve been punished thoroughly for tossing those disks and misplacing those codes.

Happily, today I finally proved (I think) to one company that I did buy their product and deserve to be allowed to reinstall. They’ve promised me a magic disk. 

So someday, when I finally fish my novel out of the ether, I will publish it.

And I actually do have a dog.

Posted in Regina's Journal