Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Resolution: Overachievers not-so-anonymous

Last year I jumped on the idea of a one word New Year's resolution. I'm happy to report this is the first time ever that I've actually stuck to my resolution for the entire year. No griping, no forgetting about it after two weeks, no feeling that I was roping myself into some unrealistic goal. No sir, it worked, and I feel so much better for it. Last year's word was: Less.

This year: Me.

Yep, a very small word, yet a very big aspiration.

This is my last year volunteering at my daughter's elementary school. After nine long years of PTO duties, I'm soooooo ready to hang up my dinged up, paint-covered name tag. My big Christmas craft project is done for the year so it's all downhill from here. This means that after June, that's a lot less obligations and stress for me.

I've been on a grant review board for the past couple years, and while I've enjoyed doing it, the one night the six meetings a year are on is the same night I have two other obligations. I enjoy the other two things more, and one of those is only for a month out of the year. This one is still up for debate, but I'm seriously considering stepping down as part of the reducing stress for me effort.

This past year, I've all but handed over my writing time to the drool-sucking monster of work. NaNo helped me find that time again, but not the creativity and inspiration that actually makes it enjoyable and readable. It's time to put an end to feeling like I need to work twelve hour days, day after day after day. Sure there will be some, but I've got to turn off work and make more time for me to do what I enjoy.

My kids are ten and fourteen, they don't need me every second of every day anymore. I need to step back with the small things and continue to hold them accountable for the things I expect them to do and find a few more things they can help out with. It's easy to just keep doing most things myself, but I could be delegating more. They're old enough to help spread the load to help reduce my overwhelming list of things I try to squeeze into every day.

Possibly most important, I will make time for me to eat lunch and breakfast. I can't tell you how many days I went without one or both this past year because there was just too much to get done every day.

I'm not sure when or how I became an overachiever, but it sure seems to take a while to recover from being one. After realizing how thin I've spread myself, I can't say it's hard to step down from everything I've roped myself into, but I do feel guilty knowing that those things might not get done by someone else. Sometimes, they just don't. I've seen it happen and I cringe. But I don't leap back into the fire. I'm not a superwoman with endless energy. I'm just me and there's only so much I can do. I have another resolution to stick to and I'd love to report another successful year. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing strikes again

A big thank you to Stephanie Herman of The Wild Literati who hunted my lurking self down to tag me for The Next Big Thing blog hop. Stephanie was kind enough to do some critques for me on A Broken Race a while back...back when I had time to write and put work up for critique. But Jean, you say, didn't you just rediscover your writing time with NaNoWriMo? Well yes, however, this is my really busy time of year for work so we'll get to this whole writing thing, a rant on stupidity in a bookstore, and my one word New Year's resolution in January posts.

For now, I'm going to attempt to play by the rules for The Next Big Thing. And I'm going to break them immediately (You did see that I said attempt?) by using a short story instead of a book.

What is the working title of your next book?
Found, which is a short story for those of you who skipped the paragraphs above.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I participated in A Story a Day In May this past May, and this was one of the stories that came to me. In a day. The whole thing just spilled onto the page...or screen as it were. This was one of the few days that month that my brain worked in coordination with my fingertips and I knew I was on to something good.

What genre does your book fall under?
Horror? Paranormal? Young Adult? We'll just settle for Speculative Fiction

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
An innocent looking little boy. No one in particular.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Little Adam MacIntire discovers a special place to play with his new friend Caroline, a place where no one can hear or see them.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Found is scheduled to be published in the January 2013 edition of Allegory

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
A couple hours. That makes it sound so easy. It's not really. It just happened to be a good writing day. If you want to see why I don't have 365 other short stories waiting to be published, check any of my May 2012 posts for details.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
No quick answer springs to mind. I'm sure there are some, probably many, but I haven't read anything similar recently enough to have memory of it.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Every parent's fear of losing their child in a store. Been there. Sweated heavily, heart pounding, frantically searching. No sir, not fun at all. Then I wondered what the child was thinking and doing while mom was freaking out. Oh hey, I had a story to tell.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Hiding is all fun and games as long as someone will eventually find you.

And now we get to the portion of the post where I tag a few fellow writers. I'd normally tag Ian over at Views from a Bald Patch but he's already participated and had tagged me back in November. So I'm going to nudge Ray Veen since it looks like he's got a project in the works and Ryan at A Dark Corner of the Mind because well, he needs to tell the world more about this book he's been editing for almost a year now.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Children of the Trees is live

It's been a busy month around here. Not only with NaNoWriMo, but with short stories. I have two bits of good news to share today.

Children of the Trees is now online in Issue 15 of Liquid Imagination.

Also, I'm happy to announce that my short story, "Found" has been accepted for publication in Volume 20/47 of ALLEGORY which will be live on the web in January.

Thank you to all of my wonderful critique partners who helped me get these stories fleshed out and cleaned up. I guess this means I need to get some more stories out in submissionland now that NaNo is over.