I discovered that November is National Novel Writing Month three years and two kids ago. A fellow aspiring author and very talented writer Merina Green asked if I was going to participate and I said, “Sure, I’d love to! What is it?”

“Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” —

Perfect for me, right?  I mean, aside from that deadline bit …

The Nanowrite site offers writers much needed pep talks from successful authors and other hopefuls alike. The site also allows you to track your progress through the month by updating your word count, gives you daily goals in order to reach your target of a completed first draft (or at least 50K), and can help you link up with a participating local Nanowri group.  If you “win”, besides having a completed book to hone and refine and an incredible sense of accomplishment, you also receive a ribbon on the website. As a mother and a home educator, I can testify to the effectiveness of a good old fashioned sticker chart.

My upcoming release Recycled started off as my Nanowrite novel the first year I participated. It’s gone through quite the metamorphosis since then, but butterflies don’t appear on their own and neither do completed, polished novels. Every book you’ve ever read started somewhere. My latest began November  2011.

I wasn’t able to participate one November due to a trying pregnancy and sheer exhaustion. (Who knew growing humans is such hard work?) I missed the following due to two infants and I was still reeling from the loss of my father. Needless to say, I was very excited and hopeful going into this year’s Nanowrite.

I had a story.

I had a rough plotline.

I had the characters pretty well ironed out. (Or so I thought …)

I had a plan.

No actually, we had a plan. You see, for me to take every spare moment I can for a month and dedicate them to writing, my family has to be on board. And most of them were. Really, really. The men (full sized and mini) were all over it and very encouraging−even if they ate a lot of junk and my house wasn’t the shiniest place to live. Unfortunately, we failed to account for the shortest of the brood and their reactions to not having Mommy at their sticky little fingertips all day, every day.

But the kids weren’t the reason I failed to reach my goal.

The words just wouldn’t come. I could see the scene play out in my mind but when my fingertips were poised to type, nothing happened. Every couple hundred words felt like a huge achievement because of the struggle to get them on paper. I’ve read many people say that writing is like a muscle; you have to work it regularly if you want it to preform to your standards. Well, I’ve obviously let myself go … in more than one way.

It’s been over two years since I’ve written on a regular basis. Slowly I’ve been reclaiming some of my activities outside of my children over the last year, but it’s still very much a work in progress.

I was also a mess emotionally, which I should have expected but somehow failed to anticipate. I feel guilty taking time away from my family to pursue what amounts to a hobby at the moment. When I was with the kids, I couldn’t wait to escape to write, which just piled on more guilt and mom-shame. Extended family drama kept drawing me in−even from a thousand  miles away. It was … life.

Life happened.

After a lot of little moping I’ve realized I’m okay with that. Writing is my newest love, but my family is my heart. Becoming a published author is my dream, but my family is my reality and infinitely more important. So if something needs to be pushed down a peg or two on my ladder of priorities, it’s not going to be the minions. It’s not going to be the husband.  And that’s exactly as it should be at this point in my life.

I just hope I can remember that the next time I get frustrated at the constant “MOM!” interruptions …

My goal this month is to complete my 2014 Nanowrimo novel. For the sake of my kidneys, I’m also giving up Cokes. I’m not sure which is the more challenging of my two lofty goals, but March should be fun.

Wish me luck!

Date Night

In the queue: Jimmy Eat World and All-American Rejects with a dash of Adele in the mix.

Words written: zero. (I thought it’d look better spelled out … I was wrong.) But I did make it through about 10K first draft edits, so that’s something.

Moving on!

I’ve been a wee bit stressed, and my hubby has been TDY more often than not the last few months. In fact, after being home a whole week, he’s deserting us again on Monday. So last night, after the twins were in bed and my mini-men returned from karate, I experienced first hand the rare and often elusive date night.

It does exist, and man, it was awesome.

Honestly, we just grabbed a quick bite and caught a late movie, but yeah … heaven! And since we were the only irresponsible adults out late on a weeknight at the beginning of the school year, we got a private screening.

The hubs has already seen The Guardians of the Galaxy three times, so we chose The Giver, which is the actual reason for this post for those of you wondering. I went into the theater, expecting nothing but a quiet, dark room with nobody “MOM!”ing me, and then discovered the flick is an adaptation of the 1994 book by Lois Lowry. I’ve never read the book –and now I won’t because I liked the movie– but I couldn’t help but notice similarities to a few other movies in the past twenty years. Actually, my hubby couldn’t help pointing out each and every similarity. (The downsides to being alone in the theater: I couldn’t shush him without being more rude, thus losing the courteous high ground, and if I gave into the temptation to strangle him,  there were no suspicious chaps about to blame or even create a little reasonable doubt.)

***Spoiler Alert***

The Giver: Matrix style, starring Meryl Strep as Agent Smith.  The giver-in-training is like a less flexible Neo: he does what no one else can do by getting info uploaded directly into his brain.  But  Jeff  Bridges as Morpheus is where this one falls apart.

What about The Village? I mean, you have the all-knowing, all-concealing council of elders, a town secluded from the rest of the world, and a hero who has to leave the boundaries of his world, which he thought was perfect mere days ago, in order to save a life. 

But Equilibrium was the most obvious comparison that came to mind. First of all, the citizens get meds that take away their emotions, everyone is the same, no artwork or music, no color to life. There’s one scene in particular when both main characters basically get their emotions back and start seeing color again. Maybe the scenes standout because they’re so touching–the restoration of something so vital and  essential to what makes us human–but I still got that deja vu  vibe.

And within the first ten minutes of the movie, I exclaimed, “Oh! This is like Matched!”

If imitation is the truest form of flattery, then surely Lois Lowry has been inundated  with Facebook pokes,  #Friday follows, and Be Mine, frilly pink hearts filled with chocolate caramel clusters for years. But accepting that there’s nothing new under the sun, (Yep, I just went all Biblical on y’all.) where is the line between inspiration and imitation?

This is the question I will be pondering when I should be doing something productive tomorrow.

Dietary Mourning

The labs came back Monday. I’ve got celiac disease. It’s not the end of the world, but going gluten free is going to be quite an adjustment.

Last night, I was bemoaning the fact that everything I was cooking for dinner had been infected with gluten cooties. So my loving husband hugged me and said, “I’m sorry you’re having a rough time. Here, have a cupcake. I know they’re your favorite.” And they are! You know, the cream filled ones topped with the chocolate ganache and finished off with the trademark white swirls.

While my deepest desire was to respond like this:



My oozie brassiere was in the wash. Meh, I don’t really have the figure to do the move justice anyway.

The rest of my week  night went more like this:



Nevertheless, I have come to value my colon, and as the old saying goes, I’m sick and tired of being… well, you get the idea. So I will suck it up, mourn my unrestricted diet, and try to brave this new world where everything is contaminated with the glutes. I swear, it’s horrifying!  Like the first time I saw a hotel room under a black light…

But I digress.

Farewell, sweet Taco Bell. I shall miss your chalupas and nacho bellgrandes and cinnamon twisties. To be fair, I can partake of their sour cream, salsa, and most of their fountain drinks, so not all is lost.

I’m going to go watch Dirty Dancing and have a good cry now.

sad pony