About my top-secret pen name

pennameI love that so many of you are wanting to support my romance writing by reading my books.  Unfortunately, I made a promise to myself and my neighbor, a fellow author.  I’m not revealing it until I have sold 1 million copies.  It’s true and I’m not going back on a pact that’s been sealed with a pinky-swear. That’s just not neighborly. If you’re not a fan of romance novels, you’re not my target market anyway and if you are, then maybe you’ve already read it. But here’s my promise to you..

1- I swear I’m doing everything humanly possible to reach that 1 million sales goal.  I’m pretty sure I can kick my neighbor’s ass, romance sells way more than wizarding world fiction, with the exception of Harry Potter. Wait- did 50 shades sell more than HP?  I don’t even know, I just know my market is bigger.
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Health and Wellness Update.

decisionsWe’re fine, by the way.  Thank goodness for the ACA.

When babies are born, a lot of moms will voice a preference over whether or not the child is a boy or a girl but when it comes down to it, all that really matters is that it’s healthy.

I was lucky that all my girls were born healthy (Yes, girls were my preference) and we’ve continued as a physically healthy family for over 23 years now.

But that scare we’re still recovering from- with my health on the line followed by my second daughter’s sepsis and pneumonia- is still traumatic for me.  Today is her 20th birthday and I never thought I’d still be reeling from her near-death experience. There’s an anxious side of me that’s always knocking on wood, we’ve been so very fortunate that we haven’t been touched by much tragedy and that monster whispered in my ear the entire time she was sick “You thought you were lucky, didn’t you?”  I don’t know how anyone manages to survive after losing a child and I know I must be a special kind of nuts to view our luck thus far as a bad omen.  No life escapes tragedy, does it?
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How old are you in MomYears? (or: how I became the mother of 2.45 elephants)

OK, so for some reason a long time ago someone decided that there were 7 dog years in a human year. So by the time your dog reaches one human year old, he’s really 7 dog years old. It makes sense, dogs reach puberty earlier than humans and if one lives to be 18 it’s just as much of a treat as a human who makes it to 126. A year in a child’s life is a much bigger deal than a year in the life of an adult (we’re talking humans now). It’s not that a human year isn’t long enough, it’s just that SO MUCH HAPPENS in a child’s life that when you have more than one kid, I’m pretty sure you deserve to count each one of them as your own.
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Lucky. That’s all.

All my life I’ve felt lucky.  Maybe it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, maybe it’s a matter of choosing to see how things COULD have worked out alongside how they actually did work out.  There’s something anxious and unsettled about imagining all the ways things can go wrong, but looking back at all the ways things have gone right always reminds me of just how lucky I am.  I’ve got the support of friends and family, I’ve got healthy happy kids and in spite of having no real education or work background, I’ve got a job that I love running an amazing company that makes my corner of the world a better place. I’m incredibly lucky.
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11 Proactive Decisions

Life is so crazy, isn’t it?  Maybe I just mean that people are crazy sometimes. (Myself included, I’ll admit. Sometimes.)  Everything you’re about to read occupies my mind nearly every minute of the day so if I’m slow to answer or confused when you talk to me it’s because I’m always just a lotta bit distracted by the details of life, and this doesn’t even include my work, which also fills my brain to capacity.  I wish I could turn it off sometimes. Surely I’d be better at this if there were just LESS details.

 

insanity

 

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So if you find yourself using this quote to look deeper into your own behavior you might start by asking “Am I doing the same thing and expecting different results?”  Well of course you’re doing SOME of the same things, right?  You wake up every day, you brush your teeth every day, wash and fold laundry every day, go to work every day… I mean, the average person’s life is FILLED with a lot of very necessary “doing the same thing” so clearly looking for the same-things you’re doing won’t be the right approach to checking yourself in this context.
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Low Tide in Seattle

seaMy daughters’ recently-rekindled passion for the sea and all creatures in it has sent us reeling toward more oceanic experiences lately.  The staff at the aquarium know us by name and my 10 yr old is tracking the time it will take for her to reach the age of volunteering. We’re looking into diving classes, but they’re super expensive and probably not in the budget any time soon.  In the meantime, we’re getting our kicks at low tide.

We live ten minutes from Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, they have free parking and a play structure and plenty of driftwood for building impromptu structures, a fair amount of sand for your picnic blanket and families of sea lions that play in the water and sometimes come on shore.  We especially like going during low tide, so the kids can check out the sea creatures. They lift up rocks, squealing when the crabs scoot to safety, count the barnacles on everything, feel the silky smooth skin of the anemones (and apologize when they scare the water out of them), marvel at all the different types of seaweed and listen to the birds squawking.
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The Best Thing Moms Can Do for the Planet

After the EG Conference, I was so eager to get home and share some of the presentations with my kids.  My 10 yr old is REALLY into animals and also really into submarines. She’s the kid who finds her bliss at the aquarium and at the zoo.  When she was 3, we were having a conversation in the car about how the season was changing; winter was over and spring was coming. I heard her sobbing in the backseat and asked if she was OK.  Her face was red and blotchy and covered in tears and she said “winter is over and I didn’t see a single penguin”  it was heartbreaking and adorable. Her older sisters and I did a terrible job of stifling our laughter and putting on a somber face when we realized how very serious she was. I had no idea that she’d spent her winter with her eyes peeled on the lookout for penguins, as if they’re the sort of creature that “comes out” in the winter. On her 4th birthday she had an epic tantrum meltdown because none of us got her a submarine for her birthday, as if submarines are just something they carry at Camping World. She’s an awesome kid, and usually pretty mellow on the emotional scale, but she has big feels about animals and it’s one of a million things I love about her.
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If I ever get married again

When I was in my early 20′s I was spared the whole push-to-marriage that so many young adults deal with because I was already married when I was 19. (I was also spared the push-to-college but that’s a rant for a different day).

I celebrated my 3 year divorceaversary last month and well- meaning family and friends keep asking me if I’ve thought about getting married again. The short answer is “no.” The longer answer is “maybe, but not right now.”

I’ve heard all sorts of bullshit rationale for why I should revisit the whole death-do-you-part lifestyle and I’m not buying any of it.
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Google’s Mother’s Day Doodle Sucks This Year

As a mom, I can tell you that every single day of my life is spent “for the kids”  There’s little time left for me and even on the 4 nights a month that they’re with their dad I spend time doing laundry and dishes and living for my kids.  My youngest is 8 now, and if you happen to be a mom of smaller kids, I tip my hat to you (It’s a girl scout baseball cap and not something stylish, just so you know).  I clearly remember waking up to the sound of a screaming infant, sipping coffee while monitoring the busy-bee activities of an active toddler and soothing myself to the promises of more experienced moms who told me “It will get easier”  They were right.  That “me time” that you’re supposed to seize when you have an infant is a joke. There’s time for that later, trust me.  All of this to say that for a while you’re going to feel like a doormat. And that’s just the fact of the matter.  I suppose there are women who have managed to find the one-in-a-million spouse that actually does chip in with 50% of the childcare, allowing her 15 nights of uninterrupted sleep a month, half as many diapers to change, one snotty nostril to wipe clean and things like that.  But kids grow up so fast. I can’t imagine how sad life would be if I had enjoyed half as many bedtime stories, half as many high-chair meals or half as many “Hey mom, watch this.”
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Living On The Edge

My dad used to say “If you’re not on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”  He meant that it was important to be up-to-date on news, technology and innovation, but that’s not the “living on the edge” that I’m talking about.  I’m talking about literally standing at the edge of a cliff in a windstorm with waves crashing beneath my feet a thousand miles below me.

Being a single mom is hard, especially in my head.  I commute a total of 16 miles a day, it can take anywhere from 40-90 minutes a day.  Those two sentences seem unrelated, unless you’re me in the car white-knuckling for 40-90 minutes a day afraid that at any moment a car is going to swerve out of nowhere and kill me, leaving my kids without a mom.  Sounds crazy, but it happens all the time. Another thing that happens all the time is people getting paralyzed or injured in accidents and being unable to afford their own rent or bills. Another thing that happens way more often is uneventful commutes where nobody gets hurt at all, until it’s time to pay for parking.
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