Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Parenting sucks sometimes.

Okay, so here's the thing! I'm gonna get right up in some of ya'll's business. Am I going to step on toes? Possibly? Am I talking to be mean . . . Nope!

 I am a stay at home mom of two amazing, wonderful, talented and sometimes feral boys. One is almost 14 and the other is almost 8. The 8-year-old is Autistic so there are some challenges that we face daily, but for the most part, we manage.

I hate summer. I always have, even before I had kids. It's hot. It's sticky. It's humid. It's miserable. It's too bright. It. Just. Sucks. I can't take enough clothes off because c'mon NOOOOOO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT... **grimaces** I can always put more clothes on if I get too cold.
Those are the primary reasons I hate summer. Another reason I begin to detest summer somewhere around February is the impending no school. NOW I give mad props to all the teachers, faculty, admins, and others that have a hand in our kids’ lives. It takes a village, but somewhere around ... June 1st, I am ready to send them back! Okay, that's just a tiny exaggeration, but you get my drift.   We don't always to get to go on vacations. Our vacations are day trips to the river.
Swim, Romp, Paddling, Lake, Summer, Wet, Rope, Swing

Please don't misunderstand me. My kids are my world.  I love them harder and deeper with each breath I take. However, there are times I don't like them very much. There are some people that have a whole herd of kids and they love spending every single moment with their brood. I APPLAUDE those parents and I admire them, but I'm just not one of them. I have to have time alone. I need time to decompress after a day filled with brotherhood bickering "Mooooooooommmmm, he's touching me!"  or the never-ending mountains of housework that never seems to get done.
I pick something up and put it away only to find about half a dozen more objects lying in the formerly clean place.

I was talking to a girlfriend, and we were sharing our parenting woes. We are both stay at home moms as well as authors. Neither one of us has been able to get a single thing done or meet our deadlines because little stinkers are hovering all day long. We long for bedtime and some intimacy with our husbands but the harsh truth of it all is . . . we are sooooo exhausted by the end of the day, forming words to speak is a job.

Bed, Sleep, Girl, White, Tired, Pillow, Duvet, Blanket
We constantly have to face always being touched with sticky hands or dirty fingers; Never being able to finish a full cup of hot coffee because something always comes up and reheating it three or four times to only forget where you put it and never get to finish it. OR, getting to the point where you are so desperate for a caffeine jolt just to wake you up, you contemplate shoving a fist full of coffee grounds into your mouth until your cheeks puff out like a chipmunk, and then washing it down with a glass of warm water. Yeah! Doesn't sound so great to me either.

Coffee Cup, Coffee, Cup, Coffee Beans, Ecg, Coffee Foam

The constant . . . ."Mom why?" "Mom how" "Mom look" "Mom please". Sometimes it is enough to make me sit in the middle of the floor and rock like a crazy person.

I think sometimes, we lose our voice and who we are as women to the hustle of everyday life and the ones that depend on us the most. We stretch ourselves so thin, that eventually, we snap. YEAH, there's a whole television series about that! OKAY, OKAY THAT WAS JUST A JOKE!!!!
I feel that way sometimes. The best word I've ever been called is mom. However, at the same time, that one single word can be as heavy as the world my shoulders.

I am the last one in bed at night (as I am sure it is with most mothers). There are a few reasons. One, I am a freelance writer and currently late at night is about the ONLY time I can hear myself think. Two, it's the only time I can think. The third and fourth reasons are the most important though... That third reason is asleep with his face on the PlayStation remote, happily drooling everywhere and oblivious to everything going on in his momma's mind. The fourth reason is sleeping with his tablet and DVD player and television because he's scared of the dark and has to have sound to sleep while our dog sleeps protectively at the foot of his bed.

They are the reason I stay up late because I think, plan, dream, and even worry about their future. THEN, once I am done with them, I move on to think about my husband. I find myself questioning everything. Am I being the best wife to him? No, I'm probably not. I'm crabby, sticky from little hands, irritable, I look a mess, and feel like a hammered bag of dog crap. I have, at some point in my day, stepped in mysterious puddles (we have a new puppy), sat on a wet toilet seat, dropped and shattered something, raised my voice, begged, and pleaded. And on some days, I wonder why God gave me children not because I didn't want them because heavens, I wanted children more than anything. No, I wonder why God entrusted these souls to me. I fail daily. I lose my temper, I yell, I cry, and I sometimes feel helpless. Wasn't there someone out there better than me? The answer to that.... is no. God gave them to me because HE knew I needed them and they needed me.

Does it make me a bad mother knowing that I don't like my kids sometimes? Nope! You might think so, and that's okay. I know my life and the constant busyness of each day. I don't question my love for my boys and neither do they. My husband is my best friend and partner. If I didn't have him . . . well... I'm pretty sure I would have been committed a long time ago.

Father And Son, Walking, Love, Child, Joy, Childhood

AND let's not forget the fathers! I come from a traditional home! My husband works hard so I can stay home! He shoulders the financial burden as well as the other things like mowing our yard, fixing the sink, helping others . . . I can't speak for him, but I know things get hard for him too. There's times he doesn't like me. Probably more than I truly realize! BUT I know he loves me, and I have NEVER ONCE in our 16 years of being married questioned that. I'm not the easiest person to live with or even love for that matter. My faults are many and my shortcomings are too many to count, but I know with certainty that God put us together for a purpose.

The short of the matter is . . . It is okay for you as a mom to say, "Please don't touch mommy right now!" or "Please, just leave me alone for a minute."
Take a breath. It is okay for you not to like your kids all the time because I can promise you, there will come a time where they won't like you very much either! Grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine and go build a pillow fort. Grab a coloring book and find a quiet corner and color because honestly, parenting just sucks sometimes.

We need to stop shaming women for the way they feel. We can be some nasty, vicious creatures, especially when we see another mother struggling. Stop whispering behind your hands and rolling your eyes. "My kid would never do that in public." The truth is . . . YOU don't know what is going on in that situation. The kid could be suffering from sensory overload and because the mother is hyper-aware of all the eyes turned on her, she's trying to hold it all together while her kid is sensing her distress, only perpetuating the situation. We are quick to judge other women by how they act, what they wear, their beliefs, their marriage, how they raise their kids, and just about everything else.

Hold your head high. I don't think parenting is supposed to be easy.
I see you mom! I see you with your messy hair dry shampooed for the fourth day straight because you simply don't have the time or energy to shower. I see you mom . . . the one that constantly runs like an UBER shuttling your kid(s) from recitals, practices, rehearsals, conferences and everything else. I see you mom . . . the one that hasn't shaved her legs in weeks, possibly months because you only have time for a 5-minute shower before the kids get home or the baby wakes up. I see you single mom, pulling double duty as both parents, providing for your kids and working hard to give them all they need.
I see you dads. I see all the hard work you do. I see the love and devotion to your family as you put in long hours at the office. I see you carrying the financial burden as you try to make sure your family has food on the table and a roof over their heads! I. See. You!
You're not alone.
You are loved.
You are precious.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Author Catherine Black

Okay, so in honor of her big release, we are doing our weekly Author Spotlight early this week. Today is release day for the beautiful and freaking talented Catherine Black! Guys, believe me when I tell you, this woman is freaking crazy talented. I've read almost all of her books and never once have I been disappointed. :) I don't think you will either.....

I'm going to shut up now and let you guys get to know Catherine Black!

I asked Catherine some questions and this is what she had to say!

What is something the creeps you out the most--something that others might find peculiar?
Umm...crickets? I can pick up snakes and snapping turtles and spiders...
but show me a cricket and I’m practically catatonic.

What is your current obsession? Movie...music...food… anything…
Sherlock on Netflix...I don’t know why it has taken me so long to find this.

What is something about you that readers don’t know?
I was so obsessed with the Animorphs series growing up.
Like, it was a straight up obsession.
So much so that my oldest son is named after one of the characters.

If you could become one supernatural creature what would it be? And Why?
Centaur. Because I would be tall and could kick the shit out of people.

What is the number one thing on your bucket list?!
Earn a spot on the NYTimes or USA Today bestseller lists.

You’re from a small town. So, how does living in a small town help/hurt your writing career? How do you overcome it?
Personally, it helps me when it comes to inspiration.
All of my novels are set in small towns much like my own.
For those readers who know me ‘in real life’, they can almost always pinpoint certain
real people in my characters. Or they’ll recognize places or stores or stretches of highway.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author and create these fantastical worlds?
In college. I had a ton of spectacular English professors who were so passionate about writing.
They would share pieces of their work and I remember sitting there in the front row thinking,
“This. This is what I want to do.”

What is your writing process? How do you prepare...what do you do when you sit down etc…Music...munchies….etc
I’m HORRIBLE about eating while writing.
I almost always have a little snack with me and at least two drinks.
Water on my right, coffee on my left. Ideally, the television is off,
everyone in the house is asleep, and I’m in my comfiest clothes.
I’m a control freak so I never start writing without a detailed outline and pages upon pages of character descriptions.
Once the characters are fully formed in my mind I just...go for it.

What/who (or both)  inspires you?
Other authors inspire me, my husband inspires me, my children, memories, friends, movies,
MUSIC! I can usually find inspiration almost anywhere.

What author(s) in your life has had the most significant impact on you as a woman and as an author?
Definitely Lili Valente. She’s the best. The first time I read her Lonesome Point series,
I was just in awe. I remember sitting back and thinking, “This is the kind of author I want to be.”
She’s just that damn talented.
Also, as a woman, Colleen Hoover’s books have really moved me.
There have been multiple times where I start reading and think,
“Oh my God, I’ve been here. At this exact point in my life. I’ve DONE that!”
And usually, by the end of the book, I’m sobbing into my wine glass.

How do you deal with rejection? What keeps you motivated to keep writing!?

Truthfully? I don’t. Rejection hurts and I don’t deal with it well.
Almost every single day I say to myself, “I quit. What’s the point?”
But I have such an amazing support system and amazing readers and friends
who keep me going. Whenever I have moments like that, they basically bitch-slap
me back on track.

What would you like to say to new authors as they try to break into the industry?!
Write. Never take a break. Keep writing. Keep publishing.
Never slow down; not even on days when you’re feeling discouraged.
Just. Keep. F**king. Going.

Well, there you have it, ladies and gents!!!!! Now here is Catherine's Bio and the link to her new book SAVAGE on sale today!

In 2013, Catherine Black left her managerial position at a large internet company to
pursue her dreams and she hasn’t looked back since. Playing mom, maid, and nurse during the day is wildly fulfilling, but when the lights go out and everyone’s in bed, her imaginary friends to come out to play. Catherine can be found cruising the dirt roads near her home in the Ozarks with her high school sweetheart turned hubby. When she’s not writing, Catherine is breezing through as many romance books as possible, binge watching Marvel movies, cheering on the sidelines of her son’s basketball games, or tending to her backyard chickens.

Buy Now on 

One free-spirited tree hugger running from grief.
One technology-addicted IT manager on the road to self-discovery.
6 states. 1200 miles. 1 cramped SUV.
What could possibly go wrong?
I never thought I'd lose the best thing to ever happen to me...and then I did. Without my best friend at my side, the world drains of color and the commune I grew up in no longer feels like home. So I give into the wanderlust plaguing my heart and set out to rid myself of the grief hanging onto my soul like beggar's lice. Then he sits down in front of me in a small roadside diner and everything changes.
Reed is high-strung, materialistic, and shows little to no interest in the world around him, which is the only reason I take him under my wing. I'm bound and determined to teach him how to embrace the hideous beauty that comes with each sunrise, as well as the bliss and heartache that passes with each sunset. But it's hard as hell to learn anything new about life when you're weighed down by a secret, and Reed Stanley's has the power to ruin everything.

I don't stand a chance with a gypsy witch like Skyler Kassamali, but I don't care. Her tattoos and piercings are enough to intimidate me, but there's something else to her—a sharp sadness—that draws me in and refuses to let go. But she's so much more than a shattered heart lost on a grief-fueled adventure and I want to know her best-kept secrets, all while never revealing my own.
But secrets have a way of undoing you, whether you want them to or not, and despite all my shortcomings, Skyler sees something in me and takes a chance. On an adventure that brings us both to our knees, she teaches me the greatest lesson of all: No matter how convincing the smile is, no matter how untarnished the skin seems to be, no matter how we bend and fold to conform—inside, we're all a little savage.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Guest Spotlight, Rue Volley

Guys, I am so excited! I"m featuring one of the coolest writers I know. She's a USA Today bestselling author and has over  . .  .. books under her belt. Not only has she written dozens of books, but she's an award-winning screenwriter. 

She specializes in paranormal romances that include otherworldly characters who, regardless of their supernatural abilities, feel oddly familiar, or in other words, human. This, coupled with her easy reading style, wicked sense of humor, and excellent world building skills, has garnered her a fiercely loyal fan base over the past decade who support her regardless of what genre she chooses to write in.

Some of her best works include 13 Ways to Midnight, Hellhound, The Devil's Gate, and A Vampires Tale of Blood and Light. All of which utilize her skill at piecing together compelling dramas that highlight her love for vampires, witches, angels, and demons across many genres including young adult, new adult, urban fantasy, and erotic romance. 

So, in order to get to know this amazing woman, she answered a couple questions for me! Here's what she had to say:

An image posted by the author.

What is something the creeps you out the most--something that others might find peculiar?
I can’t stand walking by closed doors and entering a dark tunnel is horrific for me. I also hate long hallways. I blame Stephen King for that. I always expect to walk around the corner and see those twins staring back at me.

What is your current obsession? Movie...music...food… anything…
Right now I’m binge-watching Gilmore Girls for the ninth time. I’m also obsessed with new Jazz and a band called GoGo Penguin and I can’t seem to stop drinking strawberry green tea lemonade and eating butter croissants. People can always tell what I’m currently obsessing over in my books. I tend to mix all of it into my scenes.

What is something about you that readers don’t know?
Well, I’m an open book, but I guess some people may not know that I’m bisexual and Wiccan. I’ve been very open about this since I started writing over a decade ago. My books always include at least one gay character, if not more. I’ve never painted myself as a LGBT writer because quite honestly, I really despise labels. I’m me. I’m complex, and I think that every human being is this way. I’m not just gay, or Wiccan, or native American, and I’ve evolved over time and expect to keep changing and growing until I leave this life for the next one.

If you could become one supernatural creature what would it be? And Why?
Easy...vampire. Who would pass up immortality? Not me.

What is the number one thing on your bucket list?!
To buy a house in Maine and stare at the ocean every single day. I tend to write about the east coast in all of my books. I love it there and I hope to return someday.

Do you have a “normal” job . . . Like, gasp, in the real world type!?
I have a few jobs. Outside of being a professional writer, I am also a graphic artist, head of marketing and promotion for CHBB Publishing, and I work in corporate retail. And no, I don’t really sleep much. I tend to put in about seventy hours of work a week. Lol

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author and create these fantastical worlds?
I never did choose to do it, I really think it chose me. I just love the art of storytelling. Plus, it’s terrific therapy. I think I’ve saved myself on a few occasions just by writing things out and dealing with it in these worlds that I’ve created. I would have to guess that a lot of artists do this. We use it to process emotions and situations in our lives. At least I do. I think this is why my fan base is so strong. I resonate with people on a deeper level because I never lie. Reading my books tells you everything about me. My hopes, my fears, my pain, and happiness. I live it through the characters that I’ve created.

What is your writing process? How do you prepare...what do you do when you sit down etc…
I’m a pantster, so I practice in define chaos. I’m also a serial writer. Once I have the basics written (characters, environment, plot points) I transfer it all to large whiteboards so that I don’t get lost or accidentally change someone's hair or eye color. But that is as organized as I get with the process. Other than that I always listen to music while I’m writing and I do all of it in the library that we built into our home.

What inspires you?
My inspiration is all around me. It’s life. The people I meet, the situations I find myself in, the trips I take to new places. Everything helps me create these wonderful worlds and complex characters that I love so dearly. It basically becomes a map of my life and ultimately my legacy.

What book in your life has had the most significant impact on you as a woman and as an author?
It isn’t one book, just like it isn’t one person in my life and I feel like I’m a perfect blend of a boy and a girl so books speak to me on both levels.
I can share a few though.
The Catcher in the Rye. The Great Gatsby. Interview with a Vampire. Harry Potter (The entire journey). The Hobbit. The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

What would you like to say to new authors as they try to break into the industry?!

Do your homework. Writing the book is the easy part (as crazy as that sounds) Save up your money for a healthy marketing budget before you release your book. Pay an editor to polish your book. Pay a professional cover artist to make a cover for you. Pay a great formatter to make your book stand out. Work on your brand, both for yourself and your work. Build that brand with every post you share on social media. Build your team of beta readers and take care of them. Utilize them to help you move forward. Always push harder with each book you write. Do better, not only for you but for your readers. They deserve the very best from you. Grammar matters. Plot matters. Character development matters. Don’t write a book for a paycheck. It shows. Write something you’re proud of and that you love. Write the book you want to read. In the end, your journey is your own. You may move faster or slower than those around you. It doesn’t matter. Do you, avoid drama, and surround yourself with real support. But most importantly, be LOYAL to your vision and the people who help you get where you want to go. No one finds real success alone. No one.

I'm so glad I got to talk to Rue again! She's a truly amazing inspiration. I've recently purchased her 13 Ways to Midnight and am looking forward to reading it.
Be sure to check it out. Actually... check out the entire series.

13 Ways to Midnight Book One (A Reverse Harem Young Adult Paranormal Romance) (The Midnight Saga) by [Volley, Rue]13 Ways to Midnight Book Two (A Reverse Harem Young Adult Paranormal Romance) (The Midnight Saga 2) by [Volley, Rue]13 Ways to Midnight Book Three (A Reverse Harem Young Adult Paranormal Romance) (The Midnight Saga) by [Volley, Rue]

Connect with Rue:

Thanks for stopping by everyone! I encourage you to stop by on Tuesday, July 10th for special guest author Catherine Black as we talk with her. She will be dropping in to talk about her new book releasing on the 10th! :)

Until next time, my lovelies.