Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Force is Strong with this one!

Hey all,

I don't know about you, but I absolutely LOVED Star Wars #7, The Force Awakens. And the best part for me was -- my four year old loved it, too! Okay, she didn't stay for the ENTIRE movie. Four year olds can be pretty wiggly, as many of you probably know! But she fell in love with the story of Rey and Finn and BB8. And ever since she's been running around the house roleplaying Rey.

Now you gotta understand, this is a girl who never met a princess dress she didn't like. She's into My Little Pony, Tinkerbell, Cinderella and Elsa. The more glitter and pink and purple the better!

A typical ensemble! 

And while I absolutely don't think there's anything wrong with her loving girlie things--because I don't think "girlie" should ever equal "inferior" - I have to admit, it warmed my heart a little to see her embracing a tough, confident, capable character like Rey.

Rey is an awesome role model for all children--boys and girls--and she really did an amazing job in the film. It wouldn't have been the same film without her! (Despite what some toymakers may think!) 

In any case, this Valentine's Day, in lieu of more candy, we decided to take her to the Disney Store. We told her she could pick out any costume she wanted to. And this is what we came home with! 

I die! 

And yes, tomorrow she may go back to being her girlie girl self, decked out in pink and purple and glitter and tiaras. And that is totally fine! All I care about is that she believes in her heart that princesses (and normal girls) can do anything they set their hearts to! And they never have to feel the need to wait for a prince to come along. Like Rey, they have the power inside of them to save themselves.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sun, Sand, and Reading!

Gotta admit, I've been a bit distracted at my desk this week. Because as of Thursday I am headed to the above photo--Daytona Beach! For the Coastal Magic Convention. This is a reader's and writer's convention that's held every year at a hotel on the beach in the winter. Sun, fun, AND readers! Sign me up!

Last time I came to this convention a couple years ago it rained most of the time. Hopefully that won't happen this time around. But even if it does I'm sure I'll keep busy with all the events they have going on. Panels, parties, meet and greets and lunches. It's going to be great.

My only regret is that JUST THIS NIGHT won't be out yet for sale. When I had originally signed up, the book had been scheduled for a January release so I thought the timing would be perfect. BUT it was not meant to be. That's okay though. I do have some ARCs to give away to readers I might meet and postcards. And I can always show off my Mari Mancusi books.

I have to say - I love conventions like this. Sometimes writing is such a solitary venture and it's not until you go to things like this and really get to know and interact with readers that you remember how important your job is as a writer. Because it's not just about the stories. It's about connecting with other people through your words. THAT is the real magic in my opinion. And going to things like these really makes that magic feel real.

I promise to take lots of photos and post them when I get back!!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Taking time to paint the dragons

We've all heard the saying, "Taking time to smell the roses." But I've never been much of a gardner. And too much flower sniffing makes me sneeze. 

Still, the sentiment is important! We get so caught up sometimes in everyday life--going from here to there without even thinking about it. And sometimes we look up and can't believe how fast time is passing. I swear--just yesterday it was October. Now it's nearly February! 

I think when you have kids it's especially hard. You desperately want to spend time with them, but things always seem to come up. My daughter will ask if I will play with her and I find myself saying, "I will in a minute. I just have to (fill in the blank.)" And often that "fill in the blank" isn't even important in the grand scheme of things. 

And then sometimes I look up and I realize she's getting older. She'll be five in June. And at some point she's not going to want me to play with her anymore. She's going to shy away from my hugs and be embarrassed at public displays of affection. I hope we will still be great partners in crime and that she'll always know she can come to me when she has a problem. But it'll be different. There won't be that sweet innocence she has now. That heart overflowing with love that she's not afraid to share. Right now I swear her most common phrase is, "I LOVE YOU." And it hurts a little to think that won't always be the case. That she will be hurt by someone. She will be told she's not good enough. That she will believe this. And I won't be able to convince her otherwise. 

One time a few months ago, she was being silly--kissing me like a thousand times in a row and finally I laughingly had to tell her to stop. STOP KISSING ME! I cried. And then I thought about how crazy that was. Because I wanted all the kisses. And someday I won't get them anymore. So I need to take as many as I can get now! :) 

Yes, we all have responsibilities. And we all have busy lives. But they are so fleeting and it's important to keep an eye on what really matters--and what is just distraction to that. So this year I have made a vow. To take the time. To play the games. To hug the hugs. To paint the dragons. To just BE in the moment with the ones I love. 

Because nothing can be more rewarding than that.  


Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year

Well, it's finally here! The little one is back at school and the husband is back at work and I'm back at my computer desk...working. Sort of.

Kind of?

I did successfully take a nap earlier. So that's, um, something. Right?

I don't know about you but I find it SO HARD to get back into the routine after an extended absence. Especially when I've got a new book to start. I don't mean to procrastinate--and I really don't get much joy out of scrolling FB all day long, wasting time. But opening up that MS Word document and diving in all over again can seem so daunting.

It doesn't help that, of course, I've mentally set all these goals for myself. Like instead of just easing back in the groove I'm going to write 4,000 WORDS EVERY DAY THIS WEEK, damn it!! After all, I've seen all the big writers brag on Twitter already how many New Year words THEY'VE written. What's wrong with me?

Sometimes, when I'm not in the writing mood I convince myself that I'll never write again. That those 22 books were all just a fluke and I will never get back into the groove. It seems ridiculous to type it out--and maybe that's WHY I feel the need to do so. Because it IS ridiculous - but even knowing that in my head doesn't help when I feel this way.

I look back at my latest book, BREAK OF DAY, which I turned into my editor in early December. There was a point when I was tempted to turn it in without an ending cause I had NO IDEA how to end it. Yet now the ending seems so obvious and it seems crazy I would have ever felt that way. So I have to keep faith that at some point I will pass in this new book. And I will feel the same way.

Of course my distress is nothing compared to the pressure poor George RR Martin must be facing with Winds of Winter. I read his blog post on January 2nd about how the book is still not finished and it felt as if his words were literally bleeding on the page. The stress he must be under! All the fans begging him to finish before the new season starts! That kind of pressure can derail even the most prolific of writers. UGH.

But it's easy for me to give GRRM a pass. Take your time--we'll still be here when you're done! Harder to do so for myself. Every day I don't write I feel this horrible guilt. This pressure of deadline. This worry that I won't get what I need to do done.

But in my heart, I know I will. Maybe I won't get 4,000 words done today. Maybe I won't tomorrow either. But at some point this book will be finished. This book will be on store shelves. And I will be proud of it. And I won't even remember that there was a time that I sat blogging, wondering why I couldn't get myself to write.

Until I start the next book...