Category Archives: Mothers

The Procrastinator

Thea here, confessing I’m a world class procrastinator. I am distracted at the drop of a syllable, generally by bright and glittery things — like the tv screen.. I don’t know how I get things done.

I only know I have this interior war everyday about what NEEDS to be done, which is: do I write vs do I clean, and since writing is so much fun and I feel so guilty, I lean toward cleaning. But then, cleaning is such a chore and takes me away from writing … so I find reasons to avoid doing that.

Generally, when I’m on deadline, I can with good conscience clear the decks and drive everyone nuts in service of my finishing The Book. I recognize that this is NOt a healthy work habit. I’ve been analyzing my incessant complaints about how I never have time to do anything.

My Mom always used to ask, who’s stopping you?

There’s a rock hard question to stop you in your tracks. How do you explain to a not-writer? The dishes are piling up. The laundry needs to be done. I have to write. Mom would then say, so — load the dishwasher, do the laundry and write.

She just didn’t understand.

I need that time not to do dishes, laundry, writing. And I haven’t read a book in months. I watch too much tv. I’ve become an expert at manipulating my husband and son into the kitchen to make dinner. The day doesn’t have enough hours for me to avoid chores and writing.

Right now, I’m working on revisions for Beyond the Night, the long-awaited sequel to The Darkest Heart.. I promise you, I’m doing them in a timely manner. After I watch Kathie Lee and Hoda. After I procrastinate a couple of hours over this post … By noon. After lunch. Promise.

Anyone else a procrastinator? What’s your excuse?

Thea Devine is the author of over two dozen erotic historical and contemporary romances. Beyond the Night, the sequel to The Darkest Heart will be a September 2014 eBook release from Pocket Star.

Waiting on the Royal Bundle of Joy

Hello my lovelies. Suze here. Welcome, or welcome back!

IMGP0687[1]Unless you’ve been living under a rock or maybe in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire (where I had no cell service this past weekend, but that’s another story–and I’m not holding it against you New Hampshire-ites), you must know that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton and Prince William, are expecting a new little prince or princess any time now.

You may also remember from a prior post that I have a possibly inappropriate little thang for the Dad-to-be, but again, that’s another story (click here). Bald(ing) is beautiful, baby.

I’ll admit to being a royal watcher. I was a kid when Charles married Diana–I’ll never forget watching the royal wedding and marveling at the biggest darn dress I’d ever seen–and the mystique and pageantry fascinated me. I’ve followed their sons (no, not in a creepy stalker way. I don’t live close enough to them to do that!) since they were babies. And of course I watched the wedding of William and commoner Kate. Those two seem to genuinely love each other, so, like any good romance novel junkie, I hope they’ll get their Happily Ever After.

Without further ado, here are my predictions about the Royal BOJ:

slurpeeDance-slurpee[1]Birth date: Today, July 11, 2013. I’m rooting for 7/11 because I want the young prince/princess to be able to get free Slurpees at 7-Eleven on his/her birthday. That will leave more money in the royal budget for fascinators (princess) or ascots (prince).

Weight:     Hmmm, we like the number 7 around here, but Kate and Wills are both tall and I’m going to guess there’s a decent-sized baby in that bump. So I predict 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Length:    21 inches = three times seven! Coincidence? I think not.

Eye Color: Dark blue, like most all babies.

Hair:   Yes, lots of hair, dark and straight like Kate’s.

Name–Boy: George Albert James. I know James is the current favorite for first name, but I’m going to go with George, the name of Queen Elizabeth’s father. Albert of course was Queen Victoria’s husband. I don’t think we’ll see Charles or Philip in there.

Name–Girl: Alexandra Elizabeth Victoria Diana. This was a tough one. Alexandra is the favorite for first name, and it’s a pretty, traditional yet modern-sounding name so I’m going to go with it. Since this year marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, the baby will have almost certainly have Elizabeth as a middle name as a tribute. Victoria because she was the longest reigning British monarch and it’s also quite a pretty (even if Victoria wasn’t, um, too cute). Diana is a no-brainer for a middle name–but too controversial to be a first name.

1223673[1]Sex:  Drum roll, please! Girl. I think we’re having a girl.

All right, everybody. Be bold and give us your predictions. Whoever gets the most right will get a shoutout on next week’s blog!

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5 Arguments You Can Make Not to Procreate

My mother wants me to have a baby. Am I married? No. But that seems to be a minor detail at this point. I think she would be totally fine if I stole a baby from the hospital as long as she had something cute to spoil. We fight about this at least once a month.

“I want to have grandchildren. From you,” she says as she pokes me in the belly. “When are you going to start thinking about it?”

“I don’t want children right now. I’m only twenty-eight. I haven’t even been to Europe yet!”

“You’ve got it wrong. It’s only eighteen. It’s not only twenty-eight. You’re getting old.”

Then my brother chimes in. “You know she’s never going to have a baby, mom. She’s too mean.”

Another one says, “I’ll give you lots of grandkids, ma. When do you want me to start?”

We all look at him in horror, knowing that he should not procreate anytime soon.

“But seriously, Sugar. What about that guy you were dating? He had a good job and you two would make such cute fat babies.”

“But, he was an arrogant jerk and he was weirdly close to his mother.”

She shrugs and says, “That’s small potatoes. We need to think of the big picture here.”

My mother is clearly insane.

She cusses like a truck driver, is thinner than me and always takes every opportunity to embarrass me by dancing in public but I love her. And one day I plan to capture of her crazy awesomeness in writing but in the meanwhile I’m thinking up ways to distract her from my lack of babies.

Here are five arguments you can make not to procreate.

1. Point out that Oprah doesn’t have any kids. And she’s still pretty freaking fabulous.

2 . Remind her that you can’t keep a house plant alive, or that fish you won at the fair, and that you never have any food in the house.  And about that time you put your hamster in the washing machine because you thought it needed a bath. You’re totally not ready for a baby.

3. You would never lose the baby weight.

4. Tell her you don’t believe in sex before marriage. (Haha!)

5.  Remind her that you made it out of your teen years without any unplanned pregnancies, which is pretty damn good. And that you could have ended up like one of those TEEN MOM girls, but without the TV show and the fame and the Twitter following. 

So what about you? What kind of arguments could you make?

Why I’m Thankful Every Day…

Hi.  You guys know me as author J Monkeys, but as I sat down to write Saturday’s blog post, I knew that I had to do something a little different from my usual tongue-in-cheek rant because in addition to being a children’s author, I’m also a mom of very young school children.  My name is Jennifer Moncuse, and I live in Connecticut.

I live just about as far from Newtown CT as our tiny state will allow, but my twins will be starting kindergarten next year.  I have a second grader at home as well and today’s horrifying news of the heartless slaughter of innocents and innocence, practically in my own backyard, has shaken me.  I cried through some of the news coverage late this afternoon, watching on the sly because I don’t want my preschoolers to hear about children being killed at school.  How could I possibly talk with them about this in a way that they will understand when I don’t understand it myself?  I don’t think it is something that is understandable.

I had been planning to write next week’s post, due out 12-22-12, about why it was all right with me if the world ended on Friday, but I’m switching up the order and the slant because for a lot of people the world ended today.

In addition to sending my most heartfelt prayers to the families of those who lost so much today, I wanted to take a moment to be thankful for the wonderful things in my own life.

  • I’m thankful for my wonderful, healthy children, their laughter, their genuine-ness, the opportunity to teach them about the world.
  • I’m thankful for my incredible partner in this life, for his kindness, his sensitivity to others, his willingness to be responsible for 50% of everything, and for loving me just as I am.
  • I’m thankful for my family – drama and all, I wouldn’t swap any of you with anyone else, no matter the reason.
  • I’m thankful for my dear friends who really know me and accept me without reservation.

As I thought about all the other things I’m grateful for, especially the things, I decided that they didn’t really matter.  The house, the car, the job.  Maybe it’s easy for me to say that having a roof over my head doesn’t really matter, because I have the luxury of saying it under said roof.  There’s probably a lot of truth to that.  But on a night like this one, it doesn’t make the list, except as a safe haven for my kids.

Here’s my secret for today: However you understand God (as a him, a her, a them, or an it) take a moment to say “Thank you” for all the important things in your life, whatever or whomever they might be.   Hug your loved ones tightly and remember to tell them often how much you love them.  That way you’ll be ready when the world ends, no matter if it’s next Friday or more likely, some other day when you least expect it.

I’m Number One

Hey, my peeps, Suze here. Welcome!

Today I thought I’d talk about something a bit more serious than my usual offerings (What? More serious than giant pumpkins and my summer vacation? Yup!)

Do you make your health, both physical and mental, a priority?

As writers and readers we do A LOT of sitting at the computer. It takes time, large blocks of it, with our butts slowly expanding and fusing to the upholstery, to write and do all the other things associated with it: planning, plotting, storytelling, editing/revising, critiquing other people’s work, submitting (hopefully selling), reading widely, blogging, getting together with writer friends to share the journey, attending meetings of professional groups and serving those groups, attending conferences; the list goes on and on and on. And let’s face it–many of those things are fun!

But these “activities” are not very active, and they often involve copious quantities of caffeine, chocolate, Deep River Salt & Vinegar potato chips, and wine. What they so often don’t involve is … I’m gonna say a dirty word here, so get ready … exercise.

I know I’m guilty of living in my head and finding every excuse in the book (haha! “in the book!” Get it?) not to take care of myself. As women we are trained and ingrained to put others first. We care for our families, we reach out to help others, we volunteer, and we love/live to be needed.  That’s what makes us women and that’s great! But the flipside is that if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. And it’s hard to be happy when you’re overextended, out of shape, and out of time.

So today, I’m asking you to do something to take care of yourself. Just one little thing. Go take a long walk (if you load an audio book on your phone, iPod or MP3 player, you get to double dip!). Make one better food choice — a fresh, crunchy apple instead of a bag of processed (yet crunchy!) Fritos. Think about giving up an outside obligation (or at least give yourself a day off from it). Tomorrow, repeat.

And for goodness’ sake, if you haven’t scheduled your yearly physical and annual boob-squishing (mammogram), make that the one thing you do today and pick up the phone. The procedure is uncomfortable, but it won’t kill you. Not getting it done might.

Hugs and love to all of you out there.

Do you have trouble putting yourself first? How do you take care of yourself?

Save the Liver! Happy Birthday, Julia Child!

Bon jour, my darlings! Suze here.

Yesterday was a special day. Julia Child would have turned 100 years old on August 15, 2012.

I said, “Dance!”

I grew up watching reruns of Julia on WGBY. Our small town in the boondocks didn’t have a lot of stations until later in my illustrious television-viewing career, so public television it was. Even as a kid, I understood on some level the magic that Julia had. In my real-life experience, women cooked to put food on the table and keep the kids and menfolk satisfied. It was a chore (granted, my grandmother on the dairy farm had ten children, and my mother was the oldest daughter–so they were cooking for and cleaning up after a small army three times a day). They did not enjoy it.

Then along came Julia, a six-foot-two preppie wearing an industrial-looking dress and pearls, wielding a giant cleaver, gleefully making a dead chicken dance on the small screen. Her joy came through, just short of palpable, for more than 30 years.

She inspired me to learn to cook something beyond the basics my mother produced for our family of seven. (One of Mom’s specialties was “Spanish Rice,” which consisted of hamburger browned with onion, cooked Minute Rice, and a jar of spaghetti sauce. Not sure where the “Spanish” part came into play)

In my adulthood, as I understood more of Julia’s story, my admiration for her grew. A child of privilege, she worked in Europe for the OSS, met and married Paul Child, the love of her life, and trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris as a chef when women simply did not do such things. If you haven’t seen the movie Julie and Julia, do it now! The Julie storyline is completely forgettable (sorry, Amy Adams!), but Meryl Streep’s performance as Julia Child is nothing short of mind-boggling.

Here’s a link to the Smithsonian’s virtual exhibit on Julia Child. You can hear that famous warbly voice, see her kitchen recreated, and even look at some of the individual tools and gadgets she used.

And click here to watch one of the funniest parodies of all time: Dan Aykroyd playing The French Chef. Julia Child was said to have loved this so much that she kept a VHS tape of it. Note: you may want to watch this after breakfast!

So, in honor of her birthday, how about a small gift for all of you loyal readers? Here is my Secret French Toast recipe. No liver required. Bon appetit!

Suze’s French Toast

6 slices white bread (potato bread is delicious, if you can find it)

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk or half and half

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla (orange or almond extract is also delicious)

1 tsp. cinnamon

In a shallow bowl or pie plate, mix up the eggs, milk/half and half, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. No need to drag out the mixer–a fork or whisk works fine. Dip the bread into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Don’t leave it to soak too long, or the bread will fall apart when you try to take it out.

Preheat an electric griddle or a skillet on the stove. Medium heat is best. Plop on a generous glob of butter. You want it sizzly, but not burning.

Take the bread slices out of the egg mixture, let them drain a bit, and place them on the griddle or skillet. Cook until golden brown and fragrant on one side (usually takes a couple of minutes), then flip and cook for another minute or two on the other side.

Serve with lots more butter, real maple syrup, and some berries or sliced bananas.

Time Management for Writers by Author, Mary Manners…AND AMAZON GIVEAWAY!

Hello, Katy Lee here with author, Mary Manners! Mary is an award-winning author of inspirational romance who lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers. In her free time, she likes to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

BUT she also likes to help other authors along the way. And today she is here to share some pointers on Time Management…something we all need, for sure.

And don’t forget to enter Mary’s Tour Wide Giveaway for her latest release, The Wisdom Tree. Rafflecopter – each entrant from each blog stop will be entered into a grand giveaway for a chance to win one of the two prizes up for grabs – a $50 Gift Card (Amazon/BN – winners choice) and  a print set of your (5) books (Wisdom Tree when it debuts in October). Winners will be chosen August 14th.

Now tell us, Mary, about Time Management!!

Thanks, Katy and Scribes for having me today! As a woman who shares time as a wife, mother, teacher and author, I am well-versed in the importance and benefits of time management. How many of us have wished for just one more hour in the day? Well, if you were granted that hour, what would you do with it? It sure is something to ponder.

Over the past several years I’ve uncovered and honed a few simple writing strategies (on the business/marketing side) that work for me. Maybe they will work for you, as well:

1. Make a list: I make a list each evening for the following day, jotting down things I need to do. This way my mind is clear when I go to sleep (fertile for dreaming up new characters and plot lines…yum). Using a list also gives me a sense of accomplishment as I mark off each item.

2. Keep a calendar: I map out tasks by day, week, month and year. This includes writing deadlines, release dates, promotional commitments and marketing opportunities, blog posts, speaking engagements, etc. Keeping a calendar also creates a record of my writing time and activities for tax purposes.

3. Create folders: This includes both virtual and hard copies. I separate my emails into folders for ads and invoices, submissions, supplies purchased, newsletters, etc. I also keep a hard copy of everything submission or tax-related, in separate folders. I have learned that it takes less time to be organized than it does to hunt for something I need and can’t find.

4. Keep a hard copy of every submission, with notes and details, so you can easily refer back to what has been sent. I use expandable file folders to do this, and keep them together on a shelf in the order they were submitted.

This is just a short list of some of the writing-related strategies that have helped me. Now, I’d love to hear some of your strategies. Please, share…

Thank you, Mary for these great pointers! And readers, please do share your time management strategies.

You can keep in touch with Mary at her Website:  http://www.marymannersromance.com/

And don’t forget to enter the Give Away!!!

CLICK HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway