Sometimes a Leap of Faith Requires Staying in One Place

A few days ago I was volunteering at Snarky Daughter’s school. It’s a small school, so if you show up at all during your kid’s years there, you’re pretty much guaranteed to know the entire staff. So it didn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out that the Career Counselor was having a rough week. It was Tuesday.

We started chatting and I learned he was back in school getting his Masters, and we were talking about how became a school counselor, etc, etc. Eventually it turned to my day job search, which after a year, continues to be a chorus of, “You were a finalist, but we went with the person who had twelve years experience in exactly our field.”

We moved on to the maybe it’s time for me to go back to school, get a degree in something else, rack up some student loan debt (two years before Snarky Daughter goes to college) and find a new job.

Me: I’m not against going back to school, but I need to decide what direction I want to go. If I could find my passion before I made a move…

Counselor: Sometimes you need to just take a leap of faith. Find a program you like and trust you’ll find a job on the other side.

Me: I lack faith. You know in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Indy has to take that step and trust that there is a way across the bottomless chasm (is there any other kind of chasm)? And he does it? Right. I’m the one turning around saying, “I’ll face the Nazis.”

But something he said clearly resonated with me, because within ten minutes I was changing my attitude. For the last six months, I’ve been putting my life on hold because I didn’t have a day job. I’m not trying to meet anyone because I’m afraid I’m going to have to move. Why would anyone want to date an unemployed writer? No, I won’t be serving another term on the PTA board because I can’t promise I’ll be here come fall. On and on it went, with me turning away from life because I might move this summer.

But on Tuesday, with the help of the counselor and then my hairdresser I decided to change it up. Instead of putting my life on hold because I might move, I’m going to start living and assume that the job will find me.

Zion National ParkI thought I was good with all of this. And then last night I had a horrifying dream that while trying to park my car the brakes didn’t work and I went flying over the edge of a small version of the Grand Canyon. In dreamland, I didn’t have my seatbelt on, and yet remained in my seat, and knew that if I could get my seatbelt back on before the car hit the ground, I’d be safe. At the last second I got it back on, and sure enough, the car and I were fine.

There are days in my life when I really wish I had a dream interpreter. Yeah, this one is pretty clear. I need to take a leap of faith. Apparently I will survive. And no, I’m not going to put in a link to Gloria Gaynor because now that I’ve mentioned her, you’re all singing along anyway. You’re welcome.

If the job finds me here, great. If I have to move, guess what. Life will go on. Wherever I go, I’ll still be writing romance novels, so I’ll be happy. And I will have experienced life in the meantime.



2013 Resolutions

Before I get to the real post, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for making me an Amazon Best Seller! A Season For Romance topped the charts as the #4 Best Selling Short Story Collection. We hit #2 in Germany!

And now, on to our regularly scheduled blog…

Hi, my name is Kim and I’m a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie addict.

It’s normal to watch the same Hallmark movies over and over, right? I mean, you’re all doing it too, right? Looking at each one and saying things like, Oh, it’s The Shop Around the Corner meets Shall We Dance? Right?!!?

I never used to do this. But this weekend I’ve read two Regency romance novels (thanks Sabrina Jeffries, for the lack of sleep) and tonight alone I’ve watched two Hallmark specials.

I’d say I need to step away from the remote, but the fact is, I’m sitting down in the morning and figuring out my next characters and plotting their story. So I’m immersing myself in romance.

I’m also plotting my own life. For the past several months I’ve been putting my life on hold while I tried to figure out where I wanted to settle down. But the thing is, that’s nine months I could have been doing things. And didn’t.

So, although my life is still up in the air, I’m not waiting any more.

Seems like the perfect time to go back and look at the 2012 resolutions and see how I did. If this were the Hallmark Channel, there would be happy music and a guy would wander into my living room, looking lovingly at me. Alas… anyway, here’s the list:

Lose 15 pounds: I gained 10. On the other hand, I’ve lost 10.5 inches overall in the past eight weeks because I finally found a workout that my back can handle. Special thanks to Regan Black for leading me to DDP Yoga. I was losing weight in December, but then went to California for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure I drank my weight in wine while I was there. So, losing weight, or at least getting into better shape remains on the list, but I feel better than I have in forever with this workout, so I’m on the road to success.

Getting more active on social media. Build a following. Adding pages to the website. Writing a book or two: I wrote a holiday novella and published a new book. I go with fits and spurts on social media. I figure if I don’t have much to say, I should keep quiet and not clutter your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/blog feeds.

Conquer Italian: Not so much. I go back and forth with it, working at it for a few days and then getting caught up in life. Can’t decide if this one is carrying over into this year or not. I just can’t decide how important it is to me right now, which I guess says a lot.

So, for 2013:

Write books. Yes, multiple books.

Continue getting in shape and lose some of the weight. I’m not putting a number up here because the reality is if I dropped a clothing size, I’d be really happy and a healthy size. And since I’m working on building muscle (which weighs more than fat), I’m not sure what the number on the scale should be right now.

Get out more. Last year I joined a trivia team, which has been fun. I look forward to getting out of the house on Tuesday nights. But I need more going on in my world, so I’m going to try to find different groups to try activities with, one a month. We’ll see how that goes since I live in really small town America.

Either land a day job I love or become a communications strategy consultant. One way of the other, I need some steady income, because in case you hadn’t heard, the income stream of an author is not steady. It’s a check every six month sort of thing, which is hard to budget on.

So, those are my thoughts for 2013. 2012 was tough on a lot of us, but I choose to believe 2013 is my year. And yours too! So, what are you resolving to do next year?


Stress Baking aka I Need to Move

So, I’m standing in the kitchen ready to kill one of my children because, you remember when I said, “Don’t eat these Kisses because I’m going to make Peanut Blossom cookies with then”? Yeah, clearly one of them didn’t remember that either because I notice I’m short on Kisses (in all ways possible), and while I totally agree that Hershey’s is screwing with me by making smaller packages, I don’t think it’s all on them, Scout Son.

Not that I’m naming names.

And usually this wouldn’t piss me off, I mean, I’m not a chocolate Nazi. We currently have, no lie, about 100 oz. of chocolate chips in the house, along with 3 pounds of chocolate to make truffles later this month. As long as I have 2 cups of chocolate chips to make cookies at any given moment, we’re good.

Stress baking, mom?

photo of Peanut Blossom Cookie
I suppose the good news is that I don’t want to eat them. Of course, that’s not good news for Sarcastic Roommate, who announced this morning that she was beginning a healthier living plan. Sorry.

Yes, Snarky Daughter. Go back to enjoying your weekend with your father and leave me alone.

In my kitchen. With my Kitchen Aid Professional. And a glass of wine.

You know that scene in Under the Tuscan Sun, where she ends up looking at the movers and saying, “So, um, two boxes,” and she pockets the blue vase? I think she got the better end of the deal, because I’m pretty sure this mixer is my blue vase, and hers was a lot lighter.

I didn’t get up planning on baking. I got up planning on painting my nails and chaining myself to a chair and finishing the story I’m working on because I’m on deadline. And then I was going to finish a cover design for someone and then I was going to rework my resume so I could discuss it with my step-mother and find a job.

But instead I opted to read for a few minutes hours. The problem here is Lani Diane Rich and The Fortune Quilt. I started it one night a few days ago. I thought I was picking up a light, humorous romance. But the Universe is not done sending me messages, because while there is a romance in this story, this is a story about a woman who is an emotional wreck, has been laid off and runs away from home to lick her wounds and start over.

Do you have any idea how badly I want to do that? I so seriously want to take my kids and go sleep on someone’s couch and just start over, I can’t begin to tell you. I keep trying to do what’s best for the kids and stay here, near my Ex, so he can see his kids, because that’s the responsible thing to do, and while I don’t want to be married to him, he’s a pretty nice guy and a good dad. And Snarky Daughter can finish high school where she’ll get two years of college credit free. But then Scout Son wants to apply there this year, so really, it’ll be four more years here, and I’m beginning to think paying for two years of college would be emotionally cheaper than what I’m going to pay for Four. More Years. Here.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that staying here is killing me. Unfortunately, here in Non-Fiction Land, I have about $20 in savings, and after I pay the bills, about that much in my checking, and unless my lottery numbers were good on Tuesday (and I think I’d have heard something on the news by now if there’d been a big winner), that’s not enough to start over with.

So I’m pretty much stuck right now, trying to figure out how to get unstuck, and wishing like crazy I had an artsy, Bilby, Arizona to run away to, where I could work in an art supply store while I found myself for a couple of months and then got the job of my dreams, the guy of my dreams, and the quirky cottage of my dreams.

With a kitchen big enough to hold my Kitchen Aid, and some shelves for my books. And no guilt for dislocating my kids because for once, just once, I could put my needs before everyone else’s. And everything would work out fine.

In the meantime, I’m moving on to Ginger Snaps.



To Paralegal or Not to Paralegal

It appears that I’m at a crossroads of sorts. It may be a good time to dig in at the day job. Or, it may be a good time to go back to school and get certified as a paralegal. Really, it’s a good time for a million of you to blow $.99 on The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé. Then I wouldn’t have to do either, and I could sit at home all day and write great books for you. Really, $.99 isn’t too much to pay for your future reading happiness, is it?

My father would say that it’s time for me to learn html, css, php and linux. Which would have me gauging my eyes out in short order. It’s not that it’s bad stuff. And I can get good at it. But I’ll never enjoy it.

Italian? Yes. French? Okay. Html? Pass. Like I said, I’m happy to learn as much as I need to in order to work on my own website. But it doesn’t bring me joy. It doesn’t even bring me mild contentment. It will always feel like work. And work should never feel like work.

Writing novels? That never feels like work. Even when the book goes in a completely different direction that I have planned. Even when I have to fold laundry or paint a room to think through what happens next. It’s. Never. Work. I love writing.

More than that, I love writing romance novels. I can write anything. But I love bringing people happy endings. Press releases rarely bring happy endings. Magazine articles have a better shot at it, but nothing is as much fun as writing a book.

It’s pure joy.

There’s a school of thought that says that you follow your heart and the money will follow. Hmmm. That involves trust the Fates. I don’t do trust well, let alone trust the Fates. They’re bitches. I mean, is there a Follow Your Heart GPS app that will tell me how long I have to wait for it all to work out?

Mine would have Hugh Jackman’s voice. Well, as long as Hugh’s coming along for the ride, he can sit shotgun. Follow Your Bliss… Turn right in 20 feet. Recalculating.

Trust in fate? Maybe today’s the day I try that.



A Blog a Day

This weekend I went to the beach to write. It was supposed to be a weekend filled with lots of plotting and writing and a little bit of personal introspection. (Is there any other kind of introspection?) What I got was a ton of introspection and a little bit of writing. On the upside, all the walking and introspection meant I didn’t gain any weight, and given what I was eating and drinking, that’s a miracle in itself.

In the middle of all the fun emotional stuff I put myself through, I realized the blog isn’t working. Now, for the three of you who read this regularly, that’s not news. A quick look at post dates will tell you that I’m not doing this on any regular schedule. The problem has been I didn’t have a theme for this thing.

Do I write about writing? Hmm, probably not. Writers read writing blogs, but we don’t usually support the blog authors by buying their books. There are lots of reasons for that which I’m not going to get into. So while readers do enjoy learning some of how we get the words on the page (lots of banging head against walls and drinking tequila), you don’t want to read about it every day.

And there’s a limit to how many bits of trivia I can concoct about a fictional town and the people who live there. Do you really want to know the name of the puppy Matt and Jess get six months after The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé ends? Not really, which is good, because until I typed that sentence, I didn’t know they had one.

I liked the daily journal idea. I know I’m supposed to be writing in one, but let’s be real. Write words that pay or write in a journal. Which one would you choose? But writing some form of a journal here, that talks about the adventures of motherhood, writing, finding myself and maybe falling in love? Well, who wouldn’t want to read that?

OK, so two men popped into my head immediately, and to them I say, you probably don’t want to read my blog. Like I said, there was a lot of personal growth at the beach and the one thing I figured out is this: I don’t know who I am.

I’ve spent most of my life trying to please my mother, my ex-husband, my kids, my community… The list goes on. Nowhere on that list was me. That changes today. With this blog.

I’d like to say that I’m going to write here every day (we’ll see what happens). Lucy March did it after she got divorced on her A Year and Change blog. I discovered it recently while cruising the new blog she’s doing with Jenny Crusie and Anne Stewart, who are also taking this year to reFab themselves.

And now, so am I. So fasten your seatbelts folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


New Year’s Resolutions

For about eight years now, my New Year’s resolution has been to learn to juggle. I can “jug.” It’s the “–gling” part I have trouble with. I can get all three balls in the air when I’m supposed to. On good days I can even do it twice in a row. After that, things fall down. Stupid gravity.

So this year, I’m looking for new resolutions. A few years ago, our local YMCA came up with the idea of doing several small resolutions. Things you could accomplish in 90 days. You were supposed to come up with five of them. I had everything from work out more to re-learn French. Hey, I suffered through 11 years of French in school. I should be able to speak it.

Within three weeks of making the resolution, I fell off a ladder, broke my leg and screwed up my back. It – and my ability to work out – have never been the same. And French… well, if you drop me in Paris, I can eat and find a hotel room. I can probably get a date. After that, it’s all downhill.

My pants are making the first resolution for me. Regardless of what my hip and back think, we’re getting back in shape. Period. End of story. This should be an amusing process since every time I try, I have setbacks with said hip and back and end up not able to move for weeks. But Prevention Magazine has a walking workout they swear can help you lose up to 22 pounds in 8 weeks. I may try it. Or I may keep riding my bike in the living room. I’m still working on the plan.

I gave up on French years ago to try Italian, a language I actually want to learn. Rosetta Stone and I are going to have a party… as soon as I buy a new headset with a microphone since the computer isn’t recognizing me with the built in mic (that works just fine when I’m Skyping my dad). Go figure.

Then there are the work related resolutions. Getting more active on social media. Build a following. Adding pages to the website. Writing a book or two.

You know, the usual.

I’m excited about writing the books. Characters are bopping around like crazy in my head. It’s nice to know I’m not crazy when I hear voices; it’s a job requirement! I’m knee-deep in book three of the Heiress at the Door series, with book two coming around for edits shortly. And I’m looking forward to book four, which is jut a glimmer right now, but will take place back in Blakely. No idea if there will be an heiress in that one; how many can there be in one small coastal North Carolina town?

So, lose 15 pounds, write a book, conquer Italian. Sounds like I have a busy year ahead. What will you be doing?