When Life Gets in the Way

Considering everything going on in the world today, I can’t complain about my life. Actually, I think I have a pretty sweet deal here. But, alas, things are not always peaches and cream.

Yes, stress! It’s every…freaking…where! My sources of stress are minimal compared to some. I did not just have my house blown away by a hurricane. My child’s school did not collapse in an earthquake. No subways being fire-bombed here. All in all…I’m eternally grateful for all aspects of my life.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t stress. A lot. It’s in my DNA. It’s my nature as a mom. However, the one place I could leave my stress behind for an hour or two every day has been under assault. The time I write my stories. If you are an author, you understand. Stories bounce around in your head all day and night. The stories and the characters demand to be heard. Relinquishing them to the written page (or the computer screen in this case) is the ONLY way to get any peace of mind.

What happens though when I don’t have time to write? Like this summer when the kids were home and I had zero time for myself (Disclaimer: I’m not complaining about not getting “me” time. I love my kids and spending time with them) so all creative writing came to a screeching halt. Well, there was always the promise of “tomorrow”…

or, in that particular case, the promise of August 28 when school started back. But this case is different.

How? The kids are in school. I have ALL this time to write, right?

Now the real stress kicked in and as a result, kicked out all my creative mojo. Where the H.E.Double hockey sticks did it go?

Stress? What stress? Why stress? Things should be smooth sailing.

Well, after lots of pulling out my desperately-in-need-of-a-color-and-cut hair, lots of digging sharp fingernails into my palms because I haven’t taken time to even file my nails much less give myself a manicure, lots of trips to the gas station for all the running around town I have to do during the marathons of after-school activities…I may have discovered the problem.

I’m overbooked. Brain is on overload. 24/7 our family schedule plays out in my head. Can I get such-n-such there while also attending curriculum night at the middle school while getting the other such-n-such kid across town to his/her practice while attempting to help an 8th grader with math (the new “Core” math that is incomprehensible to me – seriously, I could learn three languages before I figure out the new way to do algebra), …and the list goes on and on and on and on and on….well, you get the picture.

The everyday, mundane tasks of running this family have zapped every ounce of creativity and energy I ever had. There’s no room left in the gray matter tucked inside my noggin to equate to a paragraph of creative writing.

Then why am I here…writing? This isn’t exactly creative writing. It’s me flinging words onto the screen in the hopes of jarring loose some figments of imagination. After all, as my fellow authors and friends on Scribophile will attest…my heroine in the Greylyn the Guardian Angel trilogy has been stuck in Hell for months now in Book 3. It’s time to free the poor girl so I can write the ending of the trilogy. At this point, I need a jackhammer to break up the concrete wall in my head that has trapped all creativity.

In essence, this blog is my therapy in an effort to release the story, the plots, the sub-plots, the twists and turns, and spirals of the stories banging on my frontal lobe to get out.

Some may see this as complaining. In a way I guess it is, but I see it as venting my frustrations at my own inability to block out the everyday stresses of life so I can write. Ultimately, my goal is to provide to the world an epic urban fantasy series with lots of hot sex appeal and supernatural fun. A kickass heroine for the ages! I can’t do that if all I’m thinking about is…did Son X fill out the proper forms and turn those in to get his official transcript sent to the college that gave him a provisional acceptance for next year based on him getting them an official transcript within the next two weeks; or if Son X and Dad are out of town again this weekend at another college, can I get Son Y to his team’s party on Saturday after his game but during Son Z’s game; or should I sign up Daughter W for the out-of-town swim meet in Atlanta when I don’t know if Son X, Son Y, or Son Z will have playoff football games that weekend yet; or….well, you get the picture.

My point, dear readers, and I hope you stuck with me through all my ranting…I love my life. I love my family. I love writing. I want to get back to writing and feel that sharing my story with you may help trigger my imagination again (Greylyn isn’t writing herself out of Hell). Also, and more importantly…I want you to feel welcome to vent your own frustrations to free yourself from what stress weighs you down. Maybe you’re a writer, too. Maybe you’re facing writer’s block too and you feel you have no place to turn…

You do have someplace to turn. Vent to a friend, or feel free to vent your frustrations here. I want my readers to know that we are all infallible, we all need a way to break free of our everyday stresses. Otherwise, it will weigh us down and take away that which gives us strength, pleasure, purpose outside of the daily grind of life.

Don’t let the everyday dilute or swipe away your happiness. Some workout to battle the stress. Some meditate. Some go on wine-drinking binges with other like-minded moms and dads. Well, I probably should try that exercise thing again – maybe that will work. Meditate? Who’s got time for that? Drinking? I get a headache after half a glass of wine and had to give up beer years ago when a sip of the stuff started giving me migraines. Besides, I’m also an introvert (see previous blogs) so the group drinking thing isn’t really me.

Instead, I’ll tick through the calendar playing on repeat in my head. And after venting my thoughts on the matter here, I feel a tickling behind my eyes. Maybe that’s my heroine trying to escape Hell, or maybe it’s one of the characters from another story chipping away with an ice pick and trying to break free. Or maybe it’s something I forgot like Son Z’s orthodontist appointment this morning…

 

We Will Never Forget…

Last night I felt it. Realization dawned of what the morning would bring. Sorrow gripped my heart and tears fell like rain. For when I awoke, it would be September 11.

Every American has their story, their memories of that fateful day. Every American shares in the pain of that day and the remembrance of the horrific loss of life. We came together as a nation. The world came together in support of the USA. Sadly, the togetherness did not last.

However, every year on this day, all Americans put aside their political views and grasp their neighbor’s hand or give them a hug because in remembrance of 9/11/2001, we all feel the agony, the grief, and we all mourn those lost on that day.

I invite all my readers to share their 9/11 stories today. We all have them. Not one person, unless not born until after 2001, doesn’t have a story, a memory of what they experienced that day. Every experience has value, shows a connection with your fellow Americans. Nothing prepared us for that day, but it is with the memory of that day that we, as Americans, go on and come together as a nation. I just wish that togetherness would last beyond the one day of remembrance.

As I invite you to share your stories of September 11, 2001, I will share my own. It is not something I talk about or share with others often. My family has heard the story. Some friends know it, but it is something I like to keep private as the pain still rips my heart 16 years later. My hope is that sharing it with you will help to purge the turmoil raging in my own mind and heart this morning, as despite the passage of years, the emotions remain fresh as if I’ve scraped off a scab that wasn’t quite healed and the blood is pouring from the wound.

September 10, 2001 – I was at work late that night preparing to depart Washington, DC for New York City on the early morning shuttle for a business meeting at our company’s headquarters. I had been there before. It was a tall building adjacent to the World Trade Center towers and part of the WTC building complex. Previous trips had been day trips, but this was going to be an overnighter with colleagues flying in from Boston as well for a huge conference. I was particularly excited about the trip because it was an opportunity to show a colleague and friend the WTC and we planned to visit the observation deck during a break in the meeting. She was from another country and was enthusiastic about the prospect of standing on the rooftop and looking down over the entire city of New York.

As I was wrapping up work, everyone else had gone home for the day, my phone rang. The Boston folks couldn’t make the trip after all due to an emergency there. So the meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday, September 12. The travel department took care of all the arrangements and I called all my DC colleagues to let them know of the delay.

The meeting never happened.

September 11, 2001 – Due to my late night at the office, I determined it was fine to sleep in just a bit. Driving down Route 50 into Arlington, VA I was listening to my favorite morning radio show. They interrupted their usual comedic banter with the news that a plane had collided into one of the World Trade Center towers. At the time, they imaged it was a small tourist or commuter plane. Still horrific, but not even close in comparison to the truth. It wasn’t until I walked into my office (about 1 mile from the Pentagon where my father-in-law and many friends worked) that I heard the truth as I watched in horror as the second plane smashed into the other tower on a co-worker’s computer screen.

Just a few minutes later, there was an ear-shattering explosion that rocked our building. I, along with many others, ran over to the windows and saw the billowing black smoke coming from the Pentagon. Knowing my father-in-law and many friends and former colleagues are there, my heart seemed to stop beating. I could only stare with tears streaming down my face. A young girl, just out of college, tearfully asked, “What is happening?”

I remember my words to her. It’s funny (not ha ha funny) that much of the day after that is a blur, but I clearly remember what I said. “Someone declared war on us. We are at war.”

We waited for what seemed an eternity. I contemplated a number of times leaving the building and running over to the Pentagon, but security stopped everyone from leaving. Not sure what I thought I could do at the time. My thoughts and prayers were with my family and friends in the Pentagon, as well as our colleagues in New York. I desperately wanted to do something…anything. There was nothing to do. We could only wait.

We stood riveted to our computer screens when the announcement came over the intercom…evacuate NOW, but they stated we should all take the Metro which was a block from our building, but do not take your cars. Well, apparently, I don’t listen very well.

I rounded up my team and shoved them all into my compact SUV. We were packed in tight. The roads were jammed and it took hours to get everyone home. But we all made it home safely. Sadly, thousands from New York and the Pentagon did not.

At the time my husband worked from home and our baby was in daycare just down the street. I knew they were safe. Before leaving my office building, I finally got a call out to him. He relayed news that sunk my heart even further. My parents had called, frantic. My mom had known of my planned trip to NYC, my plans to take my colleague to the towers. She did not know the trip was rescheduled. When my dad called from his office to tell her about the terrorist attacks, her words to him were “Oh my God! Karen is there.”

Having children, I now understand just how terrifying those words can be for a parent. For a few minutes, my parents lived through hell, waiting to find out if I was okay. My heart goes out to the parents, spouses, siblings, and friends of those who were not so lucky. Those who waited for hours and days to find out their loved ones did or did not make it out of New York or DC alive. My heart aches for those who had family and friends on Flight 93 and knew of their fates as the news reported the passengers’ attempt to take control of the plane and it crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside. My thanks go out to the souls of those passengers whose actions spared the lives the thousands in DC at the United States Capitol. Many friends are alive today due the selfless acts of those on Flight 93.

For those that lost loved ones on that day, please know that every American’s heart is with you today and we share in your grief. We honor their lives, although our actions may seem inadequate to do justice to your pain.

As a survivor of that day, by the grace of God I was not in New York and I no longer worked for the Defense Department so I was not at the Pentagon, I feel a kind of guilt. Words cannot adequately describe my emotions when it comes to 9/11. I know where I was supposed to be. I know where I wasn’t. I know that I was lucky. My father-in-law and other friends made it out of the Pentagon that day. Each knew someone who died that day. Each grieved separately and collectively. My colleagues in New York escaped but their building, a stone’s throw away from the towers, was destroyed in the aftermath of the towers collapse. My guilt lies in knowing so many who were not so lucky.

As I lay in bed that night, no sleep came. Our home at the time was right in the flight path for Dulles International Airport. We were accustomed to the roaring engines overhead as planes prepared to land. That night…silence. For many nights afterwards…silence. I never knew that silence could be so deafening.

For those whose lives were lost, for those who lost loved ones, I mourn with you. My greatest wish would be that I could’ve done more that day than simply drive my co-workers safely home. For those that did do more, for those who ran into the inferno raging in the Twin Towers and for those who ran towards the wreckage at the Pentagon…God bless you. You are the true heroes of this country. Your bravery and strength are models for the rest of us.

As I mentioned above, everyone has their 9/11 stories. Mine is nothing compared to the heroic and those intimately impacted by the events of that day. If you would like to share your story here, please message me. I believe I can receive messages via this blog page. If not, look me up on Facebook at KC Freeman.

We all share in the grief and hold onto the memories. Our nation mourns those who died that day, those that died since then who have fought to bring about justice and to rid the world of the scourge of such hate. The battle continues, in the name of our fallen.

 

 

When It’s Your Child Lying on the Ground in the Middle of the Football Field

Confession Time.

I’ve been a multiple sports parent for years. Having five very active children, this was my destiny. I shuttle to and from practices. I sit out in all sorts of weather for practices and games. The start of the season may be hot as Hades, but it’s guaranteed that by the end of the season Old Man Winter has arrived with his Arctic blasts. And vice versa depending on the sport and season.

One thing has always been difficult for me. Not the weird sunburns from sitting out at a baseball field all day for two or more straight days in the blistering heat or the mounds of nasty smelling sports gear in my laundry room,

although I can, and do gripe about those things. No, the absolute worst thing is seeing a kid down on the ground during a game or a practice. With kids in football, I see this more often than I care to count. Every time my heart jumps into my throat and I do the only thing I can do…pray.

Kids get injured walking down the street, or trip over their untied shoelaces, or just about anything.

But seeing a child take a baseball to the chest because the batter hit the ball just so or seeing five big dudes pile up on a little pip-squeak carrying a football or seeing a child twisted into a proverbial pretzel in a wrestling match…as a momma, that’s hard to see.

Now some folks would simply say…Take your kid out of the sport. Kids shouldn’t play tackle football…haven’t you heard all the hazards from the NFL? Some folks would wrap up their little sweetpeas in bubble-wrap. (Yes, I’ve considered that at times) I even know folks that do not allow their children to play ANY sports. Not because the child doesn’t want to. Most children do at some point want to try at least one sport.

Speaking from experience here…my parents didn’t allow me to play a sport. No, I got piano lessons. “But Mom! I want to play soccer!” Nope. That fell on deaf ears. My resolution, as a result…I vowed to let my children try out any and every sport they wanted. And they took me up on it…literally, aside from hockey, not much these kids haven’t played.

Fast forward this story to the main crux…

Like I mentioned above, seeing an injured player on the field (any sports field or venue) hurts my heart, whether it’s my kid or not. But last weekend, I got a big dose of heart-stopping Momma-fear as I watched my son play in his high school football game. He was having the game of his life. It was almost halftime and our team was rocking!

That is until I watch in horror as my son, after getting piled on by a bunch of defenders from the other team, laid on the field a few moments too long. His teammates helped him up and he walked over to the sideline and …collapsed.

His father and I waited at the fence separating the stands from the field. And waited. The trainers and coaches tended to him while time ran out for the first half of the game. Players and coaches went to the locker rooms while the sports trainers evaluated my child. He was awake, but we didn’t know what was going on.

To say my heart stopped would be the most accurate description. I didn’t dare breathe or turn my eyes away from my son a few yards away. Finally, the trainer and coach came over to tell us about his condition…most likely a concussion. My son didn’t recall coming off the field and just remembered waking up already on the sideline. He’d blacked out but somehow made it off the field under his own power.

The trainers sent us to an Urgent Care facility. The doctors there sent us to the Emergency Room to get a CT scan to check for brain swelling or bleeding. Thank the Lord all was well. Still…concussion.

It’s been a hard week watching my son recover. No tv, no phone, no electronics, no computer, no Xbox, no practice, no driving, and just a few hours of school a day. He still experiences headaches, and his vision and hearing are sensitive, can’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time, ….basically, all the classic concussion symptoms. The worst for him? Being told that he could NOT practice and he absolutely could NOT play in the game this week.

He’s on the road to recovery and we are blessed he is doing as well as he is.

A week later, I wanted to reflect on what I felt as we prepare to go to the game tonight. My son will be safely tucked away on the sideline, but there is always the risk of injury to other players. As a sports mom, I feel I’ve adopted each and every one of my son’s teammates. I go to this game tonight less light-hearted than prior games. There’s almost nothing I love more than a football game. There’s almost nothing I love less than seeing a young athlete injured on the field, or in any sport.

Parents, and those of you thinking to become parents one day, I want you to know if and when your child is injured, you are not alone. Every parent, every teacher, every coach, every friend, is with you, feels for you, cries with you, and stands to support you as fear clutches your heart over your child. I have never felt so much love, support, and kinship as I have this past week. Fellow parents called and texted endlessly asking “What can I do?” Every day his friends and their parents have called and texted to check on my son. Everyone at that game, I truly believe, felt their own hearts jump into their throats when they saw my son on the ground.

Little kids that he coaches on the middle school team have been constantly badgering his younger brothers for updates. They look up to him. They admire him and some outright adore him. To them, he’s a football hero. It warms my heart to see just how great an impact he’s had on their lives as their coach and a positive role model. If he’d never played football, that would have been lost.

The answer is not to stop your children from playing sports, or only allowing them to play “safe” sports. Children find amazingly new and creative ways to get hurt every day. Sports adds a certain degree of danger, that is for certain. But I truly believe that to keep them from playing a sport they wish to try out, or a sport they already love, would be a disservice to the child.

Every sport has layers of protection in place to keep the children as safe as possible. But nothing is ever absolute. My son had all the protections and precautions during his game. Shoulder pads? Check. Cleats? Check. Sports cup? Check. Expensive, 100% dental guaranteed mouthguard? Check. Expensive helmet mom paid extra for? Check. Badly covered turf field with concrete under the thin top layer at the other team’s stadium? Sadly, check.

My son is on the road to recovery. We go back next week for a re-evaluation. In the meantime, we are going to the game tonight and will cheer on our team. And if any player is injured, no matter what team, our hearts will go out to him and his family and friends. We will wait with bated breath, holding hands with our fellow team parents, and silently (or not) pray for that child.

Being a sports parent is hard. Usually, it’s just the chaotic schedules and traveling. Sometimes, it’s heart-wrenching fear that clutches your chest and doesn’t ease until the player leaves the field of his own accord or flashes a thumbs up to let the crowd know he’s okay. When it’s your own child, reach for the hand of the parent next to you. You may not even talk much outside of games, but I guarantee they will be there to support you and will be praying right alongside of you.

Because every parent of a child on a team “adopts” every other child on that team. I am the proud “mom” of well over a hundred kids (3 football teams, 2 wrestling teams, 1 swim team, and 1 baseball team), even though I only gave birth to five. And after this past week, I know my children have many more “moms” and “dads” out there supporting them and caring for them. My children have tons of “brothers” and “sisters”, usually called teammates. I’ve witnessed these teammates bond over the years and know they are more than teammates, more than friends…they are family.

So, as the parent of a child currently recovering from a concussion and the parent of children who have had other injuries throughout their childhood from sports, I urge you to not prohibit your child from playing a sport out of fear of injury. Children’s lives are so enriched by being active, learning new skills, but the best part is…their family grows exponentially.

Thank you to all my Mavericks parents and my son’s teammates for your love and support. Thanks to the coaches and trainers that have taken special care of him during his recovery. And thanks to his teammates for always being there for him, and basically keeping him sane while he has to lay off the electronics, and getting him to school, inviting him to dinner to get him out of the house while not over-doing it. You guys are the absolute best!

***And a special shout-out, Thanks, to my own wonderful support system of writers (Vicious and Delicious Scribbers – you totally rock) who have put up with my inattention, lack of focus, and listened to me whine all week. My creativity has been null and void this week. My children say that I have a phantom concussion, because there have been times I couldn’t put two words together, much less a complete sentence.***

 

In Other News…

back to school moms rejoice

Yes, ladies and gents, boys and girls…It’s that wonderful time of year when parents everywhere rejoice (unless this is your first time dropping off the little one at kindergarten)

Back-to-School-Memes22 And the little ones’ cries can be heard in space…

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Sorry, not sorry, kiddios! Off you go! Out the door! March your little backpacks to the bus stop and don’t come back until you’ve learned something.

Oh, and don’t come back with the hundreds of redundant forms the school will send home with you on the first day! Those teachers and administrative personnel sure know how to damper the joy for parents on the first day of school with all those forms. Seriously, I have 5 kids. They’ve been in this school system forever. Isn’t there a nice box I can click that says, “There have been no changes since last year, now leave me alone”?

back to school forms

Literally, this is me after the first night of back to school with all those forms! (see above)

Now, I know some of you parents are distraught that your little sunshines are heading off to school.

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You may not fully understand the elation…the joy of the first day school is back in session for us other parents. Trust me. Next year you will understand the anticipation and giddiness of sending the rugrats (excuse me…little angels) back to school.

back to school parent

Some may have already sent their lovelies back to school. After seeing all the posts from my friends further south in the US, they have been back in school over a week or two at least. Seriously, what is the problem? Too hot to continue vacation? Send them back to the air condition school? I’m all for sending them back, but at least try to finish summer first. Summer is just getting into full swing in early August.

And that is the last bit of sympathy for the kiddies you’ll get from me today.

Please don’t think I just don’t love my children. I do, very much. I enjoy my time with them, but let’s be honest…when they are home from school, I get ZERO accomplished. They want to eat. Different foods. Different times. More dirty laundry accumulates in my laundry room. Eight people may live here, but I’m doing the laundry of a small army. They have playdates, sports practices, games, and when they don’t…gasp…they are bored! What do they do when they are bored? “Hey, mom….I’m bored. Can we….(fill in the blank with whatever will cost the most money, most time, and most patience)”back to school bored

Now some parents throw an iPhone, iPad, or Xbox at their kids and that solves the problem. Generally, with my own crazies (excuse me, angels) this backfires big time. So…bye, bye technology. Go outside and play with your friends! (Reply…but it’s hot!) My reply…”Okay, we can move to Alabama and you could already be back in school!” They usually shut up for awhile after that.

Here in NC we are in the final days of summer break. Come Monday…BYE, BYE! Love you! So, essentially we are in the middle of school supply hell.

back to school supplies

I went to the store on Sunday to get a birthday card. One item! Everyone else was there getting school supplies. I have NEVER seen a store so insanely packed, and people so crazy. You would’ve thought it was the Friday after Thanksgiving or something. I gave up standing in line for the Scan-n-Go after 40 minutes and getting my legs rammed by two separate women with shopping carts overflowing with supplies. It’s back to school…not armageddon!

Yes, just a few more days until a certain amount of peace and quiet fills the house, if for only a few hours. Parents, enjoy your children while they are home with you. Because time does go too fast. My oldest is entering his senior year of high school. Where did the time go? Seems like yesterday he was learning to crawl to Mommy. Now he wants to run to the opposite end of the country to college. So proud of him. I hope he does get accepted into every school he wants. And if he wants to go two to three time zones away, more power to him. I raised him to be an independent, strong man. This will be Mission Accomplished.

However, parents also recognize that you shouldn’t feel guilty for needing a little time away from your babies. You can miss them while they are at school. Relish your time together. But realize, that they need the separation from you in order to grow into independent young men and women; and you need the separation just as much. Don’t feel guilty about needing your time, about feeling a twinge or more of happiness when the school bus pulls up to the corner…it’s natural.

Now, get ready to pop the cork to celebrate a new school year! And the annual bonfire of school forms will be at my house Monday evening!

Best of luck to all the kids! Best of luck to all the parents, especially you first-timers sending your babies off on their first adventure on the path to becoming adults.

back to school banner

Introverted Author Problems

I know. I know. I promised more teasers of Rekindled Prophecy, but something has been gnawing at me for a few days now. Thought I’d share and see if others experience the same issues or have advice.

First, a little backstory on me. I am in introvert. You probably guessed from the title of the article, but this is kinda like AA for Introverts.

“Hi. My name is KC. I’m an introvert.”

Everyone chimes in, “Hi, KC!”

I’ve been an extrovert/introvert my entire life. What does that mean? I acted like I enjoyed all the social hustle bustle of life, but inwardly I hated it. Ask my friends in high school, college, post-college/pre-marriage. I was the one dragging everyone out on the weekends to party and dance. Yes, I still like to dance but prefer my parties to be much, much smaller.

You see I fought the introvert thing for so long that I didn’t realize I was doing myself a huge disservice.

What does this all have to do with being an introverted author? Well, just this past weekend I overdid things socially. I went to a lovely author book signing (sadly, not my own yet) with a tour and lunch with the author and other fans. Loved every minute of it. Then rushed home to attend a sports team and family picnic. Also, loved it. I adore my son’s football family. But…too much social interaction for an introvert has repercussions.

That one day took so much out of me that I have written nothing this week, edited only the basics, and have been in the foulest mood. Sadly, all that stress flipped my inner bitch switch. Just ask my kids.

Why? It’s not like I didn’t enjoy all the social interaction. I did, very much.

As an author, hopefully published author in the very near future…how do I survive? and not make everyone around me pay the price for when I have to be around more people than I am comfortable with for long periods of time? I’d like to have book signings and events, too. But how?

Of course, there’s more to the story. There always is. You may ask how did I go from a happy extroverted introvert to this shell. Well, I have narrowed down the causes to one. Alone time.

As an introvert, I need time alone. Now, it doesn’t have to be hours alone. I do enjoy others’ company. I enjoy being with my family and friends, but…when I have zero “me” time, I get cranky and all creativity flies out the window.

When I was in high school, I was an only child. Perfect. Got alone time all I needed, except in school and with friends (at the place and time and duration of my choosing). I had extra energy for socializing and partying. Maybe a bit too much.

College…tried living with roommates for a while. Didn’t work out well. I blamed my ex-boyfriend, but honestly having other people around 24/7 was too much strain. So, I got my own teeny tiny apartment. Stayed friends with everyone. Ditched the dude. Partied like only a college sorority chick can. Still, went back to my own place…by myself.

Post-college…lived alone for awhile in Memphis, TN before moving to the big city of Washington, DC. Due to skyrocketing living costs, got a roommate. Still best buddies to this day. When she wasn’t with her boyfriend, I dragged her and another good friend out on the town…Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But, I still had alone time.

Married with kids…thanks to a crazy 2-3 hour commute each way to and from work, I had lots of alone time. Listen to music, dream up stories in my head, all unencumbered by having to socialize or deal with others. Loved my job, my co-workers. I still consider them some of my best friends. When at work, I was energized. When at home, I was energized.

Flash forward a few years…Left my job in order to spend time with my five children. Love them! Don’t regret a second! When they were tiny, my alone time requirement was satisfied with infant/toddler naps. Just a few minutes a day saved my sanity. Later on, they started school.

That’s when I latched onto the idea…hey, all these stories I conjure up in my head need to be put down on paper. I can be an…author. Brilliant! Seriously, there are stories banging around in my noogin for over two decades or longer. I love writing.

So while the kids are at school, I do all the other things I need to do to take care of them, my husband, and my elderly mom who lives with us. And I write! I’m not the fastest writer of all time. It takes awhile for my fingers to type out the stories in my head. But I write. I edit, too. I’m in an critique group and I love it, I love my fellow authors and critters.

***Hi, Vicious & Delicious Scribbers! Love you ladies!***

But then comes summer break. Don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my kiddios (I may have said that already) and all the time I get with them. But…no alone time until they go to bed. When do I get a moment to rejuventate? When I’m sleeping.

What does this do for my writing? Well…creativity is nonexistent. My sanity is nonexistent.

Since the events of Saturday that depleted my reserve of social interaction tolerance, there’s been no writing, sporadic edits that do not require more than a quick spell and grammar check, and a very tense author. I don’t want to be tense, stressed. I want to enjoy my time with my kids, while also letting the creative juices flow writing my stories.

My point in all this is simple…if you’re an introvert, you need alone time. It’s not that you don’t love your family and friends. It’s not that you abhor parties or other social interactions. You just need some time every day. What you do with that time is up to you. My alone time is my laptop on my lap as my stories unfold onto the screen. Sometimes, whenever I can swing it, my alone time is binge watching something on Netflix – usually Supernatural or Reign or Once Upon a Time. Your could be your commute to work like mine used to be. Or reading a book while sitting at your kid’s sports practice. Or just about anything. You may need only a few minutes or much longer. It’s up to you completely.

Actually, introverted authors…you will one day, if not already, have to face dozens, hundreds, thousands of people at book signings or writer conferences or…(dream) ComicCon. Prepare yourself. Plan ahead. Make sure to steel yourself ahead of time by taking a few moments to yourself and be vigilant to schedule alone time afterwards.

Don’t let the business of being an author infringe on your creativity. Face the masses of fans and network with other authors, readers, agents, publishers, … just recognize in advance that you may need to set aside some “me” time to recuperate. Both sides of the coin are essential for every author.

And, if you need someone to empathize with your plight…look me up. I’ll be the one in the crowd with a big smile on my face but with eyes towards the exit.

TEASER from Rekindled Prophecy

I’ve spent this past week editing. If you’ve seen my Facebook and Twitter posts, you get the general idea how that is going. Thankfully, I’ve been through the process enough times that this round of polishing edits hasn’t sent me over the edge…yet. This, all the writing gods willing, will be the final round for Book 1 of Greylyn the Guardian Angel series. FYI – Book 2 (Reborn) is going through its own round of edits and Book 3 (Remembrance & Revelation) is in first draft mode of its final chapters.

Anyway, I thought after all those edits, I’d give my lovely readers another taste of the series. I’ve randomly selected two excerpts from Book 1 for your reading pleasure.

*****

Fighting off a deep sense of frustration, Greylyn sought out Maureen. Perhaps the innkeeper would divulge more about the wedding party. If evil was afoot, that would be her first guess where it would likely raise its ugly head.

A few yards away from the Carriage House was the koi pond. A frog splashed across the lily pads on its surface. Just to the side was the gazebo where Maureen had been pruning the rose bushes. A jolt went through Greylyn’s body as she was overcome by a vision…

Droplets of rain fell. A cloudy haze blurred the gazebo where a small group huddled underneath. Soft piano music played, but was cut off suddenly. The sound of a door banged like a thunder clap. Glancing over at the manor, an image of a figure in white looked out a second-story window. Her mouth opened wide in a silent scream.

With that, the vision receded like the flood waters of the Nile, leaving only a piercing pain behind her eyes.

Rubbing the bridge of her nose, she cursed her luck. “Guess it was too damn much to ask to have a day or two without an assignment?”

*****

The tips of her fingers twitched as she fought the urge to reach up and trace the outline of his pectoral muscles. The moment was broken only when he dabbed at the blood dripping down her forehead with the shirt. She’d completely forgotten she hit her head on the side of the pond. A blow to the head of that magnitude would’ve caused a human to lose consciousness, resulting in, at best, a bad concussion.

That’s why I’m acting so strangely. Must be a concussion.

But Greylyn knew better. She didn’t get concussions, and the gash in her forehead would heal by morning. There would be no evidence of the incident when she saw Maureen for breakfast.

As it was, she was certain the dizzy sensation she experienced was more from Kael’s proximity than from the head injury. Not exactly a reassuring revelation.

She didn’t understand. A shadow creature had just attempted to kill her. It was perfectly reasonable to assume Kael had employed the shadow. But now, here he was tending to her injuries.

To make the situation worse, her body started shaking as if from severe cold. The temperature wasn’t the problem. Of that, she was positive. His face was bare inches from her own as he inspected the cut on her forehead. She could feel his breath on her cheek. It felt as warm and soft as a caress.

Satisfied the wound was healing, Kael began to briskly rub both her arms. “You could be cold in the Sahara Desert, I swear.” The contact only caused her to tremble more violently. Not able to withstand the intensity any longer, she wrenched herself away.

He let go of her arms. The warmth evaporated instantly. Looking up, Greylyn saw his expression change. The grin he wore while teasing her transformed into something else she couldn’t quite place. Hurt? No, that couldn’t be it. Whatever it was, it spooked her out of her reverie and back to reality.

He was the bad guy. They were enemies. There was a strange comfort in the truth. Clinging to that thought as if it were a life preserver in a raging storm at sea, she tried to indignantly march back to her suite in the Carriage House without so much as a “thank you.”