The Quickest of the Quick Takes

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Join Kelly, the Professor and Maryanne over at This Ain’t the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes Friday


I spent New Year’s Eve at a Grown-Up New Year’s Eve Facebook party that was all about books.  And first crushes.  And music.  And alcohol.  And Speed Racer.  It was surely one of the best NYE parties I’ve attended.  Meanwhile I still got to stay home with the fam and play Bananagrams and Wii and finish off the chocolate crackers.


Don’t try to go out for lunch on January 1.  It won’t go well.  The wait staff who do show up will be hung over, and those who don’t stayed home for being even more hung over.


We took most of December off.  My kids wanted to start back to schooling LAST NIGHT.  #endtimes


Speaking of homeschooling, after our first two horrible, HORRIBLE January-February spans (one of which even included a trip to Disneyworld, fercryinoutloud), I am tackling the post-holiday malaise head-on.  The month of January will be spent doing service projects (local orphanage, local food cupboard, nursing home, hopefully a trip to a Ronald McDonald House).  The month’s reading/writing project is a report on what life is like in one of the world’s poorest countries.   This morning First Shift spent over an hour looking on our globe for countries on that list, then requesting pertinent books & videos from the library.  January and February (and last year even most of March) have previously been defeated by a terrible, family-wide case of Poor Victim Me.  I’m hoping that getting a dose of gratitude will combat the symptoms and help us recover our sense of how good God is to us–and, perhaps, how good we should be to each other.


Santa brought First Shift iPad minis.  I covet your recommendations for any middle school range learning apps that you have found effective.



Working Mother” seems (seems) to be doing well.  I’m loving all the Working Mother Interviews.

Working Mother Final-1


And now to get a few paragraphs done on the sequel to Don’t You Forget About Me.

Don't You Forget About Me FTcasefrontcover

Assets & Liabilities: 7 Quick Takes Friday


Come check out Seven Quick Takes Friday with Jennifer over at Conversion Diary.  

In case you’ve been reading here and haven’t noticed lately, I’ve been a bit down on myself. That is in no small part due to my lack of progress on the sequel to Don’t You Forget About Me.  I even made a list of all the assets to time I had when I wrote my first book (without kids) and then my second book (with two in school and one non-verbal who took two naps a day).  Then I wrote a list of all the assets I DON’T HAVE this time around (homeschooling 3, 0 naps, demanding preschooler).  It was kind of grim.  It was kind of hopeless.

And then my clumsy fingers accidentally fed those lists to my computer.

So I’m taking that as a sign that God wants me not to list my problems but to list the gifts I do have that will help me write the next book, as long as I start looking for gifts instead of focusing on the hardships.


I have a well-established morning wake time.  I wake up about an hour and a half before the troops come down for breakfast.  This was a hard-fought-and-won habit.  That battle to tackle the day before the day tackles me is already won.  I think I just need to change tactics and use that time for something else.


First Shift is now old enough to keep Second Shift busy and answer her INCESSANT questions.  I just need to schedule in time for them to do this. I need to figure out how much time isn’t too much.  An incentive of money if they keep their time with her relatively conflict-free may be in order.  Which brings me to…


My husband just got a promotion that makes us a little more financially comfortable, so that an extra bit of hush-money to the kids won’t push our budget past the point of no return.    Even without the promotion and the wiggle room that provides, my husband is awesome.  We have our rocky moments, but in the end, we rock.  It’s all about the end, anyway.  Thank you to him.  And thank God for him.  I won’t say any more because praise makes him squirm.


I have people who know what it’s like to be in these no-time shoes.  Go check out the 10-Minute Writer.  There’s nothing I could say that she couldn’t say better.  I just got welcomed into the 10-Minute Writer Facebook group as well as a couple of FB groups for Catholic bloggers, Catholic women bloggers, and so on.  I have support for when I get stuck.  All I have to do is get my own ball rolling a little bit here.


I have people who like my work and want me to succeed.  I don’t want to drop too many names, but I have to give out the most major of props to Cristina at Filling My Prayer Closet.  She is being an absolute darling and putting together a Street Team for my writing schtuff.  I feel like, because I’m drowning in life, I can’t support her as much as she supports me, and that makes me feel unbalanced.  I’m trying to let that go and just be grateful.  Believe me, I am grateful.  It’s the “just be” that trips me up.


I have a great relationship with a great, integrity-driven publisher who shares my view of what fiction is supposed to be.


I’VE ALREADY WRITTEN TWO BOOKS!  The me from ten years ago is looking at the me now and going, “SRSLY?  Dude, you’re what I want to be when I grow up.  You are LIVING THE DREAM, DUDE!”

Even putting that aside, I have the experience that comes with, you know, having written two books.  That’s gotta help out somehow.  I’ve done it before.  What’s to stop me from doing it one more time?

So now I just have to pull it together, take my own stinking advice, suck it up and get writing.  Butt in seat.  Fingers on keys.

I expect to take a few weeks off from blogging so I can get a little more caught up.  I’m sure you understand.  Have a great time.

7QT: Better Late than Never

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Join Jennifer, The Skipper too, The Millionaire and his Wife, the Movie Star, and the rest, here on 7 Quick Takes Fridaaaaayyyyy!

About an hour ago I sent off my final scheduled DYFAM blog tour post to Celeste at A Perpetual Jubilee.  A few other bloggers have invited me over for interviews, but as of right now there’s nothing pressing on the calendar.  Some time in the relatively near future, I will have a post about How Not to Do A Blog Tour.  Because… dang.  I shot myself in the mental foot so many times I’ve lost count.  My hosts were all wonderful and gracious.  I just made this harder on myself (and, I’m sorry to say, on them) than it ever needed to be.  I did hit my primary goal of getting my posts to my hosts at least one week in advance.  Other than that, though…yeah.  I’m glad it’s winding down.

Anyway, here’s the list I’ve been treasuring in my heart over the past month of writing posts and commenting on them and otherwise promoting Don’t You Forget About Me. And that list is called…

7 Things I Will Do When This Blog Tour Is (Mostly) Done

  1. Make these cupcakes.  A friend at co-op made them for our Halloween party.  They are so worth making at home for no good reason other than, yay, I don’t have to write anything tonight.
    Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake
  2. Return to my pre-tour showering schedule.  Same goes for flossing.
  3. Get to the gym… though now that I’ve been given the boot, I haven’t quite figured out how to make this happen before my foot’s 4 week incarceration has been served.
  4. Mop a floor.  At least one.
  5. Declutter.  Though that’s like having the goal of “Flying to Mars on Wings Made of Fountain Grass.”
  6. Prepare for the upcoming holiday season. Cards.  Shopping.  Wrapping.  Decorating badly and cheaply.  Before you all whine at me about “It’s not the holiday season.  It’s CHRISTMAS, you soulless wretch,” I feel VERY strongly that nobody should be calling it a HOLIDAY SEASON moreso than we Catholics.  We have so many holy-days between now and The Baptism of Lord, that if that’s not a season of holidays, then I’m a wilted cabbage leaf.
  7. Educate my children again.  I haven’t taught math or Latin in nearly three weeks.  We’re already more than halfway through the number of hours our state requires us to log, so it’s not like I’m negligent or they’re truant, but the return to a structured schedule would be good for all of us.

7 Quick Takes Friday

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Join Jennifer over at Conversion Diary for The 7QT Experience!


This has been a rough week on many levels.  The first rough patch is in trying to finish a quilt for a family member.

I’m not a great quilter to begin with (and she asked me to do this in spite of my having made very clear that I’m not a great quilter).  The top is now pieced, and the sandwich made, so I’ve started machine quilting it… only to discover that my machine just does not deliver enough power to the feed dogs to make the stitches long enough, even… or even straight.  I’m on a deadline, baffled as to how to get through this.  My old department at college had industrial machines (not quilters, but they’d do in a pinch).  Alas, that department closed in the spring.


Second Shift of Kid has reached that stage where she has decided to test the limits of the limits she has already tested.  This looks like, “So, I’m not allowed to hit my family members without consequences?  Let’s see what happens when I hit perfect strangers–adults included.”  “I know I’m not supposed to yell during daily Mass, but what happens if I roll around on the floor?”  Etc.  I.  Am.  Fried.


I did read Patti Maguire Armstrong’s new kid fic piece, Dear God, I Don’t Get It.

It’s a sweet and honest moral tale for the 7-12 set.  In it, slightly-shy Aaron, age 12, has to move from beautiful Montana to the dreaded Bismark, North Dakota (seems it’d be like this Philly girl needing to move to –GAH!–NEW JERSEY!).  Whether defending himself or his faith, poor Aaron seems to be doing nothing but making enemies, and his efforts to turn things around are dubious at best.  Then his new life throws him new opportunities, both to fall into heroism and to choose playing the hero’s part.  What will he choose?  Read it and find out.

As a Catholic mom of readers in this age set, I had to love how Aaron’s family’s faith was woven into the story, not as a big deal, but as easy as breathing–asthmatic breathing sometimes, sure, as we see Aaron learn that God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we’d like.  But even the questions and God’s responses to them through the plot were done with a light hand.  I highly recommend.


Here’s something I do but don’t talk about much here:  we do homeschool.  Yeah.  I’m a Catholic writer who homeschools and blogs.  Can we say, “Walking Sterotype?”


Speaking of homeschooling, this was the first week all our neighbors went back to school. We did our annual tradition of going to the movies!  There’s a little second-run theater nearby (when I say “nearby,” I mean “within an hour away,” because we live in a cornfield) that was showing Monsters University.  It was supposed to be a day off, but Second Shift asked if we could count it as hours.  “We can, if we talk about the literary character development in the story.”  So we did.  We talked about how both main characters were dynamic, in that they went from being “bossy and proud” to “cooperative and humble.”  We also talked about the concept of entitlement and how it makes us brats.


Speaking some more of homeschooling, This summer, we learned the books of the New Testament sung to the tune of “Camptown Races.”  Since I believe both are in the public domain, I’ll share our “song” with you:

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts

Romans, both Corinthians

Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians

Both Thessalonians

Two Timothys, one Titus

Philemon, Hebrews, James

1st and 2nd Peter, 3 Johns

Jude and Revelation!

 [To “Shave and a Haircut”] That’s our Catholic [clap] NEW TESTAMENT!

Be sure to finish with “jazz hands.”  That’s key.


Oh!  Official reviews for Don’t You Forget About Me are coming in!  The first one I’ve seen so far was really, really wonderful.  I got the email with it literally SECONDS after praying what I like to call my “Hurley Victory Prayer.”

Yep, that Hurley.  Whenever things are going really badly, I turn to God and say those words from the ep, “Tricia Tanaka is Dead.”  “Look, I don’t know about you, but things have really sucked for me lately, and I could really use a victory. So let’s get one, dude! Let’s get this car started. Let’s look death in the face and say: ‘Whatever, man!'”

So, here’s to the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Click on that link to my book page to check when the first review goes live.