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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

November is over, and as the dust settles (quite literally) December has come upon us to take hold of our lives.

Ugh.

 

With NaNoWriMo 2017 finished, the first thing that had to be done was rallying the troops, my unwilling participants (aka the family), into a day of binge cleaning.

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Custom hat made at Lids

We did my birthday.  Happy birthday to me.  The best present being the custom made hat from Lids and Tuxedo cake from Costco.

Then the dreaded mall crawl.  That ovicerous mental and physical torment that involves traipsing through crowds to buy presents for the people in your life, who you have absolutely no idea what to get for them because a) they can’t think of anything they want, b) they don’t do anything, no hobbies, no interests, and c) your gift picking skills leave something to be desired, namely actually having gift picking skills.

 

P.s.  I just completely made up that word.  Ovicerous.  There is no word in the English language that describes my dislike of crowds over-filling the too small aisle spaces in the aimless pursuit of shopped for products.

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The #BigDumbBunny aka Roxy the shelter dog no. 2

I came home to find the furniture rearranged.  I now have a desk view of the back yard and the rascal, the wild rabbit that lives under the deck and continuously teases and torments the #BigDumbBunny, aka Roxy the shelter dog no. 2.  It’s better than looking at the wall, although It’s only dark Monday to Friday and all but between the hours of too late in the morning to way too early in the afternoon.

 

Now, nine days into December, and the dust that settled over November only to be disturbed at the start of December is finally starting to settle.  We had to do another mini purge, this time getting rid of furniture to make room for a Christmas tree in our new to us house with less space than the old one.

Yeah, after fourteen years living in a small town not far from the city, we moved inside the world of city living.  Sort of.  More on the outskirts, but still within the bubble of city life.

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Mouse pad at Cafe Press

 

I made a mouse pad.  It’s not bad.  Great for home, a little thick for on the go.  I refuse to learn how to use the mouse pad built into the laptop because it makes me swear too much.  A pair of runners gave up their life for me to get the photo used for the mouse pad.

P.S. you can buy this mouse pad here

 

So what now that it’s December?

Today, we will find the tree and decorative remnants among the boxes of still unpacked debris of moving and put up the Christmas tree and decorate the house.

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I am making pancakes.  Oops, in thawing them out, the package of breakfast sausages sucked into itself like a bowl of half soggy wieners intent on avoiding being eaten.

 

 

 

And it is time to prioritize and sort out what projects to concentrate on.

The Gypsy Queen is in final edits.  A read through, an upload and download on Kindle for another read through.  Then I can decide if it is good enough (is it ever in the eyes of the questioning uncertainty of the author?) for anyone else to read it and brave the opinions of the beta readers.

I need to finish my NaNo from this year.  The next installment and hopefully the last (except for White Van which is a standalone) of the McAllister series.

I also promised a book two of the Latchkey Kids.  That is a work in progress.

And I made a promise to myself to focus on editing and finishing the myriad of completed, mostly complete, and semi-completed drafts that have been left to sit over the years.

And there are my more beloved projects that I just don’t want to leave sitting on the back burner.

There is also that one immitigable truth.  Editing is not fun.  I would much rather be immersed in the spell of some dark scene flowing through me spontaneously onto the page than endlessly editing and re-reading the same words more than a hundred times over.

Unfortunately, like every author I know, I don’t have the luxury of saying, “Wow, I am making so much money off this writing gig I can just quit work and do it full time!”

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I don’t expect to have a lot of time this weekend to get done what I need to do for me, for my writing.  Laundry, groceries, house cleaning, and all the other drudgeries of real life.

 

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We also have only a few short weeks to consider finishing the Christmas shopping, baking (it’s not Christmas without some damned Christmas baking!), the endless list of various donations to everywhere you live, work, school, play, etc joining the cause of bettering Christmas for the less privileged, and the family get togethers.

 

 

Next month is January, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the nonstop Christmas merry-go-round has stilled, and greet the NaNo start of the “What Now” months with the making of an official promise to revise your NaNo novel.  Are you game?

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re-gifter

 

‘Tis the season of re-gifting.

 

Or, in some cases, re-re-gifting, or maybe just giving the appearance of doing so.

 

Playing “Guess the Gift” is something of a tradition in our family.  When your shopping is being done on budget, and one that is never enough to begin with, most of your shopping is done in search of “The Great Bargain”.

bargain shopping

Bargain shopping typically does not come with the fancy shmancy boxes to wrap the gifts in so the receiver of the gifts can’t guess what it is just from the feel and shape of the wrapped gift.

 

biting the giftThe gift-wrapping challenge begins.  The gift recipients study their gifts carefully, resorting to thoughtfully weighing, sizing up, feeling up, shaking, and even biting, their gifts trying to figure out what they are before unwrapping them.  While you seek out boxes whose dimensions and shape will hide the true nature of the gift inside, stuffing the boxes so items can’t rattle, or even adding a strategically placed fake rattler.

 

re-giftedAnd then the gift opening fun begins.  The wrapping paper is unceremoniously ripped off, or perhaps that is the ceremony, revealing the box within.  And then the joke emerges.  What did you get this year?  I got the Sony radio/cd player I bought myself this past summer, re-gifted something I already owned.   My twelve year old got a Dremel saw, used only once, re-gifted.  My partner got a tissue box, the ultimate in re-gift, since the tissue papers it once held have all been used.  Of course, the boxes are only camouflage for the real present inside.

happy holidays

merry christmashappy hanukkahhappy kwanzaa.jpg

 

 

 

 

… or whatever else you celebrate at this festive time of year.

 

And now my gift to you …

Garden Grove Cover-FinalGarden Grove can be downloaded in multiple ebook formats FREE on Smashwords using coupon code YV67F until Dec 31/15.

 Can you handle a little darkness in your life?

 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/587705

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christmas stress.jpg

 

With the day of merriment and cheer bearing down on us, ‘tis the season of the greatest of frustrations.  A year of living frugally is gleefully thrown out the window and you spend like someone just gave you a million dollars to spend in only ten days or you die…

 

Okay, about as gleeful as one can be pushing their way through a mindless throng of shoppers in a daze at a mall that is more of a standing room only carnival of stress with the ambiance of an over-filled cattle chute.  Add to that the calendar days zooming by, and the urgent need to buy a bunch of stuff for people whom you have absolutely no idea what to buy for.  Christmas cards sit by the wayside, un-carded.  Baking needs to be baked.  Cleaning, decorating, and planning.  A glut of festivities swirl around you, planned and announced, with the ever-present “secret Santa” gift and donations.  And all of this is done around your already busy normal daily life of working full time, groceries, meals, cleaning and laundry, and time for family.

 

christmas shoppingOne trip to the mall at Christmas leaves you feeling like one of the characters in the current season of Walking Dead.  christmas zomie.jpg

jack baurAnd dodging your way through the gamut of festivities and get-togethers is reminiscent of Jack Bauer endlessly racing through a season of 24, minus the bombs, torturing for information, and the impending end of the world is only the feeling caused by the rush of the season racing by.

 

 

 

christmas leave it to beaver supper.jpgAnd then there are the good, the bad, and the ugly of family dynamics at this festive season.  Family that maybe do not see each other for months or even years are pushed together, willingly or not.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a functional family.  Families run the gamut from loving, caring, and respectful to the savagely emotionally vicious.christmas family fight.jpg

 

Among the joy and happiness Christmas is supposed to bring, are the boatloads of stress and frustrations.  Whether your family and life are functional or dysfunctional, it is an inevitable part of the season, and one that can start months ahead.

 

Mix into that, the need to continue with your writing, editing, blogging, promoting, and general writer stuff.  You hope to cash in on the Christmas shopping flood and sell some copies of your books.

 

Of course, a good portion of the frustration and adversity of Christmas is mostly self-induced, worrying over the right decorations, the right gifts, the meal and gatherings turning out just right.

 

But writers are no shrinking violets when it comes to seeking out and embracing adversity.  By necessity, it’s the way writers need to be.

 

stormIf there is one thing writers might be said to thrive on, it is adversity.  Why?  Because adversity is what writing a compelling story is about.  You throw adversity at your most beloved characters, your most reviled, your protagonists and antagonists both.  Adversity drives the story.  Adversity gives your characters reason to go above and beyond the normal, to change to become something they were not before.

 

Adversity comes in many forms.  Physical or emotional obstacles, self-created and unduly imposed by outside forces.  The intentional, unavoidable, and recklessly accidental.  Human, animal, plant, mineral, weather, it’s all fair game.

 

As a writer, you study and observe adversity; in the news, in the lives around you, and in movies and books.  What causes it, how it affects victims, witnesses, and those who cause it.  How it changes them.  How can you use this to manipulate your characters, to manipulate your readers to love or hate the characters as you want them to?

 

And now, as we enter into the last week of the Christmas season, feeling the stress and frustration of the last minute mall trips, building all the adversity of the season into our stories for the love of our readers, wishing we were not so busy and that we have more time instead of tossing together a quick and mediocre blog post in tiny bursts between all the other stuff, and, wow, this sentence is run on…

 

… I give to you the gift of a little more adversity.

 

Garden Grove can be downloaded in multiple ebook formats FREE on Smashwords using coupon code YV67F until Dec 31/15.

 

Can you handle a little darkness in your life?

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/587705

Garden Grove Cover-Final

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