Review: Low by Mary Elizabeth

Low_Mary Elizabeth

Amazon.com

Summary:

It’s hard living on the wrong side of the tracks.

Lowen Seely has a criminal record to prove it. Determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps, he fights instinct and tries honesty. But hunger becomes painful, and bills are due. Forced to choose between what is right and wrong, the boy from the hood learns abiding by the rules is nearly impossible when corruption is in your blood.

Falling for an outlaw has changed everything.

Poesy Ashby is the definition of ride or die, even when it means turning her back on freedom. The girl from the suburbs gives conformity the middle finger. Bonnie and Clyde have nothing on her love story.

On the run with consequences in the rearview mirror, Lowen and Poesy accept the truth: they are the bad guys.

But can they get away with their crimes?

 

My Review:

Mary Elizabeth’s prose is always a treat to read.

This story was difficult for me. As someone who’s hosted a foster teen, I just wanted somebody decent to tuck Lowen under his or her wing and rescue him from this horrible existence. Over and over, he tries to be good and gets kicked in the teeth–usually without just cause. Most of the time, he’s judged the second someone finds out his name, thanks to having a parent in prison.

While this is true to life, I found it hard to get through. There were so many times that opportunity knocked and some “decent” person turned him away. And the sad thing is, that’s life for many people.

I truly liked Lowen. He had some excellent qualities and ended up making bad choices for understandable reasons. However, I strongly wanted to urge him away from Poe. I thought she was a bad influence on him.

This story puts the reader right into the shoes of a boy who’s struggling to support his family. I liked the Robin Hood quality of the characters. Four stars.

About the Author:

Capture Mary ElizabethMary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets.

Known as The Realist, Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”–Jeremiah 17:9

 

Review: True Love Way by Mary Elizabeth

TRUELOVEWAY
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SYNOPSIS
Some days are brighter than others, but Penelope Finnel has been taught she can be invisible behind the colored lenses of her heart-shaped sunglasses.
Her mind is her worst enemy, and simply waking up in the morning is risky. For a kid like her, staying in bed is easier, especially when the day has come to start school in a new town with new kids who don’t understand that the clouds are not the only reason everything is so gloomy.
Dillon Decker is a typical boy from a typical small town who radiates light and happiness. Under the hovering glare from her father, Dillon leads Penelope around on his bicycle’s handlebars, hoping he is the cure to her madness.
But when friend turns to lover, and lover turns to caretaker, how much can either of them tolerate before they’re swallowed whole?
A story about moving trucks and rollerblades, candy for smiles, and notes across lawns.
First loves and the struggle to keep it sane.
The true love way.
EXCERPT
My dad stares at me like I just told him there’s a dental theories’ seminar for nerd dentists like himself he wasn’t invited to.
No, better than that.
His face reminds me of that time he realized a grown man had stolen his lucky molar spreader from his office after an extraction and was forced to buy a new, unlucky one.
“Are you sure you’re ready?” Dad clears his throat, shutting the door so that Mom doesn’t hear our conversation.
Sex is natural, it happens, and it’s a part of becoming a man. Dad told me all of this when he was naming parts on a plastic uterus, and now he wants to know if I’m ready. I wasn’t ready for hair to grow on my balls, but that happened.
I wonder how many M&M’s Coach Finnel will give me if I make Pen smile during sex.
Those should count as double.
“Considering Penelope’s condition, Dillon, committing to a physical relationship with her isn’t very wise.”
“She’s sad sometimes,” I say, swallowing my anger. “Not dying.”
Pulling the rolling chair out from behind his desk, he sits and takes his glasses off. Dad pinches the bridge of his nose before continuing. “There’s more to it than that, Dillon. Especially in children, and that’s exactly what the two of you are.”
Excerpt Two:
We’re tangled limbs and naked skin, breathing heavily and touching curiously. My bare back stings under the summer sun, and her pale, undressed chest practically glows. A cage of stark white bone, red blood and muscle, and blue veins protect the fragile beating heart beneath. I brush my lips over the diamond-shaped collection of freckles at the base of her throat and push my knees up, opening hers around me.
She’s tired-wild and lifeless-living.
The dense wall of trees around us protects her from being seen, and the blanket over the grass keeps her comfortable. Far enough out into the woods, only the wildlife will hear her screams.
She’s all that matters and safe with me.
Sliding my hands up her thin stomach and over her round chest, my girl tilts her head back, and her brown eyes move under her translucent lids. Chapped lips part, and a sound so small escapes I don’t know if I heard it and question my own sanity.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” I ask, unbuttoning my shorts.
Penelope’s long lashes flutter, and she opens her eyes against sun rays so strong red blotches slowly appear on her outstretched arms. She has green blades of grass in her grip, holding on to Earth so she doesn’t fly away as I slowly push my fingers into her warmest spot.
My girl circles her hips over my hand, and I shove deeper, like either one of us knows what this really means.
Leaning over her small body, I kiss the length of Pen’s neck and pull her earlobe between my teeth.
“We can stop whenever you want,” I say, licking the single tear that bleeds from the side of her eye.
“I don’t want to,” insistence answers with a breathless voice.

REVIEW

If you read through reviews of Mary Elizabeth’s work, the descriptor you will find over and over again is “very talented.” Mary has a way of picking apart characters and subtly revealing what makes them tick.

The thing about mental illness is, nobody quite knows what to do about it. Loved ones want to be supportive, but they have their own ideas about what is and isn’t an acceptable treatment. And they don’t want conflict, so they let things drift. And they drift. And they get worse. And everyone suffers.

Why is Pen so tortured? I kept waiting to see if something had happened to her in early childhood, but apparently, all her troubles are genetic. Her parents love her fiercely, but inconsistently. I liked them, but each had moments when they were so fed up that they parented poorly. Their frustration was real but they seemed to have no guidance. They consulted many professionals, but nothing ever seemed to come of it. Personally, I’m a terrier. I would not be able to go on for years and years watching a child implode and live with the status quo. While reading this, I did not feel like there was any sort of intervention or routine to apply when Pen went through her depressive episodes. Every time Pen was on the verge of getting an effective treatment, the chance was pulled away from her. At any time an option for treatment was presented, the parents took a step back. That frustrated me. Some cognitive behavioural therapy might have worked wonders.

Mary Elizabeth is fond of quoting Jeremiah 17:9 in her works: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. (NIV) Well, Pen is a fortunate girl to attract a heart that becomes permanently lovesick. At the age of 12, she moves next door to a boy who takes one look at her and sees forever. And what a boy!

Dillon is intelligent, ambitious, hard-working and not hard on the eyes. Pen can’t quite understand why Dillon thinks so much of her, but she’s very fortunate that he does. His love is so big that it plucks away Pen’s flaws and reveals the diamond underneath. Really, for many years, he’s the only person, aside from her parents, who values her. His love is extremely sacrificial, which is both noble and hard to sustain.

 

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Dillon becomes the special person in Pen’s life who can coax her out of bed to attend to her responsibilities. She wants to be healthy, and be a good friend (and eventually soulmate) for his sake. Sadly, a wish to love affectionately can lead to coddling. Dillon becomes more of a caregiver than a partner for a while, and in taking this great task on his young shoulders, he fails to meet his own goals and develops unhealthy habits. It’s not until he reacts badly to something petty that the blinders come off and he begins to put things into a better perspective.

When faced with losing Dillon, Pen makes gains for the first time. She starts to integrate with society.

This is a story about taking the dirt out of your own eye before trying to take it out of that of someone else. And there’s another sobering but calming fact to be gleaned here: nobody can control the behaviour of another person, one can only manage oneself. And I mean this in the best of ways: we all want the best for our significant others, but how they behave is ultimately up to them. To realize this is to free oneself from paralyzing guilt. It also frees us from dependency.

I’d recommend this book to people suffering from depression and panic attacks, and those who love them. And I’d like to point out a verse that suggests a healthy way to which we can aspire to love: 1 John 3:18, Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (NIV)

I’m not going to tell you how this ends. The book is well worth your time. Four stars.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets.
Known as The Realist, Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”–Jeremiah 17:9
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Elizabeth/e/B00MW8Z81Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1428388549&sr=8-1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7496678.Mary_Elizabeth
Website:
http://www.maryelizabethlit.com/
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Elizabeth-Author/1431640340382
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/teamsmella23

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New Release: Dusty: Delinquents by The Elizabeths

Capture DelinquentsOctober 23, 2014

Buy on Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS:

The innocent girl with a delinquent heart has to live with her bad choices. Secret hope and hurt feel like falling while she learns how to breathe again, but there’s still freedom in trouble.

The runaway with blacked-out eyes is losing his grip. Crushing two hearts in one fist, his addiction bends rules and breaks deals, but the boy born for bliss isn’t going anywhere without a fight.

Love is knowing they should stay away, but love is illogical at best.

She’s afraid to let go.

He won’t let her.

This is how silliness and foolishness grow up.

Here, forever is a lie.

 

EXCERPT:

I stand silent, breathing in through my nose and out my mouth. Tonight’s argument is years of frustration stacked and hidden, too tall to push away anymore. A little trigger is all it takes, and we end up like this, saying things we don’t mean, taking our aggravation out on each other.

My heart pumps misguided love.

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be,” it beats. “But that’s your boy—aimless and crazy for you.”

Knowing that I had a role on his spiral to the bottom kills me. As his parents continue to fail him, I should be the one that steps forward and says, “This is wrong.”

But to do so at this point in his madness would be betrayal, and I have to handle his trust with care.

Inhaling an uneven breath, I watch him under the moon’s glow washing out his already pale complexion. Icy wind blows my boy’s white tee against his slender body under his unzipped hoodie, and his hands shake at his sides.

 

MY REVIEW:

The sequel to Dusty: Innocents is not for the faint-hearted. Bliss watches her first love, Dusty, descend into the hell of addiction. Dusty isn’t the only person to suffer in this book.

The crux: will our antihero save himself or die? Will Bliss crash and burn? Can love save them?

The parents attempt to take charge. Both sets stage a rescue of their child. All kids make choices that grieve parents. These parents don’t handle issues well and their kids rebel.

As I’ve said before, this is not a comfortable read. I think every parent should have to read it. This isn’t really written for teens although it would doubtless invite lively discussions with young adults. I suspect that young people and their parents would each come away with a very different view of the story.

I love these kids but their futures are foggy. Five stars to the very daring authors for writing a truly thought-provoking work. Five stars.

AUTHOR BIOS:

Capture Mary Elizabeth Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets. Known as The Realist, she is one half of The Elizabeths–a duo brave enough to never hide the truth.

Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”–Jeremiah 17:9

 

Capture Sarah ElizabethA soft spoken revolutionary, love’s listener was born on Bastille Day. she dance-walks under the stars and prefers to write while the sun wakes up. her blood marks State Avenue. her roots are darker than trouble’s eyes, and her favorite colour is The 1975.

Sarah Elizabeth is the author of Innocents, Delinquents, Don’t Let Me Go, and various other projects under various other pen names.

 

Capture Dusty Innocents

 

 

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Capture Delinquents

 

 

 

Amazon

 

 

Innocents (Dusty#1) by The Elizabeths: Release Day Review & Giveaway

Synopsis
Bliss knows all about bad choices but has yet to make them herself. With an innocent heart, she searches for freedom and finds it in the delinquent down the hall.
Dusty is a foul-mouthed troublemaker, tear-maker and heartbreaker. The boy with summer sky-blue eyes knows to stay away, but he can’t resist the girl who made his house a home.
She’s his reason, but he might not catch her when she falls.
She loves him. He loves her crazy.
This is what happens when a love made of secrets is kept with rules instead of promises.
Buy Now

 

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Excerpt
Front windows cracked, we’re relaxed in the back of his parents’ old Audi and it feels good again.
“Caffeine isn’t good for you, you know,” Thomas says, glancing over.
The sun has set and the purple sky and the Yaquina lighthouse paint my temperamental troublemaker in soft hues. The scent and sounds of the sea drift in with the breeze, mixing with smoke from the blunt he’s relit and the low melodies of Citizen Cope singing about a girl that won’t give in and he’ll never let go of.
Taking another drink of the coffee he bought me, I shrug. I don’t know what he said to get the baristas to make a pumpkin spice latte in February, but cinnamon and caffeine fill me with warm relief.
Under his breath and around a hit, Thomas chuckles.
“It’s bad for your bones and skin,” he says, smirking as I tuck my toes under his leg. “And your heart. Uncontrolled beats are a prelude to heart attack, princess.”
I roll my eyes and laugh some, because I do feel them. I felt them earlier in his bed, and before that, when I was thinking of him. My unsteady heartbeats have nothing to do with coffee.
“Bring on the palpitations,” I say before taking another drink, letting Dusty lecture me about bad habits, as if I’m too young to understand irony.
“I’m serious,” he continues, smoking up and blowing out. “Your body will build a tolerance. When you feel it’s becoming bad for you, you’ll want more. You’ll need more. Caffeine’s a drug, Leigh.”
I laugh. I can’t help it. Maybe I’m still high.
“Oh yeah?” I ask. “Like pot?”
This boy blows a cloud of smoke up, and I watch it swirl-spread out across the car’s ceiling.
“Pot’s from the earth,” he says, puffing smoke rings while I wrap both hands around my cup, absorbing its warmth through my palms. I inhale the cream-sweet scent of cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger, and it may be full of stimulants, but I feel calm.
Thomas’ presence is the best Valentine’s Day gift. Candy is nice, and candy flavored blunt wraps were thoughtful, but this is what I wanted most. Just us.
“Pumpkins are from the earth,” I say. “And coffee beans.”
“You think there’s real pumpkin in that?” he asks. When I can’t do more than smile and stare at his lips, he sits up straighter.
“Caffeine’s an analeptic. It fucks with your impulse control and your insulin resistance.”
I laugh because, “What?”
He pulls a hit. “That shit will give you stress hormones, Bliss.”
“How do you know all this?”
“Baseball.”
We’re quiet for a second, looking at each other. His carefreeness is back, but his smile is understated.
“You sure you’re not worried it’ll stunt my growth?”
Between licking his bottom lip and bringing the blunt back up, Dusty glances at my chest without a stitch of modesty.
“You’re growing up fine, girl.”
My cheeks heat, and I hide my smile with another drink.
After I’ve finished my coffee, Thomas offers me the blunt. When I decline, my actual addiction leans into me, nudges his hood from my head, and exhales his smoke all over my neck.
The playful punk that was lecturing me is gone. This honest to a fault, recklessly unflinching, too-beautiful, fated youth is a person only I know. This is my person.
He tosses the blunt out the window while I drop my empty cup to the floorboard, and we shift together. We kiss open and deep, claiming and binding. We kiss the way I wanted to earlier, with eyes closed and hearts open, and I know the real drug is here. It’s between us and inside us.
It’s the way he opens my lips with his lips to kiss me deeper, and the way my pulse feels like his name is in my veins.
It’s the way I can’t stay hurt or mad or jealous, and the way he can’t stand for me to.
It’s the craving that never goes away, the need for more that grows as we feed it. It’s the tolerance he was talking about and knowing he’s right.
It’s this, our secret.
We’re the drug.
Teaser

MeetTheAuthor



 
Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets. Known as The Realist, she is one half of The Elizabeths—a duo brave enough to never hide the truth. Born and raised in Southern California, she’s a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her stranglehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told.
To follow Mary’s upcoming solo and collaborative projects, she can be found at her website http://www.maryelizabethlit.com/.
Brought together by their love of storytelling, Mary and Sarah Elizabeth are a pair of dedicated writers with complementary strengths who’ve cultivated a literary style that captures a Realist’s brutality with a Poet’s grace, uncovering the self-seeking side of tenderness and the undisguised truth of honesty. Inspired by the lyrics of a song, Dusty was born between emails and long G-chats before a single chapter was ever typed. A short story turned into a monster, and more than four years and several edits later, the first half of their collaboration, Innocents, will be released on July 14, 2014. And its conclusion, Delinquents, is set to release on October 23, 2014.
If you’d like to contact The Elizabeths, they can be located on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheElizabethsDusty?ref=hl.

 

MeetTheAuthor
   
Listener, messenger, secret keeper, Elizabeth, and TrueLove, Sarah works two jobs by day so that she’s able to really work by night. She’s written since she was old enough to hold a marker, and her writing bridges the sacred and profane, from first love to forbidden, with a longing for truth and a passion for hearts. She is currently based in Kansas City where her army is comprised of one little buffalo. Her best friends are girls named Moses and Bunny. Her hero is a boy named Bishop, and the one she loves has ocean eyes. In addition to Dusty, Sarah also has a collaborative novella, Light and Wine, due to be released on June 8th, and her solo work will be featured in the anthology Branded, this August.
Brought together by their love of storytelling, Mary and Sarah Elizabeth are a pair of dedicated writers with complementary strengths who’ve cultivated a literary style that captures a Realist’s brutality with a Poet’s grace, uncovering the self-seeking side of tenderness and the undisguised truth of honesty. Inspired by the lyrics of a song, Dusty was born between emails and long G-chats before a single chapter was ever typed. A short story turned into a monster, and more than four years and several edits later, the first half of their collaboration, Innocents, will be released on July 14, 2014. And its conclusion, Delinquents, is set to release on October 23, 2014.
If you’d like to contact The Elizabeths, they can be located on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheElizabethsDusty?ref=hl.

 

HOSTED BY:
EJ Button

MY REVIEW:

This book is not for the faint hearted. If you read reviews, you’ll find it’s commonly described as a gut-wrenching, soul-shattering stab to the heart. Despite that, I’m a fan. I dare you to read it without falling in love with the lead characters. This installment’s title, Innocents, is apt: two kids walk a path to destruction, ill-equipped to avoid it even if they manage to see it coming.

Think Romeo and Juliet, without the certitude of death.

Our antihero, Dusty acquires addiction while surrounded by the dearest pursuits of childhood: popsicles, skateboards, bicycles, gangs of chattering friends, first kisses and trips to the beach. The parents in this book are useless. However, Bliss is an instinctive nurturer.

I love this story (going back to its serialized fan fiction roots). We root for Dusty and Bliss much as we might for The Phantom and Christine. In fact, while some might argue that both The Phantom and Dusty are as much villains as heroes of their respective pieces, one can alternately argue that each is a victim of circumstance.

As this is the first book in the series, we’re only beginning to see Dusty’s downward spiral. It’s not a comfortable read. I think every parent should have to read it. This isn’t really written for teens although it would doubtless invite lively discussions with young adults. I suspect that young people and their parents would each come away with a very different view of the book.

Bliss’ parents are so strict that she cannot breathe. Dusty’s parents are so lax that he craves structure. Each parent unquestionably loves his or her child. They simply don’t prepare their children for life.

Bliss has a generous heart, knows right from wrong and aches to help Dusty. Dusty possesses a certain nobility, a huge capacity for love and he’s highly empathetic. Reading about this pair, one sees how their lives could be, what they should be, what needs to be done to secure their happiness. That’s why it’s such a compelling read. Will everything work out for them, or will somebody self-destruct? And the kids need to save themselves because drat it, none of the parents is going to step in and get them any help!

I love this book because I love these kids. But I have no idea where they’re going to end up. Five stars to the very daring authors for writing a truly thought-provoking work.

 

Ka-BOOM!!!!!

Neuremberg house clipMy kids blew up my house. It’s the only explanation for its current state of… post nuclear devastation.

Kidding. Sort of.

Did you ever go through a time where you carefully crafted plans, made promises and held yourself to high standards and then suddenly, the whole structure gave way? I bet you have, and on more than one occasion. After all, we really can’t control anything but our own attitudes when life doesn’t go as we expect.

I believe God gives us trials so that we learn to rely on Him and not on ourselves. And oh boy, I’ve been reminding myself of that a lot. And you know what? I can keep up with a lot of responsibilities when the structure provided by a domestic routine holds. But throw a few caltrops in the road, and the whole household machine wobbles toward the ditch.

The Roman Society: Caltrops

The Roman Society: Caltrops

November has been one of those months where there has been one caltrop in front of another. And these unwelcome experiences do pass. Seriously. Nothing bad lasts forever, providing we don’t dwell on it.

 

 

 

 

This month at our house, we’ve had:

  1. A small bathroom repair turn into a major renovation. That means the six of us have only had one functional bathroom for a month and our Christmas budget is shot;
  2. An injury to a child caused by a brand new, defective appliance;
  3. A seriously awful reaction to a prescription drug;
  4. This blog fell victim to a spammer.
  5. A broken dishwasher, oven, bread machine, TV and washing machine;
  6. We’ve been waiting for months for contractors to put in a basement egress window and now we have this snow;
  7. A scare with Techwiz’s heart; and
  8. The flu.

Know what? We’ve made it through so far, even though there have been tempers and tears at times. My Christmas shopping is almost complete and I have everything on the kids’ wish lists. And during all this? I did NaNoWriMo. See that little button over there on the right of my pages? I wrote 50, 211 words of my new manuscript in 30 days. While I’m wondering how the heck I managed it, you might be wondering why I tried.

 

2013-Winner-Vertical-Banner NaNo

Way back around the middle of October, before life got overwhelming, I considered whether I wanted to sign up for NaNo. Last year, all my friends did and while they got a nifty certificate and 50K+ of a new OF to show for it, I chose to NOT join and work on my manuscript. And while they got their ‘wins’, I ended up writing 33K anyway. So, I thought, why not? Why not see if I can keep up the pace of a professional writer, while looking after a household during what is normally our busiest time of year?

So, I signed up, and everything went swimmingly at first. I was always ahead of schedule and according to the statistics analyzer, likely to finish on November 20th. And then, Real Life happened. And I got through NaNo, but barely finished today. So what have I learned that might benefit you when your life gets overwhelming? A few things.

People have always asked me, “What advice would you give an aspiring writer?” and I’ve only been able to quote others. Well, now I know exactly what to tell them. And it’s obvious to state, and really difficult to do: Exercise self-discipline.

That’s not only true of a writing career. It’s essential to any sort of success in life.

Being an author, while being part of a family or any other network, requires one to achieve some sort of balance. Now, I’m not saying that my life is in good balance, because it isn’t. But I’m not dying of anxiety, depression or frustration and nobody’s died due to my negligence. And the reason it’s all not thoroughly shot is, instead of trying to devour a whole elephant-sized mess of challenges at once, I take one bite of the elephant. And eventually, the challenges get down to manageable sizes.

It’s easy as an author (or anyone who works from home) to procrastinate. Some people even resort to putting applications on their Internet-accessible devices that block them from going online. I just stick to structure as much as possible. This is pretty much how a weekday is supposed to go (not that it always does):

  • 7AM: Morning ablutions. Stick on a load of laundry.
  • 7:10AM: Wake Painterjoy. Let the dogs out.
  • 7:25AM: Wake Techwiz. Get my coffee.
  • 7:30AM: Read my short devotional and pray.
  • 7:50AM: See my high schoolers out the door and wake my public schoolers.
  • 8:00AM-9:00AM: Do dishes and tidy up.
  • 8:50AM: All kids had better be off to school!
  • 9:00AM: Breakfast and read a book.
  • 9:30AM: Make any essential phone call(s). If there are none, possibly call a friend.
  • 10:00-11:30AM: Answer emails. Change the wash loads.
  • 11:30AM-1:00PM: Spend time with the kids while they eat lunch.
  • 1:00PM-3PM: Write.
  • 2:30PM: Check for any urgent emails.
  • 3:00PM-4:00PM: Hear about the kids’ days.
  • 4:00-5:00PM: House chores and tidy up.
  • 5:00-6:00PM: Dinner and hear about Hubbs’ day at work.
  • 6:00-8:00PM: Variable: Errands/Walk dogs/House chores/Socialize with Hubbs/Help with reno jobs/Spend time with kids (homework help, 1:1 time, deal with anything urgent).
  • 8:00PM: Kick out all visiting friends of kids. Hubbs to bed.
  • 8:00-9:30PM: Write. Prep blog posts, write reviews. Face and Twitter time.
  • 9:00PM: Tell kids to prep for bed (snacks, grooming, etc).
  • 9:30PM: Younger kids to bed.
  • 11:00PM: Older kids to bed.
  • 11:00PM-?: Write and/or read.
  • 1:00AM: Iron-clad bedtime.

Somewhere in there, I’m supposed to maintain a relationship with my husband and occasionally socialize with friends. And I had occasion to count how many times I took the kids to doctors’ appointments this year. This Friday, I took a kid to appointment #98. We have 4 more scheduled before December 31st. As I can’t drive with vertigo, getting places can be a pain.

I learn everything the hard way and life tends to be a juggling act. So, what can I tell you about being productive?

  1. Know thyself and know thy limits. Sometimes, you MUST say ‘no’ to others, but occasionally the thing you need to say ‘no’ to is something selfish;
  2. Take care of your physical, spiritual and emotional health;
  3. Schedule your time, including time for your family;
  4. Break with routine sometimes to have some spontaneous fun;
  5. Do what you love;
  6. Treat people the way you wish to be treated;
  7. Be passionate;
  8. Persevere when you fail;
  9. Be a friend;
  10. Forgive yourself and others;
  11. Apologize;
  12. When something’s gotta give, go with the flow.

 

So, I conquered NaNo. Will I do it again? Maybe. I made really good progress on Mommapocalypse. What’s next? I’m prepping for Christmas and querying Moms on Missions. And I need to get some fan fiction chapters out to my fans, because they’re amazingly patient and I love them. There will be OF writing because I have to keep momentum. I’m hoping to circle with my friends who write because we’ve all been hiding under rocks. Then, there’s the blog.

 

Will I reach all my goals by New Years? Probably not. Will I reach them eventually? I have faith that I will. And my biggest tool will be self-discipline. What are your challenges?

As I mentioned, I fell victim to a spammer who managed to serve my blog over 10, 000 comments this month. If you left me a legitimate comment and it’s not up, I’ve likely erased it accidentally. If you love me, please leave me a comment and let me know you’re reading, and to guarantee that I know you’re not a spambot (because the devils are tricky and hard to tell from real readers), please start your comment off with my name.

 

Hey, I’m sleep deprived and I’ve had no social life for a month. Let me know you’re there?

Happy End of November!

 

What’s your personality type?

 

infp kitty

http://www.enfpforum.com/ENFPWiki/INFPPhotos.aspx

I always knew I wasn’t your average child.

What do you know? I have a rare personality type: Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceptive, aka INFP. Apparently I’m an Idealist/Healer and I should be leading a church right now. Or a social movement.

Um. Excuse me while I discipline my children for rolling-all-over-the-floor laughing.

No, I won’t be starting up any weird cults soon. But it does totally explain my childhood addiction to masterminding games at recess with 10 or 20 kids where we were all superheroes. Yeah… there were no villains. Or they were invisible. Hey, nobody wants to be the bad guy!

Who knew that my daydreaming would pay off someday?

This post was supposed to be about risk-taking. But I figured that was part of personality typing, hence the Keirsey Temperament Sorter.

I’m not a fan of risk. Were I in charge of the family investments, we’d never ever make any money because I would only invest in ventures that are zero risk. Seriously. I can’t even listen to Hubbs talk about investing his income without having palpitations.

You will never find me jumping from an airplane. If I had to do one of those TV shows where they’ll give you a million dollars if you bungee jump off a bridge, my family would remain poor forever (and probably hate me for it). You know those pint-sized roller coasters for toddlers? When I was two, I went on one and my mother had to get the carnie to stop the ride, I was so terrified. All the other kids started to cry because they thought the ride was over. Yeah. That was… not a great day. And it pretty much set me for life against amusement park rides. Except for the time Hubbs, Painterjoy and Sunshine Girl talked me into going on a waterslide.

“It’s tame, Jess. Look, babies go on this!”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s really slow.”

“It is, Mom, seriously. You just float down the pipe in the little dingy, like it’s a Lazy River. You’re gonna love it!”

“Look, you won’t be alone: four people per raft. Perfect!”

Uh huh. So, after about 20 minutes of listening to them plead, I gave in. My wise, skeptical sons eyed me like I was nuts and opted to wait safely below. Lucky ducks.

Jess on waterslide croppedThe look on my face in this commemorative photo is not joy (unless you count the ecstasy of not having perished as joy). What my adorable family failed to take into account when adding me to the dingy is that they increased the weight in the raft by 30%. We whipped down that tube like a bat out of hell, my little girls taking great delight in the fact that we veered up the side of the walls on every curve.

Positively terrifying.

When we reached the bottom, Hubbs had to carry me off, shaking like Bugs Bunny did after encountering aliens. Hubbs set me down in a chair and presented me with a double vodka on the rocks. I drank it. It took me about 20 minutes to stop shaking.

Well, I found out that waterslides wouldn’t kill me. Would I go on one again?

Not on your life!

Knowing your personality type can help you (or your boss, parent, or romantic partner) understand your strengths. What would be a good job fit for you? How about romantic chemistry? What approach might help you parent your kids? Which employees should you pair for a project or team? You can take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter Test at http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/overview_temperaments.asp#, for free.

Cat SupremeWhat were you like as a child? Would you have joined in my superhero game at recess? Please say yes.  🙂