When Life Hands You Lemons

Sometimes life sucks. And some things that you might have thought sucked doesn’t really in the end. And sometimes those lemons you were handed are just the extra flavor your dinner needs. There has been so much going on around here, that I’ve felt like I’m sitting tightrope strung between something awesome and the downfall of everything. Part of it I know is the situation at work. I’m trapped in this awkward place where I’ve been seriously stressed out, but I think the ending is going to be a good thing.

However, it does have effects on my body. I’ve had a flare of hip pain that I’ve not had for some time. My sacroiliac joints are defective, as I like to affectionately call it, and once they start hurting, it doesn’t easily turn off because it’s an autoimmune, inflammatory type of thing and once it starts, I just have to wait it out. Severe stress seems to be a trigger, so it wasn’t really a shocker that I had an episode. But it puts me down for the count when it happens and I am mostly useless. My productivity goes down the tubes. But after a week and a half, I seem to be recovering so long as I don’t over do it.

But we have made some progress on some home improvements. My husband is probably the true lead here. I just provide some direction. We went ahead and painted part of the pantry because I wanted to pull everything out anyway. It looks a lot better. Next we will make a few updates to the boy’s room. After that, I suspect we will tackle the master bath and the kitchen. The husband has also been working outside on making things better, which leads into the next area so well.

Spring has sprung and we are all outside more. In fact, I type this from a chair in the front yard. In addition to fixing up what needs to be repaired, my husband has been cleaning up brush and making a spot for a small garden. I think this year will have lettuces, a few cucumbers, a few tomatoes, and some green beans. The kids are excited to be helping and can’t wait to grow some food. I have a feeling my greatest task will be weeding as I’m not the best gardener.

The Future Garden

One of the biggest pluses for this week is the fact that my doctor gave me test results and while it’s not great that my vitamin D level is low, it’s great that I can take the supplement for just a couple of days and feel a huge difference almost immediately. So I feel a lot better in just a couple of days. I’m working on some things with an allergist, but I’m afraid one of the medicines he is giving me is causing headaches and a sore throat. I think a few more days to pinpoint it and I can let him know to see what he advises me to do.

On the reading and writing front, I’ve been reading a few books, most recently finishing Sarah J. Maas’ Heir of Fire. It was really good. I haven’t worked on anything of my own, but I am hoping to remedy that. I need to find the rest of my energy and willpower to get some things done, with writing being a main one. I miss sharing words with my characters.

So there have been ups and downs, but overall I feel optimistic as spring rolls in. Can’t wait to get some things checked off my list!

Chaos Uncontrolled

Last week, I was on vacation. It was the first full week the kids have all been out of school. And it was insane. I had all these big plans for what I wanted to get done. Very little of that happened.

I am totally ready for a break from them and some peace and quiet. That never happened. I almost look forward to returning to work. This is not the kind of chaos I want for our house. It has a very negative energy and nobody is happy. I am hoping balance returns soon.

Front Yard

 

Here is a pic of our front yard. My brother was playing with the kidlets. I was standing in the driveway. Still lots of things to clean up/fix, but all that room for playing is awesome.

A shout-out to some interesting things:

My online friend AJ Clarkson was nominated for a PARSEC award for her audio drama Fortuna. She just launched her blog, ClarksonPunk.

My other friend Joshua Roots has a new book, Summoned Chaos, coming out soon. The first one, Undead Chaos, was pretty entertaining.

And to round things out, a snippet from Abigail Quinn #2:

My mother’s face filled the mirror as she waved furiously. Only my mother. When technology wouldn’t let her in, she used all sorts of magical means.

“Mom, can you turn for a minute while I get my robe, please?”

“Oh, of course.”

She promptly moved out of sight, and I grabbed my robe from the hook by the door. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I said, “Okay, Mom, I’m ready to talk now.”

A little white lie never hurt anything. I needed a pot of coffee and a hot shower to deal with her on a good day.

House of Ick! And Gross!

2013 has proved to be an interesting year. New job. New schedule. More activities. And a buttload of illness. For a house that rarely gets sick, we’ve been rocking the Sickness Salute since Christmas. Every week seems to bring something new. Stomach bugs. Colds. What appears to have been a mild flu. Sinus infections. Either a new illness strikes or a new family member gets it. I’m exhausted. Because nothing says awesome like waking up at 2 am to clean puke off the floor.

New job is going well. I am getting home earlier, but lately I have been battling exhaustion in the evening and I’m not nearly as productive as I had hoped to be. Perhaps when spring comes with some sunshine and warmer weather, things will ease up a bit. Sunshine is always good. My days at work are busy, but I stay just this side of panic about task overload. The hours sure fly by and the people are fun to work with. I like this company. Every time I’ve worked there (intern, 2 temp gigs, & now full-time employee), I feel right at home with these people.

The kids are getting busier than ever. Soccer will start up soon. I’m kind of disappointed that Kidlet One wanted to take a break as she seems to have a bit of natural talent. However, Kidlet Two is super excited to be big enough to play this year in the preschooler group. I am also trying to round up other activities and opportunities for the kids, even if it means I’m exhausted. Kidlet One has Girl Scouts, which always seems to be busy.

On the writing front, my novels (yes, that is plural) call out to me, mocking me about my lack of attention to their causes. Every time I sit down to write, it seems something comes up with the kids demanding my attention and I end up so exhausted it is hard to think once I finally sit down again. I am hoping some of this clears up with the warmer weather. I’ve also made efforts to get to bed earlier so I can get up earlier. This morning I got up a littler earlier, but so did Kidlet Three and he woke his oldest sister in the process, so I don’t quite call it a success. More like yet another work in progress. But isn’t all of life?

In the meantime, I keep trying to make progress, including a complete declutter of the house. It’s time to purge a great many things. I’ll keep trucking after my goals and get there eventually, including blogging more. I do enjoy it.

Guest Interview: Close Quarter by Anna Zabo & Giveaway

Today we have a guest. I am pleased to welcome Anna Zabo to Kids, Coffee & Chaos to talk about her new book, Close Quarter. Before we get to the Q & A, I just want to say this book is on my To-Buy list for sure. I read the excerpt and it sucked me in. And I’m not just saying that because I’ve known her virtually for awhile!

But let’s get down to the good stuff. Close Quarter is erotica, so it’s a little steamy and definitely Not Safe For Work (NSFW)! It also features the fae. And vampires. But before I give it all away, let’s let Anna tell us about her work.

Tell the readers about your story.

It’s a male/male paranormal romance about Rhys, a grieving sculptor, and Silas, a jaded forest fae. They’re trying to survive against a pack of vampires led by an ancient vampire who held Silas captive for more than one hundred years. Here’s a longer blub:

On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn’t his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.

Rhys enjoys the company of Silas Quint, but for the eerie way no one pays attention to them even while they kiss in a crowded bar. Silas explains he’s a forest fae able to glamor the room around them—and more importantly, that he’s on the cruise to hunt vampires. Rhys thinks Silas is full of it, until he discovers vampires are real, and he’s part of the main course.

Silas Quint can’t be distracted by a human lover, even one as lovely as Rhys. Stuck in the middle of the ocean, he has barely enough of energy to hunt the vampires he’s been sent to destroy. Rhys is full of the one thing Silas needs needs most—the element of living plants. Only sucking energy from Rhys would make Silas as soulless as the creatures he hunts. How can he keep Rhys safe, without becoming like the very monsters he hunts?

It sounds a little steamy. Should we be reading this in the bathroom in case we need an emergency cold shower?

It’s a lot steamy. As I was writing it, I kept wondering if there was too much sex, and then I remembered I was writing erotica.

But hunting vampires is an adventure, so is there a bit of action?

Oh yes, there are sword fights with vampires, chases through hallways, devastating injuries. Near-death encounters. Vampires trying to eat people.

And coffee. Because every book I write has coffee. And coffee is always an adventure.

Where did you get the idea for this interesting cast of characters?

The original idea came out of a dream I had about a fae vampire hunter meeting with his human partner on an ocean liner in the 1920s. I knew I couldn’t do that time period justice, so I changed the setting to contemporary and set about figuring out who those two fleeting dream-characters were. I knew one was an artist of some kind, and the other was old. I knew they were in horrible danger.

It was just a matter, then, of figuring everything else out. –laughs

What’s your best tip for other writers out there?

Write what you want to read. Write from your heart but with your head. And when writing the first draft, remember that you can fix it later.

Any last words?

The vampires? They’re the villains. They have no angst. They don’t want to sex you up, they want to consume your life. They are pretty, though. Up until they smile.

About Me:

Anna Zabo writes erotic paranormal romance and fantasy. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think. A lover of all things fae, she finds the wonderful and the magical amid the steel and iron of her city.

You can find her online at http://www.annazabo.com, on face book at http://www.facebook.com/AnnaZabo, and on twitter as @amergina, where you will also find her other not-so-secret identity.

I’m also giving away a copy of the ebook to a random commenter.

You can read an (NSFW) excerpt of the novel at Loose Id: http://www.loose-id.com/close-quarter.html

Thanks for having me over, Tori!

And thanks for coming, Anna! Remember, if you would like a chance for the free book, leave a comment!

Have you ever had adventures on a cruise? Enjoy a good book? Tell us something and get a chance.

The contest is over. The winner was commenter #5, aliwood. Congrats! I read this book over the holiday weekend. It was very nice.