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Juggling Act

These days I find myself juggling hats. Genres, actually, and very different ones at that! And when I say different, I mean it. This year, I’ve decided to publish a children’s fiction series that’s been simmering in my heart for several years. Centered around my love for gardening, my love for children and the discovery of all things new and nature, Show Me The Green! is the result. It’s a middle grade novel filled with real-life adventures in the garden, inspired from my years volunteering in my kids’ school garden. Intended as a fun but educational read, I think of it as “Judy Moody meets the Magic Tree House.”

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Kids will learn the basics of organic gardening as they follow the adventures of Lexi and Jason Williams. It’s completely different from my adult romance novels, but equally as compelling a story for me to write. So much so, I’ve three other books already outlined and ready for some keyboard action!

However, the process can be exhausting. The ebook format will be full color which required a lot of thought and collaboration with illustrators. The new website has also proven a challenge, as I had to conceive a completely new look. The good news? It’s been a lot of fun. The bad news? It’s put my current romance series on the back burner which is NO fun. I mean, I’m excited about it, too, but a gal only has so many hours in the day to write and create and, oh yeah, be a mother and a wife on the home front. Enter summer break, and we’re talking serious challenge juggling the three. Can I do it?

Do I have a choice?

Simple answer, no. When the muse strikes, an author will follow. When the family calls, a mother will answer. It’s just the way I’m wired. I will say it keeps me young. (And at my age, that’s a good thing!) Wanna know more about my new children’s books? Check out D.S. Venetta

Socially Frustrated

Today’s post will be brief, as I’m socially frustrated. I’m battling cyber social circles, middle school peer pressure, opposing parenting styles, and I don’t like it. Not one bit.

facebook logoMy family has a policy. We understand our teenage children want to fit in, enjoy the normal social activities of their peers, but when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, I find there is a wide variety of opinions with regard to appropriate media behavior. Thankfully, my kids are not facing bullying. We watch for it, talk about it and are prepared for the day–should it ever cross our path. But in our family, we don’t want pictures of our children posted online. Period.

instagramI’ve posted the occasional “view from afar” or the innocuous half profile, but nothing that boasts, “Hey, look at me!” And we certainly don’t want any pictures posted of our children that are less than appropriate in any form, shape, or matter, ie. “embarrassing.” Am I alone? Am I the stodgy parent in the parent who doesn’t “get it?” This is nothing more than harmless fun between kids?

I always thought I was pretty easygoing. Strict, but understanding and accommodating. I know that sounds like an oxymoron (and some have called me worse), but I don’t know what to do. I can police my children’s behavior. It’s when it comes to their peers that I’m having a problem. Any words of wisdom?

It’s Hard Having Children & An Excerpt!

You’d think it would stop after the labor pains, or perhaps the teenage years, but I’ve discovered that no matter how old your children are, you always worry about them.

My youngest son’s hobby is restoring heavy duty equipment. Recently, while loading some caterpillar tracks to recycle at the local scrap yard, the tracks shifted and caught his index finger, tearing off the fingernail and a chunk of the end of his finger. And while it has healed nicely, I’ve still not recovered from the incident.

My Dad taking a spin on his grandson's cat.

My Dad taking a spin on his grandson’s cat.

 

I worry, probably needlessly, but I’m his mother, and all I want is for my boys to be healthy and happy and unhurt.

The hero in my contemporary romance, Always Remember, worries about his daughter, too. The single dad of a 17 year old girl, he’s raised her the best he could, and still…

(Excerpt from Always RememberAfter getting bucked off his horse, the heroine is giving Nate Coltrane a lower back massage when they’re interrupted by his daughter Sara…)

“Dad?”

Along with the sound of her boots tromping across the floor, approaching the entryway, he caught the strain in her voice.

“I—oh, excuse me. I didn’t know you were busy.”

Nate raised his head from his folded arms. “Come on in. Jess was just giving me a massage, trying to fix my sore back.”

Right, and another two minutes, you would have been fixing her.

As if she’d heard his thoughts, Jessie scrambled off him, landed on her rear end, then leapt to her feet. Nate shifted slightly, enough to notice the flush that darkened her cheeks.

“We were finished anyway,” she explained in a breathless rush. “And I was just leaving.”

Always Remember by Sheila SeabrookRight about now, Nate wished he could leave with her. As she ran from the room, the humor of the situation hit him. They’d been caught like two randy teenagers, only it was the daughter, not the parents, terminating their foreplay. Now, how did he go about hiding his aroused state from his perceptive daughter?

“So what’s up, squirt?” Other than me. Nonchalant, pretend like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Like his world hadn’t shifted and tilted for the second time since Jessie’s arrival.

Sara snatched the pile of mail from the coffee table and slid onto the floor beside him. “You didn’t tell me you hurt your back. Diablo? You know, I’ve been thinking. Maybe you need professional help.”

“You mean a shrink?” He reached out and ruffled her hair. Thanks to Jessie, his back did feel better, but now he had another ache he wished she’d stuck around to cure. Suddenly, the floor felt hard and uncomfortable. “Sara, Diablo and I have an agreement.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sometimes I think I should’ve been in charge of you instead of the other way around.” She ducked out from under his hand and looked him square in the eye. “You realize, of course, that what you two were doing in here was totally unacceptable.”

Laughter burst from his chest.

“Well, I’m not a kid anymore. I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.”

No, she wasn’t a kid. She’d grown into a beautiful young woman, as mature and self-reliant as her mother. How had he gotten so lucky? She’d never given him a lick of trouble, not the way Jessie and him had tested their parents’ patience.

Sara sorted listlessly through the envelopes, tossing the bills aside before spreading her favorite magazine on the floor between them. Nate noted the pallor of her cheeks, the bluish smudges beneath her eyes. He wanted to ask her what was wrong, but feared the question would send her running up to her bedroom like last time.

Better that he be patient and wait for her to come to him. When she was ready to talk, she’d do it in her own good time.

He bumped her on the shoulder. “What are you reading?”

(End of excerpt)

So what kind of unfun and worrisome things have your children done? And how long did it take you to recover from the incident?

The art of letting go

My son recently completed his freshman year at college. With 1500 miles and two time zones between us, for me this past year has been a lesson in letting go, in sitting back and believing we taught him right, in trusting him to make his own choices.

I thought I was doing so well, too. And then Sunday happened.

Sunday was the first day massive tornadoes tore through the Midwest, and the first day of his trek, alone and by car, from Denver to Atlanta. The same trek I’d offered, countless times, to fly out and make with him, so I could keep him company, so his father and I wouldn’t worry.

But he chose to make the trek alone, and I was okay with that. He’s a good kid, he makes good choices, so I had to be. Practice what you preach, right?

Or I was, that is, until I checked Twitter.

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Okay, so clearly he was joking but he also was not. He really was huddled under a bridge, mostly because, he told me later, it was raining too hard to drive and he followed a parade of cars there. He said he figured there was… well, if not safety than at least comfort in numbers.

Words every mother wants to hear.

His second tweet was even worse.

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That’s when I pulled my I’m Your Mother and I Command You card and told him to find shelter for the night, preferably underground. He was already on his way to the nearest and sturdiest hotel. He made it home a few days later, a little shaken but safe and sound. Looking back at the footage from Sunday and Monday, I know he was one of the lucky ones.

When faced with an EF5 tornado, my son made the right choices. He found shelter under a bridge, then as soon as it was safe, found better shelter. He watched the radar and listened to local radio, and planned his route accordingly. And his mother, had she been sitting beside him, wouldn’t have done anything differently.

Still. He was blessed, and so am I.

My Date

No, this isn’t about my first date with a young boy when I was a teenager.  This is about the first date my husband and I had yesterday in months and months.  Frankly, I don’t remember when we last took off in the middle of the week to spend time with each other.  We celebrated our 20th anniversary last October and we rarely spend time alone together since we have two kids.

Well, that doesn’t really explain the entire story.  Our son is a senior in high school and is 17 and our daughter is in 8th grade and is 13-years old.  They don’t exactly like each other that much, at times I suspect they hate each other’s guts.  I haven’t felt comfortable leaving my son home alone taking care of her when we are too far away to jump in the car and head home to run interference, if you know what I mean.

It’s not like I would think he’d hurt her.  He’d just tease her and make fun of her in his usual relentless fashion, thus forcing her to cry and slam her bedroom door and stay there for six hours until we got back.  So, we decided to go an hour and a half away from home, mid-week, when they were both in school, and we’d be back before they even walked in the door at 4 p.m. later that afternoon.

So at 9:30 a.m. we got in the truck and headed for Capitola, a small city of around 55,000 people just north of Santa Cruz.  The weather was a nice 55 degrees and if you were in a sheltered area it got to be about 65 in the afternoon.  We took our bikes and rode about two miles down to the harbor and then back up the hilly area to our car that we parked by the beach.  The ocean was almost perfectly flat and there were very few tourists there at this time of year.  Then we had lunch at Margaritaville out on the deck overlooking the beach.

And, believe it or not, we actually put our arms around each other’s waists and walked down the street like we used to when we were young and in love!  It was an enjoyable day spent without kids listening to our every word and the silence at times was lovely as well.

I don’t know if our experience is typical of couples with or without kids, no matter the age, but we surely don’t take enough time to just enjoy being by ourselves any longer.  And this was kind of a spontaneous gesture on my husband’s part that turned out to be an enjoyable experience.

What about any of you out there with a husband and no kids or a husband and kids?  Do you date?

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