Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back in the Saddle

Okay, getting on that horse now.  Saddling up.  I can do this.  I've done it before; I can do it again. 

As of today, I'm going to try to return to my old routine of daily blogging.  It's got to be like riding a horse, right?  Or, since I've never really ridden a horse in real life (do carousels count?), like riding a bike--which I actually have done in real life.

I have documented proof of my bike-riding prowess, written in blue ink in my girlhood diary, excerpts of which I've shared here before.  Here's me at just-turned-eleven: "Today I got my parents' late [birthday] present.  It was a beautiful pale green sting-ray bike.  It's my pride and joy."

Does anyone else remember having a Sting-Ray bike?  They had those long, banana-shaped seats and high handle bars.  Well, here's a picture of one, in case you're a whole lot younger than I am and don't know what I'm talking about.
The Sting-Ray bike: a 60's classic.
Moving on.

One of the main reasons I've been a no-show in the blogosphere so often lately is that I've been working on a YA novel for Bezalel Books, and I've been using most of my writing muscles to accomplish that goal.  When the opportunity to write a second novel was presented to me back on May 18, I was a bit of a wreck, worried that I wouldn't possibly be able to work fast enough to reach the deadlines set by my publisher, Cheryl Dickow.  After all, it took me over four years to write Finding Grace (currently only $12.99 for the paperback version on Amazon!).  What I had forgotten, however, is that I finished the first eight chapters of that book in about two months.  I was inspired to keep them coming rapid-fire, so that I could give new ones to my husband to take along on his trips as an airline pilot.  I slowed down the pace, however, and the next 24 chapters did not come together nearly as quickly.  I went from the hare's pace to the tortoise's.  Without an official deadline to push me--other than my husband saying, "I can't wait to see what happens next"--and with so many distractions caused by still having two of our sweet sons living under our roof, I dawdled and dabbled.  I sometimes skipped a week or more, and in the summers when our college-aged sons were home, I got almost no writing done.  But after all, I never really even believed that the fun little project I was working on (and about which I had told almost no one, for fear I'd never finish it) would ever become an actual published book.

Well, this time around, things are really moving along.  It's been two months since I started, and I don't have eight chapters completed...I've got ten (and then some)!  So far, I'm ahead of my first appointed deadline; and every time I sit down to work on this book, I type faster than I can think.  My online writing friend Kia Heavey, whom I met through Goodreads, had encouraged me to write another book, even before Dickow approached me.  When I told her I was hesitant to start one because it takes me so long (and I'm not getting any younger, you know!), she said that writing the second one is much easier than writing the first--and I figured she knew what she was talking about, since she'd published two novels herself.  Well, Kia, you were right!  And Cheryl, thank you for giving me this extraordinary opportunity!

Before I get off the topic of my book (and I promise, my renewed dedication to daily blogging doesn't mean that I'm going to talk about writing every day, until you're screaming, "I wish she'd take another nice, long break!"), here are some items that are inspiring me as I sit at my laptop and work on this new novel.
This work of art is called Bobbin Girl, and it's by Winslow Homer.
Intrigued?  [Moowoohaha!]  If so, then I've got you right where I want you.  And you can look for Erin's Ring, due to be released in the spring of 2015.

Okay, the promotional portion of this post is now officially over.

In other news, we're heading down to VA this coming weekend.  If you come here often, you know that we take lots of trips to VA, where three of our grown sons have made their homes.  This time, it's for a baby shower for our first grandson, to be known here on the blog as "G-Man," who is going to make his appearance in October.  I already sent his parents, my middle son and his wife Preciosa, a little sailor suit that his daddy wore when he was but a wee sprout.  Get ready for cuteness now...
This work of art is called Son #3 at Two Months,
and it's by God--with a little help from my husband and me.
We have gotten G-Man some useful items from the Pottery Barn Kids collection; but I've also made something very special for his nursery, and I don't want to show it to you here because that'll ruin the surprise.  Stay tuned, however: I'll be posting pictures of that after the shower.  [Moowoohaha again!]

In yet OTHER news, we are going to have our kitchen cabinets refaced very soon.  We've been living in this house for about 24 years.  We are the first owners and the house was not completely finished off inside when we bought it at a bargain price from the bank (it was in foreclosure), but the hardwood floors were already down in the living room, dining room, and front hallway (YAY!), and the kitchen cabinets and countertops had already been installed (BOO!).  Not that the kitchen was that bad; it was just much too modern for our taste.  But having plenty of higher priorities on our list than new kitchen cabinets (Catholic school tuitions and college expenses come to mind), we lived with what we had; and wonder of wonders, even with a less-than-magazine-spread-worthy kitchen, we lived well and happily.  It wasn't until the drawers started sticking and the drawer fronts started to fall off (I actually repaired one recently with a creative combination of Velcro and duct tape!) that we decided to finally do what so many other empty-nesters do: update our kitchen.

And if I said I wasn't extremely excited about this, I would be a big, fat liar.

I'll be sure to post "before" and "after pictures later on.  But in the meantime, I got inspired to change the forest green homemade valance over the kitchen sink.  Here's the "before" on that.
It's okay...
And the "after."
...but I think this is much prettier, and more polished-looking.
I originally bought a black and cream toile valance from Country Curtains; but it was almost $40, and the pastoral pictures on it were very faded out.  I didn't love it enough to pay $40 for it.  So I returned that one, and I copied the design using toile fabric that I found at JoAnn's on sale for $12/yd.  I bought two yards, and I have enough left over for another project in the kitchen that I have planned.  Which goes to show: if you are willing and able to go the DIY route, you usually get something you like more and you almost always spend less than you would on the store-bought version.

Now I'm going to sign off, before I exhaust every topic I could possibly use in upcoming posts--daily ones (at least that's the plan!).  See you soon!


  1. All kinds of good news, and I LOVE that valance!! Love love love it!

    1. Thanks! I'm actually glad the Country Curtains valance didn't end up looking as pretty as I thought it would, because otherwise I would have kept it despite the cost. Instead, I got that great Waverly fabric on clearance, and it really is so much prettier than the print on the store-bought one (not to mention a lot cheaper!).

      I'm excited about my new project and so far it's going well, but prayers are always welcome!

  2. I love that valance, nice job!

    1. Thanks! Now I'm waiting for the new cabinets to set it off. :)

  3. G-Man!!!!!! I love that he already has a blog name :) Can't wait to see you this weekend! Love!

    1. I'm finally getting around to replying to these I'm glad you like the blog alias. And it was great to see you TWO weekends in a row!