Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing with a Toddler

As I write this, my 14 month old son is trying to yank the mouse pad out from under my mouse. He has also piled a few of his toys onto my lap. This is a typical day for me. I pound out a few words, maybe a sentence or two, if I'm lucky, then I'm trying to keep my son happy. Needless to say, not a lot of writing gets done during his waking hours.

Most of my writing is done late at night after my son and husband have already gone off to bed. In some ways, this arrangement is convenient because I am allowed a nice bit of quiet time. I also tend to write very fast, so when provided a few extra hours late at night, I can usually meet my daily quota. The downsides to this arrangement are: I rarely get to sleep next to my husband (he's usually getting up for work when I'm finally going to bed), I get maybe 6 hours of sleep every night, and I'm almost too exhausted to write at night because I've spent all day with my son.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to complain about my son. I love him to death and I enjoy spending time with him. It's just, when you've got bills to pay, being a stay-at-home working parent can stretch you pretty thin. Sometimes, during the weekends, my mom will volunteer to babysit so that I can get some writing in and also so my husband and I can spend a little time together. These have been blissful, but I also can't help but feeling like a bad mother at times. Sometimes it just feels wrong to crave those days off that my mother helps provide. I know, I shouldn't feel like this. Everyone deserves a break. But at the same time, I don't want my son thinking that my breaks are more important than spending time with him.

So, I suppose my real question is, how do other writers manage? I've heard of many writers who write and take care of their kids simultaneously. How do they do this? Do they just never sleep? Do their children resent them because they spend more time writing than with them?

Sorry this has turned more into a rant piece. I wish I had some real insight on how to make this work. So far, all that works for me is: little to no sleep, occasional help from Grandma, and rarely getting to see my husband. The occasional help from Grandma I don't mind, and I know she enjoys spending time with my son. However, it would be nice if I could change the other two. Or atleast, be able to spend more time with the hubby.

By the way, it took me about an hour and a half to write this due to trying to get the mouse pad back.

Weekly Recap: April 21-28

This week was spent bringing this much neglected blog back to life. Originally, this blog had been a place for me to market my freelance writing work. But since I'm finally finishing up my novel and plan on publishing it this year, I decided I should spiffy this blog up a tad. I also wanted a place in which I could write book reviews for the numerous books I devour.

Book Reviews
I've only written 3 book reviews this week, which isn't bad I suppose considering I read all 3 books in 3 days. Here are the reviews I wrote:

The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life by Jennifer Worick

Maverick Wild by Stacey Kayne

Her Warrior King by Michelle Willingham

Articles & Posts
N/A for this blog, other than book reviews.

Writing Update
My book is coming along nicely. This week I had a huge 'ah hah!' while writing. Basically, I finally figured out how to end my book, which for me, is always the hardest part.

Currently Reading
I am currently working towards finishing up two books. The one I'm closest to being finished with is Someone to Watch Over Me by Lisa Kleypas. The second is The Pirate and the Pagan by Virginia Henley. Both are oldies but goodies!

I am now 31 weeks pregnant. I'm beginning to get to that "uncomfortable" stage. It's hard to sit, it's hard to breathe, it's hard to sleep, etc., etc. But it's all good! It will definitely be worth it in the end when I get to meet my little Bug.

My 14 month old son is beginning to form words. He is also entering that lovely toddler stage in which he loves to throw temper tantrums, refuses food based on color alone, and wants to go with Daddy wherever he goes. Sadly, the little booger is just so darn cute that I can't help but laugh sometime when he's doing all of this.

As far as my week has gone, it's been filled with writing, reading, chasing after my toddler, and chasing after my husband when the toddler is asleep (wink, wink). I've been having to lay up a lot more due to being in the last stage of my pregnancy. My back and hips just can't handle standing up for long periods of time. But that's kind of worked out since I had so much reading and writing to get done this week.

How has your week been? Did you read any exciting books or gain progress in your writings?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Review: The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life by Jennifer Worick

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The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life: How to Sew a Sampler Quilt & 49 Other Pioneer Projects for the Modern Girl by Jennifer Worick 

Series: Single
Published: October 1, 2007
Publisher: Taunton Press
200 pages (hardback)
Genre: How-To, Non-Fiction
Acquired this book: Local Public Library
Warning: May contain spoilers
(Goodreads Link) (Amazon Link)

My Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life provides very basic information (and I mean very basic) on how to live a prairie girl lifestyle in the modern world. The book contains information ranging from how to host a quilting bee to how to pull your hair up into a bun. 

I found the idea behind this book quite intriguing. What little girl didn't want to live like Laura Ingalls when she was growing up? Heck, I still enjoy reading the Little House series and I love trying to create crafts that were popular during that time period. So for the inspiration, I give the book a couple of stars. 

However, I was slightly disappointed in this book. It seemed to cut corners and condense things too much. It also provided very simple activities and things to do, such as how to braid your hair. I'm sure some people do not know how to braid their hair, but the ideas and information just came across as too basic and simple. 

I suppose I was looking for a bit more depth from this book. I would have liked to have seen more historical information, such as what the people of that time period ate and wore. The author delves a little bit into pioneer cuisine and fashion, but not enough to really provide much historical depth to the book. 

The author also insisted on including glimpses into her childhood. Her childhood was far from pioneer-like. In fact, it made my childhood look downright caveman. Not that I mind at all for an author to include their background in such a book, but she seemed to have very little actual background knowledge in what she was writing about. Her writing came across as someone who enjoyed reading a great deal of fiction and not that of someone who had spent some time actually researching the history behind pioneer living. 

With that, I give this book 2 1/2 stars. I did enjoy it. I could definitely see some of the projects being fun things to do with your children. But I would have loved to have seen more historical depth and just more information on the pioneer time period. 

Book Review: Maverick Wild by Stacey Kayne

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Maverick Wild by Stacey Kayne

Series: Book #2 in the Wild series
Published: January 1, 2008
Publisher: Harlequin
291 pages (paperback)
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Acquired this book: Personal library
Warning: May contain spoilers
(Goodreads Link) (Amazon Link)

My Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

This book had me enthralled from beginning to end. The plot was perfect, the characters were perfect; I simply could not put the book down from the moment I began reading it. 

Chance Morgan is a rancher who carries a heavy burden on his shoulders. Little does he know that the burden will practically show up on his door step one day. Cora Mae Tindale was promised by Chance long ago when they were children that he would come back for her. When her mother begins setting up an arranged marriage and Cora is raped by her prospective husband, she sets out to find the boy who swore to protect her and come back for her. 

When Cora arrives at Chance's ranch, he knows she is hiding something, but she refuses to tell him the whole truth. It is not until Cora's mother arrives at the ranch, hell bent on returning her daughter to a man who will only abuse her, does Chance learn the truth. 

Chance makes good on his old promise and protects Cora. The two are wed and he helps her to begin healing the wounds that were left on her heart by her mother and the man who forced himself upon her. 

Both Chance and Cora seemed very believable to me. They both seemed like normal people trying to survive and trying to get over old pains. The book was well written and didn't have outlandish love scenes, nor did it have unrealistic characters.  I really loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good love story involving a cowboy. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Her Warrior King by Michelle Willingham

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Her Warrior King by Michelle Willingham

Series: Book #2 in the MacEgan Brothers series (this is actually book #1, but they were published out of order)
Published: January 2008
Publisher: Harlequin
288 pages (paperback)
Genre: Medieval Historical Romance
Acquired this book: Personal library
Warning: May contain spoilers
(Goodreads Link) (Amazon Link)

My Rating: 2 Stars 

I found this book incredibly... frustrating. The plot was impressive and it lured me in, but the male protagonist, Patrick MacEgan, came across as a man in dire need of some cojones. He was far too worried about what his people thought (peer pressure, anyone?) that it clouded his judgment and also caused problems in the bed chamber. The character Patrick was, in my personal opinion, not thoroughly planned out. He possessed the typical brutality and vigor seen commonly amongst male protagonists in romance novels, but he lacked any real depth. Therefore causing his character to come across as being dense. 

Despite the negatives, I did thoroughly enjoy the female protagonist, Isabel de Godred. Her character was strong and brave, yet deeply desired to be a good wife and queen. She possessed the traits of a Pagan Celtic goddess and yet she was not ashamed to bake bread all day long. I really enjoyed her character and she was probably the only reason why I continued reading this book. 

The plot was impressive. An Irish king marries a Norman enemy in an attempt to gain peace from the Normans for his people. What he doesn't expect is that Isabel is nothing like the Norman enemies he has seen murdering his tribe. She is kind, gentle, independent, and incredibly fierce. Patrick can't help but to fall in love with her. However, his pride and his peoples' opinion matter more to him than the woman who is trying so desperately to be the queen he needs. 

In the end, I give this book 2 stars. It was an interesting read and the female protagonist was incredible, but the male protagonist left more to be desired. Nearing the end of the book, it also felt as if the story was being rushed suddenly. It flowed fairly well, but then suddenly it picked up way too fast and seemed to skip over things that could have been vital in making the story more enjoyable.