Tag Archives: mom

Writing (And Working) While Pregnant: First Trimester 

6 Jun

You may or may not have seen my social media recently, but for those of you who didn’t, well, I have some news to share. 

I’m pregnant!

I’m currently 24 weeks, but I wrote most of this blog post during the first trimester when I wasn’t yet comfortable sharing my status. (I still wanted to blog about it, though!) I figure I can do a three-part series, one post for every trimester, and will inevitably post about being a working-writing mom in the future, too. 

Oh, cue the baby anxiety (and excitement). 

This is my first pregnancy, so everything is very new to me. The first side effect that affected my writing was the brain fog. I had absolutely no clue that it starts so early. I had brain fog before I even knew I was pregnant. (I suppose I should’ve side-eyed that lazy Saturday more suspiciously.) Strangely, though, it came with some perks. 

First trimester pregnancy brain fog brought me a lot of peace. My usually high-strung, ever-plotting/dreaming brain became a rolling tide of sleep, lazy days on the couch, and playing with my cats. Where I’d usually feel bad for laying around all Saturday afternoon, I quite enjoyed it. I slept better than ever before, too, which was weird. And holy dreams. So many vivid dreams. I’ve always used my dreams as inspiration for my books, but that’s because my dreams are typically mind-blowing adventures. Pregnancy dreams? Not so much. They happen in abundance and are completely nonsensical. So, I guess it’s a no on inspiration. 

No writing or inspiration? Surely I can use that energy for something else. 

Oh, wait. The fatigue. 

I was lucky enough to avoid morning sickness until week 9, which was nice. But I still didn’t have much energy for anything other than work and taking care of my cats. 

I have literally never had an issue creating like I did in my first trimester. The brain fog was unreal. No matter how often I sat at my desk or how long I stared at my computer, I just sort of zoned out. I tried everything: creating something new, working on an old favorite, revising one of my novels that’s 90% the way there. But I just couldn’t.

Getting through work was enough of an accomplishment to be honest. 

All that being said, I work full time. Working full time while pregnant is a lot, let alone using up any additional time to create. I’m not pushing myself super hard.

I also heard that a lot of the energy comes back in the second trimester, so we’ll see how that goes in that blog post. 😉 

I’m definitely having some anxiety about how writing will fit into my working-mom life, but hey, many people have done it before, and I have no doubt I’ll keep pursuing the dream as much as I can. 

I won’t lie, though. I’m already looking at my WIPs differently. Which ones can I finish before the baby is due? Which ones will require less energy/research/strain?

I decided to stick with my haunted YA instead of my adult fantasy or historical fantasy. 

I started my writing career by writing paranormal romance. It’s always been my happy place. Why not stay there for the time being? 

My kid is due in late Sept-early October, so it’ll be spooky season all around. 

~SAT

P.S. I have two upcoming events!

On Thursday, June 9, I’ll be teaching How to Write a Series at the Midwest Romance Writers meetup in Lenexa, Kansas. If you’re interested in attending, contact them here.

On Monday, June 13, I am teaching Starting a Writing Project via ZOOM for The Story Center at Mid-Continent Public Library. This program is free, virtual, and open to anyone in the world. Dive deep into creative inspiration, and learn tricks to prevent writer’s block. Then discover tools to help you set realistic goals and stay on track. Come prepared to put pen to paper. More information and registration here.

Marking Mother’s Day with Bookmarks

11 May

Special thanks goes out to Tony Jaa, actor and martial artist, for quoting my latest novel, Seconds Before Sunrise, on his official Twitter page. Known for Ong-BakFast and Furious 7, and his stunt work in the Mortal Kombat Annihilation, visit Tony Jaa on Twitter and Facebook.

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Check out my latest interview with Confessions of a Book Geek! I explained the specifics of my book covers, and I also invited five of my characters to lunch. It was a great time, so read it by clicking here.

Today is Mother’s Day – and as many of you know, my mother passed away very  suddenly when I was eleven years old. It’s not difficult for me to write about it necessarily, but there is this peculiar heaviness that happens on days like these. I say “peculiar” because it shifts every year. Sometimes, it is crushing, and other times, it is a wave, but it’s always sad. So I find myself doing what I do every year – and that is to find a way to celebrate her life and her love. And I did.

Bookmarks. 

She was the definition of an avid reader. In fact, when she passed, we donated most of her novels to a half-price bookstore, and they joked that an entire library – not a family – was donating. My mother was a library. We had these beautiful, tall oak bookshelves, and she layered the shelves with enormous collections of trinkets. (Hence why I always talk about trinkets.) But she also kept bookmarks, and I reflected on that today – thinking of what bookmarks have meant to me.

A Bookmark is a Memory:

asleep“This is where i fell asleep” is my oldest bookmark. It was my favorite when I was a kid. I believe I read all of the Dear America books and the Magic Tree House series with this bookmark slid in the pages. I even remember getting it at a book fair. (I think they were cheaper because of the grammatical error, but I’m not sure? I think the i” was definitely on purpose and probably didn’t go over well with parents.) ANYWAY – I loved animals, so this was perfect for me. It used to even have a little puppy attached to the top, but that didn’t last for very long [obviously]. I don’t use it anymore, but it sits on my shelf of accomplishments. (Yes, I have something as egotistical as a shelf of accomplishments ::sigh:: It’s how I stay motivated.) But this bookmark reminds me of childhood and how I lost myself and found myself in novels, whether it was my first You Choose the Story Scooby Doo books, Goosebumps, or The Journal of Scott Pendalton Collins: A World War 2 Soldier. (My favorite Dear America book.) This bookmark is a memory because this bookmark represents my childhood love for novels that continued into my adult life.

A Bookmark is a Friend

badass“i may appear harmless…but inside i’m completely badass” This is my current bookmark, and I love it so much. (And I also just realized the I have a thing for “i” being lowercased.) This bookmark was a gift I received from a wonderfully talented painter, and it brings a smile to my face anytime I open a book and read the words. Just as a friend does, it makes me laugh, smile, and enjoy the time ahead (in this case, a novel.) Also, who couldn’t love the phrase? If you still need coaxing, it’s a magnetic bookmark – so it never falls out. This is good for clumsy readers such as myself. And – once again – like a friend, it is prepared more than I am. It knows I’m clumsy, even before I remember I am. The fact that it is also a gift reminds me of how much a gift can warm a heart up, no matter how small it is. This bookmark is a friend because this bookmark reminds me of laughter and staying true to myself.

A Bookmark is a Lifetime

mom“A hundred years from now, the world may be different because I was important in the life of my child” This bookmark is the most important bookmark that I own. It was my mother’s, and she was actually using it when she died. I keep it in a memory box to keep it safe, but this bookmark reminds me of how much she loved her family and how much she believed in all of our futures. On the most difficult days – like Mother’s  Day – it shows me how she would still be encouraging me if she were still alive, and in a way, she does encourage me by leaving behind a bookmark like this one. I may not be able to live up to the bookmark. I may not be able to change the world in 100 years. But I can at least try to change the world around me by encouraging and helping others to follow their dreams just as my mother encouraged me to follow my dreams.

Bookmarks don’t only mark a stopping place in a novel. They can symbolize parts of life and remind us of all the strength and passion we have to live for.  For me, they mark places in my heart , but they also remind me of where I left off so I can begin again.

~SAT

Sharing Childhood Inspiration

26 Jun

This is what I looked like when I wrote this book.

This is what I looked like when I wrote this book.

Website Update: Minutes Before Sunset is falling behind on Goodreads Book of the Month. Please vote if you haven’t already. I could really use your help! Vote here

As writers, we’ve held the dream of writing for a long time. Finding out an author started writing at a very young age happens more often than not, and I think that’s something important to look into. It’s interesting to think that we, as children, may have understood our passion better than we do now (or with less questioning, because we didn’t understand everything we’d have to go through in order to chase our dreams.) But, theoretically, can’t we bring back our passion in moments of doubt by returning to our childhood in order to remember the simple joy we felt before the pressures of a career?

On Father’s Day, my brother and his fiancé were looking for pictures to use in their wedding, and my dad decided to bring up two boxes my late mother left behind. She made these boxes for my brother and I for when we had kids, but we decided to open them up early for my brother’s wedding, and it was an amazingly beautiful collection of childhood clothes, art, and pictures.

That’s when I found it:

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Two books I wrote as a child, which were printed by Crabapple Crossing Book Publishing. 

I wanted to share one today, because it brought me back to those moments before I even knew what publishing was, and I hope sharing something I wrote when I was in second grade might encourage you to look back and see how far you’ve come!

So “Max & Milo” is about two dogs having a birthday party before they move away and become pen pals with all of20130625_141947 their old friends. I found it pretty amusing (but interesting) because I had two dogs at the time (yes, they were named Max and Milo) and I also moved around a lot. Strangely enough, this follows the “Write what you know” tip that’s very common for beginning writers. I wish I could say I understood the “Show. Don’t Tell” rule at this age, but I think most of this was described through the pictures I drew. And, no, I’ve never been an artist, so the drawings amused me. (Apparently, the world was in x-ray vision.)

But what is the most encouraging part about looking back on these things? 

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I’ve achieved the dream I’ve strived for since I was seven, and I continue to do better every day. 

It was a great experience shifting through my childhood box to see what I could find that my memory didn’t remember as clearly as I thought. Not to mention how funny it was for my brother and I to compare things with one another.

Here’s to hoping this childhood post brings inspiration for other writers to look back on their goals, dreams, and creations to see how long the passion has been there, continue forward with encouragement, and/or to simply be amused by the lessons of life.

My plan is to continue posting writing tips this week, but my cousin is getting married! (Yay!) So I might get busier than I think. I will surely keep everyone updated, and I wanted to remind everyone to vote for Minutes Before Sunset as Book of the Month on Goodreads. We’re still in first place (Thank you!) at 46 votes, but I’d love to hit 50 (those number marks always make me spin in circles of happiness.)

Vote here, and thank you for all the special birthday wishes! I had a great time. I went to a Japanese Steakhouse with my brother, his fiancé, my dad, and my boyfriend. It was a lot of fun, and the picture is a rice heart with “22” written on top for me. It was sweet. They also gave me chopsticks, and I got to see my friends afterwards. Couldn’t have been happier with all the supportive people in my life 😀

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~SAT

June 28: Last Day to Vote

July 1: Winners

July 3: Holidays in Writing

To My Mother

15 Mar

“Writers seek to create order out of the chaos of everyday life, and to extract meaning from both the tragic and the mundane.” ~Hope Edelman

This quote has always struck a deep chord within me, not only because I am a writer, but because this was my mother’s philosophy. On top of that, Hope Edelman is the author of Motherless Daughters: A Legacy of Loss, and her collection truly guided my understanding of loss when my mother suddenly passed away in 2003.

This is almost every picture I have of my mother. She was always reading. And she didn't like to get her picture taken, so we had to sneak them when she wasn't looking.

This is almost every picture I have of my mother. She was always reading. And she didn’t like to get her picture taken, so we had to sneak them when she wasn’t looking.

My mother’s love is exactly what I wanted to post about today–and only this.

March 16 (tomorrow) will be the 10-year-anniversary of her death, and I have to admit hitting such a mark is very surreal along with emotionally challenging. At such a time in my life, I have moments where I begin fighting my dream, because I wish I had her to share it with (as I did when I was a child.) However, on other days, this emotion possesses me to strive forward, and I remember how that’s exactly what she’d want me to do. Being an avid reader, writer, and lover of stories, she worked hard everyday, and I work every day to cherish her memory.

I remember, specifically, one time in Barnes & Noble. I was in fourth grade, and I was obsessed with the Dear America series. She let me pick four or five out every time we were there. This added up to a lot of money, considering that the series was all hardcover at the time, and I asked her why she let me get all of them.

“Because,” she said. “if a parent should spend extra money on anything for their kids, it should be books.” She later added anything that encouraged the passion of a child. For instance, my older brother was an artist, and they got him drawing supplies.

And, of course, there are pictures of me doing the exact same thing (in the same room too!)

And, of course, there are pictures of me doing the exact same thing (in the same room too!)

To this day, my memories of the bookstore are some of my favorites, and I have numerous reasons for this:

1. I was doing something I loved.

2. I was doing something I loved with someone I loved.

3. I was doing something I loved with someone I loved, and those moments are the most important moments to love.

So do something nice today with someone you love, whether it be a spouse, child, friend, or lover. Support each others’ dreams and truly dedicate time to say, “I love you.”

My mom reading with my older brother on her back. She loved her family and her books.

My mom reading with my older brother on her back. She loved her family and her books.

~SAT

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