Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Romantic Journey

The fact that my wonderful husband, JT Hume, and I are both writers is no secret since we often talk about and joke with each other on social media. We’ve also mentioned that we both work day jobs in the public sector. As a result, the two of us spend very little time in the same room together and communicate for the most part through social media, e-mail, and instant messaging.

We bought a home together a couple years ago. The house consists of a basement, a main level, and a ‘half story’ (a converted attic with compromised head room). JT spends most of his evenings in the basement, or ‘Dungeon of Doom,” while I sit in my office on the main floor. Another portion of the main floor contains a narrow living area that spans the width of the house. The configuration makes arranging furniture awkward so at the moment I have the room sectioned in two; one end contains the too-large sectional, some shelves with our electronic components, and a fireplace, while the other is a small sitting area with a couple chairs and a tiny shelf of books.

This past weekend I came up with a grand idea to get JT up onto the same floor I’m on and suggested we use the little reading area as office space for him. The idea then evolved into changing the living room into a dual office space we can share while turning our basement into a home theater/living room. With this thought in mind, we left the house in search of a partners desk big enough to hold our collection of computers, monitors, and other electronic gadgetry.

After a series of disappointing stops at various office supply and home furnishing stores, we returned home, where I suggested that we change the focus of our search from a desk to a dining table – which would give us both plenty of room to spread out. So we again left the house and visited a variety of stores where we once more came up empty-handed. After spending the majority of the day driving many miles through parts of three counties, we’re still in our respective writing areas, tired and discouraged, but not yet ready to give up on the idea of a shared writing space.

You see, after thirty-three years as a couple, we still enjoy spending time with each other more than almost anything else. We like the idea of a shared space where we can talk out ideas, encourage each other, and maybe even play a little footsie while we write. We have a beautiful sunny space we can share. Now we only need to find the perfect piece of furniture to fit that space and our shared dream will come true.

If that’s not romance, what is?

 

Dragons in the Sunshine

My oldest grandson and I spent an enjoyable hour in the sunny backyard of his home with his family’s dog, an imaginary invading army of bad guys, two castles overlooking a wide valley containing a small village, and a large number of both fire- and ice-breathing dragons. My two grandsons are the offspring of my youngest daughter, a talented woman who lives off the proceeds of her writing career in the way I once imagined I would. Our entire family loves both reading and writing and my grandson enjoys not only having books read to him, but also making up stories the way his mother does for many hours every day.

So today he asked me to tell him a story. While I’m not bad at coming up with impromptu ideas when I’m walking around alone, my imagination shuts down when I’m put on the spot so I asked what he wanted to hear while thinking furiously about what to tell him.

“Dragons!” he said.

I’ve read some high fantasy in my day so I’ve got a good idea of how a dragon story could go. As the mother of three and grandmother of two, I also know that kids like hearing stories about themselves. So I started with “Once upon a time…”

“Ouch!” said the grandson.

“Once upon a time…ouch?” I said. “The end.”

He started giggling and repeating the “Once upon a time…ouch…the end” story over and over for the next few minutes. Four-year-old kids are amused by that kind of thing.

“Tell me another story, grama,” he said a few minutes later.

Again, I started with, “Once upon a time…” When he didn’t interject an “ouch,” I continued to spin a tale of two castles, each ruled by one of my grandsons, with an army of dragons carrying messages across the valley between them. At the side of King Oldest Grandson sat his majestic Royal Dog while King Youngest Grandson cuddled with his Royal Cat. The two Kings enjoyed their Royal lives until bad guys stormed the village and forced the dragons to breathe a wall of protective flame around the village. The dragon fire flamed so high the invaders couldn’t get past so they ran away from the intense heat. Unfortunately, the fire then threatened the village, so King Oldest Grandson called in his ice-breathing dragons to put out the inferno. Everyone then lived happily ever after. The end.

Making up stories with my grandson and daughters on this beautiful afternoon reminded me why I enjoy writing so much – the sheer joy of letting the imagination run wild. Over the years, I’ve gotten so caught up in mechanics that I’ve lost some of the fun. Next time I sit down to write I’ll remember the brother kings and their dragon army and the warmth of an afternoon in the sun with my grandson.

Once upon a time…ouch…the end.

Top Ten: Reasons Why I Write

The co-workers at my day job often wonder why I go home in the evenings and spend another three or four hours at the computer when I’ve just spent six to eight starting at one at my day job. I haven’t been able to answer the question up to this point so I thought I’d take a few minutes to come up with ten reasons for why I do what I do in the evenings.

1) TV. A lot of shows are boring and repetitive so I don’t watch as much as I once did. Spending my evenings with my own characters can be much more fun.

2) Reading. I often disagree with the course of the stories I read and want to change the outcome. What better way to do that than to write my own?

3) My day job. Since I work with historic documents, their content often gives me ideas I’d like to explore.

4) Sleep. My mind is so full of all the stories I’ve watched and read and the ideas I’ve come up with that I can’t rest until I’ve written them down.

5) “Lucy” syndrome. One of my favorite shows, “I Love Lucy,” gave me wacky ideas that I’m too afraid to try in real life so I try to live them through the characters I write.

6) Entertainment. I’m hopeful that someday something I write might affect someone in as positive way the works of my favorite authors amused me.

7) Immortality. How else can I hope anyone might know I existed hundreds of years in the future?

8) Change. Even fictional stories can inspire people to adjust their lives.

9) Typing. The feeling of moving my fingers over the keyboard is meditative and soothing.

10) Fame and fortune. Okay, not really. Maybe a little extra pocket change and the chance to feel like I’m somewhat known, whether I am or not.

What are the top ten reasons why you do what you do with your free time?

Work in Progress

Deep in the throes of a new manuscript, book two of my first paranormal romance series,  I’m pondering my writing process. My work in progress is in the very rough stages and the path from the opening sentence to the conclusion is still vague. In past projects, I tended to sit down and write from beginning to end without worrying too much about the details of the story until the editing phase. Now, though, my overarching story goes beyond the confines of a single book so I’m trying to determine how much detail to put into each individual piece of the larger whole. This is a new and exciting experience for me…which is also somewhat terrifying because I’ve never traveled this route before.

The same might be said about my life as a whole. As a child I had ideas about what I’d do as a grown up; first I wanted to be a nun, then a teacher, then I went through the “I just want to be rich and famous” phase, before I finally gave in to my family’s wishes and said I’d go to college to become a lawyer. After my first semester, I got married and moved 1500 miles from my parents, grandparents, and the idea of going to law school. Becoming pregnant during my second semester of college postponed the continuance of my education. Five years and three kids later, as a stay-at-home mother, I needed something to maintain my peace of mind so I turned to writing and struggled to get something published the ‘traditional’ way for the next twelve years. As my kids grew older and more independent, I ended up out in the regular working world again, my writing falling by the wayside due to time limitations. And another ten years passed.

The kids are all out of the house now and I’ve settled into a profession I had never envisioned for myself as a child: state government archivist. How I ended up in my current job is another post in itself, but I can say I love the work and I’ve settled in for the long run. As empty-nesters, hubby and I are also thinking of when we can retire (probably in another ten years or so) and we’re building the foundation of our retirement careers as authors.

Looking back at the twists and turns that brought me to this place in my own life, I realize that the characters in my work in progress are going to face the same unexpected events in their stories that I have in my own. No matter how I plan to tell the tale, something will occur to me later that I can’t imagine now, taking the story off in exciting new directions. The series itself is a surprise combination of three different story ideas I’ve had over the years that just seemed to fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.

Feeling nervous about the the path this book series will take is as understandable as being anxious about what might next happen in my own story. Whatever is hidden around the next curve is sure to be as unexpected and exciting as all the other surprises I encountered on the way here. I look forward to finding out what comes next.