2008 took me behind the woodshed

You know that line, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”? Yeah, 2008 was like that. This was the year my first kid was going to be in school and my second kid would maybe do some preschool and I’d have a few hours kid free! This was the year I had a lighter publishing schedule so I could actually get ahead with writing. (As in, unscheduled time to write spec books and proposals)

2008 did not go according to plan.

My first clue that 2008 wasn’t going to go according to plan should’ve come from the bout of pneumonia I had around Feb/March. That was horrible, and also made me think about things like mortality. I’m not going to live forever. Are the books I’ve written the legacy I want to leave behind? Would I feel satisfied with that, or not?

During this fun time, I was writing Animal Attraction and my oldest daughter was completely falling apart. I literally wrote the last word of that book, hit “send” to turn in the manuscript, got in the car and went to a specialist who evaluated our child and said the word that reverberated through our lives: “autism”.

The next book I wanted to write got nixed. I got asked to write other proposals instead. I wrote them. I started the next book. And meanwhile we learned all about this thing called “Asperger Syndrome” or “high functioning autism” and began to understand what our child needed to thrive. We were on a deadline, because school was looming, and we knew we needed to advocate for her.

The first meeting with the teacher did not go well. “She should be in special ed.” “But she’s advanced. She reads and does basic additon and subtraction. She’s not remedial, and she needs social modeling from typical kids, not atypical.”

In the end, our kid had one day of mainstream kindergarten, at the end of which she was so shut down that our bright, funny, mile-a-minute child didn’t even recognize us when we picked her up until we said her name repeatedly. When she finally did, she said clung to us and said, “I want to go home.”

So much for mainstream school. We took her home, and made a frantic call to a virtual academy that serves as a charter school in the public school system. They fast-tracked her enrollment, and after evaluation placed her in first grade. Not exactly remedial. She is a terrific student, has straight A plusses. Between school and home support and her doctor, she’s come a long ways.

With the advent of virtual school, our preschooler became a home preschool student. We’d done that with kid #1 out of necessity (no other options), but with school resources and curriculum in the house, she’s getting a huge headstart, reading and doing math at kindergarten level.

And I’m spending 25 hours a week or so being an early educator instead of writing. I had one plan, life had another, but looking at the results, it worked out for the best. The kids are happier, healthier, less stressed, getting a better education.

It’s been an intense year for parenting. Very intense. With amazingly good results, so I can truly say it’s all for the best although I am not ahead of my writing schedule as planned.So, so not.

The last year has really made me reexamine how much time I need to spend parenting/educating and how much time I can spend writing, and hopefully next year will be smoother with fewer surprises. With better information comes better planning. I will get out as much writing as I can, but not at the cost of family life or my own sanity. And I do in fact have to sleep sometime.

This has been a big year of letting go, simplifying, streamlining. Changing what wasn’t working for what does.

Goodbye, 2008. Welcome 2009. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.

Book stuff!

I am getting emails that say things like, “Where are blurbs and excerpts for Out of This World Lover, Animal Attraction, and Claimed by the Wolf?” So here’s a bunch of book stuff.

Out of This World Lover, Pocket, Jan 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1416578253

This anthology contains my novella Wolf In Cheap Clothing.

Romance Junkies 5 Blue Ribbon Award

2006 eCataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award Nominee

When Louise Catrell dresses up in a little red bikini and goes hunting for the big, bad wolf, finding herself in handcuffs isn’t part of the plan. Although what alpha werewolf Dylan Richardson uses them for goes a long ways towards redeeming the evening.

Finding a she-wolf dressed up in cheap clothing isn’t nearly as fun as undressing her proves. But sex on the beach isn’t all Dylan’s after. He’s claiming Lou for keeps. Their animal sides may be in agreement, but it’ll take all Dylan’s persuasion to win Lou’s human heart. And he doesn’t have much time. The moon is rising, and it will take both of them to bring down the rogue werewolf who is waiting to kill again.

Animal Attraction, coming March 2009 from St. Martin’s

ISBN-13: 978-0312537418

Chandra Walker always hoped to find out who her birth parents were; she just didn’t expect the truth to put her in the middle of a shapeshifter war with the power to determine the outcome, complicated by a forbidden love for two mates.

Chapter excerpt in the back of Wicked Hot.

Claimed by the Wolf, A Shadow Guardians Novel coming Aug 2009 from St. Martin’s.

ISBN-13: 978-0312537425

(I see that it says Shadow Warriors on Amazon, so the name may have changed. These things happen.)

They guard humanity against supernatural threats from the five gateways into the world. The Shadow Guardians: vampire, werewolf, demon, dragon and sidhe united in war—and love.

An apprentice witch unknowingly acquires a demonic grimoire that opens a gate to other realms, allowing dark, forbidden forces to enter the world. Now her only hope lies in gaining sufficient power to master the book instead of becoming its servant, and overcoming a centuries-old enmity to trust a werewolf as her ally…and lover.

Chapter excerpt in the back of Animal Attraction.

Excerpts: I haven’t put them on this site due to trying to figure out how to deal with duplicate content (excerpts on bookseller sites, publisher sites, etc.) and the adult content issue. Duplicate content can result in lowered search engine rankings, and adult content is a whole ‘nuther ball of wax. It can impact who can access the site, and may even alter the site’s “rating” if certain legislation passes. So while I ponder that, the excerpts aren’t live. I will probably opt to go with non-duplicated content that’s PG in the near future.

Pumpkin Chocolate Pie

I made this recipe, and pronounce it worth the trouble! Next time, I’d melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat instead of in the microwave, and I’d make a gingersnap crust instead of a regular pie crust. But still, yum! If you’re looking for a holiday dessert that’s a little bit different, this is a good one.