We are now under the twenty four hour mark. I am a total mess. In less than a day I will leave my son, my baby boy in the big city. All alone, in his apartment, in an unfamiliar neighborhood and I will walk away. Letting him adjust to life, to being an adult and a college student. I am a total mess.
I know that this is the end goal. That this is the way that life is supposed to go. We have children and raise them to be capable adults who can function on their own. Who go to college and move out. That doesn’t make it any easier. My heart hurts.
This will change the dynamic of our family, the entire feel of my home. Thing 1 has always had a big personality that fills our home. He thinks he’s funny, I am constantly groaning as he puns his way through any situation. We’ve even joked about whether we should start a drinking game that every time he makes a pun we have to take a drink. However it was decided that that would have everyone too drunk.
As a mother I am so proud of him for everything that he is accomplishing and for him following his dreams. But as a mother I am also incredibly worried. Terrified even. Will he be okay? What if he gets lost? What if he’s lonely? What if he doesn’t do well at school? What if school isn’t what he thought it would be? All these thoughts and more are stampeding through my brain on repeat. At points it feels as though I can’t breathe for the paralyzing anxiety.
Thing 1 was my first foray into being a real adult. I had him when I was twenty three and it was the first time I had to be responsible for anyone besides myself. Although I wanted a girl, when he was born he lit up my world. When he was six or seven we noticed that he was different from other kids. At age 10 he was diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger’s. For those not in the know, Asperger’s is on the autism spectrum. The children who have Asperger’s have a very hard time with social interaction, their brains are not wired the same way as the majority of people. They don’t understand social cues, or make eye contact regularly. There are also a number of other symptoms. They aren’t slow, most are in fact quite gifted when it comes to school classes. We have worked very hard over the past number of years to make sure that he is as adjusted as can be. That being said we still have a lot of issues, things that have to be explained in a different way so that Thing 1 will understand them. He doesn’t adjust well to change and becomes overwhelmingly frustrated when things don’t work the way he thinks they should. As the parent of an Asperger’s child my paranoia and worry had been increased. What if he can’t deal? How can I help him the way I always have when I am a two hour drive away? Gah. Maybe things are worse because of this and maybe not. They might have been just as bad if he was a “normal” teenage boy. I don’t know. All I know is how I feel.
Also adding to my worry is the pure naïve nature of my son. He always wants to do the right thing. Prime example. For background information – he worked at the Coffee Culture. He worked the closing shift most nights. One night he calls me just before midnight.
T1 panic in his voice – “Mom. I need you to come pick me up.”
Me – “Um. Okay but why?”
T1 – “I was cleaning the bathrooms and I found a back pack.”
Me – “Okay….”
T1 – “Yeah full of money, like ten thousand dollars and also a passport.”
Me – “Okay… but why do you need me?”
T1 – “So we can return it to the address on the passport after I close.”
Me – “No. We are not driving to a strangers house in the middle of the night. You need to call the police.”
T1 – “Oh. Okay.”
He had no idea that it is not normal for average people to carry around ten grand in cash. It never crossed his mind that the owner of this cash might have some nefarious purpose. He didn’t bat an eye about knocking on a potential drug dealers house at nearly one in the morning. These are the thoughts that never even crossed his mind.
And this dear readers only adds to my fears. This honest, kind, open kid is moving to Toronto. Gah. I think I need a paper bag to breathe into. I know I’ll get through this but DAMN it’s not going to be easy.
Tuesday, 30 August 2016
We are now under the twenty four hour mark. I am a total mess. In less than a day I will leave my son, my baby boy in the big city. All alone, in his apartment, in an unfamiliar neighborhood and I will walk away. Letting him adjust to life, to being an adult and a college student. I am a total mess.
Friday, 26 August 2016
I was incredibly lucky to have Mr. Gloria buy me a scooter for my fortieth birthday, a total surprise but very pleasant. I had always planned to get a scooter but two things held me back. First is the fact that I am a cheap bastard and couldn’t stomach putting the money out on it. And second I wanted my ass to be a little less wide before straddling a scooter and riding around town. ANYWAYS. Mr. Gloria took the wishy-washy nature of me and ended the question. He bought me a beautiful blue scooter. I named her Luci. Short for “Luciole” which is French for Firefly. My little way to pull my geekiness into her name. Joss Whedon forever!!
But I digress, I ride my scooter faithfully. Most days once the snow has left I can be found riding my baby to and from work. She parks on the sidewalk just outside my work (and saves me countless amounts of money – I haven’t gotten a single parking ticket since Luci came into my life) I can see her from the window all day long.
So yesterday I had just finished up my lunch and was heading back into the branch when I, of course, glanced over to see how Luci was faring for the day. Low and behold beside her was this Dude. He was on his own scooter. Not nearly as pretty as my Luci but a scooter non the less. So this guy is busy checking Luci out. And I mean checking her out. He sat there eyeballing her up and down. Moving to see her fender better. A slight smile on his face as he ogled her headlights. A good five minutes, he checked her out, as I walked up the street and entered my branch.
As I saw this I was left with a feeling of unease. Almost violation. Why was this man checking out my baby? Leering at her with such lust in his eyes. I can honestly say I have never felt like that. He was so obvious, so disturbing that I couldn’t help the shudder that wracked my body.
Then I realized that although I think of her as a sentient being Lucy is just a machine. And he was longing for her in a jealous way. He wished he could have a scooter as awesome as mine. And with that I smiled and let it go
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
The last few weeks have been crazy. And here I thought when we finished the move that we would be able to relax…apparently not.
I turned 42 last week. While this birthday didn’t bring terror and tears or anything I’m not sure how I feel about the ripe old age I have achieved. I had a great time, doing exactly what I wanted for a low-key, quiet celebration. Hanging with friends, lots of laughter and generally a great time. I’m not horrified by the age, being forty two is really different than I would have thought. I would have expected me to break down. To be a blubbering mess, but I wasn’t. Instead I found myself calm and quite chill (the total opposite of me normally so this was definitely odd.
The hardest part of any birthday is celebrating without my mom. Wanting her there will never cease, it never goes away. On special moments the ache is just, well worse. She would laugh at me I know and tell me to suck it up. That this is the way life is and that I need to get over it. Get over it. So much easier said than done. I try so hard to be normal, to accept that this is the hand that life has dealt my family but I really am not okay. It’s been eleven nearly twelve years and I am still not okay. A piece of me is gone and it won’t ever come back. I fake it well, on the face of things I appear normal. Well as normal as can be anyways. But inside I’m not. There are so many moments that I would love to call my mom and ask her advice, chat with her, vent to her, anything. And I can’t. It’s moments like these that I have a hard time with envy. I envy my friends who can call and talk with their moms. They mention it and I know they don’t intend to be mean but every time it’s like a knife to my heart. Not that I want them to lose their parent I just want mine back. I’m 42 and feel like an orphan. I guess one never gets over the loss of a loved one. And a mother daughter relationship is special.
Wow. Morose post today…sorry for that. Hope you all can excuse my teariness. With Thing 1 moving the end of the month I am feeling very on edge and close to tears at all times. I wonder how my mom felt when I moved away and then this whole stream of selfishness and sadness encompasses me and I can’t escape. AHh… there I go again. Damn it. I better sign off while I’m not a blubbering mess. Until next time.
Sunday, 31 July 2016
All day we had friends, coworkers and associates through. Some stayed for a little while and others stayed for a long time. It was so great to reconnect with people that perhaps I have been ignoring in my stress induced packing haze. I felt like Vanna White as I showed multitudes of people through our home. *Arm waving gracefully* “And this is the Kitchen…”
The one thing I can take away from my house warming party is the love and affection that I felt to my very bones. Even though I had been a tad distracted and self-focused over the last couple of months, my friends still loved me and were genuinely happy for me. I have the best friends. We laughed, we drank and we had fun as we sat out back on my beautiful new deck. Darkness crowded in and still we had people. I lit candles (much to the amusement of my Dad who thought it was too warm for candles – but sometimes men just don’t get the necessity of ambiance) Overall it was a great weekend, surrounded by love and laughs.
Yesterday we went to Toronto (again) on the search for a room for Thing 1 to live in while in college this September. First let me rewind. Last week we spent Wednesday looking for apartments / rooms. What a waste of time, energy and gasoline. Although spending the day with my kids is never a bad thing…looking at rooms that ranged from skanky to Skanky to SKANKY didn’t help with my separation anxiety. The one room looked like there should have been a number of murders in the space. Concrete walls, squishy stairs to a dank basement. Two hot plates plugged in behind the hot water tank. AND the kicker…she opens the door to show us the bedroom and the guy renting it was asleep in the bed still. Yes, you heard me right she showed us the room while someone was still there. Ugh. I shuddered with disgust for a half hour afterwards. As did Thing 2, while Thing 1 told us to “Stop being such girls” We came home…frustrated, scared and unsure how to proceed. And I was more terrified than ever about my Baby Boy moving to THE CITY. But I foraged on…and last night we drove back for another viewing. This time the house was aged, but clean. The landlord was nice but not creepy nice. The room was big enough and bright enough. There was drywall on the walls, and actual flooring on the floor. It was close to the college and close enough to where Thing 1 hopes to work. It was at the top of his budget – but not over budget (unlike many of the questionable places we had seen) Overall a win. We should be signing the lease tonight. And boy am I happy. Not happy that my kid is going away but happy that we have a place for him to go to. He won’t be living on the streets or couch surfing.
Deep breath, Mama bear is maintaining her calm. Managing to accept that this is the way things are meant to be….this, the moving out is the natural progression of things.
Now that our house warming is done, rooms are set up and found, I have spent some time in my office. And boy oh boy do I love it. Yesterday morning I was in there with my tea in hand editing away. It was wonderful. So hopefully soon I will have some new stuff out there and ready to go but until then I soldier on.
Enjoy your day
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
We moved last weekend, going from our huge semi with a garage and unfinished basement that allowed me to collect (aka hoard) lots of great things that I *might* need in the future to a small bungalow without a garage and the basement is finished (so no storage). What a transition. We had the prerequisite garage sale and purged like you wouldn’t believe prior to the move and I still had too much stuff. Today Mr. Gloria makes the final trip to the dump to rid ourselves of the last of our excesses.
We moved a week ago and I am proud to say that I am now completely unpacked. All my pictures are hung, decorative items are out and on full display. Furniture is where I want it. I will admit I love moving, the unpacking is a great joy (mostly) for me – I love discovering the beautiful things I own again.
So with the unpacking came a revelation. We have a huge rec room / office space. A 15 foot long wall to house our books. I happily instructed my Dad where I wanted the seven foot tall shelves and then started loading them up. I gleefully filled shelves with my favourites, remembering fondly the stories that these tomes contained. All my Katie McKalisters, the Steven Kings, Mercedes Lackeys, Patrick Rothfusses, Brent Weeks and the Charlaine Harris’s. I relished the memories of my favourite characters, Talia, Nadine, Christian, Joy and Roxy not to mention Kvothe and Sookie… I spent long moments caressing their well-worn covers and thoroughly enjoying the sensation.
Then about 2/3 of the way through the multitude of boxes I came to a shocking stop. I was out of room on my shelves…and me with 1/3 of my beloved books still to be put away.
What’s a bibliophilic to do? Cry? Scream? Leave them in boxes? God forbid but…Purge? That possibility receives a resounding NO! We do not get rid of books, that would be akin to throwing away old friends. And we love our old friends dearly. So, I bought more book shelves… and the best part – they aren’t quite as full as they could be so I can buy more books
Wednesday, 6 July 2016
You know I always thought that the idea of sleeping less as you got older was a myth. I really did. I am now, and have always been a night hawk. It isn’t unusual for me to see two a.m, often even later than that. I always needed my alarm. Without the inevitable buzzing I would sleep until noon. Without fail. Sometimes even later.
Lately however – like since I turned the dreaded 4-0 I’ve been waking up early. Without my clock. I can’t seem to sleep past 9, no matter how late I am up the night before. Some days even earlier! Last weekend I woke up just before eight *gasp* and there was no going back to sleep. (on the weekend!!)
I really didn’t expect this of me, and anyone who knew me in my younger years (my god I sound like I’m a senior citizen here) anyways they would be shocked. I could sleep through all alarms, including the fire alarm, without stirring. The Great Sleeper, who slept like the dead. Deeply and long, with great pleasure. I had a serious affair with my bed. A true, deep, lifelong love. And now I could care less. I’m apathetic. I have fallen out of love with my bed. It just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’m shocked. I still long for the incredible emotional attachment I had with slumber.
At this rate I will be able to go without sleeping at all by the time I am sixty. Think of all the stuff I could get done…I could write, I could binge watch all the television shows I could possibly want, I could turn my bedroom into the dream library I’ve always wanted. (Although Mr. Gloria might have some issues with that – I am pretty sure he has some uses for the bedroom that don’t involve sleeping)
I’ve discovered all sorts of things that happen in the a.m – farmers markets, garage sales, a peaceful visit to the grocery store, the quiet on my back deck as the birds chirp and awaken. So many things I never expected. So much beauty in the morning.
My creative juices have also shifted, no longer writing until the middle of the night – I find myself more productive in the morning hours. What the hell is happening to me? Maybe aliens have actually taken over. Either way, I guess it is time for me to accept the things that I cannot change. To adjust my life to being a morning person. To accept the challenges that come with a lack of sleep. To accept that I am growing older and that this is a fact of life. Wow. With my lack of sleep comes a level of maturity I also find shocking. Perhaps I will become easy going, a go with the flow girl: accepting everything…nah. That’s pushing it too far.
Monday, 4 July 2016
Tuesday, 21 June 2016
As many of you know I have been preparing for the big move to our new home. Cleaning, packing and purging have become buzz words around my house. The excitement is raising as we take possession in just over two weeks and I cannot wait. The new home is ever so pretty with shining wood floors and a backyard that is both private and extensive. So we have decided the new house deserves a new kitchen / dining table set. Something that is in better condition than our ratty old bar height table. I’ve been looking online and locally and not much has peaked my interest.
I’ve been re-watching Friends and by re-watching I mean total binge watching. (I know this seems like a total ‘SQUIRREL’ moment but I promise it is all related) Monica has a wonderful kitchen set. Four chairs, none of which match but they are conversational, funky and so trendy. Even now twenty years after the show is done the set still intrigues me. So I’m watching and I think to myself “That would be beautiful in our new home.” Then I start to imagine it further, I start to sweat. I find it difficult to breathe. My brain wants the orderly, the balanced. Four chairs that are all different is, to my mind, as hard to accept as fingernails on chalkboards.
The mismatched chairs would be stunning in the home, but they wouldn’t do for me. Some people are mismatched chair types of people and others need to have a matching set. I kept thinking that I had to be the type of person who could live with an eclectic set of furniture. In my mind, creative fun enterprising people have mismatched sets of furniture. Rigid strict boring people have matching sets. I tried to force a fit but even the thought of un-matching furniture set my teeth on edge.
I am creative and I think I am fun, but I still need balance. I can’t handle it when things on shelves are asymmetrical, as my family well knows. Often they will rearrange things just to see how long it takes me to ‘fix’ the problem.
So I don’t think it’s a black and white matter of mismatched chair people being the creative artists types and matching being the stuffed shirts. I think being in a well-organized space can induce creativity as much as the funky disorder others love. We all function within our spaces the best we can. Embrace your inner organizer, if that’s what you need and let your freak flag fly if that’s what you need. Whatever is necessary for you to find that spark within you – take it. Fly with it. Accept what you need as normal.
It doesn’t matter if you are a matching chair person or a mismatched set. What matters is that what you have makes you happy and lets you be you.
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
What’s in a name?
One of the things I pay particularly close attention to when I am writing (or at least in the plotting and planning stages) is names. My main characters names are of utmost importance. Sometimes they just come to me and no matter how hard I work to change them, the character inevitably has told me their names and they refuse to change. Take Anna for example. I woke up from a dream knowing her name. I didn’t necessarily care for the name and tried to change it – but no. Anna was having none of that. She remained firmly Anna until the end. Supernaturally yours was one of those inspired stories where I felt like I wasn’t writing the tale but rather letting the tale be told through me. I was merely the conduit for the story to come out of.
Other names I research meanings and repeat them to myself ad nauseam making sure they sound good on the tongue and have the right meaning and feeling. Leeandra (Lee) was a combination of names, I liked the short form of her name and it sounded like a biker chicks name. But Lee in and of itself wasn’t enough. Even the toughest of girls can have a little softness about them. And that is what I wanted when writing Liquid Fire.
Kira was one of the only names I have ever managed to change. Originally the main character of Becoming Kira was named Kate. And the working title of the novella had been Kates Choice. However apparently there was a fairly popular book in the 1970’s by that name and I wanted to avoid confusion, so I changed the title and the main characters name. To me the main character was the everyday woman and so choosing Kate was obvious. However things change and although her name became Kira I still feel the flavor and initial intent with the name came through.
The BFF in any story has to have the feel of friendly and approachable. This is mostly accomplished by the characters personality but the name can help. Jenny and Avery, from Supernaturally Yours and Liquid Fire had the quality we all look for in a friends. Someone who has your back and is supportive but will push the main character to do what needs to be done. And perhaps most important is the ability for the main character to confide in someone.
The ‘dude’ as I affectionately call the main male character. His name typically needs to be strong and imbue a sense of modernity to him. In Supernaturally Yours, I chose Nathan. He is strong, a bit of a reformed dick who is struggling to live up to his potential. From Liquid Fire, Jeremy is a snob who can be overbearing and judgmental but Lee makes him rethink all his preconceived notions. In Becoming Kira I had two men, Dominic (Dom) and Michael, both had different qualities that their names seemed to be personified by their names.
Most of all my characters need to be believable and that means they have to be flawed. As we humans are all flawed so too should our characters both male and female. I love making my characters overcome their deficiencies and survive the aftermath.
Tuesday, 7 June 2016
I try not to be too political or talk much about current events. Today I feel obligated to disregard my previous stance.
I read with absolute disgust and a vomitous feeling of sickness inside me about the 20 year old Stanford swimmer who was found guilty of raping an unconscious woman after a frat party. Random passersby had witnessed the crime and stepped in to help the woman. He was found guilty, which should be the beginning to the best possible endings in a horrible situation. BUT then in steps a judge who decides that his life might be TOO effected by a long sentence. So the rising swimming star gets a whole six months.
And then his father steps forward about how his son’s life was ruined for “twenty minutes of action”.
Twenty minutes of action is a hell of a way to describe a blatant sexual assault. Defending and believing in your child is one thing but at some point you have to say hey, my kid is now an adult and he needs to step up and take some responsibility for his actions. AND HE WAS FOUND GUILTY SO HIS ACTIONS ARE IRREFUTABLE and undeniable.
The online, trolling comments and such only furthered my general distaste for humanity. Women and men both asserting how she deserved it and probably said yes but since was drunk she doesn’t remember. What part of UNCONSCIOUNESS implies consent? Do these people live in a different world from the one I do? Where a jury of twelve average men and women found this man guilty and yet in the court of online media he is not guilty? Or at least not guilty enough, and she is guilty of at the very least behaving in a way that is not becoming of a ‘woman’. Screw that! It’s 2016 people, women have as many rights as men and if we chose to get drunk as skunks and parade naked down the street in front of the capital building… you know what? WE STILL AREN’T ASKING FOR IT!
I read the woman’s victim impact statement with tears streaming down my face. What a strong woman. She amazes me. If you are interested in reading it here’s a link…
The most powerful portion is at the end where she addresses other women in her situation.
“On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought every day for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.”
This woman has been through hell and yet she finds the courage, the pure strength to support others. Beyond belief. Add to the fact that her statement was read, by her, in front of the man who had brutalized her and taken so much from her. Bravo.
I worry about the kind of world we live in. I fear for the future, and the past. “20 minutes of action” How on earth can anyone in good conscious say that? The poor survivor (I refuse the term victim because this woman is anything but a victim) she has to live with her abusers actions for the rest of her life why the hell shouldn’t he? There are those who think that for some reason a CONVICTED CRIMINAL shouldnt be held responsible for his actions for longer than six months. And they mourn the star athlete he may have been instead of mourning the random woman whose life his choices affected?
We have to do better. Raise our children (and not just our boys but all our children) to respect others. To understand that just because they “want” something doesn’t mean they can have it. Responsibility and respect, things that should be taught from the time our kids can walk seem to have been left behind. The best time to teach our kids about this is when they are young. We can’t treat them like little princes and princesses for all their lives and then suddenly expect them to be adults who can function within society at a level that is required. They need to understand and learn about consequences. Little Jonny may be an adorable child but if he fails at class – it’s his fault. No one else’s. Not moms and not dads and certainly not the teachers. The time has come for us to stand up and behave like we believe our kids CAN be capable adults. Stop with the coddling and buying them any and everything they want. Teach them if they play video games all night instead of studying for their test they will fail and it is their OWN DAMN FAULT.
I am a feminist and proud of it. I am not a man hater. But until women’s futures and voices are heard equally with men’s - feminists are a necessity. This case only punctuates the differences between men and women and how they are treated in the eyes of the law and the public opinion court. I read something that said (and I am paraphrasing) “Women are judged by their past (what did you wear? How many drinks had you had? How many sexual partners? AND SO ON) wherein men are judged by their Future. (their potential and how their future lives will be affected by this ‘incident’)” This is a prime example of attitudes that need to change. And until we change this the feminist movement and rights of women in general will not be equal to those who were lucky enough to be born with a penis.
To the woman who the focus of the story is. I applaud you, your strength and resilience. You will overcome. Do not let this POS take any more from you. Keep believing in yourself and be proud of who you will become. Know that nothing you did caused this. Nothing you did could have caused it. On behalf of mankind I apologize for the shit storm you’ve been living. I apologize for the misogynist society that holds his worth and value to be higher. But know that while a judge may have believed that not everyone does. We stand behind you and we are fighting to change the old boys club in every way we can.
To the POS judge, swimmer and his father. Time for your precious boy to grow up. He was found guilty. I hope that he can reflect and grow and learn to take responsibility for his actions. No one held him down and forced him to rape an unconscious girl. No one force fed him the alcohol that he uses as an excuse. Instead of giving lame excuses, stand up and say I’m sorry.
So proud momma moment. I must share. But first a bit of background information.
For those of you that don’t know, Thing 2 was born with a heart condition which required surgery when she was five. It was a serious enough condition that the surgery took place at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto. She had started to show signs of heart failure when she was finally big enough to have the surgery (before you start fretting too much – she is absolutely fine- the surgery was a success and she is as ornery and normal as any other teenage girl around) Anyways the staff at Sick Kids was wonderful and although the experience was harrowing and nothing I would wish on my enemies, she was well cared for. I still remember the hospital, and have nightmares about the sick, sad children but, it was the best place for Thing 2 to be.
Anyways that’s the background, fast forward to now Thing 1 is eighteen and Thing 2 is fifteen. The other night I overheard the two of them talking, it goes like this:
Thing 2 “Don’t worry I’ll get you the money I owe you next week, when I get paid.”
Thing 1 “Okay, it’s on my credit card so I need the cash as soon as possible.”
Thing 2 “No problem.”
Hmm. My ears perked up and the Mommy radar switched on to high. What is Thing 2 buying that requires a credit card? And why did she ask her brother and not me? Hmm. Time to get to the bottom of this mystery.
So I call the kids in, and ask what’s going on?
This is the story as I got it from them.
Thing 1 saw a post online looking for help. It was $20 per month donation to the Sick Kids hospital.
Thing 1 said since it was the hospital that saved his sisters life he wanted to help them. And that he knew how much that hospital had helped his sister and he wanted to donate back to it. He arranged the auto donation to come off his credit card once a month for the next year and when Thing 2 heard about it she also thought it was a great idea and wanted to contribute as well so she had him set it up for her. Each child is donating $20 per month because they know what a great hospital Sick Kids is. Thing 2 has memories, however vague of her time there and knew she had to give back to the place that had literally saved her life.
Both kids work part time and save fifty percent of their incomes for college, since we’ve always known that Mr. Gloria and I would be unable to pay for post-secondary education. So their spending money is already limited and for the two of them to decide to donate a portion of that money to charity, and a charity that is so close to our hearts (literally) and I felt like The Grinch, my heart grew three sizes with the pride I felt.
I had this moment of pure bliss, pure pride and joy. A moment where I knew I had done well with my kids and they were genuinely good people.
I’ve been really absent from the blog over the last little while. It’s like my life exploded. Everything that could change seems to have – within a few months. I sold my store, got a job (supposed to be part time – but I haven’t seen that yet) sold my house, bought a new house, getting ready to move, sold my weekend getaway (also known as my trailer), Thing 1 has accepted his college admittance (eek!), Thing 2 is switching high schools. *deep breath* I can and will get through all the changes.
I do not deal with changes all that well. And here I am faced with seemingly insurmountable and constant changes.
I’ve also had a period of severe reflection. Self-doubt (always a close companion of mine) fear and depression have taken a serious toll on me. Added to all the other stressors, and I haven’t been feeling creative in the two minutes a day I can call my own. I want to write, I want to read and yet the depression has me macraméd to the couch watching old reruns of Glee. in the last two weeks there have been some glimmerings of ideas rumbling around in my head and a slight creative nudge happening so hopefully I will be able to return to my normal self. I am making a conscious effort to be more present and write more.
I have been journaling a lot more (old fashioned journaling in a bound-paper book – *gasp* but trust me it’s nothing you would want to read about. Mostly my overwhelming fears and doubts and allowing my inner whiner free reign. along with some serious dark poetry not at all suitable for public consumption.
So I hope that everyone is having a good time and can forgive me for being an absent person as I try to sort out my life.
Hugs and kisses to you all.
Tuesday, 1 March 2016
My mundane life has been hectic to say the least. I know it feels like I am always going off about how crazy things have been, and to some extent I feel guilty about that and then I say to heck with it. My life is a whirlwind right now. I've taken on more hours at my day job, heading on vacation (and trying to plan that), decided to move, bought a house, listed my house and lost the dream house that I had bought, blog tour, writing and general family / personal life stuff clogging up the works.
To explain Mr. Gloria and I have been looking for a house for about five years. Actively the last year, we've looked at more than 50 houses in the last twelve months. We finally found 'the one' - I swear angels sang and lights flashed when we saw it. We put in an offer, which was accepted. So we rushed around prepping our house to list, doing some work and packing to make it show better, and listed within four days of our offer. Well little did I know that an offer that is conditional can be beaten out by other offers with less conditions. And that is exactly what happened to us. Another offer came through with less conditions and they won. I lost. My unicorn, the mythical beast I have been searching for was ridden off by someone else. Needless to say, I am heartbroken. After much soul searching (and brow beating by my husband) I am not giving up and the search continues.
I finished my blog tour and below will post some of the reviews I've been thrilled to get. Liquid Fire is doing well, I've heard many compliments. I got a beautiful teary message from one person that left me with suspiciously wet cheeks.
(Although I admit to being a little perturbed that the three people I dedicated the novel to have yet to read it or even know that it was dedicated to them...hint hint) Other than that I am thrilled with the way things are going. I am still fighting through the marketing aspect and learning all that I need to do. I'm getting there. Baby steps right?
So, while I try not to give excuses, and instead only offer explanations, that is why I may have seemed absent lately. It is what it is. And as soon as my heart heals, my hours reduce and my vacation is over things should return to normal.
To finish off, as promised, below are some of the reviews Liquid Fire has received (from a variety of online sources including blogs, amazon, goodreads etc)
My Reading Addiction
"These characters are complex and each have a variety of things going on in the present as well as some skeletons in their closets.
Gloria C. Bishop's writing style is very direct. There is no skirting around things. Characters and plot are both well developed."
From The Indie Express
"Connecting with the main character(s) is key for a reader to determine whether they will not only relate, but be invested in the story itself. Lee has one of those personalities that really drew me in. She was witty, entertaining, and real.
The plot flowed smoothly and I didn't feel like anything was forced or majorly missing. I liked the overall writing style of Gloria C. Bishop"
From The Steamy Side
"This is a Paranormal Romance novel that will have you immersed in the world Gloria C. Bishop has created. She really does a great job of setting the scene and giving the reader enough backstory about her world.
I liked the journey both main characters went on and the evolution of their characters in dealing with their past.
There was a nice balance between the love story aspect and the Paranormal."
From Angels Guilty Pleasures
~ 4.5 Liquid Fire Stars
"Liquid Fire is book one in the Element of Love series by Gloria C. Bishop. It brings together a distinctive atmosphere with gripping characters.
GBishop is a new to me author. I fell in love with Liquid Fire from the very first page to the last. The author pulls you into an extraordinary world full of intriguing characters that have great dynamics together. I was mesmerized with her in-depth portrayal of the elements, Guardians who protect the elements and the magical dimension. I absolutely loved reading Liquid Fire. It was fresh, unique, action-packed and non-stop on the go adventure.
Lee is a mystery. She has no clue what she is. She is the type of heroine I just enjoy reading about. A rare kick-ass women with loads of fire raging deep inside. She is no push-over and when she discovers she is magical, well she doesn’t sit back. She goes out with her new friends to find out what really happened to her parents, why she never knew, and to find her missing elements.
Jeremy is a Water Guardian. He is intelligent, sweet, protective, and all round a great hero type character. He helps guide Lee and is with her almost every step of the way. Introducing her into this new magical world.
I loved Lee and Jeremy together. They banter, but it’s fun banter and when they do hook up well they sure do make some steam. The chemistry was great.
The secondary characters where wonderful, especially Avery, who helps Lee out. Avery is the library type, shy, but with a little hell cat hiding inside. I’m curious to find out her secret and learn more about her.
The Arthur does such a great job bring all her characters together. It feels real and like a family. The world building is deep. Their is no shortage of information. The author does an amazing job giving us this information, building up the world and helping her characters to grow.
The only thing that bugged me (this is minor) is I felt their was to much emphasis on drinking coffee. They sure do drink a lot of coffee. Man I’d be weird if that is all I drank.
Liquid Fire will pull your heartstrings on the past, fill your mind with a rich world, full of fun and captivating characters. I am looking forward to more in this series."
From Novel News Network
"I really did think that this author showed a lot of imagination in writing this story. I enjoyed that I understood the characters motivation throughout the novel. I didn’t disagree with a lot of the actions.
There is also definite chemistry and a steam factor to this novel. I think that the looks on the cover models faces really goes hand in hand with this."
From Texas Book Nook
"First of all, I just want to start off by saying, HOW HOT is that cover? I love it!
I felt like everything flowed very well and the characters were very easy to become attached to. This is the kind of book that you become engrossed in.
If you are interested in a roller coaster ride with many twists and turns than this is definitely the book for you. There are plenty of times where I said to myself "Whoa, didn't see that coming."
From Bringing you the Romance (Paranormal romance and authors that rock)
"This is the first book in the Element of Love series and ends in an HEA. Lee is an orphaned biker chick who works as a tattoo artist. She gave up a college scholarship to take care of her sick father. Her mom dies when she was much younger. Her small town is boring to her, so after a huge run of bad luck and her father’s death, she packs up and cycles to a big city to find a tattoo job. A whole new world opens up for Lee in the city. The magical hide in plain sight and Lee is more magical than most.
She meets Avery who introduces her to what Lee really is. I thought it funny how Lee thought Avery was nuts at first and was just listening to her to humor her. Lee’s reaction to Avery’s revelations were exactly as I would have reacted. The descriptions of How Lee feels when trying to practice her skills were interesting. The feelings were well thought out and descriptive, considering the author had to work in fantasy.
Jeremy is the love interest for Lee. A theme of prejudice runs throughout the story. Prejudice is ugly whether based in fantasy or reality. Jeremy has to fight his prejudice against fire and Lee’s family has prejudices against everyone, it seemed. The love story between Jeremy and Lee was hot when they were fighting their attraction and again when they did a ‘mind meld’. Once again the author described a fantasy event and made it seem real.
I am a reviewer for Romance Authors that Rock. I am giving this book 5 hearts. This book is appropriate for an adult audience."
From a Life Through Books
"I loved the pacing of this novel. I felt like it really stayed on the same level throughout. Often times novels slow down and have dead moments, but Gloria C. Bishop did a great job of keeping the readers interest throughout with this one.
The characters are very well developed. I felt like they had their issues and weren't perfect, but showed growth throughout the novel, which I always like to see.
The romance and steamy factor are way up there as well. This isn't just a regular Paranormal Romance, there are definitely some more in depth scenes that were very well executed as well."
From Melissa Burcham
"Wow what a good book! I absolutely enjoyed this book
Wow what a good book! I absolutely enjoyed this book. I was drawn in from the first page and couldn't put it down until the last page. I couldn't wait to see how the story would end. I was not disappointed at all with the end of the book. The writing was good and the story line intriguing . . . This is the first book I have read of Gloria Bishop. It probably will not be the last. I enjoyed this book and her writing. I look forward to see what else is to come from this author. Thank you, Gloria, for a great read! ~ Melissa Burcham"
Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Today is book release day. Liquid fire is now available to everyone.
I am filled with a mix of butterflies and pride. Nervous how the public will receive the novel and proud because of how much I love it. The characters spoke to me in ways that I couldn't believe.
Lee has been through so much in her life I was rooting for her to succeed. Avery was the cutest bubbly thing, I love the energy she brought to the mix. Add in Jeremy a hotter than hell water guardian with hang ups of his own and the chemistry was right.
Book launch days for me are always hang by the edge of my seat. Hoping, praying, begging that everyone sees the world the way I do. That they are as intrigued as I was and am.
Not much else on my mind. Trying to concentrate on anything besides Liquid Fire is like trying to capture rain in a strainer. Not happening.
Let me know what you think....
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Today I am sitting in a coffee shop on my lunch break, contemplating the twists and turns that life gives. As a child I was fairly creative, in thought anyway. Most of my physical creative attempts were failed. I didn’t have that knack. I wanted to be able to draw and to make beautiful pieces of pottery, knitting what have you. I suffered from a severe lack of confidence. My mom was creative. Everything she touched turned to gold. She was the crafty-human version of Midas. Every time I started anything remotely artistic I would immediately be seized by doubts. I wasn’t as good as Mom was. As an adult I’ve come to terms with that fact. I am okay with it. I have given up trying to compete with the memory of an artistic person. I only craft or create things that Mom never did, that way I’m not tempted to have an unwinnable contest with the memory of my fantastic mother.
And that being said I like to think that I have found my creative outlet. The passion that I feel while writing fills me with joy. I have other creative outlets as well, I love doing makeup (especially special effects makeup) which is something my mother never did.
There was a time when I worried that I would never be able to release the demons that lurked within me, forcing me to constantly question and wonder. What if? How come? If only… Why did this happen? These questions were my constant companion. My brain always came up with scenarios. I would lie in bed for hours coming up with stories and waking dreams. I honestly believe innately creative people are wired differently. I know I’ve quite often gotten the look that says ‘did you just ask that?’
I don’t think that I am the best writer, or even a phenomenal writer. I am me. I tell the stories that come to me the way they come to me. I love doing it. I love the struggle to find the words, the joy in a beautiful sentence. I find bliss within the worlds that I create. While I have always written, I never expected others to find my worlds as fascinating as I do. I never would have expected to be recognized for being a writer, for publishers to like my ‘voice’.
I am so filled with gratitude and pride. The fact that others enjoy my words, want to read them, can relate to my characters or even my blog makes me swell with joy.
And while it may sound trite, I appreciate everything. Every positive thought and word. Every smile and nod. As over the next few weeks my blog may be coated in promotional posts I can only ask that you share the word.
Wednesday, 27 January 2016
Wow, so its two weeks until my release date, February 9th. Liquid Fire is my second full length novel and third published overall. It’s been a crazy ride to this point. I am in the process right now of planning and executing my book launch party.
Add into the stress of the book release the fact that I have started a new day to day job. It will only be part time but the training period of six weeks, is full time. I accepted the part time job, knowing that it would give me and my family security along with still giving me the time to be my usual creative self.
I am working on the sequel to Supernaturally Yours, and am loving the character development. I am learning so much more about Reta than I ever expected. That being said, don’t get too excited. I am still on the initial draft (and only about ¼ of the way through that) there is still plenty of work to go on it. I am tentatively calling it “Supernaturally Mine.” And I hope to have the initial draft done by the time the flowers bloom.
Back to Liquid Fire, I am working on this launch party. Which is like a celebration where I do a little reading from the new novel and answer questions, sign postcards and so on. Because Liquid Fire will be an Ebook only I’ve had a little trouble coming up with what to do at a book launch.
I will include a picture of what I finally came up with – the prototype if you will. I will change a few things when I continue with the production. Essentially what I am giving out, and signing, will be a preview. The first chapter of Liquid Fire, done up in booklet formula with a postcard on the front. I hope everyone will like them. I spent a lot of time creatively cursing at my computer as I tried desperately to get the formatting to work. Mr. Gloria had to come in and calm me a few times, but I digress. They are figured out. Now on to assembly…
Honestly I am pretty impressed with myself and how my little preview copy. Amazing what my ink jet, some card stock, staples and postcards can look like.
Besides that my life has been rushing by, never enough hours or energy. I am sure everyone can understand that feeling all too well. Things have been falling to the wayside. House cleaning for sure, meaningful conversation is another. Friendships have been neglected and for that I am sorry. I am fighting to find the time that I need. Luckily the full time schedule is half over and my life should return to a semblance of normal. Until then I soldier on.
Wednesday, 13 January 2016
As we approach the dreaded middle of January I find myself becoming more and more morose. January 16th is the anniversary of my Mom’s death. This January it will be twelve years. Everyone who has lost a parent will understand. If you don’t want to read a sad, reflective post perhaps you will want to skip this installment and come back next time.
Twelve years. A lifetime. I often reflect on what, on who my mom would be today. She would be fifty eight. How would those years have changed her? Would she still be the woman I remember? Or are my memories tainted by the pain of her death? I know how much I have changed in the years since her death and I recognize that she would have changed as well. As it is, she is frozen in time, unchangeable. Both the woman I remember and the woman she was at the time of her death.
She suffered so much as the cancer took her from us. Both physically and mentally. My mom was a voracious reader, unbelievably creative and a family woman to her core. As she got sicker she didn’t even read. She didn’t create anything. She faded. I wish I could say it was a slow passing, and in many ways it was. But it was only nine months from the moment we found out until she was gone. A drop in the bucket of time. A drop that seemed suspended in midair at the time.
I wish I could say I said everything I wanted to say to her. That I told her I loved her. That I was at peace with her death. I can’t. I always held the belief that she would get better. That she would recover. Even when the doctors said she wouldn’t I still couldn’t believe it. I didn’t say the words. I held them back believing there would be time. It is a regret I have to live with.
She’s missed so much. Watching my kids grow into teenagers. My sibling’s weddings. The birth of their kids. She’s missed seeing me become an author. My sister become a bigwig at a bank. My brother move away. My other brother finally find the woman he was meant to be with. So much. A lifetime.
I know she’s still here and watching, but it isn’t the same.
So I’m going to share some of my good memories and hope that they are enough to stitch my heart together so that these tears that leak out of the holes inside me finally slow. I know I will always cry, always be sad, however I am getting to the point where I can move past the pain of her death and remember the good stuff. It’s a step. Small. But I’ll take it.
-Christmas baking. Mom loved to bake. We never had a lot of money growing up and she would bake up a storm for the month before Christmas making boxes of cookies for everyone. At the time I would roll my eyes and begrudgingly help, now I remember her with flour on her cheeks as she grinned and made yet another bar.
-Cleaning. We moved a lot growing up, but in every house we would crank up the old stereo (with a record player) and dance around singing Janis Joplin as we vacuumed or dusted.
-Roller coasters. Mom was deathly afraid of roller coasters. We, as a family went to Cedar Point Amusement park in Ohio. My grandparents, my dad, sister, brother, Mr. Gloria and myself drove down. We convinced mom to go on one roller coaster with us. She agreed, providing it had no loop de loops. We took her on the worlds (at the time) tallest roller coaster….I still have the picture of her face coming off that ride.
-Her creativity. Any craft or art thing my mom picked up she did beautifully. She decided to knit and effortlessly whipped out these beautiful sweaters with 3-d dragons on them. She decided to paint and painted with oils amazing pictures of dogs and landscapes that could have hung in a gallery. She decided to write and became a columnist for the local paper (I have all her columns and still read them when I need to feel close to her).
-Her ability to drink anyone I know under the table. She introduced me and my friends to the wonderful world of tequila poppers.
-Her love of her grandchildren and practical jokes. She taught my son to say ‘redrum’ in a creepy voice while wiggling his pointing finger. Of course she didn’t tell me about it. I found out when I woke up to my two year old kneeling on the bed croaking at me, a scene right out of the shining. Of course she laughed like a fiend when I told her about it. She also bribed my son until he referred to her as “Grandma Jenie Queen of the World. Master of all she surveys.”
-I married into a fairly traditional family. Or at least that is how they seemed to my dysfunctional, loud, freeform one at the time. So just before the wedding my mother in law asked my mom if she had picked out her mother of the bride outfit and that perhaps the two of them could co-ordinate their dresses. My mom deadpanned (and I remember her exact words) “I found this hot little number in purple sequins and ostrich feathers that I thought I would pick up for the shindig.” Needless to say my mother in law didn’t quite know how to respond.
-Lunch. After I moved back to town, once a week my mom and I had lunch. We always went to Sids (a local pub) and we would talk about everything. Sometimes friends joined us, but not always. Most of the time it was just her and I. I treasure those times with her.
-Kindergarten. My mom was a very young mother. She had my older brother at fifteen and me at sixteen and in the small town we were born in that was a big no no. I think most people would expect her to be a pushover. To let other, more experienced (aka older) people tell her what to think. Not so much. When I went to kindergarten, I came home crying every day from school and no matter what mom did she couldn’t get me to tell her what was wrong. Finally, months into the school year, I confessed that every day my teacher would tell me that my tongue was too big and that I would never talk right. Mom calmed me down and reassured me then made an appointment to speak with my teacher. She went into the classroom and didn’t pay attention as the teacher spoke. Instead she kept looking around at the walls, refusing to participate in the conversation until the teacher, exasperated asked her what it was that she was looking for. Mom answered, “I’m looking for your fucking medical degree to dare to tell my daughter she won’t ever talk right.” Needless to say the conversation went downhill from there. But on the upside, my teacher never said anything like that to me again.
-when I was thirteen Mom worked at a printing place. They were small time, making notepads and business cards and promotional materials for businesses. For Christmas that year she made me my own set of business cards. They said “Gloria Balfour (my maiden name) writer” Maybe she did know, at least in some hidden part of her what would happen for me.
Those are a sprinkling of the memories I hold close to my heart. A snapshot of the woman who made me what I am today, my Mom. Thank you for letting me blather on and remember her as she was. If your parents are still with you, hug them today. Tell them everything you ever wanted to but felt stupid saying. Don’t wait. For those of you, like me, who are missing a loved one know a virtual hug is coming to you from me in lieu of the parent who would put their arms around you if only they could.
Saturday, 9 January 2016
I have been described as a little weird. Odd, just a touch off. My tastes are eclectic to say the least. Being able to quote most of The Princess Bride, paired with singing every word from the Buffy musical episode makes me different than the norm. I wear a Wookie jacket while I ride my electric blue scooter through town. I love zombies as much as I am fascinated by romance novels. I go to karaoke, but can’t talk in front of strangers. My bucket list contains living in a musical for a day and being on reality television. My musical playlist contains everything from old school jazz to Gwen Stefani to Adele to Nine Inch Nails. I read Anne McCaffrey, Jean M. Auel, Maya Banks, Stephen King, Phillip Pullman and Lorelei James equally - my tastes vary as often as my mood. If that makes me a weirdo, well then I’ll take it. I, as they say, let my freak flag fly.
For so many years I tried to fit into the mold that was pre-destined for me. Even as a teenager I tried to be like everyone else, I wore the right jeans and refused to admit that I didn’t like them. I listened to the top forty and gushed over Rick Astley (I know I am showing my age here but whatever). I had the prerequisite teen heart throb posters covering my walls. I thumbed my nose up at the freaks. Then I became a wife, and wore the perfect dress beside my equally conventionally dressed husband. I put away my ‘childish’ dreams and became an adult, or should I say an adult the way society says an adult should be. I set up house, popped out the two kids and got myself a dog. We bought a house and did everything the way we were supposed to. I had mom hair for god’s sake.
Then I guess it would have been when I was around thirty I changed. I don’t remember an epiphany, or a moment that the lightbulb went on. It just happened. Maybe in little ways. Tiny steps taken towards my authentic self. Tiny steps taken that I realized just how much I loved the unconventional. I was happier the more I moved towards the person I am today. Each step was like the shackles of the expected were removed from me. I learned how to be happy with who I am. To be the misfit I have always been but hidden from the world. I brought out my childish dreams and ambitions and dusted them off.
I was labelled, I have always been labelled. From lower class child (my goodwill clothes put me firmly in that place), to preppy teenager, to mom, wife, adult. I allowed these labels to shape me, I became what the label said I had to be. But you know what? That’s bullshit. That’s right, I said it. The only place labels should offer directions are on your clothes. They shouldn’t define who I am, what I can do, who I can be. Who I should be, what I should like. Screw that. Labels are always going to exist, we as a society need to accept that. What we don’t have to accept is what those labels mean. Being a mother doesn’t mean I can’t have pink hair and tattoos. Being a wife doesn’t mean I have to like loafers and have inane small talk about cooking and what cleaning products work best. I can have all the labels in the world, but I don’t have to let them define who I am. I can still be me, within the labels.
Today I want everyone to accept what they really like. If you like top forty then so be it. If you are an anime loving guy who wants to cosplay, do it. If you are more of a country music twangy shit-kicker wearing girl – own it! Be your authentic self, don’t let anyone tell you what you should like, who you should be. Be you. That’s the most important thing, learning to like ourselves and accept who we need to be. I hid from myself for so long that I almost didn’t recognize the real me when she finally surfaced. Don’t let that happen to you, be the person you want. Dream the dreams you want and don’t ever let anyone tell you they shouldn’t be your dreams. You can be the person you were always meant to be.
I am me. Freak for sure and loving every minute. Now if you’ll excuse me I feel a marathon of Firefly coming on.
Saturday, 2 January 2016
It's January 2nd. It's a new year. 2016 says hello while 2015 waves its final goodbyes. I've spent my day reading - mostly blog posts and facebook posts. Everyone is all inspirational about what they have planned and what they will change from last year. There were a few sad posts about what went wrong last year as well.
And then there's me...sitting over in the corner just hoping I remember to put on pants everyday in 2016. It's not that I don't feel all emotional (both up and down) about last year or that I am not looking forward to this new year. It's more that I don't feel like writing an obituary over last year. What happened - happened. And I don't want to write a wish list for the next twelve months. What will happen - will happen.
I've never been a resolution maker. I am by definition a planner. A slightly obsessive, excessive thinker, who plans out EVERYTHING. I have to do lists coming out the wazoo. Resolutions to me seem like wishes. What we hope for, rather than what we plan to do. Trust me, I have tried the resolution thing but it seems as soon as I put the title 'resolution' on anything the rebel in me screams "I don't have to do everything you say!" And refuses to co-operate. So I've spent the last year meticulously planning out my year. In a reachable, orderly fashion. Not just throwing thoughts out on the wind and hoping for the best.
That being said I know there is much to do, much to dream about and wish for, I just won't put it down in words like 'resolution'.
I spent my new years eve surrounded by friends, laughing and singing objectionable karaoke like fools. Then the first day of 2016 was spent in bed trying to recover from an unrelated migraine. Once I managed to medicate myself enough to drag my sorry butt out of bed, my family and I followed our tradition of staying in our pjs and watching action movies all day. This year we didn't blow up the air mattresses but we did cuddle under blankets and laugh and talk. It was a good day.
I sincerely hope that everyone out there in the wonderful world of cyberland (Rent reference anyone?) had a great new years eve and that their plans for 2016 come to full fruition.