September 2016

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Best Laid Plans...


This has been a very busy few weeks. First, the writerly news. I map out the work on my books ahead of time, estimating the word count I need to produce each day to meet my deadlines. I'm currently working on A COLDWATER WARM HEARTS CHRISTMAS, which will be out in October 2018. 

I know it seems like a long time from now, but the wheels of publishing grind slowly. Once I turn the manuscript in to my editor, who has a deft hand with my stories, I can expect to see it back again for revisions a few weeks later. Then it'll be off to the copy editor for grammar, spelling and fact checks. Once the CE has made his or her suggestions, it comes back to me again so I can accept or reject the changes. In the meantime, Kensington, my lovely publisher, is working diligently on yet another gorgeous cover for this series and planning the best way to market it to the reading public. All in all, with everything that needs doing, the 2018 release will be here before you know it and I need to stick to my carefully crafted writing plan. 

But sometimes, life intervenes in writing schedules. 

My dear sister Jenn, who lives in Corpus Christi, had surgery a couple of weeks ago and suffered some complications. My parents, who are 82 & 80 spry years young, were so wanting to be with her but it's a two day drive from our town here in the Ozarks. And as my dad put it, "I'd drive 100 miles out of my way to avoid driving through Houston."

So my DH and I loaded up the pick-up and camper and took my parents down to Corpus Christi so we could all pitch in and help while Jenn recovered. 

It was so good to be with Jenn and her little family. She and her hubby have one grown daughter (who lives in the same town we do!), and still at home they have a teen-aged son, a son and daughter in first grade and four (count 'em!) foster kids aged 9 months to 7 years. 

Needless to say, not a lot of writing happened in Texas. 

But that's okay. As I said, life intervenes.

And sometimes sadly, death does, too. 

While we were in Texas, two of our tenants died unexpectedly. Though there was no evidence of foul play or suicide (it was drug use and a heart attack), we were so very saddened. Years ago, when we made plans to fund our retirement by providing nice rental homes for people to live in, we never thought about them dying in them, too. 

Especially since our tenants were young--27 in one case and early 40's in the other. And since neither of them had a will, we are trying to follow the letter of the law to make sure the rights of their legal heirs are protected until the estates can be probated. 

You'd be amazed how many people come out of the woodwork claiming the deceased had something of theirs or promised them something verbally. We were inundated with calls the first few days. And some not very nice texts, but the last thing the police said to us was not to let anyone take anything from the properties without a court order. We have to walk a fine line between being sensitive to the grieving and making sure we follow the law. 

Think we're in for a steep learning curve. 

Anyway, this sad development has caused another change in plans as well. I won't be going to the RWA conference in Orlando next week. My husband needs to stay close to home so he can be available to deal with the courts and grieving family members. And because my pesky lung condition (see my SecondWind blog if you want to know more about that) makes it difficult to travel without my DH, AKA my faithful "sherpa," to help me haul all the medical equipment I need to keep going, I won't be going to Florida either.

So here's the take-away from all this turmoil:

  1. Don't do drugs. It may be the last thing you do.
  2. Choose your emergency contact person wisely. This may well be the person who will be in charge of your things if you pass away without a will.   
  3. Make a will. No matter what your age. Your family and friends will thank you for it and you'll have peace of mind knowing you spared them needless anxiety.
  4. Be willing to surrender your plans. This is a toughie. I tend to want what I want, but sometimes, things just won't let us go forward with our original plan. That's when we need to take a break and realize every day is a gift. The opportunity that "now" presents to us is enough. 
So how about you? Have you ever had unexpected things change your plans? Come on, I know you have. Share! 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Good Daddies

Today is Father's Day and I want to give a shout out to my Dad. He's been a rock of love and support all through my life and. true to his prediction, the older I get the smarter he gets. I'm so blessed to have him in my life. See you later today for a cookout, Dad!

But I'd also like to share a bit about the other father in my life, namely the father of my children. When our oldest daughter was not quite two, we were in the middle of one of our many moves and had gone out for a quick lunch as a break from packing. At the next table, a new baby was very unhappy and wouldn't stop crying. Finally, the child's young father picked him up and started walking around the restaurant with the wailing infant. The baby quieted quickly as he patted his back and spoke softly to him.

"Look at that good daddy right there," I said.

Our daughter shot me a look of indignation and pointed to my DH. "Good daddy right here!"

She was right. My DH is the best of fathers and I'm grateful for the love he shows our kids every day. Even though they're both grown now, they know the good daddy is still right here.