Sunday, May 10, 2015

On Being Happy: Mother's Day

Mother's Day (Image Courtesy of Baby Gizmo
I'll be honest: I am writing this post before Mother's day, because I have hopes that Mother's day will be busy with other things.

At the very least, I am hoping I get to sleep in, and maybe get breakfast in bed. I suspect I will get that because James has been watching all of these breakfast recipe shows on Youtube with me. I think he is fishing for an idea.

Mother's day makes me a little bit sad.  I know, I am sure there are people out there thinking "Wait, what? You are a mother who isn't happy on Mother's day? Someone is doing something wrong!" And the thing is, my husband pulls out most of the stops for Mother's day. I usually
Every Other Day (Image Courtesy of School of Hard Knox)
get breakfast in bed, house cleaned, all the meals made by someone else, and a massage, or go do something special just for me kind of thing.

What makes me sad is that my family thinks that they should only do those things on special occasions like my birthday, Valentine's day and Mother's day.

Now, I am not saying that I should be pampered all the time. I never wanted to be a princess and I'm not going to start now. But I have noticed (especially in this last year, when I went back to a "real job" and am trying to balance that 40 hour work week with my writing, being a wife, being a mom, and not living like a slob) that I do chores every single day. No one else in my house can say that. I never have enough time to get everything I need to do done, and always feel harried and harassed. Why are my wants and needs only important a couple of "special days" a year?

I don't think that Feminists anticipated by "encouraging" women into the workforce, they would create a society where women had to work in order for their family to survive. After all, when most families have two incomes the cost of living goes up.  Even living in Utah, a state where a large number of women stay at home, my family cannot afford for me not to work. Partly because I need to pay off my student loans, but a lot because the cost of living is so high. We struggled for a little over a year doing it and it just didn't work.

I have debated hiring a maid. We have tried every form of bribery possible to get the children to do it, but it just isn't happening. I am very sympathetic with my husband's desire to kick back and relax after work. After spending 12 hours out of the home working, the last thing I want to do when I get home is a bunch of chores. I am doing good to cook dinner most nights. We went from hardly ever eating out to eating out a couple of times a week. That already takes a good chunk of my salary. Adding a maid seems impractical, but I can't keep living in the mess.

Add on top of that, the fact that I try to spend an hour every day working on my writing career... and it is no wonder I never have time. I need to start making time to work out too, but where am I supposed to squeeze everything in?

There are not enough hours in the day, and I just don't have the energy. I have tried to incorporate my family so we are spending time together as well, but no one wants to work out with me, no one wants to clean with me, and everyone gets mad when I don't have the energy to play a board game one night a week, do family movie night, play video games, read every night, or go out on the weekends.

I feel like a bad mother because I struggle to make time, but I feel like no one is making time for what is important to me.

See why I struggle with being happy?

Friday, May 8, 2015

"Poetry Corner: Love I Thought I Could Never Find

I want you, I need you, like a lover should.
I found a love I thought I never would.

You comfort me when I am feeling down.
You get my feet back on the ground.

You told me this was puppy love
but you make me feel so much more.

You're an angel sent from above,
a wave sent to my shore.

I feel a flame inside about to burst.
I know our love will ne'r be cursed.

You thrill me with the slightest touch
of your strong but gentle hands
I can't stop thinking of me and you
and when we'll make our wedding plans.

Please stay with me or my dreams will be gone
God has told me you are the one.

I was wrong. But at the time, I didn't think I was. Glad he had better sense...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Finally, I am getting to the review of Maze Runner by James Dashner.

Genre: YA dystopian

Synopsis: If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
 When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
 Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
 Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
 Everything is going to change. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
 Remember. Survive. Run.

My Take:  Finishing the book didn't improve my opinion of the story. Unfortunately, my boys enjoyed it so we will be continuing to read the series.  I keep wondering what is wrong with me, that everyone else really likes this series, and I am just not into it.  I think that part of the problem is that I find the whole thing so impossible to imagine. Maybe I have a better hope for humanity, or as a parent I know I would never ever allow something like this to happen to my children. I also know that most parents I know would die before letting something like this happen. There is nothing in the set up to give me the ability to accept this alternate reality. With Hunger Games, I can understand how the world could end up that way. Same with Divergent (though to be fair, I only watched the movie. I haven't read the series yet.) 

But with Maze Runner we are dropped into this situation that makes absolutely no sense, and gets harder to comprehend as the story goes along. Another piece I struggle with is seeing a group of teenage boys functioning like that to survive. Sure it implies that the creators laid down a bunch of rules, and that the boys know they are being watched, but nothing to indicate that the creators ever got involved in enforcing those rules. 

 I'm sorry, I know too many teenage boys. Sure there are some who would be responsible for a time, but to have a whole glade of boys who all followed the rules and work together for the most part without any adult interaction? Lord of the Flies was a more accurate representation of boys left to their own devices. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Poetry Corner: Heidi Sampson

Image Courttesy of GraphicStock
Help I'm falling,
Even when you're calling
Independence is what I want
Don't let me be too blunt,
I think you need to stop.

Soon the time will come
All will unite
Many will fall
People will cry
Someday I'll win
Of happiness that day
Needing my love forever.

I wrote this with Rob Hopkins in Creative Writing class. It is an acrostic poem of my name. Clearly there are two different stories trying to be told here. I remember being very frustrated because he wasn't working with me on this one. We worked together quite a few times in creative writing class and I remember often being frustrated because we were going in different directions.

A writing partner is like a life partner in a lot of ways. If you work together you can create a brilliant world. If you can't get on the same page, you will create something disjointed, awkward and intensely frustrating not only for you, but for all those who witness it.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Importance of Being Edited

Editing, or the lack thereof, is the hot topic in the indie publishing world right now. No longer can indie authors hope to break out without paying for an editor. Readers just won't put up with the crap even for a good story (Although, I saw Fifty Shades, and it's stellar lack thereof, so.... sure.) 

But as a serious writer, I do see the importance and the need for proper editing. If we do not make an effort to present the best book possible, then we are just creating garbage. And after spending the last two years reading a lot of indie books, I completely agree. I get annoyed when I pay for a traditional book and find massive errors. When I bought Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games in hard cover, I was so disgusted by the numerous sentences which I could not even begin to decipher because the traditional publisher didn't bother to pay for an editor. 

She got shafted. 

But as more and more indie authors get on board, I have noticed another problem. Editor's prices are so all over the charts. I know this, because I free lance on occasion as an editor. Every time, I want to make sure I am charging fair prices so I check the climate. 

There are a lot of sharks out there ready to make a quick buck off us authors. And the problem with editing is that (unlike, say cover art) an author doesn't know what she doesn't know. How do you pick a good editor, and know you are getting a good editor?

I have heard so many horror stories of authors paying upwards of $1,000 and then having readers complain about the book not being properly edited. Just because you get a bunch of red ink, doesn't mean the editor did a good job. 

Are they providing just grammar, will they provide content editing, what about fact checking?

How does an author know an editor will do a good job? How do they know they will get charged an appropriate price? Talk to other authors and see who they have used. Check references. Read the editor's works. Ask questions. Make sure you know what you are getting, when you will get it, and how much it will cost. Most importantly, have a contract. 

But don't let the fear of not knowing prevent you from getting your book edited. Do the research. It will make your book better and will allow you to be competitive. Just be sure to factor that cost into setting the price of your book.