Thursday, November 29, 2012

Writing While Being Wife and Mother: Balance or Insanity?

It's Thursday!
My absolutely favorite day of the week.
Today I have author,
Amy McGuire

As a mother of a nearly four-year-old drama queen and wife of a busy youth pastor I have learned the art of multi-tasking.  I think it started when my little one came into the world.  I used to make a sandwich and eat it with one hand while feeding her.  Dinners too were one-handed while I carried around a fussy baby.  Now that she’s older it’s teeth brushing while she sits on the potty or feeding her a night time snack while reading a bedtime story.

As a stay-at-home mom I have heard the whole range of comments, from “You’re a stay-at-home mom?  What do you do all day?” to my personal favourite, “Oh, I wish I could just quit my job and be home with the kids all day.”  And then there’s, “All that free time! No wonder you’re a writer!”  I’ve learned to ignore the jibes and chuckle under my breath at the misconceptions and misplaced envy.  I think if I didn’t, I would cheerfully strangle my ‘well-meaning’ friends and acquaintances.   
When I decided not to go back to work after my maternity leave was up I had no idea that being a full-time mother would be more work than my full-time job.  Before I got pregnant I worked as a receptionist for a condo development company for almost four years, 8:30 to 5, Monday to Friday.  At the end of each workday I would take the subway home, cook dinner, enjoy a nice evening with my husband and turn in early.  Oh, and I got every weekend and holiday off.  

They say hindsight is twenty-twenty.  Never has that been more true than now when I try to find a few moments in each day to write, edit, market and prepare my books for sale.  I didn’t start to consider becoming published until my daughter was nearly ten months old.  If I had been writing all those years I used to take the subway back and forth to work, forty-five minutes each way, I would probably have a whole stack of books to my name.  Maybe I would even have a publishing contract by now.  As it is, I have taken it upon myself to publish my own works and while it is rewarding to see my novel out there, at times it would be nice to have the support of a traditional house.  At the very least I would be able to charge a little more for my books.

And yet, would I trade this season of my life?  Not for a million book sales.  I write in my ‘free time’ between dishes, cooking and raising my daughter who makes every day shine with her bubbly personality and zest for life.  I write and edit and market between making beds, folding laundry, cleaning up messes, changing the kitty litter and making sure the cats don’t starve.  I write between church, family and life obligations.  It’s certainly harder to be an author now that my life is so much fuller, but it’s more rewarding.  I’m leaving my daughter a legacy with my books.  I’m teaching her that she can follow her dreams, whatever they may be.  Life is busy, but I love what I do.  I’m so blessed with an understanding husband who sends me away on ‘writers retreats’ every few months.  My family’s support has definitely helped keep me sane.

Amy lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and their young daughter.  As the child of missionary parents she grew up in East Africa and has gained a rich knowledge of the world around her.  She has had a passion for English Literature and romance since she was a little girl.  She began writing poetry and stories almost as soon as she could pick up a pencil.  She writes young adult romance under the pen name, Amy McGuire and Sweet Love is her first published novel, available both on her website and Amazon.  Sweet Love is the first in a five book series entitled, The Heart’s Five Senses.  She wrote books one through three in 2009 while her daughter napped and is currently working on book four.

Twitter: @shesanauthor

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gift From Heaven

Today I have guest author
Dorothy Davies

My working day begins with reading over breakfast. My Kindle is my joy, it’s so much easier to hold than a book when eating cereal … then I drive to work, accompanied by rock music from favourite artists. That’s the first ‘me’ time, driving and singing along to the music.

I run a small publishing company and work in an office with my partner, who has his desk opposite mine. Even with that arrangement, if I want his attention, it is quicker to email him … so I do! I do the editing, the book layout and blurb-excerpt preparation work, he does the cover design and puts the whole thing on our website.

I leave work around 4 PM to do the banking and post the orders; then I go home to my daughter who has been taking care of the house and all the chores that go with it whilst I have been out.

By 5.30 I have my home computer switched on in my office. I either work direct with the keyboard or use voice recognition software, depending on who is writing with me.

The first task is to read the stories which have come in for my ongoing Static Movement anthologies. If I decide the story is not right, I send feedback on it so the author can, if they wish, decide whether to rewrite or ignore me. It’s always their choice.

Once that is done, the stories slotted into the anthologies, the contracts sent out, I start work on my books or short stories. By then the spirit author who works with me on the horror writing is usually around; I sense his presence and hear his laughter. If he’s not there, it’s one of the other spirit authors who are waiting to write their life story. I always know who it is without anyone telling me, it’s that vivid an impression. It’s one of the joys of being a medium and all the joy of being a writer.

In some ways the books are not ‘mine’ but in others they are, as the words come through me to be translated to the screen. The ‘voice’ in each book is very different but overall the control is mine. It makes the books distinctive and still have my touch.

It’s a life I would not trade with anyone else!
Dorothy Davies, full time editor and owner of a small publishing company, editor for Static Movement anthologies and I also feature heavily in other editors' anthologies too.
My books:
Death Be Pardoner To Me, the life of George, duke of Clarence (Wars of the Roses) channelled from the duke himself
I Diced With God, the life of Henry VIII channelled from the King himself
Thirty Pieces of Silver, the three years Judas Iskariot spent with Jesus and his part in the final act channelled from Judas himself
I Bid You Welcome... an anthology of horror stories channelled from horror/ghost writers in spirit.
In case it is not immediately apparent, I am a medium as well as writer/editor/photographer and publisher of my own quarterly spiritual magazine.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Washed Ashore

It's a balancing act
every day. 
What to do?
R.A. Savary has it figured out.

I don’t like the terminology, “balancing my writing with ‘real life’” as it’s not a separation I make. In other words, they are one and the same. I can no longer imagine my life without writing, and I can’t imagine what I will do if it doesn’t “take off” soon. I won’t go into my entire life story. Along with my recent commitment to writing are other beliefs I am pursuing; like writing, they must fit where they fit, as do pieces of a jig-saw puzzle.

I guess at one time I had desired to be a writer, but forgot that desire, in a sea of fear and alcohol. When I washed ashore, some special people drug me from the unstable sands of the beach to solid ground, and then pointed me to a path I could call my own, and upon which, I later realized I was being led. Early on while following this path, and on a consistent basis ever since, I have worked in several fields, been loyal and giving of myself in all of them, leaving pieces of me behind. 

After regaining my footing, my desire to write returned, with a half-hearted dream of being published. This dream was a recurring thing, intermittently tossed aside for the so-called reality of making a living. Two years ago I realized that throughout my working journey, the process of leaving the pieces of me behind, that I spoke of earlier was escalating, and I could no longer afford to lose any more. I left my main job, and bumped up my part-time job at the Census Bureau to full time, even though I knew it was short-lived. I committed myself to finishing a novel, which I had started years ago, and finished the first draft in October of 2011. People have been asking for about a year now, what was I going to do?. I had been replying something along the lines that either my book was going to be a success or that my writing would lead me to something that would sustain me.

I began the querying process (aka the rejection process) for agents and publishers. I continue with submissions, paying and non-paying. 

Something occurred to me as I am writing this, in regards to balance. The pieces of me, the ones I have left behind and the ones I am attaining while on this special path of mine, all go into my writing, the “micro” and flash fiction, the short stories, and my special story, which is entitled Special, by the way; so just what the hell is there for me to balance!

I hope I get this right; Hemmingway said, “Writing isn’t hard. All we have to do is sit in front of a typewriter and bleed.” I am holding him to that, and I bleed a lot. I want to thank all the people in the literary field who believe that the book, the “real” book, has a future; they are special to me.
Things always change. For now, at least, writing is breathing; I just do it.
I am a writer living in northern Wisconsin. I have a cheesy website,, which I created soon after completing my novel Special. It contains a longer short bio of me, a description of the story including some excerpts, and a few excerpts of some short stories. At present, I am a modern day, starving artist with a pawnshop laptop over my shoulder instead of a pencil in my ear and notebook in hand. I am querying agents, while trying many different avenues of writing to survive and build-up my bio. My website was recently edited, and it still needs work, but it remains “cheesy” because I am busy creating “micro,” flash, and short story fiction submissions for magazines and contests. I mostly enjoy doing fantasy, paranormal, and other sci-fi, but I am trying almost anything.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Single Act of Kindness

Today's featured guest is
Maggie Singleton

My mom tells me that when I was a little girl I wanted nothing more than to be a vegetarian and care for animals in need.  I practiced my skills extensively on my cats – caring for them… feeding them… clothing them. However, I abandoned my dreams and aspirations of becoming a veterinarian soon after encountering high school chemistry and all things math.  Thus began my quest to discover what I really wanted to do and who I really wanted to be when I grew up.

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in English Education, I dabbled for two painful years as an eighth grade English teacher.  I soon realized that my personality (serious, idiosyncratic, and analytical) just did not mix well with raging hormones! Thankfully not all was lost in my adventures.  In addition to gaining a laundry list of names I would never use for my offspring, I met a young man from a nearby university who asked for my hand in marriage a year later.  God certainly has a knack for turning ugly situations into good.

Eventually I found my niche as a technical editor working for a military contracting firm that has kept me employed for the past ten years.  They were kind enough to keep me on part time when I started a family.  I didn’t realize that this single act of kindness would produce such an exhilarating, yet not-so-steamy love affair between mothering, part time work, and housekeeping (which always feels like the third wheel). Later I began accepting freelance editing, formatting, and writing opportunities which I have thoroughly enjoyed for the past four years.

I have recently discovered something else I want to do when I grow up: be a writer. The desire (obsession?) to write my own work has been such a natural and obvious progression for me.   And being a work-at-home mom (WAHM) of three provides me with MORE than enough subject matter!  Through my blogs, you will get a glimpse into my journey called mommyhood… especially of the WAHM variety.  I am so excited to see where that road might lead.

Although I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of explaining what I do, that’s only half the story.  I will end with a few things I want to be when I grow up – which I remind myself daily is of far greater importance than what I do.  First and foremost, I want to get reacquainted with the calm person I was before little people entered my life.  I feel like I have a long way to go, but I’m taking baby steps toward it every day.  And I want to be on time for things, too.  If the words “hurry up” could be eliminated from my everyday vernacular, we all would be a happier family.  I also want to be unselfish when I grow up and, for instance, share the entire bag of potato chips with my kids instead of scarfing them behind the pantry door. Well, maybe. And lastly, I want to live in such a way that God shines through the strengths (and weaknesses) that He has given me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Night Owl

I'm feeling like it can do it all these days.
Thanks to all my friends
who've stopped by and shared their incredible stories.
Here's another amazing author,
please welcome, Anderson Maestri

I moved to the United States in 1998, and I never imagined becoming a published author. I always thought that it takes so much time, and I did not think I could wait years to see the completion of any project I may start. My perception of time passing would change drastically as a husband and father.

Without noticing, I spent two years while in college working on my first book “Bilingual Parenting & The Preacher’s First Ministry”. After 10 years, I am revising and republishing it. I believe writing doesn’t conflict with my busy schedule since I am a night owl, and my current job can be a great source of inspiration. For example, one of my latest publications is a collection of short articles I wrote for church members, “Sunday Knowledge”. This work has a very specific audience and no commercial intentions, which changes how you approach the creative process.

I did spend another couple of years researching and writing a non-religious work, “Neither Heads nor Tails”, a self-help style work dealing with balance in multiple areas in our lives. I have a few other ideas that I filed for later, since raising a two year old, working, and trying to promote my current books leave no time or energy for more writing at the moment.

I guess that means my balance is more schedule related than creativity related. It is fairly easy to balance writing and “real life” when I am not fully invested in promoting my work. However, the real challenge is to promote any book without allowing that to consume your life. Pursuing book promotion can become a full-time job, and when my son came along something had to go. Since one full-time job (book promotion) didn’t come with a paycheck, you can guess my choice.

I feel like I have been bitten by the “book publishing bug”. It feels amazing to look at your work fresh off the press, the smell of new books, and feel of the crispy pages as you flip through them. Since, I do all my editing, layout and design, I feel this artistic connection with the final product. It is more than the written material. It is a combination of what was said with how it looks on the page, and how the cover art summarizes the entire content. Therefore, I look forward to writing new materials, so I can format those pages, and create a new cover art. Maybe when my son starts preschool, I will have the little extra time to put more thoughts into paper.

Since writing his first work in college, Anderson has become an educator, preacher, husband and father. He has added to his bilingual experience, a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction with an ESL emphasis. He has been involved in the education and instruction field for the past 15 years. His fields of expertise encompass a variety of subjects. He has taught all age groups from teaching soccer to 10 year olds to teaching English to 45 year olds, from teaching martial arts to college students to teaching Bible to those above 60. Similar to His teaching experience, Anderson's works broach a variety of fields.You can find more on these three works at the links below:

You can also like us on Facebook:!/pages/Maestri-Books/311456442236983

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday's guest
Lucille Rains

As a piano technician and sole breadwinner of my household, the writing came after the children were in bed. Despite hard times, writing kept me alive and in touch with myself. Writing, especially writing humor, softens the harshness of life and transports you to a better world. Then one day a Pulitzer Prize Author of American Humor wrote me that I have talent for Satire. A light bulb went on in my head that led to my book, Ya Wanna Laugh?, a collection of humorous stories. My time is now divided between piano restoration and writing. To me, it is just as miraculous to take a relic of a piano and transform it into a magnificent musical instrument as it is to take a barrel of words and transform them into a meaningful human experience. They are both works of art. I did not pursue writing, writing pursued me. I wrote a letter to the editor and it caught the attention of a mayor. I became her ghostwriter. At the same time, the editor of a local paper asked me to do a column. For the past four years, I have been writing monthly humorous story for a Volvo Newsletter. 
Lucille Rains was a jazz pianist and bassist in New York City until she became breadwinner of her household and left New York for the suburbs. She had been tuning her own piano right along, so it was inevitable that she would go into tuning to support her family. She happened to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper that got the attention of the mayor; she became the mayor’s ghostwriter. The local editor also invited her to write a column. This unexpectedly launched a second career for her, in the writing field. Then when a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer put his stamp of approval on her writing, it led to her book of humorous essays, Ya Wanna Laugh? (Xulon Press, 2011). At present, Lucille Rains divides her time between tuning and writing. She can be reached at