Tag Archives: celebrating

Marriage Madness: 3 Ways to Celebrate

j0227558My friend Kathleen told me recently that she likes the way I like to celebrate everything. This past month has put that aspect of my personality front and center as I worked to get my second book published.

When I finally finished editing Unexpected Superhero, I threw my hands in the air and high-fived God! πŸ˜‰ Then I made something delicious for dinner, opened a bottle of wine, and squealed when John came home.

Then I worked another couple of days to get the Kindle version of the book ready and for sale on Amazon. More good food – chocolate was involved this time – more squealing and celebrating.

First cover for the novel Unexpected SuperheroIt took me another week to get the print version out. (It just came out on Saturday! Woo-hooo!) Margaritas, baby! More celebrating.

I’ve been working full-time-plus on this book since March, plus many, many many months of work before that. If I had waited until Saturday to finally begin celebrating, I don’t know that I would’ve had the strength and energy to keep up so many long days in a row.

And that’s just a book! It takes a lot more energy to live with and love another person every single day for 40 or 50 or 70 years! So here’s my recipe for adding some positive energy to your marriage.

1. Celebrate Small Victories and Accomplishments
Al
l those steps above, and many smaller ones, got some kind of recognition and celebration from me. And my wonderful husband usually joined in, if only with a “Good job, baby, I’m proud of you!” It gave me energy to keep going. Marriage needs that, too.Β 

Maybe it’s making the final payment on a credit card and making a ceremony out of cutting up the card and promising each other never to use it again. Maybe it’s unpacking that last box, or finishing the unfinished basement together. There is so much never-ending work in life, we need to add in some fun.

Do you need to spend all weekend doing lawn work and spring cleaning? When you’re done, make s’mores in the fire pit, or put up your beach umbrella in the back yard and listen to the radio and dance together.

Getting ready for a garage sale? Decide to take $40 of the proceeds and go out alone together doing something you both like to do – a favorite restaurant, a musical event, even if the $40 only covers the babysitter, you can go for a hike or a bike ride or something else that you like to do together.

2. Celebrate Big Victories and Accomplishments
Th
is one might seem obvious, but when you’re going 100 miles an hour, you often feel you only have time for gassing up in the pit stop, and new tires will have to wait. I don’t watch NASCAR, but I’ve seen segments where a car’s tire blows and the driver knows he’s lost his edge. You can minimize this in your marriage, just like a great NASCAR team can minimize this in a race.

51aTy5leOkL._SY300_My friend Kathleen brought up my tendency to celebrate often when I asked how she was celebrating her third book coming out, and what is she going to do to celebrate finishing her contract on time, even though the fourth book wouldn’t be out for a few months yet. (No Ordinary Owl, book 4 of The S.A.V.E. Squad series, by Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Wright, comes out September 1. You can buy the whole set for your pre-teen in time for Christmas!) Lauraine and Kathleen and I went out to lunch together and make a big deal of it. I think it gave Kathleen a boost of energy to work on her next book.

These examples are to remind you of what you can be celebrating right now in your marriage. Anyone get promoted? Miss the lay-off? That’s a good reason to celebrate! Another month or another year of being cancer-free? Celebrate! The anniversary of the day you decided not to get divorced and work this thing out? Celebrate that day as well as your wedding anniversary.

3. Celebrate each other (and other people)
Some days I just feel like making John feel like the most special man in the world. No particular reason why. I want to eat whatever he wants, do whatever he wants, spoil him in whatever way I can. (Foot massages are often called for here.) Sometimes he looks at me suspiciously and asks me why. No, I’m not buttering him up to ask for something. πŸ˜› I just want him to know that I’m very grateful he’s a part of my life.

John and I also try to make a point as often as we can (and I too often feel I don’t do this enough with enough people) to celebrate our friends’ victories. Our friend Doug just bought a new house – yay! Our friend David just got promoted to detective – yay! Our friends Sean and Catherine are starting a new adventure in Virginia soon – yay! And those are just the things we celebrated this weekend!

Life is hard. We need injections of positive energy and gratitude to keep us going. Keep your eyes open and you’ll find all kinds of things to celebrate about each other and with each other. Without trying to dissect the biological and spiritual reasons why, the fact is that gratitude makes life better, easier, and more fun.

So find a reason to celebrate – and do it together!

Little Miss Lovesick Is In Print!

Finally!! LOL!!

I have been looking forward to this day for years! And now it’s arrived! You can buy a print copy of Little Miss Lovesick now by going to my CreateSpace store page on Amazon. It will take a few weeks for it to filter through to other web sites, but it’s available now in my store. Yay!!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some silly trivia with you about the book. πŸ™‚

  • I came up with the idea in 1998 when I was chatting with an editor from Tyndale House Publishers about some upcoming anthologies they were getting ready. I sent them the first few chapters, and they liked my writing but chose someone else’s story.
  • I tweaked the idea when I went to my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) regional conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1999 or 2000, and pitched it to an editor at Silhouette Books. By the time I had the proposal ready for her, she’d moved on to another publishing house.
  • I tried working on it again when I was at a writing retreat with my friends Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Damp Wright. They responded neutrally, which was the kiss of “boring” to me. Then Lauraine asked me if I’d heard of “chick lit,” which was still rather new. We went out to a bookstore and I nearly screeched, “This is what I would write if they didn’t tell me to write ‘their’ way!” I was so excited! That was the beginning of me relaxing and writing the way I want to write. I think that was a turning point for both me and Kathleen. πŸ™‚
  • On that same writing retreat, I rewrote the first chapter and read it to Lauraine and Kathleen again. This time they were cracking up. Score! Lauraine called her agent that day and asked her to read it. A few months later, I’d signed with her and felt like my career was finally getting some traction.
  • I took a research trip up to Ontario, Canada, where I planned to set much of the book. My mom came with me and we had a great time, saw so many interesting things. More than I could’ve ever put in one book. πŸ˜‰Β I’ll have to use some of that later. In fact, I had to move the heroine Sydney’s fly fishing vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan instead of a few hours north in Canada. There were several “logic” issues that weren’t working for the story if Matt was in Ontario.
  • I wrote the rest of the book at night, on the weekends, and at lunch time in the NBC cafeteria in Burbank where I worked. I sent it to my agent in the summer of 2004, and she sent it to several editors at the big name publishing houses in New York. Best. Day. Ever.
  • But just as I was figuring out what my “voice” was, the publishing industry began to feel chick lit was on the way out and they didn’t want to buy any more. The same summer that it seemed everything was beginning for me, everything seemed to end.
  • The next few years I tried to figure out what to do with my newly discovered writing voice now that people were telling me that that style of writing was no longer popular. This was not a good time for me. I almost quit several times, and once I did quit. But within a few months, I couldn’t help myself, and I started writing again. πŸ™‚
  • Then we moved to Sydney, Australia, for John to work on Happy Feet. I put this book on the shelf and wrote the first draft of Unexpected Superhero. (Look for it in 2013!) I loved it, but my agent didn’t think it fit in the current market.
  • We moved back to California. I started and stopped a couple different projects, but I couldn’t find something that interested me that also interested my agent. Eventually, we parted company as friends. I mentally wiped down all the white boards in my mind and startedΒ again with a blank slate. What was I going to write? And what would I do if no one wanted to read it?
  • We moved back to Sydney again for Happy Feet 2. (Note: a lot of moving and packing and waiting months for your things to arrive is not an easy way to have a home-based business.) I applied to graduate school and was accepted into the Master of Arts in Creative Writing program at University of Technology, Sydney. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to go to grad school – since I was a freshman at University of Pennsylvania and met a grad student who worked with microwave technology. I know, weird. LOL!
  • I wanted to go to UTS over other writing graduate programs because it sounded very hands on, very creative, and the program seemed to be aimed at taking you to the next level in a writing career, not just studying Shakespeare. I was disappointed that on the one hand, it was just another academic program. We didn’t delve deeply into the nuances of writing that really make your work stand out from others. And it seemed that I knew more about how to get published in a global market than most people. (Thanks to the Romance Writers of America! They are all about teaching their members how to have a career in writing.) On the other hand, I’m still glad I went. I have a better credential now for teaching, which I love to do. πŸ™‚
  • The morning after my last grad school class, I flew from Sydney to New York to attend the annual RWA conference. I told myself that if no one was interested in my romantic comedies, I was going back home to Sydney and publishing them myself. No one was interested. I went back home and published Little Miss Lovesick as an ebook! Yay!
  • Then we moved back to California. Then we moved again. Then my mom died. This has not been a good year for getting work done.
  • Finally – I don’t know what happened – everything in my world lined up so that I suddenly started getting a lot of work done! (Thank you, God!!) I finished Unexpected Superhero and sent it to Harper Voyager. I wrote a book proposal for a romantic suspense book. And John and I got to work on the time-consuming process of turning Lovesick into a print book.
  • John did the cover design, and created the template I used for the interior. He did a great job! I received the hard copy “proof” on Friday (I about exploded from excitement when I held my first book in my hands!) and went through it looking for errors. None! So I hit “approve” on the CreateSpace site and voila! A book was born!

There it is, the whole story. If you have any friends who like funny love stories, or friends who live in Michigan who would enjoy a book set in Traverse City, you might be able to check a few more people off your Christmas shopping list now. πŸ™‚ Maybe you want a copy for yourself, too! I hope it makes you laugh. Then I’ll know I did a good job. πŸ™‚

Thanks for sharing my adventure! More adventures ahead!

Celebrate!

So much to celebrate this past week! My birthday was on Saturday, and John has been spoiling me like crazy all week.

Plus, God answered our prayers for a good job for John on Tuesday. Yay! Today, in fact, we’re apartment hunting in Carlsbad, CA. I’m so excited because the ship with all of our stuff arrived from Australia a few weeks ago. Once we have a place to live, we can get everything out of storage. I can’t decide what I miss most – clothes, books, or movies. LOL!

I was thrilled that we bought a bed on Friday, too! A couple of my friends who own a Sleep Number bed convinced me to at least go look at them. The salesperson was awesome and before we knew it, we had an amazingly comfortable bed. I can’t wait to move into the new apartment just so I can sleep on it!

I have so many things to celebrate, so many things to be grateful for. I love birthdays, and I’m excited about our new town. (We should end up within a couple miles of the beach. More yay!)

What about you? Are you celebrating anything right now? What are you grateful for?

Celebrating Makes It Real

Yesterday I finally took some time to celebrate finishing my Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree. John and I invited over three of our favorite couples – Mel and Andrew, Rachel and Simeon, and Ruth and Luke – along with their three daughters.

When I woke up in the morning, I was not feeling very hospitable. I think I’m still getting over being tired from 18 months of full-time grad school, a month of intercontinental traveling, and a month of having my mom here visiting. In any case, it was all I could do to talk myself into thinking how nice it would be to have them all over.

Creative Writing cupcakes!

But everyone showed up excited and upbeat and eager to celebrate with me! All that positive energy flowing around certainly improved my attitude – and quickly.

Rachel, an amazing cupcake maker, made up her own recipe for chocolate cupcakes with a peanut butter filling. My two favorite flavors! Then she decorated them with a big swirl of creamy chocolate frosting and topped them with homemade stars and books! They’re AWESOME!!

Little homemade books on top!

Ruth made a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake a couple months ago and let Rachel and I have a taste. I told her it was the best cheesecake I’ve ever had! (The Cheesecake Factory used to be my favorite go-to spot for cheesecake, but now it’s Ruth’s house!) So she made one and brought it to the party. I was so excited to eat it, I forgot to take a picture of it. But trust me, it was DELICIOUS!

After a couple hours of everyone talking and eating and laughing – and three little girls under 4 chasing John around our apartment (or was he chasing them? I heard, “More, more!” several times) – we came down from our sugar high. The parents all decided their children needed a nutritious dinner (go figure!) and we called it a day. John relaxed on his computer for the evening and I got to spend another three or four hours reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (I might’ve eaten another piece of cheesecake, too, but I don’t think I should admit it.)

Somewhere in that relaxing down time it occurred to me that I was really happy that I’d finished my degree. It seemed oddly real now that we’d celebrated the accomplishment. I decided that we needed to remember to do this more often – celebrate the things that are important, whether big or small.

And we should all eat more cheesecake.