Monthly Archives: August 2013

Avoiding Critiques That Sting

scorpionLiving in the desert southwest, there is no shortage of stinging or biting things: black widow spiders, Africanized bees, gila monsters, and the ever-present, always lurking scorpions. Last week, my younger son was stung by one (fortunately, the sting from a bark scorpion is non-fatal). He was in the kids’ bathroom, reaching for the faucet where I had laid a wet washcloth to dry (apparently a scorpion’s favorite “hang out”), and *ZAP* he got stung on his right hand. I’ve never heard him scream so loud or wildly. I felt horrible for the pain he was experiencing, as well as the fear he had when I told him I was unable to find the nasty thing. Continue reading

Focus Hocus-Pocus

Oftentimes, I have trouble staying focused. For example, I was cleaning up the kids’ play room today and went downstairs to return a few cups to the kitchen. I wasn’t finished cleaning their play room, but a large stack of “stuff” littering the kitchen counter distracted me. So, play room forgotten, I started sifting through everything, making neat piles of mail, receipts, old newspapers, things-to-go-upstairs, things-to-go-outside, and God-knows-what-else in an effort to clean off the counters. In short order, I had a stack of “office things,” so I grabbed the stack and made my way to the office, where…you guessed it…I got distracted by a mess there and promptly forgot about the kitchen. Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand I can wave to finish cleaning the rooms I abandon, so I have to backtrack, and it often seems I’m never finishing anything. Continue reading

Reading to Learn

Image credit: fmatte / 123RF Stock Photo

I have always been a voracious reader. My parents used to ground me to my room when I broke the rules, but I considered it the perfect form of punishment because it gave me hours of uninterrupted time to read and I read a lot.

As I moved into adulthood, my reading habits changed. A full-time job meant less nights I could spend staying up until 2 a.m. finishing off a riveting book, but I still read quite a bit, particularly when I traveled for work. Once I had kids, I still managed to devour a novel-length book or two a week, and they were almost exclusively romances. When you’re up to your arms in diapers and baby spit, a happy ending sure makes you feel good about the world for awhile…at least until the next diaper change.

But something very interesting happened to me when I started the McDaniel Romance Writing Program last year…I became a very discriminate reader. I mean veryContinue reading