Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lehua Parker: One shark, No Swim Blog Tour!

Please welcome Lehua Parker, fellow Jolly Fish Press author, to the blog today! Also a busy mom, and farm owner, Lehua is here to talk about balance. Take it away, Lehua!

Aloha, Brenda! Thanks for hosting a guest post from me as part of the blog tour for One Shark, No Swim, book two in the Niuhi Shark Saga. You asked for five tips for balancing writing, family, and farm life.

With all the writing, reading, and reviewing I do, the evil truth is I have no balance. My life is all about holding up an elephant on a high wire and hoping the spinning plates don’t fall. Here’s a peek behind the stage door’s curtain.

1. Harness the Power of Minions

If you’ve done the Mom-job right, at some point, the children you’ve slaved over become indentured servants. My youngest is 13 and the oldest can drive, but not vote, so I figure I can milk this for a few more years. When they walk in the door from school, I sweetly ask how their day was then hit them with a one-two punch of, “Wow. That Monica/Michael/teacher/test sure sounds rough. Glad you handled it that way! Now I need to you vacuum the downstairs, scrub the bathroom, and gather the eggs from the chicken coop. Oh, and throw your uniform into the washer for tomorrow. Thanks, Sweetie.” The best part of this is you can claim you’re being a good overseer  Mom by helping them build character and life skills.

Bonus tip: teach minions how to cook more than microwave macaroni. Everybody wins. (Brenda note: You can microwave macaroni? Who knew?)

2. Buy in Bulk
When I know a deadline is looming and I’m going to have to lock myself in my writer’s cave, leaving my family to fend for themselves in the cold, hard world, I stock the fridge and panty like it’s the eve of the zombie apocalypse. I do things like barbecue mammoth-size packages of chicken breasts for dinner on Sunday. Monday? Shredded chicken tacos. Tuesday? Orange chicken stir-fry. Wednesday? Chicken soup. Thursday? Chicken salad. It’s going to be chicken-something until it’s gone and I have to break down and cook something else. I figure if I’ve made an effort with one part of a dinner, the rest can come out of bags and cartons. Some weeks, however, “effort” is opening cans or ordering pizza. See bonus tip above. (Brenda Note...THE CROCK POT IS YOUR FRIEND. Learn to love it and the world of the cream sauce.)

3. Get a Smart Phone
Like most Moms, my kids are busy. Fortunately, their activities don’t have to be all about them if you have a smart phone. I leverage the time spent at soccer practice, horse shows, and waiting for piano lesson to end by reading eBooks, posting on social media, and dreaming about the next plot point. Really long events like horse shows are especially good for catching up on blog posts and copy editing novels. I take a laptop and work in the stands, waiting for the 10 total minutes of a 12 hour day that my daughter and her horse take center stage in seven events. It helps if you practice saying, “Of course I saw that goal/barrel run/play/miracle pass! You were amazing! Don’t forget to feed the horses.”

4. Sleep is Over-rated
If we’re really peeking under the beds and scaring the dust bunnies, I should confess that for the last few years I’ve been an insomniac. Invariably, around 11 pm when my husband’s fallen asleep on the couch, I lie to myself that I’m just going to sit down at the computer for a minute and check email, but I really end up working for three or five hours. It’s in the wee hours that I get most of my creative writing done.

Second bonus tip: give the minions alarm clocks. Flogging occurs if they miss the bus and I have to drive them. (Brenda Note: We have a rule- miss the bus and not only do you have to call and explain your predicament're grounded for the rest of your human existence)

5. Stop and Sample the Kim-Chee
Time with the minions is fleeting. In a few short years I know I will have to bring the mail in myself and get my own Diet Coke from the fridge. There will always be another book to read, article to write, or novel to plot. The party never ends on Facebook or Twitter or the newest must-connect social media time/soul sucking vortex outlet. Choose the moments that matter. Spend time actually watching the soccer game, listening to the piano recital, or kicking back and asking the minions about what they’re learning in history. Let them laugh at how old you are when you say I remember that while you marvel at their youth. Embrace the chaos whole-heartedly, wet dogs, missing homework assignments, stinky gym bags, first dates, driving lessons and all.

Because the truth is writers need important things to write about. See, it’s still all about me.

Thanks Lehua! Hope to see you back on the blog again soon!
Lehua Parker’s Biography
Lehua Parker is originally from Hawaii and a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools and Brigham Young University. In addition to writing award-winning short fiction, poetry, and plays, she is the author of the Pacific literature MG/YA series the Niuhi Shark Saga published by Jolly Fish Press. One Boy, No Water and One Shark, No Swim are available now. Book 3, One Fight, No Fist will be published in 2014.
So far Lehua has been a live television director, a school teacher, a courseware manager, an instructional designer, a sports coach, a theater critic, a SCUBA instructor, a playwright, a web designer, a book editor, a mother, and a wife. She currently lives in Utah with her husband, two children, three cats, two dogs, six horses, and assorted chickens. During the snowy Utah winters she dreams about the beach.
Connect with Lehua Parker
Blog & Free Short Stories:
All things Niuhi Shark Saga:
Twitter: @LehuaParker


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