Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Posting Phase Six: Season of See You Later

Today I begin the long Season of See-You-Laters.

I say season, because goodbye doesn't happen all at once (as most frequent-movers know). It's a process. Sometimes painful (my twelve-year-old's bestest, bestest friends EVER), sometimes celebratory (the twit at the end of the road that tried to hit my dog every time he drove by--yeah, wasn't sad to say goodbye to him on that posting...), each goodbye has a story. Some people I'll remember. Some people I won't. Some friends will be life-long, and some I'll never hear from again.

The process starts long before I pull out of my driveway for the final time. We haven't even gone on a house hunting trip and it's already started here. Saying goodbye starts when I realize I'm not going to be in that part of town again, when I look at my calendar and do a double-take at the surprising lack of time before our drive-out date. I start cramming in coffee dates and dinner parties and last minute meet-ups--slowly at first... But each time I see a colleague, a co-worker, a friend... I recognize it might be your last.

Goodbye is hard.

Hence the See-You-Later.

You see, after twenty-plus years of military friendships, it becomes obvious that goodbye is rarely forever. And with today's social media, goodbye is becoming almost unnecessary. I can Facebook with friends I haven't seen in twenty years and tweet with people from ten different postings. And sooner or later, we'll be posted back together again, so why bother with goodbye?

I prefer 'see ya soon', or 'until next time'. Who knows what will happen?

But today is my last day of work at my day job as a physiotherapist at a long term care facility. A job I absolutely love. I've only been there four months, but I wish, for once, I could stay. It's a perfect complement to my writing career, it pays well, and I get to spend time with amazing people...some of whom are nearly a century old.

I hope 'see you later' will be the right call today, while I'm finishing up paperwork and tidying up my space, because I'd love to see some of these elderly ladies again. They have such wonderful stories. Such interesting histories. Sadly, they don't tweet, and they don't Facebook.

I've still got lots of time in this house/posting (thank goodness!) and I've got lots of time to finish my final coffee dates. I'll be back in this area again, so I'll say see-you-later, and I'll hope that our paths cross again.


Like Posting Phases? More to come! Check out the first five here:

Posting Phase Five: The Long Wait

Posting Phase Four: The Stash and Dash

Posting Phase Three: Orders!

Posting Phase Two: Closet Clean-out

Posting Phase One: Real Estate Research

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On Living in the Moment

As I write this, I'm sitting here on my newly-installed porch swing, looking over my just-constructed flower garden underneath new hanging baskets and beside the veggie garden I planted last weekend. We had this farm (yes, farm) built (yes, built) two and a half years ago. We built a barn, fenced in four paddocks, did all of our own landscaping including raised bed vegetable gardens.

We will be moving across the continent in less than two months. 

I can hear what you're thinking. Flower gardens? Veggies? Porch swings? With two months to go in your house? Why, on God's green earth, would you put yourself through that in a temporary home? 

My friend may have brought up this very point a week or so ago when I was showing off my beautiful porch swing. Also a military spouse, she understands the tentative nature of our existence. She didn't quite imply that I was insane. Okay, maybe a little bit. But she stopped short of giving me the coo-coo swirly finger--hence why we're still friends.

Anyway, my reply to her was this:

Because it makes me happy

Incredibly happy. I'm sitting here basking in sunshine and birdsong and writing to you and my heart may just explode from pure bliss. My dog is lying by my feet and I've got an iced coffee and the breeze is blowing the hanging baskets and this moment right now couldn't be more perfect. 

I'm pretty much in heaven.

Yes, we live a chaotic life. Yes, it seems like a huge waste of energy for such a brief period of time. Yes, we'll have to take the bloody swing down in a month and a half and the veggies will more than likely go into someone else's mouth. 

But as Shelby says in Steel Magnolias...I'd rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special. And in the big scheme of things often thirty minutes is all we have in a place like this. So if it takes busting my butt with a trailer load of dirt, or my amazing hubby spending a few hours with a screwdriver and a ladder peering through metal soffit with a flashlight... well, that's what we've got to do. 

Enjoying what you have is up to you. No one else can create your happiness. And as my BFF and I discussed last week, it may take a little elbow grease and a little sweat, but it is sooooo worth it. I would not have it any other way.

Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Live in the moment.

You'll be happy you did. 


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Guest Post: F.J.R. Titchenell

Greetings from House-Sale Land! No news on that front. There's no life like it!

On a totally non-posting-related note, today I have the privilege of welcoming agent and publisher-mate F.J.R. Titchenell to the blog as she celebrates the release of her debut novel Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of)! One of the wonderful perks of being an author is having the occasional ARC come my way, and I have to say, I loved reading Fiona's book! CotVFZS(TIKo) is fun and fast-paced, and the characters are strong and quirky. If you like YA and you like Zombie books, you HAVE to check it out. 

I featured the cover on the blog as it was revealed in November of 2013...and you can read more about the book HERE.

So the question I posed to Fiona was this: What was the process of writing your first book like? How did it feel to hold the ARC?

Here's her response:

Like many authors, I'd been writing a long time before I finished the manuscript that would be my debut novel. I'd been writing fiction my whole life, and with serious intent to publish for about five years before I started Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of).

I had some short stories published, and I had some earlier novels that I either decided weren't publication-worthy or couldn't get picked up at the level I was aiming for, so Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) wasn't my first experience with completing a novel-length manuscript. It was the first time I was able to create something I was proud of without an insane number of drafts, though, the first time I started thinking, "I might actually be getting the hang of this," and, of course, that first amazing time I caught the interest of someone in the industry, the awesome Jennifer Mishler.

The process of writing the book itself was a whirlwind. I went from idea to query letter in seven months, and I wrote the first draft in an almost entirely linear fashion, which is rare for me. I usually can't resist jumping forward to my favorite parts, but Zombie Slayer kept dragging me straight ahead with it.

I had a lot of fun writing Cassie. It was great being in her irreverent but optimistic head, and I spent many a slow hour at my then day job vicariously indulging my wanderlust by tracking her progress on Google maps.

The path to publication from finishing the book was a lot longer. There was lots of celebration, the agent contract, the publishing contract, and lots of waiting (I finished the book back in July 2012, nearly two years ago), and in the meantime, learning the ropes of promotion.

Also like many authors who decide to go the traditional route with agents and traditional publishing houses, I had this fantasy for a long time that all that pesky marketing stuff would be taken care of for me once I had a legitimate contact, and I could carry on with writing my next book, perhaps occasionally sticking my head out to sign something.

This is where all the published authors reading this burst into laughter. I've had to come out of my shell a lot in the past couple years, get used to starting and encouraging conversation, doing interviews, writing about writing, and generally being an author in all the ways that aren't the book writing part I got into this for.

With a year and a half-ish of reality check and experience with the whole authorhood package under my belt, feeling curiously like a "real" author (and having already held short story anthologies I contributed to), I didn't expect a little thing like actually seeing the Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) review copies in person to have too much of an effect on me anymore.

Wrong. It really is that amazing, finally seeing the thing you put that much work into in physical form. It's everything you'd think it should be.

Thanks Fiona!

Curious? Want to read more? Here's Fiona's coordinates:


Monday, May 5, 2014

Military Monday: Posting Phase Five


Everything is ready. The house is clean. The plans are made. The signs are up and our stash and dash is perfected.

But the phone doesn't ring.

The housing market slumps.

And that highly anticipated rapid and insane house sale doesn't happen.

Still waiting...
Sadly, not every house sale goes as planned. No matter how much time you spend thinking about your listing price, no matter how magazine-perfect your rooms are, no matter how many bells and whistles your feature sheet cites, sometimes the right buyer just doesn't materialize. We've been on both ends of the spectrum. We've had a week-long insane buyer's bonanza and we've had the six-month long haul--complete with hubby moving on ahead of us while I try to keep my brain from exploding in a spotless house with three kids and two pets.

Sometimes there's no magic to it. You list aggressively, you clean like Cinderella, and you wait. You lower your price, offer incentives...and you wait.

Patience is a virtue I lack.

There are lots of tips out there for ensuring a quick house sale (like this one from HGTV). But once you've exhausted yourself cleaning out closets and mopping floors and folding your bathroom towels just so, all there is left to do is hang in there and hope and pray for the best. You still have to live in your house.

Unfortunately so does the rest of your family.

Ah, the joys of military posting-hood.


Want to read more Posting Phases?  Check them out!

Posting Phase Four: The Stash and Dash

Posting Phase Three: Orders!

Posting Phase Two: Closet Clean-out

Posting Phase One: Real Estate Research