Saturday, September 12, 2015

The ONE thing you can count on happening while you're pregnant...

For anyone who has experienced or currently is experiencing pregnancy for the first time, you may have already come to terms with the fact that facts are not your friends. Not only are you quickly learning about any number of terrifying things you've never heard of that can happen in pregnancy, you may have the added joy of a lot of unsolicited advice and terrifying stories from those around you. It can be, in a word, overwhelming.

Early on, the advice used to bother me. I spent a lot of time thinking "why the hell would you say that to a pregnant person?" But recently, I've come to a realization that has made it a little easier to shrug it offt. So here it is... the ONE thing you can count on happening while you are pregnant:

You will have an entirely unique experience.

As different as all of our bodies are, and as different as all of our children will be, we cannot expect one specific mold of how creating a baby works. I'm sure we all think of spending 3 months vomiting, then 6 months with weird cravings, swollen feet, and permanent back ache. The truth is you might have all of that, some of that, or none of that.

Using myself as an example, I come from a family of women who get GIGANTIC when pregnant, and tend to vomit throughout the entire gestation. I expected that. Instead, I did have 18 weeks of nausea 24/7, but didn't puke much. At 31 weeks, I've gained very little weight and have a very little bump. My back doesn't hurt, and I can still wear my kick ass, knee-high boots thanks to no swelling. I have, however, had kidney stones, hip pain that makes walking difficult some days, and absolutely no appetite.

Your pregnancy will be your pregnancy. Some of the usual stuff will happen to you. Some weird stuff you couldn't have expected will happen. Some things you will get by without, and I think this is all important to keep in mind... It will help if you have your head in a toilet and someone feels it necessary to say "just wait until your third trimester when your feet swell and your back hurts."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pregnant Women are Self-Conscious, Too!

If you've never been pregnant, let me let you in on an interesting phenomenon... as soon as your bump pops, people's sense of propriety falters. And by falters, I mean goes away. I think people assume that because you are supposed to swell up when you're pregnant, you're totally fine with it, and maybe even appreciate having it pointed out. Hey, and maybe some people do.

However, here is a newsflash for the greater good... not everyone does.

At nearly 28 weeks pregnant, I have actually never been as self-conscious as I am now. I love my kid, and I am so excited to meet him, but my inner fat girl is a bit stricken by the fact that no amount of responsible exercise and careful food choices keep that scale from moving up. Though I've only gained 10 pounds so far, I feel enormous. Add an extra dose of estrogen and a touch of exhaustion in there, and I am totally sensitive about my body.

And yet, people keep talking about it. Loudly. In public. Strangers, coworkers, family members. The world seems to be full of smiling landmines waiting to coo "Look at that belly!" and force me to spend the rest of the day trying to suck in my uterus (and whenever I do that, my kid starts kicking my liver-- it's bad news all around).

Thus far, my two favorite comments:

  • "Don't worry, some of that weight gain is actually the baby." 
  • "Glad to see you're feeding that baby!" 

Ummm... seriously?

So let this be a Public Service Announcement.... Unless you really know someone and can be kind, don't comment on the bump. If you're mouth feels compelled to open, just say "you look great!" Or "How's the baby doing?" When it doubt, test yourself by asking "would I say something like this to an overweight person?" I am assuming that, unless you're a total jerk, you would not look at a non-pregnant coworker, even a skinny one, and say "wow, Sally, looks like that bloat is going down. Good for you."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gifts for Baby...

My mother believed that every newborn should have something handmade. This is an idea she instilled deeply in me when teaching me to crochet at age 9.

I've tried to keep up with her ideals- making sets for all of my pregnant friends. However, now that I myself am pregnant, my crocheting time outpaces the conception rate of my circle of friends. Thus, I have an Etsy shop to sell some of my extra items... like this one...

This one make me question my "we're only having one..." mantra, especially since my one is a boy!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Being Asked "The Question"... and Why You Shouldn't Be the Asker

As most women of a certain age know, if you haven't had kids yet, people start looking at you anxiously. If you concentrate, you can see aunts, cousins, family friends, etc. whispering quiet encouragement to your ovaries. "There is still time..." they promise. "Not much..."

If my fellow women are anything like me, reaching a certain age also led them to a keen feeling of being duped. Up until the very day you reach that certain age, the rhetoric is all "you're still young... you still have time... live your life." But no one follows that up with "But by age 33, 9 months and 14 days, be done and be pregnant, because then your time is up."

The switch flips overnight, and FYI.

My husband and I started trying to get pregnant when I was 33. I still felt young and unsure we were ready. I was, however, very sure that I was ready to stop getting "The Question." If you've made it past 30 without procreating, you've likely gotten the tentative yet probing "so do you think you'll ever want kids?"

We had a rather tempestuous time of getting pregnant. Ultimately, it only took us six months, but those six months included a cancer scare, surgery, a miscarriage, a referral to a fertility specialist (that we thankfully ended up not needing) and a very frank conversation about adoption versus in vitro. Once I did get pregnant, my doctor told us we had a pretty big chance of losing our baby before the end of the first trimester (thankfully, we didn't, and my little guy is kicking my bladder as I type). It was a roller coaster and one that left me emotionally frayed and terrified. . Worse, I felt like a failure. I had waited too long, the little voice in my head told me. I wanted the career and the experience before kids, and now I was paying for it. 

And as all of this went on inside my head, "The Question" persisted. Low voice, head tilt, sad tone... "Do you think you'll ever want kids?" 

So let me just assure you, if you've ever asked "The Question" before, you may have hurt someone's feelings. If it was someone like me who was going through hell trying to get pregnant, I am pretty sure you made them cry. Every time I got "The Question" during our half a year of angst, I smiled in response and then went home and sobbed. 

I honestly don't understand why "The Question" is socially acceptable in the first place. I am an open book, pretty much known for my tendency towards TMI, but my decision to have children always felt deeply personal to me. Someone asking me when I planned on having babies really felt like someone saying "so, how's that uterus?" 

Then again, society has this weird view of reproduction as a communal project. More on THAT to come...

But trust me... don't ask it. If curiosity gets the best of you, ask "so what's in store for you over the next few years?" Just leave my uterus out of it! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Get to Know Cutlass by Ashley Nixon!

Cutlass (Cutlass #1)

Release Date: 11/13/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy's fiancĂ© seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancĂ© to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of
pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important
than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

By it at AmazonBarnes & Noble

Here's an excerpt to get you excited!
Larkin had a hard time trudging through the mushy path of water, rocks and mud wearing a ball gown. She tripped several times on the too long skirt, only to be caught up in the ever-present arms of her kidnapper.  It was infuriating. She would prefer being covered in mud, rather than allowing Barren’s constant attempts to keep her on her feet.

            She couldn’t really figure out how to feel—she was scared, yes, but also strangely intrigued. She knew why they’d taken her: as bait to lure William to sea. Her father had warned her that she might be targeted, and she felt stupid having been taken. Every time she looked at Barren, anger flared in her chest.

            She’d decided to leave the engagement party after spotting Barren. She’d gone through her options—returning home meant signaling a carriage and drawing attention, and while the castle might offer safety, it didn’t offer her peace. That’s why she’d chosen to head to shore—why would a pirate ever suspect she’d go there? She was a lady, after all. She’d thought she had been discreet on her way out, even escaping Barren Reed’s notice…but, instead, she’d drawn it.

            She fell again and jerked away when she felt his hand on her arm.

            “I am perfectly capable of standing on my own,” she spat.

            Barren gave a short laugh. “Really? Because you’ve been stumbling all over since we left the ship.”

            Larkin reached down and gathered her dress up as much as she could and continued forward. “If it is too bothersome for you, we can cut the skirt away.”

            Larkin twisted, almost slipping as she did. Her eyes fell upon Barren, narrow and unkind.

            “You will not touch me.”

            Barren held up his hands. “I was just offering an option to ease your struggling.”

            “I’m not struggling!”

            She turned around and to her great annoyance, fell again as the rocks and mud gave way beneath her feet. This time, Barren stood aside as she got to her feet again. She refused to look at him, her face burning with embarrassment.

About the Author

Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the
wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren't used as
much as she'd like. When she's not writing, she's hard at work on her Master's
degree in Library Science and Information Technology, working out, or
pretending she's Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after
reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she's loved
everything Fantasy--resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the 'geek' tab on
Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

Author Links:
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Friday, December 26, 2014

Birthday Traditions

I hope everyone is recovering from a wonderful holiday season, and/or gearing up for a great New Year!

I am one of the unfortunate many who have a birthday very close to Christmas... today in fact. As a child I hated this, but as an adult writer I recognize that many, many people just got new Kindles for Christmas and are looking for something to read.

Enter my birthday tradition of giving away my books!

That's right. Today and tomorrow only both of my YA novels are available free on Kindle by clicking one of the links below:

I hope you will consider downloading these, and maybe giving me a birthday gift back in the form of...
  1. Reading my work, which makes me very, very happy
  2. Reviewing my work on Amazon or Goodreads, which will make me ecstatic! 
  3. Sharing a link to this blog or either title in your Facebook feed so others can do #1 or #2 
Happy Boxing Day to all, and Happy Birthday to me. Sleep, stare longingly at the tree, and perhaps start reading a new book. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Wrong Place, Right Time by Brooke Williams

Wrong Place, Right Time
by Brooke Williams
A Novella


Release Date: December 9 , 2014
Published by: The Writers Coffee Shop
Genre: Fiction: Romance/General
ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-289-1
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH
Wrong Place, Right Time is a humorous, light romance about TV traffic reporter, Kate Covington.  After admitting she is in love with her best friend, Brian, Kate barges into a Las Vegas wedding chapel to stop him from getting married.  When the bride storms out, Kate sees that she interrupted the wrong wedding.  The groom, Chad Leida, who needs to marry before turning 30 in order to inherit his family fortune, has an intriguing offer for Kate.  Marry him and spend a year as his wife for a million dollars. 
Kate, who is greatly in debt and believes her friend has already married, considers the offer.
Once Kate makes her spontaneous decision, her life is on the fast track and the real adventure begins.  Caught between two men, she begins to realize that though she turned up in the Wrong Place, she might have arrived just at the Right Time.



Brooke Williams is an award-winning author and freelance writer. She has written hundreds of articles as well as several novels, including Someone Always Loved You and Beyond the Bars. Brooke has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morningside College, with a double major in Mass Communications and Religious Studies. She has twelve years of experience in radio broadcasting, both behind the scenes and on-air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a brief time. Brooke and her husband Sean married in 2002 and have two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.   

Praise for Wrong Place, Right Time
"Really really fantastic book! I had a very hard time putting my kindle down when my work breaks were over. Loved everything..the plot, the characters, the romance. Definitely recommend. This won't be the only Brooke Williams book I read." - Carrie Goodreads Review

From the Author: 
You are an author of a couple of novels is this your first novella? If so what are the differences in writing and editing a novel vs. novella. What have you learned as an author through this process?

This is actually not my first novella! My very first novella is entitled “Taxi Delivery.” It’s about a young pregnant girl who delivers her baby unexpectedly in the back of a cab. It’s about half as long as “Wrong Place, Right Time.” I also wrote two others called “Mending Fences” and “Mending Hearts” which are no longer available. “Wrong Place, Right Time” was meant to be a novel, though a rather short one. However, in the editing process, the length got cut back enough to turn it into more of a novella. It serves the story well so that’s what needed to happen!

As for writing and editing, I have found that when the novel is full length, you have more time to expand on the story line. You can dive deeper into issues and show more of a character’s background and depth. Shorter pieces like a novella need to clip along at a faster pace so you can get it all into the amount of words you have available! I enjoy writing both types. I think it just depends on what the story needs. I don't want to short change a story, but I don’t want to go on and on if the story doesn’t dictate the need.

Editing is more complicated the more words you have involved. Longer novels simply take longer because there is more to them! They can be more complicated as well as far as details are concerned. You have to remember what you said way at the beginning all the way through to the end and make sure it all lines up. That’s not to say that editing a novella is easy…it’s not! I’m NOT an editor. There’s a reason I write and don’t edit for a living! I am grateful to those with a keen eye who can point out the weird things I stick into stories and help me to make them all they can be.

Writing “Wrong Place, Right Time” taught me plenty, but the biggest lesson I learned as an author was that the story needs to be what it is and not what I want it to be. That might sound strange. I desperately wanted this novella to be a full length novel. But the story didn’t need that. I had to go with what the story needed and not what I wanted. It’s hard to fight against your own creation like that, but I think the novella came out better in the end because I gave in!