Welcome to Mother/Gamer/Writer for the Shattered Circle Blog Tour. For today’s tour stop, please enjoy a guest post from author Linda Robertson, “From Mom to Author Mom”, an excerpt from the novel, and enter to win a copy!
FROM MOM to AUTHOR-MOM
By Linda Robertson
A HUGE THANK YOU to MOTHER GAMER WRITER for hosting me on your site today and helping promote the release of SHATTERED CIRCLE the sixth book in my Persephone Alcmedi series. I am delighted to be here!
Since MOTHER is the first part of your title, it’s obviously a large part of who you identify yourself as, and surely your readership connects with this aspect, too, so I’m going with an author-mom topic.
I have four boys. Two of them are old enough to not live with me anymore, but back when I was struggling to hone my writing craft and break into the very tough professional writing industry, all four were at home. The chores involved with a home and a family takes up a huge amount of time. For example: a mom + a dad + four kids = 12 socks a day. Which means every week there are 84 socks in need of mating. And invariably there were some missing, some with holes, and some with elastic that had just given up. There were some that were stained by mud, and some covered in little burrs from tromping in the woods. Ahhh, boys.
And that’s just the very minor issue of socks.
Did I mention that at that time I was also a non-traditional college student?
I used to zip through my chores, working as fast as I could to maintain a semi-clean environment for my family and keep up with the demands of laundry, groceries, and yard work. When the bus ran, I hit the chore-list with a vengeance just to be able to capture the most amount of ‘free’ writing-time-before-that-big-yellow-bus-brings-them-back. I delegated a few chores to the boys, like bringing up the laundry baskets and putting their own clothes away, making their beds, etc. Now that they are a little older, their list has expanded and mine has shrunk a little. Now that I am a little older, I’ve developed better writing habits and sharpened my skills so I maximize my time.
When my books sold to Simon & Schuster’s imprint called Pocket Books, things changed a bit.
Instead of fighting for time to write after my housework was done, suddenly this writing thing was my legitimate job. It had deadlines. Instead of writing leisurely around what time I had, my focus shifted to “this word count has to be achieved today to stay on target.” So I’d get the dishwasher loaded and run it. When I hit that mental wall where a scene was being troublesome, I’d go unload it and go put in a load of laundry, maybe run the sweeper. By the time I got back to the desk, I re-read what I’d just written and typically the mental block would be obvious, and so would the solution. I’d plug away for another hour, and repeat the break.
But there’s a problem. I can be obsessive about it.
Words, sentences, and the story reel me in like a drug. I love the puzzle of it, of trying to figure it all out and make the pieces fit. I could write all day, breaking to cook and eat with the family, then head right back to the computer. I have to stop myself sometimes and spend an evening with the kids. They are growing up so fast. I could miss it if I’m not careful.
BUT. There was a great mom-moment in there too. The same day that the first two copies of my first book VICIOUS CIRCLE arrived in the mail, I also got the long-awaited diploma for my Associate’s Degree in English. I got to hold both in my hands, show them to my four kids and say, “Look at this: work hard to better yourself, never give up on your dreams, and look what can happen?” I think it was a great lesson for them, to know how hard I’d worked, how loftily I’d dreamed, and to have the fruit of those efforts right there.
In life the issue of time management is simply a list of “trade-off”s. I traded away nearly all of my reading and tv time for writing time. That continues today. That’s what it cost me, and I gladly pay that price. This writing career is what I fervently want, what I am driven to pursue. Some folks would hate having to sit down and write out a story. I live for it. Some folks would hate having to sit down and read a book; others—and I adore you who are like this—live to read. Everyone has that something that gives them joy like nothing else can. Writing is mine.
What have you given up to have more time/access to this joy of yours?
EXCERPT from SHATTERED CIRCLE:
Sundown was fast approaching when the cab for which I was paying an immense fare neared my farmhouse. I spied Celia’s CX-7 in the driveway and smiled. It would be good to see her and Beverley. I glanced into the backyard, hoping to see the girl riding around on a prancing Errol, but instead I saw Celia, hands in her hair like she was extremely frustrated. She turned and saw the cab. She started running toward the front.
It took long seconds before the cabbie made the turn. “Stop, stop,” I cried, threw money at him, and I jumped out to run up the driveway. “What’s wrong?” I called, seeing Celia round the back corner.
“What?” We stopped before each other, both of us panting. I heard voices yelling the kiddo’s name in the distance.
“I was working on contracts and she came out to see Errol.” Her eyes were red and she started tearing up. “I heard the door open and close as she went out. Then, ten minutes ago, Mountain comes by and asks where Beverley is, since he didn’t see her outside. Errol’s in his stall, Seph. She never got to the barn.”
My stomach felt like it dropped into my feet.
“We don’t know where she is. We can’t find her. Mountain and Zhan set out in opposite directions around
the cornfield.” Mountain was a Beholder and Zhan an Offerling; both served Menessos. They were both very capable, but I couldn’t stand idly by. I hurried past Celia. After a few steps, I was jogging, then sprinting. I raced into the first barn where the unicorns and griffons were housed. “Thunderbird!”
From the back, I heard hay rustling and then the majestic tiger-raven stepped into view, his head turned slightly, his one eye squarely on me. He’d lost the other in battle. “Beverley’s missing. Take to the air and find her!”
He loped past me. Five other griffons swiftly trailed him, some eagle and puma, some hawk and panther. I returned to the edge of the barn as they all took flight. In contrast to the dire moment, watching them gave me a sense of awe. They were beautiful creatures, these griffons. They fell into a pattern, crisscrossing the property from above.
Behind me, clip-clopping sounded as the unicorns backed from their stalls and walked out of the barn around me. They lifted their heads to watch the griffons circling. Except for one. Errol nickered low and touched my arm with the side of his mouth as if to ask, “Is she okay?”
Facing him, I’d have sworn he looked worried.
I was. The day was fading fast and thinking of Beverley lost was awful, but thinking of her lost and alone in the cold dark was so much worse.
© 2013, Diayll – MotherGamerWriter. All rights reserved.
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