The Day After Mother’s Day…

(This post appeared originally on Montana Women Writers)

I lost my mother thirteen years ago, and my oldest daughter is about ready to graduate from high school. Mother’s Day has never felt more precious to me than it does this year.

Ava & Grandma birthday 98

Mothering is a complicated business. The day-to-day of it can range from mildly irritating to “I want to run screaming out of this house.” And those are some of the good days.

But the great days… ah, the great days. They will make your life.

My mother certainly gave me mine. My drive, my focus, my anxieties, my arranging flowers from the garden, all gifts from my mother. And, of course, she taught me how to be a mother in the same way I’ve taught my daughters, who have made their own internal list of what they will repeat and what they will do TOTALLY differently.

What is so particularly sweet about Mother’s Day this year, is the understanding that my full-time job, which I have done with all that I am, is about to be a part-time job at best. To be accurate, the hours have been diminishing for some time now. My girls, 18 and 15, have their own lives in addition to the one we share as a family. But while my hours as Mom have been cut, I’ve been bringing the same level of energy, heart, worry, and enthusiasm to the business of it.

The shift I’ve been gearing up for is the same one my mother had to make. What will our relationship look like when we get to define it ourselves? When the days of signing permission slips and sending lunch money are in the rear view mirror, what’s ahead on the highway?

Ava and I cougar fox hats

For my lovely, funny, energetic Ava, there is an entire lifetime ahead with all the joy and complexity the world offers.

For me? I’m old enough to know that I don’t know. But my wish is to hold this Mother’s Day close to my heart and to know that every day after is just as precious.

Happy Mother’s Day


 Hollywood Beginnings audible cover More mother/daughter story telling!

5 Ways to Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day Weekend

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Of course, it’s great to receive a dozen roses or tickets to… fill-in-the-blank (The opera? Paris? Roller derby?) roller derby - me

But sometimes the real gifts are the ones we give ourselves. And by “give ourselves” I mean fight for and carve out of however crazy your life can be.

Here are 5 ways to put a little more heart in your holiday:

1. Nap. Naps are awesome and often overlooked as one of the yellow brick roads to happiness.

2. Eat chocolate. I know you love chocolate. We all love chocolate, and we’re all going to eat some in the next day, week, minute. What I’m saying is eat the chocolate already. Don’t fuss about it or “earn it” just eat it.

miniature candy bars

3. Call that girlfriend you don’t get to talk to very often. It will make your day. It will make hers.

4. Cross one thing off your to-do list that you haven’t done and will never do. You know the one… make kale chips, floss teeth after every meal (you’d have to if you ate kale chips), do your own taxes.

5. Embrace gratitude. You think I mean for others, right? Nope. We do plenty of that. I’m suggesting that a wonderful gift is to write down 3 things you are grateful for about yourself. Not what you have or what you do but who you are.

I am, for example, funny. Alone in my head, I think I am hilarious. Since I write at home with only a dog, it makes me a great co-worker. Is that number two? Well, in case it’s not, I’ll also be grateful that I am pretty good at saying no, a handy skill, and I nap.

So this Valentine’s Day weekend, a three day for some folks, treat yourself with a little heart!


And to celebrate… Plan On It is 99 cents on a Kindle Countdown weekend!


Buy now on Amazon

 And Hollywood Beginnings is now an audio book (in case you really do get tickets to Paris and need something to entertain you on the plane!)

Hollywood Beginnings audible coverAvailable on Amazon, Audible, & the iTunes library (click on the cover & download instantly)

Day 30 – Victory!

There’s only one thing like the joy of writing 50,000 words in 30 days…. Stopping!

It’s the same kind of relief I used to feel when I finished a run. The running felt pretty good some of the time, but the stopping felt really good all of the time. The same is true for writing.

In 30 days I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve written decent scenes and some that will never see the light of day.

I’ve worked hard and also procrastinated at an Olympic level.

But I’ve started. I’ve started what was only an idea and made it the first 50,000 words of The Rocker’s Mrs.

Nano winner 2013 2

What will happen to it (and me) now?

Well, it will be seriously ignored for a while. I mean that in the best possible way.

1. I need to do some laundry or buy more underwear. Just saying.

2. I need a break from the computer.

The chair doesn’t have my rear end imprint… my rear end is getting a chair imprint.

3. I have got to figure out what smells weird in my refrigerator.

4. It’s the holiday season, and I’ve got to do some book promotions for the four novels that are already out in the world.

5. It’s time to scout around and see if there’s a traditional publisher who would like to bring one of my novels out in print.

6. I’ve got to pick up the revision of the Montana Myth novel and finish it up.

7. Family? Well, hello!

8. It’s only 25 days until Christmas, right?! What could possibly need doing?

9. Sleep

10. The audio book for Hollywood Beginnings will need a good launching in December.

Happy Last Day of National Novel Writing Month!




Day 29 – Black Friday!

My Black Friday does not consist of standing in a freezing parking lot around a dumpster fire and waiting for a store to open so I can get a TV bigger than my house for $19.99.

I’m not immune to the stampede.

I did once stand outside a Best Buy for several hours in the pre-dawn cold to buy a camera. It was more fun than it sounds. I felt, in fact, like I’d taken down some wild game and brought it back to feed the family. Really, it was a sense of hunting victory.

But mostly what I like to do on Black Friday, is run around with my girls. Sometimes the girls include my sisters, nieces, and daughters. Mostly, though, it’s my daughters and their friends. Since most moms don’t volunteer the van for early morning shopping with kids, my daughters have plenty of friends who have never shopped the day after Thanksgiving before.

So, to make it festive, we have a couple of traditions:

1. My husband makes a Christmas mix CD that is waiting for us in the car the morning of the 29th.

Christmas CD 2013

This is no ordinary mix. He’s got the tastes of a 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 + year old. You never know what he’s going to throw in there. A classic will be quickly followed by something heard only on a college radio station. (I’ll give you the list in December).

2. Big expensive coffee drinks are allowed.

I’m pretty frugal. I’m also a less is more kind of gal when it comes to consumption (except office supplies). My girls are used to travel mugs with caffeine from home and the occasional purchased latte that can never exceed 12 ounces because “nobody needs more than 12 ounces of sugar.” Black Friday? 16 ounces, baby!

3. Nobody needs to buy anything.

If you have something you absolutely need or you can’t go on, the whole outing feels stressful. Wander with the crowds, enjoy the long lines. You can get in them or not. It’s all good.

4. Stop for breakfast.

Again, there are no limits on carbohydrates.

5. Nap. (See the note about all the carbohydrates).

6. Get back out there if you want to or call it a day and watch “White Christmas.”

Happy Holiday Shopping!



Day 21 – There’s a Direct Correlation Between…

There’s a direct correlation between how many words I write and…

How much laundry piles up.

clothing pile

How little exercise I get.

How much caffeine I require.

How spacey I am in conversations.

How crammed my email inbox is.

How empty the calories I consume.

And also… how satisfied I feel at the end of the day.

Happy… what was I saying?



Day 20: A Guest Post by Grace Dunnehoff

I always know it’s NaNoWriMo because my mom…

1. On occasion still isn’t showered or changed from her pyjamas when I get home at 3:30.

2. Has tonic water stocked in our fridge to cure her eye twitch that appears with stress.

tonic water

3. Dramatically sighs and stomps around about “not feeling it” and “I’ll do it later.”

Happy, Happy, Happy!

Grace Dunnehoff

Day 15 – Weekend Wishes

My wishes for you (and me) this weekend:

May we wear our most comfortable pants one whole morning, afternoon or evening.

 fuzzy pants(Mine are these exceedingly attractive fuzzy, plaid ones :)

May we finish that one job that will bug us until it’s done.

4,000 more words of The Rocker’s Mrs. for me.

May those around us do at least one thing we ask them to do.

“Tally, please do that outside.”

May we catch up on every hour of sleep we missed this week.

Tally Sleeping couch

May we watch the movie/ read the book/ have the conversation/ that makes us feel relaxed and content.

May we get out and see the sun before it leaves us until spring

(I do love Montana, but it can get pretty dark and cold)

May we appreciate this late fall weekend for the pre-holiday quiet that it is.

Happy Weekend






Day 13 – you know when…

You know when your children were little, and the only time you could get anything done was when they were napping?

Tally sleeping

Note to self: Don’t get a puppy during National Novel Writing Month.

Happy Reading, and for me… Happy Write Like a Crazy Person tomorrow!


Day 11 – it’s a….

Today I got a thousand words and a PUPPY!!!!!!!!!!!

Tally - ride home

Day 10 – A Day of Rest?

A mere 1,000 words today (and they weren’t very focused ones, either).

What I want from a Sunday… 1. Sleep  2. A good book  3. A fairly good movie  4. Lots of food from the tiny triangle at the top of the food pyramid.

food pyramid

1. Missed a nap  2. Did enjoy some reading  3. Had to stop watching Grown-ups 2 after 15 minutes because it was truly awful  4. Am now going to eat a brownie.

That’s about 50%, so I’ll try to sloth better next Sunday.

Happy Reading, Happy carbo-loading,



© Copyright - Designed by Pexeto