Tag Archive | Support Systems

The Care & Feeding of Our Support Systems

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It’s almost my birthday. Well, not mine, actually. On August 27th, it will be the first anniversary for the release of my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR. It’s the Book Birthday! Yeah, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Recently, I had a conversation with another author about cramming our writing life into our daily activities. So, it seems like the perfect time to repost a blog I wrote a while back. This post is just as relevant today as the day I wrote it. 

FROM 4/29/13:Once again, this blog was born from a phone conversation I had with a friend. While making a point, I realized I’d just thought of another idea that deserved a little discussion. How many of us work like dogs trying to scratch out a few minutes, here and there, to write? Yes, just about everyone. You’re lucky if you’re free to schedule your writing time around your life. If you’re that person, you may as well stop reading right now. But, most of us squeeze writing into our everyday worlds. If you’re that person, then I hope my comments will be helpful.

Me, in Captain Bulldog's arms, dancing!

Me, in Captain Bulldog’s arms, dancing!

My day job consumes the bulk of my conscious moments. Once I get home every day, my energy turns to all the normal family duties. When the basic chores are done, I rush upstairs to my office and dig in for the night. Hubby Dear has a longer work day than me, and I never know for sure what time he’ll be home. Through the years, we’ve settled on our evening meal being take-out a lot more often than I’d like to admit.

We have this “You fly, I buy” deal going. Whoever drives doesn’t pay for dinner, the one who stays home picks up the tab. That works in my favor when my budget is tight and against me when a deadline is looming. I’m sure this mode of dealing with the necessary evils of cooking and washing up has averted many an argument in the house.

This is where I have to stop and tell you that I’m probably married to the most supportive husband in the world. It would take a whole other blog to explain just how seriously he supports my writing. Just know that he understands how driven I am to succeed in this crazy writing business.

Captain Bulldog and me, boating on Killarney Lake, southwestern Ireland.

Captain Bulldog and me, boating on Killarney Lake, southwestern Ireland.

The hours we writers spend at the keyboard can suck the life out of a good marriage, but we can’t forget to maintain our relationships. That’s an ongoing need and it’s easily overlooked. If we don’t put effort into our immediate support system, our loved ones won’t stick around long enough to help us celebrate when our dreams become reality.

We’ve all heard others say they feel like they’re butting their heads against a brick wall, that they’re never going to get a publishing contract. We’ve all faced those self-doubts. It’s inevitable. Well, a while back, I came downstairs well before bed time and joined my hubby on the sofa. Apparently, he knows me fairly well. He said, “What’s wrong?” Seeing that he truly was concerned, I relented and let the ugly truth spill from trembling lips. “I’m so tired. I don’t know if I can keep going at this pace. Maybe I should put writing aside…for a while.” His response shattered me to the core. “You’ve been working so hard. I hardly ever see you.”

Wow. Just…wow. This man, this wonderfully supportive soul obviously felt alone and he missed me. He’d been suffering in silence while I worked to perfect my craft. Talk about facing the grim reaper of failed marriages, if I didn’t change my routine, I stood a real chance of losing the best thing that ever happened to me.

Texas Bluebonnets

Love our Texas Bluebonnets!

We talked things over and I made some changes, right then. We now go on dates. Real dates. Dates where we ink our schedules with time for just the two of us, like once a week or so. It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time, but it could be a weekend get-a-way, too. We started with a Friday night dinner and a movie. That was fabulous! The next week, both our schedules were pretty full so we enjoyed a simple but healthy lunch after Sunday mass. Last weekend, we drove up to a lake north of Houston, stopped at a restaurant overlooking the water and enjoyed the sights and the best burgers within three counties, drove the neighborhoods and picked out possible dream retirement homes, saw the Texas bluebonnets, and giggled like kids again.

Released: August 27, 2013

Released: August 27, 2013

The trip, though only a few hours out of the whole weekend, made us feel like honeymooners again. So worth the time.

That investment reinforced what we both need, each other. Giving away a few precious moments of writing time is like insurance against catastrophe. I’ve noticed since then that Hubby is even more excited about the upcoming release of my first novel.

I’m so fortunate to have my very special hero-hubby in my life, and to have had him fight for our marriage. Yup, I’m one lucky writer.

The whole point of this blog is this: I, alone, chose this career, this writing life. My family didn’t, but they’re left to deal with the consequences…the fallout, if you will…of my being there physically, but not in reality. It’s not always about us or our writing. Sometimes, it’s about our support systems. Hug your family!

Okay, I’m back. Take heart, y’all. With grit, determination, and one eye on the most important things in life, we can do it all–eventually. We need to know we’re not alone in this, the thing we can’t not do–write. Who’s your biggest cheerleader? Has that person ever hinted, like my hubby did, that you could spend more time with them? What did you do to remedy the issue? I’m needing ideas for my next Hubby Date, so please share. Thanks bunches, y’all!  


My First Official Book Signing!

My first book signing, 04/05/2014

My first book signing at NTBF, 04/05/2014

Finally, it happened. I attended my very FIRST published author book signing. WooHoo! Here’s the scoop…

My good friend and multi-published author, Carla Rossi, and I drove up to Denton, Texas, to attend the North Texas Book Festival. We arrived the night before, so we had a chance to scope out the town.

Denton is picture-perfect, small town America, complete with the town square at the top of the hill. The old courthouse with its century-old charm dominates the shopping district. At Cartwright’s Ranch House, right on the city square, I enjoyed the best catfish dinner, ever.

Carla Rossi at NTBF, 04/08/2014

Carla Rossi at NTBF, 04/05/2014


We claimed our author table, and with a signing veteran at my side, the day couldn’t be lovelier. I learned so much with Carla at my side. We sold some books, traded with other authors, enjoyed pizza provided by the good folks at NTBF, and I won a door prize.

Best personal moment? Signing my paperback for a total stranger. Natch! True, I’ve signed bookmarks for people I’d never met before, and blogged about it. (See Sept. 24th, “Jaye’s Moment of Fame” for a quite unexpected and funny encounter in an airport.) But, signing the paperback novel is an experience akin to holding your newborn baby. The heart swells with joy at what you have accomplished, and pride with how well it turned out, thanks to a great publisher.

One of my clients, Angela Christina Archer, and me at the NTBF, 04/05/2014

One of my clients, Angela Christina Archer, and me at the NTBF, 04/05/2014

Best professional moment? I met fellow Soul Mate Publishing author, Angel Christina Archer and her author friend, Sabrina Fish.

Angel Christina Archer and Sabrina Fish at the NTBF, 04/05/2014

Angel Christina Archer and Sabrina Fish at the NTBF, 04/05/2014

They drove down from the Oklahoma City area.






I edited Angela’s debut novel, The Woman On The Painted Horse, which is an awesome story. Angela is a very talented author! (What, you didn’t know I’m also an editor? See the “News” tab on this website.)

Having learned a few new tricks—including what to bring and not to bring—I’m off to fine tune my travel kit for future book signings. Happy Dance!

Garbage Day, Mani-Pedi’s, and a guy named Kane

J Logo 75I find it quite appropriate today to be blocking out huge chunks of time for various life events all geared toward me moving forward. Suddenly, my world is full of a whole lot of uncommitted hours. Hours that are meant to be reserved for my Writing Life.

And how, you ask, is that working out for me? So far, so good. But, it’s only been two days since I’ve officially retired, so this new lifestyle is a monstrous work in progress.

Wouldn’t you know? Captain Bulldog has already blessed me with a chore he’s done the past several years. I’ll now be setting out the garbage for our weekly collections. Yeah, retirement is that glamorous. Ha!

Don’t think I haven’t been savagely protecting my newly earned ‘free time’. I do have my To Do List, starting with eliminating my house from an upcoming episode of Hoarders. Don’t judge, okay? A woman can only do so many things in any given day.

I had my priorities in order this past year, but things got away from me due to the day job, chairing my home chapter’s annual writing contest, and getting my debut novel published. Those things took the lion’s share of my time. Maintaining a semblance of family relationships sliced the remaining hours. So, keeping the house on the Better Homes and Gardens best dressed list had to go, along with regular mani-pedi and hair appointments.

What are the three top items on my new To-Do List?

  1. Write my own stuff: stories, blogs, and do a few critiques and edits along the way
  2. Get healthy: cut out junk, fix healthy meals, and exercise
  3. Reclaim the house: purge, organize, and clean

See that last item on number two? That’s where a guy named Kane comes into play. I signed up at the gym near my subdivision and he’s the trainer who will be guiding me along my Get Healthy Schedule. My goal is to get back into my size 10 blue jeans by this summer’s RWA national conference. It going to be a challenge, but I’m determined to be the very best I can be—even at this late stage of my life. Never too late, right? RIGHT.

Wish me luck. I’ll post updates every so often.