Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Of Being a Grandmother Or Not by Konnie Enos

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not, but I’m not yet a grandma even though I have relatives younger than I am who are. In fact, the oldest of my brothers has recently joined the ranks of younger relatives who are now grandparents. My eminent admission into that club has not been announced though I’m clearly old enough to join evidenced in the fact that my oldest is now married.
I have also known for nearly a decade that my three youngest kids have classmates whose grandparents are around the same age as my husband and I are. Not really surprising.
I can remember taking my oldest daughter to a mother/daughter activity at her school one year. I was one of the oldest mothers there. Only one mother was older than me, the one that was there with her youngest of several children. Those mothers who were there with their oldest child were all still in their twenties. At nearly 40 I really stuck out.
Since I am so much older than my youngest children, I have had a few instances where someone mistook me for my child’s grandmother. Once a couple of years ago Royce had to have his new glasses adjusted and went back into the busy office without me to accomplish it. A few minutes later he came out with a perplexed looked on his face.
I led him out of the building while I asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Do I have a grandma?”
Well that was kind of out of left field so I asked what brought it on. Apparently the lady who adjusted his glasses had told him to “go back to your grandma”.
Then just the other day he and I were again in a busy doctor’s office. This one was so busy there wasn’t enough seats to go around in the waiting room. He ended up sitting on the floor between the chair I was sitting in and the door to the office.
When we moved into another room, there was still a lack of chairs and he was, true to his nature, complaining, this time about having to sit on the floor. One of the workers essentially chewed him out for begrudging me the only remaining seat, finally saying, “You have to show your grandma some respect.”
I know I glared at the poor woman. “I am not his grandma.”
I kid you not, it was the next day before it even dawned on me that my father had his first grandchild when he was 38 years old. Now guess how old I was when my youngest son was born.
I’m going to assume that you surmised I was 38, which is a great assumption. My youngest was born two months before my thirty-----NINETH birthday.
Of course there is also when my sister-in-law called to announce the birth of her granddaughter she told me I was finally a great aunt and asked if it made me feel old.
Sorry no. My oldest great niece is an adult. In fact so is her little brother. Though their cousins are still in grade school. Of course all of those are the grandkids of my husband’s youngest sister. On my side I’d have to admit this newest addition is my only great niece. Counting me and all five of my siblings, said brother is the only one who is a grandparent, so far.
Unless of course you’re counting grandbabies with fur or feathers, I’ve got a few of those.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 8th by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Its November, and I should be thinking about my Nano project, and adding to those 25,000+ words I already have written this month on my first every sci-fi, but well, today is November 8th and I can’t help but think about what I was doing 31 years ago today.

All those years ago, I was a rather nervous young woman, who was so jittery she couldn’t even set a zipper in a dress. My mother insisted it was just nerves not my inability to do zippers, but frankly, I’m still positive it was my ineptness. She finally took the dress from me and put the zipper in herself, using Grandma’s old treadle machine.

And thus, started one of the most memorable days of my life.
The day I walked down the aisle and exchanged rings with the most wonderful man ever, and we should be celebrating; instead I’m missing him.

And instead of writing, instead of figuring out the next scene in my story, instead of wondering why I finally have a main character that is an identical twin for change, I’m sitting staring at wedding pictures. We were so young, so in love, and so unready for everything that life would throw at us, but we managed to stay together until cancer took him from me.

Sometimes, it isn’t easy to get over a loss like that.

Maybe one day I’ll write a story about that. Until then, happy writing, everybody!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Busy Mom by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Last week when I posted, Konnie recognized that today would be her turn, and it would also be payday, a busy day for her. Sunday she knew she had to get her post written in advance, because there was no way she'd have time this  morning. Then life got in the way and it is suddenly Wednesday morning! 

Be it known she's fine, just very busy shuttling kids hither and tither as well as paying bills and other such chores that always falls to her.

Happy writing everyone! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Nano Advice by Bonnie Le Hamilton

It’s October. For most that means Halloween, and all that goes with it, but for a growing number of writers that means gearing up for National Novel Writer’s month,, especially if you’re a planner. I’m not much for doing that. I might draw a map or a floor plan, but I’ve never written an outline. So, I can’t give advice about how to do that.

As the days move quickly toward the start, I thought I’d impart some wisdom I’ve learned from all the years I’ve been doing this to all those first timers out there. And I think I’ll begin by saying, if you miss the start, don’t look at where others are and say you’ll never catch up, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow they may hit a roadblock. Don’t give up. This is really more about what you can do, not what others can do. And it doesn’t matter who reaches the finish line first; everyone who accomplishes 50k in the month wins.

And if I can pound out 40k in just fourteen days, as I did this past July for Camp Nano, you can come from behind and produce 50k in whatever time you have left of the month. (If you type really fast, unlike me, you might even be able to manage 50k in a week.) Though I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it.

Which is my next point. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Just remember the old Aesop’s Fable about the Tortoise and Hare. The Hare was fast, but only in spurts, and he didn’t win. He got distracted; he lost focus. Keep that moral in mind. Over the years I’ve been participating, I’ve seen people who typed almost nonstop for the last twenty-four hours, madly trying to finish, and several didn't because they had too far to go. Even they couldn’t type that fast.

Then there’s me, I’ve completed all the Nano’s I’ve entered, except last year, and that was because I had a concussion and couldn’t. (One of those I wasn’t able validate my efforts, but I did meet the goal.) And the only time I was typing like mad was the aforementioned Camp Nano this past July, which was all my fault, because I spent too long editing instead of writing.

Generally, I take the tortoise approach to writing. Slow and steady wins the race. It won’t win a Word War, but it will get me to the finish line, often before the winners of all those Word Wars.

Actually, I know a lady who could type three or four times faster than I can, but she always ended up doing some all-nighters near the end, and not always to success. Sure, she could type fast − that didn’t help.

My advice is to make time to write at least six days a week. Notably, if you find you have minute, or two, take it! Because tomorrow you may not get that much. Steal every second you can find to reach your goal. That way, you won’t have to depend on some mythical chunk of time off somewhere in the future, which may disappear like a mirage; use what you know you have, it might be your only chance.

And most importantly, Happy writing everyone. 😊

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Birthday Memories by Konnie Enos

This morning I woke up way too early to the jarring of my alarm. As I started moving through my morning I contemplated how that was the usual way to wake up, unless you didn’t have obligations like work or school.
Then I realized what day it was and clearly remembered waking up rather suddenly on this very day and it was fairly early in the morning. Not as early as today but considering at the time I had no place to be that day, I had no reason to get up before seven a.m.
I looked at the time while I wondered what had bolted me from sound asleep to sitting up and then I contemplated returning to sleep since it was so early. But then I decided I could just start tackling my nice long to-do list which I was bound and determined to finish before the pending arrival of my first child who was due in three days or better yet my husband, whose ship was due back in port the next day. I wanted to get most of it done that day.
So I got up and started with a bath.
While bathing I noticed when I moved sometimes I seemed to lose control of my bladder and squirted, just a little bit. It was bothersome but not irritating. Then while I was eating I felt a contraction about the same time I “squirted” a little bit again. Only this time I knew I didn’t have use the bathroom.
Well it wasn’t that gush everyone had told me about and I had been having those “practice” contractions so being totally unsure I did the most logical thing I could. I called a nurse. Specifically my stepmother.
I called home and Dad said she was at work though in explaining why I was calling he said he thought I might be in labor and told me to call my stepmother at work. I did.
I told her why I was calling, even asked if she could get off early. I was in luck. It was a slow day and she’d just asked to be let off early if possible. She also believed I was in labor. By then I was starting to be able to time the contractions.
Since I wasn’t about to drive anywhere while in labor my to-do list went out the window. I don’t think I did much other than sit around and try to keep myself calm and entertained while I waited for her to get off work. I did call my best friend and she came over and kept me company while I waited.
Fortunately this was, after all, my first baby. We all figured I had plenty of time to get to the hospital.
Mom put in eight, rather than twelve hours, before she got off work then came right over. But my contractions were still far enough apart that the three of us just sat, visiting for some time after she arrived.
At around dinner time we finally took my friend home, then went to get gas and Mom some fast food. Then we started the half-hour drive to the hospital.
The funny part is because of my having a contraction, she missed the exit and we had to do a turn around. And we still made it to the hospital in plenty of time.
Clarissa Anne Enos Plagmann was born a few minutes before midnight, twenty-six years ago today.
Happy Birthday sweetie.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nano by Bonnie Le Hamitlon

National Novel Writer’s month is fast approaching, and I don’t have any innovative ideas for a story. In fact, of late all the stories I seem to be formulating have the same basic premise. Maybe if I ever manage to finish one of these stories, I’ll get that idea out of my head and I can move on to other things.

And I can’t get over how fast this year has gone. It seems like one minute it was June and I had plenty of time to come up with a premise, and the next it was October. Of course, back in July and August I did do a lot of writing.

I did do Camp Nano this year for the first time, and I worked on the story I started last November (the Nano I didn’t complete because a speeding drunk didn’t see the red light.) I did get quite a bit done on that story during Camp Nano, and I even finished the challenge, big time. I just didn’t reach “The End”.

And I should have continued working on it during August, but well, even before I dove into that challenge, my mind kept going back to another story of mine. (I know I already mentioned this.) I liked the premise for the story, I didn’t like how I had it opening.

Anyway, come August, I started over from scratch on that story and beat my July totals in like two weeks! I was moving right along, then long before I finished that story (though making more headway then I had previously) I got to thinking about another one of my unfinished stories.

All through the month of September I tried to stick to the August story, but kept going back to my latest one.

Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder how I ever managed to get any stories to “The End” at all the way I keep coming up blank on the story I’m trying to work on while yet another story invades my imagination. I have so many unfinished stories you would think I never finish anything.

But I have. I have reached “The End” six times, though I then later lost the first six chapters of one of those and I’ve yet to recreate or fix that problem. And I have a few which are way over the preferred word count for my genre, but they aren’t anywhere near a stopping point. And frankly, I think that might just be why I’m blocked on those stories, which is rather dumb after all the times I told Konnie not to worry about her word count and to just get her story down.

Maybe it’s time I took my own advice.

Happy writing everyone. 😊

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Morning Thoughts by Konnie Enos

Try this morning. You get up at your normal hour and start waking teenagers up. Ten minutes later you hear activity but it isn’t your son getting in the tub so you go investigate. Oldest son, who doesn’t have to be up just yet, is getting food while youngest son is still in bed. You wake him up again. He finally gets up.
He can only find two pair of pants. Being on the autism spectrum he is picky about his pants. One won’t due because their pockets are too small. The other pair has big enough pockets but has a nice big hole in the crotch.
So you have dig out your sewing supplies and stitch up his pants while you make him get in the tub, already later than he should have. Situation handled and you can still get them to class on time.
Then you realize that it’s garbage day.
Now since the garbage man doesn’t come until after the sun comes up and you have to get people out the door well before that it’s likely the cans can get to the curb in time but as you are realizing it is indeed that day it dawns on you that it is also blog post day and guess what? You did not write your post.
Your choices are hope it isn’t your turn to actually write the post or wake up dear husband and hope he takes the children to school so you have to time to write, should you come up with something.
As luck would have it, it’s your turn and dear husband is willing to drive. Yeah!
Now to get an idea.
Unfortunately instead of coming up with an idea yesterday you spent the whole day paying bills, balancing checkbooks and running errands. You tackled quite a bit of your to-do list, just not that part of it.
So you get on your trusty computer and start looking but the clock is ticking then your phone rings. It’s your youngest son and you are positive he is going to say his headache won’t go away and he wants to miss even more school. You’re actually prepared to fight him on this one.
No. The car won’t start. Dead battery.
Now this poses a problem not only in getting your two teenagers to school but your youngest daughter needs to get to her college classes and she has mid-terms today.
So instead of writing you are calling to get them some help hoping it is fast enough so people aren’t too awfully late.
Then your son calls again. The car finally started.
Now you have to pray the car stays running long enough to get all the kids where they need to go and nobody is late, and you still need to write your blog, with no ideas.
And the clock is still ticking while you are facing the very real possibility of having to drive your daughter to school. So you are trying to type some stream of thought in hopes of inspiration and still praying that dear husband will actually take daughter to school, you know since he is already in the car. Not to mention dressed.
Then the phone rings again. This time it’s your husband, only if he says anything you can’t hear him. Your daughter goes out front and checks. He’s home.
She says she’s leaving. Oh good. He did drive her.
Guess my morning is taken care of now.
I hope that’s the end of the problems today.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Trouble by Bonnie Le Hamilton

It seems I’m going through another streak of health issues one on top of another. I injured my foot, and I’m still limping, healing from that when my arm started bothering me, it seems I have a pinched nerve in my neck. And I’m having trouble getting on my computer, because I can’t raise my arm high enough to work on my computer when it’s on my table/desk. Right now, I have this balanced on my stomach, and that isn’t going to last long, this isn’t easy typing this way.

And its driving me nuts not being able to write, but this isn’t easy.

And here’s hoping everyone else is doing better than I am.

Happy writing everyone. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Tech Issue by Konnie Enos

Did you ever think about how much time people nowadays spend on tech? How much time they spend connected? Can you even remember what life was like before we had all this tech? What would you do if your internet went down for a day or longer?
For some reason, a couple of days ago, our internet went out. Turns out it was our phone lines completely so it wasn’t a quick easy fix. They had to send out someone. We’d already gone the whole day without being able to get on and they told us it would be late in the day the next day before a technician could get here. So two days without tech.
For me the first day had been busy enough that I didn’t really notice the problem until late in the day. (Which explains me not calling for repairs until late.) The second day was a different story.
I got up as usual and as is my normal routine I picked up my laptop. After looking at it for a moment without opening it and put it back away. What was I supposed to do on it if I couldn’t get online? At the moment I needed to do things but every last thing I needed to do required me to have a at least a minute or two of connections to check something, online.
The only other thing I could have possibly done on my computer at that time was write. The problem was I didn’t have a few hours to delve into any of my stories and I didn’t have a connection so I couldn’t surf which is how I often get inspiration for my posts.
Being limited in time, I pulled out my Kindle. Still tech, but it had things on it I could do without getting online. I could play a game, or do all the Sudoku puzzles for the day, or read a book. Oh fun and joy, I had time for all three yesterday, since I couldn’t get online, couldn’t check my emails, or banks, or prepare this post head of time since my Wednesdays are hectic.
Anyway, as I thought about all the things I couldn’t do that I would normally do each day, I realized I’m too connected. I’ve never considered myself to be addicted to tech. I certainly don’t spend most of the day surfing the net or playing video games. However, yesterday each time I reached for my laptop, I realized I did spend a great deal of time online most days.
I read some headlines, check my emails, and see what is on Facebook (way too often). But I also balance checkbooks, and do other banking transactions. I shop online. I’ve been getting ready for Christmas. I also do surveys for which I earn a small amount of money.
But what I think I do most online is contact with other writers. I’m in critique groups and I wanted to post some work for critique and couldn’t yesterday. There is also my chat groups, which fortunately I didn’t have to miss because that interaction with other writers is important.
And the biggest issue for a writer.
How are you supposed to get information to help make your writing realistic if you can’t google it?
Yes, yesterday was a frustrating day for me. It still made me feel we are way too dependent on technology. Anybody else agree with me?

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Twins in Stories by Bonnie Le Hamilton

I’m a twin. I am not just a twin, and not just an identical twin I’m a mirror twin, hence the name of this blog. I’m also a writer. As a writer, I’m supposed to write what I know.

And it’s not as if I don’t write about twins. I have twins in fifteen of my stories (technically sixteen, but they’re less predominant in book 2 of that series, and yes, it’s the same twins, more than one set even.) Fifteen, or sixteen, out of fifty, and in only one of them is the main character a twin. And in all of them, the sets of twins present in the story are younger siblings, and or nieces (excluding that second book where they are the older cousins of the heroine).

I know twins. I know what it’s like to be a twin. I don’t know what’s it’s like to be a singleton because I am a twin. That’s just part of who I am. Yet as often as I write heroines who look like me, I’ve only written one who is a twin, and that was a fraternal twin, and said twin is dead.

I’ve written, well as I said, sixteen stories with twins in them, but I don’t have their POV’s in the stories (excluding the one story). I don’t have scenes where someone mistakes them for their twin.

Okay, maybe I don’t have that, because I consider this a bit cliché. Not that I’ve actually read them, I generally don’t read beyond the blurb when I realize it’s another switched places or got-mistaken-for-the-other type of story. It’s more than a little overdone.

But how to do you write stories about twins without mixing up or switching them?

In ways it makes since writer’s who have twins in their stories follow that line, but I’m getting the feeling that’s the only thing authors think of when they write about twins.

Off the top of my head, I can think of four published books with main characters who are a twin, which doesn’t do this. In two of the ones I can think of the main character is Kit Fielding, i.e. one of Dick Francis’ characters, and Kit is a fraternal twin, so mixing up and switching places is out of the question. One is a romance where the hero’s identical twin brother is brain damaged. No way to get them mixed up, despite how much they look alike. And the fourth is “And Jacob Have I loved.” Again, not about twins switching and getting mixed up.

In other words, I feel the getting-twins-mixed-up or the twins-switching-places stories are overused, overdone, and need to be scrapped.

And that explains why I’ve never had an identical twin as a main character.

Glad I finally figured it out.

Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Of Holiday’s and Other Memories by Konnie Enos

There are some holidays you can remember for months, even years afterwards. Then there are others that seem more like normal days and within a couple of weeks you’ve forgotten exactly what transpired. For me Labor Day falls in the latter category, generally a very forgettable day.
To this day, thirty-eight years and counting, I still remember a good deal of what occurred the morning of Monday, September 3, 1979.
I can remember my bedroom. It was so pink. Pink walls, pink dresser, pink carpet. I even had a pink bedspread. I’ve always assumed the total pink color of the room is why I didn’t have to share with anyone. At the time I had two brothers, and though the youngest probably didn’t care, he was sharing with his older brother. I can guarantee our oldest brother wasn’t going to sleep in a pink room.
As for my two sisters, well neither one of them have ever liked pink. So yeah, I had the luxury of a whole room to myself for the first time in my life. I even had a nice big full sized bed to myself. (My siblings all had single sized beds, and roommates.)
So on this particular morning I slowly came to realize the sun was peaking over the distant mountains. I looked up for a moment noting how the cloud cover turned everything into more hues of pink. I was appreciating the view and the thought came to me that I normally didn’t have time to see it because I was getting ready for school.
Wait! School!
I very nearly jumped out of bed before I remembered it was a holiday. Sleepy me snuggled back down for some more sleep.
A few minutes later Dad appeared at my bedroom door. “Get up.”
“Why? There’s no school today.”
“To help Margo.”
“Help her with what?” Bear in mind that Dad was a pro at forcing us kids to do someone else’s chore because he thought he had the right kid doing it. I was not budging unless it really was my chore.
“Pack? Why? Where is she going?”
“The hospital.”
Well that did it. I bolted up telling Dad I was coming and he could leave so I could get dressed. I finally realized my stepmother, Margo, was in labor with her second child.
To this day I don’t understand why he didn’t just come right out and tell me what was happening and why she needed help. But I also find it funny that I went from groggy still snuggled in bed to wide awake in a split second when it finally hit me.
And I did go downstairs to help her, though I don’t remember what exactly I did to help. Most women are smart enough to pack go bags well in advance so all I can think of was I gathered a few last minute items for her then helped Dad get her to the car.
It was much later, after we got to see our newest little brother that Margo told us about the funniest part of the day. You see she delivered in the same tiny hospital she worked in. Her co-workers were snickering clear through her labor about her being in labor on Labor Day.
So for me our youngest brother’s appearance into the world is a day I’ve never forgotten.
Then about nine and half months later the little squirt made Father’s Day memorable by walking, for the first time, clear across a country kitchen and into Dad’s arms. Made Dad’s day.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.