Housekeeping tips for writers

Tags

, , , ,

When you work from home, there is the unique challenge of keeping your mitts off the messes in your home, and actually doing your work. It’s harder than it looks to balance it out. I’ve been writing full time for about ten years now, and I’ve realized that I have a choice–write full time, or clean full time. Pick one.

It might not surprise you to know that I’ve chosen the writing option. 😉 But that doesn’t mean that keeping up with everything else is easy! So I have a few tips for you work-at-home types.

  1. Delegate! You are not the full-time housekeeper. You are a writer, and your working hours are sacred. That means you don’t have time to do all the things people hope you’ll do. Learn to delegate jobs to other members of the family to make that workload a litter fairer.800px-Patsy_Grimm_helping_to_do_all_the_housework._8d29104v
  2. Wait before you clean the bathroom… just a bit. With your long hours of writing, there is nothing more irritating than rushing around cleaning up, to have nobody notice or recognize just how heroic your efforts are. That is why I recommend waiting two days longer than you usually would to clean the bathroom. I can guarantee that not only will your family notice when you clean it, they will thank you for it. You’re welcome.Doing_housework_(1993-1997),_bathroom,_1
  3. The dishes can wait. If you were in an office across town for 8 hours a day, you wouldn’t worry about the cereal bowls sitting on the counter. And neither should you worry about them during your writing time. Dishes, laundry, the carpet… whatever it is that irritates you just to see it–turn your back! You have a chapter to write. Get to work.800px-Housework_(5978829002)
  4. Don’t forget to rest. When your work hours are over, turn off the computer and spend that time with your family. It’s too easy to let work take over when it’s just a matter of sitting down at your computer and doing a little blogging or emailing to catch up. You love these people, remember? They deserve your time, too.

 

And there you have it–the best housekeeping tips I’ve got. You can tell that my writing hasn’t been going well when my home is sparkling. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t clean your home, but I AM saying the you and your family should do that cleaning outside of work hours. Because at the end of your work day, you can have a chapter written, or a clean floor/stove/kitchen/whatever. One of those is going to feel more satisfying to you. You have to decide which one you want.

Best of luck!

Advertisements

I’m not going to apologize

Tags

, , ,

The Christmas tree is up! And I won’t even apologize for it. I love Christmas, and while I could have waited a little bit longer to put up the decorations, my ten-year-old couldn’t. He was just dying to get the tree up, and since we got some snow, which put me right into a festive mood, too, I caved. (As I always do.)

45351160_1067239823443758_2530252305945591808_n

So I put him to work. I have him a bit of help in the actually putting up of the tree,  but he decorated it.

thumbnail_20181103_200306

He loves Christmas more than I do. He’ll go over the decorations, remembering where they came from. He’ll laugh about things he remembers from when he was little. It’s not just a piece of decoration for him. It’s a piece of our family.

Mr. Johns is less of a Christmas person than I am, but he always brightens up when he gets home from work and finds that Christmas has hit our home. The tree is up, the lighting is soft, the garlands are hanging above the windows, and it just feels… warm.

Of course, we’re in Canada, so our Thanksgiving has already passed in October, so there aren’t any other holidays between us and Christmas. So it might be a little different for you if you live in the US.

But Christmas has come to the Johns home. And it feels good!

Library cards and cows… sigh! <3

Tags

, , , , ,

I have a photographer friend who lives a few hours from me. She’s very good, so if you’re in the Lloydminster, Alberta area and want a photographer, she’s the one to look up! Her name is Barrie Jane, and she has such an eye… Take a look at her work if you don’t believe me. I’m not just a gushing friend, I promise! When I next need pictures, I’m going going to her!

Anyway, Barrie Jane and I have been friends since junior high, and she recently sent me the most beautiful gift!

20181101_142715

It’s an apron with a vintage library card and cow theme! It’s lined with lace, and is nice and roomy so it wraps all the way around my sides. I just love it!

She had it made by her friend, Jennifer Herron, who has an Etsy shop called For Fabric’s Sake. Check her out if you want an apron like mine! 🙂 Or, hey–Christmas shopping!

thumbnail_20181101_132827

 

Forgive the hallway selfie–it was the best I could do under the circumstances, but it’s just a gorgeous apron, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

 

***

Feeling the jiggle

Tags

, , , , ,

Last New Years, I jokingly wished for a parrot. It was one of those wild wishes that I never thought would come true for me, but here we are–and I’ve got a small parrot of my own–Pichu.

He’s my little writing buddy. He loves to sit with me while I hammer out my novels, and he’s just so much fun. He talks and imitates, which is very cute. He’s such a smart little guy, and I’m so glad he’s ours.

Here he is is dismantling Lego man legs on my shoulder while I write. He has a very big, strong beak, but he’s trained now so that if he gets too nippy or rough, I can hold his beak and tell him to be gentle, and he stops right away. I guess it communicates that I’m the boss, or something. It works!

44852259_1063140973853643_338572851764264960_n

 

And here he is sitting on my wrist because he likes to feel the jiggle while I type. Such a funny guy!

20181026_113014

 

This is the writing life–lots of time alone. 🙂 But I’ve got a little parrot to keep my company, and I couldn’t be happier.

It’s a good set up. No complaints from me.

Montana Twins–2019

Tags

, , , ,

Rugged, hard-working cowboys and adorable twins to melt their hearts… what’s not to fall in love with?

I recently found out that my full, three-book Montana Twins miniseries is going to be coming out in the 2019 calendar year, and I’m so excited! That means you don’t have long to wait between books if you’re following this series. 🙂

January 2019: Her Cowboy’s Twin Blessings

4.280109.512.9781335478924

 

May 2019: Her Twins’ Cowboy Dad

 

August 2019: The Cowboy’s Forgotten Twins (title subject to change)

 

I can’t wait for these stories filled with faith, family and tiny, bouncing twins to hit the shelves. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Bathroom art

Tags

, , , , ,

So I have a new hobby…. I like to find funny hand washing quotes to use in our bathroom to remind our ten-year-old to make use of the soap. It amuses me, what can I say? And it amuses the rest of my family when they come home to a new funny saying in the bathroom.

This was the first one I ever put up:

20180922_125029

Mr. Johns is a pretty quiet guy, but when he got home from work and went in to wash his hands, I got a genuine guffaw out of him for this one!

So I thought I’d use it to give funny messages to my family. There were a few others that were cute, but Mr. Johns wasn’t on board. Like this one:

20180927_142300

“So we’re staring at people peeing now? Like… a guest? Are we threatening guests with voyeurism?”

“No, I’m saying I find YOU attractive!”

“But I know that. We need to keep this focused on hand washing. That’s an important message.”

Have I mentioned that he’s very serious? But he also had a point. So that one came down. Although, I did think it was cute!

This is our most recent one, and I like it. 🙂

20181019_105320

 

Bathroom art–my newest pass time. Now, I can print off the funny little sayings I see and post them for all to see… Well, maybe just for my family to see. Whatever. I’m enjoying myself. 😉

And speaking of love in the air… have you picked up your copy of Her Lawman Protector yet??

****

4.278504.512.9781335633828Their relationship isn’t real…

But his feelings for her are!

Detective Jack Talbott has devoted his life to ending police corruption. His latest target is Liv Hylton, the ex-wife of a dirty cop. She’s also the woman he’s secretly loved for years. To get close to her, Jack’s going undercover as her boyfriend. But when the evidence points to Liv’s innocence and a threat to her safety, he’ll do anything to protect her. Even risk his career…

 

Another box of books!

Tags

, , , , ,

Look what arrived the other day? A brand new box of books! This book comes out January 2019, so there’s still a little time before it hits the shelves. But I couldn’t be happier with how this story turned out. It’s my first book in my Montana Twins miniseries. Cowboys and twins–hard to go wrong! 😉

20181017_154441

 

And here I am, posing proudly with my book. I just love to cover for this one, and I think you’ll enjoy it. I cried writing this one. There is one particular scene where after writing it, I had to go take a break and have a cry before I could move on. I have a feeling it’s going to be a tear-jerker for my readers, too. It’s the story of a mother’s last, desperate prayer…

20181017_155342

You can pre-order it here:  ❤

Amazon

Harlequin

It hits the shelves in bookstores everywhere January 2019, but you can get your copy a month early, starting in December 2018, if you order through the Harlequin site! 🙂

A veritable media blackout

Tags

, , ,

This week, I turned the big 4-0. I am now officially a woman in my 40s, and I think I like it!

I’ve been looking forward to this, actually, because I noticed something about women 40 plus–all those things they told us mattered most when we were growing up, suddenly start mattering a whole lot more. You remember those talks we had with our parents, when they told us to ignore the mean girls, to power through heartbreak, to be brave and know our own worth? That’s when they told us what mattered most–character, brains, a sense of humour. “And you have those, sweetie. You’ll see. Life has a way of turning things on their heads.”

20181012_172557

Life at 40 isn’t about how cute you are anymore, because if you’re still adorable at 40, you’re doing something wrong! 40 is not cute. Laugh lines, a solid line of gray down the part in your hair, and a new appreciation for when it’s too late to eat is not adorable. And I’m glad, because the whole cutie-pie thing past 16 is very annoying. It’s come full circle again, and life is now about the very things our mother’s predicted: character, brains, a sense of humour.  So if you haven’t spent the last 20-odd years developing the important stuff, it’s going to be painfully obvious. Because “cute” no longer cuts it.

The media has a lot to say to women under 40 about who they should be, what makes them beautiful, what they deserve… But there is a veritable media blackout for women 40 plus! The actresses–except a select few playing grandmothers and storekeepers–slip into the background. And some might think that’s a bad thing because it implies we’re no longer relevant, but I disagree. It’s freeing! Nobody cares what we do anymore! 

This isn’t news to the other women. I’m just new to the party, so it’s all exciting and novel. The lack of societal supervision is heady. It doesn’t mean we aren’t beautiful still, but with the bulk of the attention off of us, we could do a whole lot while no one is looking…

Character, brains and a sense of humour. I knew they’d come back into style eventually. 😉

ec7926782eb9f321720a916e98897f14

Little Mountain Towns

Tags

, , , , ,

Growing up, my father was a minister and we moved around a lot. I’ve found that it’s a lot like having a parent in the military. I was always in a new school, living in a new setting. For my high school years, our family moved to a little mountain town called Salmon Arm in British Columbia, Canada.

Shuswap Lake

It’s a gorgeous little town fuelled by tourism. It’s located right by the Shuswap Lake. I have so many great memories from those three years in Salmon Arm! Friends, rights of passage… We hung out at the beach, drove around, and I worked at the local McDonald’s where all the other kids worked, too. It was a really great place to graduate high school.

14030942_10154083524344807_574718939_n

This is a recent picture of the house we lived in back then.  (Snapped by a friend who went home to visit her parents.) That living room window has a view of the lake–just gorgeous!

Salmon Arm has stuck in my heart. There’s something about the way the seasons change in the mountains–like how you can know when winter is almost there because the snow line has moved down the mountains.

So when I wrote HER LAWMAN PROTECTOR, I decided to set it in the fictional mountain town of Eagle’s Rest. I gave her a bookstore… and I set it in the fall with the leaves all changing and the snow line moving steadily down those mountains… ❤

Sigh! I love this book! I really think you’ll like it, too!

*****

4.278504.512.9781335633828Their relationship isn’t real…

But his feelings for her are!

Detective Jack Talbott has devoted his life to ending police corruption. His latest target is Liv Hylton, the ex-wife of a dirty cop. She’s also the woman he’s secretly loved for years. To get close to her, Jack’s going undercover as her boyfriend. But when the evidence points to Liv’s innocence and a threat to her safety, he’ll do anything to protect her. Even risk his career…

Harlequin

Amazon

Pass the crayons

Tags

, , ,

I stumbled across this a few days ago, and it made me laugh out loud!

43548781_2242447705829591_9151956235484921856_n

Anybody else feel like it all piles up sometimes?

I’m an author, a wife and a mom to a ten-year-old. And there are some stresses that aren’t really negotiable, you know? Like parenting stress–you can’t exactly let the ball drop when it comes to your child. And there are a few stresses that I’m not willing to downgrade–like the writing. So, every once in a while, I just need to vent some stress.

Oh, did I mention that I’m an introvert? So going out and getting social doesn’t do that for me.

Lately, my favourite release is going alone to my parents’ place and watching their TV. My parents record a few of my favourite shows, and I go there to watch them. It sounds so trivial, but it drains the stress away, and when I get back home, my husband has taken care of the parenting stuff for me.

It’s more effective than colouring would be… I think. But then again, maybe I should get an angry red crayon and give it a try. 😉