And then comes the Funeral

As you know, my stepmum died last week. We had her funeral on Wednesday in Wineborough. It was a lovely service, her son’s said lots of lovely things about her. I wanted to stand up, but I knew it wouldn’t take long and I would be in tears. In fact, I was in tears from the moment I first saw the casket, because Dad made it. It made it to look like a Clinker Dinghy. It was beautiful, and as soon as I saw it, I lost it. I was pretty much a mess from then on.

I was one of the pallbearers, along with her 4 son’s and her granddaughter. We carried the coffin out to the hearse, and then put sprigs of rosemary on it. – Rosemary is for remembrance.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with my cousin and his wife who were in Christchurch and decided to come up for the funeral. His mum, my Auntie, died earlier this year. It was a sad occasion for all of us.

Pretty much since Wednesday, I haven’t been writing. I just don’t have the passion or drive at the moment. And that’s okay. I am grieving for a loved one that meant a lot to me and my writing.

Monday is a return to normal, going back to work, so being back into a routine might help with the writing, but if it doesn’t, I’m not panicked. I will write again, and soon, I just need to give myself time to cry for the loss of a loved one.

Grieving on Mothers Day

Last week I mentioned how my head was struggling with words because of some stress.

My stepmum had a massive stroke about three weeks ago. She wasn’t expected to live very long, and Dad instructed me not to come over. I agreed, but it was hard, because I love my stepmum very much.

Last weekend I decided to go over and caught up with Dad and my stepmum, who was in hospital. She couldn’t speak clearly, and half of her body was unresponsive, but I went and held her hand. She spotted the pendant I had on, the one that her and Dad had given me for my 50th Birthday earlier this year. She started playing with it, pulling it around and around my neck. I was able to give her a kiss and tell her I was heading home.

My Dad rang on Friday, to say that my Stepmum passed away that afternoon. It was a blessing really, because she wouldn’t have been happy living half a life. But it was still sad, because she was such a lovely lady and a full-on personality.

And then Sunday was Mother day. My usual Mother’s Day rounds is to contact my Mum, my stepmum, and my ex-mother in law, (because we are actually still friends). This year, I cried, because I couldn’t ring my stepmum. She isn’t there anymore.

It’s going to take a while to get through this. I still have flashes of sadness about my Stepdad, and he’s been gone for eight years.

Both were instrumental in my life, by encouraging me to do what makes me happy. They loved that I published books and helped me when they could.

I will miss my Stepmum very much.

Scrambled Brains

I’ve just got back from a trip over to Wineborough to see my Mum, Stepmum and Dad. My Stepmum isn’t very well at the moment, so I took the opportunity to go over and catch up with them all.

My stepmum is very special to me, and her illness is very serious, and it’s been playing on my mind for a couple of weeks. To the point that my brain has become like scrambled eggs. I think it is a combination of stress and tiredness, but I notice it when I’m mentally stressed mostly, and that is, that words just don’t always come to me. The most common objects, I can look at it, and it will take me a while to figure out what it is. Case in point, I used the last of my floss the other day on my teeth and couldn’t remember for the life of me what it was called. Of course, the packaging didn’t help, it just called it floss, so I wrote it down on my shopping list as mouth floss. It took me 5 (FIVE) days to remember it was called Dental Floss!

And this sort of thing is a problem when you’re writing regularly. Sometimes you know a word, but it won’t come into your head when you need it, so you use other words that mean it, but it’s not what you want to use, and of course, when the time comes to edit, I will read it and think, what the hell am I talking about!

Do you have scrambled brain problems too? Hopefully you had a good week.

Take care out there.

Catherine

Deadlines

This year, I’ve been trying to adhere to deadlines. I’m the kind of person who likes to get things done and not have to get extensions to get assignments / manuscripts done in time. And up until now, I’ve done alright.

I decided to do my last Organic Gardening course through Open Polytechnic in February to give myself a break over the holidays, but then I wasn’t counting into that Apple packing, which last year I did every alternate night. This year, I’ve done it Monday to Wednesday night, and as a result I’ve been exhausted Thursday and Friday, so I’ve only really had to the weekends to get anything done on my course.

The assignments are due in May – I’m not sure when, but they are due. I’ve completed the course, I just need to fill in the gaps on the assignment and do some practical courses. Like making compost. Testing Soil samples from different sites, and determining what the make up is of each site. These things are proving difficult to do, and my compost pile is being stubborn. I had to remake my compost so that they knew what I knew what I doing. The problem is, we’re going into winter, and the compost heap isn’t heating up like it should. Which means that it isn’t breaking down.

I can use my existing compost for some of the tests (seeing how many radishes come up compared to weeds) but I need to show them that my compost is working and breaking down things.

I also asked my editor to edit Compromising Positions at the end of June. And I don’t think I’m going to get it edited by then.

I don’t like breaking my deadlines, but I’m not sure that I’m going to get my assignments or book edited in time.

I will push on, and hope to get the assignments (three of them) finished by mid May, and I will try and get my story edited, but I might have to push that deadline out, if my editor is okay with that.

How has your week been? You have any deadlines that are pressing on you at the moment?

Take care out there.

Catherine

Finding Me Time

It’s that time of the year, where I am meeting myself coming backwards at the moment. I work fulltime as a gardener, and then from late February / March I work in three evenings a week packing apples from 5 until 9pm. It is to help out a local orchard.

Then during the school term, I have pole classes on a Thursday. By the time I get to the weekend, I am busy catching up on household chores that I don’t get done during the week because I don’t have time.

And then, because I like to complicate things so much, I am also studying my final paper in my organic’s course – Composting. Which isn’t as easy as you think. We’ve had to look at how soil develops, from chemical and physical weathering of rocks. To say it is exciting is an extremely overcomplicated process. Basically it creates sand. That’s it. Not dirt, but sand.

In the mornings i squeeze in a few minutes of writing from the time my partner and son leave the house until I need to leave the house. Which sometimes is only ten minutes, but it’s better than nothing.

On Friday night, rather than sitting and staring at a screen, I decided to get out my Queen 1000 piece puzzle. And I remembered why I had put it away in the first place. It’s rather complicated, and I spent a good hour just trying to find pieces of one of the parts of the puzzle.

But you know what. I relaxed. I breathed deep and I spent some quality time doing something that I actually enjoy doing. Because you often need to find time to do the things that you enjoy doing, just to give yourself a break from other stuff going on inside your head.

What did you do this week that you did for yourself?

Take care out there

Catherine

Travels and Writing

When I go away anywhere, I take my laptop with me, because I might just get some time to write. Often it’s not a lot of time, but sometimes, I might get a bit of time writing. We’ve just been travelling to watch my partner’s two children graduate, one from University and one from School of Tourism. Both have done extremely well in their educational endeavours and made their parents very proud.

I took my laptop away with us, and managed to squeeze in some writing, here and there, and then yesterday I got in a few good minutes while my partner watched his son playing Rugby. I don’t do rugby, I don’t enjoy standing on the sidelines in the freezing cold, watching a sport I don’t understand, so neither of them were upset with me staying in the car and writing.

I got to write for a whole hour in the car, without interruptions, or music, or people talking, and it’s amazing how much writing you can get done in that time. I’m now a third of the way through my Racing Harts novel, which is really exciting.

Normally I write for a few minutes in the morning before I head to work. the house is quiet, and I have time to myself, but I only get fifteen to twenty minutes of writing done in that time. But it’s good to write in short periods as well, it means that I have an idea for where I want to go the next day when I get to writing again.

At the moment, an hour of writing is about all I can handle, but I hope to build that up over time, and also being aware that I don’t need to write all in one hour, I can go away and come back to do more writing, if I want to. It’s nice to have options.

So how was your week?

Take care

Catherine

Personal Discoveries

When I discovered that I was an introvert, life became a lot easier, because I understand why I needed so much rest after a social gathering, or even being in a busy place like a supermarket or mall. My mental health of course also dictated that a sleep was necessary after being in such places.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Clifton Strength’s, espcially on the SPA Girls Podcasts, and thought I should finally do mine.

My top five were: Relator, Intellection, Learner, Positivity and Consistency. I was surprised that Relator came out on top, considering I am such an intense introvert, but Relator means that I enjoy close relationships with others, and I guess you could say that. I have lots of friends, but not many really close friends, and those that I do, I really value their opinion and thoughts, and I love spending time with them, and they don’t drain my energy.

Intellection was another surprise, as I don’t consider myself an intellectual, but I do enjoy a good intelligent conversation. It also means that I am introspective and intellectual discussions.

Learner is no surprise, I love studying and learning new things.

Positivity, I’m always being told that I have a positive attitude and ‘contagious enthusiasm’. I love encouraging people and telling them they’ve done a great job.

Consistency is another one that is strange, but then it means that I like to treat people the same, which I do, until you piss me off, and then you are put into the “asshole” category (and there are a few people in there…)

The top four strengths are about Relationship building and strategic thinking, and Consistency is about excuting themes and making them happen.

So there you go, something new to learn about me. It’s not as world changing as discovering I’m an introvert, but it helps me understand more aspects of myself and how I like to do things.

Winning When You’re Writing

Happy Easter everyone, hope you’ve had a lovely sunny weekend with lots of chocolate and hot cross buns.

I’m a plotter, I like to know where my story is going and what’s going to happen. It doesn’t mean that I have every single little thing plotted out. Sometimes there are little gems that just throw themselves in, and it makes me go, yeah, that’s perfect.

For example; Racing Harts, Faith’s story (because I have yet to find a catchy title, and Finding Faith actually seems a little cliche), Faith is a motorcycle racer, and her season is usually from November until April. But there is a big gap over the Christmas period where there is no racing. Her and her sisters run a vineyard (yet to be named). They have a big Christmas dinner for KidsCan, and then I thought, why not have a concert over the New Years period with a NZ band. Clever idea.

But wait, it gets better, because my hero, Cole, who lives in Christchurch, is a bit miffed that he didn’t get Faith’s number to call her and catch up. But just after Christmas, he and his brother’ and his’s family are going to Kaiteriteri for a week, which will also encompass New Years. See where I am heading with this?

It has become an opportunity for Cole and Faith to meet up outside of the racetrack and to get it on, if you know what I mean. And I didn’t even have that in my story plan! It’s bloody genius, and I love when a story idea comes together.

What brilliant plans have you come up with this past week?

Take care everyone

Catherine

Feeling Fatigued

What a week. I’ve worked two jobs from Monday to Wednesday, one job on Thursday and Friday, been to Pole class, working on study, cooked, cleaned and done edits and continued writing on my Racing Harts series. No wonder I am tired!

On Saturday, I slept in until 7am, because Lunar doesn’t believe in having lie in’s. I got up, fed her and crawled back into bed, and proceeded to watch a couple of Youtube videos until I fell asleep again about 7:30am, and woke up at 10am! And I still felt tired. I had an afternoon nap and finally felt like I’d caught up on sleep, so all up, on Saturday, I slept approximately 12 hours.

That’s some serious sleeping time on a day off. That’s half of Saturday that I slept! But Saturday morning, once I got up, I cooked some tomatoes for tea, made some lemon quencher and reset some heat packs, and on Saturday afternoon / evening, I finished all the edits on Second-Hand Daughter, so now I only have a couple of small tweaks to do, and then I have to format the story and have it all ready to be released on 31 May 2024. And I might also have some print books available by then too.

I only have four more weeks of apple packing to go after this week, but the extra money is handy, and I can’t wait to get my teeth sorted out and have that 100 watt smile back.

Much Excitement Abounds

By the time you’ve written your story, rewritten it, edited it and re-edited it, it just feels like something isn’t right with it, or that it’s crap. That is how I felt when I finally sent Second-Hand Daughter off to my editor in February. I was pleased to see the back of it.

Then I spent weeks wondering if the editor was liking it or having to drag herself through pages of mud, just to edit the story (hopefully she would have said as much as not continued editing) but of course, that is what you think.

Then you get an email from your editor with this little gem – “I’m on track to have your edited manuscript back to you by Friday. What a great story – very emotional and intense! I’m enjoying it so much.”

Which is great to start with, but then you start to wonder if she actually means that. And whether she’s just trying to be nice.

And when the manuscript arrives back, there is this note on it. “I thought the overall arc of Peyton and Sylvia’s character and relationship development was done extremely well! I absolutely love how close they are a year after … and how Peyton found what could be considered her real family. Just excellent!

And then I went into the manuscript, and I was blown away. There are a few changes to make, but other than that, it seems that I have an actual story that people may actually enjoy. And so now, I’m at the excitement stage of fixing the problems and getting it ready to publish on 31 May 2024!

It’s surprising how you can write something, edit it within a hair’s width of its life, hate it, and it comes back polished and shiny and new. I wish I had more faith in myself, but it seems I’m not the only writer who thinks a story is stink once they’ve sent it off to the editor!

How’s your week been? Have you had an exciting moment happen?

Take care

Catherine