I'm glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again.
you work well under the pressure of a deadline? I do. If I have all the time in
the world, I put things off. (Just ask my husband. I drive him crazy.) When I
have a deadline—even a self-imposed one—I do so much better and accomplish so
people are very organized. They plan ahead, parse out what needs to be done
when and seem very relaxed when the deadline arrives. Like my sister who packs
a whole week before leaving on vacation. Me? I’m still washing the clothes I
want to take the night before leaving. Or how about the hostess who has the
table set before the guests
arrive—even family. I’m working on that. When we had several family members
over to celebrate my husband’s birthday, I didn’t wait for my four-year-old
granddaughter to “help Nana” set the table—maybe because we were using my good
china. Not really. I had decided I wanted to enjoy the company instead of doing
tasks that could be done ahead of time. That was so not my normal routine.
daughter puts me to shame with how organized she is. Once we were talking about
an invitation to a wedding and she said she always puts the respond card in the
mail the day after it comes. Holy cow! I’m usually trying to find the card
right before it’s due. That got me thinking about how I deal with mail. Organizers
say to touch a piece of mail once—toss it, pay it, file it. Yeah, right. I am
getting better about tossing junk mail. Deciding between what’s junk and what needs to be paid is the easy part. It's the "I might
want to do something with” mail that's the hard part. Of course, I’d rather “junk” the
bills, too, but credit card and utility companies frown on that.
try. I’m trying harder to be organized. But I think I’m missing a relay in my
brain. You know, the one that triggers an immediate reaction to a task. On
second thought, I do have a reaction. My brain says “you’ve got plenty of time,
you don’t need to get started yet.” Then, I always underestimate the amount of
time a task will take. If I’m supposed to leave at a certain time, I try to do
one too many things before then race around at the last minute.
here’s the weird thing. I procrastinate terribly in my personal life only. It’s
different with my work. At every job I had, I could see what needed to be done,
worked up a schedule and completed the task ahead of time. I do the same with
my writing. Instead of my boss telling when a task needs completion, I set my
own deadlines. When you self-publish, you don’t have an editor (or agent)
setting deadlines for you. Posting this blog each Monday is a self-imposed task
which (so far) I’ve been able to accomplish. I’m amazed at how much I can
accomplish when I have a deadline. Now, if I could only parlay this into my
about you? Are you organized or a procrastinator?
Have you ever “Googled” yourself?
I used to, periodically, to see if there were any reviews of Switched
or if someone was selling bootleg copies of my book. But, I would get busy and
forget to check so I set up an alert that sends emails any time my name or
the name of my book comes up on the Internet. I know my name is fairly common,
but I didn't expect to read that I died—five times in the past couple of weeks.
That’s a little freaky.
I feel like Mark Twain protesting
that “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Apparently, five people
named Diane Burton have recently passed away. Naturally, I checked the obits. Wrong
middle names, wrong maiden names. Whew! They weren’t me.
Several years ago, I was at a conference
in Chicago and the big to-do that weekend was how Romantic Times reported an author (who was attending) had died. No
mistaken identity, either. She was such a good sport and had a good laugh over
it. Three fellow authors who frequently performed musical parodies at
conferences wrote one about her. It was an amusing finale to the conference.
I’m not making light of death. Having
lost three close relatives within eighteen months of each other, I know how
devastating it can be. Maybe joking about death makes it less fearful. Wasn’t
there a comedian who said she read the obituaries each day and if her name wasn’t
there she knew it was going to be a good day?
Anyway, I’m still here. And it’s
a good day.
Some people think Valentine’s Day
was invented by Hallmark and Hershey’s. Is that the equivalent of “bah, humbug”
in February? It could be just a bright break in an otherwise gray month. Or, is
Valentine’s Day a time to celebrate love? I think it’s a little of all three.
God knows, we need a little brightness in February where the monthly amount of
sunshine is measured in minutes. If you don’t live near the Great Lakes,
consider yourself lucky that you actually see the sun, and see it often, this month. Without being too cynical, Valentine’s Day is a boon to the flower,
candy and restaurant industries—not to mention greeting card and jewelry stores.
That’s not to say I would turn down a bouquet, some Lindor truffles, or an
invitation to dinner.
As a romance author (what? you
thought I only write space adventures?) I’m fond of any celebration of love. Romantic
love, filial love, platonic love. There’s not enough of it in the world. Experiencing
love, of course, is the best. Coming in second is reading about love. In a time
when the news shrieks of war, strife, murder and mayhem, isn’t it great to lose
oneself for a few hours in a story with a happy-ever-after-ending?
Some say romance stories are
unrealistic, that life isn’t happy ever after. I agree, to a point. In all good
fiction, there has to be conflict. The story would be pretty boring otherwise.
Real life has conflict, too. Relationships have their ups and downs, trials and
sufferings. But relationships also have times of happiness, joy and
contentment. And that’s what Valentine’s Day celebrates.
At this time of year, many blogs are
devoted to stories of romantic love. One author, Michele Stegman, offers up
stories each day in February of how lovers met. Interestingly, many of the
stories include how long the couple has been together. At a time when one out
of two marriages end in divorce, how refreshing it is to read about people who
are still together after twenty-five, forty, or more years. Those people have
found not just something special, they found someone special. Michele’s blog is at http://michelestegman.com/thoughts If you haven’t already read it, my story was
posted on February 9th. I told part of that story back in November when
Nancy Gideon interviewed me for her blog. Both times, it was fun reminiscing
about a pivotal moment in my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without
the love of my life. So, Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetie.
I have a love-hate relationship with
winter. Maybe hate is too strong. How do I intensely dislike winter? Let me
count the ways. Winter is:
cold that cuts right through clothes, making joints ache
piles of snow filled with debris dug up by the plows
the driveway only to have the aforementioned snowplow bury the end
driving in a blizzard where you follow the taillights of a truck and hope it
doesn't go into a ditch because you will, too
through slush that seeps into boots, leaving frozen toes
gray Michigan skies filled with thick, dark clouds
utility bills that skyrocket in January and February
So, why do I love winter? I must
be crazy. Winter is:
up the day after a blizzard to a pristine landscape when the sun affirms all is
beauty of snow covering all the ugly brown, dead grass
sun glistening off ice-covered branches
attaching a garden hose to flood a low area in our backyard so my sister and I
could ice skate; doing pirouettes and pretending to be Sonja Henie or Carol
skiing with my husband and kids, striding through freshly-fallen snow where the
only sound is the swish of the skies followed by "Mo-om, I'm cold. Can we
go in yet?"
my husband and friend ice fishing in a tent where if you open the side flap it
looks like a two-seater outhouse
power and majesty of Lake Michigan waves churning and dashing against the beach
the warmth of Florida, at least for a week
Winters are different now from when
I was younger. I gave my skates to my daughter years ago and sold the unused
cross-country skies at a garage sale. Being retired, I don't have to drive in
blizzards. Now, my favorite winter activity is hunkering down like my pioneer
ancestors. Of course, they didn't have the conveniences of central heating and
electricity. We have six more weeks of winter, more or less, depending on
whether you pay attention to Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck, or Howell
Woody. It's been a very mild winter here in mid-Michigan. Will it continue? Or
are we in for blizzards in April?
Wrapped up in soft fleece with a
good book and a cup of chai latte is my idea of a fun way to wait out a
blizzard. Or, better yet, writing. An afghan around my legs, the computer on my
lap, my feet up in the recliner, and my head on a starship or a planet
far-far-away. That's how I enjoy winter.
What do you love or hate about