Sunday, September 30, 2012

All she wants to do is write

The house is quiet. All 4 kids are in bed and asleep. The dishwasher is running. The washing machine is running. My favorite show is back on TV (The Good Wife).
I'm exhausted.
I haven't written one "fun" thing all week. I'm about to burst at the seams with excitement to write. (But first, sleep. And then sleep again.) Oh wait no. First, life, and then writing.
Let's take a look at the week ahead.
Kids for 1.5 more days.
Prepare for church youth activity Tuesday night.
Then go to youth activity. (Where I'm helping one of the girls teach knitting to the other girls so they can all make scarves and hats for a service project.)
Wednesday- clean my house and do a lot of laundry. And let me tell you about what I have to clean. Because this is not a normal cleaning situation. If you live on the East Coast you already know about stink bugs. If you live in Roanoke, you really know about stink bugs. They have nothing to do with a house being clean or dirty, or even housekeeping skills. They sneak in through tiny cracks in screens and doors. Cracks so tiny you may not believe they even exist. Oh and nothing kills them. And I'm pretty sure Roanoke is some sort of ground zero for them. After my cousin's wedding a few weeks ago a sliding door got left open about 2 inches behind a heavy curtain. I had no idea it was left open. I figured it out when I walked into the room and found HUNDREDS of stinkbugs. I have tried traps, sprays, bug bombs, and vacuuming. EVERYTHING. I finally gave in and spent some big cash on a special bug poison on Friday. I went back over today. My house is now Dead Bug City. I've reduced the number to dozens, but still that's dozens too many. I'll now be spending a great deal of time cleaning up the dead bugs.
And then after I clean up the carnage, I'm helping my cousin make salsa. Okay, so maybe that won't be hard work, and might just be a little fun. And then there's the presidential debate, and if you know me, I'll be glued to the TV.
Somewhere in all of that I need to get back into eating healthier and working out again. (All of my "perfect week" habits disappeared this past week!)
And pay the bills, figure out my schedule for the month, do my 2 usual freelance jobs, apply for jobs, and let's hope at some point start getting some job interviews!!
But really, all I actually want to do, after sleeping, is write!!

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Friday, September 28, 2012

"Fake" rites of passage

One of my favorite Anne Taintor magnets

I'm "fake mommying" this week. You may call it babysitting, tending, caring, nannying, etc. I call it fake mommying. It's just me and four kids while their parents are out of town.
I've watched these kids before. They are great kids. Incredibly obedient and know the rules. It really isn't a tough gig at all. And it helps that I genuinely like them too. We have fun together- well, sort of.
This week has been a little tough on all of us. When I arrived one kid was getting over the flu, and another one had it. We think the baby had an easy case of the flu the week earlier. Their dad had the bug as they were leaving town. We had high hopes that the remaining kid and I would be okay. The house was aired out, disinfected, and kids quarantined.
No good.
I managed to get the flu about 48 hours into my stay here. (Major parenting rite of passage for me there- watching a toddler while miserably sick!) And tonight we are on flu-watch with the remaining kiddo (he's 11). He didn't eat dinner because his stomach felt funny. And he voluntarily went to bed 30 minutes early. If the symptoms the rest of us got mean anything, he'll be miserable in about 4 more hours. (Which begs the question, why am I not trying to get some sleep while I know I still can??)
Right before bedtime we discussed what we would need to do if he starts to get sick. Trying to remind him that he would need to come wake me up, I asked "what else will we do?" He very solemnly asked me if we could please call his grandma and have her come take care of him. "She's raised kids already. She knows how to do this sort of thing." 
I guess the "fake" part of my "fake mommying" is showing!
We have also had a little adventure in sleepwalking. But not mine! Nope! I wasn't the one doing it this time. Instead it was the 6 yr old. It started with a very bizarre conversation with her about pushing buttons around midnight when I went in to check on her. Later I woke up around 2 am and just "knew" something was wrong. I turned over to find her inches from my face talking about being lost. I put her back in bed just to wake up 30 minutes later to find her mumbling in the living room. I could not get any sleep after that because I was too terrified she would do something dangerous in her sleep! (She has no recollection of any of it.)
And if that wasn't enough parenting rites of passage this week, we still have the high schooler going to homecoming! We (she and I) are looking forward to getting her all ready for her big date this weekend.
I am really hoping for no "rites of passage" with the two year old. Let's hope he's had this flu (we're not positive that he has), and there are no major dramas with him. Which reminds me, if you aren't following The Honest Toddler on Twitter, or his blog, you are missing out on some truly funny stuff. (My favorite tweet, "Mommy's pinterest abomination came out of the oven smelling like lies.")
Wish us luck!

(Another Anne Taintor classic-

Monday, September 24, 2012

You (literally) Heard It Here First!

It is okay, you can admit it. You miss the sound of my voice. And you are dying to know what my book is really about, and which characters are loosely based on which famous celebrities, and what dessert Heidi is craving. And if you are hoping to take me out on a date sometime soon, pay special attention to what Heidi is craving, because she's not alone in that.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sell it to me!

Hey, Friends, you see that little page just above this post that says, "Erin's Store for Women?"
I haven't done much with it in, well, MONTHS, but I know a lot of you are gearing up to sell your wares and make a few extra bucks at Christmastime. That page is for you! I am more than happy to share a link to your etsy shop, Amazon page, personal blog, whatever it is you use. Just send me an email and I'll share it!

home, job, and life renovation

With my new found reality TV education, I'm pretty sure I could renovate any kitchen into this design in just one weekend!

I am definitely my mother's daughter.
When I was a kid my mom used to regularly take us to "just look at a house real quick." She also took interior design classes, and even had her own home design business for a while. And if you have ever been in one our houses, you know she loves to fix things up, decorate, fix it up more, decorate, etc. We've always had very pretty homes!
(Last week as we prepared for the wedding at my house I had to apologize for broken chairs multiple times. "Sorry! My mom likes to buy broken or old stuff and renovate it! She hasn't fixed that one yet!" And then I had to go hide the broken, but very pretty, chairs.)
Eventually our family got cable TV, and eventually HGTV became a thing. And my mother discovered home design and renovation shows. And she became their most devoted fan.
And now, I've joined the club. I'm watching hours and hours of design, renovation, and real estate shows.
Today it got so bad I actually caught myself watching a show while job hunting online. I found a nice job description, so I went and looked up the neighborhood the company is located in, found some available home sales, and immediately started remodeling them in my head.
All this before I even thought to apply for the job.
It may be time to turn off the TV and return to the real world where I don't actually know how to knock down a wall with a sledgehammer, or how to install cost-effective heating in a 100 year old row house. Nor do I have a job or money to do any of these things.
(Which reminds me, anyone want to buy a book?  "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hitting the Wall Face First

This is a pretty good visual for how I've been feeling lately. Whether I'm the guy doing the smooshing, or getting smooshed, I'm not sure. Either way, it isn't a pleasant experience.

Remember the main scenario/problem going on in The Agency,? Well, it is happening to me again. Not the whole wicked witch problem, but the paycheck problem. Again, it isn't a pleasant experience.

I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I want to kick rocks. I want the problem to go away! And I really want it to stop happening to me!!

The scene that keeps replaying through my mind is from "You've Got Mail," talking about the line from the "Godfather."

Maybe it isn't personal to the person on the other end of this, but it sure is personal to me.

There's more than just work and the ability to support myself going on. For a few weeks there it felt like life was finally just rolling along just the way I always wanted it to- love life? check! published book? check! employment? check! anxiously engaged in good causes? check! I felt good! I felt great! I actually had what I wanted- for a few weeks.

And I'm not saying those things are all gone. I'm just saying that they aren't as bright and shiny as they were for those few weeks in the summer sun. I'm trying so hard to remind myself that all it would take is just one of those scenarios shifting back into the check box, and I'd be happy again. I hate it when circumstances affect my attitude. But these aren't normal circumstances, are they?

But I'm trying to snap out of the mood. I'm trying to get back to happy. I'm applying for jobs. I'm smiling. I'm trying not to complain. So bear with me. I've got some work to do before I feel right again.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A very, merry un-birthday to me, to you, to me to you!!!!!!!

About two weeks ago a lady at church I hardly know gave me a big hug and wished me a happy birthday. 
It's not my birthday. In fact, my birthday isn't until January. Strange. 
I figured she had me confused with someone else, and not wanting to embarrass her, I smiled graciously and didn't say anything. No harm, no foul. 
A few days later someone else wished me a happy birthday.
At church the next Sunday I had several people wish me a happy birthday. And one lady even gave me a chocolate bar! I finally decided to speak up because it was getting to be a little odd. 
As it turns out my name was included in the monthly roster of birthdays, with the completely wrong birthday next to it. (In an even stranger coincidence they got the month wrong, but the day right. And it just happened to be my sister's actual birthday!) 
The nice lady (who gives everyone a candy bar on their birthday) insisted I keep the Cadbury dark chocolate bar. (Oh, okay, if I must!)
This has continued all month. I've had several emails and lots of hugs wishing me a happy birthday. (Who knew that many people read the birthday list on the newsletter?!) And even though it isn't my birthday, it has been really fun to be thought of. Maybe even more so than if it really was my birthday when wishes and thoughts are expected. 
It has me thinking about how meaningful little thoughts, gestures, and just remembering to say hello to someone can be. I'm going to add it to my list of things to do more often (a la "Perfect Week"). It is nice to be remembered, even if you are remembered on the wrong day!
Go remember someone today!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

As a token of my appreciation for you clicking on the links below

Thanks for coming by. Here's a funny cat video as a token of my appreciation.

So here's the thing, folks.
I don't get paid in page views. I get paid per article.
But! Once my articles reach a certain number of page views I get a nice little bonus. And once my last 10 articles average a certain number of page views, I GET PAID DOUBLE on all articles going forward (or while the high average lasts).
I am THISCLOSE to hitting that high average.
You have no idea how close!
For months (8 months to be precise) I have withered at exactly half of that magic number. But for the past few weeks I've made a lot of changes to my articles, and now my page views are skyrocketing.
But I need your help. I need just a few more page views on a few articles, and I will hit that magic average and get paid DOUBLE. And you have no idea how much I need the extra money right now. (What with one of my employers not having the money to pay me at all this month!)
You don't have to click repeatedly on the articles. I only need one click per article per awesome friend.

3 Reasons to Avoid Wind Energy (good or bad for the environment, it isn't so good for investing)
5 Companies Involved in Blood Phone Conflicts (blood phones are the new blood diamonds)
1 Bean and 1 Warm Winter Gummed Up Energy Stocks (personally I found this story fascinating, if you are anti-fracking (which I'm not necessarily) here is some "gum" for your arsenal. a bean in India is messing with Halliburton's profits, which in turn is messing with your ice cream. true story.)
Phenomenal Earnings at Disney Fail to Impress (if you have never really understood the stock market, this piece will really make you question the entire concept of "analyst expectations.")

Just click away! One click per story! That's all it takes!

As a second thanks to you for being so nice, I give you "umma gangnam style." In case you haven't heard yet, this is the next big thing. All kids will be learning the gangnam style dance (if they haven't already), but none of them will do it as cool as this grandma.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Perfect Week Quest Continues

It's beginning to look a lot like autumn around here. My front yard this morning!
About 2 weeks ago I wrote that I was attempting "Perfect Week." I had decided that rather than try to accomplish one self-improvement goal, I'd do everything at once. 
Let me tell you something. It is exhausting.
The first few days it took nearly half the day just to get through all of my morning routine- exercise, eat, shower, pray, read, walk dog, etc. I was hyper-aware of every little thing. I couldn't just put a dish in the sink, I had to rinse it and put it in the dishwasher. Or better yet, wash it and put it away. I couldn't just shove a pot into the cupboard, I had to organize the cupboard until it fit properly. I couldn't just put on a t-shirt with a loose thread hanging from it. I had to fix the shirt. I kept my laundry sorted. I kept my house spotless. I ate at home and I ate healthy, well-balanced meals. I flossed. I did yoga three times a day. I bathed the dog. 
I did everything. 
And let me tell you again, it was freaking exhausting. 
But by Friday it wasn't that hard to do. The kitchen was spotless so it wasn't hard to keep it spotless. I only had to bathe the dog the one time. After a few days there were no stains or loose threads on my clothes. And all of the cupboards were organized. 
It was perfect. 
However, after that much stretching and yoga, I was so sore and in pain I had to go to the chiropractor. 
After a few days it wasn't that hard to get into my morning routine and get through it faster. I figured out I could sit on my big yoga ball while reading my scriptures. (Good ab strengthener and posture improvement while reading!) 
I also learned really fast which things I cared about and which ones I didn't. For instance, I really don't care if there are dishes in the sink when I go to bed. I'd rather get the sleep than waste more time cleaning. And keeping my voicemail checked and cleared is a complete waste of time. In fact, I really don't get why I need voicemail at all!
It has been 2 weeks now and I can say I've kept it all up. I've formed some pretty good new habits and routines. Am I perfect? No. In fact, I'm more aware of my shortcomings than ever before. But I'm happy with some of my new habits and routines, and I hope I can keep them up. I'm not as exhausted as I was at the beginning, and now I even look forward to my morning yoga. (Without it I'm horribly sore all day long.) 
I even had a couple of compliments this past weekend that I'm looking more fit or thinner. I haven't lost any weight, but there is a tiny possibility that I do have a little more muscle tone in a few places.
I'm now looking into more things I should be doing or adding to my routine. For instance, paying my bills/checking budget as a daily activity, or car maintenance. I know they are things that will take a lot of time at the start, but like everything else, will only take a few minutes to keep up with the routine. 
All in all, "Operation Perfect Week" went really well, and I look forward to continuing it.

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

You Heard It Here First by Erin Ann McBride

You Heard It Here First

by Erin Ann McBride

Giveaway ends September 16, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Not full of win

What can I say? It has been a day.
The best way to describe this day is that it wasn't full of win. I didn't necessarily lose at anything, but I sure as heck did not win.
I was subjected to reading a LOT of hate-filled comments. They weren't directed at me personally, but lucky me, I was the one who had no choice but to read them. (I moderate the comments on a website.) Reading that much hate just makes me sick to my stomach.
It was a long day.
And then there was a so-called "review" of my book by someone who I am fairly certain never read it. Unless someone else caught a part where my hero guzzles beer?? (Thankfully, the so-called review will not be printed anywhere.)
It is ironic that half the day I had to read hate targeted at Mormons, just to be told later in the day that I'm not a good enough or conservative enough Mormon.
Like I said, I just can't win. But i didn't necessarily lose.
But I am more than ready for this day to end!

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do you know what a "looming fiscal cliff" is and why it is important?

So the question of the day is, how many of you know what "Taxmageddon" or the "fiscal cliff" really means? It is a word that has been tossed about in the news media for nearly 6 months now. Has it just sounded like a scary word about taxes? Or do you know what it actually means? 
In my new novel, "You Heard It Here First," the main character, Haley, finds herself in the middle of a political scandal regarding taxes. When I wrote it- more than 6 months ago- I had never heard the terms "fiscal cliff" or  "taxmageddon." You can only imagine my surprise when I began to research those terms a few weeks ago, and discovered that the completely fictitious storyline in my book, is actually a real life scenario right now (minus the political subterfuge and bad guys plot). 
Just like my character in the book, I'm starting to see a need more and more for women to learn and understand financial responsibility. I wrote a blog piece for the Motley Fool ("5 Ways to Protect Yourself from the Looming Fiscal Cliff") that hopefully explains what is going on right now, and why it is so important. And hopefully I wrote it in plain enough language that anyone could follow along.
Normally I just post pieces and say, hey, go check out my latest article! But today I'm going to ask you to check it out because I really do believe it is important to understand. The "fiscal cliff" or "taxmageddon" (which, btw, are the same thing) is not only very real, it is a very real threat to you personally, and to the economy. And once you understand the reality and severity of the situation, you'll see why those 2 names are not just for dramatic effect. The potential fallout of the current situation really would be a financial Armageddon!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

This book is well read in bathrooms


My book finally arrived at my house today! To say I'm a little bit excited to finally be holding my very own book in my very own hands would be an understatement. Its a difficult feeling to describe what it is like to have that physical, tangible proof of all your hard work and your imagination put together. I love the way the cover turned out! And I'm just so dang happy to have my book here!!

I got the following email from an old friend today. It made me laugh till I cried- which was much needed, I might add. There's been a little heartbreak around these parts this week. While one dream came true with the book, another one fell apart. I know I'll pick up the pieces and survive. But it was a heartache I didn't expect and thought I would never have to deal with again. But life goes on (eventually). Until then- ice cream! (And the pursuit of "perfect week!")

The email- 
"You need to know that because of your book, my family thinks that I have a stomach virus. Is it my fault that taking extended time in the bathroom is the only way I am going to get through this book and see what happens to Haley???? Granted sitting on Spencer's step stool is starting to really get uncomfortable, may have to look into 'reorganizing the closet' as my next excuse to get more reading done!!!"

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

You Heard It Here First - LOWERED PRICE - $7.99!

I finally got the price on my book lowered! $13+ was just too much for a paperback! Sorry about that! 

You can now get it on Amazon in paperback for $7.99!
It is still just 99 cents on Nook, and Kindle! (But it won't be forever!) 

PS- out of curiosity, how many people think that is my head and hair on the book?

Operation Perfect Week

Operation Perfect Week is under way.  What is Operation Perfect Week you ask? This week instead of just focusing on one goal or attempting to do one thing differently, I'm doing everything- perfectly. 
It starts the minute I wake up. I'm getting up on time, reading my scriptures, saying prayers, walking the dog, yoga-ing, eating breakfast, everything! I'm not taking shortcuts anywhere. I'm doing everything all the time.
Normally life throws a million wrenches into plans. Rarely do I have a simple, no-frills week, where I have no excuses not to do everything. But the problem is I rarely get the chance to do "everything" and as a result I'm not in the habit of doing them. So instead of trying to be better about saying my prayers, or eating healthy, and forgetting my goals after 1-2 days (or heck, hours), I'm going full throttle and doing EVERYTHING. 
I'm eating healthy. 
I'm sticking to a schedule. 
I'm keeping the house clean and deep cleaning one thing a day. 
I'm meeting all of my writing goals each day (which is how I make money). 
I'm not losing my temper.
I'm thinking happy thoughts and being more grateful. 
I'm getting dressed and looking presentable first thing in the morning. 
I'm working out.
People, I'm doing EVERYTHING. 
I figure the "constant vigilance" (think Professor Moody from "Harry Potter" yelling this) will help keep me dedicated and focused on each goal. 
I'm not implying I will have a perfect week. In fact this has already turned out to be a tough week- disappointments, setbacks, frustrations, heartbreak, etc. But I will give everything my best efforts. So far it has been exhausting. I never relaxed yesterday- there was always one more thing to do. Today is much easier, but it still takes "constant vigilance" to stay on top of everything and reach my goals. I look forward to seeing which of these efforts become natural habits, and which of them proves worthless!

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Book Giveaway

Superwoman TRS is giving away a copy of my new book, "You Heard It Here First!" on her blog! So if you are too cheap to fork over the $13.50 to buy a self-published book, go enter her giveaway. It ends today!

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

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