Pitch Wars Mentor Wishlist 2017

It’s that time of year again, aren’t you excited? Team oMG is!

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You can find team oMG on Twitter at @C_B_Catalano and @shaunaholyoak

Before we dive into our wishlist *rubs hands together* we’d like to tell you a little about ourselves, and why we can’t wait to pay it forward, and help a fellow writer out.

So, I’m Cass *wave* and this is, oh, possibly my 4th time revising this bio post. Revisions are crucial in all aspects of life, and most definitely in this contest, keeping this in mind, if you’re willing to get down and dirty with us, like kill your darlings –even the one you swore you never would– read on!

This is my first year as a Pitch Wars mentor. I am thrilled to be entering this new world with the most amazing, absolutely awesome, co-mentor Shauna Holyoak! We met a few years ago during another Twitter pitch event, and joined a group of similar contest hopefuls. And thank the stars I did because they are some of the most supportive, caring writers and CPs I’ve ever met in this journey!

PCC for life!

Let me say, (and I cannot stress how important this is), the friends you find in the writing community, especially from events like Pitch Wars, are worth their weight in gold.

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If you manage to make even one friend during Pitch Wars, trust me when I say you are the ultimate winner already. Now, back to business 😉

Meet Shauna:

My name is Shauna Holyoak, and I expend roughly 25% of my energy writing and 50% of my energy resisting the urge to hunt down and consume all the frosted sugar cookies. I made a chart.

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Writing MG is my favorite. My debut novel MY PAPER ROUTE AND OTHER DEADLY THINGS will be published in spring 2019 by Disney-Hyperion. Half of my writing time is currently spent pinching myself about that last part (please don’t turn that into a story problem for me to solve—it will break my brain).

I live in Idaho Falls, Idaho with my game-board designing husband, six of our children and two naughty dogs. Amy Poehler makes me happy, and Leslie Knope makes me happier.

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I grew up on Ramona and Fudge books, which instilled a love for spunky, strong characters (also, see above).

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And then Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry taught me just how powerful middle-grade fiction could be. So I tend toward contemporary, but MG fiction with strong characters and all the feels is ultimately what gets me.

I am so excited to be co-mentoring with Cass (she is AWESOME!) for this year’s Pitch Wars. It was my entry last year to Brooks Benjamin and Caroline Thompson’s team (spoiler alert: I didn’t make it) that got me the feedback I needed to shine up my manuscript and win a slot in #PitchSlam. That led me to the best agent (shout out to CARRIE PESTRITTO!) and then a pinch-worthy two-book deal!

Pitch Wars is a tremendous opportunity, and I’m so grateful and excited to be a part of it. Also, I can’t wait to fight over entries!

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Hi y’all! I’m Cassandra Newbould aka C.B. Catalano, and I cannot wait to read all your words. And fight over entries with Shauna. We will duel to the death for a book we love!

Back in the day I was that girl who enjoyed being sent to their room, because hey! extra reading time! Anything from Little Women, to the Black Stallion. If I could hold it, I was reading it. My lust for all the words continued on through teenage-hood. That’s when I fell in love with all things fantasy, and would dive head-first into the lands of The Tortall Universe, Shannara, and Darkover to name a few. *Sometimes* when my sis and bff would sneak out to go party I’d stay home to read instead. They’d laugh, but there was nothing better than curling up with a good book, a good blanket, and a good dog in my opinion.

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*curling up with Jake Gyllenhaal wouldn’t be too shabby either 😉 *

When I had my kiddos, I would spend the evenings telling them the most outrageous stories I could make up in the hopes it would send them to sleep. Eventually, as they grew, they encouraged me to write them down and so my journey as a writer began.

Last year I entered another amazing Twitter pitch event called #DVpit and that is where I met my magnificent and stellar agent, Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media inc.

She fell in love with my MG retelling of Treasure Island: THE MISADVENTURES OF JEM HAWKINS: staring Kick-butt hacker girls, and lady pirates, and all the adventure a girl could want.

Before that, I interned for a NY literary agency for 8 months. Also, I know the ways of middle graders well. My middle son is in the 8th grade this year and my daughter made it through without too many battle wounds a few years ago 🙂

Did I mention I love to write and critique queries? Yeah, I know. But I do, I swear, and I’m happy to say my #NoQS mentee went on to get an agent 🙂 GOOO VALARIE!! so, if you have any questions about how I work as a mentor ask @ValBodden on Twitter.

My husband, a computer engineer who has run the gamut: from MySpace and creating its Open Social platform to autonomous cars for Ford, and I met as teenagers, and had our daughter when I was 22. We have been married 17 years, moved over 21 times together in over 7 states, and have 3 lovely children, 2 awesome cats, and 2 Muppet puppies, otherwise known as Newfypoos.

Seriously, Muppets.

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When I’m not writing, I’m probably playing with my children, playing poker (I want to be a professional poker player when I grow up) cooking with the hubs, painting, drawing, and/or drinking wine. I love everything Baz Luhrmann (he can seriously do no wrong) and am a die-hard *end of world genre* movie buff. For TV, I adore Outlander, Black Sails, Shameless and any and every cooking/baking show known to man. Also, I cannot stop watching the tiny houses shows. I’d love to, but I can’t bring myself to.

Now to the exciting part. DUN  DUN DUNNNN

What we’re looking for in a nutshell.

Middle Grade.

Give us all the feels, all of them! While Shauna leans more towards contemporary and I, fantasy we both agree we’re down for either, and welcome them with open arms –with a few minor exceptions–

If your manuscript contains any of the following we’re probably not the best mentors for you:

Younger MG, sorry but upper MG is our jam

Sports

Horror

Hard Sci-fi

Novels in verse

Now, while we aren’t the best for these stories, as we wouldn’t be able to do them the justice they deserve, we are certain you and your amazing manuscript will be able to find another mentor who will help you achieve that next level of fantastic, and we wish you the best of luck!

So what else are we looking for? Well, if any of your books have the feel of these below send them our way. Please. Pretty please with a query on top?

A Snicker of Magic

The Girl Who Drank The Moon

A Wrinkle In Time

Monstrous

Counting By Sevens

The Thing About Jellyfish

When You Reach Me

Mockingbird

Holes

Percy Jackson

Wonder

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events

The Gauntlet

Rules For Thieves

We joyously welcome diverse and own voices stories with open arms. *grabby hands*

Give us your girl mcs that aren’t afraid of what the world thinks of them. Both likable and unlikable. Give us Hermione Grangers stuck at sea, or Katniss with an obsession for oil painting. Give us your MG Inej Gahfas, Nina Zeniks, (and we can’t forget your Kaz Brekkers), all tied up in the ultimate group heist, if you please. Give us your STEM stories (please, pretty please?) Sibling stories or complex girl friendship stories are a quick way to our hearts! 🙂

We’re down for quiet stories that tug at your heart, or action packed fantasies where the world-building blows your mind. Re-tellings set in a modern world or contemporary dramas thrown back in time. Make us laugh. Or cry. Just make us feel like we never want to put your story down!

However, having said all that, if you have a story that doesn’t fit anything we’ve said above and you feel like you want us anyway, send your ms our way. We both love surprises and can’t wait to find out what we end up falling in love with!

What we can bring to the table for you:

Helping you find a killer voice, pointing out areas that could use work without taking over your story, tackling pacing issues, building complex and believable characters, DIALOGUE! and attention to detail, or lack thereof.

*warning* If you aren’t able to attack your ms with an open mind and willingness to rip it apart and build it back even stronger, perhaps we aren’t the right mentors for you. We will never demand that something be changed, it’s your story after all and you know it best, but you entered Pitch Wars for a reason and hopefully we can help you polish your shiny jewel even farther than it is now.

Good luck fellow writers, may the odds be ever in your favor!

Have you been sitting here wondering where you can find out more about Shauna? Well, here is the link to Shauna’s blog

Shauna’s amazingly awesome blog

Shout out to Brenda Drake for this opportunity for all of us, may your reign be long and fruitful!

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Main Blog Link

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The Day The Laundry Won. A Poem (of sorts)

As daylight broke across the sky, in the laundry room there was a cry.

For the basket had spent its night alone, without a friend to call its own.

Bereft of companionship, it sobbed and sighed.

I want a friend, the basket cried.

And as the sun reached for the clouds, the door opened.

And one single, mismatched, little sock claimed the basket for a home.

The lonely basket cheered with glee. Than one friend turned into two.

Than three.

And as the day progressed, the pile grew.

from thirteen-and-a-half garments to twenty-two.

A ketchup-stained blouse from Sunday brunch.

Some ripped up jeans, nice and scrunched.

A soccer jersey followed next, a romper, and some grass-stained pants.

With ants.

Five dresses wrinkled, but not stained.

Some sweats that had seen better days.

Bathing suits, sizes 10 and 16, warmed by the sun

and some underclothes came in.

One by one.

As the day progressed, the pile grew.

In twos, and threes, until twenty-two became forty-five-and-3/4s.

So many friends did the basket make.

It cheered inside. Life was great!

Until the door opened once more.

A hand reached in and grabbed one of its pals.

Than four.

Five, six, seven and eight.

Some overalls, a polka-dot dress for an evening date.

A peas-and-carrots-stained bib.

Some trousers, inside the pockets-a pencil with a chewed up nib.

And as the pile decreased in size, the basket once again did cry.

It knew soon it would be alone again.

Without so much as a single friend.

But, for as quickly as the hand did work, taking away each friend- denim jacket and checkered shirt.

Smaller hands did slip inside, adding to the pile so fast it multiplied.

Until the basket was fully stocked again.

Plus some for good measure.

It held them close, its own dear treasure.

The night fell across the room.

To the basket’s surprise, the human did not come back.

And so the basket thanked the stars and the sky for hearing its dear wish and cry.

And in days to come when it was empty in the light of the shining sun.

It would never forget the day the laundry won.

So next time you’re fed up with washing clothes and would like to burn them all.

Consider the lonely basket.

And then burn the clothes anyway.

You’ll feel better.

I swear.

Once upon a time a single sock made its way into a lonely basket.

 

Dance like No one’s watching

Some of the biggest turning points in my life are directly related to the aftermath of car accidents.

The fact there is more than one occasion should be a loud scream out to the universe that I’ve had more than my fair share, and could the car karma Gods please give me a pass?

Maybe the fact I’m able to type this is a pass within and of itself. Now, before you judge my driving skills let me state, here and now, not a single one was ever my fault in any way.

But I digress… turning points.

When I was 16 a truck slammed into my ’81 silver Firebird while I was stopped at a red light and totaled it. I don’t know what I mourned most, the wreck of such a rad car, or the ability to move my neck and back properly anymore whilst in the prime of my youth.

After many dr appointments they put me in PT. Over the months that I went I became friendly with a few of the employees. One of which gave the best medical massages I’ve ever had in my life. I totally forget her name now, and that’s strange considering how much she changed me. I want to say Lisa, or Laura, but honestly it could be Shelia or Karry. I really have no clue.

So, here is this chick, we’ll call her Lisa and she had to be like maaaaybe 20, 21 tops. For whatever reason she decided to take me under her wing and teach me about dance music. Now mind you, I’m a teen in the mid-90s in deep southern Florida. So we’re talking Miami Bass, Breakbeats, Drum and Bass, Jungle, and a wee bit of Techno (never did like Techno too much)

Prior to this I was more of a Wu Tang, Outkast, Bad Religion, The Toasters, Dance Hall Crashers, Sublime kinda girl. Basically anything you’d find a skater/surfer of the 90’s listening to on any given day. But anyway, one day Lisa invited me over to spend the night. I remember I was sick, strep throat or something and had a fever. But for some reason my mom said yes. (now that I’m a mom and in my 30’s I don’t understand why a. my mom let me sleep at my physical trainer’s home and b. why a 20something girl was inviting me over for a sleepover)

Maybe she wanted to open up my eyes. So, Mom drops me off, with assurances that we will just sit around, watch movies, whatevs and if I get sicker she’d come and get me. Soon as Mom dips Lisa decides to play dress up with me. Mind you to this point jeans and tees were my day to day, but she put me in this short flowy skirt and knee-high black and white stripped socks and gave me a beer. Then her brother, the manager of the PT clinic showed up and we all had another beer and then she says, “Ready to have your mind blown?”

So, of course I said, “Sure. Why not.”

We piled into her car and drove down to Fort Lauderdale to a club called The Edge. After midnight The Edge turned into a 2 story club for ravers. Not the kind coated in candy and plur, although there were some there too, but the majority were bass heads. Oh, could they dance. I fell in love with breakdancing from the moment I walked in the door. I stood and watched them all night.

Every once in awhile Lisa would bring me a drink and then wander off to dance and do her own thing. I ended up seeing a few kids from school, we talked. I stood. I watched. My toes tapped to the beat. That was it.

Lisa brought me back with the sun rising in the sky. My heart was full. I never went out with her again as far as I can remember. Never wore skirts out dancing again either. I always was a jeans and sneakers kinda girl.

I did however start going to every underground party I could find. Wednesday-Sunday afternoon from the time I was 16 until I was 21 I danced from sundown to sun up.

I remember the first time I danced the whole night away. My sister and best friends were with me. The music was so sick that night and unlike all the other nights up until this point I didn’t care what other people thought I would look like. I just danced like no one was watching. For hours. Until sunrise.

When we got home we slept like the dead and when I woke up I literally couldn’t walk correctly for 2 whole days. That’s how hard I danced. I couldn’t walk. For 2 days straight.

After that my body became conditioned. I learned more and more, and I became this entirely new creature. I would walk into a club or party with my head held high and a tilt to my chin. I knew I was the shit. I had so much confidence it dripped off me with every step. I’d never felt like that in my life. Not once. But I did then. And it felt AWESOME!

It truly changed me. I can’t say for the better. I cannot honestly say that my life changed for the better when Lisa introduced me to that culture. There are many many things that go hand in hand with that lifestyle that could have killed me. That did kill many many of my friends. We were all too young to know so many dead people.

I’m still too young to know so many dead people.

The music though. And the dance. Oh, the dancing. I’ve never felt so free, so real, so absolutely, positively, me. I belonged. I belonged to the night. To the rhythm. I belonged to the dance.

I hope everyone gets to experience that feeling at least once in their life. Find that moment when you lift your head so high with pride and happiness that you almost touch the sky.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had my mom said no. Or if Lisa had just looked at me like I was some punk kid, which I was. But I’m thankful. Even with all of the tragedies born of an era and a culture where the parties lasted for days and the kids played hard.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to dance like no one was watching until I believed in myself to dance like everyone was watching, because I wanted them to, Lisa. I made some of the best friends I’ll ever know from coast to coast through my love of dancing. And for that I’ll always be grateful. Wish I could remember your name.

I really don’t know where I’m going with this. Just putting it out into the universe. One of my life-long dancer buddies, and bff passed less than 2 weeks ago and so I suppose I’ve been reminiscing a lot about the past lately and once again coming to terms with how fragile life truly is.

I’ve become so stagnant I forgot how to dance. I went to a Zumba class this week and it hurt. Every step hurt so bad and there were so many moves my broken, worn-down body couldn’t do no matter how hard I tried. (remember the multiple accident thing? Yes, well, the most recent one really destroyed my body, but that’s another story)

But through the pain I smiled. Because I remembered the first night I ever danced and how God-awfully sore I was in the following days. And it brought me back and reminded me that the pain is worth it. It might take a long time till I can walk into a room with my head up, full of ego and swag and think I’m the shit again, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to try my hardest.

One day I’m going to dance again.

This is my promise. I aim to keep it. And the whole damn world better watch when I do.

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Sunday Mourning

4 letters made you,

but they never contained who you were

How could they?

4 letters combined in perfect harmony

2 consonants

2 vowels

You were a poem before your first step

and held the world in your heart

the gift you gave to every path you crossed

was one of belonging

you made every life special,

be they man, woman, or child

it didn’t matter if they’d known you 5 minutes

5 hours

5 years

you completed them.

As only you could.

your charisma was magnetic

a pull.

Once people entered your orbit they were

lifers

you brought out the good in everyone

the love

the life.

The hope.

And no matter who met you,

no matter how distant the time between

you were never forgotten

Who can forget a shooting star?

The pain, the pain

it cuts deep, my friend

the world is a bitter bitter pill to swallow

without your glow.

your light

your essence.

4 letters

2 consonants

2 vowels

and a world full of compassion

you walked and hearts bloomed in your presence.

we all are better for knowing you.

Adam.

I miss you, my friend. I cannot believe you’re gone.

May you ride the eternal wave in peace and harmony

may your spirit fly higher than it ever did here

and where ever you may be

may there be others who welcome you in with the kindness

the love

the magnanimous

momentous

magnificent

kindness

that you showed all who knew you.

knew your name.

4 letters

2 consonants

2 vowels

and a life blown out way too early, but one that will shine on for eternity.

Adam.

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Signal Loss (or, my apocalypse now! flash fiction entry for terribleminds.com)

My finger ached from pressing the refresh button so often.

It was a sickness, I was sure of it, but I couldn’t keep away from watching the President’s newest word vomit as it projectiled across my screen. For the last 3 days I’d been glued to my computer. Every single post killing me a little more inside.

Who would have thought 140 characters would have such devastating impact on humanity? I held my breath with the rest of the world as we waited. It’d been half an hour since his last post. We all knew a new one was coming any second.

5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

Refresh!

:The dishonest media claims I’m poisoning the ocean with nuclear waste from my latest attack on the bigly continent of my Yuge Kingdom. LIES!

Bile burned my throat. I choked on it’s bitterness as I wiped away tears free-falling from my eyes. I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking when I stood. A silent scream filled the air with its empty voice when I crossed the living room to pull back the curtains.

For the first time in my life I wished I didn’t live on the coast. Having the ocean as your backyard had always felt like a gift. I was special. Any day I could look outside and bam. Paradise, there for my taking.

But today it would be different. And I didn’t know if I possessed the power to face what was out there now.

The scream that managed to evade my voicebox for so long finally made its way out in full force as I took in the catastrophe before me now.

The ocean, once so eloquent in its opulent hues of blue, was now  a sickly, toxic neon green.

I fell to my knees. Not to pray, I’d given up on that concept from day one. No, I fell because I didn’t have the strength to stand anymore.

Somehow, the President had been granted the power to voice his wishes and turn them into reality. Any time he posted, within moments, his words changed the world.

So far, the world had lost half its population. Of course, that was just hearsay due to the fact that with his very first decree, a 700,000 foot wall magically appeared around our country, so it was hard to know for sure. But after what else had come to pass, I believed it heart and soul.

I was one of the lucky ones, as least I liked to tell myself that. At least there was still half a mile’s worth of the sea before the monolith came into view. Not that that mattered anymore.

Wonder what kinda dress matched radiation green? Mom always told me to dress for the occasion. To be honest, I think I’m screwed.

The ringing of the phone pulled me out of my breakdown. With trepidation I answered.

“Yeah?”

“Dude, what in the fuck of fucks?” Sammy never bothered with small talk. I loved her for it.

“I know, I’m staring at it right now. I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Oh, come the fuck on, Leena, seriously? I mean seriously. You can’t believe this after what happened 2 hours ago?” She paused, letting me remember. As if anyone could ever forget.

At 8:56 am on Jan 23rd (only two hours ago, even though it felt like a lifetime) Mr. Prez made the impossible, possible.

:The dishonest media are ZOMBIES. Brain-sucking, Life-taking ZOMBIES. LIARS. The lot of them.

At 8:57 a new breed of monster was set upon the world. Hordes of brain-sucking zombie journalists roamed the streets. Thank fuck I’d gone grocery shopping yesterday when our Ruler Supreme only wished the world into a tropical heatwave with his proclamation that global warming was a hoax.

Note to self, never use the words, if global warming is real than show me. Prove me wrong. Thanks, universe, we really appreciate it. I mean, 123 degrees in winter, in the Pacific Northwest, in winter, is like totally normal. Right?

Sammy’s voice as she cleared her throat in satisfaction grated on my very last nerve.

I answered, wondering when she’d make it home from work. Hopefully she watched the How To Kill A Zombie In 5 Easy Steps tutorial I’d sent her earlier. Who could work in this mess of a life? “Okay. I get your point. But still, this. I can’t . . . I can’t even right now.”

I’d never ever been one of those people unable to finish a sentence before, but I finally understood the meaning behind the phrase, and for the life of me, I don’t think there’s anything more succinct.

“Oh, hun. I know. At least we have each other right. I mean nothing will be able to tear that apart. Our love can overc–”

A sharp beeping noise replaced Sammy’s voice and my body stiffened. No. No!

The phone fell from my hand as I raced to my laptop  and hit refresh again.

My stomach made a home somewhere around my ankles as I scrolled, hoping and praying I was wrong.

:As of now, only the sanctity of marriage as between a man and woman will be acknowledged. Those of same-sex will be as if they never were.

Never were.

Sammy.

No . . .

This was the last straw. I clicked on a link, knowing once I hit enter there was no turning back. The time had come. I’d never been a revolutionary before. But my life, my love, my reason for being were all now a thing of the past.

A large ad glared at me, bright, screaming. I inhaled. The air hit my taste buds with a staleness I would never be able to swallow. So this is what freedom smelled like?

Do You Want To Join The Resistance?

With lightning-fast fingers I typed three simple words that would forever change my life.

Oh, Fuck Yes!

The End

 

 

 

 

 

6570 days was my magical number

At the tender age of 22 I thought the answer to my most fervent wish was 6570 days. It would be 6570 days until I could take a shower whenever I wanted. 6570 days to be able to use the bathroom uninterrupted. 6570 days until I could be day drunk and sleep in as long as I wanted afterwards. (lofty goals, right?)

18 years.

I counted my life not in minutes, not as they flew by, and believe me, my how fast they have flown. But in this dream, that 18 years beyond being 22 I would be free to be myself again, and oh, what a wonderful life it would be.

I was so naive.

Now, I have a new number. 381. I cry every time I recall it. And every day it goes down. It does, no matter how hard I try to hold on. If I could, I would create my own time-turner and wind that thing so damn hard to get back even half a day for every day that passes. because in 381 days my eldest child will be 18.

And what was once such a high aspiration date for me, the one where I was certain I would “find myself again” and get to “re-live my 20s the right way” is now a day I dread. I was so very, very stupid. I never lost myself because of my children. I lost myself because I never gave myself a chance to live beside them. I took up the job of being a stay-at-home mom like I was a flippin martyr, and validated my feelings for the longest time, telling myself I was special because I was so selfless.

I’m so pissed at myself now that I did that to them, and to me. All this time I could have enjoyed being me and a mom. Completely guilt free.

Because in the end, I was always someone.

They never took that away. I wasted so many years thinking I was owed something more in life. And I wasted soo many years waiting. The funny thing is, even when that hypothetical clock stops I will not have achieved that goal. Because I went on to have more kids. So that clock still has a really long time before it runs out. And I refuse to even look up how many days because that’s not how I want to spend my life anymore.

I wonder how many days were spent daydreaming, or being sad that could have possibly been spent in laughter and acceptance? Now, don’t get me wrong. My life with my children has been full of wonderful amazing years. Too many epically perfect moments spent with them that I cannot even begin to count. I close my eyes and can feel their little hands tapping my breast as I fed them. How their heads fit so perfectly into the crook of my arm as they fell asleep against me after a hard day in the real world. How my heart broke alongside them as they experienced their first heartbreak, skinned knee, or social rejection. How I sailed on their pure joy as they discovered a rainbow for the first time, or showed me their latest art creation, or how my heart filled to bursting as I passed the bathroom and paused to listen to whatever song they were singing in the shower so freely. Every secret they’ve trusted me with. Every tear I’ve wiped away. Every hug I memorize so when I’m feeling low I can close my eyes again and feel their warmth and strength lift me up and surround me once more.

That’s why I sometimes mourn, but mainly celebrate the next step in my eldest’s journey. I am so excited for her, and what her path in life will be.

It’s funny the things that seemed so important in my 20s to what made me, me are so trivial now. I am a product of the life I produced and surrounded myself with. I don’t remember ever saying, “when I grow up I want to be a wife and mother.” those were not goals I set for myself. But somehow, that’s what I became, despite my lack of looking for either. But it’s seriously taken me 39 years to realize I am still myself. That I can be a wife, and a mother, and still be me.

I suppose I’m a slow learner. I wish I would have just known this shit instinctually so I would have never given myself such a stupid time frame to look forward to.

So if you happen to be a young mom with no idea of how the world is going to turn out and all you can think of is the what after, I beg you to read this and stop. Relax. Enjoy your life for what it’s become. Rejoice. It will be hard. Those moments when all of your other kid-less friends are out having fun and you’re stuck at home with a miniature human spewing from both ends will be rough, sure. But don’t envy your friends. Smile that they are out having a good time doing their own thing. Cause while they are doing them, you are doing you, and trust me, you are still you. It might be different than you imagined, but you can still love life and enjoy yourself. Just, in another way. Blink and it will be over. And then you’ll be like me, sitting, writing a blog on why you wish you knew then what you know now. ❤

7x7x7 challenge

Ms. @mmhoffman14 tagged me for the 7x7x7 challenge which is to go to your wip and go to page 7, go down to line 7 and paste the next 7 lines. Here is my sample from one of my wips- BAD BEAT

(It’s a YA Contemporary Thriller about a Las Vegas native teen, Sonja, who grows up hustling the casino poker rooms with the help of her fake ID, and her best friend, Kai. Until she wins a little too much, and happens to fall for the mob boss’s son– the same one who happens to be the one assigned to take her out… except this date doesn’t involve dinner.)

 

 

“Fine, fine, there’s a pinot noir in your parents liquor cabinet with my name written all over it anyway.” Silence follows, and I’m not sure if he’s joking or not. Please don’t let it be one of mom and dad’s special reserve.

The door opens a crack to reveal Kai’s brilliant blue hair and sugar-coated smile. A bottle appears. Good, not one they’ll miss.

“Honey, don’t you think I know by now what they’ll notice and what they won’t?” Kai unscrews the top and takes a swig. “Sip?”

“Nope. Gotta keep my mind in the game.” The idea of getting wasted before I’ve even played my first hand makes me wrinkle my nose. “Day drinking’s lame. Who wants to sport a hangover by two in the afternoon?”

“See, there is where you’re going wrong. The trick to avoiding that is to just keep drinking. Daddy always said he wasn’t raising a quitter. If he only knew how well I listened. Maybe he would’ve stuck around longer.” As he holds up the bottle, Kai swallows with vigor. “Probably should have followed his own advice.”

To see his shoulders droop in resignation breaks my heart. “You know he loves you. It’s not your fault. Sometimes people can’t make relationships work. Ya know?”

“But, if I’d been more manly . . . maybe.”

I reach out, grab him, and turn him until we’re eye to eye.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re quarterback of our fucking football team. You’ve known how to change a tire on a car since you were thirteen, and you could probably handyman my entire house if it started falling apart. You’ve got to be one of the manliest boys I know. And if you think for one second the reason your dad left is because you happen to like guys, well . . . I don’t know what to say. Except you’re wrong.”

“Guess we’ll never know, will we?”

 

(I went over the 7 lines, whoops!)

What it’s like having a texture-sensitive kiddo

My big dude is a pretty rad miniature human. At 7yrs old he has managed to grasp a level of humor and sarcastic-ness that far outdoes most adults I know. It doesn’t surprise me.

From the moment he came squalling into the world, bright red, and wrinkled, I knew he was destined for glory the minute the nurse proclaimed “He looks like Benjamin button, just look. It’s like he’s an 80 year old man in a newborn’s body!”

Thankfully, due to the fentanyl drip I’d been given previously, I managed to suppress my backhand urge. But she wasn’t exactly lying either. My 3rd child, I’d indeed birthed an old soul. In the womb he was a duo. I lost his twin before they were fully baked and so he came out solo. But I won’t go into that story because, well, I can’t.

Suffice it to say, we were super excited to welcome this strong-willed survivor and thus named him Alexander. Because after so much, he deserved a strong name. And boy is he strong. Strong-willed, strong in determination, his physicality is impressive, and oh yeah, his aversion to anything “uncomfortable” is the strongest of all.

You see, Big dude is texture-sensitive. Now, I don’t know the medical term.So we’ve developed our own name for it. He says he’s being sensed when it happens. And I think that’s pretty fucking spot on. You might too after you read the description.

If a flavor, texture, smell, or sight triggers something in him he vomits. Like demon-possessed, I’m gonna ruin your best shoes, vomit. It comes without warning, without a moment to grab the nearest container and duck for cover, and it can happen any time.

We’ve grown used to it. Over the years we’ve practiced different ways of trying to tame the pukebeast. From talking himself down, and avoiding different triggers, to making sure that old, dead leaf his sibling just carried in with his shoe is picked up before Alex’s mind tricks him into thinking it’s dog poo and another rug is ruined.

Yeah, we’re like the champions of upchuck.

But every once in awhile I feel really bad for him. Like today.

He was at school, eating lunch, surrounded by his friends and classmates when all of a sudden worst case scenario happens. His friend decides to pour his applesauce all over his cheeseburger and then *gasp* dip it in ketchup.

Typical 7 yr old food experiment- but it waved a red flag of doom in front of Big Dude’s gag reflex and whammo. The cafeteria table became the next scene out of a miniature Carrie- the elementary school years- sequel.

So the nurse called.

I’ve put this on his med records and all the paperwork due every year, but still I understand why a call is warranted. We spoke, and she wasn’t sure if sickness or a sensed moment had happened as of yet. (he failed to tell her all the details at that time)

So I talked to him, he sorta avoided my questioning, which was the first clue to it being a sensed moment. Anyway, I went in and picked him up, just to be on the safe side. When it comes to elementary kids and cooties, you can never be too sure when the next stomach bug might be in full swing.

Once, we got to the car he let the story spill, full of all the embarrassment an event such as this could bring. And so I hugged him,  asked if he was still hungry, (he was) and took him to the nearest pizza joint for a nice hot slice and some good conversation.

So yeah, life with Big Dude is an adventure. Sensory overload at its finest. And maybe he’ll eventually get it under control, or perhaps he won’t. But no matter what, we’ll get through it. All we need is humor, Clorox wipes, and quite possibly, an extra set of shoes.

If any of you reading this are also parents of sensed kids, lemme know! I’d love to connect with others who know exactly what this is like and see if you have any tricks up your sleeve for avoiding the unavoidable. 🙂