Not Fade Away

I just HAVE to reblog this. The level of description and detail is admirable.

S. K. Nicholas

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It rains for all the dead animals, and for all those that died too soon. It rains for all the lovers, and for all those with no love left to give. The streets are empty; they breathe for no one. Raining for hours on end, it rains in my heart as well. There are images, sometimes words. There are bodies in flight upon bedsheets that have seen better days, and there are imprints of teeth on porcelain thighs. The front door of a house you once knew is slightly ajar, and as you step inside, the ghosts of smiling faces reach out to you from picture frames that have fallen to the floor. It could be weeks since you last saw them, but then again, it could be months. Feelings that were once fresh are now raw, and as the light fades from the sky, a lone child runs through a…

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Book Review: Just Like Fate

One decision changes everything in this Sliding Doors meets Anna and the French Kiss novel that explores split realities of romance and family loyalties, “recommended for fans of Sara Zarr, Elizabeth Scott, and Maureen Johnson (School Library Journal).”

Caroline is at a crossroads.

Her grandmother is sick and, like the rest of her family, Caroline’s been at Gram’s bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape—both her family and the reality of Gram’s failing health. So when Caroline’s best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram’s side, or go to the party for a few hours?

The consequences of this one decision will split Caroline’s fate into two separate paths—and she is about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she’s ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending…

I just finished reading “Just Like Fate” written by Suzanna Young and Cat Patrick, it was very interesting and a good read. I enjoyed the way the book was written, (two authors, two versions of fate). I really admire books that tell a story in a unique way. Just Like Fate is creative and quite riveting.

I like the moral of the story and I think this line sums it up best, “‘I’m saying we have freedom to make mistakes’, Rivers says shaking his head. “‘I’m saying that our mistakes -one mistake or many of them-don’t define us. They don’t derail us. We end up where we need to be in the end.’ He pauses. ‘But hopefully having learned something from our stumbles… having grown into better people because of them.'”

Learning from mistakes and understanding that one lousy mistake doesn’t have to ruin your life is a valuable lesson. I can’t tell you how much I dwelled on my mistakes when I was a teenager. Now that I am older, I don’t agonize over many of my previous choices anymore. For once in my life I feel like I’m where I need to be. If only I could go back and tell my teenage-self that my mistakes won’t break me and fate will play out the way it was intended.

I recommend this book, it’s a quick read and the characters are entertaining. If you are interested in story structure this book unravels in a unique way.

Happy Reading,

♥R♥

How Writing a Book Is Algebra

Math was my nemesis all throughout school. From Kindergarten through college, I loathed math. I especially hated algebra. I still don’t get it and honestly I fear the day when my son asks me for help with his math homework. *Insert Dad*

Today when I was thinking about my YA book and the various plot points I’m trying to sort out, I realized how writing a book is a lot like algebra .

Breaking the story into the most basic of equations:

A+B=C or Begging, Middle, and End

I know C. The end has always been entirely clear to me, but there are undefined plot variables that are A&B that I have yet to solve.

Because I know C (End), My equation actually looks like this:

C=A+B

And like with most math tests you have to “SHOW YOUR WORK”. Your reasoning is just as important as getting the answer correct.

So far writing my book has been the “SHOW YOUR WORK” portion. How did I get to the end? What makes sense?  This is where the problem solving comes in, gulp!

And now that I have taken my least favorite subject (math) and married it to my favorite (English), I’m going to keep trying to solve my plot equation.

Pic Pick Friyay: Methow Valley

Hi guys,

Happy Friyay! My week has been BUSY! I’ve been working like a mad woman on my YA novel.  My manuscript has become my second child and a bit of an obsession.

So, I am happy to spend some time on Pic Pick Friyay. I started Picture Pick Friyay last week with my 50th post. This week I would like to show and tell you about The Methow Valley in Wa. Ladies and Gents, The Methow Valley is the hidden gem of Washington. It holds a very special place in our heart. Miles proposed at The Freestone Inn located in the Methow Valley in October of 2012. We spent our one year anniversary there as well.

I combined two trips into one for this post:

Engagement 2012.

One Year Anniversary 2014.

Ok, I am going to shut up now and let Miles’ pictures do most of the talking.

Engagement 2012

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Miles proposed right after this picture was taken. We are standing next to The Lost River that runs past the cabin we rented.
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The Beautiful Vintage Box Miles Made Into A Jewelry Box.
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My Art Deco Engagement & Wedding Ring. Circa 1934.
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The Fireplace In Our Cabin
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Driving Home

 

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Driving Home

One Year Anniversary 2014

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Celebratory champagne. My last glass of alcohol for 9 months, about three weeks after our anniversary trip we found out I was pregnant!
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Standing Outside The Freestone Inn.

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If you ever make it to Mazama, do yourself a favor and get breakfast and coffee at The Mazama Store. I dream of their pastries.
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Good Wine+Vacation=Happy Girl

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Me Contemplating Nature, Nature Contemplating Me
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Present Me Says To Past Me: “You Are About To Get Pregnant.”
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Fireplace In The Freestone Lodge

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My Man Crush Always & Forever.

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Happy reading, writing, living, and loving folks.

♥R♥

Thanks Wordpress…

Check out this super “encouraging” notification I got from WordPress yesterday:

 

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Meanwhile I’m over here like… Is WordPress mocking me?

Have a great day. May your average hourly views be higher than 0. And if they aren’t, I just hope that WordPress keeps that information to themselves.

Happy Wednesday!

♥R♥

Cover Image of the wonderful Nicki Minaj found here.

Cat Image found here.

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

I was nominated today for the “Dragon’s Loyalty Award” Thank you so much Mystery Date With A Book for the nomination.

The Rules:

  1. Display the Award on your blog.
  2. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Nominate six deserving bloggers.
  4. Write seven interesting facts about yourself.

Six MUCH Deserved Bloggers:

  1. Face First
  2. Chronicles Of A Young Mother
  3. Navigate Your Life
  4. Truly Unplugged
  5. Total Betty Talk
  6. Susan Rushton

Seven “Interesting” Facts About Me

1.

I’m writing a YA novel.

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2.

I’m OBSESSED with The Lochness Monster “Nessie”. He is real!!!

3.

I graduated from Western Washington University. Go Vikings!

4.

I love horses.

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5.

I secretly entered my husband’s photography into an art contest and he won “Best in Category”.

 

6.

I’m sneaky *See #5*

7.

I drew the fox card as my spirit animal in a creepy magic shop in Canada. (I agree with the cards, the fox characteristics matched me very well.).

PHOTO: The National Fox Welfare Society said Pudding is too friendly to be released back into the wild.

Martin Hemmington/National Fox Welfare Society

Have a great day!

♥R♥

 

HOW I MANAGE AS A WRITER AND MOTHER

 

I haven’t talked about my YA novel in a  LONG time. Mostly because I have prioritized other writing opportunities, and lets face it, writing time is precious and rare. A lot of my writing has been personal essays about motherhood because that has been the consumption of my life. It’s easy for me to write about funny, special, horrible moments about motherhood because they happen ALL OF THE TIME and I can complete a short essay while my son is sleeping.

While I want to continue writing about motherhood, I have also made my YA novel a priority again. With all of these writing goals and raising a son I have had to learn some time management and prioritization.

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This is how I attempt to manage writing and motherhood:

CREATE A SCHEDULE AND STICK WITH IT

This is what my average day looks like:

7AM-8AM

Wake up at 7am and build my social media platform i.e. IlluminatedLiteration (blog), Twitter: @Illuminate_Lit, Pinterest,  Facebook, and LinkedIn. I try to make my rounds as quickly as possible before my son wakes up around 7:30-8:00am.

8AM-11AM

Then I take care of my son (and clean house) until he goes to sleep around 11-11:30am.

11AM-1:30PM

Naps are PRIME writing time. I get two solid hours of uninterrupted writing when he takes a nap. I try to do a lot of my blog posts while he is napping, I also try to catch up on a lot of my blogs that I follow.

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I’m on parent duty with my husband from 1:30pm- 9pm.

9pm-You can’t keep your eyes open any longer

So guess when most of my writing time happens… late evening and into the night. Sometimes I crawl into bed around midnight or later if I’m on a roll.

Don’t forget to make time to do your research.

If you want to be a successful writer you have to read A LOT. There are some evenings when I skip writing because my brain just can’t even because I know reading your target genre is crucial for a good artistic outcome. Sometimes, if I really need to multi-task I watch a movie adaptation (*gasp*!) and take care of my son. Honestly, the point of writing non-fiction is to tell a story, and watching the movie adaptation of a novel still teaches you structure.

Get Social

This is honestly my favorite part of writingmeeting other writers and professionals in the industry. Unfortunately, this is the step most writers struggle with because at the end of the day, they have to spend a ton of time on their own craft and when you are a mother you have other priorities that you need you RIGHT NOW! I try my best to read other blogger’s work and respond to comments between feedings and when my son is playing and really any time I can grasp a smidgen of time to interact with other writers.

Embrace Chaos And Accept That You Can’t Do It All

I have so many blog posts, stories, words, ideas floating around in my head. I also have a pair of hazel eyes that look to me for nutrition, exercise, learning, and loving. We CAN’T do it all, we can only do our best. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the things we want to do. I know that this blog post could have been 10x better if I had more time, but my son is going to wake up in 30 minutes and I really should eat SOMETHING today.

♥R♥

Picture Pick Fri-yay & 50th Post

Ok so here is the deal with Picture Pick Fri-yay. My husband Miles is an amazing photographer (I’m biased yes) but for real he is awesome. He has files upon files of incredible photos that just live there buried in our computer. So I want to share some of them with you guys-thus Picture Pick Fri-yay. Get ready, this is going to be “a thing” every Friday. I’m going to share some pictures that documents a moment/event in our livestrivial or major. Also this post is my 50th post, so it seems fitting to try something new. This week’s photos are less about quality and more about what they captured: Chaos and lots of praying to sweet baby Jesus that our house didn’t flood.

The Flood of 2015

It’s hard to believe on this beautiful sunny day here in Washington that our front yard  looked like this:

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OMG right?  Those are boats that floated out of our neighbor’s yards upriver. (Please ignore the leopard rain boots.)

We are fortunate to live with a beautiful river in our backyard, but every once in awhile that decision can bite us in the ass. DSC_1237

There I am at the bank of the river (our backyard). Luckily the river did not go over the bank, but it did flood up river. Which is why we had so much water in the yard.

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Yep, our house was an island. We were blessed that we didn’t get any water in the house. When I look at these photos it makes me a little bit nauseous. Every winter we hold our breath that the water doesn’t rise.

So that’s Picture Pick Fri-yay: short, sweet, and visual. What do you guys think of this new ritual to my blog?

Also, thanks for providing the pictures Miles!

Happy Fri-yay!

♥R♥

One Question We Need to Stop Asking Pregnant Women

 

My husband and I were ecstatic to announce that I was pregnant. All of our family, friends, and acquaintances gave us very positive responses and well-wishes, but amid all of the felicitations, there was an odd question that kept cropping up, “Were you guys trying?” and it never got less awkward or surprising.

 

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The question wasn’t malicious; these people were genuinely curious if our baby was… an accident? A surprise? I’m still not entirely sure what they were trying to ask us, and I’m still left wondering why the question even mattered. I understand that in the moment people (myself included) can lack a certain finesse, but there is no correct answer to the question, “Were you trying?”. This leaves the expectant couple with two uncomfortable answers: “No, we weren’t trying.” but then feeling like they have to profusely explain that they are happy about the surprise. Or, “Yes, we were trying.” Which I found was quickly followed up with people wanting to know the time-frame of conception. Neither option is what the excited couple wants to talk about when they announce they are pregnant, so it’s unfair to ask the question in the first place.

 

My husband and I were indeed trying, and when we awkwardly nodded our heads to confirm that our baby was planned, it inevitably led to that other awkward question; “How LONG were you trying?” Short answer: My husband and I didn’t have the fastest conception story, there were a few months of waiting, and trust me, a few months with no baby was enough to make me anxious about our ability to conceive. Then it happened; I thought I was going to get my period a few days early (I was crampy, bloated, fuzzy-headed) and I peed on a stick and confirmed our greatest joy—I was pregnant. In the grand scheme of things, we didn’t have to wait long, spend a ton of money, and endure years of worry. We had it pretty darn easy, but I couldn’t help but wonder how the question, “How long were you trying? made other couples feel who had to struggle to get pregnant.

 

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Fertility stories are something that should never be dug out of a person. It’s a personal journey that someone honors you by sharing—in their own time. I couldn’t begin to imagine how painful this question might be to someone who had a much longer and complicated conception story. Sure, there are some women who love to talk about their journey and scream from the mountain tops about their pregnancy when it finally happens, but there are others who would rather not re-hash that painful time in their lives. They should not have to feel obligated to talk about it. We are all curious by nature, but sometimes we have to remember to reign in those inappropriate questions, especially around the topic of babies and fertility.

 

Then there is the other side of the binary of planned vs. unplanned pregnancy. What if my husband and I weren’t trying to get pregnant? Did these people really expect me to say, “No our pregnancy was not planned, lets clear that up right now so we know what to tell the baby when he asks.” If I don’t know a person well enough to share that our pregnancy was unexpected, then they have absolutely no right to ask that question. If a couple is announcing they are pregnant with smiles on their faces, it doesn’t really matter if the baby was planned or a total surprise. A big “Congratulations!” is probably all they are looking for. Proceed with questions about their hopes and dreams for their little bundle, rather than nit-picking the conception.

 

I learned after planning a wedding and a pregnancy that acquaintances can exhibit strange behavior during these momentous milestones in our lives. I can usually shrug off the awkward questions, or change the topic, but this particular question really stuck out as completely uncomfortable. I don’t like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Which is why I awkwardly nodded my head when I explained that the pregnancy was planned every time I was asked that question, and I reluctantly talked about the time it took to conceive. I learned early-on in my pregnancy that people assumed I was an open book because I was growing a baby inside me, and no questions, gestures, and comments were off limits. Pregnant women are unfortunately the target of unsolicited advice, inappropriate questions, and super offensive comments. We must remember that pregnant women still deserve respect and privacy.

♥R♥

COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF MILES MCKEE PHOTOGRAPHY