Bring on 2018!

That’s right, it’s time for my annual year end wrap up post.

Unfortunately, I feel like I don’t have a lot to write about this year. My migraines really dragged me down, and made work difficult, but I did accomplish a few things, so I might as well celebrate them:

  1. Revised my YA Contemporary BIG FAT GEEK with the help of my awesome agent Bri and her assistant Ali, and got it out on sub with editors!
  2. Wrote and started revising a Middle Grade Fantasy that I’m absolutely in love with.
  3. Decided to put Picture Book writing on hold and focus on YA and MG.
  4. Re-joined my online critique group.
  5. Wrote a really messy first draft of another YA Contemporary, that I can’t seem to get out of my head.
  6. Got off the daily migraine meds that were dragging me down and affecting my mood.
  7. Almost reached 600 followers on Twitter (@k_callard if you want to help me get there!)
  8. Found inspiration for a PB.

It might not be thrilling news, but at least it’s something. Now that my head’s doing better (*knocks on wood to prevent jinxing myself*) I can’t wait for 2018 to come around so I can tackle all the things!

(Tune in next week to see what I’m planning to get done in 2018.)

Hope you all have an excellent New Year’s celebration!

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Holiday Short Story Contest Finalists

As you may remember, last week I wrote a short story for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Annual Holiday Contest.

Well, the finalists have been posted and my story made the Top 12 (squee!).

There are a lot of fun stories up, so I suggest you head over to her post and check them out and vote for your favourite. Voting is open until Monday morning.

And (in case reading 12 fun holiday stories isn’t reason enough to go check out the page), she’s also posted links to three different quizzes to find out which of Santa’s reindeer you are. (The results aren’t particularly consistent though, so I guess you can pick your favorite of the three.)

Apparently, I’m Dancer, Vixen, and Rudolph.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Doing It All

Last week in the comments someone asked how I managed to find the time for everything in my life:  family (specifically three youngish kids), writing, critiquing, social media, baking, etc.

I gave a short answer in the comments, but thought I’d use to today’s post to go into more detail. Although, to be honest, I think one of the reasons I feel/look so productive these days is because of how un-productive I’ve been for the last two years (seriously, I didn’t realize how bad the side effects from some of my migraine meds were until I finally got off them all in November).

Anyway.

I’ll start off by saying I’m a queen of multi-tasking (I’m writing this with holiday cookies in the oven and a pot of soup on the stove, with about fifteen minutes left before I have to go volunteer at the school).

I’m a morning person, so I get up early, usually between 5-5:30 am. That gives me close to two hours before my kids get up to go on social media, critique, and (if my coffee kicks in quickly enough) write, before we start our morning routine.

Once the kids are at school, I come home (often via the grocery store) and work on whatever main tasks are waiting for me that day: usually writing/revising, but sometimes I have to catch up crits, or write a blog post. I don’t usually take much of a lunch break, just scarf my meal while checking back in on social media.

Since my head often requires a break from the screen during the day, I’ll often find time to fit in chores and errands in between computer sessions. However, if I’m on deadline (self-imposed or otherwise), I’ll generally leave those until the evening or weekend.

Typically, my writing work day ends when I go to pick my kids up from school, as the rest of the evening is occupied with “homework” (reading), preparing dinner and the next day’s lunches, and dishes (such a glamorous life I lead). Major chores like laundry wait until the weekend.

After the kids are asleep, I’m usually too wiped to do much writing, but again, if a deadline is looming, I’ll use that time to write.

I’m really lucky that so far we’ve been able to afford to have me stay home and chase my dream, even if I feel pretty guilty about not contributing to our income (yet). I am in absolute awe of all the people who do everything I do, plus hold down a job outside of the house. Seriously, I don’t know how you do it.

But, if I don’t sell a book soon, I’ll probably be joining you.

So, if you have any holiday wishes to spare, send some good vibes my way that I get a contract soon. I could really use them.

 

 

Lizard in a Blizzard

Sorry for the late post today, everyone, I needed some extra time to come up with my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday Short Story Contest. The story was inspired by something that happened to some friends of mine. Hope you enjoy it, and when you’re done, you should head over to Susanna’s blog to check out the links to the other stories:

Lizard in a Blizzard (237 words)

 

Down south in December

It’s usually warm,

Except for the year of

The wicked snowstorm!

 

One lizard, Negrita,

(Which translates as “bold”)

Chose to take action,

To get out of the cold.

 

She peered in a window

And what did she see?

A cozy, warm house

With a huge indoor tree!

 

So she hid on the porch

And trembled and shivered

Then darted inside

When a box was delivered.

 

Straight for the tree,

She skittered so fast,

Ignoring the squeals

Of the people she passed.

 

She clambered up branches

And hid on a bough,

As somebody shouted,

“Get it out, now!”

 

Huge faces came near,

Peering in through the greenery,

But Negrita stayed still

To blend in with the scenery.

 

Big hands came in next,

Fingers grasping and groping,

“Don’t let them find me,”

Negrita sat, hoping.

 

The fingers came closer.

She thought she was doomed.

‘Til: “The thing’s disappeared!”

A jumbo voice boomed.

 

For hours she stayed there,

Continuing to hide,

Thinking, Maybe I would have

Been safer outside.

 

A branch below rustled,

A human was back!

But instead of chasing Negrita,

They brought her…a snack?

 

A tiny young human

Carried fruit on a tray.

“It’s not milk and cookies,

But I hope it’s okay.”

 

“You’re feeding the pest?”

Anger. Irritation.

“It’s not a pest,

It’s our new decoration!”

 

So, tucked amidst tinsel,

And safe from the blizzard,

Negrita became

The first Christmas Tree Lizard.