Linkup

2015 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Questionnaire

I am taking part in a Book Blogger Love-A-Thon.  I don’t know much about it aside from it runs February 21 through February 22.  The first thing is a About Me type questionnaire.

1. What’s your name?
My name is Lynn.

2. Where in the world are you blogging from?
I’m in Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento.  I’m typing away at the antique piano desk in my Writing Room

3. How did you get into blogging in the first place?
I created this blog to accompany my memoir:  Born in My Heart:  A Bittersweet Adoption Blessing.  At a writer’s conference last week I learned this is called a platform.  🙂

4. How did you come up with your blog name?
It was originally the same title as my book; however, I wanted to blog about more than my book so I changed it.  Written Reflections seemed a more accurate description and it flowed nicely, so I went with it!

5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?
As of yet, I haven’t reviewed any books on my blog.  I enjoy reading chick lit by British authors and memoirs.  When I read a book that I love, I often “binge” on that author until I’ve read them all.

6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews?
I blog about my experiences as a foster-adopt mother, which includes foster child adoption advocation.  I blog about day-to-day experiences with a creative twist.  I blog thoughts and feelings and general musings.

7. Best blogging experience so far?
I had some great comments on a blog about my memoir.  I’ve only been blogging about a month so I’m still a newbie.

8. Favorite thing about the blogging community?
Getting to know other people from all around the world, their differences and similarities.

9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2015!

1. The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark
2. Host by Robin Cook
3. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (I know it’s not a new book but it was recommended by my book club.)
5. The stories in my writer’s group

10. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?
Hmmmm, have to think about that one…

11. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?
I always thought CC Bloom from Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart would be an awesome best friend.

12. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?
I love to write and am currently trying my hand at poetry that isn’t inspired by teenage angst.  I love jigsaw puzzles and Sudoko.  I like to bake with my kids.  Travel is a passion of mine but is on hold until the kiddos are older.

13. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for?
Honestly, I don’t do much book shopping – I am a library lover!  What I do love to purchase, however, are clothes from consignment shops, especially local, charity-driven ones.  I always get great deals!

14. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing?
You Spin Me Around by Dead or Alive.  Honestly, any 80s music would have me shaking my tail feathers.

15. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.
I love reading books that were made into movies, even though they generally are not nearly as good.  At this point I can only think of books that were made into movies and I really wish they hadn’t been.

Musings and Personal

Pitching Forward in A Pitch?

I’m attending the San Francisco Writers Conference this week. I am pitching my story* at Speed Dating with an Agent.

First Problem:  I am a stay-at-home mom and before that worked as a medical transcriptionist from home.  I haven’t done business-casual in at least seven years.

Second Problem:  I am a complete klutz.  I have a couple pairs of heels from my younger years.  The heels are less than two inches.  I will still fall flat on my face.

I bump into doorknobs, table corners, our bed post… you get the picture.  This happens so often that I am rarely without a bruise.

On the first date with my husband, Andrew, I launched a knife in the air.

He took me to a fancy restaurant.  I ordered duck.  (I didn’t like anything else on the menu.)  First date jitters prevented me from thoroughly reading the menu’s description…

The server brought the duck out.  It was on the bone.  It was covered in what looked like BBQ sauce.  (Actually, it didn’t taste like much more than overpriced BBQ sauce.)  I did my best to consume that duck gracefully.  I used a knife and fork to split small pieces of duck off the bone.

In one of my high-class attempts to dismantle meat and bone, the knife slipped from my hands.  Coated with the glorified BBQ sauce, the knife flew through the air.  I caught it before it clattered onto the floor or somewhere else unseemly.  A bus boy walking by said “nice catch.”  I wanted to crawl under the table… especially when I found my future hubby wiping sauce off the arm of his white shirt.

But I digress…

Back to my original point; I am a klutz.  I will wear heels for the four days of the writers conference.  Yes, my feet will ache at the end of the day.  Yes, my knees will be stiff the next morning.  But what I am concerned about is literally tripping over my own two feet.

Or going to sit down at the table 1:1 with the agent I most want to represent my book, and falling flat on my face.  Or ass-up in the air with my unmentionables hanging out… (I’ve decided to torture myself further by wearing dresses.)

But then I ask myself:  Would that really be the worst thing that could happen? My brother and sister-in-law asked how the agents would remember me.  I told them I had a business card I’d pass on, and a copy of the first chapter or two of my story upon request.  But then again, maybe pitching forward during my pitch, landing on their lap (or my butt or flat on my face) will help them remember me too.

Because whether or not they are interested in my story, they WILL remember me.  Whether they forgive this fall from grace and appreciate its humor remains to be seen.

But, really, would I want to work with someone who crossed me off their list just because I made a complete fool or myself?  I think I’d rather have an agent whose funny bone was tickled.  Who didn’t take him/herself so seriously.  Who appreciated my tripping didn’t trip up my pitch.

P.S.  It could be a great story…

* See my previous blog post, Born in My Heart: A Bittersweet Adoption Blessing

Musings and Personal

The Truth

“Never be terrorized away from the truth.  Now, more than ever, please take up your pens and your laptops and WRITE.”

This phrase gave me the strength to write this post:

I can’t keep being bounced around like a ping pong ball.

Yesterday was a stressful day with Payton.  I had her correct errors on her homework.

You’d think I’d told her to cut off her thumb instead.  The ebb and flow of crying, yelling, door slamming, stomping…

That night she couldn’t get to sleep until I got home.  When I tucked her in, she said she didn’t want me to go out of town for four days.  I reassured her that we would video chat.  She said she still didn’t want me to go.

And then this morning.

I told her to bring her backpack to me so I could make sure she packed everything.  She hadn’t.

I told her to find her homework folder, put her homework in it, and put it in her backpack.  A moment later “I have to find a stapler and staple these sheets together,” with the unspoken accusation that I took them apart.

I told her to put her name on the homework pages because they were all blank.  She tried to control the situation by acting helpless.  She got agitated when I ignored her control attempts.

I told her to go calm down in her room.  A full-throttle tantrum ensued.

“It’s your fault I act like this!  It always happens because you make me do this stuff!”

She ran into her room and slammed the door.  And over and over I heard stomping and yelling and angry tears.  I closed the French doors to cut off the sound.

My son no longer asks why Payton is crying.  Instead, he silently walks over and gives me a big hug.

Paige has begun noticing her sister’s storms are a regular occurrence.  Now she either tells me Payton is crying or asks why she is crying.  All I can say is “it doesn’t concern you.”

But it does.  It concerns us all.  Because it affects us all.

A good 15 minutes of this and Payton has calmed down.

It’s time to leave.

Payton walks over and gives me a sideways hug, takes my hand, smiles up at me and walks me down the hallway.  Then she walks out the front door without a hug or “I love you.”  When she hears my son say it, she hollers it as an afterthought.

This has been a daily occurrence since school resumed after Winter Break.*

It makes me wonder if I should publish my story.  Because as much as I believe we need to change lives of children in foster care, there are days I question my decision to help with that change.

When I read “Never be terrorized away from the truth.  Now, more than ever, please take up your pens and your laptops and WRITE,” I knew I needed to do this, regardless of how terrified I am.

*  If your inclination is to say all kids do this, please read my prior blog “NEVER say these things to the parent of a kid w/ RAD.”

Musings and Personal

My Inspiration

Hands down, my mom is my biggest fan.  She has supported me through both difficult and happy times.  She has encouraged my independence which has led me to where I am today.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our ups and downs… and not just in high school when my teenage hormones clashed with her menopausal ones!  But it wouldn’t be a mother-daughter relationship without this sometimes intense dynamic.

About three years ago my mom said she felt bad because her Christmas gifts for me weren’t that great.

Note:  My mom is a German Catholic and guilt runs in her blood.

Second Note:  She and my dad flew out of below-zero weather in Wisconsin to be with us in California during the holidays.  I told her that present was the best present she could get me!

Aside from their visit, there is only one gift that stands out in my memory from that Christmas.  It was a puzzle painted by a local artist; not someone who “made it big,” but regardless had her picture published, so to speak.

Inside the puzzle’s cover, the artist wrote:

photo1-2

It was this simple inscription that gave me the courage to make my dream of writing a book come true.

Two months after I received this gift, I quit my job and began to write my story, a memoir of helping a drug addict during childbirth, then adopting her two daughters.

Fast forward two years and…

  • I edited it four times… then got burned out and threw it at a professional editor.*
  • I have entered two writing contests, with a third around the corner.
  • I am attending the San Francisco Writers Conference, complete with Speed Dating with an Agent, in less than three weeks.
  • I am constantly researching agents and publishers who will be at the conference, creating different pitches targeted for each one.

And then in the mail on Friday I received this:

do it nowdo it now2

Thanks, Mom, for supporting all my endeavors!

* My editor is wonderful and I highly recommend her:  Laura Garwood Meehan, Editor

Writing

Born in My Heart: A Bittersweet Adoption Blessing

When I decided to be the birth coach for a stranger, little did I know it would result in two daughters….

The following is the synopsis of my memoir, Born in My Heart:  A Bittersweet Adoption Blessing.  

Six years ago I was asked to be the birth coach for a woman (Ruth*) I didn’t know. Her husband (David) was in prison and her daughter, Payton in CPS custody. Ruth was an addict and she had no one for support.

I chose to help out and witnessed the birth of a baby girl, Paige. I cut her umbilical cord, held her… and fell completely in love! 

Ruth had nowhere to recover from her C-section so my husband and I let her stay with us for almost a week. I learned about the person under the addiction during that time; I came to understand firsthand “hate the sin, not the sinner.”

Paige was placed in foster care because of severe drug withdrawal.  Ruth decided to place her for adoption as she knew taking care of only one child on her own would be difficult enough. Ruth gave us her blessing to adopt Paige.

I attended all the court hearings and got to know Ruth even more during the legal process.  I directly witnessed the conflicting emotions a biological mother** feels when she selflessly does what is in her child’s best interest.

A year later Payton reunified with Ruth.  She was removed again six months later when Ruth and David stopped meeting county requirements.  This time Payton was removed permanently. We took Payton into our home just before she turned three, and adopted her a year later.

This is the story of my girls’ adoption with their unique needs, my unusual relationship with Ruth, and the good, the bad and the ugly of it all from my uncensored point of view.

I believe people need to be educated about the dire need for foster and foster-adopt homes.  I believe people need to learn about addiction and how it affects both the addict and the people in the addict’s life.  That is why I am taking steps to publish my story the traditional route.

Agents and publishers research potential clients’ social media following so the more publicity the better.  Please support my journey by following/liking and commenting on my blog.  Please also follow/like and comment on my Facebook page and Twitter account. Thank you!

Twitter Account
Facebook page

* Names have been changed

* Discussion in another blog about why I use the term “biological” instead of “birth”