Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Three More Years

Three more years. Less really. That's all I have with my 15-year-old daughter living at home.

We moms. We're pathetic in some people's minds. Living though our kids. But isn't that what we're supposed to be doing?

I adore my two children. I absolutely love being a big part of their lives. I feel privileged that I've been able to spend so much time with them and that I've been their primary caretaker for their whole lives.

But now they are 15 and 12. My daughter, the 15-year-old, is a sophomore in high school. If she stays on the same track she's been on, she'll be off to college in 3 years. 3 tiny, minuscule years.

My son is in 7th grade. There's some more time with him, thank goodness. But in three years he'll be almost 16. Almost driving. He won't need me to shuttle him to football and rugby practice, or to his boy scout meetings. He'll be much more self sufficient. That will change so much about my life.

In three years my daughter will probably be off to college. The girl who made me "mom" will be off on her own starting her life. Without me. Of course without me. We all know kids who are too attached to their moms. Kids who can't grow up. Kids who are weird and are living at home at 40.

I don't want that for my children. I want them to be healthy, stable, independent adults some day.

But that doesn't mean I'm not heartbroken at what's to come. That doesn't mean that I won't miss them terribly. That doesn't mean I don't want to cling to them now (even though I don't literally cling to them now) and want them to stay how they are right now. They won't. They can't. It's not natural. They are to grow and change and flourish. That's how you know your kids are thriving. That's what I want for them.

But right now I love being such a huge part of their lives. I love being their sherpa, their cook, their counselor. I love being such a presence in their lives. I love being their biggest fan. I love seeing them every day and being with them and just knowing that they're happy and healthy and home.

I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for what's to come. So it isn't so sad and difficult. So I can applaud them as they grow away from their home and forge their own paths.

But I'm starting to realize that there's no way to prepare for this. My challenge is to love them and applaud them and support them and then to let them go.

Let them go.

Right now I'm consumed by my paid job and my mom job. I wash athletic uniforms. I cook healthy meals. I make dr.s appointments. I drive kids to practices and jobs, while getting my own audiobook work done. I'm busy, busy, busy.

But in three frighteningly short years everything will be different. I won't be so needed. I'll miss my focus. My main time suck will be gone. I'll have more time. Hard to fathom now, that time is such a rare commodity, but it's coming. More time. In three super-short years.

So what will I do then?

Three years from now when I'm not as consumed by kid duties as I am now?

What will I do then?

I'll write.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why I don't believe in Lloyd Dobler Part 1

Hi, you, who is reading this! Thanks!

It's been forever since I've written. I miss writing. I've been recording lots of audiobooks, which is so, so, so awesome, but I'm a writer too, and I need to get back to it. So I'm going to blog about whatever strikes my fancy.

Tonight it's Lloyd Dobler, John Cusak's character from the classic 80s romantic movie, Say Anything,  

There's no way a guy like that exists in real life.

Why I don't believe in Lloyd Dobler

Part 1

Say Anything came out in 1989, and when it did, I didn't like it very much. I was 19 and recovering from the toughest situation of my life, up to that point. I had grown up the good girl. The smart girl. I wasn't up to Diane Court levels, but I was the shining star who was a published writer in Jack and Jill Magazine, winning a national writing contest at age 9. The girl who could run so fast she could beat everyone, including most of the boys. A girl whose family expected she would do great things because they knew her and just assumed she would. Is that sort of assumption helpful? It's great to have a family who believes in you. But those kinds of implicit high expectations?

No one blatantly said so, but everyone knew what I could and should do. Something great. It was strongly implied. My sister, to this day, 30 years later, talks about living up to my example. But I'm someone who also had to live up to my example. And I was always sure that I would let everyone down eventually. Could I do what they all, and what I myself, expected of me? Doubtful.

The other thing that had a big influence on my worldview back then, was that I was a huge romantic. I guess that's not super surprising, considering my age and gender, but it was also that I loved to read romantic stories. I could crank through several teen romances in a day. My dad called them "pre-pubescent love stories". Now that I'm an adult, I wonder why he called them "pre" pubescent, since they were mostly about teenagers who'd already passed through adolescence. But I think he was in denial, and was trying to cope with the fact that I was growing up and had a strong interest in something that was completely biologically understandable, but also fundamentally dangerous.

I believed love conquered all. I thought that if I could only find my soul mate—someone who understood me and loved and cherished me; someone I could love and cherishthen all would be well. That was the pinnacle. Something to strive towards. However, I was also quite shy and did not know how to talk to people I didn't know, especially boys. I grew up surrounded by strong girls and women, with the exception of my dad, who I loved and felt comfortable with, but he wasn't a very social guy himself. He was content to be home with his wife and his daughters. He'd go out running, and go to work, but other than that, he was a homebody. I didn't understand boys or know how to talk to them. So I kept to myself and my female friends and read lots, including teen romances, and dreamed of someone who would one day sweep me off my feet.

That foot sweeper found me my junior year of high school. And he certainly wasn't Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything. My relationship with him was the only consciously autobiographical part of Dreaming of Deliverance. That relationship was dangerous and bad for me and it was only by good luck, really, that my life went on to college, etc. It all could have gone very differently if I hadn't been able to wrench myself away, after a year and a half of what started as my dream for romance and connection, and ended up as something that by most definitions, would be considered abusive.

More soon.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dreaming of Deliverance 2: another video excerpt!

Hi everyone!

I posted a second excerpt from the sequel to Dreaming of Deliverance awhile back, but have been a slacker about letting you know where to find it. This one was also recorded on a camping trip up in the mountains this past summer. If you've read or listened to Dreaming of Deliverance, you'll want to check out this video! Believe me! You want to see it. :)

The excerpt for which you've been waiting!

Hope you all are well. I continue to be busy with the audiobook narration, which is awesome--I've just started recording book 1 of a new series! But I'm struggling to add writing time to my schedule. Feel free to bug me about the Dreaming of Deliverance sequel as much as you'd like. It really helps!

More eventually...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Video excerpt of Dreaming of Deliverance 2!

It's late, I'm tired, I need to hit the hay, but super quick before I turn in, I wanted to tell you about my new YouTube channel!

Every couple of weeks I will be posting a video. The videos will include footage of me reading from my works-in-progress, short stories, clips in the booth of me recording other writers' audiobooks (with their permission, of course), and anything else that I think might interest people.

The first video is me reading the beginning of the sequel to Dreaming of Deliverance. I was camping up in the Sierra Nevada mountains and thought it would be a good setting for a video. :)

Dreaming of Deliverence 2: Excerpt 1

Check it out, and let me know what you think! I will post another video there soon!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Great Balancing Act

My 8th-grade graduate/gymnast:
Balancing in Santa Monica

Last night my daughter graduated from 8th grade. I could go on and on about my ambivalent feelings concerning this. First of all, I'm super proud of her. She's such a smart, kind, hardworking, lovely young lady. But I also can't believe she's as old as she is. Didn't she just start kindergarten? How is it possible that she's starting high school in August?!?

Anyway, yesterday my mom gave her the book Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss, which is one of my favorites. And at the ceremony, they read the quote about "having shoes on your feet" and being the one who "decides where you go" from the book. I love that, but my favorite Oh the Places You'll Go quote is:

So be sure when you step
Step with care and great tact.
And remember that life's 
A Great Balancing Act. 

For some reason that quote makes me well up every time I read it or hear it or even think of it.

I love the first part, because care and tact are really important but rarely discussed qualities. I might be a little too careful and too tactful sometimes, but I think too much care and tact is better than not enough.

However, it's balancing that I wanted to write about today.

I'm in a phase of life where balancing is necessary, constant, exhausting, and oh-so-worthwhile.

I came back from my trip to Baltimore and New York feeling so focused and motivated about my creative endeavors. I couldn't wait to write, and record, and edit my writing, and edit my audio, and record YouTube videos of excerpts from DoD 2, and make a YouTube video using writings and photos from my two trips to Tanzania, and set up a Google+ account, and blog more, and tweet more, etc., etc., etc.!

That fire hasn't dimmed but other pulls on me are now competing for my time and attention:

  • My daughter graduating and all the hoopla associated with that plus her busy gymnastics practice schedule. 
  • My son finishing up elementary school and the baseball season. 
  • Simply wanting to hang out with my kids, because I love being with them and the years are zooming, and soon they'll be all grown up and no longer at home. 
  • Wanting to spend some date-like time with my husband, and it's tough to squeeze that in when we're so busy with work and family stuff. 
  • Wishing to just chill and read and rest. (I swear I'm a type B personality trying to live a type A lifestyle!)

Balancing. Constantly balancing everything!

I love my writing and audiobook work. I love my family and all that's necessary to take care of them. I want to do both wholeheartedly with my best attention.

And I think I manage pretty well in both areas.

But it's a "Great Balancing Act," no doubt about it!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Back from Balticon and APAC!

I'm home from an incredible 10-day-trip back east, first to Balticon and then to APAC. I've returned feeling focused and inspired by all of the talented, creative people I came across. And I traveled with my mom, which was so cool. And I got to meet up with my awesome friends Aileen and Carol, which was so, so great!

But right now while I'm exhausted and ready to collapse, I thought I could quickly blog about the high points and low points of the trip. Here goes!

High point: Balticon People!

  • I got to hang out with awesome, creative people like Abbie Hilton, Bryan Lincoln, Lauren Harris, Hugh O'Donnell, Tim Dodge, and Veronica Giguerre.
  • I was part of the Metamor City Live cast. So much fun! And I got to meet Chris Lester!
  • I also got to meet P.C. Haring, Alex White, Doc Coleman, Rosemary Tizeldon, Starla Huchton, Katie Bryski, and Christiana Ellis!
  • My favorite part of the weekend was tossing around ideas with other writer/podcaster/voice actor people. We are a unique breed and it was terrific to all be in one place collaborating in person!

High point: APAC People!

The sessions at APAC this year were incredibly helpful and worthwhile. I reconnected with some audiobook folks I already knew and met many new extraordinarily talented people.

  • Hillary Huber was the director I was matched up with for my "Director Diagnostic. She was awesome! I was pretty nervous and she put me right at ease and had some fantastic suggestions for things I can do to bring my narration skills up to the next level.
  • I had an audition at Audible that was so much fun and allowed me to show my stuff! Audible also hosted a group of us narrators for a day of training where we were treated so well and were able to learn so much about how Audible works.
  • I socialized at the APA mixer and the Tantor party and what could be more fun than to be in New York attending parties with other narrators and audiobook people!!!
  • The talent on the panels I attended at APAC was unbelievable. How lucky was I too get to learn tips of the trade from Katherine Kellgren, Tavia Gilbert, Barbara Rosenblat, Dion Graham, Scott Brick, and Jeffery Kafer!

I feel so energized and focused about the audiobook work and privileged to be part of such a fantastic industry and community.

Low point: Ouchy toes.

But everything can't be 100% positive, right? There was something sucky that happened. I decided to treat myself to a pedicure on my birthday, which was the Saturday I was at Balticon. The pedicurist must not have realized what a princess I am (ha!) and what delicate feet I have (ha, ha!) because she dug into my big toes like she was cutting eyes out of a potato and ouch it hurt! And ouch, 7 days later it still hurts and my big toes are red and inflamed and the opposite of attractive. Yes, I have a pedicure injury. How embarrassing. And ouch. Mostly ouch!

But it doesn't matter because the rest of the time was so much fun and so worthwhile. So I'm soaking my feet and reconnecting with my family and reminiscing about all the amazing experiences I had on this trip. Yay! (And ouch!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Balticon Schedule

I'm going to my first Balticon this weekend! I plan to attend lots of sessions, but here are the ones I'm officially involved with:

5 PM: Helping Authors Find and Work Effectively with Narrators
6 PM: Using Comedy to Humanize Characters and Hook Listeners in Audio Fiction

1 PM: Live Reading!
I'm going to read excerpts from the in-progress sequel to Dreaming of Deliverance, as well as from my almost finished kids' novel: Rachel Richards Hates Rats. Alex White, author/producer of The Gearheart will be reading as well!

11 AM: Narrating Podcast Fiction:
This will be an expansion of the panel I coordinated for the New Media Expo last January, but this time, I'll be doing it solo! Using clips from your favorite fiction podcasts, I'll share what I've learned about how to be an excellent audio fiction narrator.

5 PM Metamor City Live Show! I get to participate in a live reading with other voice actors. Can't wait!
7 PM Fullcast vs. Straight Read

10 AM: The Introvert's Guide to Social Media
Noon: Multi-Creatives

Here's a link to the whole Balticon Schedule if you'd like to read more about the sessions listed above, as well as all that'll be offered this weekend. I'm looking forward to so much!

Now to get back to packing...

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Trying to tame my gremlin

I'm reading this book:

Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson.

My gremlin is big and clever and relentless. I'm not sure she can be tamed.

Ironically, she's not barking at me much about the audiobook narration. She's given up on that because she knows I'm feeling capable in that department.

But she's focused all her attention on my idea of myself as a writer. She's almost had me convinced that I'm not one.

However, a friend just wrote me about how much her 13-year-old loved Dreaming of Deliverance. It even inspired him to draw a scene from the novel. My first fan art.

I told my friend about Forbidden Fruit and said her son might like it, and then I read a little bit of it and remembered: I'm a good writer. I tell good stories.

That stupid gremlin: my viscous, constant, uber-critical inner voice, had me forgetting.

I will tame my gremlin. I will return to Trae. Finish the rat book.

I'm a writer.

I remember.


Friday, January 18, 2013

7-7-7: Renée writing excerpts!

Amanda Brice tagged me on Facebook for the 7-7-7 meme. Basically you are supposed to go to either page 7 or page 77 of your work in progress, go down 7 lines, and then post the next 7 lines. 

So I opened up my two sadly neglected WIPs: Rachel Richards Hates Rats, my middle-grade novel that I discussed in the Roundtable Podcast, and the as yet unnamed sequel to Dreaming of Deliverance

But I couldn't decide which page and which WIP to use, so I decided to post all of them here!

Rachel Richards Hates Rats p. 7, lines 8-14:

I took a couple of steps backward, so Ev couldn't grab the phone from my hand and hang up, which he'd been known to do. "I gotta go, Gwennie."

"Aw, I wish I was there! Your own pool in the backyard. Rachel Richard's dad coming over to your house. You're so lucky!"

"Come on! Come on! Come on!" Ev was hopping up and down again. "Bye, Gwen." I pushed the phone's off button while Ev pulled at my arm. "Okay! Just let me get my swimsuit on."

Rachel Richards p. 77, lines 8-14

I thought of what it felt like to sit there alone while everyone else seemed to be having such a good time. I looked down at Ringo. He jerked his head to the side in Rachel's direction. "Go to her, Ellen," he said in his quietest voice. "Make this right."

Why should I? I almost said. This is Rachel Richards we're talking about. She's been terrible to me from the first day I met her. But for some reason, at that moment I couldn't remember all the reasons I didn't like her.

And these are the excerpts that might interest you more...

Dreaming of Deliverance sequel p. 7, lines 8-14

“Barren rock! Yeh’re back!”

“Oh yes, pet. Our dear friend is right. It’s that little girl!”

“I see her, love. I see her. Doesn’t she look pathetic? But we can’t stay here. We must flee. They will come now that a jut has been opened.”

Rough hands pulled me upright.

“Come on, Lindsay! You have to walk. We can’t carry you.”

I blinked at the man standing in front of me. It was twilight but I could see him well enough.

“Michael?” His face was thinner and white tufts streaked his beard, but the restless eyes and gruff voice were the same.

DoD sequel p. 77, lines 8-14

He led me down a short sandy path to the edge of the river while I admired his ability to communicate with the sisters without addressing them directly. The water was quiet and slow-moving, trickling musically through a cluster of smooth-topped rocks, the largest of which stuck up a couple of feet from the surface at an angle and acted as a natural dam. The resulting pool was big enough for skipping stones or wading, but too small to swim. Clumps of bushy willows, their branches swaying in the breeze, surrounded us and blocked out the view of the cave—of everything really, except the rocks and the water and the starry dome overhead. It was like being in a giant nest.

So there they are! I found it interesting which parts of each story came up: they connect, which is pretty cool. It also made me realize how much I miss these stories. Back at the beginning of this blog, I posted here to motivate myself to keep writing. I need to start that back up again. I love narrating audiobooks, but I'm also a writer and I miss my own stories. I'll get back to it now.

Thanks, Amanda!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Well, this is awkward...and great!

Long time, no post. Yes, I say that a lot. Yes, that should probably be the new title of Pointed Sqiuggle, I say it so much. And while this might have been my longest gap between entries, that doesn't change this very familiar sentiment

But it feels especially awkward today. The difference this time is that I'm at the New Media Expo or NMX (formerly Blog World), surrounded by people who are experts at blogging and new media. Since I break probably all of the rules when it comes to successful blogging, I'm feeling a little sheepish.  Tomorrow I'm doing a presentation here, and it occurred to me that some of the attendees could check out my blog, so I should probably post something more current than the hot weather entry from four months ago.

And lots has happened since August. I'm now narrating audiobooks full time! It's been very exciting, but somewhat stressful since the deadlines have been tight. I've worked on a wide-variety of great books, each of which has had its own joys and challenges. I'll be sure to let you know about them, when they are released.

And that's what's led me to NMX! My experience with podcast fiction has resulted in a career in audio book narration. It's pretty darn wonderful how things have worked out, and I look forward to sharing what I've learned tomorrow in my session.

Here's a link:

Tone and Emotion: The keys to compelling podcast fiction narration

The best part of being here is that I'm getting to meet some of my podcast fiction friends in person for the first time! I've loved hanging out with Abbie Hilton, the Dunesteef guys (Big Anklevich and Rish Outfield), Bryan Lincoln (who is doing the presentation with me), and Lauren "Scribe" Harris. Marshal Latham (also doing the Tone and Emotion presentation) arrives today. What a great group! Abbie, Big, Rish, and Lauren's session is also tomorrow and covers comedy in podcast fiction, which is difficult to do successfully, but so effective! Here's a link:

Using Comedy to Humanize Characters and Hook Listeners 

Scott Sigler is here as well! He has a "Super Session" tomorrow called The Art of Podcast Storytelling. Unfortunately, it's in the morning before my session, but I'm planning on attending most of it.

I think it's fabulous that NMX is featuring podcast fiction this year! I feel honored to be a part of it.

And now my blog isn't so embarrassingly out of date!

More...okay I won't say "soon"...but eventually!