Friday, December 23, 2011

Beautiful

I hope you're having a beautiful holiday season. It has been particularly lovely here in Magdalenaville. We've attended a family wedding, several dinners with friends and co-workers. I start a new job in the "real world" with the new year, which is a huge blessing, even though it is sad to leave the part-time job I love so much.

Yesterday marked two years since my husband's diagnosis. The brain tumor has changed him, but has also changed me, our son, and everyone in our lives. We are stronger, I think, and more grateful for things we used to take for granted. I am surprised, looking back, at all the beautiful things that have happened in the past two years. Truly, in this season and throughout the year, the most meaningful gifts are not wrapped in colorful paper under a Christmas tree.

Have a beautiful Christmas!

Mags

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So thankful


For family and friends, a job I enjoy, a place to live and enough money to pay the bills. For energy to do the tasks at hand, and wise counsel when I need it. For the circle of love that surrounds me and keeps me going.

Tomorrow, instead of Black Friday, I'm celebrating White Friday. I already had the dump truck rented before I read Miss Minimalist's post last night, but I love that she has named the day for us. Here in Magdalenaville, today is for celebrating our blessings, tomorrow is set aside for clearing out clutter, and making donation trips to Goodwill.

And then we can celebrate our blessings again. That's the great thing about "thanksgiving"--it's never out of season. Without doubt, it is my favorite holiday.

I hope yours is lovely.


Magdalena

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Farewell to a gentle spirit

A friend and fellow author died this week. I have mentioned his work here before, but wanted to do so again.

Harold Dean Dixon published two volumes of poetry, written from his heart to yours.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ups and downs

So today I received an email from a cousin who was concerned about me. She'd been checking the blog occasionally and noted that my spirit seemed to have returned...and then I'd done a disappearing act. That is only a slight paraphrase.

And she's right. For a week or two, I felt as if I was getting myself back on some type of writing track. I wrote a little bit almost every day, and sometimes what I wrote was good. Then my husband started having more problems, other issues arose, and sure enough, I disappeared from the blog.

Sorry about that, for those of you who check here to see how we're doing. The answer is, not quite as well as before. My husband had a really bad fall last week, and it has me worried. He's recovering pretty well (the stitches look as good as stitches can). But I worry about him falling again. I'm looking into options for getting some caregiving help. I think, maybe, I will not be able to keep going as we have been.

And, once again, writing romance is not anywhere in the mix of our rather mixed-up existence. We're still thankful for the absence of pain, and the presence of people who love us. That part is definitely not mixed-up.

Thank you for caring!


Magdalena

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Finding Home

Ah, Legend, how we love you!

If you haven't read the first four novellas by Janet Eaves, Maddie James, Jan Scarbrough, and moi, here is a cool way to do it. The four stories are seamlessly woven together in the composite novel, Finding Home.

Fall in love--in Legend, and with Legend. And if you already love Legend, why not share it? Tell your friends about Legend, Tennessee, where romance lives next door!

Magdalena

Monday, August 29, 2011

Refreshed


What a lovely weekend! Friday evening I took my husband to his cousin's for an evening of fishing. We ladies sat on shore and visited while the guys puttered around in the pontoon boat, fishing, talking, and laughing. Their laughter was such a wonderful sound. We missed the swans and the bald eagles, but maybe we'll get to go again, and they'll be visible. (Note: No fish lost their lives in the making of this delightful evening.)

We spent much of Saturday afternoon at Art in Speed Park, a juried arts and crafts festival in our area. Only bought one item, a birthday gift for my cousin the Writing Conscience. Her birthday isn't until December, but I'm ready! In order to take my husband to an event like this, I needed help, so once again I am appreciative to the people who support us in so many ways.

Sunday was church and a wonderful meal at a state park inn--again, with friends--and afterward, a drive through the park.

The weekend was great for both of us. My husband may remember some of it, though even the much-anticipated fishing trip is already faded and confused in his memory. I awoke Monday morning feeling thankful and refreshed, and started writing a Christmas short story.

As we often say at our house, life is good.

Mags

Friday, August 26, 2011

Limping along

Yikes--My fiction-writing muscles are really out of shape! Two days in a row of the two-hour writing slot, but not exactly a giant pile of words to show for it. I have managed to salvage some old partial manuscripts (Oops--how did they fall out of the hard drive?) and make a teensy bit of progress on a new short story. It's something, at least.

Cannot seem to sleep more than a couple of hours at a time, so I'll blame part of my general sluggishness on that.

Very much enjoying the current romance read, a Harlequin American, My True Cowboy, by Shelley Galloway.

Happy Friday!

Magdalena

P.S. Ask me next week about our fishing trip.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back at it!

I am SO excited. In fact, I'm SO EXTREMELY excited, that I look twenty years younger! Oh...wait...that's clip art, isn't it? Kind of looked like me, or anyway like my hair, or anyway, like my hair used to look.

Sigh

BUT I am still SO EXCITED because now I have a Plan--a writing plan, and a marketing plan--hot off the press and likely to change (yet again) sometime in the next twenty minutes. But I still count it as progress.

Due to some personal circumstances, our family's schedule is changing, and my work at the part-time job will be curtailed. But I am taking what might have seemed like lemons (fewer hours at work = less money in paycheck) and turning it into lemonade. As in, I am setting aside the "extra" time for writing. Every morning, from seven to nine o'clock. And I will squeeze in time each weekday afternoon for marketing, which I have not touched in months.

I'll let you know how it goes, but I just had to share a couple of things about my Plan, because I was going to explode from the excitement if I didn't. And that would have been a sticky mess--all that lemonade splattered on the walls.

Mags

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"What you seek, you already are."

This week marks ten years since my mother died. She was an artist, a seamstress who also designed clothing, a homemaker, and lover of God and people. At age forty-six she became a first-time parent, and like everything she did, she went at it with energy and creativity. The woman was an embodiment of the French term joie de vivre--cheerful enjoyment of life.

When I realized this would be the tenth anniversary of her passing, I thought perhaps I should do something splashy to honor her. Then I realized that, in my way, I honor her every day, by trying to live an authentic life. For me, that means gratitude, simplicity, love, and happiness.

One thing that has occurred during our year and a half (so far) struggle with my husband's illness is that I have become more comfortable with myself. This is me. My hair is turning white. I like to whistle church songs. I could stand to lose some weight. I smile a lot. I am not particularly graceful. I write (or at least, wrote) romance. I am very happy with less (stuff, money, busy-ness).

The other evening when my son gave me time off from caregiving, I went to a bookstore. Still unable to become engaged by fiction, I found myself in the self-help section. I scanned, among other titles, Deepak Chopra's The Book of Secrets. This sentence jumped off the page at me: "What you seek, you already are."

My mother was a great reader--of all kinds of things, but I especially remember her sitting with a pen for underlining and margin-writing, and one of her many books on religion and spirituality. I guess my current search should not be so surprising to me. I am finding what was there all along.

I am my mother's daughter. Lucky me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

It works--I think!

So far so good on the new, pared-down website. As far as I can tell, it works. (Yay!) I guess I should have taken screen shots of the old website before taking it down. Oops.

But I like the new one. Can make additions or changes pretty easily, if I get around to it. Let me know if there's something you'd especially like to see.

Here's the link... Please leave me a comment if it doesn't work for you. http://www.magdalenascott.com/

I appreciate the help!

Magdalena

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friends


I had a lovely visit today with a friend from out of town. We sat by the lake, watched the Canada geese swim along, and caught up on each other's lives. It was a wonderful gift she gave me, to take the time from her visit with family.

I'm blessed to have some amazing friends, who show up with just what I need, exactly when I (or we) need it. Today it was a talk by the lake. Friday it was dinner at our favorite Mexican place. Saturday it was a "thinking of you" email. Often it is a phone call.

It's a hard life, isn't it? We all have our struggles. Great friends make it much easier to survive. Just wanted to say how thankful I am.

Magdalena

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Paring down

My website will change in about a week. I've decided to pare down the cost and the content, so instead of using a web hosting company, I am moving it to Blogger. I designed the current/old site using some neat tools provided by the hosting company. I don't have any issues with them--just ready for a change. I'll give you a look at the new site when it's "live," but for now if you want to say good-bye to the old one (*sniff*), click here.

Also paring down physical stuff here at the casa. This has been ongoing, in fits and starts, for many months. I think about, and talk about, being a minimalist, but I know some people who are actually living it. Their experiences are so inspiring to me! Evidently I need to go to an IKEA store, because in the past couple of days, two friends (who do not know each other) told me about something in particular I need to see there. Tiny minimalist "apartments" set up right in the store, so you can imagine living in, say, 250-600 square feet.

Two people telling me exactly the same thing. Don't you love it when life slaps you upside the head like that?

And GUESS WHAT!?! Last year's Ladies of Legend Christmas anthology is now available in print! Click here to get all the info at Amazon. I know, I know... You only buy ebooks. No room for paperbacks. Well, I'm holding onto a paper copy. Once in a while I am a little bit sentimental.

Magdalena

Friday, June 10, 2011

Books and Germs

So, my current read is The Secret: The Power, by Rhonda Byrne. It's a library book, but if you want to check it out at Amazon, they have both print and Kindle versions available. There are loads of reasons this is the right book for me to be reading right now, but the main one is that I am learning to think more positively. Some other recent reads have been nudging me in that direction, and this one is moving me even more toward becoming a "glass half full" kind of gal.

That came in very handy this week, when we learned my husband has a staph infection. It is in his elbow, which is kinda weird. The elbow looks weird, too, and the goop the doctor drained out of it--well, I enjoy looking at a syringe of pus as much as the next girl, but...um.... Anyway, we had to go to the hospital a couple of days for shots of antibiotic, he's been taking antibiotic tablets, and yesterday we were back at the hospital. This was for a full-body scan, because the doctor was afraid the staph might have spread throughout his bones. A very scary possibility!

My husband always had a sunny personality, and now that he doesn't remember his brain tumor, or understand what might be in his future, he is sunnier than ever. Yesterday we sang and laughed and he charmed everyone he met at the hospital.

While he was having the scan, I got to the chapter in this book about the placebo effect, and how much good we do our health just by telling ourselves/believing that our health is good. A year and a half after his brain tumor diagnosis, he is a walking-talking-singing example of this. So I spent yesterday and this morning, after a good night's sleep, telling myself that his full body scan was clear. (The "old" me would have been up half the night, sick with worry...)

I'll bet you can guess what the doctor said when he called.


Happy Friday!


Magdalena

Monday, May 23, 2011

When is it too much?


I am currently reading Gary Zukav's Soul Stories, and finding it inspirational and humbling. I have some baggage to get rid of, and am working on that. Emotional baggage is heavy stuff in more ways than one, and this is a great time to leave it at the edge of the road.

Also, as I mentioned a few days ago, I'm reading Inner Simplicity, by Elaine St. James. One of the things mentioned in both of these books, and in the sermon I heard at church yesterday: The concept of Enough.

Do I have enough? Yes. We live simply, but so far we're okay. For my own future, whenever that happens, I'm working toward being able to walk away empty-handed if necessary, but I've not quite wrapped my mind around it. Closer, but not there yet.

I didn't realize that Friday, my husband was the one who had TOO MUCH. Too much mental stimulation. Too many things going on, too many people coming and going, things happening, etc.

We took him to a local festival. He enjoyed eating, and seemed to enjoy seeing people, but he soon became demanding and short-tempered. And most of Saturday he was terribly confused and upset. He cried about it several times. A friend pointed out to me that Friday's festival might have been the cause. Well, duh. Of course it was. He paid dearly on Saturday for our intention to entertain him on Friday. It was definitely not worth it.

Today someone mentioned an upcoming event, and suggested I not take my husband to it, because it would likely just confuse him. She understands his situation so well, and I'll be following her advice.

I get him out almost every day, sometimes more than once. It isn't as if we stay in the house all the time. He enjoys seeing people, and tries hard to be his normal chatty self. But I need to keep in mind that there is Enough, and then there is Too Much.

Magdalena

Monday, May 16, 2011

Re-frame

Today I received a less than glowing review for The Holly and the Ivy She gave it 3.5 out of 5, and that hurt. I've always been a people pleaser--not a healthy personality component, but there you are.

I was so glad the reviewer liked the writing, and the setting, and the characters. But she was hoping for a passionate love scene, and was disappointed that, instead, it was a sweet romance. She also felt the ending was abrupt.

My thought process went something like this:
1) My story is great. She doesn't know what she's talking about.
2) My story stinks. I'll never write another.
3) I can see what she means about the gymnasium scene. I could have ended it differently.
4) I was lucky to complete that story at all, considering the state of our life, and my husband's condition, at the time I was working on it.


I took me less than ten minutes to get from point 1 to point 4. I'm getting quicker at re-framing; have done a lot of it in the last year and a half, mostly about real life instead of a book review. I think if you can re-frame "My husband is dying of a cancerous brain tumor and the person I've been married for 28 years is being slowly destroyed" to "My husband has cancer, but thank goodness he has forgotten that, and although he is tired, he is not in pain," then you are starting to get the hang of re-framing. We do it a lot at our house.

If you would like to read the review in its entirety, click on this link.

Note to the world: Most of my books are sweet romance. I do not want to mislead anyone into buying something of mine with the expectation of a passionate love scene. The closest I've gotten to that so far is in Midnight in Legend, TN, and it's not very close at all. I'm not saying I won't write one, but I haven't. Fair enough?

Magdalena

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On stuff

I really love having a dishwasher. So very handy. But I can live without it, as I have done for most of my life. Today, mid-cycle, my formerly terrific machine stopped working. It is an aggravation, but even more, a reminder to me that:

1) Everything that comes into this house has original cost, upkeep and maintenance cost, and space cost; and

2) I need to declutter the cabinet in which I store dishes, glasses, and mugs.

I bet there are lots of people who actually need dishes. There is no good reason for me to hold onto these things for the sake of convenience (doing dishes less frequently).

I'm sure The Progeny won't mind washing his plate/cup/bowl/glass after each use.

Right?

Mags

Monday, May 2, 2011


Behold. An "oldie but goodie" from Rosamunde Pilcher... Snow in April.  Delicious setting, wonderful characters, such a nice wrap-up at the end. Lovely.

It was perfect to finish reading this a couple of days ago, while I rode alone in the back seat of a car driven by The Progeny. Perfect for him because I kept quiet, perfect for me because I remained [mostly] calm. 

I think of Ms. Pilcher as one of the big names in quality women's fiction. Who are your favorite authors in this genre?

Magdalena

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Surprises among the storms

The weather in our area has been mostly rainy, with periods of flooding. I generally enjoy rainy days; as long as severe weather does not occur (which it has) and wind and heavy rain do not interrupt my sleeping (which they have) I am fine.

Even though I have been walking around sleep-deprived quite a bit, there have been some nice surprises among the rain showers.

1) Finally! I was able to lose myself in a full-length novel, for the first time since my husband got sick nearly a year and a half ago. A million thanks to Marcia Willett for creating wonderful characters, a lucious setting and an engaging story that kept me turning pages like the "good old days" of free-time reading! If you are a fan of Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy, I think you'll enjoy Marcia Willett. I started with the book pictured here in paperback, but her titles are also available in ebook. Yay!

2) French Press coffee. LOVE IT. Our coffeemaker broke a couple of weeks ago and I purchased a French Press. Yes, it takes a little more effort to make coffee this way, but--to me--the amazing results are worth it. Ours is a Bodum, and you can see their page here. I love that it is filter-free, thereby reducing my paper consumption a little more.

3) Inner Simplicity. I finally purchased the book, after wanting it for a long time. I am a huge fan of Elaine St. James' Simplify Your Life. This is another step on the journey for me. I'm reading a two-page chapter each day

I've been spending a good deal of time in quiet contemplation (occasionally interrupted by thunder, lightning, high winds). Our slide off the plateau is still gradual, allowing time to become accustomed to each new level. And time to peer, through rain-streaked glass, at what may lie ahead. It isn't quite as scary anymore.

Magdalena

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Must remember to check email

Sheesh! This is what I get for not checking email on a regular basis. I missed telling you about the review Kelly did last week, of the four first Ladies of Legend novellas. It is posted at For the Love of Books.

I must say that, for someone who can't currently eke out a short story, this is a treat!

Magdalena

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Piece of Her Soul

There's nothing like finding a good review in one's email inbox. Many thanks to Stesha of Night Owl Romance for reading the short story collection Something Spooky this way Comes and posting the review. Go here to read it.

Here is my favorite sentence, from the review of my short story, A Piece of Her Soul. "This is a very lovely, romantic story."

Well. Email just doesn't get much better than that!

Magdalena

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gratitude

It has been a stressful week at our house. My husband got out on his own--not a good idea--and it took us a little while to find him. SO thankful he was fine! It sure gave The Progeny and me a scare, though.

Just when I think everything is under control, life proves me wrong.

I think that may be a lesson I will eventually learn through the process of my husband's illness. I have created routines and processes so day to day life can be as smooth as possible. But when I become complacent, something comes along to wipe the smug grin off my face...

And the self-doubts and worries take over. Why do I think I can keep all these "balls in the air?" How long can my husband continue to do some things for himself? What will happen if he loses his desire to sing--the one thing about him that is still him? What will we do if he needs long-term care that we cannot provide at home? How do we pay for that? The furnace sounds funny. It's really old--wonder if it is getting ready to quit. Cooling season is almost upon us, and one of the window units needs to be replaced. Several big bills are queued up for my attention. I have a mountain of stuff to sort through and decide whether to sell, keep, give away.

POOR ME with so much to worry about!

Which is why I needed to read the Greenimalist blog today. Aaron said exactly what I needed to hear. I am trying to remember gratitude.

Happy Friday.

Magdalena

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"I Could Not Do Without Thee"

Different songs for different moments in our lives, I suppose. This is one that comes to my mind quite frequently, and the young ladies in this video do a beautiful rendition...




Magdalena

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fabulous Review

This week had a rocky start for my family, so a five-heart review for Midnight in Legend, TN was a lovely thing to see early Tuesday. Read the review at The Romance Studio site. It is also up for favorite review of the week! If you want to vote for it here, I certainly thank you. I also thank reviewer Brenda Talley for the glowing words of encouragement.

You'll see some familiar names also in the running, but that's okay--friendly competition, you know. 

:)

Magdalena

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Riding on clouds



What a great workshop Saturday! It was a delight to spend a whole day in the company of the writing community. Kudos to Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary Agency, who held us entranced all day.

I won't bore you with my take on things, but definitely suggest that if you are a writer and get a chance to hear Mr. Eagan speak, you try to make it happen. He represents romance authors, but most of his talk would have been useful for writers of any genre.

I appreciate everyone--the members of Kentucky Romance Writers for putting together a great event, Jan Scarbrough for letting me ride from Louisville to Lexington with her (cutting my drive in half), those who stayed with my husband so I could get away, and "The Kids" for having supper ready when I got home. Saturday was kind of like riding on clouds for fourteen straight hours.


And looky what arrived in my mailbox while I was gone. My author copies of Finding Home: A Ladies of Legend Novel. Thanks, Turquoise Morning Press!

Mags

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beautiful day for dinner by the river

I was in the mood to have dinner here, but it didn't work out. (This picture is a couple of years old.) The weather today is glorious, and I thought riverside dining would be fun.

We did have a little treat, though--takeout ice cream consumed beside a local lake. For those of you following my husband's health news, this week has been immensely better than last week.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you're enjoying it. 

Magdalena

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Papers

So, today the bane of my existence is paper.

Been looking for birth certificates today, and our marriage certificate. One birth certificate, and the marriage certificate, are (as yet) unfound. Drat. I used to be so organized!

Have also spent some time in an effort to receive less paper--signing up for online bill paying with some of the utilities. With the electric company I could do it over the phone, but with the natural gas company I have to fill out a paper. (In order to not have more paper.)

When we submitted the FAFSA the other night, I said I wanted to print it. The Progeny, who had the laptop in his hand at the time, printed it--to PDF. Now, I think printing to PDF is great, but sometimes I want to stick a piece of paper into a file. He's right, of course--we saved the PDF where it can be found later. (I hope.)

Received a royalties statement by email today, which I printed to PDF and did not generate a hard copy. It was a struggle, but I forced myself. I really like the convenience and the fact that there is less waste with these options, and of course with ebooks (not that I'm trying to get you to go to my Amazon page and shop, or anything).

I do wish I could find my business cards (see lack of organization, above). I wanted to take the cards with me to the workshop Saturday. Drat. Again.

One interesting paper made its appearance during my foray this afternoon. A small note written (I think) by my husband's dad, who died forty-plus years ago. The note has information about the house where we live, the fact that it was built in 1857 and added onto in 1870. Maybe I'll scan it and save in my laptop. Who knows when I'll find the original again!

Mags

Monday, March 14, 2011

Discover Legend, all over again


The town of Legend, Tennessee, began in the minds of four authors--Janet Eaves, Maddie James, Jan Scarbrough, and myself. The series, including the Matchmaking Chef books by Maddie James, has  over twenty titles.

Now the first four Ladies of Legend stories have been re-released in a slightly tweaked novel. (Trade-size paperback only.)

Finding Home: A Ladies of Legend Novel does not read like four separate novellas. It is the same stories you read in the first anthology, except the stories are now woven together more closely, into a novel with four heroes and four heroines, four love stories, eight points of view... It is pretty cool. Discover Legend, all over again.

:)

Magdalena

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Walking


Because The Progeny was home and could be in charge of his dad, I was able to get out for a walk early this morning. What a wonderful way to start the day and weekend! Just stepping out of the house is a relief some days, and a two mile walk--giving me time to think without distraction--is such a blessing.

I planned the day's tasks: Errands to do, laundry, soup to make for a dinner at church tomorrow. I also had some ideas for fine-tuning one of the books I hope to pitch at next Saturday's workshop.

(Of course, I always carry the cell phone, just in case, but all was well while I was gone, and when I got back.)

Walking is pretty cheap therapy. Yesterday I had a forty-five minute phone call from a friend who thinks I need to try anti-depressants. I think if I can lace up my shoes and get out more often, I can avoid that.

Maybe.

Mags



Friday, March 11, 2011

Higher education. MUCH higher.

I wish someone had told me that, before I got a marriage license, and way before I brought a baby home from the hospital, I needed to be a Registered Nurse (or Medical Doctor in general practice), and also a C.P.A. This whole marriage-and-a-family gig is much too easy to get into without the proper credentials.

Years ago I stumbled along through caring for a baby with jaundice, baby with colic, baby with pneumonia... (All the same baby. Wonder why he is an only child?)

Now I am trying to take care of his dad's health problems, and everybody's finances, and not lose myself or my sanity in the process. This week has been rough, and each night I think tomorrow will surely be better. So far I've been wrong.

I think we have at least one new reader here on the blog, and I'd like to mention a website I've found helpful--Seeking Peace: Brain Tumor Hospice Care. Don't spend much time at the page called From the Trenches unless you're ready to shed tears.
 

Mags

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One task checked off

Tax returns in hand as of last night, and today I whipped through the FAFSA in only about three hours! (Estimated time being one hour, I felt pretty good. I do not do numbers.) The Progeny checked my work*, and we officially submitted the document online. Whew.

All in all, today is better than yesterday. No writing done, but I did find a manuscript that I had forgotten about.

Mags

*It's hard to be sure of yourself when you find something in the fridge that was not supposed to be in the fridge, and you know for certain you are the one who put it there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday

Wednesdays have become our mid-week "day off." Instead of taking my husband to the center and going to work for three more hours, we stay home, I cook a big breakfast, get some things caught up, and take him for an outing...

But not today. Today he is more confused than usual, and not his easygoing self. He has talked a lot, but made no sense. Recollections of things that didn't happen, questions about my part in this or that event.

Him: "Was your girlfriend really surprised when you came out on stage dressed as a clown?"
Me: "?"

I've filled two large garbage bags with his too-small clothes, ready to donate.  He'll never need that many dress clothes again.

It's chilly and grey outside, and it's raining--of course.

I want to pitch a story to Scott Eagan next Saturday at the KYRW workshop, but it isn't finished. The tax returns aren't ready at accountant's office. I can't get the FAFSA (due tomorrow) finished because I need the info from the returns. Doing the FAFSA online at the last minute is chancy. The website gets overloaded. What if I don't get it done in time? No help for our son on college costs this fall.

Somebody shut Spot into the back room overnight; he wet the floor. I cleaned that up on my way to work this morning at dawn.

Yeah. It's definitely grey, and not just outside.

Mags

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Checking the map

As you can see, the blog is changing. Welcome to Magdalenaville opened in late 2008 with high hopes for my romance-writing career. Good things happened. We had lots of fun here!

My husband's diagnosis in December 2009 with inoperable Glioblastoma, and the year-plus of adding full-time caregiver to my resume`... Well, let's just say the reinvention of Mags has taken an unexpected turn.

I'm still trying to figure out the map.

I have struggled with the blog, but cannot let it die, because I miss you all. SO. We're returning to the original intent, of sharing with my friends/readers the road I'm on--even though this road has wound through some wild terrain! 

Posts will be shorter, and on a variety of topics, from my own personal reinvention-under-fire, to life observations, to a weekly (or so) Riveting Question. (The first one is about pajamas, but don't tell!)

I still write romance. We'll talk about that, too.  :)

Mags

Monday, March 7, 2011

Update

Midnight in Legend, TN received two nice reviews recently. That's always exciting! Read what they have to say about Midnight Shelby and Martin McClain over at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews and at Night Owl Reviews. I've been looking at this story again, and in a way I wish I'd made it a full-length novel. Midnight is such an intriguing character. This, in fact, is what I hear about every novella I've written: I wish it had been longer.

Um...about "longer..." We had a major turning point in the silverizing process. I gave in to my lack of patience and got my hair cut, rather short. The new look is a little startling, but not as much as I'd expected/feared. This is the spin we're giving it: European cut with platinum highlights. Try to keep that in mind if you see me, okay?

Speaking of that, I hope to see some writer friends at the big event in Lexington, KY, on March 19. If you're a writer, or aspire to be one, check this out. Taryn Raye posted a great blog about it.

My current read is Focus, by Leo Babauta. Boy, did I need this one! Mr. Babauta has a free version for download, or you can purchase the premium version. What a great, and very generous, idea. Learn more about the book by clicking here. I struggle mightily with focus, and that's on a good day. On a bad day I don't struggle at all, and simply accomplish nothing.
Okay, back to work...or whatever I was doing...

Magdalena

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Embrace the wind

As I write this, Magdalenaville is experiencing high winds. The afternoon is punctuated by the occasional rattling of one of the inside doors of our old drafty house. I'm not a big fan of high winds, straight line or otherwise, but one thing is sure. Winds bring change.

I can choose to embrace change, or hide behind something solid and hope the wind will pass me by.

This one time, maybe I'll run out and meet it. What about you?

Magdalena

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Emporium

In Midnight in Legend, TN, the heroine discovers Legend, Tennessee via the internet. She also purchases a large brick building that for generations had been a family-run bar. Midnight's plan is to convert it into "The Emporium" and sell locally made arts and crafts.

What a great idea. That Midnight Shelby thinks outside the box!

But will the citizens of the little town accept her and the ideas she has for marketing Legend? Times are tough, and although a new factory is expected to locate in town, you never know what might happen.

And you never know what kind of trouble Midnight might run into from stick-in-the muds like handsome realtor Martin McClain, who distrusts outsiders and likes his hometown just the way it is.

To read an excerpt, click here.

Magdalena

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Popcorn would be good with this!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Legend by Starlight



RECIPE FOR LEGEND BY STARLIGHT
by Midnight Shelby, proprietress of THE EMPORIUM

Pour hot, freshly brewed French roast coffee into a twelve-ounce mug, allowing 1 1/2 inches of space at the top.

Stir in 1 teaspoon premium Turbinado sugar, and one-fourth cup Bailey's Irish Cream.

Spoon onto the top a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream, and sprinkle with tiny dark-chocolate stars.  Serve immediately.

Drink up – and enjoy!

If you've read Midnight in Legend, TN, you know Midnight and Martin McClain really, REALLY enjoyed Legend...by starlight...  Mmmmmmm....
Magdalena 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Midnight and Martin... CAUTION: There may be KISSING!

Midnight Shelby and Martin McClain are meeting for the first time on Main Street in downtown Legend, Tennessee. They're striking sparks off each other, trying not to be attracted... Well, you know how that usually ends up, at least in a romance novel.

If you haven't read how Midnight and Martin get together (or do they???), now is your chance to find out. The novella is available at many ebook retailers. Here are some places to buy the ebook...click on the name to go to the website:

Bookstrand
All Romance Ebooks
Barnes & Noble - nook
Amazon

In fact, the novella was available yesterday, so I'm hoping lots of you were downloading and reading it while the ballgame was on.  Hey--a girl can dream, can't she?

Magdalena

Friday, February 4, 2011

Midnight is on her way

Monday, Feb. 7 is Release Day for Midnight in Legend, TN from Turquoise Morning Press. This is your BIG CHANCE if you haven't had an opportunity yet to read the romance of Midnight Shelby and Martin McClain. (Hey, it's really a fun read, even for me, and I've read it a bunch of times!)

Let's pretend the lady in the picture above is reading Midnight's story on her laptop. Yay for her! I'm reading more on my laptop these days, and really enjoying it. In fact, I realized that I don't even want a dedicated e-reading device. I still use the IPAQ some, but my laptop is handy almost all the time, and I'm home a lot. For me, at this point in my life, reading on the laptop is great. It's all I need. Big sigh of relief, and one less thing I have to think about.

So with that in mind, here is a link to Miss Minimalist's blog about making this the Year of the Butterfly. I'm heading down the minimalist path little by little, and the Year of the Butterfly sounds doable for me. Kind of excited about it.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Magdalena

Thursday, February 3, 2011

National Wear Red Day

Pssst--if you need to, rifle through the closet quickly, and find some RED to wear Friday. Why? To help remind us all of the dangers of heart disease to women.

Romance Writers of America is partnering with the American Heart Association. When you sign up and complete the Better U program, you can get two free romance ebooks. For more info, head over to Go Red For Women.

I've got a red shirt to wear tomorrow, and as you can see, Liberty Ann is prepared for the big day, too.

Magdalena

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gotta love Legend, Tennessee. *sigh*

 As you know, the first four novellas in the Ladies of Legend series are being re-released. Janet Eaves' Claiming the Legend came out in ebook this week, my novella, Midnight in Legend, TN will release on Monday, February 7, Maddie James' on the 14th, and Jan Scarbrough's on the 21st. March 7 is release day for the print novel containing all four stories.

To get you into the mood for a trip to our mythical town of Legend, Tennessee, click here to watch the slide show of "Legend pictures" Maddie James made. It's always a good day to visit Legend, Tennessee, where romance lives right next door!

Magdalena

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Friday!

Wanted to pop in and wish everyone a Happy Friday! I was talking to someone earlier today along the lines of yeehaw it's the weekend and I'm excited. Not because I have big plans, but because I do not. There may be hours of unscripted time! The fellow I was talking about understood. He confided, "I'm thinking about reading a book." Yeah. Me, too.

And. There is news in Writerland. Coming up on Saturday, March 19 in Lexington, KY is the Kentucky Romance Writers annual Spring into Writing event. This year the workshop will be led by Scott Eagen of Greyhaus Literary Agency. You might want to bookmark the KYRW website where details will show up in the near future.

Last night's presentation, "Writing and Publishing in the Twenty-First Century" was fun. Plenty of participation by the ladies in attendance, which took some of the pressure off the nervous presenter. Thanks, y'all!

I love the image, above, of an old typewriter. Of course, it reminds me that I have one like it around here somewhere... Which reminds me of the decluttering and minimalism I'm into these days. I finished reading The Joy of Less, having dragged it out as long as I could, immensely enjoying each chapter.  I'm really thankful to have discovered this book at this point in my life. The timing was just right for me.

I hope you'll get to spend some quality time with a book this weekend.

Magdalena

Friday, January 21, 2011

Guess what!?! I wrote the beginning of my 2011 Christmas novella yesterday. The title is A Perfect Christmas, and it will release from Turquoise Morning Press in late September. Can't tell you a lot about it yet, but it feels good to have actually begun. Is it wrong of me to get enjoyment from making my characters suffer through the kind of cold weather and snow we've been having this winter?

Next week I'm to give a talk on the topic of "Writing and Publishing in the 21st Century." That should be interesting. I'm really hoping it will be interesting, and that people won't, you know, nod off. One thing I want to mention is this year's Tools of Change Conference in NYC next month. What a thrill it would be to attend that!

I'd like to blog about all the great fiction I've been reading, but the weird thing is, I cannot seem to read fiction. In the last year I've started reading dozens of novels, and have given up on them--some after just a page. I have always preferred novels to non-fiction. Always! And life being what it is, an escape would seem to be just the thing.

But my current reads are The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide, by Francine Jay, and Ageless, by Suzanne Somers. In fact, I've set aside The Joy of Less for several days, not even allowing myself a chapter a day as I had been. Why? Just wanting to savor it as long as possible.


What about you? What are you reading? Have your tastes changed with the seasons of your life?

Magdalena

Friday, January 14, 2011

The final frontier

Just kidding with the title, above. Making fun of the previous post, in which (just guessing) I got a bit too full of myself. Good grief. And GOOD LUCK making space in the schedule! That part made me laugh when I re-read it just now. Thank goodness for my part-time job. Thank goodness for being busy, really, because--you know what? If I weren't busy, I think I'd go crazy. When you are the primary caregiver for a person who is losing his mind, there will be times when you question your own sanity. You heard it here first, folks. (Maybe. Unless you'd been there and done that, and then I'm betting you've said it, or at least thought it.)

My husband seems to be sliding off the plateau we've been on for many months. He's less energetic, and more temperamental. The hallucinations are frequent. I'm very grateful they aren't frightening to him, like the hallucinations he had during chemotherapy. Those were awful. The current hallucinations are mostly conversations with random people--an engineer on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic, an Amish guy...

We have much for which to be grateful. We're still able to laugh, and enjoy music and friends. (And food. But don't get me started on that.)

So, when you are a full-time caregiver and a part-time employee, what do you do with your free moments? Those times when you're home with the caregivee (made that word up) -- and he is napping? In my case, anything unrelated to caregiving and the outside job. My big faves right now are watching my hair turn silver (fun, easy, inexpensive), and getting rid of stuff (fun, easy, inexpensive, and addictive).


My current focus is on cleaning out the home office. What do I need, what can I do without? The desk may be going out. Why have a desk when I can curl up on the daybed with the laptop, or the Bills file...and the tissue box. (And hey. I thought there was some kind of law that caregivers do not get head colds. Didn't I read that in the fine print somewhere? I need to know where to file an official complaint. Leave the address in the comments below, please.)

What do you do to keep yourself sane when life is hard? I'd be interested in knowing, and I bet other people would be, too.

Magdalena