It Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love You

When a woman decides to leave the business world to stay at home and take care of her family, it is a huge decision.  Sometimes men, and even some women, think that it is a choice that these women come to quite easily; that it is their “nature” to be in the home raising the children.  Perhaps for some, but most of us have usually reached this decision based on how exhausted we are from balancing both home and work fronts, how wasteful it is to spend 3/4 of our paychecks on daycare, and the amount of guilt we deal with by missing all of those “firsts” that our kids experience and the amount of crud they are ingesting because no one has properly swept under the kitchen table in months.

I left my career of seventeen years to stay at home with my five children because of all of those reasons.  And within two months of that income and health insurance loss, we sold everything we owned and bought plane tickets and moved to Greece. A month there was also a bust.  So we used a little of my 401(k) that we withdrew and bought more plane tickets and moved to Egypt.  We bought a little flat and a micro-bus and lived fairly well, for the next twelve years.  But then things changed and I was ready to come back to the United States.

My husband found work in the North Texas area and bought us a little house.  I packed up our stuff, sold all of our furniture and appliances and the flat, and headed for the airport with the kids and all the luggage we could strap onto the micro-bus.  And things were good and three of the five kids have graduated high school with two more cued up to receive diplomas and march on with their lives to “Pomp and Circumstance” as their soundtrack.

But they’re all still living at home and I’m not getting much accomplished anymore.  The list of things to do each day is getting longer for me.  And I still have this lovely linen fabric I bought to make curtains YEARS ago and still haven’t had time to make.  I have two novels and a book of essays that I started but cannot complete because I no longer  have free time to devote to them.  I want to go back to college, even if only online, but cannot justify the financial obligation when I cannot meet the time obligation it would require to get my degree.

I no longer feel fulfilled by completing all of the laundry, dishes, shopping, cleaning, dinner preparation, homework checking, bill-paying, and volunteer work.  I want more. And my husband feels hurt when I tell him that it’s not enough anymore; that I want to work outside the home.  He feels that he is not providing enough for us and that I must prop him up.  While we could definitely benefit from additional income, that’s not the main reason that I want to do it.  It’s about self-fulfillment.

I don’t understand why so many men take it as a slight when their wives want to return to the workforce when their children have grown out of the needy stages.  Perhaps I am too American or Western in my way of thinking, but I believe that this is a necessary step in their upbringing.

If teenagers and young adults are left to meet their own scheduled obligations, learn their own medical history, learn how to manage time and money and make meals for themselves and the family, then they benefit in real-life situations that they will be facing when they leave our home.  If the special needs young adult, who is at home and needs supervision, is looked after by her siblings for a few hours several days a week, the overworked and unpaid mom can get the required respite care she needs.  This can give her the energy to continue with her care giving without the resentment that she may end up feeling if she isn’t ever given any relief or assistance in her duties.

When the SAHM decides that she wants to reenter the workforce, or says that she no longer finds this work fulfilling, it doesn’t mean she won’t care for the family anymore.  Sometimes in our efforts to care for our families we lose our own identities and the lines between individual and the title of “wife” or “mother” become blurred.  It means that she’s been caring for the family for so long that she has not taken the time to care for herself.  Let her do that.  Support her.  It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you.  It means she needs to love herself, too.





July vs. November

Each November I pledge to myself that I am going to dedicate time to writing every single day with a goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month.  (That’s roughly 1,667 words per day.)  I always sprint out of the gate at the beginning and then by day five or so, I peter out and start skipping a day or two or nine and then write my fingers off for several days in a row, only to lose track of time and realize the month ended last week and I only have 10% written.

So this year, offered a Camp NaNoWriMo to kick off their fundraising event, by having a Summer version throughout July.  I decided that would be fabulous to participate in because after four years of trying, November is clearly NOT my month for writing.  So I started a “cabin” of my own, only none of my writer friends joined so the last week of June, I opened it up to anyone.  My cabin mates were mostly quiet. Two seemed to interact occasionally with me.  And we were all off and writing.

Two of my kids had to have their wisdom teeth extracted under full anesthesia within a week of each other and the dueling pain meds schedule and accommodation of soft foods combined with palatable textures for the one with Autism became my full-time job.  And before I knew it, it was August and I only had 8,376 words completed.

July is not my month either, apparently.


It’s Gotta Be the Heat

I’ve got at least four blog posts saved to draft. They all started out as good subjects to write about, but somewhere around the third paragraph each lost steam so I just chucked them into the draft folder.

I hate that. I know that I’m notorious for starting projects and not finishing them for a long time. It’s not that I’m non-committal. I’m always committed to what I am doing. I think that the issue is more that I tend to commit to several different projects at the same time and I can only divide my attention so many ways. Realizing that this is an easy fix, I still can’t stop myself from saying YES to so many interesting things to do. (Yes, that includes books. I’m reading two simultaneously-ish right now. One is a “how-to” and the other is a novel that sort of caught my eye at the library. I think both are overdue.)

The bottom line is that I AM a finisher. I will eventually complete all 4 of those other drafts in my folder. I will read both books…though admittedly the “how-to” will be the one I return without completing until I check it out again in a month or so when things “slow down.” The novel I’ll read in a waiting room while all 3 teens get dental check ups at the same time because I tend to make all their appointments on the same day if I can get away with it.

Why am I losing steam with the whole writing thing? I blame the heat. It’s hotter than a $12 stereo outside and I just don’t have the energy to think much past remembering to pick the kids up from Summer School. (Yes. I’m THAT mom forcing her kids to take accelerated Physics and Geometry so that they can have more electives options in their fall schedules. And yes, they hate me for it.)  I will probably even re-read the ten chapters of my novel that I started writing and then put away because I got pissed off at my characters for not gelling the way I wanted them to. (Of course I realize that it’s a mechanical issue: The nut loose behind the keyboard.)

But I always complete the stuff I start. I will get to all of it…except for the friggin’ yard sale that I will never have because of the HEAT and my inability to just SIT in it for hours. *sigh* I may have to stop collecting yard sale crap in my room or the “room organization” venture that I started may be the second thing that I don’t complete.

Again, I blame the heat.


Heat and Discouragement

I shouldn’t complain about the heat. I feel like an a-hole. You know like that lyric in Denis Leary’s song? “I walk around in the summertime saying, “How about that heat?” And it’s not like I’m a firefighter up in Colorado Springs or something. (Lord, please bring them rain.) And I’m not a Bedouin living in a tent in the middle of the Sahara or something. So I don’t have air-conditioning. We do have ceiling fans and if worse comes to worst, we can always walk down to the beach (if the damn tourists will move over and leave some space on the sand) and enjoy the breeze and the cool water. So what if it’s 86 degrees F with a relative humidity of 66% making it feel as though is is 106! It could be worse. (Not that I’m asking for proof of that, Lord.) In Dhaka, Bangladesh right now it’s 84 degrees F but their relative humidity is at 87%. If the relative humidity is 100% is it raining? Indeed.

So, I’ve been researching publishers and editors online and WOW. There is so much to learn. I am not certain if I want to self-publish. I know you get more profit-wise but I don’t know that I’m that much of a control freak and really…who has the time? I get sick of my own self-promotion just spreading around my links back to this blog. I love the attention but honestly, if I have to beg for it, People. It’s just so anticlimactic.

A very, dear friend of mine (you’re all dear friends but this one I’ve been friends with since 1987) read all the chapters of my novel that I’ve written so far and she said that it’s kinda of memoir-ish and that the character I wanted as my main character…next to myself…is sort of hanging out there. So that was disappointing. BUT,
still encouraging. I can fix all of that later if I can just sit down and pound out my story. I’m starting to sleep an awful lot lately. I could be getting sick. But I think it’s just the heat. So if I can just tie a cotton scarf on my head to keep the sweat out of my eyes and sit down and type my heart out, I can go back and edit the crap out of it and tie it all together later, right?

My mom once told me that the devil’s favorite tool is not lust or envy or any of the glamorous sounding sins. It is discouragement. Because when we are discouraged we tend to doubt ourselves and then we give up. Giving up prevents us from being the most or best that we can be. And I thought about that yesterday. I thought about it a lot. And I know that I’m sabotaging myself by allowing the heat and lack of time (really, lack of MAKING time) and whatever other excuse I can think up, to prevent me from completing this work.
(Honestly, that could all be said for me failing miserably at this dieting thing, too. But that’s another bridge to jump from later.) So, I’m going to do this. I’m going to write. And for once in my life, I’m going to COMPLETE this task before starting another. (Pinterest, your lovely DIY projects will have to be put on hold.)

I AM a writer. I will write.

Summer Schedules

It’s hot. (Yeah, Africa hot because it’s only June. I expect it’ll be Dallas-hot by August.) So I’m not a big fan of the heat because it’s so doggone humid here and we don’t have air conditioning. I can live with just ceiling fans and open windows. Probably, it’s healthier this way. (And if it’s not, just can it! I don’t want to hear how I’m doing it wrong mainly because I can’t afford an air conditioner right now nor the additional 100 Pounds per month on the electric bill.)

Every summer I have these huge plans involving how much I’m going to get accomplished. I usually plan to complete my novel, teach my kids how to type without hunting and pecking, teach them to swim and we’ll spend every other day at the beach, and I’ll make awesome desserts that I saved from the internet and maybe I’ll go back to freelance translation of articles online to make some extra money. And every year I’m lucky enough to get my butt out of bed before noon because it’s too hot to sleep at night and too hot to do anything during the day.

However, this year is different. Today I got up at 11 o’clock. (That’s EARLY in Egypt.) I managed to wash and hang a load of laundry, shower, have a cup of coffee, and complete five more pages on Chapter 7 of my novel! YEAH! I then got up and went to pay the internet bill (only three days late) and managed to keep my service from being interrupted. YEAH! And I brought Randa with me…she NEVER wants to go anywhere anymore. And we went to the vegetable market and bought fresh green and red grapes and apples and okra (YUM) and meat and rice and most importantly, a new remote control for the satellite receiver. Our old one bit the dust when it fell on the floor during a fight about which ridiculous cartoon we were going to watch. (I’m seriously considering grounding them from watching any cartoons with the exception of Warner Brothers cartoons. At least then they’d learn about classical music and how to cross dress in order to prevent hunters with speech impediments from blowing their brains out.

I got home and made a light lunch of fava beans with cumin and peppers and cheese and tomatoes with Arabic bread. And then I attempted to “catch my husband” on Skype. No joy. Oh well. He’s  probably doing laundry or fixing his car…it IS the weekend.

It’s been an incredibly weird week for me. I finally looked at myself in the mirror and decided that blonde is NOT a good look for me.  So last night I went back to red. I feel like I’ve got my own skin on again. It’s still in the beginning days so any water on my hair drips off red and my t-shirt that I’m wearing now has red stains around the collar because it’s so EFFIN’ hot that I was sweating and my sweat dripped red onto my shirt. Oh well. And it’s still pretty bright. (LOVE the Koleston Intense Cherry Red by WELLA.) I kind of look like I’m wearing a Fasching wig . Except that after bleaching the crap out of my hair a month ago and then dying it blonde and now red….all of my natural curl is just gone. I’ve never had such limp straight hair in my life. I don’t know what to do with it. Perhaps it will curl back up again in a few weeks. I sure hope so. I love my curls.

Also, my kids have decided to get into classic rock recently. I went through my son’s favorites  playlist on YouTube and he’s got nothing but AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Metallica and Queen saved on it with a couple of Bob Schneider songs thrown in for good measure. Also, Randa was walking around singing “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin yesterday. That was weird. This is my autistic kid who still soothes herself by listening to Barney songs. Aiman has always had a thing for anything he can play air guitar to. But Samiya prefers only Michael Jackson and Ismail, my rhythm-less wanna-be rapper, is still a sucker for anything remotely gangsta.  (I’m trying to gently push the old hip hop because I don’t want him walking around calling women bitches and hoes all the time. I think “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five can provide him with more intelligent lyrics and still give him that funky bass line that he admires so much.)

Anyway, I’m hoping to continue with some semblance of a schedule this summer that starts with me writing each morning. If I can just get a few pages or even paragraphs written daily, I may make this novel a reality instead of just a dream.

Next dream to make a reality:  Killing this blankety-blank-blank mosquitoes that have taken up residence under this desk!

Today is Pretty Quiet for Anxiety Thursday

I am having one of those weird days where I actually have all the quiet that I need because all five of my kids are sleeping in today and I have managed to bring in the laundry and get a cup of coffee and turn on the white noise fan (which is kind of cold on my back right now, come to think of it) and I don’t have stacks and stacks of dishes from late night refrigerator raids by teenagers and I sat down at the computer and managed to NOT
open Facebook or that evil, evil Pinterest (I’m sorry, Pinterest. I love you!) and I managed to pound out the rest of chapter 6 of my (seemingly perpetual attempt at writing a) novel and I made the mental connection that the HORRIBLE and ROTTEN person who is SPAMMING on Pinterest is ALSO stealing photographs from the Nouveau Raw website and the photographs are copyrighted and belong to Amie Sue Oldfather (who you can find HERE on Facebook) and YES! I certainly am tattle-telling about it right here and right now because I don’t dig copyright infringement and while I do post photos that don’t belong to me on this blog site from time to time, they are always from free sites that encourage sharing such as the above photograph that I got from Photobucket  or else I use my own photographs because YEAH, I own a digital camera and I figured out how to upload photos so there!  (hold on….need to catch my breath.)

So anyway, I was pinning yesterday and found this really cool-looking photo with the promise of a recipe for “raw peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes” and of course I had to comment by tagging it with my friend’s name, because Bonnie and I love to torture one another with really delicious dessert pins.  Only when I tried to follow the links back to where the recipe is I was hoodwinked!  It was a fake “scavenger hunt” pin that leads you to believe that Pinterest itself is giving away these huge prizes to 5 pinners daily that range anywhere from $50 to $1000 give-aways from companies such as, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, and Apple, etc.

Now I have NO IDEA whether or not these companies are actually sponsoring these giveaways or not….but if I were a betting person (and I’m not because I believe gambling is wrong), I’d put my money on NOT….because when you attempt to “collect your prize” you are then linked to these applications that you need to fill out in order to collect. And there’s a whole lot of “required information” such as your home address, telephone numbers, email address, birth date, etc and an agreement to share this information with some giant list of companies such as Fingerhut and cheap airline ticketing agents, etc and basically, you’re just providing your own information for telemarketers and spambots.  At any rate there never was a recipe listed or a link back to the Nouveau Raw website, which I’m pretty sure is where the fake pinner got the photo from.  I just happened to notice the copyright tag in the bottom right corner of the photograph and I am already a newsletter recipient from Amie Sue Oldfather because I went through a vegetarian stage last year (that only lasted 45 days but still….don’t judge me!) and I still use some of the recipes from that site.

Wow. Did I ever go off on a tangent. Let me get back on the rails…if I can remember where they were. Yeah, I got nothing…..

So the next topic I wanted to discuss in my ADD-forum of thinking, was hair.  Yeah, I’m usually a big time ponytail-but-only-comb-it-while-it’s-wet kinda girl….but I got this wise idea that when my husband left to work overseas again that I should hack it all off and attempt to go platinum blonde….only at my age, twenty-twenty-three, it just REALLY  looks stupid…….(or ‘fucktacular’ as my friend, Buffy, described it) and so I decided to darken it up a bit to an ash blonde….which is okay but still kinda looks weird on me. Maybe I’m still not used to seeing anything other than a deep red on me. I’ve been dying my hair red for more than 20 years and it does look much better.  If it were just a matter of color (and apparently texture because after bleaching the crap out of my hair four times and then dying it to a darker blonde version my hair is the same texture as those rectangular hard bristle brush brooms that they sweep public streets with) I could deal with it.  But NOOOOOOO!  I also had to have it cut. And since my trusted hair dresser (20 miles away from here) quit doing hair because she had a baby three years ago and is now a SAHM, I had to trust a stranger to cut my hair. OH! The humanity. I look ridiculous. You know that “in-between-stage” that you have to go through a few weeks after you get your hair cut?  Well, this woman managed to cut my hair into an “in-between-stage” cut…….so I got to skip the whole “ohmigosh how cute” cut in the beginning. I hate her.  I’m grateful that my husband isn’t here to criticize it. (Although he did see if over Skype and laughed while he was saying how it looks good.  Nope. They still don’t offer that Skype-app of chisel-punch to the kidneys. I looked for it.)

So, I am waiting patiently for my hair follicles to rest and repair with lots of conditioning treatments until next month when I go back to red. While I wait, I’m going to try to catch up on my mending that’s about to break the sewing table it’s stacked so high and then perhaps I’ll try out at least 10 of those hundreds of DIY crafts and sewing projects and recipes I’ve madly pinned to my Pinterest boards. (Oh, Pinterest you ARE the devil.)

I think I need to have more coffee….my feet are beginning to touch the floor again.

Pick Up Games in the Living Room

So I finally sat down inspired to complete the next chapter of my novel, when Aiman came up to me and showed me a round black lid to an empty vitamin bottle. You know, one of those 500 horse-tablet containers.  He had a shit-eating grin and the tile scrubber with the stick thrown over his shoulder. “Can I play with this lid?” he asked.

“Sure,” I answered absently and went back to my chapter. I heard the noise levels rising from the living room.
I shut it down with a “QUIET” shouted over my shoulder.

Five minutes and a lot of laughing later, Samiya walked up and asked me, “Mom, do they get in trouble for hitting with the hockey sticks while playing?”  I told her that I suppose it depends on where they’re hitting and how.  “I’m sure hooking someone in the face with a stick and the puck is at the other end of the ice would probably end up with at least a penalty box or a good pounding for the offender. Now hand me that dictionary on the table because I can’t remember if ‘imminent’ has two i’s in it.” I got my dictionary and then the light bulb came on.


“Yes, ma’am,” was sung back by 4 of the 5 kids in a chorus.

I shook my head, realizing that if I broke up the game now, the whining about whose turn it is to use the computer would start and I wasn’t done with my chapter still.


Who says I’m not up for MOTY award?

Interview with Nuala Reilly, Author

For anyone who follows me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I recently participated in a contest where I had to mention Nuala Reilly 50 times in 7 days to win 2 books.  I’m sure that I was kicked off of several friends lists due to my obsession with winning.  Yeah, I’m a little on the competitive side. While I didn’t win the books, I did win the opportunity to interview the author about AUTUMN VIOLETS, the first novel in a four-part series. Since I was so impressed with the relationships between the characters in this book, I seemed to focus most of my questions on that.  So, here it is….my official interview with Canadian author, Nuala Reilly!
SPRH: Fayette is an ideal little town that gives the reader a sense of “picturesque village that 
meets and marries 21st century industrialized nation.” Did you paint the town of Fayette in
AUTUMN VIOLETS (or even parts of it) from memories made by your family while living in 
Cambridge or some other small town in Canada?
NR: Fayette is based largly (the downtown anyway) on the town I grew up in, Elora Ontario. In fact, the original cover is an artist’s rendition of the downtown core.  I did make some changes, which probably occur only in my head. But the Ryan house is my parent’s house, no question.  I’d like to think that Fayette could be equated to any small town with that charm and appeal though, in Canada or in the US.
SPRH: Have you any professional baking experience to draw on for Moira’s Cakery descriptions?
If not, did you have to do a lot of yummy research to describe her craft? (Because I’d never
even heard of icing like you described for the Bakker wedding cake.)
NR: When I was a stay-at-home-mom with my kids for 13 years, I ran a few businesses from the house on the side.  One of them was cake decorating.  I was completely self-taught and as I did more, I learned more techniques.  During those years I went from making birthday cakes and specialty cakes to wedding cakes.  I have made the wedding cakes of all of my siblings except one, and for several other people, as well.  Interesting fact is now my oldest son is so enthralled by the process that being a pastry chef is now his career path.  He makes all the fancy cakes now.
SPRH: The strong ties between Moira and Sloane are so elegantly laid out for the reader that it is
apparent that you have sisters. The entire love-hate, “want to strangle her but would strangle
others for her” relationship was something I immediately related to.  Was it difficult to capture
the essence of the jealous-proud/endearing-irritated nature of their relationship that we the
readers infer?
NR: It was, at times.  I have three sisters. I am the oldest of them, so I am sure there are moments when that definitely comes across.  There is a delicate balance that happens in strong female relationships, especially those of family. So I spent quite a bit of time trying to ensure that their relationship was both honest and realistic.
SPRH: Further to that, I’ve read other novels where sister characters were quite obviously written by 
an author who is either a man or a woman who doesn’t have sisters. Your portrayal of the 
true nature of sisterhood was so spot on that I actually relived several awkward memories of
my sisters and me. Was Sloane molded out of anyone in particular? Or was she a combination 
of your own sisters? Or just completely made up altogether?
NR: Sloane is definitely a combination of the traits of my sisters and of other women who were strong influences on me as I grew up.  My family has pointed out that Sloane certainly has many of the characteristics of one of my sisters in particular. But I think that is purely coincidental.  At the time that I wrote the book, I did have a sister getting married and so some of the conversations between them are loosely based on our shared experiences. Although my sister was not nearly as, shall we say, headstrong, as Sloane.  Sloane is, I think, that one perfect girl we all knew and maybe we wanted to dislike her because she seemed so perfect. But it’s hard to ignore her innate charm. 
SPRH: Siobhan and Angela are both such strong role models for Moira and Sloane. One picks up 
that Moira learned how to set goals and achieve them from her mother and grandmother and 
seems to still lack all the confidence that Sloane is overflowing with. How challenging was it 
to give the sisters the right balance of character qualities and defects inherited from the elder
Ryan women to make them seem so real?
NR: I’m so glad you picked up on this.  Again, the ladies are combinations of various women in my life, this time more role models of mine than friends. When looking at my own children, I find it incredible the hybrid of qualities that they have, which are not the same in any two children, but which can be absolutely attributed to their dad and myself.
SPRH: Siobhan’s character made me laugh quite a bit due to her less than diplomatic, deadpan 
nature of her words. Does she reflect “future you” in anyway? (Because I can totally see you
being THIS grandmother.)
NR: I would hope that she is a foreshadowing of the future me.  Siobhan is a mixture of myself and what I remember of my own Irish Nana, Lucy, who passed away just before I got married.
SPRH: It’s obvious that Jack and Kevin only have each other in the world and as much as each one
worries about the other, their relationship is still felt to be strained. Was it Kevin’s cancer 
diagnosis that drew them together? 
NR: The relationship between these two was both challenging and a pleasure to write. As a woman, I can’t ever truly know the intimate parts of male relationships, but I talked my ideas for these two over with many male friends and with my husband.  I think it’s clear (at least I hope it is) that they both had very difficult demons to deal with that impacted their relationship during a very formative time and that is why it was strained. However, I think when we are faced with the mortality of a loved one, those old differences seem to peel away and leave a very real, very raw centre that is both painful and beautiful. It was a pleasure to explore this with Jack and Kevin.
SPRH: What was it about Moira that helped Jack push past his “man-whore” ways? Was it more than
just the  green eye connection?  Did his father’s nagging about settling down finally wear him
NR: I have had the connection with someone (my husband) that happens out of the blue and rocks what you think you know about yourself, even though it is rare.  I think in Jack’s case this is true. However, I also felt for him that there was a combination of the pressure from his father, with a need to please him as well as it was just time for him. It’s hard to be a hounddog forever when you are, at your core, lonely.
SPRH: When Kevin finally died, did you feel a sense of loss in your real life? (I went through half a box
of tissue, thanks a lot!) 
NR: Absolutely I did.  I knew that this would be the way Kevin would exit the story. Nonetheless, it was heartbreaking to write. It brought up for me memories of anyone I have lost in my life.  Ironically, shortly after I wrote this, the father of a very dear friend of mine passed away from cancer. I was fortunate enough to be there with the family when it happened. It was a moment (I reflected several weeks later) that made me feel like I had really been true to how a life can end. 
SPRH: The least explored character seemed to be Jaye, Moira’s best friend and business partner. She
had so many great and strong qualities about her and seemed to be a huge influence on Moira.
But I was left with so many questions, like “What’s with the blue hair?” and “Where does she
disappear to each night after closing The Cakery?” She’s so mysterious. (I sort of pictured her
wearing black Adam Ant concert t-shirts with a tiny diamond nose piercing but still wearing pink
lip gloss and high-end perfumes.) Did any of her personality or physical description come from 
any of your own kids or any friends from high school?  Do you relate more to Moira or Jaye as a 
NR: Jaye is amazing and a character I truly loved. She is a mixture of attributes between myself and my oldest and dearest friend Sarah, with a lot of artistic license, of course.  You aren’t the first one to make this comment on her.  When my friend, Kelly, read the book, she told me that Jaye needed her own story.  That is how I birthed the idea for Winter Jasmine, and really, for the whole series.  Jaye is the ballsy-est version of what I feel myself to be. She is a pleasure to write and a force to be reckoned with.
SPRH: What inspired the series titles? Are you an avid gardener? I know that AUTUMN VIOLETS and 
WINTER JASMINE are out now. When can we expect the third and fourth books in the series to
be released and what are their titles? 
NR: I am a terrible gardener.  I have a black thumb, unless it’s vegetables. Those I can grow almost too well and then never seem to be able to handle.  I chose the flowers for their meanings, and the seasons because of the line “to everything, there is a season” which is I believe a Bible quote but I always remember as the song by The Byrds.  The next two books that will be released in this series are titled SPRING DAISIES which follows Sloane and SUMMER POPPIES which will focus on Angela and Siobhan, and the family at large. 
I am also now planning a second series of four to follow four men, and I hope I can do them the same justice I did to Kevin and Jack. 

SPRH: Thank you, Nuala Reilly, for this glimpse inside of the characters of your novel. I can’t wait to read
the rest of the series.

If anyone is interested in checking out these amazing stories, you can find her books at and  and Barnes and Noble and Alibris.  You can also follow her blog, A Writer’s Journey, at .

My Blog Audience

A lot of bloggers get into this venue to let off steam or be heard.  Some are wannabe authors trying to practice and perfect their craft while building up a reader base for once they get published. Some of us are trying to save money that would go toward therapy if we didn’t have a place to vent…and then there’s me…a combination of all of the above. Also, there are several attention whores, who like myself, love to hog the spotlight. That said, I have to admit a little secret about blogger…..they track your stats. This includes some of the URLs that visited my site. And guess what.  I’m being read by someone who works at Yagara….an herbal erectile dysfunction company. I always figured that since I’m writing about mostly women’s issues, girly bits, periods and SAHM stuff that people who work for tampon, bra, and PMS medicine companies would be checking out my blog. I guess I was wrong and those dedicated to helping perpetually flaccid men are following my blog…secretly…or they’re signing up as my cult followers under ‘chick pseudonyms.’   I’m sorry. I shouldn’t make fun of erectile dysfunction. It is a serious medical issue. And I’m just grateful that ANYONE reads my blog. So, welcome and keep reading.

Just found it interesting. That is all.

I’m Going to Kick My New Neighbor and the Good News

For the last six months we’ve enjoyed being one of only three occupied apartments on this 6-apartment floor. The best part is that we had no one living on our side of the hall but us. Until about 4 days ago. And of course the new tenants want to renovate before they actually move in. But in typical Egyptian fashion, they are FRIGGING NIGHT OWLS and I have kids in school who have to get up at 0530 hours every morning and there’s not a lot of sleep going on at night around here thanks to these ass-clowns banging on the walls to all hours of the night.  So I may welcome them to our floor by stomping them with my husband’s new steel toe boots. WELCOME (stomp) TO (stomp) THE (stomp) NEIGHBORHOOD!

I’ll move on to some Good News now.

It’s getting colder here in Alexandria. And humid.  And I’m wondering if I’m part labrador or something….my nose is kind of damp and cold lately. Weird.

Anyway, I’ve been attempting to write a novel…no, SEVERAL novels for the last ten years and I always start out with a bang but then my computer crashes and I’ve not backed anything up or I lose the notebook I was scrawling in or I develop writer’s block or I’m just interrupted by that annoying thing I sometimes call “my life.”

So I’ve completed pretty much about 14 chapters of several stories that add up to bird cage lining.

Until this week.

I’ve FINALLY got a fantastic idea and it’s a subject matter that I know quite well.  My teachers always told me to write what I know. So I finally am doing just that.  I may slow up a bit on blogging for a while, but I’m still writing. Just in a different place. I will try to get something on here every 5 days or so just because I really like others patting me on the back more than doing it myself. Less cramping that way.

May all my Christian friends have a wonderful Christmas.  May my Jewish friends have a Happy Chanukah.  May my African friends have a Blessed Kwanzaa. May the peace, love and force be with you.