Friday, November 16, 2012

In the Family Way

Maternity corset, Victorian era
Yes, I am "with child." I am also...

"In a delicate state."

"Carrying a child."


"Fecund," "fertile," "fraught." (Oh, boy.)



"Heavy." (Yes, oh, heck yes.)

"Parturient." (Whaaat?)



Can you tell I love my Writer's Thesarus? It keeps me warm on cold nights.

But back to the topic at hand: It's true, and at 15 weeks along there's no denying it. I am expecting Baby #2--gender yet to be revealed--on May 8, 2013.

Holy freaking moly.

To say that trying to manage all those things in my life I love to talk (or complain... cough) about has been difficult would be a massive understatement. As so many mamas know, working, parenting a young child, taking care of a house (snort), trying to promote a novel and attempting to be a reasonable spouse all take on an entirely new meaning when you are "in the family way."

Add a full graduate course load and attempting to write a second novel, and it's a circus act of massive proportions. Except, in my case, it's not snazzy, fancy Ringling Brothers, but instead one of those state fairs where the carnies running the ferris wheel look like meth-heads, all the animals in the 4-H competitions bolt for the hills, and carnival-goers all seem to look as if they'd sprouted from the same gene pool.

Nursing corset, circa Thank God NOT 2012
Please forgive me. I'm pregnant.

What I'm trying to say is, the past 3+ months have been a doozy. And I've not done anything--parenting, wife-ing, teaching, writing, novel promoting--particularly well.

See, I'm a college English professor who just used the word "wife-ing." I should be shot.

Thankfully, I seem to have moved out of the I-want-to-die-NOW portion of pregnancy, that oh-so-lovely first trimester. (I'm writing that in a whisper, so the nausea gremlins don't get me). With this move into the Lord-be-praised second trimester, I seem to have reclaimed some of my old energy. When I was pregnant with my now 3 year-old, I used this energy to grade papers, to exercise, to hike some pretty big hills.

Somehow, this isn't the case with Number 2. There's more to do.

I don't have the antidote. The magic potion. The solution. If you do, send it to me. Please. Now. Ye shall be rewarded forthwith.

Some day, "they" tell me, I will write about all this. And I'll be calm. I'll be enlightened, helpful, humorous.

But for now, I'm just pregnant. Happily, but maddeningly, "fecund, fertile and fraught."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Festival Weekend & New Books for the Shelf

Back from the 2012 Dahlonega Literary Festival down in lovely foothills of Dahlonega, Georgia! Though we (my family and I) were only there for a night and a day, we got a great taste of literary fun in a fabulous small town.

Our hotel room view
The hotel room where we stayed--all three of us--was a bit sparse (one of those where you drive up to your door), but we had everything we needed, and something unexpected: a gorgeous view of the North Georgia mountains.

Her daddy promised her lots of "jumping on the bed" on the ride down.
My 3 year-old adored the king-sized bed, and she and my husband had a giggle-fest building pillow forts and "bear caves" on top.

Bears in the bear cave
The fun she had in the hotel room almost made up for the fact that we all slept in there together, and she was up from 2 - 5 a.m. that night. Which meant, of course, so were we. God bless concealer, and the fact that I'd remembered to bring make-up at all.

Gold Rush Museum
The Festival was held on the beautiful campus of North Georgia College & State University. The buildings seemed so new, fresh and modern. I was especially impressed by the Library Technology Center, where I served on a panel of Appalachian writers during a session called "Appalachia in Fact and Fiction." With enormous windows facing all directions, high-beamed ceilings and wonderful natural light, it's just the sort of study spot I'd gravitate to were I student there.

But I spent most of my time in the Regional/Local Authors area of the Festival, held in the giant first-floor room of the Continuing Education Building. Tables were set up in racetrack style around the room, and organizer Ken Smoke did a great job of helping us authors find the perfect spot and get set up. On advice from my publisher, I brought copies of Keowee Valley to sell, a handy-dandy display of my book cover that I've been toting everywhere lately, postcards, and a huge bowl of candy. I am not above bribery.

I also decorated my little table with a long scarf made in the Crawford tartan. I wanted to give a little shout-out to my main character, Quincy's, Scottish roots.

With author Janie Dempsey Watts
It was my first time running a booth at a festival, selling my own books. And it was definitely a learning experience. My favorite part: meeting other authors, visiting, and just talking about the writing life. I also had a chance to make new author friends, like 2012 Georgia Author of the Year  Ann Hite (Ghost on Black Mountain), Mary E. Kingsley (Angel), YA novelist Akaeda Flame (Champion), and so many more. I also got to "officially" meet other authors and writers I've been connecting with online and over social media, including the fabulous Kimberly Brock (The River Witch) and Alison Law, publisher and editor of Southern Spines.

Add to all that a quick visit from my sister-in-law and favorite niece who drove up from Atlanta, and it was a jam-packed and thoroughly enjoyable couple of days. I left exhausted, but happy, and ready to add so many great books to my to-be-read pile.

Including Ann Hite's Ghost on Black Mountain, which I loved hearing her talk about, and is set up in my neck of the woods. Can't wait to get started!

Writing is often such a solitary pursuit. It's so nice to know there are other folks on the same journey, all struggling with time management, with the juggling act that is work-family-writing, with issues with the publishing industry--and who wouldn't change any of it for the world.

P.S. A couple more shots:

Historical marker on Dahlonega's truly cool Public Square.

And, Marilyn Monroe cowgirl boots, just sittin' in a shop window on that same Public Square. Awesome.