Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Back in the saddle

I try not to focus much on personal drama here, since I'd much rather talk about my characters than myself. But I wanted to explain my inactivity, both here and to a lesser degree on Twitter, over the last few months.

Me with my Bon Voyage Uterus
button. We sent it off with a bang!
I found out two months ago that I needed a total abdominal hysterectomy, and it threw me for a loop. I'm a healthy 34 year old runner and yoga devotee with two small children. The news that I needed a surgery that would by all accounts leave me exhausted and fairly immobile for months afterward was not welcome at all.

The good news is that Hubs and I are happy with two children and hadn't planned on more. In fact, part of the reason I needed the hysterectomy was how poorly my body handled those pregnancies, so aside from a slight freak-out about being this young and losing my uterus and cervix (did I mention I'm 34? 34!!) and three months off my half marathon training schedule, it wasn't a huge upset. Especially since my surgeon was confident she'd be able to save at least one ovary, which is apparently all you need to keep you from going into menopause. (Spoiler alert: she managed to save BOTH, because my surgeon is kick-ass).

My giant pink sparkly uterus.
My friends and I decided to send my uterus and its entourage off with a bang, so we had a Bon Voyage Uterus party that involved twelve of us going out in public to drink and have a raucous good time while sporting fabulous uterus buttons and toting around a giant pink sparkly uterus to hang from whatever table or bar we were near. My 7-year-old son even helped me make tiny uteruses that hung from our drink straws by their fallopian tubes. It's safe to say we made a pretty big splash--people approached us all night to find out what we were doing and toast my faulty uterus.

Party favors!
Since my surgeon made it clear that the only option for my surgery was a full abdominal incision (I've had two c-sections and a previous uterine surgery, which makes for a lot of complications), I decided to give my hysterectomy a silver lining and pair it with a tummy tuck. See, I managed to lose all my baby weight after both kids pretty quickly. But I'd been heavy before those pregnancies, so even after getting back to normal I'd still been overweight. But in the last two years I've lost 50lbs, which left me with a lot of extra skin. My plastic surgeon and my OBGYN surgeon agreed that this was the ideal time to deal with that, since both surgeries require an incision in the same place.

Fabulous slippers made of maxi pads
from my friends to wear into the OR!
I had my surgeries two weeks ago today. After a few days in the hospital I was able to come home and take up residence on the couch, but I've needed a lot of help around the house. Having a preschooler and an autistic first grader is a lot of work, and with the restrictions my surgeries have placed on me (no lifting more than 5lbs, no bending, nothing that engages my core, which is harder than you'd think, and a lot of rest and relaxation), things have been tough. Luckily my husband has been a star through all this and I have a great group of friends and family who have come to my aid. The thought that I have four more weeks of this is daunting, but I'll be released to drive next week, which will make things a lot easier. Yay!

Through all this I've also been trying not to neglect my writing, which is hard when my laptop exceeds my lifting limit and I can't sit upright for more than an hour without needing a nap. But I'm happy to report that a group of us have put together a fabulous anthology of short stories that focus on workplace romances titled All in a Day's Work, and that has been queried, and I'm hopeful about it getting picked up. I'm also in the second stage of editing for my short novella Branded, which will be part of the 2014 Dreamspinner Daily Dose in June. It's a fantasy historical, which is a big departure from my contemporary comfort zone. It was fun to world build and make up names!

Finding Home will be entering the editing queue soon for its mid-summer release, and I'm starting work on the third novel in the Dropping Anchor series, Playing House. I have a June 1 deadline with that one, which I admit makes me nervous. I hadn't planned on this surgery and its bodacious amount of recovery time when I promised that one, so it's going to be tight. But I love these characters, so that makes it easier. I'm excited to immerse myself in their lives again. We'll get to see a bit more of Niall and Ethan (Island House) and Ian and Luke (Finding Home), but the primary focus in Playing House will be Frank and Warner. When pediatrician Warner decides its time for the couple to adopt, it sends Frank into a tailspin. He'd never planned for children, and he doesn't think he can raise someone else's child. The two men have to navigate the ups and downs of this monumental decision--and the effect it will have on their future together--but they don't have to do it alone. The cast of characters we've seen throughout the Dropping Anchor series are there to help them through it, and Frank learns a lot about himself and what he's capable of with their assistance.

I'm also thrilled to announce that I'll be at the 2014 GayRomLit in Illinois as a Supporting Author. I'm so excited to be there alongside a fabulous list of Featured and Supporting Authors, and I'm looking forward to the chance to meet with readers for the first time.

As you can see, there's a lot going on for this recuperating author. Fingers crossed that the healing process is a quick and easy one! I'm back in the saddle, but the horse isn't moving faster than a walk. *g*

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