This is November, which for most writers means NaNoWriteMo. Personally I have refused to participate. I have too much going on in my outside life to focus on an additional 50,000 words. January Frost is in copy edits, I have three major projects going on at work, and the days are getting day earlier. Taking on another work in progress doesn't fill me with excitement. On the contrary, I feel dread.
I confess I am not the best at time management.. I have shiny penny syndrome. Everything distracts me when I'm not in the zone. That's why when I write I have to listen to something I know well enough for it to become background noise. Otherwise I don't writer, I day dream.
My lack of attention is the one thing about myself I dislike intently. It affects every area of my life, personal and professional. I won't take the medications. I did that to my son and I wish I hadn't. He told me when the Ritalin wore off it was like a bone snapping in his body. With my low tolerance for pain that's an issue.
So, my insecurity for this month is my lack of time management and attention to task. In the time I have written two books, some of my friends have pushed out four or five. Sure we don't all write in the same genre but it makes me wonder, am I any good at this?
That said, I will plug through my copy edits, and work out a few scenes in a work in progress I already have. If in the process of taking care of these obligations I manage to hit 50,000 words of editing, then I will consider that my NaNo project. And... there's always next year.
Don't forget my new romance, January Frost, will be out this winter from Keith Publishing. Below is a sneak peek:
Evelyn Graham-Frost had it all: a job she loved, a daughter she adored, and a life far away from the pain and bitterness of her childhood. Then in the flash of an eye, everything disappears when a career-ending fall from her world champion show horse, Grey Cliffs’ Snowman, lands Evelyn on the ground and jobless.
When the offer to return to her childhood home as the new trainer at Grey Cliffs presents itself, she is torn between the life she’s built, and the love of the man she ran away from ten years previous. Going back means giving her daughter a chance to connect with the father she’s never met, but it also means facing again the horror of what happened that long ago evening.
JUNE, TWO YEARS AGO
My only clear memory of the accident itself is overwhelming pain. I remember every detail of my preparations for that ride. It was a brilliant mid-summer day. The sky was clear, deep blue with high, light clouds, but rain was forecast for later in the day. The temperature was cool in the morning, but heated up as the sun climbed higher into the sky. I remember arriving at the complex that morning, spending extra time getting my massive stallion Grey Cliffs’ Snowman, or ‘Manny’ ready for his divisions, and thinking about the promises I made to my daughter Davy, and my business partner Sebastian to make this show season our last. Manny had been ready as a farm stud for a while and it was his commercial viability that set the tone for the rest of our barn family. As long as I needed to jump and run away, Snowman would take me.
When the storm front arrived, the rain was intense, clouds carrying lightning, accompanied by hail and buckets of water. By the time Manny and I were on the course, the ground was a combination of ankle deep mud and shallow rivers. Once we were committed, I spent a great deal of time encouraging Manny as we worked our way through the sludge with the constant rain fogging my goggles and making it harder to see. We were approaching the fifteenth jump, an in-and-out ditch, then out again and through a corridor lined with hedge and finally over a flat top wooden bench with flowers and distractions galore. Underneath my seat, the energy gathered in Manny’s legs as he prepared himself for the down and away slope of the jump. But right when the massive grey stallion was ready to leap over the split rail four-foot-high jump, the ground under his hooves gave way, throwing him off balance.
I lost my seat. My forward momentum did not change or slow down when he did. I was launched out of the saddle and over Manny’s head. I had fallen before, many times. But this went wrong. When Manny clipped his front legs against the rail, he threw up his head. It connected with my left arm and I could hear the bone snap. The sudden noise, so close to his ears, startled the big grey stallion, who then flinched. I hit the ground with my right leg underneath me. Before I reacted, the off-balanced horse landed on my legs, causing the stress fractures and small breaks from the initial fall to worsen. Finally my head snapped back, smacking the ground with enough force to crack my helmet into several pieces. After that moment, I can’t remember much of the coming weeks.
People ran around screaming for an emergency stretcher, while I did the only thing my body would allow given the circumstances: I passed out. Apparently my fall created a lot of activity with horse and human ambulances having to slog through waist-deep mud to our position. Manny was physically fine, just a few small cuts, but emotionally he was a wreck. Those hurts would take a long time to heal; in the grey baby’s eyes the fall was his fault. I wasn’t as lucky. A traumatic brain injury would make it three weeks before I woke up, and when I did it was to discover a lot of things changed while I was away.
My next conscious memory was wondering if I wanted to wake up or go back to sleep. Deciding I probably needed to wake up and check on Manny, I began the arduous task of opening my eyes and using my voice to speak. Slow and cautious, I pried my lids open. I was in an intensive care unit, tubes and wires connecting me to a bizarre combination of quietly beeping machines. Under my nose, tubes carrying oxygen breezed around my nostrils. My left wrist was in a small cast as well as my right leg all the way up to my mid-thigh. I felt like an abused rag doll, and my head pounded with every beat of my heart.
Noise in the corner drew my attention as someone shifted in the hospital chair. Someone else was in the room. My head was well bandaged and my senses were overly drugged. The lights in the room were low, curtains pulled and the blinds closed, but I discerned the shape of a person sitting in a chair close besides the railing. Before I could adjust to the shock of waking up, the door opened and a nurse entered.
Right behind her was my friend and partner, Sebastian Faeroe. Bas was oblivious to my opening eyes. He concentrated on trying to convince the young nurse to have dinner with him. I had to chuckle below my breath. Bas was constantly picking up women. It’s easy when you have billions in the bank. But he always came home alone to me, Davy, and our third business partner Karl. The women were all part of his public façade.
“Just dinner,” he was saying. “I know the best little café, right down the street. We could chat, get to know each other and then you can be back at work in no time. Come on, you have to eat, so why not with me?”
The nurse shook her head but the response was not very convincing to her or to me. “The hospital has a policy against dating patients or their families or spouses.”
“Well, that makes it perfect!” The smile on Bas’ face went from ear to ear. “I’m not family or spouse.”
“Aren’t you the father of her daughter?” I heard the waiver in her tone. It was just a matter of time before she fell for Bas and/or his money. Of course, he was very good looking in addition to filthy rich.
I watched the nurse as she took my vital signs and made notations. Every so often she glanced over the clipboard at Bas. Wavy dark blonde hair with deep green eyes, Bas worked out every day in addition to eating only organic foods. His accent hinted of the finest boarding schools in Switzerland and his clothes were hand tailored by the same store that had outfitted Faeroe men for three generations. Old money and a casual elegance all rolled into one glamorous package, it was no wonder so many women fell for his charm. I certainly had.
Bas chuckled. “I plead the no comment to that accusation. Evie and I are friends, and business partners. I refuse to assist speculation as to the details of our relationship.”
“Well,” the nurse mused. “I suppose one dinner wouldn’t be against regulations.”
“Excellent!” Bas always got his way.
The other visitor in my room laughed, with that polished silver voice I recognized so well. “Bas, do you ever stop playing the horn dog?” Lady Rachel Tattinger asked.
“Why would I want to stop?”
Through half-open eyes I studied my boss . Sebastian Faeroe was a multi-billionaire from the south of Spain. He preferred to keep most details of his private life as hidden as possible. I worked for him, riding and training his horses for almost ten years, and along with our other business partner Karl Bittner no one knew more about Bas than I did. All three of us had learned to keep each other’s secrets well.