28 Sep 2015 The “Why Not?” Years
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I wrote the first Phase Three post a year and a half ago and I still find myself scratching my head about this stage of life. I guess if I could categorize my philosophy on this era of life, I would call it the “Why Not?” stage.

I’m not old, but I’m not getting any younger either and anything I might be thinking about doing, or have always wanted to do, will never be easier than it is now.

So, I started running.

I have never been either active or athletic. Ever! I was the brainy girl in school, literally the last one chosen for every team (unless it was raining and we were doing math quizzes in place of recess.) I’d much rather read, sew, write or do anything else but move in any capacity that might resemble exercise. But a few months before my 50th birthday, I downloaded the “Couch to 5K” app on my iPod, bought some running shoes, struggled into my sweats and started.

I can’t really say what came over me – except that I had always rationalized my lack of activity by blaming my surroundings. I’d visit beach towns or lovely rural areas and there would always be people outside, jogging, walking, biking or skating and I’d tell myself, “If I lived in a place like this, I’d do that too.” And then I’d go home to the high desert and feel smug that the heat, or cold, or wind, or traffic was sufficient reason to stay comfortably inside.

Then we moved. To a small, quiet, beautiful rural community in the mountains. In fact, I was living in the very place where I said I’d do that too. And I’m looking at turning 50. And I think, “Why not?”

So, like I said, I downloaded the app, struggled into my sweats and set out.

Oh, it was brutal. The first week was alternating 60 second jogs with 90 second walks. I huffed, I stumbled, I turned beet red. I sat with Ziplocs of mixed veggies on my knees when I got home. I limped for weeks.

I kept going.

I repeated each week’s program at least twice, sometimes three times, before I was ready to move on to the next. I ditched the app at Week 5 (about 12 weeks in), turned on the music and just ran. But when I say I ran, what I really mean is: I lurched, I stumbled, I gasped and panted and sweated. There is nothing glamorous or sexy about it.

Three years later, it’s still not pretty, but I’m still running.

More to come…

18 Jan 2015 by w4l3XzY3
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by w4l3XzY3

24 Apr 2014 A Festive Time Was Had By All…
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The Los Angeles Festival of Books – the largest Book Festival in the US – was almost two weeks ago and I think I have just about recovered from the experience. This was the second year Meryton Press had a booth there, and the second year I have attended. Both have been amazing, yet very different experiences.

LAFOB Booth

Last year, along with MP’s managing editor Michele Reed, we had the calm, cool, collected, sweet, and awesomely talented author Karen M. Cox with us, as well as the outgoing, bubbly, fun and enthusiastic friends and boosters Lucy P and Julie C. This year, due to a combination of circumstances, it was just Michele and me. So, instead of hovering quietly on the periphery, content to straighten tables and sign the occasional book, I was forced to put myself out there.

I don’t like putting myself out there.

I’m much more comfortable keeping myself in here. In the corner, in the shadows, in the background. Let me tell you, for someone as introverted as I am, it’s tiring out there! It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy myself – the entire experience was fun as well as stretching – it’s just exhausting.

But enough about me – let me tell you about the festival.

First of all, it’s — A FESTIVAL. OF BOOKS! — do I really need to say more?

Apparently I do, because here I am still typing… The USC campus is lovely, we attended the taping of the NPR radio show ‘Wits’ where we laughed our heads off and rocked out to punk band Super Chunk (that is, if one can ‘rock out’ to a punk band… I’m a little out of touch), dined on Toad in the Hole, Scottish Rarebit and Trifle at the 90-year-old-and-still-going-strong Tam O’Shanter Restaurant and, of course, has the opportunity to meet (or watch from a safe distance) so many interesting and amazing people. Along with the wonderful festival attendees—some who, we found to our disbelief and delight, remembered us from last year and came specifically to find us again, and see what’s new—were these memorable characters:

Lots of women of a certain age and weight, who really, really, should know better, and wear a bra.

Mugsy

But then there was Mugsy in the booth opposite us – the mellowest, best behaved boxer in the world. And yes, his book is called “Doggy Styles”. Imagine my relief when I realized it wasn’t a children’s book like I first thought.

Then there was the cranky man (who sorely needed a Kleenex ~shudder~), who figured he ought to yell at us because he was lost.

 Tupperware

Next, in an adjacent booth, was Kevin Farrell, Drag Queen Tupperware Lady extraordinaire.

The avid Sci-Fi fan who shared the fascinating (but quite lengthy) history of Karen Joy Fowler, author of the Jane Austen Book Club and founder of the James Tiptree Jr Award for Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

And then (just across the way and a little more my speed) was the charming Sharon O’Connor of Music & Menus. I don’t have her picture, but you really should take a look at her website. I want to buy everything on it (and I made a good start over the weekend).

Booth 2

All in all it was an exhilarating, exhausting and rewarding time. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

09 Apr 2014 The Long and Winding Road…

Stronger Even Than Pride is here!!! 

In my hot little hands!!!

The box from the printer arrived today, and even though it’s been on Amazon for a few days, it only just now feels real!

It’s beautiful, don’t you think?

SETP Box

I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this…Well, actually I can. It’s been 5 years, 4 months since the initial plot bunny was hatched in December of 2008. At least no one can accuse me of indiscriminately churning out schlocky prose—my schlocky prose takes time!

In all honesty though, I’m very proud of this book. I know it will not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s the book I wanted to write, and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to turn out. But case in point, twelve hours after SETP received its first 5-star review, it received its first 2-star review. Actually, it’s my first negative review ever… Surprisingly, it didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would; I would even say I’m bearing it quite philosophically.

It doesn’t hurt that I don’t have too much time to dwell on the negative. I’m busy getting ready for the Los Angeles Festival of Books this weekend—filling crates, packing promotional items and trying to Tetris them into my not-nearly-big-enough Murano. This is the second year Meryton Press has had a booth and I can’t wait. LAFOB is the largest book fair in the entire United States, and I’ll be sitting in a corner booth surrounded by good friends, beautiful books and fun merchandise. The people watching opportunities alone are worth it!

If you’re anywhere near Los Angeles, you need to come by. Really. I hope to see you there. If you can’t make it, go ahead and take a chance on Stronger Even Than Pride. I dare you.

Oh, and say something nice, if you would. ^_^

30 Mar 2014 Phase Three
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I find myself in a stage of life that I can’t quite define and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I never would have called myself a label person, but looking back, I can see where knowing exactly where one’s niche is can be a comforting thing. You know where you fit – maybe not perfectly, but you can look around at your peers and define yourself within that concrete group.

But what are you when your kids are grown, but not all are out?  When you’ve started working full-time again after years of raising those not quite all gone kids? When you’ve lost control of the menu plans, housework schedules (compounded because there aren’t all those kids around to do chores) and daily routines of life? When someone asks, “Tell me about yourself?” and you can no longer come up with anything definitive.

Girlhood is over. Young wife & motherhood is over. Now it’s time to look around and try to figure out, “What am I now?”

Welcome to Phase Three.

Phase Three will be different for every body, because where we are now depends on what the first two phases looked like. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to dive into existential, “where-has-my-life-gone-and-what-have-I-accomplished?” self-anguish and analysis. I’m a pretty happy person and I don’t have any regrets. But this is another journey, kind of unexpected, and (I think) worth exploring. So here and there, in between other posts and book related stuff, that’s what I think I’ll do.

03 Mar 2014 Blurb… Blurble… Blurbling…

Say the word “Blurb” a couple of times, aloud or even in your head, and it begins to sound extremely weird.

But, here’s the back cover blurb (teaser?) for Stronger Even Than Pride. I hope it piques your interest:

…in his behaviour to me there were stronger influences even than pride.”

When George Wickham speaks these words to an impressionable Miss Elizabeth Bennet, she can have no idea how true they will turn out to be. Stronger Even Than Pride, Gail McEwen’s latest novel, explores whether love can survive the biggest obstacles fate—and a most ruinous stubbornness—can conjure up to separate two people destined to be together. After Miss Bennet refuses to read the faithful narrative of Darcy’s dealings with Mr Wickham, this Pride and Prejudice variation quickly travels a darker path when she chooses to exonerate the wrong man.

Obstinately standing by that choice, Elizabeth’s life descends into a downward spiral and Fitzwilliam Darcy is forced to watch helplessly as the woman he loves slips further and further from reach. Can there be a happily ever after for them? Can a love, stronger even than pride, redeem even the worst mistakes?

 

03 Mar 2014 Cover Reveal!

Editing is proceeding apace and soon I will have the privilege of holding this beautiful book in my hot little hands:

Cover final front