Just stopping by with the second part of the information for the All Shook Up Blog Tour! I am excited to have both a guest post from Chelsey and an excerpt from the book to share with you today! I will post the review first and then the excerpt. Enjoy! :)
So, I get asked pretty often, “When do you get the time to write?”
This is an understandable question. My life is pretty friggin busy.
I’m a mom to two kids, ages 4 and (almost) 6.
I work part time as a nurse case manager at specialist’s office.
I’m active in my community, and keep in touch with a local mom’s group regularly.
I take my kids to library programs and parks and on mini-field trips.
I keep a pretty clean house and try to cook most of my meals at home.
I love DIY projects, and almost always making something.
I generally have 2-3 books on the go, at any given time.
I’ve just published my second novel, and am starting to write my third.
And on top of it all, there’s the usual household chores like laundry and dishes, getting kids ready for school, doctor’s appointments, playdates, family functions, birthday parties, bbqs with friends and catching up on favorite tv shows with my husband.
God. I’m exhausted just by writing that list!
At the end of the day, when the house quiet, and everyone is asleep, that’s when I unwind, have a glass of wine, and write.
I’m a total night owl. I love being up at night; I feel good at night. It’s the time of day when I feel the most alive. I’m my most creative and vibrant self when it’s dark out.
At night, there are no distractions. Well, except for maybe Pinterest. And YouTube. And podcasts. BUT, I really respond well to challenges, and challenge myself to no tv shows or YouTube until I get my writing done for the night. But you get the idea. Once I commit to it, I can dive into my writing and not come up for air for hours.
Consequently, I usually stay up TOO late, and feel like butt the next day.
I need to work on that, because I don’t really enjoy being a “I-hate-everyone-give-me-coffee-now” sort of person. And, I imagine that people don’t really like it when I become her either. I really should invest in a timer or something. It wouldn’t be so bad if I just worked until 11 PM or something. As it stands, I’m usually up till 1 AM, and then get up with kids around 7 AM. Anyway. I digress.
Now, it might seem that by writing novels, I’m just adding to my mountainous “to-do” list pile. I mean, who writes 300 page essays just for fun? Writers really are weird creatures.
And while I admit that I do need to go to bed earlier, and I can’t even quantify how much time it takes me to write a book (6 months or so, maybe?), I think that me finding a consistent time of day to do what I love most has been a pretty amazing thing.
As parents (moms, in particular) we put so much of ourselves into our family and friends that there’s often little left for ourselves. When you have children (young children, especially), it can be hard to find time to go pee alone, let alone pursue your own interests!
That’s why I think it’s so important that I write. And, dear reader, that you also find something that brings you joy. It could be anything. Reading books. Painting. Photography. Learning a new language. Learning about car mechanics or space exploration or knitting or archaeology or taking karate classes. Whatever. It doesn’t matter what it is, just so long as it’s something that interests you, makes you curious, makes you happy. And, though I’m no expert and can’t quote any studies that support this idea, I imagine that this is GREAT for one’s mental health.
Writing is something I do just for myself, for my enjoyment, and it’s a bonus if other people like what I write too. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do, something I KNEW I was meant to do from the time I was 8 years old.
Writing is like my therapy. Sometimes it’s cathartic, soothing. It releases something in me. Sometimes it tickles me and makes me laugh out loud. Other times it’s hard and difficult and wonder why I’m doing it in the first place. (Usually, those end up being the best chapters). And I’m so glad that 3 years ago, I sat down at my laptop, without really knowing what I was doing, and just started.
So please, if there’s something you really want to do, go to it! Even if you’re afraid or don’t think you have enough time or talent. I’m not saying you’ll succeed at it, or make any money at, or whatever. You don’t’ have to become a karate expert or famous photographer or bestselling author. Just go do it for the sheer joy of being a living, creative, curious human being.
As additional homework, if you’re interested in exploring the subject of creativity, fear, and how they’re connected, read “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love), and her “Magic Lessons” podcast. It’ll blow your mind!
“Casey, this is a terrible idea,” I hiss.
“Shh, they’ll hear you,” he whispers.
“It’s illegal to impersonate an officer, you know.”
“Only if we get caught.”
I tug at my pants, which have a baggy butt and an uncomfortably tight waistband. Whoever designed these should be fired. “Where did you find these uniforms anyway?”
He knocks on the door. “The police station. Oakes got them for me.”
“What?” I yelp. “Constable Oakes knows about this?” I lean against the side of the house, my heart pounding. “We’re totally going to jail.”
“We are not going to jail,” Casey says quietly. He knocks a bit louder on the door.
“Didn’t Oakes ask what you were using them for?”
Casey pauses. “Oakes and I have a, uh, understanding,” he says.
Muffled footsteps sound from the other side of the locked door. Casey whips his aviator glasses down over his eyes.
“Okay, Thrift Shop Girl, game face.”
He immediately adopts a stern, don’t-fuck-with-me expression. I try to do the same.
I hope I don’t giggle.
The gray, scraggly curtains are drawn on the door’s window, and I see a distorted face behind the frosted glass. A moment later, the deadbolt turns over.
I’m holding my breath. For some reason, an enormous laugh builds in my chest. It feels like there’s a beach ball stuck under my ribs, slowly inflating with air. If I don’t let it out soon, I’m sure I’ll explode.
Casey elbows me playfully. I nearly lose it.
The door opens, revealing a man with leathery skin and white tufts of hair just above his ears. He’s smoking a cigarette and wearing a threadbare robe.
“What do you want?” he asks, looking supremely bored.
Shit. He doesn’t look intimidated by us at all. I rub my sweaty palms over my pants. We are so busted. Casey expertly flashes a badge.
Where did he get that? It looks pretty real, all shiny and official looking. Surely Oakes wouldn’t give him a real badge for our little project?
“Good evening, sir,” Casey says. “I’m Constable McGuire. I have a few questions I’d like to ask. Is now a good time?”
Ugh! What’s my cop name? We never discussed this!
Robe Man takes another bored drag on his cigarette. “Now’s as good a time as any.”
Casey smiles at him encouragingly. “Thank you, sir. We’ll just need a few moments of your time.”
I glance over at Casey. He’s the picture of quiet authority, confident and unruffled.
He lifts up a black clipboard and starts flipping through some typed-up papers, complete with fancy-looking RCMP letterhead.
“Are you the owner of this house?” he asks.
Robe Man nods. “Yep.”
Casey flips through the papers as if looking for something. “A mister…Frank Bailey?”
“The one and only.”
Casey asks him if he used to live at such-and-such address.
Frank narrows his eyes. “Yes. Well, technically I never lived there. I rented it out. What’s this all about?”
Casey nods. “We’re looking for a missing person, a lady named Nancy Carlyle.”
Casey and I look up at Frank in unison.
I hold my breath. This is it, the moment I’ve been waiting for. Maybe he’ll know exactly who Nancy is and this stressful, highly illegal, OMG-I’m-so-scared-I-could-puke day will have been worth it.
I bet they were buddies. He probably knew her for years. Maybe they were even lovers! Oh my…could Frank be my dad? I scrutinize him a bit more.
Leathery skin. Long, wispy eyebrows. Bad fashion sense.
Shit. Is this my future? Am I going to have long, wispy eyebrows someday?
Frank shakes his head. “Never heard of her.”
Phew. Dodged a bullet there.
But then the realization hits me. He doesn’t know who Nancy is.
Casey takes his aviators off and tucks them into his front pocket. “We have reason to believe that Miss Carlyle lived at that address at one time.”
Frank lifts his hand in an evaluative gesture. “It’s possible. A lot of people lived there.”
“How many do you estimate?” I hear myself ask.
Frank looks at me as if he’s noticed me for the first time.
“It’s hard to say. Too many to remember. I’ve been renting it out since the mid-eighties.” Since the eighties? Damn. No wonder it looks a bit, umm, used.
“Did you keep any records?” Casey asks. “Renter’s agreements? That sort of thing? Anything that might give us a list of names of who’s lived there before?”
Frank rolls his eyes and turns down the hall, one hand waving over his shoulder. “Follow me,” he says.
Casey and I hesitantly step into the entryway. A cold prickle of fear washes over my whole body.
“Is this even legal?” I whisper.
“Of course not,” he replies.
“But don’t we need a warrant or something?”
Casey briefly squeezes my shoulders in a side hug.
“Just roll with it.”
I bite my thumbnail and follow Casey and Frank down the hall and into the basement, alarm bells ringing madly in my head.
Okay. There’s no need to panic. Casey looks pretty capable. I think he could take Frank, or whatever creepy things might be in the basement.
We descend a flight of rickety, open stairs to a depressing unfinished basement. Frank ambles across the room and pulls a chain that leads to a single light bulb.
“Just a minute,” Frank grunts while sifting through a lumpy pile in the corner.
The main room – or what I can see of it, anyway – is filled to the gills with junk. Normally I like old junk, but there isn’t anything of merit here. Just stacks of outdated newspapers, piles of dirty laundry, and dusty couches piled with odds and ends that were set there once and never moved.
Casey stands straight as an arrow behind Frank, his arms crossed tightly over his chest. My own personal brick wall. I smile at him and mouth the words, Thank you.
He nods imperceptibly and turns his attention back to Frank. I’m glad Casey is here with me, even if the cops are going to haul our asses to jail.
Eventually Frank whirls around, still carrying his lit cigarette loosely between his lips, and plops an overflowing file organizer at Casey’s feet.
“Here you go,” he says. “Have fun.”
An annoyed expression crosses Casey’s face. “What do you expect me to do with that?” he asks, his accent showing more. I wonder briefly if his accent is stronger when he’s caught off guard or stressed.
Frank starts to climb the stairs, wheezing as he hauls himself up each step.
“Do whatever you want with it,” he rasps. “Everything in there is at least ten years old or more. Burn it, shred it, use it as ass wipe, I don’t care. It’s your problem now.”
I pick up the organizer, and we follow Frank upstairs. Adrenaline races through my veins, the boom of blood in my ears yelling Get out, get out, get out! with every heartbeat. A swell of relief floods me as soon as I step through the front door and take a breath of fresh air.
Casey turns around, in pseudo-cop mode again.
“Thank you for your cooperation, sir. You’ve been most–”
The door slams in our faces.
Casey and I stare at each other for a moment. I look up at him, not really believing what just happened. Or, more importantly, what we’ve just got away with.
“What do we do now?” I whisper.
He tugs my elbow and starts heading toward his truck that he parked down the street.
“Now, my darling, we haul ass.”’
Happy Reading! Thanks Chelsey for stopping by the blog today!