Yep, it’s been a long time

I haven’t blogged in so long that WordPress made me log in again. And the reason for my silence is twofold. I’ve been traveling with an icky cold and at the end of eacg day on the road, all I felt like doing was falling into bed.

Now that I’m home, another distraction has taken over: Mom. Yep, it’s the challenge of my generation, sandwiched in between kids who still need us and parents who need us more and more. The past few days have been filled with medical appointments for my mom, who is now living here in town. After an exhausting few weeks on book tour, I came home and immediately got busy taking mom to three different doctors plus the dentist. There were trips to the local hospital for X-rays and blood work. Long waits in the pharmacy for 10 different types of pills. Plus there were trips to the grocery store to keep her refrigerator and pantry stocked.

Honestly, I don’t know when I’ll be able to write the next book. I hardly have time to scrape together lunch. And that means I don’t always get to blog.

But this is simply what life — and family — calls for.
For those of you who are writers, or are thinking about becoming writers, there’s a how-to book coming out, to which I’ve contributed one of the chapters.

book cover

book cover

THE NEW WRITER’S HANDBOOK. You might find the handbook useful!

15 replies
  1. Abe
    Abe says:

    Hi Tess,

    It’s really tough raising parents. But with ALOT of tolerance and patience, you’ll get through it. Counting to 10 helps, too. Hang in there, Tess. It’s hard, but things do eventually get done. Now, do you REALLY need to sleep? Grab it when you can. You’re gonna need it. Love ya!

  2. NewMexicanAnn
    NewMexicanAnn says:

    I’d like to take care of your mom, Tess, for a few days. 🙂 It’s been Halloweenish at my office. Tuesday, I was working hard on a transcript and for no reason, I looked to the side. I saw a black widow spider crawling up my shoulder. Then Wednesday, there was a ranting, almost screaming person in my office, and a phantom report that nobody seems to know who did it when and can’t find it in the medical records.

    Come on, Tess’ mom! I’ll go to the pharmacy with ya! 😀

  3. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    Wow Tess,it sounds like exactly what goes on here.My mom is 95 and lives in an “independent living”place,but she can’t stand the food there,so my wife cooks and we shop for other groceries that she can prepare with her microwave and toaster oven(no stoves)and of course there are doctor appointments.Thankfully she has all her mental faculties and gets around pretty well with a walker.The pharmacy actually delivers!!

  4. therese
    therese says:

    Dear Tess,
    The most important lesson I learned from my dad is that we are all caretakers for our family but, to be that, we have to take care of ourselves. Two tricks that work best for me are music and breathing. Play gentle music in the background especially while doing paperwork and making lists. During the waiting time for appointments, and standing in line, focus on breathing instead of the next chore to complete.

  5. tuttle
    tuttle says:

    I run errands for my mom as well and yeah, it can get frustrating. I also have a wife to tend to as well as a need to find a job.

    While juggling responsibilities, there is alot of time I miss that could be spent writing, but then when I do find the time, I guard it jealously– to the point where I am sure that I come off as quite selfish (to a fault sometimes)

    But then, being selfish has enabled me to get some stories online and keep my name “out there” so when I finish the novel I can (hopefully) have some sort of credits to my name as well as had some hopeful improvement at my writing skills.
    There has been no monetary gain as yet from being online but the self esteem boost has been gratifying most times.

    Sure it makes me a lousy human being sometimes but if one wants to be a “writer” than one HAS TO carve out time in between all the other needs and duties or else the writing will never get finished.

    It all depends on how badly someone wants to BE a writer. With the end result being MAYBE a $ 5,000 dollar advance and a legacy as a one book author, sometimes it seems pretty hopeless and one may be up at 3 a.m. wondering if it’s all worth it.

    But then, this is a crazy business. I may never be on the New York Times Bestseller Lists but then, i may never win the lottery and yet I continue playing that as well.

    Most of life is a risk-(especially the risk of losing what little TIME we all need to get our various writing projects finished) It all depends how much your willing to lose.

    Good luck with your mom.

  6. Earl Inman
    Earl Inman says:

    Having six daughters and having taken care of both of our mothers, my wife and I can relate. Plus, for the past 15 years, we’ve been taking care of elders in our home. Most have been beyond “assisted living” with dementia. We do have stories to tell!

  7. tuttle
    tuttle says:

    ALSO TESS———

    I would imagine that there may be some publishers that might think that the “family first” rule may not apply to the schedule since the deadline is the deadline is the deadline. Period.

    You may know actual stories (though you may wish to leave out names of course)but I would think few publishers would allow an author, having any family problems (be they mild or serious), much margin for a delay on the next book if the writer happens to be in the middle of a contract???

  8. holly y
    holly y says:

    Tess, I too started caring for an elderly, needy Mom with kids still at home. One day I was talking to an acquaintance, and mentioned my Mom. I was about to launch into my complaints. This woman said, “Oh yes. I know how that is. My Mom and Dad were both very ill. I was so blessed to be able to take care of them. I miss them a lot.”

    End of complaints. Although the issues are still hard, I bless the time I’ve been given to be my Mom’s main kid. 🙂

    As others have said, take care of yourself.

  9. Mia Mattsson-Mercer
    Mia Mattsson-Mercer says:

    Keepsake finished and I was so happy to have one week of vaccation My mother flew from Sweden to Italy so I could read your book. Every day she sms me and it said; “keep on reading”
    With 6 dogs and two small children I do understand what you mean about not getting to write.
    I adore my family, but I also adore my quiet time when it is just “one voice” in my head”
    Going to order the writing book Thank you and hope you family is doing well/better
    Mia Mattsson-Mercer

  10. WJS
    WJS says:

    I think I may ask you to do something that is out of your ordinary league: write a full, exclusive non-fiction book.

    One of the strongest aspect of your writing is not your fiction/thriller books, but your blogging and how you relates things to reality/real life. I would absolutely love to read your new non-fiction book. As a fan, I would allow you to take one year break from your fiction series to write the non-fiction one. Your style of writing handles and takes us on a refreshing perspective.

    Anyways to the topic of this post, I know it’s hard to take care of your parents at the same time as taking care of your kids. My dad had to take care of me still, but I require LESS care of him so he can take care MORE of my grandparents. I wish your mom all the best. I will have to take care of my mom one day, which is why I am working hard on establishing myself a good living.

    Based on my assumption that you are still going around the book tours, your very last one is at Atlantic Beach, FL which I will be there in the Thursday evening. I cannot to have the honor to meet you in person. I look forward to it! Travel safe and take care!


    Josh S.

  11. Tess
    Tess says:

    Thank you all for the comments! (And Josh — I look forward to seeing you in Atlantic Beach.)

    Mom is doing well — the right doctors and the right medicines have really made a difference. It’s the flipping between focusing on mom, focusing on the current book tour, and focusing on writing the NEXT book which I’m finding so disorienting!

  12. drosdelnoch
    drosdelnoch says:

    Hey Tess,
    You’ll get used to it to be honest and you may want to get a dictaphone so you can talk idea’s through whilst youre driving. Also you’re worrying unnecessarily I think, it’ll get itself sorted shortly plus how nice is it to have your mum nearby again.

    The book will look after itself, after all youve got experience, youve got an idea and it will come good in the end. Just lean back and enjoy it all.

  13. Kyle K.
    Kyle K. says:

    Glad to hear your mother’s doing better…!

    Looking forward to seeing you on the 29th in Philly! We’ve met twice, and I know you say you’re notoriously bad at recognizing people, so I’m curious to see if you’ll spot me in the crowd! 🙂

    And don’t worry about us… Take care of your family first!

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