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Archive for October, 2014

The Rambling Writer

I was thrilled to be interviewed by Christina Hamlett, author of the Biz Buzz, about housesitting, something my hubby and I have been doing for the past two years now, in addition to my writing and everyday life. Read on!

The Biz Buzz

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You’ve put a vacation hold on the mail and newspapers. You’ve purchased automatic timers so that lights go on and off in different rooms. You leave a radio on. Maybe you invite a neighbor to park their car in your driveway so it looks like someone is home. You might even give that same neighbor a key for periodic checks that nothing is amiss. Still…

Another scenario is if you have a beloved pet that either doesn’t like to be boarded or requires a special diet, medications and lots of exercise. Who are you going to call so you can take off on your trip and not be in a state of stress the whole time?

For the past two years, Debbie McClure (aka The Rambling Writer) and her husband Wayne have found a way to not only embrace their enthusiasm for travel but also provide a diverse clientele with…

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Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Who am I? What do I want from life? What do I have to give others? How do I get where I want to be?

 

These are just a few of the questions we all struggle with on a daily basis. There are many others, of course, but right now, for me, these are the key ones. I’ve always been aware that my choices in life are what determine my destiny. That’s not to say I’ve always made the best choices, but I’ve known that they were mine to make. So are my mistakes, and triumphs. I chose to marry my first husband, knowing that there were things that weren’t right from the beginning. After my marriage, at the tender age of 17, I thought I needed to change to become the kind of wife my husband needed. I began hiding my sadness, and for a very long time, wouldn’t admit how unhappy I’d become. I remember one instance where my husband actually claimed that he wanted “the girl I married”. My God, I’d grown up over the years. I couldn’t ever be that 17 year old girl again, nor did I want to! My two children became the reason I stayed. I told myself they needed their father, even if that father wasn’t the kind of man I wanted as a husband. I made excuses for his poor behaviour, and told myself I was being a good wife by standing behind him. In the beginning, I was too young to realize that I shouldn’t be standing behind him, I should be standing beside him.

 

Eventually I realized that I couldn’t change him, and no longer wanted to adapt myself to his model of an ideal wife, like his mother. I realized that nothing I did or said would change him, and nothing he did or said was a good enough reason to change myself. That’s when I decided to leave the marriage. My own parents have a strong, loving relationship, so I’d seen that relationships shouldn’t ask you to be something you’re not. Oh, they had their squabbles, lots of them, but never once did my father ask my mother to be different. This knowledge helped sustain my decision. I couldn’t be other than who I was, and as I began to grow up and into myself, that realization only solidified.

 

Change Ahead

Change Ahead

Leaving was scary though. I was striking out on my own with two young children with no financial support from my ex. The future loomed dark and frightening, but also exciting and brand new. I was finally free to discover who I was; who I wanted to be. The next dozen or so years were more than difficult as I struggled to provide for myself and my children. As a single mother living at the poverty level, you learn to make some very hard choices, and you can’t give your kids all that you wish you could. Early after our separation, my ex chose to absent himself from our lives. That was hard. It was hard to understand how and why a man would walk away from his own flesh and blood, but I knew I couldn’t change him. His choices were his choices. So I continued putting one foot in front of the other, leaning heavily on family who loved and supported me. Slowly I gained confidence and courage. I began to make better choices for myself and for my children. When I began dating again, I knew I was looking for a certain kind of man; a man who would accept me and my children as a package deal. One who wouldn’t want me to change who I was to fit his ideal model. I wanted someone kind and loving, and who shared my vision of what a family looked like.

 

I was seeking a partner, and so I set out on every new date, in every new relationship, looking for the qualities I knew I needed to see. I wasn’t going to try to change someone else to fit my ideal model either. He had to come prepared to meet me half way. It took a long time, but finally I did meet such a man. He came with his own baggage, three teenaged children, and a host of idiosyncrasies, but he also came with a huge heart, a loving embrace, and a willingness to walk with me through the fires ahead. He didn’t want to change me, he accepted me, even encouraged me to chase my dreams. Every time I started a new vocational venture, even when it was tenuous and far from his own experiences, he supported me. Fifteen years later, he still does.

 

Chapter One

Chapter One

By the time I began writing, and made the decision to become a full-time writer, I had gained enough confidence to actually believe I could take on this nebulous, insane business and find a place in it. The more I wrote, the more convinced I became that this is what I was placed on this earth to do; communicate. Still, with little more than a love of words and stories, and a grade 10 education, I knew I had a lot learn. Along the way I’ve shed my share of tears of frustration, of disappointment, and felt the tearing insecurities every writer feels. But I go to bed and rise every morning knowing that this is what I want to do with my life. It is a conscious choice.

 

But even this decision is difficult when so many of my closest family and friends don’t really understand what I’m doing. When I try to share my journey, I can see from their expressions, or tone of voice, that they don’t understand. I suspect they don’t believe I have what it takes to “make it”. Some ask when I’m “going back to work”, as if what I do isn’t really work. Others scoff and ask how many writers actually make a living off their craft. They don’t understand. Recently I had a meltdown with my husband, when I broke down and cried and screamed that “They don’t think I can actually make it as a writer!”. I ranted and raved, and cried and shouted.

 

When I was spent, I went to lie down. That’s when I realized that I was looking for validation. I wanted to hear that other people take me and my work seriously; that they believe I have a certain talent, and because of that, I can and should succeed with my writing, and make a decent living doing it. I had chosen a path less followed, and I wanted those I care for most to appreciate what I was trying to do, and believe in me. That’s when I had another ah ha moment. I realized that it didn’t matter whether or not others understood me and my path. They loved me and supported me, for me, not for what I was doing. That had to be good enough. I have to release my expectations of other people, and continue walking my own path. I’m grateful for those who love and support me, and for the few who truly do “get it”, they are the wind beneath my wings. Not because they think I can do something remarkable, but because they will support whatever I do, just because they love me. I believe I know who I want to be in this life, and I now believe I know what I want to do with my life, but what do I have to give?

 

Well, I know I have a great capacity for love. I know I’m loyal to those who are loyal to me. I know I will protect those I love to the best of my ability, and I won’t walk away. During one particularly difficult time in my family’s lives, I needed to do more than stand up to the devil. I needed to kick his sorry ass to the curb. I refused to stand by and let him have those I love. Those were dark, terrible days for us all, but at least I knew I’d done what I needed to, and I’d do it again. Those days taught us all something about ourselves, and for me, it taught me the power and value of love. It also reminded me of my own courage to do what’s right, not just what’s expedient. I’m far from perfect, but this is one of the things I like most about myself.

 

Links in a Chain

Links in a Chain

I often claim I’m a “connector”. I tend to connect to other people, and connect people with other people. I believe we’re all connected, and each person who enters our life has a lesson to teach us, or a purpose. We’re like links in a chain. Sometimes the links remain strong and true and endure throughout a lifetime, while others weaken and drop away, but the value of each link remains vital. I guess that’s why I write. I write as another medium of connection, of communication, of linking, and because it’s another extension of my nature, it feels right. I like that.

 

So, I believe I know who I am, where I want to go, and what I have to offer, but how do I get where I want to be? Honestly, I’m not sure. I have learned though, that following my instincts and my heart have always lead to my best choices. When I make choices based on fear, they inevitably are the wrong ones. I have plenty of fears, plenty of baggage, and loads of insecurities, but I know I can only be me, and I can only walk my own path. I guess I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and believe that I’m headed in the right direction. Along the way, I’ll encounter hills and valleys, and people who will try to help, or hinder me. But I don’t know how else to proceed, except one step at a time. I’ve gotten pretty good at going over, under, around, and through obstacles, and I’m very good at surrounding myself with people who support me, even when they don’t understand me. I’ve also developed a pretty good internal GPS that keeps me moving forward. I guess it’ll have to be good enough. I’m betting my life on it.

My Journey

My Journey

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You Read It Here First

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I’m so pleased to welcome the author of Bucket List Living for Moms: Become a More Adventurous Parent, Lara Krupicka! I’m a huge believer in “bucket lists” and was so pleased to be asked to interview Lara and learn more about this intrepid writer, journalist, and mother. Welcome Lara.

Interviewer: Debbie McClure

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Q What’s so special about bucket lists?

A bucket list is a non-threatening way to think through what exhilarates you and which aspects of exploration and adventure are most appealing to you. Not everyone’s list is going to be the same. Different things interest each of us, which makes creating a bucket list an exercise in self-exploration. Then acting on those goals can take our lives in so many different directions.

Plus, it can be powerful to talk about bucket list longings with those we love. When everyone is encouraged to be vulnerable and honest…

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Interview with Sarah O’Bryan, author of Business and Baby at Home!

You Read It Here First

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I’m really pleased to introduce and welcome Australia’s Sarah O’Bryan, author of Business & Baby at Home! More than just an author, Sarah walks the walk of a savvy “mumpreneur”, as she juggles three young children at home while continuing to build her home based business, Lasso Creative, as a Graphic Designer. As if that weren’t enough, Sarah is also comfortable in the media, engages audiences during her public speaking talks, and writes insightful, helpful articles in various publications, websites, and blogs. In today’s interview, we get the chance to know a little more about this fascinating woman.

Interviewer: Debbie A. McClure

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 Q Sarah, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and what lead you to write for and about work-from-home entrepreneurial mothers?

I’ve always been a firm believer in creating your own blueprint and leading with passion in life. I guess…

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Waiting

Waiting

I’m in the middle of the waiting game once again. Having submitted my latest novel out for query, I’m now waiting for someone to see that kernel of value, that spark of something in the story, and in me, that’s worth taking a chance on and working with.

 

This is such a difficult time. I’m not a patient person by nature, but I know and recognize the importance of waiting patiently; of allowing things to unfold as they must.

 

But waiting is hard. It can lead to self-doubt. It can bring up every fear you’ve ever known, and make you face it down again and again, on what can seem like a daily basis. I’ve also noticed that people spend a great deal of time waiting. We wait till Friday to celebrate the weekend. We wait till we’re married, till we have children, till we’re retired…till we’re dead. After that last one, we’re kinda done waiting. But what if instead of just waiting around, we DID something? What if we allowed ourselves to let go of the waiting game and got on with living? I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of waiting to get on with my life.

 

So, during the waiting period between projects, I allow myself the time it takes to craft the query letter, have it edited for mistakes, and then begin the process of sending out the letters. When an agent (or publisher) expresses interest in your project, they’ll ask for a partial or a full copy of the completed manuscript. Talk about facing fears! I realized that only when we are facing our fears are we moving forward. I realized that all the “waiting” involved in writing actually allows me to take stock of where I’m going, where I want to be, who I want to move forward with. Rather than saying I’m waiting, maybe I should call it what it is; pausing. I’m pausing to make sure I’m on track, that I know where I’m going. I’m pausing to take a few steadying breaths before the roller coaster of life picks up speed again. See, I don’t care for roller coasters either; too scary! So, I’m pausing, not waiting.

 

Patience

Patience

But while I go through each of these necessary steps, I caution myself to be patient. I meditate to help keep myself grounded in my vision and in myself; my purpose. I take this small break and read books by writers whose work I really enjoy. I begin thinking about the next project. I begin researching for the next project. But I’m always cautious.

 

I recently watched an episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday (yes, I’m a seeker) and heard author, Brene Brown, talk about the fact that people are so cautious, so careful not to go to extremes, that they don’t give themselves permission to cry when they’re really sad or struggling. Conversely, people often feel reluctant to give in to pure joy when something goes really right for them, or when their hearts are absolutely touched by something, or someone. I had my own ah ha moment right there (I’ve been having a lot lately). I realized I do a lot of that. I caution myself not to get too excited when something really good happens, and not to get too despondent when something goes awry.

 

I realized I’m cheating myself of some of my life’s most important lessons and feelings. What am I waiting for? When I’m really down and sad, I should be able to cry. When I’m joyous, I should be able to just shout out, jump around, do my “whoop whoops”, or even cry tears of joy. I don’t need anyone’s permission. In fact, I need to give myself permission to feel, really feel, whatever it is I’m feeling. I need to honour that expression of myself. Then, if I’m sad and struggling, I can pick myself back up and move on. Slowly maybe, but move on nevertheless. When I’m overcome with joy and I express it aloud, I feel GREAT! Then I can calm down and return to my regularly scheduled program. Allowing myself to express what I’m truly feeling in those basic terms frees me.

 

Now, I’m not talking about saying whatever the heck I feel to anyone and everyone. I still believe in treating others with kindness and respect. I don’t mean I should just tell everyone what I think, because sometimes I need time to consider what I really do think. That’s a whole different animal.

 

I’m talking about expressing feelings. I’m talking about giving myself permission to feel what I feel, then move on. It means learning the lessons that come with life, as much as possible. I’m getting there. One tear and whoop at a time. Oh, and I’m grateful every day. When I’m sad, it can help if I can find even one thing to be grateful for. When I’m full of joy, I start with shouting, or whispering, “Thank You.”

 

This journey of writing is teaching me a great deal about myself, about life, and about the value of waiting, or pausing. Whoop, whoop!

Joy!

Joy!

 

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The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

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