I have five children, ranging from teen to toddler. The youngest is three and…well…part crazy. It’s not his fault, though. He was born into a chaotic, loud home. He had to be part-crazy to keep up.
When he was two he learned how to climb out of his crib. Five kids and he was the first to master this skill. So I decided to make my own contraption to go over the crib. Rookie mistake. When he still got out, I bought a crib tent, one that was designed by a professional who has dealt with escape-artist children like mine. It fastened on top of the crib with the intent of keeping the child in, like baby jail—don’t judge me, I needed my sleep. That worked for about a month. When he broke it (literally), I gave in. Crib gone. Toddler bed in.
But that same child had also mastered opening doors. I tried child-safety locks, and he’d rip them off. So I started putting him in his bed and holding the door until he fell asleep. Three in the morning I would hear–thankfully–little footsteps going downstairs to find a ball to play with. Not only was it frustrating, it wasn’t safe considering the complete lack of self-preservation this little boy has.
In an act of pure desperation one afternoon, I grabbed a screwdriver and figured out how to take apart my bathroom door handle (with lock) and exchange it for his bedroom one.
Broken child-proof locks

The first time I locked him in, he played for a little bit and then conked out. I patted myself on the back for outwitting a two-year-old. The next day he simply played with his toys the whole nap time. I, in turn, moved all his toys to the hallway. The next day, he dumped all the books off the bookshelf. Those followed the toys into the hall. The following day I heard a lot of loud, jumping happy noises. Still, I needed my time away from my little monster (I say that affectionately) and so I left him in there for some ‘quiet’ time. When I went in to get him, he’d dumped all the clothes and drawers out of his dresser and was trying on anything that had a ball on it. You would think at some point I’d learn. Anyway, I completely cleared every toy, book, shirt, pants and possible item from his room except his bed and his blankets.

When he fell asleep that afternoon, I patted myself on the back for having finally outwitted my two-year-old.
That worked for about a month.  
I was writing at my desk one day when I heard a little squeak behind me. I turned and saw him on the stairs. “Hi!” he said with a big smile—he always smiles biggest when he’s doing something wrong. Figuring I had forgotten to lock his door for his nap, I took him back up the stairs. Five minutes later, he was back on the stairs, peeking through the railing. “Hi!”
I couldn’t believe it. When I put him back in his room, I waited in the hallway next to his toys, books, and clothes. After a minute, his little fingers reached under the door, yanked a few times on the bottom of the door, and somehow, got the stupid thing open. At that point, I called my parents (who laughed) and I gave him the nickname, “My Little Houdini.”
I tell you all this so you know what kind of child I’m dealing with. Don’t get me wrong, he’s adorable. A monster—but adorable. He follows his older brother and his friends around as if he’s fifteen, too. He refuses to hold my hand in public and his favorite song is by Taio Cruz, not Barney. He’s three!
Anyway, recently he picked up a new word. He says it all the time now, but unlike other new words my kids pick up, I’m not correcting this one.
It’s “Mother.”
He doesn’t call me anything else anymore. I love it! It almost sounds British when he says it, too. I know it’s probably just a phase, but I totally am eating this up. For the life of me, I can’t figure out where he picked it up. Not from my other kids. No way. Not from me either.    
“Mother, I want some water.” 
“Want to play basketball with me, Mother?”
“Mother, can I have 10 cookies?”
Even if he’s in the worst, crankiest mood ever, when he grabs my pant leg, looks up at me and instead of whining, “Mooommm…” he says, “Mother,” I give in. You would think that two words that have basically the same meaning would invoke the same response in me, right? Wrong! I’m spoiling him rotten right now.

If the other four kids catch onto this, I’m in for it.   


There is Something About Writing…

There is something about writing that is so fulfilling.
There is something about being able to change a story that is so empowering. It’s like sitting through a movie that you almost love and being able to fix the parts you hate. When you think to yourself, ‘Oh man, Why did they do that? They should have done this…” you can actually change it. Or reading a book, when you think to yourself, “Seriously? Did the author just do that to my favorite character?” there’s hope at your fingertips. (I’m not endorsing plagiarism in the least—fix your own stories.) But writing is so cool.
I love moving and flowing with characters and watching how they leave my grasp and go a new direction. I love changing a few words in a conversation and seeing how it completely changes the direction of the story. Words are so powerful, I sometimes forget. I also love escaping the mundane predictability of this life for a few moments to explore the possibility of “What if?”
There’s so much power in those two little words. What if I gave Sadie a choice of which guy she ends up with? Who would she choose?—which I did by the way. I went into the story with two possibilities and left it up to her; you’ll have to read the book to find out who she did (and no, I’m not crazy–characters have a mind of their own).  What if she and that particular guy aren’t perfect people? What if I killed someone off? That’s always a fun one. I heard once that if you’re stuck on a particular scene, kill someone. I’m proud to say that while I have struggled many times, I’ve never gone to that extreme. Yet.
But the power of “What if?”
I find myself saying “What if?” all the time now. In fact, that’s where most of my new ideas for novels come from. I’ll see something in the store, on the news, or wherever and think, “What if, what if, what if?” I love it. The possibilities are endless—and a little scary. But what if?
There is something truly fulfilling and satisfying in writing.

In Search of Perfection

I would have never guessed this about myself: I’m a closet perfectionist.

At least I’m that way with things I create. Dishes, laundry, my hair and such I have no problem living below the mark. But with writing, composing, my website, plants in my yard, or scrapbooking I tweak a little here, move something over there, sit back, lean in close, let it simmer, then tweak some more. Either I need to learn how to leave well enough alone or learn how to create a better first, second, third, or fourth draft. (Yes, sadly, I have gone far beyond the fourth draft to get a final version of Sadie I am happy with.) For now, I’m telling myself, “The website is ‘good enough. The scrapbook pages are good enough. The poor forsythia bush wants you to leave it be. It’s all good enough. There are dishes to be done.”

The drive to perfection may actually be on the road to insanity.

(Oh, and if you notice any mistakes, let me know.)

To Blog or not to Blog…

If I were to write a blog, what would it say?
That has been the question on my mind for about a year (possibly longer), because quite frankly, writing a blog seems incredibly daunting to me. Fiction or romance? Sure. Future or past? No problem. But present? Real? Me…write a blog? Alas, here I am. I have caved to the all-authors-should-write-a-blog peer pressure.
If you ask me, I think authors love to blog because we love words. We hoard them actually. It’s a good thing there isn’t a quota on words a person may use—or worse, a world word shortage—because I’m convinced author blogs would be the first thing to go. Of course if we lived in that kind of world, who knows what kind of sanctions husbands would put on their wives. They’d be counting every word, waiting/praying for their wife to reach her quota. But wives who are authors? My poor husband. Authors use enough words as it is.
For example, my new novel Sadie, which is due to be published in November (yay!!!) has 99,849 words. And that’s after I cut it significantly—painfully. And yet blogging allows authors to use precious words without any official publishing process (e.g. editing, cutting, year-long polishing, and more cutting). It’s easy, quick, and painless. I can see myself becoming an addict quite easily.
So a little about my novel.

Sadie is set in the beautiful mountains of Montana, where skiers and snowboarders tackle fresh powder. When a misunderstanding with Sadie’s boyfriend turns brutal, she makes the rash decision to leave everything and everyone behind. She’s thrown into a group of friends—four guys—vacationing on the slopes. They’re nothing like the diamonds and dinner parties she left behind, nothing like other guys she’s known, but everything she needs. Yet just when her heart settles, she finds herself abandoned by the one who swore to protect her for a religion she doesn’t understand.
There are people who love to ski in this book. That’s not Sadie. There are people who love dogs in this book—not Sadie either. There’s some romance, some music, some Spanish, some marshmallow roasting, a ghastly green snow suit, and hopefully some laughs.  
Thanks for stopping by. I will be posting more about me and my new novel as we near the release date. And as always, you can visit my website http://www.rebeccabelliston.com for more info.