Rhonda Parrish Blogs On Her Many "Hats"

I don't like hats. I've never found one that looks good on me, never, and believe me, I've looked. So yeah, not a fan. That means when someone says to me 'You wear a lot of hats' part of me cringes. What they are saying is true, I am a very busy person who fills a lot of roles…I just don't like the hats thing.

My daughter did a report earlier this fall that said I was a good example of someone who was balanced because I had a lot of 'life items'. I was flattered, and I hope she's right, but ya know, the term 'life items' isn't very pithy and just sort of reeks of high school health class to me. (Anyone remember CALM class? *grins and then gets back on topic*).

So, hats and life items aside, the point I should be making here is one I already mentioned – I'm very busy and in many different roles. I'm a mother, wife, student, editor, writer, volunteer, writing group moderator, etc. etc. plus I have a part-time 'day job'. Each of those things comes with a subset of occupations too. Let's take being a writer for example. As a writer I need to find time to write (duh?), revise, revise some more, submit my work, promote published work and revise some more. Even those tasks have sub categories. For example promoting my work involves guest blogging, social networking (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs), emailing, soliciting reviews, doing interviews, etc. etc.

I'm not alone.

I know many people in this business who have even more 'hats' or 'life items' than I do.

So how do you balance everything? Or, more to the point, how do I?

Everyone seems to have a different system. Mine keeps evolving, which I think is good. Change is necessary to avoid stagnation and as my life situation changes necessity says so must my organizational system.

For me the most important things are my calendar and my to-do list. The calendar makes sure I don't over-schedule myself and the to-do list helps keep me focused on the jobs at hand. That is vital because without the red items on my To-Do list staring up at me from my ipod I could easily become distracted and wander off to surf my friends-of-friends Facebook pictures.

When I wrote Sister Margaret my system was a calendar and a very strict routine. Client work in the morning until 11, a work out before lunch, then writing for an hour followed by revising for an hour…you get the idea. Every minute was scripted from the time I took my daughter to school until I picked her up again afterward.

Things change. I could no longer function under so strict a system, but it served its purpose once upon a time.

What's your system?

I'm always looking for ways to improve mine and I'm sure lots of other people are, after all, people are busier than ever these days and anything that helps us work smarter or save time has got to be counted as a good thing.

Incidentally, if you happen to find yourself with fifteen empty minutes and you'd like to fill them, I can recommend a great little story. It's called Sister Margaret and it's about a vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman who are hired to take care of an undead pimp… ;)

Sister Margaret
Published by Eternal Press
Available at Fictionwise
Rhonda Parrish

Please Welcome Fellow Author KIMBERLY ALAN!

Hello Everyone,

My name is Kimberly Peterson and I write inspirational romances as Kimberly Alan. Don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize my name. I’m a newbie, who’s been around forever. More about that a bit later. First and foremost I want to sincerely thank Jennie for giving me this first opportunity to introduce myself to you, her readers.

Why am I a newbie? Because my first inspirational romantic mystery, TRUTHS UNVEILED, was released on May 15, 2009 by White Rose Publishing. (Yeah!) Then why do I say I’ve been around forever? Because I started this story back in 1989!! In other words, I guess you can say I’m the poster person for the phrase: Never Give Up!

Furthermore, ladies, time flies. Very fast. In the midst of raising a family, working as a divorce lawyer and a writer, and simply attending to life and all of its curve balls, the seconds, minutes, days, weeks and years speed by, often without us realizing it. I always thought I knew this and yet it never really hit home until about two years ago. I had entered TRUTHS UNVEILED in a writing contest and though I didn’t win, what stood out most was a comment by one of the judges. She circled a sentence in the entry where my heroine was driving a Chevy Blazer. She then very kindly reminded me that few if any Chevy Blazers are still on the road. And she was certain they were not being used as rental cars. Good grief. How right she was. Then I looked at my eight and nine year old daughters and realized that the story was nearly double their ages! That, as they say, was that. This book was getting finished. No matter what. Six month later, White Rose offered me a contract. So, if there is anything that you’ve ever wanted to do ladies, do it. It’s never too late.

Now, finally, I find myself at the next chapter of this writing journey: Promotion and Reviews. Yikes! As my dear friend, Lori Avocato, reminded me, no matter how good a story might be, it won’t get read if readers didn’t know about it! Of course I knew that. It’s basic common sense. Plus I had attended my share of writing conferences over the years and eagerly assisted fellow writers in promoting their work. And yet, I can still recall the exact moment my overworked brain comprehended the reality of that fact. My jaw dropped. My eyes widened. And my palms started to sweat. Oh no! People are going to read this? I thought back to how I painstakingly selected and re-selected, edited and re-edited every word of this story for nearly two decades. To say that I was invested in the work is an understatement, to be sure. Over and over, my inner voice cried out in panic: What if they don’t like it?

Okay. I knew I needed to breathe and take a step back to look at the situation objectively. So I did. Like many avid readers and writers, I discovered the joy of storytelling very early on. And writing felt very therapeutic as well. But back then, I wrote for myself only, in diaries that were hidden in various locations of my bedroom. It wasn’t until law school, and then as a clerk for the Connecticut Appellate Court, that I realized my writing might be appreciated by a larger audience. I thought back to my teenage memories and my high school crush. He was older than me and very tied to the small community I’d moved to in ninth grade. Then I recalled the tragic car accident that killed two students. The young driver was injured but survived. And then there were rumors of a marriage that was hastily arranged because of an unexpected pregnancy. From those memories I realized that we all have situations in our lives that play a large part in determining our futures. I also know that many times, situations are not as they first seem. With this in mind, and a lot of “what if” scenarios, TRUTHS UNVEILED, became a story I believe we can all relate to. Briefly, here it is:

Heroine, Pam Harrington, is in her thirties now, and an emergency department physician in a large city. She met hero, Tom Jarrod, years earlier when she was a newcomer to a small, rural high school. A once in a lifetime romance started to blossom toward the end of her senior year but ended abruptly when Pam was severally injured in a car accident after learning that Tom’s former girlfriend was pregnant with his child. Fast forward to the present. Both Pam and Tom are single now and she receives a fantastic offer to return to that small town to work at a new, state of the art, medical center. Painful memories, guilt and unanswered questions about the accident still hover in Pam’s heart, causing her to decline the offer. Meanwhile, Tom, though struggling in his relationship with his ex-wife and children, is determined to make a fresh start with Pam, if she will let him. Then they realize that someone is even more determined to make Pam stay away. In fact, they will do everything necessary, including murder, to see that she does.

To my great relief, I received a wonderful review of TRUTHS UNVIELED from You Gotta Read Reviews. To quote: “This book is a thrilling roller coaster from the first chapter…. Pam and Tom are fantastic characters and you are rooting for their relationship from the very beginning, yet there are many obstacles along the way… This is definitely a fabulous story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and finishes with an explosive unexpected ending.”

Thank you Vivienne.

I hope you will all agree and enjoy reading about Pam and Tom’s adventure as they maneuver through the curveballs of life. And remember: It’s never too late to be who we want to be, and do what we want to do.

Blessings to you all!!

TRUTHS UNVEILED is available in print or as a download at www.Whiterosepublishing.com, or through Amazon, Borders and Barnes and Noble.

Kimberly Alan, also known as Kimberly Peterson, grew up in Bordentown and then Lambertville, New Jersey. Like many avid readers and writers, she discovered their joys early on. After high school, she moved to Massachusetts to attend college. To her surprise, law school followed. She and her family now live in Connecticut where she has been a divorce lawyer for several years. In addition to writing romance, she has published two legal textbooks published for paralegals and new lawyers. Currently, she is developing a blog about the ups, downs, ins and outs of relationships, gleaned from all her years as a divorce attorney, romance writer and from performing weddings as a Justice of the Peace. Readers can reach her at Kimberlyalan.author@gmail.com