KH, drop me a line and I’ll get the books to you ASAP. Thanks to everyone for sharing their Ahhh moments with me. I thoroughly enjoyed mine, and we almost have our bedroom painted and ready to move into. Another Ahhh moment on the way!!!

Until next month,

Sarah

Original post:

I finished a book today! Woo hoo! It’s too long and it needs to be edited, but it’s DONE. Sweet, blessed relief!

This book, a Super Romance, has been a bit of a hard slog, not helped by the fact that we have moved three times (3 times!!!) in the last six months. Writing and moving house are mutually exclusive pastimes. Trust me. They don’t mix well at all. But, still, that book is done. And I am feeling as though I have been let out of school for the summer holidays.
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Sure, sure, there’s the hacking and slashing I now need to do because the book is over even the most optimistically extended word count for the line, but compared to actually getting those words down on the page, pressing the delete button in various places is easy. So now that I can really see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m starting to get excited about getting my life back.

For those of you who aren’t writers, let me tell you that when you’re on deadline (or over deadline, as I am at present!) your world narrows to just you and the computer screen and the characters in your head. You strap yourself in at the start of the day, and stay in front of the keyboard for hours and hours until some generous soul drags you away to eat and, hopefully, sleep. You ignore email, don’t return phone calls, forget to dress and (some days) shower and generally retreat into a world of deadline hibernation. If you dare to take some time out, guilt is your constant companion. You constantly think about the book. You worry about your deadline. You squirm over what your lovely editor would say if she saw you sleeping/reading a book/shoe shopping instead of writing.

In short, it’s hell, which I guess is why a lot of writers call it Deadline Hell. So the idea of coming out from under this dark cloud of stress and work is delightful, but also kind of daunting. In the month or so I have been slaving away really desperately to get this book in on time (this is when the panic set in, mind, not when I started writing the book!) I have forgotten what it’s like to, I don’t know, go out during the day to grab a coffee. Or do a session at the gym. Or meet a friend for lunch. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to enjoy preparing a meal for friends, or mooch around in the garden, or toodle around rearranging things in my house.

I’m looking forward to discovering all these things again very much, and to taking a break from writing for a couple of weeks to read and renovate my new house and rejuvenate. Deep, relaxing sigh. Ahhhhh….

To celebrate my imminent release from deadline bootcamp, I’d love to give away some books from my backlist. Tell me about a recent “Ahhhh…” moment in your life, and you’ll be in the running to win a set of my Daytime Diva’s Blaze trilogy (Take On Me, All Over You, and Hot For Him). Details on all three books are available in the books section on my website. Alternatively, if you’ve read them already and you win, let me know which other three books on my backlist you’d like and I’ll get them to you pronto. Over to you…

41 Responses to “Deadlines and downtime…winner is KH!!!”
  1. Andrea says:

    This weekend was my “Aaah”. I work for a small construction company and I only get 5 days vacation and my holidays. No Personal Days. No sick days. So this weekend I took a vacation day on friday so I had 4 days off. That was a real AHHHHH

    • Andrea, good planning on your day off! A four day weekend sounds like bliss. Glad you had a lovely Ahhh moment recently. Hope the afterglow sees you through till your next one!

  2. runner10 says:

    I love my garden, but it can be a lot of work. Just finished canning pickles and relish. When I stand back and look at the results, it feels good.

    • Runner, my new house has a mini orchard – over 30 different varieties of fruit and nut trees and berry canes. At the moment, most of it’s just bare branches and we have no idea what is what, but Spring and Summer are going to be interesting. I’m looking forward to learning as I go and getting my hands dirty, but am sure there will be times when I am cursing our 2/3rds of an acre. And yes, I plan on making pickles and relishes and jams and jellies. Yum! Congrats on getting your bottling done!

  3. Alina Duffer says:

    Hi Sarah! So happy to hear that your settling into your new house. I’m also excited to hear about another wonderful book from you! Since summer started I havent had very many ahhhhh moments. My house is a crazy zoo! With 3 kids and two dogs things are a little crazy here. I cant wait till Aug because my two oldest will be in school. Then I will finally get a real ahhhhhh moment, lol! Until then Im just trying to stay sane and not completly lose my mind, lol! I also need to get my synopsis done and sent in but that might have to wait till I can think straight in aug also. So until then I will just have to distract myself with good books to read and remember to take deep breaths.

    Have a great night! (*)

    • Hi Alina. Sounds as though you have your hands full. I was just talking to a friend who, like me, doesn’t have children who was reporting how proud she was for managing her sister’s three kids and family dog for five hours while her sister had a date night. She said she had a whole new respect for her sister for all the multi-tasking and patience those five hours required. I am a similarly doting aunt, but I have to confess I also need a jolly good lie down when I’ve baby sat my sister’s kids. Long story short – my hat is off to you! And you’re writing a book! Every time I whine about not having enough time, I need to remind myself of people like you, juggling kids and writing and everything else life throws at you. I hope you find a few moments of peace and tranquility and Ahhh between now and August. Cheers!

      • Alina Duffer says:

        Thanks Sarah. I actually had an ahhhh moment last night. All three kids were asleep by 8:45, and the house was quiet. It was wonderful! I got to shower with out kids and even got to have a conversation with my husband that didnt have to stop 15 times to answer a kids question or break up a fight, lol! As for the book, I have one finished that I just need to get my synopsis done for it and I have started another. I love writing. It helps that I have a wild imagination!

        Have a great night! (*)

  4. Daniela C. says:

    My most recent Aaahhh!! moment was on Saturday. My hubby took the kids out for a day trip. They were gone most of the day. After I did my chores (painting the deck) I finally relaxed in the pool waiting for them to call and tell me they are on the way home and to get dinner ready, etc.
    Well, my blessed hubby stayed out longer than expected. They got dinner out and I stayed in the pool until my toes (and other parts) wrinkled, reading my book.
    Aaaahhhh!!!!
    I gave hubby the BIGGEST hug!!!

    • There’s nothing better than an unexpected Ahhhh! moment. Bless your hubby for offering you one. It sounds idyllic. Although you’d have to wear a wetsuit to float in our pool at the moment – it’s very cold Down Under at the moment and I get a blue arm just from clearing out the skimmer box. Your hubby sounds lovely.

  5. Cim Hardt says:

    Hello Sarah- I have to say my latest aaahhh moment was being home with my boys this summer and having my two nephews everyday too is a treat, but I have to say it is still hard work. We are always on the go. If we are not at a park, we are having play dates with friends or swimming at some pool. I am on the go during my summer vacation too!! Last week I was feeling a little taken for granted. My husband came home that night and not only told me to go out with the girls that night, but this past weekend told me to go and get my nails and toes done and take the afternoon off and just read and enjoy. Although I felt guilty about this time, I have to admit I love it!! I now feel refreshed and can take on the rest of the summer and enjoy my time with my guys!!! Thanks :) It was exactly what I needed!!

    • Another busy mum. I’m exhausted just reading about all the stuff you’ve been doing with your kids and your nephews. My big achievement this summer was taking my nephews and niece to the zoo and I collapsed in a heap afterward. Can only imagine how exhausting a whole summer of childish exuberance must be!!! Your husband sounds like another keeper. And never feel guilty for enjoying some me-time – you’re a person, too, not just a mom. I tell my friends with kids the same thing all the time.

      • Cim Hardt says:

        Thank you so much. I look forward to these times with my children every summer. I could not ask for a better job to do and still be there for my kids. I tell my parents at school the same thing..not to feel guilty, but I put it onto myself too. I share these tales with them too, so they don’t think it does not happen to us teachers too. I do have a great husband and I am blessed to have him understand me during my times of need. Thanks and congrats again and I am looking forward to your future books :)

  6. Ilona says:

    Wow you are all such lucky people to get an Ahhh moment. I can’t remember the last time I had one ;-(

    • Ilona, I’m sure there’s an Ahhh moment out there just waiting for you. Buy yourself some nice bath foam and lock yourself in the bathroom with a good book and a tub of warm water. Or treat yourself to a pedicure or a massage. Or call a good friend and have a jolly good chin wag. Sometimes Ahhh moments have to be hunted down and captured. I plan on doing some hunting myself over the next few days…

  7. Linda Henderson says:

    Saturday I got to spend most of the day with my new grandson, so for me that was an AHH moment. He is three weeks old now and it seems like every day I don’t see him he’s grown.

    Linda Henderson

    • Hi Linda. Lovely to “see” you here. I can remember having a lovely Ahhh moment with my niece, Alana a few years ago. She was still a tiny bub then, and I cuddled her for hours as I sat on the back deck of my sister’s house, looking into her face. How lovely that you have a new grandchild – congratulations!!

  8. Colleen says:

    Today is my Ahhh moment… I am 2 year old nephew free and get to enjoy the day anyway I like! It is amazing how much energy he has and how much chaos he can create… love him anyway! ;-) but a weekday away is niiiice!

    • Colleen, suck the marrow from your day off. Do something fabulous and decadent and indulgent – even if that just means lolling about reading a book all afternoon. Have a great day!

  9. Summer says:

    As an aspiring writer, my ahhh moment happened yesterday when I finished struggling my way through a scene that wasn’t working for me at all, and finally felt okay, so now today I can move on to tackling the next one.

    • Oh, I know that feeling. I’ve procrastinated for days because I know I have a hard scene coming up. That definitely happened with this book – but fortunately I have a lovely partner who is also a writer to workshop scenes with me. Bless him! Glad you worked your way through, Summer. And good luck with the rest of the book.

  10. EllenToo says:

    This may not sound much like an Ahhh moment but ……. I could finally get in my car without wading through water. For the last two weeks it has rained part of the day every day and there is only so much water that can be absorbed by the ground.

    • Ellen, you sound as though you live near me. It’s rained rained rained for days, but today we caught a break. It’s so nice to see the sky and be able to walk in the garden. Glad that you no longer have to kayak to your car!

      • EllenToo says:

        Don’t know where you live but I live on the Texas Gulf Coast and most of the rain came from the outer bands of Hurricane Alex.

        • Ours was just ordinary rain down here in Australia, Ellen. We’ve been in drought and on water restrictions so long it seems wrong to complain, but a little bit of blue sky now and then is very welcome.

  11. Jane says:

    Congrats on finishing the book, Sarah. Sometimes when I receive a magazine or book in the mail constitutes as an Aaah moment because I know I’ll be relaxing on the couch and reading my new mag or book after a long day.

    • Jane, I just got the latest Lisa Kleypas in the mail and I know exactly what you mean. Confession time: I may even have even done a happy dance as I realised I now have a perfect way to spend my afternoon….

  12. chey says:

    My latest ahhh moment was yesterday, coming inside out of the heat and humidity and enjoying ice cream.

  13. Cathy W says:

    Congratulations on getting that book on “paper” and coming up for air!! :-)

    I try and find lots of little ‘Aaaah’ moments to keep me going. Sometimes it is that cup of tea in the morning, sometimes it is getting my daughter off to bed, sometimes it is getting to start reading a new book…

    As for a big ‘Aaah’… I am the editor for 4 different newsletters. One I’ve been doing for years, another is already well set up and I’m just taking over the assembly. Each of these is monthly. The other two are quarterly, but one we’re giving a major overhaul to and the other I am starting from scratch. Most of the time, the deadlines for all these are about a week apart, but sometimes when the dates converge just so, it can get a little crazy. I have a big “Aaaah” moment come June, when I have 2 months where none of them get published! (*) Aaaahhhhhh!

    • Cathy, I used to edit magazines before I started writing scripts and books, and I know that feeling! There’s always a lovely sense of completion when you finish an issue, but having a reprieve sounds wonderful.

  14. Fedora says:

    Hooray, Sarah! Glad to hear about your latest book and Ahhhh moment :) We sure do need those to keep our batteries recharged! My latest was sleeping in yesterday morning while DH got up to start the kids on the morning routine :) Mmm…

    • Sounds as though there are some nice hubbys out there. A good sleep in is delicious. And you know, just having the book done has given me a huge energy boost – such a load off! Thanks for dropping by, Fedora.

  15. Laure says:

    My latest “aaah” moment was the end of spring semester here. It was a tough one with some really hard classes for me, oil painting figures nearly drove me insane. But I finished, even survived the final. I was rewarded with a whole month off of school before summer semester started.

    Since during classes I have a bit of tunnel vision, not unlike your Deadline Hell, always thinking about the art, worrying, working and reworking, I love those vacation breaks. I didn’t touch a pencil or paintbrush the entire time. Aaaah! I spent most of this one just trying to catch up on reading. Read several books and it was just bliss.

    I also got some time to work on plotting the novel that’s been in my head for a while. Still have a ways to go on that. But hoping to get going on it more soon though it may end up being a Nanowrimo project. But it’s something I don’t usually give myself much time for. Having a story and characters in my head makes me so happy though. There was a looooong time that wasn’t the case.

    • You’re a double threat – writer and artist! Watch out world! Interesting that you can relate to the tunnel vision thing with your art – I have no experience with any other art form, so it’s cool to know that other people get this as well. Hope you get that book down on paper – and yes, it’s lovely having stories rattling around in your brain. Especially when you can find the time to write them out.

  16. kh says:

    visiting my home country and having a great time and appreciating alll the hard work of my parents and their sacfrifice for giving a great home life here

    • I have so much respect for people who leave their home countries to start a new life somewhere else. Every time I visit another culture – especially one with very different language and customs from my own – I think about what it would be like to uproot and have to find your way in a new and foreign place. Especially when I can barely work out how to buy a train ticket or a can of coke. Your parents are clearly tough cookies, and it’s lovely that you respect that.

  17. Laurie G says:

    My 24 yo son recently asked his girlfriend of almost 5 years to marry him. She’s a Botany/ Environmental Studies student. He’s a geology/Water & Soils student They are both in their last year of grad school. They have an organic garden. He tied the ring, an emerald with a platinum leaf shaped base, to a tomato plant. She accepted! They will be married next spring.We’re all very excited!

    • Oh, this is so romantic. How fantastic – love the ring design and the “organic” proposal. Now you all have a big, wonderful party to look forward to next spring. Congrats, Laurie.

  18. Finishing a 60,000 word MS, a contemp romance. I FINISHED IT!! Wow, big Ahhhh moment.
    Now what? LOL! Edit, edit again, and decide, do I submit it anywhere? Maybe…to Blaze?
    (H)

  19. kh says:

    thank you very much sarah love your books (W) (Y)

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