Two new books, and the future migration of this site

Hey, readers. Thanks for checking in on this busy mom who still sometimes writes a book or two.

I have two new books published, over the summer. One is a birding guide with stickers, perfect for kiddos. I based it on my own zip because it was a special request for YOU KNOW WHO, my youngest. However, it’s a pretty good guide for migratory birds in the Eastern US, so maybe give it a look see on Etsy (look for TreehouseTimeVintage).

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The other book went live yesterday and the paperback is in process as we speak. It should be available at all book retailers online by the weekend. It’s called Chicken Impossible, and it’s a fun chapter book about a kindergarten girl on a mission to get some baby chicks in her coop!

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In other news, I will likely be discontinuing this website in the near future. The WordPress.com platform no longer works with my Apple laptop, and that’s a deal breaker for yours truly. Come keep in touch at TreehouseTime.com, or see me on Facebook!

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At the current time I have several books mostly completed, under this name as well as the Red Tash brand. Will they be published? I honestly don’t know. The state of publishing is a tricky thing right now. I’m taking up embroidery this week, as that seems to be more relaxing.

At any rate, for the foreseeable future, I’m limiting my endeavors to things I enjoy, regardless of the money they might make. That means some of my previous “hits” might not get their sequels or books 3 in 2017 or…even by 2027. I mean, I say things like that, then I turn around and publish two books in a summer, so…honestly, I don’t mean to be a pain in the ass, but it doesn’t look like my life is shaping up into that of a full-time hardcore novelist. Full-time Lesleaing appears to be my gig (mother, driver, shopper, wife, embroiderer? lol).

I know you understand, but for those who do not…sorry, not sorry. This is my one sweet and short life, and my kids, husband, doggos, and health are continuing to come first. Books are huge projects, and my life hasn’t afforded me the ease of completing any huge project lately, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF RAISING A FAMILY OF SIX.

Say it with me if you feel my pain, friends. All the pain and all the joy.

You know where to find me. ❤

Latest news

Dear Readers,

Long time no talk! Forgive me for my absence. In my last update, I promised I was getting back to work on Montana Brides #2. I did complete a good deal of work on that book, but, alas, mothering and life stuff once again got in the way of my professional storytelling capacity. As of right now, I do not have a firm release date for that book. Funny how a year or two changes things, you know? I do hope you will forgive me for taking so long to finish. I’m still uncertain when I will find the time to edit and submit it. I refuse to publish anything less than my best. I would rather sell you a riveting story that takes a few year to write than a sloppy one that leaves you disappointed in any way. I hope you agree that quality is always the best bet.

As for life stuff, check in with me at TreehouseTime.com, where my husband Tim and I have been podcasting for going on a couple of years. When I have time to blog, that’s how he and I have been blogging, of late!

With love,

Leslea

An end of summer report card?

Just a quick note. School starts this week (if you can even stomach that reality), and I am busy doing mom-of-four stuff in preparation, as well as recovering from a vacation last week…BUT, I am very proud of all I have accomplished over the summer, so I wanted to check in briefly and let you know that An Honest Woman, Montana Brides #2 is on the homestretch! Not only was I able to self-edit the majority of the manuscript, but I have also put down new words and it is a matter of (writing) hours before I can turn the document over to my editing team to polish it up!

The kids are excited, mom is excited, the readers are excited about Montana Brides #2...

The kids are excited, mom is excited, the readers are excited about Montana Brides #2…

Still no idea when the release date will be, but I will definitely announce it here and on my Facebook page. You should also sign up for my email list, because you know how flakey social media can be.

I hope you’ve been having a good summer! If you’re interested in what my family has been up to, I welcome you to listen in at Treehouse Time.

Fitting it all in

Every woman struggles with this, I think. “How do I do it all?”

Manage to be even a little bit successful at anything, and someone will validate your accomplishment with a harried, “I don’t know how you do it.”

Try to deflect that praise a bit with a dose of reality, and it only manages to elicit more wide-eyed wonder. “Wow, if I were you I’d collapse of exhaustion/go crazy/give up and cry/etc.”

To be honest, ninja-level experts at fitting it all in find The Top to be a lonely place even when, as in my case, my own personal “Top” is a low hill at the foot of a chain of mountains. When I do meet someone who understands, I value them as a friend and a peer. We get each other. We both know we’ll never fit it all in. We also know our Top isn’t good enough. It never is. There’s always a higher summit to reach for.

But. But, but, but. I have found in my almost 14 years of parenting that as long as I am a mother, I am always going to deal with balancing what is best for my kids with what is best for myself. In a perfect world, I could neatly subdivide the 24 hours of each day into thoughtful sections where everything important gets done, and everything I can’t do gets hired out because I’m earning enough $ to afford that.

I don’t live in a perfect world, though. Who does?

So, if you read the previous post…it has been an amazingly loooooooooong December after all. I haven’t been hibernating, but my latest book has. I recently started editing the early chapters, reacclimating myself to the story I set aside in February. I was THRILLED beyond measure to see that it doesn’t suck. The truth is–and my professional writer friends will relate to this–before I had to set it aside to dig myself out of the blizzard of life, I had been spread too thin to have any confidence in what I was writing.

And it’s funny, because I almost NEVER feel that way when I’m writing about myself. I can blog about my life, my kids, husband, chickens, dogs, friends, adventures…never a problem doing that. Why? Because I am completely present in my own life. When I’m writing about fictional people, though, it’s different. I have to give it major focus. As a reader, you want that, and you appreciate it. You want your author to be present in the story, as the storyteller. If I can’t do that because life is too busy, it’s like having two conversations at once with two different people. Maybe you can pull that off for a second or two, but try telling a 70,000 word story at the same time you’re talking to the middle school principal. I dare you not to call the principal by the name of your main character, or to accidentally forward emails meant for your husband to the special needs facilitator. (I’m pretty sure I’ve done both.) It’s one thing for me to have egg on my face at school. It’s another for me to rush a book to press that isn’t up to par. I can’t do that to you, reader. I want to tell you a real story that you will really enjoy. I want to suck you in, make you laugh, keep you guessing, and move your heart.

Mom-writer’s angst aside, An Honest Woman is back on track and so far it’s a better story than I gave it credit for these past few months. If you’re like me, you know what I mean. Insecurities have a way of turning mountains into molehills the longer you put off dealing with something. The truth is, editing An Honest Woman has been a pleasure so far. I look forward to writing the rip-roaring end of Jessica’s journey from spoiled brat to kind-hearted wife. I hope you will love the tale. (I’ve been watching Longmire recently, too, and I’m just tickled as HELL to see the strong rancher and Native types in that show…makes me feel like I am nailing it in Montana Brides.)

And, in even more news…I have another project that I hope you will love. I love writing about my family, about my life…it has been years since I have been a serious blogger, but turning family stories into entertainment always was my strength. I used to blog 2k-5k per day, no sweat. And photos! You know I’ve only gotten more avid in my pursuit of the best family pics possible. So…I’ve decided to start blogging again, regularly. In the past, I stopped blogging to begin writing professionally. I then stopped freelancing to start writing fiction. It’s been a lot of awesome learning experience, and I am now pretty much an expert on all kinds of fiction and personal writing. So, why not come full circle and go back to blogging? I mean, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the book?

Because that is the thing, you know? Book writing energy and blogging energy are two different things. They can’t really interfere with one another, except that all things take time. But since my life has been trumping my writing time, I feel like there is little to sacrifice by heading in this new/old direction. I’ll still work on the book, and I’ll still write more books. But I also want to tell my stories–not save them up for one story a year, which is what might happen if I only write fiction.

In addition to the blog, there is a podcast, which is another way to tell a story. My husband asked me months ago to start a podcast with him, and all this time, we have been planning. We’ve been planning and designing and formatting and doing business plans (yeah, it’s pretty intense, this idea of his), and we finally started recording shows. So, the blog I’ll be writing is over at our new website, TreehouseTime.com, where you can also (soon) find our podcasts.

I know! It’s a lot of stuff! How do I fit it all in, right? 😉

I am always going to put my family first. And I am always going to be a writer, and a storyteller. It all seems to fit together, to me. It all fits in because it all fits.

I will continue writing Montana Brides, and I hope that in time I will get to start work on Book After Book, the second in the Byrds of Birdseye series. Red Tash readers are still expecting Troll Or Trash, too. I can’t promise any release dates for any of the above, but if you want to track how close I am to completion on anything, friend or follow me on Goodreads under whichever pen names interest you, and you can easily access my progress in that way.

I'm 87% of the way toward my word count goal. That doesn't mean I won't go longer. I usually do! Click to friend/follow me on Goodreads.

I’m 87% of the way toward my word count goal. That doesn’t mean I won’t go longer. I usually do! Click to friend/follow me on Goodreads.

I’ll never stop writing fiction. It’s far too much fun. I do hope you will find my family’s adventures to be pretty fun, though, as well. Something to listen to or read in between books, huh? Visit us over at Treehouse Time. We would love to have you as guests on our virtual back porch!

Treehouse Time! Aren't we cute as cartoon people?

Treehouse Time! Aren’t we cute as cartoon people?

If you are interested in old blog entries, check out:

Tumblr (I still update this periodically, but it is mostly photos from instagram now.)

Guerilla Mothering (my old newspaper column)

Before those, there were ClubMom and Xanga. That’s way back, though! Nobody got time for that!

See you at the Treehouse! Onward and upward! I’ll drop you a rope ladder and see you on the deck.

Long December

The first snow of the season was in November. The final–hopefully–was last week. That’s not typical for Southern Indiana, but it’s not atypical, either. Last year we dealt with being frozen up our hill for the first time. This year it wasn’t such a surprise, but the volume of snow we got sure was. Either way, it’s melting now, and we’re almost back to real life. There’s just something about having mobility put on hold by the weather that busts up the routine, you know?

Snowvember:

photo by Leslea Tash, all rights reserved

All photos on this page by Leslea Tash, all rights reserved

Thursday:

 

photo by Leslea Tash, all rights reserved

Yes, we got another dog, too. He blew in with the weather, I reckon.

Sometime in between the autumn snow and the spring snow, we had the holidays, and that interfered with life work, as well, but in the best way.

Wait. See that? For the past few years, I have thought of work as life, without even meaning to. That’s not to say that I didn’t love my family and my home and all those entail, but…I just enjoyed writing so much and interacting with my readers, that I focused on it a lot. Maybe too much, if I can be allowed to be truly honest.

photo by Leslea Tash, all rights reserved

Thankfully, I’ve never been one of those moms who is like, “Oh, help, I’m stuck at home with my family for Christmas.” I love my kids and spending the holidays with them is always awesome. I’ve always tried to make that time special. It’s just that…last year, I was ready for the kids to go back to school so I could get back to work…and that didn’t happen. Instead, it snowed.

photo by Leslea Tash, all rights reserved

and it snowed, and it snowed…

photo by Leslea Tash, all rights reserved

That’s another pic from last Thursday. Wow, huh?

This year I found a new way to look at that snow outside. A new way to look at the holiday break. A new way to look at my family, my career, and how they fit together.

I still love writing. I still love interacting with my readers. But…I love my family more. I want my life to be more than killing time between writing sessions. I need to fully experience and savor every moment of my life, as much as possible. I can’t, as a friend put it, be “all about the books.” I’m not that girl. When I tried, it didn’t fit with my priorities. Not right now.

So, yep, I haven’t written a word on my current work in progress since January. We hit our back to school stride just long enough for me to get to 83% completion on An Honest Woman, and then the kids and the weather made another perfect storm. You know what they say, though, right? It’s not about learning to avoid the melting snow puddles, it’s about learning to dance in the rain snow storm, or something like that.

photo by Leslea Tash, all rights reserved

all photos by Leslea Tash, all rights reserved

So, like I said, we’re melting, and back to the old routine. Here’s hoping that An Honest Woman is ready for editing soon. I don’t have much more to write, and ironically, a lot of where I left off was in the snow-covered mountains, anyway, so the cold and the fire, and all that? Research!

Thanks for your patience, your interest, and your readership. I’m still writing, but more importantly, I’m living.

And I hope my readers know I wouldn’t be half the writer I aspire to be if I didn’t know where one activity ended and the other began. ❤


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An Honest Thank You

This weekend was wildly busy, and I want to thank all who stopped by the Pioneer Hearts sale to scoop up bargain books &/or enter the giveaway. I *know* my Smart Girls Gone Country have already done so, but just in case you missed all the hubbub, you’ve got a few hours left of the event.

Mainly, though, I want to say “Thank you” for making The Rancher Takes a Wife a top ten hit over the weekend. Chastity and Carl’s story hit #9 on the Christian Western Romance chart, and I’m really pleased about that.

The Rancher Takes a Wife, Montana Brides #1, a top ten hit.

The Rancher Takes a Wife, Montana Brides #1, a top ten hit.

And great news…An Honest Woman, Montana Brides #2 is coming along swimmingly! I’m making great progress and expect the sequel to be ready for editing/processing soon. Keep up with the progress here.