This week we’re all a bit under the weather. After being away over night at an outdoor activity place with her school, my eldest spends the next morning in tears. ‘Is she ill?’ asks my husband. I feel her forehead. ‘Nope. Normal,’ I say. My daughter lets out a tear tremble. ‘Is she going to be sick?’ he asks, eyes narrowed. I turn to her. ‘Do you feel sick, sweetie?’ She shakes her head, cheeks damp, brow furrowed. ‘Aw, honey,’ I say, ‘what’s to do?’ ‘I don’t know,’ she sobs, sinking to the bottom stair. ‘I just.’ Sob. ‘Feel.’ Sob. ‘Like crying.’ Sob. ‘And I don’t know why!’ Hmmm. I take one look at her, march into the kitchen and tap my husband on the shoulder. ‘Hormones,’ I say. ‘It’s a mixture of sheer exhaustion and hormones.’ His face looks as if I have just told him she has three heads, which, of course, being a girl, she does, figuratively speaking. ‘I’m off,’ he replies. Wise move.
Thing is, I don’t think it’s just my daughter who’s feeling awash with tiredness and oestrogen. For some reason, I’ve been finding this past week tough. In many ways, things have been going well. I’ve signed up to several e-book forums now in a bid to promote my novel. ‘Get on to forums and join in the conversation to grow your readership’, all the advice on the web says about it. ‘Yes,’ I mutter, the clock flashing 11.30 p.m. at me, ‘but they never tell you it will take for ever to sort out. And no, for the fifth time no, Gspotter83, I am absolutely not interested in your new erotica novel.’ My laptop promptly dies on me. This, I think, is my cue to go to bed. To be fair, the people on the forums are a very friendly bunch, but the trouble is I keep forgetting to log on and get chatting. I’m just so tired and achy. Amazon has its own forums, which are very easy to use with some handy author threads so you can do some hefty self-PR, but again, it’s finding the time to get on there. What I have found though is that, once you are on, you’re on all night. ‘Are you still up?’ my husband asks after a rare Friday night out with the lads for a few beers. I glance at the clock. 12.45 a.m. I meant to be in bed by 11. Damn it. ‘How was your night? Have a few pints?’ I ask, yawning, closing my laptop. ‘Bernard was there. He has a bike with four seats!’ I look at him. He is jumping like a new puppy. ‘Oooh, I feel queasy now,’ he says. I need my bed.
The next day, my hormones hold me hostage. I am trying to write my second novel, and it is not going well. ‘It sucks!’ I wail as my husband blinks awake. ‘What time have you been up since?’ ‘4.30,’ I reply, aware that I sound slightly crazed, ‘and it’s a Saturday!’ He sighs and goes to put the kettle on. I resume staring at the word document on the screen. The eldest walks in, peers at the laptop and places a small hand on my shoulder. ‘Do you feel like crying but you don’t know why, mum?’ I smile at her and nod. She pats me on the back. It gives me an idea. ‘I need feedback. I shall send my new book to my mum to read. She has hormones. She’ll help me.’ My daughter nods her head. ‘Nice one, mum,’ then goes downstairs to watch TV.
Thankfully, turning to my mum ends up being a godsend. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. ‘Pop it over now and I’ll have a look. Can I put it on my Kindle?’ she says. I have no idea, but she seemingly does, and before the end of the day, Mum’s read five chapters and loves it. ‘You’re not saying that because you’re my mum, are you?’ I ask, wary. ‘Nope. Well, yes, I’m rooting for you, but no. It’s right up my street this new book of yours.’ She then proceeds to give me some good pointers, what I can tweak from a reader’s perspective, the whole lot. When she’s done, I could hug her. Except she’s in Dublin. ‘Thanks, mum, that’s just what I needed. I wasn’t sure if it was okay or not.’ She sighs. ‘Just keep going. You’re doing great.’ I breathe out. I feel better. ‘I’ll keep sending you chapters. Is that okay?’ She readily agrees, and with that I have my own personal editor.
Over the next few days, buoyed by my mum’s comments, I keep on writing, and even, on the suggestion of my hubbie, take a long shot at contacting a local newspaper to tell them of my blog, suggesting I can write a weekly column for them. I don’t really expect to hear back, but what the heck. ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it, mum,’ says my youngest. I pick her up for a hug. ‘That’s right honey. That’s right.’
It gets to the evening one day and I’ve managed to find the energy to go for a long run before making tea. Picking up my Blackberry, I check my messages. An email from the local newspaper editor flashes up. I stop breathing. Clicking on the button, I read it. They want to give me a try. They want me to write a regular column. I’m so, so chuffed, a couple of tears slip out. Digestive biscuit in mouth, my eldest tilts her head. ‘Mum, you okay?’ I nod. ‘It’s good news,’ I croak. The youngest comes in. ‘Sssh!’ says the eldest as she shuffles her sister away. ‘What is it?’ I hear the youngest ask. ‘Hormones,’ the eldest replies, ‘always hormones.’