Sunday, 5 August 2012


Balancing Life and Writing

First off let me say that I’m not sure I do such a good balancing job.  Lots of time I remind myself of a tightrope walker who can’t take a misstep without falling off and getting hurt.  Or maybe I’m a juggler with lots of balls in the air.  If I take my eyes off the balls for even a second, I risk disaster.

Okay, maybe it isn’t that bad.  I did enjoy my metaphors, though.  My writing life would be so much easier if I didn’t have a job.  Or, it would be easier if I didn’t have such a demanding job.  I teach ninth graders!  If you have a ninth grader you know how challenging kids are at that age.  Put thirty of them in a room together, and you get an idea of what I mean by challenging.  If you don’t have a ninth grader, just trust me on this.  As a teacher I have to make lesson plans, teach my classes, grade papers, maintain discipline, and take courses to keep my certification current, all of which is very time consuming.

I’m also a wife, mother, and grandmother.  My husband works out of town, so when he’s home on the weekend, I want to spend time with him.  My children are all grown, but my grandson stays with me during the summer.  He’s a seven year old ball of fire.  The other day I said, “I’ve eaten too much this summer.  I’m getting fat.”  He answered, “I won’t tell nobody.”  LOL.  Wish it was that easy to hide.

So, how do I manage?  During the school year, I have three ways of squeezing writing time out of my day.  First, I write through lunch.  I eat at my desk and write while I’m doing it.  This works well for me because it gives my mind a break from my students.  I find I’m better able to interact with them after my brief escape.  It sort of recharges my batteries.  You’d also be surprised how much you can write in forty minutes.  Sometimes I edit during lunch.  Either way, I’m getting some writing done.

My second trick is something that won’t work for everyone.  When I come home from school, I treat myself to a thirty minute nap.  I’ve found that I can think so much better when I do this.  Then, I write until dinner time. 

My third trick is also something that won’t work for everyone.  I stay up about an hour after everyone else is in bed.  I get so much done!  Even the dogs are asleep and don’t interrupt me by begging for a treat or bringing me a ball to throw.  My younger dog Rascal will come and take my wrist in his mouth and lead me to the refrigerator whenever he wants something.  When he came here, he was so skinny we thought he might have greyhound in him, but after living with us for a year or so, nobody would mistake him for a greyhound. 

During the summer everything is easier.  I have plenty of time to write then.  After I retire in three years, I’ll be able to write full time which is great because I still have a lot of stories yet to be told.

I’d like to thank Hashtag Authors for participating in my blog tour.  Readers, don’t they have a lovely blog?  Please support them by becoming blog followers and visiting often.  See you at my next stop.



Orange flames shot skyward, greedily licking at the ambercolored logs, while smoke filled the air and almost choked him even at that distance.

 He drove as close to the house as he thought he safely could and roared, “Liesel! Where are you?” He laid down on the horn, but nobody came running to meet him.

 He ran all the way around the house, but he didn’t see her anywhere. She must still be inside! As hot air seared his eyes and face, he fell back from the force of the blaze. A solid wall of intense, voracious flames blocked the front door, but an outside staircase leading to a secondfloor balcony was still passable.

 He ripped off his shirt and tied it around his mouth and nose, then dashed up the steps to the balcony. Smoke billowed and swirled against all of the windows. He stared inside but the smoke prevented him from seeing anything. With no warning the window burst outward, spraying his chest with glass and barely missing his face. Hot sparks pelted his bare skin, raising water blisters, while small shards of glass worked their way into his skin.

 He saw a set of French doors in the center of the balcony. It looked like the most likely spot to enter the upstairs. He kicked out the glass near the doorknob and flung the door open. Smoke billowed out in black, thick, suffocating clouds, but the room hadn’t caught fire yet.


Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators.  She is also a member of Romance Writer’s of America and EPIC authors.  Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Books.  At present she teaches high school social studies.



  1. I just "thought" I was busy, until I read your blog. Congrats for having such an organized life! I'm going back to my recliner and laptop now. :-)

  2. I wish I could have a nap when I got home from work. Half your luck.


  3. Marybelle, there's nothing like a nap to perk you up. I wish I had known that years ago. Linda, it's funny, but I never thought of myself as that organized. I guess I am, though. :)

    I'm taking workshops all week, so I'll be back around lunch to answer any questions you have for me.

  4. That's an awesome schedule, Elaine, thanks for sharing. Your excerpt is very tantalising :-)

  5. Thanks, Sherry. It's one of the pivotal scenes in the book.

  6. Rebecca Hipworth7 August 2012 at 13:17

    I like the cover. :)


    1. The cover was what struck as as blog hosts I think Elaine has struck a great note.

    2. I liked it too. I've seldom seen a cover so match a story. Gin Kissner is my cover artist.

  7. Just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    1. I wish you could have come. We did have a good time. The excerpt is still up at my blog if you'd like to read the first chapter.

  8. Awww, your grandson sounds adorable! Yea on being able to write full time! Congratulations on your new book!


  9. Congrats on this new book. The conflict is set up beautifully...What a tease to the reader!
    Susan Shapley

  10. Congrats on the new release. I love romantic suspense books. Thanks for the great post and excerpt. This book sounds fantastic. Can't wait to read it.


  11. I take naps too. I could never teach 9th graders --- way too jaded. In my church volunteer teaching, I've realized I'm most comfortable with 1st & 2nd graders. They have mischief, but not as much attitude or angst.
    Is that a Mustang on the cover? Which year? '65 ?

    1. oops, forgot my email