School's Out

on June 4, 2013

My kids have only been out of school for three days and already I’ve heard the two youngest sing–often–the popular song called, “I’m bored.”

If they were growing up in the 70s and 80s like me, they’d be out every day until the street lamps came on. I had three good friends who all lived only blocks from me (and my best friend was two doors down); I had a bike I rode everywhere; and I had a summer pass to the movie theater where every Saturday we could see a dollar matinee of Disney movies. I spent hundreds of hours in the library, hundreds of quarters in the PacMan and Centipede machines at the pizza place, and rode my bike likely a hundred miles each summer, all within the confines of my hometown of San Carlos, California. I don’t think I ever complained about being bored. (Watch, my mom will be reading this and tell me I’ve completely rewritten history. But this is how *I* remember it!)

Still, my childhood was different than my kids, and I miss that I can’t let them loose to roam the streets and ride their bikes to a friend’s house. Even before we moved out of town on two acres, I wouldn’t have let them out of my sight if they were playing out front.

It’s sad to think that an era has ended. I’m sure there are some places where parents feel safe to let their kids roam free, but they are few and far between.

I’ll be sending my kids to a day camp, but only a couple days a week. I thought giving them two weeks “off” where they could just relax, read, play games, have fun at home was a gift … but I was wrong. Because they’re bored.

Working from home has a lot of advantages … I can write in my pajamas, for example. A typical day has me writing after the kids go to school until about noon, where I go on my treadmill for 45 minutes, then shower, get dressed (usually in clean pajamas, unless I have to leave the house later), make lunch, and write until the kids get home. I don’t have to wear make-up, I have a mini-fridge in my office stocked with water, and no one is around to bother me. If I want to write until the wee-hours of the night and stumble into bed at 3 in the morning, I can. If I want to get up early and write, I can. If I want to take the day off to see the Giants game … yep, I can.

But it also has disadvantages. We’ve talked about them a lot here at Murder She Writes — such as people thinking we have TIME to do things because, after all, we’re at home; or being expected to run errands or drive on field trips because, we don’t have a “job.” Fortunately, I’ve learned to say no (a lot!) and am not expected to do these things … most of the time.

Still, one of the big disadvantages is that I don’t have an outside office to go to when the kids are home. I don’t “leave” for work. On occasion this isn’t bad — like weekends and one-day holidays! — but in the summer, the days drag on, it’s hot, the kids are bored, and interruptions are not good for my muse. (Yes, she’s a bitch, and I have to live with her!)

I’m so looking forward to sending them off to summer camp three days a week!

However, I am grateful that I have two older kids, both with their driver’s licenses, who have pitched in to help entertain, take to movies, take swimming, and the like.

I just wish, sometimes, that my kids could have had the childhood I did.

On another note, it’s publication day for STOLEN, the sixth book in the Lucy Kincaid series!

Unlike Deborah Coonts, I don’t get a tour … maybe when I have a hardcover out, but until then, it’s just me and my little ‘ole mass market paperback. But that’s okay because I’m working on revisions for my next book, and traveling right now would make me scream. (Okay, I’m just a wee bit jealous of Deb and her Lucky Bastard tour … but she’s so nice and fun and likes to drink champagne on writing panels, I’ll get over it!)

STOLEN is a bit different for me … I’m focusing for the first time on Lucy’s boyfriend, Sean Rogan, and how his past catches up with him. It was really fun, and scary, to write mostly from my hero’s POV. And he’s not completely law-abiding. I had to make him likable while also making him a criminal.

RT Book Reviews gave STOLEN a Top Pick, and so did my mom. (Okay, I know, we’re not supposed to tell people that relatives like our books, but my mom is very honest with me. I can tell you exactly which of my books she likes the best … and which ones she didn’t like at all.)

My publisher, Minotaur Books, created this great page for STOLEN that includes info on the book, an excerpt, and character snapshots … Check it out! And you can also watch this trailer, which I really love:

Now, for me, it’s back to revisions on the next Lucy Kincaid book! And hoping that my kids aren’t quite as bored today …