Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes: A Writing Update

It's been awhile since I posted anything on my writing projects so I thought I'd give a quick update.

As many of you know, I've been working on a novel, code named Chronos, that I was hoping to have done and off to the editor before the end of the year.

That didn't happen.

The main reason was that my day job had become unbearably stressful. I was so busy and caught up in the pressure surrounding my job that I couldn't write, be a halfway decent father to my kids, or the kind of husband that Marathon Girl deserves. As a result, I made a decision to start looking for a new job and put all of my free time into that endeavor. The good news is that about six weeks or so into my search I ended up with several job offers and was able to start a new one right after Christmas.

Once the stress of the old job was gone, I tried to get back into writing Chronos and found that I had been away from writing so long that I had a hard time getting back into it. So for kicks and giggles, I decided to start a small project to help me get back in the writing groove.

It worked.

Over the holidays I ended up writing the first draft of a Christmas-themed novella. My goal is to finish that book by the end of January and then return to writing Chronos. Though I don't have a date when Chronos will be done, I think it won't take long to get it back to the editor.

As for the Christmas-themed novella, it will be available in time for the holidays later this year. I never thought I'd write a Christmas book before but am happy with the way the story evolved. I hope that those who read it will find it do be unlike any other Christmas book they've read before.

Stay tuned for more details.

Searching Enabled

Since launching the new website, I've had several requests for a Search feature. As today, there is one. You can find it in the site menu or access the search page here.

If you have other requests or questions about the site, drop me a note.

A new and improved web store will be coming later this month.

New Website

Regular visitors to my site will notice that I've launched a new website. It's something I've wanted to do for the last year or so but haven't had the time to do it until now. 

The biggest reason for the change was that I wanted something that would look good on phones. That goal has been achieved. There were other technical changes I wanted enabled as well, including the ability for people to subscribe to blog posts.

There is still more work to be done. Over the next couple weeks I'll be launching a new and improved store for those who'd like personalized copies of my books. Other improvements, including tweaking the look and feel a bit, are on their way too.

I'm still finding some bugs on the site. If you happen to notice something, please send me an email or leave a comment below and I'll work to resolve them as fast as possible.

Thanks for reading.

Widower Wednesday: What Red Flags Should I Look for When Dating a Widower?

Widower Wednesday

Recently I received an email from a GOW who had just started dating a widower. Though the relationship was still in the early stages, she wanted to know what red flags she should be on the lookout for so she could know if he was ready to move on or not.

I’ve previously posted a list of red flags that anyone dating a widower should be aware of. While that list covers the biggest, most common ones, it doesn’t take into account other warning signs that the widower may not be ready to move on or individual circumstances, wants, and needs that come with each relationship. So, here are three things GOWs can do to see if there are other red flags they should be worried about.

1. Know What You Want in a Relationship

Before you can identify other red flags in any relationship, it’s important to know what you’re looking for when it comes to a man. You need to have a good idea what values you want a potential partner and what behavior you expect from him before you can identify red flags. Once you know what you want, compare that list to the widower’s values and actions. Do you feel that he loves and respects you or do you feel mistreated and unsure if how he feels about you? Mark anything that doesn’t line up with what you expect as a possible red flag.

2. Figure Out if You're Making Grief-Related Excuses for His Behavior

After you've identified potential red flags, take a step back and see if you’re making grief-related excuses for his behavior. You determine if you're putting up with a widower's actions, comments, and behavior that you wouldn't tolerate from a divorced of single man. If you are, you need to stop making excuses for his behavior. Allowing someone to misbehave for any reason is simply going to encourage them to keep doing it. You need to put your foot down and start treating him like you would any other guy you'd date and see if he's willing to move on or not.

3. Decide What You Can and Can't Live With

After going through the first two steps, take a long, honest look at the widower and decide if he was to stay exactly the same person as he is today (red flags and all), could you see yourself spending the rest of your life with him? Not everyone is going to line up perfectly with what we want in a spouse. What you need to decide is if the red flags you've identified are things you can live with or deal breakers. If you can't live with them, then you need to decide how much more time and energy you're willing to invest in the relationship that's not going anywhere.

Don't be afraid to walk away from a relationship that's not going anywhere. Breaking up isn't fun or easy, but in the long run it beats staying in a relationship that's not going anywhere. Have the courage to be honest with yourself and the widower about any red flags. You'll both be better off for it.

Room for Two FREE on Kindle

My first book, Room for Two, is free on Kindle starting today. It will be available as a free download through Friday, September 26.

It's also available for free in the Amazon stores for CanadaUK, Australia, Japan, France, Brazil, IndiaSpain, Italy, Mexico, and Germany.

If you don't have a Kindle you can download  Kindle app for your phone, tablet, or computer for free.

Read the first three chapters of Room for Two here.

About Room for Two

"Sweetie, I'm home." I tried to put as much kindness into my voice as possible. I didn't want to have another argument - at least not right away.

Silence.

"Sweetheart?"

A gunshot echoed from our bedroom, followed by the sound of a bullet casing skipping along a wall.

Everything slowed down.

***

When a life is destroyed, when guilt says you played a role in its destruction, how do you face the days ahead?

Twenty-six-year-old Abel Keogh chooses to ignore the promptings he receives concerning his wife's mental illness, and now he feels he is to blame for her choices. If only he had listened . . .

At some point in our lives, each of us face devastating afflictions and must eventually cope with loss. Regardless of how it happens, the outcome is still the same - we are left isolated, alone, wondering what we could have done differently, and where we can turn for peace.

This is Abel's story in his own words. His search for peace and the miracle that follows is proof that love and hope can endure, despite the struggles and tragedies that shape each of our lives.

 

 

Widower Wednesday: Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

Widower Wednesday

Note: I've got a fun announcement coming out Monday. If you want to be the first to know about it, sign up for my newsletter.

***

Dana posted the following comment on a recent Widower Wednesday post.

I am a widower and want to know if it is OK to propose to my girlfriend and give her the engagement diamond I bought 30 years ago for my first wife.  It is large, beautiful, and I was planning to get it set in something my girlfriend would adore.  The diamond is special to me (more than any new store-bought one could ever be) and has been a token of my love for 30+ years.  Thoughts?

The diamond probably has a lot of meaning to you but it's probably not going to have the same sentimental value to your girlfriend. This isn't a diamond that your grandmother had or even your mother had.  We're talking about a diamond that was worn by your late wife.

Think about that.

Would you wear a wedding band that your girlfriends ex or late husband would have worn? Wouldn't you rather have something that was meant something to you?

Your girlfriend is a different person. If you're going to ask her to spend the rest of her life with you, the least you can do is give her a new diamond or other precious stone—something that has special meaning for her.  You're starting a new chapter in your life. There's no reason to make your past life a part of it.

As for your late wife's diamond, keep is somewhere special and safe and don't let the feelings, emotions, or memories that come with it interfere with your new relationship.

Widower Wednesday: Trigger Warnings

Widower Wednesday

Recently on the Dating a Widower Facebook group, there was a thread from a GOW worried how often the W might be forced to think about the late wife. The reason for her concern was that there were people with the same name as the late wife, places, and other things that could trigger a memory of her or their times together. When asked about whether or not it triggered memories of the past, the widower shrugged it off and said it wasn’t a big deal. The GOW wanted to know if he was telling the truth or sparing her feelings.

Here’s my take: Everyone has something that will trigger certain memories or emotions.  A song, for example, might bring back memories from high school, a first kiss or dance, or a vacation. For others a smell might trigger memories of grandmother’s house, a stay in the hospital, or a job. Some of these memories might be good. Other times the memory might be bad. The point is that everyone, including widowers, has them.

There could be 100 different things that set off a memory of time with late wife. But so what? There’s nothing a GOW or WOW can do about memory triggers. They happen whether we want them to or not.

The bigger concern should be how does the widower deal with memory triggers? Unless his loss is recent (18 months or less), most widowers are able to deal with these the same way other people do: they relive the memory for a second or two and then go on with their life. Once or twice a week something might trigger a memory of my past life with the late wife but 99.9 percent of the time no one knows that such an event has ever happened. But nearly 100 times a week I’ll have something trigger a memory about Marathon Girl or my kids.

And that’s the way it should be.

For example last night our five-year-old son came into our room sleep walking. After I put him back in bed, I had a short conversation with Marathon Girl about our oldest kid and how he used to sleep walk and how that freaked us out the first time it happened. One the way home from work I drove past an apartment complex that Marathon Girl and I lived in for a year. That triggered some nice memories. Then at work earlier in the day I overheard a co-worker telling someone else a story about her kids that sent a cascade of memories of my own children through my mind. Nothing happened to trigger a memory of my past life.

So unless triggers put him in a funk or get him talking incessantly about his past, stop worrying about it. Instead work on creating memories with him so that when he hears a song or sees something it reminds him about his new life instead of his old one. The time you spend together, the more triggers you’ll create.

Widower Wednesday: Out-of-Control Teenage Daughters and Widowers

Widower Wednesday

From the Inbox comes the following:

Abel,

I know this is not an issue that you have had to deal with personally, but I am in hope that your readers may be able to offer up some advice on how they have met the challenges of helping raise a child, specifically a teenager daughter, amidst the many obstacles of being a stepparent, the teenage years, the lack of authority, and a father who is reluctant to set down rules and boundaries.  It is greatly affecting not only the relationship between he and I, but the relationship that his daughter and I have tried to build over the last couple of years.

The most recent development is her admission to him that she feels like everything had changed (her freedoms) only since I came into the picture.  This admission came, not surprisingly, after we put some restrictions on her phone use.  She has failed to realize that as she matures, new rules and boundaries go along with that and her father seems ill equipped or reluctant to explain this to her.  I should note that I don't say or do anything until I've discussed it with the W, but she still chooses to believe that it is coming from me, and not through her father and I arriving at a mutual decision.

Thanks,

N.

N.,

While I don’t have any experience being a step-parent, I do have experience being a father. It’s never good for any child to have one parent who’s doing their best to be a good mom or dad with the other parent is only passively involved. Even though I don’t have teenagers yet, my kids are always testing boundaries and trying to find out if Marathon Girl or I will give in on certain issues.

Based on what you said, her dad needs to start set rules and boundaries. Odds are she'll listen to him more than you. Then the two of you need to get on the same page as far as what these boundaries are and what the punishments are if they rules are broken. Two different set of expectations only cause confusion and the problems you're experiencing. The two of you need to get on the same page. While that may not solve all the issues, it’s a necessary starting point in order to address the problems she’s causing.

Hope this helps,

Abel

Readers? What suggestions do you have for N?

 

My Very Own Frankenfood

For the most part the garden has been a smashing success. Still, there are some things that haven't worked out and I'm taking note so I don't repeat the same mistakes next year.

Like my squash.

See the above photo. I planted the squash too close to a zucchini plant. The result has been my own kind of freakish frankenfood. Aside from looking weird, the skin of the squash is so think, it's nearly impossible to peel. Which sucks because squash is one of my favorite foods and this year's crop is pretty much uneatable.  (Note: Marathon Girl did cook one up and the taste was fine but that hard peel just sucked.)

So next year I'm planting the squash and zucchini farther apart. Maybe on opposite sides of the garden. And if my squash does cross pollinate with something, I hope it turns into something like this.