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Catching Up

I just realized it’s already almost the end of August, and I hadn’t even been completely aware that summer had arrived! Meanwhile, my daughter and grandson have come and gone—from Florida to Massachusetts, their visit cut short to a mere two weeks this year. They’ve both already started back to school (my daughter teaches, my grandson started kindergarten). Where has 2017 gone? I’ve been as busy as a one-armed paper hanger . . . how has this year gotten so far ahead of me???

The answer is simple, really. Six letters: CANCER. I began 2017 with the first of my radiation treatments for lymphoma. Talk about keeping you distracted. It did, derailing my life from mid-January through the end of March.

time-1786138_640But today, on August 23, I am relieved to be past my treatments and, hopefully (at least according to the last PET scan), in remission. Still, I’m frustrated and feeling inadequate. There’s so much I wanted to accomplish this year, and I’m running terribly behind. I’m feeling like the frenzied rabbit in Alice’s crazy world. I’m stressed.

I’ll admit it: I tend to stack too many tasks on my plate. I work full time, and I am an aspiring bestselling author who’s also obsessed with the art of effective marketing. I am a devoted wife, and a long-distance mother and grandmother. I’m an equestrienne whose other “child” is a five year old horse named Samson. I am also “mom” to about two dozen dime-sized babies—the freshwater angelfish I raise as a “hobby.”

So do I have reason to feel I’m running behind? Hell, yeah. Is it my own fault? Well, partially. I could cut out some activities. Pare things down to dull roar. But do I want to? Hell, no.

If not for the big Serpent C (cancer), I would have had THREE books coming out this year instead of two. I would have had my horse READY to show, not just halfway along the training path. And I would have raised THREE spawns of baby angels, not just one.

So I’m dedicating the remainder of 2017 to Catching Up. I need to refocus my priorities, and drink an extra cup of coffee when my ass is dragging. I need to take those little extra moments to show my loved ones how much I appreciate them.

You see, tonight, I had a wake-up call: I attended the wake of my coworker’s father. A man younger than me, stolen from his family well before his time. A brutal reminder that tomorrow is promised to NO ONE.

I know January 1st is the traditional date for resolutions, but I just changed that to August 23rd. And now I’ve made it public. My goals for the rest of this year are out there, not to be ignored.

It’s time I started catching up.

White rabbit, move your freaking clock out of my way. I have work to do.


Claire Gem is a multi-award winning author of romance and supernatural suspense. You can find out more at her website or Amazon author page.



The Witching Hour


I’ve always heard it was a myth. Some sources claim it’s midnight. Some claim the designated time is 3 a.m. I’m inclined to believe it lies somewhere in between. The witching hour is supposed to be the time at which witches are most powerful, at which time when magic is most likely inclined to occur.

Magic? It’s more like turmoil. For me, the phenomenon occurs between 1 and 3 a.m.

Screw magic. I’m more inclined to believe sweating is the sole lame and annoying product of the witching hour. Many nights, I awake during this time sweating profusely, even though our bedroom is more than sufficiently cooled, even in summer months. Menopause? Oh, yeah. Hot flashes? You betcha, babe. But it’s not the sweating that keeps me awake.

It’s the fact that I can’t find the freaking OFF button on my brain.

Why, oh why does my brain decide that at 8 p.m., I’m done? DONE. Cannot think another thought, write another word. But somehow, at 1 a.m. or so, no matter how exhausted I am, no matter what prescription drugs I’ve taken to enhance my sleeping faculties, my brain turns on with the automation of a technologically scheduled, timed “on” computer screen. And with just that intensity, and clarity, and eye-squinting brilliance, refuses to be ignored.

I’ve tried diversionary tactics. Get up, boot up the computer, sit there with a cup of chamomile tea at my side, and try to write. Will my errant brain have it? No. I’m wide awake. I’m fretting about everything from the water bill to the fit of my horse’s saddle. But can I write a word on my manuscript? Hell no.


I resort to the holistic approach. Breathe. Into your stomach, without any shoulder lifting. Let your belly swell with each breath (I have a particular problem with this, as I come from a generation for whom the flat belly warrants life-threatening surgery). I end up hyper ventilating. Not good. Not relaxing. Not productive.

Next come the mantras. I am relaxed. I am strong. I am in control. To which my inner self screams in reply, “Yeah, bitch, but what about that deadline you have looming? What about the plane tickets you have been avoiding buying? And you are going to pay for them how??? How much do you owe in credit card debt?

And what about the water bill?”

I give up.

Is this a mid-life, hormonally induced sickness? Or am I in need in counseling? Perhaps I just need some rich uncle—preferably a REALLY rich, UNKNOWN great uncle—to pass and leave me his fortune.

No matter. Life goes on. For those of us lucky enough to have been granted that privilege. I’ve been privy lately to several people, family and friends, who have been cheated of the choice, no matter how many rich uncles they might have. So honestly, who am I to complain?

I have NO right. What the hell am I complaining about?

Right. Get a grip, girl. Change the damp sheets, brew another cup of chamomile tea, pull on your big girl panties, and deal with it . . .



Claire Gem is a multi-award winning author of contemporary romance and supernatural suspense. Check out her titles at her Amazon Author Page.