Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts by Just a HD Mom

How can I…?

Innocent Labor

Innocent Labor

After lots of hard work, re-writes, and hysterics the finish line is almost in sight. The release of my book, Innocent Labor is right around the corner.

I’m so excited I want to scream…then cry, usually followed by the need for a glass of wine. Don’t judge me, I’m a writer. Being an emotional basket case is part of who we are. I saw it on Facebook so it must be true.

It’s interesting now that I’m releasing a book, I’m being asked “How does a person write a book?” A couple years ago, I was the person searching for a mentor and answers to my questions.

Over time, I’ve learned everyone, myself included has a different writing style. I don’t know if there is a guide for the “Ten Steps of How to Write” (I’m sure it’s been written, but I’m always asked for specific answers and not general guidelines). However, I believe everyone is different and should find their own way to allow their muse to speak.

This isn’t to indicate you shouldn’t implement a few rules to control the chaos that is your creativity. My first priority was to always carve out time to write (Best Advice Ever). If I didn’t schedule that time, the magic didn’t happen. When I was lucky the ideas would churn around in my head while I went about my daily tasks. The words and scenes pushed me out of bed, the characters becoming so real I’d forget they lived in my head and not in reality.

What's in My Head by Cynthia (aka MrsPeel) Love the words inside the silhouette here!But I couldn’t depend on those magical moments to write a book. It’s like waiting for a cool day during the summer months in the High Desert. If you want rain, you’ve got to make it happen. Dig deep within yourself. Watch movies similar to your story, make notes about the feelings a particular scene invoked. Go outside, describe what you see, feel, and smell. Even researching information can help form ideas, propelling characters forward in the story. (Again, great advice I received.)

Oh yes, the writing process can be an indescribable rush when a story has the writer clenched in its grasp.

I’m also the kind of writer who prefers music playing in the background rather than television while I’m writing. Creating a playlist to match the vibe of what I’m looking for in my story helped build a connection with my characters and the scenes. I’d close my eyes and picture what I was trying to put into words; the music taking me to that place emotionally where I wanted to take the readers.

But remember, writing a book is just the beginning. In addition, there are revisions, rewrites, professional editing, critique groups, book blog tours, marketing, networking, and creating a presence on social media.

Writing and re-writing.  authors.  writer quotes.  goals.  advice.  wisdom.  life lessons.

The Beautiful Part..

Writing can be a daunting task. And becoming a self-published writer can sometimes seem overwhelming. However, the feeling of satisfaction of having a completed and professional literary piece that you have created cannot be denied.

Would I do it again? Indeed, I would.

As a matter of fact, I’ve already started on a second project and I’m ready for round two.

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can connect with her on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and Facebook

Gardening Issues

Surely, I am not the only person with a garden that is confused by the strange weather this season? I’ve got seedlings in the ground that have succumbed to the dip in temperatures and flowers struggling to grow. Leaves and stalks reaching up toward the sun, but falling short of exploding into a blossom of color. (Except for one Iris, she managed to proclaim her presence to the world)


Iris “Here I am!”

It’s kind of sad…and anti-climactic.

I’m not the most patient of souls. I dig the holes, plant the seeds, and give them some water. The least my garden could do is yield a crop worthy of winning a shiny ribbon at a county fair. I want results and I want them today.


Only a few of these seedlings have survived

Instead, I’ve got only a few seedlings that have managed to survive and are steadily pushing their way into this world. Perhaps, this is a good sign.

Now that the sun has been shining and the ground has been heating up, things will get back on track. Maybe, these plants will be the hardiest of vegetables. Maybe…

Ah, well. If not, I guess this means there’s a trip to a Farmer’s Market or a Fruit Stand in my future. 😉

Fruit Stand

Fruit Stand

A new year begins

Happy Thanksgiving: Unions Shut Down Traffic to LAX

Airport Lines

First day of school in the High Desert has come and gone.  Our boy is going to a new school and everything has changed. A new schedule, new classes, and a lot more traffic. Our first day of school was akin to dropping someone off at the airport. There was lots of craziness being contained in a small space.

But things have settled down and we’re in love with the new school.

It’s a performing art school and our son is enjoying himself immensely. The curriculum is very different from a traditional school; however, that was the whole point of sending him to a different kind of school.

The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez. $11.54. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (October 25, 1999). 128 pages

The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez

Recently, he came home with questions about our family history. They were reading “The Circuit” by Francisco Jimenez in Language Arts class and he wondered if we had a similar history. Can you imagine my astonishment at his genuine curiosity about migrant farmers?

School hasn’t been in session for a month and I’m so glad we decided to send him there. He’s being inspired and driven to learn, which of course, makes it all worth it.

Now, if I could just get the boy inspired and driven to keep his room clean…

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom, please visit my website and click the Contact page. I’d love to hear from you.

There’s a reason why traditional works

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and all over the high desert you can see vendors selling their wares for those who haven’t already purchased a gift for that special person. As for myself, I go with the standard gift, flowers. They’re a traditional way to say I love and appreciate you.

There are quite a few locally owned florists, such as Allen’s Flowers & Plants and Fairy Tales Flowers & Gifts (both have been serving the High Desert for many years) with a variety of bouquets and plants to choose from and helpful staff members ready to assist in finding the right gift.

Another couple of options for fresh flowers would be going to local Farmers Markets or reating a bundle of posies from your own garden.

Simple Bouquet

Simple Bouquet

We have Farmers Markets during the week (Hesperia – Wed, Victorville – Thurs, and Apple Valley- Fri). Unfortunately, I missed them all and quite frankly, I was worried about the flowers not staying fresh till Sunday.

Yes, flowers have become the stand-by gift for Mother’s Day but there’s a reason why.

They’re a handful of joy, a rainbow of colors, and nature’s own perfumes being bestowed upon someone as a token of affection.

Should an arrangement of flowers be considered a trite gift?

I think not.

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

Creating a painting with words

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

The written word, in my humble opinion is a form of escape. How
many times have you read a book and battled pirates, traveled back in time, or flown on an alien spaceship? Writing is creating a painting, an artistic masterpiece with words. The writer is a guide to new experiences, invoking emotions, and often gaining knowledge.


Emotions/Letting Go

For the writer, putting pen to paper is baring hidden parts of your soul for the world to see, judge, and possibly reject or embrace.

Terrifying? Yes, without a doubt.

Whenever someone asks why I want to write, I’ll say something along the lines of ‘Oh I’ve always wanted to’. The truth is, I’m an avid reader and I’m addicted to books. I love the idea of a happy ending or a strong female protagonist saving the day.

Piles of Books

As a writer, it’s my goal to take my readers away from reality for a little while. Let them escape their world and step into mine. To allow themselves to fall under my spell for a bit and at the end, perhaps have been impacted by my story.

The feeling is indescribable when someone reads your work and is moved by your words.

Yes, writing is terrifying but the thought of never being able to write another word is unfathomable. It’s become a part of who I am. And that is why writing has become my escape, my own artistic masterpiece.

An excerpt from my novel Innocent Labor:

Elena pulled up to the Childer’s home and glanced around as she got out of the car. Toys were tossed carelessly amidst the overgrown grass and weeds, memories of a playdate long since over. The pretty flowers someone planted near the porch
swayed in the breeze and the metal wind chimes decorated with fairies and frogs danced in the afternoon sunshine. Whimsical gnomes placed in the planter guarded the front porch, armed with shovels, wheelbarrows, and bright smiles.

Although there were a few signs of disarray, this appeared to be a home that was shared
by a family filled with love and laughter.

As she walked to the front door, the uninhibited war cries and laughter of the neighborhood children floated along the evening breeze. Peals of laughter rang out as harmless insults hurled back
and forth. She looked across the street and watched the children chase each other, intent only on themselves and their games.

Such innocence should be protected and treasured for as long as
possible, the world could be an ugly and cruel place.

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

Time to channel my inner gardner

Source: viaMonica on Pinterest


High Desert gardening seems to be on everyone’s mind lately. When should we start planting? What kind of vegetables should you grow? Do you follow the instructions on Pintrest/Google or the advice of your friends and family? And do you need a blueprint to get started?

Raised Beds

Honestly, go with your gut. A couple years ago my hubby and I started our first garden in a raised bed. Apparently, it was the best thing to do in the high desert because it helps the plants retain water and we were able to add vitamin rich soil to the beds. I found out later this was the way to go in our area when I was researching alternative gardening options.

Serendipity? I’ll take it.

In January, I cleaned my established raised bed and started
panicking a little bit about the strange weather we were having. I was
concerned about it impacting my gardening plans. But we went ahead and planted our seeds a couple weeks ago.

We also added large plastic tubs for a few other crops. One of those alternative gardening options.) They were less expensive than ceramic planters and less work than building another raised bed. We hit up a local dairy farm for the free fertilizer piled out front and got to work.

The tubs are for the strawberry plants, tomatoes, chilies, and carrots. We kept the squash, lettuce, cucumbers, and snow peas in the raised bed.

Now it’s just a matter of watering our precious crops, killing the weeds, and patiently waiting for our harvest to grow.

…it’s been almost two weeks; I’m already tired of waiting.

Patience by Krista Huot

Brights lights, Cheering fans? Maybe…

Oh my goodness, it’s time for assessments/auditions in the High Desert for the next school year. It’s nerve wracking. We enrolled our son in a performing arts school and he has an assessment this weekend.

Imagine a junior high school as a version of Fame. Oh, yeah…

He’ll play his guitar and must have enough musical pieces to fill up a 10 minute audition. The good news is it’s only an assessment. They’ll be gauging where his skill level is so they know where to place him in regards to his classes.

According to the 11yo, quite a few other kids from his school will
also be attending the same school. This includes his best friend. They are both pretty jazzed about the new school.

I spoke with the BFF’s mom because her son already had his assessment. He did wonderful. He chose theater and his audition was for an hour (yikes!).  But according to his mom, he wasn’t nervous and did a great job.

Both kids have big personalities and have been working hard these past couple of weeks to be ready for their auditions. Talent is great but if you don’t hone your craft, it can go to waste. I’m so proud of both of them.

Remember Debbie Allan, in her leotard, holding a stick and talking
to her class in the opening scene for the show Fame, ““You’ve
got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying … in sweat.”

It always stuck with me because there was a grain of truth in it.

Wasn’t that one of the best opening lines ever?

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

Sushi, please

This past Saturday, the 11yo and I went out for sushi. One would
assume, as I did years ago, finding good sushi in the High Desert wouldn’t happen. Not true, my friends. There are quite a few Japanese restaurants in the area with more opening their doors all the time. (If only someone would open an authentic Ramen Noodle House, I’d be ecstatic.)

Lately, we have a particular spot we always go to. Samurai Sushi,
it’s on 7th street near the downtown area. When you walk through the
doors, you’re greeted with a resounding “Irasshaimase” and cheerful smiles from the chef and waiters/waitresses. (The chef sends each table a free appetizer and a dessert, we love this place.)

As a family, sushi is one of our favorite choices for a family night out on the town. Usually, our son sticks with teriyaki chicken and a few pieces of sushi. This particular night he decided to branch out and get a sushi roll instead.

We did big things. Sushi rolls, miso soup (seaweed, tofu, and broth), and sashimi (that’s raw fish without the ball of rice underneath). Oh yes, the boy eats raw fish. He’s been eating sushi since he was in preschool.

Times seems to be speeding up and the 11yo is getting older, he’ll be 12 next month. I pray our small family stays close and we don’t forget to treasure these moments. It seems like only yesterday he was eating his first bowl of miso.

I remember the waitress added ice cubes because it was hot. He was so small he couldn’t reach the table so he sat in a booster seat, clutching the spoon in his chubby little hands and carefully aiming it toward his pursed mouth.

Sigh…great, now I’m depressed. I might need another sushi night.

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

Putting my garding plans into action

Is it me or has winter been a little strange in the high desert 
this year? The stormy clouds, frigid winds, and low temperatures are competing with the cheerful sunshine and 70+ degree days. I don’t know if I should wear shorts and t-shirts or bundle up in jeans and sweaters. I wonder if this weird weather will have any impact on spring and delay my plans for a garden this year.

I’ve ordered my seeds, tilled the soil, and I’m ready to go. I’m a novice so I really have no idea what I’m doing. But we planted a garden a couple years ago and cucumbers and tomatoes grew like gangbusters. Thank God, Mother Nature and my grandmother knew what to do because we sure didn’t. And when my grandmother couldn’t answer our questions there was always Google. (Don’t laugh; you know you do it too.)

This year, I’m going to do big things. I’m going to attempt to grow snow peas, chili peppers, squash, and lettuce. This is in addition to the cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries. I contemplated growing corn but I think it might be too much. I saw pictures on the internet of corn stalks being grown in large tub containers and I was immediately enthralled by the idea.

My hubby and son just laughed. They aren’t getting involved this year. I think the corn might have frightened them. I wonder if I should start looking at tractors, not anything big. Just a small one…

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

In times of sorrow, it’s the innocent who help us heal

In the early hours of what should be like any other day, tragedy poured through the media and airwaves in the HD as news spread of the shooting in CT. An outpouring of prayers and condolences have been on my Twitter and FB feed all day for the families and children impacted by the terrible actions of a sick individual. My stomach has been in knots all day from the horror of it all.

After picking up my son from school, we ran a couple of errands
and he turns to me, with an exuberant grin and eyes sparkling with excitement and tells me about his student leadership group’s plan for next week. “Mom, we’re going to go Christmas caroling.” He goes on to describe the group’s plans for the evening and our required duties for the event. (Don’t you love how kids live in the moment?)

As he was talking, all I can see are images of crying, terrified children being led away by teachers and fire dept. officials. I want to scream No I’m keeping you at home where I can keep you safe but I can’t. My son, our children deserve these fleeting moments in their childhood for Christmas carols, frozen noses, and laughing friends.  And by God, I’ll be there, freezing and
singing right along with him making sure it happens. Standing guard as only a mom can, with a smile on my face and a taser in my pocket (I’m kidding…kind of).

My heart weeps for the parents, children, and families in Newtown, CT. May our positive thoughts and prayers help ease their pain during this terrible time. I pray the sweet, singing voices and innocent laughter of these kids make it through the darkness and tears to help lighten the hearts of those burdened with grief and sorrow.

During the next few days, let’s not focus on the horrific choices this person made on a cold, winter morning (please don’t make him famous) but instead let’s cherish and remember the ones who matter the most, the families and the children.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. – Martin Luther King Jr.

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog



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