Past, Present, Future: Focus on the Present with Hourglass

The present is harder to write about than I thought it would be! 

Mainly because right now, I'm writing the HOURGLASS sequel, and I'm facing a scary scary impending Deadline of DOOM. 

So it's a little crazy pants around here. I keep forgetting to eat, and to brush my hair. I don't move for long periods of time, except to type. My behind is spreading out like butter melting in a skillet, without even the promise of pancakes once I'm all done. 

But, I will have created another story, hopefully one you'll enjoy. The sequel is different from HOURGLASS in lots of ways. It's stretched me as a writer and as a person. 

It's funny how writing fiction can make you look at real life differently. I believe the present is about learning from past mistakes, and trying to figure out how to apply the lessons to the future. 

Here are some things I've learned lately:

1. Because my time with my family is so sparse right now, I'm trying to be intentional when I am with them. I look into their eyes and focus on listening to what they're saying, instead of mentally plotting/writing and only half-listening. I try to be "present" in the moment with them, if you will. 

2. I've learned, the hard way, that I need to be thinking about what I'm doing, about my "present" business, which is writing book two. 

Several times I've come across people talking about HOURGLASS on Twitter. It had all been lovely and kind, until about a week ago, when I saw my writing and my story get, as we say in the South, LIT UP. 

It was so ... O_o

But it taught me a really solid lesson. 

3. I try to be intentional with my family. I try to be about my own business. But outside of my tiny world is a whole big world, with people who live and breathe. 

Our state of mind can color the way we see things. For me, choosing kindness over controversy means that my soul is quiet. When my soul is quiet, I am in the moment, instead of worrying about what has been said or what will be said. There's no worry for wrongs of the past, there's no anger to anticipate in the future.

4. I'm choosing to live in the space in the hourglass that filters the sands of my past into the sands of my future - the immediate moment. 

The tiniest window of time, and the only one in my control. 

What are you learning right now? Why do you love living in the present?

NOW! If you want to win a PRE-ORDER of HOURGLASS and a signed bookplate and bookmark, tell me why you love living in the present in the comments below. Make sure to visit Beth and Saundra's blogs to find out why they love living in the present, and don't forget to enter our grand prize giveaway to win all three books, signed, here!


  1. Patience really is what I am learning everyday. Its hard to not get annoyed at times when things arent moving at the pace you want them too.

    I like the present for many reasons. The conveniences we have over the past, cars, AC, travel are awesome. But the silly things that we might lose in the future are still here as well, junk food, etc.

  2. I love living in the present because it is absolutely precious. Several years ago I was kicked in the face by my horse and the doc was amazed at how close the horse's hoof came to my temple, and how close I had come to death. Every moment counts and so does everyone in it.

  3. Food-wise, I think modern day is by far the best option. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be a vegetarian in the past--I'm pretty sure they didn't have tofu or tempe or protein powder in ancient Rome, which would make my life a lot more difficult. Probably, the food options for most of the past weren't that sophisticated or tasty--unless you were rich enough to afford good food, in which case you'd probably get gout! And, in the future, food is always depicted as shrink-wrapped or in pill form-blech! The present would definitely be the best.

  4. Hmm.. Beth's blog says to comment with our favorite time period in the past, haha. So I shall do both! For the past, I love Victorian-era London... especially when it's given a steampunk twist. I love living in the present for medical advances, practically.. and also for technology. It's a big part of my life and I can't imagine having to go without it, haha.

  5. Technology and food and health care. you can read what i type as soon as i finished this comment, just in a blink. but at past, you need to maybe a month or so to read my 'letter' :)

  6. Why do I love living in the present? I think it's easy to feel cynical about the world, but I've been consistently surprised by the new people I meet everyday and the potential for the future. The potential of the present is such a great gift!

  7. I am learning to be more flexible. With a 17-month-old life doesn't always go along with my Brilliant Daily Plans. Letting go of that control can be tough sometimes, but it's also freeing in a way. I'm learning to enjoy the little pockets of time for myself whenever I can get them.

  8. Living in the present is what it's all about for me. Yes, it would be cool to go either forward or backward, but really it's our present lives that we have to live. So why not enjoy it to the fullest. Do things you normally wouldn't do. I love being able to communicate with just about anyone in the world at the click of a button. It's just fantastic.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  9. Would LOVE to win a copy of HOURGLASS.
    The present is the most amazing time because of the constant changes to the way we communicate. I can hardly remember what it was like to not have the world at my fingertips with the click of the keyboard. My world has expanded and been so enriched by this. And I think it will bring better understanding between cultures (eventually).
    sleuthwood (at) yahoo (d0t) com

  10. I love living in the present because I enjoy being healthy. It would really suck to die from TB, which we hear all about in English because it took so many authors back when. I also love my rights. I'm really glad I come after the woman's rights movement, instead of before.

  11. I try to make the most of every day and to be present with the people I love. Each day is a gift. Regretting the past or anticipating the future takes us away from appreciating the now. It slips away too fast. I want to enjoy every moment of my present.

  12. I love living in the present because, really, what better choice is there? There's no point dwelling too much on the past or focusing too much on the future. You can learn from your mistakes, and you can make plans for the future, but what matters most is how you're living each day. Each action has a reaction: your past dictates your present, and your present creates your future. It's hard sometimes, but if you're not living in the present, I don't really think you're living much at all.

  13. The present is now. It's kind of, right now, the pathway towards my future. There can be no future if the things that occur now, and learn now, don't happen. The best thing you can do is live in the right now, because life is so precious that if you don't take care in the present, you might not even have a future.

  14. When you're swamped, it's easy to forget to appreciate the present. I try to give myself a little bit of breathing space at the end of the day to remind myself that I'm here now.

    As for my favorite thing about living now, I think the internet wins. :)

  15. If we are talking about living in the moment, the best thing about that is bliss. When I really observe my daughter playing or my husband's body language while he's talking, I glimpse pieces of them that make them unique. I see the parts of them that maybe others don't see. In those moments I am blissful.

  16. I've found the same thing as you in my family interactions - they need intentionality from me, not just my physical presence. And parenting is so much easier, too, when I force myself to be in the moment with my son instead of letting myself think of all the other things that need doing. It's really, really important for him and for me that I don't let anything distract me from our time together right now (just as I need to focus only on the writing when it's my writing time).

    I can't wait to read Hourglass!

  17. Your book sounds awesome and I can't wait to read it. I need to take your advice about staying in the present with my family.

    I love the present because of the Internet. I need it for social networking. For my birthday last year, I had it put on my cell phone so I can check blogs while I'm waiting in court for my cases to be called.

  18. I love living in the present because of indoor plumbing, Internet, and easy access to basically everything. Oh and modern medicine of course. I love the present for all of the comforts that we have that we usually take for granted.

    I tweeted your post! @aLmYbNeNr

    I can't wait to read your book! :)

  19. What a fantastic post - brilliantly written!

    I love living in the present because it blows my mind just how FAST time is. Faster than the blink of an eye, the present becomes the past. Another memory. You really have to live in the moment and drink in every single part of it because it's gone just as fast as it came. I want to savour every second of every day and be able to look back and know I lived every moment to its fullest.

    I am so excited for the release of Hourglass, it looks and sounds AMAZING!

  20. I love living in the present because I feel like I'll be forever young. I feel like I'll be forever 25 and I have all the time of the world to travel, read, have fun. I like living in this century because of the internet that enables me to keep in touch with my friends all over the world.

  21. I love living in the present because of everything we have. Everything is available to you with the click of a button.

  22. I love living in the present, because I get to watch my daughter and her friends grow up. They are the future, and I think that it's great that by living in the present now, with the relationship with my daughter (she's almost 7), and teaching her the things she knows, we get a glmipse into the adults of the future! How exciting.

    And you're comment about you bottom spreading like butter with no outcome of pancakes - HILARIOUS!

  23. I don't want to win this, I want to BUY it. So don't count me in the contest, but I just had to tell you how beautiful this post is. I actually wrote something similar on my blog today. And I'm so sorry for the O_o. That's not cool.

  24. I love living in the present because I can't imagine living in anyplace else. Go back to relive my past? No thank you! Go forward and skip all of the good/heartbreaking/lovely/exciting/boring/scary/whatever things ahead of me? Nope! I am all for living in the here and now. No regrets for the past and no dreading the future.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  25. I love living in the present because all the things we have right now and the facilities. Like technology and internet.
    At the rate the world is growing we need more things to keep up and most important we need to be organized, thats the facility that tecnology give us.


  26. I'm only 16 at the moment, so one of the benefits of living in the present is that I can't predict things: I can't predict how I'll feel from day to day. This fluctuation of emotions means everyday is a surprise and is different. That doesn't sound amiable, I admit, but it's wonderful in that I can learn a great deal about myself, how I think and my... neurotic tendencies.

    I also enjoy living in the present, because we are creating history. As in Chekhov's "Three Sisters", the actions of today affect our past and other people's future. Isn't it just marvellous that everything can affect everything else, that by living I am doing something good? And when we actively do good things, there's a wonder in how we are saving the future, moulding it into something we hope to be better.

    I think that having the past and the future- both huge spans of time- can also help one appreciate how short life is and that we have to live it now because living for something in the future wastes the intermediate days.

  27. I love living in the present because the past is fun, but really it's just memories. And the future will be great, but the best thing about it can be that is pleasantly surprises. So I like to take it day by day. :)

    TweetyB99 at aol dot com

  28. I like living in the present because the past is over, nothing to do but go forward. :)

  29. i like living in the present because, of the people around me, the way the world has evolved over the years.

  30. I think the best thing about the present is the convenience of everything. It's all about instant gratification. The internet especially makes our lives easier than ever.


  31. I enjoy living in the present because we have it so easy. There's always food, a hot shower and a soft bed, not to mention all the awesome technological things like the internet. I wouldn't even get a chance to win your book if it wasn't for the internet :D


  32. I love living in the present for many reasons but two that spring to mind are health care and technology. Yes, health care is expensive but the advances that have been made are remarkable. Many things that would have caused death in decades and centuries past can now be survived.
    I'm also very grateful that I live in this time period because of technology. I'm so fortunate to live in a time where information is so accessible!

  33. I like living in the present because of the lack of knowledge of the future and getting to figure things out about the past. The present is full of surprises. Plus, I enjoy taking my time with family.

    And I have to agree with Mary Ellen...technology's great. :)

    Rachel M.

  34. I've heard so many great things about your book, and the cover is just amazing. I can't wait to read it!

    As for why I love the present? Because even though it's crazy trying to juggle writing and being a mom to two young boys and being pregnant again and a part time job and everything else, I know there will be a time when I will look back and wish for these days. For the sticky kisses, and the silly things the boys say, for their innocent grins and giggles, for youth and promise and the time when cookies make everything better.

  35. My favorite things of the present are electricity, indoor plumbing, and the refrigerator. Being a stay at home mom to two toddlers these are the essentials of everyday life for me!

  36. *stealing Hourglass from you and failing to notice the lasers and completely see-through bulletproof glass around it* *bumps into bulletproof glass* *sets off alarms from lasers* *runs away* Mission failed.

    Ah, but there's another way I can get HOURGLASS?

    I love the present. People don't want to live in the past, they don't want to wish that they could have fixed that or done that and then been happy for the rest of their lives. The past is over. OVER.

    People shouldn't live in the future either. If you live in the future all the time, that's all you'll think about. What you're going to do tomorrow. What you'll do the day after. But you'll forgot that you're right here. Now. The time will pass by if you focus on the future too much, and then you'll miss the present.

    I love the present.

    Linda @ Most Important Letter

  37. Technology! That's what makes me love the present! I confess I can't live with out my mp3 player, cellphone, my mac and that kind of thing. And of course my old rusty trusty car... and the cleaness of a toilet! The past may sound romantic, but I like to live here and now. I love the present!

    I tweeted a link to your blog for an extra entry thanks!



  38. Oh, I can't wait to read Hourglass! Right now, I'm learning the importance of enjoying the phase I'm in--not a newbie, not quite there yet. Hopefully, I'll look back at this time and say, "Remember when it was so simple?" instead of, "Remember when I banged my head so hard against the keyboard it cracked in two?"

    I love that I have the freedom right now to make mistakes. Lots of them.

    Oh, and I tweeted the contest: @karen_akins

  39. I think the present is such an amazing time period. Fifty years ago the first human spaceship launched--and now we have eReaders, computers, and iPads. I'm such a nerd with technology that living in a technology advanced period makes me so happy.

    Also, despite being old enough to live on my own, I still live with my mom and I really like it. I have somebody to run to when things get scary or horrible.

    The present is nice. Very, very nice.

  40. I like living in the present because of all the ammenities we have. Technology, great food, showers.... Also, I love the traditions and customs of today!
    Also, like the quote "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why its called the present." I don't want to know what tomorrow brings, I need surprise! You can't go back and change anything. What's past is past. There's no going back. You just shouldn't think about things you did that you hate, because you can't change it.
    I love looking back at historical aspects and people and thinking 'hey! this could be me one day!' Also, my birthday is perfect. I love my birthday. <3
    All in all, the present is perfect!

  41. I love living in the present (in the US) because of all the access to education and literature, as well as the freedoms and equality our time affords. It's not perfect, but it's constantly getting better.

  42. I love living in the present. I have everything I need, like all of the basic amenities, but I also have the ability to pave my own path and become the person I'm meant to be. While I would love to be transported in time (TARDIS anyone?!) to another era, I can't really imagine being in any other but my own.

  43. I love living in the present because we now have things that I couldn't live without. Indoor plumbing, the internet, credit cards. Our world is far from the old days where people had to go into the woods to potty, but not advanced enough to live the world in your bedroom, we are just right.

  44. I totally agree with your comment.

    "I believe the present is about learning from past mistakes, and trying to figure out how to apply the lessons to the future."

    For me, the present is all about learning. Learning from the past, and learning for the future. My present is absolutely full of potential, and I do my best to live and learn every single moment! :-)


  45. I like the present because it's simpler than living in the past. Everything that you need or you want it's in your hands in a few minutes or even seconds. But we still have lots of things to do better for the future.


  46. I love looking back on the past, but at the same time, it makes me so grateful to live in the present. I'm on an on-going genealogical search of my family, and it's taught me that I am so fortunate to live in the time that I do. I don't have to move to a new country while raising 10 kids as a single mother, just to give them a better chance at life. I have access to modern conveniences that I know I take for granted. And I'm so grateful that I don't have to wear a corset! ;)


  47. Why I love living in the present? My kids are growing up RIGHT NOW. I love being able to take the time to notice how they are becoming their own people. They're all between 3 and 7 so it's a great age to see them grow and change.

    AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

  48. Honestly I think because of all the gadgets we have now I remember when we didn't even have a VCR now look where we are at blue ray dvd's - and I never thought we would be at ebooks(which I do love saves space) but still love my paperbacks.


  49. I love how the book world is changing. I hope that someday real soon that all books will be available in both ebook and print format so that the readers can choose whichever format they like best.

  50. I love living in the present and see how much Technology is changing so quickly. I moved back to Germany from the Caribbean and thanks to video chat, I got to not just type words back and forth but see them every week and the added bonus of no outrageous phone bills. 10 years ago that wouldn't of been as accessible as it is now.


  51. My present situation is bit difficult, with all the thousands of things I have to study/prepare for/present for in college. It's hard, but I'm loving it. Never had so much fun. ;)

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  52. I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/vollkopf/status/58563791239122945

  53. Okay, so our present isn't perfect (a lot could be better in a lot of countries), but it makes me feel comfortable. I have everything I need pretty
    much one click or one phone call away. :)

    cris_mv at hotmail dot com
    I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/mcrism1/status/58566486213656576

  54. I love the present because it's all we really have. A lot of people spend time living in the past or planning the future but I don't think we should do that because the past is gone and the future isn't guarenteed. Thanks for the contest!

  55. I love living in the future because of all the technology we have now. We have cars now so we won't have to walk to ride horses for miles or days. We have instant info at our fingertips and we are trying to cure diseases that have killed others in the past.


  56. I love the present because of the internet. I don't know where I would be without it. I guess that's a bit boring and selfish. But, it's the truth. In fact, I currently have eight tabs open. :) I can't wait for HOURGLASS to come out.

  57. Right now, I love living in the moment because I've finally found a WIP that I'm in love with. I love writing each chapter and hate when I have to stop. It's also the first in the series, and I can see books two and three on the horizon. I want to write them all. Every day I write right now, I fall a little mroe in love with my characters and hate that in the future, I'll be making their lives hell. Right now, we're still all in love with one another. :)

  58. I'm living in the present because I believe that there's no sense to live in the past as it already happened and there's nothing you can change about it, and the future will come when it will come so worrying about it is no use at all.

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com


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