Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Importance of Kind Words

During this holiday season, people like to talk about generosity or the "spirit of kindness." I try to be generous to others, as much as I can being a super busy stay at home mom on a budget. Yesterday I wrapped some gifts for some neighbors on our floor who are especially kind to me and my family. I also wrapped up gifts for my Irish Dancing class and it felt great to see their surprise when I brought out the little wrapped presents. 

I've been thinking about how kind words and gestures can help someone when things are difficult. When I was pregnant with my twins, I was in my early twenties. I had no idea what to expect with twins and I needed support and guidance. I had left college, lost friends, and I had to rethink my entire life. I felt so isolated. Kind words would have meant so much to me and my husband at the time. Even my father, who was excited about his impending grandchildren, shared this news with people at grocery stores or wherever we were. Usually people were nice about it, but once at Barnes and Noble, an employee was so rude, saying how sad it was that I was so young and having children. My father and I said nothing as we left the store. 

Instead, people were rude or insensitive, and they treated me like I had done something shameful. Even now, after my twins and baby G are older, I still receive hurtful comments. One time, in the spring of this year, an older couple were walking by and said hello to my kids. They then exclaimed that I looked so young and asked my age. I was flustered so I told them, which I shouldn't have, and they sighed in sorrow. Their faces were full of sadness, as though my being a parent in my twenties tainted my children. 

I used to believe people were good, for the most part. After having my children, I've realized that is not the case. I'm disappointed in people. I'm disappointed that when someone chooses to give birth to children, thus giving them life, people can be so cruel and unfeeling. I'm disappointed that people who should be more supportive, such as family or friends, can turn their backs on people like me and my husband. I remember going to a baby shower a family friend held for me when I was pregnant with the twins. I had no friends there, it was just their group of friends. Right next to me, my mother and a guest of the party started discussing my father very rudely. I stood up for him and called them out on it. Both ignored me completely. This was supposed to be my baby shower. I remember signing up for the local chapter of the Multiples Club when the twins were little babies and no one contacted me at all, which they were supposed to do as stated in the Club Information. My father, my husband, and I were all completely exhausted from taking care of the infant twins and some help, any form of help, would have meant the world to us. 


Now, Christmas is fast approaching. My kids are very excited about it, and I love to see their faces light up when I turn the Christmas tree lights on in the morning. Parenting is hard, being a stay at home mom is very hard, but I do it because I love my kids and I am their mother. I gave them life. Yet, the fact that people think its okay to be rude to me or look down on me is disgusting. I am a person, just like they are, and I have brought three children into the world and my husband and I are raising them and taking care of their needs. I don't need reassurance from everyone we see, but strangers or even people we know should keep their mouths shut. Those hurtful words are like thorns that stick in my mind, and on the difficult days when I'm exhausted, they come back to me and I can't help but feel like I'm not good enough. 

This holiday season, I urge you, my dear readers and everyone else, to think about what you say to others. Think about your words; are my words potentially hurtful? Making a person feel ashamed for doing something good or even something different is wrong. I'm a mother, even if I'm in my twenties. I'm an adult. My children are fed, clothed, clean, warm, happy, and full of energy and zest for life. No one has any right to be rude to me or to any other parents, be they young parents or older parents. We are all in this together and we are raising the next generation of people to take care of our world and our society. There are people in our lives who have showered my kids with love and give me a big hug when they see me. There are people who care about me and my family, so please don't think everyone in our lives has been awful or disappointing. I've been wanting to write this post for a long time to stress the importance of kind words and gestures. A neighbor holding the door open for me when I'd have trouble navigating the large double stroller helped so much. 

How can we, as a society, learn to love one another more? How can we hep our children grow up with examples of kindness and generosity? I think a kind word to someone, be they stranger or friend, is a step in the right direction. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Listening to The Nutcracker on a Rainy Day

Yes, that is what I'm doing. My three sweet cherubs are playing nicely together (miracles do happen!) and I am able to sneak some laptop time. Yesterday I even worked on my fantasy WIP for a little while and that felt really good! 

I have been incredibly busy and I really want to write my Feis post! The Feis was amazing and I can't wait for the next one in January! We adults are supposed to get a school dress made for it, but we still need to be measured. So I'm crossing my fingers that it will be ready in time! I'm also learning the Blackbird set dance for my Novice set dance and I love it! I'm trying to get the set part down, with all those fun rocks and such. ;) Oh boy! 

New goal: San Francisco Oireachtas 2016! I am THRILLED about this because we live right next to SF and my TC said I will probably be able to do the adult traditional set at the Oireachtas! She's going to help me prepare; I love how supportive my school is. Such a blessing! We are also trying to get an adult 8-hand ceili together; I am trying to talk my husband into it, hehe. Hopefully he can join us! 

Otherwise, I'm busy with housework and my kiddos. My twins turned 4 last Sunday and I am so proud of them. They are growing up so fast and are learning so much. Even Baby G, my 2 year old, is learning more new words every day! He's been a talker since way before he turned 2, but now he's asking more complex questions. It's fun! None of my them are napping any more, but I make it work. They just go to bed early. XD 

I've got a whole bunch of poems, flash fics, and even a children's book pending responses by editors, so that's good. Hopefully I'l hear good news. I have a bunch of poems that have been pending for almost a whole year.... I am considering withdrawing them. It's a little annoying, especially when I've asked that publication twice on Facebook when they are going to get back to authors. Fellow writers: how long should an editor hold your work before getting back to you? 

Tell me what you all are up to? I would love to meet more Adult Irish Dancers!! *waves* 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kids, Hubby, Cook, Clean, Write, FEIS!!!

My whole body hurts today. Maybe vacuuming everywhere on top of all the usual chores wasn't such a good idea this morning, but at least the carpet is clean!

Last night, I went to my Irish Dancing class, and it was so helpful but intense! It was only me and another student (a very sweet high school girl), so my teacher was able to focus on what we needed to work on before the Feis (Irish Dancing competition). I knew all my steps, but making sure my feet are pointed and reaching up to my lower back during my skip-2-3s or leap-2-3s.... those are among the things I need to work on! I am feeling a little nervous because I'll be competing against 10 or so other beginner adult dancers. I really want to make my school, Dillon Magh Adhair Academy, proud since they have only just started the adult class. I did pretty well in feiseanna when I was a teenager, but it's been about 10 years since I've been in one.


I need to remember that even if I don't place amazingly well, I still love dancing and being part of a feis. It really is exciting to be there, with all the other dancers and teachers. You feel part of a special community that is driven by love of the dance. It's great, and now that I am an adult and a parent, it's awesome that I have a chance to be part of something like that. My husband is coming and I can't wait for him to see me dance! He has no idea what to expect, haha. :D

I wanted to write out a list of what I need to work on before the competition. I have a week and a half, which will go by fast. I'm so busy with my kiddos and our home that the days fly by.

--Hamstring exercises
--Practice second part of my Light Jig slowly and make sure my feet are turned out after I do the cuts
--Turn-out exercises
--Practice leap-2-3s slowly to make sure my feet are turned out when I land and that my back foot is pointed up and reaching for my lower back
--Work on keeping toes pointed and "lift up" as my teacher says
--Switch points! Make sure there is a diamond between my feet

So, I have a lot to work on during my evening practice sessions. It's good that I know my steps, but incorporating the techniques and everything will take a lot of work. I have my outfit ready, which is nice, and need to make a list of what to pack and bring to the feis. I love making fun lists like that! ;)

In writing news, I was able to work on my fantasy work-in-progress novel yesterday. I'm relieved that I can still find a little time here and there to move the story along. All these things, like writing and Irish Dancing, require discipline to find time to work on them, and passion to keep going! And yes, the title of this blog post refers to what is going on in my head these days. :D (Irish Dancing and the Feis are taking up a lot of space in my head these days! ;D)

Any other adult Irish Dancers out there? It's a wonderful sport and very cultural as well. If you want some more info about how to get started, let me know! I'd be more than happy to answer any questions! Take care all!

Monday, October 19, 2015

So Much Excitement!!!

Hello friends! We are over midway through October and I can't wait for the holiday season. My kids are obsessed with Halloween and they love seeing Halloween decorations everywhere. I am excited about Halloween, of course, but I'm even more excited about the day after Halloween.

Why, you ask?

Because Sunday November 1 is the Adult Competition day of the East Bay Feis! It'll be my first Feis (Irish Dance competition) in about 10 or so years, so I am really looking forward to it! I have been practicing more at home, which is great but requires a strong will because once the kids are in bed, I'm pretty tired. But I just think about how much I love Irish Dancing and how I want to do well at the Feis and then I  find the energy to practice. I need to work on some technique things, though. Less than two weeks to go!!! And the crazy part is that there are a lot of adults competing in the Adult Beginner category, so now I'm feeling the pressure! :) 

In more exciting news, Mothers Always Write published their October issue today and it's lovely. They published a new poem of mine entitled "Peeling an Orange for My Children," which I am really proud of. I am so happy to see it published, especially in such a great journal. Here is the link to read it: Peeling an Orange for My Children by Ophelia Leong

Let me know what you think! I'm really enjoying this issue. ;) 

I'm still busy over here, but trying to work on writing more, as well as prepare and practice for my upcoming feis. I really love Irish Dancing and I am so happy to be able to dance. Age is just a number and should never stop anybody from doing something they enjoy, like dancing or writing. 

I hope you all are enjoying October! I love Autumn and can't wait for cooler weather! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ebb and Flow

It's early Wednesday afternoon and I've already done four loads of laundry. It's been a busy day! The kids have decided that naps are not cool any more and I have found that finding time to work on writing or blogging or even just practicing my Irish Dancing has been hard to find. So!

Last night I had my dance class and it was WONDERFUL! It was four of us adults in the class and we flew through our dances and even started learning the Hard Jig. So exciting! I was smiling almost the whole class. I know I still have some little things I need to work on, like pointing my toes and kicking up my feet in the back during tip downs, etc. It's a lot of fun!

Two of my poems were recently published in the October issue of Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal that really promotes poets supporting one another through positive comments and such. It's a lovely journal, full of meaningful poetry and insightful poets. Here is the link to my poems "Foghorns" and "Fossil Hunting with My Father:" Ophelia Leong in Verse-Virtual

In other fantastic news, a line from one of my early published poems is featured on a set of notecards, along with other poets. Made by the great people behind the online literary journal Mothers Always Write, the note cards are gorgeous and would make wonderful gifts! The line is taken from my poem "Song of Coos," which I wrote after my twins were born. :) Here is the link to read about them and purchase: Poetry Note Cards

I'd like to work on my novel again soon, since I feel like I am so close to finishing it. I have been perhaps spending too much time watching episodes of Call the Midwife on Netflix, but it's SO GOOD! I cry almost every episode, and it's such a well-made show. The actors are enormously good, even actors who only play a small part in an episode. I've just been so busy with the kids and the house that lying down and enjoying a great show is so relaxing. I'll find some time to get back into the flow of writing soon. Very energetic toddlers make it a little difficult. I've had to accept that I might not be able to write as much as I'd like to until my kiddos are in school, and that's okay. I need to take care of my family and some day my kids will be older and more independent, and I will find that I have a little more time to work on my projects. As I am writing this, all three of them are on the bed with me and going crazy. At least I can get a blog post done in the midst of the craziness, right? ;)

I will leave you all with a short poem from a vintage book I found at a local thrift store by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The book is entitled "Collected Lyrics" and was published in 1939, which is cool. :)

"Ebb

I know what my heart is like
     Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
     Left there by the tide,
     A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge."

What imagery! Such a succinct poem capturing very complex and sad emotions. That last line is what pulls it all together for me, and I find the lining of the stanzas very interesting as well. I find myself drawn to short poems that pack a lot of feeling into a few stanzas. I've written a few myself, and done right the last line can really pack a punch. Hope you all are enjoying your week! What have you been up to? :)


Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Peek into Zalea's World: Part 1

I've changed things up here on my blog and I have to say, I like the new look! ;) As you can see from the post below this one, you can now find me and my blog on Blog Lovin, so check that out!

I know I've been writing a lot about the novel I am working on, but I haven't imparted too much information on what it is about. This past week, the Deacon of our church asked to read what I have written so far and that was exciting; no one apart from me has read it and I am dying for some feedback. Since I am nearing the end, I've decided to share a little of my characters and their world with you all! :)

All characters, names, idea, and settings are copyrighted to Ophelia Leong.

A Peek Into Zalea's World: Part 1

Setting: The first half of the novel primarily takes place in a country called Milania. Milania is a large country, similar in shape to the USA, and is broken through the middle by a wide river known as Whistling Ford River. Whistling Ford River is maintained by a group of people called Whistlers, who carry passengers across the churning water in ferry boats. The nobles and Royal family live in Goldcourte, the capital city of Milania.


Zalea Amber Tracey, the daughter of a Tea Merchant lives in Merchant Crossing, a town in the southeastern part of Milania where Merchants have gathered to work on their wares and businesses. After a war 40 years earlier, the relationship between the Merchants and the King in Goldcourte has been tense. However, at the start of my novel, the visit of Prince Jarek to Merchant's Crossing for the Honeyblossom Jubilee is a start to fixing all that.

Characters:

Zalea: Zalea is nineteen and very comfortable with her life at Willow Manor, her family's estate in Merchant's Crossing. At the start of my novel, she is trying to learn more about being a tea merchant and running a tea plantation like her parents. Her humor tends to be on the dry side, but she is a loyal friend and has a big heart. Zalea hasn't given much thought to marriage or adventuring outside of Merchant's Crossing, but when the opportunity for an adventure presents itself, will she go? 

Tyriel: Tyriel is Zalea's twin brother, who is quite the ladies' man. He has broken many hearts in and around Merchant's Crossing with his good looks and bright smile. He has always been a happy-go-lucky guy, and is very protective of his family, especially his siblings. 

Maggie: Maggie is one of the Whistlers, who man the ferry boats across Whistling Ford River. Usually, Whistlers live their whole life next to the river, but Maggie wants to explore and learn about the world. She joins Tyriel and Zalea on their adventure after they discover her unique power. 

Darren: Lord Darren, at first, is a dour and unhappy young man who accompanies Prince Jarek to Merchant's Crossing for the Honeyblossom Jubilee and insults Zalea. He has just suffered a tragedy and is in no mood for Jubilees or any sort of social event. However, after spending time with Zalea, his heart begins to heal. Darren is an intelligent and capable man with the most gorgeous violet eyes. ;) 

Sateela: Sateela lives in a country across the sea from Milania called Heeli-Shul. She is also nineteen, and is the daughter of Dr. Khosnas, the Sultan's physician. She is courageous, even in the face of the Sultan's wrath, and fights for what she believes in. Her life goes through many changes throughout the course of the novel. 

There are many more characters in my novel, and I will introduce them to you in another blog post. My characters are very excited to meet you all! I hope you've enjoyed this first look into my novel! Let me know what you thought in the comments section; I am so excited to hear about it! :) 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Writing About Motherhood

Hello everyone! Here we are at the end of September and I am enjoying hot chocolate, even though this past weekend was HOT. Hope everyone else is well!

I've been thinking about motherhood lately, and the ways to express my experience with motherhood in writing. I wrote two new poems for an anthology about motherhood called All You Can Hold, and I hope the editor likes them! I recently had a poem accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of Mothers Always Write, which is a wonderful online literary journal. They published one of my poems in the beginning when I was just coming back to writing and submitting a couple years ago. The staff have been so supportive too!

Writing about motherhood is important but might not be easy or simple. So many emotions come with being a parent, and sometimes it can be difficult to sift through those emotions and express them on paper. I love writing about little moments with my kids; my most recently accepted poem is about peeling an orange for my kids. I was inspired to write it when, you guessed it, I was peeling an orange for my kids and the sweet scent of the orange wafted up to my nose. I then thought about how I am the one making food for my children and feeding them. All three are much too young to cook for themselves, so I make their food. As parents, we provide our children with so many things, and food is a big one. They are growing and need all the nourishment they can get, and as their parents we purchase their food and make it for them.



Motherhood is a precious time as well as a busy time. We as parents have to make time to write, create, or even just relax. My husband and I both feel that since we've had our kids, we both have been more motivated than ever to work on our creative projects. My husband is a musician and is working on recording and perfecting his original work. By day, he is a musician for assisted living facilities, board and cares, nursing homes, and more. I am so proud of him! You can check out his Twitter here: Andy Lovesong Twitter .

Expressing oneself creatively is cathartic and healthy while in the midst of parenthood. I can't believe how many literary journals have published one of my works since I've had the kids; it's not a huge number, but since I am so busy with three kids, it's awesome to me!

Being a mother is a wonderful gift, but it's not without it's hard times. Writing about some of those difficult moments may help parents reflect on those times and help others who may be going through the same thing. As a mother of twins, I've gone and am going through unique experiences. Some things aren't that easy for me to write about, but I've recently written a poem about twins called "Twins." (Imaginative, right? XD) I'd like to try to write more about being a mother of twins, but I'm not going to force it. Writing poetry can be fluid and inspiration comes from all over.

What is your experience writing about motherhood or any other life-changing event? Let me know in the comments! :)

*Photo from Foodiesfeed.com

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Thoughts

It has been a busy, exhausting, and hot week over here. I have had almost no time to work on my writing. I spent most of yesterday cleaning and moving things to make room for a new fridge, only to find out that the fridge Best Buy did deliver was defective. So, back it went with the delivery guys and I had to put everything back in our awful old fridge. It was such a nightmare and I've called Best Buy twice about some sort of discount or anything and they won't do it. 

Hopefully I can get some writing done soon. I'm thinking about working on a couple new projects, so we'll see what happens. Just wanted to pop in before the kids pop out of their room (nap time is not for napping anymore...) and share a lovely poem I came across today.

We were attempting (notice I say attempting...heh) to read this gorgeous book of poetry illustrated by the amazing Jackie Morris, whose website can be found here: Jackie Morris UK . We managed to read a few poems before I noticed my eldest boy yawning and decided it was time to rest. There was one poem that I had never read before and I thought it was so lovely, especially for us Mamas. ;) Let me share it here: 

"The Beautiful" 

Three things there are more beautiful
Than any man could wish to see:
The first, it is a full-rigged ship
Sailing with all her sails set free;
The second, when the wind and sun
Are playing in a field of corn;
The third, a woman, young and fair,
Showing her child before it is born.

--W.H. Davies 

(Text of poem found here: The Beautiful

All three images are full of life and the loveliness of nature. After a rough week, this poem made my day. The whole book, which is called The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems, is full of gorgeously illustrated poems, some of which aren't widely known. I'm so excited to delve into this book and get inspired! Let me know what you think and feel free to share! :) 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Lure of Self-Publishing


I have decided to take a wee break from my novel. For some reason, I find that I have more ideas and such when I take a few weeks off from writing it. The break helps new ideas come to my mind and I can work on other projects. When I come to a point where I feel that my writing is stilted or forced, then I know it's time to sit back and recharge those creative batteries.

Which got me thinking today about self-publishing, of all things. I don't necessarily want to self-publish the novel I am currently working on, but would it be fun and educational to self-publish another novel I have in the works?

My father self-published a book this year with Create Space on Amazon, and spoke to me today about how he is feeling somewhat discouraged. Self-publishing sounds like a wonderful idea, and it is, but how does an author make money from it? You must have the time to market your book, which is a lot of work, and the time to edit and revise. Then getting word out about your book and finding the right audience is also difficult. From watching my father go through the process of self-publishing, I learned that while it is a great tool for authors, it can be hard to make a living from it and hard to make your name known.

I wrote a short story much earlier this year that I loved. The idea behind it had been stuck in my head since high school and I'd written a different version of it then. Then, this year, I decided to try writing it a different way with new characters and I had so much fun with it! I sent it out to a few lit mags, but it was rejected. Which made me think, what was missing? I then realized that it would be better to flesh things out and write a sort of episodic novel, where every chapter deals with a fresh story line but the characters and setting remain the same.

This morning, while planning out the day's chores, I found myself wondering if it would be a good idea to try and self-publish that episodic novel. Would I hurt my chances of being published by a major publishing house? Or would it make my resume a bit brighter? I tried doing some research online but only found some obvious pros and cons--with self-publishing the author has more control, major publishers can put your name out there, etc.

I'd love some feedback on this issue. I am very tempted to try and write another novel and self-publish it, only if I can find the time. However, I don't want to hurt my chances in the future of being published. I'm still learning about the world of writing and publishing, but with all the social media and internet available to writers, how far can it go? Let me know what you think and maybe we can get a conversation going! ;)

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/29817792@N08/4131837946">Library books</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Topsy Turvy Teatime!

Hello all!

I can't believe the summer has flown by so quickly! I am definitely looking forward to cooler weather, Fall colors, crisp leaves littering the ground, pumpkin everything, and Christmas decorations!! (Yes, I love Fall!) Also, I am back into my Irish Dance class again after my school had a summer break and I am so happy! I am now preparing for the East Bay Feis on the last weekend of October, so wish me luck! I've got lots of work to do before then! ;)

As for my writing, I've hit over 73,000 words in my novel now and I am inching closer to the end. However, my characters have minds of their own and keep bringing things up that I, the author, have to deal with. They are so logical! I'm worried that my novel is going to be crazy long, but that might just mean I'll have to cut some scenes that don't work. We'll see. This whole writing a novel adventure has taught me so much and there is more to learn!

I've had a few pieces published and I am waiting to hear back on a lot of pieces. I am rather impatient at times and I really wish some editors would kindly hurry up and not keep me waiting for six months or more....oh well. Such is the writing world. I am still waiting to see if Chronicle Books is interested in the children's book I sent them in late March. If they aren't, I am planning to revise it one more time, check my query letter, and sent it out again!

I was so pleased to be published in Issue 15 of Vine Leaves Literary Journal: Issue 15
I love that they want pieces that are more like "vignettes," which are fun to write and differ from flash fiction. Check it out! My piece is called "The Reunion Concert."

I also had a flash fiction piece called "On The MUNI" published on the Saturday Night Reader website here: On The MUNI 
I haven't received much feedback about this piece, which is interesting. Do people not like it? I actually love it, but it might not be too everyone's taste. Check it out and let me know, all right? I'll send you virtual hugs! ;)

I recently found out that a poem I wrote over the summer has been accepted by Mothers Always Write, which is a great online lit mag about parenting. Beautiful pieces and a beautiful website. I am so excited to be published in it again! I'll keep you updated.

Otherwise, life goes on and my days are occupied with three growing kids and a condo that I am constantly cleaning and trying to organize. The kids are doing great! Baby G turned 2 a couple weeks ago and is talking, singing, playing, and wanting to get potty-trained! He's adorable and growing up everyday. The twins have had a growth spurt recently and both have outgrown a lot of their clothes. Both twins are eating a lot and aren't as picky, which is awesome. I'm also trying to make money for my Irish Dancing by selling on eBay and on Instagram, so check out my Instagram shop @twoforteavintageshop. If you mention my blog when making an offer to buy something, I'll give you 15% off! ;)

The kids are quiet in their room, hopefully napping, so I might have a little time to work on more writing! Take care everyone and happy Thursday! :) In the comments, let me know what YOU have been up to! Anyone have a favorite piece they've written this summer?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Time to Check In!

I can't believe it's already the end of July! This summer has gone by so quickly! This morning I found myself thinking about Fall and all the changes we are going to see in the weather and trees. Grey skies, chilly mornings, random hot chocolate cravings, acorns crunching all over the place...lots of fun to look forward to!

Actually, I just want the heat to go away.

On Sunday, we took the kids, along with my dad, to the beach. It was their first real "beach day" and we had fun, but it was exhausting. Taking three young kids to the beach takes a lot of you, just saying. They didn't even want to go near the water, which is understandable since the waves are loud. So they just sat in the sand and played for a couple hours while I went into the water and splashed around. I felt like I was 9 years old again!

Anyway, back to the real world now. I have a few sandy tote bags that I need to clean out, not to mention a crazy amount of laundry.

So, writing news! My piece "The Reunion Concert" was published in Vine Leaves Literary Journal's Issue 15 here ! I am so excited about this because I love the idea of vignettes and have been wanting to be published in that journal for quite some time now. Lots of other great pieces and art so check it out!

I was also published in Eunoia Review here ! This is a poem I wrote in college that I've always liked but have been secretive about. I'm glad its been published now; it's quite dear to me. :)

I have a few pieces still in the submissions process, so I'm waiting to hear back on those. Otherwise, I am on Twitter @OpheliaLeong and am trying to be more active on there. So follow me and lets talk writing! (Or parenting or books or Irish Dancing or whatever!) I've always been submitting to Flash! Friday's flash fiction contests and those have been fun little exercises for me to practice flash fiction writing. You can check out the website here: https://flashfriday.wordpress.com/ .

Hope you all are doing well! Comment if you have any questions, comments, or just want to chat about your dog. Enjoy the summer!

Friday, April 17, 2015

On The Joys of Short Fiction and Poetry

Hello dear readers! 

My husband and I came back from a little vacation a few days ago and have been settling back into reality. We had a lovely time, just relaxing and shutting down for a little while in San Francisco. We ate lovely food and saw the Replacements perform at the Masonic, which was AMAZING! 

It's amazing how busy life can be, especially when you have three little ones running around like we do. ;) The potty training for the twins is going really well, I am happy to say, and we are all getting used to it. 

I have a Twitter account now, so follow me @OpheliaLeong . I am trying to put some more work in promoting myself and my writing, and I'm excited about it! Check it out! 

A couple days ago, I found out that a haiku I submitted to Three Line Poetry has been accepted for publication, which made me really happy. I received a couple rejections last weekend, so it was great to hear of an acceptance. More details to come! 

Speaking of haiku, I was working on a couple vignettes/flash fiction pieces this morning and I started thinking about how fun it can be to write succinctly. Haiku are great for practicing because they force you to write a short poem that makes sense with only a few words. You have to count the syllables and think about all the different combinations of ideas and words. I have loved writing them ever since I first learned about them in school. I am sure the haiku I write aren't true haiku in the Japanese sense, but I still enjoy it. 

As for vignettes and flash fiction, those are fun as well. Sometimes I have an idea that wouldn't work as a long story, so it's nice to write a short piece where you can focus on all the senses instead of a complex storyline. I am almost 50,000 words into my novel and I am starting to realize how much work it takes, especially since it is a fantasy novel with quite a few characters. It's an intense experience! I have been taking a little break and working on some shorter things, just to give my novel a breather and come back to it with fresh ideas. 

Anyway, keep on writing and follow me for more musings of life, writing, parenting, and food! ;) 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Update Time!

Hi everyone!

Busy times over here. I've done nine loads of laundry so far this week and I've put the twins in underwear the past few days. I'm hoping to finish up potty-training and get them used to underwear and using the potty. Potty-training twins is no joke, especially boy/girl twins. Half the time I think I'm going about it all wrong. Anyway, wish me luck! They've been pretty good about it so far, little cuties.

Anyway, I wanted to share a link to an online poetry magazine that I was recently published in. The editor is a very nice woman and I was so excited when she wanted to publish one of my poems. I submitted two poems for the "Short" themed issue, and she chose the one I was most proud of. It's only four lines, but I love it dearly. It came to me while I was listening to "Tears For Affairs" by Camera Obscura. A great song by a great band. :)

Here is the link: Allegro Poetry Issue 3 March 2015

My poem is about three-quarters down the page and it's titled "A Thought," because that's really what it is. A thought I had that turned into poetry.

I have so many poems and stories out right now and I am just dying to hear back from editors. As much as I love sending my work out, waiting to hear back from people can be painful. The kids and housework keep me really busy so I don't have time to think about it that much, but I still am impatient. At the end of March, I sent out a children's book that I had written to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Chronicle Books. It'll probably be quite a while until I hear from them, but I'm still excited about finally sending my work out to the bigger publishers.

I did get an acceptance from Eunoia Review recently, so look out for one of my poems on that website in June! ;)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

5 Ways for Busy Moms to Boost Creativity!

Hello all!

With three kids under the age of four and a busy household, sometimes it's very difficult for me to make time for writing and creating. However, in the past couple of weeks, I've had two poems published in online literary magazine, which is amazing! I feel very accomplished and ready to forge ahead and write.

But life can get in the way, and sometimes you just want to watch Downton Abbey and paint your nails to relax. I think there are many moms out there, be they stay-at-home moms like me or working moms, who want to write more. Perhaps you want to start a blog or novel? Maybe poetry is your outlet. Whatever it is, I thought of 5 ways to boost your creativity and how to keep it going.


  1. Make sure you have the materials you need on hand and nearby. For me, cute and colorful notebooks can really inspire me and feel good to write in. Right now, my favorite poetry journal is a Moomin journal from a set published by Chronicle Books. Beautiful, smooth paper just begs for poetry or fragments of a novel. And if you have a nice pen or pencil, you are all set! Keep it near your bed on a desk for easy access. On the electronic side, I use a Google Chromebook and I just love it. It starts up quick, it's light and not too big, and it's simple to use. 
  2. If there is someone you can trust with your kids, ask them to babysit for an hour or two so you can go have some uninterrupted writing time. Sometimes a quiet spot, free of distractions (or cute needy children) can help the words flow. Finding a place that is nearby but not home helps too. Once a week, my dad watches my three little ones and I go to the Clubhouse to write and it's relaxing as well as productive. The Clubhouse is in the middle of our huge condo complex and has free wifi. Cafes and libraries work too. 
  3. While I am in the shower or doing the dishes, I find myself thinking of my novel or one of my poems and plan what I will write next time I have a chance. That seems like a small part of the day, but I have solved many plot issues while taking a shower. My mind can relax and focus on something other than kids, housework, or the usual day-to-day business of life. Finding pockets of the day where you can think of a future blog post or figure out the plot to a children's book you are working on can really help.
  4. If you have young children that nap, try writing while they sleep. In my case, the twins have started refusing to nap (crazy times), so I tell them to stay in their room and have "rest time." Usually my youngest naps a little in the afternoon, so I can go into my room and work on my computer or notebooks. That is exactly what I am doing right now. Sometimes I have an hour to work, sometimes half an hour. Even writing a little bit is good practice.
  5. And finally, if you can't work on a project for a week or two, don't stress about it! As much as we'd all like to have time to get everything done we want to get done, it usually doesn't happen. I have to remember that pressuring myself will only make me feel discouraged and frustrated. Taking care of my kids and household uses a lot of my energy and time, so it can be hard for me to write every day. I remind myself that every little sentence, every line of poetry, or blog post idea is important and leads to something bigger. 

Comment and let me know if these tips help you or if you have any more to add to the list. :) Thanks for reading! 
Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Library Blackouts and Boy Antics

Hello all! Tonight I am utterly exhausted but felt compelled to share a story about a visit to our local library a few days ago. I haven't been able to write for a while and my fingers were itching! ;)

So.....the library. We are very lucky to have a beautiful library close to where we live and it has a wonderful children's area. The twins didn't nap that afternoon (they average one nap a week now...yeah, I don't get it) and I wanted to pick up a book that was being held for me. We made it to the library, I got my book, and then walked over to the children's area. It was brightly lit, with parents or grandparents reading to kids in cozy chairs. Very relaxing and peaceful, right? Buggy (my sweet daughter, one half of my three year old twins) found a book right away and sat in one of the cute kids' chairs. Chumba (her twin) zoomed around and started climbing on chairs and benches, with me instructing him to find a book and stop climbing around.

During all this, I reached down to let Baby G (my 18 month old boy) out of his stroller and he, being a cheeky little monkey boy, decided to imitate his older brother. So he started climbing as well. I must have looked like a crazy person trying to keep my herd of kids under control. Baby G had a meltdown, alerting everyone in the library to his presence, when I tried to put him on the floor so he could walk instead of climb on precarious objects. Chumba was dressed in his pirate costume, complete with a pirate hat, and still hadn't found a book to look at. Buggy was the only one who wanted to actually read books but her brothers were distracting her. After about 5 minutes or so, I gave up. I grabbed a few board books that looked fun and told them that we were going to the playground next door. Cue cheers of joy.

I put Baby G in the stroller and started to buckle him in when everything went black. Around me, people looked up, perplexed, obviously thinking why would the light go out at a library?

I looked around and saw Chumba with his fingers on the light switch.

Everyone was staring at us. I swear my hair frizzed up with the heat of my embarrassment and I told him to turn everything back on. Luckily, it worked and the room was lit up again. I left as quickly as a mom could pushing a stroller and holding hands with twins (yep its possible).

Maybe I'm just tired but the idea of someone turning the light off in a library amuses me. Since it was so grey and cloudy outside, it was really dark when Chumba turned the lights off!

Afterwards, the playground was fun for us and I'm glad I was able to check the books out. However, there's something about the library that makes them all wired up when you'd think it would be the opposite. Oh well. Toddlers seem to feed off their parents energy, which would explain why I'm always tired and they are bouncing around the house yelling like pirates and farm animals at all hours of the day. (It's not that loud, but it sure feels like it sometimes!)

Life with three toddlers is never boring! :)


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Who is the house poet?

It's been a busy day; warm rain interspersed with random bouts of blue sky. All three kids finally took a nap at the same time and I was thrilled to be able to finish the book I was reading (The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton) when out of nowhere shrilled the terrible building fire alarm. ARGH. We ended up taking the kids on a little drive to get some ice cream because, hey, when you're rudely woken up from your nap ice cream can make anyone feel better. ;) 

Anyway, I was thinking about the origins of the title of this blog The House Poet, and thought I'd share where it came from. I've been writing poetry since fifth grade, maybe even before that, and poetry has always been a large part of my life, even though I go through periods where I don't write many poems at all. I don't like to force the words out. 

When I was a freshman in college, I met a senior who was writing and producing plays, CDs, shows, all sorts of artistic and musical events. I became involved in his group and showed him my poems; I even wrote a poem for his band Euphorah and performed with him. Once, I think we were either rehearsing the play he had written or a different show and he called me the House Poet. It stuck with me. I was in college, struck by living on my own and letting new feelings and ideas flourish within me. Everything was dazzling. Poems poured out of me and I felt renewed each time I put words on paper. 

I'm trying to get back into blogging again because I want to write more and I want to talk about things that are important to me, such as my writing, parenting, and delicious restaurants. Oh yes, I'd love to write more restaurant reviews soon! I had so much fun doing those. 

Have a good night all and I hope to have another blog post soon! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fun News and Blog Rehaul!

Hello everyone in the blogging world! It has been quite some time since I've last posted on here, and I am happy to be back! I am planning to use this blog as a writing blog; I want to post news about my pieces and updates. As for what I've been up to, it comes in three! That's right, I am a stay at home mama to my three kids! I'm married to my college love who I've written about in this blog and now we are working hard together to raise our family. I'm trying to send my work out and become published. I am writing my first novel and I am so excited about it! On the side, I'm working on stories and sending out some finished pieces. This morning, I found out that one of my poems was accepted by a new online literary magazine called Mothers Always Write! I am so thrilled! Check out the website: http://mothersalwayswrite.com/ I have been working hard and sending lots of pieces out, and I've been receiving rejections, so it feels amazing to get an acceptance. Stay tuned to hear more about it! All right, lunch is upon us and the kiddos are hungry! I'll post more soon!