Showing posts from 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 …

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 t…

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 stil…

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, Mot…

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 "Fos…

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…

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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…

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 b…

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 findin…

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 …

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 &q…

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 vignet…

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 th…

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.

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 poet…

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 …

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…

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: I have been working hard and sending lots of pieces out, and I've been receiving rejections, so it feels amazing to get an a…