The Rolling Writer

I have a job! And other good news

Getting friendly with a glass of Viognier

It’s been an eventful week! On Tuesday morning, I taught my final trial lesson. It went better than the others, with only five children, all of them well-behaved. I got my feedback (talk with your hands more!) and a job offer the next evening. I’m still on a completely opposite schedule from China- fifteen hours behind Beijing- so everything moves slowly. They message me in the middle of the night, and I respond while they’re asleep.

Well, I’ll be on their time very soon! The hours are … less than ideal. I work from 5-9 pm my time, then a long break and another shift from 3-7 am. But the work is fun, the pay is good, and I don’t have to buy work clothes!

Ben also got a job interview with a local trucking company. It’s not until Wednesday, but we’ve got our fingers crossed because it’s exactly the kind of thing he’s looking for. Hauling wood chips out of local sawmills and delivering them to local paper mills, he’d get lots of overtime and be home every night.

We also got our car back, finally! It runs beautifully and didn’t break the bank. We’re so glad we didn’t listen to the shop who tried to sell us a used transmission for a ridiculous amount when we didn’t even need one. It would have cost a LOT more and not solved the problem. Now that we have the car back we can start the apartment hunt in earnest. This next week should see us driving all over Springfield, checking out the cheap places.

We had time for a bit of fun, too. Last night we went to Silvan Ridge winery, where a friend of my brother’s was competing in a 5k race. We met with a few other friends and had a little potluck. And wine, of course. It was a beautiful, breezy evening, and as you can see above, I enjoyed myself.

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Things are looking up!

It’s been a busy week, but mostly a good one. We spent much of Sunday marathoning Game of Thrones, since we were a season behind. That was a welcome escape from real life! I also realized I hardly kill any characters by comparison, so y’all really have no basis for complaint when I off the OCCASIONAL totally necessary people.

Monday saw us at our storage space, unloading the uhaul. We don’t have much stuff, but it was hot, smoky and humid, so we were glad to have it done and the uhaul safely returned. Next, we needed to get our car fixed. We took it to a well-reviewed local shop, but the the code we constantly see didn’t come up for them. Naturally. So we took it to the muffler shop in the meantime, which was across town. I’m ok with the traffic here, but there’s something weird going on with my eyesight. Oncoming traffic, or curbs, or construction cones on my left side always look like they’re coming straight AT me, rather than past. It makes driving a lot more stressful than it needs to be. I’ll find an optometrist next week and hopefully it’s fixable.

Ben got to work applying to local driving jobs, and I notified the English school in China that I was back in business. They scheduled another training session for me, since it had been a while. It was pretty stressful; even though I wasn’t officially being evaluated, I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t know what I was doing and just making a mess of things. But my trainer was kind and encouraging, then scheduled me for my first two probationary classes, at 5:00 am Friday morning!

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Update: Safely Arrived in Oregon!

I didn’t write an update last week because it was all too depressing. Our truck was repossessed (in somewhat shady fashion, though we’ll let a lawyer handle that) and we had to quickly put all of our stuff in the trailer and move into a motel. We spent the next several days desperately looking for a place to live, which we’d already been doing pretty desperately, but with no luck. So when our last best prospect for a home fell through, we took my brother up on his kind offer of a place to stay and left for Eugene. After seeing all of the lower 48, I’ve always maintained that Oregon is still the best state, so it probably makes sense for me to be here. 🙂

We left Idaho Falls yesterday afternoon and just drove straight through, taking only a couple short breaks for naps in rest areas. All of our worldly goods fit easily into a small uhaul and we towed the car behind it. That setup was not so much fun to drive, so I left most of it to Ben, the professional. The kitties were less than thrilled with the cramped, weird situation, and we had one escape in a rest area in the middle of the night. Fortunately, he loves rolling in the dirt, so I was able to nab him before he got very far.

We arrived in Eugene about 10 this morning and moved into my brother’s spare room immediately. They were hosting a big party in the afternoon, but we pretty much slept through it. We can’t unload into our storage space until Monday, so we’re looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow before we throw ourselves back into the fray.

Right before getting kicked out of the truck I had a super-stressful interview for an English-teaching job, though I passed. The problem was, I didn’t have reliable enough internet connection to move on to the next phase. I have to teach three probationary classes before I get the job, so I’m hoping to get that sorted out in the next few days.

Anyway, at least we have some breathing room now, and time to look for our own place, but with local support and connections. It’s nice to be close to loved ones after all this!

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Guest Post: Cindy Ochs Borror

My darling sister offered to guest post!

The Rolling Writer’s sister here! My name is Cindy and I am 10 years Christina’s junior. I do not possess the writing prowess of my sister but she is my claim to fame! 🙂 I’ve had the pleasure of beta reading most of her books and trust me there has been some weeping and gnashing of teeth through each one!

Anyway, I’m not here to brag about my beta reading skills or Christina’s ability to write, for that matter, because you already know about it! I’m here to share a little bit about us. Since there is quite an age gap I didn’t really get to know her well until she opened her home to me some years ago when I attended college nearby. At the time she was a banker and she did it well. In fact everything she has done thus far, she has done well. It’s one of the things I love about Christina, she loves a good challenge and likes to prove that she can do it better than anyone else!

These last few years have been a joy to witness her doing what she loves. I have been amazed at her abilities and laser type focus to be able to create an incredible and intriguing world. Unlike her I am not well versed in European history so once I finish reading one of her books I love talking to her to find out what was fact verses fiction. Sometimes the facts make me cry, (it’s a family trait that we both do rather well!) However, I love hearing how she has incorporated her own ideas into history. I also have to add I may or may not resemble a certain character in book 1 and 2 who met a devastating end. 🙂 At first I was stunned that she could do such a thing to her own sister ;)and then again I love how she watches personalities around her and brings them to life in her own stories!

Here’s the thing, though. As most of you know the Rolling Writing has stopped rolling and unfortunately, writing. I know that she has described in detail what has happened recently so I’ll spare you the rehashing of recent events. I’m here asking for help. Not because she asked me to, because she hasn’t. I began a Go-fund-me for her and her husband, again not because they asked but because I wanted to help and it makes giving very tangible and easy to give from anywhere in the world. I love seeing her thrive and want to help get her back to doing what she does so well. In the mean time she is doing what it takes to keep going. So I’m asking for help to get her back to her passion. I know that she has included the Go-fund-me page before so that you can follow updates. However, I’m going to ask from the bottom of my heart to please help my sister and her husband through this crazy time. Please consider donating and sharing their story on Facebook. Even small amounts are incredibly helpful. You can click on the link and then on updates to see the latest update and to see that things have turned quite urgent in the last couple of days.

Thank you for this opportunity for me to share and please help this awesome, sister, friend and writer!
Click here to support Sudden Job Loss and Truck Crisis organized by Cindy Ochs Borror

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The saga continues …

When I was a teenager, I begged God to give me an interesting life. I certainly got one, but I should have been more specific. I was picturing something like an astronaut or opera singer. 🙂

It’s been an interesting week in all kinds of ways. I’m trying and failing to remember the beginning of it. I think I might have actually worked on my book at some point. So that was a good thing.

I also had another interview. It was for an appointment-setting job for a solar panel company. It actually sounded kind of cool and the money is great, but it involves a lot of face-to-face interaction, which sounds nice and also terrifying. I’m keeping it on the backburner, IF we stay in the area. More on the IF later.

My next big task was to create and upload a couple videos for Chinese English-teaching schools. I anticipated work of an hour or two, and the reality took two whole days. I started with technical difficulties on their end, shed a lot of tears through the middle (which is not a good look on video), and persevered to the end in spite of numerous challenges of shooting video inside a truck. Some of these challenges included: CATS. Anyone who has cats knows what I mean. They are unable to mind their own business. Another challenge was the inability to run the AC while filming because of background noise. It was 100 degrees outside. Dripping sweat is also not a good video look.  Oh, and the Blue Angels are in town for the air show, so I had jets screaming overhead every 3-5 minutes.

But I finally succeeded in creating a dramatic re-enactment of the Three Little Pigs, complete with great huffing and puffing. Gratifyingly, I got an immediate and positive response minutes after I sent it off. So I’m on to the next phase in the interview process. I have a day or so to study practice videos, then I will give a full hour English lesson to several Chinese adults pretending to be five-year-olds. If I pass that bit, I give three probationary lessons to actual Chinese five-year-olds, and if that works out well, I’ll be hired. I’m very optimistic at this point, but will need a new computer because my old laptop does not have the specs to run their software. I’m borrowing Ben’s for the moment, and fundraising for a refurbished one to get as soon as possible after hiring.

Ben has been applying to any and all trucking jobs and has had several interview requests. What’s weird though, is that he’ll get an email asking for an interview, he responds, and then it’s crickets. He did get an offer to drive truck for the potato harvest, but starting September 1. Not really helpful right now.

Throughout all of this I was feeling really crummy with what felt like a super-painful ear infection, so on Friday I went to the doctor. I don’t actually have an infection, but my lymph nodes are inflamed, probably due to stress and jaw-clenching that comes from stress. So I got antibiotics and something for anxiety, which is already working, thank goodness. After just a day and a half of both, the pain is gone, and I’m slightly less basket-casey.

Having chill pills on hand was useful, because we heard yesterday morning that the finance company is indeed interested in repossessing the truck asap. We’d tried contacting them over the past weeks but they never responded to us, continuing to harass the step-mom whose name is on the loan documents. So we told her to tell them we’re getting out as soon as we can, and will turn the truck in then. We’d hoped to put off apartment-hunting until one of us had real work, but we can’t wait any longer. Cheap apartments are plentiful around here, but not so much if you have pets. Still, we have applications in anywhere that seems feasible.

But we’re also trying something else. Our long-term goal was to get out of trucking and into an RV. Maybe now is the time. It’s not ideal, but would solve the pet-unfriendly landlord problem, and we could live in family members’ driveways indefinitely. So we did a bit of shopping yesterday and found a nice used RV that should be in our budget. We also got approved for it, but not at the payment we want, at least not without jobs. The salesman seemed VERY eager to make a deal however, so he’ll continue to finesse the financing when the banks open on Monday. While we wait for him to work his magic, we’ll keep looking.

We’re also putting the truck trailer up for sale. Getting rid of that quickly would solve a number of problems. So, fingers crossed we find someone looking for a deal on an old, but well-cared-for refrigerated trailer.

I’m really hoping by the end of the week I can report good news all around. Thank you so much for the ongoing well-wishes, prayers and contributions. It’s all appreciated, and is keeping us going through a tough time. <3


The story so far:

Why I’m taking a break

An Update



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An Update …

The last week has been busy, frustrating, and encouraging. I’ve had three job interviews and Ben has had one, with the prospect of several more. I registered with the local temp agency, though they didn’t seem optimistic about finding office work right now. Everything is focused on the eclipse, apparently. 

Right now, my most promising prospect looks like ESL work- teaching English to Chinese children online.  I had one in-person interview yesterday, but there’s still a long process before I can hope to be hired. So I’ll be working on that this weekend. The hours are crazy, but the pay is good and it sounds like fun.

Ben has applications out to any and all trucking companies that are hiring drivers for local work. Potato harvest will be starting soon, so hiring should ramp up in the next few weeks. So far, his best prospects are located about 100 miles from each other, so we’re deferring an apartment search until he’s got a job nailed down. We’ve been lucky to find a good place to park the truck, plugged into an RV hookup so we can run our AC without burning any fuel. Showers and laundry are close by too.  We’re still working with Mercedes on keeping the truck, though to be honest, the prospect is looking less and less attractive. We should make a final decision next week.

Our other big news is that we bought a car! It’s a 99 Taurus SHO – a souped-up Taurus V8 with a noisy muffler. A Camaro actually tried to race me the other evening. It’s low-mileage, and we got a great deal on it because it has transmission problems. Fortunately, Ben used to be a transmission tech, so he had some ideas on how to tide us over for a while. We got it serviced yesterday and it’s been running better ever since. He’ll do some more tinkering over the weekend and hopefully we won’t have to replace the transmission for a while. It might be worth doing at some point, since it’s a nice car in otherwise great condition and we got it super cheap.  So that was one positive thing.

The other was that my sister started a GoFundMe for us that has already raised nearly $2000! I’ve just been blown away by all the people who’ve shared and contributed. The money is a massive help, but even more, the knowledge that so many people care is wonderful for our morale. It really helps us stay motivated to do what’s needed. My sister has been posting updates on our situation there every two or three days. If you share, you should get those updates automatically. I’ll update here in a week as well.

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Why I’m Taking a Short Break from Writing

Kitties don’t care. Just keep the treats coming

I was hoping against hope I could get Book Six: Blood of the Empire drafted by the end of July. But life has been going sideways for the past month, and things just got worse! I feel like a character in one of my own books, though instead of Teodora we have a potentially criminal spoiled brat who … well, maybe that’s an unfair comparison. I mean, he hasn’t murdered anyone. Yet. That we know of.

I’ll try to keep this short, though the situation is sort of complicated. Sorry, it got long. So Tl:dr is, life is currently a dumpster-fire, no time to write, all deadlines are toast until further notice.

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 140- Devyn

It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

Happy Canada Day and Happy (almost) 4th of July! This week I’ll continue with a snippet from Shield of Kings. It’s starting to come back from beta readers, and so far, responses are positive-yay!

Anyway, last week Devyn and Maryna were talking about their uncle, King Arryk of Norovaea being chased out of his capital by the ruling council. Devyn is indignant at the uppity council, but the pious Maryna is disappointed in her uncle, who abandoned his faith to please his new wife. Edited from the original and badly punctuated.

Devyn felt bad, knowing his sister already had her hands full, trying to put her war-ravaged kingdom back together; she shouldn’t have to worry about this too. Then he saw how he’d get out of here. “I’ll go help him,” he said, trying not to sound too excited.

“Oh no,” Maryna said, “I need you here.”

“No, you don’t,” Devyn allowed a small smile, “Andres can take over for me.” His younger brother wasn’t terribly militaristic, but at sixteen, it was time for him to apply his training.

“I can’t spare any troops,” Maryna was shaking her head, but Devyn sensed she was softening. She probably wanted to keep him away from her secretary.

“I’ll raise my own–not from here,” he said quickly, since they could barely field a small defensive force as it was.

Maryna kept shaking her head, but she seemed amused, rather than obstinate, “Where then, and with what money?”

I’ll have to leave Devyn here, at least for now, since I don’t know how much farther I can go without some big spoilers for the Desolate Empire. He does go help his uncle, but I can’t go into detail beyond that. 🙂

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 139- Devyn

wewriwa2It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

I’ll continue from last week’s snippet and the conversation Devyn is having with his older sister, Maryna. He’s just brought her a letter from their uncle, King Arrryk. Edited to fit with considerable abuse of punctuation.

Last week ended with: “I don’t kiss them,” Devyn protested. “Usually.” He continues:

“My heart belongs to—”

“Stop that,” Maryna’s voice sharpened, though her face remained sweet as ever, “you know that will never work out.”

Devyn swallowed down the anger rising in his chest, but he didn’t want to argue about this again; he handed her the pouch saying,  “Thought we should read it together.”

“You’re right, and thank you for bringing it,” Maryna said as she broke the seal over the clasp of the heavy leather pouch, pulled out the papers wrapped in a waxy, waterproof sheet, and started reading.

Devyn forced himself to be patient, though he knew he wouldn’t have to wait long; Maryna had always been a fast reader.

“It’s as we feared,” she said, putting the letter down after quickly scanning it, “The ruling council has run Uncle Arryk out of Arenberg.”

“How dare they!” Devyn had met many of the council members during his stay in Arenberg several years before, and he’d never seen a more obsequious bunch; clearly, they’d been biding their time. “What was their reasoning? Not that it matters.”

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 138- Devyn

It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

From Shield of Kings. I’m going to be bad, and a tiny bit spoilery. After a few seconds’ contemplation, I decided it would harm no one to know that Devyn and Maryna survive the whole Desolate Empire saga. I was about to say I’m not horrible enough to murder children, but that’s actually a total lie, isn’t it? So let’s just say, I didn’t murder these particular children and I don’t care who knows!. 🙂

While the rebellion in Norovaea is underway, King Arryk manages to send a plea for help to his niece, Princess Maryna, ruler of Terragand. Devyn gets the message first and brings it to his sister so they can read it together. Some editing and punctuation abuse has occurred.

Maryna was alone in her study, except for her secretary, scribbling away at a little desk in the corner.

“News from Uncle Arryk,” Devyn said, waving the pouch, carefully avoiding the secretary’s gaze.

“Oh goodness,” Maryna said, “you’d better have a seat.” She turned to the secretary while Devyn pulled up a chair, “Take a break Lara, and I’ll send for you later.”

The girl slowly left the room, her lively hazel eyes staying on Devyn as long as she could decently manage it.

He kept his eyes resolutely straight ahead even as he felt his ears warm. He’d only ever stolen one kiss from Lara, and he’d been a bit drunk at the time, but she seemed to think more would be forthcoming.

“Goodbye, Lara,” Maryna said, very firmly, and once the door was shut, she smiled at Devyn. “You really need to stop kissing the servants.”

“I don’t kiss them,” Devyn protested, “Usually.”

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