Boundaries: book review

One of the books I have finished reading recently is Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr.John Townsend. Although it’s a Christian book, the concepts it teaches are pretty much universal, and I sure feel how they are making a difference in my life and helping me become a calmer, happier, and more secure person.

Its basic principle is simple: think of your life as your house and yard. You are charged with the maintenance of your house and yard, and nobody else’s. If someone unexpectedly barges in and starts enforcing their own order, they are violating your boundaries. If you try to barge into someone else’s house and start washing the dishes and mowing the lawn because you believe they cannot do it themselves, you are violating their boundaries and also burning yourself out. Even and especially if that someone comes to agree and actually expect you to take care of their stuff.

Having boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t care or that you don’t offer help to those who are struggling. And it also applies to married people – that was a novelty for me. Turns out it’s OK to tell your spouse, “I’m not responsible for your schedule, moods, successes, failures, or disappointments. I’m here to HELP, but we are both mature adults responsible for their own stuff.”

For example, if my husband has a meeting in the morning and asks me to wake him on time, I say OK, I can do that. But once I do, if he chooses to remain in bed or otherwise kill time, I don’t fret saying time and time again, “the meeting! You’ll be late! It’s already 9:00! Get up! Come on! I’ll run upstairs and get your coat to save time!”

I just get on with my own thing. And if he IS late, I refuse to be made responsible for “not reminding enough times” and “not making sure he went to bed on time the night before”. It’s incredibly freeing.

Similarly, I can tell him, “I don’t think you are using your time wisely. Days are precious, and you have a family to provide for. I think you should accept a job, any job that will give the family a steady provision”. But once I have said that, I walk away. I don’t nag. I don’t bang my head against the wall trying to get him to accept a job. I don’t spend hours looking for a job for him. I don’t run around in circles saying, “Will you please open a profile on Upwork? I’ll help you set it up.”

You know what? It’s not that easy. Especially when you KNOW you are probably right and the other side doesn’t listen. But it doesn’t help killing yourself carrying someone else’s burden. So I just go on doing my thing, focusing on my own growth, and accepting that I don’t have control over anybody else’s life.

And, of course, I also refuse to be made responsible when I’m told “I don’t have a good job because you didn’t try hard enough to teach me English” or “you should have tried harder to get me to set up that Upwork account”. No, I shouldn’t have. This is ultimately your life and whatever you make of it. Freedom. Choice.

It plays out even in our relationships with our children. For example, if I tell my daughter, “I think X is a nice girl. Why aren’t you friends?” and my daughter tells me, “We just don’t get along”, I accept this, even though I do happen to think X is an exceptionally good kid and I’d love to see her around. These are my daughter’s friends, not mine, after all!

This book grapples with the following questions:

– Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
– What are legitimate boundaries?
– What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
– How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
– Aren’t boundaries selfish?
– Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

A must-read for anyone who has ever struggled with setting boundaries in their lives, or even wondered what boundaries actually are.

Modified Dragon Scale Crochet Gloves

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The crocodile stitch is one of the most fun crochet techniques I have mastered lately. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quick and easy.

I was determined to learn it because I had my heart set on making a pair of these dragon scale fingerless mittens for a friend who had actually written a book about a mysterious disease that leaves human beings covered in dragon scales – I figured it would be the perfect gift for her book launch. DSC_0347.JPG

I followed this tutorial, but once I got to the wrist part, I did a stretchy ribbed cuff in the round by working single crochets in the back loop only – you can find a tutorial for working stretchy ribbing in the round here. I am now really addicted to making stretchy hat brims and cuffs!

Because I was working with color-changing yarn and no two skeins are exactly the same, there were slight differences between the two mittens, but I was pretty pleased with the dramatic “dragon color” effect.

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And here is the recipient with her newly published book! If you’re into dystopian sci-fi with dragons, deadly disease, and major conspiracies, check out The Dragon Plague by Anna Mantovani.

The Breath of Earth: new book release!

I’m thrilled and excited to announce that The Breath of Earth, the third book in my Frozen World environmental sci-fi series, is now out and available on Amazon in print and Kindle editions. And I already have some ideas brewing for book 4! I couldn’t have been happier.

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I can’t believe how far I’ve come as an author, and I’m saying this with the highest degree of humility and gratitude. From writing sporadically, having several projects on the back burner and hoping to publish something someday, I now work on projects in a consistent manner, have published numerous books, and am establishing an ever-growing source of supplementary income for my family. No, money is not the most important thing to me when it comes to writing. I write because I’m alive and breathing! But the fact that people choose to buy my books is tremendously validating for me as an author. There are millions of books out there. Whenever I see that someone had chosen to buy and read something I wrote, I wish I could know who that person is and thank them. This means SO much.

So let me just take a moment to celebrate.

PS: In honor of the latest release, The Last Outpost, the first volume in the epic Frozen World saga, is free until September 13, so go ahead and grab your copy if you haven’t read it yet!

Writing with my children

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The exciting day is here! Dragon Diplomacy, my first Middle Grade novel, is available in print and on Kindle, to my immense joy and satisfaction.

Let’s face it, with how little time I have, writing is often a guilty pleasure for me, and I go back and forth a lot on how long I can allow myself to spend it without neglecting my family. This book, however, had a different birth process. It was written with my children’s active contribution, and the reading aloud of each chapter was beautiful family time I can fondly look back on. We also drew the characters and made maps (not included in the book) and thought of ideas for sequels (working on that now).

The most important lessons I learned from writing this book are probably, 1) Kids love dragons, and 2) Kids are a brutally honest audience. My daughters had no qualms to say, “this is boring” or “change the ending”. I followed their advice, of course. What choice did I have? 

My first children’s book is here! (updated)

An unusual path to dragon-taming

I am happy and excited to announce my very first children’s fantasy novel, Dragon Diplomacy, is now available in print. The Kindle edition is available for pre-order now, and will release at the end of the month.

From the blurb: “Loriel is an inquisitive 12-year-old fairy living in the enchanted forest kingdom of Silverbell Wood. The peace and tranquility of Silverbell are disrupted by Gadrak, a troubled dragon who comes to live in the middle of the fairy domain. The dragon’s incessant raids on the bordering human kingdom of Elderland cause the wrath of its people, who are determined to invade Silverbell – a prospect that might end in disaster, with the protective enchantments broken and the delicate balance of the fairy forest disrupted.”

As all my fiction books, it is published under the pen name of Hannah Ross.

I really can’t say this often enough: I appreciate and love the readers who support me by buying my books. Without you, I would never be where I am today, with 12 novels and 4 nonfiction books under my belt, and more to come. So a huge thank you! You make me doubly excited about sharing my writing with the world, and you rock.

Environmental sci-fi book giveaway

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Short promo break: if you are into environmental sci-fi, The Last Outpost, first volume in my Antarctic saga, is free on Kindle until the end of the week. Features a global war, dark secrets, government conspiracies, and prehistoric monsters frozen in ice. From the description:

Scott “Buck” Buckley, an environmental scientist, accepts the position of general overseer at the McMurdo Antarctic research station. After signing a secrecy declaration, Scott becomes privy to the existence of Geyser Valley, an area with a unique warm microclimate, which is home to the mysterious indigenous Anai people. In an outrageous conspiracy, the world governments are keeping the existence of these people a secret, to avoid limitations on the division of land for natural resources.

I love writing environmental sci-fi because it allows me to explore my favorite premise: humans don’t own the world, and if they get too arrogant, nature might just have to show them who’s boss.

So if you’re looking for a weekend read, go ahead and snag a copy while it’s free.

Exciting News – Double Book Release

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I love writing fiction, and feel so incredibly lucky to have several books out in the world now, with more planned to come under my fiction pen name, Hannah Ross. Wild Children, the first part of a post-apocalyptic saga, was released close to a year and a half ago, and I’ve been working on the sequels ever since.

This project has been a long time in the making, because my publisher and I made the decision to release not one, but two sequels simultaneously.

The Hourglass is told from the perspective of Priscilla Dahl, a 16-year-old girl who forfeits her privileged position in society to seek justice. Freeborn is the story of the backlash that occurs when the government decides to rein in the outlaws it has shunned for many years. The beloved characters from the first book – the children from the orphanage, Benjamin Grey, his parents Rebecca and Daniel, and the new friends he makes in the world of freedom and precarious life on the edge – are all there in the sequels, too.

A few months ago, just as we were finalizing some details of the impending release, a dear and beloved friend of mine, Julie Ryan, unexpectedly passed away. As I was reeling from the shock of these horrible news, my publisher asked about the book dedications, and I thought that it would be a fitting tribute to dedicate The Hourglass to Julie. The theme of this book is time – the running out of it, and doing things that will make every hour and day of our allotted time count. This is something Julie understood well, and taught me – in her life, and ultimately in her sudden death. She made every day count. She lived her life to the fullest. So, dear one up above, this book is for you.

In celebration of this double new release, Wild Children will be free on September 15th and 16th, so go ahead and download your copy. Your support in the form of shares, reviews and social media mentions is always appreciated. Thank you.