Thursday, October 31, 2013

My First Rejection

Rejections.  Ugh!  No one likes them.  They are hard, they make you second guess your abilities, and they leave you with a question.  Do I quit or do I keep on going? 

My first rejection came at a very bad time.  It couldn’t have been any worse if I had penned it into one of my novels.

My mother had died the day before in a tragic car accident. I stood in my kitchen when my husband came in holding the day’s mail, which included the self-addressed envelope I recognized as the manuscript I’d sent to a publisher. I opened it and read the short letter telling me my manuscript was not what they were looking for.

As I look back on that day, maybe it was perfect timing.  I set the rejection letter aside and didn’t go back to it until several days later.  By then the disappointment had rolled off my shoulders like water off a ducks back in comparison to losing my mother.

When I finally returned my attention back to my manuscript, I had decided that I’ll keep on trying. But first I had to learn from my mistakes. 

Well, I’m still learning, doing my best to understand the industry, the craft, and improve where I can.

Your turn:  When was your first rejection?

Monday, October 28, 2013


As some of you may know I am an avid gardener.  When I lived in Ohio I had ten very large, very prolific, perennial beds, the biggest being over 700 square feet in size.  I grew Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Lilies, Monarda, and much, much more. Yes, I lost plants, but for the most part, being blessed with my father’s green thumb, if I stuck it in the ground—it grew.  (Shown above.)

Now that I live in Nevada, gardening has changed dramatically.    Along with the obvious—the lack of water, I now deal with creatures that eat my plants from the roots up!  I have pine trees that resemble trees from Christmases past.

I put them in the ground and not even two weeks later they were void of their needles. 

I have tried traps, repellents, and even throwing a few choice words at them.  But they keep coming back.  Voles and moles have gnawed the roots of my trees away, leaving them no roots from which to drink the water I give them.

I have a feeling this will not be the last time you hear about my ongoing battle with the “wildlife” of Nevada!

Your turn:  Do you have a garden?  What are some of the challenges you face?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

 I work for a very large corporation which takes safety and training as seriously as they do their bottom line. Everyone receives yearly training on possible safety hazards, we have fire drills just like everyone else.  We even had a terrorist drill which included bringing in the swat team to search for wounded employees...and yes, we had volunteers that got to act out the part of the wounded or dead. 
Just recently, because we are located in an earthquake-prone area, we had a drill scheduled for that too.  The safety team has been planning it for months.  They coordinated the drill with local officials on all levels. Fire trucks were lined up on the main road ready to come to our aide. The drill was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Then suddenly ALL the lights went out.  Something made the power go out and the generators didn't kick in as they were supposed to.  Although, in case of an earthquake, it could occur, this was NOT part of the planned drill.

It made me think of how many times I've made big plans for my life only to have them fall apart.  Or whatever I wanted to do goes through as planned, but I soon learn it is not what I really wanted. I believe God has a sense of humor when it comes to our human nature. He waits p-a-t-i-e-n-t-l-y for us to realize he has our lives in His capable hands.

The poem by Robert Burns says it well: "The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!"

Your turn:  Have your best laid plans ever gone awry?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The View from My Window - Lake Tahoe and Mark Twain

The view from my office window is spectacular. (No this is not it.) But, to the west, beyond the hills in my small valley, I can see the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Just over their craggy peaks and out of my sight is Lake Tahoe (shown here).  It is a beautiful lake so blue and clear you can see over sixty feet into the water to the lake’s bottom.  Mountains surround the lake covered with a dense pine forest.  The view is absolutely breathtaking.

Tahoe was originally named Lake Bigler after the third governor of California.  It is also one of the few inland lakes that can trigger Tsunami warnings during an earthquake.  It was also the location of the Ponderosa ranch used in the TV series Bonanza—now a private residence.

But there is one little-known fact that I found amazing.  While reading Mark Twain’s adventure “Roughing It”, I learned that Mark Twain and his colleague decided to make the eleven mile hike from Carson City to Lake Bigler on foot.  Many hours later after climbing over several mountains they finally found the lake. 

One day after starting a fire for their morning meal, Twain headed back to the boat to retrieve the frying pan.  He looked up to see the fire, which he’d started beneath a tree, had caught the dry bed of pine needles ablaze.  From there the surrounding pine forest became engulfed in flames. For hours, from the safety of a small boat in the middle of the lake, Mark Twain and his companion watched the mountains burn.

He later returned to Carson City to tell them of his experience and had to pay for the damages incurred.

What little bit of history have you learned of late? 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Live Your Dreams

The rest of the story—as promised.  At my first writer’s conference, my brain whirled at the enormity of writing community and the excitement that flowed between writers.  It was new and exhilarating and left me wanting to continue in my writing adventure. 

But, was it for me?  Was it something I should pursue?  Those questions dogged my steps, leaving me unsure of myself. 

In one of the many workshops, the instructor passed around a bag of Dove chocolates, you know the ones with the words of encouragement emblazoned inside the foil wrapper.  I’m not normally a chocolate eater, unless it’s coating nuts of any type, but I still shoved my hand into the bag and pulled out two pieces.  One I dropped into my purse and the other I unwrapped. 

The inside of the wrapper read, “Live your dreams.” 

Wow!  What great encouragement for someone who felt like a young bird, sitting atop a safe nesting place preparing to fly. Me.  I straightened out the foil wrapper and slid it into my notebook feeling very inspired.

The next day, while digging for a pen, I found the other piece I had dropped into my bag.  Surprise did not even begin to describe my feelings when I found that it too read, “Live your dreams.” Apparently it was the message that I was supposed to take away from that conference. So I did.

I kept both wrappers and have them hanging in my office. The road to publication has had its ups and downs.  There have been times I’ve been ready to quit, days when creation of every sentence felt like I was attempting to move a mountain, but I keep on. 

I’ve had many rejections, none of them easy to bear, but I keep trying to learn.  One day, God willing, my dream will be lived out in full living color.

Until then . . . I’ll dream.

Your turn:  Have you ever had anything occur in your life that was a confirmation of the road you were supposed to travel?

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Little Bit of Encouragement


Here's a bit of encouragement for you, stay tuned to my next post for the story behind this promise message!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Weird City Names - just for fun

Have you ever wondered how cities were named?  I have and their reasons leave me scratching my head.

Unalaska, Alaska – Apparently they didn’t want to be part of Alaska.
Why, Arizona – Why not?  Oh, yeah.   That's in Mississippi.
Turkey Scratch, Arkansas  - Happy turkeys?
Zzyxz, California – They learned the alphabet backwards.
Bonanza, Colorado – I thought the Ponderosa was in Nevada?
Moosup, Connecticut – Is there a Moosdown?
Hill and Dale, Florida – Apparently they couldn’t decide between one or the other name.
Hopeulikit, Georgia – Hope you do.
Zaza, Idaho -  Hmmmm?
Normal, Illinois – Is anywhere normal?
Crab Town, Iowa – When I think of crabs, I picture the ocean, not an inland state.
Kickapoo, Kansas – Watch where you step.
Spider, Kentucky – I won’t go there – I don’t like spiders.
Frogmore, Louisiana – Is there a Frogless?
Deadman’s Corner, Maine – Stay away from there, bodies are pilling up on the street corners.
Unicorn, Maryland – I thought Unicorns were extinct.

Now just when you think those are weird. Look at the breaking news coming out of either New Hampshire or Maryland...either will give you a laugh.

Monday, October 7, 2013

When is Your Best Time To Write

As with many writers trying to squeak in a little writing time along with the stress of their dreaded day job, family and other responsibilities, I figured the only way to make my writing time l-o-n-g-e-r was to figure out how to write faster. 
I read a book called 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Write More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron hoping for some golden nugget to improve my craft.  What I found was a confirmation of what I’d already started to figure out.  Along with a few other nuggets I'll share along the way in upcoming posts.
Today, I am going to focus on when is the best time to write.  We each have our own personal “prime time”.  Some of us are morning people, who can write better when the day is fresh and so is the brain. Others are slow movers and need at least three cups of coffee before even chancing a glance at the computer.  Some are night owls able to plug away at the keyboard until those of us who are morning people (me) are ready to climb out of bed.
If you don't know when your best time to write is, the author suggested making a log of writing times and accomplished word counts along with other details of where and when you are writing.  Because having more time, doesn't necessarily translate into more words on the paper.  By learning when your best writing time and place are, you can actually accomplish more in the less time.

When is your best time to write?  I love early uninterrupted mornings.  How about you?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pet Peeves and My Morning Commute

This morning on my way to work I was considering a possible subject for this upcoming blog.  My commute is an easy one where the last ten miles is a four lane highway with the speed limit of 65.  It can be a pleasant trip with views of the mountains on one side and cattle ranches on the other, their fields dotted with cows and horses.
However, my usually peaceful drive was being hindered by someone in the passing lane matching the speed of the person in the right hand lane.  The two cars running along parallel with each other created a line of cars jockeying for position behind them.  The cars in back bunched closer, leaving no room for error by anyone. It made my morning commute resemble that of the Indy 500 race.
The cars finally moved, but not without a few shouts their direction by others…including me, I’m ashamed to say.

What is your pet peeve?