Morning

Sitting here cuddled with the puppies (*grown dogs, but shh, we don’t acknowledge that) drinking my first cup of coffee, contemplating the month of chaos before me. I had asked some fellow bloggers and writers to put together some posts to share with you during this period of chaos. Thankfully some have obliged.

We are trekking this Spring and Summer.

If you aren’t aware of the Passport program (https://www.eparks.com/product/22515/Passport-To-Your-National-Parks®/) of the National Parks, I highly suggest you look it up.

So far I have filled up one section of my passport in a region. Several places I forgot my passport and had to get the stamp on a separate piece of paper! Which is fine, those are added pages! I am collecting visits to National Parks. That’s become my “thing.”

I am even buying T-shirts and spending enough on doodads to get the free shopping tote bag, too. It is all in support of the National Parks, so I don’t feel a bit guilty at all.

Besides the inked hand stamp, there are postage stamps as well. That was news to me, but then, I am not a stamp collector. I mention this for those who have always thought about collecting stamps, but never got started, this might be a place to begin.

My Summer hope is that I finish writing a story I am determined to publish this year, dabble a little on another picture book I want to publish next year, and yes, the big adventure, too.

I putting together a Patreon account. Patreon lets you pay to support a creative talent and get some stuff in return. The honest truth is that I am losing money doing this writing thing. While there are sales, there is still more expense than income. So, in order to keep doing this, I started looking at ways to try to break even.

Breaking out of my shell of “what if fear” and getting on the train that already left the station – being a business. That is to include learning a few magic tricks while working on my own stage fright to become my husband’s assistant.

Call 2018 the year of adventure. It sure it turning out that way!

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Winners? Maybe.

As of today, there are only two comments for the blog giveaway. Both of those found their way into the spam folder. The WordPress anti spam settings don’t believe their comments are valid. So I am going to approve them and respond on the post and hope that the individuals are real and will respond back on the blog so that I can verify they aren’t bots or spam ware that posted.

Let’s hope so, shall we?

Ooh, Here’s An Idea

So, you go to Amazon

Here specifically –

Free download with Audible Trial Offer

Get the audio book of Snowball, narrated by Anna Grace Conover

Then get the

ebook download for free til Christmas

Ta-Da!

You have a read-a-long! Can you find the word choice changes? After the first of the year I will post them.

There are a few errors in the print and ebook. Can you find those?

An exercise in learning.

Hurry before the free stuff goes away!

The Season Immersed

Happy Christmas to you and a Merry New Year!

There has been a possible change to my agenda for 2018, and it is heading me in a direction that wasn’t quite on my radar. It isn’t a bad thing, rather one that I am not quite sure what to make of it. The worst outcome may be that I enjoy it and not worry about using it to my advantage.

My most overwhelming stumbling block concerning my writing is others expectations. (*Others meaning anyone besides me.) My immediate consultants (hubs and children) have reminded me often and sometimes loudly that I plan too much. True, and that comes from a life lived shaded by negativity and warning. Even when one chooses to trim up those overhanging branches that blocked the light, it is a hard perspective to let go. Sometimes, with out realizing it, you pull back closer to the trunk, to the base so that familiar shaded view of yourself and the world is recreated. Letting those outside judgements of you whether real or imagined stay far too much on your mind.

I hope that is cryptic enough to fit anyone else’s life besides mine. It’s hard to write personal and broad at the same. Sharing perspectives and feelings is tough. It puts us in a vulnerable position, and most of us don’t like that. Me, neither! However, when I set out to write, personal wasn’t a priority and then for a short while it was. It briefly reverted back to a broader view, but then I was diverted to writing for children bringing me back to a personal slant.

Communication is both difficult and easy, and sometimes it is both with the same person – depending on perspective, subject matters, personal view points, and the dynamic of the relationship. When I write, these things take some priority in my work regardless of whether it is intimate to me from imaginings of what that character or situation must feel or seem like. Making the children stories broad based enough that they appeal and approach relevant issues as I see them and choosing ones personal to any child, no matter their age is motivation- universalness. I research things like fonts for those with reading and vision issues, double check the reading level of my writing, leaving enough room for a readers own imagination to fill in blank descriptions to their own liking, and some more small, possibly insignificant details of a story.

Yes, it sometimes feels like I am trying to do too much with too little skill. I am reminded of a phrase that I think often applies to my writing as well as to me – “educated beyond level of intelligence.” Otherwise known as a useful idiot. Which, if we are all truthful, we all have those moments. I like to think somewhere in the past we were kinder, gentler and more tolerant of one another, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.

Regardless, I hope that we become a bit more tolerant of each other and our moments. That we all, especially me, stop knee-jerk reacting. Take time to examine those initial reactions and feelings, discern what choices available to us about that particular “thing” – be it issue, opinion, event, or whatever. Since I started publishing my stories, I myself am struggling to do, especially since my skill and what I want to do aren’t exactly in alignment with each other. I had to choose whether or not to wait for the day, in hopes it would come, or forge ahead practicing and learning all I could about writing and publishing as I was doing it. For me, the later was my choice, and it suits me.

Sure, I made and make mistakes along the way. But doesn’t everyone. Am I the only flawed person in the world? I don’t thing so. I do my best and continue to practice that I get better -so my best may become better. I will try to approach next year with this same perspective- try not to plan too much, keep practicing, and do my best regardless of unforeseen developments.

And that is my wish for you this holiday season, that we all do our best, and we keep trying to be better, so that our best gets better.

Julie

You Have My Attention

For a few minutes.

Today is as I posted on the ‘other blog’ busy. The whole week is busy. This month feels really busy.

Soon I anticipate telling you Snowball, the audio version will be available. I have to do some work advertising for it as well as working on details that I need to know before I work on more scenes for the older book that is my current work in progress.

This last year I have meet some really awesome writers who are as new to this business as I am. Some newer, some more seasoned, but some really excellent writers. I feel blessed to be getting to know them. In many I am just in awe of their abilities and skills, both in the writing area and their business acumen.

Unfortunately, as much as I would rather be working on something for you to read, I have this list growing ever longer of things that have to be done on a timetable that will require me to push writing for you off. Things that absolutely have to be done so that I can write for you.

And my blasted activity tracker just went off telling me to move. So I really have to get up from my chair and get cracking on that list. I hope to make some time to work on storytelling today. Writing is a lot like an addiction, I get pretty cranky when I don’t get to sit down to work on a story – whether it is a scene or developing a character profile to help with a scene needed to fill in a storyline hole that I just noticed, or something that I am not sure where it is going to go until the project I further along.

Here’s hoping we all have a wonderful Thursday, and that Friday turns out to be better than any of us hoped!

Julie

Happy Birthday, Mickey

First Twitter post I saw this morning was about Mickey Mouse’s Birthday. It brought back to me memories. Memories of Chef Borardee’s box of spaghetti dinner, TV trays, watching television and Marlon with his Wild Kingdom. Then after the credits and commercial came Tinkerbelle and the Magic Kingdom.

It was a wonderful life, one of the first meals I learned to make. I coudn’t wait to pop those triangle holes in the top of the mini Parmesan cheese can and fight over getting the right amount on my s’ghetti before it was taken by the rest of the family. Slurping up those long strings of pasta. Yum. It wasn’t until my marriage to my husband, of Italian decent, that I learned to cook my pasta al dente.

But this morning my memories went back to that happy mushy pasta of childhood, all because of a mouse. So, not just sending out a “Happy Birthday Mickey” but a big “THANK YOU” as well. You made my childhood special, one day a week right there in the middle of the ordinary, far from the amusement park glamor. That is a pretty awesome gift to give.

——————

Update

Before I got to publish this, Mickey did it again, in the present day, made me feel magic. I had tweeted like a lot of others birthday wishes to Mr. Mouse, a really classy guy with impeccable manners. Mickey Mouse tweeted back to me. And I am that little kid kneeling on the couch cushion to bring me up to lean over the plate of speghetti on the TV tray in my parents’ den as the musical notes sound and Tink fly across the screen.

You’re welcome Mickey!

We are all lucky.

Maybe Not Writing Today

Nope. I may get around to writing in another hour or two, but not so far today. My hour of writing for the purpose of storytelling and producing books is off today. Shortly after coffee this morning I noticed we were low on bread. Oh, the drama of being out of bread!

A week ago some sourdough starter had been concocted and was ready to be made into dough. Hmm, timing was perfect, don’t you think? It has been some years since I made bread regularly. Sometime back in the late 80’s, it was a twice weekly thing because we lived where and when the price of bread was ridiculous. The cost of two weeks of homemade bread including the utilities to bake it was equivalent to the price of one loaf of store bought -for a young family it was a no-brainer.

To write, or make bread, not a difficult decision. I made bread. Though, now, sitting here defending my decision to do so, that will most likely have to count for my hour of writing. This counts, right? It isn’t getting that grown up story further along, but my thinking is a little bread and butter would make a nice snack tomorrow after writing for an hour. Besides, the loaves in the oven are producing an intoxicating fresh baked bread scent that is wafting in, not exactly inspiring me to work on the WIP (Work In Progress).

See what I mean? Doesn’t it look like bread and butter time?