‘Spring’ing Forward

Hey y’all.  Spring is in the air for sure here in Central Georgia.  Our Dogwood trees are blossoming, the others are forming their buds, the weather is growing warmer by a couple degrees every day; the weather was so nice last weekend I spent the day outdoors, raking our front and side yard. I should have taken some photos to share, but I didn’t.  I felt it the next day though.  My entire back was stiff, right up the spine. 

There were people in our park last week, power washing the mobile homes.  I didn’t think ours was that dirty until the guy power washed it.  That may or may not have been my reason for wanting to get outside and rake the yard.  Just saying.  That mixed with the long, rather isolated winter we all experienced thanks to Covid quarantining.  Please, keep wearing your masks y’all.  We’re close to the end of this, but not quite.

With spring in the air, I’ve also been moving progressively forward.  One project I have moved forward with is my book.  A couple weeks ago, I received, reviewed, and approved my cover design from my cover design artist.  They did a spectacular job!  Now I’m patiently waiting for my box of 10 copies to come.  Once that happens, again, I receive, review, approve, and then I can finally begin sharing my first published book with y’all.  I can’t wait to be able to share the link with y’all!

I sprung forward with another project as well.  I’ve been creatively working on another personalized piece of artwork, but this piece I created for Bindi Irwin and her husband Chandler, for their baby wildlife warrior coming.  I think I’ve spent over a month sketching it, then another couple weeks, night and day, adding the color, and finally a few weeks ago, I mailed it out priority mail to Australia.  When I learned they were expecting, my creative visioning kicked into high gear.  I hope they like it.  It turned out adorably.

Now I’m moving forward, towards advancing our future.  We want to travel and see the world and share every experience with y’all, whether by blog, vlog, or book.  It could be sooner than hubby and I think, but we don’t know.  We are simply springing forward. 

As always, thanks for reading y’all. Have a great day!

Happy New Year 2021, Now Get Back to Work

Happy New Year y’all! I hope everyone was safe, healthy, at home, and celebrating their own personal triumphs and accomplishments from the past year. We did.

On New Year’s Eve, we spent the day listening to music, my daughter and I danced and sang, my husband and I drank, and then we went to bed. We were going to stay up and watch the ball drop on Times Square via youtube, but after some thought, because we were all growing tired, because a private house party will do that to us, we decided to watch the 6 hour video on New Year’s Day instead.

New Year’s Day was about as eventful. As previously mentioned, we began the day watching the festivities in Times Square. I really enjoyed their theme for the year, celebrating our heroes– police officers, nurses, teachers, postal workers, and others who worked to help others during the most difficult of times last year. I’m an online English teacher and my daughter schooling is also online, but we were both set up this way long before this Covid era. I enjoyed listening to each interview. Every person there was nominated by someone, interviewed and tested, and then able to share their experiences of last year. It was incredible.

However, with 1-minute left on the Times Square clock, my phone rings, it’s my next door neighbor calling. Not being rude, I rejected the call to watch the New Year’s ball drop. My phone rings, it’s my neighbor again. This time I answer it, but tell them to ‘hold on’ because we were in the last 25-seconds of countdown, and I hold my phone at my side. We watched the New Year’s ball drop ‘Happy New Year 2021’, I put my phone back to my ear and ask what’s up. I did not expect what I got in response…

To make this possibly otherwise long story short, we were under a tornado warning and the siren was about to go off. In 5-minutes my husband and I put three cats into their own carriers, I told my daughter to grab her wallet, I threw my glasses and phone into my purse and threw it onto my shoulder, my husband did the preparatory walk through shutting this and that off around the house, and we rushed to our neighbor’s place. The siren sounding the entire time. We were lucky, three different tornadoes touched down, but none of them were in our county.

Now, over a week into the new year, I guess it’s time to get back to work. I love my work, but I also like the long breaks.

This week I have to really focus on my book because it’s all about cover design. I have 2 different photos to plan; ‘meet the author’ and my cover. I will be on both the cover and the back of the book. I am very nervous about this because I don’t normally have my photos taken. I’m the one behind the camera capturing the moments. Not this time. I was hoping for a haircut or trim, but I think I need to be more concerned about the weather. It would be hard to capture the meaning of my book through the cover art, if the picture is ‘rained out’. In the meantime, I’ll be working on my backgrounds through the week.

Well y’all, I’ll conclude this post, thanking y’all once again for reading and following me. Wish me luck as I proceed to wrap up my book publication. I’ll write again soon!

Thinking, Writing, and Reflecting About Chicken Soup for the Soul

Hey y’all!

I am a writer and because I am a writer, I think a lot.  A Lot.  I think about my past and I think about my future and all the things I want to do.  Most of it has to wait until after my daughter graduates from high school which will be in another three years, but at the same time, I can do many of the things I want to do now, in the present time, because I’ve been blessed with the ability to work from home, as an English teacher.

One of the things I want to do is publish.  I want this about as much as I’ve wanted everything else I’ve been blessed with in my life because I love writing so much.  I love sketching to, but writing allows me to bare a piece of my soul that I can’t do in creating artwork.  Yes, I know writing is just another form of artwork, but writing is also different from sketching.  In writing, I can talk about the many obstacles I’ve overcome and what I learned from those obstacles.  When I sketch, I create pictures that make me happy.  Writing also makes me happy, but differently than sketching does.

Someday, I want to see my written short stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul because Chicken Soup for the Soul is the most widely known nonfiction short story compilations book around the world.  I began reading them when I was just 14 years old.  I recommend then to anyone I know and everyone I meet.  I recommended Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul to my daughter’s best friend in gymnastics.  She’s a couple years younger than my daughter, but she loves to read, according to her grandparents.  Not only did I lend them my copy, but after reading the book and returning it to me, her grandmother went out and bought herself a copy of a more recent title, Chicken Soup for the Grandparents Soul.  I don’t know how often this happens to other people, but it was a first for me.

I’ve been writing and submitting short stories to them for the last two years and one thing I can say for sure is my ability to write is improving.  When I first started trying, yes, I wrote crap.  Boring and unacceptable for publication; and obviously not what they were looking for.  Now, two years later, reading my own work chokes me up, but maybe I’m just partial to my own work.  Rather than being my own worst critic, I’m over complimentary to myself.  I used to have my husband simply proofread my material, then I click the submit button and off it went to their inbox.  Now, I’ve improved the writing process, asking him to critique my material, not once, but twice.  The first critique is always for direction.  The second critique is to fix anything which doesn’t sound right, or doesn’t fit.  If and when he gives me an all-clear, I then ask him to proofread it for me to clear my grammatical mistakes.

I know publishing is a hit and miss no matter who you’re trying to publish with.  When it comes to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my single short story entry is only 1 in about 5000.  As of current, the only time I’ve ever received a personal message from Amy Newmark herself, it was to ask for my mailing address to mail me a couple signed books, per winning a book drawing.  It was an incredible experience, but nothing like I imagine it’s going to be when the day comes I receive an email, that my short story has been chosen for publication in a future title.

So far, I’ve submitted a short story to each of these future titles; ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’, ‘Listen to Your Dreams’, ‘Stories About Christmas’, ‘Stories About Self-Care and Me Time’, and ‘You Go, Girl’.  The short story I wrote for ‘You Go, Girl’ is, in my opinion, my personal best.

In closing, I write to clear my head of the most concentrated thought swirling inside.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is my most favorite book series.  I can’t deny that and I won’t deny it.  I know my day will come, and when it does, I’ll laugh, I’ll cry, and I’ll jump up and down like a crazy high school girl finding out that the boy she likes, likes her back.  I’ll probably run to my neighbors and share with them this most exciting news of my life, but I am not going to deny myself the emotion of finally accomplishing what I’ve been working so hard to do since I began my writing journey.  I’ll tell you what else I’m not going to do, when sharing my news with my parents, who don’t completely understand the lengthy time and amount of patience writing a single story can take, regardless of story length, nor the hit and miss of publicating, I am not going to allow their happy-so-so attitude to clash with my over-the-moon-top-of-the-world-basking-in-personal-accomplished-glory attitude.  After all, this isn’t about them, this is about me.  They will be happy for me, supportive, and accepting, and that’s all I really can ask for.

Thank you for reading y’all!

 

Bending the Rules in Writing

Hey y’all.

Our weather was on the nasty side today.  Drizzling rain, chilly temps–it made the perfect day to stay inside writing.

I made more revisions on ‘Running for My Life’ which took me all morning and turned into five pages which I then emailed to my hubby for his written opinion…lol.  After that I decided to move forward and begin work on ‘An Unexpected Visitor in Labor and Delivery’.

I’m quite impressed with my work lately.   Using more detail, diving deeper into each memory I’m writing on;  every revision process furthers my ability to recollect the tinier tidbits in each historic moment.  Many of the memories are haunting, but writing them out helps me overcome the things I’ve done.  It clears my soul, and, like Chicken Soup for the Soul, it relates, inspires, and encourages our readers.  The makers of Chicken Soup for the Soul let us know with every book, we are never alone.

One day I’ll be a contributor for with the Chicken Soup series.  Becoming part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul family would be a dream come true, but first, I must ‘Let It Go’.

Yeah, hubby and I sat and enjoyed Frozen the other night.  My daughter, the week before, while I was starting her computer up for school, played it through her stereo, and it felt like I needed to look more into it.  I’m glad I did because while I love the song and it’s artist, and I can feel the energy in each line and what it means, watching the scene made a huge difference in what I read in it on a personal level.

Next time, I’ll have to write how the song relates to what I’m going through.  It’s like my theme song right now.

“It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through, no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free….”

I’ll let you know.

Until Monday… 🙂

Writing Resolution

Writing has always been my go to, but I haven’t been writing.  Instead, I’ve been trying to take on too many things in order to make a quick buck.  Not my proudest moment, but I’ve come to realize this, and now I’m doing something about it.  Fixing it.

I love to write, but I’m not writing enough.  I haven’t posted anything new to my blog in months it seems, because I’m trying to do other things.  I’m trying to make a difference in the world of education, but I’m not writing enough.  I have my entire life to write about, but I’m not writing anything.  That’s changing.  Today.

Reality hit me hard this week with dad in and out of the hospital.  Unable to focus on anything other than cleaning the house to keep my nerves under control, I had a lot of time to think.  Though my thoughts are still all over the place, I’ve managed to find a direction.  I’m not giving up on McKraft’s Literary Magazine, but I am putting the idea away for some other time.

While going through my writing, I see so much confusion, I don’t know what’s good, what sucks, and what needs work.  It’s sad, but it is what it is, and I’m the only one who can fix it.  I think constant rejection got the best of me.  I don’t have the nail in the wall like Stephen King did, full of rejection letters, but every time I submit a short story to Chicken Soup for the Soul and they publish without me, it’s still rejection.  Yeah, it’s not in writing, but aren’t we supposed to be conserving paper product instead of wasting it?  Rejection hurts regardless of format.

Moving forward, it’s going to be one short narrative story at a time until my manuscript is finished and ready to submit for publication.  Scott, with Page Publishing, is very interested, but he needs me to complete it before his team can review it.

All the effort I put into the making of McKraft’s magazine has been influential because it rekindled my artistic ability.  I’d forgotten how good I was after years of listening to ‘another’ claiming her work to be that of a genius in comparison to any artist known to the world.  Anyone can doodle and call it art, but mastery comes from the artist, not their tools.  I don’t claim to be an artist, but if you like my work, I thank you for that.  This summer I’m strongly considering refurbishing our office tabletop desk.  While it’s nothing more than a medium wood, counter-height, square kitchen table, I want to sand it down and create a collage of characters.  I’m thinking Yoda, Jack the Pumpkin King from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, and of course many others.  I’m not sure whether it’s fortunate or unfortunate (I guess it just depends on how you look at it) but it will be an entire summer garage project, but when it’s completed, it’ll look so cool.  A unique work of art.

I’m going to close for now and go try to make some sense of my manuscript.

Until tomorrow…

Discouragement and Persistence in a Literary World

It is so hard to concentrate and get things done at the office when your entire body feels like ‘poo’.

I’ve also felt a little discouraged because my literary magazine isn’t kicking off the way I thought it would.  The reality is that I’m not doing my research and reaching out to the right places to show off my creativity.  So, both yesterday and the day before, I did do some reaching out to a couple of places, mainly libraries and ‘mom and pop’ bookstores, but I haven’t yet heard back from any of them.  That’s the hardest part of being a writer, having enough patience to play the waiting game.

On a more positive note, I can finally share our company logo since I finished coloring it in.  I still think the pink needs to be a shade darker, but this is only the beginning.  20180620_090103

For the rest of the week, I’ll be putting as much time and energy into finishing up our July issue.  Then come July, I’ll have copies of May, June, and July’s magazine issues available for purchase.

I believe in this magazine and I want to see it succeed.  If I didn’t, I would have stopped after May, but I didn’t.  I continued on, creating a magazine issue for June, and now July.  I’m going to keep creating them because it’s something I love to do, and one day it’ll happen.  One day they will sell.  Until then, persistence and patience is the key.