Why Write?

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Last night I plopped down on my couch to watch some TV. The Olympics were on for the 12th straight night, along with lots of reruns on most of the other stations who acknowledge that their viewers were watching the Olympics. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports and especially Track and Field, but I was tired of watching it all evening, every evening. So I started flipping through higher numbered channels, some I didn’t even know existed. That’s when I came to the BYU channel. Who know universities had channels? Now I’m not from Utah nor am I Mormon, so I assumed it would have little to interest me. I looked at my watch-6:56. I flipped to the channel because it had a movie starting at 7:00. I’d give it a try and guessed that by 7:10, I’d be back watching the Olympics.

Well, the movie was entitled, The Letter Writer. It was about an elderly man in a nursing home who flipped through an old worn out phone book every day and picked names at random and wrote letters to those people. Kinda creepy, huh? Except in this case it wasn’t. This dying man wrote letters of affirmation and hope. Letters to total strangers telling them to follow their dreams, that life would get better, and that he believed in them. Each one a little different, but with the same positive message. The only return address was a pen name he made up for the purpose of the letters only. Then he’d stamp them and shuffle down to the front desk to place them in the mail. In the movie, a high school girl who everything was going wrong for ( and I mean everything!) got one of his letters and since her life was such a train wreck she set out to try and discover who sent the letter. I wont tell you what happens because if you like truly heartwarming movies and ever run across this one, you should watch it.

Anyway, as a writer this movie really spoke to me. This man wrote for two reasons: writing was his passion, and he wanted to use that passion make a difference in people’s lives. He received no money or recognition for what he did.

Its easy to get caught up in the fame and fortune part of writing. I know I need to at least make enough money doing it to continue spending my time and energy on writing. But in the end, isn’t following your passion and making a difference what life is all about? I know it is for me. I hope it is for you, too, whatever your passion is.

In case you were wondering, I watched the entire movie and still got to turn back and see “the world’s fastest man” win yet another race before my evening ended.

Springtime in Colorado

029I love Spring!  Flowers, warm temperatures, and the hope of new beginning and summer to follow. In Colorado, however, it is always such an up and down ride.  80 degrees and sunshine one day, snow and 20 degrees the next.  And so it goes back and forth through March, April, and sometimes even May.  Just when you get out your shorts and flip-flops for good, you have to reach back in the closet for snow boots and mittens.

In January this year my daughter and I scheduled a horseback riding weekend trip to the mountains for the third weekend in March. I know, very risky.  March came in like a lamb, with temperatures in the mid-70’s the first two weekends. I waited for the other shoe to drop. And sure enough, the night before we were to leave, the snow started falling intensely. We made it to the ranch, where we spent the day Saturday on horseback, in the cold, below freezing weather saved only by layers and layers of warm clothes and those wonderful little hand warmer packets stuffed in our mittens and boots. No bright Colorado sunshine to be seen. But as happens, Sunday morning dawned with dark blue sky and the temp quickly warmed to the 50’s. Boy did we appreciated the warmth. A great time was had, despite the changes in the weather. And I got some magnificent pictures.

What a difference a day makes! I love Colorado.166

 

Snow day- the down side to a home office

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I moved my office to my home at the beginning of the year. So far its been a mostly positive experience. On cold winter days, no more driving across town in the cold, getting all bundled up, all I do is put on my fuzzy slippers and walk up a flight of stairs, cup of hot tea in my hand, to my office. It’s warm and cozy in here. And I am getting more accomplished each day, not nearly as many distractions as in the office building downtown. All good. Yesterday it snowed some, and I didn’t have to go out and slip and slide on the icy roads.

Then this morning I wake up to another foot of fresh snow. The radio is blaring out the closures. All schools and most businesses are closed for the day. Everyone gets a snow day! I turn to Facebook to hear stories of sledding and building snowmen, friends watching movies for the whole day in their pajamas or reading a great novel.  Everyone loves those days when they have an excuse to just enjoy the day, when it is impossible and excused to stay home and do nothing. It’s good for the soul.

Where am I you ask? You guessed it, in my office working away in my fuzzy slippers with my cup of tea.  It was easy to walk up the stairs this morning. Not a snowflake on me. I had no excuse. My office wasn’t hard to get to at all.  I tried to give myself permission to just take the day off like everyone else, but without an excuse, I couldn’t convince myself to do it. I’m working away, just like every other day as I occasionally look out the window at my neighbor on his dune buggy pulling a sled behind it down the street filled with giggling grandchildren. Maybe I’ll give my self permission to shut down a little early and see if he will give me a ride 🙂

 

Welcome 2016!

2016

Here I am (or at least a reasonable bitmoji facsimile of me) looking forward to a bright 2016.  I have to admit I was ready to leave 2015 behind.  It was a hard year in many ways. My business slowly declined and failed to pick up the entire year forcing me to make the hard decision to close my office downtown, where I had been for 16 years, and move my office into my home last week.  I didn’t know how it would all work out–still don’t–but I am looking forward to a great new beginning and a more productive and profitable year.

Not that 2015 was all bad. In fact, some very awesome things happened this past year. I self-published my first two romance novels, Colorado Sunset and Breakfast for Two, and while I haven’t sold enough books yet to quit my day job, I have sold more than expected and gotten some wonderful reviews 🙂  Colorado Sunset even hit number one on Amazon’s best seller list for contemporary western romances for a couple of days in October!  The first draft of my third book in my Peakview Series, Colorado Cabin in the Pines, is complete and in the process of editing, so I’m moving ahead.  I also just sold another story to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my 5th.  I am truly honored to be a part of such wonderful, inspiring books.

I’m looking forward to some great events this year: my youngest daughter’s wedding on October first, a mission trip to San Francisco in June and attending the RWA convention in San Diego in July.  In between, the plan is to complete and publish three more books this year. I honestly smile whenever I think about the year ahead.  I am moving forward confidently, and it’s going to be a great year. I hope you all move confidently into the new year and look forward to great things to come, regardless of where you are right now.

Make a difference

What makes a novel a best seller? Before I started on my writing journey, I would have said that what you needed to do was write a great book. And while that’s definitely the first step, just because you write a great book, doesn’t mean anyone besides you and your closet friends and relatives will ever read it. You’re so excited to finish your first book and you put it out there on Amazon along with the literally millions of other books, but how does anyone ever find your little gem? Sure if you’re a Stephen King or Nora Roberts, everyone will find your book immediately, but if you are one of the rest of us little people, it will be more like the tree falling in the empty forest, will it even make a sound?  So that’s when the really hard part of being an author kicks in, the dreaded marketing! And mastering social media and all that goes along with it, to make enough of a splash to get people to buy your book. Its not easy, or fun, but can be rewarding when something you do actually works.

So why you ask, am I telling you all this? Is it just to whine about how hard it is to be an author. Well, yes maybe a little bit, but mainly because I think its a reflection of life. How do you as just one little person in the millions of people in the world make that splash?You can be the nicest, kindest person alive, but to make a difference in this world you have to get up off your couch and do something. Volunteer somewhere. Our world has no shortage of people and organizations who desperately need your help. Find your passion and then take action. Get out there and interact with those less fortunate than yourself, with those who can benefit from your help or guidance, with those who need a hug or a smile to brighten their day. Who knows, it might even make you feel better about yourself and forget about your own silly little problems.buckhorn 15

Funny Writing thought for the day

So when I started writing I was reminded how important the little things are, like punctuation. Not something I really wanted to concentrate on when I was in the middle of a great story line, but essential to the meaning of what we write.  My favorite example of this has always been– Let’s eat, Grandma. versus Let’s eat Grandma. Being a Grandma myself, the second one was very concerning. Punctuation can save lives!  But now today, thanks to this picture I saw on FaceBook, apparently we need to be just as careful with our fonts. I hope this makes you smile as it did me. Fellow writers, something to think about 🙂

fonts matter