Never Give Up, Even When Everything Else is Pointing You to the Exit Door

I haven’t really been able to sit down and write like I used to for, ‘Oh, at least a fricken year.’ And even now, this post comes about because I thought I should update my blog. Good grief! Time really took off without me. And it happened while I was looking.

I know we are supposed to treat writing as a job, a career, accepting that our dream requires effort. I know we are to apply our seat to the chair, glue our fingers to the keyboard. Even though our lives are flying apart like so much shrapnel, we are to harness our creative brains like little hamsters on an exercise wheel.

This hamster loss her momentum. The harness broke. I don’t know. Maybe I should have used duct tape instead of Elmer’s glue. Nothing stuck. Not even my seat. Definitely not my brain.

Sometimes it might seem like it would be easier to give up on a dream, instead of fighting for it. At least that’s what I tell myself while I’m licking my wounds. But deep down, I know that there will always be that voice that whispers, “What if?”

My DH always talks about when he was a kid they could call out a do-over during a game of baseball. How cool would that be?

So, today, I forgive myself for not writing as I should have. I allow myself to grieve. I look to today and tomorrow, taking the steps, moving forward in hope. One step at a time. I think I’m ready to call out for a do-over. How about you?

Had I Known Then

 

Had I known the title of my blog had more truth than fiction, I would have changed it to something like She Who Writes A LOT!  Instead, I have C.C. Wiley’s Life Between Words. Believe you me, there was a lot of life shoved between the words. Last year brought everything from floods, pestilence, publication, and marketing.

January 2010 brought rain that fell in epic proportion. It was like God decided to end Global Warming with a biblical firehose from the sky. And with that torrential downpour came brown water seeping into our home. We saved the home office by building a sandbag wall around the backyard. The ground was so saturated we sank to our ankles in mud. I get it. No big deal you say. But anyone who has ever tried to dig a hole of any proportion in California during the hot summer months will recognize that this is major rainfall. The baked earth that can defy the force of a two hundred pound person wielding a pickax was now sticky sloppy goo.  

As we all know, the sun will eventually break through the clouds. The winds will eventually drive the storm away. Who’s to say what changes it will bring? When it was all said and done, the winter storms of 2010 brought new floors in two bedrooms, a redesigned drainage system, repaired fencing, and a pond in the backyard complete with ducks that were willing to find any port in the storm. Too bad the dogs stamped their passports and sent them on their way.

The home office was safe. The writings. The books. The computers. All safe. And then the water heater broke.

With the rain came the joy. Our daughter returned home from college. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, she was making plans for the future. These plans included moving back home, getting to work in the real world and planning for her wedding in June. And two more dogs were added to our household.

I like to think of myself as being that calm boat that skims through life and stays balanced even during some rough seas. So having so many dogs in one household is not that big a deal when life is easy and your bedrooms are not occupying the living room and dining room while the drywall in the bedrooms dries out. We have great dogs. All six of them! However, when the rainfall totals start hitting 20 inches in about a month the mathematics of mud begins to increase: 6 dogs X 4 muddy paws = a whole lot of paw prints.

But I digress.

One spring morning the rain finally stopped, the sun came out, and we discovered our car didn’t run properly. It backed up five feet and then all the lights and bells the Lexus manufactures put in the car went off like a night at the local casino. It was just another day of not going to work. Another day of Life Between Words. However this time I could at least say that it was my first time to ever ride in a big rig to a car dealership. We were certain it was faulty manufacturing. Right? Wrong. A varmint of the toe-nailed-long-tailed-furred-critter-type had decided to sharpen its too pointy teeth on the wire harness things that hold the fricken’ engine in place. Hello! We have fruit and nut trees in the garden! Go eat those things! Instead it ate a meal that cost us over $500 for the repair and another $100 for my peace of mind. We now have the electronic pulsating things that plug into the wall sockets on every wall in the garage. 

Just more life between words. Right? Time to plant my butt in the chair and write. Instead, I’m busy in reader-loops, blogs, and email. I set up Facebook and Twitter accounts, placing an ad in RT magazine, tweak my website. Marketing.  It’s a necessary element to the published writer space, but who know that it would take so much time? It’s simple. I should have.

I look at the calendar. There is more good stuff happening. Our daughter’s fiancé graduated from college in May. In one week, he graduates from college, his parents throw them an amazing engagement party, the kids move out of their apartment and they head for California.  The plan is they will stay with us until they find a place of their own. Our spectacular daughter is a June bride! She’s made it easy on her parents. The all-inclusive resort is amazing!  All we have to do is show up for the wedding in the Riviera Maya. So far it’s been an easy job for me, the mother of the bride. Our daughter is the picture of the most efficient bride. We’re moving along. I’m not writing very much because, hey, I need to exercise and lose weight. There’s a lot riding on this. I have to find a mother of the bride dress and I have to look good in a bathing suit. How hard can it be? I’ve been working on losing weight but we had a so many reasons to celebrate. (Yes, that means with amazing food and wine).

The first week of June we attend a lovely book signing and then head for the wedding dress fitting. It was a fabulous day. My friend’s book signing inspired me to start writing again. It was time for me to shake off the change at the publishing house and write something new.

And then, more life came between words.

I broke my foot two weeks from the wedding. It is nine whole days before I’m ready to admit that ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ It is another couple of days to get to a specialist and the clock is ticking. Someone has gummed up the works and everything I have planned to do before our trip is now in a mess.  Soon I was no longer frantic and in pain. Now my productive life in between words had slowed down to a trickle. I was in a purple haze of pain reducing medications.

The resort offered me a wheelchair, but really, who wants to look that pathetic? Besides, the World Cup was on. Everyone would forget me in the corner of the bar. Crap. Even though my foot is swollen and I look like I can barely make it back to our room I decided to stop taking the meds. I refused to lose this time in a blur. Our daughter’s wedding is a memory that I will always cherish. And the broken foot will forever be a part of the photos from that glorious trip. Or at least until I can figure out how to use Photoshop. Maybe while I’m at it I’ll remove some inches from my waistline and ass.

July brought both the bitter and the sweet. I planned to celebrate the publication of KNIGHT DREAMS by attending the RWA Conference in Orlando, Florida. And that’s when my life stepped between me and the words. 

The first week back from our daughter’s wedding along the Riviera Maya, we found ourselves back in a medical facility. This time, my darling husband sat by my bedside as the surgeon wheeled me into the operating room. Mind you, I still have a lovely boot on my foot that I had started to call Black Beauty. However this little surgical procedure wasn’t for the broken bone. Nope that was just a side trip. This little procedure was to remove a two-inch benign tumor.  Normally I would try to ignore the thing, but it was in my ribcage and burrowing into the chest cavity. It was beginning to look like I had a side boob. Thank God it was benign. Thank God the three-inch scar is hidden. However wearing a bra became a challenge. I usually don’t mind going braless at home. Who doesn’t, right? How about the mother of the newlyweds. Let’s face it. The new son-in-law doesn’t want to see his mother in-law’s ta-tas. Mind you, it is now summer time. The temperatures in the valley occasionally reach 100 degrees. A heavy sweatshirt is not my friend. A loose swimsuit? Oh yeah! However, I still had to go to the writers’ conference in Florida. Have you noticed most airlines frown on bathing suit clad travelers? I made it there. No, not in the bathing suit. Nor did I wear Black Beauty. Thank God! I groused and whined the whole way there. My wonderfully patient travel friend can attest to that. I should put her name on an application for sainthood. Or at the very least erect a statue somewhere notable. A lovely, peaceful park maybe. I think I might even bury Black Beauty there.

In comes August! My novel, Knight Dreams, comes out in Print! Fanfare! Throws confetti! Blows the horn! Yay! Surely my new editor will love the changes to the second book. Sadly, she doesn’t. Perhaps the next one will.

I visit my parents. They’ve had their own adventure in 2010. It actually started on Christmas Eve, 2009. This adventure has kept them fighting to save my father’s feet and his life from the devastation of Diabetes. The battles have worn them down, exhausting the most stoic and stalwart of heart. We quit counting and kept praying after the number of medical procedures my dad had endured hit at least fifteen in the past year. They continue the fight. My mom and dad never give up. Not even when the rehabilitation facility makes his health worse. 

And reality of more life steps in.

I’m back to my preschool job and am dancing around twenty 3 years-olds on any given day. I’ve now been a published author a little over a year. The digital eBook publication released on October 2, 2009. The Print version released on August 2, 2010. And I’m struggling to remember to celebrate the accomplishment. On October 22, I have my very first book signing. It is amazing. To feel the love. To feel my family and friends’ admiration. To feel the good wishes of complete strangers. I am reminded that people whom I never met have purchased my novel, read the words, and care for the characters in the story.  And we celebrate. Finally. Days later. I really, really, celebrate and then I wonder what’s next. I can’t give up. It is time to write. To edit! To move forward. Don’t look in that rear-view mirror.

And life just happens to step in between those words again.

This time I saw it coming. I braced. And that, I’m learning, is not a good thing when your car is rear ended. Whiplash. Until that one afternoon, it’s a word that never really meant too much to me. And then the words slowed down because I couldn’t hold my head upright without feeling like a bobble head doll. The preschoolers seemed to speed up because I couldn’t turn my head fast enough to keep up with their busy minds and bodies. I hung in there. I’m like my parents. I don’t give up.

The holidays have come and gone. With the end of the old year comes a bright and shiny new year. Hopes remain high. Our daughter and son in-law are now in living in their own home and they celebrated their first Christmas as a married couple.  My dad’s health continues to improve and prepares for skin grafts. And I’m reminded that writing about hope and love is a blessing. God’s greatest gift to me is His love. It’s up to me to share that message of hope, love and joy. I’m grateful for the opportunity. And in this beginning of the New Year, I begin again. Because there really is life between each word that I write.   

What is your dream? Which path are you choosing to take next?

E-Readers…the next best thing since sliced bread?

The release of my first novel, Knight Dreams, came out last week. What a grand day! It was almost…almost as exciting as the birth of my two children. Granted, having my first book published is cause for celebration.   My children, however, take the award for the celebration of life changing events.

E-ReaderAs the week went on I found myself explaining what an E-Book or even an E-Reader was and how it worked. And why would I ever choose to have my book published that way? Some of my darling family, friends, and even strangers can only imagine holding a book made of paper. I had indeed traveled to the dark side. Ah. I wonder if that is what we thought when manufacturers brought out those other silly inventions.

 

Do you like your car? Do you remember your very first vehicle? Heck, I was impressed with my first car that came with power steering. The cars of yesterday didn’t have the bells and whistles that they do now.   Where would some of us be without power steering and brakes, the radio, the CD-Player, GPS, and Lo-Jack? Tired, tuneless and lost.

Do you love your laptop? Do you remember your first computer? Can you imagine life without it? Or can you imagine hauling the larger versions around on your back?

How about your cell phone? Can you recall the first cell phones? They came in a bag and you plugged it into the car. Or better yet, remember the first cordless phone?  It was like holding a brick to your head.

How about your IPOD? Before it,  came the 45’s, 33’s, the 8-tracks, the cassettes, and the CD’s. And should I bring the memory of the boombox back to mind? 

Each improvement didn’t really negate the one that came before it. (Okay, I admit, I’m thankful the tangle of 8-tracks are gone.)  The inventors enhanced the product and brought more choices to the table.

 Rest assured, I don’t plan to give up my tree-books forever. They are marvelous for research and there is something wonderful about holding them in my hands. But when I’m traveling and don’t want to pay the airlines another surcharge for the weight of my many books, the E-Reader is the way to go. If I’m at the gym and I want to workout both of my arms instead of using one to hold the book and the other to move the machine, I’m going to use my E-Reader.  If I’m sitting beside my darling man and he wants the lights off to enhance the movie and I want to read, I’m going to sit beside him and read with my Sony E-Reader’s little light on.  

Ah…life is enhanced! And life is enjoyed!

 So come on over, discover the E-Reader that fits your lifestyle. I’ve attached a link to help you on your new adventure. Be sure to check out the latest Digital Book Readers.  AKA / E-Readers.  

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1929387,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner&imw=Y

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1929384,00.html

You know you’re gonna want one!

Learning Curves

winding road

This has been a summer of learning curves.

Change of names. Change of titles. Change of lifestyle.

Change of attitude. Change of plans.

How did all these learning curves come about? It started with a dream.

My first novel, Knight Dreams, comes out in less than a month! When I signed the book contract, I didn’t know it at the time, but a different journey into the writing world had begun. Heck, this was my third completed novel. Surely, it was an easy ride from here. Right? 

The first curve I met was the pen name. Do I keep what I’ve known all my life or am I willing to change it just a bit? Either way, I learned there are consequences. You use your real name and everyone can find you. A pen name may allow you anonymity but a price tag hangs from your peace of mind. It reads: Additional Time and Effort Required.

My second curve was agreeing to change the title. Renaming a piece of work that I’ve had in my head for several years takes some getting used to. Hello, who renames their babies?

My publishing editor brought my third set of learning curves. The edits came and went with the speed of hairpin-turns. At times, they left me teary-eyed and frustrated. Other times, I just knew it was right. By the last round, I had learned to hang on, accept or reject the edits and comments, make the changes and meet the deadlines. I cannot always wait upon the creative muse to make an appearance. I must place my butt in the seat, ignore the self-doubt monkey on my shoulder, and write one word at a time.

The fourth set came as a series of long-rolling curves filled with breathtaking peaks and valleys. These are the hardest curves to maneuver and they require a great deal of balance. It is the change of attitude and lifestyle. My free time was now lost in the ocean of trying to do everything at once and not knowing how to do most of it.  As my heart raced from anxiety and my hips widened from sitting in front of the computer for hours and hours, I realized I have to shift my balance so that I don’t fall.  

I know there are more learning curves up ahead. In fact, I can see them looming as I renovate my attitude about diet and exercise. Although there is a plan forming, I know it will change just as my story plots often change. As long as I keep writing and the learning curves continue, it looks like it’s going to a great journey. 

It’s my life between words.