Time is on My Side, Yes it Is by Cher’ley

This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Q: What did the second hand say to the hour hand as it passed by?
A:  See you again in a minute.

Q: What do you call a story that one clock tells to another?
A: Second-hand information.

Time is on My Side, Yes it Is:

Time is on my side, yes it is.
Time is on my side, yes it is.
Now you all were saying that you want to be free
But you’ll come runnin’ back (I said you would baby),…

Time is on my side. Or is it? Is time on my side or your side, while on the truck, it seems that I am constantly fighting against time. It’s time to drive (11 hours), then it’s time to sleep (5-8 hours), then it’s time to eat (2 hours).  That’s 21 hours, so I have 3 hours to shower, clean the truck, relax, exercise, dance, or create.  Time is not on my side.

Related imageWhen I’m at home I have a little more time to do what I want, but that is usually going to my various classes or clubs, and swimming. I am still sorting out my collections or hoardings that we talked about in a previous blog. Also, I have family and friends there that I really must visit with before heading back to work.

 

My shortest book, Four Moons and Fair Maidens still took a lot of timeFour Moons and Fair Maidens to get the rhythm just right. Westerns more than other books have a rhythm of their own, and it is historical so that means a lot of research.  All the facts have to be exact because if they are not someone will notice.

Research, the fun and time-consuming part of the book. Time is on my Side, yes it is—right!                      Four Moons and Fair Ladies

***How is your time?*** And speaking of time, 2 anthologies that are listed below are getting ready to go out of print so if you’d like to have a copy now is the time to get them. Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico–Pawprints on my Heart.  

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE
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Days Pass Quickly

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

“I’ve been lately thinking about my life’s time – all the things I’ve done and how it’s been…The days they pass so quickly now…” So go the words to a song titled “Poems, Prayers, & Promises” by John Denver. Another year has rolled around. Three of my high school friends have celebrated birthdays, and another’s is just a few days away. My birthday arrives in March – all of us are past the half-century mark, closer to 65 than we are to 35. This year marks our 35th high school reunion – where does the time go?!

John Denver’s reflection in that song reverberates in my heart and mind these days. Perhaps because three friends recently found themselves in the crosshairs of cancer – one of them not even 40 years old. The death of a few elderly church members recently also provided pause – our time on this planet is but a blink of the eye, and no one knows when those eyes will close for the final time.

Arch ParkInstead of becoming melancholy, as I easily could, or getting stuck in the “what ifs” and “if onlys” of yesterdays regrets (which I could do even more easily) I am focusing on the future. I am working harder, taking on more projects in the months ahead, in the attempt to dig out of a financial hole that beset my husband and I last year due to less income from his business. Once the debts are paid, then the focus will be on saving more for enjoyment – I want to travel, experience more of America’s majestic landscapes, and spend time with friends and family. Time is more of the essence now than it has been – my parents are in their mid to late 70s and close friends are pushing 60 … relationships are of great value. Yet, I need to work in order to create that financial safety net that will allow me to enjoy those times of travel and camaraderie. I am believing this new year will continue providing new doors of opportunity for both finances and dreams.

AZ saguaroI recently completed reservations for a trip my dad and I will take in September, fulfilling his bucket list of visiting the Grand Canyon. We will see friends during our excursion in addition to some of America’s most breath-taking national parks, fulfilling dreams of mine along the way as well. In March I will be speaking to two ladies groups in Cheyenne, which is only about 90 minutes from Denver. I will take the rest of that week off and fly from Denver to Phoenix and possibly on to California, again visiting friends and taking in amazing landscapes. That trip is my birthday gift to myself, and though I should possibly wait another year and set that money aside, I feel the need to reward myself for the additional work I’ve taken on – the importance of these friends, and my need for some winter reprieve and R&R, is too vital to wait. And, sometimes postponing means never getting around to it. Life is too short to wait these days. I look forward to both the spring and autumn adventures with great enthusiasm!

“The days they pass so quickly now, nights are seldom long – time around me whispers when it’s cold…” so go the words to the above-mentioned song, penned and sung by the late Mr. Denver, who died tragically and before his time in 1997. He would have been 70 years old last month.

Time does pass quickly, and the whisper of cold has been prime this winter in my neck of the woods. My life’s poem, my heart’s prayer, and my mind’s promise is to enjoy the days, weeks, months, and years ahead, as many as I have, with gratitude for the work, the talent, the ability, and the relationships with which I’m blessed.

As we journey through life we take time to evaluate where we are, from where we’ve come, and to where we’d like to go. Set a course and enjoy the journey – even if that means a lot of hard work for awhile … for the days do pass so quickly!

Coniferous Forest Beside a Large Canyon

SIDENOTE: I was and still am a fan of the late John Denver. I was excited to learn that the Leon Gallery in Denver, Colorado is hosting a show of the photographic works of John Denver through March 2, 2014.  A weekend get-away for me down to that big city is probably in order!

Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to articles in Creation Illustrated and Our Town Casper magazine, and in the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers. Her future plans include creating newsletter and brochure content for businesses and writing more magazine articles. She also has two more books in the works. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.

SageBigAdventureFront-small       Walking_FrontCover_small      Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final

Oh, those LASTS…

 For CCThis post is by Nancy Jardine.

It amazes even me that in this time of ‘throw- away culture’ I have so many bits and pieces stored around my house that seem like junk. I’ve been blogging like mad this summer about things I’ve kept for years and years with no particular use for them, save that they have a great sentimental value.

Why on earth did I keep a set of cast iron LASTS that are incredibly heavy to lift?

I really don’t have any answer except to say that my father used them when I was growing up to mend his shoes and work boots, and sometimes shoes that belonged to my mother, sister or me. lasts

If he was repairing shoes for the females of my family, it was generally only the heels he’d be replacing.

Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe, Have it ready by half past two…

Was my father a cobbler, you might ask? No, he was a glazier, but when money was tight you did what you could to sort things out. Shoes which had perfectly sound ‘uppers’ were not thrown away just because the sole or heel needed replacing. They were FIXED, even though the time and effort for the repairs needed to be found in what was usually quite a busy weekend. My dad worked on Saturdays till 1pm and was not home till around 2pm- Sunday being his only full day off work.

I can vaguely recall the smell of leather when Dad mended his boots or shoes, but the mending usually wouldn’t happen before a feet wetting! When the rain seeped through the cracks in the soles of his boots, that was the time to eventually ditch the sole and replace it- a waste before that stage. We’re talking Scottish weather, here, so the feet wetting might be considerable.

There were, of course, skills to be learned about the mending process. Dad would monitor the cracks in the soles and judge when the seepage of rainwater would penetrate those very last fibres to the inside of the boot. If he got it right, he would have the supplies already in the house when they were needed, but if not he’d have to suffer since I don’t remember him having a lot of alternatives in work boots when I was a little girl. He would buy a piece of thick leather (usually a rectangle). The most likely place was a market area in Glasgow (Scotland) called ‘The Barras’. ‘The Barras’ had stalls for everything and was a weekend haunt for many people who looked for bargains.

barras wikihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow_Barrowland_market

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wfm_barras_1.jpg?uselang=en-gb

The first work boot would be upended onto the LAST and the old sole and heel would be prised off very carefully- the nails set aside since some of them might be able to be reused for another purpose if undamaged. Yanking, or ripping off the old sole would have been a crime because the rest of the boot needed to remain as intact and undamaged as possible for the new patched heel or sole repair to work properly. Once the old broken sole was removed, he’d check the interior skin which was a layer between the insole and the outer sole. Once he’d established that was intact, he’d continue with the new soles. If the inner layer needed replacing, he used a ‘sort of thick canvas’ to replace the spent layer.

My dad would place the new leather rectangle flat on the table and use a paper pattern that fit the size of the boot he was repairing. Once the soles were drawn with his glazier’s pencil – a really thick specially-shaped, leaded pencil – he’d cut out the ‘soles’ using a range of tools. A really sharp ‘paring’ knife would make the initial slit and then he had a very fine little ‘saw’ that cut through. Often the leather was very tough to cut and ended up a bit raggedy at the edges. He’d then use an oiled sander or oiled sandpaper to smooth off the edges. Of course, he had to remember to reverse the paper pattern for the second shoe to ensure it had the correct side out, since one side of the new leather was shinier, the finishing process better on that side for wear and tear.

The LAST was perfect for the repairing since the hammering of the new sole onto the boot was a noisy affair. It held the upended boot tightly in place, especially if it was the correct size. The placing of the new nails was a skill in itself since old nail holes on the ‘upper’ had to be avoided. That meant knowing the position of the previous nails. When the placing of the first new nail was established, the rest followed with precise positioning.

Were the repairs done? No. He’d do a new heel since the LAST was already out and it was likely that boot would need new heels replaced anyway. All the edges were then delicately finished off – no rough edges anywhere. The new nails were checked again (no sharp bits sticking up). The boot was removed from the last and Dad would try it for a good fit. When he was satisfied with the repair, he repeated the whole procedure for the second boot. Eventually the boots were polished till they shone and didn’t look like work boots at all. To anyone picking them up they would look like a new boots.

12001081_s Plan A to plan BWhat has my today’s story to do with my writing?

I’m really sad, at times, that we have such a throw away culture but I personally wouldn’t want to go back to mending my own shoes. However, the point is that I COULD do it if necessary. I have the know–how to do it, and I did get in a little practise since my dad always let me help when he was doing stuff around the house. He had no son, but was always happy to encourage my interest in what he did.

What I learned from his cobbling of shoes was a multitude of TRANSFERRABLE skills. Those skills, it seems to me, should be applied in our writing and editing process and only when an author has gone through all of the stages is the WORK ready to for that very final polish!

A breakdown might look like this:

  1. Acknowledge that no manuscript is perfect at the final draft stage.
  2. Assess the problem and work out the major issues in the storyline to be replaced/resolved
  3. Find the tools needed: SKILLED EDITORIAL HELP; TIME, CONCENTRATION, DIY repair kit of dictionary/ grammar rules etc
  4. Use the correct ‘LAST’. Some form of editing package/ in conjunction with your editor
  5. Carefully remove the DROSS/ fix the CRACKS/ ensure LININGS are sound/ make sure there are no ANACHRONISMS in historical work/ NO confusing bits for reader understanding
  6. Mould the new overall story
  7. Tap carefully into shape by systematic check/ line edits
  8. Take the rough off the edges /fix all editorial errors
  9. Test for a good fit/re-read the whole for any lingering errors
  10. Polish very thoroughly/ one last sweep through

I’ve read some published novels recently which have failed on many of these points and are really not yet ready for public consumption. As a consumer and reader of the stories I don’t think it’s too picky to ask for the best possible result from an editing process. One or two loose nails might not affect a newly repaired boot all that much, but you can be sure that my dad’s feet would have been continuously wet if his nail work was as poor as some of the writing and editing that I’ve encountered. The ebook culture now fits well with our throw- away society but surely it should not mean that the work is not properly fit for the purpose? Even if I’m not paying as much for an ebook as I would do when buying a print book (getting a bargain as when my dad went to the Barras for his leather) I still expect that the author really has gone through all the stages above, many times, to make the final product the best that it can be. That might mean spending even MORE TIME on finalising the work before it is published.

I’d love to know what your thoughts are about published work that still seems to need final edits.

ps… PHEW! Thankfully, I can also say that I’ve recently read some novels which have been SUPERBLY EDITED.

Nancy Jardine’s books are available in ebook formats and in print from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, W.H. Smiths,; Waterstones and from other ebook retailers.

BeltaneB 500Nancy is  currently doing thorough edits for the sequels to The Beltane Choice- an adventure set in Celtic/ Roman Britannia AD 71.

AFTER WHORL- BRAN REBORN is due for publication launch on December 16th 2013.

Having written this article, you can be sure that Nancy will be spending a lot of time on nail biting…

No! Make that nail checking!

 

pps…If you find any errors in the above, please tell me and I’ll sort them!

Related articles

Patience and Hope – Virtues of a Writer

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_small

This post by Gayle Irwin

Ten years – that’s how long it took Dr. Debra Holland to reach the peak of notoriety in the romance writing world – words of encouragement or words of despair for those who listened to her talk at a recent writing and publishing conference. One hundred-forty rejections… that’s what Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson experienced before the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was published – now this franchise is a large company that sells more than books.

Attending three writers conferences during the past few months, I’ve heard two arching themes: Patience – to filter through the web of writing: not just the craft, but also the business; Hope – because stories need to be told, there are audiences to reach, and writers have many opportunities to share their tales – you just need the patience to wander through the maze and work diligently to achieve your goals. Debra did all that, self-publishing her first two books in 2011 after numerous rejections from traditional publishers, and within a year, she hit #1 on Amazon’s Top 100 Western Romance List.

Hope in blocksMy first book was published in 2007 – six years ago. If I follow in Debra’s shoes, I have about four more years to reach the peak of success – I’m more than half-way there (that’s hopeful!) Like Debra, my first books were self-published. I’ve also traditionally published. I’ve written for magazines and newspapers. All this adds up to credibility – I’ve been in this “business” awhile and I’ve dabbled in various writing arenas. I’m passionate about nature and animals, and I’ve worked and volunteered for associated groups. My platform is becoming more and more established, especially as I write more and more about the subject matter and interact with various organizations. I’ll be in Denver, Colorado mid-August to wander through a major Pet Expo, learning about these national events and seeing if there’s an opportunity for me, a writer of dog books and stories, to participate; the following day I’ll actually have a booth at a dog rescue event, reaching those who enjoy running (it’s a 5k race) and those who support this (and possibly other) dog rescue organizations in Colorado (and maybe beyond). I’m expanding my horizons, and though these things cost money, the contacts I’m making (my platform) will grow and that’s vital to someone who wants to sell more books (in my case, books about dogs).

Recently I found several Montana-based magazines which published articles I wrote in the late 1980s to mid-1990s – my freelance career actually began more than 20 years ago, before Facebook, Kindle, Twitter, and YouTube. If I’d ncis-logo_photosstuck with it, perhaps today I’d have a greater following, a larger and stronger platform for my work. But, the past is the past, as one of my favorite NCIS characters likes to say – one thing I’m reminded of reviewing those old pieces: I am meant to be a writer – and, that fuels my hope and patience! The first Chicken Soup for the Soul book that featured one of my dog stories helped solidify my hope, and three Chicken Soups, three more books, and several magazine and newspaper stories later, my candle still burns:

I am meant to be a writer!

candle_flame

As fiction mystery writer Margaret Coel stated in her Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference keynote last month, “Keep at it! Write the story.”

We have many ways by which to share the stories we write. Yes, technology and the business of writing can overwhelm us, but it can also give us hope – try new things ((like booths at events), branch out (I’m teaching a class starting today!), and embrace the ability to steer your own boat (create a website and attend conferences!). As Debra Holland, Jack Canfield, and Mark Victor Hansen – and so many others – prove, patience and hope, and a lot of dedication, can lead to great heights in a writer’s career.

Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

~ Jack Canfield

ChickenSoupFront-small

What solidifies your patience and hope to continue writing? What new things can you branch out into as you continue your writing career? How do you “steer your own boat” with regard to your writing?

woman in canoe

Gayle M. Irwin is the author of several dog books for children and adults, including a chapter book called Sage’s Big Adventure about her dog’s blindness. Her latest work is Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned from My Blind Dog. She weaves positive life lessons into her work to encourage readers. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul and has written articles for Creation Illustrated magazine. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.

Walking_FrontCover_small        SageBigAdventureFront-small

Keeping it Simple – By Sherry Hartzler

author photo
separate wordsStream of wordspicture of friend buss

Words are beautiful. Good writing covers all five senses, paragraphs that engage the reader to the point of transporting them into the pages of your book. Words are truly amazing.. The trick is to keep writing simple but, at the same time, weave a compelling string of sentences that appear simple and easy to read. Oftentimes new writers feel the need to add too many flowers (adjectives) to the vase (sentence). The result is a clutter of pretty words that only slow down the reader and thus, choose to close the book (or Kindle).
The older I get, the more I realize I don’t really need all the extra stuff collected in my life. You start out in your twenties trying to find a style that best symbolizes your existence. Of course, by the time you reach thirty, your style has changed. And by the time you reach forty, again your taste has changed. At fifty, and then sixty, you begin to understand that you really didn’t need a style at all: you progressively grow into your own style and live a happier life.

The more you write, the more apt you are to find your “style” and “voice.” Style and voice do not magically appear like a genie from a lamp. Style and voice are a process, a blending of age and life experiences. Writers are merely interpreters of life and become better writers by knowing that we don’t need all the knickknacks in life, either tangible or intangible, a cluttering that inhibits the true nature of who we are as writers and human beings.
I used to think that if I used a bunch of high-brow words and sprinkled them into a sentence, everyone would think I was unique, compelling and extremely intelligent. What can I say? I wanted to impress. Now, after many years of writing, I’ve come to understand that words are merely tools to reflect inner thoughts. Simple, huh?

Sherry Hartzler is the author of Three Moons Over Sedona and Island Passage – Soon to be released – Chasing Joe
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/181-6335930-8504126?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sherry+hartzler

When I was a kid . . .

grandmother #2grandmother #1author photo

When I was a kid, I loved listening to the stories my grandmother told about living in the small coal mining town of Republic, Pennsylvania. When she talked, I saw visions of company houses, narrow streets and hills that sloped down to the mines. My grandmother told stories of Irish, Polish and Hungarian immigrants, women who hung their sheets and pillowcases on the clotheslines to dry, the pillowcases edged in hand woven laces and the sheets white as snow. My grandmother told stories about mining disasters and how the company horn would blow and all the townspeople would run to the mines with prayers that their family members and friends were not a part of a cave-in.

Queen Victoria Alexandria Nielson was born in 1909, the last of fourteen children. Her husband, on occasion, would quit the mines and go roaming for months at a time, leaving his wife and children behind to fend for themselves. My great-grandmother tended a garden that fed her brood of children. She was a little woman but tough as nails. My grandmother inherited this toughness and it took her through 95 years.
What a shame that children today know so little about their ancestors, and I’m not talking about what people get from ancestor.com. I’m talking about the word of mouth stories from living relatives who tell the stories of their lives. I miss my grandmother and her stories. She was a woman who fought to raise her own family after her husband died early in their marriage, leaving her with four children to raise. My grandmother worked in a canvas factory during World War II and took in laundry. I loved the way she walked, her back straight and her head held high. She was a great woman, a survivor. I loved her stories and miss her every day.

Three Moons Over Sedona and Island Passage: Available on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sherry+hartzler

Are You A Book Promotions Expert?

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Book promotion is a full-time job.  Just ask any Indie author and you’ll get an earful.  Not only are we responsible for the story, cover, editing, formatting and whatever else needs to be done, we are also responsible to get the word out about the book once it’s finished.  All of these tasks involve enough work to bring a normal person to his or her knees.  Not so the Indie Author.  He/she gallantly rises to the occasion, getting a little less sleep every night and fitting short blocks of time into an already crammed full daily schedule to tell the world about his/her creation.  After about a year of this most of us step back and sigh.  It never seems to let up.

Writing is no longer the same it was fifty years ago.  We authors may choose to go the traditional route and seek out an agent and publisher, but are aghast when we are told that we will also need to promote our work.  “Isn’t that what the publisher does?” one of my friends asked recently.  The answer is no.  You and you alone are the best person to promote your writing.  After all, if it’s left to someone else the facts may be a little bit skewed, right?  Who else will know the ins and outs of your writing as well as you do?  No one else knows the author as well, either.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The solution?  Start slow.  Build up contacts in more than one way.  Facebook and Twitter are great places to connect with readers and other authors.  Be present by posting daily and including quotes or things to be shared.  Let the readers know you’re a real person, not a pre-scheduled post.

Join groups and get to know the other members.  For instance, our Writing Wranglers and Warriors group is comprised of authors who seek to help each other by using their social media to promote each other.  Think it’s a unique concept?  There are many other groups on Facebook based on the same thing.  It just so happens that our group is focused on sharing and interacting.

Do you have an e-mail list?  A blog?  These are both great ways to reach readers and keep them current.

I recently read a post on WG2E about other promotional ideas.  One of them was to purchase magnetic signs for your car doors.  The author who wrote the post said she hopes to reach more people as they stop her and ask questions.  Bears some thought, doesn’t it?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Guest blogging is another way to reach people.  Don’t forget that writers are readers too.  Many times I have purchased a Kindle book at the end of a post I really enjoyed.  I figure if I enjoy the writer’s post there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy his or her book.  Rarely have I been disappointed.

Do you ever get the occasion to speak locally?  A local women’s breakfast,speaker conference, library, school or anywhere your subject will fit in would be the perfect place for you, the author to speak about your craft.  You will then have time to “plug” your own writing.

How about radio and television?  Have you ever asked?  I have had occasion to do radio spots often for my songwriting, as well as being a feature on the local news several times.  I have never sought out these opportunities; rather they have come to me.  The reason?  I am involved in the community and the venue I am playing lends itself well to advertising to the local population.  I have not as yet tried this for my books, but it is on my to do list for the summer.  I have a plan in place to contact local libraries (perhaps to be part of their summer reading program).  This would give me the opportunity to tell people about my books and make a few free or discounted copies available.

Sometimes brainstorming opens up new avenues.  We live in the Midwest, in an area that has parades throughout the summer.  My husband and I attend them all.  He turned to me at one point and said “We need to get pens or something with your book on them and ride in the parade and throw them out to the crowd.”  Hmmm, worth thinking about, right?parade

How about contacting local bookstores?  Have you ever done it?  I have seen books in hair salons, restaurants, gift shops and many other places you wouldn’t expect them to be.  You don’t know if you don’t ask.

Just for the record, promotion is the thing I dislike the most about being an author.  I hate asking people to read my books.  When they ask me though, I can talk nonstop about the subject and generally they wind up buying a book or two.  I hand out lots of cards (my husband is actually the pro at this) and make lots of new friends.  While I’m not an introvert, I hate putting people on the spot.  But yesterday we were car shopping and my husband told the saleswoman I was an author.  Her eyes got big and she said “no way!”  Before I knew it she had salebrought.over the sales manager and administrative assistant to introduce me (because I’m a “real” author).  It was funny, but also gave me a chance to talk about my work and hand out more cards.  Since I have a promotion coming up this month I directed them to the days the book will be discounted

What do you do for promotion?  Is it your favorite part of being an author or you least favorite?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Books by L.Leander:

Permission to do nothing

Jennifer FlatenThis post by Jennifer Flaten

This is the second week of summer vacation. It is also the start of summer school. All the kids are enrolled in summer school, in various fun programs. Both girls are taking cooking, art and musical theatre classes. My son is taking art, computers and sports.

The classes don’t run all day, just until noon, which leaves me enough time to walk the dog and maybe run to the grocery store. I dutifully did all those things the first few days, and then today I decided I was going to do nothing for those couple of hours.

That’s right nothing. I did nothing. I didn’t run errands, do housework, read a book or even watch TV.  I *gasp* didn’t even think about all the things I should be doing.

Instead, I just sat down, enjoyed the sunshine and listened to the birds.

 

Bird on a PowerLine
Bird on a PowerLine (Photo credit: ALalto)

 

 

 

It didn’t last long, I’d told myself that I would do nothing for a whole hour, but it didn’t last more than 20 minutes before my mother called. When your mom calls, you have to take the call. So, that ended my moment(s) of silence.

I enjoyed it very much and have decided to do it more often. How about you, will you give yourself permission to do nothing and enjoy the silence?

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Finishing Touches – By Sherry

76761_171264346224603_100000231174849_531984_3114203_nThis post by Sherry Hartzler

Look eyes

Funny thing happened while on the road to the final proof of my book, Chasing Joe. I decided to go through one last time (famous last words) looking for overused words, such as LOOK, JUST, TOOK AND OKAY. When the “find and replace” responds with “word too numerous to display,” I know I have a problem.

I’ve spent the last three days picking out overused words and replacing them with different but similar words. It’s amazing how many times I can read through a manuscript and not even see the little “buggers.” Reading novels with a word that shows up over and over again is distracting to me and leaves me with the feeling that the editing was sloppy, which is the last impression an “indie” author wants to leave on a reader.

In the correcting process, I’ve fallen madly in love with the

Microsoft Word 5.1 for Mac OS.

“Track” feature on Microsoft word. I’ve learned to use it with this project and have found it to be my new best friend. I easily make the corrections in “Track” and when finished, I go back and then start through again, accepting or rejecting the changes that show up in red. I’ve also learned that it’s important not to rush the project. If I get tired and bored with corrections, I make myself get up from the computer and leave it for an hour or two.

I have to say I’ve learned a lot with Chasing Joe. While I cherish the experience, I have to say I’m glad it’s over, and I’m ready to start on my next manuscript. When I tell my family and friends this, they groan and say, “How can you keep doing this? We hardly see you.” I just give them a little smile and say, “Because I have to.” People climb mountains because they exist and are there to climb. Writers write their stories because they don’t exist and must be first created. Life is certainly a paradox, isn’t it?

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The Weary Traveler – By Sherry Hartzler

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This blog by Sherry

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I am a very weary traveler coming to the end of an arduous journey. Mygirl and books wits are gone, my bones are tired and my sense of reality has gone schizophrenic. Ah, yes, you’ve probably already guessed. My so-called journey is of the writing variety. I proudly admit that I am an indie writer. The best thing about being an indie writer is that I’m in charge. The worst thing about being an indie writer is I’m in charge. A sort of Catch-22, wouldn’t you agree? I’ve read my manuscript ten thousand times, at least. I keep telling myself that this can’t be healthy. Nothing says abject lunacy like reading the same chapters again and again and again.

chinese box

The big question is this: Why do I submit myself to this vile torture of writing? Ahhhh, the answer, Grasshopper, is like a Chinese box with hidden boxes nestled within more boxes. Being a writer means that you actually believe you can get to that last box that holds only the box itself, which means you’ve finally reached The End. The trick is, don’t keep creating little boxes to prolong the ordeal. Know when to let go of the project with a kiss for good luck. I am currently doing the final edits of my new book, Chasing Joe. I now have a case of fractured personality disorder, crossed eyes and a butt that resembles the cushion of my desk chair.

Oh, what does it all matter? I’m a glutton for punishment. I’ve already started the next book. In closing, I’d like to say it’s good to be back in the blog saddle again. Sorry for the absence.