Why I Read Mostly Indie Authors

 

Eight or Ten years ago, as a reader,I read mostly best sellers, most of them published by the big publishing houses. Some of them were really good, others not so much. And over the years, as a writer, I submitted my work to publishing houses. And I had some success. My first mid-grade novel was accepted by the first editor who saw it, and I was feeling quite proud. Then my other fiction work collected rejection letters until I submitted an idea for a nonfiction book, got the contract, and and begin writing nonfiction for kids. I didn’t go without a contract unless I wanted to take a break for the next ten years. During that time, I published 20 books for kids, junior hi level and up.

After that, I was contacted about writing Dr. George Blue Spruce’s autobiography and shortly after that Helen Blanchard’s. I saw the Dr. Blue Spruce book though publication with Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press while Ms. Blanchard went the self publishing route. By this time, I had lost my contacts with my nonfiction editors. Some were promoted, and others retired or moved elsewhere. So, I decided to go back to my first love, Christian fiction.

I attended writers conferences and begin hearing the same old story I had heard while attending conferences in the earlier years of my career. “Don’t give give up,” they said as they ran through a list of authors who had been rejected and rejected and rejected. When these authors finally found a home for their work, it often made the best seller list… J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times. That was the most current one to make the news at that time, but the list of best sellers that were rejected by agents and editors many, many times is very long. If you want to see the mind-blowing numbers, go here:  https://lithub.com/the-most-rejected-books-of-all-time/

In the beginning, I found this encouraging because I was a wanna-be author and looked for encouragement anywhere I could find it. If editors and agents said it, I believed it because I had a dream I wanted to follow. But later, with a few years experience after publishing twenty-two books plus hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, my eyes suddenly opened! Agents and editors often reject books that readers love! And so, Reader me has found many, many books written and published by independent authors that I love! (And Writer Me has become an independent author publishing books I hope some of you will love!)

Echoes of “What If”

I posted this on Facebook:

“I think my love for yellow roses dates back to my childhood… My mother had a steamer trunk where she kept her college keepsakes. Once in a while, when we were alone, she would open the trunk and tell me about her treasures. She had three or four beautiful formals with shoes and purses to match. She told me that she was saving them for me to wear someday. I dreamed of wearing those dresses but… alas, I grew two inches taller than my mom and although I was slim as a teenager, I could never wear those beautiful dresses. But… let me get to the yellow roses. She kept a thick scrapbook and between the pages in the middle she had pressed a yellow rose corsage and there was a florist card on that page that read – “Roses of yellow from and extraordinary fellow.” It seemed so romantic and I will always remember those rare times when my mother shared SOME of her secrets with me.  I don’t know who the fellow was… Only that this fellow named Wade dated my mom when she was the banker’s daughter and faded into the memory of her college days when she married my dad and became a farmer’s wife. But she passed the tales of her treasures on to me, and it’s possible that echoes of those memories may show up in my books somewhere.”

And now I’m ready to share the rest of it… well, some more of it. I suppose that everything an author writes comes from some memory of life experience. Life experience can include: something that happened to them, almost happened to them, something they read, or something that happened to someone they know, etc. However, the idea that shows up in the story isn’t very closely related, it’s an echo. It happens something like this – As a child I was intrigued by a florist card from one of my mom’s college beaus. Many years later the floral card and the yellow roses came to mind and I thought what if this happened? Then, what if that happened? What if she did this? What if he did that? What if it wasn’t him? What if… What if… and at this point any thought of my mother’s steamer trunk and the treasures it held had disappeared and I’d followed the echo to some distant peak. And the story that emerged is a book titled THE ROGUE TRUST.

Remember Peter Walked on Water…

I haven’t posted for awhile, mainly because I’ve been overwhelmed with all I need to do and not able to get a handle on much of it. 2017 was a tough year for us. Dan had two heart attacks and a number of other health problems. I lost count of the number of times I called 911 and followed the ambulance to the emergency room. And then there was his helicopter ride. I stayed strong and calm through all of this because my faith remained strong and I knew I was not alone. Thank God, Dan is doing well now, but his age is showing and the health problems remain. As a result, I’ve had to take on most of his responsibilities and it’s now my job to keep our world in order. Sometimes it feels like I have the weight of the whole world on my shoulders. I have a lot to learn and some of it doesn’t allow much time for OJT at this point in our lives. So, some evenings when I head for bed my mind goes into high gear and I fall into a worry well I can’t escape. There’s no sleep for hours as negative thoughts steal my motivation and temporarily destroy my problem-solving skills.

That’s the downside but there is an upside and some days I can see it when I focus in the right direction, that place where I find my strength. All I need to know is found in the book of Matthew. Mark, and John give accounts of Jesus walking on water, but Matthew includes Peter’s experience. And that’s the one I need. I’m so much like Peter!

As long as my faith is strong I can handle it all and imagine what it feels like to walk on water. But when I take my eyes off the source of my strength, and focus on all the problems piling up around me. I don’t know what to do when my faith falters, and just like Peter when he focused on the billowing waves, I begin to sink.

But Peter’s story doesn’t end here and neither does mine.

When Peter began to sink, he cried out to Jesus. Jesus recognize his “little faith,” took his hand, and helped him back in the boat. What is comes down to is this, when I am weak, Jesus is strong. When I trust him, seek His guidance, and do what needs to be done. All is well when I turn my eyes upon Jesus.

My Favorite New Years

Happy New Year 2018!

No one asked, so I asked myself: when was your favorite New Year’s Day? I didn’t have to think long, 1960 stood out above all others.

I was a bride of four months, Dan was midway through his senior year at Southwestern State College in Weatherford Oklahoma, and I was a month away from celebrating my 20th birthday. So, what was so special about ringing in that new year?

My mother’s condition.

We were at Dan’s folks for New Year’s Eve and Dan’s uncle offered us a job helping him inventory his hardware store. So, I was counting nuts and bolts when the call came.

It was my dad. He said something like, Mama’s in the hospital and she’s having a hard time. “It’s rough,” he said.

So I worried until the next phone call came a few hours later, New Years 1960. “Its a girl!” he said. “And Mama’s doing okay.”

That New Year’s Day, my little sister was born. Pretty special, don’t you think?

When we headed back to Weatherford the next day, we took the long way and dropped by the hospital so I could give my mom a hug and peek in the nursery window. That baby tucked in the nurse’s arms is a clear picture in my mind today, 58 years later. I didn’t get to hold Debbie that day. So we saved our pennies for gas money the following week and made another trip home so I could get acquainted with my sister… and begin doing my part to spoil her. (She’s eighteen months older than my first born and I lived to regret some of that spoiling… not really!)

Happy New Year, Debbie! And happy birthday!!!

(Someday I’ll tell you why I’m so glad she’s twenty years younger and not two!)

 

Do sa do, Circle to the Right, and Promenade Home

I just realized I haven’t posted to my blog in months. I have an excuse that has to do with 911 calls, ambulance rides, helicopter flights, stents, blood clots, and Cardiac Rehab… not me, hubby. But, all seems to be well now, so here I am. A little worn from worry, but we hope we’re done with all that. Now for today’s post:

I poured through hundreds of photos yesterday, looking for a special one when I ran across this…

…and a flood of memories filled my mind with joy. I think our square dance years were among our most enjoyable. Our kids were grown and married (one divorced but that’s another story), we were blessed with grandchildren, and had time to enjoy ourselves. So, we signed up for a square dance class. We loved it from the start.

The first night we learned to circle right and left, do sa do, and promenade. By the end of the six week course, we had mastered the beginner calls and were ready for the next session.

After we finished that class we were welcomed into the world of Mainstream dancing and signed up for a class in the next level, Plus. We graduated Plus and moved on into A1. Had a great time, but things change, Dan retired and we moved to a resort retirement in Arizona. Believe it or not, there was no square dance club! And our square dance years became a memory.

The grandchildren loved my square dance outfits. This is Stephanie giving this skirt and red petticoat a whirl.

We enjoyed the friendship, dancing, music, and all the rest. However, square dance attire was very near the top of my list, maybe number one. There were square dance shops where we bought some of our stuff. My petticoats, I had about a dozen and the grandchildren loved whirling around in them.

I also had sissy panties, and leather soled dancing shoes. Dan bought western shirts, boots, and pants. Needless to say, we were regular customers for the bought items. However, I made my outfits and a matching neck scarf for Dan, so the fabric store got that business.

It was so much fun. Sometimes, I think I might just sew a square dance dress for the pure pleasure of it. Not! I haven’t seen a fabric store in years. And where would I get all that lace today? Besides, it’s way too much work and that job needs to stay into the memory file.

Monday Blues? Not me!

Mama’s Monday included clotheslines, clothespins, and a possible thunderstorm on the horizon. (Photo credit: Bigstock.com)

It’s Monday and I’m sitting at my PC thinking I might put a load of laundry in the washer sometime today. This is not my mother’s Monday, but I remember. And I’m so very glad we haven’t had a clothesline for many years. It’s been about that long since I owned a clothespin. And I never used a wringer washing machine. Thank goodness!

But in days long gone by, I was very familiar with clotheslines, clothespins, and the wringer washing machine and tubs Mama set up early Monday morning.

I think soaking Daddy’s work clothes in gasoline might have been the first step. I’m not sure what came next because I went out to play about this time. I remember the smell of bleach, bluing, and starch. I only remember bits and pieces of Mama’s Monday until the wash was hanging on the line.

I knew better than to run through the sheets (one spanking later), but it was okay to play between the rows of laundry hanging on the line. We had three lines that stretched across the backyard. Dry laundry was removed and replaced with wet laundry as the day went on. In the Oklahoma wind, drying didn’t take long and everything smelled fresh as a spring breeze. (Mondays in winter didn’t leave pleasant memories but frozen laundry dries.)

If a cloud came up… We hurried out to snatch the clothes off the line. Sometimes we were successful in gathering it all in before the first raindrops fell, other times, not.

On a sunny day, when I was old enough to reach the line and put the freshly dried laundry in the basket without dragging it on the ground, “gathering in the clothes” was my job.

It would seem that the “gathered in” laundry was ready to fold by today’s standards. Not so back then. Everything washable was 100% cotton. Mama folded the sheets and towels but the rest had to be prepared for Tuesday. Ironing day. I’m leaving you there, and going back to my computer… I do own an iron and ironing board. One item is in the garage and the other is on a shelf, very high up and out of sight. I do not do Mama’s Monday, or Tuesday, I love today’s fabrics and modern conveniences!

 

Old Fashioned Christmas Pageant

christmas-pageant-1946This was 1946 and the whole elementary school participated in this Christmas pageant. First and second graders that I recognize are front center, identified as small angels with tinsel trimmed halos and wings plus children who came to worship in black skirts and white blouses. I’m third from the manger on the left, the one in a white blouse, black skirt, and glasses.

Other cast members included the shepherds, three kings, a modern-day choir to accompany the Heavenly hosts on the risers, center back. As a six-year-old, I don’t remember much about the pageant. I think it was mostly singing Christmas carols and not much reenactment. The rhythm band performed first. I played the triangle before hurrying backstage to take my place near the manger before the curtain opened.

This Christmas program was tradition. I think my mom and dad probably had a role in a similar performance twenty years earlier. No one ever heard of any such notion that schools couldn’t celebrate Christmas. Back then in our small town, if you knew someone who worshiped differently than you, that meant you were Baptist and your friend was Methodist. “Happy Holidays” included Thanksgiving through New Years. As December 25th neared, everyone said Merry Christmas.

But times have changed… maybe not so much in my hometown… but definitely in bigger cities. If someone worships differently than you, they may celebrate a completely different winter holiday. I guess schools can’t spend the whole month of December celebrating different holidays… so maybe it is best not to celebrate any. And, I think I’ve just gotten way over my head trying to explain this in a way that is acceptable to everyone who might read this. So, I’ll just say, I’ll be celebrating Christmas and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season no matter which holidays you choose to celebrate.

Here are some gift suggestions that works for everyone!

If you’re in the countdown to your shopping deadline, maybe this will help. It’s the season of chaos and joy. Choose the one you like best!

Christmas Mugs for You!

Here are a few favorites I found while browsing Amazon. If you see something you like, click on the image and do a little browsing yourself!

I have to start off with this one. It’s way more than a mug. It’s a fabulous soup bowl for a cold winter lunch or supper.

Here’s a pretty one followed by a must have – My thinking anyway! I love the green Grinch!

 

Now for a few ordinary and extraordinary Christmas mugs –

It’s That Time of Year!

 

gift-cup-for-blog

A gift mug brings happy thoughts of the giver!

Yikes! December has arrived and shopping days are dwindling! The first things on my list are the fun things… like fun mugs for morning coffee or tea. Okay, I love mugs! So I’m sharing my list. This should get you started on your own list. Click on the image for more information and then browse –

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN NICE!

Silly Stuff first:

Inspiration:

For Your Best Friend:

For the Moms on your list:


For the Dads:

Keep calm and shop happy!

My Favorites: