Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Badass Writer

Writer’s Digest Magazine web site is a favorite read of mine.  I’ve read many articles over the past few years that have helped me think and grow as a writer.  One recent article caught my attention. It was written by Brian A. Klems in May of 2015 called 7 Reasons Writing a Book Makes You a Badass.  I smile at the idea of being a badass.  In his article, he lists (no kidding), seven ideas about being a writer of a book.  I’ll break them down here and tell how they apply to me.

1.    Writing a book is hard. – Yep. It is.  The hardest part for me is making the time to write.  I need to have quiet and zero distractions.  Not easy to attain. Also, trying to come up with feasible ideas that don’t sound contrived takes A LOT of brainstorming.  My mind is a busy place full of lots of characters trying to figure things out.

2.    Editing is painful. – I have edited my book soooo many times.  I’ve had trusted people read it and then I've edited from their ideas and comments too.  Sometimes I’ve had to cut out really cool stuff, but mostly, I have to beef up scenes.  Thank goodness for beta readers because, ya know, they can’t read my mind, and if it’s not in print, it’s not in the story.

3.    Knowing when you are “finished” is impossible. – I’ve got probably at least ten printed out drafts of my 188 page, 50,000 word book.  I’ve edited it so many times that the first draft looks like a Reader’s Digest condensed version of my final draft---which I THINK is finally completed. Now it’s time to take that next biiiiggggg step and find an agent. GAA!

4.    Cold-querying agents is scary. – Oh yes. Yes it is.  I haven’t pulled the trigger on that just yet. I’ve looked through lots of information and I’ve found that many agents are from New York.  I don’t have anything against New York, but I’m not sending anything that way just yet.  My first query will go to a Minneapolis based company.  I feel save in the mid-west.

5.    Rejection is everywhere (and yet you still carry on.) – People who love my book know me.  They have history with me.  Not so with a business deal.  I will have to pitch myself over and over again.  I would like to keep a positive attitude and think of every rejection as one step closer to my goal.  Since I haven’t sent anything out yet, I haven’t been rejected yet… so that positive attitude could end up being apple pie in the sky…

6.    Getting paid for your work is harder than ever. –There are so many ways out there to publish a book.  Therefore traditional publishers are p-i-c-k-y about what projects they accept.  Also, if I get lucky enough to sell my story, I’ll have to prove that I can generate more before they will take me on.  That’s a scary thought!

7.    Accomplishing a dream is rare – and awesome. – I jumped into writing this book with a drink in my hand, Ernest Hemingway style.  I don’t recommend drinking while writing, but  it’s what got me to say “What the hell. Quit wasting time and just go at it.”  And I did, therefore, I am a badass. J

The following is a little blurb about my book.

In the Ink of Time, By Nadine Roth

In the Ink of Time is the story of  roughneck Otto Daniel, the victim of horrific oil rig accident. An explosion sends his burning body into Prudhoe Bay where he has an unsettling vision.  Upon recovery, he wanders the northwest coast of the United States trying to find answers to unknown questions, and ends up working for the exotic Hazel Himmel, owner of Jinxie’s Tattoo Karma. When unexplainable events take them to startling places, Otto and Hazel decide that they cannot stop until they have some answers.

This adult paranormal fiction novel of 50,000 words would appeal to readers of  the 44 series by Jools Sinclair and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. In the tradition of Stephen King’s 11/22/63, where traveling between the past and present can be momentary, Otto and Hazel, find themselves having very little control over where they go and how long they’ll stay.  Unlike other time travel stories where the goal is to change the past or correct the future, this story is about Otto and Hazel, two lost people who become clues to a mystery they didn’t even know they were solving.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

As always, Be Good to Yourself.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My New Job!

Guess what?  I have a new job!  I’m really excited because this job is at one of my favorite places on earth.  I have a LIBRARY job!  EEKK! 
I have been a library groupie (I just made up that phrase. Nope, I didn’t. I Googled it, here’s what I found.) for a very long time.  When new libraries open in my area, I go visit them.  My husband claims that my past-due book fees over the years are what financed my city’s library remodel.  As you can tell, a library job is exactly in my wheel-house!

My library (it’s mine now) is a small town one. I love that!  Because it’s a small operation, I have the opportunity to work in nearly every aspect of library business. I am a circulation clerk so that means I check books out to patrons, as well as get books ready to go to other library sites for patrons to check out.  I check books back in, both for patrons of our library and ones returned from being borrowed at other sites. (I thought after years of being a teacher I wouldn’t need to mentally run through sections of the alphabet to correctly shelve books, but I do.  I wonder if anyone can alphabetize without doing that!)

I get new materials ready to be added to our library, and fix damaged ones too.  And the very best part of my job?  I get to talk with people about books. Books they’ve read, books I’ve read, and books we want to read. WOW!!!  (And I get paid to do it!  DOUBLE WOW!!)

Friends, I’ve wondered about libraries and the effects of the e-books trade on their business.  I’m happy to report that there are many, many people out there still checking out materials from a brick and mortar building.   I think this is because libraries offer so much more than just books.  Our library has many programs for all ages of readers.  We have study rooms and a community room that can easily be reserved.  Computers are available to all patrons.  We have an area for children, and one for teens. We even have a fireplace room.  A cozy den for reading and relaxing.  If you haven’t been to your local library lately, I think it’s time for you to visit.  See you there on Saturday, K? J

As always, be good to yourself.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pay It Forward

Today I planned to write about how lucky I am to be able to check some things off my Bucket List, but then something else happened, so I need to talk about that instead.

I ran to Wal-Mart this morning to pick up some yarn for a project Erin is doing for me. While I was there, I wandered around and found a simple gray cardigan for only eight and a half bucks.  Cute, practical, inexpensive. I put in in my cart and headed to the checkout lanes. 

The lady in front of me in the checkout lane was a young mom and her little guy was his car seat in the shopping cart.  He started to fuss a little so I made clucking and tick-tock noises at him.  His little 10 to 12 month old self smiled and I saw that he already had all of his teeth!

His mom said to the cashier, “Take the formula off, I don’t have enough for that.”  I looked up and saw the cashier pull six cans of powdered formula from the mom’s purchases while the mom was organizing papers in a folder.  WIC was embossed on the folder in big white letters.

I looked back down at the baby boy and said, “You’re such a big boy with all your teeth!” He babbled back at me with a big smile. 

In the meantime, my brain was doing this: 

I should help this mom.  No, my tax dollars are already helping her. I know handouts don’t help people in the long run. Don’t get involved, don’t embarrass her.

I said to the mom, “You have a cute little guy!  He has so many teeth!”  She smiled at me and signed a paper and gave it to the cashier.

My brain was still doing this:
(This is not the actual child, but instead a stock photo.)
Could you ignore this?

But look at that little guy.  He might not have much formula left.  The mom bought two gallons of milk, a loaf of bread, and a jug of apple juice.  That’s all. Get that kid some formula.

Then I said to the cashier, “Put two of those cans of  formula on my bill for that lady.”   The young mom looked at me and didn’t say anything.  She looked down and fussed with her stuff while the formula was being scanned.  When the cashier gave her the sack with the two cans of formula in it, the mom turned to me and gave me a big hug and said thank you.

It’s a tough world out there, and if you listen to the politicians, you’re a fool if you help people and a hater if you don’t.  But I was just looking at my things on the checkout. It was all frivolous, fun stuff. I have everything I need. That lady.  She was trying to feed her baby, her family.  I couldn’t just ignore her.  I couldn’t ignore her baby.

The cashier said ‘God bless you’ to me as I left with my purchases.  Well. Maybe.  Hopefully.

As always, be kind to yourself, and be kind to others too.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Eyes Wide Open

As I’ve mentioned before, I love song lyrics.  Some have a profound impact on me. In 1999 I was a busy mom running my 11 year old and 13 year old to practices and games. I was helping with homework and making sure chores were done and activities with friends were safe and appropriate. I was making meals, washing clothes, cleaning the house- all while working full time. I was busy with everyday life.

That same year Creed came out with their song, Eyes Wide Open. I was too busy to even notice it. Then, four and a half years ago- 12 years after it came out- that song hit me right in the heart.

“Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face”

Half way through 2011, I found out that I was to be a grandmother! My daughter and her husband were going to have a baby and I fell immediately, devastatingly, in love with my unborn grandchild.

“With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything”

Erin and Phil were with the Air Force and stationed in Alaska at the time.  I did not get to watch my granddaughter grow. I did not get to watch my daughter “grow”, either. Every few weeks Erin would send me a picture of her baby bump. That was the only way we could enjoy this journey together.

“I hope (s)he understands
(s)he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
(s)he can greet the world
With arms wide open...”

Life immediately slowed down for me.  My focus had shifted. I was determined that the distance between us would not be a factor.  I would make sure this baby girl knew her Grammy and Papa.  We used Face Time, Skype or Tango every day.  Erin and Phil would prop their phone up and let us just watch the baby sleep.  Not much time passed and soon they were putting the phone on the floor so that we could watch the baby roll around, scooch across her blanket, crawl, and finally, walk.  And she got to know us too. We sang songs to her and eventually with her.  I frequently videoed myself reading stories to her, then I would sent the book to them so that she could have the book and watch me read it to her at the same time. We watched our granddaughter develop and grow this way- through the internet. 

Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the stable. The animals are out-
side. (Notice the eyelashes on the animal to the right.)
By Adalyn- age 3 years and 11 months.
This week my sweet Adalyn, my oldest grandchild, turns four!  Luckily, she and her family live only a few miles from us now.  That in itself is a true gift and blessing! Adalyn is a smart, sweet, caring, inquisitive girl.  She can draw unlike any child her age. (She asked me to show her how to draw eyelashes when she was 2 ½ years old.) She knows SO much and is a sponge for knowledge.  I continually try to find new things for her to think about and to try. She’s always up for the challenge. 

She was my game-changer. I’m a better person because she’s my granddaughter.

“With arms wide open
With arms wide open
I'll show you everything ...oh yeah
With arms wide open..wide open”

Happy fourth birthday, Adalyn! I love you!

Until next time, be good to yourself.