First Editor

Mom...My first editor =)Better late than never! Here’s a post that should have rolled on Sunday.

There are those who support in words, and then there are those who support, encourage, and cheer by actions. And it’s the actions that speak the louder. When I was younger, this sort of difference wasn’t clear to me, but as I look back, it’s what shaped and formed my passion and confidence.

Of course this is a Mother’s Day post (albeit a few days late =(…) but as I sat back to write, I realized something. I’ve very few memories of just my Mom. Not because she wasn’t around but because she always was (and still is.) She’s always served in the background, always been there to cheer, to sing with (don’t get me started on her voice. I love it!) Always supported her family in a beautiful, quiet and unwaveringly loving way.

Those few memories I have of just her and I are old, faded around the edges like a worn photograph. They’re memories of walking to the post office or grocery shopping. These memories are worn because, most of them, are from when I was very young.

The memories that haven’t lost their crisp edges are the ones that still touch me today. Let me explain. She read every one of my school papers, marked the grammar and corrected my tenses and word choice. This isn’t a one time memory, this is a life choice that imparted to me lessons I now live by. She helped me improve at the same time as she told me she loved every word in my papers, all with that sparkle in her eyes that told me she said true. I’ve never doubted her praise.

When I went to college, I was lost at first because I didn’t have my live-in editor. How was I to know my papers were up to par? Who would catch my spelling and grammar issues?

The magical part, though, was her corrections were there, silent supports in my mind guiding my words and keeping my writing to the standard she taught me. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in large part because of her. One, because of the work ethic she showed me and two, because of those silent corrections in my writing.

Those two things still guide me as I continue to write.

I’m not sure I’ve ever said Thank You. That’s sad and wrong of me. Her quiet but formidable spirit hides in the background, easy to take for granted, but she’s always there. Today, I bring it forward and say Thank You, Mom.

And to those Moms who struggle because they’re buried in the chaos of every day, keep at it, your dedication will pay off. I’m not a Mother yet but I can admire your strength and the beauty of all you do. Whether it’s correcting school papers or you child is fascinated by something else, that sparkle in your eye when your child strives to attain that goal means the world to him or her. That sparkle will be the ballast for their spirit down the road when they must ‘adult’ in the world. I guarantee it.

Blessings until next time,

Jennifer

P.S. My mother has also Beta read The Adventure for me. This beautiful woman still keeps me in line =)

Chasing Dreams Amidst the Storms

 

img_0608I’ve determined my fear will not stop me from riding a motorcycle. This does not mean, however, that the road will not throw debris in my face.

Similarly, just because I’ve determined to push ahead with self publishing Moonrise Mountain, my first adventure story, does not mean there will not be hiccups in the process. Rib cracking, loud and painful hiccups.

This last month I worked on expanding Moonrise Mountain to fit in a book rather than a blog. I’ve formatted it and put in page directions (adventures have lots of those).

Then looking at it, I admitted professional editing would be a good idea. I want to produce as professional a product as possible. Now, please understand, I’m an English Major. There’s a bit of pride in the way for this. (That pesky pride, always getting beneath my feet!)

So I reached out to an editor, who I researched and thought would be a good fit, to see about the details to have Moonrise Mountain edited.

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-6-56-22-pmLess than 12 hours later, I receive an email back. The basic gist…editor’s not interested, find someone else. Fligiwagit! (That’s as close as I get to cursing.) And, to be honest, he probably didn’t mean to be so abrupt.

And now, after a few days, I can see that. But immediately after reading the email, I wanted to cry, and did. (The crying bit might have something to do with several rejections that came in the same week for Dryad. I’m keeping a folder on my computer. Once I have enough, I’m printing them out and burning them in a nice s’more making campfire. Anyone want to join me?)

Anyway, as the day went on, my ire rose and my stubborn streak kicked in.

Two steps forward, one step back. I’m still making progress.

On an up note, I may have found an illustrator for the story. And I’m super excited if it works out. I’ll share some of the awesomeness as soon as I can.

Until then, keep after those dreams because, despite the mud and bugs thrown in your face, it’s totally worth it.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Frustrated Childhood Dreams

dsc_0612In my childhood, my dad always had a motorcycle sitting in the garage. Every spring he’d head outside to bring the beast back to life with some tuning and then a couple sputtering coughs and finally it’d roar with joy.

If we were lucky, my sisters and I would get to ride with dad along the dirt roads and through forestland near our home. Not a care in the world, I’d lean back and grin with the feel of the bike and the world around me full of warm weather and life.

I’d dream of driving my own motorcycle and exploring the world. I’d see new places, introduced to me by the smell in to my nostrils before I even left the road. The sights would be that much clearer because they weren’t framed by the outline of a car window and were brought to me through the rush of wind on my face. The possibilities were limited only by my imagination.

As years passed, that dream sat in the back of my head, a tiny nugget of “I wish.” But with that nugget grew a malignant dose of reality. I realized, at some point, that most motorcycles sit too far off the ground for me to hold up with my short legs. (4’ 11″ of total height equals a very short inseam =)) Mixed in there came the realization of just how fast a motorcycle can go without the comforting metal frame of a car.

When my husband got his motorcycle a few summers ago, I thrilled to ride with him, but as soon as I threw my leg over that back seat, all those reality fears swarmed in to smother me. No longer could I simply sit back and grin, enjoying the wind in my face. The road passed by with alarming speed barely inches from the bottoms of our feet. Cars and trucks passed within feet of us, blowing their exhaust into our nostrils as they rumbled by, and the motorcycle itself tilted farther into the turns than I realized as a child.

img_0609My “I wish” clouded over, smothered in exhaust and noise. The desire still pulled at me but drawing it out, even to think about it, felt doomed. But my husband knew my childhood joy. Despite my reservations, he continued to talk about finding me a motorcycle and encouraged me to take rides with him. Then, last summer, he pulled the desire out of the sludge of exhaust by finding me a motorcycle I could touch the ground on. Never before could I fully lay the soles of my feet on the ground when straddling a motorcycle and the reality that maybe, just maybe, I could make the “I wish” come true filled me with a hesitant glimmer of hope.

Excitement and terror warred within me. I signed up for the class to get my endorsement and away I went to face my reality demons. For two days, I breathed down my terror, which sat like a sickness in my stomach, and let the excitement carry me. Even when, at the end of the first day, I totally messed up, and the motorcycle flew from under me, I found the excitement enough to put me back on the bike.

I knew then that, without a goal, the motorcycle would sit in my garage, taunting me that my reality demons were stronger than my courage. I determined to not give myself a choice. If it was sunny out, I was riding to work.

Every morning the sun lit my morning and I swallowed down that now very familiar terror. Maybe four or five weeks into it, I realized I was grinning on my way into work. Getting on the bike still terrified me, placed a deep ache in my stomach that threatened to keep me from following through, but actually being on the motorcycle brought me back to that kid, enjoying the wind and the sun.

With the New Year, just like most everyone else, I’ve looked at the coming year and contemplated what 2017 should bring. Especially with writing, this is always my point of re-motivation, where I find the drive to keep pressing forward.

In shock and sorrow, I’m seeing a trend in my writing just like in the “I wish” of riding a motorcycle. The thrill and joy are becoming clouded by the noise of reality.

Several years ago I jumped in with both feet and started my blog in conjunction with posting on other social media sites. The thrill of it left me grinning.

img_0607Now, the thought of working on a post feels very much like breathing in the exhaust of other cars. My goal to expand my platform led to more and more stuff and less focus to the point that the blog takes precedence over my other writing despite the fact that novels are my passion.

This isn’t to say I’m quitting the blog altogether. However, just as with the motorcycle, I found actually doing the activity I enjoyed most returned my enthusiasm. I had to cut down on the noise, take the fall, and press forward.

This is an extremely difficult decision for me but this year I’m looking at self-publishing the first adventure story and I need focus. I’ll continue to post updates and perhaps short stories as they arise; maybe I’ll rerun some of the adventures. I’m thrilled to share how the self-publishing thing goes and I plan on still checking in on other blogs, but for now, please understand if I’m quiet on my end.

The support from everyone here humbles me, and I promise to return in the future. Until then, I wish you the best of luck with 2017.

Blessings,

Jennifer

On the Doorstep of December

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

Typically today would mark the start of a new adventure. We’d be wandering into the woods or ascending a marble staircase of an abandoned house or climbing a tree in search of a wise owl to ask for advise. Sorry to disappoint, but we’ve reached that time of year again.

All the leaves are moldering on the ground and the air outside’s crisp and filled with woodsmoke. By the end of the week it’ll be December. As always, I’ve no idea where the year went.

At the start of this year I had high ambitions (always do) and some of them were fulfilled. My latest novel length story, Dryad, has been edited and I’m now in the process of submitting it to agents. It’s an amazing feeling to reach that point and I’m trying to view the rejections so far as a badge of success because I can’t receive rejections if I’m not submitting. So there’s that. =)

I did not get to self publishing any of the adventures. So that is the next big project on my list. After looking over them all, I was astounded to find I’ve written over 40. It’s definitely time to see what can be done with them. (Perhaps by this time next year you’ll be able to hold a hard copy of an adventure and explore all the different endings at your leisure.)

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Although I do enjoy a good whiskey =)

But before I dig into that project, it’s time to enjoy this season. For me, December has become the time to step back and focus on family and friends, to breath and figure out what, exactly, the next year’s goals are going to be. What those goals will look like and what is required to reach them. I get so focused on just doing, that by this time of year I need to pause and reevaluate.

If you’ve read this far into this post, thanks. =) With everything that demands your attention, I appreciate your support of this blog and my writing.

If you’re in the USA, I hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful time. May your December be amazing as well. I promise the Adventure will return to brighten your days in January.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Time and Value

Clear warning, this post is a bit different. I don’t usually talk about myself in depth but I always feel a bit guilty when I take time off and I thought I’d share a little about what’s happening in my little brain. There is a real person behind the adventures, I swear =)

Here goes.

Yay! Cake!

Yay! Cake!

A little bit ago I turned thirty. Not even sure what to say about it. It just happened. Kinda snuck up on me and laughed in sadistic glee as it whizzed right by. Crazy things, time and age. I don’t feel thirty.

I somehow thought I’d be more comfortable in my own skin by this age. Now I’m realizing it’s human nature to find fault, especially as a woman, in myself. It’s human nature to wish for straight hair when the humidity turns my god given locks to ringlets. To crave clear skin when I’ve got a healthy body that keeps up with my passions for climbing and hiking and snowboarding.

The list of ‘have-nots’ is endless if I let it. It’s so, so easy to focus on the ‘have-nots’ and completely forget the even longer, more uplifting list of ‘haves.’

And I’m coming to realize focusing on the list of haves is not a comparison thing. I can’t compare myself to another woman or compare my good traits with my bad. That way lies grief and tears because, inevitably, it either leads to pride or the pit of have-nots again.

The list of haves is simple fact. Something we each can own as who we are, beautiful, or handsome, in our own right.

I’m beautiful. Shut up internal dialogue that says otherwise.

I’m also successful despite the fact that I haven’t completely accomplished all my dreams and goals yet. Failure only drowns me if I stop trying, stop living for the things that God’s instilled in me to enjoy and have a passion for.

But sometimes those passions, those values, conflict and it feels like failure to back away from one to accomplish another for a time.

When I look in the mirror and focus on the things I have, I see the deep blue irises I inherited from my dad, the slightly wavy hair of both my parents and the shape of my mother’s graceful face. These are a legacy of a family I greatly value.

Here’s where the passions conflict right now.

Writing’s always a passion for me. There’s a drive in me that just won’t quite. To take time off feels like I’m failing myself and those who actually read my work. (Thank you to everyone reading this! I greatly appreciate you.)

But time with family is precious beyond anything I can describe. Over the next month, my husband and I have the opportunity to spend time with family that we haven’t had in several years. So it’s been placed on my heart to focus solely on them. To step back from the writing in order to appreciate the blessing that is family. Perhaps this is where the wisdom of thirty comes in. I considered trying to do both but, in all honesty, I doubt I’d do either justice if I did.

So thank you to everyone in advance for understanding a month’s break from the adventure. (And thank you for being patient with my rambling today =)

I encourage you over the next month, and beyond that, to focus on who you are individually (no comparisons) and find value in the things that make you uniquely you. You’re beautiful, handsome, and amazing simply because you are who you are and there’s not another person like you.

Until July, blessings,

Jennifer

Time and 2016

Wow time moves fast anymore! Makes me think, when I’m gray in the hair, that I’ll blink and decades will pass.

Awe well, such is life, right? =)

Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be intentional with right now. In fact, it just reinforces for me the need to be intentional and not let

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the things we want to accomplish slip away because time falls through the hourglass.

Looking back on 2015, I accomplished only a few of the things I wanted, particularly in writing. So to start off 2016, I’m going to take January to finish one of my 2015 goals.

That would be finishing the last edit on Dryad and getting it ready to submit. This has been my writing baby for quite some time now and it’s time to get it done!

What that means for the blog? Sadly, that means a short break. But I’ll be back in February with a bit of a surprise. Promise =)

Till then, Happy New Year! And good luck with your own goals =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

It Comes in Threes

DSC_9199One: Working the next nine days straight. Yuck!

Two: Company in town. Yea!

Three: Husband having surgery. Yippee! After a year of pain, he’ll finally be able to move his neck. Hospital, yuck. But it’s only for a short time.

Add one plus two plus three and we get my brain and time not focused on writing. Deficit on the adventure. Sorry. =(

The adventure will return in October. I promise =) Until then, I hope you enjoy the beginning of Fall and the amazing colors that come with it.

Blessings,

Jennifer