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An online interview with Teri Thaxton

I've been working hard on editing the novel I'm writing with my partner. We were asked for an interview from Teri Thackston and it's posted on www.examiner.com. It's a great treat for us to be recognized that way even though we're not published yet. Many thanks to Teri for the opportunity. It's always a pleasure to be exposed to these amazing authors that reach out and befriend and give advice to those working hard to refine their talent and realize their goals. Writers are a special breed and I feel privileged to be included in their ranks. Now the pressure is on to finish this book and take another step up the ladder.
I value the experience of the learning process over the last few years. When I entered this project little did I realize how hard it would be. So, I began to research and listen and read to learn this craft. Although I have a long way to go, I look back at how far I've come and the knowledge I've gathered along the way. It's been an exciting journey and I've met so many lovely people. I will say it's hard to keep up with all the web sites, blogs and groups I've joined, but am learning to be more organized with juggling this new world. For a while I felt obligated to keep up with each e-mail, each website, afraid I might miss something. Silly,I know. I've learned to pace myself and concentrate more on my writing. That's priority. I hope you'll check out the interview and leave comments.

I'm off to edit another chapter! Cheers! 

 

Finding The Joy Again


Whew! Cords of doubt and a whirlwind of confusion wrapped their bony fingers around me and held my muse captive these last few months.  In my naiveté I raced through self- help internet sites, writers groups and ordered books that cost a fortune in my quest to learn the craft of writing a novel. My long-time friend, Jeannie Barber www.jeanniebarber.com and I finally finished a collaborative work that’s taken us more than five years to complete. Thrilled to be finished and in child-like wonder; we began to try to find a place to shop our book.

 

Before I go on, please know that my family has been MORE than supportive, especially my daughter-in-law who is published and given me wonderful advice. She pulls no punches, tells it like it is, but with love! and I appreciate that.

 

You see, we’d gone to a writer’s conference where editors and publishers were in attendance and received much praise and accolades about our story. But then, we noticed along with their praise came the ‘suggestions’. One agent said she’d buy the book if we did this or did that to it. There were other suggestions and we decided to begin attending a writers group to help us with the editing. All of a sudden, the joy was beaten out of us with harsh criticism and unkind words. Didn’t we know about gerunds? You never use purple prose! And alas! The dreaded change of POV!!

 

We parted their company and a bit of our money for those eye-opening revelations.

 

Now, the criticisms for the most part were correct, of course. It was the way it had been handled that was so hurtful.  So, with our tails between our legs, we began to research and learn the correct way to pen a novel. Thank God for the internet! We joined a group on line and lurked for over a year and gobbled up all the bits and pieces of information we could find. And then…the editing began.

 

We were told to write it as non-fiction instead of fiction because it sells better. Now the events of our story are based on true life experiences, so we rolled up our sleeves and began anew. I believe it took about seven chapters until we both threw up our hands and gave up. We read some more, researched until our eyes fell out and decided to go back to our original work and give it an overhaul. That is where we are now.

 

Every Wednesday night and Saturday morning we get together and labor over our ‘baby’. We struggle and haggle and have brain freezes and memory loss! You see, when we were writing in our ignorance, we laughed and guffawed and rolled on the floor with joy and fun. No more…that’s gone. We both love writing and we’re both very creative people, so we wrote from the heart. A crowd would gather when we met at the Walmart lunch area and ‘create’. (We live in separate towns and would meet in between.) When the groups we submitted an excerpt to tore us to shreds, we nearly gave up.

 

But onward we’d go! We began again!

 

Now, I think we’ve found our way. We know where we are headed with this and it’s thanks to one new author we met at a book signing. Her name is Beth Fehlbaum www.bethfehlbaum.com and she wrote Courage in Patience. We were fortunate to travel to her book signing in Tyler, Texas and have an in depth conversation with this inspiring lady. She listened to our plight and scrunched up her nose and said, “Stop! Write from the heart, find YOUR voice. Be unique. Bring the joy back!”

 

The encouragement to us was the shot in the arm that we needed. If the story is compelling the editor will give you the direction to make it marketable. Just write it!

So Jeannie and I are back in the saddle, writing like fury and laughing again! The joy is back! So thanks Beth for your inspiration and insight. Whether we ever get published or not, we’ve learned there are people like you in this life who still believe in dreams and encourage that in others!

IKE and me!


I’ve lived in East Texas for over thirty years and have lived through some pretty powerful storms. I’m originally from the Seattle area, born and bred. I’m use to ‘weather’. But this storm hit me a little closer to home.

 

I was on the phone with my friend and co-writer, Jeannie when the storm hit our small East Texas town of Marshall. We were editing our novel together and she mentioned the power might out it was blowing so hard. I kept telling her ‘how funny, we’ve got nothing!’ Sure enough her power went out and I hung up the phone thankful that it wasn’t going to bother us that much, but worried about her.

 

An hour later…WHAM. Ike hit in all its fury and WE lost power. Ok, ok, we rode out the storm in our 5th wheel hooked up to a generator while I happily cooked stew and cornbread confident we’d be fine once it passed. Oh..our 5th wheel is sheltered securely and wasn’t really in any danger of being blown away.

 

We watched in awe as trees bowed to the earth in the high winds and the rain defied gravity and found its own path in the straight line winds.

 

It soon blew over and we emerged to find our large property littered with debris, but no trees down and no damage to our numerous buildings.

 

Thankful we moved back to the big house to wait for the power to come back on. My husband hooked the generator up to the house and we had television, light and the freezer. Good. We’ll be fine.

 

Not so! Here it is 4 days later and we are still without electricity. I’ve spent my time listening to heart rending stories of the devastation, loss and desolation. My heart goes out to those who’ve lost so much.

 

As for me…it’s been a learning experience. It brought me back to the days of my childhood when we didn’t have all the modern conveniences of today.

 

Do I feel like these are hardships?  Actually, no. It’s a much needed reminder of how very fortunate I am. Ok, so we’re living out of a cooler now, we carry ‘pop up’ lights into every room. We take sponge baths and wash our hair in cold water. Yeah, I know I could heat the water on the gas stove in the 5th wheel, but I’m too lazy!

 

Gosh, we ate at the Sonic last night. THAT’s a hardship, huh?

 

I’ve watched my husband keep gas in the generator, clean up the debris, bring home water and ice and make sure the rest of us are comfortable and not too inconvenienced.

 

They say we might not get power back for three more days. Well, that’s okay because each day I find something new that I’ve done without that reminds me I CAN do without it. Do I want to? No. But I can.

 

I’ve watched my husband teach my grandsons how to work the generator and the chain saw and repair the property. They’ve bonded even more as he teaches them to be the men of the house.

 

So IKE, yes, you were furious and vast and unrelenting, but you have brought me more self awareness, thankfulness and joy in my family. It’s been a time to bond and work together and rely on one another. It’s given me time to reflect on our ancestors who knew such hardship in carving out this country of ours. Could I have survived a life such as theirs? Maybe.

 

I’m grateful for these lessons learned and the microscope we’re under as a family together. These are good times and memories made to share later on. Remember Hurricane IKE?

 

No being without electricity isn’t fun, but I fooled IKE! I’ve had wireless internet the whole time!!

 

Shhh…don’t tell him!

Good Intentions

 The week got away from me, but I'm moving on anyway! Last week my husband and I took a few days off and meandered over to Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Okla. Even though it's August and it's a billion degrees we beat the heat anyway. The state park offers lovely little air-conditioned cabins, a full service kitchen equipped with microwave, stove and refrigerator. My favorite thing was there were no TV's and no phones and no....our cell phones didn't work up there! No towers! It gave us the opportunity to just spend time alone together. Did I use the lovely little kitchen! No!! A lovely restaurant sits inside the state park with a lovely shaded veranda where you can watch the river go by and the birds and squirrels. The staff couldn't have been more friendly! We walked, talked, visited the dam and did some site seeing. You don't realize what busy lives you lead until all of the normal activity is taken away. We plan to go again, maybe in the fall when all the trees begin to turn and we can use the rock fireplace! 
On our return, I needed to catch up on things at work and of course get back to my writing. I feel renewed and ready to dive in and finish the editing. I've developed a few new ideas for one of my WIP's and am excited to get that going. 
I've done a little tweaking on my website, joined a couple new groups and generally have been out there networking. It's amazing how much time that takes, but judging from the people I've met I've chosen a great career with people who are so willing to help and give advice. An invaluable tool!
Tonite I will be working with my co-author on the editing of our joint novel. We have tried to come up with a plan to work on it at least twice a week. It's hard since we don't live in the same town. But we both feel passionately about it and continue to push on. 
I plan to keep posting and expand to the other sites as I go. 
Well, onward and upward!
 

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I'm back!

It's Wednesday and I'm back! The summer has found me busy with the grandson at the baseball field. He's 15, in high school and playing JV Red ball. Dixie Youth Pre-Majors raised it's ugly head and he opted to play even though he really didn't want to. Turns out he should have listened to his gut. Egos came out and the joy of baseball left us for a while. But I must brag on my grandson. He managed it pretty well. You see, last year he actually went to the World Series in South Carolina with a team that came together as one and played their hearts out to win State and the honor of attending the World Series. What a summer that was and a memory for my grandson he'll hold dear forever. But alas, those that didn't make it last year decided it would be their turn and the team did not gel or come together. Baseball is a team sport and there truly are no "I's" in TEAM. But lesson learned and moving on. Now he's looking forward to the last game of the high school summer league and then on to Fall Select. These are the lessons learned in life. And as a 15 year old, I think he will use these lessons to make better decisions in the future. 

As for me, my writing has suffered because of the full time job and I am the primary driver as far as getting the grandkids to and from their activities. But I am making a more organized effort now and plan to post to all my sites at least once a week. 

A couple of months ago, I joined an exercise class called Zumba. It's a salsa dancing class and oh how much fun it was! But it was very fast and I am very slow now as I get a little older. Because of the busy schedule, I dropped out....(shame on me). BUT never fear. The wonderful little instructor offered a  Zumba Gold class geared for women my age and those that find it difficult to learn the steps. Hurray! It's perfect for me! Not too fast and yet a very good workout. She also explains the steps to you before the song and let's you practice  a bit. SO much easier now and SO much more enjoyable. THIS is what I've been looking for. It meets every Tues, so we will see if I can graduate in a few weeks back to the faster classes. Gotta keep movin'!!

Well, it feels good to be back and I hope I have some fun stuff to post next week!

Bye for now, Patty

2:14 a.m.. The tiny green light from the smoke alarm mocks my sleepless state. Did I remember to wash my grandson’s athletic uniform for class tomorrow? Do I have enough hamburger to make the casserole for dinner? Have I enough lunch money for the boys in my wallet? I need to remember to stop and get shampoo after work tomorrow. Work? The deadline for the report is due at the end of the week. I turn over to shut out the nagging green light in the ceiling. It doesn’t work. I’m still wide awake, my mind a whirl with the schedule for tomorrow.

 

My back is to my sleeping husband. He’s snoring lightly, almost silently in his dream world. It soothes me and I turn toward him to better listen to the steady rhythm. “I love you,” I whisper softly. He puffs and the rhythm continues. I smile.

 

Strong, dedicated, loyal. Words to describe a man such as this. My mind clears and I remember….

 

Alone after a life of raising two teenage boys by myself; alone and confused. What purpose now, I think. No one to love me; no one for me to love.  No matter. I will search for meaning with the time I have in front of me. I am determined. I will find my purpose and meaning in this life.

 

The old ways fall away from me. They offer no solution. ‘No, I say to my girlfriends.’ I cannot see a future for my life in those things anymore. I want to go in a different direction.’

 

‘One more time, she says. Just one more time.’

 

I go. Only for her sake.

 

He saw me come in, he told me. Knew the instant he saw me. I was his future. He was alone, waiting, waiting. For me.

 

Suddenly, there I was, he said. He knew.

 

We danced. Fit perfectly, no tension, just warmth.

 

I knew. I was home.

 

And so, here we are. Together. A life full of stress, busy with children and love; jobs and deadlines.

 

So shine away green light in the night. I have him. Steady and sure, no matter what is thrown his way. He scoops us up and cares for us all. Night and day, with love and without question. Never asking why. He just does.

 

He’s content with his purpose and suddenly, I am content with mine. I remember…

 

My eyes are heavy now. He works his magic even in sleep. My mind is clear. Whatever the trouble of the morrow, it doesn’t matter.

 

I have him.

 

Managing My Time

 Finding time with a full time job and raising two grandchildren is a monumental task. I'm determined to make it work, tho. I've had an uplifting week as my husband thoughtfully ordered me the Alpha Smart and it arrived 2 days ago! Wow, now I can write anywhere, even while waiting to pick up kids from various activites. I love this thing. It's wonderful to have support from family. I'm determined to start off the New Year right! I'll keep you posted!!
Patty

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A newbie at the finish line

 Hello all! I am brand new here and really just stumbled on this page, but I like the format. I was a newbie on NaNo and surprised myself by actually winning! I sure hope to meet aspiring writers and published ones too! Looking for new friends with like interests. Hope to meet some of you!

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