Stoke’n the fire

There is a fire that burns most days, way down in the depths of my soul.

Not just figuratively, mind you, but literally.

This morning as I was going over my notes for a series of speaking engagements this weekend on local history, I  could  literally feel the burner kick in…..

On the gas water heater and furnace that heats our house, you can hear both of them when they get ready to fire up. There is a distinct sound as the igniter kicks in….then after the flame lights/ the fan kicks in…..


That fire (passion) burns 85 % of the time when I am at work.

It also burns on days like today, when I’m talking somewhere.

Not even sure why I’m telling you this…. 🙂

I’m speaking this morning @ 10:30 and again @ 1:45.  I will let you know how it goes.

Can you see the fire in this guys eyes?

Photo compliments of google


On Writing…(2)

Memorial Day morning someone stopped by our place for a visit.  During the course of our conversation,  our guest brought up my newly published book.  They’d read it, and wanted to get two additional copies.  Can’t remember who said what next, but the next thing I knew, we were talking about several things they’d wished I’d done differently.

I genuinely wanted to hear their thoughts, because after the dozens of times I’ve been over that manuscript, revising, editing, deleting, correcting, etc.  my brain has become jaded.   Back in 2008, I’d shown the first chapter of my rough draft to someone else who considered themselves a writer of sorts.  After I listened to their input, I ended up with a writer’s block for three years. 😉

Lessen learned.  Be very careful with whom I share my rough drafts.

As we sat at our kitchen table Monday morning,  my guest told me he wished I’d spent more time talking about such and such.   Then later in the book, he wondered what book it was he was reading?  I seemed to be spending much more time talking about certain people than I needed.   I’d included the lyrics of a song by Alison Kraus half way through the book..He felt that I’d stolen the thunder for the story it was supposed to be introducing, not to mention, in the song, the  story happened on a mountain, whereas, in my book, the incident took place on the plains…..

My guest is a thinker.   I like him.

I said to him, “Where were you a year ago???!

“Next time, I write something, I  said, I would love to get your feedback.”

I  may have taken some of his suggestions into account if we’d had this conversation a year ago, but at this point, the book  is what it is.

I was thinking  more about our conversation this afternoon.  Before submitting my final (11th) revision  to the printer,  I had  eight different sets of eyes perusing all or parts of my earlier drafts.

Eight sets of eyes.

Some specifically, looking @ basic grammar and others,  giving input on readability and flow.

I gave it my best shot and I’m thrilled with the end product.

I’ve never had a class in writing.

Not that I wouldn’t be interested, but it would really depend on who was teaching.

I do read books and articles on the topic to improve my skill.  Couple of years ago, a young woman with a bachelor’s degree in writing spent a few afternoons trying to mentor me, but other than that, I am a work in progress.

Are there still details I might change, after listening to my latest guest…?


And maybe not.

Last night, a quote by Theodore Roosevelt kept coming to mind.

   ” It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.”


Thanks to all of you that stop by this blog and interact.  Work is currently taking up  most of my creative energy  so I’ve not replied to several of your comments like I would normally do.

Good night 🙂




Like A Goldfish

I just shut down the chat dialog box with customer support at the print on demand publishing company I am working with.

My brain is still smok’n.

I am on the home stretch with publishing a book.

I am still in the game but  feel  like a little  goldfish trying to keep up with a school of tuna….

I am so completely out of my element it isn’t even funny.

Publishing has its own vocabulary  and specs,  95% of which is new to me.

Here are a few of the recent things I have learned how to do:

How to purchase an ISBN number for a new book.

How to work with a book cover template generator.

Trying to open the said template after I get it, only to find out, I don’t have the software on our computer.  It  is a version of Adobe that Newspapers and others in the printing and design business use..surprise surprise. I can lease something for $40 a month….or hire it done. I opted for plan B.

I am learning how to change the margins and manuscript size on a word document..then trying to convert it to a PDF file.

Finding and working with a Graphic Designer.

Last weekend I received two mind-boggling donations on the Kickstarter fundraiser we set up. I am within $50 of meeting the $1850 goal.  One of the gifts that came in, was a $1000 anonymous donation, and a second was a $500 gift from someone I’d worked for in the past. (Plus several $25, $30, and a couple of $50 gifts.)

Writing and then publishing a book, going from raw idea to finished product, when every step of the way is uncharted waters has been a lesson in perseverance.  The biggest obstacle for me was a three years writers block.

I made the mistake of showing a portion of my rough draft to someone who was not a nice person.

Lesson learned.

It is possible to give input without killing the spirit.  I do it all the time in construction when I’m mentoring someone.

Well, time to call it a wrap.

One last unrelated question, that I would really love your feedback on…and this is only for those of you that are regular readers.

Why do you read this blog?  I have been second guessing myself again lately in terms of what and why I write.  There are so many bloggers and so much information each of us are bombarded with daily.  I have gradually moved away from writing about our little acreage in the country and more about the stuff that goes on in my head.

Any thoughts you have would be most appreciated.   Danka.  DM