The week after a trip is always something. It's good to be home, and no matter how good the trip is, you do appreciate the comforts of home more. Arizona was fabulous and yet, I also came home to appreciate the little things, like having the birds on my shoulder, sitting in the recliner, and knowing how to get where I want to go without consulting a map or asking for directions. Somehow, seeing the nuiances of life somewhere else makes you appreciate the nuiances of home too. It opens your eyes.
Then there's the catching up. We've spent all week doing that. In fact, I just got where I consider myself to be "caught up" today, at home and at work. It's been a lot of work, but well worth it. And tomorrow, I know we'll be very happy that it's Friday and to come home after wrapping up a work week and relaxing with "Free Play Friday" with the birds.
Yes, it was a great trip. I keep finding myself thinking "last week this time, I was ..." But it's also good to be home. It was a nice, much needed break and I feel I appreciate the small things about my day to day life more now. I feel rested, refreshed, and had the energy to come home to clean the house, catch up on my writing, and catch up at work too. If only weekends rejuvinated you like that all the time! We'd all be super productive then!
Since the last entry was such a long account of the trip, I'll give you a break with a short one today. There's not really much to tell anyway. And after our adventures last week, giving you the details of paperwork, housekeeping and book promotion seems kind of blah.
Have a happy Friday tomorrow and a great weekend.
Hi all, sorry to not update for a while. Life seems to naturally get much busier for me in the fall, and I've been trying to squeeze out one more draft of Move before the holidays. Thank God, I finally managed to finish draft #4 last night. I tell you, I struggled with this one. I found out that both of my publishers now require a minimum 60,000 word count for mystery novels now, and the last draft of Move came in at a little under 50,000 words. I had to add over 10,000 words. It resulted in six new chapters and adding a lot of detail. I beleive the changes are well worth it and make it a much better novel, but this wasn't easy. I have done three read throughs to make the additions and make sure that everything is "plugged in" and fits together correctly. I'm happy with this draft, though. The plot is much stronger now and I feel the story benefitted from the additions. I hope to have a final draft of this done and submitted to one of my publishers by May 2013.
Oh NaNo participants, this is what you have to look forward to. Yes, writing that rough draft is the hardest (and most time consuming) part, but the rewrites can be a pain too. But don't worry about that now. Just get that draft out there and you can worry about editing hell in 2013.
I also managed to squeeze in a revision of Feathered Frenzy this morning too. That's a very short work - I actually call it a guide because it's more the length of a novellette (at 15,500 words). I'm going to self publish that one, so it will get done when it gets done. Maybe I'll have it ready in late winter or early spring 2013.
But for now, my current writing projects are caught up and I'm putting them on hold for the holidays. Life is just too busy now. We're doing a major housecleaning to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that season is always a whirlwind of activity. There's just too much to do and trying to squeeze in time for ongoing writing projects with family activities, social activities, and work is more stress than it's worth. So I've decided to just do promotion for my published works and blogging for the remainder of 2012, and I'll pick up my ongoing writing projects again in 2013.
In other news, Rick's term on council is drawing to a close. He and the other three members had nominees put forth to replace them next year, and the congregation will vote on them December 2. Rick has one more thing to follow up with on his committee and he's helping with the congregational meetings for the elections, but it's winding down. Only one more meeting in December and he turns in his office key and goes back to being a regular member of the congregation. I say yay. He's done a lot the past 3 years. We all have (meaning the fellow council members and their spouses). I wish the nominees luck and blessing as they take over the reigns.
You know I left my committees? I'm helping Rick with his through the end of his term, but I had to come off the other committee. They're planning ongoing activities on weekdays and I just can't do that with my work schedule, so I had to quit. It's too bad because I did enjoy being more active in church, but my writing is building up and my workload is increasing since one of my colleagues resigned to go work for another section in the agency. The good news is that she has a window office and I'm moving in it when she moves out in a couple of weeks. So for the first time in my almost 15 years of working full time, I'll have a window office. The bad news is, I'm also getting her Board - so there are more meetings I have to put on and disciplinary actions to deal with until a replacement is hired. *Groan* And we all know that can be a slow process. But I'll survive. If the Lord brings you to it, He'll bring you through it. It just meant that I had to quit my church committees. Too bad really, but hopefully I'll be able to help out with activities here and there in the future. There are a couple of things I really enjoy helping with like greeting and our free thrift day, and I'd really like to continue helping with those things.
So that's where it's at for now. Things are coming along and I'm happy for that. Thankfully, I have today off for Veteran's Day, so hopefully I'll be able to get even more in order and on track. I've already made great progress today, but now I need to log off to deal with other matters, like holiday shopping and housecleaning.
Thanks to all the Veteran's that fought and gave their lives so we're free to live our crazy, hectic lives under the blessing of freedom. God bless all those who have served and continue to serve our country and to protect our freedom. We do appreciate you and pray for your safety and well being every day.
That's all today. Take care and have a great week.
Oh wow, what a hectic week! I'm so glad tomorrow's Friday. Weeks like this give TGIF their entire meaning! The good news is that I finished the rough draft of Move earlier this week - hooray! I'm so glad to have a draft done. It's always exciting when you get an entire manuscript finished. But then the rest of the week took off on us. They found another bird at Rick's work and we kept it for a couple of days while a home was being established for it (check out more on this story at the bird's website at http://conurecorner.weebly.com
). Then the house needed cleaning and there were a dozen or so little things that needed to be done that fell to the wayside while I was trying to write a book and have a life at the same time.
That being said, I thought I'd offer you a final excerpt from Move. I appreciate the interest that's been shown in it on Facebook and Twitter and hope that you are enjoying these. Unfortunately, this is the last bit I can share without giving too much away! I hope you enjoy it and thanks for sharing in this journey with me. Of course, it's not over yet. There's still rewrites, revisions, proofreading, etc and then submissions. This is only the completion of Stage 1. Still, it's fun to share it with you.
Enjoy! I hope you have a happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.Chapter 27
Ruby slammed her door as she walked in her apartment and dropped in her recliner, rubbing the bridge of her
nose to try to ease off the headache forming in her forehead. She couldn’t tolerate another two weeks of this abuse, she just couldn’t. She wondered if she shouldn’t go to the management office, withdraw her lease extension, and start looking for a new place in Knoxville right now. Maybe Mr. Goodard would let her take a couple of days off for it. It might be worth taking him up on the offer to move to Knoxville. Between her confrontation with Bryce yesterday and her confrontation with Cheyenne today, it seemed she was surrounded by strife. Perhaps it would be wise to run. She just hoped it wasn’t too late.
Or rather, she hoped she wasn’t playing into the hands of others that had ill intentions for her. Because these days, it seemed that everybody did.
The phone ringing snapped Ruby from her reflections. She thought about letting it go to voicemail, but she saw that it was Denise. She smiled. If anybody could make her feel better, it was Denise. She wondered why she didn’t think to call her sooner.
"Ruby, are you watching the news?”
“No, I just got home. Why?”
“Turn it on.”
Ruby turned on the television and changed it to the local station, where the news was coming on. A picture of
their office building appeared beside the anchor.
“Firefighters are at the scene of an office fire at Goodard Graphics in Tanger Falls, where a fire alarm alerted
authorities of the blaze just an hour ago. Fire fighters found office manager Cheyenne Wilkins unconscious in the front office area and rescued her from the scene. Mrs. Wilkins is in stable condition and offered this comment to
The scene turned to Cheyenne. Her face was dirty and there was blood near her right temple where a cut peeked from under her hairline. “I heard the alarm go off as I was preparing to leave for the day and rushed out of the office as quickly as possible. Something hit me in the head as I was running through the lobby.”
“Did you see what hit you?” the off camera reporter asked.
“No,” Cheyenne said. “It was smoky. I thought I saw someone in the lobby, but I’m not sure.”
The scene returned to the anchor. “The fire originated in the front office area, where several wires were stripped near an electrical outlet. Ms. Wilkins told the paramedics that another employee, Ruby Josen, was also present at the office when the fire broke out, but she was not at the office when resue teams arrived.” A picture of Ruby taken from theemployee id badge database appeared beside the anchor’s head. “Authorities are looking for Ruby Josen to question her in relation to the fire. If you see Ms. Josen, please contact the Severville County Police Department immediately.”
“Oh no,” Ruby mumbled. She lifted her phone. “Denise, what am I going to do?” She pulled the phone away from her ear, realizing the line was dead. She threw it on the floor. “Great,” she mumbled as she heard loud knocking at her door. She stood up to see Denise standing at the door. She threw it open.
Denise grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the apartment. “Come on, we have to go.”
“But my purse …”
“Leave it, Denise said sharply, slamming the door behind her and tugging her toward the parking lot. “They’ll be here any minute. We have to leave now!”
There was an incident today that I feel needs to be addressed once and for all. It's time to clear the air. So here we go.
I had a House committee meeting today on regulations for one of my programs. As some of you know, my job moved from one department to another on July 1, 2010. Moving two registration programs is a massive effort - so massive that we've spent the past year and a half trying to get things settled. We have our last bit of work in the legislature in hopes of wrapping up this transition for once and for all and getting settled in a nice, peaceful routine.
I was sent to this meeting in order to observe and note what items the committee discussed so we could prepare for anything that needs to be addressed as it continues through the legislative process. Unfortunately, the plan I was sent to execute was disrupted when a former associate of our program (who is also a former colleague that worked closely with this program before my time here) showed up. Even though he is no longer on payroll or associated with the program or my department in any way, he felt it necessary to use his clout to intervene when the committee was discussing my program's item. The intervention resulted in the natural progression of the conversation to derail into areas that caused the committee members so much confusion that they referred it back to the subcommittee in hopes of getting the questions cleared up. Translation: we took a step back today, which means a delay, which means that my department and the representatives for my program are not happy.
I'm not either, and this mess forces me to attend to an unexpected situation. There are, obviously, some issues with my former colleagues and associates that need to be addressed. And so I have decided to use this blog entry to address them in an open letter to clear the air and set the record straight, for once and for all.
Dear Former Colleagues and Associates:
I understand that transition is tough. Lord knows, I've been through my share. I went to hell and back between my job move and my in-laws moving to town at the same time in the spring/summer of 2010. By the grace of God and the support of some great, stable people in my life (meaning my husband and immediate family), I was able to not only survive two concurrent life changes, but to thrive as well. I openly admit that my old life is dead. There's nothing of it left behind. I actually came to it recently in what I call a "Frodo Baggins Revelation." Just as Frodo realized that his adventure changed him too much to return to his old life, I also realize that I'm not the person I was. You see me out and about and you recognize my physical appearance, but if you talked for me even for a few minutes, you'd realize this isn't the Sherri you knew 18 months ago. Great change has that effect on a person. In fact, I'd say that if it didn't then there's probably something wrong because it should. While the fundamental basics of who you are remain stable, a major life transition (or two) SHOULD shift your paradiam so much that it changes how you see the world and apply those fundamentals to your life. I've moved on and learned so much more than I ever thought possible in a relatively short period of time. It's shocking, but I also see that it was necessary. I needed to change. I needed to grow up more. I needed to lose my fear and to live more boldly than I was in the past so I can fulfill my life purpose now and into the future.
What surprises me is to find that obviously, you are having some problems letting go. To intervene in the affairs of a program that you gave up 18 months ago, knowingly and willingly, is stark evidence that seems to say you still haven't severed your own ties to the past. Honestly, it was the last thing I expected. You played it so cool during and after my move that frankly, I thought you were relieved to be rid of the programs and to move on without them and me. Yet today I (and the full House committee) saw evidence that you are still following our progress and seem to feel some sense of obligation to "look after" us. I can assure you that this isn't necessary. Really it isn't appropriate and I won't lie - there are some folks on my end of this that are furious about what they deem as an unwelcome intervention. Their ways aren't your ways, and the fact that they didn't send an entorage to this meeting didn't speak of negligence - it was strategy for future planning. And you blew up that strategy because you inserted yourself into business that really isn't even yours to look in on because you believe in "making things happen" instead of letting them progress.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not here to cast blame. I understand that it can be hard to let go when something has been your responsibility for a long time. These programs are as old as I am, so it's natural to feel some attachment to something that was under your wing for over 35 years. I also understand that I was very young when you hired me to handle these programs. I was a 23 year old recent college graduate and newleywed in 1999 when you hired me - but that was 13 years ago. I grew up, folks. I don't know if you realized it, but in the years I spent there I did grow, I did learn, and I did outgrow many things. I won't deny that I still have much to learn, and I can be my own kind of fool from time to time. But please, grant me the grace to be the igit I am, not the igit you assume I am because you know the 23 year old me but not the 36 year old me. And believe it or not, there's a great difference between those two people. The girl I was is gone. I'm a new creation now. You may or may not like it. I don't know, and it doesn't matter because I'm gone so it's pointless to ponder.
Likewise, the programs have grown. As I said, the department where we are has a very different way of doing things, but different isn't bad or wrong. In fact, it's been very good for them and they've come a long way in a little time themselves. They're evolving by leaps and bounds but once again, by God's grace we're making it. We're working with great people that work in a very efficient team and have dedicated themselves to learning these programs inside and out. We have daily support. And frankly, it's refreshing for me and for the Board members to be in a place where everybody knows what we do and understand the issues we face, day in and day out. I have met so many good people. I moved to a smaller agency and learned that the world was so much bigger than I ever realized. It's a paradox I know, but an interesting one that I find delight in.
You said when the legislation was drafted to move me that it wasn't personal, it was just business. That's ok. Now please, maintain your professional demeanor. Today was awkward. Let's not do that again. If you wonder how I'm doing or how the programs are doing, please do it right. You know where to find us. Swallow your pride and call or e-mail. Please, let go of the past and entrust us and yourselves to the present. Believe, as we do, that everything happens for a reason. This move went through because the Lord willed it to go through. For whatever reason, He deemed this the time and place for our program to pass from one place to another and change isn't bad. It just provides the tools for moving forward. We do appreciate all that you did for us in the past, but we aren't your responsibility anymore. It's been 18 months and it's time for all of us to move on.
So please, let go. It's not personal OR business anymore. It's just reality. And I know from cold, hard experience that's something that always catches up with you. So make life easy - accept it sooner before it kicks your butt later.
I wish you well in your future endeavors. If we meet again I sincerely hope it will be under better, more friendly circumstances. What I said when I moved still stands: I wish you no ill will as our paths diverged - just respect for what was and the grace to allow us to grow in our respective directions.