August 29th, 2011

…a game called ‘What If’.

Couple of weekends ago, we were fortunate enough to travel to the Texas Hill Country again. We were surprised when the same friends we traveled to Napa and to the Texas Hill Country asked us to go with them and help celbrate their anniversary. We always have such a good time around them and have decided we make aweome traveling companions.

This time we visited different farms, restaurants, and such that we didn’t visit the last time. We even toured a Distillery that made whiskey and got to taste the mash and the White Dog (warning: Do. Not. Smell. It. In fact, don’t taste it either, but definitely don’t smell it. Can you say goodby to any and all nose hairs?) Ouch!!

One winery we visited had a small graveyard on the premises with an old cyclone fence protecting the graves from outside intruders. The graves dated back to the 1800′s, some of the engraving faded to where you had to trace the letters with your fingers to make out the writing. Watching guard over the tombstones was a large stately tree, it’s branches tall and strong, and surprisingly in good condition considering the Texas draught.

Having permission from the owner, Tracie and I respectfully and quietly tiptoed into the sacred grounds and went from grave to grave reading what was written about the deceased.

The first one was for a baby. Nothing more was stated except the little girl’s name and that she was only two years old. So sad. Our imagination was peaked and we wonder what happened to her.

What if it was due to an accident? Or what if she caught a disease like cholera or influenza that struck through the area killing babies and adults alike? Or a disease like the measles that is so easily prevented nowadays with vaccinations?

Next to her lay who evidently was her father. The name was listed along with the date of death and then strangely and weirdly enough under that was ‘killed by’ and the killer’s name listed.

Wow!

What if they listed the killer’s name so all could remember who did the awful deed of killing another human being? Or what if the deceased was totally the scourge of all who’s bad and the person who killed him was listed for bragging rights?

Next to him was his wife and evidently the mother of the little girl in the grave. According to the date listed of her death, she lived another thirty years after the death of her daughter and husband.

Tracie and I continued to the remaining few graves and although the names were different from the first three, we couldn’t help but wonder if they were all related in some way.

What if the mother/wife remarried and the rest were her new family? Or what if she never got over their deaths and never remarried and the graves belonged to other members of her family. Again, so sad.

The most interesting grave of all was the one right in the middle of the graveyard. All the graves had headstones and small footstones exactly the same as this one did but with one exception: The top of the grave – the entire length of it – had a large cement slab over it.

This dude was definitely not rising from the earth any time in the next eternity or so!

What if he was buried with something that was so priceless they hoped to deter grave robbers?

What if he had a terrible disease (I think of diseases a lot, but only because of my medical backgound – just sayin’) and if dug up would cause a world disaster like in the movie Contagion.

What if it was a monster buried under that cement slab?

We finally left through the rusted gate, our imaginations running wild.

But so did GW’s and Paul’s. LOL! They thought they way we were rooting around the graveyard for so long we’d dug someone up!

See how easy and fun it can be to play ‘what if’?

Asking ‘what if’ has caused many a story to be weaved. I bet even Harry Potter started out by JK Rowling thinking ‘What if there was a little boy with glasses who lived under the stairs and was a wizard but nobody knew…’

Now you try it. ‘What if’….and you fill in the blanks. And let your imagination soar. You’ll be surprised where it can take you.

~Sandy

February 9th, 2011

I’m sitting at home today. Again.

Snow and sleet hitting the windows and covering the lawns, icy and white. Again.

Old man winter and mother nature either joined forces to wreak havoc or are battling it out to see who wins. Not sure who to place my bet with.

Last night, I felt overwhelmed. And a little lost. So much to do and so little time to do it. In today’s publishing world, it’s up to you (unless you are Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Dan Brown, etc) to promote and sell yourself and your books.

How do you build your platform (according to the pros, it needs to be done BEFORE publishing) which includes promote, blog, facebook, twitter, read (read craft books, read to stay up with the market, read for pleasure and relaxation). And find time for family, friends, Critique partners, Yahoo groups, work, housework, yardwork… and most important – WRITE!

I decided I needed help.

Twitter? joined awhille back, but was scared to death of it. Didn’t know the rules or how it works. What if I did something wrong and looked like a doofus?

Facebook? Only do I get on it occasionally.

MySpace? Forget it. Haven’t been on it in years.

Blog? I try to blog on this blog as much as I can, but it gets sporadic. The YA blog, I’m trying to find posts that are appropriate for well….a YA blog.

So I did a little research. Found Kristen Lamb’s blog. Kristen is a Social Media expert and teaches how to build a platform and an author brand. She also has a series going on the blog titled Twitter Tuesdays which she talked about the do’s and don’ts of tweeting. Very informative and helped me feel more comfortable and stick a toe out in the twitter ocean. In fact, I downloaded her book, ‘We Are Not Alone – The Writers Guide to Social Media’ on my nook. Hope to get some hints and suggestions that may help me get a handle on what I need to be doing at this point in my career along with the most important thing – WRITING, of course.

How to get this all done? Planning. Lots and lots of planning. And discipline to stick with the plan.

I just completed a course with Kerri Nelson titled Book Factory and she taught how to be productive and prolific using timed increments in both your writing career and day to day tasks. Very good. Check her out.

BTW! Our Napa Valley Vacation photo scrapbook we made and ordered from Photoworks is here! And it is awesome!!!!!

Still freezing out there so I’m planning on fixing a roast chicken tonight ala Emeril’s recipe. Will soon have the house smelling yumptious!

Hang in there and stay warm!

~Sandy

July 20th, 2008

“Finally, one just has to shut up, sit down and write.”

~Paul Raymond Martin, Writer’s Little Instruction Book


…I have always wanted to visit Ireland and Scotland!!!


You Belong in Dublin


Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You’re the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl… or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

~Sandy

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