Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Keeping the wick lit

Sometimes when we take that first step toward fulfilling our dreams, there's no clear direction or light at the end of the path. Forget seeing campfires or blazing neon This Way signs. Carrying a torch and finding direction through the flickering shadows of doubt can be tricky and disheartening when rejection snuffs out success. So why do we keep relighting the wick, hoping for a different result?

Three weeks ago I signed with a publishing company to publish my first book. And just like that, something I worked hard for and spent years wishing for became a reality. A tiny light at the end of that very long road became a roaring bonfire of celebration, burning away a huge pile of rejections. 

Recently a contestant on a television talent show was asked why he decided, after 22 years, to re-ignite his dream of being a famous singer. His reply was simple. “Don’t ever give up on your dream. You never know when it’s gonna show back up.”

I am blessed, living proof that relighting the wick is a good thing.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Jig of Joy...One Step At A Time

Taking on a new project or beginning a fresh journey can be filled with excitement and expectations. Motivation is high and inspiration overflows. We enjoy the idea of creation and victory.

But what if the journey is a re-do? What if the path is one we've walked numerous times. Maybe we saw a modicum of success, or maybe we made it to the top of those stairs and danced a Jig of Joy for a short while. Or maybe we tried and failed...and tried and failed...and... Well, you get the idea.

Today I begin a difficult journey that is always full of pitfalls and challenges. It is one where I will be tested over and over again. This endeavor requires commitment, discipline, perseverance, and faith.

However, this time something is different. Even though I know the rugged mountain I'll face, it's okay. I'm standing at the bottom, looking up, wondering how long it will take to climb...and I'm not scared. I don't want to give up. I'm not feeling defeated before I even begin.

The key to this daunting climb is one step at a time. Not giant steps expecting immediate results. Not leaps and bounds to hear the accolades of friends and family. Just one tiny baby step...then another...then another, until I'm done.

How many steps before I do the Jig of Joy?

I'll let you know when I get there.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Kudos to Capital Grille in Tampa, FL for what might be the best meal I’ve ever experienced. I say “experienced” because from the moment my friend and I entered the restaurant, we were treated as if we were the most special diners of the evening.
Since I was celebrating my birthday early, I was treated to a long stem rose (it actually SMELLED like a rose), birthday confetti artfully placed on one corner of the table, and a birthday card. The meal was exquisite: lobster bisque soup, bone-in Kona crusted sirloin steak, potatoes au gratin, grilled asparagus, and 3 freshly baked breads.
The surprise of the evening was dessert. Once all dishes had been cleared away, a platter with a miniature cheesecake and a miniature no-flour chocolate cake was placed in front of me. The words HAPPY BIRTHDAY between the two samplings made me smile, and a small lit candle stood in a fluffy whipped cream base.
But what made the meal spectacular was the service. I’ve never – and I mean never – eaten anywhere that catered to its customers the way Capital Grille did to us. Our waiter was friendly, sincere, had a slightly quirky sense of humor, and was gracious every minute. Then he took a picture to commemorate the evening and made sure we each had a copy of it.
If you’re ever in Tampa near the International Mall, or even if you’re not near the mall but can make your way there, please consider dining at Capital Grille. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

One Step

First steps toward the fulfillment of a dream can be exciting and daunting. The realization that one's lifelong goal might actually be accomplished is a heady rush of joy with a side of churning nausea. But the one saving grace in the maelstrom of emotions is success may be at hand.

I'm not one to rush into the unknown. I used to be impulsive and have a Scarlett O'Hara mentality about life. "I'll think about that tomorrow." The older I get, the more I realize how wise it is to be cautious and take time to do things correctly.

I've always wanted to be a writer. I remember making up poems and writing short plays as young as 10 years old. I was considered to be something of an overachiever on essays and literature projects. And I have a master's degree to teach English. But those things don't get works published.

The only way to see my name on the cover of a book is to put myself out there. It's crazy to look back at all the reasons I allowed my dreams to wait, but at the same time, everything happens in its proper time...and now it's time to move forward past the "what if's".

So what are my baby steps and dreams?

Midnight Diamonds is my first full length novel, and I hope to see it published in the near future. Yesterday I submitted the manuscript to three publishers...baby step (okay, HUGE step, but it's a baby step in the journey toward being published). Now I wait to see if anyone is as excited about the story as I am. Does it help that it's a series with three more books? I hope so!

What's the worst that can happen? No one buys the book. Then what? Well, there are hundreds of publishers and ebook companies to contact. But the best part has happened: I finished the book, have started the 2nd one, and have submitted my work for review.

Baby steps and dreams. Walking doesn't come naturally. We have to learn how, and sometimes we fall down hard. But we stand up with help from family and friends, and keep going, reaching for our dreams.

One step at a time.