Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good Things To Come

I'm excited! Super excited, even. Do you want to know why? I have this sense of good things to come in 2010, more specifically in the first half of 2010...and here's why:

A) I entered Seeds of Salton in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest on the advice of my editor, Susanne Lakin, who entered one of her books last year. She made it to the top 100 (which is quite an accomplishment!), and had tons of fun connecting with other writers as the contest progressed. The contest is decided through four stages of elimination with the winner being announced June 10th.

B) I just registered for the Northern Colorado Writers Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado, March 26 & 27, 2010. They have a great line-up of speakers, authors, agents, editors--the works, packed into a two-day conference. I'm really looking forward to attending a new conference, after having attended the Southern California Writers Conference (San Diego) in 2007 and 2008. Last year I was unable to make it to a conference and really missed it engaging with new writing friends. My plan is to drive, rather than fly, so I'll be praying for mild, sunny weather come March!

C) I also signed up for the (amazing!) Landscape and Literature writing retreat hosted by author Page Lambert at the Vee Bar Guest Ranch near Laramie, Wyoming. Actually a thought just occurred to me...maybe when I leave the NCWC conference in March, I should drive right to Laramie and park my car at the entrance to the Vee Bar and wait until May 29th when it starts! So yes, you can tell I am excited about spending five days in a creek-side mountain cabin, journaling, riding horse, talking writing, and finding that "voice" inside.

All of that only takes me to June. Who knows what could happen the rest of the year! :)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Great January Escape

Like a lot of Minnesotans, hubby and I opted for a temporary escape from the cold and snow and headed south to the desert sun of Phoenix, Arizona. Our trip revolved mostly around family time. We stayed with John's mom and aunt in Phoenix, and also spent a relaxing day with our daughter Karli and her boyfriend Diego. We enjoyed browsing the shops in Old Town Scottsdale, Cave Creek, and Fountain Hills, (although we both agreed it just wasn't the same in Fountain Hills without the big Arts & Crafts festival going and the live music of Brule'!) We also checked out the new Cardinals stadium in Glendale and looked at some new toy haulers at an RV show.

For once I didn't bring any manuscript pages to edit and instead scrounged for a book at Grandma's house and came up with "The Loop", by Nicholas Evans. The book turned out to be a great novel and I enjoyed having some quiet time to simply sit back and read. We thoroughly enjoyed our days of blue sky, warm sun, and the unique desert landscape.

Even though we were in Arizona, we watched the Minnesota Vikings game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. We were thrilled of course that the Vikings beat the Cowboys 34-3, but the best part was watching Brett Farve in the locker room after the game singing his own version of "pants on the ground, pants on the ground!" from last week's American Idol. Boys will be boys! :)

Come Tuesday it was a little disheartening when we descended through the clouds at the Minneapolis airport and saw nothing but gray. Gray sky. Gray snow. Gray pavement. Ugh.

So now it's time to get back to work. This week I'm writing a short story to enter in the Talking Stick contest sponsored by the Jackpine Writers group, I'm starting an article for the next issue of the Trinity Trumpet, and starting the outline for my agent chart.

Happy writing. Stay warm. Go Vikes!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Artisan Dreams

It's January...not only a brand new year, but a new decade. Everyone is talking and tweeting about New Year's resolutions: eat healthy, exercise more, set goals. For me, it's a time to look back and see how much I've accomplished in the past year and then set specific goals for the upcoming year.

In 2010 I plan to:
  • obtain an agent
  • send query letters
  • format an agent chart
  • choose a writer's conference
  • polish completed manuscript, Seeds of Salton
  • work through changes from copyedit
  • more

From 2000 to 2010 I committed the full decade to my writing, and thankfully have much to show for ten years of work. While I want to continue my pursuits in prose, I recently decided I don't want to limit my creativity to a singular art form. For the first time I allowed myself to wonder if there are other artistic abilities hidden away, deep within me, just waiting to come out. My inspiration for this notion came during an episode of "Hidden Heritage" when host Paul LaRoche sat down with Native American recording artist Bill Miller as his guest.

I thought--mistakenly so--that Bill Miller was "just" a musician. He's a musician all right--a 2009 Grammy-nominated one at that, (for his album, Spirit Wind North.) I soon learned he is so much more. Check out his website and view firsthand the full array of his many amazing gifts and talents. As it states on his homepage, "Bill Miller is an award-winning recording artist, performer, songwriter, activist, painter, and world-class accomplished flute player. Over the past four years, Miller has produced two incredible albums, received a Grammy Award and led Wisconsin’s La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, a member of the League of American Orchestras."

I'm not fooling myself to believe that I have talents anywhere near the likes of Bill Miller, but in listening to him share his passion and ideas with Paul and seeing the beauty of his stunning artwork, it inspired me to consider what other art forms I might pursue. I've mentioned before that my husband and I are planning to list our house for sale and look for a place "in the country." I've already made up my mind I no longer want a home office--it sounds far too restricting, too confining...too much like "office work." My hope now is to have a loft or a studio, a place that will allow the creative juices to flow in multiple art forms.

Someday--maybe by the end of this decade--I can call myself an "artisan."

Here's to your dreams in 2010...and beyond.