Monday, February 17, 2020

State of the Muddled Mind, Part One

Look at the title of this blog. The Country Author. One would think I have a multitude of published novels in my resume. I have released one…yep, just one…novel over the last thirteen years and have been dealing with pangs of guilt for not producing more. Am I living a lie? Does it matter? This blog doesn’t have a large audience, so who cares?
I care, and I want to be transparent and accountable.
I’m sixty-two years old. Age is just a number, but sometimes I feel it’s more than that. I catch myself dwelling on my own mortality, convinced I’m falling short of my potential and don’t have a lot of time left to fulfill it. Sure, I can believe that statement or I can do something about it.
Does God want me obsessing over this? He wants us to have an abundant life, a fulfilled life. If we spend our days worried about the future and don’t make the most of today, we are falling short of who God created us to be. He doesn't want our minds muddled with things we don't have control over.
I’m taking a step of faith right now by posting my whole self on this blog. My worries, my obsessions, my dreams, and my faith. I’m done with the guilt over what I haven’t accomplished, and I’m ready to rinse the chaos from the slate of my life and start over. I'm ready to unmuddle my mind.
Heavenly Father, guide me through this process and use it to bless others.
To all my family and loved ones: Bear with me. If you believe in the power of prayer, lift me up. If you’re going through something similar, stand with me and we’ll tackle this together. If you’ve got it all together and can lend a hand, I’ll take it. 
Leave a comment and let me know it’ll be okay, or tell me know how I can pray for you.
Stay tuned for State of the Muddled Mind Part Two

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Behold the wonderful layers of a scene

I was inspired to create this infographic after reading an article posted in Writers Helping Writers. Since I never produced an infographic before, I did some research online which led me to Piktochart. Super fun and easy to do. It's like "Paint" on steroids, but without the brushes. 

You can do a lot with the free account. Check it out and let me know what you think. Feel free to Pin the image, print it out for future reference, or share on your website/social media pages. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

PTSD-Not All Wounds Are Visible

The hero in the book I’d just written served three tours in the Middle East. He’s a proud warrior and thankful for the privilege of serving his country. When an IED explosion ends his military career, this twenty-seven-year-old returns home to fight a new war: PTSD

I’ve always considered myself patriotic. My father served during the Korean War, my brother was career Army, and my father-in-law saw combat in Vietnam during his twenty plus years in the Air Force. Yours truly did a three-year hitch in the Army and, fortunately, didn’t have to go to war. I stand with pride during the National Anthem and get teary-eyed every time. When I see someone in uniform or wearing a ball cap bearing the name of a military branch or the war they fought in, I stop and thank them for their service. The glint in their eyes and heart-felt “my pleasure” makes my heart sing.

While doing research for my book, I discovered a new appreciation for the men and women who left their comfortable homes to protect our freedom in foreign lands. We’ll never fully know what they’ve gone through (unless you’ve been there too), but we can do our part to make their lives easier here at home.
Here are a few resources to check out:
Remember, not everyone suffering from PTSD is a veteran of war. It can affect anyone who had experienced trauma.

Thanks for reading this article. The next time you see a soldier, first responder, law enforcement, firefighter, or anyone in uniform who sacrifices his or her time for the betterment of others; thank that person for their service. It will be worth your time. They’ve already given theirs.

Friday, May 24, 2019

It's Done and I'm Ready to Jump

For once I’m not here to apologize for not posting or to make lofty promises of turning this blog into the most exciting thing on the web. I'm here to dig in my heels and become more productive, such as taking my novel to the next step.
My manuscript went through the critique process with other writers going through each chapter, adding and deleting, and making suggestions. Along the way, I used editing software to further refine the piece. After I revised the final chapter, I ran the entire story back through this software and ended up cutting about 9000 words.
I tell you, the accomplishment of typing “the end” and then spending a few weeks fine-tuning a project is compelling me to want to do more. So what is the next step?
I typed up a query letter and emailed it to a literary agent—an agency I had my eye on for a long while. This is a huge step for me. Something I’ve never done before, and it’s a little scary. They say to expect rejection and consider it a learning experience. There are other agencies to submit to, so all is not lost. If I don’t get a reply in thirty days, I’ll go to Plan B and send a query to three more agencies I’ve researched. In the meantime, I'll rest in the knowledge God has the perfect place for my novel.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with taking a leap of faith and watching for a favorable outcome. It could be a job interview, purchasing a raffle ticket to win a coveted prize, or even waiting for test results from a doctor, hoping for good news. Was the wait agonizing or were you able to "let go and let God?"     

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Never, ever apologize for not posting.

I read an article not long ago about maintaining a presence on the internet. I get that you should post regularly to get noticed. If this were a subject in school, I'd get an F because my last post was a long, LONG, time ago. I filed two tax returns since I published an article.
I also read where you should never, ever apologize for not posting.
A wide-open space where rambling people live
Okay, I admit it, I'm rambling. But isn't this a common practice when you live in the wide-open spaces? Really, this is what happens when you have nothing concrete, useful, informative, SEO worthy, or smart to say. However, you want to say something because you're talking with people on Facebook, chatting with fellow authors in your critique groups, and bumping into friends. You tell each other about your websites and blogs. You exchange URLs and agree to follow each other. Next thing you know, your Facebook page got a few more likes and your blog a half dozen more followers. Pride dictates you need to post something to make those likes and follows worth your friends' troubles. You are also compelled to post because when you visit a page or website to follow or like, you discover the author had made about a hundred posts in the past year. A hundred more than you made.