Monthly Archives: July 2013

Fantasy vs Reality

A few years back our well dried up. We’re thinking a good spell (years) of rain that well just might come back around. A deep snow pack that’s not vaporized by hot spring wind would help a lot. While I’m at it, I’ll put in a request for a barn to hold the many horses I’d love to own, and a nice working arena.  Yep, that’s one of my fantasies.

Reality is, once a week I hitch the trailer up to my old truck and drive a few miles to the local water source. On the trailer is a 250 gallon tank, enough water to last through laundry, showers, and cleaning. Loaded with minerals but really tasty for drinking, though I fill jugs with that reverse osmosis water for coffee. Now, 250 gallons of water is one solid ton of sloshing weight. That sort of weight puts pressure on tires, and the smart thing is to keep them inflated

Yep, that's a blown tire

Yep, that’s a blown tire

properly.  Sometimes I get too backed up and think “I can get to that next time around.” Resulting in, you guessed it, a blown tire.

If this was one of the books I write and read, the day after I limped my trailer home on a wheel and a rim, a compellingly attractive but not quite handsome farmer would drop by to help, even though such a person hasn’t been seen by me, especially not at the end of a half mile private lane.  Mayhaps a Navy SEAL or a ReCon soldier would wander by while training for battle in a hostile environment. Okay, so it’s not so hostile to me but my Canadian friends think all this dry brown stuff looks strange. Dirt, guys…it’s what’s under all the green stuff in your yards. I might even have a renegade Fae prince offer to help while working out issues with his kingdom under the hill.

Alas, ends up all I have is myself.  So I had to get to it.  Don’t let it get out but I’ve changed tires on my own before.

Can this tire be patched?

Can this tire be patched?

Also changed oil, alternators and a starter. Tried changing spark plugs but that didn’t work out so well. But a single small tire? No problem.  It took an extra bit of lift to make the car jack work but the rest was slick and smooth. Soon enough I was strollinginto Wal Mart, asking if they could patch my tire. The guy, oops Sales Associate, behind the counter didn’t think so, and led me over to the shelves to show me they didn’t have the right rim.  Guess he got the memo on show don’t tell, about the same time he had a humorectomy.

I ended up getting the correct tire at another place and doing the switch out. A minor chore,

All Done

All Done

but one I could handle on my own. Which I have to admit had its own reward. Though I wouldn’t have turned down a Highlander in a summer weight kilt, especially on a breezy day.

If you don’t have any tires to change out, you might spend this weekend immersed in marketing wizardry at the MFRW Summer Camp  where you can get your head filled with a multitude of ideas on how to promote your books while reliving your youthful times at came. Virtual marsmallows are the best…all the flavor you can remember and none of the calories or tooth decay. You can get to the camp through the MFRW website, the Summer Camp Link. Hope to see you there for fun, friendship, and knowledge.

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Yeah, About That Luck Thing

I was in Canada when this blog of Kristen Lamb’s came out. And I thought about it during my visit, the plane ride back, and dealing with rearranging dogs to get back to my regular life. When it Comes to Success, Is It Hard Work or Luck?.

See, I do get the luck thing. I understand about winning Best in Show when there’s been a judge change and you have NO idea what this new person is going to like. That’s luck, right?  Well, sort of. But before your dog is seen by that lexington 2010 026judge, you’ve made it through the breed and the group competitions.  With, of course a trained, conditioned dog. Luck? Or the payoff for generations of careful breeding, and hours of exercise, grooming, training…and did I mention training? Because the very best structured and conditioned and groomed dog will go nowhere in the show ring if they can’t carry themselves with pride.

And you’re wondering why the heck is Mona talking about showing dogs when she started out with one of Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone blogs for writers?  Because in both endeavors, luck favors the prepared.  At my first RT Convention, I’m standing in the breakfast line.  Woman next to me, wearing an agent badge, asks what I write and her eyes glaze over when I explain “It’s a book about a woman with an Irish Setter who writes for a magazine and lives in a motor home and…” I had the luck of meeting an interested agent when I was definitely not prepared.

Since then I’ve practiced pitching whenever and wherever I can. I’m published because when I heard about a start up boutique press (luck) I had a fairly well polished book ready to submit (prepared). When a great promo opportunity came up on a local television show (luck) I was able to explain about  my writing and my books without flailing my arms around or gushing (prepared).

I credit a lot of being prepared to Kristen Lamb’s no holds barred blogs, and to Marketing for Romance Writers never ending support for writers who are ready to make their own luck. And it’s not too late to be a part of this year’s Summer Camp, where you’ll learn about building your platform, preparing your pitch, and in general rocking the writing world. It’s free, it’s fun. Hope to see you there. 

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Where The Wind Blows

 

Do You Fear The Wind

by: Hamlin Garland (1860-1940)

O you fear the force of the wind,
The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them,
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane:
The palms of your hands will thicken,
The skin of your cheek will tan,
You’ll grow ragged and weary and swarthy,
But you’ll walk like a man!
“Do You Fear the Wind” is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.

They told us, when we moved to New Mexico, we’d be dealing with wind.  No problem, I said, I’ve always loved the wind.  Hamlin Garland’s poem was a particular favorite when I was a romantic teenager.

011Well, there’s wind.  And then there’s WIND as in relocation of top soil from one state to the next. I’m thinking a lot of ours is in Oklahoma. Still, the ‘ahem’ breeze does keep us markedly cooler than Albuquerque and in the summer that’s a huge plus. Sometimes it can get pretty exciting, especially during these dry days when it’s not unusual to see plumes of dust rising up all around.

The property is fenced and cross fenced at five feet. So it was a bit of a shock to come home to this futon mattress I’d put out in the big field013 for the ‘lukis to lounge on, draped across an outside fence. Which means the wind lifted it over a five foot fence then up against another one.

While I was in Canada, I’m told we had a haboob, essentially a wall of sand propelled forward at a high rate of speed. Not sorry to miss that, though I bet the pictures would have been impressive. When I saw this from a distance, this looked more like a grass fire, far too scary for me. Once 009I realized I was watching dust racing toward me at a high rate of speed I decided to snap pictures and run inside.

All this wind makes for daily complications. Before planting you need to put up windbreaks. And now that my hair is longer I keep it pinned up most of the time.  Even so, I remember that great poem… “You’ll grow ragged and weary and swarthy, but you’ll walk like a man.”

Not fire, dust

Not fire, dust

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It’s All About The Water

Living in the desert makes one extremely aware of all things water: Rain, irrigation, harvesting water. A recent trip to Canada reminded me not everyone sees water in the same light. Normally this time of year Toronto is into the dry, with the lawns going brown in anticipation of Autumn rains. This year the rain has not let up. Everything was so 094amazingly green! My hostess showed me the guest bath, with such a deep tub and I immediately calculated how many times I could water my garden with what would be left after my bath. She laughed, and fill the master bathroom tub so I could enjoy the sybaritic luxury of immersing myself to the chin in hot water.  Ahhhh, bliss.

The rain continued, sheets of it plunging off her roof, but let up in time for us to stroll through lovely Elora, peer down into the gorge, 173and fill my camera with images of magic forests and deep set caves. Book covers? Might be.

My time in Canada was so short, but I brought home memories of water darned near everywhere, bracing myself for the extended New Mexico drought. Except. I drove through a pounding rain and hail storm, to find (sit down for the shock) MUD in my yard.  Yes, it had rained maybe an hour before I arrived home. And it has continued to 030rain nearly every day since. In fact the Fourth of July fireworks were provided by Mother Nature herself.

It will take a lot more mud to pull us out of the drought. But for now clouds gather and drop some moisture somewhere in the greater Albuquerque area at least once a day, and no one complains about the mud.

I joke about rain but take water issues seriously. So seriously I agreed to participate in Of Words and Water, an anthology of short stories and poetry. My contribution is “Prime Directive” and yes, it does honor Star Trek, as well as Twilight Zone. The download is free, they ask for a donation, which will benefit WaterAid, an organization dedicated to the concept of clean water for everyone.

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For now, peace, love, and gorgeous skies to all

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