Morning Coffee: Vacation

beach-3By the time you read this I will be on vacation! That warm southern sun has been calling me for several months now. As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a winter person. I want snow for the holidays. A fresh snowfall, especially a wet one that sticks to the trees on a sunny morning, is pretty. I’ve discovered I like snow shoes. But I don’t like the cold, I don’t enjoy shoveling, and I think skiing is for crazy people. (I’m married to one of those crazy people!)

Our children live in the south. Our daughter’s in North Carolina and our son in southern Florida. That’s who I’ll be spending a couple weeks with and I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t get to see enough of them.

I have a cross-stitch project ready to go with. My Kindle is loaded with books to read. I’ll be doing my WisRWA Fab5 judging and I’ll definitely do some writing on my next book, “The Healing Heart”, but I don’t plan on blogging while on the beach.

So I’ll see you when I get back after Easter. Hopefully most, if not all, of our snow will be gone by then.

Morning Coffee: Positivity

RevisionsThe power of a smile was stressed in my business classes. When you answer the phone, smile. If the caller is angry or frustrated and you speak with a smile on your face your voice will reflect that smile and the problem is unlikely to escalate. If it’s a cold call from someone looking for information, your smile will make you sound friendly and will reflect positively on your company.

The same can be said about your choice of words, your attitude. When I’m feeling uncertain about my writing, beginning to question whether or not I can succeed at becoming a published author, I always smile and tell people I know it will happen. I explain that that particular agent or editor turned out to not be the right one for me and my book, but there is someone out there who is and I will eventually find him or her. Even if internally I might not believe it myself at that moment, if I say it with a smile on my face I will believe it. Then I move on to a new submission. Or perhaps I take another look at my manuscript and fix some of the things the previous rejection mentioned as not working for them, should they have been kind enough to give a little feedback. I want my agent and/or editor to LOVE my book.

Sounding positive leads to feeling positive; and feeling positive leads to the persistence that leads to success. The only thing negativity leads to is more negativity. If you believe you are incapable of doing something you will not be able to do it. If you believe you are a failure, you will be a failure.

So, believe in yourself. I do. Last week I participated in my first Twitter pitch party. It was quite the experience and at the end of the day I walked away with a submission request from an editor. Naturally, I immediately sent her the synopsis and my first three chapters. Within a few days I received a reply asking for a full manuscript. They wanted to read more! This is definitely a positive response and I’m hoping it will lead to success. It’s a response I never would have received if I’d let myself believe the occasional negative thought that tried to push its way into my brain. Instead, I listened to the positive thoughts, believed in myself and my book, and went for it.

If not this one, then perhaps the next one. I know there’s someone out there who wants to read my book; and I know there’s a publisher who wants to sell it to them.

Morning Coffee: March In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb

winterWe’ve all grown up with the old adage if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb…or vice versa. Of course, the former is more likely to be true merely because it would make sense that as spring approaches the weather will gradually improve.  As for the former, that could easily happen, too, because March weather is so volatile. Warm fronts from the south begin pushing north while those cold Canadian fronts continue to push south. When they meet…well…that’s why we have some of our worst winter storms in March.

This year March came in like a lamb. I wrote last week how the mild temps were teasing us with the smell of spring in the air. But we were less than a week into the month and we were hit again with a whopper of a storm. It started the morning of the fifth with the hard winds that blew in advance of the front. Our yard quickly became littered with branches, both large and small. I watched knowing that once the snow melted we’d have to go out and collect them. Hard gusts rattled the pipe leading down to the gas fireplace in the living room and shook the windows. In the afternoon we had sleet one minute, snow the next, and then back to sleet. The icy pellets danced on the back deck, reminding me of the styrofoam beads that spill from a beanbag chair if it’s ripped. By evening the snow won and the wind blew it into white-out conditions. A soup supper and card game night planned with two other couples had to be cancelled due to hazardous driving.

Then the next morning it was all over. The sun was out and so were the shovels, snow blowers, and snow plows…again. I spent two hours clearing about four inches of very heavy wet snow from the driveway. The end with all the waterlogged deposits from the plow was the worst. I’m hoping this will be the last time I have to do this, but I wouldn’t put any money down on that bet. At least the temperature wasn’t all that bad, or maybe it just seemed that way as I heated up from the shoveling. It definitely helped that the wind had died down to a gentler breeze. And now it’s cold again.

But this is what March is like, every year, and it’s just another sign that spring is coming.

Morning Coffee: Spring Tease

Mockingbird2Spring tease kind of sounds like strip tease and, in a sense, that’s what it is. Winter slowly peeling back one layer at a time to give us a glimpse of what is to come; what is hiding underneath. Spring! Flowers, song birds, and light jackets!

Last week we woke to 6 inches of new snow. Then two days later, 6 more inches. It wasn’t unexpected. For once the forecasters got it right. I’m not a big fan of snow. It has its place, namely, the holidays. It isn’t Christmas or New Year’s without snow. Then, in my mind anyway, it can go away. But, I will say this, there is nothing more beautiful than a fresh white snowfall before the plows and passing cars start turning everything dirty again. This snow had enough moisture in it to stick to all the bare trees around us, glittering in the morning sun. Very pretty!

But spring is not far behind. Daytime temps have been in the low 40s. If this was June we’d be complaining how cold it is. But it’s March and the sun feels amazing, welcoming. Those new but now dirty snow banks are fast receding. I went for a long walk yesterday, no gloves and no hat, my coat unzipped. The smell of wet earth was the smell of a promise. The promise that, while there is no doubt more snow to come, spring is almost here; and after spring, summer. Even the birds are singing a little more joyfully.

I’ll go out again, as often as the weather allows. It’s a much needed mood boost after the long cold winter. Not to mention, I need to start thinking about that winter hibernation weight. Can’t ignore it any longer.

My daughter calls from North Carolina to tell me her daffodils are blooming. My son calls from south Florida to complain (gloat?) that it’s 91 there! Then they laugh when I tell them about the snow on the roof and piled along the driveway and street. I tell them I hate them, then we all laugh because they know that’s not true. I’ll be seeing them in a few weeks and look forward to sharing some of that warmth. I’m hoping by the time I get back our snow will be gone and I can start to watch for an open sign on the golf course.

Spring is coming. Winter is almost over. In the meantime, all these warm days and cold nights mean the maple sap will soon be running. Syrup season. Another sign of spring.