A Touch of History

While in school, History was not my best subject. I honestly didn’t care about it, figuring it was a bunch of dates, events, and dead people that had no bearing on my life.

As I grew older, I began to understand the importance of history. I could see in my minuscule little life how the present and future in many ways is determined by the past. I could see cause and effect. Knowing my own history helped me to not repeat mistakes, for one, and to use my past successes to build new ones.

I not only started to gain an interest in history, but an affection for it.

As a land surveyor I get to research documents that date back over a hundred years. However, I rarely get to touch the original documents.

That changed today, however.

North Dakota Parks and Recreation hired us to scan in original engineering drawings of two state parks. They want hard copies for a presentation, and electronic copies so they can make as many copies as they want without continuing to handle the originals. The state Historical Society has bugged them for years to give them the plans, but Parks and Rec didn’t want to part with them.

Now they can.

I scanned in about a third of the plans today, and doing so was simultaneously exciting and unnerving. These plans were drawn by hand, mostly in pencil on thin onion paper. This paper is no thicker than the tissue paper used to wrap gifts, so they need a gentle handling. I almost wished I had a pair of cotton gloves.

I also held my breath every time I fed a 24×36 sheet into the scanner. I feared every time I would feed it in wrong and the scanner would tear the plans.

Luckily the scanner is well-designed, and when it senses a fold or bend in the paper it stops. I have yet to witness it tear a sheet, but the worry still exists.

The best part is I get to handle a small part of North Dakota’s history. These plans were drawn up from 1939 through 1941. They are true works of art as well as historical documents.

I’m proud to play a small role in perpetuating that history for future generations.

Change o’ subject.

My nano word count is a pathetic 2549. I’m not worried as I still have plenty of time to catch up.

How Much Fun Is This?

Most writers tend to be introverted. No surprise there, since writing is a solitary endeavor.

Because of this need to hide in the shadows, the thought of promoting ourselves and our writing can be downright terrifying.

There’s also the constant doubt hovering at the edge of our psyche. What if everything we write sucks. What if I’ll offend people? What if . . .

My own list of doubts is long and ever-growing.

That makes the enjoyment of starting my website, publishing my novella, designing and purchasing promotional materials, and running a contest all the more surprising.

I never thought self-promotion could be so much fun.

What has helped is the number of people who have entered the contest. I’m stunned. The number stands at nineteen at this moment. After only two days, I consider it a resounding success. I honestly didn’t think a dozen would enter after thirty days.

My thanks to all of you for entering. I can’t describe well enough how much it means to me. 

Another surprise is how little I doubt people will enjoy the book. Ever since I decided to publish "A Reason to Hope", it felt right.  

Only two other times did I get that feeling: when I married my husband and when we decided we wanted children after all. 

I mentioned this to a friend in an email the other day as well. It’s as though the moment I approved the proof, the book no longer belonged to me. I’ve done my part, the rest is in God’s hands. Sure I have more work ahead of me as far as continuing to promote it, but in the end God will decide how it’s used.

I believe the book will reach the people it’s meant to reach. Whether it’s ten people or a thousand, I honestly don’t care. I don’t even think about whether or not I will earn back the money I spent. I only wanted it available for a lot of people to read and enjoy the story.

Although, the more I think about it, publishing this book helped release a deep fear of mine.

In this day and age of political correctness, talking about and writing publically about controversial issues is not only difficult, but scary. We take the chance of being attacked at least verbally when we take an unpopular view.

I do exactly that with this book. 

While the fear niggles at the back of my mind, it doesn’t alter my course. It’s like learning how to drive. Getting behind the wheel and pulling out into a busy street for the first time can make us break out into a sweat. Yet we go anyway, because we know driving is neccessary.

Publishing this book for me was neccessary.

That I’m having fun at the same time is pretty cool. 

Got it!

After giving my USB flashdrive a good (and accidental) soaking in liquid children’s vitamins, I was quite surprised it still functioned three months later.

It gave it’s last gasp today, so I went to Staples to purchase a new one. I use it to not only store current works as a backup, but I transfer files all the time between my home and work computer. I couldn’t wait long to get a new one.

As I strapped Thomas into his carseat, our next door neighbor stopped by to hand me a package UPS accidentally delivered to her house.

It was my proof.

I didn’t open it until I got home, and even then I waited a bit.

I’m actually impressed. It turned out exactly as I envisioned. If I could resubmit it without it costing me anything more, I would make one slight adjustment to the last page. The cover I thought turned out fabulous.

I refuse to read through it, because if I find any grammatical or spelling errors, I would be forced to resubmit, and pay the fees.

I’ll retain my blissful ignorance at this point, and pray my readers will pass any errors by.

That’s it. One mouse click and it’s ready to go on sale.

Tomorrow will begin my contest, but I won’t give any details until then.

How’s that for a way to keep you coming back here?

Oh, and my new flashdrive works great.

Ready . . . Set . . .

Tomorrow begins my fourth excursion into National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). From midnight November 1 to midnight November 30 I must type at least 50,000 words of a novel.

I will be exploring an idea that’s been percolating in my noggin for at least four years.  It’s based on the same universe I created for my first novel, but further into the future.

My previous idea focused on the human race, but this time I will start with a different space-faring species. The main character is a young female who’s considered by her people as a subspecies. She’s smaller (read: weaker) than the rest of her species. However, she has certain gifts and talents that make her invaluable. The rest of her people don’t see it that way, though. She’s a tool to be used, nothing more.

Will she and others of her kind earn the respect they deserve? How will they earn it?

I look forward to finding out.

This also means I won’t be writing many entries in any of my blogs. I not only have to concentrate on nanowrimo, but on starting and managing my book contest.

I can hardly wait for my proof to arrive in the mail. To see my words in print — even self-published — is pretty darned exciting.

Happy Halloween!!


Home Stretch

In a few days I will recieve the proof to my book. If it meets my expectations, then all I have to do is login to booksurge’s website and hit [Approve].
Oh, yeah.
If I need to make any modifications, I can upload the new files, and start over with the initial printing process. There are applicable fees, so I hope what I sent them will be what I envisioned.
My pens also came in yesterday. They turned out good and will make good prizes for the contest. I say easily within the next few weeks when my book is approved, and my other orders come in (bookmarks and magnets), I’ll be ready to start selling.
Oh, yeah.


I’m no programmer. There are times when I’m simply so befuddled by a problem, the best course of action is to start over.

So I did with this blog. The reason it looks so much different is instead of WordPress, I’m using Movable Type as my platform. So far no difficulties.

Unfortunately, I lost my previous entries (although I did save them in a pdf which you can read here). If you subscribed through RSS, you’ll need to subscribe again. My apologies for the inconvenience there.  

I have more publishing news to share, but I won’t add that until tomorrow. I’m beat.

Hope you’re having a great Wednesday, and I’ll see you in the morrow.