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Posts Tagged ‘changes’

Last year, about this time, I posted on the evolution of my blog. It had turned five years old and had taken a few radical turns over those years. My ponderings were on those twists.

This year–as my blog turns an incomprehensible six years old–I find those original thoughts to still hold true, with a year’s worth of experience to add to. However, first, a review of last year’s post:

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Jan 1, 2016: In a few months my blog will turn five. I can hardly believe it. Just like I can hardly believe it’s already 2016. As I was taking the calendars down last night, I considered the fact it didn’t seem that long ago I put them up. And now I’ve turned their pages twelve times. I’m sure a few of you can relate.

And that got me to thinking about this blog. It hardly seems possible I started it, albeit very reluctantly, back in May of 2011. I had very little knowledge of what a blog really was, let alone the purpose of creating one. Yet I had been told if I wanted to be a serious writer, I needed one. So voila, Summersrye was created. Had I known then what I know now, I’d have skipped the nickname thing and just used my proper name. But I like Rye, and not knowing any better, it seemed acceptable. Honestly, I don’t recall how I ended up at WordPress. It might have just been the first blog site that popped up when I plugged in a Google search.

keyboard and notebook

I went through recently to see what kind of posts I’ve written and the transformation this blog has undergone. The results sort of surprised me. My first post was May 11, 2011, called “Starting out”. That was pretty much it for 2011. In 2012 there were a whole 17 posts. The content changed directions twice. First I was going to take a non-fiction manuscript and blog it piece by piece. Feedback was nil. I even sent out a post asking “Am I doing this right?” of which I got one response back. Okay, at least someone out there in cyber world was aware I was blogging.

directions sign

Then I got the contract for my first book, “Whispers in her Heart”, the book that would forever change my life. I was going to be a published author. Time to get really serious about this blogging thing. Right? My posts changed from the random and non-fiction snippets to lots of “Whispers” stuff.Whispers cover from amazon

2013 I posted about 48 times, (give or take one) I was learning book promotion and it showed. I started putting in progress on edits and cover creation as well as teasers for “Whispers”, and a few pictures of my first book signings. I included poetry and shared life happenings. I opened up just a little, trying to remember if anyone was reading this, they were a real person on the other end of the computer screen. I shared photos of my pets, who are part of my life. I shared personal reflections and works in progress.

chasing ideas

2014 I continued sharing anecdotes and photos of my pets. I was now reading other people’s books and trying my hand at posting my reviews. I was following other blogs and re posting things I found interesting. Now I had a few books out and was regularly sharing status and updates on “Whispers”, “Shimmers of Stardust”, and “When Clouds Gather”. I posted more times than ever before.

Recipe for writing success

2015 was much the same. Book reviews. Pet anecdotes. Personal situations. Personal reflections. I was getting pretty personal this year. My family of books was growing. Now we added “Chasing the Painted Skies” and “Sizzle in the Snow” Anthology plus more works in progress and two more slated for 2016. I had people contact me asking if I would please read and review their books. I added the new feature somewhere along the way of hosting authors, interviewing them and talking about their books. In exchange, I was usually hosted on their blogs. Giveaways were another new feature in 2015.

All in all, not bad for a kid who few thought would ever make a writer. I recall hiding in my closet, pounding away on an old manual typewriter I bought at a garage sale. I baby sat so I had money for paper, notepads, and pens. Finally my mother gave me an electric typewriter for either my birthday or Christmas when I was around twelve. To have access to the electric outlet, I had to move out of the closet and into first my bedroom and then a corner of the long harvest table situated in the living room. I guess she wanted to see her daughter once in a while.

old typewriter

So while looking back, I also want to look forward. What do I want this blog to accomplish in our brand new 2016? Well, I want it to be a communication point. First, I want to be able to share news with readers about new books, giveaways and anything else share-worthy. I want to continue having others from other houses on my blog, sharing news about their exciting new releases. Bonus if they offer giveaways too. I want to grow the book reviews. In fact, I just finished a sassy little story last night and will be posting a review this weekend. And I have that author scheduled to be hosted on the blog in a few weeks.

Writing is a gift

Of course I want to share stories and pictures of my zany pets. They are the world to me, as many pet owners will testify. I’d be tickled if readers shared their wonderful pet pictures. I will also continue to share personal reflections and observations. Sometimes life gets rough or crazy and it’s nice to talk about it on a blog. It may not fix it, but it makes handling it a little easier. I follow a few blogs of people who do that very well. I’ll probably go back to posting some of the poetry from time to time and maybe some short flash fiction or sample chapters. That has been in the back of my mind for a while too.

Happily ever after

The end result, I want 2016 to be a year of growth and connection both for this blog and my writing career.

 

 

 

 

 

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Well, now it’s time to turn the calendars to 2017. I have added a pet sitting service to my life this year, which does had the unfortunate side effect of eating into my writing life. The bonus is I have met some interesting people and wonderful dogs and cats this year. I have settled comfortably into the house I bought in late 2014, but still have two rooms to paint (still!) and a few odd chores here and there I tackle when I need a break from writing.

What I would like to do with this blog in the coming months is much what I’ve done the last two years–share book reviews, host authors and their works, and continue the ‘Been Thinking About’ posts. Naturally I want to keep sharing misadventures of my pets, though my rescue collie, Ty, has his own blog I struggle to keep up with here on WordPress. Since I have two more books coming out in 2017, I want to share the steps from edits to covers to final release. I have a special giveaway planned for the first one, a Food & Love anthology coming up around May (ish).

Since I have two works in progress, and one more I hope to start soon, I want to share sample chapters. The opening chapters to one is already on my website at http://www.ryanjosummers.com. And I would like to encourage everyone to leave a comment with what they would like to see included in this blog, or more or less of any feature.

Lastly, I wish everyone a happy and healthy and wonderful new 2017.

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favorite color is October

Yes, it’s true. October is my favorite color. Why? Well, for starters it’s the month I celebrate my birthday. As a kid, this was a big deal Not so much now but still a milestone in which I traditionally pause, reflect, take stock and perhaps shift direction if needed. Sadly, it usually is to some degree.

It means I have survived the blistering heat and endless sweating of summer. Most of the bugs have crawled or flown off to die. September, also a fantastic month in its own right, heralds autumn in, October crowns it. The trees lose the endless sea of green and almost overnight become topped in crimson, yellows and reds. In my mountain home, the sights are never less than breathtaking.

So that covers the transition part of the this post. It is time to winterize the house and yard and plan for the upcoming holidays. Already the stores have been warning us they are not far away. Now, what about the change?

Well, since annually I will be another year older it might be time to consider new ways to dress or wear my hair. Admittedly I have clothes in my closet, that I still wear, from 25 years ago. To my way of thinking, they may be a tad worn and faded, but they are still serviceable. And they still fit. What more can I really ask for? The pony tail days are long gone, but there are new styles to experiment with, to see which works to still remain easy as a pony tail yet be a little more professional. The added grey increases the challenge. But I earned them so I will keep them.

In this year alone, I made a lot of changes. I bought a house, bought another car, adopted a new dog. sold three more books for publication. Created a new blog. Learned how to forgive. Learned how to let go. (well, I’m getting much better at the last two) Learned a lot about me. This had been a big, long, fast, crazy and peaceful year.

No, I didn’t overlook the conflicts in the above paragraph. It has seemed like this year has been an endless series of conflicting this and that– emotions and experiences. Time flies, time crawls. I feel pressed and crazed, I feel utterly at peace. It just all depends.

As we leave summer behind, enter autumn’s colors and anticipate winter’s arrival, what do you think or observe this time of year? Any special memories or rituals?

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February

February is the shortest month of the year. For me, this year’s February has been fraught with challenges and quandaries worthy of filling the longest season. Normally the first two weeks of April is historically the traditional time of great dread for me, when it seems the whole year’s worth of misfortune pours itself out over my head. This year, however, we seem to be getting a head start–several weeks early.

On the ninth, I fell, not in a glamorous fashion on the ice like some folks. I was simply coming home from work, was tired and forgot to pick up my feet. Or something like that. The good news is nothing broke in the fall, but it sure rocked my world. I was stunned for several moments before I could slowly–and oh so gingerly–climb to my feet. The next day I discovered a rash on my knee, that slowly turned a rainbow of bruising colors ever since. Now, 2 1/2 weeks later, it’s still an irritating dry patch of red. My hands and shoulder were also injured in the fall, excruciating at first, and slowly easing up as the month ends. While the swelling has gone down, the pain continues to remind me.

In addition, about three weeks ago, just before the graceful fall, my hot water stopped running. Due to the below freezing temperatures, I kind of assumed it was a frozen line and would thaw out soon enough. Well, I’ve been boiling water in my copper tea kettle, bird bathing using my ceramic bowl & pitcher set and generally roughing it ever since.

bowl abd pitcher

I did go to a friend’s house a couple of times for hot showers and do a load of laundry when the pioneer woman mentality ran thin or I ran out of work clothes. I kept plastic jugs and refilled them at work and at my friend’s house.

In the meantime, our temperatures have climbed well into the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and still no return of my hot water Finally on the 22nd, I went out to check on the situation. I was greeted with at least 6-8 inches of standing water in the crawl space. This was not good.

Monday the 23rd I contacted the company that services the home warranty I took out when I bought the house. They assured me they’d take care of this and hook me up with a great technician. Well, they did that much. To take a long week of frustration and impatience and condense it down, it happened like this: Yesterday a nice gentleman from a company specializing in water damage arrived. He drained all the gallons of standing water out, so the crawl space was pretty much dry for the plumber who came this morning. Over eight hours later this poor soul had more or less replaced most the piping under the house. Shout outs to both these guys and their companies.

I did learn, however, that neither my home warranty nor house insurance will cover nor reimburse any of my expenses. So thank goodness I had the money available on the plastic, unfortunately, they are almost maxed out now. But I have hot water once again and no fishing hole in my crawl space.

And apparently February wants to keep reminding me we are evidently in early training for April. As I was running a fast errand this morning, the check engine light come on the dashboard of my Jeep.

check engine

 

So tomorrow morning I have an appointment for that next.

If this keeps up, you won’t see me in April, I’ll be hibernating beneath a big rock!

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Lately I feel I have been on a journey of sorts. A prodding to step out from the norm and known into something new and different. I am reminded of the quote, source unknown, that reads: Some lessons are best learned through trials and understood through perspective. It might have been my profound wisdom but honestly, I don’t recall.

journey

For a number of years I have been content, and perhaps have even grown complacent, in my dwelling. I had a plan, to remain and save funds and eventually leave when I had what I considered to be adequate funds to go on to the next step in my plan, or journey.

Well, the trouble with Plan A is it seldom works out like we thought it should have. So we move on to Plan B or Plan G or sometimes even Plan N. That is  the Journey. Up those steps to the unknown. With a healthy mix of curiousness and trepidation, we begin our ascent up, looking up, peeking behind us, wondering both what does lie ahead and what are we leaving behind.

So my Plan A has recently been crushed and my hand forced into the next step. Well before I was ready. But I know what I have to do and why I have to do it. So this week I placed an offer on a different house and wait anxiously on return word. Somehow, regardless what the answer is, I will have taken another step up those stairs on my journey. There is a certain sense of satisfaction that comes with that knowledge. Is that learning through trials? I’m not sure.

In just a few days, my next book goes live into the virtual world. Nervous? Sure I am. Having twins is hard. I barely have time and thought for one book, let alone two. But that is part of the journey too, is it not?  There is a sense of validation that comes with this though, and I suspect it has to do with perspective.

So as I wait for word on my offer on a house, and the final few days slide by before release date, I dream of paint schemes and think of impressed readers. Soon enough the holidays will enter my busy world too. This year will fall away and  a new one will open up, a new phase of this journey of life. And I will take a few more steps up to see what is really waiting at the top of our trek.

 

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Today I went house shopping. I have been doing a lot of the behind the scenes beginner things for a little while now, but today I actually began touring available houses. I feel it is about time to move from my present locale. And I usually follow my feelings. So while I am excited about the prospect and all it entails, I am also a little depressed by it. I had not thought myself ready to leave my cozy home, house hunting is work (as if I am not busy enough already) and moving can be hard on a lot of things. So I feel a real sense of yin and yang in that this is the thing to do, it’s what I had wanted to do but it seems to be happening quicker then I had imagined.

The whole thing sort of reminds me of one of my favorite movies: It’s a Wonderful Life. The one with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed .

wondrrful life movie poster

I could watch this Frank Capra film production over and over at any time of year. To me it’s not just a Christmas story. It’s a story about love and living.

Why? Well because a major part of the show is now resonating within me lately. The Bailey family spends their time at the Savings and Loan Building, providing families with their own house–‘four walls and a roof” as a character phrased it once. The Savings and Loan Building and what it represents is a pivotal part of the movie, as is the developing romance between the main characters, Mary and George.

So now that I am searching for my own four walls and a roof and it’s scary and exciting all at once. Kind of like falling in love can be. In my case, there are all the stages and steps and searching and time. All the questions about things I’ve never considered before. So I am surrounding myself with people who are knowledgeable on the things I don’t know to join me on this journey to home ownership.

With the right mindset, I can find the fun and adventure in this. And I will take a lesson from the movie that no matter what happens, it’s a wonderful life. In this case, my reminder is in the form of a character called George Bailey.

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Some change is good… some change is bad….all change is inevitable.

 

I made that whimsical observation last May. It impressed me enough to jot it down in a little notebook I keep for little ditties such as that.

This winter has been a time of change and adapting around the house. I realized this recently, as winter slowly, reluctantly, loosens her grip and yields to spring’s dawn. I am adapting to not having my constant companion Scrapper with me. I have grieved over her loss for two months now, agonized on wanting a new companion dog but knowing it is not the time to do so. So I have grieved Scrapper’s passing even more. This is compounded because the same door is quickly closing on 18 year old Pepper as she leaves stability and enters feline hospice.

In the world of real hospice, I lost a dear friend and confidant this March, one I continue to grieve as well. His passing continues to challenge and change and grow my spiritual beliefs. My frequent journal entries point to these observations and discussions.

In my writing life, I am on an overwhelmed ride of highs. I am gearing up for a the first Book Festival for Whispers next week. I’ve studied, speculated and studied for this like a mid-term exam. I need to remember to have fun with it too. I’ve completed a second round of edits for Shimmers of Stardust. I can happily say the lessons learned in editing processes is changing and helping my current works in progress. And I can now dream of later this year, when it and When Clouds Gather become full-fledged books for public consumption. More changes are in store as the year wears on I think.

The constant work load of emails, promotion, social media and all the business of publishing and being a writer is swamping me so I have to sometimes stop, get off the ride, suck in a few breaths of air and hop back on again. It’s an experience I am still learning, almost two years later.

The household is changing too. I have come to know shy Aspen and her not shy daughter, Avery Faith as they learn to adapt to house cat living. One sleeps with me at night and one wakes me in the morning. They have had to learn sisal rope is fine for sharpening claws unless it’s used for wicker plant stands. I’ve learned to make chili powder paste. They’ve learned chairs are okay to sit on, but not tables. I’ve learned pretty flower displays don’t hold up to curious kittens. They’ve learned indoor cats will have periodic nail trims. I’ve learned even more patience then I ever dreamed. The four resident seniors have learned to tolerate, and even enjoy, the new usurpers. More than once I’ve caught at least three of them engaged in play with one or the other.

I guess the biggest thing I have learned over the winter months as we all change, adapt, challenge ourselves and each other, grow and struggle is this: I am only one person. I can only do what I can do in the present moment. I can only learn from the past, both good and bad parts of it, apply it to the moment of right now and do my best. The future is where I will be shortly. I owe it to myself and my furry/feathered/finned dependents to make it the best I can. This truth has to encompass my work life, my writing life, my home life, my social life and my spiritual life. (not necessarily in that order but they have to be listed somehow) And most importantly, I have learned this, as I am growing, changing, adapting and evolving–so are others around me. Co-workers, friends, pets and strangers alike. We are all part of this trip called LIFE.

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