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As long as I’ve been writing, I’ve had a few publishing dreams.  Well, let’s call them “goals”.  Places where I longed to see my work appear.  Every now and then, I hit one of these goals and rejoice.  Brides magazine, Woman’s World and, in August of 2015, The Writer.  That was an especially great one for me, because I have been reading The Writer since I was in junior high school and it has inspired me countless times.  I still have copies of many, many articles written by my favorite fiction authors as they shared the tricks of the trade.  My essay, “A Charmed Life” was about the charm bracelet I’ve been creating for my alter ego, Kate Fellowes.

Now, I’m thrilled to report I’ve had another publishing dream come true.  Victoria magazine will publish one of my essays on the back page of the March/April 2016 issue, in their “Chimes” column.  Victoria has been my favorite magazine since the day I saw the premier issue at the hobby store in my hometown back in 1987.  The beautiful cover drew me in at once and I dropped my subscription card into the mailbox on my way home from the store. All these years, I’ve loved the magazine, reading of interesting people and places, admiring the beautiful home furnishings and fashions, enjoying time spent each issue with the Writer-in-Residence.  And savoring the essays in the “Chimes” column on the back page.

Every now and then, I’d send off an essay of my own, but, as is most often the case with writing, my pieces never hit the mark.  Until now.  Which just goes to show you persistence does pay off and one should never give up on a dream she holds dear.

When the issue appears, I’ll be easy to recognize from my ear-to-ear smile, enjoying the thrill of accomplishment and achievement.  Another highlight in my writing career, the publication will certainly encourage me, because there are always more dreams to pursue, more goals to strive for, more stories to tell.

 

My Christmas Card

The gifts are all purchased

I spent hours wrapping

While the cats lounged on sofas

Long-winter napping

 

I watched Christmas movies

One after the next

While scanning my list

The boxes—all checks!

 

Now I sit with my feet up

Chocolate in one hand

And watch Christmas peace settle

All over the land

 

 There may not be snow

(That’s a plus, in my book)

But the lights and the glitter

Bring a warm Christmas look

 

 Every tree decked with baubles

Every village aglow

Send my holiday wishes,

Wrapped up in a bow

 

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

 

 

My favorite season

While I like to think every season is my favorite season, since they all have something special to recommend them, my actual favorite is autumn.  What’s not to love about crisp, cool days when every tree is full of jewels and the sunshine glints off each leaf in a dazzling way?  This year, especially, we had day after glorious, gorgeous day here in Wisconsin.  Fine walking weather, which the dog revels in, of course.  Even the odd gloomy, rainy day is lovely in the fall, with “Charlie Brown skies” (think of “It’s the Great Pumpkin” when Snoopy is traveling across fields in the twilight), and a delightful cozy quotient.  Time to settle in with a good book before the hubbub of the holidays begins. Mmmm, autumn!

 

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I’ve written before of how I love to go down to the beach just south of Milwaukee in the summer, notebook in hand. This summer was no exception. Every trip there is an inspiration, and a meditation, of sorts. You can’t look at that view of unbroken horizon without taking a deep breath or two and putting your whole life in perspective.

Last weekend, I went to the beach even though it was raining–just a little. Under the tree the rain didn’t reach me, much, but I got to enjoy the sound of the drops, the smell of the rain as I tapped my pencil against my paper and thought. And, oh, so many gulls huddled together on the sand, like concertgoers awaiting the performance. At one point, they all rose as one into the sky, circled out over the water, and then they returned to their places on the sand. Amazing.

Eventually, the rain stopped, so I came out from under that tree and took the long walk out to the end of the pier, where the waves crash against the rocks below.

This pictures are from an earlier day, when the sun was shining and the whole world was full of Summer, and life was just another day at the beach.

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My short story, “The Currency of Wishes” is up for inclusion in the “Wishful Thinking” edition of The M.O.  Please take a minute to check it out at the link below, and give me your vote.

http://t.co/4eV1CWpFqr

Celebrating the release of the latest Guppy anthology! 22 mysteries by members of the Sisters in Crime Guppies chapter. My story is called “Bargaining Chip”.

When you’re a writer you get used to rejection.  (Well, you’d better, anyway!)

After years of submitting manuscripts, I’ve developed a nice thick skin and can read those words, “Dear Author,” without even cringing.  I make it a point to always have a back-up market in mind—the next place I’m going to send a story—so I can get the piece back in the game really quickly.

Still, there was one market I longed to crack.  One magazine I set my sights on as a Goal.  If only I could publish in Woman’s World magazine, I’d think every time I read a mini-mystery or a short romance.  The mysteries are always clever and real brain teasers, the romances tender explorations of the human heart.

Determined, I talked to my critique partner, Sharon, and resolved to write one romance a month aimed at that market.  We’d read and discuss it at our monthly meetings.  I’d give the story appropriate polishing and tweaking and then send it off.

That was in 1994.

For year after year, I’d write, meet, tweak, repeat, all without success.  Along the way, while Sharon wrote and sold seven children’s books, I wrote and sold four novels.

But still, Woman’s World eluded me.

Once in a while, my rejection would have a note written on the bottom.  A good rejection!  But, a rejection, nonetheless.

Sharon moved away and we began critiquing by email.  Somewhere along the line, my once-a-month story attempts dwindled to every couple of months, then every now and then.  Yet, whenever I read the magazine, I’d be filled with renewed conviction.  I could do it!  I would do it!

And then, in 2011, I finally did.

Nearly twenty years of effort, dozens of stories, a fortune in postage stamps, all came to fruition in one slim envelope containing a contract and a letter.

“Congratulations on selling your first story to Woman’s World,” it read and I gave a cry of triumph and delight.

My mini-mystery, “A Poisonous Plan” appeared a few weeks later and, as I marched proudly through the grocery store, my arms laden with copies for friends, I noticed shoppers looking my way and smiling broadly.  A moment later I realized it was because I was smiling broadly—and practically skipping down the aisle!

I had occasion to skip again when my first romance filled the page at Woman’s World in 2012.

So, I had reached my goal, a major accomplishment. But it just made me set another goal.

To do it again.

And so, I’ve been trying, aiming for a story a month, crossing my fingers as I drop it into the mailbox, hoping it won’t be another fifteen or twenty years before I hit the mark again.

Discipline, persistence and determination are as important as talent—maybe more so.

At least that’s how it is in this woman’s world.

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