Category Archives: Life challenges

Autocorrect…and why I hate it

A negative blog title for sure, but there’s a reason. The other day I got a lovely GIF from an absolutely lovely friend with a birthday wish. The GIF was funny, so I texted back right away. The beginning of my text was ” HAHAHAHAH”. Or it was supposed to be. Somehow my finger slipped and I wound up typing this “HAHAHAHAHFGAHA” Since I was in the grocery store at the time and not paying attention, the autocorrect feature on my phone changed what I wrote to something Horrible. Truly. A word that I never use, hate to hear, and wish didn’t exist. I’m not going to write the word because I hate it so much but look at this HAHAHAHAHAHFGAHA and try to figure it out for yourself. I have no excuse except I wasn’t paying the attention I should have been before I hit the SEND button.

Needless to say, when the friend who received the text saw what was written, the word that was added, that person was hurt, mad, and probably a million other emotions I can’t begin to imagine. Saying I’m sorry doesn’t seem enough. Not really. I hurt this person – something I would never do, consciously or intentionally and for that I am to blame for not checking before I hit send.

Why am I blogging about this? The reasons vary but the main one ( aside from owning that I did something so stupid!) is because, as writers, I think we need to pay closer attention than ever before when we send something out to an editor, an agent, a publisher. Check everything. Every line. Every word. Every punctuation mark, to ensure what you have written is what you want to send. For my indie friends who self-publish this is uber important. I’ve read two self-published books lately ( not from friends!!) where I spotted several incorrect word uses, punctuation problems, and even missing words. Traditionally published authors need to be hyper-vigilant, too, esp. before copy edits come out. I read an ARC from a very well known writer recently that I won in a GOOD READS contest and there were quite a few sloppy edits. I know this will probably ( hopefully) be fixed in the final copy before widespread release, but you never know.

As writers, we want to not only make sure our words are correct – that they are truly the words we meant to pen – but that we are making the impression we want to make. What does it say to a Literary Agents who reads a manuscript that has numerous typos, misspellings, and incorrect grammar use? One thing it tells her/him is that representation won’t be coming from them. Same with a publishing editor. A PE reads hundreds, if not thousands, of items per week. If she has two manuscripts, one filled with mistakes, one perfect, you can pretty much guarantee unless the imperfect one has the potential to be the next Harry Potter, she’s gonna pick door number 2. Do we really want our chances at publication to become a choice between a pretty perfect, clean manuscript, and one that…isn’t? I certainly don’t, and after this little incident I’m writing about here, I’m being ubercareful with everything I write then send.

I can catch mistakes much more readily when I type them on my laptop than when I type on my phone. My laptop doesn’t automatically correct words it thinks are wrongly used. My phone does. I simply keep forgetting that, which is why I need to be  extra attentive when sending something from my phone.

Learn from my mistakes, people! Your phone doesn’t think for you- although it’s trying to. That’s the purpose of autocorrect in my humble opinion.  DO NOT LET automation take over. I feel like we are closer to that day when robots rule the world than ever before. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic ( ya think?!)… but, just saying.

I truly long for the days when we actually wrote out messages in letters and on note cards. I believe we were better spellers, communicators, and interactors. We established eye contact with the person we were communicating with and were able to interact on a more human level, one to one.

Technology, though, is here to stay. Okay. So I’ll embrace it. But I’ll be checking it more and more to make sure what I want to say is what is actually being said and not CORRECTED by a non-sentient entity who can not emote, think for itself, and has no soul.

Just saying…

 

2 Comments

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Strong Women

Thoughts and ramblings….

Sometimes I seriously wonder why God put the desire to write inside my heart. Some days, like today, I question the logic of what I’m trying to accomplish with writing.

Is it a test, to see if I can be dedicated to an end product?

Is it supposed to get me motivated to live a better life? Be a better person? Practice better faith?

Should I be feeling frustrated, incompetent, and inadequate? Are these emotions necessary for me to experience in order to get to the finish line, literally, and write the end?

Or is it all about the journey, the roadmap, the ups and downs that will eventually get me there?

Whatever the reason I have the desire to write ingrained in my soul, there are days like today, when the words won’t come, the dialogue is cliched, and the syntax is unrecognizable as English, that I question WHY.

Why am I doing this to myself?

Why am I making myself crazy and heart-sick?

Why am I wasting my time chasing a dream to commercial success that appears all but delusional from my perspective?

Just at that moment I’m ready to chuck my laptop out the window I remember the real reason I write. It’s not for commercial success. It’s not because I like seeing my name emblazoned across a book jacket ( although that is nice!). It’s not because I’m so conceited  I want to jump up and scream “Look at me! I can write” just for the attention.

No. I write because all these stories swimming around in my head are begging to be set free. I write because I love to. I simply, uncategorically, love to. There is nothing else in the world that gives me such joy and pleasure as penning a perfect line of dialogue or a description that gets heads nodding in recognition when they read it.

So. Please excuse my subtle rant. I’m off to write now.

While I’m writing, you can find me here if you need me : Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Romance, Strong Women

Back to normal ( I hope!)

I’ve been radio – or in this case, computer – silent for a few days as I try to get my life back to normal after my week away. Seven whole days to be gone from home is a long, long-ass time. In addition to all the day-to-day stuff I had to catch up on (grocery shopping so we wouldn’t starve, doing piles of laundry so we’ll be clothed and not naked in society, paying bills so our electricity and internet won’t go out) I also had to get my writing back on track.

Deadlines to honor. Editors to appease.  Words to put on the page.

I wrote a little in my WIP while in Atlanta, but I mostly just penned my daily blog and did some LIVE videos on facebook in between workshops and networking and traveling. Check out the videos portion of my Facebook page to see what you missed.

But now it’s back to work. Literally. I need to get two books finished by the end of July when I head off to Orlando for RWA 2017 and hopefully have both ready to be presented to my editor. Plus I’m writing a new wedding series and trying to eek a little room in for that on most days. And it wouldn’t kill me to get back on track with getting Planet Fitness every day again. My butt is starting to get chair-spread again. Oh, and I knowknowknow I’ll be getting two books back any day from two editors for final and galley edits.

And please, I don’t want to think about all the books I’ve got to review for Netgalley and Goodreads.

Does this sound like I’m complaining? I hope not. I really love my life. Lovelovelove it!!

I just wish, sometimes,  there were 30 hours in every day instead of 24.

Looking for me? Here I am:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

1 Comment

Filed under Author, Foodie, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

Homeward Bound; #RT17

It’s a full seven days since I first posted about waiting in an airline terminal, bound for Atlanta, Georgia. This time, I’m homeward bound. And tired. Soooooo tired.

My first RT convention is over and I must tell you I am happy to be on my way back home. Back to my own bed. Back to home cooked meals and not restaurant and/or fast food. Back to not living out of a suitcase. Back to watching my favorite television shows and finally, back to my writing schedule again, which was sorely neglected this week, despite all my blogging efforts.

A week is a long, long time to be away from home. I miss my husband; I miss my bed; I miss my naps. I miss wearing sweat pants and pajama tops. I even–and I can’t believe I’m saying this–miss my Planet Fitness. The hotel has a fairly nice gym, but it’s not my gym.

RT2017 was my first RT experience, and I can truthfully say I’m glad I did it, if for no other reason than to just check it off on my  something-I-need-to-do-for-my-writing-career list. Some parts of the experience were great, some, not so much, so I will really need to explore whether or not I want to invest the time and money to attend next year in Reno.

The good parts were the wonderful new fellow writers and readers I met. It was an absolute delight meeting my fellow Kensington/Lyrical authors, Susan Mann,

Mary Ann Marlow,

 

Sarah Hegger

 

and Tiffany Warren.

These are amazeballs women and fabulous writers you will want to read.

Some other old freinds I was able to visit with included Stephanie Kay 

and the fabulous Jessica James

Two of the highlights of my week were the Kensington book singing

and then the personal meeting I  had with my beloved Editor. I sold out of all my books at the signing event- and I hope I garner some new fans because of it! Afterward, I got a one-on-one few hours with my editor, talking about everything from family and friends to where I’d like to take my writing career next with Kensington. I could have talked to this delightful woman for the entire night!

While waiting in line for an event one evening, a young lady came up to me. She looked familiar, but then, I tend to think that about a lot of people!. She asked me if I remembered her, I admitted she looked familiar but menopause was messing with my memory, and she reminded me we had met at the Fall In Love With New England reader event in 2016. She purchased every one of my books there and loved the handpainted boxes I put them. The dawn burst through and I did remember her and her aunt stopping by my table and talking for a while. This chickita is from Connecticut and is a true lover or romance novels. I was so impressed by the fact she was attending this convention, as well as the 2017 FILWN conference I am going to, and I was reminded of something I’ve always told me daughter: the world truly is a small place, and you should be kind, pleasant, and nice to everyone you meet because you don’t know when they will come into your life again. If this encounter wasn’t proof of that than I don’t know what is.

And while most things at the conference were great, there were some decidedly down points as well. First and foremost the crowds. What goes hand in hand with the crowds on the negative scale were the long, time-consuming lines to get into any and every event and the wait at the elevators for getting back to hotel rooms. There were only five elevators in the main tower of the Hyatt, and most times one was down for service or being used exclusively to bring people up to the penthouse restaurant. For a conference of this size, a hotel with more elevators should be the number one concern of the event planners.

I didn’t attend any of the after conference major parties for a few reasons. One, most started at 830 or 9 pm and I was already exhausted after a full day of walking, waiting in line, and networking. Two, they were all themed parties, and not realizing that this conference was like a ComicCon for romance readers, I didn’t have anything costume-wise planned. Three- the lines to get in….

Having to wait in line for over an hour for each event was a pain the a**. I don’t go to Disney or any themed parks because of this and to have to do it at a conference was simply annoying. Many of the conference rooms where workshops were being conducted were too small to fit the capacity crowds as well.

The hotel had one main restaurant ( wickedly overpriced) and one bar ( ditto). Luckily, the hotel was attached to a food mall, but for those of use who can’t eat fast food due to allergies and stomach issues, the hotel options were lousy.

I realize these are piddly, petty things to complain about. Believe me, I realize it. But I think to be fair and balanced, the good and the bad of an event needs to be explored because it weighs heavily on how much I will decide to attend future conferences of this type.

When all is said and written, though, I did enjoy myself for the large part. Meeting new readers, finding new authors, getting my name “out there” in the romance reading world, were all– as Martha Stewart says — good things.

While I’m traveling home, you can see what I’ve been up, here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Editors, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#RT2017 day 1, reflections

Yesterday was the first day of RT in Atlanta, and it was an abbreviated day. No morning sessions, or parties, or anything until 2:30 pm. I got my name tag, figured out all the rules and regs about the book signing, etc. I look a little cock-eyed in this picture, but I’m official, so that’s all that matters.

Since I’ve never attended an RT convention before, I attended what was called  RT CONVENTION VIRGINS. Yeah. It’s just like it sounds. A packed room full of people ( writers, readers, bloggers, industry folks) who have never….experienced RT before. You thought I was going to say something dirty, didn’t you? Admit it!. Anyway. It was an hour filled with stuff you need to know to have a good RT experience. The number one thing all the presenters said that will make your experience memorable and worthwhile? Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Yeah…I know. Maybe it’s the nurse in me but I thought this was just something common sense-y everyone knew.

Apparently not. Stories of people fainting while standing in line or getting urinary tract infections ran the gamut during the talk. Okay. So, of course, I drank. A lot. But I do anyway.

The next thing on my agenda was something called Naughty and Nice. Hosted by a bunch of authors, it was supposed to be an hour of mingling with cover models, sampling Peach bellinis, and tasting dark chocolate. I say supposed because I never got into the event. The one thing I wish the VIRGIN committee would have told me was that you need to line up, like, an hour before the event starts ( hence the fainting, dehydration, yadayadyada). I got to the event space at 4:50 for an 5:15 start and already the line was into the next state. They only admitted 150 people and I was, like, number 482. So, yeah…didn’t get that experience.

Two sessions down and I’m feeling a little…let down. But not to worry. CINEMA CRAPTASTIQUE was on the agenda with the amazeballs Damon Suede. This one was a blast, peeps, especially since I helped stuff goodie bags for the participants and was able to include some of my swag!Anyway, the movie that was watched was the turkey GLITTER starting Mariah “I’m a DIVA from Hell” Carey. Damon ran commentary the entire time the movie was on and I can tell you I needed to change my underpants when I got back to my room because I laughed so much I peed a few times! ( all that f**king water to keep hydrated!)

Today is jammed packed as it’s the first full day of the event. I’m meeting with a potential Literary agent, attending a few classes and then a big party tonight that my publisher KENSINGTON is co-sponsoring called ROMANCE ROCKABILLY. I’m sure I’ll have lots to tell about that on tomorrow’s blog!

I’ll be posting pix and live Tweeting during the event so you can find me here if you’d like to experience RT life vicariously!!:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A little more ranting about #AirTravel

So, today is day 1 of RT2017. Registration is later and then activities and classes begin…more on that, well, later.

But first. After a long ass hauling day of travel ( see the previous blog) which saw me arriving in Atlanta, I made it to my hotel after waiting almost 30 minutes for my scheduled shuttle bus – don’t even ask! – up to my room and when I opened one of my suitcases, I found this:

Really??!!

The placard this was in was the luggage I had all my book swag and makeup in. Did the TSA really think I was going to commit mayhem with my business cards? Cause rampant panic with the handpainted shopping bags I painted MYSELF to give out during the FAN-tastic day event? Maybe they thought I’d knock someone out with the extra books I brought just in case I ran out at the official book signing, and not have any left for the Sunday event? Hmmmmm? I know – they probably thought I could do physical harm to someone with my eyeliner pencil.

Rid-ic-u-lous!

Post-911 air travel really sucks wind. Loud and badly!

Oh well. At least they didn’t confiscate anything. I would have really been pissed if my deadly mascara or eyeliner wouldn’t have been where I packed them.

This will be – I promise – the last rant for the week.

While I’m in Atlanta at RT, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

Leave a comment

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

RT 2017 Bound

As I sit in the airport and wait – patiently, which is not my strong point! – for my plane to whisk me away to Atlanta, GA and my very first RT Convention, I am struck by several thoughts.

  1. It took forever to get to the airport from my house!!! I don’t remember it taking so long before, but it was probably because the main road I have to travel on is one lane and it was “rush hour” traffic this morning. Which, in all honesty, is a ridiculous moniker for New Hampshire, but…. By the time I got to the airport, during a ride my GPS told me would take 75 minutes, it actually took over 2 hours and I had to pee sosososososososo bad!!! Plus I had to walk from long term parking because the bus had just left when I arrived and the schedule said it wouldn’t be back for 20 minutes. WE all know how much I hate to wait, so…
  2. It is so much HARDER to travel via plane now than it used to be in the pre-911 world. I know we are almost 16 years past that horrible time, but I’m one of the lucky ones who can remember when you didn’t have to get undressed to get thru security, when you could carry a filled water bottle through the viewing machine and not have to spend $5.00 to get a new one on the other side of the security line. I remember what it was like before the lines to go through the security check took about 5 minutes instead of 50. I also remember what it was like before I needed to have an invasive xray prior to getting through the line. And since I’m ranting,  I remember what it was like to not have to throw away $60.00 face cream at the beginning of the line because I forgot to pack it in my stowed luggage and it was now over the ounces limit to bring on board the plane. Seriously, was anyone every subdued in the air by Estee Lauder Renewal cream???
  3. I remember what it was like to be able to stretch my legs out in the plane and not feel as if I wasn’t going to be able to stand due to lower leg blood loss when I finally stood at my destination. Or get a blood clot from immobility.
  4. I remember when we got food- edible food – on flights. Now I consider myself lucky if I get a pack of five peanuts.
  5. I remember what it was like for me to go to my very first romance writing conference, RWA in San Antonio, 2014. I was sososososo excited, even with all the above bulls**t at the airport. I was going to a conference of my tribe, my peeps. Women ( and a few men) who loved reading and writing the same kinds of books as me. I can’t tell you how accepted I felt. Probably for the first time in my life.
  6. Now, as I embark on my very first RT, I’m remembering how excited I was at the 2014 time and I can truly say I feel the same way now as I did then! New experience, new writers to meet, new fans to develop, new bloggers to – hopefully – make a  favorable impression on.
  7. So, despite all the complaining in numbers 1-4, I am really happy I’m going on this trip. It’s a long ass haul from where I live to Atlanta, and I’m doing it solo, no hubby-wingman with me, no members of my RWA chapter to sit on the plane and commiserate with. Just me and my laptop…my ipad….my cell phone… and the dozens of books I uploaded to my kindle.

Follow me as I blog and tweet about my RT experience here:  Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

3 Comments

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

OH, the Places I’d go!

Be it ever so humble…..

I’ll admit this freely – I don’t travel well. My husband calls me the “ugly American” and it’s too true. I am a spoiled homebody. I  like nothing more than staying in my house, in my jammies, reading a book or cooking for friends and family. Yeah, I know. I live and lead a very boring, limited life, so this blog topic was one that required a huge amount of thought on my part. The last time I traveled anywhere was when my daughter was in college, doing a semester in Barcelona and then in Dublin. My Husband and I went to visit her in both places.

And just FYI, she graduated in 2011. What year is it now, hmmm? Yeah. That’s the last time I went anywhere.

So, the Top 5 places I’d like to visit.

Well, let’s see…

I actually had to go out and buy the book 1000 Places to see before you die because I couldn’t even come up with one.

I don’t like planes – they are a necessary inconvenience, though. I dislike trains even more, and forget about being in the car longer than an hour without stopping to stretch my legs. Total torture.

So…those 5 places.

Hawaii might be nice because it’s like…Hawaii!! Lava and beaches and leis. But it’s such an asshugging long trip from the East Coast to get there. I might have to make a few stops along the way, like Washington DC. The architecture, the history, the scandals. I could spend a few days there without problems. But I’ve been there already. Numerous times. This is supposed to be a post on places I haven’t visited yet.

Okay, so #1. Hawaii.

2….hmmm. Tuscany. I think I’d like to see Tuscany because I loved that book Under The Tuscan Sun. It would be great for my cooking skills to learn how to make authentic Tuscan dishes using fresh Tuscan ingredients…like wine!

3…..(scratching head) The Swiss Alps because I liked Heidi. My in-laws actually went to the Swiss Alps on a trip once and my mother-in-law told me it was absolutely her favorite part of that vacation. Seeing the Matterhorn, riding the Glacier Express. She loved it and since she’s such a good judge of things, I figure I would too!

4….(biting nails, now) Australia, and mainly Queensland because I lovedlovedloved The Thorn Birds. I was so heartbroken when Colleen McCullough died, I actually went to Church that day and said a prayer for her soul. She brought the Australian outback to full, vivid, life with her writings and she is sorely missed.

5….(really digging deep now!) Got it! San Fransico because I loved the JoyLuck Club. Amy Tan is a fabu writer and I remember reading this book in a day because I was so invested in the characters and their lives as they navigated through their heritage, culture, and tried to assimilate into the American lifestyle and the Bay Area without trading in their old world ways. Her writing is lyrical, fluid, and flows from the page.

So. I could stop In San Fran on the way to Hawaii, and after a week swimming the Pacific shores, move on to Australia. Next stop from there,  Tuscany and finishing in the Swiss Alps.

That wouldn’t be so bad.

Le sigh.

This was a hard blog to write, peeps. Really hard considering I don’t leave my house much!

Let’s see if the other authors in the blog challenge have as hard a time as I did coming up with 5 places… I’m going to bet they didn’t.

 

 

16 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Strong Women

The Art of Packing (for a Conference)

I tend to be spoiled. Yeah, I know: shocker. For someone who spends 94 % of her day in her pajamas with her hair in a messy bun and no makeup, you kinda doubt that. But it’s true.

And it’s never so true as when I’m packing for a trip away from home.

You all know how much I love my home. I rarely leave it – and I know, I just know, that sounds weird, but it’s for no other reason than I love to just sit and read or write during the day and all my friends still work at outside-the-home-jobs. I just happen to work inside my home.

Anyway…back to packing. Because I’m home all the time I have everything I need and want surrounding me, so it stands to reason when I go somewhere for a day or two or seven, I take all the stuff I love with me.

Yeah. I’m that girl.

The one who packs more toiletries than clothes, more shoes than underwear, more accessories and makeup than will be needed, just because I want to make sure I have everything, everything, I could possibly need.

For my very first RT conference next week, I’ve just started packing and already I’m having anxiety sweats. Not only do I need to bring enough clothes for 7 full days – and probably 2 clothes changes per day because of themed parties in the evening – since this is a reader’s conference basically, I need to bring swag. A lot of swag. More swag than I’ve ever traveled with before where I had to actually get it all on the plane.

Plus, I’m doing an independent book signing on Sunday so I have to bring copies of my Wild Rose Press book(s). On the plane. In luggage. Luggage the airlines now weigh and charge you for.

See my dilemma?

How can I possibly bring all that swag PLUS the necessary stuff I absolutely need like my makeup, toiletries, clothes, shoes, laptop, electronics, etc? I’m traveling alone, no hubby wingman to help, so that means I not only have to pack all that stuff, I then have to schlepp it through parking lots and airports all by myself and keep track of it. ( Did I mention that I’m really spoiled?)

Arghghgh. Well, back to the problem, I mean, packing. Wish me luck.

When I’m not packing you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

So, Dancing with The Keene Stars 2017 has come and gone and this year was one that will go down in my memory banks and diary as one to remember for the rest of my life. For so many reasons.

Project Graduation is an event held in our town’s high school the night after the kids graduate. And yes, I did just call them kids. They are. All under legal age, mostly 17 and 18. And what do 17 and 18 year old kids like to do to celebrate, test boundaries, and prove their cool factor is off the charts? Some drink and/or engage in illegal drug use. Project Graduation provides every single graduate a safe haven for the entire night after graduation, and engages them–not in illicit, illegal behavior — but good, fun, funny, and memory making behaviors with their fellow graduates. It is a smoke-free alcohol-free, drug-free night where the kids (!) are locked into the high school and not allowed to leave without a parent picking them up and escorting them out. Keeping them off the streets and at parties where they could get into potential trouble is one sure fire way of keeping every graduate alive to get to the next stage of their live. In the 100 days between high school graduation and college start-up more kids this age die in alcohol and drug related ways than at any other time. That pre-frontal cortex of theirs hasn’t fully developed yet, so they still make stupid decisions thinking they are sound ones. Project Graduations helps keep this number down with a goal toward eliminating it from the statistical curve.

Now. PSA complete. Back to DWTS.

I saw my first DWTS show four years ago when it was brought to my town as a fundraiser for Project Grad, and I wanted to participate within the first 10 minutes of the show. I actively – and I mean ACTIVELY pursued a spot on the next year’s roster and was -Yippie- given one! I was a STAR! I thought I knew how to dance before being picked. Yeah…not so much. The 8 weeks of preparation were grueling and oftentimes frustrating. I’d just undergone surgical removal of a melanoma from my stomach and was in constant pain, worried about my deep incision line, and frustrated because I wasn’t doing well in practice. When all was said and done, I loved the experience.

The next year I was a judge.

This year I was partnered with a STAR and the Gods above gave me the perfect one. I call him my brother from another mother, although in truth I could have agewise been his mother! We were in sync from the first 5 minutes of meeting. Every rehearsal was a shear joy – physically testing – but shear joy.And when all was said and done, we came in first place both nights!

The backstage moments of the competition, though, are the memories I’ll cherish the most. All 20 dancers formed a solid wall of friendship and camaraderie, knowing we were doing something good for the community and for our kids. I met community leaders I’d never met before and found some true, lifelong friends among them.

Volunteerism is a facet of this country that more people aspire to than actually engage in. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of not knowing where to go to offer your time, your money, or your expertise. I’ve always thought that to have a strong community, you need to be engaged in that community, so ever since my daughter started school I volunteered for room mother, snack mom, to be a chaperone on trips, etc. She’s been out of the house for 10 years and I still feel a responsibility to my community to give back. Participating in annual 5ks for local charities; attending auctions to raise money for school upgrades. Heck, even saving the box tops on tops of cereal boxes all contribute to making my community a better, safer, healthier place to live and grow. Hence, Dancing with the Stars.

So. I said this last year when I wrote my after-dancing blog experience and I’ll say it again this year: VOLUNTEER. There are so many opportunities within your community to make a difference. And believe me, you may not think you’re making a big one, but you are. For me, keeping that one kid who had the idea to go to a graduation party, drink, and then get behind the wheel of a car to head on home off the road makes a huge difference. Just think of all the people effected if he crashes and dies: his parents and loved ones, friends, anyone else involved in the crash and their loved ones and friends, the response teams, medical personnel and grief counselors pulled in to care for the survivors, and the kid himself who has just now lost his future. All because he wanted to go to a party and celebrate his high school graduation and didn’t make wise choices about drinking.

If I am asked to perform or judge next years’ DANCING WITH THE STARS fundraiser for our town high school, you can put money on the fact I will say “Hell, yeah!” Whether I dance, judge, or just sell tickets, it will be one of the highlights of my year.

When I’m not dancing you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, female friends, Friends, Life challenges, Project Graduation, Strong Women, Uncategorized