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STUMPED

April 15, 2018 by in category Writing tagged as , , , , , ,

The other day I came home to find the men I hired to build my patio sitting in my backyard looking at a stump. This was not a normal stump. This was a giant. Paul Bunyan, Big John kind of stump. I sat down with them and I, too, considered the stump.

“George had to get his chain saw for that sucker,” one of them finally said.

“Took two hours to get it out,” another offered.

“I think it broke George’s saw,” the first chimed in.

“Why didn’t you leave it in the ground,” I asked. “You know, pour the cement around it?”

“We thought about it,” the third said. “It wouldn’t have been right.”

They told me that they had managed to cut it up into the piece we were looking at but that it had been twice as big and buried deep in the ground; a remnant of a primordial tree. Their task had been Herculean. They told me that if they poured the cement over the stump, the darn thing could rot and my steps would fall in, and I would be upset with them because they had poured cement over a stump the size of San Francisco.

“It looks petrified,” I said. “How many years do you think it would take to rot?”

The first guy shrugged, “Twenty. Thirty years.”

I shrugged back. I would probably be dead by the time the stump rotted and my stairs fell in. I guess it was the principal of the thing. They would have known the stump was there.

We sat in the hot sun a while longer. Someone suggested carving the stump into the likeness of the contractor. I liked that idea but no one knew how to carve. I thought we could make it into a table. Eventually, we all stopped looking at the stump. The men moved it out of the way and started work again; I went inside to make dinner.

 

That stump has now been in my backyard for months. I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. But, like all things that are hard to get rid of, it eventually served a purpose. It taught me a few lessons:

1) Everybody has a stump. It might be in your real backyard, your professional backyard or your personal backyard, but it is undoubtedly there.

2) What you do with your stump will tell you a lot about yourself. Either you will dig it up and deal with it, or you will leave it to rot.

3) If you’re stumped and need help there is always someone willing to work hard with you to take care of it as long as you work as hard as they do.

4) You can never go through a stump but don’t panic.  You can go around them, over them and sometimes even under them but that takes the longest.

5) Sometimes stumps are not as big as they look and sometimes they are bigger. Size doesn’t matter. Stumped is stumped.

 

SECRET RELATIONS, book #3 of the Finn O’Brien Thriller series is available now. 

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Villains, Victors & Vixens: OCC/RWA’s Birthday Bash

September 21, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges, Events, Writing Conferences tagged as , , ,

Villians, Victors & Vixens: OCC/RWA's Birthday Bash | A Slice of OrangeYou’re Invited to Join OCC/RWA in celebrating our Birthday Bash!

We’re having the Birthday, but we want to give everyone the presents.

 Villains, Victors & Vixens

Come for the day and/or join us Friday night for the Write In and Saturday Night for the Pajama Parties

October 21, 2017
Embassy Suites – Brea
900 East Birch Street
Brea, California, 92821

Cost is $50 for OCCRWA Members

$60 for All other Guests

$30 for Past Presidents

Signup HERE.

Keynote Speaker: Damon Suede

Bestselling Author, Renowned Speaker, and member of the RWA National Board of Directors

Reader’s Block:

Damon’s talk focuses on the modern romance industry, the radical shifts in readership and fandom and how they’re altering what success looks like for professional authors. Genre fictioneers often grouse about writer’s block but more and more what we encounter is something more akin to reader’s block: an unwillingness to step beyond our ruts or move past the shadow of our steeples.

Romance is the literature of hope, simultaneously the most traditional and most provocative of genres. Our industry is evolving, but not necessarily in the obvious ways. Tribalism and division cost us marketshare and media access. In a world expanding and connecting at an exponential rate, where do books land? Who are the readers of tomorrow? What is the future of love stories and genre fiction careers? Join us for a free-range discussion of the art of heart and the business of happy endings.

Bestselling author Panel : Debra Holland, Maggie Marr, Brenna Aubrey, Damon Suede

What Made the Difference!

Lunch will be served

Auction! Auction! Auction!

Incredible auction prizes from Scrivenver, RWA, Embassy Suites, Amazon, Major Publishers and authors

Come in Costume!

There will be Prizes. Dress as your favorite book character.

Book Cover Contest!

Enter your favorite covers for prizes. And help judge the winners.

(you can enter on the OCC website)

Awards for the Orange Rose and Book Buyer’s Best Contests

Friday night Write-In

At least one hour with Damon Suede

Saturday Night Pajama Parties — Damon Suede, Louella Nelson, Maggie Marr and more.

Cost is $50 for OCCRWA Members

$60 for All other Guests

$30 for Past Presidents

Signup HERE.

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