Saturday, December 13, 2008

When Your Cup’s Half Full, You Don’t Thirst by Marta Stephens

Is it me or has time zipped past me again? It seems it was only yesterday that ...

January 2008: Property taxes doubled this year with no cap in site. My mother-in-law moved in with us—it was time. The kids are back in college. The sum of 2007 was spent rewriting the second book in my series, “The Devil Can Wait.” The novel is on my publisher’s desk. I’m more grateful for my crit partners than they’ll ever know.

February 2008: Edits begin. Daughter broke up with fiancé. She and her miniature Daschund moved back home. She’s not doing well--glad she’s home. Her younger brother helped with the move. Our two Boston Bull dogs are glad to see the mini weenie again. Boxes and clothes all over the place. I’m grateful we have a large home -- back to the edits.

March 2008: Glitch in edits. Two chapters need major revisions. I call a friend and vent. Daughter is still upset—friends in and out of our house. She adopted two more mini Daschunds, Candy and Moo. We call them “the girls.” Sweet as can be. Famous last words, “They’re house-broken, mom.” I’m grateful to own a carpet shampooer.

April 2008: Some of my tulips are in bloom, delighted to have warmer weather. Rewrites on my novel are coming along. Two critical e-mails to my editor disappeared in cyber space. Translation: lost two weeks of edits.

May 2008: Daughter moved out and into my in-law’s empty house. Glad she’s ready to start fresh. The contract I signed and mailed to my publisher never arrived. I’m watching the dates--I’m nervous--she assures me all will be fine. Thank God one of us is calm and collected. I shampoo the carpets again.

June 2008: The nursing home called to say that my 93-year old father who has Alzheimer’s needs to be moved to another facility. It seems he’s learned how to open the outer doors. Interesting. I’m grateful to quickly find another qualified, secure facility. They’ve handled the move and all the paper work. The contract still hasn’t reached my publisher. Finger drumming has left dents on my desk. I decide to plant a vegetable garden.

July 2008: I give up and scan my copy of the contract and e-mail it to my publisher. Three artists seemed interested in doing the cover, none follows through. Glad to know we have other options. I’ve started to make a list of potential reviewers. Too nice to stay indoors, think I’ll go out and water my peppers and tomatoes.

August 2008: It’s technically fall since daughter and son are back in college. Dogs still at home as is hubby and mother-in-law. Plants are drying in the August sun but my concord grapes will soon be ready to pick.

September 2008: I have a freezer full of harvested vegetables and I processed a bushel for grapes and froze the juice. Began final proofreading of novel. Dang, how did I miss all those typos? Found another artist. This one wants to do the book cover and it’s looking great. Received launch date. I’m thrilled, still losing sleep.

October 2008: Crap, found out I miscalculated my son’s financial aid. I’m grateful we’re able to cover the difference. The proofreading is going well. I’m driving my publisher nuts with all the edits, but she’ll love me for this one of these days. The ARCs are in the mail.

November 2008: The launch date is here. Several great reviews have arrived. I’m relieved. My event calendar is filling up fast—bookstores and libraries are calling me. Who’da thunk? I just received word that I’ll be doing a virtual book tour next month. I’m humbled by the many generous-hearted friends I’ve met along the way and grateful for my family’s support. It’s Thanksgiving morning and the dishwasher decides to die. Twelve people for dinner today. Words can’t express the joy.

December 2008: New dishwasher looks great. The book is doing remarkably well and now that the tour articles are done, I’m happy to keep up with the readers’ comments and e-mails. It’s cold, but just a light dusting of snow so far. I’m ready to put up the tree. Started my shopping and Christmas card lists—I’ll do them tomorrow. Aside from the head colds, we’re healthy and, yes, still gainfully employed. Good news; the dogs finally figured out the “let’s go out” deal. Our property taxes were cut in half and gas prices are down to $1.40 a gallon. I’m breathing again. Maybe I’ll make some grape jelly this weekend.

We had our share of ups and downs this year, but that’s okay. They are to life what chilies are to salsa—spice! I’m grateful for strong family ties, laughs shared with my friends, the lessons from trials and errors, a host of new challenges and opportunities, and the many blessings that came our way. Good bye, 2008!

© Marta Stephens 2008 all rights reserved
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Marta Stephens is the author of the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series published by BeWrite Books (UK).THE DEVIL CAN WAIT – (2008), SILENCED CRY (2007)Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival, Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)


Angie Ledbetter said...

Marta, thanks for this. Truly a good reminder about the "spices" we need in our lifes' salsa. And congrats on the book and progress! Best in 09 also.

Barbara Quinn said...

Marta, Thanks so much for YOGging and for the peek into your full life.

A. F. Stewart said...

I know what you mean about ups and downs; it can be one mini-crisis after another, then smooth sailing.
Just life's little craziness.

Marta Stephens said...

Hi everyone!! I was at a book signing today and this was my first chance to check for comments!!

Thanks so much for inviting me to YOG with you. I truly enjoyed it. It's funny how many things can and do go wrong throughout the year but we usually manage to land on our feet. And that's ... a blessing!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Hi Marta!~ *smiling* - thank you for this -- for being our guest - for being the special writer and person you are!

I've read both Marta's books --if you read crime/mystery, heck even if you don't (I didn't!), pick them up and read...her writing is crisp and true. :)

Marta Stephens said...

Kat! I'm so proud to be the one who turned you to crime! I LOVE it!

Thanks you so much for your many kind words of encouragement!

Patresa Hartman said...

Love it! When you lay it out like that, every year looks break-neck. Many congratulations on the successful new novel, Ms. Marta! And thank you for joining us.

Marta Stephens said...

Hi Patresa (what a pretty name!)

One of the things that I try to keep in mind is that there is a reason for everything. I know it this is a cliche but when one door closes, another always opens up. :)

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