Tag Archives: southwest

Swoosh! Kerplunk! Ping! Ahghhh!


A note from me: When I first began full-time novel writing and was forced challenged to build my Author Platform and blog immediately or die as soon as possible, this blog happened. I literally feel the angst and worry in my heart at that time! I want to tell you, it will get better. You will be okay. I’m living proof! 

But this is how I felt then . . .

The racket was driving me mad. Or, madder, I should say.

With every new Hootsuite, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Triberr or LinkedIn tidbit shared by the multi-quadrillions, the sound increased. I covered my ears.

I yanked my hair until the roots (which needed a little color, I might add) ached.

My throat growls were more wild than civilized.

The noise reverberated in my wetware *brain* constantly.

What was it?

Swoosh! Kerplunk! Ping! Ahghhh!

Swoosh. The sound of a heavy rock hurling through the air.

Kerplunk. A rock falling dead to the ground.

Ping! A rock clipping the side, top or bottom of a target.

Ahghhh! Unhappy groan of a defeated rock thrower.

Ad infinitum.

What in the world am I talking about?

Indulge me.

Pretend you have a stack of rocks. The rocks represent:

DUTY,  EFFORT, TOIL.

Several yards in front of you are a row of targets. The targets are:

  • Writing bazillions of words. Making them brilliant, diverse, accurate, breathtakingly grand.
  • Flitting effortlessly through the columns of Twitter (Triberr, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Tweetle-Dee-Dum) and the pages of Facebook like the flawless social-media mavens we are.
  • Blogging like there’s no tomorrow. But there is a tomorrow. And another blog to write. If we write it, will readers even bother to come?
  • Publicity, platform building, conferences, improving our craft, writing groups.
  • Everything else in life!!

STRUGGLES! FRUSTRATION! WAILS! That was the racket I heard from my fellow bloggers, writers, and social-media pursuers. And in my own mind…


Fear that perhaps not all the blood, sweat and tears in the world would be enough to get us where we needed/wanted to be in our writing worlds.

Fear morphed into resentmentresentment into the sting of realizing the days of blissful writing by the sea or in a quaint mountain cabin with no worries about platform, social media, Google Analytics, Dashboards, etc. etc. etc. were gone forevermore.

“I must do something!”

I cried out, scaring my three Standard poodles and two rescue cats. And maybe my houseplants.

“I will invent an elixir to free the masses from this endless target-missing guilt!”

My eyeballs did socket circles as I conceived a name for the elixir.

SQUEEZE – the perfect name.

Why? Because my elixir would literally squeeze thirty-six hours effort from a mere twelve-hour exertion!

“Do not follow me!” I hoarsely commanded my pet entourage, retreating to my lab. I vowed never to emerge until SQUEEZE was ready to market.

I tore off my clothes and dressed in sackcloth. I sat in ashes and scratched my boils.

Wait. Sorry. That was Job, the Patriarch from the Bible. I get us mixed up sometimes.

Actually, I happened to glance out the window. Birds jabbed their beaks into my winter lawn. A crisp blue sky with pillow clouds winked at me.

Inside, my kitchen twinkled like an old friend. My houseplants seemed two shades greener than usual.

Epiphany! 

I am in charge of ME!

Who said I had to turn out 2,000 words by evening? It was my own Sunday afternoon goal. I set it. I could break it, couldn’t I?

If I wanted to take weekends (or a day or an hour or two weeks) off and be a regular human being, I could!

I shook my fist in the direction of my home office.

Do you hear me, blogs yet unwritten?

Do you hear me, Work in Progress?

Do you hear me, computer, you greedy gateway to the social media universe?

I am the one in charge of my schedule . . . NOT YOU!

I think I must have passed out after that. When I came to, I was making potato soup, jalapeño cornbread and coconut pound cake. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with family (who sort of remembered who I was). We ate, talked and watched one of the very long Lord of the Rings movies. The best part – no guilt!

Takeaway

It’s hard to hit a target with a lopsided rock. Balance your life, and you’ll hit the important targets straight on.

How do you keep balance in your life? Please share. We’d love to hear about it!

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Ya’at’eeh and Howdy! Sure nice of you to stop by…


Since this is the first blog of the rest of my life…

…can we pretend we just met at a backyard barbeque and we’re hugging a couple of those aluminum chairs crisscrossed in greenish-blue nylon straps and we’re small talking to get to know each other?

What’s that? You don’t like the heat? All right, hon. Get yourself up and follow me—we’re going inside. Have a seat on that big ‘ol fluffy sofa and make yourself at home. I’ll go get us some tea.

Do you want Navajo tea, Sassafras tea, Sweet tea or Texas-style tea?

Dark or light?

Hot or cold?

Cup or glass?

Real sugar or sweetener?

A little cinnamon?

Cream?

Dash of chocolate?

Now isn’t that funny? I just reminded myself of why I’ve started this blog. Did you know life is like a 16th Century English Sampler?

A few hundred years ago, Samplers were greatly treasured for their different needlecraft styles and the mixture of threads used in creating elaborate art with needles. Women spent a lifetime collecting stitch examples and patterns.

What does that have to do with a blog? Well, a blog, unless it’s about a specific subject like writing or pickling beets or whatnot, can be a sampling—or collection—of one’s life journey.

Recently, I had an epiphany. I could write novels (fiction) and write a blog (non-fiction) from the Sampler of my Life – thus satisfying both sides of my little brain. That way, my life would continue gathering illustrious EMBROIDERED stitches not only from my own adventures, but also from experiences my readers share with me.

Who am I, and why am I talking?

Ten-second tour: I grew up on an Arizona ranch with an Okie mom, brothers, cowboys, Angus and Hereford cattle, horses, chickens, and an eclectic mix of Native American and Hispanic friends. I fell in love with everything southwest and southern, and I weave those elements into every facet of my life.

If we share blog time together, what will we talk about?

Since I grew up next door to the Navajos, I like sharing interesting things about their culture, art and sense of humor. We’ll talk about country topics too, everything from windmills to fried okra to Buck Brannaman.  Then there’s stuff like crazy cakes, king snakes, growing jewelry and Spanish treasures. It’s all southwest and southern – a literal gold mine of sparklers waiting for us to explore.

Speaking of gold mines – you’ve heard the ghost stories about the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine in the Superstition Mountains, haven’t you? Spooky! We’ll dig into some of the best lore about it one of these days.

So back to my earlier offer of tea…what’s your favorite kind? Do you know which soft drink used to have sassafras root tea in it?

Hang out with me and you’ll find out why my granddad made us all drink sassafras tea in the spring and about his personal cure for snakebite. Works, too. Saved my mom’s life when she was five years old.

So…come back often. We’ll put the little pot in the big pot, brew up some coffee or tea and have ourselves a grand ole time!

 

Arrow

 

 

Of course, a visit isn’t a visit without a two-way conversation. I really want to hear from you.

I truly hope you’ll pick up a copy of my novel Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT. The print version is on sale at Amazon for only $9.85!!! For your convenience, it’s also available for Kindle, the Nook and for most other eBook readers. If you love the Southwest and kooky little characters that make you laugh aloud as authentic danger and mystery swirl at every turn, you’ll love this novel! The second book in the series, CANYON OF DOOM, debuts in early 2013.

While you’re here, please have a look around my website. To sign up to receive notices of my new blogs, recipes, appearances and media news, just leave your email address above. I’ll take care of the rest. Y’all come back soon…I miss you already!

 

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.