Today I decorated for Christmas. It was fun pulling out all my old friends, my Santa collection, my 7 trees, 10 stockings, and enough candles to start my own store. Garland and bows, reindeer and snowmen all wrapped in tissue, unwrapped, and ready to be put on display.
But this year was different. This year I am in my new house, in a new state, where I will be living the next chapter of my life.
I've always felt we live so many different smaller lives in our one big life. Every move, job change, family addition, health issues, every major milestone like high school and college graduation, or marriage or divorce sends us off on a completely different path than the one we have grown accustomed to. Looking back I can count about 11 lifetimes. Some good, most amazing, some not so great.
I guess it goes back to my favorite saying, “We’re all stories in the end.” It’s what you do in each chapter that makes the journey worthwhile.
That’s right. After 30 years in our home in Palm Beach Gardens, we are pulling up stakes and moving to Greensboro, GA. Why Greensboro? We bought property there 13 years ago with plans to retire to Reynolds Plantation, now (politically correctly) called Reynolds Lake Oconee. We bought a cute vacation cottage and enjoyed using the home for 10 years while renting it out when we weren’t in residence.
Kirk will be happy with the 5 golf courses which I call Monday, Tuesday... you get the idea. We have several friends up there and are looking forward to this new journey. Now some of the issues we are dealing with during this transition.
Both of our daughters live a couple miles from us. Lauren is a mile to the west and Brooke, Nick and baby Nora a mile to the north. They come about once a week for dinner so I will definitely miss the family time. When we planned to move, no one had babies. Now I am not only leaving my girls, I am also going to miss seeing the changes Nora will experience day to day.
We close on our home in Florida on July 31. The house we are building will not be complete until October 16. So we will be without a home for 10 weeks. Hello, friends and family! We are coming to visit. Oh wait...there is this thing called Covid-19 so we have to be really careful where we go and where we stay.
Also because of the 10 weeks difference we have to move twice. Once to the storage unit and then to the new house. FUN! Ummm... what do we do about Mail? We have nowhere to forward it and I imagine we still need to pay some of those pesky bills. Don’t say online. Kirk is an old school CPA. He likes paper.
I know. All first world problems. But going through the stuff we have accumulated over 30 years, along with all the kids’ things we have stored for them, is a little overwhelming.
Last night I looked at Kirk and said, “I don’t think I want to move.” He sighed. “Too late papers have been signed.”
The good news is that I will be closer to Mom with an hour and a half flight to Columbus. I will also be 6 hours from Raleigh, NC and be able to see my son Dan, his wife Amanda and 3–year-old Gwen more often. Also it’s only an hour and a half flight back to Florida to see the girls, so that’s a plus.
So back to packing.
And if you hear a knock on the door, I promise, it’s only for a night or two, or three.
I recently finished editing my new book, Shadow People, which will be out at the end of June. They say authors shouldn't jump genres. But I am a Gemini so this novel is a love story wrapped up in sci-fi and history. It will be available on Amazon soon so watch for the upcoming announcement.
I also started a loose outline of my next novel. When I say loose, I mean that I wrote the beginning and the ending. The ways my characters will weave through the journey is up to them. I took a couple months off as I had family responsibilities. Daniel, Amanda and Gwen were in town and Gwen's first visit to the ocean and early mornings hanging in the blow up pool were incredibly important. Memories can't be put on hold. While they were here, we hosted Brooke's baby shower for the newest member of our family, Nora Blake Povolny. Lauren and I were busy putting together favors and enjoying all the pink.
After the long break it feels really good to get back to the table.
Thank you for all your support...Wendy
It started gradually. The staying home, reading a good book, huddled on the couch with a nice class of Pinot. Sometimes the television or Sonos played in the background, white noise to fill in the quiet of the evening. It was so easy to slip into the sedentary lifestyle. So easy not to step outside the quiet contained life we have experienced since retirement. We went on trips here and there. To Napa, Monterey, and meeting up with family and friends at weddings throughout the country.
But from day to day it was just too easy to stay ensconced in our own little piece of heaven. After all, we had worked hard to make our home a place where we could sit back and relish the peace.
Then I started to notice that when we traveled we would enjoy evenings out. Whether heading to a wine tasting, meeting up with friends, trying new and interesting places, we were in constant motion.
So things started to change at home. Kirk and I started working out 3-4 times a week. We'd call the kids. $2.00 bowling on Tuesday nights after 8. Trivia at the local Brewhouse on Wednesday. Dinner with friends at least once a week. Making a list of new restaurants and trying them instead of the usual Mexican and Pizza restaurant we frequently visited. Signing up for the local calendar of fun things to do in the area. Art exhibits,plant sales, Zoo night, neighborhood house tours, farmers markets and others.
I feel like we had our couple years of "down time", but now it's time to get back out there and live life. There are so many adventures outside the door and we are ready to tackle them all.
As many of you know I started writing A Gift of Grace 12 years ago. I wrote it, put it away, 3 years later I took it out of the desk, had it edited, rewrote from editors suggestions (some, not all), then put it away. 5 years later I joined a writer’s group with 5 of the most talented women writers I know. We critiqued, I rewrote, had it edited again, and made changes. Next, I gave the book to my best friend and used her as a beta reader. She gave it back with notes. Another rewrite. 3 years later, I sent it to my three kids with a, “Please check the dialogue to see if I captured the voices of your generation.” Then, I had Kirk do a final edit and looked for a publisher. Barnes and Noble published and the rest is as they say history.
In the meantime I wrote 4 more books, put them away and am starting the process over. Edit, rewrite, and repeat.
Last week a friend of mine said that she might write a book. It looked easy. Please do. We need great stories out there. But beware, it takes a lot of patience and the work is tedious. And the pay? Unless you’re King or Grisham you’ll earn around 2-3 dollars per book, so don’t quit your day job. The payoff comes when someone is standing in front of you with tears in her eyes because a certain phrase or part of your book touched them. It makes the whole process worthwhile. Do it because you love it. Do it because you have to write. Do it because you have a story to tell that no one else can.
As many of you know, I have been traveling. I decided to drive to Mom's in Gahanna, OH after a family vacation in Georgia, then headed down to Raleigh, NC to spend time with my son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. I drove the whole way with my tunes and my Road Atlas (what my daughter calls my old person GPS.)
I am loving the feedback from my readers. Thank you so much for your reviews and thoughts on my novel. I have a friend that is using my book in her book club this month. At the end of July we will be meeting for a discussion of the book.
I have a few questions for the group but was wondering if some of you that have read the book might like to help me out. If you could send me questions you might think would help in a discussion of the book please let me know.
One of the ones I came up with is:
If you were to send your kids on a trip where is one place you might want them to visit?
Thank you so much for your input.
Two of my friends have asked about my attending their book club discussions of my book. So I’ve agreed to attend any book club discussion in Ohio, Reynolds Plantation, or Palm Beach Gardens area. Any other places we can work out Skyp or facetime. This is the fun part. I can’t wait to see what others take away from my book and characters.
There is a chance I may be doing some book signings in all three places. I will keep everyone posted as to where and when I’ll be in your area.
Also, I have some book plates if anyone would like me to sign and send for your books. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be up north soon so I can probably set a time to sign books if anyone is interested.
Wendy had her very first book signing event on Saturday, August 12th at 2:00pm. It was a blast! Panera Bread in Gahanna, OH was kind enough to allow the signing to take place in their cafe. Friends and family came in from different parts of Columbus and the state of Ohio to get an autograph. Some even picked up copies of the book (thanks to the Square app!) About 20+ books signed. There will be more events to come! Stay tuned to the facebook page and blog for more details!
I have always been a writer. I wrote in journals as a kid, was on staff for neighborhood, school and work newspapers, and wrote press releases for various groups I volunteered with over the years. But when Brooke finished college, Kirk told me to stay home and write.
So I did. I wrote a book about a woman that has a near death experience and is sent back to save children from passing over before their time. It was a cute story. Not particularly well written. My writer friends said, you can do better, write what you know.
I started writing A Gift of Grace when I was on vacation in Lake Tahoe at the age of 48. I was traveling with my three adult children. Looking at them, I knew that their father and I had done an excellent job raising caring and compassionate children. But they were maybe a little too independent. They had grown apart, started their own lives, and had their own groups of friends. It made me feel sad. So instead of going to therapy, I wrote a book. I wrote it, then put it away and started on my next book, Shadow People, a sci-fi book about time travel. Then I wrote a book called, Court of No Appeal, about a group of vigilantes who go after child predators.
3 years ago I pulled Grace out of the drawer and revised, professionally edited, then sent it to several friends for input. I looked at the calendar, and set the date. I WOULD PUBLISH BY MY 60TH BIRTHDAY. No going back.
So at 59 years, 3 weeks and 2 days old, Nook Press published my novel. I worried. But the feedback has been wonderful. And so, my advice to you, no matter what goal you want to reach...SET A DATE!!!! STICK TO IT!!! It doesn’t matter if it is launching a small online business, looking for a new job, or revisiting an old love like photography or gardening. Follow my lead. DO IT. You won’t be sorry.