Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Taking the Steer by the Horns

I spent the past weekend in the Lone Star state of Texas, working with my partner at Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, Amanda Thrasher. Not only was it a nice treat to experience much warmer weather than what we’ve had during this frigid and snowy Illinois winter, but it was great to get away for a few days. We spent three days crossing action items off a hefty “to do” list, and we did much brainstorming in  between the items on our agenda. We threw out ideas and built on them as we tossed them back and forth.
We also met with other PRPP authors who were local to the Fort Worth area, or at least more local than Illinois. It was a great opportunity to get to know these people, whom I had only met via phone or e-mail. Meeting and working face to face sure beats trying to conduct all our business over the phone or e-mail. However, since my partner lives in Texas, travel expenses prohibit us from meeting more regularly. Still, we made the most of our time together. Of course, you can’t travel to another state without having a little fun sightseeing with a local. We spent part of Sunday visiting Fort Worth’s famous Stockyards. In addition to checking out some of the area’s historic features, we also had fun being tourists posing for pictures and purchasing a few souvenirs for our children.
Though I grew up on a farm, and we raised shorthorn cattle, it was a novelty for me to climb onto a longhorn steer to have my picture taken. Luckily the steer was tame and used to cooperating for pictures. I wouldn’t have attempted otherwise. After watching longhorn steers parade down the main thoroughfare, we sampled some Texas cuisine – al fresco to boot! Despite having fun during our Stockyards side trip, we managed to continue our brainstorming session. When we left our short visit, we felt revitalized and ready to move forward with implementation of our new ideas.
The next morning we rose early to drive to the airport, but the half hour trip turned into a traffic jam, and we were stuck in traffic for two hours. I arrived at the airport as my scheduled flight was ready to depart, so I had to stick around the airport for an extra six hours until the next flight to Moline. I had plenty to occupy me, so I kept busy answering e-mails, reviewing the final, edited manuscript of my first novel, When Nature Calls, and writing my acknowledgments, back cover text, bio, and other items to be completed before layout. Although I was anxious to return home to see my family, the extra time at the airport gave me a chance to concentrate on my tasks, and I was hopeful the bad weather that was hitting home, and the resulting road conditions, would have improved before I landed. The time passed quickly, and my flight was on time. I made it to Moline at dusk. Unfortunately I had left my wool jacket in Amanda’s car in my haste to make it to my earlier flight on time. I dug around in my suitcase and found my lighter fleece jacket, which helped keep me warm while I roamed the parking lot in search of my car. Luckily I’d written down the row and found it relatively quickly. Despite the nasty, frigid temperatures, my car started without problems, and I didn’t get stuck in the pile of snow surrounding my car.

The roads were in decent shape, and I covered the sixty miles home fairly quickly. It was great to arrive home, safe and sound, to my family.  We accomplished so much book work over the weekend. I came home feeling ready to Take the Steer by the Horns. I decided to update all four of my Rachel Raccoon & Sammy Skunk books, fixing some things that had been bugging me for some time.  Since I'm late in posting this, I've already edited them, had the layout changed, and uploaded the new files. I've submitted the manuscript and other items for the layout of When Nature Calls. I’m so excited about my own novel’s imminent release.