01-20-18 – Paty Jager “I Love and Dread Author Milestones”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Rolling in the Dough?

by Courtney Pierce

When I was in my twenties, success was defined by having a million dollars in the bank—cold cash, not this artificial Bitcoin stuff we have now. The amount sounded like a lot of coin to me at the time, though. Thirty-five years ago, it was. And a pound of bacon was well under two bucks back then. Have you priced a pound of bacon lately? How about an artichoke? And when did a six pack of cheap toilet paper top ten bucks? I’m wiped out when I go to a grocery store. It’s an extortion racket!

So how does one get that cool million in the bank? Lottery tickets were never a sound investment for
me, but I must admit that I dreamed of that scratch-off moment with the winning news. My heart raced at the thought of what I’d do. Fantasies about that sexy car were hard to resist. I can still recall the imagined aroma of hand-stitched leather. Then I figured I’d have to spend a lot on a lawyer and a tax adviser, even before I had my picture taken with that oversize Styrofoam check. Heart-racing visions of winning the lottery quickly dissolved to those of predators: charities, friends I’d never known, and those who checked in at the Why Me Inn. Dang! I’d give it all away, anyway, to assuage my guilt of receiving money I hadn’t earned.

Back to work. That was the key to financial security.

Pesky word “work”. Right through my forties, the term signified a sense of accomplishment, self-pride, and climbing the ladder to show my worthiness. It was about that million dollars too. Along with my ego, the monthly statements of accounts became a measuring stick of success. My accountant wanted me to be insatiable because his growth depended on mine. Don’t get me wrong. I love my accountant like my own father these past thirty-eight years, but he’s getting ready to retire too. Now what? Do I have enough? Had I earned the right to freedom?

The closer I get to that magic age of sixty, the less fear I have of turning my back on the corporate world. I’m not razoring through my fingernails over the thought of retirement. My husband and I will only do something different and personal, like writing full time, growing and hunting our own food, and hiking the trails of Glacier National Park. We want to make experiences our goal, not buying more stuff. Besides, we’ll be cutting way back on our expenses in retirement, so our monthly nut should go down.

I take a deep breath and relax. Snow-capped mountain vistas. Mist drifting over the surface of the lake. Loons call for us to paddle the canoe in the morning hours.

Panic shoots through my spine, shattering my fantasies.

Wait just a darned-tootin’ minute! A million dollars is what my accountant says I need just in my retirement account to step away at sixty-six (preferably at seventy-two to maximize Social Security). I brace myself for battle. My fight-or-flight reaction retreats and my shoulders drop in defeat. All plans of a frugal retirement are eclipsed by the destinations on our bucket list: Roman walls in England, castles in Scotland, mountains in Peru, fishing in Portugal. Have you priced plane tickets lately? The baggage fees alone are more than the cost of a ticket used to be.

Back to work. I’m no boomer with a Trust fund. No one is going to will me a million bucks when they die. Everyone I know plans to bounce the last check they’ll write.

And my husband is so right. He says they wouldn’t call it "work" if it wasn’t.

Photo: Loma Smith
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Oregon, with her new family. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com
The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in summer, 2018.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

I love and dread milestones by Paty Jager

Milestone: A significant point in development

I'm a goal oriented person. I set goals and claw my way to making them. Sometimes it isn't pretty, and sometimes I fall short. But when I meet a goal and the rewards I get from making that goal is recognition or acceptance, I thrive.

But there are times when I meet a goal and I'm not satisfied. I've had several of those moments over the years and that's when I have to sit back and ask myself, what did that goal accomplish? And usually it was either my own personal reason for making the goal or it had little to no impact on what I really wanted to accomplish.

But milestones...I love! Because they aren't something you set your mind to thinking about, they are events in your life that change the way you think about yourself.

I've had events in my lifetime that made me a victim. But the day in my twenties that I found the strength and realization how not to be a victim, was a milestone for me.

Then the day came that I got out from behind books and decided I wanted to make a difference in people's lives through words. I took writing classes and found the nerve to take a story to a newspaper editor and blatantly tell him it was good enough to print, and he didn't' need to send out a reporter for the interview I'd already done. He read the story and said it was good and he'd only send out a photographer.  That was a milestone that built my confidence in my writing.

But writing for the newspaper wasn't enough and I found writer's groups and honed my craft, writing books that had strong themes of justice. Growing as a writer was good, but I was offered a job with the local extension service. I agreed under the condition I didn't have to speak in front of anyone. Six months later, I was told I was in charge of the new leaders and would teach the volunteer training. A year later, I had to give awards to the youth who had helped me throughout the year. This was in front the families and 4-Hers of Deschutes County. All I remember about the night was trying to keep my knees from collapsing, my eyes focusing, and not forget anyone's name. That was a HUGE milestone for me. I can now get up in front of a group and give a presentation with only a tiny flutter in my stomach. While I cursed my two co-workers that night for making me get up in front of all those people, now, I think of them with gratitude every time I step in front of a group to speak.

Eventually, the writing workshops and conferences paid off, I had a small press interested in my book. My first major writing milestone, publishing a book! I learned a lot from the editor who helped me shape the book into something that would make the publishing company proud. And while working with the editor, I was offered a job as an editor for the publishing house. Two milestones in one! Not only was I getting a book published, but they felt I excelled enough in craft and grammar to help others. I was no longer just a student, I was a teacher as well.

I enjoyed editing and helping other great writers see their books published, but I was becoming rebellious as more and more author friends told me to self-publish. They showed me the numbers and the work it would entail and I took the dive. Five years and 10 books published with the small press, I jumped into the Indie waters and never looked back. That was a major milestone for me. I not only learned even more about publishing a book and uploading it to vendors, I found I made more money and could finally prove to my husband, this was no longer a hobby, but a career.

And now, as I write the book that will give me 33 published books, I don't see it as a milestone but merely a stepping stone. What I do think of as a milestone, is using this book and this series to springboard into a new series that I hope will reach a new milestone of getting my mystery's titles mentioned alongside the likes of CJ Box, William Kent Krueger, Tony Hillerman, Dana Stabenow. That would be a milestone!

What are some of the milestones you've accomplished? 

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

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Photo Source: Deposit Photo

Friday, January 19, 2018

If I Were A Rich (Wo)man...

As soon as I read the topic for this month, that song from The Fiddler on the Roof came to mind:

If I were a rich man, daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
All day long I'd biddy-biddy-bum (not sure what that means, lol)

If I were a wealthy man
I wouldn't have to work hard... (well, much as I like the odd day of not doing much, I'm not sure I could do that forever. I still have my family to look after, my stories to write, my pets to care for, my cosplay to make. Being a bit of a control freak, I'm not sure I could just hand those tasks over to others - though there are definitely some days I wish I could!)
I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen
Right in the middle of the town (enough rooms to have a whole one all to myself for writing! But maybe not in town - too noisy. Maybe right out in the country, or even a private island of my own...)

A fine tin roof with the real wooden floors below (well, maybe not a tin roof. Imagine the noise in the rain!)

There would be one long staircase just going up
And one even longer coming down (lol, an Escher house!)
And one more leading nowhere, just for show (my husband would love that. He loves quirky houses with secret staircases and passages, odd little rooms and nooks and crannies. Or maybe a castle.)
I'd fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese
And ducks for the town to see and hear
Squawking just as noisily as they can (um, no. I have my chickens though, and if we had no close neighbours I'd keep some cockerels so we could hatch chicks of our own, and have huge fox-proof runs for them to enjoy)

And each loud "Pa-pa-gee! Pa-pa-gaack! Pa-pa-gee! Pa-pa-gaack!"
Would land like a trumpet on the ear
As if to say, "Here lives a wealthy man", oy! (Well, not sure I'd want to announce to the world that I'm rich, otherwise a huge chunk of money would have to go on security!)

I see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man's wife (swap that for husband, though aside from a few more geek tee-shirts, I'm not sure he'd want to change his style of dress all that much!)
The most important men in town will come to fawn on me (no thanks!)
And it won't make one bit of difference
If I answer right or wrong
When you're rich, they think you really know (sadly I think this is true. Maybe I should invest some of that money in a few more educational courses...)
If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack...That would be the sweetest thing of all, oy! (ya know, there never seems to be enough hours in the day whatever I do. If only we could buy extra time...)
I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions, and I hope you enjoyed the post.