One book leads to another...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG Holiday Frenzies!

December arrived with a bone-chilling wind out west this year. I gaze at a dozen summer plumped Dove huddling on a weaving ocotillo branch, and wonder how long before it snaps. Everything has its limits – including me.  And that’s basically what’s on my mind today, this first Wednesday of the month when IWSG members convene through blogging, Facebook and Twitter to talk about whatever is on our writing minds and agendas. See what we’re all talking about here.

By design or curious coincidence, the Question of the Month: “In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself in 5 years, and how do you plan to get there?” is perfectly timed for the week of ‘National Write a Business Plan Month’! 

Where do I begin when the trouble seems to lie in finishing what I’ve started? 

Five books, five years and who knows what in between. Sounds doable, but something has to give. My day job? Nah, I like the money. Writing? No way! Socializing? But I love it…

Perhaps it’s the holiday frenzies! Right now I delight in the dazzling displays, the renewed sense of hope and plans being made, the promise of bright smiles, big hugs, and good cheer. The roaring blaze can wait, I think, while I enjoy the kindling warmth of the season.

So if I don’t get around as much as I’d like in the next few weeks, know that you’re not far from my thoughts or my insatiable interest and that I wish the happiest of holidays to one and all!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

What was the greatest gift you ever received in a small package?


  1. Hi, Diedre!

    I appreciate your candor along with your kind Christmas wishes. I have certainly noticed the decline in your blogging availability lately. I hope you will remain in good spirits through the rest of the month. I also hope that you will touch base with me whenever you want to experience the warm, sincere friendship that we have enjoyed for the better part of two years. I appreciate it more than I can express, Diedre.

    I think the greatest gift I ever received in a small package was a handwritten note inside a book on the core teachings of Buddhism. The book and note were given to me at the conclusion of a week long motivational seminar at which I served as a trainer. The giver, one of the seminar participants, wrote a note thanking me for enabling him to achieve a powerful, life-changing experience. He told me that someone special gifted the book to him many years earlier and he felt compelled to re-gift it to me. That moment is emblazoned in my personal history as one of my proudest.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, dear friend Diedre!

    1. Hi Shady!

      You are a dear, sweet friend! I plan to be around as much and for as long as I possibly can ;-)
      You probably know the old adage "It doesn't rain but that it pours!" It's where I am at this point, but it will all work out eventually. Keeping spirits high is also where I'm at as I dearly love Christmas and everything about it;-)

      What a wonderful gift that was! No wonder it holds a special place in your heart. To have so positively inspired someone is indeed a lasting honor. Here's a little thought you can put in your stocking this year: you've inspired me as well!

      Have a merry week, my friend:-)

  2. Happy holidays to you!

    The best gift I ever received in a small package was from my ex-fiance. I'd been struggling with my confidence as a writer--I was going after an agent at that time and getting a lot of rejections.

    My ex found a book doctor who was an expert in knowing who had what it takes to succeed as a writer and who didn't. Unbeknownst to me, he sent her my work. My Christmas gift was her letter saying I had what it took to be a successful writer.

    I like to say that he gave me my confidence back. What a present!

    1. Now that's a priceless gift! I bet it gives you happy smiles for years and years to come.

      Happy holidays to you as well!

  3. I think we should all sit back and enjoy this time of the year. We can all get back to the craziness after the holidays. I'll be taking a break after next Monday. I still have my wrap-up post for the year to do. :D

    The best gift...does my newborn nephew count? He was a small package from God, and he was born last year just a couple of weeks before Christmas. <3

    You'll be in my thoughts this season, dear friend.

    1. Hi Chrys!

      Oh absolutely, your baby nephew counts! How precious is a gift like that? ;-)

      Thank you for the warmth of friendship, dear lady Chrys! I'll think of you too ;-)

  4. DIEDRE ~
    I'm not a writer, so I can't really relate to the IWSG stuffs, but I can answer the question:

    >>... What was the greatest gift you ever received in a small package?

    Like myself, my best friend, Marty, was working on building an acting career in Hollywood. But in 1989, a car thief in Los Angeles, trying to outrun the pursuing police, ran through a red light at an intersection. Marty had just entered that intersection on the green light and he was killed instantly.

    Now flash forward to circa 1994. My Sister was a teacher at a Montessori school. One day in December she put on a VHS tape for her little kids to watch while she worked on grading some papers or something. After awhile she recognized a familiar voice coming from the VHS tape and looking at the screen she saw that it was Marty.

    The tape was 'PREPARING FOR CHISTMAS: An Advent Program For The Family'. It had been filmed in 1986 and Marty had played the part of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's son, Charlie, who came home wounded from the Civil War one Christmas Eve. That was supposedly the night Longfellow wrote 'I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day'.

    I remembered Marty telling me that he'd gotten that part back in 1986, but I'd never seen the film, and that was the last it was ever mentioned.

    So my Sister tracked down a copy for me and gave it to me that Christmas morning in '94. I opened it and saw the title, which didn't ring any bells for me. I asked her what this was and she said, "Just put it in the VCR and play it."

    You can imagine my shock when Marty suddenly appeared on the screen acting the part of Charlie Longfellow. It was like he'd returned to life after 5 years!

    So, that was the greatest gift I ever received in a package as small as a VHS tape.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Hi Reno!

      Oh my gosh! Bittersweet and goosebumps all in one. I bet you'll cherish that tape forever!

      Happy holidays ;-)

  5. This is a busy time of year for everyone and as Chrys said, we should all just relax and enjoy it. ☺ Five books in five years is an ambitious goal and I wish you much success, Diedre. Your question gave me pause; there have been so many wonderful gifts over the years, mostly from my hubby. One from a client does stand out: She travelled extensively and her dog, a beautiful Golden named "Bailey", was a frequent houseguest. We knew him most of his life and nicknamed him "Son", because we loved him like our own. He passed away shortly after our beloved Dalmatian, "Tasha". His mom gifted me with a copy of "Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog" by Ted Kerasote. Inside, the inscription read: "In honour of Tasha and Bailey; two of the greatest freethinking dogs that ever lived." Even though this was nine years ago, just thinking about it still makes me teary-eyed.

    1. Hi Debbie!

      Such a thoughtful gift that was! I can't help but marvel at how those two freethinkers brought otherwise strangers together creating memories to last a lifetime. Funny how the gifts that tug at your heartstrings are the ones that matter most ;-)

      Thanks, Debbie!

  6. Hi Dierdre - so much is going on ... and one thing we don't need to add in ... is extra stress - so take care and look after you and yours ... Reno's story is amazing. Small gifts come with big hearts and hearty hugs ... have a brilliant Christmas - cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary!

      Very true, stress does seem to tie all the loose ends into a formidable knot. Time and patience are two ingredients that ought to come in Christmas cookies ;-)

      If I were Reno I'd probably keep that tape under lock and key! I still have an autograph book from eighth grade (!) because my grandma wrote in it.

      Big hearts, hearty hugs - I like that. Happy holidays!

  7. Good luck on your goals, and completing them. Small packages? Great question. an ornament, or home made candy.
    Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi Mary!

      Thanks! I'm well ahead of the game with one book completed and the rest in various stages. It sure would be a shame to give up now, wouldn't it?

      Speaking of ornaments, none of ours match because each one is dated and themes are widely varied. Unpacking ornaments each year is a gift in itself of memories renewed ;-)

      Happy holidays!

  8. The greatest gift I ever received was a live Monarch Butterfly in its cocoon. I tended it until it emerged and than set it free. Most unusual gift I ever received too.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  9. Hi Juneta!

    What an extraordinary gift! I imagine the giver was also exceptional. It had to have been such a thrill when the Monarch emerged!

  10. Take the time to enjoy the holidays! Then you can attack one of your stories with renewed gusto in January.

    1. Hi Alex!

      That's my plan and it sure sounds wonderful - Thanks ;-)

  11. Hi Diedre. I loved this post. It puts everything into perspective. You know what you like and what you want to change which is great. Wishing you a lovely festive season filled with joy and laughter. All the best!!

    1. Hi Nicola!

      Thanks! I am looking forward to bows of creativity - once I untie the knots of life's little challenges ;-)
      All the best to you as well!

  12. I've been so cold over the past couple weeks and our heat is not working (crap! another expense). But maybe it's gotten warmer the past couple days or maybe I'm just getting used to it.

    Giving up that day job (or more precisely, that paycheck) is not a suggested leap, but finishing the writing is a worthy goal. I'm sure you can do both the writing and the job. Busy times like the Christmas holidays can get in the way a bit, but that's life.

    Best gift in a small package? I can't remember most of the gifts I've received now. I guess I'd have to say money or a gift card. The frequent problem with gifts in my experience is that I often get things I don't particularly need or want. Usually buying things myself is most practical.

    In my teen years I did enjoy the record albums my mother would buy me for Christmas, but she always had me write up a list of what I wanted so I'd get things I'd probably have bought anyway.

    Best gift? I'm going to have to think about this.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Hi Lee!

      It was so cold here I was kicking myself for taking all my warm clothes to the cabin. Now the days are perfectly sunny and in the 70's! I hope it lasts.

      Nah, can't give up the day job. It's typically one of the easiest jobs I've had - until lately when I've had an avalanche of client defaults. Makes me wonder who left the gate open ;-) Anyway, they're usually not very nice when they leave in the night, so there's a lot of clean-up too. I think I've mentioned my aversion to spiders ;-)

      Besides my very first birthstone ring, the gift that always comes to mind is of a huge ( well, the same size as me!) doll who came with a school desk. The doll gave me the creeps so I stood her in a corner and took over the desk, though I don't think I could even write my name yet ;-)

      Music buff that you are, I wonder what you'll listen to at Christmas. I bet it isn't anything having to do with a hippopotamus.

      Happy Holidays!

  13. Hmm, ice cream, I got a bar stashed in the freezer. Unless someone found it, I'm eating ice cream after I finish this comment.

    I don't really love cold, but I do enjoy winter time. I guess it just goes with fall and spring. We have about six weeks of cold. But the days are not consecutive. So lots of breaks.

    1. Hi Ann!

      Ice cream is a happy thought! Which kind is your favorite? Mine is strawberry or the orange 50-50 bars, though I don't even know where to find those anymore ;-)

      Happy Holidays!

    2. I like them all. Ice cream is my favorite.


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