Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanks Giving

It's that time of year: time to give thanks for all the things that we have. (Or don't have: I'm thankful that I do not have Ebola... or malaria... or scrofungulus... or a host of other real or fabricated ailments. We've dealt with brain tumors this year -- and I'm very thankful that the whole brain-surgery-thing is in the rear-view mirror. I'm thankful that there are some things we didn't have to deal with.)

Since it's been a helluva year I've tried to make it a daily (sometimes hourly) practice to articulate all the things I'm thankful for when life appears to be driving straight for disaster with its foot on the gas and its eyes squinched shut. Sometimes, finding stuff to be overtly thankful for means starting small and maintaining a running inner commentary:

I'm thankful that I can see. And that the sky is an amazing shade of blue today. And I can smell. Mmmmm: coffee. Thankful for coffee. Oh yes: thankful for coffee.

Am I thankful for my fabulous husband undergoing not one, but two brain surgeries and subsequent radiation? Well, no... But, if that surgery results in him living a longer, healthier, happier life, then yes.

Am I thankful for the publisher who optioned 4 of my titles who then axed their children's imprint, resulting in them returning the rights to 2 of the projects? Am I grateful that the same publisher had such a different vision for the remaining books that both my agent and I agreed asking for the rights back was the best possible decision? After climbing out of the pit of disappointment (which can be deep; I won't lie), I can say "yes." Because working with that publisher showed me my agent's true stripes. And she's aces. And for that I am thankful -- every day.

KNIGHT FALL's Benjamin & Katrine.
In the spirit of the day, I wanted to say 'Thank You" to those who have graced my life this year. I'd like to give you a reason to give thanks as well. So, to thank you for stopping by, at the end of this post is a gorgeous, original, adult coloring mandala made by the endlessly talented Karina Dale. Enjoy!

(Incidentally, Karina [@xkxdx] is one of the people I am eternally thankful for. When I'm working on a new project, I describe my characters to her, and she brings them to life. I totally mean it when I say that her art inspires me. See what I mean in the pic at the left.)

I am so thankful for my family. My daughter will be a teenager in a matter of weeks. I'm grateful that she's still young enough to think I'm cool. And, on the occasions that adolescence and hormones combine in a mucky emotional mix, I'm grateful that she's growing up and becoming her own person.

I'm thankful, too, for my husband. After more than a quarter century together, he still thinks I'm fascinating and funny. He's my biggest fan. I am grateful for every day that we have together.

I am daily grateful for all of my clients.

I am humbled at the trust placed in me by those who retain me as their writing coach. They regularly inspire me both with their creativity and their perseverance. They give me their manuscripts to tear to shreds edit, then, armed with my comments, they wade back into the fray, working tirelessly to make their stories better, stronger, deeper. And no one is more thankful than I when they succeed.

I am also honored at the faith my private clients have in my writing abilities. This year, it has been a pleasure to work with the U.S. Polo Association and the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association on various projects.
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I am thankful to the many talented people who were willing to give of their time and talents to help me with a book launch -- and who were uber-gracious when they learned that their efforts were going to be put on hold indefinitely. This includes the amazing book cover artist S. P. McConnell, the brilliant piano improv musician Stan Stewart, and my longsuffering director friend Paul Martin, among others.

My gratitude for the critters who share my life -- horses, dogs, chickens (and the scrumptious eggs they lay), and parrots -- knows no bounds. I am grateful for the freedoms we still have in this country. I am grateful for Greek Yogurt, dark chocolate, cinnamon Red Hots, fresh-baked bread, and hot coffee. The more I consider the things in my life, the more I have to be grateful for.

That gratitude includes you. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to spend it giving thanks with me. I'm sure you have your own list of things for which you are thankful. If you've posted it somewhere on line, link to it in the Comments below, and I'll be sure to share your gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!