Freedom is not free. It is paid for with the lives, blood, and sacrifices of our military men, women, and their families. Thank you for your service. God Bless You and keep you safe. God Bless America.
We all have commercials we love. They can be funny or sad. Sometimes the feelings the commercials evoke are so universal that the commercial passes into pop culture status, enduring long beyond it’s finished running.
Then there are commercials that rouse our emotions and wring them out. Make us remember things too important to ever forget. That’s the way I feel about these two commercials highlighting the promise of America. Vindicating its values and all that we believe to be good and true about this Nation.
The American Promise advertising style.
I’m glad to see them because it seems to me that lately too many of us are cowed by the media/politicians/celebrities into thinking that being patriotic is somehow rascist/stupid/hokey.
Well, I’m not afraid to say that when I see the American flag flying high or hear the National Anthem, my heart beats faster, my throat chokes with emotion and tears come to my eyes.
As I’ve said before and will say again, I’M AMERICAN AND DAMNED PROUD OF IT! Don’t be afraid to say it either.
For now, I’m sharing these videos with you that remind me of all that is good and possible in America.
If you can’t see the videos below, you can click here for the CHEVROLET Heartbeat of America commercial or you can click here for the Jeep Liberty commercial our cut and paste these links into your browser:
Chevrolet Ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYThjgJZFwo
Jeep Ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi0SbrrGaiw
The last two Thoughtful Thursdays I’ve been talking about Liberty, but as I mentioned during the blog on Big Brother and Big Government, Liberty is tough without having Life first.
On bigger levels, I hope that our leaders understand what they need to do to keep America safe.
On individual levels, there’s a lot we can do to safeguard ourselves, but today I want to talk about a writer’s life.
It’s not an easy life at times. If you’re not good with handling criticism or rejection, it’s probably not a good career choice.
If you’re in it for the big bucks, it’s probably also not a good choice.
If you’re in it because you have lots of stories in your head that you want to share with others — then a writer’s life is perfect for you!
So how is it that I decided to become a writer? If you’ve checked out my bio, you may know that in the fifth grade my teacher assigned a project – for us to write a book to be placed in a class lending library. The thought intrigued me so that I went home and started writing. When it came time to turn in the book, it was 120 typed pages (My poor mom worked at night for days to get it done!).
I knew then I writed a book, but for far longer than that, I’d had stories in my head.
I remember going to sleep at night and making up stories of princes, intrigue and sword fights (I always was on the dark side). The next night I would continue the story in my head, always moving it along.
After fifth grade, I started putting more and more ideas on paper and that continued throughout high school, college and even law school. So during all that time I was a writer.
Which brings me to the next thing – you don’t have to be published to be a writer. Writers write whether for just themselves or to share it with others. Thanks to the Internet, there are lots of ways to share your stories and satisfy the need to write.
So what made me decided to get published? For starters, and I am dating myself, there really wasn’t much in the way of the Internet back then for everyday people. The only way to share your stories was to go the traditional route of reaching out to a commercial publisher and having them buy your book.
With that in mind, I set out to get published and it took some time. At least six or seven years, but eventually it happened. I never gave up when I got rejection after rejection. I never lost sight of the dream that I had.
I also didn’t quit my day job. Which I guess brings me back to some tips I’d like to share with both pre-published and published writers!
1. Don’t quit your day job. Being a paid writer is an iffy proposition and economic worries will only be a drain on your creativity.
2. Don’t let rejection pull you down. You will not sell every novel you write. No one does (Well, except Nora Roberts although I’m sure she didn’t at first). Think of it as a ball game where .300 is a decent batting average. That’s one out of every 3 and ball players still get picked to play!
3. Learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. You may participate in critique groups or get “good” rejection letters from editors and agents. Be open to changes that are suggested, but learn how to separate bad suggestions from the good. You’ll have to trust your gut about that.
4. Don’t be a diva. Be willing to make changes and listen to what others say, especially editors and agents.
5. Join a support group. There is a reason why AA and Weight Watchers work. You need to be surrounded by people who understand what you are going through and can share their experience with you. They will also hopefully provide information on what’s happening in the industry and help you make contacts. (It is now time for a shameless plug for my local writing group – the Liberty States Fiction Writers – who is holding a marvelous conference on March 13th!)
6. Stay active. Writing is a both a solitary and sedentary life. With respect to the sedentary, try to move around during stints of writing and get some exercise!
7. Don’t lose sight of your dream! It’s not an easy road, but if you turn back, you will never reach your destination.
Hope you enjoyed today’s thoughts on a writer’s life!
Last Thursday I told you a little bit about myself and my family and why being American was so important to me. I summed it up in one word: Liberty.
Of course, having Liberty assumes that one is alive hence why the Founding Fathers noted in the Declaration of Independence that the People’s rights included amongst them “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is a reason for the order because it’s difficult for one to have Liberty if they are dead and it is impossible to pursue Happiness if one does not have Liberty.
The assumption of Life is one we cannot make easily. If I didn’t understand it after losing my mother with little warning, I certainly understood it on a national scale after 9/11.
But back to Liberty.
Most of us understand the warning of Orwell’s 1984 and the concept of Big Brother, namely, that of government that controls every aspect of our lives, even what one thinks. The thought of such totalitarianism sends a shudder through many Americans because we are a Nation that prizes Liberty and the freedoms associated with it.
I was lucky enough to have an English class at my college, Villanova, where we read a number of novels about dystopias such as the Big Brother world in 1984. In each of them it was apparent that when government by and for the people ceased to exist, problems ensued. To this day some of those novels remain on my list of favorites and I would urge you to read them if you have a moment and consider what it would be like if government controlled every aspect of your life.
So here is the Liberty reading list!
- 1984 by George Orwell
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
We by Eugene Zamiatin
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
If you’ve got any favorites, I’d like to hear from you. My husband loves Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and has his faded and worn copy at his desk. I have yet to read that immense book, but I really should since so many people are intrigued by it.
Sometimes it’s hard to think about what to write on Thoughtful Thursdays. It’s such a mixed bag of info on days like today. But so many of you commented on my background the other day and expressed an interest in hearing more, that it occurred to me that I should share a little bit more about myself.
Maybe by doing so we’ll get to know each other better and you’ll understand the things about which I am passionate (LOL! as if you don’t know some of those already.)
For starters, I am an American born in Cuba.
I’m sure that’s raising eyebrows, but that’s the way I feel. I had the chance to hear Marco Rubio talk the other day on the radio and he mentioned being an American of Cuban descent. Of how grateful he was about all this Nation had given him and I realized that he was speaking much as my mother had spoken to me for all of my life.
That we were Americans now. That being American was a great gift. That we should not take that gift lightly and always honor it. In my mother’s mind that meant getting good grades, obeying the law, standing up for ourselves and those that were weaker and most of all, standing up for America.
So I can’t call myself an American of Cuban descent because I wasn’t born here, but I will call myself an American born in Cuba.
You might wonder why my mother was so vehement on that topic and the story is a long one which I’ll abbreviate into one word — Liberty.
When my mother lived in Cuba under Batista, life was good for her, but not for others. But even as good as it was for her, she lacked the ability to speak out about wrongdoing or what she thought needed change in the government. It’s why she worked with Castro during the Revolution. Not that she ever really told us much about that as kids. It came in snippets at unexpected times. In reality, I learned more about my mother after her death than I had known throughout my life.
Of course the change that Castro had promised for Cuba turned out to be nothing like what my mother and father had expected or for which they had worked. Instead of a free republic, they soon came under the control of a government that was slowly robbing them of their short-lived Liberty as the government nationalized businesses and plantations they felt were necessary for the public good. Newspapers and individuals who spoke out against the government were either demonized or shut down. The government fomented class warfare as a way of justifying taking the labors of individuals for the good of all.
Just as my parents fought against Batista, they now decided to fight against Castro. Unfortunately those plans placed them in peril of imprisonment (or death) necessitating my parents’ hasty retreat from Cuba. In their minds there was only one Nation that could provide them the Liberty they sought – the United States.
But Castro wasn’t done with them. My parents had been forced to leave my sister and I behind along with my maternal grandparents. My parents thought we would join them shortly after their abrupt departure. I’m told that our Cuban passports were taken to prevent us from leaving Cuba. That for over a year my parents sought every way they could think of to get us out with no success while Castro would send his men to roust our house and threaten my grandparents to get my parents to return. Possibly he feared they would work against him in the United States. Who knows?
My sister was six months old when my mother left. I was three. Imagine leaving children that young behind, but they had no choice.
Eventually we got out and spent another six months wandering through Central America and Mexico until the immigration laws changed and my parents were able to get us into this country.
During that year and a half, my parents had not only been trying to get us out, they had been building a life here. Getting jobs and finding a home. It wasn’t necessarily easy. People didn’t want to rent to Cubans.
That never diminished my mother’s appreciation for the one gift that made all that hardship worthwhile – Liberty.
Her one response to all that negativity was simple — Succeed.
Succeed because to not do so was to dishonor the gift we had been given. Succeed because we did not want to shame other Cubans. Succeed because we wanted to prove that anything was possible in America. Succeed because success is the best revenge.
So why am I telling you all this today?
I guess because I want you to understand why I am passionate about America. Why my heart beats faster and emotion chokes me every time I hear the national anthem or see the flag. Why I take so seriously the gift of Liberty and why I honor it by reaching forward with one hand while reaching back with the other to help someone else.
So those are my thoughts on this Thoughtful Thursday. I hope you understand a little bit more about me. I’d like to get to know more about you if you care to leave a comment.
I know it’s Wicked Wednesday, which usually means an excerpt, but I wanted to get a headstart on the Thanksgiving holiday and share those things for which I am thankful. I hope you’ll forgive me this indulgence. Here are those things for which I am thankful:
- My Family: To my hubby who always makes me laugh and my beautiful daughter who is the light of my heart, I am thankful. I am also thankful for my sister, brother, in-laws and all my nieces, nephews and cousins who bring such joy into my life.
- Our Military and their families: Thank you for the sacrifices you make so that we can continue to be safe and enjoy the many freedoms which we enjoy.
- My Friends: Where would you be without friends? I want to thank all of them for always being supportive and I want to thank all of you, my cyber friends, for always visiting and writing.
- The Liberty States Fiction Writers: After a year of darkness, a bright light emerged. You are that bright light, filled with optimism, good will, diversity and innovation. I thank you for our first wonderful year together and give a big WOO HOO that we’ve reached 150 members in our inaugural year.
Last, but never ever least . . .
- The United States of America: You opened your doors to me and provided me the opportunity to live the American Dream. You gave me Liberty and allowed me to pursue through hard work those things that have made me happy and which I hope have contributed to the overall good of this Nation. I am forever indebted and thankful.
What about you? What are the things for which you are thankful this Thanksgiving season?
What a crazy day! Met with with my writing buddies, Kimberly Kaye Terry and Susan Krinard for breakfast and then with my Dangerous Woman buddies for coffee. Here’s Kimberly and Susan with me.
We were lucky to have Candance Poarch and Shirley Hailstock sitting beside us and took a moment to say HI and snap a photo!
Then it was more meetings with editors and publicists and a moment to take a breather. The RITAs were spectacular with lots of women in gorgeous sexy dresses, but the reception afterwards was crazy. Had planned to meet up with my friend Cathy Maxwell, but couldn’t find her so I headed back to a small gathering we were having with some Liberty buddies and other friends. We had a great time sitting around talking shop and also, all about the weird kinds of research we have to do to write a book!
Sunday morning, one last breakfast with friends before we started our road trip home. The plan had been that we would have less to take home than we brought to RWA. LOL! That was the plan anyway. Somehow we ended up with even more! Here’s shots of the back of the car and of my friend and fellow writer Lois Winston who shared the backseat with me.
So how as it overall? Awesome. Got lots of business done and have good things happening. A possible sale and some new opportunities that are falling into place. Excitement as I saw my book at the Grand Central Spotlight. Joy at seeing long distance friends and sadness at saying goodbye for the moment.
Tiredness. I’ve been running on very few hours of sleep and am hoarse from all the talking and the singing along at the Harlequin party.
Happy and looking forward to next year in Tennessee. We’re already talking about the road trip down. Convinced my daughter she had to come with me again. The last time she did was at least 6 years ago and I think she would have a blast!
Anyway, trying for an early night and some rest since it’s back to work tomorrow. Thank you all for dropping by this week and all your comments. Really appreciated hearing from all of you.