Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

Looking Back and Moving Forward in 2016

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

Writer at Work

By , @Writing2Day

I must confess, I was shocked to see that my last blog post was in October of 2014. I will be the first to admit that I am not the most consistent when it comes to blogging on a regular basis. This is extreme even for me and really opened my eyes to the fact that I had several unproductive writing months during 2015. This lack of productivity has been nagging at me for quite some time. Rather than wallow in the sense of guilt that comes with that, I’m going to take a quick look at what I have accomplished (focus on the positive).

In 2014, my first book was traditionally published, “Images of America: Grand Teton National Park.” The book is focused on the history and controversy of this beautiful park. I followed this up in 2015 with a travel guide, titled “7 Days & Beyond in Grand Teton National Park.” I decided to go the self publishing route for the second book for expediency’s sake. I felt I could accomplish this much more quickly on my own and wanted to strike while the iron was hot. Self publishing was a very interesting experience and one that I am definitely looking forward to in the future. That took me into summer, baseball, camping – oops, there I go focusing on the reasons I didn’t accomplish anything else in 2015. I said I was going to stay positive and if I were speaking to someone else, I would be congratulating them on their first book and the fact that they published a second book within a year of the first. So I guess it’s pat on the back time for me!

I am going to keep the momentum going in 2016. I am not going to set a New Year’s resolution to publish another book this year. I am truly at a crossroad at the moment trying to decide which direction my writing should take. If I think about what I truly want out of my writing, I have always wanted to write a novel. I have only three chapters to go on a novel I started 30 years ago but it is dated and I have changed so much as a person in the last 30 years that I really think it’s irrelevant at this point. I do have a more recent novel in the works which is ironically titled “The Poser.” Ironic because it is posing me all sorts of problems. I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2014 not to write a complete novel but just to work on this novel for 30 days. The problem is that about seven chapters in I became thoroughly stuck and overwhelmingly frustrated. This of course led to all sorts of self-doubt about my writing abilities and has probably been the main factor in my lack of productivity.

Having published two nonfiction books, I am very confident in my abilities in the nonfiction genre. I also see a need, and was somewhat felt out, for a different historical book that would be a lot of fun to research and write. This would be the safer (and less stressful) route for my writing to take this year but the underlying desire to write a novel keeps beckoning. I know I will not feel that I have accomplished my lifetime writing goals until I have written that novel.

Will 2016 be the year that I buckle down, face my fears and accomplish that goal? I’m not sure at the moment but I will be choosing my path for 2016 during January. Once chosen, I am committed to following that path and writing on a regular basis to accomplish my goal. So now I’m off to read the pages of the dreaded novel that stopped me in frustration, review other story ideas, give indecision a much needed kick in the ass, and start typing my way towards my goal.

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2016!


Grand Teton National Park Available for Pre-Order

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

The History of Grand Teton National Park

The majestic beauty of Grand Teton National Park has moved people throughout time. Yet, the formation of Grand Teton National Park as we know it today spanned the course of nearly seventy years. More
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It has been a very exciting week. As a first time author, the journey of writing this book has been full of many different milestones and feelings of accomplishment.

The first over the top moment of excitement came when I was asked to write the manuscript for this book by Arcadia Publishing. I remember thinking to myself, “It just doesn’t happen this way.” When I decided to focus on my writing career, I anticipated sending out manuscripts and receiving rejection after rejection because that is how it works (according to everything I have heard). If I had not put up my website, this opportunity would not have landed in my lap. Many people have asked how this book came to be. The publisher was looking for a writer on this topic, they found an article on my website, and contacted me. So for all aspiring writers out there, even if you have not published yet, start working on your author platform now by going live with your website.

I have no idea how many hours I spent researching and looking for just the right photos for the book. There were definitely times when I thought I would never finish by my deadline even though I knew I would never let that happen. I can not describe to you the tremendous sense of accomplishment when the manuscript was completed and I sent it to the publisher.

As I was dinking about on the web the other day, I just happened to stumble upon an Amazon link in a Google search that had my name on it. I was like, “What? What? Could it be?” My book was live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! I was over the moon with excitement. The only thing I can imagine which will bring this much excitement again is when I receive my physical copy of the book. Holding my baby in my hands for the first time should feel pretty surreal. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

See Related Posts: #grandtetonnationalpark #grandtetons #travel


Reflections & Resolutions (Planning for 2014)

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Writer at Work

By , @Writing2Day

It’s that time of year again. The start of a 2014. The traditional time for making resolutions. I’m keeping one of my resolutions right now by writing this post.

Looking back at 2013, I can’t help but feel how fortunate I was to have spent the entire year writing, and available to be at all of my son’s activities. Going into 2013, I knew what the agenda was: write the manuscript for The History of Grand Teton National Park. It was a year long process which ended in December so I really didn’t feel the need for a specific writing plan, other than to research and write this manuscript. Fait accompli! (more…)

Musings of an Insomniac Whose Computer Just Died

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Writer at Work

By , @Writing2Day

My brain is feeling a bit fried as I woke up earlier than usual this morning. Apparently it’s not as fried as my computer which simply refuses to turn on. Thanking my lucky stars that it didn’t die right before my book deadline. It was definitely showing symptoms but I was able to coax it through.

So, what do you do when you wake up in the wee hours of the morning and don’t have a computer to pull you through the fog until you’re ready to be productive? (more…)

My First Manuscript is Finished! What Comes Next?

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Writer at WorkBy , @Writing2Day

“The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like. Write the kind of story you like best—write the story you want to read. The same principle applies to your life and your career.” – Austin Kleon

Have you ever noticed how certain things seem to appear in your life just as you need them the most? Coming across the above quote was a powerful reminder for me at just the time I needed to see it. (more…)

Almost Back in the Groove

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Writer at Work

By , @Writing2Day


Got back Sunday from a working vacation to Grand Teton National Park. I am so looking forward to learning more about this wonderful park. The research I did for my upcoming book, The History of Grand Teton National Park, didn’t seem like research at all. Here’s to another working vacation late next Spring!

Today is the final day of our going out of business sale at the Clark Hometown Variety Store. (more…)

Building an Author Platform Landed My First Book Deal

Sunday, September 9th, 2012
Writer at WorkBy , @Writing2Day

“If you can get that to me by the end of the week, you’ll have a happy editor.”

Those words sent to me in an email elicited such a feeling of joy, as it started to sink in that I have an editor. Wow, I have an editor! A few days ago the contract was emailed and the same feeling hit again. Wow, my first book contract! If you’re an aspiring writer, you know how much you long to hear those words. I’m sure even successful writers with many books under their belt can still remember the feeling that came with the first deal. (more…)

Need to Make Time to Write

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

By , @Writing2Day

Oy, it seems a couple of weeks have gone by and I haven’t written anything. I just recently purchased Dramatica Pro to help me with the rewrite of my novel. I absolutely love the program but it does take a bit to wrap one’s mind around the theory, etc. Work has been gobbling up my time lately and then I started the Body by Vi 90 Day Health Challenge as a distributor so I’ve been spending time learning as much as I can about the business and the products. I am happy to say that I’ve lost just over five pounds since starting the challenge two weeks ago. Yeah me! Sitting at a computer all day long is doing nothing for my waistline.

So much these days is centered around the computer. I sit in front of a computer almost all day at my job, then there’s email, facebook, checking out the latest headlines on MSN, and writing. The list goes on. I really shudder when I think of the days of my life that have been spent in front of a computer. I think I need to get out more. Actually I think I better schedule time to get out and take a brisk walk. Pretty soon it will be too cold up here in South Dakota to enjoy walking outdoors and I’ll have to resort to the treadmill. I guess the point is that I’m going to have to schedule time to do the things I enjoy or they won’t get done. I’d be curious how my fellow writers combat their expanding computer booties?

To our writing success! – Kendra

Join me on a 90 Day Health Challenge

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Time to Call it a Day

Thursday, August 25th, 2011
By , @Writing2Day

I think it’s been a really productive day on the writing front. My goal for this morning was to finish Chapter 8, putting my novel over 70,000 words. Accomplished! Yeah, woot, woot and all that jazz!

The Writing Forum is now live on the website, too. Yes, it has definitely been a productive day. I’ve been dinking around trying to customize and integrate a forum into my website for a few days now. Although I know I could figure it out and usually relish the challenge and the newfound knowledge, I want to get back to the reason I decided to put up a website to begin with – writing. I stumbled upon a nice little application that went up pretty seamlessly with just a small amount of modification and I am happy. Now I can move on.

I’m really looking forward to having the forum on the site. Hopefully we will come up with some fun topics and really support and encourage each others work. Oh, and I managed to get my clock totally cleaned in a boxing match with my son on Kinect. 10 minutes was all it took and I really thought I might keel over, lol.

To your writing success!
Kendra Leah

Missing my Golden Retriever

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

My beautiful dog Jazz. 6/14/2000 – 8/9/2011

Such a heavy heart this week. My beautiful puppy dog Jazz passed away Tuesday morning with her head in my lap. This was something totally unexpected. Yes, she was 11 so we knew her time left with us was limited. But she was a very healthy dog until this past Saturday. It wasn’t but two months ago that we were fishing and she came running full throttle down the dirt road when it was time to go home.

She loved to go fishing. She knew we were going before we even said it out loud. When we’d go out to get things ready she would bark in an angry tone that said, “Don’t you even think about not taking me, too!”

She had such different relationships with everyone in the family. My husband was the lap she could still sit on and the tosser of her favorite snack – popcorn. My daughter, who picked her out at the state fair 11 years ago, was the one she would lay her head on her lap just inches (sometimes less) from her dinner plate and beg with those soft brown eyes. My son was the one she ran and hid from when we first brought him home as a baby, but he soon became a favorite person to play “toss the sock” with. I can’t tell you how many good pairs of socks had holes in them from Jazz, she absolutely loved socks. And to me, she was my constant companion.

I was the one she knew would get up and let her out at any time of the day or night, she never even asked anyone else to do it. She slept beside me most nights by the side of the bed and every morning I’d have to check where it was safe to put my feet so I didn’t step on her. I’d go downstairs and within a few minutes she would follow and our day together would begin. Oh how I loved to pet her head and feel that soft fur under my fingers. I was never allowed to get by without a handshake, or three or four. She would lay beside me in my office always and join us all in the living room at night.  In her later years, when she would go outside to go potty she would bark to come back in as soon as she was done. She considered herself one of us and didn’t want to spend any more time away than necessary it seems. We used to laugh at her on a morning when there was dew in the grass. This dog who would go out of her way to splash in a puddle or hop in the lake, really didn’t like to step on the grass when it was wet – go figure.

She didn’t make much noise, so it’s hard to explain how it feels so quiet around here now. I guess it’s that her constant presence is gone and you realize how she was there in everything that you did. I missed not seeing her there when I got out of bed yesterday morning, not being right beside me when I opened a loaf of bread to make a sandwich (she loved the heels and knew they were hers), not having her come over for a the first pet of the day and then laying down beside me. Oddly enough, I know I heard her collar tags shake yesterday morning. I think it was her way of letting me know she is still here beside me.

We buried her in the middle of my flower garden with her belly facing the sun. She loved to lay there and sun herself, relaxing as only a dog can. My daughter, who is away at college, chose not to come home to see her before we laid her to rest. Choosing instead to remember her the way she was. My eight year old son, through his tears, asked me, “Maybe this year at the state fair we could pick out another one.” I’m not sure if we’ll be ready for that a month from now. But why do I get the sneaking suspicion that somewhere down the road when he is in college we will be repeating this whole process.

I love you Jazz. I hope you are exploring by a lake up in heaven right now. Thank you for all the years of love and joy you brought into our lives.

By , @Writing2Day