Monday, December 5, 2016

A Thankful Perspective

  Amid so many rejections, it's sometimes hard to feel thankful.  But I am.  I'm thankful for the many writer friends I've made through the years on-line, and for the occasional magazine sale that gives me hope.  I'm also incredibly grateful for a clear mammogram this fall, two years after my surgery, chemo and radiation.  After a devastating, blindsiding never-saw-it-coming break up, and months of crying every day, I've met a nice man who is helping me feel appreciated again.  I have train tickets to see my grandkids in Seattle for Christmas, which fortunately I bought before I got the $726 bill from my plumber, due Dec. 18th. Then again, I'm happy to have a house to repair.
   So I'm stepping back and putting things in perspective.  Looking just at my submissions, it's been a lousy year.  But taking the broader view, I have my health, a little romance, healthy grandkids and a warm home.  I have writer friends who can commiserate with me, and I have the drive to keep submitting.  And 2017 will be a brand new year to try again! Good luck to us all!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference in Denver!

    Yay, retirement!  Finally, Saturdays off, and I was able to attend the SCBWI event in Denver.  I found a cute, very clean mom&pop motel for lots less than the Marriott, which allowed me to buy books and get them signed for my grandkids!  I caught the last evening the outdoor motel pool was open, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, swimming while the sun set.
     I enjoyed the speakers and the panels, and I'm excited to hear that PB bios are a hot item.  A big reason to attend conferences is the chance to submit to editors and agents that are normally closed.  So, in the days following the conference, I have submitted three different stories. Let the waiting begin! 
   $235 for the conference, $170 for two nights at the motel, $57 for books, chance to submit--priceless!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Met with the director of the Ute Indian Museum

    We hugged, we got teary together--I've never had an interview like it!  The most important thing CJ Brafford wants children to know about Chipeta is that "Her greatest strength was her gentleness."  She feels Chipeta is working through me to tell her story.  She was so encouraging and helpful!  She's going to look over my manuscript, and she told me to contact another author who wrote a book on Chipeta for older kids who she knows will help me with mine.  I came out of that interview with my spirit soaring!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Researching--as in searching and searching again!

   I'm so enjoying traveling to little museums and finding more connections to Chipeta.  Found her branding iron in Meeker,
and a woven basket she made in Delta.
I also stopped to see the Council Tree, now in a Delta neighborhood, where the Utes supposedly met.  Chipeta was the only woman allowed to attend council meetings.
All these things may have to go on a separate page called local legends, since I can't find any corroboration for them, but it's still fun to find them!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rocky Mountain SCBWI Non-fiction Workshop was Wonderful!

And snowy!  Nancy Bo Flood was kind enough to share her cabin with me.  Here she is looking all American Gothic:
    Excellent presentations from Carolyn Yoder of Calkins Creek books, David Meissner, Laura Perdew, and Terri Farley.  I'm excited to get my Chipeta book polished up and sent off to Carolyn!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Springtime in the Shining Mountains

   The Shining Mountains is the Ute name for the Rockies.  All month I've been working on my picture book about Chipeta, a Ute woman I admire and almost feel I've come to know.
   I love to soak in the hot springs here just as she did, and I drive every weekend to Montrose, where she lived for years and where she's buried.  We both love babies and we both adopted sons, although I was also able to have children and she was not.
    Chipeta did gorgeous beadwork, and gave much of her work away to friends.  This is a detail of a piece that is displayed in the Historical Museum here in Glenwood Springs:
I hope to get a better photo when we can get the big heavy cabinet away from the wall so I won't be photographing it through the glass!
     Chipeta lived during a time of incredible change in the West, and she adapted with a cheerful heart and a generous spirit.  I'm taking my manuscript to an SCBWI non-fiction workshop in Boulder next weekend, an my roomie will be Nancy Bo Flood! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

  Vivian Kirkfield has a contest on her blog!  This lovely, helpful writer is asking for stories of no more than 50 words, in honor of Dr. Seuss. He was challenged to use no more than 50 different words and he came up with Green Eggs and Ham.  This contest calls for 50 words in total.  Here's my entry, 50 words:
The Lonely Egg
by Deborah Holt Williams
Jackrabbit found the egg under the cactus.
"It looks so lonely!" he thought.
"I'll protect it."
Along came a rattlesnake!
"Stay away!"
The snake came closer.
"Leave this egg alone!"
The snake came closer.
Then--crack! Out came a baby...
"Thanksss for keeping my baby sssafe!"
said mama snake.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Susannah's Valentine contest

   A cranky character in a story no more than 214 words...quite a challenge! Thanks, Susannah Leonard Hill!  Here's mine:

The Heart-Shaped Cake (208 words)

By Deborah Holt Williams

      Charlie slammed the cupboard shut.  “I can’t believe we don’t have one!” he grumped.  “Have what?” asked his mother.  “A heart-shaped pan!” retorted Charlie.  “We’re all supposed to bring heart-shaped treats to class, and I signed up to bake a cake.”  He cracked the eggs and beat the batter so hard he nearly broke the bowl.

      Charlie’s mom checked the cupboard.  “We have a round pan and a square pan,” she said.  “Maybe you can do something with those.”

     Charlie stared at the pans, then he moved them around on the counter, then he shouted “YES!”  He filled them with batter and popped them in the oven.  When they came out, he cut the round cake in half.  “OK, two half circles!  Now…”  He turned the square cake so that it looked more like a diamond.  He put one half-circle cake on one top edge of the diamond and one on the other top edge.  When frosting covered the cake, it was a perfect heart!

      “Sorry I was cranky, Mom,” said Charlie.  “Now that you’ve calmed down,” said Mom, “I have a Valentine poem for you.  Your face got all red, but then you got smart.  A circle and square, and you made a heart!”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Slogging on....

  I was so excited to win one of Tara Lazar's grand prizes, a chance to present 5 of my PiBoIdMo to an actual agent!  I did, and, well....she didn't really find any of them too exciting.  But she did pick the best of the lot, so I'll work on it.  Of course I'd been daydreaming that she would love them all and beg to represent of the downsides of having a good imagination is that I imagine great success scenarios!
   But, I will not give up. I'm taking a writing class with wonderful author and dear person Nancy Bo Flood, so maybe that will improve my skills and my luck!  Onward, ever onward!