Wednesday, September 6, 2023

And so it begins..... yay

 I'm happy to announce (with loads of excitement) that I have been accepted as a continuing education teacher at AIMS Community College for a creative writing class. It will be so great to 1) be teaching in a non-grading capacity and 2) be on a college campus again. I might have to go to the book store next time I'm there. It's an "always" thing with me and colleges. I have to attend or teach, not just visit. 

The program coordinator showed my proposed outline to the English department chair who thought it looked to be a good class.  High praise, yes. But, again, this isn't my first rodeo. It's just a new horse. 😉

It just feels so good, my friends. 

I've also continued to read Prewriting Your Screenplay by Michael Tabb, which has been a wealth of solid and usable information. Michael, one of my former professors, has an engaging voice and offers tremendous amounts of information with examples galore. Even if you don't write screenplays, get the book. His many chapters on character alone are a gold mine. I could teach an entire course just on characters. ...who knows, I may. 

What would you like to see in a continuing education class on creative writing?

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Still.... tenacity

 My friends, I'm so happy to tell you that tenacity is paying off. My parents (and their friends) have joked for decades that I never create a plan B because I'm so committed to plan A. Well, I don't know. Maybe?

I want to keep teaching creative writing, but in a non-grading/non-credit capacity. I've been contacting all the places I could think of here in Greeley, Colorado. When that didn't seem like it would pan out, I started contacting nearby cities for possible opportunities. 

Now I am talking to three organizations about my proposed course. Tenacity, my friends. 

They say when a door closes, a window opens. I say just look for another door. 

Monday, July 24, 2023

Tenacity Above All

 I am finally getting back to the blog to provide some updates. While talent and extraordinary skills help in your success, the most useful skill is tenacity. Tenacity (to me) is continuing to seek new ideas and avenues. It is getting up every time you feel knocked down. Michael Jordan, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth kept getting up - I mean, their failure rate was devastating, but they could not have had their success without tenacity. Colonel Sanders kept sharing his business vision. Many very famous authors had to submit their works many times before getting accepted for publication. Silvester Stalone is a great example of continuing to press on with his dream when he was "knocked" down time after time trying to get his movie script for Rocky produced. 

Well, I've continued on my path to teaching workshops on creative writing. After all, I did teach it for 7+ years! I was in an ongoing conversation with the local community college continuing education director, but despite their initial enthusiasm, that conversation didn't really progress. 

Moving on!!! I reached out to the local library and the recreation center. The library directed me right around to the recreation center's coordinator, so we'll see.

After that, I reached out to the recreation centers in three neighboring towns. I heard back from one within a few hours, and they had serious questions that indicated a viable possibility. I'm glad I had tenacity. I didn't just stop after a few "red and yellow lights" as Matthew McConaughey would say. Baby, I was going to create a road trip and make my own green lights. 

I love that about me. Really, I do. I love that above all, I have tenacity. I may get knocked down. I may get my feelings hurt. I may have to figure out a very different path.  But, I have the tenacity to keep trying, and I think that is the skill we should all work on. Educators now call it grit. 

Get your grit on, baby. Thomas Edison's philosophy was that each failure in creating the light bulb moved him one step closer to success. Ted Lasso tells us to be a goldfish (give yourself 10 seconds and forget it). I'm doing all of the above.... with tenacity.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Progress is one step at a time

I used to teach creative writing as a middle school elective. Not only that, but I also helped develop a three-year cyclical curriculum that would keep students engaged if they took the elective every year during middle school. I loved creating the lessons and content for my students, and naturally, I had accumulated quite a lot of materials. 

When I left my teaching position in Texas, I "shared" all the files from my school Google account to my personal Google account. Unfortunately, I believe that those materials were lost when my school account was deactivated. I'm pretty upset, but I can't stay in that place for long. 

So, I'm determined to create bigger and better, or at least to start on that creation. Right now, I have an outline of the major units I taught. 

In the meantime, I have also reached out to the English department chair where I want to teach a continuing education course in creative writing. This will give me the teaching and guidance outlet I love without the necessity of grading!!! And I hope to reach a larger audience this way.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Moving "write" along

 I'm so excited to say that since my last blog post, I've accomplished quite a lot in the writing (and business) areas. 

I filed my LLC for my coaching business in Colorado, so I will be adding writing under the total umbrella for Success with Tess, LLC.  Not only will Success with Tess, LLC handle coaching, but there will be a forthcoming journal for self-care. When I lived in Texas, I only had a DBA, so this is stepping forward in business for me. 

I purchased a block of ISBNs for my children's books, which will be republished this year if I keep to my schedule. I have a wonderful artist friend who will help me rework the illustrations for the 2 existing Baxter books and get the third completed and published.  We will also be putting out coloring books on my Etsy site.... that's a thing, too. 

I've been working on my short articles for The Belly Dance Chronicles. This beautiful magazine is currently on hold while they are looking for a publishing platform that suits their needs. I'm working on a number of articles so we can all hit the ground running as soon as they are ready.

Finally..... maybe... I am creating an outline for a creative writing course to teach in the continuing education department at AIMS Community College here in northern Colorado.  There are three campuses very close to me, so I'm betting I can get at least one campus to support this course. I am also considering applying for an English adjunct position.

For you, my readers, I want you to put faith in any writing endeavor that you do. If you are journaling, writing poems, or attempting something larger, DO IT. 

I think my entire family started writing more after I got serious and was published. I'm sure they figured if I could do it, they certainly could.  My dad, mom, and brother have started writing funny and poignant family stories. I could not be happier about this. I'm so thrilled they are all finding their individual voices.  It's a crazy joy for me to see other people write, feel good about their writing, and find their voice. I don't care what they write or if they share it with me, which they normally do. I just want them to have joy in writing. It's an art, a creative process, and an important part of human civilization to write our stories - fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose.  It doesn't matter. It's a uniquely defining factor of our species on this planet. Blows your mind, doesn't it?  

Join me in finding your voice and finding joy. If you want information about writing or any of my specialties, hit me up at Leave a comment and let me know what you are writing or what you plan to write!!!  Put in links to your blogs or other writing so we can enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

I can do that...

I’m not sure when I first started using the phrase, “I can do that.” It’s apparently so much a part of me that my entire family says it in jest whenever I get a certain look in my eyes. When I saw belly dancers dancing on stage at Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie, Texas, I said, “I can do that.” (Note: my mother had taught belly dance lessons at a local junior college when I was very, very little, so this was NOT my first exposure to this awesome dance form.) I immediately signed up for lessons with Isis at her studio in Bedford, Texas. 

I've done the same with writing books, participating in adventure race sprints, and learning new instruments. I didn’t say, “I’ll try,” “I’ll see” or “I want to do that.” I affirmed that I already had the ability to DO it. If you read motivational and self-help books, they give the same advice. Speak as if you've already become or done that thing. 

Start telling yourself, “I can do that.” Go out there and DO IT!

Leave me a comment on a time you did the same. I'd love to hear from you, and you might inspire someone else to live their dream.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Updates to the page - and a new offering!

 Hello all  - 2023 is already a flurry of activity around here. I've created affiliate links for any/all books on this site. That includes my books and books I love and/or recommend. In addition, I now offer coaching and editing services. I've been an editor for a long time, but I just didn't advertise. I'll only take jobs on a case-by-case review, and I'll have a few different tiers to offer. Look for more details coming soon. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Getting back on track

 So, I have two children's books published. I'm very grateful and love that I had that opportunity, but all was not quite rainbows and roses. I had two talented illustrators who brought Baxter and his stories to life, and I have great reviews for which I am humbled. But illustrator #1 wasn't paid (or paid so little as to seriously infuriate a very good artist) by the publisher, and I'm not sure if illustrator #2 was either. Neither came back. Then came a string of several illustrators who were wildly wrong for the project. Heck, I even bought a very low-end digital art pad and took an illustration course. Sadly, though I can draw a bit and certainly copy things, I couldn't get the hang of this.  Maybe I can keep trying since I have an iPad and pencil now. 

Then, my publisher didn't get book 3 published and eventually shut up the house. Amazon only offers my first book, Merry Christmouse, digitally, so people can't get a hard copy.  (Publisher should be working on that now.) Also, somehow my book was sold or handed off to other printers, and now they are getting printed elsewhere - I don't get paid for those. 😡

Book 3 was written, edited, and ready for the next step. I actually don't know if that will happen.  Writing books ain't for the faint of heart, y'all.

However, I started 2023 asking for the rights to my books and the digital files so that I can work on republishing the books. I'm not sure what it will take right now, but they are MY books. I'm going to get them back out, and I'm going to research to make it right. Amazon has a global reach, but I feel sick with my books out there getting sold without respecting me. 

I'm also going to open a digital store for Baxter items, so look for that.  I want Baxter on an ornament or t-shirt or something!  So does my awesome mom. If I can get the hang of drawing digitally, I want to create Baxter coloring books. I had so many big ideas way back when, and it's time to dust off.... uh, the dust.😄  I've contacted BOTH illustrators to get involved AND get some compensation from their work on my behalf.

In other news, I found a file that might contain some of my novel information from long ago, AND I found my old teaching website that contains tons of files and links that I used for to teach middle school Language Arts classes, including my creative writing elective classes. I'm going to see if I can get everything back up and accessible. I'm really excited. It's like a big New Year's present (and if you only knew what a disaster my NYE was, you'd agree that I needed this).