Giving Up the Fight

Sometimes, I need a reminder to work “with” the natural order of things, rather than against them.

This tree was planted just off our back patio before we moved in nearly twenty years ago. The trunk was 4-5 inches across, and it was around eight feet tall. I loved the leaves. The proximity to the patio? Not so much, roots being what they are.

So we decided to cut it down. And we did, but we didn’t grind out the stump. We just kept cutting down the parts that kept popping back up, expecting it to die eventually. Needless to say, it’s withstood decades of abuse at our hands, as we never quite got around to grinding the stump out, and it just kept doing what trees do, and growing any which way it could.

This year, I looked at all the new growth points, and gave up. It clearly wants to live, and I want shade over the patio, so cut all but the straightest sucker off, and I told my husband I was just going to let it grow.

Will the roots eventually damage the patio? Maybe. Probably, though there’s a tree with the same sort of leaves a couple blocks over right next to a sidewalk, and it doesn’t seem to be pushing that concrete up (yet).

I’m not sure what kind of tree it is, but when the leaves get a bit bigger, I’ll find out and look it up. Regardless, I’m done fighting with it. Anything with that strong of a will to live in our yard, where we’ve struggled to get other trees to take hold, deserves a chance to do its thing. I know this one will grow fast and strong, because it comes up from the ground every year and ends up taller than I am before summer even gets started.

For this year, I’m going to pick a nice spot somewhere near the top and lop it down just a foot or so, to encourage some branching. Then we’ll see how it does over the summer. I should probably read up on tree care. Lord knows I watch enough bonsai videos.

I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder in my life every so often. Things are so much easier and less stressful when I stop fighting and go with the natural flow of things.

Are you a fighter? Or are you a “go with the flow” sort of person?

Drop a comment or email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram. Discussion is always welcome!


Support your author:

Buy directly from me at Brazen Snake Books, or:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)

Respecting the Process


I’ve always been very goal-oriented. I’ve pretty much spent the entire first half (or more, but we’re thinking positively here) of my life focused on reaching goals. Graduating high school. Moving out/buying my first house. Getting my first job. Developing my first career. Paying off debt. Writing/finishing a book. Getting married. Publishing my first book. Writing more books. Paying off debt again. Working towards retirement. Trying to get to a point where I can focus solely on my writing. You get the idea.


The thing I’ve noticed more and more lately is, I’m far less patient with the process required to meet big (and small) goals than I used to be. I’m in such a hurry to just get a project done and move on to the next thing that I’m just annoyed and irritated at all the little things that need to be done between the start and end of the project.


The issue with smaller projects (individual books, for example), is that I need the smaller projects done before I can advance the larger projects. And those larger projects are parts of bigger projects yet, and so on and so forth. Since I’m always looking ahead, I’m focused on what I can’t do *yet*, rather than what I am doing *now*.


That’s really not a healthy or productive perspective, I don’t think.


The only way I can really complete those bigger projects/goals with any kind of good knowledge base and experience is to *not rush* the process needed to actually “level up”. Constantly trying to “go faster” or circumvent the whole, detailed process of whatever it is I happen to be working on at the time is not going to help in the long run, and it could certainly hinder things later on if I have to go back and learn things I missed earlier.


The trick then, is to learn to respect the process itself rather than focusing on a goal several steps ahead. It’s a tough shift when I’ve been looking at far-off goals my whole life, but I think it’s very necessary, especially at this point in my life.


Writing, weight loss, gardening (indoors and out), and dog training are all projects I’m working on now where I’m actively trying to respect the process and focus on learning all I can before it’s time to move on. I’ll freely admit – it’s difficult more days than others. But ultimately, I want to break down my own barriers to such things, and find a way to…if not enjoy, at least respect the process I need to go through.


With writing, revisions are my major issue at the moment. I think I’m starting to make progress as far as my attitude towards them goes, with the help of some new software and techniques I’ve been playing with. Sometimes just changing *how* I move through a process helps me to tolerate it – and sometimes even appreciate it – more easily.

Are you someone who enjoys the process? Or are you less enamored with the “journey” than the end goal like myself?

Drop a comment or email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram. Discussion is always welcome.


Support your author:

Buy directly from me at Brazen Snake Books, or find my books at:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)

The Golden Retriever’s Owner

I didn’t really want to walk the dogs one night earlier this week (okay, most nights this week). It was cooler and windy and threatening to rain – it had sputtered a bit an hour earlier, and I hate walking in the rain (though not quite as much as the dogs). I’ve had to walk the dogs separately for awhile now, and one of my biggest fears is the weather turning bad before I get back from the first walk, necessitating a second walk in worse weather (or not being able to take the second one at all).

In any case, the temperature was still decent, and while my eyes do not handle the wind well at all, the weather is not supposed to really get much better or worse, and the dogs need their exercise (so does their owner). So, I put my shoes and jacket on, and off we went for a short hike around a nearby school/church “compound” of sorts.

As Athena and I reached about the quarter mark of our walk, I saw another walker with his dog coming toward us, and crossed the street, as Athena can be rude to other dogs. And then I realized it was an elderly man who lives a block and a half away from us, walking his golden retriever. He waved, I waved, Athena was on good behavior, his retriever wagged its tail…everyone was friendly all around.

I’d been wondering about him for a while now, as I hadn’t seen him out walking since I’ve been able to be out again and the weather was decent enough. I’m sure he’s in his 80’s, and one afternoon last summer, I had a very nice chat with him while I was out walking Apollo and he was out in his yard. We’d discussed my first surgery, and his health, and his poor neighbor, whose dog had pulled her over and broken her hip. He’d been headed over there to walk her dog for her while she was healing after he finished walking his golden.

A year or so before that, he’d seen me one evening walking past his house with both dogs, struggling to keep them under control as another dog passed on the other side of the street (yes, I did keep them under control, but it was hard work). He’d smiled once the other dog had gone past, clearly sympathetic, and simply held up one finger.

I got the message. And I knew he was right, but I wasn’t ready to admit defeat just then. That was before Athena chomped my left wrist, before I had two surgeries in six months, before I fell walking Athena and seriously stretched a tendon, again in my left wrist. All of which forced me to follow his sage advice, and walk one dog at a time. My left wrist is no longer strong/stable enough to control a large dog that might lunge at a bunny on its own. I don’t know if it ever will be again.

I don’t know his name and he doesn’t know mine (that I know of), but still, we know each other, and we’re friendly in passing and I’m sure we’d take the time to chat and catch up if circumstances allowed again.

I like knowing he’s still out there, able to walk his dog and enjoy the seasons even at this late point in his life. He’s living the kind of life I want to work toward, and I will do my best to be like him in my “golden” years. Perhaps I’ll wave and have sidewalk conversations with someone younger than I, out walking their dogs in the twilight hours as well.

If I do, I’m certain I’ll think of him, and the years seeing him and his goldens on the street, waving and sharing a smile and a common love of our four-legged friends.


Support your author:

Buy directly from me at Brazen Snake Books, or:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)


If you have a favorite thing to share, or want to recommend a book, TV show, video or podcast, comment below, email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram.

The Snow Globe

I don’t actually own a snow globe at the moment, so for demonstrative purposes, here is my overly dramatic Begonia Ignita, “dying” of thirst.

Everyone’s probably had at least one week in their life when just about everything went sideways or topsy-turvy. It doesn’t happen to me often, but this past week was definitely one of those. Starting first thing Monday morning, things broke I had to fix, things I tried to fix wouldn’t mend, concerning announcements were made, schedules were thrown off, plans were derailed…

It was unsettling, in more ways than one.

But then Friday morning first thing, everything suddenly turned around. Deadlines were met, communications restored, projects that had been waiting on others got finished, good conversations were had, and while I didn’t really appreciate the timing because I was tired and I didn’t feel like putting in that much mental effort, a project that’s been hanging out a long time suddenly took off and got mostly finished, with just a little clean-up work to do Monday.

And just like that, the world flipped upside right again.

Which leaves me with one question:

Who shook up my personal snow globe this week, and would they please just leave it on the shelf for awhile now?

Begonia Ignita, recovered and happy.


Support your author:

Buy directly from me at Brazen Snake Books, or:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)

Refreshing

It’s that time again, when the seasons are on-again, off-again, on and so on, like a child flipping a light switch for fun. Snow, hail, sleet, rain, sun, wind, cold, hot…sometimes they trade in whole days, and other times, merely hours.

Isn’t it interesting how many of us humans feel the need to clean and dust and organize and purge major areas of our lives in the spring? For some, it’s almost a fanatical turn-over, a near-desperate need to renew our surroundings and sometimes deep swaths of our everyday lives.

For others, it’s a quieter thing, more of a shaking-out of winter into the backyard, sending the snow back to Old Man Winter and dusting the ennui of dark and cold into the bin for a good six months (hopefully).

Normally I fall into the latter category, quietly pruning the plants in the yard, maybe wiping down my kitchen cabinets, and thinking about all the things I should do now, while the weather isn’t actively trying to kill me. I enjoy watching the flowers pop up, the color gradually coming back, and being able to walk my dogs late without all the bulky layers and gloves needed in the colder months.

Spring always brings a bit of dread though, too. In the midst of all the renewal going on, there are still losses, and I’ve suffered enough of them in the spring that I’m somewhat on edge until summer sets in, wondering if there will be another casualty – one of my dogs, a friend, someone in the family. I try to ignore it as much as possible, but it’s always there in the back of my mind, until the weather gets hotter and the interminable heat of summer takes over.

This year, my husband decided to “refresh” our backyard. Once upon a time when we first moved in, we had a wild idea to put a dry riverbed through one side of the yard, and plant it with flowers. There was to be a tiny bridge to cross over it with, and a fountain at the end. And for a little while, all but the bridge existed.

But, grass seeds spread, weeds took over, and neither of us had the time or energy to stay on top of the maintenance. The fountain got covered over, the rocks started falling in, and the whole thing just got way, way out of control. We don’t work well in the heat, and weeds tend to grow great in the dead of summer, which is not a great combination of things to keep a neat-ish patch of yard.

So, the job being too big to handle ourselves, we decided to hire the landscaper who tore out our front lawn for us to come back and take care of the mess we’d made in the backyard. He’s been working all week, and a third of our yard has been torn up, and is in the process of being graded to fix a drainage problem (water in our basement), and to look much less wild than it did just a week ago. It will be rock and grass, easy maintenance (just mowing, no weeding), and I’m sure the neighbor who shares that fence line will find it refreshingly clean as well.

When the landscaper asked if I wanted him to “scrap” my handmade raised bed by the patio, I declined. It, too, needs a refresh, and I fear I’ve lost the roses in there, including my favorite Peace rose, which was over 20 years old. But I want to do that work myself. I want to finish those beds, fill them up with good soil, and replant them myself. I don’t want someone to do it for me – I want the satisfaction and ownership of doing it myself.

Sometimes, you have to just admit that the job is too big, and pay someone to get you back on track. Other times, it’s not necessarily about the finish line, but rather about continuing to work at it whether you ever crawl over that line or not.

I am looking forward to seeing our completed yard. And also to getting out and trimming up the front gardens where things have already begun to grow. I’ve started doing some spring-cleanup of routines and workflows, too, which feels good, and is already bearing some productive fruit (such as creating a dictation schedule again for writing).

With any luck, everything and everyone will keep springing up, rather than the alternative.

Are you spring-cleaning? Anything noteworthy this year?

That’s it for this week! If you have a favorite thing to share, or want to recommend a book, TV show, video or podcast, comment below, email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram.


Support your author:

Buy directly from me at Brazen Snake Books, or:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)

About the Big Black Spot…


…in my driveway, that is.


It was about a week ago that I noticed it. It had probably been there for a little while, given the size and the snow that kept falling and melting, but I really noticed one day when the snow was gone and I put the car in reverse and backed out of my driveway to go to work.


It was dark, and roundish, and obviously soaked into the concrete. But more than that, it was right underneath where the front of my car normally rests whenever I’m at home.


I went past curious pretty quickly, and got that feeling in the pit of my stomach we all get when we notice something that signals something isn’t right, and whatever that something is could potentially cost a lot of money.


Then I tried to ignore it. Tried to just assume it wasn’t an ongoing problem. Whatever happened had happened, and surely it would just be gone one day, and I probably wouldn’t even notice or remember it had been there.


Alas, it kept growing. Slowly, but it was definitely getting bigger. That’s when the paranoia set in.


Every time I parked, I watched the asphalt or concrete when I backed out of a spot. If I could drive through, even better, because then I couldn’t see anything. My parking spot at work was clear, nothing seemed to be dripping at the grocery store, or the pet store, or the drugstore, or the hardware store.


But the spot kept growing overnight, like a hex on our driveway, until finally my husband noticed too, and there was no denying it any longer. And when I really looked close, I couldn’t decide if I was seeing more of an iridescent sheen or neon green tint. Would the outcome of one be worse than the other? Hard to say.


Plans were made, cash shoved anxiously in my work bag, and I dropped the car off at the mechanic three blocks from where I work a few days later, handing over the keys with no small amount of trepidation and fear of what would come next.


I walked back to work, sat down at my desk, and waited, all sorts of dollar signs and numbers floating through my head. When the call came, I braced myself. Our car is 14 years old.


“Your car is ready!” The guy had a chirpy lilt to his voice. I figured it was all the dollar signs he’d be slapping me with shortly. Some people get off on torture.


“Great,” I said, trying to stay semi-optimistic. “What was wrong?”


“Just a loose oil filter.”


My whole body immediately felt lighter, and I walked over to get my car, enjoying the sunshine I’d ignored just a couple hours earlier. I finished my workday, and had a few errands to run on my way home. Two stops. Quick. Easy. Barely anything.


Just before turning into the second parking lot…my oil light came on. It hadn’t ever done that, even when that black spot had been growing in my driveway.


I got the things I needed to get, and my heart beat fast as I turned the key in the ignition.


No oil light.


Someday I’ll stop staring at that spot on the dashboard when I start up the engine.


Maybe.

That’s it for this week! If you have a favorite thing to share, or want to recommend a book, TV show, video or podcast, comment below, email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram.


Support your author:
Order from me directly at Brazen Snake Books (ebooks & accessories so far)
or
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)

The Makings of Places

Surprise! Not a post about the store, for once…yay! Though that is coming along nicely, now that I’m figuring out how to use the WooCommerce software. But I digress….

I’ve been thinking a lot about places lately. Settings, in writer-speak, but ultimately, how being in a place affects people, and how different places affect people in different ways.

Being mostly a “pantser” (wherein I write “by the seat of my pants” without hashing out a plot first), I often struggle with my settings. I don’t like to write about places that exist, because I don’t want to risk “getting it wrong”, or worse, (because my perspective will most certainly be different than the people who actually live there) malign someone else’s love of a place because of my markedly different and possibly negative perception.

I wasn’t really too worried about that last bit until I read a book set here in my hometown, by someone who moved here from elsewhere, and their perception of the place, valid as it is, really took away from the actual story for me. I spent the whole book focused on the things they didn’t like about the place I love (not that it’s perfect, but my perception of certain things didn’t match theirs, obviously), and constantly telling myself that it wasn’t something I should take personally (which I totally shouldn’t)…but just having to do that left a sour taste in my mouth for the book itself.

I don’t want to do that to someone else’s hometown.

I decided years ago to write in my own made-up places, and then a few years back, I decided to create a more concrete setting where I could place the majority of my stories, and not have to keep making up a new city or town every time I sat down to write. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if the place names I wanted already existed in those forms, and a lot of time looking at maps so I could situate my growing city and adjacent small “tourist-trap” town somewhere that nothing else was, and that the topography matched what I needed for a specific subset of my stories.

I’ll admit right now – this is far more work than trying to get the details right for an existing place (though less work, perhaps, here in Montana than it would be elsewhere, since we still have a lot of open space to play with). But I’m all in now, and some of my drafts are rooted in these places, so they are “real” in my head and these stories couldn’t happen anywhere else.

My most recent problems are visualization and growth over time. My ability to design the layouts of my settings in my head is very limited – I have severe tunnel vision when it comes to visualizing places. I’m not a cartographer, I’m not an architect or engineer, and while I can visualize individual houses and to a limited extent, streets, I have a very hard time visualizing an entire place in my head at once (even an existing place).

I recently decided (after repeatedly trying to draw rough sketches of what I thought my towns might look like and failing spectacularly because my drawing abilities are cave-painting at best) to see if Copilot (because it’s easy to access) could give me a reasonable visual representation of my made-up towns, and more than that, since my stories span generations, if I could get a visual of how those towns/spaces would possibly change over time as far as architecture, size and skyline go. I have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to have an image created of what my made-up “spaces” might look like, and how they might evolve through the decades. I went back and forth a bit on details, and got them looking like a real small city and nearly abandoned tiny town, and worked on getting the topography to look how I needed it to, and…yeah.

Now I have working visuals I can refer to while writing, that will keep me from having to explain why the saloon is in one spot in one book, and an entirely different spot in the short story I wrote during the same time period (hint: in that case, it would be my inability to remember where things are, so, writer mistake). Super handy, super helpful, and it’s going to save a ton of time having those to refer to as I’m writing.

I’ve also been doing a lot of research on how towns were formed in the late 1800’s (when my saga is starting) – the whys, the hows, the whos…and it’s all very fascinating. This is all information that will go into the stories, but not directly. It’s more that all these things will imbue life into the characters and their backgrounds, which are inextricably linked to the history of these two settlements.

And of course, the people who settled there came from somewhere else – another important part of their general makeup.

So…Meadowlark and Magpie Montana. As far as I know and can find, they only exist in my head, but they’re becoming more and more real thanks to a lot of research, some map-peeping, and some AI rendering.

Fun stuff…I’m excited to keep writing these stories and see how they turn out!

If you feel like it, tell me about one of your favorite places. I’d love to read about how it sounds, smells, tastes, and feels to be standing in the middle of a place you dearly love!

That’s it for this week! If you have a favorite thing to share, or want to recommend a book, TV show, video or podcast, comment below, email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram.


Support your author:
Order from me directly at Brazen Snake Books (ebooks & accessories so far)
or
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)

New Store, New Perspective

In case you were wondering, setting up an online store from scratch is a pretty intensive and time-consuming process. I suppose if one uses Shopify or one of the big pre-packaged store builder services, it would be somewhat less so, but I did that when I first started selling books (in 2011), and ended up not making enough money to pay the rent, so to speak.


So this time, I decided to be smart, use my web developer skills, and set up a store (check it out on my BSB site here) that wouldn’t cost me more than it will possibly make back. If I eventually start making enough money on a regular basis, I’ll move to a “prettier” solution, but for now, it’s free WooCommerce and a few choice plugins. Plus PayPal as the sole processor, because they’re the only remotely affordable processor willing to process transactions for the more adult ebooks my Trinity alter-ego writes (if you’ve noticed her site was down, yes, I know – it was my mistake, and I’m working on it. It’s back online, but still needs some backend fixing.).

Yes, I know lots of people just ignore the Terms of Service, do what they want and hope for the best. I’m risk-averse, so I’d rather have permission before anything bad happens, thanks.

Anyways, that’s where all my blogging energy has gone lately. Setting up the store has required a lot of futzing and learning new things from taxes to shipping to order fulfillment and just managing to create and list products. Plus securing the store forms, and testing, testing, testing everything. And now that most of that (not all, but most) is out of the way, there’s the tedium of simply creating and listing all the books – and testing the delivery for each ebook to make sure it works. I’m trying to list at least two books per day (I have about an hour each night to work on this). Once I get all the ebooks up, then I’ll work on print.

In the meantime, I’m still writing, and I have several micro-fiction stories that I really want to make into bookmarks and story cards. I also have several little bits that need to be slotted into larger works-in-progress, and still more that will make very nice short stories and novellas as they’re expanded.

The new perspective I’m really trying to cultivate with all of these projects is one of not having to do everything “right now“. Being able to be okay with working on things in small chunks that don’t require a lot of focused brainpower for long periods of time. It’s very much a workflow and mental shift for me – all my life I’ve preferred to start and finish a project in as few “large chunks” of time as possible, and as quickly as possible, so this doling things out in a trickle is new and somewhat uncomfortable for me.

But that’s how we grow, isn’t it? By doing uncomfortable things, and allowing ourselves to change and flex depending on where we are in our lives at the moment.

I’m mostly just happy to be making the time to be creative. Even if it’s not as much time as I’d like, and it’s still somewhat frustrating to work in such small chunks, it’s better than being frustrated at not doing anything creative at all.

I’m also happy to be working on the business side of things again – something I haven’t done in a long time just because it was just too daunting, and often overwhelming to even try. If I wait until I “have time” to sit down and do the whole thing at once (whatever that “thing” happens to be at the moment), it won’t happen.

So I’m working on tiny pieces at a time, and accepting the fact that it’s not work that will ever actually be “finished”. It will just go on until I decide it’s time to stop.

Hopefully that won’t be anytime soon. Oh! I almost forgot. Smashwords is having their “Read a Book” week sale, and some of my books are on sale over there until Saturday. If you like cheap ebooks, check it out! You’re sure to find something interesting and entertaining!

Also, my apologies for having to add Captcha to the comments. The amount of spam written in Cyrillic was just seriously getting to be way, way too much to keep up with. And since most readers comment more on social media than here anyways…I figured it would affect a minority. Please do let me know if it gives you problems, and I’ll see what else I can figure out.


That’s it for this week! If you have a favorite thing to share, or want to recommend a book, TV show, video or podcast, comment below, email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram.


Support your author:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)

A Story of Adaptation


As I mentioned in my resolutions post, I’m focusing on short and micro-fiction so far this year. I’m also working on creating a daily writing habit, so 50 words per (week)day is my minimum. I’m quite enjoying it even though most of the daily words aren’t going anywhere, and others need to be fleshed out into longer short stories.

But I have written a few things that I really like as micro-stories, and those, I’m turning into exclusive bookmarks and cards for my new online shop. I wouldn’t sell them as just a single tiny story, of course, but packaged into a handy bookmark (I love the prototype I’ve been using) or a card to give to someone else? That seems like the perfect use for these bite-sized bits of fiction.

As a bonus, it allows me to explore my love of paper crafts and it’s starting to make me more excited about sharing my stories with the world again.

To start this endeavor, I used a little story I call “How it Ends/How it Ended” to create a batch of simple bookmarks with a cover, two pages, and a back cover bound by a grommet at the top that allows the pages to swing out for reading. It took a bit of finagling to get things formatted and positioned correctly, but I’m really quite pleased with how they turned out in the end, and I’ll be making more bookmarks with different micro-stories throughout the year.

While I was making those, I had an idea for a card to go with the story. I think we’ve all been in a position at one time or another of seeing or running into a person within our normal sphere of life that we never quite talk to or chat with, but it feels like we know…or should know them.

Well, “How it Ends” is one of those “missed connections” stories. So I’m creating cards that read “I Think We Should Meet” on the front, and then when you open the card, you’ll read that little story, and then under the story on the right side of the card, it simply says, “Hi”. A little gift to tell someone that they’re someone you’d like to know – or at least like to talk to once in your life.

I love this on several levels…it’s self-publishing at the smallest denominator, it allows me to create both a story and a physical, hand-crafted object, and it’s something I think some people might actually find both entertaining and useful. I’ll be playing with different types of bindings and formats over time, which will be a lot of fun.

It’s allowing me to write, finish, and publish on a micro-level, using the smaller bits of time and mental energy I have available after the intensity of the day job.

Adapt and change – that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? With my current day job, I simply don’t have the mental capacity to write and publish larger works on a regular basis (though I am still working on them when I do have more energy). By changing how I work and what I’m working on, I’m enabling myself to still do what I love, on a different scale, and when my circumstances change again (eventually I’ll be able to retire), I can change up my focus and processes again.

An important life-lesson for me to remember, as I tend to think that if I can’t do exactly what I want, how I want to do it, then I should just not do that thing.

I need to be more flexible, and this is a great step in the right direction, methinks.

Have you adapted a process in order to continue doing something when your circumstances changed, just in a different way? Share your story (here, on social media, or if you’re reading via email, feel free to hit “reply”)! I’d love to hear it!

Oh! And while we’re on the subject of change – the Brazen Snake Books site has a completely new look! I’m working on incorporating a store there, so there are several links that don’t work simply because I haven’t built the store out yet. But it’s coming! Check it out if you’d like, and let me know what you think (or if you run into anything that doesn’t seem to work).

That’s it for this week! If you have a favorite thing to share, or want to recommend a book, TV show, video or podcast, comment below, email me at jamie@jamiedebree.com, or catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram.


Support your author:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)

Valentine’s Day Gift: That’s the Ticket!

I wrote a bit of short fiction for you today. Enjoy!

 

That’s the Ticket

Five years ago on Valentine’s Day, I met the man who would make all my dreams come true.


It had been raining all day, and the only color on main street were the pink and red splashes that lined most of the shop windows along the way. I felt as gray as the weather, walking alone in a dress I couldn’t afford and now, given its bedraggled state, couldn’t return. He stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb in our small town, rushing down the sidewalk with a pointless newspaper held over his head in that expensive suit soaking up moisture as fast as it fell from the sky.


I’ve never played football, but when he rammed into me shoulder-first, sending me flying a few feet back and right up against the thick trunk of a sturdy tree, I was pretty sure I knew what it was like to be tackled by a line-backer.


He did stop to make sure I was okay, though he was obviously perturbed at the delay. I was perturbed at being thrown into a tree, and received a very polite apology before he took off again.


I think about him every year on this day. I go stand on that corner, snap a selfie under that tree, and I wonder where he is and how he’s doing. My friends and I toss back a shot in his honor, knowing that he doesn’t know my name and probably has no memory of me or that brief encounter that changed my life forever.


I’m guessing he doesn’t remember the lottery ticket I lifted from his suit jacket, either.


Support your author:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | The Book Depository
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible
Google Play (digital) | Google Play (Audio)