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Posts Tagged ‘Romance Writers of America’

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So we’re getting ready to hit the road; going to caravan about 2,100 miles with a 26′ U-Haul truck, towing a car, following another car, with a 75-year-old man who loves to nap and a 70 pound, 11-year-old Labrador Retriever, across the Mojave Desert, Arizona and Northern Texas during July. What could possibly go wrong?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, moving is a hassle. And I’m not just talking about the packing part, I’m talking about every single thing you have to remember to do. Like turning off all utilities, forwarding mail, remembering what gets auto deposited or debited into or out of a bank account that you’ve now closed. Stuff like that. Pain in the ass.

But with moving, comes excitement and anticipation of starting out new and fresh somewhere else. Finding new homes for your things, learning new routines, exploring new places. Fun, fun, fun.

Sad to leave friends I’ve had for 45 years and the town I grew up in and know like the back of my hand, but happy to discover new friends and new places.

Here’s a list I’ve compiled (in no particular order) of things that I am in NO way going to miss:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

1 – the 45-minute commute to work;

2 – the 45-minute drive home from work;

3 – wearing business professional clothes, heels and up-do’s every single day;

4 – being someone else’s employee;

5 – rationing water;

6 – the fear of a forest fire burning down my house;

7 – exorbitant taxes;

8 – extremist political leaders;

9 – everyone thinking you live in Hollywood or near the beach just because you live in California;

10 – everyone thinking you’re wealthy just because you live in California.

11 – not having to bring my own grocery bags to the store;

12 – the penchant to litigate everything.

Things I’m definitely GOING TO miss:

1 – Too many friends to mention by name;

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

2 – Disneyland;

3 – the weather;

4 – my local chapter of Romance Writers of America;

5 – my nieces and nephews;

6 – the ocean;

7 – Lake Tahoe;

8 – knowing all of the short-cuts and secret passages around town;

9 – being just 45 minutes from awesome snow skiing;

10 – some of the best wine in the entire world;

11 – The Olde Town Grill;

12 – my zumba class.

Tell me loyal subjects – uh, I mean followers, what would you miss most about your home town? What special “secret” things do you cherish about where you live? Would you travel across the desert in the heart of summer?

Word of the Day: Uncinate

Fun fact about me: I’m a planner; down to the smallest details. Yet, I love being spontaneous. Go figure.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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So it’s another year. A new beginning. Out with the old, in with the new. Sometimes letting go of the old stuff is hard. Sometimes not. As some of you know, in December I wrapped up my second year as President of my local writer’s group. It was a challenging yet rewarding period in my life. I learned a lot. But now, it’s time to turn over the reins to a new leader. I’m going to be honest here, I’m ready to hand over the tiara and the scepter.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Some of you are probably all too aware of the challenges associated with leading a group of volunteers all of whom are already over-worked in other areas of their lives. It is, after all, usually the busiest people who volunteer to take on yet more responsibility. If not for these willing souls, however, many things would simply not happen. Until you’ve volunteered or filled in for someone in a volunteer capacity, it is hard to understand what that person experiences. Volunteering is not for everyone, but it certainly enriches our lives when we do it.

Image courtesy Google Images.

Image courtesy Google Images.

So as we move forward with 2015, I wish the best of luck to our new leadership team at the Sacramento Valley chapter of RWA and look forward to learning and growing by your example. I offer my continued support and bow humbly at your feet for stepping up to the plate.

Have you ever volunteered? Did you learn from that experience? Did you regret your decision to help out?

Word of the Day:  Xiphoid

Fun fact about me: I don’t volunteer because I have the time; I volunteer because I have the heart.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

 

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

As I arrive home from the annual national conference of Romance Writers of America, I am weary but bursting with joy. I have learned much from the huge variety of engaging workshops and have filled my creative tank to maximum capacity.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I am still high from riding the waves of excitement that swell throughout this event. There is an unexplainable joy that settles into my soul when I am among like-minded individuals all pursuing the same goal; people who understand the ups and downs of this business we call writing.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I am hung over with the giddiness that comes from meeting new friends and reconnecting with others I see less often. A plethora of social events provides many opportunities to hear amazing stories of people who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles on their way to success.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

A rejuvenating optimism courses through my body and I return home inspired to dig a little deeper in order to achieve that next step on my journey.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Until next year, I shall endeavor to raise the bar on the quality of my work, my relationships and my life.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

The following short poem, by Tiffany Prochera is an accurate reflection on my current state of mind. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

http://www.inspirational-poems.net/short-inspirational-poems/404-be-inspired

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

How about you dear readers – what inspires you? Where do you go, or what do you do when you need a little pick-me-up? Do conferences inspire you? Does nature inspire you? (Obviously it does me, ergo, the photos.)

Word of the Day: Winze

Fun fact about me: I love lighthouses.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2014. Original poem by Tiffany Prochera. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

My local Sacramento chapter of Romance Writers of America hosts a retreat every other year and this year we were so blessed to be able to have our retreat at the Stanford-Sierra Conference Center at Fallen Leaf Lake in Lake Tahoe.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 138

Photo by P. Rickrode

Crystal clear Fallen Leaf Lake is protected on all sides by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and sits at 6,300 feet in elevation. It is completely surrounded by two indigenous species of conifers; Jeffrey and White pine. Just a short walk from the lodge, civilization ends and desolation begins. Desolation Wilderness offers nearly endless hiking and breathtaking views throughout its 63,960 acres of federally protected land.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 125

Fallen Leaf Lake
Photo by P. Rickrode

The lodge and cabins at The Camp date back to the turn of the century with some staff housing still sitting on original foundations constructed in the 1920’s. One of the famous staffers at Stanford-Sierra was John Steinbeck who worked at the camp in 1925 and helped construct many of the staff cabins. He was a popular figure at The Camp and was known to spend his down time hiking, fishing and writing by the light of his lantern at night.

Sacramento Valley Rose was honored to have Margie Lawson as our guest speaker. Margie filled our Friday night with fun and our Saturday with valuable knowledge, tips and other information to make our manuscripts sparkle and shine in a way that would capture the attention of an agent or editor.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 154

Margie Lawson, SVR Retreat, May 2013
Photo by P. Rickrode

After a long day of learning and a mouth-watering feast Saturday night, it was time to let our hair down and have some fun. We played our own special convoluted version of Wheel of Fortune, minus Vanna White and lovely prizes. Much belly-laughing ensued.

Anna "AJ" Stewart, Janina Henderson and Judy Ashley Photo by P. Rickrode

Anna “AJ” Stewart, Janina Henderson and Judy Ashley
Photo by P. Rickrode

We did what writers do best with limited letters.

Kendra DeSantolo Photo by P. Rickrode

Kendra DeSantolo
Photo by P. Rickrode

Patricia Rickrode aka Jansen Schmidt Photo by Anonymous

Patricia Rickrode aka Jansen Schmidt
Photo by Anonymous

As the night progressed (and more wine was consumed), things got a little more raunchy.

Anna "AJ" Stewart showing us her extensive vocabulary. Photo by P. Rickrode

Anna “AJ” Stewart showing us her extensive vocabulary.
Photo by P. Rickrode

Once the tone had been set, there was no going back and it got easier to guess the words.

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly Photo by P. Rickrode

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly
Photo by P. Rickrode

Or not. Turns out, the laugh was on us. Suzanne’s a cunning fox that way.

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly (aka The Trickster) Photo by P. Rickrode

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly (aka The Trickster)
Photo by P. Rickrode

Despite the building-shaking thunder and brilliant flashes of lightning on Saturday night and the lack of cell phone communications, a good time was had by all. The staff at the Stanford-Sierra Camp were simply the best greeting each request with a smile and offering assistance over and above what we expected. The weekend couldn’t have been more perfect.

So tell me readers, where have you experienced a little bit of writing heaven? Where have you attended a retreat that made a lasting impression on you?

Word of the day: Xebec (have fun with this one Colleen)

Fun fact about me: I used to change my own oil and filter in my car.

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