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Last week was an exciting week for me as a writer.  I received my signed contract back from my new publisher, L&L Dreamspell, along with a welcome from the owners, and an invitation to join their author group.  My days were spent up-dating my web site–which still needs a lot of work!–polishing the blurb for my upcoming book, Snow Shadows–I think I finally got it right!–and writing–or trying to write–a bio for my author page on LLD’s web site.  Ugh!  I really, really, really hate doing those things!  What I didn’t spend much time doing was writing.  I only managed to churn out a few thousand words and with Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday, I’m pretty sure I won’t get much written this week either. 

That sucks, but I’m not complaining.  I consider myself very blessed to have a book–or three–coming out in print next year, to be able to spend time working on projects of this nature–okay, let’s be honest here, to waste a lot of time doing what others could do in a mere fraction of the time I spend doing them–and to…well, I won’t say enjoy, but at the very least, to be challenged by what I’m doing.

I was never much for challenges before, but these days I consider myself something of an expert.  What happened to change me?  Multiple Sclerosis.  I was diagnosed five years ago and since then, challenges have become a daily part of my life because the most predictable thing about MS is…it’s never predictable.  I have days when I struggle just to get out of bed and get dressed and I have days when I start out fine then the fatigue suddenly descends and knocks me flat.  I have days when my balance is so bad I have trouble walking and I have days when my thought processes don’t click the way they should.  And then there are the days when the monster goes into hiding and I’m not even aware it’s there.  For me, as I imagine it is for everybody with this or any other incurable disease, each day is a crap shoot, you just never know what you’re going to get. 

The thing is…whatever challenge MS throws my way, each day is also a blessing because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from having MS, it’s to value each day and do whatever you can to make it count.  It’s a good policy to have, don’t you think? 

So this year on Thanksgiving if I’m asked what I’m thankful for, MS is going to be on my list–not for having it, but for the things it’s taught me.  Maybe I’m looking for the silver lining to this cloud that at times obliterates the sun from my life and at other times only hovers on the horizon, but it’s my cloud and it’s not going to go away.  I can either embrace it or let it smother me.  

I choose to throw a congenial arm around its shoulders and make it…well, if not exactly a friend, at least a bearable companion.

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**I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that this post may turn into a “Friday Folly”–hence  the asterisks and question mark.  Oh well, we’ll see.

Twilight Fantasies Publications has closed its doors and the authors–of which I am one–have no idea what’s going to happen next.  Will they file for bankruptcy, thereby leaving the future of our books in the hands of the court?  Or will they just fade into oblivion, thereby leaving all their authors to wait and wonder if it’s safe yet to re-submit their work?  Who knows?  I can give you my opinion–I think they’ve packed up their toys and gone home and we probably won’t hear another word out of them–but that certainly isn’t etched in stone and fair warning, it’s based more on my own personal hopes than facts.

So, I’ve been reading a few of the blogs and watchdog sites which have seen fit to comment on the closing and I’m very dismayed by some of the posts by other authors.  Particularly those made by authors who are more experienced and thus in a much cushier position than authors who are just starting out–like me.  Normally, I enjoy reading the thoughts and remarks of people who know more than I do about a given situation, but this time around, I’m a little…um, sickened by their smugness.

The thing is…these authors who are speaking from their loftier perches on the ladder of success, seem to be well, I think blaming is too strong a word here, so let’s just say implying that when an author gets caught up in the death throes of a dying epublisher, said author has no one to blame but herself.  I’m sorry, but I don’t get that.  Haven’t these people ever heard of compassion?

Apparently not.  A few of them have even gone so far as to say we–meaning the authors who are caught up in the <insert name of epublisher who’s gone belly up here> debacle–were so “desperate” to get published, we would have handed our rights over to just any old Tom, Dick, or Harry on the cyber-space highway as long as they offered us a chance to get our work out there.

Now that just flat-out pisses me off, and I’m here to tell you it isn’t so.  Not in my case and not in the case of countless others who have–or will in the future–go through this.  I’ve been privileged to read the work of some of those authors and I can tell you, these are not fly-by-night, anything-for-a-quick-buck, looking for glory, desperate authors.  These are writers who have poured their hearts and souls into their work, who have taken the time to learn how to write a book, and who, in some cases, are turning out better work than some of the crap written by several of those best-selling authors published by the big New York houses–and trust me, you don’t even want to get me started on the unoriginal junk that’s being churned out by those people.

Okay, so there are authors out there who think it’s our fault we’re going through all this heart ache.  Where do they get that?  Perhaps–and I’m quoting a fellow author here–it’s their “Diva Attitude” that makes them say things like this.

…and even as I write this and worry that some of those “Diva Authors” are going to take a very big, very vicious bite out of my ass for it, an email just came through my inbox warning of yet another epublisher–one that’s been in business for a while and by all accounts was one of the more stable ones–that is closing its doors.  If it’s true, several of those “Diva Authors” are going to be caught up in this one and we’ll be able to see how they handle it.

Poetic justice?  Maybe, but I prefer to think of it as sweet revenge.  Which probably makes me sound like a spiteful bitch, but I can’t help being glad they’re going to get a taste of their own medicine, because I know for a fact it won’t kill them…but it is a bitter pill to swallow.

Got sugar?         

Okay, in between talking baseball with my fellow Red Sox fans–of which there aren’t many down here in NC–and watching the World Series games–Go Sox!  Three down, only one more to go!–I’ve been spending my time immersed in Cherokee legends and myths while I research the second book in my Eternal Shadows series–the first book, Snow Shadows, is now under contract with L&L Dreamspell and is scheduled to come out in print and ebook next year!  Woo-hoo!

Sorry, it’s difficult to curb my enthusiasm over that one!

So anyway, amid all the sites on the Internet which deal with the history of the Cherokee, I’ve found one that originates from Indiana.  Indiana?  Yep, there’s a branch of Cherokee Indians in Indiana called the Lone Wolf Band, and they have an interesting history of their own.  Here’s the link if you want to check it out: 

http://www.skyenet.net/~myersdk/toc.html

I clicked on the site originally because it came up when I searched for “Cherokee Religious Beliefs.”  That page on their site was interesting so I clicked over to their main page.  And well, wow!  There are a number of pages, dealing with everything from history to spiritual beliefs, and I took the time to read them all.  As a result, I’m even more enthralled with my ancestors than I was before. 

As I was reading my way through the many different pages, the one titled “Are you Cherokee?” kept catching my eye, but I resisted clicking on it.  Why?  Well, my great aunt always said, “one drop of Cherokee blood is enough to make you Cherokee,” but there are many who don’t feel that way.  A lot of tribe members today consider only those who can prove their heritage with documentation true members of the Cherokee tribe.  My family can’t do that, we have no legal documentation that my great-great-great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee.  So I avoid pages like that.  I know I’m Cherokee and I don’t want–or need–anybody telling me I’m not.

But the rest of the site was so engrossing that I overcame my deep-seated resistance, braced myself and clicked on that dreaded page anyway.  And I hate to repeat myself, but well, wow!  The page begins with a prophecy from our ancestors that the new century  (my first thought was the 20th, but on another page this site says it’s the 21st) “would bring forth many people of Cherokee blood that want to rejoin the heritage that had been hidden from them.”  The prophecy is told in detail on the “Return of the Buffalo” page and it’s fascinating reading.  A little like the predicitons of Nostradamus, far-seeing and eerily accurate.

The thing is, it goes on to offer an explanation as to why my family doesn’t have the “legal documentation” so many say we need if we want to claim to be a part of the Cherokee tribe.  The page says:    

“During and after the removal of the people, times became very hard. So the government devised yet another way to assist in the extermination of the Indians. The government offered those Indian people their own plots of land and also gave them up to $5000.00 in cash so that they could live and farm their own lands. They even offered them slaves. But this was not without a catch. To do this the government required these families to denounce their Indian heritage and to never speak of it again. The government wanted these Indians to live as whites and because times were so hard for these people, many accepted.”

That little historical tidbit is something my great aunt never told me and I never found in all my research, and I’ll be honest, it feels incredible to know that Aunt Bessie was right; even with that one drop of Cherokee blood that flows through my veins, I am Cherokee.

That speaks to my soul and warms my heart.  Enough so that when I read the part about the so-called Cherokee “experts” who refer to people like me as a “Wannabe,” or even more derogatory,  a “Twinkie,” I laughed. 

Me, a Twinkie.  Who’d’ve thought?  I just might have a t-shirt printed up!

So thanks to the Lone Wolf Band of Cherokee Indians in Indiana.  You’ve confirmed–in my mind and heart!–my heritage, given me a few ideas to be included in my next book, and lifted my spirits all at the same time!

Wa-do!  (Thank you in Cherokee)

…He opens a window.  Sure, we’ve all heard that old saying or a variation of it at some point in our life, and most of us probably smile knowingly or roll our eyes at the banality of it.  I used to be an eye-roller, but as of today, I’ve joined the ranks of those who wear an enlightened smile.

What changed my attitude?  Well, first, I’ll offer up my horoscope for the day:

The good news is that your career is about to take a very exciting turn — the bad news is that it might also take up a lot more of your personal time, at least for a while. Your past problems at work are all water under the bridge, and you have learned some very valuable lessons. 

I usually don’t pay much attention to my horoscope, just read it and move on, but today it couldn’t be more right.  Take the first sentence, “The good news is your career is about to take a very exciting turn…”  Okay, yesterday I was offered a contract from a print publisher on my sensual paranormal romance, Snow Shadows.  I signed the contract this morning and put it in the mail.  “Exciting turn” is an understatement, and the next part about it taking up a lot more of my personal time is yet to be proven, but it’s probably spot-on…and I don’t mind a bit!  

Now, the second sentence.  It starts with, “Your past problems at work are all water under the bridge…”  Well, my ongoing battle with my other publisher is just that, ongoing, but it does seem to be coming to an end.   Then it goes on to say, “and you have learned some very valuable lessons.”  I certainly have.  And for that I’d like to take a moment here to offer my thanks to the other authors and editors who are going through this battle with me.  They’ve been incredibly supportive, unbelievably generous with their knowledge, and an unflagging source of comfort when I needed it most.

The thing is…with all that’s been happening in my life lately, my faith in God has been on a bit of a down-swing.  I hated that, but I couldn’t seem to stop it from happening.  Then yesterday, when I received the contract offer, I’ll be honest and tell you God was the furthest thing from my mind.  Perhaps I was too excited or maybe I was so high up in the clouds that the thin air was clouding my thinking.  Who knows?  But when I read my horoscope this morning and that old saying popped into my brain, I couldn’t roll my eyes…because I suddently realized I was now living proof of its validity.

“When God closes a door, He opens a window.”  Oh, indeed.  The closed door for me was having to fight to get the rights to my book back from a publisher who wasn’t honoring the terms of their contract.  The open window–and in my case I got not just one, but two–is the group of friends who have been so wonderful in a time of need, and the new contract with a print publisher.

God may have closed the door, but he most certainly opened a window…or two.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams

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