Monday, December 31, 2012

The First Look at Mamie

Every writer has a novel.  Mine is about Mamie.  She has followed me around since my sons were boys.  I began to research her backstory at a kitchen table in Cudahy when I interviewed Irene.  Funny, but it was Thorp Irene described when I asked what a small town would look like. 

After looking at the scraps of Mamie's life that fill notebooks and pages and random swirls of research, I think the reason her story hasn't yet been told is because I'm afraid once her story is in the great big world, no one will read it.

Now, her story is my secret to enjoy.  Every now and again, I take her out of the red binder and add something to her experience, her steps, her world.

When the novel is public, her story will be criticized, judged, panned and discussed.  People will read into her story their own ideas.  They will react, or not, based on what they know.  

So I've decided to test the waters a little.  Sprinkle some phrases into the universe to see what readers might think.  This is a bit from the winter chapter.

She awoke one winter morning earlier than she should have.  Looking out at the pre-dawn chill, she thought of all the seasons that had gone before.  Spring with its unending promise beckoning her to grow.  Summer’s long lazy days pushing her to keep in motion, keep going, keep doing, stop thinking.  Autumn’s spiraling decisions made causing whirlwinds of life to spin beyond her reach.  And now winter.  Quiet, cold, dark days closed inside like a package waiting to be opened.  Mamie didn’t fear winter or shirk away from its closeness.  Rather, she enjoyed the days of solitude and rest.  The tightening from inside, the layers of protection.  

Mamie thought that winter would keep her safe from the outside.  She expected that no one would look far enough inside to see where she really was.  She was wrong.

So.  What do you think?  Want to know more about Mamie?

To order a copy of A Book of Pages About Crossing Bridges or a Friend Named Jesus, please visit my website:  Writer's Pages

Facebook:  Author Kris A. Newman

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Letter from Me to You

 Kris A. Newman Freelance Writer


December 21, 2012

Dear Friend,

If you know me at all, you know I’ve never done a Christmas letter.  I live a quiet life splashed with moments of laughter and love.  Before now, I have always shared my life with those close to me because they were, literally, close to me.  Since moving around these last couple of years, however, I see that my network of friends has spread many miles and it’s impossible for everyone to know what’s going on in my corner of the universe.

So, here it is.  My first attempt to catch everyone up with more depth than a Facebook post, but not as intricate as a blog post.   I apologize if it’s redundant and please don’t mistake it for bragging.  As I sat to consider what in the world I would write, I found myself looking at a couple of huge events that I’ve waited – WE have waited – a long time to see.  I feel compelled to stretch back a bit as there were some major lifetime milestones crossed and maybe we haven’t had coffee in a bit so you might not know.

November 2010A Book of Pages About Crossing Bridges published
The first time a collection of my rambly words found its way to print in a real book with a cover and ISBN and listing.  I’d had a blog for awhile and my readers kept asking when I was going to write a book.  The stories and poems that fill its pages simply fit together.  

May 2011Graduation from St. Catherine University
Bachelor of Arts, Written Communication is what the diploma with my name on it says.  I wore a cap and gown with an honors chord - the whole kit-and-kaboodle.  I cried from the moment I stood on the steps waiting for my name to be called until I crossed the stage, shook all the hands and walked down the stairs on the other side.  Thanks to all of you who fed me, encouraged me, believed in me and helped me along while I found myself.

November 2011A Friend Named Jesus published
A second collection of rambly words.  Some of the pieces of this book had been in circulation many, many years ago.  A little polished, a little spiffed, and a couple of additions made.  Again the pieces fit together as though they had been waiting for someone to come along and get them in a book.

Having two books in print has also afforded me many travel opportunities to Women’s Conferences and District Camps to sign and sell.  That has been a great way for me to meet new friends and reconnect with others.  Blessings come from so many paths.

February 2012 – Bapka’s House bought
It doesn’t seem reasonable to the logical side of my mind that now that I’m alone, I would buy a house bigger than any house I had ever lived in.  Why now when there is no one to share the lawn work, I can’t help but wonder.  But the right opportunity at the right time in the right space opened before me and so I made an investment which I now call home.  About two minutes away from my grandbabies in a quiet little town, I am.

July 20125ive for Women magazine
A casual meeting with a magazine editor has turned into a steady flow of magazine article writing.  The magazine is smart, trendy and witty.  On their behalf I have interviewed a Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice, a television anchor, foster parents and pierogi makers.  I count myself honored to be a part of its writing staff.  

See what I mean?  I look at those milestones and realize I have lived a chunk of life all of a sudden!  I have always wanted to be a writer, some of you have reminded me of that.  You told me you remember me saying when we were kids or teens or raising our kids together, “Someday I’ll be a writer.”

I have had long, deep conversations with some of you sharing my self-disdain for my lack of education.  I longed for a time when I could say I had gone to college, exchanged ideas and argued my thoughts.  Life has a way of making us feel as though dreams are for someone else, those luckier people who walk a step ahead of us while we are busy working.

Now at the grand old age of 46 I have something new to tell you, my friend.   If God has given you a dream, keep working toward the dream and it will eventually come to fruition.  The talents you possess are meant to enrich the world.  Give them time to grow, use them where you find opportunity.  Don’t stop dreaming.  Don’t let life steal your calling.

We know my life hasn’t always been easy.  Even in the middle of these milestones are heartache, sadness, challenges.  Long stretches of loneliness when I wondered if God had forgotten me all together.  These things didn’t come easy to me.  In many ways, the books are shouted in the face of my distracters and ride on the heels of the hardest time of my life.  Life is like that.  

Many, many good things are strung between those milestones, too.  Times with you chatting, drinking tea and strolling, laughing at everything and nothing, watching you pray past hurdles and smile victoriously in the face of your hardships. Angelbaby kisses and professional accomplishments hang on that string of time, too.  I see blessings overcoming the hardships when I look behind.
I could easily have filled these pages with stories of my grandbabies which would make you smile.  But that, surely, would have been bragging.  I could have told you how fantastically well my sons are doing in their relationships, ministries and professions.  But they are grown so I leave that now to them.

I wanted, instead, to use this opportunity to encourage you and share with you how good God has been to me.  I am convinced God directs my path and has made it so I can see these dreams come to life.   If He would do this for me, He will do ever much more for you.  Yes, I am sure.  

I pray you are enjoying the gift of life today.  Blessings and grace to you and yours this Christmas season.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Special!

Just a quick post at the end of this busy day and before I sleep quick and jump into another packed 24 hours.  To answer requests for direct sales, I have opened a tab on my website called the WebStore. (I know, isn't that clever?)  Anyway, you can order directly through the WebStore and pay through a secure PayPal link.  I get instant notification that you have paid for an order and where to send it.

So simple. So quick.

To make it even a little more pleasant, Christmas special pricing is happening as we speak!

Drop over to the website, slip into the WebStore and see what's goin' on!

So grab a cuppa java, wander around the blog a bit, stroll through the website, peruse the WebStore and let me know what you think.

Praying you will find the richest blessings of Christmas grace for you and yours this Christmas season.

I am grateful for your support and encouragement.

Thanks for visiting,

Here is the link to the website:  Writer's Pages

Here is a link to the WebStore:  WebStore

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Writer's Double Life

The hardest part about my double life is I don’t have any time to dwell on the victories of my writing.

I remember when the copy of my first printed book came in the mail at work.  I wanted to shout and dance and grin broadly and call everyone and post it on Facebook and then dance some more.  Maybe even have a cup of celebratory tea and toast to the sunshine streaming in the windows!

But a tape was waiting and my boss was pacing and eyeing my allegiances and so I put the box under my desk and smiled to myself and got back to work. The bills have to be paid and I can’t be without a job.  Tucking myself away, I set it aside.

My second book, like the first, crossed my desk in similar fashion with similar squelched happiness.  

And now, today, I have officially sent a proposal with real terms to be agreed upon by real people who have asked me to get their stories in print for other real people to print and read and share.  I want desperately to talk the terms out with everyone I see.  To pontificate and regurgitate and reassess the pros, the cons, the fears, the accomplishments.  

But no dancing aloud, no celebrations ensue, no reveling here, no discussions, dissertations or detailing allowed!

Dictation and filing and other important tasks demand I retain focus.

Someday, when I grow up, I’m going to be a writer at my own desk in my own space and I hereby proclaim every noteworthy event will be celebrated with tea, crumpets and loud voices!

But not today.  Today, I get back to work.

At lunch time, if you look over my shoulder, you might find me tossing words about the page.  Not so they become memorialized, but simply to empty them from my consciousness so I can concentrate.

Like this:

Let me just put it out there.  If they reject my offer, I am in the same position that I was in August before I knew such a thing could happen.  If they send a counter-proposal, I am in a better place than I was in August.  

What have I got to lose? 

This constant going back and forth in my mind only serves to distract me from the tasks at hand and could ultimately jeopardize my job.  That is the great frustration of working and not only writing.  The words chaotically chorus circling my days refusing to behave while I do what must be done if I will have a roof over my head and a car to drive.

I chase away jealous thoughts of those who wile their days away complaining about a husband gone too much or children who crawl into their personal time.  What do they do with all that free time I imagine they own?  What I wouldn’t give....  But then they likely wish they could trade my perceived freedoms and independence in exchange for their routines.  

Since my mother’s mind knows that no one wins the green-eyed battle, I construct a wall between my perceptions of them and their realities of me and get back to dictation while the words dance behind my eyes.

The worst part of being a writer who happens to be single is that there is no one to celebrate, contemplate and commiserate with me over the process.  I’m quite sure my friends are tired of my endless bragging and complaining, by turns, about the process.  If I were married, or even dating, surely Prince Charming would understand my fluttering mind and give me a place to rest.  I had a friend once whose voice alone I could rest in.  Something about his tone and understanding would instantly calm the fluttering phrases.  I miss that, honestly.   

Another friend rested my mind once by saying she was quite sure I wouldn’t want to write professionally.  Not that she didn’t think I could, but she feared that if I made the thing I love into the thing I must do it would tarnish its authenticity.  As the contract ballasts are built, I understand what she meant.  I only want to write, but if my writing is valuable, then I ought to get paid.  I’m not sure how to reconcile the two.  

Lunch hour has wound down and the timeclock is ticking.  Again I set aside the writer's dream until the day the words can play.  I put the worries with them in the box beneath my desk.  

For today there is only the hum of the air conditioner, the stacks of filing, the mail to prepare, the e-mails to read and the bills to be paid.   

Today I’m a writer with a job.  

 To order a copy of A Book of Pages About Crossing Bridges or a Friend Named Jesus, please visit my website:  Writer's Pages

Facebook:  Author Kris A. Newman