Go Read!

  • 6 Comments

I have a story published in the September issue of New Mexico Magazine!

And the story just happens to be up on the NMMagazine website too.

Click here to read.

Then go buy the magazine because I’m featured in the Storytellers section of the print edition!







Image from the New Mexico Magazine website.


Speak It Before You Speak It

  • No Comments

This morning I had a very important work meeting. It involved five people including my Boss, a counterpart in my same organization, her boss and the Big Boss of us all.

My counterpart runs a team that works very hard but she and I have arrived at cross purposes over a large project in a large country in Asia.

So she and I agreed to have a meeting with Big Boss and let him decide which way to go with this.

I got the task of setting up the meeting and presenting the situation since I’m the one asking for big changes around here.

Fair enough. I planned ahead on this. I wrote up my meeting notes, sent them around for review/comment then chatted with my direct BossMan about the project and how he wanted me to frame the conversation.

This morning, I was feeling pretty nervous. This meeting represented a big turn in a huge project, and the success of both me personally and my team.

I knew my stuff and I knew what I wanted to say. However, on this year’s performance review, my boss detailed an area for improvement.

Long story short, when talking to executives, he wants me to get to the point. I’m a writer, a storyteller at heart so I want to set up the scene, fill it with the drama, bring around resolution and denouement then leave it with a complete ending.

BossMan essentially told me to knock it off. “Speak in conclusions” is the latest business buzz phrase.

So as I drove to work this morning I started running through in my mind how I could present this very essential issue along with my counter-argument to my coworker’s case (which is quite legitimate), and manage to come away a winner.

Wanna know what I did? I practiced. Yup. I got to work a bit early, and I got up on my feet and I practiced aloud what I wanted to say. I spent about twenty minutes running through my story, editing it down, getting to the “here’s what I want from this meeting.”

When the time came to get on the phone, I felt pretty confident. I presented my case in a very crisp manner. My coworker presented her side too, but it was a bit rambling and I think she and her direct boss weren’t on the same page.

In the end, Big Boss came down on my side of the decision. Afterward my direct BossMan told me I’d done a good job.

Practice. Aloud. Such a simple answer that makes such a difference.

I always practice before a full on presentation, but I often forget to do a run through before a key meeting like this. It helped. A lot. I looked like I had my business together.

Whew.

By the time the hour long phone call was over, it was 9:00am, I had sweated through the armpits of my shirt and I needed shot of tequila. And then another.

But by god I got ‘er done.





Image from UAB School of Engineering website.


The Coolest Letter I Ever Received

  • 2 Comments

So in the file of “things you might not know about me” there is an item I’ll share.

Back in 2005, I wrote a book. Ok, that’s not the exciting part. I’ve written several novel length books, actually.

What is exciting is that I really loved this particular book so I spent the time (a lot of time) and the energy (a LOT of energy) to scrub it, then I worked with an online publishing house to self-publish my little book, just so I could learn how it’s done.

The story takes place during the course of a baseball game, and I used the names of real players and a real Giants announcer as characters in my story.

Recently I reread parts of this story (a sample is available on the iBook store) and I am still incredibly proud of the story and the writing (even if I realize that it could still use some editing).

So once I had a real live book in my hot little hands, I took one copy and popped it in the mail with a letter. The package was addressed to one Mr. Jon Miller, game caller for the San Francisco Giants, and at that time, ESPN Sunday night baseball.

In my letter I explained to the now Hall of Famer that I’d appropriated his name and style for the announcer in my fictional story because when I think about baseball, it’s his voice I hear.

I had been too shy to actually put a copy in his hands when I saw him at Spring Training earlier that year (I’d had the opportunity and couldn’t do it), so mailing it was the next best step. I figured that was the end of that, and forgot about the package I’d sent.

Until one day in my mailbox I found one of the greatest letters I’ve ever received.

Written in his own loopy, cursive hand, Mr. Miller apologized for taking so long to respond, lamented about the 2007 season just passed, gave me his thoughts about the upcoming 2008 season, and he told me he appreciated that I sent my book.

Well knock me over with a feather.

I still have the letter and it still gives me such a rush to read it.

Now that’s a guy with good old fashioned class. I’ll never forget it.






Today’s Theme Thursday is: Letter

Image from FriscoFastball.com


It’s Time We Had This Little Talk

  • 4 Comments

As mentioned yesterday, it’s performance review season at work. I received my appraisal on Monday and I just finished up writing a whole slew of reviews for my staff.

So while I’m in the flow, I think it’s time for my Blogging Performance Appraisal.

We’ll rate based on a typical corporate five point scale:

5 – Walks on Water
4 – Exceeds my low expectations
3 – Yer all right, kid
2 – Um. Could you work on that?
1 – Oh, Way No

Let see, now let’s assess performance against my goals.


1) Write a blog post every weekday and occasional weekends.

Rating: 4

Very rarely have I missed a blogging day, and even when I do, I go back and make it up. I’m very diligent on this point and I’ve definitely done everything I can to meet or exceed this goal.


2) Continually produce fresh content for every post, meaning write an original post every day.

Rating: 4

Thanks to my friend NewMexiKen, I was able to install a widget that counts the total number of words I’ve published here on this little ol’ blog. (you can find it at the very bottom left corner of this page)

As of yesterday, that number was 390,597 words since March 2007. I’m very proud of this number. 95% or more of those words were original content, straight from my monkey brain.

If you are keeping score at home, the average book runs about 80,000 words, so in essence, I’ve written 4.88 books over the course of four years.

And that kicks ASS.

3) Create blog posts about topics that fascinate me and written well enough to fascinate my readers.

Rating: 3

Yeah, ok, so I sometimes wander off a little bit toward bodily functions. Occasionally I enter my own personal wayback machine and can’t find my way out. And then there is simply fits and starts of utter randomness.

Fine. I admit it. On this blog I’m entirely self-indulgent. If you, my cherished readers, wanna come along on the ride, I’m happy to have ya.

If it doesn’t work for you, well that’s ok too.

For the record, I ain’t a’gonna change. I’m having too much fun.

4) Have fun.

Rating: 5

Not going to lie to ya, writing this blog is something I look forward to every day. It’s never been something I dreaded or avoided doing. Every post has been a crazy lot of fun to write and in the process I’ve gotten a lot better at writing and editing.

I love looking at this crazy ol’ world through my blogger’s eyes and seeing something everyone else would ignore, then whipping out 600 words about it here. For me, it’s such a sense of accomplishment to publish a fresh post.

Even if that post is about something as ridiculous as square watermelons.

5) Embrace my readers.

Anywhere from 100 to 500 of you visit me every day and read my words.

To you, I’m incredibly grateful.

I rate you all a solid 5.

Now keep up the good work!







Image from fun140gifs.com.


While I’m bragging…

  • 11 Comments

Might as well share my other blue ribbon, for best short story in the Western class.

On Saturday I got a chance to read an excerpt aloud at the fair. Many of the writers/readers were a bit shy and reserved in their reading. Not me. I went in there with *jazz hands*

Would you expect any less from me? I didn’t think so.