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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moving Forward ...

I don't even want to look at how long it's been since I added to this blog. Guilty as charged. Life always seems to be in the way. I look at the Facebook posts and tweets of all the authors I know as they pump out book after book. Many have the luxury of writing full time. If only. Well, maybe ...

For 30+ years I've been dealing with the kinds of tragedies we commonly see in the firefighting and EMS world. I've had several of my own and learned about PTSD the hard way. I've spent a chunk of my career helping others work through their critical incidents. That was good. But, there comes a time when you just feel done. A friend of mine suggested I'm suffering from "compassion fatigue". He may be right.

On June 11th I was in attendance with 10 others when a long time firefighter friend died. I didn't think I would be able to do it, but he didn't want to be alone. So, I was there. The next day, 16 of our firefighters lost their jobs because of a failure of a parcel tax. I lost a major chunk of income. This came in the middle of selling my house. Does that suck? Yes and no.

Another friend told me on the phone last night how I should apply for this full time EMS Coordinator position in a nearby county. Fact is, I DON'T WANT TO. I gave up full time work to be a consultant a few years ago so I didn't have to follow the beat of another person's drum. It's worked well ... up until now. Apathetic voters changed that.

As the Chinese say though,"opportunity comes from chaos". The good news is, I'm getting rid of a financial albatross, rethinking the consulting and teaching contracts I have, and am considering a pretty radical lifestyle change. I've been picking up a lot of non fiction writing work lately. It's a lot more enjoyable way to keep the lights on.

I'm considering that all this chaos is leading to the opportunity to finally become a full time writer.

At the beginning of the year I promised myself (and many aggressive writer friends) that I would finally quit editing my novel and just get it out there. I have a number of other books in my head, fiction and non-fiction. They're screaming for me to give them life. Who am I to ignore that? If the writing can pay the bills, I can also spend more time on my developing career in video production, and professional photography. That's where I really want to be ... serving the EMS profession, but in a unique, creative way.

Next month I'm carpooling with a few writer friends to Southern California for a writer's conference. I haven't done one of those in 20 years. Fortunately, this was paid for before the financial gauntlet came down. Who knows, maybe I can meet just the right people ... Well hell, I know it will be a good time, and I'll get a bunch of free books! So, off I go.

I hope the few of you that follow this blog will actually see this, LOL. But, that's another goal ... to post content here much more often!

Here's a picture of me and my handsome friends, Dean and Kalani - two excellent firefighter-EMTs looking for a job. This photo has a kind of "Men in Black" feel to it, doesn't it? Hmm, maybe there's a story there. I'm going to miss them.

Let me know what you think ...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Catching Up and Slowing Down ...

Okay, I've been very very bad about this blog.

The excuse .... that life got in the way .... well, yeah.

I've been trying to make a living the past few years as a consultant, but it's been far more time consuming that I realized. Recently, things have changed. I renewed one QI contract but the hours have been cut. The other fire department just lost a vote on a parcel tax, so my work there will be cut way back or eliminated completely. I've taught at the community college for about 15 years (more like 25 if you include my previous life in Southern California). That has become stressful and cumbersome for a number of reasons and every thread of common sense says it's time to go.

So, what does that leave then?? Writing! I've been watching my writer friends pump out book after book and wish I'd had the time to do that. I've been doing a lot of non fiction work, which has helped keep the lights on, but there's more out there. I just haven't had time. Now, potentially, I will. I've been doing online classes through RWA and enjoying my local Black Diamonds and Kiss of Death groups. I'm going to my first RWA national conference next month. It's time.

I've also renewed my love for photography and am learning video production and videography. This is something I could make a career out of. I've worked with the folks at First Responder's Network for a few years now, and it's a great bunch of EMS people trying to change the world for the better. I'm working on my own webseries, "Disaster Sam", which focuses on the lives and work of EMS people  in disaster settings. The show will also highlight the "people" of EMS and thier personal stories.

So, how far have I gotten on my novel? I thought I was in final editing on the first book, but a recent weekend writing retreat with my BDRWA girls and author Nina Bruhns opened my eyes to a few things. For one, my story isn't romance, it's contemporary with romantic elements, or maybe women's lit. So, I can leave it like it is and market it that way, or I can pull the romance out of the story see if that works.

Also, Nina was very excited to tell us about her new project as Editorial Director of the new "Dead Sexy" Imprint with Entangled Publishing.  She gave us the submission guidelines and a lot of encouragement. I might just think about breaking away and trying something brand new! BTW, if you want to blog about this new line, you can get a free book here: Entangled in Romance.

Well, I promised to get something up here with the promise of more regular content. I'll keep you up on the journey.