Ruby Slips and Poker Chips Arrives Tomorrow with Great Reviews!

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips release day is tomorrow! Check it out either on Amazon or Smashwords.

The reviews are in and they are fantastic!

Cyndy T. says, “Dottie Gale is a snappy second grade teacher in a small town in Kansas who is about to get swept up into a whirlwind cross-country road trip on the way to a teacher conference. She makes some new quirky friends on her trip and finds herself in the most bizarre of situations by no fault of her own. Add to the mix a new principal with higher aspirations than staying at a small school in Kansas and an old cheating high school boyfriend and the adventure begins!

I found this to be a fun read with many chuckles throughout as Dottie was a wise-cracking main character that kept the pace moving quickly. I enjoyed the parallels between Dottie and Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz and found the author to give just the right balance between references to the old classic and this story. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a not-so serious, yet very enjoyable, read curled up in front of a fireplace with a warm blanket and a mug of tea on a cozy evening.”

Anne Marie says, “Great voice, fast-paced plot, unique characters, heartwarming romance and a fresh, quirky spin on the classic Wizard of Oz! I flew through this book in one Saturday night and will be recommending it to my friends!”

Nancy C. says, “This was an enjoyable read. I sat down to start the book and ended up reading the whole thing. The story flows easily and you want to know what happens next.”

Lisa G. says, “I absolutely loved this book! It is a very easy read and I had a hard time putting it down! I am a teacher and could easily relate to the main character Dottie. The love triangle between Shay, Corbin and Dottie was great .I am also a big fan of the Wizard of Oz and enjoyed the references in the story. I would definitely recommend this book my family and friends.”

Get your copy tomorrow!!

 

Exciting News!

My debut book Ruby Slips and Poker Chips: The Modern Tale of Dorothy Gale is going to be released next Tuesday, December 5th. One thing I never could have imagined is the amazing community of writers who support you and cheer you on. Because I won a contest in July, I have met many wonderful people on-line. Three of the people who have been instrumental to making my dream a reality are Dan Alatorre and Sally and David Cronin. I am truly grateful to these new friends. Please check out my book on Amazon or Smashwords, and while your there purchase a copy.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore- New Author on the Shelves for Christmas – Ruby Slips and Poker Chips by Heather Kindt #WordWeaverContest winner

 

 

Do You Want to Give Up? Don’t!! (Part 3)

Here are the last two philosophies my friend shared from his climb to Everest base camp.
6) Be prepared for the unexpected and the unexpected won’t happen.
This one reminds me of our family trip to Europe this summer. We had a folder for each country and had almost every detail planned out. We knew how we were getting from the airports to our lodging and even used Google Earth to find the place we were staying or the bus station we were arriving in. Seeing a street view really helped. I know you won’t believe this, but NOTHING went wrong, and this included eight flights!
The same is true when you are publishing a book. Plan. Plan. Plan. Study. Learn. The more you know, the smoother is will go.

7) Nothing worthwhile in life is achieved without perserverance. Keep at it. Never, never give up!

In my classroom, I attempt to teach my students grit. This is the number one character trait that a student can have that is an indicator of future success. Not academic ability, but grit. This is why you hear of successful people who were high school dropouts. They don’t give up when things get hard.

When you have worked hard to achieve something, it means so much more when that achievement comes to fruition. So, follow my friend’s advice. Don’t give up on your writing or whatever your passion is because if you try you never know what could happen.

Do You Want to Give Up? Don’t! (Part 2)

In my post yesterday, I took three awesome philosophies from a friend of mine who just finished climbing to Everest base camp and applied them to writing. In reality, these philosophies could be applied to anything you do, but because this is a writing blog, I’m giving you my two cents on working with the pen, or in this case, the Macbook. The two things I’m going to talk about today have to do with teamwork and support. A difficult subject for my fellow introverts.

4) Take some friends with you. You will need to help and encourage each other. He continues by saying that this person needs to have the same goal and commitment as you. In writing, this means you might have to actively search for and find like-minded people. I have one friend who is a published writer. We met each other when we worked at the same school. She is someone who I can turn to for advice. She’s someone who has been there and done that. I have other friends who say they have written something, but I don’t see it being an active part of their life. They lack the commitment. I know what that looks like because I was one of those people.

I used to listen to a lot of Dave Ramsey and I also listen to the Model Health Show with Shawn Stevens. Ramsey will always tell you that you will be as rich as the ten people you hang out with the most. On the Model Health Show, one of the guests talked about how we assimilate the traits of the people we are closest to. If you hang out with a bunch of unhealthy people, you will take on those traits. If a lot of your closest friends are getting divorced, hang onto your spouse even tighter.

So how do you change this? Actively seek people who have the same goals and commitment as you. If you want to be rich, hang out and find mentors who have wealth. If you want to have a loving relationship with your spouse, hang out with couples who having loving and committed relationships and learn how to grow yours. If you want to be a better and more successful writer, learn from those who have been there and encourage each other along the way. Life is a process, not a destination. We all need help and encouragement.

5) It important to have a support network back home.

My husband has been invaluable to me along the way. I am reading the book Mindsets by Carol S. Dweck where she says that partners should help the other do the things they want and become the person they want to be. That is what Tom has been to me. When I first started writing, I just earned my masters degree in teaching reading. My kids were small at the time. Throughout that year and a half process, Tom would take the kids and entertain them every Saturday and Sunday so I could read and write a paper. After I finished my degree and started to write novels, he still entertained the kids on Saturday afternoons so I could spend some time in my book. But he knows that I would do the same for him.

Tom has been my greatest champion. When I won Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing contest, he and the kids decorated the dining room and had a party for me. It touched my heart. He wants me to succeed and this is the greatest gift of all. Who has been your champion along the way? Have you gone it alone?

Tomorrow I will wrap up this series. See you then.

 

Do You Want to Give Up? Don’t!!!

A friend of mine just hiked to Everest base camp. Pretty amazing! I’m sure I would have given up after the first day. Even on his days of acclimation, he had to hike. No rest for the weary. He posted his reflections on Facebook today and I think a lot of his reflections and philosophies outline the journey many writers are on.

1) Don’t give up your dreams or let them die from inactivity; pursue them until they become a reality.

This really happened to me. I wrote The Weaver back in 2008 and Ruby Slips and Poker Chips a year or so after that. There was one year when I didn’t have a full-time teaching job, so I only substituted. During this year I wrote like there was no tomorrow. It is a passion for me. And I worked hard to get an agent. I sent my query letters, chapters, and synopsis to agent after agent. I wanted to do the whole Stephen King nail on the wall thing, but stuck the rejection letters in a drawer instead. My dream seemed to slip through my fingers and it wasn’t until I saw my friend Dan Alatorre’s writing contest on Facebook last July that I started to have hope again (just a FYI, I didn’t know Dan before the writing contest – we’re friends now.) Winning that contest has me writing again. Have you stopped writing? What might give you hope again?

2) Set a goal; have a destination; make a plan.

We always have the best laid plans. I wanted to write during the summer, but there was a house to clean, or a vacation to go on, or time to spend with my children. You have to make writing a priority if it is a priority. We can waste our life away on meaningless stuff, or we can get intentional about what really matters. I know that I can easily get sucked into watching Netflix or checking Facebook.

I’ve started journaling. I’m not perfect at it, but I write down my goals. John Lee Dumas’s journal called the Freedom Journal can help you accomplish a specific goal in 100 days. Here’s a link: www.thefreedomjournal.com  

My goals might be overarching goals, or goals for that day, but I have them. Creating goals and thinking about the steps to get there is half the battle. After you do that, you have to execute. Back in 2015 I had the goal of losing 15 pounds. I weighed 152 pounds back then. I had to write down my anti-weight loss triggers. These were the things I had to avoid. These included ice cream, restaurants, the school lounge, absent-minded snacking, and cheese. Try writing down the anti-writing triggers for you. What keeps you from meeting your goals?

3) It’s important to have an experienced guide, someone who has taken the journey before and knows the way.

DON’T BE AN INTROVERT!!! Good advice from an introvert. I took the risk and reached out to Dan by entering his contest. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life (as far as my writing goes). But listen to what I just said . . . I reached out to him. He didn’t send me an email day after day reminding me to enter his contest. I had to do it. One of the things that kept me from self-publishing was I had no idea what to do. I kept telling myself that I was going to get together with my friend Allison who has had success, but as I said in #2, best laid plans.

Last week, I went to my first critique group. I read aloud a chapter from The Weaver and the friend I went with was amazed I could do that. Don’t let critique from an experienced guide bother you. They are helping! Because this group was mostly picture book and early reader authors, I hope to find a YA or novel critique group. Have you found someone to mentor you who has found success where you want to succeed?

Tomorrow I will give you my thoughts on my friend’s next three philosophies. Are you still pursing your dream? Do you set goals? Who helps you along the way? I’d love to hear your advice.

Gifts Wrapped in Sandpaper

I was recently listening to Lisa Nichols and she talked about gifts she has had in her life that were wrapped in sandpaper. This is definitely something I’ve wrestled with in my life.

Winning a writing contest for my book Ruby Slips and Poker Chips was a gift wrapped in the most amazing, dazzling wrapping paper. It was covered with a gigantic bow. Kind of like those commercials that come out around Christmas where you receive a car parked in the driveway with the big, red bow. It was a blessing. It was an acknowledgment of the work I put into the story. It has been an amazing moment in my life.

But like Lisa, I have had gifts wrapped in sandpaper, but perhaps these are the greatest gifts of all. When you are going through a trial in your life it molds you into who you are to become. I’ve sent my writing to agents in the past and have received rejection letter after rejection letter. Sound familiar? I also had the gift of being able to send my entire manuscript of The Weaver to an agent in New York after she read my query and a chapter from the book. After waiting two months to get a response . . . I got one line back from her!! But I had faith in my writing and kept going.

Right now, my mom is a gift wrapped in sandpaper and I only recently discovered what the gift was that came with my mother’s dementia. For four years I’ve been yelled at, cussed at, told I was no longer her daughter, and had to go through the guilt of putting her in a nursing home a year ago. I’ve been living with that guilt all year. But recently I’ve discovered the gift of giving up control. I can’t make everybody happy. I can’t control my mom’s happiness because she wasn’t happy when she lived with us for three years. It’s the sad part of the disease.

I’ve learned through my gift wrapped in sandpaper that God is in control. If I’m meant to provide different care for my mom, He’ll provide the way.

What have you learned through your gifts wrapped in sandpaper?

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips Blurb Release

Here is a preview of the blurb for the soon to be released Ruby Slips and Poker Chips.Thanks to my friends for the input that helped me revise it.

Second-grade teacher Dottie Gale lives in the tiny town of Quandary, Kansas, which is pretty much smack dab in the middle of nowhere. No mountains. No ocean. No life. Her ex-boyfriend and current school board member, Corbin Lane, cheated on her, making school functions more than a little awkward. But worst of all, a tornado named Maxine Westward rips through Dottie’s school as the new principal and has made her life at work a living hell.

When Dottie is chosen to go to a teacher’s conference in Las Vegas, she knows her life is going to change. Driving from Quandary to Vegas, three strangers enter her life. Through a string of situations involving poppies, flying monkeys, and a life-size sculpture of an iconic rock star the four soon become inseparable. So, when Westward arrives on her broom in Vegas, Dottie is ready for battle. Her boss black mails her with stories of incarceration, thievery, and a steamy relationship with her travel companion, but Dottie knows that those who hurl insults shouldn’t hold secrets of their own.

 

Discipline – Do You Have It?

An instructor I had for The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People had each letter of the word DISCIPLINE tattooed on the inside of each of his fingers. I had to count the letters to make sure there were ten. His morning routine consisted of journaling, reading, and weight training. On the mornings when his alarm went off in the other room (so he had to get up to turn it off), but then he wanted to lie back down, he would hold up his hands in front of him. DISCIPLINE. He knew that he was able to get things done because of the discipline he had in his life.

I am trying to implement discipline in different areas of my life because otherwise I will just crawl back into bed and watch reality TV.

Health:

Today I drank 5 shakes as part of a detox that my doctor prescribed. The only other thing I’m allowed to eat is vegetables. So, right now I’m eating a nice plate of radishes and cauliflower. Jealous, right? I’m on day 10 of the 30 day detox and so far I have stuck with it because my doctor says I need to repair my leaky gut. My husband and I have been going on nightly walks after dinner and even attempted a bike ride for my daughter. Yes, I’m rolling my eyes.

Money:

A few years back, my husband and I went through Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey. The course really motivated us to pay off our debt and start to save for major life events like emergencies, college, and retirement. We’ve paid off our cars, our credit cards, and are using a cash envelope to keep track of what we are spending.We’re doing ok with this, but not perfect like my detox so far.

Career:

I think the area of my life that has the most discipline is my teaching career. Working as a teacher for 21 years has provided me with the structure I need to work toward my goals. Right now, I’m trying to publish my book Ruby Slips and Poker Chips. This is not always and easy thing when I’m working full time. By establishing a structure to my evening: dinner, clean-up, walk, and then work in my office, I’ve been able to continue on the road to my goal of being published.

Spiritual:

We are community group leaders on Wednesday nights. One thing I have struggled with is time in my own personal study of the Bible. I found a podcast called The Daily Audio Bible where the Bible is read to me everyday in my car. I love this! It starts my day off the right way and I’m making huge connections in my life that weren’t there before I was in the Word every day.

A friend of mine quit smoking when she went through Financial Peach University. The reason? The same structure applies. She took what she learned from the class and applied it to her health.Don’t be discouraged. I’m not perfect. None of us are. Start with one area of your life where you can implement discipline. It will set you on the road to your goals.

Please comment below about an area in your life where you are creating discipline.

 

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips Chapter 1

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips is coming out later in November if all goes well. Here’s the first chapter to give you a small preview. I hope you enjoy!

Chapter 1

A tornado blew through the small town of Quandary the night before Westward arrived. The slim, rope-like twister was a two on the Fujita scale, but the damage it caused seemed more like a five. I wondered later if the storm came to drop her off before moving further east. The very next day, the school board voted and named Maxine Westward the new principal of Quandary Elementary. That day changed my life.

Now you may be wondering what I have against a woman who gives her life to shaping young minds. It just so happens that I was born with a sixth sense called woman’s intuition. When Maxine first walked into the school for her interview with her briefcase and painted-on smile, it was easy to size her up.

As I raced around the corner to copy my students’ homework in the last minute of music class, Maxine and I nearly had a head-on collision. She wore a navy blue power suit, six-inch heels, and her hair short and red. I wondered if the state sent her to inspect the school’s records again. The Kansas Department of Education has a nasty habit of sending their cronies in at the most inconvenient times.

I held up a homework sheet and extended my free hand. “I’m sorry, trying to get this done before I have to pick up the kiddos. I’m Dottie Gale.”

The phony looked me up and down, frowned, and brushed past me into the office. Glancing down, I searched for the coffee stain on my satin shirt. She painted her smile on again for Miggy Samuels, the school secretary, while I made my way to the printer. Before I even knew why she was there, my intuition kicked in, telling me she was no good for my school.

“I’m here for an appointment,” she said, looking around the office like she was too important to set foot in it. I wanted to tell her to take her heels, and get back to where she came from, but instead, I bit my lip and continued my copying. I kept my ears tuned in, pretending to mind my own business. I wondered why the school board was all there, getting the royal breakfast treatment from Wanda Jo in the lunchroom. A day of interviews to find the new principal would have to start with bacon and a short stack.

*****

After school, I carried my stepladder out to the hallway to hang up my end of the school year bulletin board. The large, yellow butcher paper curled around me as I struggled to staple the first corner. One of the magazines my Uncle Embry subscribed to ran an article last year about the ten most hazardous jobs. I wanted to call the editor and give him a piece of my mind, because coal miners and structural construction workers have nothing on teachers. I could fall backwards and break my neck on the linoleum while hanging this stupid paper, not to mention the number of germs that attacked my body from the petri dishes on feet called second graders. Just as I ruined my fifth staple, I felt a hand lift the paper. Corbin Lane stretched it across the board, holding while I attached the students’ papers.

“So did you hire the witch?” I watched him out of the corner of my eye. Corbin was the youngest member of the school board, as well as my ex-boyfriend. His black hair hung adorably in his eyes in a wistful fashion that reminded me of one of the characters in a comic book.

“And which one would that be, dear?” I hated when he called me that. I slammed another staple into the wall, intent on taking my aggressions out on the bulletin board instead of Corbin.

“Which one? The red head, of course! She marches in here with her superior attitude and expects we can’t see through it.” I hopped down from the ladder, moving it to the center of the board. Climbing back up, I pounded my fist into the stapler, again concealing my emotions in a way that I’m sure the stapler didn’t appreciate.

“We haven’t made a decision, yet.” He smirked. “But I guess I know where you stand.” Corbin moved the ladder this time and applied the next staple.

I froze realizing my mistake. Ever since he cheated on me in high school, he was constantly trying to please me – to the point of being highly annoying.

I snatched the stapler from Corbin’s hand, but found it empty. “Damn stapler.”

“Here, let me take it.” He took my abused weapon and went to my desk to rummage for more ammo while I thought about how I’d now become the sixth person on the interview committee. I knew my comments would definitely influence Corbin’s decision. Looking back, I wished I had the sexual prowess to influence the other three men on the board. I guess I need a little more Ginger and a little less Mary Anne.

The summer came and went and I almost forgot about the impending disaster ready to take down Quandary Elementary. During the teacher workdays before school started, Westward went out of her way to impress the staff by buying doughnuts for the break room, taking us out to lunch, and sharing childhood photographs. By the end of teacher training, I was looking forward to the first day of school and the excitement of the children seeing their friends, everyone looking their best, and a chance for all of us to start over. Looking over my class, I knew I was ready to take on a the school year despite the she-devil in the principal’s office.

“Good morning, boys and girls. I’m Miss Gale. Please put your school supplies in your desk while I take attendance.” My students worked on their desks and I collected lunch money. Ms. Westward walked in, taking the time to frown in my direction before heading to the front of the class.

“Children, I’m the new principal, Ms. Westward. I moved here from Colorado last spring. I expect that as long as I don’t find you in my office, we will have a good relationship.” She glanced around the classroom, her lips set in a firm line. One of the boys, knee deep in school supplies, raised his hand.

“Yes, young man?” Westward sighed smoothed out her suit, ready to move her heels to another classroom.

“I’m Tommy.” The boy wiped his nose on his sleeve. A shiny line of snot still ran across his right cheek. Westward raised an eyebrow.

“Yes, Tommy.” Her face was frozen into a forced smile, only interrupted by a twitch that developed in her left eye. The degrading tone made me squirm, even though it would roll off the back of a seven-year-old.

“Mr. Rollins used to play soccer at recess. Are you going to play with us?”

A slight giggle escaped my lips, and the principal’s eyes looked directly at mine, shooting daggers. It was the first time that I noticed she wore contacts. Lilac? Possibly she had been a victim of a nuclear accident.

Maxine let out a long breath. “No, Tommy. Ms. Westward needs to dress in nice clothes for work, and I’m getting a little old for soccer. Maybe Miss Gale will play with you.” A smile crossed her lips that told me the game was on.

“How old are you? You look like you’re a hundred. That’s probably why you can’t play soccer.”

The students erupted into laughter, while Maxine quickly left the room. I pushed my lips together to suppress a giggle of my own, but knew I had won this battle, and I would win the war with the students on my side.