Monday, January 28, 2008

getting Educated

I wanted the knowledge that schooling could have given me. I did not feel as if I had been slighted or missed a chance. The life we traded for the city was more than great. I loved the mountains and the freedom to climb those mountains. But there were still some mountains I had to climb education-wise. I read national geographic, in the outhouse of course. I found books on mathematics and taught myself to do budgets and month end accruals. I studied books such as "management market" and I listened. Yes, listened to conversations and when someone would talk about something I wasn't educated on, I looked it up and studied on the subject. I made certain that the next time the subject came up, I would know what to say and how to respond.
You must remember that this was back in the days before computers. I will say a computer would have been of little good to me. We had no running water and no electricity. What I was to learn was to come in book form or through people that were in the know. I was never, ever afraid to ask questions. That is a Hint to you should you ever find yourself where I was. People like to talk and love to sound knowledgeable. I caution you only with this. Sometimes people you encounter will want to sound educated more than they are. Take what is said in your mind and then verify it by reading about it.
When we left the mountains and moved back into society... note I did NOT say "to civilization" as I thought the violence and the way people treated one another was very "Uncivilized," I found the library to be the best place for the knowledge I was seeking. I read up on business and society as well as books to help me get my GED. But I learned something else in my quest to be smarter. I found that book smart did not always apply to the "real" world. I needed to understand how the world around me handled day to day life. Things I didn't have to think about or deal with in the mountains of British Columbia. I watched and I learned.
Did all of this reading really help me? Did I learn anything and could I conceal the fact that I was only schooled to the eighth grade? The answer is Yes! I went on to get my GED, joined the Air Force and educated myself more in there. When I left the Air Force, I worked several jobs and mastered them all. I finally made management at my last job before becoming a writer. I hold conversations with people about almost any subject you can imagine. No-one ever suspects that I am not a college educ[ted man. I am very proud of where I have come to and the knowledge that is stored up inside of my mind.
Anyone that truly wants to better themselves can do it. I tell you, read, read and read some more. Listen with your mind and your heart. Don't pass up ANY opportunity that comes to you to further your education. Take side courses and watch for classes given at local colleges. Your education is up to you. Reach for the stars because they are attainable. The world is at your disposal so use it. Get Smart!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

As smart as you WANT to be... Things I know about being self-taught.

As I look across my pages, I find myself thinking aloud.I look at the writings I have left here. I see the adverts for my novels. I wonder where I might be today if I had simply "settled." Settled for the education I had and doing with it the best I could. Many have done that and some have in fact gone on to be very successful in their lives. I am very happy for those that have. But I wasn't content to stay where I was. Maybe I should go back a year or two... o.k. more than a few years, so you know where I started from.
At 13 years old, I was finishing my eighth grade education. I was already looking at college and what I wanted to be. I was going to be an Oceanographer and write about every creature I encountered in the deep blue sea. Living in Florida made that dream even easier to see. We spent days and weeks at the beaches and weekends were for Key Largo and Key West. I studied the fish, I read about them as I had since I was 7 years old. I learned you couldn't take tap water, add a cup of table salt and keep sea horses alive in it. I learned if stuck your hand in a hole in the coral, you might just get bit. I spent every day after school at the canals in Miami, fishing, catching turtles and ducks and anything else that looked as if it wanted to be studied. There seemed to be no end to what I could find to fuel my desire to achieve my dream. And then, life took a huge turn for me. A change that brought on new dreams and new goals for me. A move that would set my feet on the path towards writing today. Even writing about "Things I know about being self-taught."
I will break this up so as not to have you reading forever. Let me tell you the event that changed my life forever. Just before my eighth grade year was to end, my father was given the opportunity of a lifetime. The owner of a pest control business in Miami, he was asked if he wanted to move to Canada. A man we were acquainted with through our church in Miami had purchased a ranch in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Set 35 miles into the mountains, the valley opened up into 1000 acres of grass and forest and wildlife that will stay with me forever. It's beauty was unmatched by anything this young boy from Miami Florida had ever seen. Perhaps I will write another time on "that" life.
Accepting the offer, my father sold his business, moved his family to this beautiful place and began a new life. This is the life that was to make me rethink all I had dreamed of before. The oceans of Florida were now what seemed to me to be half way around the other side of the world. The dreams of being an Oceanographer were faded and hard to reach from a stool set beside a Holstein milk cows legs. Bringing in cattle to be branded and raising pigs and goats took most of this young boys time. An absolutely fantastic life that so many young boys dreamed of experiencing. But not the life of a college educated man that just wanted to write about what he saw. That would take years of self discipline and of reading every thing I could get my hands on to read. That is where the next blog you read will begin. Because there are so many things to know about being self taught.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Great Reading...

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Friday, January 18, 2008

More on care-giving..

I continue my thoughts on care-giving now. Sheila and Dan really opened up a whole new world to me. My other blogs tell of the why I felt so right to be a care-giver. I think that if you are chosen to be a care-giver, you have been blessed more than you may ever realize. To know that God entrusted one of his children to you is an awesome feeling inside. A feeling of trust and faith that allows one to believe in their ownself.
Our afternoon and evenings were much like morning except that we never stopped running. We would go to the store or go see my parents. We would go fishing and Sheila had her own spot that I would park the wheelchair. She would prop her leg on HER rock and away she would go. She often out-fished me but we never let her illness slow us down. A part of being a care-giver is making sure they feel as able-bodied as they can. You can do that by taking them places they would go if they had no disabilities. Letting them feel as if it is only an "inconvience, not something that will take away their life.Show them that there IS life after being crippled.
Our night life was sometimes long and without a lot of sleep. because of her pain, she sometimes had a lot of trouble finding a way to hurt less and sleep. I would often be up every half hour readjusting her and talking with her so that she felt better inside and out. It was so important not to cause her to feel she was depriving you of sleep. The body is an amazing creation. It can and will adjust to any situation if your heart is right. Of course it was so easy because I loved her so terribly much. This is not always something that comes easy for everyone. That does not make you a bad person or less of a friend or love. It takes a special heart and mind to simply do what needs to be done to help them feel comfortable.
Talking to them, communication has to be the #1 on the list. If you can try and be them for a moment, see the world they live in, then you can perhaps understand how they feel inside at times. Sheila knew in her heart of hearts that I would lift her 10,000 more times if that was what life had in store for us. We would talk about how she felt and I would listen to her for as long as she needed to talk. I would cry with her and smile with her. You have the ability to give to the one care for a gift each day. The gift of peace to give to them. The feeling of trust and being in safe hands. The wonderful feeling of them knowing that whatever they call for, whatever they need to feel as if they are exactly like everyone else... you are there to give to them. Show the one you are caring for that they can close their eyes and sleep and that when they awake, you Will be there for them. Oh what a blessing that is to give to someone.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Things I know about being a care-giver

Care giving seems to be pretty cut and dry to some. You watch, you feed, you bathe, you take places... maybe even help them dress. Seems simple I guess. But there rally is so much more to giving your help to someone, especially someone you love and have built a life with. I may break this into a section or two. I think there is so much to touch on when it is such an important topic.
If you have read some of my writes, including my profile then you may already suspect that the beautiful lady in the wheelchair is my wife of 24 years. She joined the other Angels in heaven in March of 2006. But before she went, she taught me what true love is and what care-giving really meant. She showed my heart how to give and never leave her feeling a burden. Never to leave her feeling as if I was somewhere I did not want to be.
When Sheila was first stricken with Muscular Dystrophy {Polymyositis} there was so much to learn, for both of us. But I want to concentrate on the care-giver side. not because my end was any harder or easier than her side of the coin. She was the one in pain and the one that fought so hard to live and be a mother and a wonderful wife. I take nothing from all that she endured. In fact, it is some of those very things that taught me how to be the loving care giver that she and anyone else stricken with a disease deserves to know.
Care giving means learning to be as gentle as you can be. It means sometimes to toss out the rule books and do things that are less painful and work better for you and the one you are caring for. It is understanding that there are times that they will not be able to find a comfortable way to sit or lay. You may need to move them or adjust their pillows, their blankets, even their bodies many times before they can relax and feel less pain.
As a little looking in for you, our days and nights were often this way. We would wake and I would help her into the chair. We had found a way to lift her so that she felt less or no pain in the transfer from bed to chair. She would do her morning things and then we would go back to the chair. She would find a comfortable way to sit, sometimes needing to be lifted 4 or 5 times before accomplishing this.
{At this time I will say something important. When you are lifting, they will be looking at you, looking into your face and eyes. What they see is more important than the lift itself. Lift them with your heart and let them see that they are not a burden. Show them with your eyes and heart that you would lift them 100,000 times more if that's what they need. Smile and take the moment to show their hearts that your a lift of love.}
We would then settle in and I would make breakfast and find her t.v. show. We would watch a bit of t.v. and from time to time she would need to be adjusted or go to the bathroom. The smallest things like a sigh or a look can make them feel as if they have asked too much of you. Remember always that they are not "alright" with the way they are. They would gladly do what you and I take so much for granted if they could. When you are thirsty, do you get up and get drink? When you are hungry, do you get up and grab a sandwich or whatever else you might want? If you have to go to the bathroom, you just get up and do it. Remember, they CAN'T! They depend on you foe those things and it is the way that you do them that gives them the comfort zone to ask again.
There really is nothing in this world that will ever break your heart more than to hear these words. "Am I too much for you now? Are you getting tired of all that you do for me?" tears that flooded my eyes when this beautiful lady would say those words were only an outward sign of the love I felt for her. Here was a woman that was stricken with terrible pain every minute of her every day. Someone that didn't know if she would wake the next morning. And yet, here she was, worrying whether SHE was too much for me. It is so very important to make certain that they always, always know they are NOT too much. Show them that you will never "tire" of helping them. The blessings that come with care-giving with your heart are not measurable in any way. Show them that they are your blessing and that you are honored God chose you to be in their lives.
Care-giving is so much more than just the physical part of giving. It is the chance of a life time to feel love returned to you in ways you can't even imagine. It is receiving from them a tenderness and trust that few will ever know in their lifetime. Remember, they trust in you to watch over them and not let them get hurt. That is a trust that is bigger than the universe.
I will continue this in another blog later. There really is so much more to say. Darrel...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Things I know about the benefits of a walk in the woods

Now you may think that I am going to talk to you about the physical benefits of a nice walk in the woods. There are many healthy reasons for walking as I think we all know. but what I want to talk about is the "mental health" benefits of a nice walk in the woods. Take a look at the pictures I have here. This is where I walk, daily if possible. the scenes before you explode with the sense of serenity. They take you away from the hustle and bustle of our hurried lives, to a place of calm and relaxation. Our lives today are so filled with running place to place, trying to juggle job, family, lifes little messes that pop up and stealing whatever sleep we can gather. The noises of the city, coupled with the stress of making ends meet don't always allow us the true refreshment our minds need to survive.
A walk in the woods, surrounded by only trees, wildlife and the sounds of water running gently over rocks is the perfect get-away for our minds. The wind blowing through the tree leaves and sounds of birds singing is a "Calgon" moment come to life. We can find ourselves letting go of the days craziness... leave behind the bosses frantic screams of "Where is that paperwork!?" A one hour walk, even one you are sure you can not make time for can do more for your frame of mind then most anything I know of.It relieves the tensions that strain your muscles. It allows you the chance to dream and plan and sometimes to just walk. You can return home feeling refreshed and new. the tiredness you feel will be a very satisfactory tiredness. You can sit and focus on things that need your attention now with a renewed sense of thinking. You can slip into bed, the feeling of the mattress and sheets likened to a wonderland.
Walking in the woods gives back to you the feeling you CAN get away from it all, if even for just an hour. The breath you take in while walking is clean and fills your lungs with new life. No-one to yell or fight or command your time. Just nature at it's gentlest, caressing your mind with soothing thoughts and the ability to appreciate lifes quiet moments. That my friend is beneficial to every part of your body and mind. Try it, you will like it. Darrel

Thursday, January 10, 2008

An Interview with the writer...

An Interview With Darrel Day

Tell us a bit about yourself. What would you like us to know about you?
I am a 49 year old man that lives with my daughter in a small town in Iowa. I have loved writing since I was very young and dreamed of one day seeing some of my works in print. I have written two novels that are published. I also love writing poetry. I have cut a C.D. of 13 of the 100 songs I have written. The C.D. is titled "SimplyD" and is still available today.I love anything to do with the outdoors and do a lot of my thinking while at the lake. The trees and the water are inspiring to me. I am one of many that suffer from Bipolar2 and my writing helps me a great deal to stay focused.

What are you doing now? (Career? Married? Single? Children? Pets?)
I am actively working on my fourth novel now. The third novel, which is the sequel to my first novel is waiting to be published now. I am putting together a book of all of my poems and preparing to send the to my publisher.I was married to the beautiful woman in the world for 24 years. She went into a coma three years ago and after sixty-five days, she came out of it. She never regained the use of her legs. We lived side by side in duplexs and had a full intercom system that enabled me to hear her should she need me for anything. Still my best friend and still loving her, I simply found that I needed space, a symptom brought on by my Bipolar disorder.She went to heaven on March 8th, 2006. I have two beautiful daughters ages 22 and 24. They are wonderful blessings and stood by their mother and I through many, many "fires" in our lives. They have both been gifts from God for their mother and we have cherished them always.We have 4 cats and one very large dog.

What is your favourite food?
My favorite food would have to be a tie between sea food and chinese cuisine. I enjoy them both and eat out as often as I can. I love trying new restruants.

What is your favourite colour?
My favorite color is blue of any shade

What is your favourite sound?
My favorite sound would be the sound of a baby cooing. There is nothing quite like it in the world.

Who is your favourite person?
My favorite person would be Jesus. He died that I could be forgiven and free and is very much a part of my life.

What is your favourite place?
My favorite place is anywhere that is near a beach or the forest. Both places are filled with a serinty that calms me and allows me to think clear. That is where I go when I need to think.

What is your favourite memory?
Going to Key Largo in Florida each weekend to fish and swim in the ocean. I never feel more at peace then when I am walking or sitting along the shore line. We would go down to the shore and my father and I would fish for hours and just talk. He was my mentor and the man I most admire in this world.

What is your favourite article of clothing?
I have a pair of old bedroom slippers that I wear when I am writing. They are so very comfortable and keep my toes warm while I am writing. Once I slip them on, I go into another place that allows me to write freely and uninhibited.

What is your favourite word?
My favorite word is cool. I say it to almost anything told to me. It says what I can not or do not wish to say.

What is your favourite writers' quote and why?
"The secret to writing is to say an old thing in a new way or to say a new thing in an old way." {Richard Harding Davis}I like this quote because with all the new authors and new novels that come out daily, you truly do need to say it new. It may be the same story or the same poem, but when said in a different way, it can touch souls anew. The greatest compliment is to be aped by someone. So go ahead and ape your favorite writer. Just do it in your own style and words.

What is your most favourite quality about yourself?
I think that the fact that I can take any scenario, no matter how bad or burdeness it may appear, and make it a gift to learn and grow by. It is important to not let the woes of the world be your downfall, but rather take them, nuture them and make them a stepping stone to expand by.

What is the least favourite quality about yourself?
I think that the thing I care the least about myself is the way that I tend to not always finish what I have started. I am at times the worlds worst procrastinator and always figure there is a tommorow. I am working on that one.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I think that I would like to be on a deserted island for a while. There, I could smell the ocean and see the world through clear eyes. It would be the perfect setting for any novel that I might desire to write.

What inspires you to write and why?
My inspiration comes from the feelings that are surrounding me at any given time. Falling in love, falling out of love, or just feeling love causes me to write with ease and the pureness of heart. Hearing stories of sadness or tradgedy will bring out my writing heart also. It really is all about where I am in my life as to what I write. Even my songs are a chronicle of every feeling I have ever had.

What is your favourite book and why?
I think that my favorite book would have to be the Bible. There are passages and guidance inside the Bible that shows where we have been and where we are going to. It is written in such perfect story form that you can see as well as hear the strength that of man in the worst of situations. It is a book of hope for all generations past, present and future.

What is your favourite genre and why?
Suspense would most certainly be my favorite genre as it intrigues the mind. With suspense, you can draw conclusions or speculate all the way to the end. It keeps the mind stimulated and alive and calls for only your own thoughts which can change from day to day and page to page.

List your three favourite authors (any genre) and why?
My three favorite authors are Dean Koontz, Stephen King and William Wordsworth. Koontz and King both inspire my writing as they reach out and touch not just your eyes to read, but they touch your mind. I think that when an author can cause you to stop and think as you read, then you are getting two benefits in one. Wordsworth is on this list because his poems also inspire my writing of poetry. He too touches the heart and the mind and intoxicates me with wonder at his words.

What do you think makes a writer successful?
I believe that to be a truly successful writer, one must have the ability to cause the reader to feel each word. Description is so important to a writers success. If you can not cause the reader to vividly see and feel your words, you will lose them and the chance to have them pick up a second book of yours.

What is it that makes you successful as a writer?
At seven years old, my blind eight year old brothers hand was placed on my shoulder. I became his eyes and he became my teacher. Through being his eyes and the need to describe the world to him vividly taught me to see the world in living color. I believe that my gift to cause people to feel my words and to see what I saw when writing. This I believe is what seperates me from other authors. That very Gift that I was given so many years ago taught me how to be a great writer.

What are your goals as a writer?
My goals as a writer are to reach as far as I can with my writing. I want to see my words filling in peoples days and nights with good writing. I hope to one day be a household name for my writing.

What is the best tip you can give to fellow writers?
When you write, toss out all inhibitions and just write. Do not ever be afraid to let your fingers and mind wander to the places they want to take you. It could turn out to be your most valuable and exciting journey.

What do you hope to provide your readers with through your writing?
I hope to give them pure good reading. i want to take them inside the book and make them feel as if they are right where the book is happening. I want to be able to provide them with a name that is synonymous with great stories and good reading.

List your three favourite online writer-resource sites and why (include URLS).

My first choice for online writer-resources would be The Writers Gazzette. Krista Barrett's site provides everything a writer needs to help them in any type of writing references or sites to go too to achieve your finest writing. Her site is like a super Wal-Mart. Everything you need under one roof.{}
My second choice would be The Brady Magazine. Krissy Brady has taken her site and revamped it to not only aide in writing skills, but provide a communication system. There, you can talk to other writers and get feed back from them.There are contests and workshops and guidance to the people that are looking for YOU.{}
Third would have to be Google. There, you have the entire web at your fingertips. The places to sell, advertise, build yourself a name and seek and find answers to any questions you might have concerning your writing.

If you have published a book, tell us about your publishing success (title, publishing date and company, where it is available to purcahse).
I have two published novels out on the market right now. They are
titled "Abduction" {publishing date Nov. 2004}and "Until Death Do WeMeet."{publishing date Nov. 2005}They are both published through Publishamerica and are available to purchase from,,,, and most books stores offline. They are also available as signed novels through me directly. If you are interested, please e-mail at

How long did it take you to write your book(s)?
Abduction took me about six weeks to write. It flowed so nicely for me. Until Death Do We Meet started out as a short story. I had written as a five chapter short story with 22,000 words,and took about two months to write. After Abduction was accepted for publication, I decided to return to Until Death Do We Meet. I sat down to make it a full length novel and within two months had cmpleted it as a 21 chapter, 130,000 word novel.

What would you do differently if you could repeat the same publishing experience?
I think I would do pretty much the same thing that I did with both books, except go through another Publisher. Although they provided me with the foot in the door I needed, I would have liked to have seen more results from them directly.I would perhaps have studied up a bit more on the paths there are to take in getting my novel more exposure.

What have you learned about the publishing world?
Publishers CAN afford to be picky. The best way to get where you want to be is to listen to those that have made it there. The publishing world is not an easy place to enter. You have to give your very best 110% of the time. But the rewards are beyond anything you can imagine.

This is your chance to 'Talk Back' to your readers. What would you like to say to them?
I have learned that there are a lot of very wonderful and talented writers in the world. I pride myself in writing novels that are as close to reality as Fiction can be. I believe that sales of your novel can be greatly increased or decreased by your connection with the reader. If you, the reader find my novel to be a good place to be and come to expect and find quality, you will become faithful readers and come back for seconds and thirds. I feel that when you read my novels... we will connect and you will find quality in my writing.

What's the one thing that you want them to know about your writing?
My writing is filled with description and vivid detail. because of the "gift" of my blind brothers hand on my shoulder, I was blessed to learn to see and write "In living color."As you progress from the beginnings of my writing {Abduction} to my next novel "Until Death Do We Meet", you will see the growth in my writing. And onto
the third novel etc... But always you will see the things I see as I write the novel. Novels that were written to give, you the reader, the best novel you could read.
Darrel Robert Day Jr.

Things I DONT know about

A little switch to what I have been writing about today. Things I do not know about sometimes have a stronger pull on me than those I do know about. Wow... with that said, we move on. I don't know the reason why we have to fight everyone else's wars when we have civil issues ourselves, right here at home. We have prejudice and hatred based solely on ones appearance or culture or race. We argue constantly about religion and who is and who is not going to heaven. We even find ourselves arguing if there even is a heaven to go to when we die.
We have starving children and adults right at our own doorstep and yet we send billions of dollars worth of food to other countries. We have families living in torn apart buildings with clothing that barely passes as clothes. I don't know about the reasons or circumstances that brought those sad people to where they are. I don't know if there are people trying to help those less fortunate than I am.I don't know why there has to be suffering for our young people when we toss away more good food and more clothing sits in our closets unworn than some people wear or eat in a week. I don't know why we just don't go and give to them all we toss away without even a second thought.
And I don't know why life sometimes takes from us the very reason for our existence. My Sheila left when we had so much more living to do. She took with her the reason I got out of bed every morning. I don't know What it is that I am supposed to truly be doing now. I don't know where my life is taking me or what road I will end up on when all is said and done.
These are just some of the things I Don't know about.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Things I Know About Writing and Getting Published

Very often, a writer sits for days, weeks, maybe even years writing their memoirs. They believe they are very good and that their writing will be snatched up by the first publisher that reads their works. They imagine having the option to say "Hmmmm, I think I will wait for another offer. A better offer. Not to say this is a bad thought but it is normally an unrealistic thought. If it should happen to you, then I am thrilled for you. I truly am. But there is a chance that things will not fall the way they have been envisioned.

Being a writer myself, I know about the sending, the waiting and the rejections that can sop your enthusiam and cause you to question your own abilities as a serious writer. You have to realize that though your writing may in fact be great, publishers have a list of what they are looking for. Novel subjects go in and out just like seasons. If you hit the right "season" then your book has a better chance of being picked up by a publisher. You have to have patience and need to keep writing. The right publisher or agent may come out of left field and take your work. You need to take the time to do some research and join writers sites and authors sites to see what is selling or what the popular subjects are at the time of your writing. Check with publishers and look at their guidelines to see what they do or do not accept. Learn to write a professional query letter or synopsis to send to publishers or agents.

I spent the better part of 10 years writing before actually submitting a novel to anyone. I was not rejected but the publisher that took my novel was really looking for new authors at the time. My timing could not have been better as they were also looking for the subject matter I was offering was exactly what they were looking for.

It is so important to know what you are writing and where the best sites are for your work. And if you are still rejected by them, then keep writing and keep sending.That is the best advice yiou are going to ever going to get from me concerning publishers. Study, learn, get to know them.

As for the prep before you send the manuscript to anyone, have it edited professionally. When you send your manuscript un-edited, one of the first things that a publish or Agent will ask is to see the credentials of your editor or critiquer. If you have not had this done then they will ask you have this done before they will even take the manuscript any further. Save yourself the time and efforts of submitting your manuscript until you have accomplished this step.

You need to be ready for some tweaking and tightening of your manuscript and that is not a bad thing at all. The better your manuscript comes to the publisher or agent, the better you look also. I encourage you to do all that you can to make your manuscript the best that it can be. You want to be a professional writer and deal with professional publishers and agents. You need to then look like a professional also.

A really good book to help you along the path to being published are Writers Market Companion from Writers Digest. This book is put out by a very well know group and written by Mary Cupito and Joe Feiertag. Mary is a freelance writer who teaches journalism at Northern Kentucky University. She has worked as a reporter for the Cincinnati post, the Columbus Dispatch and the St. Petersburg Times. Joe is a public relations professional and former journalist who has built a very successful career as a freelance writer and editor. He also has taught writing at college level. They have mastered the art of writing Query letters and synopsis.

Another great book to add to your library is the MFA in creative writing, written by the members of the New York Writers Workshop. This book helps teach writers dialogue and ways to improve your writing skills concerning creating "hooks" inside your book and ways to write so that your words reach the audiences you are seeking to sell to.

The Writers Digest offers an extensive list of publishers and Agents looking for authors, new and already published seeking ways to publish their novels. Very well worth having it at your fingertips also.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Married just a little over a year and with a beautiful baby girl, my life was about to be "blessed" again. Sheila was to be the next learning in my walk of things I know about. Her illness, her undeniable and encouraging strengths would take me to another opportunity to either love and grow or become bitter. It was during her illness that I realized part of why God had blessed me with the years of working with those that were "challenged."

Sheila developed Muscular Dystrophy one year after we were married. We had our first child by then and I was working a full time job as a foreman. I had served my four years in the Military and got out. As her disease progressed, we spent many hours and days and weeks and even years in hospital rooms. During a year of total remission, she became pregnant with our second child. Though not planned, we were estatic to learn of the blessing to come. The pregnancy was hard and Sheila spent the better part of 9 months in the hospital under intense medical care. Our daughter was born two months early and weighed only 3.2lbs. She was in the Neo-Natal Unit until she was seven weeks old. I would go up each night after I got off of work at midnight and learn to feed her and care for her. There were special ways to feed her and infant CPR classes to be taken. She came home on a heart monitor and there were classes to take for that.
Sheila remained in the hospital for another 5 months after our daughter came home. I would work my night shift job and come home and feed our daughter. I would wake in the night to feed her again and then my parents would wake me when they were leaving for work. I survived on two hours sleep a night for several years. I had two babies, aged new born and two years old to care for and my wife to visit each day as well as work.

Sheila came home and went back into remission for several years. Together we found a way to purchase our first house and live a wonderful life together. We could not have done it without the loving help of my family, that I do know. In spite of all the hurdles in our life, we made ourlife and our children's lives the best they could be. Insurances ran out and renewals denied but we continued to give our girls everything we could. They never knew when we were strapped for money or going without. We sold our home to move to a smaller town to raise ourdaughters. The city simply was not a safe place to raise them. We bought a 3 acre property and lived there for almost twenty years. Sheila was hospitalized 25 times in those years but we continued to be a family and to love our daughters and each other beautifully.

In those years I wanted so much to write. I had written songs since I was thirteen and written short stories when ever I could. Sheila and the girls encouraged me too try and publish them. In 2004, my first novel was published. I cut a C.D. the same year of 13 of the 100 songs I hadwritten. Both went on sale and though I didn't become rich in money from them, my life was enriched to know I had become a published author and singer/songwriter. In 2005 my second novel was published and today I wait for novels three and four to be published. Sheila being loved and missed more than my words will ever convey, I continued to write as she asked me too. I remember the day that I stood in front of my novels in the Barnes and Noble in the Mall of America.I held my novel up to the sky and said, "We did it, Baby. We made it here."

Things I know about because of our life together are about giving and love and care-giving. To be a care-giver for life I think takes a special heart. There are so many pros to that lifestyle and certainly some cons. When Sheila got sick in the early stages of our marriage, she neededcare to walk and bathe and do most things. From time to time, she would go into remission and for a year or so she would be able to walk and we would embrace that time and live it to the fullest. Taking care of her became just a way of life and we never really thought of life asanything different from anyone elses life. Our life was perhaps a bit different in that we had to be a little more prepared for emergencies as she would be fine one minute and then in an instant, in the hospital for a month or three or four. But we still lived our lives as filled as we could and were always on the go.

Sheila taught me that life doesn't have to control you. You can take control and make living a joy no matter what the challenge may be. She taught me that an illness, no matter how crippling, can only control you IF you allow it to. When life is beating you up, fight it and to remember that "Quitting is Never an Option."And she taught me that Love really IS stronger than anything this world can toss at us.

Things I know about? I know that love is everlasting long past when our loved one goes to heaven. Life is what you make it and choosing to live and love life is a better choice than becoming bitter. You only lose years of living and memories that you can never recover if you become bitter. She taught me that care-giving is a two way street. She was MY strength and My happiness as I was hers.

Life took many turns for both my wife and I but we remained with one another until March 8th, 2006.The disease she had fought so bravely and strongly for almost 24 years had taken it's toll on her precious body. After being in a coma for 60 days and then again for 30 days, Sheila went to heaven. But before she went, she taught me so many "things that I know" today.

Oh yes... she taught me one more thing that I know. It is Never, ever Goodbye, it is only "see you later." Darrel

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