Happenings in Christine's World

Short stories of life, thoughts, and feelings


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Letting Go of 2013

Arcadia Photo031Photo courtesy of Mel Raudabaugh

At the beginning of this year I never thought I would be where I am today. It’s interesting how things work out and it seems I am one of those people who has to be careful what they wish for, because I just might get it.

In late April of this year I attended The American Society of Journalist and Authors (ASJA) conference. My main goal was to network, learn how to build my freelance business, and to learn how to get a literary agent for a biography I have been working on for years. The last breakout session I set in was the most informative for me. It was on how to build a platform, get an agent and get your book published. I had never heard of the term platform before and had no clue what it was. I soon learned and felt discouraged.

A platform is the term used in publishing to define the achievements of the writer and how large of a following the writer has. This does not mean friends on FaceBook or followers on Twitter. It means a writer that has hardwired credentials. What has the writer published? How many books have they sold? And so on. After the breakout session I talked with the agent and author who were on the panel and they clarified that my presentations, the Holocaust article that is published in the Advance Placement Test booklets don’t count. I need a legitimate following who is interested in what I write and what I do. As I mentioned earlier, I was discouraged, but knew I had to get busy and work harder at getting The Wandering Pen grounded and start producing the kind of writing it took to build interest and followers.

During this time I worked full-time in a position that was not fulfilling and I knew it wouldn’t benefit me where my writing career was concerned. I wasn’t happy and eventually I lost the job, which at first was upsetting to my pride, but I soon realized that the door of opportunity just opened for me.

I remembered that a year and a half earlier there was a blurb from Arcadia Publishing in the township newsletter looking for someone to do a pictorial history of the township. I contacted the editor and yes, they were still looking for someone to do the book and I jumped on it. I put together the proposal with the assistance of the editor and sent it to Arcadia. Within a week or so I got the word saying my proposal was approved. Next, the decision on deadlines, I hoped for a January 2014 deadline, but nope, it had to be December 2013, that meant I had four months to gather photos, which the funding to purchase photos came out of my pocket without reimbursement, and arrange the layout for the book. Of course, my first thought was I would get the photos from the historical society and then I learned the cost involved for the photos. I had to come up with a plan B, which I did.

I started making cold calls to people who lived in the area asking them for stories and photos. Feeling relieved that most of the contacts I made were willing to meet with me, share their stories and their photos. I really began to feel that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Some people would call what happened to me coincidences, but I don’t believe in coincidences, I knew there was a higher power looking over me, helping me to fulfill my dream of publishing my first book.

So, here I am, four months later and the layout and the manuscript are now in the hands of the publisher. I understand there will be edits and an eighteen week process till the book is ready, but that’s okay, because by spring I should have my first book selling in Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, and local bookstores. I look at this first publication as my stepping stone to finding an agent and getting the biography I’ve wanted to publish for almost twenty years now published.

So, although there was a period of disappointment I felt when I lost my job, in the end it turned out for the best. I was able to take what I learned at the ASJA conference and put it into action. I still have a lot of work to do to make The Wandering Pen successful, but I feel that at least now I’m in a better position to make it work.

I can’t end this post without acknowledging my family and friends who have stuck by me through my difficult moments this year. I also need to thank all the people who helped me with the pictorial history of Silver Spring Township. I am feeling very bless and fortunate and I do know that there is a higher power in control – that power is referred to as Him, Her, Mother Nature, Great Spirit, Mohammed, Buddha, God, and Goddess to name a few, for me it doesn’t matter what title is used, it’s more important to just believe.

Here is a 3 minute, 16 second video I put together using the photos I posted to Instagram. The photos are from the Susquehanna River to Blackwater Falls, wildlife and flowers, sunrises and sunsets, and seasons.

Cheers to you and to 2014.



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Off the detour and back on track

All along I knew what I wanted to do, but never had the nerve to follow through until now. I need to write and I want to write. I want to tell stories that are passed from generation to generation.

Having the opportunity to submit a book proposal on local history has brought back to life my enthusiasm for American history. I have never lost the desire to discuss, teach or write history, I just didn’t know how to embrace it while working a job that had very little to do with history and even writing for that matter. But now that has all changed and for the first time in my life, I am taking the leap and doing what I believe I am meant to do.

Experiencing the past

Because of my passion for history and my belief that everyone should have some knowledge of historical events I have literally gotten down in the dirt in order to have a better understanding of a historical event so I am able to write a much better piece on the topic.

Some years ago I had the opportunity to work with Steve Warfel and the Pennsylvania State Museum on an archeological dig at the Ephrata Cloister in Lancaster County. I learned so much from that experience not only about the history of the those who lived there, but about archeology. I have a whole appreciation for what archeologist do and how hard they work to get the facts.

With this new found freedom, I am able to dive into history the way I want to. For example, in studying the history of Silver Spring Township I plan to take a kayak the Conodoguinet Creek from the Middlesex/Silver Spring Township border to the Silver Spring/Hampton Township border. I want to get the feel for what it was like for the early Indians and early settlers to travel the creek. The Indian name for the Conodoguinet is “a long way with many bends”.

I believe this is the beginning of a career I was always meant to have. I know the path will be challenging and will involve sacrifices, but I truly believe I am where I’m meant to be.


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Finding Peace from Writing

Recent changes in my life have brought me back to my writing life.  It seems writing is the one constant in my life and past situations have proven that I am not happy unless I am pursuing some sort of writing goal.  My heart is telling me that this time I must pursue my vision and not be distracted by those who do not understand the passion of writing or what it takes to be a successful writer.

With writing comes a lot of self-doubt, at least for me it does. I have dealt with that little imp sitting on my shoulder and whispering in my ear “you can’t write, you’re not going to make any money writing, you are a failure”.  Then on my other shoulder are the hands of mentors and friends.  With their touch and with their voice they tell me to press on. They say, “You can do this, it’s time you focus on what you love”.  Those positive voices are beginning to overpower the negative voice.  For the first time in my writing career, I feel confident about achieving my goals as a writer.  It may not make me rich, but I am certain it will make me happy.

Becoming a successful writer
One of my previous professors told me that the difference between a successful writer and an unsuccessful writer is perseverance and that I have what it takes to be successful.  Those encouraging words alone have kept me fighting my way through the “tall weedy grass” where I sometimes tripped, never knowing where, or how exactly to make my writing known.

I think back to Rapid City, South Dakota.  It was my first trip alone.  I took this trip as my first step towards my writing career.  That was sixteen years ago and here I am now. I have studied and studied the writing process.  I went back to college to get my degree and with that I was trained how to write but some of the best writing professors in the state of Vermont.

I have learned that in order to be a good writer one must write and willing to have their work edited, but not to the point where your voice or style is not detected.

My most recent learning opportunity took me to the American Society of Journalist and Authors (ASJA) conference in New York City.  There I sat in on several workshops, but the workshop that educated me the most was the one on writing a book proposal.  In that seminar, I learned that in order for me publish the Bosler story I have to work my butt off.  The major thing I must do is build my platform as an author.  That will take a lot of determination, discipline, and focus.  I am ready to take it on and I am at peace with the challenge.

Steps I’m taking as a writer
Besides this blog I have two others: Around Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and The Wandering Pen.  Both of these blogs are rather new and I am in the process of posting material to them.  I also have a podcast site called The Wandering Pen Podcast. Here you will find my interviews with people who have traveled to various places and what they liked and did not like about their travel. I will also interview writers on writing and ask them what they believe it takes to be a successful writer. These podcasts are available on ITunes.  Please consider following all of the sites I have mentioned and please do give feedback.  I welcome your thoughts on current topics and your ideas for future topics.

In addition to my blogs I have a writing gig with Decoded Past.  This website is somewhat like the previous website I wrote for, but this time my historical events topics will connect with current events.  For example, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and how it was observed.

Peace like a river

Peace like a river


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Perseverance Spins Success

Perseverance Art Poster Print by Chris Daniels, 36x24

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

 I have so much to write about, so thankfully and hopefully my blog posts will be more regular. 


I will start with what has happened two months ago. On July 13, my position at a local hospital was eliminated and therefore I’ve been without a job since, well, a regular paying job that is. 


I’ve been working with a career management group to help me adjust to the layoff and to help me find a new job. So far, the group has been helpful, however, I am finding myself wanting to go out on my own and develop my own business, which isn’t all that easy and the thought does scare me. 


As I think about what I want to do and how to go about setting up my business I am reminded of my culminating year at Vermont College when I felt the same fear of failure and success.  You see, there are these little voices of self doubt within me that can come on strong and loud. In college I referred to them as gremlins. 


These voices, my fears, threatened my graduating, so as my professor and I talked about the fears, I soon realized that I could overcome the fears and achieve the goals my writing professor set forth for me. I persevered, I succeeded and I graduated. It took a lot of hard work to get me through the semester. I had to overcome a lot of self doubt and I did it.