Sunday, July 22, 2007

Determination, Desire, Discipline

Most of you know Debbie Macomber – or about her if you haven’t read any of her books. She is a very prolific and popular romance writer – but guess what? She’s ordinary and she’s motivated by need — or at least she used to be. I found the article below as part of a book by Jack Canfield **The Success Principles, How to get from where you are to where you want to be. I thought it would be an inspiration to us all.

When Debbie Macomber decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer, she rented a typewriter, put it on the kitchen table, and began typing each morning after the kids went off to school. When the kids came home, she moved the typewriter and made them dinner. When they went to bed, she moved it back and typed some more. For 2 ½ years Debbie followed this routine. Supermom had become a struggling writer, and she was loving every minute of it.

One night, however, her husband, Wayne, sat her down and said, “Honey, I’m sorry, but you’re not bringing in any income. We can’t do this anymore. We can’t survive on just what I make.”

That night, her heart broken and her mind too busy to let he sleep, she stared at the ceiling in their darkened bedroom. Debbie knew with all the responsibilities of keeping up a house and taking four kids to sports, church, and scouts—that working 40 hours a week would leave her not time to write.

Sensing her despair her husband woke up and asked “What’s wrong?”

“I really think I could’ve made it as a writer. I really do.”

Wayne was silent for a long time, then sat up, turned on the light, and said, “All right, honey, go for it.”

So Debbie returned to her dream and her typewriter on the kitchen table pounding out page after page for another 2 ½ years. Her family went without vacations, pinched pennies, and wore hand-me-downs.

But the sacrifice and the persistence paid off. After 5 years of struggling, Debbie sold her first book. Then another. And another. Until finally, today, Debbie has published more than 100 books, many of which have become New York Times best-sellers and 3 of which have sold for movies. Over 60 million copies of her books are in print, and she has millions of loyal fans.

And Wayne? All that sacrifice in support of his wife paid off handsomely he got to retire at age 50 and now spends his time building an airplane in the basement of their 7,000-square-foot mansion.

Debbie’s kids got a gift far more important than a few summer camps. As adults, they realize what Debbie gave them was far more important — permission and encouragement to pursue their own dreams.

Today, Debbie still has dreams she wants to fulfill—a television series based on her books, an Emmy Award, a number-one New York Times best seller.

To accomplish them, she has a routine: she gets up every morning at 4:30, reads her Bible, and writes in her journal. By 6:00, she’s swimming laps in the pool. And by 7:30 she’s in her office answering mail. She writes between 10 AM and 4:00 PM, producing three new books a year with discipline and perseverance.

What could you accomplish if you were to follow your heart, practice this much daily discipline, and never give up?

This book is filled with motivation and inspiration like the Chicken Soup for the Soul series he is co-author of — it gives one pause to think, and then take action. Unstoppable — that’s what we need to be. WRITE ON gang.

The Success Principles. How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, by Jack Canfield ISBN 978-0-06-059489-3 $15.95

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Atlantic City; Ewando, South Africa, Ironwood Michigan,

(What do they have in common?)
by Billie A Williams
Reading one of Eric Maisel’s Sunday newsletter/notes is always an education, always interesting and mind opening. Today Eric is visiting New York City. From describing the rental unit he is rent/borrowing from a retired doctor on a trip of her own to another part of the US – to his trip to other parts of New York he intrigues, enlarges your life, and provides fodder for thought. I dare not miss his inspiration for the week. Here is a tidbit of what he had to say today

“…Atlantic City. We walk into a pitch-dark casino where a five-storey-tall animated vulture is saying something. The boardwalk is broiling and you can't actually see the ocean, as the boardwalk is separated from the ocean by dunes; and between each casino is a strange patch of shanty housing that you aren't supposed to notice.”

I don’t know about you, but that absolutely had my visual creativity on edge – the part about the “strange patch of shanty housing,” reminds me of so many places where the locals have become so used to a particular eye sore that they no longer see it. Is the shanty housing slums? Are they squatters? I’m curious right away. What is Eric’s picture of shanty housing? Is it the same as mine? If I wrote to ask him, I’m sure he would answer right away, but I’m stubborn that way—I want my vision. I want it to match what I wrote about in my South African Adventure Novel,Tung Umolomo. Or, at the very least, the shanty town under the bridge in my Knapsack Secrets. (You can read 1st chapters of each on my website at )

You see the shanty town in South Africa’s make believe space beyond Ewando are tin and cardboard hovels that the locals working in the city have constructed because they aren’t allowed to live in the ‘white’ housing. They must commute to work for minimal wages, in jobs that no one else will work hard enough to fill. The picture of these shanty towns with children playing in the dirt streets in stagnant water puddles – where no central plumbing is available, makes me cringe. My heart nearly breaks for these children.

The shanty town in Knapsack Secrets is under a highway overpass. Motorists, oblivious to the shattered lives below, race past to their day to day ‘important’ stuff while below, people are starving, people are hurting with no health care, children are playing in the dirt and learning their lessons from parents too stressed and too distraught to concentrate on anything but where their next meal will come from. These sights break my heart too.

They are both fictional, but they are both also very real in our world. As is the case for many, if not most homeless people—it was chance, not choice that put them in these circumstances. If my books can spark a tiny bit of empathy in people’s hearts to try to help make these conditions disappear – I will have fulfilled my purpose in this life.

As for Eric Maisel – look him up at Amazon or wherever good books are sold or do a Google search on his name. He will make you think, challenge your beliefs and goad you, very gently and almost without your knowing, into making a difference in some small corner of your world.

Feel free to use this article in your newsletter or magazine as long as you keep the resource box with it. Thank You!
Billie A Williams is an award winning mystery/suspense author.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Christmas in July

Star* Publish Times – July 1, 2007


Billie A. Williams (script writer of A Christmas Dream) and Janet Elaine Smith (author of the original novel A Christmas Dream) will discuss the soon-to-be-released play on Monday, July 2, on Janet's program "Marketing for Fun and Profit." It can be heard at at 9:30 p.m. ET. "Marketing for Fun and Profit" is sponsored by Star* Publish LLC, and they strive to bring you a variety of interesting and cutting-edge issues every week.

The 3-act play is geared towards small-medium sized community theater groups, highschool/college drama clubs, dinner theaters and the like. The setting is quite simple, and the cast less than 20 people. The co-authors are already gearing up for a marketing campaign to hit community theaters as soon as the script is available. Their goal is to have it presented in at least one theater in each of the 50 states. Lofty? Perhaps, but as Susan Quincey (the heroine in the book) will tell you, "Miracles still happen, especially at Christmas time."
The book has been compared by many readers to Miracle on 34th Street. They already have one prepublished review, which can be seen