Downsizing The American Dream | off grid

After getting into debt up to and including our eyeballs, we had to try to find a way out. We’d been so successful in starting our own business the first time, we had no idea how hard it could be.

We began to watch late night infomercials, order every newsletter and correspondence course that crossed our path. We racked up more and more debt on those ever-ready credit cards.

We took our vacation and signed up for a weekend seminar on how to pick up real estate deals and notes. (That one cost a pretty penny). We had a small amount of interest and I was so excited that I worked deals during my breaks and at lunchtime at my day job. We got close to making a few deals and we thought if I could just spend more hours working the business, we could make it work. SO… I quit my day job.

Remember, we had a semi-successful business without much outlay or planning. We are smart, hard working and we figured we could just do it again. WRONG!!!!

I worked this new venture like a full-time job. I did research, mailed letters, made calls and just as I was about to find my first deal, I had to find the investor. This was the hardest part they failed to tell us in the weekend seminar.

Needless to say, I worked hard for six months and never made one sale. So, I had no job, no prospects and more debt.

My hubby was working long hours in the oilfield to compensate, but that just meant we weren’t falling quite as far behind as fast.

We fell into a destructive pattern. I tried to find something else to make money, and we supplemented my loss of income with… you guessed it credit cards.

How we didn’t lose it all is pure divine intervention. God has surely saved us (or at least our biggest asset) our home.

TO BE CONTINUED….

 

A Little Background For The Record | Off the grid

Last week I announced I am dragging you all on our journey to move off the grid. I’m going to attempt to give you a little background why, how and what we are thinking….

A few years ago, my hubby and I owned our own business. It was fairly successful, but like many naïve first time business owners, we thought we were invincible. We worked hard, hired helpers, rented an office, spent money, paid lots of taxes and did I say spent money? Oh yes, well we did.

You see, back in the “good old days” money flowed like water. We could always make more if we needed it, so we worked towards certain goals, and if we didn’t quite have enough money, well we could always “charge it” on one of our 10-15 credit cards.

We made a lot of money, so we paid all of our bills, on time, every month. If we needed more money, we gave ourselves a raise. All of this confession to tell you…. We tried to save for that some day, far away, rainy day, that we couldn’t even fathom would be there. We did have a great plan, it just backfired. We bought some properties, fixed them up and sold them. Used some of the money to send our daughter to college (always assuming we would replace that money). That never happened.

Then we bought another property with the ever popular adjustable rate mortgage. Wow! We lost our shorts on that one! We did sell the property at a gain, but we paid through the nose for all of those fees and early pay-off penalties.

Eventually we could see the handwriting on the wall, (and on our bank statements). Things were beginning to slow down in the economy and we were going to get our lunch handed to us. We began to use the credit cards and what was left of our savings to keep the business running. We had four employees and I didn’t have the heart to tell them, the gig was just about up. I’m sure they already knew.

I bugged out early to try to get a “real” job and possibly let my hubby keep the ship afloat with one last employee. The two of them bailed water as long as they could, but after eight wonder-filled years, we closed our doors for good.

We still had our home, equipment and we both found some pretty good jobs. We weren’t even completely over our heads in debt at that time….But that would eventually change as well.

TO BE CONTINUED……

 

And For Our Next Attraction | living off grid

I have to start out with a sincere apology to all of you. I have been absent from my blog for far too long. I took the month of December off, and well, you know what they say about vacations, “It takes you as many days to recover as you took off.” They don’t really say that? Well they should.

I’m refreshed, renewed and ready to focus on my writing. I took the month to relax after writing in the NaNoWriMo contest. Now I’m plodding away trying to finish my first draft… Then the real work starts, revision, rewriting and editing. I’m actually starting to like this part. I never thought I would say that, but it puts the finish on the end result.

I’ve made a few changes to myself as well. I got a short haircut, changed my diet and am focusing on more natural foods and drinks.

Here on my blog, I’m going to switch gears completely. I’ve tried to stay focused on what’s happening with my books, etc, but… And here’s the big announcement… I’m going to journal through my personal (well my husband’s as well) scaling back, getting debt free as well as being  less dependent on things like electricity, water, heat, you stuff we can’t really live without.

I’m going to go back and give you some background on how we came to this decision and where we go from here. I hope you’ll join us as we navigate through this whole new journey.

Stay tuned.

Peace, Vickie

Thank you Veterans Just Doesn’t Seem Enough

This morning I was over at my son’s Facebook page, posting a “thank you for your service.” I was scrolling down the page, seeing a few posts that are not for his mother’s eyes. When I got to a post that said, “Marjah 2010.” For those of you who don’t know me, my son was a US Marine and he was deployed to Afghanistan in early 2010. This was an extremely difficult time for me, as you can well imagine. While he was deployed I was on the internet constantly trying to glean any and all information about where he was and  honestly I just wanted to get a glimpse of his face.  

While out to lunch with a friend, I overheard a news report, announcing the Marines had staged a takeover of a little village called Marjah. The blood drained from all parts of my body, because I “knew” in my heart this is where my son would be. He had called me a week or so before, and of course he couldn’t tell me anything about where they were or what was going to happen. He sounded scared, but he tried to keep the conversation light for my sake. He started by saying, “Hey, it’s me, your Babyboy.” He went on to tell me that would be the last time he could call for a while. Little did I know, that was the last time I would hear his voice for eight weeks.

I spent countless hours pouring over everything I could get my hands on. Anything to do with “The Marjah Push.” One night after my husband had gone to bed, I was looking at pictures on the internet. A New York Times reporter and photographer were embedded with a group of Marines. I was reading more about it, when I saw what I’d been dreading to see. This reporter was with my son’s company. I let out a scream, and my husband came rushing out of the bedroom to see what the matter was. I told him this was Zane’s unit and they had pictures of the battle.

After that, I couldn’t stop myself, it was like a train wreck. I examined group shots, backsides, and profiles trying to see my son. Then while looking through the daily post of pictures I saw him. Running out of a dirt building with yellow smoke behind him. Later he would tell his grandpa details about that photo, but never to me.

A few days later, a report of a death in his unit came through. Lance Corporal Alejandro Yazzie had been killed in the line of duty. This hit me doubly hard, this young man was my son’s battle buddy, and he grew up, not far from where my parents had spent serving as missionaries on the Navajo reservation.

Someday I’ll share all of my nightmares, fears and panic I had during that time. Today this is all I can share.

Once he was back on American soil, I continued to support the troops by praying and sending letters, but I couldn’t stand to watch reports on the news or even hear about another person dying. I kept a file of all of the information I had during that time. Until today, it’s remained closed.

So, after I saw the post on my son’s page, I decided five years was probably enough time for me to get over my fears. After all, he’s home, safe and happy.

When you click and watch YouTube videos, more pop up when you finish. I made it through the one from Zane’s page, and then when the next one started… Kilo 3/6, his unit. I watched, listened and told myself, I was probably mis-remembering which unit he was in. No, I was right. This video had many of the shots that I’d seen five years ago, but after all the excitement and hard rock music died down, the second part started.

This was a much different set of pictures. There’s one with the medivac helo coming in to pick up someone that’s been injured. I can only assume Lance Corporal Yazzie. There are three Marines standing in the foreground, shielding their eyes from the dirt as the helicopter lifts up. The three are standing in a line, with their heads buried in the shoulder of the man in front of them. My son is in the front with his head down buried against a dirt wall. The music has slowed and turned more thoughtful.

The pictures are now showing tired, weary faces. War is Hell.

The Kilo 3/6 were told to prepare for a three to five day battle. They were on the front lines for five months.

This is just one story, there are thousands more. Now you can understand when I say, “Telling them thank you just doesn’t seem enough.”

V

 

Who Doesn’t Love Free Stuff?

I’ve been so busy promoting my new book, I almost forgot to tell you all something else very exciting! I’m doing another promotion here on my blog site. I’m going to be giving away free stuff!

I am trying to build my newsletter list and I want to give you free stuff, so here’s how we can both win. For every person you refer to my newsletter (who actually signs up) you will get another entry in the give-away.

The more people who use you as a reference, the more entries you get. So, if you tell two friends (or twenty) and they tell two friends, and so on… You get the picture. The goal is to get 1000 sign-ups before the end of November, and we have…. well lets just say we have a long way to go…

And the free stuff? Well it might be a free Kindle, Amazon gift card or even a Colorado get-away.  I promise it won’t be junk (writer swag). I want to give away another prize before we hit the big number just so you don’t get bored and forget what we’re trying to do here.

More info soon…. V

Countdown BEGINS #NewThrillerNOVEL

Here we go! I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath. Wait, what does that mean exactly? “Baited breath” like you have your breath baited in order to catch your prey?  Or maybe it’s just a breath mint so you can catch your significant other’s attention.

Wait, I get so distracted!

NO! The reason for this post is to tell you all that in one week, ONE WEEK the next thriller “Dawn of My Breaking Heart” will be unleashed, or released for your consumption. I’m so excited for you all to read this next book.

Without giving away any of the plot, I’m going to tell you this is a parallel book to the first book “Cold Gray Dawn” the timeline runs simultaneous to the first book’s timeline, only with different characters. This is a stand-alone novel with twists, and turns happening for these characters as well.

7 more days!

Read on! V

Link

Wow! It seems like I just did this not too long ago. You know starting spouting off about my new book coming! I haven’t even finished marketing the first book, Cold Gray Dawn, now I’m going to start up again! #newbook, #mustread ,#kindlecountdown, #thriller,  #Dawnofmybreakingheart.

Ok, so I overdid it with the hashtags. I get carried away sometimes after my morning caffeine.

BUT I’M SO EXCITED!!! My newest book “Dawn of My Breaking Heart” is in the hands of Beta readers as we speak. It looks like I will have a release date somewhere around the middle of October. I will let you all know the exact date for sure.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my Beta readers. “I like this book, keeps me turning pages. Had to make myself stop and go to bed.”

Then I got a message this morning that said, “Woofda! Really great. I finished last night. Now I can’t read anything else for several days!”

So, I’m excited to be able to share it with all of you…. Soon! If you didn’t get a copy of the first book, that’s ok, there’s still time. Here’s the link. http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Gray-Dawn-Vickie-Knob-ebook/dp/B00LEY7MHU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411756429&sr=1-1&keywords=cold+gray+dawn

If anyone is interested in doing a review for me, let me know I can send you a Kindle copy.

Keep on keeping on!

V

 

Taking a New Look at an Old View

I just wanted to let you all know I’m working diligently on some new ideas for this blog site. I’m still writing my Christian thriller novels and marketing my books, but I’ve been thinking about changing things up a bit.

Last week the writer’s group I belong to, hosted a reading, featuring each of our works. Afterwards we had refreshments and a time for guests to ask questions, and get to know the authors.

Each of us who have been published have gone the indie author route. Although our leader was the first, we are all still figuring out the best paths along that route.

I’ve decided to make this blog a local “How to”. That doesn’t mean it won’t work for others nationally, it just means that it will help people find the local people to help them along the way.

I will list local book sellers, and book and writers groups to help you in your quest to become the best writer you can be.

 

More later, V

Announcing the 2nd Book, Giveaway Free books, etc.

Two months ago I released my new thriller, drama,  cozy mystery, “Cold Gray Dawn.” I was thrilled myself to see the free copies fly out of kindle.com.

We’ve had so many people tell us the loved the book, and can’t wait for the next one.

Well, guess what?! It’s almost done! We are in editing now and I have to say I was a little worried that I may not be able to top my first book, but my beta readers assure me that it’s every bit as good as the first.

So, “Dawn of My Breaking Heart” is due to be released in October. I’m not sure of the date yet, but I am shooting for sometime around the middle of the month.

You haven’t read the first one yet? Well, here’s your chance to win a autographed copy for yourself! Take a look at the sidebar to the right…. There in the margin is a sign-up for a free copy of the book “Cold Gray Dawn.”  This contest ends on September 15th. The winners should expect to receive their copies within two to three weeks.

Here’s an excerpt

Leah Page knows her ex-husband and his new girlfriend can be devious, but nothing can prepare her for the twisted way they try to get back at her and her new boyfriend in order to get back what they think belongs to them. They will stop at nothing to get their revenge…Even murder…..

Cold Gray Dawn is a non-stop thrill ride about one woman’s quest to make sure she lives long enough to get home and protect her family from someone whom she once called her own.

So, in exchange for all of these free copies, I only ask that you please leave me an honest review on Amazon.com.

That’s it. No pressure, just your honest opinion. I will keep you updated on who wins the contest/giveaway.

In the meantime enjoy what’s left of your summer and write on!

V

I’m In The Deep End Swimming with The BOOK Sharks.

I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’m not saying I’m old, I’m just saying I’m not a newbie as far as Blogging Bloggers go. BUT And I do say a BIG BUT, I’ve never run into so much spam on a blog site before. WoW! I mean really spamosis spamity spam spam spam!

I’m not really here to complain about that, but it is troublesome. It totally detracts from my main purpose here. Which is to inform, entertain, and if necessary, insult and generally stir up some trouble.

I have to say I spend at least an hour wading through the shallow end of the pool of muck that’s filled with spam. My hubby suggested that I delete all comments, but every once in a while I come across a real live human being and I want to make sure their comments aren’t swallowed up in the slimy stinky spam.

And I digress again! Whew, now that that’s off my chest. I want to say if you are a budding, author and you are in search of that ever illusive book contract, literary agent, editor, marketing group, all or any of the above… Well, I’m here to tell you to pull on your big kid pants and hang on. I read the other day that over 3500 books are published every day. There are at least two million plus titles available on Amazon alone. That number may be on the shy side as well.

So, here’s my advice. Don’t give up…. Don’t get too discouraged, just keep at it. This is a business after all. Even if you landed that big agent and the big three or four publishing houses are beating a path to your door, you still have to be hands-on involved.

I’ve heard stories about people with agents who have found their own book deals only to have the agent take their cut. (15%). Then I read that the publishers offer you a signing deal (usually small) like $2000 -$3500. Then they turn around and ask you your marketing plan. Wow! That’s not what I was expecting.

Okay, so let’s be honest here, I would go gaga if I got called up to the majors! I would be in heaven dreaming of the interviews on the Today show. The Lifetime Movie contracts, the works. But UNTIL (not if) that happens, I’m going to have to work my buns off.

The moral to this story is DON’T STOP, DON”T GIVE IN! Never say die (and all of those other clichés you’ve heard.)

So, my wide-eyed optimistic friends… Write on! V