Pamwla Wetterman

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Follow Your Passion – Steve Jobs Style



A special light was dimmed with the passing of Steve Jobs. His grasp of being the master of his own fate presents a tremendous challenge for us all. Every day we encounter mavericks that are following their own path in life. Here is a short story about a special friend of mine. She has accepted the challenge and is living her dream. 


          The sun glistened against the copper red hair of a the seven year old. She sat on the top step of her home, watching, waiting, and preparing to strike.
 

As she stood up, clad in her favorite western shirt with fringe dangling on the pockets, she tugged on her tan cowgirl hat, and she slapped the tiny whip on the palm of her left hand. With her patience at an end, she spoke. “My daddy didn’t hire you to sit around. You have work to do. Now do it.”
 
            The three middle aged men turned to see who was giving them such harsh instruction, and then laughter erupted. The senior man in the group shouted to her, “Now little lady, your daddy hired us to load this truck with your things and move you and your family across town. We’ll get it done in plenty of time. Now, you get.”


          She stood in silence, lips pursed, hands on hips, and the whip continuing to move in her hands. “Time is being wasted. I heard my daddy say he pays you by the hour. That’s for work, not taking breaks.”
 

          “Okay little lady. We’ll end our break if you go inside. I think I heard your momma calling you. “

          Just then, her mom did call out, “Pam honey. Please come in and help me. Leave those fine men alone. ”

“’I’m getting a pony after we move,” she shared with them as she whirled around, skipped up the front steps, and raced into the house.


          Within three years, her heart broke. Pam learned her parents were getting a divorce. She could no longer have her daddy come home every evening. The family couldn’t afford to keep that wonderful pony she rode every Saturday. Her life would change for ever.

          As a victim of a broken family, Pam and her younger brother grew up under the tender care of their single mother. The money was tight and times were challenging, but her work ethic remained strong.  She became a shift supervisor at a local drive-in restaurant by the time she was sixteen years old.  She and her brother also ran their own paper route. All money earned helped support the family of three. There was no time for a pony, even if there had been money to buy and care for one.


          She worked to put herself through college. Her family of three joined together to purchase a home and settle into life.  She began her teaching career with a zeal to educate her students not only in the required material, but by sharing life’s’ lessons. Her goal ever present – help the children understand that they may have been dealt a bad hand, but they have the choice to deal fresh cards.


          Pam’s daily route to school passed a large home with pasture land occupied by over sixty miniature horses. She never missed an opportunity to slow on the curve of highway to capture the vision for as long as possible. How she yearned to have just one miniature horse.
 

          One day she heard a friend of hers mention that he owned miniature horses and was close friends with the lady whose property held the herd she passed daily. Pam shared her passion to be around the minis and he offered to introduce her to the owner.
 

          After meeting the owner, Pam volunteered to come by the ranch when she had time and clean out the barn. As her visits at the ranch increased, a common bond grew between the two women. A passion to own her own mini burned inside her. But on a teacher’s salary, how would this ever work?
 

          Pam visited the minis daily. She soon graduated from barn cleaning to feeding, brushing, and bathing the younger horses. Her tender way with the babies helped them socialize with humans. She learned all their names and developed an understanding of their ways. Her love of the minis exploded.

  
        The rational side of her fought her dream for almost a year. Then Pam made the bold move. She put her house on the market and began to search for a small ranch where she would be able to have one little horse. She found a new born stallion that captured her heart and purchased him. He would board at her new friend’s ranch until she could find the right property.
 

          Within six months of stepping out on her lifelong dream, Pam purchased ten acres of pasture land. A three bedroom red brick ranch style home sat facing a meadow and woods. The location was perfect. And now she required all ten acres. Her love of minis had grown from one little boy to a small heard of eighteen miniature horses, some for pets, some to show, and some to breed. Her life would never be the same again.


           Her dreams realized. She knew the path less chosen would bring her the joy. She could recapture the lost years when her family broke apart and her pony had to be sold. God is good. Yes, you too can have the dream come true. But you have to deal yourself a new hand. Have faith. It works.
 

         

Here is my son, Jeff. Now you can see how "mini "these wonderful creatures are. 

                                                                                  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Remembered- Where Were You?



Certain events touch the core of a nation. These historic events, unforeseen and often tragic, are burned into our human soul. As America remembers those lost on September 11th, each of us has a personal story to share. Even today, ten years later, with the mere mention of 9/11, tides of tears touch my eyes. Let our stories bring tribute to those lost that day.

My career required frequent flights out of state.  A trip from Tulsa International Airport to Shreveport, Louisiana on September 11, 2001 required a change of planes in Dallas. My American Airlines flight’s first leg to Dallas that morning was uneventful.

As I climbed onto the airport tram to change gates, I couldn’t help notice the number of fellow travelers receiving cell phone calls. A woman sitting next to me shouted out, “A plane just hit one of the twin towers.” I assumed, as many of the other travelers that the media had reported a horrible accident.

But as torrents of cells rang across the tram car, reports of a second plane and the screams of horror around me caused the reality of what had happened to hit home.  I exited the tram into Terminal C already nauseous.  I raced toward my gate and realized there were no American Airline employees anywhere in sight.

Thousands of passengers bundled together in front of televisions mounted high on the walls. I stood motionless as reporters told how two American Airline’s jets crashed into the two twin towers in New York and exploded. The media footage as the buildings smashed to the ground left no hope for survivors. The reports cautioned of additional eight to ten air planes unaccounted for. Would there be more attacks? 

After what seemed like an eternity, airline employees returned to their work area. With pale faces and memorized scripts. They informed anyone who inquired, “They have called for immediate grounding of all air flights for an indefinite period of time. You will need to arrange your own mode of travel. We have no other information.”

I suddenly felt so alone. What might happen next?

With no available pay phone and my cell phone tower unable to handle the emergency load. I searched for a familiar face. Finding none, I approached a middle-aged man dressed in a suit and tie.  I reluctantly inquired if I could borrow his cell phone and he kindly agreed. My first phone call was to my fantastic admin,  Jackie.

She efficiently responded to my call on the first ring. How reassuring  it was to reach her.

“I’m so glad you are okay. I’ve sent your entire staff home. We were told that we are at war and only priority staff was to stay.”

At war? No, it couldn’t be. I had to get home.

I took a deep breath and attempted to match her unusually calm voice.  “I’m stranded at the Dallas airport. There are no rental cars left. No air lies are flying, and I’m not sure I can get home.”

“I’ll get you home. You catch a cab to the corporate office and wait for my call there.”

Relief filled me. “Thanks,” I said. “My cell is not getting out. Will you call my husband and let him know what’s going on?”

“Sure. You hold tight. I’ll find some way to get you home, even if I have to drive you myself.”

As I hurried out of the terminal to catch a cab, I ran into two co-workers. Warmth and a sense of family filled me. I wasn’t totally alone. Their eyes held the same haunting terror I felt..

One of my co-workers called out, “Pam. We’re stranded. Our flights were cancelled.”

“Yes, but if we can get a ride to our corporate office, there will be a way home. Let’s go.”

Fifteen minutes later the three of us were headed to our corporate office across town.  When we arrived the building was vacant. The only person on duty was the front desk security guard. The executives had all been evacuated

I was frustrated until I looked out the front window and saw my regular Dallas cab driver pulling into the parking area. Jackie had outdone herself. She’d arranged a cab ride from Dallas to Tulsa.

No one had a map. None of us were familiar with how to drive from Dallas to Tulsa. But we took off planning to drive straight north on route 75.  The four of us talked of nothing but the Twin Tower attacks. The death, the unknown, and the shock we felt deep in our souls. We had the radio on listening for any updates. Once we missed our turn and drove for at least fifty miles before realizing we had to turn around. 

Our four hour drive turned into seven. We experienced price gouging along the way, paying over $5.00 a gallon for a tank of gas. But our guardian angel drove us to the Tulsa Airport, where our cars were parked, and then started his long trek back to Dallas. He’d earned his sixty dollar tip. We all hugged our goodbyes and parted ways.

I spent the next four days frozen to the television listening to news reports. At times I couldn’t get enough of the media coverage, other times I felt so overwhelmed, tears wouldn’t stop.

Reports spoke of a national depression affecting many Americans. Had I become depressed? It was time to turn off the television and rejoice in the rising American spirit. I had to celebrate the bravery of those lost on 9/11 and begin the healing process.

American citizens’ resilience created a resurgence of national pride not seen in years. We’ve learned that life is a precious gift and so is freedom.

God bless America.

Please share your memories by adding a comment on my blog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Romance is in the Air



After four years of attending writing seminars and conferences and providing critique for my husband’s novels, I caught the writing bug. This particular illness is not fatal, nor is it contagious. However, it is untreatable. Once infected, no vaccine offers a cure. Symptoms of this infection are unique to the patient.



My first symptom was to jump right in and write. In my case, after years of devouring mysteries and thrillers, I began my first manuscript-a romance.  What did I know about writing a romance? Nothing.



My second symptom created conflict. Every novel I read required my personal inspection.  I monitored for technique, use of POV, accurate use of third person, strong verbs (show versus tell), active voice instead of passive, and a story full of conflict and tension.



Believe me when I say, this inspection slowed down my reading time. But in doing so I identified published authors who followed their own set of writing rules. I seems authors with a large readership, a high priced agent, and a large publishing house can clearly break the rules I learned at conferences..



I recently enjoyed a Christian romance novel by Kristen Heitzman, The Still of Night. Her novel grabbed me from the prologue to the end. She developed her characters artfully, and with great care. The tension and conflict arrived on page one.  Her method of spinning the tale, continued to draw me in.



Her ability to use the five senses as she introduced the settings was inspirational. As a reader, I could smell and hear the ocean, taste the oranges freshly picked from the tree outside the balcony, and clutched my own cramping stomach when the protagonist felt emotional pain.



Kristen Heitzmann, however, did head-hopping between the two main characters. The story would flow from the female’s dialog, internal monolog, action and then flow to the male character allowing him the same latitude. I must say, for me, it enhanced the scenes. She performed the exchange of information like a pro. I highly recommend her novels for anyone wanting a good Christian romance read.



Some day, when my manuscript is supported by an agent and a publishing house, I plan to break a few rules, too. I’m not sure which ones yet. But the magic will work when I do. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh Time, Where Have You Gone?

Last night my husband and I attended our monthly Tulsa Night Writers meeting. Jim Laughter, an accomplished author, spoke on time management. He touched on several key ideas that sparked my memory and started my creative juices flowing. 


 As a manager in corporate America, I frequently search for more time to accomplish my goals. Now, as an author, time management has leapt to the forefront of my needs. I often long for just one more hour in a day. But as Jim said, “There are only twenty-four hours in a day. It’s all we get. There ain’t no more.” 

Jim pointed out that a successful author is required to be a master in multiple areas. We prepare to write, research our material, plan the flow of our story, whether by using a simple or complex outline, develop our characters, and define the plot. Then we must manage our time to weave together our manuscript.  

To manage the myriad of processes writing requires, then generate a quality manuscript, forces each of us to recognize the value of time and to know ourselves well enough to avoid wasting both our time and our resources. This demands a structured day, week, and month to accomplish our tasks. 

Here are few time savers I use:  

Identify the best time of day for you to perform each task. Determine when are you the most analytical, creative, sleepy, or when get bored easily? Then structure your schedule around your biological clock.

Time wasters such as emails, returning phone calls, following up on appointments etc. can be scheduled for times you find yourself bored or restless.  

Fight the urge to check your email every hour. At most, three times a day will allow you to stay current on important items and avoid the time wasters.  

Return phone calls right before lunch or near the end of the business day. Your caller will be more tempted to keep the call short. 

Schedule Social Media activities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin for times in the day when you are not the most creative. Protect your creative energy as a priority. 

Schedule your website and/or blog updates for particular days of the week. Establish a timeframe goal for updates then remain true to your schedule.


Share your schedule with your loved ones. Ask their help in keeping true to your plan.  

Build in flexibility for family interruptions because they always occur, then have the discipline to return to your schedule within an hour unless it is an emergency. 

Good luck in practicing some new ideas and restarting some old ones. We can’t replace lost time so  let’s use quality time for our most important activities. 

A special thanks to Jim Laughter for allowing me to use his presentation as a platform for my blog. Don’t miss out on his books. He will not disappoint you.  

Jim  most recent novel, The Apostle Murders, is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Check out his website, www.jimlaughter.com and read the prologue. You will find information about his other novels including, From Victim to Hero – The Untold Story of Steven Stayner, a stirring true account of a kidnapped 7-year old boy that overcame incredible odds and survived to become a national hero. Don’t miss out on his great books, including his Galactic Axia young adult sci/fi series. All of his titles are available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook formats.

                                                                                            

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Romance Writer, Pam Wetterman, shares Her work.





Today is a very special day. I am sharing my new love with my readers. It is important for writers to receive honest feedback on their work. As I promised last week, I will share my first chapter with you today.

The protagonist, Angie Rhodes and her constant companion, MR. Tubbs are introduced in the first chapter.
Please use the comment area for your welcome feedback.

Angie Rhodes falls asleep, exhausted from her tears. Her husband Jonathan failed to come home again, and he forgot their eighth wedding anniversary. His drive to become a senior law partner claimed priority again. 

In the past eight years Angie has forsaken a promising artistic career. Determined to establish her own identity and rekindle her artistic gifts, Angie departs for a month-long intensive study of her craft. She soon comes under the influence of Professor James Turner who has plans of his own. 

Will she realize the threat Turner poses? Can her absence rekindle the romance she and Jonathan have lost and restore their marriage?


Butterfly, It’s Time


Chapter 1

From her third floor bedroom window, Angie Rhodes searched for Jonathan in the flurry of strangers below. The crowd packed streets hummed with commuters returning from work to experience life inthe world of Gold Coast, the little Manhattan of Chicago. As a blanket of dusk settled over the city, Gold Coast popped with life.

Angie smiled as she thought of the special evening she had planned for her husband Jonathan. She crossed the master bedroom and slid onto the gold velvet chair by her dressing table. A deep sigh escaped her lips as she gazed into the makeup mirror. She assessed her new look. She had fostered a more natural look all her life. She preferred lip gloss and a hint of blush. She now glowed with red carpet glamour. Would Jonathan approve of the change? 

She had planned for over a month. Tonight must be perfect. She tingled as desire filled her. She would explode with passion. Tonight Jonathan would know how much she loved him.

Angie leaned closer to the mirror and took one last peek. As she ran her long slender fingers through her hair, she commented to her constant companion, “Do you like the new me, Mr. Tubbs? I’m told that with my classic oval face this is the perfect hair cut.

Her heart warmed as she spoke to her precious Toy Fox Terrier. Mr. Tubbs was her housewarming gift from her husband the day they moved into the Brownstone. Jonathan fulfilled his promise of a puppy with class and character. Mr. Tubbs was indeed a character.

“Did you notice the red highlights in my hair? That’s to help me look seductive. Not too bad for an old married lady of thirty-four. ”  

His breed, clown like, and brought her hours of enjoyment. Mr. Tubbs’ tall bat ears turned like a periscope towards her as she spoke. She glanced down at him. His slightly rounded body was white with one rogue black spot on his left hip. His face, black and brown around his eyes and down his long pointed snout, created the look of a mask.

Mr. Tubbs, in his normal sweet manner, wagged his stubby tail and gave her a positive fanny wiggle.


“Yes, you’re right; the highlights compliment my deep brown eyes. Who would have thought I could be a woman of mystery for only one hundred and fifty dollars and three hours of time. Jonathan told me he liked red highlights, so I must look good.” 

Angie, dressed in a new purple silk lounging set, stood up from her dressing table chair, stretched her willowy frame to her full five foot ten inch height and twirled towards the door leading from the bedroom. Mr. Tubbs jumped off his mistress’s bed and followed her down the stairs to the first floor kitchen, wagging his tail with increased tempo.

“Do you know it’s a very special day? Your daddy and I are celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary. I’ve cooked his favorite Rachel Ray recipe, Smoky Salmon with Watercress. Can you feel the mood? What do you think?”

Mr. Tubbs raced over to the cookie jar and sat patiently staring up at the canister.

“Okay, just one.”


Angie stirred the couscous, then with three quick strides across the kitchen floor, opened the cookie jar and picked out the smallest dog biscuit inside. She leaned forward and offered her Toy Fox Terrier a bite. He rose up on his back legs to elevate the position of his eight - inch tall frame. Goal completed, he trotted off to the living room to enjoy his reward.

Angie sat at the kitchen bar, long graceful legs dangling from the stool, reviewing her mental check list. Wine chilled. Dining room table set with crystal and china. Low lights and lots of candles. Yes, the setting appeared perfect. Would it be enough to make a difference?

She stood up, wandered into the dining room and sat down at the head of the table. Her eyes moved around the room checking for anything missing. She furrowed her brow. Why must Jonathan work such long hours? She was nearing her thirty-fifth birthday and felt more single than married.

Although proud of his career, she missed him terribly. He’d risen quickly at the law firm of Jackson, Jackson, and Long. Now he aspired to be the next mayor of Chicago. Where did that leave her? Being a corporate lawyer’s wife was lonely enough. What would her life be like as the mayor’s wife? 

Jonathan often spent the night in downtown Chicago at a hotel. Would he disappoint her tonight? No, he’d promised. But there were other broken promises. She sighed and then paced from the kitchen to the living room and back again. She watched the hands on the grandfather clock move from six-thirty to eight. Where was he? 

Angie finally grabbed her cell phone and called his private number. If he was in the office, he’d pick up. No answer. She called his cell phone. Still no answer.

Not again, oh God, not again. Please, not on our anniversary.

Angie fought off the tears as long as she could, then the waterfall began. Once the sobbing started, it seemed impossible to stop.

Her marriage to Jonathan wasn’t perfect. He’d made it clear that his career was his number one priority. But there were good times, when he wasn’t the lead on a case. He could be fun. He was attentive to her. But once the pressure of work reappeared, he was distracted, indifferent, and distant. Those were the times he would spend nights at a hotel downtown.

She had broached the subject with him several times. His response was always the same. “Give me some space. I’m involved in an important trial and my career depends on me getting the not guilty verdict.

How could he keep hurting her this way?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Journey: How I Fell In Love With Writing


Retirement comes in many forms. For me, retirement, aka my department out sourced to another country, arrived without warning. My personal worth was impacted by the loss of a promising career. Suddenly I found myself in a fulltime position as a homemaker, with a husband still fully engaged in his work life. Where would I fit in?

My darling husband, Bill Wetterman, confessed to me one evening that he was a closet writer. With his secret out, he encouraged me to join him at writing conferences, critique groups, and workshops. He worked during the day and continued to write at night. I critiqued his material, learning the craft as I went.

As my confidence grew, the writing bug attacked and won the battle. My first romance novel, Butterfly, Its’ Time, will be completed this summer. The protagonist, Angie Rhodes, discovers her gift for painting, struggles in her marriage to attorney, Jonathan Rhodes, and searches for fulfillment as a woman. Her journey takes her into the clutches of an art professor who has plans of his own.

I will post Chapter 1 next week. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

HELLO WORLD

Welcome to my world. This life has been, and continues to be, an amazing ride.  Today begins another exciting phase of growth for me. With my first romance manuscript near completion, my Facebook established, I’ve ventured out into public with my stories to share. I’m bogging! 

In the last three years I have strived to discover what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a happily married woman with two grown sons, and three delightful grandchildren, this may have been a strange journey. However, unusual as it may sound, the results have been satisfying, eye-opening, and fruitful. I hope you’ll take this journey with me, comment and question my posts, and have a good time. 

In the summer of 2010 I attended my high school reunion and hooked up with my two best girlfriends. We had such a wonderful time and we agreed to take a week vacation on the beach. What a great opportunity to reconnect with two marvelous women. Stay tuned for posts on our trip.