Monthly Archives: July 2012

The importance of good nutrition

The importance of good nutrition.

Claim This As Your Motto: Let It Be Me

Become everything that God wants you to be. It is within your reach!

Claim This As Your Motto: Let It Be Me

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

What do these three things have in common with writing: Taekwondo, Weight Watchers and Mary Kay Cosmetics? If you’ve read my bio, then you know I became a third degree black belt in Songahm Taekwondo at the age of 58. During my years of training and teaching Taekwondo, there were several recurring themes for students and teachers alike and I soon learned that was also true for Mary Kay and Weight Watchers.

For Taekwondo:  Commit to goals, Keep promises, Persevere through challenges, Honor those who surround you and Be loyal

For Weight Watchers: Set goals, Stay motivated, Make smart choices, Learn the program, and Learn to overcome obstacles

For Mary Kay Cosmetics: Set goals, Follow the Golden Rule, Pursue your dreams, Enthusiasm propels you forward to meet challenges and Have a “sharing and caring” attitude

Do you see the similar theme running throughout all of these as I did? Each set was designed to educate, encourage, motivate and overcome challenges. When the leaders talked about reaching goals, they would often ask, “What is your dream? Where do you want to be in five or ten years?”

My answer for Taekwondo was easy. I wanted to be a black belt and an instructor. The answer for Weight Watchers was also easy; I wanted to lose 40 pounds. But when it came to Mary Kay Cosmetics I wasn’t sure and I didn’t quite know why.

During my training for Taekwondo I set goals, persevered through the challenges, reached my goals, set new ones and kept my promises to myself never to give up. I honored those around me by showing respect, helping in whatever way I could and by doing this I brought not only honor, but also loyalty to the dojo and sensei. I worked hard and I am a black belt.

During those years of learning Taekwondo, I also needed to lose weight and I wanted to be sure I was as healthy as possible. I wasn’t getting any younger, you know. Taekwondo is a great exercise, but for me it wasn’t enough to lose all the weight I needed too.

Weight Watchers moved in next door to the dojo and I thought why not give it a whirl? So I joined. I began hearing a very familiar theme from the first day I attended, “set goals and with hard work and perseverance you’ll realize your dream.”

I already knew how to set goals and I knew it took work to reach them. I already understood I had to keep learning. The only difference now was instead of learning forms and free sparing; I needed to learn how to be a Weight Watcher.

Instead of breaking boards and side kicks, I needed to learn how to make smart choices, stay motivated and how to overcome obstacles in real life situations. I had to learn about nutrition and diet and exercise and how they go hand in hand with one another. Diet and nutrition without exercise or exercise without diet and nutrition, just doesn’t work for me.

After two years and oh so many obstacles and ups and downs, I had lost forty-five pounds. I worked hard, reached my goals and I am a Weight Watcher.

My oldest daughter introduced me to Mary Kay Cosmetics. She convinced me and my youngest daughter to join her in Mary Kay. I loved the product and I enjoyed the other women who attended the meetings and by selling it, I received a discounted price. So I was hooked and now I was hearing the same familiar tune of set goals, follow the golden rule, pursue your dreams, enthusiasm propels you forward to meet challenges and have a “sharing and caring” attitude.

The recurring theme of “Pursue your dream” first with Taekwondo and then with Weight Watchers and now with Mary Kay, always made me think of writing. When I was young that was my dream, but life got in my way and I thought I had missed my chance so I would push it out of my mind. I told myself I wasn’t any good at it anyway and no one would want to read anything I wrote. I told myself I was too old and I’d die before I ever got anything into print.

So whenever I heard someone say pursue your dreams (you hear it a lot more at Mary Kay meetings and seminars than you do anywhere else) I would ignore the hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach and continued pursuing my goals in Mary Kay. I thought I could make enough money to quit my day job, set my own hours and still have time to write. But even though I loved the product and the people and Mary Kay Ash is someone I wish I could have known (she passed away in 2001), my heart wasn’t in it.

I didn’t need to quit my day job to be able to write and as it turned out, it was Mary Kay Ash who convinced me I should pursue my real dream.

I was watching a special on TV about her life and they showed her talking on stage to a huge audience at a seminar in DallasTX. These were her words:

“Do you know that within your power lies every step you ever dreamed of stepping and within your power lies every joy you ever dreamed of seeing? Within yourself lies everything you ever dreamed of being. Become everything that God wants you to be. It is within your reach. Dare to grow into your dreams and claim this as your motto: Let it be me.”

Of course she was talking about Mary Kay and becoming an Independent National Sales Director and earning a free pink Cadillac, but that’s not what I thought about when I heard those words. My head said, don’t be a fool, but my heart was screaming be a writer.

I still am a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, but I don’t pursue it the way many do. I love and use the product and I know a few ladies who use it too. I put an order in once in awhile, just enough to stay active.

I’m also still a member of Songahm Taekwondo, although I no longer teach. I’m also a member of Weight Watchers, but instead of attending meetings. I attend online.

In my heart, I’m grateful to all three for everything I’ve learned. I don’t believe I’d be pursuing my dream today if I hadn’t been part of each one of them. Everything I’ve learned about pursuing writing as a career, I’ve already learned from Taekwondo, Weight Watchers and Mary Kay, well everything that is except how to show don’t tell.

When I need a dose of encouragement or want to tell someone about my newest writing project, I turn to the Internet and go where the writer’s are, in blogs, on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and a dozen other sites. There’s no shortage of good advice, words of encouragement and best of all when I see the words “Pursue your Dreams” I can say, “I’ve worked hard and I am a writer.”

How about you? Are you pursuing your dream? Have you always had the same dream? How did you decide what your dream would be?

As always, I love comments and appreciate your opinions or questions. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter I will like, follow you, or Tweet in return.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

I was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of the nine winning authors and their story titles can be viewed at: (13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC    Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: www.thepinkchameleon.com a free magazine. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: www.knowonder.com also a free magazine. Once on the site type in the title of the story in the Search Engine at the top of the page and it will take you to the story.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: www.storiesthatlift.com. This too is a free magazine. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. There is a Search Engine on this site also.

In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/  A subscription is required to read these stories, but if you have children between the ages of 4-10, it might be worth it.

The First Page of Your Novel — Making it Shine

The First Page of Your Novel — Making it Shine.

Proactive Means Taking Charge

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Did this guy learn to do this by simply reading about it? Or did he become proactive, take charge and just do it? 

 Proactive Means Taking Charge

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

I have a habit of saving things I read on the Internet. Little scraps of ideas or sayings, quotes or names I like and may use in a story someday, sometimes its web addresses of websites or blogs that I liked and want to remember. I’ll copy and paste them into a word document so I can read it again later.

Of course after I do this, I promptly forget about them. Then weeks or even months later, while trying to clean up my computer from all the stuff I’ve saved over time, I’ll come across one of those rare ones I should have been reading everyday.

I really need to apologize to the author of this little gem I found, because I didn’t save her (I say “her”, but it could have been a “him”.) I didn’t save her name or even where I found the original article. So if anyone reading this recognizes the words and knows the author’s name please let me know. I want to give her the credit she deserves.

I had no idea in January of 2011; I would start a blog in 2012 and want to pass on some of the great stuff I’d saved. Now when I find things, I do save the authors’ names and where I find the information, but it’s too late for this particular article to get her consent.

The author starts out with: “Fate does not run your writing career. You do.”

Then she lists ten things she believes anyone starting out in the writing business should be prepared to do. Most of what she listed, I now do and some I had to modify to fit my goals.

  1. looking for new markets…check
  2. finishing a novel and starting a new one…check
  3. beginning a blog…check
  4. finding the perfect agent…working on it
  5. landing a publisher…working on it
  6. establishing your writing career…check
  7. attending a conference to find your footing…someday
  8. locating or starting a critique group…working on it
  9. publishing in that magazine you’ve feared for too long…This one I would change to “sending queries/manuscripts to various markets”…check
  10. finding a writing mentor/partner…check

The list may not apply to you if you’re not a writer. And even if you are a writer, there are many different kinds of writers. Some writers write news stories, articles for magazines, short stories of fiction and/or nonfiction, books of fiction, and books of nonfiction…well you get my drift. Some of the list may not apply to you either and that’s okay, just modify the list by setting your own goals and work toward fulfilling your dream.

So what is your passion? Maybe it’s photography or painting beautiful portraits or starting your own business. Whatever we aspire to do or become can only be accomplished if we take charge and press forward toward a specific goal.

In this same article, the author goes on to further state: “Proactive means taking charge instead of waiting for events to find you.”

I think, to put it another way, if we’re still “dreaming” and wishing for something to happen, but not working toward a goal, then we’re not proactive. We’re not moving forward. We’re stagnant. Have you ever seen stagnant water, it’s not a pretty sight and it smells bad too. Are you stagnant?

What are ten things you should be doing to move forward toward your dream? Have you set reachable goals?

It takes more than just setting goals though. The article goes on to say: “being proactive and taking charge would help you fare much better, appreciate yourself more, and open new doors of opportunity by grabbing 2012 and molding it to your desires”.

I began taking charge in 2008. Not by “trying” to reach my goals. The article said “taking charge”, because by taking charge I’m no longer giving myself permission to be excused if I fail. I’m doing the things that make me uncomfortable, like blogging, socializing on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, branding my name and sending out queries and manuscripts, searching for markets. I could just write and not do any of the other stuff, and I could say I’m “trying” to be a writer. I’m writing, aren’t I, and learning, but who’s going to read my work if no one knows it exists. Are you really a writer if you don’t have readers. I tried for forty plus years for fate to make me a writer. It never happened and it wasn’t going too, because all I did was “try”. Trying is not doing.

So if trying isn’t the answer, what is? I decided to become proactive, take charge and make things happen. It’s taken time and effort, but I’ve already won; I became a writer and an author in my own eyes that day. And that’s where it has to start. The author of the original article made one final, but important point in her article. She wrote: “If 2011 wasn’t to your liking, make a change. No one else can do it for you.”

Just like the guy in the picture above and the quote here; you’ll never know what you can do until you do it, take charge…and be proactive.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretsky

As always, I appreciate your opinions or questions. Please, leave a comment. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook or Twitter I will follow you, leave a comment, like, or Tweet in return.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

I was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of winning authors and their story titles can be viewed at: (13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC    Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: www.thepinkchameleon.com a free magazine. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: www.knowonder.com also a free magazine. Once on the site type in the title of the story in the Search Engine at the top of the page and it will take you to the story.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: www.storiesthatlift.com. This too is a free magazine. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. There is a Search Engine on this site also.

.In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/  A subscription is required to read these stories, but if you have children between the ages of 4-10, it might be worth it.

God’s Greatest Gift

God’s Greatest Gift.

The Many Blogs and Facebook Pages I’ve Visited

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It’s definitely not Iowa!

The Many Blogs and Facebook Pages I’ve Visited

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time on social networks. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are places I used to be afraid to explore. I don’t know why or even what I thought could happen if I did. Steal my identity I suppose or make fun of what I had to say. But then someone encouraged me to try and I have met some very nice people.

The one thing I couldn’t quite understand about some of these sites is why so many don’t want to have their names on the site or if they do, I still had to spend a lot of time figuring out where it was. What are they hiding or trying to hide?

Many are promoting their books on their blogs, websites, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Well, okay, I don’t mind, I’ll be doing the same when I have a book to promote, but it’s still nice to know whom I’m talking too. Are you a real person or a clever machine? Without a name or a picture of a human face, sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Of course, there are certain personal things I would never put on any of the sites. My home address is one and I would never give out any of my phone numbers. The closest I would come to saying where I live is in Iowa. I know that’s not exactly an exotic place to live, but I like it.

I am a writer. An author. I write short stories and books. Someday, I even hope to get paid for writing my stories. So that means I’ll need readers, people who know my name. If they like me as a person, they’ll be more willing to read what I write. If, as a writer, I stayed anonymous and no one had ever heard of me, how could I ever expect to have anyone searching for me or my stories? If I wanted to stay anonymous I’d use a pen name, but at least it would be a name people can relate too.

I started this blog to let people know what kind of person I am. I hope in doing so, they will like me (and I don’t mean only on my Facebook page “like”) and hopefully they’ll be willing to at least check out my books when (notice I said when, not if) they are published.

Something else I’ve noticed about many of the sites I’ve visited, is the branding of the book titles. Some of the stories haven’t even been published and that’s okay if I’m self-publishing. But what if I want to find a brick and mortar publisher? Many times a publisher will change the name from the original one the author gave it and then what?

I’d have to either refuse letting them change it and possibly lose a contract or I’d have to start all over with a new blog. If I had branded my name instead of the title and gave the domain my name or a variation of it, I wouldn’t have to worry. I could add as many books as I could write to that one blog and promote them right there.

I also started wondering if I did brand just my book and story titles, how would anyone searching on any of the search engines know they’ve found the author who wrote the book they wanted to read.

Titles are not protected. Domain names are. There could be a thousand books with the same title. My name could be the difference between the reader giving up and settling for someone else’s book or blog with the same name or finding me.

Another problem I could see with branding only the book title is; how many books am I going to write. What if I write 20 books or more, am I going to brand each book separate and have a blog or author page for each one. The truth is, I couldn’t keep up with that many promotions. I’d go crazy trying. I do have a life I want to keep along with my writing.

And what if I’m lucky enough to find a traditional publisher to do the marketing for me, all I’d have to do is sit back and rake in the money. Yeah! Right! The traditional publisher is no longer so traditional. Many of them expect the author to have a presence on the social media sites, just as the not so traditional publishers do and self-publishing is an option now too. It’s becoming more and more accepted, but who’s going to take a chance and buy my book if no one has ever heard of me and the only image of me is of an avatar? They probably won’t because they will go to the person they feel they know and have a connection with.

That’s why politicians spend so much time and money on letting the people meet and greet them. If the potential voters feel they know and like the candidate, they are more likely to vote for them.

Here’s someone else’s opinion on this subject. Explore Kristen Lamb’s blog and read what she says about branding. She’s a best selling author. She’s also very honest about how she first started out and what her expectations were. She’s funny, smart, a great teacher on writing and she says she learned the hard way and felt very alone and that’s why she wrote these two best selling books. Her website: http://www.warriorwriters.wordpress.com

Her books: We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media

Are You There Blog? It’s Me Writer

As always, I appreciate your opinions or questions. Please, leave a comment. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook or Twitter I will follow you, leave a comment, like, or Tweet in return and do my best to get to know you.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

I was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of winning authors and their story titles can be viewed at:

(13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC    Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: www.thepinkchameleon.com a free magazine. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: www.knowonder.com also a free magazine. Once on the site type in the title of the story in the Search Engine at the top of the page and it will take you to the story.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: www.storiesthatlift.com. This too is a free magazine. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. There is a Search Engine on this site also.

In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/  A subscription is required to read these stories, but if you have children between 4-10, it might be worth it.

It’s The Little Things That Matter The Most

Our lives jumbled together promises that we’ll both live forever in our daughters and grandchildren’s hearts.

It’s The Little Things That Matter The Most
By Author Donna Jean McDunn

Tomorrow is our 42nd wedding anniversary. Yep, that’s right, forty-two years of wedded…life. Were you perhaps expecting I would say “bliss”?

Marriage isn’t all happiness and flowers and I would never describe it as blissful. Marriage is work, more work than any teenager could ever have imagined. The only thing harder is “raising teenagers”, but of course we didn’t know that, not then anyway. We were two teenagers in love and didn’t know or care how hard life would get.

It didn’t matter to us that Pat had just received his draft notice and he would be leaving in three weeks. It didn’t matter that I would be left alone for the better part of two years worrying that he might have to go to Viet Nam and maybe never come back. We had a friend who died over there. He’d only been there a few months.

But we were lucky, Pat never left the States, and I went with him whenever I could. I’d never been away from our small town or my family and we had no idea how homesick we, okay I, would become and how quick our lives would change. Our first baby girl was born a year later in August of 1971, but within the next six years there would be two more. We had to grow up fast.

Aren’t they beautiful?They are all grown up now.  Where did the days go?

There were so many ups and downs in our marriage just as there are in every marriage. The birth of our three daughters was the ups, but the bills that accompanied each one were the downs. According to statistics the hardest thing on a marriage is money or I should say the lack of money.

We had plenty of that all right, the lack of money that is, but over the years it has gotten better. However, until our daughters finally graduated and stopped moving back home every few months, it seemed impossible to see ourselves ever living debt free. Then miraculously we paid off our credit cards and in four years our house will really belong to us instead of to the bank.

Looking back over the years, I can honestly say, money never played a role in making or breaking our marriage. For me, it was the little things that most often threatened our life together. A careless comment or the lack of an encouraging comment at an appropriate time, were for me the hardest things to ignore and forget. I’m not saying I never made the same mistakes. I’m sure I did, I’m human too, but if our marriage was doomed to fail and I was the one to call it quits, those comments or lack of, would have been the reason.

It still is.

I don’t know if anyone else feels the same as I do, but I need to know I am appreciated and loved and I shouldn’t have to ask if it’s true. Without those two things, I wouldn’t have a reason to stay, not even for my daughters. In the long haul of things, Pat has always managed to come through and give me what I needed.

Have I done the same for him? I’d like to think so, but to be honest, I’ve never asked him if he has ever wanted to leave our marriage and I don’t want to know now if he ever did. There are some things better left unsaid, even in a marriage or maybe especially in a marriage and maybe that’s why it’s worked for us for forty-two years.

Our eight grandchildren are now what holds us together as a family and for them we would both walk through fire, just the same as we did when our daughters lived at home. I just hope the grandkids never ask us to co-sign a loan, because that will never happen. We had to learn the hard way: Fire can be put out with water, but a co-sign could last forever, especially at our age.

These guys are why grandma and grandpa stay young at heart

As always, I appreciate your opinions or questions. Please, leave a comment. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook or Twitter I will follow you, leave a comment, like, or Tweet in return.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

My Young Adult short story “Trapped” was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of winning authors and their story titles may be viewed at:
(13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC   Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: http://www.thepinkchameleon.com. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: http://www.knowonder.com.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: http://www.storiesthatlift.com. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories.

In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/