September 21, 2009

Good News and Lessons Learned

Working at home I've become keenly aware of the sounds of my neighborhood. Especially the sounds of the commercial vehicles. The hours of my day are marked by the squeal of school bus brakes at nearby bus stops, distant commuter train whistles and the putt putt of the mail truck as it works its way toward my mailbox. Occasionally a trash truck, helicopter or lawnmower swallows up the silence. But do you know the best sound of all? The UPS truck.

Whenever I hear the familiar rumble barrel up my street my heartbeat quickens. Because UPS doesn't deliver junk mail or bills, they deliver packages. And packages are like presents (even if they contain something you ordered). And one thing is certain: presents are always a good thing!

Oh happy day, when Big Brown stops in front of my house. By the time the driver hops from the truck in his monochromatic uniform, sprints up the yard and drops the package (sometimes with a loud thud as it hits the front door) my stomach is aflutter with the possibilities! What could it be? The book I just ordered? A new pair of shoes? A surprise birthday/anniversary/Christmas/”just because” present? The grand prize in a contest?

Such was the scene on Friday. I rushed to inspect this unexpected delivery—a box, bigger than usual. One look at the return label and I knew exactly what was inside.

I shouted to my family, “Everyone! Come quick. I have exciting news!”

With far less enthusiasm than the situation warranted, my children drew near. My husband didn’t even budge from his office (the nerve!). Regardless of their lukewarm reception, I tore open the box, ripped off the packing material and revealed the masterpieces enclosed.

Ten copies of my first book.

Well, not exactly MY book—but the first book I’ve been published in. And the first writing gig that I’ve been paid for— a Chicken Soup for the Soul story.

Even though it’s not a lofty goal, getting into a Chicken Soup book was near the top of my goal list. Seeing my name on the book's pages is as exciting as I hoped. As much rejection writing brings I’m savoring this moment. Plus, I share this victory with my writing group friend Denise, who is also in this volume.

In celebration, I’m giving away a copy of this book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Cat. To be entered, leave a comment. Tell me a lesson you learned from your cat . . . or your dog, and I’ll enter you twice. I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday 9/25.

To be honest, as a dog lover at heart, I’m a bit discomfited that my first book publishing credit is about a cat—my cat to be exact. But, I really have learned a lot from my cat (first of all, that cats can be wonderful pets) and I’m proud of the story I wrote. :-)


Kelly Combs said...

I am SO Excited for you, Kelli! That is so awesome! It is one of my goals too, so I am right there with you relating. :-)

What I learned from my dog is unconditional love. Oh, how that dog loves me! And I've learned about forgiveness, because when he looks at me with those big soft eyes, even though he just ate my kitchen rug, he's easy to forgive.

My duaghter especially loves the Chicken Soup books, so this one (after I read YOUR story!) would go right into her library.

JerryLyn said...

Kelli, This is so awesome! I remember the feeling of having something included in a book for the first time -- what an awesome time for you! Congratulations!

Sassy Granny ... said...

How wonderful! I can feel the excitement, and for sure I'd have been tearing open that box with you.

Cats ... years ago we had a Himalayan named Tojo. Tojo was born without a voice box, but apparently that didn't bother him much. He'd sit at your feet and mouth a "meow", silently (and we'd all crack up). No matter ... if you didn't respond he'd climb up next to you and gently pat an arm with his paw.

What I learned? Words (and sound) are not always necessary. A gentle touch often captivates (and commands).


Debbie said...

I'm not a cat person, and my dog hasn't really taught me much except that we're probablly not good pet owners. He's been walked maybe five times (we have an electric fence). ICE is a black lab and the sweetest dog I have ever known (imagine that in our family).

Hooray for you KELLI!!! I'm so proud of you!! I'd be happy to buy the book on my own. When is the signing at B&N?

Love, Deb

Julie Gillies said...

YAY Kelli! Woo-hoo! I'm SO happy for you, and proud of you. I happen to be a cat lover, so I think it's totally cool that your first book acceptance has to do with cats.

I have a dog story: When our Australian Shepherd was a pupppy, she and our daughter played hide-and-seek all the time. It was so sweet. Emily would call out "Come and find me!" and the dog WOULD! One day the Lord told me that's what HE says to us. "Come and find me!"

Okay, now enter me twice...cuz I wanna win your book!

CONGRATS, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Kelli!! That is awesome!

You know we are cat lovers and have taken in more than our fair share of strays. What i have learned from my cats...Be happy in the moment and take time to telling what a cat nap in the sun can do for your mood...I hope I win..but if not Barnes and Noble here I come!!!


Maria said...

How absolutely wonderful! I'm so happy for you. What a blessing you are!!


Carmen said...

That is SO EXCITING!! Congratulations Kelli. I had to snicker when I read about your less than excited kids, and your hubby staying in his office. Boy do I relate!!

Little do they know what an accomplishment this is, but we out in blogging land do, and we are so happy for you! Congratulations again!

Mama Mote said...

Wow. Now I know TWO people who are published in this book. I found out that a friend in my hometown is also published in this book and I would LOVE to win this. Then I would know to look for two stories. How fun.

When my dog was older, my mom brought in a stray who invaded her territory. The stray had puppies and they ALL invaded her territory. But they all seemed to get along after a little getting used to. I learned, from that, that you can become friends if you take time to get to know your new neighbors who seem to invade your space. that there are little neighbor kids running across my lawn - meeting neighbors again.

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh wow! Congrats on getting into Chicken Soup! How exciting to get published in the book and to finally get a copy! I know I'd be pulling my whole family to the front door and the box too!

Terri Tiffany said...

YAY! Kelli! I am so excited for you as I well remember that wonderful feeling!! It is cool!!!Now the next step is to go to Barnes and Nobles and look for it and pluck it off the shelf. I did that:)

Analisa said...

Congrats!!!!! Don't you feel great about it, you should. I don't have a pet, maybe by this time next year. Please enter me.

Peggy said...

Dear Kelli....
Sooooo very happy for you.
This was such a good day for me today that I'm proud to share in your great news.
I have lot's of cat, dog, bird and fish stories. The biggest treasure is the unconditional love and warmth that your pet (no matter what it is) can give.
I always try to give that back to everyone.
I'm so excited for you, I'm on my way to B&N to get my copy.

Way to go girlfriend!!!!!
Blessings and Love....Peggy

Tea With Tiffany said...

Picked you for an award. :)

Saleslady371 said...

I am so happy for you. I wish you continued success in your writing. We live on acreage and I love the sound of the UPS truck, too. Our cat, Muppin, taught me not to tangle with the skunk that comes around at nightime. You surely will stink.

Cheryl Barker said...

Congrats, congrats, congrats, Kelli! How exciting. So happy for you!

Our dog has been gone for a few years now, but one lesson I learned was to pay more attention if something doesn't seem right. We should have discovered her problem earlier...

Hope you have lots more exciting writing news to share in the future!

Sue J. said...

Fabulous! It would be hard to part with any of the copies. You might have to keep one in every room for a little while, for when that unexpected company drops in--hee-hee!

[And, btw, the UPS folks wear "browniful" uniforms and drive "the package truck."]

We don't have pets. But I did grow up with dogs. Cats have a natural attraction to me. Maybe they just like my socks or pants or something. Why they have to come up and snuggle your legs....?! Cats teach me that there may be things I don't care for in someone, but that doesn't give me the right to condemn them. I just question their motives.

Just kidding. I'm hoping my one entry brings the Browniful man to my house with YOUR book!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Kelli!

Here's my lesson that I've learned from my cats and dogs over the years and hope to pass it along to friends and family... Even if it stinks, it's still good for you somehow. =)

So proud of you! Tracy