Whatever Will Be, Will Be

This week we are discussing our early aspirations…what we wanted to be when we grew up.
I remember finding out right away that I was good in school and wanting to be a teacher. That didn’t work out completely as I expected. I did teach religion part time and tutored family and friends…and I found myself homeschooling my sons for years, along with some group classes.

But that was not a career.

I also remember that, for a while, I wanted to be a nurse. I think most girls my age at one time thought of becoming one. My mother told me to shoot for “doctor”, but when I was 8 or 9 and there were few women doctors, “nurse” seemed more romantic. A cousin and I both had planned on becoming nurses and going to our grandparents’ homeland. That didn’t work for me, however, that cousin became a doctor…but she still hasn’t gotten to Italy.

I also thought of becoming a librarian for a short time. I volunteered for years in my grandchildren’s school libraries and I frequent my local branch so often that at least four people have thought that I work there. My house has more books than some libraries, but alas, I am simply a bit of a book hoarder.

When I was still very young I truly enjoyed science and thought that astronomy was cool and atomic science was really something. I didn’t go into science but one of my sons is in graduate school extending his environmental health sciences degree and right now has an internship with the Food and Drug Administration studying atomic particle impact on health and up the food chain. When he comes in on weekends, when he describes his work, it is fascinating! [ I just got news that I may be able live vicariously even more through my son as he is up for an internship with the CDC this Summer.] And I impressed more than one astronomer by declaring that we took off and drove about forty miles at three in the morning TWICE in sub-freezing weather to get a view of Halley’s Comet in 1986. But the chance of making a career of had flown by.

I also always enjoyed archaeology. I never got to dig in Egypt or Santorini, but you should see me fossil hunt here in Kentucky! I did not know there were so many fossils just lying around, and in so many rocks. I not only have fossilized clams, trilobites and other animals embedded in the rocks that surround my patio, walkways and flowerbeds, but we find arrowheads, club heads, weights,( from barges), and many other old items in the nearby river after a flood or the Spring thaw. Very interesting.

I never dreamed of being a salesperson, but I sold many things, and made displays on a store. I never looked forward to being a bookkeeper, but I was one. I never expected to be a personal assistant, but I was one of those, too. Although I grew up in my mother’s kitchen, I never anticipated being a cook or baker or restaurateur, but I was.(Food blogging? Who could ever have guessed it would even exist!)  And although I wrote a bit in my head and on the sly when I was a kid, I never aspired to be a writer. I never foresaw being able to give someone something that I wrote to read, but I did and I have, and I do.

Aside from your past dreams, did you ever do anything totally unexpected?

Posted in authors, Books, careers, childhood, dreams, Hobbies, Life, Random thoughts, Tonette Joyce, using talents, winter, writing, youth | 6 Comments

What I thought I wanted to be (when I was a kid)

… and what I’ve done with my life since

By Jeff Salter

With the understanding that my career choices in those youngest years were not based on much factual info about the employment fields involved, here are some of the jobs I thought I’d enjoy.

The earliest I recall was about kindergarten age… when I was certain I wanted to be a fireman. It was nothing to do with fighting fires, per se — I just wanted to ride around in a big truck while standing up… and I thought they had cool helmets.

At some point I was informed that garbage men also got to ride around in big trucks while standing up… but they didn’t have the cool helmets.

high noon

Later, and for several years, I earnestly believe I was destined to be in the Old West as either a sheriff or a gunfighter. And toward that endeavor, I spent years practicing with a stick horse and a cap gun. Never quite made it, however, to either profession… much less the time travel to the 1870s.

In around fourth grade, I remember announcing to my Grandmother Robinson that I intended to be an ATHLETE when I grew up. That’s because I was fast, strong, loved to climb and swing, etc. However I was also a scrawny kid and Grandmother dashed my dreams in this regard by telling me flatly, “you can never be an athlete because you don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive.”

Having given up on those careers, I had pretty much decided by about fifth or sixth grade that I would be an author.

That goal / dream never left me, though it was tempered by a gradual awareness it was not particularly easy to make a living “doing” that.

Teaching, etc.

Having been blessed by many wonderful English teachers whom I greatly admired, I decided (as a high school senior) I wanted to teach English to high schoolers. That was all about literature and writing — right? And if I had any spare time, I could do my own writing.

But even teaching was not my ultimate goal at that point. I figured to teach English for a few years and then become a H.S. guidance counselor [and write in my spare time].

During my first two years of college, I realized – through my dislike for (and poor results in) “education” classes – that I might not ever become a teacher.


Well, my first professional jobs were actually in the field of photojournalism – on two civilian newspapers and three military base papers. For a goodly chunk of that time, I served as an editor or assistant editor.

In photojournalism, I was writing nearly all the time, of course. But it was writing on assignment, on a deadline… and often subject to the immediate red pencil of an editor. I also discovered I did not really enjoy “hard news” … much preferring to write features and profile pieces. And take photos.

After some five years of newspaper work, I was back in college, to finish up my B.A. on the G.I. Bill. By then I had dropped “education” and shifted to “English” (which really means LITERATURE). And I had a funny notion I might go to grad school in English and teach literature and writing at some small college somewhere (that wouldn’t require a Ph.D.).

There was a brief period, in the summer of 1976, when I had three prospects open at the same time: to pursue a masters in English, to return to the military (this time as a Naval Officer Candidate), or to try a masters in library science.


Thus began what became roughly 30 years in librarianship (if you count 1.5 years of grad school, during which I worked part time in the Middleton Library at LSU). There were 2.5 years directing a small public library system in Catahoula Parish, LA… and 26 years as assistant director of a large public library system in Shreveport [Caddo Parish] LA.

During my library years, I was writing, of course, but most of it was on things like manuals, policies, documentation, correspondence, evaluations, reports, grant applications, etc. None of that was any fun and, while it took talent and ability and concentration, I did not consider most of it “creative” writing.

On Saturdays, however, I’d write poetry, and articles and book reviews. Some three dozen of my poems won awards and many were published. And somewhere along the line, I co-authored (with my brother) two non-fiction books – released by a royalty publisher – on aspects of librarianship. Also co-authored a signed article in a specialty encyclopedia, and a signed chapter in a book published by ALA.

That was writing, and I had become an author. Heck, my writing had even won awards.

But there was at least one more chapter in my life.


Though I had dabbled with short stories at various points of my life to that point, I never imagined I had any serious fiction writing inside me. In fact, I used to brag that I could say in 20 lines of poetry what a short story writer could say in 20k words of prose.

When I took an early retirement from library work and relocated to KY, I assumed I’d stay in contact with library people, go to library conferences, write book reviews, and continue with my poetry.

Imagine my surprise when my creative energy instead morphed into long fiction!

Now, having just completed my 11th novel manuscript and my third novella, I can say with reasonable certainty that I’m a novelist!

So my dream from fifth grade – to be an author – has essentially come true. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Astraea Press and Dingbat Publishing, I have produced seven novels and two novellas so far… and have contracts on two more novels and one novella. There’s another novel basically complete which I hope to submit soon.

I’m glad some of those earlier career choices didn’t pan out. I may have been an okay small town sheriff, but I doubt I would’ve lasted long as a gunfighter.


What were your “career” dreams as a kid? Did you ever work in those fields?

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Dreams that never fade

First I want to say I am sorry for posting late. I woke up to a winter storm warning and was trying to get things squared away in case we do get that 9 inches of snow.

What did I want to be as a child? My earliest memory of what I wanted to be was a cowboy (or cowgirl, in my case). My dad was born and raised in the country. He spent his life farming, breaking horses, sheering sheep, rounding up the cows when the fences broke and they got loose. He could rope your feet when you were running and zigzagging through the yard. I grew up hearing people referring to my dad as a cowboy but I never saw him as that. I saw him as the guy who taught me so much. He showed me how to skin a rabbit, how to sharpen a knife, how to throw a knife, clean a gun, shoot it properly, how to handle a bow (I love my bow!). He taught me to be gentle with animals and they would trust you.  I guess I wanted to be a female version of him. To be able to get out my guitar at the end of the night and sing a song that made everyone want to dance.

Then for a short time I wanted to travel back in time and be a pioneer, I knew that could not happen so I moved on.

I wanted to write. I didn’t care if anyone every really read what I wrote. I wanted to write, after all most writers get overlooked and are never brilliant until long after they gone. I had stories to tell and wanted to tell them.

My oldest brother joined the military and I decided I wanted to be a sniper. I went and did testing to see what jobs I could have in the military but due to some medical things I was not allowed to join. Though the guys around here were nice and did allow me to go to the armory at the guard unit to use the boxing ring.

I ended up writing. I am loving it. The days when I write for clients and the days when I write for my own books. It does not matter because I am writing.

What did you want to be when you were younger? Did you get close to that dream?

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Aspirations? Memories??

First of all I’d like to say I have Absolutely No Idea why my Valentine’s post appeared a Week Late!  User Error?  Naw, couldn’t’ be.  ;)

Career Aspirations when I was young(er), huh?  Another stretch of the memory.  I think at the bottom of everything all through my growing up I wanted to be a mommy.  But since this is supposed to be PG, I’ll not talk about practice.  ;)

On the side; I’m sure I wanted to be many other things, too.  As a horse-crazy girl I wanted to own a horse ranch and ride race horses.  Life managed to mess up my chances of marrying a cowboy/rancher or doing so on my own, and, well, I outgrew the chances of ever being a jockey.  LOL!  Not that I am large, but those riders are SMALL.

Showing Sweetheart

I probably wanted to be an actress at one time.  I once starred in a high-school production of Up The Down Staircase.  That’s about as far as that aspiration went.  I would have liked to have been a professional singer, too.  I know I have a beautiful voice because I’ve been told that many times.  I sang in my school choirs.  The furthest my singing aspiration’s gone is I now sing in my church choir where I am the lead soprano.

I guess I’ve always had a performance vein in me because along with my non-professional play acting and singing; I was a Professional Belly Dancer back in the day. Belly Dancing with Bo 5Belly Dancing 5

And now I’m an author even though I never aspired to write.  Taking pen to paper, um, fingers to keyboard (LOL!)  was probably one of the farthest things from my mind.  I wasn’t even an avid reader.  The aspiration to write came to me while on the recovery from my brain injury.  (I did begin with pencil to paper, though, before I got my first computer back in the DOS days.)

As you all probably know; depression follows a traumatic injury.  I dealt with it for a number of years until it became too heavy for my soul to bear and my relations to weather.  I reached such a low point of unhappiness I prayed one night for happiness.

The next day I received the inspiration to write a story.  When I realized writing made me happy, I knew my prayer had been answered.  :)  Years went by before I was published, but I didn’t give up because I knew God’s plan was that I would be published.  I mean, after all, He’d told me I’m a writer.

I’ve been published since May of 2013.  I now have a three book romantic fantasy series out involving soul-searching time travel amidst supernatural wizardry, and I have others on my cyber-shelves waiting to be published.

I did get to be a mommy…

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When I Grow up…

Prince&Princess This week we’ve been challenged to share our childhood dreams. I suppose I had the usual childhood fantasies about meeting Prince Charming and riding on a white horse up the mountain to a gleaming castle. I would never again be expected to make my own bed, clean up after myself, or watch out for little brothers. I would have leisure time to do whatever I chose, and ladies-in-waiting ready and eager to assist me. It was a rude awakening to find out there weren’t enough princes to go around.

Patty DukeWhen I was in grade school I wanted to be an actress. I remember watching the Patty Duke Show and thinking how wonderful it would be to always look perfect and have perfect clothes and have cameras following you everywhere. Part of the appeal of the show, of course, was that the main character and I had the same first name. I’d write scripts for myself and act them out in front of the mirror. I practiced signing my autograph and drove my younger brothers nuts when I spent way too much time in the bathroom getting myself ready for school.

IMG_0270Later on I joined the band. I started playing clarinet in fourth grade, and then just before seventh grade I switched to oboe. I spent hours practicing, and for a while I thought I’d make a career out of that. The summer between my junior and senior year I played in a group called the American Youth Symphony and went to Europe. I loved traveling and seeing new things, and after this experience I knew that musicians traveled all over the world and thought it would be fabulous to get paid for it! So I practiced even harder, and I won a full scholarship to a college only six hours away. It wasn’t one of the top elite conservatories, but the price tag was very appealing to my parents.

classroomThen in college I discovered all sorts of fun things to do other than practice. I spent a semester or so wasting time before it dawned on me that my parents expected me to graduate with some sort of marketable skill. As much as I enjoyed college, I didn’t want to stay there forever. So I had to make some decisions. What did I enjoy doing, other than performing? I loved working with kids. And I realized that growing up, the people I’d admired most and wanted to emulate had been my teachers. So I got a teaching degree and spent twenty-eight years teaching elementary school.

DSCF3858Being a wife and mom was never really on my to-do list, although I can honestly say that they are the best so-called jobs I’ve ever held. My kids are undoubtedly the best part of me, and a legacy I can be proud of. Now that my time is more flexible I’m so happy to spend time with my grandkids. After all, I’ve had a little practice now. I don’t stress out about whether or not an extra cookie or another half hour of cartoons will ruin the child’s life. I get to just hug them, spoil them, and enjoy them.

typingSo now I want to be an author. I want to create stories that people will read and remember. I want to make people laugh, cry, and think. I want to provide an escape for the harried mom, hope for a discouraged teen, and clean entertainment for anyone who happens to pick up one of my books.

I guess some of us never stop reaching for dreams.

What are some careers you’ve considered?

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Guest: Author Elaine Faber


Author Elaine Faber and Boots, her inspiration

Author Elaine Faber and Boots, her inspiration

My guest, Elaine Faber, writes the Black Cat mystery series, but the stories are also romantic, not only for her human main character, Kimberlee, but for Thumper, the Black Cat. In fact, his relationship with his new-found love, Noe-Noe, is the true romance of the books!

Let’s learn more about the stories and the woman who creates them.
Welcome, Elaine!

When I asked you to be a guest, I hadn’t realized that my last guest was also the writer of cat books. (You are my third cat-book guest here!) You belong to the Cat Writers Association. Did you realize just how many cat books were out there when you started your stories? That well seems pretty deep!

Thank you for having me on your blog today. ‘Cat-stories’ have always been my favorite, thus, my choice for a writing genre. I’m told I do my best work when I’m writing from ‘Thumper’s POV.’ Thumper is a masterful and determined sleuth, but with a gentle, loving side when he deals with his soul mate, Noe-Noe, and his need to protect his family, all very human attributes.

Are there any particular cats that have been the inspiration for Thumper and Noe-Noe?

Boots, my black and white tuxedo cat is the muse for Thumper. Amber, my cream tabby is the muse for Noe-Noe. Both have multiple toes (polydactyl) like my cats. Their personalities are a composite of all the cats I’ve owned with a bit of ‘me’ tossed into the mix. Thumper is very bold and caring and Noe-Noe can be a bit snitty when she gets her back up.

Do you think that a supernatural angle is necessary for a cat-based mystery? How did you decide on the ancestral memories idea and the cats speaking among themselves?

Aren’t all cats a bit mysterious? Or is that just me? This touch of mysticism is in most cat mysteries, more so than in stories where dogs are featured. Thumper and Noe-Noe are not magical. We clearly identify what some call ‘instinct,’ as ‘the ancestors’ memories.’ Even a wee kit licks his paw and pulls it over his ears. Memories! Thumper and Noe-Noe have the ability to speak to each other, like many other cat mysteries.

Elaine Faber's Black Cat Mystery Series

Elaine Faber’s Black Cat Mystery Series

Do you foresee having the humans realizing the cats are playing a real role in solving the mysteries and that there is more going on with them than meets the eye?

Oh, no! According to Thumper, ‘humans can’t see a clue even when he puts it in front of their inferior noses.’ In Black Cat’s Legacy, Kimberlee and Brett have a conversation, wondering if Thumper knew what he was doing when he discovered certain clues. They decide it was pure chance. LOL

I read in your bio notes that you have also written poetry and had short stories published. I usually ask if my guests delve into other genres. I know you have other irons in the fire, can you give us a preview?

How much time do we have???? The third cat mystery, Black Cat and the Accidental Angel will be published later this spring. In the fall, I’ll publish The Obstreperous Mrs. Odboddy, a humorous mystery set during WWII. Mrs. Odboddy, an eccentric older woman, mistakenly sees conspiracies and ‘Nazi spies’ at every turn, until she actually stumbles onto a real mystery. The sequel is scheduled for spring, 2016 and involves a secret government mission with Mrs. Roosevelt! My short stories are in eight anthologies.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

Married 53 years, two kids, and four grandkids. I am the editor for the Inspire Christian Writer’s annual anthology. I volunteer at the Elk Grove Library and handle the books sales through Amazon. Also volunteer at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. As a ‘staff-member’ to four housecats and three ferals, I live and breathe cat fur and hairballs, or so it seems.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

If you are a previous cat mystery lover, and looking for a new cat mystery adventure, I guarantee you will love Black Cat’s Legacy and Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer. Available at Amazon in print and e-book.

You can find out more and reach Elaine at these sites:

http://tinyurl.com/lmoxlr3   (Amazon Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer)
http://tinyurl.com/lrvevgm   (Amazon Black Cat’s Legacy)

Posted in blogging, Books, Fantasy vs Reality, Guest, Life, poetry, publishing, Random thoughts, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Tribute to the Greatest Generation

Called to Arms… Again

By Jeff Salter

“Grit doesn’t fade away… it just becomes crusty.”

With harrowing elements right out of today’s headlines, this story reaches back into the sturdy heartbeat of people raised during the Depression and tested during World War II.  Though the old uniforms haven’t fit in many decades, their resilient spirits still have that same intensity which helped save democracy.


Needing only a fresh angle to write her Veteran’s Day special, Kelly discovers first-hand that the Greatest Generation still has enough grit to fight back.  While all the authorities are occupied during a massive Homeland Security drill, an urban gang of thieves targets an isolated retirement subdivision … figuring the crippled geriatrics would offer no resistance.

Though Kelly’s widowed boyfriend came along only for a post-funeral luncheon, Mitch soon finds himself leading a mis-matched flanking team. Kelly’s good friend Wade has his own assignment, with a home-made mortar and lots of illegal gunpowder.

Maybe it’s difficult to remember everyday things like taking pills, but these octogenarians have never forgotten it was up to them to defend family, home, community, and country.  The outcome of their courageous stand depends on the resolve and resourcefulness of an unlikely ensemble of eccentric elderly neighbors, several American Legion members, and others spanning four generations.


Only $2.99 in digital formats at

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Called-Arms-Again-J-L-Salter-ebook/dp/B00D3D3O8G/ref=sr_1_10?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1422237131&sr=1-10&pebp=1422239715493&peasin=B00D3D3O8G

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/called-to-arms-again-jl-salter/1115454541?ean=9781492993476

Also available in paperback at both locations (different pricing), as well as in Somerset KY at the Book and CD Hut.

Do you have a living relative or friend who survived the Great Depression and sacrificed during World War II (whether in uniform  or on the home front)? If you do, buy them this book!

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