Writing: The journey continues

Hello, Writing Friends and the Merely Curious:

Write Now

My Personal Poem a Day Challenge is only in its sixth day, but I’m pleased to say, I’ve written a poem every day since May 1, after having written – along with a bunch of other writers – 30 poems in April. The May 6 poem was inspired by the aroma of cut grass and dandelions that wafted through the window as I drove home from town.

The smell of cut grass
shot color into my world
and my whole self smiled.

Being inspired in this way reminds me of the recent Dreams and Creativity seminar featuring Jan Beurskens sponsored by the Las Vegas Literary Salon. Writing inspiration comes from many experiences. Dream symbolism is something I’ve been trying to explore since the seminar, but I have yet to remember a dream after the fact.

Sight, smell and emotional response to something seen or experienced is more likely to get my brain firing with ideas.

Mary Rose Henssler, one of the Lit Salon team members, wrote a great “kick-in-the-pants” article on the Salon website. Sometimes, that’s what we need, a little jog to get our writing out of a self-created rut.

Prompts are great ways to stimulate one’s thinking. You might not even use the prompt, but it’s food for your fertile brain so you can come up with something more, something different. If you are stuck, Google ‘writing prompts’ or ‘poetry prompts’ and be ready for the deluge of websites that have tons of them.

Here are a few links to get you started:

700+ Creative Writing Prompts to Inspire You Right Now
500 Writing Prompts to Help Beat Writer’s Block
125 Of The Best Poetry Writing Prompts For Poets | Writer’s Relief
101 Poetry Prompts & Creative Ideas for Writing Poems

I know, daunting, isn’t it? But when you run through these, you see they represent a myriad of life experiences or ideas you’ve probably already had. It becomes doable to give the basic idea legs by adding your own experiences or creative thinking to the mix.

Writing is most often spurred by simply sitting down, and going at it. Writing is work. The more time you put into it, the better you get. You can spend a lot of time getting down the basics of grammar, plot development, character profiles, who’s the good guy and who’s the bad girl (or vice versa), but until you sit down and pound away at the keyboard, all that know-how will be for naught.

The greatest deterrent to writing is – I hate to say it – being afraid your work will never see the light of day, or laziness, only you can decide.

So, write, but after that – or in the process, look for outlets for your work. I have a writing friend who doesn’t believe writers should give their work away, that payment represents validation. “If you don’t value your work,” she says, “how will anyone else?” She has a point. And her next point is as important: getting published is hard work and you have to work hard at it.

Why am I writing a poem a day for 365 days? It’s writing practice, but my plan is to indie publish the best of the poems in a collection. Entrepreneurial publishing is gaining ground and I already have experience in the field. See my author page on this site. Click on the Books tab in the menu for links to the books I’ve written.

It matters not what you’re writing – fiction, nonfiction, poetry – the satisfaction you derive from creating a work from start to finish, is a reward all its own. Avoid apologizing for what you’ve written after the fact. You did it, maybe you made some errors or your work didn’t get the recognition (sales) you hoped for, let it be. Move on. Learn from your fumbles so your next project is an improvement over the last. Every new book, or article, or poem, or short story is its own creation.

There is a book on the market called Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success). I’m not recommending this book because I haven’t read it, but I like the title’s message. Write. Publish. Repeat.

What are your writing tips and tricks? What fires you up for writing. Enter your thoughts in the comments and I’ll share them in a follow-up post.

Happy Writing!

KQRE Website interview

Thanks to my Southwest Writers membership, Anna Padilla connected with me for this interview. Click on this link to read an interview KL Wagoner did a while back. I’m so appreciative of these opportunities.

On the Shelf: Northern New Mexico author encouraging others to ‘write that book’


Accolades for Dr. Elliott

Dr. David ElliottCongratulations to Dr. David Elliott, who has been named Alta Vista Regional Hospital Physician of the Year for 2015. I can’t think of a more deserving person for this award.

CEO Chris Wolf made the announcement at the hospital’s June medical staff meeting.

Dr. Elliott has been a member of the AVRH medical staff since 1978 and is well known and respected at the hospital and in the community. He serves on the AVRH Board of Trustees, Medical Executive Committee and is the AVRH Physician Advisor.

Hospital employees were asked to nominate a physician they thought best met criteria that demonstrates compassionate patient and family care, recognizes all health care disciplines as partners in care, treats employees with respect and dignity, helps educate and develop patient care providers, recognizes and supports team efforts within the patient care setting, and actively participates in community events/opportunities.

According to the nominations that were submitted, “Dr. Elliott’s ability to hear the needs of others, coupled with extensive knowledge, provides an insightful approach to problem solving. He takes excellent care of patients and their families; Dr. Elliott works with and respects all aspects of the health care team.”


Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated.

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Las Vegas Ambassadors

Kathy Hendrickson
Southwest Detours owner Kathy Hendrickson stands in front of a car similar to the types of vehiciles the Indian Detour Couriers used to transport tourists into Indian Country.

The bustle of waitresses, the hum of conversation, and the clatter of dishes serve as background music as Kathy Hendrickson rushes into the restaurant for an interview about her new business, Southwest Detours. She has dramatic flare and while she isn’t wearing her Indian Detour costume, it’s easy to picture her in it: a burgundy Navajo-style velvet shirt, long dark green skirt, and silver Concho belt, boots, and a dramatic wide-brimmed dark green hat with a bronze hatband sporting the official Indian Detour silver badge. Her attention to detail lends authenticity to her presentations as a tour leader. And she loves the look.

Like restaurateur and hotelier Fred Harvey, Hendrickson is a natural born entrepreneur. She has a knack for talking to people and connecting with them. She also knows it takes more than having a knack for working with people to be successful. Being well prepared is essential.

“Allan Affeldt started the ball rolling by asking me to organize the Las Vegas Harvey Girls (like he has at the La Posada with the Winslow Harvey Girls), and do the tours. I took it to the next level, you could say, by starting my tour business,” Hendrickson said.

“Allan asked me to do tours at his two properties, Plaza Hotel and Castaneda Hotel. I had a conversation at the UWC to promote and do tours there. We started out calling them Harvey Girl Tours, but later put the tours all under the umbrella of Southwest Detours, which made better sense, since I do a lot of the tours on my own. When I have groups with 10 or more folks, I call on a Harvey Girl to help, or if someone requests a Harvey Girl to go on the tour.”

Las Vegas Harvey Girls
Harvey Girls and Detour Courier Hendrickson

The Castaneda and Montezuma Castle were Fred Harvey properties back in the day, and both used the services of Harvey Girls, dignified young women who were prim and proper, efficient, and dependable. The uniform of crisp black dresses with starched white accents at cuff and collar, and overlaid with a white apron, sent a clear message that the customer was first and service was paramount.

Hendrickson said she loves the Harvey Girls and the role they played in history. “They are charming, but that persona didn’t speak to me. And then I found out about the Fred Harvey Indian Detour Couriers. Now that appealed to me!

“Fred Harvey started the first chain of hotels and restaurants with an emphasis on quality and service. When train travel was slowing down in the early part of the 1900s, the Harvey Company began to explore ways to get people to the Southwest. The company promoted tours for railroad travelers that allowed them to leave the train and take tours into Indian Country. In 1926 the Indian Detours Company formed. It was only around for about ten years, but in that time the couriers – all highly trained and well-educated women – took thousands of people on adventures all over the Southwest. I looked at that history, that costume, and said, ‘That’s what I want to be!’”

Hendrickson officially launched Southwest Detours in March, and has already shepherded nearly 400 guests through the three historic properties. And she is just the person you want to lead your tour. She starts with scripted talking points, but does everything she can to make your tour unique and entertaining.

“I have two kinds of people on tours,” she said. “Most are not historians, but some are pretty knowledgeable. The knowledgeable guests sometimes ask questions I can’t answer despite all the research I have done. I like those questions. They help me add more to my knowledge base. I do a lot of reading and I’m always adding new information to keep the lectures fresh. I don’t want to say the same thing all the time, and I want to make sure what I do say is factual.”

Hendrickson is learning the business one day at a time. She has had a few surprises, but is not deterred. “I want to expand out and do tours in the surrounding area, but right now I’m putting my emphasis on Las Vegas. It’s more than going from one property to another. I talk about the history of Las Vegas, and take guests around to the neighborhoods where there are Victorian homes. I usually have one or two Harvey Girls with me when I have a group of ten or more. I’ve only lived here three years, but guests like it when someone like Martha Johnsen (a Las Vegas native and Harvey Girl) is along. She can fill in with what it was like growing up here.” Other members of the Las Vegas Harvey Girls in addition to Johnsen are Dee Clark, Becky Johnson, Virginia West, and Pam Buethe.

As the Detour Courier and company owner, Hendrickson – in addition to leading tours – is responsible for booking groups, overseeing development of the company, and creating interesting presentations. She said her affiliation with CCHP as a board member and volunteer has been valuable.

“It is through the CCHP archives and resources at the World College that I have learned new information about these properties and Las Vegas. It gives me more to talk about,” she said.

“After a recent tour Martha pointed out that we are like ambassadors for Las Vegas. And she’s right. We bring people to town, usually they stay over, eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores, and leave with a good feeling about Las Vegas. You can’t beat that!”

Kathy and Bill Hendrickson moved to Las Vegas after visiting here over a four-year period. “Bill wanted to live in a small town in Northern New Mexico. I wanted to live in a small town and close to Santa Fe. Las Vegas is perfect and we love it.

“Owning a tour business allows me to expand to other places in and around Las Vegas, but I do focus on Las Vegas since that’s what most folks want to tour. The Castaneda Hotel, Montezuma Castle and Plaza Hotel are the most requested.”

Southwest Detours’ subhead is, “Your Pathway to Adventure.” For your adventure contact Hendrickson at 505-459-6987, or e-mail info@southwestdetours.com. Tours vary in size from three to four people, up to a busload of 50. Fees available on request.

Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated.

Follow Sharon at:
Amazon Author Central