A Little Encouragement Can Go a Long Way

I think everyone can agree 2020 has been tough. Has the pandemic erased your hopes and shattered your dreams? The economic slowdown has affected most of us, including writers. If you feel discouraged, consider the negative voices affecting the way you think about yourself and your work.

What messages influence your thoughts? If we listen to the news media we might wonder if our circumstances will ever change. Will the pandemic last for years? Will we ever be able to make public appearances again? If you’re like me, you can’t even think about scheduling any future events.

Eventually, all the bad news from the media begins to influence the way we think about ourselves. The voice of our inner critic grows louder. It is the voice which brings to mind our past failures and limitations. And if we compare ourselves to others who appear to be more successful, we hinder our own progress because we no longer feel like trying. I never thought the launch of my second children’s book would take place during such challenging times.

Return to Blueberry Street follows Buddy the beagle into a new adventure. When a porch pirate steals his dog treats, Buddy decides to organize a dog crime watch to catch the bandit.

But Buddy has a critic. A Doberman with an attitude bullies him at the dog park. Blitz constantly makes fun of Buddy because he can’t run with the big dogs. How could a loser in red booties like Buddy ever catch the bandit? The little beagle starts to doubt himself and considers giving up.

Buddy’s friend Max tells him, “Don’t worry, with your nose and my feet, we’ll catch the bandit.” Max didn’t ignore Buddy’s weakness. He knew Buddy couldn’t run because of a previous injury. But he recognized Buddy’s amazing sense of smell and encouraged him to not give up. Then Max came alongside to help.

Everyone has limitations. Personally, I started writing late in life. I don’t have a background in business and I struggle with marketing and technology. Everyday I must choose whether or not I will listen to the naysayers who tell me I’m doomed and the inner critic who tells me to quit.

My hope arises when I remember all the people in my life who are like Max. People who encourage me to utilize my strengths and never give up. People who read this blog, and share my posts. And once again I open my laptop and begin to write.

Think about this scripture: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Maybe the Apostle Paul knew when hope is absent, love can lift us up and help us fulfill the calling upon our lives. If you find yourself in a dark place today, think about all of people God placed in your life to encourage you and give you hope. Remember why you started writing in the first place and reconnect with your creativity. A little encouragement can go a long way.

Join Buddy as he learns about the power of friendship in my second book.

Return to Blueberry Street is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. Click here to purchase.

(Ha! I had to get that last line in somewhere.)

Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street

A heartwarming story about an injured dog and his road to recovery.

I am delighted to announce the publication of my first children’s book. Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street (Elk Lake Publishing) is now available in paperback. I displayed a copy for Buddy to see but he seemed to be more interested in a belly rub. During the first year he lived with us, our little beagle would have chewed on the book’s cover. At age eight, Buddy is much more mature.

Although this little chapter book is written for children ages six to nine, the whole family will enjoy the inspiration it delivers. Buddy’s life story starts when Henry and Jen adopt him from a beagle rescue. Written from a dog’s point of view, Buddy shares his opinions about people, food, and the house rules. When a tragic accident paralyzes his hind legs, he finds he needs everyone’s help and months of therapy to recover. Buddy doesn’t give up trying to walk, even when Blitz, the neighborhood bully dog laughs at him.

Jenny Laskowski captures Buddy’s adorable personality in her illustrations.

My journey to become an author has been a lot like Buddy’s story. There were times I wanted to give up. As every writer knows, it takes perseverance to keep going when your manuscript is rejected. It was only through the encouragement of my friend Sherri Stewart, that I resumed working on this project after a long sabbatical. My next pitch to Deb Haggerty of Elk Lake resulted in a contract for publication. I am so thankful for Deb and my literary agent, Michelle Lazurek who made this book possible. Of course I want to give special thanks to my illustrator, Jenny Laskowski.

When Derinda, an Elk Lake designer, was assigned to my book I began a crash course in editing I will never forget. By working with Derinda I discovered I use too many exclamation marks when I write. (I tend to get excited.) I think it’s a habit I developed from writing comments on facebook. In all seriousness, Derinda helped me take my manuscript to the next level. The whole process gave me a new appreciation of the amount of work involved in producing a book.

To purchase Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street click here. I invite your honest and helpful reviews. I welcome you to help me launch my book by sharing this post on your social media sites.

“Any dog lover, young or old, will be able to relate to this heartwarming story about an injured dog and his road to recovery. Debbie Burton shares this real-life adventure with passion and humor.” —Dr. Randall Hart, Principal, Dover Shores Elementary.