Travel is the primary way I like to expose myself to new experiences. In the middle of a pandemic when travel is limited or impossible, I have to expand my imagination to find new things to try. This last month, I managed to have two new experiences I’d never considered before.

It Needed to be Done

Like most people, I vacuum my carpets regularly. When the inevitable stain occurs, I tackle it with a spot cleaner and consider it good. Years of this method, however, resulted in a less-than-stellar outcome. I needed to shampoo the carpet. Having never cleaned in this way, I did some homework first. What I discovered is that buying a carpet cleaner was cheaper in the long run than renting a machine. This only works, of course, when there’s a little extra room in the broom closet for another cleaning tool. Fortunately, with a bit of maneuvering, I created that extra space. Which means I’m ahead for improving carpet-cleaning outcomes in the future. Yay!

The first thing I had to do once I returned home with a small machine was to put it together. Mechanics aren’t my strong suit, but I managed to follow the directions and build the shampooer correctly on the first try. 

It was surprisingly easy.

What I didn’t get right on my first try was the shampooing itself. The directions state to work the carpet until the water in the waste tank runs clear. Three passes over the room resulted in a wet, wet carpet but no clear water. My son and his lady shampoo their carpet regularly because they find the process satisfyingly fun. And they have pets. Since they’re the family experts, I called them and discovered it’s impossible for the water to run clear without damaging the pad. Huh.

For the following two days, we ran the fans on the carpet to dry it out. Now I know for future cleanings to run the cleaner over the room once and let it dry. If it needs another application of shampoo, I’ll take care of that on another day after the fibers have had the chance to dry. Trying new things involves some trial and error. There will be mistakes. Fortunately, after everything was dry again, I didn’t ruin the carpet or the pad. Whew!

Impromptu Radio Short

At the first of the month, I had the opportunity to do a book signing at the Absarokee Lending Library during the town of Absarokee, Montana’s Snowflake Festival ( http://Snowflake Festival Absarokee Montana.) Due to the pandemic, the traffic rolling through the library was light. But it was still a fun opportunity to share my books with a new (socially distanced) audience. The library is run entirely on donations of books and volunteers’ time, and I was quite happy to add five books to their collection at the end of the day. 

The unexpected and cool experience I had during this event was to be interviewed live on the radio on I had no time to prepare, no advanced questions for which to consider the answers, and no practice. It was all about the “live” aspect of live radio. Which meant the nerves had no time to set in. Honestly, I’m not sure if I answered the questions coherently—or well. But I know I mentioned my series and the reason for my presence in town during the festival. What I learned from this experience is that I need to be better prepared with my “elevator” pitches. One never knows when she’ll have the chance to market her books on the radio.

Speaking of Book Marketing

The Talisman Series would make a great Christmas gift for the reader(s) in your family. They’re on sale on my website ( in ebook and paperback. If you’re in the Cody, Wyoming area, bundles of the series are on sale at Legends Bookstore, so you don’t have to risk a late arrival through the mail. 

The Talisman Series would look great under your tree.

Just for fun, here are the elevator pitches for each of the books (what I should have said on the radio):

Talisman: With time running out, a modern-day Celtic warrior must convince a skeptical woman she’s his talisman and their union the key to ending a centuries-old curse.

Warrior: The most celebrated modern-day Celtic warrior must control his desire a talisman he can’t have to help her defend her ancestral home from a vindictive goddess.

Prophetess: A modern-day Celtic warrior is forced to reenact the legend of Tristan and Isolde. A second chance at love is his—if he can change the outcome of the age-old story. 

Bard: An untrained bard must devise a perfect story on the fly before a lustful goddess steals her warrior’s life, sealing the fate of a clan forever.

Druid: A goddess demands a druid make an impossible choice: give up immortality or give up his one true love.

Have a Happy Christmas. 

Yours in taking a risk (or thirty)

Tam DeRudder Jackson

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