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home : opinion : opinion April 29, 2016

2/5/2013 6:01:00 AM
Reporter column: JC caught the brass ring
Doug McMurdo

As far as metaphors go, this one's been done to death - but making lemonade when life hands you lemons is always a positive response to a negative situation.

Kingman Daily Miner photographer JC Amberlyn managed to whip up a relatively lucrative batch of lemonade after she lost her job as a computer animator.

It wasn't the Great Recession that snatched her from the land of the employed; it was the dot.com bust from several years earlier, when tech jobs like the one Amberlyn had vanished like integrity from Congress.

Back home in Kingman and wondering how the heck she was going to survive, Amberlyn looked at alternative career paths when she came up with a novel idea.

"I always wanted to do a book," she said.

Get it? Novel idea?

Actually, it wasn't a novel Amberlyn wanted to write. As reported in Thursday's Kingman Daily Miner, Amberlyn has published three books, all of them instructional manuals on how to draw animals.

And all of them are doing quite well. The first two sold more than 20,000 copies - a stunning number given the highly exclusive niche - and her third, published in November, is off to a good start. In all, about 40,000 of her books are in circulation.

My blood is barely in circulation.

Granted, not all of us can be writers and be published. That's not as tough as, say, flying to the moon and back, or playing in the NFL and making the Hall of Fame, or being Lindsay Lohan's lawyer and keeping her out of jail.

Most writers get rejected more often than I did looking for a prom date in high school.

Amberlyn will be the first to tell you how lucky she is. "I was amazed to come home and hear the message from Random House on the machine," she said. "It's very unusual to have that happen."

Her message is similar to other people who have leapt for the brass ring and caught it mid-flight. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. Amberlyn took her shot and scored a goal her first time on the proverbial ice.

The point? Don't make just lemonade when life hands you lemons. Make lemonade unlike any lemonade that's ever been made in the history of lemonade. Make the Holy Grail of lemonade.

Who knows - you might realize a dream you never even knew was yours.

And while you're at it, go to any major bookstore or log on to Amberlyn's website, www.jcamberlyn.com. You'll want to get a copy of at least one of her books. She'll probably even sign it for you.

• • •

I've heard a lot of talk about the trains that rumble through Kingman. Some folks hate the racket. Others don't mind and still others love it.

For the most part, I like the sound of trains. There is a romance associated with them that is hard to resist.

My little brother and I hopped a freight train in North Texas when we were teenagers. We thought it would take us to our "cool" uncle's home in Kansas, but we wound up in Baton Rouge, La.

That was a fun phone call home.

"You got yourself there, you can get yourself back," said Dad. He didn't even utter a goodbye before hanging up on me.

Having said all that, the trains in Kingman tend to wake me from a sound sleep.

Thursday morning, sometime between 3 and 4 a.m., the ghost of Johnny Cash jostled me from my slumber.

He sang "Folsom Prison Blues" as the train was rolling 'round the bend.

"I bet there's rich folks eating from a fancy dining car, they're probably drinkin' coffee and smokin' big cigars ...."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Article comment by: Gregg Arnold

JC is awesome, and I have one of her signed books from her first work. She had a book signing at Hastings.
She's a very talented person and is doing great things!
Keep putting Kingman on the map everyone!

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: David Gaither

Speaking of trains...there's a unimportant but mysterious occurrence on almost every movie. Pay close attention during any movie and somewhere in the movie, you will hear a train whistle in the distance!

I wonder, is that just coincidence or on purpose? If on purpose...for what reason?

Now about writing a book. Online there is a website, (http://www.lulu.com/publish/?cid=en_tab_publish), that allows you to publish a book and sell it right there or even sell it on places like Amazon.com. You can publish your book as an online download or as a paperback and it is very inexpensive to do, too!

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