2022: Prose Colored Glasses Author, Pam Courtney

Our author today is new to the Enid Writers Club and is quickly making a name for herself. She is an excellent writer, as you can see in her piece in the anthology, https://www.amazon.com/Prose-Colored-Glasses-Enid-Writers/dp/B0BD2BK1T9/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1H328Q2XURJKJ&keywords=prose+colored+glasses+book+enid+writers+club&qid=1669148845&sprefix=%2Caps%2C407&sr=8-1 and she is a great volunteer for committees. Please meet Pam Courtney.

What genre(s) do you read, and why?

Since retiring more than one year ago, I’ve enjoyed reading historical fiction novels emphasizing the use of biblical characters. Previously, nonfiction books, mostly biographies, cluttered my bedside nightstand for evening reads.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

My writing schedule still varies depending on other commitments. I had hoped retirement would grant the extra time needed to not only write more consistently, but to also research and develop story ideas. No, I’m not writing daily yet, but I am progressing toward that goal.  My current schedule fluctuates from daily to less often as it relates to the whole process including the research, contemplation, organization, and actually punching out story ideas on the keyboard. Oh, and of course, there’s those revisions; sometimes again, and again. For me, the entire process is moving forward, and that makes me smile.

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

For the last six years, my home has been a parsonage in a nearby rural town where my husband pastors a church. The parsonage features a large family room with multiple windows and lots of light.  I love that room. It’s where our family gathers for holiday meals, and Sunday lunches. It’s also my favorite place to research and write. I’m usually in my recliner, feet up, and a cup of black coffee in hand. Otherwise, if I need more space, I’m at a long dining table in that same happy room.

What 3 words describes you, the writer?

Desire to inspire

If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?

The story of my favorite literary character, Joseph, is recorded by Moses, in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Although he lived in ancient times, his life’s story has inspired me over and over again. He experienced great losses, and all forms of undeserved mistreatment; yet by his faith, he became one of the most powerful men in the world at that time.

Although we currently live in a different age than Joseph, as a human, the heartache of neglect, other forms of abuse and unfair treatment, as Joseph experienced, continues in our world today. If I could spend time with Joseph, I would appreciate interviewing him further with questions about how  he kept his faith alive; did he ever believe he would ever see his patriarch father again? When did he begin to realize his misfortune would one day be the very catalyst to spare the lives of so many others; and what would he say to us today to inspire such faith in God?

Great answers! Thanks, Pam, for letting us get to know you a little better.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Prose Colored Glasses Author, Martha Draper

This week I am interviewing Martha Draper, long time member and Vice President of the Enid Writer’s Club. Martha has pieces in the club’s anthology, Prose Colored Glasses https://www.amazon.com/Prose-Colored-Glasses-Enid-Writers/dp/B0BD2BK1T9/ref=sr_1_1?crid=NBHSCUPC8MMN&keywords=prose+colored+glasses+book+enid+writers+club&qid=1668795198&sprefix=prose+colored%2Caps%2C329&sr=8-1.

You can check out her writing there.  But first let’s get to know her.

PC: What drives you to write?

MK: I was born a lover of words being read to by my sister, six years older, as well as my mother and her mother. I grew into writing early on in school and it grew from there. I love reading and incorporated children’s literature into my teaching career. I became obsessed with writing about my hometown and our family-owned-and-operated weekly newspaper business for fifty years. In more recent decades: it is my membership of the Enid Writers Club and Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. (O.W.F.I.)  AND my long-standing writing critique group that fuels the flames.

PC: Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel vision?

MK:  I can write mornings in a crowded coffee shop. I learned about morning pages when I read the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I also write in journals or diaries from the time since I was ten. BUT when it comes to drafting a story or working on a manuscript…I have to turn the music off, or be alone in my office, at my desk.

PC: Tell us one unusual thing about yourself—not related to writing!

MK:  I am currently going through decades of accumulation from storage which include coins, stamps, dolls, letters, t-shirts, clothes, diaries/journals, childhood toys, teaching materials, photos, etc. and find myself engulfed in their memories. Fodder for writing, yes, but this activity has swallowed up the energy I use for writing. I refuse to be labeled a hoarder, and I’m knee deep in parting with some things and weeding out and re-cycling to a degree. Another element of answering this question is that I am a movie and theatre buff. When I lived for five years in California, I grabbed every opportunity to see a play in a theatre presentation, or chase film crews all over the greater Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Santa Monica areas. I even found myself seated in the outdoor crowd at one of the Academy Awards, being in the audience for a taping of Bosom Buddies with Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, and I had several visits in the audience of the Johnny Carson Show.

PC: What genre (s) do you read/write, and why?

MK:  I love mysteries and my all-time favorite author is Agatha Christie. I gobble up all the cozy murder mysteries written by Laura Childs, and re-read old favorites by Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, Maeve Binchy, Patricia Cornwell, and Stuart Woods. Plus, I devour children’s literature and have an extensive collection from decades past to present day. I like to try my hand at different genres, but have found success with memoir, journalistic pieces, children’s stories, some poetry, humor, and a bit of mystery.

PC: What is your latest work in progress?

MK:  A story about being a professional clown and how it all came about over a span of forty plus years.

Thank you, Peggy for this fun adventure of being interviewed for your awesome blog!!!!!

Thank you, Martha for letting us into your personal life.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Prosed Colored Glasses Author, Dan Biby

To celebrate my writing club’s diamond anniversary and publication of our anthology, I wanted to interview the authors of the book, Prose Colored Glasses. Today’s author is Dan Biby and his work is in the book, Prose Colored Glasses Prose Colored Glasses: Writers Club, Enid + Free Shipping (amazon.com) available on Kindle and paperback.

Dan was first published at 17 and has been writing for more than four decades. He’s authored four books and numerous other nonfiction works, including advertising copy, interactive training guides, and journal articles covering virtually every business and technology subject.

His hobbies include wandering the backroads of North America, stalking wild critters with his trusty Nikon, and spending time on his ranch.

PC: What genre do you like to write?

DB: It’s difficult for me to name just one. I like variety to keep things fresh and interesting. It’s not unusual for me to be working on two or three projects at the same time. If my energy wanes on one genre, I’ll move to another. But, to answer your question specifically, I enjoy writing humor, science fiction, and western the most.

PC: How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

DB: My inspiration came from following the almost-daily advances that scientists and engineers are making in AI, robotics, and quantum computing in order to improve our lives. Plus, I’ve always been fascinated by works from Asimov, Crichton, and Kubrick that depict such technology going rogue and attempting to destroy humanity.

Those storytellers used creative ways to depict how AI can go awry, namely using bad ’bots and narcissistic supercomputers in unique settings. My current WIP is a similar story, but in a new, unique setting.

PC: Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

DB: That depends. In my science fiction story, the plot comes first because the chain of events is the focal point of the story. In other words, the characters must react to goings-on outside their control.

In my western novel, I developed the characters first because the story is a narrative of the protagonist’s adventures.

PC: If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?

That’s easy. If given the opportunity, I would circumnavigate the world in 80 days with Phileas Fogg. The adventure would be a blast and the vistas breathtaking. Spending time around someone with his intellect and eccentricities would be most interesting.

I wanted you to get to know the people of my wonderful club. I know you will enjoy them as much as I do. Keep reading, there will be more in the weeks to come.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Prose Colored Glasses Author, Paula Benge

I once again have a brave author from the Enid Writing Club who has come forward to be interviewed. My writing club, the Enid Writers Club, will be 100 years old January 6, 2023, and the interviews are part of our celebration. Our author this week is Paula Benge.

To celebrate the publication of our anthology, I wanted to interview the authors of the book. Paula’s work is in the book, Prose Colored Glasses Prose Colored Glasses: Writers Club, Enid + Free Shipping (amazon.com) available on Kindle and paperback.

Hi, Peggy. Thank you for this opportunity!

PC: Glad to have you, Paula. My first question is what genre(s) do your write, and why?

PB: My introduction to writing fiction was a Young Adult contemporary novel because my life was immersed with college softball at the time that a EWC member encouraged me to start a novel. I’ve since written a fantasy romance and begun a middle grade fantasy.

PC: What genre(s) do you read, and why?

PB: I read or listen to books constantly, everything except horror. I really enjoy fantasy more than science fiction, but I’ve loved middle grade stories, historical romance, young adult, suspense, women’s fiction, biographies, and nonfiction. For me, the writing itself, and word of mouth, determine what I’ll read next.

PC: Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

PB: My writing desk is actually on my treadmill. I also sit at the treadmill and write, mostly because there’s a large window there and I need sunshine. I’m very productive at a coffee shop, too.

PC: How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current work in progress.

PB: The idea for the middle grade story I’m working on came from a news story about a renovation at an Oklahoma City school that revealed a chalkboard from 1917 with writing still on it. My character is a little boy made of chalk who has been lost in a school for decades.

PC: Tell us one interesting thing about you not related to your writing.

PB: Something interesting about me? I once bought an old German hymn book at an antique store, and when I leafed through it later, I found a letter from my husband’s grandmother tucked inside.

My published novella, A Neapolitan Fairy Tale at Lake Okoboji, Amazon.com: A Neapolitan Fairy Tale at Lake Okoboji (One Scoop or Two) eBook : Benge, Paula: Kindle Store is set in one of my fondest places, Lake Okoboji, Iowa. We’d visit their actual nutty bar store daily (no Neapolitan flavors, sadly, nor fairies), and we didn’t leave without buying Okoboji shirts from Three Sons. Wild Rose Press requested stories about ice cream parlors set around lakes or oceans and Okoboji was it for me.

I’m currently going through a last edit on my softball novel, At the Heart of the Game. And my middle grade The Weird Life of Chester the Chalk Boy is about half written.

For the EWC anthology, Prose Colored Glasses, I included a children’s story about Milly, a bat with silver wings. I dedicated it to my grandmother, also named Milly. We lost her a few years ago, but her love and support made a huge difference in my life. The story was a pleasure to write, and I especially treasure it.

I’d love to keep in touch. You can reach me at paulabenge.com or on Facebook or Instagram. It’s been an honor to share this time, Peggy. Thank you!

Thank you, Paula, and best of luck with your upcoming works.

We’ll have another author from our club next week. What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Prose Colored Glasses Author, James C. Arnold

My writing club, the Enid Writers Club, will be 100 years old January 6, 2023. We have accomplished a few things in celebration of this event and one of them is to publish an anthology. We gave each author a certain number of pages in the book to showcase their talent and then listed them alphabetically by last name. Our first author is James C. Arnold.

To celebrate the publication of our anthology, I wanted to interview the authors of the book. I put the word out and some have agreed to be interviewed. The first one is James C. Arnold. I had a few questions for him so you can get to know him a little. His work is in the book, Prose Colored Glasses Prose Colored Glasses: Writers Club, Enid + Free Shipping (amazon.com) available on Kindle and paperback.

A retired plumber, born and raised in Enid, Jim now lives in Waukomis. He has written poetry most of his adult life. He wrote poetry to Beth till she married him. After she passed away, he started writing again. He says, “I wish I’d never stopped.” 

Let’s ask him a few questions so you can get to know him. Then you will enjoy his pieces in the club’s anthology even better.

PC: What drives you to write?

JA: I write to get the feelings out. 

PC: Would you rather write prose or poetry?

JA: To me the rhyme and meter of poetry conveys deeper meanings than prose. Every word has to count. Poetry is harder to do and much more satisfying. 

PC: Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

JA: My son, grandson, and I are restoring my 1956 Aztec Copper Corvette

PC: What three words describe you, the person?

JA: Unique, Dependable, Generous.

I think all three of those words are great descriptions for Jim. I’ve been in this club with him for over 10 years and he is a backbone of the group.

Pick up a copy of Prose Colored Glasses and get to know this group. They are not only talented, but you’ll also feel like you just found a new friend.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: It’s Almost Halloween!

It’s almost Halloween and time for a little spookiness. I wrote a novella a few years ago that was set in Vermont during the fall at a quaint inn. Penny is running away from something or maybe running to something else. Time will tell. But even a witch needs a little advice now and then.

Penny Winters flees to her birthplace in Vermont to consider the marriage proposal she left behind in Salem. Complicating her already difficult decision, she is smitten when she encounters handman Liam on the porch of the quaint Deerbourne Inn.

A modern-day wiccan, Penny intends to contact her distant great-grandmother, who died on the cliffs when Willow Springs held witch trials. Penny needs advice, and the best time to connect to her ancestors is on Halloween. But she is not the only witch in Willow Springs, and they both have their eye on the same man. And who is the old woman who keeps appearing, telling her to go home?

Penny comes to the cliff to seek Grandma’s advice. But Halloween is an important holiday for a witch, and she is not alone on the cliffs that night. Penny will have to battle not only for Liam’s attention, but for her life.

It’s a short read that I think you will like with a cup of pumpkin spice latte (or whatever your choice of fall beverage is). It is available in print or electronically at the link below. Enjoy a little witchiness on this autumn Sunday.

Books 2 Read link: https://books2read.com/u/b5vp26

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Writing Workshops and BS&T

Yesterday was full of fun! I started the morning with a workshop hosted by the Enid Writers Club. We had 3 dynamic speakers: Stephen Jones, John T. Biggs, and Rilla Askew. There were about 35 people in attendance at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and we enjoyed the intimate setting. I met some new people and as always gathered some new ideas.

The idea was to have 3 very different speakers, and we did.

Stephen Jones spoke about the Oklahoma City Bombing and his defense of Timothy McVeigh. He has published a book: Others Unknown: The Oklahoma City Bombing Case and Conspiracy, with Peter Israel, 2001. He talked about the process of bringing that book to publication.

John Biggs talked about Magic Realism, the role of magical thinking in the human condition and naturally in literature. His books: Shiners, which won the OWFI award for best published book in 2017, Clementine–a song to end the world, and Sacred Alarm Clock were available, and his talk was about the brain and the human condition for thinking about magic.

Rilla Askew’s speech was titled Facts, Freedom, and Fancy: Research & Imagination in Historical Fiction. Her books Fire in BeulahHarpsong, Kind of Kin, and Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place, and her most recent novel, Prize for the Fire, is about the Early Modern Reformist and writer Anne Askew, who was burned as a heretic at Smithfield in 1546.

Three different speakers and hopefully something for everyone. It was a great time, and I met some new people. It was a winning situation.

Then to top the evening off we had tickets to see Blood Sweat & Tears locally. Being a child of the 70’s I was a big fan, in the day, and they are still going great. Only one original band member was present, but it didn’t ruin the music. Our son went with us (a big musical fan) and even at his age, he had a great time.

I fell into bed exhausted but happy. If every day were that much fun, you couldn’t live with me. My smile was plastered to my face. I learned a lot and had way too much fun.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Cherokee Stroll and Fall Festival

Happy fall! It has finally cooled off in Oklahoma and we are hoping for some rain. But the temperatures are wonderful. Sweater weather has arrived.

And with it come fall festivities. Yesterday I set up with my books at the library in Cherokee, Oklahoma for the Cherokee Stroll and Fall Festival. Many thanks go out to Jenny Rieger, of the Cherokee Library, and Shawn Aker of Cherokee Main Street Community Organization, for inviting me.

The library is in the middle of town and vendors were set up all down Main street. The fire department sponsored a pancake breakfast, and the local airport was giving free plane rides to kids. I guess they thought I was too old.

I met some wonderful people and would love to go back sometime. Cherokee is a small town in northwest Oklahoma about 17 miles from Alva, home of NWOSU. It is about an hour’s drive from my hometown of Enid.

It is always fun to go to a new place and show the local people your wares. I sold a few books, and the local library was wonderful. I bought pecans from Friends of the Library and my husband purchased some used books in the back from them too. We ate lunch at Lola’s Mexican Restaurant a few doors down from the library (very good!) and then strolled Main Street in the sunshine. I bought hot chocolate from a couple of cute little boys and maybe a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Fall is a wonderful time of year, and it was great to meet the friendly people of Cherokee.

I’d love to go back next year!

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Sonoma!

I did a girl thing this week—a mother/daughter/cousin thing. And we had so much fun! My daughter and I flew to Oakland, California and stayed at my cousin’s daughter’s (would she be a cousin or second cousin?) house and then drove to Sonoma, California for wine tasting. We had a darling Airbnb and shopped, tasted wine, and ate fabulous food. The youngest of the bunch did the driving in California and we saw San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from a distance. We toured the Jack London home/museum and his surrounding ranch. We sampled wine from exquisite cellars. My cousin and daughter might or might not have gotten lost in a hedge maze. (We could hear them giggling so we knew they would eventually come back.)

I was amazed at the smells of the eucalyptus trees, the long straight lines of grapevines, and equally straight redwood trees. I love the tall cypress trees that remind me of paintings around the Mediterranean. Since I’ll probably never be able to travel there, this was wonderful.

We had a designated driver who knew her way around. We had a couple of wine tastings but never got a tour of a winery. Next time.

From Enid to Oakland is halfway across the United States and requires a lot of running through airports and dragging bags. I’m glad I had my daughter to help with that. We were on planes for 12 hours. I am in awe of people who fly for a living. This old body was showing its age.

We ate some extraordinary food and crashed at night in a bed that felt like a cloud. That might have had something to do with how tired I was.

We’re already talking about seeing San Francisco next time. Or they could come here, and we’d introduce them to Oklahoma. I may see a story here.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Yoga

When my first child was two years old, I enrolled in a yoga class at the local church. They had continuing education classes and that seemed like a good idea for a stressed-out mother of a two-year-old. And I loved it. It gave me stress relief and I soon found out it also enhanced my strength. I had never been an athlete, but I soon learned how much better I felt when I exercised.

I continued on with yoga classes at the YWCA and YMCA and soon was asked to lead the class. By now I had two children and it brought in a little money and gave me some adult time. Back years ago, it wasn’t necessary to be certified to teach a class and I was just parroting what I’d been taught. But my classmates and I got a good workout. I read books and tried to bring something new to the class now and then.

By the time I had two children, I was certified to teach swimming. I taught swimming at the local YMCA, city pool, and home pools all over town. Soon I was also teaching the water aerobics class too. But sometimes I still taught yoga and substituted for other assorted classes at the YMCA.

The workout made me feel good and helped stave off weight gain.

Then I went back to school and into an office full time to help with family expenses. I sat at a desk daily and sometimes ran to the Y at noon or after work to work out. It made me feel good even though I was a busy working mother. But I still sat for at least eight hours a day and it took its toll on my body.

By the time I was fifty, my spine had a degenerative back disease (arthritis) and the joints in my spine were disintegrating. Now retired I have had three back surgeries. Somedays I walk better than others. But I am still walking my dog, doing water aerobics at the Y, and practicing yoga on Saturday mornings. I’ve come full circle. And the teacher, in my Saturday morning online yoga class, is my daughter. The same two-year-old who sent me to yoga in the first place. But she’s spent years getting certified and teaches in many different places on the campus where she works, churches, and yoga studios. It is a great stress relief for her and her students after a long week at work.

I am a great believer in the fact that exercise is the best medicine. Without my exercise I might not be walking at all. Somedays, my legs don’t want to do what I ask of them due to nerve damage, but they are still under me and moving me forward.

Exercise is the best medicine. Get out there and move when you’re not reading. Your body as well as your mind needs it.

What are you exercising/reading/writing this week?

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