2018 Clearing Your Life: Stones of Sandhill Island

    Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave as if this were the case.

Billie Stone felt she was a victim of life.  A beautiful woman with the voice of an angel living on an idyllic island with the artistic mother she loved. But she felt alone after her husband and son were killed in an accident. Her music was the only thing that got her out of bed somedays – that and her aging mother. But she wanted her life back.

Joe Franks felt like a victim of life when everything he’d ever worked for was taken from him and he was forced into pizza delivery to make ends meet.  He never meant to hurt anyone on that dark Texas highway. Suddenly the minivan was in front of him and he couldn’t avoid it.  He went to prison, lost his house, car, and job. Society was determined to keep him down.

Who was the victim and who was the victimizer? 

Franks saw Billie as the lucky one.  She had a job she loved, a beach house on an island to live in, and he wanted his life back. So, the man who killed her family approached her wanting her help – and when she wouldn’t give it, he tried to take it from her.

Stones of Sandhill Island picks back up where Secrets of Sandhill Island left off.  Some of the same characters make an appearance, but the main character – Sandhill Island – is once again in the forefront. The island is home to a handful of inhabitants who are wooed by her beauty and live their lives loving the calm and isolation it brings.  The people are kind – except when exploited – and take care of each other and their island. 

Billie Stone would get her life back if it killed her.

Check out Stones of Sandhill Island this week and if you love it, leave me a review.  https://tinyurl.com/y9qp6qzp

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2018 Clearing Your Life: The Fear of Visiting the Phone Store

    I cleared my life of an old phone this week.  I’m like an old dog with new tricks – trying desperately to learn something. 

After weeks of struggling with phones that were worn out, shutting down mysteriously, not ringing when they should, my husband and I traipsed down to the phone store.  We always dread these trips, mostly because the people there don’t speak our language.  They are filled with millennials who look down their noses at old people who should just go away, since they don’t know what they’re doing.  And we were greatly surprised.

We’d already looked online (with the laptop, not the discrepant phone) at what was available and what we would be paying for it.  Two phones in a household can get expensive, but for some reason, we think we can’t do without them anymore.  I remember a time when my mother would put dimes in our penny loafers, so we could use a pay phone to phone home like E.T.  Here’s a picture of the new phone on the table cloth.  What exactly is a table cloth?  . . . I’m sounding old again. 

We knew we didn’t need the newest and greatest that the phone companies had to sell.  We needed a reliable phone that would do what we needed and was newer than what we had.  The old ones lasted four years.  My husband has a friend with a flip phone that still works, but I doubt he uses it much.  He certainly doesn’t surf the web or takes pictures with it.

Well, at the phone store, we were pleasantly surprised.  The guy who helped us didn’t treat us like senior citizens he had to yell at and draw pictures to explain what he was trying to teach us.  He had one of the phones in-store and had to order the other, but it came in two days and then we made another trip back to the store. After all we had new friends there now and they couldn’t wait to see us. 

And then the panic set in. The guy who sold us the phone wasn’t there.  A new one took on the old folks and he was a great as the first.  We’ve come to appreciate the customer service at A T & T in Enid.  They didn’t look down their noses nor did they try to make us feel stupid.  They were kind and a fountain of information.  This wasn’t as hard as we thought it might be. 

We’re still learning the new phones.  They don’t shut off in mid use. We have new friends at the phone store and we can use the phones we’re paying for.  It is a win win situation.  We feel like we can function in society again. Thank you, A T & T. 

What did you do to clear your life this week?

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2018 Clearing My Life: More Bookcases!

    I did a little more clearing of my life this week.  My bedroom is in the back of the house and it seems things collect there.  I am not sure how this happens, but the house is shaped like an “L” and the master bedroom suite is at the end of the “L.” You can’t go any further.  So, as you walk to the back with your arms loaded from the living areas, things get dropped in that room. The room is also a dust collector and I constantly battle the dust bunnies. I think I may be losing that battle.

I don’t spend a lot of time in that room, I just sleep and shower there but maybe that is because there is nowhere to sit but on the bed.  Well, this week I fixed that.  In a corner where things get piled, I now have a new chair.  It is small and gray and goes with most everything.  It sits next to one of the many bookcases near a window.  My husband said, “You need a chair in here why?”  But later I found him sitting in it as he went through the pile of junk that was on its way out. 

Then I tackled the other side of the room.  In another small corner sat a pile of books that would not fit in any of the three (yes, I said 3 in one bedroom) bookcases.  So, what does a bookie do when the books will no longer fit on the shelves?  Clean them out?  No, I bought another small bookcase.  I measured, and I had just enough room for a skinny, but tall, bookcase that is the same color as the others.  It was just the ticket.  And I reserved the top shelf for my own books instead of tossing them around the room never to be found again.  Anytime I need to see a copy of my own book (except for the ones for sale in the spare bedroom) I must rummage round the room looking for where I last left one.  Now they are all together in a place of honor with an amethyst bookend my sister once gave me holding them up.  Amethyst is my birthstone, so it is even more precious.  And with the addition of the chair, I know have a reading room.

My bedroom is cleaner because all the moving around made me clean as I reorganized – and I can find my books.  I cleared my life of unwanted clutter and made a place for the things I treasure.  It was a win win situation.

What did you do this week to unclutter your life?

 

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2018 Clearing my Life: Writing Workshop!

Photos courtesy of Martha K. Draper.

It was workshop time! Yesterday the Enid Writers Club hosted a writing workshop at the Enid Public Library.  We had an intimate group, snacks, speakers from Tulsa and Norman, and a great time.  I learned a lot and enjoyed the camaraderie. Writers are the best kind of people. (there are those that might disagree, but they were not in attendance)  

Nikki Hanna, from Tulsa, spoke first on Finding Joy and Purpose in Writing.  Nikki is the author of several non-fiction books and I found her down-to-earth style helpful and uplifting.  She speaks with a knowledge based on experience.  She said you should use your craft in ways that make you happy, and if you should sell some along the way, so much the better.  She talked about redefining your version of success. She also talked about author voice, and the craft of becoming a better writer. She was helpful to anyone who asked for it.  

Vicky Kennedy, from Norman, talked about story structure.  She based a lot of her program on the book Save the Cat! and the story structure set down by Pixar for their movies.  Whether a short story, novel or screen play, they all need the same structure.  In listening to her I finally figured out what was wrong with my latest work in progress.  I can’t wait to get back to it and make it a better story.  

The writers club hosted the event and brought snacks.  There was fruit, cookies, and someone even brought home-made Jalapeno Poppers.  Nikki asked to come back next year with a new topic and I hope we can accommodate her.  Our club loves a writing workshop. 

Writers are the best kind of people.

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Free Writing Workshop in Enid Saturday, July 21!

Saturday July 21, 2018 Enid Writers Club will host a free writing workshop at the Enid Public Library, 120 West Maine, Enid, OK 73701, from 1-4:30.  Please join us in the Great Plains Room upstairs in the library for an afternoon of fun and learning as Nikki Hannah, of Tulsa, and Vickey Kennedy, of Norman, dazzle us. Come see what they have to say.

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2018 Clearing Your Life: Book Sales and Vacations!

  It’s summer and time for family vacations – and book sales! I’ve put the two Glome’s Valley books on sale in Kindle form for $.99 each for the rest of the month just in time for summer vacations.

If you need a family vacation that is within our great state, the best place in Oklahoma this summer is the Heavener Runestone Park for camping and family fun.

Located in beautiful southeast Oklahoma (10 miles south of Poteau) is the mysterious sandstone monolith with Viking runes said to have been carved before Columbus discovered what is now America.

The Heavener Runestone sits in a rocky valley as a testament to the one who carved it.  Maybe it was Glome.  The Elder Futhark runes say “Glome’s Valley” as if someone was claiming the valley for their own. Today the stone is encased in glass to preserve it and a park has been built around it.  Twice a year, the second weekend in October and April, the park hosts a Viking Festival to commemorate the Vikings that may or may not have been in the valley a thousand years ago.

My first visit to the park, I was entranced by the beauty and mystery of the area and those feelings led to an Oklahoma fairytale, Glome’s Valley.  I was visiting the gift shop when a man came in with a preschool boy and he wanted to see the book In Plain Sight by Gloria Farley.  Ms. Farley was one of the biggest proponents of the school of thought that Columbus was not the first European to land on this continent.  I overheard the visitor at the gift shop say he was a PhD candidate and he had his son with him as he studied the stone. I thought what a wonderful way for the boy to grow up with his dad studying the history of the area – and a story was born in my mind.

I wrote the first book for my grandson, who was in grade school at the time. In the story Ethan was hanging out with his dad for the summer, as Dad studied the Heavener Runestone, when he met the Viking ghost named Glome.  They had many adventures in the valley. Later I wrote the sequel, Return to Glome’s Valley, and by then Ethan had grown up to be working on his own PhD in archeology like his dad.

It is amazing as an author what sparks your imagination and makes the cogs turn as a story is born.  But sharing it with readers is as much fun as writing it.  Pick up a Kindle copy of Glome’s Valley and Return to Glome’s Valley for only $.99 each for the rest of July. You and the kids could read the books, written where Glome and buddies had their adventures, in the tent after dark. But if you miss the Kindle sale, the paperbacks are available at the park gift shop too.

Take the kids to visit the Heavener Runestone Park soon.  It is worth the trip.

Happy vacationing!

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Dive into Summer!

Welcome to the #DiveIntoSummerHop with @thewildrosepress we’re giving away some great prizes to celebrate summer!

How to enter for a chance to win 
#Comment and #TagAFriend you think would be interested in participating in our hop! 

Get lucky this summer! Dive into Summer hop runs July 9th, 2018 through July 16th, 2018
Following all authors participating in the hop and @thewildrosepress is required for entry.

*Instagram is not sponsoring or affiliated with these giveaways in any way*
#InstagramHop #IGHop #AuthorsOfIG #AuthorsOfInstagram #AuthorLife #wrpbks #twrpbks #readroses #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #booksofig #bookworms

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2018 Clearing my Life: Audible.com

    I love to read.  Like a lot of bookies, I could read all day and night, if life didn’t get in the way.  If you don’t believe me, check out the number of bookcases, full to the brim, sitting in my house. And then there is my Kindle.

But I know some people find reading tedious, or maybe their eyesight is failing so reading has become something they can only do in short stints, or maybe not at all.  I’ve got the answer for them.  www.audible.com from Amazon now has streaming books.  Unlike the CDs you used to buy and stick in the CD player, you can now listen through your computer, phone, e-reader, tablet, or any other device.  Some of us old people find this fascinating.  The younger ones, not so much.

But so far, I have two books on audible and another one on the way.  Secrets of Sandhill Island is now available on audible.com and so is The Apocalypse SucksStones of Sandhill Island is in the production mode.  It is just another way to enjoy books. You can even share them with the other people in the car.  While the kids are plugged into whatever movie, game or activity in the backseat, Mom and Dad can listen to a book in the front on the way down the road to Grandma’s house.  Ah summer vacation!

Check out my books on Audible and all the others that are available.  Audio books have created a new line of actor/voice-over opportunities for those so inclined and it makes books available to people who can’t or won’t read.  It’s a brave new world out there.

Go enjoy a book.

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2018 Clearing my Life: Blooming Justice Cover Reveal!

    I am still in the editing phase with the uber-talented Ally Roberts, of The Wild Rose Press, on my latest work in progress, Blooming Justice.  However, the equally talented design staff at Wild Rose Press, specifically Kim Mendoza, once again did me proud. She has designed all my covers at The Wild Rose Press and is a wonderful artist. This is my cover reveal for Blooming Justice, the first in the Keystone Lake series.

Erin Sampson always wanted to be an attorney like her aunt. But until she experiences a real taste of injustice, she has no idea what the legal field is all about. After being sexually harassed at the senior prom by a boy she went to school with, she finds out he has escalated from bullying to rape.

Working in her aunt’s law firm while going to college, she has an opportunity to help find justice for all the women who deserve it. It is a long way from her mother’s flower shop to a law office; and a long way from the little town by the lake she grew up in to the Tulsa County Courthouse. But Erin will do whatever it takes to end the terror and protect the women on her campus.

I have started working on book two, and book three is in the planning stages.  However, if you are a Sandhill Island fan, don’t worry, there will be more of that little island to come also.

I am so impressed with the cover for Blooming Justice I just wanted to show it to you, and I hope you like it as much as I do.  There will be more to come this year as the book is ready for release.

Happy reading!

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2018 Clearing My Life: Another Road Trip Down

    My husband and I went on a road trip to Osage County, Oklahoma Friday – such is the life of retirees.  If you’ve never been in that area of the country, it is the rolling hills in northeast Oklahoma near Pawhuska.  We were on a quest.

Recently we both read the book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. https://www.amazon.com/Killers-Flower-Moon-Osage-Murders-ebook/dp/B01CWZFBZ4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529854292&sr=8-1&keywords=killers+of+the+flower+moon+by+david+grann The Stillwater Library invited Mr. Grann to speak at several of their workshops and I was pleased to have attended one.  Mr. Grann is a New York Times Best Selling author with several titles to his name. After reading the book it became an obsession to find out all I could about this part of Oklahoma history that was not taught in the classes I took in school.

After the Trail of Tears, the Native Americans were moved from their homes and placed on reservations in Oklahoma before it became a state.  The rolling Osage Hills were considered land unwanted by farmers – until oil was discovered there.

In the 1920s the Osage tribe became some of the richest people in the world due to the oil beneath their feet and soon members of the tribe were cheated out of their headrights to the oil.  Many were murdered or just disappeared.  The FBI was in its infancy before J. Edgar Hoover came into power and his agency was put in charge of finding out what happened to the Osage members.  

Osage County is the largest county in Oklahoma.  It is northwest of Tulsa, green, hilly and  picturesque. It can be one of the hottest areas in the country when real summer hits.  When we were there on Friday it was lovely.  The weather in the 80s, the grass was green, and the hills rolled as we traveled down two-lane highways getting the flavor of the countryside. There were oil wells around every corner – many still operating – others idle with parts missing.  Horses roamed the hills and small towns dotted the landscape.  We drove to Gray Horse, Oklahoma and found the cemetery where many Osage are buried and found several headstones with the date of 1923 etched into their surface.  It was a bad year for the Osage and that date populated the tiny cemetery.  The cemetery was peaceful, and we spent a lot of time roaming around reading names and dates.

The weather was beautiful as we trekked across northwest Oklahoma that day. The sun shone, and the winds were light. The cemetery was well taken care of by the people proud to call this place their own.  I thought it ironic that an oil well lay idle just up the hill from the cemetery.  

We enjoyed some time in the Osage Tribal Museum in Pawhuska before heading to Gray Horse.  It is just up the road from the stately Osage County Courthouse. Check it out sometime.

Our history, like many others, is not always as accurate as it should be, but the people are resilient. It was a beautiful day in the state I call home even if some of its history is lacking.

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