2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – The Summer of our Discontent

    It’s been three weeks since my spinal surgery and I’m feeling human.  I walk and practice my physical therapy exercises and I’ve even had to get back into cooking.  I’m doing well.

It’s been a strange and hot summer.  No trips. My husband had his first cataract surgery (and another looming in the distance) and my surgery.  The world is in the middle of a pandemic and we can’t travel outside our own state comfortably.

We renewed our passports recently because they were about to expire only to find we can’t travel outside our country because no other country wants us.  We might be infected with Covid-19.

My blogs this year were about having more experiences and I was thinking travel.  Well, the world had other ideas.  I’m experiencing what it is like to have surgeries and be stuck in the house. But I’m getting some writing done! Pandemic or not, the world goes on.

I’m almost finished with the second in the Keystone Lake series, Blooming Greed. I really need to drive to Keystone lake in eastern Oklahoma and get a tour of the dam, but I can’t right now. They may not be giving tours at this time.  I’ll call first. In all the time I owned property at that lake, and saw the dam in flood stage and drought, I never toured the dam itself.  I’ve done about all the online research I can do.

This is the summer of our discontent. I’m not alone in my complaint.  At least I’m not sick in a hospital with a tube down my throat. I’m not unemployed with small children because my place of business is shut down. I am really doing fine, just had my plans disrupted.  So, I write.  Maybe I will write better because I’m desperate.  And when I can’t write, I read.  So many books, so little time.

What are you reading in this our summer of discontent?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Big Magic!

    I’m reading a new book, Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love.  You might like it.  It is about living the creative life and is mostly geared toward writers, but also other artists.

Some of it gets a little out there for me. The idea of your muse being a magic being who hangs around your shoulders pushing you forward – I’m a little too practical for that.  But I do agree with most of what she says, and she is a great proponent for living the creative life.  Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes.  Some people say they don’t have it, others can’t live without it. But I believe most people have a creative spark within them, they just shove it down while they work hard at other things.  Take it from a practical person, the creative spark is in there.

I spent a lot of years living and working in an environment that didn’t help support my creative muse.  But I’ve always loved the feeling of creating something, whether it was a craft, a flower arrangement, sewing a garment, or something else that didn’t bring home the bacon.  It was my outlet after a long day of keeping my nose to the grindstone.

But with retirement brought the opportunity to do as I please.  No more 8 to 5 (or 12-hour days) only to come home, cook dinner, clean up, and deal with growing children.  I was too tired to hardly fall into bed sometimes let alone create something.

Now, I can write and create all day long. And yet sometimes I don’t finish a project because I get bored with it, lose track of where it’s going, or get side-tracked with another. Melissa Gilbert is great at showing you why you need to keep pushing forward and learning more and more about your craft.  So, what if your creation isn’t a NY Times Best Seller.  What you create is a part of you.  And it should be finished so you can get on to the next.

Check out Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert if you’re interested.  It might encourage you to let that creative spark bloom again.

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions More Experiences – Surgery!

    I spent a couple of days this week at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital South.  No there is nothing wrong with my heart.  But my spine is another story. My neurosurgeon works out of that hospital and he gave me some new scaring, my third back surgery, and I have some new fusion in the L4 L5 area.

I have degenerative back disease and my discs are not has healthy as they might be. It affects how I walk, and no amount of  core strength classes can save it.  I mean exercise helps, but eventually, it requires repair.  I have a lovely set of walker, grabber, and back brace paraphernalia to wear and use.  I’ve received countless messages and a vase of flowers from friends and I can’t cook for a while! It’s not all bad. And I met some nice people at the hospital. A couple were writers!

If I sound a little groggy it is because I am but I’m trying to maintain. I’m reading a new book, Big Magic, by Melissa Gilbert.  You might like it.  It is about living the creative life.  I can read it while I take it easy.

What are you reading this week?

 

 

 

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Beach Read!

    Sandhill Island is a mythical place – a place in my mind.  But I could live there.  I would love the slow pace and the self-reliant people who live near and on the water.  They have adventures, romances, and lives of every type.  They are islanders. As I write about them I can smell the salt air, and hear the relentless waves washing up on shore.

The first novel, Secrets of Sandhill Island, (http://tinyurl.com/gnjp94b) is about Meg and her search for the truth about her lover and her father.  She’s lived a lifetime raising the son who never knew his father and now it is time to love again as soon as she finds out who is trying to blackmail her.

The second novel, Stones of Sandhill Island, (https://tinyurl.com/y9qp6qzp) revolves around Billie Stone, who sings the blues – on and off the island.  She lost her husband and son to a drunk driver and now lives with her mother back where she grew up – on Sandhill Island.  She struggles to live her life and learn to love after losing everything in life.  And she packs in the audience when she sings at Le Chez after leaving her jazz career in the big city of Corpus Christi.

And soon to release, a novella about the only ice cream shop on the island. Strawberry Sundae Delights involves new characters who live on the island and work at the only ice cream store there – Auntie’s Ice Cream Shack – Home of the World-Famous Strawberry Sundae. Courageous people live on Sandhill Island even if they only sell ice cream for a living.  There can be danger around every corner.  The story is part of the One Scoop or Two series for The Wild Rose Press, but if you have read the first two books, you’ll want to see what happens next.

Check it out and keep an eye out for the third Sandhill Island Book, Smugglers of Sandhill Island, my WIP.

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Witches’ Cliff

IT’S HOT OUTSIDE! And I’m not talking about the political scene.  The temperatures in Oklahoma have reached the century mark and the humidity is trying to keep up with it.  If you’re going outside, do it early morning or late evening.  I’m sure it’s the same wherever you are.

So, to help cool you down, I’m suggesting a great fall tale about fantasy and love at a quaint Vermont inn.  Witches’ Cliff is a short novella sure to make you say ahhh.  It is current and sweet with just enough fantasy splashed in to make you believe in witches at Halloween.

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 handyman 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.

Witches’ Cliff is available electronically for only $1.99 or in paperback from The Wild Rose Press at https://www.thewildrosepress.com/product/witches-cliff.  However you prefer to read, grab a lemonade or iced tea and check out Witches’ Cliff.  Vermont in the fall is sure to cool you down while the romance and suspense heat you up!

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Civil Unrest

    If you follow my blogs you know they’re normally light.  I talk about the current book I’m promoting or the flowers blooming in my garden.  But today, I had to say something serious.

I lived through the race riots of the 1960’s. I was young and idealistic.  I saw the plight of people who had been held down for so long and I wanted to help.  I’m not as young or as liberal as I once was.  I’ve worked hard and raised kids  and sometimes I think I’ve become less kind.  Life will do that to you. But the race riots all over our country again are killing me – bringing back some old feelings.  We, as Americans, have already fought this war once with the Civil Rights Movement. We don’t need to do it again.

I don’t know the full story of what happened to George Floyd.  There are a lot of stories floating around out there. But I know one thing, the man who knelt on his neck had been up on charges of abuse 19 times before (That number comes from a story I read.  I can’t confirm it).  He should have been tossed off the force at least 19 times and he wasn’t.  He was out on the streets in a position of power and he didn’t need that power.  There was one story about the fact that Mr. Floyd and Officer Chauvin had a history – they’d worked security together in a bar.  That would add more depth to what happened. But I do know that the officer who knelt on Floyd has been arrested, as he should be. There will be trial and he is innocent until proven guilty.

I don’t know if Mr. Floyd resisted arrest.  But let’s pretend he was pink with purple spots and tried to kill everyone around him.  Whatever he did he didn’t deserve to die like that.  And what of the other police and onlookers with cameras.  Why did they not stop it?  One cop, no matter how big and armed, could have been overcome by that many people. George Floyd didn’t have to die that way. And now, people are angry. They should be.

Our constitution gives us the right of peaceful assembly.  The main word there being peaceful.  The riots that are taking place all over the country are far from peaceful.  People want to be heard.  But burning property of hardworking people who had nothing to do with this tragedy is not the way to do things.  I saw pictures of Minneapolis and protests led by the Amish community there.  Peaceful but dramatic.  When was the last time you saw a protest placard in the hands of an Amish woman in a long gray dress? The people have had enough.

It is time the US government, and local police, take a look at how this type of tragedy is being handled.  The last thing this country needs is another civil war and we are on the brink of one – with a pandemic in the background. We’re better than this.

We may need a little Desiderata, the poem by Max Urhmann, read here by Lorene Greene. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=desiderata+poem&docid=608015748047307066&mid=ABA8B0B5EBD3F6DC7396ABA8B0B5EBD3F6DC7396&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

Be kind.

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Use the Fancy Doilies

    I’m sure the rest of the world is having as much trouble staying home and doing nothing as I am.  But this is getting ridiculous!  It’s not as if I am doing without, we have food to eat and a nice home to live in, but I really want to travel.  And I can’t at this time.

Cousins from Texas spent some time with us this weekend.  We cooked a steak out and drank some wine.  When the flies attacked we had to pull out the fancy doilies. I don’t know what I was saving them for.  You should use the nice things in life you have instead of saving them for a time that might never come.  I received these doilies as a gift on our trip to Africa and they’ve stayed hidden in the antique buffet in the kitchen.  I might never have used them if we hadn’t been forced by a Pandemic to stay home.

This weekend we visited and caught up with each other’s lives.  Camaraderie is the most important thing.  We’d love to travel and see the world, but maybe we’ve already seen all we will get a chance at.  Or maybe there is still more to come.

I have a friend who retired and almost never leaves home.  She’s content.  I’m not.  I want to have life experiences.  But if the experience is just spending time with friends and family, that is what we’ll do.  We can’t travel together, but we can get together.

For now, I will clean, stay healthy, and make plans for a time when the world is back to normal – whatever that turns out to be.  The wanderlust in me will have to wait.

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Witches’ Cliff novella

    Last year when The Wild Rose Press called for submissions for novellas based on a fictional Vermont Inn, the noise of mad scribbling and typing could be heard around the globe.  Not all of The Wild Rose Press authors live in the United States.  The story would be built around a quaint Vermont Inn nestled in a tiny town with lots of eclectic characters.

The novellas were to be based on holidays spent at the Inn and I chose Halloween.  I write some fantasy as well as suspense and children’s books, but the idea of Penny Winters, a modern-day witch, came to mind and I was hooked.

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 handyman 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.

Witches’ Cliff became a finalist in the International Digital Awards through the Oklahoma chapter of the Romance Writers’ of America.  It was fun collaborating with all the other authors.  The novellas were to be e-published only and can be purchased electronically on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Witches-Cliff-Deerbourne-Peggy-Chambers-ebook/dp/B07PNK8QMT/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=witches%27+cliff+peggy+chambers&qid=1589753515&sr=8-1 for only $1.99.  Or if you really need to feel the paper, The Wild Rose Press has printed them for only $10.99 and you can purchase them on their website at https://www.thewildrosepress.com/product/witches-cliff

Pick up a copy for a quick read and check out all the Deerbourne Inn books.  Leave us a review.  Authors love reviews.

What are you reading lately?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Experiencing Mother’s Day

    It’s Mother’s Day and today we celebrate mothers everywhere and their contribution to the world. I looked for a picture of my mother in the stacks that desperately needed attention and came up with this one.  She was young, maybe unmarried, I don’t have a date on it.  She married Dad right after WWII and they had my oldest sister a few years later. Eventually they had 3 daughters. I resisted using the one of her in a bathing suit.  She might have come up from the grave to chase me with a stick!  She was a piece of work.

    The second picture is my daughter who is now a mother too.  This adorable photo was taken when she was about two years old.  She has been my lifelong friend as well as my daughter. I had her with I was barely 20 and I had to practice motherhood on her.  But when her brother came along was when I really became a mother.  Women with one child are mothers, but women with multiple children should be canonized before death.  I have a niece with 8, my grandmother also had 8, and I have a friend who raised 5 on her own.  I only thought I was stressed.  Stressed, but blessed.  I couldn’t have survived without them.

This morning, I received this handmade pottery for Mother’s Day.  The Lotus Potter in the Oklahoma City area (www.thelotuspotter.com ) makes beautiful pottery and she even threw in a necklace to go with the bowl and tumbler.  Check her out!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there and to the people who made them mothers!

 

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Stone of Thor Wins!

    Last week in my blog I talked about the Heavener Runestone https://heavenerrunestonepark.com/ and my two Glomes’ Valley books.  It is obvious that I love the forest near the runestone and the lore that accompanies it. I keep contemplating a third book.  The idea of the legend of Vikings in Oklahoma is just too appealing to let go.

Instead, I wrote a short story using the characters from the Glome books ((https://tinyurl.com/ycxychjm Glome’s Valley, http://tinyurl.com/ybdsqr6w  Return to Glome’s Valley), titled Stone of Thor.  If you’ve read the other books you will know that Glome gives Ethan a stone with the Viking emblem for Thor carved into it.  It is magic and with it, Thor can be summoned when he is needed.  He has a stepbrother, Loki, who is always up to no good. The stone is put to good use in both books.  In Stone of Thor, the rock once more becomes the focal point of the story.

I wrote the story for Okie Comics https://okiecomics.com/ and its publisher, Jeff Provine.  With his help, and that of R.A. Jones, comic script writer,  I wrote my first  comic script based on that story.  It is now in the hands of Mike Kennedy, artist extraordinaire, and I hope to see it come to life soon.

Then last night at the online OWFI Awards  Stone of Thor took second place in the Young Adult Short Story category!  I couldn’t be prouder of a story that keeps evolving and growing.

Yes, I adore the lore of Vikings in Oklahoma and I love to write about it.  Norse Mythology has always been a love of mine and to be able to take those stories and incorporate them into something modern, set in Oklahoma, is a privilege.

Thank you, OWFI for the contest, and thank you Heavener Runestone Park for putting up with me and my stories all these years.  Thank you Jeff Provine for helping me develop the story and for R.A. Jones for his example of comic scripts.  I’ve seen samples of Mike Kennedy’s art and it is fantastic.  Glome and the characters are coming to life in southeastern Oklahoma.

Glome lives!

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