2019 Life-Long Learning: Glome is back

    Twice a year the Heavener Runestone Park in southeastern Oklahoma holds its Viking Fest in April and October with all things Viking and Celtic.  The park is loaded with costumed characters and families on outings.  Picnics are held as children enjoy turkey legs and corn dogs, Celtic music is heard throughout the park and it is transformed back in time to an era we can only dream about.

The festival is held to celebrate the runestone and dream about a by-gone age.  Vendors come from all across the United States to sell their wares.  Food trucks line the road and there are tables to eat the morsels found along the way.

I was enchanted with the forest the first time I traveled to the southeast part of the state near Poteau to the Heavener Runestone Park.  The idea that Vikings were in Oklahoma before Christopher Columbus found the new world was interesting and Glome’s Valley was born.

The sandstone monolith sits in the valley with ancient carvings on it claiming the valley for someone named Glome.  At least that is what some people believe.  It is the backdrop for my Oklahoma fairytale, Glome’s Valley.   I wrote a story about a young boy who hiked the trails near the stone and ran into a Viking ghost. They had adventures as only a child could.  They encountered trolls, fairies, and of course Thor and his trouble-maker brother, Loki.

Glome’s Valley and Return to Glome’s Valley are on sale through August on Kindle for $.99.  If you and your children haven’t read them, check them out.  I recently wrote a short story titled Stone of Thor which will be featured in Okie Comics later on this year. Here’s an excerpt.

Last year when Ethan first came to Heavener with his dad, Glome had given him a rock with the sign of Thor written in ancient Futhark like the runes on the famous Heavener Runestone. He said it would protect him from bad things in the forest. And the worst thing in the forest was Loki, step-brother to the Norse god Thor. Ethan found out that if you needed him, Thor was available to help just by rubbing the stone and calling out his name.  But you didn’t call Thor unless it was an emergency. Now the rock was missing.

After dinner when the fireflies came out and darkness came, Ethan went to his swinging bed and curled up. Dad was snoring in his own bed. Ethan had almost drifted off when something made the bed sway.  He opened his eyes and saw Loki sitting at the end of the bed. He wore green clothing and his long nose pointed down until it almost met his chin on the way up. The inside of the cottage sparkled with the eyes of imps who often traveled with their master, Loki.  They had never visited the inside of Ethan’s house before.

“Did I wake you young man?” Loki smiled an evil grin.

Ethan instantly reached under his pillow for the rock that protected him in time of need.  But it wasn’t there.

“Looking for this?” Ethan’s rock with the sign for Thor dangled between his fingers. 

“Give that back!” Ethan sat up and grabbed for the rock sending his bed swaying as Loki disappeared. 

“You’ll never get this back.  It’s mine now. In fact, I plan to throw it into the forest where it will never be found again. Your days of being protected by my brother are over.”  Ethan saw a flash of green and Loki was gone.   

I always look forward to the festival and this year it will be bigger and better.  The weather should be great.  Bring the kids and pick up a copy of the Oklahoma fairytale Glome’s Valley and its sequel, Return to Glome’s Valley.

Visit the park!

 

 

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Don Blanding Poetry Society meeting

Poetry Society to Meet

On Sunday, August 18th at 2:30, The Don Blanding Poetry Society will meet at 1505 Osage Avenue, Enid, OK. All poets and poetry lovers are welcome. 

Bring your favorite original poetry to read, or bring a work from a favorite poet. The Society normally meets on the 3rd Sunday of each month. The mission of the Don Blanding Poetry Society is to write, read & appreciate poetry, and to help each other write better.

You may contact James Arnold for more information: 580-231-3336 jcarlarnold@gmail.com

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2019 Life-Long Learning: National Book Lovers Day

    Friday was National Book Lovers Day and since I blog on Sundays, I decided to do this a couple of days late. I had other books to read and write. Writers are like that.

There is no doubt I’ve always been a Hemingway fan – and I’ve always been drawn to the water. A good combination. I am sure one of my favorite books has always been Islands in the Stream, by Ernest Hemingway.

Published in 1970, nine years after Hemingway’s death, the book became controversial because he might or might not have actually written it that way. It was put together after his death and published. He left behind some 332 unpublished manuscripts. Some Hemingway fans say it was not the author’s authentic voice. I’ve read enough Hemingway to see a change in his voice as he aged and wrote. I think all writers change as they go along, mature, and age. I know my writing has changed (not that I’m comparing myself to Hemingway). But surely if Hemingway had been there at the publishing, some things would have changed. He was not.

The Cuba scene at the bar that Thomas Hudson frequented has been one of the most loved scenes Hemingway ever wrote. It encompasses several characters in a bar as they discuss their lives and politics. It is not easy to write a scene with that many characters, give them their own personalities, and not confuse the reader. But you felt like you were there drinking next to the regulars and listening to their stories.

I cried with Thomas died in the end (spoiler alert). He couldn’t die – I love him! I loved his adventurous nature and the way he met life head on. He’d lived life on his own terms as an artist making a living without the day-to-day grind of working for someone else. He was his own man. But all good things come to an end.

Whether or not the book was finalized as Hemingway would have thought it should have been, it still remained a Hemingway story. Islands in the Stream is about love of family; love of the ocean and nature; and love of living life on your own terms. It is about freedom and the things that come with it, some good and some bad.

So far, I think it is still my favorite book.

One thing I’ve learned in life is, if you like a book, read it again! You are sure to glean something new you didn’t see the first time.

What book do you think is your favorite – so far?

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Comic Con!

     Enid once again hosted the annual Comic Con.  It was twice the size of the one last year.  More costumes, more vendors and more of my writer friends!  I promised myself I would be involved this year as a vendor, and then life got in the way.  But I did get to attend.  A good friend of mine called and offered to go with me. She was afraid I wouldn’t go by myself.  I would have, but it was more fun to go with someone else.  She is not a fantasy type person, so it was fun to show her around. 

I ran into several authors I know through OWFI. Sabrina Fish and Traci Schaffer traveled to Enid and had a table together.  They were enjoying the day and selling several of their fantasy books.  On down the row we ran into Dennis McDonald of Enid and his wife.  He sells horror fiction and she sweet little fairy scenes, much like heaven and hell. 

R2D2 ran around checking out the con.  He appeared to be alone.  Someone might have been pushing his buttons from afar, but he beeped and rolled checking out the audience. 

Barry Fuxa, formerly of Enid, showed off his artwork.  We talked and found he knew my son and I probably taught him to swim when he was a kid.  Now an adult, his art is fabulous!

Enid Author Nancy Chastain sold her romance suspense novels and also an author I didn’t know, Patricia Loofbourrow, sold stempunk novels and trinkets.  It is always fun to meet someone new.

Then I ran into Michael Vance and R.A. Jones, cartoonists extraordinaire from Tulsa. I bought a comic book from R.A. written for Star Trek.  I’d met Vance online and seen his work before and work with him sometimes with Airship 27 Productions where he acts as the marketing director.  Some of Michael’s work is housed in the Oklahoma Historical Museum in Oklahoma City. I was greatly honored to spend time with these giants of the cartoon/graphic novel world and R.A. took my email address to send me some info on learning to write for cartoons.  It was an honor, gentlemen.   

Vendors from all over graced the Stride Event Center. Enid is working on their arts district with murals on the side of old buildings.  The front of some of the older buildings have been redone with a grant appropriated by Mainstreet Enid and the Enid Art District is becoming a reality.  The new hotel across the street from the Enid Public Library and the new Enid Brewing Company should be ready by next year’s Comic Con.  Enid Brewing Company hosted an after party for the con. They are very involved in the new downtown Enid vibe.  I checked out their wares at First Friday the night before and found something I loved.  I want to bring out of town relatives to try it soon.

Enid is doing a great job of bringing out of town events to the city and they are growing.  Thank you, Comic Con, for coming to Enid once again and I hope to be more involved next year.

What did you do this weekend?

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Learning from Nikki Hanna

    Yesterday the Enid Writers Club, in conjunction with The Enid Arts and Humanities Council, hosted a summer writing workshop. Nikki Hanna, who hails from Tulsa, has come to Enid in the past and we were happy to welcome her again. The Enid Public Library once again allowed us to use their facilities and we had a small but active group of 13 people attend. 

Nikki talked about finding your own voice in writing in the first half of the workshop.  After writing your piece – in the edit phase – is when you see how your voice shines through, and she talked about using it to make your piece your own.

After the break, she discussed writing memoirs, why, what to do, what to avoid, and how to handle family members. Biographies and memoirs are different in that a memoir tells stories. And writers are story tellers. It is a good thing for your family to do for future generations and helps bring them together.

I know all the authors who attended learned a lot from Nikki.  She had wonderful handouts to take home and read again. She is personable and makes the presentation in a round table discussion setting so that everyone feels welcome and discussions took place. 

For the last several years the Enid Writers Club has sponsored a summer writing workshop.  The club meets from September to May and then disbands for the for the summer months picking back up again in the fall.  The summer writing workshops are a great way to come together and keep active in our writing.   

You can find Nikki at www.nikkihanna.com and comments are welcome.  Check her out.

Many thanks go out to the Enid Public Library, Enid Arts and Humanities Council, and Nikki Hanna for making this summer workshop a possibility.  Thank you also to Martha Draper, President of Enid Writers Club, who took pictures.  I always get to involved to remember to take pictures.

What are you writing this summer?

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Learning to Beat the Heat

    I’ve been down with sinus/ear problems for several weeks now.  I am sick of it.  And miracle of miracles, I suddenly feel better today!  I can hear!

The heat in Oklahoma and all over the country has been unbearable and I found it easier to just stay in with my head down.  They say a cool front is coming tonight and my husband decided to “comb” the yard this morning in hopes it would rain.  I say “comb” because in this triple digit heat, nothing was growing.  But he felt compelled to mow.  So, he did. I can hardly tell where he’s been, but I tell him it looks great.  It didn’t look bad to begin with.  He’s a perfectionist and I appreciate that.  It keeps things looking good. 

I took the dog for a walk and the air was cooler than normal and there was cloud cover.  When I got home, I checked the weather on my cell phone and there was precipitation headed our way – nearly here!  From the looks of how close it was, it should be here before I finish typing this blog.  In the words of the great Sam Cooke “Change gonna’ come.”

Just knowing things are looking up weather and health wise makes me feel like dancing! I need to get out of the house. These four walls are beginning to close in.  Seriously, I think I saw one move. I get a little claustrophobic sometimes when it is just me and four walls.  That is what retirement will do.  I normally stay busy (I hate doing nothing), but with the heat and health issues, I’ve hibernated. 

I know it’s only July and summer’s not over, but thank you, Mother Nature, for the reprieve.  It’s not here yet, but “Change gonna’ come.” I hope.

How have you handled the heat?

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2019 Life Long Learning: Blooming Justice and Growing Up

    The subject of Blooming Justice is as old as time – and as modern as the evening news.  No one is above the law no matter their money or influence, and rape is a heinous crime. 

It started out as bullying at the senior prom. Some would call it sexual harassment, but there was nothing sexual about it for Todd.  He just wanted to impress his friends with how easy geek girls were when they thought a rich, attractive young man was interested in them.  It was about power, not sex.

But this time, he messed with the wrong geek girl.  Erin was embarrassed and ran from the ballroom to the safety of home.  But she was smart.  She was not going to let one embarrassing moment dictate her life. She had plans and they didn’t include a boy with too much money and not enough morals.  She was as mad at herself as she was at him.  After all she accepted the date.

When college started in the fall, she had a great job at her aunt’s law firm doing grunt grunt work while she took classes. She didn’t fit in at the firm.  Everyone knew she was the niece of one of the partners and the only other thing she’d done in her life was work at her mother’s flower shop.  It was a long way from a flower shop to a law office, but she would do it.  School was easy, sometimes life was not.

Tulsa University had a three-year bachelor’s degree that led into a law degree and that was what Erin wanted.  She had always admired her aunt and her position in life, and she wanted to be like her.  She would make this work.

And then she began to hear rumors of women being date raped on campus and she was sure she knew who the rapist was.  He was no longer just sexually harassing his partners.  She knew some of the women and if she could get enough of them together to tell their stories, all the money in the world would not save Todd. 

He was going down.

Check out Blooming Justice and leave me a review if you like it. It is the first in the Keystone Lake series. 

What are you reading right now?

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Here is my interview with Peggy Chambers

My interview with Fiona Mcvie. Thank you, Fiona!

authorsinterviews

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Peggy Chambers  and I’m happily retired at 66.

Fiona: Where are you from?

I’m from Enid, Oklahoma, about 90 miles north of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the middle of the Great Plains of the US.

 Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).

My bio says this: Peggy Chambers calls Enid, Oklahoma home.  She has been writing for several years and is an award winning,published author, always working on another. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Blooming Justice is her sixth book. She has two children, five grandchildren and lives with her husband and dog.  She adores travel and the great outdoors, even if it is just taking the dog for a walk…

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2017 Life-Long Learning: A Dog’s Love

    Friday night we almost lost our dog.  We’ve had a little forty-pound Beagle mix for nine years.  We seriously got our dog off Craigslist from a guy who said he was going to Afghanistan. We hadn’t had a dog in 14 years.  We had a big, hairy 85 lb. Golden Retriever when the kids were small, and I missed him but enjoyed not having to clean up after him all the time.  My husband who grew up in the country with dogs had to have another and we adopted Athena.

She has been a joy.  She came into a house of old people at five months old and fit right in.  She is the queen, no other animals to share with, and she just lays around under the air conditioner.  The three of us go for walks when the weather is nice and then return to the artificially cool house.  She loves to lay belly up under a ceiling fan.

We’d bathed her and given her the flea and tick treatment on her neck along with a heart-worm prevention pill like we do every month.  We’d taken a long walk that morning and all came in hot and ready for some cool air.  Hours later she was sick.  She barely moved off her bed.  I checked her breathing to be sure a few times.  She acted like just rolling over was a chore.  I know she was in the same position for several hours.

The vet checked her blood and the only thing that was off was a liver enzyme. She came home with pills to take daily for a few months.  He thought it might have been brought on by the heat.  I wondered about the treatments after her bath.  We asked about the toads around the house and he seemed to think they weren’t that dangerous.  Whatever it was, I think the end was near.  I slept part of the night on the floor beside her so I could feel her breathing on me.

Today, she is a new puppy!  It is amazing how quickly they can go down and how quickly they feel better.  My babies were much the same way, sick one minute and well the next. 

Anyway, we took a short walk this morning so no one got overheated and may do that from now on.  Maybe take a quick one in the morning and another in the evening.  We all need our exercise but not at the risk of heat stroke!  She’ll be checked at the vets every month to see how things go and she’ll take her pills.  They are chewable and she seems to like them.

I learned just how important the little dog has become to me this week.  I also learned none of us are as young as we used to be, and heat can have its effects on a body.  Do you have pets?  Are they like family? 

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

    I spent this weekend with my daughter on a Mother-Daughter trip to Wichita.  We’ve made different trips once a year for a few years and this one was supposed to be Mother’s Day weekend.  But I-35 was flooded so we cancelled.  We remade this trip for the last weekend in June and it got HOT!  Horribly hot. Near 100° and humidity above 50%.  My body doesn’t take the heat the way it used to.

I learned that the two-hour trip to Wichita is an easy drive and finding the downtown area is a breeze.  We spent a lot of the weekend in Old Town which has been redon and is marvelous.  We went to the Museum of World Treasures and walked all three floors staring at unique items from ancient history to history of 20 years ago.  I’d love to do it again.

We planned to see the Frank Lloyd Write Allen House and were not aware you had to buy advance tickets to get in.  It was locked up on Saturday.  We’ll try again and next time be more organized.

This morning we visited Botanica gardens.  They were beautiful!  I was amazed at the plants and architecture – but did I mention it was hot?  Whew!  The morning shower was long gone when we got back in the car.

The highlight of the trip might have been my daughter’s reaction to being unable to sleep.  She is a “take no prisoners kind of therapist” in her regular life and a mother of teenagers.  Our hotel was not the best.  Small and lacking in many areas.  There were lots of people in large groups there for something and after we went to bed people ran up and down the hall laughing and shouting.  I could not sleep for a few hours.  After I finally got to sleep she woke up to the noise in the tiny hallway between rooms.  After listening to it for 2 hours, trying to call the front desk only to find out the phone didn’t work, at 5:30 she threw open the door and yelled “Enough! You’ve been at this for a least 2 hours (actually it was all night long) and people are trying to sleep! Now be quiet!” You could have heard a pin drop.  The partiers right outside our door went away.  Of course, we ran into them at breakfast.  But we got a little sleep.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I want to go back and take my husband.  Sometime when it is not so hot.  I learned not to vacation in the heat of summer.  Did I mention it was hot? 

What did you do this weekend?

 

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