2019 Life-Long Learning: Being Easy

  If you follow my blog, you know I write on Sundays. This morning I sit at the laptop staring, waiting on inspiration and the song Easy Like Sunday Morning, by Lionel Richie, keeps spinning through my head. And I think about the things going on in my life. So, on this easy Sunday morning, I thought I’d share the musings in my head.

Yesterday, I set up a book signing in the Oakwood Mall in Enid with a group of crafters called Sweet Serendipity Events. I will be in the mall selling my books on October 12, 2019 from 10-4. I am working on getting several more this fall with the Christmas season coming.

I have First Friday Event in Alva December 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm at Graceful Arts downtown. This is a lovely art studio that teaches art in the back and has a studio up front. I was invited this summer at Alva’s Nescatunga Arts Festival. They are great people.

Next Saturday, September 21, 2019, is the Oklahoma Book Festival in Oklahoma City at the Boathouse District. I will be a table with the Enid Public Library promoting our upcoming Enid Author Fest which takes place next March. Come by and see us. You really should check out this massive, state-wide festival about all things bookish and the people who write them.

I had a great interview on LA Talk Radio’s The Writer’s Block with Jim Christina and Bobbie Jean Belle last Thursday night. I have come to know these people I’ve never physically met, and we’ve become friends. I’d love to do it again when I release another book.

That’s all the business news I have this morning. Personally, I am going on vacation in a couple of weeks and my checkbook won’t balance. How can the stupid thing be off like that? It balanced last month. I need to mop the floors, but first I’m going to do Yoga. I have DVD I use when my back aches.

I’ve been a member of a class at Enid’s YMCA for the last 15 years and twice a week we gather for Core Strength class. Lately, the Y in their infinite wisdom, canceled my beloved class. It got me through two back surgeries and then it was taken away. I’ve been a member of the Y for over 40 years and I’ve taught classes for them and now in my old age, I just take classes. I guess I need to see what else they have that I might like. Sigh.

That’s all the news in my life. What are you doing on this easy Sunday morning? Talk to me, I need the company, and it might get me out of mopping the floor.

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2019 Life Long Learning: Learning About Internet Radio

    Thursday night September 12, 2019 at 7:00 PST (that’s 9:00 in Oklahoma, yawn), I will once again talk to Jim Christina and Bobbi Bell on LA Talk Radio’s The Writers’ Block. I’ve interviewed several times with the crew of The Writers’ Block, and I look forward to once again talking about writing, publication, my latest book and general fun. They are genuine and cordial with a little bit of crazy thrown in for good measure.

We’ll be discussing my latest books, Blooming Justice:

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.

 and Witches’ Cliff:

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.

Different genres but that’s what I do. Someday I’ll decide what genre I like to write, in the meantime, I’ll write what comes to my conflicted mind.

Be sure to tune in to internet radio at https://www.latalkradio.com/content/writers-block with a cup of coffee. Turn up the volume and you can call in to join the discussion if you like. It will be loads of fun!

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Learning to Embrace Change

    There’s a hint of autumn in the air. Today is the first of September, fall is just three weeks away. It has been raining in Enid off and on – in August! Unusual in Oklahoma. Just a few weeks ago, it was over 100°. Soon everything will be pumpkin spice, until you can’t hear, see, or taste it one more time. But at first it’s great. By 8:30 tonight it will be almost dark.  I don’t like that.

Leaves will turn colors and then fall, crunching under your feet. Sweaters will come out of the drawer and flip flops will end up at the back of the closet (well, for some people). I love fall. I think I love all the seasons – at first. Then before the three months are up, I’m ready for the next season.

My husband will be glad when mowing season is over. I need to harvest basil and make pesto soon. It’s thigh high in my herb garden and has take over all the other herbs. I’ll save the seeds and sprinkle them on the ground for next year. Same with the dill that is hiding behind the basil.

I love change. I’m easily bored. I’ve always been this way since I was a child and will probably die getting ready for the next big thing.

Right now, I’m eating all the peaches and watermelon I can get while they are still wonderful. For some reason, I never get tired of fresh summer fruit. But I do love fall and spring. The jury is still out on winter, but I’ll get a lot of writing done when it is cold.

While the weather is still in a state of flux, enjoy the change. Embrace it, roll around in it, and remember there’s always an other change just around the corner.

Do you love change? What season is your least favorite?

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2019 Life-long Learning: Perseverence

    When my grandson was in early grade school he came to my house announcing “Math was so cool.  Look if I do this, this happens!”  I was mesmerized.  Most kids don’t like math and I was ecstatic that he loved it. 

It encouraged me to write a children’s book titled Ian and the Magic Numbers.  Ian was a little boy who loved math and found he could perform feats of magic if his math problems were right. He came from a long line of wizards.  The book was full of wizards and magic – there was even a magic Ural motorcycle owned by his grandfather that took them to castles where they studied magic.

I joined my local writing group that year and read the first three pages proudly (and nervously) to the group and they liked it too. I may have been the only fiction writer in the place at the time.

We took our grandson to the Grand Canyon that summer and I’d printed out the book in a three-ring binder.  I took it with us, and we read a chapter each night in the hotel room before bed.  Ian’s Magic Numbers debuted on that trip and at least my grandson liked it. He told his friends his grandma wrote really cool books. Yeah!!

Filled with pride, I pitched the book to an agent at a writer’s conference who said, “After Harry Potter, I don’t ever want to see another wizard.”  Sigh.  I was deflated. But I didn’t quit on this story. It has seen several themes since the beginning but always the central theme of math being magic was in the book.

I’ve learned a little bit about writing since then.  My grandson is a sophomore in college (you do the math) and I still had that little story stored away in the deep recesses of my computer.  It has been a million different stories.  And finally, this week, I signed a publishing contract on it. 

Doodle and Peck has agreed to publish Ian’s Magic. It will come out in spring or fall of 2021.  It will have original artwork and be a middle grade reader available in paperback, hard back and electronically.  The main character is still in the 4th grade and loves math.  I am so glad I never gave up on that book.  I have seven published titles to my name now and two more at publishing houses awaiting publication.  But the Ian book still looked promising to me and evidently to Doodle and Peck too.  It won’t be out for a while, but I’m excited about my one and only middle grade reader.  I hope it isn’t my last.

What are you writing?  Don’t quit on it.

 

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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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