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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2022: Autumn Brings New Things

The air went from crisp to heat again this week. Thursday is the first day of fall and someone needs to tell the Oklahoma weather. I wrote about how cool it was last week, and of course we’re back to heat again.

My neighbors across the street put up a HUGE inflatable ghost and pumpkins this week and it encouraged me to get out the few autumn decorations I have. I cleaned out a lot of them in the last few years in my quest for downsizing.

I have a busy fall with two trips and my club’s writing workshop. On October 15, in Enid, Oklahoma, the Enid Writers Club will host 100 Years of Writing a day-long workshop held at St. Matthews Episcopal Church featuring three very different writers. There will be something for everyone.

Rilla Askew, Facts, Freedom, and Fancy: Research & Imagination in Historical Fiction (Books: Fire in BeulahHarpsong, Kind of Kin, and Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place. 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).

John Biggs, Magic Realism, the role of magical thinking in the human condition and naturally in the literature. (Books: Shiners, which won the OWFI award for best published book in 2017, Clementine–a song to end the world, and Sacred Alarm Clock).

Stephen Jones, Taking the McVeigh / OK Bombing case to book, from agents, publishers, etc. (Book: Others Unknown: The Oklahoma City Bombing Case and Conspiracy, with Peter Israel, 2001).

The speakers and club will have their books for sale and will be signing them at the event.

They are proof that writing takes many forms, and all writing is an art. The workshop is free and if you want to eat lunch with us the boxed lunch is $11. Pre-registration is required by contacting peggy.chambers@hotmail.com. Come enjoy the day with us.

Autumn starts Thursday and it is beautiful time of year. Get out and enjoy it because it doesn’t last long in Oklahoma.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Fall is Here?

Today is a somber day, 9/11 or September 11, Patriots Day. I thought about reminiscing about that horrible day but decided to go with something a little more upbeat.

This morning in central Oklahoma, it feels like fall! The temperature is 55 degrees. I let the dog out when I first got up and she came quickly back shivering! I want to go for a walk and know it will include a jacket! It is a far cry from the 100+ degrees we suffered this summer.

It makes me want to get out wooly socks and cozy sweaters. I’d probably be peeling them off in a few hours, but I’m going to do it anyway. I can always put them back in the drawer once the afternoon heat hits.

My husband mowed the grass yesterday and then it rained last night. You can almost see it growing again. James Taylor wrote a song called September Grass an ode to autumn. That song is so appropriate this morning. It is probably my favorite time of year. I know when I was young I couldn’t wait until summer to be out of school and living at the city swimming pool with my sisters or walking to the Carnegie Library—in spite of the heat. We didn’t even feel it. But those days are gone.

I’m aware we aren’t finished with summer, it is not even mid-September yet, but the little hint of pumpkin spice weather hit this morning and I’m loving it. I might curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Prose Colored Glasses

I told you last week that my writing club will soon be celebrating 100 years of writing. And we’re doing a few things leading up to that day.

In honor of this occasion, we just published our second anthology: Prose Colored Glasses, It’s available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BCZNGYJR/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3AB5AEM3124AL&keywords=Prose+Colored+Glasses+book+Enid+Writers+Club&qid=1662258709&sprefix=prose+colored+glasses+book+enid+writers+club%2Caps%2C114&sr=8-1 .

The Enid Writers Club will be one hundred years old in January of 2023. The club was founded on the Phillips University campus by University Professor Roy J. Wolfinger. There have been many changes in one hundred years and now the club is more than just college students from Professor Wolfinger’s classes. Our group encompasses all age groups, skill levels, and genres. We aim to share our passion for writing and learn more about its aspects. We hope to continue for the next one hundred years helping writers become better writers.

The Enid Writers Club was one of two clubs that created the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. more than 50 years ago and we are still an affiliate of that group. OWFI has a conference annually in Oklahoma City and invites writers, publishers, editors, and agents from around the country to present programs to potential writers of all age groups. Many participants have become published authors because of this annual weekend.

To help celebrate this occasion, we have put together this anthology of some of our work. We work diligently to create and help each other produce the best work we can. The tremendous raw talent that encompasses the club is polished with the help of other members. Please enjoy this labor of love and help us celebrate one hundred years together while looking through Prose Colored Glasses.

Sixteen of my favorite authors came together to bring you some of their best works. Check it out and curl up with a good book.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: 100 Years of Writing

I’ve been a member of the Enid Writers Club for about 13 years. We are a small but mighty group; people who are interested in improving their writing and enjoy being with like minds. Best of the best.

When Professor Roy J. Wolfinger, of Phillips University, created the group, I’m sure he had no idea it would last this long. But it has. On January 6, 2023, the club will be 100 years old. A plaque has been created by notable Oklahoma artist, Nancy Russell, to hang on the former Phillips University campus to commemorate the event.

And we’ve planned a workshop to celebrate the last 100 years. It will be at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 518 West Randolph, Enid, OK 73701 on October 15, 2022.

Free to the public—but preregistration is required

Limit 90 people

9:00 – Registration, Free Coffee, Tea, and Doughnuts

We have three fantastic speakers.

10:00 – Stephen Jones – taking the McVeigh / OK Bombing case to book, from agents, publishers, etc. (Book: Others Unknown: The Oklahoma City Bombing Case and Conspiracy, with Peter Israel, 2001)

11:15 – John Biggs – Magic Realism, the role of magical thinking in the human condition and naturally in the literature. (Books: Shiners, which won the OWFI award for best published book in 2017, Clementine–a song to end the world, and Sacred Alarm Clock)

12:15 –Boxed lunch offered for $11 (must order and pay in advance, turkey, ham, or vegetarian).

1:45 – Keynote Speaker – Rilla Askew – Facts, Freedom, and Fancy: Research & Imagination in Historical Fiction (Books: Fire in BeulahHarpsong, Kind of Kin, and Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place. 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.)

All speakers will have their books available for sale and signing.

Sponsored by Enid Writers Club, Enid Arts Council, and St. Matthews Episcopal Church

For registration contact Peggy Chambers peggy.chambers@hotmail.com

Join us! What are you reading/writing this week?

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2020: Sharing Cream Cake

My oldest granddaughter flew in from Colorado this week to visit family. We’re thrilled to see her. My daughter’s side of the family will meet for dinner at her house, and I was asked to bring my mother-in-law’s Cream Cake. It is a favorite of the granddaughter’s.

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe when I was a young mother myself and I love it—so does the granddaughter even though she never met my mother-in-law. It was always called “Cream Cake” though it is a one-layer Italian Cream Cake, and a little difficult to bake. It wants to burn on the edges before the center is done.

I learned from a friend years ago to wrap the edge of the 9 x 13 pan with baking strips. They reflect some of the heat away from the edges so the center can finish cooking. They are a godsend especially when you are dealing with an aging oven.

In honor of my mother-in-law, Hazel Marie Chambers, here is her recipe for Cream Cake.

Cream Cake

½ C. Margarine                                               2 C. Sugar

5 Eggs (separated)                                          1 C Shredded coconut                                   

1 C Vegetable oil                                            2 C Flour

1 C Buttermilk                                                1 C Nuts

1 tsp vanilla                                                     1 tsp soda

Cream margarine and oil, add sugar and egg yolks. Add flour and soda alternately with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla, add coconut and nuts. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. Pour mixture into pan and bake at 350 ° for 25 minutes.

Frosting

1 Pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese

½ C margarine

1 Box powdered sugar

Mix all together until smooth. Spread on warm cake.

It might not be the healthiest thing on the menu, but it is well loved. Wish me luck getting it done in the middle and not burned on the sides. I need to get baking!

What are you reading/writing/baking this week?

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2022: Writing Your First Line

It’s Sunday and time for another blog! I thought we might talk a little about writing this morning. There are many aspects of storytelling, but one that stands out is always the perfect first line.

Your first line should grab the readers’ interest and also tell the story. You should know everything about the story from the first line. Or at least the first paragraph—or first page. Your readers will lose interest quickly and it is your job to keep them interested.

Here are seven keys to a great first line:

First lines are vivid. They invite us into an image and lead us into a scene.

First lines establish a unique voice. It introduces characters who are interesting and make you want more.

First lines are surprising. What is this character doing?

First lines are funny. Even the most serious of stories could use a little humor.

First lines are true. An example is A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

First lines are clear. From the first line we immediately know who the narrator is and what the story is about.

First lines contain the entirety of the novel. The writer should compact the entire story line into one sentence.

This takes practice and like a lot of story tellers you don’t always know where your story is going—even with an outline. I often change my first line many times throughout the writing process. That’s okay. Once you know your ending, you know where your story begins.

Here are some good ideas for reading great first lines.

House of Night – P. C. Cast – “Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker.”

The Dark Tower Series – Stephen King – “The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.”

Percy Jackson – Rick Riordan – “Look I didn’t want to be a half-blood.”

Twilight – Stephanie Meyer – “I’d never given much thought to how I would die.”

American Gods – Neil Gaiman – “Shadow had done three years in prison.”

Flatiron Death Grip – Peggy Chambers – “All Teasy wanted was to save her neighborhood. She never guessed, she might also save the world.”

After telling your story, then use that same visual at the end to pull the story together. You have told the story and brought it full circle. This rule should apply to all fiction.

Tell me what you’re writing and how it begins. Grab a book off the shelf and see how the writer started it. Did it grab your attention? See if this exercise helps your writing to become more vivid. Let me know how it went.

There are no expert writers, only students of the craft. There is always something new to learn to make you a better writer.

What are you reading/writing today?

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2022: Enid’s Fly Film Festival

I attended Enid’s Fly Film Festival https://filmfreeway.com/FLYFilmFestival yesterday. The eighth for Enid, but a first for me. I went with friends on Saturday morning to Enid’s Gaslight Theater and it was cool and comfortable inside the theatre. Drinks and snacks were available and there was plenty of seating.

I love to support the local arts and yesterday was so much fun. I was only there for the morning films, but they were great. It seemed each one was better than the last. I saw short independent films, and you could tell by the audience if the film company was present. I was unable to stay for the longer feature-length films though I wanted to. I watched the credits as they rolled by and recognized at least one writer.

These films are created over the year and then entered for a contest. The categories were Best Short Film, Best Oklahoma Short Film, Best Student Film, Best Documentary, and Best Feature Length Film. I wasn’t present at the Awards Ceremony and didn’t see who won, but I also didn’t get to see all the nominees. Maybe next year.

The film community gathers for parties after the day of films and I’m sure they earned the right to party after a year’s worth of work on films.

I look forward to next year and spending more time at Enid’s 9th Fly Film Festival.

What are you reading/writing/viewing this week?

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2022: Blooming Greed

It’s raining in Oklahoma! And finally cooling down those intense temperatures. I looked out the front door and saw a large garter snake on the sidewalk trying to get out of the flooded flowerbeds that were cracked and dry last week. Hard to blame him. But rainy weather is a good time to write, and I’ve been working on my third novel on Sandhill Island. I’ll work some more on that today.

But let’s talk about novels available now. Blooming Greed is the second in the Keystone Lake series. I really loved writing these books having grown up on Keystone Lake with a friend’s family and then later owning property there as an adult.

Oklahoma, though in the middle of the country, has many lakes. And being a big fan of water, it seemed a great place to set a novel.

Erin Shipley grew up on Keystone Lake before moving to Tulsa and becoming an associate attorney. Now, she’s back, representing a client who is concerned about the flooding and property values around the lake. Properties underwater are being bought and sold for pennies on the dollar by someone called T & H Realty. When her friend’s uncle, Jeff, dies mysteriously on the lake, Erin wonders if it has anything to do with the real estate scam and launches an investigation. The dam is old and zebra mussels are clogging it, not allowing enough water to flow out. If the dam breaks, it will flood downtown Tulsa and areas around it. But that’s not the only danger…whoever killed Jeff isn’t finished with their diabolical plan, and Erin and those she loves are at risk from more than just a dam break.

If it’s raining where you are or the intense heat is keeping you inside, a good book should be your best friend. Pick up a copy of Blooming Greed and let me know how you like it. Blooming Greed (The Keystone Lake Series Book 2) – Kindle edition by Chambers, Peggy . Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2022: Rendezvous With a Writer

A few weeks ago, I got a message about the death of Jim Christina of The Writers’ Block online radio show on LA Talk Radio. Jim had become a friend over the years as he interviewed me several times when I had a new novel published. “Let us know when you have a new book, we’ll talk,” he’d say. I believed him and emailed them with a new publication and was always welcomed. Hopefully, I didn’t overstay my welcome. But he always made me feel at home.

It’s interesting to get to know someone online and never actually meet them in person. I became friends with his wife, Gerry, and his co-host, Bobbi Jean Bell. They were delightful and always made me feel welcome. They read my books and were truly interested in them. But time marches on and Jim was suddenly gone.

This week, I was once again contacted, this time by Bobbi Jean. She and her husband, Jim, had decided to take the slot on LA Talk Radio where she’d once co-hosted with Jim. They wanted to continue the work of supporting writers and have changed the name to Rendezvous with a Writer https://www.outwestshop.com/pages/rendezvous-with-a-writer. I thought this was a wonderful idea and a great way to honor Jim and continue his work. And Bobbi Jean asked me to help by co-hosting part time. I could ask writers to come on the show and help her interview them. I said yes!

This type of work is new to me. I hope I can do a good job in supporting other writers. I want to live up to the memory of Jim and his promotion of other writers.

I agreed to interview Rene Gutteridge Rene Gutteridge on October 20, 2022. What a way to hit the ground running! I am a big fan of Rene’s work. She is a novelist and screenwriter and has a new movie recently released, Family Camp. Family Camp (2022) – IMDb. I met Rene a few years ago at a conference where she presented programs on screenwriting and quickly became a big fan.

Join me on October 20 with Bobbi Jean Bell and Rene Gutteridge as we talk to Rene about her talent as a writer and check out the new online radio show, Rendezvous with a Writer. I think Jim Christina will approve.

What are you reading/writing this week?

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