2020: Fewer Possession, More Experiences – Virtual Reality

    It’s been a few weeks since I attended, virtually, WriterCon 2020 in Oklahoma City.  I’m still having fun going back and watching some of the presentations.

I also tried a virtual copy of  Dr. Lisa Marrota’s Mindful Muse OK Creativity Retreat. I am not finished going through that, but I’m certain I’ll love all of it.

Virtual seminars and conferences are something we never even thought of a few months ago.  If we couldn’t go, we just missed out.  I hate to say it, but maybe this pandemic has done some good.  We’ve come together in spite of the virus – nothing can keep us down.

Sitting in the old leather recliner that used to belong to my father-in-law, I’ve learned new things about marketing my books, and more importantly, how to relax and let my muse guide me.

I miss my friends at these conferences and the interaction that takes place, but I may have learned more with a glass of tea next to me as I took notes and thought about whether or not I could do this, than the hustle and bustle of a conference.

I’ve practiced yoga with my daughter’s yoga class on Saturday morning in my bedroom with the laptop set up on the trunk at the foot of the bed. I came away relaxed and ready to face the day – and I got to talk to my daughter who lives 100 miles away.  It was much better than I thought it might be.

My writing club is communicating by way of email and our website this year.  I hope to get the critique group up and running virtually soon.  We can do this.  We have to.  We still need human interaction and as usual, necessity is the mother of invention.

What are you reading this week – virtually or otherwise?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Roman Nose State Park

    We had another great experience this week. Oklahoma has a diverse geography and you don’t have to go far to find something completely different than where you just left.  We took a day trip to Roman Nose State Park https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Nose_State_Park and had lunch after a short hike.

There are several hiking trails meant for more experienced hikers than us, but we took the road more traveled.  Old folks with an excited dog on a leash need to be careful.  It had been raining the night before and many of the rocks were slippery with evidence of erosion, but the park was beautiful with several springs and waterfalls flowing.  For early September, it was cool and comfortable and after the short hike, we ate a Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen.  The restaurant is new to the park.  Swadley’s has taken over restaurants at several of the Oklahoma State Parks and the food was wonderful.   

Like most people we’ve been stuck at home this summer, but the outing was great.  There weren’t a lot of people, the restaurant was clean and social distancing was practiced.

Traveling short distances is something on my bucket list.  As a kid my family moved to Oklahoma when I was seven and we often took day trips on the weekend to find out what this state had to offer.  Mom would pack the picnic basket and Dad would take a highlighter to an Oklahoma map and we’d scout out new places to visit.  I loved those day trips and want to do more of that now that I’m older.  I’ve been to Roman Nose many times, it is only a little over an hour from where we live, but it seemed new and improved yesterday.  https://www.travelok.com/state-parks/roman-nose-state-park

If you play golf, there is a golf course and you can rent a cabin or stay in your tent.  Check first about availability because I think the camping part of the park has been closed this year due to the pandemic. But if you want a hike and lunch, it is the place to be.

Fall is coming, do you like to travel and where?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Mississippi Kites

    My husband is an avid outdoorsman.  As a kid growing up he had acres to roam and spent a lot of time communing with nature.  This week, he got another chance and we had a new experience.

Mississippi Kites are a bird of prey similar to a small hawk.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_kite They eat flying bugs and they have invaded our residential neighborhood this year.  We have a huge, heavily leafed sweetgum tree in the front yard that we talk about taking down all the time.  It is strong and healthy but is the bane of our existence. Each winter to spring we rake up countless bags of sweetgum balls that look like tiny landmines and feel like it on bare feet. The roots grow above ground making mowing a problem.

But in that lush tree is a community of birds, bugs, squirrels an other creatures that we know nothing about.  This week a juvenile, fully feathered, Mississippi Kite fell from the tree and was unable to get back in his nest.  The husband named him Tike.  Tike the Kite.  We watched him for three days as he got stronger, learned to stand on his legs, which might have been injured, and flap his wings in an attempt to fly.  The parents visited and fed him bugs. And he slowly began to circle the tree with its many roots above ground.  He felt safe.  Until the next-door neighbor’s children began to run and scream as they washed the car in their driveway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SairtjDdFc&feature=youtu.be

My husband had already contacted several rehabilitators listed with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department, and they thought since the bird was being fed, we should leave it alone.  Then it got scared.  We’d watched it from afar trying not to disturb it. But then it began to try to get away from the noise next door and stumbled its way to our driveway and into the hot sun. My husband watched in horror afraid it would surely be found by a wandering cat or dog if not hidden under the tree.  And then it did the strangest thing.  As he stood on the driveway hoping it wouldn’t get under his pickup, it cuddled up between his feet!

We finally took matters into our own hands.  Certain we would be dive bombed by the parents, my husband donned leather gloves and scooped up the bird. He wasn’t even pecked. The kite seemed to know a gentle hand.

The rehabilitator suggested we try to put it back in the tree, so with the help of a step stool he was once again scooped up in gloved hands and placed gently in the tree.

Hours later he was found back on the ground and it was dark.  The rehabilitator agreed this time to take the bird.  He was again picked up and placed in a box and then taken to someone who hopefully will be able to release it back into the wild when it is able to fly.

I don’t know where the parents were while we adopted their little one.  But at least no one was attacked.  Kites tend to be very protective of their young.

We had a new experience this week. Tike, I hope you live a long, and strong life.  Eat a bug for me.

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Strawberry Sundae Delights

    Strawberry Sundae Delights releases today!

I’ve said for several years someday I’d settle on a genre and write only that.  I doubt it.  I have an active imagination and those stories need to go somewhere. I love literature.  Believe it or not, I love classic literature.  I’m currently curling up with Steinbeck at night before bed (don’t tell my husband).  Sometimes Steinbeck can be so depressing that I wonder why I read his work, but  I know why.  I love literature and I love to see how someone else would write a story.

When The Wild Rose Press put out a submission request for short beach reads involving ice cream, I had just the beach.  Sandhill Island.  I took the setting from my two books Secrets of Sandhill Island and Stones of Sandhill Island and wrote a novella about an ice cream shop and the characters who work and shop there.  It was fun.  Some of the existing characters from the books make and appearance, but mostly it has new characters; a schoolteacher, a cute shrimper/college student, and a grumpy aunt. Oh, and don’t forget the bad guy who wants to own Auntie’s Ice Cream Shack—Home of the World-Famous Strawberry Sundae.

Schoolteacher Sienna Schultz is still stinging from a bad breakup with her fiancé when she finds herself unexpectedly infatuated with a new man. While working her summer job at her aunt’s ice cream shop in the small tourist town of Sandhill Island, she meets Jake White, a college student from Corpus Christi who is working on a shrimper for the summer. Sienna is not ready for another relationship, but Jake is difficult to resist.

Sienna’s peaceful summer is shattered when a series of suspicious events unfold. Her aunt’s suppliers refuse to sell to her, putting the future of the shop in jeopardy. Then, when the store is vandalized, they wonder if someone is out to harm not only the business, but Sienna and her aunt as well.

Jake offers to help uncover who’s behind the incidents, which brings the two of them closer together. Can Sienna trust him…or is she headed for another heartbreak?

Check out Strawberry Sundae Delights and all the other novellas in the One Scoop or Two Series.  They are available electronically through The Wild Rose Press or on Amazon.

What are you reading today?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Stone of Thor

    Stone of Thor releases today at http://okiecomics.com.

Stone of Thor started out as a short story and won second place in the OWFI YA Fantasy category at the 2020 OWFI Conference.  It was based on characters from my Glome’s Valley and Return to Glome’s Valley YA books. The story was well suited for Okie Comics, comics by Oklahomans, for Oklahomans – written about a place in Oklahoma steeped in mystery.

It is set at the beautiful Heavener Runestone Park and the Heavener Runestone relic.  I love this area of our state, south of Poteau in the Ouachita Mountains.  It is near the Talimena scenic drive which begins in Talihina, OK and ends in Mena, AR.  The relic is one of several in the area, but by far the largest.  It is a runestone that some say was carved by ancient Vikings before Christopher Columbus came to the new world.

Ethan has lost his Stone of Thor given to him by Glome the Viking ghost, for protection against Loki.  He last saw it when he play-battled the trolls at the Heavener Runestone Park.  But he hasn’t lost it.  Loki, stepbrother to Thor, has stolen it and will not give it back.  Ethan must call on help from Trondelag the dragon to help him get it back before Loki throws it deep into the forest of the Ouachita Mountains.

I learned a lot from Jeff Provine and R. A. Jones about the art of comic script writing.  Then the magic came to life when Mike Kennedy illustrated the characters and setting.

Check it out and let me know what you think.  If you are looking for a weekend jaunt, check out the Heavener Runestone Park in southeast Oklahoma.  You might find the Stone of Thor, but I know you’ll find the Heavener Runestone to be magical.

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Experiencing Medicine Park

  Like most everyone else this year, my husband and I have been stuck in the house avoiding a nasty virus.  And since we were unable to go anywhere, we both had surgery this summer; cataract for him and spinal for me. (Whoopee!) We spent most of the summer recovering.  We’d planned a vacation in March for his birthday meeting my husband’s cousin and wife that was cancelled. We finally got the chance to go somewhere and we stayed in the state making reservations at Medicine Park https://medicinepark.com/ – the place we cancelled in March.

If you’ve never been there, I  highly recommend it.  It wasn’t overly crowded, probably due to the pandemic. We wore our masks inside and constantly washed our hands or used hand sanitizer.

One of the places you have to eat when you’re in the Medicine Park area is Meer’s Burgers.  It is an old building and the food is mostly burgers and fries, but they are huge (filling a pie plate) and really good.  The place was clean and careful about social distancing, masks, etc.  Only so many were let in at a time.  The food was delicious, and it never hurts to share a plate with someone since they are half-pound burgers.

We stayed in a nice vacation rental cabin with two bedrooms and two baths.   We ended up traveling 20 minutes into Lawton for breakfast because Medicine Park, like a lot of places, has lost businesses due to the virus.  There was nowhere to eat breakfast other than a bakery and it wasn’t always open.

We drove to the top of Mount Scott and also visited the new aquarium.  My legs played out early in the walk through the aquarium, so I sat inside and watched a demonstration by a biologist as she fed an electric eel.  It was interesting.  We didn’t swim in the lake, but it was open to the public.  We’re old people. But the cousins got a chance to catch up and might have had a beer or two at an outside bar. 

This is the second time I’ve been to Medicine Park, named after the medicinal purposes of the creek that feeds the lake. I don’t know if the water has healing properties, but the weekend did for us.  It was great to get out and see the cousins and relax.

Now, back to reality.

 

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Two Releases at Once!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you have heard me say I TRY to put out a book a year.  I try.  I work hard at writing on a regular basis, but I’m no Stephen King.  Instead, I write things, edit them, learn new ways of writing, and try to get them published.  But these things take time.

This time I tried to space them out, but that didn’t happen. In September, I have two new books coming out!  I’m so excited!  They will both be e-published and one of them is free.

September 1, 2020 will be the release of my first comic book, Stone of Thor.  This short comic is based on characters and setting from my Glome’s Valley books. Jeff Provine was fantastic in his assistance in this writing. Check out his Okie Comics by Oklahomans, for Oklahomans.  You will be able to find the comic on www.okiecomics.com. Stone of Thor is beautifully illustrated by Mike Kennedy and once again pits Glome against Loki in a battle that takes place at the Heavener Runestone Park.

September 2, 2020 Strawberry Sundae Delights releases from The Wild Rose Press and is part of the One Scoop or Two Series. It is available for pre-order on Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/y2qe84qx. The novella is once again set on Sandhill Island and involves new characters who work together at the only ice cream shop on the island.  There will be ice cream on the beach with romance and a little suspense as Sienna tries to help her aunt’s dream come true. And Jake will risk his life for the woman he loves.

Check out Stone of Thor and Strawberry Sundae Delights coming out in September electronically, and leave me a review. Authors love reviews.

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Meeting Changes

    This year I vowed to talk about new experiences.  I was thinking of travel, but things have changed for everyone.  Now that we are home most of the time, our new experiences could be just a new way of doing an old thing. My writing club, like many others, is learning to do something in a new way.

I’m a long-time member of the Enid Writers Club and the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. OWFI cancelled the annual conference in May this year due to the pandemic.  It was a good idea since all those people would be in a hotel together for the weekend, elbow to elbow with other writers.

The Enid Writers Club meets from September to May each year taking the summer off.  We meet at NWOSU in Enid.  Until this year.  Our meeting place was cancelled, and we tried to get a different one. The Enid Public Library decided they too would hold no meetings.  I really can’t blame them.  There would be more than 10 people in the room and even with social distancing, masks, and a temperature check at the door, there could be the possibly of passing a virus around.

So, this year, we are going to try to have our meetings by way of our monthly newsletter and website.  The officers decided on programs and there will be computer links to YouTube and online readable material.  Then we will write our 150-word roll call piece based on what we learned and email them to the other members.  We’re going to try Zoom or Google Meets for our critique sessions. That is not an easy thing for some of the members.  We all love to get together and help each other learn or show off our skills.  I’ve met some great people in my club, and I don’t want to lose track of them or their writing.

Once again we move forward with a new way to do an old thing.  New experiences!  Not what I had in mind at the beginning of the year, but I’m flexible.  We all have to be these days.

What new experiences have you had this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Dancing with Dragons

  I was reminded this week how feelings and experiences can come back to bite you when you least expect it.  Things you thought were over and done – you thought you dealt at the time – suddenly are there again.

I’ve had three back surgeries – the last one eleven years ago and then another this summer.  I’ve recovered well, though my daughter says I walk funny.  I say, I’m doing the best I can.  But it occurred to me that the last surgery took place one year before I was laid off at the base and began a new career late in life.  That job also didn’t last because the company left town and I once again had to land another job.

It’s been twenty years since I lost my parents.  They were both sick at the same time and I tried my best to look after them until the bitter end.  I hope my children don’t go through that, but they might.

In the shower this week, (why there, I have no idea) old feelings came slamming back.  I felt I’d been trying to slay dragons once again and I have no idea why.  Maybe the back surgery brought it all to the forefront.  Maybe it was because my dad had open heart surgery in August. It’s been said there are anniversaries for feelings. There have been several lately when I think about it.

But with a lot of prayer, I feel like I’m going to get better.  I am keeping the dragons at bay, or maybe learning to dance with them. Dragons can be a formidable opponent or gracious ally depending upon how you look at them.

Writing about my feelings helps me get them out in the open sometimes so I can examine them. It may bore the reader but helps the writer.

But this writer has been working on two manuscripts this week in spite of the dragons.

What are you reading this week?

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2020: Fewer Possessions, More Experiences – Strawberry Sundae Delights

    I received word this week that my novella, Strawberry Sundae Delights, releases September 2! I’m so excited to continue the saga on Sandhill Island.  This novella will be e-published as part of the One Scoop or Two Series for The Wild Rose Press. Check out the other novellas in this series too.  https://www.thewildrosepress.com/series/one-scoop-or-two.

Sienna works for her aunt on the island where she grew up.  As a teacher, she’s free in the summer and needs a summer job and her aunt needs her help. Then she meets Jake.

Schoolteacher Sienna Schultz is still stinging from a bad breakup with her fiancé when she finds herself unexpectedly infatuated with a new man. While working her summer job at her aunt’s ice cream shop in the small tourist town of Sandhill Island, she meets Jake White, a college student from Corpus Christi who is working on a shrimper for the summer. Sienna is not ready for another relationship, but Jake is difficult to resist.

Sienna’s peaceful summer is shattered when a series of suspicious events unfold. Her aunt’s suppliers refuse to sell to her, putting the future of the shop in jeopardy. Then, when the store is vandalized, they wonder if someone is out to harm not only the business, but Sienna and her aunt as well.

Jake offers to help uncover who’s behind the incidents, which brings the two of them closer together. Can Sienna trust him…or is she headed for another heartbreak?

Strawberry Sundae Delights is available for pre-order on Amazon digitally (https://www.amazon.com/Strawberry-Sundae-Delights-One-Scoop-ebook/dp/B08DZC5X6D/ref=sr_1_1?crid=24T8F6YN6MRB5&dchild=1&keywords=peggy+chambers+books&qid=1596381611&sprefix=peggy+chambers+%2Caps%2C547&sr=8-1. Check it out and leave me a review.  Authors live for reviews!

What are you reading this week?

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