2017 Something New: Road Trip

salt-plains-dam    I needed to get out.  Friday was my birthday and I said I wanted a tour of northwest Oklahoma.  I needed to see the rolling hills of the prairie, the rocky canyons of Roman Nose, and the lakes of Oklahoma. We made a day trip, took the dog, and traveled from Enid, to Roman Nose, Canton Lake, and then back up to Salt Plains.  We made a stop in Fairview for lunch at El Maya (highly recommended) and then back home. The sun shone and the wind blew (it was Oklahoma after all) but for February, the weather was perfect.

I love the ruggedness of Roman Nose State Park.  We walked around and nearly had the park to ourselves.  Up one hill and down the next, we got a small workout. The dog was in heaven smelling every leaf.   roman-nose

I spent my weekends growing up at Canton Lake.  My parents had a lake home there and I lived for the water.  I found Canton changed since the last time I was there, but the water was still blue and the beach still sandy.  It’s February even though it didn’t feel like it this week, and I only saw one lonely boat floating in the small white caps.  My father used to fish below the spillway and it is now closed to the public.  Most of the trees on the Canadian side are gone and replaced with concrete pads for camping.  I can’t imagine how hot it will be camping there in the summer now.  canton-lake

Salt Plains salt flats are closed during the winter.  We climbed the lookout and talked to some other people out to enjoy the weather then drove to the lake.  The dam was running and gulls floated on the water – more blue water. I breathed deeply.

Northwest Oklahoma is my home. My family moved here when I was seven for a job my dad thought would last a max of three years.  We’re still here. I’ve grown to love the diverse geography of Oklahoma.  From plains, to rocks, to hills, and lots of water. And getting out Friday was just what the doctor ordered.

What part of Oklahoma do you love?

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2017 Something New: Island Life

SecretsofSandhillIsland_w8259    If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be – mountains, beach, desert, in the middle of a forest, or the heart of a big city? Many people would say the beach with the constant ebb and flow of the tide, sea birds screeching overhead, and the smell of saltwater.

In Secrets of Sandhill Island, Meg gave up her life in a big city for a tumble-down beach house on the shore that brought her happiness as a child.  It also gave her a chance to hide out from the high society world her father pushed her into.  The only thing in life precious to her besides her son, was her garden. She toiled in the dirt daily bringing forth life where once there was nothing.  She mixed the sandy soil with loamy topsoil and expanded her garden each year bringing forth more plants and beauty. The sound of the waves nourished her soul like the vegetables nourished her body. And she shared the garden’s bounty with her neighbors.

But life was not always so serene for Meg.  Her father, a tyrant who thought nothing of cheating his neighbors to feather his own nest, disapproved of her one true love, Evan.  Then Evan died, leaving her to raise their child alone.

Just as she had settled into her everyday life of growing and selling vegetables, along came Alex. A man with a past that might be the key to her future. He was an artist, fired from the university because of a fake sexual harassment charge, who wanted to paint her beach house. And then he found a new medium for his painting – organic – from her garden.

Set on a tiny tourist island off the coast of Corpus Christi, Sandhill Island has many secrets, and if you stick around long enough you’ll learn who holds the key to unlock them. Just as the secrets are heating up, so is hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico. Secrets of Sandhill island is a mainstream suspense novel with plenty of twists and turns.

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2017 Something New: A Thank You Gift

amaryliss    A friend gave me a thank you gift after I provided them with food post-op.  I never know whether to send a thank you note for a thank you gift.  If I do, will they respond in kind and where will it all stop?  But it is lovely to look at and reminds me that spring is just around the corner.

I remember once during winter when I was young, I took my houseplants to the back porch and transplanted them into some better soil – just so I could get my hands dirty and smell that loamy scent of the good earth.  That year spring could not come quickly enough.

With retirement and spare time on my hands, I find I stay busy.  Like the office I used to run, I organize and file my life these days whether it is getting ready for the upcoming meeting of my writing club or making it to exercise class at the YMCA, I plan and organize and probably will until the day I die.

I love literature and recently a commercial on TV used the Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night. The poem is about aging and dying and not giving up easily. The commercial prompted me to look up the poem and I printed it out to keep with my writing.  The internet is a fabulous thing. Then a pop-up suggested I might like a poem a day.  I gave them my email address.  I may live to regret that.  I may not want to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”  My email box fills up fast as it is.

It is obvious that I love the simple things, a good poem, a lovely flower, dirt under my nails.  But that is how life should be.  I’m content to cook a meal, read a book, write a book, or grow a flower.  I don’t need to rule the world (what a job THAT would be) or be a millionaire (I’d have to organize and file all that money!). I have my classes and clubs and family.  I have flowers and books and a husband to talk to. I have friends and a hot cup of coffee.

Life is good.

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2017 Something New: Fantasy

1009952_10151834907161920_2018758238_n    With all the political ruckus this week, we need a little fantasy.  And I’ve got just the thing  – a fun story with original art by Andy Fish and Zachary Bruner.

What would you do if you were one of the last remaining survivors on earth?  What would you do if the person you were left to live with was not a friend; not someone you would have hung out with back in the day? What would you do if your last bra bit the dust leaving you to repair it with a safety pin?  Would you face the danger of the empty shopping mall for the remnants of the lingerie department?

Sandra and Molly are now stuck living together trying to survive a day-to-day existence.  But they are not alone.  There are a few people left alive in their small town, and then there are those things. 

Living in the fifteen-story corporate tower they used to work in has its advantages – they are up high and can see everything.  But the climb up and down the stairs is getting to be harder and harder.  Food is getting scarce since they have looted every store left empty since the virus hit a year ago – and then the bat creature starts hanging on the window at night.  What it is and where it came from is the first question.  It looks sort of human with red skin, black eyes, huge wings, long tail, and dripping fangs.  But is it?

The Apocalypse Sucks is a story about survival and friendship written as a dark comedy.  Some things are still important even after the apocalyptic virus decimated most of the world. Humanity has changed, but the old problems still exist – problems like accepting people who don’t look like you.  Food and shelter come first, but friendship and cooperation must take place. 

Molly and Sandra are now family – and nothing is more important than family, unless it is the survival of the human race.

Check out The Apocalypse Sucks at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Airship 27 catalog.  E-published, paperback or audio books.  A dark comedy about women, survival, acceptance – oh and about bras.

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2017 Something New: Icemageddon

ice    I remember the Enid ice storm in 2002.  We lost tree limbs, were without power for over a week, I came down with a respiratory infection, and my best friend died of cancer.  It was my birthday. The grocery store shelves were empty and lines at the gas station snaked into the street.  ATM’s didn’t work and stores allowed you to write a check. T-shirts were made for the survivors of that event.

When the weather forecasters began their doom and gloom reports this week I panicked.  I couldn’t do that again. They were wrong.  I knew they were!

My husband and I talked since that week years ago, about buying a generator.  But we didn’t because what were the chances of using it? That would never happen again.

Still the TV tried to frighten us into believing the end of the world was near. I bought food and ice melt. I made certain all the laundry was done before we lost power. I had lots of candles.  The fireplace was stocked. I talked about buying a bag of ice to put in the ice chest in the garage.  If the frig lost power, I could move the food to the ice chest. We would warm it up on the grill out back.  We’d done it before.  Instead I bought a large bottle of wine.  Maybe I could just forget the whole thing! (or not).

Friday came and we had rain. Saturday the same. This morning we have some ice covering that doesn’t even bend the tree limbs. Roads are fine. It rained in Enid with very little freezing. We needed the rain, not the icemageddon of 2002. I know not all the state has been so lucky.  People lost their lives on I-40’s ice-covered surface. My friend slid around going to the grocery store to feed her family after a hospital stay. We were lucky, but first we were scared. How did humans survive without central heat and lights?

The wine didn’t turn out to be very good.  I’m thinking of making a sauce for chicken. But, we are still warm and dry.

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poster    AUTHOR FEST POSTPONED TO MARCH 4  In an abundance of caution, due to the potential of bad weather this weekend, the Enid Public Library’s Author Fest has been postponed until March 4, 2017. If you have questions, please contact the library or me.
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2016 Cultivating Gratitude: Author Fest!

It’s happening this coming Saturday – get ready!

Peggy Chambers "Views from the Hammock" site

poster    It’s coming! The very first Author Fest presented by the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County and the Enid Writers Club will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2017.  Forty Oklahoma authors have signed up and will take over the downstairs library that Saturday morning.  Many will read from their work and will have their books with them for selling and signing.  The library is creating a booklet so attendees can have their favorite author autograph it.  The fest will be held from 10 am to 3 pm.

I’ve worked closely with Margo Holmes and the library to put this festival together.  The library is truly excited to host the local talent and I would not be surprised to find this will become an annual event.  Oklahoma is loaded with talent, and it is a great opportunity to showcase some of it.  Come meet some of…

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