2020: More Experiences, Fewer Possessions – Stones of Sandhill Island

    Sandhill Island is a place I’d love to visit. It is off the coast of Corpus Christi and big enough for trouble, fun, relaxation, and intrigue. And it is an island only in my mind. No, you won’t find it on a map. It’s like all the barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico separated from the mainland by a small strip of water like Padre or Mustang islands. And a lot happens on this tiny island.

Billie Stone was born to sing the blues and then her family was killed in an auto accident and she has reason to. Always a musician, she sang in the Corpus jazz district and her voice pulled in the crowds. But going home to Sandhill Island to heal after the accident, she finds she is not the only one with problems. Her mom, a former ballet dancer, has MS and her beautiful ballerina legs have ceased to work. But they will take care of each other no matter what.

There’s a new jazz singer on Sandhill Island. Billie Stone, named for the jazz singer Billie Holiday, has her own set of pipes. She grew up on Sandhill Island and has come back home to heal her psyche after a tragic accident took her family. Billie’s mother falls ill and now she has a new role as caregiver. Once again, her mental health takes a back seat.

Joe Franks, drunk and on the wrong side of the road late one night, crashes into the minivan that came out of nowhere. But after a year in jail and penniless, he thinks he deserves another chance. No one will hire a jail bird, and he’s not cut out for pizza delivery.

Just when Billie comes to the cusp of healing – and finding a new love – Frank’s rage spirals out of control. Have Billie’s losses made her strong enough to overcome once more, or will this final disaster be her undoing?

She would get her life back again if it killed her.

Check out a copy of Stones of Sandhill Island, the second in the Sandhill Island series and leave me a review.

If you could travel anywhere, would you go to Sandhill Island?

Tell me what you’re reading this week.

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2020: Experience a Beach Read and Stay Warm

    It’s cold outside! In case you haven’t noticed, it’s cold and windy – at least in Oklahoma. I long to take the dog for a walk. I have neighbors who dress up like Nanuk of the North and walk every evening, rain or shine. And they walk fast! They have to, it is cold. They are hardy and determined. Personally, I go to a gym. I attend my Water Aerobics class twice a week and Yoga once (three times a week, not every day like the neighbors) and call it good.

But I long for warm weather, toes in the sand and sunshine on my face. It is January in Oklahoma and that means anything goes. As far as weather, that is true here on the Great Plains year-round.

Since I can’t experience a beach, I’m going to recommend a good beach read. Secrets of Sandhill Island is a beach read with suspense, romance, and hurricanes! Meg doesn’t have to worry about cold weather. Her little garden on the beach will stay warm unless it is blown away by the hurricane churning in the Gulf of Mexico.

Meg’s biggest problem is who is blackmailing her and what secrets do they know about her past? Here is an excerpt from the prologue.

All Evan wanted was to be with Meg. He would provide for her and the child, or children as the years went by. He was still unsure why she chose him – a fisherman – over anyone else in the world, but she did. Her family didn’t like him but, they were just going to have to get used to him.

He struggled pulling the nets in alone. The pulley did most of the work, but it still would have been nice to have some help. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and he sensed the presence behind him. He turned around. The man stood almost close enough to touch. The dark ski mask pulled over his face sent a shiver up Evan’s spine. Where did he come from? But most of all, why did he hide his face out here on the open ocean? And then he saw the giant meat hook in his hand.

“Who are you and how did you get on my boat?” Evan stepped toward the intruder despite the danger. He never expected what came next.

“This is from Graham.” The man plunged the hook deep into Evan’s chest. Blood spurted every direction as Evan’s eyes bulged and he gasped only once. The man in the ski mask quickly pushed him over the side into the dark, churning water.

Secrets of Sandhill Island is beach read with a twist. It is suspenseful, romantic and has a hint of mystery. What are the secrets held on Sandhill Island?

What are you reading this week? I hope you stay warm.

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2020: Travels and Novellas

  We talked last week about more experiences. I’ve been thinking of things I want to do and decided with my husband that once a month we’ll take a road trip around Oklahoma. I know that next month on my birthday we’re planning a trip to Waynoka to eat at Café Bahnhof restaurant https://www.facebook.com/Cafe-Bahnhof-113758358667846/ . We’ve talked about this forever and the time has come. After all it is only about an hour’s drive from Enid. I can’t sit in the house much longer. It might be winter’s cabin fever working on me, but I have wanderlust (and a new pair of hiking boots).

Where do you suggest we travel? Medicine Park? Black Mesa? Tulsa’s jazz district? I’m open to suggestions. Is this a great state or what?

In the meantime, snowmagedin didn’t happen. We had a dusting of snow and this week will once again be unseasonably warm. Ahhhhh. But if you’re cold and snowed in, or just comfy on your couch, I have a story for you. A quick novella, Witches’ Cliff e published by The Wild Rose Press and only $1.99. It was a finalist in the 2019 International Digital Awards contest by ORWA. Check it out on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Witches-Cliff-Deerbourne-Peggy-Chambers-ebook/dp/B07PNK8QMT/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=witches%27+cliff+peggy+chambers&qid=1578842308&sr=8-1

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.

Check out Witches’ Cliff and leave me a review. I hope you like it. And let me know about an Oklahoma destination you think I need to experience.

What have you been reading?

 

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2020: More Experiences, Fewer Possessions

    This year on my weekly blog I’m planning to write about experiences, new and old. My plan is to incorporate what I’ve talked about for the last few years, doing more and possessing less.

I hope to have a new book out soon and another surprise. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Today, in the new experience category, I’m babysitting for my son’s new dog. (or maybe it belongs to my grandson, who knows).

The picture is my 40 lb. beagle mix, Athena, and the wire-haired terrier mix Pablo (or maybe it is Pawblo). Athena is almost 10 years old and Pawblo is 4 months. She thinks he’s fun! Until she’s had enough. She’s used to being the queen of the house and she’s been invaded. He’s so fast! And has razor teeth. But he knows his name, kinda knows the word no, and is generally a good pup for 4 months. Cute as a bug which gets him forgiven for a lot of things.

So, Pawblo and Athena are siblings for a day. It could be interesting. But at the moment they’re both resting (well, he’s chewing on a toy and the old lady is resting).

I brought her bedroom bedding in the living room so there are two. One for each. Ha! Athena laid across both of them. But it doesn’t matter because Pawblo shows no signs of tiring or needing a nap.  

Wish me luck on this adventure. Later today when it warms, I’ll join them outside picking up “land mines” in my back yard. I’ll only have the puppy for a day. His mom and dad will be back this evening. Here’s to new adventures!

What have you done this week? On to new experiences!

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2019 Life-long Learning: New Roads

    I’ve come to some conclusions about life. No one gets out alive. I have a friend who hates it when I say that. But what I mean is death is inevitable. It is what you do in life that counts and it seems I’ve watched too many people run out of time this year.

Each year I decide what I want to write about. I was going to name this blog The Roaring 20s, but I think that’s been done. No, I think 2020 (the roaring 20s) will be about living my life to the fullest. Who knows if I’ll live to be 110 or 67. It is what I do with that time that is important.

I’ve spent a good part of 2019 cleaning out. I have WAY too many possessions and not enough experiences. I plan to change that this year. I want to travel, listen to concerts, read great books, watch great movies, meet great people, and yes, even learn a thing or too. I said last year’s blogs were about life-long learning. I did some internal searching and learned I wasn’t ready to sit in the rocking chair and do nothing. No, I didn’t take that Spanish class I talked about, but I did learn some things about myself.

This year I want to hike (if the poor old body will allow) and enjoy art. Maybe I’ll create some myself. I want experiences instead of possessions.

Help me in this journey this year by telling me what you want from life. Do you want to travel? Collect dishes? Play with the kids or grandkids, start a non-profit, make a million dollars? If you could just do what you wanted to do, what would that be? I’m after experiences. I’ll let you know how that goes and I’d love to hear from you.

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2019 Life-long Learning: Learning to Change Christmas Traditions

    Merry Christmas! It’s here whether you’re ready or not. Wednesday hungry mouths will descend on my dining room and I hope they all go away satisfied. I’m not going to a lot of trouble this time. I’ll cook a ham, potatoes, and dessert and then the family will bring dishes. There is no reason for one person to kill themselves trying to make the world jolly!

The family opted for fewer presents this year. I balked at first, but found it freeing in the end. With car repairs, etc. I already had enough stress and after all the reason for the season is presence, not presents. We will get together and break bread. We’ll spend time together instead of money. The kids are grown, and the magic of Christmas has changed.

I exchanged my worn-out Christmas tablecloths for new ones, put up the tree and did a little decorating. I got rid of a lot of old decorations last year so my husband and I wouldn’t have to make the trek to the attic for everything. It is all in the hall closet now and you know what? I still didn’t put them all out! Obviously I horde Christmas decorations.

I wish you and yours food to eat, a warm home to eat it in, and companionship. Who needs anything else? Christmas is a time for families and friends. Enjoy yours and Merry Christmas!

Tell me what your Christmas will be like this year.

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2019 Life-long Learning: Booksigining at Putnam Six Bookstore

    Yesterday I spent a few hours at Putnam Six Bookstore having a book signing. Chloe Fuxa has a lovely shop and it had a lot of foot traffic. It was Saturday and it was Christmas and people strolled in and out of Enid’s only bookstore. And since it was Christmas, I made cookies. As usual, I made too many and shared the leftovers with a couple of friends.

I put the cookies on a plate and shoved them to the front of the table next to my books. I shared a few. When you walk into a shop to look for something specific and there is a woman set up selling her own books and giving away cookies, it might be suspicious. But there were a few brave souls who not only took a cookie, they took a chance on a book or two. After all it is the gifting season and what better gift can you give than a book – an adventure enjoyed right in your own home.

Putnam Six has my books on the shelf and available for sale all the time, but it was nice to offer them for Christmas presents and meet a few people. I sold a few and enjoyed the afternoon with friends and got acquainted with a few more.

I had some people ask me for my Snickerdoodle recipe, so I’m sharing it here. The recipe came from my grandmother who raised 8 children on a farm in the middle of the Great Depression. She was barely 5 ft tall and fed all those mouths on her garden, fruit trees, chickens, milk cows and what her husband brought in from the woods and streams. I loved visiting her when I was a child. She made the best biscuits (and other things). No one ever went hungry in her house.

I’d like to think she’d enjoy my books, not that she read a lot. She was too busy! But, I’m sharing her recipe today in her honor and because of Christmas.

Snickerdoodles

From Ethel Downing Coats (a/k/a “BaBaa”) 1902 – 1975 my maternal grandmother

Mix Together:

1 Cup soft shortening

1 ½ Cups Sugar

2 Eggs

Sift Together and Stir in:

2 ¾ Cups Sifted Flour

2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp salt

Mix together and chill at least one hour. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll each ball in a mixture of 2 tsp. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until lightly brown but still soft approximately 8 – 10 minutes at 400 °.

I hope you enjoy the Christmas season. Make a cookie and read a book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2019 Life-long Learning: Graceful Arts Gallery

    I was invited to have a book signing at Graceful Arts in Alva, Oklahoma https://www.gracefulartscenter.org/ last Friday night. It was a First Friday Event in Alva. Christmas abounded in the decorations, food, music and great people. I found it a joy blending with the artists and musicians.

Alva combines the rural farming community with the university at NWOSU. That combination creates a lovely small town with friendly people and a slow pace. I was checked out by the local English Department from the university and treated like royalty. I’d love to return when I have a new book.

I found pottery by local artist Nancy Russell, wife of author Sheldon Russell, and realized she had a tile for sale engraved with the runes from the Heavener Runestone. It matched the runes on the stone I wrote about in Glome’s Valley and Return to Glome’s Valley. I had to have it! I put it in the place of honor on the hearth, but it needs to be hung in my writing room near the books that accompany it.  

The NWOSU choir came by and serenaded us with Christmas carols a cappella style and it was lovely! They were my first Christmas carols of the season and put me in the mood.

We met artist Carla Miller who had paintings hung in a section of the gallery. I especially liked her home-town painting of the white chapel with sunflowers out front. We also met Jay Heinrich, leather artist, from Oklahoma and his wife. We could have talked all night.

Many people from the community and university came and ate snacks, drank wine and hot spiced cider, and made us feel welcome. We’d love to go again. Dr. Jo Decker has a lovely gallery and makes everyone feel at home. We did.

Thank you, Graceful Arts, and we can’t wait to come again.

 

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2019 Life-long Learning: Books for Christmas

    Thanksgiving was a success. I blew my diet, but I’m back on track. And I can’t believe it is the first of December! The Christmas season is here. There will be decorations to put up, cards to sent out, gifts to buy and then wrap – and more food again. What will you do for those you love? You want a gift, but you have no idea what they need.

They need books. Most everyone loves a good story – kids do, and so do adults. And local bookstores are full of them.

On Friday, December 6, 2019 I will be signing my books in Alva at Graceful Arts on Alva’s First Friday event. The shop will be open from 6-8 and Christmas will be celebrated with music, art, and food. Come join us if you’re in the Alva area. Not only will I have my books for sale, there will be artists of all kinds in the gallery and you are sure to fill your Christmas list.

On Saturday, December 14, 2019 I will be signing my books in Enid at Putnam 6 bookstore in Sunset Plaza from 2-4. Come see what Chloe has to offer in her bookstore and maybe pick up a few for yourself while you Christmas shop.

If you are more into the online shopping idea, you can find all my books on Amazon in paperback or e-published for that person who only reads electronically. You can always buy them a gift certificate so they can download the books of their dreams. You can find mine at https://www.amazon.com/Peggy-Chambers/e/B0069EINPK?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1575218680&sr=8-1

Buy some for yourself while you’re at it. And once the Christmas shopping is done, you can curl up by the fire with a hot chocolate and your new book – an adventure into another world. Then it can snow, and blow and you won’t care.

Shop books for Christmas. And be sure to pick up something for yourself while you shop.

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2019 Life-long Learning: The Holiday Season

    Sitting down at the computer to come up with a Sunday blog I realize ONE MONTH FROM TODAY IS CHRISTMAS EVE! I can’t believe it. I’ve been immersed in the family gathering around my table on Thanksgiving and it hadn’t occurred to me how close the Christmas holiday came just behind it.

Relatives are coming from out of state and my house will be full. I have a turkey thawing in the frig and I’ve gone over the shopping list dozens of times.

Tuesday evening my sister and her husband come from out of state;

Wednesday both sisters and I will make pies, sandwiches for lunch, turkey goes in the roaster before bed late that night;

Thursday morning we finish making the sides and the family gathers at noon to strip the bird clean;

Friday we recover and if anyone wants to eat, the frig is that way;

Saturday the guests leave, and I pass out for a few hours.

The beginning of the holiday season is next week. We eat too much, clean too much, spend too much, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to the grocery store. But I am so thankful that I have people who want to come and be with me. There are many who don’t. I can’t imagine not having the stress of the holidays and being alone with a TV dinner. I am lucky. I am thankful. My family means everything to me, the ones close at hand and the ones far away.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope your holiday is full of family stress (the good kind) and too much food. No food fights! Stay warm and bathe in the warmth of those around you.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

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