2019 Life-long Learning: #MeToo

    I hesitate to use a hashtag for a cause that is as important and confrontational as the #metoo movement for a book promotion. But Blooming Justice is about a young woman who helps to bring a rapist to justice. So I believe it fits here. The story is as old as mankind and as current as the nightly news. 

I’ll bet not one woman reading this blog (and some men) can say they have not been sexually harassed, or worse, at some time in their lives. Many, like Erin in Blooming Justice, just decide it is not worth it and let it go. They get on with their lives and don’t look back. Bullying is about power and so is rape. Rape is not about the act of having sex but about making someone do the thing they don’t want to do and the humiliation that goes along with it. 

In Blooming Justice, Erin knows Todd from high school when he bullied for fun – before he escalates to rape.  She knows him because he sexually harassed her in front of the entire senior class.  She decides to just move on with her life. She wasn’t hurt, only embarrassed – and mad. Then she runs into him again on campus and starts hearing stories from other women he’s hurt. Sometimes you need to do more than just let it go if not for yourself, for the next person who will get hurt.  Sometimes you need to stop the violence.

Erin is luckier than Todd. She has a loving family and a mother and aunt who would die for her if they needed to.  Todd’s family hardly know he’s around and when he is, the harassment runs rampant.  He hates his parents and acts out by hurting others.

Erin’s aunt is an attorney in a very prestigious law firm in Tulsa and gets her a part time job at the firm while she goes to college at TU. Erin finds she is in the right place to make a difference when Todd begins to hurt the women on her campus. And this time she pushes back.

Set in Oklahoma on beautiful Keystone Lake, Blooming Justice releases on January 30, 2019 but is available in Kindle format for pre-ordering on Amazon now.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

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2019 Life-Long Learning: I’m not Getting Older, I’m Getting Better

    In my quest for life-long learning this week, I’ve decided, through trial and error, that I’m not getting any younger.  I know this because of an injured hip. 

I’ve always been active. I love the feeling after exercise; it’s like I’m clean on the inside. Blood is racing through my body. Exercise is the best medicine, I often quote, but how much is too much?  When young, I was a swimmer and taught swimming at the Y, managed Champlin Pool here in town and taught water exercise.  I taught classes all over town and even at home pools.  In the evenings after supper in good weather, the kids and I would walk, or I would jog in an effort to keep my weight down.  I still walk my dog in good weather and exercise at the Y.  I’ve had two (eekkk!) back surgeries, but still I work out.  I know better than to sit down in a rocking chair now that I’ve retired.

Then I hurt my hip back in the fall just by squatting (not leaning over) and picking up a small thing off the floor.  My hip has been yelling at me ever since. Some nights after coming in from my core strength class at the Y, I had shooting pains all the way to my ankle and knew it was a nerve being pinched.  I finally got tired of the pain and went to the doctor.  An x-ray was performed.  No, it is not broken, cracked, or anything serious (unless you count the excruciating pain). He said I had calcium deposits from an old injury and to take this medicine, massage the area and pretend it didn’t hurt. Sigh. I didn’t hope for something serious, but somehow this didn’t seem like anything worth going to the doctor over. But the anti-inflammatory I’m now taking orally seems to be helping.  I massage the area that hurts. I think it is getting better.

I think next week instead of core strength, I’ll just use the treadmill and weights at the Y and give the hip time to rest.  The moves in the class are making it worse and it needs time to heal.  But still I will move.  Not moving is the worst thing I could do.

So, what have you learned this week? Do you listen to your body and try to help it?  Tell me what you think.

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Blooming Justice

    I’ve been serious about writing for over 10 years and I find writing to be a life-long learning proposition.  In 2013 I published my first book and now I am about to release, with a little help from my publisher The Wild Rose Press, my sixth book.  It is a little different from the others. This story is a legal drama and coming of age story about bullying and rape. It is a story as old as mankind and I tried to show it from all angles.  The protagonist is young, but not naïve, and the antagonist is damaged with problems of his own.

Erin Sampson has grown up living with her single mother in Mannford, OK and watched her work long hours for little money.  Her aunt is an attorney in a successful law firm in Tulsa. Erin sees her aunt as glamorous and her life as exciting and Erin wants to emulate her. They are a close-knit family who will go to the ends of the earth for each other.

Todd Newman’s family was never close.  He and his brother were raised by a tyrannical father and mousey mother who was more afraid of their father than they were. Todd did not want to emulate his father, but the older he became the more he bullied his way to the top. Girls were just another conquest. Erin was no exception when he sexually harassed her at the senior prom.

When Erin goes to work for her aunt while attending college, she learns women on her campus are being raped and slowly she realizes who is the rapist.  She must stop him, and she does so by banning the women together and helping her aunt put together a case to hand to the DA.  There are plenty of roadblocks along the way – and then her best friend disappears after Todd warns her to stay out of his way.

Blooming Justice releases on January 30, 2019.  It is available for pre-order in Kindle version now.  I plan a release party after the 30th and will be talking about that more on Facebook later in the month.  Pick up a copy of Blooming Justice and find out if Erin finds a way to end the terror on her campus. Blooming Justice is the first in the Keystone Lake series.

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2018 Clearing My Life: Life-long Learning

    We’ve talked this year about clearing my life of physical, mental and spiritual things.  It seems most of my clearing was of the physical type.  I’ve scrubbed white woodwork, cleaned out cabinets, and found a light-weight Christmas tree that can be stored in a closet instead of the attic.  I’ve made a lot of progress.  I still need to clean the woodwork in the back bathroom.  I try to not look at it as I do my hair and make up in the morning, but it’s still there.  Maybe next week. 

I think next year we will talk about life-long learning.  Not just clearing my life of things I don’t need but learning things in life I do need.  My husband and I talked about taking a Spanish class from the local vo-tech.  I need that.  I took two years of French in high school and remember very little.  But I was a kid then and just filling a square.  This time, it will be because I really want to do this.  We’ll see how the old brains get along in the classroom again.

I constantly buy books and sit in on sessions about how to craft a story. I actually read those books and try to work what I learn into my writing. I am a firm believer in life-long learning, both mental and physical. I may try a new class at the YMCA for the physical me. I’m not even going to talk about trying once again to lose weight.  It is also a life-long learning event for me – a roller coaster of sorts.

I have new books coming out in 2019 and I’m always learning new ways to market them.  I can’t wait to show them to you.  The first one, Blooming Justice, will be released January 30, 2019. Yeah!

I’d love for you to chime in on what new thing you are trying and let me know if I am heading the right way.  Learning is more fun if you have people to discuss it with. 

Here’s to learning new things and living life to the fullest!

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2018 Clearing My Life: Cleared for Love

    Each week I write a blog to let you know what I’ve been up to.  I have to admit sometimes it is not easy.  I’m not that exciting. 

But yesterday as I sat on the loveseat in the living room working on edits to a manuscript, I saw the neighbor across the street pull out with a trailer behind his pickup completely full of new bicycles!  There are only two kids at that house and I wondered why he had a trailer full of new bicycles.  They were bright and shiny and obviously had not been used.  I mentioned it to my husband.  Then this morning, I found on the front page of the Enid News and Eagle (where it should be) a story about my neighbor and his generosity. https://www.enidnews.com/news/local_news/new-bikes-spread-christmas-cheer/image_f8697b94-2ac3-5b37-99e4-3a95704095fa.html  He donated new bicycles, through the fire department and first responders, to kids in need.  He has kids of his own and it is Christmas, but he used his own money to take care of other kids in need.  This is what the Christmas spirit is all about. 

My tree is up and presents wrapped. They are spilling out into the floor.  I have some desserts to bake tomorrow for our Christmas dinner on Tuesday at my son’s house and then I’m finished.  I announced to my husband I had not used a credit card, nor had I dipped into savings this year.  I was proud of my accomplishment. And then I saw what my neighbor did.  I felt like a bum.

I made a small donation to the Heavener Runestone Park – one of my favorite places, but there are so many in need. 

There was also a nice obit in the Enid News and Eagle for Doc Bryant – a kind soul who used his gift of music to warm the hearts of many. https://www.enidnews.com/search/?f=html&q=doc+bryant+&s=start_time&sd=desc&l=25&nsa=eedition  I never personally knew Doc, but I know his son and daughter-in-law.  After years of being a dentist he took his art to Austin and quickly became well known in the music scene there.  It is tough losing a parent at Christmas time, I know from experience.

It occurred to me how many good people there are in the world.  Every day I read the paper and watch the news and wonder how this world keeps from exploding with the trouble I see. And then I remember the kind souls who work behind the scenes collecting bicycles and playing their music and know that the good still outweighs the bad.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, or whatever you celebrate. Be kind to your neighbors, not just during the holidays but always.

We can all make a difference.

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2018 Clearing My Life: Too Many Story Ideas?

    As a writer, sometimes I get so tired and overwhelmed with my own ideas, I want to quit. I need a vacation.  I have a bad case of wander-lust most of the time.  Maybe it is the season and the stress that goes with it.  I don’t really have that much stress these days since I retired.  I can do what I want.  And then the red leather recliner where I write calls my name.  You have work to do, it says.

I found out recently the release date for Blooming Justice is January 30, 2019. That is just around the corner!  This book is about a young girl growing up and learning how to fight her own battles and when to enlist help. This story is as controversial as anything on the news these days, and as old as mankind. I want a release party and I have marketing to prepare. So much to do! I hope you are as excited about it as I am.

I’ve been working steadily on the third book in the Sandhill Island series. I have a good outline and I’ve started writing. Maybe that is why I get overwhelmed.  I have lots of ideas and only so much time can be spent in that chair before I get stir crazy.

A picture popped up on my screen saver the other day with a scene from a Greek Island and another idea came to mind.  What if I wrote a story set in the Greek Islands. . .? I’ve always wanted to go there.  I checked my pocketbook and it said I should research online. (sigh)

I put my ideas into a folder on my computer for a later date.  I don’t want to forget this idea, but I am getting overwhelmed again. Just put things in order and do one at a time.  Breathe.

And then I got a response from another publisher about another potential book.  A book I’ve been working on for at least 10 years.  It needs work they say (sigh, again) and they are probably right.  But once again I get excited!  I can do this! All those long hours with my rear in the seat might be paying off again! Or not.  I don’t know yet.  But as usual I will try.

There are always ideas crawling around in my head, just itching to get out. Clearing my life of story ideas.

I can’t quit.

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2018 Clearing My Life: Christmas as it Should Be

   It’s Christmas and there are a million things to do.  I think back about how I used to make Christmas happen with kids at home, a job during the day, limited funds, Christmas cookies baking, and still I managed to make it happen.  I hope with some grace.  Maybe not always. It should be easier now.

I have a new tree this year that signifies a change in my life style.  It is smaller and more compact.  I can put it in a box on the shelf of the closet and handle the weight of the tree alone.  It is not going back in the attic where we might fall climbing to get it.  I can tug it out of the box and then pull it up to its intended height – stretch out a few branches – and voila I have a Christmas tree! I took several boxes of old ornaments and decorations to the local thrift store yesterday.  It is time to downsize.

A good friend wrote a piece about being a million points of light that I wish I could use here, but the gist of it was being a light for the world and yourself during this time of year.  I try. It is important this time of year to remember to take care of yourself as well as others.  I don’t feel very sparkly with the current Christmas “cold” I’ve come down with, but it is only the Rhinovirus, not Cancer. I’ll survive. I have more than one friend in the hospital right now – I guess that has to do with our age.

The picture at the top is the new tree with one wrapped gift.  I have finished my shopping but have not started to wrap.  I also need to work on sending out Christmas cards.  I really don’t think of these things as chores, but with the virus dragging me down, I have trouble getting things done.  And the post office would not like me licking envelopes right now. EEEKK!

I seem to have a Christmas tune or two rattling around in my head that I’m sure I picked up from Christmas specials on TV or maybe in a store or two.  But I find them pleasant, not annoying like they might be if I was working in the store all day bombarded by the songs meant to make shoppers over indulge.

It is a good Christmas so far.  My family is healthy, and we plan a dinner at my son’s once again.  My adult children step up and take care of a lot of things these days and I just show up with a side dish and a festive smile. Grandma’s here!

I hope your Christmas is full of love and joy.  Take time for yourself and let some things go.  You don’t have to make fudge just because you used to.  No one needs it anyway.  Savor the season and wrap yourself in its warmth.

Merry Christmas.

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2018 Clearing My Life: Things Come in Threes

    It’s been a long week.  Things come in threes and we’ve had three so far this week. 

A member of the Enid Writers Club had a massive heart attack and maybe a stroke.  She seems to be improving and we wish her well.

A co-worker of my husband passed from a brain tumor.  She was buried today.

My husband’s life-long friend had surgery and a stroke.  He was air-flighted to Oklahoma City and things look serious.

It seems things come in groups whether the old-wive’s tales are true or not.  It’s the holidays. Post-Thanksgiving and Christmas are not the best time for patients or families to spend in the hospital. It must be tough on the employees of the hospitals, too.

We’re visiting the patient in the Oklahoma City soon and hope that things go well for him. He needs to be back up and celebrating the holidays with his family soon. 

We are in for some snowy weather the end of the week to add to the pain.  Get ready for Oklahoma’s weather once more. 

Okies are tough people.  We can handle it. We don’t go down easily.

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2018 Clearing my Life: Small Business Shopping

    This weekend was Small Business Saturday – just in time for Christmas shopping.  Buying local from small businesses helps the consumer find quality goods and services and provides a living for the small business entities.

Authors are small business entities.  We sell our goods to the public after our blood, sweat, and tears go into a story.  Oklahoma is full of local authors, I know because I’ve been involved in the Enid Public Library’s Author Fest and the OWFI conference in Oklahoma City for years and I am amazed at the amount of talent this state produces.

My books sit proudly displayed on the shelves in the local author area of A New Chapter Bookstore and Café in downtown Enid. Go by and see them and check out all the local authors on their shelves while you try their coffee.

My Sandhill Island books, published by The Wild Rose Press, were recently placed on Walmart’s internet shopping at https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=Secrets%20of%20Sandhill%20Island.  They are also listed on LSI Ingram making them available to all bookstores and libraries. The Wild Rose Press website https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/search?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=Peggy+Chambers&submit_search=  can also make shopping easier with the click of a button.

Amazon holds all my books and they are listed on this page to the right.  You can click on the picture and it will take you to the amazon page that sells them.

If you’re in Enid, I always have copies at the house and would be happy to sign one to you as a Christmas gift to yourself or an avid reader.

Books make great Christmas gifts.  Buy local and make your Christmas giving special.  Stuff a stocking, buy a book!

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2018 Clearing My Life: But Not my Dog

    My greatest wish is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am. 

I didn’t write that quote, and I don’t know where it came from, but it is an honest statement of what I wish my life would be.

I’ve written this year about clearing my life of unwanted things.  I don’t need things, but if everything was taken from me, I’d be lost without my family and dog.  No, my dog is family as many people think theirs is too. 

It is safe to say that I’ve always loved animals.  Growing up we had cats mostly and a miniature poodle named Princess.  My dad was not a big animal lover, but she got under his skin.  She’d move over close to him as we drove (she always went with us on vacation) probably trying to win him over.  Or maybe it was just body heat she was after.

When I married, my husband soon came home with a puppy. Six weeks into the marriage he arrived one day with a German Shepherd/Collie mix.  I’d never been around big dogs.  My mother was afraid of them, but it didn’t take long for us to become friends. We named him Strauss (after all he was German) and he lived with us for years.

When the kids were little, we got them a Golden Retriever puppy for Christmas one year.  He was so big he could carry the box I sent to bring him home in.  He didn’t want to be left in a box or a kennel, he was family and demanded to be where his family was at all times.  Our kids became his kids and he didn’t like arguments with them.  He always sided with them.  He protected them, but when he was hurt, he always came to Mommy.  Dad thought he might make him into a hunting dog, but that never happened.  He was family.

Our dog, Athena, came from Craig’s List.  It had been 14 years since we had a dog and my husband had run out of patience with me deciding whether or not to have another child.  The human kids had been gone for a while.  He took her from a soldier who was leaving for Afghanistan (at least that was the story, we wondered) and she acclimated to our house very quickly. Today when we travel, we have some great friends who babysit for her.  I hate to leave my daughter in a kennel at the vet’s.

Pets are a big part of many people’s lives.  They become family as they should.  I believe animals have a soul and feel as much as humans do.  If you have a pet, you understand that statement.  If you don’t, get one, they’ll make you more human that you ever thought possible.

What kind of pet/family member do you have living with you?

 

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