2019 Life-Long Learning: Learning from Nikki Hanna

    Yesterday the Enid Writers Club, in conjunction with The Enid Arts and Humanities Council, hosted a summer writing workshop. Nikki Hanna, who hails from Tulsa, has come to Enid in the past and we were happy to welcome her again. The Enid Public Library once again allowed us to use their facilities and we had a small but active group of 13 people attend. 

Nikki talked about finding your own voice in writing in the first half of the workshop.  After writing your piece – in the edit phase – is when you see how your voice shines through, and she talked about using it to make your piece your own.

After the break, she discussed writing memoirs, why, what to do, what to avoid, and how to handle family members. Biographies and memoirs are different in that a memoir tells stories. And writers are story tellers. It is a good thing for your family to do for future generations and helps bring them together.

I know all the authors who attended learned a lot from Nikki.  She had wonderful handouts to take home and read again. She is personable and makes the presentation in a round table discussion setting so that everyone feels welcome and discussions took place. 

For the last several years the Enid Writers Club has sponsored a summer writing workshop.  The club meets from September to May and then disbands for the for the summer months picking back up again in the fall.  The summer writing workshops are a great way to come together and keep active in our writing.   

You can find Nikki at www.nikkihanna.com and comments are welcome.  Check her out.

Many thanks go out to the Enid Public Library, Enid Arts and Humanities Council, and Nikki Hanna for making this summer workshop a possibility.  Thank you also to Martha Draper, President of Enid Writers Club, who took pictures.  I always get to involved to remember to take pictures.

What are you writing this summer?

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Learning to Beat the Heat

    I’ve been down with sinus/ear problems for several weeks now.  I am sick of it.  And miracle of miracles, I suddenly feel better today!  I can hear!

The heat in Oklahoma and all over the country has been unbearable and I found it easier to just stay in with my head down.  They say a cool front is coming tonight and my husband decided to “comb” the yard this morning in hopes it would rain.  I say “comb” because in this triple digit heat, nothing was growing.  But he felt compelled to mow.  So, he did. I can hardly tell where he’s been, but I tell him it looks great.  It didn’t look bad to begin with.  He’s a perfectionist and I appreciate that.  It keeps things looking good. 

I took the dog for a walk and the air was cooler than normal and there was cloud cover.  When I got home, I checked the weather on my cell phone and there was precipitation headed our way – nearly here!  From the looks of how close it was, it should be here before I finish typing this blog.  In the words of the great Sam Cooke “Change gonna’ come.”

Just knowing things are looking up weather and health wise makes me feel like dancing! I need to get out of the house. These four walls are beginning to close in.  Seriously, I think I saw one move. I get a little claustrophobic sometimes when it is just me and four walls.  That is what retirement will do.  I normally stay busy (I hate doing nothing), but with the heat and health issues, I’ve hibernated. 

I know it’s only July and summer’s not over, but thank you, Mother Nature, for the reprieve.  It’s not here yet, but “Change gonna’ come.” I hope.

How have you handled the heat?

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2019 Life Long Learning: Blooming Justice and Growing Up

    The subject of Blooming Justice is as old as time – and as modern as the evening news.  No one is above the law no matter their money or influence, and rape is a heinous crime. 

It started out as bullying at the senior prom. Some would call it sexual harassment, but there was nothing sexual about it for Todd.  He just wanted to impress his friends with how easy geek girls were when they thought a rich, attractive young man was interested in them.  It was about power, not sex.

But this time, he messed with the wrong geek girl.  Erin was embarrassed and ran from the ballroom to the safety of home.  But she was smart.  She was not going to let one embarrassing moment dictate her life. She had plans and they didn’t include a boy with too much money and not enough morals.  She was as mad at herself as she was at him.  After all she accepted the date.

When college started in the fall, she had a great job at her aunt’s law firm doing grunt grunt work while she took classes. She didn’t fit in at the firm.  Everyone knew she was the niece of one of the partners and the only other thing she’d done in her life was work at her mother’s flower shop.  It was a long way from a flower shop to a law office, but she would do it.  School was easy, sometimes life was not.

Tulsa University had a three-year bachelor’s degree that led into a law degree and that was what Erin wanted.  She had always admired her aunt and her position in life, and she wanted to be like her.  She would make this work.

And then she began to hear rumors of women being date raped on campus and she was sure she knew who the rapist was.  He was no longer just sexually harassing his partners.  She knew some of the women and if she could get enough of them together to tell their stories, all the money in the world would not save Todd. 

He was going down.

Check out Blooming Justice and leave me a review if you like it. It is the first in the Keystone Lake series. 

What are you reading right now?

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Here is my interview with Peggy Chambers

My interview with Fiona Mcvie. Thank you, Fiona!

authorsinterviews

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Peggy Chambers  and I’m happily retired at 66.

Fiona: Where are you from?

I’m from Enid, Oklahoma, about 90 miles north of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the middle of the Great Plains of the US.

 Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).

My bio says this: Peggy Chambers calls Enid, Oklahoma home.  She has been writing for several years and is an award winning,published author, always working on another. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Blooming Justice is her sixth book. She has two children, five grandchildren and lives with her husband and dog.  She adores travel and the great outdoors, even if it is just taking the dog for a walk…

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2017 Life-Long Learning: A Dog’s Love

    Friday night we almost lost our dog.  We’ve had a little forty-pound Beagle mix for nine years.  We seriously got our dog off Craigslist from a guy who said he was going to Afghanistan. We hadn’t had a dog in 14 years.  We had a big, hairy 85 lb. Golden Retriever when the kids were small, and I missed him but enjoyed not having to clean up after him all the time.  My husband who grew up in the country with dogs had to have another and we adopted Athena.

She has been a joy.  She came into a house of old people at five months old and fit right in.  She is the queen, no other animals to share with, and she just lays around under the air conditioner.  The three of us go for walks when the weather is nice and then return to the artificially cool house.  She loves to lay belly up under a ceiling fan.

We’d bathed her and given her the flea and tick treatment on her neck along with a heart-worm prevention pill like we do every month.  We’d taken a long walk that morning and all came in hot and ready for some cool air.  Hours later she was sick.  She barely moved off her bed.  I checked her breathing to be sure a few times.  She acted like just rolling over was a chore.  I know she was in the same position for several hours.

The vet checked her blood and the only thing that was off was a liver enzyme. She came home with pills to take daily for a few months.  He thought it might have been brought on by the heat.  I wondered about the treatments after her bath.  We asked about the toads around the house and he seemed to think they weren’t that dangerous.  Whatever it was, I think the end was near.  I slept part of the night on the floor beside her so I could feel her breathing on me.

Today, she is a new puppy!  It is amazing how quickly they can go down and how quickly they feel better.  My babies were much the same way, sick one minute and well the next. 

Anyway, we took a short walk this morning so no one got overheated and may do that from now on.  Maybe take a quick one in the morning and another in the evening.  We all need our exercise but not at the risk of heat stroke!  She’ll be checked at the vets every month to see how things go and she’ll take her pills.  They are chewable and she seems to like them.

I learned just how important the little dog has become to me this week.  I also learned none of us are as young as we used to be, and heat can have its effects on a body.  Do you have pets?  Are they like family? 

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

    I spent this weekend with my daughter on a Mother-Daughter trip to Wichita.  We’ve made different trips once a year for a few years and this one was supposed to be Mother’s Day weekend.  But I-35 was flooded so we cancelled.  We remade this trip for the last weekend in June and it got HOT!  Horribly hot. Near 100° and humidity above 50%.  My body doesn’t take the heat the way it used to.

I learned that the two-hour trip to Wichita is an easy drive and finding the downtown area is a breeze.  We spent a lot of the weekend in Old Town which has been redon and is marvelous.  We went to the Museum of World Treasures and walked all three floors staring at unique items from ancient history to history of 20 years ago.  I’d love to do it again.

We planned to see the Frank Lloyd Write Allen House and were not aware you had to buy advance tickets to get in.  It was locked up on Saturday.  We’ll try again and next time be more organized.

This morning we visited Botanica gardens.  They were beautiful!  I was amazed at the plants and architecture – but did I mention it was hot?  Whew!  The morning shower was long gone when we got back in the car.

The highlight of the trip might have been my daughter’s reaction to being unable to sleep.  She is a “take no prisoners kind of therapist” in her regular life and a mother of teenagers.  Our hotel was not the best.  Small and lacking in many areas.  There were lots of people in large groups there for something and after we went to bed people ran up and down the hall laughing and shouting.  I could not sleep for a few hours.  After I finally got to sleep she woke up to the noise in the tiny hallway between rooms.  After listening to it for 2 hours, trying to call the front desk only to find out the phone didn’t work, at 5:30 she threw open the door and yelled “Enough! You’ve been at this for a least 2 hours (actually it was all night long) and people are trying to sleep! Now be quiet!” You could have heard a pin drop.  The partiers right outside our door went away.  Of course, we ran into them at breakfast.  But we got a little sleep.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I want to go back and take my husband.  Sometime when it is not so hot.  I learned not to vacation in the heat of summer.  Did I mention it was hot? 

What did you do this weekend?

 

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2019 Life Long Learning: A New Author!

    I recently met an author at the Nescatunga Arts Festival named N. Jade Gray.  She was a friendly person and we quickly found out we both wrote for The Wild Rose Press.  So, we had something in common other than just being local authors. 

Jade writes historical fiction and some fantasy.  I am currently reading Raider of her Heart, a time travel fantasy set in the present and 1863.  A young cavalry soldier is sent to Lawrence, Kansas to warn the mayor of an impending raid on his town.  He is shot along the way and when he wakes up, he’s not in Kansas anymore.  Well, he’s in Kansas, but it is not 1863. It is 2019.

I love the premise that this young man feels a sense of duty to get back to the world he left and finish his goal, but with a bullet wound and no idea how to get home, things aren’t looking good for him.  And then there is the blooming romance between star-crossed lovers.  She doesn’t trust him, or her feelings, and he knows he doesn’t belong in this world.  He must go home.  But the love blooms none-the-less.

Pick up a copy of Raider of her Heart and if you love the book, leave Jade a review.  I know you’ll love it.

What are you reading this week?

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2019 Life Long Learning: Learning to be a Father

    I’ve been married to the same man for 47 years.  Yes, we are spring chickens. He became a father maybe before he was ready, but he was thrilled both times.  We had two children when we were young, and then quit having kids when we were still young.  One of each and the bedrooms were filled up, so we quit.  But they were the light of our lives.  We didn’t have a penny to our names, and they were the entertainment. We learned to be parents.

Today he is a grandfather and still hanging around with us.  The kids have kids and lives of their own, but we see them as often as possible.

Tomorrow we’re cooking hamburgers and hotdogs (his request) with as many of the family as we can get here.  Everyone is busy. I’ll bake him a cake in the morning and share it with the other fathers in our family. Cake from a box and hotdogs – nuthin’ but the best!  But it’s what he wants. He’s easy to please when it comes to food.  That is good since I’m not a world renown chef.

He mowed the grass today and we’ll cook the burgers and dogs on the grill.  Not much has changed in the last 47 years.  He still likes the simple things.

Happy Father’s Day to the father of my children.  And happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. 

What are you doing for Father’s Day?

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2019 Life-Long Learning: Author Laura Boon – Tenses and Tennis

   My guest this morning is Laura Boon.  She hails from Sydney, Australia, though she’s lived all over the world.  Laura is a fellow “Rose” writing romance for The Wild Rose Press.  Please help me in welcoming, Laura Boon!

Hi Peggy, thanks for hosting me on your blog today.

I just finished reading American Witch* by Thea Harrison. According to one of the protagonists, the secret to their villain’s eternal youth is his theft of other witches’ power. Fortunately contemporary scientists offer us another alternative, at least as far as a youthful mind is concerned. The secret to staying as sharp as a tack is life-long learning. Apparently learning new stuff develops new neural pathways and connections and provides the best defense against dementia. So next time you’re having a really wretched day, knee-deep in stuff you don’t understand, think about what great exercise your brain is getting and smile.

I immigrated in my forties – and then decided to finally, finally settle my butt in a chair and write the stories I had always dreamed of penning. I felt like I was frying neural pathways rather than building them, but the science says otherwise. I’m going to be very disappointed if I end up suffering from Alzheimers.

Tenses and tennis have run side by side through the roads of my life. English was my favorite subject at school. Tennis is our family sport, and I’ve been playing since I was ten years old. I was a club player not a professional, but one way or the other, I’ve put in a lot of time on the court. In April, I picked up a racket for the first time in six years. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I could still make contact with the ball following my mom’s advise – “Play from memory,” she says if any of us complain about being out of practise. I’m older and slower than I used to be so I’ve had to adapt my game to counteract “mean” opponents set on playing lethal drop shots. On the plus side, I’m less nervous than I used to be – it’s amazing how much more creative and inventive one is when operating from a place of calm curiosity rather than frenetic worry. And how much more fun the journey is.

Experience has taken me down a different path when it comes to pen, paper and keyboard. My anxiety manifested in a different way. In this area, I had no family role models or experts to call upon for help. I could say I haven’t been writing (with publication in mind) for nearly as long as I’ve played tennis, and it’s true that I only started in earnest about seven years ago after a couple of false starts earlier in my life. However, it’s also true that I wrote around my desire for years. Instead of writing fiction, I wrote newsletter copy, press releases and essays, book reviews and non-fiction articles. Calling up the courage to follow my dreams meant learning a bunch of new skills – how to convey character, create plot twists, describe a landscape, and maintain tension to name but a few. It’s been such fun!

“Do something that scares you every day,” they say. Writing scares me. Will I be able to translate what’s in my head onto the page? Will readers enjoy it? It’s a tightrope dance between fear and exhilaration – and it that doesn’t build neural pathways, I don’t know what will.

My new release is the Deerbourne Inn novella Lion Dancing for Love. His love died. Her love cheated. Can two broken hearts learn to trust again?

Licking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn’t planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans.

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life. Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart. Find it at Amazon US and other online retailers. Find me online via my blog or Facebook page and on Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads, Bookbub and Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading everyone.

* Highly recommended, especially if you love paranormal romance.

Thank you, Laura and pick up a copy of Lion Dancing for Love – and leave her a review!

 

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2019 Life-Long Learning: The Deerbourne Inn Series

    I recently e-published a novella with The Wild Rose Press, Witches’ Cliff, along with several other very talented authors. So far I count 11 novellas set at the same Vermont inn all with different stories to tell. I’m sure there are more to come.

Originally the publisher put out a call for novellas with a setting in mind.  Any genre was welcome and any of their stable of authors could pitch their idea for their stories.  I was lucky enough to be one of the ones chosen to add to the story of the inn.  The fun part about it is seeing all the ideas other authors came up with.  There are fantasy stories, romance, suspense, historical fiction and others.  It is amazing what one little inn can conjure up over the years.

The Deerbourne Inn series is available in electronic format only and you can find it on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks, Here is a link to The Wild Rose Press website to see all the books so far.  Click on the one you like, and it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase it for only $1.99. https://www.thewildrosepress.com/deerbourne-inn-series

Witches’ Cliff is a fantasy set at Halloween about a modern-day woman and her connection to the witch trials of the past.  There are so many stories you may have trouble choosing which ones to read.

Check out the Deerbourne Inn series and see what you think.  As always leave a review if you enjoy the story.

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