2018 Clearing my Life: OWFI

    #weareowfi! was used a couple of years ago to celebrate all things having to do with Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. Those days came and went, and we are still a great group of writers supporting writers even if I haven’t seen that hashtag in some time.  Breaking into the publishing world is a tough nut to crack and you need all the support you can get.  And at OWFI, you get the support you need and want.

I cleared an afternoon so I could attend the quarterly meeting of OWFI today to celebrate another year of planning one of the best writers’ conferences in the country.  We have speakers from all over the world come to our little corner of Oklahoma and writers as well.  The contest alone is noteworthy and the agents, editors and publishers who attend make you feel you can do anything. And of course, you can.

It is a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the real deal and find a way to get someone besides Grandma to look over your manuscript.  And they don’t have to say they love it like Grandma does – but they’ll help you see what is good and bad in it, Then you can go back home and fix it.  Or, you might just land a great publishing contract!

I love OWFI and the cause it represents. I also love the people who run it both behind the scenes and out front.

Come join us the first weekend in May in Oklahoma City and find out what all the hoopla is about.  Come for the contest, camaraderie, and contacts – the three “C” s – and make some new friends while you’re at it.  https://www.owfi.org/

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2018 Clearing Your Life: Booksignings!

    I cleared my life of a few books at A New Chapter Bookstore yesterday afternoon.  I had a book signing with four other Oklahoma authors. Five authors in one location. It was a beautiful Oklahoma afternoon and I was surrounded by books and good friends.  What more could an author want? I came home and ordered more books.    

A New Chapter Bookstore has been a boon to Enid since Hastings went out a few years ago.  They have new and used books, they stock the latest that the schools are using for their literature classes, Sequoyah Award books, New York Times best sellers, and books by local authors. If they don’t have it, they’ll order it for you. You can sip coffee and tea while eating a muffin or bagel and they even sell a Walking Taco on Friday and Saturday nights.

It was such a great location, I decided to schedule another book signing with them for the First Friday Event in Downtown Enid on September 7.  I will be set up outside the door for the foot traffic (weather permitting) and will be just down the street from live music.  Enid has made the First Friday Event a major gathering for families. There will be food, art and music downtown from 5 to 9 and there will be lots for you to do, see, smell, and hear – a virtual cornucopia for the senses! And you’re bound to run into an old friend or neighbor.

Join me on September 7, 2018 from 5-9 at A New Chapter Bookstore and Café, 232 West Randolph (the corner of Randolph and Washington); we’ll talk books and listen to music.  Maybe we’ll even eat a Walking Taco! Come see what the local author has to show you and enjoy the late summer evening in beautiful Downtown Enid’s First Friday Event.


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2018 Clearing Your Life: Stones of Sandhill Island

    Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave as if this were the case.

Billie Stone felt she was a victim of life.  A beautiful woman with the voice of an angel living on an idyllic island with the artistic mother she loved. But she felt alone after her husband and son were killed in an accident. Her music was the only thing that got her out of bed somedays – that and her aging mother. But she wanted her life back.

Joe Franks felt like a victim of life when everything he’d ever worked for was taken from him and he was forced into pizza delivery to make ends meet.  He never meant to hurt anyone on that dark Texas highway. Suddenly the minivan was in front of him and he couldn’t avoid it.  He went to prison, lost his house, car, and job. Society was determined to keep him down.

Who was the victim and who was the victimizer? 

Franks saw Billie as the lucky one.  She had a job she loved, a beach house on an island to live in, and he wanted his life back. So, the man who killed her family approached her wanting her help – and when she wouldn’t give it, he tried to take it from her.

Stones of Sandhill Island picks back up where Secrets of Sandhill Island left off.  Some of the same characters make an appearance, but the main character – Sandhill Island – is once again in the forefront. The island is home to a handful of inhabitants who are wooed by her beauty and live their lives loving the calm and isolation it brings.  The people are kind – except when exploited – and take care of each other and their island. 

Billie Stone would get her life back if it killed her.

Check out Stones of Sandhill Island this week and if you love it, leave me a review.  https://tinyurl.com/y9qp6qzp

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2018 Clearing Your Life: The Fear of Visiting the Phone Store

    I cleared my life of an old phone this week.  I’m like an old dog with new tricks – trying desperately to learn something. 

After weeks of struggling with phones that were worn out, shutting down mysteriously, not ringing when they should, my husband and I traipsed down to the phone store.  We always dread these trips, mostly because the people there don’t speak our language.  They are filled with millennials who look down their noses at old people who should just go away, since they don’t know what they’re doing.  And we were greatly surprised.

We’d already looked online (with the laptop, not the discrepant phone) at what was available and what we would be paying for it.  Two phones in a household can get expensive, but for some reason, we think we can’t do without them anymore.  I remember a time when my mother would put dimes in our penny loafers, so we could use a pay phone to phone home like E.T.  Here’s a picture of the new phone on the table cloth.  What exactly is a table cloth?  . . . I’m sounding old again. 

We knew we didn’t need the newest and greatest that the phone companies had to sell.  We needed a reliable phone that would do what we needed and was newer than what we had.  The old ones lasted four years.  My husband has a friend with a flip phone that still works, but I doubt he uses it much.  He certainly doesn’t surf the web or takes pictures with it.

Well, at the phone store, we were pleasantly surprised.  The guy who helped us didn’t treat us like senior citizens he had to yell at and draw pictures to explain what he was trying to teach us.  He had one of the phones in-store and had to order the other, but it came in two days and then we made another trip back to the store. After all we had new friends there now and they couldn’t wait to see us. 

And then the panic set in. The guy who sold us the phone wasn’t there.  A new one took on the old folks and he was a great as the first.  We’ve come to appreciate the customer service at A T & T in Enid.  They didn’t look down their noses nor did they try to make us feel stupid.  They were kind and a fountain of information.  This wasn’t as hard as we thought it might be. 

We’re still learning the new phones.  They don’t shut off in mid use. We have new friends at the phone store and we can use the phones we’re paying for.  It is a win win situation.  We feel like we can function in society again. Thank you, A T & T. 

What did you do to clear your life this week?

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2018 Clearing My Life: More Bookcases!

    I did a little more clearing of my life this week.  My bedroom is in the back of the house and it seems things collect there.  I am not sure how this happens, but the house is shaped like an “L” and the master bedroom suite is at the end of the “L.” You can’t go any further.  So, as you walk to the back with your arms loaded from the living areas, things get dropped in that room. The room is also a dust collector and I constantly battle the dust bunnies. I think I may be losing that battle.

I don’t spend a lot of time in that room, I just sleep and shower there but maybe that is because there is nowhere to sit but on the bed.  Well, this week I fixed that.  In a corner where things get piled, I now have a new chair.  It is small and gray and goes with most everything.  It sits next to one of the many bookcases near a window.  My husband said, “You need a chair in here why?”  But later I found him sitting in it as he went through the pile of junk that was on its way out. 

Then I tackled the other side of the room.  In another small corner sat a pile of books that would not fit in any of the three (yes, I said 3 in one bedroom) bookcases.  So, what does a bookie do when the books will no longer fit on the shelves?  Clean them out?  No, I bought another small bookcase.  I measured, and I had just enough room for a skinny, but tall, bookcase that is the same color as the others.  It was just the ticket.  And I reserved the top shelf for my own books instead of tossing them around the room never to be found again.  Anytime I need to see a copy of my own book (except for the ones for sale in the spare bedroom) I must rummage round the room looking for where I last left one.  Now they are all together in a place of honor with an amethyst bookend my sister once gave me holding them up.  Amethyst is my birthstone, so it is even more precious.  And with the addition of the chair, I know have a reading room.

My bedroom is cleaner because all the moving around made me clean as I reorganized – and I can find my books.  I cleared my life of unwanted clutter and made a place for the things I treasure.  It was a win win situation.

What did you do this week to unclutter your life?


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2018 Clearing my Life: Writing Workshop!

Photos courtesy of Martha K. Draper.

It was workshop time! Yesterday the Enid Writers Club hosted a writing workshop at the Enid Public Library.  We had an intimate group, snacks, speakers from Tulsa and Norman, and a great time.  I learned a lot and enjoyed the camaraderie. Writers are the best kind of people. (there are those that might disagree, but they were not in attendance)  

Nikki Hanna, from Tulsa, spoke first on Finding Joy and Purpose in Writing.  Nikki is the author of several non-fiction books and I found her down-to-earth style helpful and uplifting.  She speaks with a knowledge based on experience.  She said you should use your craft in ways that make you happy, and if you should sell some along the way, so much the better.  She talked about redefining your version of success. She also talked about author voice, and the craft of becoming a better writer. She was helpful to anyone who asked for it.  

Vicky Kennedy, from Norman, talked about story structure.  She based a lot of her program on the book Save the Cat! and the story structure set down by Pixar for their movies.  Whether a short story, novel or screen play, they all need the same structure.  In listening to her I finally figured out what was wrong with my latest work in progress.  I can’t wait to get back to it and make it a better story.  

The writers club hosted the event and brought snacks.  There was fruit, cookies, and someone even brought home-made Jalapeno Poppers.  Nikki asked to come back next year with a new topic and I hope we can accommodate her.  Our club loves a writing workshop. 

Writers are the best kind of people.

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Free Writing Workshop in Enid Saturday, July 21!

Saturday July 21, 2018 Enid Writers Club will host a free writing workshop at the Enid Public Library, 120 West Maine, Enid, OK 73701, from 1-4:30.  Please join us in the Great Plains Room upstairs in the library for an afternoon of fun and learning as Nikki Hannah, of Tulsa, and Vickey Kennedy, of Norman, dazzle us. Come see what they have to say.

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2018 Clearing Your Life: Book Sales and Vacations!

  It’s summer and time for family vacations – and book sales! I’ve put the two Glome’s Valley books on sale in Kindle form for $.99 each for the rest of the month just in time for summer vacations.

If you need a family vacation that is within our great state, the best place in Oklahoma this summer is the Heavener Runestone Park for camping and family fun.

Located in beautiful southeast Oklahoma (10 miles south of Poteau) is the mysterious sandstone monolith with Viking runes said to have been carved before Columbus discovered what is now America.

The Heavener Runestone sits in a rocky valley as a testament to the one who carved it.  Maybe it was Glome.  The Elder Futhark runes say “Glome’s Valley” as if someone was claiming the valley for their own. Today the stone is encased in glass to preserve it and a park has been built around it.  Twice a year, the second weekend in October and April, the park hosts a Viking Festival to commemorate the Vikings that may or may not have been in the valley a thousand years ago.

My first visit to the park, I was entranced by the beauty and mystery of the area and those feelings led to an Oklahoma fairytale, Glome’s Valley.  I was visiting the gift shop when a man came in with a preschool boy and he wanted to see the book In Plain Sight by Gloria Farley.  Ms. Farley was one of the biggest proponents of the school of thought that Columbus was not the first European to land on this continent.  I overheard the visitor at the gift shop say he was a PhD candidate and he had his son with him as he studied the stone. I thought what a wonderful way for the boy to grow up with his dad studying the history of the area – and a story was born in my mind.

I wrote the first book for my grandson, who was in grade school at the time. In the story Ethan was hanging out with his dad for the summer, as Dad studied the Heavener Runestone, when he met the Viking ghost named Glome.  They had many adventures in the valley. Later I wrote the sequel, Return to Glome’s Valley, and by then Ethan had grown up to be working on his own PhD in archeology like his dad.

It is amazing as an author what sparks your imagination and makes the cogs turn as a story is born.  But sharing it with readers is as much fun as writing it.  Pick up a Kindle copy of Glome’s Valley and Return to Glome’s Valley for only $.99 each for the rest of July. You and the kids could read the books, written where Glome and buddies had their adventures, in the tent after dark. But if you miss the Kindle sale, the paperbacks are available at the park gift shop too.

Take the kids to visit the Heavener Runestone Park soon.  It is worth the trip.

Happy vacationing!

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Dive into Summer!

Welcome to the #DiveIntoSummerHop with @thewildrosepress we’re giving away some great prizes to celebrate summer!

How to enter for a chance to win 
#Comment and #TagAFriend you think would be interested in participating in our hop! 

Get lucky this summer! Dive into Summer hop runs July 9th, 2018 through July 16th, 2018
Following all authors participating in the hop and @thewildrosepress is required for entry.

*Instagram is not sponsoring or affiliated with these giveaways in any way*
#InstagramHop #IGHop #AuthorsOfIG #AuthorsOfInstagram #AuthorLife #wrpbks #twrpbks #readroses #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #booksofig #bookworms

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