Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Happy Holidays

I hope all of you are having a wonderful end of the year season. We had a great Thanksgiving with family and are now hunkering down for our first Christmas in our new home. I've already picked out the tree we'll cut down. In order to make this month all about family I'm taking a blogging break through the end of the year.

I hope you all have happy holidays!



Saturday, November 11, 2017

All about me.

Absolutely forever ago the amazing Crystal Collier nominated me for a blogging award.  Thanks for thinking of me!  I'm always surprised when people remember who I am but I'm so grateful they do. So, here goes.


(Designed and created by Okoto Enigma)
RULES:
1: Put the award logo/image on your blog.
2: List the rules.
3: Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
4: Mention the creator, Okoto Enigma, of the award and provide a link as well.
5: Tell your readers three things about yourself.
6: Nominate 10 to 20 people & notify them.
7: Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, one weird or funny question.



Three things about myself.

1. All three of my children are adopted and next week we have our certification board to become certified foster parents.

2. I read between 60 and 100 books a year. Used to be more but I had kids.

3.I used to fence in college. Not well, but I did it and I had fun. Of course that was my pre-arthritus life and I've had to give up a lot of activities, which has also allowed me to discover new facets of myself.




1. Who is your inspiration?

My mom. She is amazing. Wish I could be more like her.

2. What is the coolest or strangest place you've ever lived?

I'm living in the coolest place ever. The mountains of Colorado. We have 10 acres and so many plans for gardens and animals and fun! We just moved her in April so it will take a little while but we'll get there.
3. If you're not doing it already, what do (did) you want to be when you grow (grew) up?

 Writer. Always writer. I started writing at the age of four.
4. If you had to live under the ocean, what would your best friend be? (Dolphin, shark, whale, seahorse, etc.)

Um, a fish hook? so I could live on land, eat non-seafood and read books
5. What's the last cheese you ate? ;)

I'm not sure but we have gouda, havarti, colby, and Butter Kase in the fridge. And of course Mozzerella for pizza.



 Anyone who wants can take this award, leave a comment so we can all come over and learn about you!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A child shall lead them



My five-year-old is in half day kindergarten. When I go pick him up the three-year-old preschoolers are out on the playground. I like to get there a little early and watch them. They run around, literally in a circle around the playground, shrieking, laughing and just enjoying life. It’s very apparent that they are happy. Sure, sometimes they get hurt, or someone does something mean. They cry for a moment, then, miraculously, they get over it and move on to running around, shrieking and laughing again. Their emotions are so pure and unpolluted.

I need this daily jolt of pure joy. I need the reminder to live in the moment, to enjoy everything. How easily they get over trials and forgive others. I need to not let stress or worry take away my happiness. I shouldn’t even let my goals get in the way of enjoying the journey.

So, here’s to being joyful, to enjoying the moment, and not letting darkness rule the world.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More linkage

I know I did a link last time but here's another great article on how writing is hard, even for those already published.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Insight

There is a series of articles I found interesting. They are the writing insights an author wished they had known when starting out. This link is to the first part, but at the bottom there are links to the other three parts.  Hope you enjoy. 


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Everyone



Today I saw a bumper sticker on a car ahead of me at the elementary school drop off. It said ‘Who is John Galt?’

Anyone know the reference?

I do. And it scares me.

John Galt is a character in the book ATLAS SHRUGGED.  He is a mystery through most of the book, only referenced by graffiti, signs and people questioning ‘who is John Galt?’  We meet him near the end of the book. Turns out he is a rich elitist who has foretold the end of society and the falling apart of the world. So, instead of trying to fix it, or save people, he hand picks the most wealthy, influential people and helps them speed up the ruin of the world, which they then watch from their own private, safe haven they have used their millions to set up. They just let everyone else descend into chaos and die without a backwards glance because they, the best of everything, have survived.

Like everyone else I am scared at the current state of the world. I have questions about whether or not society as we know it can survive. Terrible things are happening. Things are falling apart. Wars, natural disasters, hate.

But.

Wonderful things are happening, too. People are helping people. People are opening their homes, saving others, reaching out, sacrificing.

Will it be enough? I don’t know. But the thought that some people might promote the idea of closing yourself off, saving yourself while letting others rot is terrifying to me. Maybe there is no hope for us.

But maybe, if we can convince people to keep caring, then maybe we can survive.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Interview with Lori Benton




Lori Benton's new book MANY SPARROWS is out and available to readers. 

When settler Clare Inglesby is widowed on a mountain crossing and her young son, Jacob, captured by Shawnees, she'll do everything in her power to get him back, including cross the Ohio River and march straight into the presence of her enemies deep in Indian country. Frontiersman and adopted Shawnee, Jeremiah Ring, promises to guide Clare through the wilderness and help her recover Jacob.

Once they reach the Shawnees and discover Jeremiah's own Shawnee sister, Rain Crow, has taken custody of Jacob--renaming him Many Sparrows--keeping his promise becomes far more complicated, the consequences more wrenching, than Jeremiah could have foreseen.



Once again Lori has managed to capture a beautiful story, one of love, patience and faith. I had the pleasure of interviewing Lori. 





I love the title of the book and its double meaning, from the scriptures, and how Jacob talks. Did the title come first, or did it follow naturally from the novel? 

I’m so glad you like it, because this title was late in coming. For a year or more this story lived as bits in pieces of ideas in a file, which I had to call something so I chose The Frontiersman, since I knew there would be one of those in it. But that was only a working title. Once I turned my focus to plotting and writing the story, the best title I came up with was Flames of Autumn. That title stuck for quite a while and it’s on the contract and in some of the early correspondence with my publisher. Somewhere past the halfway mark in the writing I began to realize that, although the story has its climax in the autumn, in a fiery-leafed wood, most of it takes place over the course of a summer. I also began to realize Many Sparrows was far more than a character’s name. It was also an underlying theme of the story. So I lobbied for a name change and, like the Jacob, the book was eventually renamed. 

During the first part of the book I found myself frustrated with Clare and her feelings towards the Indians, even though for the time period she was very tolerant. How do you reconcile being historically accurate, even with prejudices, while still keeping a character someone that today’s readers can like and connect to? 

It’s important to me to create historically accurate characters, men and women who have the mindset of the time in which they live—or as best as I can grasp it. It’s true that we find aspects of the 18th century world view distasteful today. One of the ways in which I deal with this is writing about characters who have a broader world view than many of their contemporaries. They’ve been exposed to contrasting lifeways or known someone intimately from another culture. It’s one of the reasons I love frontier settings. People of all sorts mingled there and (if they managed not to kill each other!) learned from each other. As far as presenting those characters who start out with a narrower mindset than they perhaps end up with, I make sure to give them believable reasons for thinking as they do, or else finesse my presentation of their viewpoint so that it is authentic without being unnecessarily offensive. It’s a delicate balance sometimes. 

Do you have a favorite quote you use to inspire yourself?  

I don’t recall it word for word, but writer Anne Lamott talks about focusing only on what you are writing today. Not tomorrow. Not the big picture. There’s a time and place for that, but not first thing in the morning when I’m sitting down to work. That’s overwhelming. I have to—daily—remind myself I only have to tackle today’s work. This one scene. Or half a scene. Or the plotting of a scene.  Or the edit of a scene. Whatever it happens to be on the day. “I can do that,” I respond, and I get cracking.

What gets you into the chair and the words flowing?  What is your process?

9am rolls around. That’s pretty much it. I’m fairly regimented when it comes to writing. Even so that first half hour can be rough. Usually it takes me that long to dig into whatever scene I’m working on and lose track of myself in the flow. Now and then I never do manage to dig in. I’m distracted, or not feeling well, or just not feeling it. Still I plug away in stops and starts with lots of groaning and grumbling and checking of Facebook and Instagram.
And let’s not forget coffee. I’m not sure I’d have written my first novel without it. Or any since. Two cups a day with milk and little vanilla powder.

What is your favorite time of the day? 

Morning! I’m often up by 4:30am. Now and then I write that early, but usually I have other things I do until 9am. 

You love, hiking, take amazing pictures, You are fabulous at decorating cookies and are very involved in your church group. The one question everyone here wants to know, how do you find time? 

Thank you for the kind words about the photos. I’m super passionate about that right now, as it has combined several loves (hiking, photography, art, wilderness) into one expression, and Instagram kindly offers a place to share it.
Being more involved at church, volunteering, is something that gets me away from the computer, out of the house, with people, and focused on something outside my head.
Finding the time to get out and hike, which often requires hours of driving to some of these locations, requires careful planning (taking into account things like weather, tides, sunrise, sunset, terrain), and when I do I pack in as many locations as I can. Same with baking and the cookie decorating thing, I have to carefully plan for it. Writing takes precedent most of the time. But there came a time, about two years ago, when I realized I wasn’t filling my creative well anymore, just pouring out. And I got kind of dry. Hiking, photography, photo editing, cookie-decorating, those kinds of hobbies that are done for art and nothing more, no pressure, fill the well now and it’s important that I make time for that, however much planning it takes. In the long run I believe I’ll write better books if I spend time doing other creative things too.




Thank you Lori! 

You can find her here:
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