Can You Expect Success If You’re Mentor-less?

DAY 4 PROMPT: Who are your writing role models? Whose writing has most influenced you? Who are your writing mentors?

Can You Expect Success If You’re Mentor-less?

I don’t know if you can find success without having a mentor, but totally agree with Patrick Hodges of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup who wrote yesterday regarding the value of beta readers. Having tried that and being on the giving end of an review swap without the reciprocal receiving end, he’s right in that it has to be people you trust to read your work before it hits the Internet.” Fortunately, I did find one on Goodreads willing to perform that task for the next book, although I’m somewhat reluctant to trade a review of my 168 page historical anthology for his 637 page telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation (sci-fi fantasy) odyssey. The spirit is willing but the eyes are weak!

Caribbean Gold

Okay, I have another Goodreads buddy who has read it and willing to enter a review, but hasn’t yet performed “beta” duties. I absolutely love his work, however, and have read, rated, and reviewed a pre-release for him–Michael Reisig. He would constitute what for me is a role model. The description of his characters leaves you smelling the sweat or feeling the tension, seeing the terror in their eyes–wide with shock. And the way his characters hold and exhibit their respect for each other is a delight, often felt, impossible for most to actually put into words. The scenes are riveting, whether 300 years ago or 40, on the back of an ox on in a Beechcraft skimming the waters of the Caribbean at sunrise. He has written the “Road to Key West” series, “Hawks of Kamalon” among others, but my favorites were “The Treasure of Tortuga” and the Treasure of Time”.

Somewhere between my musings and his mind-blowing, page-turning sagas lies a real artist. Would that I could attain somewhere near that.

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The School of Hard Knocks

The School of Hard Knocks

Besides writing, when I was a little girl I wanted to be an opera singer. I could hit the high notes and often walked home from school practicing “my opera”. Married and in Sacramento when our local church organized a choir, I was one of the first to show up–never having had any formal training other than a choir class in my sophomore year of high school (hmm, so would have been Yreka CA) and given our propensity for moving, that didn’t last long. Then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had no clue what “S, A, T, B” stood for but I knew I wanted to be part of the music program.

When our church members were invited to sing for the “Jazz Mass”, part of the annual celebration in the Sacramento Jazz Festival, I didn’t hesitate. The program, however, turned out to be a whole nother level of choir music with a priest who REALLY had an ear and knew his music and was known to clue into a voice out of key in a company of 100 and throw a pencil at them. But like any director who creates a masterful program, he was not only tolerated but venerated as he produced programs worthy of standing O’s. We always came back for more–praying we’d never go off key. That experience was part and parcel of my “gospel” years–and I truly reveled in singing those gospel songs–many at the top of my lungs as I participated in the MLK Workshop in Sacramento with goose-bump raising, powerful music.

When we moved to Idaho and I learned that the Gospel Jubilee was not only looking for sKaty and Iopranos but someone to work in the office creating flyers, I was the first to apply–only to learn he used Print Shop. (I’d taken a class in Photoshop.) Still, the singing was wonderful, fun, and creative and I learned a LOT about Print Shop!

So it probably comes as no additional surprise that I haven’t had a lot in the way of formal writing classes. I’ve alluded previously to finding and reading one of my early manuscripts I found so atrocious it was tossed with little fanfare and no regrets. Writing articles became the writing salvation and later the publishing of my grandfather’s manuscripts. I’ve learned a lot! Been through each book a dozen times, eyes crossed and glazed, turning page after page looking for more problems.

English classes may not have been as exciting for me as choir, but I’m from a spelling and cursive generation raised on Erma Bombeck and Abby. And I continue to seek out educational, dynamically progressive groups in which I may learn more of the craft in which so many participants are willing to share. Apparently, I’ve found it.

Please support another Author Blog Challenge participant by checking out Beth Kozan’s blog at http://bethkozan.com/.

When Have I NOT Been Writing?

When Have I NOT Been Writing?

I envy those people who can remember something that happened when they were five with a twinkle in their eyes and a lop-sided grin produced by the nostalgia of the memory. My husband is one of those. For me, it’s not a loss of memory due to age–I don’t consider myself that old. Albert and I

   So I count on stories, pictures, or one of a handful of memories in a childhood spent moving several times a year looking for greener pastures in what would today be considered poverty–we just knew we were poor. The picture is from a newspaper article on reading of myself when I was 8 and my beloved brother (lost during the Viet Nam conflict). It starts with a love and respect of books.

There is another picture (heaven knows where) of myself receiving an award for winning a story writing contest–think it was Red Bluff CA–so would have been a number of years later. Perhaps this was the glimmer my grandfather saw in me. My teacher must have seen something as well as she submitted it to the local paper. Bless her heart.

I’ve had compliments from letter recipients and seldom lacked the ability to pen a story when it was required–but formally? Having majored in the man who would become my husband (now 53 years) in college , I was probably fortunate to attain the diploma I did. mag_pic_sm

As mentioned before, it was during my riding years that I began writing stories for various motorcycling magazines, though mainly the WOW  (Women On Wheels(c)) Magazine. I probably wrote better than I rode, but it was a way to work on my writing chops!

When I discovered my grandfather’s manuscripts and a way to publish them then, it was a natural. It’s good I don’t have to do this for a living–it’s a happy commitment in my retirement–and with any luck one that will continue to grow and provide reward.

And reward doesn’t always have to include dollar signs!

Blog Challenge-Day 1

Blog Challenge-Day 1

Uh oh! It’s here already?! I thought I was preparing, but thank heaven we are being supplied with a daily prompt!

start

Easy blog challenge prompt for Day 1–intuitive–what are the goals for the Author Blog Challenge better known as the “ABC“?

(1) Is it to introduce new readers to the blog? (oh yes!)

(2) Is it to increase traffic to the blog? (oh yes!)

(3) Get in some extra writing practice? (of course!)

All of the above! I joined in an effort to force myself accountable in continuing to hone the craft my grandfather thought he’d passed on when he left me his steamer trunk full of his own manuscripts, poems, short stories, and paintings over 80 years ago. As the old wives tale goes–twins (especially identical) tend to skip a generation. Interesting if so. Does it also follow with artistic talents as neither my mother nor my aunt had any interest in their father’s work or in creating histories, stories, or fiction of their own; neither do my daughter or son–but my granddaughter?? Keeps a journal with her and is constantly writing!! Don’t I love that! So, is there a writing gene?

But inheriting the urge isn’t the same as the gift and though I began writing in childhood, winning a few little contests, it wasn’t until I began publishing magazine articles of my motorcycling adventures and later of Stanley McShane’s scripts that I realized this was going to be a LOT of work! To that end, I’ve joined groups (hence the Publishing and Book Promotion MeetUp group of Phoenix, as well as the Idaho Authors’ Community) and written my little heart out translating McShane’s works,  practicing book descriptions, author pages, media promotions, book signings, and creating this blog that has, at times, floundered.

Therefore, in addition to the SEO class I’m signed up for in the Spring, I’ll stubby my fingers on the keyboard trying to meet this challenge. And in so doing, perhaps I’ll tap into that author gene of my own and in the process succeed in items 1 and 2 above!

ready-set-grow

Preparing to Debut “Ethan’s Secret” – coming August 17th!”

WOW! Really love this concept and while not applicable to my own, I know several who would benefit. Great idea!!

Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion

Preparing to Debut “Ethan’s Secret” – coming August 17th!”

by Patrick Hodges

SONY DSCIt’s always exciting when you get close to the release date for your book. And this time, there’s been such a flurry of activity that I’ve scarcely had time to catch my breath!

Last month, I contacted a man named Dan Dynneson, who interviews authors whose books “make a difference.” I was honored that he chose to interview me. We communicated via Skype, and just this week, the interview was posted on his website. It’s quite long (73 minutes), but it was very productive. My first interview! Here is the link where you can listen to it.

My second book, Ethan’s Secret, will debut on Amazon on August 17th, a date I ethans secretchose because it also happens to be my 46th birthday. Feedback has been outstanding so far, and I look forward to getting both this book…

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Self-Pub? How Many of These 12 Ideas Do You Use?

Peace

Finishing up the proof for “Sole Survivor-I Win” is both sad and relieving at the same time. At this point, I believe most of Patrick John “Stanley McShane” Rose’s quality manuscripts, paintings, and poems have been integrated into his posthumously published works.

Once released, which is hoped by the middle of June, comes the hard part–the part still being pressed almost daily on all the publications–marketing and promotion.

While it seems that most of the hints and ideas I’ve read have been incorporated, it’s still an uphill battle, as I’ve alluded to before on this blog.

1. Does it really help to have a blog or is it just adding to the write pile? With life constantly getting in the way, it seems difficult to impossible to be as active as recommended.

  1. The twitter thing–millions are using it to their advantage. It is commonly supposed to be a productive back alley into contacts and communications with interested, supportive persons and I have to admit, I’m getting a new follower most every day and sometimes more depending on the recent flurry of activity. It seems more a self-promotion vehicle than a valid list of fans and I suspect most of us just don’t have the time to follow through.

Continue reading “Self-Pub? How Many of These 12 Ideas Do You Use?”

Who Said The “Golden” Years?!

I’m not sure if this is becoming another of those very long chapters in our lives (we’ve had others), or if this is a blurb cluster. (Okay then, consider it the third in a series.) I’ve written before of the RV disaster in the summer of 2014 pitting our Forest River Windsong home on wheels against the finest RV mechanics west of the Rockies. Or maybe not (the finest). (See previous RV related posts.)

After the better part of two weeks parked near Findlay’s RV where we waited for parts and they ran the gamut of fixes, including the new radiator, it was determined that the engine was still running hot. Certainly too hot to make it to Pahrump NV (our original Fall destination); and was cautioned by the mechanic who installed a separate temp gauge at the insistence of dear hubby not to try to pull those hills, especially with the “toad” (our little Geo Tracker–also not the healthiest engine block on asphalt). After being offered under $10k for the RV as she sat, said dear hubby in a fit of unfathomable defiance threw the last of our groceries and water inside the tin can and we headed south for Yuma AZ–our Winter destination–the Yuma Foothills: Golf cart, ATV and sand rail heaven. Continue reading “Who Said The “Golden” Years?!”

Just Out

Caribbean Gold-The Treasure of Time  You can feel it–the hair rising on the back of your neck. Reisig has pricked that sixth sense with “Caribbean Gold – The Treasure of Time”. After you viewed the movie “Ghost”, did you believe? The chills begin early in Caribbean Gold – The Treasure of Time, and they manifest often in this, the second of Reisig’s new offering in the Caribbean Gold series. We love stories of deja  vu–probably because we’ve all had…those…experiences not easily explained away. Haven’t we been here before–know this person? A connection–it’s there–palpable, real.  Continue reading “Just Out”

Your Exclusive Preview!

Irresistibly drawn to tales of treasure hunting, swashbuckling pirates, sailing ships, their courageous crews and the bawdy women who entertained them, I discovered “Brothers of the Sword/Children of Time” written by Michael Reisig in 2001. Envisioning a modern day Stanley McShane, off on another adventure, I witnessed my grandfather’s travels again through Reisig’s historical 17th century masted sailing craft, experiencing much of the same kind of treasure hunting in the Caribbean as did my grandfather in the South Pacific a century earlier. Fortunately for all of us, however, Reisig began fashioning his sea-worthy tales well before he retired from the sea!

Caribbean-GoldIn the first book of Reisig’s riveting new collection, you are drawn back in time, to an era of dark-hearted men, captivating women, and a seafaring adventure so real you’ll taste the salt spray.

The year is 1668. Englishman Trevor Holte and the audacious freebooter Clevin Greymore, sail from the Port of London for Barbados and the West Indies. They set out in search of adventure and wealth, but the challenges they encounter are beyond their wildest dreams – the brutal Spanish, ruthless buccaneers, a pirate king, the lure of Havana, and the women – as fierce in their desires as Caribbean storms.

And then, there was the gold and the emeralds – wealth beyond imagination. But some treasures outlive the men who bury them…

We come to love these raucous men, their love for each other, and their chivalrous devotion to their ladies. Reisig weaves his storytelling in such compellingly descriptive manner that even were it not your normal read, you’ll be glad for the electricity–oil’s expensive! Continue reading “Your Exclusive Preview!”

Charlie Chaplin-Not So Silent!

I recently won an advanced copy of “Charlie Chaplin-A Brief Life” authored by Peter Ackroyd through a Giveaway on Goodreads. Of course the author was referring to the length of his biography rather than the years lived by Charles Chaplin, whom most of the world learned to call Charlie, as we are aware he lived into his eighties.

Knowing the name and having seen a few examples of his work, however, I was not prepared for the story of the impact his life actually had on not only the United States, but the entire world early in the 20th Century. And, apparently, his legacy has lived on and was instrumental in fanning the change in what was considered “acting”.

Charlie Chaplin I was grateful for the concise and interesting biography of the apparent genius in Charlie Chaplin as I know there are numerous biographies as well as his own autobiography which are extremely lengthy. Never really a fan of his, having now read this book want to find some of his earlier highly acclaimed silent films and see if I can glean the true meanings as Ackroyd has afforded them.

It’s well he introduces us to the child of the London slums to describe the volatile personality which emerges as a result of his earliest experiences. His older brother, Sydney, and he manage to survive without really knowing who their biological father is, born to an alcoholic mother who following a psychotic break spends the rest of her life essentially in and out of asylums as well as the boys lives. A natural mimic, he is perfect for the time and quickly gains attention both in his native London music halls and later in America where he pushed the image of the “Little Tramp” to new and popular heights in silent films.

Later as he takes over the direction of his own films, and reading the descriptions of his rages, periods of genius, and lack of social acumen, I often wondered if he was really an undiagnosed Aspergers person long before they were identified as such–he certainly exhibited many of the symptoms. What struck me, however, was the numerous ways in which he actually changed the focus of silent films and acting; the excessively unbelievable attention to detail, the strength he pulled from his actors. Not so commendable was his volatile private life–more ugly than inspired or romantic and Ackroyd includes all the warts; Chaplin the man as opposed to Chaplin the beloved actor. Not the first time the fans have not been privy to the real face behind the makeup. Chaplin descends into “murky scandals”, from which he eventually escaped into exile to Switzerland. He was obviously ahead of his time only to fall victim to the “talkies” as well as his own strong philosophical and political ideals that would spell the end of the movie world as he knew it. As we sometimes do with our former idols who have been banished in scandals, Chaplin was much later accorded an honorary Academy Award. Indeed, with all of it, there is no denying his cinematic contribution to America.

Are Amazon Reviews Bogus?

Interesting and lively discussion back on Goodreads.com regarding all those wonderful stars trailing the best-selling books.

Neil (of “Shut Up and Read”) started it all in December 2013 when he ranted, “Are all Amazon reviews bogus???…Some reviews are so obviously fake, shills, they must think the readers are stupid. …”

Having read the posts and feeling fairly strongly about it myself given the degree to which I’d worked to get any stars at all, noted that I spot read reviews; usually a couple rated 5, but also rely on the lesser rated for some good insight into the book. I felt that the book descriptions don’t always accurately describe the book and the title can be deceiving.

I appreciate honest and detailed reviews for the manuscripts I’ve published for my grandfather and likewise try to be very honest in my reviews of the books I’ve read–and I’ve read quite few; some good–some not so. In view of the time it takes to write a decent review on the books I thoroughly enjoy, I might rate but will not generally spend the time to review one I didn’t care for. I suspect many do the same, although in reading the reviews left by others, usually find a consensus of the same two or three stars I would give confirming my judgment of the book.

My problem here is that if I don’t leave a review for the book I didn’t care for (and that seems to be the norm), the author is deprived of the problems I perceived. The same applies to the books I’ve published. I didn’t understand the motives behind a two-star rating which left me wondering how to fix a problem I’m unaware exists. Of course it’s hard to actually print those harsh words for someone else knowing the blood, sweat, and tears that comprise a manuscript. As Ken from Goodreads wrote“I’ll read the bad reviews first and see if they have anything valid to say. You can usually tell if it’s real. Sometimes a bad review will complain about something that I consider an attribute and that’s makes me want to read the book. I don’t really trust 5-star reviews any more.” Continue reading “Are Amazon Reviews Bogus?”

Full Timing

As I’ve alluded to previously on this blog, we had a Class C Winnebago Minnie Winnie with which we used to touch off a book tour of the Great Northwest in 2013. Unfortunately, the book tour ended all too quickly after a call from my sister that my mother (then 92 years of age) was in critical condition again and back in the hospital.

In the meantime, it taught me that the proper venue made a huge difference in the kind of reception my grandfather’s books regarding his sailing adventures back in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s were received and sold. I felt if I could have continued with the trip on down the Washington/Oregon/California coast, the trip would actually have been quite successful.

Having sold our home in 2013 and living in our recreational vehicle full time, we found ourselves in the Foothills of Yuma, Arizona where it was discovered there was a schedule of craft fairs at the RV parks for all the beloved “winter visitors”. The craft fairs were gleefully attended by appreciative crowds looking for unique crafts that couldn’t be found anywhere else and added a festive occasion to their winter stay. Quickly getting into the whole craft fair circuit, a happy new venue for book sales was found to be somewhat rewarding.

Fast forward to 2014 and once again hitting the road with a slightly larger RV, Class A, again loaded with books, we headed for the east coast of the United States…except that we were under the gun with our schedule to leave Yuma and return to California for my mother (and another health crisis), forcing an unwise buy decision on a Class A, Forest River Windsong. Thinking we had most of the major issues resolved prior to our exit from Yuma, we chugged along in the heat pulling our “toad”, an old Geo Tracker.Windsong Engine

Windsong Dash            It wasn’t long, however, before it was discovered most of the major issues were not resolved after all, the band-aid fixes lasting long enough to get us to California. By the time we made Twin Falls, we were baking inside that sardine can. Marooned in Twin for just over a week while the Windsong languished at Tony’s 2T, we finally gave up their ever getting the blower-a/c fixed when he pronounced we’d be spending another weekend while he waited for yet another part.

Worrying about the toad being set properly to tow without burning up the transmission, I asked another Class A owner towing the same vehicle how it was set. Following his advice, we set the Geo Tracker as instructed only to have it totally blow the motor within 2 miles. Blown Tracker Engine We limped into our son’s house in Indiana in an RV in excess of 90o, hot, tired, and disgusted. The RV lazed another week at Bill Gardiner RV in Lafayette, IN waiting on parts and getting them, failing to notify us. We’ve now been languishing in the summer heat, rain and humidity of Indiana for a month, no greater progress either with the Windsong or the Tracker. The Windsong has loose wires going everywhere and the Tracker now has a new rebuilt engine, working on the tranny and transfer case. The books are aging in the Windsong basement storage compartments and visions of selling down the east coast a distant memory.

We got lucky in that we could stay with our son while the Captain is wrenching both the RV and toad himself, but tools and parts have spent the gas money. We’re looking at September and this is Indiana. I’m getting nervous.

Shipwrecks, Pirates, Treasures in Maine

Shipwrecks, Pirates, Treasure in MaineAvast and Ahoy, Matey! The book written by Theodore Parker Burbank, “Shipwrecks, Pirates, Treasure in Maine” was an eye-opener. I can’t find the research to explain why it seems the propensity of schooners to sink is over-whelmingly more so than your average yawl, ketch or cutter, but reading his book would tend to scare me off even a multi-million dollar yacht. There were, no doubt, many more schooners plying the world’s oceans than barques or brigs.

Originally, schooners were gaff-rigged, and these were described often in my grandfather’s sailing adventures. Schooners would commonly have two masts, although there again, the schooners described by my grandfather usually noted three. Popular because of their windward ability and speed, they were used for everything from traditional fishing to slaving and privateering–(gulp!!)–also described more than once by the same Stanley McShane.

Of course, many were used to carry cargo, as varied as spices to lumber and were also comfortable on the high seas as well as coastal runs and large inland bodies of water.

Ted  BurbankTed Burbank takes us back to the beginning, describing the ships of the “Golden Age of Piracy” and debunks some pirate myths. Interesting chapters on pirates, including the famous Captain Kidd, who it turns out never really was a pirate!

Burbank then takes us through the shipwrecks from the South Coast and Mid-Coast to Penobscot Bay (New Ireland).

While the focus of Burbank’s book is of pirates, I loved the chapters on treasure in and off shore of Maine and the many neat pictures. It’s obvious he spent a lot of time in research and pulled it all together in a fascinating study of pirates and their ships off the Maine coast. Enjoy watching those waves hit the beach? Love watching those ships? Can you smell that sea air? This book will benefit by the help of a good proofreader, but it’s a fun read and sure gives you the taste for lobster! Elginshire

Revisit Cocos Island

It is said that Jacque Cousteau called Cocos Island the most beautiful island in the world, and the island is also on the short list to become one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”[1]. The island has long been declared to be hiding more than just natural beauty within its rugged landscape:

William Thompson loaded jewels, gold, silver, heavily adorned candlesticks, and two life sized gold statues of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus aboard the Mary Dear and left the harbor as expected. Thompson was overcome with temptation, however, and he and his crew killed the Spanish guards and changed their original course from Spain to Cocos Island[2], (Isla del Coco) located 340 miles off the pacific coast of Costa Rica where they buried the treasure said to be worth well over $160,000,000 (now known as “The Loot of Lima”. Whether buried above ground in the sand of one of two bays (Chatham Bay or Wafer Bay) or below the water, no one has yet recovered any riches.

But Thompson wasn’t alone in thinking Cocos Island represented a quick and safe haven for secreting away pirated treasures from the hapless ships sailing on the main shipping channels toward destinations many never completed successfully!

My grandfather, Patrick John Rose (pen name Stanley McShane who wrote “Cocos Island Treasure“), separately ventured to the island in the early 1900’s about the same time as John Keating spent nearly 12 years (from 1897 to 1908) searching for the treasures that so many pirates reportedly buried on Isla del Coco (Cocos Island). In total, it was reported that Keating eventually found 6 gold coins. (No information documented on the location of the find.)

But it was the buccaneer Edward Davis that was the subject of my grandfather’s book and goal of his trip to Cocos Island. Edward Davis was one of the earliest (1680) recorded (by writer William Dampier) buccaneers to have buried treasure on Cocos Island. According to Wikipedia[3], Davis with his flagship, the Bachelor’s Delight anchored in “Chatham Bay and supposedly left behind several chests containing ingots, pieces-of-eight and £300,000 in silver bar and plate taken from settlements in Peru and Chile.” They also go on to say that he may have been the same privateer to accompany Captain William Kidd to America after a meeting at St. Mary’s Island in 1697.

The jungle infested island described in the book by my grandfather also alludes to the waterfalls from almost perpendicular rocks and feral pigs deposited on the island by the many treasure laden visitors over the years. The shear cliffs testify to the uninhabilitability of the island though the island purportedly boasts fresh water, as well as the namesake, coconuts, lending a siren call to either bay whether for depositing ill-gotten gains or to find a safe haven from the frequent tropical storms that assail the area. The tropical trees and plants, choking vines and creepers apparently hide quagmires or deep crevices, which, following a misstep, can swallow a human whole. Millions of insects inhabit vapor laden air while the raucous cries of birds careen overhead. Patrick describes a stream west of the bay shore of Chatham Bay that they followed by laboriously hacking bushes and vines as they went. The party ascended up and over immense boulders where they eventually discovered a pool created from waters from above. It was within the pool that water also disappears into a hidden, underwater cave.

It is definitely the stories handed down from generation to generation and writers such as Dampier and my grandfather that lend themselves to the folklore of the romantized pirate legends. That and the occasional find of a golden doubloon!

Cocos Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.new7wonders.com/ You can view the “new” 7 wonders as listed. There are continuous feeds on Twitter, Google, and You Tube.

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocos_Island

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Davis_(bucccaneer)

 

Calvin Many Wolves Potter

Calvin Many Wolves Potter

goodreads_icon_32x32-032d59134a33b2b7a83151dec051b8f3Twelve year old Calvin Potter had had enough of his abusive Pennsylvania father; he couldn’t stand it any longer. Stealing quietly out of the door early one morning with little more than the clothes on his back, Calvin begins a journey into another life punctuated by the walk of his life, incredible endurance, and unbelievable pain. Calvin awakened to the care of the gentle Falling Star and attentive Spirit Wind and began the change from white to the Dakota of Minnesota. Running Fox quickly becomes a boyhood friend and mentor and the young boys of the tribe enfold and foster a bond of friendship and respect. Calvin is adopted into the family of Strong Eagle and White Cloud and their daughter, Red Leaf, and slowly and carefully learns the language, the ways, and the respect of the rest of the tribe as he is indoctrinated into the tribe and leaves Calvin behind to become Many Wolves. Many Wolves participates in tribal activities as seasons and years evolve until it is apparent the very way of life of “the people” is threatened by the encroaching white man and the severe negative impact their civilization has on the native peoples. Strong Eagle has wisely forced Many Wolves back into the white population to help salvage the situation between the peoples, to get Many Wolves out of harms way, and to bring about his assimilation into the growing white population. Failure to follow through with agreements to alleviate hardships and misunderstandings produce hard feelings on both sides, until the situation becomes so dire that flash point occurs. The native peoples are starving and have few options open to them as their centuries old way of life begins to unravel. The situation deteriorates into forced massive movement and exodus of large populations of all tribes of the Dakota Nation while 38 of their young men are brought up on charges in acts of retaliation and face an incredibly sad ending to a remarkable life. Many Wolves as Calvin has been unable to salvage the situation to his overwhelming sorrow and finds himself neither red nor white. Lost between worlds, Calvin begins a journey back to his “borning” family to try and discover where he belongs. But after so many years, a journey of boy to man to another world, can he ever go back?

What Makes a Survivor?

Free My Heart of Grief to Love

Featured on Ezine Articles

I had a chance to interview Sandra Moore Bernsen in Quartzsite, Arizona, where she was hosting an author signing event at Readers Oasis Books. Sandra wrote Free My Heart of Grief to Love-A Journey from Loss to Joy, a memoir of devastating loss and recovery.

Born in Minnesota, the financially stressed family moved to Montana where she later found the “bad boy” to whom she gave her heart. The antithesis of Sandra, she and Rich married and eventually moved to Idaho where they established a life of their own after welcoming their two sons. Ray was their first born son. Patrick followed, but at 8 days old went from being a happy, healthy boy to one of multiple and massive health issues–forcing the family for an extended period of time to concentrate on acquiring his care where they could and eventually losing him to the devastating illness that ravaged his little body.

Ray had his own issues, but borne of the eventual loss of his younger brother and that of his beloved German Shepherds, Sam and Alf, he turned inward for solace and took it upon himself to garner the protection he felt he needed. The protection accidentally turned deadly one evening in the kitchen as he fixed himself a late-night snack. Roused by the sharp report in the kitchen, both mother and father discovered their son had suffered a fatal head wound. Within 10 short weeks of the loss of Ray, Sandra’s mother succumbed to her own health issues.

Devastated, both parents grieved in their own way until Rich was discovered to have contracted acute leukemia–one so rare his doctors were at a loss to create an appropriate treatment regime. Sandra took her husband home and once again faced the emotional turmoil of laying to rest another loved one. Continue reading “What Makes a Survivor?”

Just the Pits–Isn’t!

The latest in a Hetta Coffey series, Jinx Schwartz has done it again with “Just the Pits“. Hetta is a single female engineer who tends to get in over her head after being hired to investigate what appears to be over-whelming expenditures on an already expensive mining operation. That she quickly begins confronting problems is apparently not wholly unusual, but she has a super network of friends who are ready and willing to come to her aid including a long-distance boyfriend somewhere mysteriously off on his own classified missions. Among the comical sub-plots is her struggle to come to terms with turning the big 4-0 and granting her BFF Jan the lavish male attention her stunning long-legged, blonde good looks garners without rancor. Endearing is her plot to rescue (and keep grounded?) a dog she names Po Thang whose major force in life is to find and devour his next meal. Her general obvious love and appreciation of the local Baja location and population stems from her extensive real life experiences while piloting a 45′ yacht she calls home. The mine that is the subject of the plot is but one of many in the area and her failure to see any masculine dominated industry or activity as being a challenge includes a hilarious description of her maneuvering a monster dirt hauler in the middle of some serious seismic activity. She wraps it all up in snappy, witty and downright laugh-out-loud dialogue and concludes with a satisfying ending. I figured if I enjoyed reading it that much, so would my hubby and got him to read it as well. He loved it! Now, how can we score another of her “Just” Hetta books? They are too much fun!

You gotta check out this book–either in print or digital download! Just the Pits

“Crystal Clean” – A Mother’s Struggle Out of the Meth Drug Under-World

Kim is not a stupid woman. She is not the product of a severely abusive childhood. Kim is the girl next door or your daughter’s BFF. It’s impossible to discern, looking at this unpresupposing person, that she is a hard-core meth addict and a drug dealer of some stature, smoothly negotiating meth buys. She is a respected and financial force to be reckoned with in the under-world and can hold her own dealing with small or large time drug operators.

Kimberly Wollenburg unfolds the story of her growing addiction in her biographical memoir, “Crystal Clean,” laying bare her motivation as she gradually escalates into the active and upper echelon drug under-world of Idaho, introducing us to each successively flawed character in her drug oriented world with unerring descriptions of dealers and users in graphic detail.

Kim is a single mother of a special needs son who becomes the driving force that helps her fight demons most of us cannot fathom. Separate from her beloved son, is it possible to hold a love interest based on the love of drugs rather than each other?

Can you actually survive a highly elevated tolerance for such a devastatingly pervasive drug as meth and still triumph in a new life? “Crystal Clean” will have you on the edge; you must know if she can pull it off–one more time–and survive.

crystal_clean

Book Review – What Is So Hard About That?

I’m onto the next phase in the science of marketing, promoting, and publishing industry and that appears to be reading and reviewing books either in your own genre or that of the others in your group. As I’ve mentioned before, I joined the Idaho Author Community (IAC) this year as I’d hit the wall in my limited ability to find avenues to market and promote the sea-adventures I’d published posthumously for my grandfather.

Apparently not the only one lacking years of publishing industry and marketing knowledge, the exchange of thoughts and suggestions at our bi-monthly meetings have been an invaluable source of ideas. It’s okay that I’d exhausted my source; everyone there has another.

Reading voraciously has always come easy, so it was the suggestion of exchanging, reading, and evaluating each others books that came as a welcome solution to the one common problem many of us share–lack of reviews for our own works. The authors in the Community each have a genre of their own from (my own) historical fiction to fantasy to children’s books. Fiction and non-fiction, memoirs, and science fiction all take center stage from time to time depending on the IAC venue.

How can you have a downside to an unlimited free supply of books readily available on most any subject? Uh Oh…..now comes the hard part–the review! Yes, I know most of these authors. We’ve all struggled mightily bringing our books to the market. They are our babies. We powdered, fed, and carried our babies close to our hearts until they were delivered into the hands of the unbiased reading public.

So, to conscientiously deliver a dispassionate, neutral review of another’s book may not be all that simple. I’ve had to employ “tough love” with a consistent, impartial criteria.

 What do I specifically look for when analyzing a book? Continue reading “Book Review – What Is So Hard About That?”

#ThrowbackThursday – “Broken Things” a Dystopian Thriller

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk” to share some of her old favorites. Sounded like a good reason to join! My TT posts will not come from current ARCs or new releases. I’ll be going back over some of my oldies but goodies, my favorite authors, and some of my favorite stories from authors you might not have previously experienced. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out.

OrBroken Things by G. S. Wrightiginally posted May 25, 2013.

Book Blurb: “The world has changed. People live forever, but children are a thing of the past. To meet the demands of want-to-be parents, children have been replaced with androids… very life-like androids.

Josh, a twelve-year old boy, is hit by a truck, leaving him badly damaged. Instead of paying the outrageous cost to fix him, they dump him in the wilderness…His only salvation may rest in finding a single person that cares.”

Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – “Broken Things” a Dystopian Thriller”

I’VE SEEN THE COMPETITION–AND IT’D BE ME!

As Featured On EzineArticles

Writer’s Block or Lack of Goal Setting?

Is lack of goal setting setting you up to satisfy the self-fulfilling prophesy of failure? I need to finish my work by [supply date], but just can’t finish/edit the manuscript because:

  1. I’m a daughter/mother/wife/grandmother with lots of household duties and they always seem to take precedent to the real work at hand.
  2. I’ve hit a major snag and can’t seem to get past it–now I just don’t want to work on it at all.
  3. I know it takes two hours to really get my head into the project, but I’m just not in the mood or right frame of mind right now and know there is not sufficient time today.

It was mentioned some time ago that I joined the Idaho Authors Community in the hope of finding new avenues to help with the promotion and marketing of my grandfather’s manuscripts written some 80+ years ago; most regarding the years he spent sailing the North Atlantic. You could say that’s a specific niche market and it doesn’t help that I’m crippled by working with another’s manuscript, not my own. That’s favorite excuse #1, made even more difficult by being unable to work in the head no longer available to me who actually experienced the infamous nor’easter of 1900; bow dipping well below the horizon and rolling to starboard before pointing three masts skyward again.

The last meeting dealt with goal setting and I realized that the goal I’d set for completing the project had already passed me by. But why? How? Continue reading “I’VE SEEN THE COMPETITION–AND IT’D BE ME!”

AUTHOR COMMUNITIES-Do They Really Promote YOUR Book?

          Ezine Articles

         Once again, venturing out into the community to put a spin on the marketing of my grandfather’s books, I’ve discovered a local author support group they call the Idaho Author Community.

It amazes me how apparently mystical guidance has led me from publishing several of his manuscripts to marketing and promotion in the public sector when the initial purpose of the first publication was merely to distribute the work to his heirs. That proverbial snowball has led to even more open portals which were there all along and available by simple participation. I think at one point the gentle nudge on my back was felt–propelling me through the first door, into the second, and now the third–an author community–which may be the most enlightening of all.

Comprised of all ages, both sexes (not unsurprisingly, women pen prose just as well as men), and across all genres, this support group is a happy, homogenous surprise to a life long realist–this [..→] shy of being a pessimist. Does participation in an author community spark competition conflict? Or does the participation force an increase in those most needed exposures where a normally reticent introvert would never tread? Keep Reading!

WHAT WORKS OR DOESN’T WORK WITH BOOK SIGNINGS

Book signings for those who aren’t naturally extroverted can be a difficult proposition. Why is it necessary that most human experience always works by learning the hard way? Thankfully, book signings aren’t a life or death situation, though there are times you can definitely feel shot down!

My first book signing was scheduled for a Friday night, which in a full service bookstore offering everything from video rentals to coffee happy hours, can be populated with people celebrating the impending weekend and thoughts of kicking back, relaxing, and sleeping in on Saturday morning. The sleeping in crowd are usually the younger generation with small kids and the idea is to get those kids over-dosed on late night videos so THEY’LL sleep late in the morning–just a little baby-sitting freedom for exhausted and less than well-to-do parents. They are looking for kid videos–not vintage manuscripts–nor anything related to requiring reading effort. Oh yeah, there’s more!

So What Happened to Brummagem?

In his latest book, “Lucky Joe”, Stanley McShane referred to Birmingham, England, (as the locals called it), “Brummagem”. Finding the word irresistibly magnetic, I’ve been drawn repeatedly back until digging for information, actually found it has some surprising and ancient origins.

Birmingham actually is an Irish name (Norman-Irish), according to genealogist, Eric Birmingham. Eric maintains the name Birmingham originates from a knight or knights who participated in William the Conqueror’s army that won England in 1066 and were awarded this remote Saxon hamlet as a lordship[1]. Continue reading “So What Happened to Brummagem?”