Twelve 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?
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?”
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!
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.
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?”
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.
Originally 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.”
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!”
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!
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!
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. Continue reading “So What Happened to Brummagem?”