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Thursday, October 12, 2017

It Happens In Threes


What do you write about when life is a series of road bumps? And why do they always come three-at-a-time?

Compared to millions of people inhabiting this earth, I have a wonderful life filled with possessions that should remind me of how well off I am. But, when those same machines created to bring ease and comfort start to malfunction, I tend to bog down in stress.

It started with the act of adding window washer liquid to my newly-acquired Kia's tank. As the serviceman poured, I noticed a steady drip down below. Result? A leaking tank needs replacing.

Last week I opened my washer's lid to find the clean clothes standing in water. When my son had time to check it out, his recommendation was a circuit board needed replacing.

Recently fall arrived with a 40-degree drop of temperatures in a matter of hours. Needing a little warmth to take off the chill, I struggled to get the pilot light lit on my propane heater. Nope. Had to make-do with a portable space heater temporarily.

So, I started looking for the lesson in all of these inconveniences...and that's all they are, temporary inconveniences. I still have a roof over my head, food in the house, clothes to wear, and money in the bank. Well, enough money to pay my bills anyway.

I'm not mechanical so whenever something breaks down or malfunctions, I call for help.

My first realization was how much I depended on my now-gone husband to keep my life running smoothly for the fifty-nine years we were married. Then I gave thanks for a capable son who lives nearby and is always ready to come rescue me despite a ten-hour workday. And I know there is a world of people ready and willing to share the gifts they've been endowed with by God.

I've come to understand there will always be bumps in the road of life. My response is to just accept these short-lived troublesome times and keep reminding myself of how blessed I am. This too shall pass.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Benefits Of Travel



Just returned from a nine-day visit to the East Coast, Rhode Island specifically. I love to travel but circumstances had prevented it for some time. Yes, unfamiliar situations can be challenging.

Like getting into a 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid with no introduction and being expected to drive this modern vehicle. Guaranteed to get the adrenaline stirred. Like driving Interstate traffic at night while learning how to turn on headlights and windshield wipers. Like depending, for the first time in your life, on Google's impersonal phone voice to get you to your destination ninety miles away. Like pulling out the manual to find the latch release for the gas tank and learn the tank's capacity so you can tell the attendant how much gasoline you need to fill the tank.

But, the pleasurable experiences far outweigh the stressful ones. Meeting someone you've been friends with since high school days for lunch and not opening the menu for the first thirty minutes. Getting together with two sisters; sisters you live 2,000 miles away from and its been years since the three of you have been together. Returning to a well-loved stretch of beach just to stand and watch the waves crash along the shoreline. Strolling a narrow street between homes that were built in the 1700s.


Traveling allows me to store up sights and smells that are not a part of my regular world. The salty tang of ocean air; a hidden walkway consisting of granite markers commemorating the ministers who have served a local church since 1711; a tucked-away bay cluttered with anchored boats sitting out choppy waters; climbing the stairs to a modern third-story condo.

All fodder to feed a fertile mind when the time comes to put words to paper.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

All In A Writer's Life

In the midst of preparing a manuscript for re-publication, I'm taking a break. Thanks to a generous gift from a precious family member, my wish to see siblings in far away places is being realized.  

This Saturday I'm flying to New England to visit a sister who lives in Rhode Island. While I'm there, another sister who now lives in South Carolina will be visiting a daughter living nearby. It has been several years since we three have been able to get together and I'm ready for a lot of talking and catching up.

I look forward to this break from the demanding physical work this summer as we cut down trees and cleared the way for my son's house to be moved onto the property. Now, the end is in sight and before the heavy season of book events is upon me, I thought I'd do this getaway.

Already I've committed to three events in October, added to my goal of getting Living With a Depressed Spouse back in print because the publisher went bankrupt. Saturday, October 14th, I'll join other members of East Texas Authors-Connect at the Hawkins Oil Festival in the park/pavilion area. After the parade, come by and say hi.

On Thursday, October 19th, I'll be participating in the Longview Art Walk. Several of us will be set up in Citizens National Bank from five to eight. This will be my first time to take part in this happening.

Although I've been invited for the past seven years to join other authors at the Gathering of Authors that takes place in Texarkana, this is the first year I've been able to attend. I am so looking forward to what promises to be a grand weekend, visiting with lots of author friends and meeting, face-to-face, others whom I've known only through Facebook.

So look for an announcement sometime toward the end of October for the re-release of Living With a Depressed Spouse. It's a blend of memoir/self-help/informational book that offers much to anyone who finds themselves either coping with or living with someone suffering from depression.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Tale of Two Bookstores

Out and about yesterday and I stopped by two local bookstores as different as day and night. I'd driven past Gladewater Books many times and never took the time to check it out. Oh my...what I had been missing out on.

Located on Main Street in a long, narrow two-story brick building probably built around the turn of the century, Gladewater Books is chock-a-block packed with books. With its inventory of over 40,000 books, this store is also the home of Alibris.com, an online bookseller. Floor-to-nearly-ceiling shelves form a delightful maze but Pete Adams, the owner, eagerly takes you to whatever section you're seeking. All books are reasonably priced and I look forward to making this store a favorite place to browse.



A brand-new bookstore just opened up in Kilgore called The Bookstore. It also houses the Coffee Cherry that dispenses yummy drinks. Located in a historical home on Houston Street, Stephen (a lawyer & author) and Paige (occupational therapist) Woodfin have poured their hearts into this new venture. The stately former residence exudes charm and welcome with books galore both old and new. The fact that they encourage local authors to bring their books to sell just makes they special people to me.

So...if you're the kind of person who adores the smell of bound paper, here are two hangouts to discover. I know you won't be able to stay away.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Considering A Name Change



Since this seems to be a year of change for me, perhaps I should consider a new direction for this blog. Would love to get some feedback on that consideration.

When I first began writing these postings, I had no idea what topics I'd address. I chose 'Comparing Apples and Oranges' with hopes it would indicate the broad range of subjects I hoped to write about. Over the years, I've vacillated from writing advice to curious word origins. There have been posts about my progress as a published author and a sprinkling of anecdotes about family and friends.

In the meantime, I continue to plod along, trying to adjust to the shake, rattle, and rolls my life is experiencing at the moment. With the recent addition of a teenage granddaughter to my household, a whole new world has been revealed. You see, this is my first experience with a female sharing my life as both my children were boys.

Then there's my son's house purchase and all the work and turmoil connected with its move from another site to our property. Forced to make the sad decision of cutting back trees, and even cut down some older ones, allowing both house and the power line to be set in position. We are three-quarters of the way and the results have left the property looking like both a hurricane and a tornado passed through.

It's been a physically-demanding summer and yet, I've managed to move forward with my writing efforts. With the release of George Washington, From Boy Surveyor To Soldier (https://www.amazon.com/George-Washington-Boy-Surveyor-Soldier-ebook/dp/B0748JBX3D/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8) this month, I'm plunging into the maddening world of promoting and selling of my books.

Speaking of books, let me tell you about the newest bookstore in our neck of the woods. Local author Stephen Woodfin and his wife Paige recently opened The Bookstore and Coffee (https://www.facebook.com/thebookstoreinkilgore/) If you're anywhere in the area, do go by and welcome this fabulous addition to the community.

Now, it's off to today's chore - taking my granddaughter round to apply for a card at a couple libraries in the area. Yes! She's a reader who likes the feel of paper in her hands.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Just Checking In



Have you ever noticed how quickly the days slip by when life gets complicated? I thought getting used to widowhood would take some adjusting. Funny thing is, I just haven't had time to do that. Life just kept getting in the way.

When my granddaughter moved in temporarily shortly after my husband died, there was the need to rearrange the spare bedroom from his man-cave to a teenager's bedroom.

Then came the brand-new experience of shopping for a replacement car...one of those things my husband always did and I just got to approve his choice. By the way, I am loving my Kia Soul. It's a more compact car than I'm used to driving. Hubby always went for the heavier, more solid Buick or Oldsmobile.

Barely having time to get used to those changes, my son's dream of owning his own house came true. He found one just the right size for he and his daughter. The catch? It had to be moved to our property and since I owned the property, I got totally involved, both financially and physically.

First came all the paperwork and legalities of a bank loan to finance the operation. Then came the actual physical move which included some tree removal to allow the house's access to the new site. Granddaughter and I also spent a few hours removing the skirting so the movers could slide their l-o-n-g steel beams beneath the house.

Have you ever watched a house move down the highway to its new home? Quite an experience complete with police escort through the middle of town.

So, the house is in place. The trench dug for the water line and water connected from the well. Now, we have six major trees to remove so the electricity company can install a high line from the street to the house.

Have I mentioned how intense life has been? Oh, and by the way, my latest writing effort, George Washington From Boy Surveyor To Soldier (https://www.amazon.com/George-Washington-Boy-Surveyor-Soldier-ebook/dp/B0748JBX3D/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8,) has its publishing release in just a couple days. Check it out.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

When The Facts Aren't There

I've been working on a series of fictionalized biographies about American figures. My first, George Washington, From Boy Surveyor To Soldier, has a release date of Aug.15th and is now available for pre-order from Amazon. (Shameless plug!)

The personality whose life I'm presently working on is Belle Boyd, a teen-age spy for the Confederacy. Somehow, sometime, I caught a mention of her antics and she grabbed my curiosity. But, it's been a struggle to write her story factually.

There is only one authorized biography, plus the book she wrote herself about her war and prison experiences. Not much to draw on.

I can find a lot of anecdotal information on the early part of her life, much of which I can verify through similar resources. But there are huge gaps in what her life was like after the War Between The States ended.

So what to do? If this were a novel, It would be challenging to take those vague allusions, flesh them out with my imaginings, and create an entertaining read. Was Sam really the father of her first child? Why did Belle renounce the child later when she had additional children from another husband?

Can I make use of that one reporter's comment about her husband being found drunk on the floor? What's the real story? And what about the hints of her exorbitant spending practice?

But this is a biography, not a novel. I strive to be historically accurate in my writing.

Guess the only answer is more research.