My daughter was already pained that I wasn’t getting any surprises for Christmas, when we arrived at the store. Close your eyes, she said, and hid something in the cart. I smiled, then wondered what the sales clerk thought when I turned my back while my daughter made her purchase. I didn’t even turn toward…
There are several things I hope to talk about, in regard to the month long road trip I finished two days ago. The one foremost on my mind right now, has to do with conversations, and time spent, with several people I had never met before.
The first one was a man, a client I have been working with, from a distance, for a few weeks now. He is a self-professed Chatty Cathy, has gotten carried away in phone conversations a few times, and invariably said I don’t know why I am telling you all this as he shared about his job history, family, health, and whatever else came to mind in the moment.
This connection has been both interesting, and concerning because I have major trust issues with men, issues that have been growing steadily over the last decade or so as I face the deeply buried truth of my early life (a conversation for another day). It’s fairly easy to be relaxed hiding behind the anonymity of a telephone conversation but a face to face conversation is another story. Would my triggers create an awkward situation in the meeting I knew would happen soon?
Thankfully, he was as respectful and easy to talk to in person as he was on the phone. I felt relaxed and our conversation was honest and natural. He was still a Chatty Cathy and still had occasion to say – I don’t know why I am telling you all this. It would do my ego good if I had the idea he shared because he thought highly of me, but I knew that wasn’t it. I think the truth simply was – I was willing to listen.
The second person was the waitress in a Husky Restaurant. It was a small town on my way home and it was getting close to closing time when I stopped for lunch. There were several tables of local boys having coffee and the rest of the tables were empty. I took a seat at a table near them and after a time of quiet, their conversations returned to the easy relaxed way of friends. The seasoned waitress seemed to be the instigator of many conversations, that was her thing.
Usually I have my protective walls firmly in place and don’t easily engage in conversation but things have changed on this trip. As I went to the cash register to pay my bill I decided to attempt a few comments, to open the door a little, and what followed was a full on conversation about the town, her family, jobs, commutes, and the first trip in 40 years to the next big city. We would have talked longer but she had to finish closing up.
The last person was the desk clerk when I stopped for the night. It seemed to be a slow night for her and she wanted to talk. We talked about her weight problem and all of her concerns, which were many, around that subject. I learned a lot about her family and their health issues. We talked about living in the country while working in town and the things you have to do to make that work. The last subject we explored had to do with recycling and the inventiveness of her father in using everything and anything as building material. Other guests were looking for her attention several times and I finally took the opportunity to slip away, I had to go – if you catch my drift. I came away from the conversation feeling bad, and I still do, because she obviously didn’t want me to leave, and seemed to feel deserted when I did.
I can relate to the way she feels. It is not often we find someone willing to take time to listen to us. Many of us seem to be starving with the need for a listening ear.
Then, there are two little people who come to mind in regard to connection. I’ve noticed their unique need many times over the years and make a special effort when I meet little ones. Probably because I remember being that age, somewhere in the buried memories.
The two little boys are 4 and 6. A great nephew and a grandson, visited in different towns. Eye contact seems to be the key to connection for kids, they don’t do deep conversations but have a need to know they have been seen. I had a good time connecting with both of them.
He has my undivided attention while we are trying to give mommy space to get some things done. It was an unconventional layout for a train track but, hey, we were having fun. Pretty much everything in the room has a function, he remembers what it is all for and explained in detail as we explored one of the bins. The mattress behind him is his dual function trampoline/punching bag. Grandma got to hold the punching bag upright while he practiced his Ninja kicks and chops. It was a challenge but I managed to stay upright myself through it all.
This is a short post to try out a new editor app. Not sure what difference it will make since this is not the device I normally use so I have nothing to compare with. Hmmm, I see now that I need to read some of the provided material to answer this question. Pays to read the instructions 😀
It’s also a good opportunity to say I have been travelling many kilometres the last few weeks so haven’t had much chance to post anything. I am having a good time, I love long distance driving, even in the cold snowy winter, so it has been great. And safe too, so far, I pray it stays that way. It has been special to spend time with family, and a few friends, over the Christmas season.
I’ve finished a few more books and will share them in a later post.
One of them I will mention now though, it was Untangled: A story of resilience, courage, and triumph. Alexis Rose is a fellow blogger and this is her story of surviving a life of unimaginable abuse. Check out both her blog and her book for encouragement and inspiration. I can heartily endorse both.
I will be back soon, hopefully, with a full post. In the meantime, I hope you are all making some positive winter memories too, in one way or another.
travelling, computer, books.
Computers are so much fun! (Not!) I am currently travelling but need to work too, so I packed up my desktop computer to bring along, since my laptop doesn’t have the necessary network connections – yet (long story). Everything is set up and I’m ready to work but…. it just dawned on me, the latest computer they gave me does not have wireless capability, which didn’t matter at home but does here. I will have to run out to pick up some network cable.
Winter is not the best time of year to be travelling in my part of the country but the roads have been bare and dry for the most part, just a little snow here and there. An awesome trip so far. Long but awesome.
I’ve noticed there are quite a number of books about the Second World War popping up these days. I’ve read quite a few of them and there is one of them on the list this time. I like historical novels because they give me a sense of what life was back then, they also give me an appreciation for the blessings of our life now. I know we still have the capability to treat each other badly and inflict atrocities on one another, but overall we have blessings and freedoms our ancestors could only dream about. I am grateful everyday for this imperfect life we live.
More books for you
A Mia Quinn Mystery – A Matter of Trust book 1 – Lis Wiehl ….. Mia and her friend are chatting, while searching their respective basements for garage sale items, when she hears a pop and her friend drops the phone. Her friend has been murdered and Mia’s boss, the Crown Prosecutor, wants her to team up with a homicide detective to figure out who did this. Mia and the detective have history, they worked a case that did not go well because of his blunder, he is the last person she wants to work with. There is already enough pressure in her life, with her husband’s recent fatal accident, and a teenage son struggling to adjust to their new reality. The trouble is, she can’t walk away from the search for her best friends murderer.
A Mia Quinn Mystery – A Deadly Business book 2 – Lis Wiehl ….. A potentially deadly attack in the court room, when the 22 year old defendant lunged at her with a razor blade, emphasises the inherent danger in her occupation, and Mia worries about her kids. The last thing she wants is to bring danger home with her. It may already be to late to stop it. As more secrets about his life come to light, her husband’s accident may not have been an accident. Charlie, the homicide detective Mia works with, has had suspicions, and there is evidence to back them up. The thing is, no one is interested in reopening the case. They are on their own. And their efforts have been noticed, and the noticers are not happy.
A Mia Quinn Mystery – Lethal Beauty book 3 – Lis Wiehl ….. It should have been an open and shut murder case but nothing went as it should have. A young Chinese prostitute is stabbed to death by her rich American client and his high powered lawyer gets him off. There seems to be double standards and prejudice working against justice being done. Missing witnesses, more killings, and attacks on her family point to a criminal involvement on a deep level.
Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café – Max Lucado …. Chelsea has the responsibility of a café inherited unexpectedly from her mother. It seemed like this would be a blessing, a good way to start life on her own after a separation from a cheating husband. Things are often not what we expect though. It’s a good thing she has help in ways she couldn’t predict, she will need it.
Promise or Tomorrow Series – Friends & Enemies book 1 – Terri Wangard …. Paul has always dreamed of flying, joining the Air Force seemed like a good way to achieve it. Rachael, his wife and childhood sweetheart, is not happy to see him heading off to war, a war they both have mixed emotions about because of Rachael’s best friend Heidi. In America for high school and now back in her German homeland, it has been a number of years since they’ve seen each other but they haven’t forgotten. With every mission, Paul thinks of Rachael’s friend and her family, and prays their bombs will miss them.
To reach full potential, writers need to take reading seriously. This idea isn’t original with me. I am hearing the same thought from many different sources.
I seem to be fixated on promoting reading for writers and I think it is because the group of writers I hang out with show embers of interest about writing but only one or two give off bright flames of excitement or of strong motivation. We (as the steering committee) want to find a way to fan the embers and see them burst into flame.
We’ve brainstormed and come up with a few ideas we’d like to try. Here’s one, sparked by the description of a book read this week by a member of our planning group. It was a book that drew her in to the story and made her forget about the mechanics of writing, even though that is usually the first thing she notices. We are going to encourage each member of the group to make a special effort this month to find a book like this for themselves.
Challenge – go to the library and sample as many books as you need to to find one that totally captures your interest. Before check out, read a bit to see if they seem like good possibilities and add only the good possibilities to the pile you are going to take home. Make that a big pile. At home – if a book doesn’t totally capture your interest within a short time, move on to the next one. Keep doing this until you find one you can’t put down. If nothing in this pile does this for you, go back to the library for a new supply. Keep doing this until you find the book. This may sound too simple to be bothered with but trust me, it’s not always that easy to find a book like this. It is possible though, There are some amazing ones out there and we want to help you find them.
Now that you’ve found this captivating book. Stop and examine the way it feels, then consciously commit it to memory, as a measure for all of the books you will be reading soon. If you already know this feeling, you are ahead of the game, and the search for qualifying books will go faster.
If you are serious about writing, you need to be serious about reading, and if you are serious about reading , you need to be serious about what you read.
Reading time is precious, you can’t afford to spend it reading books that don’t measure up to the new standard. I mean, you could, but not if you seriously want to write. I find myself following this rule more and more, now that life holds more for me than just reading, as a pain killer.
Reading only those books meeting the new standard will reset the internal measure for your own writing. As you write, and read aloud what you have written, you will view it all with new eyes and there will be a noticeable difference in your work.
You will be influenced and inspired in a new way. And hopefully the flame of your interest and passion will be burning brightly.
Some books for you
The Nick Kismet Adventures Volume 1 – Sean Ellis… I’ve read the first book, the Shroud of Heaven, it is a middle eastern adventure involving historical artifacts and struggles for possession. It was a good story but it was like an action movie, full of car chases and gun fights. I was telling my grandsons about the book, that there were too many chases for my liking. My son-in-law thought it sounded like a pretty good book. This is one for the guys!
A Sunset Cove Novel – The Inn at Ocean’s Edge book 1 – Colleen Coble …. When Claire makes a visit to the luxury hotel in a beautiful resort town, repressed memories begin to surface. Claire disappeared from her 4th birthday party at the hotel, reappearing at the same hotel a year later, and no one knew where she had been. She didn’t even know she had been missing and her parents seem to be discouraging her from remembering. Her friend Luke’s mother also disappeared that weekend. There must be a connection somehow.
A Sunset Cove Novel – Mermaid Moon book 2 – Colleen Coble …. Mallory hasn’t been back to her hometown in fifteen years but when her dad dies on his mail route she has to go back. Kevin, the local game warden, is warily helping her solve her dad’s murder, Mallory broke his heart the day she left.
A Sunset Cove Novel – Twilight at Blueberry Barrens book 3 – Colleen Coble …. Kate has shouldered the responsibility of her families blueberry farm but when the crop fails she has to look for a new way to make ends meet. Renting out their cabin when Drake and his nieces show up looking for a place seems like a solution to her dilemma. It’s even better when he needs a nanny for the girls while he spends time looking for his brother’s killer. Life would be good for Kate except someone seems to be stalking her.
Northern Intrigue – Winter’s Secret book 1 – Lyn Cote …. Someone is vandalizing during a record winter, targeting empty homes of senior citizens. Wendy, their public health nurse, is always the one to discover the break ins and seems to be the common thread between all of them. Rod is the new sheriff in town and the opposition to his appointment is not helping his investigation. It seems this town has secrets.
A Land of Canaan Novel – Seek Me with All Your Heart book 1 – Beth Wiseman …. Why would the Amish move to Colorado leaving their friends and family behind. For Emily and her family the reason is personal. They are trying to start over after her devastating attack. David’s family has moved for reasons he doesn’t understand and he wants to find a way to go back to the home he loved. An attraction blooms between Emily and David but they each have a secret that makes a future seem impossible for them.
Finding Love At the Oregon Coast – a romantic novella collection – Angela Ruth Strong, Christina Coreyell, Heather Woodhaven, Lisa Phillips ….. when a wedding is cancelled, three bridesmaids and a runaway bride contemplate the true meaning of love in four related novels.
Untangled: The Truth will set you free – Michele Pillar …. The personal story of a successful singing career derailed by tragedy and bad choices, and how facing the truth of her life and choices, gave her a second chance at a career and more. Truth brought freedom to the tangled mess that was her life.
We have to let our walls down
We have to let go of “what will people think”
Perfection is not as important as passion
We need to speak from our heart not our heads
When we do that, we will write something people want to read.
One of the discussions happening yesterday was centered around the question; what place does reading hold in the life of a successful writer? My comment was – I agree with previous comments, reading is essential to good writing. Today I feel compelled to go back and expand on that thought, but the moment has passed.
I am bursting to share more about this discussion because I don’t just agree with reading being essential, I am on a crusade to convince writers of the need to read more. Just ask the other members of our local writing group. In the last few months they have been subjected to my passionate rants. I am grateful they are open to this vision of mine. Together we are working hard to promote reading in our group, and hope to encourage our members to spend more time with some of the excellent books in our writing library.
I would also like to see them reading more than just the how to books in our library. I think good books are the cooking shows of the writer’s world. Good cooks become better cooks by watching successful chefs do their thing. I think we can become better writers by watching successful authors do their thing. It’s difficult to convey in words, what it takes to write in a compelling manner, a demonstration works much easier. That’s why I would like to see us all develop a passion for good books. It will open up a whole new realm of possibilities.
While many writers are avid readers, many more are not. The second group is the one I hope to inspire. In my opinion; people don’t enjoy reading because they haven’t discovered the gold mine in an interesting book. If they do discover the treasure, it will be a life changing event. They will catch the bug. The reading love bug
There is an enemy of reading: reading out of obligation. Many of us have the idea that if we start a book we must finish it, even if it’s pure drudgery. I used to feel that way but not anymore. Now I follow my recommendation to all of you. Abandon the drudgery and move on. The freedom of this practice is awesome.
How do we promote a good reading experience: learn where to look. Once you know where to look there will always be good choices.
For me; education started in the public library. It is a free and safe way to discover what you like and what you don’t. Once you have a good understanding of what you like, you will be ready to move on and make the most of the many ebook opportunities out there
BookBub, and other e-book sites are an excellent source of good books. They offer up suggestions in whatever genre you pick, many of them free. The thing I love about free books – they feed my reading addiction without breaking the bank. I’ve met some amazing authors this way.
Writing has never been one of my passions. I had no particular interest in the required English courses of my school years, if I passed, I was happy. Reading is responsible for whatever writing skills I may have now. Reading works.
In the end it’s a circle. I promote avid reading so you will write even better. If you write better, I will have even better books to read. It’s a win/win situation.
There is a good chance that I am preaching to the choir here. The fact your are reading this probably means you are a reader too.
Maybe you will be inspired to inspire. That works for me.
If nothing else, I feel better for the chance to vent.
a few books:
Irish Angel Series – Heart of Glass book 3, Jill Marie Landis …. Kate Keene returns to the place of happy childhood memories, determined to honour her friends and restore their plantation to it’s former glory after the ravages of war. She was not expecting to arrive and find someone living in the deserted buildings, least of all, a broken, bitter man. The changed man was her best friends brother and the love of her young teen heart. He demands she leave and orders her off the property, but he is in no shape to get up and make her go. She is determined to stay; to repay the kindness of his family for taking her in all those years ago, so there is a reprieve. If she can find a way to escape his notice.
A Sloane Monroe Mystery – Black Diamond Death book 1, Cheryl Bradshaw …… Charlotte is upset about something and wants to talk it over with her sister but before they can meet for lunch, Charlotte dies on the ski hill. Although the authorities rule her death accidental, her sister knows there is something wrong with this conclusion. It doesn’t make sense for a skier of her caliber to die on such an easy slope. Somehow, Audrey has to convince someone to help her find the truth.
Love in the Cascades series – A Christmas Surprise book1, Kimberly Rose Johnson ….. After reluctantly agreeing to a blind date, Keira thinks he’s changed his mind when he doesn’t show. Pete, called away for an emergency before they can meet, is relieved in a way, to have it work out like this. Earlier, when he stopped to pick up a gift for his date, the owner of the chocolate shop caught his interest, making him wish she was the one he was meeting for dinner.
Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way Mr Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham
This is the powerful story of a little boy who lives with unimaginable neglect, abuse and hardship and is rescued as a teenager by an elderly couple who knew the transforming power of love.
It is also the story of how, as adults, we don’t have to be held back by the trauma of our childhood. Even with the lack of a positive influence and role models, we can have a healthy, purposeful life.
Jimmy Wayne grew up to become successful in a music career, singing and song writing – there are videos to show the truth of it. Three songs, now in videos on You Tube, are mentioned many times in the book. I would download them here for you but haven’t figured out how…yet. I hope you will check them out. Sarah Smile is one of his first covers, then two songs written by Jimmy, I Love You This Much, and Stay Gone.
His successful career was not enough for him. He remembered the homeless and foster kids in his life, and he wanted to do something to make a difference, in the lives of kids like them. He set out to do a cross country walk to bring attention to the cause not expecting a double benefit – on a personal level – it was a healing journey.
His successful walk is the example he sets for us, to open our eyes to the hardships, and the possibilities in these kids. His efforts are responsible for a major change in foster care rules in his home state, and they shine a spotlight on areas still needing to be addressed. He is hoping to inspire all of us to step up and do something.
I’m glad I read this book, his story and his music touched my heart. That was his goal, and it worked. May I always see the possibilities.
My favorite book this week Autistic British Detective Jonathan Roper – Going Underground book 1 – Michael Leese
The chemistry between Jonathan and his mentor/partner is great and they work well together, but the others don’t relate as well and that creates stress in the whole office. He is brilliant though, and solves cases others haven’t been able to. I liked this one so well I read the next one too.
Autistic British Detective Jonathan Roper – I Can See You book 2 – Michael Leese
Jonathan’s skills have been noticed and as a result has been recruited by another government agency. Things go well for awhile but he falls into a slump he can’t seem to work his way out of, no matter what they try. He worked well with his partner in the Police Special Investigations Unit, so, quietly and swiftly, Brian Hooley is transferred to the new agency, to see if it would make the difference. It seems to be working and things are getting back on track. And, they are off to solve another baffling mystery.
Holiday Inc. Series – Noelle’s Golden Christmas book 1 – Tamie Dearen
Noelle is a Scrooge about Christmas, the way her life has gone she just knows something else bad is going to happen. Maybe if she got a dog….. maybe that’s what she needs to get through the holiday. In the meantime, her meddling family thinks she needs a man and they are determined to bring both Christmas and a man into her life.
Cornhusker Dreams – Canteen Dreams book 1- Cara Putman
A heartwarming World War Two love story. The unthinkable happens when Pearl Harbor is bombed and young men are being shipped off to war. Audrey wants to do her part to support the troops and everyday joins a group of ladies running a canteen to serve the trainloads of men moving through their town. She doesn’t expect to fall for a local boy. Willard is distressed because he feels the need to enlist but is rejected because he is considered essential, being a rancher. He is impressed by the passion and dedication of the young woman who catches his eye but has a hard time watching her interact with the uniformed soldiers passing through town, especially when he wants to be one of them.
Hardman Holidays – The Christmas Bargain book 1 – Shanna Hatfield
This is a book I read two years ago but it caught my eye as I was browsing though my cache of books, I think it needs to be read again. It is a Victorian Christmas story set in a real town from the 1800s. The town is Hardman Oregon USA and is now a ghost town. Philamena is left dazed and speechless when her father tries to settle a debt and a handsome cowboy agrees to take her in payment. Luke Hardman owns the bank and when her father threatens to sell her to the saloon owner for money to pay his debt, he found he couldn’t let that happen. He’d rather be out on his ranch than stuck in an office and has no idea what to do with this marriage of convenience. I’m looking forward to rediscovering a good story.
I have been distracted lately and it has been hard to settle down enough to focus on reading so my list isn’t as long as it is usually. I did enjoy these books though and hope maybe you will as well.
There are some great writers out there just waiting to be discovered. I hope you are crossing paths with some of them too. If you haven’t joined BookBub I hope you will, it’s one of the easiest sites to use in the discovery of great books, I’ve found.
Happy reading! and a fulfilling writing experience, if you are giving it a try too.
I am still processing distressing thoughts and feelings triggered by some of the events of the last couple of weeks. The process is never quite as simple as I think it should be but there is progress today and I’m grateful. It seems time goes on, and then some things come to the surface, finally ready to be examined and dealt with.
I’ve spent the day writing a post trying to work out an answer to the why question in my head. It was a worthwhile occupation as a number of answers presented themselves. Several were complete, some were not and will have to be revisited another day. At least the conversation has been started and that’s a positive step.
Even though I’ve erased all of today’s work to start over, it has been a beneficial day. The area under consideration is one I haven’t been ready to look at before now. Probably because it’s a hot button issue I didn’t know what to do with. I would share details but I wasn’t able to express it in a way that would make sense to anyone but me. Part of today was a major break through. All of the steam has been let out of several reactions and it feels good.
Sometimes, it seems like the effects of brokenness will never end. A day like today brings renewed hope. Hope is a good thing.
I don’t know if sharing this post will be helpful or encouraging to anyone, but I pray that it is. We all need a little hope, some days more than others.
A couple of books for you
Christmas Light Collection 2017 – Making Spirits Bright – Swanson, Shiloh, Hayman and Havig……. four new never-before-released novellas. From romance to cozy mysteries. A fun Christmas read. This is the second set from these ladies this Christmas.
Dangerous Affections Series – I Know You’ll Find Me – Jennifer Youngblood ….Victoria’s dreams are starting to come true, her own dance studio and a handsome rich boyfriend. Everything changes in an instant when she witnesses a murder on an impromptu visit to his office. Running for her life, she grabs her kids and disappears to the one place she knows he would never think to look. Keeping their secret proves difficult when a handsome police office takes a romantic interest in her, bonding with her kids.