Tuesday, June 30, 2015
What is "Canada Day"?
On July 1, 1867 Canada became a new federation with its own constitution by signing the Constitution Act - formerly known as the British North America Act. Canada Day is a national statutory holiday celebrated in all provinces and territories and it is a day off for most businesses.
Congratulations and Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!
HEAR Now is the audio equivalent of a film festival for contemporary audio story-telling in all its forms: live and scripted solo performances, multi-voiced performance, classic radio drama, experimental narrative, and much more. In this podcast, I share my impressions on the festival and share some samples from the participants in this festival. (No, these samples don’t come from this festival, but from other sources.)
To listen in to the blogtalk radio show either live on July 2nd@ 8.30AMEST or on the archives anytime 24/7 just click and go with this link:http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gelatisscoop/2015/07/02/george-taylor-shares-his-impressions-of-the-hear-now-festival
I’ve always been known for putting a humorous spin on things, even if it’s something serious….today is one of those days.
Back around 2007 I noticed a small lump right below my Adam's apple. It wasn’t that big, but I decided to have it checked out. My doctor told me it was a fatty tumor (guess when the thighs get full, the fat moves up?). Anyway, she didn’t appear concerned and said removing it would be considered cosmetic and not covered under insurance (yeah like I would voluntarily have my neck cut into).
The lump wasn’t big enough to warrant hiding it with turtlenecks, which would definitely violate the dress code for San Diego in the summer. I accepted my fate and moved on. As time passed, my new friend grew (like my thighs) which prompted another doctor’s visit. This time she decided an ultrasound was in order and lo and behold, I had two tumors on my thyroid. One was almost the size ping-pong ball.
She referred me to an endocrinologist for a needle biopsy, which was about as pleasant as a root canal, but he couldn’t get a definitive reading due to the amount of fluid build-up. Great, I thought, I’m carrying a water balloon around my neck. He suggested a thyroidectomy.
The surgery wasn’t that bad, in fact, I was only in the hospital for two nights. I healed quickly, started on thyroid medication and returned to my normal routine sans the pudgy accessory. I did still have a little lump which was the dreaded fatty tumor (darn thighs), but because the tumors were removed, it was no longer as pronounced.
When the two weeks were up, I was admitted to the hospital for the treatment. When they took me to my room, I felt like I was entering the Twilight Zone. Everything in the room was covered in plastic….the bed (except for the pillow and covers), phone, television, remote control, toilet, sink – anything I could possibly touch was covered. The radiation safety officer entered with a metal tube holding the radioactive iodine pill. I had to open the cover and drop it in my mouth….and then he said to “just relax” and I’d be released the next day. Relax? I just swallowed something that could very well make me glow in the dark, I was in a room that probably increased the profits of Saran Wrap, and couldn’t have visitors. Heck, when my meals were delivered I heard the nurses arguing outside over who was going to crack open the door and slide the tray in. I wasn’t allowed to have any personal items in the room such as a laptop or cd player, as they would become contaminated. I spent the night watching television, reading (the book had to be paperback as it had to be left behind and burned), and talking to friends on the phone.
Now, you would think that was the end of it but noooooo … I was still in glow in the dark status, just not as severe. I was told to stay at least 3 feet away from everyone (including pets) except for short periods totaling less than 1 hour each day, for the first 5 days – staying at least 6 feet away most of the time. Also, I had to stay the same distance from small children or pregnant women for 8 days and not kiss anyone. I’m not done…. I had to sleep in a separate room, or at least 6 feet away from any other person, use separate bath linen and launder them and underclothing separately for one week and wash eating utensils separately for one week as well. Although I didn’t have to buy an overabundance of Saran Wrap, I was relegated to the guest bedroom with a little gate (so my dogs wouldn’t sleep with me) … jailed in my own home. My husband, bless his heart, did his best to keep me company (across the hall).
After the first five days of exile, I scrubbed down both the spare bathroom and guestroom. I washed everything I wore and slept on, hugged my husband and cuddled my dogs – counting the days until I could roam freely through the world without avoiding children and pregnant women.
On a more serious note, I got a clean bill of health, praise God and am still cancer-free today. The experience was definitely surreal but a good one. It heightened my compassion for those less fortunate, longing for companionship, a loving touch or to just be acknowledged with a smile - the elderly, the sick, the homeless...the list goes on. The smallest gesture can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Where can you connect with Patti?
Follow her blog: http://www.gridirongrannyfootballfanatic.blogspot.com/
I could see the door-to-door salesman from my window. He was large, his face was red with rage and he kept pounding on my door after I didn't respond. I was ready to call the police when he finally stormed away.
How could this salesman possibly think an angry outburst would cause me to buy whatever he was selling?
Compare him to Jesus, who gently knocks at the door of each heart. As we read in Revelation 3:20, "Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you." (The Message Bible)
This is the invitation to all who believe and all who do not.
If we ignore Him, Jesus will not go away in a rage, as did the salesman at my door. He will be grieved because He loves us so. But God is infinitely patient and His knock will come again.
If you feel a tug at your heart, perhaps Jesus is knocking. Could it be He wants to enter your life to become your Savior?
You might pray, "Come in Lord Jesus. Forgive me. Save me."
This bread from Heaven comes in many ways I explore in my devotional, "Where Your Heart Meets God's."
It comes in the Bible and my late mother-in-law, Andreina Reigada, always had hers open.
It comes in the beauty of the natural world.
God also amazes us with the supernatural, such as the reassurance that came in the clouds while I was rushing to the hospital during a health crisis. The majesty that my husband captured on camera, proclaimed a message of hope: No matter how out of control life may seem, God remains forever in control and on His throne.
Until I saw this for myself, I never thought God would go to such lengths to get my attention. I pictured Him angry, like that salesman at my door.
Flora Reigada is a journalist and novelist. She and husband, Dan, have been a reporter/photographer team for several newspapers including the Florida Today and currently, Senior Life of Brevard County, Florida. Flora has also written for Guideposts magazine, Decision magazine, the Upper Room daily devotional and more. She and Dan are proud parents and grandparents. The couple has traveled throughout the beautiful British Isles and visited Spain, where they stayed in a castle overlooking the ocean.
Stop by Flora's Amazon Author Page:http://www.amazon.com/Flora-Reigada/e/B00IQK4C5A/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Years have passed since that day in first grade, and our hands still work—mine to heal or write, his to design.
Pheaton Guinn and I grew up in Selma, Alabama. We went to the same schools, same church, same grocery store. Pheaton continued to dream about fast cars and space ships. His hands continued to work. One day his design talents were recognized in the NASCAR world. That’s the epitome of car racing, for those who don’t know. Pheaton can tell you about it.
“Being a dad is the best job I ever had, but the second best was with Dale Earnhardt, the NASCAR legend. I spent a few years with Dale as the NASCAR program manager for his sponsor, Wrangler Jeans. I tell people I was duct-taped to his elbow during that time. I was lucky enough to witness first hand one of the best professional drivers to strap into a race car but was even luckier to spend a lot of one-on-one time with a quality human being. He was just a good old country boy who could flat drive the wheels off a race car.”
So doodling race cars and space ships morphed into a design career and now Pheaton Guinn Creative Services carries on the tradition.
What are those hands doing now in the design world? This is how Pheaton describes it.
“My specialty is logo and corporate identity. Some of this is probably the son of a sign painter coming out, but as a graphics guy, I love the art that comes from letter forms, using size and color and shadowing for emphasis and emotion. I’m drawn to verses in the Bible that aren’t necessarily in the "Top 10.” I like the ones showing interactions, which we may never see or hear again that carry weight for everyday guys like me. Maybe I can bring that verse to someone that needs it.”
“I felt compelled to give my own graphic treatment to the Bible verses that mean the most to me. An anonymous dad needed help for his son from Jesus. This is probably my favorite verse—it sums up my faith.”
Our lives are given early inklings of what we will be, whether story writers or graphic designers. That spring day, my first grade teacher encouraged me to pay attention during math but read my poetry to the class. Pheaton found some teachers along the way to recognize the gifts of his hands.
What’s in your hands?
Launch out today. Leave a comment, and tell us about it.
When we hear stories of families who crossed the Oregon Trail, we can't help but feel a sense of awe at their dedication. The Great Migration was an amazing period in American history filled with stories of people who were patient, dedicated, and sometimes just plain mean. I knew when I started writing this series that would need to develop characters who could 'make it' in that world.
Get to know the two main characters from the first Lawmen of Clayton County story, Athena Creek.
Physical features – Tall and thin, shoulder-length blonde hair, mustache, stern expression, always wears black. Picture a young Sam Elliot, complete with that deep voice that gives you the chills when he speaks!
Personality – Grounded and logical, with a deep sense of justice.
Backstory – As a boy, came across the Oregon Trail by covered wagon with his family. Parents have now passed away, one sister (Caroline) with a husband and children. Had a couple deputy jobs here and there. Desires a place to belong and someone to believe in him.
Creative process – I envisioned Trace as the stereotypical cowboy you’d see in a John Wayne movie, Marty Robins song, or Louis L’Amour story. As Gram would say, “Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm!”
Physical features – Light brown hair usually in a long braid down her back, broad shoulders atypical of a woman, strong and sturdy frame.
Personality – Tough and feisty, often acts before thinking, independent and stubborn.
Backstory – Three siblings – all thieves and scoundrels, drunk father and enabling mother. Desires a chance to make a better life than her family members.
Creative process – Lynette, the beginning of the entire series, was envisioned one day as I listened to a Carrie Underwood song. I’ll give you one guess – Before He Cheats. As I listened to the words, I wondered what a woman from the old west would do if she found her man cheating. Thus, the story was born, and two more followed, creating The Lawmen of Clayton County. I had a lot of fun writing scenes where she is impulsive!
Jen Cudmore is a historical romance author who grew up in the Columbia River Gorge. She currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. She contributes to blogs at Moms of Faith and Alaska Christian Women's Ministry. Visit her website at jencudmore.com, where she posts about fiction, family and faith. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Would you like to listen to the audio sample of Murray Pura's "Silver City - Volume 1 - This Is Where The Cowboy Rides Away"?
Just use the "Contact Form" on the right sidebar and we will send you the link to listen to it and over 20 more audiobooks!
We hope to hear from you soon!
Would you like to listen in on the broadcast? Here is the link ,just click and go:http://ow.ly/ONwLP
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Sheriff Dan, and the Deputy’s Dan keep law and order in the small, sleepy hamlet: an oasis of peace, tranquility, and Mustafa’s Diner.
Join Patti J. Smith and Giovanni Gelati as they introduce you to the cast of characters that inhabit this quirky small town.
What foul evil doing is afoot?
Find out in this humor filled, small town cozy mystery.
Patti J. Smith is a best-selling author of devotionals, light romance and suspense. She was born into a military family in Wimpole Park, England and traveled extensively during her childhood.
She lives in Vista, CA with her husband and has three beautiful granddaughters. She is a prolific blogger and reader, and proudly admit to being a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and Fantasy Football fanatic. Her travel adventures include Spain, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Fiji, South Korea and almost all states - including Hawaii and Alaska.
Follow her blog: http://www.gridirongrannyfootballfanatic.blogspot.com/
The end is near for “The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series”
The last story, “Truth and Trust”, will be released during the Helping Hands Press “Thirsty Thursday” Party on 8/23.
Important questions will be answered:
-Will Raul be able to handle the office move without having a meltdown?
-Will Heather make a choice between the past and present to make her future?
-Will Sky have a wedding cake to make or just some organic cookies for her kids?
-Will Mario go berserk just because, well, because he is Mario?
-And what will become of Indigo, is the image clear or still blurry?
-will Gloria come back the same, worse or new and improved?
Friday, June 19, 2015
All this was lost to me as a sixteen year-old watching the movie at the old Casino Theater in Vandergrift PA. At the time I was more interested in emulating the infamous campfire & beans scene with my friends. Now, so many decades later, watching the movie with the eyes of a writer, I applaud Mr. Brooks for his daring. As fiction writers we want to entertain, but we also want to enlighten without being preachy. We want to confront issues that are important to us like hate or intolerance, pollution, corporate greed (what have you) without being too heavy-handed. We want to touch and we want to teach.
Blazing Saddles is a social commentary and pure madcap genius rolled into one.
Not bad for a movie that today no one would dare make. Well done, Mr. Brooks.
Hi, I'm Mark Venturini, author of fantastical story for both children and adults. Will you join me as we journey through the Place between Places, that magical place between here and there? Perhaps you've seen a few of my shorter stories or flash fiction pieces over the years. I live in Southwestern PA, where I am happiest taking long walks with my wife, Kathy, and our dog, Bella. I love kayaking and backpacking through the back-country with close friends . . . and of course reading fantasy.
Check out my blog, Journey Through the Place Between Places, where I chat about anything that strikes my fancy: http://markventurinijourney.blogspot.com/
And my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MarkVenturiniAuthor?fref=ts
Thursday, June 18, 2015
This story never fails to get a laugh when I share it with an audience. But as I continue with the story, it drives home the point that you are never too old to need a mom in your life, whether you want a recipe or face a life-or-death emergency. This story conveys the lifelong importance of adoption much better than any other facts or data possibly can do.
You’ve probably been in these shoes. You have an important message. You’ve distilled it to the 3-5 most important points. You want your readers to reflect upon it, remember it and be transformed by it. Telling stories that connect heart, mind and spirit is one of the most effective ways to do this.
Consider Biblical truths that have stuck with you over the years. If you’re like me, many are drawn from the parables of Jesus. The gospels record more than three dozen parables spoken by Jesus! In both the old and new Testaments God used story upon story to demonstrate his love, messages and expectations for us.
Be Specific: Bible stories are both local and universal, time-specific and timeless. God’s stories involve everyday people doing everyday things. Each story-teller from Genesis through the New Testament told stories that fit into the historic, geographic, political and cultural context of the immediate listeners. Your stories will resonate with your readers when you set them in a “time and place” context that is specific, concrete and relatable to day-to-day life.
Be Purposeful: Knowing your purpose for sharing a particular story will help you determine the length, structure and details to include. If your goal is to teach an important point that you want your readers to remember and reflect upon later when facing challenging real-life situations, your story should offer a memorable visual picture while also evoking strong emotions that touch the heart.
If the purpose for your story is to motivate your readers to take action, your story has to demonstrate the impact of the desired actions. When I write about the impact of trauma on children, one of my goals is to motivate readers to do something different when they see behaviors that might possibly be triggered by trauma. I use stories that show – not tell- both the “before” and “after” effects on a child. I want the reader to walk away with the thought, “I could do that too.”
Have fun: Your reader will enjoy your stories a whole lot more if you enjoy them first. Be playful, have fun, smile as your write. The more that you actually like your characters and their activities, the more your readers will relate to them and look forward to reading the next sentence, paragraph and page.
Try to keep with Sue,drop by here Website:http://suebadeau.webs.com/
"I'm afraid that's not accurate. Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot each killed millions and they were all confirmed atheists. Remember the Great Peoples Cultural Revolution? Over twenty million died before it was over. The killing fields in Cambodia claimed the lives of unknown millions, but some estimates suggest twenty five percent of the country's population died at the hands of the Camere Rouge. Joseph Stalin starved ten to twelve million Russian peasant farmers to death and killed another two million building the great Canal outside of Moscow. All three of these monsters were confirmed atheists . . . Probably five thousand people were killed during the Inquisition. In America, thirteen were put on trial during the Salem witch trials. Horrible and indefensible, no doubt. But millions of human beings were slaughtered by Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao. I'm afraid we Christians are amateurs compared to you atheists."
- from the novel "Separation of Church and State."
Joseph Max Lewis josephmaxlewis.com author of The Diaries of Pontius Pilate, Separation of Church and State and Baghdad Burning.
After living and studying abroad, first in the Middle East and then Southeast Asia, Lewis returned home to practice law. He’s a columnist in the New Bethlehem Leader-Vindicator and author of The Diaries of Pontius Pilate, Separation of Church and State and Baghdad Burning. He currently lives, writes, and practices law in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Lately, I have felt drawn to the book of the Bible that we call, “Leviticus”. It’s a book that describes in great detail the regulations for the worship of the Holy One of Israel, and for that reason can seem very dry to our culture that tends to be long on freedoms but short on accountability. However, if we look a little deeper into the foundations of this book we see God reminding His people that He is a Holy God and that their lives must reflect that Holiness. In chapter 19:2 of the book, God says: “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord Your God, am Holy.” Later, in the fifth book of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:51 & 52, Moses is reprimanded by God and is refused entry into the Promised Land, “…This is because …you broke faith with Me in the presence of the Israelites …because you did not uphold my Holiness among the Israelites. Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.” This may seem very harsh to us today, after all that Moses went through to bring the Chosen People out of Egypt and to the very shores of the Jordan. You might think that God was unfair in treating him so. But this event described in Numbers 20: 9-11, clearly shows Moses questioning God rather than trusting in Him; undermining God’s holiness rather than upholding it. There is a lesson here for all of us believers and especially those who are in leadership over Christian communities: we must, by our lives, hold up before the world the Holiness of God. This is quintessentially expressed in the Cross and Resurrection of God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ. Nothing else will avail; “no power of hell nor scheme of man.” Only the Holiness of God can save us.
Tony Hilling is a retired pastor living in Western Canada. You can connect with him at:
their habits, or they risk getting in a rut.
I've written Westerns, and Westerns exclusively, for years now.
However, I've recently done a Christian themed Western THE FAITH AND THE LAW, and have branched out
into Young Adult Westerns, with my LONE STAR RANGER series. I've even done a short
Western romance, HEART OF HER RANGER. And I've just finished my first contemporary
murder mystery, THE MAD MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS. However, Westerns are still my
first love, and what I'll continue to write. But trying different genres helps stretch my
imagination, and will bring some fresh viewpoints to my writing. So, writers and
readers, step back, take a break from your usual genre, and see where you end
You might just be very pleasantly surprised.
James J. Griffin, while a native New Englander, has been a student of the frontier West from a very young age. He has travelled extensively throughout the western United States, and has visited many of the famous Western frontier towns, such as Tombstone, Pecos, Deadwood, Cheyenne, and numerous others.
Jim and Yankee Jim & Yankee
Jim has also been an avid horseman all of his life. He bought his first horse, a pinto, while he was a junior in college, and has owned several American Paint Horses, including his current mount, Yankee. He is a member of the Connecticut Horse Council Volunteer Horse Patrol, an organization which assists the state park rangers with patrolling the state parks and forests.
At the urging of James Reasoner, author of Texas Wind and The Civil War Battle Series, plus many other novels, Jim decided to write a series of Texas Ranger novels. The first book, Trouble Rides the Texas Pacific, was published in 2005. With the success of that book, Jim was encouraged to continue his writing.
While Jim's books are fiction, he strives to keep them as accurate as possible within the realm of fiction. To that end, besides his own travels and research, he relies on his good friend Texas Ranger Sergeant Jim Huggins of Company F in Waco for forensics and Ranger technical information, and good friends Karl Rehn and Penny Riggs of KR Training in Austin, Texas for their expertise on weapons and ammunition of the frontier West.
Jim is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. When not travelling out West, he currently divides his time between Branford, Connecticut and Keene, New Hampshire.
Jim is available for presentations and book signings.
Drop by Jim's Website:http://www.jamesjgriffin.net/index.html
As far as my writing is concerned I just go at it. Writing a novel can be torturous. I have an idea and, for me, it is like I am back on the streets of NYC as a kid dodging in and out of traffic and never knowing what to expect but somehow miraculously surviving and making it back home. I don’t plot or synopsize or outline until “after the fact” because I don’t really know where I am going. But, bottom line, it is always a fun ride and I always seem to reach my destination albeit unexpected. I am what is known as a “pantster” (unorthodox) in my approach to writing fiction. I would definitely flunk a college course in “Intro to Novel Writing; 101”.
Finally, as all of you have had, I too have had a share of “bumps in the road”, mostly cancer(s). My Mom died 55 years ago from leukemia. Back then you did not last long. She lasted four months. My first wife died of melanoma 12 years ago. My sister had lung cancer but is OK after having a lung removed. My second wife, (we are married eight years) came down with Lymphoma in 2011 and now she has Alzheimer’s Disease. I am her primary caregiver and every day is an adventure. Last but not least—I am a Prostate cancer survivor (had a radical prostatectomy eight years ago) and I also have lived with MS for 30 years. Bottom line –I am doing GREAT!!! Praise the Lord. Next week I will be 71. For me, it is my new 51.
Glad to be here. http://www.slipperywillie.blogspot.com
1. Practice makes perfect, or nearly so.
The adjudicator suggested that students need regular practice. No surprise there. In her words, “You only need to practice on the days you eat.”
Sigh. If I “only” wrote on the days I ate, I’d get a lot more writing done. Although we all must create a schedule that suits us, the truth is, the more we write, the better we become.
2. A steady and consistent rhythm comes from the heartbeat of the soul.
Some of the participants in the music festival played all the right notes, but theirs was a “learned” performance. Others made a mistake or two, but the music had a steady rhythm, because it came from the soul.
Some writers have an innate gift for story and composition, while others of us must struggle to create a solid piece of writing. Either way, the story communicates best when it comes from the heart.
One of my granddaughters has an especially dramatic bent. Her mother warned her that even if the performance didn’t go as well as she hoped, she was not allowed to bang her head against the piano, Muppet style.
I chuckled at that, but how often do we belittle ourselves and our writing when we feel we’ve come up short? We need to have an attitude of professionalism and acceptance of failures as well as successes. Call it literary poise.
4. Life must be consistent on and off stage.
One of the performers suffered a memory lapse during her piano piece (she was not the only one, but her reaction was unique). Instead of simply asking for her music book, she ran her hands through her hair, jumped up from the bench, jogged over to pick up her music, jogged back and plunked down on the bench with a huge sigh to try again. The adjudicator suggested that performance did not only include the actual playing time, but the total spotlight time.
As writers who are Christian, we are “on display,” not only when people read our work, but also when we go to the grocery store, or the bank, or a sports event. Consistency and integrity are key.
5. You are you, unique in style and voice.
Several times during the music festival, two children played the same piece, but it didn’t ever sound the same. Each person (or teacher) interpreted the music in a unique manner. Neither was right or wrong, just individual.
Writing is an individualistic vocation if anything is. We interpret our world and report on it or show it through our characters. However we choose to do this, we must be true to ourselves.
Blessings as you keep living and writing consistently.
Janice was born and raised in southern Alberta, Canada into an ethnic Mennonite farm family. She was blessed with a loving and stable childhood, and lots of relatives who told stories of Russia, emigration and early life in Canada. After graduating from high school, Janice attended Bible college in Saskatchewan, where she met her future husband. They moved to a farm in central Saskatchewan after their marriage and raised three children there. They are now grandparents to ten amazing kids.
Drop by Janice's Amazon Author Page:http://www.amazon.com/Janice-L.-Dick/e/B001KIAKLK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1434573273&sr=8-1
By Peggy Blann Phifer
When I signed the contract for the first Sweetland Series—Summer in Sweetland—I already had a rough idea for my story. Being newly widowed myself, I intended to write a character, also recently widowed, who feels cast adrift with nothing much to look forward to except merely existing. Pretty much the way I was feeling.
That’s when Rozene was ‘born’ though for the life of me I can’t honestly explain what made me make her a Native American. She just popped into my head. So I used my well-worn Character-Naming Sourcebook (Writer’s Digest) and searched for an appropriate name. Then I started building her background.
Turns out she was an orphan from birth, didn’t know who her parents were, only that she had been raised and cared-for by her grandmother. Out came that Sourcebook and I discovered a great name, Chenoa. Alas, the names Rozene and Chenoa are not listed under any specific Indian Nation or tribe, so I decided to make them Cherokee. Since Sweetland had no specific location, being more like Anytown, USA, I figured I would be okay. That story was All Things Work Together.
After reading Anne Baxter Campbell’s first story—Mended by Mother’s Day—I was going to have Rozene join the Widow’s group at Arlene Smith’s home, hoping she could find some focus in her life beyond the Gentry Family Restaurant.
When Diane Pitts’ story—The Summer’s Dance—and I met her characters residing at The Brekenridge at Mt. Laurel…and assisted living facility—I had all the characters I needed to determine the path the whole story would take.
The object of Summer in Sweetland was to write our stories with a goal of something special that would happen at the Labor Day Picnic at City Park.
I carried Rozene and the four girls through ‘Tis the Season in Sweetland, (Silver Bells and Candlelight) and Sonrise in Sweetland, (Perfect for the Job),and am continuing each of their stories in my own series, Sweetwater River, along with Mike Carson, pastor at the Assembly of God church in Sweetland, and introducing new characters. The first title in this series is Ripples.
What will come into play in this series, not specifically mentioned in any of the earlier stories, is the fact that Rozene had inherited several-hundred acres on both sides of the Sweetwater River and how this will impact everyone in coming stories. Coming next, Undercurrents.
TWITTER: www.twitter.com/pegphifer @pegphifer
Peggy Blann Phifer retired from an executive assistant position after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale industry. She came to writing later in life when a prayer she wrote appeared in a two-volume Guideposts Book compilation, 'Prayers for Every Need,' in 2000. She self-published her debut novel, 'To See the Sun,' which released in January 2012. Her writing has appeared in three anthologies in 2014 with Helping Hands Press, and a fourth in 2015. Peg is now writing a series of her own with Helping Hands Press titled ‘Sweetwater River.’
Widowed in October 2012, Peg now makes her home in northern Wisconsin in a home she bought together with her daughter and son-in-law. The three of them share the house with one dog, and one grand-dog. She converted a third of the house into a cozy 'apartment' where she spends most of her time writing.
Although a graduate of Penn State University (2002) with a bachelor of arts in English, emphasis in nonfiction writing, I credit most of my growth as a writer to my nearly 6 years in the Army. During my enlistment, I held the military occupation specialty (MOS) 46Q, print journalist.
While college taught me writing basics, my time as a print journalist taught me something even more valuable: how to look for stories.
While the perception of military life tends to be one of excitement, it isn’t always the case. Even initially exciting events such as a new type of training can get boring when they are integrated into the normal routine. Additionally, because most of a military journalist’s stories appear in military publications (base newspapers, Army produced magazines, etc.), the audience isn’t necessarily interested in reading about training or other things they probably experience firsthand themselves.
Despite all these difficulties, my job was to produce weekly content to tell the Army story. So I was forced to look for new story angles and human interest stories. I had to look deeper than the surface. I was forced to look for small details that are often overlooked and expand upon them, to look for human interest angles that would make others want to read what I wrote.
I credit this attention to detail and deeper digging to the completion of my first novel. I think all of us have stories to tell; however, we may not necessarily have the skills to pick out the ones worth telling, losing them in the sea of everyday life. Army life taught me this skill.
Because my first novel deals with Army life to an extent, I hope I do a good service to “the service” for all it has taught me about being an effective storyteller. Likewise, I hope to continue to use and develop this skill as I continue to grow as a writer.
To follow me on this journey, follow me at:
My Blog: http://kstabinsky.blogspot.com/
Thursday, June 11, 2015
The joy at seeing my creation come to life got me interested in the creative process, so I decided to pursue a degree in creative writing from Penn State University. I joined the Penn State Schuylkill Campus Collegiate staff, interned at PA Business Central and Voices of Central Pennsylvania, and became a summer correspondent for the Pottsville Republican.
In Dec. 2002, I graduated from Penn State University with a B.A., English, with an emphasis in nonfiction writing. Following graduation, I enlisted in the Army as a print journalist. During my roughly 6 years in the Army, I covered multiple story types (sports, hard news, features), earning several awards. My work has appeared in multiple newspapers worldwide to include Military.com (readership: 6,023,048); Stars and Stripes, Washington, DC (readership: 1,000,000); and the Associated Press, New York, NY. One of my stories, Girl Waits for Second Chance to See, made the front cover of Stars and Stripes.
My work in the Army garnered me numerous awards, including the 2007 U.S. Army Forces Command runner-up Journalist of the Year (one of the top 14 journalists Army wide), 2005 Installation Management Southwest Region Journalist of the Year (one of the top seven journalists Army-wide). Other individual Army awards include editor of the 2007 top Army field publication, second place in 2007 for story series, and second place in 2006 for feature articles.
After completing my contract, I continued to work for the Department of Defense, winning the 2009 Army Civilian Journalist of the Year award.
I am also a graduate of the Christian Writers Guild and have had work published in devotionals such as Soul Journey. I am currently in the process of reediting my second novel to prepare it for publication, and have several other ideas for future projects in the works.
Drop by Kevin's blog and say hello:http://kstabinsky.blogspot.com/
Also find him on Twitter:https://twitter.com/kevinstabinsky
The Darkened were blackened souls filled with hate who had chosen to reject goodness in life. Upon leaving their earthly bodies they moved into a world absent of hope. It was the most dreadful place to be. Scorched and dark, it was steaming hot and never ending. The worst part was, this place was devoid of second chances. This caused the hatred inside the Darkened to burn like a white-hot, unquenchable fire. If only they could have said just once, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.”
They had their chances---so many, many chances. But, before anyone or anything, their choices were always for themselves first. Self-serving pride always trumped humility, from the time they reached the age of reason until they breathed their last.
Once a person’s soul had joined the ranks of the Darkened they were ordered to prowl about the world seeking new recruits. Many potential recruits, already weakened by their own love of self, chose to follow the Darkened’ s incessant nagging and embraced worldliness before all else. Gluttony replaced temperance, sloth conquered diligence, wrath smothered patience, lust ridiculed chastity, and most importantly, pride trounced humility. These were the folks who had pledged their very souls to Satan. In the world of Invidia they were known as the Ergots.
The Ergots were the future Darkened and would graduate to that existence upon their deaths. All they had to do while alive was absorb the hate from the Darkened Spirit assigned to them and then be in the forefront of all that was ungood among the living, spreading the terrible lie that the love of self was virtuous. Their rewards for pledging themselves included an extended healthy life filled with many earthly pleasures. Rarely did anyone seek atonement and ask forgiveness.
Amazingly, Satan and his Darkened despised and hated the Ergots. It did not matter that they were the ones doing their earthly bidding. They were hated and despised because they still had a very slim chance at redemption. That was something even Satan could never have and there was not one thing he could do about it.
The Great Festival of Torment took place every 100 years. On this night the Darkened would join together with the Ergots in a spiritual hate-fest. They would come together from all parts of the world to gather at the gates of Invidia to proclaim the millions of new Darkened who had joined the army of Satan over the past century. The highlight of the “Great Festival” was always “Sacrificium Humani Agnus” (Latin meaning, “Sacrifice of the Human Lamb”). This was an offering to Satan as tribute. Somewhere on the planet there was a young person that had been nurtured and kept pure since birth to be that Lamb. The last Great Festival had been in 1866. It was time for another.
His books include the novel, The Priest and the Peaches” and the children’s book, “Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes”. He is in the final draft of his latest book, The Demons of Abadon, which is the sequel to The Priest and The Peaches.
Larry’s first wife died of cancer (Melanoma) in 2003. He married again in 2006. His new wife also had been widowed. Ironically, she came down with cancer (Lymphoma) in 2011. In the fall of 2014 she was also diagnosed as having early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Larry says, “We are both doing fine. Having Faith is a beautiful thing.”
Where can you find Larry?
Over 150 years ago the history of America changed forever. Live 1863 through the stories of some of our finest writers – the passion, the romance, the tragedy, and the triumph.
The plantations. The Underground Railroad. Chancellorsville. Vicksburg. Gettysburg. Little Round Top. Chickamauga. Chattanooga. Missionary Ridge. The soldiers in the field. The families at home. The nurses in the hospitals. The speeches at Richmond and Washington. The prayers in churches North and South. It’s all here in one of the most dramatic series ever produced.
Join us for one of the most exciting events in American inspirational publishing – Helping Hands Press presents CRY OF FREEDOM!
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Five sheck-el. Five sheck-el. His voice booms over the din. Hebrew mixes with English, Farsi with French. Mizrachi music weaves in and out of conversations. “What did you say?” You lean in closer to your companion, mouth to ear.
Wednesday evening at the HaCarmel shuk in Tel Aviv. It’s a crush of humanity––not for the faint of heart. Permanently planted on HaCarmel Street at the junction of Allenby, King George, and Sheinkin Streets, this market fills the needs of shoppers as well as the lonely heart wanting more than four drab walls of an apartment.
Stalls of fresh, vibrant fruit and vegetables of every color––large and plump displayed in inviting sections beckon. “Come, taste, touch.” You’re pulled along by the crowd deeper in. Pungent spices in buckets fill a metal table and offer a fusion of color and aroma. Next door, glossy olives and pickles compete for the senses, and next to that––fresh local and European cheeses. Dried fruits, fresh flowers, teas, coffee, and honey, a feast for eyes and tongue. Then you peek down a side street and another odor hangs in the air. You’ve found the meat and fish. Plastic tables are filled with ice and the catch of the day. A small cubicle inside a concrete building holds a refrigerated case filled with chicken and slabs of beef and lamb. An old fashioned butcher, if you will. You go around the corner, down another alley, past more meat markets and back into the stream of bodies on the main thoroughfare. Tucked between the cubicles of clothes, school supplies, tchotchkes with little value, Shabbat candles, challah covers, shoes and cooking supplies, reside fresh fruit juice stands and shawarma shops. The pop and sizzle of meat on a flat iron grill beckons you to stop, point to the salad and sauces you want to fill the thick soft flatbread sandwich filled with hot shaved lamb and turkey. No respectable shawarma walks away without a sizeable topping of thick-cut steak fries to finish the deal. With a wrap of white paper to hold the meal in place, you’re on your way further up and further in, to look for the best price, the freshest produce, the newest music.
Skimpy shorts and tank tops pass by long black skirts and wigs. Tourists mingle with long time residents. Babies in strollers to wrinkled Babushkas - everyone’s there.
This is the spice of life in Tel Aviv.
Drawing from her many visits to Israel, Marta seeks to bridge the gap between the Christian and Jewish world.
You can visit Marta at: verbalismbuffet.blogspot.com
Or on Twitter: @MartaBurden
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Answer the trivia question correctly and we will gladly send you all of the ebooks in the "Just the #1's" ebook package.
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The first gold strike in the Old West was made by WHO? in What Year, and in What Town?
By Peggy Blann Phifer
Sweetland, Arkansas, Friday, late April
“It’s all set Mom. Misty’s appointment is tomorrow morning at eleven. I can’t wait to see what Leilani does with all that luxurious black hair.”
Rozene Carson smiled into the phone. “You mean the Leilani? How’d you manage that, Shira?”
“When I described Misty and her hair, she wanted to be the one to tackle it. She even showed me some really neat styles for long hair.”
“Thanks for doing that, honey. Misty will be thrilled. I picked up her dress yesterday. Wait till you see it. Absolutely gorgeous.”
Rozene shifted the phone to her other ear. “Will you girls be heading home soon?”
Rozene and Mike Carson’s three oldest adopted girls, Veronica, Shira, and Melanie, attended the University of New Beckton weekdays, coming home to Sweetland for the weekends, since New Beckton was well over an hour’s drive one way.
Misty, the fourth adopted daughter, a senior at Sweetland High School, would be graduating in three weeks, and Prom was tomorrow. Exciting days for the seventeen-year old.
“Great. I’ll start supper pretty soon, though I doubt Misty will have much appetite. She’s been jittery, nervous, and excited, all at the same time. But Mike should be able to calm her down when he gets home.”
“She’s going to the prom with that hunky Jonathan Cunningham, right? Lucky her!”
“Yes. They’re double-dating with Sue Tompkins and Todd Ewing.”
“That’s so cool, Mom.” Shira’s voice faded away for a moment. “Looks like Mel is done with exams earlier than she expected. We just have to finish packing up and we’ll be on our—what? Hang on, Mom.” Another mumbled conversation. “Okay, I’ll tell her. Mom, I guess Roni won’t be riding home with us. She wants us to drop her off at Trent’s clinic. He has some sort of emergency with a pregnant dog, and you know Roni. He’ll bring her home later.”
Rozene smiled. Veronica, her oldest adopted daughter, recently turned nineteen, had always wanted to be a veterinarian and spent every available opportunity to be with animals of any kind, anywhere. Which is where, and how she met Trent Manning who owned a large animal hospital and shelter in New Beckton.
“Yes, I know our girl. Well, see you when you get here. ‘Bye.”
As Rozene hung up, the subject of her phone conversation with Shira came into the room. “Where’ve you been, honey?”
A closer look at Misty’s face made Rozene’s heart drop. The girl stood there, nervously rubbing her right hand across the top of her left and chewing on her lower lip, sure signs that something was troubling her.
“What’s wrong, sweetie? And don’t say nothing, because I know better.”
At first, Rozene feared Misty wouldn’t talk to her, but then she slumped onto a chair, her shoulders hunched.
“It’s…Desiree, you know, she lives in that fancy gated community across the river, up near Mt. Point Ski Lodge?”
“Oh, yes, what did they call it, Point Park, or something like that?”
Rozene remembered the big brouhaha over that when construction started about four years ago by a well-moneyed developer. But the land was county owned, outside the city limits, and, in the end, there was nothing the Sweetlanders could do about it. And it irked the citizens of Sweetland that the placement of the exclusive townhomes was elevated enough that the residents up there could view the goings-on in the valley. They’d felt like their privacy had been violated.
All water under the bridge now, literally, but a bitter taste lingered among some of Sweetland’s old-timers who would rather keep their city the sleepy little town it used to be.
Sweetland was growing, and with growth came change, like it or not.
That thought made Rozene stop in her ruminations. Would Papa Gentry have been among those few curmudgeons who complained the loudest?
A slight smile twitched the corners of Misty’s lips but disappeared so fast Rozene questioned that it had even been there.
“So, tell me about this…Desiree, did you call her?
Misty nodded. “Yeah, her name is Desiree Severin. I guess her family moved in up there before I was transferred to Youth Acres Group home. Anyway, Desiree and two of her friends from up there,” she jerked her head in the direction of the mountains, “Natalie and Alexis, have been picking on me ever since I started at Sweetland High in my junior year.”
“What do you mean, picking on you?” though Rozene feared she knew exactly what that meant.
“Oh, Mom, you know…things like sneering at me, calling me half-breed, gathering in a huddle in front of my locker and not letting me get into it until the bell rang, making me late for the next class, turning their backs to me whenever I approached, things like that.”
“Ah, baby, I’m so sorry. Did you tell anyone about it? Like going to the Principal?”
“If I’d done that I would have been labeled as a crybaby. No, I didn’t say anything, just took it as I had all the years through foster care.”
“What about your sisters? Weren’t they aware of what was going on?”
“It’s a small school, Mom, and even though they were a year ahead of me, they knew, but I wouldn’t let them say anything, either.” Misty paused. “And they weren’t my sisters then, not even my friends, or so I thought. They were just girls who lived at the group home.”
Then Misty let out a giggle. “But there was one day that Shira caught them at it. Desiree was waiting for me at the bottom of the steps outside after school. I don’t know what she had in mind, but Shira happened to be behind me, though I didn’t know it. I guess Desiree didn’t either.
“Just as she stepped toward me, Shira appeared, casually stuck her foot out and tripped Desiree. She landed on her knees, books flying.” Misty’s giggle turned into outright laughter. “Shira apologized all over the place saying, ‘Oh, Desiree, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. Are you okay?’”
“Oh, no!” Rozene gasped, but there was no way she could control her own laughter. “Wish I’d seen that. I had a tormenter during my school days, too, but I never had anyone champion me like that.”
“Yeah, it was pretty cool, and for a while, whenever Desiree neared me, she looked around to be sure Shira wasn’t anywhere nearby. And Shira was there often enough to make Desiree more cautious.”
“You said it worked for a while. What happened to change that?”
Did you read Volume 1 - Ripples?
If not,here is the Amazon Kindle link:http://www.amazon.com/Sweetwater-River-Peggy-Blann-Phifer-ebook/dp/B00WJ9HPIK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1433435805&sr=8-2&keywords=peggy+blann+phifer