Scattered Pieces Released by Webfoot Publishing

It seems fitting and somewhat ironic that in announcing the publication of Scattered Pieces, I should think back upon my life. Perhaps all lives are scattered pieces, pieces dealt to us by fate, and the pieces we chose to play in such and such a way.

In my story, Katie Harris looks back to assemble the scattered pieces of her past. Katie’s life was marked early when her little brother, the mischievous Jimmy, wiggled away from her at a Cleveland train station.  His disappearance marked Katie and her parents with what might be a brand that says: LOST. AT FAULT.

As I write that, I think I might bear a similar mark. LOST. TWO SONS. Though I never consciously plotted Katie’s story using my personal history, it may have been at the core of my disseminating dream. My dream: a little boy waits with his father outside a train station. As a spectator, I see the father bring the boy inside. But two menacing figures accost them and the child vanishes.

This was the first dream. The second began after I went back to sleep. This time I’m at an airport, sitting on an outside bench.  A little girl wheels an empty baby buggy toward me. “I’m looking for him,” she says, and walks toward an airplane waiting on the tarmac. Waking again, I reviewed the two dreams, and Scattered Pieces began to take shape in my mind.

As Katie’s life of trauma, love, and mystery unfolded, Lisa Nowak was one of my best pre-beta readers.  Her enthusiasm for Scattered Pieces culminated this week with its publication through Lisa’s company, Webfoot Publishing. Besides having stepped into the world of publishing, Lisa is also the author of the YA series Full Throttle , beginning with Running Wide Open, a coming of age story set against an exciting background of stock car racing.

I want to thank Lisa and Webfoot Publishing for making this dream a reality. And the awesome ladies of Chrysalis who listened and commented, week after week, during it’s initial reading.

Scattered Pieces can be found for the low price of $2.99 in e-book format at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and on Kindle at Amazon.  The print version will be available sometime in November. If you’re interested in reading it and letting me know of any typos you spot, I’ll send you a free copy. Just leave a comment below.

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Published in: on September 12, 2011 at 10:46 am  Comments (11)  
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New Friends and Kindred Spirits

Yesterday I had the privilege of presenting Volunteer for Glory to a wonderful group of people at Tanner Springs Assisted Living. Admittedly, I was nervous as I’d only given readings, and being without a script was a challenge. Once there, however, I felt an amazing warmth and kinship with these remarkable individuals.

How do you describe such an atmosphere without resorting to clichés? You can mention the smiles and gentle responses from each person you greeted. You can refer to their polite attention. And you can report their participation, especially when I asked them to share thoughts, opinions, or memories.

One lady had spent time in the South where the Civil War still lives in a collective memory of carpetbaggers and hard times. That brought on a discussion of the bitter aftermath of Reconstruction following Lincoln’s assassination. The South had lost their greatest friend, for Lincoln’s desire had been to “bind up the nation’s wounds.” Then she told us that only about 5 percent of Confederate soldiers were slave owners. The majority of Rebel soldiers were poor farmers without an economic stake in the fortunes of the big plantations. Another resident remarked that some wives followed their men to wash, sew, and cook.

When I mentioned how different life was in the days before computers, cell phones and iPods, a woman seated in the back row shared a childhood memory from the Depression.  “My father farmed using horses,” she said,  “as we couldn’t afford a tractor. But when he’d come in after a day of plowing, I’d run to meet him.  We had two mares, and he would pick me up and set me on the back of the gentlest, the one named Ruth. I was so proud to ride into the barn on that big horse.” I could see her in my mind’s eye; a sweet mite of a girl running to greet her daddy at day’s end. I could also imagine the man in his cotton shirt and overalls, setting his little girl on the massive draft horse to ride like a queen across the barnyard.

A dress and sunbonnet, part of the Civil War era fashions kindly lent by Roxie Matthews, sparked another story. A wonderful lady told of wearing a sunbonnet to work in the fields, day after day, enduring hot sun and backbreaking labor. Scratching out a living in the ’30s required that everyone pull his or her weight.

Several hands rose when I asked if any had seen husbands or brothers go off to World War II. They nodded, knowing what it was like to be left behind while loved ones marched into danger with no assurance of return.

As a bonus, I’ve been invited back to present Wrenn, Egypt House, and the soon-to-be published, Scattered Pieces. One lady has already spoken for a copy of Scattered Pieces as she can relate to the 1940s. But the sweetness of this afternoon was not in the selling and signing of books. It was in meeting extraordinary people and discovering the riches of friendship and wisdom they offer.  I can’t wait to go back!

Does Reading Make You Happy?

According to an article in last Sunday’s Parade Magazine, researchers at the University of Maryland found that reading a novel elevates one’s mood, even if the story has a depressing theme. I count that as an endorsement for the art we writers pursue. If I’d read this article prior to the Book Fair at Pioneer Square, it would have presented an interesting topic of conversation.

While I wouldn’t describe our sales at the Fair as brisk, Puddletown books were sold. Friends were greeted with enthusiasm, and a tour of other tables revealed alluring selections. I bought another Jean Sheldon mystery, The Seven Cities of Greed, which I just finished reading. The well-researched setting is fascinating, as is her ability to juggle a cast of characters who keep the action moving.  I visited with Veronica Esagui, author of Veronica’s Diaries, but since her third book hasn’t been released yet, was unable to make that purchase.

Two readings for Volunteer for Glory are scheduled this month, and final approval on a cover design for Scattered Pieces draws near.  Even as a laggard summer makes its appearance, time is racing away.

Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 9:07 am  Comments (9)  
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One To Get Ready, and Two To Go

The “one to get ready” announcement is a reminder of the NW Publishers Book Fair in Portland’s Pioneer Square on July 30th.  Puddletown Publishing Group will have a table, and I’m very excited to be one of their authors.  Pat Lichen, Roxie Matthews, Susan Landis-Steward and I will be there to schmooze and autograph copies of our books; Volunteer for Glory, Kidnapping the Lorax, Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice, and The Blind Leading the Blind.  Other tables will feature other publishers and authors.  Don’t miss Jean Sheldon, publisher and mystery writer (Flowers for Her Grave and Woman in the Wing) and Veronica Esagui, host of the local TV show, Authors Forum, and author of Veronica’s Diaries.  Come out to peruse, visit, and buy. The Fair runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Tents are provided for the booksellers in case the fickle Oregon weather decides to drizzle.

My “two to go” is announcing that, Scattered Pieces, my third novel, has come to the final round of checking for typos.

Scattered Pieces is scheduled for a late August release through Lisa Nowak’s Webfoot Publishing. Between now and then is the final run through of the manuscript and approval of a completed cover.  Lisa has just published her own YA novel, Running Wide Open, the first of a five book series set in the world of stock car racing.  Her second book, Getting Sideways, is set for publication in September.

I am still completely hyped with the positive reception that Volunteer for Glory is receiving and will continue to work hard at marketing, but I’m also looking forward to releasing Scattered Pieces first in e-pub formats and then in POD.

For those of you who don’t know anything about the story, Scattered Pieces is set from 1946 to 1961, a more recent era than the Civil War or turn-of-the-century. (Wrenn, Egypt House.) When Katie Harris’s little brother, Jimmy, disappears at a Cleveland train station, her life, and the life of her family, will never be the same. Determined to be the best she can be, and to make up for her brother’s loss, Katie excels in school, eventually majoring in psychology.  In the course of a graduate counseling internship, she is assigned an unsettling client who may be the link to what happened to Jimmy.

Old Memories and New Beginnings

Of the many New Years that have passed, two remain fixed in my memory.  The New Year’s Eve when I looked up into the midnight sky and saw the first snowflakes that would herald the great snow of 1950.  My father scoffed when I ran to say, “It’s snowing!  It’s snowing!”  But I was right.  It was.

The second memory occurred when I was eighteen.  Bridling my beloved horse, Stormy, I rode him to the end of a nearby road ending at a neighbor’s pasture.  As the distant sound of gunfire and celebratory shrieks echoed through the night, we welcomed 1956.  What great things lay ahead, I wondered?  Romance?  Travel?  Art school? Writing a book?

The years have passed, some good and some not so good.  But this is a time to look forward.  The new year recognizes the fulfillment of at least one old ambition. Wrenn, Egypt House, published in 2008, is now available on Kindle through Amazon.com.  Volunteer for Glory is looking for an agent in this 140th year anniversary of the shots fired on Fort Sumter that formally triggered the War Between the States.  And Scattered Pieces, a book set later than either Wrenn or Volunteer, is ready for what I hope is a final edit.

The most immediate “new beginning” brings a January TV interview with Veronica Esagui, writer and publisher of the show, Author’s Forum. We will discuss the writing process, and in particular, Wrenn, Egypt House. The show will air on Comcast cable, either channel 11 or 28.

Other events are already in progress; continued participation in Chrysalis, a writing group for women.  Association in that group has brought new and amazing people into my life; women who are not only talented writers, but who are gifted in diverse fields. I will continue my work in the field of editing.

Gazing into the crystal ball of the future, I see the shadows of things planned but, as usual, the future lies hidden to all but prophets and seers.  May this new decade be one of peace and economic stability.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Buy Wrenn, Egypt House at Amazon.com

Buy Wrenn, Egypt House as an e-book

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 11:46 am  Comments (2)  
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