Spring has finally arrived to stay, or so I hope. I do like winter but this past one even got to be too much for me. Spring gives new hope through deep green grass, a stupendous array of colors and as I look up into the sky my eyes brush the tops of trees sporting new growth. All of nature is there for the taking and I revel in my renewed energy that seems to be in sync with my surroundings.

I have new ideas for stories to write. All I have to do is reach back into my own experiences and connect them with the many personalities I have encountered along the road and I have my story. Someone once asked me how I come up with ideas to put into narratives. I tell them one can simply look at a plain door and imagine it the core of a tale. What is behind that door? Is there anything behind it or is it just there? If that’s the case, why is it there to begin with? You get the idea. All kinds of things can be conjured up and since I like writing mysteries I feel I could run with it.

My editing of “Disappearance in Plain Country” is almost finished and soon ready for self-publishing it. I was surprised and astounded at the reception my first novel “Heart of the Wheat Shaft – Mystery in Nebraska Wheatland” brought me. We can expect friends and family to compliment us and it makes me feel really, really good. But when perfect strangers respond so favorably that is the icing on the cake. And that’s what happened with “Heart of the Wheat Shaft.” I have been published in magazines for short stories and articles for children and for adults. I have done freelance writing for the past two years and wrote novellas for clients. When I decided to concentrate on writing a book I went for it with gusto. It paid off for me and spurred me on to the next one.

That’s what Spring can do for me. Renewal is the path to a whole new life ahead and I plan to take full advantage.

Mystery Series Coming

The small boy crouched in the back seat of the fast moving taxi. He had no idea why his parents weren’t getting to them until he remembered the horse and buggy couldn’t race like the wind like the car he was in. The lady in front leaned back and covered his small body with the quilt and a smile on her face attempted to reassure him.

The first book “Disappearance in Plain Country” will debut in June, 2014. This is the first of a four-book series of the Beatrice Chandler Mystery Series. Each book is set in a different area of Missouri, my home State. Bea Chandler gets caught up in solving cold cases with Detective Alan McIntyre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Once solved, she writes about the cases and is now a renown author. She often visits her small hometown of Devils Creek, Missouri and finds cases closer to home that need solutions, none of which are cold cases but hit close to home for her.

“Disappearance in Plain Country” depicts a small boy, an only child of a young Amish couple who are visiting relatives in Seymour, Missouri for the annual Quilt Auction which draws crowds of Amish as well as the English from across America. Abe Stotzfus and his parents and grandparents have arrived from Ohio with their quilts to be sold. They are given two rooms in a relative’s bed and breakfast on the second floor of Miller Bed and Breakfast and Bakery. Across the hall from them, Beatrice and her best friend Margaret Bartlett have booked their rooms. To everyone’s horror the lively group finds themselves in deep sadness when Abe, age three is snatched from the family’s quilt booth during the auction. Bea has grown close to the Plain People she just met and is determined to find the kidnapper or kidnappers and bring Abe home safely to his parents.

By tracing the kidnappers, a childless couple throughout the Midwest Beatrice realizes they are adept at being elusive. Law enforcement, the FBI and Beatrice manage to stay one step behind them hoping an inevitable slip-up will occur.

You will be drawn into the chase, be disappointed when they escape once again and before the end you will have divided your sympathies for the characters. Throughout the book there are times when you will believe Abe will never be rescued at all. In spite of seemingly insurmountable hurdles, Beatrice Chandler vows to bring him home.

Siblings’ Roles

When I was growing up it was the natural thing to have others in front of me, on my heels and generally just there. I had seven sisters and two brothers though not all in the house at one time. My oldest sister married when I was five or so. During the school year some of my sisters were in boarding school and so for the most part, it seemed like I only had two brothers and two sisters but they were always there! My refuge at times was to walk across the road and sit on the other side of the levee that held the Mississippi River back from land, with a bayou and fields and pecan orchards between me and the river. I sat and listened to loons wailing in the background and thought about things a child would think of, all the while hoping no one would come looking for me.

Only later did I realize my brothers and sisters served a real purpose in my life. I learned how to communicate. Sometimes in shouting matches, sometimes in fun during play times, sometimes while doing chores but that was something that was a given: communication. I learned the value of siblings as I grew older. They were always there when needed and even when I didn’t think I needed them, they were there standing loyal and forgiving.

Recently, we all gathered once more in the town where we all grew up (actually, we grew up a half mile or so from the town in the country but after my father’s death my mother moved into town and settled in her home in the middle of five acres of family pecan trees.) We gathered with our own children and their children to say farewell to a loved brother-in-law. We were there to support his wife who is one of my sisters, and her three children, now adults. It was a beautiful Spring day. Everyone changed to casual wear and we all gathered for the famous photo shots so common in our family. The Orchard sported green trees, flowers blooming and lush green grass as the backdrop for smiling faces in the midst of grief.

Siblings were there, supporting, loyal and yes, forgiving. We united as if still children. We are bonded like glue that will hold us all together into eternity and though spread wide geographically, we are only a phone call, a text, an email, or via Skype away. Any one of us will drop everything and will come running if another needs or calls us.

And that is the role siblings play. It’s a natural result of having them in my life and I don’t mind if one of them comes looking for me.

Talk About My Book

I had a great time yesterday afternoon at The Windsor of Lawrence in Lawrence, KS yesterday. I was given the opportunity by my good friend Robin Clevenger to talk about my book “Heart of the Wheat Shaft” to a group of approximately twenty people. We had a good time discussing the book, our lives and a few there were originally from Nebraska (the setting for my book.) Good to hear their stories, too. I couldn’t resist munching on cookies and sipping a refreshing punch while there.

Take every chance you get to talk about your writing. You will be surprised how many people have the talent and just need a little encouragement to follow their own dreams.

Now to get down to work on editing the first of my four-book Beatrice Chandler Series. I hope to have “Disappearance in Plain Country” out by early summer 2014. All books in the series will have stories set in various areas of Missouri, my home state. All will be in the mystery genre. I’m looking forward to your enjoyment of them!

“Heart of the Wheat Shaft”

It’s been quite a while since I posted on my blog but now resuming in earnest. I recently self-published my first novel “Heart of the Wheat Shaft – Mystery in Nebraska Wheatland.” It is a fictional piece in the mystery genre. It tells the story of Elizabeth Blanton, a high -powered Executive Marketer in the Hospitality business who hailed from herts in Nebraska. She is suddenly called home by her estranged grandmother. Elizabeth returns home and finds herself in the middle of a quest to find the true cause of her beloved grandfather’s death. While there she discovers hidden secrets of both grandparents. Before she uncovers the reasons for Alex Blanton’s untimely death, she is surprised to learn how much of a hold the waving wheat fields have on her.

This is a story you will not be able to put down until the last word and still want to read more. It is on in kindle and paperback formats.

Happy reading!

Writing Forward

It’s been a while since I blogged but lots has happened since July. I have completed a mystery novel “Betrayal of the River” and have joined elance to procure freelance jobs as fillers for slack times.

So you ask is freelancing a good idea? Yes, it is. When I first proposed a job I immediately was chosen to write a Project Narrative. This was a first and I was a little nervous since I entered a new horizon. I didn’t even know what a Project Narrative meant, but thanks to Google I learned immediately and successfully completed the job.

Then I got really brave and proposed other job possibilities. One turned out to be a bummer. The editor kept changing her mind about what I should be doing with a short story and soon she required a novella. I might add the set fee was for a short story, not a novella or a novel. I canceled that project. It was sort of like getting a rejection slip from myself but once recovered, I brushed that experience off and went on to another proposal and landed that one, too. I learned I could sell myself in regard to writing skills that some clients want.

A week ago I was asked for an outline of another mystery in the making. When a client invites you, that is a real boost to one’s ego which as writers we can stand to have once in a while.

It is a good thing to branch out. Don’t lose focus on your original plans for writing but if other opportunities come along, go for it! I bask in diversity so that is why I encourage you to go into other avenues of writing. It hones your writing style as well as the mind.  It helps to relieve pressure and causes freedom of expression to explode.

I encourage you to keep writing forward. I don’t look back on occasional writers’ block, rejection slips and any other negativity. It affects creativity and besides I’m not going backward.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I’ve been asked to write an article about growing vegetables. In most cases, that is a practical and useful request. It will take some research on my part, including interviews with farmers in the area who are both master and take-for-granted vegetable growers. You have the drift here regarding my dilemma. I’m not a gardener. I don’t like to sink my hands into the earth and I don’t like to  pull never-ending weeds, which I would have to do since I don’t believe in the saturating of gardens with chemical overload. The back bending work it takes to produce those succulent vegetables is just not my cup of tea (or sliced tomato?).

The reason I agreed to write the article had nothing to do with my gardening abilities. It centered solely on my love to eat ripe tomatoes, dark green peppers, bright yellow squash and that ever-so-delicious corn on the cob. Not only do I love eating vegetables but I indulge in the creativity of preparing meals with various deletable results. The adulation I receive for these culinary delights certainly spurs me on to see what else I can rev up for my neighbors and other people who drop in. This love of enjoying the results of a vegetable garden provides in-depth research on just what goes on from the first seeds planted to my dinner table.

This is a time when “write what you know” doesn’t really apply. It is an opportunity to stretch my mind beyond what I know and produce copy that lets readers know I know what I’m talking about. Besides loving to eat fresh vegetables, I like to stretch my research abilities and learn a few things new myself.

Excuse me until the next time. I’m off to meet with a farmer someone told me about who has a showplace garden. I understand he is quite a talker. I’m hoping his wife will invite me in for a cold glass of iced tea before I crumble into the vibrant array of vegetables. If not, I’ll just remind myself I’m here to learn all I can. I expect the “from seed to table” concept will ripen in appreciation after today.