Friday, March 27, 2015

An Enchanting Take on the Father/Son Theme


 

 
In a captivating world of fantastical creatures, a traditional father’s disappointment in his son who is born to lead his kind into a brave new world, a peaceful, fairer, and more progressive world, finds voice in the prolific imagination of author Lynette Creswell. This young-adult novel titled Clump, A Changeling's Story is full of action, adventure, important lessons in morality, and is easy-to-read; a good story that holds a young person’s short attention span and leaves her/him feeling satisfied and entertained. Creswell possesses the gift of storytelling, which, in the genre of young-adult fiction, requires special writing skill, empathy, and a youthful heart. I highly recommend this book. 

  

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The eBook of Linda Lee Greene’s novel GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS is at http://goo.gl/imUwKO
Linda Lee Greene’s novel Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams, co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch, is at http://amzn.to/VazHFG
Linda’s artwork is on view online at www.gallery-llgreene.com
Linda’s Twitter handle is @LLGreeneAuthor.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

“And This Too Shall Pass”



The morality tale I posted three days ago titled “The Wise Woman’s Stone – An American Indian Legend” struck such a chord with my Facebook friend Yatendra Singh that he responded with another parable I will share with you today. Yatendra was so generous in that he even sent me the appropriate graphic to accompany the article. Thank you for your kindness, Yatendra. You have touched my heart.

The following is Yatendra’s message to me: “Awesome…Reminds me of a story from the Chronicles, which we read in school. It goes like this:

‘One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, “Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot, which gives you six months to find it.”

“If it exists anywhere on earth, Your Majesty,” replied Benaiah, “I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?”

“It has magic powers,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.” Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.

Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah.

He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.

That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. “Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “have you found what I sent you after?” All the ministers laughed, and Solomon himself smiled.

To everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, Your Majesty!” As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: “gimel, zayin, yud,” which began the words “Gam zeh ya’avor” – “This too shall pass.”

At that moment, Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.’”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Wise Woman's Stone - An American Indian Legend

'My favorite Legend <3 

The Wise Woman's Stone
An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said. "I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone."

The Great Spirit Wakan Tanka 

pls Like and share'

The Wise Woman's Stone
An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown
...
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.
The traveler left rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said. "I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone."
The Great Spirit Wakan Tanka

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Depression/Anxiety vs Creativity


Linda Lee Greene in the heart of Ohio, USA, March 21, 2015  

“The poet Rilke was afraid that if he got rid of his demons, he would lose his angels as well. Of course the danger of clinging to our demons to save our angels is that our demons may well take over.”[1]
Boy, do I relate to that statement. I bet a gang of you do too. My demons began to take over when I was the tender age of sixteen and developed a hyperactive thyroid, wrongly diagnosed at the time, and under-treated for many years thereafter. During those most important years of marriage and childbearing, when, if one can possibly arrange it, it’s a good idea to be at ones best and on top of ones game, too much of the time, I seesawed between depression and anxiety, in my case, depression manifesting as feelings of dissatisfaction, and anxiety as restlessness and a sense of uninterrupted urgency. Believe me, I get the angst of victims of mental disorders.
My children grown and on their own, I ventured into New Age Practices, gave Buddhism a look, tried Yoga, joined a church, read enough spiritual tomes to fill the library of Congress, hunted for a better me in the eyes of lovers who hadn’t a clue (I was divorced by then), all in an effort to just feel better. I finally got diagnosed, the lights came on in my brain, and the mood swings began to level out (but not completely). As a result, I have a life-long dependency on Synthroid, a thyroid replacement hormone, which most of the time, keeps me just level enough that I don’t tip over into total insanity again. Now and then, though, the mood swings get out of control, which requires an adjustment in the dosage of the Synthroid.
During my famine years, and before I knew there was a bona fide organic disorder responsible for my troubles (in large part, at least), I gave various antidepressants a whirl—or more precisely, I contemplated giving them a whirl. The truth is, I got prescriptions for them filled, took them for a few days, and then never touched them again. I was afraid of them! Like Rilke, I was afraid they would kill my creativity, my spark. I was afraid I’d descend, if not into the blackness of full-blown depression/anxiety, but into the gray gloom of a medicated zombie state. I bet a slew of you have also experienced that same fear.
“Blake, Byron, Tennyson, Woolf, Poe, Plath, Kierkegaard, Pound, Hemingway, Van Gogh, Tennessee Williams[2], Stephen King, Robin Williams, to name a few in an endless accounting of artist-sufferers of depression/anxiety, some of whom are among the eighteen percent of creative people who have committed, or are more prone to commit, suicide than depressed people in the general population. Other mental disorders among artistic people present similar terrifying statics.
In tandem with my faulty thyroid messing with my moods, the fact that I’m primarily a right-brained individual—an author of fiction, an artist, and an interior designer, also presents tremendous “real-world” challenges for me. When a fire is burning in my right brain, and its light-filled, stress-free, happy, and filled with understanding people hovering steadfastly in the periphery of my existence, encouraging me, supporting my efforts, giving me space and time and freedom to do my thing, life is good for me. But once the project is finished—the book is published, the artwork is hanging on the gallery walls, the rooms are arranged and decorated down to the last knickknack, my Muse retires to her cave; she pulls its blackout curtain across its door, and wants only solitude and nothing to do with the other side of all her efforts, namely the business associated with them.
That’s where I am now! The cool, silent, seclusion of that cave is calling to me—beckoning me. And do you know why? It’s because the reissue of my novel GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS (http://goo.gl/imUwKO) in ebook is available for purchase again. The email from Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing came through to me yesterday informing me that it is up and running. I had to do a reissue because the original publisher went out of business, rendering the novel no longer available. I will publish a paperback version at a later date. One consequence is that I lost all of the reviews (all of them 5 star reviews) the first edition accumulated. In essence, I have to begin a whole new marketing campaign for it…and since that’s a left-brained activity in which I dislike hanging out, depression and anxiety are back in full force again.    
How about you? Where do you stand on this subject of depression and/or anxiety vs creativity? If you are a seamstress, scrapbooker, photographer, furniture refinisher, cook, gardener, artist, musician, writer, composer, singer...whatever your creative outlet, do your creative efforts get waylaid by depression or anxiety? This is your forum to talk about it. Talking helps!
Linda’s novel Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams, co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch, is at http://amzn.to/VazHFG
Linda’s artwork is on view online at www.gallery-llgreene.com
Linda’s Twitter handle is @LLGreeneAuthor.



[1] The Sun, March 2010, “Tim Farrington On Creativity, Depression, And The Dark Night Of The Soul,” by D. Patrick Miller, p 8
[2] Ibid, p 5

Friday, March 13, 2015

Best-selling Children’s Book on Sale During Autism Awareness Month (April 1 thru April 30)


 
Author Nicole Storey has given special-needs kids a hero of their own in her book, The Chosen One (Grimsley Hollow), which began as a story to encourage and inspire her autistic son. Today, her Grimsley Hollow series is spreading the message that not all heroes wear capes, while teaching kids important lessons such as acceptance and inclusion of special-needs children.
 

The first book in the Grimsley Hollow series, The Chosen One, introduces us to Gage – an eleven-year-old, autistic boy who wishes for friends and adventure. The discovery of a mysterious key leads him to a magical Halloween land, and a journey that will change his life forever.


Grimsley Hollow is a unique series with fun characters. It pulls children in, immersing them in a fairytale world that allows their imagination to soar while focusing on the special bond of friendship, true courage, and self-worth.


“I read the kindle version and was so impressed, I bought paperbacks for the sixth grade class at my school,” says author Jane Carroll about The Chosen One. “From what I heard, the kids loved it as much as I did!”


The Grimsley Hollow series is currently made up of three books with a fourth in the works. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, readers can download The Chosen One (Grimsley Hollow Book 1) for a special, promotional price of 0.99 cents the entire month of April. The books are available online at Amazon in digital and paperback forms.

 

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Nicole Storey is an award-winning novelist who resides in Georgia with her husband and their two children. For more information on this series or her young adult books, please visit http://www.nicolestoreyauthor.com/.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reviewing Books Is an Invaluable Service to Writers

 

Do you make a habit of reviewing the books you read? Accumulating reader reviews of books is a huge hurdle for authors and the truth of it is that without them, a book doesn’t stand a chance of getting much notice. If you want to be instrumental in the fate of a book and/or an author, writing reviews and posting them on Amazon.com is the best way to do it. Posting your reviews on Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing, Barnes & Noble, Google+, LinkedIn, and other sites that promote books is also important, but reviews on Amazon have the greatest clout with readers, as well as with other booksellers and advertisers. As a matter of fact, some book advertisers won’t touch a book unless it has a certain number of reviews to its credit on Amazon.   

"The Bookworm"
watercolor by Linda Lee Greene
Have you ever been so touched, or informed, or entertained by a book that you wish you could communicate your appreciation of it directly to the author? Your review posted on Amazon.com is the best way to do it. Writing is a solitary, and oftentimes, a lonely undertaking, and feedback from readers is a writer’s lifeblood. It keeps them motivated; it boosts their self-esteem; it may well save their lives! You might be surprised to know that some of the most prominent authors among us don’t leave their computers for weeks at a time, or you have to use a crowbar to pry their pencils and tablets from their hands—they don’t eat, or brush their teeth, or bathe, or sleep. They almost never see other human beings. But the good news is that most authors I know respond to the reviews their books receive, if to little else. It could be your pathway to a new author cyber-friend. And you can bet your bottom dollar that many authors need your cyber-friendship desperately—as long as they don’t have to meet you personally because that would entail bathing, and ….well, you get the drift! Ha! Ha! Just kidding!  
Are you a writer who wants to support your fellow writers? Only you understand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into writing a book, and one of the most effective ways of validating other authors is to post reviews of their books on Amazon.com. Receiving endorsement from ones peers is akin to being awarded an Oscar of Literature. And it’s a good way of paying it forward.

A lot of readers would like to post reviews, but feel intimidated by the process. “I don’t know what to say, or how to say it. I’m not a writer,” is a response I hear sometimes. You’re in luck. Amazon has lifted its ban on reviews that are too short! You can write something as simple as “I loved it!” or “This is one of the best books I’ve ever read!” or “It will keep you entertained!” or “I couldn’t put it down!” If you didn’t like the book, explain the reasons in the review because that’s information the author needs to improve her/his writing skills. On the other hand, a wordy synopsis is valuable because many readers who are considering the purchase of a book will read its reviews beforehand, and summary-reviews of the story are helpful to them.  

Please support authors by posting reviews of their books, especially at Amazon.com. Go to the site and type in the name of the book. When the correct page comes up, click onto the icon on the right identifying the reviews section. The reviews will come up and will show a dialog box asking if you would like to post a review. Click onto it, and follow the prompts. It’s easy; it’s fun; and it’s satisfying. And you will make a lonely writer very happy, and maybe even save her/him from premature dentures!
 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Who Is To Blame When a Child Goes Astray?

 

You’ve followed all the rules: you went to school; built a reliable middle-class profession; got married; bought a nice house; created a family; made a good home; participated in your community—you’ve volunteered; supported charities; given to friends and family members in need; voted at every election—you’ve been a good son, sibling, friend, husband, father—and then one evening after a hard day’s work, you’re home with your wife and children, eating dinner, the television providing background white noise. A news bulletin catches your attention. There has been another assassination: the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, the hope of the nation, the person who is going to turn things around, has been killed, shot by an assassin’s bullet—and you hear your son’s name; your college-student son; the child of your first marriage; the child you left behind, identified as the alleged shooter, branded as a terrorist—and in that flash of mere seconds, your safe, secure, textbook life swirls off of the planet—lost forever in the utter blackness of the unknown.

                 In the wake of unshakeable evidence of his son’s guilt, including a confession, the father applies the logic of a medical diagnostician, which he is by profession, to uncover possible extenuating circumstances, and in the retracing he tries to justify his own performance as a non-custodial parent to his first-born child. In the retracing, we witness a story known far too well by many of us—one, that despite our good intentions, we have, and will, fail our children. We get caught up in some current event: we divorce and lose daily contact with our children; we are offered the career opportunity of our lives across the country and we become holidays-and-summer-vacations-parents; we get sick; our spouse is unfaithful; one of our children dies; we lose our job. Or, even if we’ve done everything right, something within the nature of the child steers him/her onto the wrong course. We have, and will, fail our children. They have, and will, fail us.

                Author Noah Hawley, in his compelling novel The Good Father, has written a father’s agonizing search to prove his son’s innocence—to prove his own innocence, ultimately. But, in the end, this is an intelligent and emotional exploration of one man’s fantasy that he would be the lucky one, the wise one, who would save his child, and in turn, the child would save him. At the dark heart of the novel, this father’s coming to terms with his fallibility as a parent is a sobering lesson to all of us.

The brilliance of Hawley’s The Good Father is that it does not try to solve the enigma of why, in the face of inadequate nurture and/or nature, some children make it and some do not. It respects the integrity of the unexplainable and tells a thought-provoking story that illustrates the impossibility of answering the question: “Who is to blame when a child goes astray?”