Sunday, November 25, 2012

This Season a Reason for Gratitude

On a fateful Sunday morning in 1992, I was distracted by a soiled area on my bathroom floor and decided to clean it before stepping into the shower.  Gathering my cleaning supplies, which were housed in the cabinet beneath the sink, I lowered to my hands and knees, and as I reached forward to swipe the dirty spot, I lost my balance.  As my backside was on its inexorable course to making full contact with the hard tile floor, my tailbone struck the raised heel of my right foot.  Fire exploded in my backside.  I grabbed the edge of the bathtub to steady my reeling brain that was threatening to go black from the pain, and then all I could do was to lower to the floor, contract into a fetal position and lie on the cold tile until the throbbing lessened enough to pull myself to the toilet.  Once seated, I noticed that the designated heel was covered with blood.  At first, I thought that it was a gash in my foot, but further investigation revealed a different source.  I was aghast to find that the blood had come from my backside.

                Discomfort in my tailbone was familiar to me.  Actually, I had broken it thirty-three years earlier.  In preparation for a Saturday night date, I was soaking in the bathtub, aromatic bubbles up to my neck and my skin drinking in the generous dollops of bath oil I had added to the water.  The telephone rang.  This was long before cellphones.  Concerned that it might be my boyfriend calling me for some urgent reason, I jumped out of the bathtub, and proceeded at a quick pace to get to the nearest phone.  Both of my oily feet slipped out from under me on the bare tile of the floor, and I came down with my full weight on my backside and broke my tailbone, an injury that was a source of chronic pain for the ensuing five years.  

                For a couple of months prior to the second incident in the bathroom, I had been experiencing some discomfort in my tailbone again, and, of course, I dismissed it as just a recurrence of the old injury.  I had decided that having it looked at could wait until my yearly gynecological exam, several months hence.  But the pain grew worse, the blood didn’t go away and I had begun to experience bouts of severe diarrhea.  Subsequent to several examinations and tests, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, and for the next five years, it was treated as such.

                All of the treatments were useless, and after second opinions, third opinions, fourth opinions, and copious other tests, it was decided that it was, in fact, Crohns Disease instead, a diagnosis confirmed by one of the foremost Colitis/Crohns specialists in the world, a doctor whose practice is at the Cleveland Clinic.  In the interim, steroids were my steady diet—it was the only thing that somewhat reduced the flares of the almost constant diarrhea. 

                Three years more and additional treatments were the result, including ineffectual infusions of Remicade, as well as chemotherapy medications.  As my body blew up to almost twice its former size from the steroids, and I grew weaker from the diarrhea, and I fought constant anemia from the bleeding, my life diminished concurrently.  It was as if my former life as a socially active and successful interior designer and artist was petering out slowly.  My life had reduced to a well-worn path in the carpeting between my bed and my bathroom.  Not even sleep was my savior because I was up half of the night, every night, in the race to the bathroom, races that I didn’t always win.

                As I reach back into my memory, the only term that comes to mind germane to my emotional state is “emptiness.”  I guess it stands to reason that when a person is dealing with such overwhelming physical difficulties that the mind switches its resources to the body and away from the mind.  But I have another, more philosophical, explanation of my mind’s emptiness.  I believe that Spirit was erasing my mind like a master teacher erasing a blackboard in preparation for a new script for me to follow. 

                That script turned into a full-bodied screenplay in my mind the morning of August 10, 2000, a morning after a very bad night and another interminable day of bathroom trips and barrenness before me.  That morning, I went to the bathroom (what is it with me and bathrooms?), got into the shower, and while standing under the spray, the story of my first book, Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams flowed over me as if the words were contained within the molecules of the water.  I returned to my bed with notebook and pen in hand, and started to write.  For the following four years, the book was the center, as well as the liberator, of my life.  I recruited my cousin, Debra Shiveley Welch to work on a portion of the book with me.  To that point, we had been mere dabblers at writing, and taking on a book was a new experience for both of us.  To our delight, it was an Amazon best-seller upon its release.

The irony of the entire affair is that if I hadn’t been sick and living as a shut-in, I wouldn’t have had the time, or the inclination, to write.  In this way, my illness was advantageous to my new work.  I believe that Spirit arranged all of it to get me out of my own way and onto the path for which my time on Earth was intended all along.  I accept as my truth that Spirit grabbed hold of me by my tailbone and literally pushed me to my knees to make me wake up to my real life.  Although major surgery in 2001 restored my quality of life, I have never regained my full vitality, which means that I have to keep a lighter work schedule as an interior designer, a favorable turn of events that not only gives me plenty of time to write, but also to do artwork.  As this holiday season approaches, I feel deep gratitude for the trials in my life because I believe that all of them happened for a reason, a reason that culminated in my finding independent authenticity, meaningful purpose and dignity of a kind that would have eluded me otherwise.  I also have a profound feeling now that I am fulfilling my destiny.

Spanning this holiday season when we are reminded that a major part of its reason is to count our blessings, three of my good friends, who are fellow writers, have accepted my invitation to tell you their gratitude stories on this blog.  Like me, all of them experienced illnesses that sculpted new and wonderful lives for them.  I hope you will visit me again next week to discover the moving story of Vancouver author, Karen Magill.

My latest novel, Guardians and Other Angels is available in paperback and eBook for Kindle, or your PC and laptop, and other downloading devices at  The book is available in paperback at barnes&    
Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams in paperback and eBook is at  The paperback version is also sold on barnes&

To read excerpts of my current and future books, please log onto

To view an exhibition of some of my artwork, I invite you to log onto

Thursday, November 22, 2012

FREE eBook available of Guardians and Other Angels

The eBook version of my novel, Guardians and Other Angels will be offered FREE Friday and Saturday, November 23rd and 24th on Amazon.  You don't have to own a Kindle to download it, although if you do own one, please download it there.  Otherwise, there is a free app on Amazon whereby you can download it, and as many other eBooks as you desire, to your PC or laptop, and other downloading devices.  My hope is that you will download many copies of it.  Why not?!  It’s Free!!  To gain access to it, please click onto

It would be so helpful to me if you would please pass along the word about the FREE promotion to your online contacts and others in your sphere of influence.  It is designed to get the book into the hands of as many readers as possible, with the purpose of establishing powerful word of mouth recommendations that will ultimately result in many more actual purchases of both paperback and eBook copies of the book.  My children thank you; my grandchildren thank you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I hope you are having a happy holiday weekend.      

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mary Had a Little Lamb, But Not for Thanksgiving

Every schoolchild knows the story of the first Thanksgiving feast:  the Pilgrims and the Indians in 1621.  There was sporadic adherence to it among the Colonists in the ensuing years however, usually reserved for celebrations of the endings of droughts, successful harvests, or victories in battles.  Not until 1777 did the Thirteen Colonists commemorate it as an actual day of Thanksgiving.  It was slow to catch on, though, and it continued its snail’s pace in reaching its place as an inviolable piece of American life, a resistance that held fast despite the 1789 declaration by George Washington that Thursday, November 26 would be “a public day of thanksgiving and prayer,”[1] with the distinct purpose of “giving thanks for the opportunity to form a new nation and the establishment of a new constitution.”[2]  I find it fascinating that it took an invincible midlife woman to inspire its ultimate establishment as a revered national holiday, an influence that only made its mark nearly two and one half centuries beyond the 1621 gathering of the continent’s indigenous people and their interlopers.    

                Sarah Josepha Hale was her name, and writing was her game, and hers is a prime example of the pen being mightier than the sword.  This nineteenth-century Mother of American Thanksgiving is best known as the author of the nursery rhyme, Mary Had a Little Lamb, but she enjoyed a diverse writing career, one spanning six decades, during that time authoring several hundred poems and two dozen books, among them her hugely successful, first novel, an accomplishment that made her one of America’s premier women novelists.  In the United States titled Northwood:  Life North and South, and in England as A New England Tale, the pre-Civil War book also established her as one of the first of either gender to espouse in print the premise that “While slavery hurts and dehumanizes the slave absolutely, it also dehumanizes the masters and retards the psychological, moral and technological progress of the world.”

                Hale was the progenitor of several other progressive programs, among them her support of equal education for American females, particularly higher education for young women.  She demonstrated her commitment through her efforts in the founding of Vassar College, a groundbreaking event in the annals of women’s rights that she upheld unfailingly in her long writing and advocacy career.  In addition to establishing the first day nurseries for working women as well as public playgrounds, she was the first editor of the first women’s magazine, a publication in which she broke tradition and featured works by American writers rather than just reprinting periodicals from England.  The prestigious literary prize, the Sarah Josepha Hale Award, is named for her.

                An active and vociferous patriot, Hale understood the unifying nature of Thanksgiving better than most, and in an effort to have it designated as a national holiday, she wrote thousands of letters to movers and shakers of the country, including five Presidents of the United States, among them Zachary Taylor, Millard Filmore, Franklin Pearce, James Buchanan, and finally Abraham Lincoln.  Gaining the ear, or rather the eye, of Lincoln, her letter convinced him to support legislation establishing a national holiday of Thanksgiving.  The year was 1863, the mid-point of the Civil War.  The hope was that it would help in coalescing the nation and its culture.

In the words of my friend and fellow author, Donna R. Wood in her wonderful blog, Butterfly Phoenix, “As we gather at our tables of Thanksgiving, let us remember those who are not feasting at tables surrounded by family and friends.  Let us remember those who are gathered at tables where quarrels and discord are the norm.  And, let us be thankful for those who would lay down their lives for us, those who are taking their feast in a tent somewhere in the world; alone without the benefit of family.” 

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. 

[2] Ibid
My latest novel, Guardians and Other Angels is available in paperback and eBook for Kindle, or your PC and laptop, and other downloading devices at  The book is also available in paperback at barnes&     

My first book, Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams with Debra Shiveley Welch, in paperback and eBook is at  The paperback version is also sold on barnes&

To read excerpts of my current and future books, please log onto

To view an exhibition of some of my artwork, I invite you to log onto

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lights! Camera! Action!

Can you imagine what a thrill it would be to be an author and to have his/her book noticed by filmmakers, asked to submit a screenplay and to have it considered for a television series (it is still being considered)?  This is what happened to my good friends, Tamy Burns and Kymber Lee Hughes, co-authors of What She Knew, and my guest authors today.  I happily turn the page over to them.  Take it away, Ladies:              


Who are you and what is your background?  I am Tamy Burns (pen named, T L Burns) and I am from Ridgecrest, California.  I am married and am the mother of two grown children.  In the past I taught at a private school, and I still enjoy mentoring and teaching.  My co-author is Kymber Lee Hughes (pen named Kymber Lee and K R. Hughes) of Amarillo, Texas.  We are both currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia.  Kym holds a degree in English and a minor in Journalism, and has published a historical romance novel titled, Treasured Love by Kymber Lee.  It is available at  Her latest romance novel under the signature of Kymber Lee, to be released on November 15, 2012, is titled Lord Tristan’s True Love.  Our co-authored novel titled, What She Knew, also available on Amazon, is a story that offers an interesting twist to the death of actress, Marilyn Monroe.  Log on to and you can read the first chapter of the novel. The synopsis of it is as follows:      

While many believe that Marilyn Monroe was murdered on that fateful night in August 1962, the real question still remains: What was the actual reason for her death? Marilyn was a well-loved personality who ran in all the right (or wrong) circles. What could she possibly know that was such a threat that only her death would seal the secret? Was it Hollywood and the finishing of the film she'd been fired from and then rehired on? Maybe it was her involvement in Las Vegas with the Rat Pack and mobsters, or possibly her association with the Kennedys, especially Patricia and John F. that would lead to her death. In 1962, sinister forces were at work plotting to kill America's sex goddess to keep her from divulging deadly information.  While mobster Sam Giancana played nice with Frank Sinatra, leader of the Rat Pack and America's favorite crooner, Frank was being equally nice to Peter Lawford, JFK's brother-in-law, in order to enter the political circles that Marilyn already had access to. As this circle was being completed, one vital bit of information was passed on that would end the life of Marilyn Monroe, or did it? In this 1960's conspiracy story, Marilyn Monroe is saved by Peter Lawford and Bobby Kennedy replaces the real Marilyn with a body-double allowing the whole world to think her dead. Badly beaten and bruised, Marilyn struggles to come to grips with her near-death experience and the realization that everything she worked for is gone forever. The actress and sex goddess is dead.


What is the latest news about your book?  We just finished the sequel to What She Knew.  The title of the new book is What She Knew Too. In addition, our agent scheduled an exciting summer and fall agenda for us of book signings, speaking engagements, a book tour, television and radio interviews in Atlanta, Dallas, New York City and Hollywood and lots of other places in between.      

What inspired you to write, and when did you first consider yourselves as professional writers?  With her background in journalism and a grandmother who encouraged her to write romance novels, Hughes has written a total of five historical novels in addition to Treasured Love, Lord Tristan’s True Love and What She Knew.  I was dragged into the business when Hughes took a private writing class with a well-known author.  Actually, the idea for What She Knew was conceived while she took that class.  Hughes and I teamed up to write what is now part of chapter two in the book and she presented it in that class. The teacher loved it so much that she persuaded us to turn it into a novel.  However, it wasn’t until our first book signing for What She Knew that we considered ourselves as bonafide authors. 


How would describe your specific writing style?  Sparse in detail and rich in action and dialogue—everyone knows what an Italian restaurant or the White House lawn looks like.  People don’t always need a lot of flowery details to get the image in their heads.


What is the source of the title and of the book cover?  We struggled for the title for a long time and then one day it just popped up based on the fact that MM was an insider in politics, show business, and even organized crime.  It is completely believable that she knew all kinds of secrets.  Perhaps it was What She Knew that was the cause of her death.  Just sayin’. Kenny Burns from Amarillo, Texas rocked the cover art.


Is there a message in your novel?  If readers wonder if MM was really murdered, well, we can’t help that, now can we?

How much of the book is historically accurate?  It was my job to do the historical research and I took great pains that it squared with the historical record.  We love that if feels so real for a fictional novel.  We want to emphasize to our readers that this is FICTION – Marilyn Monroe died!  Please do not contact us and ask us where we’ve hidden her and what she is doing now.  Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 – really! 

What types of books have had the most influence on you and what writer do you consider a mentor?  Mystery/conspiracy/drama.  Agatha Christie is our mentor. 


What books are you reading now and what new writers are of interest to you?  Numerous novels dealing with the Johnson era are occupying our time.  We have come to love several authors with whom we have become acquainted through the Facebook writer’s group called Master Koda.  No names please—we love all of them.


What are your greatest sources of support and what are your greatest writing challenges?  Of course, our families and our literary agent, Janet Espy support us in every way.  Our greatest challenge is finding the time to write among all of the other tasks that are necessary in the process.  

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?  We actually got a do-over.  We wrote the pilot episode for J J Abrams, and decided we liked some of the action scenes in the script and added them to the re-release of the novel.  How blessed are we?    

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
We learned a lot about the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe as a person, and the mob.  We also realized a truth we’d instinctively known for a long time.  Not only are we best friends:  ying-yang, but we are also an excellent writing duo.  We absolutely love spending time together and we have a rhythm to our writing that is natural and easy.  We have no trouble recognizing that each of us has strengths and we play to those.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Write, write, write!  Write something every day. Give yourself a goal of one page or ten pages but WRITE!  Why do you think we’re called writers?  It’s because we WRITE.  Don’t give up on writing, all right? LOL

If you weren’t a writer what else would you like to be? Probably a critic! LOL 

Where can readers find you on the web?,, .  Find us on Facebook us at What She Knew and on Twitter @whatsheknewbook.
Note from Linda Lee Greene - I know all of you will enjoy the work of these two writers.  Please join me in giving them support and encouragement. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Possessed by Intense Life"

“…possessed by intense life:”  It is an immortal line by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his novel, The Great Gatsby, and while it describes the enchanted universe of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, it just as easily could have been written about the artistic vision of Lucila Linik.  When this kind of vitality in a writer is moored by “innate genius augmented by control, technique, craft,”[1] as was said of Fitzgerald, you get “the great American novel.”  The same qualities given rise in an artist such as Lucila Linik bring into being a body of work worthy of any superlative in any lexicon.
                Argentina-born, Manhattan-reared, Lucila won her first award in an art competition at the age of thirteen when she took the top prize for a piece she executed for New York’s Metropolitan Opera.  Educated at New York’s High School of Music and Art, a school for gifted children, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Temple University and her Masters Degree in Education at Penn.  It was back to Buenos Aires following college, however, and there she met her physician husband, and there she remained for forty years.  As head of the art department of a prestigious, English school there, Lucila was provided the opportunity to be what she calls a “world traveler.”  Upon the death of her husband seven years ago, Lucila relocated to Central Ohio to be near her son.  A member of the Grove City (Ohio) Arts Council, it is in that capacity that I am acquainted with her.
                Lucila’s resumé is extensive, among the highlights are artworks shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and at the Columbus (Ohio) Museum of Art.  Since residing in Central Ohio where Columbus is the anchor, Lucila’s work is highly sought in exhibitions at galleries, festivals, and other art-related venues.  A diversified artist, Lucila describes herself as an “expressionist working from observation, and recording not only what I see, but also what I feel about a subject.”
                Dreaming Tree Galleries at 3968 Broadway, Grove City, Ohio is proud to host “All That Jazz - Twigs, strings, birds and things,” a wide-ranging show of artwork by Lucila Linik, to be on display from November 5 to December 1, 2012.  The general public is invited to the opening reception scheduled for Saturday, November 10, 2012 from 5 – 8 pm.  There you will see Lucila’s oil and watercolor paintings; sculptures; collages; tapestries; embroideries on canvas and other grounds—indeed it is a magical world of mixed-media upon which to feast your eyes and to feed your soul.   
Linda Lee Greene’s latest novel, GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS is available at

[1] The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Scribner Paperback Edition, Published by Simon & Schuster, original date: 1920, p. xvi (Preface) by Matthew J. Bruccoli, 1996.