Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Digitus 233

My good friend and author, K. D. Emerson is visiting my blog today to announce the release on Friday, December 21 st of her latest novel, Digitus 233.  The information on how to get your copy is at the end of this posting.  I hope all of you will purchase her book and in that way lend support to one of the best and most generous persons I have ever known.

Digitus, the world’s dominant corporation, has studied human nature for centuries. Their people are experts who expand on a human’s natural gifts and talents to create supreme world leaders in all major areas of science, art, religion and leadership. A select few are hand-picked each year to join the elite.

This year, fifteen-year-old Zeph will fight to uncover the truth with the help of an old man and a monkey, while, as a final test of induction into Digitus, five teens are dropped from a specially designed Learjet and land on a barren Arctic island. They are forced to come together in an effort to survive and escape. Unfortunately, escape is shortlived when a Russian ballistic submarine rescues them and a computer malfunction threatens an all-out nuclear attack on North America. Time is running out and the sub’s programmer cannot stop the computer failure. It is up to the teens to convince the Russians they should be allowed to give it a try.

Tick tock...

K.D. Emerson's Biography:

Author, K.D. Emerson was born (or is that hatched?) several years ago. We won’t go into how long it has been because she has this fantasy that she is still a teenager off to conquer the world. Her first novel was written in pencil, stapled together and placed in the school library. At age 6, she didn’t have a clue that an author needed a publisher. She has a passion for the written word and assisting other writers in becoming the best they can be. She also loves to promote others and cheer them on to victory.

Follow her on twitter @MstrKoda, or you can find her at www.masterkoda.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kimmutch.emerson

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gratitude by Arlene O'Neil

In the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in Connecticut on Friday, I think it appropriate to end my month-long series devoted to feelings of gratitude with author, Arlene O'Neil's story, a story that began when she was a child.  As we mourn the losses of those twenty precious children in Newtown, let us not forget the traumatic effect the event will have on the children who survived physically, but whose souls were wounded by the tragedy.  Let us also keep in our prayers the children of the adults who lost their lives that awful day.  And now I turn the page over to Arlene:     
I believe I became a writer at birth, or at least shortly afterwards.  An accident as a child landed me in a “crippled children’s home” for almost two years and on crutches for a year.  Being different, set apart, treated with kid gloves, left me with many negative messages, but also left the door wide open to my imagination.  Reading, writing, and creating became my best friends.  I would compose short stories or plays in order to try to fit in with others.  As I aged, my sense of humor expanded and so did my writing skills.  I write the truth; I write from the heart.

         While recovering from numerous hip replacements over the years, I always had legal pads and pens near me.  Two briefcases are filled with notes just waiting to grow up and become stories or books. Being different, being physically handicapped for so many years, I have developed an empathy for others in the same situation and always encourage them to write or speak of their experiences.   Physical or mental challenges are lessened when shared, just as pain and heartbreak can be divided by two if you have an understanding friend and a shoulder to lean on for support.

        Most of my writing comes from actual experiences in my own life, and when I write, I try to “touch” a reader, whether through laughter or tears.  My handicap has made me stronger than most, and although I do not possess a great confidence in myself or an even level of self esteem, readers have helped immensely by telling me that what I convey makes a difference in their lives.  My physical limitations helped expand my empathetic attitude.  So much was taken from me in that childhood accident, yet what I missed was replaced with something far greater.  I may not have been able to run, jump or play like others, but I could write volumes describing those activities!

         When I wrote “Broken Spokes,” the story of my life, it was with the intent to discard the negative messages of my youth, and hopefully to let others know they were not alone in their pain.  From emails, letters and reviews, I know I succeeded.  I have grown so much in the past years, not only as a writer but as a person as well.  I realize now that had the accident not happened, I might have become someone else altogether—someone who thinks more of herself than others—someone who is blind to those who need help.

        As traumatic as life has been at times, I consider myself to be so very blessed—blessed with an amazing son, who is a Sargeant in the Army, a host of wonderful friends, my supportive family, and many extremely loveable animals.  My work in progress is another true story written from the heart, which details my son’s past 11 years as a Soldier.  It is my dream that other parents will benefit by my experience as an Army Mom, and know they are never alone in their feelings.

       I continue to write in the hope of reaching others.  At times the writing is very painful for me, yet I strive to pull the total emotion out of myself and display it on paper.  I have been given an amazing gift, the ability to write, to touch others through my words.  It is a gift I shall never waste.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Life is Good!

Award-winning author, Paulette Mahurin lives in Ojai, California with her husband, Terry and their two dogs, Max and Bella.  A Nurse Practitioner in a women’s health clinic, she writes in her spare time.  All proceeds from her recent novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap are going to the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center  in Verona County, California where Paulette Lives.  It is the first and only no-kill shelter in the area.  This is a cause very close to her heart. 

It is my great pleasure to have Paulette as my guest today.  Although she and I only became aware of each other a few months ago, I have come to regard her as a dear friend, a mentor, and certainly, as one of my heroes.  The following is her powerful and inspiring story, imparted in her own words:    
Thank you to the wonderfully talented author and artist, Linda Lee Greene for inviting me to her great blog site to talk today.
Fifteen years ago, my life as I knew it, ended, all because I rescued a dog named Tazzie.  She came to me with ticks; one latched onto my side and infused my body with bacteria that would be diagnosed as Lyme Disease six months later by an orthopedic surgeon.  By the time I was diagnosed, it had infused through my arteries and settled in my cardiac valves, brain and spinal cord tissue, muscles and nerves, and to many other areas of my body.  I was out for the count.

There’s a Zen expression that says to die before you die, in every moment.  I never understood this till becoming seriously ill, and in that time, it was my body that was boss, not I.  I had never taken a second seat before, but now, if I did what I wanted, my body violently protested.  If I stayed up, beyond tiredness, to watch a TV show, I became worse and the bouts of illness became protracted.  I remember the night there was a movie on TV that I wanted to watch; yet I was exhausted.  I overrode the tiredness and stayed up.  That was the night my body’s protest turned into crippling meningitis; it leveled me for weeks.  The next time my body was tired, I listened to it and went to bed.  As my resistance decreased, something started to change.  At first it was barely perceptible, but within a few months, I noticed I was feeling better.  What I came to realize was, I had died.  Well, almost; but I certainly diminished.  I got out of my own way.  And what it gave way to was miraculous.

My body, this magnificent healing machine that strives for homeostasis, taught me something invaluable, it taught me that life has its own rhythm, a flow, a vastness of intelligence that I cannot begin to explain, nor fully understand.  Life just knows what it needs; every living thing has its place and purpose; our bodies know this all too well, but our thoughts get in the way, the beliefs and ideas, our little stories that we identify with.  A tree takes in carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen and we exist in beautiful balance with this wonderful part of nature.  A bee pollinates and up shoots nature in abundance; an ant does its thing; a spider weaves and catches what it needs; the weather changes and snow melts; waves move closer to shore, all occurring without any thought or intent; all simply occurring.  Before the tick bite, I never knew my place as being a part of this cosmic whole, an organism within the organism of life, in unity, all coexisting in this weird, yet magnificent, chaotic harmony.

The tick bite and all those microscopic bacteria that still live in my tissue gave me something nothing else ever has:  life and the absolute sense that I am alive.  But, first I had to die.  This carried over into my writing, and it was during my illness that I penned The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, a story about intolerance, a story that is making waves all over the place, with press and magazine coverage; a  story that is being featured by prestigious Art Center’s Literary Branch as their pick for the read of the month, and being read and reviewed all around the world.  It was during the writing of this book that I learned my most important lesson on writing, and that was to get out of the way of the story, the characters, and to not arrive back into my old ego-self of wanting to show off how much research I had done, or make it about what I wanted to say, when it didn’t serve the scene, the dialogue, the action of the book.  I’ve always loved to write, but when this happened, writing became joyful and flowed.

I am grateful beyond description for so many things.  I wake up every day to my own little gratitude prayer:  that I can see, that I can hear, that I can feel, even if the feeling is pain, and then I give gratitude for all my loving and significant relationships, including my dogs, whom I love with all my heart.  I feel alive and life flowing through me, and as long as I wake up, for me that’s a good day. There is always something I can be grateful for.  Even when the negative, shadow emotions surface, they don’t bother me as much as they did when I had a bunch of stories attached to them, and hey, if I can let go of me, I can certainly let go of them.  Life is good.


Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7, 1941, A Day That Will Live in Infamy

The morning of December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan, in a sneak air attack on Pearl Harbor, effectively eliminated the Pacific Fleet of the USA.   It was a battleship and a combat plane force that had been transferred there eighteen months prior by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a presumed deterrent in the east to Japan’s seemingly endless offensive that had raged on almost unrestricted throughout the Pacific rim since its 1937 invasion of China.  Not only was the bombing of Pearl Harbor a defining moment in history, but it was also the event that triggered the involvement of the USA in World War II. 

        Marlin Landon (Bob) Gaffin had been drafted into the Army under the 1940 Civil Service Act.  At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was still in training camp at Ft. Thomas, Kentucky.  Bob was to later serve throughout the war under General George S. Patton beginning with Operation Torch in Africa and culminating with the clean-up of Berlin at the end  of the war.  The letters exchanged among him and his family and friends are a vital adjunct to my latest novel, Guardians and Other Angels, letters that give the reader an unprecendented insider's view of the times.   The following excerpt of the novel includes two letters relevant to the Pearl Harbor Bombing:

                                                                                                                                                 Monday Morning, Dec. 8, 1941

Dear Son.  I will try to write you some this morning.  I was so nervous yesterday I just couldn’t write and not much better this morning.  But the children are all gone and I am here alone so maby I can write some.  Bobby we heard down at church last night that war had been declared.  It sure does worry me.  I just can’t help it.  They tell me if I don’t be careful I’ll go crazy.  But I don’t know.  They surely can’t take you though untill they get you trained.  Of course I know that I am just one Mother in thousands.  We will just have to trust in God.  Of course you know that we are praying for you, and that will help you along.  Herman preached last night.  He surely is a good man.  Well Bobby you didn’t say what they fed you.  But I suppose you have enough to eat and a good place to sleep.  If this country is in war now I expect they will call all those boys back that they let come home, won’t they?  Roma told you what Howard said.  I think that is the word he used (Detachment) Corps.  I think he said it was in the Infantry.  Berlin & Irene said that Bill told them you sure was a fine looking soldier (Ha ha).  Well Bobby I will have to close as it is almost mail time.  So write often and we will too.  There are so many people wanting to write to you when you get settled I don’t know how you will answer them all.  So Good by a(nd) good luck and R(em)ember Mother as always [is] always thinking of you and loves you.  So as always Your loving Mother & all


                                                                                                                                                                           Ft. Thomas Ky.
                                                                                                                                                                    December 9, 1941

Dear Mom & all:

                I will answer your letter I rec’d today and was more than glad to hear from you and Roma.  I got a X’mas card from Clarine & a letter from Dot too Mom [Dot is Bob’s girlfriend.  Clarine is her sister].  I sure like to hear from everyone.  I guess it’s our only mean’s of communication.  Well Mom I guess we are in a war again.  Japan declared war on the U. S. Sunday eve. at 1:30.  Followed by the bombing of Guam, Honolulu and other U. S. property in the Pacific.  104 American soldiers were killed & a U. S. ship sunk with 350 on board.  Germany the kingpin has taken action against America and is Declaring war.  Roosevelt is Declaring war on Japan.  Plane’s and ship’s of the U. S. were rushed to the danger point at once, and enemy plane’s were reported over the West Coast last night at 5:30 A. M.  The citizens blacked out San Francisco.  No bombs were dropped.  My guess is they [the Japanese or the Germans] were taking picture’s, drawing map’s and fixing for a future attack.  I hope I’m wrong.  We are being issued the strictest of order’s here, to be ready to leave here for camp anytime.  Maybe a week or in the next 10 minutes.  All furlough’s have been canceled, until further order’s.  All reserves discharged were ordered to report to their draft board’s at once.  I could run on & on Mom telling of things that took place in the last 48 hr’s.  I’ll maybe get to see everyone in 6 mo. Mom.  I hope before then.  But it may be yr’s [years].  But it takes the courage and unfaltering faith of the pioneer Mom to face such a crisis as this.  So have courage Mom as we of the Army have and we will pull through.  God is our shephard.  So we will have to do the best we can.  Tell Roma I was glad to hear from her, and tell everyone Hello for me.  And that I will write to everyone when I get settled.  And I appreciate your prayer’s Mom a lot.  Don’t worry to much.  I can take care of myself.  Oh yes, about Bill [Greene – my paternal uncle].  I guess he is doing pretty good now.  I was over there Sunday all day, and as soon as war was declared he wanted to come with me.  So he came over Sun. night & enlisted.  He won’t be examined until the last of the week.  Don’t tell Eva or Alderson [(Greene) – my paternal grandparents] yet.  It will worry them.  And Bobbie Mendenhall is here in the same barracks with me & Woodrow W. Hoop of Peebles.  Well I’ll close for now Mom.  Wishing all of you luck.  So answer soon.  XO Your loving Son, Bob.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Gift of Multiple Sclerosis

This is the second time I have featured my friend, Karen Magill on my blog.  Her story is so inspiring that I wanted to include it in my month of gratitude stories.  By the way, Karen’s blog, the Vancouver Vagabond is chocked full of great photography and short essays, and has been nominated for the prestigious Vancouver Social Media Award.  The link to the blog is http://karen-magill.blogspot.com. 

I hope all of you will come back to visit me next week to discover the incredible gratitude story of my friend, as well as one of my heroes, Paulette Mahurin.  And now, heeeeeeere’s Karen:     


On June 5, 2000, I woke to find the left side of my body partially paralysed.  Nine days later, after an MRI, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I started down a journey unlike anything I have ever been on before.

The paralysis went away but I lived in fear.  I heard all the horror stories about how dismal my life was going to be now, or how I was destined for a wheelchair, or how I was going to lose my eyesight.  I am happy to say that twelve years later, none of those things have happened.

Although I do use a cane, I walk quite well.  In fact, I walk all over Vancouver, Canada taking photos of whatever interests me, as well as historical sites.  Then I come home and post the photos in a blog entitled the Vancouver Vagabond, combining the pictures with stories of my city’s history.

 MS has been a gift to me.  I was forced onto disability, so now I am being paid to stay home and write.  The fatigue that hampers many areas of my life requires me to make the most of the time I am able to write.  I have to learn how to focus my energies on the task at hand whether it be writing, or promoting, or even walking.  That is an advantage because now I take more care in what I am getting involved with.  I can’t join every social media site or every Facebook group–I have to target my audience and find where those readers would be.  I can’t enter everything and join all sites.  I also ask for advice and assistance more than I would if I didn’t have this difficulty.

Gone are the nights when I could stay up all hours writing.  My body can’t handle that any longer. So my books may take me longer to write, but I am more careful on what I put on ‘paper’ as they say.  I do have episodes of writing wildly and ending up with a lot of garbage—most writers do since it releases the tension and the creative juices, but those times are limited.  When I work on my novels I have a pretty good idea of which scene I am going to write.

My emotions can run wild—I can’t remember ever crying as easily as I do now.  Those emotions that can sometimes be so raw and intense are translated into my writing now.  A writer has to bring the reader into the story and make them feel something.  It may take a few attempts, but I can translate the intensity of what I feel onto paper.

Multiple Sclerosis may have taken a lot away from me, yet in so many ways it was one of the best things to happen to me and my writing.  There is a new maturity and perspective to my writing.  I wonder if I would ever have reached the levels I am at now if I were still working a full time job and struggling in the rat race.  I doubt it.