Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Classy Lassies

Even when all I really want to do is write, sometimes life beckons me away from the back room and my laptop. It certainly did this past week.

Last Tuesday night the Colville Branch AAUW (American Association of University Women) hosted its annual Scholar Recognition night. Our theme this year was "Your Vote Counts." Jackie McGregor and Sharon Ketchum (see top photo, left to right) dressed in suffragette outfits and read excerpts from Alice Duer Miller's 1915 tract, "Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times." I also read a brief piece from that book, which is free on The Gutenberg Project.

Alice Duer Miller studied mathematics and astronomy at Barnard College. She became known as a campaigner for women's suffrage and published a brilliant series of satirical poems in the New York Tribune. These were published subsequently as Are Women People?. These words became a catchphrase of the suffrage movement. She followed this collection with Women are People! (1917). Her name appears in the very first issue of The New Yorker as an "advisory editor". Classy lassie, indeed.

Then yesterday I enjoyed a Sunday sojourn to Spokane. A friend and I dined at the Davenport Hotel Tower's Safari Room and took in the Spokane String Quartet at the historic Fox Bing Crosby theater. Kendall Feeney (bottom photo, grinning to the right of me) performed as the featured pianist. Kendall went to a special accelerated sixth grade class with my son, Steve Elders, in Long Beach, California, back in the 1960s. She is a member of the piano faculty at Eastern Washington University and director of the EWU Contemporary Music Ensemble. She's nationally recognized as a leading pedagogue of the Taubman approach to piano playing.

The highlights of the program were "Carolina Reveille," modern variations on the basic motif of the old 1922 song, "Carolina in the Morning," and "Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67," by Dmitri Shostakovich.

A few days with such classy lassies has renewed my spirits so that I can continue to read stories for Not Your Mother's Book: On Travel, and solicit contributions for the other volumes in that series, especially for On Women. Dahlynn McKowen, who herself is class personified, has posted a June 1 deadline for the latter and an August 1 deadline for the former.  See submission guidelines here:

And for more tips on writing for this series, see the current WOW Principles newsletter here:

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tending Your Inner Garden

My story, "Tombstone Territory," appears in the first of the four seasonal anthologies from Tending Your Inner Garden, "Winter: Women's Stories, Poems and Inspiration for the Season of Rest and Renewal." The series will continue with volumes inspired by spring, summer and fall. I have submitted essays for those, as well, but have not yet heard if my work has been accepted. But of course I'd love to be represented throughout the contemplative year.
Here are a few facts about the book:
·      It features the work of more than three dozen women from around the world.
·      The book includes journaling and discussion questions at the back, making it ideal for book clubs or women’s study groups, or for personal reflection.
·      It’s the first in a series of four books based on the seasons.
·      Contributors to the book beautifully express the value of creativity, stillness, renewal, relationship, and endings and beginnings within the context of the reflective winter season.
Starting later this week, the book will be available for purchase ($16.95 US, plus shipping and handling) at www.tendingyourinnergarden.comand It will also be available after May 1 on Kindle and Nook. 
“Tending Your Inner Garden encouraged writers from all 
walks of life to share their story. And now look, an anthology... a book of light and sound from other worlds.”—Jan Phillips, author of No Ordinary Time—The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creativity
“As women talk honestly about growth, loss, joy and sorrow, use this book to mine the rich soil of your own inner life.”
—Joyce Rupp, Spiritual “Midwife” and Author of more than 20 books, including Open the Door and Fragments of Your Ancient Name

Sunday, April 22, 2012

This Earth is Our Earth...Write On!

On Earth Day I'm celebrating the fact that I've seen so much of it...from Mongolia to Samoa to Guyana to Haiti, and from Los Angeles to Little Rock to Las Vegas!

You've traveled our Earth, too. So you've got something to say and I want to hear it.

I'm co-creating Not Your Mother's Book On Travel, so I'm looking near and far for submissions. You don't have to have seen the pyramids along the Nile to write a story that I'm going to love. You can tell  me about your Greyhound trek from Spokane to Portland, or your week camping in a tent trailer at Glacier National Park. Of course, if you've played with penguins in Antarctica or tussled with polar bears in the Arctic Circle, I'd like to hear about that, as well. Your first or fifth trip to India? Your New Year's Eve in Times Square? You shivered through a Jack the Ripper stroll through Whitechapel? You took a cooking class in Bangkok? You wandered through wineries in France? You know who you are, you guys. Why are you holding back?

Tell me, tell me, tell me!

Nearly everyone loves to travel, and this book will take the reader around the world and back again. Dahlynn McKowen of Publishing Syndicate and I are looking for stories about every mode of travel, from car to train, to boat to plane, to motorcycle to motor home, and about both domestic and international destinations.

Tentative Chapter Titles:

  • Culture Shocks: Matters of Perspective
  • Close Encounters: Real and Surreal
  • Wanderlust: Romance on The Roam
  • Fauna, Flora and Flotsam: Wonders of the World
  • China or Cheyenne: Deciding Why to Go Where
  • Montezuma's Revenge: Shoulda Kept My Mouth Shut in the Shower
  • Cruising, Bruising and Boozing: Afloat and Ports of Call
  • Sights, Sounds, Sensations: Making Sense of the Senses
  • Jet Sets and Jet Lags: Getting There and Back
  • Travel to Make a Difference: Itchy Feet Shod in Goody Two Shoes
  • Can't Get There From Here: Lost and Found
  • Right in Our Own Backyard: More Near than Far
Writer's Guidelines and submission information can be found here:

Nope, non, nyet...I'm not resting easy until I've read your tale!

Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm sipping soup, said Tom, slurpingly....

They say that good things come in threes. I'm waiting for the third good thing that's going to happen today, and wondering what it will turn out to be!

This morning UPS delivered two boxes of contributor's copies for the new Chicken Soup for the Soul series on healthier living, partnering with doctors from Harvard Medical School. Say Goodbye to Back Pain contains my story "Twist and Shout," about great advice I got from a nurse when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize. Say Hello to a Better Body includes "Running Like Sixty," about celebrating my sixtieth birthday running with the Hash House Harriers in Seychelles, where I'd remained to work for a couple of years after Peace Corps left there in 1995.

I'm particularly elated to see these stories in print. From 1987 to 1997 I lived overseas in four developing countries. A couple of stories about my adventures in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala previously have appeared, "Santo Domingo Sunrise" in The Ultimate Christian and "Once in a Lifetime" in A Bird in the Hand. But aside from a brief reference to Belize in "Watching for the Rebound," in The Ultimate Teacher, I haven't written much about my years there. And I've never had a story published about my experiences in Seychelles.

Actually, most of my sixty or seventy anthology stories feature less exotic settings. They're usually about my childhood or my son's, set in Southern California or Oregon, or about the years with my late husband, Ken Wilson, in Maryland and Washington State. So I'm delighted to be able to leaf through these new books and see that I've finally memorialized some of my moments during those wonderful years abroad.

Now I'm inspired to finish a couple of stories that still languish on my laptop. Poor little things, half dressed, shivering and cold, likely wondering when their creator will come back and hang some clothes on their bare bones. Maybe finishing one of those will be the third good healthy thing to happen today.

Or it might be that I'll begin a draft of an article, "Avoiding Adverbial Ataxia," which will allude to the Tom Swifties adverbial puns fad of the early '60s, for the May issue of Publishing Syndicate's WOW Principles newsletter. I'm never certain exactly what will happen when I adjourn to the back room and open the lid on my Toshiba.

"I  must hurry," said Terri, swiftly.

"I wish I could see into the future," she added, blindly.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday, Monday

"Monday Monday, so good to me,
Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be."
--The Mamas and the Papas
Love opening my email on a Monday morning...and here's today's news...two surprises.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven: 101 Miraculous Stories of Signs from Beyond, Amazing Connections, and Love that Doesn't Die, with my story, "The Unforgotten," is a national bestseller! This is the story I read last month at the annual Friends of the Kettle Falls Library Literary Tea! Note the new "national bestseller" banner on the new edition. A friend called me last week to tell me that the Colville WalMart is carrying this book. My late husband, Ken Wilson, would be tickled to learn that his machinations from The Great Beyond are included in a bestseller. This will be good news for his three sons. Ken was a loving Papa, indeed!

Amy Newmark, coauthor of the book and publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul, has been doing a series of radio interviews about the book and this Friday she will be the featured guest on George Noory's Coast to Coast AM show. This Friday night, if you would like to stay up into Saturday morning, you can listen to Amy talk about messages from heaven for two hours, starting at 10 PM Pacific Time (1 AM Eastern Time). 

Coast to Coast is the most popular overnight talk show in North America and is heard on 564 radio stations in the U.S., Canada, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, as well as on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio (XM channel 168). Please click on the link below to find the radio station in your market that carries the show:
I also received a contract from Write Integrity Press with this good news: We are thrilled to inform you that your story, "Tea for Two,"  has been selected for publication in Life Lessons from Moms, which will release May 1st. "Tea for Two" commemorates how Mama convinced me that I'd learned to cook when I was quarantined on Halloween back in the early '40s. The back cover blurb reads:

Mothers are the first to touch our hearts ...

Memories of our moms evoke a myriad of emotions. Happy or heart-breaking, our moms taught us lessons that carry us through life in one form or another. With this book, we honor all the moms who've taught these unforgettable life lessons.  

I've been grumbling about nary a crocus, amaryllis or tulip so far this spring...but Write Integrity Press sent me a bouquet to warm my heart this morning...and I think I'll listen to The Mamas and the Papas as I begin a new story about going back to grad school at the age of 39.