Blog Tour for Delilah by Kaye Lynn Booth
Hello and Welcome Everyone!
I am happy you stopped by my blog. Today I’m the host at Wordcrafter Book Blog Tours and I want to announce the release of Delilah by Kaye Lynn Booth. Kaye has written a guest post today telling us all about Delilah, Book One in her Women in the West Adventure Series. Delilah sounds like a fascinating and entertaining book.
Thank you Kaye and congratulations on the release of Delilah!
Writing Sarah – strong female characters right out of history
One of the fascinating things about the Women in the West adventure series is the fact that there is a true-life historical female character in a supporting role, along with the strong female protagonist in each book. Life on the American frontier was filled with hardship which many believed did not fit well with the female constitution. Women on the frontier were few, and most of those were included in a family unit. Single and widowed women did exist on the frontier, as did those whose husbands just never came home for whatever reason, went back to the family unit in most cases. Women who chose to go it alone, defying societal expectations were rare. Those who did, chose a hard life and had to have backbone to survive. In Sarah, the supporting character will be Kate Elder (Big Nose Kate), who was the consort of the infamous dentist, gambler, and gunfighter, John (Doc) Henry Holliday. In this case, our character was the woman behind the man, and is little known for her own merit.
Mary Katherine Horony-Cummings a.k.a. Big Nose Kate Elder – the woman behind the man
Mary Katherine Horony was born in Budapest, Hungary on November 7, 1850. It is said that her father was a skilled surgeon, appointed the personal physician for the Mexican emperor, Maximillian I, and they came to the U.S. when the regime fell, and settled in Davenport, Iowa when Kate was ten. It is said that Kate was educated and could speak several languages, and as the daughter of a prominent surgeon this could be true. Perhaps it is what drew her the well-educated Holliday when they crossed paths in Texas.
Both of her parents died within a few months of each other, leaving Kate and her siblings orphaned when she was 15, and they were moved around to different foster homes. She ran away with her sister from foster placement within a year, and they jumped a ship to St. Louis. It took tremendous courage for a girl of that age to set out on her own to take up the often unforgiving life of the American frontier, or perhaps just desperation. I’m not sure what happened to the sister, but Kate was working as a prostitute by 1869.
Kate was a tough cookie of her own accord. In 1887, in Fort Griffith, Kate was almost in a gunfight herself, when she accused another woman of setting her sights on Doc, and the other woman drew a gun, forcing Kate to draw her own. Doc was able to break up the altercation before shots were fired, but Kate was not one to back down from a fight. Certainly, she had a wicked temper and a hard drinker, which might lead us to believe that she was the type of woman who thrived on excitement and enjoyed the wildness of the frontier.
Kate & Doc – True love on the frontier: the real story
In Texas, in 1877, she met John ‘Doc’ Henry Holliday, who worked as a dentist during the day, and spent his evenings in the saloons and gambling houses. In their travels through Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Arizona, Kate worked as a dance hall and saloon girl, as well as a prostitute. Unlike most prostitutes in the old west, Kate paid tribute to no madam or ‘mac’, but instead acted as her own handler. Kate’s occupation may have been a sore spot in her relationship with Doc.
Doc and Kate were known to have a volatile relationship, at times marked with drunken arguments which often turned violent, and the pair parted ways more than once, only to be reunited later. The registered in Dodge City, Kansas as Mr. and Mrs. John H. Holliday, but there is no evidence that the couple were ever actually wed. Despite behaviors brought about by drink and hot tempers, and the ups and downs which made their relationship a rollercoaster ride, Kate always remained loyal to Doc.
Their departure from Fort Griffin, has become one of legend in the history books. With little supporting evidence, the story goes that Doc knifed a man named Ed Bailey, when Bailey pulled a pistol over a poker game. Although it was self-defense, Doc and was placed under arrest, held in a hotel room with sentries posted outside the door until the magistrate showed up to hold court. Magistrates and judges presided over vast territories in those days, and in many towns court was only held once a month, so waiting for trial was not unusual. Kate caught wind of a lynch mob forming, unwilling to wait for Doc to go to trial, so she set a small shed on fire to draw everyone’s attention and then held his guard at gunpoint and aided Doc in his escape, before the mob could hang him.
It is said that Kate was running a bordello when Doc reunited with her in Tombstone, Arizona. Later, Kate implicated Doc in a stagecoach robbery, that he, in all likelihood, had no part in, after Sherriff Johnny Behan and the cowboy faction which opposed the Earps and Holliday, found her drunk after one of she and Doc’s spats, while she was still angry with him. They plied her with liquor until she made the claim against Doc. Once sober and level-headed once more, she recanted her story, but the damage had been done and she and Doc parted ways once more.
But as Doc lay dying in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, sick and destitute, a friend of his contacted her and Kate came to Glenwood Springs to help care for him and pay the bills, so he wouldn’t be turned out into the street. She collected firewood from the rough terrain of Glenwood Canyon and sold it to help to pay Doc’s expenses. And after he passed, she packed up his dentist equipment and the tools of his gambling trade, and shipped them back east, to whatever family he had there. True to the very end.
Kate – the woman in the west
In a time when most women were a part of a family unit and were not allowed to make a living, a time when there were few opportunities for a woman to make a living, Kate was four-leaf clover in a field of green. Acceptable vocations for women were limited to seamstress, laundress, domestic servant, milliner, teacher, wait staff, or prostitute. She was an independent woman, and a survivor, who did what she could and what she had to do with whatever was available to her.
Following Doc’s death, as she reached an age when working as a prostitute was no longer profitable, Big Nose Kate Elder hung up her garters and became Mary Katherine Horony once more. Becoming respectable, she married a blacksmith and worked as a cook and shop operator, until she left him eleven years later. She died as a ward of the state, at the Arizona Pioneers Home, in Prescott, Arizona, in 1940.
In the words of Patrick A. Bowmaster, in his article “A Fresh Look at Big Nose Kate”
“Kate was a survivor. But more than that she was a woman who survived on her own term at a time when few of her gender did likewise.”
Carla Jean Whitley (3/10/2017) To Doc From Kate – But Who Was Kate? Post Independent. Retrieved from https://www.postindependent.com/news/local/to-doc-from-kate/
Patrick A. Bowmaster. A Fresh Look at “Big Nose Kate”. Tombstone History Archives. Retrieved from http://www.tombstonehistoryarchives.com/a-fresh-look-at-big-nose-kate.html
Maggie Van Ostrand (2017) Katie Elder a.k.a. Big Nose Kate, Her True Story. Goose Flats Graphics & Publishing. Retrieved from Southern Arizona Guide: https://southernarizonaguide.com/katie-elder-her-true-story-by-maggie-van-ostrand/
Joseph A. Williams. The Real Story of Doc Holliday and Big Nose Kate. Old West. Retrieved from https://www.oldwest.org/doc-holliday-big-nose-kate/
Big Nose Kate – Doc Holliday’s Sidekick. Legends of America. Retrieved from https://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-bignosekate/
(2/28/2022). Couples with History: Glewood Springs Loves Stories. Glenwood Springs Blog. Retrieved from https://visitglenwood.com/blog/2022/02/couples-with-history-glenwood-springs-love-stories/
The True Story of Katie Elder. Notes from the Frontier. Retrieved from https://www.notesfromthefrontier.com/post/the-true-story-of-katie-elder
About the author
Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.
Her latest release is the re-release of Delilah, as Book 1 in the Women in the West adventure series. She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.
In addition, she keeps up her authors’ blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. Kaye Lynne has also created her own very small publishing house in WordCrafter Press, and WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services, where she offers quality author services, such as publishing, editing, and book blog tours. She has served as a judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Kevin J. Anderson & Jonathan Maberry.
In her spare time, she is bird watching, or gardening, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.
Link to buy a copy of Delilah.
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Don’t Miss The News
Welcome! I am pleased to send this newsletter/blog to you. I intend to send out monthly letters with news and updates. Watch the emails for contests and freebies. Everyone loves something free. I do!
I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. I wrote a novel called Emmie of Indianapolis, about a very sensitive, emotional, smart, opinionated, friendly, strong fighting young girl in a small Midwestern city. Who does that sound like? My husband and I have been married forty-two years and we recently retired to Mexico. We live with our son Richard and our two dogs, Buddy and Whitey. https://www.amazon.com/Emmie-Indianapolis-Kay-Castaneda-ebook/dp/B07G2S9MTP/
Emmie O’Brien is the main character in my first novel. One reviewer says “Emmie, the main character, is a brave, caring and hard working young lady destined to rise about her circumstances due to her simple faith and hope in her heart.” Another reviewer says “Emmie is speaking directly to us, simply, succinctly, sometimes without understanding, and other times with deep understanding; but more often than not a sense of wonder.” Read more about Emmie. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13851635.Kay_Castaneda
Emmie watches her sisters at night while Mom’s at work. Windows shut, hot, dark, no air, door locked, evil all around.
“I just kept sweeping and sweeping the bad things out the back door. Took a hot steaming mop and pushed it back and forth till there were no more black shiny pills on our kitchen floor.”
I hope you’ll find Emmie’s story interesting because she is going to be featured in my next project-a series of novels starring Emmie as a teenage amateur sleuth. Emmie’s dream of being a detective AND a newspaper reporter becomes true when she…..Oh, I can’t tell you just now.
The next book which I plan to complete by September 2023 will be named Go Find Iris Rose: An Emmie O’Brien Mystery Novel. I know you’ll like the story. The outline, plot, characters and chapter mapping is finished, ready to fill in the blanks. It’s not easy, as you know.
My Blog BOOKPLACES
I also invite you to take a peek at my blog, BOOKPLACES, where I post my creative writing such as essays, memoir pieces, poetry and writing-related articles.
My FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE
I’d say I love Facebook, especially for the various groups I’m in. Some are pages of my favorite authors.https://www.facebook.com/kaycastaneda90
I used to read 1-2 books a week, but since I started devoting more time to my author marketing, that number is way smaller! I’m on a thriller/mystery addiction now, but I love memoirs, historical fiction, literary fiction and some Young Adult fiction. If you’d like to check out some of the reviews, please go there. You might find a new book to read. And if you are an author who wants a review of your book, let me know. You can find my review guidelines on my blog.
I love the stories of authors. If you know of any memoirs of authors, let me know. Can you also do me a favor and ask your friends or fellow authors if they’d be interested in getting my letters? Have them read this, forward it or lead them to my blog. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org at my email address.
I collect pictures, paintings, posters, memes etc. of women of all ages reading a book. I have hundreds on my Pinterest site. You can send them to me at any of the links. The person who sends me the best, the most fantastic image will win an ecopy of my novel, Emmie of Indianapolis. It has to be a photo I don’t already have, so try very hard.
Not those kind of last thoughts! Just some things I want to say before I close. I will never sell your email information or name and if you don’t want to receive any more newsletters from me, just click the unsubscribe button below.
Thanks for reading to the end of this newsletter. As a reward, here is a freebie. It’s a small memoir piece that I hope you’ll enjoy.
I hope you will sign up for this newsletter if you haven’t done so already!
Author Lizzie Chantree Book Launch My Little Cupcake Shop By The Sea
The Little Cupcake Shop By The Sea
A seaside escape, filled with new beginnings and magical settings. Will moving to a sun kissed coast lead Fern to love? From the bestselling author of The little ice cream shop by the sea.
When a broken relationship takes Fern on a journey to find out more about her family, it’s a chance to put heartache behind her. She quickly falls in love with a beautiful cove and adjoining shops which awaken her dream of a cupcake and cocktail café by the sea, but an emotional revelation and a handsome but grumpy new tenant make her question her past decisions.
Genie is excited about the new café and the arrival of Fern, but is trying to balance the demands of a famous boyfriend and her unpredictable family.
Jessie wakes up one day to find he has a new landlady for his surf shop, which makes him furious. But the more time he spends with Fern, it’s clear that they have a connection that neither of them can deny.
Can Fern find the courage to tell both Jessie and Genie about her past? And if she does, will she get the lasting love she’s been dreaming of?
The Little Cupcake Shop By The Sea is the second book in a series of seaside romance novels, by Lizzie Chantree. All of Lizzie’s books are uplifting, heart-warming stories of romance and new beginnings, featuring different characters in stunning locations.
Jump into an irresistible romance today!
Universal book buy link: The little ice cream shop: viewbook.at/IceCreamShopByTheSea <http://viewbook.at/IceCreamShopByTheSea>
Universal book buy link: The little cupcake shop: viewbook.at/LittleCupcakeShopBySea <http://viewbook.at/LittleCupcakeShopBySea>
International bestselling author Lizzie Chantree, discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a creative mentor. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, about women who are stronger than they realise.
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Should Your Character Give A Soliloquy?
Hamlet Flower Quotes: Ophelia’s Mad Scene
In Act 4 ofHamlet,Ophelia has gone mad. In her distress, she has a speech that seems to ramble, but actually has a great deal of flower symbolism. She says, in part:
“There’s fennel for you, and columbines. There’s rue for you; and here’s some
for me: we may call it herb of grace a’ Sundays. You may wear your rue with a difference. There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.”
–Ophelia, in Hamlet, Act IV scene v Lines 180-185 William Shakespeare
Should you have your main character speak a soliloquy? This literary device adds depth and richness for the reader by “getting inside the character’s head.” An author can follow that old piece of writing advice, to show not tell, by using a soliloquy in their story.
Soliloquy is the act of speaking alone or to oneself. The classical Latin definition of soliloquy comes from solus, or alone, and loqui, to speak. It is a passage in a drama in which a character expresses his thoughts or feelings aloud, while alone upon the stage, or with the other actors keeping silent. The audience hears the character during the soliloquy, but the speech is not directed to them or other characters in the play. The soliloquy is a monologue of the character’s internal dialogue of thoughts and feelings, but is spoken aloud, while a monologue is a character’s speech that is directed to the audience or another character. Soliloquy moves the story along, summing up what occurred thus far, reveals or analyzes other characters’ motives, or foreshadowing events to come. A soliloquy allows the audience to identify with a character and gives the playwright an opportunity to explore themes within the drama.
Literature, history, culture and religion are replete with soliloquies. Shakespeare wrote some of the best-known soliloquies, in which various characters speak to themselves within the plays. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, contains the most famous soliloquy in English literature. Hamlet asked himself, “To be or not to be: that is the question…” as he considered suicide.
Anselm, Bishop of Canterbury, struggled with the existence of God in his 1077 AD Monologium, when he proclaimed “It is easy then for one to say to himself…to ruminate…” in his internal dialogue. In the Old Testament, the prophet Job voices in his opening soliloquy about his suffering over the loss of his children, health and land, “Oh, that I were as in the months past, as in the days when God watched over me.” The words are spoken with the stylistic structure of a literary composition. Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, in 386-400 AD, conducted a dialogue between himself and “Reason” concerning the nature of evil, and on order, faith and the ego in his Soliloquies. Peter Abelard, 12th Century philosopher and poet, in Soliloquiem, contemplates the relation of Christian faith and philosophy when he reveals that he, “…cannot doubt my own existence and will not trust my senses.” Thomas A ’Kempis, the 15th Century German monk, wrote that The Soliloquy of the Soul was “…a discourse with myself and the mind which longs to meditate on things both inner and Divine.”
Classical literature, for instance, uses soliloquy in dramas. Medea’s protagonist wrestles with her decision to murder her children in order to avenge her husband’s infidelity. “Farewell my resolve…what shall I do?” In Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy, the final chapter of the novel Ulysses, Molly rues her marriage to Leopold Bloom, the main character, “…I thought well as him well as another…” Jean Valjean utters his Soliloquy, in the novel Les Miserables, to unburden himself from his suffering and guilt with the words “…What have I done, Become a thief in the night…” Abraham Lincoln’s 1834 poem, The Suicide’s Soliloquy, recounts his struggles with mental anguish “…this heart I’ll rush a dagger through…” In Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, the heroine delivers a long soliloquy before her suicide in which she laments about her adultery and relinquishing her children to their father. “Why not put out the light” she questions, “…when it’s sickening to look at it all?”
Linguist Yoko Hasagawa discusses the ways soliloquy allows the mind to form a better understanding of the person’s mental abilities. She writes that language is necessary to manage ideas within the mind. A soliloquy has speech patterns such as accent, pronunciation and voice. Soliloquy can be written, spoken, or internal. Peter Brooks’ research into the melodramatic mind found that emphatic verbal gestures and outbursts of emotion are evident within soliloquies. Brian Stock examined how soliloquy aids the narrative identity whereby an individual constructs a continually developing story of the self with characters, plot, and imagery. Furthermore, Stock researched the narrative self and the exploration of theoretical issues in Augustine’s The Soliloquys, in the sections De Ordine, or On Order, and De Libero Arbitrio, or On the Choice of Free Will. The 19th Century poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, makes use of a type of voice, call and response, a literary device, within his soliloquies. Stream of consciousness, audience, purpose, and motivation, in both verbal and written soliloquies, may create foreshadowing, or hints about what will occur later in the story or drama. Self-dialogue can be classified as silent, or inner speech, and speech that is possible for others to hear as private speech.
The field of psychology perceives soliloquy as originating from culture or illness, expressed as a communication and linguistic disorder. Schizophrenic patients often have bedtime soliloquies, episodes of creative, artistic speech and song, thus the art versus illness debate, according to Michael B. Scherr’s Soliloquy or Psychosis: A Cultural Look at Schizophrenia. Such patients express both inner and private speech during the bedtime soliloquies. Since the patient’s private speech is at times able to be heard by others, and is often spoken in a type of code or language that only the person understands, those listening perceive the soliloquies as nonsensical or disordered and proof of the patient’s mental status. On the other hand, various soliloquies originate in bedtime settings or late at night in works of literature. When Juliet speaks to the moon, the night, the wind, to the sky and to unseen horses, in Romeo and Juliet, debate centers on the treatment of soliloquy as a symptom using the psychodrama technique of the same name. Soliloquy, the treatment, occurs when group members speak to themselves, but loudly enough for members to hear, during a group therapy session, the same as the dramatic device found in Shakespearean plays and other works of literature. Terms for soliloquy, such as introspection and soul-searching, are common in contemporary culture.
Soliloquy is not limited to those with normal speech. Deaf people speak soliloquies in sign language. All cultures and languages have soliloquy, although an alternate word may be used. Other communicative and expressive methods employ soliloquy. Music, art, dance are a few examples. Prayers and meditations often can be expressed in soliloquy. Soliloquy can take the form of self-talk to manage negative emotions, to conquer an addiction, to face stressful situations or to learn new tasks.
Adler, Ben. “Streams of Consciousness.” Columbia Journalism Review. Columbia Journalism Review, 1 May, 2013. Web. 13 August 2014.
Brooks, Peter. The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama, and the Mode of Excess. New Haven: Yale UP, 1995. Print.
Conklin, Abari, Suzanne, et al. Norton Anthology of World Literature. New York: Norton, 2012. Print.
Hasegawa, Yoko. “Soliloquy in Japanese and English.” Studies in Language 35.1: 1-40. (2001). Print.
Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. Print.
Larker, Peter. Wordsworth and Coleridge: Promising Losses. Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Print. Wordsworth Library Collection.
Scherr, Michael B. “Soliloquy or Psychosis : A Cultural Look at Schizophrenia” Oikos.org, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.
Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. London: Wordsworth Editions, 2007. Print. Wordsworth Library Collection.
Stock, Brian. Augustine’s Inner Dialogue: The Philosophical Soliloquy in Late Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.
Zimmerman, Katherine and Peter Brugger. “Signed soliloquy: Visible private speech.” Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 18.2: 261-270. (2010).
- Book Launch, Feel-good summer read, fiction, New Books, Reading, Romance novels, Romantic Relationships
Author Lizzie Chantree Book Launch My Perfect Ex
Join bestseller Lizzie Chantree for a wonderfully romantic, feel-good summer read.
Poppy Marlowe, a mental health advocate, moves into Cherry Blossom Lane to escape her past and build a future with her gorgeous, but troublesome, boyfriend, Dylan.
Dylan lives in the house across the street. But his reputation as a heartbreaker is legendary and Poppy reluctantly decides that she must walk away to protect her heart.
Poppy’s friends think she is perfect for go-getter Jared, who’s ready to step into Dylan’s shoes and whisk her into his glamorous world.
Taking a chance on happiness is harder than Poppy imagined. Can she let go of her past and allow herself to fall in love with the same man again, or should she step into the limelight and walk towards a life with someone new?
Will love find a way to bring them back together, or are they destined to go their separate ways?
Universal book buy link: My Perfect Ex: viewbook.at/MyPerfectEx
International bestselling author Lizzie Chantree, discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a creative mentor. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, about women who are stronger than they realise.
Author Richard Dee Book Launch
We Are Saul
by Richard Dee
- author's life, Awards, Books, Contests, Female Poets, Monday Blogs, Poetry, Poetry blogs, Rejection, the writer's life, writing
Winning and Losing Writing Competitions
My favorite poet Emily Dickinson sent her poems to The Atlantic Monthly Magazine in 1862. Editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson promptly rejected them. That rejection inspired more poems. The communication turned into a relationship based on poetry that went on for many years.
If there’s a chance the winner might only receive a virtual pat on the back, why do people enter writing competitions? They might lose. Sending your writing to a competition involves risk. What if nobody ever acknowledges them and they have to contact the magazine to see who won? I did that. Sometimes, only Grandma and your husband will know you won that gift certificate or a Famous Writers tote bag. Do it, even if all you win is a note saying your work is promising.
A writing competition is where a person submits a piece of writing by the deadline following the submission guidelines and paying a fee. Different publications and contest sponsors have varying standards. The judges likely have favorite things to look for or that one thing that catches their eye. Judges may have diverse lifestyles, experiences, or education. Submissions are often read first by assistants before sending their choices to the judge. Prizes may include money, from ten dollars to thousands. Your writing could win publication. The prize could be a subscription to the magazine or a free course. Don’t forget that part where your name appears in print. If you’re lucky, your photo could be featured. The word “winner” looks good on a resume.
One of the best things I said to myself after I lost a prestigious contest is “I’ll show them! Just wait until next year. “
One of the best things I said to myself after I lost a prestigious contest is “I’ll show them! Just wait until next year. ” Even losing a competition for creative writing at the county fair caused me grief. ” They’ll be sorry. The State Fair has a better prize anyway!” I have lots of dialogue and pep talks with myself. After all, I’m a writer. Who else is going to listen to me analyze why my writing wasn’t chosen? Was it that word I changed at the last minute? Can they tell how old I am by my writer’s voice? I guess they wanted a younger person. Was my poem too conservative or too artistic, or too political, religious, personal, or contained too many foreign-language words? A woman ridiculed me once because I lost a poetry contest. I composed a great comeback on the spot. Being a winner means continuing to do what matters. It shows you’re alive and you didn’t let life defeat you!
Then there are the questions about what my writing was “not.’ Not creative enough, not contemporary enough, not relevant, not rigid enough, not original enough, or not bold. I didn’t make the judges cut since I was afraid to go outside the boundaries, whatever those unspoken boundaries are, those boundaries that are really what the judges say they are but never stated in the guidelines. Maybe my story was offensive since my poem talked about a sensitive topic. My novel had things that might trigger a reader’s anxiety or cause bad memories. I forgot to include trigger warnings at the front of the manuscript. How am I to know what will trigger another person’s anxiety? What about the thousands of years since writing was invented and the author just wrote whatever was in their mind?
“They’ll be sorry. The State Fair has a better prize anyway!”
I’d be crazy not to use my education. I love writing so much that I majored in creative writing. My dream was always to be a writing teacher. I used examples of writing competitions in the classroom; the winners, the losers, the good and not so good, even though they were officially the winning submission. We discussed many of the things I’m writing about today. My students worked in groups to critique winning entries. They judged each other’s writing for fun. They learned where winning poems and stories are published. Students researched literary journals, magazines, online publications, and competitions sponsored by libraries and schools. Entering all those competitions gives the writer practice in editing, proofreading, and other valuable skills.
Why do I continue entering competitions after suffering so much doubt about myself? I might give up writing forever and take it easy. What good does it do to hit the submit button again after feeling so hurt when my manuscript wasn’t chosen? What makes me sure of my creative talent that I write cover letters and check to see if I used the correct font or spacing? I remember my Dad’s favorite answer when my sisters and I would fail at something. Try, try again, he’d remind us.
What have I won? I’ve won honorable mentions, third place, and a critique. Two of my stories were published in an anthology. Three of my poems are now included in the Indiana State Library’s Hoosier Author Section. I won a scholarship to a writing course in Lithuania. There’s more as they say on those late night info-commercials. My writing resume keeps getting better and better.
Here are the links to read my poems on the Indiana State Library website.
A Writer’s Hands
Have you ever noticed those photos of hands that some people use for blog headers or advertising? You may have seen an ad for an editing service or a proofreading business that shows a pair of hands on a keyboard. Anyone who sees the ad would likely be convinced the company knows how to edit. The text in the ad would explain about the service. Schools many times use hands in their ads or on their website. A photo of hands on a keyboard or a hand holding a pen are common. Sometimes all you see are the fingers on the keyboard, not the whole hand. I could expand on types of ads, but I will stick to those writing-related.
Learn to type, Learn penmanship, learn cursive!
The hands are usually young hands with manicured nails polished in pretty colors. Some wear jewelry to show their individuality, whether tastefully conservative, artistic, boho, glittering jewels or antique. The hands you see typing or using a pen to write in a notebook can be neatly summed up into one category. Color. The hands are usually White.
One of the images often seen shows a woman typing on a laptop as she works at her favorite coffee shop. Another image marketers use features a young girl sitting cross-legged on her bedroom floor, writing in her journal with purple ink pen or pink gel pen, whatever they use these days. The girl writes by hand in cursive, sometimes for the world to see, or other times for her eyes only. But the hands are usually White.
The setting can vary from a library, a classroom, a woman writing on a park bench, or a young girl at the beach. The girl is spread out on a blanket typing on the laptop she brought from home. She’s writing a novel, or a short story, a poem. Slowly, no hurry, yet her hands stay busy. They are tan from her days at the beach, but they are White.
Busy moms are a common theme in advertisements. Moms who write at the kitchen table while their young child plays happily on the floor; Moms writing at the bookstore cafe while their daughter or son searches the shelves; or Moms sitting on the sofa, writing on a tablet, the coffee table serving as a desk. A bassinet over in the corner represents Moms who write while their baby naps. One Mom’s hands busily type the article she’s submitting to a magazine today. Her hands, all the Moms’ hands, are White.
You may come across a photo of an older woman writing her first book or her tenth, maybe a letter to her grandchildren, or she’s recording her memoirs which she plans to publish one day. Advertisements with women taking classes at the Community Center are common. Ads that promote self-improvement and a better life use strong language and large fonts.
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Of course, hands are prominent in the photos. These are directed at retirees, empty-nesters, or anyone at a quieter time of life, possibly unemployed. A gray-haired woman sits at her desk with a blank notebook in front of her. She gazes out the window while holding a new pen she bought for her first day as a writer. What is she thinking about? The blank paper represents so many chances to begin putting her thoughts down on the page. The hands that hold the pen are White.
This post isn’t meant to be a thesis on race, inequality or poverty, although those are important topics. In my opinion, the advertising world is getting better but they have a long way to go in selecting models to represent products and services. All these examples are stereotypes, someone’s preconceived notion of what a writer looks like. Maybe it’s just a habit. Those are the types of hands and the color that’s always been used.
I just wanted to analyze the images of hands I see so often and explore my observations. Why do I notice the color of these hands? Why does the subject of hands pop into my mind when I see these types of ads or images? Why is this topic relevant enough for me to write about in a blog? What do hands mean to me? The characters I write about, not all, are white. Like me. I’ll try to go beyond color.
I’ve taken several art classes. I love to draw and paint. A teacher once said that hands are the most difficult part of the body to draw accurately and I believe it. The hands on my drawing page looked nothing like the model’s hands!
Children have an easier time with art and writing because they don’t censor themselves. If they feel like using a pink crayon, a blue one or a white crayon, they just do it without thinking or debating. Color plays no role in their life. Color just IS.
Maybe I notice the color of hands because I’m a writer. I notice people who later become inspiration in my stories. Voices, mannerisms, facial expressions, hair, eyes-these have given me inspiration to base a character on or to deepen that character’s personality. I think it’s also difficult to write about hands. I don’t want to only write “He reached out with his hand” or “She folded her hands together.” I admire writers who describe people and their actions with originality, who go beyond the usual.
Ten years ago, I broke my wrist when I fell. It was my fault because I was standing on the toilet seat to reach the top of a cabinet so I could dust up there. Who was going to inspect anyway? The seat was down but it slid, then I fell, hitting my head many times. I can still remember the sound of my right hand smacking the wooden cabinet over and over again like I was doing it on purpose. The surgeon placed eight screws and two titanium plates in my wrist. During the six weeks I wore the cast, I learned to do everything with my left hand. Things I used to do so easily such as brushing my teeth, combing my hair, and showering were difficult. Holding a fork was impossible so I ate with a spoon. I never realized how many times I used my hands until I tried to drink my morning coffee and dropped the cup on the floor.
I was so worried that I would never be able to write with my right hand again although my left did an okay job scribbling. Typing with the fingers of my left hand was better. At least people would be able to read whatever I wrote. My physical therapist probably thought I was too concerned with being able to write instead of daily activities of living that a normal person needs.
I’m not normal. I’m a writer, and the ability to write is something I’ve always loved. If I couldn’t write, it would make me feel hopeless. Sure, I could speak into a microphone and let the computer type my book. But that wouldn’t be fun. I wrote on my blog about things a writer does and talking to a computer wasn’t one of them. Maybe I should update that post. https://bookplaces.blog/what-does-a-writer-do/
My wrist healed and it works the same as ever thanks to God and my talented surgeon. The scar isn’t ugly. I see the scar every day when I reach for my coffee cup, when I brush my hair or put lotion on my hands and of course, when I write.
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The Lady With Too Many Books
Writing Challenge: Write a Poem or Story About Your TBR Pile
The Lady With Too Many Books
There once was a lady who read and read
anything with words to her family’s dread,
memoirs love stories spies cops and killers
kings queens and handsome prince thrillers.
Books on the floor the bed the tables
up to the attic the rafters the gables
Libraries yard sales airports vacations
all you can carry store liquidations.
Her family, her kids, her friends got worried,
that look in her eyes and off she hurried
to the best ever sale-three books for a dollar!
Her cheeks got red and she tugged at her collar.
So they sat her down said no books for a year.
She cried, she pleaded, she panicked with fear.
Then she calmly recalled the box in her drawer-
electronic books, nine thousand eighty four.
Now she’s happy again, at home she’ll stay
night after night till dawn the next day.
But why oh why, all those books to be read?
She’ll never be done till they find her dead!
Review of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bar by Isabella May
Isabella May’s novel, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bar, is a fantastic story with quirky characters, a collection of Christmas food treats such as gingerbread men, frosted reindeer, and decadent hot cocoa made with exotic flavors and spices. There’s a bit of mystery and unanswered questions to keep you interested until the end. Will Zara admit Bruno into her heart? What did Aunt Sheba leave to her heirs in her will? Will River and Alice stay together? The reader will hang on to the little subplots that make stories on their own.
Plenty of heat and romantic tension builds throughout the story. The little catering van with the troop of characters traveling from villages and small towns in England is a perfect backdrop for this novel. I loved the people the author wrote into the novel-chefs, cooks, musicians, bartenders, bakers, and talent show entertainers. It all blends into a romantic suspenseful ending that you won’t forget.
Isabella May’s writing is new to me and now she has a new fan. I plan to read all of her books!