Archive for the ‘bullying’ Category

LETTERS

August 8, 2017

Just Sayin'

When is the last time you wrote a letter? When is the last time you received one? In our age of texts and emojis, letters have dwindled. When I wrote WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I was able to study over 600 letters written by my parents serving in WW2. Who preserves texts, even for the life of the phone? I decided I’d write a novel totally in letters. The result is JUST SAYIN’, a middle-grade novel in letters. The postmark and setting are Hamilton, MO, where I grew up.

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BOOK SALE–BACKYARD HORSES

June 5, 2017

Horse Dreams

Every now and then, my publisher puts a book on sale for a few days or a month. I love that! But I confess I dropped the ball on this one, since we’re already into June. (How did that happen?) For the month of June, wherever they sell books, the first e-book in BACKYARD HORSES,  a series of juvenile novels, is $1.99 (which always sounds better than $2). It’s set in Hamilton, MO, where I grew up, where I rode our “backyard horses,” un-fancy horses boarded in our backyard or a near pasture–definitely not in a fancy stable.

DAD & DANDI

May 31, 2017
Dad and Dandi


Hamilton, Missouri

Since my last blog featured Mom (Helen) and my big sister, Maureen, I decided to share these photos of Dad (Frank) and me, taken in the home where I grew up, the first and last house my parents owned. I loved growing up in a small town (population 1,701, before the shoe factory closed).

If you’ve read With Love, Wherever You Are, you know from the letters he wrote that Frank was a very good writer. Being a doctor, however, did get in the way of becoming an author. Still, the American Medical Association kept electing him secretary because they loved to read his witty versions of their boring meetings. Once, he had a cartoon in Reader’s Digest. And during a time before the Vietnam war became unpopular, he wrote an anti-war editorial for the Kansas City Star. I can still remember defending my dad’s stance when I went to school the day after the article came out, although none of us had a clue about Vietnam or war.

UNCLE WILBUR EBERHART

April 25, 2017

Uncle Web

If  you’ve read WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, then you’ve already met my Uncle Wilbur, aka Uncle Web. Helen received a touching letter from him while they were both in active duty during WW2. And she told Frank proudly that her brother lost a rank or two because he’d decked an officer who’d barged into an elderly German lady’s home to steal the silver candlesticks he’d spied in her window. I had a big fat scene about him, but it was one of many I had to cut, or the book would have run over 1,000 pages. Helen loved her big brother twins, Walter and Wilbur.

Here’s what Wilbur’s son, my cousin Roger, related: Dad earned 2 Bronze stars. I know that one was when they left him behind to resupply ammunition for his 155 mm cannon.  Germans counter attacked with tanks rushing over the hill.  He said that being alone, he has to choose to run or fight. He loaded the shells by himself and fired them like a rifle.  After several rounds, the tanks turned around.  Good thing he still had the strength of a farm boy. Those shells probably weighed about 100 lbs each. His favorite story was after the war ended.  His job, since he spoke some German, was to tour the area and round up stragglers. A young boy was trying to get home.  Dad picked him up.   A Lieutenant stopped his jeep and ordered him to put that boy in the field with soldiers that had surrendered.  As you may have guessed, he chose to ignore that order since the field offered no protection from the rain etc. Instead, he drove him to his parents home. They were so happy to see their boy that he was invited to stay for dinner.  He said it wasn’t much but was still the best food he has eaten in months. Most of his stories were about people he met and not about battles. 

 

 

LITERARY LOVERS’ MARCH MADNESS

March 20, 2017

I love March Madness, except for the fact that Mizzou didn’t make it this year. (We’ll get ’em next year!) So, look what someone else is doing–a Literary-Lovers’ March Madness. And LARA and I made it to the second round. LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA contains just about everything I know about writing. And since everyone has been bullied and has bullied in some way, readers get the subtle anti-bullying theme. I don’t think I’ve asked anyone to vote for me since I ran for office at  Missouri Girls State…and loss. Round 2 ends Thursday. Here’s the link if you’re up for it: http://readthearc.com/literary-lovers-madness-round2/

SNEAK PEEK

October 31, 2016

osd-2

This is the last page of my new Christmas book, and I can’t wait any longer to share it–sorry. Yes, I guess I’m giving away the ending. But you knew that already, right?

WRITING . . . Larger Than Life

September 10, 2016

LargerThanLifeLara

LLLaraI love how every book finds its way. I have writing friends who won’t start a story until they know the ending. Many of these “plotters” plot out their entire books, outlining each chapter, every scene. Other writers, the “pantsters,” write by the seat of their pants, unaware of what lies ahead in plot and resolution. Most of the time, I think I fall somewhere in between. Like a plotter, I’m uncomfortable not knowing where a story is heading. I can’t visualize and build to a climax. But I’m just as uncomfortable writing without the surprise and discovery of a pantster.

LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA “came” like no other book I’ve written. I woke at 3 am and could hear a tough kid saying: “This isn’t about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up.” I knew enough to get out of bed and write. With no idea of the plot, I felt I knew this strong, defensive kid who would tell me LARA’s story, but didn’t want to tell me hers. Each morning I couldn’t wait to write and see what would happen next. I was two chapters into it before I realized the subtle theme of bullying inherent to the story. I was over halfway through the book when I realized the narrator, who was learning how to write, was teaching the reader everything I know about writing a story. I had to go back and label chapters: Character, The Beginning, A Frozen Moment, Setting, Opposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, etc.

Which kind of writer would you be?

RULES OF SCHOOLS

September 2, 2016

Cassie Classic

It’s here. School. So I asked kids what rules reign at their schools:

“No crossing your eyes on purpose.”

“No pouting.”

“Don’t pick on kids who are bigger than you.”

“Thou shalt not suck on a marker…because the colors will come off on your teeth and everybody will know you did it. Plus, they don’t really taste than good.”