This Sunday in Seward, Nebraska!

What to do on a Sunday afternoon? If you’re from around my area, near Lincoln, and you’re a fan of supporting Nebraska artists, or one who loves to read and enjoys poetry, I’d suggest you venture out on February 19th to Seward, Nebraska.

Like so many small Nebraska towns, Seward has so much to offer. There’s a Mexican Restaurant on South Highway 15 as well as a Chinese place downtown, and a little cafe downtown, too. Great little shops, a heck of a library, and two places in particular I encourage you to visit: Chapter Books & Gifts and Red Path Gallery & Tasting Room. These are both on Seward Street North of the court-house on the city square. Charming shops, both of them, and they’re both run by great ladies who care about their communities and about Nebraska. Seward is very fortunate to have both of these shops, and their owners, Carla Ketner of Chapter Books and Jeanne Wiemer of Red Path Gallery.

Last summer I had the pleasure of stopping by Red Path Gallery just to check it out. I visited with the owner and we got to talking about Nebraska writers and the Nebraska Writers Guild. Jeanne told me she’d been thinking about having Nebraska authors do readings there at Red Path. I told her I knew a number of Nebraska authors, specifically Guild members, who would make great speakers for her venue. An idea was born.

Good ideas have a way of rolling down hill and collecting speed. Carla of Chapter Books down the block visited with Jeanne and volunteered to help sponsor these events. So what we have now is a book store, an art gallery, and a member of the Nebraska Writers Guild, providing a monthly event to bring people out to the small town of Seward for a Sunday afternoon.

This Sunday, Red Path will feature Charlene Neely and Laura Madeline Wiseman, wonderful poets. Every third Sunday of the month will feature a different Nebraska Writers Guild author from screen writers, to biblical enactments, to young adult novelists, writing professors talking about the art of writing, romance novelists… truly, the Nebraska Writers Guild has a wealth of talent to share!

The poster at the top of this post tells you what you need to know. Come on out! Support small towns. Support small business. Support Nebraska artists and authors. Support Nebraska! But most of all, enjoy yourselves. Both events are free to attend. I’ll be there and I hope to see you this coming Sunday in Seward! It’ll be a great day in small town Nebraska!

Sundays at Red Path — Tamsen Butler

Seward, Nebraska, January 15, 2017: Red Path owner, Jeanne Wiemer and Nebraska Writers Guild member, Gina Barlean, have partnered to bring three great things together to make a year’s worth of events: The Red Path Gallery & Tasting Room, The Nebraska Writers Guild, and Nebraska Authors!

This will be a monthly event throughout 2017, on the third Sunday of each month (except for Easter and Father’s Day, in which the event will be on the following Sunday.) Each of these Sunday NWG Author events will begin at 1:30pm with a half hour reception where you can buy something to drink from the Red Path Gallery while you mingle with friends and meet the author who will be speaking. The author (and on some Sundays, two authors) will speak from 2pm to 3pm. There is no charge to attend these events.

About The Red Path Gallery, and Nebraska Writers Guild: Red Path Gallery & Tasting Room is located on the Historic Downtown Square in Seward, Nebraska.  Built as a bank in 1886, the space was converted in 1951 into a law firm – the oldest in Nebraska. Through a labor of love, original architectural features were uncovered, and the historic building was renovated and transformed into an art gallery and wine tasting room. The Nebraska Writers Guild was founded in 1925; its charter members included Bess Streeter Aldrich, Mari Sandoz, and Willa Cather. Today’s NWG members represent a lively cross-section of Nebraska life. Guild activities center on two annual conferences. Novelists and historians, poets and journalists, agents and publishers, screenwriter, editors and columnists ­ all have shared their insights on the art (and business) of writing at these conferences.

If you enjoy art, a nice glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage, are looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon, love to read and learn about new authors, wish to support the arts in Nebraska, or just want to learn more about the Nebraska Writers Guild… please come!

This is the poster for the first event. Our NWG author will be Tamsen Butler of Omaha. She’s funny, smart, and a great speaker. She teaches about public speaking, using humor in public speaking, and is proof that one can recover from a stroke and continue a very full life! Tamsen’s writing career focuses on financial help books, which will be available for sale. Please visit Tamsen’s website at tamsenbutler.com

LET THE JUDGING BEGIN!

short-story

ALL ENTRIES ARE IN!

The “About a Nebraska Town” short story contest to promote Nebraska Writers Guild authors has received eleven entries: six women and five men. I could not be more excited about the quality of the stories and applicants.

To those who entered stories… judges have until March 1st to read, make comments, and select the winner by a point system. Best of luck to all. I can’t wait to read them, and I know the other judges are just as excited!

 

Below are reminders of the rules of this competition. Judges should keep these factors in mind when judging the stories:

  • This competition is NOT sponsored or run by The Nebraska Writers Guild.
  • Stories entered are no longer than 5,000 words.
  • Stories are fictional, original, and submitted by the author.
  • Stories must be set in a Nebraska town and reflect the feel of a Nebraska town.
  • There is no fee for this competition. It is FREE, privately run, and specifically for Nebraska Writers Guild Members.
  • Your story may be dark, light, humorous, sci-fi, mystery, romance, horror, fantasy… whatever, as long as it’s set in a Nebraska town (small town, big town, real or fictional town, etc.) Not mentioning Nebraska would decrease the story’s odds of winning.
  • Enter stories written for an adult audience. No children’s stories for this competition. (Maybe in the future.)
  • Only twenty-five entries accepted, first come, first serve. (We had 11 and I’m thrilled with that number.)

DEADLINES:

  • The deadline for submission to this competition is January 1st. No more entries accepted at this time.
  • The award for the winner of this competition will be March 1st.

JUDGING:

  • There will be four judges, myself, Victorine E. Lieske, and Kim Stokely and Delores Schmidt.
  • I will announce the winner here on this website and on other social media outlets.

PRIZE:

  • I will publish the winning entry here on my blog, as well as on my Facebook Author Site.
  • The winner will receive a Winner Badge to put on their website or social media pages.
  • All entrants will receive feedback about their story from the judges.
  • The winner will own all gloating rights for winning this competition and can brag as loudly as tolerated by their friends and neighbors.

Judging Notes:

  • Stories which include explicit sex (erotica) or any descriptive scenes of abuse of women, children, or animals, will possibly be excluded. If a story is turned away, the author will privately be given the reasons, but let it be known this is a private business website and I am careful of what content I associate my writing career with.
  • IF your story does include romantic scenes or excessive or harsh swearing and wins, a notice for readers at the time of publication on this site will accompany the story.
  • I and the other judges agree not to use any part of any of the entrants’ stories for personal or business use. By entering your story, we do not own the rights to it, and cannot publish any portion or full extent of it, except for the winner’s here on this blog one time.

 

My Newest Book!

It’s out! Bad Blood of Rosewood, my newest book. I’m doing the happy dance!!

badbloodThe Rosewood series is now complete… or is it? Never say never, right? I may write more about the Thorns and Gloria Larson in the small town of Rosewood. I have quite a cast of characters just hanging out, waiting for me to put them in motion. Ronnie, Doug, Hank, Betty, Josie, Tanya and Debbie. Don’t forget Officer Connors and all the guys at the Old Man Table at the Last Stop Diner. And you know how it is. Small towns have characters around every corner. I’m guessing at some point in the future something mysterious is bound to happen.

Until then, I have written six books for you to read. You can find all of my books on my book table here on this website, or on Amazon.

And if you haven’t read the entire series yet, Please start with Thorns of Rosewood, then read Flames of Rosewood, and finally, Bad Blood of Rosewood

Just a note. I sell exclusively on Amazon for Kindle e-readers and print books. If you own a Nook or other reading device, this may irritate you! I understand. But, over the years since I’ve started selling books, I’ve found by being a Kindle Select author, I sell exponentially more books via Amazon than I do any other channel. To be a Select author on Amazon, I must enter a contract agreeing to only sell through Amazon. Now, of course, I’d like all readers to enjoy my books on their Nooks or Kindles, but earning a living is important, too. (Certainly, my husband thinks so!) So, until I become rich and famous, I’m going to use this tool available to me as an Indie Author so I can get my product out to as many readers all over the world as possible.

Having said that, there are apps you can download for your computers or Androids to read Kindle books. Here is the download, and it’s free. Kindle App

All of the highlighted words, as well as the picture of my book, will take you directly to Amazon to purchase the books, or download the App.

Please share this blog post on your social media, or forward it to your reading friends!

An Author’s Voice

I’ve been kind of idling in neutral when it comes to writing. I think it’s because I’m second guessing my abilities. Wondering, even, if I have a style or a voice worth reading. I am what I am, and I want to write and tell stories, but… is the way I word things, the phrasing I use, the images I paint, unique enough? Or mainstream enough? Or just … enough?

As I drove into town to work today I tried to look at my small community like an outsider might. We’re a little weird like everyone is a little weird everywhere. Meaning, what seems very normal to us might be quirky or odd to someone else. We park in the middle of the street. Two full rows of parking around the square of our downtown. There’s room. It’s always been that way. Makes perfect sense to us. We have a noon whistle that blows at… you guessed it… noon. Very loud. Reminds us it’s time to take a break. Just always the way it’s been. Takes at least ten minutes on a quick day to get fast food in the line at our two fast food restaurants in town. Nope. Nothing really fast about it, but hey, we don’t have to get out of the car, so that’s progress!

Living in a small town seems like an easy life. It is in some ways. It’s harder in others. It’s easy in that when I want to go to the grocery story, I drive up, park by the front door, and go right in. I don’t have to time my shopping around rush hour or fight construction or wait at lights. I don’t have to park at the end of the lot, or circle the parking lot to find a closer spot. If there are more than two people in a check-out line, the cashier gets right on the intercom and calls for more checkers. Standing in long lines is a very rare thing.

What can make small-town life challenging is the same thing that makes being famous challenging. If a celebrity goes out on the town and has a couple too many drinks, it’s in the tabloids by morning. Same thing in a small town, but instead of the tabloids, it’s the big story at the coffee shop or hair salon. Now, if you get a fine driving, then that’s in the paper, but it’s okay because the paper only comes out once a week. Maybe by then you can put some spin on the gossip so it goes over better with your grandma when she reads it.

Yes. It’s hard to live under the spotlight, so to speak, and yet, the only folks around here who are real celebrities are the kids in high school who win the game, and that’s just fine. Most of us cringe when attention points our direction.

Back to this writing thing. My voice, my style, is certainly formed by my surroundings. I write in my way, the same way we do things in our own way here in our small Nebraska town. It’s normal to me.

When I write a book, I let you see me through my story-telling voice. I draw from cousins and aunts and uncles, neighbors, and silly little sayings and legends of the area, and mispronounced words and turns of phrases. I write like I think… like I talk. I don’t try to polish it. I want to make sure it’s real and… small town… but honest.

I want to show that it’s easy, but hard at the same time to live small. Small town life has as much duality and intrigue as any other life in any other place. It mustn’t be discounted because it’s ordinary. If anything, it’s special because it’s ordinary. That’s what I try to show when I write. Maybe that’s why I think I need to write—because I know I’m willing to be honest with my “voice.”

The voice I use when I write is the only voice I can imagine using when creating stories about people who might be like those I’ve lived around, in towns similar to the one in which I live, carrying out simple lives, just like me and mine. Simple lives, full of relationships and love and frustration and sorrow… the most honest basic feelings at the core of every story ever told.

 

Platte River Sampler

 

If you go to this URL: http://www.kzum.org/ , it will take you to the website for the radio station, KZUM, a non-commercial, non-profit, listener sponsored community radio station.  You’ll find it at 89.3 MHz on the FM band. KZUM features an evening radio program called, “The Platte River Sampler.” It offers writings and readings from the state of Nebraska, and it airs every Thursday, 6-7 p.m. You’ll hear everything from original prose, poetry, drama, songwriting and more, all from Nebraska and often delivered by the authors themselves.

If you go to the website you’ll find out Nebraska artists can submit your own works. I submitted a beginning portion of my book Thorns of Rosewood, and last night it aired. It was quite a bit of fun hearing someone read my words, and although it made me nervous, I will say it was also fun to be interviewed. I don’t think I sounded like too much of a goofball, so I’m breathing a sigh of relief.

Here is the MP3 of the actual story. It takes 11:20 minutes to listen to and I will say, it’s been cut and doesn’t read exactly as my book reads. You’ll get the general idea of the story, though.

Below is the MP3 of the interview. This has also been cut and only takes 3:28 minutes to listen to. I am thankful to KZUM for eliminating all the drivel and making me sound like a relatively normal human being.

Enjoy listening, and enter your own short works if you’ve a mind to. It’s free and it’s painless. Support the arts in Nebraska! Thank you KZUM for what you offer writers of all varieties!

Oh! And if you want to buy Thorns of Rosewood, that would be cool. Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and more if you would be so kind! Thorns of Rosewood is now .99 cents. Book 2, Flames of Rosewood will be coming out in March!

COVER REVEAL!

TADA!!! Here is the cover of my next book. This is the second book in the Rosewood series. I’ve named it, Flames of Rosewood.

I literally wrote the last sentence today and sent it out for people to beta read. Hopefully, by the end of January this book will be in an editor’s capable hands. If all goes right with the world, Flames of Rosewood will be available for sale by March 1st. Fingers crossed.

In book two, the life and times of Gloria Larson in the small town of Rosewood, Nebraska, continues. You’ll meet new characters and Gloria and her Thorns will have new mysteries to solve. The ending put a smile on my face when I wrote it. The very ending has a surprise that leaves me itching to start writing Book Three!

Now is a good time to read Thorns of Rosewood as the digital version is now on sale for .99 cents! (Normally $2.99) Read Thorns first, then when Flames comes out, you’ll be ready!

Buy Thorns of Rosewood for .99 cents on Amazon for Kindle, B&N for Nook, or Smashwords for any format. Happy reading and spread the word—Flames of Rosewood is coming out soon!

Change Maker

If you remember my last post, I had told you I was to give a presentation for a teacher’s sorority. It went well by the way. It’s true, teachers are lovely human beings. But I already knew that.

I had told you I was going to break down my presentation into six parts and post them here, as I found some of the information I dug up fascinating. So, here is part two… coming off admitting I wasn’t the best student in the classes at the higher and more valued end of the learning hierarchy: Math and science. Actually, I stunk.

I found a meme on Facebook that sums up my thoughts fairly well.

“I hate math tests because all through the chapter it’s like really easy and then you think you’ve got it and then the test is like,

IF I THROW A TRIANGLE OUT OF THE CAR AND THE CAR IS GOING 20 MPH AND WIND RESISTANCE IS A THING THAT EXISTS, HOW MANY CUPCAKES CAN PEDRO BUY WITH ONE HUMAN SOUL?

I “googled” the difference between Convergent and Divergent Thinking. This led me to a man named Joy Paul Guilford, born in 1897 in Marquette, Nebraska. He was a psychologist known for recognizing convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is the type of thinking that focuses on coming up with the single, well-established answer to a problem. It’s about remembering stored information and following rules and constraints. Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner, where many creative ideas are generated and evaluated. Multiple solutions are explored.

Obviously, there is quite a bit more to it than this, but these definitions are the gist of it. I am a divergent thinker. I understand the rules and go back to them to solve the ultimate problem, but I like to think, “out of the box,” as they say. And this is where the potential for creation comes from, for me at least. This is why my favorite quote has always been this one by George Bernard Shaw:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

So, I’m not difficult. I’m simply a change-maker!

Note: I love the picture of Shaw I found for this post. I have been enjoying this man’s quote about the unreasonable man for so many years, yet today was the first time I ever really researched him. I found out from the time he began writing, to when his play, Pygmalion won the Academy award, was around 14 years. The information claimed it took him this long to reach his writing stride. This gave me an incredible amount of comfort! What a wonderful thing to realize the best of writers take years to develop their style and ideas. So, the best of me is yet to be.

Write on, my friends!