Happy New Year

Carved wooden salmon @ Ivar's Restaurant, Everett, WA

I just had to share this picture with all of you. I know it’s random, but I hope it brings a smile to your face to start this new year. Yes, that is Santa on top. I can’t figure out if the salmon is saving Santa or trying to have him for lunch.  I took it last year while visiting with my nieces Helen and Rachael and their families. We had a great time!

We ate a wonderful lunch at Ivar’s before taking a ferry ride. Hadn’t been there in many years so it was a delight.  For me, there is nothing better than Alaskan halibut and a bucket of butter clams. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

I wish you a wonderful New Year in 2011. BTW – you know those resolutions everyone either makes or tries to ignore? I decided several years ago that if I didn’t accomplish it all this year that I could just keep it on the list for the next year. Being a list maker for my whole life – at least since I knew how to write – is part of who I am and I make looonnnggg lists and then think I can accomplish them in a fairly limited amount of time. My husband, Greg, has spent years teaching me to be kind to myself. I am a work in progress and so are all the things on that list. I’m learning to celebrate accomplishments and look forward to experiences. Maybe I’m just getting older, but it’s beginning to sink in.

If you’re a writer, then I hope you’ll write in 2011. We can stretch ourselves together and keep working on being the best writers we can be.

If you’re a reader, then enjoy yourself – the stories, the turn of a phrase, the characters you’ll meet, and the places you’ll go without ever leaving home.

 

Holiday Week Challenge

School is out and many of us are on vacation. People in business are doing the basics. Families gather and we look to do things for each other. I challenge everyone to keep this giving spirit all through 2011.

I was a single mom for several years with three children. We loved getting together with friends and family. January and February seemed kind of a let down after the holidays. What do you look forward to? There are special people and others who need assistance all 12 months of the year. When we can do something for other people, then  we make a difference and when that person does something for someone else it spreads.

Celebrate 2011 in new ways.

  • Volunteer some of your time to a cause that you believe in.
  • Walk for a cause.
  • Write an article in your local paper or send a letter to the editor in support of an important cause.
  • Use some of the profits from your own writing as a fund raiser for your cause.
  • Write stories and books that raise awareness of social issues.
  • Get together with friends or neighbors and adopt a nursing home or assisted living facility.
  • What kinds of things can you think of? I’d love you to share them here.

Merry Christmas to All

 

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,

The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,

But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.

I love thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky,

And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

Be near me Lord Jesus

I ask thee to stay.

Close by me forever,

And love my I pray.

Bless all the dear children,

In thy tender care.

And take them to heaven,

To be with thee there.

Christmas for Writers

Have you seen how many Christmas books there are in the book stores or on eBooks? I think it’s an exciting idea to build in to your plans for next year. While we’re enjoying this blessed season, I’m sure most of you are like me. We’re reflecting on this year’s writing and looking forward to projects for next year. One way to get started is collect family stories about Christmases past. It also makes a wonderful gift to family members and grandchildren so they can learn about their family.

Merry Christmas to you all and happy writing in the coming New Year.

Christmas Holiday Reading

My favorite is in the book of Luke 2: 1 – 7. Contemporary books I’d recommend for a great read. Put up your feet, snuggle in with your favorite snacks and hot spiced cider and enjoy.

Debbie Macomber’s Angelic Intervention books: (partial list)

A Season of Angels

The Trouble With Angels

Touched By Angels

Shirley, Goodness and Mercy

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Norman Rockwell’s Christmas

Skipping Christmas, John Grisham

One Incredible Moment, Max Lucado

The Max Lucado Christmas Collection

Children’s Christmas Books

Over the past several years many publishers released Christmas themed books written by our favorite authors. Some of my favorite children’s books are:

The Christmas Story ,Jane Werner Watson

The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg

Mistletoe Madness, Miriam Hees

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss

The Night Before Christmas

Humphrey’s First Christmas, Carol Heyer

 

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

 

‘Tis the Season

Like many others, this is my favorite time of year. Challenging  times economically all over the country have people thinking about cutting back and making things simpler. The truth is that we’ve all seemed to get caught up in more activities and the season of Peace on Earth and the birth of Christ get lost in our celebration with more and more stuff.

My husband and I live in a relatively small house and over the past year have shared it with adult children and their family. I like to tell people that we have 5 adults, 1 child, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. We do actually have a pear tree in our yard although I think it probably has a shivering sparrow rather than a partridge. Our family includes six children so when we all get together we make our own crowd.

I’m finding that health challenges and economic challenges for much of our family make me think more about what really matters. We still have our decorations up. My grandson and I decorated the tree with fewer decorations and utilized natural things. Our crowded living room turned office allowed a small area in one corner for the tree. We could only decorate 1/3 of the tree that peeks out around the book shelves and file cabinets. But, somehow it is one of the prettiest trees we’ve ever had.

At church this past Sunday, our minister spoke about making this the best Christmas ever. He gave the points I’d like to share with you. (1)Don’t over schedule  (2) Don’t over spend  (3) Don’t over expect it can lead to disappointment  (4) Don’t over look the whole point of the season – the birth of Jesus.

I wish you a blessed season and New Year. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah.

Vivian Zabel is my Guest with her new novel, “Stolen”

Hot off the Press:

Edmond, Oklahoma 4RV Publishing announces the novel Stolen by Vivian Gilbert Zabel will be officially released November 1. ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) were sent to reviewers the past two months, and the book’s debut will be in time for Christmas shopping.

The emotion, frustration, and helplessness she felt when two grandchildren were taken by their father led Zabel to write Stolen. She said, “I took the overpowering feelings that were drowning me and gave them to the main character in the book.” She added that the emotions remained, but they became manageable.

Zabel also stated that it took ten years for the novel to see print. “It took three years to write, four more to proof and edit (with six editors going over and through it time after time), and the last three to prepare for publication.” Most books take considerably less time, but according to the author, this one simply wouldn’t “finish” until after her grandchildren rejoined the family, twelve years after they were taken.

The novel will be available through any bookstore, the 4RV Publishing website book store, plus other online book providers such as Amazon. Pre-sales are open on the publishing website now.

http://4rvpublishingllc.com/Novels.html

Zabel has won several awards with her writing, including first place with her mystery/suspense Midnight Hours. She taught English and writing for nearly 30 years and edited newspapers, yearbooks, and literary magazines sporadically for 45. She had poetry, short stories, and articles published over the years, but while raising her family and teaching, she didn’t have time to write longer works. After retirement, she produced a collection of short stories with Holly Jahangiri, Hidden Lies and Other Stories;  a collection of poetry with seven other poets located in the United States and Canada, Walking the Earth: Life’s Perspectives in Poetry; three young adult books, The Base Stealers, Case of the Missing Coach, Prairie Dog Cowboy;  and two novels including Stolen.

A wife for nearly 49 years, the mother of three living children, grandmother of ten grandchildren, and great-grandmother of five, Zabel believes family and faith are most important, and that belief finds its way in most of her writing. Her characters come from people she observes or reads about mixed with her imagination. Plots take a gain of an idea and combine with a massive dosage of “what if.”

Vivian Zabel appears at book festivals and other book events around her home state of Oklahoma. Her most recent, October 30 at Tahlequah’s Author Fest, will be a pre-debut of Stolen.