September 2017 Free Book Winner!!

Congratulations to Rowan O’Dougherty who won our free book this month!! Rowan, please message me your address and I’ll send a signed copy your way, ASAP!!!

Happy Reading,

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September 2017 FREE BOOK!

I’m honored to offer as our September Free Book AND HERE 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing 1917-2017, released by Michigan State University Press and edited by Ronald Riekki. I’m also honored to have an excerpt from my novel Mother Earth Father Sky and a section introduction included in the book. I will sign both locations in our give-away trade paperback copy.

From the back cover, “Upper Peninsula literature has traditionally been suppressed or minimized in Michigan anthologies and Michigan literature as a whole. These people and this place are strongly made up of traditionally marginalized groups such as the working class, the rural poor, and Native Americans, which adds even more insult to the exclusion and forced oppressive silence. AND HERE . . . gives voice to Upper Peninsula writers, and in doing so forcefully insists on the geographic and literary inclusion of the U.P. — on both the map and the page.”

To have your name included in our Wednesday, September 13, 2017, drawing, just answer this question: Have you ever lived in or visited Michigan’s Upper Peninsula?

(Photo used with permission from Michigan State University Press)

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Dirt & Bones: A Little Pipe Music

The above “Native Flute” is my newest musical instrument. I have a long way to go to really be able to play it, but I love its haunting sound. Like a clarinet, it’s played vertically. This particular version is a “G” instrument and by moving a leather band in the middle to cover or uncover a fingerhole, the instrument can be played as a five-hole flute in a minor key or six-hole flute in a major key.

In my current manuscript HORSES OF THE WEST SUN (formerly BONE FIRE), set circa 5700 B.C., one of the major characters, Rolf, plays a flute carved from bone. I based his instrument on a five-hole flute carved from a vulture bone and discovered at a dig site in Hohle Fels, Germany. That flute is estimated to be 40,000 years old! Proof that the flute is one of the first musical instruments ever developed.

Think of all the flute-type instruments that gradually evolved from those first bird bone flutes: clarinets, saxophones, picolos, recorders, even bagpipes.

Have you or do you play any flute-like instrument?

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National Dog Day!!

Hey, did you know that August 26 is National Dog Day? Here’s a photo of my dog, Tiffany Pearl. She’s a one-year-old miniature schnauzer.

Do you have a dog photo to share with us?

TIffany Pearl Harrison

Happy Dog Days!!

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Your Life & Mine: That Picture Worth A Thousand Words

Have you ever managed to catch one of those rare photos that tell a story simply through a visual image? My husband Neil and I were out walking when I happened to look down and see this. It’s not staged. It’s exactly as we saw it, and I snapped a photo.

Did you ever take a photo that relates a message without words? Share it with us, please!

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August 2017 FREE BOOK Winner!

Congratulations to Allen Bishop who won our August Free Books!!

Allen, please message me your address and I’ll mail the books to you, ASAP!

Happy Reading,

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August 2017 FREE BOOK!

It’s my joy to offer two books this month, BREATHE BREATHE, a poetry chapbook, that includes two short stories, by my friend Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and BITTER, SWEET by another friend, Canadian author Laura Best. Both women are blessed with the ability to etch a heart-rending and heart-healing picture through their elegant words.

From the Foreword (by Brian Kirk) of BREATHE BREATHE, “Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi writes with a raw honesty processed more by the heart than the mind. It’s the voice of a wounded soul. Same as you. Same as me…. I invite you onward to take the balm of Erin’s words and apply it to your wounds.”

From the cover copy of BITTER, SWEET, “After their mother dies, Pru and Jessie do everything they can to hide the fact that they’re on their own so that they and their brother and sister aren’t separated….”

So there you have it, two incredible works of art as our FREE BOOK for August 2017. To have your name included in the Wednesday, August 9, 2017 drawing, just answer this question: Have you developed special coping skills for life’s difficult days? Yes or no is an adequate answer or you may share more deeply.

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Dirt & Bones: Climate Change

For some folks the words CLIMATE CHANGE are a rousing call to arms. That’s not my intent in this post. I’m not interested in the pros or cons of current political clashes concerning the causes and effects of mankind’s contribution to the warming — or the cooling — of the earth. (I was a college student in the 1970s when the great climate controversy was not about global warming but global cooling. They told us not to have children. Widespread glaciation was eminent.) This post concerns the climate in the Northern Hemisphere during the setting of my manuscript, HORSES OF THE WEST SUN, circa 5700 B.C

Herein, I’ll probably be the recipient of rotten tomatoes, but it was WARMER.

Archaeologists and climatologists almost all agree that approximately 9,000 to 5,000 years before the present, our planet experienced generally warmer temperatures than today within the Northern Hemisphere. This period of time is called the Holocene Optimum. For hunter-gatherers warmer weather usually made life easier. Winters were more vicious, but in areas where cold winters meant more snow (Lower Danube), lush forest-edge growth would often result, which supported a larger animal population. The natural occurrences that caused this warming period include:
Jet streams. Fast flowing, narrow bands of air currents affect Earth’s climate as they flow above the earth at the edges of large air masses of relatively stable temperature (polar or tropical). Earth’s jet streams are produced by solar radiation and the force of the earth’s rotation.
Thermohaline circulation (THC). THC is a global-scale system that is mainly the result of the ocean’s saline content, surface temperature, and surface currents. Under the influence of these factors and others, warm tropical waters move north, cool, and sink. Then they flow into deep ocean basins. The oldest water masses have a circulation time of 1,000 years with varying effects on earth’s climate during that lengthy cycle.
Orbital eccentricity. Earth’s orbit is impacted by the gravity of all planets in the solar system, particularly Jupiter and Saturn. When this gravitational influence causes the earth’s orbit around the sun to grow more elliptical, the length in days of spring and summer, as compared to winter and autumn, changes. Longer winters and autumns (up to a six day variance and more) equal shorter springs and summers, and vice versa. Thus climate is impacted.

My take, after I researched climate for my novel, is that climate is a whole lot more complicated scientifically than most political pundits — on both sides of the aisle and in between — want us to believe.

So, what do you think? Are you intrigued, angry, or really don’t care one way or the other?

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Your Life & Mine: Books From Childhood

On a bookshelf in my office, I keep a group of ragged books By Laura Ingalls Wilder. You can see from the photo above that they’ve been used hard and read often. If I hired a decorator to help me add a touch of the artistic to my home, I imagine she or he would tell me to tuck those books into a less prominent place, but I wouldn’t. I have three good reasons for that choice. The first is that I love these books. I still read them often. The second is that each day they remind me of how much I owe to a multitude of people who encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and how much I owe to a multitude of books that opened my eyes to the magic of words.

My last reason is even more personal. These books were gifts from my paternal grandparents who gave me a book each Christmas from my tenth year through my seventeenth. Each was inscribed by my grandmother, and when I see her lovely old-fashioned handwriting, my eyes tear and my heart soars.

Did anyone give you books when you were child? Share your story with us.

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July 2017 BOOK WINNER!!

Congratulations to Brenda Lee Harrison who won our July 2017 Free Book! In answer to the question, “Do you think you could live the Amish lifestyle with few modern conveniences?” Brenda said, “No, thanks!” I’m smiling about that answer!

Brenda, message me with your address and I will mail the book to you ASAP!

Happy Reading,

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