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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Free Book July 2017!

We are delighted to highlight Olivia Newport’s newest Amish book GLADDEN THE HEART as our July 2017 free book!!

From the back cover: “1847: The members of the Amish church in the Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania don’t know quite what to make of the Methodist tent revival going on down the road. From the lively singing and impassioned preaching to the altar calls and prayers of salvation, it’s nothing like their solemn ways of worship and tradition…When the divided community faces a life-or-death situation, they must respond to a crisis that challenges them to look past their differences.”

I’ve found Olivia’s novel to have particular significance in this time of political division. Our July 2017 free book is a new trade paperback edition.

To have your name included in our Wednesday, July 19 drawing, please answer this question: Do you think you could live as the Amish do without most modern conveniences?

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Dirt & Bones: Pottery and Playdough

Last fall my husband dug up a bit of what he calls “gumbo” and what area potters call “Pickford clay.”

I ran a few Facebook posts about it as I tempered it with sand and molded it into a sort-of cup. My attempts are far from being good work, but the process helped me understand how the ancient potters of Neolithic (New Stone Age) times felt when they were learning to use clay for more than a casing to roast fish or red meat in earthen pits.

The leaf on the bottom of the pot is my own invention. It easily pealed away from the clay after the pot was completed. Other materials I tried didn’t!

I haven’t built up enough courage to fire my little cup, because I’m pretty sure it will crack apart under the stress, but I’m proud of my efforts.

My niece Frances has studied archaeology, and on one of her digs she found some wonderful pottery shards that she was allowed to keep. She was kind enough to send me a few samples.

Perhaps you can make out the marks from the cob of corn used to decorate the pottery shard in the center.

When I was writing the pottery scenes in HORSES OF THE WEST SUN (aka Bone Fire), I kept a few shards on my desk. Those shards became a time machine for me as I thought about the ancient hands that formed them, and they allowed me to delve more deeply into the lives of my characters as I wrote their stories.

Are you a potter? If not, do you think you’d enjoy learning? Or are your efforts, like mine, mostly limited to Playdough?

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Your Life & Mine: Rocks and Roses

When we moved to our loft apartment on a sandy lot in the woods, I left behind an almost-thriving perennial garden. An abundant crop of rocks and boulders in our current location was discouraging to say the least, but with my husband’s encouragement, I gradually began to develop a rock garden. I do only a bit more each summer and since this is only the third full summer we’ve lived here, my garden remains small, but I’m having fun. It’s centerpiece is a pin cherry tree which grew up wild. It handles our 40 below (F.) winters with barely a shiver.

I have quite a way to go before I’ve completely turned our stony ground into a haven for roses, but isn’t that what we all face with any new project? The greater the odds against success, the sweeter the victory.

This is only half of the remaining rocks and wild growth!

Do you have a garden. Any photos to share? What are your favorite flowers?

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June 2017 Free Book Winner!!!

Congratulations to our June 2017 book winner, Silva Freeman. In answer to our question about what position she would take in Mr. Rochester’s household, Silva said, “Maid.” Silva, message me your address, and I’ll send MR. ROCHESTER (the book not the man…) ASAP!!!

Happy Reading!

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June 2017 FREE BOOK!

My friend, Sarah Shoemaker, wrote this exquisite book, which is set in England late in the reign of George III (1760-1820). Our June 2017 Free Book edition is a new hardcover.

Author Mary Sharratt praises MR. ROCHESTER: “Prepare to be swept off your feet by Sarah Shoemaker’s stunning MR. ROCHESTER. As one of countless readers who adored Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE, but never quite understood what Jane saw in Mr. Rochester, I was spellbound. Beautifully written, exquisitely crafted, and deeply engaging, MR. ROCHESTER is pure book club gold.”

Edward Rochester, the protagonist of this novel, grew up in a privileged family in England. His world included a variety servants. To have your name included in our Wednesday, June 14 drawing, tell us what job would best fit you in Mr. Rochester’s household: nanny, governess, cook, maid, butler, farrier, music instructor, language instructor, gardener, groundskeeper, or porter?

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