Saturday, April 29, 2017


When I started a blog in April, 2014, my goal was to write 200 to 300 words a week about my first novel. I needed it to help me work out problems with content and technique. I composed a safety net of 6 posts and a big list of possible topics to get myself going. Still, I fretted about being able to keep it up for any length of time. Three years and an estimated 41,000 words later, I’m still going.

Before the blog—I had a journal that I worked on in intermittent spurts starting in May, 2008 and ending in late 2013.

I went back to read my first journal entries and became reacquainted with the anger that spurred me to finally write down my thoughts after a lifetime of procrastination. I was one of those folks who would think, “I’ll start writing seriously—someday.”

My very first entry was an eye-opening blast. The anger and frustration I wrote about came from several sources. The one closest to me was a very good friend. I had begun helping her out with her shopping and laundry a couple of times a week. My reward for a long and often trying outing was having a late lunch with her.

A few days ago, I had a chance to reprise one of those long afternoons. This time we started out with lunch at her favorite spot, a Chinese restaurant. We hadn’t been there for a year or more and were surprised when the waitress recognized my friend and recited her meal-of-choice, spicy chicken curry. My friend was overjoyed. Her morale needed that little boost. It helped create a pleasant afternoon of shopping and visiting.

I’m not ready to go back to journaling. I’m sticking to this blog for a while longer. But rest assured—I’ll be going back and reading my old journal entries again. There may be some good material for short stories—or who knows what else. 

Friday, April 21, 2017


Here I am at my READ LOCAL event. After a couple of failed attempts at script writing, I went with a simplified list of slide titles and a couple of bullet points of the most important things I wanted to include. What I needed most was something to hold in my hand. The other hand held the clicker and laser pointer.

I couldn't use the podium because it was too far off to the side and back enough that I couldn't see the screen. And let's face it, as short as I am I'd disappear if I stood behind anything or even sat down.

The turn out was great. They had to add chairs! I gave credit to Facebook first, but then I reconsidered. I hand delivered my event flyers to the 3 DPL reading groups I belong to, a recovery group I used to belong to, made an announcement at the Writer's Studio, and did a last minute mass mailing to everyone in my Davenport neighborhood. I got a few people from all of those groups.

I don't know how many saw the MWC and BPL ads and came. I'll have to ask. But right now, I'm thinking the personal touch is the best.

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Point of View on Preservation

My READ LOCAL presentation at the Bettendorf Public Library has come and gone, but it will stay with me as a big step forward.

By presenting a slide show of my first visit to Bishop Hill and describing the Colony buildings as they were then, 1986, I was really presenting my point of view and the beginning of my novel writing journey.

My POV was, and still is, colored by those buildings and by the people who tried to save them. Everyone I met on my walks around the village influenced me and left behind something of their personal selves. I likened my feature writing back then as slices of life, snapshots, and small portraits of my subjects in the Krans tradition.

In the course of finishing my first novel, I hope I did expand this early, literal, theme of preservation to a larger world view that included family, friends, and community.

Did I succeed? Will anyone catch the symbolism in the motives of the various villains? Or how the 103-year-old retired teacher may not have been so daft after all? Or catch the final metaphor?

As a writer, I am probably too close to the work to tell. It’s up to the readers to say if I succeeded to any degree. This is also another reason why reviews are so important—feedback!

Friday, April 7, 2017


I went to the Bettendorf Public Library to find the Gilbert room and found it and every other public room on the second floor packed with boxes of books. The Friends of the Library are having a massive book sale to kick off their celebration of National Library Week.

Before, I was happy and honored to have my book be part of READ LOCAL and National Library Week. Now, I’m worried. They have to sell a lot of books this weekend to make room for me.

There’s a Friends Members preview sale on Friday 5 PM - 7:30 PM. Memberships may be purchased at the door. The main sale continues Saturday from 9 AM - 5 PM and Sunday 12 PM - 4 PM.

I’m counting on the Bettendorf library to have a great many friends, lots of avid readers, and some serious shoppers because this local author needs some space for Wednesday night.

The first observance of National Library Week was held, according to Wikipedia, in the second full week of April in 1958 and was sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries across the United States.

April is School Library Month.

National Library Workers Day is Tuesday.

National Bookmobile Day and Teen Literature Day are on Thursday.

READ LOCAL is Wednesday, April 12, at 7 pm in the (hopefully clear) Gilbert Room.