If you have a few minutes, drop by Rachel’s blog.
I’m thrilled to welcome author Lori Spangler. Today, Lori shares her amazing journey and her memoir, Miles of Memories.
I did not grow up planning to be an author. I was in my 50’s when I decided to write a book. Throughout my life, I set goals, meet them, and then move on to the next. About 20 years ago when I finished graduate school, I was ready for another challenge and decided to visit all 50 states.
What a beautiful country we have, filled with talented, friendly people. I finished my 50th state, Hawaii, on my 53rd birthday. A few weeks later my friend Shelley and I were out to lunch and she said, “Now you are going to write a book.” She said it as a statement, not a question. So I set another goal.
Off and on over 5 years I worked on my book and remembered my travels. It would have been much easier if I had kept a journal but thanks to a good memory, souvenirs and travel brochures I had kept, I was able to write about my experiences. There were a lot of decisions. Should my book be organized alphabetically by state? Or in the order I traveled them? Did I need to include maps? How do I include my humor?
As most writers know, the writing process is not always an easy road. I had my ups and downs. During my writing process, Shelley sent me the postcard I had sent her when I was in Hawaii. It provided motivation for me to finish AND included it in my book: “Shelley, I have not officially visited all 50 states!! In Hawaii for my birthday—53 was never this good! Love, Lori.”
Someone told me to be sure you are proud of a book that has your name on the front. I am proud of my book and am glad others are enjoying reading it.
Several years before I turned eighteen, the voting age changed from 21 to 18. After a lot of debate at my high school, the policy for absence notes changed. Once a student turned 18 she could write her own excuse for being absent from school. Since I turned 18 at beginning of the school year, I was one of the lucky few. I felt grown-up to not need a parent’s signature. Since I never cut classes, and had to be seriously ill for my parents to allow me stay home from school, there was little chance I would abuse my excuse-writing responsibilities.
I wrote my first absence note because I planned to miss school for a college visit. I wanted to go to a college that offered a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement. As a freshman, for a social studies assignment I wrote a paper about a career that interested me. All the other girls wrote about being a nurse, secretary or teacher, except one girl who wrote about being a dog groomer. I wanted to do something different, so I decided on a policewoman. My paper focused on a career in law enforcement, and being a detective on a police force. In essence I probably wanted to be Nancy Drew and solve mysteries, but get paid for it.
My goal of being in law enforcement stayed with me as I shopped for a college. I looked for schools with degrees in Criminal Justice. The University of North Dakota (UND) in Fargo offered this curriculum. Fargo is across the border from Moorhead, a city in northwestern Minnesota.
I arranged with Mom and Dad to miss two days of school, take the Greyhound bus to Moorhead, stay overnight with my sister in her dorm room at Moorhead State University, tour UND, and later get a ride home with her.
When I wrote the absence note, I gave it to the school secretary the day before I planned to be gone. Classes ended at 3:32 p.m. each day, but about 3:20 the principal came to my classroom and asked to speak to me. It was a big deal to get called out of class by the principal. The other kids said “Oh. Oh. What did Lori do now?” and “Busted!” as I walked out of the room. The principal asked me about my note, wanted to ensure my parents knew about my trip, confirmed I had notified my teachers, and that I was considering UND. Yes, yes and yes.
During high school I tried not to have much contact with the principal because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, but he inadvertently became a part of my senior goal. I don’t know how or why, but I decided I wanted to pull a fire alarm. Early in the school year I told my goal to the principal, and asked if I could pull it sometime when we had a practice drill. I mentioned it to him once. By the last week of school, since nothing happened, I assumed he had forgotten about it, but I was happily wrong. With two days of school left, he pulled me out of class. And like earlier in the year, everyone in the classroom said, “Oh. Oh. What did Lori do now?” and “Busted!” But this time he walked me to the other side of the school, without talking. I thought I was in trouble too, until he stopped outside his office and pointed to the red fire alarm. I got to pull the lever setting off the alarm. What a feeling of power to make such a loud noise and be able to stop it again. It felt great to meet a goal. Mission accomplished.
Lori Spangler is a native Minnesotan with a zest for living. Kids and dogs appreciate her infectious laugh, witty sense of humor, and positive outlook. When not indulging in her passion for travel, Lori can be found reading, eating ice cream, or teaching others the finer points of public speaking. She lives in Minnesota with her plants.
Where to find Lori…
I’m thrilled to welcome Soul Mate author L.S. Young to the Power of 10 series. Today, Ms. Young shares ten interesting facts about Landra Andrews, the heroine of her debut novel, A Woman So Bold.
1. Landra is from a small farming town called Willowbend located in rural 1890s north Florida. The town is fictional but several of the nearby landmarks mentioned, such as the Withlacoochee River and Monticello Opera House, are real.
2. Her first name is a feminized version of her grandfather’s name (Landry) and her middle name is Elizabeth after her mother.
3. She speaks French because she had a governess but she doesn’t find much use for it in backwoods Florida.
4. At the age of seven she refused to cry in front of everyone at her mother’s funeral. Her reasoning: “It’s never been in me to give something to folks just because they expect it.”
5. Her favorite season is autumn and the cooler weather often distracts her from her chores.
6. When a rattlesnake threatens her brother and sister she attacks it with a garden hoe! (This scene was inspired by my grandmother.)
7. The day she meets her hero she is wearing her favorite white dress and he is riding his dapple gray mare.
8. She loves poetry and Mark Twain, but admits she hates the prim and dull heroine Elsie Dinsmore.
9. There is a hint of the witch about her, as evidenced by her superstitious grandmother’s proclamations, her connection to the earth, and her discerning dreams.
10. She has a secret she keeps from almost everyone, even some of her siblings.
Twenty year old Landra Andrews is as brazen and unique as her first name. Although educated and well-connected, she is trapped by a dark secret from her past. She fears the rest of her life will be decidedly prosaic, until a dashing young man inherits a neighboring farm and sweeps her off her feet.
William Cavendish is a second son from an old Southern family. A gentleman in conduct and an artist at heart, he sowed his wild-oats in the years he spent abroad and is ready to settle down. He is taken with well-spoken, headstrong Landra from their first meeting, and his heart for her only grows.
William seems to be everything Landra has dreamed of but never dared to believe she could have–handsome, kind, and well-bred–but when they are wed, she soon finds herself in all too familiar surroundings, toiling once more against land that won’t yield. Her restless spirit and iron will rebel against her discontent, and when a lover from her misspent youth returns, she finds herself torn between two very different men. Will the mistakes of her past destroy the hope of her future?
L.S. Young resides in Florida with her husband and daughter. She received her BA in English with a minor in Religion from Southeastern University. After spending several years as a childcare worker and secondary English teacher, she turned to writing full-time.
She enjoys exploring the Suwannee River State Park, hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, swimming, and writing nature poetry. She’s an enthusiastic reader of fantasy, horror, Victorian literature, and historical fiction and has a large collection of coffee mugs and bookmarks. Like Lizzie Bennet, she is fond of a walk and dearly loves a laugh.
Young is a member of the Historical Novel Society. A Woman so Bold is her debut novel.
Where to find L.S. Young…
Glancing back at some of my earlier work, I cringe at my use of “said bookisms” such as roared, admonished, exclaimed, queried, and hissed. I was trying to avoid overusing the word “said” and searched for suitable alternatives. I realize now that substituting those words made it sound like I enjoyed using my thesaurus. Instead, I was annoying the reader and drawing attention away from the dialogue.
From different workshop facilitators, I’ve learned that I don’t have to interpret the dialogue, or worse, tell the reader how the words are said. If the dialogue is strong enough, “he said” and “she said” will do. Like other parts of speech—the, is, and, but—that are used several times on each page, “said” is invisible and allows the reader to concentrate on the action and dialogue.
Continue reading on Carly Jordynn’s blog.
I’m thrilled to reveal the cover of Nancy Fraser’s next novel…
Publicist Teri Hunter has her hands full promoting Professor Joshua Cain and his new non-fiction book, The Pharaoh’s Mummy. She’s not convinced it’s even possible to turn this absent-minded, modern-day, Indiana Jones into a best-selling author.
Dr. Cain’s PhDs in archaeology and art history have prepared him for almost anything on the lecture circuit and among ancient ruins. He’s just not sure about a book tour…or the sexy publicist sent to monitor his every professional move.
When an odd request falls in their laps while in New Orleans, Josh and Teri find themselves transported to 1920’s Egypt where they must resolve an ancient curse in order to be sent home. Will the dangers facing them hinder their success and threaten their very lives? Or will help from an ancient guardian keep them on-track and safe?
Wake up. Kick ass. Repeat.
Teri Hunter mouthed the motivational phrase she’d chosen for her personal mantra as she stepped across the threshold into the dark and musty storeroom.
A dim light shone from a glass-enclosed workroom in the far corner. Taking a tentative step forward, she faltered when the floorboards creaked beneath her feet. Something fast and furry brushed against her ankle. A shiver ran down her back, yet she fought the urge to retreat.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
This was obviously today’s obstacle. Were it not for her professional commitments and intricately organized schedule, she’d have no doubt bolted for the door and returned to the safety and illumination of the main building.
‘Sorry, but the storage area doesn’t have overhead lighting. Preservation of the antiquities. You understand.’ The dean’s words echoed in her head. To make matters worse, what little outside light there was had become nearly non-existent due to an impending thunderstorm.
Drawing a deep breath, she took a second step and then a third, winding her way past a half-dozen crates, some open, some not. To her left she heard a rustling of paper; to her right the distinct sound of footsteps.
Her apprehension grew, the hair on her forearms stood at attention. She’d barely made it halfway across the room before bumping into something large and solid. Reaching out, she laid her hand against the oversized object. Slowly, she raised her head and came face to face with the painted mask of an Egyptian noble. The chipped finish gave the death mask a deranged look.
“You come here often, big boy?”
The idea for Eye of the Pharaoh came about following a trip to the Field Museum in Chicago. For the longest time afterward, I couldn’t get the images of ancient Egypt out of my head. Then, out of the blue, I received a gift from a relative who had passed…a gorgeous necklace fashioned like an Egyptian collar. The late relative had no way of knowing about my recent fascination with Egypt so I took it as a sign. There was obviously a story inside me begging to come out.
Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
Published in multiple genres, Nancy currently writes for four publishers. She has published twenty-two books in both full-length and novella format. Nancy will release her 25th book in early 2017. She is currently working on her next Rock and Roll novella and two other equally exciting projects.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
First prize: $10 gift card to book retailer of their choice
Second prize: (3) Digital copies of Time and Again, my futuristic time travel.
Where to find Nancy…