Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas with You by Jane Killick


http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/gift-christmas/
Back to the holiday anthology, The Gift of Christmas, author interviews.  As a reminder, I am continuing my posts for individual authors on what inspired them to write their particular story. Today I'm talking to Jane Killick, the author of the short story "Christmas with You" in the anthology. 

Jane lives in the UK and works for BBC radio.  Like myself, and many Windtree Press authors, Jane is a cross-genre writer in both fiction and non-fiction. For my SF fans you may know Jane's well-regarded books about the series Red Dwarf and Babylon 5.   For my romance fans, you may have laughed your way through her romantic comedy novels, If Wishes Were Husbands and Fairy Nuff. She's also written plenty of short stories for magazines, anthologies, and as stand-alone reads.

What I love most about Jane is her sense of humor. Many of her titles make me laugh out loud. This story made me smile and cry.  It is poignant and reflects so much of a young family's first Christmas together with a new baby and all that entails.

So, Jane, What Inspired You to Write "Christmas with  You."

Last Christmas, I was out having lunch with a friend when the restaurant owner got into conversation with the couple on the table next to us. The man was an airline pilot working out of London’s Heathrow and was talking about how he had to work over Christmas. The planes have to keep flying, he explained, because there isn’t enough room to keep them all on the ground. I found this really interesting and, when I was looking to write a Christmas story for The Gift of Christmas anthology, I remembered this conversation and used it as my starting point. But my story, Christmas with You, although it features an airline pilot, isn’t really about an airline pilot.
Some years ago, my brother-in-law started to come to our house for Christmas. In his family, opening Christmas presents is a solitary affair as everyone opens their gifts in their own little corner all at once. We thought this was boring and selfish, so we made him do it our way. He was amazed at how we opened each present, one by one in front of each other, so the rest of the family enjoys the excitement as each gift is revealed. This makes opening Christmas presents much more inclusive and fun, even if it is only watching Grandma tear off the wrapping paper from her new pair of slippers.
I used this annecdote in my story. But even though it features a family opening their Christmas presents, this isn’t what my story is about.
One year when I was a child, my parents bought a turkey for Christmas that was so large that it wouldn’t fit in the fridge. So my dad put it outside in the greenhouse to keep it cool and fresh. This seemed like a good idea until Christmas morning when he went to bring it in, only to discover it had frozen solid during the overnight frost. We had to wait for it to defrost before we could cook it. Christmas dinner was very late that year.
I remembered that incident when I was writing my story, which features a turkey too frozen to cook for Christmas dinner. But my story isn’t really about desfrosting turkeys.
My story is about a young couple desperate to spend their first Christmas together with their baby son. Fate, it seems, is on their side as circumstances fall into place to allow this to happen, despite the husband’s work schedule.
Except my story isn’t really about that either. The truth about my story is only revealed at the end, and to find that out, you’re just going to have to read it.

Readers, doesn't this peak your interest? I have read Jane's story and I promise you will remember it for a very long time. 

To learn more about Jane and her work visit her at these places:
Jane's website | Windtree Press author page | Facebook | Twitter |

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks


Thanksgiving has always been my most favorite holiday of the year. It's not the turkey, the pies, the variety of salads and veggies. It's not the cozy sleepiness afterward. I love Thanksgiving because of it's meaning, the whole concept of giving thanks for what we have, what we share, and taking an entire day--or weekend--to count blessings.

I love celebrating Thanksgiving because there is no expectations to give presents, go shopping, wear some kind of special outfit--unless you enjoy dressing as a pilgrim--or any of the things associated with most other holiday celebrations.

Here is my abbreviated list of things I am thankful for:
  • My family, both immediate family and extended family, who have always supported me, even when my decisions were questionable.
  • My friends, both those in the past and in the present. I have been blessed that people pass through my  life and always leave me something amazing for having been there. Some people were friends for short periods of time--a year or two, while a few have been friends with me for more than 40 years. That's a long time to still care about someone.
  • My church community. I am especially blessed to be with the community I am in now. Though I have always valued the churches that have been a part of my life, this one feels particularly like home.
  • The beautiful location where I live--Portland, Oregon. I have lived in many places over my 60+ years of life--east coast, west coast, the south, and the midwest. I have traveled to Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. Although everywhere I've been has something amazing to offer, for me Portland has it all--easy access to deserts, mountains, forests, rivers and the ocean. Mostly temperate weather, but the opportunity to get to snow or sunshine within a few hours.
  • Writers and Musicians who have brought me so much joy. I am fortunate to be part of both of these creative communities that feed my soul. No one understand the creative journey more than someone who is also pursuing that journey. No one else can understand the silence and often lonely act of creation, and the struggle to share it with others. It is a unique baring of the soul that most careers do not require and one that I do not take for granted in others. I am thankful to have so many creative people in my life.
I have been blessed a hundred times to be surrounded by people who are willing to share some of their life's journey with me. They share it with kindness, as well as compassionate kicks-in-the-butt when needed. They share a part of themselves with every conversation, every hug, and especially in the silences when we are together.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Black Friday Book Shopping

http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/gift-christmas/
For me, the whole post Thanksgiving shopping season is way too crazy making. The combination of over-stimulated senses, colors, crowds in the mall all make it too much for my brain to process. That's why the best place to go on Black Friday is to a bookstore, talk to some authors, get recommendations from the owner, and purchase the gift of reading for everyone on your gift list.


I'm going to be participating with three other authors at just such an event at Jacobsen's Books in downtown Hillsboro, Oregon.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Jacobsen's is one of those places packed floor to ceiling with books--used books, new books, gift books, chidren's and adult books, bookmarks, holiday cards, and lots more gift ideas. And if they don't have it on the shelf they will order for you!

So, wherever you are, consider spending some of your shopping time at your local bookstore. What better gift to give to your children, your siblings, your parents, and best friends than a great story. Below is a wonderful idea for a toddler. We are giving it to our grandson this year. What books are you considering for your gift list?

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780307157850



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Author Ethics

I'm taking a slight turn from talking about fiction to talk about the people who write books. As the boom in independent publishing has accelerated over the past five years, so has the squishy ethical standards of some of those engaged in it. This is NOT the majority of authors. However, the minority are harming all of us: readers, publishers, and authors alike. In a media-frenzy world we often become inured to bad behavior that seems to be rewarded instead of penalized.

What are some of these behaviors? Plaigarism in whole or in part of a work. Claiming "bestseller" status because the author's title was a bestseller for one day on Amazon free reads. Claiming "award-winning" author on the book cover because the author entered the first three chapters in a writing contest and won first place. Using "sock puppet" reviewers--friends/colleagues who use aliases to provide lots of great reviews. Buying reviews, Facebook likes, Twitter followers or other "Fake" multimedia presence. Constantly harrassing readers/bloggers with multiple emails, tweets, posts every day saying "Buy My Book!" Worst of all is badmouthing a reader, blogger, or other individual for posting an honest review that was not liked by the author or for making any statement about the work that did not result in a five-star review.


I'm an Ethical AuthorThe Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has worked in a positive way to combat this. Rather than supporting the public outing of each suspected unethical individual, ALLi has instead created a code of ethics and asked authors to state unequivocally that they will follow this code and to post the badge of this code on their website and/or blog.  You can read the code in its entirety here.


I support this movement and absolutely agree with the code. You will notice the badge on my website and this blog. I encourage other authors to also step up and be counted.

Will this stop all the bad behavior? Unfortunately not. But I believe that as more and more authors state they will follow this code, it will be more obvious what the expectations are of all authors. For those authors who  behave badly due to misinformation, this code will stand for the ethical expectations of all authors.

I hope that a large group of authors promising to follow the code and clearly making the badge visible will show the unity of the majority of authors who are professionals, whether independent or traditionally published. These professionals want to be judged on the quality of their work and who they are as ethical authors. These professionals will continue to grow their readership in an ethical manner and continue to treat readers, publishers, and other authors as peers and deserving of respect.

I have always believed that good triumphs over bad, and this is a case where I believe this campaign can make a difference in stopping unethical behavior. If you are an author, I hope you will join me in standing up for the code. If you are a reader, I hope you will join me in supporting ethical authors knowing that they will treat you and their work with respect.






Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cody Newton's short story Sonder

Continuing with the NIWA Underground Anthology, today I'm visiting with Cody Newton, author of the story "Sonder."

This story is a slice-of-life vignette that juxtaposes the protagonist's simultaneous distance and yet intimacy playing out with the girl at the food cart. I was first attracted to the way Cody describes his characters. The writing is gorgeous. Here is one sample.

"“Her toenails wore a too-perfect coat of deep purple polish—untouched by shoes. Her hair still clung to the fading memory of a recent curl, bouncy, unlike her face and attitude. ”

Writing like that always pulls me in. This is an interesting flash picture of our desire to connect, however briefly.

Tell us about your inspiration for this, Cody.

This was one of those stories that seemed to have been putting itself together, before I even started on it. The whole story is based off an experience I had that was similar to the food cart experience described in the story.

For weeks I couldn’t stop thinking about the woman I saw at the food carts. Not just her, but her story and what had been happening in her life that I knew nothing about. The thought of us as individuals being nothing more than side characters in another’s life isn’t an uncommon thought, but it’s a thought I’ve always enjoyed. And when I saw that woman I became interested in writing a story about her without her ever knowing it existed; or that it was inspired by a two minute interaction at a food cart. An interaction with a guy who played a much smaller role in her life than she ended up playing in his.

Learn more about Cody and his books at Website | Facebook | Twitter

Friday, November 14, 2014

Susan Lute's Holiday Story The Marine's Christmas Proposal

http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/gift-christmas/
Back to the holiday anthology, The Gift of Christmas, author interviews.  As a reminder, I am continuing my posts for individual authors on what inspired them to write their particular story.  Susan Lute's story, "The Marine's Christmas Proposal," follows her themes of finding a way home and making home wherever you find it.  One thing I personally always love about Su's writing is that she adroitly manages a mainstream romance plot along with a character-driven emotional impact. Her heroes and heroines are never cookie-cutter. That means I love them all the more because of their blemishes, misfortunes, and often messy relationships.

What inspired you to write "A Marine's Christmas Proposal?"

Raised in a military family, and by a career Marine, some of my earliest memories are of living in that close knit community – Long Island, San Diego, Parris Island. It didn't matter where we lived, there was always a sense of being part of something bigger that sheltered my “real” family. It makes sense to me that I would eventually get around to writing about these sometimes flawed heroes, and the journeys they make to find their way home.

When a story starts bugging me to be written, as this one did, it always comes to me first by way of the characters, and because I write romance, that means a hero and heroine who stumble over each other. In the case of David Randal, a career Marine who leaves the Corps to take care of his orphaned nephew, and Charlee Banks, daughter of the hugely successful CEO of Banks Sportswear, I also wanted to write a boss and secretary story.

The politically correct label these days for secretary is administrative assistant, so how could I keep alive the old fashioned notion of a personal secretary, and at the same time turn this story on it's ear? Trying it in reverse did the trick. The roll of “boss” had to be played by Charlee, and David, forced to take whatever job he could in a depressed economy, took a job as her “secretary”. And because Christmas is my favorite holiday, when the sparks started fly, the story took on a life of it's own. It was anyone's guess how it would end.

Learn more about Susan and her other Windtree Press books.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rhythms

http://www.maggielynch.com/Books/rhythms-futuristic-collection-short-stories/
Windtree Press has released my first-ever personal short story collection, Rhythms.

Blurb:

This collection of seven speculative fiction stories explores the rhythms of life both external and internal on our planet and in other places in the universe. From identifying a single individual’s challenges with identity to that of a supernatural being whose sole purpose is to embed its soul into the experiences of all people, each story asks you to question what you see, who you are, and how to think outside of your personal experience.

If you are able to adapt to a new rhythm, you will be given a chance to do more than survive. You will find a way to thrive.


Why A Short Story Collection?

I’ve been writing speculative fiction in short form for more than 30 years. I seriously began submitting stories to magazines and anthologies in the late 1980’s. I am a bit different from many of my friends and peers in that I fairly easily embrace change and am fascinated with how one's willingness to adapt makes space for new innovation, problem-solving, and sometimes creates more problems. My speculative fiction reflects that fascination of adaptation by questioning who we are and what we choose to do when faced with challenges that require some type of change to be resolved.

Though I love my work in romance, women's fiction, suspense, and fantasy, I have also missed thinking about and writing about futuristic worlds.  To keep my toe in the water of SF, I made a 2014 New Years resolution to write one short story per month. Most of them I manage to sell to a magazine or anthology, which means there is some period of waiting for publication (ranging from a few months to two years), and then again some period of waiting before I can resell or reprint them again. If I keep to this pace, I expect I may have a new collection every year.

In the Rhythms collection I've included two speculative fiction short stories written this year and one written in 2013. The other four stories are from my favorites in the past.


Question for You

Are you an adapter? When faced with change what is your M.O.? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. I believe the world needs people at both extremes and everywhere in between. Some quick adapters, like me, are successful in business ONLY because we have people on the team who are always questioning the rush, the impact, the timing. In that questioning, some potential landmines are averted.

So who are you? An eager adapter? A middle-ground adapter after some research time? Or a person who needs lots of time for research, preparation, questioning before making a move? What is your rhythm and how willing are you to change it?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Susie Slanina story Metro's Mountain Cabin

This continues the brief author interviews from the Windtree Press Christmas anthology, The Gift of Christmas.  Susie's story is a continuation of her popular middle-grade series about Metro the little dog.  Here Susie shares her inspiration for her Metro series and specifically for her Christmas short story, "Metro's Mountain Cabin."

As a child, I had been an avid reader and had always loved book series, but there was never enough in them about the characters' pets.

In 2009 I wrote a poem about a spider. A friend mentioned that I should write more about the spider, but I was happily retired, and besides, I didn't see a future in the spider. But it got me thinking. Maybe I could write a little something about Metro (1994-2008), a lovable dog who meant a whole lot to me.

http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/gift-christmas
"The little something about Metro" turned into a children's book series. In the last Metro book, Sherry decides she wants to buy a mountain cabin--a place to take her pets on vacations.

When Windtree Press invited me to write a story for their winter anthology, it was the perfect opportunity to continue the series where I left off--with the story of how Metro gets her cabin and experiences her first snowy winter. But Sherry is only eighteen years old, how can she afford a cabin? Mr. Shady of Corporate Fat Cats provides the answer.

Writing this brought back very fond memories of Metro's (real) mountain cabin.

Learn more about Susie Slanina and her series of books about Metro at her website.

Buy The Gift of Christmas in print or ebook from the retailer of your choice.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

On the Vine by Dale Ivan Smith

http://www.niwawriters.net/books/underground-collection-fiction-short-stories/
Continuing with the author interviews for the NIWA anthology UNDERGROUND, today we will hear from Dale Ivan Smith. Dale has always had a fascination for science fiction and fantasy. He has turned that fascination into creating short stories that have appeared in online zines and two are available as stand alone stories on Amazon.

When I began reading "On the Vine" I thought this would be an interesting story about gardening in prison. However, it is much more than that. It is a story of sacrifice, of making hard choices, and ultimately surviving. 

Dale, what inspired you to submit this particular story to the collection?

"I am working on a long-form story about a former super villain, Jolene Jacobs, who has been released from a prison for meta-humans and tries to choose her own destiny. Jo's meta-human 'power' is to control plant life.

On the Vine" came to me when I wondered what it would have been like for her to have done time in special corrections, unable to use her power, and desperately wanting to learn if her family was okay on the outside. As a new prisoner, she was forbidden any contact with the outside world. She earned access to the prison garden and transferred her concern for her family to her garden plot, struggling to keep her tomato plants alive in the face of torment by the prison authorities.

Learn more about Dale on his Amazon author page .


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Metro Blue by Jason LaPier

http://www.niwawriters.net/books/underground-collection-fiction-short-stories/
Continuing with the author interviews for the NIWA anthology UNDERGROUND, today we will hear from Jason LaPier. Jason has received several writing awards for his short fiction. In July 2015 his debut novel, a science fiction murder mystery called Unexpected Rain, is scheduled to be published by Harper Voyager.

When I read "Metro Blue" I was immediately taken into the point-of-view of an old woman riding the subway for the last time. The sights, sounds, and smells she encounters as the door opens at each stop simultaneously captures both the surreal experience of interactions and the small shared intimacies it forces, whether desired or not. If you have ever commuted on a subway system you will appreciate this story.

So, Jason, tell me what inspired you to submit this particular story to the collection?

"Generally, I write a lot of speculative fiction: a lot of sci-fi, a little horror, a touch of fantasy, that kind of thing. I thought for sure I'd come up with some sci-fi idea for what "underground" means, but sometimes when I write short fiction, I have to feed the part of me that wants to do a little literary work.

I used to live in Brooklyn, and one of the things I never thought I'd miss, but do, is the subway. There's such a variety of people that ride the train in New York, all if them with their own destinations, their own pasts, their own stories. I was there a relatively short time, but for some people, I imagine that the subway has been an undercurrent theme throughout their lives.

Instead of using New York, I based my story in a fictional city so that I could bend the train's route to my will. I found that this concept gave me something creative to play with while at the same time being a strong structural skeleton that holds the story together. Even though the train is on a fixed track, it travels uptown, downtown, east, west, to the center, and out to the edges, and I wanted this route to mimic the jumping way we visit the main character's memorable life moments; that even though it feels like we're on a set path sometimes in the day-to-day, when we look back over our lives, we can see how varied our travels have been."

Learn more about Jason and his work at his website http://jasonwlapier.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Anna Brentwood's holiday story The Mermaid's Treasure

This continues the brief author interviews from the Windtree Press Christmas anthology, The Gift of Christmas.  I've asked each author what inspired them to write their contribution to the anthology. Anna Brentwood's story focuses on a specific item, a brooch, from her debut novel The Songbird with Sapphire Eyes. Anna loves to write historical fiction and her short story for this anthology, "The Mermaid's Treasure" is a wonderful example of her vivid imagination and eye for historical detail.

What inspired me to write "The Mermaid's Treasure" was YOU and Windtree Press and the very idea of having yet another tale to tell related to The Songbird with Sapphire Eyes! I was already working on Anthony's Angel, the sequel to my debut novel,  which picks up on the life of my heroine’s son, but I left our Windtree Press meeting with my head spinning and thinking, what to write…can I write something….no...then it started percolating-- with me a process that the word obsessing describes perfectly!

I began with what holidays mean to me. I grew up in a mixed neighborhood on the East Coast between Christians and Jews. I am not a religious person, but I am a spiritual one who, as an adult strives to take the true essence out of each holiday. To me, Christmas is a spirit, a time to share and to show you care to family and friends. It is a time to do good things and give back no matter your beliefs.

Then I focused on the brooch from The Songbird with Sapphire Eyes that gangster Johnny Gallo gives to songbird Hannah that has significance later in their story. I focused on its history, jewels and treasures and well, history. Because my thing is to always weave in real history, people and situations in my stories, I started Googling sunken ships and voila— found the right one.

I am of Russian ancestry and have found, within my own family, gaps of info and lots of “secrets” not handed down. The Russalka, meaning mermaid, was a Russian War ship that sank in route to Finalnd in 1893. That particular ship inspired the statue of an angel to be erected 1902 in Kadriorg, Tallinn, Finland that still stands today. The “Angel” felt like a sign and I always trust signs when I am creating; so more ideas started to gell.

Ultimately, the story, "Mermaid’s Treasure" is based on two real historic events: 1) a Russian battleship that sunk off the coast of Finland and inspired a statue; and 2) The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York that led to worker’s rights being protected through the garment unions. For a story I didn’t think I had in me, it almost wrote itself and I am thrilled to be part of the anthology. Windtree Press not only pushed me as a writer, but writing "Mermaid's Treasure" is truly one of my favorite experiences (to date) and I am looking forward to more! 

Learn more about Anna Brentwood at her website.

Buy The Gift of Christmas in print or ebook from the retailer of your choice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Beckoning

http://www.niwawriters.net/books/underground-collection-fiction-short-stories/
As promised, I am beginning the discussion of the stories in the Northwest Independent Writer's Association (NIWA) anthology, Underground. All proceeds from sales of this anthology go to NIWA to continue its work in supporting independent writers in the Pacific Northwest.

Available in Print and Ebook
Ebook: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBook coming soon
Print: Amazon

My short story is titled "The Beckoning." 

As with many authors, one doesn't always know all the themes of a story.  What is even more exciting to me is what other people see in the story.  I love the way editor, Jennifer Willis, described my story to a reviewer. "“The Beckoning,” is an ethereal tale of merged consciousness. It might just knock readers on their ear. "

As my stories, including my novels, tend to be psychological and character driven, I conceived of the theme “underground” as what lies below the consciousness of our minds. I believe that the unconscious holds our fears, joys, abilities, our learning center, and our souls. As a creative person, I really can't explain how exactly ideas are merged together in my mind to form a unique story. I know that my stories are a combination of my personal experiences and beliefs and those that I read or view vicariously. I know that I am always surprised at some of the themes that are revealed when I finish a story--themes that I did not intentionally plan to be included.

I am a writer who tends to begin with a question or an idea first. I then search for characters and lives to answer the question via a story. In "The Beckoning," I began by asking the question that many speculative fiction writers have asked: “Is there a force beyond this world and, if so, does it have shape and form? Does that force exert any control or pressure on our world, and does it communicate with us?”

In “The Beckoning” I imagined a being whose soul purpose is to give its knowledge to all living things on earth. The way in which this knowledge is acquired and dispersed, as well as its impact on humanity, is the central action of this story. I also play with the idea of how the human psyche deals with messages that seem to be coming from outside our consciousness.

My young adult to middle adult career path was in counseling individuals and families in a variety of situations. One part of that work was a year working with severely mentally ill individuals who had horrific personal experiences related to spiritual beliefs. Some of these people heard voices, others saw angels and demons,  others had suffered trauma at the hands of religious leaders or their followers. It led me to question what happens when we hear or see experiences that we deem as coming from a source (God or otherwise) outside of ourselves--a source that seems to be all powerful and where we have little control in terms of our response to it. How do we process that? Can we process that and remain sane?

This story does not posit whether there is a God or not, and does not try to suggest a spiritual path. But, for me, it does question what is real and what is not, and how the human psyche tries to deal with what it cannot explain.




Monday, November 3, 2014

The Gift of Christmas

This year I have three anthologies releasing with my stories all within a couple weeks of each other. I've already talked about Underground and you will see more posts on that over the next few weeks. Today I want to talk about a holiday anthology, The Gift of Christmas, from Windtree Press.  It is a collection of twelve diverse and heartfelt stories exploring the love, messiness and miracles of Christmas.

http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/gift-christmas/
Authors contribute to holiday anthologies in the beginning of summer in order to give editors , formatters, cover designers a chance to work on it and get it completed by an October or November release date. That is the case with this anthology as well. My story, "The Hogmanay Stranger," actually takes place after Christmas and culminates on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Scotland. Hogmanay is the Scot's word for the last day of the year and is a big celebration day.

Like the Underground anthology I've been discussing recently, I will be having Windtree Press authors discussing their inspiration for these holiday stories. I don't know about you, but I can read holiday stories year round. I know they are going to be touching and have endings that will make me smile, cry, and generally reinforce the goodness of people. This anthology is no exception.

To kick off the author inspirations for stories, I will share mine for "The Hogmanay Stranger."

When the Windtree Press authors decided to do a Christmas Anthology I definitely wanted to be involved. Unlike anthologies that were single genre (e.g., romance or literary) this one would be cross genre to feature the diversity of talent and stories of Windtree Press authors. There is even a non-fiction essay and a children’s story featuring the favorite characters in the Metro the Little Dog series.  So, I was excited to be part of this group of authors.

As I was in the middle of finishing Sarah’s story, Heart Strings, in the Sweetwater Canyon series and starting the final book, Two Voices, which features both Theresa and Kat, I had these characters already in my head. It seemed like the perfect idea to write a story that would be a bridge between the end of Heart Strings and the beginning of Two Voices.  To make it even better, how could anyone not want to be in Scotland for Hogmanay?

Of course, I can’t write something straight and sweet with no drama, so I introduced an unlikely catalyst as the Hogmanay stranger. This young man, from the wrong side of town, plays a major part in helping everyone to realize what is most important in life – love and family – even when it seems that all is lost.

I hope you enjoy my story and the entire collection of stories. I am proud to be part of this anthology. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for additional insights from other Windtree authors about their stories in this collection.

Purple Stride and the Work to Cure Pancreatic Cancer


This past Saturday I attended the Purple Stride event in downtown Portland with my husband and one of the bands he plays in, Cat House. The female singer helped organize the event and asked Cat House to play. It was a special request for her, as her husband died of pancreatic cancer two years ago.

I have to admit, until this event, I really didn't know that pancreatic cancer research had a public fundraiser like this. We all know of the pink ribbons and walks/runs for breast cancer, but I'd never heard of the purple ribbons and fundraising for pancreatic cancer. Another surprise for me was that there were survivors at the event. I've always thought of pancreatic cancer as a death sentence.

If you want to learn more, check out their website and consider giving a donation. You can donate at any time. It doesn't have to be at a big event.  I'll also leave you with a pic from the band.