I have issues. I know that. In fact, a grasshopper landed on my skirt after church and I screamed. Issue # Uno? BUGS. Okay, so, issues...one of them is that when I find I new writer I have to read everything he or she wrote. Which brings me to Ronie Kendig... Look at her smile! Doesn't she look calm and sweet?
Awwww, I know, right? She's so pretty. And she's lovely. I met her last September at ACFW... She's so sweet, and has such a lovely smile. She's SO "Mom and apple pie and Black Ops and flash bangs and bullets in the leg and a helicopter blown from the sky..." Did you just drop your jaw? HA!! You did! I saw you!! The lovely Rel Mollet (find her here at :http://relzreviewz.com) and I were chatting on good old Facebook about Ronie's writing. I'd told Rel I hadn't read any of Ronie's books. "Seriously?!?! Girl-that must be rectified immediately..." I could hear her squealing all the way from Australia. The thing is, I'm usually fairly cautious when it comes to investing in a new writer, simply because my reading time is so scarce. I'd seen Ronie's books at the bookstore and was tempted, but I confess, not enough to buy them, simply because I had zero time and my fear is when I do find a new author, I'll get happily sucked into their vortex. Well. BAHAHAHA. Sucked in? How about 'sucked in' by a Stealth jet engine in reverse? Okay, Rel, fine! I rectified things!!! And I started with Team ZULU and "Operation Zulu-Redemption". A story in serial form about an all female Black Ops team who got set up, and the years it takes to vindicate them...but will there be redemption before they all get killed.
ABSOLUTELY INSANE, SEAT OF YOUR PANTS WRITING!!!
Commence fanning self. Ahem... Then I moved on to the Nightshade series.
Sleep? Who needs sleep?
SLEEP IS FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN'T READ!!!
And just how stupid am I??
I could have been reading Ronie's work YEARS ago!!!!!
So...get thee to a bookstore and buy a Ronie Kendig book, or to Amazon and get the Operation Zulu series. Ronie will kick your reader butt. You will willingly go without sleep. You will not see the plot twists coming, nor will you wonder "Do guys really talk like that?" So, on my ever popular 1-5 Dairy Milk Review Scale? Operation Zulu-Redemption? FIVE. Nightshade series? FIVE. And now I have to force myself to actually get my crit reviews done and my research done before I pick up another Ronie Kendig series. Otherwise? I will get NOTHING done!!!! I highly advise you get your butt over to her website and check out the awesomeness that is Rapid Fire Fiction!! http://roniekendig.com So, hmmmm...but what about?
Jennifer? Back away from the "click here to buy" button!!!
On July 5th, Hurricane Arthur headed up the East Coast. We're used to storms in Atlantic Canada. Or, I should say, the COAST is used to storms.
I do not live on the coast. I live about an hour's drive inland. See that first big red circle/storm icon? And the black line? That's sorta where we are. Oh, just so you know, Canadians do not refer to distance in miles or kilometres, we refer to distances in terms of hours to get there. Okay, so Artie was SUPPOSED to track as predicted in this map. But he didn't. Plowed across the Eastern Seaboard, realized we had nothing to do on the 5th and at about 6am, turned left and came UP the Saint John River Valley. See where it says "Jul 05 11am EDT"? Yeah, umm...BAM!! Winds gusting, and frankly, STAYING, at 65 mph hit us all day and into the night. Now, 65 mph is an 11 on the Beaufort Scale, basically a tropical storm. A hurricane is a 12. Fredericton does not get hurricanes, like I said, we're an hour from the ocean. Or tropical storms. Usually all the storms come up the coast, hit the cooler waters and go pffffffft. But, Artie must have wanted to see what it felt like to smite a small town who were told, by anyone with a TV network and a barometer, that we should prepare for heavy rains and not to worry about high winds. Nova Scotia was getting the winds. Ummm. Yeah. About those winds...this house had 10 poplars. each was about 35-40 feet tall.
Now it has a new lawn. We lost power at 8:20 am Saturday and had it back at 9:50 am on Thursday (Hubs reminded me it was not Wednesday as previously reported...by me). We got our phone line up again on Friday at 10pm. It was estimated that on Sunday, July 6th, 140,000 homes in New Brunswick were without power. There's still 5000 homes in the dark. We had running water, many homes did not. Our grill has a side burner, so we could cook and more importantly, I could make EARL GREY TEA!!! Therefore...no arrests were made. It was an experience, to say the least. And yes, all kinds of people said "Now you know how the (insert name of people group who survived withouth electricity) felt." A) There WAS NO ELECTRICITY in 1822 when Great Grannie Melba Toast walked backwards across New South Wales!!! B) see A. Please don't guilt trip me about missing something by reminding me that the ancients did fine without it. They also didn't have sunscreen, toilet paper, or dental floss. Think about it... TOILET PAPER. I would rather go powerless, than paperless. The ONLY people I'd give props to for living in a modern age without running water or electricity are A) those who have no choice...B) and those who do. My hat's off to you, Mark and Rachel Charles. (https://www.facebook.com/wirelesshogan?fref=ts) And now, we're wired and rolling, and already I miss the quiet evenings and the long chats with Hubs and #4. Sigh. Weird, eh? Maybe, just MAYBE, we could unplug?
Those wise and priceless words are courtesy of a dear friend and fellow writer, Kathleen Y'Barbo Turner. Why? I asked her how to do something. How do deal with my son leaving. He got a call Thursday afternoon to report to "Depot" (deh-poh) in Regina, Saskatchewan, to begin six months of training to become one of Canada's finest. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.
Back story... He began the very grueling application process18 months ago. Very few who apply are accepted. And for a twenty year old? Acceptance is a rarity. But our son, Chris, is leaving in 2 hours, and by December, he will be a police officer. He'll come home for Christmas, then be posted somewhere in Canada. We had no definitive word that he was accepted, but we kind of knew he would be, since all his tests and interviews went so well. But when I got home Thursday, there was a message on our answering machine for him to call the RCMP, and the woman sounding really happy. So he called them back, and BAM! He was IN!!! Having 4 days notice sure made our lives a whirlwind, since my husband was in Colorado at a conference! I emailed him, and called his hotel and left a message. And waited. And called my parents. And waited. And called my brother. Annnnd waited! Finally, at 12:35am, I got an email and immediately called him! Yes, we're over the moon with pride. Yes, we're excited. Yes, he's thrilled. This is a huge deal. But...this whole "kid leaving the nest" thing? It's for the birds. Because birds can fly, and rise above this rare mix of pride and pain.
What to do, what to do.... Okay, LONG story short, I can't keep up with the weeds in my 5 different perennial beds. Even if we take into consideration that I need to get outside and enjoy summer, and not spend the blessedly short New Brunswick summer at a computer... I simply cannot keep up. I've had arthritis in my hands, wrists, and on a bad day I can feel it in my elbows, for years. Oh, and my lower back is shot, as well as my neck, but, whatever. But I could always manage a schedule of weeding for a few hours, then resting my hands a few days, then weeding again, then resting, etc. I went out 2 evenings ago and weeded for 45 minutes and my hands still hurt. Like, ACHE. I think between aging (gag, cough, gasp) and the Great Wipe Out Of January, I did more damage than I thought. I've known I cracked my kneecaps, although they didn't x-ray those when they did the 35 other x-rays. One can tell these things. It's called 'pain'. I spoke to my husband about things last night and he said just to keep trying. Huh. Okay, but umm, what about next year? I think what I'm going to have to do is move all the plants from one smaller bed, to the bigger one, and consolidate the two, then seed over the empty bed. My neighbour suggested I dig up some of the healthy perennials and put them in pots and sell them. I'm not emotionally attached to the spireas, and so I may get rid of them, and fill up the space with azaleas and rhodos and put down some weed fabric and call it a shrub garden. Sigh. I like pretty flowers, but I also like being able to type. And open my fingers. And the laptop. I'll keep you all posted.... But for now, here's a few shots of my garden.
It's joint blog time! Last week, I asked my friend Kiersti Plog when she realized the story owned her? So here is my part on our blog duet...
People often ask this very white girl from Canada WHY I write about Navajo history, specifically The Long Walk.
(That's Ted Charles and I, at Canyon de Chelly)
Good question. The answer? Well... I can't NOT tell this story. Imagine that people who never set foot in your province or state showed up, day after day, and built homes where people already had homes. Or they stole your daughters or wives and you never saw them again. They shot your husbands and sons for simply being male. Your leadership sent envoys to make peace and for a few years it worked, but only if you did what they said. But then you got sick and tired of their bullying. Then one day, a whole bunch of them arrived, we'll call that an army, and said "This is ours." That's called an invasion. That scenario has happened all through time, to almost every people group on this planet. But one story in particular hit me like a tonne of bricks. In late 1863, the US Army began rounding up Navajo Indians, as well as 500 Mescalero Apaches, and marched them all across the Southwest, to a hell hole in New Mexico called Bosque Redondo. A total of 52 different marches brought 9500 Navajo Indians to this place the people named "Hweeldi", pronounced "wheel-tih".
And by "rounding up" I mean inviting them to surrender after all their crops were destroyed, their livestock were shot, their homes burned, you get the picture. Many say 'Hweeldi' is a variation of the Spanish word "fuerte" (fware-tay). For the Navajo, it basically means Hell on Earth. It is their Holocaust.
Hundreds died on the way there, and thousands more died once they got there.
But what was it that knocked me sideways? What made me suck in my breathe and stop breathing altogether? In doing some internet research on New Mexico, I came upon an article and started reading it. I read the following phrase and that was it, I was done. "...women in labor were shot because they slowed down the march." I've been in labor 4 times. I know what agony is. I do not know what I would do if I was walking across a barren desert, in winter, while trying to hide the fact that I was about to give birth. Navajo women were either pulled from their spot in the line and shot on the spot, or taken behind a rock or tree and shot. Now, look at that photo of the landscape. See any rocks big enough to hide an execution? Now, imagine you're the husband of that woman, or one of her children.
Where was God in all this? Many, many, MANY Native Americans have zero, or less, respect for people who call themselves Christians. And if you dare say something about how they were "savages" before white people found them and saved them I will personally discuss it with you. In person. Ahem. Go ahead and ask me why they loathe Christians, and I will flat out tell you that our history of violence and hatred toward people of colour is astonishing and utterly shameful. There was a mindset among 19th Century believers that we must "kill the Indian to save the man". Ummm, where, exactly, is that in the Bible?
So, we come back to a line of people, walking away from losing everything, and toward the complete unknown. They were not greeted by the Salvation Army with hot food and blankets. Or by Samaritan's Purse with a shelter and fresh water. The Pecos River water was undrinkable, they had to dig holes in the ground for shelter and there was little to no food. The men who ran the camp tried to secure supplies, but when they did, it was never enough. From 1864 to 1868, people died of starvation, disease, and most likely despair. The prison camp was closed in 1868, and the survivors were escorted home.
My first book is the story one a man who escapes the carnage and given sanctuary by an Anglo family. The second is about his brother, who ends up in Hweeldi. The third will be about how they reconcile what happened to them both, about the unfairness of it all. Maybe, just maybe, if I tell the story well enough, I can go back change things. I know I can't, but I have to try. And now? Go read Kiersti's story... http://www.kierstiplogblog.com/2014/06/when-story-begins-to-own-you-special.html
I met a lovely person named Kimberly Buckner at the ACFW conference last September. She had the Maya Angelou quote on her Facebook wall today.
I read it.
Then read it again.
And it was like, BAM!!
As if God was saying, patiently and yet again, "Stop trying to win this contest of your own making, because I know you aren't ready for the prize you think you want...and yet, you refuse to accept that you are a prize to Me."
Have you ever tried, and tried and TAH-RYE'D to get someone to notice you? Someone you think is cooler than ice in Iceland in January? Someone with whom you want a genuine friendship to form, and yet they're all "Ohhh, heyyy, I can fit you in...someday." And you lap it up like a puppy? Because you really think this person is awesomesauce on a bowl of awesome? I had a moment, or several, let's be honest, of this thought process last week. And it stung. It hurt. it was kinda embarrassing. But then I realized something.... If Person X doesn't think I'm awesome? WHY IN THE WORLD DO I KEEP PERFORMING THE LOOK-AT-ME DANCE??? So, Redheads, think of that one person who you'd love to go to Prom with and then say this to yourself, regarding that Person: "So, you, yeah YOU...you lose, because well, I quit. I quit trying to impress you, and get your attention. You're nice, and all, but you clearly do NOT know awesome when you see it. Go get your eyes checked and I'll see you around." And let's confess a little, shall we? We still wish Person X would clue in, don't we? Hey, if they do? Great. If not, get together with your tried and true friends and remember...they are the ones who'd give you the last piece of pie. AND all the aweomesauce to go with it. And just so you KNOW? God made you the way you are. And you ARE awesome.
My all time favourite film is The Last of the Mohicans.
While I think all the actors did a fantastic job, the bad guy stole that movie.
Why? Because the character, Magua, acted all helpful-ish in the beginning, then when nobody was paying attention, he snuck up and then out of his nice blanket, BAM! Yeey, and forsooth, a legion of Redcoats be-eth dead upon the groundeth.
Out of nowhere, serious weaponry, lots of pain and agony, and copious amounts of suffering.
Which describes my head on Monday and Tuesday.
I woke up both days with a migraine, but Tuesday's was particularly BAD.
Many years ago, I was trail riding and fell down and went boom.
That's pretty much what happened to me. Minus the rodeo.
Except this had happened first:
Thankfully, it was a soft landing.
Oh, and today this happened:
That's the view of the Saint John River from the Westmoreland Street Bridge here in Fredericton, NB.
So, do the math, and voila, the perfect cranial storm. Thankfully, the weather looks good the rest of the week.
Therefore, hopefully, so does the inside of my skull. Now, if I could JUST get my brain to work. PS: Yes, I rested, took plenty of Tylenol, Advil and I slept. Ohhhh, Maguaine, yer goin' down!
The Last of the Mohicans, 1992, Morgan Creek Productions
Russell Means as Chingachgook and Wes Studi as Magua
This just in: by 11:20pm, Atlantic Standard Time, the Maguaine was 90% GONE. Yay.
And here we go!! And no, I'm not going to explain what the heck happened to the font. And that's 30 minutes of my life I won't get back from trying to fix it. From Shelli Littleton:Do you like where you live in Canada now over British Columbia? In all honesty? No. Vancouver, and the West Coast, will always be my favourite place in the whole world. There is a beauty there that is unmatched. The mountains rising out of the ocean, the beaches that go on for miles, the skyline at night...ahhhh. But, we don't have 699,000 for a house. And that is the lowest price of a house in Vancouver right now. And it's a bit of a fixer upper. From Amberawesomesauce:What's the ONE reason (starts with an A) that you are simply dying to go to Washington state, USA??? Anecortes, baby!!! ;) Also from Amber Perry:The era in history I'd love to visit? The waning days of WW2 in the South Pacific, specifically when the POW camps were liberated. And one more from the high school chick...what piece of music would I love to sing in Carnegie Hall? Suo Gan. OR...The Revenge Aria from The Magic Flute. From Jennifer Stymiest: (mother of one the CUTEST little girls on earth) : Favourite Restaurant? Famous Dave's. Or...El Burrito Loco, when it first opened, before it got too busy. Favourite dessert? Pavlova. Or cheesecake. Most adventurous thing you've done? Any of my trips to Bolivia! Favourite place to visit? So far? Rome or Santorini. City that's still on my bucket list? Buenos Aires, Argentina Coffee or tea? TEA! Baking or cooking? Ohhh, good one!! I'd say baking. Favourite board game? Scrabble. My highest score is 543. From BW: Favourite book of all time? Ohhhh!! Well,obviously the Bible, but fiction? Hmmmm. Too many to choose!! Courting Morrow Little is pretty darn close to the top. Favourite movie? The Last of the Mohicans Favourite actor? Wes Studi Favourite actress? Cate Blanchett or Meryl Streep On George Clooney's engagement? I hope they're happy, for the rest of their lives. How did I meet my husband? I met the very handsome John E. Major at about 7:30 pm, at a softball game on July 28th, 1986. Is it true that Canadian chocolate is the best? Yes. From Lori Benton: Think you'll ever move back to the West Coast? Probably not. It's way too expensive. Will you please explain why you have produce around your neck? We were in a town in Bolivia and each kid in school made us a garland of flowers and vegetables. They weighed a TONNE!!! After we left the village, we gave all the food to one of our Bolivian colleagues and she used them to feed the poor people she worked with. From Andrew: How many Canadian does it take to screw in a light bulb? 2. One to do the work and one to check the score of the hockey game.
Remember how I said I'd lost my voice? I fell in January and landed on my chin, and snapped my head back. And from that moment on, I couldn't sing. At first, it was I could barely open my mouth. It took a month or more for the swelling in my jaw to go down enough to speak properly. Even my teeth hurt. I'm amazed they didn't crack into pieces. So, about a month ago, I was singing in church, but very few of my "I can do this in my sleep" notes were there. Well, I did have a wicked head cold. Huh. But wasn't I over that? So, one day, when I was out doing my momming, I tried doing what I ALWAYS do when I'm alone in my van. I sing. Well, I couldn't. I couldn't hit a single note with ANY amount of control or volume. I was devastated. I've been singing since I was a kid. I've sung in choirs, in small groups, I've done solos, you name it. And yeah, I might sound a bit vain, but the ONE thing I knew I could do sort of okay? I could hit those ridiculously high notes that only one other person at our church could hit. Almost every choir I've been in, I was the go-to girl for the ultra high notes. And yes, I knew it, too. But one is always humbled when one blows one of those notes in rehearsal. Because when you sing that high and you blow it? You fall really far. But... Suffice it to say, I grieved the loss of my voice. It broke my heart to be completely unable to sing. I couldn't even stand to be IN church when they were singing. I actually walked out yesterday because it was so heartbreaking to be in a place where hundreds of voices were raised in song and praise, and I couldn't do it. Yesterday at church, we had a guest. Her name is Sheila Charles.
Sheila Raye Charles. And this is her daddy.
Her mike was barely on. She didn't even need it!! WHAT a VOICE!! Serious POWER!!!!
And after church, I NEEDED to speak with her. I needed to tell her how deeply she blessed me.
So I waited, and waited, and finally did the unCanadian thing of interrupting someone because John and the kids were waiting...
I told her she'd blessed me and I'd lost my voice and hers blew me away. She hugged me and said "D'you mind if I touch you?"
I am Canadian. A Baptist by birth. A Wesleyan by membership.
The next thing I knew, she gently pulled away my scarf and had her hand ON MY THROAT.
She prayed for healing, and that my doubt would disappear.
And Redheads? That girl is NOT shy.
So, after she was done bringing down the sky with her prayers, I thanked her, hugged her and walked out to the van and poof, back into mom mode.
Last night, I went to a "Bolivian coffeehouse" at a neighbouring church to hear a team speak about their recent trip to Bolivia. I told a few friends about my loss, but as I was doing so? I felt a leading to shut up.
On the drive home, I thought, "Okay Lord...did You?"
Have you ever wondered, "Wow, what I really need is to lose an insane amount of sleep, be a nervous wreck, AND pray for fake people?"
Then Amber Perry's 'So Fair A Lady' is the book for YOU!!
Here's the cover...
Ain't it purty???
And here's my review....
Eliza and Kitty Campbell are in royal trouble.
Their father is dead, their future is unsure, and they are knee deep in the midst of political turmoil that might tear them apart. But never fear, Samuel Martin is here. And there. And everywhere.
Thomas Watson is in royal trouble too, but the kind that gets you dead. The kind that Samuel Martin seems to have far too much skill at, and far too frightening for a young man alone.
Thomas Watson’s friend and mentor, Robert Campbell, was a spy for the Sons of Liberty, and his secrets have thrown his two daughters into a realm of intrigue, danger and certain death. Thomas must save them, and many others, and yet who can he trust? Where can he hide two women? And how far must he go before his actions are unforgivable?
Amber Perry sent me a copy of So Fair A Lady…and robbed me of sleep!!!
I was stressed, nervous, and had to take frequent chocolate breaks just to cope with Thomas and Eliza’s perils and problems! The story starts at a hard place and just plunges the reader down the waterfall, then out through the rapids, swirls through the white water than BAM, you’re down another chute!
I am a huge fan of Laura Frantz, Lori Benton and Tamara Leigh, and now? Amber Perry! I would HIGHLY recommend So Fair A Lady if you want to squirm, swoon and pray for the characters!
An excellent read, and seriously, you can sleep tomorrow night, right?
And because Amber is more gorgeous, and brilliant, and talented...umm, than she is umm, aware of itty bitty tiny weensy details....
So Fair A Lady is on sale on Amazon....NOW.
Go over to her blog and she'll tell you the story...it's kinda funny...now.