Let The Secrets Die – Is Done

My book, “Let The Secrets Die“, the first of a three volume set called The Jewell Johnson Mysteries – is back from the publisher and I am picking up them up tomorrow.
This edition is a First Edition, signed and numbered and there are only 250 for Friends and Family.  I will be publishing it again when I release my second book, “Done Running“. This volume and the third one called “The Secret of San Pedro La Laguna” are still being written but my plan is to be done in 2016. These first editions will be retailing for $20 – no sales tax. The second editions will have a different cover and possibly under a pseudonym but all three books will have F&F first editions. I might try to devise a box for both sets.
As you may know, I love history, it begins in 1908 and ends in 1972. These three Jewell Johnson Mysteries are historical fiction set in the early 1970’s but they dip back into Northern Wisconsin’s early beginnings.
I am super excited!Emoji

My Mother’s Knobby Knuckles

This is my thought for today. Of course if you don’t agree, that’s fine. Don’t get bent out of shape. Just reply or message me. It is kinda long because I am feeling sad for my jail students who nearly always recall some physical abuse in their childhood..

Real adults don’t hit, punch or pummel others. That means that if you are mature and adult, you have other ways to communicate. Some women want to gig men into hitting them to get attention and drama. They deride, degrade and disintegrate men to get what they desire! Some women get what they want with the poison of personal abuse. Some men hit because they are twelve-year-olds in large bodies and don’t know what else to do.

Hitting someone is generally a bully’s way of expressing their personal sense of hurt, frustration and pain. They lash out because they don’t know how to make life return to a comfortable ‘normal’ again. I have learned a valuable lesson in my life about discipline. Discipline is about a relationship of love, not physical abuse.

Kids get “hit” because parents don’t have a clue what else to do. My mom used to knobKnobby Knuckles me on my “bony little head” with her knuckle to get my rather lax attention and then look deeply into my eyes and talk to me at my comprehension level. When I was an adult I listened not because she knobbed me but because she looked me in the eyes and talked to her blue-eyed baby girl that she loved very much. I don’t remember ever getting spanked or slapped by my parents.

But, smacking a kid on the butt when they run out into the street is a pretty effective way to physically exclaim, “Don’t do things like that, I am terrified you will die and I love you with everything that I am!” On the other hand, waiting until daddy gets home to do it is saying “You’re stupid, you need a spankin’ for being stupid and I don’t wanna do it so your big, evil daddy has to do it.” Then who is stupid? Shaking and slapping a kid or spanking for dribbling cereal on the carpet tells the kid that hitting is just fine in these situations. IT IS NOT. It proves that you didn’t teach the kid well and you are frustrated with yourself for their errors.

What I have learned in 62 years is that kids don’t forget it, EVER. Do you want them to remember you as someone who hit them? If you care how you send them out in life, why not just knob yourself, show them how to clean it up, and be a better teacher/parent next time?

June Nights

image001A Northern Wisconsin perfect balmy June night

stars glimmering across the sky, a gentle breeze rattling the Quaking Aspen leaves, and sighing through the pines. I want it to stay like this forever; my shadow is cast across the freshly mowed and fragrant lawn as I stare into the face on the laughing moon so huge above. There goes the Big Dipper but who are those stars- or are they planets? I don’t remember the names of the constellations any more because no one talks about them like my mom and dad did long ago. “There’s Orion, see his belt?” mom would say, her warm breath on my upturned face. A loon cried and mom answered back as we meandered down the road in front of the farm. “See Venus and there’s Jupiter, aren’t they lovely?” In the field a sleeping cow moaned, probably irritated by our chatter. The sweet soft smell of our Bridalveil Spirea bush is mixing with the last few blossoms of the lilacs but it is still too chilly for the hungry mosquitos.

When my mom was my age I had graduated from HIgh School and was not paying much attention to her. I regret that now. My life seemed so important in 1973 and now, well I just wish I had my mom to tell me the secrets of the universe again before she tucked me into my bed upstairs in that room, right up there where my grandson lies sleeping soundly tonight. I pause to rest on the wicker settee on the fairly new deck, thinking about how my eyes don’t see the stars and the moon like they used to. Long ago there was much less sound, cars never raced down our road and you never heard a far-off blaring radio, just perhaps the heart beat of a family drum on Little Round Lake. There was no pink tinge to the southern horizon from the Casino lights.

I stand up and spin around in my pj’s there on the deck for a few seconds in the moonlight, dancing like a young girl again, smiling at my foolishness. My eyes roll back sheepishly as I discover I locked myself out again and my husband is sleeping- so I climb through the window I forgot to lock. “Silly old woman; look at her,” I heard my father say with a smile from somewhere far away beyond that starlit night. “Goodnight guys!” I wave through the kitchen window.

Love Your Brother, Sister, Neighbor

Did you ever sit down and just write down the names of your friends and acquaintances?

Do that, and then think of something good about them: maybe they are a good cook, a ‘fun’ partner, a confidant, have nice hair, pretty eyes, cute ears, an interesting or humorous attitude- just anything that is nice. It is hard to be angry with or hate someone when you find something nice about them. I know that sounds a little Pollyanna-ish but that is what my parents taught me.

I find it hard to dislike people for more than a short while. Something always pops up and I remember something I like about them…except Idi Amin. I didn’t know him well enough to get past the fact that he was a brutal murderer. Or maybe Caligula, but he lived a long time ago.


Let The Secrets Die (Coming soon)

Andi MarpleWriting a book is time consuming, brain wilting and exciting. I love the feeling of creating people and having them walk in my mind like fully clothed ghosts while I change their faces, clothing and personal characteristics at whim! These ghostly figures wander through scenes, whisper words, change their minds, laugh, cry and then wisp away in the mist. The brain is a crazy place.

Then I create a gridwork, a frame for my thoughts that has time and place fixed where I hang the characters I have created. This group of characters are stuck in 1971 wearing tie-dyed tee-shirts and bell-bottomed jeans.  I chose a time when women were no longer wearing granny dresses but avoided the Mod Squad looks. I remember the innocence and the gullibility of being eighteen but now I have the grit and grime of forty-four years of living to dig through. They are perpetually living at the Linger Inn and Hagie’s Store on Lake Makwa in northern Wisconsin. That was the year that the Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin began as an idea.

I love being older and writing from that point of view. I can empathize with all the characters except for Sven and Elin but they passed away and don’t talk much in the book. I try to remember my mom when she was my age but she would be 104 by now. My dad surprised me by being 111 years old this year! I remember what they said and how they viewed certain events and I try to incorporate that into my writing.

I am looking forward to writing “Done Running” – the next book in Jewell Johnson’s life.

Kindle Fire In My Brain!

Imagine you are sixty-two (I know that for some of you that may be quite a stretch) and you are looking at your grandson’s Kindle. He wants yet another book to read (I understand the place in your head sucks the written word like a black hole) and you have already spent fifty bucks on new reads from Amazon. He read all the free ones too! He looks pathetically at you for the newest book in the series. Seriously, thirty books? You call your daughter to ante up for this title.

Imagine your surprise when she says “just register your Kindle and get it from the library”. What? I rush to my computer and there it is! I can enter my library card number, the library tells me when I can access the book and sends me an email! This is huge! No trip to town, no huge credit card account at Amazon and my reading desire fulfilled.

Imagine how your mind races off to a million new places. Kindle access in every hospital room for patients. Kindles at the Nursing home! Kindles in the school and jails! Kindles in offices downtown and realty offices. You could rent a Kindle from the library. You could get Kindle deals from churches and other social groups. Oh man, here we are! My mind is on “Kindle Fire”!

Article Moving Forward With Hope

Do you see yourself as a failure? Does it seem like everything you do turns out wrong? Do you worry that it will always be this way?  John Maxwell writes in his book “Failing Forward”, “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” Have you ever considered the distance between failure and success? Write those two words on a whiteboard, a scrap of paper or in your notebook. Draw a line between the two words. Now, define what complete success means to you; not to anyone else but just TO YOU. When you look at the length of the line, do you define failure as anything less than complete success?

In a line from the movie Princess Bride, Miracle Max says “It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.” Success is like that. You can decide that you are able to reach success by defining it as something within reach, and failure is at the bottom.  Visualize your level of success, are you partly there? Are you getting there? We all need to have high standards for our lives but not set so high and judged so rigorously that we can never reach our goals.  In the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11 says; “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Write “Hope” above success and focus on reaching that point.

Are Your Habits Healthy?

Are Your Habits Healthy?
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Good habits add to us, unhealthy habits steal from us?”
Here is something to consider; if you get busy making new good habits, you may find that you don’t have time for the old “bad” ones. First of all you have to think about all of the things you do and define what you think is a good habit. Then, exercise that habit, feed it and encourage it to grow.
For example, what about eating: instead of denying yourself, if you stay focused on preparing and eating tasty, healthy foods, you don’t have time to think about “junk” foods that add nothing to your body but calories. Almost every magazine or newspaper has an article on what foods are good for you, suggestions on how much to eat and often recipes. Remember a complicated recipe can actually help burn calories!
For example, what about smoking: if you keep busy and active, you will naturally have less time to use for that activity. Consider keeping your focus on helping others and sharing your blessings. You will save money from not smoking a couple cigarettes each day and gain self-esteem by reaching out to lift up the needy.
Maybe you have found that your spiritual house is unhealthy. Have you let attending church, praying, and listening to God slide off your list of priorities? Are other activities eating up a lot of your time, causing you to walk away from your faith? The medical community agrees that folks with a spiritual connection and happy attitudes are often healthier. A good habit to work on might be to connect with your church and reach out to help others. Remember that a few good habits will add much to your life.

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