The Power of Perspective

I’ve written about perspective before and probably will again, because this quality can make all the difference. Sometimes when you feel you’ve hit the bottom, you possess quite a unique vantage point. Observe:

My husband took this photo in Arizona this winter…don’t ask me how!

But what a perspective, eh? You’ve seen many of his birdie photos, but I simply have to share one more today–can’t ignore this perfect example of FOCUS

What a great example of the phrase, “Keep your eyes peeled.” Observant…undistracted…watching, waiting. LOOKING INTENTLY, INTENTIONALLY–that’s what FOCUS means.

Now for this one: The tree’s closeness only heightens our interest in a distant object–the moon is what matters, but the tree frames it in a new way. (For a guy who never has taken a photography class, Lance is GOOD!)   (:

His next one reveals the intriguing quality of the color grey.

 

You see the deer, of course. But at the same time, interesting tree bark, rocks, and surrounding earth blend shadow and substance in a pleasing way. At least I think so.

Ahh…what does this have to do with my writing? Well, perspective and focus play a huge role in All for the Cause, my next release. And the color grey?

In the chaos of battle in the Philippines, Private Stan Ford can only hope for a neutral shade in the midst of rich jungle foliage. So much green, it hurts his eyes…so much suffering, too. After he escapes capture by the Japanese during the American surrender in 1942, Stan and his buddies come across GIs being taken to a POW camp in the mountains.

What they see infuriates them. Sickens them. Strikes terror into their souls–brutality, cruelty, complete disregard for international law.

As a result, one desire enters Stan and will drive him to any length. He must do his part to rescue those men–they have become his family. But accomplishing this objective will take time…much more time than Stan wishes. Forces beyond his control seem bent on preventing the fulfillment of his desire.

But that longing never leaves…in fact, time only strengthens it. Will Stan be able to give his ALL FOR THE CAUSE? Soon, we’ll see. I know…I keep saying soon. But this book truly will soon release.

Kay Di Bianca – RUN TO WRITE

Kay DiBianca, a former software developer and IT manager. has run four marathons, fifteen or so half-marathons, and lots of shorter races. OK, YOU GOT OUR ATTENTION!!! Kay is retired and lives in Tennessee with her husband, Frank. Now, she’s writing fiction, and she shares with us the connection between her new vocation and her running.  AND she’s giving away a signed paperback of her novel,

 

If I could give you one simple thing to enhance your creativity and improve your writing, would you be interested? Good. I thought so. I’ll get to that in a minute.

But first, let me introduce myself. I’m a runner, but not a fast one. I’ve spent decades jogging on trails, at the track, or on my treadmill, and I usually listen to podcasts or audio books when I’m running outside.

A few years ago, I found myself making up stories of my own as I was exercising. One of those stories was so persistent in occupying my running time that I decided to write it down just so it would stop bothering me. That story turned out to be my first novel, The Watch on the Fencepost, recently released by CrossLink Publishing.

As I was busy working on the book, I began to wonder if the very act of running was somehow related to my desire to write a novel. We’ve all heard of the benefits of aerobic exercise to strengthen our bodies and reduce stress, but could it do more?

Recent studies reveal some surprising results.According to a 2016 online article in Quartzby neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki, exercise encourages the growth of cells in the hippocampus area of the brain. And research has shown the hippocampus is important in enhancing long term memory and even possibly – listen to this, writers – creativity. Dr. Suzuki writes that “… this discovery suggests that exercise might be able to improve the imaginative functions of the hippocampus …”

But there’s more. An article in the August 2018 issue of Runner’s World magazine states, “Studies have shown that running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers, and a host of other unpleasant conditions. What’s more, scientists have shown that running also vastly improves the quality of your emotional and mental life. It even helps you live longer.”

Physical exercise isn’t always fun, and we should definitely seek our doctor’s advice before starting a new exercise regime, but the benefits are so enormous, we can’t afford to ignore them. We can live longer, happier, healthier lives and be more creative if we do just one simple thing: Run — or jog — or walk — or do some kind of exercise to get our brains moving along with our bodies.

Be strong and write well!

Visit Kay at kaydibianca.com.

 

Earth to Gail…

Two nights ago, Lance took some photos of the moon just before it became a “blood moon.” This was about 9 p.m. Arizona time, and we could just see a rosy haze rising due to refracted light. 

 

He didn’t think they’d turn out, but…well, I’ll let you be the judge.

He’s been snapping dozens of elk, deer, javelina, and bird pics too…but this total eclipse only happens once in a… quite a few years.

I’ve neglected blogging for the past few weeks, and could explain that I’ve been head over heels into my next WWII story featuring the POW camp in Algona, Iowa. But that would sound like an excuse, so I’m just starting in again…hopefully you’re all in a compassionate frame of mind.

The good news is that I am approaching…not there yet, but CLOSE to completing this final (I HOPE!!) edit of a manuscript that has given me some surprises and frustrations along the way. Aren’t things supposed to become easier with practice???

And just for good measure, here are a couple more pics from our day trip to Sedona.

I love the way the background and foreground integrate. Reminds me of how the main characters and secondary characters in a novel complement each other.

Each of their personal stories shares a common premise. It stands to reason that during war, that premise may become even more complicated than normal.

Picture a small midwestern town chosen to host hundreds of Nazi prisoners…many of them from Hitler’s elite SS, taken captive in North Africa. What would it be like to guard them…to provide milk, eggs, and other essentials to feed them, knowing that chances are slim Allied prisoners were being treated according to the Geneva Convention? 

Doesn’t this sound a little complicated?  Stay tuned – ALL FOR THE CAUSE is on its way!

RELEASE DAY…SENDING MY BABY OUT…

A fellow writer recently sent me this photo of his newborn calf, a Saler-Hereford.

SO cute! Look at all that curly hair, and a face any mother could love!

How does this tie in with today being RELEASE DAY for Kiss Me Once Again? Very clearly.

Sending a story into the world after such a long process of drafting, writing, editing, re-editing, re-re-editing (you get the picture) shares several parallels with birthing an infant.

But when that infant grows up, they’re out of your hands…well, actually quite a while before that point.

So off you go, Kiss Me Once Again, my first World War II novella…out into the cold, but hopefully not cruel world. It’s been joy-laced hard work to bring you to this moment. May you touch hearts and faithfully reveal the incredible era of World War II.

My publisher tells me this novella debuted at #56 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases chart in the World War II Historical Fiction category.

Reviews

Kiss Me Once Again is a sweet novella that will make you feel like you are in the WWII era. I loved how Gail crafted Glenora, I could really feel her tough exterior filled with grease and less-than feminine features, but she also captured “Glen’s” tender interior. Hank is everything you want to read in a 1940’s hero. Affected by war, yet lacking confidence due to everything he’s been through. It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read. I definitely recommend!  

 “Kiss Me Once Again is a heartwarming story of love, sacrifice, dreams deferred, faith and family. I always appreciate the historical research that underlies author Kittleson’s stories. 

Purchase Kiss Me Once Again HERE for Amazon

Purchase Kiss Me Once Again HERE for Barnes and Noble

 

A New Release at Eighty!

Let me introduce author, editor and writing instructor, Mary Ylvisaker Nilsen. I had the privilege of taking a class with Mary and learned SO much. What a joy to have her visit, and to hear that she’s still writing, octogenarian or not! Please leave your e-mail if I don’t have it already, because Mary’s offering a free copy of her memoir to one fortunate commenter...I think we’re in for a treat. 

I’ve never been one to hide my age—unless you call hair coloring an attempt to age alter—but since October 1, my birthday, I’ve noticed a strange clutch in my gut, a catch in my throat, a little stammer in my speech when, for whatever reason, I have to say, “Eighty.”

Eighty! It’s crazy. My parents died at 49 and 69, a brother died at 64 and a sister at 68. Cancer all. I’ve lived with the intensity of one who assumes her days are numbered, and the number would be below the national average. Also, this Annie Dillard quotation has driven me: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Spend. Time is like money. My supply is limited. Better make careful choices on how I spend it. Better not waste a minute.

But here I am. The celebration’s over. The shock settling in. And the existential question, “Why?” now haunting my sleep. Insurance predictors tell me that by living this long, I have dodged all the big killers and will likely live to be 98. That’s almost two more decades of days!

Two years ago, I had a health event that for a year left me in pain sliding from a brusque “I’m OK. I’ll be fine,” to a wordless gasp. During that year, assuming it might be my last, I began a practice I had never before attempted and wrote every night, wrote what I called “my Marvel,” wrote on small things and close to home things, on fragile thoughts or fleeting observations. I followed Jesus’ suggestion that we “consider the lilies of the field.” So, noticing what I noticed, I planted it in my mind, allowing it to take root and grow, considering what it had to teach me. Writing about it became my daily purpose.

For a year, I tended those thought seeds. And then for the better part of a year I pruned—trimming, shaping or cutting those daily writings. Consider the Marvels: Writings from My 79thYear is the result. The project filled the two years leading up to my 80th. Now, here I am, potentially looking forward to two decades of days, and my pain-free self, which has lost the passion for daily writing, wonders what of value I can spend my time on now. A question I will need to think about, to ponder, to consider….

Calling all Octogenarians! I need help! Tell us all about the marvels in your days.

Find more information about Mary Nilsen at
www.Zionpublishing.org

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

Walking on Eggshells

Have you ever felt you must walk on eggshells? Many of us can relate to Karen Stork’s story of learning to value herself. Screw the Eggshells 250 wide RGB

The “Back” Story

It is said that we teach people how to treat us. So I have always wondered how  I taught my husband to treat me with verbal abuse and control? And why would I continue to subject myself to this kind of behavior for so long?

Such questions were always in the back of my mind as I thought about the effects of being verbally abused. Helping young women avoid a similar path was another incentive for me, and the dream of becoming a published author was one that had festered for years.

Finally, on a beach in Florida in 2016, I decided it was time to get serious and turn my dream into reality. In one month, the story was outlined. Along with  chapters about my marriage, I also wanted to explore my childhood and my experiences and adventures as a single woman after marriage.

Returning home to Lincoln, I continued to write, but had no idea about publication or what would follow. I simply worked on writing and/or rewriting various chapters every day. After all, I needed a lot of experience writing in a very short time, since it hadn’t been a regular part of my daily routine since returning to college in the 1980s!

Early in 2017 I realized I couldn’t do this all on my own. I found a company in Omaha, NE to provide editing, book layout, cover, and assistance through the publication and marketing process. It wasn’t until late spring of 2017 that we had a title and format for the book — my literary baby was finally born on September 12, 2017. And the title was my inspiration!

Becoming an author fulfilled a major dream and helped me to understand some of my questions about th past. Other unanswered questions may never be resolved, but that’s okay. I don’t believe we can ever understand everything about our past; we just have to accept that whatever happened got us to where we are now. And this publication journey has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

To learn more, visit my website at www.karenstork.com.

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Karen Heckman Stork calls herself “The Grandma Moses of writing” because it took her 53 years to achieve her dream of becoming a published author. She is a columnist for the Lincoln 55+ senior quarterly newspaper with a column entitled “A Lincoln Life.” She also co-wrote and produced a family book entitled “Between the Generations, Poems by a Nana and her Grandson.” Karen is a member of the Nebraska Writer’s Guild and is available to read from her book and speak on subjects including the harmful effects of verbal abuse, aging without growing old, life lessons learned and poetry.

 

 

The Last of the Roses

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Seems not long ago when the first rose of the summer bloomed, and here it is, nearly the end of October.

Whoever coined the phrase time flies knew what they were doing. I’ve been editing and editing and EDITING…the final book of the Women of the Heartland series. Coming out in November…still not sure of the exact day of release. But the cold has blown in, and it’s time to rescue the last roses from my friend’s bush.

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It’s also nearly the 500th anniversary of the Reformation…yep, did you know that Martin Luther was a the best-selling author? If my writing affects one-hundredth of a percent of his following, I’ll be surprised.

My recent notes while reading about London during the Blitzkrieg… snippets of information like this come together to create a book. I suppose Luther took notes, too, but he wrote without the ease of modern technology, probably long into the night by candlelight.

Nothing about his life was easy, and interestingly, he included a subdued white rose in his seal, connoting the fruits of faith.

Whatever our task, that’s what it’s all about, believing that what we do makes a difference. Even a small difference in a few lives. As roses, in their quiet way, add beauty and lightness to our journey (if we take time for them…) so our work can enhance this weary world.

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Next post, I hope to share the cover of A Purpose True and its release date. In the meantime, I’ll keep on editing, and  hope you find a little time to spend with a rose.