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Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Heart Full of Daffodils

Photo by Laura Bear 2014
Okay, I know it's too early for daffodils, but aren't they cheery? I thought a preview was needed. Today was the first break in single digit or sub-zero temperatures in the Northeast in...forever, it seems. We almost hit 40 degrees today and the sun came out! Glorious day! We took the little dog for a walk at the park. Plowed road and no salt, so the snow was pure vanilla white. Each footfall produced a pleasing creaking. Teddy could run and bury his face in the snow without painful consequences. It would have been great for cross country skiing, if I had my skis with me. Still, what a glorious break from the long, frigid temperatures. Alas, tonight we plunge back into single digits.

The release of my debut novel is on the horizon! Book launch is at a wonderful little independent bookstore called RiverRead Books in Binghamton, NY on March 14th at 3:00 pm. All are invited! Book signing also scheduled in Ithaca at another wonderful independent bookstore called Buffalo Street Books on April 4th at 2:00 pm. My son and future daughter-in-law are flying out from Minnesota for the launch. I'm so excited and thankful. This has been a long, winding road to following my dream. I've met so many wonderful people along the way. Today is a day to count my blessings. Here are my top ten for the week:

1) Where the Heart Lands will be published by Unsolicted Press March 14th of this year!

2) Many of my writer friends are hitting their stride in their writing careers this year: Gregory Norris; Mari Cooper; and Julie Hedlund

3) My wonderful son is marrying a lovely young woman this May, while working on a law degree and a masters in business analytics!

4) My son and daughter-in-law will be here for my book launch.

5) I am following my dream while also working at a fulltime job that I love, helping people recover from stroke and brain injury.

6) A much better-insulated house with a new furnace and a woodstove that keeps me warm during this wicked winter.

7) A loving spouse who takes care of that woodstove and is working to understand this big change in his life of his wife as an author.

8) Working with a fabulously talented publisher and editors at Unsolicited Press.

9) Sunshine!!!!!!

10) Meeting so many wonderful people because of my writing journey.

There are so many more things for which I am thankful, but this is a good start. Hope you all have good things to cherish. Thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Winter Tale: Preview of Where the Heart Lands

Photo by Laura Bear 2013
Just spent the week battling a nasty upper respiratory virus. Rivers of mucus trying to flow from my head, continuously blocked by swollen nasal passages until the back up threatened to explode through my eyeballs. A fellow sufferer described the sore throat as "shards of glass with every swallow." Exactly right. Shudder. Gross, indeed, but thanks to all sorts of saline flushing, gallons of hot tea, and meds I am almost back to my version of normal. The world looks almost, well, cold and dreary again! But at least I can breathe! Amen!

Here's a sneak preview on my debut novel Where the Heart Lands, coming out March 14th from Unsolicited Press

 A middle-aged woman finds out her husband has been cheating on her again with a woman the same age as their middle daughter. Although she knows her husband Jack has done this before, Lucy is shaken when she learns the woman is pregnant with Jack's child. Lucy struggles with anger and then depression as she loses control of the situation. Forced to live in the same house as her estranged husband during the messy divorce proceedings, Lucy loses her way and acts out her desperation in a way that leads to her hospitalization. A glimmer of hope arrives in the form of an inherited old farmhouse in rural Minnesota.

In another part of the country in an earlier time, a young girl suffers at the hands of her abusive uncle and aunt. Rebeccah plots her escape after a particularly brutal attack through the kindness of a hobo she meets by the railroad tracks on her way to school. Together, the hobo and the little girl flee and the hobo gives her a new name and even finds her a family. The re-born Addie begins to accept the love and care of her new Mennonite family and grows into a beautiful young woman who catches the eye of Carl, a handsome fellow Mennonite man. They wed and begin raising their young family on Carl's family's farm in southern Minnesota. Addie befreinds the elderly couple who live on the farm next door, unaware of their connection to a future friend.

Lucy and Addie meet when Lucy inherits the same farmhouse several years later. They become fast friends and together with local handyman and philosopher Tom Anderson, they renovate Lucy's home as she also renovates her life. Addie is attracted by Lucy's strength and acts on her own confusing emotions about her past and her present and her own desires. Lucy takes a detour on her road to recovery and soon learns that freeing your heart means you can't always tell where it may land.

Have a healthy, happy weekend!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Winter Writing or Don't Leave Your Pets or Your People Out in the Cold

Photo by Laura Bear 2015
Being home sick from work during a winter storm isn't all bad. Once I arose from the bed, took a hot shower, gargled salt water, and drank hot herbal tea, I began to feel well enough to write a little. My throat still feels like two golf balls are battling to come through either side of my neck, but at least I can swallow without too much pain. All the little birds outside look fat as they puff out their feathers to stay warm. Plenty of seed and nuts in the feeders for my winged friends and the feral cat is snug in his insulated house with the feline-body-heat-specific heating pad. The rest of us have the cozy woodstove, thanks to the efforts of my spouse. Now I can enjoy the snowy scenes outside.

I can't help thinking about the people and animals that don't have adequate shelter or food or water in this frigid weather. Dogs and cats require the same shelter that we do. They are not "meant" to be outside all the time. We made sure of that through centuries of breeding. Unless your dog is a husky with a thick coat and loves to pull a sled through the icy winds of Alaska, your dog needs more than an unheated dog house and deserves much more than life on a chain (that includes the husky). Bring the dog in, feed it, give it plenty of water and love it or give it to someone who will do this. Same goes for cats. House cats are not lions. They may think they are, but they need warmth and shelter and food and drink. Take care of them or ask someone else who can do it for you. I'll get off my soapbox as soon as I mention the homeless people, okay? If you see someone out in the cold, offer to take them in for a cup of coffee or call someone who can help them find shelter if you can't. If we can't take care of each other, including animals that depend on us for food and shelter; if we won't take care of those of us who can't take care of themselves; what kind of world is it that we want to live in? A world where no one cares is a doomed world. A smile leads to more good than a scowl ever would.

That's all I have to say on this cold, February day. My intention is to keep my eyes open for opportunity to do some good. I wish the same for you. Blessings to you all.