Month: October 2016

The Seasons Re-launched as KDP Select

There’s nothing like curling up on the sofa with a good book on a crisp autumn day. Images of snuggling underneath a favourite blanket with a fire in the background, nose poked in a page-turner, eyes glued to the page – oh yeah! Been there, done that and looking forward to doing it again. I love books and not only in the hardback or paperback format, but also e-books. If only for their convenience, e-books have made their way onto my devices.

And it just so happens that my collection of short stories, The Seasons, has been re-launched as KDP Select. This means that the book is exclusive to Amazon in the digital format. Also, you can borrow it from the Kindle Library without purchasing it. Now that’s a deal.

So with the wind whipping up a whirl outside and clouds, swelling and threatening to burst, I think it is time to curl up with a good e-book. Check out The Seasons, and watch this space for special promotions, leading up to the holiday seasons. What? Yes, almost time to wrap-up, too.


Running for Lessons In Life

Running three times per week is a big part of my lifestyle nowadays. When and if I can’t get do so, I am greatly challenged all day, sometimes all week. My mojo seems to fizzle. But doing so gives it back, brings me all sorts of joy and admittedly some pain, the latter when I am a bit out of my rhythm for some reason or another. But usually a bit of stretching sorts me out.

Anyhow, the joys are extraordinary from feeling the freedom of movement, of agility, to people watching, which some times leads to inspiration and other times to commiseration, like the time I empathised with a school girl who simply could not keep up with the rest of the class. If I could have carried her on my shoulder I would have. Anyhow, here lately, I have turned to exploration, if you will and even animation.

Earlier this week, when I stopped to stretch, overlooking the Thames, I saw two abandoned, rather shiny, bicycles, one green and one red, and was sure the police would descend upon the area any moment to catch some thieves, perhaps. Two much crime drama, right! Anyhow, as I continued to stretch, a lovely doggie decided to stretch alongside me, much to his owner’s irritation. Only when I became a bit more animated and suggested that the animal wanted to stretch, too, did he affirm with a friendly bark, and move away with his owner.

What great joy! But there is more. This morning as I watched a slow poke, plod by me, I, involuntarily, I might add, shot off to overtake him, and leave him in the dust. I simply could not cope with the thought of running at such a pathetic pace.

Minutes later, out of steam, I nearly collapsed on a bench to be reminded of one of life’s lessons that running teaches—Keep to you own pace. Huffing and puffing and regaining my breath, I remembered some others worth mentioning:

  • Warm up. Whatever you are doing, going to school, to work, whatever, warm up!
  • Stretch. Depending on what you are doing, stretching could be mental, but it is a daily must, even if it is only the imagination.
  • Don’t worry about crossing a bridge until you get to it. Prepare for sure, but no need going over and over in your head about crossing it ahead of time. It could be overwhelmingly far away and quite a long bridge to cross. Just prepare as I did this morning to cross the Albert Bridge, pictured above. Exhilarating! 
  • Run your own race. Don’t compare yourself to others. You have nothing to gain but lots of steam to lose.
  • Cool down. Digest the life experience, whatever it is, before heading off again.

That’s what I did when the slow poke, mentioned earlier, jogged by merrily. Right, steam on; I fell behind and settled into my own space, I mean pace. And presto, I had my mojo back.


Expressing Freedom In the English Countryside

A city girl hands down, I do love getting away to the country now and again. Not surprisingly so, since I was born and raised in rural Southwest Georgia. There is something about the simplicity of unspoiled space, relatively speaking, that’s peaceful, except for the white-knuckle car rides on narrow, windy paths that are considered roads.

Go figure, this is England, where country lanes are so narrow that dear life depends on how you take every crook and turn and whether you have the skills to reverse as far as is necessary to somehow edge by a Range Rover that is too big for the road on its own or drive sideways on the hillside to squeeze by. Thank God for folding wing mirrors. Now what about a car that can fold without being hit and then unfold again? Sorry I digress; that’s the Jetsons, isn’t it? 

Anyhow, off to Somerset we went last weekend to Babington House to celebrate my birthday. I know, I know, that was weeks ago. Never mind, we like to celebrate as much as we can around here.

And that we did, arriving just in time for the cool of autumn, as good of a time as any, if you ask me, to get a fresh start. Though a scarcely 20-year-old hotel and members club, which is part of a worldwide hotel group, Babington House, including its grounds, is anchored deeply in English history, which segues back to the country.

History traces the land back to a medieval village, where there was a church and manor house, however, the present house was built circa 1705.  Though it has undergone many renovations, it wears its charm and character well.

The first morning during breakfast, I sat looking out over the grounds, and couldn’t help thinking how the property, the land was so very representative of the English countryside. The sun spilled over a small hill in distance, highlighting the dew stained grass. The grounds an uneven plane, just enough for children to run free and frolic, seemed to call out to them or to anyone who wanted to express freedom at its most basic.

That’s us! After pulling on our Wellies, off we went to explore the English countryside.


Paying Tribute to Gloria Naylor: My Muse

A friend sent me a Facebook message asking if I had heard of the death of award winning author Gloria Naylor on September 28, one day before my birthday. I had not. Feeling a bit out of the loop, I went online and met all the condolences head on, reflecting for a good while.

After I came out of my stupor of sadness, I began to remember Gloria Naylor fondly from receiving Bailey’s Café as a birthday gift in 1992 from my BFF to discussing Mama Day, in particular, at my first book club in Albany, Georgia, to meditating and conjuring her up as my muse during a writing exercise meant to improve my own writing skills. Bear with – it really happened.

Anyhow, though I never met her, over the years, I have been privileged (in and out of interviews) to answer several questions asked of writers: what are you reading, what are you writing and who is our favourite author? In other words, which writer has most influenced/most inspired you? The answer to the first two questions naturally varies but the third one has always been the same—Gloria Naylor.

On that note, however, outside of North America, some interviewers and questioners had to ask Gloria who? But upon mentioning The Women of Brewster Place, which was made into a movie, the author’s repute became unmistakable.  An amazing author, Naylor has a way of getting into the reader’s bloodstream, if you ask me, heightening the senses in an indisputable way, even of those who thought she was a bit too deep.

Just a few folks from my book club of yester years said as much but even they couldn’t refute the heart racing, eye popping, ear permeating read of Mama Day, which combines the supernatural and the natural in a genuine yet gripping way.

As one writer asked in a workshop I was in years ago, how does she (an accomplished writer) do it, make you smell the scene, even taste it. Hopefully, she had the chance to ask Naylor, but if she didn’t, all she has to do is study an excerpt from one of her novels. Check out this one from a chapter towards the end of Mama Day:

“When I reached the dogwoods on the west side of the road, the throbbing was beginning to turn into an iron vise in the middle of my chest. I put one foot on the paved road and glassy needles splintered throughout my brain. The house was wavering in front of my eyes. The road felt like water under my buckling knees. It was impossible to cross over, make it up those porch steps, and into our room. I did it. But I was too cramped to even unbend my body on the bed beside you.

 “The worst thing about the blinding pain that finally hit me was the sudden fear that it might be the end. That’s why I gripped your shoulder so tightly. But I want to tell you something about my real death that day. I didn’t feel anything after my heart burst. As my bleeding hand slid gently down your arm, there was total peace.”

Extraordinary, every single word of it, don’t you think. Makes me want to re-read the novel, not only for old times sake, but for the future, too. I could use some inspiration nowadays. Don’t pretend you haven’t noticed. Bear with.

In the meantime, I join many others, her family, friends, fans and followers in celebrating the life of a literary great—Gloria Naylor, who will undoubtedly live on in the hearts and minds of millions. May her work continue to inspire young and old writers alike. Actually, let’s make that older, much more appropriate for me.