Friday, July 15, 2011

The Way It Was

     When I was growing up in the late 40s and early 50s--and even later--World War II was not history but rather part of our daily lives, even though it had ended. Our fathers had gone off to war--and some had not returned. I don't remember hearing the war talked about, but it was there. Even if we didn't understand the enormity of it, we all felt its consequences one way or the other.
     Each school day began with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, followed by the Lord's Prayer. Air raid drills, in which we climbed under our desks and hid our faces in our folded arms, occurred as regularly as fire drills. We considered the latter more interesting because we got to go outside.
      We stood for the national anthem, whenever and wherever it was played. The American flag flew over public buildings and not as an advertisement for anything. The Fourth of July meant fireworks in the park and, if we were lucky, a traveling carnival with rides and games.
     It was not questionable to be a patriot in the days before political correctness decreed that school children--and anyone else--could thumb their noses at the idea of respecting the flag and the country it stood for.
     On the heels of World War II came Korea. I remember using my wonderful box of crayons to draw "war maps", although I had no idea what that really meant. But I remember plainly the day that the announcement of the armistice came over the television. My grandparents owned one of the first sets, and I was on my way out the back door when I heard the words. Even almost sixty years later, I can feel myself poised beside that door, head turning towned the black-and-white set, ears alert. I knew something big had happened.
      My generation grew up and went to Viet Nam. The turbulent, devisive era shaped our maturing years. When I taught history in high school, the local VFW acquired speakers for my class, but I always declined a veteran from Viet Nam. Remembering how those gallant men had been treated by their countrymen, I couldn't ask them to relive those days for a generation of students who had no conception of how terrible war really is.
     My generation lost fathers in World War II and Korea--and we lost friends and classmates in Viet Nam.  We are still at war. I cannot see a man or woman in uniform without tearing up. I cannot watch documentaries or fictionalized accounts, especially about World War II, without aching for what so many endured and lost. I grow angry when those who never experienced military service mouth platitudes about those who did.
     So I feel especially gratified to have had my short story, "So Long Ago and Far Away" chosen for the newest Silver Boomers' anthology, The Harsh and the Heart: Celebrating the Military. The book will be available in early August, and I would like to give away one copy to someone who visits this blog. Leave a comment between now and August 1 to be entered in the drawing.
     Meanwhile, visit Silver Boomer Books to read more about the anthology and the contributing authors.
May God bless America and those who shed their blood to preserve it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
gang aft agley...
                                 ~~Robert Burns

Or, perhaps, real life just intrudes.

When I last blogged on May 22, I fully intended to return within a day or two. On April 15, The Wild Rose Press officially released my newest novel, The Showboat Affair, in their Last Rose of Summer line. I had set up a virtual blog tour to begin around that date. Then it became clear that my granddaughter, then 3, needed to come to me instead of attending preschool/daycare three days a week, due to health considerations. So I dusted off my teaching hat to replace the more becoming writer's chapeau!

Though April was a bit "hairy" as I tried to balance marketing the new release and organizing a preschool program for her, we got through it. She's a most reasonable, companionable little soul and quickly adapted herself to a new routine. But the more I delighted in teaching her, the more time I spent planning for her, and the writer's bonnet slipped out of sight.

The plan was to send her back to preschool on August 8, when she would enter the preK-4 program. Then, almost two weeks ago, I woke up with what I thought was one of those pesky tummy bugs--and it drained me for days. A few days later, I woke up to a whirling world, and the paramedics carted me off to the ER from which I was remanded to an observation unit for two days.

It seems likely that some strange virus settled in my ears, causing vestibular neuritis, a condition which takes out one's balance and may take from 4 weeks to 2 months to resolve, and requires physical therapy for balance. However, the doctor sent me home with instructions to do for myself in order to get everything rewired--but to be careful, as I was a fall risk.

My younger son sent his wife up here to stay for a week. She left today. The other daughter-in-law put my granddaughter back in preschool/daycare--the most devastating consequence of all this. Meanwhile, the book contracted by Champagne Books came up for edits, as did the book contracted by The Wild Rose Press. I had to ask for both to be put on hold until I could focus well enough to do a decent job on them. 
The combination of circumstances has left my blog and website untouched since May. Now, still not driving, I must find the writer's hat which is in hiding and get on with the writer's life. For starters, I am participating in a 'blogoversary' for Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf, where you'll find a brief interview, a review of The Showboat Affair, and a chance to win a pdf copy of same. I had signed up for this event quite some time ago, so it cropped up at just the right time to get me back on the writing track again! 

Meanwhile, a short story accepted by Silver Boomers for publication in their latest anthology, The Harsh and the Heart--Patriot Dream" will be in print next month. More later about where it can be purchased. 

Hopefully, I'll get the novel edits back on track soon, too. The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall (Champagne Books) and Dancing with Velvet (The Wild Rose Press) will be out in 2012. And, I'm about to jump into the world of independent publishing with my six book cozy mystery series. More on that later, too, including a link to a website set up just for Penelope Pembroke and her adventures in the mythical town of Amaryllis, Arkansas!

Tomorrow I'll update my website, so check in when you have a chance.