Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Simple Gift of Comfort- HALF OFF SALE!

A little bit about the book:
When my older sister was very ill and later passed away she said when going through a hard time you can't concentrate long enough to read an entire book.  Hence these short pieces meant to bring nurture.

Completed during a difficult time of personal loss and transition, the words in this book are meant to comfort anyone experiencing change and to support them through word pictures of natural images such as flowers and rivers, woven baskets and sand.  Many of the photos are taken by my husband, Jerry; the others by a good friend, Nancy Lloyd.  This is a very personal book for those who simply don't know what to say when a loved one is suffering.

The prose pieces are drawn from reaching out to friends and acquaintances, neighbors and relatives in the course of everyday life. Sometimes I may not know what turmoil troubles a friend, colleague or neighbor; I only know I wish to share their burden. I can do it best by telling them that someone has noticed their distress and offer to walk beside them for as long as they'll allow.

In order to take advantage of this special pricing, visit here to purchase on Amazon.  I prefer to sell them directly from my website but these are at Amazon.  My loss, but your gain!  Limited quantity is available while supplies last, so hurry and purchase your copy now.
Feel free to share with others!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Heather Flower: Legend, Lore or Literal? {Guest Post Rebecca DeMarino & Giveaway!}

Like Rebecca, I love discovering the story within the story. Researching Native American history is especially challenging. I hope you enjoy my friend Rebecca's words about her latest novel. A great read for history buffs!

Rebecca is launching her second book in the Southold Chronicle Series, To Capture Her Heart.  Be sure to participate in her generous giveaway, it's at the very end of the post.

Here's Rebecca!

As a historical fiction author, I love when my research turns up a gold nugget of information like Heather Flower - was she legend, lore or did she literally exist? She may be all three. Without a doubt her existence is controversial.

I first discovered the story of Heather Flower while researching A Place in His Heart, my debut novel about my English ancestors, the Hortons. My first book covers a time period between 1630 - 1640, so when I read an account that Englishman Lion Gardiner paid a ransom for the daughter of Montauk's Grand Sachem Wyandanch I was intrigued, and looked at all different angles to include the story, but the time frame did not fit.

I did have my heroine, however, for book two of The Southold Chronicles! Further research revealed there are three or four theories regarding Heather Flower. I chose to blend those theories in my work of fiction.

Four theories that surround Heather Flower:
  • She was Quashawam, the daughter of Grand Sachem Wyandanch and Heather Flower was her nickname. Historically, records exist showing Quashawam became Grand Sachem of the Montauk when her parents and brother died.
  • She was Cantoneras, a Long Island native from Eaton's Neck who married the Dutchman Cornelius Van Texel or Tassle, whose granddaughter, Katrina, is of Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow fame.
  • Wyandanch had two daughters, Quashawam and Heather Flower.
  • Heather Flower is a fabrication, as well as the story of the kidnapping of Wyandanch's daughter. Although Lion Gardiner's personal papers include an account of paying a ransom to the Narragansetts for the release of Wyandanch's daughter, the lack of a Montaukett written history clouds the matter. Some have alleged Gardiner may have written the story only to support the colonial's political motives.

As I read of the controversies and theories, I read too, about the beautiful and proud Montaukett people. Their legacy is one of loss and perseverance. Though many died from diseases not known to them before the white man came, there were others who survived, like my fictional character Abbey, and I believe live on through their descendants today.

To me, Heather Flower is truly a legend and a fascinating heroine! Leg·end: lejÉ™nd/ noun 1. a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated.

What do you think? Legend? Lore? Real?

To Capture Her Heart Book Launch

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Persistence of Memory

A book trailer is a snippet of a book the way movie snippets greet us in darkened theaters hoping we’ll pay attention to upcoming attractions while settling ourselves into the seats without spilling our popcorn. One of the nice things about a book trailer (compared to a movie trailer) is that you can watch it over and over just to listen to the music if nothing more….oh, I guess now with YouTube and the internet, you can watch movie trailers more than once too. But not in the theater.

This trailer for The Memory Weaver was provided by my publisher, Revell, who allowed me to write the short script and approve the production. The background opening title is taken of the ledger sheet, an iphone shot I made while visiting Kirk’s Ferry in Brownsville, OR where much of this story takes place. The ledger is from the 1850s and I found entries by both Henry Spalding, my protagonist’s father (and early missionary to the Nez Perce) and Eliza Spalding Warren’s husband. It was a special twist of history seeing those pages.

I loved this production at first view! Especially the music, and the horses…who cannot be moved by the flow of horses across a western landscape. I made one slight change to the fine work by this Oregon production company. The original had a quote by Salvador Dali that I include in the front matter of the book. It reads: “The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.” It’s an appropriate quote for this story of a young woman who as a child endured a great tragedy. In the West, it’s known as the Whitman Massacre of 1847. She was also held hostage along with several others for 47 days that winter. Eliza Spalding was ten years old and the only one who knew the language of the Indians who had taken them. So she had to interpret between the hostage takers and those huddled in fear.

The change I made was removing that Dali quote as the final words you can read at the end of the trailer. They are still in the book. I did a little mind-mumbling about doing that. I mean, why remove such an appropriate and beautiful quote from a painter of such renown who even titled one of his masterpieces “The Persistence of Memory”? Especially when I thought to replace them with my own words.

So I asked my friends whether they thought that was wise.

Leah, my media person from Impact Author thought I should change it. “It’s a short opportunity to put your words before the viewer.” And there are lots of people who haven’t read my words and they might if my words were included. My prayer group all concurred and so did the head of marketing for the publisher. So with a cadre of people of good will and professional savvy, I replaced Salvador Dali’s words with mine. (Gulp)

That’s why I ended it as I did, with these words that I so truly believe in my heart and hope Eliza Spalding Warren, that massacre survivor, did too.

“…the healing of old wounds comes not from pushing tragic memories away but from remembering them, filtering them through love, to transform their distinctive kind of pain.” 

I hope you’ll look for the book in September. Warmly, Jane


Sunday, April 12, 2015

See You in Sisters

For some reason this year, I'm teaching at a number of conferences and workshops. I began writing after reading tons of books about writing. Some of it must have seeped into my fingers as I began writing stories that got critical acclaim despite not knowing what I was doing. Somehow the stories flowed and readers found them. Not long after the second and third books, I got asked to teach. I resisted but eventually, shaking in my boots, really, I offered workshops on silencing negative voices (relying on my mental health training) and then branched into subjects like writing about Native Americans when you aren't one and still later, how to do research. These were safe subjects I thought I could describe and offer helpful encouragement to others.  A surprise occurred: I began delighting in listening to students and learning from them.

Then like a spring seeping in the desert I realized I understood why I did certain things. That was followed by realizing I could tell others why I broke up the dialogue as I did or why the first paragraph was so important. (Shakespeare told the meaning of a story within the first paragraph, by the way. Often in the first sentence.  Remember Romeo and Juliet?  That begins with "Two houses." Brilliant). What I'd been doing and reading and writing could be conveyed to others. My appreciation for teachers soared as I discovered that they did that sort of thing all the time!

I also attended writing workshops and still do.  I'm signed up for one in October during Women Writing the West. In August when I keynote and teach at Oregon Christian Writer's Conference, I'll sit in on other workshops about writing. At the Southwest Washington Writer's conference in September, I plan to slip into other workshops when I'm not teaching three of my own! I always learn something.

In April, I agreed to teach a memoir class in beautiful Burns, Oregon. I've always enjoyed reading memoir and I wrote one, my first book, Homestead, so you'd think I'd know how. But despite reading many and writing my own and creating a devotional as a memoir as well, I find myself feeling a little anxious.  But preparing has also forced me think about how I did what I did in Homestead and Promises of Hope for Difficult Times and how that structure can ground a memoir that someone else might decide to write. So I'm hopeful I'll have something to offer.

For seven years now I've also been teaching writing with Bob Welch through Beachside Writers. I obsess the week before, worry that I'll have nothing to convey. But then the days come and I see those eager faces and we begin and I'm once again in awe of the power of words to move me, inspire me, help me see the world through a wider lens and I happily do my best to pass on what works for me to others.

In June Bob and I will teach again a new format, a 1.5 day workshop with an evening read aloud opportunities. (June 4-5).  It's in Sisters, OR, home of one of the greatest quilt shows in the country where I'll be signing in July. Paulina Springs Bookstore serves the citizenry there and there are many readers in that community.  Many would be writers live there as well. It's a weekend when people might be celebrating graduations or attending weddings. But I'm hopeful there'll be some stalwart souls ready to take their next steps in telling the stories that won't let them go. I'm preparing some great writing prompts and plan to offer insights that writers can evaluate and incorporate to make their own. Bob always delivers unique and inspirational sessions. It could be a great Father's Day gift to give that guy in your life - and since it's after Mother's Day,  you could gift the moms in your world a couple of days away in Central Oregon discovering how to tell her story.  It could be the gift that starts them on their next career as a story-teller.

Bob, an award-winning author, is fond of saying that to be a writer means you believe you have something to say and you're humble enough to let others help you say it better. That's what Beachside Sisters is all about. I hope you'll give it a try. I need more writers to teach me!

For more information and registration go here.  See you in  Sisters!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Burundi Update (from First Presbeterian Bend}

Readers, this is an update from the church which I traveled to Burundi with.  A personal update will be in March's Story Sparks.  Hopefully you are a subscriber!  If not, you can go here to be added to the list.

First Presbyterian Bend
Burundi Update
Embodying Spacious Christianity

Burundi News Update

First Presbyterian Burundi team has returned! (This photo is the hut that was built for First Presbyterian as a sign of our friendship with this village of Ndava.)
We have returned from an amazing journey to Burundi. When we left, our goal was to build relationships and see for ourselves what is happening with the Batwa people in Burundi. This indigenous group is marginalized in Burundian society. They lack basic rights and are invisible to most of their society.
We went to listen to their stories, to see their lives and to bring back what we heard and saw. 
Our expectations were surpassed by visiting six Batwa villages – some had preschools, some had a health clinic, some housing and some almost no resources at all. In one village, a woman told of a baby whose mother had died. She and other women were taking the baby from hut to hut to see if other nursing moms were able to share some of their milk. The lack of basic needs was staggering and sobering. We shed tears even as we responded to the Batwa invitation to dance with joy. Along the way, we came to a refined understanding of the various levels of poverty that exist for this minority group and the power that small changes can have for them.
We were guided by Batwa leader, Evariste Ndikumana, who is one of only four Batwa in Burundi to have completed university. Evariste has been appointed to represent his people in the Burundi Parliament. And he does much more than that. He has established an organization to advocate for basic rights, provide education and help support sustainable change. Evariste traveled with us and introduced us to all six Batwa communities. He became a wonderful friend who we trust to direct us in this project. It was inspiring to see this young man lead his people with compassion, integrity and laughter. We are privileged to call him a friend and partner.
We have many, many stories to share; we’d like to invite you to join us Sunday, March 8 from 3:30-4:30 in Heritage Hall for pictures, stories and a little show and tell.
Maggie Hanson, Jane Kirkpatrick and Jenny Warner

Can You Help?
As many of you know, our church, First Presbyterian Bend, has raised more than $7000 to purchase national identification cards for Batwa who do not have them. This money covers a village that is about 2 hours outside of the capital city, Bujumbura. When we were there, we discovered there are two other villages close by who also need ID cards. It will be most cost effective to give ID cards to all three villages at once since officials will be coming from Bujumbura and their expenses are significantly more because of the travel.  We need an additional $10,000 to complete all 611 people in all three villages.
We discovered the need was more urgent than we realized. National elections are coming in the summer and the deadline for voter registration is April 1. Having a say in this important election would mean so much to these communities. We promised to come home and tell their story and see if there were others that were able to give to provide for this need.
If you would like to give, bring checks made out to First Presbyterian Church with a designation for  “Burundi” or give directly to African Road at http://www.africanroad.org/make-a-donation/ with a special instruction for Batwa ID cards in the payment window by this Thursday, February 26.

Sharing Burundi Stories
We have many, many stories to share, we’d like to invite you to join us Sunday, March 8 from 3:30-4:30pm in Heritage Hall for pictures, stories and a little show and tell. Here are just a couple pictures . . . 

Village of Gahombo

This picture was taken in the village of Gahombo with our new Batwa friends. This village was the most impoverished we visited. People living on the top of a hill with no land and no access to basic resources.

Evariste Ndikumana

Evariste Ndikumana, is one of only four Batwa in Burundi to have completed university. Evariste has been appointed to represent his people in the Burundi Parliament and has established an organization to advocate for basic rights, provide education and help support sustainable change. Evariste traveled with us and introduced us to all six Batwa communities.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Creating a New Life Takes Courage {Guest Dick Rauscher}

Hello readers. This is from friend Dick Rauscher's Stonyhill Nuggets.  I really appreciated what he had to say.  Thought you might too.

I read an article a while back on what it takes to change your life. It was a helpful article, but it missed several important insights that need to be understood if we want to change our life and begin living the life we've been dreaming about living.

The first important insight came to me as a result of years working with clients in my counseling practice. I discovered that almost everyone eventually comes to the realization that they are stuck living a life that's not emotionally challenging or satisfying-----because we begin creating our lives at a time in life when we really don't have the wisdom or life experience we need for such an important task.

So the first important insight is the reality that you are not alone or unique. It's common to come to a point in life when you recognize that things need to change if you want to live the life you have dreamed about living. What will make you unique is having the courage to follow your dreams. Unfortunately, most people don't and they live to regret it.

The second important insight is the recognition that the changes you want to make are going to require courage, and the willingness to pay the emotional price required, to make those changes happen. This second insight requires embracing the reality that the price of change is going to be high. It may mean going back to school, renegotiating or ending an unfulfilling relationship,leaving a good paying job that has become boring, or moving to another state.

The bottom line: change is never easy. It always requires courage to embrace the fears that arise whenever we choose to enter the unknown. Unfortunately, most people are not willing to pay the price, and they too live to regret it.

The third important insight is probably the most important the most difficult for most people to accept and overcome. And that is the belief that you are not smart enough or gifted enough to achieve your dreams. The client that taught me this powerful insight was convinced that if she followed her dream and was successful, the visibility that came with that success would cause people to discover that she was really stupid and incompetent. Eventually she was able to "see" the childhood fear and conditioning that had been controlling her life for over 40 years! Fearful of the "visibility" that comes with success had prevented her from "showing up" and turning her dream into a reality.

I saw this fear of success control the lives of many clients over the years. Unfortunately, this is a difficult childhood learning to overcome, but those without the insight and courage overcome that conditioning, too often live to regret it.

The fourth important insight required to successfully begin creating the life they've dreamed about living is the importance of discovering your life purpose. Until your dreams include your life purpose; the reason you were born; what your soul came here to do-------- it's almost impossible to embrace the courage required to make the changes that will allow you to begin creating the life you've dreamed about living.

When you discover your "true" life purpose, it will include adding value to the lives of others. It is very difficult to overcome the fears that keep us stuck living a life that lacks meaning. However, when our focus shifts from improving our own life, to that of adding value and improving the lives of others, the courage to change our own life will cease to be an issue. When our life is about working for the well being of others, our personal fears will no longer have the power to control or limit our dreams.

I have never met an unhappy person whose life fully embraces their life purpose. And I've never met a person who has regrets about living a life that adds value to the lives of others.

If you liked what you read here from Dick's Stonyhill Nuggets, you can read more here, or subscribe.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Seizing moments within disappointment

Disappoint v.
early 15c., "dispossess of appointed office," from Middle French desappointer (14c.) "undo the appointment, remove from office," from des- (see dis-) + appointer"appoint" (see appoint). 

Modern sense of "to frustrate expectations" (late 15c.) is from secondary meaning of "fail to keep an appointment." Related: 
Disappointed; disappointing.

The thing is, I hate to disappoint people. That word comes from the 15th century and it meant “removing someone from office” as in “dis appointing them.” Later it came to mean frustration with people who didn’t keep an appointment. I don’t have an office to be removed from…but I am frustrated to not be keeping appointments I’ve made.

In the past couple of years I’ve had to disappoint people…by not keeping an appointment. I’ve had good reason: Jerry’s health issues that surprise us every step of the way. A couple of years ago I failed to make events in Scott’s Valley, CA and Medford, OR because Jerry broke a vertebrae by sneezing. And then another. And then another. And then he had surgeries and then his systems began to shut down and gastro-urinary didn’t work!  It kept getting worse and then he broke four ribs. “Cascading breaks” is what the osteoporosis doctor called it as she aggressively treated it. Jerry is a trooper but he doesn’t do anything typically. When his urinary tract began working on its own his urologist was in tears just as we were. “I didn’t think we’d get here again,” he said. But Jerry kept working and his body responded and he’s done well.

Then two weeks ago he fell while fishing. He said he’d broken a rib and there wasn’t much to be done for that so he didn’t want to go to the doctor. But by Sunday evening, two days later, his breathing was compromised and probably he wasn’t getting a lot of oxygen to his brain because I persuaded him to let me take him to the ER where they found that yes, indeed, he had two broken ribs. However, one had severed an artery and had been bleeding for two days into the lining behind his lungs and placing pressure on the lungs. Off to surgery he went. All went well. But then his system began to shut down again and so his stomach had to be pumped and once again aggressive action had to take place. “Years ago people just died of what you had,” his thoracic surgeon mused.

He’s home now. But it will be a bit of time before he’s back to where he was. At 84, healing takes longer and he already lives with 13 crushed vertebrae, residue of a broken hip, bladder cancer, colon resection…the list goes on. Seeing him at home is heartening. But it also means I can see how frail he is and that leaving him in the care of someone else in the next month or so isn’t something I want to do.

So I will disappoint people. I’ve made the calls. We’ve managed one rescheduling. Friends are covering an event in Pendleton where many of Letitia Carson’s descendants live (from my latest novel A Light in the Wilderness). I so hate missing all of these events. We’ll look at next year for new dates. Please check the events on my website for updates. But I will not be disappointing another appointment made 38 years ago, for better for worse, in sickness and in health. And really, I will enjoy the extra time with Jerry…and the dogs… hoping you’ll forgive me for disappointing you.  Warmly,
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