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What Cheer?

by Patricia Grady Cox

This past spring I spent a couple of months in Rhode Island, where I’m from. I missed Arizona and took video of snow falling (often), not out of appreciation for its beauty but to show everyone back home how horrible it was in my home state. I was fortunate to return to Phoenix in time to enjoy one of the most beautiful spring seasons I can remember in my 29 years of residency here.

I didn’t completely abandon my writing/marketing while I was gone. I heard about an organization that supports writers and stopped in one afternoon at their downtown Providence location. I was curious about the club, how it started, and what it offered. What a pleasant surprise!

What Cheer Writers Club is a nonprofit 501c organization catering to content creators, whether that be writing, illustrating, or podcasts. It began because a group of people wanted to create a place where these artists could be welcomed, supported, and provided with a place to co-work, learn, and meet with others.

“What Cheer, Netop” is the greeting Roger Williams received from the Narragansett Indians when he canoed across the Seekonk River in 1636 and landed on the Rhode Island shores, escaping the religious persecution of Massachusetts. Generally believed to mean “Greetings, friend,” it’s a famous slogan within the state.

The club is in one of the old “skyscraper” buildings in downtown Providence. A private elevator to the second floor leads to an expansive layout of conference rooms, meeting areas, a room for making phone calls, a recording studio. Leaving the elevator, you walk past the “Hall of Fame,” which displays the members’ books. Inside the meeting area, a separate book shelf displays the books of any local author (not necessarily a member) – in my case, having lived in Rhode Island for 40 years qualified me. They purchased copies of Hellgate and Chasm Creek to put on the shelf!

Along one wall of the main area are partitioned work stations for those who desire more privacy. The communal work areas have laptop desks scattered about. Coffee and tea are available in the hallway. There is always a volunteer available to show people around, answer questions, and be generally helpful.

At just $10, monthly dues are minimal, as are membership requirements, and the benefits are great. Free classes and workshops, discounts at local businesses, open seven days a week, publicity, informal Meetups for mutual support. Co-working space, a podcasting studio, and meeting room rentals are available for small additional fees.

Phoenix is a much bigger city than Providence. We have a huge writing community. Where is our What Cheer Writers Club? Couldn’t all the various writers’ groups, critique groups, authors get together somehow and at least rent a meeting room that could be shared? A permanent, centrally located venue we could all call home?

Recently I saw a posting in a local writers group’s Facebook page asking if there was some central location to get information that would be useful to writers such as statewide events, conferences, workshops, author appearances, etc. Maybe we could start with that – a newsletter or Facebook page or ????

What are your ideas?

___________________
Patricia Grady
Cox is a member of Western Writers of America and Women Writing the West. Her nonfiction work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and ghost-written memoirs. Patricia has volunteered at the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum where she experienced, first-hand, the realities of life in the 1800s. Her love of the Southwest – the landscape, the history, the culture – infuses her work with authenticity. Originally from Rhode Island, Patricia moved to Arizona 24 years ago and currently lives in Phoenix. Her novel, Chasm Creek, is available through her website and on Amazon. She blogs weekly at Patricia Grady Cox, Writer. Her second novel, HELLGATE, is now on sale.

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Writers Conferences for the Independently Published Author

by Andrea Walker

Writer’s conferences, depending on their content and professionalism, can be helpful to writers at any stage. Many conferences offer both writing courses as well as additional classes aimed at either the independent author or the author seeking to publish traditionally, and on the rare occasion, both. However, since each conference is run by a different group who may each have their own ideas as to what people want, they can be helpful or a waste of time to the independently published author.

The main things to look for when deciding to attend a conference are: the information offered, who will be teaching the classes and presenting the keynotes, reviews, price, and location. The order is important. For instance, if the conference is held in your area but is aimed primarily at those seeking traditional publishing, you will just waste your time and money. A conference farther away may be a better choice, but you will need to budget for rooms and travel as well as tuition.

You will want to research your conference choices carefully. Many conferences offer discount pricing if you register early. However, if the group does not upload or send a proposed schedule until the discount has expired, it can be hard to determine if the conference is right for you. Other types of research can be beneficial. Note that if a conference seems to highlight a list of agents available for free or paid sessions, it is likely aimed at those seeking traditional publishing. Other conferences have writing as their main focus, or may be specific to one particular type of writing, such as nonfiction. This is where conference reviews come in handy. Look for them; don’t limit yourself to the information presented on the conference’s website or advertising material.

I have attended two different conferences that were relatively close my home in the Phoenix area. Both had excellent information to offer, as well as their challenges. I would recommend either of these choices to authors looking to publish independently if it suits their goals.

The first I attended was the American Night Writers Association (ANWA) Conference, which was held in Phoenix in September 2018. ANWA describes itself as “a unique professional organization for LDS writers.” The conference is open to the public; you do not have to be an LDS member to attend.

The best part of this conference was the wealth of classes and information for the independent author. I received more information during two days at this conference than I have at any other event, class, or gathering. There isn’t an independent publishing stone they didn’t overturn. There were classes comparing independent publishing venues such as Smashwords or Amazon, finding book cover artists, and intense sessions on marketing, just to name a few. I came out of that conference with enough information to feel confident about publishing my book. Furthermore, the information was accurate and up to date.

The main issue with this conference was its popularity. From past experience, this conference fills up quickly, and your best bet is to register far in advance. Registration for the 2018 event opened in May of the same year. I was lucky enough to reach the top of the waiting list and secure a spot just a couple of weeks before the conference. Do not be afraid to put your name on the waiting list, as it will give you a chance of attending. The current price of the 2019 conference is listed at $240, not including hotel room or food.

The second conference I attended was through the West Coast Writers Conference, held in Los Angeles. I have been to this conference twice, once in October 2018, and more recently in March 2019. The October conference had more to offer the independent author. More classes and consultations were directed at indie authors, compared to the March conference, because it was paired with a “digital author conference.” Unfortunately, the event listed for August 2019 does not seem to offer the digital conference pairing, and no conferences are listed for October 2019 at this time. Although March held fewer classes for independent publishers, the teachers were wonderful, quite helpful, with real-world advice to offer. Furthermore, this conference offers free consultations with editors and agents, most of whom also teach the offered classes. You do not have to be querying or seeking traditional publishing to schedule a consultation. The people who organize this conference are amazing and helpful as well.

The main drawback to the WCW conference was the sparse class offerings for independent authors at the second conference. You may wish to research this conference fully before deciding to attend, especially if the distance is a concern. The different conferences throughout the year have different focuses. Conference price can vary considerably, as steep discounts are offered for early bird registrations. Walk up registration is $449 for the August event, which does not include hotel, but does include a meal. However, this conference offers no-interest financing and has been known to offer free or reduced-price admission to authors who are down on their luck.

Depending on the conference, attending can be highly beneficial for the independently published author, or it can be a waste of your time and money. Your best bet is to research before registering, checking to see that the conference offerings are right for you. Check reviews, talk to people who have attended, and share your own views for others seeking similar conference info.

_________________
Find more info on A.L. Walker at AndreaWalkerFin.com; facebook.com/Author-A-L-Walker-320237935321037; @Awcoppelia (Twitter); and @andreawalker455 (Instagram).

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The Effective Author: How to Exercise Without Exercising or Writing Less

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

Everyone has heard that exercise is “good for you.” It optimizes metabolism, staves off diabetes, makes your brain work better, keeps you slim, and balances your hormones. For menopausal and post-menopausal women, an hour of daily exercise helps them to feel their best, emotionally and physically. So what’s not to like about exercise? Why is everyone not exercising an hour a day?

For authors, the answer is simple: we prefer to be writing. We prefer to be sitting at our desk, communing with our computer, or curled up on the couch with our laptop on our lap. We do not wish to stir. We do not wish to stop and slog through an exercise DVD. We especially do not want to pack a bag and go to the gym where we might meet all kinds of characters who should not be seen outside of some upcoming novel. We would rather be in our workspace, writing. All else should rightfully wait. And preferably, not come bothering us, either.

But wait! What if authors could exercise without exercising? What if you could get exercise benefits right at your seat? What if you could work out without working out? Then try the following methods, for a minute each, on a break or while still writing, for many of the benefits of exercise. All these are free, and you don’t have to drive to them. And you can always get out that DVD or go to the gym…later.

  1. Tush-ups. Your tush gets stiff from sitting so long, right? So slowly squeeze and release your buttock muscles at least 10 times. Feel the warming. Notice more circulation in your feet: magic! Bonus: this will actually give you a fuller tush, if done frequently enough.
  2. Complete breaths. In whatever posture, exhale fully, imagining your breath descending, from the top of your head, down the front of your body, and out through your toes. Now inhale fully, from the bottoms of your toes, across the bottoms of your feet, and up the back of your body, to your scalp. Do 3 complete breaths like this, or more, if you like. If you get dizzy, don’t worry: that’s the oxygen your brain is not used to. But you will write more and write faster with oxygen than without it. You may be feeling vitality flowing up your legs and back now. You can also use this method for a relaxation technique, in a busy day, or before an interview event.
  3. Head-overs. When we are writing very seriously, our necks tend to stiffen. They may even start to hurt. So try this: relax your shoulder tops and gently allow your head to stretch down toward one shoulder. Very slowly bring the head back up to center. Now gently allow the head to stretch down toward the other shoulder. And gently bring it back up. Take a moment to notice how warm, young, and alive your neck feels. Now your brain is working better. Do this several times, slowly. It’s the going, not the getting there, that makes this work.
  4. Shoulder yoga. This works really well while you are sitting, or when you have just stood up. Notice where your head is, and try to position it directly over your shoulders, not bent forward. Now gently and slowly stretch your shoulders up, then down, then forward, then back. After each move, return to center and notice how relaxed you are becoming. Notice your frontal sinuses opening and your mind clearing.

If you have done all four of these methods just now, you will notice the front of your face warming. If you do this consistently, the increased circulation will make you look younger. Also notice how much more vital and at-ease you feel after trying any of these methods. Now you know how to exercise without exercising, you’ve saved a lot of time, and you can get back to your writing. All your planning and writing will go faster and more easily now. And now you are even more The Effective Authorsm. Enjoy!

____________________
Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

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Jaguar

by Rita Goldner

In keeping with my theme of blogs about interesting animals, this month I present the jaguar. I’ve chosen this magnificent big cat because a particular jaguar has been in the news lately here in Arizona. A jaguar at the World Wildlife Zoo bit a woman who climbed over a barrier to take a selfie with her. We found out later that the animal was pregnant at the time, and several weeks later gave birth to a healthy cub, an event applauded by zoo officials since captive births are rare.

The transgressor at the zoo later publicly apologized for her behavior and agreed the fault was all hers. Zoo officials stated that nothing would be done to the jaguar, since she had not escaped her confines; it was the zoo visitor who had intruded into the habitat. Of course the casual news reader can come up with plenty of blame to spread around: lack of education or supervision of zoo patrons, need for more fool-proof enclosures, whatever. Hopefully we can all agree that zero blame should land on the jaguar, who was just doing what comes naturally.

What springs to my mind, especially after a lot of recent research about jaguars (I DO love animal research!) is that the woman was lucky she wasn’t more seriously hurt. A jaguar’s bite is the most powerful of all the big cats, relative to its size. A jaguar can crush its prey’s skulls and turtle shells easily. Lions and tigers have bigger jaws, so their bite can be harder, but pound for pound the jaguar, the third largest cat, is pretty impressive.

The name jaguar came from the Tupian language in South America. Their word yaguara translates as “one which kills with a single leap.” Yikes!

The cat that looks most similar to the jaguar is the leopard, but there’s no chance of confusing the two cats in the wild, since leopards are found in Africa and Asia, and jaguars only in the Americas.

Jaguars may now survive only in Central and South America, not North America. One individual was spotted in southern Arizona a few years back, but scientists can’t find him anymore. They credit hunting and poaching for this loss.

At first I was sad when I read that our locally famous zoo jaguar had her baby taken from her at birth. The baby is being raised by humans and bottle fed with formula. After researching captive births, however, I see that sometimes the mother kills the newborn, so it seems the zoo officials didn’t want to take a chance, since leopards are nearing endangered status. About 15,000 are left in the wild.

I prefer visiting and sketching animals at the Phoenix Zoo in lieu of the World Wildlife Zoo. Phoenix has large and interesting natural-looking habitats, while World Wildlife uses some caged enclosures. During my frequent sketching treks, I’ve informally dubbed the jaguars as one of the most beautiful animals there. They have the largest eyes of all the cats, relative to their head size. The eyes are gold/yellow. The coat is tawny gold (except for the occasional black cat) with dark rosettes that appear as groups of spots arranged in a pattern. Like other cats, male jaguars weigh more than females. The weight of the male is usually around 126 to 250 lbs., while females weigh around 100 to 200 lbs. The average height of a jaguar is 25 to 30 inches.

I also have to respect their formidable hunting skills. They’re great at climbing, sneak-crawling, and fishing. They even use their tails like a fishing lure. A jaguar’s eyesight is six times better than that of humans. They are the apex predators in their ecosystem, meaning no other animal eats them, and they eat just about every animal in sight. One was observed dragging an 850-pound leatherback sea turtle to a hidden place to eat leisurely. They don’t chase their prey; rather, they wait and attack suddenly. This ambush strategy is unequaled in the animal kingdom.

Like most endangered species, jaguars are threatened in the wild by deforestation of the rainforest and encroaching civilization. They are considered by scientists and conservationists to be an “umbrella species,” which means that when they are helped by conservation efforts, other species are aided indirectly, so the whole ecosystem benefits.

Thanks for listening! Comments welcome.

Reference:  https://factslegend.org/jaguar-facts-40-facts-school-project/

_______________
Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series.For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water Cycle, The Flying Artist, and Rose Colored. To view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

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The Rabbit, the Tortoise, and the Good Writer

by Marcus A. Nannini

Writing a book is not a race. Though the term “in a rush” has no place in the life of a good writer, it might be the toughest urge to overcome. And yet my mind tends to race, so how do I deal with it?

Drafting a manuscript involves more than setting an appropriate pace. It is about consistency, persistence, being relentless and, above all, being resilient. Any book suffering from either a rushed pace, like a jack-rabbit being chased by a coyote, or a pace that drags along as if the reader is a Box Turtle on a stroll through the desert, is a book doomed to obscurity. The prose may be without fault, but if the reader isn’t turning the pages, what might have been a great story becomes, instead, one that is never read. I prefer my books to be read.

I employ a different approach when I’m drafting a work of fiction than I do when writing nonfiction. Fiction is the most widely published genre and for that reason, today, I will limit this post to how I go about writing fiction.

For starters, I always know how my book is going to begin and end. As a result, I tend to hit the ground running. By that, I mean I write as quickly as I can so my fingers can keep up with the story running ahead of them in my mind. I tend to write for hours until I need to stop for the day.

The following day I pick up from word #1. Essentially I am editing the speed writing from the prior day and beginning the process of configuring the words and phrases into the best they can be. Once complete that process, I stop and pick up where I left off the next day. The process is repeated until I have roughly 15,000 words. At that point, the manuscript is too long to re-review in total each time I continue writing. The need to continue writing the story while the ideas are flowing takes precedence over editing. It is at this point I print what I have written, to-date, for the first time, roughly 15,000 to 20,000 words.

There is no substitute for printing out drafts and reviewing the hard copy. The process affords me a “new” perspective and simultaneously reduces typos. I often share my work with a beta reader and my absolutely indispensable editor. When I reach the end of the book, it has already been vetted, to varying degrees, without my ever having stopped the progression of putting thought into print.

My approach is both “rabbit” and “turtle.” I don’t run so far ahead that the editing turtle cannot catch up. I believe this aspect improves cohesion and pacing. Both are of critical importance.

My fiction writing is always based on historically significant events. Consequently, I need to divert from writing to researching along the way. I very much dislike taking a pause while writing, but when my intuition signals me some factual background would enhance a piece of the story, I divert to research mode. I might find what I need immediately, or I might lose three or four hours. I must invest the time, as the correct dose of background facts will enrich the story, sometimes giving it the appearance of nonfiction, rather than the tall tale it is.

However, too many facts can detract from the story. An overabundance of facts can ruin the pace and distract the reader. Too much fact can distract me, as the author. Thus, my rabbit and turtle approach comes into play; by never writing too many chapters without review, I ensure that my betas, my editor, or I will notice and the storyline will be maintained.

Referencing the title begs the question “Am I a good writer?”

My answer: “I never know until the reviews come in or a magazine story is purchased.”

I do my best. Once the entire manuscript has been edited numerous times and I am making changes more for my satisfaction than for any other reason, I know I have reached the point when I must pull out the thesaurus.

I initially focus on the first two or three chapters, looking at each sentence and seeking better descriptive words. That’s when I highlight critical wording and check with the computer’s built-in thesaurus. Sometimes I discover I have used the best descriptive words; other times I change them. It is arduous but improves the final product.

Why the first chapters? They are critical in drawing in your reader and need to be the best they can be. Period. I generally read the opening chapter more often than any other chapter in most of my books.

There always seems to be a chapter or two I find more difficult to write than most of the others. Those chapters are subjected to the thesaurus process until I am happy, or at least satisfied. Not to say I don’t employ this feature throughout the writing process, as I do indeed use it. But when I am polishing the final product, I find it to be an even more valuable tool.

For me, writing is a race within a race; the rabbit takes the lead and the turtle mops up the rabbit’s mess. The approach works for me, so it’s how I will continue to write until some better approach comes along.

_________________
Marcus Nannini
began his journalistic career when he published his own newspaper in the sixth grade, charging 25 cents for the privilege of reading the only printed copy of each edition. During his undergraduate years, Nannini was a paid reporter and worked three semesters as the research assistant for journalism professor and published author Richard Stocks Carlson, Ph.D. Nannini is a life-long history buff with a particular interest in World War II and the Pearl Harbor attack. His continuing curiosity over several Japanese aerial photographs and the turtling of the U.S.S. Oklahoma lead him to write Chameleons, first as a screenplay and now as a full-length novel. His latest work, Left for Dead at Nijmegen, has recently debuted to great regard, internationally.

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The Effective Author: Patience

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

One of today’s biggest sources of stress is our own desire for things to happen just the way we want them, and preferably, right this minute. We each have our own phones and can quickly call anywhere in the world. If we forget someone’s birthday, we can text them immediately and add little bits of mood art called “emojis.” There’s no need to hunt for a card, a stamp, and the person’s address. If we want to pay a bill, we can log in to that account, click a few times, and it’s done. There’s no looking for the checkbook, the envelope, or a stamp. Is it possible we are a bit spoiled?

So when the laptop is loading slowly, how aggravated do we get waiting an extra 30 seconds? Or how about when the system announces, “Don’t turn off the computer; updates are being installed”? Oh, how agonizing that extra two minutes can be.

Author and productivity expert David G. Allen says, “Patience is the acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.” I recently ordered new wheels for my car. I was to receive a call within several business days when the wheels arrived and planned to go in to have them installed and the pressure sensors set. However, the next day one tire collapsed on my way home from a meeting, and it was nearly 100 degrees! I rolled my eyes when I heard that weird lubby-dubby sound and pulled over to consider my options. Put on the spare? Not in high heels, suit, and 100-degree weather. Call for a tow? No, too dramatic. Call husband to put on the spare? No, too much time and effort. Drive to the nearest Discount Tire? That was it. And with new wheels due within two days, so what if the rim got a little bent? Things were not happening in the order I had in mind! But I took a patient approach and drove slowly (for Phoenix) to the nearest Discount Tire. And now I have a new tire on that wheel.

And the new chrome wheels? Oh, yes, they came and were beautiful! But they did not fit the front wheel positions. So it’s time again to take a patient approach, until the slightly different wheels come from overseas. That could take 40 days. I’m exhaling and dropping my shoulders.

In a larger example, after four decades developing it, my business is finally coming to the level I have wanted. I am working with more advanced clients than ever before. I now have four books on Amazon and several guidebooks. As St. Teresa of Avila said, “Patience achieves all things.”

The late author Maya Angelou built a body of work over a 50-year span: essays, poetry, autobiographies, plays, television productions. In her lifetime, Dr. Angelou sang, danced, served as a foreign correspondent, filled multiple roles in Public Television, and became known for her kind and dignified ways of encouraging social change. She summed up the need for patience: “All great achievements require time.”

So, here is another way to be ever more The Effective Authorsm. Just keep working and occasionally check your direction. And do it patiently. And it will happen.

“Patience is a conquering virtue.”
— Geoffrey Chaucer

* * *

“The two most powerful warriors are patience & time.”
— Leo Tolstoy

______________
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

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Wild Horses

by Rita Goldner

As an avid plein air painter, I often find myself on a folding chair on the banks of the Salt River. The landscape itself is picturesque enough, but sometimes I get a bonus. Several small herds of wild horses wander around in the shallow river. Last time I was there, a few weeks ago, I saw 45 horses. I’ve recounted my horse sightings to some friends, and having never heard of or seen the horses, these people assume they are a recent addition to our wildlife assortment. That couldn’t be further from the truth, a ranger told me as he handed me a brochure about the horses’ history. They’ve been here for hundreds of years, long before settlers arrived.

Fifty million years ago, a small animal called Eohippus lived in North America He was the precursor to the modern horse. During the evolution process, most of them wandered over land bridges into Asia and Africa about 12,000 years ago. They were brought back with the Spanish Conquistadors in the early 1500s. Some got loose and joined other escapees from wagon trains, farmers, ranchers, etc. These runaways were of various sizes and shapes, from large draft horses to small ponies. They joined the wild ones, and all evolved into the most efficient size and shape for wild living and foraging, which is the small, tough, and hardy Mustang we see today.

This back–and-forth travelling gives rise to the question: “Are they wild or feral?” Wild means they were always roaming free, whereas feral means they were domesticated, escaped or were let go, and are now free. The different definitions have political ramifications.

Proponents of the “feral” definition say that since the horses’ recent history involved escaping from a domestic life, they should be considered an invasive species, competing with wild game animals and cattle for food. Wild game brings in revenue from hunting licenses, and cattle bring in revenue for the meat industry. There’s no revenue for anyone from the wild horses. Since the numbers of all three species are carefully managed, these people feel every wild horse that is removed or killed gives room for one more deer or cow.

The advocates who endorse the “wild” definition want to take history much further back to a time when all horses were wild animals, running free all over North America. Other coexisting prairie animals were the American camel, saber tooth tiger, and wooly mammoth. All of these have died off; the American horse is the only one still alive today. If we ignore the fact that they left for about 8 centuries and came back, then they surely deserve the “wild” classification and are indigenous.

The divergent viewpoints came together in 1971 as both sides voted to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act. This law prohibited the wholesale slaughter of wild horses from helicopters and trucks, for dog meat or for sport. It also regulated and managed the population, declaring it would remain at 1971 numbers, or about 17,000 horses in America. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service are the agencies that enforce the 1971 Act. They keep the population numbers stable by occasionally rounding up the horses and auctioning them to private owners.

The situation is different for the horses on the Salt River. They’re in the Tonto National Forest, where they’ve lived since long before the Tonto National Forest was designated in 1902. In 2015, the U.S. Forest Service gave notice of a plan to capture, remove, and auction these horses as part of their population control mandate. Local horse lovers jumped into action and formed The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. They were able to reach an agreement with the Arizona Department of Agriculture. Now, this nonprofit group manages the horses in lieu of the Forest Service. They control the numbers by darting the mares with a birth control vaccine.

Volunteer members of the Management Group patrol the river, cautioning visitors to keep their distance, keep dogs on a leash, and refrain from making loud noises. Kayakers drift by, taking pictures.

Even if the horses don’t show up while I’m painting, I have the company of blue herons, bald eagles, and river otters. I can hardly believe I found such a bucolic place to paint, five miles from a fairly big city (Mesa), but there it is!

Thanks,

Comments welcome.

_____________________
Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series.For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water Cycle, The Flying Artist, and Rose Colored. To view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

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Making Healthy Eating – and Living – a Priority

by Becky Weck Miller

I’m currently 52, and about two years ago, we went on this massive vacation up the West Coast of the United States pulling our “bed” behind us in a small retro camper. While we were in Washington, we met with my husband’s old friends. This couple had so much more energy than we did, and here’s the kicker, they are in their 70s! He’s 75, and I’m not sure her age. I think the reason for their energy is the way they eat.

We stayed with Bruce and Ruth for about four days, and I got to know them for the first time. Bruce boxed up his produce, and then went around the area dropping it off at different friends’ homes while Ruth was busy at home canning and making jam. They were both outworking us, and they are 15 to 25 years older than we are!

I thought this was an isolated incident until, later in the trip, we ran across two other couples who were in their 70s and still pastoring, which is a lot like running a family business. The pastor in Arizona had various animal heads mounted around his living room from hunts he’d been on. His side job is taxidermy. They also had a garden in their backyard. With all the hunting stories we heard, they were sure to have plenty of organic meat in the freezer.

I grew up in the 1970s, and both my parents hunted. If Dad didn’t bring home the dear, Mom did. We also had a garden in the backyard. For a time, my family had a one-acre garden, chickens and a donkey.

These days, I generally shop at the local grocery store. I have found a local farm market with fresh produce, but it’s only open three days a week. This spring I’ve been fortunate enough to grow my own spinach, kale, and green onions. I’ve also planted some cucumber and tomatoes that I hope will give me some more produce. I’m experiencing some health issues, but I have taken strides towards wellness through a low-carb-diet and exercise.

As a writer, I get a lot of desk time. Lately I’ve been using my elliptical in spurts throughout the day, and jumping on a mini-tramp (rebounder) on occasion. I also have my favorite seated chair exercise video. I get tired of the same old exercise routine and like to change it up. I also have access to a swimming pool that I’ll be taking advantage of as soon as it warms up a bit.

Once we get our chest freezer cleaned out, I plan to buy meat at the local butcher shop. I don’t think I’ll ever be toting a gun over hill and dale, but I do think I can make better choices than I have in the past.

I’m currently working on the final edit of my book, due to come out June 1st, 2019: Jimmy & Me: Christian Orphans Pre-Teen/Teen Brothers Adventures in Holy Spirit Living, Living Green, and Gardening.

God bless you, and happy hunting!

________________________
Becky Miller
’s first book, Jimmy & Me: Christian Orphan Pre-Teen/Teen Brothers, is due out in June 2019. Connect with her on Facebook.

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The Science of H2O

by Rita Goldner

Lately I’m knee-deep in research on water, specifically the water cycle. I’m close to the finish line for my picture book, Agent H2O Rides the Water Cycle. I’ve completed the text, and it’s being edited now. I’m almost done with the interminable but fun part – the illustrations. Even though the pictures and story might be whimsical and silly, I’m a stickler for accuracy in my books. Toward this end, I have a friend with a doctorate in geophysics looking at my adventure story to make sure it’s scientifically true. I’m impressed; he’s already found two things that aren’t factual. My commitment to correctness compels me to expand my limited knowledge of a topic with internet exploration, and then re-word the science jargon into a kid-friendly book, preferably with an action-packed tale.

The uninspiring part of the research this time is the description of what water does on the cycle: It gets heated by the sun; evaporates from oceans, lakes, rivers; and becomes vapor. After it rises, it condenses into droplets and forms clouds. When the droplets join and get bigger, they precipitate as rain. Sometimes they blow to a colder climate, freeze into ice crystals, and fall down as snow. This process seemed a little dull, but I found a few kid-oriented websites that spiced up the story. They proposed that since water is always on the move, an individual drop in your glass of water could have evaporated up from someplace thousands of miles away. And since water is continually cycling, disappearing, and coming back, it’s also likely that same drop has been around in one form or another for millions of years.

That perspective adds the drama, so I can create an exciting protagonist who has traveled all those miles, even hung around with dinosaurs. My obsession with scientific accuracy forced me to find, for my opening spread, three reference dinosaurs from the same time period (although I wonder if anyone else cares about this). I chose the Cretaceous Period because I also wanted to find three dinosaurs with really weird head shapes, scales, etc. to make the scene more fun.

The hero of the adventure is a secret agent on a mission to hydrate plants, animals, and people. The illustration above shows two parts of the cycle, page 5 and page 9, evaporation and precipitation. An editor told me that a secret agent needed props. Since he has hands and feet and a face, I thought this was a no-brainer; I’ve seen a lot of James Bond movies. Or maybe not, since the first things springing to mind were a gun and a martini glass. Then I thought: a female accomplice in a slinky low-cut evening gown, a fountain pen that shoots exploding missiles, and a Lamborghini. You can see where this is going… Moving on to something more appropriate for a 5- to 7-year-old, I’ll use a magnifying glass, map, and binoculars. If you can think of anything else, please let me know in the Comments section below.

The requisite villain in the story is hilarious: a blob of oily pollution with black stuff dripping out of his nose. He has hands too, trying to grab a fleeing H2O. He’s surrounded by bottles and cans floating in the lake, an old tire, and green pond scum. Fun! I’ll be posting sample illustrations on my website. Thanks for indulging me on my circuitous path to creating a new work!

Online References: The USGS Water Science School The Water Cycle Educational Video for Kids The Water Cycle for Kids – How It Works – Diagram & Facts The Water Cycle! National Geographic Kids

__________________
Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series.For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water Cycle, The Flying Artist, and Rose Colored. To view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

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The Effective Author: For What Will You Be Remembered?

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

In recent years, I was privileged to know an author who was widely known for her loving, supportive personality. Her expression was always one of eager joy. She wrote seven books and created the Valley Presbyterian Foundation. Sadly, she passed away last month of a brief illness. Her memorial service was the experience of a lifetime. It was all about Divine Love and feeling uplifted. It included Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43, “How Do I Love Thee?”

My friend’s name was Kiki Swanson. Her given name was Flora Macdonald Burger, but she had a joyful, bouncy personality. So her father called her, “Kickapoo Joy Juice,” or “Kiki” for short. The most extraordinary dynamic occurred as people streamed out of the sanctuary after the memorial service. They began to talk about Kiki, and smiles rose. Even laughter erupted. We shared stories about Kiki and her happy, hardworking, loving ways, and that filled us anew with joy. The crowd became one joyful heart as we experienced Kiki’s love together. Kiki will long be remembered for joy, enthusiasm, zeal for good works, and love.

In 2018, the world received a cultural shock, as Prince Harry of Britain decided to marry a woman whose mother was Black. Though it was an historic first for them, the Royal Family opened up to love this young woman, Meghan Markle, and a new era of global consciousness began. Love got a reboot. At the May 19, 2018, wedding, both heads of the Anglican Church presided: a White man and a Black man. The White man was Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England. The Black man, who spoke in such a lively way about love, is Michael Curry, presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, the US branch of the same church. At this first wedding of a white royal and a Black commoner, Bishop Curry reminded us that Dr. Martin Luther King said we must truly discover the redemptive power of love. The Bishop said that love is the greatest force. And when we truly discover it anew, we will change the world. Imagine a world in which love reigns supreme: no hunger, no war.

I recently was in a church where Bishop Curry participated and gave the sermon — on love, of course. Watch his face, and you will see the look of a man completely in touch with the Divine and with love.

It has been said that “Love is the answer, whatever the question.” Perhaps Kiki Swanson and Bishop Curry would agree. They will both be remembered, for many years, for being walking expressions of love. For what will you be remembered?

_______________________
Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

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