Member Monday: London Calling by Deborah Gilson

Welcome back to Member Monday!  Today we feature a piece by Writers Forum member Deborah Gilson.

London Calling

by Deborah Gilson

One way or another, I was going to Europe. Entering Kurt, my fiancé’, and myself in the 1996 London Marathon, I told my friends I was finally going abroad.

The only trouble with my plan was I AM NOT A RUNNER. Never have been, probably never will be. I began my training by walking around my block a couple times after work. B-O-R-I-N-G. I trained for a month before Kurt and I took flight to Europe. I mean, how hard can it be running 26.4 miles?

After landing in London, we went straight to the marathon headquarters and obtained our runner’s packet. The day arrived for the big race. Carrying a sack of essentials while I ran, it wasn’t long before I was throwing these items off my fanny pack. The heat was relentless, the millions of other runners had no idea of personal space and my old “running” shoes began to hurt my feet before the one-mile marker. Still, I continued jogging until I thought I would faint from exhaustion.

Seeing the back of a friendly-looking man’s head, I struck up a conversation with Joe, from England. He was running for the National Meningitis Trust, in an effort to create awareness of this disease. I told him I’d never heard of it. Speaking of hearing, the disease took the hearing from one of his ears. Having to repeat myself often to Joe, I began running on the side of his good ear.

Joe, determined to raise awareness for his cause, continued running while I stopped cold at the 10-mile marker. It was there I met Vicki, from Wales, who was also taking a running break. I told Vicki I’d heard of Wales as I followed whatever Princess Diana was doing. “Where in the heck is Wales anyway?” I asked Vicki. Thinking I was joking, she gave me a gentle push. Puzzled, I continued walking with Vicki, my new best friend.

Seven hours passed and I was still a participant in the London Marathon. At least I still had Vicki by my side. We learned each other’s entire lives during our walk. When we would see television cameras, Vicki would jump up and down, waving to her family back home in Wales, who were watching for glimpses of her.

Kurt, my fiancé’, planned completing the marathon in a little over four hours. It occurred to me he finished three hours ago. Positive he was back at the hotel resting after a hot shower, with perfect-feeling feet, body, mind, heart and soul, I nearly collapsed.

At long last, I saw the finish line. Grabbing Vicki’s arm for reassurance, I pointed to the only remaining people involved in the race: the volunteers. A vicar (priest) walked in between us, holding each of our arms in his. He walked us over the finish line as the timer displayed: 7: 15: 30. Yes folks, that’s right. It took Vicki and me a mere 7 hours, 15 minutes and 30 seconds to complete the London Marathon.

Vicki taught me I’d better learn geography, humor under duress, perseverance, the meaning of the word vicar and confirmed it’s possible to instantly feel I’ve known someone all my life. Her parting words to me were, “Remember, Debbie, it’s not how fast you do the race that counts. It’s the fact you finished what you started.”

London Calling PDF Photo.pdf

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

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Success Story Saturday: Steve Callan

Congratulations to Writers Forum member Steve Callan on being selected by Foreword Reviews as a finalist for their 2013 Book of the Year Contest!

Here’s the press release as originally published on BriefingWire.com.

BriefingWire.com, 3/13/2014 – Traverse City, MI, March 13, 2014 — Today, Foreword Reviews, the only review magazine solely dedicated to discovering new indie books, announced the finalists for its 16th Annual Book of the Year Awards. Each year, Foreword shines a light on a small group of indie authors and publishers whose groundbreaking work stands out from the crowd. Foreword’s awards are more than just a shiny sticker on the front of a book; they help connect the best indie books to readers eager to discover new stories written by previously unknown authors.

The following Coffeetown titles have been nominated for the 2013 Book of the Year Awards: Badges, Bears, and Eagles, by Steven T. Callan in the Nature category; Gabriela and The Widow, by Jack Remick, in the Literary Fiction category; The Spy’s Little Zonbi, by Cole Alpaugh, and We, a novel by Michael Landweber in the General Fiction category. In the next two months, a panel of over 100 librarians and booksellers will determine the winners of these prestigious awards. A celebration of the winners will take place during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on Friday, June 27 at 6 p.m. with awards in over 60 categories, cash prizes for the best in fiction and nonfiction, and widespread recognition.

Congratulations, Steve!

Member Monday: Leaving by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a poem by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  You can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.

Author’s Note: Here’s a poem I recently wrote about how i feel when I have to leave Nevada. On the way home I usually pull over at Hwy 395’s “Shoe Tree” and cry a tiny bit. Often there’s no traffic and the scenery is so beautiful.

Shoe Tree by Linda Boyden

Shoe Tree by Linda Boyden

Leaving

by Linda Boyden

rain-kissed sagebrush,
crisp cobalt sky,
stark mountains brushed by snow,
supple foothills that glide
down into the broad expanse of land
where ghosts still ride pinto ponies,
their wizened faces huddled against manes
their hooves thunder across dry lake beds,
where voices and whinnies echo on the wind
I inhale the desert songs of beauty and remorse
and bury one small piece of my heart
my sacrifice,
my offering,
my promise to return.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Babies in the Park by Maggi Milton

Welcome back to Member Monday.  Please join me in in giving a warm welcome to first time contributor, Maggi Milton.

Babies in the Park

by Maggi Milton

That day I took my customary seat on the bench farthest from the fountain but still within the central square.  I don’t know how long I was engrossed in my crossword puzzle – 10, 20 minutes at least, the sandwich I brought from home long gone, the taste of honey mustard but a memory – when I realized I was hearing babies.  At first they just babbled back and forth. I tried to ignore the noise but you know how that goes. Once I noticed the sounds I was not able not to hear them.

Frustrated, I became more and more annoyed at the interruption of my quiet and solitude.  I began to pack up in disgust when I realized the babble was no longer babble but had somehow switched into English. I actually heard one of them say, “…wish she would stop jiggling my seat. It’s enough to make me scream but if I do scream, she gets all upset and picks me up and burps me. I mean, give me a break!  Burping is NOT a cure-all.  It’s okay after I drink a bottle and the milk just kinda sits there, you know what I mean?  A burp is always helpful to spit out the bubble and clear my throat. It’s very satisfying when I can aim beyond the nappy and hit her blouse. But what is it with this jiggling?”

I was incredulous. What I was hearing was unbelievable, and I looked to my left to find the source of this voice. Two prams sat side by side in front of two nannies who had their heads together, conversing in what sounded like Spanish. Inside each pram sat a baby dressed in pink, obviously both girls, both wide awake and looking towards each other. One had blond hair, the other brown. The nannies jiggled the prams with their foot while absorbed with their own exchange.

The brown headed said “I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes my head spins from all the motion. I’ve tried to shove her foot away, but my arms are too short to reach all the way. She just thinks I’ve lost my balance and am falling out of this contraption, so the jiggling only stops long enough for her to push me back upright.”

Blondie nodded knowingly. “What do you think of this idea?” She said. “The next time they put us on the ground we crawl over to the prams and set the brakes so all motion is stopped? Or, better yet, maybe we cou…  Whoa… There’s a woman over to the right eaves-dropping”

Two sets of eyes swiveled my way. I felt like the rabbit caught in the headlights; all I could do was gape at them. The two sets of eyes turned back towards each other. Two mouths opened wide and from them erupted high-pitched screams like I had never heard before.

The startled nannies vaulted from their seats, snatched the screeching babies from the prams, and clutched them to their shoulders.  With quick good-byes, they grabbed the handles of the prams and hustled down the path.

Quiet descended as the screaming stopped. Two sets of eyes gazed over the nannies’ shoulders; two babies’ faces smirked at me as they disappeared around the fountain.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Cut the Cake by Deborah Gilson

Welcome back to Member Monday!  Today we feature a piece by Writers Forum member Deborah Gilson.

Cut the Cake

by Deborah Gilson

It was my fifth birthday. Mom headed to work in the city after dropping Ross, my four-year-old brother, and me off at nursery school. From the instant I awoke, I waited for the day to end. At nursery school I told Crystal, the most beautiful little girl ever, I had a cake coming that night after dinner.

The magic moment arrived for my mother to pick Ross and me up from nursery school. On the front passenger seat of our red Volvo station wagon, I saw my cake box. I asked Mom if she could drive home a little faster. Looking at me from her rear view mirror, she said she would try.

Ross pulled a funny trick on the way home and began making siren noises while we crouched on the floorboard of the back seat. Ross told her she was speeding and would probably get a ticket. Mom pulled the car over to the side of the road and waited. When no police car appeared, she heard our muffled giggles. Reaching her 12-foot-long arm into the back seat, Mom could not grab either of us. Exhausted from another day’s work as a single mother, she slowly put the pedal to the metal and continued the drive home.

Standing in our tiny kitchen, my mother asked me, the birthday girl, what I wanted for dinner. With tremendous excitement, I declared, “Dinner shot out of a cannon!” This meant breakfast-style food for dinner, the fastest meal in town.

After dinner, Ross and I cleared the dishes from the kitchen table; my grand event finally arrived. Out of the box came an elegant, small lemon cake with cream cheese frosting. The edges were lined in pink and yellow rosettes. My mother intentionally handed me a spatula, instead of a knife, and said I could cut the cake. My mother began washing the dishes; thankfully, her back was turned away from Ross and me.

With Ross standing as close as possible, I held up the spatula as a sword for his big blue eyes to see, translating my deafening non-verbal message, “Don’t you even think about coming near my cake!” Without saying a word, my mother sensed my selfish and greedy demeanor, so she interjected over her shoulder, “And Ross gets to choose the first piece.” With disbelief and even bigger blue eyes, I screamed, “WWWHHHAAATTT???!!!”

Grabbing my cake from the kitchen table, I gingerly placed it on the kitchen floor. So I would be eye-level with it, I laid down flat on the floor to get a bird’s eye view for the precise cut. Ross laid down next to me, resting his chin on his folded hands. I measured where to cut the cake into pieces so Ross would not have even one granule more. Finally, I felt secure knowing I cut the cake into equal portions. Using the spatula as a serving tool as well as a knife, I gently put a piece of cake onto my plate and walked to the kitchen table with my mouth watering. Again, my mother knew inappropriate behavior took place and told me to hand my piece of cake to Ross.  Tears began to well up by now; I was positive I would have no birthday cake.

Being me has never been easy, however, it is the memories of how I treated my younger brother while growing up, which are difficult to swallow. With Ross no longer living, I think about my birthday night and wish I had done things differently. I long to go back to the evening of April 2, 1965. If this were possible, I would hand the spatula to Ross and say, “It’s my birthday and I want you to cut the cake.”

Debbie & Ross, 1965 PDF Photo.pdf

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

A Message From the President: March, 2014

Ah, the Ides of March. All this time I thought they were about the assassination of Julius Caesar. Face it, not being religiously raised, and while I had the complete works of Shakespeare handed down through my mother’s side which I read, I didn’t do any background research on why, who, what, where and when. But now research is my game (Yes, thanks to the Web), and found out that there are Ides of not only March, but every month.

Another revelation I had is that the color blue was originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day. It took more than one thousand years for green to win the masses over.  ‘Sides, Wearing of the Green rolls off the tongue easier than Wearing of the Blue. Celebrated anywhere there is Irish diaspora (and some places where there isn’t), Argentina uses it as a reason to par-tee; neither the Catholic Church nor the Irish community (fifth largest outside Ireland) take part in the organization of the parties.

Another festival in the middle of March is the annual NCAA March Madness. ‘Nuff typed about this…I am sure that someone will approach you about buying in on a pool.

March is also Women’s History MonthHexagonal Awareness Month,  sees the end of Mardi Gras; starts with Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day and ends with National Clam-on-the-Half-Shell Day; and in between are World’s Math Day, Save a Spider Day, World Water Day (unlike Woodstock, I chant “Mo’ Rain! Mo’ Rain!) and I Am in Control  Day.

Man-o-man, the middle of March is a busy time.  Our next meeting after the Nones of March will be just as busy when we will elect officers for the next year.  Once voting is quickly out of the way, we have the opportunity to discover how walking the Mediterranean became fodder for an interactive e-Book by Joel Stratte-McClure.

Larry Watters,

Writers Forum President

Success Story Saturday: Sharon St. George Signs Three-book Contract

Writers Forum member Sharon St. George recently signed a three-book contract with Camel Press, the fiction imprint of Coffeetown Press in Seattle, Washington. St. George’s hospital-based mystery series is titled The Machado Mysteries, and features Aimee Machado, a forensic librarian who works in an acute care hospital in rural northern California. Her brother, Harry, plays a part in helping Aimee solve these amateur sleuth mysteries.

The debut book in the series, Due for Discard is already in the publisher’s hands. The deadline for her second book, Checked Out, is May 1, and the third, Breach of Ethics, is a work in progress due  August 1. They will be published as print on demand (POD) paperbacks and as e-books. At this early stage, the date has not been set for when the books will be available to purchase.

St. George is proud and happy to be published by the same company that publishes Steve Callan, another Writers Forum member. Callan’s nonfiction book, Badges, Bears and Eagles, published by Coffeetown Press, is enjoying great success.

For those who do not recognize the author’s name, Sharon St. George is the pen name of Sharon Owen, Program Director of Writers Forum.

Visit Sharon St. George at www.sharonstgeorge.com