Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Christmas Memory by Konnie Enos

The sun peeking over the horizon added light to the room but not to my thoughts as I realized it was now Christmas Eve. I’d been up for at least 24 hours and the task wasn’t done yet. I was exhausted and more than frustrated with family members whose idea of helping was taking our three school aged girls off our hands while we got the work done. They however had no problem with leaving our two boys with us to deal with while we tried to work. They were both toddlers in diapers.
So while I struggled to help, or keep the boys out from underfoot, my husband strived to get the work done and it wasn’t getting done fast enough. We should have been on the road already. All things considered as the sun dawned bright and clear that Christmas Eve I was short tempered and decidedly not in the Christmas spirit.
After spending the morning attempting to keep the boys out of my husband’s way and finally taking a short break for lunch my husband said he was going to get his friend, who had a truck, to help him haul the garbage to the dump. Then he could finish cleaning the place out. When he was finished we could finally leave, possibly by dinner time, a full 24 hours after we’d originally planned.
As he walked out he said, “Put the boys down and take a nap.”
“Good idea.” It was naptime. I set to work trying to get them to settle down on a couple of blanket on the hardwood floor in the living room while I stretched out on the lone remaining piece of furniture, an old recliner. I was still fighting the boys when my husband and his friend returned.
Our friend pointed to the recliner. “What about that? Is it going to?”
My husband said, “Yes.”
I said, “No way. This is in the last load. You are not taking the only place I have left to rest while I need sleep.”
My husband actually pulled me out of the chair. “We’re only taking one load. It’s going now.”
I fought him. “I can’t sleep on the floor.”
Our friend said, “You’re going to my place.”
In minutes they had me and our boys at his house. His wife tucked our toddlers down with their own kids, a toddler and infant, and had me lie down on their couch while telling their other kids to keep quiet so people could sleep.
 Over the next several hours I woke up several times. My husband and our friend brought our girls back from their aunt’s place, and that old recliner. A neighbor came around with gifts for the poor families in the neighborhood and learning our family was there as well left the gifts meant for us too.
Around dinner time my husband and our friend returned saying the cleaning was finally finished but our friends would not hear of us leaving on Christmas Eve.
This couple fed and found places for seven extra people to sleep warm and comfortably on Christmas Eve, made Christmas stockings for everyone and retagged gifts a couple of gifts, I assume intended for them, so my husband and I could have something under the tree. They also insisted we join them for their Christmas feast before they would send us on our way. The only thing I could do was share the treats I had gathered for our Christmas stockings.
My Christmas went from horrible to one of the most beautiful Christmas memories I have because one family gave freely of what little they had.
Isn’t that what Christmas is all about.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Christmas Memory by Bonnie Le Hamilton

This last week there was a post on Facebook about tricking kids into thinking they were getting nothing for Christmas, and one of my little brothers (the middle one) brought up something we once did to the oldest of our brothers.

First you have to understand that Bryon was a snooper. If you hid any gifts in the house, he found them well in advance of the big day, without fail. Our mother tended to hide our gifts at the house of some friend or other. But our stepmother (the mother of the two youngest brothers) came up with another plan one year.

First, you have to know she was really good at wrapping presents. Not just neat, but very well taped. There was no way you could undo just one little corner and sneak a peek. In fact, there was no way to get a peek without having to completely re-wrap the thing. Then she came up with devious plan to make him think all he was getting was a lump of coal for Christmas.

That year, along with using so much tape, she didn’t put his name on any of the tags. I can’t remember how it was that she knew which was which (I think it was the wrapping paper) but he thought he wasn’t getting anything, without us saying so, because of course, he did find where the gifts were hidden, he had searched all those tags for his name to no avail.

On top of that, on Christmas morning all he found in his stocking was a small box designed to look like a red brick chimney and inside that box was a real lump of coal. I remember the look on his face when he pulled that box out of his stocking and looked around at all our stocking filled to bursting with treats then he looked at his box again and apologized for snooping.

Even then our stepmother refused to give him his gifts, and he actual stocking stuffers, until he’d promised to stop snooping.

Here’s hopping Santa is good to all of you! Merry Christmas everyone. 😊

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Of Harassment and Such Things by Konnie Enos

With all the accusations of sexual harassment and assault flying around nowadays there are of course plenty of memes on the subject to be found on Facebook. Not long ago while I was scrolling through one such meme caught my attention. The title was “How to not be accused of sexual harassment”. Then it showed a pie chart.
I thought of several ways you should protect yourselves from such things. What does this show? Exactly one color, only one suggestion. And what was that one suggestion? “Don’t sexually harass.”
Well, that’s the first step. But, sorry, no cigar, that’s not going to guarantee anything.
Not doing it at all should be helpful in not getting convicted of doing it, but it’s not much help against being accused. Yes, I’ve heard that nobody is going to lie about such things, but guess what? The evidence is there to say otherwise. People have lied about rape, assault and harassment only to have their stories fall about when the evidence was looked at. Or they later recanted their story.
I once had someone I know tell me that my brother-in-law had at the very least been very bold and forward in a sexually suggestive way with her. (And yes, she was/is married.) This person wanted me to admit he’d behaved similarly towards me.
My brother-in-law was so shy around me he barely ever said two words to me and I don’t think he ever touched me, not even for a hug, which I made clear then let it drop. But a few years later my own husband was accused of inappropriate behavior with some of his female clients while he was working as a home health aide, not once, but twice.
The first time his boss thought it was actually one if his clients and even took all his female clients off his list, only to have each one of them ask to have him back. The second time she told him he had someone out to get him and to watch is back.
We moved.
A few years later we figured out who’d been making those false accusations. The same person who had tried to get me to accuse my very innocent brother-in-law.
You see all it takes to be accused of sexual assault or harassment isn’t doing such things but rather coming into the crosshairs of someone who has no problem with bearing false witness. So while your first defense against being accused should be not doing them in the first place, it can’t be your only defense. If it is, you’ve got your head in the sand. And that’s the last place you want your head to be.
No, I think your second defense should be never being in situation alone with someone who could then later say, “When they got me alone they did…” Then you get in a I said/they said situation and you’ve got no witnesses to your defense.
In our church we have this saying (I think other churches have it too) “avoid the appearance of evil”. So don’t put yourself in situations where someone’s false statements might find enough footing to be taken as fact.
Food for thought.
P.S. Happy 18th Birthday to my oldest son (tomorrow).

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Goals by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Okay, National Novel Writer’s month is now over. Time to get on with life, and catch up on the things that went by the wayside while I was frantically writing all those words, and I did a lot better than I thought I could!

I’m proud of myself for that but now is the time to think up some goals for the coming year, and maybe even set some deadlines to get them done. And it wouldn’t hurt if I could figure out how to do them without letting the chores go for a month. 😊

I have a niece, who is also a writer and she’s set the goal to publish six of her books this coming year. A goal I find rather ambitious even though most of those are already written and it isn’t like she has to find a publisher willing to take a risk on her, she self-publishes, but I doubt I could manage that kind of output in a year and unlike her, I don’t work!

Then again, I’m a slow typist. I’ve mentioned this before. I can’t win a word war – wait, I actually won one this year. Shocked me – shocked everyone. I usually don’t unless it’s against Konnie, and I suspect she had a lot of interruptions on her end while we were writing. She usually does.

Anyway, setting writing goals is a good idea and I’ve been thinking about some goals I could set, not just in writing but in life in general. Now I just have to set what the goal will be and how I would achieve it. Though I already know my writing goal is to get my manuscript Forbidden Connection ready to shop out to publishers and I’ve already started on that one, its with the editor right now.

Next, I have to work on the synopsis and the query and research the best agents and publishers for it.
Okay, I have a lot to do this coming year.

How about you? What kind of goals are you planning for this coming year?

Happy writing everyone! 😊

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Of the Spirit of Christmas by Konnie Enos

On December 16, 2015 I posted “Tis the Season” about The Spirit of Santa Claus and Christmas. Well, I’m going to revisit the topic. The Spirit of Santa Claus, the true Spirit of Christmas, is giving, not receiving. So in the Spirit of Giving, I’d like to give all my readers something to think about. I want you to focus on the reason for the season.
Focus for just a moment on why we celebrate Christmas.
It’s not trees all lit up with lights and presents stacked under them. It’s not stockings lining the fireplace waiting to be filled. It’s not even big family gatherings or huge dinners.
The reason we celebrate Christmas, is to remember.
Remember what the trees, the wreaths, the lights, the candy canes and the stars represent. Remember why we gather as a family to dine together and exchange gifts. Remember the true reason for the season. Mostly remember the birth that this season is supposed to mark then remember the child born oh so long ago.
Now remember the man as was documented in the New Testament.
The man who healed the sick, lame, blind and deaf. The man who didn’t judge the sinner as beneath him. The man who forgave the woman caught in adultery. Remember the man we celebrate this season for.
If you happen to celebrate Kwanzaa remember the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Christ’s efforts were to bring unity, collective responsibility, cooperation, purpose, creativity, faith and yes, even self-awareness. Remember the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
If you don’t believe in Christ. If you celebrate Hanukkah then think of the miracle of the lights and the reason you celebrate this season. Think of your God and all you are grateful for.
Now if you don’t happen to be Christian. If you don’t happen to believe Christ existed or that he was The Son of God. If you don’t even believe there is an all-powerful god, think of the world you’d rather your children, your grandchild, had the chance to grow up in.
Now that you are all thinking, remembering. Answer one, or both, of these questions. What would Christ do? Or; how can I make this world a better place?
Just think about your answer for few minutes. What can you do to make this would a better place?
Now I have a challenge for all of you. Every last one of you. Do I have your attention?
I challenge you, starting December 1st through December 25th to do something every single day to GIVE. Give friendship. Give love. Give kindness. Give your talents. Give your time. Give your understanding. Just GIVE.
To help you with this challenge, as a means to give you ideas each day on how you can give, I challenge you to go to and look at “Light the World” which is twenty-five days of ideas for giving. Admittedly, this is ideas for giving as Christ would give, but they are universal. Make our world a better place. Be the light the world needs right now.
Let’s see if we can’t make this a truly joyous season for all by basking in the true Spirit of the season. The Spirit of Giving. Let’s make this even bigger. I challenge you to pass it on. Pass this on to your friends, your family, and your neighbors. See how just how many people we can get making an effort to “Light the World”.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy New Year one and all.
(And to those who say “Bah Humbug!” go read Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”.)

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

On Thanksgiving and Writing by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Have you ever said something, then instantly regretted it? And have you ever done that, then within minutes decide it wasn’t a mistake? I had this happen to me just last month.

A couple weeks before Nano started, I attended a meeting with my local Nano group, where one of our leaders first asked what they planned to write that year. As she went around the room for our responses, I didn’t think about my answer, even though I had no idea what I would write at all. I thought about how Konnie had recently finished the rough draft of a massive sci-fi.

With that on my mind, when my turn came, I announced I was going to break away from my norm and try my hand at sci-fi. Even as I said it I told myself I was being a fool. I never write anything that isn’t romance, and I still didn’t have an idea.

Then our leader presented us with several prompts and a time limit. I was drawing a blank. I still didn’t even know what I was going to write. Sci-fi? What was I thinking? Okay, I was thinking if Konnie can, so can I.

And well, I had started a sci-fi months ago, and set aside because researching and taking notes became too much for me, I’d been overwhelmed, so it was crazy to even think I could write a whole sci-fi, it was too much work.

I did try to work with the prompts, but still nothing, until one of them she gave us got me thinking. What would Nick have on him that reminded him of his missing brother? I didn’t get my answer right then, but it was a spark.

Her next set of prompts included writing a letter from the main character at the end of the book to the main character at the beginning of the book. Interesting.

I wrote two sentences. Two powerful sentences that really said it all. That night I went home, pulled out my computer, dug out my old discarded file, and started writing notes and two versions of an “ancient” tale from the worlds I was creating. I even wrote an outline! Me, the consummate pantser, wrote an outline, or at least a partial one. And I went through the two scenes I did have adding details, and information, I hadn’t had originally.

On November first, I thought I had enough outline to last me the month. I ran out of that during week two, but not ideas. I’ve a long way to go before I finish this story, or rather, these stories. 😊 And I’m already over seventy-five thousand words! Wahoo!

Have you ever been blessed with a story which won’t let go, or which snowballs on you into a massive tome? I know Konnie’s answer, what’s yours? And have you remembered to be thankful for this blessing?

Happy writing everyone!  😊

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Of Being a Grandmother Or Not by Konnie Enos

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not, but I’m not yet a grandma even though I have relatives younger than I am who are. In fact, the oldest of my brothers has recently joined the ranks of younger relatives who are now grandparents. My eminent admission into that club has not been announced though I’m clearly old enough to join evidenced in the fact that my oldest is now married.
I have also known for nearly a decade that my three youngest kids have classmates whose grandparents are around the same age as my husband and I are. Not really surprising.
I can remember taking my oldest daughter to a mother/daughter activity at her school one year. I was one of the oldest mothers there. Only one mother was older than me, the one that was there with her youngest of several children. Those mothers who were there with their oldest child were all still in their twenties. At nearly 40 I really stuck out.
Since I am so much older than my youngest children, I have had a few instances where someone mistook me for my child’s grandmother. Once a couple of years ago Royce had to have his new glasses adjusted and went back into the busy office without me to accomplish it. A few minutes later he came out with a perplexed looked on his face.
I led him out of the building while I asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Do I have a grandma?”
Well that was kind of out of left field so I asked what brought it on. Apparently the lady who adjusted his glasses had told him to “go back to your grandma”.
Then just the other day he and I were again in a busy doctor’s office. This one was so busy there wasn’t enough seats to go around in the waiting room. He ended up sitting on the floor between the chair I was sitting in and the door to the office.
When we moved into another room, there was still a lack of chairs and he was, true to his nature, complaining, this time about having to sit on the floor. One of the workers essentially chewed him out for begrudging me the only remaining seat, finally saying, “You have to show your grandma some respect.”
I know I glared at the poor woman. “I am not his grandma.”
I kid you not, it was the next day before it even dawned on me that my father had his first grandchild when he was 38 years old. Now guess how old I was when my youngest son was born.
I’m going to assume that you surmised I was 38, which is a great assumption. My youngest was born two months before my thirty-----NINETH birthday.
Of course there is also when my sister-in-law called to announce the birth of her granddaughter she told me I was finally a great aunt and asked if it made me feel old.
Sorry no. My oldest great niece is an adult. In fact so is her little brother. Though their cousins are still in grade school. Of course all of those are the grandkids of my husband’s youngest sister. On my side I’d have to admit this newest addition is my only great niece. Counting me and all five of my siblings, said brother is the only one who is a grandparent, so far.
Unless of course you’re counting grandbabies with fur or feathers, I’ve got a few of those.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 8th by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Its November, and I should be thinking about my Nano project, and adding to those 25,000+ words I already have written this month on my first every sci-fi, but well, today is November 8th and I can’t help but think about what I was doing 31 years ago today.

All those years ago, I was a rather nervous young woman, who was so jittery she couldn’t even set a zipper in a dress. My mother insisted it was just nerves not my inability to do zippers, but frankly, I’m still positive it was my ineptness. She finally took the dress from me and put the zipper in herself, using Grandma’s old treadle machine.

And thus, started one of the most memorable days of my life.
The day I walked down the aisle and exchanged rings with the most wonderful man ever, and we should be celebrating; instead I’m missing him.

And instead of writing, instead of figuring out the next scene in my story, instead of wondering why I finally have a main character that is an identical twin for change, I’m sitting staring at wedding pictures. We were so young, so in love, and so unready for everything that life would throw at us, but we managed to stay together until cancer took him from me.

Sometimes, it isn’t easy to get over a loss like that.

Maybe one day I’ll write a story about that. Until then, happy writing, everybody!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Busy Mom by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Last week when I posted, Konnie recognized that today would be her turn, and it would also be payday, a busy day for her. Sunday she knew she had to get her post written in advance, because there was no way she'd have time this  morning. Then life got in the way and it is suddenly Wednesday morning! 

Be it known she's fine, just very busy shuttling kids hither and tither as well as paying bills and other such chores that always falls to her.

Happy writing everyone! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Nano Advice by Bonnie Le Hamilton

It’s October. For most that means Halloween, and all that goes with it, but for a growing number of writers that means gearing up for National Novel Writer’s month,, especially if you’re a planner. I’m not much for doing that. I might draw a map or a floor plan, but I’ve never written an outline. So, I can’t give advice about how to do that.

As the days move quickly toward the start, I thought I’d impart some wisdom I’ve learned from all the years I’ve been doing this to all those first timers out there. And I think I’ll begin by saying, if you miss the start, don’t look at where others are and say you’ll never catch up, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow they may hit a roadblock. Don’t give up. This is really more about what you can do, not what others can do. And it doesn’t matter who reaches the finish line first; everyone who accomplishes 50k in the month wins.

And if I can pound out 40k in just fourteen days, as I did this past July for Camp Nano, you can come from behind and produce 50k in whatever time you have left of the month. (If you type really fast, unlike me, you might even be able to manage 50k in a week.) Though I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it.

Which is my next point. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Just remember the old Aesop’s Fable about the Tortoise and Hare. The Hare was fast, but only in spurts, and he didn’t win. He got distracted; he lost focus. Keep that moral in mind. Over the years I’ve been participating, I’ve seen people who typed almost nonstop for the last twenty-four hours, madly trying to finish, and several didn't because they had too far to go. Even they couldn’t type that fast.

Then there’s me, I’ve completed all the Nano’s I’ve entered, except last year, and that was because I had a concussion and couldn’t. (One of those I wasn’t able validate my efforts, but I did meet the goal.) And the only time I was typing like mad was the aforementioned Camp Nano this past July, which was all my fault, because I spent too long editing instead of writing.

Generally, I take the tortoise approach to writing. Slow and steady wins the race. It won’t win a Word War, but it will get me to the finish line, often before the winners of all those Word Wars.

Actually, I know a lady who could type three or four times faster than I can, but she always ended up doing some all-nighters near the end, and not always to success. Sure, she could type fast − that didn’t help.

My advice is to make time to write at least six days a week. Notably, if you find you have minute, or two, take it! Because tomorrow you may not get that much. Steal every second you can find to reach your goal. That way, you won’t have to depend on some mythical chunk of time off somewhere in the future, which may disappear like a mirage; use what you know you have, it might be your only chance.

And most importantly, Happy writing everyone. 😊

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Birthday Memories by Konnie Enos

This morning I woke up way too early to the jarring of my alarm. As I started moving through my morning I contemplated how that was the usual way to wake up, unless you didn’t have obligations like work or school.
Then I realized what day it was and clearly remembered waking up rather suddenly on this very day and it was fairly early in the morning. Not as early as today but considering at the time I had no place to be that day, I had no reason to get up before seven a.m.
I looked at the time while I wondered what had bolted me from sound asleep to sitting up and then I contemplated returning to sleep since it was so early. But then I decided I could just start tackling my nice long to-do list which I was bound and determined to finish before the pending arrival of my first child who was due in three days or better yet my husband, whose ship was due back in port the next day. I wanted to get most of it done that day.
So I got up and started with a bath.
While bathing I noticed when I moved sometimes I seemed to lose control of my bladder and squirted, just a little bit. It was bothersome but not irritating. Then while I was eating I felt a contraction about the same time I “squirted” a little bit again. Only this time I knew I didn’t have to use the bathroom.
Well it wasn’t that gush everyone had told me about and I had been having those “practice” contractions so being totally unsure I did the most logical thing I could. I called a nurse. Specifically my stepmother.
I called home and Dad said she was at work though in explaining why I was calling he said he thought I might be in labor and told me to call my stepmother at work. I did.
I told her why I was calling, even asked if she could get off early. I was in luck. It was a slow day and she’d just asked to be let off early if possible. She also believed I was in labor. By then I was starting to be able to time the contractions.
Since I wasn’t about to drive anywhere while in labor my to-do list went out the window. I don’t think I did much other than sit around and try to keep myself calm and entertained while I waited for her to get off work. I did call my best friend and she came over and kept me company while I waited.
Fortunately this was, after all, my first baby. We all figured I had plenty of time to get to the hospital.
Mom put in eight, rather than twelve hours, before she got off work then came right over. But my contractions were still far enough apart that the three of us just sat, visiting for some time after she arrived.
At around dinner time we finally took my friend home, then went to get gas and Mom some fast food. Then we started the half-hour drive to the hospital.
The funny part is because of my having a contraction, she missed the exit and we had to do a turn around. And we still made it to the hospital in plenty of time.
Clarissa Anne Enos Plagmann was born a few minutes before midnight, twenty-six years ago today.
Happy Birthday sweetie.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.