Asking for more

mow-book-launch-003-4Posted by Kathy Waller


When the January schedule for Writing Wranglers and Warriors came out, I was pleased to find I would post on Friday the 13th. Last month–I’ve spent the past three hours writing about exactly what happened last month, but the result was so deadly dull it could have been used as a substitute for Ambien, so I’ll summarize–

Anyway, I got the dates mixed up, tried to post a day ahead of schedule, ended up posting a day behind schedule, took the post down–

In short, Friday the 13th seemed a good idea. You can’t forget Friday the 13th. Unless you forget to look at the calendar until 10:00 p.m. on the 12th.

So I spent three hours banging away at the keyboard only to find that the result read more like typing than writing. I hate it when that happens. Fortunately, I’ve been blogging long enough to have a safety net.

I rummaged around in my old blog, Whiskertips, and came across the following piece. It was originally posted on January 1, 2010. I’d forgotten all about it, and I’m glad to have it back.

I need to remember the words.

More than that, I need to remember I wrote them.


"Rosebud in Dew" licensed by Lisa Hall-Wilson under CC BY-SA 2.0
“Rosebud in Dew” is licensed by Lisa Hall-Wilson under CC BY-SA 2.0


… Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. ~ Luke 11:9, King James Bible


What do I ask for the coming year?

I ask for less:

Less judgment, less cynicism, less prejudice;

Less fear, less worry, less self-absorption;

Less anger, less blindness, less pettiness;

Less noise, less need.


What do I ask for the coming year?

I ask for more.

More reading, more writing, more stories, more words;

More friends and family, more people and places, more earth and sky;

More listening, more loving, more giving;

More kindness and compassion;

More gratitude;

More health and vitality;

More fun, more joy, more laughter;

More knowledge and understanding;

More vision, more imagination, more creation;

More patience, more serenity;

More letting go;

More openness, more growth;

More courage;

More faith and hope;

More beauty;

More life.


"Sunset on 401" is licensed by Lisa Hall-Wilson under CC BY-SA 2.0
“Sunset on 401” is licensed by Lisa Hall-Wilson under CC BY-SA 2.0


I own a writing calendar, a date book, and a Franklin planner. Over the years, I’ve owned four Franklin planners in a variety of colors and sizes. They were all pretty but none of them worked. I’ve given all that up to concentrate on taking the key out of the ignition before locking the car.


Kathy Waller is a member of Austin Mystery Writers,
the Writers’ League of Texas, and Story Circle Network.
She edits the Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter website
and blogs at Telling the Truth, Mainly.
A resident of Austin,
she has two cats and one husband.

One husband
One husband
Two cats
Two cats


propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Have you heard of Mindfulness? It’s a word that is being used quite frequently these days. defines mindfulness as:



the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.



  • a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, 2013-01-04 22.53.31experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them: The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.

the mental state maintained by the use of this technique.

It’s a hurry-scurry world in which we live and taking a moment or two out of our day is a good thing. It helps reduce stress, thus making us more relaxed and aware of our surroundings. In a counseling class I’m taking, we are urged to stop at random during the day, think of where we are, what we’re thinking about, and focus on what we are feeling at that very minute. It does amazing things for the body, for putting oneself in the here and now, not worrying about the past or future; making one concentrate on the present and helps to clear the mind. Much like meditation, mindfulness lets you relax and forget about the busy world around you for a second. Even that minute amount of time is sufficient to place one in a happier, more relaxed mindset.

There is a lot of research on the Internet about mindfulness but I wanted to write a short post, so I’ll leave it to you to do that search yourself. Here are a couple of links I liked when I Googled mindfulness.

I like the Bell of Mindfulness because it gives you quiet music to listen to and suddenly a gong rings to bring you to attention. Very good for learning to practice mindfulness.

file0001052140987The Bell of Mindfulness

I read an article I found in Science Daily that says mindfulness has been shown to make the workplace more relaxing and less resistance is found between workers. Science Daily – Mindfulness in the Workplace

You can go to iTunes and purchase an app called The Mindfulness App ($1.99). I think I’ll give it a try.

The Mindfulness App: Guided and Silent Meditations to Relax

No matter how you choose to do it, try to fit mindfulness into your day. We writers tend to get so involved in our work some days that we get headaches, tense muscles, etc. Stopping for a quick minute could help alleviate that..mindDo any of you practice mindfulness?  What does it mean to you?  Does it help you de-stress?  I’d love to know

Books by L.Leander

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders



Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)



13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing


13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook



You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Books

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews








How Do You Deal With Stress?

propic11_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

A couple of weeks ago I read an article on Yahoo! News that gave me pause for thought.  Dan Harris, an ABC News Anchor, shared a part of his life seen by millions around the world.  During a live broadcast, Harris had a debilitating panic attack.  Unable to finish his spot, he turned it  back to Diane Sawyer.  Harris couldn’t breathe and was as surprised as anyone when this occurrence happened.  He took a good look at his life to research reasons for the attack and discovered he had three very problematic areas.  One was his frenzied attempt to rise to the top,  another was reporting from Iraq, and the third taking occasional recreational drugs on the weekend.  He was very stressed.  When he saw a psychiatrist the doctor told him the attack was most likely provoked by the drugs.


 Mr. Harris sought to find healing.  He tried everything and nothing worked.  Meditation was suggested and, desperate, he decided to give it a try.

Mr. Harris’ idea of meditation was sitar music and chanting, but he knew he had antiquated ideas about the subject, a throwback to the era of the 60’s and 70’s.  He thought the idea might be a little crazy, however, he went to a class.  As he learned to breathe he found  peace.   Harris says the trick is to learn the breathing process to keep stress at a lower level.

Once he learned to meditate, Harris made it a daily habit, spending Meditatingbetween 1-2 hours a day.  He slowed down his life, looked around at things he had never noticed before; as his brain slowed down, and his work improved, he slept better, and quit worrying.  As Mr. Harris found answers in meditation he wrote a book entitled 10% Happier.  You can watch a video of Dan Harris’ breakdown here as he explains his experience and how he turned to meditation.

Though his earlier thoughts about meditation took a while to change, Harris overcame those preconceptions and learned to reap the benefits of meditation and relaxation.

I had much the same feeling when asked to try meditation as part of my therapy for Bipolar Disorder.  Although I had many of the same thoughts Mr. Harris did, I do know the quietness of prayer, so thought I could try it and decide then.

A free  21-day meditation from Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey was offered on the Chopra website.  I signed up, and from the first day I experienced relaxation, but it took  a few  months to learn to get quiet and kick the “mind monkeys” out of my head.  Mind monkeys are all the thoughts that creep inside while you try to stay focused and relaxed.  You’ll always have thoughts that come and go, but with practice you can ignore them.seafoam

 That meditation ended and there was a break before the Mentors Channel started with a 21-day Meditation, each session taught by different experts on the subject. When that program ended, I haunted YouTube for “guided meditation”.  Between the 21-Day classes I use YouTube and find many wonderful guided meditations.  My favorites on YouTube are those by ‘The Honest Guys.” You can search and find many uplifting and relaxing meditations from them, as well as those presented by other teachers. I prefer to have my eyes closed during meditation, although the experts say it doesn’t matter.  Meditation is your time and you should do it whenever and however you’re most comfortable. 

 I look for 10-30 minute meditations in the morning.  I get up early, make coffee, walk the dog, and meditate.  When I’m through I feel calm and ready to start my day.  I did this for several months when I had a couple of anxiety attacks and my therapist recommended I try doing an additional meditation at night.  Another 21-day Mentors Channel class started.  Instead of listening to a guided meditation, a duo sang meditations.  The name of the artists are are Deva Premal and Miten.  Deva has one of the loveliest voices I’ve ever heard.  She and Miten record together, but there are many earlier albums by Deva alone.  I now do one of these recordings before bedtime to relax.  Some of these are available on YouTube, (search for Deva Primal or Deva and Miten) but I’ve been buying songs one at a time on the iTunes store.  Here is a sample recording.

Doing two meditations a day worked well until I had a mood swing that drained me.  My therapist suggested I meditate four times a day until I felt better.  I did this by not changing my morning and evening meditations, but by adding a prayer here and there, listening to a 5-minute meditation, or sitting quietly for 5 minutes.  I’m still doing this because I have been in a severe depression for a couple of weeks.  I know it will change though.  The meditation helps as I breathe deeply and relax.

I’ve learned is that there is no right or wrong way to meditate.  I prefer guided meditations, as they seem to help me relax more, but there are scores of recordings that are just music.  Some tell you to watch the images on the screen but my mind wanders too much when I do that.  I prefer to close my eyes, listen, and feel the peace and relaxation through my body.  You’ll find what works best for you.sunset

Have you ever tried meditation?  Would you?  What are your thoughts on the subject?

Below are some links you might find helpful if you decide to try it.  I know you’ll reap benefits.

Explanation of Meditation on Wikipedia

The following video on YouTube is short and explains the benefits of meditation.

How to Meditate

My favorite meditations come from The Honest Guys on YouTube. Here are two examples.

 Blissful Deep Relaxation

 Guided Meditation for Health and Healing


Books by L.Leander:

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders



Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer





Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)




Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer




13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing








13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook







You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews





New Year Brings New Goals and an Uncertain But Hopeful Future

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallThis post by Gayle M. Irwin


Looking back on my goals for 2014 recently I realized I didn’t attain as much as I’d hoped. Yet, despite what I thought and planned to attain, new opportunities and possibilities did emerge, and I walked those pathways. Another new year is upon us, and though we never know the future, we can continue striving toward goals, old and new, revived and updated.

For example, last year I had hopes of securing new children’s magazines for which to write. I received several rejections on various articles and by the time I thought I’d re-write, re-submit, and re-think topics and queries, I received three new assignments in addition to the four already given to me by WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric News). I also continued my article writing for the Casper Journal newspaper, and, starting in July, my pet column ran EVERY WEEK in another newspaper (I’m used to writing one a month for two other publications). Plus, I gleaned two additional feature articles for Crossroads magazine, published by the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Chamber of Commerce (I wrote two articles for them in 2013). So, whereas I envisioned writing for children’s magazines, I received instead various other opportunities with an array of publications.


Now that 2015 has risen like a new day’s sun, I anticipate new opportunities and new pathways once again. I’m cutting back on submitting to the Casper Journal; WREN has assigned me only three articles for the entire year (though that may change); my weekly pet column is dormant for at least a few months while the newspaper undergoes layout and management changes; and I won’t know about Crossroads until mid-year. But, what I looked upon at first as negative I’ve now re-focused to the positive. I’ve been contacted and contracted by a state senator to write new releases and ghostwrite a few guest editorials for him. I’ve also been asked to contribute at least two stories on veterans for a special Wyoming Veteran’s project. So, not all my freelance opportunities have disappeared; new ones have emerged.

Baby New YearEven though there aren’t as many freelance gigs this new year as last, there is advantage to this more “quiet time”: ability to re-focus on my books as well as help my husband with some writing projects for his business. I now have five manuscripts in progress (including that pet rescue romance started a few months ago), and I am determined to finish them. Two manuscripts that I started more than three years ago simply need to be reviewed and edited as I completed the drafts in 2013 and just left them on the shelf because I wasn’t sure which publishing direction I wanted to go and 2014 became very busy. I am two-thirds of the way done with two others (both children’s books), and the pet romance is still in its infancy since I didn’t write as much during November’s NaNoWriMo as I had hoped. So, I have new writing goals for 2015, and I am excited to see where these stories, projects, and new pathways (including developing an emailed newsletter for my husband’s Alzheimer’s video business) take me.

How about you? What do you hope the new year has in store for you, personally and professionally? What are some of the goals and hopes you have for 2015 and into the future?


Happy New Year

Gayle & Mary outsideGayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and two dog devotion boos: Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God and Devotions for Dog Lovers 2: Sage Advice. She is also a contributing writer to five editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, including the August 2014 dog book The Dog Did What?. She also writes for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric Network), Crossroads, Creation Illustrated, and Our Town Casper magazines, as well as for the Casper Journal, River Press, and Douglas Budget newspapers. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. She has a passion for pets and volunteers for and donates a percentage of her writing revenues to several animal welfare organizations. Her speaking engagements include presentations for children and adults about the lessons people can learn from pets. Visit her website at


Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014   Walking_FrontCover_small   SageBigAdventureFront-small   SageLearnsShareFront-small

Face Your Fears by Cher’ley

This Blog by Cher’ley Grogg

Facing my fears holds a Skyscraper meaning for me. Since I am terrified of heights. Maybe not so much now. Still, typing the word Skyscraper made my stomach flip-flop.

The 6 of us

Speaking of flip-flops, my recent beach vacation was a blast. Del and I enjoyed time with our daughter Brenda, her fiancé Will, Andrew—our middle grandson, and Ben our youngest grandson and his girlfriend Leesa. If we would have done nothing at all, it would have been a great time, but we did much more than nothing.

Riding the Stingray


We didn’t actually ride a Sting-Ray, but we did many other daring things:


Mid-air crash

A little crash

























In the Air



Del & I going up  Parasailing







Climbing a Light House

The Outer Banks Lighthouse


Top of the Lighthouse                                    Spiral Staircase


Climbing the Nags Head Lighthouse with the spiral staircase and me scared to death. (Del insisted I smile)                                

When my youngest grandson was six years old, he’d already been making up and singing songs for a while, but when I’d asked him to sing for a group of my friends he said, “Mamaw, I could never sing in front of anyone. I’m too afraid.” About a week later, he came home from school all excited, he had sang in front of his class. I said, “Ben, I thought you were afraid to sing in front of anyone.” He said, “Mamaw, sometimes you just got to face your fears.

As a youngster, I was afraid of neither man, nor beast, lot a long a lofty tree, the very highest point of the biggest bridges around, or the top of a house. Amusement rides were simply amusing. Now even though I have concurred some fears, I still have plenty left for another adventure.

Fear plays a big part in our writing. It especially played an important part in many of the chapters of Stamp Out Murder. The story centered around “A Ghost Walk”. It aslo featured a Ghost. The fear of a murderer running wild in this little town, made everyone leery, especially of strangers. James Freeman, was a stranger in Wanton WV.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 19 in Stamp Out Murder

             I caution you to be very careful. In addition, there has been some poltergeist activity along the pathway. So if a log rolls in front of you or you hear strange noises, do not fear. The poltergeist makes many noises but it will not hurt you. The danger would be if you got caught up in one of its pranks and fell. It would be so easy to fall into the river and who knows what could happen from there.”       

             The docent paused. The heavy evening air howled through the valley. Leaves rustled. The fog rose from the river. All eyes were on Richard Brown. He held a finger to his lip. 

               The rustling rapidly moved just above the walkway. People gasped.             

               “Shh. Shh.” The guide held his hands flat out in front of him and pushed down towards the ground as if to say, “keep it down”. Everyone obeyed.

               The rustling became louder. 



My latest Story “Wild Injuns, Wicked Trains, and Cerulean Blue” is in the Anthology “Cowboys, Creatures, and Callico”. If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think.

***How does Fear or Face Your Fears, play a part in your work?”

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. And she has a new one that is freshly published with 11 other authors. 

Stamp Out Murder”.

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey BackThe JourneyBack 3


Boys Will Be Boys   

The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology

 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Fear of Falling, Part 2

propic11_1_1This post written by L.Leander, Writer of Fearless Fiction

You may wish to read Fear of Falling Part 1 before you read this because it is a continuation of that post.

We had planned a trip with friends to a town south of Guadalajara, MX and had already paid for bus tickets, etc. There was no way I wasn’t going, even after the concussion and my Doctor’s orders to take it easy. This was three weeks later. The bruising was faded and I’d have Ralph to help so I wasn’t too worried. Everything went well until the first night and I had some sort of seizure. My whole body stiffened and I shook uncontrollably. This happened a couple of times during the night but with God’s help and Ralph holding me close, I got through it. We had a nurse in our party and I checked

spasguywith her the next morning. She told me to take it easy that day, do a little shopping and come back to the hotel to rest. That’s what I did. The rest of the trip was fine and we had a great time seeing the sights of Guadalajara and did lots of shopping.

When we got back to Mazatlan I was alternately depressed and very anxious. Again, I went to my doctor and he prescribed a short dose of Xanax to sleep and a blood pressure medication because mine was very high and I’m prone to low. We were getting ready to go home to the US and moved to an apartment our friends owned right on the beach. The anxiousness and depression was getting worse and I finally went to the ER. I had wonderful doctors who spoke English and they admitted me overnight for tests. After a Cat Scan and an exam by Mazatlan’s top neurologist, I was found to be fine and went home. A couple of days later we left for the US, going through Mexico City, which wasn’t our normal route.

National Institute of Mental Health:

The airport in Mexico City is one I’ll never forget. I cried for six hours straight while we waited for our next flight. I’d lost my Mexican Citizenship card and even though we looked through everything we couldn’t find it. Ralph had to watch my guitar and fiddle and the other carry-ons, while an attendant put me in a wheelchair and took me to the Office of Residency. I was told I couldn’t leave the country without the card cryingbeing stamped, so I cried some more. Finally, a kind gentleman behind the desk came over to tell me there was only one way I could leave. I’d have to give up my residency. He called for another wheelchair and I believe I was escorted through most of the airport until we came to the Aduana’s office. I explained my problem, they gave me a paper to sign, and then I had to go next door to get another signature. I brought it back, and then was told to go to the bank and pay $3000 pesos (about $30 US). Finally, I was reunited with Ralph just as our flight was ready to leave. I was exhausted and no longer a resident of Mexico, but on a tourist visa.

We got home safely, had some car issues but AAA took care of us. A couple of days later the shaking started again and I was angry and sad all at the same time. I began yelling at Ralph (who is so calm and collected he never said one mean word while I railed and ranted) and we headed to the hospital again, just in case there was something the hospital in Mexico hadn’t caught. The ER doc told me I was tired  from the trip and worried about the concussion when I shouldn’t be. He sent me home. I made an appointment madwith my doctor but she wasn’t available, so I saw a Nurse Practitioner. He was very thorough and said I had high blood pressure, which could be controlled. He gave me a very low dose of meds and a low dose of Xanax to help me seep. At this point I wasn’t getting any sleep at night.

Bipolar Symptoms and Treatment:  

I finally saw my regular doc and she prescribed Zoloft to help with the depression. I continued to live in misery. One day after I had been particularly angry, something inside me knew there was a problem that the docs couldn’t find. Maybe I’d benefit from talking about it. I called and set up an appointment with a therapist as a last resort. With trepidation I walked into that first meeting not knowing if I’d done the pillsright thing. It turned out I had. I saw the person I credit for saving me from more of the terror I had been living through. The first time I went I couldn’t stop talking and crying. I told her how angry I was and all of the other symptoms. The next week when I came for my second appointment she put on some soft music, held my hands and looked into my eyes. “I’m quite sure you have Bipolar Disorder,” she said. I need to have you meet with a Psychiatrist to be sure. Then we’ll develop a plan that’s right for you.

All these thoughts ran through my mind. “I’m not crazy, what is she talking about? I’m 64 years old. You don’t just develop Bipolar Disease this late in life, do you?” The therapist told me I wasn’t crazy but had a treatable disease and once she had the information from the Psychiatrist we would continue our treatment. I made the appointment that day.

The day of the psychiatrist appointment came and I was nervous, but it turned out I didn’t need to be. I saw a woman psychiatrist in my health network and she is just as calm and kind as my therapist. She listened to me and read the therapist’s notes, agreeing with her that I had Bipolar Disorder. I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks. I begged not to be put on Lithium because I’d heard horror stories about it (a lot I knew!). She started me on an anti-seizure medication that works for Bipolar as well, and a low dose of Xanax to sleep. I was already taking the Zoloft my primary doctor had prescribed.

I was so sad. I didn’t want anyone to know I had a Mental Disorder because I thought they’d think I was crazy, less of a person. I felt worthless,like I was barely hanging on.  I couldn’t write, play my music or sew, activities that I’d always hangingonenjoyed. Instead I read a book a day and worked on 1,000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzles, things that gave me peace. I did reach out to two people I knew wouldn’t judge me and would pray that I could accept my diagnosis and follow the regimen I was prescribed. One is a close friend from Mexico and the other was Cherley. Both have held my hand when I thought I couldn’t make it, prayed for me, and assured me that everything would settle down and I’d be all right. I clung to their words and I know how the power of prayer works, so I relaxed a little. Cherley kept in close touch with me, making sure everything was ok and offering her help in any way she could. (I offered to leave WW&W but she told me I had things to write about that people wanted to hear). I cut down to one post a month, temporarily, until I feel less pressure. My other friend, Shilo, and her husband came out of their way for a visit on their way home from Mexico to Canada. It was so special to know I had friends I could count on. Of course, I told my family first. Their reaction? “So what? It’s a treatable disease and you’re our sister, you know how much we love you.” My daughter already knew and was also a source of support but she was going through medical issues of her own at the time.

happy-sun_1After I got over the shock I realized I was happy. There was a name for what was wrong with me. But I wouldn’t tell anyone. I’d just keep quiet about it for now. I began taking the drugs my Psychiatrist prescribed and slowly the panic attacks and depression began to level out. I continued weekly therapy with  my therapist and a visit every six weeks to the psychiatrist for med checks and to see how I was doing. Through my therapy I realized I had been Bipolar since around the age of 17. I could pinpoint exactly when the panic attacks started, as well as the depression. How I ever got through it all until I was 64 shows my strength, or so my therapist told me. I suffered a lot of abuse and through it all I remained strong, being the main breadwinner for my family and a good mother to my children. Through it all I suffered extreme panic attacks and debilitating depressions and I had a deep feeling of unworthiness. I accepted it as part of my life, so never sought help.

Patients like Me:

So what do I do now? I have been seeing the same therapist and psychiatrist since this whole fiasco started, in April of 2013. The meds prescribed have had to be adjusted a bit but they have settled both the highs and lows and I sleep well. Most of my life I was a 4-hour a night sleeper. It feels good to get 6 or 7.sleepingpig My therapist and I developed a plan for me that includes meditation morning and night, and walking every day. She stressed upon me that people with this disorder need to feel safe and that a repeating certain things every day helped with that. I had never meditated before but love it now.  I go to bed at the same time every night and have the same sequence of events to get ready for sleep.  I meditate, take my meds, do a crossword puzzle and read.  All have helped.

The anger rarely shows its evil head any more, I’ve calmed down a lot, and even though depression tries to find a way in I have a plan to head it off before it gets too much to handle. I have a contract with my therapist regarding suicide (which I have never contemplated) and a list of what to do if I’m feeling out of control. She even gave me her personal phone number in case I had to call.  My therapy sessions are down to every two weeks now and my psychiatrist sessions down to every two months.

I took a pro-active stance when I found out my diagnosis. I read just about all I could find on Bipolar Disorder, its symptoms, what sends it out of control and the many great achievers who have had or do have the disease. I’m in good company, I think.

I have a great network of people who care for me. My husband deserves the most credit. He went with me to a few therapy sessions, where he learned to recognize signs of a breakdown in my routine. When I get loud or hyperactive he just puts his hand out and lowers it (meaning, you’re getting out of control). When I’m depressed he lets me cry on his shoulder and tells me everything will be fine and that he loves me very much.ralph

In the last year and a half I’ve learned a lot about myself. I am so much calmer than I have ever been. I can leave the bed unmade or the dishes undone and sit on the deck bird-watching with Ralph. I don’t make spur of the moment, rash decisions. I think about the pros and cons before I decide what the answer is. I’m not angry any more, instead, I’ve embraced the fact that I have Bipolar Disease. It doesn’t define me; it’s a disease I have that is treatable, as long as I follow doctor’s orders. I will never quit taking my meds because I never want to go through another episode like the one I had in Mexico. I am thankful for the concussion, because without it I would never have sought help. I was sure there was something wrong because of the concussion and that’s why I was so agitated and depressed.

loveisThroughout my entire life God has had to knock me on the head to get my attention. This time He did that literally and I couldn’t be happier. Life is sweet because I am learning to accept that people love me. I have learned that the abuse I suffered was wrong and that I am a good and talented person, not a nobody who can barely cook a meal or keep a man happy. That’s all a part of my past, not my future. With my therapist’s help we have addressed the issues that have haunted me for years and I feel a great weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel good!

My Psychiatrist has gone to great lengths to balance my medications so they work for me. She took me up slowly and the meds I’m on now seem to be working. They include an anti-seizure medication, an anti-depressant, and something for sleep. That, along with my therapy sessions has helped me stabilize. My hope is that others will read this and go for help earlier than I did. I have known something was wrong for a long time but I hid it and tried to ignore it. It never went away but I knew it was there, bipwaiting to pounce. What a relief to know that if that happens now I know what to do to get control before either the mania or the depression takes over. I no longer have the Fear of Falling into a deep void from which I’ll never return. I’ve quit worrying about what might happen and instead enjoy every day. When I start to become tense and loud my fabulous husband catches it right away and with the secret signal I realize I’m getting out of hand. When I’m sad I take a day off and do something I like to cheer me up. And, I’m learning not to be ashamed of the disease, but to embrace it. It doesn’t define me, but it’s part of who I am, part of my creativity and personality.

It’s been about a year and a half since I began my medication and therapy for Bipolar Disease. I’ve written nothing, not promoted or marketed my books, and rarely kept in touch with other authors. I just didn’t have the energy. It’s something I’ll have to work on soon. Up until now I’ve only wanted to stay in my own home, go out little, and try to sort through my life and what I do next.

If you’d like to learn more about Bipolar Disease here are some links. I guarantee that you’ll be surprised. I was. My husband has Diabetes. I have Bipolar Disease. Both are treatable, but with you for life. It doesn’t matter to me now. But it’s taken this year and a half to admit to the world that I have Bipolar Disorder. Guess I’m joining the ranks of the artistic and talented. I just read that Demi LaVato is speaking out about Bipolar Disease, with which she was diagnosed recently. Beethoven was thought to be Bipolar. Katherine-Zeta-Jones has Bipolar II. Patty Duke, Mel Gibson, Marilyn Monroe,Edgar Allen Poe, Richard Dreyfuss, and Patricia Cornwall are just a few of people I share my disorder with. Here’s a link to a list of other very creative who are Bipolar. If they can admit it, so can I!

Online Help:

Have you ever had something nagging at you that you ignored?  Was it ever resolved?  If so, you can identify with this post, I think.  There.  I’m officially out.  Now everyone knows.

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

INZARED bookcoverkindle







Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders



Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer








Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)









13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing









13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook


You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews





The Art of Doing Nothing

Jennifer FlatenThis blog by Jennifer Flaten

It was one of those internet lists, I believe it was entitled 10 things your grandparents did better than you…or something similar.

I clicked on the link and read the list; it contained many predictable items like sewing and canning. Sure, I know several people who can and sew, but for a majority of people, they simply figure it is easier to buy it from the store.

One of the last items on the list was actually quite a surprise-Doing nothing.

Huh. Doing nothing. At first, glance you would think doing nothing and being good at it isn’t something you should be bragging about, but then I thought about (yes, while sitting quietly) and determined that I think more people should try this.

The author or would it be compiler of the list said her grandmother was a master of sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and staring out the window. That’s it, not making a dinner list, not trolling the internet, not trying to reach the insurance agent. No, she is just sitting quietly with her thoughts…or perhaps, even, with a blank mind.
Maybe it is because my grandparents raised me, but I too am a master at sitting and doing nothing and I am proud of it.

You can call it woolgathering or daydreaming, but the point is sometimes I sit somewhere doing absolutely nothing. I am not multi-tasking, I am doing one thing…okay, so maybe two things…sitting and thinking.

Yes, there are times when faced with a complex problem I prefer to take a long walk to sort it all out, but on any given day, I just enjoy sitting quietly doing-gasp-nothing.

Part of the reason I don’t mind waiting for kids, appointments whatever even when I don’t have a book or knitting to occupy myself is that I can just sit quietly. I rather enjoy it in fact. Sometimes I am people watching, sometimes I am nature watching, sometimes I am here but not here if you get my drift.

If you haven’t mastered the art of doing nothing I highly recommend you try it.

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Turning the Pages

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallThis blog post by Gayle M. Irwin

As writers and readers, we devour the written word. We soak up the scenes, delve into the dialogue, and scrutinize the characters. And, we turn the pages (if we like the read, that is).

Our lives are like books, and each day is a new page, filled with emotion, sometimes conflict, and certainly crammed with characters, scenes, and conversation. Whether the chapter is filled with joy or with sorrow, we are the protagonists in our own story.

This month has been filled with new chapters in the lives of my husband and me. As we said goodbye to his father, one right next to his hospital bed, the other from 2,000 miles away, tears were shed and joys were remembered. His life, his story, contain pages with scenes of a solid marriage, years of education, work and travel, children playing and growing as well as grandchildren and even a great grandchild. And the pages still turn as his family continues their own story, enhanced by the man who impacted their lives so significantly.

Mary and Gayle_KindersWe all have opportunity to impact lives, whether directly with our families or indirectly through our communities, including the community of readers that we as writers engage. As this post goes live, I am preparing to speak to several groups of students, from Kindergarten through 4th grade. That chapter of my life began more than seven years ago when my blind dog Sage and I visited classrooms and encouraged kids to be courageous and to persevere, inspiring them in their life’s journey through my blind dog’s life story. Today, it’s Mary and I visiting classrooms, showcasing the friendship, loyalty, and caring of pets, in particular, of a therapy animal, hoping to instill compassion and kindness in those youngsters. Standing alongside first Sage and now Mary, new pages of my own life story unfold as I grow not only as an author, but also a speaker.

Like a character in Snow White, I gaze into the mirror of my future with hopes and dreams of becoming a fulltime freelance writer and presenter. As I work toward that goal, I am turning the pages of my life’s book, pondering who I want to impact and how. It’s a scary yet thrilling adventure as I prepare query letters and seek publication with additional magazines, plan the next two books, and look for increased paid speaking opportunities. It’s not an easy journey to freelance, but then again, life itself is not easy. I just pray to live it as well – brave, kind, and loving – as my father-in-law and my own parents, life stories lived with courage, dignity, and love that have impacted their own children and beyond.





Family portrait_Christmas2013

Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, includin Sage’s Big Adventure, Sage Learns to ShareWalking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to articles in Creation Illustrated and Our Town Casper magazine as well as the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers. Her future plans include creating newsletter and brochure content for businesses, writing more magazine articles, and authoring additional books. Learn more at

SageBigAdventureFront-small     SageLearnsShareFront-small     Walking_FrontCover_small       Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final

Writer’s Block? Make some Quick Dough – By Sherry Hartzler


Writer’s block? Do you have little tricks to stay at the computer and focus on writing? Some people light candles and won’t blow them out until they’ve written 2,000 words. This method does not work for me. I forget to blow out the candle and don’t remember until after leaving the house for an errand. Also, I’ve read many articles on writer’s block that suggest that you sit down and just write, don’t bother thinking about it, just write. This suggestion reminds of the scene in The Shining where scary Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) sits in that big hotel on a snowy mountain typing page after page after page of All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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There are times when a writer just can’t find the words to tell a story. The blackboard is blank, the mind shuts down, the fingers are sick and tired of traipsing across the keyboard. It’s frustrating and maddening, downright Sybil-to-the-tenth-personality. At this point, you just gotta change course.

Writing can be compared to slicing open a melon, and then scraping everything out right down to the green rind. It’s difficult and energy draining. Writers are extremely self-critical by nature, because we analyze our characters, and we learn every good and bad trait about them, extremely exhausting. After all, there’s nothing about our characters that doesn’t come directly out of us, is there?

I believe writer’s block is a tiredness that saturates every muscle and cuts into to the marrow of every bone in our bodies. For survival’s sake, we need to swim to the surface and take in a great big breath of normal life that oftentimes gets neglected. By doing this, we might shun our craft for a few days, a week or whatever, and feel extremely vulnerable when an enormous sense of guilt washes over us about abandoning characters mid-sentence, halfway through a plot, or suspended in a pivotal scene.

Call it a vacation from our work, call it lazy, call it whatever you want to call it, but I feel these spaces of not working are important to embrace and make the most of it by doing something totally not connected to writing.

When I get into one of my writing despairs, I find comfort in going back to the basics, and my way of doing this is to make dough, not the kind you spend, but the kind that makes bread.

I love making my own pizzas, and I have a great pizza dough recipe that can ready to use in less than an hour. There is something very healing about taking a tablespoon of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar, then adding it to a ¼ cup of warm water. Within a few minutes it bubbles and gains volume and the smell is like, well, yeasty. It gives me a sense of grounding and balance.

Here is my pizza dough recipe. Enjoy.



2 to 2-1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1 T yeast

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup very warm water (120 deg. To 130 deg.)

1 T olive oil

1 T honey

In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour; the yeast and salt.  In 1-cup measuring cup, combine water, oil and honey; stir into flour mixture until soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto floured surface.  Knead dough, adding some of remaining flour, if necessary, until dough is very elastic – 10 – 15 minutes ( Note: I just use my dough hook – 10 minutes).  Dough should be ready to put into bowl – so easy).

Wash, dry, and lightly oil mixing bowl.  Place dough in oiled bowl, turning to bring oiled side up.  Cover with clean cloth; let dough rise in warm place, away from drafts, until double in size – 30 to 45 minutes.  Shape and bake following whatever recipe you are following.

Note: I make a thin-crust pizza, so I only use half the dough. The remainder of the dough can be put into the fridge for a few days. I usually make bread sticks from the remainder dough. So yummy.

Be creative with the toppings. On this pizza, I topped the sauce with sliced green peppers and chopped ripe olives, along with thin slices of pepperoni.

Sherry Hartzler is the author of Three Moons Over Sedona, Island Passage and Chasing Joe, all available on

Squirrel Stew Anyone?

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

They say write what you know. I agree with that in some ways but I always believe it’s necessary to stretch your wings and try things that are new.

In my second book of the Inzared series, Inzared The Fortune Teller, life was very different from today. My character, Inzared, grew up on a bleak mountain in North Carolina where life was hard and food provided from the dense forests that surrounded the base of the mountain.  Her father was adept at bringing home deer, bear, possums, squirrel, rabbit and any other game  or fowl to make succulent stews or preserve for the cold winter months.


I actually based Inzared on my mother-in-law who regaled me with tales of her hardscrabble life on a farm in the piney woods of North Carolina. She was proud of her heritage and never let anything go to waste.

deeerThis excerpt from Inzared The Fortune Teller happens around 1855-56. Inzared’s son Timmon is now the provider of food for the family although Inzared is a crack shot and can easily bring home a squirrel or two herself. Some of the meat was made into tasty stews and some of it dried into jerky.

Excerpt from Inzared The Fortune Teller ©L.Leander

With Timmon gone and the girl asleep, I gathered firewood. Above me I heard the sparrow’s sweet song and a couple of squirrels as they chattered to each other across the squirreltrees. I moved quietly so as not to disturb the other creatures that lived in the forest. Spotted a black snake as it wound its way across a wet path of brown leaves, in search of somethin’ to eat, I supposed. Farther along I caught a glimpse of a mother whitetail deer as she nursed her baby fawn. She looked up in alarm, but I stood still and she relaxed as she nuzzled her baby. Timmon had his bow and arrows and I knew he’d look for small game, squirrels and rabbits with which I would make tasty stews and dried jerky for our travels. Gaji, I thought as I let myself wonder about the strange girl who had so suddenly appeared in our camp. Then I chuckled as I realized that I was also Gaji, but I’d lived with Gypsies so long I thought like them. Wandered back to the fire with an armload of dry kindlin’ and thought about what I should do.

With an experienced self-proclaimed “hillbilly” for a mother-in-law I’ve eaten and made these dishes. It was this knowledge that campfire2helped me write some of the scenes in my book. I’ve canned, preserved, dried, and smoked meat, made sauerkraut in large crocks, churned my butter, made head cheese and am an excellent cook on either a wood stove or outdoor campfire. In another post I’ll tell you about my pies on the campfire.



Here are a couple of links if you’d like to check them out. One is for the squirrel stew.

similar to what I made and the other is a you tube video about making jerky and cooking whole squirrels over an open fire.

And just for kicks, here’s a you tube link to Merle Haggard’s Rainbow Stew.

Have you ever had squirrel stew?  Would you try it?  I’d love to hear your answers!


Books by L.Leander:

INZARED Book Cover_1Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders (Book 1)





Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer


InzaredTheFortuneTeller_V2Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)





Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book 2) Video Trailer


13ext13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing






13marketingtipscover13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook






You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page