The biggest item in my Bucket List is done. Since the first time I read a romance book, I have had the desire to write a historical romance story about Vikings. I have always been fascinated by this culture that burst upon the world in the 800's. Their tenacity to survive, their code of honor and impact on the world, created a respect that still resonates with me.
The original story and characters that I have lived with for so many years, surprised me when I finally had the time to sit down and write. They demanded that their parents, who the Prologue was built around, have their own story told first. I'm not sure you start a series with the last story first, but that's what happened, This is the beginning of actually five stories now. Each one related, but each one different.
So the last book is written. But the first took me far longer to produce than I had anticipated. Real life, with real death, interrupted the process. Of course after the loss of a spouse your whole life changes. Then there is the grief to deal with. In the end, these characters could not be silent anymore and Norse Hearts is now finished.
You can find out more details on this book on the website page marked "Norse Hearts". Unlike the characters in my first book, Windswept Hearts, you will find Serphina and Einar to be individuals who are hard-headed and opinionated. They were a delight to write about and I hope they entertain you as well as they did me.
So I invited you to get a taste, feel and glimpse of a time long ago as you entered the world of the Vikings.
It's been a year since the day I looked at Darrell's legs and he told me he was having bloody stool again. I remember the fear coursing through me as I told him he was going to the Doctor, period. He had fallen a month before, gotten an upper respiratory and just seemed to not be getting any better. Now his legs were grotesquely swollen and my fear that he had fractured a vein and bled out when he fell came to the forefront.
The doctor confirmed my fear. "Mr. Gabel, you need to go to the ER now." An half hour later we were admitted and the long vigil began. As I watched the pinched faces in the ER's bustling halls I knew I had the same look of uncertainty. I didn't even think about cancer. Even though we'd been through hospitalizations before, this felt different. I couldn't put my finger on the nagging feeling.
Finally, late at night, they came back with the result of the MRI. He had a large tumor on one kidney. They doubted it had been working for awhile. I dug in. I knew the rote. I called the prayer chain. I informed family. I started the fight once again.
This was one of those rare hospital times I could not stay with him through the night. The rooms were cramped and for the first time ever he had a room mate. So I decided to go home and grab a couple of hours of sleep. As soon as I stepped into the door of our little trailer the worst panic attack ever hit me. My mind rabbit-holed through all the different scenarios. Suddenly, unbidden, the though came if he didn't make it I could never come back to Yuma, or this trailer.
I laid down, but immediately couldn't get breath in. So I sat up, finding the religious channels, looking f or a calming word or prayer. Soon peace stole over me, and I got a few hours of sleep. I had no idea that Darrell would be gone in a short six months.
This month there are many firsts. The first time I remembered March 3, 2015 and the hospital visit that would change my course. It is the six month mark on March 6, 2016, since he has left me. On March 12, we would have been celebrating our first date, 34 years before. It looms as a hard month.
But so far today, it has been relatively calm. I had moments of flashbacks. Wondering if it couldn't have been different. Wishing it had. There are times of loneliness, but I've learned to reach out and call, visit or do something with someone. A few tears slipped as I remember what I have learned in the last six months.
Funny, I knew it while we lived life together. I knew he loved me. But in the long six months since he passed, I have discovered just how much, as I reviewed all those little moments. Now his memory is just a soft pang, not the jagged edge of lighting to my soul. I came back to Yuma much to my surprise. All of the time we spent here is now a gentle balm to my mind, not the scary pain I thought it would be.
There are still dark moments, but they are beginning to lessen. My only nagging thought is wondering what I should do now. Where is my focus. What is my job? Being Darrell's wife was a full time job. Suddenly I have all that time to myself that I used to whine about wanting. I'm surprised to find it is highly over-rated.
Now, I can relate to the Velveteen Rabbit. I've lost most of my fuzz, my figure is lumpy. My hair flops uncut, but the grandkids don't seem to mind. They continue to seek out hugs. I truly know Darrell loved me dearly, so much he wore off a lot of fuzz. In being loved, I know that I am loved. And that is enough for now.
When I decided to follow my passion of writing I found it was easy. I'd waited all my life to be free of responsibilities so I could sit down and write all the stories stored in my head. Even now the words flow easily. But after the first book was published and printed I found something about the process I was inept at. You'd think, for a retired businesswoman who has been doing advertising all of her life, promoting a book would have been the easy part.
Up to this point, I knew how to sell a product, but I found it is different selling a book. You are not just selling a story, you are having to promote yourself as well. Suddenly I was having to blog, Facebook, Twitter and it couldn't just be about the book. It had to be to something about me as well.
For an intensely private person this is the hardest thing I've ever done. Why anyone would want to know why I write, who I write about, what inspires my stories, or even what my favorite color is, has been, well, embarrassing. It is so much easier to hide behind a product and extol its virtues rather than to crow about my own, especially since I'm short on virtue.
There is nothing interesting or exciting about me outside of an overactive imagination. I suppose to some my eclectic background of work related accomplishments might seem interesting. From working in the medical field, to being a movie theatre owner, involvement in the National Association of Theatre Owners, a slight stint in convention planning, being an inspirational speaker, some horse show chairing, and travels at home and abroad, there might be something of interest. Of course there are all of my odd little hobbies as well such as crocheting, rabbit showing, gardening, horse showing, photography and reading,
I am simply a jack of all trades, yet master of none. My deepest passion is writing. I suppose my Attention Deficit plays a role in all of the areas of study I've done. An avid curiosity about the world around me drives me to learn as much as I can about my interests. All of this makes for a plethora of material to write about.
So if there is anything that is remotely interesting in that mess above, you are more than welcome to ask questions, Meanwhile, I think I will get back to writing.
I admit it. The Lone Ranger was my hero as a child. Of course, being horse-crazy, I also have to admit it was more about the horse than it was the Lone Ranger!
After viewing the new Disney movie adaptation of this icon, I decided to do some research and found something interesting. I have copied the Wikipedia description below.
"As generally depicted, the Lone Ranger conducts himself by a strict moral code put in place by Fran Striker and George W. Trendle at the inception of the character. Actors Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels both took their positions as role models to children very seriously and tried their best to live by this creed. It reads:
What I found most fascinating about it all was the fact that many of these ideals were imprinted upon my childhood self. Being around 6-8 years of age when I watched this series (TV was a great babysitter back then) I found that even now many of these core values are ones I live by. It was quite an enlightenment since all of this time all I really remembered out of the series were the fancy tricks that Silver could do.
Though I knew going in that the new movie would be far removed from the original series, (we continually think we can improve on things in this day and age) I found it entertaining. Who can not appreciate Johnny Depp's acting skills? Though I think it would have better served the movie if the title would have been Tonto and the Lone Ranger! Still it had it's moments and the soundtrack is phenomenal. There was still a hint of the original creed and sound good versus evil guidelines.
Overall it raised in me not only the realization that young children are very impressionable but sadly how Hollywood has lost sight of just how much they impact our future generations. It seems to me for the sake of 'art' and political agendas they have lost the simple morals of life. Watch any popular cartoons today and observe what the core values are that are being taught.
We, as writers, are no less responsible for what we produce as well. Will we go with the latest fad to make a quick buck or will our values and morals be important enough to pass on to future generations?
I remember the first 'story' I ever told. It was about the monster in my bedroom. It seemed to me my parents didn't take my nightmares seriously so I created a fabulous story about this creature that grew out of the patterns on the wallpaper. I felt this would cement my reality with proof. My parents decided I was seeking attention.
Through the years though, I just found ordinary life boring. I would watch people in stores and think up a tale to fill in around their conversations. I believed in every imaginary holiday figure and most of all, I believed in the magic of nature. Tiny fairies lived everywhere. I loved Disneyland and it seemed more real to me than everyday life. My parent and teachers labeled me a dreamer and worked hard to bring me into reality. I would escape their grasp through my new found freedom of reading.
A childhood coping mechanism became burying myself in the world of books when I wasn't creating stories myself. When the parents struggled with their marriage or the stress of raising four kids, you could find me draped in the boughs of the maple tree in our front yard adventuring with hobbits or warping through space.
As I got older, I began to get real creative with stories to get out of being disciplined. I reasoned since I was going to get into trouble anyway, the gamble of telling a lie convincingly enough to be spared was worth it. I remember once challenging the nun who was my teacher at the time, on what the difference between lies and fiction actually was. Sternly she lectured me but it didn't help define the boundaries between the two.
I understand now it is simply the difference between a moral right and wrong and imagination. That doesn't mean I'm any less apt to find stories in everything around me. Or hunger to buffer the sorrows and difficulties of this world through a moment lost in the happiness of an imaginary world where one lives without such trifles as paying the bills or growing old. I'm not saying the world we live in isn't filled with miracles, beauty and bountiful joys, just that having to do laundry, worry about the rent, the health of my loved ones, etc, can't be a little overwhelming at times.
The world of imagination fuels my belief that there is something more to the human spirit and there is a life more beautiful beyond this one. Some may think I'm lying to myself to believe this, but I would argue better to have fiction in my life than no hope at all. Meanwhile, I will continue to tell stories to my grandchildren and fill their heads with nonsense.
Wanting to share my love of fiction I now fuel my passion by writing my own stories. I want to share the treat of escaping worldly troubles every now and then. As you read my humble outpouring of imagination, I hope you can join with me and immerse yourself in my world.
I remember sitting and staring at the computer screen, feeling adrift and empty. The last child had left and all I had to show for twenty years of raising kids were walls covered in smiling faces. Then it hit me, I could do anything I wanted to now!
Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I didn't know what to do first. Recalling dreams from younger years, I decided to look into the long denied passion of writing.
I took courses, I studied, I went on a hunt for all those scribbled notes on envelopes, napkins, grocery lists, and paper. I went back to studying the Viking age that had so fascinated me and given me my first story idea. My kids called and never found me home. They began to worry about my sudden lack of care, maybe even feeling neglected for the first time in their lives.
I think they thought I'd lost it. One commented I was going through a second childhood. To me it was the beginning of my Renaissance of Creative Talent. They looked askance at my reading material littering the table. I remember fondly the phone call I got one night from my youngest daughter.
"Hello Mom? Where are you?"
"I'm out having drinks with my friends."
"But Mom! You don't drink! You're suppose to be home!"
"I have friends now, and we are having drinks before dinner if you must know. I will call you when I get home."
When they did find me home I was staring at a computer screen and typing away. When they asked, and I told them I was writing a book, they shook their heads.
Even though the first book I wrote was not about the Vikings, I wrote about what I knew best, the contemporary West and love. My second book was about a character of a horse I own. Now... I am finally writing the book of my dreams, a historical Viking love story.
So I''ve learn to ride horses, show horses, play the piano, run a convention, crochet, travel and this is only the beginning of my "Empty Nest Bucket List." Meanwhile the kids are shaking their heads wondering where the responsible mother they had for twenty years has disappeared to!
There once was a little old woman who lived on my block when I was a child. She really was little, short and wizened. Her front yard was her life. Beautiful roses, and other various colorful posey's lined the fence.
During freedom-filled days of my summer childhood, I watched her work on those flower-children of hers. I wondered how she could be surrounded by beauty, yet be so mean. Every time a neighborhood child would ride their bikes, or walk by her front yard, she would yell and shake her fist. On several occasions she actually threw the limp weeds she had just pulled at them.
Of course she had reason too. We were snots. Laughing we would taunt her verbally. I don't remember the words, but I certainly remember the reason. Evil as this sounds, I did it belong. Somewhere in a dark corner of my soul, I relished creating crafty words to cause pain. Even after lectures and one spanking, I was drawn to help in the torture of this woman.
I made up excuses. She was mean, she was crazy, and she was old. My associates and I, would huddle at the end of the street comparing stories, bolstering each other's confidence in what we were doing. Until the day came she shocked me.
One little girl in our group was just learning how to ride her bike and went off the curb in front of the old woman's house, right into the path of a car. I watched in horror as the impact threw her into the air and she landed with a horrific thud in the street. This of course was before the days of cell phones. That old woman moved with a speed that I had no idea she had. She knelt by the side of the little girl, crooning soothing words, gentle hands checking her injuries, then barking directions to the distraught driver of the car to go into her house and call an ambulance.
She cradled the crying child until the ambulance arrived. I would learn later she was a retired nurse. Through it all she gave love and comfort to a child that just moments before had been taunting her. I would like to say there was a fairytale ending, but real life doesn't work that way. I did learn a Life Lesson though and can say it changed me.
No longer did I join my friends in taunting her. It was the first time I understood the pain suffered on both sides by words. I recognized that we had created hatred that she fed into. But at her core, in time of need, her caring soul won out over her injured spirit. It was the first time I learned how to walk down the middle. Of course as I withdrew and no longer joined into the catcalls, I lost the comradeship of my friends. They called me a goody-two-shoes and eventually I rode my bike by myself.
It's hard not to join in, to want to belong. It is easier to take sides, instead of trying to understand both sides of an issue. I don't always manage to do it. I still slip onto one side or the other, until I once again see the pain that comes out of it all. It is hard to walk alone sometimes, but much easier to sleep at night.
So I suppose there would be those who would argue that an Author's best friend would be coffe. Or music. Or their beta readers, etc.
I would have to say that as an Author, my best friends are my husband, my editor and my publisher.
The husband is a no-brainer. He has to put up with my vacant stares. Or the pounding away furiously on the computer and mumbling, "Yeah" to his every question, never really hearing what he is asking. You have to feel sorry for him as he listens to every rewrite, change and plot problem there is. He has learned to make the best coffee in the world and hand it to me when I'm at my most stressed. But you may wonder about the editor and publisher.
My editor is a great blessing. In publishing houses a manuscript is gone over once for plot holes, then again for grammar, and one more time for any changes. They have three separate editors for this process. I have one and she does all of this!
When I first went through the process with her I thought it was going to be an easy four weeks. I just knew I only needed the grammar and sentence structure. Much to my astonishment and naivete, I had to rewrite a lot of scenes and work on plot first. What I imagined a four week walk-in-the-park turned into four months of learning. When I was done, I was amazed at the improved story flow she had created. I'm still of the opinion she has the Chicago Manual of Style memorized.
In my second book, it was a whole different scene as I was attempting to write non-fiction. Again she patiently helped me fix and patch. Do I always appreciate her? No. There are times in the flurry of rewrites I must say it's like having a tooth pulled. You are not feeling warm and fuzzy towards the dentist, but later when the pain is gone, you are grateful to them. She has become one of my best friends. I can't imagine writing anything without her stalwart editing and witty humor.
Then there is the publisher. This is a man with nerves of steel or a lot of empty time on his hands. Maybe it's both. All I know is he takes a very chopped manuscript and ferrets out all of the extra hard returns, mysterious spacing, and extra commas, periods and other Word anomalies that would keep the book from being accepted at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. He is a technological wonder to me.
He braves the world of tech speak and formatting glitches to produce a flawless typeset that breezes easily through Createspace and makes into a gorgeous layout in printed copy. If that isn't enough, he also does cover art! In my last project he took twenty-two photos of every type, file and size and created a work of art out of them.
Without my friends my attempts at being an Indy Author would fail. You too can have professional friends. I share! Contact them so you can see your work of art in print as well.
Chryse Wymer - Editor Extraordinaire - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Carufel - Richter Publishing - email@example.com
Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends. Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter. At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years.
In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published. That year she wrote 12 books. In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born. In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and began the process of taking on other authors in other genres.
In 2012 Bernadette Marie found herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes and Amazon to name a few. Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.
Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events. She is also an accomplished martial artist who will earn her conditional second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do in October 2012. An avid reader, she enjoys most, the works of Nora Roberts, Karen White, Megan Hart, to name a few. She loves to meet readers who enjoy reading contemporary romances and she always promises Happily Ever After.
@writesromance on Twitter
Imagine my surprise, when the book was done, edited and published, to find that now I had to learn how to navigate the foreign world of digital advertising. I'm not a tekkie. I know the world of television, hand written notes, books on paper and a time when an electric typewriter was considered a modern marvel.
So to learn how to Blog, FaceBook, Twitter and navigate Goodreads was something of culture shock to me. For a while, I just surfed. Flitting around, reading, and observing. Then a tentative account here or there and before I knew it, I was trekking across cyberspace.
I knew I would need to belong to groups, share and get to know people. Hard to do when I prized privacy so much, but the first thing to go when I chose become an author, was my privacy! The reality of it finally hit me. In this day and age of digital information none of us have privacy anymore. Not when we become bits of data for habits recorded.
I made many friends during my site visits. There are still wonderful people in this world, willing to help those of us who get lost in cyberspace. You would not be reading this blog on this beautiful site if not for the talents of Lisa Logue. I would never have been able to manage putting a manuscript up on Smashwords or Create Space if not for the talents of Rick Carufel.
There have been so many others who have given me advice and direction, I would like to thank you all. Without the community I would never have survived the badlands of cyberspace.