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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Addition to 2014 Virtual Blog Tour - Next Stop Stamford,CT

I told everyone I was looking for two more people to carry on this awesome tour and I found one. Here is her bio and links and I hope you will all enjoy her as much as I do. Her name is
Lorena Bathey and she is also an author.





Lorena Bathey attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga graduating with a degree in English. Today Lorena has written several novels, Beatrice Munson, House on Plunkett Street, The XCoaster, and Meeting Ms. Monroe. She is currently working on four novels, three of which are historical fiction. Find her at www.LorenaBBooks.com

My blog link is :  http://lorenabathey.wordpress.com/


Lorena Bathey
Publisher/Author


So please go over and visit her. I am sure we will all learn a lot from her. Thank you very much Lorena for carrying on this tour for me. 

Until the next time I have to correct something I wrote in my first blog post. My radio show Tales from the Pages for Red River Radio is on July 31st and not on July 24th. I am on the 4th Thursday of each month. Being away so long I kind of forgot that. Lorena will be on that show and I have a show lined up for August 28th and September too. So I guess I'm really back guys. 

I hope to be posting a little more frequently now that I'm feeling a little better. Hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather. Happy Summer too!!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Welcome to 2014 Virtual Blog Tour - This Stop Stamford, CT

After over a month I am a little better and ready to start blogging again. The loss of my husband will forever be in my heart, however, I'm a writer and I need to continue to write. Anyone who reads my blog knows all about me, but for those who don't know me my Profile is right here. I am a retired teacher and an author of one published novel for YA, IF I COULD BE LIKE JENNIFER TAYLOR, found at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and one soon to be published YA novel, AFTER. I also write a bit of poetry.

I was asked by Pearl Ketover Prilik to participate in the 2014 Virtual Blog Tour and so I am doing that now. First a little about me and where I am living. I am living right next to the water in Stamford, CT. I love being able to walk along the boardwalk where I live and see the water and the birds that are living wild here. A few years ago I photographed the swan mother and her babies. I also love seeing the egrets that live here too. We have plenty of ducks and lots of geese as well. There are little inlets all over where I live and the ducks and geese love to swim there. The apartment complex keeps the grounds and there is a path by the preserve where bunnies sometimes come to peek out to see if it's safe for them. The boats in the marina create a picturesque setting when I look from my terrace. We also have a pool for the apartments and though I haven't used it very much I plan to get out there as soon as I can. 
                                           Swan mother leaving her nest in the rushes with her
                                           swanlings.

                                          The view from the boardwalk

                                            View of Stamford Harbor
                                               
                                                               Great Egret

We didn't always live here. We were forced to move because of a fire in an apartment next door to ours in a two family duplex. We suffered a lot of smoke damage and the other apartment was completely gutted killing two of our neighbors. I wrote a blog post about this event called Time to End the Curse of 2009.We were put up in a hotel and then we wound up staying there for over a month until we found this place in another city from where we had lived. In fact it was in another state. We had always lived in New York, so moving to Connecticut was a very big step for us.

Now it's time to thank the person who asked me on this tour, (Dr) Pearl Ketover Prilik. Her bio follows, but it doesn't say anything about how talented and warm hearted she is. She pretty much brought all of us together and started and finished two poetry anthologies. She is modest and her poetry is enchanting. 






Dr.) Pearl Ketover Prilik is a writer/psychoanalyst living on the South Shore of LI with her husband and Oliver, a human -in -disguise as a cat.  She has had three non-fiction books published, was editor of a post-doc psychoanalytic newsletter and editor/contributor of two poetry anthologies –She has been delighted to have poetry and micro-fiction published in a number of online and print literary journals and is currently and still successfully avoiding editing two completed novels. Although she is known alternately as pkp, Dr. Pearl, drpkp and a few other alias she claims to have committed no crime outside the purview of the grammatical.


The next part of this Virtual Blog Tour is to answer 4 questions. Here are my answers:


1.                What am I currently working on?
                  Currently I am in the middle of editing my upcoming novel, AFTER and I am in the second round of edits for this. I announced this novel as WHEN MY LIFE CHANGED, but after working on it for awhile and suggestions from my kids I decided to change the title. This novel as did my last one, took a great deal of time to be published. So I am very happy it will finally be out there. I think people who read my first book will find this one very different. It is about a fifteen year old girl whose father calls one night while having a heart attack. He goes on to need bypass surgery and this changes her entire life in one moment. It has a love story and of course a mean girl too.

                 Also I have another novel called FOOTSTEPS ON THE SAND, which is still a WIP. I wrote the entire novel and then after it was critiqued decided to add a ghost to it. So I am doing that after I finish my editing.
2.               How does my work differ from others of its genre?
           I think my work differs from others because I write about social issues in a very realistic way. I incorporate my own life experiences in a fictional way using characters that are not at all like myself.

         In my poetry I also use my own life experiences, but usually I am inspired by events that cause me to need to write. With poetry the words come easily and flow, but mostly my work tends to be realistic too.  
3.               Why do I write/create what I do?
   I never know what is coming out of my head when I start to write. Sometimes it’s poetry and sometimes it’s the beginning of a story. I never know what the character might be until I write it. So I have written in several genres including short stories and even flash stories a couple of times. Lately since participating in the Poetic Asides challenges I tend to write from a prompt for poetry. I have written flash stories for challenges in newsletters too and several of them have been published.
   
4.               How does my writing/creating process work?
         As I mentioned before I get the idea for a story and I start to write. However, this process of getting an idea happens when I have a full sentence or phrase in the case of poetry, in my head. Then I write that down and the writing goes from there. I don’t usually plot anything because the story moves itself. Once I have a character I do develop that character by doing a character wheel to find out all I can about him or her. This requires intense scrutiny of their environment, likes and dislikes and even what they might have in their closet. I also find out about their parents or friends and create these characters as well. This usually happens after the initial paragraph or two is on there. Then I decide what motivates this character the most and the story moves from there. I don’t know the ending yet, because that will happen as I write the story. It’s more like I and the characters melt together and I’m writing as they are in each scene. If I have a narrator this helps to move the story along too. Writing mostly for YA my stories are in first person, so it’s like I am constantly thinking what will I do now. The dialogue comes from the situations as if I were conversing with the characters and it’s important to know the voice of your character as well. Each character will approach each other very differently and so you need to keep continuity with them. However, this is not conscious for me and usually I just go with the flow and revise afterward.

That brings me to the plotting part. After I have written maybe a half of the novel I usually wind up needing to focus on plot. It’s important to have the character dealing with lots of problems so the story can move forward. I try to go by the way I was taught. That is your character needs to have three problems to solve and then you move to the climax where it seems all is lost and your character is doomed. So I have to go back and check to see if I have done all this. Once this is settled and all of the plots are done including the ones for the secondary characters, I can continue the story and move to the end. As I said I don’t know the end of my story when I start, because I don’t know how the characters will interact and figure out how to solve the problems they face. However, I always stop when I think it’s the end and that works. I know this sounds very haphazard and there are writers who make outlines and plot beforehand and know their endings, but that is not how I write. It makes for a very dynamic experience for me while I’m writing and I enjoy that.

Then there’s the revisions, which come after I have done the first draft. I put it away for at least a month so I can pretty much forget about it. Then I look at it and decide if it’s worth revising. If I like it, which happens for me all the time, I start rereading and rewriting as I go. I might cut words or even at one time I cut a character. Sometimes I find that an action a character did doesn’t work or maybe the dialogue needs changing. After I have done all this I show it to someone who I trust. Usually it’s another writer I know, but I have used critique groups too in the past. Now I give it to my daughter who is my best critic. She tells me the truth and I use what she says to help me.

When I am completely happy with what I have written I send it to my publisher and both times it has been accepted for publication.

For poetry I don’t go through the same process. With most poems I write them and post them almost immediately. For publication I do go back and check and rewrite a little, but from years of writing poetry I tend to get out what I want to say immediately.



Now for the people I have invited. The first one is someone I have known for a long time. She is a poet and familiar to most of us who know her from Poetic Asides. She is:


                                   CLAUDETTE YOUNG




Claudette J. Young began writing seriously in 2008 and continues to write in multiple genres. She strives to learn something new each day—a new poetry form, new writing technique, new foreign word, or whatever strikes her fancy. Her primary genres are poetry, science fiction/fantasy, flash fiction, children’s literature, women’s fiction, along with creative non-fiction, essay, and memoir. She tries to cover all of her bases by writing for audiences that range from young children to senior citizens.


Claudette has been published in numerous online publications for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, as well as print magazines and two international poetry anthologies. She continues to hone her craft by working on multiple projects, including book-length ones. Her regular work can be viewed on her collaborative website and blogs at:            http://www.facebook.com/l/PAQHiFTekAQGPt_zJEj0PFmcq0shCTu_f1YDpGzIUhva1zA/2voices1song.com/ 

as well as 
http://www.facebook.com/l/hAQEx_h3MAQHAIE9cOVPjp1oRe5bzd4N4FCtJQvpOWhC-jA/www.claudettejyoung.com/

Unfortunately at this time I was unable to find two more people and I will try to add them if I do find them. Meanwhile please enjoy Claudette's blog and please leave a comment here and on her blog. Also please visit Pearl's blog too. You will find all the poetry on each of these blogs very magical. Enjoy!!!

Until the next time, thanks to all of you who sent me prayers and hugs and good thoughts during my time of mourning. I am still very sad a lot of the time, but as I said in the beginning we are all trying to move through this.

On July 24th I am going to reinaugurate my monthly show on Red River Radio. I will remind all of you about this on my Facebook page and Twitter. Meanwhile, please visit our new Facebook page:

Red River Radio Network

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

For Hal on His Birthday


If you are a close friend of mine you know that I lost my husband on May 2. He passed away from heart failure. His heart just stopped. For those of you following my blog this year you know too that he had pneumonia six times in four months and he kept getting weaker. The doctors did all they could to save him, but he wasn't able to rally. I have been in mourning all this time and I would not be posting now if not for the fact that today was his birthday and it was my usual custom to write him a birthday poem. So here it is:

Birthday Cake in Heaven - For Hal on what would have been his birthday


Today was your birthday
and you were not here to
celebrate
though if you had been here
you would probably have said
no I don’t want cake for you
were not one for birthdays
It was always I who splurged
and went big on birthdays
decorating your chair and 
having a birthday morning
with presents and soft kisses
with your favorite breakfast
food in front of you
and as you ate your eggs
and read your cards we waited
for your smile for that was our
goal when we were around you
That smile healed all and we 
cherished it when it came
and at night the usual cake 
with the Happy Birthday words
and again your smile as you
accepted a piece and we knew
although you protested your
smile showed how much it
mattered to you
Now I wonder, are you having
birthday cake in heaven?
Are you making friends or
did you meet your parents
and is your mother smiling at
you as you shovel in the last
bite of cake?


copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu



I want to thank anyone who posted anything to help me get through those horrible first days. Specifically, Pearl Ketover Prilik who started a page called Virtual Shiva for Harold Ehrentreu. There I found beautiful photos of food and places and poems and words of sympathy. People came and virtually sat with me and held my hand over the internet. There are no words to express how comforting this was. I met some new people who were generous and sweet. 

There is a deep hole of sadness inside me and I imagine it will remain there for a long time, but I am starting to get back into the world again. My husband wanted us to start living life as soon as possible. He was a confirmed atheist and didn't believe in organized religion at all. He lived life on his own terms and we hope to bring his ashes to the sea when the weather permits. 

I don't know when I will post again, but until the next time, I hope you are all enjoying the spring weather. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last Post for April Poem A Day - Days 26, 27, 28, 29, 30!!!


Sorry for the lateness of all this, but my husband's health took a big turn for the worse. He needed to be moved to the ICU and also needed a bronchoscopy. They did that today, but they needed to put him on a respirator for awhile. We are hopeful this will help his lung to reinflate. However, we did go to the hospital, but he is now resting comfortably. So I decided to catch up on my writing. It helps me to write a lot!!!

This is the last day for April Poem A Day. My next blog will probably be going back to talking about writing and authors interviews. 

I am going to post all the days left in this blog:

April 26, 2014
Prompt: Write a poem about Water

Water

The rain pours
over all and I 
begin to think
of the water
pooling on the
ground

Bringer of life
We grow in it
in the womb
and use it to
replenish our
own liquid.

It can be a helper
or a monster
bringing floods with
deluging rains
or swirling in waves
as a tsunami

Or it can be 
a mirrored surface
where you can gaze
and dream and feel
peace

We bathe in it
and cleanse our
skins and we wash
our clothes in it
water splashing in 
circles

Water is everything
to us and we are
part of it 
We live in each other
Needing and being needed
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu


April 27, 2014
Prompt: Write a poem about Monsters


Monsters

When I was a girl there
were movies with monsters
playing on Saturdays in huge
theaters where the smell of
popcorn hit your nostrils as
you walked into the lobbies

But I didn't watch those
for I had my own fears
of monsters hiding in
my closet each night
waiting for me to open
and they would jump 
out to get me

So my friends would go
and tell me they had to
hide their eyes when the
monsters like Godzilla, 
came on the screen
I thought I would never
see these horror movies,
including the ones with 
zombies and vampires,
but somehow they found
me

At summer camp the night
movies with their scratchy
sounds filled the canvas
pull down screen with the
images I most wanted to
never see with the sounds
roaring over me and I a
captive audience needed
to stay and watch 

Years later I became
desensitized to monsters
of all kinds with Mystery Science 
Theater and suddenly I saw
how phony these monsters
were. I could see the craziness
of these movies without feeling
fear and found the fun that my
friends so long ago had known

Of course, by that time
I no longer believed monsters
lived in closets and knew they
really lived in the real world
where I could not hide from
them and had to pray they
would not visit me
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu


April 28, 2014
Prompt: Write about being Settled

A Life Unsettled

I thought my life was settled
A smooth sailing until the end
where eventually all would fade
and fly away, but into this
tranquil scene arrived a storm

No one realized how strong
this storm was 
Yet it continued to batter
and smash up his body
Unyielding and relentless
it continued to destroy

Until now the body is
weak and fighting, but
needs life support
for its breath

Nothing is settled
yet and we are in
limbo waiting for 
one small body
part to be healed
and go back to
its job of holding
air
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu


April 29, 2014
Prompt: Write a Two for Tuesday poem either real of magical or in the style of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


Magic Universe

I would weave you
a cloak of golden
threads to cover
your shoulders
and heal your
wounds and you
would walk with
your old strength
beyond the hospital
doors and into a 
world where we
were floating in
an azure sky 
flying and flitting
never setting down

And that golden cloak
woven with the threads
of healing blossoms
colored with the whims
of all dreams
would repel all sickness
and you would be whole
again
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu


Cold Reality

The news is harsh
Doctors deliver it in
measured tones as
if they knew more 
than they are saying
but they hold onto
some truths

Nurses are the 
buffers who slip
in and out ministering
to the patient without
judgement 
They keep me whole
for somehow I feel 
like an undone jigsaw
with pieces going
every which way
Not even able to find
the corners so I 
can begin to put
them back together
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu



April 30, 2014
Prompt: Write a poem to Call it a Day

Ode to April

Don't want to call it a day
for April has been a 
resurgence of poems
and a refill for my
soul as each day
brought its prompt
I charged into the
words as they came
to me sharing all I 
wrote for friends 
and yet to be friends
in a secure bubble
of acceptance and
friendly discussion
Never thinking for
a minute that this
wasn't ready for 
all to read, though
some might not have
been honed as well
due to the hastiness
in which they were 
poemed
But thank you for the
outlet for I feel without
it I might have dissolved
into a gooey mess and
sat alone wondering
how long I could take
this endless illness in
my husband and feeling
sorry for myself like a 
petulant teen
With my words flowing onto 
the screen my mind 
unleashed and all went into
my poems a melange of
pain and discovery, frustration
and rare moments when 
I remembered the before times
when life was ebullient and 
effortless
When he was a young
dashing man and I a 
mere slip of a girl and
we were enclosed in
each other's arms
I am not ready to call it 
a day to write a poem
a day for it soothes me
like a warm cup of tea
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu


Until the next time thank you again to all who have tweeted and retweeted my poems. I am so happy you found value in them. As you can see in my last poem I am not ready to call it a day and may continue to write and post more occasionally. Meanwhile I am going to copy all these April poems to the Poetry section of this blog. If you missed any you can find them there.:) 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 24 of April Poem A Day!!!


The prompt for today inspired me to write about the news. 

April 24, 2014
Prompt: Title your poem Tell It To..... and write a poem to match the title.

Tell It To The News
Tell it to the man who
blows hot air filled with
nonsense all over my
TV screen and to the
power hungry leaders
who must attack their
own people to feel good
Tell it to the endless stream
of breaking news that
floats underneath in waves
as we try to digest ten
things at once
Tell it to the useless rolls
of looped action played
over and over again until
you have memorized the
actions even if they are
violent or ridiculous
Tell it to the accident victims
who only wanted to have
a good time, but instead
they are now front and center
battered and bruised featured
as a story while they are
carted off to the ER
Tell it to the abused people
whose lives are not
showcased for all to see
but instead must live with
the chaos of war in a place
where news has deserted it
Tell it to my overflowing
brain inured to explosions
and gun fire from seeing them
all too many times in living
color on the screen and
wondering why when all
prefer no guns we have
a place in our country
where guns rule
Tell it to the horror of loss
we have seen too many
times on the faces of
parents whose children
were caught in the
nonsense of gun fire
and whose melting faces
will be immortalized on
the screen
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time, thank you to Vicki Batman and H. K. Carlton for tweeting about this blog from the beginning. Also a big shout out to Madeleine McLaughlin, Melanie King, Jenna Storm, and Lea Barrymire and Ann Swann for their tweets too!!! You have made me very happy!!! 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 22 and Day 23 of April Poem A Day!!



I am a day late posting this, because I forgot to do it last night. So I am posting two days today.  
Yesterday's prompt was for Two for Tuesday and so I did write two poems. Here they are for yesterday:

April 22, 2014
Prompt: Write a pessimistic and /or optimistic poem

Hope
Each day I fill up my hope
balloon for the journey
and we travel along the
corridors of silent walls
where it leaks slowly
and we settle in
hospital rooms never
seeing how the leak
increases and by the
end of the day it is
only a withered remnant
I must take home and
fill up again
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu

The next poem could be considered optimistic, but I wrote it because it was Earth Day yesterday:

Saving the Earth
The Earth will be saved
only if we care enough
about it to stop the
destructive ways we
have been showing
towards her
Her green meadows
will thrive with wildflowers
and the songs of birds
while the sun will bathe
her in its brilliant light
creating the food we
all need to live
We will save our Earth
from the destroyers who
care only about greed
and not about the delicacy
of a violet rising from the
soil or the smile on the
child’s face who sees it
Our Earth is precious
and we need its bounty
not to be sullied by evil
businesses who want
only profit and don’t care
about the dirty oil that
will spill and cover all
But I believe we can
keep this from happening
with the strength of the
truth as we fight and
continue to fight to
preserve the verdant tresses
of our land
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Here is the poem for today. 

April 23, 2014
Prompt: Write a location poem

You Are My Home

The pillows sit on top of each other
Your sink is almost empty
Your side of the bed sits empty too
Each night I go to sleep with the
phone near my head in case you
call me and wake me in the 
morning

Everything waits for you
as if all of us were in limbo
a sense of absence fills
the place and we all know
you are missing and there
is imbalance 

You are not here in body
for there is another place
where you live now
It is sterile and spare
but it is your home now
among the tubes delivering
medicine to you keeping
you there and I want to 
crawl into that bed and
have your arms around me
though you are weak now
and it would be me holding
you and then I would be
home and find the missing
piece of my life 
for you are my home and
I will plant myself where you
are
copyright 2014 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time, I can't believe we only have a week more of this to go. I am not going to be happy when this month ends. I hope all of you have been able to celebrate National Poetry Month by either writing or reading poetry.:) 

April 24 is Poem in Your Pocket Day. On this day you place a poem in the pocket of a loved one and they find it during the day. Or you leave a poem anywhere. 

I will be going back to my usual format in May with guest authors and my usual meanderings.:)

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