The Perks of Turning 65

This month I’m celebrating two milestones. First, our family has lived in the beautiful Flathead Valley full-time for 24 years, and I’m turning 65 in a couple of days. With that in mind, I decided to focus on the positive and make a list of 8 reasons to celebrate reaching this peak. Some of y’all will understand these reasons now. Younger folks, trust me, you will in time.

1. I’m now eligible for senior discounts and they are everywhere—at eateries, movies,  retail stores, national parks, and more.
2. Eligible for Medicare: The great, the good, and the blasted donut hole
3. If I have an argument with my husband, it’s not a big deal because twenty minutes later neither of us will remember the argument, much less what we argued about.
4. I feel free to say, “No” and not give an excuse.
5. When someone tells me I look like I’m in my fifties, I take it as a compliment.
6. I no longer feel guilty about taking a nap when I feel the need.
7. Gray is my new favorite color.
8. I’m quicker to forgive and ask for forgiveness from others (including forgiving myself)

At 65, I don’t know if I feel young at heart, but I definitely feel young in my mind (not so much in my bones). I’m happy when I recall my life experiences, even the bad ones. I have more confidence, as there can be no substitute for decades of experience. Like my old cast iron skillet, I feel seasoned by the bounty, the lessons, and the challenges 65 years of living have given me. And like that skillet, I’m worn, but still strong and ready for whatever life serves up next.

Thanks for stopping by ~~ Deborah

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Deborah Epperson

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Artists and the Marketplace

By Karen Wills                                    

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Gypsy Woman Holding Baby

“Works of art are the product of a complicated system of social interaction between artists, patrons, critics, and a public that is as broad as possible, all influencing each other in their assessments and behavior.”  Doris Krystof

Krystof wrote this in her book about the life and work of the painter Modigliani. It may hold true for writers as well. Most of us don’t write in a vacuum. Patrons might appear in the form of scholarships, academic writing programs, or advances from publishers. Our critics may begin with family members, critique groups, agents and editors who listen to our pitches, publishers, and eventually a publishing house’s developmental and copy editors.

Most important is that broad-as-possible public. Once a book is released, as authors we’re to make our book, and ourselves, well known. Our efforts may come in the forms of advertising. I ran an ad in Montana: The Magazine of Western History since River with No Bridge is a historical novel set in Montana. I sent out a press release that resulted in an interview. I’ll be signing books at the Montana Book and Toy Company in Helena on September 16, and making a presentation at Helena’s Lewis and Clark Library the following day. I’ve placed the book with local booksellers. And I try to contact book clubs like my own. Book clubs tend to be democratic. They’re the broadest possible public because members often choose from varied genres. I love book clubs.

All that said, once a book is released into the world, it takes on a life of its own, like a grown child. Critics influence the public. The public influences modern day patrons, and an author begins the next book, mindful of results of the assessments and behaviors of all involved in the last novel’s reception. Of course, some of the greatest writers (think Emily Dickinson)  and artists like Modigliani worked according to a brilliant inner vision, connecting to a divine mystery that didn’t bring them fame and wealth, but made their work immortal. And us, the broad public, the richer for it.         

htts://karenwills.com                                                 river with no bridge

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A FLYING LOVE AFFAIR

Just as I hate spiders, I love birds.  Big birds, little ones, noisy ones, quiet ones, most birds.  I love to see them flying, and envy their extreme athleticism, their amazing ability to navigate through the air, their dance in concert in the air.  How do they do that?

If we could reincarnate as an animal, I’d pick a bird.  Let’s see, a vulture, maybe not, considering their icky diet.  A fierce eagle, or hawk, yeah that might do, though still not the favorite diet.  Their death-defying dives are wonderful, though, the stuff of legends.  I really like robins, too, how they pair up and stay together, and their odd song is always recognizable.  The males declare their territory every morning and night, flitting from tree to tree to outline what they claim.

No chickens for a do-over—they usually don’t have a good ending. Turkeys, either, and domestic turkeys are just about the dumbest animal alive.  If you leave them outside in the rain, they’ll drown because they don’t know enough to hold their head down.

Finches are the racers, the remarkable speedy fliers who whiz so fast into the juniper tree in my yard that I can’t tell what they are.  This summer, one has been tearing into the tree, then it sits and calls out, maybe looking for a mate to join it?  Haven’t heard it lately, it must have gotten lucky.

Last year, I had an old birdhouse sitting on a pole stuck in the ground in front of my porch.  A cute pair of chickadees took up residence, with Momma cleaning house by hammering the floor, and Daddy keeping watch.  The next morning, the floor of the little house had been hammered in two, and the whole shebang had fallen onto the bushes below.  The chickadees were gone, probably traumatized.

Ravens and magpies are the sociable fliers, unless you’re a cat. They’ll sit on the roof above a cat and yell at it for hours, until the cat finally gives up trying to make one lunch and saunters off.  Their calls are different, the raven shouting all their communication so loud they can be heard almost a mile away.  The magpie has a scritchy voice, and they are just as good a scold as their cousins.  I think magpies know they are beautiful, prettier than the ravens, but smaller, and smart enough to stay away from the bigger guys.  Ravens, crows, magpies, can all do human talk if taught.  Imagine that, they can talk our language, and we can’t talk theirs.

The little water ouzel can walk on the bottom of a creek, snagging bugs from the rocks.  Montana creeks are mostly clear, and I love to watch as they bob along, able to withstand the fastest water.

A meadowlark has come to live near me this summer, and I whistle at it, copying its great song.  When I whistle, there is a pause, like the bird is thinking, ‘What the heck is that?’, then it replies, but with a much prettier riff than mine.  I’ve had conversations with meadowlarks since I was a girl and had taught myself to whistle.

And there’s a mourning dove, too, its sad call following as I go about my business.  I think it’s alone; usually there are two, mourning together in perfect harmony.   Sometimes, they make me cry.

My least favorite bird is the killdeer, they are constant in their noise and their irritating run in front of you, faking a hurt wing, trying to lead you away from their babies, even if the babies are hundreds of yards away.  They screech even at night, preferring the spot under my open window to declare themselves to the world, make their paranoia evident.  They sure are pretty, though.

Pheasants are pleasant.  (Sorry.)  They have a barnyard call, similar to a rooster, though wild and untamable.  I love to see them beside the road or in a field, their feathers shimmer with color, and they strut like the world is theirs.

The perfect sparrows zip through the air in the evening, ridding our world of mosquitoes, thanks.  I think they probably have a contest every night to see who can catch the most bugs.  They use mud and straw to build houses on the bottom of eaves or on cliffs, an engineering marvel.

Bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, wrens, emus, ostriches, blue jays, ducks, geese, parrots, etc., etc.  If it has wings and flies, I’m all for it. Think of that,–they fly through the air with the greatest of ease, a medium not known for its support.  And don’t get me started on their side-to-side clown walks.  I’m pretty sure they know I’m laughing when I see one struggling along, rocking like a clown.

Nan McKenzie

 

August Book News

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August on the Flathead

Fifteen Years of Lies FINAL EBOOK COVER

ANN MINNETT: I’m happy to announce the publication of my third novel of Domestic Suspense, Fifteen Years of Lies.

From the back cover:

Beautiful Whitefish, Montana serves as the setting for Fifteen Years of Lies, yet the story could occur anywhere people go to escape and in any family struggling to keep secrets. Parents of teenagers will relate to a mother’s fears for her son as his rebellion leads to violence.

Fifteen Years of Lies goes beyond the timely issue of sexual assault on campus to lay bare the aftermath of rape and its effects on the survivor, the child, loved ones, and even the rapist. Experience the raw emotions of past injustice and imminent threat when a suspected rapist believes he has found his victim and his son.

How far will the three women go to protect Zane from the truth?

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Book Reading and Signing with Marlette Bess Saturday, August 19, 2017 5pm – 7pm Casey’s, Downtown Whitefish 

MARLETTE BESS: WAYNE DINGO WAY (37) an attorney from Seattle took a leave of absence from his firm to care for his dying father in Whitefish, Montana. He was having a conversation with WAYNE WAY, his father, about where his life was headed when his father’s eyes rolled back into his head, he took his last breath and he died. Dingo was stunned – they had just been talking a moment before and now he was gone. Dingo gently closed his father’s eyes and kissed his forehead, stood up, grabbed his ski parka and headed for the front door. Dingo was in shock as he pulled his beanie down over his blond curly locks. He opened the door to a slap of bitter cold as he hustled his 6 foot 2 frame down the path.

The snow and ice on the sidewalk reminded him to take it easy as he walked toward downtown. Feeling the need to drown his sorrows, he found himself outside of Casey’s bar. He opened the door and entered the bar and walked to the only seat open at the bar that was next to a beautiful brunette with the most striking blackish/blue eyes, BERNADETTE LUCAS. Bernadette (35) was a free-lance physical therapist who had finished with a patient at the hospital and didn’t want to go be alone at home.

Dingo asked Bernadette if she would toast his father who just died. She introduced herself and seeing the pain in his eyes she agreed to the drink. He looked at her and could see her lonely beauty. After a couple of beers and three shots of tequila, she walked him home with her dog Hairy tagging along behind. On the cold walk home, Dingo kissed her – a kiss that not only curled her toes but made her body explode with heat.

When Dingo and Bernadette got to Dingo’s dad’s quaint, little house, Dingo passed out on the couch. Bernadette wandered around the house to find a blanket for Dingo and found his father dead in one of the bedrooms. Not exactly knowing what to do, she called her long-time friend at the police department Detective SAM MCDONALD to help with the body. Sam had the body picked up and they helped Dingo into bed.

Bernadette stayed with Dingo that night and even slept in his bed between the sheet and comforter to keep her distance. In the morning, being more himself, Dingo looked at Bernadette and wanted her immediately. The chemistry of longing, loneliness and desire lead them to each other discovering both themselves and the each. Once they had sex the only thing they wanted was more of each other.

Dingo and Bernadette were engaged shortly after they met. While still riding on the high of the engagement, they returned home to find more Dingo’s sister took her own life causing much pain and heartache. Tragedy did not end there for the couple, they soon discovered Dingo sister’s husband had killed himself and their children. The budding relationship grew with the highs of sex, lust and love and the depths of hell with the mounting pain of loss.

Dingo and Bernadette had two wedding ceremonies –  one for themselves in Las Vegas and a second time for friends and family in Whitefish. Bernadette’s terminally ill father attended the wedding and died that night leaving her with money and a whole lot of undiscovered secrets.

The two lovers honeymooned in Australia where Bernadette was forced to face her own demons straining the trip. After having a nightmare reliving when she was raped in Central Park, she woke flailing, catching Dingo’s cheek with her fingernail, sending him to the hospital. When he went into surgery, she went into a tailspin not returning to the hospital for hours. She was lost in her confusion and when Dingo awoke, he thought she left him. When he healed they went back to honeymooning and they talked through her trauma regaining the closeness they lost from her nightmare.

The unthinkable happened in the third month of their honeymoon.  Sam, Bernadette’s best friend back in Whitefish, was shot in the line of duty. Bernadette and Dingo took a marathon of flights to get back to the United States only to find Sam sitting up in the ICU after having his ventilator removed. Bernadette doted on Sam to the exclusion of everyone else, especially Dingo. But once again, Bernadette pulled herself together to be with Dingo and returning to their new home in Seattle shortly after.

Dingo and Bernadette went on a trip of discovery to her father’s hunting lodge is Krakow, Poland. She discovered that he was a deeply complicated man who lived his life collecting erotic art and engineering bridges around the world. After they left to go skiing in Davos, Switzerland with Sam and Dingo’s aunt, Bernadette had to decide out what she want to do with her father’s lodge, his erotic art collection. She also had to decide how she was going to build a new life in Seattle with the handsomest lawyer in all of the city? Dingo had to figure out how to stop being a workaholic and fit in time to love Bernadette down to her very soul.

Dingo wanted this new relationship with Bernadette to thrive but he wondered if he could overcome his bone breaking pain. With his family gone, Bernadette understood loss and pain from her most recent tragedies. Could she comfort and love him through this ordeal while trying to handle her own terrifying calamity?

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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Congratulations to Ann and Marlette! Sending a new book into the world is such a wonderful and terrifying thing!

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Join me at the Bigfork Festival of the Arts, in the village aka downtown Bigfork, on Sat and Sun, August 4-5, between 9 am and 4:30 pm. I’ll be one of more than 150 artists with

 

booths, talking and signing mysteries, including TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, my newest Food Lovers’ Village Mystery. (I call my village “Jewel Bay,” but you aren’t fooled, are you?) Food and drink vendors will join us, and musicians will play open air — including Don Beans, aka my Mr. Right. See you there!