My Sisters

By Marie F. Martin

My younger sister, Doris, has dabbled with oil painting off and on for years, but never developed her craft until now. At age almost seventy she is going great guns with it. She has had a showing in Seattle and sold some of her work. It is so exciting. She is now planning to travel to Montana where we were raised and show paintings in July at Art in the Park in Kalispell. I no longer hear her complaining about age. The miracle of an active mind doing something that you love and get excited about  is what the age specialist tell us to do. She has found her passion.

I was close to the same age when I published my first book. It has become a driving force in me and I have grown so much with new friendships and people willing to help me with my stories. It all has to do with us Connor girls facing older age and needing to kick start our creative talents.

My latest book will be published sometime this summer or early fall. The cover is already made. The blurb is a work in progress but here is what it says as of now: The red Corvette speeds into the night up a lonely stretch of curvy mountain road. Corinne Cooper figures they’re lost, but isn’t concerned about it. A few unexpected words with the man driving rekindles yearnings she thought were buried with her husband three years ago. Shocked by her thoughts, she is relieved to reach home safely. The next day, Corinne is still unable to set aside the desire to find a new love and seeks the help of her unpredictable sidekick. Edgy Brewster is delighted to assist in the search for a perfect companion, dragging her into questionable adventures. Troubles begin at a local honkytonk, multiply at a hilltop mega church, and reach critical mass at a secluded bingo parlor. Now a friend is dead, a nosey neighbor is found dead, and Corinne is the chief suspect in their murders. Every step she takes to prove her innocence digs her deeper, until. . . .

 

However my older sister, Norma, is now complaining that she hasn’t sold anything of a creative nature. She only spent her entire working career as a RN. Her talent or passion was used helping the sick and the aged, and besides I don’t feel sorry for a sister who looked like this. 

I am relaying our experiences as encouragement to everyone who thinks they’re too old to start a new adventure. Just do it.

 

 

www.mariefmartin.com

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I love libraries!

Capture            By Janice McCaffrey

What is the #1 support writers need?  Readers…critique groups, beta readers and book buyers. What came first a desire to write or the love of reading?

Silly questions? Maybe. But lately I’ve been thinking how important reading is to us writers. I bet reading has taken each of us to magical places we’d never imagine for ourselves. We’ve gotten to know characters we won’t meet in our daily lives. Heroes and villains, historic figures and fictional characteristics blended in a way we hadn’t thought of before.

Reading we learn about our planet and our place in it. Where would we be without books in our lives?

I’m afraid we take our reading skills and availability to meaningful books for granted. It’s difficult to imagine kids in this great country who don’t have an adult to support their education or read to them. Kids who don’t have books in their lives.

Without thinking much about it we buy books, use our Kindles, and borrow from public libraries and our friends. What if we didn’t have those resources at our finger tips? We’d suffer. I know I would. Our children and community would suffer. Take a minute and put yourself in that situation. Imagine yourself and your family without books.

Andrew Carnegie knew how important reading is for everyone. He funded grants to 3,000 communities around the world (including 17 in Montana).hockaday museum The Hockaday Museum, Kalispell, is housed in an original Carnegie Library.

 

 

 

Then to honor his mother Todd Bol put up a little free library. Soon Rice Brooks joined him and in 2009 they formed a non-profit organization.little free libraries

And Little Free Libraries are popping up around the world.

2014 enters Kim Kozlowski, a reporter for the Detroit News. Working with Detroit non-profit organizations, city parks and public schools her goal is to have 313 Little Free Libraries in Detroit (313 is their area code). Her latest project is to erect and maintain Little Free Libraries in front of each of Detroit’s 97 public schools.

Detroit’s main library is a product of Carnegie’s grants. Detroit main libraryThere are ten branch libraries throughout the city. None of the branches are opened weekends and most have only one or two weekdays that remain open until 8p. When can hard working families take their kids to the library?

I was born in Detroit and raised just north of its city limit. I spent fun teen years during the birth of Motown and the era of the original muscle cars. I’m very proud and happy to report that the book club I belong to has sponsored a  Little Free Library at a Detroit school. I think all book clubs and writers’ organizations should join the cause of the Little Free Libraries—a fun way to encourage reading while building community interaction.

We don’t have to be as wealthy as Carnegie to help . . . any contribution adds to the movement. Check out these websites and facebook pages.

Website:                                                                     Facebook:

Littlefreelibraries.org                                                 little free libraries

Detroitlittlefreelibraries.org                                    Detroit: the little library capitol

 

I LOVE LIBRARIES!

My Scary Starry Scar

 

Sandy Oitzinger

     Guest Blog

By Sandy Oitzinger

 

 

 

My Scary Starry Scar

Before March 24th of this year, the name Merkel for me was loosely associated with my misgivings as a global citizen about mistreatment of the nation of Greece.  Post March 24, however, it looms personally larger because of its part as an identifier of a dreaded skin cancer known as Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

As a self-fancied wordsmith, I am deeply affected by the lyricism in the medical community.  The lesion between my right cheekbone and jaw line had to come out, of course, but who knew that there was a “sentinel” node positioned at the angle of my mandible.  With our Firetower landmark, what Helenan would not be impressed by a “sentinel” node?  I was also impressed by the descriptors used to describe cancers.  Did you know that some cancers are “indolent,” while others are “avid.”  I don’t mind my sportsmen being avid, but I prefer that my cancers be slothful lay abouts,  please and thank you.  On the upside, there are cancer fighting weaponry drugs we can brandish that inhibit a protein known as the “Programmed Death” (PD-1) cell.  The drug prompts the immune system “to get up out of its rocking chair” and go attack the cancer,” says Paul Nghiem, an investigator with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who led the Merkel cell study.[i]

As a kid, my Sicilian last name, Scire, pronounced “skee-ree,” drew lots of hilarity from the neighborhood kids.  Many thought it should be pronounced Scary as in Sandy Scary-Face.  No big leap to change the appellation to Sandy Scarry-Face, and I’ll tell you why I am just thrilled to do that.  My dermatological nurse and I decided we would do a deep punch on the nodule on my cheek.  It seemed like no big deal at the time. A week later the labs came back and we learned that a wide-extraction along with removal of a small lymph node was needed.  Why? 

Well, the Merkel Cell beasty likes to metastasize into the lungs, brain, liver, etc.  The lab also said the markers for lung cancer were not evident, so my hope was that we caught it early.  In order to avoid a 4-hour only mildly sedated surgery, we opted for a quickly scheduled one-hour surgery under general anesthesia at St. Pat’s in Missoula.  Sentinel lymph nodes material was negative, so we thought we were home-free.  Pathology said there was not enough of a clear margin in the depths below the tumor, however, so a second surgery was scheduled. 

This brought to mind the lesson in tenacity shared by my first college accounting professor, Charlie Mandeville of Carroll College.  He was asked “suppose it’s only a dime?”  His answer:  “You gotta keep lookin’ for that son of a buck UNTIL YOU FIND IT!”  Another upside, we headed off the beasty, by removal of the nodes, and my dermatologist says my healing inflammation may kill off the remaining cells.  We can’t know that though, so another .2 cm must come out. 

Truly, I don’t want to whine about this, but just Google “lyrics with face in the title.”  I lost my uterus 22 years ago, and honestly I barely missed it.  But sheesh, I was just getting to like this face.

In keeping with my usual penchant for itemization, there are many up-sides to this:

  • A neighbor who says: “Your face is still pretty, and now you look so mysterious.”
  • Using up the saggy bits on the right side, a one-sided facelift, if you will.
  • A kind of dimple, though honestly, not that well-placed.
  • When you’ve got this scar thing going on, it’s really an incentive to up your game hair-wise.
  • And BEST OF ALL, there is a very good chance that I may well avoid the kind of cancer that is more likely to shorten my life.

So that’s why I choose to emphasize the planetary part.  For now, at least, my facial scar looks a bit like a descending shooting star.  Or alternatively like a waxing crescent moon.   So if you want to take a picture of me, be sure to take it from the scary, starry side.  That’s the good one.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/04/19/breakthrough-cancer-therapy-shows-growing-promise/?hpid=hp_no-name_immunotherapy-940am_1%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Sandy Oitzinger has written a novella series, a memoir and several humor books.  Her service as Helena City Commissioner from 2001 through 2008 informed her work and family life at the time.  In retirement she remains active enough in her community to annoy any number of people, her adult children chief among them.  Sandy received word on June 9, 2016 that her two facial surgeries to treat Merkel Cell Carcinoma worked, and she is now cancer free.

 

 

 

 

JULY BOOK NEWS

going to the sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July in Northwest Montana means Going to the Sun

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Delighted to say that my Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries are now available in audio book! ASSAULT & PEPPER, Book 1, and GUILTY AS CINNAMON, Book 2, released from Tantor Audio on CD and MP3 downloads. The large print version of GUILTY AS CINNAMON will release in August. The third in the series, KILLING THYME, will release October 4 in paperback, ebook, and audio, with the large print version available later in the year.

I’ve also just completed a short story in the Food Lovers’ Village mystery series to keep readers abreast of the goings-on in Jewel Bay and the adventures of Erin, Wendy, and their families while waiting for the next book in the series. CARRIED TO THE GRAVE, the short story, will be available in August from Amazon, or as a free download to my newsletter subscribers. Make sure you’re signed up through my website!