Saturday, April 30, 2016

MOSAICS A Collection of Independent Women

MOSAICS 2 (A Collection of Independent Women)
Available May 1, 2016 at Amazon.com
http://amzn.to/24thcyc
 
 
This is Volume 2 in the Mosaics collection and contains stories by twenty-two independent women.
 
 
 
Following is an excerpt from the book synopsis posted on Amazon:

Mosaics: A Collection of Independent Women will inspire and shock you with its multi-faceted look at the history and culture surrounding femininity. If gender is a construct, this anthology is the house it built. Look through its many rooms, some bright and airy, some terrifying-- with monsters lurking in the shadows.

*****     *****

Author Kimberly Fukioka asked me to read the book and offer a review in exchange for a copy. In return, I asked Kim to participate in a short interview to get a feel for how these Mosaics anthologies came about. She graciously agreed.

Question #1: How did the idea for the Mosaics anthology develop?

Author Kimberly Fukioka: Thank you for offering to do the blog post. The anthology was edited and produced by Kim Wells. A quote from her website below kind of answers your question about the impetus for the anthology.

"Crafting the intersectional feminist anthology that I'm working on, my writing partners & I are committed to finding writers from communities not always well represented in indie publishing, or anthologies, or just about any literary scene. So we wrote a call for submissions that stated exactly what we were hoping for, being specific about welcoming womanist and racially intersectional feminism in addition to GLBT and disabled stories." Kim Wells, editor and publisher.


Question #2: How does the title of your story dovetail with the mission of the anthology?

Author Kimberly Fukioka: My story, "Don't Shut Up!" is the empowering story of one young woman to face her abuser even when it means separating from her mother. Her mother admonishes her to shut up and accept the status quo-- sexual abuse and physical violence--but she refuses and escapes barefoot and bleeding in the snow. In this piece the reader can see the long term effects of sexual abuse and how a woman learns to tell the truth about her life. This act of courage is a way she reclaims her voice and power to escape violence and take her place at the table of other independent women.

When I submitted my story to the anthology I thought many women could identify with it because it is such a heart wrenching decision that so many sexual victims of the patriarchal culture worldwide must grapple with: do I stay or do I leave? When I posed that question to myself as the young woman in the story, my mind was doing flip flops, I was emotionally in turmoil, because my identity had been built on the single brick of "being a victim". If I spoke up and left, I was no longer a victim. But who was I ? In a leap of faith, I acted. We all must act in a single leap of faith. There are so many of us out there: victims of trafficking, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, transgender abuse etc. The courage of one woman can give so many others hope. It can even change a community or a society.


*****     *****
 
Upon receiving Mosaics, I naturally turned first to Kim's story before reading the entries submitted by the other twenty-one independent women. Unprepared for the revelations Kim's story contained, I reacted less from a standpoint of fellow author than empathetic friend.
 
As Kim states above, the purpose of laying bare past wrongs
is to empower others who have or are experiencing
similar tragic events.
 
After reading several more of the entries in Mosaics, I began to question if an anthology was an effective venue for supporting others who suffered abuse or violence. I am an advocate of revelation over silence. But I had given little thought to the latter over the years as my tendency is to "move on" if a relationship edges toward the unacceptable.
 
What I hadn't given sufficient consideration was that my option is not always available to others. At least, not available without the mind "flip flops" and emotional turmoil that result when moving on is beyond imagination.
 
I approached this review unconventionally because the novellas and short stories within Mosaics are not meant to be read at a fast clip. Each story, written in a single leap of faith, deserves individual attention. What we, as readers, learn from these leaps of faith is up to us.
 
What we must admit is that changing a community or a society requires that someone choose to speak up. These twenty-two independent women have made that choice. I respect that.
 


Friday, April 29, 2016

Z is for ZEALOUS THOUGHTS ABOUT DESTINY #AtoZChallenge

For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.



Z is for ZEALOUS THOUGHTS ABOUT DESTINY

Thank you to all my fellow A to Z'ers for sharing this month of April, offering your thoughts for me to read and reading the thoughts I put forth. A special thank you to the people who planned and executed this year's April A to Z Challenge. The amount of work involved is immeasurable.
 
Although posting 26 times in one month has its drawbacks, the fun of feeling so productive is another reason I find such joy in writing on a daily basis. I have chosen my path, one filled with simple pleasures. In this, I have made my own destiny.
 
May you always have control of your destiny.
 
 
 
Keep looking up, and reach for the sky!
 
 
Following are two prose poems from my Renshi-style poetry collection.
Both reflect my thoughts about destiny and how a person must take control of their own life.
 
 
36
Strength to Live 

Desire, Strength, Commitment
three separate paths
toward achieving success* 

Each path demands dedication
a lifetime of living
no distractions along the way 

Time is so short, even
dreaming must have purpose
when each day brings new challenges 

Hurdles appear insurmountable
as age takes its toll, leaving
destiny to mold and shape itself.
 
*The true meaning of success is in the minds’ eye of the beholder.
 
37

Molding Destiny

 
A fallacy,
both the molding
and the destiny
 
The master plan
includes free will,
without restriction
 
No ending
is pre-arranged
by calendar month:
 
Play here
Marry over there
Die on schedule
 
Rather: follow
what your heart
beats in time.
 
*****  *****
 
May your zest for life never diminish in power or enthusiasm.
 


 


 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Y is for YEAR-LONG DECISION

For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.


Y is for YEAR-LONG DECISION

This is another of my book reviews, number 39 of 71. While reading is one of my non-guilty pleasures associated with writing, some of my book selections are more serious than others. The storyline of this novel, The Dive From Clausen's Pier, involves a relationship that goes sideways due to an avoidable accident.

For the next twelve months, within the storyline, one partner in the relationship must decide how to deal with a new and tragically complicated set of circumstances. One of the decisions involves determining whether to stick with what had been a lifetime commitment or to move on to a new life.
 
 
 
THE DIVE
FROM
CLAUSEN'S PIER
 
Have you ever found yourself at a fork in the road that offers no direction or advice on how to proceed? Were the choices cut and dried, or almost too difficult to contemplate?
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

X is for X-COUNTRY SKIING #AtoZChallenge

For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.



X is for X-Country Skiing

Skiing is far more fun than writing business letters or editing incident reports. When I took up writing novels full time, finding the fun in writing extended to X-Country skiing to keep my muscles from atrophying over the computer keys. Of course, this activity continued for only as long as I stayed in Wisconsin. When I moved, my skiis stayed back, along with thermo-insulated jackets and underwear, padded gloves, ski caps, thick socks, and snowmobile pants. 

Finding snow on Hawaiian soil is a bit more of a challenge. I've seen it on mountaintops. But my favorite "snow" these days is Hawaii's much better version of snow cones: Shave Ice!


 
Passion Fruit Shave Ice
As you can see, this was taken during one of my "Flat Stanley" projects!
 
 
 
For those who would like to see photographs of real snow in the Islands: 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

W is for WALLONIA TO WISCONSIN #AtoZChallenge


For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.


W is for Wallonia to Wisconsin

Wallonia is the name for the French Belgian area of the country, the southern part. The northern part is Flemish, and in the very center is the capital, Brussels. The Kingdom of Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. A number of non-official, minority languages and dialects are spoken as well. English is widely spoken throughout Belgium as a second or third language.
 
My father's ancestors moved from Mehaigne, Belgium to Mishicot, Wisconsin in 1856. In 2007, I took a trip to Belgium to visit relatives and experience the country of my heritage. 
 
For a virtual tour of this beautiful country, please visit the blog site that I had so much fun compiling after the trip, and will use as research material for future stories. Featured are Brussels, Gent, Bruges, and all the little historical towns of my ancestors; plus the swans, beer, chocolate, and Mannekin Pis: 
 
 
 
 
 
Just south of Namur in the Ardennes village of Profondeville is the gracious Villa Gracia. The owner, Gisele, arranged a room for us for three nights in the hotel originally built as the secondary home of Belgium Army General Gracia.

 
 
 
Lacemaking in Brussels
 
 
 
Rooftops in Bruges (Brugge) built with stair-like roofs for easy exit in case of emergency
 
 
 

 


Monday, April 25, 2016

V is for VOLUNTEERS IN ALASKA #AtoZChallenge

For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.



V is for VOLUNTEERS IN ALASKA

 
When it comes to volunteering, answering phones during a Hawaii Public Radio fund raiser is my speed. Something that will never appear on my "bucket list" of things to volunteer for is to spot the participating mushers during an Iditarod race, billed as The Last Great Race, and held each year in Alaska.
 
If I did volunteer, I'd want to work in the communication center to hear everything that's happening - from the warmth of an enclosed building. Anyone choosing to work out on the trail at checkpoints had better dress for cold weather! And carry a thermos of hot chocolate!
 
The coldest temperature ever recorded for the race was in 1973 when, with wind chill,
the temperature dropped to -130 degrees F.
 
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome, which takes place entirely in the US state of Alaska. Mushers and a team of 16 dogs, of which at least 6 must be on the towline at the finish line, cover the distance in 9–15 days or more.[1] The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled dog mushers and teams but evolved into today's highly competitive race. Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
 
 
I had an opportunity to vacation and cruise in Alaska, taking time to visit the Iditarod Museum.
 
 
 

 
 
 


*****


Below is Book Review #37 for my goal to read and review 71 books by October 22, 2016


Murder on the Iditarod Trail - An Alaska Mystery by Sue Henry
 
 
 
 
I purchased Murder on the Iditarod Trail - An Alaska Mystery by Sue Henry after visiting the Iditarod Museum while on vacation in Alaska. One of the ongoing attractions of Alaska is the Iditarod Trail Race which is run each year in March.
 
The winner of Alaska’s world-famous Iditarod – a grueling 1100-mile dog sled race across a frigid Artic wilderness – takes home the prize money and bragging rights for the year.
 
The race is run as a tribute to the original mail carriers along this trail between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska. Anchorage stands at sea level and faces west over Cook Inlet. Rainy Pass, 230 miles into the race, is the highest point on the way to Nome. Views include rolling hills and the silence of majestic mountains. An army of volunteers keep the Pass open for the race. Trailbreakers carve out the “suggestion of a track” with snow machines. But these trails can be obliterated by new or blown snow in a matter of a few hours.
 
Add to the above treacherous scene one murder, and possibly more to come, with only vague understanding of why or how these events are occurring. The tension level, for the participants of the race and the investigating police force, rises with the body count.
 
The author’s vivid descriptions and stress-filled scenes allowed me to feel as though I were tagging along during the exhausting race – albeit from the warmth of my Hawaiian lanai.
 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

U is for 'UKULELES AND UNIQUE FLOWERS

For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.



U is for 'Ukuleles and Unique Flowers

Several days ago, a friend and I drove up to Haleiwa along the
North Shore of O'ahu. She spotted a sign that fit perfectly with my post for today so we stopped to get a photograph! The sun was hot, the waves at Haleiwa Beach Park were high, and the shave ice with vanilla ice cream and azuki beans from Matsumoto Shave Ice was ono! Along with ukulele music and unique flowers, they are all good reasons to stay living in Hawaii, or at least to come for a visit.


My first introduction to the 'ukulele was through Arthur Godfrey strumming a tune on his radio show. He was inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum in 2001. "It is likely that no other single person has been directly responsible for the sale of as many ukuleles as Arthur Godfrey."
 
When Mr. Godfrey visited Hawaii in 1959, he piloted a plane from Honolulu to Lihu'e Airport on Kaua'i. He was accompanied by the Ambassador of Aloha, Duke Kahanamoku, Duke's wife, Nadine, and Hawaiian singer Haleloke Kahauolopua.
 
Haleloke performed on his television show several times in the 1950s. On the show, she sang and danced while he strummed his 'ukulele.

One version of how 'Ukulele got its name

'Uku is the Hawaiian word for flea; lele is the Hawaiian word for fly, jump or leap. Seeing  a musician's fingers fly or jump over the strings of a musical instrument reminded the local people of a flea leaping around. (Now it makes sense where the ukulele string-tuning words originated: my dog has fleas).
 
What could be more Hawaiian than ukuleles and unique flowers?
 
After a recent board meeting, I walked past an area that always brings me to a stop so I can photograph the colorful, fresh-blooming hibiscus offerings.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On ukulele:
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
by
Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole
 
 
 

Friday, April 22, 2016

T is for TELEGRAMS, TELEPHONES, then TEXTING #AtoZChallenge

For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.



T is for TELEGRAMS, TELEPHONES, then TEXTING

So often, we are reminded of the inadequacies of the various methods of communication. Begin with face-to-face communication, when the speaker’s words are in direct opposition to the facial expression or body language. We say, “No problem,” while our eyes squint at the person who knocked the cell phone out of our hand.
 
Telegrams delivered heartrending news during the wars, informing families of a loved one's death; or news of someone missing in action. But telegrams also announced good news, such as births. My father received a telegram in the army notifying him when I was born.
 
Now we have instant messaging, but the service is often no more reliable than telegrams or mail that was once sent on ships across the ocean. Emails are misinterpreted; text messages are "spell-checked" by computer to become unintelligible or downright comedic.
 
 
 
As much fun as it is to complain about poor service from companies such as Verizon or Microsoft, I wonder, with some trepidation, if we could ever successfully survive a full-grid power failure.
 
How could we fend for ourselves with no e-Reader, Wi-Fi, or iPhone to keep us connected?

 
 
**********


Save a tree - Read an ebook:

FREE for #EarthDayWeekend:

DEADLY AS NATURE
Envy Spawns Grief


http://amzn.to/1MSMULR


**********
 
For my project of posting poems in order from ANOTHER NEW BEGINNING, the following is
 
#32
ALWAYS CONNECTED
 

Letters, addressed
Stamped and postmarked
Mailed
Delivered
Read
 
Telegrams, then air mail
Telephones and texting
Computers and skype
 
Instant contact through
Email smiley faces
Facebook games
Twitter characters
 
News first hand
Almost before it occurs
Births
Marriages
Careers
Instant karma in an electronic age
 
Where will the world be
When the lights go out?

 **********



Thursday, April 21, 2016

S is for SAVE OUR PLANET #EarthDay #AtoZChallenge


S is for Save our Planet
 
Many people believe Planet Earth is indestructible. Earth may be shatterproof, if that is their idea of indestructible; or staunch, solid, and steadfast.
 
What I advocate for Earth Day is that everyone treat the planet as they do their own special private corner of the world, whether a bedroom, den, office, or a park bench under an old oak tree.
 
Pick up after yourself
Use what you need but don’t waste
Recycle
And buy a few eBooks in place of print books to help save a tree
 
Yes, trees are planted regularly to replace those cut down for making more houses and tables and school books and dressers and other necessities of the planet. The deforestation that caused the Great Peshtigo Firestorm of 1871 (more hellacious than the concurrent Chicago fire - Chicago just had better SEO to garner more attention at the time) is a thing of the past.
 
Are we small creatures capable of melting Greenland? 

Could fracking cause devastating earthquakes?
or
Will our Sun become a red planet and cause Earth to disintegrate? 

Wherever the truth lies for us in the next few billion years, we can choose to find ways to help keep our world intact and beautiful for now. For us. For our children and grandchildren. For future generations.
 
Today is Earth Day. 
To encourage the reading of non-pulp fiction,
I am offering my eBook, DEADLY AS NATURE,
FREE
 
 
 

 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

R is for ROOT BEER FLOATS AND SUNDAES #AtoZChallenge,


 
For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.


R is for Root Beer Floats and Sundaes 

 
 


 
My early childhood is best remembered as drives through the countryside on Sunday afternoons, with stops to visit relatives along the way. This was followed by a trip to the Custard Stand, on the east side of town, for root beer floats or ice cream sundaes. I’m talking real pop (that’s Wisconsin-speak for soda) and honest-to-goodness real dairy-fresh ice cream.
 
The visits often included a stop to see an aunt's three solid acres of gladiolas, which she planted in a wild array of colors. As I stared at those long-stemmed flowers, my young mind didn’t understand how she must have taken great pleasure in planting each gladiola bulb in spring, then watched the green leaves sprout and rejoiced with the eventual budding of the perfect petals. If that was the case, her joy would have matched my own juvenile excitement at the first taste of a root beer float or chocolate-topped sundae. 
 
 
Yes, Ithaca, New York . . . Two Rivers, Wisconsin is the birthplace of the original ice cream sundae! 
 
Which food or other non-guilty pleasure did you enjoy, sparingly, in your youth?
 
Link to site that shares the history of Root Beer:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Q is for QUEBEC (LOWER CANADA) #AtoZChallenge

For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.



Q is for QUEBEC (LOWER CANADA)

Over the past five years, I've been working on a genealogical novel that covers the homelands of my ancestors. During NaNoWriMo 2015, I added fifty thousand words to the mix (making me a NaNoWriMo WINNER! Yeah, me.) The weekly gathering place for the month of November was a movable feast. For the Sunday sessions, I experienced a new brewery in Waikiki, aptly named Waikiki Brewing Company . . . another reason I have so much fun writing!
 
Several of my ancestors immigrated to Quebec, which at the time was known as Lower Canada. Some of the ancestors emigrated from France, others from Ireland. A couple of these folks, one a descendant of emigrants from LaRochelle, France; the other a direct emigrant from Tipperary County, Ireland; met up in Wisconsin where they said, "I Do." The 1860 census lists them as Philis (Felix) and Margaret Plant with three children; directly below them are listed his parents, Francois and Phillis (Felicity) along with young Philis, Felix's first child. (From the names, you see why genealogy research gets confusing.)



Long before their marriage took place in Wisconsin, though, the French LaPlante folks who settled in Quebec had to break rocky ground for planting, and cut down trees to build shelter. No Walmart greeted them with shelves overflowing with hammers and protein drinks and fresh vegetables. These settlers were on their own to "make their own" with whatever they brought from the homeland. 

The Irish McKeough family escaped a cholera epidemic, along with an agricultural crisis that became known as the great potato famine. Immigrants traveled across stormy seas in cramped conditions before arriving in Lower Canada with only the meager belongings they were able to carry with them.

Quebec is known for its fur trade business, especially beaver pelts when the fur became the fashion statement of Europe during the 1800s. Also noteworthy is that the province of Quebec is famous for its thousands of lakes, formed during the deglaciation period beginning about 15,000 years ago.

 



 

 

 

 
 

Monday, April 18, 2016

P is for PLAKA - A GREEK VILLAGE #AtoZChallenge

For this year's challenge, my theme is The Fun in Writing. Each of my 26 posts for April is aimed at
illustrating fun parts of an author's day. A writer doesn't only write.
Creating a story or an essay requires research, revision, editing, and lots and lots of coffee and chocolate.


 
P is for PLAKA - A GREEK VILLAGE
 
Every so often, a novel takes my breath away with its unexpected story line. The Island - A Novel by Victoria Hislop is one such books. The story begins in the Greek village of Plaka, which becomes a backdrop for a heartrending story about four generations of women touched by "dreams and desires" and "secrets desperately hidden" as disease erodes their lives.
 
 
 
Shortly after moving to Hawai'i in 1992, I started reading about Kalaupapa on the Island of Moloka'i, where the local people who were diagnosed with "leprosy" now known as Hansen's Disease, were taken to live out their lives. Although I have visited Moloka'i, the donkey ride down to the peninsula is still on my bucket list. . .very high on the list.
 
When I picked up a copy of The Island - A Novel, I was amazed to learn that off the coast of Plaka is the tiny island of Spinalonga, where the Greek nation's leper colony once was located - a place that has "haunted four generations of Petrakis women." I savored every single one of the novel's 473 pages.
 
For me, The Fun in Writing extends to The Fun in Reading.
 
 
**********
 
 
To stay on track with my goal of reading and reviewing 71 books between Oct., 2015 and Oct., 2016, my book review follows.
 
THE ISLAND - A Novel by Victoria Hislop
 

 
A comment by The Observer (UK) about this book: “At last – a beach book with heart ...” suggests the commentator did not understand the underlying material presented in the story (or does not comprehend the local meaning of “beach read.” Not that the book couldn’t be read while lounging on the beach, but that “a beach book” implies a light, fast read, to be enjoyed with little thought, and as quickly forgotten.
 
Over the years, I’ve read much about Kalaupapa, Father Damien, and the “leper colony” on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai’i. This added a special interest in my reading of Victoria Hislop’s The Island, which is set on Spinalonga. This tiny island off the coast of Plaka, a small Greek seaside village, is where that nation’s “leper colony” was located during the twentieth century.
 
The pain of separation permeates the pages of this novel that tells of a man’s love for his family which is sorely overwhelmed by ravages of the disease. There is the agony of forced removal from family and friends living in Plaka; relocation and isolation from the rest of humanity; the experience of constant guilt over an uncontrollable situation. Loss of control and independence in your life devastates the mind, body, & soul.
 
This is the story of one family’s triumph over an adversity far beyond imagination.

 
Click here to view internet photographs of Plaka: