Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Childhood Leukemia - September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

photo from: fineartamerica.com
After a long dreary winter, one of the first flowers to spring from the ground is the daffodil. Representative of new life, the daffodil is the American Cancer Society flower. When someone has survived the disease, sending flowers is a wonderful way to say "Congratulations!" The more colorful the better! You can read more about gifting flowers to cancer survivors at this florist's site:  http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/flowers-for-a-cancer-survivor/ But if you have flowers in your garden or in the back field, a personal bouquet will have special meaning! 


September is Children's Cancer Awareness Month. Because I wanted to include varied names of organizations and foundations that support research and treatment of cancer, I searched the internet for a list. Most unfortunate is that the list is extremely long: unfortunate because it represents a tragic need for this support around the world.
 
Reading about the services provided, the support to family and patients, and the success in the rate of cures or remissions, tugs at the heart strings. Watching the videos brings home some of the emotional costs not included in the statistical figures. A warm note is hearing the children state with emphases: "I beat cancer."

The following sites offer important information about childhood cancer, research, treatment, experiences, and heartwarming success stories.
 
 
The Jimmy Fund
solely supports Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, raising funds for adult and pediatric cancer care and research to improve the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world.
You will find the history of the Jimmy Fund at this site:

 
American Childhood Cancer Organization
Help make a difference in the lives of the nation’s
childhood cancer patients, survivors, and their families.
You can learn how by clicking on this link:
http://www.acco.org/childhood-cancer-awareness-month/


St. Baldrick's Foundation
St. Baldrick’s Foundation exists to change the realities of Childhood Cancer
They work closely with leading pediatric oncologists to determine the most promising
research "to fund and create funding priorities to make the greatest impact . . ."
Read the sad facts of these realities and more here:  http://www.stbaldricks.org/


Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation
Serving the Needs of Hawaii's Families Coping With Cancer
Serving to assist, support and advocate for the needs of children diagnosed with cancer, their families, and long-term survivors of childhood cancer: http://hccf.org/

(if this video link is unavailable, you can view it at http://hccf.org)
 
"I don't think it's fair that anyone has cancer." Child with cancer
"Helpless." Mother of child diagnosed with cancer
"Released from job, foreclosed on house." Parents of child with cancer
"She's on the swim team." Smiling Father of child whose cancer is in remission
 

 
 
 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

4 BOOK REVIEWS FOR AUGUST #FridayReads

The goal I set for myself was to read and review 71 books between Oct., 2015 and Oct. 2016. Including the four books reviewed below, I've read 46 books, 65%, and submitted the reviews to my Goodreads "My Books" page. With 25 more books to read before October 22, 2016, I'd better get cracking!

The books I read in August are:


JUST ADD WATER Jinx Schwartz

Jinx has written an entire series of "JUST" novels that I look forward to reading. I don't think she's finished with the series yet, so I can rest easy, knowing it will be some time before I reach the end.

In JUST ADD WATER, I met and sailed with Hetta Coffee as she edged her way into a new life of living on the water. How many times have you wished you could make a clean slate of your life and start over, with you in the driver's seat? Expectations of independence are much more lax now for women. But it wasn't that many (decades) ago that men did most of the driving. That's why it can be so much fun for readers of a certain age to immerse themselves into the story.

Just imagine the wind in your hair as you take control of the wheel of your very own yacht. That's independence!

Can't wait to dive into JUST ADD SALT!

*****     *****     *****


THE IMMACULATE by Marian McMahon Stanley

I was lucky to win a copy of THE IMMACULATE in a blogsite contest giveaway earlier this year. After receiving the book in the mail, it took some time for me to add it to my schedule. When I found a few days open, I sat to read the book and finished in less than two days. To me, that is a sign of a well-written novel. The story line is straightforward and the characters are delightfully fleshed out and likeable. Even the villains are 3-dimensional in their un-likeability.

What I especially appreciated about the story was how the protagonist related to the other characters, on a unique and individual basis. As the main character, Rosaria O'Reilly had an emotional connection to every situation and the sensitivity she portrayed in each scene grounded the story in reality.

*****     *****     *****


THE LIFE WE BURY by Allen Eskens

This book was recommended to me by my sister. It deals with a grittier topic than I was expecting, that of a man convicted of the crime of rape and murder who has been released from prison during his last months before dying. The Netflex series Making of a Murderer comes to mind while reading the story. But the project assigned to the protagonist, Joe Talbert, is to interview this stranger and write a short biography of the man. Of course, the plot thickens as Joe does his research and interviews the man.

Ultimately, the story gives readers an opportunity for inner debate on where they stand concerning certain issues arising in today's society. Granted, during an election year, we have no lack of issues to consider, but this one is more hypothetical and therefore more of an
exercise. Without being personally invested in the final decision, the story can also be entertaining for the reader.

*****     *****     *****

and

THE CITY & YTIC EHT by China Mieville

This is a book club choice for the group that meets at Coffee Talk in Kaimuki on the first Saturday of each month. This book, chosen by David Jones, helps to illustrate just how diverse our selections are from month to month.

I'm not sure I could have made it through this novel without the help of an online chapter-by-chapter synopsis. I certainly recommend that a reader consult an in depth synopsis before tackling the story unless you are already a great fan of eccentric world building and appreciate learning all the intricate details as the story unfolds.

In the world of THE CITY & YTIC EHT, best-selling author China Mieville takes us on a tour of two cities which overlap one other. These are not two dimensions, existing side by side, but two cities existing simultaneously on the same spot with residents of each expected to ignore the other. This is, of course, a simplistic explanation of a world that grows increasingly complicated as the story evolves.

This story presented many unusual twists. The mystery aspect of the plot is almost incidental as the reader is given ongoing updates of how these particular worlds work, or in some cases don't work. Big Brother is definitely involved, regardless how the story unfolds. One thing is certain, the book club choice will make for interesting discussion.

*****     *****     *****



Thursday, August 18, 2016

#AlohaFriday - Hot Hawaiian History

My #AlohaFriday search actually began in 1992, when I first moved to Hawai'i. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island drew me like a magnet. Active since 1986, Kilauea caldera is known as the walk-in volcano, friendly from afar and not-so-far away. Any trip to that island included a visit to Volcano House and Halema'uma'u Crater.

Once I learned the legend of the fire goddess Pele, walked on still-warm lava flow and through a lava tube, and watched glowing lava flow from the Pu'u O'o vent, I was hooked.

The photographs included in James Cave's article are jaw-dropping!

James Cave, a Lifestyle writer for The Huffington Post has a bubbling hot story to tell.
Beautiful Time-Lapse Of Kilauea Volcano Dives Into The ‘Fiery Blood Of Earth’
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/20/kilauea-time-lapse-fire-within-video_n_6914270.html


Some of Gail's Personal "Aloha Volcano Views"
 
Walking to the Lava Tube
Desolate lava field
Entering Lava Tube on Big Island
 
Halemaumau Crater in
Hawai'i Volcano National Park
Middle of Lava Tube VERY DARK


Monday, August 15, 2016

Congratulations: Goodreads WINNERS of Blood Red Homicide!

Today I want to thank all of the Goodreads members who participated in the Goodreads Giveaway contest for my latest Pepper Bibeau mystery, BLOOD RED HOMICIDE.

 This year, I published two mystery novels in the series. NESHOTO JUNCTION HOMICIDE came out in January and is dedicated to my father, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday that month. BLOOD RED HOMICIDE was published in June to celebrate the 100th anniversary of my mother's birth. I am especially pleased with the amount of interest taken in the printed copy of these to books honoring my parents.

NESHOTO JUNCTION HOMICIDE is set in my old stomping grounds. The title reflects an ancient name applied to the area where two meandering rivers meet before flowing gently into the Great Lakes' fresh waters of Lake Michigan

The Goodreads Giveaway contest ran from July 19 to August 9. These dates encompassed most of the days I spent in my birth state of Wisconsin for a family reunion and lots of activities with family and friends. Who better to boost your confidence in this competitive world than those who know you best? One event of note was touring the Packers stadium and museum in Green Bay. My healthiest routine was raiding niece Nikki's raspberry patch for breakfast each morning!





Goodreads has chosen the winners of the three copies of BLOOD RED HOMICIDE offered in the giveaway. The winners have been announced and I want to congratulate each of the Goodreads members who displayed an interest in my work by participating in the contest!

CONGRATULATIONS to the WINNERS
who are:
 
SHERRY FRYMAN
 
KATHRYN FARRINGTON
 
LISA COBB SABATINI
 
 
 

Again, thank you to everyone who participated in the Goodreads Giveaway. To show my appreciation for your interest in reading BLOOD RED HOMICIDE, the kindle edition will be on sale for $.99 through Sunday, August 21, 2016. Just click on the cover to the right  >  >  >  >  >  >  >


Thursday, August 4, 2016

#AlohaFriday - Making Mu'umu'us Matter

In my quest to begin the week-ends with a terrific #AlohaFriday, I discovered an interesting post by Hawaii Aloha Travel:
Dress The Part! 5 Places to Buy Authentic Muumuus in Hawaii
https://www.hawaii-aloha.com/blog/2016/04/13/dress-the-part-5-places-to-buy-authentic-muumuus-in-hawaii/

In the article, you will find a history of the Hawaiian muumuu. Once you see the fabulous array of colors and designs available, you will want to add several to your wardrobe. Of course, the loose fitting waist (or lack thereof) will sell you even faster than the rainbow hues!

My wardrobe includes a fair share of the loose-fitting garments that go just about anywhere, anytime: grocery store, beach, holiday gathering, writers' group meeting, First Friday in Chinatown, church service on the beach, fireworks at Hilton Hawaiian village, even brunch at Oceanarium in Waikiki.

Hope you enjoy a relaxing muumuu-comfort weekend!


Some of Gail's Personal "Muumuu-Related Photos"

Missionary Mu'umu'u


 


Looking down my mu'umu'u to the
checkerboard flooring of the new
Bloomingdales store at Ala Moana Center



 
Princess Kaiulani displaying her fashionable mu'umu'u

 
 
 
 
 
  



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A JOURNEY OF FIFTEEN YEARS #IWSG




It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group blog posting. IWSG was created by the awesome ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can find a list of all the other members of the group here ( Insecure Writer’s Support Group! )

Question(s) for today's #IWSG posting: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?
 
After I retired from my "real job" at the end of 2009, I followed through on my 1998 goal to write and publish a mystery series. Back in the 20th century, I had little idea how to write a full novel. But, considering the countless number of mystery novels I had read over the years, my goal didn't feel daunting.
 
The first chapter of the first draft of my first Pepper Bibeau mystery saw the light of day in 1998. Over the next decade and a half, I delved into the mechanics of researching and writing a full novel, finding an editor, composing query letters, and most importantly, accepting rejection of my work. I did fairly well with the first three. The rejection thing was and is a bit harder to master.
 
This first novel went through a large number of drafts. The cover experienced several title changes, also, from SHADOW of A WOMAN: 
 
 
to SOMETHING ABOUT URSULA and QUESTIONABLE CLAIMS, and then to
 

 
 
and finally, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences:
 
 
 
Along the way, my insecurities waxed and waned. But they never fully morphed into confidence. Had I held the courage of my convictions, I may not have followed the advice of so many "experts" in the field, changing, altering, and editing the story along the way.

My original idea survived, however. After multiple (to the nth power) query submissions with varying degrees of "thank you, ma'am" rejections, I self-published my novel through CreateSpace. For me, for my goals, this was the perfect avenue of publication.
 
Now my insecurities are more in the form of marketing!!!