Change of scene

 Today, I am writing at the library in downtown Oklahoma City. It was my son’s idea. He is an avid writer, who wanted a change of scene. Our downtown library is a lovely building. It is full of clean summer sunlight without the heat of outdoors. Whoever designed the building created glass which only allows in cool comforting light in soothing blue tones. The ceiling is a giant skylight. Walls are nearly all glass on the north, east, and west sides. Rooms of various sizes line the walls. Opaque partitions lie perpendicular to the outside walls while light streams through glass panels parallel to the outside walls letting in more light. The rooms vary in size from small study cubicles to a large room designated “quiet reading space” in which comfortable chairs combine with large golden wood conference tables to invite readers to focus.

We are not in a room, but seated at a luxuriously large conference table kindly fitted with power ports. Wifi streams freely and fast to all patrons and their various devices. There is a busy hush to the open space on the second floor. Each floor is open to the other four floors.

The downstairs has a roomy children’s section, several service desks, fiction, teen area, a large atrium with a grand piano, and dozens of small tables and chairs, and some offices hidden behind opaque walls.

The second floor is slightly smaller than the first. The space above the atrium is open to the fourth floor letting in loads of cool light. I wonder what it is like in here when the piano is in use. There are a large number of tables with computers, some are for library catalog searches while others are for use by patrons who need general computer access including the web.

The second floor is non-fiction. One whole section is for materials related to the Holocaust against the Jewish people by the German Nazis during the second world war. Along the south wall is a set of three microfiche/microfilm readers. This is very exciting. I had no idea they were still in use. I wonder what kind of films they still keep in this format.

Sitting here working, the physical environment fades away into the busy hush of people going about their business. I hear the soft sound of a hard working janitor using a straw broom to sweep off the texture tile stairs. I don’t know if that is a way of reducing noise or the best way to clean, but her rhythmic sweeping is soothing.

For some visitor information–

Arts District Parking Garage Main & Colcord

Arts District Parking Garage Main & Colcord Bring your parking ticket from this garage to the front desk of the downtown library for a $1 off voucher.


On our short walk from the Arts District Garage to the Downtown Library, we saw this tiny structure which reminded us of a children’s book, The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.tlh

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June Bookshelf

I read science fiction in June–

One Second After by William Forstchen

The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and Ken Liu

The Crystal Deception by Doug J. Cooper

Eye of the World, The Wheel of Time series, book #1 by Robert Jordan


And also these books–

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

A New Hope by Robyn Carr

The New Black, Edited by Richard Thomas is an anthology of neo-noir short stories.

I began taking:  Masterclass, James Patterson Teaches Writing

Notable in my reading life is that I have begun aggressively using the public library as a source for ebooks and audio books as well as actual paper books. Their digital two week check out policy pushes me to read faster, and more efficiently. Also, I found that I treasure each of the 14 days I have to complete a book if I have been waiting in the queue for some time. The Eye of the World is a long lovely read, which I had to work hard to finish in the allotted time. It was worth it.

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Soundtrack of my life

I cannot listen to music while writing a first draft or world building. But today, I am in editor-mode working on my upcoming collection of short stories. What do I need for a day full of tedious editing?

  • Background music to keep me focused.
  • Tons of coffee.
  • My sweet dog.
  • The internet.

A collection of singer/songwriter music is playing now-Stan Rogers, Paul Simon, Sting, Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine, The Police, and Fleet Foxes fill my writing studio with soothing music.

Now, back to the Red Pen–


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Mom life is full of wonders!

Thank you Scott Dannemiller! You said what we all need to hear in this lovely blog post, “To the Moms: Just Stop It”.

Dannemiller shines a spotlight on the culture of moms who work hard to outdo one another. I have been a full time mom for 21 years, and have been on that crazy train many times. I recall a few pivotal conversations with other moms, during which we challenged one another to “dial it back.” A few times, we actually did dial it back.

I do not go to work outside the home. I have always considered parenting my job. I have, at times, longed for a job with the chance of promotion, paychecks, lunch breaks, peers, and vacation days. I chose, instead, to apply my job skills to being a parent. That is my chance to teach my three kids that doing a job right is not always easy, but always important. I have had the joy of parenting alongside a variety of intelligent, interesting, and fiercely ambitious women over the past two decades. We all want what is best for our kids. I am grateful for the fellow mothers who share my journey. We challenge and affirm one another.

I have tried crafty mom things over the years including wood burning, quilting, knitting, crochet, weaving mats from plastic bags, ceramic painting. I have never excelled at any of these things. I do not get a huge thrill from crafting, for its own sake. I need to be taken by the hand, given the idea, taught the skills, and helped to finish. I learned to bead delicate bracelets on a loom because it was a Camp Fire activity. It was fun and interesting. I still have the loom and a bunch of tiny beads and one really lovely bracelet, which I wove myself. I was all in for helping some kiddos learn to knit, but I still can’t purl.

One of the most amazing aspects of my decades a mom was having the opportunity to embrace new things. I learned all about cross country running. I’ll never be a runner, but I am more fit now than I used to be. And I am a big fan of runners. I embraced baseball–managed the team, kept score, and loved watching the boys play ball. Now that we don’t play anymore, I really miss baseball. It is soccer that keeps me busy now. I may never understand the offsides rule, but I love watching my son play soccer.

The birthday parties could fill a book. I have attended, hosted, and heard about some legendary birthday parties.

As I transition from full time mom to full time writer this spring, I find that I am giving mom life a lot of reflection time. Dannemiller, I hear what you are saying. Moms do sometimes go over the top, to the deep frustration of other parents. I have done it multiple times. For some of us, parenthood is our job. There are moments in our lives that we just need to go over the top–print custom stickers, make a personal gift, give a really fabulous party. Maybe it is all about the mom, perhaps it was all about me, sometimes.

I did the math during my son’s high school graduation. It took almost 7,000 days to reach this point in his life. 7,000 days for which I was present at nearly every single one. I have three kids ages 21, 19, and 14. For all the days of their childhoods in my home, I have either been present or organized for them to be: in a place of safety, well fed, cared for, and accepted.

Calculating that my two older kids were at home for roughly 19 and 18 years plus the younger one at 14.75 years (and counting): I have spent 18,524 cumulative days (so far) of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, schedules, tucking in, waking up, hugs, discipline, routine, and paying attention. The job is never done, it just starts all over again at the next meal.

Scott, you are right. I am enough. My presence has been and always will be enough. And I am beyond grateful that some days I get to shine, just a little bit.


Update– apparently, Scott Dannemiller received some ugly responses to his original post, about which I wrote this post. I am so sorry to hear that.

You can read his To the Moms–My Apologies

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My kind of SciFi

I like scifi in the old fashioned tradition of Isaac Asimov. I Robot is good storytelling, which happens to take place in a futuristic world. That is my goal: tell a good story that is set in the futuristic world of my own creation.

After years of consuming truly excellent scifi on tv, movies and books, we all want a truly believable world. The story has to make sense within its own framework and within the laws of the natural world (unless the author can alter them).

I am striving to build a world in which interesting characters can tell us a story. The universe of my story has to work. The timeline must reconcile with logic. The geography has to not only work, but be accessible to intelligent readers. Characters must behave according to the parameters set out by the story. Even the science and math must be accurate.

Now, that’s intimidating. And I need to get back to writing.

What scifi do you love that is also good storytelling?

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Meeting my characters

Working on my first novel is living a mystery as it unfolds. Who? What? Where? How many pages until I find out?

Recently, I narrowed it down to one piece of work, and it took me some time to put away the other stories percolating in my head. Now, I am settled in to my scifi galactic empire story, and loving it.

I am meeting the characters now. They are fascinating, and I love them already.

I created Solon yesterday, the elected leader of the Zenodoran clan. He has some deep sadness in him, but keeps it hidden well. I don’t know if he will be a good guy or not, but I like his smile.

Also written into the world this week: another clan leader, some family members, and a beloved cousin. I am afraid it won’t end well for everyone when the dark cloud creeps across the empire snuffing out worlds as it moves silently across the vastness of space.



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Worldbuilding Muse

The outline of my first novel had a beginning, several plot points in the middle, an end and some key characters. I had no idea how cool it would be to create the universe in which my novel will grow! After crafting the world of my novel, I know where each of the five clans is located, their resources, talents, and weaknesses. This is beyond fun.

I struggled with naming places and people until I defined each group more carefully. Knowing their origin story helps me to narrow the list of choices. I want each clan to have its own distinctive identity, including names. I’m not giving away any secrets, though. I wonder if you will be able to guess the origin of each clan when you read it.

At this point, I can’t the words on the paper fast enough! Whatever muse is whispering in my ear, please do not stop now!




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