Hello from the Writers Conference

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday morning friends!  This is a big day for me. I serve as treasurer on the board of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference (KCWC). All year long, we pray and plan. Today, it begins!

Welcome to Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Elizabethtown is situated sort of in the middle of Kentucky. It’s a major hub, with several parkways and I-65 running through it, which makes it highly accessible. And, it’s a lovely small town with a big heart and friendly residents; a great place to visit. Some of you parents out there may have spent time in the town’s sports park with your baseball and/or soccer players.

KCWC is welcoming a stellar crew of writers, publishers, editors, and agents. From keynote speaker, H. Michael Brewer, to the well-known and loved blogger, marketing-media expert and writer, Edie Melson. Gregg & Hallee Bridgeman, Michele Chynoweth, Tracy Crump, Harriet Michael, and Carlton Hughes. Yes, I am name-dropping! As well, we have a healthy list of others here.

There’s still time, if you’re close enough to make the trip. Come for a day–either Friday or Saturday, or sign in on Friday and return on Saturday to take full advantage of the conference. We offer reasonable prices and wonderful meals, but most of all, great fellowship hobnobbing with other writers.

One of the greatest things about a “small” conference is accessibility. We, as individual writers, have time and opportunity to meet successful, published writers and entrepreneurs. We can enjoy a meal with them, talk to them at their book table, or while seated next to them (hopefully not talking during the keynote). They will inspire you to keep hitting those keys and writing those stories. They’ll impart knowledge and help writers learn how to perfect their work and sell stories.

Then, you can sit down with one of our agents or publishers and find out if you have what it takes to make a success out of writing.

I’ve made some wonderful friends over the years, attending this conference. That’s really what it’s all about. Networking and friendships will help build your confidence as an inspirational writer.

So, here I am, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, ready to go and make new friends. I hope we’ve set the scene for a wonderful, inspirational time of learning and fun.

Speaking of fun, I’m teaching a class! I didn’t mean to, hadn’t planned on it, but a last-minute cancellation left a session without an instructor. This lady was kind enough to offer her materials, so I’m all set. And it just happens to be one of my favorite subjects. Humorous writing. “Make Me Laugh and Forget I’m Reading”.

I’ll write a followup article next week and let you know how it went. In the meantime, I hope to see some of you there!

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The Story Between

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, it’s Thursday morning, and I’m contemplating the story between.

Sometimes authors have “backstory” — the part of the story that only the author knows. It seldom makes it into print. A good writer will incorporate backstory into their work so the reader knows important things about the characters.

There’s a story between Carlotta’s Legacy and Rebecca’s Legacy. It’s important because it tells the reader who Rebecca is, what she’s overcome, and why she’s now living on a farm in a remote region of Virginia.

Amelia’s Legacy ended in 1929, on the eve of the stock market crash. Carlotta’s Legacy takes up the story after the crash, when the world has begun to change for my characters. I show the tragic aftermath that sends Rebecca to another country where she will try to pick up the pieces of her broken life.

Carlotta’s Legacy ends as the world begins to change again. World War II is on the horizon. Rebecca’s husband, Ricci, is called back to active duty to serve a leader and a regime he doesn’t respect. Ricci and Rebecca have recently welcomed a son, Dominic.

Rebecca is comforted by her good friend, a servant in her household. Eva (pronounced A-va) Campi’s son, Alessio, is a few months older than Dominic Alvera. Eva’s husband is serving in Africa.

As an American in Italy, Rebecca’s life becomes more complicated. Many of her liberties are stripped from her. She suffers under the hateful glances of her neighbors. She eventually keeps to herself within the confines of their estate at Tres Viti Verde.

When her good friends, Nancy and Robert Emerson, beg her to return to America, Rebecca initially refuses. Then Eva’s husband is killed. Carlotta suffers a fatal heart attack. Ricci is reported missing, and may be dead. Rebecca decides to accept Robert’s offer. But is it too late?

With their sons, Dominic and Alessio, Rebecca Lewis Alvera and Eva Campi move to Perry’s Landing. Rebecca spearheads a farming initiative, hoping to provide produce to area citizens devastated by the war.  Robert asks the women to take in several Italian war orphans from respected families of his acquaintance.

The women’s farming business prospers, even though some of the neighbors mistrust them, and talk about them behind their backs. After all, Italy sided with Germany. Italy is the enemy, and these women have come from … Italy.

The women pay no attention. They work hard and find ways to serve the community. Through the local Catholic church, they give their extra produce to the poor.

Gradually, the neighbors note the good works these two women are doing. Their constant love and forgiving natures in the face of hatred and bigotry begins to melt the hearts of their fellow citizens.

As Rebecca’s Legacy begins, we have progressed to 1947. The war has ended, and our young heroine is around the same age her mother was at the beginning of Amelia’s Legacy.

Rebecca’s Legacy releases August 7, 2018.

Click to Tweet: Sometimes authors have “backstory” — the part of the story that only the author knows. In the Legacy series by Betty Thomason Owens, there’s a story between.

Two Legacies: Amelia and Carlotta

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Today, I have a special treat planned, so you might want to stick around til the end. Don’t cheat and skip there already. You’re going to need to know a thing or two I’ve included in this post.

My excitement level increases with each day we draw closer to the release of the third book in the Legacy series. I loved writing this book. Since we still have two months until the official release date, I’m going to occupy myself with Legacy-related posts.

Note: Before you read any further, I want to apologize for the number of times I’ve repeated the word legacy. Maybe it will be less distracting if I used [L]. So every time you see [L] you’ll know what it means. 🙂

A legacy is what is left or willed to someone after death. It’s also a memory or a life change because of something that happened in the past. For instance, women’s lives changed due to the legacy of the early suffragists.

In book one of my [L] series, the [L] may seem to be what Amelia Woods Sanderson left to her granddaughter, Nancy. Yes, the inheritance was quite substantial, but there was more to that story.

Amelia was a schemer. This aspect of her personality served her well in the business world, but less so in the personal realm. She had a life laid out for her granddaughter that Nancy chaffed at and resisted with all her energy. Further complicating things, was the fact that Nancy, orphaned at the age of six, had never felt loved by her grandmother.

Amelia’s aloofness was a symptom of her great losses in life.

The lesson Nancy learned was this: Regardless of her problematic nature, Grandmother knew a thing or two about life. She would be long remembered for more than the fortune she left behind.

In book one, Amelia’s death released the [L]. In book two, the title’s [L] character, Carlotta, did not die. Instead, her life—her daily witness—changed her daughter-in-law Rebecca’s life.

Readers of Amelia’s Legacy will remember Rebecca Lewis, Nancy’s best friend (and sometimes partner-in-crime). As the main character in book two, Rebecca must learn to live a different sort of life after marrying into an aristocratic Umbrian family. But they aren’t like other aristocrats. Carlotta puts on an apron and works alongside her servants in the kitchen.

Carlotta at 18

The woman has the servant’s attitude down. Her Roman Catholic roots have taught her to serve and give to others. You wouldn’t know that when you first meet her. She is quite resistant to the idea of an American daughter-in-law, especially one whose father gambled away his fortune.

After getting to know Rebecca’s mother, and a bit about the girl’s early life, Carlotta’s cold facade begins to melt. Rebecca’s attitude of humility, coupled with a willingness to learn, crumbles the last of the older woman’s resolve.

What Rebecca gained in Umbria, living with the Alvera family, was an organic [L] that would serve her well in years to come. She’d pass on the servant’s heart, love, and humility to an Emerson in book three, and she doesn’t have to die to do it.

So, now that you’ve made it through all that, you may be wondering what the “treat” is–I’m giving away a $10 gift card! Just leave me a comment on this blog post and let me know you’d like to be included in the drawing. Also include in your comment the word I left out in the blog post. Here’s a hint: [L].

The prize will be winner’s choice of an Amazon gift card, or a Starbucks gift card. Now, don’t forget, you have to include two things in your comment!

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Legacy Series is a Wrap

Hello, it’s Thursday morning. This may come as a surprise to some of you. That Monday holiday really messes with your mind schedule. 🙂

I’m celebrating with a second cuppa coffee this morning! I turned in the galley for the final book in the Legacy series. Kind of sad. I’m going to miss the Emerson clan.

Just in case you’re wondering what a galley is–maybe you’re familiar with the term when it refers to a narrow kitchen, or a boat (or ship) propelled by oars. Well, it’s also the mock-up version of a book. Kind of like a “proof”. Authors receive a galley copy for a final read-through of their masterpiece. This is their last chance to correct any errors still hiding in the prose.

Rebecca’s Legacy was a joy to write! I’ve wanted to tell Amy’s story since the day she was born. I was there, you know—halfway through book 1, Amelia’s Legacy. The newborn Amy Juliana Emerson looked like a little doll.

She’s still pretty cute. I hope my readers will love her as much as I do.

Rebecca’s Legacy releases August 7. Be watching for special events and a couple giveaways as the day approaches.

A Smile in the Midst

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve had a busy couple of weeks after taking a mini-vacation. We visited Indianapolis. It’s a beautiful city with lots to see and do.

 

Indy is a great place to hang out for a long weekend. You can walk everywhere, and we had so many choices of restaurants, it was hard to decide. Our favorite thing was walking along the canal, and dining at Harry and Izzie’s.

I’m finding lots of reasons to smile lately. This comes after a long season of worry and fear. A time when I was trying really hard to keep my natural optimistic tendencies at the top, instead of buried beneath a load of anxiety. No, I’m not talking about the big “C”.

I was battling a giant of a different sort. Mental clarity. I was having difficulty understanding and that was frightening, to say the least. I began to withdraw from circumstances that required me to be responsive. Even going out to lunch with friends became difficult. I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying. I tried to laugh when they laughed, and make appropriate responses, but I’m not sure it worked.

The noise in my head was overwhelming me. My brain felt sluggish and my ears felt stuffy all the time. I leaned heavily on texting and social media, rather than making phone calls. If I had an important call to make or receive, I put on earphones. I seldom went to movies, since I couldn’t understand what they were saying, and even had difficulty in church.

I managed to stay beneath the radar for a while, but my heart was telling me something was wrong, and I feared the worst. Would I lose my memory? I didn’t think so. My writing was going well, and I’d been able to keep up with my part-time bookkeeping job.

During a routine visit to my primary physician, she sensed I was having trouble and suggested I see an ENT. My last hearing test was several years ago, and she felt I needed an update. I spent nearly an hour in a soundproof booth, wearing noise-blocking earphones. I suspected the woman administering the test was playing video games or reading a good book, because I’d go for long periods without hearing anything.

I wasn’t hearing the sounds. Then she read words and had me repeat them. Okay, I’ve always believed that being in a noisy room with people talking all around me was the problem. But in that quiet little booth, I still couldn’t understand all her words. I flunked the test. My score was pretty devastating.

Many people suffer from diminished hearing as they age. In my case, you can add genetics into the mix. My mother struggles to hear, even with a hearing aid. Her dad was nearly deaf when he died at 76. All three of his brothers struggled with hearing issues. I loved those Christy’s, but some legacies you don’t really want.

The ENT summed it up, saying I was basically hearing disabled, and needed two hearing aids in order to “shore up” the situation. Most likely, if I live long enough, I’ll lose my hearing completely.

Not good news. Not the worst news either. I knew I could deal with it, somehow.

For a few days, I was a little weepy. But then I got busy and began to research hearing loss. All those scary symptoms I’d been experiencing were related. I’m not loosing my mind, I just can’t understand and process everything I’m hearing. I miss birdsong. Music doesn’t sound the same. Everybody mumbles. They sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve paid attention to people when they speak. I watch them and work harder to understand. I try to speak with more clarity. I let those around me know I have difficulty hearing. Most people are kind and cooperative. My grandsons get a little exasperated with me, especially after the third or fourth repetition.

Humor has been my friend. I told one of my granddaughters she could tell me her secrets. I don’t hear whispers at all. So, secrets are safe with me.

I’m smiling more these days, because I know the cause of my distress, and it’s not what I feared. This I can work with. My brain’s in good shape, so I can learn to deal with hearing aids, or reading lips, or even learning sign language if it comes to that. I don’t think it will, but have you seen the price of hearing aids? It’s like buying a small car, only they don’t last as long.

The sun is shining this morning, and I can see birds in the trees. I know they’re singing and one day, I’ll hear them again.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 NIV.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

CLICK TO TWEET: Many people suffer from diminished hearing as they age. #hearingloss #aging #health