Monday, July 30, 2012

It is so hard to keep up with all the pressing wishes of life. My little book calls to me, "Come, finish me. Just a little more and I'll be out of your hair. Then you can get on to the many other voices calling you." Am I whining again?


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Onward and Upward

Tristan da Cunha Island

Okay, get busy! That's my admonition to myself. The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships is on its way into the world. The next project is a book I started many years ago--and stuffed it into the file cabinet when my life suddenly got more exciting. It's about a boy and an island and an extinct volcano that woke up and all that happened after that.

Some of the story is historical fact--like the island of Tristan da Cunha and it awakening. That the entire population of the island, just under 300, was evacuated. From there on a twelve year old boy named Thomas appears on the scene and makes his way for almost three years alone--except for Binka and Shag, of course. How can a boy manage without his dog and his donkey, after all. The book is more than half written. I'm hoping to finish before the end of July.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Growing seedlings I've collected all year. Notice the pin with my brother Jacob's picture
Things are moving fast--too fast at times. In addition to the two large projects, 1) finishing my second book for Xlibris and 2) completing the editing on Terry Susong's book (also to be published by Xlibris), also, there are the side issues. To promote The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships, I need to talk to book store buyers, write and maintain a blog about it, as well as to keep my voice, face, and writings out in public view. That is all a full-time job. 

Waiting in the wings are project around my apartment and bonsai workshop. You've heard the term "uncluttering?" Well, that's what is facing me. Then there are plants sitting on the patio in nursery cans wondering (if plants can wonder) just when they will be flourishing as "old" trees in beautiful bonsai pots--lots and lots of them. And the tiles and slates I found at estate sales are piling up. No, they aren't wondering anything, but I am wondering when I will be able to clear off the patio workbenches, clean them thoroughly, and apply the tiles, with all the appropriate adhesives and grout and stuff. 
Just in case anyone questions how hard I work!

So, here I sit writing this post. I did send an edited chapter to Terry this morning. Now, do I start on another chapter for him--or shall I work for an hour or so on (working title) Volcano Boy? They both need to be finished in the next month or so. No problem, I say to my friend Bob Legaspi of Xlibris. (smile)

It has been a beautiful day. Sunshine and wild birds visiting the feeders, roses blooming in the foot of the yard--Joseph's Coat and Purple Splash, Don Juan and Oklahoma. Nina and I can hardly wait for the irises to open up, some of the ones that once bloomed in our Little Mother's yard.

Life is good, and I am indeed a lucky woman! 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Book Signing Under My Belt

Hey, folks! The book signing went well, even though there weren't many books sold. We had lots of animated interest, especially from the target age group. Had the good fortune to speak with and hand printouts of book summary and author's bio to several librarians, including some from school libraries. There are plenty of bookmarks out there with information about ordering on the reverse side and the cover picture on front. So, I consider it a success.


Monday, April 2, 2012


I just don't think so. I'm no longer living in my beloved canyon, but my thoughts, ideas, emotions are all so tied up with that wonderful canyon that I can't bear to change it. Someone I really respect suggested I might set up a new blog (and that I might want to separate my political/social comment from other, more literary posts), but so far I'm pretty busy to think about doing it.

Any thoughts from anybody? Anybody listening? (smile)

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Since I last posted here, my book The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships is out! It has been a dream come true for me. Nina says my feet haven't touched the ground in a month. Now begins the work of learning how to market and getting started. And I thought I'd be sitting back just basking in its radiated warmth!

Friday, February 10, 2012

2012 - My Year to Bloom

This is the year I publish my first book. It will be the fulfillment of a lifetime dream. The book, which will be available at Xlibris by the end of this month (February), is entitled The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships. I wrote it in 1985 while Tony and I lived in Wilson, North Carolina. Three major moves later, I rediscovered the hard copy deeply buried among unrelated papers stuffed into a file cabinet drawer.

I don't think this would have happened but for the prompting of my nephews to dig out the short stories
(Tiger Lily and Tarantulas On My Mind) they had enjoyed when they were kids and wanted to read again. Thank you, Douglas and James and Michael!

The digital file for the manuscript was long lost through multiple computer moves. I created it on our first computer, a C/PM KayPro machine Tony and I bought in Scottsdale, Arizona while on our journey across the country
in 1983-4. The dot matrix printout, not the clearest type to begin with, had faded over the years; however, between the two of us, my sister Nina and I managed to retype the full-length novel into a Word document in a few days.

In the meantime, I explored self-publishing and zeroed in on Xlibris. The problem for me was that even the most basic plan was beyond the reach of my bank account. I had to tell
Bob Legaspi, the publication consultant, I would have to wait until I could accumulate the cost. Then an amazing sequence of event occurred.

1) A Vietnam veteran friend of my late brother Jacob,
Carl ToersBijns, sent an email press release for his new book Gorilla Justice: Caged War Veterans, the Mentally Ill & Solitary Confinement, the newest of three books he self-published with Xlibris. I forwarded the press release to my friends and acquaintances, hoping to help get out his passionate message about the prison system. In an email to Carl I told him what I'd done.

2) Carl wrote back thanking me. He ended his email as follows:
I do appreciate it and hope all good things happen in 2012 for you and family.. Maybe the lottery?? just kidding but you never know.

3) His remark jogged my memory about the two lottery tickets I'd purchased earlier in the week. I ran out (well, hurried out) to retrieve them from the visor in my Ford pickup truck, returned to the computer and checked the numbers online. First thing I saw was that one of the quick picks on the PowerBall ticket had two matching numbers, winning $7.00. That brought a smile. I'd have to let Carl know he was a prophet! Then I turned to the MegaMillions ticket.

02 03 12 22 23 36 My numbers.
02 03 15 22 23 12
Winning numbers.

Imagine my immediate reaction. Five numbers out of six! I ran up the stairs (close to running this time) to show Nina and ask her to verify the numbers. It was right--my regular numbers included five of the winning number of the MegaMillion lottery! If--the famous IF--if I had only used the 12 for the mega number, my winnings would have been (with the multiplier) $20,000. Nevertheless, I was--and am--grateful for the $300 I won--and don't forget the $7. It was a good start toward the cost of publication.

4) I talked to Bob at Xlibris and signed on to get my book self-published. Now we're within days of printing the first copy of The Girl Who Dreamed of Ships and making it available for ebook download on Xlibris. Soon and Barnes & Noble websites will also make them available. When I have the finalized copy of the book cover, I'll post it here. (sigh) (whew!) (smile) (whoopee!)

I'll soon have another story to tell about someone I just met. He is writing a book I can really get behind--and he has asked me to help out some. More about this later after we have met and talked in person.

This is definitely my year for new, exciting things. As soon as I catch my breath, I have at least a half dozen books I've worked on from time to time over the years. I am a lucky person!

Monday, January 9, 2012

How I wish I could remember her words at that moment.
Even so, this picture means the world to me. She brought
those little narcissus blossoms from her garden for me to
wear on my wedding day.

Mother and her girls at the cemetery.

Lois with Shakespeare.
Lois knitting.

Little Mother greeting Deborah Russell Bunch who has come to visit from Tennessee.
Wish Nan had been more included. Her clasped hands carry so much emotion.

Douglas Allen Bunch hugging his little grandmother.
Nancy talking, probably to Debbie.

Lois, Nina, Jakie and Bud Siratt.

Lois and her Little Fairy Girl. How she loved her little gold-headed girls. Her words and thoughts about them revealed her mother's heart.

Here she is saying grace at a family gathering. I'm not sure of the occasions, but probably a funeral--maybe Johnnie Margaret's.

And here she and I comfort our little Yang who is suffering with widespread cancer and is on heavy medication for pain. We're saying goodbye to him and he will go to sleep at the vet's tomorrow. Her sweet little hand . . .

And here is the mother whose heart has stopped beating because her little son has died in Vietnam.


I would love to see photos posted by a viewer who has one.


She sometimes said, "I'm not so little!" At her tallest, she measured 5'2", though at the time she said that, she stood 4' 10 or 11". Maybe that's why she loved those spike heels. She did have glamor girl legs, though it wasn't something she'd have wanted discussed. (smile) She was a beautiful woman, young and old.

The most striking thing about her, though, was her, for want of another word, spirit. She had a sparkle of goodness that came through in her joy of life, the tenderness she showed toward people and all creatures (except snakes and toads, of course), her sweet appreciation for anything done for her, her kindness toward children. She had a delicacy of speech and manner and action that was extraordinary. And, one thing that shone through everything she did and said was her love for God. It was who she was. I should add that she was nobody's pushover! She had strong principles, and she would not compromise those principles. I don't believe that anyone who knew our Little Mother would disagree with what I've said about her here, so this isn't just an adoring daughter speaking--although it is an adoring daughter speaking. (smile)

I hope this memorial to Little Mother shows her truly to anyone who never met her, as well as to all who knew and loved her.


Turns out I'm not adept at adding photos to a post and keeping them in order. So, I'm just going to add all the ones I've found and let you sort out when they happened. (smile) The ones I see came through okay are of 16-year old Lois with Bud on their wedding day; about the same time with her mother, Nancy Elizabeth Holland Grisham and her mother-in-law, Sarah Arlena Stembridge Siratt; with her new sister-in-law, Lorene Lena Siratt, posing for an unknown camera person. I hope to post more of her later in life.

Well, I thought I would. I'm exhausted, and I haven't typed much on my book. So, for now I say, Little Mother we were a wonder and you will forever sit on my shoulder and speak into my heart. (Wish you had known more about computer, though. Ha!)

Lois Ellen Grisham, at 16, posing for a photo taken by Lorene Lena Siratt.

Tiny photos of Lois Grisham and Jacob “Bud” Siratt.
(too tiny to be enlarged)
On their wedding day in Hot Springs in a place called the White House.
In Santa Maria, California, their new home.
Both in 1932.

Lois Grisham Siratt, age 16,
with mother Nancy Elizabeth Holland Grisham
and mother-in-law Arlena Stembridge Siratt