Friday, September 11, 2009

A Day of Memory

"A small sorrow distracts; a great one makes us collected." ~Richter

Today I'm asking that all who visit my blog take a moment to remember September 11, 2001. Years pass and memories fade, both for good and for bad, but I think it's important to think back on just how horrific that day was, and everything that resulted from it. No political comments, please -- there's a lot that has been said, and could still be said, and not everything that our country did before or after that day was noble.

But we lost so much that day, and to all those people who became victims on September 11, we owe at least a moment of dignified silence to honor their lives. We miss you and try our best to live on in ways that make this country and this world a better place.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Susie Schade-Brewer

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm chatting with Susie Schade-Brewer. Enjoy!

Can you tell us a little about your background, Susie?

I was born and raised in Kansas. At 7 years of age, my family left city life and moved to the country. From that point forward until the day he died, my father, Ernest Schade, was a farmer. During the sweltering Kansas summers, he tilled and planted his acres. My mother, Hazel, was his devoted helpmate, and together they raised 8 children. I was the oldest of the 4 girls. Every one of us was expected to work the fields alongside my parents. I now reside in Adrian Missouri, surrounded on all sides by green fields and woods thick with pines and hedge trees. I live with one son and my two pug dogs, Rosie and Sebastian.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

My Grandmother Schade died when I was pretty young. But it was she who first captivated me with tales of adventure and intrigue along the trails west. She herself and her family had traveled overland in a covered wagon when she was young. Though she was born in the 1890’s and past the time of the major western migration, she had not only her own stories to pass on, but those of family members who had lived during that time.

I have distinct memories of sitting on her lap when I was about 5 or 6, staring out the window beside her rocking chair, in my mind visualizing the places where her stories transported me. The excitement behind those stories inspired my first love of that exciting time in our country’s history.

Life, marriage and children then kind of thwarted my writing goals for a while. Once I hit 50, though - and especially after the death of Princess Diana - I figured if I didn’t get to it, it may not ever happen. Life is short and uncertain. That is when I began the novel, The Sacrifice of the Sage Hen. The actual writing of the story took only 4 months, but the editing process took another 6 years. I had had no formal training, and I learned as I went.

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title!

In March of this year, my novel The Sacrifice of the Sage Hen was released. Since then, two things seem to occupy most of my time – marketing the book, and running my professional writing service ( The resume writing and copywriting that I do for the writing service takes up quite a bit of time. But I still make time to work on my second novel, which will be a sequel of the first. It will center more around the day-to-day life and hardships the pioneers faced while traveling the 2,000 miles of trail between Independence, Missouri and the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

I also have a blog, http://www.onewriter, having to do with anything writing or western. I invite everyone to visit the site and join as a follower and get some lively discussions going. I t gets lonely out here in the Missouri rurals!

Sounds as though writing is definitely keeping you busy! What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

Sometimes I find the pressures of everyday living deplete/stifle the creative spirit within me. It is frustrating knowing how much I want to sit down and let the words flow but they just don’t come, or if they do, I find them disgustingly novice. To find inspiration, I sometimes take a day off from the office work, go to a park and sit and read. It relaxes me and fills me with motivation, and soon the words are flowing once again. It sounds silly, but it is one of the greatest contentments I know.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Absolutely. I think everyone does at some point. Life is full these days, and our thinking processes become fragmented and thwarted. However, I make myself write each and every day. I suppose having a writing business makes that goal easier to accomplish. Article writing, resume writing, copywriting – all are things I enjoy, and must be done frequently. The advantage is that keeping to the everyday grind keeps one’s mind clicking and on track. Another thing – I like going for a long car ride down a lonely country road, enjoying the scenery, taking it all in. All the better if I stumble upon an old cemetery along the way with lots of interesting epitaphs. That really gets the creative juices flowing.

Describe your writing space...

I work out of my office in my country home. My brain is one that comes to a complete and grinding halt when things are not organized or where I can find them. Still, the stacks of papers for ongoing projects, some that need to be filed (when I have a minute), and papers I have every intention of reading cover every inch of my desk. Exactly what color is the top of my desk again? Just kidding. It’s not really THAT bad!

Anything else you’d like to mention?

My newest venture, one I am very excited about, involves writing articles – lots and lots of them – having to do with ‘All Things Western’, the life and circumstances of both contemporary and historical western life. My website –, will be chock full of everything western. Mustangs & all about horses – longhorn cattle – western apparel (there will even be a store) – tack– Native Americans -- turquoise and silver jewelry –– western dance & music - historical fiction books and reviews – the best dude ranches and bed & breakfasts in the country – a section called ‘The Cowboy’s Bunkhouse’ - birds & butterflies - you name it, it will eventually show up there. This is a brand new venture for me, and I am working hard – albeit jubilantly – to get it up and running soon. I hope everyone will visit and share their thoughts and ideas with me. My writer’s website is Please come visit me there, too.

Susie, thank you so much for being here today. Readers, make sure to stop by and visit her websites. She's one busy lady!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Monday Mentionables

"Imagine no possesions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people Sharing all the world." ~John Lennon

Oh my gosh! I totally forgot to tell you what the September Blog Giveaway prize is going to be! To one lucky commenter this month, I'll send a copy of Dead Until Dark, the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (I blogged about it here) along with a couple other books tossed in for good measure, from my stash of books I've gotten from a few of the author tours I've hosted. Sound good?


Saw the movie "Taking Woodstock" last night - mostly because, well, it's the 40th anniversary of the event, and because I live less than an hour from the original site. It was pretty good - a little fragmented, but I suppose the whole Woodstock experience was, so...

I thought the movie did a good job showing the remoteness of Sullivan County, where it took place, and how this incredible influx of people to the small town was completely overwhelming and under-anticipated. I didn't realize they actually shut down the New York State Thruway because of traffic jams from the city all the way up to the concert site!! There's a lot of interesting characters, too, well-acted, from the people who came in to plan the event to the locals themselves. Liev Schreiber plays a war vet who dresses in drag -- he's terrific. So is Emile Hirsch, who plays a messed-up Vietnam vet dealing with this return to the States. I liked the central character, too, the young guy who arranged for the concert to come to his town who's conflicted about being there at all (when he could be either in NYC or San Francisco), and his crochety parents who are running one of the Jewish hotels in the Catskills.

I heard the movie didn't get great reviews, but I liked it, overall. Anyone else see it, or planning to?