Author Speaks: Gail Henderson

Gail Henderson recently collaborated with noted Oklahoma photographer Michael Duncan to produce Bare, a newly released book of poetry and photography that explores the enigma of womanhood in the world. She wrote Red Bird Woman, a collection of her poetry published in 2013 under the name Gail Wood. She has been published in ByLine Magazine, Creations 2014, Creations 2013: 40 Ways to Look at Love, and Creations 2012. As a board member for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, she honors the memory of her sister who suffered from bipolar disorder. She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma. She loves hiking, gardening, cooking, and life. She taught junior high and high school English for 14 years in the small rural school from which she graduated and served as federal programs administrator for the same school for eight years. She is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. and Ada Writers.

1. Your latest book Bare was released this year. It features your poetry and artistic nude photography. Tell us about how Bare came to be.
My brother-in-law, who is an amateur photographer, showed me pictures of a nude in rural Oklahoma settings. He wasn’t sure how I would react to them. They were beautiful and inspiring--so evocative of the feminine spirit--so the first words out of my mouth were “I want to write poems for these!” He came up with the idea of a book of photography with poems written specifically for each one. It was such a joyful project.

2. Red Bird Woman is the name of your first book, but it's also a name that your Native American husband gave to you. Tell us how that happened and why you identify with it.
Neil and I were hiking when we heard a cardinal. It sang a three-part song ending in what sounded like “woogie, woogie, woogie.” He turned to me, squeezed my cheeks three times while saying “woogie, woogie, woogie.” It was so spontaneous and funny that he christened me Ohoya Hoshe Homma (woman bird red in Choctaw), which translates into Red Bird Woman. Neil understands my connection with Nature. Now the red bird symbolizes that connection.

3. Why do you write poetry? 
I love playing with words, trying to find the best word or phrase to express a thought in a way that is pleasing to the ear and accessible to the mind. I’m not a good story teller so short stories and novels are difficult for me to write. Poems are everywhere. I don’t have to make anything up. I just translate little pieces of life into words.

4. Do you find certain favorite themes in your poetry?
My poetry is woman-oriented, personal. I love being a woman, and I love expressing all the heartache and joy that goes with it.

5. Name a few poems you enjoy and tell us why.
My favorite poem is “Patterns” by Amy Lowell. I love the way it sounds, the images, the emotion it contains--I cry every time I read it aloud. Lowell squeezed so much into that poem. I am amazed every time I read it. Also, I love Shel Silverstein poetry. It’s musical, clever, and always has twisty endings! My children loved it when I read his poetry to them so I have good memories of his poems.

6. What is your writing process? Do you use a pen or computer?
I might jot ideas down on paper, but I mostly compose at a computer. It’s so handy to have an online thesaurus. I wish I could say I were disciplined and wrote everyday, but I take spells of writing --unless I have a particular project, then I can work more steadily. Sometimes it takes me 15 minutes to write a poem--that’s rare. Most of the time I struggle with the poem until I finally let go and let it be what it wants to be. That can take weeks, but a good poem always wins.

7. Many people are turned off by poetry. How can they be turned back on?
I’m turned off by so much of today’s poetry! A poem should make sense, not be an obscure accumulation of words that involves detective work and a hundred readings to understand it. If you are writing for the literati, be obscure and intellectual, but if you want to be read by the masses, make sure your poems are accessible and appeal to the emotions. I would never make it in New York City!

8. What do you want a reader to take away from or learn from your poetry?
First, I want my reader to say, “I get it!” It is important that a reader understand the poem at some level. Second, readers must like the way a poem sounds--the music--even if they can’t tell you why. It is not necessary for a reader to identify alliteration or metaphor to enjoy the result.

9. What has been the best writing advice for you?
Be concise. Use the best and fewest number of words.
And what has surprised you the most about the process of publishing a book?
When you have good friends helping you, it’s easy.

10. What will be your next writing project?
Right now, I am helping my husband write the story of his journey to receiving his Ph.D. For my own project, I’m not sure yet. I’ve learned not to force myself to establish specific writing goals. That doesn’t work well for me--it sets up too much pressure and causes my creative self to rebel. It comes from too many years of proposal writing and deadlines. I keep myself open to ideas. I’ll recognize the next project when the words “I want to write poems for that!” leap out of my mouth.

I am considering a poetry project about my baby sister who died eight years ago of a drug overdose. I miss her everyday and writing about her would keep her spirit alive. My heart will know when the time is right for this very personal project.

Thanks, Gail!

To learn more about Gail and her poetry, visit her website Red Bird Woman.

To learn about other authors, visit Author Speaks at 51313 Harbor Street.

Author Speaks: Christy Bower

Christy Bower is the author of more than twenty books, including Christian nonfiction and youth fantasy fiction titles. She has a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (2004) from Multnomah Biblical Seminary.

Christy lives in northwest Montana, where she considers Glacier National Park her backyard. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking, cleaning, and doing mundane tasks. She says, “Being an author isn’t as glamorous as people seem to think.” And if you hang out with Christy very long, you’ll discover she’s a Star Wars geek and proud of it. She sat down and answered 10 questions for us.

1. What's your latest published book?
My first book, Abundant Life (2002), has been out of print for several years so in honor of publishing my 20th book (Bible Surveyor Handbook), I decided to give new life to my first book by making it available in electronic form for the first time. I republished it under a new title, Unstuck: Escape Spiritual Stagnation, Experience Abundant Life. Unstuck is for people who feel like they are doing all the right things as a Christian but they’re still not growing or they feel their relationship with God has flat lined.

2. Why do you write inspirational books?
Writing inspirational books comes from my heart. Faith defines my life, but I’ve struggled with my relationship with God over and over in different ways. People at church don’t talk about struggles like these, but I was pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way so I decided to speak out about overcoming these obstacles so I could help others who suffer in silence.

3. What are you working on now?
Right now I’m in the production stage of finishing Donkey Oatie’s Bushel of Fun Cookbook (now released) It’s a companion book to the Dragon Hollow trilogy, my youth fantasy fiction books for ages 9-12. Not everything I write has a Christian flavor. My youth fantasy fiction is just good clean fun that organically portrays virtues such as loyalty, courage, and forgiveness. They’re packed with action and plenty of humor.

I’m also working on editing my September release, Sweeter Than Chocolate: Developing a Healthy Addiction to God’s Word. And I’m finishing my Christian apocalyptic novel, Return of the Elves. I stay busy.

4. What’s your writing process?
As you can see, I work on several projects at once. I don’t know if other authors work that way or not. At any given time I have projects in the idea stage, planning, writing, revising, editing, and production (layout and design). I usually have five projects in the works so if I’m not in the mood for fiction, I can work on non-fiction. I write best at night, from 10 p.m.–2 a.m., but that can quickly become an all-nighter if I’m engrossed in my content and lose track of time.

My writing process revolves around self-awareness. I have bipolar disorder so I have manic swings in which I am highly creative and can generate lots of content. At other times things swing the other way and I’m mired in depression so it’s not a good time to write, but it is a good time to edit. To some degree that’s true for everyone: our brains operate in right-brain creativity and left-brain logic. Rather than trying to force creativity or analytical editing, I choose to shift to the type of project my brain is capable of at the moment.

5. Do you write with pencil, pen, computer, or tablet? What’s your favorite?
I generate first drafts with pen and paper. Sometimes pencil. I like how a pencil feels, but my hand gets tired faster. And I have good reason for using pen and paper, too. When you type at a keyboard and make a typing error, your brain shifts to left-brain analytical correction mode. Then your thoughts become more critical about the words you put on the page because your brain is analyzing. Writing by hand allows me to stay in my right-brain creative mode because I’m writing down words I will correct later on. It tells the left-brain, “It’s not your turn yet, but you’ll get your chance.” I actually plan to write a book on this next year.

6. What has been important advice to you in pursuing a writing career, and what advice would you give to a new writer?
The most important advice I received early on was: “Don’t fall in love with your own words.” The publishing committee will change your title, the editor will change your words, and entire chapters may fall on the editing room floor. Don’t be offended. The editor’s job is to make your message better. Why wouldn’t you want that?

But more and more writers are going independent today, so my advice would be: learn grammar and punctuation and keep learning it. Take a class at a community college. Take a class online. Or at least go through a grammar book. I read one book a year on grammar or punctuation. There are some fun ones on the market. You might even laugh and learn at the same time. Ongoing education is important for any writer, but even more so for a self-published writer. And don’t be afraid to hire an editor. I have.

7. What has been the most gratifying or most surprising result from your writing career so far?
Twice I have been named “Writer of the Year” by American Christian Writers (2007, 2011). These awards corresponded with the releases of my books by Discovery House Publishers, Devotion Explosion: Getting Real with God (2007) and Best Friends with God: Falling in Love with the God Who Loves You (2010), both of which have now gone into a fourth printing. I never dreamed my books would enjoy longevity and popularity. It has been an unexpected blessing.

8. You've written 20 books. What are some of their titles?
In addition to the books I’ve already mentioned, I have a series of 12 Crossword Bible Studies containing crossword puzzles for every chapter of the New Testament. And this year I released Bible Surveyor Handbook: A 15-Lesson Overview of the Entire Bible, which gives readers a basic understanding of what’s happening in the Bible. And, of course, there’s my Dragon Hollow trilogy: The Legend of Dragon Hollow, The Secret of the Sword, and The Rise of the Dragon King.

9. Which of your books is your favorite?
I have two. Grant me one non-fiction and one fiction.

Devotion Explosion has always felt like a book I was meant to write. The message of that book is important to me. It’s very freeing and I want others to experience that freedom in their relationship with God.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing the Dragon Hollow books because they are filled with puns, silly The Secret of the Sword was my favorite of the three because in writing it I had to solve some serious problems with how to get this boy to overthrow a usurper king and convince the people he was the rightful king. That took some thinking and I was pleased with how it came out. It has songs, humorous incidents, and hidden literary references. It’s like Christy unfiltered.

10. How can people learn more about your writing?
My website, Christy Bower, offers lots of free downloads, including sample chapters, resources for Christian growth, articles I’ve written for magazines, as well as downloadable extras to go with my books. But to stay up with the latest, you can receive a chapter a week in your inbox from one of my books. Sign up at HERE. Thanks for the thought-provoking questions.

Read about other authors at Author Speaks at 51313 Harbor Street.

"Red Bird Woman" released!

ADA -- Many Rivers Harbor is proud to announce the publication of Red Bird Woman, a book of poetry by Oklahoma author Gail Wood.

Gail Wood said she has written all her life. "It is as natural to me as breathing," she said. "I love the written word, all the nuances, the connotations, the music."

"We're excited to publish Red Bird Woman," said Stephen B. Bagley, Many Rivers Harbor publisher. "The poetry is emotional and moving."

Wood is a retired educator and practicing poet. She has been published in ByLine Magazine, Creations 2012, and Creations 2013: 40 Ways to Look at Love. Red Bird Woman is her first book of poetry. She is currently collaborating on another book titled Bare, which combines the art of photography and poetry. 

She is a member of Ada Writers and the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. As a board member for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, she honors the memory of her sister who suffered from bipolar disorder. 

She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Gail taught junior high and high school English for 14 years in the small rural school from which she graduated. She also served as federal programs administrator at the same school for eight years. 

She loves hiking, digging in the dirt, cooking, and life. She shares her views with the world at RedbirdWoman.blogspot.com.  


Ada Writers Fall Book Festival slated for Tuesday

ADA – Ada Writers Fall Book Festival will be Tuesday, Sept. 10, 4:30-6:30 p.m. hosted by Karen’s Art and Farming, 108 East Main. The festival will feature “Creations 2013: 40 Ways to Look at Love,” the newest anthology by Ada Writers, and books by local authors and by award winning children’s book author Laura Eckroat.

“We will be offering books that are mysteries, romances, biographies, inspirational, humor, and more,” said Stephen B. Bagley, Ada Writers president. “And of course, the new anthology features short stories, poems, memoirs, and more by members of Ada Writers, including Kelley Benson, Eric Collier, Lindiwe Hall, Mel Hutt, Ken Lewis, Rick Litchfield, Don Perry, Martha Rhynes, Joanne Verbridge, Tim Wilson, Gail Wood, and Tom Yarbrough.”

A small quantity of signed children’s books by Laura Wintczak Eckroat will be available at the Festival. Eckroat's book “Went Out To Get a Donut - Came Home With a Muffin” was featured in Fort Worth, Texas Magazine and won the Texas Association of Authors First Place Award for Best 7 and Under Children's Book. Her latest book, “What’s In The Corner? ... A Muffin ‘Tail,’” was released this summer. Learn more about Eckroat and her books at LauraEckroat.blogspot.com.

“We will have readings, signed books, refreshments, and good conversations about books,” said Bagley. “We invite everyone to attend.” For more information about Ada Writers, visit AdaWriters.blogspot.com.

“Creations 2013: 40 Ways to Look at Love” is dedicated to the late Arlene “Aren” Rose Howell, who was a cherished longtime member and officer of Ada Writers.

The anthology features works from the following Ada and area authors:

Stephen B. Bagley wrote “Murder by Dewey Decimal,” “Murder by the Acre,” and the forthcoming “Murder by the Mile,” all in the Measurements of Murder™ series. His other books include “Tales from Bethlehem,” “Floozy and Other Stories,” and “EndlesS.” He also wrote the full-length plays “Murder at the Witch’s Cottage” and “Two Writers in the Hands of an Angry God” and co-wrote “Turnabout.” He coauthored two one-act plays published by Dramatic Publishing Company. His poetry has appeared in “Creations 2012,” ByLine Magazine, Prairie Songs, Free Star, and other journals, and his articles in Nautilus, OKMagazine, Pontotoc County Chronicles, and other publications. Visit his website at StephenBBagley.blogspot.com.

Kelley Benson wrote “On Target: Devotions for Modern Life.” He is a Christian and small town minister who has a passion for using everyday opportunities to help people recognize how God works in their lives. He is the husband of his beautiful wife, Jade. They are being intentional about raising their three young children to see how God should be part of everything people do. He’s been involved in the ministry since 1997. A close Christian mentor inspired Kelley to practice “vocational preaching,” simply put: to work and preach. This allows him the opportunity to be involved in the lives of other people in a personal way through secular work while demonstrating leadership in a local church. Visit his website at KelleyBenson.blogspot.com.

Eric Collier is a father of two and grandfather of six. He started writing poetry for a poetry class hosted by Continuing Education at East Central University. He lives in Ada and works as physical therapist for a local hospital. He enjoys camping, hiking, bird watching, and growing vegetables and flowers.

Lindiwe Hall is a published author of books and eBooks. She enjoys all kinds of writing. She is a graduate of the College of New Rochelle, New York. She has written autobiographical fiction, writes children’s books, and is in the process of proofing and writing an album for her mission called Rose of Sharon. Also, she is very proud of her late father, who was Ambassador to the United Nations from Swaziland for 18 years.

Mel Hutt and his wife have been married for more than sixty years and have three children, eight grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. When his father died in 1945, he entered the Navy and served more than three years in the Pacific, including Operation Crossroads of the atomic bomb experiments at Bikini. He was then assigned to a destroyer and traveled to places like Australia, China, and Japan, with Hawaii as the stop to and from those places. He shares his memories in memoirs.

Ken Lewis has written several articles and short stories of different genres. His interests lie mostly in the paranormal and science fiction genres, but he enjoys exploring other avenues of the art. He’s a graduate of the Longridge Writer’s Group. He’s a firm believer in “Life is learning.” He currently serves as vice-president and treasurer of Ada Writers.

Rick Litchfield’s poetry appears in “A Surrender to the Moon,” “The International Who’s Who in Poetry,” “Timeless Voices,” “The Best Poems and Poets of 2007” and “Creations 2012.” He is working on “Shards of Wit and Wisdom: Stories and Stained Glass.”

Don Perry grew up outside of Crockett, Texas, and later moved to Fort Worth. After many years in the aviation field, he retired and moved to a small farm outside of Ada, Oklahoma. Don married Barbara Burleson in 1965, has two children, Melissa and James, and three grandsons. Since his retirement, he writes short stories of life and times during his youth, geared toward the young adult and teen-aged audiences. Many of his short stories show the humorous and whimsical side of the 1950s life and are often autobiographical in nature. He is currently writing a novel in the fantasy genre.

Martha Rhynes, a retired teacher, began her writing career by re-searching the lives of American authors and writing biographies and analyses of their work for inclusion in literary encyclopedias. Her book-length biographies include, “I, Too, Sing America, The Story of Langston Hughes,” “Gwendolyn Brooks, Poet from Chicago,” “Ralph Ellison: Author of Invisible Man,” “Jack London: Writer of Adventure,” and “Ray Bradbury: Teller of Tales.” Her works of fiction include numerous short stories and three novels: “Secret of the Pack Rat’s Nest,” “The War Bride,” and “Man on First.” Her non-fiction includes an eBook for young adults: “How to Write Scary Stories.” Visit her website at MarthaERhynes.blogspot.com.

Joanne Verbridge was born in Oakland, California, spending her life experiences in Northern California. Family brought her to Oklahoma where she enjoys taking time to write about those experiences. She is trying to inspire her young nieces to take an interest in story telling and writing. She currently serves as the secretary and historian for Ada Writers.

Tim Wilson is a steadfast believer in truth, justice, and the American way of life, and writes to make a difference by helping others with his hard-earned knowledge and life experiences so others may not suffer the same tragic consequences. He is currently writing a nonfiction book, “Yet to be Disclosed,” which is based on facts that explain “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the issues of modern society.”

Gail Wood has written all her life. “It is as natural to me as breathing. I love the written word, all the nuances, the connotations, the music. I am retired from the perverted world of grants, reports, and strategic plans—the bureaucratic graveyard for words. Besides writing, I have a passion for walking. I love the outdoors and all things natural. The best part of my life is now.” Her book, “Red Bird Woman,” will be released later this year by Many Rivers Harbor.

Tom Yarbrough is the author of four books, three nonfiction and one fiction. He is currently editing two works accepted by a publisher. After a long career in counseling and education, he now spends his time with full-time writing, family concerns, and hobbies like Rendezvous (an 1840 living history camp) and making bookmarks called Shepherd Staffs.

MRH Books for a great year!

Creations 2012
By Ada Writers
Anthology - Short stories, poetry, essays, articles & more from the Ada Writers group.
Buy on Lulu



EndlesS
By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu

Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at more than 80 hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (Second Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! New expanded edition. 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Lulu
Buy on Amazon

Murder by the Acre (First Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

On Target: Devotions for Modern Life
By Kelley Benson
Inspirational - Kelley Benson wants to help you and your family live a more abundant life by sharing the marvelous wisdom in God's Word.
Buy on Lulu
Buy on Amazon

Secret of the Pack Rat's Nest
By Martha E. Rhynes
Mystery - Will Colby's discovery ruin his life?
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu



Tales from Bethlehem
By Stephen B. Bagley
Inspirational - Have you ever wondered about everyone else in Bethlehem on the night of the Nativity? These charming and touching Tales will tell you their stories.
Buy on Lulu

Merry Christmas!

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.* (.. '•'..) *˛ ╬╬╬╬╬˛°.|田田❤|門|╬╬╬╬╬*˚°。°*。°* ♥
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You're invited!

The second book signing for Tales of Bethlehem by Stephen B. Bagley is today (Thursday, Dec. 13) at the Ada Public Library, 4:30-6:30 p.m. There will be cookies, appreciation prizes, registration for a drawing for more than $100 of books and merchandise, and, of course, books, books, and more books!

Here's what's in the drawing:
EndlesS by Stephen B. Bagley,
On Target: Devotions for Modern Life by Kelley Benson,
Floozy & Other Stories by Stephen B. Bagley,
Fashion reading glasses with metal case from Dr James Kevin Cunningham of your Ada Vision Source,
Murder by the Acre (Second Edition) by Stephen B. Bagley,
Creations 2012 by Ada Writers,
Norman Rockwell 2013 Calendar from State Farm,
Murder by the Acre kitchen magnet,
Music sampler CD from Christian artist Doug Matlock,
Europa pocket notebook by Eccolo,
Designer bookmarks,
Christmas mug with salt water taffy,
Water bottle with pens from Vision Bank inside,
CD of Christmas music,
and chocolate kisses!

Tomorrow!

The first book signing for Tales from Bethlehem by Stephen B. Bagley is tomorrow (Thurs., Nov. 29) at Karen's Art and Framing, 108 East Main, downtown Ada, Oklahoma, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Food, door prizes, drawing registration for the grand price of more than $100 in books and cool merchandise, and of course, autographed books that make fantastic Christmas presents for your friend and family and you! 

Hope to see you there!

You're invited!

YOU'RE INVITED to the first book signing for Tales from Bethlehem by Stephen B. Bagley this Thursday, Nov. 29, at Karen's Art & Framing, 108 East Main, downtown Ada, Oklahoma, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

There will be door prizes, registration for a drawing of more than $100 of books and merchandise, autographed books, and lots of delicious eatables!

Make plans now to attend!




Now on Amazon.com!

On Target: Devotions for Modern Life by Kelley Benson is now on sale at Amazon.com! Click here!