Archive | August 2017

Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday!


Grand Marshall Kenneth Castor and his wife Deb led the parade for this celebration. 

If you haven’t seen my post about this wild west wicked cow town the link is right here and to say Ellsworth was rowdy and wicked is putting it mildly. 


In the 90’s Michael was a cowboy and I was a saloon dancing girl doing the re-enactment of the “Shooting of Sheriff Chauncey B. Whitney”.


Oddly, a town could survive without a doctor or bank, but it had to have a blacksmith. 


Never in a million years would I have thought this toddler turned man could grow this kind of beard!


Buffalo Soldiers came right on through to lend a helping hand. 


150 Texas Longhorns were driven along the parade route. Spectators took a step or two backwards to be safe. 


He has his eye on you!


A small fraction of the longhorns!


I would never do this! Check out the drone in this picture!


One more bad boy! 


They followed the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Ellsworth!


Back in 1992 this picture was taken. Big hair, fancy dresses, and if interested, I’m the one in the gold dress, back row with glasses of era. 


We had a booth on the Cow Town Plaza. These pics are partially set up both above and below. 


I would be remiss if I didn’t add in that we painted, wrote, produced and published a children’s book, Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth KS 150th Birthday!


In this children’s picture book and seventh book in our ‘Shadow and Friends Series’, Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS, 150th Birthday, two dogs and a family of squirrels decide to help Ellsworth celebrate the 150th birthday of the town’s history. This book coincides with the actual 150th birthday of Ellsworth in the summer of 2017. Illustrations are found on each page, most of them painted. Big Whitey tells the history of Ellsworth, and Fort Harker, with historical buildings, notable landmarks, and scenes painted by the author. At the end of this story, Little Whitey asks his father if they can re-enact the old west, dress like cowboys, and do a pretend cattle drive just like Ellsworth, KS. The squirrels dress in cowboy and cowgirl gear, and they even have a chuck wagon cook. They herd longhorn cattle, sing the state song of Kansas, and have lots of fun during their re-enactment. At the end of the story, they enjoyed a barn dance, celebrated the 150th birthday of Ellsworth, and Uncle Stubby took pictures and ‘selfies’. Children will love seeing the old west come alive with two dogs and a family of squirrels dressed in western attire, and using a small amount of cowboy slang. This delightful and funny book for children, targeted at ages 4-8, is easy to read and perfect for home or classroom. The story illustrates how cattle drives worked, the long dusty trails, life in the old west, and illustrations that produce pure imagination in children. Note: Actual gunfights and ‘adult type’ history were left out in this wild western history of Ellsworth, KS.


This entry was posted on August 21, 2017. 5 Comments

Has the world gone batshit crazy?

It seems that way. 

I haven’t slept much this week. Each night I’ve tossed and turned watching the clock as my mind raced. Often pain and discomfort that keep me awake but the last few nights this was not the case. No, the events of the past week rushed at my thoughts like a swarm of bees evicted from their hive.

This is a writing blog. But, is there anything more important to write about than what is happening around us?

In times of crisis as well as celebration, it is the arts that express our humanity. 

Painters put images on canvas, singers raise their voices in song, photographers capture the moment, and writers write. We write in newspapers, books and now the internet. We write to preserve, share, and inform.

Today I’m sharing. A memory that has stayed with me more so than any other from my young childhood.

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Destination Dachshund: A Travel Memoir


Destination Dachshund: A Travel Memoir

Destination Dachshund: A Travel Memoir: Three Months, Three Generations, & Sixty Dachshunds by Lisa Fleetwood

I just finished reading this book and my review follows Fleetwood’s book blurb found on Amazon.

“Not just a book about pets. Not just a book about loss. And not just a book about travelling and broadening the mind.

Destination Dachshund rolls them all into one and takes you on a journey much further than the European adventure depicted within its pages. It is a book about coming to terms with loss of family and of much-loved family pets. It is a book filled with fun and laughter, even amidst the pain and heartache of bereavement. And above all it is a book about the love of a family.

From the shores of Sydney to Europe, Russia and the United States and back again, see the world through three generations, as they travel for 3 months on the vacation of a lifetime, filled with love, adventure, hope and recovery.

Written with tenderness and affection throughout, Destination Dachshund is a book which will have you laughing out loud and looking for one of these little dogs everywhere you go.”

I must admit that the cover had me from the start – so heartwarming. I admire anyone who can plan an 88 day vacation that covers 15 countries over the holidays. I was sad when Christmas came and the family mourned their loss of a loved one who passed before the trip was taken. The loss of, and the manner of the loss of one of their dachshunds was sad as well. All that part aside, this memoir invokes a warm feeling during many humorous and not so humorous adventures while on vacation. Fleetwood has a knack for the sights and sounds of their travels, rich history of what they did and saw, and I would have loved to have been on that trip. While at Auschwitz, I had to stop reading just that part; however, it is an important piece of history and one that everyone should know about (of course I do know the history quite well) and as such, is a commendable part of this memoir. The style of writing, the grammar, everything is perfect so I rate this book as five stars.

This entry was posted on August 17, 2017. 2 Comments

Love: A Tangled Knot


Love: A Tangled Knot by Eichin Chang-Lim

I finished reading Love: A Tangled Knot last evening and my review follows Chang-Lim’s book blurb found on Amazon.

“If love is true, how long should you wait? 
How much pain should you endure before moving on?

Love: A Tangled Knot is a new edition of a romantic novel penned by the award-winning author of Flipping, Eichin Chang-Lim. A clean romance about the struggles of a couple to keep their family together against all odds.

With the Golden Gate Bridge in sight, the story begins.

Kayla is an ambitious seventeen-year-old who is content to deliver “real-talk” to her boy-crazy best friend, Breeana, while running the high school’s environmentalist club. She has no time or desire for boys, viewing even a crush as an unwanted commitment. Until Russell Mancini joins Beach Cleanup Day. Kayla learns that she’s a sucker for love just like her peers.

Their relationship seems perfect, but fate conspires against the pair. Kayla’s dreams are shattered when she becomes pregnant. Struggling to make ends meet, Russell makes a decision that threatens to destroy their relationship, irrevocably steering his course away from Kayla and their daughter. Kayla finds herself pitted in a conflict she would never have expected.

As Russell’s fate presents him with a seven-year incarceration sentence, Kayla must pick up the pieces and stay firm in her marriage. Dreaming of the day her daughter will have a father once again.

Will Kayla and Russell untangle the knot that was once their love? Or will temptations and inner demons succeed in moving them further apart”

The beginning of the story was a little boring as I’m not a YA reader, but I do think that it makes for a great beginning for those who favor that genre. That said, Kayla getting pregnant and going to high school in her senior year with said pregnancy, resonated with me as my best friend in high school found herself the same way. So did my older sister. I felt a sisterly connection for that reason. We all make decisions and we all must deal with what becomes of those choices. Kayla and Russell’s story shines with the characters’ story arcs and how they dealt with them. This is a wonderful drama piece and I highly recommend this book to high school kids especially. The powerful messages within are such that I must give this book five stars. That said, I see that this book had two editors, and I blame them for the mistakes in the grammar, etc. Truly mistakes such as Kyla when it should have been Kayla, and this type of thing should have been caught by at least one of the editors. They have done this book and author wrong.

This entry was posted on August 17, 2017. 2 Comments

How to Turn a Microsoft Word Document Into an Ebook (EPUB)…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

by Jane Friedman

Note from Jane: This post has been updated to reflect changes in tools available on the market.

So your book is sitting in Microsoft Word, and you’d like to get that material converted into an ebook format you can sell through ebook retailers such as Amazon. Unfortunately, your basic version of Word doesn’t offer that functionality. So what do you do?

If you’re patient and willing to format your Word document carefully, you can use the automated conversion processes of Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Pronoun or similar ebook retailer and distribution services. They want to make it easy for you to get published, so they’ll convert your Word document into an ebook (EPUB) file instantly, as soon as you upload it.

But the results may look terrible. Much depends on the quality and complexity of the document you start with.

Thus, the following list offers workable options…

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