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Words of Gratitude from Froggy and His Critter Friends

What fun I had doing this recording of sweet-talking stories from my book, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud for the Writers & Books Literary Partners Reading Series.

You’ll find that Froggy and his critter friends mix and mingle, and work and play. They live with energy, with purpose, and with gratitude. They might just give you a few good ideas for living well in your world of plenty.

For more stories and more ideas for living well, visit Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, available as an ebook or paperback.

 

JudyS

Joyful Judy!

Owning a technical writing business for 30 plus years has been a true joy. While researching, writing, and publishing all sorts of publications for clients, I have enhanced my own authoring and publishing skills, which now include creating my own books, all of which are labors of love. Recently, I updated my Amazon author page. Very recently, I converted my newest book, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud into an ebook.

My next steps include:

I hope you will take a look and have a joyous moment.

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In honor of the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse tonight (January 20, 2019), here’s an excerpt from Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, written during a previous supermoon.

On this night, all is quiet. All is peaceful. Time to rest. Time to sleep. Tonight, the moon is neither a sliver nor a crescent, neither a quarter nor a half.

This night, this gentle night, the moon is round, full, and big. This supermoon that illuminates the sky above has never appeared before, at least not during a critter’s lifetime.

Those with eyes to see watch the moon so perfect, so magical, so close. They wonder about this glowing ball that inspires dreamy reflections.

Looking at the supermoon, the critters quietly and softly sing, “I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.” Rosie Flower sees the face of her Superma who made music, music, music that delighted all. Looking up, up, up at the moon above, she hears Superma making more music still.

Superdad is with her, whistling away. Supergrandpa is there, too, lovingly listening.

In the moon that now seems so very near, the critters see many joyful, radiant faces of those who have passed on and live elsewhere now, in a far-off place that is beyond a critter’s understanding.

Rosie Flower thanks the moon for shining so big and so bright. “I’ll see you in the morning, moon dear. For now, sweet dreams and good night.”

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The time, the moment, and the space are ripe for relaxation, rest, and renewal.

The winter solstice approaches. With the shortening of sunlit days and the lengthening of starry, darkened nights, Froggy and friends sleep in a bit longer and eat a morsel less. Foraging for food becomes more work with ice and snow atop the hardened ground.

Woodsy comments to Belle Birdie, “I chipped a nice winter home in Mr. Tree’s trunk. There’s room for you to take shelter. I have another safe, comfortable abode just around the bend on Trunk Turnpike.”

“Thank you, Woodsy. I’ll take extra good care of this hallowed, hollow refuge from the winter’s cold. On snowy days, let’s unfold and flap our wings and visit Froggy on the pond. We will invite all the flocks wintering up North to join us.”

“The bird-bathing pond will be available to you any time,” said Froggy. “Visit whenever you like and have a cool, refreshing drink on the rocks.”

“I’ll visit, too,” adds Squirrely. “On a chilled day, I’ll be sure to bring along my squirrely kids and my antsy kith and kin to skate on the glistening, gleaming, glowing, icy surface.”

The critters know that in any season, in any weather, during hours of light and dark, the time, the moment, and the space are ripe for relaxation, rest, and renewal.

From Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, a collection of flash stories I wrote with the intention to charm and enchant readers and listeners alike.

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Many years ago, as a young employee, I thought that at the end of each day, I should have a clean desk. To me, that meant my work was done, I could go home, and the next day I would start anew. What I eventually learned is that work at any job is rarely, if ever, done. The best one can do is stop work at a place in which continuing is possible—the next day, the next month, the next year.

I have come to feel the same way about authoring and publishing my books. There is always more work to do. Over the past few months, I have revisited my three published books, tweaked them, and refreshed the content and covers. The second edition of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud is now live! It’s up and ready for you to read.

Reviewers of the first edition commented on the messages that this book about Froggy and his critter friends conveys.

Each chapter, a self-contained story, teaches positive virtues: caring, respect, and honesty, through the characters’ observations, musings, and actions.

It easily lends itself to talking about diversity, kindness, acceptance, sharing and protecting nature, and valuing and honoring friendships.

The collection of stories focuses on the central themes of working together, focusing on the positive, and living in the present.

They commented, too, on the mood the book brings forth.

You’ll walk away feeling uplifted, with a spring in your walk and a smile on your face.

It’ll brighten your day, even if you didn’t think you needed it.

Take a Look Inside Amazon for this new edition of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud. I hope you like what you see—slices of life intended to entertain and inspire families, both the adults and youth.

Now, on to my next job—finalizing second editions of Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal and A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. This author’s work is never done.

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I am a published author! In 2011, I published my first book, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: a Journal. In 2014, I published my second book, A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. In 2017, I published my latest book, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read. At this rate, book four should be ready in 2020. Yikes! It’s almost time to consider a topic.

In the meantime, I’m going to write a talk that I can deliver to audiences, sharing my experiences authoring, publishing, and promoting my books. What will I say?

That depends on what audiences want to know. For now, I’ll put my imagination to work and think about one member of my audience—you.

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty

You might like to know that before I started writing about Froggy and his critter friends, I could feel a book percolating. Then on Leap Year day, February 29, 2016, the bubbles surfaced. Froggy has a wart that one day is gone, gone, gone. He wasn’t sure how this happened. Froggy, Flutter By, Orchid, Sweetie B, Bobalong Bird, and their other critter friends would help me to explore and discover healing and wellness.

You might like to know that while writing about Froggy, I was ensconced in a happy place. I sat at the beautiful cherry writer’s desk that my woodworker brother built especially for me. Using a new laptop computer, I wrote in brief stints of maybe an hour or so before starting my workday. From the window at my left, I looked at the changing seasons and let the stories—30 or so slices of life—write themselves.

You might like to know that while writing about Froggy, it occurred to me that, if Mom were still alive, she would be 100 on May 28, 2017. That gave me a goal. Books would be in hand to distribute to family and friends who would gather on that day. I am happy to say, “Mission accomplished.”

A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That

You might like to know about the origins for this book—a combination cookbook, inspiration, and memoir. I called my cousin to wish her well on upcoming surgery. The worrying tone changed when I asked for one of Grandma’s famous recipes. “Let’s start a cookbook,” she suggested. “You send an email to all the cousins, with a copy to me, requesting favorite recipes,” I responded. And so it began.

You might like to know that a few recipes trickled in. Then a few more arrived. I forwarded all arriving emails so that the cousins and others could see how this project was taking shape. More recipes arrived as well as requests to include Larry’s Potato Latkes (pancakes), Aunt Jeanette’s Stuffed Cabbage, Mom’s Chocolate Sponge Cake, Grandma’s special Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie. Stories accompanied the recipes and the requests—heartwarming remembrances of cooks and kitchens that continue to nourish and sustain.

Read More

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A word cloud of sweet talk you’ll read in Froggy’s World of Plenty

On February 29, 2016, Leap Year Day, I started a story here about Froggy. I added a another blog entry about Froggy and his critter friends, and then I added another, and then I added yet another. Along the way, while writing and imagining the critters’ perfect world of plenty, I set a goal. On May 28, 2017, Froggy’s story would be a book that I could distribute at a gathering to honor my dear mother on what would have been her 100th birthday. That wonderful day has now come and gone. Family and friends have their books in hand.

Here is a slice of life just for you from Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud.

A hobby makes one limber, lively, and lovely

The critters all had hobbies, activities that brought them pleasure and joy.

Some of the hobbies were physical. Anty Annie, believe it or not, was into body building. She would position each limb, assume a perfect posture, and pose.

Bumbler B and Sweetie B often listened to the birdsongs around them, and they would whirl and twirl and dance, dance, dance.

Flutter By was crafty, indeed. She loved fabrics, textures, and colors, and could she ever sew and knit caps, capes, and other wearable art.

Fuzzy Chick Chick loved teaching Baby Chick Chick how to decorate egg shells with squares and diamonds, dots and lines, and curls and swirls.

Mama Orchid and daughter Minnie O loved to collect and categorize. They had samples of every type of orchid around. They could identify even the minutest details of their pedigree.

Mr. Tree was deeply into genealogy. He meticulously observed the roots and scrupulously studied the origins of his many critter friends. Read More

bookclub

Are you a member of a book club? If so, you may wonder if your book club is representative of the many, many book clubs that thrive in so many venues and so many communities throughout the U.S. and the world. If you are not yet fortunate enough to be part of a book club, you might have wondered what exactly occurs.

To book club members who are curious about other clubs, to book club wannabes, and, especially, to members of the Nonfiction Book Club I’m attending tomorrow, here’s a sneak preview of what to expect.

Our book club protocol

In our book club, members arrive promptly, since the room typically is full with 20 or so serious readers gathered around a large conference table in our town’s library. Club membership is exclusive, only in the sense that we are serious readers. We each attend voluntarily and welcome whoever walks in the door. Often first-timers become regulars.

We select our books for the coming year in December, and, at each month’s meeting, the library provides copies of the book for the following month, which we check out and begin to read. Club members take turns leading the discussion and do so willingly (or with a gentle nudge). Each month’s leader brings a unique, personal style to the table. What all share is a commitment to creating an atmosphere that is respectful. We talk and we listen. We explore many facets of a book and we learn.

Our book for this month is The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan. It will be my pleasure (truly!) to lead tomorrow’s discussion, since I loved, loved, loved this book.

Here’s what I have in mind:

Greet everyone who walks in the door—the regulars and the newbies. Be sure that everyone has a nametag, a copy of the year’s schedule, and “Talking About Nonfiction Books”—a discussion sheet that club members assembled over time.

Kick off the discussion with a brief introduction (my name, length of time with the book club, interests, and so forth) and ask others to do the same. As part of their introductions, ask them to share a few aspects of the book that they want to discuss.

With pencil (yes, always a pencil with an eraser) in hand, I circle items on the discussion sheet that we should cover during our time together and scribble notes. For me, this sheet, with everyone’s input noted, guides the give-and-take that ensues.

I then let people talk. Let them ask. Let them discuss. Let them argue (amicably). The task is to simply herd the cats.

My two cents

Every now and then, I throw in my two cents. Read More

Photo is courtesy of Creative Commons,  https://www.flickr.com/photos/zanzibar123/186131987/sizes/s/

Photo is courtesy of Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/zanzibar123/186131987/sizes/s/.

This long weekend is a good time for me to delve into The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870 – 1914, this month’s selection for our nonfiction book club. The book looks daunting, all 700 or so pages. Yet, what motivates me to get started is the trust I have in club members who have recommended noteworthy books by authors who can craft memorable, literary works of art.

Our method of selecting books is fairly arbitrary. If a club member likes a book and wants the club to read it, we do so as long as the roster for the year covers a variety of nonfiction genres and topics. Of the 50 plus books we have read and discussed, some have been gems.

On a long, hot, summer day, grab a drink, stretch out on a hammock, become immersed in someone else’s world, and enjoy reading a great book. Ten books that I might not have selected on my own but found to be more than worthwhile might just suit you. Take a look.

10 favorite nonfiction books

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. There’s so much to learn about a remarkable individual who held the moral high ground, at great cost, during World War II Germany.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. This is a wonderful record of President Garfield’s life and long, painful, mistreated illness and eventual death.

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.S. Reid. While searching for a remedy to his own medical problem, the author uncovers how the approaches to treatment and healing vary from country to country. Read More