Welcoming a New Year

Happy New Year’s greetings to you! Please forgive me for not wishing you a Merry Christmas. I didn’t realize that phrase isn’t as common as I thought.

You didn’t know either? Well, I’d like to enlighten you with an event from last week. I found it disturbing. What was it? A fun event for writers.

We are a small group who meet monthly. A librarian guides our writing.

One of our prompts this time seemed easy enough. Take a holiday tradition from your family. Place it in a different historical time period. Then write a story, a poem, a reflection, what have you. As long as we changed to a past time.

After ten minutes, we shared our writing. I hid my disappointment.

The first member wrote of a family moving to California during the gold rush. Once she’d shared, she confessed: she’d forgotten to include Christmas.

Writer two didn’t forget. She deliberately omitted any mention of a holiday. Her caveman and his wife were content to eat berries on this ordinary day.

Our poet, who usually makes me laugh, spoke a group of ladies celebrating the winter solstice and worshiping a Bronze Age goddess. Can you see my frown?

When it was my turn, I let the excitement of the holiday enliven my tone as I read my short story. I’d like to share it with you.

Meanwhile, rejoice in the Lord more as we delve into 2024.

Little Free Library Christmas

Greetings and welcome to my December newsletter. Three words for you: Little Free Library. Have you heard of it? Perhaps you’ve seen a wooden box on a stand in parks, in neighborhoods, or outside stores.

The concept is simple. Visit a box. Take a few books. Leave a few books. So what does that have to do with you?

I would like to issue you a challenge. Yes, you could donate books to your local library for their annual sale or to a thrift shop for the cause it champions. But why not select the best books for a Little Free Library near you?

You don’t know where one is? Their website includes a map. https://littlefreelibrary.org/map/

Were you surprised to discover a Little Free Library near you? Finding three in the rural area where I live delighted me. But that’s the goal.

The organization desires to place books in towns and neighborhoods where getting to the local library—we have one for my entire county—presents a hardship.

If you like the concept, accept the challenge, and found a box near where you live, work, or shop, why not donate today?

The Lord grant you a Merry Christmas. I hope you receive and give lots of great books. And may you live as long as Melchaiyim, even to the end of the age.

October 2022: Missing

September 2022 – Changes

Greetings and welcome to my September newsletter. My roses display their last burst of pinks as the golden rods’ yellow signals the time to change. Isn’t that what autumn is all about? Change?

My beta readers gave me a nod to proceed with my short stories. No changes. That leaves two more obstacles before I send my MiniBuk off to print.

The first one is thrilling. I received the first draft of the cover art for Fire Flight. It’s amazing. I see very few changes the artist should make to keep the image in line with my tanninim. Did you pronounce tanninim correctly?

Technology stands as the second obstacle. But it’s my own fault. I took a little short cut when I developed it, and now, yea.

If I don’t delete my website by accident, everything should be in place for an October printing. I will keep you in the loop. What? More pronunciations? Well, okay. Just one, but it’s not a Shona or Hebrew word. It’s Korean.

In Fire Flight, I named the EMT for a beautiful singer: Sohyang. The first syllable sounds like our English “so,” but wait. Cut the vowel sound off. Avoid giving it that two syllable twang we like here in the South.

When Sohyang says “yang,” the y sounds like it has an h front of it. Think “hi ya” said as one syllable. The g, however, is lost to the ear. She says her name several times, but quite fast, in this video https://youtu.be/4sdbO-hTZbk. See how you did.

Meanwhile, once again, I hope to send you a picture of the cover soon. Let’s hope the book is printed next month, and may you live as long as Melchaiyim, even to the end of the age.  

Late July Post

 Greetings and my apologies. I don’t know why this didn’t publish in between the June and July posts. You are getting these out of order, but it is good to have your company on my writing journey.

Speaking of company, Virginia birthed a new one last month: Tanninim Publishing LLC. Tanninim, Hebrew for dragons, will publish Fire Flight, my collection of five short stories. The final one tells you about Nguni and is a prequel to Shona’s Dragons.

Did you pronounce Nguni correctly? Here’s a pop quiz on a similar name. Ndebele is a trader. Did you say N first? Good. And the rest of it? Did it sound like in-the-belly? But with a d rather than a th? You passed.

Time to move on to Hebrew which offers another challenge. I ended the last newsletter invoking the name Melchaiyim. For those who love the Tanakh, you may be familiar with the name Melchisedec and the title of the Ethiopian man Ebed Melek.

Melek means king. Added to chaiyim, Melchaiyim is the king of life. Ebed Melek means servant of the king. Melchisedec is the king of righteousness. But how do you say Melchaiyim?

Let’s start from the right: ­–im rhymes with seem. It’s a weighted syllable so it gets the second most stress. Although -im­ means more than two, I treat it as an English plural, more than one. Hebrew has a separate ending for 2.

The middle syllable rhymes with sky. Also, the ch sounds like our k, or the Greek letter x. Put a softly spoken y in between and you have the chaiyim.

The first syllable is easy. Rhymes with bell. Mel-chai-yim. Can you pronounce tanninim? Maybe we’ll work on that next month.

I hope to have Fire Flight to the printer when next we meet. Until then, may you live as long as Melchaiyim, even to the end of the age.