The Effective Author: Patience

The Effective Author: Patience

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

St Theresa patience quote.jpg

One of today’s biggest sources of stress is our own desire for things to happen just the way we want them, and preferably, right this minute. We each have our own phones and can quickly call anywhere in the world. If we forget someone’s birthday, we can text them immediately and add little bits of mood art called “emojis.” There’s no need to hunt for a card, a stamp, and the person’s address. If we want to pay a bill, we can log in to that account, click a few times, and it’s done. There’s no looking for the checkbook, the envelope, or a stamp. Is it possible we are a bit spoiled?

So when the laptop is loading slowly, how aggravated do we get waiting an extra 30 seconds? Or how about when the system announces, “Don’t turn off the computer; updates are being installed”? Oh, how agonizing that extra two minutes can be.

Author and productivity expert David G. Allen says, “Patience is the acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.” I recently ordered new wheels for my car. I was to receive a call within several business days when the wheels arrived and planned to go in to have them installed and the pressure sensors set. However, the next day one tire collapsed on my way home from a meeting, and it was nearly 100 degrees! I rolled my eyes when I heard that weird lubby-dubby sound and pulled over to consider my options. Put on the spare? Not in high heels, suit, and 100-degree weather. Call for a tow? No, too dramatic. Call husband to put on the spare? No, too much time and effort. Drive to the nearest Discount Tire? That was it. And with new wheels due within two days, so what if the rim got a little bent? Things were not happening in the order I had in mind! But I took a patient approach and drove slowly (for Phoenix) to the nearest Discount Tire. And now I have a new tire on that wheel.

And the new chrome wheels? Oh, yes, they came and were beautiful! But they did not fit the front wheel positions. So it’s time again to take a patient approach, until the slightly different wheels come from overseas. That could take 40 days. I’m exhaling and dropping my shoulders.

In a larger example, after four decades developing it, my business is finally coming to the level I have wanted. I am working with more advanced clients than ever before. I now have four books on Amazon and several guidebooks. As St. Teresa of Avila said, “Patience achieves all things.”

The late author Maya Angelou built a body of work over a 50-year span: essays, poetry, autobiographies, plays, television productions. In her lifetime, Dr. Angelou sang, danced, served as a foreign correspondent, filled multiple roles in Public Television, and became known for her kind and dignified ways of encouraging social change. She summed up the need for patience: “All great achievements require time.”

So, here is another way to be ever more The Effective Authorsm. Just keep working and occasionally check your direction. And do it patiently. And it will happen.

“Patience is a conquering virtue.”
— Geoffrey Chaucer

* * *

“The two most powerful warriors are patience & time.”
— Leo Tolstoy

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Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She Kebba books 2017also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

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Wild Horses

Wild Horses

by Rita Goldner

As an avid plein air painter, I often find myself on a folding chair on the banks of the Salt Horse crossing water.jpgRiver. The landscape itself is picturesque enough, but sometimes I get a bonus. Several small herds of wild horses wander around in the shallow river. Last time I was there, a few weeks ago, I saw 45 horses. I’ve recounted my horse sightings to some friends, and having never heard of or seen the horses, these people assume they are a recent addition to our wildlife assortment. That couldn’t be further from the truth, a ranger told me as he handed me a brochure about the horses’ history. They’ve been here for hundreds of years, long before settlers arrived.

Fifty million years ago, a small animal called Eohippus lived in North America He was the precursor to the modern horse. During the evolution process, most of them wandered over land bridges into Asia and Africa about 12,000 years ago. They were brought back with the Spanish Conquistadors in the early 1500s. Some got loose and joined other escapees from wagon trains, farmers, ranchers, etc. These runaways were of various sizes and shapes, from large draft horses to small ponies. They joined the wild ones, and all evolved into the most efficient size and shape for wild living and foraging, which is the small, tough, and hardy Mustang we see today.

This back–and-forth travelling gives rise to the question: “Are they wild or feral?” Wild means they were always roaming free, whereas feral means they were domesticated, escaped or were let go, and are now free. The different definitions have political ramifications.

Proponents of the “feral” definition say that since the horses’ recent history involved escaping from a domestic life, they should be considered an invasive species, competing with wild game animals and cattle for food. Wild game brings in revenue from hunting licenses, and cattle bring in revenue for the meat industry. There’s no revenue for anyone from the wild horses. Since the numbers of all three species are carefully managed, these people feel every wild horse that is removed or killed gives room for one more deer or cow.

The advocates who endorse the “wild” definition want to take history much further back to a time when all horses were wild animals, running free all over North America. Other coexisting prairie animals were the American camel, saber tooth tiger, and wooly mammoth. All of these have died off; the American horse is the only one still alive today. If we ignore the fact that they left for about 8 centuries and came back, then they surely deserve the “wild” classification and are indigenous.

The divergent viewpoints came together in 1971 as both sides voted to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act. This law prohibited the wholesale slaughter of wild horses from helicopters and trucks, for dog meat or for sport. It also regulated and managed the population, declaring it would remain at 1971 numbers, or about 17,000 horses in America. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service are the agencies that enforce the 1971 Act. They keep the population numbers stable by occasionally rounding up the horses and auctioning them to private owners.

The situation is different for the horses on the Salt River. They’re in the Tonto National Forest, where they’ve lived since long before the Tonto National Forest was designated in 1902. In 2015, the U.S. Forest Service gave notice of a plan to capture, remove, and auction these horses as part of their population control mandate. Local horse lovers jumped into action and formed The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. They were able to reach an agreement with the Arizona Department of Agriculture. Now, this nonprofit group manages the horses in lieu of the Forest Service. They control the numbers by darting the mares with a birth control vaccine.

Volunteer members of the Management Group patrol the river, cautioning visitors to keep their distance, keep dogs on a leash, and refrain from making loud noises. Kayakers drift by, taking pictures.

Even if the horses don’t show up while I’m painting, I have the company of blue herons, bald eagles, and river otters. I can hardly believe I found such a bucolic place to paint, five miles from a fairly big city (Mesa), but there it is!

Thanks,

Rita signature

Comments welcome.

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Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Rita Goldner2Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series.For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water CycleThe Flying Artist, and Rose ColoredTo view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

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Making Healthy Eating – and Living – a Priority

Making Healthy Eating – and Living – a Priority

by Becky Weck Miller

Chickens on organic farm

I’m currently 52, and about two years ago, we went on this massive vacation up the West Coast of the United States pulling our “bed” behind us in a small retro camper. While we were in Washington, we met with my husband’s old friends. This couple had so much more energy than we did, and here’s the kicker, they are in their 70s! He’s 75, and I’m not sure her age. I think the reason for their energy is the way they eat.

We stayed with Bruce and Ruth for about four days, and I got to know them for the first time. Bruce boxed up his produce, and then went around the area dropping it off at different friends’ homes while Ruth was busy at home canning and making jam. They were both outworking us, and they are 15 to 25 years older than we are!

I thought this was an isolated incident until, later in the trip, we ran across two other couples who were in their 70s and still pastoring, which is a lot like running a family business. The pastor in Arizona had various animal heads mounted around his living room from hunts he’d been on. His side job is taxidermy. They also had a garden in their backyard. With all the hunting stories we heard, they were sure to have plenty of organic meat in the freezer.

I grew up in the 1970s, and both my parents hunted. If Dad didn’t bring home the dear, Mom did. We also had a garden in the backyard. For a time, my family had a one-acre garden, chickens and a donkey.

These days, I generally shop at the local grocery store. I have found a local farm market with fresh produce, but it’s only open three days a week. This spring I’ve been fortunate enough to grow my own spinach, kale, and green onions. I’ve also planted some cucumber and tomatoes that I hope will give me some more produce. I’m experiencing some health issues, but I have taken strides towards wellness through a low-carb-diet and exercise.

As a writer, I get a lot of desk time. Lately I’ve been using my elliptical in spurts throughout the day, and jumping on a mini-tramp (rebounder) on occasion. I also have my favorite seated chair exercise video. I get tired of the same old exercise routine and like to change it up. I also have access to a swimming pool that I’ll be taking advantage of as soon as it warms up a bit.

Once we get our chest freezer cleaned out, I plan to buy meat at the local butcher shop. I don’t think I’ll ever be toting a gun over hill and dale, but I do think I can make better choices than I have in the past.

I’m currently working on the final edit of my book, due to come out June 1st, 2019: Jimmy & Me: Christian Orphans Pre-Teen/Teen Brothers Adventures in Holy Spirit Living, Living Green, and Gardening.

God bless you, and happy hunting!

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Becky Miller
’s first book, Jimmy & Me: Christian Orphan Pre-Teen/Teen Brothers, is due Becky Millerout in June 2019. Connect with her on Facebook.

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The Science of H2O

The Science of H2O

by Rita Goldner

pages from Agent H20.jpg

Lately I’m knee-deep in research on water, specifically the water cycle. I’m close to the finish line for my picture book, Agent H2O Rides the Water Cycle. I’ve completed the text, and it’s being edited now. I’m almost done with the interminable but fun part – the illustrations. Even though the pictures and story might be whimsical and silly, I’m a stickler for accuracy in my books. Toward this end, I have a friend with a doctorate in geophysics looking at my adventure story to make sure it’s scientifically true. I’m impressed; he’s already found two things that aren’t factual. My commitment to correctness compels me to expand my limited knowledge of a topic with internet exploration, and then re-word the science jargon into a kid-friendly book, preferably with an action-packed tale.

The uninspiring part of the research this time is the description of what water does on the cycle: It gets heated by the sun; evaporates from oceans, lakes, rivers; and becomes vapor. After it rises, it condenses into droplets and forms clouds. When the droplets join and get bigger, they precipitate as rain. Sometimes they blow to a colder climate, freeze into ice crystals, and fall down as snow. This process seemed a little dull, but I found a few kid-oriented websites that spiced up the story. They proposed that since water is always on the move, an individual drop in your glass of water could have evaporated up from someplace thousands of miles away. And since water is continually cycling, disappearing, and coming back, it’s also likely that same drop has been around in one form or another for millions of years.

That perspective adds the drama, so I can create an exciting protagonist who has traveled all those miles, even hung around with dinosaurs. My obsession with scientific accuracy forced me to find, for my opening spread, three reference dinosaurs from the same time period (although I wonder if anyone else cares about this). I chose the Cretaceous Period because I also wanted to find three dinosaurs with really weird head shapes, scales, etc. to make the scene more fun.

The hero of the adventure is a secret agent on a mission to hydrate plants, animals, and people. The illustration above shows two parts of the cycle, page 5 and page 9, evaporation and precipitation. An editor told me that a secret agent needed props. Since he has hands and feet and a face, I thought this was a no-brainer; I’ve seen a lot of James Bond movies. Or maybe not, since the first things springing to mind were a gun and a martini glass. Then I thought: a female accomplice in a slinky low-cut evening gown, a fountain pen that shoots exploding missiles, and a Lamborghini. You can see where this is going… Moving on to something more appropriate for a 5- to 7-year-old, I’ll use a magnifying glass, map, and binoculars. If you can think of anything else, please let me know in the Comments section below.

The requisite villain in the story is hilarious: a blob of oily pollution with black stuff dripping out of his nose. He has hands too, trying to grab a fleeing H2O. He’s surrounded by bottles and cans floating in the lake, an old tire, and green pond scum. Fun! I’ll be posting sample illustrations on my website. Thanks for indulging me on my circuitous path to creating a new work!

Rita signature

Online References:
The USGS Water Science School
The Water Cycle Educational Video for Kids
The Water Cycle for Kids – How It Works – Diagram & Facts
The Water Cycle! National Geographic Kids

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Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Rita Goldner2Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series.For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water CycleThe Flying Artist, and Rose ColoredTo view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

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The Effective Author: For What Will You Be Remembered?

The Effective Author: For What Will You Be Remembered?

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

almighty hands of love

In recent years, I was privileged to know an author who was widely known for her loving, supportive personality. Her expression was always one of eager joy. She wrote seven books and created the Valley Presbyterian Foundation. Sadly, she passed away last month of a brief illness. Her memorial service was the experience of a lifetime. It was all about Divine Love and feeling uplifted. It included Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43, “How Do I Love Thee?”

My friend’s name was Kiki Swanson. Her given name was Flora Macdonald Burger, but she had a joyful, bouncy personality. So her father called her, “Kickapoo Joy Juice,” or “Kiki” for short. The most extraordinary dynamic occurred as people streamed out of the sanctuary after the memorial service. They began to talk about Kiki, and smiles rose. Even laughter erupted. We shared stories about Kiki and her happy, hardworking, loving ways, and that filled us anew with joy. The crowd became one joyful heart as we experienced Kiki’s love together. Kiki will long be remembered for joy, enthusiasm, zeal for good works, and love.

In 2018, the world received a cultural shock, as Prince Harry of Britain decided to marry a woman whose mother was Black. Though it was an historic first for them, the Royal Family opened up to love this young woman, Meghan Markle, and a new era of global consciousness began. Love got a reboot. At the May 19, 2018, wedding, both heads of the Anglican Church presided: a White man and a Black man. The White man was Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England. The Black man, who spoke in such a lively way about love, is Michael Curry, presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, the US branch of the same church. At this first wedding of a white royal and a Black commoner, Bishop Curry reminded us that Dr. Martin Luther King said we must truly discover the redemptive power of love. The Bishop said that love is the greatest force. And when we truly discover it anew, we will change the world. Imagine a world in which love reigns supreme: no hunger, no war.

I recently was in a church where Bishop Curry participated and gave the sermon — on love, of course. Watch his face, and you will see the look of a man completely in touch with the Divine and with love.

It has been said that “Love is the answer, whatever the question.” Perhaps Kiki Swanson and Bishop Curry would agree. They will both be remembered, for many years, for being walking expressions of love. For what will you be remembered?

_______________________
Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

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Which One Doesn’t Fit? Free-Time, Writing Time, Work, Life, Family.

Which One Doesn’t Fit? Free-Time, Writing Time, Work, Life, Family.

by Marcus A. Nannini

Not much of a trick question, yet it underscores the commitments an author must timetowrite1successfully balance on the way to the publication of a good manuscript. Commitment is of critical importance, for without it a book – or even the concept for a book – will linger on the sidelines of your life for years and years, perhaps even forever.

Caveat: Please bear in mind I am not an expert in time management.

I am, however, all about getting things done within timeframes I establish. In my past professional life, I was continually faced with hard deadlines from agencies over which I had no control. Out of this background grew the habit of creating personal target dates for my writing projects. I made certain to create reasonable deadlines in order to give myself every opportunity to succeed.

I am assuming you, as a writer, have commenced a manuscript. Perhaps it is only an outline, maybe you are several chapters into your first draft, or possibly you’re nearing completion. In all events, when I sit down to write a book or a magazine story, I know two things: how it begins and how it ends. Filling in the balance of the manuscript is a matter of making the time, possibly the most important four letter word outside of love.

I consider the absence of “writer’s block”* in my life to be the result of knowing how the story both begins and ends prior to ever sitting down to type word number one. It’s the only explanation I can offer. The trick for me was to create enough time to actually draft the “in between,” and it wasn’t easy.

write some lettersI experimented with many approaches to time management with hit-or-miss results. Eventually I concluded if I were willing to create a daily habit of predictable actions, I might achieve better outcomes. Actually, it wasn’t really a conclusion; it was more like stumbling onto a realization.

One day it occurred to me that my most productive writing came when I was in a regular daily rhythm, or routine. I had been trying to force myself to write at a set time each day and force the balance of the day to work around it. That approach was not working very well.

When a person is employed in a job with set hours, their routine is dictated by the time demands of the job. Perhaps I am fortunate because I have not had set hours dictated to me for a few years now. But I still have demands and intrusions on my time, same as anyone else. Learning to prevent outside demands and intrusions from disrupting my writing has not been a smooth adjustment, but I have done so. You likely can do it, too.

Let me explain a little about how I apportion my time. About six weeks ago, Casemate Publishers-UK requested I write a story about a particular aspect of Operation Market Garden for them to publish in their online magazine. The deadline provided to me was “sometime in early March.” I was swamped with work, but a request like this warranted my fitting it into my routine. I stuffed the project into the web-like recesses of my mind and moved on.

One morning I was reading a newspaper, when an idea for both the opening and conclusion of the story I had promised to write suddenly surfaced. I immediately cut a few hours from my other projects over a two-day period to draft it. I then set the story aside for a couple of days before revisiting it. Once I successfully read through the story without changing a word, I sent it off. My other projects kept moving forward because I didn’t completely eliminate them from my writing routine.

The time to write the article made itself available once my mind was ready to write. I did not attempt to set aside a specific time or day. I don’t believe in forcing myself to write at specific time slots and suggest you don’t either. Nobody I know likes to be forced into doing things, so I suggest you do not force yourself.

Write when your mind says “Write!” Forget the distractions and carve out the time. Time cannot be replaced, and wasting it delays the final manuscript. Without a final manuscript, an author has nothing, which brings me to the topic of editors.

An editor brings a great deal to the table, not the least of which is a fresh point of view. Editors specialize in different things, like spelling and grammar, layout, and content. While Spellcheck and Grammarly programs can flag a great number of issues, subtle typos and grammatical irregularities still occur. I require an objective pair of human eyes to assist me, in the form of an editor.

I prefer to feed my editor chapters of my book as I go along, rather than waiting to inundate her with the entire 70,000 to 100,000 words at one time. I find the piecemeal approach works well and helps keep me focused. If you don’t have an editor, get one. Simple as that.

Often, I write so fast the words fly onto the screen, and the order in which they fly may not make for the best, or most concise, sentences and paragraphs. That is where an editor also proves their worth. They are not as close to the story as I am, offer a vitally fresh read, and routinely raise questions I never considered.

Make certain to get yourself an editor and please consider “writing-time” to be an inherent “fit” within your “free-time.”

* “Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer’s block has been a documented problem.” – Wikipedia.

results or excuses

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Marcus Nannini
began his journalistic career when he published his own newspaper in the Marcus Nanninisixth grade, charging 25 cents for the privilege of reading the only printed copy of each edition. During his undergraduate years, Nannini was a paid reporter and worked three semesters as the research assistant for journalism professor and published author Richard Stocks Carlson, Ph.D. Nannini is a life-long history buff with a particular interest in World War II and the Pearl Harbor attack. His continuing curiosity over several Japanese aerial photographs and the turtling of the U.S.S. Oklahoma lead him to write Chameleons, first as a screenplay and now as a full-length novel. His latest work, Left for Dead at Nijmegenhas recently debuted to great regard, internationally.

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Me(moir). It’s All About Me – Or is it?

Me(moir). It’s All About Me – Or is it?

by Joyce A. Lefler

whats your story 3

My past wasn’t sexy. It was messy, tedious, and gut-wrenchingly horrific. There were moments of euphoria and joy, but mostly it was sad, made me cry, and caused me to curl into an angled ball. Why would anyone want to read about that?

I hoped that one day, before I died, my daughter would. I needed her to believe I had nothing to do with the murder of her disabled baby brother.

Marilyn Buehler, my attorney’s wife, instructed me, “Write an outline of the events and the dates as they happened. Fill it with narratives of what you witnessed, but more importantly, how you felt when your life was destroyed.” We were in my house, going through stacks of tattered cardboard boxes overflowing with police reports, eyewitness depositions, a grand jury transcript, psychologists’ evaluations, victim impact statements, plus transcripts from three trials.

getting organized

I followed her advice. It took me two years to organize the files into chronological order and write an outline. The documents filled 10 five-inch-thick black notebooks in my honey oak bookshelf. As I went through them, I studied those papers as if they were holy scriptures from the Book of Job. I needed to make sense of had what happened and why.

I had no secrets to hide.

Analyzing the points and proofs on paper stirred up the nightmares and PTSD. Terrifying dreams haunted me in my sleep and invaded my peace during the day. These terrific assaults to my brain depicted my two young children being ravaged by rabid dogs, violently shaken, their bones broken by attacking alligators, or pulverized by granite boulders falling from angry skies. These demonic dream visions inevitably ended before I knew whether I saved my children – or they died.

I needed to expose what my children and I experienced to the world. My passion for writing bloomed. The story developed into a gritty, raw, and real memoir. I made no attempt to cover up who I was back then, the mistakes I made, or who I was striving to become.

I took classes, attended conferences, and joined writing groups attended by fellow authors who weren’t afraid to teach through their critiques. My stories grew as I learned the craft through each polish and insufferable, innumerable edits. I was forced to face my own emotional anguish, reconcile myself to the damage, the disillusionment of lies, and the accusations by those who chose to deceive.

I sought the truth and I found the answers. They weren’t always what I wanted to hear. I had been guilty of being naïve.

Writing became my sacred healing cove where waves crashed on lava stone. As my wounds opened, I gasped with the salt and cold. Coral dust cleansed and soothed them closed.

Captain Cook Cove

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It took
Joyce Lefler 15 years to begin and finish From Miracle to Murder: Justice for Joyce LeflerAdam because her save-the-children nightmares only visit her when summer turns into fall. She used to shove these nightmares into hermetically sealed barbed wire boxes inside her mind. They terrified her. She thought they threatened her sanity. She understands them better now and welcomes them as old friends. They contain the memories that fuel the stories she writes in the true crime/memoir genre. Joyce is a retired registered nurse and bereavement counselor. She is an advocate against abuse, a spokesperson for Geri’s law, and a facilitator for Parents of Murdered Children.  Please connect with Joyce via http://bit.ly/MiracletoMurder (Amazon); http://bit.ly/AsLongAsIBreathe (blog); http://bit.ly/fryedmarbles (website); and/or http://bit.ly/CastingPearl (advocacy project).

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