GMBarlean.com

This old website is no more.

I’ve transferred everyone who signed up to follow this blog to my new website at GMBarlean.com. But some followers wouldn’t transfer. To those of you who get this notice from this, my old blog,… get outahere! Go to GMBarlean.com. That’s where I live now. And I have a brand new post about adverbs! Exciting stuff!

Please sign up to follow my new blog at GMBarlean.com. 

Swimming in New Water

IMG_1652My old lilac bush is no more. 

And this website will soon be no more, too.

Like the lilac bush, I got a lot of use out of this site hosted by WordPress. It’s done a fine job for me.

But…

I ventured out into the open sea of confusion and signed up for a web host and created a brand new website. The old lilacs are right at the top of the page, and I hope you’ll go find them there. 

For right now, all of you good folks are following me here on this blog. But I sincerely hope you’ll go over to my new site and subscribe to follow me there.

GMBarlean.com

That’s easy. Come on over and please, please… keep following me. Without you, my readers, I’m just a lonely girl in the country, writing stories! YOU are all the most important part of my writing equation!

Irons in the Fire

Life has been busy, but I have a nice slow Sunday ahead of me. Heard a great sermon in church this morning. For lunch I made a tasty quesadilla with pico de gallo I made yesterday. Now, I get to write all day. I consider this a fine reward for a busy week.

carousel_Indiana-Wesleyan-1For me, writing involves many things. I have many irons in the fire. This coming week, writing will be about going over my presentation for the Business of Writing Summit in Kentucky on August 2nd. I’m very proud of the book I wrote to BuildWritingTeam-2500x1563
accompany this presentation, Build a Writing Team. I’m very excited to give the presentation, too, as I think it has value.

Another thing I’ve been working on is trying to make my website better. It’s involved friends who are more tech savvy than I am, attempting to help me with it. It takes a lot of trainers to teach this old dog new tricks. I’m hoping to have a nice slide show of my books running at the top of the page. We’ll see if I can accomplish this… with help!

coverThis blog has been mostly short stories about my family and my childhood. It’s been suggested I put the stories in a book. That’s another project I’m working on. The book will have the same title as the blog, Moments of Clarity. I’ve got a couple of people beta reading it and an editor giving it a good cleaning. I hope to publish this collection of stories this fall.

And yes, I am working on the next book in the Rosewood Series. Gloria Larson will continue to dig up mystery and suspicion in the small town of Rosewood, Nebraska. I think this 2nd book will be called, either, Rosewood on Fire, or Burning Rosewood. Your opinions are welcome.

I’m also lined up to speak to some small community clubs in the near future. I’m looking forward to doing that and hope I can do even more of it in the future.

It’s interesting how a person can take an interest, turn it into a passion, grow it into a career through meeting people in the field, and have it become such a large portion of one’s life. I love it as much as every other endeavor I’ve embraced. So much to learn, so many people to meet, so many new challenges to conquer!

I hope your coming week is restful yet productive and that you are enjoying your summer!

HUMBLE LEADERS

IMG_2907A cool week is in store for us here in my slice of Nebraska. I couldn’t be happier. I have great plans of working outside all week long. There is much to do as I’ve hidden in the house while it’s hot and humid.

While hiding in the house I did get quite a bit accomplished. I was honored to attend the final board meeting of my friend, Lisa Kovanda, as president of the Nebraska Writers Guild. She has done a fine job leading through almost two full terms of the organization.

I was also happy to witness another friend, Victorine Lieske, take up the reins of the Guild. I’ve watched her lead other groups and know she will do a great job—mostly because she, like Lisa, is a humble leader.

Once upon a time I had the opportunity to organize and even help teach leadership classes in association with the University of Nebraska’s Rural Extension program. I personally do not have the right temperament for leading, but I can certainly get behind a great leader. I also wrote about leadership in my book, Build a Writing Team. What I’ve learned over the years and witnessed as well, is that humble leadership is what we respect. Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Mandela—these are the characters in history we place in high regard. Think Marin Luther King, Lincoln, Washington, and the ultimate humble leader, Jesus. 

Many books and articles have been written on how to lead with humility, and those in history who have set the example. I simply added to the list by writing about it, too.

My slant on the topic was to suggest we apply that kind of leadership to our writing careers. Because… if you’ve ever met the Kim Jong-un of the writing world in your area, you’ll start to understand why having their glories and accomplishments crammed down your throat like a goose being fed to produce Foie Gras… well, it makes me want to vomit as much as watching any film clip of those poor birds.

How does it help? How does it inspire? Bragging may just be a way to share success in the mind of the one “sharing.” But to many, it looks like an overcompensation for insecurities and a need to make others feel small to make themselves feel big. It’s transparent and child-like. It’s the bully on the play-ground. The obnoxious party guest. People may smile and pat them on the back, but no one enjoys that person. They are simply tolerated. We all know this. But they for whatever reason, do not. I do believe humility comes with a healthy level of intelligence. It would stand to reason, arrogance does not.

JohnRosemond-226x300I attended a seminar by Child Psychologist, Doctor John Rosemond. He told a story about how he used the restroom at a grade school where he was speaking. Above the mirror in the restroom was a sign saying, “You are special!!” He let the story settle, then asked the large audience at the Lied Center… “Have you ever been around someone who thinks they’re special?”

I love that story because there is a big difference between self-confidence and arrogance. You know when you meet those wonderful people who shine their light in the way they make you feel about yourself. You also know when you are around someone who sucks up all of your light so they can glare their own.

My book, Build a Writing Team, is a simple, common sense view of how to grow a career through BuildWritingTeam-2500x1563humility, helpfulness, and a desire to learn. I believe it applies to more than just writers.

So be hungry, be humble, and be helpful. And just smile and nod when you suffer fools.

Sharing the Boat

19-same-boatMy brain has been jogging around one track for a couple of weeks now. Ideas are festering and new ideas jump into the mix to confuse me even more. I’ve wanted to talk about so many different things, but couldn’t seem to find a way to bring it all into one post, and feared it would be the longest post in the history of blogging.

THEN, I read C. Hope Clark’s blog this morning. She basically hit on every thought I’ve been mulling over and nailed it perfectly.

No reason to reinvent the wheel. It’s a long read, but REALLY well worth it. There is an abundance of wisdom and that wonderful realization that we are all in the same boat, sharing this human plight together… doing a beautiful breaststroke one day and drowning the next.

Please take the time to read Hope’s blog. If you are a writer, you will want to stand up in the aisle of her church and say, “Amen!”

http://chopeclark.com/2014/07/just-seeing-the-wrong/#comment-17530

51Nky53GdrL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Making an Old Book New

51Nky53GdrL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Last week I did something I hadn’t done in a couple of years. I read the first book I published, Casting Stones. I have to say it surprised me. I have some things I might write a little differently if I were to write it now, but really, not much. The book held my attention even though I knew what was coming and I even reached around to pat myself on the back a few times for the turns of phrase, clever analogies and interesting metaphors. Yup. When it was all said and done and I read the last words, I breathed a sigh of satisfaction and realized there was only one thing I wanted to change about the book—the way I published it.

Originally, Casting Stones had around 180,000 words. I know. Like… wow… that’s a ton of words. It took a year, but eventually I trimmed that baby down to a sleek 78,000 as per recommendation of the editor I’d hired. I went ahead and published it in its new fit and trim form, but people did have some questions about what had occurred before and after the events in the novel. The readers wanted more and it was all just laying around on my proverbial cutting room floor.

A respected writing friend suggested I publish companion books as ebooks only, and the short stories of Prelude and Conclusions were born. They’ve done well all along, selling a little every month over the years, but I’ve always felt kind of bad about this because it was as though I was trying to get more money out of my readers and that had not at all been my intention.

One elderly woman in my home town stared me down in the aisle of the grocery store and asked me about what happened prior and after the events of the novel and I explained she would have to buy the Prelude and Conclusions online to find out.

With a scowl on her face, she said, “So that’s your game. I see how it is.”

I felt like an absolute heel.

Well, that little unsettling conversation led to me to put out yet one more Casting Stones book which included all three parts, the prelude, novel and conclusions, in one book. Someone suggested I call it the New Unabridged Version, which I now think sounds too, too… just too. Regardless, this is all a good example of how things evolve and the little stumbling blocks we trip over as we learn the business of writing and publishing… which, of course, I’m still learning.

Regardless, I’ve decided I must figure out how to fix this situation. I’ve decided to take Prelude, Casting Stones, and Conclusions off the market. Retire them. This will leave only the version which includes all three parts… the unabridged version.

BUT, that name is just goofy. And there’s a glitch every author who indie publishes is gasping about right now—If I retire the novel, I lose the majority of my reviews on Amazon. Thirty-two I think, and it took a long time to earn those. The unabridged version only has nine reviews.

What to do, what to do.

Well, here’s what I did and I’m not sure I’ve got this completely figured out, but I’m inching closer all the time. I uploaded the Unabridged version as a new interior file to the Casting Stones Novel edition so I could keep the majority of the reviews.

I then retired the Unabridged version. Not sure this even makes sense to me, but the goal is to keep the reviews the novel had, but give the reader all of the stories in one book. I’m not sure it worked, but I feel pretty good about the idea, and we’ll see how it all turns out.

Now I kind of want to play with a new cover for the new unabridged version, which I am going to just call, Casting Stones, like I originally wanted to call it. I’ve seen the writing big dogs change covers on their books when they bring them back into print or make changes. I just feel like it needs a new face for this new , old, complete or whatever people want to call this book. Not sure though how the public would feel about a new cover. Opinions are welcome. Keep the cover or try something new? Too confusing or interesting?

Anyway, right now if you go buy Casting Stones, you should be getting the entire story in one book. And as I just finished reading it, I can say it is a work of dramatic fiction I am proud of.

 

BuildWritingTeam-2500x1563

BUILD A WRITING TEAM

I have been woefully absent from blogging for a while. I didn’t fall off the planet, but have been busy in my own orbit. I would love to write an entire blog about the James Taylor concert I went to last Friday. Not only about Sweet Baby James, but my sister, and the Rail Yard in Lincoln, and the absolute lack of social etiquette at concerts…

BUT…

I have a bigger fish to fry. See the little fishy on the cover below! :-)

BuildWritingTeam-2500x1563

My Newest Book!

TaDa!!

I knocked out a book to accompany a class I’ll be giving in August in Louisville, Kentucky. I am working diligently on this presentation as I know when I attend a class at a conference I expect to learn something and I expect the presenter to make me comfortable and keep me engaged. We’ll see if I can accomplish this for fifty minutes. Having said all of this, I now hope I have at least a few people attend this class considering the work I’m putting into it!!

Oh, by the way, I’ll be teaching this class at the Business of Writing International Summit.  If you are in the area, you should attend. I’d love to meet you!! There will be many, many great speakers and I can attest this conference, put on by Larry and Peggy DeKay, is presented by folks who really know how to organize a great event!

I’ve also made a video trailer about this book for YouTube, and I’m promoting the trailer this week on my Indie Book Trailers site. Check it out and vote. Also, please submit your Indie book trailer to be shown on this site. It’s free promo and is getting some good attention.

I sincerely hope you’ll buy the book. It has a common sense approach to team building. I try to break it down so it’s not such a mystery. I do think most of my advice can be applied, not just to a writing career, but to any other endeavor. This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve run my own professional photography studio, managed an opera house, and directed a chamber of commerce, to name a few things. There is no denying, raising children always falls into the category of “How did I figure that out!” amazement to me. I’m older and wiser and know I’ll get older and wiser still provided God allows me to stay on the planet. This book, Build A Writing Team, is just my simple no-nonsense thoughts and my basic motto: Be Hungry, Be Humble, Be Helpful.

Buy the book in digital or in print on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Writing-Team-G-Barlean-ebook/dp/B00L5HDD0Q/ref=la_B007CMZ6SA_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403541374&sr=1-6

For Nook:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/build-a-writing-team-gina-barlean/1119843997?ean=2940149721924&itm=1&usri=2940149721924

From Smashwords in many different formats:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/447372

And spread the word if you would. I love to help others and am always willing to take help in return.

Being a Great Dad

G M Barlean:

Seemed appropriate to pull this one from the archives for today.

Originally posted on G. M. Barlean:

So what makes a dad great? What constitutes a father people respect? A Daddy, children adore.

IMG_1091Is it about raising children who turn out well…get great grades, achieve big goals? Are great dads the ones involved in their children’s lives—coaching the ball teams, leading the Boy Scout pack? Are great dads the ones providing a good education for their offspring? Maybe they give great gifts for birthdays, like bicycles and Furbies and eventually cars? Oh, I know. Great dads change diapers! They get up with babies in the middle of the night. They sit through hours and hours of ball games, piano recitals, speech meets, track meets, Boy Scout meetings, 4-H meetings, and teacher conferences. Let’s not forget plays and band concerts and church Christmas programs. And great dads spend hours putting together jungle gyms and swing sets, and training wheels…taking off training wheels…running behind bicycles keeping them steady before…

View original 216 more words

IMG_2487

Thirty Years and Holding

weddingIt’s hard to believe, but on this date thirty years ago, my husband and I were married in a little country church near Rising City, Nebraska. It had rained the night before and that was a good thing as June is planting season. A nice rain meant farmers in the crowd, a high percentage of our guests, were content and willing to take a few hours to attend a wedding.

Right now, my husband and I are on our way to Colorado for a camping vacation to celebrate our anniversary and his birthday. We’ve been trying to remember things that happened on the day of our wedding.

I remember someone bringing the wedding party and family hamburgers and fries to eat between picture taking and the ceremony. I think they came from Western Drive-In in David City. The building houses an Amigos now, but boy, I do remember how tasty Western Drive-In’s burgers were. My husband doesn’t remember us having burgers, but I know we did because my mother-in-law told us not to use ketchup with our french fries because it would have been hard to get red stains out of a white wedding dress! It shows the difference in how a twenty year-old thinks compared to a forty-something mother. Stains become important as we become people who do everyone’s laundry.

I remember my husband and his groomsmen playing cards in the pastor’s room behind the old altar before the wedding. I remember my niece Jackie, my flower girl, crying because she didn’t want to get married yet! Her little dress matched mine and she was probably five. I can see how she might have been confused.

I have some memory of one of my husband’s groomsmen coming to the reception dressed in my maid of honor’s bridesmaid’s dress. Pink taffeta, I think.

I believe my husband’s aunt had to cut my husband’s hair that morning, as his barber had to be away due to an emergency.

Oh, and our attendants pranked us and ground up club crackers and sprinkled them in our suitcases. Something we didn’t find out until we reached our amazing honeymoon destination of the Ozarks. Seems like someone stuck cheese in our vents, too. These are all good reasons not to get married so young! Cheese, crackers, and going to the Ozarks for a honeymoon!

The main thing I remember is we were very young. I had just turned 21 and my husband would be 21 two days later. I guess it’s what God wanted for us because it has lasted thirty years. It doesn’t seem possible we can be that old, but we are.

My husband is the sentimental one, I’m afraid. I woke to a lovely card and then he surprised me with a beautiful black pearl necklace and earrings. I don’t deserve such things and honestly don’t have the places to wear them. We mostly go camping and to the bar for a steak with friends. But, he’s been one to buy me jewelry over the years and it would be silly to dissuade such sweet intentions.

I do wish we still looked like those kids in the picture above. Not quite, though.IMG_2487 Here we are now. I must say, Steve still looks pretty good. And he must be able to appreciate my sparkling personality and rapier wit because I haven’t aged like fine wine… maybe because I’ve drank too much of it. One way or the other, we love each other, still.

He and I were chatting just yesterday about how wonderful it would be to have our young twenty-something year old bodies back just for one day. Then we realized it would just make us realize how achy and old we feel now! But think about it. At that age, if I wanted to take off running, I just did. I could do a cart-wheel, or not get sick on the Orient Express at Worlds of Fun. I could party all night and not spend the next two days in pain because of it.

Oh, what we didn’t realize we had. No cartwheels for us any more. My husband can’t walk on his hands like he used to when he wanted to show off. Truth is, I have to give some serious thought to running at this point. Weigh the potential hazards. Look around to make sure no one’s watching. Who needs to see that much jiggling.

So, here’s to those of us who stay the course. Thirty years are a long time, but we’re still going on road trips and he’s still surprising me with jewelry, so we must be doing something right. Thanks Hon for the good memories.

It’s About Time

Memorial Day weekend isn’t normally something farm families plan parties or holiday travel around. It’s planting season, so the guys are generally too busy, and there’s no point trying to plan much of anything. Hit and miss is the way we generally roll through this holiday.

My sister Gayle and I have our birthdays on May 26 and May 27, so, yesterday for our birthdays, we did what we were supposed to do on Memorial Day. We visited our loved ones and ancestors in cemeteries around the county. It was a day for remembrance and reminiscing as well as history lessons and good conversation.

free-vector-fly-swatter-clip-art_106126_Fly_Swatter_clip_art_hightWe talked about Great Uncle “Lantern,” whose name was actually Anton. I don’t remember him, but my father always told the story about how when Uncle Lantern got old, he’d sit by the screen door with a fly swatter. He’d open the door to let in a few flies, then he’d wait for them to land and swat them. Then he’d let in a few more flies. To me, that’s a short story just waiting to happen. Amusing and weird and a little morbid, too. Right up my alley.

We visited Uncle Eddy’s grave. I’ve written about him in the past. Funny little fellow I loved so. We talkedTVA_water_supply_Wilder about our grandmother, a woman I never met as she died the year I was born, yet somehow between pictures of her and stories about her, I feel like I know who she was. She was the mother of thirteen children. I think we figured out she was pregnant off and on over the course of 27 years. Pre-depression years. Those were the raise your food and bring
the water in the house, heat your iron on the cast-iron stove, bake all your own bread, go places on horses and have a midwife come over to deliver your children, years. Tough people. Tough woman. Yeah. There’s a feeling of pride to know I came from such sturdy stock. Yet, most of us did, I suppose.

Red-SkeltonWe also went through a little town we visited often as children. Our Aunt Antoinette and Uncle Timer lived there. I called Antoinette the Czech form of Aunt, which is te-ta, pronounced, “theh-tha.” I have no idea what Timer’s name was. He was just Uncle Timer. And on my dad’s side of the family, he was my all-time, hands-down, favorite uncle. Some day he’ll star in a book I write. He’s far too much of a character to describe in a mere blog post. He had crazy Albert Einstein hair, and buggy eyes… kind of had a Red Skelton dressed like a bum thing going on, if you’re old enough to remember who Red Skelton was. Timer had worked for the railroad, and he always wore pinstriped overalls and an engineer cap. Of course, he always had a pocket watch in his front pocket.f34e_victorian_web_pocket_watch

The thing about this fascinating old guy was he pretty much stayed perched in one old arm-chair. I’m sure he got up and did stuff, but my memories of him are in that chair. Me running into their little house and leaping onto his lap, playing with his pocket watch and laughing at his silly old face. He pulled all kinds of expressions on my behalf. He was just a very sweet old man who loved to have a little one on his lap.

I suppose when I think of comfort, many different things come to mind, but playing with a pocket-watch on Uncle Timer’s lap is certainly a comforting memory.

Antoinette and Timer are part of many fond childhood memories. It’s important to remember those who came before us. I’ve decided, t’s not about how much time we live, it’s about the great times we share with those we love. Yesterday was a very good day for doing just that.