Saturday, December 31, 2011

For this Writer, 2011 Has Been a Good Year

It's hard to believe 2011 has come to an end. In my little writing world, 2011 has been a good year, but the year hasn't been so great for some of my writing friends.

My heart goes out to the people from Joplin who were affected by the tornado last May. But out of the tragedy, hope arose. It was gratifying to see how many members of the writing community rolled up their sleeves and uncapped their pens to help.

After the tornado, Claudia Mundell, president of the Joplin Chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild, came up with the idea for an anthology as a way that writers could help our Joplin neighbors. Thus, the Storm Country Anthology was born, under the leadership of  Deb Marshall and Kelli Allen of the Missouri Writers Guild, published and copyedited by Linda Fisher from Mozark Press, with special guest editor Dianna Graveman from 2 Riverscommunications.

I was fortunate to have my short story "Golden Lilacs Under the Worm Moon" included in Storm Country anthology, and I got to attend the book launch in November, where I was able to read and hear several of my writing friends read their works included in the anthology.

In addition to Storm Country, my work also appeared this year in the following anthologies:

    "Read Away Vacation" in Flashlight Memories  from Silver Boomer Books
    "The Night the Circus Came to Town" in Mysteries of the Ozarks IV from Ozark Writers
    "Look Back, But Don't Stare" in A Shaker of Margaritas: Cougars on the Prowl from Mozark Press
    "Bridie O'Shea's Golden Haired Visitor" in Cactus Country from High Hill Press
    "Under Grandma's Bottle Tree" in Voices IV from High Hill Press

In 2011, my work was recognized for some awards:

   * Short story  "Criminal Minds" received First Place in the MWG President's Award for Short Stories
   * Limerick "Summer Help Wanted" awarded Honorable Mention in the Summer Poetry Contest by the Missouri State Poetry Society
    * Personal essay "Sweet Memories" received First Place in the Dan Saults Awards Category from the Ozarks Writers League
    *Short story "The Window Washer" received Third Place in the Dr. Doris Mueller Poetry and Fiction Contest

Two of my short stories have been nominated for awards:

    * My short story "Bridie O'Shea's Golden Haired Visitor" has been nominated for a Spur Award
    * My short story "Under Grandma's Bottle Tree" has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize

In 2011 I reviewed almost 40 books and wrote interview questions for more than half-a-dozen writers for the Bookreporter network.

In addition to my acceptances and wins, I received my share of rejections and non-responses to submissions, and I didn't win anything in several contests I entered. But rejections and near misses are part of being a writer.

This year I've had several new followers on my blog, had numerous giveaways, and a few special guests. Those feats are something I hope will continue in 2012.

All-in-all, 2011 was a good year, and I'm hoping 2012 will be good for me --- and for you!

Happy writing and reading--and I hope to hear from you next year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday Club of St. Louis 86th Original Poetry Contest for Local Poets

Founded in 1890, the Wednesday Club of St. Louis has a long history of supporting the arts and intellectual pursuits in the St. Louis area. The club's goal is "to provide a center of thought and action for the advancement of education, science, philanthrophy, literature, and the arts."

If you are a poet who lives within a 50-mile radius of St. Louis, the Wednesday Club of St. Louis has a contest you might want to consider. The club has invited poets to enter its Eighty-Sixth Original Poetry Contest. The submission deadline is Feb 1, 2012, and the awards reception is April 11, 2012. Acclaimed poet Mark Halliday is this year's judge.

Entrants must be over 18 and live within a 50-mile radius of St. Louis. Prizes range from $400-$100. The submission guidelines are quite specific. If you want to find out more about the contest, here is a link to the contest guidelines.

The Wednesday Club of St. Louis also is sponsoring a Junior Poetry Contest for local high school students in grades 10-12, who must submit through their school's English Department. That contest will be judged by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Here is a link for the contest guidelines for the Junior Poetry Contest.

The Wednesday Club's 86th Original Poetry Contest is a great opportunity to showcase the talent of local poets. If I were a decent poet I would enter, but with my limited poetry skills I wouldn't have a chance. But I hope that some of my visitors who are poets will check out the contest. If you do enter, good luck!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Early Bird Gets the MWG Discount and Woo Hoo, I'm a Winner!

Now that Christmas is over, I'm looking forward to the new year. I've already come up with goals for 2012. One biggie is to exercise more: my physical muscles, my writing muscles, and my spiritual muscles. I've already signed up for the MWG Confernece which will be next April. I'm organizing a writing group at my local parish, with our first meeting scheduled in early January, and I'm going to eat less and start walking more, starting right away.

If one of your resolutions for the new year is to get serious about writing and you're thinking about attending a writer's conference, here's one that local, regional--and by golly--even national or international writers can attend.

Tricia Sanders, the Missouri Writers' Guild Vice President and Conference Chair, has been hard at work planning the 2012 MWG Write Time! Write Place! Write Now! Conference which will be April 20 through 22, 2012 at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center of St. Louis. The hotel address is 16625 Swingley Ridge Road; Chesterfield, Missouri 63017.

Attendees who register by mail on on line by Dec 31 can save money. I'm all about saving money, so I mailed my registration yesterday to take advantage of the early-bird discount. MWG members and Chapter members can also attend at a discounted rate. 

The scheduled presenters  on Apr 20-21 are impressive and include authors, poets, editors, agents, and publishers. Claire Cook, Jane Friedman, Susan Katz, Susan McBride, Debra Hess, and Walter Bargen are among the speakers. On the additional day, Sunday, Apr 22, attendees can sign up for smaller group optional Master Classes at an additional cost.

Attendees can also reserve a table to sell their books and sign up to pitch their works to agents and editors--and, depending on membership status, attendees are eligible to enter all or most of the conference contests for modest fees.

If you miss the early-bird deadline, you can still sign up to attend; it will just cost a bit more.

Pop over to the MWG Conference blog to read an interview MWP Publicity Chair Sarah Whitney had with  Highlights Editor Debra Hess. Leave a comment and you could win a conference tote bag.

Now for a bit of good news: Deb Marshall, President of MWG e-mailed and told me my short story "The Window Washer" won third place in the Fiction category of the Dr. Doris Mueller Poetry and Prose Contest. The contest judge was Harvey Stanbrough.

Congratulations to all the winners in the all three contest categories! There were nine winners in all. Texas poets cleaned up in the Poetry category. The Children's category was mixed with winners from Kansas and Missouri. But in the Fiction Category, the Show-Me State showed it was all Missouri, baby!

I'm excited. Not only that my story won third place, I made a little money, and the judge is awesome, but because "The Window Washer" is a story I feel strongly about and didn't give up on. So, I'll continue working on my story until it gets published. That reminds me; I need to work on some entries for the MWG conference contests.

So, there you have it. Two ways to kick your writing into high gear in 2012: a writer's conference with great speakers and a chance to win by entering the contests. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Call for Submissions of Prose, Poetry or Artwork from KC Voices (Paying Market)

Christmas Day was lots of fun and over too quickly. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is ready for the new year.

If one of your goals for 2012 is to publish your prose, poetry, or artwork, KANSAS CITY VOICES has the mission to "discover, encourage and promote creativity and communication through literature, art, and other forms of cultural expression."

The editors are seeking unpublished works which are "exceptional written and visual creations from established and emerging voices" for their magazine which is published in November of each year.

While the payment is modest (ranging from $20-$30, plus contributor's copy), publishing in regional magazines is a good way to support small press and build a writing portfolio.

Here are a few highlights of their submission guidelines:

* Online submissions only
* Submissions need not relate to Kansas City or the Midwest
* DEADLINE: March 15, 2012
* Unpublished at time of submission
•  Notification by  June 15, 2012

The above are just highlights. The actual submission guidelines are very specific. Here's a link to Kansas City Voices with complete guidelines.  

Good luck if you submit!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Carols -Too Much of a Good Thing?

I love listening to Christmas music, and, even though I'm not a good singer, I love to sing along.

When Christmas rolls around, I drag out our special musical wreath and hang it on the front porch. The wreath has a string of lights imbedded in it and a music box attached. It plays six Christmas tunes in a continuous loop. The music is catchy. The music is loud. If you're any where near the front of the house, you can hear the songs. I love it.

I hit the play button every evening when I turn on the Christmas lights. Shortly thereafter someone else in the house hits the stop button.

"Why do you like listening to the same songs all the time?" Grandchild #1 says. "Don't you get tired of it?" She's the one who blasts the same CD in the bathroom while taking a shower at 11 p.m. each night.

"That is so annoying," Grandchild #2 says. "The whole neighborhood can hear it." I want to tell him that he and his friends are also annoying when the whole neighborhood can hear them playing outside.

"Turn that crap off," Husband says, grabbing the TV remote. "It's time for O'Reilly."

Away from home, I sing along with the radio and hum as I'm buzzing through stores. It puts me in a festive mood as I try not to think about how much I'm spending.

Yesterday while I was at Macy's I was enjoying the music and getting energized listening to the upbeat song, "All I Want for Christmas is You."  Every time that song comes on the radio while I'm driving I turn it up and sing along. The lyrics give me chills. Sometimes the lyrics make me cry. People in other cars give me strange looks.

Apparently not everyone shares my love for that song. While I was paying for a gift, two Macy's cashiers were discussing Christmas music, oblivious to the fact that they were waiting on a customer, I guess.

"I'm so sick of that song," says Cashier #1 as she folds a sweater.

"Me, too," said Cashier #2 as she rings up my order. "I'll be glad when Christmas is over so we don't have to listen to it any more."

By the time I left the Service Counter I was bummed. "Bah, humbug," I mumbled. Then another song came on and I was humming along again.

How about you? Do you get tired of listening to Christmas carols? Or do you love the way they make you feel and are a bit sad when it's time to take down the tree, bundle up the lights, and turn off the music?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reading Roundup III - Some Favorite Children's Books for 2011

To complete my reading roundup, here are some of my favorite children's books for 2011. The links are to books with my reviews for Kidsreads.

BLESS THIS MOUSE by Lois Lowry is a charming story for animal-loving readers of all ages.

DEAD END IN NORVELT by Jack Gantos weaves twentieth century American history with wacky scenes and memorable characters.

PAINTINGS FROM THE CAVE: THREE NOVELLAS is Gary Paulsen’s dark and gritty collection of stories about three children who use the beauty of art and/or the unconditional love of dogs to survive troubled childhoods.

THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE by Melissa Ann Goodwin is a sweet and suspenseful tale filled with surprises.

THE CHRONICLES OF HARRIS BURDICK: FOURTEEN AMAZING AUTHORS TELL THE TALES, Chris Van Allsburg. Stories written by children’s and adult authors: Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka and Chris Van Allsburg, with an introduction by Lemony Snicket.

WARP SPEED by Lisa Yee is a touching story about belonging, being unique and standing-up to bullies.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas filled with wonderful books.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas to "Santa Wore Cowboy Boots" Commenters --You All Are Winners

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my post and asked for their names to be put in the hat to win a copy of my story "Santa Wore Cowboy Boots" which appeared in A Cup of Comfort for Christmas. In the spirit of Christmas, I decided that rather than just selecting a few names at random I would send a copy of the story to each person who left a comment.

So the winners are

 Bookie (Claudia)

If you all will e-mail me at dvolkenannt (at) with your name and mailing address I will get your copy in the mail right away.

Merry Christmas, and thanks for continuing to visit my blog and sharing your thoughts and encouraging me to continue writing.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Reading Roundup II - Some Favorite YA Books for 2011

In Reading Roundup I earlier this week I shared a list of recommended adult books I've read in 2012. If you have a young adult on your Christmas list --- or you enjoy reading young adult books --- and are thinking of giving them a book as a gift, here's a list of some I've read this year that you might want to check out. You can find reviews of these books on

BETWEEN by Jessica Warman is a fascinating ghost story with a haunting message. From the cover to the last page, this is a memorable book. Highly recommended.

LEGEND by Marie Lu is an intriguing futuristic thriller with touches of romance.

MERCY by Rebecca Lim is an intelligent, supernatural mystery with touches of romance and suspense.

STRINGS ATTACHED by Judy Blundell is an elegantly written story of courage, sacrifice, neglect, redemption and the brutal power of secrets to shape and ruin lives.

THE ANTI-PROM by Abby McDonald gives a glimpse into the dark side of the glitz, glitter and glamour of prom night, the perennial American teenage right of passage.

Next week I'll post my recommendations for children's books.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reading Roundup I - Some Favorite Books for Adults from 2011

Books make great Christmas gifts, so if you're thinking of buying books for Christmas, here's a list of some books I've read this year. This list is for books for adults. I'll post my suggestions for children's and young adult books in the next week. You can find my complete reviews of most of these books on

ON CANAAN’S SIDE by Sebastian Barry is an elegantly written, touching story of love and loss, sorrow and joy, secrets and surprises.

KILLING LINCOLN: THE SHOCKING ASSASSINATION THAT CHANGED AMERICA FOREVER by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard is a suspenseful historical narrative that chronicles events that changed America.

THE PRIEST’S GRAVEYARD by Ted Dekker is a fast-paced thriller that doesn’t shy away from dark and bloody scenes, while at the same time being surprisingly tender.

THE LOST SUMMER OF LOUISA MAE ALCOTT by Kelly O’Connor McNees imagines the summer of 1855, a summer that would change the course of Louisa Mae Alcott’s writing career.

THE MAID: A NOVEL OF JOAN OF ARC by Kimberly Cutter is written with vivid details and lovely prose, portraying the range of emotions of Jehanne (Joan of Arc), an uneducated peasant teenage girl who struggles with the destiny she must fulfill.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Santa Wore Cowboy Boots" Story and Giveaway

Several years ago my story "Santa Wore Cowboy Boots" was published in A Cup of Comfort for Christmas (Adams Media). The story is about the Christmas my husband, children, and I spent in Southern Arizona -- and the lesson my nine-year-old son Erik taught me about the real meaning of Christmas.

Earlier this year I gave permission for the story to be used as a handout at our parish Advent Candelight Service, which occurred two weeks ago.

The finished product is lovely. It's a full-page booklet printed on both sides on pink-tinted paper.

After the service I called the Parish Office to see if I could get some extra copies, and they graciously made extras for me. I'm going to include some copies in Christmas cards but am keeping a few to give away.

So, to celebrate the season of Christmas and as a special remembrance to my son, I'm giving away a few copies of the one-page booklet with the story "Santa Wore Cowboy Boots" on my blog.

To win a copy of the one-page booklet:
* Become a follower and leave a comment between now and Friday, December 16
* OR - if you already are a follower, just leave a comment
* I will announce the names of the winners one week from today, on Monday, December 19, at which time I will request mailing addresses for the winners.
* Winners must have mailing addresses in the USA, or if military service or family members overseas, must have APO addresses.

To be clear, I'm not giving away copies of the Cup of Comfort for Christmas book, but I am giving away copies of the one-sheet, double-sided booklet of the "Santa Wore Cowboy Boots" story that is in the book.

Good luck!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas Bus Trip - Lights, Trees, Nativity Scenes, Candy Canes, and More

Last evening our parish (All Saints in St. Peters) sponsored a bus tour to several local Christmas light displays. After eating a simple, but filling, meal in the Parish Center, more than 100 brave souls, including my sister Kathleen, some of my friends from my old work, and I hopped on two large tour buses and headed out for Tilles Park in St. Louis County to drive through their Winter Wonderland light display.

Because of rush-hour traffic it took some time to finally get there, but the non-religious displays were bright and sparkly, and so much to see. There was a jumping frog, skaters, trees, carriage rides, Santa, a toy house, a Peace on Earth sign, and lots more.   The driving tour took about a half hour, and is something kids of all ages can enjoy. Admission fees range from $9.00 for a family vehicle to $75 for a bus.

After once again braving rush-hour traffic, we rode across the Mississippi into the Land of Lincoln. Our second stop was the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL, for the Way of the Lights display, which runs until Jan 1.

After climbing off our bus we headed inside, where we were greeted by a group of children performing Christmas carols. As Kathleen and I walked down the hallway, we admired the decorated wreaths on the walls. The wreaths were donated for a silent auction. Some were simple, others ornate, but almost all were elegant.

The fun part of the tour was a walk through the Christmas tree display room.

The theme was children's books. What a delight!

The room isn't too large, but it was crowded and took about 15 minutes to walk through. I stopped a few times to snap photos of most of the trees on display.

Trees were decorated like The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Toy Story, Cinderalla (my favorite), The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and several others.

The display sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, called ONE,  included handouts for a 2011 Christmas Tree Blessing.

After leaving the Christmas Tree room, we peeked into the Children's Room, where there were a variety of activities for children, including a puppet show.

We wandered down the hall and visited the gift shop, which also had some lovely displays, most notably was a Nativity scene under the tree at the entrance.

Another highlight of our visit was a portrait of the Blessed Mother carrying the Infant Jesus and being serenaded by three angels.

What's remarkable about this portrait is that it's made out of Legos. Isn't it amazing?

I was told there is another, larger, portrait made out of Legos in the hotel at the center.

The suggested donation for the outside tour varies depending on the size of the vehicle. For a car it would be $10. Our bus paid $50, and with each $10 donation came a cute and cuddly stuffed animal--this one was a goat. Oh, the tour also offers camel and donkey rides. It truly is a sight to behold, and one I highly recommend for children of all ages, and anyone who is looking for displays with a spiritual message of Christmas.

After leaving Illinois we headed back to Missouri and took in a glimpse of downtown St. Louis City Park, then on to a special treat on Murdock Lane called --- Candy Cane Lane in the St. Louis Hills section of St. Louis. John Kuehner, the brother of Patti Niestat, one of our tour organizers, plans and produces this annual event. If neighbors can't afford to decorate, John foots the bill. All the houses on both sides of the street for a few blocks are brightly decorated. Red and white lights circle the bases of large oaks lining the streets, giving it a candy cane appearance. This brief drive was a delight, and a sweet way to finish up our evening before heading back to All Saints.

I hope they have this bus trip again next year, because I definitely want to go!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7 - Pearl Harbor Remembrance and a Special Birthday

Today is a special day for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that 70 years ago, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It was a day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt claimed would "live in infamy."

My dad enlisted in the Army right after the United States declared war on Japan, and he served in the Army's 96th Infantry Division in the Philippines and Okinawa. After the war, Dad was a disabled veteran, but growing up he didn't talk about being in the war a lot. I have one photograph of him with two other soldiers. Dad is shooting a machine gun, flanked by the other two soldiers. I wonder what he was thinking about when that photo was taken. The war was over years before I was born, but when December 7 rolled around every year, Dad did open up a bit about World War II.

In September 1970 I traveled to Honolulu to meet up with my husband for his R&R during his tour in Vietnam. While we were there we toured the USS Arizona Momument. Maybe it was because my husband was serving during the middle of another war, but touring the memorial brought the reality and sadness of the war to me.

December 7 is special for another, happier, reason: On December 7, 1961, my baby sister was born. I remember that day very well. Dad was at work, so our upstairs neighbor drove Mom to the hospital. My dad wanted to name my sister Pearl, in honor of Pearl Harbor Day. During her preganancy, Mom wanted to name her Christine if she was a girl, but then a cousin named her daughter Christine a few months earlier, so mom named our new sister Bridget Mary, which fits her perfectly. Thank goodness mom got her way on that one. Bridget was such a happy baby, and she still has a joyful personality and an easy laugh.

Today Bridget is 50. My sister Kathleen and I are going to take Bridget out to lunch.

So, today is a special day of remembrance for those lost in Pearl Harbor and the day that changed the lives of so many Americans of the "greatest generation." It also is a day of celebration for our family. The circle of life continues.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Traditions of St. Nicholas Live On

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, who was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a city in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor.

In grade school we learned about how Nicholas was very generous to a poor man in his diocese who had three beautiful daughters. The man couldn't provide money for his daughters to marry and was worried they would be forced into a life of sin. Nicholas secretly gave the man bags of gold to enable the daughters to be married. As the legend of the generosity of Nicholas grew, the custom evolved of gift-giving on the saint’s feast day. In many countries, like America, he became known as Santa Claus.

When I was young we put our shoes out so St.Nicholas could leave treats inside. A few other customs we followed was we always found oranges and candy canes in our stockings on Christmas morning, and of course before Christmas we donated canned goods for the needy--which one year was us.

In the Bavarian area of Germany, where my husband grew up, the custom was a bit different. Sankt Nikolaus day was a holiday, with a parade in the city and the children got visited. If you were good, you got visited by St. Nikolaus. If you were bad, Ruprecht came a knocking on your door to box your ears. Guess which one visited my hubby most years?

In the early and mid 1980s, when I lived and worked in Germany, the local nationals (or LNs as we called them) I worked with, got St. Nicholas day off, but the day before we all had a luncheon feast at work. On December 5th The LNs stayed late after we left. The next morning the desks of the Americans (or the Amis as they called us) had special treats on them. Of course, the day before Thanksgiving, we treated them to a feast. It was a nice exchange of customs.

I am fascinated by customs of other countries and like traditions and try to instill in my grandchildren a sense of the past.

My granddaughter says my husband and I are "old school," which I consider a compliment. But, even though our grandkiddos are teenagers now, I know their shoes will be outside their bedroom doors this evening. One of them will also make sure Harley, our black Lab, will get a treat. So, it's a trip to the store today to get some goodies for them all.

For the past two weekends one of my grandkids has helped carry gifts from the giving tree in church to the parish center after Mass. I'm hoping that by volunteering even in a small way they will understand that Christmas is more about giving than receiving.

Here's a link to a site with customs about St. Nicholas. How about you? Do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day or any other feasts or have family traditions during the Advent or Christmas season? Cookie exchanges, maybe or Secret Santas?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Saturday Afternoon in Kimmswick, Missouri

Last Saturday afternoon several friends and I (12 in all) celebrated a Christmas lunch at the Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery in the historic town of Kimmswick, Missouri.

Located in Jefferson County, the Mississippi River town was founded in 1859 by a German immigrant and successful St. Louis businessman named Joseph Kimm.

The town bustled with activity on Saturday. Our lunch reservations were for 1 p.m. Seven of us left around noon from St. Charles County in two cars and met the other five ladies there. In our car of four, we drove for a while looking for parking then found a spot a few blocks away. The walk wasn't bad because it was a lovely day--in the upper 50s-- there were lots of folks walking and driving and hunting for parking spots. I even saw a few cars with Christmas trees on their roofs.
When we arrived at the Blue Owl, several groups of people waited outside. The restaurant won't seat guests until the entire party is there. One of our group had a hard time finding a parking spot, so we didn't get inside to get seated until about 1:15. While we waited for our table to be set up, one woman told me she had a two-and-a-half hour wait for a table for two, but the weekend before when they drove their motorcycles to town they got right in. It was a busy weekend because of the Christmas Cookie Walk--and probably because of the lovely weather.

By the time we left a little after 3 p.m., there were tables available. So, if you want to eat lunch at the Blue Owl, especially on a weekend, call ahead for a reservation or get there after 3 p.m.

One of the specialties of the restaurant and bakery is their apple pie, which is an Oprah's "favorite things." We ordered our lunch , but by the time we ordered dessert, the bakery had sold out of apple pie, so I had a slice of chocolate cake, which was eight layers and included Amareto, almonds, and fudge in the ingredients.

My cake was so rich I could only eat a forkful, so I got the rest of it to go. My lunch was strawberry salad and spinach and artichoke quiche. Both were wonderful. The crust for the quiche literally melted in my mouth.

It was great to visit with my old friends from work and catch up on what's been going on in their lives. We even had a visit from Santa, who stopped by our table.

After lunch we hit the streets and did some shopping, and I managed to find a couple of Christmas gifts. One store called the Latest Craze had good prices on costume jewelry and bric-a-brac.

We ended the day with a trip to Marie's Sweet Shop, which also was a busy place. I was searching for a Christmas tree light necklace. The colored lights blink of and on--so I thought it would be fun to wear to my Bunco party on Friday night. I saw several ladies wearing the necklaces as I shopped. They told me they bought them at the candy store. But, alas, the store was sold out of the necklaces by the time we got there. Two ladies in a back room who inquired about the necklace for me were hard at work decorating cake pops and other candies to put in the display cases while other workers served up scoops of ice cream.

All-in-all my visit to Kimmswick was a fun and relaxing afternoon. I guess you could say my trip was a sweet treat.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day - Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tomorrow marks the second annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.

The idea for this annual event came about because writer and blogger Jenny Milchman noticed she was taking her children to bookstores around this time of year for story times and other events. 

Her idea took off, and now more than 250 bookstores in 45 states, three Canadian provinces, England, and this year, even the Gold Coast of Australia. Click her to see the stores participating in the site's interactive bookstore map

Just shows the impact that one person with a great idea can make.

Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Lonnie Whitaker and Dr. Barri Bumgarner

Here is the second installment of interviews with contributors who have stories in Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V , from Ozark Writers, I...