Thursday, March 6, 2014

I have something to brag about:

      I may not be considered for book awards in my home state. I may not be considered anyone of importance in the local writing community, but my first published picture book was considered good enough to earn Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Yea!!!

      Below the copy of the book cover with the seal shown is the review from Children's Literary Classics, and below the review a book trailer by Aidana WillowRaven.

I Like Pink, by Vivian Zabel, is the story of a little girl who is on a quest for the perfect pink dress.  While shopping with her mother, she considers countless dresses that are all made from fabric in varying shades of pink.  At first she is bemused, and a little frustrated, with all the different colors.  But as the sales-clerk and her mother help her to understand that pink can come in many varying shades, she comes to realize and accept that she likes all kinds of pink. 

I Like Pink is a book with which many little girls will relate.  Expressive illustrations are a wonderful complement to this book, which will educate and entertain little girls who are fans of the color pink. I Like Pink earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

 LITERARY CLASSICS Book Reviews & Awards  

Friday, November 15, 2013

How to Describe Deep Emotional Pain

   When writing or living, at times a person suffers emotional pain, a deep shearing hurt. When living the hurt, words can't describe the agony, but when writing about the pain, the writer must find words.

    However, after having someone loved deliver to a writer a spat of words, oversight, or action that tears the heart, a writer might try to find a way to describe the physical manifestations suffered to him or her.

 1. Pain and crushing weight in the chest.
 2. Stomach tied in knots, yes, not a cliche but for real.
 3. Brain whirling.
 4. Feeling of suffocation.
 5. Weakness 
 6. Vision blurred
 7. Desire to run, to move, to leave
 8. Overwhelming need to cry: deep, tortured sobs that rip a person apart
 9. Wanting to strike out, to hit a wall, kick a footstool, take physical action
10. Sick, nauseated. 
11. Want to crawl in bed and stay there forever.
12. Feeling hopeless and lost

    Now, if I ever need to write about a person suffering a deep, agonizing, emotional pain, I have a starting point.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Looking forward to Holidays

   A week from tomorrow, we "fall" back an hour, to me the beginning of the fall/winter holiday season. Thursday will be Halloween, and I have a bowl of goodies ready to give to little ones (and some probably not so little) as they come to my door. Robert has some candy to pass out if tricker-treaters come to visit him. I remember when I had most of my Christmas shopping finished by Halloween so I could enjoy the holiday seasons and not scramble to find gifts for all the family. Oh, yes, I remember because now I do well to shop anytime for any reason. But, I still like the idea. However, Halloween signals preparation for Thanksgiving.

   Thanksgiving this year is unclear: Will there be a family get-together? Where? When? Bob and his crew will be in Oklahoma the week of Thanksgiving, so we'll surely see them. Usually Randy and Janelle host a family dinner. I no longer am able to host a dinner, do well to provide a meal for myself. No, no pity, just the facts of life. I know since Robert can't leave the skilled nursing facility I'll be spending most of Thanksgiving Day with him. He needs company, especially on a holiday. I understand that Grace Living Center holds a big celebration for the residents and their families. Wonder if some of our family can join us? We'll have to ask. Thanksgiving is important to me because I believe we all need to pause and realize what God has given us, and to give thanks.

   A month after Thanksgiving comes Christmas. Robert will be on long-term care and can leave the center for the day during that time period. Therefore, he can be driven in his van to a family dinner. Once we know what the family plans are, we can make our plans.

   For me, Christmas has always meant family being together. Of course gifts are nice, symbols of sharing with those we love, but expensive gifts that place a person in debt is not the spirit of Christmas. As we have gotten older, we can't afford much anyway, but I like to give a little something to "show" those I love that I love them enough to want to share with them, even if only a card or a photo.

   I have begun to shop for Christmas. As I've seen something I think someone will like or could use, I saved and bought. No, I didn't buy a grandchild a new car or a new wardrobe, much as I would like sometimes. However, I found something Robert could use with his power chair (his poor, worn out power chair, oh, for the funds to replace that). I discovered something for one of the kids. I have an idea what to obtain for another grandchild. Not much, but a token of what those people mean to me.

   When I was a child, my parents were poor. At the time I never realized how poor, after all my dad was in the service, but ... Christmas was always special, and my parents made sure my brothers, sisters, and I had at least one special gift. My dad read Christmas stories to us on Christmas Eve, ending with the Bible story. We sang Christmas carols and hung our stockings before heading for bed. Robert didn't have any family traditions because Christmas wasn't treated as anything except another day other than having a good meal. 

   I tried to pass some traditions to my children, but after they became adults with families of their own, they soon adopted the traditions of their own or from the other side of their growing families. One tradition we started seems still to exist: new pj's opened on Christmas Eve. With our children, the new sleepwear was from Daddy, for grandchildren, from PaPa. I hope even after he's gone, that the families will continue the practice with the pj's for children from their daddies.

   This season beginning in a few days brings happy memories and a few of sorrow. To me, though, enjoying family and remembering all for which I should be thankful and giving praise for the symbol of Christmas is most important.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Turning Pages Children's Book Festival


     Jacque Graham and I presented at the first Turning Pages Children's Book Festival in Ada, Oklahoma, October 11-12. With the presentations, the event combined a conference with a festival.

      Krystal Russell, the founder of the festival, had some great ideas. Now, with a few tweaks and some help, the festival should evolve into one everyone with children's books should support. 

      On Friday, schools from two neighboring towns brought buses of 7th and 8th graders to participate in games, workshops, and browse "booths" of books. Many of the students didn't grasp the concept that they could buy books, but several did and had funds with them. 

     My workshop, Building Blocks for Plot, had over 40 students plus teachers and other supervising adults. The students sat listening during the informative part of the workshop. During their writing time, they became typical kids, but they didn't become too unruly.  In fact, I wish I had had classes as well-behaved. Each was to write one to three paragraphs to begin a story. They read their work to the group for the last twenty minutes of the session, and some had excellent work. The students showed great imagination and a desire to write. Many told me later that they learned so much and thanked me.

   Jacque Graham presented her monologue as the main character of her work-in-progress, Belle Cobb, the first Indian woman doctor in Indian Territory. The students enjoyed her presentation and want to know when the book is available. Again, the behavior and attentiveness of the students amazed us.

     The books we sold came from this side of the 4RV tables, all except one. One boy so liked A Wandering Warrior by Harry E. Gilleland that he had his mother come back and purchase a copy for him.  The girls preferred A Shadow in the Past by Melanie Robertson King, and a few debated between it and some of the others.

    Many students took cards and bookmarks with the company information printed on them. Hopefully they will encourage their parents to visit our online bookstore.

    Saturday, we saw two families come by, and no one else found us. The publicity promised didn't come out until then. However, 4RV did sell one copy of Trockle. I do believe this festival is one that should be supported and encouraged to continue.

       Two more photos for your enjoyment:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ooops, Name Wrong on Book Cover

First cover of my first published children's book.

     I was so excited to hold my first children's picture book in my hands.  I did check the spelling of my last name because most people misspell Zabel. I never looked at the spelling of my first name. Therefore, when someone asked me if I really spelled my name Vivan, I was shocked. My beautiful "baby" was scarred, maimed, ugly.

       I contacted the art director, who contacted the illustrator, who came up with a solution for the copies I had already bought (100). She created stickers to place on those covers. The stickers are so cute, I wish she had made the cover with those designs. Oh, well, the people who get the books with the stickers on the cover will be special because only those will have the following design:

     Don't you like the cover with the stickers? I do, and I will keep at least two copies for myself. However, once those books are gone, the covers will look like the one above, only with my name spelled correctly.

     Want a copy with the adorable stickers? Go to the 4RV Bookstore and order your copy.

Friday, September 6, 2013

     I have neglected my blog for some time now. However, I've decided to improve my "blogging" behavior, at least I'll try.

     Sometime in the future my books will be found on the International Directory of Published Authors. The launch is today, but all the authors are not listed, yet. Guess I will be some day.

     The fact that the site is launched without my presence caused me to awaken to the fact I need to promote myself and my books. Therefore, I hope to add a page to this blog for my books. Now, let me see if I can remember how to add a page. Oh, my poor brain. Sometimes I need to add more cells for memory -- IF only I could. *grin*

     A personal side note: Robert nearly died the weekend of August 24-25th, yet no one would believe it to see him now. Of course, he's still not completely well since his kidneys are still not working, but he improves every day. He should be home a week from today, if all goes well, and under home health care. 

     I will have a personal update post weekly, if my memory cells will behave.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

“Gifts” for the Elderly, Disabled, and Caregivers

       So often people tell those who are elderly, are in the hospital, or are caregivers, “Let me know if I can do anything.”  They then go on their way and back to their lives. Most of those elderly, disabled, and caregivers who are told to let someone know, never do. To help anyone, offer rather than ask or expect the person to ask for help. 

            For example, if a caregiver is with someone in the hospital, ask to take him/her for a meal or take that person a meal. Offer to go to the house and clean the kitchen or living room or bath, or a combination of several rooms so that when the caregiver and/or patient returns home, the house is ready. Visit the patient in the hospital, but visitors should spread visits over a period of time so that the hospital room isn’t over crowed and the patient doesn’t have empty stretches with no visits. Having visits throughout the visiting times also allows a caregiver to go home or run errands without wondering if the patient might be alone for too long a time.

         The elderly or disabled often cannot care for their home or yard. A wonderful gift is to set a time (whether for one time or for a monthly or weekly appointment) to help with housework or with the yard. If several people worked together, two or three hours a week can be scheduled without one person helping more than one time a month. Housework multiples no matter what people are able to do or not do, and any help given can determine whether the elderly or disabled are able to remain in their homes or not. Someone taking the responsibility in cleaning the main rooms of the house can make a big difference in quality of life for the people helped. 

          Perhaps, someone might offer to take out all the trash the day or evening before the trash service comes by. A group of four to five people could divide the month so that each person does trash duty once a month.

          Yard work is the same: Summer or winter chores pile up. Having someone mow the yard once a month, rake leaves and remove them, and shovel snow when needed gives the elderly and disabled a way to stay more independent. Again, a crew of several can spread the work days over a month each month without any one person having to work more than a hour or two a month.

            Many times, the elderly and disabled gave time and help to younger people when they were younger and able. They cared for children so parents could have a break. They gave helping hands to help others move, not just once but over and over. They put their own plans on hold to give to others. Now, why not refrain from asking them to let you know if you can do anything and offer to do something specific? Time and help are the best of gifts.