Monday, July 29, 2019

Milliron Monday: Rain & Drains 7 29 19

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Above, Dr. Smith's Milliron Clinic, Athens, Ohio. 
June 16, 2017 Photo courtesy Joy Miller-Upton

The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.
Eeyore

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Dr. Smith relocated from drought-ridden Colorado to the lush hills of SE Ohio – he liked the changing of the seasons and rain in the forecast. SE Ohio has changeable weather, from the extreme cold of winter, to the sweltering days of summer, with plenty of rain and flooding in-between. Dr. Smith hit the jackpot weather-wise! 

Built close to the McDougal Branch of Federal Creek, Milliron Clinic is two feet out of the floodplain. On several occasions, this has caused extra work for Dr. Smith, mostly installing extensive drains throughout the parking lot. 

Dr. Smith at work, over the parking lot drain.
The creek has swollen out of banks several times, washing over the bridge. The bridge is the gateway to Milliron Clinic and Farm. It is the lifeline to the farmhouse that sits on the hill looking down on Milliron Clinic. One time the bridge was severely damaged, and Dr. Smith contacted government agencies to help rebuild the water-wrecked structure. Since the bridge is the Smith’s entryway to the farmhouse, the government provided the needed funds to make the repairs.

Water has been known to rush down the hill from the farmhouse into the clinic parking lot. Before the drains, Dr. Smith placed flood barriers at the bottom of the farmhouse hill so that the heavy flow would not enter the clinic. In time, the barrier could not handle the flow and torrential rain broke the barrier, covering the clinic floor.  Shortly after, Dr. Smith installed large drains in the parking lot (see photos). The drains lead directly to the creek, just below the clinic. 

The creek still swells. The clinic still stands. And the parking lot never floods.


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Writer's Bulletin: Fairs & Festivals


As a resident of Ohio, I enjoy attending the many festivals and fairs Ohio has to offer. The Ohio Department of Tourism offers free materials, including schedules and highlights, for each festival and fair. As an author, festivals and fairs provide great marketing opportunities. You may be required to pay a minimal table/space fee, but the exposure and opportunity usually outweigh the cost. Here are some ideas for creating a great marketing experience at a festival or fair...

1)   Visit your State's website to receive a Free Travel Guide! Here is the link to sign up for Ohio's Travel Guide... https://ohio.org/. Create a list of the festivals/fairs that you would like to attend, noting dates. Choose the venues that are within your "niche" market first, then select other venues based upon whether or not you think the event will be worth the time and effort. 

2)  Schedule your event far in advance. Local fairs fill up quickly and you will only be able to secure a space far in advance. If you have specific requirements, such as the need to be indoors with a fan or air conditioning, let the fair consultant know so that you will be comfortable. Fairs also offer space for tents, sometimes providing the tent for you for a rental fee. 

3)  Order your books and marketing materials in advance to have on hand at all times. There's nothing worse than getting invited to an event only to find out that you do not have enough books (and if ordering, books will not arrive in time)! Don't miss an opportunity. Always be prepared.

4)  Consider marketing materials, such as push-cards, business cards, and other promotional material that has your email, website, and social media links, especially if you're in a new town and meeting new people. They will want to connect with you!

5)  Some festivals and fairs may not be the best venue to sell books. For instance, my local community has a festival with kiddie rides, parades, queen competitions, and pie contests. My local library invited local authors to set up tables outside the library during the festival. I attended; however, book sales were slim. People usually do not attend festivals to purchase books - they attend to ride rides, play arcade games, and eat food-truck food. Choose your venue wisely. If the festival/fair is geared toward your "niche" market or book topic (see #6), then you will have a greater chance for an enjoyable and lucrative event.

6)  There are many festivals and fairs with a specific "topic". For instance, children's literature author Kaitlin Kulich's first book Pawpaw is My Favorite Flavor is about pawpaw fruit and making pawpaw ice cream. She debuted her book at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival. Another example is my first children's literature, The Blackberry Patch. I collaborated with the Bremerton Blackberry Festival (Washington State) to share my book. Find your niche and you will find the best promotion opportunity.

7) Advertise in the festival or fair program. I like to advertise in my local fair guide. This is great exposure and can be well worth the cost of advertising. 

Whether it's your State Fair, County Fair, or local festival, find the venue that supports your book and your vision. Usually these events happen during hot weather, so stay cool and dress for comfort. What­ever you do, keep writing. Here’s wishing you success!


Friday, July 26, 2019

Monday Creek Castle: Meet Our July Readers



Above: Zooming in to see everyone is reading, except Violet the Corgi. 
She’s looking for another book to read.

Welcome to Monday Creek Castle! Meet our amazing July readers, enjoying summertime with a good book.


Finny Frog – Finny likes the high castle loft. He enjoys reading mysteries. His favorite book is The Frog Prince by E.D. Baker. Finny’s hobbies include swimming, hopping on lily pads, and exploring the castle.

Binky Bear – A fan of the simple life, Binky enjoys honey, snuggling, and long winter nights. His favorite book is Terrible Troll by Mercer Mayer (it’s my favorite, too!). Have you read Terrible Troll? It will become one of your favorite books!

Violet the Corgi – Beautiful Violet! She is a bundle of joy and a friend to all! A good reader, Violet’s favorite book is Henry: The Queen’s Corgi, by Georgie Crawley. Violet likes to roam the castle grounds, patrolling the outer-limits in search of new friends.

Hermie Hedgehog – With all of his prickly spines, Hermie reads in his own special corner so he doesn’t accidentally poke someone. Hermie is known for his wild side – sometimes leaving the castle for adventures in the unknown. Hermie’s favorite book is The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

Fast Rabbit – True to her name, Fast Rabbit is a speed reader. She has read so many books, some books more than once! Her favorite book is Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Fast Rabbit loves horses and she hangs out at the castle stables.

Ski Squirrel – Ski is famous for his winter antics; building igloos, skiing down slopes, building snowman, and sleigh riding. Ski loves books. He loves to read! His favorite book is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

Every month, the characters of Monday Creek Castle will share the books they are reading with you! Want to be part of the Monday Creek Castle Reader’s Club? Send us an email and we will send you a free writing journal and sticker! 


Enjoy July!
www.mondaycreekpublishing.com

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Monday, July 22, 2019

Milliron Monday: Reminiscing 7 22 19


Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Above, at Monday Creek Stables.
Flowers by Family Tree Florist, Nelsonville, Ohio
Ohio Ceramic, Nelsonville Emporium, Nelsonville, Ohio


“These fragments I have shored against my ruins”

― T.S. Eliot


Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

A break from the tales of the Milliron Clinic parking lot, today I would like to express my gratitude for the Milliron legacy. Without Dr. Smith and his camp of (still) loyal clients, you would not be reading Milliron Monday, or Dr. Smith’s high school essays, or his biography. There is a lot to share. But mostly, besides sharing the wonderful stories, I am grateful for the Milliron Clinic circle of people. They have become my friends. I meet regularly with them now. Sometimes they reminisce about Dr. Smith, other times we share current events and speculate what Dr. Smith may or may not do in any given situation, especially in regard to animal care.

The interesting thing about Dr. Smith (there really is more than one thing), is that he surrounded himself with creative people – writers, artists, and many other talented individuals. He liked talking about classic literature, fine art, and world cultures. Luckily, I continue to have the opportunity to visit with these creatives. I can see why Dr. Smith was drawn to them. They are fun, serendipitous, and carefree. They are the kind of people who enjoy rain on the barn roof, the smell of fresh hay, art in any form, and good conversation. They don't mind the smell of horse manure, summer flies, or cats in their face (this happens a lot at my barn). 

Many of these creative people bartered for vet services. For instance, a well-known local potter was a frequent client at Milliron Clinic. Instead of paying for vet services, he bartered with handmade pottery. Now, after many years, the pottery has more value; posterity. 

But, I digress, today I was going to write about reminiscing (not art). Any day at my barn, you can find me reminiscing with one of Dr. Smith’s former clients. The tone is sincere and the stories flow easily. Sometimes there are tears, sometimes joy, most of the time laughter. Pets are always involved (well, most of the time). Reminiscing. We should all do it more often. 


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Big Sky Boys: An Interview with Todd Linder




The Big Sky Boys: An Interview with Todd Linder
by Gina McKnight

From Montana, USA, Todd Linder is the author of the new children’s book The Big Sky Boys and Life on the Spinnin’ Spur (Monday Creek Publishing 2019). Written for ages 7-12, Linder sets the story in the West of bygone years, the Big Sky Boys live and work together on the Spinnin’ Spur ranch along with the ranch cook and Rooster's pet armadillo, Albert. They work the hard life of cowboys, but there’s always a way to have a little fun while working! From bronc busting to birthday parties to making music, you never can tell what will happen. And even though there’s plenty of teasing that goes on, in the end they are the best of partners.

Available in hardcover from Barnes and Noble and all online booksellers, The Big Sky Boys makes a great addition to the buckaroo's library on your list! Cover illustration by Ohio artist Logan Rogers, The Big Sky Boys will become a favorite. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Linder and share his stories…

Welcome, Todd!

GM: When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
TL: Gina, I grew up in the relatively early days of television (1950’s, 60’s) and although I will admit to watching some television, I was actually more interested in books. I loved becoming part of the story in my imagination and I was the kid who in fifth grade was caught by the teacher during a math lesson with a book in his lap. By the time I was out of high school I had already read hundreds of books. In college I had decided to become an elementary teacher which allowed me an opportunity to continue reading children’s, middle grade, and young adult books to my students. I would spend about half an hour after student’s lunch time recess reading to them to make a more calm transition to the next academic subject. As I browsed the bookshelves over the years I toyed with the idea of writing my own stories but could never find an illustrator and it was just put on the back burner. When my grandchildren were old enough to listen to my extemporaneous stories at bedtime, my daughter encouraged me to think about writing children’s stories and attempting to publish them. 

GM: What is the premise for your new book Big Sky Boys?
TL: I’ve always been in love with the west and as a kid, westerns were always my favorite shows on television. During my teenage years I had opportunity to work at a horse breeding ranch/ boarding stable sort of place and was able to ride a number of horses including my own. I loved anything cowboy/horse/cattle related and so when it came time to tell my grandkids bedtime stories, they naturally were cowboy stories. The other motivation is that I’m privileged to now live in the great state of Montana which still has a pretty strong cowboy/western culture in most places. That being said, it doesn’t necessarily follow that everybody here wears boots and hats. I will admit however to wearing jeans, boots, and the occasional cowboy hat when possible.


GM:  Who is your favorite author?
TL: I would have to say that one of my favorite children’s authors was Lois Lenski. She depicted rural, agricultural life in the 1940’s and 50’s. I suppose they appealed to me partly because they depicted the old one room schoolhouse which I found fascinating. When I was a boy, I had opportunity to visit them once in a while since my dad taught in two different one room schools in Michigan. My parents both came from farm back rounds and because of that her stories about farm kids in the Dakotas were very relatable to me. I also loved her simple but compelling drawings of farm scenes.

GM: What are you currently reading?
TL: I read a wide variety of books and magazines. I’m currently wading my way through Steven Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage. It covers the Lewis and Clark expedition of the Northwest. It’s a rather controversial topic these days as it relates to “first peoples” but I love history and reading anything about American History.

GM: What are you currently writing?
TL: Well I’ve had a recent hiatus from writing but will be jumping back into it this week. I have two stories going at the moment unrelated to The Big Sky Boys stories. One is what I guess would be a middle grade novel about a young boy who is orphaned in 1930’s Montana and ends up living with an old rancher. I’ve set it near the town of Choteau Montana on the front range of the Rockies. Currently it’s titled Dan T. I also have another story I’m working on which diverges completely from anything western. It follows the life of a young Japanese boy born into a Shinobi (commonly called ninja) family. I intend to finish it as is and then do a rather extensive revision of it. So far, it’s titled The Reluctant Ninja.  I’m not putting any timeline for finishing these. They’re done when they’re done, I guess.  While all this is going on, I’ve also begun to create a sort of mini memoir of the time I spent with the military in the country of Iraq in 2003, 2004 to leave for my family. It’s just some impressions of experiences people and places in that ancient country.


GM: How do you maintain thoughts and ideas for future stories?
TL: When I begin to consider a new story, I try to come up with a theme or character and then begin to make a sort of outline of what kinds of events should happen. Then I try to flesh out each event and begin to string them together. As I work this process, I’ll often ask for my wife’s ears to listen to segments and get her input. It helps to have another perspective as to what works and what doesn’t. When it comes to idea generation, I am absolutely convinced that the influence of all the children’s books and maybe the hundreds if not thousands of books I’ve read or listened to in audio format have aided in writing. I’m also a firm believer that writers have to continue to read as well as write. Although I’m getting to that “advanced” age I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of reading good well written children’s literature.

GM: What advice do you have for novice writers?
TL: I would say that even though the industry seems to say you must write for the market, (current trends) I would advise new writers to write what’s on your heart or in your imagination.  There is a part of me that would love to become successful at writing from the financial perspective but even if what I write never sees the light of day and is only a legacy I leave my grandchildren that’s ok.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Meet Author Mary Whalen



Meet Author Mary Whalen
An Author Interview with Gina McKnight

From Ohio USA, Mary Whalen is the author of The Forgotten Rose, a heartfelt tale of planting, growing and blooming. Sincere and inspiring, follow along as the author tells the life of a rose, beginning in the Garden of Eden, reseeding throughout history, finally to modern times where the rose continues to represent love and beauty. 

Welcome, Mary!

GM: When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
MW: In high school I always enjoyed reading and it sparked my interest in writing short stories.

GM: What is the premise for your new book The Forgotten Rose?
MW: It was a writing assignment during my senior year of high school. I wrote it to honor my grandmother.

GM: As a new published author, can you share your experience and your thoughts about the publishing process?
MW: It was more complicated than I thought it would be but satisfying to see the finished product.

GM:  Who is your favorite author? why?
MW: My favorite author is the one whose book I am reading at the time. Harper Lee is one of my favorites.

GM: What are you currently reading?
MW: The Life She was Given by Ellen Ruth Wiseman.

GM: What are you currently writing?
MW: I am working on a couple of short stories.  Once I get an idea, I start the writing process and go back to refine it.

GM: What advice do you have for novice writers?
MW: Just write your thoughts, ideas, or story lines and go from there.  Getting started is the hardest part.

GM: List 10 things your fans may not know about you...

I'm an introvert except with my family.

I like flowers, animals and nature.

I believe in angels and Heaven.

My favorite vacation is going to the ocean.  It is so relaxing.

I enjoy cooking especially making a big pot of sloppy joes for my grandchildren.  It is their favorite.

I went to school in a two-room schoolhouse, second through sixth grade.  It had an outhouse that was painted white.

When I was young my favorite instrument was the accordion, but I never learned to play one.

Once my Mom put henna on my hair.  I slipped in extra henna and my hair turned bright orange.  I could have done an ad for Wendy's!

My first car was an old Rambler station wagon.

Both my children were born on the same day, five years apart.

I was widowed at age 42.  My husband passed away with cancer shortly after he was diagnosed.





The Forgotten Rose was published October 2018 (Monday Creek Publishing) and is available in paperback from Barnes and Noble. For a signed copy by the author, please send an email to mondaycreekpublishing@gmail.com.

Right: A photo of Mary Whalen at home with her book The Forgotten Rose











Monday, July 15, 2019

Milliron Monday: It's an ox! 7 15 19

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Above, Dr. Smith's Milliron Clinic, Athens, Ohio. 
June 16, 2017 Photo courtesy Joy Miller-Upton


The years like great black oxen tread the world, and God, 
the herdsman goads them on behind, and I am broken by their passing feet. 
William Butler Yeats 


Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

The Milliron Clinic parking lot was the gathering place for many clients, pets, neighbors, family, and friends. Stories from events ranging from the weird to the unusual - and there were the usual clients as well who were having a normal day and made their way into the clinic waiting room without drama (or trauma). However, a few times Dr. Smith and his staff have been torn away from usual day-to-day duties to see what in the world was happening in the parking lot! Here's a sample...

On a sunny summer day, a regular Milliron Clinic client is sitting in her car in the parking lot, window rolled down. She is waiting for her family who is inside the clinic with their pet. After a while, the woman in the car leans her head back on the headrest and dozes off. Without any notice, one of the Milliron Farm oxen (very large beast) lumbers to the woman's car and gives her a big lick on the face. If you've ever seen an oxen's tongue, you know they are rough (and probably smelly, too). Now awake, the woman screams in horror as the oxen stares into her eyes. The oxen, definitely scared of the woman, lumbers back to the lower pasture where he knows he will be safe. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Smith and his staff, as well as clients inside the clinic, hear the woman screaming. They run to see what's going on in the parking lot. The woman gasps as she tries to explain the horror of it all. "The ox... he licked my face! I was taking a nap and next thing I know there's these big dark eyes staring into mine!" Slobber still oozing down her blouse, she hesitates getting out of the car, afraid the beast may still be in the vicinity. Finally, with the help of Dr. Smith, laughter could be heard barreling through the parking lot. 

What was a harrowing event for the woman, became a fantastic tale. Just another day at Milliron Clinic, where you could expect the unexpected. 

Read more about the life and times of Dr. Smith in his biography Milliron.


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019