Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sunday Musings: June 15 2014

This week Musers are giving a big shout out to those who have cheered us on; encouraged us; believed in us; slip food under the door for us; even those who we're just out to prove wrong (that we'd never make it)

Chris here…I knew and heard my mom’s pride and belief in me. Had no doubt ever about my grandmother (Nanny)’s belief in me. My grandfather (Pa) gave me the best advice ever…it’s your/my life do what’s best for you no matter who may want otherwise. Dad. He was harder, or so I thought. It was really me. I wanted him to say and act the way I wanted him to. Thankfully, though we didn’t ever talk about this when he was alive (it didn’t need talking out loud), I recognized his pride and belief in me years before he passed. I didn’t know how important that little bit of knowledge was to me until he was no longer here…maybe it’s because I know I looked him in the eye and knew I heard him in his own way.

Both my parents were supportive, especially since I did my part and did not let my studies, my primary duty at the time, suffer because of my scribbling

My father was the more directly influential.  He had very little formal schooling, but he was a self-educated man who loved to read, particularly history and natural history, and the stories he told my brother and me, the books he read to us, and the discussions we had reflected these interests.  Obviously, I was "infected" with the same love.  For example:  I was a picky eater (translate that as impossible to feed) as a small child.  In order to get me to eat, Daddy would recite "Horatius at the Bridge", which I quickly learned by heart.  That led to more stories about Rome's rise.  He would also tell us about the American Revolutionary War, other great battles, and other acts of heroism from the past. My father's example was priceless.  He had shown courage during WW!! and in civilian life.  He was a traditional husband and father who handed my mother his pay envelop since she was running the household, had no objection to preparing a meal or washing a dish, and who thought it nothing strange to sit down on the floor and play with small children

My mother was equally supportive in her own quieter way.  She never criticized or told me to "get a life" in any sense.  Most importantly, she provided a living example of a woman who was brave (yes, there had many times in her life when courage was needed) and strong and also feminine, traditional living, and loving.  She was living proof that a female character does not have to be one or the other.

DAWN KNOX, author

If you'd asked my parents, years ago, what direction they thought I'd move into in the future, I'm pretty certain neither of them would have predicted writing. It must have come as a bit of a surprise when I had my first short story published - not least because it was a horror story and both of them know I'm not very keen on the genre!

But since then, they have both become my greatest supporters and I know they are very proud of any successes.

But as proud as they are when a story is accepted for publishing, I know they are disappointed and hurt when I receive rejections, so I no longer tell them when I've submitted a story, nor when it's rejected.

Mum particularly gets very hurt and takes it personally, on my behalf. But she loves reading my stories and I've written several just for her. I don't think anyone could possibly be more on my side!
Dad isn't so keen on fiction, although he reads my stories and his support came in a different way. He gave me an antique writing set, with a cherub lounging on the lid, which he assured me was going to bring me luck in my writing.

I guess he was right!

Both my parents died long before I started writing seriously, but most of what I know about English grammar is thanks to my father. He was fiercely devoted to the English language, and refused to tolerate any mistakes in grammar. Every time we made a mistake, he'd not only correct us, he'd repeat the entire rule and its explanation. I still remember conversation around the dinner table about points of grammar. I learned far more from him than I ever did in my English classes.

My wonderful parents both died before I started writing. They never would have dreamed that I would become a published author. I wish they had known. I know they would have been so proud.

The people I have most to thank were my co-editors of The Ginseng Conspiracy before MIU, my son Peter Bernhardt and friend, Lorenzo Martinez. Another friend, Dave Bazan had creative ideas and insight. My son and his wife, David and Nicole cheered me on along the way, with many friends and family. My husband, Bill was supportive throughout. I am very lucky.

JAMI GRAY, author

My dad passed just before I got the contract on my first book in 2011, but for a quiet, reserved man, he left a loud impression on me. Since my biological father figure had left a very negative impact, when I met my dad at age 12, he showed what real dads were actually like. He wasn't one to seek acknowledgement of his accomplishments, instead he simply did what he felt was right and moved along. When I asked to borrow the family typewriter to transfer my handwritten notes into a readable story at 14, he handed it over and said, "Finish what you start, sweetheart, that's all anyone can ask of you." It took years, but he never faltered in his belief that some day, yep, I would get published. I just had to keep going. Not only did I get lucky in finding my dad, I somehow, by pure luck, ended up married to a male of similar stature. So this Father's Day, huge shout outs to the guys who set the example, one quiet action at a time.


What a nice thought. Even though here in Australia Fathers Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in September. My dad died two months before he was 74, when all the rest of his family lived into their 80s and 90s. He was a working man, a skilled carpenter, and if I want to condense his life I will say that his most valuable bequest was an example of decency and honesty.

Both of my parents have been great, and are both very encouraging. My mom stayed home with my sister and I until we were both in school full time, and that definitely made my childhood a lot better, and we got to do a lot of fun things every day. My dad is really into science and exploring, and I definitely learned a lot from him and still do. We all used to go on fun holidays when I was younger, and although we never went that far (mostly driving trips), it was a really big highlight of my childhood.

Both my parents read my writing (eventually...after some cajoling), and although they both usually like it, I get some good comments from them about how I could improve things.


Both of my parents are supportive of my writing. My mom has read drafts for me as well as the finished product.

My dad had also read a few drafts, and ironically he's had me read and edit some of his writing efforts.

The stories about his childhood and growing up at the end of the depression have given me a new understanding of him.

 I learned to repurpose from my mother long before it was popular. She delighted in taking something unusable apart and making something usable out of it. And she was frugal. Somehow she managed to make ends meet when it seemed an impossible task. My father taught me to think. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the words “use your brain” when I was growing up. He was a smart man who figured things out, and he wanted his daughters to do the same. He loved to write. I have some of his short stories and often wonder what he would think of his daughter being a published author.

     Another father I must mention is my husband. He’s been there for our children when they needed him the most. He always provided for his family even when he had to work at a job he hated. He was the steady one, the patient one, the one who didn’t say “I told you so”. And now that they’re all grown, he’s in awe of what they accomplished. He’s also been there for me throughout my journey to become an author. It tickles me to death to hear him brag about his wife, the author. He’s the best. 

Dear reader, thank you again for joining us and we’d love to hear from you. Keep smiling and have a fun week. Never stop believing. See you next Sunday…nothing better than being cozy in bed with some Musings.

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at

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