One of my goals for November 2020 was to feature spotlights about the contributing authors from the “Lady by the River” book.
This month is a bit of an anniversary — it was four years ago today (November 30, 2016) when we met our first “hard deadline” for chapter drafts. For those that do not know, Lady by the River is a book that offers stories of encouragement and tips for persevering.
Here are the authors and a brief note about what they contributed to the book:
- Mabel Kwong allowed us to join her pursuit of writing with reminders to embrace our passions and uniqueness.
- Kristin Rybrandt shared about addiction and living life with purpose and grace for improvement.
- Ana Linden brought us into the realm of family disappointments and overcoming letdown.
- Sherri Matthews allowed us to grow with her through the powerful story that connected to her father.
- Mahesh Nair provided humanitarian glimpses and insights about courage and maturity.
- Mark Bialczak shared about persevering through divorce, death, and other setbacks.
- Jeff Simmons shared thoughts about faith, drugs, living in America, and maturing.
- Chad used fiction to give us an adventure with topics like trust and companionship.
Here are the Priorhouse Author Spotlights – not the formal notes that accompany a book – but the personal notes that give you a little behind the scenes glimpse.
Kristin Rybrandt (here). I met Kristin as she adeptly wrote about her sobriety and living with intention. I admire her recent milestone, nine-years of sobriety, but what I have aways appreciated about Kristin is her relaxed approach and genuine side. This was and is refreshing after filtering through so much BS in the world. It is the real deal with Kristin. Oh, and she has a children’s book, Saved by a Whisker, coming in 2021.
Ana Linden (here).
Ana and I connected through various blog posts and she has a social psychologist side that is rich – like velvet. As noted, today is the four-year anniversary of the Lady by the River meeting the first major deadline. Many thanks to Ana because she dropped all of what she was doing to help us make the deadline and then helped with little extras. It was already fun working with her on the project, and then to have her support at that crucial time was a sweet memory. Ana’s latest book, Frames, is awesome and I will be reviewing it in December – so stay tuned.
Sherri Matthews (here). Sherri and I met doing blog challenges and for some reason, I think of her with the “Lingering Look at Windows” posts – which Dawn used to host. A top memory with Sherri was when she (virtually) joined me for a student recital. It was one of those rare times when we were online at the same time. I was attending the recital because my spouse was playing some live music for two of the pieces, and as I sat way in the back – mon amie was with me and it was a shared experience. Sherri is currently working on some final drafts of her Memoir, Stranger in a White Dress.
Mabel Kwong (here). Mabel has such a “discussion kind of style” when she writes post and leaves comment. Years ago, when we first connected, it was nice to soak up her comments. I think it is a gift to be able to read a post and then provide succinct commentary and that is the first thought that comes to mind with Mabel. The second thought is “culture and social behavior” – because that tends to be what Mabel blogs about. For example, this post about reasons to not wear shoes in the home shows us her areas of interest and passion for current attitudes and actions.
Mahesh Nair (here)Mahesh was a special support for me when my dog, Cody, passed away in 2016 (which is also when I met Bushboy – that rooster photo!). Mahesh reminds me of a group of blog friends who were active in the blogosphere during 2014. (Ah, good times, good times.) The blog world changes the way that other social circles change. Mahesh and I have had seasons of staying in touch (smoothies, parenting, writing goals, etc) and even though that has waned, I have realized that blogger updates – even if biannual or quarterly – can still keep us in the know. So keep that in mind if you are a blogger – our pacing can and will change and it is okay to slow down – but maybe you could still find ways to keep readers updated. Mahesh has been busy writing and here you can read about his most recent accomplishment.
Mark Bialczak (here). Connecting with Mark happened when we casually met on other blogs. Then, one day, he left this amazing comment on one of my posts. Let me tell you – it sure was a nice way to break the ice and really get to know someone. It was a catalyst for connection. That reminds me (again) about some of the fruits of blogging – we make friends and connections here. It takes time – but they unfold if we are patient. Mark’s blog mode has also changed greatly over the years, as a lot of our modes continue to morph. What I find most interesting is how consistently Mark has kept posting every day on his blog – — he has found ways to do what works for him. That is the secret to blog success, eh? Blog in ways that work for you.
Jeffrey D. Simmons (here). I met Jeff Simmons through dissertation forums around 2011-2012 (we were students at the same time). We had a bit of a study group going and our first phone call was at 2:00 a.m. (I was east coast time and he was central). I was up late finishing an assignment and I will never forget that first phone call. Two very diverse students connecting in the wee hours of the night. Instant friends and we still keep in touch throughout the year. Jeff’s chapter in Lady by the River came from a book he is finishing up, which is called “Voices and Choices” – and should be released in 2021.
Chad Prior (here). Chad is my son and he had the first draft for Lady by the River to me in a snap. At the time, he was writing a lot every day while working on a fiction book – and so a short story was something he whipped out quickly. Later, he made various changes (thanks again to Randy) but then ended up back to mainly what he had in the first drafts. The creative process can be so circular. I also enjoyed working with my son because I really do like his writing style. As a teenager, he wrote a lot of short pieces and his poem about cranberries is a fav. Also, his “Legos” poem took first place in a local library poetry contest. That was fun. His writing projects are paused right now – he is living life and maybe getting those experiences that give fodder to write about later.
Thanks for reading! Have any author takeaways?
What about you – are you working on any writing projects?
And thanks to each of the authors that contributed to make this book happen.