Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Welcome to Karen Walker and Being Thankful


Today I'm pleased to have Karen Helen Walker take over my blog. 

She is a widely published essayist and author of the 2009 memoir, Following the Whispers. When she isn’t writing, you will often find Karen performing in nursing homes and retirement communities as part of the Sugartime or Sophisticated Ladies musical groups, traveling with her husband of 20 years, Gary, or relaxing with a good book at their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visit the author’s website at www.karenhelenewalker.com or her blog.

For her latest book, a novel, called The Wishing Steps, I asked her where the idea for the story came from. Take it away, Karen!

Thank you, Bish, for hosting me today.
“This burial ground dates to around 2,000 BC,” said Hugh, our guide in Scotland. It was 2009 and earlier that year I’d published my memoir, the culmination of a ten-year journey to bring that project to fruition. This trip was celebrating that journey.
It was gently misting rain and we were the only tourists visiting Balnauran Clava Cairns (cairns are piles of stones). I wondered off by myself, leaving my husband and Hugh talking at the edge of the site. I stopped for a moment, trying to imagine the people who built the structure and what their lives were like. Suddenly I heard a voice inside my head say, “Tell my story.” At first I thought I was hearing things, but it repeated a few minutes later, “Tell my story.”
Now, I’ve heard my own voice inside my head all of my life, as well as the voices of my parents, teachers, etc. It took me years to learn to sort out those voices and let my own voice come through. This was different and it scared me. So I did what I always do when I’m scared. Retreat. I said, “Sorry, I’m on vacation,” and went on exploring the cairns.
A few days later we were at Blarney Castle in Ireland. On this day, it was pouring down rain and there were very few tourists out and about. After climbing the tower to kiss the famed Blarney Stone, I wanted to explore the forest surrounding the castle. The brochure said there were wishing steps, a witches’ kitchen and a druid’s cave -- my idea of a good time. As I stepped on the wishing steps, I closed my eyes and asked Goddess to remove my self-doubt. Well, I was on wishing steps after all. Why not ask for something important. I was filled with an energy that nearly knocked me off the steps and that pesky voice said, “Tell my story, tell my story.” Being me, I still tried to ignore it and succeeded for the rest of our vacation.
But when I came home, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I had several sessions with my writing coach, Mark David Gerson (www.markdavidgerson.com), who is very metaphysically oriented. His book, The Voice of the Muse, is one of my favorite writing books because it teaches you to go within and allow the story to emerge. Over the course of the next few months, I did the exercises in the book and worked with Mark David to discover whose voice I was hearing and what story it wanted me to tell. The Wishing Steps is the result.
Here’s the scoop on the story:
Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia
“Totally engrossing. A must-read for today’s wise woman!”Rev. Kathleen McKern Verigin, minister/priestess
Brighid, Ashleen and Megan: Bound through time by a curious light, a mysterious voice and a call they dare not ignore. Yet in obeying this strange force, the women must face soul-searing trials that call into question everything they know and believe — about themselves and about the world around them.
“Guaranteed to inspire you to a deeper level of spirituality and a new appreciation for Goddess.”Rev. Clara Z. Alexander
The Wishing Steps will be available for purchase on October 31 in both print and ebook versions at:Amazon.com. You can also purchase it as an ebook on Kobo, I Tunes, and at Barnes and Noble.

Karen wanted to let you all know that she may be a little late returning comments today, but she will be here!
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Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for:
Art
In Amsterdam at the Rijksmuseum viewing the painting below, by Vermeer.
The Love Letter - Jan Vermeer van Delft
Awesome.

Are you following Karen? Curious about her book? What the most famous painting you've seen live, up close, and personal?

27 comments:

  1. Congrats to Karen. Glad she listened to that inner voice prompting her to tell the story she needed to tell.

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  2. Karen, you are blessed to have such a great writing coach who could help you figure it out.

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  3. I love hearing how you got started with your story and the fact that you listen to what you hear both inside and out! Congratulations to you.

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  4. Congrats, Karen.

    I've been to countless art museums and don't remember the most famous painting. I'm sure it was at one of the museums in London or Edinburgh.

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  5. Karen is among the first bloggers I started following. It's been great watching her progress.

    I enjoy art museums though I don't go enough. I've seen some great paintings--can't remember many specifically. Van Gogh's "Irises" I guess is among the most famous. I especially like the classical painting where things look as they should in real life though perhaps romanticized to a hyper level. But I appreciate all art.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  6. Wow! I'm going to have to admit that I've become kind of bored with book blog tours and normally, I don't bother reading through them, but skip to the 'other' stuff in a blog post.Today, I read this entire post and found three books I immediately put on my TBR list - both of Karen's and the one by Mark David. I guess I'm going to have to change my normal practice with regard to this, because I'm so grateful that I didn't miss out learning more about Karen and her writing coach. Thanks Bish, you are the best.

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  7. I'm at the airport
    Hi everyone
    Bish thanks again for having me here
    Natalie I'm learning that when I don't listen it is not good
    Alex I am blessed indeed
    Elizabeth yes I always enjoy hearing how writers get their ideas too
    Thanks Diane
    Arlene, me too you
    Faraway eyes, wow this comment blew me away thank you!

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  8. I'm thinking I would have retreated, too, if I heard a clear voice tell me to tell their story, especially amid ruins, lol! I'm glad you listened and contemplated how to tell the story. :-)

    I always have voices and music in my head. When a story idea grabs me the characters play in my mind for sometime before I actually sit down and write.

    Wishing you the best with this!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. Sia, yeah, it was pretty eerie when it happened. Love hearing about how others hear voices, too. Thanks

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  9. Karen, what a wonderful story! So amazing to read how the voice you heard pushed you forward. The Wishing Steps sounds magical! Congratulations!

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    1. Hi Yolanda,
      Thank you - I hope it is magical - it was a magical experience writing it

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  10. Hi Karen - well done on publishing your Wishing Steps - it's been a fascinating journey to read about.

    Good luck and I'm so pleased for you .. lovely seeing you here with Bish ... cheers to you both - Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary,
      Thanks so much, dear lady. Cheers to you as well

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  11. Hi Bish, I was in that museum in Amsterdam enjoying the Vermeers'. He's one of my favorite artists

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  12. I've seen a number of famous paintings up close, Bish, but the one that slammed me most emotionally was Francisco Goya's "The Third of May, 1808: The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid." I saw it at the Prado in Madrid when I was 22; the first major art museum I visited. I didn't even know about the artist Goya, so it was an entirely unexpected encounter. I will never forget it.

    Thanks for hosting the fascinating interview with Karen Walker. And nicely done, Karen!

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  14. It's always great to hear about that moment when we're inspired to write something. My "inspirational moment" stories are pretty boring!

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  15. Very interesting, Karen. :-)

    The most famous paintings I've seen are all South African, so I don't think you'd recognize the names, Bish.

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  16. Van Gogh's Sunflowers is a painting I've seen up close and personal - I love it.

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  17. That is a novel worthy story in itself. It is so cool to see how things happen. From slipping on a wet floor to a magical visit to a far off place, the stories find us. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Brandon - yeah, people seem really intrigued by how this story came to me.

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  18. Thanks Bish for hosting the lovely Karen today. I love the story idea, and have purchased a copy. Just alerting you Karen that the link doesn't go to your book on Amazon.com.

    Denise :-)

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    1. Thanks, Denise. It still makes me nervous when I know someone is going to read my book. Not sure what's the problem with the link.

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  19. And I can remember walking around the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, totally stunned to see these masterpieces in reality, instead of in books. How prolific he was! Imagine if he had lived to be an old man!

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  20. The manager at this place suggested we make custom choices and make the menu a little more personalized. The next time you need to hold a conference, have a wedding, or set up a whiskey tasting, think about doing it at venues in NYC.

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Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!