Friday, October 4, 2019

In the blink of an eye or a single heartbeat fifty years can fall away and bring memories back to life. We, the Lovington class of 1969, met in our hometown for a reunion. The first event was a meet and greet hosted by Becky Salsman Roell. Some faces were immediately recognized, but many had to be identified by name tags (thank goodness for them).

Winona Bennett Cross and the back of Carolyn Lucas Evans
Becky Salsman Roell
                                                        Roger Guinn, John DeMore

Jan Haynes Kindel, Liz Russell, Carolyn  Lucas Evans

Jerry Giese and wife at the meet and greet


Friday Night was an uproarious evening at The Drylands Brewery. Who knew Lovington would have a craft brewery? We laughed, chattered, shared pizza and beer, and moved from table to table trying to play catch-up over fifty years. I have to say it was such a good time. Lines fell away and completely disappeared. Not the lines caused by age or wrinkles, but the lines we worried about in our youth. We learned those lines no longer mattered. Truly, they didn't matter then, we just didn't realize it.

Front L to R: Sandy Chambers Pollard, Kathy Kelch Black, Mary Ann McKown, Betty Edison
Back Row L to R: Winona Bennett Cross, Deena Judy Faulkner Fulton, Bobbie Ellis

Those of us who attended Taylor Junior High were surprised to have Mr. Gary Duncan and his family come to the reunion. He was our math teacher. I introduced myself to him. He said he remembered me. It sure wasn't because I was a math whiz. I think my mother took in ironing from him.

His legacy continues in the garage bands of our youth. He taught many of the young men to play guitars and perform. Any one of us is likely to remember Ronnie Phillips and his bands.


Saturday morning was a special treat. We toured the high school. It was awesome in many ways. The things that remained the same flooded our hearts. We were in awe of the things that changed--like the now fancy cafeteria. The gym was almost the same. The roar of pep rallies and basketball games was tangible. I loved pep rallies because I could be loud without anyone caring. Jan Haynes Kindel declined an invitation to lead us in a cheer--something about her knees.

Never mind, the spirit was there. Does it ever leave?

We walked down a hall of classrooms and found the room that Mr. Hamzy taught so many of us in. Carol Hamzy Schultz started crying. Her tears led to more tears of nostalgia. It was the most bittersweet time of the weekend. We sat in the desks and pretended to be students once more.


Time for lunch! Where else but Ole Jax. Cheeseburgers, Pancho Burgers, Frito Pies, Henny Pennys, Vanilla Cream Dr. Peppers. 


The dance was held at OUR Youth Center. The one where we spent so much time dancing and day dreaming. I wasn't able to go to the dance because my husband was sick, but several of my classmates shared their photos. I know I missed a lot of great music, And, laughs.

This is by far my favorite photo from the dance. Look at the pure joy on Ronnie's face while he dances with his wife, Patricia Landy.

The Band!!!

Susan Werhan and Becky Salsman Roell

Carolyn Lucas Evans

Barbe Miles Barker (she didn't need that name tag, she is as beautiful now as she was fifty years ago).

Carol Hamzy Schultz and husband

Front L to R: Ronnie Phillips, Jan Haynes Kindel, Liz Russell, Barbe Miles Barker
Back L to R: Mike Hogue and wife

The reunion raised $660 for the Youth Center. It is heartwarming to know that a place our generation started is still a vibrant part of the community.
L to R: Joyce Young, Youth Center Representative, Janis Chaffin, Martha Williams Rogriguez


The weekend was joyous and memorable. That being said we felt the presence of our classmates who have passed away. We've lost almost 60 from a class of 233. 

We wanted our class song to be "Born to be Wild", but the faculty didn't care for it. So, we were given "Turn, Turn, Turn" as our song. A few years later it was changed to "Born to be Wild". We came to our fifty year reunion with perhaps a hint of trepidation. It wasn't necessary. There will be more reunions in the future.


Winona Bennett 1969

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Interview with Kathy L. Wheeler aka Kae Elle Wheeler

It is my pleasure and honor to feature Kathy l. Wheeler aka Kae Elle Wheeler on my blog. I first met Kathy when I moved to Oklahoma from Louisiana. I missed having a local writer's group and joined the Oklahoma Romance Writer's Association (OKRWA) despite the distance. We writers understand the need to be around like-minded people. My first thoughts about Kathy left me in awe of her intelligence and savvy knowledge about the writing world. Honestly, I was intimidated. 

Allow me to introduce you to my friend, Kathy:

I love reading blogs where writers reveal a bit about their personality and personal lives without emerging into privacy. So . . .
You've said that Phantom of the Opera is your favorite Broadway show, what are your next three favorites? I've never seen a Broadway show, but would love to see Jersey Boys, I think.This is sooo funny that you are asking me this question, because I have a story. As you said, I was just in NYC for RWA. I stopped by the Majestic Theater Box Office where Phantom was playing on Monday. (Usually, there is no theater on Mondays. It’s called Black Monday). The new touring company of Phantom has changed. They have a new director’s version I do not care for (I’m being nice – I hate the new production). I asked the guy behind the glass if this the NYC version had the staircase. He replied, “Of course!” I said, but the touring company took it out. He said, “I know nothing about that.” I said, Are you sure the staircase is in this version? He was getting irritated with me by now, but I caved and bought a hundred and forty-five dollar ticket. It was worth it. I cried all the way back to the hotel. I could not stop. Now this might sound ridiculous to the normal person. First of all, I’m not normal, and never claim to be. Second, my husband and I sang All I Ask of You to each other at our wedding. So the show definitely holds special meaning to me, and my husband.  But I digress… My next favorite shows include: Wicked, Something Rotten, Mama Mia, Les Mis. I could go on…
 You obviously have a talent for music and singing. Have you ever performed professionally? Heehee… I sang at the Oklahoma Opry some years ago. I sang Paper Roses and threw paper roses into the audience…I also did a show at the Oklahoma City Arts Festival two years in a row. The first year (2000) I sang 11 showtunes with 8 clothes changes,7 kids, and one duet with my husband. The next year, I sang with a friend we titled Springtime Romance, which consisted of 9 duets that included Beauty and the Beast and Unforgettable. Really fun.
 You write in about every genre. You write well in about every genre. How do you choose what to write and when? Do you keep a trusted notebook with your scribblings in it? I know you like Excel, do you have chart after chart on Excel?  Thank you for saying I write well in about every genre. That’s very sweet. I have not found a way to concentrate on one specific genre except that it is romance. I also am gung ho when it comes to projects with others. I do keep notebooks with me and label them with specific projects. My spreadsheet stuff comes in handy when keeping track of money, lists of promo places and that sort of thing. I don’t use it for plotting – although, I believe Sabrina Jefferies does.
 Many writers prefer writing away from home. Do you have a favorite place to write? I haven't tried writing away from home yet, but I do have a nice office and a comfortable bed with a giant backrest pillow on it. I also write from bed, or in our upper living area. Sometimes, I do need to get out and around people and pull out my notebook and write by hand, just for a change of scenery and energy. I can ignore many things and people, however, not music! I cannot write with music playing. It distracts me and makes me want to sing.
 I've never been to RWA. Would you explain why you believe it is a conference that is important to romance authors? How did you feel the first year you went? Is it overwhelming? Belonging to a professional organization for your “business” is important. I just returned (yesterday, at this writing) from New York City. It was my twelfth RWA conference running. I find just being around like-minded others is beyond encouraging. I’m also an extrovert. I volunteer. That helps with meeting others. I tend to jump right in. Most writers are introverts, but that makes it especially important to find like-minded others who understand the voices in your head, and being able to talk about characters and stories as if they are actual people without being labeled crazy. Writers get it! Nationals can be overwhelming, but scheduling your away time helps. Knowing when you need to step out of the noise.
 You were a member of the first group of writers with Jodi Thomas and her annual Writer's Academy. I go at least every other year because it offers me focus on whatever class I choose, it allows me to be around other authors, and I believe it is the best Academy out there. I have taken week long classes with Jodi Thomas, Alexandra Sokoloff, Cathy Maxwell, and Bethany Claire. Tell us about your experience at the first Academy.
The first academy was truly special. The bonding experience is proving life-lasting. I recently saw Jodi and another “Pioneer” in New York and it was lovely. Jodi is a true inspiration to other authors, new and experienced. Several years following the first academy, the pioneers would get together for an annual retreat. I believe we are all spread far apart now, but if I need assistance with promoting, the other thirteen are there for the asking.
Thank you for hosting me, Winona. You are one of the loveliest persons I know.

A Spicy Historical Western Romance set in 1885 Colorado Springs.
After a disastrous first marriage, Will Jeffers hasn't the stomach for another emotionally entailed union. All he needs is a wife to cook, nurse his mother, and look after the homestead. But, good women are few and far between in Colorado mining country. A mail order bride is the perfect solution.
Amelia Johannasen is running for her life. Her brassy mother has decided its's time her daughter joined the family business, shattering Amy's dreams of marrying for love. Imagine her surprise when she is mistaken for Will Jeffers mail order bride.
She has a talent for spinning tall-tales but no notion of how to cook, nurse, or keep a house. Can she reach the heart of a man once burned so badly, he's sworn off romance?
The Counterfeit is available at

A Spicy Historical Romantic Suspense in 1885 where east meets west. Tragedy sent Sherman Elias McHuay west twelve years ago. But, his troubled past barrels in like a runaway train or--more appropriately--smacks him over the head in the form of a violet-eyed miss without a lick of common sense to her name. If one could actually ddetermine her name.
Amaris Johnston's carefully laid plans to head west as a mail order bride ratchet up when an announcement for her impending nuptials to the son of a prominent US Senator are set to go public. Not that she'd agreed to marry in the first place. A forced engagement and her family--a conniving slew of ambitious and power-hungry tyrants--send her running for the Colorado hills.
Can a slow talking sheriff and a headstrong girl bent on recklessness outwit her powerful family?

Kathy is the author of many other books. I encourage you to visit her Amazon page to find her historical retelling of the Cinderella story writing as Kae Elle Wheeler. She has several series available: The Bloomington Series, The Rebel Lords of London Series, The Martini Club which includes novellas beginning in the 1920's and moving up through decades. By the way, the Martini Club consists of Alicia Dean, Amanda McCabe, Krysta Scott, and Kathy. These ladies meet at a special bar and sip on martinis while they discuss their books for the series.

In 2015 Kathy's book, "The Mapmaker's Wife was awarded first place in the IDA contest. It is my favorite because it takes place during the Civil War.

Several years ago OKRWA published a series of books, Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll, for The Wild Rose Press. Kathy has two books in that series, "The Nose Job" and "The Color of Betrayal" 
I have a full list of the Scrimshaw Doll books on the left side of this blog site.

Bio: Kathy L Wheeler loves the NFL, the NBA, musical theater, travel, reading, writing and karaoke. She recently migrated from Oklahoma to the Pacific Northwest with her musically talented husband, her sweet dog Angel and snooty cat Carly.

Until next time, Journey onward . . . Nona

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Getting Back on Track with a Retreat

It’s been much too long since I’ve posted on my blog or the newsletter, but I’m going to play catch-up today. No excuses, just life getting in the way.

I organized a small writer’s retreat at my cousin’s lake house in May. It was a wonderfully relaxing and productive time. The six of us did writing prompts first thing every morning. It’s one of those amazing things to see when six different authors come up with six different scenes for the prompt.

We enjoyed drinking coffee, having conversation, and working on the deck while we watched the goose families going about their daily routine.

Sunsets were breathtaking. I don’t think any of us saw a sunrise.

We visited a third-grade class I volunteer at and talked to the kids about writing.

We were on Lake Texoma, Oklahoma. The history of the lake is fascinating and will be a part of an anthology next year. Fingers crossed. The lake house, of course, will have any number of people visiting and finding out about the fairy chair in this fictional world. I can’t show a photo of that, wouldn’t want to have a bunch of irate fairies running around.

Remember this—sometimes all we need to get back on track is to get away from the routine things of life.

About the book, Journey of Honor, it’s moving along at a rapid clip now. I’m getting excited about the end, which I’ve known for years.

Until next time, Journey Onward,


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Holiday Greetings

Before I begin telling you how I feel about Christmas I want you to know that I am behind on Journey of Honor because of illness and a divorce in my family. Chaos, in other words, has taken my ability to focus.
I hope you will understand and continue visiting my site and waiting for Journey of Honor to reach the Oregon Territory.

As the Christmas season rolls around my first thoughts are of the birth of Jesus. I love the Christmas hymns. I love the Christmas story. My favorite person who is often overlooked in the birth of Jesus is Simeon. Simeon was a very old man, God told him that he wouldn’t let him die until he held the newborn king. So, Simeon spent day after day near the temple waiting for families with new babies to come and pay taxes. He watched carefully realizing the parents of the Christ child would be poor. One day a young couple entered the temple with their baby and a scrawny bird as an offering. Simeon’s heart leapt—this baby was The King . He boldly approached Mary and Joseph and asked to hold the baby. He then told them their son was the Messiah, something they thought was only known to them. He told them he was able to die and enter the kingdom of Heaven because he had fulfilled the prophecy. He was going to Heaven with glory because he had fulfilled the prophecy of the Lord. This story is from “The Indescribable Gift” by Richard Exley. Simeon’s story be found in Luke 2:21-38

My next set of thoughts becomes a reflection of the hustle and bustle of commercialized holidays. I have always loved the beauty of Christmas—the decorated trees, colored lights, brisk weather, music, and the promise of some little something in a nicely wrapped box.
These days the joy is diminished, but I still believe in magic. I love the idea of someone making wishes come true. We can all “pretend” to be elves by visiting school classrooms with stories, hugs, and offerings of love. We can drop gifts off in designated places. I love to see children interacting with Santa. Their innocence is contagious. My granddaughters keep me smiling and believing. As they get older, it will fall to me to make sure they carry the love and magic of Christmas in their hearts.  I will always believe in the spirit and magic and love of Christmas.

Wishing each of you the blessings of the season.

Until next time....Journey onward to a new year,
Love, Nona