#AmericanSniper verdict brings back old memories

Candice and Kimberly

Candice and Kimberly

My great nieces were murdered almost fourteen years ago. Their murderer entered a plea of guilty, by reason of insanity. This plea meant we all had to face the murderer in court and sit through two weeks of testimony, not to determine the murderer’s guilt, but the sanity level of that person.

Fortunately, the murderer’s attempts to manipulate psychiatrists into believing the deaths came as a result of momentary insanity failed, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty of first degree murder, no chance for parole. They deliberated for many hours, while my family and I paced the hallways of the courthouse. When we stepped back into the courtroom, my nephew–the father of the girls–shook from the tension, the grief, the fear of what might come. When the verdict was read, his knees buckled, and my brother and I grabbed him on either side to hold him upright.

I’ve listened to the trial peripherally because everything said about the insanity plea, the excuses, the reasons, and now the verdict brought back the horror of that time. This morning I hear everyone talking about “justice” and the peace the verdict will bring.

They’re wrong.

Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is gone, never to return. What is justice for that?

My great nieces, Candice and Kimberly, died at ages ten and five, respectively. They remained dead after the verdict.

There was no justice, no relief, no peace.

In our case, the verdict came with the knowledge that the person who murdered Candice and Kimberly was a cold-hearted “insane” person who gave birth to them, raised them for a few years, and then decided they shouldn’t live any longer, while she stood living and breathing trying to cover up what she’d done.

Yes, their murderer was their mother, a woman who was once a part of our family.

The only justice would be if Candice and Kimberly were here with us so we could celebrate birthdays, graduations, weddings, and life. That sadly will never happen.

Today my heart goes to the family of Chris Kyle. To them I say, the grief will remain, but the memories of good times will prevail and time will ease the intensity of the pain and the grief that comes from the loss of a loved one.

I’m a writer, but this story is one I do not want to write. This morning the emotions and memories of that time spent in a courtroom in Grand Haven, Michigan, came flooding back, and I know in my heart the peace and justice that others seeks will not come from the jury doing the right thing. It will come from within, and forgiveness, as difficult as it may come, will help fight the anger and frustration.

Hug those close to you. Create memories each and every day. And don’t let a day go by where you don’t tell those closest to you that you love them.

Posted in Society's Ills | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

“At Odds with Destiny”- Box Set Features: P.C. Zick

P. C. Zick:

Lovely interview with one of my favorite author, Christoph Fischer. His questions give great insight into the life of a writer.

Originally posted on writerchristophfischer:

cover of boxed set vv vvIn March THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS  will be part of a multiple author box set, entitles “AT ODDS WITH DESTINY“. 
I’m very excited to team up with such great talent and have decided to feature all of my fellow authors from the set here in the Countdown to the release.

Today I continue with P.C. Zick, no stranger to this site at all.

 zucchini blossomfor BobTell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

Writing is my passion, and I call myself a “storyteller” no matter the genre. I write contemporary fiction with a bent toward the environment. But always my work contains elements of love, which I consider to be the most important emotion of all.

I was born in Michigan and moved to Florida in 1980, where I lived for thirty years. Love brought me to my current location in Pennsylvania when I married…

View original 851 more words

Posted in Life and Love | Leave a comment

#CivilWar Journal – Sale at Smashwords

"Camburn's words paint a rich tapestry often shadowed with the bleak aspects of war." Amazon review

“Camburn’s words paint a rich tapestry often shadowed with the bleak aspects of war.” Amazon review

This week I’m offering the eBook of Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier at a 50% discount off the regular $5.99 price. All you need to do is to click here: Smashwords and click to buy. On the next screen put in this coupon code: EP57P. The price will be adjusted accordingly.

My great grandfather wrote this memoir for his children, one of whom was my grandfather. Publishing the book as both a paperback and eBook represents a labor of love to my ancestors and to those who fight our wars.

In his own words, he offers what he calls his “Excuse:”

At the earnest solicitation of my children for stories of my past life, I promised to write in my leisure moments some incidents for their perusal, as I could not always respond at their desire with an interesting story.

Memory, aided by a brief diary that I kept during my service in the army, are all the sources I have to draw from.

While I shall endeavor to be strictly truthful, I must of necessity speak of things from a personal standpoint, or as I saw them. And the impressions will be those made upon me by passing events.

If what I write meets the eye of others than those for whom they are intended, I have only this to say: It was only written for my children. And if I confer upon them as much pleasure as I shall take in gratifying them, I shall feel amply repaid.

 

Preorders now available for $.99 cents

Preorders now available for $.99 cents

Posted in Civil War Journal | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Winter Gardening Blues and Greens

???????????????????????????????Usually by this time of year, hubby happily starts a multitude of seedlings and places them under grow lights in anticipation of planting time. It’s different this year. He’s planted a few seedlings–onions, greens–but nothing like in years past because this year our house and, of course, our garden are for sale. We don’t know if we’ll be here in the spring. We certainly hope we’re not here in the summer.

He couldn’t help himself though. When I asked him why he started the onion seedlings, he said he wanted to plant them, so the new owners would be able to enjoy them in the summer.  I’ve joked that we should sell him with the house. Not that I want to leave my sweetie behind, but he could maintain the garden and share half of the produce with the new owners. After all, after five seasons of living here, he has the soil just where he wants it. Besides, it would make finding our new smaller digs easier. Try finding flat and sunny plots of land in western Pennsylvania. It’s not an easy task. In fact, it’s one reason we bought this house much too large for two people. But we have a wonderful side yard–flat and sunny.

The seed catalogs arrive daily now, and I’m proud that he’s showing restraint. The magazines arrive, but so far no subsequent delivery of seed packets. Unless, he’s shipping to his work address.

I added a few recipes to my guide on gardening, From Seed to Tableand gave the book a face lift for spring. Here’s one of my favorites for a cold winter night.

Drunken Butternut Squash Bisque

1 butternut squash, roasted – cut into several pieces (seeded). Dribble olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Roast in 350 oven until done. Roasting times vary by squash, but it usually takes from 45 minutes to an hour.

1 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP butter

1 onion, chopped

¾ cup celery, chopped

½ tsp ginger (if you have freshly grated, it’s always better)

Cubed pieces of cooked butternut squash

½ cup Bourbon

2 TBSP maple syrup

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 ½ tsp vanilla

Salt and pepper to taste

Ground nutmeg to taste

½ cup heavy cream (optional – I rarely use it and the bisque is still wonderful!)

Heat oil and butter in large pot. Add onion, ginger, and celery and cook until onions and celery are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the cream) and cook together for 15 minutes, until flavors are well blended.

In a food processor or blender, puree until smooth. Return to heat and stir in cream, if using. Heat thoroughly, but do not bring to boil. Serve hot.

Yummy.

Click on cover for Amazon page

Click on cover for Amazon page

 

Posted in In the Garden, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Snuggle Up with Some #Free #Florida #Fiction

BoxSet from AmazonAs the holidays loomed, I pulled together my three Florida novels into one box set. Now that we’re cozy in front of fires and hibernating a bit here in the north, here’s a chance to go to Florida for free.

For the next three days (February 4, 5, 6), my Florida Fiction Series box set is available for free Kindle downloads on Amazon. I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to read these three books.

Each one of them represents a period in my life where creating an alternate world of fiction seemed the logical course. It also gave me the opportunity to express my great love of a place I’d lived for thirty years.

TORTpsdTortoise Stew grew from the rancor and chaos of covering local politics as a reporter. When Walmart wanted to disrupt the community in one small municipality, politicians, developers, and environmentalists created one hell of a stew. All parties involved often acted as violent children more bent on hearing their own voices than dealing with the issues at hand. I often sat in these excruciatingly long meetings typing dialogue into my laptop for use in the novel.

3-D1webTrails in the Sand  emerged from the horror of the BP oil spill in 2010 when I worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The efforts to save sea turtle hatchlings from oil in their habitat parallels the lives of one family bent on destruction as well.

Native Lands lived with me the longest of any of my published novels. It came from my life as a writer and reporter, too. I began it in 2006, and finally revamped, revised, and restructured the piece. I wanted to show how we are all connected to one another.NATIVE_PBOOK005

All three novels contain elements of romance and intrigue. They touch on issues of forgiveness and redemption. They also celebrate Florida’s landscapes, wildlife, and people.

Here’s a chance to find some warmth and comfort in a long and cold winter. After all, Puxatawny Phil says we’re in for another six weeks.

Stay warm and let me know how your winter is faring. We’re still eating frozen vegetables from the summer, which seems far away right now.

Posted in The Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

At Odds with Destiny

Preorders ad
Native Lands, my latest release, is one of the novels featured in this new box set. I’m proud to have my work alongside some very talented and lovely authors.NATIVE_PBOOK005
While the novels span the spectrum of literary, historical, and contemporary fiction, they all contain a common element. Finding themselves at odds with destiny, the characters in these stories fight to shape their future and define who they are. Come follow them in their journeys.
Bestselling, critically acclaimed, and notoriously creative authors from across the book continuum join forces to bring you At Odds with Destiny, everything you’ve wanted in a boxed set but thought you’d never find: full-length novels brimming with myth, fantasy, mystery, history, romance, drama, originality, heroism, and suspense.

★ The novels in this boxed set are out of the box ★
Open it at your own risk! 
PreOrder Now!
At Odds with Destiny
★ Kindle  Nook ★ Apple 
★ Kobo ★ Smashwords ★ 
★ Page ★ Foundry Scribd 
cover of boxed set
Posted in The Writing Life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Is There Still A Quandary Over Plastic Bags?

P. C. Zick:

Some interesting tidbits about plastic bags!

Originally posted on What's Green with Betsy?!?:

As I finished up a telephone call in my car in the Stop and Shop parking lot the other day, I observed a young woman unload her cart, filled to the brim with groceries, all bagged, maybe even double bagged, in plastic.  I was really taken aback! With that many groceries, wouldn’t larger paper ones be better if you didn’t have reusable ones?

I mistakenly think everyone is aware of the problems with plastic bags.  Change in attitude is happening for sure, but we are clearly not there yet.  Below are some startling facts about plastic bags compiled from a previous post.

  • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store, just one of many stores we frequent.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil or natural gas, both non-renewable resources, are…

View original 314 more words

Posted in Life and Love | Leave a comment

Some Things Never Change

snow

View from my office window

As I prepared to start my day with frigid temperatures and snow falling outside, I thought about my great grandfather, Harmon Camburn, and what life must have been like for him and the other soldiers fighting in the Civil War during the winter. I went to his journal (Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier), and found this passage from the last few days of 1862. Despite all of our growth as a nation and people, some things never change.

Yes, they were miserable living out in the elements, but how much worse it must have been to realize that those snug and warm in their homes had no idea how life was on the battlefield for these young men. 

As Congress begins a new session, I implore them to look beyond their own political agendas and into the hearts and minds of those they serve. It would warm the heart and souls all veterans, living and dead, who have fought for our causes.

From Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier

The last week of 1862, Burnside’s army lay in camp inactive.

The winter rains had set in, and it was almost impossible to get supplies for the army over the miry roads from Aquia Creek and Belle Plain Landing. With the whole surface of the country one vast mortar bed, active operations were not thought of in the army. Yet every newspaper that reached us was full of condemnations for the idleness of the troops in the field. Any attempt to move large bodies of men was inexpedient and to move artillery and supply trains was next to impossible.

Between the clamor of northern papers, the quarrels among general officers, and the interference of Congress with artillery movements, the rank and file of the army of the Potomac was becoming discouraged and demoralized. The men were beginning to feel that they were enduring hardships and that lives were being sacrificed without adequate results, because of petty jealousies among the leaders. Idleness and discontent go hand in hand with soldiers, and the gloomy outlook of our winter camp was not cheering. The fences had all disappeared for fuel and green wood for cooking and heating purposes had to be hauled long distances with the mules floundering knee deep in the mire and the wagons cutting almost to the hubs.

Find out more about my great grandfather’s journal by clicking here to view the video trailer. His insights are astounding and universal.

"Camburn's words paint a rich tapestry often shadowed with the bleak aspects of war." Amazon review

“Camburn’s words paint a rich tapestry often shadowed with the bleak aspects of war.” Amazon review

Posted in Civil War Journal, Society's Ills | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Holidays

DSC02191I can think of no greater wish than the hope for peace in our own lives and in the greater global world. It may seem a futile wish, but I’m all for keeping dreams alive through action.

I vow to love more and to keep kindness in my heart and actions. Sometimes it’s not always possible, but if I take it one minute, hour, day at a time it’s not such a daunting task. If others take the same vow, certainly we are capable as individuals to effect change on a greater scale.

That is my hope and my dream. But dreams are only worthwhile if put into action even one small step each day. And certainly, if the Santa on skis playing a mandolin ornament could have survived from my childhood, then there’s hope.

Peace and love to you all. Thank you for being a part of my life through your comments and visits to my Living Lightly blog.

Patricia

Posted in Life and Love | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Sixty to Me

BookSigningToday I turn sixty. How did I manage to live this long when it all seems to be a blur that spun me around so quickly I’m dizzy? I don’t feel sixty. I keep telling myself the number doesn’t matter. It only matters if I allow it to matter. I do know this birthday more than any other thus far reminds me that I am no longer middle-aged. I don’t know what I am, but more than half my life is over. Maudlin thought? Perhaps it could be. I’ve decided to use it as a motivator. I spent far too many moments and hours in worry, angst, and distress during the first six decades of my life. Sometimes they overrode the extreme magic also occurring.

No more of that. Now it’s onto the magical part and time to leave the crap behind. So I begin by sharing this post I wrote two years ago about my birth. Truly, if my life began in such a wonderful way, then I need to make sure the rest of it is equally magical.

magical

magical

From December 2012: I’ll admit today’s post is highly self-indulgent and probably borders on sheer fiction. But it’s my birthday, and to paraphrase Lesley Gore, I’ll write anything I want to. This is the story of my birth as told to me by people no longer around to dispute my account of it. All memory is fiction anyway, so here is mine.

On a dark and dreary Thursday afternoon two days before Christmas, my mother felt the first contractions.

She ignored them as she prepared Christmas for her four sons, ranging in age from sixteen to five.

By four o’clock, she could no longer fight the eight-pound bundle knocking down below. As snow began to fall outside, she called my father at work.

“Meet me at the hospital,” she said.

My mother walked the four blocks to the large rambling house serving as the hospital in our small Michigan town. The snow, heavy and wet, continued to fall.

Rowe Memorial Hospital in Stockbridge, Michigan is now a private residence.

Rowe Memorial Hospital in Stockbridge, Michigan is now a private residence.

With the holiday looming and the snowstorm producing, the doctor on duty sent home his staff by the time my mother arrived. When the doctor determined my imminent birth, he did the only thing he could. He enlisted my father as his assistant.

The year was 1954, and my mother had given birth four times before. Fathers didn’t go near the delivery room in those days. It’s doubtful if he was even at the hospital when my brothers were born.

The doctor instructed my father to hold the bottle of ether under my mother’s nose as needed for pain as the contractions came closer and closer together. My mother said my father became stingy with the anesthetic at one point, and that was a mistake.

“Give me the damn ether – I’ve done this a few times before, and I know what I need,” she screamed.

My father gave her what she desired.

About two hours after my mother’s call to my father, I entered the world at 6:15 p.m. My father stared in wonderment at the screaming creature in his hands.

He gave my mother news she’d wanted for a very long time, “It’s a girl.”

Baby Patti with her mother

Baby Patti with her mother

My father rushed home to my four older brothers watching my family’s first black and white television set purchased only months before. He rushed into the living room and said, “Boys, you have a baby sister!”

They looked up from the TV. One of the brothers asked, “What’s for dinner?” before turning back to the tiny screen in the large cabinet.

Four boys and a girl - 1973

Four boys and a girl – 1973

My mother stayed in the hospital for ten days and wrote my brothers a note, which I still have in my baby book. However, I can’t find the baby book, and I can’t find a photo of me with my father except for one printed in a newspaper when I was ten. In all my moves in the past seven years, things have been lost and rearranged. As a result, I write this blog in honor of my fifty-eighth birthday on December 23 as a way of preserving the story of my birth.

My brothers eventually took an interest in the sister they never quite understood, my mother kept me in ribbons and lace until the ’60s hit, and for the rest of my father’s life, I remained “Daddy’s little girl.”TigersI wish you all a magical holiday season filled with peace. No greater wish for you than to know the love I’ve experienced thus far. SanAntonioRiverWalk2014

Posted in Life and Love | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments