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FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY: Writer: George T. Parker

Hello Friends,

Today I would like to introduce my husband, George T. Parker, to you.  He is also part of our local writing group called The Redding Writer’s Forum.  His main role in the group is writing their monthly newsletter, mailing it out, and posting to their website.  He has photographed some of their meetings along with others sharing in this responsibility.  He also includes writing from other members of the group in the newsletter.

In September he will be their first speaker of the year doing a presentation on writing memoirs.  He has been working on putting together his own memoir mostly focusing on the years that he was in the California Conservation Corps.  Here is a link to a great fictionalized story he wrote about something that happened in the C’s.


So here are George’s answers to my questions for this post.  Enjoy!


  1. How long have you been a writer and/or artist? 

I’ve been a writer pretty much all of my life, as far back as grade school. I wrote a lot of weird adventure stories, and even did some cartooning of stories. (Yes! I could draw back then!) My writing got more sophisticated in high school, with more sarcasm and wit. I also started writing Dungeons & Dragons adventures for my gaming group. I journaled a lot in the California Conservation Corps, and after the Cs, I contributed to my community college’s literary magazine, Bridges. Lately, I’ve been blogging about the CCC and D&D. The main project that I would like to finish and see published before I die is my memoir of life in the CCC.


  1. What do you like to write about and/or create? 

I love memoir. The motto for my CCC blog is ‘Everybody has a story that deserves to be told.’ I believe that, and I love to help people tell their stories.

I love to help people see, hear, and feel the outdoors like I have experienced them.

I also love to make people laugh.


  1. Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?  (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.) 

I don’t know where to start. Certainly, John Muir comes to mind for any outdoors writing, or even memoir. Edward Abby’s Monkey Wrench Gang is the perfect blend of outdoors and humor.

Louis L’Amour really inspired me to write about places that I know first-hand. That’s what he did, and it showed.

Believe it or not, a primary influence for writing humor was Art Buchwald’s political satire of the 1960s and early ‘70s. I suppose that I should also include Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Robert Asprin (The Myth-Adventures series), and Monty Python.

You can see more of George’s work at either of his blogs.  Here are the links.

Thank you, George, for contributing your story to my series FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY.   I enjoyed it as I am sure others will, too!


NOTE:  Unless I hear from other “creatives” who want to share their stories, George’s will be the last post in this series.  I realize it takes time to answer questions that perhaps you haven’t been asked in a long time, but just remember…it doesn’t have to be long!  Send it to  Thanks!

Have a wonderful day and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂




Hello Friends,

Today, I would like to introduce my friend, Vickie Darnell, whom I met at the Writer’s Forum meetings a few years ago.  Her job in the group is “Hospitality Director.”  She sets up the food that people bring to share during the meeting’s break.  So here is her story.  Enjoy!


1) How long have you been a writer/artist?  

I have always enjoyed writing! In school, I was always writing notes to fellow classmates and essay questions were opportunities to express myself. My parents inadvertently encouraged me to write by leaving notes for me, telling me to have a good day at school and such. I was told that because I was left-handed, that my handwriting would be terrible. Therefore, I practiced writing, seeking to find an attractive way to write my name, Vickie Coleen Downey. I carefully wrote each letter, over and over again.

As a child, I also enjoyed drawing and painting with watercolors. In fourth grade, unbeknownst to me, my teacher entered one of my paintings in a city wide contest. I was the winner of my elementary school and my painting was displayed at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park! The day I brought my painting home, with a beautiful blue ribbon attached to it, my three year old brother tore it up. I ran, with tears in my eyes, to tell my mother what he had done. I was shocked and dismayed when she gathered up the pieces of my painting, crumpled them up and threw the pieces in the trash can.  I never drew again. (*And, my brother has a Bachelor of Arts college degree in graphic arts from Long Beach State…)


2) What do you like to write about/create?  

When I first read IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote, I became hooked on crime. HELTER SKELTER by Vincent Bugliosi, and THE ONION FIELD by Joseph Wambaugh further drew me into the crime genre. Becoming a police officer seemed to be a perfect fit for me, since I was (and still am) fascinated by murder.  On the flip side, I have also written several children’s stories, and magazine articles about draft horses and rural life, as well.


3) Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity? 

As I previously mentioned, authors Truman Capote, Vincent Bugliosi, and Joseph Wambaugh sparked my interest in crime novels.  Being a police officer, I wrote several crime reports on a daily basis.  After leaving the police force, I became a stay at home mom to my two little boys. Wanting to give them the best childhood possible, I not only read to them all the time, but created stories which included them and their toys, hoping to entertain them and perhaps ignite their own creativity and imagination.  In truth, my children inspired me!

Leaving the SF bay area and moving to Humboldt County provided the opportunity to initially have horses, cattle, sheep and chickens. Draft horses eventually replaced the saddle horses, opening up another avenue to write about. I wrote several articles about driving these draft horses, wagons, harness, and the places visited because of the drafts, such as participating in the Great Circus Parade held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1996 to 2000.

I owe my desire to write to everyone I have encountered in my life, which is akin to the Wild Ride of Mr. Toad, at Disneyland. My children gave me a second chance at childhood and continue to amaze me each and every day. My wonderful, supportive husband constantly encourages me to put my thoughts on paper. So, in the middle of the night, I am awake, reading or writing.


Thank you, Vickie, for sharing your writing journey with us.  I’m sorry about your painting experience from childhood!  I can relate.  I appreciate your contribution to my Guest Blogs.  This was a great way to get to know you better.  I hope we can get together sometime soon!


My next guest blogger will be my husband, George T. Parker on Monday, August 7th.  Stay tuned!


Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Sea Turtle & Interview at Jill Weatherholt’s Blog


Hello Friends,

Here is another sea turtle I drew recently and plan to paint in watercolors to get 5×7 cards printed from.  It is a rough draft as you can see by all the erasure marks!  🙂

In the meantime………


Today, my friend, Jill Weatherholt, is kindly featuring me on her blog!  She gave me some interesting questions to answer, so if you want to know a little more about me, hop over to her fantastic blog here, and read about all of the other great bloggers she is featuring in her “Summer Spotlight!”  You can find her blog here:

See you over there!


Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY: Writer/Artist: Teresa Robeson

Hello Friends,

Today I want to introduce my next guest on my new feature, FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY. She uses creativity in all she does.  Besides being an artist and writer, she also crochets, loves to cook, does digital art, and writes poetry!  Whew!  I love people who dabble in many areas of creativity!  Teresa and I met online quite a while back here on WordPress.   The name of her blog is called “One Good Thing” and you can find it here:



Now I would like to introduce you to Teresa Robeson.  She chose to answer all three of my questions.  I’m sure you’ll find her as interesting as I do.


  1. How long have you been a writer and/or artist?

I guess I’ve been a writer/artist for about a quarter of a century!

I dabbled in writing and art ever since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t consider myself a writer until I took a course with the Institute of Children’s Literature back in 1990 and sold my first short story from an assignment in the class.

Likewise, I didn’t consider myself an artist until I took a fine arts for non-majors class at the University of Delaware in 1991. As I was leaving my class one day, the instructor told the group of majors who were hanging out with him that they should be glad I wasn’t a fine arts major because I’d blow them away.

When your skills are validated, you start to feel legitimate. There are still days when I feel like an impostor, though.



  1. What do you like to write about and/or create?

My favorite art to create is portraiture and wildlife/pet art. I love working in ink, charcoal, chalk pastels, and watercolors the best.

As for writing, I enjoy penning science fiction and children’s lit, with nonfiction (science, biography) close behind. I also write “own voices” because I love to write about my childhood in Hong Kong and my experience as an immigrant.


  1. Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?  (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.)         

This is going to be a long list because there have been so many significant influences in my life, starting with my parents who encouraged me to write and do art, unlike many Asian immigrant parents who push their kids into medicine or law.

Then, I have to thank Bill Mammarella, the fine arts instructor of the course I took at UD, and Rick Ortwein, an art instructor who taught me a couple of classes at a local arts center. They were both firm believers in my potential when I had doubts in myself.

And more recently, the major influences on my creativity are Douglas Florian, the clever and witty author-illustrator, who has been so helpful and inspirational to me, and Jane Yolen, who needs no introduction and is my mentor from the We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Program, who made me see how prose can sing.

As well, I owe gratitude to my three critique groups – the Minnows, the Penguins, and the Scribblers. They have been instrumental in kicking me in the creative butt whenever I needed it, or even when I don’t.  😉

Thanks for interviewing me, Patsy!  I had lots of fun answering the questions.


Thank you, Teresa, for being a guest on my blog!  I appreciate your participation.  You have led an interesting and successful life in your career.


My next guest blog post will be on Monday, July 24th.  Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY: Novelist: Sharon St. George

Hello Friends,

A while back I put out the word that I wanted to add a summer feature to my blog called “Focus on Creative Energy.” I stated that I would like some guest blog posts that focus on other bloggers, writers, and artists.  I listed three questions you could pick from which are:

  • How long have you been a writer and/or artist 
  • What do you like to write about and/or create? 
  • Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?  (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.)                

If you are interested, there is still time.  I will have this feature every other Monday beginning today.  I have since found a few people who expressed interest in being featured here.  My first guest is a writer named Sharon St. George.   You can find her online here::

My husband and I met Sharon in our town in Northern California, at a local writing group called The Writer’s Forum.  She is the Program Director of the group.  She contacts guest speakers and schedules them to present at their monthly meetings from September through June each year.

In 2015 my husband bought her first book that was published that year called “Due for Discard.”  He has since bought all of her other books pictured below. Here is Sharon’s story. Enjoy!

Many years ago, when my children were old enough that they no longer required my constant attention, I decided it was time to do two things I’d been wanting to do for a decade. First, I got myself a cat. Second, I signed up for a fiction-writing course. I’ve been writing ever since, and I’ve always had a cat.

From childhood, animals have played a significant role in my life. I had my own horse and dog as a youngster. And there were always multiple cats on the little farm where I grew up. So it’s no surprise they’ve been part of the cast of characters in all my novels. My first fiction attempt was inspired by a race that pitted a young man in post-Civil War California against the father of his sweetheart in a race from a town similar to Redding to the town of Eureka and back. The catch was that the young suitor was on foot, and the father of the girl was on horseback. Needless to say, the horse came in second and true love won the day.

In my current Aimee Machado Mystery series under contract with Camel Press of Seattle, I chose to write from a hospital-based perspective, because that is where my professional background lies. Having worked in medical offices, hospitals and libraries before I began writing the series, the field of medicine, and particularly the behind-the-scenes intrigues involving the hospital’s administration and medical staff organization provided me with enough inspiration to write an endless number of books. My background in library work gave me the experience to make my protagonist a forensic librarian.

But how to combine medicine with my love for animals? That combination led me to create a setting where my hospital’s forensic librarian protagonist lives in a converted bunkhouse apartment over her grandparents’ llama barn. Aimee’s corporate pilot boyfriend has a drug-sniffing dog, her grandmother has a temperamental cat, her grandfather raises turkeys and keeps a pet king snake, and, of course, there are llamas.

Could any of the mysteries in the first four books in the series have been solved without the help of the animals? Of course. (Well, with one minor exception involving the dog.) However, none of the animals communicate with Aimee telepathically, nor can Aimee talk to the animals à la Dr. Doolittle. (My books are sometimes described as cozy, but they’re not that cozy.) Animals may not be essential to the plot, but because of the rural Northern California setting, it seemed they would add texture and realism to the world Aimee inhabits.

The result is that each of my Aimee Machado Mysteries combines animals, a hospital, a librarian, a mystery, and an evolving romance. And I should mention that I had immigrant grandparents on both the maternal and paternal sides of my family, so I’ve always been fascinated by people with a multi-ethnic or multi-cultural background. Even better, my grandkids are part Asian, so the icing on the cake for me is that my protagonist is half Chinese and half Portuguese. Oh, and she just happens to be a black belt in jujitsu. But that’s another story.

Thank you, Sharon, for being my first guest blogger!  I enjoyed reading your story, and I am sure others will as well.  

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂




Hello Friends!

I am super excited to tell you that I have been encouraged and energized by two successful professionals today, one in person who is my new counselor, and the other is Jeff Goins whose blog is interesting which you can find here: and whose new book “Real Artists Don’t Starve” can be purchased along with other bonuses here!

I watched Jeff this morning on a Facebook video

It was confirming to me of being on the right path since I had just been encouraged an hour before about the same things with the counselor I met with!  I have been blogging here on WordPress for almost four years now.  I have a few hundred followers.  However, what I always wonder is exactly what Jeff mentioned as the #1 insecurity of most bloggers – IS ANYONE LISTENING?

I have blogged about many different things here.  I have shared many forms of art that I have done here.  My desire is to share my thoughts, struggles and art here.   This blog has been a safe place for me to share about who I am.   I am going to be setting just a few new goals for myself to keep myself focused on recovering from losses, continuing to express that journey in my writing and art, and moving forward and growing as an artist/writer.  I feel more excited today than I have felt in a long time about continuing on this creative journey.

I titled this post “Creatives Unite” because I have known for a long time that I need more of a community of creative people in my life.  I have met many talented artists and writers here on WordPress and on Facebook.  So what I would like to do is feature some of you on my blog!

This is something I have been thinking about doing for a long time but had to wait until I knew I would have a big chunk of time to do it!  Now that my daughter has graduated high school and is going away for the summer (sniff, sniff) I plan to be spending more time creating my art and writing/blogging!  I hope some of you will take advantage of this opportunity to bring more attention to your own blogs as well!  By the way, I know other bloggers do this also, and it has been something that I was planning, but I am excited to also tell you that on July 21st I will be featured on my friend Jill Weatherholt’s blog.  You can check out her blog here:  

I am planning to call this new feature on my blog “FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY”

Please choose one, two or all three questions you would like to address and send me an e-mail to:

Or if you are on Facebook, send a message to me at

Here are the questions:

  1. How long have you been a writer and/or artist 
  2. What do you like to write about and/or create? 
  3. Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?  (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.)                                           

I am planning to begin the posts in a couple of weeks and will be doing one post every Monday.

Thanks for reading.  I hope to hear from you soon!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

It’s Never Too Late…..Until You’re Dead!

George Eliot said “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

Okay, I admit it. I stole this from a post I read by Sherri Matthews. Her blog is at And she was featured at another friend of mine’s blog, Jill Weatherholt. Her blog is at They are both wonderful ladies, excellent writers, and have come to be great friends of mine.

However, today I wanted to write about this quote that Sherri shared. I have not read any of George Eliot’s writing, but I like this quote. It really is NEVER too late to be what you might have been…until you’re dead!

I add that last part, because I saw my mom live a life of mixed regret. She loved being a mother more than anything, but her marriage to my dad was disappointing. She lived with his alcoholism until he quit drinking after over 30 years of marriage when she said it was “too late to go back to how it used to be.” I didn’t think so. It would have taken a few years to heal all the damage that had been done between them, but she just chose not to. She said she forgave him for many things, but she chose to tolerate their relationship instead of recapture it.

I don’t think she ever experienced the “fairy tale” type of love she used to long for with my dad anyway. She was an avid reader of romance novels, and laughed and cried with her books. When I went through a short marriage and divorce in the 80’s, I was bitter for awhile. I never wanted to remarry, but I also didn’t want to end up alone. So I chose to go to therapy and work through my issues. It took years to recover from the effects of my dad’s alcoholism, my first husband’s alcoholism, and my own alcoholism. I had a wonderful therapist, though, who helped me heal over the next few years.

Then I met the awesome husband I have now, and we were married a year later.  (We will celebrate 20 years this December.) Granted, I did get scared and break up with him twice while we were dating, but he loved me enough to work through all of my issues with me. He has always been a trooper, that’s for sure!

It is my husband who has always encouraged me to go for my dreams:

1) To be a wife and mother……..check!
2) To be a teacher………check! (I homeschooled our kids.)
3) To resume my writing……..check!
4) To be an artist…….check!
5) To love God with all my heart……check!

Right now our family is going through a difficult transition regarding church, though. So although I love God with all of my heart, I am in the process of moving on and experiencing change. This kind of change makes me feel uncomfortable, but in the longrun I pray it will be good for us. We will be looking for a new church to attend, and it will not be easy. It will mean another trip to town for us each week, but it’s not like we can’t get some shopping done after church!

All I know is it is never too late to change………until you’re dead. If you need a change, need to move on from something, find the courage to do it. You never know what God can do until you give Him the chance to do it!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!!! 🙂

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