Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 is coming to a close...

I hope you each had a great 2010 and that 2011 is even better. Stop back on January 1, 2011. I will be sharing my writing plans for 2011 - and I think you will be interested in following our progress here at: "The Homeplace Series" Blog.

Become a follower so you do not miss any updates.

As I approach the Spring 2011 publication of "The Homeplace Revisited," my second novel in the series, I hope and plan to make at least one post per week. I would appreciate your comments and suggestions as we move forward.

Happy Reading,

Bill  ;-)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Misha's Review of 'Back to the Homeplace'

Thank you to Misha Mathew for her recent review of 'Back to the Homeplace' -


Review:
Back To The Homeplace is a beautiful story of family. I love family sagas and stories about family secrets. Hence this book was a perfect read for me.

I could easily identify with the characters. If you've ever had a big family, you would totally elate to them. Every characters was so real. Their emotions, their problems were very realistically presented. Each character was so well-defined that I felt like I knew them.

William Smith's vivid and beautiful descriptions make the book even more compelling. There's even a suspense element to the story which just serves to make the  book even more intriguing. There are twists and turns which kept me on the edge of my seat. The author has even handled social issues like AIDS very well.

Back to the Homeplace is a captivating novel with an intriguing plot-line. I was unable to put down the book. Its a book that will strike a chord with every person who has ever felt those immense emotions that are hidden behind the one word - "Home".This is a heartwarming story about family, relationships and how family will always remain important no matte how far you leave them behind.

Overall:
Compelling and intriguing!

Recommended?
Yes! To all fans of family sagas and literary fiction.


See the full review at: http://books-love-affair.blogspot.com/2010/10/review-back-to-homeplace-by-william.html


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Latest Book Review - Back to the Homeplace


Book Review

My Review (by Jessica Manning), on her Book Loving Mommy blog:

I thought this book had an amazing storyline.  I started reading it and really couldn't put it down.  One of my favorite things about the book was the news blurbs at the beginning of each chapter.  I was only 9 in 1987 so I loved seeing what t.v. shows were on and what music was big!  It brought back a lot of memories from my youth.

The characaters were very real in this book.  The way their lives all twisted together was captivating.  The trials they faced were all very real.  I had a small issue with how everything bad happened all at once to various families.  I also thought the author could have used a less formal speech for the characters.  I sometimes thought the way they spoke was a little unrealistic but nothing that really bothered me.  

All in all, it was a wonderful book with realistic situations and issues.  The characters were well developed and it was an easy read.  I really enjoyed this book.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars!

Disclaimer:  The author sent this book to me free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Enjoy the Book Trailer for "Back to the Homeplace"

Book Trailer for "Back to the Homeplace"



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Get your Kindle copy of "Back to the Homeplace" today - low price!

Please note that following some marketing research, the price on Amazon.com for the Kindle Edition of Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith has been reduced to $5.95.

We hope this will get some more readers, especially before the the second novel in the series comes out. Please check the Kindle Edition out now, and let us know what you think. Enjoy the Read!  ;-)




"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flora and Fauna Friday - Nine-banded Armadillo

Flora and Fauna Friday - Nine-banded Armadillo

The Nine-banded Armadillo is the most widespread of the armadillos. It is a solitary, mainly nocturnal animal, found in many kinds of habitats. It is an insectivorous animal, feeding chiefly on ants, termites and other small invertebrates. The armadillo can jump 3-4 feet straight in the air if sufficiently frightened, making it a particular danger on roads.



The following is from: http://stateoftheozarks.net/NaturalHeritage/Critters_Furry.html

Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Length: head and body, 15-17.5 inches; tail, 13-15.5 inches.
What to look for: bony plates on body, tail, and top of head; large ears; long, squarish snout.
Habitat: brushy or rocky areas; forests (pines in East).

— page 44, Wernett, Susan J., et al. North American Wildlife. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1986.



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Skillet Pork Hash

A Wednesday Recipe - Skillet Pork Hash



Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (16-oz)package refrigerated cooked, peeled, and diced potato
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly brown. Stir in potato, onion, green pepper, garlic, broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Place skillet under broiler 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Broil until surface of hash is crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Cook's Tip:

Have some leftover pork roast and potatoes? Cut up and toss together for a hearty winter breakfast - or supper - treat. For dinner, serve with crusty hard rolls and a fruit salad. As part of a morning menu, serve with fresh fruit and muffins.

Courtesy of National Pork Board
via: Back to the Box Cooking 30-Minute Meals, Edited by Barbara Greenman
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers: New York (2010)
ISBN 13: 978-1-57912-812-8



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake



 This is another great recipe from my friend, Deborah Vogts, at Country at Heart:

6 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In serving bowl, mix together sliced strawberries and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve. In medium bowl, sift together flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add beaten egg and milk. Spread dough in greased round cake pan. Sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with strawberries and whipped topping. Delicious!

Deborah's lastest book is now available, as well.
If you haven't seen them, here they are:



































"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Rhubarb Dessert

Rhubarb Dessert
[From Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Cookbook - hope you'll get one, see below]


4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 (4 ounce) package strawberry gelatin
1 cake mix (white or yellow)
2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer ingredients in 9x13-inch baking pan. Do not stir. Bake for 40 minutes.



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kindle Edition of Back to the Homeplace now priced at $5.95

Please note that following some marketing research, the price on Amazon.com for the Kindle Edition of Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith has been reduced to $5.95.

We hope this will get some more readers, especially before the the second novel in the series comes out. Please check the Kindle Edition out now, and let us know what you think. Enjoy the Read!  ;-)



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Blueberry Coffee Cake from House Autry Mills

Blueberry Coffee Cake from House Autry Mills

Ingredients:
4 cups Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter - melted and slightly cooled
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
21 ounce can blueberry pie filling
1/4 cup sugar for sprinkling
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine House-Autry Buttermilk Biscuit Mix and sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Beat together melted butter, milk, vanilla and eggs. Pour into dry mixture; mix well. Evenly spread half the batter into a greased 9x12-inch baking pan and top with blueberry pie filling. Spread remaining batter evenly over the top. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over cake. Cook 45-50 minutes.

12 servings; about 10 min to prepare; about 50 minutes to cook


Go to House-Autry, the Choice of Southern Cooks since 1812 - sign up for their newsletter!


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Flora and Fauna Friday - White-tailed deer


White-tailed deer

The white-tailed deer's coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The characteristic white underside to its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape, makes the deer easily recognizable.





 Males re-grow their antlers every year. Antlers begin to grow in late spring, covered with a highly vascularised tissue known as velvet. Typical antlers are symmetrical and the points grow straight up off the main beam.

The white-tailed deer is a ruminant, that is, it has a four-chambered stomach. Each chamber has a different and specific function.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-tailed_deer

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Great Book Signing in Emporia, KS, at Town Crier on 26th

There were 56 "local authors" at the Town Crier Bookstore in Emporia, KS, from 11 to 1 on Saturday, June 26... what an experience! Talked to some old friends, met some new friends, and sold some books! Cannot beat that combination.

Just two photos, right now. The first is of my friend, Diane McAdams Gladow, who I happened to be assigned to sit beside, and me, in the front row past the cash register.


Diane's book is A Journey of Voices: Chasing the Frontier. It is based on letters and journals of her ancestors. I was promoting both my novel, Back to the Homeplace, and, 13 Ways to Tell Ancestor Stories.

Just to the left in the photo, above, was the shelf where the Town Crier has the local author's books. Ours are there, today, I assume. Prominently displayed, are both my brother Barry's book, Only Milo, and both of the books by my good Kansas Flint Hills friend, author Deborah Vogts, Snow Melts in Spring, and Seeds of Summer, that just came out! Neat!!  ;-) Small world!  ;-)


 Happy Reading!

Bill  ;-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Book Review by Patty

Here are Patty's comments from her Book Review of Back to the Homeplace at: Broken Teepee:


"I am not sure how I feel about 1987 being "in the past." But I guess it was inevitable that a time period I consider my not so distant past would start being the Olden Times. Not really but this slightly historical novel takes place in the '80ies on a homestead in Missouri. A homestead that has been in the family for generations.  The matriarch has died and her will is just a touch unusual to say the least.

All four of the children want the spread, The Homeplace, but for very different reasons. Aaaah, but according to the will no one can have it until they have ALL lived there for 2 years. Just imagine! Uprooting your life and the life of your family for two years. Could you do it? Could you do it and live with your siblings and THEIR families?

This was a very thought provoking book as the family copes with secrets and lies as they try to deal with the limits put in place by the will. The characters are well developed and the plot keeps you guessing. There is nothing like a twist you never see coming! I was left with the feeling that I want to spend more time with these people. That's the kind of book I like to read."

 To see the full review, please visit here. I love the lead photo on her blog!!  ;-)

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flora and Fauna Friday - Red Fox

Flora and Fauna Friday - Red Fox

Red Fox (Vulpes Vulpes) is a small canid (a biological family of carnivorous and omnivorous mammals that includes wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes and the domestic dog) native to much of North America including the Missouri Ozarks.


I saw one in the pasture south of our cabin on Monday of this week. Beautiful, actually; with a great long tail, looked very healthy. We stood and stared at each other, as I was on my walk. After a few moments, he bounded back into the woods nearby.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Fox

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Emporia, Kansas, Book Signing on Saturday, June 26


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith will be signing his novel, "Back to the Homeplace," and his latest non-fiction book, "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories," at the:

4th Annual Author Extravaganza at the Town Crier in Emporia Kansas

Saturday, June 26, 2010, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 716 Commerical in Emporia.

See details at: http://www.towncrierbookstore.com/

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Trail Mix

Hiking and Horseback riding are favorite activities around the Homeplace. You should always have some Trail Mix available in packets for the next adventure. Each person has their own favorite mix. Here is a photo, from Wikipedia Commons, that looks really good to me.


I like the  m & ms, peanuts or cashews, raisins, myself. 

Common ingredients may include:
What is your favorite combination? Does it vary with your related activity? Leave a comment!

Thanks,

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Signing at Town Crier in Emporia Kansas

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith will be signing his novel, "Back to the Homeplace," and his latest non-fiction book, "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories," at the:

4th Annual Author Extravaganza at the Town Crier in Emporia Kansas

Saturday, June 26, 2010, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 716 Commerical in Emporia.

See details at: http://www.towncrierbookstore.com/

Flora and Fauna Friday - Shortleaf Pine

Flora and Fauna Friday - Shortleaf Pine

Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata) is a species of pine native to the eastern United States. Southern Missouri is on the very edge of the nativity of this pine. This tree is variable in form, sometimes straight, sometimes crooked, with an irregular crown. It my reach 20-30 m high witha diameter of 0.5-0.9 m.



Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons


This pine is a source of wood pulp, plywood veneer, and lumber for a variety of uses. This pine occupies a variety of habitats from rocky uplands to wet flood plains.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortleaf_pine

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Lemon Pound Cake Muffins

Lemon Pound Cake Muffins

This is another fine Homeplace-type recipes from my good friend, Deborah Voghts. Please visit her Country at Heart blog, regularly, and check out her just released novel, Seeds of Summer, the second in her series, Seasons of the Tallgrass. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, while you are there.

Thanks for the recipe, Deborah, and best wishes on your current book tour of this next, neat novel set in the Kansas Flint Hills.


Lemon Pound Cake Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup sour cream

Glaze: 1 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and extracts; beat well. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over muffins. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Flora and Fauna Friday - Bluebirds

 
Flora and Fauna Friday - Bluebirds

The bluebird is the state bird of Missouri.

The bluebirds are a group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Sialia of the thrush family (Turdidae). Bluebirds are one of the few thrush genera in the Americas They have blue, or blue and red, plumage. Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size between sexes.





Bluebirds are territorial, prefer open grassland with scattered trees and are cavity nesters. Bluebirds can typically produce between two and four broods during the spring and summer. Males identify potential nest sites and try to attract prospective female mates to those nesting sites with special behaviors that include singing and flapping wings, and then placing some material in a nesting box or cavity. If the female accepts the male and the nesting site, she alone builds the nest and incubates the eggs. Predators of young bluebirds in the nests can include snakes, cats and raccoons.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluebird


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Book Review of Back to the Homeplace by Maggie C

 See full review at Tethered Mommy

Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith is the first book in The Homeplace Series.  This novel is about an older couple’s unusual will that asks all of their children to return to the “homeplace” for two years in order to inherit anything.  Some family members are happy to return, others are reluctant, but all do return and make the commitment to live there for two years.
At first, I was confused about the different characters.  Thankfully, Smith did put in a list of the characters so I could figure out who was who.  Eventually I got down who was included  in each immediate family.
Since this story is set in the 1980s, Smith tells us the news of each day so we can remember what was going at this time.   I really enjoyed this aspect as I was still very young in the 80s and some stories that I found interesting now were things I didn’t know about then.
Ultimately, I feel this book is about family and how each generation has different hurdles to overcome.  For example, the hurdle for the younger generation of this family is AIDS.  This book reminds us of the “death sentence” that AIDS was when we were just learning what it was and how it impacted us.
I enjoyed this book.  I know that Smith has more planned in the series and I do looking forward to finding out more about the family and seeing what happens to them throughout the two years at the Homeplace.

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-) 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Book Review of Back to the Homeplace by Maggie

Thanks to Maggie at The Tethered Mommy for her review of Back to the Homeplacehttp://www.tetheredmommy.com/?p=837

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Check amazon.com for a reduced price on the book today. Click on the link!

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Flora and Fauna Friday - The Showy Lady's Slipper

Flora and Fauna Friday


The Showy lady's Slipper, while it is the state flower of Minnesota and New Hampshire, can still be found in southern Missouri, though it is considered imiperiled. It thrives in neutral to basic soils and prefers growing in fens. Historically, it is difficult to raise. They typically flower in late June and early July. Usually there are one or two flowers per stem, but there can be three or four. The stem has a hairy appearance, and the "hairs" can cause irritation to some people.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypripedium_reginae

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

4th Annual Author Extravaganza - Emporia, KS

Join us June 26, 2010, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Town Crier Bookstore in Emporia, KS for the 4th Annual Author Extravaganza - see the Town Crier website for details.

I look forward to being there with my book, Back to the Homeplace. I hope you will join us!


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review of Back to the Homeplace by Linda Brandau

Book Review of Back to the Homeplace 
by Linda Brandau @ Bookvisions


Back to the Homeplace is an engaging story of four families brought together because of the unusual stipulations of a will. The cover of the book is beautiful and sets the Midwestern tone.

The characters are nicely developed so that each is unique. You understand who they are and why they returned to the homestead. The families are realistic with normal family dynamics, and it is easy to care about what happens to them. The reader understands how each character’s personality – the temperamental one, the team players, the loner – influences their role on the property. Mr. Smith’s descriptions of the different areas of property are well done and it was easy to visualize the White Oak trees, trails, and buildings.

As soon as you are settled in and comfortable with the story, there are several twists. Secrets are revealed and lives are torn apart. This has quite an emotional impact on the story. I appreciated the way the Mr. Smith handled sensitive subjects tactfully.


This review is posted at: Bookvisions, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, powells.com, librarything and goodreads.

Happy Reading!  ;-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Book Review by Jack L. Kennedy, Joplin Independent

Ozarkan author pens tale of family relationship

A Book Review by Jack L. Kennedy, Joplin Independent

An excerpt:

Back to the Homeplace, a first novel by William Leverne Smith of Hollister, MO (Vision to Action Publishing) is in some ways unique, as it updates the cliche of the "return to the humble Ozarks" with a very current plot, modern characters rather than rehashed hillbillies, and chapter introductions that give the reader a taste of what is happening in the world in the 1980s, contemporaneously with the story.

The tale revolves around family members who return, often reluctantly, from various locales and places in their lives to hear the terms of the will of the matriarch of the family. On her video testimonial, she divides the family property up and requires each of the inheritors to live on a tract for two years before benefiting from it, financially or otherwise. The idea of the plot is clever; it's not the often-heard tale of "good ole folks" returning to the home place and living happily or squabbling ever after. Smith claims this as the first of several "Home Place" novels, written as the modern family develops.

One rather early scene shows the tensions created when a generation with certain expectations or lifestyles is thrown into the Missouri Ozarks and is forced to evaluate who they are and where they are going, not just if they want an inheritance. Some family members find old memories, old relationships dredged up again. One generation meets another and learns to live with and, perhaps, to like, or, at least to understand, Mildred McDonald Bevins' and her late husband's insistence that their grown children, spouses and grandchildren prove themselves, even change, as they develop their own distinctive ways to handle their legacies--the land.

This family tree has some branches that do not always seem to come from the same roots. When the limbs are shaken, some surprises fall out. But despite themselves, most members persevere, grow on their new home sites, or return to their former lives to reassess themselves or make peace.

See the full review by Mr. Kennedy at:
http://www.joplinindependent.com/display_article.php/jkennedy1274041012

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Grandma Helen Barnes' Custard Pie

 
Grandma Helen Barnes' Custard Pie

Thanks to Lori Parrish Barnes Niemi (on Facebook)
for this recipe and permission to use it here

Lori said: I'm sure I wrote out this recipe card about 1964 or so.

Try this. You'll like it. It's satisfying, but not too sweet. May Grandma Barnes rest in peace. I think of her often with great affection The recipe is hers, the instructions are my addition. This recipe will definitely appear in my cookbook, as it's a classic.

3 eggs
5 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 cups milk, scalded
nutmeg to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt (I don't use salt)

Beat eggs slightly. Add sugar and scalded milk. I usually "temper" the eggs slightly by adding a small amount of milk to them slowly until they come up closer in temperature to the milk. That way they won't end up scrambled. Mix thoroughly. Pour into an unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle liberally with nutmeg, or to your taste. I like a lot, so I use a lot.

Bake 5 minutes at 450 degrees, then decrease heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes. Pie is "done" when knife inserted in the custard comes out clean.

You can also bake this custard in custard cups. Spray them first with Pam. Set them into a pan and fill them about half-way up with custard mixture. Carry the pan to the oven and set it on the rack (to avoid spilling). Fill the cups to within about 1 inch of the top and remember to sprinkle on the nutmeg. Then fill the pan with water until the custard cups are immersed about half-way up. This is known as a bain marie....a fancy cooking term for cooking custard and other foods in a water bath. Bake as for pie above. When custard tests done, carefully remove from oven and let custard cool in the bain marie.


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

OWL May Meeting at Box Car Willie Inn

I enjoyed attending the Friday night May meeting of the Ozark Writers League held in Branson this year. I met some fine people and shared stories of being a writer. After the fine catered meal, a number of members read from their works - a wide variety of readings that were mostly entertaining and always interesting. I took this photo of the first speaker; there were about 50 members in attandance.





Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Book Signing at Words, Hardy, AR, yesterday

Enjoyed my visit to Words and Afterwords in Hardy, AR, yesterday for a Book Signing for Back to the Homeplace. Had visitors from Highland, Cherokee Village, and Illinois, among others.


Here I am at the signing table. Note that each author signs the top of the table. Nice touch.

Even Flash Gordon and friends stopped by:





Beth, on the left, Vicki, behind the counter, and Greg were great hosts. Thanks for a good time. They invited me back when The Homeplace Revisited comes out.

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Surname Saturday - MCDONALD 3

Surname Saturday - MCDONALD 3

This is a guest post by Karen BEVINS WINSLOW (a fictitious character in Back to the Homeplace). Karen is the oldest daughter of Frank and Mildred (MCDONALD) BEVINS, one of their four children. These four siblings and their families are the major characters of the novel: Back to the Homeplace. [This blogging exercise is a part of the research for the upcoming novel, "The Homeplace Revisited" by William Leverne Smith]


The Daniel and Jane (TRUESDALE) MCDONALD Family

Daniel was the son of Henry and Laura (STONE) MCDONALD.
Jane was the daughter of Hugh and Tamar (BARTON) TRUESDALE.
Daniel and Jane were married 1 Jan 1863 in the TRUESDALE farm home.

Daniel and Jane had children, possibly others:

1. William MCDONALD, b. 1864


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Friday, May 14, 2010

OWL May Meeting

I am attending the Ozarks Writer's League (OWL) Meeting at the Box Car Willie Inn conference center this evening. Have to miss the Saturday main meetings to be at my Book Signing in Hardy, AR on Saturday - see Monday's post for details. Looking forward to meeting some new fellow writer's tonight. I'll report back on Sunday, most likely. Wish me well!  ;-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

My wife says I shouldn't eat so much Macaroni and Cheese, so I'm pulling this one out of The Complete Step-by-Step Diabetic Cookbook, today, p. 198.
It has Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1 Medium-Fat Meat

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-calorie margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded low-fat process American cheese
2 cups cooked macaroni (cooked without salt or fat)
Vegetable cooking spray
1/4 cup soft breadcrumps

Steps in Preparation:
1. Combine flour and 1/4 cup milk in a saucepan; stir until smooth. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk and margarine; stir well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, and add salt.
2. Add cheese, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Remove from heat.
3. Alternate layers of macaroni and cheese sauce in a 1-quart cassarole coated with cooking spray; top with breadcrumps. Bake at 375 degrees until mixture is bubbly and lightly browned.

Yield: 6 servings

Enjoy!  ;-)


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Book Signing at Words, Hardy, AR, Saturday, May 15

Please consider coming to the Book Signing for Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith at the fine bookstore WORDS and AFTER WORDS, in Hardy, AR, at 2 - 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, 2010.

201 North Spring Street - phone 870-856-5579, if you need it. See you there!!  ;-)

Happy Reading!
Dr. Bill  ;-)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Surname Saturday - MCDONALD 2

Surname Saturday - MCDONALD 2

This is a guest post by Karen BEVINS WINSLOW (a fictitious character in Back to the Homeplace). Karen is the oldest daughter of Frank and Mildred (MCDONALD) BEVINS, one of their four children. These four siblings and their families are the major characters of the novel: Back to the Homeplace. [This blogging exercise is a part of the research for the upcoming novel, "The Homeplace Revisited" by William Leverne Smith]

The William and Charlotte (CRANE) MCDONALD Family

William was the son of Daniel and Jane (TRUESDALE) MCDONALD

Charlotte CRANE was the daughter of Thomas and Grace (FOX) CRANE

William MCDONALD and Charlotte CRANE were married at the MCDONALD Homeplace farmhouse on 1 Jun 1887, near Oak Springs, MO.

William and Charlotte MCDONALD had the following children, perhaps others:


1. Joseph (Joe) Palmer MCDONALD was born 26 Jun 1888, near Oak Springs, MO.


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Signing at Body Works Spa and Salon

I was pleased to do a Book Signing at the Spring Open House of the Body Works Spa and Salon, at 3005 Green Mountain Drive, in Branson on Thursday afternoon. I met many great people and sold some books. Cannot ask for more than that. Thank you to all the good folks at the Body Works for making me welcome. Here I am with Sharon and my book.


Here is their brochure. They offer a wide variety of services and I encourage you to check them out if you are in the area.


My next scheduled Book Signing is in Hardy, AR, on Saturday, May 15, 2010. See you there!  ;-)

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Back to the Homeplace on Springfield TV

I was honored to appear on Springfield, MO, television station, ABC Affiliate KSPR, on their Community Closeup segment, to talk about Back to the Homeplace. Here is the clip:


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Meatloaf

A Wednesday Recipe - Meatloaf


Another great recipe from Deborah Vogts at Country at Heart - it looked too much like a "Homeplace" recipe to pass it up - Thanks Deborah! Be sure to see her new Book out shortly, Seeds of Summer, as well as Snow Melts in Spring... a favorite of mine!

Here's a good old-fashioned recipe for Sunday Meatloaf.

2 eggs
3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups crushed saltine crackers
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon mustard
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine eggs and milk. Stir into egg mixture crackers, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Add ground beef, catsup, mustard, brown sugar and liquid smoke. Mix well. Spoon mixture into greased loaf pan. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup catsup over meatloaf and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. Serve warm. Good with scalloped potatoes and green beans. YES, it is great that way!


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Surname Saturday - MCDONALD 1

Surname Saturday - MCDONALD 1

This is another guest post by Karen BEVINS WINSLOW (a fictitious character in Back to the Homeplace). Karen is the oldest daughter of Frank and Mildred (MCDONALD) BEVINS, one of their four children. These four siblings and their families are the major characters of the novel: Back to the Homeplace. [This blogging exercise is a part of the research for the upcoming novel, "The Homeplace Revisited" by William Leverne Smith]

The Joe and Beth (YOUNG) MCDONALD Family

Joseph (Joe) Palmer MCDONALD was born 26 Jun 1888, near Oak Springs, MO. He was the son of William MCDONALD (b. 1864)

Mary Elizabeth (Beth) (YOUNG)

Joseph (Joe) Palmer and Mary Elizabeth (Beth) (YOUNG) MCDONALD were married in 1908 at the MCDONALD farm home.

Joe and Beth MCDONALD had the following children, and perhaps others:

1. Mildred (Mildred) Arlene MCDONALD was born 26 Jun 1917 in Oak Springs, MO . She died 12 Nov 1986 in Oak Springs, MO. Mildred lived her entire life on the Homeplace farm east of Oak Springs, MO. Frank and MIldred (MCDONALD) BEVINS were married in the First Methodist Church parsonage in Oak Springs, MO, by Rev. Alexander Forbes on 15 April 1934. They had four children.


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Latest Book Review and Giveaway - Allison's Attic

For the very latest Book Review and Book Giveaway of Back to the Homeplace, go to Allison's Attic.

Notice you can order the book in the sidebars, right now, as well.

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Burnt Sugar Cake

Homeplace Burnt Sugar Cake

Burn 1/2 cup sugar in small pan until liquidized, then add 1/4 cup boiling water, stirring well. Set it aside to cool.

Cream together 1 1/2 cups white sugar and 1/2 cup butter. Then add 3 egg yolks, 1 cup cold water, 2 cups of floor and beat the batter for 5 minutes. Next add egg whites, well beaten, and 1/2 cup floor to which has been added 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the burnt sugar.

Bake in layers in moderate oven (375 degrees).

ICING

Make the icing in the pan in which the sugar was burned, using 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cream, 2 tablespoons butter and cook until it forms a soft ball in cold water. Remove from fire and beat until it begins to thicken. Flavor with vanilla and spread between layers and on top of cake.

Ethen Percht recipe thanks to Susan Peterson at "Long Lost Relatives.net"


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Linda Weaver Clarke interviews William Leverne Smith

See the in-depth interview of Back to the Homeplace author, William Leverne Smith, that Linda Weaver Clarke published today: http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/2010/04/interview-with-author-william-leverne.html

Learn more about the book and the author.


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Change of Plans - TV Interview moved to May 4

I will not be on TV this Friday, but, rather, the author interview is now scheduled for Tuesday, May 4. I will still be on the 4 p.m. News hour in the Community Close-up segment at about 4:20, presumably, on ABC in Springfield, MO, KSPR.

I have a Book Signing scheduled for Thursday afternoon, May 6, 4:30-7:30 p.m., at Body Works Spa and Salon, 3005 Green Mountain Drive, in Branson.

A second Book Signing is scheduled for Hardy, AR, at Works BookStore, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 15.

Finally, I'll be participating in the Town Crier Author Event in Emporia on June 26.

Stop by if you are in the neighborhood. Or, order the book, online, in the meantime.

Thanks,

Bill  ;-)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Orange Salad

A Wednesday Recipe - Orange Salad

Homeplace Orange Salad

Simple, but one of my favorites. Since I don't "cook" often, I need the recipe!

2 pkgs. Orange flavored gelatin
2 C. boiling liquid (water) or orange juice or fruit liquid
1 pt. orange sherbet
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges /or/pineapple

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; immediately add orange sherbet and stir until melted. Add oranges; pour into 1 1/2 qt. ring mold. Chill until firm.


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First TV Appearance for "Back to the Homeplace"

I am scheduled to appear live on the 4 pm news "Closeup" interview segment on ABC Affiliate KSPR-TV in Springfield, MO, on Friday, April 23, to talk about my book, "Back to the Homeplace." I'll provide the web site to see the clip if you can't watch it live.

Bill  ;-)

 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Surname Saturday - BEVINS 1

Surname Saturday - BEVINS 1

This is a guest post by Karen BEVINS WINSLOW (a fictitious character in Back to the Homeplace). Karen is the oldest daughter of Frank and Mildred (MCDONALD) BEVINS, one of their four children. These four siblings and their families are the major characters of the novel: Back to the Homeplace. [This blogging exercise is a part of the research for the upcoming novel, "The Homeplace Revisited" by William Leverne Smith]

The Frank and Mildred (MCDONALD) BEVINS Family

Franklin (Frank) Leonard BEVINS was born on 9 Aug 1917 in Oak Springs, MO, the son of Ora B. and Sarah Jane (WATERS) BEVINS. He died 28 April 1978, in an automobile accident, of a heart attack, just north of Lebonan, MO. Frank lived his entire life in and near Oak Springs. He was a farmer.

Mildred (Mildred) Arlene MCDONALD was born 26 Jun 1917 in Oak Springs, MO, the daughter of Joseph (Joe) Palmer and Mary Elizabeth (Beth) (YOUNG) MCDONALD. She died 12 Nov 1986 in Oak Springs, MO. Mildred lived her entire life on the Homeplace farm east of Oak Springs, MO.

Frank and MIldred (MCDONALD) BEVINS were married in the First Methodist Church parsonage in Oak Springs, MO, by Rev. Alexander Forbes on 15 April 1934.

Frank and Mildred BEVINS had four children:

1. Karen Kaye BEVINS, born 9 Aug 1934 in Oak Springs, MO.

2. Beverly Jane BEVINS, born 10 May 1941, in Oak Springs, MO.

3. Bartlett (Bart) Joseph BEVINS, born 13 May 1942, in Oak Springs, MO.

4. Peter (Peter) Franklin BEVINS, born 26 Jun 1956, in Oak Springs, MO.


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Wednesday Recipe - Lemon Orange Cake

Lemon Orange Cake

A big thanks to Deborah Vogts and her daughter for this recipe!

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

FROSTING:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1-2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon extract
5 1/2 - 6 cups confectioners' sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in extracts. Pour into three greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. For frosting, beat butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the next five ingredients and mix well. Gradually add confectioners' sugar; beat until frosting has desired spreading consistency. Spread between layers and over the top and sides of cake. Makes 10-12 servings.

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Reviews and Blog Interviews upcoming, Apr 7

Book Reviews and Blog Interviews upcoming, Apr 7:


Author Interview and Book Give Away by Linda Weaver Clarke, Author and Lecturer, April 26-May 4

Book Review at 512 KIDZ, in April

Book Signing at Words and Afterwords Book Store in Hardy, Arkansas, in mid-May.

4th Annual Author Extravaganza
June 26, 2010  11am-1pm
Town Crier Bookstore  Emporia, KS 



More to come... check back regularly.  ;-)



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

A Wednesday Recipe - Deviled Eggs

A Wednesday Recipe - Deviled Eggs

The Homeplace Deviled Eggs

6 Hard-Boiled Eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon vinegar (optional-to taste)
Paprika (optional)

Halve hard-boiled eggs lengthwise and remove yolks. Set whites aside. Place yokes in a bowl; mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar; mix well. If desired, season with salt and black pepper. Stuff egg white halves with yolk mixture. If desired, garnish with paprika.


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Amazon now has Click to Look Inside for Back to the Homeplace

Amazon now has "Click to Look Inside" for Back to the Homeplace  - so please do that. It really gives you a good feel for the book.

Check it out:



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Read Chapter 1 of Back to the Homeplace

Read Chapter 1 of Back to the Homeplace

- then order your full copy -


CHAPTER 1

Monday, February 16, 1987: Late afternoon

In the news today...


1. The Big Chill: How Heterosexuals Are Coping with AIDS (Time)
2. Higher Rate of Retardation Is Expected From Chernobyl: Scientists Given Updated Estimate of Impact (Washington Post)
3. Who Will Bury Apartheid? (Washington Post)


    They came back; they all came back to the Homeplace.  Jennifer Bevins couldn’t believe they had all come back.  Her father's brother and two sisters with their families were all now back on the farm in hopes of getting a piece of it for themselves.
    At her grandmother’s funeral, and again later, at the reading of the will last fall, Jennifer had watched each of them.  She could see their frustrations and disappointment in not having the ownership of the farm resolved then and there.  Her father had been especially concerned.  He was currently making a living for his family by operating the farm.  Now it was up for grabs.  And no one knew the actual ground rules for a determination.  They would not find out until after they each had made the commitment to come back and be a part of it or not.
    Jennifer had not guessed that all four of them would make the decision to participate.  To return, they each had to give up their other lives, each out of state, for two years.  All this just for a chance at a part of the farm her father thought would be his.  Could it possibly be worth this much to each of them?
    Adjusting a brown leather covered pillow on the couch, Jennifer cast her gaze around the living room of the only home she had ever known.  Her fingers ran over the smooth surface. The aroma of the wood fire in the natural stone fireplace smelled especially good tonight.
Standing near the spot where the Christmas tree had been just a couple months ago, Jennifer wondered if that would be their last Christmas here?  Would she have to move?  Bart and Diane had built this house across the lane from the old house when Jennifer was little.  Now, at sixteen, she could feel her roots trembling and loosening a little as all these people arrived.  Are they really here to steal my home?
    Glancing out the side window, Jennifer saw her Uncle Peter coming toward the house.  Though not a big man, his stride was that of an outdoorsman, she noticed, accustomed to covering a lot of ground on foot.  He had set up a tent on the side lawn near the big oak tree.  Peter was the one Jennifer had least expected to see.
    She opened the door for him.  His sandy hair was ruffled from walking in the cold wind.  His fair complexion even had a ruddy glow.  "Come on in, Peter, enjoy the fire.  Supper will be ready in just a few minutes."

    "It was awfully nice of your folks to invite me tonight.  I wasn't sure how they would feel about me even being here? 
    "You are family.  Tonight is a chance to just be family before the meeting tomorrow. Besides, we really haven't gotten a chance to get to know you."  She turned from hanging his coat in the closet.  "Come sit by the fire.  Isn't it cold out in that tent?"
    "February in the Missouri Ozarks is pretty mild compared to the forest in Oregon where I live.  Uh, that is, where I lived before I came back here."  Peter took a seat on the leather couch in front of the warm fire.  "Being here for some time is going to take a little getting used to."
    Jennifer picked up the poker and adjusted the logs in the hearth.  "My folks told me we have to take one day at a time.  Now more than ever."
    "We should all keep that in mind, Jennifer.  We're going to be here, very close together, for two years...maybe longer."  His voice trailed off.
    Jennifer reminded herself how happy she was for the chance to get to know her uncle, Peter Bevins, better.  He had left for college when she was very young.  He never returned.  She had not seen him until last fall at the funeral service for her grandmother Bevins.  He had not even come back when they buried her grandfather nine years ago.  Why had Peter stayed away then, but come back now?

    Her mother had told Jennifer that Peter was a loner.  He had gone off to the Pacific Northwest all those years ago doing who knows what.  Bart had said his brother was an individualist who wanted no part of small town togetherness.  Why would he now come back to the farm in the Ozarks region of Missouri to spend two years?
    "Come help your mother, Jen.  You can set the table."  Bart's voice shook Jennifer back to the moment.  "The rest of the family will be coming in to supper any minute now."
    The teenager responded to her father's 'suggestion' immediately.  She left Peter staring into the newly stoked blaze in the fireplace.  He appeared to have retreated into a world of his own. 
    Jennifer began to get the ‘company’ dishes out of the hutch and set them on the table in the dining room.  "The family will all be coming" her father had said.  Only a few months ago that meant Grandma was coming over.  Also, brother Donnie would be at home rather than in Oak Springs with Melanie, his girlfriend.  Tonight would be a much larger 'family.'  Now it included her aunt Beverly and her family, aunt Karen and her husband, Jason, and Peter, of course.
    Beverly, the younger of the two aunts, had insisted on staying in Grandma Bevins’ old house across the lane, the Homeplace.  She brought her husband, Paul Gates, their two children and his nineteen-year-old daughter, Sheila.  They did make a houseful.  Jennifer knew her mother really was not happy with the situation.  Beverly had never meshed well with the rest of the family.  How could she now?
    The doorbell chimed, announcing the arrival of Beverly and Paul Gates, Scott, Heather and Sheila.  Bart held the door open.  A cold gale entered the room with the guests.  "Paul, Bev, come warm yourselves by the fire.  Supper will be ready in just a few minutes." 
    "Thanks for inviting us over tonight, Bart," Paul responded with a firm handshake.  "I see Peter is already enjoying the fire."  Paul moved quietly into the living room and took a seat beside Peter.
    Beverly helped the children off with their coats. "Sheila, you help Jennifer set out the dishes there in the dining room." Hanging up the last coat she pointed Scott toward the fireplace, "Take your sister over by the fireplace.  She can color in her coloring book until supper is ready."  Looking up at Bart, Beverly continued, "Could Diane use some help in the kitchen?"
    "Let's go see."  Bart led the way toward the kitchen.  "Are you getting settled in over at Mom's place, Bev?"
    "She's dead, Bart.  Has been for five months.  It's our house now.  It will take some time to get a lot of stuff cleared out, but we'll make it livable."
    "How can you talk like that?"  Bart stopped, stared at her a moment, then headed for the kitchen shaking his head.  "It really is hard to believe you are my sister..."  Jennifer could no longer make out the words, but she knew her father was hurt by the crass remarks made by Beverly.  Bart and Diane had said Beverly was a city girl.  Does that mean she has no feelings for others, Jennifer wondered.  They said even growing up in Oak Springs Beverly had never fit in.  As soon as she got her high school diploma, she headed for the city in the South.
    Jennifer remembered Diane saying that Beverly had returned only rarely for very brief visits on holidays.  She would always be upset by something while she was here and leave in a huff.
    Yet, here she was, committed to two years with the rest.  Here, back on the Homeplace, near Oak Springs in the Missouri Ozarks, far from the city.
    "How many places are we setting?" Sheila had a stack of large dinner plates in her hands and was headed for the table.
    What a sight she is, Jennifer observed: Short skirt and knee-high white boots; dark ponytail swaying from side to side as she walked.  She'd be right at home waiting tables in a honky-tonk bar, Jennifer mentally noted.  "There are thirteen, I think.  Mom said that Donnie asked Melanie over.  Beverly and Paul, Scott and Heather, Karen and Jason, and Peter. Also, there are Mom and Dad and the two of us, of course.  That should be thirteen."
    "We'll need another plate then.  There are only twelve here.  Who is Melanie?"
    "Melanie Ogden.  She and Donnie are inseparable.  They talk all the time about getting married and farming with Dad...or they did. This whole will thing has everyone confused."
    "Ogden.  Isn't that the name of the lawyer?"
    "Yes. Carter Ogden. He is Melanie's father. He was Grandpa and Grandma's lawyer.  Also has been lawyer for Mom and Dad.  And close friends.  Mom and Dad and Melanie's mother, Linda, were in the same class in school."
    "That's not fair. How can he decide who gets the farm when he is friends with some and hardly knows others? That's not fair!"  Sheila stared at Jennifer.  "I suppose you and your brother get to be at the meeting tomorrow, too."
    Jennifer took a deep breath to control her own anger. "No, as I understand it, only the four children and their current spouse, if any, are allowed at the meeting. They supposedly are to be told the ground-rules of the trust. Mr. Ogden is the Trustee. He just does what Grandpa and Grandma told him to do."
    "You seem to know a lot about it." Sheila stuck her nose in the air, Jennifer noticed, but began putting the plates on the table.
    "Mom and Dad said Donnie and I were old enough to know what was going on, so we've talked about it. Besides, I was at the reading of the will.  Grandma named me in her will to take care of her mare and its foal."
    "Oh!" Sheila put down the last plate from her stack. "Where do I get the thirteenth plate and where do I put it. The table seems to be full." She stared directly at Jennifer, "You seem to have all the answers."
    "Heather can use the Garfield plate.  We'll put her on that far end.  She can sit on the stool from the kitchen.  I'll get them."  Jennifer tried to ignore the catty tone in everything Sheila said.  After all, Sheila wasn't even a blood relative, Jennifer reminded herself.  It was hardly any of her business to be asking all these questions.
    As Jennifer entered the kitchen, she realized that Jason and Karen had arrived via the kitchen door.  Their RV was parked on that side of the house.  "Hi Karen, Jason, I didn't hear you sneak in."
    Jason waved.  He, Bart and Beverly were engaged in an intense discussion at the far end of the kitchen around the table.  Karen came up and gave Jennifer a hug.
    "Sorry!" Mock shock could not cover the big smile that seemed a permanent part of Karen's face. "I forgot we were supposed to check in with you upon our arrival. I'll remember next time."
    She will, too, Jennifer thought. Karen always seemed so in control. Perhaps being a nurse and raising four children brought that on, she reminded herself. 
    Jennifer was happy that Jason and Karen had come. They had a very good life in Arizona.  All four of their children grew up there. Jennifer was afraid they would not be able to leave their responsibilities there to come back here. They had, however, dropped hints, over the years, that they might come back some day.
    "It's hard to believe you're really here, Karen. I couldn't believe you and Jason would be able to get away."
   
"Well, we really do like the RV, but your mother did invite us in to eat..."
"You know what I mean," Jennifer replied, mocking exasperation. "I wasn't talking about coming to supper. I was talking about coming to Missouri… all the way from Arizona. And in February!"
    "I know, dear." Suddenly serious, Karen continued slowly. "It was not an easy decision, even as much as we wanted to come. I guess the time would never be right. But it was hard to leave just now. Your smiling face, however, makes it worthwhile."
    "Thanks. I'll try to keep it smiling. It has been a little hard lately, though. Better finish the table." Jennifer flashed her biggest smile and headed back to the dining room with Garfield in one hand and the stool in the other.
    Jennifer recalled how frequently she had used Karen's nursing training on some of their past visits. A cut or bruise was always worth several minutes of special attention. Karen would take care of it and make Jennifer feel better. And smile a lot. 
    As she placed the stool and plate for Heather, Jennifer wondered what Karen meant by her comment 'it was hard to leave just now.' There was an obvious emphasis on 'now.' Maybe everything wasn't as rosy as Karen made it sound.
    Jennifer noticed that Sheila had finished setting the table and left. She was now talking to Donnie and Melanie near the front door. Jennifer observed that Sheila, ever the ‘Southern Belle,’ was giving Donnie her undivided attention. It also appeared, even from a distance, the grip Melanie had on Donnie's arm was tightening with each exchange. 
    "Take your places in the dining room, please. It is time to eat." Diane announced.
    When everyone had gathered around the table and found their place to sit, Diane looked to Karen. "Karen, would you lead us in grace before we eat?"
    "Thank you, Diane. Let's just say Grandma Bevins’ favorite little prayer and remember her for a moment." A hush fell over the table as heads bowed.
"God is Great, God is Good, and we thank him for our food. Amen."
    The quiet lasted just a moment longer; then the chatter of a family dinner began. It would not be the same again.

- Consider donating your copy to your local library -



Friday, April 2, 2010

Research for "The Homeplace Revisted" - dog

 
Research for The Homeplace Revisted - dog

As I continue my research for the followup novel to Back to the Homeplace, The Homeplace Revisited, you might have noticed we have already chosen our cover art (to the right, scroll down a bit) - dog and horse by the barn. Today, I want to work on a little detail, with you, if you will help me - the dog.

More of you are "dog people" than I am, I am sure. I need a description of the dog; breed, temperament, etc. - and a name. These are very subjective, of course, so I expect a lot of divergence of opinions, but that is fine.

Christopher Ogden, the young lawyer in The Homeplace Revisited, will be adopting this dog as a grown dog, not a pup, from the long time local vet, Doc Evans. He will keep the dog at the horse stables at the Homeplace, where his "best friend," Jennifer Bevins, is setting up her new large animal veterinary practice, in cooperation with Doc Evans, who is nearing retirement. You met Christopher and Jennifer in Back to the Homeplace, of course, but it is now 1996, not 1987.

If you do not already have your copy of Back to the Homeplace, you may want to order it, now.

While not instant gratification, but as a sincere "Thank you!" to Followers of this blog, both the person who provides the description I use, and the person who first suggests the name for the dog that I use, will receive an autographed copy of one of the first available copies of The Homeplace Revisited. I know you like the dog. What can you tell me about him/her? Oh, look, another variable. Is it a male or female?

Thank you, very much, for your input via the Comments, below. I really look forward to them.


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Press Release - March 31, 2010

Debut Novel, Back to the Homeplace, set in the Southern Missouri Ozarks

Vision to Action Publishing announces the release of Back to the Homeplace, the debut novel of William Leverne Smith, a resident of Hollister, MO, on April 1, 2010.

Hollister, MO, March 31, 2010 -- Back to the Homeplace, the debut novel of William Leverne Smith, will be available to the public on April 1, 2010. The novel is set on a farm and in a nearby fictional community located in the southern Missouri Ozark hills and near a fictional western branch of the Current River. The story revolves around a family dilemma following the death of their matriarch and the unusual will she left to insure the continuity of the farm, which has been in her family for over 150 years, intact. 

The year is 1987. The varied background and viewpoints of the adult children coming back to the Homeplace ignite controversy and expose long kept secrets as each family member searches for his or her share of the family legacy. While the older family members stake their claims on land and fortunes, the younger ones search for love and acceptance. Subplots involve AIDS Awareness in 1987 issues and a support group for domestic violence incidents.

At the heart of this family life story is how we do or do not effectively communicate among family members - parents with children, among children and grandchildren and that we must each face the consequences of our individual actions. What happens when they come back to the Homeplace?

See Video Book Trailer at: http://eduscapes.com/v2a/back_to_the_homeplace.html
See Author's Blog at: http://thehomeplaceseries.blogspot.com/

About Vision to Action Publishing:
Vision to Action Publishing designs and develops print, e-book, web, and video materials to support life-long learning and leisure activities. It is a family business with offices in Austin, TX, Teasdale, UT, and Hollister, MO, and does not accept author submissions or outside advertising.

ISBN 978-1451560404


Contact:
William L. Smith, Corporate Secretary
417-336-0692
http://eduscapes.com/v2a/

###

A Wednesday Recipe - Banana Bread

A Wednesday Recipe - Banana Bread

Back to the Homeplace begins in the first chapter with a family dinner. It ends with plans for a Homeplace Country Inn. Recipes play an important role in the family life we are sharing. Starting today, a blog post "A Wednesday Recipe" will be added here - sharing recipes from our family, and perhaps adding a few you want to recommend, as well. This will be ordinary farm food, not gourmet food recipes.

We are going to start with our family Banana Bread recipe. I've actually made this one, myself. It was awful, because my wife was out of town, and I used baking soda instead of baking powder. I helped her make it recently, and it was fine - with her calling the shots!

The Homeplace Banana Bread

3 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups banana pulp
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 eggs, well beaten

Sift flour, soda, tarter and salt. Cream shortening well & beat in sugar. Add eggs, mixing well. Mash ripe bananas, as soon as peeled with a silver fork - 3 to 4 ripe bananas yield 1 cup. Add flour alternately with banana - mixing well after each addition. Turn into greasing loaf pans & bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F) one hour or until done. Yields 2 loaves.

Yum!



Comments welcomed. Note that you have a recipe you think I should include, as well; we can exchange by email.


"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

William Leverne Smith
http://eduscapes.com/v2a/william_leverne_smith.html
Order the book directly at: https://www.createspace.com/3441320

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just added "Print Friendly" for your use

Note at the bottom of each blog post, now, is a "Print Friendly" button in green.

This allows you to just print, or save in a pdf file, the body of the post, itself - without the header and sidebars of the blog. I think you will really like this. Give it a try.

Let me know, in the comments, how it worked! Thanks!

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

William Leverne Smith
http://eduscapes.com/v2a/william_leverne_smith.html
Order the book directly at: https://www.createspace.com/3441320

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Back to the Homeplace" began in 1987

I first created the story, the characters and the setting of Back to the Homeplace in 1987 when I was actively involved with The Author's Resource Center (TARC) in Tucson, Arizona. It was first written in the word processing language WriteNow, one of the early versions, actually. It was saved on the old Mac, several times, transferred to PC, saved in an early Word version, and saved through many versions of Word... to Emporia and then to Hollister. It was in 42+ folders, one chapter per folder, plus a few or character sketches, etc. Some of the later chapters were blanks.

Someone asked about this, so here is the story. When I retired last year, I vowed to rewrite, finish the story, polish the prose, and get it published within a year. In December and January, I sent out the "finished product" to several people I trusted, to get feedback. The feedback suggested some major/minor revisions and a few more chapters.  With that work completed, I felt it was time to get it in print.

After rejects by two agents I respected the most, from my reserach - and I respect them more now, by the way, I also received contract offers from two mainline publishers. However, they were both "author-subsidized" contracts. I learned a lot from communicating at length with them and researching their business models in detail. One was a large publisher, one was a small publisher. The offers were virtually identical.... hmmm. I went with Vision to Action Publishing, the educational materials publisher with which I have already been associated in the text book business for many years (15+). It is our family business, and within the family we have all the skills the two publishing companies wanted us to pay for. I am very happy with the decision.

I'd be happy to answer any further questions or comment from anyone about the process. It has been very enlightening!


Bill ;-)

William Leverne Smith
http://eduscapes.com/v2a/william_leverne_smith.html
Order the book directly at: https://www.createspace.com/3441320

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back to the Homeplace - Now on Amazon

As you can see from the widget to far right, Back to the Homeplace is now available on Amazon.com...

We are currently filling out the forms to get good product and author information onto the site. It takes some time to get this all done, but it should be ready in a few days.


However, you can order your copy now, if you have been waiting for Amazon.com, where you normally order. If you like the book, we invite you to add your own Book Review to the site. It is easy to do, and actually helps sales to have good reviews recorded. If you don't like the book, send me an email at: williamlevernesmith@gmail.com so we can discuss your concerns.

I'm working on the followup book, you can see the cover at the right, so feedback is very important to me. Any specific, that concerns you, or that would be helpful to me, will be appreciated.

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

William Leverne Smith
http://eduscapes.com/v2a/william_leverne_smith.html
Order the book directly at: https://www.createspace.com/3441320

Friday, March 26, 2010

What were you doing in 1987? What was in the news?

Back to the Homeplace opens in Februay, 1987 - here is what was in the news and on television:

February 16 - 18, 1987

In the news today...

1. The Big Chill: How Heterosexuals Are Coping with AIDS (Time)

2. Higher Rate of Retardation Is Expected From Chernobyl: Scientists Given Updated Estimate of Impact (Washington Post)

3. Who Will Bury Apartheid? (Washington Post)
4. Dean Kleckner, 54, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, on prospects of changes in farm legislation this year: ''When all is said and done, more may be said than done.'' (Fortune)
5. A movement toward safer sex is gathering momentum among heterosexuals, as AIDS and the fear of it infect the nation, which may promise to change male-female relationships and bedroom behavior. (NY Times)
6. A bill to raise the minimum wage is expected to be approved in Congress this year, said the Senate and House Majority Leaders, who added that they would support efforts now underway to raise the minimum wage of $3.35 an hour. (NY Times)
7. U.S.-Soviet ties seem overcome by a strange sense of inertia, apparently immune to the momentum of change and liberalization occurring inside the Soviet Union under Mikhail S. Gorbachev. (NY Times)

On Television…

The Facts of Life, Designing Women, Newhart, Fame, MacGyver, Matlock, Highway to Heaven, St. Elsewhere, Head of the Class

Where would you have been, and what would you have been doing?
What are your thoughts, memories, as you read this post?
Share some comments, below.



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

William Leverne Smith
http://eduscapes.com/v2a/william_leverne_smith.html
Order the book directly at: https://www.createspace.com/3441320

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More about some of the people in the book

Today, we will be taking a look at some of the key people in the Back to the Homeplace book in two groups. The first is the adult children, they are the ones most directly involved in the will provisions. Then, we will look at the younger folks, and their relationships.

Be sure to see the video book trailer... at the last blog post or here.

The older family members:

Karen is the oldest of the Bevins siblings (the others are Beverly, Bart and Peter). Karen has been married to Jason Winslow for 27 years and they have four children, the youngest about to graduate from high school. Jason is a principal partner in a Financial Planning firm. Karen is a nurse, having worked at a hospital the past 16 years or so. They have lived in the Phoenix, AZ, Valley of the Sun, most of their married lives.

Beverly left home for Jackson, Mississippi, as soon as she graduated from High School in Oak Springs. She has rarely come back; just occasional holidays. She is married to Paul Gates. He is a mechanical engineer. She is administrative assistant at a construction company. They have two pre-teen children. Paul has a nineteen year old daughter, Sheila, by a prior message. Sheila comes to Oak Springs with the family, since she recently lost her department store clerk job.

Bart Bevins is third in order of age. He and his wife, Diane, live on and work the farm at the Homeplace. Diane is also the Oak Springs High School English teacher. They expected to be able to continue farming the farm indefinitely into the future, for the family. Their oldest child, Donnie, is in his first of two years at the Ozarks Community College studying Farm Operations, expecting to marry his girl friend, Melanie Ogden, and become the next generation farmer on the Homeplace. Their daughter, Jennifer, is a Junior in High School.

Peter is the youngest of the children of Frank and Mildred Bevins. Peter was about to graduate from the State University when his father died in an auto accident returning from a visit to the University. Rather than returning home for the funeral, Peter left for Oregon, and has lived their since that time.

Some of the younger family members:

Donnie, as noted above, has been dating Melanie Ogden for some time. Melanie is a year younger, a senior in High School. She and her younger brother, Christopher, are the children of Carter and LInda Ogden. Carter is the attorney for the Bevins estate. Donnie and Christopher have been athletic teammates and good friends. Based on these relationships, Christopher and Jennifer, Donnie's sister, have become very good friends. The foursome frequently go out together socially. The appearance of Sheila Gates into this mix creates sparks and conflict in several directions.

Now, they would like you to get you to know them even better, and follow them through the spring and summer of 1987, into the summer and fall. Read more about them in Back to the Homeplace.



"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

William Leverne Smith
http://eduscapes.com/v2a/william_leverne_smith.html
Order the book directly at: https://www.createspace.com/3441320

Video Book Trailer for Back to the Homeplace

Here is the Video Book Trailer for Back to the Homplace:



It can also be seen at: http://eduscapes.com/v2a/back_to_the_homeplace.html

where you can now order autographed copies of the book, sent directly to your address.

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)

William Leverne Smith
http://eduscapes.com/v2a/william_leverne_smith.html
See: https://www.createspace.com/3441320