Alligator Preserves Episode 14: Kisses, Cooties, and Other Scary Things

Do you remember your first kiss? I sure do. And the second one, and the third one . . .

In this episode of Alligator Preserves, Laurel will tell you about a most memorable kiss and how she knew she was going straight to hell.

That was me on the left next to my hunky brother-in-law. Scrawny…pimply…shag haircut…HOT!

Show Notes:

  • Laurel recalls a time when her first real kiss could have ended in disaster.
  • Next episode: What do you know about Reiki? Are you sure?

Links:

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out!

If you enjoyed today’s episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please consider supporting Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

 

5 Stars!

May I brag just a bit right now?

Three 5-star reviews for Waterwight!

I’m honored and humbled by the recent reviews Waterwight received by three independent reviewers at Readers’ Favorite! Click the link to see what they all say.

Waterwight Flux: Book II of the Waterwight Series also received high praise from Kirkus Reviews. Looks like the pressure is on to make the final book in the series a mind-blower (and since only I know how it ends, I’m going to say yes, it will stun you)!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Also, have you entered your book yet for this year’s CIPA EVVY Awards?

The CIPA EVVYs are open to all types of independently published books, regardless of membership status with the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. The CIPA EVVYs recognize achievement across a diverse range of genres and technical categories.

In addition to critical recognition and the credibility afforded by the rigorous judging process, being a winner of the CIPA EVVY Book Awards has produced tangible results for authors, including:

  • PR opportunities
  • Increased book sales
  • Better marketing position
  • Distribution deals

Enter Here:

https://cipabooks.com/cipa-evvy-awards/

(and good luck!)

Alligator Preserves Episode 13: No Trampoline Tonight

Are you sure you want to know how your children live?

In this episode of Alligator Preserves, Laurel talks about a time she decided to help out her son by cleaning his apartment. She could have gone to a trampoline park . . .

On my sister’s trampoline with the son whose apartment shortened my life…!

Show Notes:

  • Unmade bed . . . empty wine bottle . . . “stuff” everywhere in my shared room at Smith College

    Laurel’s visit to her son’s apartment and indoor trampoline park opportunity

  • Decision to clean his apartment
  • Frightening things she finds in the apartment
  • “Wicked dangerous” trampolines
  • Physical education at West Point
  • Being “neat”
  • Flying (in dreams or on a trampoline)
  • New experiences (flying chambers)
  • Next episode: Something completely different
A much different room at the United States Military Academy (West Point). My Mum was amazed!

Links:

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out!

And if don’t have a book to submit but love to read, please volunteer to judge this year’s submissions (and you’ll get a bunch of free books, too)! Click on this easy link to receive your favorite types of books. You choose how many and what kind of books you want. Remember – you get to keep all the books you judge for FREE!

If you felt today’s episode was valuable, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Alligator Preserves Episode 12: Bataan Memorial Death March

Poster signed by three survivors of Bataan.

“You pick a race with ‘Death’ in the title as your first marathon?”

Well, yes, I did, and there were many good reasons behind my decision. In this episode, you’ll learn a little World War II history and I’ll share the ridiculous series of events leading up to my first full marathon.

The Bataan Memorial Death March marathon is just one week away, March 25, 2018. If you live within driving distance of White Sands, NM, you should check it out.

Signatures of survivors of the Bataan Death March
Another signature of a survivor of the Bataan Death March

 

Show Notes:

  • Laurel talks about her physical fitness background and training philosophy and reasons for participating in the marathon
  • A bit about the historic Bataan Death March
  • Laurel shares her article (published in Colorado Central Magazine March 1, 2012) about the race and her thoughts afterward
  • Encouragement to donate to the Wounded Warriors Project
  • Next episode: Why I missed a chance to go to a trampoline park

Links:

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com. You have until May 19th, so don’t miss out!

And if don’t have a book to submit but love to read, please volunteer to judge this year’s submissions (and you’ll get a bunch of free books, too)! Click on this easy link to receive your favorite types of books. You choose how many and what kind of books you want. Remember – you get to keep all the books you judge for FREE!

If you felt today’s episode was valuable, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please consider supporting Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

 

Feeling Honored!

Every year, Leadville’s Herald Democrat newspaper–Leadille’s hometown newspaper since 1879— runs a “favorites” poll. Readers can vote on their favorite things, including everything from restaurants to, well, just about everything!

Yesterday, a knock on my door delivered a most lovely surprise:

Thank you, Leadville and Lake County residents, for taking the time to vote in the last poll, and for nominating me as your favorite local author. I feel truly honored.

I will continue to do my best to provide books for a variety of readers, and I would encourage you to do what you can to support our other local authors. How fortunate we are to live in a county with so many talented and committed artists!

Other local authors with links to their latest work include (and please contact me if I’m missing any!):

Carol Bellhouse: Sentinel
Kathleen Fitzsimmons: Leadville: Then and Now
Peggy Forney: Healthiest Places To Live: Where You Live Makes a Difference
Amy Frykolm: See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity
Lynn Hall: Caged Eyes: An Air Force Cadet’s Story of Rape and Resilience
Bob King: For My Grandchildren: Principles for a Successful LifeStephanie R. Sorensen: Toru: Wayfarer Returns (Sakura Steam Series) (Volume 1)
Hal Walter (former Leadville Newspaper Editor): Full Tilt Boogie: A journey into autism, fatherhood, and an epic test of man and beast
Christine Whittington: Body Marks (out of print)
Stephen Whittington: Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Iximché (Maya Studies) and Bones of the Maya: Studies of Ancient Skeletons (1997-12-31)

Special thanks to Elise Sunday (Fire On The Mountain) and Brenda Marine (B&B Shipping and More) for carrying and selling my books since my first publication in 2013.

And if you haven’t yet heard, I’m hosting a podcast (which I started in late January) called Alligator Preserves in which I tell stories and interview others with stories. Perhaps you’d like to share yours? Listen to one or two and see (*hear*) what you think!

Contact me @ laurel.mchargue@gmail.com and
find my books on Amazon HERE.

Alligator Preserves Episode 11: Loneliness and Atrocity

Charles “Moe,” “Murray,” Bernier, well before he was my dad, before joining the Army at age 19.

“War . . . What is it good for?”

In this episode of Alligator Preserves, Laurel shares another letter from her father from WWII Army training and talks about her recent experience at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. She ponder the question of human evolution and asks the question, “How?”

NOTE: Serious subject matter in part II of this episode.

Show Notes:

  • Letters from WWII, from Laurel’s father at age 19
  • Military uniform changes, garrison caps
  • Army K.P. (kitchen patrol)
  • Army cooks
  • Peanut Butter fudge
  • Brainstorm on “War”
  • Old friends
  • Visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, description and blog post
  • Discussion on awareness of atrocities against humanity
  • Message to listeners
  • Encouragement to donate to the museum
  • Next episode: The Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon

Links:

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com, and here’s a reminder to submit your books before March 16th for early bird savings!

If you felt today’s episode was valuable, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Please consider supporting Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

 

Holocaust

A child. Not an animal. A child.

Holocaust definition [https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holocaust]:

1 : a sacrifice (see 1sacrifice 2) consumed by fire
2 : a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life especially through fire . . .
3 a usually the Holocaust : the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II . . .
b : a mass slaughter of people; especially: genocide . . .
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Three children. Not animals. Children.

I’d never been to the Holocaust Museum.  I’d learned a tiny bit about the Holocaust in history classes, I’d taught Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl to my 7th grade Language Arts class and Night by Elie Wiesel (Revised Edition) [Paperback(2006)] four years in a row while teaching 10th grade English, and I’d seen the movie DVD: Schindler’s List.

Friends. Not animals. Friends.

Every cursory experience I’ve ever had relating to the Nazi attempt to exterminate an entire population has left me in tears. I remember the first time I cried in front of my 10th graders, reading the part in Elie Wiesel’s Night where the prisoners are filed by and made to look at the latest hanging victims, one being an angelic-looking young boy flailing and gasping for breath as he dies excruciatingly slowly because his tiny body  . . .

 I cried every time I got to that passage, every year.
A family, or a class, perhaps. Not animals. People.

I just returned from the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C. and before I entered, I thought I’d be immune from the horror, immune from the outrage, immune from what I already knew to be the truth of that despicable series of events culminating in a country’s complicity in a madman’s scheme.

A beautiful woman. Not an animal. A beautiful woman.

But I was not immune, and because I am still able to cry at the brutal video footage of heaps of emaciated bodies dragged, tossed, bulldozed into pits, I am reassured. And I am reassured by the long line in front of the museum door and the crowds inside the museum on a Wednesday, and the awed hush of multi-colored humanity walking as if in a trance through three floors of displays, and the visceral reactions I saw on most faces through my tears.

Happy children. Not animals. Happy children.

But I cannot rest complacently in my reassurance, because this was not the only holocaust, and as I type this, racial slaughter continues. Hatred, fear, and insecurity continue across the globe. Megalomaniacs in positions of power continue to frighten me, because for every tear-filled eye in the museum today, there is a stone-faced denier who will believe a lie.

People. Not animals. Not criminals. People.

I left the museum today with the same questions that have plagued me for decades: Why have we not yet evolved as as species? And how is it that anyone can look at a child, a beautiful woman, a family, and decide those beings are anything less than human?

“Have you ever been punished for something you didn’t do?” asks a young boy in the “Daniel’s Story” exhibit of the museum. How could a child possibly understand the experience of a holocaust if I can’t even understand it?

Millions of people. Not animals. People.

I was struck by a fleeting moment of panic when I stepped into the large, overcrowded elevator in the museum after my friends and I made it through the security checkpoint at the entrance, which was much like a TSA checkpoint at the airport. Before the door closed, we were instructed by an official-sounding woman that we would be taken to the third floor of the museum, and then she stepped out and the doors closed.

Rail cars to extermination camps.

We believed her.

Millions boarded crammed rail cars with the understanding they’d be taken to work camps.

Didn’t they know?

Didn’t they know?

Dear God, didn’t they know?

The photos I took in the museum today were mostly of the people, and of inscriptions here and there like the one that read: “Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned.”

And I no longer feel reassured.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Please consider a contribution to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum HERE.

 

 

 

Alligator Preserves Episode 10: “Need Food”

Barbara “Bobbi” Marzec, June 2015, Leadville, CO

What do you do when you see homeless people holding signs? I generally avoid eye contact and drive on by, convinced they’re mostly frauds.

Listen to this story about a time I was very wrong, and the gifts I received after overruling my better judgment one day.

 

Show Notes:

  • Laurel’s encounter with a homeless woman reconnects her with a friend.
  • The following morning, Laurel wakes to tragic news.
  • Listening to Bobbi’s crazy stories.
  • A surprising email 6 months after Laurel publishes her story in Colorado Central Magazine.
  • The woman’s resume and letter from Steve Miller.
  • Thoughts on how we deal with people and their stories.
  • Next  Episode: Another letter from a World War II teen.

Links:

Submit your books to the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com, and here’s a reminder to submit your books before March 16th for early bird savings!

If you enjoyed this and other episodes, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Perhaps you’ll even help support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.

Alligator Preserves Episode 9: A Visit with Ken McLeod

Are you listening? Am I listening? Do we even know how to listen anymore?

Ken gave permission to use this portrait illustration by Ian McKown from a photograph by Ann Braun (on a page at http://unfetteredmind.org)

Laurel’s visit with Buddhist practice teacher Ken McLeod, a peaceable man in a turbulent world, will provide you with glimpses of different ways to live your lives.

Now retired, but still publishing books on Eastern philosophies for Western minds, Ken talks about his own journey and offers suggestions for listeners.

[and his voice alone will leave you feeling more peaceful!]

Show Notes:

  • Ken McLeod has taught and translated Buddhist practice in the Los Angeles area and has authored several books about his experiences with Buddhist practices.
  • He discusses the far-reaching impact of the California wildfires.
  • His principal teacher, Kalu Rinpoche, and acting as his interpreter.
  • His early family experiences with religion.
  • How he became a teacher, though he didn’t feel prepared.
  • Teaching in the ’80s in the challenging environment in L.A.
  • Ideas on success and being an “expert.”
  • The intention of Buddhist practice and the freedom that comes with it.
  • Wake Up To Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention is his first book, release in 2002. I quote from the book’s description, “The key to becoming fully alive and joyful is to develop our natural capacity for attention and to be fully present here and now.”
  • How Ken completed his first book and his next,
  • Reflections on Silver River in 2014.
  • Discussion on “freedom, peace and understanding” and a different way to live. Are we evolving?
  • The Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattvas
  • “The world is not designed to support the life worth living.”
  • Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene
  • His thoughts about The Power of Now, 2004, by Eckhart Tolle.
  • Is ignorance bliss?
  • Suggestion for listeners: One practice you can do now.
  • What’s next? His new work with Vajrayana.
  • Next  Episode: A homeless woman who gave me an unforgettable gift.

Links:

Other works we discussed:

The Mission (movie)

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: First Complete Translation (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

The Three Pillars of Zen, 25th Anniversary Updated and Revised Edition

The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas: An Oral Teaching

The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary Edition (Oxford Landmark Science)

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

I have a correction to make from my last episode in which I told you about the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at cipabooks.com, not .org, and here’s a reminder to submit your books before March 16th for early bird savings!

If you enjoyed this and other episodes, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Perhaps you’ll even help support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.

Alligator Preserves Episode 8: A Visit with Sherry Ficklin

 

Best-selling author Sherry Ficklin (second from right) attended my book launch party for Waterwight Flux! Other authors in attendance included (left to right) Lynn K Hall, Diane Smith, and Carol Bellhouse. That’s me on the right! Not in photo: Stephanie R. Sorensen. Photo credit: Marcia Martinek, Editor of the Leadville Herald Democrat newspaper

Sherry Ficklin, best-selling author of the Stolen Empire Series, visits with Laurel McHargue in this episode of Alligator Preserves! She explains how she has become “a toucher of things,” and shares amazing stories of her own life and how her experiences have influenced her writing.

Show Notes:

  • Sherry Ficklin tells a secret about a visit to the White House
  • Sherry is “a toucher of things”!
  • Earliest memories with books, telling stories, and winning her first monetary award
  • Her writing over ten years and feedback from Penguin Books
  • Writing challenges
  • Autobiographical elements of her work
  • “Vantablack” material (favorite color is black!)
  • Dark side characters, 1st person books, and choosing names
  • Contract negotiations with publishers
  • Research and Canary Club adventures
  • Marketing to YA and other audiences
  • Queen series books
  • Sherry’s “Dragon’s Eye” adventure, the fruit that “ruffied” her
  • Advice to new authors and what’s next for her
  • Her childrens’ response to her writing
  • Introduce next topic: Visit with Buddhist practice teacher Ken McLeod
  • CIPA EVVY Awards open for submissions @ cipabooks.com

Links:

Sherry Ficklin’s website

Losing Logan Paperback May 2, 2014

Playing with Fire: A Hacker Novel (The #Hackers Series)

SHIFT – Colour changing rainbow paint – Black 2.0 x Rainbow Liquid (VANTAblack items)

The Flowers in the Attic Saga: Flowers in the Attic/Petals on the Wind; If There Be Thorns/Seeds of Yesterday; Garden of Shadows (V.C. Andrews books)

The Great and Secret Show (Clive Barker)

A Canary Club Story (Canary Club Series books)

Inheritance Cycle 4-Book Trade Paperback Boxed Set (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, In (The Inheritance Cycle)

CIPA EVVY Awards info

Laurel’s Amazon Author page

http://leadvillelaurel.com/writing-tips/

https://www.facebook.com/LeadvilleLaurel/

https://twitter.com/LeadvilleLaurel

Intro/outro voice by Nick McHargue,
Podcast music from Jamendo Royalty Free Music