Book & Writer Conference 2017

Last year was the first Triangle Book & Writer Conference, and it’s back this year with some great panels and a well-known keynote speaker. You’re invited to attend the second annual TBW Conference on September 16 at N.C. State’s McKimmon Center. Last year’s event, which sold out, received many accolades from attendees. 

Kristen Joy Laidig, the keynote speaker, has written and published 18 Kindle books in 18 weeks, started over 50 publishing companies for others, published over 200 books and e-books, and teaches hundreds of webinars. She coaches thousands of authors from idea to publication. In addition, there will be panels on creating a bestseller, turning your book into a platform for public speaking, books to film and more! I’ll be on the panel called “Easy Button for Working with Editors.”

Sign up now with the early bird discount for half-price tickets at www.TriangleBWC.com using the code BECKER.

See the conference announcement in the latest issue of Writer’s Digest now on sale.

Memories at Dusk

My favorite part of summer days was always dusk. As a kid that time meant our work in the garden followed by stringing beans and shucking corn was well behind us, our bellies were full of the food we farmed, and we could sit on PawPaw and MawMaw’s back porch listening to the katydids and crickets calling to each other as the sun set behind the forest I so loved. On lucky evenings, a cooling breeze wandered among the flora touching our skin with its soothing notes of scented jasmine, and the air dripped sweetness into the song of the oncoming night. Our walk this evening echoed with memories of what once was as we let the stillness of the moonlight wash over our psyches and embraced the passing of another day. ~ Diana Henderson

Nightfall

I went outside at dusk, and as usual the evening spoke to me as it softly knelt to kiss the Earth.

As the crickets sing to one another in their evening chorus,
A lone bird wings his way home,
And the silken moon illumines a clouded canopy.
Starless yet serene,
The shroud of gray blue ushers in the night.

copyright 2017 Lillian D. Henderson

Broken Beloved

This one may be sad but these words found my heart on Sunday afternoon when I saw this beautiful, broken-winged swallowtail. 💛🦋

Beloved, broken wingèd one,
Though your life nears its end,
Still you flit among the flowers
And dance upon the wind.
You shall not count the hours
That remain beneath the sun
But in sweetness each moment spend
Until the journey’s done.

copyright 2017 Diana Henderson

 

Dream Journeys

Last night I dreamed I was a condor soaring over the Andes. When I awakened, the feeling of flight remained like the whisper touch of moonlight shimmering through the senses. And somewhere quietly sustained at the edges of my consciousness, the brushing of wings.

In Grandfather Poplar, dreams are often more than they seem. Melissa’s “sleep travels” with her spirit guide frequently reveal important truths or provide insight into past and future events.

Adahy and Melissa went far afield in this journey. He transported her consciousness all the way to South America to fly with what he called the *ghost bird. Although condors fly only in the daylight, using the thermals to lift to the heights, the spirit of Condor can take wing at any time, and it was in oneness that avian elemental essence that Melissa headed for the heavens.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time Melissa experienced soaring. The red-tail hawks who nest in GrandPop’s crown shared their flight with her on more than one occasion. But never before had she flown to such heights in a place of majesty and wonder.

Dreams can shape our waking reality, which in turn can shift our dreams. But which is more real, after all?

 

 

*Human beings use the name “ghost bird” to describe the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker, but Adahy says that it is meant for the condor.

Lost in the woods

There’s a stretch of road on my way to and from the office that goes by a nature preserve. The overlighting consciousness of that forest, which some call its Deva, spreads her energy outward to encompass the whole area. Even the subdivisions nearby are filled and surrounded with long-standing trees—all of whom were once a part of her forest—and her energetic boundaries still extend through those places that echo with the memory of life before the world invaded her sanctuary.

My husband and I call this place “the zone,” because as we drive through the area we may well forget where we are. Such is the strength of presence of this forest Deva.

After work I often like to sojourn in those woods and walk along the creekside trails or wander up the bluffs, and the Deva always welcomes me as one who holds her dear. Although this preserve is small now compared to the vastness of the forest long ago, the presence of elemental consciousness and the invisible dwellers of the woodland abound in this place as purely as it ever did.

Sometimes I get lost in the woods. Not literally, of course, for I know those pathways well, but I let go of the world of man there and allow myself to step outside of time and simply be. Sometimes my consciousness drifts on the stream or soars to the treetops or sinks into the earth beneath me. When I make my way back to the car, minutes or hours may have passed without my notice, and I am renewed beyond measure in the sense of my true self.

I invite you to go to the forest and lose track of time. Become one with clouds and stones and trees. Listen to the singing water and the laughing breeze and remember who you are.

Transcendent Spring

sunthrutrees2

April and May are two of my favorite months of the year. Warmth rules the day, and the nights blanket us in coolness perfect for snuggling under covers. Honeysuckle perfume graces the senses as it wafts in through open windows, and the world feels new and fresh. Potent possibilities abound in the spring energy. The sunlight feels like liquid warmth spreading across my skin. What a wonder is this Earth on such days as these!

It’s a time of great inspiration for someone with an ear for nature’s song and an inclination to share it. So here’s a poem for the spring.

I know nothing more transcendent on Mother Earth
Than this glorious, resplendent springtime rebirth.
The wind carries freely the hum of honey bees,
And scents of sweet blossoms travel on every breeze.
Caressing my senses with the sun’s brilliant rays,
Spring dissolves all pretenses from bleak winter days
And transports my psyche to a realm of pure light,
Lifting me brightly into fantasies of flight.
Mother Earth strums her chords in my favorite song
That hums into my consciousness all the day long:
“I am the wind, the water, the sunlight, the trees;
“I am,” she sings to me, “the life in all of these.”
Her lyrics and her tune I shall forever hear
And on this fair afternoon hold them ever dear.

© 2016 L. Diana Henderson

Grandfather Poplar, the novel, is available as an e-book on Amazon.com.

Ode to Honeysuckle

honeysuckle1Even on a rainy day, it’s easy to find beauty in nature. Sitting outside for a while under these rain-laden skies, the honeysuckle reminded me of so often awakening to their scent in the springs and summers of my childhood and adolescence. I hope you enjoy my “Ode to Honeysuckle.”

Still glistening from spring rains,
Your scent a sweet refrain
That beckons my soul to dream
Of dewdrops and sunbeams.
Your fragrance fills my senses,
Seeps past my defenses,
An echo from long ago
Of summer morning’s glow—
Asleep with open windows
In a peaceful repose
Till lingering yellow rays
Wakened me to the day.

© 2016 L. D. Henderson
GrandfatherPoplar.com
Grandfather Poplar, the novel, is available as an e-book on Amazon.com; here’s the link: http://bit.ly/GrandfatherP.

Purple Raindrops

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When I took this photo of the wisteria hanging in the woods, I thought they looked rather like violet raindrops. I knew that I would write a poem to accompany them at some point. I only wish it hadn’t been prompted by the occasion of the death of a musical genius and beautiful soul that I have long admired. I have been a fan of Prince since the early 1980s and will continue to treasure his brilliant music  for all my days. This one is for him and for all who loved him….

Purple Raindrops

Wisteria blossoms purple raindrops—
Those cascading ethereal blooms
Hang luxuriantly in the forest
Emanating their fragrant perfume.

On any other day they would call me
To wander in silent reverie,
But today I won’t accede to their plea;
I’ll sit here shaded by this poplar tree.

Rapt and awed, I’ll listen to your music
And ever amazing silken voice
That has transported me so many times—
Tunes that invite my heart to rejoice.

I’ll thank you for a thousand perfect rhymes,
For the songs that caused my soul to sing,
And pray you fly home to a realm sublime
To serenade the eternal spring.

© 2016 L. D. Henderson

Wild Woods of Spring

wisteriawildCRSurrender to the savage song of the wild
Abandon the adult and become the child
From nature’s lustrous garden no more exiled
By her every flora I am beguiled.

It’s time to leave behind all grown-up complaint
With childlike liberties once more to acquaint
Each part of my soul awash in nature’s paint
Stripping the structures, releasing all restraint.

Winter’s somnolent repose has come and gone
Splendid Spring sits freshly coifed upon her throne
New adventures and creations now to spawn
Wild woods await exploration of worlds unknown.

© 2016 L. Diana Henderson

My novel, Grandfather Poplar, is available at bit.ly/GrandfatherP.
Like on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GrandfatherPoplar.
Follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GrandPop333 (@GrandPop333).

Ode to Butterfly

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When I was a child, my mother went to college and majored in education. She was given an assignment to create two children’s books. One of those books was about me and my love of butterflies, which continues to this day. These amazing insects go through such a transformation in their life cycle and become the beautiful creatures that bring delight to our lives.

This spring morning our yard was filled with butterflies grazing on the Washington hawthorn trees, and I captured this photo of one of them, which in turn inspired the following ode.

Wingèd I arise from my retreat;
Into newfound freedom now I fly.
I shall drink the nectar wild and sweet
And dance beneath boundless blue of sky.

Oh, wondrous world soaked in solar light,
Let me bathe in those beams and climb so high,
For once I crawled and now am given flight
So shall I kiss the ground below good-bye.

On lilting winds to waft until twilight,
To flutter amid air’s filmy caress,
To sup upon the sunshine of delight;
With transformation all the world to bless.

Wherever I go spirits soon shall rise
And springtime glories only multiply.
So shall I navigate the silken skies,
For I am the one known as butterfly.

© 2016 L. Diana Henderson

My novel, Grandfather Poplar, is available on Amazon.com.

Like on Facebook.

Follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GrandPop333 (@GrandPop333).

Magenta Rays

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Magenta rays filtered through the trees
Reflect in your waters of pure peace;
Here in the woodland I swim the seas
Of earthly wonders that never cease.
Pines above supply a silken screen
For each ray that wafts into this dream;
Its solar song lighting your sweet green
In soft hues that glimmer in your stream.
Here I live in your serenity
Bathed in your soundless, soothing light;
Here I claim my true identity
In this place that beckons me to flight.
All illusion now I leave behind;
Each step into your depths the world unwinds.
Here in your embrace no more confined,
Spirit merges with my heart and mind.
And I am one with you beyond time
In this paradise, this sacred shrine,
Among clouds and trees and Earth sublime,
As light and love and grace forever shine.

© 2016 L. Diana Henderson
Grandfather Poplar, the novel, is on sale at http://bit.ly/GrandfatherP.
Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/GrandPop333.
Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GrandfatherPoplar/.

Once upon a Time

PoplarTrunkDHOnce upon a time many, many moons ago in a town not so very far away, a little girl loved to read. Her appetite for books knew no bounds, and she dined daily on such delicacies as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Treasure Island, Black Beauty and Gulliver’s Travels. Reading was almost better than dessert—although nothing truly could compare to her mother’s blackberry pie.

Along with a taste for reading, this little girl delighted in spinning a yarn that spoke to the truths of her heart. Sadly, she was far too shy to share her inner world for the most part—except with her companions, Laddie, the faithful collie, who loved those walks in the woods as much as she, Mr. Boots, a vocal black-and-white shorthair cat, and of course, with the source of her inspiration: the realm of Nature. At age 8, she proclaimed to the trees and songbirds, “Someday I’m going to be a writer like the people who created these books.”

As you must have guessed, that little girl was none other than yours truly. That someday was a long time coming, but the hunger for creating tales from the heart never left me, and at last I am preparing to share one such story with the world.

I hope you will join me on this journey as the book is finally brought to fruition.

Much love,
Diana

 

The War between the Creative and the Logical Mind

writinghandsDB

Oh, the number of times I started to write a novel! The first was in college in Terry Davis’ fiction writing class. The second attempt came in my late 20s in Orson Scott Card’s workshops and then in my mid-30s. Let’s not forget the stabs at it I took in my 40s.

I was trained by great and inspiring teachers who actually wrote for the same market that beckoned me. I had desire and plenty of stories. Nonetheless, the task of actually penning an entire novel’s worth of pages proved too daunting. I tried to appease my inner writer by composing the occasional poem or short story and went on with my life deftly ignoring the itch in my soul to do more.

They say insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over while expecting a different result. Color me mad, because that’s exactly what I did every time I started a novel. I typically wrote somewhere between 60 and 80 pages and then got bogged down in relentless, perfectionistic re-writing and editing. The 80-page limit seemed to be some kind of magic number at which the inner, ever critical editor arose from the depths of my psyche and started the endless cycle of polishing and re-polishing every sentence on every page until I grew too muddled to move forward.

A war of the worlds waged on through the years between my right brain and my left brain. Right brain loved to pour the words onto the page infusing them with the essence of my creative spirit. Left brain, which had gained control in order to get good grades and approval in school, took an odd pleasure at judging what right brain so lovingly disseminated. And so it went for years until at last the story itself could wait no longer. More on that next time!

~ Diana Henderson

 

The Passion to Speak

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“Wait until you are hungry to say something, until there is an aching in you to speak.” ~ Natalie Goldberg, author

I love this quote. The truth is I was always hungry to say something, but I needed more than that to actually complete my first novel.

My husband Drew and I lived for over a decade with a wealth of trees on the adjacent land behind our home. The crowns of towering yellow poplars etched the sky, and standing with them, sweetgum, blackgum, maple, hickory and many more. Our eyes and souls feasted on this rich landscape dotted in spring with white and fuschia blossoms from the dogwoods and redbuds. In summer the aroma of mimosa carried upon the wind even though their graceful pale pink blooms opened somewhere out of sight. These were the kindred who greeted me each time I walked onto the deck to feed the countless song birds and squirrels who lived among their branches or just to drink in the beauty and breathe in the life offered so freely by the trees.

How I took it all for granted, choosing to believe that this vista, these wondrous friends, would always be there, that the land would never perk and thus never sell, and this paradise would remain undisturbed except by the ravages of the elements and time.

But one clear, perfect September morning, everything changed. The rabbits in their warren, the heavy thicket that had kept them safe for so long, the birds, squirrels and chipmunks fled the sound of chainsaw and bulldozer as their homes were destroyed. And the trees, those beloved trees. For two days I wept as I watched them die despite my pleading with the forman to save some of them.

I didn’t begrudge the people behind us the right to build their home, but it took some doing to forgive the reckless removal of over an acre of beautiful trees. I cried for the forest and all its inhabitants, for the children who could have had adventures as I did in my youth and for the beauty that was erased so swiftly.

Once years before I had asked those very trees to help me write this book that I had started but, like so many similar efforts, couldn’t seem to finish. This was not the motivation I had sought, but it was what came. Their sacrifice fueled the hunger to say something beyond anything I had ever felt.

For three months from that day the story gestated, and then in just over four months it was birthed in its first form on tentative legs like a newborn foal. The trees and the animals had found their voice in my heart and mind, and at last I felt so fierce a hunger to speak that nothing—not even the inner critic—could dissuade me. ~ Diana

 

Escape into the Woods

2015SwiftCreek1Ever since I was a child, two things I knew for certain: (1) The best place in my world was the forest behind my home, and (2) I wanted to be a writer someday.

I loved to escape into the woods where I could tell all the truths of my soul to the trees and stones, the birds, the brook and the wind. The creatures of nature were friends who never judged. When one of my sisters invaded my woodland sanctum to fetch me home, I always left nature’s companions reluctantly, but I returned to my family feeling more myself—somehow more at home than before my time in nature.

My love for stories saturated my consciousness both in the woods and at home. I made up little tales to amuse myself and my forest friends. I started writing poems to share in grade school, but the stories, which contained so much of the truth of who I was, I held close to my heart.

 

Following the Path

20151024SCBtreesIn college, I majored in English, specialization in writing. Any liberal arts major has probably heard the often asked question, “How are you going to make a living with a degree like that?”

Long story short, I left my dreams behind and followed one path after another—a reporter, an English teacher, a copywriter/graphic designer/editor, finally a healing arts practitioner—another integral part of my spirit’s calling. Still, the inner life, the need to weave a tale, never left me, and the world of nature always nurtured me and the storyteller within.

Every so often through the years, I’d take a writing workshop or join a writer’s group in hopes of making something of this long-held dream. I originally wrote Grandfather Poplar as a short story in 1989 in the second workshop I took from Hugo and Nebula Award winning Novelist Orson Scott Card. Great feedback in the workshop led to the realization that this needed to be more than a short story. I’ll always be grateful for the insight and flowering that came from that class.

Now my Right Brain/Left Brain war, which drug out into the 90s and even the new millennium, has ended for the most part. Thanks to the balance that comes with being a healing arts practitioner, both sides won! My creative mind has learned to roar and dance and flourish no matter the obstacles, and my logical brain still holds me in good stead by helping me do the practical work that goes along with getting the message to the world. Mind you, I still may encounter the occasional skirmish when Left Brain decides to blast its cannons, but now at last Right Brain has a force field made of creative power and love to dissolve any salvo that doesn’t resonate with truth.

 

To the Nymphs of the Forest, the Field, the Stream, the Sea

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Today I wanted to share a poem I wrote several years ago for a friend. I hope you enjoy it.

To the Nymphs of the Forest, the Field, the Stream, the Sea
(Dryads, Leimoniads, Naiads, Oceanids)

Sailing on a sea of love,
She sparkles like sunlight on waves
And frolics ‘neath the stars above
As in the moonlit waters she bathes.

Her radiant heart glows bright
Her aura shimmers greens and golds
Shining a beacon in the night
As the wealth of her smile unfolds.

Her eyes whisper of stories
She holds deep in her siren’s heart
Of ships and heroes and glories
That mere words could never impart.

So she sings angelic tones
That mesmerize the souls of men
Her voice could melt a heart of stone
As it dances upon the wind.

Hers is a heady perfume
An intoxicating delight
A presence that fills any room
A flame that makes waters ignite.

She gifts us with her laughter
And all the blessings of her soul
Until joy becomes rapture
And even broken hearts are whole.

© 2003 Diana Henderson
(originally written for my friend Nancy)

 

Spirit of the Forest

SpiritWalkingI walk the deer paths in the quiet of the wood and breathe in oneness with every creature and consciousness here. I am the sweet nectar of the songbird’s lilting trill. I am the sunlight sparkling on the leaves. I am the silent signal of the standing trees holding all in communion with the Earth. I am the soft whirring of the wind. I am the heart of healing light that lives in this realm of rebirth. I am the deep stillness of the forest consciousness grounding all within my reach. I walk; I crawl; I scurry; I fly; I shine. My roots stretch down into the soil. My limbs long for the embrace of the sky. My heart beats in The Silence. I am the forest. I am Spirit. I am alive. ~ Diana Henderson

Autumn

dhautumnAutumn has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. I wrote this light-hearted poem about autumn many years ago. I hope you enjoy it!

When the garden spider weaves its silken strands
And Jack Frost’s icy fingers touch leaf and land,
I dance in upon the breath of the North Wind,
And on all of Nature’s creatures I descend
Offering the gifts that only Autumn brings —
Fairer by far than all the rites of Spring.
No longer the days of toil and sowing seeds
But time to harvest the fruits of all these deeds.
The heat of summer gives way to gentler days
And crisp nights beneath a sparkling Milky Way.
A time for romance under the harvest moon,
To listen, to dance once more to Nature’s tune.
And each sunrise brings a world of brightest hues,
A landscape of brilliant colors to peruse,
A dreamlike scene caressed by gossamer threads,
A kiss of frost like dewdrops on spiders’ webs.
Just around the corner, winter lies in wait,
But woo me well and this year it may be late!

©  1997 L. D. Henderson