Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A TRIO OF MY FATHER'S TALES Released on Amazon!

Finally!  After months of stalling and reworking the dam has burst and A Trio of My Father's Tales is finally live on Amazon, and CreateSpace.  It comes in Kindle and Paperback formats.

Click Here for the Amazon sales page
Click Here for the CreateSpace Page (paperback only)

The newest addition to the Trio Tales short story series is a tribute to fathers, containing three stories based on family tales repeated around the kitchen table during the author’s childhood, where all great family legends are born. 

In The Little Lord Fauntleroy Suit a young boy in 1898 Chicago struggles between peer pressure at school, and his determination to make his immigrant parents proud of him.  Can he find a solution to make everyone happy?

Click Here to listen to an audio sample from The Little Lord Fauntleroy Suit

In Flying Down to Couer D'Alene, and The Skunk War the scene moves west to life stateside in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.  In these two individual tales, the rigor of Army life meets the ebb and flow of different men from all over the country, different concepts of authority, and what it really takes to be a leader.

Click Here to listen to an audio sample from Flying Down to Couer D'Alene


“Ms. Cullen's writing is lyrical and touching, the rhythms and characters stick in your mind like a really good tune. I have the feeling she could write about tin cans and readers would come away with a sense of satisfaction and wonder.” ~ Reader Review, A Trio of Cat Tales

"Stories as well written as this have a way of opening windows…" ~ Reader Review, A Trio of Irish Tales

"Ms. Cullen has a gift for storytelling.”  ~ Reader Review, A Trio of Irish Tales

Check Out the tabs at the top if the page for links to my other published works.  As always, if you LIKE them, REVIEW them, if you LOVE them, pass the word - like, SHARE, RECOMMEND!

AND if you are a member of AMAZON PRIME you can borrow my book for FREE! 

NEW! NEW! NEW! Inspired by the approach of friend and fellow author Lesley Ann McDaniel, I am forming a Launch Team for the next round of releases and promotions.  Like to help people?  Like building win-win relationships?  This could be for you ... check out LAUNCH TEAM in the tabs at the top of the page!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Miscellany - Composing Myself

I have frequently said that I use Drabble (100 words) and Haiku as warm ups.  Having been a little blocked lately, I threw myself at the challenges of two friends.  One is Laurence Simon/Crap Mariner's Weekly 100 Word Story Challenge, and the other Stephanie Mesler's Haiku Throwdown.

As usual, ideas flowed out once I started.  It proved once again that I am rarely actually blocked.  I am just momentarily intimidated by the blank page (or screen).  Best thing is to address the enemy!

A Poet's Progress ~ Haiku Throwdown "What's on Your Desk?"

Two Desks  
by Judith Cullen
(c) 2013

two desks side by side

one for color and one words

two desks, one owner

two desks side by side

pigment, motion, form and line

muster to the right

two desks side by side

grappling words, style and also form

with left alignment

two desks side by side

some days both desks are in use

those days are the best


The Power of Grace
by Judith Cullen
(c) 2013
She pats her pocket, totally aware of its contents. 

He sidles up to her with that unique sideways lope of his.  His smile is ingratiatingly confident. 

She smiles back, her thoughts completely different from what he believes they are.  She wonders why she didn’t see through that smile before.  How had she found it charming? 

He is thinking that all is well when she quietly says, “It is over. Goodbye.”

She turns and walks away from his incredulous, drop-jawed face. She pats her pocket, totally aware of its contents. She grins, knowing now that grace is more powerful than revenge.

Grace Beside Itself
by Judith Cullen
(c) 2013

“It’s your turn, dear.  Don’t mumble”

“Our Father in heaven, our thanks now we bring, for food, and for clothing, and for every good thing…”

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Gramma smiles proudly.

“Oh give of thy blessings to those who have meat …”

“Meat?  No dear, I think it is ‘need’, not ‘meat.’”

“Don’t they need meat too?”

“Well, perhaps they do, but…”

“…and teach us to love thee in word and in 'deet.'  Amen.”

The smiling young face looks up triumphantly, eyes large and expectant.

A thoughtful pause.

“Thank you.  That was lovely, dear.  Pass your sister the potatoes, there’s a good girl.”

CLICK HERE to listen to both The Power of Grace and Grace Beside Itself
Enjoy, ... as always these tracks are offered freely, and if you have the means to show your appreciation with a tip, all are gratefully accepted at the button on the right - it help pay for the cat food.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Capturing a Moment

Some people just snap away, like me.  If I am lucky, I catch a moment.  At a recent reunion gathering, the husband of a college friend spent the two days ruthlessly photographing. So many of the images he caught were amazing!  He captured incredibly insightful moments about people who have known each other for 30 years or more - people that he had only just met in most cases.  That is a gift!

Check out the Photography of Alfred Hellstern at his Online Portfilio

Here is one Alfred's incredible images, and a story that wrote itself as a result.  Like the photograph, the story is about a moment: fleeting, and powerful.

The Hug

By Judith Cullen © 2013

Inspiration from a photograph by Alfred Hellstern

Some moments defy words.  The ordinariness of “Hello” and “Goodbye” become lost in the deeper meaning of all the things unspoken. 

“How is your life?”
Photograph by Alfred Hellstern

“It’s hard, wonderful, and I have no idea what will happen next.”

“I am still your friend.”

“I am scared.”

“I know.”

So many other words pass from one to the other: words that are not even consciously recognized or understood.  The connection of a friendship of long duration, refreshed by nearness, makes the affection and caring sizzle through without the burden of words.

There is just the hug, and a moment that defies definition.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Reunion

'Tis the season, isn't it?  High School, College, Family reunions.  I have been to precious few of any of these, actually.  This weekend, by the grace of friends, I traveled to August Cellars Winery in Newberg, OR for a gathering of folks who were all part of the Willamette University Theater Department in the early-mid 1980s.

I was admittedly a little apprehensive:  what would folks be like?  what if old scripts and divisions emerged.  But from the moment I got out of the car I was embraced in joy, and delight.  It was a fantastic experience that has left me glowing, inspired, loving, and feeling very much loved.

As I am beginning work on a Scenic Design for a stage production of Les Miserables (in my other creative life), I couldn't help listening to the dawn this morning, thinking on the time we had on Saturday, and hearing these lyrics in my head....   

"Drink with me to days gone by, to the life that used to be. At the shrine of friendship never say die, let the wine of friendship never run dry. Here's to them, and here's to you..."

1980 Willamette University Theatre Kids with Dr. William Z. Iron (third from the left, front row) at August Cellars Winery in Newberg, OR.  August 3, 2013
 This reflection was inspired by the anticipation of the day, and the joy of it.

Reunion - The Beautiful People
by Judith Cullen  (c)2013

Who did you think you were?
Who did I think I was?
Did we all really think we knew,
Who was who, and what was what?

Were you testing your confidence
As much as I was testing mine?
Airing out your self-esteem
In search of unique identity.

Reunion approaches in ticking hours,
And decades old scripts begin to play.
Will old divisions of "us" and "them"
Reveal themselves unchanged, intractable?

Hope remains that anticipation
To see the people who were,
Does not leave us blind, ignorant
To the people we have become.

As the joy of reconnection embraces us,
Happy alliance, openness, acceptance envelopes.
Each arriving face inspiring cheers:
The source of grin-inducing elation.

Thirty years ago we did not know
All that there was we did not know.
Back then we thought we were the "Beautiful People."
Thirty years later we have earned the title:
                                          ... we finally are.