Tag Archive | writing

Book Review: Song of the Lion

Song of the LionIn author Anne Hillerman’s latest book, Song of the Lion, Bernadette Manuelito emerges as a savvy heroine who does her job with intelligence and wit while stoically ignoring the irritation of not being respected by a fellow officer. It is not luck or pride that motivates Manuelito, it’s doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason, including trusting her instincts in a life-threatening moment of peril.

Manuelito and her husband Jim Chee, work for the Navajo Tribal Police where facts and evidence add up to answers. That doesn’t discourage Manuelito from using her intuition and connection with old ways, or Chee from showing respect for honored traditions.

Put that cultural identity and awareness into play when the two unofficially work a case, and the result is a compelling story. A car bombing outside a school gymnasium that kills an unidentified young man sets the story in motion. Add in the complication of developers wanting to make dramatic changes on tribal lands and the groups for and against the proposal. Mix in a little sabotage designed to sideline the negotiations. Season with a surprising connection between the case and Manuelito’s friend and mentor, Joe Leaphorn. What you have are all the ingredients for a fast-paced story featuring familiar characters doing what they do best. Manuelito proves to be a dedicated law enforcement officer with an unbeatable spirit.

I recommend Song of the Lion to anyone who likes a good tale woven throughout with interesting, well-drawn characters.

Praise for Song the Lion from Booklist: “Hillerman seamlessly blends tribal lore and custom into a well-directed plot, continuing in the spirit of her late father, Tony, by keeping his characters in the mix, but still establishing Manuelito as the main player in what has become a fine legacy series.”

Hillerman is an award-winning reporter, the author of several non-fiction books, and the daughter of New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman. She lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

Title: Song of the Lion
Type: Novel
Author: Anne Hillerman
Publisher: Harper Hardcover
Publication date: April 11, 2017
Price: $27.99

Blog Recognition: Thanks a Bunch!

My sister blogger, Aiming Flamingo, has nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award. Thank you so much Aiming Flamingo! Readers and followers are essential elements of the conversation that happens in the blogosphere. I very much appreciate your support.


I’ve been blogging for several years, had a website, and created a web zine. It was driving me crazy trying to keep up with four blogs, a website and the zine. I decided a little over a year ago to put everything under “one roof,” hence the title of my blog, One Roof Publishing.

I cover a lot of territory in the blog, writing Q&A posts about events and people, posting inspirational essays, writing about health and wellness, and anything else I can think of, including occasional short fiction. I welcome Followers and am always looking for new essay and article ideas. If you would like to guest post on my site, send your query to fsharon@msn.com.

I am a writer through and through. I have indie published several books and am close to publishing a new novel. I also do writing for hire through my business, Write Stuff Writing Services.

I’m not much for handing out advice, but that’s part of the process of passing the Blogger Recognition Award around. So here goes: My two pieces of advice for new bloggers – your best shot at getting readers is to know who you want your readers to be (target marketing), and posting regularly.

Below are the sites I’m recognizing. It is indeed an eclectic mix that shares one thing in common and only one: these are all folks who have a passion for something. I find that admirable and inspiring. Passion puts the pizzazz in life.

Dr. K. L. Register, The Ninth Life
Edge of Humanity Magazine
Momentary Lapse of Sanity
Windy Lynn Harris
Success Inspirers World
Gabriella Clark
Kate  Barnwell Poetry
Haddon Musings
Kathleen Rodgers
Sarah Flores Blog
Be Inspired!
Charles French
Author Kristen Lamb


Now it’s your turn. The rules are simple.
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to his or her blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated and provide the link to the post you created

I hope you can make the time to join in the support and recognition of other bloggers.

One Roof Publishing Digest

I’m changing my website look with the idea of making it more user friendly. Not sure I succeeded. I liked the old theme that popped up with a nice display of ten recent posts with a photo. The new theme may do that, but if so, I haven’t figured it out yet. Please let me know what you think by commenting at the end of this post or by e-mailing me at fsharon@msn.com. It is a work in progress, so more changes are coming.

Following is a digest of links to recent posts you may have missed. I hope you will take time to check these out, like, comment and share.

Q&A with Ron Querry

Ron QuerryRon Querry should be an actor in a Western movie. He has the craggy good looks, air of romanticism and steely-eyed stare of a cowboy hero. He would scoff at such a description, but his tongue-in-cheek memoir tells a different story. Creative license aside, I See By My Get-Up reveals a man much inclined to finish what he starts, and one who learns by observation, intuition and application. Despite growing up in an age of disillusionment and questioning everything, Querry kept on course when it came to education and earned his Ph.D. in American Studies in 1975. He spent a few years as a professor at the University of Oklahoma, and taught at Highlands, Lake Erie College for Women, and conducted seminars on Native American Literature in Italy. Read more…

Q&A with Andrea Gottschalk

WelcomeBeing in business is a challenge and an opportunity all wrapped up in one great adventure. When you’re good at it, you share your expertise with others who are dipping a toe into the entrepreneurial waters. With more than thirty years of experience under her belt, Andrea Gottschalk of Unikat Fine Jewelry has grown her business and reached out to help others. She believes in working in concert with other business people and making the most of networking opportunities. She has an abundance of talent as a jewelry designer and creates a customer-friendly shopping experience as a business owner. Her insightful responses to the Q&A reveals a woman who enjoys what she does, and who remains grounded in the essentials of business ownership: making wise market decisions and operating within your means. Read more…

Q&A with Nancy Colalillo

nancyNancy Colalillo is one of my favorite people, fearless in the face of just about everything. Her entrepreneurial spirit brought an exciting book store to Las Vegas several years ago. After she sold that successful enterprise, she went out on a limb and opened Paper Trail, a card and gift shop. This venture has been so well received, she has now moved to a bigger space – 166 Bridge Street – and expanded her card and gift product lines. There are darling baby items, a card for every occasion, gift books, gift wrap, lots of gift ideas and plenty of new merchandise. This locally owned and operated business is a jewel of a shop. Read more…

Q&A with Michael Ulibarri

Christmas GoodiesThe Ulibarri family’s route to its new shop at 161 Bridge Street has been circuitous and – as is often the case with small businesses – not without challenges. What it has continued to have is faithful customers who love the candy they make. The store came out of a family who personifies “family first” when it comes to making decisions. Read more…


One Roof Publishing is a free site. I have elected to not monetize it with annoying pop up ads. I use this site as a link to my work as a writer. If you enjoy One Roof Publishing and would like to see it continue, I will appreciate you buying my books, available online. Click on a book image to the right or go to Books on this site to order one (or all  🙂 of my titles. Your purchase will be greatly appreciated.



Writing lessons and life lessons


Over the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to talk to writers of varying levels of success. These wonderful interactions have taught me a lot about what it means to be a writer and how each applies to having a happy life.

Write tight. Whether you are writing an advertisement or penning the Great American Novel, less is more. Good writing is often a matter of making the most of a few well-chosen words.

Life Lesson: The same is true in every day encounters. More time spent listening and less time talking can bring unexpected rewards, and will likely result in stronger relationships. 

Do your homework. (Research). Writers have an obligation to their readers to be credible. Works of fiction with shaky plots and weak characters turn readers off. Non-fiction books with incorrect information turn readers off. Period, end of story. 

Life Lesson: In presenting your thoughts and ideas verbally, whether one-on-one, in small groups or before an audience of thousands, be trust-worthy. Nothing taints character and integrity like misinformation or an out-and-out lie. 

Write. To be successful, writers must write. It sounds simple, but making time to write is difficult if you are not intentional about putting words on paper (or computer), which is why most authors have a schedule and stick with it come what may.

Life Lesson: To be successful at anything, perseverance is required. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV) Stick with it, whatever “it” is for you, and you are more likely to achieve your goals. 

Be interesting. Create a compelling story with strong characters, drama, conflict, action and a satisfying conclusion. 

Life Lesson: In life the interesting people are more engaged, motivated, happier and less stressed. 

Be creative. There are many ways to write about the same subject. Love. Hate. Death. Life. Fear. Happiness. Truth. Lies. You name it and it has been written about, and that will continue. How does your creativity and innovation bring new life to these concepts? That’s the story you want to tell. 

Life Lesson: How will your personal story take shape as you live each day? Find ways to be creative, even if it’s as simple as drinking your orange juice out of a wine glass. No matter what you do, you can bring elements of creativity to the way you live.

Happiness is…

Think about it. You get to fill in that blank any way you want to. It’s your story. It’s your life. Be happy.

I will thank you for considering my latest books of poetry: 25 Days of Christmas, an Advent Journey and Lines, Poetry in Notion as Christmas gifts. Affordable at $7.50 plus shipping if you buy from Amazon, or you can get the books directly from me at fsharon@msn.com. Type Book Info in the subject line.


Happy Halloween

Joy Riding

Hootie tunes and shrieking screams
scary thingies in your dreams.
On this haunted, hunted night
what next on tap will give you fright?
Creeping, leaping, jumping, sneaking
is that a ghost at whom you’re peeking?
Tiptoe back, slither down the hall
when spooky phantoms on you call.
Get into a warm and comfy bed,
pull the covers o’er your head.
Sweet visions conjure into being,
ignore the specter on the ceiling.
Come out and play, he moans,
Halloween lasts but a day, he groans.
Laugh, laugh away your silly fear,
the pumpkin grin will bring you cheer.
Gliding ghouls are hosts to you
waiting, waiting, and then – BOO!


Except for the photo, this is a retread from last year. The picture was taken at a hotel in Albuquerque where the employees were having a contest for the best carved pumpkin. They were all good, but this was a stand out. It’s the one we voted for :). Have a safe Halloween.


Flower Power

Orage FlowersWhen I bought these (I think from Salman Ranch Nursery near Mora), I believe it said ‘daisy’ on the sticker. These don’t look like daisies. What you don’t see in this photo is another clump of similar flowers – mostly gone now – that have sort of striped petals. I know, weird, huh?

A walk among my container garden is a bit of a mystery tour as I try to remember what each plant is. Some I bought from the annual Las Vegas First IBA flower sale, some I got from Salman Ranch Nursery and some came from seeds or Walmart. My Morning Glories were glorious, the perfect food for all the DAMNED GRASSHOPPERS!

Okay, I’m better now.

Fresh FacesI have one pot full of grasses that are lovely shades of mauve and purple that wave jauntily in the breeze. Spikey ornamental grasses give height and symmetry to pots filled with trailing vines and succulents. Pansies poke their cheerful faces from among the tangle of foliage. My single hollyhock still has a blossom or two, but it is nodding its stalk in a bow to fall. The bright red geraniums are prettier than ever. The day lilies given to me as a birthday gift by a friend, struggle mightily. And then there is the trumpet vine that isn’t a trumpet vine but I don’t know what it is. I wanted a climber, which it is in an indifferent sort of way. What it did do was attract a lot of hummers. Yea! Of course, they’ve left the area until the return of spring. I wonder if the vine, whatever it is, will survive and come back for another season?

HollyhockI make it sound as if this is all very neat and tidy. It is not. I haven’t minded my garden in quite some time. Bob waters the pots on the city’s designated watering schedule, but my usual habit of trimming and pruning has gone by the wayside. Now everything is pretty much a tangle, but for all that, I enjoy seeing the bright sprays of color among the fading vines, stems and stalks.

I am reminded that life is a little like my garden. I have brilliant flowers among my friends and family. They are amazing. I appreciate each one of them more than they know. Sometimes I don’t tend my garden very well by giving even half as much as I get, yet I know when I need them, they will be there, poking their cheerful faces through the stalks of my busyness, spreading the warmth of their care beyond the creeping vines of my distraction.

Photos: Sharon Vander Meer




Autumn’s Favor

Chili Ristra

Come autumn, Mom couldn’t pass up
a roadside farm stand.
She had to stop, shop, buy.
The bright array of produce
– juicy apples
– plump pumpkins
– piquant chili peppers
– green and yellow squash
and more,
much better than any store.

Vibrant color,
mixed aromas of melons,
dirt from the field,
sawn wood of newly built
display stands, wobbly
yet able to bear the weight
of succulent bounty.
It made Mom grin,
and drew her in.

Chilly shopping in the open air.
Backdrop of plowed fields,
trees turning golden,
dropping leaves like confetti,
ristras glistening in the sun,
peppery red and lush,
green chilies turning in barrels
drenching the air
with the bouquet of fall,
a seasonal signal of winter’s call.

Good food
from the good earth,
to make into enchiladas,
tacos, rellanos,
beans with chicos,
cornbread sprinkled with chili
and kernels of fresh corn.
The kitchen a place of comfort
where love settled in every nook
and came in waves from the cook.

Autumn’s favor comes
in memories
of home, warmed by
the heat of an oven
baking a surprise
fresh from the field.
Memories interwoven with time,
a yearning to go back
and see my mother’s smile,
if only for a little while.

Image: clipart.com

Poetry abounds at Spot 59

People's Faire MapThe 38th Annual People’s Faire is next Saturday, Aug. 27. I will be in space 59 (see map), selling my books. Please stop by. Featured books are my latest publications, 25 Days of Christmas, an Advent Journey, and Lines, Poetry in Notion. 25 Days is in print; Lines is on order. I will be selling 25 Days and taking orders for Lines. The books are $7.50 each.

These are chap books of poetry. 25 Days of Christmas, an Advent Journey, is just that. It contains 25 poems written in the acrostic style using familiar Christmas words and phrases. Lines, Poetry in Notion is a collection of poems I’ve written on my blog or simply for the pleasure of writing.

About Lines, Poetry in Notion

Lines, Poetry in Notion

Think of how you feel about getting up in the morning to splashes of glorious color in the sky, or how you feel about your faith, your partner sleeping beside you, or the quirks of life that make you smile… or cry. That is the essence of Lines, Poetry in Notion. Poetry is for everyone. Yes, even you. It tells a story from beginning to end, in many verses or in one. It speaks to the heart and stirs the mind to contemplation or tears, or anger, or love, or any one of a dozen other reactions that invite you to explore something about yourself.

About 25 Day of Christmas, an Advent Journey

25 Da25 Days Of Christmas, An Advent Journeyys of Christmas, Poetry of the Season contains poems in the acrostic style with the first letter of each sentence based on the title. The poems were shared on my One Roof Publishing blog in December. A friend asked if the poems would be available in printed format. The seed was planted and has grown to be this small offering of celebration. Merry Christmas, Christ is born!

Books on sale, Saturday only

Finding FamilyI will also have special People’s Faire discount prices for my other books, $15 Saturday only, regularly $21.95. This is a great time to buy Finding Family.  a story of what happens to a widow whose quiet life is interrupted when her estranged niece, Annie, arrives on her doorstep with three children and a dog of questionable breeding in tow. From the moment they blow into her life on a windy fall night and Krank the dog pees on her carpet, Lilly Irish begins a life-changing journey. Annie and her children are looking for a home. Will they find it with Lilly?

Other books on sale include The Ballad of Bawdy McClure, Future Imperfect and Not Just Another Day.

What is an indie author?

Being an indie author means you are smart enough to pay for the things you can’t do, and knowing what those things are.

As an indie author I feel compelled to share a little about what that means. In these days of print on demand publishing, success isn’t marked by whether you can get a big time publisher to validate your writing by buying your book, although that is a powerful statement in itself. Success is based on how many people read your work. If you sell on Amazon, that’s easy to track, assuming your book can be found among the hundreds of thousands of titles vying for readership. Yes, it is daunting, so when I ask you to buy my book online it’s not for the money (royalties are minimal), it’s for the count, to get a sense of whether my marketing message is reaching readers. Reviews are nice, too, even a couple of lines add up to a review.

I also have my books available on consignment in Las Vegas at Tome of the Range, Tito’s Gifts and Gallery and WarDance Designs and Gallery.

So, what does it mean to be an indie author?

Being an indie author is not for the faint of heart. Listed below are a few of the things you need to know how to do if you want to give it a shot. You notice I don’t say, “If you want to be successful.” Success in writing is a crap shoot whether you are indie published or traditionally published.

  • Come up with an interesting idea.
  • Write the story.
  • Edit. Revise. Edit. Revise. Edit. Revise.
  • Format the book for publication.
  • Create a book cover.
  • Upload to the publisher.
  • Get the galleys or a proof copy of the book.
  • Proof read THOROUGHLY!
  • Read. Edit. Correct. Read. Edit. Correct. Read…
  • Upload corrected copy.

And that’s just the beginning. Then you will need to promote the heck out of your book every way you can think of: press releases, book signings, posters, bookmarks, post cards, business cards, author website, tricks of the trade at Amazon, getting people to read and review your book… and anything else you can think of.

Being an indie author is truly a do-it-yourself way to get your book published. It means you are smart enough to pay for the things you can’t do, and knowing what those things are. I don’t abide by this edict, I’m too cheap, but it’s good advice anyway.

Oh, and by the way, self-publishing isn’t free, but what in life is?


Yea! New Book Published

Book CoverI just indie published a new book. 25 Days of Christmas, An Advent Journey rejoices in the birth of Christ through poetry. Words and phrases that evoke Advent, a time of expectant waiting for the Child of Wonder, inspired each poem. The accompanying scripture reflects on the promises of old, when prophets spoke of a Son, a King, a birthplace, a promise.

25 Days of Christmas, An Advent Journey contains poems in the acrostic style with the first letter of each sentence based on the title. The poems were shared on my publishing blog, www.oneroofpublish.com in December 2015. A friend asked if the poems would be available in printed format. The seed was planted and has grown to be this small offering of celebration.

Now is the time to buy this short book of poetry, which also provides a space for you to add your thoughts about the season and what it means to you. It’s a fabulous gift idea for pre-Christmas giving or as a gift for 2016. It is evergreen in that as an Advent calendar, it can be used in any year.

I am also available to talk to groups about indie publishing and, of course, about my latest book. My schedule currently is to be at Noon PagesKiwanis on June 1, and Rotary on June 28. Contact me at fsvandermeer@gmail.com if you are interested in a foray into indie publishing.

Order info:
Title: 25 Days of Christmas, An Advent Journey
Price: $7.50
Available: Online at amazon.com.
Available: Sharon Vander Meer (A discount will apply to books purchased directly from me when the purchase is for multiple copies.) When *ordering directly from me, type New Book in the subject line.


­*Shipping costs will apply on orders outside Las Vegas, NM.

I am old, but that’s okay

Amaryllis in Bloom

Every once in a while I catch my reflection in a store window and am puzzled by the stranger looking back at me. Yes, I do look at my reflection every day when I’m putting on makeup, but that’s different, that’s a feature by feature application that doesn’t require looking at the whole picture, the big picture you might say.

It’s those unexpected sightings of myself when I stop and think, “Who is that old woman?” And then the rude awakening, “Oh, right, that’s me, the girl who used to weigh 97 pounds soaking wet (yeah, that’s been a while ago), and the one with – at varying times – dish-water blonde hair, black hair, blonde hair, red hair, and now nearly entirely white hair.

Being old doesn’t bother me, maySharon Vander Meerbe because I’m blessed with good health and don’t have to deal with the issues of a failing body and wandering mind, at least not right now. I’m happy to get up in the morning and look out into the patio to find an amaryllis in full bloom that’s been around for at least 50 years, its blossoms as brilliant and showy as if sprung new from the ground for the first time. It blooms twice a year without fail, with two to three spikes bearing three or four brilliant blossoms. Oh, that as I age I continue to blossom in my own way. I hope by the end of every day I have done something that made someone smile or laugh or think.

And then there are my friends. I don’t have many, by the way, only a few. Yes, I know many people, and I treasure those relationships, but a friend is someone who will listen to you blather on and pretend what you say matters. A friend is someone who will ask you the right questions without trying to give you her version of the right answers. A friend is someone who has known you for a long time and still likes you. A friend is someone who doesn’t judge you or the choices you make. A friend is someone who knows you want an honest answer to the question, “Do these pants make me look fat?” So, yeah, the only way you have old friends is if you are getting old too.

Life in general is as happy as we each want it to be. Make a conscious choice every day to be happy. If life has taught me anything it is to be forgiving, not only of others, but of oneself as well. Carrying around the baggage of discontent can plumb wear a person out. Taking on the stress dealt out by life is a time and energy waster. Guilting over past mistakes is to allow other people or circumstances to control your life, and why would you want to do that? Try to right the wrongs you can, and trust in the Lord for the rest. I learned the hard way that I can’t make other people happy no matter how hard I try, but I can make me happy, and by doing so hopefully have a positive impact. Life Lesson 101 – Count your blessings, they far outnumber your disappointments.

So, yes, I’m old, but that’s okay. I do count my blessings, and being able to write these words and share them is one of them. Aging is more than a physical process. It is to a degree mental. I agree with columnist Doug Larson who wrote, “The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.” I can’t wait for the next snowfall. I’m ready to make my pitch.