Tuesday, May 8, 2012

NEW EPA REGULATIONS_A Lesson on How to save energy and water

NEW EPA REGULATIONS—A Lesson on how to save energy and water
            Once again the EPA has affected my life in a negative manner. I feel led to share that experience with others who may have been personally affected by the intrusion of government. At this point in time, we are all feeling it on every hand as our liberties are being snatched away one at a time. Three of the most appalling ones recently have been the closing down of children’s lemonade stands to raise money for worthy causes; the removal of Girl Scouts who were selling GS cookies on the street without a permit, and just this morning I heard they are stopping bake sales. I wonder if anyone can produce one shred of evidence that anyone was ever harmed by these activities. Do you know of anyone who was ever poisoned by children’s lemonade? Or items purchased at a bake sale? And do children really need permits to earn a little spending money, to learn to be responsible, to count money and develop honest business practices, to employ good public relations, to acquire a good work ethic? Aren’t those things we need in our country?
            Oh my, I digress. Let me get back to the EPA. This week my washing machine of 10 years “broke.” Upon calling a repair man, we learned that it would cost almost as much to fix it as it would to purchase a new one. We opted for the new one; made a trip to Lowe’s and came home with our new machine. The first full load of clothes I washed, I noticed they did not smell clean, so I washed them again. I happened to be standing by the machine when it went into the rinse cycle, so I opened the lid and was amazed to see there was not enough water to cover the clothes. After reading all the paperwork that came with it, I learned that it meets the new EPA requirements to conserve energy and water. The same amount of water comes in the rinse cycle regardless of whether it’s a light load or a heavy load. I called the store and they reminded me that they had told me that when I bought the machine. They did tell me it was energy and water efficient, but I still expected it to wash my clothes thoroughly. The clerk said they did not have any machines in the store that were any different, that all of them had to meet that requirement now. Disappointed, I returned home and began the task of learning how to make the most of this INEFFICIENT machine. Now when the rinse cycle kicks in I have to be standing by the machine, turn it back to the wash cycle and fill the machine again, then turn it back to the rinse cycle. Then I can go back to my work at the computer. Tell me please how this saves water and energy! I am using more water and more electricity and wasting a lot of time in the process.
            I have other stories of how the EPA has invaded my life and destroyed a small family business that was built to their specifications, but I’ll save that for another day when I’m truly exasperated.
            Now I want to hear your personal stories. Please leave a comment and tell us how government intrusion is affecting your life. If you’ve purchased a washing machine lately that is not energy and water “efficient,” please share the brand name with us. Lowe's said they'd take this one back if they got in any that were different.
(Good folks to do business with!--Honest, putting customers first.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Interview with Dr. Richard Leonard, author of New America

Ann: Richard, I know that you are a minister. Since you are also a writer, do you consider yourself a bivocational Pastor?

Richard: Actually, I am “retired.” Except for a few interim pastorates (most recently 2004-05), I have not been employed as a minister since 1980. I worked for Rand McNally as a transportation data analyst and retired from there in 2001 after twenty years. At different times I have also been a college professor and dean of a graduate school. Since 1993 I have done work-for-hire editing and writing from time to time, mostly through the Livingstone Corporation. But my fiction writing has always been on my own, more or less as a hobby rather than a vocation.

Ann: Tell us your educational background?

Richard: I majored in music at Illinois Wesleyan University (B.A., 1960), then attended Boston University School of Theology (S.T.B., 1963) and earned the Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (Old Testament) from Boston University (1972).

Ann: So many authors say they always wanted to write. Is writing something you have always wanted to do?

Richard: I have been writing since childhood; going through some memorabilia recently I found a story I had written as a child that my mother had saved. I won two short story awards in high school. For many years most of my writing was for academic purposes, including pieces I wrote in a college writing class and, of course, term papers for college and graduate school and my Ph.D. dissertation. I also usually wrote out my sermons when I was serving as a pastor. I started writing for hire when asked to be Scripture Editor for The Complete Library of Christian Worship (Henderson, 1993) and have continued off and on since then.

Ann: What prompted your decision to become a writer?

Richard: I never made such a decision. I have always had a penchant for creating and organizing, and writing has been part of that thrust along with other activities such as photography, composing music and web site development. When I started writing fiction it was for a specific purpose, to bring across a theological or cultural message through the medium of narrative instead of direct discussion.

Ann: What types of writing have you done?

Richard: Short stories, sermons, academic papers, theological studies, technical writing, children’s stories, novels, poetry, blogs, newspaper and web site copy, and commentary on the photos in my railroad web site (http://www.railarchive.net/).

Ann: What motivates you to write?

Richard: The creating and organizing impulse mentioned above, the furtherance of hobby interests, and the desire to propagate Christian truth as I understand it.

Ann: What kind of projects are you currently involved in?

Richard: Because we have been involved in relocating in recent months I do not have a current writing project. I am also a publisher (see www.laudemont.org/lp_books.htm) and that is an ongoing activity. I self-published my latest novel, New America, in January 2009. Also, my web site management is an ongoing project; see www.forecyte.com for the list of sites I manage, including our ministry site, http://www.laudemont.org/.

Ann: I know your wife writes poetry. Do you two ever work together on projects?

Richard: Yes, I publish the poetry magazine she edits, WestWard Quarterly (www.wwquarterly.com), and publish her poetry chapbooks. We have also shared some writing projects, such as our incomplete novel The Twilight Side of the Hill.

Ann: Where did you get the ideas for your books?

Richard: My ideas for fiction come from life experiences, from an awareness of theological or cultural issues that could be highlighted through narrative form, or from a desire to do something differently from the way it is usually done. For example, I was disturbed that Christian readers are drawn to fantasy that partakes of magic or the occult, so (together with my youngest daughter) I wrote a fantasy-adventure where the characters encounter the God of the Bible — under another name — instead of dealing with wizardry.

Ann: Which of your books has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

Richard: I think Heart of the Highriders (mentioned above) gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment because it was co-written with my daughter, Charity Silkebakken (see www.haxbooks.com).

Ann: How do you come up with characters? Do you have some type of form that you fill out to plan for your characters and their characteristics?

Richard: My characters are usually modeled after people I have known, picking up major traits or combining traits from several people into one character. Often I have “written myself” into one or more characters. In my latest novel, for example, I identify with at least two characters who have traits similar to mine.

Ann: Are you a “fly by the seat of your pants” writer or do you plot everything before you start writing?

Richard: I have a general working concept of where the story needs to go, but as it develops I add twists and turns I had not thought of before. For example, in Heart of the Highriders I had not planned to have one of the “villain” characters turn out to be the secret illegitimate son of a major good character. And in New America it was an afterthought to make one of the characters a handicapped person, adding to the novel’s diverse cast of characters.

Ann: Let’s talk about your latest book, New America. You had some interest for this book from a traditional publisher, didn’t you? Why did you decide to self-publish?

Richard: There was one “feeler” from a standard publisher but after they considered the proposal they turned it down. I do not write according to the contemporary template for Christian fiction, so I could never find a publisher or even an agent that would take it on. I decided to self-publish to get the project behind me, and just give away the inventory if I had to.

Ann: When I read New America I thought it was a very fitting book for today’s culture. What have others said about it?

Richard: It has not had enough distribution to receive much feedback. Those I have given it to are mostly friends or family, so of course most of the feedback is favorable.

Ann: Will there be another book by Dr. Richard Leonard?

Richard: Hopefully, after we are resettled, Shirley Anne and I will have another look at The Twilight Side of the Hill, which has been on hold. But that remains to be seen, and perhaps something else will materialize.

Ann: I hope you and Shirley Anne will finish The Twilight Side of the Hill. I have read what you have written of that book and I think it has appeal for young adults who want to know what life was like for their parents/grandparents. In a way, it's a historical fiction for the mid-twentieth century.

What would you like to say to a struggling, unpublished author?

Richard: Write because you love writing and need to create in order to be fulfilled. Try to do something different from what other writers are doing; avoid writing to a template or fitting into a mold. Do not expect anyone else to be eager to publish or promote your book, because others are involved with their own interests and preferences and are may not view your work as fitting into their scheme. Write because it’s fun and because it’s “what you do,” not because you could make any money from it. If recognition and remuneration come, that is the “icing on the cake,” but it is up to the Lord whether or not it comes.

Ann: Do you have other special interest or hobbies?

Richard: Some have been mentioned above. Classical and sacred music have been major interests, and I have composed choral and instrumental works although my only instrument is the flute. From childhood I have followed my father’s railroad hobby and maintain a web site based on photographs of steam locomotives I took in the 1950s (www.railarchive.net/rlsteam), along with other railroad-related web site work and activities. Some of my scenic photography is on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84519464@N00/). Occasionally I build furniture items, such as bookcases, for our grandchildren (of which we have 25), or for our own use. I build web sites using straight HTML and CSS coding (no templates or third-party programs).

Ann: What is your favorite “get away from it all” day?

Richard: I do not have such a day because it would make me nervous to be “getting away” from all the things I need to be doing! I am most relaxed and at peace when creating, and bringing order out of disorder. (My middle daughter calls me “the king of organization.”)

Ann: Thank you so much for sharing with us, Richard. Readers are always interested in learning about the writer from a personal viewpoint. And who better to tell us about that, than the author himself.


Okay, folks, here’s the good news! For the next ten weeks, Richard will give away a copy of New America to a lucky reader.All you have to do is leave a comment each week.You may enter every week, but you can only win once. If you win a copy of his book, Richard would like feedback from you about the book. So leave a comment right now and take a chance on winning a copy of New America. Thanks again, Richard, for making the book available on “Write Pathway Where Writers and Editors Get Together. http://www.write-pathway.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

I am greatly disappointed in your decision to help the world abort
unborn babies. I do remember during your campaign that you
pledged your support to "Planned Parenthood." What I don't
understand is what rule/law gives you the right to sign an
executive order to use my tax dollars for your special interests?
Please explain that to Americans who believe change is needed,
but not the way you are going about it by killing millions more

My husband and I pray daily for God to send someone to find
a cure for Cancer. Then I recall the bloody scourge against
our unborn babies in American and I say to myself, "Maybe
God did send someone to find a cure for cancer and people
like our president allowed them to be aborted." Does anyone
in your family have cancer or altzheimers or AIDS or some
other serious incurable disease? Wouldn't you like to give
God a chance to help us by providing a solution to this problem?

The leftists cry out for the rights of women to choose life or
murder by abortion, but the unborn child has no voice.
Who will cry out for his rights? Women do have a choice
and they make that choice when they decide to be a
consenting partner in the sexual act. As I understand it,
your mother was deserted and left alone. What if she had
chosen to have an abortion? Then this great moment in
history would not have happened with you as our president.

You say you know Jesus, but I am trying hard to understand
what you mean by that. What I am seeing is that you are
a part of the anti-God movement in America. Please, please
don't do this to America, Mr. President. And please don't
use my hard earned money to kill more babies.

In the future, please keep in mind that the unborn child
is precious in the sight of God and that it is wrong to take
an innocent life. If you do believe in Jesus, say so. The
Bible says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so." (Ps. 107:2)
Let's hear it from you, President Obama--in word and in deed.
Join your voice with mine and millions of others who are crying
out for the rights of the unborn child.

Thank you for allowing me to e-mail you and express my
concerns about this matter.

Desiring a better America with all my heart,
Ann S. Knowles
Freelance Writer, Editor, Speaker