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Arlene Rains Graber

'To write something that brings a smile or initiates thought is truly one of life's pleasures.'


Arlene has written for newspapers, magazines and Christian periodicals for over thirty years. In 2010, her first non-fiction book, Devoted to Traveling, was published by AWOC Publishers. The book traces the author's travels throughout the world. In 2011, her first novel, A Plane Tree in Provence, was released, and a Christian novel, Angel on My Shoulder, was released. In 2012, the second novel in the Plane Tree in Provence Series, The Cape Elizabeth Ocean Avenue Society, was released. All books are also available as ebooks. Look for the third novel in the Plane Tree Series to be released in early 2014.


Sep

The third novel in the A Plane Tree in Provence series has been released as an eBook – paperback coming within a couple of weeks. Sarah’s Choice: with a little help from Tuscany, is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and wherever eBooks are sold. Sarah returns home from France laded with guilt from an affair France, but determined to change her daily routine from self-centered to considerate. It isn’t easy, and her struggles are enormous mixed with the fallout from the affair. Must she always be plagued with guilt? Read what happens next to Sarah’s storybook life in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
So, the Art of Conversation continues. My dear friend, Bonnie went to Maine with me this year, and spent a week with me at the cottage. We did not travel together, and on her way home I’m guessing she spoke freely to her seat mate about Maine and the fact I was finishing a novel. Long story short, a few weeks later, I received an email from the person saying how much she enjoyed the first two books in the series and when would the third be available. When writers receive emails like this – it does wonders for their confidence level, and for me, I was so grateful that a person would take the time to send a note. Again, it is that art of conversation that can escalate reaching the unknown and amazing possibilities. Thank you Bonnie.

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Jun

The annual Maine trip was yet another huge success. My cottage was beachfront with views to awaken even a determined snoozing soul. Mornings were spent editing my WIP (third novel in the Plane Tree Series) sitting on patio with the beach no more than five feet away and the crashing sea waves providing a symphony in the background. This particular area has a wonderful Market that makes delectable lobster rolls and about anything else you would want, so lunch always a treat. Afternoons, we antiqued, shopped, visited art museums, and walked the beach. Each time I visit the area, I have to pinch myself to make sure it isn’t a dream. I was blessed to spend ten days doing all of the above and I’m glad to report that this stage of editing the book was accomplished. Now for the final final edit.

Remember, we talked about the art of conversation? On this trip, my friend, Bonnie and I gave it our all. Shoving our electronics aside, We talked to locals and tourists and gained a wealth of knowledge about the area and it’s year around citizens. We visited the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, at Ogunquit. The museum is a “must see” if you are in the area. Walking toward the museum we were amazed to see the sea beyond the front door from panoramic windows lining the back wall. Sculpture gardens, worth the admission alone, are sprawled on three sides of the museum with the sea on the fourth side. Here is the link: http://www.ogunquitmuseum.org. We only took one day trip as we were so busy with the beach, (did I say the weather couldn’t have been better) to Rockland where we found a new restaurant where each day, the owner catches his own lobster and then cooks it in the restaurant. Talk about fresh. It is The Lobsterman Restaurant, right on Maine Street.

Remember to take some time and rekindle the art of conversation – neglected, but never forgotten.

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Mar

For the past month, I’ve been spending time with a friend in the hospital. Although her illness is serious, our conversations have been inspiring. The sessions last from an hour to five hours and cover everything from dreams, personal challenges in life, interests, and even the pranks we’ve both enjoyed during our lives. Strange thing is, we’ve known each other for many years, but until now, we’ve never enjoyed each other in a deep “best friend” way. Cocktail parties, lunches and dinners with friends do not allow for one-on-one visiting and conversations are limited to superficial information. But, that said, I’m perplexed as to why we don’t make time to really talk.

Today, sitting at my desk texting my daughters, and checking email, the answer and reason became clear. Technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, and know it has opened up doors and opportunities for business and wordsmiths, not to speak of things like using my cell phone to find my daughter when shopping at Target, or whipping out that portable device to let a friend know I’m held up in traffic and will be late. I’m even guilty of arranging a night out with girlfriends by text.

As a writer, it’s easy for me to become a recluse and send messages without picking up a phone, but it doesn’t at all unleash a barrage of dialogue necessary to know how a person “really is” or what is “really” going on in their lives. Realizing that the art of conversation is slowly disappearing is startling. The last time I picked up the phone to have a meaningful conversation with a friend….actually, not sure when that was.

Still, getting an immediate answer to a question or receiving a report without waiting for the phone to ring has merits. So my thought is, maybe I can achieve a balance to both. It can only deepen my knowledge of friends and at the same time, improve my conversational skills. How about you?

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Nov

Well, it has been a long time since I’ve posted, but want everyone to know, I am doing great. Had a few setbacks from surgery but have now turned the corner. Almost have my old fighting spirit back. Back in Yoga and back walking the track. YEAH!

I believe I’ve mentioned that my seventeen-year-old grandson is a hockey player for the KC Saints. Lucky for me, his team played a tournament in Wichita two weeks ago and I attended six games. Pretty rough sport for this Nana, but he loves it and is a great player. This past weekend, I attended my nieces wedding in Kansas City. Had a wonderful time with my sister and brother along with all the other relatives. It was a non-stop party and the wedding was beautiful. Both the wedding and reception was held at The Berg which is an event venue downtown. I think the most fun was watching my eleven-year-old grandson dancing and then dancing some more. Tomorrow I will be traveling to Branson, MO with my traveling buddies, and hope to see beautiful foliage. We expect to do some shopping, attend four shows, and veg out on food and wine. The weekend of the 23rd my hockey player comes back for another game in Wichita, so looking forward to that.

The writing is going slow because I’ve changed this novel twice now and started over. Surely this will be the last time for changes. It just didn’t read right, but now I believe it flows better. Sent off an article for the Lookout magazine: “Abraham and Issac” and also two to Chicken Soup books. I continue to write for the East Wichita News also. All this has kept me really busy, but that’s how I like it.

Have a great Thanksgiving. I’ll check in after the holiday. I will be hosting my entire immediate family this year. Oh, and those of you who follow my daughter, Penny’s recovery, she is doing fine and we are hopeful for a complete recovery in the next few years. Take care, arlene

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Aug

We have had more than our share of rains this month. Currently, we have had 10.97 inches and it is only the 22nd. One more inch and we will break the long-time record for rain in August. Seems strange to not be using the sprinkler system, but added relief to my water bill.

Plagued with more health problems this past month, but after surgery just last week, I feel like I am back to my old self. So this month I have replaced the motherboard on my washer, two burners on the stove, had Roto-Rooter clear plugged water lines, and today the hot water tank exploded. Thank goodness for Frederick Plumbing, who came right out to replace the tank. Home ownership is wonderful, huh?

Obviously, my novel took a back seat this month, but happy to report I’m hard at it again. Those Cape Elizabeth Ocean Society women continue to have numerous problems and challenges. But then what forty-year-old doesn’t. Rose has exciting news for us, Penny is wading through new motherhood, Vernie is rethinking her new career choice, Wendy has reservations on all of her decisions, and Sarah….oh my whatever will that woman do with her new wrinkle to life. Of course there is another trip in this novel and off they go to Italy.

Also working on an article for the Lookout Magazine, and two for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Take care, friends. arlene

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Jul

What a nice summer we are having. We’ve had our share of tornado scares, but nothing like Oklahoma. Our weather continues to confuse with lows in the 60s and highs in the 80s. Nice. I’m just home from a wonderful vacation in Maine. I enjoyed five consecutive days with lots of writing, walks on the beach and good lobster. Then the unimaginable happened. I collapsed on the beach and suffered a TIA. Off to the hospital for three days. But the wonderful thing was that shortly after I fell, a woman saw me and came over to see if I needed help. AFter she observed things she signaled her friends to come also. Turns out they were five nurses in all and they sprang into action. Do I have a guardian angel or what. I thank God for looking out for me and my continued improvement. I love the phrase, God is Good All the Time.

Now for the update on the fourth novel. I’m about halfway finished but never fear, those edits will take some doing. I’ll run it by my critique groups, then my daughter, Shan, who is the best editor bar none on the planet, and then I’ll do the final edit. In no time, we will know what happens to Sarah and her household.

I’m staying put the rest of the summer in Wichita, but intend to go off on retreat again in October. By then, I’ll know what Sarah has decided (in the novel) and the conclusion. I write the plot as I go along and never make an outline. When I started writing novels, I made an outline, but found I never stuck with it and was always changing it. Now I just write what is in my head at the time.

Good news. Chicken Soup for the Soul has purchased another one of my stories for its Lemons to Lemonade book due out in August. You might want to pick up a copy. My story centers on my daughter Penny’s traumatic brain injury last year and how I dealt with it. Very difficult to write, but at the same time healing.

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May

This past month and a half has been awesome. My daughter, Penny finished speech therapy for this quarter and is scheduled to take a medical driving test at the Shawnee Medical Center in Kansas Center next week. Great progress there. My youngest daughter and her family took a much needed vacation to Hawaii for nine days, and my oldest daughter, Shan received a nice award from Wichita State University ( where she works) Our drought has ended and Kansas is enjoying moisture once again.

My newest book, The Cape Elizabeth Ocean Avenue Society (second in the Plane Tree in Provence series) is doing nicely in both the world of cyber space and print. Too boot, while I received two rejections for articles, also received two acceptances. Hey, I’m even, huh? The new Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspirations for Writers arrived and my contribution is on page 83. It tells the story of my first ever writing retreat to the Flint Hills in Kansas.

Just last week, I attended the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Inc. writing conference in Oklahoma City. Again, I came away with new knowledge, and most of all, lots of updated technology snippets. For my writer friends, I’ve posted a summary on the KWA website.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/KansasWritersAssociation/

I’m busy getting ready for my annual Maine retreat coming up in less than a month. I’ll post photos and maybe even an excerpt from my new novel.

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Mar

wow! Twenty-four inches of snow in February, which is the largest snowfall in history they say. We were so in need of the moisture that no one complained. My grandson loved the lost days from school and had great fun sledding, building a snow man and using his new snow board. Most of our usual appointments were canceled so I used the time to get caught up on that huge stack of stuff crammed in my “In” box.

My book sales are good but for all you readers out there who haven’t researched my new book, I’ll give a shameless plug. Check out www.amazon.com/dp/B00AHHAGCS.
I’ll have a short non-fiction story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers realeased in May this year. And if you like news articles, check out the East Wichita News this month for my lead article, “Empowering Creative Ideas” www.eastwichitanews.com and click on News. Huge thanks as always for reading.

So looking forward to spring and warm days. For the first time in a very long time I’ve been having writer’s block on the new novel. I want my character to come through her problems well without causing too much trouble for everyone else…but gotta tell you, not having much success. I guess some people just don’t learn from mistakes—do they. I think I’ll put it aside for awhile and start writing on the article soon due for The Lookout. But in the meantime, if I have a sudden brainstorm, I’ll scamper right back to Sarah’s Choice. (new novel)

Wishing all of you a happy peaceful spring and with sunshine and flowers.

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Dec

The Cape Elizabeth Ocean Avenue Society has just been published and is ready for purchase. I’ll give you a short blurb about this new novel.

The women in A Plane Tree in Provence are home from France and ready to make changes in their lives. This volume centers on Penny Wilson, owner of the Designers Pen needlework shop in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Penny lives in a large rambling home with her husband, Michael, and two sons. Life is good until Penny accidentally spots Michael with another woman. An affair? Well, she did have her arm around his shoulders. Or a harmless encounter?
Unraveling an explanation is not easy, but Penny has her friends in The Cape Elizabeth Ocean Avenue Society to lean on. While she wants her marriage to succeed, will she ever be able to forgive Michael if he is indeed having an affair. The group’s lives are intertwined with challenges. Wendy is cut from her acting job at Summer Theatre, Sarah’s decision to get back in the swing of taking care of her home and cooking goes south, Vernie is under an enormous amount of stress at the Portland Symphony, and Rose develops a fondness for the carpenter who is renovating her home.
As the weeks go by, Penny is also plagued by medical issues, which she decides are a result of her emotional state. But are they? Perhaps it is something entirely different.

And now for the updates with my family. My daughter is recovering nicely from her fall last January and is enjoying her weekly therapy sessions. She is living with me along with her dog, Peppermint, and her son shares time between Mom and Dad. It is a joy to have him around and I must say things have really picked up around my once boring household. Shan, oldest daughter, is still at Wichita State University and we see her most weekends. Carey, youngest daughter is working hard in Lawrence, Kansas running her twenty-year-old company. When not writing, I’m chauffeur to Penny and Palmer, taking yoga lessons, playing poker, or working at our church.

Currently, I’m working on the third volume in the Plane Tree Series. My goal is to have it published in early 2014. I’ve just started it and my or my, those women are all in so much mischief that I think I’ll need to tone it down a bit.

Have a blessed Christmas holiday. You might want to check my updated gallery, and yes, my hair changes color with the wind. Love and blessings to all. arlene

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Sep

Fall has finally arrived and we’ve even had rain, which fights to repair all the damage those 108 degree temperatures did to our plants and yards in the summer.

My daughter, Penny, is making steady progress, and while frustrating for her, as she would love to have this recovery thing over, we are thankful we are going forward instead of backward. She is now volunteering at her son’s school during lunch, and has a brand new computer to keep her challenged.

I’m currently on a writing retreat and my writing partner and I have made a list of five wishes for ourselves. More often than not, as we forge our efforts toward others, we forget about our own wishes. We thought this would motivate us in accomplishing even more in our lives. I won’t list them for you, but as I arrive at each wish I’ll let you know what it was. For this retreat, I found this wonderful little place in Newton, Kansas that is surrounded with beautiful gardens chock full of sculptures. It is a delightful small bed and breakfast in a once working silo. It is now on my repeat list of places to visit.

My second novel is almost ready to format and my daughter, Carey, has sent two possible choices for the cover. If I do say so, she is one talented woman. Check out her website at Tallgrass Studios, Lawrence, Kansas. Can’t wait for all of you to see my selection for the second novel in the Plane Tree series. My target date for release is October 15.

Keep your fingers crossed for me as I have several submissions out to publishers. It’s been seven months since that dreadful day in January when Penny fell down the basement stairs and our lives were changed forever. It is only now that I’ve been able to write a couple of devotionals about the experience. If published, I’ll let you know where to find them.

Until next time, arlene

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