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Friday, October 21, 2011

Big Fat Cedar Woman Give Away

Hello, my friends.  It's been a while since I started the give away and you all have been extremely patient.  I would like to ask one more favor of you.  Could you please go to http://apps.debrashiveleywelch.net/blog/ and sign up there.  Simply post a comment saying, "I'm in!"

I need to free up this blog for interviews.  That said, if any of you would like to be interviewed about your blogs, your web site, business, poetry, etc., please let me know.

Thanks so much.  The contest will commence after the holidays.

I apologize for the delay in the commencement of the contest, but an avalanche of work (I've been made a partner in Saga Books) and health complications have eaten away my time.  I will have this all sorted out by January 1.  In the mean time, please send me your snail mail addresses to DebraSWelch@aol.com and put in the subject line "My Snail Mail Address."

Again, thank you all a hundred fold for your patience.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Big Fat Cedar Woman Give Away

Click  to Vew Book Trailer

Now is the time to participate in my

Big Fat Cedar Woman Giveaway!


The rules are simple.

Buy a copy of Cedar Woman and begin to read. Cedar Woman is available through Amazon and Barns&Noble. Use the comment feature below to register simply by posting somthing like, "I'm in," and emailing me privately at DebraSWelch@aol.com with the first sentence of chapter one.

I will announce a week ahead of when the contest will begin.

There will be a prize for every chapter. Each prize is of the same value, or more, as the book.

A question will be asked from each chapter. Those who answer correctly (through private email to me) will be put into a hat and the winner drawn.

Good luck!

Prizes include authentic Native American jewelry complete with certificates of authenticity

An authentic powwow shawl
Native American hair ornament
A new, never opened Logitech Web Cam

And more.

The prize for chapter one will be a set of Nigella Lawsons measuring cups. A $35.00 value.
Nigellia's cups small

  • Practical and attractive measuring cups
  • Set of 4 different sized cups
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Made of tactile stoneware
  • Cup sizes - 250 ml, 125 ml, 80 ml and 60 ml
  • A $35.00 value!

I also use them as prep bowls and vessels for holding condiments.

Sign up today for my Big Fat Cedar Woman Giveaway!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interview With Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Martineau - Muddy River Powwow

Hello, Julie. Thank you for visiting us again.
You are preparing for a powwow this June. Could you tell us about it?

Julie: Where do I start.... first, I invest in a LOT of valium and a nice comfy straight jacket, breathe deep, and say "let the insanity begin!" KIDDING!

There is a LOT that goes in to running a powwow, and most people have no idea as to what goes on behind the scenes. We are very fortunate with the Farmington Iowa powwows in that we have a static location available for us to use, and we have a wonderful team of volunteers to help lighten the load.

About 6 months before a powwow, I try to make sure that I have grant applications out, that my Host Drum and Head Staff are in place, and I have volunteers available. I also start listing the event on online powwow sites. We are starting to get serious about fundraising, and soliciting donations for the event, and finding places to store everything.

A couple of months before the date, there are a lot of emails and phone calls from dancers, the Drums, vendors, and my Head Staff to make sure that everything is on track, and answering inquiries from the public, dancers, and vendors. We are also constantly fundraising like mad, trying to make sure that we have enough money to cover the expenses involved.

This close to the powwow, (we are just about 3 weeks out) I have to make sure that we have everything we will need in place for a successful powwow, such as money, volunteers, food, water, the sound system, the arena markers, event t-shirts, tobacco, donations for the Give Away, etc.

We are having weekly meetings to get updates on everything that is happening, and things are going to get crazier in the next couple of weeks. I will be going down to the powwow grounds the day before the event to set up our tipis, and to map out vendor spaces, as well as being on hand for any early birds, and to help with whatever needs to be done. We will also be setting up the arena, and getting the grounds ready in general. And I promise that my phone will be ringing non-stop the entire event!

On Friday we will be having a pot-luck/carry in, and I have to make sure that that is set up and ready to go, and then on Saturday I have to make sure that my volunteers are on hand to sell frybread as a fundraiser, and to cook the evening meal that the powwow committee will be sponsoring, and making sure that things run smoothly.

Hope this answers your question!

DSW: For those of my readers who are not NdN (preferred spelling of Indian by Native Americans), could you please explain who the Host Drum is?

Julie: The Host Drum is usually the first Drum group that is invited to a powwow, and fees vary from Drum to Drum. Our host has been The Night Eagle Singers from Kenosha Wisconsin. This Drum knows a LOT of the older songs that fell out of favor for a while, and have been gaining in popularity again.

DSW: Julie, why is fundraising important for the event? And where can people donate?

Julie: Most powwows are non-profit events, and with the economy tightening up, grants and other forms of endowments are harder to come by. Also, there is a LOT of competition for these types of events as there just are not a lot of grants available.

Our powwows operate under a parent organization that has their 501(c)(3) status, so any and all donations are eligible for a tax break on behalf of the donors, in addition to my co-chair and myself sinking a LOT of our own money into the events to help cover expenses. Our parent organization does not have a lot of funding available for the powwow, so it is important that we pay our own way to have an event.

A traditional (non-contest) powwow can cost up to $20,000, so fundraising and donations are very important! Our bi-annual events generally run a little less than $5,000 for each event (June and October), and we generally pay for them through charitable donations and non-stop fundraising, as well as contributing cash from our own pockets.

The community where the powwow grounds are located is a very rural area in South Eastern Iowa that depends heavily on tourism as well as being a farming community, and the area has been hard hit by the economic crash. So, donations from outside the area are more important than ever!

We will be accepting free will donations for the duration of the event, as well as having ongoing fundraisers such as a food stand, cold drinks, event t-shirts, 50/50 drawings, etc. and your readers can contact me via email at spottdeaglehorse@aol.com for more information on making a tax exempt donation. Any amount, no matter how small, is welcome as we do have two events a year.

DSW: Why is tobacco important to the powwow?

Julie: Tobacco is generally given to someone as a gesture of respect, and also to show that you are serious about something when making a request of someone.

Tobacco is considered to be a sacred thing to Native peoples. An old proverb is that tobacco smoke is the breath made visible and that it is the visible representation of one's prayers going to the Creator.

I don't know how else to explain it.... Tobacco is given to someone as a gesture of respect, such as an Elder or a Holy Man/Medicine Man, Drum Keeper or Head Staff. It is given to someone when asking for a favor, or when asking for something important like Ceremony.

It is also given when issuing an apology to someone, or when showing a serious intent, such as asking for a mediator in a dispute.

Tobacco is offered to dancers to take in to the Arena with them, and at Ceremony for the participants to offer prayers.

In our case, in addition to a blanket and a cash honorarium, we give tobacco to the Host Drum, our Head Staff, Jr. Head Staff, certain Elders, and key persons such as the Arena Director and Emcee. This shows our appreciation for the services that they provide for the duration of the event, and as a gesture of respect.

DSW: There is certainly a lot of preparation ahead of time. What would you compare a powwow to?

Julie: Hmmm.... good question.... I would have to say the closest I could get would probably be a combination of a Broadway show, rock concert, family reunion and dance recital, all rolled into one. The public comes to see a show, and to experience a little bit of our culture, and of course to shop. The dancers are there to show off, and to celebrate our culture. In certain cases, there are dancers out there who follow certain "name" drums all over the country, much as a groupie would follow a rock band from concert to concert.

DSW: Are there many family reunions during these events?

Julie: Yes and no. We joke that a powwow is a Native family reunion, and joke about something called "skinship." Skinship is when you put two Natives together at an event, and they will figure out how they are related, usually within 10 minutes or so, regardless of whether or not they are actually related, LOL! It gives us a chance to visit with old friends, and family that we may or may not have seen for a time.

DSW: What if some of my readers wish to attend this or any powwow…what are the basic forms of etiquette – the dos and don’ts when attending a powwow.

Julie: There are a LOT of great websites that actually do cover proper etiquette.... But the basics are as follows:

1) Dress and act appropriately. Hot pants, halter tops, swimwear, profanity and 'making out' have no place at powows. If you are going to dance anything other than open intertribals, wear your regalia. Remember to respect yourself, and the dancers.

2) Pointing with the fingers is considered poor manners by some nations. If you must point, use your head and nod in the direction you wish to indicate.

3) The seating around the Arena is reserved for dancers in regalia. Seats with blankets, shawls or regalia items on them are taken and should not be bothered. Do NOT sit on someone else's blanket unless invited. Uncovered seats are considered available.

4) Pets should be left at home. The Arena is a sacred place from the time it is blessed until the powwow is over. At no time should pets be allowed in the Arena.

5) Listen to the Master of Ceremonies. He will announce who is to dance and when. Most powwows conduct intertibals in which the public may participate. Check with the Arena Director for more information, or listen to the emcee.

6) Pictures should NOT be taken during Veterans Songs, Flag Songs, Prayers or any other time announced by the Master of Ceremonies. If you wish to photograph a dancer in regalia, ask first. If the picture is for publication or commercial use, that should be explained before the picture is taken.

7) Respect the Head Man and Head Woman dancers. Their role entitles them to start each song or set of songs. Please wait until they have started to dance before you join in. In some traditions, it is considered improper to pass the Head Man or Woman Dancer within the Arena.

8) Show respect to the Flag, Honor and Veterans songs by standing until the song is completed.

9) Some songs require that you be familiar with the routine or have special eligibility rules in order to participate. Trot dances, snake, buffalo, etc. require particular steps or routines. Veterans’ dances may be restricted to veterans, combat veterans, or in some cases the relations of veterans. If you are not familiar with a particular dance, observe and learn. Watch the Head Dancers to learn the procedures.

10) The Flag Song, or Indian National Anthem, is sung when the American Flag is raised or lowered. Please stand and remove hats during the singing of this song. It is not a song for dancing. Pictures are not allowed during these songs.

11) Most powwows are non-profit and depend upon donations, raffles, blanket dances, etc. for support. Donations are encouraged as a way to honor someone. Any participant can drop money onto the blanket to aid in the powwow expenses.

13) Certain items of religious significance should be worn only by those qualified to do so. Respect the traditions. NEVER intentionally touch another dancer’s regalia, person, feathers, or property without permission.

14) Giveaways, attributes of Indian generosity, are held at many dances. They are acknowledgments of appreciation to recipients for honor or service given to the people. When receiving a gift, the recipient thanks everyone involved in the giving.

15) If you wish to ask for a special song from a drum, talk to the Arena Director first and make sure the Master of Ceremonies is informed. It is traditional to make a gift (monetary or otherwise) to the Drum for special requests.

16) Before sitting at a drum, ask permission from the Head Singer. Do not touch a drum without permission. This especially applies to women! Most Drumming is traditionally a male only occupation, and a woman sitting at the drum can cause grave offense.

17) If at any time you are uncertain of procedure, etc., please check with the Emcee, Arena Director, or Head Singer. They will be glad to help you with your questions.

18) Unless you are sure spectator seating will be provided, bring a chair. Remember that the seating immediately around the Arena is for dancers only.

19) Alcohol, recreational drugs and firearms are prohibited at most powwows.

20) If you see a lost feather, or you yourself drop a feather, do NOT pick it up. Notify the nearest Veteran, the Head Veteran, Head Man Dancer or Arena Director immediately.

21) Before dancing barefoot, speak with the Arena Director. At some events this may only be done by Sundancers, who are usually known to the organizers.

22) In some places it is okay for adults to dance while carrying infants or small children. In other places this is considered contrary to local etiquette. Ask before doing so.

23) If you have a question, ask. Most dancers, singers, elders and staff are happy to help. Offer a cold drink or other small, symbolic gift to those who help you.

DSW: Julie, I remember at one powwow a church rang its bells through a lot of the powwow and some people picketed stating that this was a "heathen" event. What would you like to say to those people?

I forgive you.

DSW: Thank you, Julie. As usual, you are informative, kind and patient.

Interviewer's Note: I would like to say one thing. Before anyone decides to picket or berate another group’s traditions, they should find out about the event first. A powwow is no different from an Irish, Italian or Greek Festival, for instance. The powwow is a gathering of a people who are trying to preserve their traditions, songs and dances, reunite with friends and family who they possibly haven’t seen since the last powwow, to buy from and admire the various artisans who are offering their wares and to enjoy the delicious food offered at the food stands.

The Muddy River Powwow is on Facebook:


Julie, again, wopila – thank you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Feelings About Angel Lost - Marilyn Meredity

Writing Angel Lost was so much fun. The story is very different from any of the other books in the series. Much of the story comes from Officer Stacey Wilbur’s point of view who is finalizing the plans of her wedding to Detective Doug Milligan. She’s given the job of catching a flasher who is targeting women jogging on the beach. Thoughts of the coming wedding take her mind of the task at hand.

Stacey and Doug’s romance has grown through the last books in the series and the only roadblock seems to be moving Doug’s renter, Officer Gordon Butler out of Doug’s house so Stacey and her son can move in.

Meanwhile, an angel has appeared in a downtown store window drawing larger and larger crowds to the scene each night. Officer Zachary and the new guy, Officer Vaughn Aragon are assigned to keep the peace. Though they don’t realize it, they have something in common.

Though all the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels are mysteries, my main goal has always been to show how the job affects the family and what goes on with the family affects the job and that is something that truly influences Angel Lost.

The angel in the window was inspired by something that actually happened in a neighboring town. In fact, for several weeks on my way to and from my writing critique group, I drove past the crowds around a store window where people saw the image of an angel. Finally it was figured out that a reflection from a light across the street was responsible. You’ll have to read Angel Lost to find out about the angel I wrote about.

Angel Lost is available from Amazon under the name F.M. Meredith and from my website if you’d like an autographed copy.   http://fictionforyou.com

Marilyn Meredith


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Interview With Julie Spotted Eagle Horse

I'm so happy that we can do this together.

First of all, tell us a little about yourself: where you were born, and your life now.

Julie: I was born in South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge reservation; I now live in South East Iowa, in a small, rural community called Mediapolis, where I live with my husband Matthew, and my youngest son, Logan.

DSW: Where did you get your Native American names?

Julie: Good question! It is not something that you can just decide for yourself, nor can you approach anyone and ask for a name. A name has to be earned.

A part of the process is that you have to go to Ceremony, and have the person who is naming you, pray about it for a long while before a name is given, because when someone gives you a name, that gives them power over you. It also creates an obligation. When you are asked to name someone, you take on almost a familial responsibility for that person, because you are going to the Spirits on their behalf.

My "ordinary" name is TaSunka Wakan Wambli Gleska, which means "Spotted Eagle Horse," which is actually a man's name.... it was given to me in ceremony, and is partially based on a vision, and partially on my familial names.

My father calls me "Pisko" or "Pisko Onwaste" which means "Night Hawk" or "Gentle Night Hawk," which is his pet name for me, and I have no idea where that came from.

I am not comfortable talking about my medicine name in this format, I hope you will forgive me... to me it is a very sacred thing, and the circumstances behind it are also special, and I would rather not go into detail about it.

DSW: That is understandable, and as always, I respect your wishes.

You were my consultant on Cedar Woman. Why, aside from being my sister, did you want to take on such a big project?

Julie: As a Native woman, I wanted to address and dispel some of the more common misconceptions and stereotypes about Native peoples, and to let people know that we are still living within viable and vibrant cultures.

DSW: While writing Cedar Woman, I learned that the sweat lodge is sacred. Why is this so, and what are the taboos about sweat lodge regarding publishing?

This is what I was taught: these things are sacred; they are not to be shared via the written word. They are to be passed on, either verbally or through practical application of the ceremony with The People. And, as parochial or strange as it may sound, we do feel that there are those who will want to use these things to harm others, or for their own financial gain, and that is not the way these things should be used.

A good example is the tragedy that happened in Arizona, where all of those whites died in the so called "sweat lodge" that some white guy was charging upwards of $2,000 per person for! He was twisting our sacred ways and mixing them with New Age philosophies that have nothing to do with our Native ways, and as a result, others paid the price.

It is not that I feel that you are unworthy of this knowledge, but rather it is more of a way of protecting our traditions, while sharing as much as I can with them.

There ARE books out there that purport to "share" our secrets, but a lot of them are slanted, and are intended not for education, but rather for the writers own financial gain. The exception to this would be the books by Black Elk, as he gives basic knowledge, but also protects our traditions.

And something very important for your readers to know, you should NEVER pay for ceremony!

DSW: What else in Cedar Woman is sacred that had to be "managed" by you before publication?
Julie: There were a lot of references to sacred things, that for Native peoples, in a lot of ways, are a part of daily life, and yet it is not appropriate to share them through this medium. A good example is the Wiping of the Tears Ceremony, another is a Healing Ceremony. Again, it is not that I think that you are unworthy of this knowledge, but rather it is straddling that fine line between sharing just enough, but still protecting our ways.

DSW: Julie, I understand that the ceremonies of the people are very sacred. Tell us then, why you gave your permission for me to represent them in Cedar Woman.

Julie: I felt that you could present our beliefs and ceremonies in such a way that your readers could get the gist of what happens, without crossing over the boundaries of what CAN be shared.

If I did not trust you, or think that you could do this, I would not have allowed you to print anything about our ceremonies.

DSW: Thank you again, Julie. It has been such an incredible honor, and I have enjoyed it thoroughly.

Are you pleased to educate the public about the Lakota way of life? If so, why?

Julie: I am very proud of who I am, and where I come from. I am very humbled and honored to be able to share these ways with non-native peoples.

DSW: Are you finding people receptive to your efforts?
Julie: Most people do not take me too seriously when they first meet me, because even though I am Native, I have just enough white blood to make you doubt my honesty,  Once we get passed the initial skepticism, then most people are willing to listen.

DSW: Are The People growing more or less interested in preserving the old ways? If more, why?

Julie: I have been seeing a growing trend among Native Nations to hold on to our old ways, and to share them with the next generation. This is a good thing! A lot of schools have classes where the children are only allowed to speak their Native languages. Some of the colleges now offer courses in Native culture and language.

DSW: Are your children interested in their traditions?

Julie: Yes and no. They are interested in some of the traditions, and my son has started to attend powwows and Ceremony with me, but they do not take it as seriously as I wish they would.

DSW: What is the most important thing about your life/culture that you want others to know?

Julie: That we are still here: that we, as Native peoples, are still living, viable, and enjoy rich cultures that exist outside of history books or bad westerns .

DSW: How have things improved / regressed in the past few years?

Julie: Right now, our worst problems are alcoholism, gangs, drugs, lack of infrastructure, financial shortages, and chronic unemployment. I don't know how many well meaning groups I have seen come in with the intention of trying to improve things on the rez, then they run out of money or loose interest, and they are gone. They are trying to work against our culture, and they could do better by working with our culture, and investing in us for the long term.

DSW: What would you like to see happen in the near future?

I would like to see alcoholism, gangs, and drug addiction treatment and prevention programs be instituted, as well as our health care industry improved on the rez.

DSW: What do you believe the future of your people to be in your neck of the woods / in the country as a whole?

Julie: I think that we, as Native peoples, will continue to thrive, and flourish, despite all obstacles.

DSW: Do you have any projects in the near future?

Julie: Right now I am chairing and actively fundraising/writing grants for two powwows that are held in Farmington, Iowa

DSW: Julie, in Cedar Woman, I mention that you make jewelry. Tell us about your work, and what participants in the upcoming raffle can hope to win.

Julie: Per your request, I made up some one of a kind pieces of jewelry that are based on traditional designs, and made using traditional materials. These items include a one of a kind loop necklace that is made using dentalium shells, and pony beads that was based on an old design that is still in use today! Other items include a macaw feather scalp drop, and various styles of earrings.

I am also working on a t-shirt line, based on my frybread company, called "The Darkside Frybread Company."

For my jewelry, I love to use materials that have interesting shapes and textures, such as amber, magnesite, turquoise, bone, porcupine quills, seed beads, dentalium and cowrie shells, and howlite.

One of my favorite things is to see a piece at a powwow, study it, and then copy it at home for myself. I have saved myself a LOT of money that way,

I also try to honor my ancestors by recreating traditional designs, and using traditional materials. For me, it is a way to connect with my past, and to express my Native side.

Living in the "white world," there is so much pressure to conform to societal norms, and for me at least, this is a way to express myself.

I do not limit myself to just jewelry though. I also do bead work using traditional materials such as brain tanned leather, and seed beads in old style colors, as well as working in rawhide, earth pigments, hide glue, and feathers.

DSW: Thank you, Julie.  This has been fascinating.  I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to help those of us outside of your culture to understand the ways of our first settlers.

Julie's beautiful and one-of-a-kind jewelry can be seen at the following web address:


Saturday, January 29, 2011

AllBooks Review - "Cedar Woman"

Genre: Fiction
Title: Cedar Woman
Author: Debra Shiveley Welch

Cedar Woman, by Debra Shiveley Welch, is the entertaining story of a young woman: Lena Cedar Woman Young Bear, who is a daughter of the Lakota Sioux. We first meet Lena as she performs a cleansing ceremony on her restaurant – Cedar Woman – the first high-end Native American restaurant in Central Ohio. 
“Facing the west, she extended the smoking bowl and intoned: ‘Grandfather of the West, this is Cedar Woman, I ask that you keep my feet true and on the Good Red Road. I ask that you guide me on this day, and all days, so that I may continue on this path. I ask that you help in my daily life. Mitakuye oyasin, we are all related.’”
As a young child, Lena sees a hummingbird caught in a spider’s web and proceeds to set it free. This is no ordinary child, the town agrees, as the bird then seems to follow her around.
Cedar Woman is the story of Lena’s life as she journeys from her home as a young girl to Columbus, where chance encounters lead her to her life’s true path – that of an extraordinary woman.
Fully researched, filled with plenty of facts about Native American life and references to actual ceremonies and Native American Prayers, Cedar Woman knows of which it speaks. Written authoritatively in a poetic image-filled manner, this story draws pictures for you of peoples’ lives and interactions, masterfully showing that, in the end, we are what we were in the beginning”  “Mitakuye oyasin, we are all related.”
As a delightful bonus, included with the book are recipes of many of the foods mentioned in the story, including Fried Deer Liver, Cowichcan Candy (salmon/maple syrup and brown sugar candy), and Buffalo Stew featuring wild turnips.
To help in the use and translation of the Native American language used in the book, Welch also includes a dictionary with the meaning and phonetics. There are three dialects in the Lakota language and there is no standardized spelling. Welch chose the spelling and pronunciation of the words in keeping with the dialect of her sister, Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Martineau, who is of the Lakota Plains Native Americans.
Finally, it is worth noting that a percentage of royalties are donated to "Operation Smile."
Fully entertaining, Cedar Woman is a story that reaches far beyond the boundaries of its pages.
Reviewer: Wendy Thomas, Allbooks Reviews. www.allbooksreviewint.com
Title: Cedar Woman
Author: Debra Shiveley Welch
Publisher:  Saga Books http://www.SagaBooks.net
ISBN: 9781897512
Pages: 179
Price: $15.95
For more information: http://www.DebraShiveleyWelch.net

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cedar Woman

Cedar Woman is finally out after two years of intensive research, and a lot of fun in the writing. Launching a book is like raising a child in many ways: you have great hopes, are very proud, and worry about how it will survive out there in the big, wide world.

Paramount in my creating Cedar Woman was the wish to, not only write a book that my readers will enjoy reading again and again, but the desire to represent The People, the Lakota Sioux, with all respect, and with absolute truth to the best of my ability. I also wanted to show that their customs, beliefs and desires are universal in many ways, and deserve the respect any people deserve. To be able to write about these things intelligently, and with honor, I had to immerse myself into their culture as much as possible.

My sister, Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Martineau, was invaluable in the process of researching and understanding The People as far as their culture, beliefs and ceremonies were concerned. She spent endless hours on the phone with me and wrote many emails explaining everything from, what it is like to be struck by lightning, to how to build a sweat lodge.

With Julie’s help, I also learned a lot of the Lakota language. I’ve always loved listening to and learning new languages, and speak some Spanish and read a little French. Now I was learning yet another, word-by-word, and enjoying the flavor of the words of the Lakota Plains Native American, or NdN as The People prefer.

I had personally been through an Hunkapi, or Making of Relatives Ceremony, a Naming Ceremony, Sweat Lodge and Wopila or Thank You ceremony, and could draw from those experiences, but living in Central Ohio as I do, I needed to get to know my heroine, Lena Cedar Woman as well as I knew myself.

To get started, I set up character sheets. To make them come alive to my readers, my characters had to be living, breathing people to me.

On each sheet I wrote the character's name, appearance (hair, eye color, height, build), when and where they were born and when key things happened to them. Also included were likes, dislikes, any hobbies, quirks, basic personality, etc. They were ongoing reference sheets. That is, when something key happened to them, I added what it was, and when, and any other information I would need to be able to refer back to it.

I based my characters on people I knew or knew of. For instance, Michael Young Bear was based, physically, on Christopher Reeve, and Lena Cedar Woman on my cousin Vicki. I described Vicki to a tee when describing Lena, except for her anomaly, which I can’t divulge here. :-)

Logan was based on my sister Julie’s son Logan and my son Chris, rolled in to one, and Sonny Glass was based on the wonderful actor, whom I’ve had a crush on most of my life, Clint Walker.

Locations were taken from places I’d been. For instance, Lena’s condo is the condo I lived in before I married. Her house in Westerville is my house. Restaurants and apartments are all from buildings that I am familiar with from my childhood until now.

Then came the outline. It wasn’t carved in stone, but it gave me a road map. I also inserted dates on the outline because it can be so easy to get lost and mess up your dates, ages, etc.

Once the book began to take shape, I got a writing partner – a woman who was willing to invest a lot of time with me discussing the project: the characters, for instance, what they would wear, how they felt, how they would react to something or someone: like gossip, without consequences. Since I help her with her projects, this makes for a very comfortable relationship since we know each other’s writing styles intimately.

Research begun, characters created and documented, a few hours on the phone with my writing partner, outline written, I began to write. (I write sequentially as a general rule.)

As I finished each chapter, my partner read it, looking for typos, punctuation, spelling, grammatical errors, and as the story progressed, continuity. Did I forget to check one of my references pages and mess up a date? Did I decide to change the age of a character in chapter four and forget to go back and change it in chapters one - three? That sort of thing.

I remember the first time I read Barbara Taylor Bradford's Hold The Dream, the sequel to A Woman of Substance - one of my favorite books. I was a little disappointed when I read, "being identical twins," when referring to Paula's babies. Either this was a major brain burp, or at one point in writing the book, Ms. Bradford had the children as both boys or both girls. Somewhere she apparently changed her mind, making one a boy and one a girl, and forgot to change the identical twin reference. It taught me a valuable lesson and it is one of the reasons I have a writing partner. Had I been Ms. Bradford's, the mistake would have been caught. Okay, well one can dream, can't they!

Once the book was completed, I again edited, and then I edited, and then I....edited. When that was completed, I found three volunteers to read the book. Their reward being that they don't have to buy the book to enter the raffle and win prizes which is coming up in March.

One looks simply for punctuation, one for spelling and grammar and one for continuity and ambiguity. (I know what I was saying, does the reader?)

Before I began writing, and then half way through the book, I traveled to powwows, where Native Americans of different tribes gather to celebrate their culture, dance and beliefs, with my sister, Julie Spotted Eagle Horse, or Spot as her friends call her. Stepping into the arena to dance was very intimidating. I don’t like being the center of attention, yet there I was, dancing unfamiliar steps, while at the same time, trying to show deep respect. It was a good time, and I learned a lot. I made many new friends with whom I remain in touch, experienced new foods, admired endless adorable babies, and witnessed the devotion the dancers have, not only for the style of dance they have chosen, such as hoop, jingle and traditional, for instance, but their regalia as well, which includes patterns and beading handed down for generations.

When finished, I was proud of my creation. I truly believe that I wrote something which is good and true, respectful and admiring. It is truly a good representation of a people whom I admire with all of my heart.

Still, the heart of Cedar Woman is about Lena Cedar Woman, her trials and sorrows, her triumphs and joys, and her ability to stand up to tragedy, move forward, and change the lives and fortunes of the people she loves.

It is, at heart, a romance: Cedar Woman’s love for her parents, her mentor, her career and her half-side – her true love. I believe that I have instilled some sweetness, along with the strength that Cedar Woman possesses, and I know that I have proven that Mitakuye Oyasin: We Are All Related.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cedar Woman Released

Best Selling Author Releases Her New Novel, Cedar Woman

Cedar Woman by Debra Shiveley Welch takes readers into the heart of a modern day heroine.

January 13, 2011 - Readers should proceed with caution if they plan to read at a leisurely pace. The newly released novel, Cedar Woman, by Debra Shiveley Welch is a page-turner that grabs the reader and keeps them there until the last satisfying word is finished.

In a review of the book, Janet Huderski, Queens, New York states “Although we share this nation with a people who lived here long before we arrived, few of us get to experience the beauty and reverence of the beliefs and customs of the original settlers in the up close Debra Shiveley Welch presents this for us in this, her newest novel…the highly entertaining, heart-warming tale of the fascinating, Lena "Cedar Woman" Young Bear and her family, makes this a book that's an experience as well as a story.”

Lena travels to Columbus, Ohio at age 12 after tragedy befalls her family. It is here, in the capital city, that a chance encounter leads her to her destiny and allows her to change the lives and fortunes of those she loves. A true romance, Cedar Woman combines all the elements of an endearing and powerful women’s fiction novel with the traditions and language of the Lakota Sioux.

For those readers who enjoy an intelligent, strong and insightful heroine, Cedar Woman does not disappoint. From the first page to the last word of Debra’s newest offering, Cedar Woman, the reader is immersed in the story as if they are walking within the pages themselves.

A master storyteller and bestselling author, Debra Shiveley Welch has won numerous awards for her previous works, including Allbooks Review’s Editor’s Choice 2010 for her nonfiction book Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher.

Ms. Welch resides on a beautiful private lake in Westerville, Ohio with her husband Mark of 24 years and their son Christopher. She is at present working on her next novel, Ista Numpa, the sequel to Cedar Woman.

You can join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debra.s.welch#!/debra.s.welch or visit her website at www.DebraShiveleyWelch.net

Publicist - Kim Emerson – 435-327-2331

Debra Shiveley Welch – 614-882-6683

Saga Books

ISBN- 1897512376

Price: $15.95

Sold at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and your corner book store