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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