Donating for Literacy

As a writer, I’m not always writing. There are times I need to do speaking events, or promotional activities. And there are times I have the opportunity to share my writing by donating my books. Last week was such an occasion. As a member of Bentonville/Bella Vista Altrusa International, I work with our club to support literacy for children in schools and libraries. We have donated literally thousands of books to schools and libraries in the area. Last Saturday we visited the grand reopening of the Sulphur Springs Public Library. We have donated 1352 books to help the library reopen! I was pleased to be able to donate my books to the library to help out!

The Bluebird of Happiness

Just a bit of writing for the new project this morning. Have you been given a Bluebird of Happiness from Arkansas?
“Betsy, you doing okay? Are you doing a picture for us today?” The young aide came next to her, leaning over to look at her work. “That looks like the Blue Bird of Happiness in that tree. Have you ever visited the place here in Arkansas that makes the Blue Bird of Happiness? You can watch them blow the glass to make all different sizes of the bird. They even have pink and red birds made of glass. They’re really special. I like your picture. It’s special, too.”
Betsy looked up and nodded vacantly. Then she reached for the nearest crayon, an ebon black, pulled the paper closer and methodically drew lines with sharp angles and squiggles along the right edge of the paper. The lines looked like an abstract melding of trees sprouting out of nowhere, branches askew. She stopped to analyze the picture, made one more swipe on the left of the page and drew a broad tree trunk leaning at an angle, sprouting withered branches; then she dropped the black crayon next to the paper and reached for a stub of charcoal gray. Her hands flew over the upper part of the page creating a swirl of menacing streaks and smears. Dark clouds appeared along the top of the page and drifted down over the center, almost covering the trees she’d drawn. The smudge of blue bird remained. She stopped to analyze the emerging picture. Dropping the gray stub, Betsy bent closer to the table and paper, eyeing her work. She reached out to sort through the crayons and selected a deep blue crayon marked ultramarine blue. Below the black stick-like lines, her hands flew creating an image of stormy, choppy waves.
She stopped abruptly, held the crayon mid-air above the page, looked at the image, and emitted a sound between a sob and a snarl.

The Witch Tree

“The Witch Tree” is coming along nicely…about 6000 words in…20 pages. So much more to tell. I’m liking some of the new characters. Senior citizen Betsy has spunk, Millie, a 20-something daredevil—is perhaps in over her head, and Tammy, an African American, dependable, trustworthy, caregiver to Betsy, always has Betsy’s back and is enjoying being along for the ride. And what a ride it is!

A New Year and A New Plot

Happy New Year, readers!
Well, I guess it’s starting. Fitting. Ready for a New Year? And a new story?
No set title yet. A glimmer of a plot. Some former Deception characters returning. Remember Jake, the Native American from the copper mines? We’ll see. Tell me what you think. Is it worth it? Is this enough to get it going? I need about a hundred responses to get ME going. Share if you wish. Get me some responses and feedback. Here we go:


Life is But a Dream

The truth was she didn’t always remember. She was no longer sure if her memory was real or had just been a dream.There were moments of clarity. Other moments of fog. Sometimes the fog outweighed the clarity.
This morning Maggie had wakened from a deep sleep, the fragments of a dream lingering. What was it she’d seen? The room in her dream had been shadowed with dark shapes lined against a wall. They were afraid, staring, mouths agape. She’d watched to see what was causing their fear. The room was bare…except for the thick-trunked tree rising through the floor, silent branches pushing up, stretching outward like waves reaching toward ghastly souls shrinking into the gray walls. A single stream of light lasered down from a pinhole in the ceiling above the tree. The tree began to glow. That was it. That was all she’d seen.
Maggie shuddered at the memory and settled down into the quilts. Embracing her with warmth, the blankets enveloped her creating a thick wall of comfort against the icy darkness. Struggling into wakefulness, she lay still letting the flitting dream pictures seep between dawning awareness and regretful loss of sleep.
She wasn’t ready to meet the day. Not yet. The pinkish gray of early morning light pushed at her eyelids, and she nudged it away, wishing to return to deep, hollow, nothingness and sleep. She listened to Jake’s soft breathing, regular and unbroken next to her; he had always slept soundly despite his frequent, unconscious crablike reaching for her that always brought back threads of uneasy memory from a night months ago.
What had she been dreaming? Bits of dream visions flickered, weaving in and out, disappearing then returning in a flash of recognition. A tree. Fear rising. People fading away. Then they were gone, and she was left with unsettled feelings.
Finally, she pushed the dream aside, letting it disappear. What day was it? More importantly, where was she? At that thought, she opened her eyes, and stared at the ceiling. Monday. It was Monday. She hated Mondays! And she was at Jake’s. She had spent the night with Jake. Again. She’d promised herself she wasn’t going to do this anymore.
What had she done?
Made a mess of things, that’s what she’d done. She groaned softly, and rolled herself out from under the quilts, bare feet steadied onto the cold, wood floor, and stood up. Jake rolled away, his dark hair falling over his face, pulling the quilts more tightly around his shoulders. She guessed he wasn’t ready to wake and face reality either.


Morning Musings

I am on the board and a member of Village Lakes Writers and Poets here in Bella Vista. We recently were fortunate to acquire a lease for the historic Dug Hill Chapel as our new home and meeting place. In the picture you can see a small cemetery behind the building. Over the years, the Chapel has been a church, school and community center. It speaks to us. We will be busy refurbishing, cleaning, and renovating the little building to meet our needs. It’s the time of the year that the ghosts of the past speak out to us. We are so excited to begin this new adventure in this old building. And so I write…

We Listen

We listen.
Can you hear it?

Voices of ancient spirits whisper—
The past
Speaking to the future,
Carrying songs of praise,
Prayers of anguish, struggle,
Searching with hope.

Soft scratchings of
Murmured memories rise
While the tolling bell
Calls bodies to gather:
Infants, elderly,
Young, old,
Teens and twenties,
Settle at once together
To listen,
Learn, and share
Amidst the
Mewling cries,
Occasional raucous laughter, and
Whispered shared secrets.

The shadowed walls speak of
Scribbled lessons
Taught and learned,
Etched into hearts and minds
Richly layered with thick, slathered paint
Applied with steady hands
Year after year after year.
At last, bits peel away
Revealing pointed adjurations
Rising from
Shavings of wood,
Cracked glass,
Pebbled stone,
Reminders to remember.
Reaching out,
Teaching voices from the past.
Curling tendrils of
Songs, love,
Words and wisdom
Filled with aching, overarching hope.
The spirits speak to us.

We listen.
©gailleecowdin 2021

Little Dee 7: A Handbell Story Goes to School

I am so excited and honored that my children’s book, Little Dee 7: A Handbell Story, was part of the music class lesson on handbells at Clay County, Middleburg, Florida, this week. It’s always great to have someone enjoy your books, but this was really special. Thanks go to Tammy Jo Saucier for sharing.

Little Dee 7: A Handbell Story is on sale now through February 14th on Amazon at the discounted price of $10. Go to Gail Lee Cowdin on Amazon to get your gift for someone special.

It’s HERE! Little Dee 7: A Handbell Story


The inspirational story of Little Dee 7 is now available on Amazon at Gail Lee Cowdin. 

 Little Dee 7: A Handbell Story
The tiniest handbell, Little Dee 7, didn’t think she was very important. She didn’t even have her own special place in the bell case. She’d been placed in an old white sock labeled with her name, D7, and tucked into a corner of the case. She wasn’t sure anyone even knew she was there. She wanted to join the rest of her bell family and make beautiful music. Then one day, everything changed, and she learned she was very special, indeed! A charming children’s story about the importance of recognizing self-worth, and individuality, Little Dee 7: A Handbell Story, brings the inspirational tale of the littlest bell and the joy of music she makes as she becomes the star of her handbell family.
Paperback $15. $8 for eBook. A portion of sales will go to our church bell choir and to our granddaughter Caylen Cowdin who was the illustrator.
PERFECT GIFT for your child or grandchild! Ages 1 to adult.
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I’m wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving, We are thankful for the health of our family this year.

There’s more good news…A NEW BOOK COMING SOON!
My children’s book, Little Dee 7: A Handbell Story, will be ready soon. It’s a wonderful story of budding independence and joy. MORE TO COME!