Saturday, December 28, 2013

Each year during the holiday season, I write a nature essay and this year it's about birds and migration. essay below The photo is one of my husband Bob's and let me tell you, it's not easy to find a still hummingbird. CS 

New Year & the Hummingbird

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. So wrote Emily Dickinson.
Perhaps no feathered creature represents hope more than the magical hummingbird. Seeing one makes a person believe in nature’s magic and orthinologists still work to understand the mysteries of this tiny bird. They believe that hummers evolved from a tropical species to their present form after the Ice Age, expanding their range in search of new food sources. What is known is that each hummingbird generally migrates alone, flying fast and far toward a warm future. In truth, all migrating birds are puzzles of nature. No one knows for certain how they know where to go or how to get there. Those who study such things speculate that hummingbirds fly south at low altitudes looking for flowers in blossom or still lively insects. This contrasts to other migratory birds that travel high using the position of the sun or those that look down for large landmarks below: lakes, desert edges, mountain highs. Or birds that fly through the lofty darkness with the night sky their map and the stars their compass. But only each bird knows for sure. For us, winters would seem longer without the birds that don’t migrate. Even when temperatures drop like apples from Newton’s tree, many resident birds stay on to brave the Nebraska winters. Sometimes our robins migrate and sometimes don’t, but they always indulge in autumn hackberry feeding orgies alongside the house. This year the berries turned from green to red, but no robins arrived. Bob and I worried about the missing winged clientele, until finally in mid-October, wings and more wings of robins cut through the air to thrash about the hackberry tree. We didn’t know what bird appointments had detained them, only that they’d arrived. That day, they devoured half the berries, then disappeared. Not until mid-November did they dive bomb the tree again and again, snapping up ripe berries in a rush. When I looked out later, the crop was gone as the first snowflakes of winter floated down. If the robins planned to migrate this year, they’d arrived for their departure meal in the nick of time. If they planned to stick around, they’d feasted in preparation for the cold months ahead. I’m certain none of it was accidental, but rather some inner birdly sense of seasons and weather.  Remembering Emily Dickinson, when dreary winter days drift down from heaven, I wait for wings to bring us hope of sunny times ahead. With downy woodpeckers, scarlet cardinals, snow birds, and blue jays feathering the frigid air with color and call, I wish you a similar hope, coupled with the mystique of feathered friends filling your souls

Friday, November 8, 2013

What a treat for an author to get an invitation to sit down with 10 people who love your book,
laugh and ponder its meanings and ask you thoughtful questions. One reader said she gave daily bulletins to her family about what was happening in the plot. What impressed me was that the
group really understood the deeper meanings and philosophy that I was trying to convey in my  quirky, easy to read novel. Well, one guy was a retired psychologist, but others were just as perceptive. On a rainy night this week I went to that special kind of book club meeting. Many,
many months ago, someone from the group heard my Bookworm reading of POWERBALL 33
and recommended it for the club's November reading. Afterward, one member told me she
planned to suggest the novel to her other book club. I know most of us, including me, want immediate response to our work, but this surprise late invitation was an eye opener and a
reminder that once written, our words are available to readers as long as the paper - or download exists..  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

   As I look out my office window this dreary November morning, I'm greeted by turkeys. I count. A flock of 19 wild turkeys. Males with wing spreads strut. Sleek females group together. Slow. Slow they move through the grass. And then they are gone. Were they a mirage with Thanksgiving looming? No, a turkey or 2 often trots through our backyard bordering a pond. But this was drumstick galore. And I'm smiling.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I just came across a blog connected to the Omaha World Herald archive photo of cowboy Rex Allen and me during the filming of an Aksarben documentary. The person commented how cool I looked with the cigarette tucked behind my ear. That made me smile, since I've never smoked. That was my then writing computer, also known as a pencil. It was handy in case I had to rewrite portions of the script during the shoot.

Monday, May 27, 2013

FLASHING YELLOW WINGS. GOLDEN ORANGE FEATHERS. An oriole came to call, flitting in the branches of the elm branch that dips toward our back deck. The oriole must have been eating spring seeds, and he bopped between branches, hiding behind leaves, then showing the glory of his birdly suit. Bob and I stood quietly and watched until he flew away. It doesn't take much to make a special day.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I was invited to read from my work at El Museo Latino in Omaha, a museum that started a new speakers program this year. I was scheduled to read with Marjorie Saiser, NE poet. It was close enough to Mothers Day that I chose that theme and read from different pieces that touched on mothers/grandmothers. Interesting that Marjorie also chose the same theme so we dovetailed together in fine form. More interesting to me was the fact that the audience was not Mexican American as I'd assumed it would be. Ah, assumptions, there's a saying about that. By the way, there was a great photography exhibit by the great-niece of Frida Kahlo.    

Sunday, April 28, 2013

FROM THE OMAHA WORLD HERALD PHOTO ARCHIVE, which they are digitizing. Bob discovered this photo in the online Herald yesterday. It's from 1968. I'd written a script for Aksarben starring Rex Allen, and I was working the shot board in the big arena that November day in 1968. My daughter Valerie noted she'd been born that year in August. Obviously, I'd recovered enough from new babe to have my hair done and wore my big round owl glasses. My kids thought I looked cool, so that was fun.

Friday, April 26, 2013

THE HEADING FOR MY LAST POST SHOULD READ "BONE CREEK" and I should learn not to be in such a hurry and to proof.
Back from a trip to a special museum in David City, NE with two delightful companions: Kira Gale, owner River Junction Press LLC and Agnes Clark, in charge of Our Book Store in the Old Market Passageway in Omaha, NE. David City is over an hour from Omaha, so we traveled the highway past rolling hills and through small towns to find the jewel called Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art. Our tour leader, Anna Nolan, originator of the museum with her husband, Allen Covault, answered our questions and let us wander through the current exhibitions, soaking in the color/line/texture of the many talented artists. "Birds Love Spring" emphasized the Sand Hills Cranes and "Wild and Tangled: Foliage of the Plains" has a title that gives its own explanation. In the next door gallery, Michael Wilson's show " Barn as Chapel" glowed with light and shadow and we gravitated to several favorites. David City is the hometown of rural landscape painter Dale Nichols, who worked at the time of Regionalism artists Grant Woods, Thomas Hart Benson, and John Steuart Curry. Two of Nichols' works were on display, in tribute to the American farm and all it stands for. With Anna our leader, we toured a once-church now exhibiting artwork, a charming little old house with walls and walls of scenic art, and a home with a personal art collection. It was a perfect spring day filled with landscape and friendship.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

YESTERDAY, I TALKED TO THE ECLECTIC BOOK REVIEW CLUB at the Field Club in Omaha, NE, 69 women, 1 man in attendance. Topic: my novel POWERBALL 33. I was asked to speak for 40 minutes. A writer's dream, right? But when I timed out my talk beforehand, the inspiration, themes, characters, locations, solutions of POWERBALL, I clocked in at 20 minutes. Of course, I could say more about the book, but then elements of the adventure, romance, and mystery that made up the plot would be revealed. Not a good idea. So I opened with the circuitous path I'd taken as both a business and a literary writer. Hurrah, the two separate chapters of my writing life took 40 minutes. They were a gracious audience and we laughed together at some of my life foibles. I left happy and sold several books. As I said yesterday, each writer travels on a different voyage and tells a different story.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

BUT writers are a hardy lot. Yesterday (Sunday) during the big weather alert storm in Omaha, several writers (me included) gathered at the Main Branch Omaha Library to read their work published in this year's "Celebrate", a special University of Omaha publication. I called in the morning to see if the book release was cancelled, but no, they decided to soldier on, testing the stamina of the selected w...riters. Snow swept down from the skies, visitbility was poor, streets were slick, but many of the writers showed up, with mufflers and boots in place. I confess my husband drove, but I took my place at the mike and read my poem "Recycling", then also read a piece by a friend of mine, Marty Pierson, who died unexpectedly in January. Then we struggled home on slippery lanes, past stalled cars to our home, sweet home.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

WOKE UP TO SNOW and this afternoon 1-4, I'm at the AUTHOR BOOK FAIR, at the Downtown Main Branch of Omaha, NE Library. Will sit at a table to offer my books, along with 40 other local authors. Besides meeting readers who come out after a snow, it's always inspiring to meet other writers. I know a few who will be there, but writers are fascinating people and come from so many different places of the mind.

Monday, February 11, 2013

and happy writer, when this review arrived:  “One of the best I’ve seen on this time in Lincoln’s and the country’s life. I was moved while reading it and will share with my son and grandson, both buffs of the Civil War. D. Hamer”
IN TUCSON, AZ, ON LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY,  I read a shortened version of the story to 4th and 5th graders in three public schools.  Each class was a quiet, attentive audience.  At the end of the story I gave each young person a Lincoln penny and they were thrilled to receive a coin they might not have bothered to pick up from the ground. The connection to Lincoln's world made the penny magical.   

Thursday, February 7, 2013

LINCOLN & THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, ONE NOVEMBER is the name of the creative non-fiction story I've posted on Amazon, in time for Lincoln's birthday. When I researched the events in Lincoln's and our country's life during this particular time, it became a tumultuous series of happenings that throbbed with family and politics, an example of truth more dramatic than fiction. I think of the humble penny and offer it for 99 cents.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Here is a pic of Marbles,
Sweet calico cat with one orange ear and one black, with one black paw and one orange and her soulful eyes. She gave pleasure with each pose, each purr, each blinking kitty kiss. She will be missed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

AN INCREDIBLY SAD DAY OF TEARS. We put down our 3 year old kitty Marbles this morning. She had a heart murmur from birth and it gradually took over. The vet made the decisiion for us when he said, "It's time. There's nothing we can do." She was the perfect cat and brought great joy to Bob and me every day she pattered up to be part of our family. Marbles spent the last week snuggling on our laps for great stretches, as if she knew the end was coming and wanted to fill it with love and affection. And I held her to the very end.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Check out
Check out
And after you are swept away by the sales pitch, download or order, if you feel the urge. Thank you to all of you who have downloaded. It makes my writer's heart happy and I am grateful to readers. Someone asked me if I wrote for myself and I said, "If I did, that would be journaling. I love the connection between reader and writer. It makes the world a smaller place."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

FREE DAYS TO DOWNLOAD POWERBALL 33. Today, Wed 1/23, Th 1/24, Fri 1/25.
Enjoy. Here's what some readers say: 

What would you do if you won the lottery? Connie Spittler poses that question for her young poet/handyman, Ed Frink. Although he likes the things he's got--his rusty old pickup, his cabin, his comfy old furniture--he is soon overwhelmed by long lost relations, designing women, a couple of Las Vegas mobsters, and his two best friends' extravagant ideas. POWERBALL 33 becomes a laugh out loud struggle to regain the comfort of a simple life in the face of his new wealth. A great story about what's really important in life.  F. Colburn, Nebraska
 A great read, filled with memorable characters! I loved the subplots. The ending was raucous romp just like in the movies. J. Mann, Nebraska

A tale well told. It is difficult to put this book down while Ed's adventure is still unfolding. L. T. Fitzgerald, Nebraska

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Photo: Poking through the bottom of my sewing box, I found a Piper Cub iron on decal, bought 30 years ago. I'd intended to put it on a t-shirt for Bob as a surprise. The cub was the favorite plane of the 7 he's owned. The surprise was finding it after all these years. I showed it to Bob and he bought the shirt and sewed it on. The glue stuck, but I sewed around it for protection. Here's a shot of his wonderful flying machine, the Piper Cub.
Poking through the bottom of my sewing box, I found a Piper Cub iron on decal, bought 30 years ago. I'd intended to put it on a t-shirt for Bob as a surprise. The cub was the favorite plane of the 7 he's owned. The surprise was finding it after all these years. I showed it to Bob and he bought a t-shirt and ironed it on. The glue stuck, but I sewed around it for protection. Above is one of his shots of his wonderful flying machine, the Piper Cub.
And here's what the Piper Cub logo looks like.

Friday, January 18, 2013

FREE. FREE. FREE EBOOK DOWNLOAD coming soon through Amazon Kindle. I will offering 3 free days to download my novel POWERBALL 33. Wed 1/23, Th 1/24 and Fri 1/25. Hope you download and read, or heck, just download it. If you enjoy the book, I'd love to know. Connie
                                                        What Readers Are Saying
Powerball 33. A great book, well done and thought provoking for our current times with Powerball winnings. What would a person do with those funds? It really explored the "greed" part of personalities...and the wholesome goodness of others. Mary McCarthy, Florida
Powerball 33 - A delicious book that had me smiling, laughing and crying all at the same time! It’s a finely woven tapestry that would make a delightful film. Craftily woven characters names you chose add the most delightful tiny jokes at times, making the reader feel you are at our elbow saying, “Did you get that one?” Makes me want to climb in my car and take off to find Ed and...well, I don’t want to add more and spoil the ending! Bobbie Guillory, Arizona
What do a handyman, an excon, two Vegas thugs, a violent drunk, a purveyor of unusual instruments, an abused grocery store stocker, and a stripper have in common? A lottery ticket that jumbles all of their lives together in a fun, quirky with a capital Q tale. The author keeps you guessing as the various characters maneuver in and around Ed, the big lottery winner. A fun read! And made me think twice about winning the lottery ;-) Les Moore, California
What would you do if you won the lottery? Connie Spittler poses that question for her young handyman, Ed Frink, who has never in his life had an extra dime to spend. Although Ed kind of likes the things he's got--his rusty old pickup, his windowless cabin, his ratty old furniture--he is soon overwhelmed by long lost relations, designing women, a couple of Las Vegas mobsters, and his two best friends' extravagant ideas about where he should spend his money. A generous soul, Frink flounders through his first weeks as a multi-millionaire, allowing an entire cast of characters to bamboozle him. POWERBALL 33 becomes a laugh out loud struggle to regain that comfort in the face of his new wealth. A great story about what's really important in life. Faith Colburn, Nebraska
It was a great read, filled with memorable characters! I loved the subplots - can't believe who scammed Ed. The ending was raucous romp just like in the movies. J. Mann, Nebraska
A tale well told. It is difficult to put this book down while Ed's adventure is still unfolding. Powerball 33 I enjoyed it very much. Larry T. Fitzgerald, Nebraska
A fun read from start to finish, filled with great characters that are so easy to picture it reads like a movie in your head. Time well spent! D. Killips, Nebraska
Hope you download and read, or heck, just download it. If you enjoy the book, I'd love to know. Connie  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013
Meant to include the site that got me to think about honeybees.

  A visit to Deirdre Imus' page talked about the value and problems of bees. Written a few years ago, here's my essay.
THE DESERT AFTERNOONS SLIP BY, LIKE GOLDEN HONEY DRIPPING FROM A SPOON. Drawn to the blue rapture of rosemary in bloom, the bees stay close. I hear their buzzing in the garden, then watch, as inflamed with pollen, they fly away to spin their energy into a treasure comb of miracle.

     Insects bearing gifts, bees pollinate crops, fruit and wildflowers, to play a life-giving role in sustaining our healthy eco-system. It’s been their business for ages. The flight of bees reaches back to ancient times, illustrated by Pliny the Elder’s tribute to the organization of bees in his encyclopedic volume, Naturalis Historia. Long ago in Rhodes, brides dipped their fingers in honey before entering their new home. During the Roman Empire, citizens could pay their taxes with honey, instead of gold. In Egypt and the Middle East, people embalmed the dead with honey, of particular interest to me since my father was a mortician.

     It’s indisputable that bees and honey have left their mark on spiritual tradition. In the Bible’s Old Testament, Matthew 3:4, tells of John the Baptist living in the wilderness on locusts and wild honey, while in the Book of Judges, (14.8) Samson finds a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of a lion.

     In Jewish tradition, honey is the symbol of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year. Apple slices dipped in honey celebrate the anticipated sweetness to come. Buddhist monks receive honey during the festival of Madhu Parnima, a practice that commemorates Buddha’s retreat, seeking peace with his disciples. The legend states that while away, a monkey brought him honey and thus began the tradition. Regarding Islam, there is an entire Surah in the Holy Qur’an called the Honey Bee and according to hadith,  Prophet Muhammad strongly recommended honey for healing purposes.

       Inside a rocky cave in Valencia, Spain, Eva Crane discovered evidence of a Middle Stone Age painting. Her book, Archaeology of Beekeeping, finds humans hunting for honey at least 10,000 years ago. The artwork shows two female honey-hunters collecting the sweetness from a high bee hive. The women, depicted in the nude, carry baskets and use a long, wobbly ladder to reach the wild nest.

    Dwelling on the illustrious history of bees makes reading about their recent mysterious disappearances truly distressing. Millions of honeybees have disappeared, as Western hives suffer from colony collapse disorder. Articles blame mites, malnutrition, pesticides and cell phones, with the mites receiving the most scientific attention.

    Fortunately, worldwide research rises to protect the honeybees. It’s discovered that some Russian varieties are resistant to the destructive mites. Organic beekeepers also claim success in keeping their hives buzzing with activity. Spanish researchers isolate the parasitic fungi that invades hives with disastrous results. When treated with an antibiotic, the bees completely recover.

   At our first Tucson home, a black mass shaped like a football appeared in the low sky and swarmed around our scraggly orchard of fruit trees. We stood a distance away, as this dark, traveling beehive floated here and there, looking for a place to land. The thought of honey produced in our back yard intrigued us, but since our arrival in the Southwest, the innocent Arizona honeybees merged with the Africanized type. Even appreciating their place in nature, the close presence of bees more aggressive and sometimes dangerous, flashed a worrisome note. I thought of the naked women in the rock art and admitted I was not a honey gatherer of that courageous type. When the bees in the orchard swam through the air to find a better home, I breathed a sigh of relief. 

      Years later, in a new house, another swarm arrived, to nest inside the hole of a saguaro outside our back wall. The cactus stood tall, a sentinel guarding the swimming pool. Cautiously, we watched the bees gradually establish ownership of our backyard, dipping regularly into the pool to seek a drop or two of moisture. We chose a path of peaceful co-existence and whenever possible, avoided them, knowing that now all Arizona bees are called the killer kind.

     With grandkids scheduled to visit, I remembered the beesting I’d suffered years ago in our Nebraska pool. The image of kids splashing in the water, hovered over by ever-present killer bees made us reach for the phone. Rather than risk grandkids’ stings from riled up insects, we called the University of Arizona Agriculture Division. Soon, a well-garbed, head covered team arrived to remove the mass from the saguaro hole.

      Eventually, the bees returned, bringing their electrostatic charges and voicing their authority. Now, they rustle about when I seek the cool water, buzzing my head. Since I live on this property too, I swim regularly, but with a costume change. Submerged in the pool, I wear a large purple sunhat to protect my head from curious bees. The Cone of Silence, my kids named the hat, after the old TV show, Get Smart. Every time I think of Agent 99 as my alter identity, I laugh, but cling to my practical solution of safety. 

     We can’t escape them. In symbol and reality, bees and honey exist everywhere. Shoppers choose from orange blossom, mesquite, rum truffle honey or other wildflower variations. Loved ones are called, “hon” and “honey” or in the musical South Pacific, the affectionate “honeybun”. Turning the pages of our kids’ favorite book, I once again enjoy Winnie The Pooh’s affection for that sweet stickiness. I fondly recall the lyrics of the first song our son Judd learned as a little boy after hearing Burl Ives. It began, “The buzzing of the bees in the sycamore trees.” 

     As the heat of the sun drips thoughts of bees and honey into my desert hours, the buzzing sound of approaching visitors reaches my ear. I think of apple trees. Peach trees. Almonds and alfalfa. Cabbage. Onion. Pumpkin. Cotton and soybeans. These industrious insects pollinate a long, remarkable list that covers two-thirds of the globe’s major crops. Out of respect, I tip my purple Cone of Silence hat to the bees that bless the delicate balance of our good earth with their good work. 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

A sad post, but a reminder to celebrate each day. My friend from Pen Women, also a writer and editor for Fine Lines Anthology, is now in hospice, a total surprise. We were together a couple weeks ago and she was having trouble with her eyes, then went blind and doctors found an inoperable brain tumor. I deliberated whether to post this, but it shook me up enough to review my life and what is important regarding the time spent here on earth. My friend did live a creative life, helping others and she's in a peaceful frame of mind in her hospice bed. She made me pause and now I can only think to wish a fulfilling life to all.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

HERE A REPORT ABOUT THE VALUE OF AUTHORS SEEING CORRECTLY. While promoting my novel POWERBALL 33, I've been requested in certain instances to give the Amazon assigned ASIN number. The other day, an automatic message replied that my book using my given ASIN was not found in Amazon's database. Btw, my number is B00A02O5AO. I went online to get some forum help and found an answer that said Amazon uses zer...o's, and I'd probably used capital O's. I re-sent several emails, but one bounced back, no record. Since it was the New Year's holiday, I couldn't call to find out more. I emailed +Victorine Lieske, a NE Writers' Guild member, a whiz who is helpful to all. She quickly discovered that some are zeros and others are capital O's. I'd spent about 2 days fiddling with it. In small type, they seemed the same, but looking carefully, some were rounder than others. OK, pay attention.