Enjoy these thoughts, memories and reflections.

What does it take to get a book published?

Jul 18, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

These days, there are so many ways to publish a book! One can self-publish, hybrid-publish, or get an agent and have a publisher. There are pro's and con's to each choice. If you go with a standard publisher, they will indeed do everything for you, except promote your work. Unless you are in their top 10% best sellers, they will not help you. That means you may get stuck paying for the Book Launch, any travel to do a tour, purchasing copies of the book you may or may not be able to sell (or store). It is also difficult to get an agent. There are a lot of scams out there.

Self-publishing has become very popular. You can send a pdf to Amazon and have your book visible in days. However, if you have not paid a developmental editor (several thousand $), you may not have a well-written book.

Coming, coming, coming...

Coming, coming, coming...
Jul 08, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

Being away from home for 10 weeks did not help my publication schedule! My next book, Life in a Tumble Dryer, should have been available last weekend, but I haven't yet seen the final copy to approve it. Still, it is coming soon, so don't give up hope. Harriet agreed to read it for me (a pre-publication copy) and found it was more serious and more structured than Launching into the Unknown. That's because I refered more closely to the letters I wrote to my parents while I was away. I tried to write each week, and share bits and pieces of what was going on in my life. It's amazing how much I had forgotten. Hopefully, this added information will give you, the reader, a better picture of what life was like. 

In Honor of Margaret Hill

May 31, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley
Gone Home

After the suffering here,
You issue the invitation to there.
How do You welcome Your children home?
Is there a gentle tug?
Is there tea in a mug?
Do you hold her in Your arms so snug?

Quiet my soul, O God

Apr 11, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley
Quiet my soul, O God.
My world is in chaos and noise--
sounds of war, cries of anguish,
hungry children, grieving widows,
broken men and women.
Quiet my soul, O God.

My First Computer

My First Computer
Apr 05, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley
Today, we can barely imagine what life was like without a computer. When I first moved to Africa and began linguistic work, I wrote by hand or typed on a manual typewriter. Living in Juba, Sudan didn't place me at the forefront of technology. In 1986, a colleague discovered that the Sharp computer company wanted to get rid of  many of their "computers" to make way for a newer version. This colleague brought 15-20 machines to Juba and offered to teach any of us who wanted to use them. The machine had an 8-line screen, used dot commands like .pa for paragraph. It had a built-in printer that used thermal paper, and a memory bubble with 128k storage. It was not exactly portable, but more like luggable. It was also the first machine I had that I told to do something, but it said, "NO".

Life in a Tumble Dryer

Mar 14, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

After a year of work, Life in a Tumble Dryer, Working in the World's Hottest Capital, has been sent to the publisher. There's more to do before it comes out in July, but those are simpler tasks than completing the manuscript. You may wonder what that process is like. Well, here was my process for this book.

First, I used the relevant stories from my original book, Every Day But Not Some. It was published in 2006. However, when I finished running those stories through ProWritingAid and improving the style, language, and use of commas (my weakest point), I only had 50,000 words. I wanted the book to be 70,000. So, I pulled out the letters that I had written to my parents over those years. I discovered I had forgotten many details. In November, I wrote up new stories and ended up with 40,000 words. Whew! All the editing pared down the word count to 75,000.

Quiet my soul

Mar 01, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

The words in Isaiah 30:15 caught my attention a few days ago. It says, "in quietness and confidence is your strength." I don't know about you, but I feel very weak at times, especially when I'm busy. Maybe that's the price I pay for being an introvert. I've been praying for different situations in the world, and I quickly become overwhelmed. These words challenged me, and maybe the poem that came to me will help you if you feel similarly challenged.

Quiet my soul, O God.
My world is in chaos and noise
with sounds of war, cries of anguish,
hungry children, grieving widows,
broken men and women.
Quiet my soul, O God.

Rose Glen Literary Festival

Feb 16, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

Do you like to read? Have you ever wanted to meet the authors of the books you love? Do you want to discover more books of the type you most enjoy? Well, your opportunity is coming up next Saturday, February 24 at the Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville, TN. You can enjoy 


Lent begins next Wednesday

Feb 09, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

February 14 is Valentine's Day. It seems strange that the season of Lent should start on the same day, but that's how it works this year. In case you didn't know, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days or six weeks. Sundays don't count as part of the Lenten season because Sunday celebrates the Resurrection! Traditionally, Christians fast from something during this time. I first fasted from chocolate. That was difficult, but it kept me focused on the season I was in. One year, God seemed to want me to play once a week. I failed miserably at that. A few years ago, I wrote a prayer of confession based on Scripture each day. Those prayers can be found in Prayers of Confession for Lent. Each Sunday has a prayer of praise or thanksgiving.

Here's looking at you

Feb 01, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

Yesterday, I had cataract surgery. Of course, I don't do anything the easy way. In 1995, I had RK done. That's where the doctor literally uses a very small knife to correct one's vision by cutting the outside of your eyeball. It didn't hurt, and I could instantly see. I've been contact-lense free ever since and never had another dream about running in a thick fog. Nowadays, the procedure is done with lasers and doesn't seem to cause the same problems. My doctor warned me there could be complications, but that if they arose, he would deal with it. When I went in for my checkup today, all I could see with my left eye was the big E. That was not the result the doctor had hoped for.

Computer got you down?

Jan 26, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

I've been using some sort of computer since the 1990s. I started with a Sharp that had a 48k bubble for memory. No one would ever need more than that, right? I actually produced my PhD dissertation on that, using back slash commands. Oh yes, and it had an 8 line screen! Thankfully, I've moved up as the opportunities present themselves and am now working with a Macbook Air. I love it. What I'm not loving today is the Internet. 

A young man spent some time in Khartoum in the late 1990s, and he tried to explain the Internet and how sites worked. He might as well have been speaking Chinese. It makes great sense now, but not back then. He asked me, "What question do you want to ask on the Internet?" I couldn't think of a thing. Now, I can't do without it. But today, it has been trying my patience.

What do you know about Epiphany?

Jan 12, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

Today, I had lunch with some friends, and we stumbled onto the topic of Epiphany. Epiphany starts on January 6 as Three Kings day. However, the season of Epiphany in the church calendar goes from January 6 until Ash Wednesday, which in 2024 will be on February 14. 

So what is the point of Epiphany? It fits in between Christmas and Lent, and is the time to focus on what made Jesus so special. The visit of the wise men, his baptism by John the Baptizer, changing the water into wine at Cana. Throughout this season, we study those times that bring light about why Jesus is the Son of God.

Why worry about bridges you may never cross?

Jan 05, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

January 2, I saw my eye doctor and complained that I couldn't see well. My cataracts were interfering. As an author, I look at a computer screen a lot, but when the words I've just written look more like Chinese characters than English words, there is a problem! He didn't think they were much worse than they have been for the last two years, but I told him that from behind the eyes, there was definitely a difference! It seems he has a lull in his schedule, and so can fit me in on January 17. 

What's to come in 2024?

Dec 28, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

It has been wonderful spending time with my family over the Christmas holidays. Ben came in from New York and helped me change the batteries in the smoke detectors and the air filter. I had a list of jobs for him. Ben is my "adapted" son from Kenya. He came to stay with me at age 16, and is now 23. It's nice to have a tall person around to reach all those things that I no longer can.

In a few days, we start a new year, 2024. Sometimes I get very depressed thinking of what the future could hold. At other times, I'm excited by the prospects of what can be done. Maybe it is best if we don't know what's coming ahead of time.

The Shilluk King

Dec 21, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

I'm writing the second book in the Not How I Planned It series. This book is currently titled: Life in a Tumble Dryer. Here is part of a story about meeting the Shilluk (Cøllø) king.
We learned that the king never looks behind. So, it was with great interest that we watched how he would sit down. He backed up until he was standing on the leopard skin rug in front of his chair. Then someone made sure to position the chair where the king was about to sit. I don’t think the person placing the chair would have had his job for long if he had miscalculated the location of the chair and allowed the king to crash to the ground.


Dec 14, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

I must be listening to the wrong radio stations as I have yet to hear a Christmas carol or Christmas song! Christian radio stations seem to carry on with the same 10 songs they play all year. I've heard one repeated 3 times in the same day. Secular stations don't seem to have much imagination either and forget talk radio. So, on Tuesday at a women's meeting, I was delighted to be introduced to Howard Thurman's poem, The Work of Christmas begins, set to music. Here is the link on YouTube.

Reflection on Hebrews 4:12-16

Dec 07, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

Naked and Exposed


We are naked and exposed

Before a holy God

Who knows our inner thoughts, desires;

Nothing hidden, all things bare.

He will hold us to account.


How can we endure

Such a probing accuracy?

We have hidden, secreted, justified,

Pretended now to no avail. We’re undone –

Guilty on all counts.

Fixing the Toilet

Dec 01, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

A group of ladies met at my house, and as time went on, a few needed to use the powder room. One reported to me that the toilet wouldn’t flush. I went to look, and it was filling extremely slowly. If I’d used a teaspoon, I could have filled it faster.  The last person to use it managed to flush it.

I hate working on plumbing of any sort, but especially toilets. I put it off for 10 days, but then realized another friend was coming to stay and would need it to function correctly. I went to Lowe’s and found the needed replacement part. There were numerous choices, but I finally just picked one.

Thankful Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

In writing my memoir, I find my life has been full of good things. There have been a lot of hard things, like working in 100+°F in a house with all the coolers running. But the work itself brought satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy. I was giving people something they really wanted -- to read and write their own language and thus preserve their unique language and culture. Their enthusiasm and commitment humbles me.

Now, as I've retired from that work, I get to write. I love to write, to find just the right way to bring my thoughts to life, to paint a picture for my readers. 

Approaching Death

Nov 17, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

I've lost three friends since August and another close friend is battling Stage 4 cancer. As I grieve these losses, these words came to me.

When God says your work is done,
then it is time for Him to call you home.
We may not think it's time to come,
But when God says your work is done, it's done.