Lori Henriksen

author of The Winter Loon

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Stand Up Against Hate



In a scene from THE WINTER LOON Gisela says to Ruth:

“Sticking together, you mean like what’s happening in Europe? No one over here seems to care, but my father lives in Paris and writes that despite street violence in Germany against the SA Storm Troopers, newspapers sympathetic to Nazi influence continue to wage a propaganda campaign blaming Jews for Germany’s economic and social problems. It’s unbelievable how the general public there often turns a blind eye to the SA thugs trying to intimidate customers from entering Jewish shops.”

“It’s so complicated,” Ruth answers.

“And in this country so many folks who can’t find work, living in hobo villages. Why? Where are all the good Christians who claim to be their brother’s keeper? It doesn’t matter what problems we’re talking about. People are too afraid of consequences of losing what they have. Jesus said, ‘Turn the other cheek,’ not ‘Look the other way.'”

The scene is set in Minneapolis in 1932.

In January 1933 Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. He watched in triumph from the Chancellory balcony while thousands of torch bearing Nazis celebrated his victory. Nineteen months later he achieved absolute power.

A mix of KKK members, Nazi sympathizers and White Nationalists carried torches through the University of Virginia campus last week, menacing people of all races, creed, and religion.

Candidate Trump held the Pride flag upside down, pledging his support for the LGBTQ community and a few months later as president called for a ban of transgender people serving in the military.

We can’t afford to turn a blind eye to what is happening right now in America. We can’t be bystanders. We must stand up against hate and bigotry.

In every community, there is work to be done.

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson –




Sunday Love

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I loved reading this story today from the Huffington Post. I can only imagine how many people Gloria Carter’s story will touch, giving them the courage to also step out of the shadow. I admit I’m more jazz than hip-hop and more Gloria Carter’s generation than Jay-Z’s, but I admire him for giving his mother a platform to tell a part of her story.


Gloria Carter, Jay-Z’s Mom, Comes Out As Lesbian On Rapper’s ‘4:44’ Album

Noah Michelson is the Editorial Director of HuffPost Voices 

Gloria Carter, Jay-Z’s mother, came out as lesbian in a new track featured on the rapper’s just-released “4:44” album.

The song, “Smile,” features both Jay-Z and his mother discussing her sexuality. It is the first time that either of them has publicly addressed her sexual identity.

“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” Jay-Z raps in the song, which contains a sample of Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s In Need Of Love Today.”

“Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take,” he adds before asserting, “Cried tears of joy when you fell in love / Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”

Carter herself shows up on track to deliver a spoken word outro.

“Living in the shadow / Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?” she asks on the close-to-five-minute track. “In the shadows people see you as happy and free / Because that’s what you want them to see,” she continues. “The world is changing and they say it’s time to be free / But you live with the fear of just being me… Living in the shadow feels like the safe place to be / No harm for them, no harm for me / But life is short, and it’s time to be free / Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed.”







200In 1970 Pride was a political movement to voice demands for LGBT equal rights and protections. As Pride is now celebrated worldwide, itis important toremember that June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred the end of June 1969 in Manhattan. The month of June is a time to celebrate and honor people from the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time to reflect and continue to fight against discrimination that still occurs and threatens the hard-earned right to marry, to live and work where one choses and shop without the risk of prejudice.

It is pure serendipity that my book The Winter Loon debuts during Pride Month. I missed several self-imposed deadlines for publication and finally in mid-June this year my book is on Amazon available for purchase.

THE WINTER LOON is inspired by my mother, who died when I was nine and who had divulged very little information about her life, refusing even to answer any questions about my biological father. Estranged from her family, she moved across the country from the Midwest to California, ending up in a remote area of the Mojave Desert far from the nearest town. From my earliest memories, the two of us lived as a family with her woman companion until shortly before her death. Some of the things she left behind were a few photos, a newspaper clipping of her as a rodeo competitor, and her master’s degree certificate from the 1930s.

When I started writing, my purpose of embarking on a healing journey gradually transformed into this novel about a young woman who struggles to define herself in a world where she does not seem to fit. As I envisioned how my mother’s life might have been if she was able to live her authentic truth, I realized how much, and how little, has changed for the LGBTQ+ community. It is my hope that this story about the healing power of love will positively influence anyone who reads it.


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Greetings to my new subscribers and to all my loyal followers



I’ve been up to my eyeballs editing with Deborah Mokma. We’re working on the final edit and proofreading of The Winter Loon. Some writers hate this phase, but not me. I love to dig in and examine every word and phrase. The drawback is that this process is soaking up all my time and energy, and I’ve been neglecting my blog.

I’m excited to have an accomplished and artistic team helping me to self-publish my novel, The Winter Loon: Deborah Mokma, editor; Chris Mole’, cover designer, and Maggie McLaughlin, book designer. I’ll write more on these talented women and the self-publishing process as it unfolds.

In the The Winter Loon, the protagonist, Ruth Thompson, struggles with committing to the woman she loves. She faces this challenge in the 1930s before advocacy, before the terror of the McCarthy era and before the historical change in America that has led to gay rights and equality. I want to get it right because even though so much has changed over the years, there is still a long way to go. Young people still wrestle with feeling different and confiding in family and friends. Bullying hasn’t stopped and in some areas of the United States, the simple joy of choosing the flavor of a wedding cake is threatened.

I’ve been a bit depressed lately, carrying around a sense of dread with all that is going on in the world and here in the U.S. One thing lifts me up when I get down and that is music. I’ve been listening to Bob Marley songs, full volume. Who can help but move their body to the Reggae beat and his voice? He has a legacy all over the world for his music and philosophy. In Serbia there is a statue of him with the inscription that reads:

Bob Marley Fighter for Freedom Armed with a Guitar

Turn up the volume and dance to one of my Bob Marley favorites:




One more to share:

Israel ‘IZ’ Kamakawiwo’ole


new rainbow

What songs lift you up when you’re feeling down?

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“Please, don’t let my hand go”

These are the words of Eddie Justice to his best friend Demetrice Naulings during the terror in Orlando. Now we are left with the grieving, the rage, the fear and–each other. It is a time to hold on to friends and loved ones. A time to remember those who lost their lives

Edward Sotomayor Jr. (34), Stanley Almodovar III (23), Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo (20), Juan Ramon Guerrero (22), Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera (36), Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz (22), Luis S. Vielma (22), Kimberly Morris (37), Eddie Jamoldroy Justice (30), Darryl Roman Burt II (29), Deonka Deidra Drayton (32), Alejandro Barrios Martinez (21), Anthony Luis Laureano Disla (25), Jean Carlos Mendez Perez (35), Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez (50), Amanda Alvear (25), Martin Benitez (33), Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon (37), Mercedes Marisol Flores (26), Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado (35), Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez (25), Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez (31), Oscar A. Aracena-Montero (26), Enrique L. Rios, Jr. (25), Miguel Angel Honorato (30), Javier Jorge-Reyes (40), Joel Rayon Paniagua (32), Jason Benjamin Josaphat (19), Cory James Connell (21), Juan P. Rivera Velazquez (37), Luis Daniel Conde (39), Shane Evan Tomlinson (33), Juan Chevez- Martinez (25), Jerald Arthur Wright (31), Leroy Valentin Fernandez (25), Tevin Eugene Crosby (25), Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega (24), Jean C. Nives Rodriguez (27), Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala (33), Brenda Lee Marquez McCool (49), Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan (24), Christopher Andrew Leinonen (32), Angel L. Candelaria-Padro (28), Frank Hernandez (27), Paul Terrell Henry (41), Antonio Davon Brown (29), Christopher Joseph Sanfelciz (24), Akira Monet Murray (18), Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez (25).

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Mourners going hands/David Goldman/The Associated Press

As I typed the names of the shooting victims, I tried to picture each one of them as a newborn welcomed into this world as they were given their meaningful names. I thought of each of them as children with life spread before them. Each and every one was someone’s son or daughter, lover, spouse, sister, brother, aunt, uncle or friend. I pray their lives gave them joy along with the inevitable trials. I pray that their souls find peace in the afterlife and that they are never forgotten.

A few of the survivors are still critical at this time, and I pray for their recovery and all those who were injured. Everyone involved–from those who almost went dancing that night, but decided for one reason or another to stay home to those who witnessed the shootings and those who were wounded and survived will carry the scars for life. We have all been touched by this tragedy.



Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

~Maya Angelou~

Scott Wilbanks, author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster speaks much better than I can to hate and love, the Orlando Massacre and the LGBT community :



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In This House We do Love

I just learned about this movement/organization and want to share it.

RaiseAChild.US is the nationwide leader in the recruitment and support of LGBT and all prospective parents interested in building families through fostering and adopting to meet the needs of the 400,000 children in the foster care system. RaiseAChild.US recruits, educates, and nurtures supportive relationships equally with all prospective foster and adoptive parents while partnering with agencies to improve the process of advancing foster children to safe, loving and permanent homes. For information about how you can become a foster or adoptive parent, please visit www.RaiseAChild.US.

 As you know, if you read this blog, I spent most of my childhood in foster care because my lesbian mother died estranged from her family ties. I was blown away when I read the story of Adam Reisman and his husband, Ryan:


and then learned that it is part of a series being written by the Huffington Post that highlights LGBT families.

I knew I had to share their story when I read that Adam and Ryan along with their two children live by these rules in their home:


RaiseAChild.US is the nationwide leader in the recruitment and support of LGBT and all prospective parents interested in building families through fostering and adoption to meet the needs of the 415,000 children in the foster care system of the United States. RaiseAChild.US recruits, educates and nurtures supportive relationships equally with all prospective foster and adoptive parents while partnering with agencies to improve the process of advancing foster children to safe, loving and permanent homes. Take the Next Step to Parenthood at http://www.RaiseAChild.US or call us at (323) 417-1440.



I’m Back

Word of the day ~ Undertake. A  pick from Roget’s International Thesaurus. Ran my finger down a randomly selected page with my eyes closed and landed on undertake. Would normally think caskets, mortuaries, funeral planning. But the word I landed on is a verb and a subsection of address oneself to. I do love a good romp through a thesaurus. Undertake, such a humble word has too many synonyms to mention and has inspired its own stable of cliches:

Knuckle down ~~ Put one’s shoulder to the wheel ~~ Take the bull by the horns

I’ve done all three the last few weeks, editing my manuscript, my excuse for being away from my blogging.

And why the association with grave diggers?

Word Origin and History for undertaker
c.1400, “a contractor or projector of any sort,” agent noun from undertake (v.). The specialized sense (1690s) emerged from funeral-undertaker. = {http://www.dictionary.com/browse/undertaker}

Back to Thoughts While Walking the Dog.

Happy Spring!

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I’ve just finished reading ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend it along with the majority of the other, over 23,000, reviewers who also wrote lovely descriptions of the story on Amazon and Goodreads. Many more reviewers raved about the book than those who criticized it.

I found much beauty and suspense in the novel along with the horror of WWII and the Nazi regime. I  felt immersed in the lives of the characters and once I got into the story had no problem following the back and forth in time.

Of course the book got me thinking about war and good vs. evil. One NY Times reviewer criticized Doerr for including von Rumpel as a not fully developed character along with Frederick, Werner’s friend in the Nazi Youth School. I guess both fall into the category of minor characters, not much backstory to flesh out either of them or make us care too much about them. But for me the two of them are metaphors for the theme of good and evil inherent in most stories about Nazi Germany.

Frederick represents the delicate nature  of good in the face of evil. When he defies authority, he is  severely punished. Werner knows in his heart the right thing to do, but does not have the courage to act. There are many, many riveting scenes, but that one stays with me. I keep asking myself – What would I do in a similar situation? Would I have the guts to  defend a friend or loved one in a situation where we would both more than likely lose our lives if I speak up?

Sgt. Maj. von Rumpel is evil to the core, toeing the party line and being eaten up inside by his cancer. Isn’t that the very essence of evil to destroy itself in the end. Doerr spared us a narrative about evil by showing it to us in the character of von Rumpel.

Did you read the book? Do you have a scene that stays with you? I’ll be away from my computer for the rest of the week on family business, but look forward to any comments you have.

Thanks for stopping by.



A-to-Z Reflection [2016].jpg


Apologies for my computer glitches this morning. Some of you have now received this three times.😱



I can’t remember how I learned about the A-Z Challenge. Wish I could remember so I could give that blogger a great big thank you. I’d been wanting to start a blog, but didn’t like the idea of writing without anyone knowing I was there. The Challenge offered me the perfect place to start.

I strapped on my hiking boots and set off to climb the mountain. Like Cheryl Strayed in Wild, I wasn’t quite prepared for the journey. First I had to learn how to add a bog to my website. No problem, I called on Maggie McLaughlin


who advises me on all things technical. By the end of March my image was of Maggie as Sisyphus at the bottom of the hill endlessly pushing me, the boulder, up the hill only to have me roll back. We both persevered and got the blog up and running.

I signed up as number 508, Thoughts While Walking the Dog, with the theme of Women in the 1930s.

 With April looming on the horizon, I planned to have all my posts done and still be able to take my already paid-for vacation at the end of the month. Life has a way of wiggling itself onto the trail, and I had to take a detour from my plan. No worries. I’d just write two posts every day and be finished by mid-April. And that’s sort of how it worked out. Determined not to drop out or miss a post, I devoted myself each day, even Sundays, to write for the Challenge. But near the end I was scrambling.

Would I do it again? Yes. It was lots of work, but so much fun too. Next year I hope I’ll be able to stick to my plan and do more blog hopping and commenting.

One precious thing I take away is that I no longer fear “being out there.” Well, I do still have some fear, but now that I’ve done it, I know I can swim with the big kids. As a writer, I’m an introvert. But I do want people to read my writing.

My regrets are that I didn’t find or take the time to figure out the #AtoZChats on Thursdays, didn’t post on Facebook and only tweeted about the Challenge once, which might have something to do with being visible and a lot to do with my technical savvy. I also wish I had more skill in arranging and using photos and videos. There is time to develop that for next year.

I’ve connected with people around the world that I would not have found in a million years. Here’s a list in random order of some of the sites I’ve enjoyed reading.















There are many, many more at:


My thanks to the organizers of the Challenge. See you next year.



All right then. Let’s throw a couple.


Things My Mother Taught Me

My mother died when I was nine, so I had to learn her lessons quickly. She was estranged from her family, full of secrets and in relationship with a woman. Together we navigated life in the early 1950s on the Mojave Desert, far from telephones or any kind of public transportation. Before my mother’s death, I learned about unconditional love. Her stories, told through the adventures of a magical dapple-gray horse, wrapped me in the security of the kind of love that sets a foundation for life. Love of self and others.

We lived in a canyon remote and desolate as the surface of the moon. Our cabin overlooked a ravine, home to amazing, adaptable creatures. The trapdoor spider, the tarantula and horned toad are only a few of our seldom-seen neighbors. She wove tales of danger and respect and the need for protection from the living, breathing desert. One day I found her dissecting a rattlesnake on the kitchen counter. Afraid I might step on the rattler, she had killed it out by the back step. She later fried the meat for dinner.

My mother shared her love of books and literature with me and taught me to read before I entered school. At night we’d sit by our kerosene stove with our books. I loved to pretend to read out loud, turning the pages of her books full of words I didn’t understand. She listened and encouraged me while I amused her with childish made-up stories.

She fought her cancer with food from an early health-food guru, Adele Davis, and left me a life-long legacy of healthy eating. To this day I still make bone soup and note it’s recent rise from the ashes as the new cure-all for what ails us.

After her death, too old for adoption and with no known family, I ended up in foster homes. For me as a child the ever-present threat of moving took a certain level of detachment. I learned this survival method from my mother, a woman who never mentioned the father of her child. She had me. We had each other. That was enough.

The Mojave conceals an inner life. Caves hide underground springs where watercress and other edible plants can be found. Wildflower seeds wait under the sand, sometimes for years, for the exact amount of raindrops needed to sprout.

My mother had to know her time to walk with me on this earth would be short. She and her partner mimicked the mystery of the land where they chose to live. It is with sadness that I imagine how difficult her choices must have been. It is with gratitude that I acknowledge I inherited the tenacity of a wildflower from my mother and overcame early adversity to thrive.

On this Mother’s Day I savor my mother’s memory and her lessons taught from the Mojave Desert.