Friday, May 26, 2017

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Celebrating a WW II veteran
Local author’s ‘In the Presence of Greatness’ tribute to William Apesos
MAY 26, 2017

WEIRTON — As Memorial Day nears, one local author celebrates the special friendship and admiration she had for a World War II veteran she met through the monthly Tri-State Writers Society meeting she leads.

Karen Garrison, whose pseudonym is Karina Garrison, will be one of three inspirational authors on hand for an author event and book signing from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the activity room of the Mary H. Weir Public Library at 3442 Main St.
Joining her will be Carolyn Bradley and Susan Spencer-Smith, all of whom will discuss and sign their latest works. The guest authors share stories dealing with life’s difficult challenges with hope and courage and mastering those challenges with the help, mercy and love of God.
Garrison is an award-winning author, speaker and creative writing instructor who in 2015 was nominated for Author of the Year by the Artists Music Guild Heritage Awards. For 15 years, her work has appeared in publications including Woman’s World magazine, Barbour Publishing, Nelson Publishers and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
Her newest story, “In The Presence of Greatness,” is featured in May’s “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families” and centers on the late William Apesos, a Weir High School graduate and an Army veteran of World War II.
The Steubenville resident, who died May 10, 2016, at age 91, was assigned as a detached service combat medic serving with the Third and First Armies in Europe. He was among the D-Day forces that landed at Normandy.
Garrison met Apesos when he became a part of the fairly new Tri-State Writers Society that holds meetings open to published and aspiring writers of all genres.
“I sensed that I was in the presence of someone completely different from those in my usual social circles,” Garrison writes of her first impression of Apesos, who would share with the group stories about World War II “that seemed long suppressed,” stories of the atrocities of combat and the death of his brother Mike, with whom he communicated during the war with their own private code.
As Apesos shared his stories with the writers’ group, Garrison noted in her latest “Chicken Soup” offering, “When he finished his stories, I couldn’t find my voice to move the class forward, and looking at each member’s face, I knew that they were internalizing what had just happened. We’d heard of loss, love, and grace under pressure. We had seen the brutality of hundreds of bodies of fellow countrymen strewn along foreign shorelines. This wasn’t some Hollywood war movie production, but the true spirit of America — personal and intimate as only a surviving veteran could tell.”
Her opportunity to become acquainted with Apesos is something Garrison highly values.
“I loved Bill and miss his sharp, witty presence in our group very much,” Garrison said. “The void he’s left has not nor could it be filled again. I still remember his words at our last class where he said in reference to being a paramedic in WWII and the atrocities he faced at that time that he was ‘neither a hero nor a coward — just a man.'”
At Saturday’s book signing, Garrison also will be promoting “Tempting Faith,” her first full-length fictional novel that tells the story of forbidden love, faith and ancient secrets and has a five-star rating on Amazon.
Carolyn Bradley has written the children’s book, “A Gingerbread Heart,” essay collections “The Seeds of My Love” and “Sundays, Dreams and Souvenirs,” and the devotional “In the Comfort of His Arms,” featuring 23 guest authors.
Weirton native Susan Spencer-Smith is author of “The Preacher Lady’s Cookbook for the Hungry Heart” and two inspirational cozy mysteries set in West Virginia, “Death in the Parsonage” and “Corpse in the Cookery.” Her third mystery, “Murder on Muddy Creek,” debuts in October.
Spencer-Smith graduated from West Liberty University and United Theological Seminary in Dayton. She worked in newspaper journalism for 28 years and served as a United Methodist pastor for 16 years. She lives in Weirton with her husband, Grant Beamer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


This morning I spoke to a group at a  prison. It was one of the best experiences of my life. As I left, I was reminded of an age-old truth that no matter what....strength conquers doubt. Grace conquers judgment.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Bring the Unforgettable into Your Llife

Introducing Tempting Faith, Karina Garrison's highly-anticipated newly released inspirational novel.

Come join her for the kickoff celebration this coming weekend in Walnut Creek, OH where she is scheduled for three book signings. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Moveable Feast

Reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway this morning and came across this part that affected me, and that I thought was poignantly conveyed to the reader (he is referring to his time in Paris):

With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it seemed it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. ...This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason. In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed. *

*Wanted to share with those viewing this blog.  I love the minds of writers and am becoming a truer fan of Hemingway's when I had not fully appreciated his work before.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Blank Page

Recently, I positioned one of my prized possessions,  a 1920's Remington typewriter, in one of my offices.  Often, I brush my hands over the keys reverently as if I were a pianist stroking a Bösendorfer.  And my mind floods with questions.

Who was its owner?  And what was it used for?  Business? Or to create extraordinary worlds from ordinary words?

Throughout that first day when my co-worker had carried the heavy item to my office, and then the days thereafter, it was apparent that it wasn't just me who seemed enthralled with such a nostalgic piece. Many people who flitted through my office door would often pause before they left to study the typewriter and then tap down a few keys. Just hearing the "click click" sound seemed to pump up energy and happiness in the room.  What magic this unique piece of history holds, I thought, slipping a piece of blank paper through the platen and relishing the fact that someone long ago performed the same gesture. The typewriter now looked complete with the piece of paper tucked inside as if waiting for the writer to begin spinning a tale.  Or so I thought.

A week or so passed, the blank paper was still curled inside, and without a new typewriter ribbon, there wasn't much I could do other than wonder what I would type on the blank page if I could.   

More days passed and as I entered my office each morning, I became bothered that the blank page was still blank.  What is wrong with me? Just take the paper out, I reasoned with myself.  Yet, I couldn't.  But why?

It was because each morning as my door opened and I was greeted by one of my co-workers, a pattern of correlation began forming in my mind. I was beginning to see that blank page as the blank page that happens every morning with every human being.  For during the night before, as we close our eyes for sleep, we are all left with choices when we awake. Will we hold on to the struggles of the day before? Or will we rise to the dawn--refreshed and determined to cast off the hardships of the past so that the new day shines with possibilities?

"Hmm," I mumbled, a rush of satisfaction filling me as I finally realized what should be written on that blank page.  Walking over to the typewriter, I tapped the keys repeatedly until their letters appeared imprinted into the paper.

Perfect, I thought.  Just perfect.

Smiling, I turned away to start on my work for the day, knowing that if any observant bystander glanced long enough at the seemingly blank page positioned invitingly in the typewriter, that they would see faintly, but strongly branded into the paper's fibers:

Make your life a story worth telling.

Gazing once more at the typewriter, I nodded.  It now seemed complete....just like my morning.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Around the Bend

 Wrong decisions? Regret? Wondering how you can move on after trials?
Last week, I had been contacted by a stranger (who is now my dear friend) regarding a published story that I'd written some time ago. His personal and trusting note to me about this particular story and how it led him out of darkness touched me profoundly. His letter reminded me of why I wanted to become a writer, and why to this day, as an inspirational speaker and author, I desire to help others through a very real, identifiable way.
Below is  my story, Around the Bend, published both in Chicken Soup for the Soul Think Positive, and also, in Woman's World magazine.  I hope that if you're reading this, that in some way, my story will help you or others needing encouragement to remember that hope is always... just around the bend.
Around the Bend
  Copyright by Karen "Karina" Majoris-Garrison 

 In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
~Albert Camus