About Me

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I have discovered that walking a very narrow path leads to broad places of peace, contentment, and provision. I work as a freelance consultant in the areas of cultural heritage, public history and museums, From 2009-2016, I was the executive director of the Bolduc House Museum in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, (now called New France - the OTHER Colonial America, an eighteenth century French colonial historic site and National Historic Landmark.) My PhD is from the University of Leicester's (United Kingdom) Department of Museum Studies. My research looked at the interpretation of diversity at the American Historic House Museum. I also developed and facilitate an inspirational program for Christian grandparents, Gathering Grandparents.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It's public today - my decision to resign after more than six years as the executive director of the Bolduc House Museum. Writing has occupied much of my time at the museum. I created Zuts the Bolduc House Museum Squirrel and developed his voice on Facebook, the website and a quarterly article in the museum newsletter which I also wrote. The bolduchouse.org website content was written by me even though the squirrel takes credit for it except where his pages have been hacked by some cats.... Manuals, interpretive panels, exhibits, brochures, grant requests - the whole experience has been a huge honor and a challenge. I'm so proud of what I have done.

But I am a writer through and through. And my new adventure will allow me to focus on much more specifically on my writing. So watch me.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Coming Soon - the first in a series

In time for Christmas I plan to publish the first in what will be a series of Short Meditations on Hymns and Carols. The first volume will contain thirteen very short meditations on the Christmas carol, "The 12 Days of Christmas." Legend has it that each of the gifts represents a different aspect of the Catholic catechism so that British children could be reminded of the tenets of their faith at a time when it was illegal to practice Catholicism in England. So, after a first Christmas Eve meditation on the giver, the True Love, this devotional will feature one of the gifts each day through the evening of Epiphany, Twelfth Night. The meditations are short enough to be used for family devotions, for group meditations, and for individual devotions. A suggested prayer in response to the devotion and a list of Bible verses that connect to the meditation are included. You can expect this to be available for the Amazon Kindle in time for Christmas.


Monday, November 30, 2015

First steps towards seriously marketing my books....

Finally! It's been more than five years since I published my novel, Pastor's Ex-Wife, on Amazon as a Kindle download. So today, I added a author page on amazon.com.

Actually there already was an author page for the St. Louis Gateway Rail - the 1970's book which was published in 2006 by Arcadia and that I wrote as a tribute to my father-in-law. He took the photographs as research for his very comprehensive collection of HO-scale models depicting the history of rail in St. Louis from 1900-1990. That collection is on display at the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. I am proud of having had the honor to hear my father-in-law's heart as he shared his life through his images - each connecting to an in-tact memory - and then to have been the vehicle to communicate his life's work to the community through both the collection and this book. But, railroad is not my expertise and I very much doubt that, other than for a children's book in process called Stand Back!, I will ever write another book about trains.

I drastically reduced the price on Pastor's Ex-Wife to $0.99 in order to boost its potential to attract readers. I NEED readers who will purchase the book, download it to their kindle, read it and then write an honest review. The link to buy it is found at: http://www.amazon.com/Pastors-Ex-Wife-Lesley-Barker-ebook/dp/B004NNUXBQ. That book should propagate to my author's page by Saturday 12/5/15.

Besides readers and reviewers, I need people who will recommend this book to their friends and acquaintances. By browsing through this blog you will be able to learn about why the book was written and what I hope that it will accomplish - and why it is in fictional form. I think you will find it a compelling read.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reviews needed to boost sales of Pastor's Ex-Wife on Amazon Kindle

I spent the weekend reading and writing because writing is my first passion and I intend for it to succeed as a means of personal support. 

Yesterday I worked on a revision of my book about Auguste Chouteau - a short historical novel for youth readers. It is set in the 18th century French Illinois Country across the river from the Bolduc House Museum for which I have served as executive director since 2009. Having lived and breathed and handled the artifacts and archives every day for the past six years I am much more prepared to make the story come alive with authentic details. I'm glad I waited to publish this book until now. Like my other fiction, The Curse of Kaskaskia is about what happens to faith in dysfunctional families when inauthentic or spiritually abusive churchianity is operating. This time the story is about 14 year old Auguste's fears that the church will restore his mother to his abusive father should that man ever return to New Orleans to claim her. It also deals with the anger that is the way to masquerade his fear. The French colonial community at Kaskaskia was filled with diversity - the story involves the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, African slaves, Indian slaves, an Osage man and a Taensas woman, Jesuit priests and secular enforcers of the order that evicted the Jesuits from New France. Each culture brings its own wisdom as the parallel story between a teenaged boy and a much older woman unfolds. I realized today that there is another character who would certainly have been involved in the story but who would have lived across the river in Ste. Genevieve. Most of my work on this story has been to strengthen it by the inclusion of my newly gained expertise in the period and its material culture. Next I will weave in Marguerite Valle's perspective and the required scalp dance after the death of Nukonska....

Today, I read about writing and publishing shorter kindle books. I decided to begin a series of short devotionals to self publish on the kindle platform. It is called "Short Meditations on Hymns and Carols". The first book will be based on the legend that the Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was really a song with a hidden message for Catholic children growing up in England between 1559 and 1829 when it was illegal to be Catholic. It is comprised of 13 short devotionals, one for each day from Christmas Eve through Twelfth Night. I plan to launch it for $0.99 per copy by December 17.  It will make a perfect Christmas gift for families as well as for individuals.

 Today I also decided to do some other marketing activities in the next two weeks. These will be to complete my author's page on Amazon, work on building a following for my new author's page on Facebook and drastically lower the price of Pastor's Ex-Wife on Kindle. It is very important to me that that book rise in the ratings and become more widely known and read. For that to happen, I need readers who will write honest reviews about it. If you are willing to read and write an honest review for the Pastor's Ex-Wife sale page on Amazon, I am willing to send you a free download of the book. So if you want one, email me at teamlesley@gmail.com and I'll reply with a pdf version of the book.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Religion: Not Yet, Not Here, Not Necessarily Available because It is Not for Now....

My fiction pushes against religiosity by exposing the wounds and the questions that result from being hurt by the church and accused by religious leaders who have become bullies instead of good news brokers. In his book, Kingdom Principles: Preparing for Kingdom Experience and Expansion, Miles Munroe distinguishes between religion and a kingdom-mindset. By unpicking how kings exercise dominion as well as lord over domains, Munroe challenges people, no matter their religious affiliation, to take Jesus' reply to Pontius Pilate at face value: "I was born a king." Munroe claims that "religion postpones the Kingdom to a future experience." When religion is focused on the attainment of something not yet, not here, not necessarily available because it is not for now, there is a space and a potential need created in our minds for some more enlightened guru without whom we might not be able to get to there then, who, if said guru is operating against us out of some impure agenda as a bully, competes against the Holy Spirit for our trust. This mismatch often twists how we understand and lean on God. My book, Pastor's Ex-Wife, is the story of one such victim's journey back to a place of vulnerability after having been bullied away from trust, overtaken by too much fear and chained up by so much religiosity. It takes her on a romp through inner city schools as well as to an assortment of Protestant churches until she finds enough courage to confront and disallow her abuser-pastor-ex-husband any additional power over her life and emotions. Although fiction, it is anything but imagined.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Looking for a courageous editorial team for such a time as this

Over the past week I have been revisiting my files where I have kept the writing I have done since the early 1970's. There is a large body of work in many genres most of which deals with topics and issues of faith. It is time to push some of these works forth where they can accomplish the purposes for which I labored over them. Some, like a book about leading preschoolers to intentionally encounter, experience, and engage with God, have been in the works since I was a new mother. Now, a grandmother, I feel qualified to finish it. Other pieces have been researched and are waiting to be turned into books of meditations - one on Ecclesiastes, one on the Old Testament enemies, Ammon, Philistia, Moab....for example. Others are fiction - plays, short stories, children's books, novels, a murder mystery - some in draft form, some, like Pastor's Ex-Wife, are finished and available on Amazon as a Kindle book-this one could probably turn into a movie. Of course there are the published books - St. Louis Gateway Rail - the 1970's published by Arcadia, the Eye Can Too! Read series of e-books that provide graded activities for homeschoolers that improve learning-related vision skills and was originally published by Home School Inc. and has now reverted to me, the Prayerwalk St. Louis Guidebook, and a group Bible study guide: Strategic Prayer Guide.

Writing has been a consistent priority since I was in about the second grade. It has always been my goal and passion as well as how I process my emotions, my faith, and my thoughts. There are poems and articles written, sold and waiting. There is another body of academic work. Some essays could be published as smaller pieces. I am writing a PhD dissertation for a doctorate in museum studies through the British University of Leicester that will be finished by February 2016. This is a challenging look at the interpretation of past intercultural interactions at American Historic House Museums that I hope will become a very useful tool for these museums.

So now, I am looking for an editor, publisher, distributor who can provide me the space to write enough to produce an income stream for the imminent retirement years (turning 60 in 4 months....)

Monday, October 05, 2015

This makes me happy

Feathers, flowers, flavors, textures
Birds, butterflies, cows and other creatures
Even bugs armored and glistening in the grass
When the sun strikes and iridescence replies
Accompanied by thrumming and the drumming beat
Of beak against tree supporting
Song bird melodies
Pierced by staccato bark moo shriek
Wind wafted fragrances cedar and sea salts
Wrapping wind releasing rainbow skies

c. 2015 - By Lesley Barker