January 9th, 2013. If you live in the Amarillo, Texas area, mark your calendar to attend Helen Luecke’s book signing at the Senior Citizen’s Center (exact time TBA).
Hopefully she’ll begin the session with a reading. Listeners who don’t understand a word of English could still be mesmerized by Helen’s reading her stories. Is it cadence or syntax?
When I mentioned Helen’s pleasant voice modulation, she was unaware of that talent. She credits writing skill development to inspirational writer, Doris Crandall—“a very good editor who helped lots of people,” Helen said.
Helen is the surviving member of the like-minded trio (Helen Luecke, Doris Crandall and Sylvia Camp) that started an Amarillo chapter of “Inspirational Writers Alive.” In the main, this group writes to encourage their readers to direct themselves to Christian living, something Mrs. Luecke accomplishes with her touching family-life stories.
One of those tales, A Gift of Love, submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul: the Gift of Christmas, 2010 edition, made the cut of the 101 chosen from 6,000 other entries. Then, on December 16th this year, The Amarillo Globe News featured Helen Luecke’s back story to A Gift of Love, in a spread in its “Lifestyles” section.
The timing, less than a month before the release of her own book, “Life’s Journeys Become Twilight Memories.” was perfect. But Helen Luecke did not solicit the attention. Chicken Soup’s Amy Newmark notified the paper. Chip Chandler interviewed Helen, and the paper sent a photographer to take a picture of her with the gift of love—a tri-colored afghan Helen had crocheted for her mother.
It’s appropriate, but ironic that a writer not motivated by money should be the subject of a newspaper spread. Mrs. Luecke appreciates the publicity, however, because she does have a mission. She wants to use her stories to inspire others to write theirs and give their children a sense of family history. “Maybe they’d write for their kids or at least tell their kids about their lives,” Helen said.
Also, she discovered years ago that her stories “touch people’s hearts.” The Smile behind the Tears, published in a collection prompted a young reader to write Mrs. Luecke. Referring to Helen Luecke’s mother, and the central character in the story, the child said, “I wish I could’ve had a mother like Miss Bessie.” Helen “didn’t realize there were that many” who grew up in dysfunctional homes.
Thanks to Chip Chandler’s article, Helen Luecke’s inspirational stories will reach a larger audience. Some who hear the sincerity in her voice, purchase her book, and allow themselves to be guided by stories beautifully told, will surely wish to be a mother like Miss Bessie. Relating to true life examples, they will follow and grow.
© 2012 Bernice W. Simpson