Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tony Thorne Takes Readers Into Strange, Sometimes Weird, Places!

You'll never know by looking at him,
but the fly that runs across your computer screen
might have been infected..

Macabre Tales:
A Collection of
 Speculative Stories

By Tony Thorne, MBE

Tony Thorne sent a book of short stories, plus one...I thought that was an interesting marketing maneuver, don't you? So, in addition to reading the 18 tales, I also got "Washout" which, according to the author is "a parting quirky tale about some strange visitors" to an old lonely house...  Indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed this extra gift, and am wondering if I could arrange a visit from the same guests. I loved the ending of this one!

Macabre TalesIf you stop to think about everyday things happening in your life, and then turn a speculative. scientific, but definitely weird glare on that activity, you would begin to understand the type of stories written by Thorne. For instance, his parting tale, hidden between the pages of his book, describes how a man one day found his wife frozen in place by fright, holding a knife. She stands near the washing machine. Now the man had already been frightened by a strange creature on the way home, so immediately he wondered if another was in the machine...After all, something was causing the glow and the strange wailing from inside his washer...

Another author described Thorne as having the mind of a scientist...[with] a brilliant flash of black humor. Indeed many of the stories you will read deal with the potential use of science. Consider the cell phone... Do you carry yours everywhere you go? Might you even take it to the grave with you?  After all, you might want to, say, call your spouse and share a little...

Have you heard much about nanotechnology? It is the future for medical surgical procedures according to some individuals... Thorne poses the question: What if one of those nanophytes decides to take up residence in...your head?

In these days of hacking, identity and information theft on the computer, Thorne postulates that we might have to fight fire with fire, as the old saying goes...or, rather, fight with anything that is in range of a computer screen--even a fly?

A futuristic thought--individuals may become trained to work at Euthanasic, Inc. You'd probably never be out of work, right? Don't count on it...

We are all warned about having radiation therapy except in short bursts; it's dangerous so even workers don't stay around when the machine is on. But if a mouse should crawl way up into the internal parts of that equipment...

Or consider the weight-loss clinic who hosted free operations to those qualified, with guarantees...

I found Tony Thorne more droll than truly gruesome. His concepts are clever, his writing sharp and quickly to the point and he closes with a quiet flourish... He delves into personal areas, our daily lives and asks you to consider the alternatives that are conceivably possible, if only... But then, again, there really might be a bit of truth just waiting to be scientifically researched and created! Explore our potential future with Tony Thorne. You just never know how and when death will call...Recognize that some tales are indeed possible right now!

For myself, I found the perfect reason not to further explore bypass surgery for weight loss... Sorry, folks, I just had to add a little dark humor of my own. Readers, you know who you are...Highly recommended for a true exploration of the macabre...

Book Received
Via LinkedIn


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

For Me, It Takes More Than The Storyline...

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 31:  A woman ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Turnbull threw his wife into the Thames;
There were witnesses who could place him on the bridge...

A Crime To Be Rich

By David Snowdon

Often the sound of a good plot pulls readers into selecting a book. so I selected A Crime to be Rich when offered.

Shane Turnbulll, a banker, received an anonymous call who told Turnbull that if he would go to a certain address at a certain time, he would see something of interest...Although the caller had absolutely refused to tell his name, Shane decided to go and found his wife there with another man...

A Crime to be RichWhen she got home, an argument started and Turnbull punched her; unfortunately when she fell, she hit her head and was killed. Without much thought, that banker placed his dead wife in the trunk of his car and threw her off the bridge into the Thames River!

Prior to his leaving their home, a friend of his wife had called, helping to give Shane an alibi, as he promised he'd have her return the call as soon as she was home. Later he began to place calls to friends and family, asking if they'd seen her.

Detective Inspector Ray Eubanks was assigned the case; he was the best they had and he almost certain right from the beginning that Turnbull was responsible...

Until another man confessed to the crime...

So Turnbull, taking an old fame with him, went to Miami for a vacation.

Normally, I would have read this type of police crime novel quickly. Days went by and I still wasn't finished due to stopping and restarting. I vowed though to read the entire book, primarily to respond to the commitment I had made, but also to see how the plot ended. But when Turnbull visited a voodoo practitioner, claiming his wife was haunting him and getting the advice to kill another individual, throw the body into the Thames and send him a live white chicken to sacrifice...well, shall I say the plot...thickened "weirdly"...

Actually, if the writing had been great, I could have been more responsive. However, this writer takes page after page to describe eating, sipping, and enjoying music, calling it fun, even though there is little dialogue. The characters match since they are defined by (1) whether they are posh or not, identified for readers by the main character's interpretation of the individual's accent/education. (2) the clothes each and every character wears on each and every day and (3) the fact that, no matter where Snowdon travels, he knows somebody with whom he went to school and they love and host he and his lover for free...and then commiserates for pages and pages  while eating and sipping. And, of course, all of them are millionaires or billionaires.

The most troublesome issue about the book for me is the repetition. Totally ignoring the concept of making sure each word carries the story forward, the author states, repeats, and repeats again. Here's an example from just one page (p. 69).

"He stared at me...He stared at me thoughtfully again...We gazed at each other...As we gazed at each other... We gazed at each other again..." or

I picked up my drink, sipped it and continued to eat. I didn't want the meal to come to an end. It was so good. But every good thing has to come to an end eventually. And eventually, we all finished the meal. After we finished the meal, we ordered another round of drinks. That was the most satisfying meal that I've had for a very long time. I sipped my drink...(p. 140)

For me, the power of the plot was not enough to override the author's style of writing. I found it not only boring, but lacking in creativity and too much regurgitation of words such as posh over and over and an endless identification of characters by the clothes they wore, especially when these clothes were elaborately defined and then said to be "nice."  Check out other reviews to further consider this one. Sorry, I can't recommend...

Book Received


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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Camp Site Murder Mystery for YA Great Action/Adventure Tale!

Lake Fairfax Camp GroundsImage by (adam) THEO via Flickr
The camp hadn't been used for awhile;
a murder had taken place nearby...
Then why were WE going there???
Nightmare at

  Camp Forrestwood

A YA Whodunit

By Kelli Sue Landon

This novel is fun to read. It reminded me of those family times when all the kids come together, start making wise-cracks, joking, etc. It didn't remind me of my schooldays, except that I would have probably been one of the nerds that always carried a book and read in the corner...LOL But then again, the main male and female characters both sounded a little like me, so, naturally I would enjoy it, right?

At least until they reached Camp Forrestwood...

Nightmare At Camp Forrestwood: A Young Adult Whodunit
Holly Jensen had just started at a new school. So far, she had only one friend, Erin who rode on the same bus. Both were seniors, but Erin hated school and often skipped when she thought she could get away with it.

When the senior camping trip was announced, Holly's mother wanted her to go, but Holly didn't want to go if she was totally on her own, so she kept asking Erin until she finally gave in. But then she skipped more school. It was during her absence that another girl became friendlier with Holly. Mindy was the one who told Holly about the murder that had occurred very close to the camp where they were going and that, even now, a young boy was still there that might have been involved...

Mindy and Holly began to make plans to spend time together. Mindy had found out that the sleeping quarters would be arranged alphabetically. That meant that Erin would probably be in another building. But since Erin had not been back to school, both Mindy and Holly thought she would bail out of going; Holly admitted that she had bailed on her before...

Holly was interested in Matt and Mindy finally got her to admit it. Fortunately, Matt would stay in the same building as well! Holly planned on taking advantage of the proximity to try to get to know him...

But that planning was before it all started...

Erin came to school that morning and was upset that things were changed; she was fuming when Holly sat with Mindy on the bus, since she had asked her first. When they arrived and were quickly divided and sent off in different directions to the three separate cabins, Erin grew even more angry. Nevertheless, they all had to set off quickly. Each building would have just one adult chaperon and it was clear that no trouble would be tolerated--one boy was quickly returned home!

He was lucky that he was gone...

The first night was fun with the hotdogs, marshmallows and then singing started and, of course, scary stories... But then...

It was the teachers who started to disappear first, together with one girl who Mindy and others really didn't like. She was part of the elite group and always made sure everybody knew it. Of course other cliques had been formed but at least they talked to each other most of the time. For some of the students, they had been going to school together since grade school and knew so much about each other that they could tell much--or worse, publicly tease them about what had occurred when they were younger.

It was later revealed by a one of the students that he had seen a teacher and the girl making out against a tree. Both of the other chaperons were soon gone. All of the others began to see who else was missing and try to keep everybody together, but they were still in separate cabins. Finally they started to venture out to see who else was gone. They even continued to make plans for the dance that was to take place...

But nobody danced that night...

Although there is a tinge of horror to the tale Kelli Landon weaves, it is, indeed, more a whodunit. Within the senior class, there is so much tension between the students that nearly everybody had somebody to doubt or worry about.  Holly even worried that Erin had become so angry that she had gone on a rampage. Was it this one or that one... Readers will have a difficult time trying to learn about the potential "psycho" at the same time, they must keep track of who might have already become a victim. Actually, it is almost impossible to least it was for me! But maybe the young adults who read Nightmare at Camp Forrestwood will be able to better interpret the signals??? I highly recommend you try! Let me know if you figure out the who...and even more so, if you know the "why" before it is provided!

A great whodunit with a high recommendation! Enjoy!

Book Received Via
Bostick Communications


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Reviewer Bettie E. Tucker Praises Novel!

British Raj:
The life of a British Army officer during the early days ...

Boarding School Boy: In the days of …THE RAJ

Ashley Shemain
ISBN: 978-1-4502-8402-8 (pbk)
ISBN: 978-1-4502-8403-5 (cloth)
ISBN: 978-1-4502-8404-2 (ebk)
482 pages (includes front and back matter)

In reading Boarding School Boy by Ashley Shemain, I found the storyline to be fascinating, mesmerizing, and unforgettable even when I was outside of the bound pages. The characters and the in-depth way that the author brought them to life through vivid description, realistic dialog, and the display of inner and outward emotions showed the uniqueness and individual traits of each individual who played a part in this extremely well-written novel.

Boarding School Boy: In the Days of the RajThis story takes place in the days of the British Raj in India and is primarily centered around St. Augustine’s Boarding School and five particular students—a quintet which ultimately becomes known as “the Gang.”  Allow me to briefly introduce the five boys that readers follow through the years until they are ready to graduate as seniors. I’ll begin with John McInnis who was called “the Hare.”  He was quick, bright, devious and cunning. His father was the assistant mechanical engineer for the Railway, a position that he used to get Colin Hunter, his son’s friend, admitted to the boarding school as a ward of the state. Although Colin’s father had also been employed by the Railway, his drinking had ruined his career and the lives of his family. The two boys entered the school at the same time and remained close friends.  Colin Hunter carried himself well, and his large, deep blue eyes and golden brown complexion were startling. Father Patrick, his school master, taught him to hunt, and Hunter—appropriately named—took enthusiastically to the role.  Brian Hardy, Hunter’s friend, was very friendly, good-natured, steadfast, and intelligent, always showing common sense... His father had started working at the Railway at the age of eighteen.  In contrast, Trevor Montagu was born to privilege; his father, a second son of the British gentry, served in the management of His Majesty’s empire. Although Trevor, patient but calculating,  easily adapted to St. Augustine’s Boarding School, there was something about him that seemed to send a message to some students that he thought he was better than them.

The fifth and last member to become part of the Gang was Ranji Singh, an Indian prince, the son of the Maharaja of Panipur.  All he wanted was acceptance by the other students who imagined that he was receiving special treatment.  In reality, his father had made sure that his son would be treated no differently than the other students—though he did have a bodyguard. After Ranji, though smaller in stature than the oppressor, intervened in a fight in which he knew that Montagu needed help, he not only became part of the quintet, but also finally gained acceptance by the other students.  Still, there was unspoken resentment because he was considered to be “special.”

In the preface of the book, readers see how the various attributes of the first four of these boys were utilized when they played a game called “Bang Bang” in the lush jungle in the circle of high peaks that surrounded the school.   Father Patrick sat on a rock in a clearing while directing and watching their activities as they enthusiastically pretended to shoot one another.

As readers watch the boys mature, they witness the bond and competition between them become stronger.  The school offers sporting seasons, October sports holidays, concerts, 3-month holidays and other events which show the strengths, talents, and emotions of the five boys and their families. Some parents come to watch their children perform and compete in various school activities. Interesting conversations take place during these in-school visits by the parents.

There are tense moments when Hunter is severely wounded by a tiger, and Montagu gives blood in an attempt to save his life. Later, the Hare is bitten by a Cobra.

Hunter is my favorite character in the book, probably influenced by the fact that as a small, confused child he saw his mother and the Hare’s father both naked but did not understand what he had interrupted. This affected his entire life, and yet his desire is to finish school and help his destitute mother. While in school, he has no family visits and is haunted by the past. Others do reach out to him.  Hunter knows very little about “sex,” but has three females attracted to him—two young girls and an older woman.  When he experiences desire, Hunter is confused about sex and sin.  Father Patrick is also struggling with sexual issues regarding a past love and a present-day temptation.

As this book, with its progressive and surprising twists, comes to a climatic ending, readers will be aghast at the shocking final events that take place. There was no way I was prepared for the outcome of this novel, and I could not put the book down as I read the ending chapters.  This is an outstanding and “must read” book which should be made into a movie as it has all the ingredients necessary for success.

Bettie Corbin Tucker
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers  

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Newly Expanded Edition of Water and Life Now Available!

Water and Life:

Photos and Poems
in English and Italian

By Adolph Caso

Followers of my blog will already know that I am a great fan of Adolfo Caso's photography and poetry. With his camera, he captures snippets of God's beautiful world and the people inhabiting it. With this poetry, he stirs our memories and our passions. One thing he doesn't do is leave you wanting for something "new" from him to enjoy!

The fifth edition of Water and Life has just come out and bookstores may not even have it available yet, so I've included a link to his publishing site. By the way, while testing this link, I watched a track on the latest course Adolfo is teaching for Dante University! And you'll also see another of his latest books, God and Evolution, which I've already recommended to readers... This energetic, experienced writer, poet, photographer and yes, professor is certain to keep you thinking and learning!  I keep telling him I'm retired but obviously that just means to him that I have even more time to read and learn...

Water and LifeSo, I know you will not be surprised that this fifth edition includes some of his older poems but many of his new ones and more beautiful color photography!

Please note that the book includes poetry in both English and Italian. (Can't read Italian? Did you know that Caso also created the Kaso English to Italian Dictionary?)

I was intrigued enough by one of those poems to launch a brief internet search. I found that "Sonetto Semplice--Morte Li Luigina" was  in English "Sonnet Simple--Death Of Luigina."  You, see, I had been interested because the poem was just one word, repeated over and over... I had to know what it meant.  


The translation: 


I found myself weeping...

So, I thought I would try for another translation on the site--the Title Aprile, I felt, would be April...But I found that the words did not translate the same when duplicated. Then I clicked to have the words spoken. They were cold, lifeless...and I knew that the language could not be adequately shared by computer, no matter how wonderful they are. But for our Italian Americans, this is a wonderful addition, providing a touch of their heritage or home...

Adolfo's love poems are so wonderful to read. Let me share just a few lines from one of his longer ones:

I have loved you
with all my heart and soul
    than you could ever imagine,                        and then continuing with  

Love is not a word
not a fantasy.
It is there--
                   here!                                                     and ending

I want to love you
more than you can ever imagine
And when I do
and you are there
the words of love will explode
like volcanoes at sea
thrusting islands

Caso speaks just as passionately about war,! He takes you into a topic about which he strongly feels and forces you to share his thoughts, his opinions. Quoting just the first few lines of "Suicide Through Murder"

I will give
as water
enough to invigorate a boxer
for another round

Or he shares the simplest of life's pleasures and makes them meaningful, such as in "Three M & Ms":

She  put her little hand into the bag,
Withdrawing three M & Ms,
She placed them gently into my receptive hand.

Catching the moments of his life, Adolfo willingly shares them with all of us! It's an interesting thing about a book of poetry. You can read it one time and find words that mean something very special...

Then the next time you read that same book, some other words, new and vibrant, shout out at you...

This review presents just a sample of what is available in the latest, Fifth Edition of Water and Life: Photos and Poems in English and Italian.

Highly recommended to poetry lovers and even more so to those who measure life by the pleasures we find in our daily living...presented by Adolfo family and friends...

Book provided
by Publisher


Friday, June 24, 2011

Have you Ever Rode a Train? I Have Always Wanted to...Until...

Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad TrainImage via WikipediaThrow The Devil 

  Off The Train

By Stephen Bly

What a fun book to read! Witty, Crisp dialogue from a series of characters that you feel actually lived back in the days... sensitive, touching themes, old-fashion romantic love... Readers will laugh and...cry a little... What more could you ask for! It's not listed as Christian fiction, but it is certainly recommended to that group for their consideration. This delightful book is a western, set in time right after the civil war ended although there's not too much about the west, except as a location toward which a train is going...and oh, yes, there is a saddle as a character, which surely counts toward it being a western, right? And there's really nothing about the war, except about the devastation to families that, in my mind, explains both the actions of the good and bad characters...everybody was trying to survive after so much had been lost...

First, a comment about the book itself. I was privileged to get a hard-back copy which has not only a dust cover but the cover itself contained artwork as well as printing. I got a large print version which was wonderfully easy on my eyes...Thanks go to both the author and the publisher, Center Point Publishing, Thorndike Maine for a truly worthy personal library edition...

Throw the Devil Off the Train (Center Point Premier Western (Large Print))
Nearly all of the story takes place on the train...

Race Hillyard had just killed a man. Two men were planning on stealing from him, in response to the hard times they were facing after the war. Race would have left them both go, but one of them decided to try again... Race was tired, hungry and in a bad mood when he found his seats on the train--I say seats because he had purchased an extra seat so that he could keep his saddle with him...

So when Catherine Draper came on the train, looking for a seat, she naturally became agitated that a saddle was taking up a place she could use... Needless to say, their meeting was not the greatest way to become romantically involved...

But then again, neither were looking for that possibility. In fact, Catherine was on her way to marry a childhood sweetheart and was already using her married name. Of course that was partly because she was also "getting out of town" and hiding her identity for pulling a gun against a lawyer. That story had been blown out of proportion so using her future husband's name seemed the right thing to do... even if they had not seen each other since they were...12 years old...

Race, on the other hand, was looking for revenge and he had the ability to get it since he had been a sharp-shooter during the war. But when the first conflict started on the train--a man talking crazy and acting as if he was walking in his sleep, Race was immediately on the alert and before long, literally throwing men off the train...  He became a quiet sort of hero...except when riled...

He even acted more friendly after he had gotten some sleep... Or, maybe that was because of Catherine... You just knew right away that sparks were flying between those two!

All types of scams surrounding mining (diamonds, gold, silver) were what the bad guys did back in those times. Race's brother had convinced him to put all of their money into such a plan and, when he had lost it all, committed suicide rather than face Race. There were many who were going to pay! And one of them was on that train...and Catherine knew him. It's hard though getting serious about all those nasty issues like killing, blackmail, kidnapping, and much more that happened, when it's so much fun watching the characters on the train and especially Catherine and Race falling in love. But I promise you there's action and adventure to keep your pages turning...all the way up to the point when Catherine finally meets her "intended..."

You just gotta love this one!

Book Received Via
Facebook Reviewers Roundup


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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time Traveler to Civil War Era Creates Delightful and Humorous Romantic Suspense!

The Nation's Police Officers killed in the lin...Image by Livsafe via Flickr
Mike's Partner and Brother-in-Law, Killed in Line of Duty,
resulted in Mike selling his soul to save him...

Some Like It


By Deb Stover

I loved the storyline for Some Like It Hotter! First the reader is in the midst of a police activity where one of the officers is killed...and then suddenly we are time traveling back over 100 years...

Why? All because of a "deal with the devil"...

Well, that is not exactly right. It was more a deal with a demon. And, consider this, the demon is not on great terms with the devil! After all, the demon had recently tried to tell the devil that he could do a better job of know where...LOL!  So, watch "Slick" and read him carefully and you just might be able to predict the end of the story! I did not... And it's a cool ending!

Some Like It HotterMike Faricy is a detective with the local police and was on a stakeout with Barney, his partner,  trying to learn more about the Druglord Milton and his men. Suddenly action starts and the two officers give chase and Barney is killed. Mike and Barney are not just partners. Barney is married to Mike's sister Carrie and a child is coming. When Mike realizes that Barney is dead, his immediate thought was for his sister and the baby. But then more of Milton's men came and Mike had to run for his life. Finally he came to a long-time vacated home that was said to be haunted and he entered, hoping that the men would not think of following him there.

As he waited, he heard something--music! It stopped and then began again, definitely piano music, but Mike knew there was nobody living in this old house. And that's when he met Slick... The negotiations began. Mike wanted Barney to be alive; Slick wanted Mike's soul... Bargain accepted. Time moved backwards...

There in the same building, Abigail Kingsley and her friend/maid Rosalie found Mike sprawled out on the floor in the great hall. The Civil War had ended, but for Abigail, the effects would go on for much longer. All of her family had been killed. The slaves had been freed; Rosalie had stayed because she had always been part of the family's life. They were near starvation and both Abigail and Rosalie were eating even less so that Wade would have enough to eat. Wade was Abigail's son.

Once Mike had put things together and realized that he had moved back in time, he realized that in other to fulfill his part of the bargain, he was going to have to kill the ancestor of the Druglord so that, in essence, Barney's death would never occur. Yes, quite an elaborate scheme; Slick admitted he was enjoying setting up the event! From time to time, he even would give hints as to how Mike could find Milton.

What was not part of Mike's plan was to be attracted to Abigail and ultimately to fall in love...

And Abigail surely wasn't looking for somebody to love; in fact she was terrified of men after what had been done to her years ago.

You're going to be reading about a great romance with some steamy scenes. What I most enjoyed, however, was seeing a character being thrown back into an earlier century and seeing him adjust to the loss of conveniences--learning how to milk a cow, fishing before every meal in order to have food, not having any money because what he had was not "real" and definitely no credit cards accepted!

As mentioned earlier I also enjoyed the interface between Mike and Slick. Mike was not willing to assume that he was going to die and, if he was, he visited his local church to prepare!

This was a page turner for's a different type of suspense when you are following a man who is trying to fulfill his bargain with the devil...Sure makes you realize that you'd better not act quickly to do so! LOL A thoroughly enjoyable and unique book...Highly recommended!

Book Received from Publisher
ePublishing Works


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jeanie Harris Provides Look at Life of American Poet...

Chasing Fireflies

The Dust Bowl 
Childhood of a Poet

By Jeanie Harris

I don't review many poetry books; I don't have the background professional qualifications to consider all types of poetry so, like a "technical language" book, I pass on most of them. When I do review them, it is because of the message, the words, that are being shared by the poet, nothing else. It was fun, therefore, to read about Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel's early life in Chasing Fireflies. Even though she read many poems and studied somewhat during her early years, she decided she would write as she wished, because it was "the words" that were important... My kind of woman...

Actually, Chasing Fireflies was more a memoir than a collection of poetry, although there are a few included, so I found myself becoming quite involved in McDaniel's early life. She was older than I and did not have access to "the conveniences" that we had by the time I was born, but there was still much for me to share as mutual memories from our childhoods.

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel grew up in Oklahoma. Her family were sharecroppers. What that meant was that they lived on a farm, had animals, grew crops...but all of the property belonged to somebody else. The family got a percentage of the main crop.

As with today's landlords, there were problems with the house which were never addressed, but the family made it work, A short narrative, for instance, tells how the stove pipe started a fire, and while the family worked to put it out, Wilma's mother had stayed right there, holding things together--and still saving their dinner!

When the Depression came, and then the big crash of the stock market came, there was nation-wide fear, but for the farmers there in Oklahoma, those things meant little to their lives. It was the weather that controlled their future, and during those same years where America was facing financial ruin, there in Oklahoma, the winds started to blow. With little water and no sight of rain, major dust storms blew the top soil away until crops were no longer growing and much of the state became known as the dust bowl...

But in the heart and head of a young girl, Wilma still found wonder in what she saw. Using every scrap of paper she could find, she would work to find the exact words to describe what was happening around her.


Wind played a major role
in my early life
as its very name
it was sighing gentle
and soothed my fears
under a patchwork quilt
it became so violent
it blew my young life away


Actually, it was the wind that has deprived us of the earlier poems of this poet--she had started to write when she was 8. Wilma would hide everything she wrote in a hole between the paper and the wall behind her bed. When her family suddenly had the chance to move to California, in one day, she had not felt she could share her words with anybody and left them there, probably never to be found...(One touching thing for me was that, as she grew older and became known for her poetry, many would send her beautiful new writing paper...which she never used, but would save for something special, while she continued to write her poetry on envelopes, advertisements, paper bags, any scrap she could find.)

People talk about the "good ole days" but they really weren't. Sometimes though, we need a dose of reality to realize just how much has changed. "The best part of Wilma's gift was that she always saw something special in the most everyday things. She saw nobility in ordinary people, like her friends...(p. 129) 

Arguably the most iconic American poet of the 20th Century, Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel stands without peer. Of German, Irish and Cherokee heritage, this extraordinary woman’s keen perspective through prose and poetry turned her life experiences into a wealth Wilma mined with a writer’s clarity, a poet’s insight, and a conviction and intensity etched through raw experience.  (Back40 Publishing)

I loved the personal story of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel found in Chasing Fireflies (One of the things she missed most when she moved from Oklahoma to California was that there were no fireflies sharing their flicker of lights in the evening hours...) You may click the title of this article to visit Back40 Publishing where you can find 13 collections of Wilma's poetry, as well as further background information on the works of  the “Dust Bowl” poet Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, 1918-2007.

Truly a must-read for poets and American history fans! And enjoy...

Book Given by
Publisher as a Gift


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Family Drama on Death and Dying Leads to Joyful End!

Megan carried what she needed to
the ritual in her hippie bag...Holly found
what she had carried the night she died...
Megan's Way

By Melissa Foster

A Tearjerker...

Love, Friendship, Joy

I never try to think what a new book may be about before I pick it up to read. From the front cover I knew it must be spiritual, but I just wasn't prepared for the tears... Actually, I don't think you can prepare for crying but I used to try sometime...I wouldn't watch movies that I thought would bring tears...wouldn't attend public events where I might cry... To me, tears were indicative of my period of job burnout--a time when my body and mind had just had experienced so much that all I could do was cry. That's been years ago though I still cry easily but today's tear are normally those of joy. Quite a different set of feelings...

In Melissa Foster's book, I found the joy and cleansing of tears... How beautiful!

Megan's WayMegan was dying. Her cancer had moved into her bones and there was nothing that could be done. The doctor had given her a variety of pills that would help reduce pain and prolong life, but death was still soon...

The only concern Megan had was for her daughter, Olivia. She had already made arrangements for her to be adopted by her best friends Holly and Jack. They, together with Peter, had been friends of Megan since long before she had a daughter. In many ways, they were much closer than family and loved and depended upon each other so much. It was natural that Megan had turned to them to ensure Olivia would be cared for.

But there were other reasons why Megan turned to Holly and Jack. Secrets that she had never shared with anybody.

The problem was that all three of her friends also had secrets that could now come to the surface in ways that could affect the rest of their lives... Holly, Jack and Peter were not only losing their beloved friend, they could potentially lose even more!

Megan was a single Mom. She had tossed out possibilities of who might have been the father, but had never shared it. Often, because of her illness, she would realize a need to explain the relationship with her daughter, so finally she wrote a letter explaining everything and hid it away. In the meantime, she had decided to stop taking her pills. It had been so bad, so hard for Olivia when she had first been diagnosed and treated, now, with no hope, she just wanted to save Olivia from  the pain and anger which could extend for months and months...

Not a unique drama. This story plays itself over and over across the world and will continue to do so. It is the people, the characters involved in such a drama that makes just another story something that is more--more beautiful, more real, more naturally realistic. Foster has created a set of characters that we all must come to know. Becoming a Finalist in the Indie Book Awards is not a surprise. There is no way this book would not be separated out as special, fulfilling a need in all of us to know more about death and dying...and how we may find our own way to accept and overcome it! Foster takes us into the potential supernatural aspect of an individual's own will and then permitted fate to appear beyond that...allowing the Holy One of their Ritual to smooth out the edges that remained...

A truly joyful book...A Real tearjerker, like I said! One I consider a must-read for teens on up!

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Reviewers Roundup


Monday, June 13, 2011

The Seraph Seal

By Leonard Sweet
      Lori Wagner

Informative, intriguing, exciting, joyful!...

By far, the most impressive apocalyptic novel I've read...

Read the "Alphabet of the Apocalypse: Reading the Signs of the Times" first to begin to "feel" the story...

The Seraph SealEver since I read The Late Great Planet Earth, I've been a believer. But unlike others when his time projection passed, that did not affect my belief. That author, like this one, is attempting to share the wonderful story of the end of our world. Wonderful? You are probably thinking I'm an end-times nut now, well that's ok too. I don't mind. Scientifically, however, I'm willing to accept that dates are never going to be accurate. But then again, who knows--we may never know when the time will be--until it is...

What I will say, though, is that The Seraph Seal is by far the most outstanding in its presentation of historical material, while providing an exciting, thrilling novel with an ending that at first threw me off, but then settled in to ensure an hypothesis that will satisfy even the most avid scifi time traveling fans out there...

Next year, 2012, will mark the beginning...

One interesting twist for me was the assumption that there would actually be eight horsemen. Those of us who constantly watch the battle between good and evil will instantly see the rationale behind this possibility. In December, 2012, on the exact day and at the exact time, 8 children will be born. They will all bear a birthmark, 2 representing earth, 2 representing water, 2 representing fire, and 2 representing air. But another child will also be born at that time; this is his story.

Paul Binder was born in West Virginia. When he was just born, his mother received a message that his name was to be Paul... He had been chosen... A key accompanied that message...

In 2048, Paul was a professor of history and cultural semiotics at the University of Virginia. Although he was very knowledgeable about the religions of the world, he, as well as most USAmericans, no longer practiced Christianity. Those who did were part of an underground society.

Matthew Serafino was then the USAmerica president. He bore a birthmark on his leg...
As a lover of futuristic advancements, I must commend the authors on the 2048 world created. The Cloud for many of us had been expanded and the concept of an earring potentially being an automatic access to the Internet and other communications do not seem to be far away in thought--but seeing the actual use within the novel was an exciting addition.

On the other hand, the world of 2048 is told in such a clearly scientific manner that readers will easily follow and see how decisions could bring about the resulted world as presented. For instance, with the need to move away from the need for oil, alternative fuels have been developed using, for instance, corn. It is easy to project the effect on the poor people of the world, still needing food. But in 2048, there is only one God--Power. And feeding the poor really is of minor concern...

USAmerica is no longer a leading, powerful country. For many of us, that also is not surprising. Reading it as it could be, however, is stunningly surreal!

In any event, in 2048, Paul Binder receives a letter, handwritten, letting him know "The Time of Becoming has now reached fruition. Locate the manuscript of the Diatessaron. You have been chosen to unlock the future of your world..." (p. 9)

Imagine, if you would, something happening so that the sun is moving, getting closer and closer

And the adventure begins! The difference, readers, is that there has been stories written, studied and shared about this event for thousands of years. This is not just another fiction novel. Or is it? If so, it is an extraordinary novel that I consider a must-read for those looking for mystery, suspense, action and adventure. For those who want to read an up-to-date well researched and documented apocalyptic collection, this book has an excellent and extensive appendix of materials, including graphic references which is an instructional tool like none I've seen in novel form.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Poetry and Adolfo...

Memorial Day, 2011

Adolph Caso

Rhododendrons abounding
In full bloom along the graveyard
With stones going back:
from the Revolution
to the Civil War
and from World War II
to the present conflict:
Our emotions registering
Over the names of each fallen brave
Kept close to our hearts
By our right hands
In sync with the rhythm
Of the Star Spangled Banner,
How the Revolution
Created the nation,
How its Civil War
Preserved it,
And how the second war
saved the world
From threats
By Communists and Nazi.

With the mention
of the fallen from Iraq,
The metaphor of the madras
Ripped my heart apart
Envisioning the next conflict
To save and preserve the human soul,
in view of the gatherers,
that America will,
once again
come through
to fulfill the incipient principles
on which this country was founded.

Wingless Flight

Adolph Caso

If you had wings
I could not teach you
How to fly,
Even if one loves
And the other does not.
or better,
if both are in love.

Birds soaring toward heaven
On wings spread wide
Never reach it
No matter how hard they try.

When two people fall in love
Comes down to them
And teaching how to love
All but becomes un-necessary.

Not possible to birds,
Wingless flights
Will abound,
Each time,
We truly fall in love!