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Sunday, February 14, 2016


Happy Mother's Day to everyone: Mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, caregivers, and Fathers who share the duties of motherhood. This year, my mother and father would both have celebrated their 100th birthday. They were successfully married for 60+ years, successful because their love for and trust in each other never wavered. Below, the topics of caring and understanding in the world are addressed.

Maybe the diplomacy of a successful marriage is the key to world peace!   

Wedding Day July 23, 1938

Today I am posting two poems from ANOTHER NEW BEGINNING. Poem #19, REVEALING A SOUL, seemed more appropriate for Mother's Day than #18, RIVER OF MUD. To keep my posts of the poems in order, I am including both.


Walls fall
Houses crumble
Cars float downstream.
Winds howl
Skies blacken
Children cling to worried mothers’ skirts. 

Men nail boards
Across window panes
While roofs detach and concrete cracks.
Pack and drive to safety
Leave mementos
Bring water. 

She comes with fierce determination
Taking homes and claiming lives.
Anguished cries of man and nature
Die away
Revealing only tortured souls. 

While my thoughts were on Katrina’s destruction of New Orleans, these words can easily cover the devastation of many areas of life. 

Walls fall Houses crumble” when a family is ripped apart by divorce or lingering illness. 

Winds howl Skies blacken” during many dangerous weather conditions. This can also describe the inner turmoil of a person during a rape and the unending pain in years to follow. 

Men nail boards” could refer to Christ’s crucifixion or even the slamming of a prison gate, figuratively being nailed shut behind a prisoner. 

Words can be interpreted in many ways. In the movie, I’M NOT HERE, a reporter says to a character representing Bob Dylan, “…some have questioned … whether or not you still care about people …”
The Bob Dylan character replies, “… we all have our own definitions of all those words. ‘Care…’ and ‘People…’”
“Well,” the reporter says, “I think we all know the definition of ‘people.’”
To which the Bob Dylan character says, “Yeah. Do we?” 

Is endless war the answer to the misunderstandings between nations? Between one nation? Is our world a true tower of babel with purpose misinterpreted for all? When ‘she - the river of mud - comes with fierce determination,’ will our answers - anguished cries - appease or anger before they die away? The river of mud, detached roofs, cracked concrete: What destruction will be revealed in the souls of man?

The effort leaves her spent
filled with joy

She leans back
takes inventory, reveals

Dreamless, she sleeps,
gaining strength

Preparing for what comes next
Already knowing, this child also
Will not give her rest.
The process of using the wording at the end of one poem to create the title of the next meant poems often took an unusual turn. As with many others, I had no idea where I was headed with this poem until most of the words had flowed onto the page. In this case, the effort exerted led to joy and satisfaction, and finally to a touch of humor.

This is for those who have given birth to a number of children. You know babies don’t give a mother much time to relax. Of course, she has already prepared herself for what lay ahead. She isn’t concerned about breast feeding and diaper changes. Or worrying needlessly about skinned knees or school detentions. She nervously looks ahead to the first weeks of dating, the temporary driver’s license, cigarettes hidden in the desk drawer (and other stuff, too!); everything that comes with adolescents developing into teenagers; on-and-on.

If that were the end of a mother’s worries, this would remain a simple, humorous poem. But the ambiguous on-and-on includes releasing your babies to the outside world without further hands-on influence over their daily thoughts, or their actions.

For now though, accept this poem’s originally intended tongue-in-cheek message. The reality of this newly-born child, sleeping so peacefully in its hospital bassinette, is that he or she will soon be capable of creating headaches with endless unanswerable questions; generating colorful drawings on the newly painted white kitchen wall; and displaying a stubborn streak you know with absolute certainty comes from your mother-in-law’s side of the family.


Friday, February 12, 2016

A VISIBLE DARKNESS by Michael Gregorio A Baltic #Thriller

A Visible Darkness by Michael Gregorio is likely to remain one of my favorite reads in 2015-2016.
Described as a “gothic historical thriller,” this novel offers interesting insight into the history of Prussia’s Baltic coast. I read it as part of my research for a genealogical novel I’m writing (and worked on during 2015 NaNoWriMo.) I discovered the title while searching for fact-based material on Prussia. Although I chose the book as an addition to the bibliography of source material for my project, its entertainment value was an added and pleasantly surprising bonus.
In the vein of a Hercule Poiret-type detective, Hanno Stiffenias is like a dog with a marrow-rich bone. He won’t let go until every last clue is sucked out of the murder case he is investigating. The colorful background information woven throughout enhances but doesn't distract from the story 

The plot includes an occupying French Army and a young woman’s mutilated body found near the Baltic seashore; and a subplot about Baltic amber. Murder, intrigue, and a luscious color keep the story moving forward at a fast pace, dragging the reader quite willingly to a final solution.

Next up for review:
Damned In Paradise-A Nathan Heller Novel by Max Allan Collins
The Massie Case by Peter Packer and Bob Thomas



Sunday, February 7, 2016

NO KNACK poem #17 From Spark to Bursting Flame

No Knack
My Toastmasters speech
a dry run.
Tense, but eager
Using clear, concise tones.

Each word highlighting a point
on how the writing process
from idea sparked,
to bursting flame,
generating a complete and published work. 

Then I swap the breezy artist’s cap
for one of entrepreneur –
and feel the constant drag
like wading through
a cooled pahoahoa lava flow, or
a river of mud.


I’ve stood on cooling lava flows when they were still quite warm to the touch. On the Big Island of Hawai‘i, Kilauea is known as the friendly volcano. It has been gently erupting since 1982. 

Walking on the surface of what once was over a thousand degrees of liquid fire, ancient material that flowed up from the center of the earth, is a bit eerie. Pahoahoa lava is smooth, rope-like in appearance. A’a flows are chunky, like oversized stucco. 

Once cooled, lava is rock hard. There is no “wading through” rock. That is my first impression of marketing, an impossible task required to sell a book. 

With my first novel, I had a degree of success. But after writing a second and third book, with research and editing, the publishing process seemed to overwhelm me. Marketing fell to the wayside while I returned to the fun part of being an author: writing. 

Easing back into the marketing arena again, I plan to replace the sense of constant drag with rhythmic rollercoaster action. With hard work, and luck, I look forward to building momentum. My goal is to continue moving forward, slowing at curves only long enough to give myself a breather before heading into the next run. 

If I can turn “no-knack” into no-lack of interested readers, even cooling lava flows won’t detour me from stepping into the overheated arena of marketing.