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Weekend Reads: “The Story Keeper”

The Story Keeper (Carolina Heirlooms, #2)
The Story Keeper by Lisa WingateMy rating: 5 of 5 starsWhen New York acquisitions editor Jennia Gibbs finds a manuscript on her desk, it shouldn’t be too surprising … except that the postmark on the envelope is 20 years old, and it’s clearly from the Slush Mountain pile that no one is supposed to touch. She’s immediately pulled into the story of Rand and Sarra, which takes place in the Appalachian Mountains where Jen grew up.Stylistically, the work reminds her of reclusive author Evan Hall, so Jen’s boss decides to send her to Appalachia, where Hall lives, to find out whether he wrote the partial manuscript that so intrigues both of them.I was pulled into the tale immediately. Jen has basica...
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Proposed Book Banning Bill in Missouri Could Imprison Librarians – PEN America

“Every reader and writer in the country should be horrified, absolutely horrified, at this bill,” said PEN America’s Tager. “The fact that a librarian could actually be imprisoned under this act for following his or her conscience and refusing to block minors from access to a book, that tells you all you need to know about the suitability of this act within a democratic society.”via Proposed Book Banning Bill in Missouri Could Imprison Librarians – PEN AmericaOriginal link
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20/20 Memphis Fund Raiser

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Hi, everyone. I wanted to take a moment to share information about a fundraiser for a worthy organization and cause. As you know, the greater Memphis area is near and dear to my heart. I spent some time there researching what eventually became It Happened in Memphis and Hard-Boiled Blues.Well, there is an organization there called 20/20 Memphis, whose goal is to help obtain surgical eye care for low income/indigent patients at imminent risk for blindness. I mentioned in a previous post that the greater Memphis area has the highest poverty rate in the nation, so this is a quite a worthy cause.Right now, in conjunction with 901Tix, 20/20 Memphis is holding a fundraiser. If you send $20.20 via ...
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The 2 kinds of diversity advocates in publishing – Raimey Gallant

Keep pushing for more marginalized voices and especially Black and Indigenous voices everywhere in publishing from authoring to cover designing to book selling, from entry-level to management to ownership, and the next time you encounter a white author running for a board position in a literary organization (or applying for any other paid or unpaid role in publishing), push them on their definition of diversity. Find out whether they’re genuinely ready to make space and give up power or if, like so many white ladies in RWA, they’re only pro-diversity in fair weather and to a point.via The 2 kinds of diversity advocates in publishing – Raimey GallantOriginal link
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Music Monday: “Ubangi Stomp”

Hi, everyone. Not only have I seen Carl Mann live, but this is the actual show (the video is not mine). This is his cover of Warren Smith’s rockabilly hit, “Ubangi Stomp,” performed during the Sun Records Showcase at Viva Las Vegas 2018. The song is definitely not what we would consider appropriate today as it carries some stereotypes about indigenous people. Still, it is a delightful performance.Original link
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Author’s Inspiration: “His Beloved Infidel”

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Hi, everyone. My apologies for being a day late on this post (I try to do these on Saturdays). I had an early morning for the last day of my business trip and it just didn’t happen.The idea for His Beloved Infidel came to me as I was reading a book called Daughter of Persia: A Woman’s Journey from Her Father’s Harem Through the Islamic Revolution, by Sattareh Farman Farmaian. Farmaian was the first social worker in Iran, and she writes not only about the challenges she faced in that regard but also the radicalization of young men by the Ayatollahs. When Khomeini came to power, she narrowly escaped the country — and execution.After reading this book, I reflected on some conversations I had ma...
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Weekend Reads: “Churchill’s Menagerie”

Churchill's Menagerie: Winston Churchill and the Animal Kingdom
Churchill’s Menagerie: Winston Churchill and the Animal Kingdom by Piers BrendonMy rating: 4 of 5 starsWhen I was given the opportunity to read and review “Churchill’s Menagerie,” I imagined a more biographical/chronological take on the animal-loving side of a gifted politician. And while I did get that on some levels, it just wasn’t what I expected.Not that this is bad, mind you.What I got instead was a bestiary, laid out from A to Z, with a look at how Churchill either loved or reviled particular types of animals, and how he employed them as metaphors in his speeches and writing. I knew that he loved cats, dogs, and horses but, for example, I had no idea that he was an avid aquarist.The bo...
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Bonus Birthday Tracks

Hi, everyone. As you read this, I’m en route for a Day Job(TM) business trip. I took a few minutes to set up a Bonus Track post to celebrate what would have been Elvis Presley’s 85th birthday and David Bowie’s 73rd. Enjoy!Original link
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Frequently Asked Question: Where Did It All Begin?

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Today’s question is from the Insecure Writers Support Group: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just “know” suddenly you wanted to write?Honestly? I don’t remember *not* writing or telling stories. As I mentioned in a 2018 post, the first “book” I wrote was a re-telling of Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind. I also wrote for the school newspapers in elementary and junior high school. I literally cannot point to an inciting incident that made me want to write, but those early experiences in journalism eventually led me to a career in the newspaper business.Original link
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Music Monday: “Watch Over Us”

Hi, everyone. It’s the first Monday of 2020, and this song popped up for me on YouTube. As you know, I’m a huge fan of Ramin Karimloo. I’ve had the good fortune to see him perform several times. This is a beautiful cover of “Watch Over Us,” by The Lone Bellow. I think the song has a good message; we need to watch over one another.Original link
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2019 Blog Statistics

Hi, everyone. Here are a few statistics about this blog from last year.I made 318 posts, for a total of 57,618 words. The most popular post was made on Feb. 27, 2019, where I talked about my dad passing away. There were 2,685 visitors to the blog, each reading approximately two posts per visit. I was steady at 218 followers/subscribers for pretty much the entire year.2020 should be interesting. After being deplatformed on Twitter, as previously noted, I will be increasing my presence on Pinterest and Instagram. I’m okay with this. I don’t know how blog traffic will be affected, but I guess we’ll find out.I plan to continue with the regular features I’ve implemented, but I’m open to suggestio...
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Author’s Inspiration: “Through the Opera Glass”

Opera Glass Alternate
Hi, everyone. I hope you’re all doing well in the new year. I know, I know; it’s early days yet.Anyway, it’s time for another look into the inspiration for my work. In the case of Through the Opera Glass, I have to admit that it was a little bit of frustration. By the time I started the project, I had begun In The Eye of The Storm three times and just wasn’t happy with any of them. I hadn’t discarded any of the drafts permanently, just put them aside.I decided that I needed to work on something else entirely. So, I started looking at writing prompts on the internet and decided that I would do at least one story per week using characters from the Phantom books to try to jog loose my writing b...
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Deplatformed on Twitter

Well, pending an appeal, it appears I’ve been deplatformed on Twitter for calling out an intellectually dishonest, famous right wing woman. I didn’t use polite language when I called out her lies, so that’s on me. Some of my language was insulting and on the sexist side. That’s on me as well. It wasn’t the first time I’d called out her lies.Honestly, Twitter has been so bad for my mental health that it’s not even funny. I get entirely too irate about the lies that are allowed to be promulgated, the joyful racism that’s permitted unchecked — and how those who call it out are in the doghouse for calling it out.I can’t delete my account there until this appeal is decided (which is really ridicu...
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My Year in Books: 2019

Hi, everyone. This year, I read 134 books. Of that number, 22 (16%) were by and/or about people of color. Considering that the percentage last year was a paltry 8 percent, I’m pleased at doubling the number but disappointed that it didn’t wind up higher. One of my goals for 2020 is a significant increase in that percentage over this year.You will find all of the titles, along with some other interesting statistics, at this link.Original link
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The charities who were cheated


This is a damned shame. I bought the trilogy primarily because the funds were supposed to help these organizations.writerchristophfischerMany of you know the authors of Do No Harm medical thriller set raised money for Operation Renewed Hope (for American Veterans) and Anicara Pet Care to support Senior Pets. We were told by the publisher, the now defunct Genius Media, that each charity would receive $1,800. Then Wid Bastian, owner of Genius Medial told us there were NO royalties for authors or money for the charities. In short, the 17 authors and named of DO NO HARM were #SCAMMED and #CHEATED along with our 501c3 charities. While we are pursuing criminal and legal action, I feel badly for th...
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Music Monday: “Ahead by a Century”

Hi, everyone. It’s the last Monday of 2019. Once again, I am sharing someone I’ve seen live. This is a lovely performance of the Tragically Hip’s “Ahead by a Century” by Ramin Karimloo. Enjoy!Original link
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MY POV on RWA | Fall Into The Story

Writer, the middle word in Romance Writers of America, is a word without gender, a word without color or race, a word without sexual orientation, without creed. We’re writers, and as such must expect to be treated, must demand to be treated, fairly and equitably by our professional organization.Period.Romance author Nora Roberts weighs in. via MY POV on RWA | Fall Into The StoryOriginal link
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Author’s Inspiration: “The Rock Star in the Mirror”

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Back in 2012, I got the idea for a story about a guy with aspirations of being a rock star.  The catch was that he’d be taking advice from a favorite musician … who could be seen only by him. Thus, The Rock Star in the Mirror (Or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life) was born.As I started to flesh out the story, I realized that I wanted to set it in some of the places where I spent a lot of time as a child growing up in Oregon. Because my brother rode a lot of motocross races, we were often in a location called Brown’s Camp, in the Tillamook National Forest. So, I used the coastal town of Rockaway and Brown’s Camp as my primary settings.I decided that the impetus for Joe, the main character, woul...
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Weekend Reads: “Homer’s World”

Homer's World: The 10th Anniversary “Homer’s Odyssey” Scrapbook
Homer’s World: The 10th Anniversary “Homer’s Odyssey” Scrapbook by Gwen CooperMy rating: 5 of 5 starsWhen I first read Homer’s Odyssey, 10 years ago, I was utterly charmed by the antics of the tiny blind cat. For the first time since childhood, I slept with a book under my pillow. It was just that special. I wanted to be able to touch it.I know, that sounds odd coming from a middle-aged woman. Yet, it’s the absolute truth.I followed Homer on Facebook, and eventually had the honor of meeting Gwen Cooper in person. Gwen had shared her precious pets (her other two kitties were Scarlett and Vashti … and eventually there were also Clayton and Fanny) with all of us and, honestly, I felt like Homer...
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The Feast of Stephen

Today is St. Stephen’s Day (the Feast of Stephen referred to in the holiday song “Good King Wenceslas”). Stephen was the first martyr of the Catholic church. He was accused of blasphemy and stoned to death, for seeking fairer distribution of aid to Greek-speaking widows.My late friend Ruth used to have a party in her home every year on the Saturday after Christmas. She called it St. Stephen’s Day, whether or not it was the 26th. She chose the day so that everyone could be with their families during the holidays, but still gather with friends for further celebrations. One of the songs that would inevitably be played was the Chieftains and Elvis Costello performing “The St. Stephen’s Day Murde...
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