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Well, that was fascinating …

I was coming back here to write about something else, and found that I had a threatening e-mail (via my contact page) and comment (permanently deleted) from a white supremacist in reference to the link I shared about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Suffice it to say that this individual now has the rare distinction of having been blocked. This is what white supremacy looks like: threatening anyone who dares to show support for people of color, or to speak out about what happens to them. And that is actually what I came here to write about. When my dad died, I mentioned that he had given away the bride when one of his African-American students, Joe, married a white woman. Her own fami...
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Using Book Brush To Create Videos For Twitter #AuthorToolboxBlogHop


It's getting harder to make posts about books stand out on social media. At one time a cover shot was good enough, but now there are so many Gifs it's easy to be overlooked. If you take a look at the analysis from Twitter, it's clear that short video is the way to go. Twitter claim 2 billion video views a day, which is 66% year-over-year growth in the past 12 months. They also add that 93% of video views happen on mobile. (Twitter internal data, 2019)  (Source: Twitter 2019) So how do you make book videos without spending a fortune or being distracted from writing goals? Earlier this year author Marcia Meara ( @MarciaMeara ) pointed me in the direction of ' Book Brush ',  which claims to be ...
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Music Monday: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

I have loved this song for decades. Please enjoy this live performance by Elton John and Lady Gaga. Original link
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EAST MEETS WEST–AND FINDS ‘DECADENCE’


Occasionally I reprint stories I wrote while working as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Here is one I wrote from Bangkok, Thailand in 1985. It examines the attitudes some Asian countries have toward Western (read “American”) culture—specifically, its music, its films, and what some consider its promiscuous lifestyle. Not much has changed since I filed this story thirty-four years ago. BANGKOK, Thailand–Two months ago, at the peak of its popularity, the hit song “One Night in Bangkok” (see link at end of story) was banned by the government here. The reason: It was seen as a Western perversion of Thai culture. Last week in an impassioned speech, Singapore’s deputy prime minist...
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Guest Post by Jennifer Wineberg, Author of Ruskin’s Copper Shadow


Available on Amazon US  and Amazon UK Did Pauline Trevelyan manipulate John Ruskin into leaving the love of his life in 1865? Bonded by their interest in Pre-Raphaelite art, Pauline Trevelyan, the Mistress of Wallington Hall in Northumberland and John Ruskin developed a close friendship. Pauline had taken his side against Euphemia Gray (Effie) when she had divorced him for non-consummation of their marriage. The daughter of a Minister would naturally want to protect Ruskin from further scandal when Isabella Milburn one of her servants, fell pregnant. A Northumbrian Canon is concerned about this illegitimate child, leading him to unravel  a story of deception and betrayal.  My fascination wit...
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Remembering the Birmingham church bombing | Southern Poverty Law Center

Today, at 10:22 a.m. – regardless of where you are and what you’re doing – please pause and remember: Addie Mae Collins, 14. Denise McNair, 11. Carole Robertson, 14. Cynthia Wesley, 14. And let’s recommit to carrying the torch for justice. via Remembering the Birmingham church bombing | Southern Poverty Law Center Original link
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Happy International Cozy Mystery Day!

Agatha I
Original link
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Book Launch: Entertaining Mr Pepys, by Deborah Swift


Available on  Amazon UK  and  Amazon US Based on events depicted in the famous Diary of Samuel Pepys, Entertaining Mr Pepys brings London in the 17th Century to life. It includes the vibrant characters of the day such as the diarist himself and actress Nell Gwynne, and features a dazzling and gripping finale during the Great Fire of London. Refugees from the Great Fire of London ‘The saddest sight of desolation that I ever saw. Everywhere great fires. Oyle-cellars and brimstone and other things burning’ Samuel Pepys’ Diary 1666 Herded beasts In The Great Fire of London 70,000 homes were destroyed, leaving the people of London shocked to the core and suddenly with nowhere to go. Their busines...
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Mystery of the 'Lady Jane Grey' Portrait at Grimsthorpe Castle


I recently visited Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire as part of the research for my new book about the amazing life of Lady Katherine Willoughby. As well as seeing the famous portraits of Katherine, her husband Charles Brandon and son Peregrine, I was intrigued by the portrait of an unknown Tudor lady (above). I was told the portrait has been thought to be of Lady Jane Grey, (related to Katherine as the daughter of her stepdaughter, Lady Frances Grey.)  It is interesting to compare this picture with the fifty-seven portraits associated with Lady Jane Grey in the National Portrait Gallery:  https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp01373/lady-jane-dudley-nee-grey Several of these ar...
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Book Launch Guest Post ~ Researching the House of Grey, by Melita Thomas


New on Amazon UK and Amazon US The Grey family was one of medieval England's most important dynasties. They were were on intimate terms with the monarchs and interwoven with royalty by marriage. They served the kings of England as sheriffs, barons, and military leaders. Weaving the lives of these men and women from a single family, often different allegiances, into a single narrative, provides a vivid picture of the English medieval and Tudor court, reflecting how the personal was always political as individual relationships and rivalries for land, power,  and money drove national events. Researching the House of Grey The House of Grey is my second book, and that made it both harder and easi...
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Adventures in Audio Recording – Part IV


Okay folks today we get down into some of the actual nitty-gritty with the Audacity program.  I’m going to be covering a fair amount of info here, while also supplying you with links to various videos that helped me. This way if my own instructions are not clear, or maybe you work better with  a visual, you’ll have the link to see exactly what’s going on. Now I’m going to introduce you to what I refer to as “My Best Friend” in Audacity. It’s called the CHAIN. What the chain does is applies several clean-up “Effects” that will improve the quality of your recording in one shot. Mind you, it is possible to do every Effect separately, but you’ll probably need to do it every one at a time, whenev...
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Sample Saturday: “Around the World in 80 Pages”

ATW80P - NEW
Hi, everyone. Here’s a quick historical tale from my short fiction collection. I used to volunteer at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum , teaching the history of scribes, writing, and the Rosetta Stone; that was the inspiration for this story. I chose this tale because it’s the 11th anniversary of me giving my first tour of the museum’s rock tomb. Around the World in 80 Pages is always free on Smashwords . The Scribe of Rashid Sadji put down the tiny chisel and hammer to wipe his brow. It was hot and humid; he wore only a pleated linen breach clout. He needed a moment to rest; it was long and difficult work creating a dedication stele. Only the most talented scribes were given this honor. Carv...
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Weekend Reads: “Disasterama!”

Disasterama!: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977 to 1997
Disasterama!: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977 to 1997 by Alvin Orloff My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m a huge fan of well-written memoirs, so maybe it’s no surprise that I finished this book in two nights. It was hard, though. While I didn’t personally know any of the people about whom Alvin Orloff wrote, I knew many of their analogs. I was a “club kid” in Portland, Ore.. Having done a lot of theatre, I also know a good many LGBTQ+ people … and I will never forget my nurse friend calling me one night and saying “There is this disease attacking gay men. They don’t know quite what it is yet, but they think it’s sexually transmitted. Please tell your friends to be careful.” So, as you have ...
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New Book Spotlight: Song of the Centurion (Warrior Druid of Britain Book 2) by Steven A. McKay


New on Amazon UK and Amazon US Autumn, AD 430. After the Princess Catia’s disappearance, and Bellicus’s adventures trailing her Saxon abductors south to the fabled Hanging Stones, the giant warrior-druid is finally returning home. Battle-scarred, and mourning the loss of a loved one, Bellicus has learned from bitter experience that the gods rarely make things easy. Even if he can evade Horsa’s vengeful pursuit and get back to the North safely, his troubles may be far from over… In a land beset by the rivalries of petty warlords, Dun Breatann has stood solid and secure for untold generations. Trouble brews though as King Coroticus has cracked under the pressure of his daughter’s abduction and...
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RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour!


Today, ForeignCorrespondent is pleased to host author John Fioravanti during his Spotlight Author Blog Tour. John’s topic today is Fear, or more precisely, Does Fear Own You? The topic comes from John’s book, Reflections: Inspirational Quotes and Interpretations. It is just one of fifty thought-provoking essays in the book that cover a multitude of topics. The book is available in the Amazon book store, but for now, here is John’s reflection on the theme of Fear. The REFLECTIONS Blog Tour By John Fioravanti I’m grateful to my host of this sixth post of the REFLECTIONS TOUR, and to Nonnie Julesand the #RRBC Team who arranged it all! Reflection 40: Does Fear Own You? “If you want to conquer fe...
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Happy Blog-versary!

anniversary-2x
Three years ago today, as WordPress informs me, I set up this blog. I didn’t think anyone would ever read it but me, to be honest. And yet, here we are. My thanks to all who read and comment, and who have become friends. Your support, during good times and bad, means the world to me. Original link
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Just For Fun … Here’s a Map of the States I’ve Visited


visited 30 states (60%) Buy Douwe’s Machine Learning Book Original link
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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Robbie Cheadle – The York Chocolate Story Part One

Originally posted on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine : Delighted that over the next five weeks, author Robbie Cheadle will be sharing the The York Chocolate story with us, following her recent trip to the UK.. And I will be featuring a different Sir Chocolate Story and Cookbook each week. The York Chocolate Story – Part One –… Original link
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Celebrating International Literacy Day


It’s International Literacy Day. Check out fellow author Debra Purdy Kong’s article about it! Mystery Deb For those who don’t know, today is International Literacy Day. Created by UNESCO’s General Conference in 1966, the purpose of this event is to raise awareness of the important of literacy in communities around the globe. According to one website, 16% of the world’s population, two thirds of them girls, are unable to read or write in their native language. While many programs are underway and doing great things to help, there’s still a long way to go. You can learn more HERE There are plenty of things people can do to help promote literacy, but just helping someone with reading challenges...
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Music Monday: “Sing Sing Sing”

Hi, everyone. Some of you may not know this, but I worked for the Dept. of the Army for 16 years. At one point, part of my job was to serve as public affairs officer for the Sixth U.S.  Army band. Military musicians are some of the finest in the world, and they don’t just play Sousa marches. This great performance of Louis Prima’s “Sing Sing Sing,” by the U.S. Army’s Jazz Ambassadors, is a fabulous example of their talent. Original link
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