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Is John Wayne a Racist Symbol?


I wrote John Wayne’s obituary for the Chicago Tribune in 1979. At the time, I was the newspaper’s West Coast Bureau Chief, and the “Duke” had just passed away at age 72 from stomach cancer. It was a tough obit to write. I had grown up on John Wayne movies—especially classics like 1956’s “The Searchers,” and director John Ford’s iconic “cavalry trilogy” (“Fort Apache,” “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” and “Rio Grande”). There are so many unforgettable Wayne films that I can name from the 200 or so he made. There is 1948’s “Red River” about the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. There was 1949’s “The Sands of Iwo Jima” in which he plays tough and demanding Sergeant Jo...
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Book Launch Spotlight: Map of the Impossible (Mapwalkers Book 3) by J.F. Penn


Pre-order now. Available in ebook and print on 21 July 2020Amazon UK and Amazon USA journey through the realm of the dead.A threat that will change the world.A choice that might save everything—or end it all.As natural disasters sweep Earthside, a mutant army rises in the Borderlands, driven by the dark force behind the Shadow Cartographers. Sienna and the Mapwalker team must use the Map of the Impossible to journey through the realm of the dead and face the nightmare at its heart.But when one of their number is taken and the team begins to break apart, each Mapwalker must face their greatest challenge.Can the Mapwalker team reach the Tower of the Winds before the Shadow claims Earthside?Wil...
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Another Diploma!


After creating two characters who are travel writers (Diana Corbett in Bayou Fire and Stephanie Marlowe in my current work-in-progress, Pompeii Fire), I decided to learn what they actually do! Feedback Form Sent By: Eva Chelmsford Course Title:     Travel Writing Business Diploma Overall Grade:  Distinction Overall Percentage:   94% Overall strengths of assessment including understanding demonstrated: An outstanding result, your answers were knowledgeable, explanatory and well written which outlined an overall knowledge and comprehension of the course material.  Congratulations!  Areas for improvement if necessary in this assessment: Not applicable.  Original link
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Music Monday: “Down on the Corner”


Well, here we are on Day 10 of the challenge. I am trying to get past my dislike of the new “block editor” here on WordPress. We’ll see how long that lasts. Anyway, today’s challenge is “a song that’s been stuck in your head.” This could be for good or ill, I suppose. In any event, here’s one of mine: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Down on the Corner.” Enjoy! Original link
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Book Launch Spotlight ~ 1520: The Field of The Cloth of Gold, By Amy Licence


Available for pre-order from Amazon UK1520 explores the characters of two larger-than-life kings, whose rivalry and love-hate relations added a feisty edge to European relations in the early sixteenth century. What propelled them to meet, and how did each vie to outdo the other in feats of strength and yards of gold cloth?Everyone who was anyone in 1520 was there. But why was the flower of England’s nobility transported across the Channel, and how were they catered for? What did this temporary, fairy-tale village erected in a French field look like, feel like and smell like? This book explores not only the political dimension of their meeting and the difficult triangle they established with ...
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The Remarkable Life of a Reluctant Hero


All authors are emotionally engaged with their protagonists. I am no exception. I want readers to love my characters as much as I do. That means creating a flawed, three-dimensional protagonist who still has “things to work out.” The Finding Billy Battles series follows Billy from his roots in Kansas, through his career as a journalist, to his final years. Along the way, Billy makes both good and bad choices–just as we all do. He does some extraordinary things–things that some might call “heroic.” But is Billy a hero?  Today’s post is meant to introduce the topic of “heroes”–and heroines–and get us all thinking about what kinds of heroes and heroines readers will love. What Is a Hero? The Ca...
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Book Launch Spotlight ~ Final Chance, by E.B. Roshan


New on Amazon UK and Amazon USThree months have passed since Preen learned that her husband, Rama, was captured and killed by a rival militia. Now the pieces of her shattered life are falling back into place. It's getting easier to breathe again. Preen finds herself smiling over her daughter's antics. She's engaged to her wealthy, handsome cousin, who loved her long before Rama stole her heart. Then, late one night, Rama calls. He asks Preen to come back to the dangerous city of Dor, back to the life she thought she'd left behind forever...# # #About the AuthorE.B. Roshan has enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle for several years, living in the Middle East and Asia, but is now temporarily settled in ...
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Stop Trying to Make Sense of it & Just Kneel, Guilty White Person


For the next several days I am reposting commentaries from Americans of all races and occupations who are as concerned as I am about this ongoing attempt to rewrite history and obliterate our country from within. I hope you will find them as illuminating and significant as I have. Stop Making Sense by Kurt Schlichter It is not transcendently stupid for the alleged anti-racism rioters to destroy a Lincoln statue, though, to normal people, it looks like the act of drooling morons. Now, a good number of these “cesspeople” are drooling morons, but that does not change the fact that trashing POTUS #16’s statuary is brilliant. They have confused their targets – us – by casting off the constraints ...
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Sample Saturday: “Sui Generis”

Sui Generis - NEW
I entered this essay in an Editor Unleashed forum competition eleven years ago,  for which the theme was “Why I Write.” Raison d’ecrire I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Whether it was little stories for myself, poetry or plays for class assignments or even some truly dreadful fan fiction, there have always been words pouring from my pencil or pen. “Why” is an interesting question. I have many friends who have never felt the urge to write anything beyond their school assignments, let alone write and publish a book (I have three under my belt and am working on a fourth). It would be easy to be flippant and say “the voices in my head want to get out,” but it is so much more th...
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Special Guest Post By Cassandra Clark, Author of Hour of the Fox (A Brother Chandler Mystery Book 1)


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon USIntroducing reluctant spy and friar-sleuth Brother Rodric Chandler in the first of a brand-new medieval mystery series.London. July, 1399. As rumours spread that his ambitious cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, has returned from exile in France, King Richard's grip on the English throne grows ever more precarious. Meanwhile, the body of a young woman is discovered at Dowgate sluice. When it's established that the dead woman was a novice from nearby Barking Abbey, the coroner calls in his friend, Brother Chandler, to investigate. Why Richard II?  The background to THE HOUR OF THE FOX, my new series, is the story of the regicide of King Richard II. I’d like to say s...
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Weekend Reads: “It Was Never About a Hot Dog and a Coke”

It was never about a hotdog and a Coke
It was never about a hotdog and a Coke by Rodney L. Hurst Sr. My rating: 5 of 5 stars August 27, 2020, will be the 60th anniversary of a horrific event in the history of Jacksonville, Fla.: Ax Handle Saturday. Rodney Hurst was 16 years old when the event took place. He was president of his local NAACP Youth Council chapter; his elementary school history teacher, Rutledge Pearson was the adult advisor. Pearson encouraged Hurst to join the chapter at age 11. The students learned public speaking techniques and parliamentary procedure, as well as how to coordinate actions for civil rights. Thus, Hurst and some of his fellow council members planned a sit-in at the local Woolworth lunch counter. B...
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An Ominous Fourth of July


I love the Fourth of July, but this will be the first Independence Day in my life that will leave me disheartened and sad. In the past, this was a day to celebrate. After all, it was the day this country declared its liberation from the British Empire and embarked on a long and bloody war for independence. Yes, I will fly the American flag as I always do on the 4th of July. I may even listen to patriotic music if I can find any on TV or radio. And of course, there are the fireworks displays at night—though they may have been canceled because of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions decreed by the state. Patriotism and celebrating the founding of the most exceptional nation in the history o...
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Guest Interview with Sam Taw, Author of Pagan Rage (Tribes of Britain Book 4)


New on Amazon UK and Amazon USThree Perilous Journeys.Two Treacherous CaptivesOne Dead LeaderWise woman, Meliora blames herself. She did all she could to treat her nephew's fractured skull. How could she have known that it would leave him open to an evil spirit?His volatile mood swings and confusion leave her exhausted and upset. His raids into enemy territory risk their only chance to call a truce with their neighbours. Now her whole tribe's in danger.Can they rid him of his affliction and finally achieve a lasting peace?I'm pleased to welcome author Sam Taw to The Writing DeskTell us about your latest bookThe thing about writing pre-Roman historical fiction is that you are wholly reliant o...
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America Doesn’t Need a New Revolution


For the next several days I am reposting commentaries from Americans of all races and occupations who are as concerned as I am about this ongoing attempt to rewrite history and obliterate our country from within. I hope you will find them as illuminating and significant as I have.  America Doesn’t Need a New Revolution By Ayaan Hirsi Ali Outrage is the natural response to the brutal killing of George Floyd. Yet outrage and clear, critical thinking seldom go hand in hand. An act of police brutality became the catalyst for a revolutionary mood. Protests spilled over into violence and looting. Stores were destroyed; policemen and civilians injured and killed. The truism “black lives matter” was...
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GUEST POST TOM BENSON

You will be hearing more from me about Tom Benson in the next few weeks as he’s putting a book of short stories together and he’s included one of mine. I don’t think this is Tom’s first guest post, as we have been virtual friends for years and it’s thanks to him I have a … Continue reading GUEST POST TOM BENSONOriginal link
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Frequently Asked Question: There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

insecure2bwriters2bsupport2bgroup2bbadge
This month’s question from the Insecure Writers Support Group calls for a great deal of speculation. I am not The Amazing Kreskin, so this is not my strong suit. All the same, I have some thoughts. 1. An understanding by authors that, while it’s perfectly fine to run your business as you see fit, there are a lot of reasons to use wide distribution rather than going exclusive with one retail partner. One of those reasons is that it’s narrow, short-term thinking. Not all partners hold the same market share around the world, and it’s a good idea to make sure that more people, rather than fewer, have access to your work. 2. Monetizing your work is not the endgame. Writing for the love of it is f...
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Racism Redefined, Etc.


For the next several days, I am reposting commentaries from Americans of all races and occupations who are as concerned as I am about this ongoing attempt to rewrite history and obliterate our country from within. I hope you will find them as illuminating and significant as I have. RACISM REDEFINED, ETC. By: Marvin L. Covault, Lieutenant General, US Army retired Politics, combined with bad events too often leads to a rush to bad policy. This is not breaking news, but it is, unfortunately, too often true. Why is that the case? One of the principal reasons is that we get caught up in the moment and consumed by emotion and perceptions rather than taking a deep breath and looking at the facts as...
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Blog Tour ~ A Thin Porridge, by Benjamin J. Gohs


New on Amazon UK and Amazon USWhen 19-year-old Abeona Browne's renowned abolitionist father Jon Browne dies in summer of 1860, devastating family secrets are revealed, and her life of privilege and naiveté in Southern Michigan becomes a frantic transatlantic search for answers—and someone she didn't even know existed.Still in mourning, Abeona sneaks aboard the ship carrying her father’s attorney Terrence Swifte and his assistant Djimon—a young man with his own secrets—on a quest to Africa to fulfil a dying wish.Along the journey, Abeona learns of her father’s tragic and terrible past through a collection of letters intended for someone he lost long ago.Passage to the Dark Continent is fraugh...
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The Lost Years of Billy Battles Wins Award

Here is the Book Excellence Award
Happy to share some good news regarding Book 3 of the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy.  In case you aren’t familiar with the trilogy or Book #3, here is a little teaser about both: About the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy The Finding Billy Battles trilogy tells the story of a man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. In between Billy Battles lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression, and redemption. At one point in his life, Billy mysteriously disappears. For several years his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing. Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there when he is 98...
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OMG, the United Kingdom is Sunk

I recently received the following commentary from one of my followers in the UK. The author wishes to remain anonymous. I have left the British spelling intact.  We have had a minute’s silence in the House of Commons for George Floyd. The mark of ultimate respect from the highest political authority in the land. Respect for a man who was a drug addict, a father of multiple children he abandoned, a lifelong criminal, a violent thief, and a man who placed a gun to the belly of a pregnant woman. All the honourable gentlemen and self-professed feminists of the House supported that kind of man. Respected him. Honoured him. How many wonderful people have died, British people, without such a tribut...
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