Wednesday, June 20, 2018

H O W D A R E W E ! W R I T E







This book is about courage...Many entertainers have succeeded in the world of song, speaking directly to the spirits of men and women who see "words" as part of their lives. But writers, from one culture to the next, find that there are walls to be climbed to be an accepted, published author...

Sherry Quan Lee discussed the problem with many others and finally a publisher who suggested she write the book she wanted to read. After thinking about it, she instead suggested an anthology. How Dare We! Write, is the end result! It certainly is a must-reader for writers, as well as members from the various cultural backgrounds presented. But if you aspire to writing as a career or to express yourself fully, no matter your racial background. This book is for you too!

This non-fiction book is divided into six topic areas: Literary Gatekeepers (and other myths), The Tyranny of Grammar, Identity(ies), Personal Narratives, Rejection Not an Option, and Healing the Heart. These include 26 essays with multicultural backgrounds...All but White... No, this is not prejudice, it merely acknowledges that books for Caucasians are numerous and readily available. This is a first effort to bring personal accounts of the writing experience from those multicultural individuals who have wanted to write, but could find few books that would help them...begin...to start to tell their personal stories...
Writers Who Dare!


SHERRY QUAN LEE, editor of How Dare We! Write, author of Love Imagined: a mixed race memoir, Modern History Press, August 2014, How to Write a Suicide Note, Loving Healing Press 2008, and Chinese Blackbird, Asian American Renaissance, 2002, reprinted 2008 by Loving Healing Press, approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. She is a Distinguished Alumni of North Hennepin Community College. She is the former Program Associate for the Split Rock Arts Program summer workshops and the Online Mentoring for Writers Program at the University of Minnesota where she also earned her MFA in Creative Writing. Quan Lee is a community instructor at Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and she facilitates community workshops at Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN, and elsewhere. She was a first year, 1996, participant of Cave Canem, a writing retreat for Black poets.


How Dare We! Write
A Multicultural Creative Writing Discourse

Edited by Sherry Quan Lee

Libraries inspire a sense o belonging for me. They feel like home. Since childhood, shelves of books never judged my tastes; checking the catalogue for current library holdings and figuring out the inter-library loan systems unlocked gates I never knew were sealed. Discovering a favorite place in the library to read through the pile of books I found also brought its own rewards. The library became my sanctuary, a place where I could determine my destiny. Despite the recognition that I was often the only woman of color exploring bookshelves of texts, and the feeling that university spaces were not meant for a Mexican-American like me, the Watson library felt safe...It was in college when I learned libraries were politicized spaces... from What Would Eden say?


I find trying to review an anthology is impossible...each of the essays has much to say...each of the writers dares to say their own words...I want to share about each writer...It moves from the academic environment into Grammar, for instance. Can you imagine being forced to use proper English grammar when you are sharing a dialect or a broken-english language as an immigrant? I've read many books by individuals from different races and their use of their natural phrasing and even spelling, to me, adds greatly to the authentic voice of the author and/or the characters in the books. I've even learned to read, Gullah, the Creole language they used...I worked at it sometimes, but I was so pleased I had the opportunity to do so...

Why should America be asking writers from different races, who are now here as citizens, to ignore their heritage. Four writers speak to this issue--allowing their own identities to survive! One of the things I learned is that Native American is actually incorrect. They were indigenous to the land long before it became America...That is correct...But is that really true if we don't even treat them as fellow Americans are treated?

Yesterday, I reviewed an African American author's book, The Dark Skinned Sister. She addressed the issue of, within the African American race, individuals discriminate based on the  shade of Black... Certainly then, I was attracted to the more personal stories of how, say, mixed race individuals find their own identities. The Editor of How Dare We!, speaks to her desire to become a creative writer. Immediately she noticed there were no books about her--a Chinese Black female who grew up passing for white in Minnesota... She dared to write herself into existence!

I must admit that I was somewhat distracted while reading this book, knowing that America is now in chaos, with hatred against races different than...white... How we got to this time is really sad... What is important now is that, just as the "Me-Too" movement has begun to speak out, so, too, is it the time for each of us to write our self into existence. No matter your race--this is an important book.  Now is the time to support men and women who are looking for acceptance and an identity that they can feel free...to...be...  Read this book as a beginning, perhaps, of daring to be...you... Highly Recommended.


GABixlerReviews





Giving Each Individual an Identify Is Important
To me...
Make it important to you...bring America
back together, neighbors loving neighbors
~~~



Dare to Listen! Dare to Read! Dare to Write!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Amanda Grihm Shares Story of The Dark Skinned Sister...





Cindy shot out the car, ran up to--and jumped in Grandma Mindy's arms. "Hi Gamma Mindy, I missed you." Grandma Mindy laughed and blushed while Cindy kissed he all over her face. "You look so pretty, Gamma Mindy."
"Oh, oh, this child, I say, Georgie, this one is becoming more beautiful each year. She's still just as light as a feather and her light skin is so pretty," Grandma Mindy said through a grin so big that it looked like her face should have hurt. She put Cindy down, kissed her on her forehead and straightened her clothes. Joseph got out the car slowly, walked up to her and kissed her on her cheek. "Hi Grandma Mindy, I am happy to be here this summer."
Grandma Mindy smiled broadly and said, "I am glad you could come, too. Oh, honey, try to do your chores before the sun comes out. You look like you done been in the sun. That ain't good for you, 'cuz you git'n a little dark." Grandma looked at me and picked Cindy up again. I was half way up the walk almost at the steps when I noticed a look of disdain on Grandma Mindy's face. I walked onto the porch and leaned over to kiss her on the cheek but she quickly turned and took a step back...
"Hi Grandma Mindy."
"Hello Mindy."
She had hurt my feelings again but this time they weren't hurt as bad as the other times. I was becoming immune to her insults. I closed my eyes and took a long deep, breath. She ain't even human, she is just like a glass figurine--one push and she'll fall over and break. I opened my eyes but she was still standing there looking at me with an intense look of disapproval.
In my mind I sized her up and could see m'self placing my hand on her shoulder and tipping her perfectly erect body over. I laughed at the thought of her glassy icy facade shattering as it hit the ground. I know it was a mean thought but that's what went through my mind. Grandma Mindy was my height or maybe a fraction of an inch taller and I felt like I could take her if it came to that...
~~~

In the midst of my reading an anthology, How Dare We! Write:
A Multicultural Creative Writing Discourse, edited by Sherry Quan Lee, (look for my review) I received The Dark Skinned Sister, by Amanda Grihm. The premise of both books relates to those of different races who decide to write their stories... I stopped to read Amanda's book and found that considering both books at one time provided a greater depth, a growing sense of relationship--a kinship that could develop between and among women of all races that I, as a white woman, would also benefit...

Women hesitate to share their innermost stories... Such was the case with Mindy, who at 10 years, came to intimately know and learn about people who created barriers between who they were with little girls who happen to have dark skin... What was amazing, though, was that many times, the pain was inflicted by those within her own race...



And it especially hurts if it is from a family member. Mindy had been named after her grandmother. In fact, Mindy's grandmother was darker that she was... It was therefore especially hard to understand why her grandmother said such nasty things to Mindy...

Yes, Mindy had similar problems at school and as she grew older. She noticed that African Americans who had lighter skin were better accepted by other students. But her skin was the color it was...

Until, she tried to change it, first, by skin lightener...and then by using a cleanser to rub and rub her skin, hoping to lighten it. Instead, her skin was broken and her wounds began to bleed.

Mindy's grandfather had always been special for her and they would ride together and more... But he had a heart attack that summer and that happiness was taken away...

Depression soon arrived from having to deal with her pain--why was her dark skin causing so much turmoil in her life? What could she do about it?

Mindy was part of a single-parent family and her mother had to work hard to keep her two girls and son sheltered and fed. Soon her older brother was called on to help, but he soon realized that his own life was gone as he tried to fill the man's shoes for his family. As they grew older, it became worse before it got better...

This is an emotional, inspirational book about meeting adversity head on... I laughed and cried and certainly empathized with Mindy. I remember when I was about 10 also, I was at my grandmother's along with other family. An uncle looked at me and said "Hey Fatty..."  I ignored him and to my mother said, "Dale is talking to you." My response was that "No, he wasn't. That is not my name..." I walked off... 

Each of us must decide whether or not we will love ourself and others as God made us. I chose to accept the challenge, just like Mindy, when I was hurt and treated cruelly or unjustly. I urge those who have been treated this way, or that has children who are being bullied, to read this book. Highly recommended!




GABixlerReviews



Amanda Grihm was born in Youngstown, Ohio and raised in Cleveland, Ohio from the age of nine. In 1987 she moved to Atlanta, GA, where seven year later she met and married the man of her dreams, J. Emil Grihm. Amanda is an author and playwright.

Amanda writes about stranger-than-fiction events and stories. She communicates at several different levels - verbally, visually, physically and psychologically. She is a nurturing spirit and an extraordinary communicator. She writes from her heart and her mind’s eye about love, friendship and spirituality. She sees everything that she writes in her mind before her pen touches the paper. Amanda enjoys writing on that almost indistinguishable line between truth and fiction and fantasy and reality.

Amanda’s main focus has been on the coming-of-age stories about African American and Indigenous Indian girls becoming strong, independent women. Amanda and many members of her family have had psychic experiences. Consequently, many of her stories delve into the supernatural. Amanda believes that God has availed Himself to her and freed her from the bonds of man’s interpretation of His Word and her capabilities. Consequently, some of her stories are about her personal power and the power of God in her life.

Amanda is also a businessperson and former business owner who has always had a genuine desire to improve situations and a unique ability to solve problems. Her ultimate aim is to improve the experiences of employees and customers. As a result of her keen attention to detail, after a few weeks of starting her first job, she was promoted to efficiency expert at a major insurance firm.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Spotlighting Frankie Laine Via Guy Graybill's BRAVO!


Answer me, my readers, do you remember Frankie Lane? Did you like him! I've chosen him to spotlight from the book Bravo: The Case for Italian Musical Mastery... I've spotlighted several others from this book, so, if interested, search by the name of the book or the author, Guy Graybill.

Here's two of my favorites!








Back then, I was a fan of Paladin and other movies of the time, so western-themes songs attracted my attention, LOL. But let's learn more about him...
The Big Voice Out of Little Italy
Frankie Laine
The parents of Francesco Paolo LoVecchio were Italian and he was born in Chicago's "Little Italy" section in 1913. For years, before he became Frankie Laine, he struggled with poverty and lack of recognition as a singer. He confessed to sneaking into hotel rooms or with trying to buy food with mere pennies in his pocket. One of his first singing jobs paid $5 per week! However, once established, his success carried him through more than a half century of singing and recording, until the number of records sold surpassed one-hundred million and his album sales exceeded the century mark! He also appeared in more than a half-dozen films and sang title songs for a similar number of movies. Part of Frankie Laine's appeal was his rugged, booming voice and part had to be the variety of styles he sang (mostly rhythm and blues, popular and country). Frankie Laine classic renditions include "Ghost Riders in the Sky," "Mule Train," "That's My Desire," 



"That Lucky Old Sun, "Jezebel," and the theme from the television western, "Rawhide." In February of 2007, one more of the great, original group




of Italian-American crooners was stricken from the list, when he died of heart failure. A memorial mass was celebrated a week later. The man, whom the U.S. Congress had recognized as a national treasure, was 93...
~~~














Thursday, June 14, 2018

Patricia Skalka's Latest Now Out - Death Rides The Ferry - A 2018 Personal Favorite!

ABOUT DOOR COUNTY

Door County Peninsula juts out between the pristine waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan in northern Wisconsin. With 300 miles of scenic shoreline, five wooded state parks and a collection of quaint, waterfront villages, the area is a mecca for artists, musicians, outdoor enthusiasts and tourists. Every year, some two million visitors come to Door County, the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.”

ABOUT THE SERIES

The Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries pit a former troubled Chicago cop against a roster of clever killers on the Door County Peninsula in the heart of the Midwest. Set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty, the series kicks off with Death Stalks Door County and continues with Death at Gills Rock and Death In Cold Water. (Click on each title to see reviews of series thus far...)



The Yellow Viol
...After meeting with the ladies, the sheriff drove to the festival. The next series of concerns started in ten minutes and the grounds were filled with people hurrying to reach their seats. As he pushed through the cheerful throngs, he pictured Jane Doe sitting on the ferry and wondered what went through her mind before she died. Had she been crying because of something that had happened at the festival? Or because she had taken the poison, as Pardy suggested, and then had a change of heart and realized too late that she wanted to live?
...The program listed nightly concerts in the hall, but the afternoons were given over to smaller performances by groups of three, four, and six musicians. The sheriff knew little about classical music beyond what his friend Evelyn Bathard had taught him about opera while they worked on the coroner's dilapidated wooden sailboat. From the bits and pieces that he overheard as he wandered the grounds, he knew the musicians were playing stringed instruments, but the music was different from anything he had ever heard. It seemed to have a simpler, cleaner sound than the more familiar music of Mozart and Beethoven. He wished he ould sit in on a performance, but he had little time for music that day.

Wow this gave me chills! "Joyful, Joyful"...Was Never So Joyful!


...Cubiak knocked. "Sorry to interrupt," he said.
The three looked up startled.
"I hope this is important, Sheriff. We have a busy schedule," Frost said after introductions were made. He was short and stout and patted his forehead with a white handkerchief as he spoke.
"I'm sure you do," There wasn't an empty chair, so Cubiak stood and told them about the woman who was found dead on the ferry...
"Sheriff, you have to realize that we can't have a dead woman associated with Dixan V. It would ruin everything. Not just this year's event, which so many people have worked for so hard, but"...Winslow gestured toward the ground outside the center..."everything."
"Why? Because four decades ago, a woman died after the first Dixan festival?"
The three stirred uneasily.
"It's more than that. You don't understand because you're not from here," Frost said, his tone harsh. "Sorry, no offense meant..."
"I don't mean to sound insensitive to the poor woman on the ferry, but it's just that we are trying to live down our own sorry history with the public and the Dixan sponsors. This years festival is our chance to salvage the island's reputation. If we don't succeed, as Veronica just said, then it's over for us. Finito. Poof." Frost blew a puff of air at his empty palm like a child would at the fuzzy head of a dandelion.



Winslow pushed a small brochure across the table. Her nails were neatly manicured, and it was clear from her posture and manner that she was the kind of person who took appearances seriously. "This is from the first--the only--Dixan Festival ever held on Washington Island before now."
Cubiak skimmed the headline. "I've heard a little about it. But that was forty years ago."
"That is correct."
"During which a rare violin disappeared."
Winslow sighed and exchanged frustrated looks with her colleagues.
Mitchell Stone stretched his elongated neck and spoke for the first time. "Not a violin, Sheriff. A viola da gamba." he said as he adjusted his striped tie. "Shall I assume you don't know the difference?"
~~~


Classical music is one of my favorite genres so I was pleasantly surprised to learn about an instrument that I had never heard of in Patricia Skalka's latest Cubiak mystery. Obviously the size and method of playing is similar to a cello, so I don't think I would have noticed during orchestra presentations whether one of these had been used...It looks like a guitar, doesn't it? Anyway...the musical component of a novel, which is an incentive for me, added a bonus that made this a personal favorite.

Cubiak, on the other hand, is one of my favorite male leads as sheriff and I had already decided I'd love to see Tom Selleck play the role similar to his Jesse Stone role in Robert B. Parker books. Cubiak gained our sympathy when his wife and child was killed...Now he has fallen in love again, but, she, too, faces danger in this story. Cubiak couldn't stop the deaths of his family, but, this time, he will die trying if necessary...

The book starts during the planning and actual musical festival known as the Dixan Festival--this is the fifth one and has not been back to Door County since the first which was held forty years ago. Getting the Festival back is really a second chance, because at the first festival, a famous instrument, a viola da gamba, was stolen! It had been loaned by a private family and the man who had brought it to the festival was not only publicly disgraced, but his wife, who was pregnant at the time, was delayed in getting to the hospital and died that night...

Everything was going fine at the festival until a woman was found dead on the ferry that carried local residents as well as those attending the festival back and forth... For some reason, Cubiak had noticed the woman while he had roamed the festival. However, when he started his investigation, nobody knew her and nobody else had even noticed her...

During his investigation, he did learn that the stolen viola da gamba taken during the first festival had never been discovered. This link would have to be at least explored before clarifying that there was no connection. And, in fact, it soon seemed that solving the theft may be the only way to discover who was now leaving dead bodies during the second festival!

Given the interplay between the murders and the theft, I'm not going to go any further into the storyline other than to say that my intuition was working, but I still wasn't sure who and how the crimes were done...Great mystery! Skalka has given the University of Wisconsin a winning and local series that is bound to continue to retain and continue fan appreciation for this fantastic series... Highly recommended.


GABixlerReviews



Patricia Skalka is the author of the Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries which premiered with "Death Stalks Door County" (2014) and quickly followed up with "Death At Gills Rock" (2015). "Death in Cold Water" (2016) received the Edna Ferber Fiction Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers.
“A first-rate series” says Kirkus Reviews.
“The intricate plot and well-developed characters will appeal to fans of William Kent Krueger,” says Booklist.
A Chicago native, Skalka is a former Reader’s Digest Staff Writer and freelancer with human interest and medical articles in national print and online publications and nonfiction books published by Random House, St. Martin’s and Rodale. She is a member of The Authors Guild of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Society of Midland Authors and the Chicago Writers Association.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Poetry by Adolph Caso - I Call You God

You know, I met Adolfo well over ten years ago, when I was in Chicago for my first (and only) book show... He was handing out his own book and had run out before I got one. He promptly got my address and sent me a copy...which I promptly reviewed! 

One of my joys is reading his poetry, even though I am not trained in any way to interpret... You know, sometimes, I think there is meaning only to the poet, and we readers admire the words, but are not quite sure what was meant...

This poem, "I Call You God," was like that for me. It's from his book Water and Life: Photos and Poems... Now I did have a hint since he provided a photo of a stone statue of a woman... My thoughts were many and the complementary music reflects it. For instance, I wondered why he started with the fact that even rock starts to wear down... and then went back to an earlier time. Did he speak of a lost love, but then found another? And why did he used a capitalized God instead of a small letter? Did he mean to reflect on the thought of sometimes others, or even money or things sometimes take a place between each of us and God?

In any event, the chosen music reflects my opinion that his words referred to a woman in his life. My selections reflect my thoughts of how a couple might come to love each other...perhaps, so much, it...hurts... What do you think?







I CALL YOU GOD

I've fixed you in a statue
and called you God--
your attributes
not those of stone
over which
I've worked
to capture
                                          a moment
of fleeting immortality.
Have I?

The hardest rock
crumbles with time.





I look at yesterday's flower,
at your face,
all resolving
into un-recallable moments
that live and follow us
through every step
every passion
and keenest desires--
changing
always and forever changing.

I've fixed you in a statue 
and called you God.








Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Read Along With Me... Check out Lin Wilder's New Book!

When I'm asked to review a book, I do not want to read more than the book description before I start to read--no reviews from others...no excerpt or beginning chapters...

But when I've heard about a book that will be soon published, before i buy, I want to know more--the only exception is if I already have read books by the author. I have read Wilder, but this book will be entirely different from the mystery series I have loved. So, when I learned about I, Claudia, I asked if I could share a sample of the book for readers here at Book Readers Heaven.



Knowledge has three degrees─ opinion, science, illumination. 
The means of instrument of the first is senses, the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition. --Plotinus 

The greatest blessings come by way of madness, indeed of madness that is heaven-sent. --Socrates on the Oracle at Delphi 

While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him." --Gospel of Matthew 

The Christian of the twenty-first century will be a mystic-one who has ‘experienced’ something or he will not be Christian. --Karl Rahner 

(I enjoy books which have quotes at the beginning. I read them and wonder how and why they have been used to support the upcoming words...The third one is obviously by Claudia to Pilate...while the first two engenders contemplation, don't you think... The last one is provocative to me, having never read anything like this, and yet, I find it quite interesting! What do you think it means?)

Prologue 


They were the faces of my dreams. Men, women and children, mouths open in joyous shouts made soundless by the din of hundreds of marching feet. The people lined the narrow streets, the wealthier watching from their palace rooftops, their children tossing brightly colored scarves upon the phalanxes of soldiers. The lead Centurion held the shield of Tiberius steadily aloft: S.P.Q.R. Senātus Populusque Rōmānus (The Roman Senate and People.) The Legionnaire moved it only when an errant puff of color landed on the scarlet standard, momentarily obscuring the golden eagle glittering in the bright sunlight. 
“He has had his arms raised for how many hours now? Shouldn’t there be a Joshua to help this Moses?” I suppressed a smile at my wittiness, knowing better than to voice the thought aloud. My ladies would be shocked by my allusion to the great Jewish prophet. 
Well aware of my reputation as an empty-headed nitwit among those who served my husband, such low expectations had served me well. Best to maintain the fiction. Soft pinks, yellows, reds, and blues of all shades drifted lazily down the still, hot currents of desert air. At first, they resembled butterflies until our carriage drew close enough to see the scarves. I looked out the window to see some of the soft cloths puddling on the dirt streets only to be trampled by the next column of tightly grouped soldiers. The morning sun turned the helmets and shields of the marching men to a radiance so bright it could not be withstood by the naked eye. 
I closed my eyes tightly against the glare and in vain hopes that these familiar faces of the onlookers were just another dream. Terrified that when I reopened them, I would see those same faces filled with hatred, mouths now joining in the monstrous roar of malevolence, commanding the death of the righteous one. 
“M’Lady, M’Lady, are you all right?” I could hear Antonia’s concern. She knew how I had dreaded this journey, how fervent had been my prayers for some miracle to forestall what I knew was destiny. His, mine and the worlds. Unlike the others, Antonia had known me almost since birth. 
“I’m fine, Antonia, fine. Please do not worry, I am just drained. We have been traveling now for over thirty days. The heat makes it almost impossible -to sleep at night--it never cools off here.” Only mid-morning and the temperature had to be over ninety. The fall weather in Rome had been glorious. So different from this unrelenting, insufferable heat. 
Antonia was unfooled by either my reply or my attempt at a smile. I did not blame her. I knew the motion of my lips was more rictus than smile...that we were heading toward a doom of the kind the world had never seen. 
I knew that there was nothing I could do or say to stop it. Upon opening my eyes, I felt no relief at the unchanged jubilance, the joyous expressions on the faces of the crowds. It would come, and soon. I am nearing the end of my life. Seventy-nine years lived as a shadow, a face behind a curtain, whispering the residues of a dream. Insubstantial, unheard. But my time of silence is done. It is time to write the truth for those with ears to hear it. 
I am Procula, wife of Lucias Pontius Pilate. My husband has been dead for several decades now. Like me, Lucius is the subject of vast ignorance, lies, and injustice. The very name of Pontius Pilate has become synonymous with cowardice and betrayal. Those who claim to know the substance of my dream believe it emanates from evil. Others insist that the words recited by Christians for the last thirty years, “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and died,” had terrorized me in my dream, echoing as I know they will, as I have seen in my visions, through the centuries. To be memorialized in something that will be called the ‘Apostles Creed.’ 
These slanderous claims, and all the others like them, no longer break my heart; but are merely annoying. I often think of the writing of Socrates, a man I consider a good friend though he died before I was born. His wisdom and humility await those rare searchers of truth. 
“I know I am intelligent because I know I know nothing.” I was born in Delphi, the last of the Oracles of Pythia. It was a time of disorder, chaos, terror, and the death of nations. My mother broke her vow of virginity in lying with my father. She feared for both our lives, because what she had done was punishable by death. Hers and mine. The time of the Oracles was coming to an end. Men no longer listened to the whispers of the prophets, certainly not the women. Not even when we had the words of the gods on our lips. 
I survived, but my mother did not. I was taken to Athens, where I was raised by Demetrius and Sabina. Only they knew that I was the last Oracle. My true identity remained a secret to all others —although my husband speculated that to be the cause of my foreknowledge of so much. I ask that you permit a conceit. 
This book will be told in two voices. My own and that of my husband. Perhaps that seems presumptuous? Or worse, specious? 
Near the end of his life, almost daily, my husband told me that I knew him better than he knew himself. And he talked incessantly about how close he had come to refusing the thunderous command of the Jews. 
When Lucius gave me his diaries, including the letters exchanged with Seneca, this book designed itself. Could I have intervened? When the famed Stoic philosopher directed his every thought? Incited a hatred toward the Jews that cost him and the world no less than everything? You decide.


 CHAPTER ONE 

Claudia Procula. They say it is impossible. I was, after all, barely two when we left Greece. But I remember Delphi. The only place I knew as home echoes in my mind and heart still after almost eight decades of absence. The Delphian air is purer, the sky bluer and the mountains redolent with wisdom─scrambling through the tunnels beneath the Treasury of Athena kept me safer than a nanny’s arms and infused me with more knowledge than did my later classical tutors. It was there, crawling alone around and under those sacred stone structures, that the unreliability of the senses, the language of the Forms, the highest Good, transcendent and absolute, impressed themselves into my very being. That there was just one, not many, God, was a certainty I shared with the Hebrews. 
Too young. Absurd. Inconceivable. I know. I think that too as I write these many years later. But the truth is this. By the time my kind adopted parents had decided I was old enough at nine to study philosophy, mathematics, rhetoric, classical Latin, and Greek, Sabina hired tutors. The best in Athens. And could not understand why they lasted just days. 
“Claudia Procula! Alejandro has quit. He is the third tutor in three months. I had to pay him for a month’s wages even though he was here for only five days!” 
I looked up from the scroll of Plato’s Republic I was reading. Sabina stood looking down at me, her expression a mixture of puzzlement and something else. I wasn’t sure what. 
Without thinking, I retorted, “You and Uncle Adrian could have saved a substantial sum if you would have listened when I asked to spend my days in the Aristotle Library.” 
The color in her cheeks rising, Sabina worked visibly to control her anger. She must have been over forty because she had been Mother’s older sister by ten years but her beauty remained. Sabina had competed in the Heraean Games twice and won laurel crowns each time for her long-distance marathon races. Her shape had changed little since those days. Her stola was dark violet with a light lavender shawl tied at her narrow waist with gold braid. A gold armband served as Sabina’s only jewelry. Touching her long blonde braid, her expression and her voice softened. 
“Why do these men quit tutoring you Claudia? What happens to make them want to leave so suddenly? Alejandro could not leave this home fast enough. It was almost as if he thought you...” Abruptly, she covered her mouth momentarily then let the long slender fingers drop back down to her side then Sabina closed her eyes and murmured the prayer I had heard since childhood. 
“Clear-eyed Athena, unrivaled in wisdom, daughter of Zeus and Metis whose craft and wit excelled among the mighty Titans: Athena, I pray to you. Wise in all things you are, goddess; your cunning and guile are well known. In time of war you have no equal in tactics or in strategy; many armies have you guided to victory. In time of peace your blessings fall on those whose work is of the mind–friend of the philosopher, the scientist, the student. Advisor of kings, patron of clever heroes and bold-hearted adventurers, defender of the thinker, mistress of reason and understanding, goddess to whom a strong arm and a sharp sword are nothing without the sense to wield them well and the insight to know when words are worth more than weapons. 
Athena, grant me a sound mind and steady temper, bless me with good judgment, show me the long view.” The moment the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to reach into the still, warm, summer air, grab them and eat them. 
“The words are beautiful, even wise, Aunt Sabina, but Athena is just an illusion. Her mouth produces no words, her mind no thoughts and her heart does not beat. Your goddess is merely an instrument on which to hang human weakness.” 
My aunt swayed, ever so slightly, from side to side. Those turquoise eyes hardened into flint. 
“You have no right. Even with all of your mother’s gifts, never...ever... did she speak cruelly. Know this Claudia, utter one more viperous word, and you will be out of this house.” Impossibly, her eyes grew colder. “Someone as wise as you surely knows what would become of an abandoned female ten-year-old does she not?” 
I learned on that sultry afternoon just how massive a burden was the supernatural knowledge that I had done nothing to merit. I also learned that once loathsome, pitiless words were uttered, no power in this world or in another could cauterize the wounds they made. They bled into eternity. 


CHAPTER TWO

Lucias Pontius Pilate.  I was born to be a warrior. Until I donned the tunic, body armor and shoulder plates of the legionnaire, I had felt like a child. I knew upon grabbing the dagger, sword, javelin, and shield that this was my destiny. As a boy, I had been ungainly, all angles, awkward and fumbling. But as I placed the helmet on my head and joined my legion, I knew that time had passed. I would lead men. And soon. 
The march from Rome to the outskirts of Germanicus was dreadful. Our commander underestimated the effect of the northern winter and overestimated the strength and endurance of his legion. Over one hundred Roman soldiers had died from exposure and exhaustion before we met a single German. 
Stupidity. Incompetence. Inexcusable in a leader. My anger upon finally meeting our enemy whipped my speed, tactics, and deadliness into something manic, crazed, unstoppable. At the end of that first day, outnumbered by three to one, exhausted and improperly clothed, the Germans had fled. And the live Roman soldiers were cheering my name. “LUCIAS!” “PONTIUS!” “PILATE!” 
Our Tribune was dead. Overnight, I became Tribune at just twenty-eight years of age. Was it destiny too that caused Tiberius to ride into the blood-soaked German soil just as the men had hauled me on top of a human litter shouting my name?And was it fate that caused the next emperor of Rome to smile. Then reach behind him to grab a laurel wreath, remove my helmet from my head and replace it with the wreath? Wordlessly crowning me as Tribune, on my very first day of battle. All while the men were shouting my three names so loudly that the trees of that forest shook? 
Had I known Claudia then, and had she told me of my future, would I have turned away from the rapid rise in the best army in the world? Could I have become a lawyer like my brother? Or a physician like my uncle?
~~~

The most significant issue for me has been addressed in these first three parts of the book. Specifically, Wilder has taken me back to the time of Jesus and the Romans...but she has done sufficient and intelligent research which allows her to write this historical story in today's words...

We have learned that Claudia has supernatural power, given to her at birth, which is the beginning of the end of the age of gods and into God's world where He will soon bring forth His son... Claudia early believes in that One God...


Most who have some Bible reading in their past know of Pontius Pilate's role in the trial of Jesus... But did you know the important role Claudia played? I didn't--and certainly not that Claudia had been given gifts of the Spirit. In other words, my own knowledge about this major event in history gives me a desire to learn how Claudia played a part--what she did, both before and after her husband held the trial...

Thousands of years have past. But I believe there has been too much loss of the old, old stories... To me, when Lin started hearing Claudia talking in her head, as she shared to explain why she had moved from a successful mystery series to a historical novel, I call that a supernatural experience... that... just... might... be... very... important for today's world...

The book is not out...but I want to read it... It is also not available for pre-order either...so I'll try to keep everybody posted on its availability...

In the meantime, do you spend time considering whether you will buy a book? How do you decide?  Would love to hear from you!

Glenda