Sunday, May 31, 2015

How does Today's Jury System Compare to that in the Book/Movie "To Kill A Mockingbird"? A Little Prep for This Week's Spotlight on Harold Michael Harvey!

With a bit of serendipity as I was flipping through channels yesterday, I saw that the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird, was just about to start... What a startling incident to happen as we are about to set off on a week's exploration of Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System...

The book, written by Harper Lee,

Harper Lee's Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father-a crusading local lawyer-risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

has become a classic...

Just wondering...are you a Harper Lee type of person...or, like those, who made up the jury in this book??? Are you willing to consider your place in the race relations issues in America? Join in the discussion! 

I've picked three videos to share or remind you of this story. The final words of the closing argument...

The Trailer

Or Watch the whole movie and see a wonderful, yet tragic story~

Excerpts of Justice in the Round begin tomorrow... Please feel free to add questions of the author as a comment...Actual discussion will appear Thursday and I'll try my best to get any questions answered before then...

See you tomorrow!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Wit and Wisdom of Romance, Courtship and Marriage...Maybe...

Leslie Rodriguez

I love the women's movement...
especially when I'm walking behind it.
--Rush Limbaugh
Perfect Pic of 
Male Chauvinist Pig...?

Carlos de Jong

But never fear, gentlemen;
castration was never really not the point
of feminism, and we women are too busy
eviscerating one another to take you on.
--Anna Quindlen
I wasn't sure Anna,
Is this Wit or Wisdom???

Alla Baksanskaya

Next Chapter is on Men...
Here's one you can really consider a bit of wisdom...

Men should think twice before making
widowhood women's only path to power.
--Gloria Steinem
What can I add to that "powerful" statement?

Working with Harold Michael Harvey on Next Week's Discussion!

Excerpts Start Monday!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mooooore Love Sayings! Published by BookCollaborative.Com

Adri Barnard

At the age of eleven or thereabout women acquire 
a poise and ability to handle difficult situations
which a man, if he is lucky manages to achieve
somewhere in the later seventies.
--P. G. Wodehouse

Whether they give or refuse,
it delights women just the same to be asked.

Samantha Thompson

Women with pasts interest men...
they hope history will repeat itself.
--Mae West
And her most well-known saying... Just had to add!
"Why don't you come up to see me sometime!

How hard it is for women to keep counsel!
--William Shakespeare

Jesse Glenn

Women prefer men who have something tender
about them--especially the legal kind.
--Kay Ingram

God gave women intuition and femininity.
Used properly, the combination easily jumbles
the brain of any man I've ever met.
--Farrah Fawcett
Personally, I think it was more than
intuition and femininity for love Farrah!

Leslie Rodriguez

Women and cats do as they damned well please,
and men and dogs had best learn to live with it..
--Alan Holbrook

'Tis enough for today!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Prince of Conjurers by Laurie L. Bolanos Creates Life for the Phantom...After...Christine! And...With Bolanos You Get Lacour!

Between you and me, at that moment, the small strain of humanity that runs in my soul overpowered my own wants and desires. Her happiness mattered more than my own. And I let her go.
When I set her free. I meant it. I had wanted to die. However, it did not take long for bitterness to take root in my heart. Die for love of her? I think not! She is mine. The life I wanted was disappearing with the golden-haired, perfect-featured vicomte...
It angers me how they rejoice in my timely departure. The relief in their embrace. The passion of their kisses revolts me. I want to kill them both!
But, I am a patient man.
"Leave Paris," their soft voices agree. Start their lives over, sail away. Passage to La Nouvelle-Orleans. I hear the word faintly as they believe they leave me to my endless slumber...
I will remain a man of my word.
Raoul may continue to have her heart, but I will have her immortal soul. I will collect what is mine. It belongs to me... I am the Prince of Conjurers.

Prince of Conjurers

By Laurie L. Bolanos

Like the author, I, too, had much empathy for Eric, the man who lost Christine in The Phantom of the Opera... So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read an alternative story about his life. One that picks up when he is thought dead and Christine and Raoul have ran off to be together... It is a quite plausible story that weaves in the main theme of The Phantom, but, clearly, takes off into a truly remarkable fantasy that uses reincarnation as the dominant theme... I thoroughly enjoyed it from cover and cover and highly recommend it for your consideration!

Eric heard the plan of Raoul, to move to New Orleans, and immediately started thinking... Eric, no longer the Phantom follows them. Now to be the Prince of Conjurers... The breadth and scope of the novel is, however, far more than I could have imagined and swirls like smoke in the air as time loses all meaning, readers are thrown into visions, or actual movement, into recent and the far past...

For now, Eric is in New Orleans, set on getting Christine away from Raoul, even if he has to kidnap her! He has already started his plan...

And with New Orleans, I am thrilled to offer the music of Barry Lacour from his latest CD "Heads-Up," to take us into the mood and setting of New Orleans, Louisiana...
His plan was genius.
Christine would be left alone most of the time, without anyone around to interfere. Nothing prevented him from the greatest, most magnificent endeavor, as if for once in his wretched existence, he was accepted into the greater design of life and it approved of his intentions. The way was being made clear for him with very little effort. He could not ask for more.
Well, maybe just a little...

In the year 2009, however, there is a lovely young woman who has just moved into a new home and is renovating the place herself. She is happy to be able to knock out walls, get her hands dirty, hammering and mumbling under her breath, "You low-down dirty dog!", as she pictures her ex-husband's face...then her ex-best friend Monika with whom said ex-husband was now living! Monika's betrayal hurt the most since they had been friends since high school.
She couldn't stop the memories from resurfacing. Her stomach churned at the recalling of Marvin Gaye's seductive voice drifting down the stairs from their bedroom. Marvin Gaye had always been a sign that her husband wanted her. She had assumed Simon must have called her office and found she had left for the day earlier than usual.
With her pulse racing, Julie climbed up the stairs, kicking off her shoes. It had been at least two weeks since they had made love. She pictured him waiting in bed for her as she took off her belt and headed for their bedroom.
"Hello, Baby," She pushed open the ajar door, posing seductively.
The rest of the memory came as snapshots. Messed up bed. Sheets hanging over the edge. Two wine glasses on the nightstand. Empty bottle lying on its side. Two sets of clothing crumpled on the floor. Running water in the bathroom. Muffled laughter. Her heart racing. Difficult breathing. Dread crushing her soul. Marvin Gaye singing on...

The novel begins to move back and forth between 2009 and 1898. Julie continues working on her home, absorbing the atmosphere of New Orleans, refusing to have her palm read by a local named Star, while meeting and becoming friends with a gay neighbor, while she demands that he keeps his lovers out of her apartment!

In the meantime, Eric is following Christine, even spying on her in their new home, and even following them to the opera, where he projects his whisper to her ear whispering, "Sing for me..."

Eric has purchased two different homes, one of which was called "The Devil's Mansion," where he plans to keep Christine. He goes to great expense to create an internal suite of rooms that look like a complete home, including interior sunlight... The remainder, exterior parts of the home, have...traps, traps to keep anybody else out...

Soon, he starts searching...for a vessel in which he will place Christine's soul... Enter Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen...and Naomi, a child-woman he has purchased from a Bordello, who he has selected to be the vessel... The only thing is that Marie wants Naomi for herself... As a virgin she would bring in much money...but there is much more behind her desire... Eric quickly marries Naomi so there will be no way that she can be claimed by anybody else...

"I have noticed the other
ladies decorate their 
 I thought you
might like these." The
brooches sparkled in his
hand as they reflected the
light in the room.
"Ooooh," Her eyes grew
big. "Those are for me?"

Eric leaned back in his carriage, hands behind his head with a satisfied grin that felt permanently etched on his face. The girl had accepted...
His reverie broken, Erik entered his house. Behind his closed door, he felt invigorated. The new day, the events of the past few hours, wiped away all fatigue. He ascended the stairs two at a time to his greenhouse of the roof. He wanted to work on his herbs. Marie's potion would have to be altered to suit his needs. He wasn't looking for a zombie, but a means to still the mind and body long enough to summon Christine's soul into it.

Unfortunately, one man, who had loved Naomi from her home town, would not give up so easily...

I should mention that Eric has learned much about the use of makeup materials which he uses to hide the scars on his face, ridding himself of the mask.  He has assumed a new name, Monsieur de la Croix... Quickly he is recognized as a man of means and becomes well known in the French Quarter... And then he took the big step... He sent Naomi to Christine's home, offering Naomi to help her--Christine was pregnant! Eric was enraged, until he learned that she had given him Eric's name...surely she still loved him... 

I would not even attempt to share about what that connection brought about, other than to say that Naomi and Christine became friends...

The man hesitated a moment then stepped closer to Armando, extending his hand. "My name is Heath."
Armando eagerly grabbed the man's hand, the multiple gaudy bracelets on his wrist jingled as they shook." Charmed, I'm sure."
"I couldn't help but admire your bracelet," Heath said, releasing Armando's hand. Armando stretched his arm out, turning his wrist up. "You like?"
Curious, Julie leaned over to get a look. Sure enough, among the many tacky pieces of gold costume jewelry was a dull silver bracelet with small silver balls and a silver charm. On the face of the charm was a complicated braided pattern of silk-like material in dark and light browns.
"Se-ma-j," Julie bit through clenched teeth, her voice elevating with each syllable. "What is he doing with my bracelet?"

As Julie is working on her home, she finds two things at two different times...and she meets a man in whom we could be interested. Unfortunately, he had been the one to notice a bracelet she'd found when it had been taken by her next door neighbor's friend. Shall we just say, she made quite a fuss about it. Then realized that she had totally lost control...and Heath had seen it all! While he still expressed interest in seeing the bracelet, she thought that was all that he was interested in... Still she did learn much more and realized that the bracelet was probably very valuable. Whenever she had a chance to see Heath, she happily agreed....

Meanwhile, interestingly, Eric finds that he is quite attracted to Naomi and feels he has made a great choice for the future. What he was surprised at, though, was that she was so kind and gentle and responded to him in a grateful, but, most, loving manner. He found himself responding to her--until he would catch himself realizing that she was not Christine. And Christine was His!

Then with rising dread, she remembered the ritual, the phone call, the darkness, and Heath worried by her side. He wasn't by her side now. The only sound she heard was the wood-burning fire.
Though her mind panicked, her body continued its slow, even breathing undisturbed by her emotions. This is not a hospital. Where am I? The more anxious Julie became, the more she felt the heaviness of her body...She heard a door slide open and footsteps. She inwardly held her breath although her body kept on breathing steadily. This is crazy! She willed herself even harder to wake up. Fight it! Fight!...

"Christine, I have missed you." The man's voice sounded pained.
Julie opened her mouth to speak. Nothing came out. Her tongue felt thick and clumsy. She kept trying. She was determined to set the record straight.
"Not Christine." Her voice was a dry, rasping whisper.
The man leaned closer to her, and his breath warmed her ear. "What did you say?"
"Not Christine. Julie, Juliana Francois..."

Do you believe in reincarnation? Well, whether you do or not, be prepared for the longest line of reincarnated souls you may have ever experienced or read of! By the time I was coming to the conclusion of the book, I was amazed at how the book was ending--not only a surprise, but a thoroughly satisfactory one! But don't let me get ahead of things...because when voodoo is involved, sometimes it results in "Who Do?" You see at exactly the same time that Eric was working to conjure Christine into Naomi's body, Julie, in 2009, was working to learn about her own reincarnated past! You guessed it, Julie wound up in Naomi's body instead of Christine!
The secret pocket door slammed into place by the force of Erik's rage. Impossible! What trickery was this? The woman wouldn't have the ability to lie to him in her altered state, so he knew she spoke the truth. He paced the hall outside the chamber in fury. He wanted to charge into the room and shake the answers out of her, answers that would come because she was in no condition to respond to an interrogation.
A sudden rush of understanding gripped him like a vise. Now, not only did he not have Christine, but he had lost Naomi also. What had he done?

And that is where I shall leave you! The conjurer has gotten someone he hadn't conjured! Julie finds herself in 1898, inside of the woman who had once lived and held her soul. And all I'll say is that's when the fun begins for readers as a 2009 outspoken independent female meets male chauvinist Eric with an obsession for Christine, another woman, even though Julie, in Naomi's body, is now Eric's wife! Yikes! I loved it!

But that's just the beginning! How do you undo voodoo? 

Eric stood back within the wooded area on the north side of Congo Square. He had just spent an hour gazing through Christine's windows, watching her with her son and her husband. He had to be sure she was Christine and not Naomi. And she was, in every way, confirming for him that Naomi must be wherever the stranger had come from...

With expertise, the voodoo queen unraveled the reluctant snake that tried its best to stay anchored to her body and handed it over to a waiting follower. "See to it Zombie is put in his cage," she commanded. The crowd watched in utter silence as the man hurried away.
"Behold!" Marie called out while opening her arms to the crowd. "Even the son of the Devil seeks my counsel." A rise of whispers shot through the spectators. Encouraged by their reactions, she grabbed Erik's hand and raised it high into the air with her own. "I alone, Queen of Voodoo, can bring solace to the Prince of Darkness." Erik snatched his hand back with a scorching look, while Marie kept hers up to the level of her eyes.
Eric narrowed his eyes and hissed loud enough only for her ears. "My noose would find its mark around your neck, witch, if that was what I desired...

"I don't fear you," she sneered. You have sought me out, not I you."
He let his face harden. "Only to make you fix your sabotage..."

Dare you enter the world of Voodoo, conjuring, reincarnation, immortality, obsessed love, and more? Will Eric ever find the fulfillment of the love he had once felt for Christine, only to have her feelings ripped away by another man? Wow, you can't possibly imagine the answer given by Laurie L. Bolanos! Brilliant! Bravo to Bolanos, as well as her father, Barry Lacour... who has added to the mystic bounty that readers will find in Prince of Conjurers! Enjoy!


Laurie L. Bolanos lives below sea level in a small cottage on the edge of a city shaped like a bowl. When given the opportunity, she doesn't mind hopping a few states over to enjoy Gulf breezes and to dip her toes in the ocean. She likes to take long walks on the beach, sip the occasional piña colada, and soak in the rays of the sun. No matter the venue, her preference is to be barefoot. However, she will bend to social expectations and don a pair of shoes when necessary. She enjoys attending a monthly drumming circle at which she was, in fact, told she has a "natural ability." Loving the vibrations of the drum, she has also invested time with tuning-fork therapy, although she has not yet been certified in the art. Laurie comes from an Italian family and can prove it with her DNA results from 23andMe which has confirmed that she is 40.4% Italian. Other nationalities need not feel left out as she also has French, German, British, Irish, Iberian, Balkan, Sardinian, Scandinavian, Ashkenazi, Middle Eastern, West African, and Yakut ancestry, proving by her very existence that we are one world and should not be divided by race.
Laurie L. Bolanos was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to parents who are devout readers and passed that love on to her. In fact, she kept files on people throughout her childhood insisting that she would need the information as one day she would write a book. She graduated from Archbishop Chapelle High School in Metairie, Louisiana and went on to graduate from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana with a BA in English. She was an LPN for twelve years before returning to Delgado/Charity School of Nursing, graduating as an R.N. in January of 2006. She continues her nursing career while writing in her spare time. In between working and writing, she reads. There is nothing like the journey a good book can provide.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sheila Deeth's Second Novel, Infinite Sum, Now Out!

From the author who took us to... Paradise...  comes a new novel. A novel that is edgy and full of suspense, yet sensitively woven around the life of one individual, Sylvia...

Sylvia grew up in the area that includes Paradise. She was there when dangerous things were going on... Remember the woods?

Now she's an adult with children and, fortunately, a husband who loves her, even with...her issues...

You see there are parts of her past that she doesn't remember. Other times she becomes deeply depressed and unable to function as she should. The one thing that has helped her throughout her life is her love for art, for creating images of people around her, of the world around her, and, sometimes, what happens to her... But there are times even that doesn't work...

“Don’t try to decide what you’re going to paint,” says the teacher, and I wonder; if I don’t decide to dab my brush in paint, does he think some glorious image will appear unaided?
“Don’t restrict yourself.” But I’m bound by the page.
“Let inspiration arise from your subconscious. Set it free.”
The teacher’s voice rises skyward with his words, and I watch him lift manicured hands, so very consciously and theatrically. But we’re working in a warehouse, under a lofty ceiling of snaking conduits and tangled wires. Around us, deliberately inspiring objects are artfully displayed—paintings, sculptures, a vase of flowers, a crooked pile of boxes covered in cloth. Distant spotlights splash the walls, while layers of gauze and canvas tumble down in wild abandon. In the midst of it all, we painters guard our easels, proudly wearing our different shapes and styles, eagerly devouring the teacher’s wondrous wisdom, and ready for art.
But my subconscious really doesn’t feel like inspiring anything. My hand holds the paintbrush, level with my eyes, as if I’m measuring angles or judging the shade for some curious tone. But I’m staring pointlessly at flowers. Yellow roses, tipped and veined with red; I mourn them as they dangle over the rim of a glass vase. Their feathered heads promise magic in that precious moment before falling. And then, in silence, one lonely petal drops. I let my paintbrush dip and stroke its sunset onto the page and think, yeah great; this is me, inspired by dying flowers.
Colors, shapes of blooms and stems; I add them to my canvas, and my hands are painting fast. Wash blue with white for the vase’s pure translucency. Bite my tongue and feel my lungs expand as breath swells fiercely through my head. I dip and stroke, streak and lie, bend and rise until my kneecaps ache. Red clings to tipping tips of petals while darkness piles its urgency behind, and angles bend with a flower’s sharpening shot at eternity. Ruined lives are encased in the vase’s delicate glass, and my fingers flash with ease.
“Let inspiration arise from your subconscious,” the teacher repeats.
I’m in the zone. Then I wake and he’s announcing it’s time to go home.
The canvas in front of me is filled with red and black. Broken petals swell with decay, laid out on a layer of coal. Shattered flowers lie torn and dead and scattered, never to return. What did my subconscious have in mind?


Infinite Sum

By Sheila Deeth

I’m a mom. I’m married, and I have three sons. I worked as a computer programmer before the kids were born, and I used to be a mathematician. But I’m also a wannabe artist who dreams in color and longed color and longed to be famous once.
Art, color, nightmares, and the subconscious; they’re all a mystery, filled with possibilities of hope and change. But math is different. Math is real and solid, right or wrong, with no uncertainties. Art plays games, while math follows rules. Art soars, and math measures its path. Art takes you where you don’t want to go. But math lets you stay unmoving, right where you are.
Measures don’t change just because your mind gets distracted. Integers don’t shatter and their edges won’t cut. They’re not sharp. Real numbers don’t paint in red and black. And equations never land you in therapy.
The teacher laughed when he saw my
 blasted roses the other day.
“You obviously needed to get something
out of your system, Sylvia.”
There again, equations probably don’t land you in art class either. But I’m giving my dreams one final fling before going back to work. I’ve promised Donald I’ll get a job when Adam turns ten; use those hard-learned mathematical skills; sum those graduate letters after my name into a winning résumé, though I’m not sure they sum to me. Donald says pictures won’t sum to anything, but excuses my time here because “You always liked painting,” as if we’re discussing a nice new shade of pink for the bathroom wall. Still, time’s gone by and all I produce are sheets of stabbing red and angry gray. Black lines like prison bars don’t pictures make.

I was honored to be asked to be an early reader of Sheila Deeth's second novel, Infinite Sum, and to see it now out! Deeth has a tremendous skill in being able to create a character's internal life, as if readers personally are meeting a new individual, one they immediately are attracted to and someone with whom you would like to be friends. And when you learn more about that individual's life and learn about the pain and anguish faced by that individual, you, too, feel those feelings--wanting in some way to help your this case...remember...

Meet Sylvia (played by Samantha James)... We are sympatico... There is one difference, however. I remember everything traumatic that has ever happened to me, that has affected my mental and emotional life. Sylvia has not... What Sylvia does have though are all of the pictures that she ever drew while she was growing up.

Sylvia's youngest son has now turned 10. She was supposed to return to work then--that was the agreement with her husband. Obviously, readers will realize that she is not ready to go back to work. She has started back with her therapist. Perhaps she was wanting to get ready for the work environment. But as slowly as she has been going, her therapist has suggested that Sylvia go through her art work. I'm not sure this was a good idea--is it always important that we understand our feelings? Yes, I have to admit that I do think it is important, even if what she discovers will hurt... At least then you can choose what to do with those feelings, rather than remaining in a world where you know something is missing... Or, maybe, you will understand why you are afraid not to be there, at home, when your son comes home from school... afraid that something will hurt him, if  you are not there to protect him from danger...

Next meeting she wants me to tell her what happened, using words instead of pictures. Why?
“Because then you might realize what you’re trying to hide.”
I’m not hiding anything.
“So tell me,” she says, while I settle back on the sofa. “Tell me about the first time you met him. What was the weather like?”
But dryer in the forest I remember, and beautiful in that clearing when the sun came out.
The figure at the edge of the trees watches me. Sunlight blazes in front of him; shadows of trees and water loom behind. Is that a head maybe, a leg? Is this perhaps an arm? But it’s not clear. It could be
someone slinking, hiding in shade. Or it could be just the way I chose to render the shapes of trees.
I walked home alone from school that day. Bad idea, but nobody knew there was anything wrong in the park back then. It was spring in my first year of Junior High. I didn’t feel like a new girl anymore. I knew my way around. And I could have caught the activity bus, should have I suppose, but it was always so crowded, rocking with noise and boys who’d stayed late for sports. I might not find a seat. After art class all I wanted was a bit of peace.
It was raining, I remember, that heavy spring rain that tries to wash the memory of winter away—rain that drips down the back of your neck and splashes up from the ground to soak your legs. The sky kept switching from thick gray clouds to glimpses of summer blue. There should have been a rainbow I guess, but then, my life was full of should-have-beens.
I should have been home earlier, Mom would say. Should have been doing my homework. Should have taken extra math not art. Should have walked with Sharon to the gates. I should have told them when I first knew. Should have made Lydia stay at home. Should have worn a different
skirt, a different shirt. Should never have gone out looking like that and especially not to school, and not to the woods. Should sing louder in church.
I could have taken the main path through the park. It was wide and well-lit, well-travelled, and went from the wrought iron gates up and over the hill. But puddles had turned its paving stones to lakes the night before. Small waterfalls splashed with every step, and rain seeped in through the seams in my school shoes.
I’m not sure why I thought cutting through the trees would be any dryer, but I did it anyway.
Spring leaves caught the downpour, softening it, flavoring it with hints of minty green. The rain took on a slippery sound instead of incessant drumming. The ground was slick, soft and wet with mud, while autumn’s debris lay scattered like pages of a book. I started to run, my backpack banging heavily, my arms outstretched for balance as I skidded between downed branches and withering trunks. Then I saw the clearing and had to stop and gaze...

This time the figure of the man is closer, approaching in front of the trees. He looks like a shadow untethered from the forest all around. Sun makes a halo behind his head with smudges of white on his shoulders, as if he’s an angel in disguise, mistakenly dressed in black. He casts no shadow.
I turn the page.
I tried to show how fast the figure moved, with lines at his back; mooring lines for a ship perhaps as he strains to leave the page. The trees are rendered lovingly with lacework of branches and leaves. But the man, the figure, is a shadow, nothing more—no features, just a hollow blackness tethered by trailing lines.
I turn again.
This picture’s filled with a face drawn too close to the eye, pencil dust still bleeding from the thickness of the gloom. Wisps of hair escape from a circular frame like a baseball cap. The chin’s shaded in lines drawn straight as rain, a beard perhaps. Flat cheeks, sharp nose with nostril hairs—the head’s tilted upward and the artist sees from below. Thick lips jut out. Black shadows hide the eyes under smooth-drawn lines for the edge of his cap.
I remember the angle, me looking up at him, while gentle breezes blew their scents of spring. Wind from the office’s heating blows over the paper, rustling it, reminding me of leaves.
Another picture shows another face. This time the perspective’s different; the position too. Parted lips take center stage as if the artist can’t
take her eyes from them. Lines and shadows hint at a tongue and teeth hiding between. But around the mouth the face has faded to patches of light and shade. There’s none of that bright white left behind when an eraser hides the features—this picture looks more like the artist never saw or bothered to draw them. Black holes for eyes, pale lump of a nose, but everything blunt-pencil shaded around the clear-drawn, intricate, shape of somebody’s bearded lips.
I stare at this one for a while, but still it doesn’t come clear. The man—why do I think I must have known him? He remains a stranger on the page, well hidden behind the black and white and gray.
The next picture is nothing but hands. Clasped hands, empty hands, open hands, closed hands, blunt-nailed hands, short-fingered hands, but ever, only, hands. They pass through, over, under each other, ghost hands and solid together, some bits erased while others raggedly remain. Impossibly twisted hands. Hands everywhere.
And underneath, covered, hidden away, pale lines like broken memories scar the page. Something’s almost invisible, drawn over and almost lost.
I see the girl from the clearing again, backpack, dark hair, short skirt, hands raised in the air.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
The next sketches are abstract, easy to ignore. I turn them over, one by one, waiting for something to spark a sign of hope. Sharp lines make shapes with eyes, nose, lips and tongues drawn into triangles and squares. They overlap, slide underneath, and peak from hidden edges, stop and stare.
In one there are just two pairs of eyes, one beetle-browed and dark in a rectangular box, one wide and white. Guilt and innocence bound or fated to unite?
Reality intervenes again when I come to a picture of a tree. Tall trunk, wide branches—the bark’s well-drawn, black-webbed with crinkled lines and layers of shade. The leaves—spring leaves—have grown from bud to green and form a glowing canopy now, no signs of snow. The ground is mixed, dry grass, damp earth, fall’s skeletal detritus awaiting summer’s cleansing rain. I admire the shading, the way I’ve mixed the pencils...

But there is something, someone behind that Tree, a flash of a foot???

By using the exploration of past art work, Deeth easily takes readers back, back into Sylvia's early life... We see Sylvia living on a farm with her grandparents and her  parents wanting to find another place--their own home--to live. But, when they finally did move, quickly, Sylvia was very upset and longed to stay there on the farm... Then we move on as Sylvia grows older, goes to school, but cannot accept that they no longer visit the farm where she loved the bull they had and the joy of seeing new kittens. After all they had been her friends, since her older siblings rarely wanted to play with her... and called her "silly sissy"... Sylvia didn't have many friends...

Sheeth is brilliant in setting up the suspense right from the beginning...some is almost torturous to the reader, as well as the character, as she explores her past through past scenes she once created--with her family, on the farm, in the woods...Then another flashback and she knows there must be...more... Will she ever really remember? Can she be free from her past and live a fulfilling family life?

I think what most amazed me was the ending...Sylvia had been so caught up with what she was living, and reliving, that she had not really heard Donald, her husband, when he had tried to talk to her, to tell her what was happening in his own life...How would she handle the news he shared; i.e., when she heard it for the very first time? An amazing story. If you are willing to be totally caught up into the inner life that can either break or make a woman, you just might think this is a must-read. For me, there was much to learn, to ponder, and, finally, realize that you can move on from bad memories...


Mongrel Christian Mathematician
Author, book reviewer, "fearful leader" of local writers' group...
Bragging rights
3 kids, all grown up, Masters degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University England

Here's a sample of another artist Sheila has written about...