Monday, May 30, 2011

Love daytime drama? Find it all in Bittersweet House!

Bittersweet House

By Liz Barzda

I was watching "The Talk" recently when Susan Lucci appeared to both promote her book, All My Life: A Memoir, and share about the closing of the drama in which she has played for years. There isn't anybody who doesn't know Lucci, even if they've never watched the drama. That day I was reading Bittersweet House by Liz Barzda and found myself casting Lucci as one of the female characters in her book. For certainly, this story has the sophisticated, never-ending drama for which daytime TV is known...

At first, I thought of her as Katherine, who owns an elite luxurious spa which she has just expanded, leaving her worried about money, wanting her lover to ask his rich father for a loan, and, if all else fails, threatening to go to the mafia for the half-million she needs.

Or she could also play Zita Parker who owns an advertising agency, now single since her ex left her for a younger woman, after they had been trying for years and spent much money to pay for medical procedures to help Zita get pregnant...

Bittersweet House
Zita and Katherine are two of the four women who have been friends for more than a decade and have referred to themselves as the Barren Babes. Sometimes they share jokingly about their never having children, but most of the time, they share the pain and frustration each has felt...

Margaret as the oldest has become somewhat of a counselor for the others. Though childless, she and her husband have a loving relationship and both have successful professional careers that have been fulfilling. Margaret's sister had died young and she asked her sister to watch over her young son, so Margaret and her husband have take that responsibility to heart over the years and now look to help fund his college years as he plans to become an architect. But a young woman has other plans for this young man...

But, when decision-making time came for casting Lucci, I found I chose her to play Linda, the beautiful anchor on a local television station who has for many years allowed her husband to convince her that starting a family should be delayed until they were both professionally and financially secure.

And that was accepted, although not happily, by Linda. Now she was older and realized her child-bearing years were flying by. Still everybody, including her friends, looked to Linda and her husband as the perfect loving couple--even Linda was fooled!

Until the day she got a call from a woman who was screaming to talk to her husband. As they talked, Linda realized that this woman had a right to call him--and soon learned that his son was in the hospital and his mother was begging for Linda's husband to come! Later Linda learned that her husband had been involved for  over two years and he was supporting his other family through a trust fund that had never been used in support of their marriage.

Now you've met the Barren Babes--four professional women who wanted it all, including children. Have they put too much of their lives toward their personal careers so that, now, they are overwhelmed when their personal lives seem to be falling apart? When husbands betray, can women afford to risk being hurt again? Or must they finally and totally accept that women just can't have it all?

Revenge, blackmail, death, depression, one night stands all await you as you become privy to the lives of those living inside and out of Bittersweet House. Will their drama have any chance of including love, redemption and hope? It's all here waiting for you! Spend a quiet weekend getting to know the Barren Babes... Let me know if you agree that Lucci should play the lead character--wonder what "she" would do when her husband betrayed their marriage!

Book received via
Personal Loan


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Exciting Suspense Novel Spotlights Internet Dark Side...

Afraid of the 


By James Grippando

If you enjoy deep, heavy, complex suspense, this is the book for you! Not only are you caught in the chase of "who," you are watching as the "why" is also explored--is it terrorism? Pornography? Pedophilia? How about a little of all of it, plus murder! Indeed readers will try to follow the threads as the why's are revealed, but none of the tension or drama lets up until the very end!

It all started when Vince Paulo was helping out his friend, Chuck Mays. He was helping him keep his daughter McKenna safe from electronic predators by electronically watching her! However, when he saw the message she had sent, it was just a little later than it needed to be. By the time he had reached McKenna's home, she was seriously injured and then died. By the time Vince left her home, a bomb had gone off and Vince was blinded!

Afraid of the Dark (Jack Swyteck)Jack Swyteck was asked to represent a man being held at Guantanamo. He was doing it only to support his friend Neil. When they arrive, Jack started to talk to him and for the first time after years of his being there, the man started talking. Getting him released was only the first step...

As soon as he was back in the United States, he was arrested for the murder of Mays' daughter, McKenna. His name was really Jamal and he had been McKenna's lover.

Since Jamal had come to trust Jack, he was asked to defend him once again. Learning that prior to his being taken to Guantanamo, Jamal had been in an interrogation prison, he thought, in Prague, Jack was convinced some type of government cover up was going on. After all, they must have known who Jamal was while he was imprisoned and perhaps even had held and tortured him before then. Jack learned that Jamal was related to a known terrorist though he had lived with his mother for years, without contact.

But there was one thing--while waiting for help for McKenna, knowing that she might not make it, Vince Paulo had questioned her about who had done it. He taped her response, naming Jamal, her first...

No matter how everything was considered, all of the pieces just didn't add up. Then Jack, Vince, and Chuck Mays came together, willing to share information. But anybody who knew something was soon killed. Or threats against family were made.

While the title refers to the individual who used the phrase, "Afraid of the Dark," Grippando has actually spotlighted the dark side of Internet use. We all know that we never really know with whom we are talking. We also know that our identity can be stolen. And we faithfully purchase all the protection software that supposedly keeps us safe... How foolish we can be...

This is not a book you fall in love with...but it was excellent in so many other ways! Highly recommended.

Book Received from
Amazon Vine


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Savage Provides Stories From Many

Volchev's Story Made It to
Broadway - Freedom!


and Other Stories

By W. Jack Savage

In a collection, readers are provided an opportunity to watch the diversity of interests of the author and, hopefully, find stories that merge with our personal interests. Indeed, W. Jack Savage in Bumping presents 12 tales that are so uniquely different, readers are bound to find at least one that especially speaks to them. For me, that story was "Andrew." This is a special love story that spoke to me in many ways...

Bumping and Other Stories
Andrew had been fired. Not because of his qualifications, but because he did not add to "the positive harmony" of the office. Something had happened to Andrew that had changed him, made him withdraw and not participate in social activities. He was quiet, brooding...

Trying to find another job proved difficult so he started to hire out for day labor. But the salary he was able to get was far less than he needed to pay his rent.

Finally, he and several others started to work for a woman in her yard. After he was given general instructions, he proceeded to work on the area he had been assigned. However, the woman stopped and questioned what he was doing. For he had done nothing but move rocks!

His response led her to hire him only to complete the work she needed... I loved their story...


Let me also tell you a little about "Ellie is Here 2." With its surprise ending, this easily was one that also won favor. Ellie met Gary online, both needing someone to share with and little by little a friendship had developed via messenger and email.

But then Ellie disappeared. Gary searched in as many ways as he could to find her, sending ongoing emails. Gary knew something was wrong, something had happened to Ellie. He started to search newspapers...the obits...


A strange drama, "Beginnings," also completely captured me. It's a love story in a way, but...strange...perhaps "quiet" sexual escapades could clarify... No, I think you just have to read it...


And then there is the title story, "Bumping" which is a story about a man who is slowly losing himself to Alzheimer and is on his way to end his life when he bumped into a woman...

Savage's book also includes war stories, an armed robbery, a woman who lost her family power...a prisoner of war that is freed by much offered! There's joy, laughter, sadness and suspense to be found! Don't have much time to read...take this book with you and enjoy a short story while having lunch, on a work break, or even sitting in slow traffic! Intriguing tales to give you a break of enjoyment!

Book Received
from author


Monday, May 23, 2011

Historical Biography of by Ruth Plimpton Best I've Read!
Mary Dyer:
Biography of a
Rebel Quaker

By Ruth Plimpton

Review of 2011 Edition

I would imagine that anybody reading this will recognize the name Joan of Arc, but do you know the name of Mary Dyer? Perhaps the Catholic Church has a better publicist than other Christian sects (LOL), else we should surely know more about what happened to Mary Dyer and others who lived in the early 1600s as early settlers in America...

Where Mary Dyer, the only woman, and other men were also murdered--hanged--because of their beliefs...

Most of us know that freedom of religion was a major issue in America's founding principles. We do not, however, know the level of intolerance and the hatred that was placed on many individuals during that time. In fact, it is a sad commentary that intolerance of our beliefs has been and continues to be a major issue in our world...

I, for one, was totally appalled by what happened during the early years in America. On the other hand, reading these historical facts was spiritually enriching to me. Ruth Plimpton has created one of the best historically significant books I've had the honor to read.

It is fascinating to consider that many "left England with their own unshakable beliefs and, once in New England, created laws to get rid of anyone who did not conform with their religious interpretations." (p. 11)

Mary and her husband William were just one couple who traveled to America. For Mary, especially, there was a personal spiritual journey that led her ultimately to leave her husband's presence (although still married) and travel to learn more about what she believed. Ultimately, she became a Quaker and it was her faith that led her to accept death rather than to reject what she had grown to believe.

While William never did become a Quaker, he never stopped loving Mary. He also fought his own battle against the prejudice that was routinely leading to whippings, banishment, and even death. Against the background of religious upheaval, we find that much of New England was being expanded to the South and new communities were springing up either with support and charter by England or, initially, by sale of land to the settlers by the Indians.

The main area of intolerance was located in Boston where Puritan law had been firmly established and based entirely on the Old Testament, "as interpreted by the magistrates and ministers of the colony." All civil law derived from the church. One of the better known men who questioned what was happening was Roger Williams when he refused to take an oath of loyalty to the Colony.

It was the women of the colony who first began what was to lead to the first major division. Mary Dyer had a friend by the name of Anne Hutchinson. Of course, much was denied women at that time, so while doing the duties that were considered "women's work"; i.e., to fetch water, "bucket by bucket, day after day" the spring became a natural meeting place for them to talk. Many times, the discussion centered on what they had been most recently taught in church.

But then Anne Hutchinson opened her home for more indepth discussions. Soon those discussions were drawing women from all surrounding areas...and men began to attend! Those who had attended these gatherings were sharing a religion based upon "salvation by grace"  and the inspirational messages were of "love, joy, and service to mankind found in the New Testament. (p. 39)

Soon, it was this group that were under attack...Many packed up and left and moved into what is now Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Reading about their living with the Indians, as well as watching a new land being developed is exciting as well as informative. The book is well written, with many relevant pictures and supporting references. 

Historians...this is a must-read for you. For believers of all faiths, there is a lesson to be learned from Mary Dyer and others who died so that we might today have the freedom to express our own beliefs. A truly important addition to America's historical documentation!

Book Received
from Publisher

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Near Death Experience Led to Writing/Publishing Career...and More!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...                                                             Image via Wikipedia

Had The Choice 
Been Mine
Permission granted to republish by author

A true story by
Bettie Corbin Tucker

I was twelve years old, and near death, when I looked into the face of Christ.

No one, other than our Lord, who "chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong,” would have chosen someone like Bettie Corbin from Morgantown, West Virginia for such an incredible experience.

Here was no Elijah or Saul—just a skinny blond kid whose teeth seemed a bit too big for her mouth and whose stockings insisted on creeping down inside her shoes. Dad, a coke-oven mechanic, and Mom, a former schoolteacher, both called me "mischievous" but Jane, my older sister thought "public nuisance" was more accurate. I made average grades; hated school, sports, sweet potatoes, and neatness. I was a normal child, spoiled and demanding; careless of anything but my needs, my desires. 

If I ever thought of God, it was when I wanted something. He was rather like my Dad, but less accessible, or as easily manipulated.

I was in the seventh grade at Sabraton Junior High School when illness came into my life. At first the intruder appeared to be quite innocent—just a simple cold, but then this exploded into a vicious raging infection. I battled this enemy many years ago, but the memories are easily recalled . . .

Exhausted after vigorous basketball playing, our gym class of girls headed for the showers. My girlfriend Carolyn walked along beside me. "You OK?" she asked. "You look kinda funny."

"Just tired out," I replied. "I had that dumb cold and sore throat for so long that it took away all my zip."

Satisfied with my answer, Carolyn went on to something else, but later as I combed my hair in front of the locker-room mirror, I remembered her comments. There was something in my reflection that disturbed me. My eyes kept returning to the left side of my neck. Was it my imagination or was there a swollen place under my ear? I pressed my hand against the flesh and, sure enough, felt the outline of a lump. Probably nothing, I thought. Maybe just a swollen gland.

When Mom and Dad checked my neck that evening, they seemed to agree with my diagnosis.

"Does it hurt?" Mom asked.

"No," I answered. "If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't even know it's there."

Mom looked toward Dad; then spoke matter-of-factly. "Just to be on the safe side, I'll call Dr. Strawn tomorrow and set up an appointment."

"Good idea," agreed Dad. "No use in taking any chances." With a wry smile he added, "I know how much you'll hate missing school, Betz."

My own wide grin was the only response he needed.

Much to our surprise, Dr. Strawn put me in the hospital so that a biopsy of the lump could be done. The suspect, cancer, was found "not guilty" and the problem was diagnosed as an infection of the lymph nodes. Everyone seemed relieved and happy when I went home with an antibiotic and my doctor's assurance that within a few days I'd be feeling like my old self.

He was wrong! In a few days I was sicker than ever. The infection continued to spread until my neck and face became so swollen that I couldn't lift my head from the pillow. I was weak, nauseous, and in pain. 

It was back to the hospital where a drainage tube was inserted below my ear and more tests were conducted. Specialists hovered over me, and I was forever getting pills and shots but, still, I grew worse. Soon my confidence and spunky attitude gave way to confusion and fear. What was wrong with me? Kids didn't stay sick this long!

During the next five months, I underwent surgery two additional times. Just when I seemed to be improving, the infection would strike again, becoming more invasive, involving more lymph nodes. How could I feel any worse? I wondered. The pain and high fever made me listless, unable to eat or get out of bed. Feeling betrayed by my own body and emotions, I leaned heavily on the strength and faith of my parents.

I remember one evening in particular when I was feeling very discouraged. I'd just come home from the hospital with a newer and larger drainage tube in my neck. Bandages covered the ugly incision, but nothing could cover up my pain and depression. Dad sensed my mood the moment he entered my room.

"Hi, Betz, How's my girl?" he asked.

"OK," I answered, managing a weak smile.

"OK," he echoed. "I hardly think so"

He sat down on my bed and covered my young smooth hand with his rough callused one."You have a right to be scared, Betz," he said. "You even have the right to cry." 

I swallowed hard. "I don't want to cry, but I'm just so tired of being sick."

Dad's voice was full of sympathy. "I know you are, Honey."

I looked straight ahead. "Am I going to die, Daddy?"

"Not for a long time," he replied. "God is our Healer, Betz, and He knows how much we want to keep you."

My response was a plea. "And I want to stay here with you. I don't want to die. Old people are supposed to die, not someone my age." I began to sob aloud. The release was good.

My next trip to the hospital was not planned. It was an emergency situation. The evening before, I had been home, feeling grateful that my previous operation had brought my infection under control. A whole month had gone by with no flare-up, so I was feeling hopeful, getting a little stronger. Maybe this was the turning point.

During the night I awakened to the sickening realization that my enemy had returned with unrestrained fury. Automatically, I lifted my hand and touched my neck. The rigid swollen tissue was sore, and the radiating pain made me feel nauseous. I knew that I was worse—much worse than I'd ever been. The room appeared to be spinning around me, but somehow I got out of bed and stumbled into the hallway. I believe I called out to my parents before collapsing to the floor.

I was rushed to the hospital and prepared for immediate surgery. Dr. Strawn was not optimistic. The massive glandular infection was out of control.

I remember being vaguely aware of the anesthesiologist placing the mask over my face. Then a journey began which at first was not a pleasant one. A sensation of helplessness engulfed me as a powerful force spun my body horizontally through a long dark tunnel. A roaring buzzing sound was emitted by the propelling pressure of this force. I had no control over my body and it frightened me. I began to scream and saw my screams bounce off the darkness as jagged flashes of green lightning. I began struggling for my breath. The screaming had to stop; it was a waste of precious air. I tried to close my mouth, but the shrieking sounds continued.

My body spun faster, my screams grew louder, and the lightning flashed brighter. The pressure was unbearable, and I thought my insides would burst from the strain. There wasn't another breath left within me when I called out to God. "Help me, please, help me."

Suddenly everything stopped. My body hung motionless; the darkness was stripped of all sound. I seemed suspended in "nothingness."

Then something stirred within me. My "body" responded to this awakening with a surge of strength that enabled me to pull myself upright.

I stood in a void, turning around several times before I noticed a faint ray of light interrupting the darkness from a distance. As I took a few steps forward, the light grew brighter and brighter; it became a magnet pulling me toward its source. I did not resist because the light was beautiful and somehow (I don't know how) radiated feelings of trust, warmth and love.

I was drawn outside the darkness into the center of this dazzling energy where I basked in what I can only describe as a stream of glory. How wonderful I felt! My body was actually absorbing the brilliance of this holy light, which seemed to be alive and filling me with love and peace. At the same time, a Presence was stripping me of all pretenses; I stood "naked" in the Light of Truth.

Realizing the source of this radiance came from above, I wanted to look upward, but a feeling of unworthiness and a tinge of fear stopped me. What or Whom would I see? Someone was looking down on me, perhaps judging me, even now. What choice do I hav , I thought. I can't stand here forever. Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes and raised my head. Very slowly I opened my eyes, trying to prepare myself for whatever I might see.

At first my vision was blurred, but gradually, as it cleared, I was looking into the most compelling eyes I'd
ever seen. Shining forth from those eyes was an all-consuming love. Then I saw the face. Immediately, by some spiritual process, I recognized it as the face of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

This vision occurred many years ago, but my heart still races with excitement as I recall that supernatural moment. The face of Jesus reflected everything that is eternal and good. Strength, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, forgiveness, and love poured from that face, saturating me with a peace and joy beyond all comprehension.

And because I was exposed to His perfection, my own understanding became Christ-like. I seemed to know the answer to every question that I had asked or would ask. I finally understood my existence—why I had been born and why I had to die. God had created me in His own image, but I hadn't been "finished "until now. Christ was my completion. The King of Kings had shed His blood for me, a silly kid from West Virginia. My heart was overflowing with love and gratitude.

Jesus’ eyes were all-knowing magnetic pools of Power and Truth, reflecting all colors. Love, however, was His most distinguishing feature. It could be seen, felt and absorbed. Jesus was and is love.

Inwardly I applauded Him, and I could hear myself singing in a voice that was mine, yet very different. Gone was all pain, fear, stress and worry! No longer did I have to seek the acceptance of others. No longer did I need the reassurance that I was loved! My every child-like need had been met by Jesus!

I was so happy. Though I believed myself to be physically dead, my spirit was bubbling over with life. Death was my beginning; not my ending! I loved my family, but I loved Jesus more. My family loved me, but their love could not compare with His love. I knew everyone would miss me, but someday they would understand this wonderful completion that I was experiencing.

Lifting my hands, I reached toward Jesus, eager to be received by Him. Yes, Had The Choice Been Mine, I would be with the King right now. I expected the Light to draw me closer and closer until there was nothing separating us. However, my choice was not Jesus' choice. Our Savior looked at me intently, His eyes searching, probing. He finally spoke, and although His expression was tender, His voice was commanding, "You must go back, Bettie! It isn't time."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing—Jesus was sending me back. "No," I cried out. "Oh, please no; I want to stay with you!"

There was no response and so, helplessly, I stood there watching Christ disappear into eternity. The light, too, began to lose its brilliance. Reluctantly, I returned to the tunnel and began my journey back into life...

Postscript from the Author

The doctors were so convinced that I would not be able to survive a similar outbreak that they referred me to a surgeon for additional and extensive surgery. Inwardly, I knew that whatever had been wrong with me could not have survived the radiance of that Light. I told my parents, "The Light burned it out of me." They took me to several specialists, and all agreed that I had to have an additional operation. But I knew they were wrong—that I hadn't been sent back to be sick. Anyway, the bottom line is that while my parents and doctors were deciding what to do in regard to surgery, the inflection left without a trace. No one could explain why. But I knew!

The Children's Rhyming Bible

The Stepping Stone Book: Bible Stories in RhymeNote: Bettie E. Tucker is presently working on the third edition of her Bible which will revert to the original title, The Children's Rhyming Bible scheduled to be out next year.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Father's Love Letter - A Wonderful Poetic Blending of Words From Unknown Author

Children singing and playing music, illustrati...Image via Wikipedia

My Child,

You may not know Me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. 
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in My image. 
Genesis 1:27

In Me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28 

For you are My offspring. 
Acts 17:28 

I knew you even before you were conceived. 
Jeremiah 1:4-5 

I chose you when I planned creation. 
Ephesians 1:11-12 

You were not a mistake, 
for all your days are written in My book. 
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth 
and where you would live. 
Acts 17:26 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Psalm 139:14 

I knit you together in your mother's womb. 
Psalm 139:13 

And brought you forth on the day you were born. 
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented 
by those who don't know Me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, 
but am the complete expression of love. 
1 John 4:16 

And it is My desire to lavish My love on you. 
1 John 3:1 

Simply because you are My child 
and I am your Father. 
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. 
Matthew 7:11 

For I am the perfect father. 
Matthew 5:48 

Every good gift that you receive comes from My hand. 
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. 
Matthew 6:31-33 

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11 

Because I love you with an everlasting love. 
Jeremiah 31:3 

My thoughts toward you are countless 
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17 

I will never stop doing good to you. 
Jeremiah 32:40 

For you are My treasured possession. 
Exodus 19:5 

I desire to establish you
with all My heart and all My soul. 
Jeremiah 32:41 

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. 
Jeremiah 33:3 

If you seek Me with all your heart, 
you will find Me. 
Deuteronomy 4:29

Are you interested in Psalms
 and religious studies, too? 
Guide To Online
has information about 
great programs for you.*
Delight in me and I will give you 
the desires of your heart. 
Psalm 37:4 

For it is I who gave you those desires. 
Philippians 2:13 

I am able to do more for you 
than you could possibly imagine. 
Ephesians 3:20 

For I am your greatest encourager. 
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you 
in all your troubles. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

When you are brokenhearted, 
I am close to you. 
Psalm 34:18 

As a shepherd carries a lamb, 
I have carried you close to my heart. 
Isaiah 40:11 

One day I will wipe away 
every tear from your eyes. 
Revelation 21:3-4 

And I'll take away all the pain 
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4 

I am your Father, and I love you 
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23 

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. 
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. 
Hebrews 1:3 

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, 
not against you. 
Romans 8:31 

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 

His death was the ultimate expression 
of my love for you. 
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love. 
Romans 8:31-32 

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, 
you receive me. 
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you 
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party 
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7 

I have always been Father, 
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15 

Love, Your Father,
Almighty God

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Friday, May 20, 2011

OMG Lisa Greer Took Me Back To My 20s!

singing Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)Image via Wikipedia


By Lisa Greer

Way back, when I had just started working and could buy as many books as I wanted, I would visit a used bookstore and immediately go to the gothic romance/suspense section. Most of the books were old and had been read by many. I would take them by shelves, loading up bags of them and then bringing them back to start on another shelf! Well, Lisa Greer, in Magnolian, took me back to those wonderful gothic stories--romance with big old houses, lots of family members and inhouse servants--and ghosts. And, of course, a mystery to solve in the suspense novels. So, of course, I read Magnolian through in one sitting, stopping only to sleep a few hours and get back to it. It was almost comforting to curl up and once again enjoy the "flavor" of a gothic... I don't think I can describe that flavor--you just feel and know it!

Thank you Lisa Greer for giving me the opportunity to read my favorite genre! I certainly didn't realize that gothic was still alive and well! Only one thing was different and so cool...Lisa's book is as up-to-date as Twitter and Facebook and even refers to our current president! In fact, the ghost looks a little like him!

Magnolian (BookStrand Publishing Romance)Lillian Mullins was devastated by her father's illness and early death. She had lost her mother when she was very young and losing her father left her alone, living in Pittsburgh. She had dropped out of college to spend as much time as possible with him, but two things happened  almost immediately.

She met Donovan at her father's funeral; both had been earlier interested, but had never had a chance to pursue a relationship so they began to see each other.

However, she also heard from her grandmother who invited her to her family's home. Even though she had just gotten to know Donovan, she felt she needed to get away, and also spend time with her remaining family. It had been years since she had spent time at Magnolian...

Seeing her grandmother again was wonderful, though her aunt was not too friendly and her first impression of an older cousin was not impressive. Two servants remained from her past visits. And then there was Will, her third cousin... Let's just say that Lillian, who he promptly started calling Lily, immediately started to fight her attraction to him...

As she was shown to her room the first night, she saw that a portrait of her mother had been added to the wall. It looked to be of a time when she was still living there at Magnolian, perhaps in her late teens. It was later as she was exploring the grounds that she first heard the singing. His voice sounded like a nightingale, haunting, sad. And then Lillian found her mother's journal and learned that she had been in love long before she had met her father. His name was Samson and he had been Percy's son. Percy was one of the servants still living with the family. But Samson had disappeared nearly 20 years before.

Now he was back and he came whenever Lillian was alone, even to her bedroom...

Lillian was not afraid, although she had never believed in ghosts...but she knew that Samson undoubtedly came because she looked so much like her mother. She realized that Samson was still at Magnolian and must be found. But her efforts brought attacks on her own life! Somebody didn't want Lillian digging into the past and, especially, trying to find out about Samson...

Greer adds a delightful emphasis on the nightingale through excerpts from works of earlier writers at the beginning of each chapter. Readers quickly enter the heartbreaking tale of a love that would not be accepted by any others. We, too, sense Samson's song as he roams Magnolian, singing, waiting...year after year...

Needless to say, I loved Magnolian. It is a classical gothic drama that meets today's world in just the right ways; i.e., without the loss of that "flavor." And this was one whodunit I didn't! Are there any other gothic romance/suspense lovers out there? Make this a must-read!

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

BRH To Nominate Kevin Kierstead For Onion Vacancy...

Ozzy OsbourneImage via Wikipedia
The Unbitten Onion

Kevin A Kierstead

No, I had never heard of The Onion before reading The Unbitten Onion. For those of you who have and enjoy reading it, I recommend you consider Kevin A. Kierstead's collection of 34 "news stories!"

Ranging in content from politics to life stories, Kierstead provides readers with his unique humorous thoughts on such matters as one bored cop who arrests himself to Ozzy claiming violins are gay...

Now, according to the latest World News from the Onion:
Nation Down To Last Hundred Grown-Ups
'Mature Adults Could Be Gone Within 50 Years,' Experts Say
MAY 19, 2011 | ISSUE 47•20
I want to firmly state, without doubt, I am one of those mature adults! And I will be gone within 50 years...

The Unbitten OnionOf course, I didn't have to take such a bold position regarding some of Kierstead's news:

  • I am not prejudiced and just don't care whether violins are gay or not...
  • Personally, I feel the bored cop performed his job responsibilities quite admirably.
On other stories, I will offer the following comments:
  • No, I didn't see the late Pope at Denny's, but I do go there for great breakfasts and know that any Pope would be pleased with his breakfast if he chose Denny's over some other restaurants which I will not name...
  • I applaud the dead person who refused to speak at her funeral. She was probably relieved to finally be away from a husband who would demand she do so.
  • For the worker who was 7 minutes late and threatened with police action--better start keeping a CYA file and be prepared for what some companies do to workers these days...
  • Gallagher's going after his audience with a Sledge-o-matic didn't surprise me--that man is crazy!
  • Pearl Harbor was an accident? We should forgive and forget then, now that we know the truth.
  • The 81-year-old woman who agrees her place is in her home is undoubtedly one of those immature individuals identified by the Onion who will live long and prosper...
  • Regarding the family whose monopoly game is still going after six years--May you all get "go to jail" cards and never be able to leave...
  • All political news provided, although potentially news worthy, is being ignored on penalty of potential lawsuits and premature death (I need to live as many of those 50 years as is possible; the world needs me.

Humor lovers-- this collection of news starts back in 2003. If you know there were things you missed during those years, you just might want to read The Unbitten Onion for Keirstead's take on many important topics from your past...

Frankly, his articles are so well written, I am amazed that he's not reporting live from The Onion--maybe a column, Kevin's Korner...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yarn Spinner Extraordinaire Pens Wonderful Memorable Tale...

Mr. A. & Children, RuidosaImage by Smithsonian Institution via Flickr

Where the Wild
Rose Grows

By Penny Fletcher

I really loved this story... It spoke to me in many ways, not the least of which was Ms. Fletcher's writing. It began in 1960. Funny, for me, that doesn't seem long ago and, what was striking was that it opened into a scene that, perhaps, really would have more naturally occurred one hundred years before that...

John Elk was in the midst of a healing. The white woman had been brought because the white man's medicine was not strong enough. John Elk had no problem in using his gift from the Great Spirit for all... But in the midst of that activity, another was started. Two white men rode into the camp--to kill, to steal, and to seek babies they could later sell. Wild Rose was one of those children. She was four when taken--this is her story.

Where the Wild Rose GrowsBy 1968, Priscilla (Cilla) was living with a woman she considered her stepmother, along with her two children. Like Cinderella, as the oldest, Cilla was made to do most of the work and care for the two little girls. But Cilla had grown to love them as sisters and had even begun to steal in order to ensure the little girls had something to eat.

Rayline was an alcoholic who worked in bars and then later partied there. While the children slept on a bare mattress in a corner of a kitchen, Rayline would share her bed with the latest man she met. Sometimes her ex-husband, who had first stolen Cilla and brought her there, would come to visit. If a man was already there, he would sleep on the couch. He was the father of the two little girls and was grateful for Cilla's care. But he would soon leave to continue his life of thievery.

Cilla was in school, but her mother had made it quite clear that Cilla was never to tell anybody about where and how it was at home. No friends were ever to be invited. Fortunately, they did have a television and old reruns of shows with Donna Reed and other home-related stories allowed her to learn how "some" families lived. Cilla was also lucky that their school provided two meals and some of that food and what she could steal from the lunch bags of other children was oftentime only what was provided to her sisters.

Cilla was intelligent and had learned of Robin Hood so she knew it was alright to steal from the rich and give to the poor--so she chose only the lunches of those children she knew had rich parents...

Cilla was also a special little girl. Since she had been stolen, she had had guardians who came to her in her dreams to guide her and teach her of the ways of her ancestors. While she had not realized she was "not" white as a younger girl, she began to notice and understand more as she got older.

But as Cilla grew older, she had learned from her mother that smoking took away the desire for food, so she started to steal cigarettes. That plus other issues began to have a concerned teacher quietly monitoring what Cilla was doing. When Cilla had to stay later, for instance, she would watch as she left, lit a cigarette and hitched a ride home. One day she started asking Cilla questions and soon Welfare officials were involved.
The children were taken from Rayline, but when they tried to place her, no birth certificate could be provided and no research resulted in who Cilla really was. For Cilla's name was really "Wild Rose." And everything had been arranged by her guardians to bring her home!

The climatic conclusion of this story is soooo satisfyingly wonderful. It might have been Penny Fletcher's imagination that wrote this, but the story readers will actually see the workings of the Great Spirit as He might have done it through his own activities! A thoroughly enjoyable and heartwarming story that is truly memorable!

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