Monday, May 30, 2016

We Will Never Forget...Memorial Day, 2016... Guy Graybill Shares One Story...

Battlefield Reunion
(Gettysburg, 1913)

Here we meet, don't you know? Comrades, now without foe.
Here we camp and recall battle scenes.
Now we sit by our tents, to compare past events,
As we feast on a soup made with beans.

Here we laugh and we sing while we have us a fling,
For tonight we will not have a care.
Yes, the kettles will steam and old comrades will beam,
While the mem'ries of combat we share.

So, we mingle, with pride and take again in stride.
Soon our spirits are fully restored.
Of our nation we brag and salute us a flag.
Then we pause to give thanks to the Lord.

But, I voice my dismay at the closing of day,
As we rest under moon's gentle light:
Should we not shed a tear for dead comrades, so dear,
Who still haunt our old campground each night?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Killarney Sheffield Presents a Romantic Suspense Apocalypse Winner....

Scanning the crowd I move on. Maybe something exciting will happen today, though by the expressionless faces it doesn’t appear likely. This day is different, but the routine is the same, lines of girls like me, boarding the subway to return home from the education centre. It is the same pattern followed every day six since I was called up to the centre on my twelfth birthday, seven years prior. It is the way of things here, we live at the school and return home for one day each week to share with family, all the teens from the hubs have to do it. The routine is so mundane and boring. Just once I would like to scream, just to see something different, to make people smile, look, jump, anything to liven the place up. However it’s been drilled into my head and everyone else’s, don’t cause a commotion, don’t drift from the norm, be invisible... just another face in the numbered crowd. That familiar feeling of resistance rises in me, making my fingers clench at my sides. No, resist temptation; there will be time for free expression when you reach the dorm.
My friend Danika catches my eye with a brief smile before she looks away. Excitement tingles, raising the hair on my arms as we exit the tunnel and head above ground. No, there’s nothing new to see here. Even so I can’t help but examine the concrete passageway. Grey walls as far as the eye can see, flat, smooth and non-descript, guiding me home to my family’s dorm. 
Home is usually only a one day respite from the cold, stale environment of the routine of school, but not this time and that is what is fueling my steps and everyone’s excitement today. This day marks the graduation ceremony and with it all the eighteen year old’s assignments in the city. I look forward to it, as much as anyone can look forward to having the rest of their life assigned to them without a say, I suppose. Still, since very little different ever happens here it is a most welcome breather from the norm.

The Emperor’s Concubine

Sometimes I wonder if the apocalypse really happened or has the world always been as it is...

By Killarney Sheffield

I've always wondered why the apocalypse has been used for so many books or movies. It's never been something I dwell on for any great time. However, I've read quite a few books. One thing I've found is that, though many have some similar basic concepts, such as "under a dome," there hasn't been one actual story that wasn't different enough to make it a satisfactory story... Note that I'll soon provide a review of the latest one I've read that may just be a lot more accurate than other ideas...

Killarney Sheffield's book is the first I've read in the romance genre, but it was far better than I had imagined from looking at the beautiful young girl on the cover. So don't be fooled by the cover into thinking this is totally chick lit. It is romantic suspense that will keep you totally involved in the story that has minimal actual sexual activity involved... I enjoyed it tremendously...

My parents hold to the belief
 the land is much the same as
 before the destruction of the planet.
 Are they right?
 According to the Emperor and his
all was decimated except for the
 city of Imram,
where we all live now.
In the city there is only concrete
 and food genetically engineered
 and grown in giant warehouses.
 The possibility of the old world
 is always in the back of my head.
 Thankfully the Emperor hasn’t
figured out how to read citizens
 minds yet, or I’m sure many
 of us would be convicted...
Ocean is beautiful, but she is also very intelligent, and has dreams of living a different life than that she has lived since very young--almost too long to remember much, but enough to sense like.

Of course, her parents were once free, but they were included in being taken to a new concrete city after great problems on earth, many calling it the apocalypse... Her parents have shared what they remember and there are always others from whom scraps of information come from.

Ocean is in love with a young man but all that changes...all teenagers reaching their 18th year and graduating from school will receive a job assignment for the future by the Emperor...

But there are terrible secrets hidden from those who are the elites class as opposed to those who live in the hubs, where Ocean and her  family reside. And to resolve the problems the Emperor has decreed that a number of young girls will be selected to become concubines for those men in the elite class. Not only was this devastating for Ocean but her two best friends were taken into the service of the king, which thankfully served to keep them together.

My musing is interrupted by the Emperor’s stiff monotone, “Citizens of Imram, we are facing a crisis of gigantic proportions. As you know many of our elite succumbed to the effects of the disaster that made us rebuild our civilization. We are now faced with dwindling numbers to re-populate those who’s valuable input controls and governs our great city. Within a few short years we will simply cease to be without new blood to infuse into the population. I have therefore issued a degree that when put in place will insure the survival of those most deserving of our people. Every girl who has reached majority age since the beginning of the year, and was never touched with the black sickness, will be re located to a special facility within the week where they will be used to ensure our continued survival. You will receive further instructions tomorrow and be assigned a travel tag. All boys who have reached their majority will be taken to the trade assignment facility as expected. Anyone who tries to avoid their duty will be executed.” The emperor smiles into the camera as if he has just blessed us with a wonderful gift and then it fades to static. Terror renders me silent as I try to digest everything I’ve just heard. I’ve reached my majority as of today. ‘Used to ensure our continued survival’... Used... how? It takes me a moment before I realize I am staring at Sol. The silence stretches between us like a force field until it is broken by a howl of despair issued from my mother’s lips...

It was during this time that the teens began to realize that all of the different non-white races were being separated out. Only Danica, who was part white, and Ocean's best friend was saved and, through some behind-the-scene actions was named to be personal maid to Ocean.

Yes, behind the scenes, many were fighting to get away from this place, to be out of the tyranny of the Emperor and small things could be arranged occasionally. Even Sol, her boyfriend, was ultimately named as her personal guard...

After she had passed all the tests and been named to become the concubine to the Emperor himself...

And Ocean only knew one thing... she had to be free...

It is in the gritty details of how the people lived that Sheffield's book succeeds. She takes readers first into her and her family's own life where they live in a very small concrete hub, along with many others. They are fed by "type of individual" and apparently just the right amount of food it will take to keep a man, woman, child or teen alive and healthy... which wasn't very much... Then they must wash and return all the vessels to be reused...

For Ocean and the others who were taken into the Emperor's quarters, the luxury, food and drink, etc., was startling and they are all completely, newly dressed in all white least until it is determined that they didn't deserve wearing white...

Sol and Ocean take the risk of continuing their relationship, meeting on a rooftop as they had done back at the hub and were able to support each other in facing what was happening...

“Being an enforcer gives you perks. Like being able to raid the emperor’s garden without anyone thinking you are doing anything but gathering flowers for the Empress.” 
With a grin he picks up the guitar at his feet and strums a few bars before launching into a soft love song. 

“What’s the sound that you will make forever
 Less or more if all would cry for you 
Underneath the twilight moon in leather 
or in a song with loving eyes on you 
If you told them everything tonight 
If you found the words for sadness
Would it make you anything the better
Is there anything that it would do 
And we’re going to tell your story forever 
And we’re going to sing this song for you 
No one really wants to live forever 
The flowers on the counter are for you 
So you picked the moment to remember 
a thousand eyes and twenty colored lights 
You disappeared into the circle too 
then you stopped and smiled but no one knew 
And we’re going to tell your story forever 
And we’re going to sing your song for you
 No one really wants to live forever 
The flowers all along the wall are for you... 

Forgive me, but my concern for today's teenagers stolen into sex slavery, came often to my mind, as we learn how the girls were to be treated by their new "owners..." I don't know whether this was intended by the author, but she's certainly done a fantastic job in exploring the before and after of what life can be...after the apocalypse... and who knows? Maybe we all go through our own apocalypse some day...

Highly recommended!


Award winning, multi-published Canadian prairie author of 18 titles. Mother, rancher, horse professional. RONE award finalist, Epic award finalist, P&E Award winner, The Great Romance Contest runner up. I don't blog. Why? I'd rather talk WITH my readers than AT them! 
FACEBOOK Group: Killarney's Kozy Book Korner
TWITTER: @authorkillarney

Thursday, May 26, 2016

This is Why I Reserve "1's" in 1-5 Rankings...The Ones So Bad I Can't Stand Reading!

Anybody who reads my blog a few times, soon learns that Cats Reign Supreme in my life... especially my own...

Soooooo, I have a habit of automatically assuming that a book with a cat on the front cover is going to interest me...I now have learned differently. Actually, I have no idea what the story line is...the writing was so bad, even though I tried several times to proceed, that my mind just refused to acknowledge this in comparison to all the great books that I've consumed...

Daytime usually meant another day of life. The warm chill in the air went through every moving little being’s skin as they headed to their usual destinations while time went on. If anyone could be asked about their life then, they would share their own opinions whether it was negative or position. But still, nothing could change the concept of it, except death. 

Death was an opposite to the concept of life. While a new day meant another day of life, it can also be the day of death. Almost no one can predict their time to die, which was in the case of another day at the street of Melbrock. 

No one had expected a car accident to take place at the parkway street. The road itself was divided into two lanes, with the middle divided by trees long ago planted in a single line. Usually, such accidents were caused by minimal crashes, but the recent car accident was different and horrifying. The vehicle was upside down, with its body torn off, dented and scratched badly. Its state was less compared to a truck, which only had its hood dented as it stayed a distance away. Already people were gathered at the scene and stood behind a barricade tape. News reporters were present as well, but none of them were allowed through the tape. A few of the police officers stood at the tape to prevent civilians from getting through while the investigation was ongoing. Among these men in blue was the man in charge, the chief of the police department. Already, he had his eyes on the tumbled car while making sure his body didn’t touch.

My apologies to this Black Sheba... she tried to tell me with her eyes--do I look like a "cute" cat?!!! This is a cute cat...I am not! But after she said that, she admitted that since I already had her picture in my files, that she knew why I wanted to check it out...

The name on the book, Shane Ross, on the Amazon site says he is the Editor... Interestingly, there is no biographical information along with the book, nor, when I found the reference, did I find anything on him since the site had been suspended... Also interestingly I found a man on LinkedIn with this name and title...but nothing on this book...Identity Theft??? I wondered...

In any event, I immediately started to think about the rule of making every word move the book forward... Aside from the grammatical and spelling errors, there was a consistent use of entire phrases that needed to be deleted to tighten the narrative, even though it already is a short book.

No one seemed to pay attention to the tree. But even if anyone did, none of the people would be bothered much of the occupants on it. Their presence didn’t add anything to the accident - at least that’s what they would think. It wasn’t everyday people saw three cats sitting in a tree, observing the scene from a clear position. The top view from the tree gave clear sight to the scene. While many people were gathered to see the scene of the crime, the cats comfortably sat on the branches, watching the whole thing from where they sat...

His companions were both female mixed breed and sat on a branch a bit higher than his. Unlike the male, both cats laid on the branch in their own way. One sat with her legs dangling at the sides while the other stayed with her legs curled to her. One of them being a cat with black and white fur licked her paw as a yawn later followed. The way she put her head down was enough to express her boredom...
“How long are we going to wait for him?” She asked. While she was clearly a female, she was a mixed breed cat. Her fur was a mix of white and black. The parts purely white were her nose and lips, stomach, paws and the tip of her tail.
“Yeah.” Another bored-faced female cat agreed. “We’ve been waiting for her for some time now, Charles.” She said. Being a mixed breed also meant she had characteristics almost similar to her friend. Though she wasn’t close to the same breed as her, she had dark green fur combined with white far that covered almost all of her body. The only exception was her face, neck, paws and her tail...

“I don’t know.” He told them firmly. “You know how Toby is like. I swear that guy never…” 

“Oh there he goes again.” said the bicolour cat. “I know right.” 

The other feline snickered. “Why does he always have to be a stick in the mud sometimes?”

Of course, the rule "show don't tell" was prevalent... Ok, again aside from the writing issues, let's talk about cats in a mystery. According to everything I found on the Amazon site, this book is supposed to be unique...NOT! Anybody who writes a cat mystery "should" be totally aware that there is an entire genre and so many thousands of this type of book, most of which I've read, that we all know about writing and talking about cats...Mixed Breed? For shame... Green far...Yikes! Cats in books are identified by name the description, we learn about her heritage, markings, etc., but if we really need to know how the colors look, we get a picture, otherwise, forget it...The descriptions are so involved that we lose sight of the story... P.S. my cats were selected purely because of the front cover cat and that the cats were in trees...LOL! I did not find any green cats...

You can tell the writer is not a cat lover...By the time you have introduced the cats, we should know each of their names, instead of trying to differentiate them by their color... or "the other cat"...

Can you understand why I was disgusted? Of course, any professional novel writer would immediately understand...And a cat mystery writer!?! They would faint from the five-star reviews this book has already got!

PLEASE if you don't trust my judgment on a cat mystery book, read the sample shown...If you don't mind the writing...go for it, but don't ever tell anybody I recommended it to you... Let's stop accepting books of this caliber...the only reason I wouldn't return it is because I needed to document what I found! I had no guilt giving this the rank it deserves...


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Carole P. Roman Uses Rhyming Words to Take Children on Rocket Ride!

Climb aboard to travel far,
soar above the trees

The moon glows brightly as we pass its smile
and head into the breeze.

We rise as if we ride a wave;
the air is still and clear.
We hold onto our rocket ship
but strangely feel no fear.

Carole Roman is always taking children somewhere and this time it's just for fun!

Well, we'll learn a little along the way but can't you just imagine having your own rocket ship - and saying Bye to earth for a little while?! I can! I've flown in an airplane but never all the way into space...I say, let's go!

Note that these pictures are substituted...and no where near as beautifully done as that Illustrated by Mateya Arkova.  Kudos for choosing brilliant colors to brighten our day and done in such a way that we seem to be flying! Way Cool! And Carole Roman has taken time to write lovely poetic rhymes that are swirled into the air as if the words are following us in the rocket! I loved this creative, all-together attention-getting storybook. Kids will too!


By Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by Mateya Arkova

Leaving earth below, the children first take in the milky way--is that where the candy bar is made, I wonder...* 

The Milky Way beckons us closer,
so we travel to its call.

Carole has created a round-the-world space trip with her fun, lively words like "romp past Venus" or "catch a glimpse of Mars's red glow."

She even tells us to dance a jig on somebody's tail and then wave at Leo the lion...Really, if I didn't have the illustrations to follow, I'd be totally lost finding my way!

Moving on to other planets is great and we even got to ride the rings of Saturn...

We ride the rings of Saturn,
on the rocket ship we share.

Because of the subject--learning about our heavens--this book is surely of interest to all children, but the pictures are aimed for the younger child who is excitedly playing with the rocket ship and then heading to bed when back home... This is a delightful book that promises to get your child involved with the pictures and later when he/she can read! My recommendation would be for the paperback to keep in your children's library or a ebook in color... Highly recommended to all!


Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born."Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life" has not only been named to Kirkus Best of 2012, it received the Star of Exceptional Merit, and won the Pinnacle Award for 2012. "Pepper Parrot's Problem with Patience" Book 2 in the series, received 5 Stars from The ForeWord Review The Clarion Review. Strangers on the High Seas has won second place in the Rebecca's Reads Choice Awards 2013. It has followed with six more books to the series. This year, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis was named to Kirkus Best 2015. The entire cultural non-fiction series If You Were Me and Lived in... was named Best Series by Shelf Unbound. She has begun work on two new series that will be released in early 2016.
Motivated by her love of yoga, Roman has written a book that not only teaches four poses, but shows how easy and accessible yoga can be. 
Her new non fiction series, "If You Were Me and Lived in..." combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. The debut book in the series, "If You Were Me and Lived in...Mexico" has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children's Non Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, and Norway. Rebecca's Reads has given If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway an honorable mention in the 2013 Choice Awards. If You Were Me and lived in ...France won second place. ForeWord Review has nominated If You Were Me and Lived in...France for best in children's non fiction literature 2013. They will be followed with Kenya, Turkey, India, and Australia. She plans to do Portugal, Greece, and Argentina next year.
Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.

*After thinking about the Milky Way candy bar and finding out more, I just had to include this...I have 6 little kittens here at home now and milk is being requested every morning as soon as I get up! LOL

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Frank Duveneck: The Greatest Brush Presented by James Ott

Villa Castellani, Bellosguardo - Frank Duveneck -
Villa Castellani - Residence

A Cincinnati Art Class - Kenton County Library
It is clear that the author, James Ott, has extensive experience and knowledge to write, but to create the biographical story of Frank Duveneck reveals, also, an extensive amount of research and knowledge of the art world, that has resulted in a magnificent, comprehensive book of this, for many, unknown artist. You will learn not only of the personal life of Duveneck, but also watch the evolution and the broad range of artistic work he successfully achieved...

But in telling the story, Ott has expanded into the lives of artists, such as John Singer Sargent, working at the same time and places where Frank Duveneck worked and lived, which included both Europe and America. There are many samples of the various forms he used and we also meet the Duveneck Boys, who he taught, prior to expanding also to teach women, especially a young woman he ultimately married. I've provided as many examples of his work to acquaint those who may not know him and feel sure you will be both as delighted and thrilled as I to have the opportunity to learn more intimately through Ott's book.

Note: This video is included for information and does represent endorsement of the company.

The Greatest Brush:
Love, Tragedy and Redemption of Artist

Frank Duveneck

By James Ott

portrait of Josephine in
wedding dress...

Italian Girl with Rake - Frank Duveneck -

There was an intriguing animosity by Henry James about his relationship to Frank's future wife with Duveneck and he wrote about it quite often. Still he was able to recognize that his wife was able to add guidance and support to Frank's career. For instance, she realized that Frank's would be better off if they went to Paris, and also in Florence. For instance, she realized that Frank's career would be better helped if they went to Paris, and also in Florence.  His work changed exhibiting "Golden light saturates the atmosphere of Duveneck's genre paintings..." 

The reality of that change certainly can be seen in comparing the portrait shown on the cover, Whistling Boy, versus Italian Girl With a Rake!"

I think I was most fascinated that he had been taught by the Benedictine monks and then used what he'd learned to create some of the most beautiful murals for churches across the country... One three-panel mural is located in Covington...

Three panels of Duveneck's Mural at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington

I learned much from this book, especially since I don't  have an extensive art appreciation background, but certainly formed my personal opinion that I preferred Duveneck's later works rather than the darker portraits he earlier produced. I was amazed at the amount of work he produced, especially for each individual painting! It is obvious just by viewing his work, his talent was great and broadly presented.

The book itself by James Ott is exceptionally done. The over 300 pages not only shares a narrative tale but there are ample samples of his work and/or information about other's involvement in his life, all of which is footnoted. There is also a brief bio on those individuals included in the book, such as for John Singer Sargent, who was the artist who placed the title "the greatest brush" of the generation, on Duveneck. In addition to a list of his resources, there is an appendix showing where his works can be found, owned by well as a complete chronological appendix showing the important dates of Frank's life. For instance, you can easily discover that he met Elizabeth Boott, marries in 1886, and then she dies in 1888.

Obviously this book is an excellent source itself for those interested in historical biographies, especially in the art world. But, readers who enjoy the genre will find this a totally comprehensive book that will pull you deeply into the artistic world of Frank Duveneck... Highly recommended...


The story of Frank's personal life was sad, especially given the artistic gifts he had to give the world.  First, Mr. Boott, his future father-in-law was not impressed when he met Duveneck,  though  and Frank seemed to have an interest in his daughter right from the beginning... "Papa" looked over the painter carefully as his daughter talked, his busy mind probing with the question: What kind of man is he? And he answered his own question quickly: He was an artist and looked every bit like one, from his loose attire and the paint on his hands. He was certainly different from them, dressed spiffily in current fashion... Indeed they might have been from different worlds, but that didn't stop their growing relationship. Yet two years after their marriage, Lizzie had a child and had died. In one way, this brought the two men that had both loved her more together and they mutually agreed that Frank would be unable to care for the baby... thus losing not only his loving wife and child, but having to move on to the locations he needed to be in order to work.