Monday, November 9, 2015

A Sudden Gust Of Gravity

Christina Davenport, waitressing to pay the bills, has given up on becoming a magician—until she meets the mesmerizing Reynaldo the Magnificent. He offers her a job as his assistant in his magic and juggling show. She takes it, hoping she can revive her dream without cutting his giant ego in half.

I chose to feature this book because I've always wanted to be the first to review a new book on the Amazon website. "Gravity" caught my attention as a potentially entertaining book, something I needed to read on a rainy and gloomy day.

In A Sudden Gust of Gravity the lives of Christina Davenport, Dev (Doctor Dae Soon), and Ralph (Reynaldo the Magnificent) intertwine while each becomes aware of and casts out individual demons. This is a multifaceted story with interesting and well-rounded main characters and even more interesting backstory characters. Laurie Boris has written a novel with a healthy balance of intrigue, conflict, relationships, and romance. Highly recommended. 

"When you play from your heart, all of a sudden there's no gravity. You don't feel the weight of the world, of bills, of anything. That's why people love it. Your so-called insurmountable problems disappear, and instead of problems you get possibility." - Carlos Santana

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of five novels: The Joke's on Me, Drawing Breath, Don't Tell Anyone, Sliding Past Vertical, and Playing Charlie Cool. When not hanging out with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, cooking, reading, and helping aspiring novelists as a contributing writer and editor for She lives in New York's lovely Hudson Valley.

* Follow Laurie on Facebook at

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Want To Publish a Short Story, Memoir, Essay? Here's some links!

This is an FYI for writer’s searching for publishing and contest opportunities for short stories, flash fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, and chapters of books. These links are literally the results of MONTHS of blood, sweat, and tears. Enjoy and Happy Submitting!

Empty Sink Publishing:

Under the Gum Tree:

Bewildering Stories:

Writer’s Relief (Don’t be fooled by this company. They want to find places for your work for a fee but there is plenty info here to submit on your own:


Beyond Your Blog:

Body Verses:

Joyland Magazine:

Talking Writing:

Beyond Your Blog: (I saved the best for last! This site is overflowing with markets!)

A HUGE thanks to Suzanne Fox, my Facebook friend, for suggesting a few of these.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ersula K. Leguin: A Beautiful Reward

Ersula K. Leguin's Acceptance Speech
The 2014 Medalist For Distinguished Contribution To American Letters 

“To the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks, from the heart. My family, my agents, my editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as my own, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who’ve been excluded from literature for so long – my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for 50 years have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists. 

                                                               Photograph: Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality. 

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship. 

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write. 

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words. 

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom." 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Romance Writer, Judy Baker: Beating The Odds

Judy Baker and I met at a writers conference in Orlando, Florida in October 2002. And we beat the odds that the keynote speaker quoted (source unknown). He said, "For everyone who wants to write a novel only 1% will. Of those, just 1% will complete a novel, and out of those who complete a novel only 1% will receive a contract from a (royalty) publisher." (Back then Kindle, Create Space, Smashwords, and Kobo, etc. didn't exist.) On the last afternoon of the conference, both Judy and I were given publishing contracts by Gardenia Press...and we were sitting side-by-side when the announcement was made!

After Judy's first novel, NO COMPARISON, was published she went on to publish 10 more books and she's still writing!

Judy Baker 

BETTER SHE DIE: With her half-breed son and her abdomen growing with child, returning to the white man's society is a struggle even with the Ranger's help.

BETTER SHE LIVE: A saloon woman, alone, unloved, yet, surrounded by love.

BETTER SHE LOVE: How can she compare the Comanche half-breed's kisses to the man she's going to marry, when he had only kissed her on the cheek?

(The boxed set is just 99 cents until the end of the month)

SECRET PAST: A grandmother's secret past leads to a Tommy gun, a rare gold coin, and love.

GHOST THUNDER: Single, alone, and pregnant she's haunted by the pain in the her ghost horse's eyes until she takes matters into her own hands.

SPIRIT CATCHER: Unexplained visions. An old Cherokee Indian. A dog. And human bones from the past. 


Get ready for the holidays with Santa romances! 
Click HERE for the boxed set of 3 of The Santa Series. 
This set is on Amazon's Best Selling Holiday List!

Judy's favorite holiday is Christmas. She loves the cold and snow but after Christmas she's ready for the heat of summer! I think there's a little heat in The Santa Series as well!

All of Judy and Anna Sugg's novels are available on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, & B&N 

Here we are holding each other's first book at Judy's home in Utah, 2003. Thank goodness for the smal Wisconsin publishing company, Gardenia Press, and Elizabeth Collins (Editor-in-Chief) for believing in us!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Arnie, the Darling Starling

I've never met a starling and from what most people tell me I should be happy about it. This book (by Margarete Sigl Corbo and Diane Marie Barras and illustrated by Leslie Morrill) caught my eye while I was searching for information on the fall migration of birds. Published in 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, this story brings together people, an endearing baby bird, and three cats. Since there are so many stories recently of dogs who are best friends with elephants and cats that snuggle with owls I knew I had to give this book a chance. It's a true story that is certain to charm and entertain.

Margarete, a live-alone grandmother set out one morning to weed her daisy patch. Before she pulled one weed, she found a tiny baby bird nestled beneath a daisy. She returned the baby to his nest in her rafters three times but each time he jumped out and landed at her feet with a thud. So she brought him inside and made him a nest of a cardboard box. She pondered what to feed him and decided he needed grain, protein, and fruit so she opened a can of creamed corn, minced a piece of raw steak, and poured orange juice into a dish. 

Margarete and Arnie

"Despite the fact that he must certainly be starving, he seemed more interested in making friends with the cats than in the feast I was offering." (Pg.9)

He ate finally, Margarete dropping one piece of meat and corn into his mouth at a time and then doling out drops of orange juice from an eyedropper. He ate and drank and ate and drank, blinked once then tucked his head into his shoulders, and fell asleep. He would live, but Margarete was determined to return him to the wild as soon as possible. 

When the bird was three months old he shouted his name, "Arnold!" That was his first sound. He'd never let out so much of a peep or a chirp, but he could talk.

"I had planned to set him free all along. I'd sheltered and nourished him with that goal in mind. Taught him to fly. Taught him to perch. Taught him to love, I think. And now, it seemed, taught him to talk. I imagined him flying from branch to branch, seeking the companionship of his own kind, calling after them, 'Arnold, Arnold, Arnold.' He'd be a freak, a certain misfit now. Some wild bird he'd turned out to be. Wild birds simply did not talk." (Pg. 51)

"Arnold had woven himself into my little family until he'd become the fabric of our daily lives. I should have realized that when the cats began to ignore him; they only ignored what they accepted as belonging among us. Trusting cats and humans as he did, he'd never survive in the wild. Besides, I had fallen in love with him. Despite all my resolve." (Pg. 52)

That's about when Arnold became, Arnie the Darling Starling. Arnie is full of life, laughter, and love. The book is completely irresistible and heartwarming for anyone who even remotely likes animals and birds. 

If you think I've told too much of the story, I haven't. This story delves deeper than an old woman making a pet of one of the most despised and unwelcome immigrants to the United States. Yes, it's about relationships, but it's also about history, ecology, and to my surprise--gun control. In chapter nine, Margarete remembers the day her husband came home from the Korean War. They had a dog then named Rex.

"Rex had a nose that would have made any bloodhound drool with envy. When my husband returned from the Korean War on a troop ship, Hanna (her daughter), Rex, and I went together to meet him. Thousands of men poured off the ships that day, and countless families were there waiting for them. The returning soldiers were one vast, khaki-colored sea topped by bobbing infantry caps. 'We'll never find him,' I said to Hanna. 'Yes we will,' she replied. 'Rex, find Daddy. Find Daddy and bring him here, Rexie.' The dog was off by a shot before I could say anything. 'Hanna, he was less than a year old when your father left for Korea,' I reminded her gently. 'That was two years ago. He'll never find Frank.' 'Yes he will, Mumma,' she stated adamantly. Less than ten minutes later Rex raced up to us, his tail wagging mightily, his paws dancing, his teeth clenched firmly about an infantry cap. And before I knew what was happening, I was locked in an embrace of my grinning, hatless husband. 'I see Rex hasn't forgotten any of his old tricks,' Frank said. 'He always welcomed me home by stealing my hat.'

"Rex died with a .22 bullet in his heart. It was the first bullet fired from the barrel of a rifle our twelve-year-old paper boy had receiver for his birthday. The boy had loved Rex, but no one had bothered to teach him enough about guns before turning him loose with one."

Arnie was so popular in the 80s that Margarete and Diane wrote a sequel, Arnie & a House Full of Company. It's next on my reading list. 

This isn't Arnie, but I think he probably sounded like this:

Okay, here's a little something extra--a little show and tell, well, mostly show, about unlikely animal friends. So much for "wild animals"!

Christian the Lion is a wonderful story about the relationship between tow men and their pet lion. Their overwhelmingly emotional reunion a year after that returned him to the wild in Africa is a YouTube video I have watched at least a zillion times...and cried every time! I hope you'll watch it (just click the blue link above).

Monday, October 5, 2015

DARK BOOKS: A Darker World

Another school shooting and plans and threats for two more all in the past few days. Articles, discussions, debates, and arguments arise once more over the government’s control of guns and the funding, or lack thereof, for mental health. I’m not going to blog about that. I’m going to blog about “DARK BOOKS,” as one reviewer titled her 5 Star review of Wally Lamb’s 2007 novel The Hour I First Believed, a story about Columbine.

THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED: When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premediated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family’s house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of the Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War ere to Caelum’s own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.
As Caelum grapples with unexpected and confounding revelations from the past, he also struggles to fashion a future out of the ashes of tragedy. His personal quest for meaning and faith becomes a mythic journey that is at the same time quintessentially contemporary—and American.

I’ve enjoyed, if one can call it that, Wally Lamb’s novels for some time. I guess you could call me a fan of his gut-wrenching stories that so beautifully capture the human experience. Lamb has said of his fiction, “Although my characters’ lives don’t much resemble my own, what we share is that we are imperfect people seeking to become better people. I write fiction so that I can move beyond the boundaries and limitations of my own experiences and better understand the lives of others. As challenging as it sometimes is to balance the two vocations, writing and teaching are, for me, intertwined.”

You can read Wally Lamb’s impressive biography HERE.

Here’s a portion of that 5 Star review on Amazon:
By Adriana on November 17, 2008 (slightly edited)
“If you allow it, this book will affect your mood. The story ties in actual events that took place at Columbine High with the people, places, and evidence tied into a fictional account of the protagonist’s life before, during, and after this most compelling, dark period of his life and the affect it takes on himself and his wife and the world around him. This is truly dark stuff, because you KNOW that someone, somewhere is experiencing exactly what you are reading in this book.”

What I liked about this review is the last statement: “…you KNOW that someone, somewhere is experiencing exactly what you are reading in this book.” And, this, I believe was Wally Lamb’s plan— to enable his readers to feel someone’s pain. And when we read DARK BOOKS that’s exactly what we do.

The shock and horror of Columbine repeats itself over and again and what can we do to stop it? Most of the mainstream, mass murder shooters are dead, most of their victims are dead but there are survivors and nobody speaks of them—parents of the shooters and victims, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children, nieces and nephews, teachers, counselors, neighbors and friends. One report out of Oregon stated that many of the school’s students were veterans with PTSD. I can only imagine what suffering is going on. In The Hour I First Believed we can catch a glimpse of the transparent suffers, thanks to the imagination of Wally Lamb.

Most literary fiction “dark books” reveal an even darker world. The stories don’t make us laugh out loud. We don’t joyfully swoon over them. We squirm in the prevailing darkness. And when they are well written we celebrate them as great literature that makes us think.

Maybe we read “dark books” so that we can “move beyond the boundaries and limitations of our own experiences and better understand the lives of others” as Mr. Lamb so eloquently stated. And maybe when we identify with the survivors of mass murder we might be inspired to do something more about it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Aliens Among Us: Radiomen

I stumbled upon Eleanor Lerman’s work while searching the Empty Sink Publishing Company’s webpage looking for a place to submit one of my short stories. I clicked on ‘Fiction’ just to familiarize myself with what they publish. I randomly chose Lerman’s The Lightship. I was hooked. The writing intrigued me: literary fiction without the enviable prose that describes something so beautifully but really doesn’t have much to carry the story forward. I enjoy this kind of prose. I do. But I found Lerman’s descriptions to be, well, intelligent, for lack of a better word. 

From The Lightship: (Ed is a cancer survivor who has just attended a rather boring support group.)

“As Ed ate his lunch, he distanced himself from his reaction to the survivor’s group that morning. The idea of the body’s metamorphosis from the familiar form that encapsulated the self into a kind of ghost-like decay seemed a little less threatening—a little less that had to be dealt with in the immediate present—now that he was out of that depressing basement, relaxing in the sunshine that lit up the world this early afternoon. But thoughts of body and self led him back to his conversation with Mary last night, and her suggestion that the mind—and hence, the self—might not actually be anchored within the body, at least, not in the brain.”

I like this story so much that looked for and found a link to Eleanor Lerman’s webpage and found what I’d hoped to find—a novel. I read an excerpt of Radiomen and immediately downloaded it from Amazon. I knew that I was going to gobble this book up and I did. The only thing I’m going to tell you about it is there are aliens among us. To tell more would ruin the story. I gave it a FIVE star review because everything worked. The book is brilliant and intelligently written and holds conflict and suspense, but it’s genre is not sci-fi. It’s literary fiction that’s not stuffy or fluffy. I highly recommend it!

Joan Baum an NPR Reviewer wrote, “…Raidomen may be science fiction but, hardly, a predictable or typical example of the genre, it may well appeal to those who think they would never read such pop-lit and enjoy it.”

From Radiomen chapter ten, where the protagonist and a friend return to Greenwich Village, a location where both had previously lived.

“From the far west side, near the river, where the Socialist Workers Party had had their headquarters and turned out political tracts on mimeograph machines, to radical book stores and chess clubs and coffee bars, Jack, in particular, seemed to have a geography in his head that had been overlaid by a new grid of streets, new buildings, and a new millennial affluence that had turned old neighborhoods into fashionable quarters, unaffordable to most of their original residents. But he didn’t seem overly nostalgic about any of this, just interested in how time and change fought with memory to establish precedence. Which was more real: the village he remembered—more gay than straight, more hipster-friendly than home to fashionistas, more hole-in-the-wall than penthouse in the sky; or where we often had to make a reservation at some tiny restaurant on Bedford Street, or Jane or Great Jones or Little West Twelfth because the rich and famous (or just plain rich) were edging us out of all the places like Jack and I used to take for granted as being ours?” 

 Eleanor Lerman is a native New Yorker and unrepentant member of the Woodstock Nation. She has also been a guide in a Chinese museum, the manager of a harpsicord kit workshop, and a comedy writer. Connections between the humor of the human condition and the mysteries of infinity are the hallmark of her nearly forty-year-long writing career, for which she has received numerous awards including a National Book Award nomination, an NEA grant, the 2006 Lenore Marshall Poetry Award from the Academy of American Poets and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship. She is the author of six collections of poetry, two collections of short stories and a novel, Jane Planet. Her most recent novel, Radiomen, was published in January 2015.    

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jackie Collins: An Author Who Bedalazzed Readers For Four Decades


In my last post I blogged about how difficult it is for writers to make it to the big time. The next day, one of the most successful writers of all time died and left a legacy that had bedazzled readers for decades and will surely bedazzle generations to come. But I wasn't a fan, in fact I didn't read a Jackie Collins novel until the day after she died.

Jackie Collins fulfilled a fantasy for many with sex and glam! She has been a prolific writer of novels that arouse sexual desire for four decades. All of her 32 novels have been 'best sellers' and many made into movies and TV mini-series (Hollywood Wives). Her novels have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. Her last book, Santangelos, hit shelves this past June as she fought through the last stages of breast cancer.* She admitted that she was a "school dropout" and a "juvenile delinquent" when she was fifteen. "I'm glad I got all of that out of my system at an early age," she said decades later and added that she "never pretended to be a literary writer".

Jackie's success interested me so I decided to read her first book to find out just what started her brilliant career. So I delved into The World Is Full Of Married Men which was published in 1968. Although it was a huge success in Great Britain and America, it had been banned in Australia and South Africa because of its depiction of extramarital sex, The New York Times reported. 

Collins' novels are generally considered Romance genre but it seems to me that they are more commercial fiction or maybe provocative fantasy if there is such a category. The World Is Full Of Married Men began a long romp through the glitzy lives of Hollywood's rich and famous - and infamous! Her storylines include infidelity, betrayal, power struggles, greed, and unfulfilled promises by bad boys that keep you up all night.

My favorite line from The World Is Full Of Married Men: 
"She wore an orange dress, dangerously low cut, and the women in the gathering found themselves standing up straighter and throwing out their bosoms as if in answer to this sudden challenge." pg. 44

Jackie once said, "I write about real people in disguise. If anything, my characters are toned down - the truth is much more bizarre."

In a recent, random Amazon review (2014) of Married Men  'Tracey' wrote: "Better than 50 Shades of Grey. Jackie's books will never leave you lonely." So, I guess I got my answer to what kept her readers reading for 40 years.

And with that I say, "Congratulations, Jackie Collins, on your infinite success. Your books added sizzle and excitement to many readers for many years. May you rest in peace.

* Jackie Collins died two weeks before her 78 birthday. She had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer more than six years before her death but kept her illness almost entirely to herself. She reportedly only informed her sister two weeks before she died and flew from LA to London to appear on the TV chat show Loose Women only nine days before her death. (Daily Mail)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Two Martini Night

My bio speaks the truth. I do enjoy evening gowns and I do dance with cats. I've been dancing with cats since I was four or five. I've just been drinking martinis since about 1997 when Cindy Brehm, one of those awesome nurses you've heard about lately, taught me by example to order one properly. "Bombay Sapphire martini, straight up, one olive," she'd said with a sexy smile. I ordered the same along with spicy oyster sliders. But, even though the Bombay Sapphire is encased in sea-aqua colored bottle (my second favorite color) I realized right away that in my future I would be ordering Tanqueray martinis, straight up, no olives. I'd graduated from mixed drinks (gin and tonics, daiquiris, and Mai Tais) to the real stuff--shaken not stirred. 

What I really want to talk about is writing, not alcohol. My single martini with dinner is a time to celebrate and relax with my husband from our busy day as authors. But last night I stewed in the down side of writing. Nothing would relax--not my body, not my mind, and surely not my emotions. 

The last two weeks have been exciting: I won third place for my essay, A Flash of Blue, in a writing contest called, Hard Times, sponsored by The NC Writers' Network and a week later published my fifth novel, All The Voices In My head, well a novella this time. I gave away too many books to count in my promo and then sat back to watch the reviews come in. First a TWO (2) star titled, "Depressive Reading", then a FIVE (5) star titled, "What a Great Read". Guess they balanced each other out. I write literary fiction and that means that I write about the human condition so my stories aren't all fairy lights and rainbows and happily ever after endings. I took a risk with 'Voices'--it shows the human condition in a codependent, horrifying way. To me it's the ultimate love story or the ultimate downfall to the woman's movement, I'll let my readers decide for themselves. My two reviewers have taken sides and conflict is always positive in any novel or in any rating system.

Searching for a publisher for my essay has not been fun despite my copy editor friend, Susan, who is sending me leads. I've also searched for appropriate anthologies or maybe even a big magazine like Cosmo or Woman's Health Magazine. It didn't take long to realize that I'm too old and my essay is too personal for Cosmo--they are busy representing the Kardashia's love lives and weight gains and losses. Surprisingly, Woman's Health isn't into the kind of suffering my essay exposes. They like kinky problems that are only vaguely health related. But I suppose the biggest cause for my second martini was the realization of how many people make money off of me! I had to pay to enter the contest and the majority of online magazines charge a reading fee and if one does get published the "pay" is one free issue of the magazine in which their article or essay or short story appears. Many people make money off writers. Yes, I realize that people need to be paid to read contest entries and submissions but eventually, if I write something good enough, I would like to be paid!

Alas, today I read an article titled, "When It Comes To Book Sales, What Counts As Success Might Surprise You", by Lynne Neary (on NPR). The gist of the article is that publishing companies no longer give advances, pay to promote their writers, pay for articles, and that writers will write and publish even if they don't get paid. According to Roxana Robinson, president of the Authors Guild, "You used to be able to make an absolute living wage as a writer. You wrote essays and you published them in journals. You wrote magazine pieces and you got paid very well for those. And you wrote books and you got good advances. So, being a writer, it didn't usually mean you would be rich, but it had meant, in the past, that you could support yourself."

What I always find amusing or annoying is the comment section. One responder (Danny DeGuira) summed it all up when he said, "Years ago when asked what I did, I answered, "I am a writer." Their reply, "Oh, you are unemployed!"

"We can't tell people not to write for free," Robinson said. "But if they want to do it they will do it.

"And maybe--just maybe--next time they'll get paid," Lynn Neary said in conclusion. 

So I'll stop stewing and keep hoping that someday I will get paid.

An afterthought about another comment to the article by David Kulczyk: "Correct me if I'm wrong but the NY Times Best Seller list goes by units shipped not sold...that's why you see Kim Kardashian on the list. They'll print 100,000 units, after six weeks, they go on the discount table at B&N, then the discount stores, and the rest go back to the printer where they get pulped...usually 40-60% go back to be recycled."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

All the Voices in My Head

Just published, (a novella), All the Voices in My Head

Beginning with the disappearance of her college sweetheart, Gloria Webber’s mind is buffeted by the opinions of her parents and friends, driven by an irresponsible husband, and eventually jumbled by conflicting moral dilemmas. What is she to do about all the voices in her head calling, Gloria?

Please visit my storyboard for 'Voices' on Pintrest. 

As a celebration of the release of 'Voices' the Kindle version (eBook) will be FREE for 48 hours begining Monday, September 7 at 8 a.m. PST (11 a.m. EST) and all four of my other novels will be available for 99 cents each during the same time period. (All 5 for $3.96!!!) Click HERE to place your order or go to "Shelia Bolt Rudesill" on the Amazon website.

If you download a FREE copy, I'd appreciate a review on Amazon

THANK YOU so much!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Bloggers Matter: Ginger Dawn's A Spice Below The Horrizon

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers, Ginger Dawn Harman. Today marks her 100th blog post on Ginger Dawn: A Spice Below The Horizon!

From Ginger's post today, "Truth is...blogging is a wonderful experience and this post is a personal celebration. Not because it's my 100th blog post! It's hard to explain, Victor Hugo, says it best in his book The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Yeah! I am not just a middle-aged woman who was a foster child, survivor, born during a hurricane, or a mushy huge-hearted handful. I am beautiful and I am using my voice and my words enthusiastically by blogging. And today I feel 100%"

Incidentally, Bud found Ginger Dawn (or I should say she found him) on my Pintrest page when I posted the cover of Bud's novel Hurricane Ginger on two of my boards. Bud's novel has nothing to do with Ginger Dawn since thet met after the book was published. The cover caught Ginger's attention because she was actually born when Hurricane Ginger hit the North Carolina coast in 1970 and was named after the storm.

If it wasn't for social media Ginger Dawn would not be a part of our lives and I would not be celebrating her success today! So Missy Ginger, here's some celebratory cupcakes and tea for you! Keep blogging because it adds a special spice to my life and the lives of all your followers!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Two writers, one brand new and one experienced and award-winning begin to write a story about a child who possesses affection for extraordinary children—abused, neglected, ignored, sick, and dying. The stories share the same title, Child of My Heart. I was the new writer, fumbling for proper grammar and eloquent enough prose to tell Annie’s story, my story—the story of a nurse. On the other hand, Alice McDermott, already proficient in prose and confident enough to use her own style of grammar, tells the story of Theresa, a teenage girl on the cusp of fifteen who is clever and beloved by children and animals alike, but also a solitary soul with an already complex understanding of human nature. Theresa’s working class parents decide that their “born beautiful” daughter’s best chance in life is to marry a wealthy man, so she is raised on the east end of Long Island among the country houses of the rich. She’s the town’s most sought after babysitter when her favorite niece, Daisy (who is eight) comes to spend the summer. The story begins, “I had in my care that summer four dogs, three cats, the Moran kids, Daisy, my eight-year-old cousin, and Flora, the toddler child of a local artist.”

The precocious Theresa believes that Daisy is the least cared for child of her father’s sister who has six boys and one bossy sister, Bernadette. When Theresa visits the family, actually Daisy, she shows the reader what she’s made of by telling them a tall tale about how she and Daisy obtained over eight dozen lollypops:

“There was a barrel of lollipops beside the newspaper rack, a handwritten sign, TWO FOR A NICKEL. Her parents had made her too polite to ask for one, so I casually bought a hundred of them, refusing a paper bag and stuffing them instead into our pockets, pant pockets and coat pockets, and then lifting the hem of her sweater to form another pocket and filling it as well. When we got back to the house, we dumped all of them over her brothers and Bernadette, who were lying on the living-room floor watching their allotted hour of television before dinner. The lollipops in their wrappers were wet with snow, some were muddy from where we had dropped them on the walk home. “Where did you get these?” Bernadette asked, and before Daisy could answer, I said, “We found a lollipop tree. You should have come.” The boys said, “Yeah, sure,” but Bernadette couldn’t resist grilling us on the particulars, her eyes narrowed, her thin mouth opened skeptically, showing the little blowfish teeth. A house on the boulevard, I said. A willow tree. A huge willow tree filled with lollipops for the taking. The tree belongs to an old couple, I said, whose only child, a little boy, had dreamed of a lollipop tree in his front yard on the night he died, fifty years ago this very day. Once a year and only on this day, I said, they make his dream come true by filling their willow tree with lollipops. (And the odd thing is, I said, it was snowing in his dream, too, and it snows every year on this date the minute the old couple hangs the last lollipop on the tree.) They invite children from miles around. I’m surprised you guys have never heard about it before. The old couple serves hot chocolate out on their lawn while the children collect the lollipops from the tree. They hire tall men to help lift the smaller children high into the branches. The single rule is that you can pick only as many lollipops as you can carry home— no paper bags or suitcases, oh, and that the picking lasts for just one hour, from dusk to nightfall, to the second the first star appears. Corresponding to their son’s last hour on earth, since the evening star in the dark blue winter sky was the first thing the old couple had noticed when they went to the bedroom window only a minute after the doctor had pulled a blanket up over his peaceful little face. Although Bernadette squinted skeptically through it all, the boys had their backs to the TV set by the time I’d finished. “We’ll have to go next year,” Jack Jr. said softly. But Bernadette turned on Daisy. “Is this true?” she demanded. Daisy shrugged her thin shoulders. There was a remnant of hot chocolate on her upper lip and the top of her wiry hair was darkened by a little skullcap of melted snow. “You should have come,” she said matter-of-factly, skirting the lie. Child of my heart.”

And thus sets the stage for the rest of the novel.

In my Child of My Heart, Annie begins her story the summer just after she turns twelve when she has her first taste of death—not of a child she loves but of a beloved doll:
“I ran across the alley and hurdled myself over a neighbor’s croton hedge. Before my feet hit the ground I spotted an object that turned my spinning world to slow motion. I stopped to look at the thing, hoping my eyes had lied. But there on her chest was the tiny heart I’d drawn with a red ballpoint pen. My heart cried out but I couldn’t make a sound. From atop a trash heap I picked up my small broken doll and stared at her as if we were frozen in time. She was the most cherished thing I’d ever owned. The doll’s shiny yellow braids tied with tiny pink bows were torn from her scalp. Dirty smudges covered her naked body, her blue eyes scratched off, belly slashed open, a leg amputated. A filthy pink ribbon tied her one remaining possession to her hand—a tiny white toothbrush.”

The two protagonists, Theresa and Annie, deal with much more abuse of children, animals, and possessions. Although both stories seem gruesome—and parts of them are—the neglected children are cared for by spunky teenagers who refuse to accept the world the way it is.

In Alice McDermott’s effortless and passionate prose, she brings the “expected” portion of her story to an end. But, this is not the end of the book:

“Daisy speaks. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever be back here.’ I laughed, just a puff of air against her scalp. ‘Why?’ I asked her. ‘I don’t know,’ she whispered. ‘I just have that feeling.’ I tightened my arm around her. ‘Of course you will,’ I said. ‘Every summer. You could come at Easter, too, if you want, even Christmas. You can come back anytime, all the way until you’re grown up.’ I said it fondly, assuredly, with all the authority I knew she gave me, all the authority I knew I had, here in my own kingdom, but I also said it against a flash of black anger that suddenly…made me want to banish every parable, every song, every story ever told, even by me, about children who never returned. The newborn children named for Irish patriots. The children who said, I want to show it to the angels. Children who kissed their toys at night and said, Wait for me, who dreamt lollipop trees, who bid farewell to their parents from the evening star, children who crawled ghostly into their grieving father’s lap, who took to heart an old man’s advice that they never grow old, and never did. All my pretty ones? All? I wanted them banished, the stories, the songs, the foolish tales of children’s tragic premonitions. I wanted them scribbled over, torn up. Start over again. Draw a world where it simply doesn’t happen, a world of only color, no form. Out of my head and more to my liking: a kingdom by the sea, eternal summer, a brush of fairy wings and all dark things banished, age, cruelty, pain, poor dogs, dead cats, harried parents, lonely children, all the coming griefs, all the sentimental, maudlin tales fashioned out of the death of children.”

I hope you'll read and enjoy both.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Go Set A Watchman is right up there with Fifty Shades of Grey

In HarperCollins’s press release of Go Set A Watchman, Michael Morrison states, “…that in lines that manage to be both tautological and cliché-sodden, that ‘Watchman’ is a ‘brilliant book’ and a ‘masterpiece’ that will be ‘revered for generations to come.’ Jonathan Burnham, Senior Vice President and publisher of Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins believes that ‘Watchman’ “is a remarkable literary event,” although he obviously means publishing event: big difference.

And isn’t this also true of Fifty Shades of Grey, that it was a tautological and cliché-sodden publishing event? The novel by E.L.James was first self-published on Kindle and reviewed mostly on Goodreads where it went viral on social media and garnered a phenomenally high average rating and sold ten million copies in the first six weeks. The novel placed second in the Best Romance Award in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards. A year later, Vintage Books a part of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group and a subsidiary of Random House, won the publishing rights in a bidding war. The war didn’t seem to be about great literature as much as financial gains. To date Fifty Shades has sold over 100 million copies and remained on the New York Times Best Seller List for 100 weeks as of February 2014.

  Yes, I did what I said I’d never do. I read Fifty Shades—well, I actually skimmed it. Both books (Go Set A Watchman and Fifty Shades of Grey) apparently read like comic books, Fifty Shades surely does but I must admit that I only read the first chapter of Watchman and am basing my opinion on the hundreds of articles and reviews online.

The premise of Fifty Shades of Grey is a coming of age erotic romance between Anastasia Steele, an innocent /naïve young woman, and Christian Grey, a psychologically injured young billionaire who are unable to give the other what they need. Anastasia wants to love and be loved while Christian needs to inflict sexual pain on submissive women (BDSM). Anastasia wants to help Christian recover from a childhood trauma yet the story is shallow. Can you imagine what a gifted writer or an insightful publisher could do to make this story worthy of say, a Pulitzer Prize?

The shallow story holds true for Harper Lee’s original manuscript of To Kill A Mockingbird. Fortunately, Tay Hohoff encouraged Lee to turn a rough draft into a beloved masterpiece. Go Set A Watchman, that rough draft, should never havebeen printed. An astute editor could have at least changed the name of the girl, the name of the father, the name of the town, and the name of the accused defendant. Then all we’d have to worry about would be the bad grammar and not the fall of one of American’s greatest literary heroes.

An Amazon review of Go Set A Watchman by VANESSA, titled I WISH I HADN’T READ IT on July 14, 2015states, “GSAW is just not a very good book. This book can only be of interest to writers and literary scholars as it illustrates how a very poor first draft can be reworked to become a masterpiece.”

An Amazon review of Fifty Shades of Grey by meymoon, titled, DID A TEENAGER WRITE THIS? on April 15, 2012 stated: “Then there’s the writing. If you take out the parts where the female character is blushing or chewing her lips, the book will be down to about 50 pages. Almost on every single page, there is a whole section devoted to her blushing, chewing her lips, or wondering, “Jeez” about something or another.”

As for Go Set A Watchman, William Giraldi stated that, "Ponderous and lurching, haltingly confected, the novel plods along in search of plot, tranquilizes you with vast fallow patches, with deadening dead zones, with onslaughts of cliché and dialogue made of pamphleteering monologue or else eye-rolling chit-chat. You are confronted by entire pages of her Uncle Jack's oracular babble, and you must machete through the bracken of listless, throw-away prose in order to get a memorable turn of phrase. 'Jean Louise smiled to herself' and 'Jean Louise laughed aloud' and then 'Jean Louise shook her head' before 'Jean Louise's eyebrows flickered.' Someone has 'green envy' and someone else 'worked night and day,' while someone 'dropped dead in his tracks' and someone was 'bored stiff.'

"For once, none of those flaws in the novel can be blamed on the author. She was learning how to write when she composed Watchman and wasn't able to ready this draft to publication. In the two and a half years it took her to turn this mess into To Kill A mockingbird, she evolved beautifully as a stylist and storyteller, helped along by an astute editor." 

I'll end my rant with one more Amazon review. A TESTAMENT TO THE POWER OF A GOOD EDITOR by RosieDee753 on July 14, 2015: "The short version of this review is, if nothing else, Go Set A Watchman, especially compared to the brilliance of, To Kill A Mockingbird, is a testament to the power of a good editor."

And to that I say, "Amen!"