Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wicomico Senior High School (For those unfamiliar with the name, it sounds just like it's spelled J ).
Saturday before last, October 9, 2014, I attended the 50th anniversary reunion for my high school class of 1964 in Salisbury, Maryland. Three years earlier, at a similar reunion to celebrate the nominal 65th birthday for most of us, I announced that my wife, Sharon, and I were expecting our first child. Amid understandable laughter, I convinced the gathered throng that we expected the stork to alight in the fall.
Indeed, our daughter, Sami (Samantha) arrived in October of that year. No one can say that I didn't warn the world that she was on the way. Attendant at the labor and delivery to comfort my wife and welcome our child, I repeatedly asked the obstetrician if she found an instruction manual. She assured me that such documents did not arrive with a child and we would be required to slough through the next eighteen years like all first-time parents. Now, with a two-and-a-half-year-old, we could have used that manual every day.

At the most recent reunion, Sami attended for a half hour and met many of Daddy's classmates. Then, the wild child's keeper sitter arrived and whisked her away for her meal, diaper change, and bedtime.
One of our classmates, John Long, an ostensibly retired attorney, stood at the dais and urged us, regardless of past accomplishments, to keep reaching for the next one. As seldom as I may agree with lawyers (just joking, John), his words fell near and dear to my psyche – and my philosophy.

Each of us can recount – and rightly take pride in – our accomplishments during the past fifty years – and before. I think John would agree that maybe we shouldn't sit on our collective butt, using our past accomplishments as a soft cushion. Part of Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion deals with inertia. Inertia, physical and mental, can be deadly. It results in a car slowly morphing into a bucket of rust, a hinge refusing to swing, and human joints and brains to atrophy.
We can continue our accomplishments well into our future. Want to learn to fly? Granted, the FAA is not fond of granting a new license to a sixty-eight-year-old (luckily, I got mine as a young man). However, we can still learn to fly. It's thrilling. We can develop our art skills, whether drawing, painting, or singing. We can learn a new language. (On a personal note, I recently started studying a new language – English.) Learn to cook, bake, crochet, counted cross-stitch. Go back to college, get that degree, get another degree, get your PhD. Many state university systems, Maryland included, grant free tuition to students over a certain age (in Maryland, it's sixty-three).

It seems to me that our strongest and most daunting challenges should come from within ourselves. Once we conquer those, arguably the most difficult, life's external challenges can be met more easily – with wisdom and finesse.
And, John, if you're listening, thank you for putting our philosophy into words. You may want to reconsider your position because I agree with you completely and that could damage your well-earned reputation.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weehoppin Farm

We finished our Sunday dinner just minutes ago. Prior to sitting down, Sami, our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter was hopping around from the ibry (library) through the living room and into the dining room, imitating a bunny rabbit, a kangaroo, or a frog - she wouldn't tell me which. I'm pretty sure it was her impression of a frog.

After dinner, her mother cleaned her up, let her run wild in the corral, and proceeded to power wash the dining room walls, ceiling, table, and floor, a habit that we adopted soon after Sami began using eating utensils. It isn't always necessary anymore - still, it doesn't hurt.

I walked into the dining room just now and Sami is hopping out of the dining room into the living room - followed by her mother, hopping along. Sami is repeating the mantra, "Weehoppin, weehoppin." I told her that it sounded like she was chanting a Delaware Indian place name, perhaps in Delaware, maybe northern New Jersey.

In any case, it looks like we need to consider changing the name of this farm from "Bearfoot Farm," its current moniker, to "Weehoppin Farm."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bill Gibbons

The creative process – a seemingly simple phrase, yet one that pervades human philosophies, religions, arts, psychology, and biology.
Aside from the drive to procreate to assure succeeding generations and the need to create shelter, both characteristics common to all species, the human impetus to create for the sake of the creation itself is singular among all species.
Most of us can identify others who exhibit a need to create that which is apart from their chosen professions. A banker welds metal sculpture in his spare time, a psychologist designs and knits fashionable sweaters for children, a car dealer also writes poetry, a professor of economics writes novels and short stories. Noted biochemist and professor, Isaac Asimov, was better known for his science fiction writing. Locally, retired Wicomico County building inspector, Grover Cantwell, has been creating striking art in watercolor for most of his life. The list goes on.
This "creativity imperative" is not a latter-day development. Invention (itself the result of a creativity imperative) of ostensibly time-saving devices through history frees us to pursue artistic hobbies, but it does not explain the inherent human need to create – it simply allows it. Cave paintings, dated as early as 40,000 years ago, exist in the El Castillo cave near Cantabria, Spain – and there are others. Although motivations for the paintings elude comprehension, I submit that, in large part, the motivation was the human need to create. Besides, regardless of the ultimate function of the paintings, the creative minds behind them cannot be ignored.
Granted, it is only the truly accomplished – and/or lucky – who can claim their creative activities as also their occupation. Stephen King, James Patterson, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Pablo Picasso, and Mikhail Baryshnikov are a few fortunate examples, out of a human population in excess of seven billion on the planet.
Denial of an individual's creativity imperative carries its own consequences. There is a reason that child care facilities and schools set aside time for creative pursuits among students. Expressive arts, e.g., music, dance, literary arts, and visual arts, are used by institutions and private counselors to aid in therapy.
Beyond educational and formalized uses of creative therapy, there is much to recommend turning to such interests in our everyday lives. Painting, writing, dancing, and music afford distractions that can temper job stress, alleviate boring routines, or lessen family pressures, all sober realities of modern life.
This writer has, over the decades, delved into visual arts, literary arts, and inventions. Arguably,  literary arts is the most basic, yet at the same time the highest, form of creative arts. With the simplest of implements, pen or pencil and paper, one can pour thoughts out from the dark recesses of the mind onto paper where they can be viewed in the light of day, examined, and reconciled.
We don't deny the existence of stress and strife in everyday life; we might benefit from acknowledging the creativity imperative within each of us and the balance it can bring to our lives.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cover Reveal -- Life Flight by Shaunna Wolf

Cover Reveal

Life Flight

Erotic Romance/Mystery 

Malachi Blackfeather has spent twenty years in the Army. Two of those years as a Vietnam POW. Now that he's out, all he wants is some peace and quiet to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. Between the flashbacks, and an over interest in sex that is now being called sex addiction, finding his path isn't easy.

Kat is trying to escape an abusive marriage. Her soon to be ex is a master at manipulating the system, and her family thinks she should stay with him, "because no other man will want her". She's looking for escape in any form she can get it.

When they meet, sparks fly. Trapped by a blizzard, can two damaged people, who think there is no chance of love in the world for them, find each other, and survive an unforeseen circumstance that puts both of them in danger?

Mystery, romance, and danger, fill this novel, with a story that will draw you in and not let go.

**Warning: This is a mature adult novel. Recommended for readers 18+ due to sexual content and adult language.

December 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013


Tour Stops

August 19: Emraz :The Spark
August 20: From Me to You ... Video, Photography, & Book Reviews
August 21: Book Bling Blog
August 22: Journey of a Bookseller
August 23: Must Read Faster

"The old one will come. When he comes, his one true wife must carry within her a child of the old one who would be king. Only then can the heart be found and the evil of the world kept in its bounds." –The Prophecy of the Land

Sorann is the queen's daughter and training to be an empathic healer. Javert is a member of the wandering tribe called the Zingari and their future king. When Sorann's failed healer's magic test brings them together, they discover the prophecy governing the land is false. In order to prevent magic, and the Zingari, from being wiped from the land, Sorann must become Javert's wife and leave everything behind that she once held dear.

Tricked by demons, and followed by the queen's soldiers, they must find the fabled Wizard's Heart in the frozen Winter Valley.

What sacrifices will they have to make along the way, and will Javert ever discover the true meaning of the Wizard's Heart before his people and the love of his life are lost?


Standing in the makeshift shower, peace descended in a comfortable blanket. Nighttime birds sang and whistled to each other, a frog croaked bass, and the crickets formed the string section. Conceivably, Cryant lived far enough away from the city for the emotions of those in the city not to carry into his compound, to reduce the overflow from battering at her shell.

Sorann let down her guard, expecting a deluge of energies to cause her to feel dirty again. A dog barked and went silent. The pig grunted in its pen, perhaps upset at having its mud rearranged. But no feelings invaded her. In her palace rooms, a shield stayed in place to protect her from the invasion. Could the same be true of Cryant’s canvas?

Dim moonlight spilled in when she pushed the flap aside. She stepped outside marveling at the emotional vacuum she found herself in. Silly to think Cryant could afford the spell needed to empower a canvas to keep out the extended aura of others.

The sky above her wore a sprinkling of bright stars on an inky background. The cool night air caressed her skin. Goose flesh rose over her entire body. The hard ground under her feet felt warm with leftover heat from the day. The stones she stood on glowed in the faint luminosity of the yard light, wet here and there, the water from the shower ran in twin streams on each side of the stone path.

The clarity of her mind extended beyond her in the absence of others emotions and feelings. The world came to her in clear brightness--a veil of gauze lifted. She ran her hands over her stomach, her own skin felt different. The bumps caused by the cold felt alien and as she ran her hands over them, she could feel the tiny hairs on her skin, a chill shook her. She hadn’t even realized a barrier existed between her own hands and her flesh before.

Animal smells came to her, the scent of the soap was even stronger. Why did everything feel magnified? Perhaps subdued?

A result of the shell she kept in place? She’d lowered the shell before, and it wasn’t like this--not even in her rooms with their encasing spell. She spun around holding her arms out in the moonlight. She caressed her own arms, enjoying the feel of the gooseflesh on them. She laughed at the feel of the mud between her toes. She stepped off the path and took slow steps with her toes spread, so the mud curled as it squished between her toes. More laughter escaped her. Her hands traveled to her breasts, her nipples went hard in the cool breeze--had that ever happened to her before? Perhaps she hadn’t felt it?

Sorann, you dressed?”

With a gasp, Sorann scrambled into Cryant’s robe. It stuck to her wet shoulders; luckily, it was over large for her. With quick movements, she wrapped her hair in the towel.

“Yes,” she called back. “I just need to re-rinse my feet. I . . . I accidently stepped off the path.”

“I’ve got soup on.” Cryant stood holding up the door flap. “Stay on the path.”

She quickly rinsed her feet in a clear puddle that remained on the platform under the barrel--the water mixed with mud creating patterns as it ran off her feet. Still puzzled, but prepared for the onslaught of Cryant’s life,
she moved to the slice of light coming from Cryant’s doorway.

Cryant moved back so she could enter without touching him. Sorann almost tripped over the threshold. Nothing came from Cryant, no feelings, no buzz singing along her nerves in a stinging assault.

The upper wall revealed how the home stayed warm. Inside, plaster coated it, and, going through the door, she saw the wall consisted of two parts with what looked like straw stuffed in between.

The inside of his home held the aroma of potato soup and fresh bread. A slightly musty smell road on the tail of the soup. She rubbed her nose. Things in the room, a small wooden table with two chairs, a handmade broom leaning in the corner, two glow lamps, and a braided rug jumped into clarity. Things in her life were always fuzzy, smells, sizes, shapes, colors--all made so, she assumed, because of her constant battle to keep out the everyday life of others.

Perhaps the hog knocked her unconscious and this was the result? A dream? She pulled Cryant’s robe up around her neck, aware of how low the neckline rested over her breasts. The fabric carried a slight scent--a slight male scent. Cryant’s robe hadn’t been laundered since the last time he wore it.

“Here, sit by the fire,” Cryant told her. He stood near a makeshift clothesline stretched across the room. Using wooden clothes pins he hung her now clean clothes so they would dry.

Sorann carefully sat on the chair nearest the fire. Cryant finished hanging the clothes before he retrieved two wooden bowls from a homemade shelf hanging over a tin washtub. He spooned soup into both of them and set them on the table.

“Thank you,” Sorann managed. Questions tumbled through her mind. Why could she let her guard down in Cryant’s house? Why had she been so overwhelmed at first, but now--now since Cryant touched her in the pig pen--skin to skin, she didn’t need to be on her guard? Was it possible Cryant’s left over aura on his clothes allowed her a measure of control? Maybe Cryant himself?

Cryant picked up a small crate from near the fireplace and brought it to the table. He set the box on the floor in front of Sorann and set the thin towel covering the top aside. Small bird voices started up in a demand for food. Sorann pushed the chair back ready to spring away from the birds. She stopped.

“You saved the birds?”

“Some of them,” Cryant answered.

She peered back into the box. Birds. Young birds. The way they looked--one with a bandaged wing, another laying with its neck outstretched and its sides heaving as it tried to breathe.

“I can’t heal them,” Cryant said. His voice carried a note of sadness.

Slowly, Sorann reached into the box. She touched the gasping bird and almost shrieked when she felt its young body hit the pavement. Instantly, she knew about the bird’s broken bones, its injured ribs--the bird struggled in her grasp. She set him back in the box where he strutted around the other injured birds squawking and chattering at her.

“You healed him,” Cryant blurted. “But . . .”

Sorann reached into the box and one at a time she picked up the hurt birds. When she set them down they strutted about whole and healed. Cryant leapt to his feet and brought out a small cat from behind a curtain hanging around his bed.

He held the tiny black cat out to her. Sorann took the kitten in her hands and saw from the cat’s point of view the cart coming towards it and felt a flash of pain as the cart ran over the kitten’s leg and hip--her body didn’t feel as though she’d been run over. The cat’s feelings didn’t overcome her. She used her hands to completely surround the cat and in moments it struggled to be free. She let him go, and he ran to the box of birds and began batting at them. Cryant picked the kitten up.

“Out you go, but not in the street this time,” he said. He shut the crooked door over the curtain after he scooted the cat outside. “What they say about you, it isn’t true.”

Sorann looked up into his blue eyes. Lines creased his forehead, his thin face betrayed his puzzlement. She’d never noticed the shadow of stubble on his face before, or the tiny scratches, perhaps inflicted by an injured animal, like the kitten.

“It is true. I can’t heal. I get caught up in the emotions and can’t even diagnose what’s wrong because I feel as if all the things are happening to me. I don’t understand this at all. With animals, you aren’t supposed to receive the clarity to diagnose and heal the way you attain it with a person, but I didn’t expect to simply hold them and poof they are back to normal.” Her stomach rumbled, and she felt as if she’d eaten her last meal weeks ago.

“Eat, eat,” Cryant said and shoved both bowls of soup toward her.

She picked up the slightly bent spoon and touched a small bite to her tongue. Flavors exploded across her mouth, rich deep flavors of spices and onions she’d never experienced before. Spoonful after spoonful, each one a new adventure in taste and satisfaction until she cleaned both bowls of soup without a thought.
“Do you think the stories, you know from the Lost Lands, the ones about The Dark Towers are true?” He spooned more soup into the bowls.

Sorann glanced up at him and continued to shove food into her mouth. Her stomach kept begging for more with rumbles and demands she couldn’t ignore.

“I mean, the orange cat, outside, the one with three legs, sometimes, it almost feels like she is trying to talk to me.”

“The stories about those dark wizards turning their enemies into animals?”

Cryant nodded.

Sorann chewed more food. She let out a small laugh. “I don’t think there is enough magic left in the world, dark or otherwise to turn people or animals into something else.”

“But isn’t that what we do with our gift?” He sat back and spread his hands on the table in front of him. He snapped his fingers shut. “Isn’t what we do magic of a sort? We take broken bones and turn them into whole bones, something other than what they were.”

Sorann stared at him a moment before she spooned more soup into her mouth. Around the food, she said, “Broken bone that was once whole bone, not something entirely different. Take the cat, where would all the difference in mass go?”

“Still, I think I would like a cat who could talk to me and could understand what I say.”
“I had a cat once, when I was small, I used to think she understood what I said. I think they do on many levels, if I can feel what they have eaten and their enjoyment, then . . .” Sorann shrugged. She looked up at Cryant after her spoon scraped the bottom of the wooden bowl.

“I’m sorry. You lied when you said you weren’t a good cook. I’ve never tasted anything, well, anything so full of flavors. I didn’t mean to eat all of it,” she added with a glance at the empty pot.
“Never mind. I have more friends in need, will you . . .?”

Sorann laughed, energy jumped along her nerves--she could heal. A miracle had happened this night--the speck of dust that sparkled with light--a wish fairy, if any still lived with the bounty on most things magic? Sorann laughed again, whatever had happened, she could heal. “Yes, yes, I will.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Please welcome horror author, Patrick Royal, to my blog site as a guest.  Patrick is announcing the release of his latest novel, Shattered.

     The only thing that multi-published, award winning horror author, Tom Elliot, wanted was to move to the country for a change of scenery and relaxation, to a quiet part of southern Illinois. It seemed he'd picked out a wonderful spot, miles away from the closest neighbor and even further away from civilization.
     Tom couldn't write to save his soul. Weird thoughts trampled through his head and left him wondering if he'd made a mistake moving from Chicago. Could it have been that he ripped himself from his element, like his best friend, Michael Gully, had predicted? That he couldn't answer yet.
Words came and flowed like wildfire, but at what price? Tom's imagination was getting the best of him and running rampant. The very characters that he created tormented him, driving him mad where he couldn't distinguish fiction from reality.

Genre: Horror
Book Length: Novel
Word Count: 53, 387
Pages: 181
Price: $4.99
Formats: PDF, ePub, Mobi, HTML


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blog Blitz with Author SRHowen

Christmas in July, unwrap a summer ebook blog blitz

welcomes S.R.Howen

"The old one will come. When he comes, his one true wife must carry within her a child of the old one who would be king. Only then can the heart be found and the evil of the world kept in its bounds." –The Prophecy of the Land

Sorann is the queen's daughter and training to be an empathic healer. Javert is a member of the wandering tribe called the Zingari and their future king. When Sorann's failed healer's magic test brings them together, they discover the prophecy governing the land is false. In order to prevent magic, and the Zingari, from being wiped from the land, Sorann must become Javert's wife and leave everything behind that she once held dear.

Tricked by demons, and followed by the queen's soldiers, they must find the fabled Wizard's Heart in the frozen Winter Valley.

What sacrifices will they have to make along the way, and will Javert ever discover the true meaning of the Wizard's Heart before his people and the love of his life are lost?

This is the first book in the fantasy series Tales of the Zingari.

Some thoughts on being an editor, from S. R. Howen

Some thoughts on editing.  What is an editor’s job?  Sometimes I think, and I have been at this a long time, that new writers don’t have a clue what an editor does, or should do.  You send your baby into the world, and fantastic, do cartwheels, you have a contract.  Now what? Okay, you read the contract, you understand most of it, so you sign it. 

Then you get the introduction letter from your editor.  You look forward to the edits and the suggestions that will make your book better . . .

Unfortunately, many times this is the dream of every editor, that we wish every author understood.  How did that writer make it to that place where they get the contract—is often the cry of writers?  A lot of it has to do with the perception that writers have of an editor.

With the idea that an editor will fix typos, misspelling, word Usage, and grammar as well as punctuation, they send out their manuscript looking like a group of crows stepped in ink.  Often when asked, why didn’t you at least run spell check?  The answer is: That’s not my job, that’s what an editor is for!

This is what I would like writers to understand, you need to put the best possible effort into your manuscript, it may be a great idea, but if it’s buried under basic errors, you won’t get a contract.  You wouldn’t go to a job interview dressed in the clothes you took out of the hamper that you did house cleaning in the day before, so why would you send out a manuscript that wasn’t clean and pressed and dressed neatly?

Writing is a business.  You can call it art.  But it is a business; it’s not your baby.  You may feel you gave birth to the story and you need to love the story to tell it well, but you also need to have some distance from the love affair.  To be able to stand back and see the ugly spots in order to fix them.

An editor is there to help you get your vision down on that page, to make it shine, to polish the story until it does. They are not there to take the place of spell check, and basic knowledge of grammar.  Yes, we all make mistakes that an editor will find, but don’t think that fixing all of them is the editor’s job.

That’s your job as a writer, a craftsman has all the tools in his tool box to build the house, he doesn’t expect someone else to bring them.

I’m happy to share my tool box on many things, if you have done your work as a writer.

So what do I tell my authors?

 No question is a dumb question. ASK!

Everything your editor asks you to do is open to discussion, if you don’t agree with me, present your case.  We will talk about it.

Writing is a business.  You can call it art.  But it is a business, it’s not your baby.  So when I say fix this or this doesn’t work, I am not insulting you, I am helping you make a product that will sell.

I will hound you to the seven circles of hell to promote. 

I will hold your hand, if need be, and offer a shoulder of understanding if needed, and I will help you promote as much as I can.  And I will stand behind you and your book, we will get it in the best possible shape to present to the world—then the real work begins.

Author Bio

S.R. Howen grew up on a farm for the most part, spending part of her childhood as a military brat. The one constant in her life is story telling. She's always been a story teller--not a popular thing to be when you are five.

She's been with Wild Child since 2000 as an author and an editor. Currently, she lives in Texas with her family and assorted critters, 14 cats, 2 dogs, 2 squirrels, and a raccoon.

She follows a Native American lifestyle--believing that each thing does indeed have its own spirit, and avoiding processed foods. If she couldn't kill it, catch it, or pick it in the wild, she doesn't eat it. Other than that, she loves fast cars, good writing, and good editors. They are a writer's best friend.

Find more of S.R. Howen here:

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