Sunday, August 30, 2015

Book Review: Soul of a Citizen

Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical TimeSoul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time 
by Paul Rogat Loeb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Soul of a Citizen is a must-read for every intelligent person on the planet. I found my copy in a charity book pile and picked it up because of the title. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. It is more relevant and quotable today than it was when it was published in 1999. No kidding--you'll believe Loeb wrote this masterpiece just yesterday so prescient is his vision. It's that timely. Every home should have this book on their shelf for quick and easy reference.

Loeb inspires and motivates us to get off our backsides in Soul of a Citizen and get out into the world and fight for what we believe in. He deftly illustrates his points with examples of everyday people taking action who never believed they could do such a thing. These aren't "professional activists" or superheroes. These are folks who never thought they could make a difference in their community, their state, or the world at large, but who, nevertheless, found the courage to stand up and speak out for what they believed in and ended up making a difference for the better. Sure, times can be rough and not every effort will be met with immediate success, but when we sit back and do nothing we effectively kill off a piece of our soul Loeb warns. And the world is diminished that much more.

So, ignore the "insouciant smirks" or the "snark" (my term) that our society dishes out via the media whenever it tries to convince us that anything one person (or a group united for a good cause) attempts can't possibly make the world better. This snark, smirk or institutionalized cynicism has been perpetuated by the billionaires and millionaires for the past 40 years to keep us in our place. We all have been living under its soul-destroying cloud for so long that we've internalized it and come to believe its falsehoods. Worse yet, these oligarchs enjoy our "learned helplessness"--or should it be called "learned hopelessness"? The masses are lost in the consumer-driven culture and given up, filling their lives with empty bread (Starbucks?) and circuses (smartphones). Ordinary people discouraged and despairing won't take action to fight the wrongs made by greedy corporations and bought-and paid-for-politicians. No, we'll just sit and stare at our computing devices and throw in the towel and not fight back. The billionaires will just stuff more money in their offshore bank accounts as they send our jobs to China and accept their corporate welfare checks from the government...

Sound familiar? Want it to stop? Want to make the world a better place for all of God's creation and not just the 1%? Then get off your backside and find Soul of a Citizen in your local library, bookstore or online. Get it and read it. Today. Because tomorrow is the beginning of a whole new world that we can all be proud of because we worked together to make it happen.


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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Now available in print: Clan Drakul--The Kindred Vampires

For all erotic-romance vampire lovers--and readers who like two stories for the price of one...

Now available from Amazon, my first print book from eXtasy Books--Clan Drakul: The Kindred Vampires by Celine Chatillon.

Click here to order your copy today!

Two tall, dark and handsome vampires looking for someone to share eternity with-while dealing with a maniacal vampire hunter provides the focus for Clan Drakul.

In The Vampire Next Door, Val Drakul thinks the sexy girl upstairs could fulfill his every fantasy, but will Melynda's career plans take a backseat to things that go bump in the night? When a deadly foe ensnares Mel in his plot to rid the world of the Kindred Vampire race, can Val save the mortal woman he loves without transforming her into the lonely being he's become? 

Kinsman Vlad Drakul has found the love of his existence in the beautiful businesswoman Sofia, but is the sex-loving vixen all she appears to be? Leo Van Helsing cherishes his family's calling a bit too much. He'll see the bloodsuckers dead, and he's not above using others to obtain his goals-even if it kills them. One fatal night in Istanbul will change Vlad's afterlife forever. Can Vlad abide a Blood Betrayal?

 Clan Drakul now available in print at Amazon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Review: Trials of Passion

Trials of Passion: Crimes Committed in the Name of Love and MadnessTrials of Passion: Crimes Committed in the Name of Love and Madness by Lisa Appignanesi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Victorian-era spinster Christiana Edmonds was extremely unhappy that her letters weren’t returned by her doctor, Charles Beard. Of course he loved her and would leave his wife, but Beard never did. He simply told Christiana to stop writing. Things stalemated until a rash of poisonings—which resulted in the death of a four-year-old boy—exposed Christiana’s plans to hide her attempted murder of Mrs. Beard by broadcasting handmade poisoned chocolate creams throughout the community. Alas, her handwriting on repeated requests for strychnine and cyanide from the local chemist’s gave her away. She pleaded not guilty and stated Dr. Beard had besmirched her honor, but the “Borgia of Brighton” was sentenced to life in an asylum—not to death by hanging. Her lawyer and the “alienists”—what we’d call today psychologists—had argued that Christiana’s unrequited love had induced a madness that had driven her to this desperate act.

Trials of Passion takes a tantalizing look into landmark cases in the U.K., France and the U.S. during the later-half of the 19th and into the early years of the 20th century that set the standards we recognize today for the legal defense of temporary insanity. Appignanesi shows how these crimes and their trials demonstrate changing gender roles in Western society. The belle époque’s attitude was that women (and some men) were “hysterics” or mentally feeble and suggestible to commit these crimes, but in actuality, these criminals were simply crying out for justice that their culture didn’t address. The poor and downtrodden committed crimes of passion to right wrongs perpetrated on them by the powerful and wealthy who had left them without honor. However, even millionaires such as American Harry Thaw used this psychological defense to justify his shooting of architect Stanford White because White had raped the beautiful model Evelyn Nesbit, who later became Thaw’s wife, when she was but a teenager. Murder had become a “cure for insanity”.

Trials of Passion is a fascinating read for those interested in history, psychology, and the legal profession and how these disciplines came together to create the feminist movement and modern ethics.

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Writers--share your thoughts at The Bernie Blog

I've taken on yet another position--I'm now the editor at The Bernie Blog. Check it out here:

We now have a "How to Submit" page. Please read it and consider sending us a piece. Here's the submissions link:

Thank you. We're looking forward to hearing from you.

To all the Canadians--I hope you had a good Canada Day yesterday. To all the Americans--have a great Fourth of July holiday weekend! To everyone--be safe and enjoy your summer (or winter)!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Good Ol' Boys & Days of Summer--My Sexy Saturday excerpt

Welcome to this week’s My Sexy Saturday blog hop. The theme is "A Good Ole Sexy Time" and it's about…well…normal people. You know, the boys next door, the good ole boys, the boys of summer and everything in between. There is nothing more sexy than a man at the beach or getting done with his chores or doing his best at any task. 

Just because a guy seems "normal" doesn't mean he can't in reality be an extremely wealthy businessman who's considered the ultimate catch according to all the celebrity magazines. When Ronnie (short for Veronica) meets Dave Darden for the first time, she doesn't realize that he's actually the owner of a chain of discount stores. He doesn't come across as a man in a suit who's afraid of getting his hands dirty. Oh, no, he's the exact opposite! And here she thought moving away from the big city to open her own arts-and-crafts shop in the Ozark country was going to keep her away from wealthy, handsome men...

Country Boy, City Girl

Veronica "Ronnie" Hawthorn has found peace at last in the Missouri Ozarks town of Green Springs, excited at the prospect of running her own arts-and-crafts store in an old farm house. But when city girl Ronnie "falls" into her handsome neighbor's arms, she is surprised to discover that country boy Dave Darden is one of the most eligible bachelors in America.

"Readers will not be disappointed...You will be rewarded with a down home love story that will long be remembered."--Bridges Magazine

An excerpt from Country Boy, City Girl...
It feels good to be up to my elbows in mud again.

Ronnie sighed. Self-imposed pressure faded away as the rhythmic thump, thump, thump of the clay hitting the table surface over and over again lulled her into a blissful state of relaxation. The overwhelming strain she had endured these last ten months was forgotten as she vigorously kneaded the firm white clay in her small, yet capable, hands.

"Small hands, big heart," her mother had told her time and time again. Mama's heart had been big, too, but not strong enough to survive her last heart attack. How Ronnie wished Mama could have live long enough to see Natalie born.

Now was not a time for regrets. The stiffness in Ronnie's shoulders, the small pain at the base of her neck which usually signaled a tension headache coming on, simply vanished as she and the clay became one. A woman alone starting a new business venture, Ronnie felt every bit as malleable as her chosen medium.

Her full, rosy lips came together in a hum as she worked the clay ball over and over until the last of the air pockets were worked out. She rolled it over one last time, then unceremoniously plopped it onto the center of the wheel. She adjusted her work apron and sat down on the low stool, tucking a few stray blue-black hairs behind her ears before wetting her fingers in the jar of slip. A moan of pleasure sprang forth from deep within her as she sank her thumbs into the clay's cool center, gently nudging and pulling it to form the sides of the bowl.

Today was the first day of her new business and she wanted to always remember it as a happy one. The pitch of her humming soon matched the whine of the electric potter's wheel, tuning out troubling doubts and painful memories. The dusty, earthen aroma of the clay transported her thoughts back in time. She could almost pretend she was still in art school, long before she met Jim, fell in love, got married, had Natalie and buried her desire to become an artisan under a "soccer mom" facade. The Green Springs Arts and Crafts Gallery opened a new chapter in life for both her and Nat. Ronnie made a silent vow--this story would have a happy ending.

The haunted-house creaking of the back screen door instantly alerted her to another's presence. A little girl's giggle gave her would-be assailant away.

She grinned. Silly, Nat! She's sneaking up on Mommy to play "Guess who?" It was nothing short of miraculous. In the few short days since they had moved from the city to Green Springs, Natalie had left the sadness of her father's recent death behind and rediscovered her childhood. Ronnie couldn't wait to spring a surprise of her own on her playful six year old daughter.

Ronnie bent further over her work, pretending not to hear Natalie's approaching footsteps as they were heralded by the squeak of the old farmhouse's pine floorboards. Squeak, squeak, squeak. . . She stifled a laugh and kept her eyes focused on the clay, her reflexes readied for her own response. She sprang into action the instant a tickle of warm breath brushed against the back of her neck.

"Got ya!" Ronnie cried, spinning around on her stool, grabbing her attacker by the collar and planting the biggest, wettest, sloppiest kiss she could manage.


A jolt of electricity raced from her lips and traveled along the nerve highways of her body, awakening places inside she had believed were dead and buried along with Jim. Her eyes instantly flew open. 

Surprise! These lips didn't belong to her daughter!

Stunned, Ronnie pushed with all her might against the stranger's wide shoulders but found herself held fast in his powerful embrace. She began to pound against him with her fists but her actions only caused him to crush her womanly curves closer to his muscular chest. His tongue entered her slightly parted portal and enticed an immediate response from within her, frightening in its intensity. Her mind was spinning so fast that she toppled off the stool and landed like a bag of clay into the newcomer's formidable arms.

It seemed an eternity before the stranger lifted his lips from hers, releasing her from his daring grasp. Ronnie melted onto the floor, her power even to protest this despicable interloper's brazen behavior vanquished.

"If this is how you greet all your male customers. . . then I'll lay odds this place turns a profit its first month..."

Country Boy, City Girl is  available from Mojocastle Press, Amazon, ARe and wherever fine ebooks are sold!

Please sign up for my monthly e-newsletter (fill out the form on the right sidebar). This month I'll be giving out links to FREE e-reads and other ideas for summer reads. Enjoy!

Have a great My Sexy Saturday blog hop!


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