Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review--The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls WilderThe Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book of letters? Why would I want to read someone's mail? Hey, it's much more fascinating and revealing that you'd first believe. As a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan (since childhood), I was enthralled to learn details of her life "behind the fiction" and how her daughter, journalist Rose Wilder Lane, was perhaps the undisclosed ghostwriter of her classic children's literature. Recommended for all Laura fans and others who are interested in seeing the process behind a writer's goal of creating a book series to preserve American history.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review -- Boy Erased (A Memoir)

Boy Erased: A MemoirBoy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A life spent questioning one’s self-worth, one’s faith, one’s sanity is not a life worth living. In the coming out memoir, Boy Erased, Garrard Conley boldly shares his inner and outer struggles of dealing with his homosexuality, his fundamentalist upbringing in Arkansas, and his parents’ expectations of him becoming the perfect son.

Young Garrard realizes that he’s different from other boys-- he likes to look at men in a different way than others--but his family’s strict Missionary Baptist religion prohibits such sinful thoughts, let alone actions. To make matters worse, his father begins a second career as a preacher, and to openly confess his gay nature would destroy his family’s good name in the church. Going off to college to study English literature, Garrard is haunted by his feelings and finds himself in a difficult situation when he is raped by another student who then turns around and tells on him to his family. The rapist claims it is all Garrard’s fault, and so as a victim he is further persecuted and questioned.

Garrard’s parents fear for his immortal soul and enroll him into an “ex-gay” program, Love In Action, a place that is anything but loving. There he is subjected to amateur brainwashing techniques in the guise of a twelve step addiction program. If he will only take the first step and admit he is wrong and admit he is “addicted to being gay”, then he will be “cured” according to LIA. But Garrard eventually sees through the doublespeak and self-loathing his ex-gay instructors try to instill in their clients. He realizes somewhere deep down that God would not have made him gay to lead him into self-destruction and despair. He knows his parents love him and will come to accept him, and so he walks out.

Boy Erased is a poignant story that will touch many who struggle with being “different” and who question their existence in the face of prejudice and ignorance.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Our Champion

I apologize for not keeping up with my personal blog postings lately, but I've been busy editing The Bernie Blog, canvassing for the campaign, working on our Y.A. sci-fi series (the  first book, BloodDark -- Olivia's Escape releases in August), and  writing for another web site, Political Storm. Here's a sample of my writing lately which appeared recently at that web site.

 Our Champion

It’s not the style--it’s the substance. It’s the sincerity of his message. It’s that warm, empowering feeling of hope you feel whenever you hear Bernie Sanders speak. You sense his compassion for others whenever you listen to him. It makes no difference if you hear him in person at a “yuge” rally or streaming online from an alternative media source (since mainstream media has ignored him). All that matters is the message is directed at you, an ordinary American voter, and not at some billionaire corporate lobbyist or super PAC contributor. 

Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a super PAC or even want a super PAC. He has been funded since day one of his run for office by us, ordinary Americans. His average campaign donation? Bernie brags at his rallies it’s “twenty-seven bucks!” We all laugh and applaud. The fact that he’s raised so much from so many through small donations demonstrates the affection millions of ordinary people have for Bernie. (We gave him $43 million in March alone.)We like him so much that we call him by his first name, and Bernie is cool with it. 

The Millennials definitely think he’s cool. They design t-shirts with his face and slogans and tattoo their bodies with his icon. This will never cease to amaze me since their generation has been put through the grinder by the Baby Boomers’ selfishness and carelessness. Our kids inherit a polluted, climate-changed planet, and they’re desperate for the hope Bernie’s “A Future to Believe In” platform provides. But it’s not just about the excitement of the rally and the thousands upon thousands cheering on Bernie in large university arenas that provides hope; it’s the man himself.  Young and old alike connect with Bernie because he gives us the truth, straight up and unvarnished, and then he tells us how together we’ll make changes for the better and revive democracy in our great nation. 

“Not Me Us” is one of Bernie’s trending hashtags online, and it sums up his philosophy well. Together we are strong and caring. Together we can save our world. Together we can work to build a brighter future for all Americans and not just the handful who’ve been dipping their hands in the cookie jar and hoarding all the cookies for too long. Together we have hope.

Our champion doesn’t come riding in on a white stallion--or even in a white luxury sedan--but he comes to talk to us in person and humbly asks for our support. We welcome him to our backyard barbecues with smiles and a cold beer. Folks who donate an average of $27 to a candidate can’t afford $353,400 tickets to fancy soirees with champagne and caviar and movie stars. We know we can’t afford to elect candidates who only want fame, power and more money for themselves, either. Fortunately, we have Bernie Sanders, a public servant who has served working Americans well through his long and distinguished career. 

Bernie Sanders: A champion to believe in and a future to believe in. Somewhere up there you know FDR would be proud.


For more information about Bernie , please check out his campaign website at or go to the all volunteer-created website bursting with useful information:

Friday, March 04, 2016

See you at Cleveland Concoction

We'll be a Cleveland Concoction this coming week... Will you be there?

My talented hubby AJ Matthews and I will be talking about writing, publishing, editing and, of course, science fiction at Cleveland Concoction at the lovely Airport Sheraton. We hope to see all our friends and make a lot of new friends over the weekend, so please, if you're in the area, come on down.

I know I haven't updated my blogs much lately, but The Bernie Blog editing and helping out with the campaign has taken a lot of my energy. I'm hoping by summer things will settle down a bit. One thing I've been amiss about is talking about our upcoming fiction release, the first in my husband's and my young adult science fiction BloodDark series coming in August from Desert Breeze Publishing. The first title is Olivia's Escape.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review: The Case of the Fickle Mermaid

The Case of the Fickle Mermaid: A Brothers Grimm Mystery (Brothers Grimm Mysteries)The Case of the Fickle Mermaid: A Brothers Grimm Mystery by P.J. Brackston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gretel (yes, that Gretel) of Gesternstadt is off on another case. This time she travels far from her home in Bavaria to help Captain Tobias Ziegler of the “cruise ship” Arabella and solve the mystery of his missing sailors. A mermaid’s song has either scared off these superstitious nautical types for good or the siren has lured them to their deaths. Whatever the cause of the Arabella’s missing mates, Gretel grabs the chance for a luxurious cruise and a bit of much needed cash to boot. She packs her numerous clothing trunks, personally carries her most divine and expensive wig, and forces her brother Hans to act as her porter and bodyguard.

Alas, the Arabella isn’t the glamorous cruise ship Gretel thought it would be. She and Hans are forced to share a cabin no bigger than a closet with a smelly “mer-hund”. Hans is tormented by his “old love” Birgit who still has it in for him. Captain Ziegler looks vaguely familiar to Gretel in a nefarious way. And what’s up with the proper and grim quartermaster Herr Hoffman? Gretel wonders if the rival cruise line owner, Thorsten Sommer, isn’t behind the mysterious mermaid’s song. Why oh why does her own fancy, the dashing Uber General Ferdinand Von Ferdinand, have to be aboard the Fair Fortune with the stuffy Baroness Schleswig-Holstein cruising nearby? When the Arabella’s chef is found murdered in a lifeboat aboard the Fair Fortune, Gretel senses perhaps it isn’t a business rivalry or a mythical creature behind these crew disappearances.

The Case of the Fickle Mermaid is the third book in P.J. Brackston’s “Brothers Grimm Mysteries” and is part cozy mystery, part comedic-masterpiece and part fairy tale. Gretel uses her sharp wits and her voracious appetite for both food and life to sift through a cast of suspects who will make you split your sides with laughter. There’s the fickle mermaid, of course, along with the bird-obsessed Dr. Becker, the inept henchmen Cat’s Tongue and Pustule, the drunken culinary genius Frenchie (who takes Hans under his wing and teaches him even more about food), and a naughty sea sprite that no one but Gretel can see or talk to. This is the perfect book for the mystery lover who enjoys a happily ever after tale along with a little murder and mayhem along the way.

View all my reviews
google-site-verification: googlec9fe367ac800d499.html