Showing posts from July, 2012

Happy Birthday, Emily Brontë


Today is Emily Brontë's birthday. Born in Thorton, Yorkshire, England, in 1818, she is the author of the literary classic, Wuthering Heights.

For some reason, I always imagine the Brontë sisters sitting in their drawing room, gazing out at the Moors for inspiration, then sharing their work, discussing plot lines and ironing out tough scenes. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn't. But it must have been an intense atmosphere, all of those creative siblings under one roof. Patrick Branwell Brontë, their brother, was an artist and also a poet who painted this famous portrait of his three sisters.

When it comes to the Brontës, readers seem to fall into two camps — Team Jane Eyre or Team Wuthering Heights — so I decided to check out Amazon's ratings. Wuthering Heights has 3.8 out of 5 stars, while Jane Eyre has 4.4 out of 5 stars.

That seems to echo a short documentary I saw recently, that said Jane Eyre was very well-received, while most of the critics…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Intense


Today in Tel Aviv
By Cleveland W. Gibson

The door was locked.

I struggled, yet instincts said nothing changed. The door stayed shut like a steel rat-trap, right there in my mind. The shutter tampered with my sanity, blocked off an escape route I needed to follow.

One major stroke had slammed that door shut forever; it caused my lack of speech, my loss of movement. ‘If only’ covered such a massive area. Yet all I wanted was a clear road to my mind.

Dumb, still as a statue I sat, a scared weak-livered chicken, in the darkened room. Becky, my helper, lay curled up at my feet. I heard the shot, her brief scream as the two men killed her. I rolled my eyes in shock and horror. I showed my displeasure.

The men laughed. One stuck a pair of sunglasses on me.

Death meant no new danger to me. I'm Max. Max the Big Guy, the Israeli of French Foreign Legion campaigns, then the Belgian Congo. I laughed at myself. I’m Max the military expert living here in Tel Aviv, b…

England Revisited


As millions descend upon London for the Olympics later this week, I cannot help but remember my family’s glorious visit during these very same weeks two years ago. I frequently replay this trip in my mind because a) I am an anglophile, and England is my happy place, and b) we have not gone on vacation since. Last year, we were looking at colleges for my oldest, and this year, we are paying for that college.

We spent five days in London, then set out exploring the countryside through Chawton, Hampshire, of course, to visit Jane Austen’s house and grave (a part of the trip that has been dubbed “the holy pilgrimage”), followed by a stop on the ancient grounds of Stonehenge, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon, through the Peak District in Derbyshire, to York, and into Scotland, where we spent our last four days in and around Edinburgh. My husband’s own pilgrimage took place at St. Andrew’s, the home of golf, and my aforementioned oldest’s was visiting his first of man…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Retribution


The Pile
By Katrina Byrd

September 15th — the day Linda Carter would see freedom.

Seventy-five degrees, partly cloudy. Linda rushed down the walk, her purple robe gaping with every stride. The soles of her bunny slippers scrubbed against the pavement, the purple belt whose only purpose was to hold her robe together worked free of its loose knot and hung on either side of her round hips by the time she reached her driveway. “Damn,” she said under her breath when she noticed her newspaper was once again in the grass and not at the end of the driveway. “I’m gonna kill that little twerp.” Linda started out across the tall grass with her fists clenched.

She needed to cut the grass. That was one reason her neighbors didn’t like her. The other was because she simply didn’t belong in Cedar Hills, a ritzy subdivision for the rich and stupid. She inherited the house six months earlier when her mother died. She was grateful for the house and in some ways grateful fo…

Cosette's Tribe


Friend of the blog and Flash Fiction Fridays contributor Leah Griffith's novel, Cosette's Tribe, is out, and it is wonderful. Cosette takes on a life filled with misfortune and dark secrets with such fortitude, it is impossible not to love her.

Here is a brief description.

Inspired by a photograph of a happy tribe of Indians, young Cosette decides to start a tribe of her own by playing matchmaker for her divorced mother in hopes of finding a replacement for her absent father. Unaware of the repercussions her meddling will bring, Cosette triggers a series of dark events, which isolate her from her family, forcing her to deal with the life-shattering consequences of her actions on her own. With an unshakable sense of hope and humor, Cosette navigates through the hippie culture of the mid-1960s, facing off with life and death, while stumbling upon things both terrifying and beautiful.

In his review, Garrison Somers, editor of The Blotter said, "…

Flash Fiction Fridays: Loss


The Doll by the Graveyard Fence 
By Kathy Handley

On a murky day in November, Rosalie ambled down the dusty road three miles to the tiny enclosed graveyard one would almost miss, as the bulky-branched bushes criss-crossed like arms and saplings grew unnoticed between tall scrubby oaks nearly — all of which secluded and encased the squiggly path to it. She took the trail and stopped to lean against the waist-high, black wrought iron fence — her usual rest station. Glancing casually into the area, where leaves and brush had covered many of the gravestones, she spied a flash of color, a tiny triangular flag of blue material poking out on one plain, flat unmarked gravestone. Easing over the fence and shuffling through the debris, she lent crunching sounds to the silence before she bent to discover a doll. The torn-worn blue dress had lost most of its lacy, yellowed trim. Her matted hair, reminiscent of forties dolls that once delighted children back in the day…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Really?!?


A mid-week quickie for you.

Did you know the word is memento, not momento, which is how most people pronounce it?

This is not to be confused with Mentos mints, which, when mixed with Coke can cause quite a sticky situation.

On This Day In...


Periodically, I thumb through A Book of Days for the Literary Year, a wonderful source of author information, significant dates in literary history, and fascinating quotations, all beautifully illustrated with lovely portraits and photos.

Its editor, Neal T. Jones, calls it "...a compendium of literary lore including notable quotations, scores of birthdays, myriad marriages, some romance (and quite a few deaths) all relating to the literary life profusely illustrated with photographs, paintings, and drawings."

Today, for example, there are items about Samuel Johnson and Anne Frank, but I find this one most intriguing.

"1842: Nathaniel Hawthorne and his bride, Sophia Peabody, move into the Old Manse in Concord, Mass., to find the garden already plowed for them by Thoreau."

I don't know why, but that little tidbit made me smile.

Flash Fiction Fridays: The Heat is On


Well, dear readers, you are in for quite a treat this month. Coming right off of a fantastic June,  July is also jam-packed with powerhouse writers. First up is best-selling author Karen Cantwell.

Little Red Boots
By Karen Cantwell

Geraldine Hinkle would be meeting her maker any day. The doctor said it could be weeks, but Geraldine knew better.

Leaning one frail hip against the wooden counter of Watson’s Western Wear and rubbing a hand over her bald head, Geraldine didn’t think about dying.

“Can I hold one?” Her coarse voice was weak.

The lanky man behind the counter waited a few beats before responding. “Beauties, ain’t they? Hand crafted, ever inch. Three thousand dollar pair a boots right there.” He scratched his crotch.

“Are ya gonna let me hold one or are ya gonna just stand there all day playin’ with yer balls?”

The lanky man frowned. His long arm extended toward the shelf as he issued a warning. “Don’t think about runnin’ off with this. I got a gun.…

Book Talk at the EP Library


Last Thursday, I had the wonderful opportunity to do an author talk for a packed house at the Elmwood Park Library.

I discussed my series in general, read the first Bibliophiles book club meeting scene from A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One), gave a brief introduction to Catherine by reading the beginning pages of Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two), signed several books, and even posed for a few photos with readers.

All in all, it was a very pleasant way to spend a Thursday night. My thanks to the EP Library and all who attended.